The Rifleman
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Fan Fiction

The Margaret Years...

Chapter 10 - The Honeymoon
Written by Michelle Palmer
Lucas and Margaret sat in the back of the carriage holding hands and smiling into each other’s eyes as the driver worked the horses into gentle trot, driving them through the mud caused by the three days of rain. “You know something, Luke?” Margaret smiled as she looked into his eyes. “I don’t mind the rain so much anymore.”
Lucas smiled lovingly into her eyes as he brushed his fingertips against her cheek and pulled her a little closer to him. “You mean…you don’t want to curse it anymore?” he mumbled.
“Oh Luke…a lady doesn’t go around cursing things…” Margaret lowered her face.
Lucas lifted her face back up and smiled into her eyes. “Oh no? I watched you look at that rain, and if you had a rifle in your hand you would have tried to kill it.” Margaret laughed at the nonsense he spoke. “Admit it.”
“Speaking of your rifle…”
Lucas kissed her softly. His eyes sparkled as he answered her unfinished question. “Mr. Billings is keeping it for me. I told him I didn’t want it anywhere near me on our honeymoon.”
“That was hard for you.” It wasn’t a question. Margaret knew how Lucas felt about his rifle. Ever since the war, he’d carried his rifle around like it was a natural extension of his arm. The fact that Lucas left his rifle in town for her told her just how much he loved her. Margaret couldn’t put her thoughts into word, but her smile gave him the thanks he needed.
Margaret’s smile grew. She continued to talk to Lucas in a soft voice. “But Luke…now I…I LOVE the rain. I can’t imagine a more romantic thing happening than to be stranded in a town with you. It’s like…God planned it this way the whole time.”
“Mm hm…” Lucas kissed her neck. Without lifting up, he said, “And if it hadn’t rained, we would have been stuck at a reception for hours with our big families, and we would have gone home without a honeymoon. I would be going home to do chores. Instead…” Lucas kissed her neck again, which made Margaret breath a bit deeper. “I’m taking my new wife to a secluded place where there’s only the two of us.”
After the third kiss to her neck, Margaret lifted Lucas’ head from her shoulder. “Luke…” She nudged her head toward the driver.
“Margaret, now I believe the driver’s aware of…”
LUKE!” Margaret’s voice was a bit sharper this time.
Lucas laughed as he put his arm around her shoulders. “Alright, my love. I’ll behave myself…” Then with a boyish grin, he said, “But only until we get to the cottage.” Margaret giggled, but felt the blush as she took in the underlying meaning of his words. Lucas chuckled. “No reason for you to blush, my love.” He kissed her. “After all, we’ve a lot of love to share.”
In time, Margaret laid her head on Lucas’ shoulder and closed her eyes, allowing the bliss of the day to surround her. The cottage they would be staying at was about two hours from town. They had traveled for about an hour, mostly in silence, when Lucas whispered, “A penny for your thoughts?” He heard Margaret sign. Lucas pressed his lips to her forehead as her head continued to rest on his shoulder. “Or…maybe your thoughts are worth a lot more than that.”
“Luke…” Margaret lifted her eyes to his, but didn’t take her head from his shoulder. “Do you realize that you now belong to me? I mean…for the first time in our lives…we belong to each other. I won’t have to leave you at night or wait for you. You’re finally mine.”
“Haven’t I been all along?”
“Not really.” Margaret toyed with his string tie. “I mean…you belonged to your family. But after tonight, I’m your family. When we get home, we’ll live together in OUR home. We’ll visit our families, but from here on out, it’s US.” Margaret wrapped her arms around his neck. “Luke…Luke, I’ve dreamed of this day for so long!”
“Well now, if you don’t think you’ve had my heart all these years, than let me be the first to tell you, honey. Maybe I didn’t think much on marrying you when I was eight years old…or even when I was eighteen. I didn’t think much on marriage even when I went off to war, but as I rode off that day after kissing you goodbye, I knew that I loved you. Perhaps those years of being apart made our love stronger, because we knew that…” Lucas stopped. “Oh…this isn’t coming out right.” Lucas straightened up and looked down at her. “You see, some of my buddies in the war who had sweethearts at home lost them. In their absence, their sweethearts found someone else who could give them comfort and love. I used to feel sorry for them but now…”
Margaret nodded. “My Ma would tell me when I was crying from being so lonesome for you that being apart would test our love. She said that’s a sure way of knowing if our love was meant to be. Those girls…if they really, truly loved their men the way they thought, nothing would have stopped them from waiting. My love grew for you each day, Luke. I told you about Lariat Jones wanting to court me?” Lucas nodded. “Well, there was another. I’m not going to tell you who, because it doesn’t matter now…But he tried hard to win my heart. I didn’t give in, though. It was mentioned that you may not come back, but I believed in you. I never stopped believing in you.”
Lucas smiled. “And now…here we are. You are now Mrs. Lucas McCain.” Lucas bent his face down and kissed her softly. “And we’ll be together until death do us part.”
“Lucas…” Margaret’s eyes filled with tears. “Luke…I’m just so…so happy!”
“Oh, so am I.” Lucas smiled. “It’s not every man that gets to marry his best friend.”
“Am I? Am I your best friend?”
“You’ve always been.” Lucas chuckled. “Do you remember our first day of school? Who was the brave one and who was scared?” Margaret giggled. “My brothers told me such horror stories all the way into school. Abe was the worst! Oh if I had only told Pa, he could have gotten the lickin’ of his life! Now I wish I had.”
Lucas chuckled. “I remember standing there at the edge of the school yard and being so petrified.  There was a big monster inside who had a long sharp stick he beat you with if you did anything wrong.”
“Yeah. I remember.” Margaret laughed. “By the time the three of us got there, you were shaking so hard. I saw your three brothers laughing as they climbed the steps to the schoolhouse.” Margaret giggled. “Your face was so white...I thought you were about to keel over!”
“Mm hm.” Lucas nodded his head. His eyes widened as he looked into hers. “And even your reminding me that our teacher was in church every Sunday and he was always nice…even that didn’t appease me.”
“No.” Margaret shook her head as she giggled. “But I finally got you inside.”
“You sure did that alright.” Lucas turned in the carriage and took her hands in his. “You took my hand tight in yours. I was afraid you were going to laugh at me, but you never did. You said, ‘Luke, trust me.’ I just looked at you and you lowered those long, beautiful eyelashes of yours and looked up at me from underneath them. ‘Ya do trust me, don’t ya Luke?’”
Margaret laughed. “You’re telling me you noticed my ‘long, beautiful eyelashes’ when you were six?”
“No.” Lucas chuckled. “But now that I look back on it…”
“Well…” Margaret turned away from him and folded her arms. “Now that I look back on it…I’d say that scared little face was about the most handsome face I’d ever seen.” Then Margaret turned back around. “’Course…I thought that when I was six too.”
“But you said something else as you dragged me inside. Remember how you got me to the door, then I dug my feet in the floor and refused to move another inch? You told me we’d always stick together…that we’d always be…”
“Best friends.” Margaret leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “But two years later, I realized I wanted to be more than best friends. I wanted to marry you. My Mama and Papa…they told me it was just a phase I was going through, but I assured them I would always want to marry you.”
“And you did. Today, that dream came true, my love.” Lucas laid his hands on her cheeks and kissed her passionately. “From this day forward, I will hold you and take care of you.”
