Two Simple Words, Part 4

Fiction By Jackie West // 7/20/2011

 One day, as she scribbled away in her journal, she happened to look out one of her bedroom windows and see people walking along the street. She knew immediately that they were strangers because she knew everyone on her street and she didn’t recognize them.

The group dodged out of the way as Mr. Harrison drove down the road and pulled into his driveway. Autumn ran out to greet him and forgot about the people she had seen.


Later that evening, as the two of them sat eating a dinner of leftovers in the kitchen, Mr. Harrison put down his fork and spoke.

“I saw that the old Stewart place down near the end of the road is sold.”

Autumn looked up from her food, interested. “Did you see anyone from the new family?”

“No, but I did see a fifteen-passenger van and two smaller cars in the driveway.”

“I wonder-I saw a group of people walking down the road a few moments before you came home. Do you think that might have been them?”

“Maybe some of them, but probably not all of them,” he replied, spearing some cold ham with his fork. “I shouldn’t wonder if they have ten to twelve children. And,” he added as he chewed and swallowed his food, “I shouldn’t wonder if they have one or two children close to your age. Maybe they have a few aspiring authors in the mix too.”

He noted that Autumn seemed to brighten in constitution.

“Tell you what,” her father said. “Tomorrow’s Saturday. We can make a meal for them and bring it over sometime, and then meet the family and welcome them to the street.”

“Yeah, that’s a great idea!” Autumn exclaimed. “What should we bring?”

Mr. Harrison thought for a little while. “Well,” he said finally, “we could make lasagna and vegetables along with a dessert. They would probably like something with chocolate in it.”

Autumn was excited as they finished their meal, cleaned the kitchen, checked on Mrs. Harrison, and sat down to watch a movie. She couldn’t wait to meet the new family!


Autumn settled the pot of peas, beans, and broccoli in the backseat next to the pan of brownies that were fresh from the oven. Then she sat down in the back next to them holding the huge pan of lasagna.

Her father drove slowly down the street to the house that had been sold. It was bustling with activity, and there were four or five small children running around in the yard being watched by an older girl sitting on the porch. She stood as Autumn and her father parked on the street by the house.

Autumn carefully got out of the car, and her father climbed out of the driver’s seat and took the lasagna.

The girl came toward them. She waved briefly and smiled, “Hello! Are you some of our new neighbors?”

Mr. Harrison nodded as he smiled back. “Yes, we are. I’m Jared Harrison, and this is my daughter Autumn.”

“I’m Mila Duncan,” she answered.

Autumn smiled shyly. She was sure she was going to like this family.

“We wanted to bring you a meal to welcome you to the neighborhood,” Mr. Harrison explained. “Did we bring enough?”

Mila nodded, laughing. “Yes, it should be, though hopefully the boys won’t be too hungry so that we girls can get some!”

Autumn laughed. “How many brothers do you have?”

“Well, there are eleven of us kids, and seven of them are boys,” Mila explained. “I’m the fourth child, and the first girl, so…you can probably guess that I’m pretty busy.”

“Three older brothers?” Autumn asked. “I don’t think I’d be able to stand it!”

“How many siblings do you have?” Mila asked.

“Well, technically I’m an only child-my mom lost twins a few weeks ago.” Autumn was temporarily saddened by the thought.

Mila placed a hand on her shoulder. “Oh, Autumn, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”

“I didn’t really expect you to,” Autumn said, blinking back tears that had suddenly come into her eyes.

Mr. Harrison put a comforting hand on her shoulder as someone came out the front door of the house.

“Mila Joy, who’s here?” a sweet voice rang out.

Mila turned. “It’s some of our new neighbors, Mom. They brought a meal.”

Mrs. Duncan came down the front porch steps, carrying a small child on one hip.

She made her way over to her daughter. “Hello, I’m Mrs. Duncan,” she said. “I presume that you’ve met my little girl Mila?”

“Mom!” Mila blushed.

“Yes, we met her. She’s a very nice young lady,” Mr. Harrison said quickly, and, wanting to save Mila from further embarrassment, held up the pan of lasagna. “Is there a place where we can put the food?”

Mrs. Duncan gestured inside the house. “The kitchen’s right in the house,” she said, laughing. “Come in, and meet my husband and older boys.”

Mila helped Autumn balance the pan of brownies on top of the pot of vegetables, and then Autumn followed her father and Mrs. Duncan into the house.

“Rex!” Mrs. Duncan called. “We have visitors!”

She led them to the kitchen and showed them where they could put down the food.

They turned as Mr. Duncan came into the kitchen, followed by a boy about Autumn’s age. He had friendly blue eyes and a shock of dark brown wavy hair.

He flashed a brilliant smile, and Autumn smiled back.

“This is my third boy, Donnell,” Mrs. Duncan said, patting his shoulder. “He and Mila are seventeen months apart. He’s fourteen, she’s thirteen.”

“Nice to meet you, Donnell,” Mr. Harrison said politely, holding out his hand, which Donnell immediately shook. Then he shook Autumn’s hand. She was pleased to find his handshake good and firm.

“Hello,” he said. “And whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”

“I’m Jared Harrison from down the street, and this is my daughter Autumn,” Mr. Harrison said, introducing his daughter and himself.

“It’s nice to meet

“So, Donnell, what do you do in your free time?” Mr. Harrison asked, turning to the boy.

“Hang out with friends-“he began “-write novels, and play computer games.”

“That’s neat! I write too,” Autumn informed him.

Rex gestured to the hall outside the kitchen. “Would you like to see the house, Mr. Harrison?”

