Laura smiled as she crossed the still clean field. Soon it would be eared and holding her future together with Almanzo. Even if her hope had never completely died during all the time when Almanzo had seen her as nothing but a young friend, she would have never imagined in her wildest dreams that this all would be happening to her one day.
In just six months she'd be Laura Ingalls Wilder. She would share her life together with Almanzo … the man of her dreams.
And they would live right here in their own house.
Almanzo worked on the field with his back turned to Laura, so he hasn't seen her coming. He was busy aerating a piece of land, every now and then wiping the sweat off his face. Laura stopped a few feet away from her betrothed, admiring him smilingly.
She had always loved watching him secretly while he worked, but now that she knew that every movement he made was for their future together as husband and wife, she found it even more fascinating. It was a cool day, but his shirt was full of sweat stains. She could see the muscles on his back bulging under his crimson shirt, the sleeves rolled up so it exposed his strong forearms.
She remembered all the times when she had daydreamed while watching him like this, wishing she could run her fingers through his blond hair, touch his arms … But now she didn't have to dream about it anymore.
She shook herself out of her thoughts "Hi Manly!"
Almanzo turned smilingly, wiping the sweat off his eyebrow with one hand, "Hi Beth!"
"I thought you might need a break", she pointed at the pail dangling from her arm.
"I sure could", he chuckled.
Laura made a step forward and stood up on her tiptoes to give him a kiss on the cheek, but Almanzo stepped back. Puzzled she looked questioningly at her betrothed.
"I'm all dusty", he explained.
Laura sighed with relief and smiled, "That doesn't matter." Before he could prevent her once again, she kissed him tenderly on the cheek.
Almanzo looked scolding at her, but Laura ignored his look and reached him the water canteen.
While he made big gulps, Laura let her eyes wander around. "Wow, Manly, you worked awfully fast!" she stated unbelievingly as she saw that almost the whole field had been seed.
Almanzo wiped over his mouth and smiled. "Yeah", he looked around himself before locking his eyes with her honey-brown ones. "Thinking about what this means for our future and doing it for you makes the work a lot easier."
"Oh Manly", Laura smiled deeply touched, tears shimmering in her eyes. When she wanted to kiss him, Almanzo lifted his arms to prevent her from it.
"Beth, remember? I'm all-"
"-All dusty, I know", Laura interrupted him and rolled her eyes. Placing the dinner pail on the ground, she bent and grabbed a handful of earth. Almanzo looked startled how she crumbled it with her hands and lifting her head to look at him, she rubbed her cheeks with her palms until they had a light grey shimmer on them.
"Do you feel better now?" she asked smirking, seeing him with his mouth open.
Almanzo started to chuckle as he draw Laura into him, "You're priceless, do you know that?" he whispered before kissing her softly on the lips.
"I hope so", Laura replied smilingly, wrapping her arms around his neck, "Not that you find yourself someone else…"
"As if ever…" Almanzo captured her lips with several soft, tender kisses as Laura played with the end of his blond hair.
When they parted, Laura remembered a conversation she had with Miss Wilder earlier that day, "By the way, your sister asked me something today."
"What did she ask?"
"How I got you to notice me."
Almanzo chuckled, "What did you choose? The cinnamon chicken, the mud-fight or screaming at me?"
Laura removed her hands from his neck and crossed her arms offended. She hated it when he brought this up. It always made her feel so childish.
"Aw, come on Beth, don't be mad at me", His arms still encompassed her waist, "You know I love you just the way you are."
"I do?" Laura pointed.
"Of course", he gave her his crooked smile, "Everyone in town knows that. They always say 'that's the one who's madly in love with Laura Ingalls'."
Laura laughed and rolled her eyes as her anger was melted away ,"Sure…"
Almanzo leaned in to kiss her again.
"And what did you say to my sister?" his curiosity finally got the better of him.
"I didn't have an answer. What was it? The cinnamon chicken, the mud-fight or screaming at you?" She smirked.
"Nothing from all these things", he replied, his ocean blue eyes fixing hers.
Laura knitted her eyebrows in confusion.
"…Your eyes. They stole my heart right away, I just didn't want to realize it", Almanzo answered honestly.
Laura blushed under his gaze, "Really?"
"Really", he smiled before brushing her lips again.
"Manly?" Laura played unsure with one of his buttons after they parted.
"When are you in the best mood?"
"What do you mean?" he knitted his eyebrows.
"I mean… if somebody had to tell you something unpleasant… when would you react least angry? During dinner… or when you work … or at night…"
"I'd say when I work the field", he smirked, "What is it?"
"Huh?" Laura lifted her head.
"What do you want to tell me?"
"Uh, nothing. Why?"
"Beth", he gave her his 'I know you too well'-look and Laura sighed.
"If I told you something stupid I did a LONG time ago, concerning you, how big would the possibility be that you call off our engagement?"
Almanzo laughed, "Non-existent. What is it?" He urged her softly.
"Well…uh…" Laura bent her head again, feeling ashamed. She had thought about telling him a lot lately and she wanted to get it off her mind but it sure wasn't easy. She felt so embarrassed… "Do you remember when the circus came to Walnut Grove? Two years ago?"
"Do you remember the clown, who dumped a bucket of water on Christie Norton?"
Almanzo smiled amused, remembering that evening. It sure hat been an exceptional one… "Pretty well, yeah", he chuckled.
"You wouldn't believe me, but this clown kissed me!" He realized that he had never told Laura this story.
"Uh…" Laura blushed even more. How should she get this out? "Have you been angry with the clown?"
"What?" He certainly hadn't expected that question. Was she jealous?
"…I mean … because she kissed you…uh…and ruined Christie Norton's dress?"
"No, not really. I mean - it was a clown."
"And you did never wonder why a clown would kiss you on your lips?" she asked hesitantly.
"Well, I – Wait, how do you know that it was on my lips?" Almanzo now asked puzzled.
"Uh…" Laura didn't dare to meet his eyes.
"You!" Almanzo asked surprised before laughing, "I can't believe it! You were the clown, Beth?" He laughed even more.
Laura just kept staring at the ground, feeling too embarrassed to even nod. Almanzo stopped laughing as he noticed her uncomfortableness. He gently lifted her chin, "Why didn't you tell me?"
Laura just shrugged "It's so embarrassing… I thought if you'd know it you'd think of me as a child again…"
"I don't think it's embarrassing, Beth. I think it's very sweet... And if I could do it all over again, I would have kissed the clown back." He cupped her face in his hands and caressed her cheeks with his thumbs.
"Honest?" A small smiled curled Laura's lips. And she had been so afraid he would adjudge her!
He leaned in and placed a soft kiss on her lips, "Honest", he whispered.