A Changed Lock Chapter 24: Making Plans

Fiction By Damaris Ann // 3/1/2018

By the time Jules woke up Saturday morning, she had made up her mind. She did not waste much time carrying her plan out. She had eaten her lunch and Duncan had fallen asleep for his afternoon nap. She gathered up her phone and headphones and headed out the door for her daily walk. The spring air was crisp and clean, and felt almost dewy, regardless of the bright sun shining down.
Jules paused in her walk to take a picture of the sunlight filtering through the branches of a large oak tree. She smiled. It was such a lovely day. After she had taken the picture from just the right angle, she put her headphones in and called her dad.
"Hello?"
"Hey Dad. I wanted to talk to you about something, if you have a few minutes."
"Sure. What's up, sweetheart?"
"I want to go to Arizona and meet Arabella."
"Okay."
"Okay?"
"Jules, you're an adult. If you want to meet Arabella, it's up to you. I've had a feeling you would want to, and I knew you'd make plans to do so when you were ready. My only input would be to suggest that you take someone with you when you go."
"Thanks, Dad. That means a lot to me. And I was thinking I'd ask Greta."
"If you go on an extended weekend, like, Thursday through Sunday, I could stay with Dad for you."
"Even if I can set it up for next week?"
"Why not? I don't have anything going on, do I, Grace?" Jules heard her step-mom's voice in the background. "Yeah, I'm totally free. Have you gotten in touch with Arabella yet?"
"No, not yet." Jules kicked at a pebble in the street. "I'm going to message her on Facebook as soon as I talk to Greta. I'm thinking while I'm in Arizona I'll go to the Grand Canyon, too. I've always wanted to go there."
"Sounds like a plan. I'll let you go so you can talk to Greta. Let me know when you've figured it all out."
"Will do. Love you, Dad."
"I love you, too."
Jules took a quick breath and dialed Greta. She watched wind play with the branches of the juniper trees while she walked. Greta picked up right as her voicemail came on. "Hey girl."
"Finally! I thought you were gonna keep me waiting forever." Jules laughed.
"Me? I couldn't ignore you if I wanted to."
"True, true."
"So, what's up?"
"I was wondering if you'd like to road trip with me to Arizona next week."
"You're joking, right?"
"Nope. I'm dead serious."
"Well I'm down. You know I'd never let you go without me. What are we gonna do up there?"
"Meet my birth mom for one, and then go to the Grand Canyon."
"Cool. What days?"
"Thursday through Sunday. Actually I was thinking we'd try to drive through the night on Saturday and get back in time for church Sunday morning."
"Cool. So your mom is good with that?"
"I haven't technically asked her yet. That's next on my to do list."
"I don't envy you that chore. So, what are you gonna do with Duncan?"
"Dad said he'd stay over at my place while we're gone."
"Wow, you really do have this all planned out."
"I better, I did lay awake most of the night thinking about it. So, you can go with me?"
"Umm...hold up let me call you back real quick."
"Oh, okay." Jules walked along for a few minutes. Her phone rang.
"It's me again. I can go! I was supposed to work on Thursday, but I told my boss that I'd quit if he didn't let me off." Greta laughed. "He needs me too much to let that happen."
"You're the bestest ever! So I guess I need to contact Arabella now."
"Whew, okay. Let me know how it goes. When and where do you want to meet her?"
"I think I'll arrange to meet her Friday morning at a coffee shop. That way we can visit as long as we feel comfortable visiting, without feeling obligated to stay super late."
"Good idea. Alright, I'll let you go now. Talk soon."
"Yep. 'Bye."
Jules hung up and turned some music on before shoving her phone into her back pocket. She spun in a quick circle and let out a happy squeal.
"Hey."
Her squeal merged into a screech. She turned around. "Oh, Miles. You scared me."
"Sorry about that. I was out on a walk and thought I heard a dolphin or something out here." He grinned and fell into step beside her. "What are you so excited about? That is, if you don't mind my asking..."
"Not at all." She grinned back at him. "Greta and I are planning a trip to Arizona next week."
"For real? That's awesome!"
"I know, right?"
"You're going to the Grand Canyon, aren't you?"
"Yeah, that's the plan. But first I'm going to meet my birth mom for coffee. Only if she'll agree to it. I haven't asked her yet..."
"Oh, wow. This'll be a big trip for you, then."
"Mhm. I'm a little nervous, to be honest." They walked on a little further. "Okay, truth be told I'm completely terrified."
"But excited?"
"Like crazy." Jules bent to pick a few of the Indian Paintbrushes that were scattered along the road. She added a few Daisies to her small bouquet. "I'm sure it'll be an amazing trip."
"I'm sure. When will y'all be leaving?"
"Early Thursday morning if all goes as planned. Hey, speaking of things going, or not going, as planned... I may or may not have written a super short poem based off of what you said to me about sanctification last night."
Miles paused on his walk and raised an eyebrow. "Oh really?"
"Yeah," Jules paused beside him and shifted her weight around. "I did."
"...so, am I going to have to wait to hear it?"
"Ugh, I guess not. Just, don't look at me while I recite it, okay?"
"Deal. Here, I'll even turn around." He spun around, facing away from her.
Jules giggled. "Okay, here goes;
"When it feels like life reset my clock
Help me remember my changed lock
Not to gripe about this life's demands
But look to You for Your commands
While living as You do above
Giving myself away in love
.'"
Miles turned back to face Jules. His whole face was lit up with a smile. "That is beautiful, Jules!"
"You really think so?"
"Yes, I do."
"Thank you. That means a lot, coming from you."
"Heh, well, thanks."
"Yeah." Jules smiled. "Listen, I need to get back to the house and focus on talking to Arabella."
"Okay. I'll say a prayer for you."
"Thanks, I appreciate it. See you tomorrow."
"Okay. 'Bye."
Jules turned and walked back towards her house. She smiled to herself, a little embarrassed about sharing her poem. Her face glowed over Miles' praise.
