Amish love saves all, p.1

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Amish Love Saves All
 

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Amish Love Saves All


  AMISH LOVE SAVES ALL

  PEACE VALLEY AMISH SERIES

  BOOK 3

  RACHEL STOLTZFUS

  Copyright © 2017 RACHEL STOLTZFUS

  All rights reserved.

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  Details can be found at the end of this book.

  TABLE OF CONTENTS

  CHAPTER ONE

  CHAPTER TWO

  CHAPTER THREE

  CHAPTER FOUR

  CHAPTER FIVE

  CHAPTER SIX

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  CHAPTER NINE

  CHAPTER TEN

  A WORD FROM RACHEL

  ENJOY THIS BOOK? You can make a big difference

  ALSO BY RACHEL STOLTZFUS

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  CHAPTER ONE

  Naomi Miller leaned against the kitchen wall, shoving her hands into her neat, blonde bun, displacing the round ball of long hair. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she grieved for her best friend, Leora Lapp, who had been forced to watch her daed go into a mental hospital after trying to kill Leora and her mamm, Lizzie. “Gott, why? They have done nothing to deserve this! Please, Lord, watch over all three of them and help Mister Lapp finally heal from all of his memories.”

  Finished with her quiet prayer, Naomi pulled her hair covering from her head and shuffled to the kitchen table, grabbing a napkin. She scrubbed her face clean of tears, and then blew her nose. It wouldn’t do for Daed or Mamm to see me reacting so, or they won’t let me continue working on the peer group. Releasing a long, shaky sigh, Naomi exerted control over her emotions just as her mamm came into the house.

  “Naomi, what’s wrong?” Annie’s concern was evident on her round face.

  “Nothing, Mamm. I just came from seeing Leora.”

  “Ach, with her daed in the mental hospital, ya. How were she and her mamm?”

  “Upset.” Naomi’s voice quivered as she forced control over her vocalization. Exhaling slowly, she forced the sobs back again.

  “Of course. Please let them know that I am so sorry for what happened.” Annie glanced outside the large kitchen window, allowing the late-fall scenery to calm her spirit. “And you, my daughter. I know you’re more upset than you are letting on. Go outside and take a walk. Your daed won’t be home for a while—he’ll be late for supper. I just got word from Deacon King.”

  “Oh? What is he doing?”

  “He is working on presentation materials for our young teen couples. Go. Calm yourself down and come back in later. You do know that if he sees you so affected, he will take you off the peer committee.”

  “Ya, I know. We knew what was going to happen with the Lapps, but it was still a shock. Lizzie has to be so torn apart!”

  “Ya, daughter, she is. But the English sheriff explained to her and Leora that a mental health placement is best for them and Wayne. That, when he is discharged, he will be stabilized on medications and better able to control his moods and reactions to stresses.”

  Seeing it from that viewpoint, Naomi felt better. “And Lizzie was already working in the store, so it’s not like she would have had to come back in, hoping there would be an opening waiting for her.”

  “Exactly. If you want to stay on the committee, child, you need to start looking for the silver linings. Go. Walk, then help me with supper.”

  Naomi’s smile was much more heartfelt now. Grabbing her cape, she swung it over her shoulders and waved goodbye to Annie. “I’ll be back soon.”

  Walking outside in the crisp fall air, Naomi thought about everything she and her mamm had just discussed. Ya, Lizzie and Leora were frightened and upset. They are going to miss Wayne. But it’s better for them to miss him, knowing he’s finally getting the help he’s needed for so many years. And they are both working at the store, earning the money they need. I’ll ask Mamm to find out if they will need help with Wayne’s carpentry orders. I am sure they hate having to ask once again. Her thoughts veered back to the time, nearly a year ago, when Wayne had seriously injured his arm in a carpentry accident. The community’s carpenters had lent their expertise and efforts in helping Wayne to keep up with his orders so he wouldn’t lose customers and all of his tools. Shivering slightly in the chill breeze, she decided it was time to go back inside.

