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Friday, February 24, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 4

Good morning Friday Fiction Fans,
It's cloudy this morning, but I don't think it's supposed to rain today. The last few days have been sunny and warm. Upper 70s to 80ΒΊ warm. Yep, spring. Flowers blooming, trees budding, birds singing madly, squirrels acting crazy. (I actually saw one push another one off the tree the other morning!)

I was writing this week. Only got 20 words written yesterday though. I seemed stopped. Not as though I had taken a wrong turn in the story, but as though there was a pause. I'm hoping and praying I can write tonight. You can be praying too. :) I'm about 2/3 of the way done with "Dylan's Story" and I'm still wondering how it is all going to end.

I hope you enjoy this next part of your Friday Fiction. It ends next week. And then I really don't know what to post. Again. :P I keep having that problem. If I could get a short story written I could post that, but . . . I don't seem to have time to write a short story. But maybe if I got a few started I could work on them if I get stuck in my book. Sound good?

Smiling in the Rain
Part 4

    “Nonsense! You look fine!” remonstrated Zoe. “I love your curls. They fit you. Now let’s go down before Wally eats all the cake. What do you suppose the other girls have done in our absence?”
    Kelsey had completely forgotten about the other girls. Perhaps it had been rude to run off and leave them even if they had offered the others a chance to go with them. Candace would be sure to make some remark about her hair or her borrowed dress. For the first time since she had arrived, Kelsey wished it was time to leave and she could set off for home. But Zoe didn’t give her time to think any longer, for she linked arms with her in the friendly fashion she had, and together they descended the stairs.
    Aunt Olive called them into the living room and when they made their appearance, they were motioned to an empty section of the sofa. Plates of the moist lemon cake were handed to them and glasses of root beer. On a low table stood the vase of coreopsis.
    Glancing about half shyly, Kelsey found the other girls, except Candace, looking at Wally who was seated on the love-seat beside his cousin. With a slight shake of her head, she dropped her eyes back to her plate. Why did girls have to be so crazy about boys?
    For some time the room was full of small talk, Kelsey keeping silent and listening as she did every day in school. Finally Aunt Olive set her empty plate down and said, “I think I would like to tell you a little story, if you don’t mind. It is the reason I love these bright flowers so much.” And she nodded to the full vase.
    At her words silence fell on the room; only the soft patter of rain could be heard through the open windows.
    “I was young, just out of high school in fact,” Aunt Olive began, settling herself in her chair and folding her hands. “I had a job in the soda shop and loved every minute of it. But my favorite time was when a certain old friend of mine would walk through the doors. No,” she said, shaking her head at the significant smiles several of the girls exchanged, “he was much too old to be my boyfriend. In fact, he was more like a grandfather. But when I was young, I had found him an interested listener when I needed someone to pour out my troubles to, for my parents were both quite busy. Mr. Williamson would often bring me a posy when he came. It might be a rose, or a wildflower he had picked along the side of the road.
    “One day he came in with a single coreopsis in his hand. ‘For you,’ he said, handing it to me. ‘Because you make every day like sunshine.’ It was so sweet of him, and I didn’t notice the young man who was standing beside him. The young man was his grandson and we were introduced. For several days Mr. Williamson brought me a coreopsis or two each evening. They brightened up my room at home.
    “Over the next few weeks I began to notice his grandson, Ernest. We would talk, and before long he would show up at the soda shop when Mr. Williamson couldn’t. Yes, girls, we fell in love over the course of the following months. We got engaged and planned on being married the following early summer when the coreopsis were in full bloom. But the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that December. Ernest wasn’t in the army, but he joined before Christmas.”
    A long pause followed, and the room was so quiet that Kelsey distinctly heard the purring of Miss Olive’s cat from across the room where it lay curled up on the back of the love-seat.
    “He was given a short furlough before being shipped out,” Aunt Olive began again, one hand holding something which hung from a chain about her neck. “It wasn’t very long, but it was time I have always been grateful for. We could have gotten married then, but neither of us wanted to. Ernest said he wanted me to be free should anything happen to him, and I–well, I didn’t want a rushed wedding. We wrote to each other often. I wrote every day, and when the coreopsis were in bloom, I pressed one and sent it to him. He carried it tucked inside his small Bible the rest of his life.” Closing her eyes, Aunt Olive drew a deep breath. “He was killed on the beaches at the invasion of Normandy.”
    A gasp came from the girls in the room, and Kelsey felt her eyes fill with tears.
    “The fields here at home were full of coreopsis.” Tenderly she took off her necklace and held it in her open hand: a pair of dog-tags and a ring. For a long minute she sat looking at them. “Mr. Williamson died shortly after the news of Ernest’s death reached us. He hadn’t been well for months.”
    A half sob came from Zoe, and Kelsey gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

What did you think of this part?
Do you like listening to stories about others?
Will you return next week for the final part of this story?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 3

A lovely Spring morning to all my Faithful Friday Fiction Fans.
Yes, it's spring. We seem to have thrown away winter and welcomed spring with open arms. The trees and bushes are budding, the crocuses are blooming, the daffodils are coming up and the sun is rising in a clear sky. It's supposed to be 70ΒΊ today. Doesn't sound much like winter, does it?

