Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. They belong to Beth Sullivan and CBS.

I Just Wanted You to Know
Written by Ashley J.
March 13, 2008

They were oblivious to William's prying eyes, as they walked toward Beacon Hill, fingers laced together, eyes focused on nothing but each other. It was very obvious Michaela would not be saying yes to his proposal. He hadn't expected she'd love him like he loved her. He hadn't even expected she'd look at him the way she looked at Sully. But he had hoped that perhaps their common interests would be enough. But he'd been wrong, and he turned away from the sight of them together and walked off toward home.

Michaela smiled happily, as she held his hand. Her cheeks were flushed with pink, and she couldn't contain her happiness. She was radiantly happy, and the same emotion shined in Sully's eyes.

"I want to go back to Colorado Springs…soon," Michaela said softly. "I have a lot to return to."

"We don't gotta rush."

"No, but we've been away for too long now. I know Matthew is anxious to get back to Ingrid, and as much as Colleen and Brian are enjoying themselves, I know Colleen would like to get back to her friends, and Brian's been missing Pup."

"True," Sully replied. "What're you gonna tell your ma? I know she's been wantin' you to move back here with the kids."

"She'll understand." Michaela knew how ridiculous that sounded. Elizabeth Quinn? Understand that her daughter was choosing to move back to the Colorado Territory and begin building a life with a man who had little money in his pockets and only the love in his heart to offer her daughter? "Alright, perhaps she won't understand. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm going back to where I'm needed. Mother is well, and she shows no signs of relapsing."

The sun was coming out, and Michaela, growing warm on such a cool November day, began to fan herself. Sully noticed a shaded spot up ahead, and he whisked her off toward it. She giggled, as he stood with her under the shade tree. There weren't many passersby, so Sully took the opportunity to steal a kiss. Michaela blushed, but she kissed him back, knowing that if her mother ever knew about such a public display, she'd yell loud enough for the Colorado Territory to hear! Then there would be no need to surprise them with this new courtship.

"Sully," Michaela whispered giddily, as his tongue gently caressed her lower lip. He pressed against her, his body warm against hers. Her heart started pounding as she thought about things that both frightened and excited her, and that was when she knew they had to stop.

She placed her hand on his chest, and when he pulled back just a bit, he looked into her eyes to see such passion there. But he also knew she wasn't used to all of this, so he decided to back off for a while.

"Sorry," he whispered. "I just can't get over how beautiful you are."

"I love you," she breathed. It was easier to say this time. She knew she would be able to say it without blushing sooner or later. These kinds of things were not very familiar to her.

"I love you." He kissed cheek, and then he took her hand once more.

It wasn't long before the house came into sight. Michaela's palm was sweating now, and Sully could tell she was growing nervous. It wasn't about telling her mother that she'd chosen to go back to Colorado Springs. It wasn't that she was ashamed of him either. No. She just knew her mother well enough to know what she would say about her choice. Not that it was going to sway her any. Each time Michaela looked at him, Sully knew she stood strong in her love for him, and nothing was going to change that.

"I can give ya some time alone," he said softly, as they approached the front door.

"I think we should do this together. Mother is one who needs to be confronted with an issue so that she can deal with it. If I go by myself she'll only try to convince me otherwise. She needs to know that I have no intention of staying."

"If that's what ya want, I'll go with ya." Michaela nodded gratefully. After two knocks, Harrison opened the door and let them in.

"Thank you, Harrison," Michaela said with a beaming smile. "Is my mother home?"

"She's in the parlor, ma'am." Michaela nodded, and she squeezed Sully's hand. They passed through the foyer, and both stood in the doorway of the parlor, watching as Elizabeth worked at stitching patterns, her back to them as she faced a roaring fire in the hearth.

"Mother," Michaela said boldly.

"Oh, Michaela. Is William with you?" Elizabeth put down her work and started to turn.

"No, Mother. I need to talk to you. We…we need to talk to you."

"We?" Elizabeth turned in her seat enough to see her daughter standing next to Sully. And more than that, she was holding his hand! Elizabeth's eyes widened. "What's going on here?"

"What's going on is that…I've decided to go back to Colorado Springs as soon as possible."

