Katie Kauffman carried a tray filled with breakfast foods
down the hallway toward her aunt Rebecca's bedroom.
Balancing the tray on her hip, she tapped on the closed
door. "Breakfast time, Aenti Rebecca!" she called.
"Oh," Rebecca said through the door. "Come in."
Katie pushed the door open and smiled at her aunt, who
rested propped up in bed. Katie had spent most of the summer
helping her pregnant aunt in place of her best friend
Lindsay Bedford, who had come to live with their aunt
Rebecca four years earlier after her parents died in a car
Lindsay had left their community of
Bird–in–Hand, Pennsylvania, to visit her
parents' dear friends Trisha and Frank McCabe in Virginia
Beach, Virginia, and help Trisha heal from an accident in
which she had broken her leg. After Lindsay had left,
Rebecca's pregnancy complications had worsened, and Katie
had moved in to help care for her aunt Rebecca and uncle
Daniel's young children.
"How are you feeling today?" Katie asked, as she placed
the tray on the nightstand beside her aunt. "You don't look
quite as pale as you did yesterday."
"I'm doing better, danki." Rebecca smiled. "How are the
"They're doing well," Katie said, pulling up a chair and
–sitting beside the bed. She handed her aunt a glass
of orange juice. "They're eating breakfast with Onkel
Daniel, but I have a few minutes before his ride arrives to
take him to work."
Rebecca sipped her juice. "How are you today, Katie?"
"I'm doing well." Katie lifted the plate filled with
scrambled eggs, hash browns, and sausage and handed it to
her aunt. She then gave her the utensils. "I made your
"Danki." Rebecca bowed her head in silent prayer and then
scooped a pile of eggs into her mouth. "Katie, this is
delicious, as usual. Not only are your breakfasts always
wunderbaar, you're a fantastic baker."
"Danki." Katie smiled. "It's my goal to be the best baker
at the Kauffman Amish Bakery. I'm working with Mammi to
learn all of her recipes and even invent some of my own."
"Maybe someday you'll run the bakery for your mammi when
she's ready to retire," Rebecca said.
"I would love that," Katie said, smoothing her apron over
her lap. "That would be a dream come true for me. Hopefully
Amanda and Ruthie will continue to work there with me. I
would love to keep working with my family, you know?"
Rebecca nodded. "I bet you can't wait to go back to the
Katie hesitated, not wanting to hurt her aunt's feelings.
"I love being here, but I do miss the bakery."
"You're allowed to miss the bakery." Rebecca smiled. "I
bet you miss your friends too."
Katie nodded. "I do. I'm looking forward to when Lindsay
gets back, and we can all be together. It's been a long time
since Lindsay, Lizzie Anne, and I have all been together. I
miss mei best freinden."
"I'm certain you do." Rebecca swallowed some hash browns
and then sipped more juice.
"I really miss Lindsay since it seems like Lizzie Anne is
spending more and more time with mei bruder, Samuel," Katie
said, hoping she didn't sound selfish.
"Have you heard from Lindsay?" Rebecca asked.
"I need to go check the messages." Katie glanced toward
the window and wondered if Lindsay had received the letter
she'd written a few days ago. Against her aunt's wishes,
she'd written to her friend to tell her Rebecca had taken a
turn for the worse and was restricted to full bed rest.
Though she knew she was disobeying her elders, she felt
Lindsay needed to know the news as soon as possible. "I'll
check the messages today and see if Lindsay has called."
"Danki," Rebecca said. "I hope she's doing well." She
smiled. "I'm certain you and your friends will be back
together soon, and you'll be back at the bakery making your
"Ya, you're right, Aenti Rebecca," Katie said. "Things
will be back to normal soon." Smiling at her aunt, Katie
hoped she was right.
Lindsay Bedford held her breath as the bus pulled into
the station in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She touched her
prayer covering and then smoothed the skirt of her black bib
apron, which covered her purple frock, making sure both were
presentable before grabbing her tote bag from the floor. It
seemed as if it took a lifetime for the line of passengers
in front of her to file off the bus. When she finally
stepped onto the sidewalk, her heart swelled.
"Heemet," she whispered, her lips curling up into a smile.
"Lindsay!" a familiar voice called.
Turning, she spotted Matthew Glick waving from a few
yards away. He was dressed in a dark blue shirt, black
trousers, and suspenders. His dark brown curls peeked out
from under his straw hat, and his golden–brown eyes
shone as he made his way through the crowd toward her. A
smile split his handsome face, and her heart thudded in her
"Matthew!" she called as he approached. "Wie geht's?"