This has been a good week. Kindle of crazy and such, but good. I've gotten some writing done though I couldn't write Tuesday or yesterday. And I wrote until I made myself nervous on Wednesday night. (I was home alone in the evening writing "Dylan's Story.") I'm hoping to write more this evening, but we'll see how things go. My grandparents came down for supper last evening and then Grandpa and I went to a concert. We are going out to breakfast with them, and my brother and his family this morning. Then my grandparents will stick around here until after lunch. It will be nice to visit with them.

If you haven't noticed, I have an audio giveaway going on at Read Another Page. Go check it out!
And now, because I need to get some other things worked on, I'm going to let you all get to the reason you get on here in the first place. The story. I hope you enjoy this next part of:

Smiling in the Rain
Part 3

She wasn’t content to remain on the slope at the edge of the water, for she saw more lovely ones growing on a tiny island in the stream.
    “Kels! Be careful!”
    Zoe’s shout made Kelsey pause in the middle of the stream and look back at the bridge. Some boy was standing beside Zoe, but she wasn’t sure who it was.
    “Don’t worry, I’m just going to get a few of the ones with more red in them, then I’ll be done.” She chose to ignore the presence of the stranger though she couldn’t help wondering who he was. “If it’s someone from school, the news will be all over by Monday that I was seen walking barefooted in the stream picking weeds. But these are not weeds. Humph! Why do I care what they think of me?”
    When she couldn’t hold another flower in her hand, she carefully walked back up stream and then paused glancing at both banks. Which would be easier to climb up?
    “Here, I’ll give you a hand up,” a masculine voice said, and the young man left the bridge and stood on the bank of the stream with his hand out.
    It would have been rude to refuse, and Kelsey hated to be rude. In a few minutes, therefore, she was standing on the road again while Zoe exclaimed over the beauty of the flowers.
    “Oh, excuse me, Kels,” Zoe said after a moment, “let me introduce you to my brother, Wally. Wally, this is Kelsey.”
    “Hi,” Wally greeted her cordially. “I’ve seen you at school but have never been introduced. It’s nice to finally get to meet you.”
    “Hi.” Kelsey nodded and focused her attention on rearranging the flowers so that the ones with red were more mixed with the others. Having grown up with a house full of girls, she wasn’t sure what to say around boys. Except for her sister’s friend; he felt like one of the family.
    “Say, do you girls want a lift home? Aunt Olive told me where to find you and said you’d been out a while.”
    “We’d ruin your car, Wally,” Zoe laughed. “In case you hadn’t noticed, we are rather wet.”
    “You can stand on the running boards on either side. I’d drive slowly. It would be faster than you could walk. And easier on your feet.” He glanced significantly at Zoe’s bare feet. “Come on,” he coaxed.
    Linking her arm in Kelsey’s Zoe replied, “What do you have up your sleeve, Wallace?”
    “A piece of Aunt Olive’s lemon cake,” admitted Wally with a grin. “She promised me one if I’d bring you two back.”
    Kelsey, having finished arranging her flowers, looked at Zoe and raised her eyebrows. It really didn’t matter to her what they did. She wouldn’t mind a lift, though she had never ridden on the running board of a car before.
    It only took Zoe a moment to give in, provided that Kelsey would come with them. Not feeling the need to refuse, Kelsey nodded and was soon laughing with delight as the gentle rain pelted her face and the wind tossed her wet curls.
    The ride was brief and when they had reached the house, Kelsey gathered her flowers which had been laid on an old shirt on the seat, and thanked Wally shyly.
    “Come along, girls,” he said, motioning them forward. “I believe Aunt Olive would rather see you dripping water in her kitchen then in the hallway.”
    Aunt Olive’s greeting was cordial and she handed each girl a towel, telling Zoe she’d probably find clean, dry clothes in the guest room. “Come down when you’re dry,” she told them.
    Kelsey held out her flowers. “These are for you, Miss Olive. I thought they matched your kitchen.”
    “Coreopsis! Kelsey, did Zoe tell you these are my favorite flowers?”
    “No.”
    “I didn’t know they were, Aunt Olive,” Zoe turned around at the door to say.
    “They are. Wally, would you get that vase.” She opened an upper cabinet and pointed. “I think there are enough flowers to fill it.” She was right, and soon the vase with its bright nodding flowers stood on the table. “These take me back a long time ago,” she mused half aloud. Her hand reached up and she clutched something inside her dress. “I–” With a quick shake of her head, she turned to the girls. “Go on. Get out of those wet clothes and then come back. I’ll have some lemon cake waiting for you.”
    Kelsey soon found herself dry and in borrowed clothes. The dress was a perfect fit and Zoe nodded approvingly.
    “Candace and I have spent so many nights here at Aunt Olive’s that we’ve taken to leaving some of our clothes so we don’t have to pack every time. That dress fits your slender figure much better than it ever did me. Are you ready to go down?”
    Giving another look in the mirror, Kelsey shrugged. “My hair looks terrible, but it always does after it gets wet unless I spend a long time fixing it properly.”
    “Nonsense! You look fine!” remonstrated Zoe. “I love your curls. They fit you. Now let’s go down before Wally eats all the cake. What do you suppose the other girls have done in our absence?”

