Life After You

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Chapter 4

I woke up from my nap with my phone buzzing repeatedly on the nightstand. I looked beside me and all over the apartment and noticed that Landon still wasn’t home yet from hanging out with Riley.

They mentioned going out on the town to have some “guy” time. Whatever that means.

I looked at the clock and it was three o’clock in the afternoon. Who was blowing up my phone?

I grabbed it off the charger and noticed I had seventeen missed calls from Tori and twenty text messages from her as well.

Sensing the urgency, I was about to call her back but my phone started ringing again.

Tori’s face appeared and I instantly answered it.

“Tori, what’s going on?” I asked.

“Olivia! Finally!” I could tell something was wrong almost instantly when I heard the sound of her voice.

She spoke with a muffled voice and she was sniffling. Why was Tori crying?

“Hey... calm down hun. What’s going on?” I asked again, this time my anxiety flaring up.

“Olivia... I... FUCK!” She screamed. At this point, I was really getting worried.

“Tori!” I screamed back as I stood up from my bed. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s Landon and Riley!” She choked out, unable to finish her sentence.

My heart dropped and I could feel myself becoming dizzy.

“Tori, what happened?” I said sternly.

“They... they were in an accident.” She finally said, uneasy.

My heart sunk and I dropped my phone. I slowly sat down on the edge of the bed with my hands on my knees. It felt like the world stopped. My body went numb and I blinked a few times to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming.

I heard Tori yelling my name from the speaker of my now cracked phone and I quickly picked it back up.

“Where are they?” I said almost too calmly.

“They were both taken to the hospital. I will text you the address.” Then, the call ended.

I quickly threw on a pair of Landon’s grey sweatpants and one of his white T-shirts. I pulled my tangled hair back into a messy ponytail and pulled on my brown sandals.

I grabbed my purse and car keys and ran out of the door, slamming it behind me.

I silently cursed to myself as I realized I didn’t lock our door and I turned around to do so.

Once I got to the car, I quickly opened Tori’s text and plugged the address into my GPS. I didn’t know where the hospital was off hand because this whole place was still a bit new to me. Either way, I was getting there as soon as possible.


I drove dangerously fast, not caring about getting a ticket. I was at the hospital in a matter of minutes and I locked the car doors as I ran into the entrance of the emergency room.

I immediately ran up to the desk and a short woman with bleach blonde hair looked up at me with a smile.

“How can I help you?” She said in a kind voice. I wanted to slap the smile off her face because this was not a happy moment for me.

“L-Landon Cavalier and R-Riley Harper!” I shouted. “Where are they?” I asked.

“Hold on mam, let me look that information up. Are you family?” She asked, still holding her smile.

“Riley is my b-brother and Landon is my boyfriend.” I hissed, holding back the tears.

“Well miss, Riley is currently being evaluated. You can see him when the doctors are finished with him. As for Landon, because you are not immediate family, we cannot release his current diagnosis with you at this time.”

I wanted to jump across the counter and rip her face off. “He is my boyfriend lady. I have known him since we were seven years old! Let me see him or so help me I will make sure you never work in this hospital, or town for that matter, ever again!”

She genuinely looked scared, and she quickly began typing on her computer. I buried my face into my hands and let out a breath that I had been holding in since I entered the hospital.

“Well, it looks like they have Landon back in surgery. I am unaware at this time of when they will be finished. Please go over and take a seat in the waiting area, and we will inform you when Riley is available for visitors.” She calmly said, giving me an apologetic smile.

All I did was nod and then I turned to enter the waiting area. Tori looked up and immediately ran into my arms that I hadn’t noticed were already open for her.

I gave her a death grip and buried my face into the crook of her neck.

“Tori... why them?” I cried.

“I know sweetie... I know...” She was now gently rubbing circles against my back. We must’ve looked like fools standing in the middle of the waiting area squeezing the life out of each other.

I finally let go and we went to sit down.

I couldn’t get my thoughts in order. The lady said that the doctors were evaluating Riley. Does that mean his injuries are minor? I hope I can see him soon. I can’t take this much longer.

I instantly starting thinking about Landon. This wasn’t just my best friend, but the love of my life. Hearing the word surgery instantly gave me a sick feeling. Why did he need surgery? Was he hurt that badly? Will he ever be okay?

I shook my head to get rid of the awful thoughts roaming around in my head. I felt my stomach growling at me, but I couldn’t bear the thought of eating right now. My stomach was in knots and I probably wouldn’t be able to eat until I got some good news.

It was almost five o’clock now and we still haven’t heard anything. I managed to call my dad and Landon’s parents informing them of the situation. Both my dad and Landon’s parents said the same thing: “We are on the next plane out of here!” and that was that.

I told Tori to go home to shower and get something to eat, but she refused. I knew I didn’t want her to leave me, but I didn’t want to keep her either. She was my best friend though, so I knew she wouldn’t abandon me at a time like this.

“Olivia, I am not leaving you here by yourself... so get over it.”

A small smile tugged at the corners of my lips, but it went away instantly.

“Thanks.” I mumbled. I still felt sick, but I managed to choke down some cookies from the vending machine. Riley and Landon needed me and I couldn’t afford to black out from starvation right now.

Tori found a big, long chair and sat down, letting me rest my head on her lap as I stretched my legs out across the chair.

