The Amish Woman And Her Secret Baby (LARGE PRINT PAPERBACK)
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Amish Women of Pleasant Valley Book 2
She's broke, pregnant, and alone.
Mary is forced to make a heart-breaking decision regarding the future of her unborn child.
With no one knowing she was the baby's birth mother, she could only stand by and watch the twists and turns her baby's life took. The baby was finally taken in by the wealthiest and most arrogant man in her Amish community.
It didn't take long for Mary to figure out she could still be a mother to her child if she married the new adoptive father. The only thing standing in Mary's way was the woman he loved, and also the fact that he wouldn't look twice at Mary. Or, would he... ?
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“Surely this boppli will cement our relationship and make him more responsible.” Mary stared at her friend Beth. She always gave good advice.
“Do you think so?” Beth stared at her, blinking a little too much.
“I can only hope.”
Beth had been against the union from the start of the courtship. She’d told her Damian wasn’t a good fit for her, but she’d been silent about that since they’d married. What was done was done. There was no going back to being single after being married in the Amish community.
“It seems like it was years ago he and I met and it’s only been less than a year.”
“That’s what’s always worried me. He didn’t take long deciding to become Amish and you both jumped feet first into marriage.”
“I thought he was the man Gott had for me. Well, he must be, I suppose. I don’t know why I need to go through these trials. What is Gott trying to teach me?”
“I don’t know. I often wonder that when I miscarry. I’ve lost four bopplis in two years. Each time I learn I’m pregnant I convince myself this one will be different and this one will survive to full term, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Mary looked down into her lemonade, watching absently as the bubbles floated to the top. She almost felt bad to be pregnant when her friend had been married for years and still had no children.
Beth said, “It’s hard not to get bitter or consumed in self-pity. You can’t let that happen and you don’t want to get your depression back.”
“Nee, I don’t. There’s nothing worse. Damian has a gift for persuasion. He persuaded the bishop to let him join the community and talked me into marrying him. I don’t even know if he loves me anymore. Now I fear he’s lost interest.”
“I’m sure he still loves you.”
“Oh, Beth, he’s out every second night and when he comes home well after midnight he won’t tell me where he’s been.” Beth looked away and Mary could tell without exchanging words that Beth also thought he was having an affair. Beth had never trusted Damian. He was a handsome man and Beth had always told her he was consumed with his looks and was always looking around to see who was looking at him.
“That’s not good,” Beth eventually said.
“I know, but when he learns about the boppli things might change.”
“I hope so. When do you plan to tell him?”
“Tonight.” Mary rubbed her forehead. “I almost feel he doesn’t deserve to know.”
“You can’t think like that. It’s a bad attitude to have.”
“That’s the only attitude I’ve got. Did you have these problems when you married William?” Mary already knew the answer. William and Beth got along so well; they seemed perfectly matched.
“We just get along and always have.”
Mary moved uncomfortably in her seat. “It’s really upsetting. I hate to even be talking about it, but I feel we need help. He won’t talk to anyone about our problems. I think he’s having doubts about every decision he’s made in the past two years and he’s taking it out on me.”
“His decision to join the community?”
“Jah. I have a horrible feeling he’ll suddenly just up and leave one day. I’ll wake up and he will have gone back to Canada.”
“You said he didn’t get along with his family in Canada.”
Mary shrugged. “He doesn’t get along with anybody.”
“Maybe the news of the boppli will wake him up to exactly what he has. He’s got a family.”
Mary nodded. “That’s what I’m hoping.”
“I’ll be praying for you tonight.”
“Denke. I should be getting home to cook the dinner in case he arrives home early.”
“What time are you expecting him?”
“He finishes work at six, so he should be home by seven. Sometimes he’s not there until two or three in the morning. I never know when he’ll be having one of those late nights and if I ask, it’ll just turn into a big yelling match.”
“Oh, Mary. This is something you should tell the bishop.”
“Nee, I can’t. Damian would never forgive me if I went behind his back and I know he wouldn’t come with me. Everyone thinks he’s doing so well. Don’t say anything to anyone, okay?”
Eventually, Beth nodded.
* * *
When Mary got home, she saw Damian’s horse in the paddock. That meant he’d been home for a while. Nausea rippled through her tummy knowing he wouldn’t be happy she’d been out and about. It was odd that he was home so early. She threw the reins over the post and went inside to see if he was ill.
“Damian?” she called as she pushed the door open. She found him sitting at the kitchen table.
“Where were you?”
“Why weren’t you home cooking my dinner?”
“That’s why I’m home now.”
He sprang to his feet. “I don’t go out to earn money so you can go visiting your stupid friends all day long. The bishop says a woman’s place is in the home. Can’t you see the place needs cleaning? It’s filthy.” His hazel eyes blazed with anger.
