[size10 [b He] is a bestselling author, working on his most anticipated novel yet. The closest thing to a celebrity that Harper, CA has to offer.
[b She] is a single mother who just moved to the town after learning of her father's passing, moving into her childhood home considering she was just evicted from her previous apartment. And has to take care of her ailing mother, who she has no bond with after learning of the grandchild born out of wedlock, thereby shaming her in a town so small and religious.
[b They] reconnect after years of not seeing each other, old highschool sweethearts that just had different plans when it came to their future.
[b A fire] is ignited and old feelings return. Though, they are both plagued with their own sense of trouble they refuse to recognize. Will their love help them face their demons? Is this something that could be a forever? Or is it just a passing fancy?]
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Of course, with how things ended, Michael figured that Autumn had some guilt. He himself felt the same way. He was disappointed that he hadn’t tried as hard to stay with Autumn after everything that had occurred. He should have gone after her, should have fought for her and he let her go. This was his second chance though and he had decided this time he was not going to allow Autumn to leave him. It couldn’t be just a coincidence for him to have a second chance at love with Autumn and while this was a dark time for her, it could have just as well been a sign of fate that he was able to be here for her.
Michael kissed her forehead and offered a smile as he watched her start to gather some snack and head toward the family room. Mitchell had finished his homework by then and was barely able to keep his head up.
“Tome for sleep champ?” He asked with a chuckle. Mitchell nodded. Michael helped with gathering his belongings before walking the young boy upstairs. Mitchell was doing a great job at being self-sufficient, a son that Autumn had done her best in raising him alone. After brushing his teeth and changing into his nightclothes, he got under the covers to which Michael tucked him in.
“Are you going to stay?” Mitchell asked which caught Michael by surprise.
“Of course, I will,” he said after a while. He knew that being in Autumn’s life included Mitchell and he had no intention of breaking that promise or hurting the young boy.
“And mommy won’t be sad anymore?” He asked. Michael didn’t know what to say to that, but he didn’t want to worry the kid. He smoothed back Mitchell’s hair.
“Not if I can help it. You get some rest okay?” Michael waited for the young boy to sleep before leaving the room, closing the door softly as he headed downstairs to meet Autumn. “Well, he certainly is a sweetheart,” he said with a smile. How often had he dreamed of a scenario like this? To finally have it happen was still blowing his mind.
Autumn felt some kind of peace in Michael's arms. While it didn't make the pain go away, nor did it solve anything, it did make it more manageable to know that he was right there by her side and that he wasn't intending on going anywhere. For the moment she simply leaned into him as he held her closed and kissed her cheek.
She took a deep breath, hardly able to accept that it was a matter of days before her mother would be gone forever. [b "I know...I know it's not my fault but I can't help but regret that amount of time that we lost whilst I was away."] She shook her head, knowing that this wasn't really going to help; just feeling this regret would make her even more unhappy and she couldn't live with that. She had to find away to accept the guilt and move on.
She started to grab some drinks and snacks and looked towards Michael who instructed her to drink some wine and promised her a massage later and she couldn't help but smile towards him. [b "Thank you...for being here."] She kissed his cheek gently. [b "The doctor is going to bring something tomorrow. Some strong painkillers so she doesn't feel too much pain in her final days..."]
Michael knew that Autumn was in a bad space, but he wasn’t going to force her to speak until she was ready. He knew this was painful for her and these type of emotions could easily drain someone. He knew that Autumn had to conserve her energy for her son and in taking care of her mother the best that she could. To know that you couldn’t do anything to help your suffering mother was surely enough to inflict an abundance of pain and stress. Michael squeezed Autumn just a little as he held her to him. He kissed her cheek, which was still a bit damp from her tears.
“What about medication?” he asked her. “Surely there has to be something he doctor can give her to make her moment more . . . comfortable.” Michael suggested. His hands gently ran along her arms in an attempt to soothe and comfort Autumn. “this isn’t your fault Autumn; you have to remember that.” He kissed her forehead and pulled away to head toward the kitchen to start helping with preparing snacks for the movie that Autumn suggested. Mitchell had eagerly packed away his homework and had headed upstairs to place his things away before changing for bed.