Have you ever ridden on the running board of a vehicle?
Have you ever picked flowers for someone else?
Will you be back next week?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 2

Good morning Friday Fiction Fans!
It's a lovely morning! The sky was a glowing pink earlier and now the sun is coming up. I can hear a dog barking in the neighborhood. A bird chirping. Traffic on Broadway. Yep, life is stirring this fine morning. And it's supposed to be 70ΒΊ today. Spring. We still haven't gotten much winter yet, but there is a chance of snow Monday night. Ha! Crazy, I know. 70's today and 80ΒΊ tomorrow, and then snow on Monday night. But that's our weather for you. If you don't like the weather today, just wait till tomorrow.

But I don't think you came to read about the weather.😊

I've had a good writing week which has been nice. I'm working on "Dylan's Story" and am over half way done! It's been fun because twice now I've reached a "dead end" so to speak where I didn't have a clue what came next. Then I prayed, the idea came, and away my fingers went. I don't have quotes or pictures on Pinterest for this story. Only one lone picture. But I have never really used Pinterest much for stories except to get an idea.

Anyway . . . Today is going to be busy. We are going to clean the house (it needs it!), and then this afternoon my sister and I are going to go help set up and decorate for the Widows' Valentine Luncheon at church which is tomorrow. It's the time when all the Secret Sisters reveal who they are. The widows look forward to it every year! So do the rest of us.

Now I hope you will enjoy this next part of this story. Even  if you don't like playing in the rain. ;πŸ˜‰

