This is what Almanzo was thinking when Laura leaves to go teach school and their first sleigh ride together.

Takes place in the eighth book: These Happy Golden Years from the chapter 'Sleigh Bells'.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. They belong to the brilliant author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She's gone! Laura got a teaching job and just left town! I can't believe she left without saying a word to anyone. One day she is here, the next, gone. I overheard Mr. Ingalls saying how Laura got a teaching job about 12 miles from town. Brewster's, if I remember correctly. Why wouldn't she say goodbye? I know it would not have been completely proper, yet perhaps she could have left a message for me. I thought that after I walked her home she would feel somewhat comfortable talking to me. Then after I asked her to go sleigh riding with me….Wait! A sleigh ride! I finished my sleigh and I did offer to take her riding in it at least once, which she accepted. Perhaps I can convince Mr. Ingalls to let me take Laura home for a weekend. It is a long way for his team to travel and I know the family would love to be able to see her. Perhaps, if offered, in the right way, I can go and bring Laura home for a weekend. I might even be able to take her back again. By taking her home we will get to talk and I can find out if my walking her home all those times meant anything to her, the way it did for me. It seems so ridiculous that I could feel anything for her, but I can't seem to stop thinking about her. I'll have to find Mr. Ingalls at a good time to offer, maybe right before he leaves, no that would not be fair to him to have to do all that work of getting his team ready for the long drive for nothing. The day before perhaps? I will just have to wait until I see him and offer then. Wait, there he is now, heading into Mr. Fuller's store.

"…it would be a surprise for her."

"That is one nice surprise. But can your team manage the trip?"

"I figured that if I only do it this once and then at the end of the eight weeks they should be fine."

Here is my chance to offer to take Laura home! What a stroke of luck!

"Mr. Ingalls? What if I went to get Laura? I did promise her a sleigh ride when I finished making my sleigh. Prince and Lady could make the drive easier, and it would be less of a strain on your team."

Why are his eyes twinkling at me? It is like he knows something I don't.

"That is a kind offer Almanzo. I appreciate your offer and I accept gladly. Although there is still the problem of getting her back to school…."

"I will take her back. That isn't a problem Sir."

Did I say that too quickly? I hope that isn't taken the wrong way. What if Mr. Ingalls thinks I want to be Laura's beau? Hmm….Laura's beau. Although now that I think about it, that does not sound like such a bad idea. I'll have to see how she reacts to me coming to get her and our conversation on the way home. If she seems happy that I came and got her, not simply that she gets to go home for the weekend, I will continue to get her each week. Being able to spend time with her will allow me to learn more about her, as well as if we could become a couple.

"Thank you again Almanzo. That is greatly appreciated. I am sure Laura will be happy too."

There is that twinkle again!

"Have a good evening then Mr. Ingalls. I'll see you on Friday when I bring Laura home."

Well that went much smoother than I anticipated. 12 miles...that shouldn't take more than a few hours to get there, then the 12 miles back. Those should go quickly with Laura to talk to. If school gets out at 4 o' clock, then I should leave no later than 1 o' clock. That should not be too big a problem. Friday isn't too far away, then I will see Laura and find out if she enjoys my company as much as I enjoy hers.