Story Excerpt: Bringing in the Plants

When I first started this story (currently titled “Kiera”), I had quite the love/hate relationship with it. Now that it’s over 15k words, I’m beginning to see some potential. 😉 I hope you enjoy this first scene!

The water trickled out of the spigot into the old watering can. Nearby a young woman rose to her feet and dusted her hands off on her denim skirt, turning to find another task while she waited. Giving the spigot one last glance, she left the porch to inspect her garden.

Two large, raised beds with wheels sat in the center of the lawn soaking up the afternoon sunshine. Small patches of lettuce, salsa greens, and tomatoes filled one bed while the other held her root vegetables and as many flowers as she had managed to tuck in. Running her fingers gently across the soft, cool earth, she began to pull the tiny weeds that had come up during the day. One of her tomato plants had started a green bud. She smiled in anticipation. A few flower blooms had wilted, and she plucked these to make room for new ones.

Remembering the watering can, she hurried to turn off the spigot before the water overflowed. Carefully balancing the heavy can, she carried it to her garden and gave the plants their daily drink. She smiled with satisfaction when she had finished and wiped her muddy hands on her oversized sweatshirt.

The screen door opened and a voice called out, “Kiera, there’s rain forecast for tonight. Do you need any help taking the plants in?”

Kiera looked up to see her mom standing barefoot on the doorstep. “Sure, thanks for telling me.”

Mom joined her on the lawn and together they rolled the raised beds onto the patio. Setting her watering can near the spigot for the next day, Kiera pulled down the waterproof shades on all sides of the porch and hooked them securely in place. She didn’t want to risk letting her garden get rained on. That would mean starting over.

Following Mom into the house, she asked, “Hey, is Thorne able to come tonight?”

“Pastor Silas has offered to lead Bible study this time, so yes he can come,” Mom said, rinsing her hands in the kitchen sink. “I’m so glad he’s able to get the time off. We only see him during church now.”

Kiera laughed. “Yeah, and that’s just from our pew. Let me know if you need any help with dinner.”

“All right, I’ll tell you. Just as soon as I know what it is.”

Mom began to rummage through the refrigerator murmuring about different kinds of foods. Kiera smiled to herself and slid into the computer chair. Resting her elbows on the edge of the desk, she opened the weather app to study the storm front headed for their neighborhood. She was extra glad they had brought the plants in when she noticed the radiation levels.

“Really high radiation, Mom,” she mentioned.

“Oh dear,” Mom replied with her head half in the refrigerator. “I suppose dinner will be indoors tonight then. No barbecue, so I’ll have to think of something else.”

She returned to her digging, and Kiera turned back to the computer. Since she was already using it, she might as well check the other apps. Shifting that app to the side, she opened the journaling one to see if anyone had talked to her there. Nothing. No mail either. She scrolled through the old messages to verify she hadn’t missed one. Seconds later she spun around in her chair and slapped her palm to her forehead.

“What’s the matter, dear?” Mom asked, standing up with a head of lettuce in one hand and a half-empty jar of tomato sauce in the other.

“I totally forgot that since it’s Bible study night, Jade will be coming! Do you think Thorne will mind sharing his evening? It’s probably too late to cancel, and I’m not sure what else Brennan would do. It’s not easy to get a babysitter.” She puckered her forehead.

“Of course he won’t mind in the least,” Mom assured her. “Your brother loves that little girl like you wouldn’t believe!”

Kiera grinned and glanced at the food Mom was holding. “Do we have enough food for an extra visitor tonight?”

“The three-year-old is on hunger strike, and she asks if we’ll have enough food,” Mom told the refrigerator and shook her head.

Now Kiera really laughed. “You’re right. I’m being silly. Sorry about that.”

“No problem. Just come wash this lettuce while I roll these meatballs, and we’ll say no more,” Mom said with a teasing smile.

Kiera stood up from the computer and took off her sweatshirt. Washing her hands in the kitchen sink, she began to rinse the lettuce. It would be a slow job since the kitchen filter wasn’t much faster than the outdoor spigot. Oh, well. Thorne wouldn’t be coming for another hour at least.

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