The Fall List

Submitted for Contest #63 in response to: Write about two characters going apple picking.... view prompt

32 comments

Oct 15, 2020

Romance Happy Friendship

As I walked out into the beautiful autumn weather, I wondered what I was going to celebrate the coming of Fall this year. Every year, from the first day of autumn to the first day of winter, I always complete a list, adding something new every year. The things I do vary. Like last year, I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (which are delicious, BTW). The year before, I attended Maple Township’s first annual Fall Festival. This is my seventh year working on my list. I wondered what new activity would happen this year as I reviewed my list mentally.


My Fall List:

1.    See the trees with Emma

2.   Make family recipe for apple and pumpkin pie

3.   Carve a pumpkin in a pumpkin in the shape of a pumpkin

4.   Roast pumpkin seeds

5.   Attend the Fall Festival

6. Make pumpkin chocolate cookies

7.   This year?

Tomorrow, Saturday, I was supposed to go with my friend, Emma, to look at all the trees around town. We had been doing this since we were fourteen, the first year I began my list. Maple Township had loads of Maple trees. They were the most beautiful thing in the fall.

All the oranges, yellows, and reds made the town look bright and happy.

The Fall Festival was always Halloween weekend. The festival was last weekend. Using the pumpkin I got at the Fall Festival, I discovered that it is easy to carve it, and then,

after Halloween, bake it into a pie, roasting the seeds. Last year, I also got apples from the Fall Festival. There are many orchards on the outskirts of Maple Township, so the apples were relatively fresh. However, I forgot to buy apples this year, so now I have to make a special trip to get them. Sighing, I reached my house, climbed out of the car, and unlocked the door. My golden retriever greeted me. “Hello, Jamie!” I greeted him. Jamie responded by wagging his tail and bringing me a dilapidated shoe. I sighed again and took the shoe from him. It might have once been a tennis shoe. Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and Jamie barked. I hastened to answer it. When I opened the door, a man I have never seen before was standing there. The first thing I noticed about him was his warm brown eyes. Then I noticed how tall he was, at least 6’1, which made me feel really short, even though I was actually 5’7.

“Hi. I’m Alex. I just moved into the house down the road. I don’t know anyone in this town yet. I was wondering if you could show me around, especially the apple orchards. Someone I met in town, Emma, said she knew you and that you also needed apples?” He said it like a question, like he wasn’t sure if this Emma was pulling his leg or not. If I didn’t know Emma as well as I do, I probably would have thought the same thing.

I laughed. “Nice to meet you. I’m Nicole. Yes, I definitely know Emma. I am hanging out with her tomorrow. You said you wanted to know where the apple orchards are? I actually do need apples, to make the pie to complete my list. Oh, of course! Apple picking! That can be the last thing on my list!” I had momentarily forgotten Alex, who was standing, still confused, on the porch. I hurried to explain my rambling. “I’m

sorry; I often talk to myself. Every year since I was fourteen, I have done something new in the Fall, a new experience. I just keep adding to the list. Asking about the orchards reminded me about the apples I need to complete another item on my list, and then I thought I could go apple picking, which would be the new experience this year. I have never been.”

For the first time, Alex looked comfortable. “So you have never been apple picking? I go with my family every year. I was planning to go sometime this weekend, once I knew where the orchards are. You could come with me, if you want. Emma and Jamie could go too. I mean, if you guys want to. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to.”

“No, that’s a good idea! I would have no idea what I was doing if I went alone. I don’t even know how to tell a ripe apple from one still growing! When would you want to go? I can’t tomorrow, because I will be with Emma. But Sunday will work for me, if it does for you. I know Emma can come then, too. We can meet at my house. You said you moved into the house down the road? It would be good to get to know my new neighbor better.”

“Yes, Sunday is perfect. So, here, on Sunday, at say, 1 pm?”

“Sounds good.”

“See you Sunday!”

I closed the door, and Jamie barked at Alex as he walked to his car. “Jamie, quiet! You are a Golden Retriever. You are supposed to be friendly,” I said in exasperation. Jamie smiled his doggy smile, and romped back into the living room (Anyone who says that dogs can’t smile, I challenge you to tell me that same statement after meeting a Golden Retriever). As I thought about what had just happened, I realized that I did

want to get to know Alex better. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait for Sunday to

arrive.


