A Changed Lock Chapter 3: Trouble

Submitted by Damaris Ann on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 17:55

Jules was up bright and early Monday morning. She sang while she made waffles and homemade syrup. The sun was shining brightly through the windows. The first buds of spring would soon be making their appearance in the rose bushes in the backyard.
"Follow your nose!"
"Mm, I thought I smelled something delicious. How sweet of you to get up early and make me breakfast, Chickadee." He patted her on the cheek.
"My pleasure, Grandad. I set the breakfast table already, and I only have two or three waffles left before I'm finished."
"Then I'll go ahead and sit down."
Jules forked a hot waffle into the platter and poured another ladle full of sweet batter onto the iron. The scent of sweet, steamy butter was wafted through the house, making it feel even more like a home. Jules forked out the last waffle and walked over to the table. She held a platter in one hand and a dish of syrup in the other.
"This looks amazing, Jules. Thank you."
"You're welcome, Grandad. Would you like to ask the blessing?"
"Sure." Duncan reached for Jules' hand and bowed his head. "Dear Lord, thank You for this food we are about to eat. Please bless it to our bodies, and bless the hands that prepared it. We are thankful for Your daily provision for us, and we pray that you would give us the strength and wisdom to use it to Your glory. In Jesus' name, amen."
"Oops, I forgot to get out the sliced strawberries. I'll be right back."
"Can you bring the milk, too?"
"Yes," she set the bowl of strawberries down. "Here you go. What time do you think you'll be home, Grandad?"
"I believe I'll be home at one. Please pass the syrup."
"Will you eat lunch out, or do you want me to have something ready?"
"I'll eat lunch here with you," he smiled. "It's nice to come home and relax with good food and pleasant company." He pinched her cheek.
"You'll make me blush."
"You know I'm very proud of you, Chickadee. You've grown so much in the last few years. You're a beautiful young woman, inside and out."
Jules walked around the table to hug him. "Thank you, Grandad. That means the world to me, coming from you. I'm so thankful that God lead you to take me into your life for good and always."
"Me too, Jules. I thank Him every day for you; my greatest earthly treasure."
Jules hugged him again and gave him a kiss on the cheek before beginning to clear up the table. Duncan stood up and started to gather some of dirty dishes, stacking them neatly together.
"I've got it, Grandad. I don't want you to be late for your appointment." She smiled.
"Oh," he said, looking at his watch. "It is about time for me to leave. Have a good day, dear, and don't work yourself too hard."
"I won't, Grandad." She laughed. "Be careful."
"I always am."
"Wait, you'd better wear your hat. It's chilly outside today. Here."
"Thanks, Chickadee." He put his cap on and walked out the door.
Jules stood by the window and watched until he had pulled away and was out of sight. She pulled out her iPhone and hit shuffle on her playlist titled Home Alone. "Now, let the fun begin!" She tied her apron on firmly, rolled up the sleeves on her flannel shirt, and got to work on her list of chores to do. The work went fast with her singing to keep her mind busy. Before long the entire kitchen was clean, from the top of the fridge all the way down to sparkling clean tile beneath her feet. She rinsed out her mop and pail and set them both out on the back porch to air out. She sang Cody Simpson's La Da Dee as she went along. "La da dee, la da da do, la da da me, la da da you." Her phone beeped. "Oh, time to start on lunch." She pulled out the spice rack and started on her chicken salad when her phone started beeping again. "Hello?"
"Jules! Where are you?"
"Hey Martin, I'm at home. Is everything okay?"
"I don't know; I can't be sure I-"
"Is it Grandad? Martin please just tell me what's going on."
"No, I think it's Mama. I flew out to South Carolina early this morning. I called her several times since then and she never answered. I thought she wasn't hearing her phone because that happens, and sometimes she leaves it on silent. But then I got worried and called the neighbors. They said she never went out of the house at eleven to leave for her appointment. I had Mr. Anderson go check on her and she was on the floor, unconscious."
Jules started gathering her coat and purse. "Where is she now? What can I do? Grandad should be back with the car in a few minutes."