Michael had started to get the popcorn ready. “Listen,” he said. “You’re going to have some wine and relax. I’ going to give you a massage and in the morning, we’ll see about talking to your mother’s doctor alright? You’re not alone in this okay?”
Autumn was feeling so deflated and emotional, not really knowing how to feel right now. She wanted her mother's suffering to be over but then she didn't want to lose her, especially now that she had fixed the wedge between them. Everything was extremely overwhelming and she had no idea what she could even do.
She glanced up at Michael who was at her side in the matter of seconds, pulling her close to him for an embrace. She let out a sigh and shook her head. [b "Not really. She's really bad Michael. She said that she just wants it to be over."] She shook her head, not really knowing how to react to what she had said.
[b "I can't do anything for her and I hate that she is suffering. It's not fair."] Autumn sighed and leaned her forehead against his and then glanced over at Mitchell. [b "Is your homework done bud?"] He nodded in returned. [b "Why don't you go choose a film and we'll make some butter popcorn?"] He smiled and ran into the living room and then she glanced back to Michael.
[b "I don't know what to say to him."]
Michael had finished his phone call with his publisher and walked over to Mitchel who was sitting at the table doing his homework. “So,” Michael started. “Your mom told me she talked to you about school. Are you doing better?” He asked with a smile. He didn’t want to overwhelm the young boy. Michael nodded.
“I’m okay. Mom says that you and her like one another and you’ll be around more. Is that true?” Michael paused for a moment before nodding.
“It is. Are you okay with that?” He knew that Autumn said Mitchell was alright with it, but he wanted Mitchel to know that he wouldn’t do anything that would make him feel like Michael was trying to push him out or hurt him.
“I am, mom is happier with you.” Michael couldn’t hide his smile. He was glad to hear that Mitchell was in fact taking this well.
“Good, I’m happy to hear that. We’re going to have the best time and it starts in San Francisco.”
The two began to talk a little bit, Michael taking his time to offer help to Mitchell with his homework. He noticed Autumn was gone for quite some time and worried that something had happened. He could only hope that she was kay. Before he had started to go up and help her, Michael saw Autumn coming down the stairs. He could tell that she had been crying, his brows furrowing in worry. He walked over toward her and reached his hand out to draw her in by the waist.
“Hey, is everything alright?” He asked her softly, his hand reaching up to caress her cheek gently. Michael couldn’t imagine what it was like to be dealing with her mother’s slow declining health. Something told him the end was coming sooner than planned and he worried whether or not Autumn could handle that. He wanted her to trust him enough to be willing to allow him to help her. He wanted her to know it was okay to be vulnerable with him, despite what past encounter told her that she couldn’t have her guard down. They were in this for the long haul, they had to start being honest with one another.
Autumn knew that this was a lot for Michael to take on. Not only was he dating his childhood sweetheart once more but he was now going to be involved in the life of a child that didn't belong to him. She was not ignorant to how difficult that would be for him, especially since she wasn't sure how he would adapt to this. She would never put any pressure on him though because she didn't want to push him away because things were becoming too much. She smiled towards him and nodded before he pulled her into a kiss, which made her heart skip a beat in the same way it always did when he kissed her. That was when the sound of her mother's voice interrupted them and she pulled back with a chuckle.
[b "I won't be long."] She smiled and brushed by Mitchell and ruffled his hair. [b "Be good kiddo, I'm just going to check on Grandma."] When she got up the stairs and into her room she saw that her mother had been trying to get herself some water but had ended up knocking the whole jug onto the floor. [b "Mom! You should have called me."] She picked up the jug and got a towel to clean up the mess before handing her a bottle of water.
She wasn't looking too good. She had a coughing fit and she looked completely exhausted. [i "I just wish this was over now."]
[b "Mom, don't say that."]