Smiling in the Rain
Part 2

    Kelsey shrugged. The afternoon was not starting off as she had thought it would. Well, it had started off with the usual stiff circle of girls, and one in particular who didn’t want to do anything, but things had rapidly changed.
    Before Kelsey could think of something to say, Aunt Olive was back. “It looks like you girls are on your own. Have fun and don’t catch a chill, or your mothers will never let me invite you again.” With that laughing remark, Aunt Olive waved the two dripping girls back out into the rain.
    The walk was delightful. Kelsey, used to walking barefooted through wet grass, over rocks and along broken sidewalks, thought the paved road an easy path and walked along confidently. But Zoe, her feet tender, felt each small pebble and, though she said nothing, half wished she had worn her sandals. To keep her mind off her feet she asked, “How many brothers and sisters do you have, Kelsey?”
    “Seven. One older sister and the rest younger sisters.”
    “No brothers?”
    “Not one. Poor Dad always wanted a son, but he got daughters instead. He likes to tease Lauren, she’s my older sister, and me by saying that all the girls have been used up in the family now and we’ll no doubt get a house full of boys when we get married.” She laughed brightly and tossed back her wet hair.
    “Do you believe him?”
    “It doesn’t matter if I believe him or not. Neither one of us is married. Lauren does have a boyfriend though. And I think–” she hesitated and then lingered in the road until Zoe was right beside her. “I think he’s going to propose soon.” The sparkle in her eyes and the bright smile showed just how delighted she was.
    “Oh, Kels! How exciting!” And Zoe clapped her hands.
    “But you must not say anything about it, because I don’t know for sure, and I don’t want Lauren to suspect anything.”
    Zoe promised silence and then exclaimed, pointing ahead, “Look, there’s the bridge!”
    Soon the girls stood leaning over the railing watching the water dance and swirl below them.
    “Kels,” Zoe asked, “why are you so quiet at school?”
    Without turning around, Kelsey replied, “I’ve never been good in large crowds; besides, everyone else always has things to say, and I like to listen.”
    “Well, what things do you like to do? Besides take walks in the rain.” And Zoe smiled.
    Kelsey laughed and tipped her face back and closed her eyes against the falling moisture. “I often ride my bike to the old folks home and visit with the residents. Sometimes one or two of my sisters will go with me. I could sit and listen to them tell stories for hours.” Shaking off some of the water from her face, she looked over at the girl beside her. “I suppose you think I’m strange.”
    “Why? Because you enjoy visiting the older folks?”
    Kelsey nodded. “Most girls give me a sympathetic look and soon after find an excuse to leave me.” Picking up a pebble from the side of the bridge, she dropped it into the water below. It made a soft splash and the ripples spread out to mingle and combine with the ripples from the raindrops.
    “I don’t think you’re strange. I like listening to my grandmother, well, actually she’s my great grandmother. She lives with us, you know. You should come see her sometime,” she invited warmly. “I know she would enjoy a visit. And so would I.”
    Stealing a glance at the speaker, Kelsey wondered if Zoe was just being polite or if she was in earnest.
    Almost as though Zoe read her thoughts, she added, “I’m mean it, Kels. I would love to have you come over. Sometimes it gets rather dull in our large house. Do you live in a large house? I would think you’d have to with all you girls.”
    A merry laugh escaped Kelsey’s lips. “Large house? Us? You wouldn’t call it large.” Another laugh burst forth. “Zoe, the eight of us girls share two bedrooms and in each bedroom are two sets of bunk beds. Mom and Dad have the other bedroom. There are two bathrooms in the entire house, and the kitchen is so small that if anyone is in there cooking, you have to practically go outside to turn around. I could invite you over some time, but it’s not exactly the kind of place most people want to come to.”
    “Well, I want to see it.”
    “You’d be the first person who does.” There was no bitterness in Kelsey’s voice, just a matter of fact statement. “Come on,” she suggested, changing the subject. “Let’s see what the water looks like on the other side of the bridge.”
    Quickly the girls crossed the road and leaned over the railing.
    “Oh, Zoe! Look at those flowers!” Kelsey pointed to the golden yellow coreopsis which bloomed all along the bank. “Wouldn’t those look lovely in your aunt’s kitchen?”
    “Yes. And Aunt Olive does love flowers. But Kels, we’d get drenched trying to pick some in this rain with the grass so tall.”
    “Zoe, we already are drenched,” Kelsey chuckled. “We have been out in the rain, you know. But you might tear your dress. Mine will be fine. Wait for me; I’m going to get a handful.” So saying, she hurried from the bridge, and was soon pushing her way through the long wet grass down to the water’s edge where the flowers were growing thickest. Looking up, she waved at Zoe before proceeding to gather one flower after another. She wasn’t content to remain on the slope at the edge of the water, for she saw more lovely ones growing on a tiny island in the stream.

Have you ever picked flowers in the rain?
Is your house large or small?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 1

Hello Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
The sun is just coming up this cold Friday morning. Is it cold where you live? Do you have any snow? I want snow so badly right now. It just doesn't feel like we've really had much winter yet. Hmm, maybe that's because the weather keeps changing from winter to spring to winter to spring. It has us all confused.πŸ˜•

I really haven't done much writing this week. I know, it's sad. I did finish, edit and correct this short story, and worked on something for another story, and tried starting another short story, but I guess it's just been a slow writing time. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to get back to it next week. Though I don't know what I'm going to write. Short story? Long story? Hmmm . . .

This week I taught writing class, spent time knitting, made corsages for the Widows' Luncheon next week (and did some other things for that ministry as I'm taking over after the Luncheon), worked on the Bike Trip book, wrote blog posts for Read Another Page, sent emails, talked to my best friend, and other things. No, I haven't gotten to read since Sunday. 😞 It's quite sad. And I'm not sure I'll get to read this coming Sunday either because we are hopefully going to have my youngest niece's 2nd birthday party then.

This story was started last year some time, I think, when I was stuck on all my stories and I needed something to just write. I didn't get very far. In fact, I think I only got the first 5 paragraphs or the first 13 lines written then. And the story sat. And sat. Then in the fall I wrote a little more on it before leaving it once more. Last Saturday I didn't know what to write, so I started on this and finished it on Monday. πŸ˜ƒ hope you enjoy it!