No more words were said as the newlyweds cuddled in the carriage.
The happy couple was very happy when the carriage finally pulled up next to a cottage. Lucas lifted his head and studied the cottage as he slowly stepped down.  “Well, it’s a bit too fancy, if you ask me, but I guess it will do.” Lucas jumped down and held a finger for Margaret to stay put. Quickly, he unloaded their baggage and the baskets of food from the back of the carriage and took them inside. Then he walked to the side of the carriage and lifted Margaret, still in her wedding dress, into his arms.
The driver in the carriage chuckled to himself as he watched the newly married couple disappear into the cottage.
The couple chuckled as Lucas set Margaret to the floor just inside the cottage. Margaret kissed him before allowing him to go find some matches to light the lantern. She went to look out the small window in the kitchen area. “Luke.”
“Hm?” Lucas mumbled as he searched through a drawer for the matches.
“The sky’s clearing now. The sun’s coming out.”
“Mm hm…” Lucas continued his desperate search.
Margaret turned and shook her head at her husband. “Did you hear me, Luke? The sun’s coming out.”
“Mm hm…”
“Why are you looking for matches?”
Lucas paused and looked up at her. “Because, my dear…no matter if it’s our wedding day or not…the sun still sets each day and I don’t want to fall and knock myself out on our wedding night.” Margaret chuckled at the mere thought. Lucas looked up at her and gave her an annoyed look. “I don’t think that’s too funny!” Margaret started laughing harder.
“I’m just picturing you getting up in the middle of the night and stumbling out here only to hear a loud crash and a…” Margaret broke out into laughter. “Oh Luke…to bring you back black and blue! Your family would think that…that…”
“Oh, ha ha!” Lucas rolled his eyes at his bride. “Aha!” He held up the matches and went to set them on the table. “My matches got soaked along with my cigars that were in my pocket. I spent all my money on…” Lucas stopped, realizing he was about to reveal too much information. “Er…I mean, I don’t have any cigars or matches now.”
“Oh…” Margaret gave him a pouty face as she rested a hand on his cheek.
“Mm…” Lucas wrapped an arm around her waist. “Come here, my darling.” He wrapped his arms securely around her and kissed her deeply. “4:30  in the afternoon…whatever shall we do?” He allowed his kiss to deepen as he tightened his arms around her. His lips left hers and trailed kisses across her cheek and down her neck. He sighed against her skin as he heard her breath catch in her throat.
“Eat…” Margaret lifted from him. “We should eat.”
“EAT?” Lucas groaned as he stared at her. Margaret picked up her suitcase and started toward the bedroom. “Where are you going now?”
“You just stay out here, my love. I’m going in to get into something a bit more uh…practical.” She grinned mischievously at him. “Then after supper…if you’re good…” She blushed.
“Mm hm…” Lucas nodded as he watched the door close.
He went to start a fire in the stove. Part of his ‘deal’ with Preston Woods was that they could treat the house as if it was his own. The whole thing didn’t come cheap. This wedding and honeymoon would set them back a bit, but Lucas was willing to make that sacrifice. Margaret deserved every bit of it! It had been a rather rough month for her.
“LUCAS! LUCAS!” Margaret’s cries came from the bedroom.
Lucas hurried inside to see Margaret, her wedding dress on the bed, and a fresh dress on, but not quite fully button, up against the door. Margaret pointed across the room at a creature slithering toward them. “What the…” Lucas stopped as he watched the snake come closer. “How did he get…”
He got his answer just a second later when they heard giggling coming from the window. Lucas hurried outside and around the house to see two boys around the age of twelve cackling at the prank they had just pulled off. Lucas reached down and grabbed them both by their collars. “Alright, boys…” Lucas grumbled as he walked them to the front door. “Margaret, get out here!”
It only took moments for Margaret to decent herself and appear on the porch. “You apologize to the lady.” The boys made no attempts as they tried to squirm from his grip. “NOW!”
“S…sorry, ma’am,” the red-headed boy mumbled.
The other boy made no attempt. Lucas shook him a bit as he continued to grasp his collar. “Well?”
“S…sorry.” The blond-haired boy lowered his head.
“Luke, let them go!” Margaret demanded as he continued to hold them by their collars. Lucas raised his eyebrows as he gave each boy another look. “Lucas McCain! Release them now!” Margaret ordered.
Lucas did as he was told, causing them both to fall to the ground. He folded his arms as he continued to glare at them. They were too scared to stand up. “Well?”
“Lucas, you’re scaring them! They’re just boys – not rebel soldiers!” Margaret stepped down from the porch, and lifted her dress as she bent down to look at the boys still sitting on the ground. “Why’d you do it?” she asked in a sweet voice.
“We was just funnin’!” one of the boys declared. “We’s just doing a…a…” The boy looked at the red headed boy. “What’s thet called, Fred?”
Lucas folded his arms. “A shivaree?” His voice barked.
“Oh…Yes sir…” The boy hung his head. “We’s heard Paw talking ‘bout it and thinkin’ it was funny so’s we…”
Fred spoke up then. “Don’t mean ya an’ yer missus no harm, mister! Our Paw tol’ us there would be no shivaree ta-day an’ we’s jest found thet there black snake an’…”
Margaret laughed as she slowly helped the boys to their feet and stood up herself. “No harm’s done,” Margaret declared. “You two boys run along now.” She shook a playful finger at them. “And don’t you be coming around here anymore!”
“Oh…no ma’am! Thank ya, ma’am!” Fred slowly moved away, not turning his back to Lucas for fear that Lucas would plant a stiff hand on his backside. The other boy did the same. “No ma’am!” The two boys waited to turn around until they were a safe distance from the big man with the mean look on his face. Then they turned and hurried off.
Margaret looked at Lucas and chuckled. “I don’t think it’s funny!” Lucas grumbled. “Them darn boys…deserve a thrashing for what they did!”
“Oh Luke…they meant no harm!” Margaret declared.
“No harm? Peeking in a window watching my wife undress…”
“The curtains were pulled, Luke! They weren’t peeking in the windows! I…” Margaret drew her arms around her husband’s neck. “Now…you get that snake out of the bedroom while I fix your supper.” She kissed him slowly. Lucas was filled with desire and pressed his lips stronger against hers as he deepened the kiss. Margaret broke it and shook her head slightly. “Go on now…”
Soon, Margaret had the food from the banquet warming on the stove. She pulled the chair out for Lucas to sit down and slowly began massaging his shoulders. Lucas closed his eyes, enjoying her hands on his shoulders. She was quiet…too quiet. “What are you thinking about?” Lucas mumbled as her hands continued gently rubbing his shoulders.
Margaret’s hands paused on his shoulders. She quickly turned and hurried back to the stove. Without answering Lucas’ question, she loaded two plates with food and brought them over to the table. She started to return to get some bread, but Lucas grabbed her wrist. “I said what are you thinking about?” He pulled her down onto his lap and kissed her softly.
“I guess I’m having trouble believing all this is real.” Margaret wrapped her arms around his neck as he pressed his cheek against her bosom. “It doesn’t feel real yet…” She suddenly stood up. “We must eat.”
