Authors: Jennifer Beckstrand
Tags: #Rebecca’s Rose
© 2012 by Jennifer Beckstrand
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without written permission of the publisher.
All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to actual people or events are purely coincidental.
Cover design by Lookout Design |
Interior design by Mullerhaus Publishing Group |
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To my mom, Anne Gappmayer, who is the perfect example of everything a mother should be. I learned unconditional love from her.
To my dad, Richard Gappmayer, who made me believe I could do anything I wanted to, and who got me through high school Calculus.
And to my husband, Gary, who believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.
I am inexpressibly grateful to Lindsay Guzzardo, my editor, who has a knack for knowing what should go into a story and what should be left out. Her talent has been invaluable to me. Thanks always to Priscilla and Levi Stoltzfus and the Riehl family, who have helped me understand what real Amish people are like. My gratitude also goes out to my sister, Dr. Allison Sharp, who gives me sound advice. And Mary Sue, thanks for getting me started.
Rebecca didn’t see the section of crumbling pavement before it was too late. She landed on her hands and knees with a thud and a groan and watched as the skateboard persisted for another twenty feet before burying itself under a thick bayberry bush growing against the south wall of Patton City Hall.
The little boy perched on the corner ignored Rebecca completely and bolted after his skateboard as if it were a stray dog that might run away at any second. Rebecca pulled herself to the curb. Her knees throbbed and her right elbow stung something fierce. A long rip in her sleeve exposed a deep gash in her elbow, and blood already stained the fabric. She growled to herself.
, how she hated mending!
Examining the bleeding elbow with her finger, she gasped in pain and annoyance. Holding her breath, she firmly dug a small piece of glass from the wound.
would leave a scar. She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket, but it soaked clear through with blood in less than a minute.
“You okay?” said the boy, who had retrieved his skateboard and apparently decided it was his duty to check on the Amish girl bleeding on the sidewalk.
, I am all right,” Rebecca said, trying to put pressure on her elbow and smile blithely at the same time. “
for letting me try it out. It is different from a scooter.”
“Yeah, with a scooter you have more balance. But with a skateboard you can go faster.” The boy grinned and sauntered away, his skateboard tucked under his arm.
Rebecca’s black bonnet had escaped her head fifty feet ago. She put her hand to her head and felt for her
. Still in place. Anchored with about a dozen pins, the prayer kapp couldn’t be blown off her head by a tornado.
Feeling a little silly sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, Rebecca tried to stand. Her knees screamed silently at her. As discreetly as possible, she lifted her dress. Both knees were scraped and red, but the fall hadn’t drawn blood. The bruising, unfortunately, made it nearly impossible to put weight on her legs. She sat again and stared at her banged-up kneecaps. Would she have to crawl home?
“Can I help?”
She hadn’t seen him standing there. A young man, an
with finely sculpted arms, looked at her with some concern.
Excruciating pain or not, Rebecca jumped to her feet and immediately proceeded to lose her balance. The young man grabbed both her elbows to steady her, and she involuntarily cried out. He pulled his hand from her injured arm and discovered the plentiful blood.
“Wow,” he said, “you really got yourself good.”
Rebecca tried to pull away. “I am fine. I just fell on a piece of glass.”
He didn’t let go. “Come into the store. I’ve got a first-aid kit. You might need stitches.”
“You want to give me stitches?”
The hint of a grin played at the corners of his mouth. “I operate on all the girls who crash in front of the store. Car crashes are the worst, but those skateboards can be deadly.”
“Are you a doctor?”
“Then you’re not touching me.”
The young man laughed. “I’m joking, kid. I can fix you up with Neosporin and a bandage. That’s about the extent of my skills. But that elbow looks bad. You don’t want to leave a trail of blood all the way home, do you?”
would have a fit if she saw the damage. Rebecca shook her head.
“Good, then. Lean on me, and I’ll help you in.”
Rebecca didn’t want to appear weak, but the throbbing in her knees made plain how futile it would be to try to journey anywhere by herself. Still, she hesitated.