[i "You have no idea what this is like. Dying...it's not pretty."] Autumn sat with her for a little while and cried with her for a little bit before she fell asleep again and she retreated back downstairs a little puffy eyed and kissed Mitchell's head and smiled towards Michael.
Autumn was right. Things had certainly turned serious the minute he broke up with Samantha and now they were officially deciding to be with one another. Michael was just a bit worried that maybe something would make Autumn decide to leave, but he didn’t want to force her into anything too quickly and especially without making sure that Mitchell would be okay with it. He was already having trouble at school and Michael didn’t want to take away time or attention in any way. “I understand,” he told Autumn with a small smile. Michael crossed his arms over his chest then. “I am fully committed to this too.” Michael promised. He reached out to draw Autumn in and give her a kiss.
Soon her mother had called for Autumn and he released his hold on her. Michael had forgot that he needed to speak with his publisher considering he was a bit behind on his draft of his new book. Of course, he had been a bit distracted by Autumn. Michael kissed Autumn on the cheek. “I got to make a call,” he told her before grabbing his phone out of his pocket and dialing his publisher.
Michael was a bit stressed to hear that his draft needed to be in sooner than planned and the chapter he was working on needed to be submitted by tomorrow morning. He promised that he would have something sent in. Michael had received a text then from Carson asking if they wanted to go out for a double date the next day. He knew Autumn was still getting back into hanging out with old friends but hoped she would say yes.
Autumn smiled. Hearing that he had missed her and they had only been apart for such a short time made her extremely happy. She wanted this forever and she just knew that there was some kind of fate to the fact that they had found eat other again. While there was a tragedy awaiting in her mother's death, she was happy that she had been reunited with the only man she had ever loved and the only man she would ever completely trust. She had always been able to trust him and she had always been so open with him in the past, which made her feel slightly guilty about the fact that she was keeping something huge from him.
Autumn did frown a little when he asked if they were doing the right thing, wondering whether he was feeling like they shouldn't be together but after a moment he seemed to explain and he pulled her close by the waist, the action automatically making her feel more secure and she knew then that he didn't mean that he thought they were making a mistake.
[b "If things get serious?"] She raised her brow and chuckled a little. [b "I don't doubt that things are already serious."] She was surprised then, that he suggested that they could go travelling. It was something they always talked about when they were younger but she wasn't sure how easy that would be with having a son. [b "I hope this isn't a rebound either! I am giving myself to you completely. I'm committed to you Michael."] She glanced back at Mitchell and smiled a little. [b "Anything we decide, Mitchell should get a say. I don't want him to feel like he is being pulled around and has no stability."]
“Of course, I missed you,” Michael said with a smile. He knew things wouldn’t be easy and it was certainly going to take some time for them to find a routine that would make sense. Still, they were both learning how to be around each other, and Michael knew how important it was to be with Autumn at such a difficult time. This only further seemed important considering the trouble that Mitchell was going through at school and with how the town was, there was the chance that it would only get worse. Michael knew that it wouldn’t be best for them to run from this and he was not going to let Autumn be the victim of trolls and bullies this time around, especially not alone.
“Do you think we are making the right decision?” He asked Autumn, trying to keep. His voice low so as not to disturb Mitchell who already was going through a lot. The people in the town were in some sense not bad, but their morals were outdated. “I was thinking, you know if things get serious,” Michael said as his arm then looped around her waist to draw Autumn close. “Maybe we don’t have to stay here? I know ma’s been talking about travelling and I can sell my house – maybe we can travel like we used to talk about?” he suggested with a smile. He kissed her cheek then.
“I don’t want this to be just . . . a rebound situation.” He admitted. “I am truly dedicated to making this work and taking it serious.”
Autumn had no idea why Michael had decided to come back so her reaction to him being here was just evidence of that and Michael clearly found her response to his presence funny as chuckled before stepping forward and placing a kiss upon her lips. It was likely that he simply just wanted to be with her and if that was the case, it would only fill her with more love for him. It was so strange to her, just how quick the feelings came back to her and how easy it seemed to be for the two to fall back into their old relationship. She loved him and she was sure that she would always love him.