They ate in silence. Margaret stared at Lucas throughout the meal with a strange look on her face. Finally, Lucas popped the last bite of food in his mouth and folded his hands, plopping his chin on top of them. He narrowed his eyes and stared at his beautiful wife. “I know I sprung this on you mighty quick-like, but I was trying to surprise you…” Some of the smile left his face as he lowered his eyes. “Perhaps I should have told you what I was planning yesterday and give you a chance to back out until we got back to Enid.”
“Oh no!” Margaret argued. “It was wonderful the way it all happened…I never imagined you had so much of a romantic spirit inside you, Lucas.” Margaret pressed a hand on his cheek. Her eyes smiled. “You’ve been holding out on me!”
Lucas chuckled. “Well, if you want the truth, my love…I’m afraid that’s about all the romantic notions I have in me. I used them all today.” He stood from the table and lifted his hand out to her. “Mrs. McCain…can I hold you in my arms?”
Margaret blushed as she stood up. Lucas didn’t immediately take her into his arms, but looked her up and down from head to toe. He brushed his fingertips against her cheek and smiled. “You are…so…beautiful,” he whispered breathlessly. He slowly rested his hands on her shoulders and stared into her eyes. “Margaret McCain, I…” Lucas swallowed and shook his head. He couldn’t speak the words he wanted to speak at that moment. He was suddenly overcome with emotion. Finally, he managed to choke out…”Thank you for marrying me today.”
It was Margaret who took a step toward Lucas. She drew her arms around him and pressed her lips to his. No more words were said as they shared a passionate kiss that lasted a long time. They were both gasping for air when their lips parted. Lucas allowed his hand to trail down her back. His other hand gently ran down the front of her until he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. Margaret wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him again as he carefully walked into the bedroom and kicked the door closed with his foot.
Slowly, he stood her back on the floor. His lips parted as he lowered his head to look down at her. “I Lucas….take you, Margaret…” He whispered these words as his hand trailed up and down her arm.
Margaret closed her eyes, enjoying the gentle trail of his hand. She stood back and ran her hands up his chest. Her fingers toyed with the top button of his shirt, but she didn’t attempt to unbutton it. Instead, her nervous eyes lifted up to stare into his. Again, they found the other’s lips and shared another passionate kiss. When they parted, Margaret’s lips were trembling. “And I Margaret…take you…Luke…” Tears filled her eyes. “Oh Luke…” She shook her head from side to side as a stream of tears fell from her eyes. “Luke…”
Lucas, suddenly concerned at her tears, took her face in her hands. “What is it?” He asked, concerned. “What’s wrong, honey?”
“Nothing. I just…” Margaret’s lips were shaking even harder now. Her tears increased. “I’ve wanted to marry you since I was eight years old. I’ve loved you…all these years…Through the war and through the year you left me…I never stopped loving you. I told everyone that…that someday I would marry you, yet until this very moment, I didn’t realize that…” Margaret threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Hold me, Luke…Hold me close! Kiss me…Love me…”
Lucas did as she asked. He tightened his arms around her and kissed her tears. “I won’t let you go…” Lucas lifted her face to his and looked into her eyes. “Oh, physically I have to leave you at times, but in my heart…I’ll always hold you tight, Margaret! Always!” They kissed again. As Margaret cried, their kisses became more passionate. Lucas slowly lowered his hands to the buttons on her dress and slowly began unbuttoning it. At the same time, Margaret’s shaky fingers began unbuttoning his shirt.
Lucas pulled away from her a bit as his trembling fingers unbuttoned the last button. He slowly slipped the dress from her shoulders and allowed it to fall to the floor. She watched his face as his eyes moved down her body and back up. Lucas slowly lifted a hand and rested it on her chest. “You ARE beautiful…” he mumbled.
Margaret pulled his shirt off and touched his bare chest with her hands. Her hands trembled as she slowly moved them up and down his bare skin. She enjoyed feeling his muscles move under her finger tips and his eyes closed as he enjoyed feeling her soft hands on his chest.
Suddenly, Lucas’ lips found hers and they pressed their bodies against each other. Lucas gently guided her down onto the bed as their kisses increased. He slowly laid down on the bed, still dressed from the waist down and Margaret still in her under things.
Suddenly, Margaret gasped. She sat up and pressed a hand against his chest. “Luke…I’m sorry.”
“Sorry? For what?” Lucas tried not to let the frustration show.
“I…I…” Margaret swallowed and lowered her head. Lucas cupped her chin and lifted her face to his. He searched her face as his eyes asked the silent question. “I just want you to…hold me. Can you hold me? Can you?”
Lucas smiled, relieved that she had asked such a request of him, and nodded. He lifted one of her legs and slipped off her shoes and stocking, then the other. Margaret pulled the blankets back and scooted under the covers. Lucas took off his own boots and socks, as well as his pants, and slipped under the covers beside her. He rolled on his side and took her into his arms. The feelings inside him were almost more than he could bare, but he wouldn’t push her. He would allow her time to adjust.
Lucas kissed her hair as her back pressed into his chest. He smoothed her hair with one hand while his other rested on her covered belly. “How’s this?” he whispered close to her ear.
“Thank you…” Margaret sighed. “Oh Luke…I’m sorry. It’s just that I still can’t believe this is real…that we’re really married.” Lucas said nothing, but continued to smooth her hair as he allowed her to lie in his arms. “I just need time…” Margaret paused when her voice broke. “…time to adjust. This is all like a dream to me still.”
In time, Margaret slowly turned in his arms so she could look into his face. Lucas laid his head on the pillow and smiled at her sweet beauty. “Are you angry?”
“For what?” Lucas asked. He really wasn’t angry. In fact, he surprisingly found this to be much more romantic than the wedding night he had been thinking of. He voiced his thoughts. “Honey, a marriage isn’t based on passion and love-making. It’s based on our love for each other that goes deeper than any physical expression of it, and companionship. Our making love will come in time…when you are ready.” He smiled as he pressed a kiss on her forehead. “We have our whole lives…We both need time to adjust…it’s been…quite a month.”
“I want our first time to be…special…” Margaret blushed and started to pull away from him. But Lucas held tight to her.
“No need to be embarrassed when talking to me about intimacy, honey. We’re man and wife now. Talking about your feelings is important.”
“I know we’re really man and wife, Luke…But…this time yesterday I thought our marriage was still weeks away. I was so disappointed. Then when I realized what you had planned, I was so happy. Now I’m…I’m just…Well, I suppose I want to just be held and accept that this is all real and not just some dream.”
Lucas lifted her face to his again and kissed her. “Then that’s what we’ll do, my love. I’ll just hold you in my arms and…sleep…” Lucas smiled in the darkness. “Eventually.”
Margaret lay still in his arms. Then suddenly, she let out a low groan. “It’s just…strange being in somebody else’s bed.” Margaret grumbled as she leaned her head against his bare chest.
Lucas chuckled. His chuckle grew deeper as his arms tightened around her. Then he started laughing. His body pressed hard against hers as his laughs increased. “What’s so funny?” Margaret suddenly asked.
Lucas chuckled. “Honey, Mr. Woods built this cottage for such occasions. Nobody lives here. He rents it out to visitors passing through who don’t wish to stay in the hotel. His maid comes out here and cleans…puts fresh sheets on the bed.” Lucas chuckled. “So you aren’t invading somebody else’s bed.”