"Doing great now." Matthew reached for her bag. "May I
carry that for you?"
"Danki." She smiled, but held the bag closer to her body.
"How about you carry my luggage instead? My duffle bag is
"I'd be happy to," he said, gesturing toward the bus
station. "Let's go inside and get it. I'm certain you're in
a hurry to get heemet. Mei schweschder rode along with me.
She'll be happy to see you too."
"Oh, that's nice. I can't wait to see Betsy," Lindsay
said. "It's so gut to be heemet."
After retrieving her duffle bag, they both climbed into
the back seat of the waiting van.
Betsy waved from the front passenger seat, where she sat
next to the driver. "Lindsay, willkumm heemet."
"Danki, Betsy. I appreciate your coming to get me,"
Lindsay said, as she settled into her seat and buckled her
belt. "You both kept my arrival a secret, ya?"
"I kept my promise." Matthew lifted his hat and smoothed
his curls. "Betsy and I haven't told anyone."
"I'm certain Daniel, Rebecca, and the kinner will be froh
to see you again," Betsy said.
"How is mei aenti doing?" She held her breath, hoping her
aunt Rebecca hadn't taken a turn for the worse.
"I haven't heard that anything has changed," Matthew
said. "Don't worry about her right now. We'll get you heemet
as soon as we can." He smiled. "Tell me about your trip. Did
you have a gut time?"
"I did." Lindsay angled her body toward him and also
glanced at Betsy as she spoke. "My aunt Trisha and uncle
Frank live right on the beach, and I walked out there every
day. It was so nice to feel the warm sand between my toes. I
even swam a bit. I love the ocean. I spent some time with
friends from school, and I attended the church where I grew
up. I volunteered at a nursing heemet too, which was nice. I
told you in my letter I helped Mrs. Fisher, the patient who
spoke only Dietsch."
"Oh, how nice that you helped out in a nursing heemet,"
Betsy said. "I'm certain the patients enjoyed seeing you."
"Ya," Matthew said with a nod. "That was really
wunderbaar gut how you helped Mrs. Fisher communicate with
the nurses when she fell and hurt herself."
Lindsay's smiled faded. "She passed away Friday night."
Shaking his head, he frowned. "I'm sorry. I know she was
very special to you."
"I'm so sorry too, Lindsay," Betsy said. "How very sad."
Lindsay cleared her throat in the hopes of not getting
emotional in front of them. "But I'm glad I was able to help
her some. She dictated a letter to me, and I sent it to her
estranged dochder. It was a way for her to make peace
between them before she passed away."
"That's very nice of you," Betsy said. "What else did you
do while you were in Virginia Beach?"
"Let's see," Lindsay said, touching her chin. "Aunt
Trisha, Uncle Frank, and I went to some of my favorite
places to eat, and we ordered pizza from my favorite pizza
"Oh, I love pizza," Betsy said with a grin. "I bet it was
"Ya." Matthew grinned. "I bet that was a nice treat."
"It was. I would love to take a group of mei freinden to
visit Virginia Beach sometime. I know it's Katie's dream to
see the beach."
"Maybe someday we can take a trip down there," Matthew said.
"Ya. Aunt Trisha has a third level in the house with
plenty of space for guests."
"You should do that," Betsy said. "You're only young once."
"It sounds like you stayed pretty busy while you were
there. Did you have time to do anything else?" Matthew asked.
Glancing out the window at the morning traffic, Lindsay
thought of her GED and hesitated, wondering how he'd feel if
he knew she'd worked to achieve it. However, she didn't want
to keep any secrets from him, since he was her good friend.
After a moment Lindsay faced him and took a deep breath.
"I also did something that was more work than fun," she began.
"Oh?" He raised his eyebrows with curiosity. "What was that?"
"I hope you won't be upset with me." Lindsay glanced at
Betsy. "And I hope you won't think badly of me."
Betsy smiled. "Lindsay, I'm certain you couldn't do
anything to make me think badly of you."
"Why would I be upset?" Matthew's expression became one
"I wanted to prove to myself that I am smarter than
Jessica thinks I am." Lindsay bit her lower lip.
"You don't have to tell me," Matthew said. "I respect
your privacy, Lindsay."