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I met Emma at the parking lot. My fashion-crazy friend was wearing her black skinny jeans and a white tank top. To top it off, she was wearing her long raspberry cardigan, which looked amazing on her. Her blonde hair shone in the sunshine, and her green eyes lit up when they saw me. Once I got closer to her, she groaned. “You matched black jeans with your navy shirt again.”

I looked down, and, sure enough, I was wearing navy and black. I shrugged. “At least I’m comfy.” We got into the car and started down Evergreen Road.

Emma started our conversation. “So, did you meet your new neighbor?”

“I did. We are going apple picking together tomorrow. He also invited you. It would be more fun with you there.”

Emma looked unsure. “I’d love to go! Are you sure, though? You want me there?”

“I am sure; I do want you there. If he wants to get to know me, it would be helpful for you to be there, since you are such a big part of my life.”

Emma turned onto Magnolia Avenue. “Yes, I guess I am, aren’t I? What time are we going?”

I mentally cheered. Emma was able to make anything more fun. “We are meeting at my house at 1 pm. Be there are be square.” I paused. “Why do you say ‘or be square,’ anyways?”

Emma looked like she couldn’t believe I just asked that. “You know, because you are not around?”

I blinked a few times as I processed that, and gasped when I figured it out. “I feel so enlightened! See, this is why I need you there! You are such a unique and fun person.”

Emma laughed. “Knowing random pieces of information makes me fun?”

I laughed with her. “It does. Of course, it might be your charismatic personality.”

When we finally arrived back at the parking lot, I said, “Em, you should come over early tomorrow, like at ten. We can make the pumpkin cookies, and then go apple picking.”

“Yes! I will! See you at ten!” With that, we both climbed into our cars and drove home.

Jamie, like always, greeted me at the door. When we walked into the living room, the decorative pillow from the couch was in pieces. Jamie looked at me innocently like, “How did that happen?” while I cleaned up the mess. “I need to get you a toy that will keep you occupied,” I told him. While I planned for tomorrow, Jamie laid at my feet, and was perfectly content to lie there as I petted him with my feet. I thought

about the list, and realized that I never added activity number seven! I hopped

up, nearly killed both myself and my dog by tripping over him, and walked into

the kitchen, where I unpinned the list from the fridge. I added ‘go apple picking’ to the bottom of the list, and crossed out ‘See the trees with Emma.’

The list now read:

My Fall List:

1.    See the trees with Emma

2.    Make family recipe for apple and pumpkin pie

3.    Carve a pumpkin in a pumpkin in the shape of a pumpkin

4.    Roast pumpkin seeds

5.    Attend the Fall Festival

6.    Make pumpkin chocolate cookies

7.    Go apple picking

Tomorrow, I could cross out twomore activities. Numbers six and seven. I couldn’t wait.

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The next day, Emma arrived early, and we ate lunch together. After lunch, we made delicious pumpkin cookies. Satisfied, I crossed number seven off the list. We chatted, ate cookies, and played with Jamie while we waited for Alex to come. Finally, at one on the dot, the doorbell rang. Jamie barked at it while Emma and I went to go answer it. “Hey Alex, come in. Oh, just ignore Jamie. He may sound intimidating, but he is

actually a friendly Golden Retriever. He just sometimes thinks he’s a guard dog,” I said. Right on time, Jamie came running into the entryway and wagged his tail at Alex.

 “Hello, Jamie.” Alex patted Jamie on the head, and stepped inside. He leaned something that looked like a torch on the wall of the porch. The torch had a handle that was about five feet long, and had a wire basket on the top of the handle. The top three wires on the basket went higher than the others, and curved towards the inside of the basket. Alex turned to me and Emma. “Hey Nicole. Emma, nice to see you again. Ready to go?”

As I clipped Jamie’s leash to his collar, Emma said, “Yep. What’s the torch for?”

“It’s an apple picker; you use it to reach the high apples.”

“Oh, cool. That will be helpful, especially for Emma.”

“Nicki! I’m not that much shorter than you! It’s only a few inches!” Emma protested.

