Good morning Friday Fiction Fans,
It's a lovely morning here. The windows are wide open and the birds are noisy. The sky is clear, and a wonderful breeze is keeping things fresh. It's supposed to get into the mid 80s today. We'll see if we turn the AC on or not. We did yesterday because it was just humid and hot. Neither my mom, nor I do well in heat and humidity.
This week has been slow on the writing side. I wrote some on Monday and Tuesday. But on Wednesday and yesterday I was typing up 24 pages of notes my mom had taken about a book, so I didn't write. But I did finish typing the notes last night.
I got everything out for the Book Release Tour of "Hymns in the Hills" which was pretty exciting. It will be the very first time I've ever released a novel with a book tour. Always before I've published it, posted it on my blog and said, "Here's another book, readers! Enjoy!" Or something like that. ;) But, after releasing "His Law is Love" with a book tour, and seeing all the wonderful reviews show up, I thought I'd try it on my own. And, in case you were wondering, the tour is the last week of the month.
In chatting with a reader, I discovered that she really wanted another Ria and the Gang story. Well, I can't say that I blame her. I kind of like these characters too. I am writing another story, but haven't gotten very far yet. But I did realize that I had this story written, but had never posted it. Yay! You all get a new story to read. :) Only it really isn't new.
And if you haven't read "Home Fires of the Great War," sorry. Ria is one of the characters in it.
I hope you enjoy this story.
Ria’s Birthday Gift
“Ria,” Mrs. Mitchell called upstairs to her daughter.
In a moment, nine-year-old Ria appeared at the top of the stairs. “You want me, Mama?”
“Uncle Edmund is bringing the boys over to stay for a few days,” Mrs. Mitchell looked up at her dark haired daughter, “so I’m going to need your help to get beds ready for them.”
Ria couldn’t help a sigh. She sometimes wished that some girls could come over to sleep for a change instead of just boys. The only problem was, there weren’t any girls old enough to spend the night. Anna was not yet one and Lillian was barely two. “Where will they sleep?” she asked soberly.
Smiling, Mrs. Mitchell replied brightly, “In the boys’ rooms.” She looked up at the half sad expression on the face above her. “Don’t you think you can live with some extra boys for a few days? They are here almost every day anyway. The only difference is that this time they won’t go home when the others do.”
Slowly sitting down on the top step, Ria propped her chin in her hands. “I know. I just wish Aunt Carrie could come visit and then Millie and Allie could sleep in my room. Mama,” Ria suddenly looked up, “do the boys have to come in my room?”
With a shake of her head, Mrs. Mitchell answered, “No, Dear. Your room is going to be off limits for the boys unless you invite them in.”
“Well, okay then. At least I’ll have a place to get away from Dave and Chris and their teasing.” Then she giggled. “And from Jack’s teasing too.” Somehow, however, when Jack teased her, it was a fun tease, a kind she enjoyed.
Mrs. Mitchell gave a chuckle; she quite agreed with Ria, Dave’s and Chris’s teasing sometimes when a little too far, but Jack was a lot like his father, Emma’s twin: fun but kind. “Shall we get the rooms ready now?” she asked as Ria continued to sit.
“Now,” and Ria sprang up ready to help. It would be fun to have her cousins over, she decided. Even if they were all boys.
“Mama.” It was nearly time for Uncle Edmund to bring the boys, and Ed, Chris and the twins were waiting on the porch while Mrs. Mitchell worked on supper and Ria set the table. “Mama, do you think Uncle Edmund will bring my birthday present he and Aunt Louise promised me?”
“I don’t think he’ll bring it tonight, Dear,” Mrs. Mitchell answered. “He’ll be too busy trying to make sure he has all the boys.”
The two in the kitchen shared a laugh. Uncle Edmund had been known to forget one or two of his sons before, or to take some wrong boys home.
A shout from the porch told Mrs. Mitchell and Ria that the extra boys had arrived.
Lively chatter, teasing and laughter surrounded the supper table that night in the Mitchell home. Little Larry, the youngest of Uncle Edmund and Aunt Louise’s children sat happily next to his Uncle Mitch, delighted to be a part of the gathering. Ria looked rather alone, her mother thought, sitting there surrounded on all sides by boys, but at that moment she was enjoying it.
“You know, boys,” Uncle Mitch remarked when not another mouthful could be taken by anyone, “the ladies made supper . . .”
“I’ll wash,” Fred volunteered smiling at his aunt.
“I think the three J’s can dry and put away the dishes,” Pete began delegating, “and Dave and Chris can sweep the floors. Ed, you and I can clear off the table.”
Ed nodded. “Let’s get to it then.”
Dave and Chris didn’t take too kindly to the idea of having to sweep the floor and Chris protested, “There are two of us, how are we both supposed to sweep?”
Chuckling a little, Mr. Mitchell offered a solution. “One can sweep the kitchen and the other here in the dining room.”
Delighted that her usual evening tasks were taken away from her, Ria soon had a game of Chinese checkers started with her father and Larry, and the rest of the evening passed pleasantly. Everyone gathered about the radio to listen to their favorite shows before Mr. Mitchell took the Bible from the shelf and read their evening chapter.
Thursday morning dawned cloudy and rainy. Ria gazed out the window and sighed. “Maybe it will stop raining by the time school is out,” she thought, turning from the window to pull on her school clothes.
Much laughter was coming from the boys’ rooms as Ria left her own and started slowly down the stairs wishing again that she had girl cousins mixed in with the boys.
“Good Morning, Ria,” her father greeted her, looking up from the morning paper and his cup of coffee.
“Good Morning, Daddy,” She replied, dropping down into a chair at the kitchen table.
“Why the long face? Did the boys wake you up too early?”
Ria shook her head. “No, I just wish I had a special cousin that was a girl that lived nearby.”
“Which of the gang would you get rid of?”
Frowning in thought a minute, Ria looked up and grinned. “No one,” she answered. “But where is Mama?”
Her father picked up his paper again. “She had to leave, but she should be back before you get home from school. She left breakfast all ready for you,” and Mr. Mitchell nodded towards the counter.
To have her mother leave before she had even come downstairs in the morning was, to Ria, unheard of. After she had filled her plate and resumed her seat, she asked, “Where did she go?”
“Hmm?” came from behind the newspaper.
“Where did Mama go?”
“Out. Where are those boys?” and Mr. Mitchell glanced over at the clock, folded his paper and stood up. Moving to the bottom of the stairs he called, “Boys, hurry up or you’ll be late for school!”
A thumping of feet was heard in the hall and then a clatter of steps on the stairs before the six older boys burst into the kitchen with five-year-old Larry trailing behind them.
“Where are Chris and Dave?” Mr. Mitchell asked, noticing the absence of the younger boys.
Ed shrugged, “They said they weren’t going to school today.”
And Jack asked, “Shall we toss them over our shoulders and carry them, Uncle Mitch?”
Mr. Mitchell laughed. “I think I’ll go talk with them before we resort to that.” And he departed.
Do you have more girl or boy cousins?
Have you read "Home Fires"?
What would you do if you were the only girl cousin?