“I’m glad you said yes when I asked if I could take you home.” Stephen glanced at her.
Priscilla grinned. “I had to. I said if our team won, I would. You’re a gut volleyball player.”
“I don’t know about that, but I had to play to win.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve missed you at the last few youth events. If you hadn’t decided to come tonight, I was planning on going to the fabric store to see you.”
She laughed. “Do you sew a lot? We have nice fabric if you do.”
Stephen chuckled. “I was going to buy thread for my mother. I figure she could use it for all the sewing she does.”
Priscilla drew in a breath, thinking what to tell Stephen about her summer plans. When she wasn’t around for two months, he might wonder why she hadn’t said anything about leaving Fields Corner. Of course, her parents hadn’t said if they would give their approval for her to go. She had a strong feeling that they were pinning their hopes on Stephen changing her mind. Her mother was up to her favorite pastime of matchmaking. I went along with it because I thought if it made her happy, she might talk Daed into letting me have freedom to work as a nanny. “I might not be working at the store much longer.”
“Did you get a job elsewhere?”
“I’m hoping my parents will give me permission to go to Florida. I was offered a job as a nanny. I’ll work for Madison Wittenberg and watch her five-year-old daughter while she finishes her book. She’s a writer and has a deadline to make.”
“How long will you be there if you get to go?”
“Just two months.”
“Is it okay if I pull in the spot ahead? There’s a dirt road by a field I planted for a neighbor. No one uses it except when the field is farmed. I want to hear more about your possible nanny job.”
“We can stop. It isn’t too late. My daed won’t be out looking for me yet.”
A worried expression crossed his handsome face. “Maybe we can talk at your house, then. I don’t want to worry your parents.”
“Nee, it’s okay. I was teasing. Daed won’t be getting his buggy out to look for me.”
Within a couple of minutes, Stephen parked the buggy on the dirt road. He exhaled a breath as he turned off the battery-powered headlights. “I wanted to get to know you better this summer.”
She was surprised how easy Stephen was to talk to, and realized she wanted him to understand how important her art was to her. “We can write to each other. I want to take the job offer because I want to paint the ocean. It’s a great opportunity for me to go somewhere I have never been before, and a chance to paint something other than Amish scenes.”
“That makes sense to have a chance to paint something different. If you go to Florida, when will you leave?”
“In a couple of weeks.”
He gave her a broad smile. “How about seeing me again before you leave?”
“Maybe we should wait until I return from my nanny job. You’re busy with farming and building houses.” He’d told her earlier in the evening how he helped his father with their farm, and he also worked for the same local builder as Jonathan did. Staring at Stephen, she thought it would be interesting to paint him. He was muscular from all the outside work he did. His adorable, crooked smile and strong chin showed he was full of gentleness and amazing strength. His brown eyes studied her.
“Ach, I can make time to see you.”
“I’d like that.”
He cleared this throat. “I hope you get to go and will have time to enjoy the beach and to paint. I’ve never been to Florida. My family went to Cedar Point and Lake Erie last summer, but that is as far as I’ve gone.”
Twisting her kapp string around her finger, she contemplated how much to share with Stephen. Should she mention about waiting to be baptized? If he’d taken the kneeling vow, that might not be a good idea. After a brief silence, she decided it was a common topic among the youth, so she said, “My daed wants me to take baptism classes this summer. I’m not ready. I probably made a mistake telling my parents about my desire to experience my running-around time at the same time I mentioned my nanny job.”
Stephen chuckled. “Ya, that might not have been the best time. I’m relieved you’re not baptized, because I’m not either. I don’t know if I should tell a bishop’s daughter this, but I have my driver’s license and I own a car.”
Her head spun at his admission . . . very few in their district ever went so far as buying a car. Although her brother had gotten his license, it was so he could experience something from Violet’s English world. Luke had never bought a vehicle, but had driven Violet’s car before it was sold. While they dated, Luke appreciated Violet living in a house without electricity. It’d been an adjustment for her, so he thought it was only fair he did a few English things . . . like getting his driver’s license and GED. Obviously, her parents were not aware of Stephen having a car. Her mother never would’ve encouraged her to talk to him. Before she’d left with Anna earlier in the evening, her mother had mentioned Stephen’s interest in her again.
Dating someone also in their rumspringa might have advantages. Leaning closer to Stephen, she said, “I’m surprised. Are you thinking of jumping the fence?”
Shrugging, he said, “I don’t know. I’m twenty-one years old and I know I’m not ready to commit to our faith. I keep praying about what to do.”
She sighed. “It’s hard, isn’t it? I’m not ready either.”
“I guess we can be confused together.” He took her hand in his. “I never knew an artist before. I’d love to see your paintings. If you decide to sell your ocean paintings, I’ll buy one.”
Pleasure flooded her soul that he wanted to see her artwork and even buy a painting of hers. She seldom heard compliments from other Amish people in their community about her talent. Well, there was one . . . Noah Hershberger. He took time to comment on her work, but Noah was also an artist. He understood the difficulty of being Amish and an artist. She never put her name on any of her work because her daed cautioned that would be prideful. How could putting her name on her art be prideful?