THE DOCTOR'S LADY II

Author's note:This is my very first attempt at ANY fan fiction. I don't really know what I'm doing as far as publishing. I own nothing. Just a fan of LHOTP.

October

Hiram Baker sat in his study on a Sunday afternoon. He'd attended Sunday services earlier in the day and turned down several invitations to supper. He had been looking forward to his day of rest for a long while now. He put down the book he was thumbing through and stood up, stretching. He decided to brew some coffee and on his way to his small kitchen, stopped abruptly as he caught sight of himself in his mirror. He was looking every bit of his 50 years. The dark circles under his eyes reminded him of the dozens of babies he'd birthed, the many friends he'd buried, and the many maladies he'd helped the folks in this town overcome. He looked into his own eyes and sighed heavily.

This was the life he'd chosen. He'd tried to quit once before...unsuccessfully. Being a country doctor was the only thing he knew. Being alone was the only thing he knew. He went into his kitchen, picking up a letter on the way. He put the coffee on the stove and opened the envelope. He read the letter again for the hundredth time. Kate Thurvald had written to him; it was the first time he'd heard anything from her since watching her leave town on the stage coach 6 years ago.

Dearest Hiram;

I hope this letter finds you, and finds you well. I think of you often. Auntie tells me that you continue to keep the people of Walnut Grove in good health.

I've completed my secondary schooling in Chicago. I'd be lying if I said that my feelings for you didn't influence me in my chosen path. I've taken up nursing and I absolutely love it! If I can be a fraction of the caregiver you are, Hiram, I'll be a wonderful nurse.

Auntie has sent numerous invitations to me to come for a visit. I hope to visit Walnut Grove once more after Christmastime.

Hiram, if you don't want to see me, I will completely understand. I won't knock on your door. The last thing I would ever want to do is cause you any pain. However, I would love to have the opportunity to talk with you, hear your stories and share mine.

Fondly,

Kate

Did he want to see her? More than anything in the whole world. He wanted to see her, touch her, smell her perfume, kiss her lips and hold her. But what was the use? Nothing had changed. He was still 25 years her senior. She had the whole world in front of her and he had a couple decades left-if he's lucky-in Walnut Grove.

He put the letter back in it's envelope, kissed her handwritten return address and put it on the bookshelf between his two largest leather bound medical journals.


February

The stage coach stopped in front of Oleson's Mercantile. Harriett and Nels Oleson bounded out the front doors to meet the emerging visitor. Kate Thurvald stepped out into the bright, crisp air and looked around the town. So many changes over the last 5 years! New buildings, a new school for the blind, her cousin Nellie had a restaurant and hotel named after her and the telephone wires! Her face broke into a wide grin. She embraced her aunt and uncle and listened as they both spoke at once filling her in on various goings on.

Willie ran out to greet her and picked up her carpet bags. The Olesons escorted her into their home and she took a look over her shoulder to the building with the door with the white peeling paint and the shingle reading "H. Baker M.D."

She didn't see the curtains move in the window on the upper floor. Hiram Baker had watched every stage coach arrive in Walnut Grove for 3 months. As soon as he saw Kate look back toward his office, he turned away with a start. Had she seen him? Oh, she looked beautiful, even after a long trip on the stage. How long was she staying? Could he bring himself to call on her? If he did call on her, could he do it in such a way that she wouldn't be able to tell that he was still desperately in love with her? Was she better off not seeing him at all? With a spring in his step and a smirk on his face, he gathered his things to go begin his rounds.


Three days. He waited for three days. That's how long it took for him to think of an excuse to go to Oleson's and pick up a few sundries. He walked up the steps and saw Kate standing in the corner visiting with Laura Ingalls.

"I cannot believe it's been 6 years!" Kate said while stroking Laura's long hair. "Why, you're practically a lady now!"

Both turned to look when Dr. Baker closed the door behind him. Laura's face brightened and Kate's smile faltered ever so slightly.

"Well! Kate, you remember Doc Baker, don't you?" Laura said, barely controlling her giggle.

"Kate..." said Hiram.

"Oh, Hiram!" Kate said. Her million watt smile returned to her face and she and the doctor approached each other. He extended his hand to shake and she reached up and gave him a warm embrace.

"See you two around!" called Laura as she walked out the door.

"How are you, Kate?" Hiram asked.

"I'm well, Hiram. How have you been?"

"Ah, well...the life of a small town doctor. Very glamorous."

They smiled at each other for several moments. "So...unseasonably mild weather we're having." Hiram began.

"Hiram,"

"Yes?"

"Do you really want to talk about the weather?"

"No. No I don't. I... I... I just don't know what to say."

"I know."

"Are you free this afternoon? Would you like to go for a ride?" He asked.

"Absolutely." She said with a smile.

He extended his right arm and she took it with her left hand. They smiled at each other as they walked towards the door.

"I'm going out, Auntie! Don't wait up for me!" Kate called.

As they left he mercantile, they could hear Harriet Oleson's voice calling out after them; neither understood anything she said.


They drove around for hours...stopping only for brief moments. The doctor told Kate many stories. He told her about when the town had Typhus. He told her about when he lost a patient and decided briefly that he'd be better suited for farming rather than doctoring. He told her about when Mr. Hanson died. He told her about the Brandywine convicts who had broken into the school for the blind, and the struggle which ensued, leading to their capture.

When he told her how they had knocked him unconscious, Kate reached up and stroked the small scar on his left temple. He reached up and took her hand in his.

"I'm so sorry, Kate. I haven't let you get a word in edgewise."

"I love hearing about your life, Hiram. I'm so glad that you're so open with me." She took her gloves off and cupped his face in her hands. "I've missed you so..."

He smiled and looked at her. He took her hands in his own and noticed her left hand. On her fourth finger was the chain link ring he had made for her so long ago. "You put this back on." He said.

