The Amish Dreamer (PAPERBACK)
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May didn't care about her twin's decision to leave her husband. All she cared about was the scandal it caused within their small Amish community.
Will the upstanding and righteous Amish widower May's got a crush on think she is flighty just like her sister? After all, they are twins.
May sees an opportunity to get closer to him and his children by volunteering to help at the school, but will charitable works be enough for him to see her in a different light?
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Newly married Jacob and Rebecca had done their post-wedding visitation duty and they were heading home from the bus station in a taxi. For weeks, they’d visited the people who couldn’t make it to the wedding and now Rebecca wanted nothing more than to settle into married life with Jacob and her new stepson.
“Are you happy to be an instant mudder?” Jacob asked with a grin as though he'd read her thoughts.
She looked at his smiling eyes and warm face. That look was something she’d never get too much of. “I am. 'Happy' isn’t a good enough word.” She tightened her grip on his hand. They always held hands when no one could see them. “And I'm looking forward to settling into a routine of sorts.” Rebecca looked out the window at the farms they were passing, glad to be back in familiar surroundings. Being a midwife, she’d never have a regular daily routine like other young married women, but that was part of her calling.
Everything had worked out perfectly for her and she thanked God every day for her new family. With the constant demands of midwifery, she’d convinced herself she’d never marry, figuring she'd remain single like Marilyn, the midwife who’d trained her. Then Jacob had come along. When Jacob’s wife had died, his sister, Anne, had come to live with him and now Anne was only too happy to stay on and look after Micah whenever Rebecca was out on a job. “I'm so glad to be back before Mary has her boppli. I told her to wait and she must've listened to me.”
Jacob chuckled. “Most pregnant women I’ve known don’t want to wait for anything or anyone.”
“I guess that's true and I might find that out first-hand soon enough, for myself.”
He took hold of her hand. “Very soon I hope. I can barely wait until Micah has a younger bruder or schweschder to play with.”
She smiled at him and then she noticed the taxi was turning left instead of right. “We’re going the wrong way.”
“Nee, we’re going the right way.”
“Our place is back that way.”
“Nee.” He chuckled. “This is my surprise.”
By the impish grin on his face, she knew their house was ready and they wouldn’t be going back to their rental. “Are we in our new haus already?”
He smiled and nodded. “We sure are. I'm afraid we'll have a lot of unpacking to do. Or, I should say, you’ll have a lot of unpacking to do because I have to start work tomorrow. Anne said she left most of it for you to manage because she didn't know where you wanted things.”
“That was thoughtful.” So far Anne hadn’t stepped on her toes as the female head of the household, but Rebecca had only stayed one night in their rental house after their wedding before they left to visit people. “How does she like the grossdaddi haus?”
“She loves it. It’s as big as a small haus and as comfortable as it can be.”
“Good. She deserves that since she left everything to come live with you.” Anne had left her old life and rushed to help Jacob when his wife had died a short time after Micah was born. Jacob had decided to stay on in Pleasant Valley where his wife had been raised and it wasn’t long after that Rebecca and he had fallen in love.
“Don’t get too excited when you see the haus. It still has some things that need doing, but it’s ready enough.”
“I can’t wait to see it. I haven’t even seen it with the walls up.”
“I’ll get Timothy out to finish the rest of the work soon.”
Rebecca nodded at the suggestion. Her older brother was a builder and had been out of work the last she knew.
When they stepped out of the taxi, Anne hurried over to them and gave each of them a hug. “Micah’s asleep,” was the first thing she said to them.
“We’ve missed him so much,” Jacob said.
“I think he’s grown. He’s going through another growth spurt.”
“We’ll see him as soon as we put our bags inside and after I give Rebecca a tour of the haus.” Jacob took the two bags from the driver as they were pulled out of the trunk.
Anne was first to their front door and she pushed it open for them. “Ach, I'm sorry. You should show her around, Jacob.”
Jacob gave an embarrassed chuckle.
“Why don’t you both show me through?” Rebecca looked from brother to sister.
“You first,” Anne said to Jacob.
Jacob went first and the two ladies followed.
“I can't get over the space, and the furniture is in here already. Who did all this work?” Rebecca asked.
“Timothy did some and other people helped out when he needed them.”
“I didn’t know where you wanted everything, Rebecca. I’ll help you move it if you want to change it around,” Anne said.
“It looks fine to me.” Rebecca took another look around, suddenly feeling very grown up. She finally had her own household to run. “It feels like home.”
When they reached the large kitchen, Anne opened two of the cupboards. “I've unpacked a few basic necessities to get you started, but of course we can rearrange however you wish.”
“Denke. I'll see to it all tomorrow when I come back from visiting my folks. And, I'll have to check on Mary to see how she's doing. I half expected to get a call while we were away to say that she'd had the boppli already.”
“Nee, she hasn't and if she had, I would've heard.” Anne shook her head.
After they were done looking around the house, they went into Anne's grossdaddi haus to fetch Micah.
