Authors: Jerry S. Eicher
HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS
All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Cover by Garborg Design Works, Savage, Minnesota
Cover photos Â© Chris Garborg; Bigstock
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A HEART ONCE BROKEN
Copyright Â© 2016 Jerry S. Eicher
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Eicher, Jerry S.
A heart once broken / Jerry S. Eicher.
pages; cm. â (St. Lawrence County Amish)
ISBN 978-0-7369-6587-3 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-0-7369-6588-0 (eBook)
1. AmishâFiction. 2. Mate selectionâFiction. 3. Man-woman relationshipsâFiction. I. Title.
All rights reserved.
ydia Troyer smoothed the wrinkles in her dress with a quick brush of her hand as she watched Ezra Wagler's buggy pull into Deacon Schrock's lane on Kelley Road. Now Ezra would put his horse, Midnight, in the barn and join the other St. Lawrence County Amish young people with the work at hand.
They had all gathered on this Friday evening to help clean the house and yard of the recently arrived deacon and his
Ruth Ann, who had both just joined the community. After their tiring move from Holmes County, Ohio, the couple appeared happy and had settled easily into the North Country in upstate New York.
Lydia gave her dress another quick brush and glanced at the barn door, hoping to catch Ezra's attention as he joined the young workers. A minute later and still no Ezra, Lydia looked across the yard to where her cousin Sandra Troyer was on her knees in the garden, pulling weeds with several of the other girls. Lydia allowed a smile to creep across her face. Tonight she had the advantage over Sandra. Her brush-cutting assignment wouldn't leave smudges on her dress or dark streaks on her hands. Sandra, too, was looking at the barn door for the same reason she was. As were a few of the other young girls with similar aspirations.
That was one of the things so maddening about Ezra, besides his handsome
looks. He was the young man many of the community girls set their
forâ¦though everyone knew she and her cousin Sandra had the inside track. The two had vied for Ezra's attentions ever since they finished their
daysâabout the same time Ezra and his family joined the community.
The rivalry of the two cousins had begun in their school days, long before Ezra had arrived. Even as rivals, they had managed to stay steadfast friends, though lately things had become a little grim. What had begun as a healthy competitionâsuch as who could get the most 100s in schoolâhad turned into something more serious after their
convinced both of them to be baptized and settle into Amish life. The cousins had wasted no time making their interest in the newcomer known. And Ezra, seeming to enjoy the attention, was obviously in no hurry to choose between the two cousins.
“Maddening!” Lydia muttered aloud.
“I know,” Rosemary said from a few feet away. “These weeds are stubborn as all get-out.” Lydia took another whack with her hoe as she gave Rosemary a smile. Thankfully the younger girl couldn't read her thoughts.
Though Lydia's rivalry with Sandra descended to low depths at times, neither she nor Sandra seemed able to back off. On this point they were equally determined. Whoever won Ezra's hand in marriage would have won the most important competition between the two girls.
For this contest they were evenly matched indeed. Both Sandra and Lydia had decent looksâamong the best in the St. Lawrence County Amish community. Lydia had heard whispered more than once by one of the younger girls in frustration, “Those pretty Troyer cousins!”
Lydia stood up straighter as she caught sight of Ezra's smiling face. He walked her way, but then he glanced across the barnyard to where Sandra was working and waved toward her. Sandra waved back, but stayed on her knees. Lydia grinned as Sandra tried in desperation to tuck a few loose strands of hair under her
with one hand. The attempt, no doubt, left further smudges of dirt on Sandra's face.
Ezra hollered something toward Sandra she couldn't understand. Sandra appeared to smile and hollered something back as Ezra moved closer. Lydia could see the girls near Sandra giggle at this exchange between the two. After a few words, Ezra moved on, walking toward Lydia.
“Looks like you get your chance now,” Rosemary said with a wicked smile. “When are Sandra and you going to settle this matter?”
Lydia didn't answer. There wasn't anything to say. Ezra would choose soon. He would have to. She so wanted to win this competition. It had always been difficult to tell who would gain the upper hand, whether Sandra or herself. Back in their school days Sandra would have the best average grade one week, and the next week Lydia would be ahead. But with this contest, someone would be left heartbroken. That would hurt worse than any defeat they'd suffered at school.
Lydia rallied her emotions as Ezra drew near.
“Hi there, Ezra,” Rosemary chirped before Lydia could speak. “We've been needing a man on this fencerow for some time.”
Lydia gave Ezra a sly smile, but remained quiet now that Rosemary had spoken up first. She used a low-key approach. Sandra, on the other hand, could chatter a hundred miles a minute when she had the opportunity.
“Well, then. It looks like I've come to the right place,” Ezra said with a chuckle.
Lydia gave Ezra an admiring look. “You should be able to handle the rest of this fencerow all by yourself then.”
“Oh no,” Ezra protested. “I wouldn't want to lose the company of two such pretty females. Please stay.”
Rosemary gave a sly grin. “Your sugar tongue will get you nowhere with me, you know.”
Ezra grinned. “A man's gotta try, doesn't he?”
Lydia joined in their laughter. That was what she loved about Ezra. He could joke and laugh with any of the young people and make everyone feel special and appreciated.
Rosemary handed her hoe to Ezra. “Here, I'll go get another one.”
“Thanks,” Ezra replied, seemingly pleased with the offer.
Lydia worked on a tall thistle as Rosemary hurried away. This gave her a few moments alone with Ezra. Giving him a quick glance, she said, “You look handsome tonight. Did your
make that new shirt for you?”