She walked inside and peeked at Angus. He was still sound asleep in his chair. Good. Jules walked back into the kitchen and hopped up onto the counter. She pulled out her phone and sent a message to Arabella through Facebook.
Half an hour later she texted Greta. "We're on. Arabella is up for meeting Friday morning." She texted her dad, too. And then after a few moments' hesitation she texted Miles.
"I can't believe I'm really going..." she walked upstairs in a daze and pulled her suitcase out. "It's never too early to start packing."
Jules spent nearly an hour picking out her clothes and packing up her sketchbook and camera. She ran downstairs nearly every fifteen minutes to check on Duncan. Once she had snapped her suitcase shut she set a pair of hiking boots on top of it and then shoved it over against the wall. "Hopefully I won't trip over it."
By the time she had finished with her suitcase, it was time to start dinner preparation. She hummed quietly to herself in the kitchen while she chopped up potatoes and red peppers. Jules paused every few moments to step over to the stove where she stirred the chicken broth that steamed in its stainless steel pot. She dumped her vegetables in, and then got to work chopping up several slices of bacon. "Mmmm." She inhaled deeply. "This smells heavenly."
There was a knock at the front door. Jules washed her hands and patted them dry on her brown dish towel.
She swung the door open, revealing Miles. "Oh hey! Won't you come in?"
"Sure." He stepped inside and pulled the door shut behind him. "Gramps sent me over with this book for Duncan to try. Is he up?"
"Yes, he just woke up a little bit ago. He's in the library if you want to walk in there."
"Thanks. It smells like you're busy, so I'll just make myself at home and let you get back to your... soup? It smells amazing."
Jules laughed. "Thanks! I appreciate it. Would you like a glass of water?"
"Nah, I'm good. But thanks." He disappeared down the hallway, and Jules heard him talking to Duncan. Duncan was talking much better now, and he always took so much pleasure in Miles' occasional visits. Jules smiled to herself, appreciating the happy conversation from down the hall. She started chopping up a sweet onion, stopping frequently to dab at her eyes with the edge of her apron.
Miles walked in after several minutes and glanced at her, a puzzled look on his face. "Are you okay?"
"Hmm? I'm fine." She sniffed once and wiped her eyes again.
"Are you sure? You seem, well, are you crying?"
Jules set her knife down and burst out laughing, confusing Miles even more. After a minute he rubbed his eyes and then smacked his forehead. "You're chopping up an onion right now, aren't you?"
Jules nodded and gasped for breath, running to wash her hands so that she could properly wipe her eyes. "Oh my," she breathed in deeply. "You made me laugh so hard." She began to laugh again, and this time Miles joined in.
"Okay, I really need to finish chopping this up. Would you and Angus like to come over for dinner? I'm making plenty."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm pretty sure." She walked down the hall and poked her head around the doorway of the library. "Hey Grandad?"
Duncan looked up from his book and smiled at her. "Yes?"
"How would you like it if Miles and Angus joined us for dinner?"
"I would love that!"
"Awesome, then its settled." She walked back into the kitchen to where Miles was leaning up against the counter, phone in hand. "Grandad would be overjoyed if y'all would join us."
"Then I won't argue with you." He stuffed his phone into his back pocket. "I guess I'll run home and get Gramps."
"M'kay. See ya in a minute. You can leave the door open behind you; it's lovely outside."
"Got it," Miles called over his shoulder. He stuck his hands in his pockets and stepped off the porch. Jules could hear him whistling while he walked down the street, and she smiled to herself.
Jules pulled out a red-checked table cloth and some old, white candles and went into the backyard. After brushing a few leaves and blades of grass off of the picnic table she draped the cloth over it, setting the candles in the center. She went back inside and whipped up a batch of lemonade and pulled the pitcher of sweet tea out of the fridge. After she had set the pitchers on the table she checked the rolls in the oven; almost done. By the time she had set everything out on the table she heard Miles and Angus walking up the pathway.
"Welcome!" She ran out to greet Angus with a quick hug. "Thank you so much for the book you sent over. Grandad has been reading it ever since Miles handed it to him." She grinned. "Come on in."
"It smells amazing in here, young lady."
"Thank you," Jules smiled. "I decided we should eat outside at the picnic table since it's so lovely out. Why don't you go ahead and sit down while I wheel Grandad out?"
"Oh, I can get him, Jules."
"Thank you, Miles. I'll grab the door."
Once Duncan and Angus were seated and had their drinks, Miles and Jules walked back into the kitchen to serve plates. They carefully carried the full plates outside and sat down. They all joined hands, and Duncan asked the blessing. "Dear Lord, we thank you for the good food and godly fellowship. Amen."
"Amen."
"Amen."
"Amen."
"Jules, you've outdone yourself. This soup is amazing!"
Jules beamed at Angus. "Aww, thank you. I'm glad you like it. It's a favorite of Grandad's."
"It's no wonder it is," Miles grinned while he reached for another roll. "It really is delicious."
"Thank you. Your co-workers at the gym would be horrified if they could see how many carbs you're consuming right now," Jules teased.
"Well then, it's a good thing they can't see me."
Duncan chuckled, looking back and forth between Miles and Jules. "Be nice to our guest, Jules."
"Oh, he's not a guest. He's family."
Jules grinned and Miles beamed. The rest of the evening was spent with deep conversations and much laughter. Before they knew it, it was time for Angus and Miles to go home.
"Thank you so much for having us, Jules."
"Thanks again for your help with Grandad. It's so nice to have help getting him to bed."
"Any time. I'll see you in the morning."
"Alrighty." She waved to Angus, who was already sitting in the car. "See you."