“Oh, look. He's sleeping so soundly.” Rebecca wished she could sleep so heavily, but with her job a deep sleep was a rare gift. She was always expecting her pager to sound or the phone to ring.
Jacob put a hand on his sister’s shoulder, and whispered, “Denke for looking after him, Anne. We’ll fetch him when he wakes.”
“Okay, you two get settled, and you can take him home after you have the evening meal here with me. I prepared something for you.”
Rebecca tried to smile. It had saved her work, but she would’ve preferred to have a romantic dinner alone with her new husband. Especially with this being the very first time they’d eat a meal in their new home. “Is that what smells so delicious?”
“Denke. I’ll have to go to the markets tomorrow to fill the cupboards.”
“I have some boxes of canned goods and jars of preserved fruits in your kitchen.”
Now Rebecca felt bad for being a little resentful. Anne was so good for looking after Micah, and Rebecca knew she’d have to stop feeling that way. “Denke, Anne. I’ll check what there is so I don’t double up.” It was going to be sort of like living with her mudder-in-law. She’d feel she had to be the best cook, have the cleanest haus and be careful to always make the most economical choices with the food shopping.
* * *
The next morning when Rebecca was ready to visit her mother, she knocked on Anne’s door to collect Micah since he’d ended up staying there the night. Anne had made one excuse after another why he should stay with her. It was okay for now but Rebecca knew she’d have to monitor the situation. She wanted Micah close to her, so he could get used to her as his new mother.
Anne opened the door.
“Hello, Anne. I'm here to collect Micah. I’m taking him to visit my folks.”
Anne’s mouth twisted slightly. “That's not necessary. He can stay here with me instead of being jiggled about in the buggy. You can collect him when you get back. I’ve got his things packed ready for you.”
“He won’t be jiggled about. I'm not that bad a driver and he’ll be secure in his seat. Besides, my mudder would like to see him.”
Anne blinked rapidly. “She saw him at the meeting, Sunday last.”
Rebecca didn’t want to stand there arguing with Anne. “Would you like to come with us?”
“Nee, I'll stay here with little Micah.”
“Are you sure that's okay? Wouldn’t you like a break from looking after him now that I'm back?”
“Nee, it’s perfectly fine. Come and see him before you go.”
“Okay.” Rebecca walked into the small kitchen where Micah was propped up in the high chair. He was now her son and she didn’t like being “invited” to see him. She wanted to take him now she was back. “Hello, Micah,” she whispered as she leaned down and kissed the top of his head and he smiled at her. “He’s so cute.”
“Jah, he is. I’ll have him ready for you when you finish visiting your mudder, okay? You can see he’s happy here and rested.” Anne gave her a lovely bright smile and Rebecca knew her fears were unfounded.
“Okay I'll do that.” She turned back to Micah. “I’ll see you when I get back and I’ll take you home to your new bedroom.”
Rebecca hitched her buggy and traveled to her childhood home, a little sad to be going without her new stepson. Her younger brothers would be at school and her teenage brothers would be at work, but she was anxious to see her mother whom she’d missed dreadfully. When she pulled up outside her old home, her mother ran out to her. Rebecca jumped down from the buggy and they met with a hug.
“It's so good to see you back.”
“It's good to be home.” Being so much taller than her mother, she rested her arm comfortably around her mother’s shoulder. “What's been going on?”
“You won't believe it.” Mamm shook her head. “So much has happened. Come inside and I'll tell you all about it.”
They walked into the house arm-in-arm. “I can’t wait to hear everything.”
“So much, so much. Sit down first. You’ll need to be sitting when I tell you.”
“Is it bad?”
“Nee, it’s good. I’m certain.”
Once they were inside, Rebecca hurried to sit down at the kitchen table. “Mary hasn't had the boppli yet, has she?”
Mamm picked up the teakettle. “Nee, but Timothy's getting married.”
“What?” Rebecca shrieked. Her mother giggled and once she'd put the teakettle onto the stove she sat down around the corner from Rebecca, who was trying to get over the shock. “It's true?”
“I’m not fibbing.”
Rebecca tried to think of who her older brother might be marrying and she couldn’t think of anyone likely. “Not May?”
Her mother laughed. “Nee. Not May. Do you remember Abigail, a young woman visitor who was at your wedding?”
In her mind’s eye, she mentally pictured all the visitors at her wedding. “Abigail? The one with the cute young dochder?”
Rebecca pulled a face. “Don’t tell me he’s going to marry her?”
“That's right,” Mamm repeated.
Her mother seemed pleased about it, but Rebecca wasn't so certain. “This doesn't feel right. Don't you think it's a little rushed? They haven’t known each other for long. You can’t fall in love with someone in that short a space of time.”
“Love is love. Who's to say how long it takes? It can be instant with a special feeling in your stomach.” Her mother put her hand on her tummy.
“Well let’s just hope that feeling in the stomach doesn’t turn into nausea if things don't go as well as he hopes.”
