Note: I have a problem when it comes to old movie musicals...and redheads.
Milly knew that keeping all of the girls in one room could lead to some problems. She knew that they were tired of being stuck in the house. As the months went by, it felt like winter was never going to end and everyone was starting to get a little restless. But the one thing that Milly wasn't prepared for was the girls getting sick.
At first it wasn't too terrible. Dorcas woke up with a bad cough and stayed in bed for most of the day. The cold seemed to travel throughout the house but it never lasted too long. That was until Sarah got sick. Her face was as pale as snow and she developed a fever. Milly decided to move her cot downstairs so that the other girls wouldn't catch this illness.
All of the girls spent the next few days doing whatever they could to help Sarah feel better. Ruth and Alice made soup for her while Dorcas and Liza went out to get wood for the fire so that she wouldn't get too cold. Marth would spend most of the day with Sarah and made sure that she wasn't getting any worse. It made Milly's heart swell to see all of the girls working so hard to take care of one another. The last few months had been hard on everyone and she was so happy to see that they were all working together. The only problem was that once word had spread that Sarah was sick, Frank was coming over to the house whenever he had the chance.
"Come on Milly," he said. "Just let me see her for a little while."
"No," Milly said sternly. The boys needed to learn their lesson. And even though the other girls were beginning to crack, she knew that she had to stay strong. "If I let you stay, then all the other boys are gonna come in asking to see the girls."
"I just want to make sure she's okay," Frank said softly. "I know that you and the girls are exhausted. I can stay with her tonight so you all can take a break. Please, Milly."
Milly was a little shocked by his response. Frank had changed so much from when she had first met him. He used to be so angry and was willing to fight everyone at the drop of a hat. Now he was more reserved and all he wanted to do was help the girl he loved.
"Alright," Milly sighed. "You can stay with her tonight. But I am going to ask Sarah if it's okay with her and if she says no, then you're heading straight back to the barn."
"That's fine," he said, trying to contain his smile.
"Oh, and if I hear any funny business you are going to regret it Frankincense Pontipee," Milly said. She was not going to let this change her mind about the boys staying in the barn, but Frank had a point. The pregnancy was starting to take its toll on her and she knew that the other girls needed a break as well. So she walked into the house and told Sarah what was going to happen. Milly wasn't sure if Sarah really liked the idea of Frank being with her. She didn't say anything but Milly could see the concern on her face.
"Look if you don't want this then I'll call the whole thing off," Milly said.
"No," Sarah said softly. "He can stay. I can't just ignore him the entire time I'm here. I'll have to talk to him sometime."
"Alright, he'll come over after dinner."
Frank had never been this nervous before. The last time he was this nervous was when they had just arrived at the barn raising and a bunch of girls ran up to hug Milly. Then he saw a girl with dark hair in a yellow dress and it felt like his heart had stopped beating for a moment. All he could think of was that she's the prettiest girl he's ever seen. He wasn't sure what he was feeling at the time but he knew that this was something special. He spent the rest of the day thinking about what he wanted to tell her. The entire time the girls had been here she hadn't said a word to him and this was finally his chance to make things right. But once he saw Sarah lying in bed all his thoughts flew right out of his head. He heard that she was ill from Dorcas and Liza but he wasn't expecting her to look so pale and weak. He pulled a chair over towards her and sat down, trying to think of what to say.
"I know you're mad at me," he said after a few minutes. "And you have every right to be. But I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry and that I never wanted to hurt you or scare you or…"
"Then why did you do it," Sarah blurted out suddenly.
"Because I wanted to marry you," Frank said like it was the most obvious reason in the world.
"Marry me? You barely even know me," she said.
"Well," he began. She had a point. "I know but it's just the first time I saw you I thought 'I wanna marry her'. And I guess I thought that you'd feel the same way."
The problem was that she did care for him. She might even love him. But she couldn't forgive him for taking her away from her family. She sat there in silence and fiddled with her blanket, trying to form her thoughts into words. But before she could say anything she broke out into a coughing fit. Once it finally ended she lied back unto the pillow.
"I'm sorry Sarah," Frank said again. He didn't know what else to say. He placed his hand on top of her and gave a gentle squeeze. He expected her to pull her hand away, but to his surprise she held onto his hand. "I know this place must seem terrible right now. With all of the snow and everything. But it gets real pretty in the springtime. There's this small lake at the edge of the ranch that I would always go to. It's quiet and peaceful and it's probably my favorite place on the farm."
"You'll have to take me there someday," Sarah said weakly.
"Sure. We'll just have to wait for the lake to thaw out," Frank said as he was lost in his own daydream. "I think you'll really like it. And afterwards I can show you the farm animals we've got. They're all very friendly. And then…" He looked down and saw that Sarah was fast asleep. He smiled softly at her before he pressed his lips to her forehead and whispered, "Goodnight Sarah."
Sarah hadn't been able to sleep well for months. She spent most of the past few nights coughing until she could barely breathe. And even before she was sick she was having a hard time sleeping in the same room with five other girls. But this time she slept soundly throughout the whole night. She had very vivid dreams too. Dreams about little children running around with red curls and dark eyes. She wasn't sure what to think of that. What she did know was that for the first time in a few days she woke up without a sore throat. And that she could finally sit up without feel dizzy. As she sat up she saw that Frank had also fallen asleep. He was still sitting in the chair but his body leaned forward so that his head was on the cot. Sarah smiled down at him and began to run her fingers through his hair. She heard someone walking down the stairs and turned to see Milly looking at her.
"Oh you look so much better," she said walking over to her and placed her hand on Sarah's forehead. "I think your fever finally broke last night." She looked over and saw Frank was still asleep. "I swear those boys can sleep through just about anything."
"Frank, wake up," Sarah said as she gently shook his shoulder. Once he finally woke up he sat back into his chair.
"Are you feeling better?" he asked.
"Yes. Much better," she replied.
"That's great," he smiled at her again and she hoped that her face wasn't as red as it felt. He opened his mouth like he was about to say something else but then saw Milly staring at him. "I better get going then," he said as he stood up. "If I'm late then Ben will never let me hear the end of it. I'll see you later, right?"
"Yeah," Sarah said softly. She tried not to look too disappointed as he walked out of the house.
"That boy really does love you," she heard Milly say.
"I know," Sarah said. And she kept thinking, "I might love him too." But there wasn't anything she could do about that right now. All she could do was wait for spring.