“I think I can trust him,” Mr. Harrison said, winking at Autumn.

She glared at him. “I’m not that bad, Dad!”

“And I’m not, either,” Donnell added.

He grinned at her as he followed the Duncan parents off.

Donnell turned to her. “So you write?”

“Yes,” Autumn said slowly. “I’ve been writing stories for a long time.”

“Do you write fantasy, or historical fiction or something else?”

“Mostly fantasy,” Autumn said, warming up to the subject. “What about you?”


Donnell and Autumn became fast friends, and when Autumn introduced him to Melody, she found him fun and interesting with surprising quickness. The trio started hanging out and listening to music, talking about their stories-Melody had very recently started writing a novel with Autumn’s encouragement-and revising and editing their stories.

Autumn told him and Mila all about the deaths of Lily and Joshua, and he was able to offer some comfort and advice-‘Don’t let your sadness and anger sit inside and gather power, because someday that power will be released and will hurt someone or more than one person.’ He knew how she was feeling-he had had a twin who was stillborn. He had only recently been told about it, and he had been very sad, but he had turned to God for comfort and his heart had been calmed.

Autumn realized that the more she prayed, the better she felt. She had been so upset for such a long time that her emotions were thrown off balance and she started getting sick. Praying gradually started healing her physically and emotionally.

She was, though, still not well prepared when her mother interrupted her writing club with Donnell and Melody and called her upstairs in mid-December to give her some bad news.

Autumn sat on the bed.

“Your father and I went to the doctor today.” Mrs. Harrison began. “The doctor said that I am recovering fairly well from the miscarriage.”

Autumn nodded mutely. She thought that she would never get over the death of her brother and sister.

Mrs. Harrison put an arm around her daughter. “It’ll be alright. I am very sad about Joshua’s and Lily’s deaths, but God has a purpose for everything, including that, and we just need to trust in him, no matter what the circumstance. Besides, we will see those two little children in heaven someday.”

Sadness flooded over Autumn, and she put her head on her mother’s shoulder and cried.


The Christmas of 2014 dragged by for Autumn. She constantly visited the grave of Lily and Josh, and often, Donnell and/or Melody were there with her to comfort and support her.

It was the last day of 2014 when Donnell and his family visited to celebrate New Years’ Eve.

Autumn was busy all day preparing snacks and treats; Donnell came over early to help her and her father out with the decorating and show them some new music.

Her parents and Donnell did their best to keep Autumn’s mind off of the babies, but she still found herself many times looking out at the grave and wondering what the new year would bring.

Autumn dropped into bed, exhausted from helping usher in the New Year and cleaning up after the Duncan family left. Even so, she had a hard time trying to get to sleep because she could not stop thinking about the babies.

Finally, she sat up, turned on her lamp, and grabbed her Bible. She opened at a random point and her eyes fell on Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Autumn shut the Bible, put it back on her nightstand and lay back in bed, thinking.

Wow, she thought. God really meant for me to open at that really random point, didn’t he?

At last, she was able to fall asleep.

January flew by, and one day, Autumn’s mother told her that they would be going to the doctor again for another checkup.

Mr. Harrison and Autumn settled into seats as the midwife arranged Mrs. Harrison on the bed.

Several minutes passed as the midwife finished arranging things for the appointment and calling in the doctor.

Then the checkup began.

The doctor stood nearby as the midwife worked at the computer holding medical information before turning to Mrs. Harrison. “How have you been feeling lately?” he asked Mrs. Harrison.

“Well, occasionally I feel sick and weak, but I am feeling better than I did a few months ago,” she told him.

Autumn sighed quietly and picked up a magazine. She was getting bored.

Suddenly, the midwife jumped in surprise. “Doctor Hall?” she said. “I-I think there’s a heartbeat!”

Mr. Harrison could barely keep from jumping to his feet. “A heartbeat? But we lost both of the babies!”

The doctor rushed to join the midwife. “Impossible!” he exclaimed.

“What happened?” Mr. Harrison asked. “What’s going on?”

“Your wife-she is pregnant again!” the doctor said, almost shocked to speak.

Mrs. Harrison’s eyes widened, and she smiled. “Really? We are having more children?”

The midwife nodded as she turned to the doctor. “Doctor Hall-I think Mrs. Harrison is expecting multiples-again. I found another heartbeat. But it didn’t sound quite right.”

Autumn’s dull afternoon suddenly whirled with activity. It was quickly decided that Mrs. Harrison would take a pregnancy test, and if it really was positive, then the doctors would try to see how many heartbeats there were and some future appointments would be set up.

The test was positive.

Autumn found herself sitting in the waiting room with a magazine in her hand as some doctors and midwives worked with her mother.

Her father came out of the examination room and went over to her. “Autumn, they examined your mother closely-and she’s having triplets.”

“Triplets?” Autumn gasped. “Do you think she might lose them, like she did the twins?”

“There’s a likely chance that she will, and if she doesn’t, one, two, or all of them might be born with a birth defect,” her father explained. “I’m going back in now. The doctors will be able to determine if any of them have birth defects in three or four months-if they survive ‘til then.”



 I liked this chapter a lot,

 I liked this chapter a lot, Jackie :) But right at the end, when Autumn's father was talking to her, I don't think he'd say it like that. It kind of came across as sort of... casual, how he said it. Maybe he should pause when he's talking, or something. Otherwise, really good. I like how I don't have to critique your grammar or spelling. It's almost always good!
Off to read Chap. 5!

Laura Elizabeth | Mon, 07/25/2011

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --


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