  “Mamm, what do you need me to do?”

  “Hmmm, please make the dessert. Peach pie, I think. Then, take vegetables from the pantry so we can have them with the chicken.”

  “Should I make the potatoes?”

  “Nee. I’m working on them now.”

  Looking down, Naomi saw that her mamm had cut several potatoes into small chunks, along with most of an onion. “Mmm! Potatoes Anna!”

  Annie smiled, her round face beaming. “Ya, I figured we could use some comfort-type foods. I know this whole thing has ferhoodled your daed because they have been friends for so long. What does Jethro say?”

  Working on the piecrust, Naomi shook her head. “I don’t know yet. All this happened after we went out last. I’m sure I’ll hear from him and his parents about this. I do know they were really worried about Wayne. Then, when we learned he was planning to try and kill Lizzie and Leora, Mister and Missus Yoder felt so horrible, feeling like they had failed the whole Lapp family.”

  “But they didn’t fail them.” Annie worked on the chicken and potatoes, deftly stirring the potatoes as she placed the chicken into the roaster. “If Wayne had been more direct about what was happening in his mind, we could have gotten to him and gotten help to him more quickly.”

  “I’m just grateful that we were able to do what we did.” Naomi turned the peaches into the pie plate, on top of the piecrust. Sprinkling cinnamon on the peaches, she continued. “I was very surprised that the English sheriff and deputies were able to get to him as quickly as they did.”

  Naomi shivered before she could stifle the automatic reaction. Looking quickly at her mamm, she smiled slightly when she realized Annie had caught her reaction. “Sorry.”

  “Why? We all saw something frightening. It’s better to deal with it now than have it affect us for weeks down the road, ya?”

  “Ya. I just don’t want you and Daed to take me off the committee. That’s all.”

  “So, you still want to work on it?” At Naomi’s emphatic nod, Annie continued. “You can. As long as you are honest with your daed and me about how you feel about what we witness. This past Sunday was...horrible for all of us. We love the Lapps. Realizing that Wayne had fallen apart as much as he did frightened even the elders and the Yoders. I’m sure Jethro’s parents will tell you that.”

  Now, it was Naomi’s turn to gaze outside the large, bay window. Seeing the leaves falling off the trees, she allowed the sight to help calm her spirit. “Ya, I’m sure. Mrs. Yoder looked...well, more than concerned.” As the sky darkened, Naomi’s mind went back to the lunch in their back yard. Seeing Wayne approaching Lizzie, a look of determination on his craggy face, had chilled Naomi. Shaking her head, she reminded herself of one thing: We all knew what he had planned. And thank Gott that we had the assistance of the sheriff’s department! Remembering these two things, Naomi was able to calm herself down. “We had a lot of help. I’m keeping that in mind as I get over this. Mamm, would you mind terribly if I went to visit Leora and Lizzie after supper?”

  “Nee, as long as your daed has no objection. If you do go, don’t be too long. And please, pass on our prayers and good wishes for them and Wayne.”

&nbs
p; “Ya, I will.” Naomi worked in silence. Taking jars of vegetables out of the pantry, she brought them into the kitchen. “Beans and peas, I think. I know they’re both green, but we have so much of them!”

  “That’s fine. They are your daed’s favorite... Oh! There he is!”

  Caleb walked into the kitchen, removing his black felt hat. Holding his cupped hands over his mouth, he blew into them, trying to warm them up. “It’s getting cold out there!”

  “Husband, I’m glad you’re home! What did you and Deacon King get done?”

  “Some teaching materials that go along with our Ordnung. We’ve found that so many of our married couples and courting couples either believe the Ordnung doesn’t allow our married women and teen women to work outside the home, or even that some of the men in the community are actually using the Ordnung to force their wives to stay at home, even as they know the Ordnung doesn’t forbid wives working outside the home.”

  “I’m not surprised.” Annie turned to check the chicken’s progress, missing the way Caleb looked around the house.