“I cleaned before I went out. I wasn’t gone that long. Why are you home so early?”
He grabbed a dishtowel that was on the table, spat on it and then crouched down and wiped it along the floor. He stood and held it out to show her the dirt on the dishtowel. “Are you blind, as well as stupid? Does that look like dirt to you?”
“I must’ve missed that bit.”
He lunged forward and grabbed her arm and with the other arm pushed her down to the floor. Her knees buckled under the pressure and he held her head inches above the floorboards.
“See it now?” he yelled.
Now, hate welled within her. She wished she’d never married him. All she’d ever wanted was a kind and gentle man to take care of her and whatever kinner they might have. “You’re hurting me.”
He let her go and stepped away as she scurried to her feet. “Do you think I like getting up at five to go to work while you’re living the life of a wealthy woman? We’re not wealthy. We’ve got nothing. You’re going to get a job and help out.”
“You didn’t want me to get one.”
“That’s when I thought you were a proper wife. Now I know you’re just a lazy cow. That stops today.”
He walked over to the gas-powered fridge and pulled out a bottle of already-mixed rum and coke. She hated it when he drank. Things always got worse. He sat down on a kitchen chair and put his feet on the table, dirty boots and all. She held her tongue as he twisted the cap and tossed it over his shoulder. This was not the time to tell him about the baby.
“This was all a mistake. I thought being Amish was the answer to my problems, and now I know it was the worst thing I could’ve done.”
“You wanted to do it,” she said as she stood against the wall with her arms covering the front of her.
“All the men seemed so happy. Their wives look after them, but you don’t look after me. You and I don’t get along and now I’m stuck with you. I can’t even divorce you. I might take you to the bishop and tell him what you’re really like.”
She took a step closer. “If you treated me better, we’d get along better.”
He chugged several swallows of the drink. “Look, I’m out working from dawn to dusk to keep food on the table. I don’t know what you want of me.”
“Just some decency and some kindness.”
“Waa waa waa waa.” He mocked her with his head rocking from side to side. “Complain and nag, that’s all you ever do.” He turned and looked at the bottle cap in the corner of the room. “You haven’t even picked up that bottle cap.”
“You threw it.”
He stared at her, eyes blazing again. “Pick it up.”
She’d had enough. “You pick it up.”
Then he lifted his feet off the table and stood to his full height of six feet two. He lunged at her and struck her across the face.
She gasped in fright as her fingertips touched her stinging cheek. He’d never done that before. Before she could catch her breath, he grabbed her by her arm and dragged her to the bottle cap. “Stop! I’m pregnant.”
Immediately he let go of her. “Excuse me?”
“We’re having a boppli.”
His jaw dropped open and he sat back down at the table. At first, Mary couldn’t tell if he was shocked because he was pleased or if the opposite was the case.
Then he turned to look at her with narrowed eyes. “How could you let this happen? We’re struggling just to survive.”
“Didn’t you think this might happen?”
“So, it’s my fault? Is that what you’re saying?”
The last thing Mary wanted was another argument. “Aren’t you happy? You said you wanted a lot of children.”
“It’s way too soon. I can’t be tied down like that.”
“What do you mean?”
He shook his head. “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t. I’m out.”
“We should talk to the bishop and see if we can sort things out.”
“You’d only lie. There’d be no point.” He jumped to his feet and headed into the bedroom. When Mary caught up with him she saw him stuffing things into a bag.
“Sure thing, Sherlock.” He stood and grabbed the bag. “What am I doing? I can’t wear these clothes.” He dropped his bag, reached up into a high shelf and retrieved an old pair of jeans and a tee shirt.
“What are you doing?”
“Changing into my real-world clothes and then I’m walking into town to catch a bus.” He changed into his jeans and pulled on the shirt, dropping his Amish garb on the floor. “Oh, thanks for reminding me.” He opened the top drawer of their chest and pulled out a wad of cash.
“That’s our rent money.” She tried to grab it, but he stuffed it into the front pocket of his jeans.
“The rent’s due at the end of the week.”
He pressed his lips together and shook his head. “Not my problem anymore.”
“So, you’re leaving me just like that? What about the boppli?”
“Your baby, not mine.”
“But it is yours.”
He stopped and stared at her. “Is it?”
She was so stunned she couldn't speak.
“How do I know what you do when I’m out all day at work? You certainly don’t clean.”
Her mouth fell open at how awful he was. “You can’t mean that?”
“Have a nice life, or not, and don’t try to find me. Sayonara.” He snatched up his bag, brushed his way past her, headed out the door and slammed it shut behind him.