"An ambulance is taking her to Baylor Scott and White in Fort Worth right now. I was hoping you could go there just to be with her until I get back home. The next flight back to Dallas doesn't leave for another seven hours, so I'm stuck here until then."
"I'm packing an overnight bag right now. Please, try not to worry. Sit tight and pray and I'll do all I can for you."
"Thank you, Jules, you're an angel."
"It's no more than I hope you'd do for me. Will you need a ride back from the airport?" Jules set her backpack next to the door.
"I hadn't thought that far ahead. I probably will."
"I'll see if Greta can pick you up. If not, Grandad and I will pick get you. Text me the flight details when you have a moment. I hear Grandad pulling up so I'd better go. And Martin?"
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart."
"I will. At least, as well as I can. I know He will take care of her."
"Keep praying. Goodbye."
"Goodbye, Jules."
Duncan's voice rang out cheerily. "Jules, I'm home!"
Jules grabbed her toothbrush and deodorant and dashed down the stairs. She started stuffing them into her backpack while she filled Duncan in on what was going on. "Grandad! Martin just called and said his mom is on the way to the hospital. He's gone, and he needs me to go be with her until he gets back. Do you want to go with me? I need to leave right now."
"No, the doctor just told me that I overdid it when we moved in. He said I need to be resting more, so I don't think that would be wise. You go, and I'll be just fine here by myself. Keep me updated, though."
Jules kissed him on the cheek as he handed her the car keys. "Thanks, Grandad. There's chicken salad and toast on the counter. And grapes in the fridge. I'll call you when I get there."
"Drive carefully. I love you."
"I love you too!"
Jules rushed out the door and into the car. She quickly adjusted the seat and mirrors before taking off down the road. She gripped the wheel with both hands, knuckles white and breath tight with worry. "Dear Lord," she prayed, "Please be with Margaret and Martin. Help me to think clearly and drive carefully. Give the doctors wisdom, and help us all to glorify you. In Christ's name, amen." As she drove down the road, a sudden thought hit her. She took a last-minute turn down the street where the Ortiz lived, pulling into their drive. She jumped out of the car and ran up to the front porch, reaching to feel along the top of the doorframe. "Nope, I wonder..." she stopped down and tipped over the flower pot, peering underneath. "Aha!" She quickly unlocked the front door and made her way into Margaret's room. She grabbed a small shoulder bag out of the closet. She gathered some comfortable looking clothes and necessaries out of the dresser drawers. She slung the bag over her shoulder and ran back out the front door, carefully locking it behind her and replacing the spare key. She made good time on the highway, and arrived at the hospital after two and a half hours of driving.
Jules walked up to the desk with a heavy heart.
"How can I help you?"
"Your cheery smile is a good start. I'm here to see Margaret Ortiz."
The nurse looked at her computer screen, tapping a few keys with her French tipped nails. "Are you family?"
"No, I'm a friend."
"Name, please."
"Jules Keith."
"Ah, Miss Keith. Ms. Ortiz' son called and informed us that you would be here until he could get home. Ms. Ortiz is with the doctors right now, but if you would take a seat over there we can call you when you are able to see her."
"Thank you. Is she conscious?"
"Not right now, no."
Jules nodded, and then made her way over to the circle of sofas and comfy seats. She sunk down into an arm chair and pressed her hands against her heart. Tears slipped through her closed lids.
"Hey, is this seat taken?"
She looked up. A young man with wavy blond hair and friendly hazel eyes was motioning to the arm chair next to hers. He looked slightly apologetic.
"Oh, no."
"Thanks." He sat down and proceeded to drum his fingers on the arm of his chair. Jules absently traced the pattern on the carpet with the tip of her black Converse. The young man spoke up with another question.
"Who are you waiting for?"
"Oh, sorry. I'm probably bothering you."
She smiled quietly at him. "No, you're not. I'm waiting on a friend of mine. How about you?"