"I studied really hard, and I got my GED." Lindsay braced
herself, waiting to see if he would be upset.
Matthew paused. "Ach."
Lindsay studied his eyes, finding disappointment mixed
with concern there. "You're upset." Out of the corner of her
eye, she saw Betsy turn toward the front of the van as if
she didn't want to interfere in the conversation.
"No." He shook his head. "I'm just wondering why you
wanted a GED if you're planning to stay in the Amish community."
"I just wanted to try," Lindsay said with a shrug. "I had
to see if I could do it. I was so tired of Jessica beating
me down with snide comments about not finishing high school.
I had to do this for myself."
He nodded slowly. "Does that mean you want to use your
GED to get a job in the English world or go to college?"
"No," Lindsay said quickly. "I don't want to get a job in
the English world, and I also don't want to go back to
school. While I was in Virginia Beach, I figured out what I
want to do with my life."
"And what do you want to do with your life?" His words
"Join the Amish church." Lindsay sat up straight in the
seat as confidence in her decision filled her. "I know for
certain this is where I want to be."
His warm smile was back. "Gut."
"Betsy," Lindsay said, "do you think it's okay I got my GED?"
Betsy smiled at Lindsay. "I think it's fine you wanted to
get your GED. But I also think it's wunderbaar you want to
join the church."
"Danki," Lindsay said.
Lindsay asked Matthew about the furniture store, and he
talked about his latest projects as the van bumped up the
road toward her aunt Rebecca's home in
Bird–in–Hand. She also asked Betsy about her
family, and Betsy talked about her children and the weather.
Although she listened to Matthew and Betsy, Lindsay's
thoughts returned to Rebecca. She prayed her aunt was going
to be all right and the complications with her pregnancy
hadn't worsened in the past few days.
Lindsay's trip to Virginia Beach was cut short when she
received the letter from Katie that told her Rebecca was
restricted to complete bed rest after her blood pressure
spiked. Since Trisha was no longer immobile, Lindsay rushed
out on the first bus available in order to return home to
help her aunt. Lindsay informed only Matthew she was
returning since she planned to surprise the family.
The van turned into her aunt's rock driveway, and
Lindsay's heart fluttered. She couldn't wait to see her
family after nearly three months. She'd missed them terribly.
The van came to a stop near the barn, and Lindsay fished
her wallet out from her tote bag. "How much was the ride?"
Matthew shook his head. "Don't be gegisch. I'll pay the
driver after he takes Betsy heemet and me to work." He
gestured toward the door. "You go inside. I'll get your bag."
"Danki." Lindsay said good–bye to Betsy, hopped out
of the van, and rushed up the porch steps. She glanced
through the glass of the back door and saw Katie washing
dishes at the kitchen sink. Lindsay pushed the door open,
and Katie looked up, her blue eyes rounding as they met
"Lindsay!" Katie yelled. "You're heemet!"
"Hi," Lindsay said, dropping her tote bag on the floor
with a clunk.
Katie rushed over, embracing Lindsay in a tight hug. "I'm
so glad you came back."
"I booked my ticket as soon as I got your letter."
Lindsay studied her eyes. "How is Aenti Rebecca?"
"She's doing okay," Katie said. "She's been very gut
about staying in bed, which is what the doctor instructed
her to do. She goes back to see him next week."
"Danki for taking care of her," Lindsay said. "I'll be
sure she follows his orders."
A thud sounded behind her, and Lindsay turned to see
Matthew standing by the door, her duffle bag beside him on
"Danki," Lindsay said, walking over and lifting the bag.
"I appreciate the ride from the bus station."
"Gern gschehne," Matthew said. "I'm glad you called me."
His eyes were intense. "I hope to see you soon."
"Ya," she said. "You will."
"Have a gut day. I need to get to work." He nodded toward
them both and then slipped out the door to the van.
"Lindsay!" Daniel Junior called, running from the family
room to the kitchen. "Willkumm heemet!"
Dropping to her knees on the floor, Lindsay pulled her
little cousin into a hug. "It's so gut to be heemet."
With a squeal, Emma toddled over to join them, and
Lindsay tugged her into a group hug with Daniel Junior.
"I have something for you both," Lindsay said with a
grin. She pulled her tote bag over and handed Daniel Junior
a toy car and Emma a doll. She had picked up the toys for
them before leaving Virginia Beach.
The children thanked her for the gifts and then hurried
back into the family room to play.
