Once in her own room, (actually, the room that she shared with Lily and Margaret) Grace threw herself onto her bed, her thoughts swirling round and round. Why is Wilhelm here? Will he stay long? What is he really like? Then, a sudden thought struck Grace and she smiled. "Maybe, just maybe, he's the brother that I've been praying for!" For a long time, Grace had prayed and asked God for a brother. When He had given her twin sisters instead, she prayed even harder. Maybe now, her prayer was being answered in a most unexpected way.
At the dinner table that night, Wilhelm didn't say anything-just nodded yes or no and shoveled food in like he hadn't eaten in days. Grace herself only picked at the chicken, mashed potatoes and creamed carrots-her favorite. She managed to eat some of the rice pudding for dessert-to please her mother. After they had all finished eating, Grace, her mother and her sisters rose to clear the table. As Grace carried dishes back to the kitchen, she heard her papa, trying to talk with Wilhelm, trying to get him to open up a little, but it was no use. He remained as quiet as a mouse, and he looked like one too-so shy and small, Grace guessed him to be of about eleven or twelve, around her own age. As she dried the dishes her sisters handed her, she thought again of the thought that had occurred to her in her bedroom. She imagined her and Wilhelm racing each other across fields in the spring, riding horses together down woodsy trails, and maybe even playing some baseball, when she could sneak past her mother's watchful eye. She looked at Wilhelm sitting at the table, his eyes downcast, his hands folded, and she hoped with all her heart that she would be right.
As soon as the dishes had been taken care of, the family eased themselves into comfortable positions in the parlor, the ladies bringing out knitting or sewing projects and Papa leaning back into his armchair to light his pipe. The fire crackled cheerily upon the hearth, and for a moment, Grace forgot all about Wilhelm-that is until she caught sight of him sitting on a small footstool, tucked away in a corner. She walked over to him and stood beside him. "Would you like to come sit with us?" she asked quietly. Wilhelm looked up at her, a puzzled expression on her face. Then Grace remembered-he didn't speak English! He was from Germany! Oh dear, this is going to be difficult! thought Grace. She smiled again at Wilhelm, and motioned with her hand towards the fire. Wilhelm shook his head, his eyes still on her face. She nodded her head and walked back to her seat. "Well!" Papa declared after a few moments. "Who's up for a little music?" "We are! Oh, please Papa!" Lily and Margaret cried. Grace herself grinned and joined in the pleading. Papa's green eyes twinkled as he carefully pulled the fiddle out of it's beautiful brown case. This was Grace's favorite part of the day-the time her father seemed to come out of his shell. After tuning it and plucking a few strings, he played a lively tune he had learned as a boy. At once, Lily and Margaret jumped up and began to dance with each other. Trula and Evie, both teenagers, considered themselves far above child's play. Even though Grace considered herself to old for games as well, she smiled and allowed herself to be pulled into the small ring and danced and laughed until she was out of breath. When Papa had finished that, he played a German folk song-another one that he had learned as a boy. As soon as he heard the tune, Wilhelm's eyes lit up and his foot began to tap to the music. Again, Grace walked over to him, but this time, she didn't have to say anything. He jumped up and grabbed her hand and whirled her around the room. Then he let go and began dancing by himself-a complicated dance, full of twists and turns. Grace's mama quickly reached for a hankie and Papa smile was so wide, Grace feared his face might burst. Lily and Margaret shyly crept over to watch and Wilhelm danced with them too. Trula and Evie stayed seated, but their pretty faces were lighted with smiles as well. They danced and danced and Papa played and played and finally the song ended. Wilhelm sat down again, but this time, his cheeks were pink and his eyes sparkled. Maybe this won't be so hard after all! Grace smiled to herself-maybe Wilhelm was the answer to her prayers
I hope you enjoyed it! I can't wait to see what happens next!!