41: Midnight of the 31st

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Autumn approaches Adrian the next morning. 

"I finished this on the plane when we were coming home from Hawaii." She hands him a manuscript. "Do you wanna look over it and give me some suggestions?"

He gladly takes it from her. "Certainly! Happy to! What's it called?" 

"It's a murder mystery, called Midnight of the 31st. I might send it in to a publisher; see what they think,"

"Cool! I'll read it tonight!"

He turns to go into his house, but Autumn grabs his arm. "Wait - one more thing."

"What's that?"

"I..." she looks down at her feet. "I don't know how much longer I have left. Maybe... maybe you could submit it to the publisher once you edit it and stuff. In your own name. So if I don't..." she trails off. 

He doesn't respond, but understands. He feels bad agreeing, and suggests something else. 

"Maybe... we can use a pen name. I don't want credit for something you wrote, and you're afraid to put your own name on it, so maybe neither of us should. We could combine our names... Let's see, Adrian Strickland and Autumn Paisley... How about... Adriumn Paisland? Audrian Strickley?"

That one makes her laugh. "A pen name isn't a bad idea, actually. Maybe we should go with something like Audrey Prickland? If you like it."

He does. "That's actually a lot better than the ones I came up with. I like it," he smiles, high-fiving her. She grins. 

Adrian takes the packet of paper inside his house, and returns it to her the next morning. 

"What did you think?" she asks before he can say anything. 

"I thought... it was... how do I put this..." he wrinkles his nose. "...the best freaking thing I've ever read in my life? Ever?" 

Autumn's face lit up. "Really? You liked it that much?"

He hands the pages back to her, which has Audrey Prickland written in red pen over where she had had her own name before. "Uh, YES!! I loved the trial scene. AMAZING. The logic was literally mind-blowing. I would never be so clever as to figure out that the KEY was the KEY to the entire case. Wow. I mainly just edited spelling and stuff, so nothing major. It's too amazing to be changed at all."

"Wow," Autumn says. "Thanks. I didn't think it was all that great-"

"You've got to be kidding me!!" Adrian gawks at her. 

She laughs, and Adrian does too. She takes her work from him and types it up after school. She emails it to Adrian, who sends it to a publisher under his address. 

And then they waited. 

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