Solace @missliss15
Chapter 2

There is a bit of Pennslyvania Dutch in this chapter so here are the words and their meaning:

Daed - Dad

Mamm - Mom

Kinner - Children

Ach - Similar to saying "Oh!"

Also, as we get further into this story, I wanted to note that Edward is what would be considered 'New Order Amish.' They hold the same beliefs as the 'Old Order', but they are ever so slightly a bit lax on a few things like beard length and certain technologies.

**One more thing before I let you get to reading, for a few chapters Edward and Bella are on a different timeline. If you have questions, feel free to message me here or on FB!**

EPOV

November 2021

Most days, I rushed about my mornings; jumping out of bed at daybreak, washing up, then having a quick breakfast before leaving my house to start my day. Today wasn't one of those days.

I sat at the kitchen table, my cup of coffee having gone cold long ago, but I didn't have it in me to worry about making a fresh cup. My mind had drifted to areas I tried hard to never revisit, and now I could feel the weight of the world balancing on my shoulders. It had been three years, but some days it was still hard to breathe.

I stared at the clock on the wall, watching as the seconds ticked by, turning into minutes. It wasn't always this way. When Maggie and I were married, before she'd gotten sick, we'd spent many mornings just lazing about for longer than we should have. She'd rise from bed after a while, cook us a hearty breakfast while I'd steal a few kisses, then send me off on my way and out of her hair.

When we'd begun courting, and then after we'd married—taking vows to each other and the church—I never imagined I'd be without her after just a short couple of years. No man expected to be a widower by the age of twenty-two, especially when their wife had seemed to be the picture of health.

We'd been talking about children, wanting to fill our house with the sounds of little ones. It thrilled Maggie when she'd showed signs of expecting, but we couldn't have been more wrong. Weeks had passed and it should have been coming to a point where the worst of her ailments eased, but they became worse. That was when we decided it was a smart idea to see a doctor; that maybe there was something we could do to ease her symptoms and make sure nothing was wrong with the baby.

But there was no baby. What we had celebrated with such joy was, in fact, ovarian cancer. It was just months after that doctor's visit that Maggie was no longer with me, and it felt as if my heart had stopped beating right along with hers.

I downed my lukewarm coffee before grabbing my hat and heading out the door. Sitting here and wallowing wouldn't accomplish anything.

"Edward."

I looked up from my desk in the office at the back of my farrier workshop to find my parents standing in the doorway. I gave a heavy sigh, suddenly feeling much wearier than I had a few moments ago.

"I hoped we would be wrong and wouldn't find you here working so late," my father continued to speak as my mother stood there, a look of concern on her face.

"Where else would I be, Daed?"

"Well, we hoped maybe you'd stopped by your cousin's for dinner since he invited you. You know how much Jasper and Alice were looking forward to seeing you."

I located the clock on the wall, once again sighing as I took in the time. It was well past eight in the evening, and I'd missed dinner with my cousin and his family.

My mother rested a hand on my shoulder. "If you hurry, I'm sure Alice will reheat a plate for you. You know, her cousin Angela is visiting—"

I tensed at her words. "Are you trying to tell me this invitation to dinner was just for me to meet a woman? Do you honestly believe I would ever want to meet another woman?"

"Mind how you're speaking to your mamm, Edward," my father warned. "We just think it's time—"

"Ach! You think it's time? Who are you to say? Maybe it'll never be time for me to marry again, what do you think about that? I've got to finish my bookkeeping, leave me be." Without another word, I turned back to the papers in front of me, listening as they let themselves out.

Days after the confrontation with my parents, I heard the distinct sound of buggy wheels come to a stop outside my house. A few moments later, there was a knock at my door.

I wiped my hands over my face before pulling it open to find my brother Emmett standing on my porch. His eyes were hard as he spoke. "What do you have to say for yourself, brother?"

"I've nothing to say."

He heaved a sigh, walking past me into the house. It was no longer a home without Maggie in it.

"Mamm is beside herself with how you spoke to them the other day at the shop."

"I've still got nothing to say, Emmett. They—Jasper and Alice included—are trying to play matchmaker, and I am not ready for that. I may never be."

He pulled out a chair, taking a seat at my table. "It's been three years, Edward. I can't understand why you don't want to find happiness. You're only 25, still plenty young."

I felt that telltale lump forming in my throat. "Jah, none of you would understand, would you? All of your wives are alive and well, having kinner left and right, thank the Lord. That opportunity was torn from me, though, or do you still not understand?"

"You could start a family of your own if you'd only—"

"No, you don't understand at all. Just like with Daed and Mamm, I'll ask that you'll leave me be, Emmett." I closed my eyes, clenching my fists at my side.

"We're just worried about you."

"Please, I'm asking you kindly to leave my house, Emmett. Maybe we'll revisit this conversation another day, but the time isn't now. Please tell Mamm and Daed I'm sorry I upset them, and that you tried."

I opened the door for him; he walked through, but before he climbed back into his buggy, he turned to me. "Maggie wouldn't want this life for you; she'd want you happy and making a family. She'd want to see you prosperous."

"Maybe so," I muttered before shutting the door on him. There was a part of my soul that knew he was right. I could almost see Maggie sitting beside me, telling me to stop dragging my feet.

I always get super excited to post the first chapter and forget to put important information in my author notes! So this story will be posting once a week, every Monday.

Also, if you're interested in seeing teasers and the occasional picture to go along with chapters, if you haven't already you can join my Facebook group Stories by MissLiss15. There's a link to it on my profile here on FFN or you can just search for it on Facebook!

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