out of her musings and she guided
Aimee to the front of the room and removed her visitor’s scarf. Elizabeth
“Aimee Jones,” Pastor Simon said, putting his hand on the back of her head,
following suit, “do you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?” Elizabeth
“Do you place your life and trust in the hands of the Children of the Rose?”
could feel Aimee shaking a little. Elizabeth
“Do you believe that the Children of the Rose is the one true path to salvation and an eternity in Heaven?”
Here Aimee paused and looked up at Elizabeth, who raised her eyebrows expectantly.
gave a small, curt nod and Aimee finally said, “I do.” Elizabeth
watched with pride as Aimee was
enveloped by the other girls and many of the other Rose Angels and newcomers as
well. She recognized that look in
Aimee’s eyes—it was the same look that Elizabeth
had seen in Jacqueline’s, Morgan’s, Delia’s, Sandra’s, everyone else’s, and her
own eyes. She was legitimately happy. Elizabeth
“Will you do all in your power to contribute to the growth of the church and the spreading of our message?”
“I will,” Aimee sighed.
“Then I baptize you in the name of God and the Children of the Rose.”
Elizabeth and Pastor Simon forced Aimee’s head into the water and, after a few seconds, pulled her back up again.
grabbed a towel from the side of the table and helped Aimee dab off some of the
water before wrapping a new Level One scarf over her half-wet hair. Pastor Simon laid a rose wreath on top of the
scarf as Aimee picked up a candle and lit it.
After this, Elizabeth
led her back to their spot in the center of the room. She had done it, she realized with triumph as
she watched the others go forward. She
had just helped baptize someone. She was
now, officially, a Rose Angel. She was
practically walking on air. Elizabeth
Finally, Pastor Simon said, “Please join me in prayer.” Everyone bowed their heads and
squeezed Aimee’s hand warmly. “Lord,
watch over these newly baptized Children.
They come to you with the innocence of the young. Guide them through the path of the
Children. Wrap your protective arms
around them as they begin their new lives.
“Amen,” everyone repeated.
“Congratulations to our newly baptized brothers and sisters! Please join us for refreshments in the hallway.”
The candles were blown out.
turned to Aimee, handed her the visitor’s scarf, and gave her a big hug. Elizabeth
“Congratulations! You’re going to be so happy in this family, I just know it!” she cried.
,” Aimee whispered as the others
swooped in to hug her. Elizabeth
The phone pressed to her ear,
listened to the
ringing on the other end of the line.
She willed the phone to be picked up.
After the third ring, she heard a tired voice say, “Hello?” Elizabeth
“Is Jacqueline there?”
crossed her fingers, hoping that she had caught her sister away from the
“Just a second.” There was some quiet exchange between a couple voices, a light thud like a book being tossed onto a bed, and then another voice said, “
“Jacqueline! How are you!”
“I’m great! I didn’t really expect to hear from you,” Jacqueline admitted. “How are you? Pretty great as well, I’m sure.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty great,”
said with a wide
smile. “I’m a Rose Angel now, but I’m
guessing you already knew that.” Elizabeth
Jacqueline laughed. “Yeah, I did. Sandra told me a week or so ago. Congrats, little sister!”
“I’m assuming the baptism went well? Everything went as planned?”
“It really did. Sandra drilled me to death, but Aimee went through it pretty well.”
“Good, I’m glad. I can’t wait to meet her!” There was a slight pause and then Jacqueline added, “Sorry, Elizabeth, but I have to go. We’re on our way to the colony for a Bible study.”
“Yeah, what’s your point?”
“Nothing, just wondering. Have fun at your study,”
sighed, wishing she could talk to
her sister for just a little longer. But
then she realized that Bible studies were some of the most important things on
the path to salvation. How dare she wish
her own biological sister away from that?
She pinched her leg as punishment and promised herself she would pray
for an extra hour tonight as penance. Elizabeth
“I promise we’ll talk soon and you can tell me all about tonight, okay?”
“Sounds great. Bye, Jacqueline.”
After she hung up the phone,
bowed her head
and closed her eyes. She fingered the
cross around her neck as she began to pray, whispering, “Lord, please forgive
me. I wished my sister to stray from her
Rose duties, which I know was wrong…” Elizabeth