Saving Amelie
certain deportation for Jason, and possibly one or the other—thanks to her dual citizenship—for Rachel herself. She couldn’t think of the consequences for Amelie.
    She was to stay at the hotel—to be visible to the hotel staff, creating her own alibi. But that meant she would know nothing of the outcome until word came from Jason, verifying Amelie’s safety. Rachel would pass that word to Kristine. Jason believed knowing little beforehand would enable the women to act naturally in response to whatever he had planned. But Rachel knew that merely waiting patiently was outside her capability. Acting innocent and alarmed was something she’d learned to do in theatre class.

    Kristine’s last days with her affectionate Amelie were too precious to share. She memorized every smile, every sleeping moment, every blink of her daughter’s eyes and blush of her cheek. She signed constantly, reminding her daughter that she loved her, telling her she was the joy and light of her life. Telling her, as best she could, all the things she would never be able to tell her again.
    Kristine rose early Friday morning and took great care in bathing and dressing her little girl and curling her hair. She pinned a pink satin bow to Amelie’s golden ringlets, one that perfectly matched her smocked cream-and-pink frock—Kristine’s favorite, one she’d stitched by hand.
    She packed her daughter’s case with only her best summer clothing, a few dresses, and a bright-red jacket for fall—as though shebelieved her daughter would need it. She signed that Amelie, now a big girl, was going on a journey without her mother. And then Kristine held her close, before Amelie could sign her lack of understanding.
    Several times Amelie reached up to trace her mother’s silent tears and taste the salt, then creased her small brow in worry lines. She poked her tiny finger between Kristine’s lips until she saw her mother smile. Then Amelie would smile as if all were right with the world and sign, “I love you, Mutti.” It broke Kristine’s heart.
    Twice Kristine sat down in defeat, knowing she couldn’t go through with it, knowing she must. There was no other way, no better plan. But it was so dangerous—dangerous for Amelie. If Jason Young and those he trusted made one mistake, if they were even a moment too late . . . But she couldn’t think of that. She must trust that they would do only and all that was necessary—that God would fight with them and allow the ruse to be accomplished.
    At nine o’clock, Kristine hefted the small suitcase by its handle, ushered her little girl along the hallway, and closed the door of their home behind her. She tucked Amelie’s small, pink hand in her own and walked toward the train station, desperately trying to stay in the moment, memorizing each breath her daughter drew.
    By the time they reached the medical center, Kristine trembled. Amelie, usually delighted by outings with her mother, crowded into her skirt, pensive and fractious. Kristine knew Amelie was only responding to her mother’s tension, but she couldn’t force herself to act more normally. She knew that whatever happened, she would never see her daughter again once she walked out the center’s door.
    “Do not frown so, Frau Schlick,” the admitting nurse chided. “You have made the right decision for your daughter. The girl will thrive under our discipline and receive the most advanced treatment.”
    Kristine’s eyes filled and she nearly sobbed as she signed the papers.
    “This is only your duty as a good German mother,” the nurse admonished, clearly put off by the young woman’s display of emotion.
    It was more than Kristine could take. “I am not a ‘good German mother,’ Frau Braun.” She threw the pen to the desk. “But I assure you that I am the very best of mothers, and I love my daughter more than I love my life. Now give me the papers.”
    Frau Braun colored, then made a show of concentrating, of signing and

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