The Amish Widower's Promise (PAPERBACK)
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Amish Women of Pleasant Valley Book 3
His promise ruined everything.
Rebecca's aspirations of being a midwife are upended when she meets Mona and Jacob.
Unprepared for Mona's final wish, Rebecca is thrown into turmoil. Initially believing Jacob agreed to his wife's request merely to comfort her, Rebecca soon realizes he's serious.
Caught in a situation she never anticipated, Rebecca now faces the daunting task of finding a way out.
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"I don't mind telling you it hasn't been easy. It’s double the trouble and twice the work."
Rebecca smiled at Karen's baby boys whom she’d helped deliver one year and two days ago. "They are beautiful and adorable.”
The twins, Casey and Caleb, crawled off in separate directions. It seemed Karen and Jason had their work cut out for them.
"You must be nearly ready for the next addition to the family. Perhaps another set of twins, maybe triplets? Hmmm?"
Karen laughed. "Are you trying to drum up more business?"
Rebecca giggled. “Now that I'm nearly a fully-fledged midwife I need some business. Not that I'd ever charge you, not after everything you've done for me.”
"Oh, the room? It was nothing. I had the money with that unexpected inheritance and after I bought my home I still had more left over. I can’t think of anything better I could’ve done. I never had a schweschder to spoil." Several years ago, Karen had given the bishop money to build on a bedroom specifically for Rebecca, to save her from having to share with her younger brothers. It hadn't been easy for Rebecca living with twelve brothers in a four-bedroom home. Thanks to Karen, for the last four of those years she’d had her own bedroom.
“I’m surprised Dat accepted the gift.” Rebecca would never forget Karen's kindness.
"I talked him into it. I can't imagine what it was like for you sharing a room with three of your brothers." Karen winced. “Not in your teenage years.”
"I had no privacy at all. Even when they were supposed to be asleep there was one of them always awake, always wanting me to tell him a story so he could drift off to sleep. It changed my life when I got a decent night’s sleep and didn’t have to watch over the boys and fetch them water in the middle of the night or accompany them to the bathroom in the dark."
Karen gave a little giggle. "That's what it's like when you’ve got children of your own."
"I probably won’t have to worry about that."
"What do you mean?"
"Midwives never marry."
Karen threw her head back and laughed, and stopped when she had to jump to her feet to rescue a coffee mug from one of the twins who was trying to get it off the coffee table. “I’ll have to step up the security around here. They’re doing more and more every day.”
“Reaching further than ever, I see.”
Karen sat back down. "Now what’s this nonsense about midwives not marrying?”
"Marilyn never married. It's just not the lifestyle that's conducive to marriage."
"That's not so. Many midwives marry."
Rebecca raised her eyebrows. "Name one that you know of."
Karen breathed out heavily. "I'm sure there are. It's just the midwives in this community didn’t marry and it's not something that should become a pattern. Gott wants everybody to marry. That’s how he designed us—to want a spouse. Don't you want love?"
"I guess so. Jah, I do.”
“What about Dean? What does he have to say about your single-life pledge?"
Rebecca thought back to her childhood friend and neighbor. She’d grown up thinking she'd end up marrying him and she was sure he felt the same. There hadn’t simply been a silent understanding, they’d even talked about it when they were ten and agreed on it. Since then, though, nothing had happened. Dean might not even be interested in her anymore, but she knew for a fact he’d never gone out with any other girl. "I guess I'll probably marry him, if anyone, but he's never asked me on a buggy ride or anything."
"I wouldn't worry about it. It's just a matter of time."
"Do you think so?"
"Of course. You suit each other perfectly."
"I guess so. But it just feels ‘blah’ when I think about marrying him.” She poked out her tongue. “You know? I want it to be how it was with you and Jason. I knew that first day you met there was something between the two of you. Sparks flew through the air like fireworks on a dark night."
Karen put a hand over her mouth and giggled. "I do admit there was an instant attraction. I felt something."
"I honestly just don't feel that will happen for me. If I was married and cooking dinner with several kinner, what would I do if a woman went into labor?”
"You would leave off and go to the birth and then come back. The whole family would have to look after themselves, or someone would have to fill in for you. You’d have something in place for those times. The woman in labor has to come first.”
"Exactly—that's what I mean. And isn't family supposed to come first?"
"Not when you're a midwife and you have people relying on you."
"Can you see where I'm coming from?” Rebecca asked. “It's a conflict."
"It's not as though you became a midwife later in life. Your husband would have to understand that's just the way things are and he'd marry you with that understanding. And you'd always have someone on stand-by to help your family if your husband couldn't take over."
"So, what I'd have to look for is an understanding man?"
"And have you met any of them lately?" Rebecca's face twisted into a smile and Karen laughed at her.
"You're so mean, Rebecca."
"I'm not. I just think that most men are pretty selfish. That's what I've seen and that's what has been my experience in the three years I've been helping Marilyn. I don't think the wives get enough sympathy from their husbands when they’re giving birth."
"I guess most men feel pretty helpless when that’s going on."
Rebecca shrugged her shoulders. "I suppose that might be it."
"You never know what's going on in someone's mind. Your vadder told me that."
"Jah, Dat is full of wisdom. He's always got an opinion on everything."
"And so he should; he is the bishop after all."