“I saw the knees,” he said. “This is no time to be proud.” He winked and flashed a set of very white teeth.
Rebecca frowned. “Don’t make fun of me, or you can forget it.”
He kept grinning and shook his head. “I would never laugh at a girl who is brave enough to ride a skateboard full-speed into the bushes.”
She pulled away from him. “I’ll be fine.”
He held out his hand to her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you mad. Most of the girls I know wouldn’t be caught dead on a skateboard. I thought it was kind of cute.”
He cleared his throat. “Or, rather, daring and courageous of you to try the skateboard.”
He was trying so hard not to offend her. It was her biggest weakness—taking offense when none was meant. Why did she find it so hard to be laughed at?
“Besides,” he said, “most girls who took a fall like that would be crying their eyes out. You’re pretty tough.”
She grabbed onto the young man’s arm and nudged him forward. “I should cry about the rip in my hem.
will scold me for a week when she sees it.”
“Then after I sew up your elbow, I’ll sew up your hem. I need to practice my surgical skills.”
“But you’re not a doctor.”
“Then you are not touching me.”
“I can sew your hem.”
“Are you a tailor?”
“Then you are not touching my dress.”
She cracked a smile.
The young man led her into the sporting goods store, and Rebecca was pleased to discover that the pain in her knees subsided with each step. She might manage to get home.
Still clutching her elbow, he led her to a back office with a soft, rolling chair. “If you could manage not to bleed on the furniture, my boss would appreciate it,” he said, walking out of the room.
He reappeared shortly, toting an unusually large white box. It must have been heavy. Rebecca could see his muscles flexing under his crisp white shirt. “First-aid kit,” he said. “The boss thinks he’s going to have to remove someone’s appendix someday right here in the store, and he wants to be prepared.” He unlatched the box and opened it flat on the desk. It was indeed an impressive collection of colorful boxes and bottles and crinkly paper packages.
“I bet there’s nothing you won’t find in this box,” the young man said. He rummaged through the supplies and pretended to read labels. “Swine flu vaccine, nose-hair trimmers, vascular clamps, the last living smallpox virus. Ah, here’s what I’m looking for. Needle and thread.”
Rebecca jerked her head up and glared at him. “No stitches.”
“You’ve got to lighten up, kid.”
“I cannot be that much younger than you. Why do you call me
He began pulling supplies from the box. “Because you haven’t told me your name yet.”
Rebecca’s heart skipped a beat. Why did she care that he wanted to know her name? Clearing her throat, she increased the pressure on her elbow. “Rebecca Miller.”
“Rebecca. Nice to meet you. I’m Levi.”
Rebecca only nodded. His brown eyes made her heart skip another beat.
“You live here in Patton, or are you from Cashton?”
“A few miles in the other direction. Apple Lake.”
Levi took two bags from the first-aid box and squeezed them until it sounded like something inside them snapped. He shook the bags vigorously then knelt beside her chair. “I’m not trying to get fresh here,” he said. “But you need some ice on those knees, or you’ll be a cripple for weeks.” She flinched slightly as he wrapped his hand around her ankles and pulled them toward him, straightening her legs slightly. He placed one bag on each knee over the fabric of her dress, balancing them there. She immediately felt the soothing coolness on her throbbing joints.
Levi stood and unwrapped a gauze pad. He poured some liquid on the pad and held out his hand. “Okay, kid—Rebecca—let’s have a look.”
She pulled her useless hankie from the cut and pushed her elbow toward him.
Gently, almost with a caress, he held her upper arm and studied the wound. “Good job with the pressure. The bleeding’s almost stopped.” Slowly, he worked his way over the cut, first around the edges of the gash and then to the middle. He went through several gauze pads, thoroughly cleaning the entire area. He glanced at her periodically, making sure he wasn’t hurting her. But even though it stung like crazy, she didn’t betray any sign of the pain. She knew how to be tough.
“Do you ski?” Levi asked.
“You like to look at the skis. In the store.”
“You… How do you know?”
“I’ve seen you in here a few times. You slink around the edge of the store until you make it to the back wall, and then you stare at the skis.”