[b "You were only gone for a couple of hours and you missed me?"] She was flattered honestly and she couldn't deny that she missed him too, perhaps more than she realised until he had turned up on her door step. She allowed him to walk into the house and she shut the door behind him as he looked around the place, the same way he always did. [b "Oh? Well...I will certainly try to give you some inspiration. We can't have you unable to write now can we?"] She chuckled a little before she watched the exchange between her child and her...boyfriend? Is that what he was?
[b "The talk went well. He told me that some of the kids have been saying nasty things to him so I am going to talk to the teacher when I drop him off tomorrow and then I told him that we were going to stay here..."] She looked up at him and smiled. [b "And I told him that we are in love and he seemed okay with that."] She smiled, knowing how important it was to her for him to approve of her relationship and she hoped Michael would feel the same way.
Michael knew that he loved Autumn and he knew that with what she was dealing with right now, that it wasn’t right that he was leaving her alone. He also knew that he really wanted to start building their relationship. He knew they both loved one another, and it was clear their feelings hadn’t faded, but the truth was that they had grown since being a part and he knew there were some things that they both would have to learn about one another. Michael also knew there was something that she was hiding from him and he felt that if he at least started to spend more time with her she might be more willing to open up to him.
Michael gave a cheeky smirk toward her when she opened the door, his hand reaching up to rub against the back of his neck as the bright red spread against his cheeks.
“Did I forget something?” He asked with a chuckle as he leaned in to give her a kiss on her lips. “Not exactly. Guess, I just missed you?” He smiled at her and walked into the room. He could smell dinner cooking and tv in the background, but it didn’t take long for him to spot Mitchell at the table doing his homework. He appeared to be in much better spirits which he was happy about. “I figured maybe I could hang around a bit. I’ve been having some trouble writing at home and well you have always been my muse.”
“Hey champ, how’s it going?” He asked Mitchell who smiled in his direction.
“It’s going great.” He said before returning to his homework. Michael looked to Autumn then.
“Did the talk go well?” He knew death was hard to get through and with everything going on with the movie and changing schools, Michael knew that when his grandmother passed it could further confuse things. He knew he could never replace Mitchell’s father, but hoped he could be the father figure in his life he would need. He wanted to be there for Autumn in more than one way.
Autumn had not expected any of this to have happened when she knew that she had to return home. She thought that perhaps Michael had gone somewhere else and didn’t live there anymore but she was glad that he hadn’t left town and she was so glad he hadn’t because it was so obvious that the two were still very much in love. She spent a little bit more time with her son and talked about going away with Michael. She had no idea what the future held for them, but she wanted Mitchell to understand that she would always put him first, although he seemed adamant that he wanted his mother to be happy which filed her with so much love.
After a little while Mitchell came downstairs and the two of the had dinner together, talking about the book that he was reading and any homework that he had to do before the next day. He would be working on that as soon as dinner was done. Luckily, Mitchell cared a lot about school, so he wasn’t going to argue with her about doing it and as always, he brought his homework downstairs and sat at the dining table while Autumn cleaned up the kitchen.
[i “Mom, do you want me to get the door?”] He looked up from his Math work and she shook her head as she threw the towel down on the side.
[b “No baby, I’ve got the door.”] She kissed his forehead and made her way to the door where she found Michael stood there. She was perplexed and then smiled a little. [b “Hi…did you forget something?”]
Michael enjoyed spending time with his mother; they had always been close but got closer after the passing of his father. She had always been his biggest supporter though ad she loved Autumn considering how close she was to Autumn’s mother. His mother had often thought that there was the chance that he and Autumn would get married. That wasn’t a crazy thought to have though since they were so much love with one another. When they broke up it was quite a shock and she wished things would work out. Now I seemed like they were getting a second chance and not afraid to go for it.
Michael thought about that as he made his way home. He was not going to allow Autumn to slip away and he wanted to show her that he intended to stay in her and Mitchell’s life.
