Married. Sophie twirled the golden ring around on her finger. It had all happened so fast. The young pastor had just been able to visit their hideout before leaving for France. Why he was on his way to France, Sophie didn’t know. This was undoubtedly a time of important secrets.
Karl had been too weak to get out of bed, so the ceremony had been performed right in his room. Sophie didn’t mind at all. War presented various challenges that one had to overcome if wanting to live a normal life. Never once since Hitler had risen to power, had Sophie dreamed that she’d be marrying a brave resistance fighter. As a girl, she thought perhaps she would end up with a quiet academic scholar for a husband. All her girlhood notions had vanished with years.
The little reception afterward wasn’t what Sophie would’ve liked, but she bore the disappointment by enjoying this time of peace. For a little while, she forgot about the war, and the death, and the destruction. This was a special day, and she wouldn’t let anything ruin it.
Sophie and Wilhelm sat in front of the little stove, sipping mugs of tea and enjoying the last pieces of the wedding cake Marie had somehow managed to make.
It was so quiet, peaceful. For just a day they had nearly been untouched by war.
“This is nice, isn’t it?” Sophie said, slipping her hand into her husband’s.
The moment Wilhelm had said those words, a terrific pounding at the front door made the new couple jump. Instantly, Sophie’s heart leapt to her throat. No. She groaned. Please don’t let it have anything to do with war.
Wilhelm went and opened the door. She followed.
“Jonas.” Wilhelm greeted a young man whose face betrayed a great urgency.
Jonas reached forward and grabbed Wilhelm’s shoulder. “You need to—“
He froze, glancing at Sophie.
“Don’t worry, Jonas. That’s my wife.” Wilhelm didn’t seem at all ruffled by this young man’s worried actions.
“Your wife?” Jonas asked, bewilderment written across his face. “I didn’t know you were married.”
“I wasn’t before today.” Wilhelm folded his arms. “What’s the matter, Jonas?”
“You have to get out of here!” The boy made a wild gesture towards the road. “Dicken sent me. He thinks you’re all in danger!”
Sophie reached forward and grabbed Wilhelm’s hand. “What kind of danger?”
“A German commander is looking for you, at least that’s what Dicken said.”
Sophie had no clue who this Dicken was, but if he was involved with the Resistance, he must know what was going on.
“Wilhelm, it has to be that same commander who shot took the baby and shot Philippe! He said he was coming after us.”
Wilhelm hit his fist lightly against the fence in front of him. “David must have spilled as much information as he could to save his useless skin!”
Sophie set her lips. That was unfair, but she didn’t want to have an argument on the first day of marriage, especially in front of this nervous boy. They’d talk about that later.
“So what do we do?” She asked, glancing up at her husband.
“We need to get out of here. I put gas in the car earlier this week.” Wilhelm patted her hand. “It’s alright, Sophie. I won’t let anything happen to you, or the others.”
“Take whatever’s important and get out of here! That’s what Dicken said.” Jonas waved his hands around wildly again. “He said to meet him at the farm.”
The next hour was a torrential wave of hurry. Wilhelm quickly explained to Karl what was happening and Sophie, along with Marie, flew about the place packing the essentials into the crates that Wilhelm then carried to the car.
Karl just laid in bed until Wilhelm helped him to the car. Sophie wished she could shake her brother. This wasn’t the time to grieve but to get busy.
By the time they were all racing along the road, Wilhelm driving, it was nearly 4:00 in the morning.
“So where are we going?” Marie asked from the backseat she was sharing with Sophie.
“Another hideout,” Wilhelm replied with a shrug.
Marie slammed her hand down on the empty seat between her and Sophie. “This is getting a little ridiculous! I’m tired of being chased.”
“Can’t be helped.” Sophie sighed. “I’ve been trying to think of it as an adventure.”
“Adventure?” Karl laughed from the front seat. “Don’t be daft, Sophie.”
No one replied to Karl’s bitter words. They all knew he was struggling.
“Do any of you ever think about getting out of here?” Marie asked, a wistful look in her eye. “Père and Mère often talked about going to America after Hitler invaded France. It was talk then, but now—I don’t know. It sounds like a smart idea.”
Karl scoffed. “It also sounds like running away.”
Sophie leaned back and closed her eyes. Marie was partly right. It did sound like a good idea, but it also did seem a little like running away. Didn’t God have work for them to do here? If He did, why wouldn’t he let them do it? They now spent most of their days hiding. Over and over again, they were encouraged to lay low and regain their strength. Was it time for a change? Did God have something different in store for them?
Sophie was exhausted by the time the car pulled up to a small stone farmhouse deep in a forest of trees. The house was dark, unfeeling. Her perfect day was ending so well…So much for peace and quiet.
“Come in, come in.” An elderly woman with grey hair gently pulled Sophie and Marie into the house. “You sweet things.” She said softly. “Having to be pulled out of bed in the middle of the night. I have a room all ready for you upstairs.” Her smile was genuine and refreshing. “You two young men can have the beds in the basement.”
How the woman knew they were coming, Sophie could only guess. Maybe she always had things ready in case of emergencies.
Marie and Sophie were ushered into a small yet beautifully furnished room. Marie flung herself down on one of the beds as soon as the door shut. “I haven’t seen anything so pretty!” She surveyed the room. “I wish I could stay here forever.”
The two girls got ready for bed, and Sophie thought it funny to be going to sleep as the sun was rising.
She pulled the sweet-smelling quilt up around her chin and closed her eyes. Suddenly, she sat up.
“Marie, were you serious about going to America?”
Half asleep, Marie propped herself up on her elbows. “What do you think? There’s nothing left for me here.”
Sophie couldn’t disagree. Since their resistance work had been put on hold for an indefinite amount of time, sitting around had started to get boring.
“How would we get there?” Sophie asked.
Marie glanced down at her suitcase on the floor. “I think I have enough to pay for it.”
Sophie sat up the entire way. “What do you mean?”
“When I was little, my parents always dreamed of going to America. They spent years saving money. When the soldiers broke into our house, I hid with Père’s little safe under the floorboards. I have it in my suitcase, but I’m not quite sure how much there is.”
“I’m not sure if Karl or Wilhelm would go for it. It does seem a little like running away.”
“Maybe your time in the Resistance is over. I heard the men Wilhelm met with. Ever since the allied attack in France, Hitler’s regime has been crumbling fast.”
Sophie leaned back against her pillow. Was it time to leave Germany?