Summary: You are hereby invited to the behind the scenes story. How did Elizabeth and Ben meet? This story celebrates their love story. From the day they met to the product of their love.
Rated: K+ (3,280 words)
A VERY EARLY FANFIC ATTEPMT THAT I FOUND ON OUR OLD COMPUTER. I BELIEVE IT IS ONE OF MY FIRST FANFIC STORIES.
1. 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.
Ben and Elizabeth – A Celebration of Love
The first time he saw her was the day he walked her home from school. They were seven and ten. It was her first day of school and she looked frightened and alone. His heart went out to her and he stopped to help her out. When her father left her at the school she stood there clutching her slate to her chest, her brown hair peeking out from under her red cape and there were tears in her eyes.
He walked up to her, then. “Hello.” Was all he said.
She shrank away from him a little bit. He was a strange boy, tall, and strong. But he had a nice face and a friendly smile. “Hello.” She replied a little shyly.
“My name is Ben Cartwright. What is yours?”
“Elizabeth Stoddard.” She answered.
“Can I carry your slate for you?” he offered gallantry. He had always been taught to be nice to girls and this girl certainly needed help.
“Yes, thank you.” She replied primly handing the slate to him. “It is my first day and I do not know anyone.”
“You know me.” He replied, taking her arm and leading her towards the schoolhouse.
“Why yes,” she looked up at him and smiled. “I do.”
She was not always a popular girl. She was quiet and would rather play by herself than with the others. She liked to walk off into a corner and just sit there. Sometimes she would watch the others, sometimes she would play jacks, or with her own doll. The other girls used to laugh at her.
One day Sarah Marble decided to have some fun with the quiet girl. She walked over to her and sat down next to her. Sarah was not much older than Elizabeth. She was very pretty and extremely popular. Elizabeth was surprised that she would sit with her.
“Hello.” Sarah started smiling sweetly.
“Hello.” Elizabeth replied.
“Why do you always sit here alone?” Sarah asked.
“Don’t you want to play with us?”
“I don’t know.” Elizabeth replied.
“Oh come on.” Sarah coaxed. “We’ll have fun.”
Elizabeth looked at the girls. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“You’re awfully suspicious.”
“Careful.” Elizabeth smoothed down her dress.
“Look, I invited you to play with us,” Sarah’s voice rose angrily. “I am not used to be disobeyed.”
A frightened look crept into Elizabeth’s eye. “I don’t want to play with you.” She told the older girl.
“I said to come and you will come.” Sarah grabbed Elizabeth’s arm.
Elizabeth tried to pull away. “Leave me alone!”
“Come on.” Sarah insisted.
“Leave the kid alone.” A new voice cut in.
Sarah looked up. A tall boy stood there, his feet spread apart, his hands thrust in his pockets.
“She said she does not want to play.” The boy said. “Let her go.”
Sarah dropped her hand from Elizabeth’s arm. “You win, Ben Cartwright.” She answered finally. Then she walked back to her crowd.
There were tears in Elizabeth’s eye. “It’s all right.” Ben knelt next to her and fished inside his pocket for a handkerchief. “Here, Liz. Dry your eyes. Don’t cry.”
“Thank you, Ben.” She whispered
She was eight and he was eleven. It was summer and they were going to have fun. Ben visited her house every day that summer. The picnics that took place people still talk about today. Elizabeth was trying to learn how to cook and she often made something that Ben would gamely try. They were the best of friends.
He had never given her a girt, not even for her birthday, so she was very surprised when he came up to her with a small box. “I have something for you, Liz.” He announced as though he was giving her the world.
“What is it?” she asked curiously. She had packed a picnic lunch for them and set it down to take the box.
“I found it.” Ben answered. “Do you want to see it?”
She nodded and he removed the lid. A little bird lay in it. “The bird broke his wing.” Ben explained. “I found him on the walk and decided to bring him to you because I know you can fix him up.”
“Bring him inside.” She answered. “We will fix him up.”
The picnic lunch was forgotten. Together boy and girl they patched up the bird and left him in the box.
Liz took good care of the bird and before long it could once again fly. They stood on the porch the day she let it go. They watched it for a long time and then when it had disappeared they walked back into the house.
Summer was always a special time for them. She was nine and he was twelve. They still enjoyed picnicking together but lately during school they had been drifting apart. Elizabeth liked to be with her friends and Ben with his. Sometimes they never even spoke during school time. But summer they always spent together.