"Is Aenti Rebecca awake?" Lindsay asked as she stood.
"I'd love to let her know I'm heemet."
"She's resting," Katie said. "But I think she's awake."
"I'm going to go see her," Lindsay said, hoisting her bag
up onto her shoulder. She looked at the clock above the
sink. "Is it time for the kinner to nap?"
"Ya," Katie said. "I can bring your duffel bag for you if
you want to carry Emma. We can go up together."
Lindsay smiled. "That sounds like a gut plan." She
carried Emma up the stairs, kissing and nuzzling her while
the little girl giggled. After tucking her into her crib,
Lindsay kissed Emma's head and then moved to Daniel Junior's
room where she kissed him as well. She found Katie standing
in the doorway to Lindsay's room.
"They're very froh you're heemet," Katie said, with a
smile. "I am too." She gestured toward Rebecca's room at the
end of the hallway. "I'll let you go see Aenti Rebecca
alone. I've been sleeping in your room, so I'll pack up my
things. I'll see about getting a ride heemet in a little bit."
"No, don't leave. Why don't you stay today so we can
spend some time together?" Lindsay dropped her tote bag near
the doorway. "I'll be right back. I don't want to take away
from her rest time."
Moving down the hallway, Lindsay stood at Rebecca's door
and peered in, finding her aunt lying on her side, facing
the opposite wall. Her eyes filled with tears as she thought
of how much her aunt must have missed her when she began to
feel ill. A sob gripped her and she sucked in a breath to
prevent it from escaping.
Rebecca rolled over and gasped as she began to sit up.
"Lindsay? You're heemet?"
"Ya," Lindsay said, wiping her eyes as she moved into the
room. "How are you?"
"Ach, Lindsay." Rebecca opened her arms. "Kumm. It's so
gut to see you."
Lindsay leaned over into her aunt's arms as hot tears
streamed down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry I wasn't here when
you got grank."
"Don't be gegisch," Rebecca whispered, her voice sounding
thick. "It's not your fault, and Trisha needed you." She
looked up at Lindsay. "How is Trisha?"
"She's doing well." Lindsay sat on the edge of the bed.
"She's walking around now with a soft cast."
"What brought you back so soon?" Rebecca asked while
holding Lindsay's hand. "I wasn't expecting you for a few
Lindsay hesitated. She couldn't bear to tell her aunt a
fib, but she also didn't want to cause any trouble for Katie
who had only done what she believed was right.
"Did Katie call you?" Rebecca asked, raising her eyebrows
"She wrote me," Lindsay said. "But please don't be upset
with her. She's very worried about you, and she knew I would
want to know what was going on. She felt she had to tell me."
Rebecca smiled and touched Lindsay's cheek. "I'm not angry."
"Gut," Lindsay said, relief flooding her.
"I just didn't want you to feel obligated to come back
heemet since Trisha and Frank needed you," Rebecca
continued. "I wanted Trisha to be well before you came
heemet. You'd made a promise to her first."
"But I want to help you," Lindsay said. "You're my family
"It's so gut to see you," Rebecca said while squeezing
her hand. "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you and everyone else too," Lindsay said. "I
had a gut time, but this is mei heemet." She paused and took
a deep breath. "I have made a decision. I want to join the
Rebecca sucked in a breath and tears filled her eyes.
"Are you certain?"
Lindsay nodded. "I'm absolutely certain. I'm ready."
"Ach, Lindsay." Rebecca squeezed her hand again. "That's
the best news I could ever hear." She wiped her eyes. "I'm
Lindsay told her a little bit about her trip, sharing the
same news as she'd told Matthew in the van. When Rebecca
yawned, Lindsay stood. "I should let you rest. We can talk
"That's a gut idea," Rebecca said. "Did Daniel know you
were coming heemet?"
Lindsay shook her head. "No, he didn't."
Rebecca looked confused. "How did you get heemet from the
bus station? Did you get a taxi?"
"No, I didn't take a taxi." Lindsay's cheeks heated.
"Matthew arranged for a ride heemet and met me at the bus
"Matthew?" A smile turned up Rebecca's lips. "You called
him and asked him to pick you up?"
Lindsay nodded. "I didn't call Onkel Daniel because I
wanted to surprise you all."
"That's sweet," Rebecca said. "I'm glad to hear Matthew
picked you up. He's a gut young man."
"I know. I'll let you rest for a while," Lindsay said.
