It has been a long time since I have written anything; however, my job has given me very little free time. Here is a story that came to my head earlier this year and I just had to write it down. Although, due to a lack of free time, it has taken me this long to finally get it written and uploaded.

This takes place in the eighth book: These Happy Golden Years from the chapter 'Almanzo Goes Away'

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

"Royal, are you sure? I mean is it really necessary to leave this soon? I thought we had at least another month before we had to go?"

"Sorry Monzo, but I got a letter from Father asking if we could try to get home before the snow falls. He says he wants to talk to us about something. I figured we would leave this coming Sunday so we will have plenty of time to make it there before the first snowfall. What do you say? Can we leave by Sunday?"

"I suppose, if Father needs us to come early….I just don't feel like leaving Laura so soon after proposing to her."

"She'll be fine Monzo. Leave her the buggy and Lady; it will give her something to remember you by while we are gone. Not that she needs it with that ring you gave her….."

"Stop Royal! I love her and I really wanted to spend more time with her now that we are engaged. At least giving us both time to adjust to our new situation. I mean, for goodness sakes, I only proposed a few days ago and now I'm leaving her! What does that say about me?"

"Relax Monzo! She knew we were leaving to go back to Minnesota to spend time with Mother and Father. We are just leaving a few weeks early. She will understand. Instead of saying it is Father's idea, so she won't feel any animosity towards him when they meet at your wedding, blame me. Tell her I want to go through….Iowa. That is why we have to leave early. She won't get upset at you for following your older brother's demand."

"Still….that's lying and I don't really feel comfortable lying to her."

"So we'll actually go through Iowa. Now that I thought about it, I do want to go through Iowa. You won't be lying and we get to see Iowa on our way home. Does that work for you now?"

"Alright, I'll leave out the part about Father and just tell her we are going through Iowa. I will have to bring her back something awful nice to make up for not being with her all winter plus part of autumn…"

"She will be fine Manzo, you shouldn't worry so much. We will go visit Mother and Father just like we told them we would. We will go through Iowa and when we get to Father's and Mothers we will find out what Father thought was so urgent that he had to have us come earlier than planned. We will be back home before you know it. Back in the loving arms of the beautiful Ms. Ingalls, so to be Mrs. Wilder."

I am not sure how I feel leaving Laura so soon after our engagement. Although Father knew I was going to propose before we left, so whatever he needs us for must be pretty important considering he knows he is asking me to leave Laura earlier than expected. I only hope she understands and knows that I will be thinking of her the entire time I am away from her.

I have to talk to Mr. Ingalls as soon as possible. I am not sure if I will be able to see Laura before I go and I want her to know that Royal and I are leaving sooner than expected. I had told her about this trip, but that was when I thought we had another month left together. Luckily Mr. Ingalls comes to town every day for work. I will have to find him and let him know our new plans. I will tell him that something came up and we have to leave sooner than expected. Or should I simply say it is about Royal wanting to go through Iowa? Should I ask him about keeping Lady and the buggy or should I try and see Laura and ask her first? No, I'll ask Mr. Ingalls first. I don't want to get Laura's hopes up and then have Mr. Ingalls say no. It will be hard enough leaving her so soon, but it will be even harder to leave if she thought she would be able to have the buggy and Lady and it turns out she will not.

Oh, there is Mr. Ingalls heading into the blacksmith now.

"Mr. Ingalls."

"Almanzo, how are you?"

"Fine Sir. I don't know if I will be able to see Laura after school today so would you be able to relay a message for me?"

"Of course Almanzo. Is everything alright? You seem upset."

How could he tell?! I thought I had my emotions under control. I guess Mr. Ingalls really is good at understanding people.

"That is part of the message Mr. Ingalls. See Royal decided he wanted to leave for Minnesota early so we could drive through Iowa. He wants to leave by Sunday. I was not sure if I would be able to see Laura before we have to go but I wanted her to know what was going on. It does not sit right with me to be leaving so soon after….well…asking her to be my wife, but Royal insisted. He seemed sort of evasive about why he wanted to go through Iowa…."

Well he was. He almost seemed excited to go through Iowa. I wonder what is there that he wants to see so badly.

"I will let her know son. Don't worry."

"Thank you Sir. Tell her I will try to see her if I can before we go. I really do want to see her…."

"I understand."

Was that a twinkle in his eye? He does that to me so often. Although I suppose this time I can understand that twinkle. I REALLY do want to see Laura before I go. It will be too long without her otherwise!

"Mr. Ingalls, I have one other thing I want to ask you. Would it be alright if I lent Lady and the buggy to Laura while I am gone? I know it puts more of a burden on you and your family, and I would be willing to pay for her feed, but I would like Laura to have something of mine to keep me in her thoughts while I am away."

"Isn't that what the ring you gave her is for?"

There is that twinkle again! I feel myself blushing and I haven't blushed since I was 9!

"Yes Sir, but with all the buggy rides we took together I feel that this would be a better reminder of all the time we spent together. Those kinds of memories are happier and more significant to us both."

Should I tell him the other part? I suppose I should be as honest as possible. Hopefully that will having him saying yes.

"I also want her to remember why she said yes to me. I love her Mr. Ingalls and I just want her to remember that while I am away. The ring is a fine reminder, but being able to drive Lady, I feel, would be a more tangible way of remembering our time together and why she said yes to me. I also want her to not forget that I do love her and will be thinking about her while I am gone."

I was almost expecting that twinkle this time….

"I will be happy to take Lady and the buggy while you are gone. I am sure Laura will be most appreciative of having them as well. You must trust her a lot to let her drive that buggy."

"I trust Laura with my most prized possession, what is my horse and buggy after that?"

"Your most prized possession?"

Now I am not so sure about that twinkle….

"My heart Sir. I trust Laura will not break my heart. After that, what are a mere horse and buggy?"

"You will make Laura a fine husband Almanzo. A fine husband indeed."

"Thank you Sir. Please tell Laura my message if I don't get a chance to see her after school."

"I will Almanzo."

"Thank you again Mr. Ingalls."

Was I too honest with him? I guess one cannot be too honest with their future wife's parents. I am glad that he said yes to allowing Laura to keep Lady and the buggy while I am gone. I just hope it keeps me in her thoughts as often as I know she will be in mine.

Thoughts, critiques, questions, requests….please let me know. If you would like me to continue please let me know, otherwise I will leave it at this.