"No... I never took it off." She replied.

"I... I don't know what to say." he stammered.

"You don't have to say anything, Hiram. Do you want to kiss me?"

"Oh, yes."

He reached up and took off his hat. He leaned in and slowly brought his lips to hers. She brought her arms up around his neck and kissed him back. Her lips were warm, her cheeks were cold. Against his better judgement he deepened the kiss. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her as close as he could in his buggy. His thoughts raged in his head. "You're fifty years old, man! What are you doing to yourself? What are you doing to her? This isn't right. This isn't fair!" All those thoughts quieted down when Kate sighed against his lips and touched his top lip with her tongue. Suddenly all he could think of was Kate and this moment, and her lips and her tongue and her breath...

After several minutes, Hiram pulled back. "Uh... I think I'd better take you back now."

He picked up the reigns and gave a click of his tongue urging the horse to pull his buggy forward. They didn't speak on the way back into town. Her right hand rested on his left thigh; a fact he was excruciatingly aware of.

Dr. Baker dropped Kate off at the mercantile. They exchanged pleasantries and he watched as she went inside. The wind had started to pick up and the temperature was dropping rapidly.

He returned to his home and went inside. Again, he stopped to look at himself in the mirror. His eyes were old and tired behind his wire rimmed glasses. His hair was showing just as much gray as the honey color of his youth. His skin was wrinkled from too much sun, wind, worry and laughter. "Ah, Hiram...a handsome man, you are not," he told himself.

He had a light supper alone and went to sit down in the parlor to read. He lit the lantern on the end table, stoked the fire and picked up a medical study. He'd barely read the first paragraph when there was a knock on his door. He knew that people didn't come to his door at this hour unless it was bad news.

He stood up and opened the door just as Kate was about to knock once more. "Kate! What on earth brings you by at this hour? Is everything alright?"

"No, not really. Would you invite me in, Hiram?"

"Of course. Please, come in."

He led her in and asked her to have a seat in the parlor. "Are you ill, Kate?"

"No. I just need something."

"Anything."

She paused for a moment. "You, Hiram. I need you."

He knelt down on the floor in front of her and took her hands in his. "Kate, look at me. We've been through this! You deserve so much in life, Kate. So much that I can't give you! What do you see in an old fool like me? I need glasses to see, have a broken down old body and am old enough to be your father. I can't grow old with you...I've already done that alone. You deserve a man who can give you children and be a grandfather when you become a grandmother. Kate..."

She placed her index finger over his lips to silence him mid-sentence. "Now, you listen to me Hiram Baker. Don't you dare call yourself an old fool. Why, you're the most intelligent, caring man I've ever met. You see yourself as 'old' but I think you're the sexiest man I've ever known."

Doc Baker blushed at this sentiment.

"Hiram, I left Walnut Grove six years ago. I've been courted by several men since that time."

He felt the blood rush to his face again although for a different reason this time.

"Kate..." He began.

"Wait, Hiram. Let me finish, please." She said. "I was courted by several men. All of them younger than you. I couldn't talk to any of them like I talk to you. I didn't get butterflies in my stomach with them like I do with you. I didn't love any of them like I love you."

"Kate, you're a young lady..."

"Tell me then. Tell me you don't love me. Tell me that our time together this afternoon meant absolutely nothing to you and you don't feel the same way about me that I feel about you. Look at me and tell me and I'll leave you be."

She leaned in just a little closer so they could gaze into each other's eyes.

"I... I can't. I love you more than I've ever loved anyone else in my ever loving life. This afternoon, I wanted to make love to you as if you were my wife." His voice was taught with emotion. His lower lip began to quiver and he continued, "I do love you, Kate. I do. God help me, I do."

She pulled his face to hers and placed her lips to his. He pulled her close to him so that they were both kneeling on the floor. He needed to kiss her like he needed air. Her hands were in his hair pulling his head closer. He had her body squeezed tightly against his own.

Somehow they went from a kneeling position to lying on the floor in front of the fire, although neither was aware when that happened. Kate was lying on her back and Hiram was supporting himself above her, kissing her neck. "Oh, Hiram...OH!" She groaned. He moved his left hand to cup her breast and moaned into her ear.

He stopped and looked down at her face. Her hair was disheveled, her lips were swollen and her cheeks were rosy pink. She had never looked more exquisite. His throat was dry and his voice shaking, "I must stop, Kate. I want you so badly..."

She could tell just how badly he wanted her. She wanted him too. She moved her right hand all the way down his back and pulled him firmly in between her legs. "Oh, God! Kate, please!"

"It's okay, Hiram... I want you to."

"But I want to marry you."

"I want to marry you too. Tomorrow. Or the next day. I don't care. You have my heart, my soul and...my body."

He stood up, reached out his hand and helped Kate to her feet. Then he picked her up in his arms, kissed her lightly and said, "I love you. Always," and carried her to his bed.

Her body molded perfectly to his. He knew exactly how to touch her; where to caress her. He took his time, making sure that when he finally claimed her as his own, she was riding high on the waves of ultimate pleasure.


He woke her well before the sunrise. "Kate," followed by a kiss on the neck. "Kate, my love," kiss.

She rolled over, stretching, her eyes still closed but a beautiful smile on her mouth.

"Do you want to get back to your Aunt and Uncle's place before they get up?" he asked.

"Do I want to? No. Should I? Yes." She replied.

"I'll pick you up at ten o'clock, then."

"Oh? What happens at ten o'clock?" she asked.

"That'll give me enough time ask Harriet and Nels for your hand, to round up Charles and Caroline Ingalls to be our witnesses and get Reverend Alden ready for our wedding. I'm going to spend the rest of my life showing you just how loved you are, Kate Thurvald."