LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.
Laura shuffled her feet along the dry, rutted road toward school. She stared out in front of her, but she didn't see any of the goings on around town—she was too consumed with her own thoughts. Even the petty argument her brother Albert and sister Carrie were having alongside her could not pull her away from the mix of sadness and disappointment swirling around her head.
She had asked Almanzo to supper last night. But he was too busy. Out of spite, she invited his younger brother Perley Day, who was visiting while figuring out where to travel next.
Perley Day accepted. It was a very nice evening. He talked all about his leaving home at an early age and traveling the country surviving by his wits. Her pa sure seemed to like the younger Wilder boy.
But it was Almanzo that Laura wanted to spend time with.
"Right Laura," Carrie whined, tugging at her sister's sleeve.
Laura yanked her arm away, frustrated over the distraction.
"Right?" Carrie said again, her eyes eager and full of anticipation.
"Yes, you're right," Laura answered curtly.
Albert dug his heels into the ground. "You don't even know what she asked you."
Laura's eyes rested on Albert and then on Carrie. She was too angry to care what they were arguing over. "I don't have time for this. I'm going inside to study." She pounded up the steps to the schoolhouse, her dinner pail swinging violently on one arm and hitting the door as she slammed it shut behind her.
"Oh Laura," said Miss Wilder, "I didn't expect to see you so early. Isn't there a baseball game going on outside?"
Laura felt the heat of embarrassment staining her cheeks. Lifting her nose in the air she flicked her braids back, but seeing the kindness in Miss Wilder's face deflated her anger. "Well…uh…I figured I would study for the history test tomorrow."
"I'm glad to see you being so conscientious"
Miss Wilder turned to the blackboard and continued to write down the assignments. Laura slid onto the bench and opened her book, pretending to find history fascinating. She heard the smooth flow of the chalk along the blackboard as she tried to focus her thoughts away from Almanzo. Her heart raced as Laura heard the click clack of boots strolling down the aisle.
Miss Wilder slipped into the bench in front of Laura. "So, did you have a nice evening with Perley Day?"
Why did she have to bring that up? "Yes. He told us about the many places he's been."
"He certainly has traveled far for such a young man. Perley Day had fun too. All he did was rave about your mother's cooking…and your fine company, of course." Miss Wilder touched Laura's arm. "I'm glad you finally found someone your own age."
Laura squinted, trying to figure out what her teacher was getting at. "I'm sorry Miss Wilder, but I really don't know what you mean."
Miss Wilder pursed her lips before settling her eyeglasses back on the bridge of her nose. "Well, I'm certain Almanzo doesn't know you have a crush on him."
Laura glared at her teacher, not even believing they were having this conversation. "I don't have a crush on him," she said firmly. It wasn't a lie. She loved Almanzo. It wasn't some childish crush.
Miss Wilder smiled as she leaned in closer. "I didn't mean anything bad by it, Laura. It's just…I know you're awfully fond of Almanzo."
"We're friends, Miss Wilder." Laura hoped the pounding of her heart would not give her secret away. "We like horses and farming and we like talking to each other. That's all there is to it."
Laura closed her book and stood up, not sure she could continue speaking about Almanzo as if she had no feelings for him at all. "Perley Day is nice too, but we don't have a lot to talk about. Actually, he spent most of last night talking to Pa."
"Perhaps, I misunderstood." The clock on Miss Wilder's desk chimed the hour. "Oh, look at the time." She dashed off to ring the school bell.
Laura dropped back in her seat. Her heavy sigh filled the room. Hopefully her words had been enough to keep Miss Wilder from assuming too much. The last thing she needed was Almanzo thinking she had some ridiculous schoolgirl crush on him.
Determined more than ever, Laura sat up tall in her seat. "I'm going to make Almanzo see me as a woman one day," she said out loud. She heard racing footsteps on the stairs outside. "You just wait and see. I'll show all of you."
Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.