A Quilt for Jenna

A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick E. Craig
path. The first one began to stir. Reuben stepped over and slapped the big man’s face. His voice took on a dangerous edge as he roused the semiconscious man. “Get up, you pig, or this will be the last place you’ll ever sleep.”
    The big man rubbed his jaw as he slowly struggled to his knees. He looked around for a weapon. Reuben quickly stepped in with two powerful blows to his head, and the big man crumpled in a heap. He lifted his hands in a gesture of surrender.
    â€œNow, if I were you and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my short life getting the stuffing whipped out of me, I’d collect your pal and hit the road,” Reuben said as he stood over the fallen man.
    â€œOkay, okay, we’re going. But I never heard of no fightin’ Amish before.”
    â€œIf I ever see you in this town again,” Reuben replied, “I’ll rewrite that notion on your thick skull. Now git!”
    The first man stood up shakily and walked over to his friend, who was just coming to. He gave him a kick in the leg and said, “Come on. Seems we’re not welcome here.”
    The second man dragged himself to his feet, and the two staggered away. Reuben returned to Jerusha’s side, took her arm, and helped her up.
    â€œThere now,” he said softly, “all’s well.”
    Jerusha looked up and stared straight into Reuben’s eyes. Immediately she blushed and looked down, totally flustered by the turn of events. Her expression did not escape Reuben’s notice.
    â€œSo, Miss Hershberger, do I really have that much of an effect on you?” he asked. “I must say, it’s encouraging and rather flattering.”
    â€œWell, thank you for your help,” she shot back, alternately flushing red and going pale. “But don’t give yourself airs. I was just attacked, and then I watched you beat the tar out of those men. How am I supposed to react?”
    â€œOh, so I’m not so grand as I thought,” he said, chuckling. “Well, that’s fine. As for beating the tar out of those men, I’d do it twice over if it meant your safety.”
    â€œYou’re a strange sort of a pacifist,” Jerusha said. “I’m not sure the elders would agree with you.”
    â€œWell, as you get to know me better, you might find that I have some...well, unorthodox views as far as the elders are concerned.”
    â€œWhat makes you think I want to know you better?” Jerusha asked. “I don’t even know you at all.”
    â€œBut I would like to know you better,” Reuben said, “and if it takes thrashing a couple of thugs to get an introduction and win your admiration, then I’ll do what it takes.”
    Jerusha softened. “I’m sorry. After all, you did save me from an awful fate, I’m sure.” She blushed again and then said, “I probably should be going.” She took a few tentative steps toward the village.
    â€œWhere to?” Reuben asked, falling in beside her.
    Jerusha tried to bring order back to her emotions. “Well, if it’s any of your business, I’m going to the store. I have to get some things and then go right home.”
    She managed a glance his way and took him in. At her grandmother’s funeral she had assumed he was in his teens, but now she saw that he was older, maybe twenty or twenty-one. Something about him seemed different from the boys who had tried to impress her in school or at the evening singings. He carried himself with an assurance that most of the boys lacked. She felt it both attractive and at the same time disconcerting.
    â€œWhere did you learn to fight like that?” she asked quietly.
    â€œI have an Englisch friend in Wooster who’s in a boxing club, and he showed me a few things.”
    â€œBut we aren’t supposed to be friends with the Englisch ,” Jerusha said.
    â€œWhen I turned sixteen, my daed looked the other way at some of

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