Margaret giggled as she snuggled into his arms. It was only 7:30, but she wanted nothing more than to stay right there. “Well…just the same…I want to fall asleep in your arms.” She smiled out loud. “Luke…you remember how we used to fall asleep on the river bank?” Lucas mumbled something. “Well…I guess I just want tonight to be like that…where I just sleep all night long with your arms around me….”
Lucas hushed her and closed his eyes. Neither he nor Margaret fell asleep for a long time. But no more words were spoken as they just lay in bed, enjoying the feel of the other. Long after the sun went down, they fell asleep.
Margaret woke up the next morning to feel Lucas’ lips pressing against her cheek. She smiled as she turned onto her back and stretched long. “Good morning, my love,” Lucas mumbled as he propped his head up on his hand and stared down at her. “Did you sleep well?”
Margaret smiled up at him and nodded. “I slept very well. I dreamed you gave me my wedding and we got married.”
“Oh?” Lucas lifted an eyebrow. “That was just a dream?” Margaret just smiled wide. “Then I’m afraid, my dear, we are in for some explaining.” He bent down and kissed her nose.
“Oh? How’s that?” she asked.
“Well, you see…” Lucas pulled back the covers and kissed her almost-bare shoulder. “Seems that we slept together last night.”
“Oh?” Margaret smiled as his lips went lower and teased the top edge of her slip. “Then I suppose it wasn’t a dream.” Lucas lifted his head and kissed her passionately. Margaret, still laying on her back, put her arms around him and ran her hands along his back. She closed her eyes as they continued to kiss. “Luke…Luke…” Margaret breathed as he again kissed her neck and sighed.
Lucas lifted up from her and stared into her eyes. There, he saw a deep desire.   “Are you sure?” Lucas whispered.
Margaret nodded as she pulled Lucas towards her. She breathed “yes” as her hands went lower on his back.
They were both overcome with desire as they held each other close. Their kisses deepened. In time, their hands began caressing the other. Their bodies pressed against each other, and their desire for the other grew.
They made love for the first time that morning. Margaret gave herself to Lucas completely as the sun was just beginning to rise.
Bright rays of sunlight spilled through the bedroom window as Lucas lay down beside her, knowing their life together had just begun.. They fell asleep in each other’s arms.
The next time Lucas woke up, he saw the empty place beside him. He could smell breakfast cooking and smiled at the memories of their early morning love-making. Lucas slowly stood from the bed and slipped into his jeans that Margaret had so lovingly laid on the end of the bed for him. Opening the door to the bedroom, he stood in the doorway as he buttoned his jeans and stared at the woman cooking in her robe.
Lucas slowly walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. “Ohhhhhh….” He sighed heavily as he pressed a kiss to her cheek. “You don’t know how long I’ve been dreaming of this…”
Margaret turned her head to the side. “You’ve been dreaming?”
“Mm hm…” Lucas nodded his head. “As hard as it is for you to believe, Mrs. McCain…Men dream too. I’ve wanted you cooking my breakfast for me every morning for a long time.”
“Oh?” Margaret flipped a pancake. “Is that all I’m good for?” Margaret poured coffee in a cup and handed it to him.
“Oh…now my dear, I think you know the answer to that question if you think back to uh…earlier…this morning.” Lucas didn’t miss the blush on his bride’s face. He chuckled. “Yes. I think you DO recall that event.”
“Lucas, do you know how late it is?” Margaret turned with a plate full of pancakes in her hand. “Why, it’s nearly ten o’clock in the morning…and here I am in my robe…” She put a hand to her mouth. “Oh my…and you don’t have a shirt on.”
Lucas lifted an eyebrow. “Is that going to be a problem?” Margaret blushed. “And about the getting up so late…well, I suppose I needed a nap after you got done with me this morning!”
Margaret’s blush deepened. “My blushing bride…” He mumbled as he winked at her. He took the plate of pancakes from her and set them on the counter. “Now…come here so I can give you something to blush about.” Lucas’ mouth covered hers and his arms went around her. Margaret responded to his kiss by wrapping her arms around him and returning a kiss of her own. In time, his lips left hers and traveled down her throat to the lining of her robe. She giggled as he pushed the neckline of her robe down and kissed lower.
“Lucas!” Margaret lifted his face. But Lucas wasn’t through yet. His lips found hers again and kissed her quite passionately. Margaret sighed in his arms as she pulled away from him just a bit. When she caught her breath, she declared, “Well…if you plan on greeting me without a shirt on every morning, that just may be YOUR morning greeting!”
“Duly noted,” Lucas declared with a smile. “I’ll…keep that in mind.”
After they sat down at the table, Lucas managed to say a prayer. As they started eating, Margaret noticed the matches still sitting beside the lantern. She giggled, remembering their conversation from yesterday. “What’s so funny now?”
“Not a match was used last night! It looks like you went through all that trouble for nothing.”
“Hm…I was busy with more important things,” Lucas grinned. “Perhaps I’ll use them tonight.”
“You may be busy tonight as well,” Margaret bluntly replied. Margaret took a few bites of her pancakes. With a mischievous gleam in her eye, she lifted her head. “Luke…is the house ready?”
“The house?” Lucas asked.
“Our house?”
“Oh…” Lucas pushed a piece of pancake around on his plate. “Well…not quite, my dear.”
“Oh.” Margaret lifted an eyebrow. “Well, you told me it would be ready by our wedding. Here it is the day after and…” She shook her head. “Your bride has no place to live.”
Lucas saw the challenge in her eyes.  He decided to take her up on that challenge. “You can move back home with your mother,” he retorted.
“Lucas McCain!” Margaret gasped.
“You asked for that, my dear.” Lucas sat back in his chair and lifted his hands above his shoulders. “Well honey, it’s not my fault! It’s not my fault that my bride to be went against my advice and got herself in a mess…Then I had to go rushing to her aid like a knight in shining armor and rescue her from the wicked aunt who had her locked up in a dungeon!” Lucas sat back in his chair. “Now…you tell me when I had time to finish the house???”
Margaret smiled at him and slowly stood up. “Lucas…” She sat down on his lap and bent her face down to his. “Let’s kiss and make up.”
Lucas smiled as her lips found his and they again shared a passionate embrace that only a husband and wife are allowed to share. Finally, Margaret straightened up. Her hair fell around her face as she ran a hand down his cheek. Then she stood up and took his plate. “What should we do with all our free time today, Luke?”
“Well…we could walk down to the lake,” Lucas suggested. “Go fishing.”
Margaret turned from the sink. “What will I do?”
“Well…you could uh…” Lucas nodded his head toward a bookcase that held a few books. “You could read a book.”
“I can’t fish?”
“Fish?” Lucas folded his arms and cocked his head to one side. “You’re a lady, Margaret McCain! You can’t fish!”
“Oh?” Margaret started rolling up her sleeves. “I used to go fishing with you when we were kids.”
“Yes. That’s when we were kids!” Lucas declared. “Honey, we’re not kids anymore.”
“No. But I still want to go fishing.”
Lucas rolled his eyes. “Alright.” He started toward the door.
“Where are you going?”
“To go rig a couple fishing poles!” Lucas answered matter-of-factly.
“Oh no you don’t, Lucas McCain!” Margaret shook a finger at him. She lifted a dish towel from the counter, turned, and threw it at him. “I’ll wash…you dry.”
Lucas looked at the dishtowel as if it were some foreign object. “Dishes, my dear…are a woman’s job!”
