An Amish Family Reunion

An Amish Family Reunion by Mary Ellis

Book: An Amish Family Reunion by Mary Ellis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Ellis
friend told us,” whispered Mary. “How did he know it before we got here?”
    Mary’s verbal question duplicated Phoebe’s own internal one. She shrugged. “I don’t know, but if I get another chance to chat with him, he has some explaining to do.” However, that particular conversation would be postponed until the ride back to Ohio. For the rest of the day, the girls and half of the boys remained together in a large group. They walked the botanical gardens; browsed gift shops; toured the Nature Center and Aquarium, where they fed fish to seals; and then rode the trolley back to Goat Island for a visit to the Cave of the Winds. They had saved this attraction for last because, as on the boat ride, everyone got wet.
    Eli talked mainly to his friends, while Phoebe talked to hers. But when the trolley passed the pathway to Three Sisters Islands, she experienced another odd pang—not of guilt, but of melancholy sorrow. What was wrong with her? She’d never been so affected by anyone, but knew she’d better get over it. Once they were back in Winesburg she would never see him again. During dinner that night at a delicious Chinese buffet, Phoebe made every effort to avoid Eli and his hypnotic dark eyes.
    The group ate breakfast in the hotel dining room the next morning. Afterward, their chaperones announced they had exactly thirty minutes to pack up and get down to the bus for their trip home. Phoebe threw clothes into the suitcase haphazardly so she could spend her remaining time at the window.
    It was a view she would never forget. So much power and energy were contained within the force of water. She stood mesmerized by the rapids, whirlpools, and ever-changing islets of trapped tree debris. God had always seemed majestic yet peaceful when she viewed the mist-shrouded meadows and rolling hills of her home. But this? This was evidence of a powerful, all-encompassing God…whom she hoped never to displease. Too bad Eli never got to see this.
    “The views from our bedroom windows will never be the same after seeing this,” said Rebekah, slipping an arm around Phoebe’s shoulder. “Come on. You don’t want to miss the bus. This would be one expensive cab ride back home.”
    Once their bus left the Niagara region, heading back toward Buffalo, the driver put in a Disney movie to the pass the time. Phoebe took out her pad and colored pencils, preferring to change some minor details on her drawings rather than watch a cartoon.
    “Mind if I sit with Phoebe for a while?” asked Eli of Mary Mast.
    “Not at all. I’ll go sit with my cousin.”
    Before Phoebe could stop her, Mary rose from the seat and vanished.
    “That was rather presumptuous of you.”
    “Ah, what a lovely word—presumptuous,” said Eli. “But no, I presume nothing. I merely hope you will let me sit with you and maybe show me the changes you’ve made.”
    She wanted to send him away, but instead she said, “Sit, if you like.” Then, as though she had no control over her hands, she gave him her tablet.
    It took him no time to find the schoolteacher drawings and even less to start smiling. “Perfect! You changed Miss Taylor to match the movie.” He handed back her art.
    “How did you know the story before we got there? Have you been to Niagara before?”
    “Nope. I read all I could before the trip in the library. You know what? I’ve never met anyone like you. And now that I’ve found you, I have a business proposition for you. Are you interested?”
    She took a long pull from her water bottle while studying him closely. “A business deal? What could the two of us possibly make and sell?”
    “I was thinking about a book—a children’s picture book, to be exact. I could make up a story and you could create illustrations that would endear our tale in every child’s heart across America.” He gazed out the window at the suburban sprawl of homes. “Maybe even the world.”
    “Are you serious?” she asked, afraid he might be teasing.

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