“What am I doing?” Michael had said aloud as he reached the traffic light. He knew that Autumn needed him more than ever during this time. He made a left instead of heading straight, driving back toward Autumn’s. It was a small gesture, but he felt like he should stay with her step by step through this process. It was easy now, but after her mother passed it would be crucial to have that strong support system.
Michael had parked at the house then, knocking on the door. He knew she would be confused at first, but love was like that – unpredictable and spontaneous. He loved Autumn with all that he had. Marriage seemed out of the question so soon into getting back together, but it certainly wasn’t improbable. He wondered how Mitchell would take it. He knew the kid liked him but not all kids reacted the same when it came to their parents marrying someone that they hadn’t really known.
Autumn didn't want him to go in honesty, but he had his own life to contend with. He was likely writing a book and he had his own family to visit and take care of and it was not fair for her to consume all of his time. Besides, she needed to have a talk with Mitchell about whatever it was going on at school and he was unlikely to open up if he felt like there were several people ganging up on him in some way. [b "If I need you I will let you know. Thank you. I love you too."] She said with a smile as she leaned over and kissed him gently before watching him leave.
She sighed as she closed the door behind her and looked to the stairs as she contemplated how she would approach things with Mitchell. She made her way up them and then knocked on his door before she poked her head around the door, offering the young boy a smile.
[b "Hi baby. You ready to talk?"] She made her way into the room and perched herself on the bed as he closed his book and nodded, looking somewhat sad as he did. [b "Michael said you got into a fight today. What happened?"]
[i "It wasn't my fault Mom. They keep picking on me and they pushed me really hard and I fell into someone else and they thought I did in on purpose and started to fight with me."] Autumn ran her hand through his hair and shook her head. [i "They keep saying that I should go back to where we came from because we don't belong here."]
Autumn was overcome with guilt then and she pulled the boy into her arms. He was being bullied because of her past essentially. Apparently more people had been talking about her return than she realised. [i "But I do like it here. I don't want to go back to where we came from."]
[b "We don't have to honey. We can stay. I'll talk to the school."]
[i "We're going to stay?"]
[b "I think so, I...Michael and I are in love... is that okay?"]
[i "I like Michael."] That was all she needed to hear to know that he was okay with it.
“I will,” he said as he texted her back. “I love you alright. You text me if you need anything. Call me and I will be here.” Michael kisser her once more before finally pulling back to turn to his car. He felt a bit antsy when it came to death and it did make him think of his own mother. Michael ended up going to her house. He was coming up the stairs as one of the kids from the neighborhood was coming out. His mother still in her old age was up to teaching piano. Everyone loved Grace, his mother, and there were some students who actually went on to become famous in music.
“To what do I owe the pleasure of an unplanned visit form my son?” She asked playfully as she patted his cheek. “I just finished supper with Henry.”
Michael chuckled and closed the door behind him. “I already ate.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t enough. Look at you, you’re so skinny.” She clucked her tongue and already started making him a plate. He couldn’t resist his mother’s cooking once eth lid was lifted, as though she would even give him a choice. “So, are you going to tell me why you’re here?”
“I went to visit Autumn and her mother.” He said as he grabbed a glass from the dishwasher and poured a glass of iced tea.
“Oh, poor child, I meant to go over tomorrow to bring some dinner. I know she must be having it tough, Autumn with her mother and all.
“Yeah, but I mean she’s handling it well, I guess. I’m just trying to be there for her.”
“Oh, I know,” his mother said as she added a few veggies to his plate, more peas if anything as she knew he didn’t like them. She placed the plate of Salisbury steak and potatoes on the wooden table. “You know Samantha has a mouth on her; she always seemed so nice and sweet.”
“I didn’t mean for that to happen – “
“But you knew it would. That’s not how I raised you Michael. You know that.” He sighed and looked down at his food. “But of course, I’m not going to lie that I’m happy its Autumn.” She playfully nudged his shoulder than and he couldn’t help but crack a smile. The rest of the visit he was talking to her about his plans for the upcoming weeks – the trip to San Francisco of course. His mother, as he figured she was okay with the idea of taking care of the house and checking on Autumn’s.
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