“Denke for reminding me, but that’s something I could never forget." She glanced at the wooden clock on the wall. “I'm going to Mary and Samuel’s when I leave here. Mary has a woman there for me to meet. Her name’s Mona and she's come back to this community for Marilyn to deliver her baby. Marilyn’s meeting me over there.”
"What's her name? I didn't catch what you said."
"Mona, and Jacob is her husband. I don't know their last name. I think she was from here originally, but he’s from somewhere else.” Rebecca jumped up and rescued one of the twins who was trying to stand and nearly toppled over.
Rebecca left Karen and traveled to Mary's house. More than anything Mary had said she wanted another child. She already had four year old Lois, and had been married to Samuel for nearly three years and still hadn't conceived.
Mona was only a couple of weeks away from her expected delivery date. And in Rebecca's experience, delivering two to three weeks either side of the due date was normal. The baby could arrive any day.
As soon as Rebecca knocked on the door, Mary opened it and grabbed her by the arm. "Marilyn called and said she can't come out. She has a slight cold and didn't want Mona to catch it."
Rebecca knew she could handle this on her own. Marilyn would retire one day, and she’d be flying solo when that day came. It was time to have a practice run. Besides that, Rebecca had a sneaking suspicion Marilyn really wanted a rest. It wasn’t the first appointment she’d missed of late. “Okay.”
As Mary showed her into the living room, Rebecca reminded herself how much experience she’d gained over the last two years, trying to bolster her confidence. She’d delivered many babies by herself, but Marilyn had always been there in the background.
Mary introduced her to Mona, who was sitting upright and looking uncomfortable. Rebecca leaned down and shook her hand. "Pleased to meet you, Mona." Mona was a pretty woman, small, with delicate features.
"Denke for coming. I would like to meet Marilyn, too, before the birth."
Rebecca noticed Mona’s cheeks were red and she didn't look well at all. "How are you feeling, Mona?"
"Not too good. We had a long journey today and it's taken it out of me."
"What you need is a good rest," Mary said. "You can go to bed whenever you're ready. Don't feel you have to sit up and make polite small talk. You’re here as our guest. I’ll have Freda bring dinner to your room."
"Nee, I'm not that bad. I'm fine."
"Have you met Marilyn before?" Rebecca asked.
"Jah, do you remember me? Oh, you probably wouldn't. You were just a child when I left the community to marry Jacob. Jacob is from Holmes County," Mary explained. "I knew Marilyn back then."
Mary said to Rebecca, "Mona moved away ten years ago to marry Jacob and it turns out he's a good friend of Samuel's."
As they drank tea, the ladies talked some more.
“Are you married, Rebecca?" Mona asked.
Rebecca placed her teacup back into the saucer balanced on her lap. "Nee. I was just talking with one of my other friends about marriage. Being a midwife is not conducive to being married. Marilyn’s never married."
"What you need is a good man, who will make you forget you’re a midwife and remember you’re a woman."
Rebecca giggled. "That's something like what Karen, my friend, said. And then we joked that I wouldn’t be able to find a gut man.” When she saw Mona didn’t find it funny, she explained, “An understanding man can be hard to find. It was just a joke. Probably a mean one. I shouldn’t have said it. It probably wasn’t nice.”
"My Jacob is very understanding."
"I'd like to meet him, then. I mean, does he have any brothers?" Rebecca joked.
"He has many brothers, but unfortunately they’re all married."
“It seems the good ones are." Rebecca laughed and then when Mona remained stony faced, she told herself never to make a joke around Mona again. She was taking everything way too seriously.
"Rebecca, aren't you marrying Dean?"
Rebecca gasped and stared at the mischievous sparkle in Mary’s eyes. "Don't start with me, Mary."
“What's this about Dean?" Mona asked, perking up a little.
"He's just a boy that I always figured I would marry. We grew up together and he was on a neighboring property, and from the time I was a young girl I realized the man I would marry would be amongst the community. I used to look at all the boys and guess which one he’d be. I guessed Dean. It just made sense, you know?"
"You're so lovely you deserve a good man," Mona said.
“Oh.” The unexpected compliment from a stranger made Rebecca notice heat creep into her cheeks. She secretly hoped that someday a man would have the same opinion of her that Mona had expressed. “Denke, Mona.”
“Nee, I mean it, Rebecca. How about I find you a man who’s truly worthy of a woman such as you?”
Rebecca stared at the mother-to-be, who apparently had no sense of humor. “I wouldn’t want to move from this community.”
“When you’re in love nothing else matters except to be with the one your heart desires. You’d go to the desert with him and live under a palm tree. Wherever he is, that’s the only place you want to be.”
Rebecca pushed away the image of living in the desert, and thought about being in love. She wanted a love like Mona described, a love all-consuming and complete. Someone her heart could be hungry for. “Okay. Please find someone if you think you can.”
Mona’s lips turned up at the corners just slightly, and it looked as though it took a great effort to do so. “And, will you keep an open mind if I name someone?”
What did Mona mean by that? Would he be old, or ugly? “I guess so.” Rebecca hoped she wouldn’t live to regret those words.
“Then I will … when I have given birth, I'll find you a lovely man who’s worthy of a beautiful young maidel such as yourself.”
Rebecca gave an embarrassed giggle. She hadn’t been complimented like that in quite some time.