“Oh?” Margaret lifted an eyebrow as she planted a stubborn fist on her hip. “You find that in the Bible, and I’ll let you off the hook.”
“Find it…” This time, Lucas planted a fist on HIS hip. “FIND IT IN THE BIBLE???” Margaret nodded. “Honey, that’s not in the Bible!”
“The sooner you get to drying, dear, the sooner we can go fishing.” Margaret smiled as Lucas groaned. As she handed him the first dish, she patted his shoulder. “Oh now dear, don’t look so worried…I won’t make you wash dishes every day…just once in a while so you won’t forget how it’s done.” Lucas continued to stare at her. “Besides…you don’t have any chores, and I don’t think it’s fair for me to work while you get to go outside and play.”
“Well…” Lucas shrugged his shoulder as he began doing as he was told. “Like the preacher said…for better or worse…”
“Very funny!” Margaret said as she put her hand in the water and flipped water at him.
The two chatted while they washed the dishes. After the dishes were done, Margaret went to dress while Lucas went to get the fishing poles ready. Then they left, hand-in-hand, down to the lake.
When they got there, they discovered they weren’t the only ones who were enjoying the nice day. “Well…well…well…” Lucas said under his breath. “It’s the two rats from yesterday.”
Margaret lifted her head and looked up at Lucas. “Luke, you be nice!” Lucas started forward. Margaret put a restraining hand on him. “Actually, I think it would be a good idea if you just stay here!” she declared.
Lucas watched as Margaret stepped forward. “Hello,” she said as gently as she could. The two boys looked up from fishing. Upon seeing her, they immediately searched out Lucas. “Now, don’t you worry. I gave my husband a very stern talking to!” Margaret declared then. “He won’t be mean. You have my word.” Margaret turned and looked at Lucas. “Isn’t that right, Luke?”
Lucas grunted, but said nothing.
“Now let’s see….” Margaret put a finger to her mouth. “You are Fred, right?” The red headed boy smiled as he nodded his head. Margaret pointed to the other boy. “I don’t think I’ve heard your name?”
“It’s Frank, ma’am,” the boy answered as he continued to stare at Lucas. “We’s jest fishin’, but…”
Margaret smiled. “Well…I was just coming to do the same thing!”
“YOU fish?” Fred asked suddenly.
Lucas laughed at that. Margaret shot him a warning look then turned back to the boys. “There’s nothing wrong with a woman fishing!” Margaret looked sideways at Lucas, daring him to say anything. “I tell you what…if you don’t mind, we’ll join you and see who can catch the most.”
The boys looked at each other and shrugged. Finally, they nodded their heads. Lucas stood back, a bit irritated that his wife was inviting a couple of kids on their honeymoon outing. Margaret turned and walked over to him. “And I promise you that this big ol’ brute won’t be a bit of trouble!” Margaret turned and looked at him, her eyebrows lifted. “Isn’t that right, Luke?”
Lucas grunted again. Margaret tugged him toward the bank of the lake. The boys sat down and started fishing. Lucas figured she would sit down beside him, but she chose to go on down the bank a ways. He watched her pull something from her pocket, put it on her hook, then cast the line into the water. The boys chuckled as they watched Margaret sit patiently on the bank. “Sir…”
“What?” Lucas asked a little grufly.
“Oh…uh…” Frank looked toward his brother. “Yer wife really know how ta fish?”
“She’s fished before,” Lucas answered. “Now, don’t you kids hackle her about not catching anything. After all, a woman has her pride.”
Suddenly, Margaret stood up and pulled on her line. “I got one, Luke!” Lucas jumped up and hurried over to her. “I got one!” Lucas’ eyes grew big when he saw the good-sized trout. Margaret jumped up and down as she watched Lucas stick it on the string and put him in shallow water so he wouldn’t spoil.
“Beginner’s luck,” Lucas grumbled.
“Beginner’s…” Margaret lifted her chin and humphed. “How can it be beginner’s luck when I’ve been…”
“Oh, just go back to your fishing!” Lucas grumbled as he went back to his.
The foursome fished for four hours. It was mid-afternoon when Lucas finally threw up his hands and declared it the worst fishing trip he’d ever been on. Margaret smiled as she watched Lucas pick up the line of fish. She had caught five very good sized trout. Frank folded his arms and shook his head. “Gee, Mrs. McCain, what did you use for bait?”
Margaret patted her pocket. “It’s my own secret weapon.”
“I thought I was safe.” Lucas turned toward the boys. “This woman has been using that ‘secret bait’ since she was a kid. I figured I was safe being out here, but dog-gone if she ain’t the one!” Lucas took a step toward her. “But now that we’re married, I’ll find out what the secret is!”
They started back towards the cottage. “Are you two brothers?” Margaret asked then.
“Oh, yes ma’am!” Frank answered. “We’s twins!”
“Twins?” Lucas and Margaret looked at each other. “You look nothing alike!”
“I know.”
“Say, you two boys able to stay for supper?” Margaret asked then. “I’ll fry up this mess of fish and put some fried potatoes with it. I believe I saw some potatoes out back, Luke.”
Suddenly, a familiar voice sounded from behind them. “Frank and Fred Billings! You get…” Mr. Billings stopped when he saw Lucas and Margaret. “Well…”
“Mr. Billings! I didn’t know you lived around here,” Lucas declared as he shook his new friend’s hand.
“I sure do. My wife and I have a spread about a mile from here. The boys told me what they did last night. I’m sorry.”
“No harm done,” Margaret quickly answered before Lucas could. “Boys will be boys.” Margaret lifted an eyebrow at her husband before turning back to the boys. “I was just inviting the boys to the cottage for supper. You and Mrs. Billings are welcome to come as well.” Margaret heard Lucas’ protesting breath beside her and gently tapped her elbow in his side as a warning.
Mr. Billings looked from Margaret to Lucas. “You sure we wouldn’t be intruding? I mean, the wedding being yesterday and all…”
“We’d love to have you.” Margaret smiled. “Wouldn’t we, Lucas?”
“Oh of course.” Lucas met Mr. Billings’ eyes. “Providing they don’t wear out their welcome.”
Margaret gasped at her husband’s remark, but Mr. Billings cackled, finding something very funny about his remark. “I understand!”
“I don’t,” Fred declared as he looked at Margaret who was blushing.
“You will,” Mr. Billings answered. “Some day.” Mr. Billings turned toward his sons. “Fred, you run on home and fetch your Mama. Frank, you take those fish and go work on cleaning them. I…believe Mr. Woods keeps a board around back for such occasions. Then you be fetching the vegetable Mrs. McCain will need from the root cellar.” Margaret and Lucas looked toward him with a question. “Mr. Woods keeps the place well supplied.”
Lucas took Margaret’s hand as they walked back toward the cottage. Mr. Billings walked beside Lucas.  “You…sure we’re not intruding?”
Margaret smiled sweetly up at her husband, indicating for him to answer. Lucas smiled down at her. “My wife’s always been very neighborly. She loves having people around.” Lucas smiled down at her and squeezed her hand. “Of course you’re welcome.”
By the time Margaret had the skillet hot and the breading ready for the fish, Frank had the fish clean. She thanked Frank sweetly and went to work on frying the fish. Lucas and Jason Billings played a game of checkers. Fred was soon back with his mother, who had just taken a freshly baked apple pie from the oven. She brought it along, declaring she was happy to have good people to share it with. The boys were sent outside to play until supper time and ordered not to get into mischief. Jason assured his wife that those two devils could get into trouble anywhere.