Elizabeth was not upset. She liked being with him during the summer anyway. Her father had started to make longer voyages and she missed him dreadfully, especially during the summers. Liz and Ben would walk down to the docks together. They often had their picnic lunch there. Ben would always look out at the sea. “Someday, Liz,” he told her one day, “when I am grown, I am going to travel the sea.”
“Would you bring me a present, Ben?” she asked.
“What would you like?”
There were so many things. A doll from France, or Spain? A dress from England or Germany? Then finally she decided. “I would like a music box from the most wonderful part of the world.
Ben laughingly agreed.
Then he caught sight of it. The little frog that lay on its side on the beach. He scooped it up in his hat and offered it to her. “Would you like it, Liz?”
She looked at it and laughed gently. “The poor little frog!” she exclaimed. “He must be dying in this heat.” She scooped some of the water up in an empty cup and poured it over the frog.
He perked up instantly and Liz took him in her hands. She dropped him in the water and waved as he disappeared. “He needed water so badly, Ben.”
There was something about spring that always excited young Ben Cartwright. Spring was the season of awakening and it was the season of love. He would love to sit on a park bench and watch the young lovers walk by. Sometimes a man would stop and pick a pretty flower for his lady friend. Ben never could understand why they did it. Then one day last winter Ben brought it up to his best friend and playmate, Liz Stoddard. Liz had laughed and told him, “A boy gives a girl flowers because he loves her, silly.” Then she had turned to run over the snow covered hills of the park.
Well, this spring there would be another young boy picking flowers for his lady love. Ben looked down at his feet as he stood in the park. There were several daffodils growing there uncultured and untended. He reached down and picked them up. Then he held his head up a little higher and walked towards Liz Stoddard’s home.
Captain Stoddard was not home when Ben arrived. But his ten year old daughter saw Ben approaching through the window and ran out to greet him. Ben held the flowers behind his back and smiled at her. “Liz, I brought you a present.” He announced.
Liz smiled. “A present, Ben? What is it?”
Ben smiled mischievously. “Guess.” He answered mysteriously.
Liz thought back on all the other things Ben had ever brought to her. “Is it a frog?” she asked. Ben had found the sick frog last summer and they had made it well again.
Ben shook his head. “Better than that.” He answered.
“A bird?” Liz tried again. Two springs ago Ben had found the bird with the broken wing.
“No.” Ben answered.
“Is it alive?” Liz asked.
Ben looked behind his back. “I guess so. It does not move but it does eat.”
“Hmm!” Liz puzzled. “I give up. What is it?”
Ben handed her the flowers. “Happy spring, Liz.”
Liz buried her face in the pretty flowers. Then she looked over at him and smiled. “Happy spring, Ben. Happy spring.”
Time passed. Ben was almost a man. He was tall broad shouldered with lovely brown hair and a winning smile. He was sixteen and she was thirteen. All the girls liked him, especially Sarah Marble. She was only a year younger than him and she was determined to be his girl. He was going to finish school that summer and then go to the sea. There was always a dance for anyone who had finished school and he had to pick a girl.
Sarah Marble was desperately hoping he would ask her. She did everything in her power to drop him little hints about how well she danced and how her father was going to buy her a new dress. Ben seemed not to notice her.
Elizabeth never expected to be asked. He was almost a man and she was still a child. She had just let down her skirts and he had been wearing long pants for three years. They had drifted further apart and she missed the summers they had spent together. The first flowers he gave her she had pressed and kept.
But then he paid her a surprise visit. “Liz,” he asked, standing in her parlor a little self conscious since her father was also present. “Liz, can I ask you a question?”
She was demure as always. “Yes, Ben.”
“Liz, you know the dance is coming up and I was wondering, would you go with me?”
Liz smiled at him. “Ben, I would be delighted.”
They told him he would be homesick. The sea was a big wonderful thing but they warned him of homesickness. He did not believe them. Until it struck him. He was sitting in his berth alone one day when he started thinking of her. He wished he had her address so he could write to her and tell her how much he missed her.
When they arrived at the first port in France, he found a surprise waiting. She had written to him and sent it on the ship before his so that he would receive a letter when he arrived.
The letter was not very long. A simple schoolgirl’s letter telling of everything that was going on. But to Ben it was a treasure.
It was four years before he returned home. They kept writing to each other and Ben treasured every little letter she wrote. She was seventeen and a beautiful girl, according to her father. He was twenty and he wondered how beautiful she was.
When the boat arrived there were two girls waiting for him. Sarah Marble was there with her arms full of flowers. Sarah was standing in the front, tall and majestic in her blue dress with the lace ribbons.
Liz was there too. She had only a simple bouquet of daffodils. Her red dress set off her lovely brown hair, despite the simple pattern of the dress.
