The Prank (by BettyHT)

Summary:  It was a long winter, and Hoss and Joe were hoping to have some fun at Adam’s expense, but it doesn’t work out as well as they thought.

Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rating:  G
Word Count:  1247

“So, Joe, you done sent them flowers and chocolates to Miss Abigail like we planned?”

“Hoss, of course I did. You know you can always count on me. This is gonna be great. Now let’s get inside and make sure he’s all spiffed up for his ‘date’!”

Once inside the house, Hoss and Joe headed upstairs. Ben sat at his desk and knew they were up to something but had no idea what it could be. A short time later, Adam came down dressed for the dance in town. “Are you waiting for your brothers?”

“Pa, I’m not sure I want to wait for them. They’ve been giggling and smiling all day. They’re up to something, and I’m fairly certain that I’m the target. Now if I just knew what they were aiming at me, I could do something about it.”

“Well, just remember, that anything they do is meant in jest only. Don’t get too upset with them, please. Just once I would like all of you to come home from a dance sober, with no bruises, and with your clothing clean and intact. Is that too much to hope?”

“Not too much to hope, but perhaps it is too much to expect. I’ll be outside waiting for those two. I do wonder sometimes how I got tangled up with those two for brothers.”

“Oh, Adam, I thought you were old enough to know that. If you don’t, we can have the talk again.” Ben smirked as Adam rolled his eyes and walked outside. It had been a long winter, and it was time to have some fun, but he didn’t look forward to being the object of his brothers’ fun.

Once the three brothers arrived at the dance, they greeted their friends and visited for a time because the music hadn’t started yet. As the band broke into the first tune, everyone started to head inside. Hoss poked Joe and pointed at Miss Abigail headed directly toward the three of them, but a beautiful woman was walking behind her and for a moment, they forgot the prank they had planned for Adam. Hoss and Joe headed for the beauty, as Abigail hailed Adam and made a beeline directly to him. Hoss and Joe started laughing so Adam suddenly had an idea about what they had planned.

“Adam, I so enjoyed getting the chocolates and the flowers from you today. Just as you asked, I filled out my dance card with your name on every dance. It was going to be such a spectacular evening.” Sighing dreamily, Abigail stood silent for a moment.

“It was going to be a spectacular evening?” Adam could hear his brothers’ laughter even above the crowd noise.

“Oh, yes, my dear Adam, it was going to be glorious, but mother has taken ill, and Doctor Martin said I must stay with her and monitor her fever. I’m to call him if mother’s fever rises. I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but my cousin Liz said she would honor the dance card after I described you to her. I just know the two of you can be great friends too. I just knew you would be willing to keep her company tonight so she wouldn’t be lonely here where she doesn’t know anyone.”

Cringing inwardly as he worried what her cousin could look like, but unwilling to hurt another person because of his brothers’ sad excuse for a prank, Adam smiled. “That would be wonderful. Is she here?”

“Oh, yes, she’s over there by your brothers. It looks like Joe is trying to get her to dance, but I know she will not do that after she made that promise to me.” Abigail hailed Liz then who walked over to them. It was the beautiful woman who had walked in the hall behind Abigail.

“Adam, this is my dear cousin, Liz. She’s visiting from Washington. Her father is in the lumber business up there. She went to college in Ohio. I’m sure the two of you will have a lot to talk about, and I want to thank both of you for being so agreeable. Now I have to bid you good night and get back to mother. I’m worried that I may have been gone too long already. Have a good time.”

Abigail left but Adam and Liz hardly noticed. “My dance card is full. I certainly hope that doesn’t bother you that Abigail penciled your name into every slot.”

“No, I couldn’t be more pleased. Now as my name is all over your dance card, would you like this dance?” Adam extended his hand and Liz smiled and nodded. She was beautiful and charming, and he was soon to discover that she was graceful as well. They glided around the floor to jealous looks from men and women in attendance, but none were so upset as Joe and Hoss.

“Dadburnit, Joe, how does he do that? He’s got the purtiest girl in the room again.”

“I know, Hoss, I know. Let’s get some punch.”

Too much punch by too many of the young men led to some punches being thrown later. After Hoss and Joe paid their fines, they had to wait as Adam bid Liz good night after making plans for a picnic the next day. They groaned inwardly as he kissed her on the cheek, and she put a hand to his cheek and kissed him on the lips. He leaned in for another kiss then as she had given her permission by what she had done.  They would have likely kissed more, but Abigail came to the door.  Then the couple had to part, but she looked back with longing as Adam strode away from her house. As Adam rode home with his brothers, he whistled tune after tune. It got so irritating that Hoss and Joe rode faster to get home sooner and not have to endure any more of his happiness.

When Adam walked into the house after the brothers had taken care of their horses, he was humming softly. Ben was amazed. Hoss and Joe were disheveled and both were sporting a few bruises. Ben assumed that Adam had been part of whatever had happened to them and had asked them that. The answer wasn’t what he had expected.

Joe was first. “Adam was just like he always is. It’s all his fault.”

“Dadburnit, I ain’t never gonna let Joe talk me into playing a prank on him again. Dadblamed things always backfire and catches us.”

Then Hoss and Joe stomped up the stairs. Ben had expected an angry Adam but had a happy one instead. “I thought they were going to pull a prank on you?”

“They did, but it worked out wonderfully. Pa, I met a beautiful, intelligent, charming woman tonight. I danced every dance with her courtesy of my brothers. It was like gliding around the lake with a swan. Tomorrow we’re going on a picnic. This was a great night, one of the best ever. Goodnight, Pa.”

Adam went up the stairs two at a time. Ben watched him go and shook his head. He was never going to understand these three sons of his. Never!

***The End***

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