The ladies finally had food on the table. The boys were called in, and the group joined hands to pray. As they began eating, Margaret explained that she and Lucas both had rather large families and always enjoyed having company with their meals. Lucas nodded in agreement. He didn’t know what he and Margaret would do with all those quiet evenings with just the two of them for her to cook for.
Matilda served her apple pie. As the adults chatted over coffee, the boys washed the dishes. This was a task the boys both complained about profusely, but in the end their Pa declared there was a barn just behind the house, and he happened to know that a good whipping would straighten them both out. The boys grumbled a bit, but agreed to do the dishes. The adults sat out on the porch and chatted comfortably.
Lucas kept his wife’s hand in his as they continued to talk. Matilda and Jason told Lucas and Margaret about their wedding and the surprise birth of twins that had occurred after several miscarriages. The boys came out to announce everything was clean, but their mother went to inspect the kitchen to make sure everything was right. As the boys went to look for bullfrogs down by the pond, the families continued to chat, watching the sun slowly sink behind the trees.
Finally, darkness entered the land. Jason stood up and thanked Margaret for the fine supper and coffee, but declared that they had to be on their way home. Margaret declared that they would be at church Sunday. Jason announced they didn’t normally go to church, since it was a two hours ride away, but he reckoned they just may try to make it on Sunday so they could see the McCain’s off. Margaret nodded, saying that would be just fine, then she and Lucas stood on the porch and waved goodbye to the family as they walked from the yard and started down the road. Lucas put his arm around Margaret’s shoulder as they continued waving.
“It’s been quite a day,” Margaret declared as she put her head on her husband’s shoulder. Lucas nodded. “I’ll miss them when we leave.”
“Well, I have a hankering that you’ll see them again really soon.” Margaret lifted her eyes to his. “We’ll be going over to their house tomorrow night.”
“Oh?” Margaret folded her arms. “I had a feeling you didn’t much appreciate my inviting them over here tonight.”
“Well…” Lucas lifted his eyebrows. “They’re gone now. I have you all to myself.” Lucas smiled down at her smiled. “Besides, I saw how happy having company made you tonight. I want you to be happy.” Lucas was rewarded with a big smile.
Being quite tired, Lucas suggested they turn in for the night. As they prepared for bed, they discussed the Billings family. Margaret stated that she wouldn’t mind if they had a pair of boys like they had, and Lucas said he hoped his sons would know better than to throw a snake in a bedroom of a couple who were on their honeymoon. Margaret chuckled as she put her nightgown over her head. “Seems to me I remember a boy who was more mischievous then those two seem to be.”
Lucas shook his head as he held the covers up for Margaret to crawl under. She laid down and cuddled up close to him. “Can’t imagine who that could be,” he stated as he kissed her cheek.
“Well, in a few years I’ll probably be saying ‘Like father, like son.’”
Lucas tickled her, which sent Margaret in a fit of laughter. Lucas laughed with her as he pinned her arms down on the pillow and stared into her eyes. “So…there’s only one more question I have for you tonight, Mrs. McCain.”
Margaret’s eyes sparkled as she waited to hear what his question was. He slowly lowered his face toward hers and whispered, “What’s the secret bait?”
“Oh no you don’t!” Margaret declared as she struggled against his hands. But Lucas smiled mischievously as he covered her face in kisses and trailed kisses down her throat. “Lucas…” Margaret whispered softly as his kisses intensified.
“You gonna tell me?” Lucas mumbled his lips against the skin on her neck.
Lucas groaned as he lifted from her. His eyes grew wide before he went in for the kill. “Then I’ll have to tickle you some more!”
Margaret’s laughter mixed with his and sounded throughout the cottage. But it soon grew quiet as the couple laid still in each other’s arms.
Saturday morning, Margaret woke up to an empty bed. She could smell coffee and heard noises coming from the other room. Margaret sniffed the air and gasped when she smelled something burning. But as she threw the covers back to go investigate, the door to the bedroom opened. “Don’t get up!” Lucas demanded as he hurried over to the bed. “Everything’s okay. Just a…small…kitchen mishap.” Lucas pulled the covers back over her and laid her down. After kissing her, he said, “I’ll have your breakfast ready in a minute.”
Margaret sat up in bed, propping the pillows behind her back. She tried to decide what that strange smell was. Lucas hurried in with a cup of coffee. He handed it to her then gasped and hurried from the room. Margaret puzzled over what was going on in the kitchen, but thought it would be better not to know. “Ow!” Lucas shouted. She heard him curse under his breath. Another bang sounded, followed by another curse.
“Luke? Everything alright?” Margaret couldn’t keep the smile from her voice.
“Fine.” Lucas finally appeared in the doorway.  “Perhaps this will show you how much I really need you.” He sat the tray on her lap and smiled sheepishly. Margaret raised her eyebrow at the contents on her plate and slowly lifted her head. “Don’t ever leave me, honey.”
“What is it?”
“Well…” Lucas sighed. “You see…it started out to be an…” Lucas swallowed. “…omelet.”
Margaret lifted a bit of the blob on her plate with her fork to study its contents. “I see.” She pressed her lips together to keep from laughing. “Uh…Lucas, the thought is wonderful of course…but would you mind so much if I started over?”
“Don’t you want to taste it?” Lucas lifted an eyebrow as he smiled at her.
Margaret sat the tray down as she stood from the bed. “Honey, you are good at many things.” Margaret went to get a dress. “But cooking isn’t one of them.”
“Oh.” Lucas lifted the tray. “Well…to tell you the truth, I was sort of…hoping…you’d let me off the hook of eating my own cooking.”
Margaret thought she WAS going to be sick when she saw the mess the kitchen was in. She turned and looked at Lucas, telling him he would never be allowed so set foot in her kitchen! It would take her all morning to clean the mess he had managed to make in thirty minutes. Lucas figured as much and announced he’d go fetch more water so they could clean up the mess he had made.
After breakfast, Margaret went to work on the mess after sending Lucas on over to the Billings to ask for more soap. She would need more to clean the floors. Lucas announced Mr. Woods had a maid that would come clean the cottage the following day, and Margaret assured Lucas that no one would come and find Margaret McCain leaving behind a mess.
By the time lunch came along, Lucas was back with the soap. Margaret commented that she wasn’t aware that it took three hours to walk a mile and fetch a bit of soap. Lucas admitted that he may have gotten to talking just a bit. Margaret nodded her head and ordered him out of the house.
That afternoon, the couple lingered in the house kissing and cuddling a bit. By the time it was time to make the trek to their neighbor’s house, Lucas was about ready to call the whole thing off, deciding he’d rather “turn in” early with his new wife then go visiting, but Margaret assured him they’d get home in plenty of time to “turn in” early.
They had a wonderful visit. Lucas anxiously announced at eight o’clock that they simply HAD to get back to the cottage. He and Margaret would be leaving the next day for town, and they had a lot of packing to do.
Not to Margaret’s surprise, she did most of the packing since Lucas’ idea of packing was throwing things in the bags. Margaret declared everything had to be folded a certain way. She left Lucas’ Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes out, as well as the dress she would need the next day. She hated the fact that there was no proper tub to take a bath in. Lucas was finally able to find a sort of a tub in the barn, though it looked more like a big barrel then a tub. He cleaned it really good and lugged water up from the creek, warming it before filling it. Margaret blushed as he took her hand and led her into the bedroom.
