Summary: Elizabeth Stoddard’s favorite pasttime was hooking rugs and blankets. But when Ben Cartwright proposed she found all her rugs had a love theme.
Rated: K+ (1,485 words)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author’s Chapter Notes:
Thanks to dancediva234 for providing the title on the Episode Summary Game.
“Elizabeth, can you make another blanket for me?” Nicole Bardell breezed into the parlor where Elizabeth Stoddard sat.
Liz looked up at her friend. “Of course I can, Nicole. What color and shape do you want?” Since Elizabeth’s father Captain Abel Stoddard had left on another trip the girl had nothing to really do. She would write letters, maybe visit her friends, but most of all Liz loved to hook blankets and rugs. It was a way for her to earn some extra money for her father. He never took it, though. He wanted her to have some sort of dowry if she ever married.
Nicole stood a moment in thought. “It’s for my husband’s birthday.” She finally said. “Could you make a heart in the middle of it in red with a white border and his name and mine?”
Liz Stoddard smiled. “Nicole,” her eyes sparkled gaily, “I would be delighted to do such a thing.”
Nicole looked relieved. “I’ve been trying to decide what to give him.” she admitted. “Then I remembered the blanket you made for Larry when he was born and I knew Charles would love something like that.” Charles, of course being her husband and Larry her son.
A thoughtful look came into Liz’s face. She was a year older than Nicole and yet she was still single. Surely…but no. He was not ready for any big step yet. So she smiled instead and picked up her basket. “I’ll get right to it, Nicole.” She promised her friend.
Elizabeth Stoddard sat quietly by the window her fingers working feverishly over her friend’s blanket. Nicole was a sweet girl and Liz wanted this blanket to be good. But her blankets were always good.
A ship tooted its horn as it pulled into the harbor. Liz dropped her blanket to stare out the window. She had started doing that lately. Her beloved was on one of those ships and it did take such a long time for letters to arrive so she never knew when he was coming back. The most she could do was to keep on hoping.
It was not his ship, however. Even from where she sat she knew she would recognize the ship. It was her father’s boat and Liz would never forget it. Her father had sailed his entire life on that boat.
She picked up the blanket again and dutifully set to work. The blanket was coming along nicely. The big red heart in the middle stood out plainly against the white of the rest of the blanket. The black initials in the middle told a love story that Liz hoped would one day be her own.
She was putting on the finishing touches when there was a knock on her door. She carefully set the blanket down and walked to the door to admit her caller.
It was a friend of hers, Peter Clayton. Peter had a request. He was about to marry a young girl from France name Marie and he was bringing her to America. Would she make Marie a rug to put on the floor of the front hallway? Liz promised she would.
“Nothing fancy,” Pete called as he walked out the door, “I can’t afford too much, Liz.”
Liz smiled. She understood.
Back at the window she reached over to a desk and took a little notebook and pen. She dipped the quill in the inkstand and wrote ‘rug for Peter and Marie Clayton gratis’ which was her way of reminding herself that she was giving it to them as a gift.
She picked up Nicole’s blanket and started to work on it again. She had just finished it and was wrapping it up as she often did when she heard the doorbell ring again.
This time it was her father at the door. Her father and Ben! She admitted them with glad laughter and a query, “I did not see your ship come in.”
“We’re on the other side of the docks.” Captain Abel Stoddard admitted, “We walked here.”
“Can I get you something to drink?” Liz requested. “How long are you going to be home?” then she smiled shyly. “Hello, Ben.”
Ben looked at the pretty girl, her hair tied back with a red ribbon and replied, “Hello, Liz.”
Abel Stoddard cleared his throat. Liz looked from Ben to her father. “Could I have a glass of lemonade?” Abel asked.
Liz blushed. “Of course. I’ll be right back.”
Ben watched her depart with a smile. “She is a beautiful girl.”
“She certainly is.” Captain Stoddard agreed. He knew that his daughter was in love with Ben Cartwright and he knew that Ben returned that love.
He never really proposed to her. They just seemed to understand that they would get married. There was some talk, of course, between them. But then Abel Stoddard dropped the hint. And Ben took it up.
He asked her to walk with him. It was the only thing they did now. He was at sea so often that sometimes all they got was a few hours together. But not this night. This night they had the whole night.
They walked down towards the pier. The moon had come out bathing the water in its glow. Ben looked sideways at her. She was lovely. Her black dress was somber, for her friend had just recently died, and her hair was tucked under a bonnet. But she was lovely.
They headed towards the Park. They both liked it there. There was one spot in particular, a bench surrounded by a garden of flowers. Ben stopped her there and sat her down.
Liz looked up at him and smiled. She always did. He bent down towards her. His lips closed around hers. She understood. He did not need to tell her.
But he wanted to. He wanted her to have that at least. He released her at last and sat next to her a moment in thought. How could he tell this angel that he loved her?
“Liz,” he finally whispered.
“What, Ben?” she asked.
“I love you.” He murmured.
He could imagine her smiling. “I love you, too, dearest.”
“Liz,” he started again, “do you love me enough to marry me?”
She looked up at him. Then she smiled. “Yes, Ben, yes I do.”
Liz was singing that night. Her father knew it now. Ben had followed his advice and asked Liz to marry him. Captain Stoddard hoped his daughter would be happy with the man.
She did not fall asleep right away. She had work to do still. Peter’s rug had to be hooked, or at least started. She fell to work with a will. He could not afford to pay for it but she could still give him something nice. Her fingers flew tracing the outline. When she finally held it up late that night she smiled. Peter and Marie would like it.
It was all white with little red hearts outlining the borders. Liz smiled and put it away. She would work more tomorrow.
When Peter Clayton saw the finished product he shook his head wearily. “I can’t afford that, Liz.” He confessed. “It must have taken hours.”
Liz thrust the rug into her friend’s hands. “It’s a gift, Peter.” She smiled.
“A gift?” he asked startled. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I am.” She answered.
“It looks so expensive.” Peter admired the design. “How did you think of such a lovely design?”
Liz smiled. “I’m engaged, Peter.” That was all.
All her blankets and rugs had some sort of love theme. Whether it was small hearts on the border or large ones in the center the people who came to Liz for their blankets started to notice it. She had it bad. But she was so happy that no one complained. Besides her hearts were so perfect that no one minded.
Then she started to hook her own rugs and blankets. She wanted to have some for the home she would share with Ben. She made one blanket that would go on their bed. It was white with a big red heart in the middle. And in the heart she had stitched in black letters “Benjamin and Elizabeth Cartwright: Forever.”
Chapter End Notes:
The proposal scene is taken from “Ben and Elizabeth~A Celebration of Love” by Me.