Her mother’s lips drew together tightly. Was it disapproval Rebecca detected on her face? Mamm finally said, “That's funny coming from you with your own hasty marriage to Jacob.”
“That was months. I knew him for months before we married. This is just days. Two weeks? Are you kidding me? Are you and Dat really condoning this potential catastrophe?” Rebecca couldn’t see why her mother seemed happy about it. Dat would’ve agreed to things, too, as long as Mamm was happy.
The smile was gone from Mamm’s face. “I thought you'd be happy for your bruder.”
“If she wasn’t a stranger, I would be. If she was from this community I’d be happy, but she’s not. We don’t know her. It's a shock.” Rebecca sighed and rubbed her forehead. “It's just odd to come back and hear he’s getting married to someone I don't even know.” She stared into her mother's eyes wondering how they could allow Timothy to marry a stranger. Not only that, there was a child to consider in all this. It was reckless and yet her father must've agreed to it since her mother looked so happy.
“I didn't think you'd have such a problem with it. I thought you’d be pleased.”
“Where is he?” She had to talk some sense into Timothy.
“He's over at her haus working on it.”
“Abigail has a haus already? She works quickly on all fronts.”
“She bought it. Timothy was showing her all the places for sale and she bought one and is leasing it until all the final paperwork is done. Timothy is helping her figure out what to do with things. She was staying in your bedroom before that and that’s how they got to know one another.”
“My bedroom? I haven’t even got my things out of it yet.”
“That's all packed up and in the barn, ready for you to collect.”
“Hmm, it seems like he couldn't wait to get me out. At my wedding, Timothy told me you said he could have my old room.”
Mother nodded and her lips turned upward slightly at the corners. “I do remember there was a misunderstanding about that.”
Rebecca sighed heavily. “I’ll have Jacob come by later and pick up my things from the barn. I hope it was all packed carefully and not just tossed out there recklessly.”
“Oh, Rebecca, you’re so dramatic sometimes. Of course everything was well packaged up.”
“I’ll see for myself.” Rebecca headed out to the barn while her mother stayed in the kitchen. Had she been there while Timothy was courting this woman, he would’ve asked her advice and she would’ve begged him to slow down. Obviously, no one had guided him in love and marriage.
Before Rebecca reached the barn, she noticed May heading up the driveway toward the house, driving her buggy. May’s twin sister, April, had left the community after making up dreadful lies over Jacob. There really was no nastiness in May, Rebecca knew, except when her sister influenced her. She waited for the buggy to draw closer and May stopped the buggy close to the barn. “Hi, May.”
“Rebecca! Someone said you were back.” May stepped down and hurried to her. “It's so good to see you — I’ve come to you for advice, if that's okay.”
“Sure.” Anything to keep her from thinking of the mistake her brother was about to make. “What's on your mind?”
May inhaled deeply. “The thing is that I like someone and he's a widower and I know you've just married a widower, so I’m hoping you’ll give me some insight.”
Rebecca knew there were a couple of widowers in their large community, but she couldn't think of which one May would possibly like. “Who is he?”
“I don't want you to say anything.”
“Of course I won’t.”
“It’s William Bronstein.”
Rebecca slowly nodded as she pictured William Bronstein. He was a handsome man with two daughters who weren’t yet teenagers. “William is a nice man. What kind of advice are you looking for?” Just as May opened her mouth to respond, the phone in the barn rang. “Just a minute, sorry. I'll have to get that.” Rebecca hurried to get to the phone before it stopped ringing. “Hello.”
“Rebecca?” It was a man's voice and he sounded urgent.
“She's gone into labor. Hurry.”
“I'll be right there.” Because of his panicked voice, she didn't ask questions about how long Mary had been having contractions or whether she was in pain. Their house wasn't far, so she’d find out for herself. She turned around to face May, who’d followed her into the barn. “Do me a huge favor?”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Go to my new haus and tell Anne that Mary is in labor and I don’t know when I’ll be back.” Rebecca was glad she'd grabbed her bag of midwife necessities on her way out this morning, a habit Marilyn had ingrained in her from the earliest days of training.
“Do you know where my new place is?”
“The one that Timothy was working on?”
“I know it, but I need your advice first.”
Rebecca rushed past her. “I can’t talk now. I must go to Mary.”
May was hot on her heels. “When can we talk? Shall I come to you?”
Rebecca stopped still. “I'll come to you as soon as I can. Her boppli’s coming and I must go. As soon as I get the next bit of time, which might be tomorrow or maybe the day after, I give you my word I'll come to you. We can sit down and have a big talk, okay?”
She leaned forward and gave May a quick hug. “Can you also tell my mudder where I’m going?”
Rebecca jumped into the buggy and headed to Samuel and Mary’s house. Micah was the last baby born in that house. Things had gone well with the birth but things had gone downhill rapidly with the death of Jacob’s wife soon afterwards. That was at the forefront of Rebecca’s mind. The other thing was, she would have to watch what she said in front of everyone because no one apart from herself and Mary and Samuel knew that this was Mary’s second birth, not her first.