Margaret waited until Lucas had left the room, then undressed and stepped into the warm water, sinking down into the tub. She was just finishing up when Lucas knocked on the door and asked if he could come in. She gave him permission, only if he promised to behave himself. Lucas came in carrying fresh towels and held one open for her to step into. Margaret smiled at the sweet gesture and stood from the tub.
She hurried across the room after Lucas finally allowed her to pass him and dried herself off. After quickly sliding a nightgown over her head, she left the room with a blush, but not before she saw her husband step into the tub.
Margaret came in some time later and found Lucas beginning to empty the tub. She sat down in front of the mirror and began brushing her hair. Lucas seemed to hurry with his task. Finally satisfied all was in order for the following morning, Lucas readied the house for the night and closed the door to the bedroom. He slipped up behind Margaret and laid his hands on her shoulders as he stared at her in the mirror. Slowly, Margaret sat the hairbrush down. “I wish I could have washed my hair.”
“You just washed it three days ago,” Lucas reminded her with a smile.

“A woman likes to have clean hair when she goes to church.” Lucas squeezed her shoulders and smiled at her. “Well…I…” Her eyes locked with his. Slowly, she turned and looked up at him. “I guess you love me just the way I am.”
Lucas didn’t say a word. Instead, he took her hands and lifted her from the chair. Lucas gently rubbed his hand against her cheek as he stared into her face. His other hand rested on her other cheek. He lowered his head to hers and kissed her softly. “Don’t change a thing, my love.” He softly stoked her cheeks. “Not a thing…not ever…You are so…” Lucas kissed her softly. “…beautiful.”
She saw the desire in his eyes, and suddenly her own heart was filled with that same desire. Lucas continued to stare into her eyes as he lowered his hands and lifted her gown up over her head. As she stood in front of him in the light, Lucas looked her up and down, his eyes expressing that he enjoyed what he saw. “Don’t ever…change.” Lucas spoke in a whisper as the adam’s apple in his throat bobbed up and down. He reached out a hand to touch her soft skin.
Margaret closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of his hands on her. In time, he undressed as Margaret lowered herself to sit on the side of the bed.
Lucas lowered himself down on the bed beside her and again lifted a hand to her cheek. They sat there just staring at each other. Then suddenly, they were in an embrace as their lips found each others’ and they began caressing. Slowly, Lucas laid her on the bed, but his lips never left hers. They were soon making love for the second time. Tonight was better than the first, as they once again expressed the love they had for each other.
 “Lucas…Lucas…” Margaret breathed as his kisses and caresses covered her. Lucas answered her by saying her name. Passion raced through them. It was a long time later…the wee hours of the morning…before they finally fell asleep, totally spent, in each other’s arms.
“Luke…Luke…” Margaret called from the doorway of the bedroom the next morning.
Lucas mumbled as he turned over and buried his face in the pillow. Margaret shook her head and walked over to the bed. She pulled the covers off of him, forgetting he had no clothes on. She quickly threw the covers back over him. “Now Lucas McCain, we’ve got to leave for church in one hour! You get out of that bed!”
“Mmmm…” Lucas grumbled again as he pulled the covers tighter over his body. “Margaret, this is the last day of our honeymoon. You tuckered me out last night, and I really need some sleep.”
“That works both ways!” Margaret folded her arms. “Now, are you going to get up and get dressed for church or…” Margaret turned and saw the pitcher of water sitting in the basin. “Or am I going to have to wake you up?”
Lucas mumbled something. Margaret had all she could take of his noncompliant attitude. She hurried to the basin and picked up the pitcher, dumping the entire contents over his head. That got her husband to moving, but it caused more blushing on her part when he suddenly stood up in front of her without a stitch of clothing on. “Margaret Ann Gibbs McCain!” Lucas hollered as he clinched his fists to his side. His eyes were wide with a hint of irritation in them. “I’m going to spank you!” Lucas declared.
Margaret gasped and hurried from the room, laughing hysterically. “Lucas McCain, you don’t have a stitch of clothing on yourself!” She declared as he started to chase her around the table. “Now…” She stopped and pointed a finger toward the bedroom and stomped her foot. “You get in there and get your clothes on!”
Lucas stopped and looked down. He felt a bit bashful himself, but slowly straightened up and grinned at his wife. “Well now…that serves you right! You shouldn’t have dumped water on me!” Lucas declared from one side of the table.
Margaret let out a cry as he rushed around the table. She hurried to the other side of the table. “You should have gotten up when I told you to!” Margaret declared as she stared into his eyes.
“Mm…” Lucas nodded his head slightly. “Well then…looks like you’ve a bed to change.” Lucas reached out and grabbed her. Holding her by the middle, he planted three playful slaps on her backside. Margaret let out a mock cry. Lucas finally released her. He put his hands on his sides and nodded his head. “Now, let that be a lesson to you! I wear the pants in my family!”
Margaret blushed as she allowed herself to look him up and down. She found herself giggling. “Right now, you’re not wearing ANY pants!” Lucas turned and hurried into the bedroom.
Margaret turned back to preparing breakfast. She didn’t say another word until Lucas had finished saying the blessing. “You best hurry if you’re going to get those bed sheets changed, Luke.”
“I get those bed sheets changed?!” Lucas’ voice boomed. “Now, you see here…woman!” He stopped and snapped his fingers. “Wait just a darn minute! The maid will come and clean up the cottage this afternoon, which means I’m off the hook!”
“Appears  so.” Margaret took a sip of her coffee. “And uh…are you going to explain how the water got all over the sheets?”
“Uh…” Lucas took another bite of his pancakes. “I reckon I’ll just take care of the sheets after breakfast.”
As Lucas was finishing up his chore, he heard a wagon approaching. He smiled as he went to the door and opened it. The driver who had dropped them off on Friday afternoon was there to drive them to town. “Margaret, our rides’ here,” Lucas called as he started loading their bags onto the back of the carriage. Margaret didn’t appear right away, so Lucas hurried back inside. There, he found Margaret washing off the counters and table. “Honey, we have to go.”
“I just want to leave everything as clean as we found it.” Margaret hurried into the bedroom to inspect and let out a gasp when she saw the bed. “Lucas McCain!”
“We’ve no time, honey. We’ll be late.” Lucas firmly took her arm and led her out the door. Margaret gave him quite the tongue lashing, commenting that it amazed her a man who lived on his own didn’t know how to do a simple chore like making the bed. Margaret grew quiet then, but let out a gasp.  “Oh Luke…I can’t wait to see Grandma Bertha! I do hope she’s okay!”
“I’m sure she’s fine, dear,” Lucas assured his wife as he patted her hand.
“I’ll always remember this little cottage.” Margaret turned in the seat and took one last, long look at it.
“Me too. It’s the place where we first…” Lucas felt and elbow in his gut. “Oof!” He gave Margaret an annoyed look. “What’s wrong?”

“I know what you were going to say!” Margaret moved her eyes toward the driver in the front.
“Oh? Well then why don’t you tell me?” Margaret’s eyes widened and a blush covered her face. “For your information, Mrs. McCain, I was going to say it was the place where we first lived as husband and wife!”
