Sorry for the delay!
We all stood there in silence. Our townsfolk were shocked and very puzzled by what me and the girls had said. But there was only one thing running in my mind: I desperately wanted to save Ephraim and his brothers from getting lynched by the townspeople. It was still very quiet and our kinfolk were looking at each other uncomfortably. I felt my papa's hand on my shoulder and I looked up at him. He was shaking with nervousness.
He took hold of me and led me a little further away from the others. "Liza, my sweet and pretty girl" my father started, "please, tell me that all of this is a lie!" My dear papa seemed so heartbroken.
"No, it's not!" I said confidently. I tried my best to look sincere, I was not going to let them kill Ephraim.
"Liza, please tell me that you did not have a child out of wedlock!" My father pleaded. "Did he force you?! ... I'll kill him!"
"No, papa! No!" I begged. "I love him! I want to marry him!" I shrieked as tears rolled down my cheeks.
"What are you talking about?! He kidnapped you!" My father yelled.
I took a deep breath and decided to tell him the truth. "Listen pa, don't worry. No one has a baby. There's only one child in this household and she belongs to Adam and Milly.
My father seemed very relieved when I told him that. But I was still very eager to save my true love. "However, I might get pregnant soon." I added with a smile.
Papa's eyes widened. "Liza, what are you talking about? Did you sleep with him?"
I slowly nodded and smiled sheepishly. I had to make up something, in order to save Ephraim. I was willing to lie about my virtue, for it was the only way. Claiming the baby seemed little too unrealistic, because after all, there was only one baby.
"I love him." I answered my papa. My father loved me very much and wanted me to be happy. "I know it seems strange to fall for your kidnapper, but we've been through so much together this whole winter. Me and the girls got to know the Pontipees better and I know that he is the one for me. This is where I belong!"
"But-" my papa started. "Once you get to know them, they are actually pretty heroic boys" I interrupted.
My brother Robert, had joined the conversation and was listening to me dumbfounded.
"Please, pa, allow him to marry me. I can't go back to town like this." I begged.
My father looked at Robert hesitantly. "We gotta think about your sister's reputation." He told my big brother.
"If you indeed slept with him, that means you two are already married in God's eyes." Robert said softly.
"Do you really love him?" Pa asked again. I nodded eagerly. "Very much!"
"Does he love and respect you? Because it doesn't look like that!" Robert exclaimed out of frustration.
"You know why I fell for him? Because he was the only man who actually fell in love with me, and not my pretty face, or status!" I answered them surely.
"I know that he acted like an oaf! But love makes us all fools, you both know that well."
Indeed my papa and Robert knew that feeling. They both married when they were young and were both very reckless.
"Alright! You broke me down!" My father exclaimed. As I was still realizing what was happening, he grabbed me and led me towards Reverend Elcott, who was busy speaking with Alice.
"Excuse us, Reverend. But I want you to marry my daughter and that Pontipee fella right now!
Reverend Elcott looked at us with understanding, and my heart started to soar with happiness.
"So, do I." Reverend nodded. "Apperantly we will be having six shotgun weddings!"
I looked around and realized that the other girls had also convinced their fathers that the Pontipees were good and decent men. So immediately, they started asking Reverend Elcott, who himself was planning to marry Alice and Gideon, to preform marriages for all of us.
I still couldn't believe it! I was on cloud nine!
Reverend took a deep breath and then asked, "Girls, there is still something we need to find out." Me and the rest of the brides looked at each other bit nervous. "...which brother goes with which girl?"
So, thus I found myself standing in the Pontipee cabin, together with the others girls in front of Reverend Elcott. Our beloved grooms were saved, and they were standing behind us. Behind the Pontipees stood our fathers with shotguns over their arms, while Adam and Milly watched this from the side. My heart leaped for joy, as the pastor started the ceremony. "Do you Alice, Ruth, Martha, Liza, Sarah, and Dorcas, take these men to be your lawfully wedded husbands?"
I looked back at my father, and he nodded at me with approval. As soon as I saw my pa, I turned to Reverend and answered together with the other girls. "We do."
Reverend Elcott continued "And do you Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frankincense, and Gideon, take these girls to be your lawfully wedded wives?"
I didn't see it, but I could feel Ephraim awkwardly turning to my papa and then answering to the pastor with his brothers. "We do." It was obvious that our fathers warned them to treat us right, with their shotguns.
Reverend Elcott finally announced. "Then I pronounce you men and wives!"
Ephraim circled my waist with his hands, as I turned around to face him. We smiled at each other and pressed our lips together. He wrapped his arms around me and I swung my arms around his neck. I became a June Bride together with all my good friends. I finally felt like I was home. This was the place where I had to be. I belonged here, even though at first this ranch seemed like a disaster.
After the kiss, I went up and hugged my father and Ephraim shook hands with him. Everyone was happy and joyful.
Shortly after the wedding, me and the girls returned to town to greet our mothers and take our personal belongings with us. To my suprise our ma's weren't shocked that we married our kidnappers. They were more disappointed because they couldn't attend the wedding. In few months townsfolk managed to help us build new homes at the Pontipee ranch. And in no time, we had other beautiful cabins around the farm.
By the following Spring, Dorcas gave birth to a son, whom they named Isaiah. And after few weeks, I had my twins in mid May. All of us followed the alphabet and the Bible tradition, so we named the twins Joseph and Josephine. Me and Dorcas were the first from the girls to have children, but the other girls were also pregnant. Ephraim was a wonderful father, and little Joe was just like him. Josephine even though, serious like her pa, looked a lot like me. To my surprise both of them were very calm and solemn. They didn't give us too much trouble.
My life changed to better and it was finally Milly's perfect vision of a family. Children everywhere, cheerfulness, laughter, and happiness. Sure, things weren't always perfect, but we were all together as a family and that's what mattered.
For they say when you marry in June, you will always, always be a bride...
That's the end of this Story! Thanks for all the reviews and likes.