We were laughing as we climbed into my Civic. I took the driver’s seat, Emma next to me. Alex and Jamie climbed into the back. Alex asked, “Which orchard are we going to?”

“Bentley’s Orchard. They have the best, most fresh apples. They mostly have Gala and Golden Delicious, but those are the best kinds of apples,” I told him.

“Nicole is wrong,” Emma chimed in. “Fuji are the best. Which ones do you like, Alex?”

“I have to agree with Nicole. Gala are the best,” Alex said without thinking. When Emma glared at him, he quickly added, “But I like Fuji, too.” Jamie barked like he agreed.

To keep Emma from killing my neighbor and dog, I cut in, “Lucky for Emma, I believe Bentley’s also has Fuji apples.”

“Yeah, but they aren’t in season right now.” Emma sighed so despondently I had to laugh, and Alex joined in.

Despite our awkward start, it felt like I had known Alex for a long time. He fit in so well with me and Emma. As I pulled into the parking lot, I thought about the future, and if the three of us would get to be good friends. Maybe, I could get closer to my neighbor. I blushed thinking about it, and was glad when Emma interrupted my thoughts.

“I’ll get the torch, since y’all think I need it.” She hopped out of the front and took the apple picker from the backseat. “I’m ready! Let’s go!”

The three of us headed to the rows of trees. I commented, “It looks like the rows are labeled with the type of apple. The apples I need for my pie are Golden Delicious, so I will go there first. Where will you guys go?”

“Because the Fuji apples aren’t in season, I’ll go with you and Jamie, Nicole.”

“I’ll make it unanimous.”

We walked to rows 12-15, where the Golden Delicious apples were. Alex showed us the difference between a ripe golden delicious and one still growing. The ripe ones were a yellow gold color. Sometimes, they had a little red on them. I filled the bucket I brought halfway with golden delicious. I decided I would put Gala apples in the rest of the bucket. Emma suddenly shrieked, and then started laughing.

“What happened?” Alex and I asked at the same time.

“There was a cat under the tree! I didn’t see him until I moved a branch to get an especially ripe apple. I’m fine, he just startled me.” Jamie perked his head up at the word ‘cat.’ He started sniffing, and saw the black cat under the tree. He jerked the leash out of my grip, and took off after the cat.

“Jamie! No! Come back!” We all left the buckets and took off after Jamie. Alex and I lunged to catch Jamie at the same time, and hit heads. We looked at each other, and he blushed while I stammered, “I-I’m sorry. I wasn’t watching. Sorry. Are you okay?”

Emma suddenly called out triumphantly, “Got him!” She apologized to the cat. “Sorry.”

We all laughed, me and Alex avoiding each other’s eyes, and walked two rows down, to the Gala apples. Emma and I took turns with the apple picker (“I told you three inches wouldn’t make a difference!”) while Alex was able to reach most of the high apples. Once our buckets were full, we paid for the apples, and left the orchard. Before Emma and Alex left my house, I gave them some pumpkin cookies, and invited them to come bake the pies with me next weekend, once again at my house. They both accepted, and I found that I couldn’t wait until Saturday at 10.


----------

By Saturday morning, I was through the roof with excitement. I think that Jamie

picked up on my happiness, because he wandered the house, occasionally chasing

his tail or bringing me his toys. By 9:30, I had an unknotted rope, two tennis balls, and a bone. I had made the pie crust dough last night, and froze it overnight. I took it out to thaw it, and got out the ingredients for the pies. When the doorbell rang, Jamie barked at it, and I opened the door to see Emma there. Once Jamie saw Emma, he forgot that he was a guard dog, and began wagging his tail at Emma.

“Hello, you,” She told Jamie. Emma began to walk into the kitchen, and the doorbell rang again. Jamie barked, then recognized Alex, and stopped barking. We all headed into the kitchen to complete the last activity on my list. I started mixing the pumpkin pie filling, and Emma started skinning and cutting apples. Alex started the crust. Soon, Emma finished preparing the apples, and began mixing the spices for the apples. I also finished the pumpkin filling, and went to help Alex with the pumpkin

pie. He was having some difficulty.