“Really?” Margaret asked.
“Well…I guess you’ll never know!” Lucas chuckled. Soon the wagon pulled up beside the church. Margaret jumped down from the wagon and ran into the waiting arms of her grandmother. “Oh, Grandma!” Margaret cried. “Grandma, how are you?”
“Fine…fine…” Grandma Bertha pushed Margaret away and stared into her face. “Blushing bride….you are…oh, I’m proud!” She kissed Margaret cheek, then the three of them made their way into the church.
That afternoon, Lucas treated Margaret and Grandma Bertha to dinner at the hotel. Lucas then bummed a cigar off of Jason Billings and sat outside smoking on the cigar while Margaret convinced her grandmother to lay down for a nap. Margaret joined Lucas on the porch later that afternoon. “How’s Grandma?”
Margaret smiled as he put his arm around her. “She’s no worse than when we got here, but I think she’s ready to get home.”
 “So am I!” Lucas assured her. He kissed her. “I never would have guessed it…”
“Guessed what?”
Lucas shook his head and tipped his hat way back on his head. “Well, you see, Mrs. McCain…I made this here trip when I heard there was a lady who needed rescuing. Now, when I left Enid, I had no intention on bringing back a wife.”
“Oh?” Margaret straightened up. “Regrets?”
“None whatsoever!” Lucas answered. “I think I’ll keep you around…for a little while.” Margaret smiled. “You are a GOOD cook!”
“Lucas!” Margaret giggled before settling back down. She cuddled her head in the crook of his arm and sighed. “We are leaving tomorrow?”
“Mm,” Lucas nodded. “We’ll leave at first light, honey. I’ll see about getting an early breakfast sent up to…” Lucas grinned again. “…our room.”
“We’re going home?”
Lucas smiled. “We’re going home.”
That night, Margaret stayed in her Grandma’s room, the room she and her grandmother had shared when she first arrived in Indian Bend, until her grandmother fell asleep. Then she closed the door and went next door to join her husband. Lucas was already in bed and was reading the paper. Margaret slipped out of her dress and under things then dressed for bed. Lucas was so intent on the article he was reading that he never noticed. “Honey, listen to this…”
Margaret sat down at the mirror and began brushing her hair as she listened.
Indian Bend received a total of six inches of rain over the three days of rainfall, but all this rain was not in vain. A couple traveling to Enid, Oklahoma to get married were forced to stop when the rain came in. Lucas McCain and Margaret Gibbs were married at the Indian Bend Community Church on their previously-set wedding day. Witnesses report they had never seen a happier or more beautiful bride.
Margaret smiled as she listened. “What about that?” Lucas exclaimed excitedly.
“Well…they always exaggerate in the paper.”
“Exaggerate?” Lucas looked toward her. “What do you mean exaggerate? They are absolutely right!”
“Well, you’re prejudiced, Luke.” Margaret got under the covers and blew out the lantern. She snuggled into her husband’s arms.
“What about that…” Lucas said again. “Six inches of rainfall!”
Margaret gasped and lifted from his embrace. “Goodnight, Lucas!” Margaret turned away from him and closed her eyes. Her tone of voice was not pleasant.
“What did I say?”
“You figure it out!” Margaret answered. “Six inches of rain…”
Lucas pressed up against her back and took her into his arms once again. “I was only joking, honey!” He kissed her hair. “Of course they weren’t exaggerating on your being the most beautiful…”
It was Margaret who had to be awakened the next morning. Lucas gently shook her. She opened her eyes to see Lucas bending over her as he buttoned his shirt. “Breakfast will be here in a few minutes, honey. You need to get up and get dressed.”
Margaret did as told and went to wake her grandmother up. Soon, their breakfast was there and they quickly ate. Lucas hurried through his breakfast and went to begin loading the wagon. As Margaret carried the last of their things out to him, he announced that when evening came, he’d again sleep under the wagon and allow her and her grandmother to take the back of the wagon. Margaret nodded, commenting she could bear to spend one night apart from him, but he’d have to make it up to her. The look in his eyes told her that he would definitely do just that.
Those who had witnessed their union in marriage came to see them off. Margaret thanked Angela for taking such good care of her grandmother. Lucas offered to pay her, but Angela refused, stating that others had helped her so much and she was just returning the favor. Lucas helped Grandma Bertha into the back of the wagon, then assisted Margaret as she climbed up front beside him. They waved goodbye to their friends as Lucas released the brake and clucked to the horses.
“Wait! Wait!” Lucas pulled back on the reins. The horses neighed, not appreciating the sudden stop when they had just started moving. Margaret turned to look behind the wagon to see Matilda hurrying toward them. Margaret gasped and climbed down from the wagon as quickly as she could.
“Honey, we have to…” Lucas sighed as he wrapped the reins around the break and jumped down. “…go.”
In mere moments, the two women were embracing. Margaret cried as she hugged her friend. “Oh, I didn’t think you’d make it to say goodbye!”
“I know.” Matilda pulled away from Margaret. “But I told my husband…’Jason,’ I said…’I just can’t let her go without saying goodbye once more!’ He reminded me that we had said our tearful goodbyes yesterday, but…I just couldn’t leave!”
Margaret bit her lip as she hugged the woman again. “Oh…I wish you could come with us!” She wiped at the tears, but it was no use. They just kept coming. “Enid has a school for your sons all year round and…”
“Oh…I wish we could!” Matilda declared. “I can only teach the boys so much at home.” Matilda shook her head. “Oh, but it’s no use! My husband loves our land and wouldn’t give it up for anything!”
“Oh, maybe if you just talk to him…try to make him under…”
“Margaret, that will be enough!” Lucas suddenly interrupted her. She heard the sharpness in his voice. His voice softened. “We have to go.”
Margaret nodded and hugged her friend once more. “If my husband ever comes back this way…perhaps I can come with him and we can visit you.” Lucas pulled on her shoulders, breaking the embrace. “I wish you could have brought the boys.”
“Jason left them back at the spread with chores.” Matilda hugged Margaret once more. Lucas nudged Margaret away.
“Goodbye. Thanks for everything.” Lucas turned Margaret firmly around and led her back to the wagon. He helped her into the seat and once again called orders to the horses. Margaret wiped her tears. “We’re going home, honey,” Lucas reminded her. Margaret nodded. After they left town, Lucas sighed and turned to her. “I’m sorry I spoke so harsh with you, honey but…”
“I know.” Margaret nodded. “I guess I’m a woman and women tend to get…”
Lucas nodded his head and moaned. “…emotional.” He laughed and squeezed her hand. “You forgive me?”
“There’s nothing to forgive. You were right…I had no right to ask what I did…”
Lucas bent over and gave her a kiss. “I love you.”
“Luke, promise me something.”
Lucas turned and kissed her cheek. “Anything, my love.”
“Promise we’ll always be together.”
“I promise. We’ll always be together.” Lucas patted her hand.
“Until death do us part?”
Lucas grew quiet as he thought on that. The mere thought of death ever breaking their union made him sick to his stomach. He hoped they would grow old together and watch their children grow old. The mere thought of losing this woman when she was still young scared him more than he wanted to ever admit. She was his best friend…his soul mate…how would he ever make it through life without her?
Lucas forced his best smile and turned to her. “Until death do us part.”

The Margaret Years — Settling In

These stories are based on the TV series The Rifleman
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