"I hope your friend recovers quickly and smoothly. I'm waiting for my grandpa. He just went into surgery for his eyes. He's had bad vision for several years. He finally decided to go through the procedure the doctor suggested. He should have done it months back..."
"Oh, I hope that goes well for him. Are you guys pretty close?"
The young man chuckled. "Yup. I've been living with him for the past several years. I work from home and take care of him. He's the sweetest guy you'll ever meet! Likes nothing better than a good book and a mug of coffee."
Jules' face lit up. "Aww that sounds like my Grandad, except he prefers tea over coffee on most days."
The young man smiled. "I love people like that. They make this world a better place."
"Yes, they really do."
A nurse walked into the room at that moment.
"Ms Keith?"
Jules looked up. "Yes?"
"Ms. Ortiz is stable. She is sleeping, but you can come sit with her if you'd like."
Jules reflected the nurse's radiant smile. "Thank you! I'd like to call her son before I see her, though. Would that be alright?"
"Of course. I'll wait next to the front desk for you."
"Thank you." The nurse walked away, and Jules turned to the young man. She held out her hand. "Thank you for chatting with me. I was just starting to wallow in self-pity when you reminded me that this world doesn't revolve around me, myself, and I. I'll be praying for your grandfather."
"Thank you," He took her offered hand and shook it. "I really appreciate it. I'm Miles. Miles Stanley."
"Oh, wait. Didn't I meet you at Redeemer Baptist on Sunday?"
Miles looked confused for a second, and then broke into a smile. "Yes, that's right! You're Jules Keith, Duncan's granddaughter."
"Yes, I am. It's good to see you again. Anyways, I'd better make this phone call."
"Okay. I guess I'll see you later."
"Yep. Goodbye." Jules smiled while she picked up her bags and made her way towards the front desk. She dialed Martin's number.
"Hey Martin, your mother is stable now. She's sleeping, but I'm on my way to her room. I'll call you when she wakes up."
"Thank you, Jules. You have no idea how relieved I am to have you there. Will Greta be able to pick me up from the airport?"
"No, I texted her about it, but she's out of town with a friend until Wednesday. Grandad is on bed rest for the next week, so I guess I'll be picking you up. You said your flight comes in at four in the morning?"
"Yes, that's right. I really appreciate this, Jules. You're awesome."
"It's no problem. I'm just glad I was able to help. I'd better go now. Get some rest. Oh! And before I forget, Pastor Dave said he'll stop by sometime tomorrow afternoon."
"Okay, thanks for the heads up. Goodbye."
"Bye." Jules followed the nurse into the elevator, and then down the hall to Margaret's room. She settled into the plush-covered chair and pulled her Bible out of the shoulder bag she brought in. She flipped the pages open and read the first passage her eyes fell on.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”


Author's age when written

Let me know if anything is unclear, and I'll edit some more. :)


I'm looking forward to seeing where you're going with this. It reminds me a fair bit of some of my nanowrimo first drafts and I am reminded of a few comments people gave me. Nanowrimo is fantastic for cranking something out and getting words moving. But I often found myself getting too wordy and making things move slowly or having too much uncessary talking, etc. in the story. Your writing is very good, but at the end of ch 3 it is feeling like it is dragging a bit, so when you edit you may want to think about pacing.
And Jules must be an extrovert to be having such connected, deep conversations right after meeting someone or reconnecting with them!

I have read over your comment many, many, times, and kept your advice in mind while writing. Thank you.
I have done quite a bit of editing, though I haven't fully updated my chapters here on ApricotPie. I'll try and get to that soon.

About the extrovertism bit... I realize that some of the conversation may have been a bit over-the-top, so I tried to edit and make a little bit less unexpected. However, Jules' personality is based off of my own, and I often get in to deep conversations with people I hardly know. I despise shallow chatter and tend to dig deeper, so I had my character do the same. Jules is a highly religious person; much like I strive (and often fail) to be. In some ways she may be a tad unrealistic.

Thank you again for your comment!! It meant a lot to me, and I appreciate it.

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.