  “Ya, I truly thought our Ordnung would cause you to be brought before the community. Now that I know it doesn’t, I am fine with your ownership of the Quilt Shop. And with Naomi managing it so you can work half-time.”

  Annie closed the oven door and wheeled around to face Caleb. Her eyes were wide. She had never heard that calm tone of voice coming from him in connection with her store. “Caleb! You’re serious!”

  “Of course! Seeing what happened with the Lapps opened my eyes to the dangers.”

  Annie quieted down quickly at that. “Are you saying...he may still be...?”

  “Nee. But when he comes home, he will be watched closely. Deacon King and the bishop are determined that this kind of thing won’t happen again, ever.”

  ***

  As the Millers were recovering from the events of the weekend, John Andrews, whose family had moved to Peace Valley several years earlier, smiled, thinking of his girlfriend, Beth Zook. John had a hard time adjusting to his new community—as conservatively as the Peace Valley community thought, it was much more advanced than his Old Order Amish community.

  John’s smile slowly disappeared as he thought of Beth’s consistent refusal to quit her job at the diner on the edge of Peace Valley. He rolled his eyes, thinking of her objections. She says that she and her mamm need the money they both earn. I am sure she could quit and, with a little budgeting, they would still be just fine. I am just going to have to continue working on her until she sees things my way.

  John conveniently forgot that “working on her” included smacking Beth with a closed fist. As a farmer, he had become unusually strong, which he was willing to use against Beth’s disobedience to his wishes. I just have to strike her where marks won’t show. Say, on her arms or her ribs. Soon, though, she will agree with me. I wonder what Mister Lapp did to convince his wife to quit her job...but why did she go back to that quilt shop? Does she care that she violates the Ordnung?

  John was aware of the differences between the Ordnung from his old community—which was probably slightly more advanced than when he, his daed and mamm had left—and that of Peace Valley. Still, he chose to discount the fact that he was thinking of the Ordnung that existed for his former community rather than that of his new home because it was something he was more comfortable with.

  “John! Have you finished repairing the harvester?” John’s daed, Big John, came into the barn on short legs.

  “Ya, just a few minutes ago. I think it will be gut for next autumn.”

  “Gut. Come into the house for supper. I want to have devotions early so I can get to bed early.”

  “Ya. I will. I was thinking I could spend some time with a...friend.”

  “Hmm.” Big John glared out at his son from under bushy, graying eyebrows. “Tomorrow’s a working day. Ya, go on ahead, but be back here at a reasonable hour!”

  John had grown up with those strict rules all his life, so he was quite comfortable with them. “Ya, Daed. I will.” Hurrying inside, he barely greeted his mamm, instead rushing upstairs to wash his hands and face. Coming back downstairs, he stood behind his chair, waiting until Big John was ready to give the silent prayer of thanks.

  Mrs. Andrews silently and quickly served her husband and son their plates. Her husband had made it crystal clear at the beginning of their marriage that he expected this level of service at every meal. She was the last to sit and start eating. Out of long habit, she averted her eyes from both her son and husband, whose table manners were atrocious.

  “Oh, wife, son is going out after devotions to spend a little time this evening with a friend. And he has promised he will be at home early, so we can start early tomorrow morning. As you know, John, though we may have harvested all our crops, the work still continues!”

  “Ya, Daed. I will be home early and up at my usual time.” John’s voice, when he responded to his daed, was uncharacteristically modest.

  “Gut, son.” Big John continued to shovel large forkfuls of food into his mouth, barely giving himself time to chew and swallow.

  “Hmmm. Apple pie. I was hoping for shoofly pie.”

  “I’m sorry, husband. I plan to serve that another night this week.”

  Big John sighed. “Okay, as long as you stick to that promise.” He slowed down his chewing, fixing his gaze on his wife, Emma’s, face.

  Emma continued to get more and more nervous. Soon, she couldn’t eat her pie because her stomach was twisted in knots. She knew she would pay for this later in the week.

  “Mamm? Aren’t you going to finish your pie?”

