I'm sssssoooooo sorry it took so long. I've been so busy. And I got stuck at one point and I couldn't figure it out. I finally got it and finished the chapter in a few hours. I've been looking over and over again so I hope there are very few mistakes if any. This is the longest chapter so I hope you all that asked for it are happy with the length. Enjoy.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On with the show

Chapter 8: The Storm

The plain country farm house seemed too quiet to the woman sitting at kitchen table breaking green beans. The smell of baking bread filled the room. The open window sent a light breeze in the room cooling it from the heated oven

The pounding of running feet and the slamming of the door killed the silence as two little girls came running in. One girl came sobbing with fresh tears streaming down her face. She was holding her small right arm up showing a bleeding scrape. The other wearing a look of anger; she kept looking back to glare at the closed door. Small drops of water dripped from the soaked clothes the girls were wearing. They had obviously been playing in the water.

The woman jumped up quickly upon seeing her injured daughter. She moved as quickly as her swollen belly would allow. She got down to the girl's level asking softly "Oh baby, what happened?" She gently brushed back the stray strands of hair away from the child's face as she spoke.

It was the other girl who answered "We were playing with the water balloons outside and Daniel pushed Abby because she wouldn't give him her balloon."

At that point the door slammed again as a boy came running in "It was an accident mom." He spoke quickly; sparing a concerned look at his little sister.

"It was not! You pushed her!" The second girl yelled as she turned and pushed him away.

"Gabriella that's enough" her mother said sternly then looked at her son to question him. Calmly she asked "Please tell me your side, Daniel."

"We were having a water balloon fight" he started "and I ran of water balloons so I started toward Abby to get the one she had. I was fast and she tried to turn and run away, but she slipped and fell. It was an accident, mom" he finished.

At the end of his story the woman looked at her daughter. The girl had calmed down a bit. Tears still leaked from her eyes. "Are you ok, honey?" She asked the girl softly and brushed away a few tears.

"It hurts, mommy" she answered with a tiny voice and a sniffle and then looked at the scrape on her arm.

"It's ok; mommy's going to make it all better. Can you tell me what happened?"

"It happened like he said" she whimpered pointing at her brother.

"Alright let's take care of you" she took the little girl to the seat she had just vacated and then turned to the other children "Gaby can you wet a cloth for me and can you get a bandage, Daniel?" She asked then turned to examine the scrape more closely as her children did as she asked.

Twelve years had passed for Leah Longacre and her husband Ethan. With the years they had been blessed with six children. Jeremiah, the oldest, at twelve followed by a now ten year old Caleb. Two years later brought Daniel. The now five year old twins Gabriella and Abigail came and were soon followed by the now two year old Annie. In a few short months the ever growing family would bring new life into the world.

Gaby brought the wet cloth over and held it out to her mother. Leah took it and carefully cleaned the scrape. As soon as Daniel reentered the room Gaby stood with her arms crossed glaring angrily at him. She still blamed him despite what her sister had said.

"I'm really, really, really sorry Abby" He pleaded for his sister's forgiveness.

"It's ok" Abby replied rubbing at her wet eyes with her small left hand. Gaby was not as quick to forgive and continued to glare at her brother.

Leah finished cleaning the scrape and placed the bandage on her arm. "All better now" she said moving her hands away.

"Thank you, mommy" Abby said reaching out to give her mother a hug.

"Awe, you're welcome baby" Leah replied giving her a gentle squeeze. "Alright, Daniel please go finish the chores I know you haven't done and girls please go get cleaned up and get ready for supper. Then you will set the table, ok."

"Yes ma'am" the children replied in unison and then quickly left the room to do as they were told.

The girls were just finishing the table when Ethan and the boys walked in.

Abby turned to the door "Daddy!" She called out setting down the last fork. She ran quickly to her father and jumped her into his arms. Ethan picked her up with ease and planted a kiss on her cheek.

"How are my dear girls today?" he asked, as he made his way over to Leah.

"Oh we're doing just great" Leah replied turning away from her work for a moment to greet her husband. The couple kissed.

Abby still in Ethan's arms said "eww…mommy and daddy are kissing." That broke the couple from their kiss.

"Yeah guys that should be saved for when kids aren't around" Jeremiah put in.

"Ha, ha, ha you're so cute" Leah said looking at her son in pretend announce, rolling her eyes, before smiling "Alright you boys wash up. Dinner's almost ready."

"Ok" Ethan sighed, kissed his daughter once more and sat her down back down on the floor. When he sat her down he noticed the bandage on her arm. "What happened here?" He asked as he gently lifted her arm.

"Daniel pushed her" Gaby blurted out looking at her brother with a glare.

"I did not" he said looking right back at his sister with a glare of his own.

"Did too"

"Did not"


"Gabriella! Daniel! That is enough" Leah turned as she spoke sternly to the two children. "Now both of you sit down and don't say another word"

Gaby flopped down in her seat with a huff and crossed her arms as Daniel sighed and slid into his seat across from her. The two continued to glare at each other.

Ethan watched, in silence, the exchange of words from his children and the ease if his wife dealing with them. Then he turned back to Abby and asked "are you alright now darnlin'?"

"Yes daddy" she replied looking up at him with a smile.

"Alright you go sit down now." He smiled back letting go of her arm and ruffled her hair with his hand.