“Let me help you,” I told him. I demonstrated how to roll the dough correctly, putting my hands over his. We joked with each other as we worked, and the time passed quickly. Before we knew it, we had two pies fresh out of the oven, and we were cleaning up. I crossed number three of my list. The fall list was complete. As Emma was carrying the flour back to the pantry, Jamie came running in, barking at literally nothing, and made Emma fall over. Emma fell, Jamie slipped, and flour went everywhere, coating Emma, Jamie, and everything within a three-foot radius in white powder. After a stunned moment, the three of us started laughing. Jamie got up, ran towards Alex, and tried to shake the flour off of his back, but all that did was throw flour on Alex. Jamie then came to me and leaned on my legs, getting flour all over my jeans. We all laughed harder. I tried to herd Jamie over to the door, to prevent him from getting flour all over the house. Once we got cleaned up, I would give him a bath. I looked at Emma, Alex and myself. “Emma, I have clothes you can change into, though they might be a little big. Alex, I can lend you a towel for your car if you want to run home and change.”

They both accepted my offers, and I ran upstairs to get a towel and some clothes.

When I returned, I gave Emma the clothes I grabbed, and she went into the bathroom to change while I began to sweep the flour off the floor.

I passed the towel to Alex, who thanked me and said, “Um, hey. I was wondering if you would like to get a pumpkin latte later at the coffee shop later this weekend? Like maybe tomorrow?”

I looked at him, a million emotions running through my head. Confusion, then excitement. “I would love to!”

Alex looked relieved, then just as excited as I probably looked. “Sounds good! Meet here again tomorrow around noon?”

I simply nodded, as I had been rendered speechless.

Half an hour later, we all gathered back in the kitchen and finished cleaning up. Alex asked, “Did you want some help giving Jamie a bath? He got a good dusting of flour.”

“That would be great, thank you!”

“I’ll help too!” Emma chimed in.

So, as the three of us chased Jamie around the backyard with shampoo and the garden hose, I realized just how lucky I was to have such great friends.



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32 comments

00:19 Oct 22, 2020

Hey guys! I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to leave a comment, saying what you liked and disliked, maybe how I could improve. Telling me what you think really helps me improve my writing. And, if you leave a comment, I will read one of your stories and give you feedback on it, too.

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02:06 Feb 20, 2021

question: How does Alex know that the dog is Jamie (at the beginning of the story)? Aw! cute story! I would love to have friends like that! Too bad we can't pop comical characters out of books and keep them for ourselves. Alex sounds kinda cute! Great story!

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03:08 Feb 20, 2021

Haha that’s a good question lol. Thanks for catching the plot hole!! Haha, I wish I could make fictional characters real. You know those icebreakers people do at parties or whatever and they ask the question “if you could have any superpower, what would you choose?” That would be my superpower. Bring all the characters from Percy Jackson to life. :) Also, thank you for reading and commenting on my other stories!! I really appreciate the feedback and your wonderful and kind comments are making my day!! Are there any other stories of yours ...

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03:36 Feb 20, 2021

really any of my stories, if you ever need more reading material :) Also. I have an announcement to make :) I, Lone Wolf (Tiffany), hereby give you the virtual award entitled to you, Katie W, The Detail Master. Congratulations! This hereby makes you one of my favorite authors on Reedsy!  Not many people have earned this award yet, so congrats!

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15:39 Feb 20, 2021

Thank you, I accept this great honor! :) ;)

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17:07 Feb 20, 2021

Your welcome!

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Antman 🐜
15:02 Jan 11, 2021

Great story Katie!

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Alone Warrior
19:54 Apr 15, 2021

🐬

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19:57 Apr 15, 2021

Thank you for all the yellow dots and the dolphin :)))

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Alone Warrior
19:58 Apr 15, 2021

Yup! Hey I had a question...

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19:59 Apr 15, 2021

ok what's on your mind

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Alone Warrior
19:59 Apr 15, 2021

Do you know how to rp? If so then would u like to?

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20:03 Apr 15, 2021

... Me: *goes on google to search "What's rp"* Me: *5 minutes later, deciding it means "role play"* Me: *still unsure how it works* How close am I to the actual truth? So, moral of the story, I am not 100% sure what it is lol. XD

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