Ben never noticed Sarah. He only had eyes for Liz. She was everything her father had said. Ben realized that he was falling in love with her.
They took a walk together that day. It was cold out but the brisk air whipped around them and never seemed to touch them. Ben was happy.
Liz was indeed an angel. He found himself wondering how he could speak to her, what he could say. All those years he had been thinking of what to say and now the time had arrived he found himself speechless.
Liz never said a word. She just walked beside him content to be with him.
They arrived back at her house. Ben was blushing. “I’m sorry,” he managed. “I never said anything to you all night.”
Liz looked at him with her big brown eyes. “Don’t apologize.” She answered. “It was nice to just walk. Good night, Ben.”
“Liz, wait.” He begged.
She smiled at him.
“Liz, I…I love you.” He finally managed to say and she smiled again.
“Ben, ” she whispered, “I love you, too.”
She would have kissed him then but her father came out and she left Ben saying, “Good-night, Ben, and thank you, darling.”
Darling! She had called him darling!
Young Ben Cartwright was singing as he tramped through the New England snow. He always enjoyed winter and this was certainly one of those winter days that he was going to love. He was headed to see his sweetheart, Liz, of the laughing eyes. Liz had promised him the whole day and he was going to take advantage of it.
Liz was waiting for him on the porch when he arrived. She was wearing such a pretty red dress, Ben thought, stopping for a moment just to look at her. Her sleeves were long and her neckline high. Her coat was long and blue and completely covered her dress. In her hands she held her heavy gloves and her purse. Then she saw him and smiled. “Ben!” she called and leaving the porch she ran to her sweetheart.
“Hi, Liz.” He smiled taking her hand in his. “You look very nice today.”
“So do you.” She smiled up at him. They walked in silence for several moments. Then Ben had an idea. “Liz, lets go for a walk in the park.” He suggested.
She smiled. “Why not?” and retracing their steps the couple walked back towards the park.
They stopped at the entrance to watch a group of girls whispering in the corner. Liz looked over at them and smiled. One day they, too, would be walking with their sweetheart in the park on a winter day. A little further down the path they saw a group of boys having a snowball fight. One of them spotted the young lovers and playfully threw a snowball at them. Liz ducked as it went whizzing past her bonnet and Ben making a snowball threw it back. The boys laughed and waved.
Neither of them said too much just watching the winter wonderland as they walked along it. Then suddenly Ben stopped his sweetheart. “Liz,” he whispered. “Let’s build a snowman.”
“Here?” she asked.
“Why not?” He asked. “I have not built a snowman in a long time.”
She smiled and agreed. Together the two packed the snow and rolled it into a lovely tall handsome snowman. Liz playfully took Ben’s hat from his head and set it on the snowman. “Now he looks like you.” She laughed.
“Think so?” Ben asked. “Well, even a snowman needs a mate. Come on, Liz, help me make another.”
When this one was finished Ben took the purse from his ladylove and gave it to the snowman. “Now it looks like you.”
The sun started to sink in the sky and Ben smiled. “Come on, Liz, let’s go home.”
They took their personal effects back from the snowman and walked away together. Liz looked back once. By the shadow cast by the sinking sun it looked like the two snow people were kissing. Then without a moment’s hesitation or a thought of ‘what people would think’ Liz unashamedly put her arms around her lover and drew his face down to hers.
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.”
Abel Stoddard sent out invitations. That was the proper thing to do. It was a small wedding. Liz wanted it that way. “I just want it to be us,” she told Ben, “and those who really love us.”
She was lovely. She looked like a princess in the white dress and veil. It was the first time Ben saw her in a lacy, frivolous gown. But nothing was too good for Abel’s daughter. She carried a bouquet of daffodils. They were not her favorite flower but they were the flower Ben had first given her years ago.
All of Ben’s married friends had told him that at the last minute they start to worry about getting married. Ben was waiting for all types of emotions but not the one he felt. His was love, so much love that it almost swelled out of him. He was so happy to be marrying her.
“I do.” the words were sweet, clear, innocent. Just like Liz. He smiled at her.
“I do.” the second from a willing groom. He had promised to love her and protect her. He would do all that.
He took her in his arms and his lips closed over hers.
Adam Cartwright looked down at the grave of his mother. She would be happy, he thought. Oh, she must have been a wonderful woman for his father to love her so much.
The dream he had been experiencing, if indeed it was a dream began to fade. Adam shook his head, to clear his mind and kneeling on the soft ground he placed a bouquet of daffodils on her grave. Not her favorite flower but they were the flower Ben had given her before there ever was a son.
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