She ducked out from under her father's hand, giggling, and quickly slid into her seat next to her sister.

After fifteen minutes Leah and her family were seated around the table. Ethan had just finished saying grace and the passing of food began.

"How was your day?" Ethan asked her as he picked up his fork. "I mean aside from the falling incident." He popped a fork full of green beans into his mouth.

"Pretty ordinary" she replied not going into any more detail "How was yours?"

"It went well"

"We got a lot of work done mom." Caleb happily told his mother.

"That's good honey" She smiled at her son.

"There's a storm coming in" Ethan told his wife.

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" She asked.

"Well the crops would do well with a bit of rain, but I fear this storm may be quite bad." He answered.

"Let us pray that it isn't"

"Yes, pray that it isn't."

The rest of the meal was finished in silence.

The family was gathered in the living room just after their nightly bible study in a comfortable silence. They sat there for another ten minutes before Leah broke the silence.

"Alright kids it's time for bed." A chorus of "aw" filled the room "come on enough of that, kids lets go." Leah said as she tried to maneuver out of her seat with a sleeping Annie in her arms.

Jeremiah and Ethan quickly got up to help her. Jeremiah gently took the sleeping two year old from her arms while Ethan helped her out of the chair.

"Thank you" she told them after she was standing and then took her daughter from her son.

Turning, Jeremiah spoke to his younger siblings "Come on mom's right. We need to get to bed now."

The little ones grumbled, but got up and followed their brother out of the room.

Leah followed her children from the room. "I'll be back in a few minutes" she said to her husband.

The group trooped up the stairs to their rooms. Leah took little Annie and followed Abby and Gaby into the room the three girls shared. The twins changed into their night gowns and got into bed. Leah changed Annie, who woke for a few sleepy moments as she did so. As soon as Leah put the toddler into her bed the girl was fast asleep again. She turned to the twins and went to tuck them in. "Good night girls" she said kissing each one on the forehead.

"Good night mommy" the girls said as they each received her kiss.

Leah blew out the candle that had lite the room and left. She went to check on the boys. Jeremiah was climbing into bed and just about to blow out his own candle. "Good night" she said to him.

"Night mom" he said and blew out his candle.

She smiled to herself and closed the door. She went to the next door and found Caleb and Daniel just putting on their night shirts. "Boys you should be already dressed and in bed. What have the two of you been doing?" she asked sternly.

"Nothing" they said in unison.

"Then why are you not in bed yet?"

"We're just moving slowly" Caleb answered "We're having a contest to see who can get dress the slowest"

Leah looked at her boys in disapproval "Well enough of that get into that bed right now" She was sometimes amazed the things kids could think of to do.

The boys quickly got into bed "Night mom" they said in unison.

"Good night boys" she blew out their candle and left the room. She then walked down the stairs and back into the living room where she found Ethan standing at the window.

"Ethan" she called.

He continued looking out the window as he answered "The rain has started" His voice was void of any emotion.

Walking up to him she went to snuggling into his side. He put his arm around her and rubbed her shoulder softly. Together they watched the rain fall for a few minutes. Leah finally asked "are you come up to bed?"

"I'll be up in a bit" he answered looking down at her "you go on up."

"Alright" she said as she rose up and kissed him. "Good night"

"Good night"

With one last look out the window and a sigh Leah turned and left the room. She changed into her own night gown and slipped into bed. In minutes she was asleep.

She woke to the rumble of thunder. She looked at her side and found the other side of the bed empty. Ethan had never come up to bed.

Leah got out of bed and went back down stairs. She again found him at the window. "I thought you were only going to stay down here for a little bit?"

"And I thought you were going to bed?" He answered with a question of his own.

"I can't sleep without you." Leah answered.

A flash of lighting filled the area of the room where the candle light did not reach and was quickly followed by a clap of thunder. "Yes you can" Ethan replied letting a smile slip; his eyes never leaving the window.

"Well I don't want to" she said taking a few steps into the room.

"I'll be up in a bit"

"You said that earlier and you didn't come up" she move to stand next to the couch. "I am going to stay down here with you" she decided.

He finally looked away from the window toward her "No you need your rest" He said softly to her.

"And so do you" she said as she sat on the couch.

Another flash of lighting and clap of thunder came. Ethan made no reply and went back to looking out the window.

"Mommy" Leah looked up to find Abby standing there with a look of fear on her face. "I'm scared" at that moment a flash came follow by the clap. The girl quickly ran to her mother and hugged her tightly.

"It's ok baby" Leah said hugging the girl back.

Shortly Caleb, Daniel and Gaby joined them.

Gaby stuck to Daniel like glue. Leah found it funny that just a few hours ago the girl had been so angry with him. Now all the anger had disappeared and she could not be separated from her brother. No matter how much they fought the two dearly loved each other.

Then the hail came. Ethan said nothing; just kept his silent vigil at the window.

It wasn't long after that Jeremiah came down with a teary eyed Annie. Leah got herself free of the other four children and took Annie. Then she sat in the rocker.

Jeremiah went the window with his father and they both kept a silent vigil.

In the comfort of family Leah and her children (except Jeremiah) fall asleep as the storm raged on outside.

Ok hope you enjoyed it. I don't know when I will be able to update again. I got 3 weeks left of school and hopefully be able to get more done by then. Happy reading.

Happybear 2005