The winter passed slowly, but all the drama of Christmas changed the dynamic between the boys and girls. The girls were surprised by how much the brothers cared about Liza and Ephraim. They started to unwind and actually enjoy their time in the cabin. They were super bored but the boys helped keep them entertained through games, songs, and dance. Slowly the girls fell in love, some for the first time, others returning to the previously held feelings for the Pontipee men.
Ephraim was actually allowed to sleep in the house now. Milly gave up her and Adam's room for Ephraim and Liza. The couple disagreed at first, saying it wasn't fair to Milly, who was pregnant with Adam's baby, but she insisted. So Ephraim slept in the house but he spent the rest of the day out in the barn with his brothers.
Spring eventually came to the farm, and on the first warm day in May, Milly told all the girls to go have a day outside with their boys. All of the girls finished their chores quickly, eager to spend the day with their sweethearts.
Liza was inside the house cleaning up the breakfast mess. Milly was upstairs in bed taking a nap. Liza hummed to herself as she cleaned. Ephraim peeked his head through the door, smiling at her. " Are you busy?" He asked gently.
Liza turned with a smile, she was amazed by how much more she loved her husband with every passing day. "Sort of. Why?" She asked
Ephraim came into the room a bit more, "All of my brothers are outside with their girls and my wife is hiding from me inside the house." He said jokingly.
Liza smiled, "I think the breakfast dishes could wait a bit." She walked over to him and he wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her cheek gently.
"Let's go for a walk." He said tugging her outside.
The sun of shining, it was still a little chilly with a few patches of snow but it was so much nicer than in previous months, Liza smiled as the sun hit her face. She pulled away from her husband, tapping his arm. "Tag. You're it!" She started running away from him, lifting her skirt slightly.
Ephraim grinned, "Get back here!" He called, starting after her.
Liza felt free as she ran, she loved this farm but being stuck inside hadn't been fun. She raced past Caleb and Ruth by the barn, Ben and Dorcas by the chicken coops, and Dan and Martha in the garden. She ran into one of the empty fields before slowing down and spinning in a circle. She soon felt herself being lifted and spun. Ephraim smiled and set her down.
"I won." She said with a grin.
Ephraim chuckled, "And why do you think that?"
She kissed him gently before grinning at him, "Easy. You love me too much to let me lose." She said
He kissed her again before smiling, "That's fair."
They spent the next few hours spending time outside with each other. In the early afternoon, Ephraim had gone back to the house to check on Milly. Everyone was gathering on a hill to spend time together, happily chatting. Martha and Liza each holding the family's new puppies that their dog Bella had given birth to.
Suddenly Ephraim ran to the foot of the hill and yelled up to them. "Liza! Ben! Caleb! Dan! Everyone! Milly is having her baby!"
Everyone cheered and got up, rushing back to the house. The girls preparing for a grueling, long few hours of labor and birth. The boys had no clue what was going to happen so they mostly cheered and whooped as though the baby had already arrived.
Back at the house, Liza and Martha both had helped deliver babies before so they took the lead, telling the girls what to get from downstairs. The boys stood in the living room, trying to help their girls when they came downstairs. They would never admit it but they were terrified, their sister was up there bringing life into the world. They felt helpless.
They all froze when they heard some soft crying and Gideon promptly fainted at the notion of being an Uncle. After his brothers got done laughing, they lifted him onto the sofa. They gave each other hugs and high fives, Frank and Dan seemed to be dancing with excitement.
Liza soon rushed down the stairs with a happy smile. She ran right into Ephraim's waiting arms. "Its a girl!" She exclaimed. All of the brothers cheered and gave each other high fives again. "What happened to Gid?" She asked.
Ephraim started laughing too hard to answer.
TIME SKIP BROUGHT TO YOU BY FRANK'S AMAZING DANCING
Ephraim rode up to the small cabin. It looked totally empty besides the horse outside of it. He hopped off his own horse and tied it up. "Adam?" He called out
His big brother rushed out of the cabin with a grin and clapped him on the shoulder. "Hey! Eph! Finally got tired of sleeping in the barn? How are you brothers?"
Ephraim smiled weakly before replying. "I'm alright. A lot has changed since you left. I haven't been sleeping in the barn since Liza and I got married." He turned away to tie up his horse, waiting for his brother's reaction.
Adam laughed a big belly laugh, "Ho ho! That's my boy! I knew you could do it! All you boys are married now, that's exactly what I told Milly should happen!" He exclaimed proudly.
Ephraim turned back to Adam with a frown. "You misunderstood. Only Liza and I are married. We went down to Gathersburg to be married over Christmas. The boys are courting thier girls though" He paused, choosing his next words carefully. "Adam...Milly had a baby." Adam froze, before turning away from his brother with a humph. Ephraim continued. "It came the day before yesterday."
Adam turned back to his little brother. "That why you came all the way up here? To tell me that?" He spoke calmly but his voice was ice cold and full of rage.
Ephraim frowned, "No. I came up here to get you, bring you home. It's spring back at the farm.
Adam walked to Ephraim's horse and began undoing the knots to untie the horse from the hitching post, talking as he did so "Well it ain't spring here yet. I'll be back home when the pass is open."
Ephraim angerly stomped over to his brother and made him look at him, "You really aren't coming home? Not to see your wife? Your brothers? Your own kin? Adam...your little girl?"
Adam paused the untieing and laughed. "Ha! A little girl." Then he mumbled "Should have known she'd have a girl."
Ephraim frowned, "So you ain't coming home?" He asked. Adam paused silently. Ephraim found himself filled with rage and he clenched his fist tightly. He roughly grabbed Adam's shoulder and forced him to look at him. "Adam, you being my older brother, I have always looked up to you. But today, I am ashamed of you! I wouldn't hold myself to be no man if I didn't show you how I felt!" and with that, the sweet, nonviolent brother punched his older brother in the face. A loud crack echoed out as Adam's nose snap back.
Adam stumbled back, his eyes wide and mouth open in shock. His little brother who would never hurt a fly had just broken his nose. "You done yet?" He asked in a low anger voice.
Ephraim shook his wrist slightly and frowned, "No. I'm not. If I left Liza while she was pregnant with my child, I would never forgive myself. You left your wife to go through one of the hardest thing in life without you, and now you won't even come see your own child. I hope you know I have lost all respect for you as a man and as my brother." He angerly finished his thoughts and jumped on to his horse's back. "Think about what you are doing Adam, before Milly goes back East like she's planning." He kicked his horse's sides and started back to the farm, not even looking back at his brother who was stood in shock, holding his nose still.
The words Ephraim had spoken had struck a chord in Adam. His problems would not vanish by hiding out through the winter. He would have to face his wife.