"I'll bring you your lunch after your nap."
"Danki, mei liewe," Rebecca said.
Lindsay gently closed the door behind her and headed back
to her room. Stepping through the doorway, she found Katie
sitting on her bed and frowning while holding Lindsay's cell
"This fell out of the pocket of your tote bag when I
moved it out of the doorway." Katie frowned. "Where did you
"It was a gift from Aunt Trisha and Uncle Frank," Lindsay
said, sitting next to Katie on the bed.
"Ya," Lindsay said, taking the phone from her. "They
bought it for me after I got my GED."
Katie looked alarmed. "You got your GED?"
"Why would you do that?" Katie's expression turned to
confusion. "I thought you loved living here. I thought you
liked being Amish and couldn't stand when your sister said
you were selling yourself short."
"I do love it here," Lindsay said. "And I know for
certain I want to be Amish."
Katie shook her head. "You're not making sense. You say
you want to be Amish, but you got your GED."
"I know." Lindsay stuck the phone in the front pocket of
her tote bag. "But I was so tired of Jessica hassling me
that I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. Since I got
my GED now, before I'm baptized, it shouldn't be a problem, ya?"
"That's true." Katie paused, and a smile grew on her
face. "Does that mean you want to be baptized and join the
Lindsay nodded, and Katie grinned.
"I'm so excited to hear the news," Katie said. Her
expression became curious. "How did you get Matthew to pick
you up at the bus station?"
"I called him," Lindsay said. "We'd written a
–couple of letters back and forth, and I knew he'd
keep a secret if I asked him to. He's a gut friend."
"I'm glad you're back." Katie stood and picked up her own
bag, which contained all her clothes from her overnight
stays. "I guess we should go downstairs, so we don't disturb
the kinner and Aenti Rebecca while they nap."
"I appreciate all you've done." Lindsay stood and hugged
her friend. "I'm going to unpack before I come down. I want
to get organized."
"That sounds gut." Katie hefted her bag onto her
shoulder. "I packed everything of mine, so I'll be ready to
go when Onkel Daniel arrives heemet from work. It will be
strange to go back heemet after being here for a while. I
had fun, though." She looked curious. "Are you hungry? Can I
make you a snack?"
Lindsay touched her stomach as it rumbled. "Ya. That
would be wunderbaar. I had some crackers on the bus, but I
haven't had breakfast yet."
"I'll make you something." Katie started toward the door.
"I'll have it ready soon, so hurry down."
"Danki," Lindsay said.
While Katie disappeared into the hallway, Lindsay
contemplated how much she loved being back in
Bird–in–Hand. She'd first moved here four years
ago from Virginia Beach. Lindsay and her older sister,
Jessica, had come to Bird–in–Hand to live with
her mother's sister, Rebecca, after their parents were
killed in a car accident.
When Lindsay and Jessica first arrived, they both felt as
if they'd entered another world, or perhaps another century,
since Rebecca, Daniel, and the rest of the community lived
simple, plain lives without modern clothes, television,
electricity, or other up–to–date conveniences
Lindsay used to take for granted.
Lindsay had embraced life in the Bird–in–Hand
community, quickly becoming a member of the Kauffman family.
By contrast, Jessica protested and fought against the
changes until she was permitted to move back to Virginia and
live with their parents' friends Frank and Trisha McCabe.
Lindsay pulled her dresses and aprons from her duffle bag
as she thought about her sister. Jessica was Lindsay's polar
opposite, beginning with their appearances. Jessica had dark
hair and eyes, and Lindsay had deep red hair and bright
green eyes. Jessica had finished high school, graduating
with honors, and then moved on to college. She was now
finishing up a high–profile internship with an
accounting firm in New York City.
On the other hand, Lindsay kept with Amish tradition and
didn't continue her education beyond eighth grade, other
than achieving her GED while staying in Virginia Beach with
Frank and Trisha. Instead of going to high school, Lindsay
began working in the Kauffman Amish Bakery, owned by
Elizabeth Kauffman, with Rebecca and Rebecca's
After placing her dirty clothes in the hamper, Lindsay
hung her clean dresses and aprons on the hooks on her wall
and then put her undergarments in her dresser. Once all of
her clothes were properly put away, she stowed the bag under
Heading to the stairs toward the smell of bacon and eggs,
Lindsay smiled. This was truly her home, and it was so very
good to be back where she belonged.