  “Nee. I must have eaten so much I didn’t leave room for dessert.”

  “Can I have it?”

  “Ya, go ahead.” Emma got up and began gathering her cooking dishes around the sink. She wanted to finish early so they would be on time for devotions.

  John greedily grabbed the plate and finished his mom’s pie in three quick bites.

  “Wife, finish the dishes and clean the kitchen. We will have devotions in here and I want our setting to be appropriate for our discussion of Bible passages.” Big John stood and, without thanking Emma for the meal, belched and went to relax in the living room.

  As Emma worked to wash dishes and clean her kitchen, she stifled tears, wondering how her life had gone so wrong. Her daed had been strict with her and her sisters. But he had never been abusive toward them or their mamm. Meeting Big John, she had been impressed with his ability to run a farm and coax the plants to grow. Ya, we have had our rough years when, no matter his farming skills, weather conditions made it impossible for the crops to grow.

  After devotions, John left quickly to stop at Beth’s parents’ house. Standing at the door, waiting for someone to answer, he anticipated convincing her to quit her serving job. His smile creased his face as he anticipated her responses.

  “Beth! I was hoping we could go for a buggy ride tonight.”

  Beth Zook gave a shy smile to John. Shaking her head, she said, “Nee. I am coming down sick and I’m responsible for taking care of mamm. She’s sick as well. And we both have to be well enough to go to work on Wednesday.” She began to shut the door.

  “I can take my chances,” John spoke as he pressed his hand aggressively against the door.

  Beth sneezed and coughed. “I’m sorry, John. I would love to go driving with you, but I’m running a fever. I can’t leave mamm.”

  John hated to be thwarted. Scowling, he allowed his hand to fall. Perceiving her refusal as deliberate disobedience, he allowed his hand to fist behind his back. Lashing it out fast, his fist connected hard with Beth’s ribs.

  CHAPTER TWO

  Beth gasped and bit back her cry of pain. As she felt pain shooting from her ribs to her spine, she thought yet again about the peace she would have if she only had the courage to break up with him. “John! I’m sorry, but I can’t go out. I have a fever and Mamm does too. We need to recover. Please leave.” Working up h
er courage, Beth stepped back and quickly shut the door. After making sure it was securely locked, Beth leaned weakly against the solid wood and allowed tears of pain and frustration to trickle down her pale cheeks.

  “Beth? Daughter? Who was at the door?” Beth’s mamm was coming slowly downstairs.

  Beth quickly wiped her tears away. Pulling a fresh tissue from the small package on the table, she blew her nose. “It was John, Mamm. He wanted me to go riding with him, but I told him we are both ill. Do you need anything? Water?”

  “I am getting some ibuprofen for my fever. You should take some as well. I do feel better, thankfully.”

  “Ya, I will take some, thank you.” Beth’s hand snuck under her crocheted shawl as she felt her painful ribs. She knew she would have a nasty bruise soon. Slowly, she moved with her mamm to the kitchen, where she took their glasses out of the cabinet. “I’m just grateful tomorrow’s our day off so we can continue recovering.”

  “I know. We can’t afford to take very many days off. But the owner won’t allow us to work sick, either. I do wish...”

  “What, Mamm?”

  “That we either got sick leave, or that I had confidence in my baking so I could work from home and earn the income we need. There’s nothing I can say about Amos...Gott wanted him, so he’s gone.”

  Four years earlier, Amos Zook had died after suffering from congestive heart failure for several years. “Mamm, his heart just gave out. He was so tired at the end. I’m sure that, while he didn’t want to leave us, he was also relieved. I would be, if I had been in his situation. And, about your baking...you bake beautifully. You could get the high prices some of our other bakers get for their products. I know it.”

  “Maybe. I just remember what Amos’ mom said when she tasted my shoofly pie the first time. She said it didn’t have very much flavor. When I tasted it, I wondered what she was talking about.”

  “What? She really must have loved a strong molasses taste or even the brown sugar taste. Any time I’ve tasted it, I loved the flavors.”

 
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