"Go back? Why?" Elizabeth asked, knowing this moment was going to come sooner or later, but she was still quite perturbed by the fact that her daughter's hand was still rested in the hand of that mountain man.

"Because it's time, Mother. I have a practice to get back to. My children have friends to get back to. And…" She glanced at Sully. "Sully and I have decided…"

"We're courtin', Ma'am." He glanced at Michaela first and then at the woman he hoped would one day be his mother-in-law."

"Oh this is preposterous. Michaela, where is William?"

"William is still back at the lecture hall, as far as I know," Michaela pointed out.

"What about his proposal?" Michaela's eyes widened.

"How did you know about that?"

"Well, he did the right thing and came here to ask for my approval before he went and asked you to marry him! Unlike someone…"

"With all due respect, Mrs. Quinn, I told Michaela I love her…but we ain't engaged."

"Not engaged?" Elizabeth asked. She turned her eyes to her daughter. "So you rejected the proposal of a wealthy, handsome doctor to pursue a relationship with a man who can't even ask for your hand in marriage? Michaela, you're not getting any younger."

"Mother!" Michaela exclaimed, stepping away from Sully and toward her mother. "Sully and I aren't going to rush into anything. We love one another, and…"

"Oh stop it! This isn't appropriate for…"

"For what, Mother? For your tastes? I'm sorry if that's how you feel, but I love him, and I'm going back to Colorado Springs."

"You have so much here in Boston."

"I have a lot in Colorado Springs as well, Mother." Elizabeth shook her head.

"I can't deal with this right now. I'm going to lie down. Hopefully when I wake, this will all be nothing but a bad dream." With that, Elizabeth left the room, leaving Michaela and Sully alone together. Michaela looked down.

"Sully, I'm so sorry she treated you like that. You don't deserve that. But Mother…well, she certainly thinks she knows what's best for me. Not that I agree with her. She'll come around. I know her…"

"It's ok. Ya don't gotta explain. I think if my daughter had the choice between somebody who could support her and somebody who couldn't make promises like that…well, I'd want…"

"You'd want her to make the choice that makes her happiest," Michaela pointed out. "And that's exactly what I'm doing here. You make me happy, Sully, and I don't need any promises right now." He watched her, studying her movements and the tone of her voice, wondering if she was getting at something but making it look as if she wasn't interested in the topic.

"Michaela?"

"Hmm?"

"You say ya don't need promises, and I…"

"Sully, it's been a very big day," she pointed out, placing her hand on his chest, uncertain if that was ok. But when she gazed into his eyes, she didn't see any indicators that she was doing anything wrong.

"Michaela, what your ma said…William can offer you more than I can."

"No he can't. He has money, yes, and we could be colleagues and partners in life, yes, but I could never love him. I told you that, and I stand by that. I love you."

"Would you have said yes if I hadn't told you…"

"No. I wouldn't have. I was swept up in the moment, Sully. You have no idea what it's like for someone to say something like that to you…without any warning."

"Maybe not," he replied. "But I want ya to know…I will make ya those promises someday. I will."

"I know," she breathed, as he stroked her cheek gently with the back of his hand. "But we have all the time in the world. There's no need to rush."

"No, there's not." He looked down, thinking about how he'd almost lost her. He couldn't go through that ever again. He never wanted to see another man saying those words to her. Hearing William say it had been like a punch in the gut, and the idea of her even remotely considering it was enough to break his heart. "But I don't want to lose ya."

"You won't," she whispered.

"No, but…I just want ya to understand. I do wanna marry you someday. I wanna spend the rest of my life with ya, Michaela." He studied her eyes, wondering what she was thinking. He didn't want to scare her away, but he wanted her to know he was going to stay around, because she was worth every moment.

"Sully…" He held up his hand to stop her.

"Like I said…I just wanted ya to know that." She smiled, and she wrapped her arms around him, holding him close, resting her head against his chest to hear his heartbeat, its steady thump, thump, thump telling her that all was right with the world, and this was her time. Her time to love him and to be loved. She felt absolute joy and comfort that this was something she could count on doing for the rest of her life.