Smiling in the Rain
Part 1

    Feeling foolish, Kelsey ducked her head and stared at her sandal as she spun it around with her toe on the wooded floor of the neat living room.
    An uncomfortable silence pervaded the room for thirty seconds before Zoe laughed. “Of course I think that going outside in this rain would be fun. Who cares about our hair. Come on, Kelsey, let’s go.” Springing to her feet, Zoe almost skipped across the floor and pulled the blushing girl to her feet.
    No one else made a move to join them as they disappeared from the room.
    Once the two girls were alone in the hall, Kelsey stopped short. “You don’t have to go outside, Zoe,” she whispered. “I just made that suggestion because the others wanted something new to do, and Candace kept vetoing every sensible idea. I–”
    “I know.” There was a merry twinkle in the taller girl’s eyes. “Candace likes to rule the girls, and most of them are more than willing to follow her lead. But she’s not the only leader. I’m just glad you did suggest this. I’ve been longing to get out in the rain all day!”
    “You have?” And Kelsey eyed the well-dressed girl in astonishment.
    “Yep.” At Kelsey’s continued stare, Zoe went on. “Look Kels, just because I come from a family with considerable means doesn’t necessarily signify that I’m a snob.” Her grin took away the sting such blunt words might have caused. “Now come on, let’s go have some fun.”
    Leaving their sandals on the covered porch, the two girls, one from the upper, wealthier side of town and the one from the other side of the tracks, ran down the steps and into the light summer rain.
    Kelsey loved the rain. Tipping her head back, she squinted her eyes against the drops. With a toss of her head that freed her red hair from the confines of bobby pins, she laughed in pure delight.
    “Oh, this is fun!” Zoe exclaimed. “Kels, do you ever stomp in the puddles?”
    “Of course! Where are they?” And Kelsey, feeling that for the first time in years she might have a friend, blinked the drops from her lashes and hurried over to Zoe who was standing before a large puddle. “Come on, let’s jump on the count of three.”
    “All right. One, two, three!”
    The splash sent the water as high as their knees and caused both girls to laugh merrily.
    After several minutes of enjoying the puddle and the rain, Kelsey ventured to remark, “I love to walk in the rain.”
    “Barefoot?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “All right, where shall we go?” questioned Zoe, apparently ready for anything.
    Kelsey looked around. “I don’t know. I’m not in this part of town very often. At home I like to walk down to the creek and watch the water. Sometimes I go visit old Mrs. Mead. She always has a fire going on rainy days and I get dried off there and listen to her tell stories.”
    “Oh, Kels, that sounds like fun. How far away is Mrs. Mead’s house?”
    Kelsey raised her eyebrows. “Too far for us to walk.”
    Zoe looked disappointed, but she shrugged and said, “Oh, well. Let’s walk down to the drug store. We could get something to drink there.”
    At that suggestion, Kelsey burst into laughter. “Zoe, we look like a couple of drowned rats! We’d never hear the end of it at school if we did such a thing, for someone we know is bound to be there with it being Saturday!”
    Reaching up, Zoe pushed back a bit of her dark hair which was plastered to her face. “I suppose so, but don’t you think we could walk down to the stream? It’s not too far from here.”
    Looking back toward the house, Kelsey hesitated. “I wish some of the other girls would come out,” she remarked softly. “I feel sort of bad going out and leaving them.”
    “Well, don’t feel bad. Aunt Olive invited all of us girls so we could enjoy the day together. She loves both her nieces, but she knows Candace can be a snob and overly bossy. Suppose we run around to the kitchen, I’m sure Aunt Olive will be in there, and we can ask her.”
    With a feeling of relief, Kelsey nodded and squeezed Zoe’s hand as hers was taken in a friendly clasp.
    Aunt Olive was indeed in the kitchen and stared in astonishment at the two girls standing on her back porch before she began to laugh heartily. “Oh, girls, are you having fun?”
    “Yes, Aunt Olive,” Zoe nodded. “But Kels and I want to walk down to the stream, but we want to know if you think it would be rude to run off and leave the others.”
    “Didn’t they want to join you?”
    Zoe shrugged. “Candace is in one of her moods, and I don’t know if we can convince any of the others to join us or not. But may we take a walk, Aunt Olive? You have no idea how delightful this rain is!”
    “Suppose I go and find out if any of the others want to go too.”
    Zoe nodded quickly and Aunt Olive disappeared.
    “I don’t think anyone will come, do you?” Zoe asked in low tones.
    Kelsey shrugged. The afternoon was not starting off as she had thought it would. Well, it had started off with the usual stiff circle of girls, and one in particular who didn’t want to do anything, but things had rapidly changed.
Do you like to play in the rain?
Have you ever taken a walk in the rain? 
Do you think any of the other girls will join them?