CHAPTERS 25-27

Comments

Wow, a lot of things just

Wow, a lot of things just happened in this chapter! I liked the reality of the onion scene, because it really does make you cry. ;)
I was wondering, I think the scene where Jules calls Greta is important, but Greta decided so quickly. I'm not sure if you wanted that, or it was unintentional, but do you think it might be a bit too soon to make plans? I really don't know. It's just a suggestion. :)
And, there's just something about the line:

"Sure. What's up, sweetheart?"

That I really liked. It's so sweet and homelike.

Libby | Mon, 03/12/2018

“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation.
Therefore, suffer, yes. Be misunderstood, yes. Be shamed, yes. But do not be ashamed. For the joy set before you, take up your cross, follow Jesus, be shamed and despise the shame!" -- John Piper

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your comment!! Hmm, you do make a good point. I made some notes, and I'll keep what you said in mind when I edit this chapter. Thanks again!

Also I'm curious; what did you think about the previous chapter? Did it make sense?

Damaris Ann | Tue, 03/13/2018

God uses the milestones as stepping stones to bring us closer to Him. We may not see it in the moment, but we can always look back and see the memorials of His love in the crumbles of our stumbling blocks.

Oh! I guess I forgot to

Oh! I guess I forgot to comment on that.
I really like the explanation of 'a changed lock'. It makes sense, and also, I think its concept really is relatable. It did make sense, and I admire anyone who can explain something that we struggle so much with understanding in life. So, to sum it all up, yes, it made sense, and I like it a lot!

Libby | Tue, 03/13/2018

“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation.
Therefore, suffer, yes. Be misunderstood, yes. Be shamed, yes. But do not be ashamed. For the joy set before you, take up your cross, follow Jesus, be shamed and despise the shame!" -- John Piper

Aww, I'm so glad it made

Aww, I'm so glad it made sense! I was afraid it would be a little too out-of-the-blue. :)

Damaris Ann | Tue, 03/13/2018

God uses the milestones as stepping stones to bring us closer to Him. We may not see it in the moment, but we can always look back and see the memorials of His love in the crumbles of our stumbling blocks.

Edited!

Edited!

Damaris Ann | Wed, 03/14/2018

God uses the milestones as stepping stones to bring us closer to Him. We may not see it in the moment, but we can always look back and see the memorials of His love in the crumbles of our stumbling blocks.

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