Authors note: This story does not place in „Darkness is my friend". Since Mary already knew about Almanzo in this episode, I was wondering when and how she could have found out and so I wrote this story, which takes place around episode 9 or 10 of the 6th season. It does not play in these episodes either, I just have a "Laura and Almanzo timeline" in my head and I guess it's easier to read some stories if you know when they take place, because the characters change of course during the season. And since Laura met Almanzo in September and Mary thinks it must be already three months – it would be November.
A Heart To Heart Talk
"Mary?" Laura played with the edge of the blanket on which she and her sister were sitting. The fire spit in front of them.
"Yes?" Mary sensed that Laura had something on her mind and tried to encourage her by the tone of her voice.
"Adam is quite a bit older than you are, right...?" Laura lifted her head for the first time since she started thinking of how formulating her question. She wanted to see her sister's face when she answered.
"Yes", Mary replied a bit confused about that topic.
"Well how did you...", she sighed desperate. This topic seemed so embarrassing to her!
"What's on your mind, Laura?" Mary asked curious. It didn't happen often that her younger sister acted this insure.
"Well...he was your teacher and you his student, right?"
"So...how did you get him to see you as something else than a student?" Finally she said it! Laura exhaled relieved.
Mary knitted her eyebrows, still confused of why her sister was suddenly interested in her and Adam's romance. "I don't know Laura..."
"What do you mean you don't know!" Laura asked frustrated. Someone had to have some advice for her! "First he was your teacher and then your beau. What did you do?"
"Well..." Mary tried hard to think of a good answer, sensing how important it was to her sister, but she just couldn't find a good reply. "...I'm sorry Laura, but it wasn't something I did. Or at least not that I know. We just spend a lot of time together and get to know each other. "
"You mean you didn't do anything?" Laura asked unbelievingly. How could it be that she tried so many things to get Manly's attention and NOTHING happened and her sister did nothing and got married to her teacher? Life just wasn't fair... She sighed.
Mary reached her hand out over the bowl of popcorn to caress Laura's arm. "Come on, Laura, what is it? You never asked questions like that before", she stated in a gentle voice.
"Because then I was a child, but I'm not a child anymore!" Laura screamed, offended that everyone always acted as if she would be some tomboy with no other interests than fishing and spitting. She nearly cried, remembering the awful moment as Almanzo had called her a little girl.
"Laura, don't be mad at me. I didn't say anything of you being a child! I think you became very mature during the last months." She stroked her sister's arm.
"Really? You really think so?" Laura's face beamed with joy.
"Of course! You're a young lady now." Mary smiled "So, why don't you tell me what's troubling you? Elder sisters are good listeners."
"Well..." Laura bent her head again, a blush creeping to her cheeks. "There's someone..."
Mary smiled. She had already guessed that this was about a boy, though she had never seen Laura that earnest about this topic. Now she finally got an explanation why Laura had seemed to be lost in her thoughts so often lately.
"And you like him?" Mary tried to approach the problem.
"Oh no!" Laura lifted her head and shook it "I love him!" Then she paused and bent her head again, as she felt all the pain in her heart again.
"He must be something special, if you say that. Is he the new boy that moved into town last week?"
Laura couldn't stifle a grin. How could she be in love with that boy when Almanzo had stolen her heart already three months ago? She chuckled "No, of course not... You see... he isn't exactly a boy..."
Now it became clear to Mary why her sister asked all these questions about Adam and her. "Well who is it? Do I know him?"
Laura thought for one moment. "Do you promise not to tell anyone? Not even Adam?"
"I promise", Mary smiled.
"Well... do you remember Miss Wilder's brother?" she asked hesitantly.
"The one Ma said worked for the Feed and Seed?"
"Uh-huh..." Laura looked eagerly at her sister, expecting a reaction about him. But she said nothing.
"Well, what about him?" Mary asked puzzled as her sister didn't continue.
Laura sighed. Couldn't she tell? "It's him, Mary!" she rolled her eyes.
"What?" Mary gasped. "But...how old is he?"
Laura felt how anger and desperation filled her inside. Finally she got the courage to tell her sister - the only one about whom she thought HAD to understand her situation - and now she reacted like everybody else!
"What does it matter, Mary?" Laura screamed, standing up. "Why does everybody always just talk about how old he is? What does it matter? I love him!"
Mary was startled over Laura's reaction. She had never seen her sister like that. Could she really be in love? She had witnessed some of Laura's crushes and thought that this was just another one, but Laura's voice told otherwise.
"I'm sorry, Laura." She tried to calm her sister "Please sit down again. I didn't want to upset you. You're right; if you love him then it doesn't matter how old he is. But I don't know him and I just wanted to have some information about the man who drives my little sister that crazy."
Laura chuckled and sat down, wiping the tears away. She grabbed Mary's hand. "I'm sorry Mary. I didn't mean to yell at you. It's just that...Albert and Pa... everybody just always says that he's too old for me... I can't hear that anymore..."
"I understand" Mary squeezed Laura's hand. "Since when do you feel that way?"
"Well", Laura replied matter-of-factly, "ever since I first saw him...on September third..." Her voice drifted off as she remembered him clearly that day.
Mary couldn't help but grin. Wow, her little sister was really head over heels in love. Then she became earnest again as she became aware of what that meant.
"Wait – that would mean that you're in love since already three months, Laura!"
"So?" Laura asked confused.
"Nothing...I just...nothing" Mary smiled. Her sister really had grown up and she had to be awfully careful not to hurt Laura's feelings now that she understood that this was really serious for her sister. She never had had a boy on her mind for that long.
"Does he know?"
"Of course not! That would be my doom! And besides... he's courting other women..."
"You mean he's got a fiancée?"
"No... I don't know all about it, but he went out with Christie Norton once and once with Vanessa Miller..." Laura hated to be reminded of that fact.
Laura moved her shoulders up and down "Well, at least of what I know – yes."
"So? That doesn't mean anything! You hang around with Albert and Andy and other boys a lot and still you're not in love with them!" Mary cheered her little sister up.
"You think so?" Laura asked unbelievingly.
"Yes, I do Laura. I don't know anything about your relationship with him, but just because he went out with two girls once, that doesn't mean anything. Especially since he's new in town and probably trying to get to know other people."
Laura smiled. It felt so good to talk with someone about it! She wished she had told her sister sooner! She already didn't feel as hopeless as she felt minutes ago.
"You have to tell me more, Laura. Now I'm curious! Did you talk to him once?"
A wide smile spread on Laura's face. Maybe Mary could yet give her some advices and judge the situation!
"Oh yes! We talk a lot! Almost every day!"
Mary was startled. She thought her sister was just admiring him from the far or something like that. But on the other hand, this was her feisty sister she was talking about. She chuckled.
"Nothing, Laura. I'm just impressed, that's all."
"Yes. And if he doesn't see what a wonderful girl he could have, then he's not worth crying over."
Laura smiled, deeply touched by her sister's words. "Oh Mary!" she threw her arms around her sister and squeezed her. "I love you"
"I love you" Mary replied smilingly.
"Now I want to hear EVERY SINGLE juicy detail, Laura Ingalls" Mary teased, as they had settled back.
Laura chuckled before starting to tell the story of Almanzo and her from the very beginning.
Mary listened astonished and couldn't help but think that maybe she should stop by the Feed and Seed the next day to get to know this man, which obviously owned her sister's heart already.
Who knows if he wouldn't be her brother-in-law someday?
Everything's possible in love...