She began playing with my hair and before I knew it, my thoughts were back on Landon. No one has told me anything. I didn’t even know if he was still in surgery or not. He could be back there fighting for his life and I have no clue about what’s going on. I felt the pain of tears forming around my eyes and I quickly blinked them away.

I had to be strong... for both of them.

I felt Tori let out a gasp, and I jumped up. I looked towards the doorway leading into the emergency rooms and Riley was standing there talking with a nurse.

He had cuts and bruises all over his face and his left arm was in a cast. He grabbed some papers from the nurse and began walking towards the waiting area.

I immediately found myself on my feet running to him. He opened his arms slowly and I jumped into them. I clung to him as if my life depended on it and I let more tears fall from my face.

“Oh Riley! I can’t believe you’re okay!” I whined.

He closed his right arm around me tightly and relaxed his left arm against my shoulder, unable to move it much due to the cast.

“Sh... Olivia, it’s okay. I’m here now.” He whispered into my ear. His voice was the most comforting thing I have ever heard.

“I can’t believe this happened! They still won’t tell me anything about Landon. Riley, what happened?” I whined some more into his bloodstained shirt.

He walked me back over to Tori and I sat back down on the chair. Tori quickly engulfed Riley in a hug and I smiled at their affection.

“Don’t scare us like that again!” She warned, taking her seat next to me.

Riley pulled up another chair and sat right in front of us.

“Well... what I can remember is slowly coming back to me. We had just left the local sports bar after we had some wings for lunch. Landon was sitting in the passenger seat and he turned the radio up pretty loud. I told him to turn it down, but all he did was laugh. I let it go and continued driving. After ten minutes I couldn’t take the loudness anymore so I turned the radio off. Landon argued with me for a few minutes and I must’ve missed the light change from yellow to red. I sped through the light and I saw a car coming at us fast from the right. The last thing I remember is seeing Landon’s face before the lights went out.”

He finished the recap and I got chills all over. They were T-boned and the car who hit them hit Landon’s side of the car. Tears began flowing from my eyes again at just the image. The other car probably crushed him. I felt my legs trembling and I put my head in my hands.

I felt Riley move and sit down next to me, putting his right arm around me.

“I know it’s scary sissy, but Landon will be alright. He’s a tough one.” Riley said with a small smile.

I looked up into his tired brown eyes and I felt a little better.

“I just wish they would tell me something.” I mumbled.

“I know, I know.” Riley said, rubbing my arm.

“I’m going to get a drink, are you hungry now Olivia?” Tori asked, standing up.

I shook my head no and I heard her let out a small sigh. “What about you, want anything?” She asked Riley.

“A drink please.” He replied. Tori smiled at him and nodded, heading towards the vending machines that are lined up across the room.

“Olivia... you have to eat. You remember what happened last time, right?” Riley said in an uneasy tone.

My heart quenched at his words. I thought back to ten years ago when we lost our mother. She had a sudden heart attack that even the doctors couldn’t explain. I was only nine at the time but I knew what was happening. I was never going to see her again.

I didn’t eat for weeks, except some soup here and there. I lost too much weight to mention and the doctors thought I was heading down a very bad path. Riley and our dad sent me to a facility to help me cope, even at the young age that I was. They didn’t know what else to do for me.

Eventually, I accepted it and was able to move on. I knew that my mom was in a better place watching over Riley and I and that made me feel better too.

The thought of Landon possibly dying hit me like a ton of bricks and it brought back all of those bad feelings I had when my mom died. My stomach churned and I ran to the nearest garbage can emptying the contents of my stomach into it.

Riley jumped up and ran to me. He quickly slowed down due to the pain he was in, but he still managed to hold my hair back for me with his right hand. I instantly felt worse because Riley was just in an accident and he was still taking care of me.

Tori returned with a sandwich for herself and a Gatorade for Riley.

She also handed me another package of Oreos. I gave her a small smile as we all went back to our seats.


Another two hours went by and still nothing.

I was beginning to lose hope. My nerves were shot and my face was slightly swollen from crying.

The entrance to the Emergency room opened and just like that, my dad entered.

I ran into him with the same force as I did Riley and I clung to him. He immediately wrapped me up into his arms and squeezed me tightly. I felt the tears streaming again and he gently rocked me back and forth.

“It’s going to be okay, princess. Daddy’s here now. Shh.”

After another minute or two of just letting my dad hold me, we walked over to Tori and Riley.

Tori was asleep on the chair using Riley’s jacket as a blanket. Riley was leaning against her with his head rested on her shoulder, a blank expression on his face.

When he saw our dad, he slowly got up so he wouldn’t wake Tori and he walked in for a hug. My dad wrapped his arms around Riley and I swore I saw a little tear fall from my dad’s eye.

“Son, I’m so glad you’re okay! What all did you hurt? Just your arm?”

“Yes dad, I’m fine now. Still sore but the doctor said that’s normal. All I broke was my arm, plus a few bruises and scratches.”

“You boys have got to be more careful when you’re out on the roads, Riley!” I winced at my dad’s words, knowing that the yelling was going to come eventually.

“Dad, please! This isn’t the time or place.” Riley said, looking at me with a sad face.

My dad looked over at me and his face instantly relaxed. “You’re right, son. I’m just glad you’re okay.”

Riley took his seat next to Tori and rested his head against her again, trying to fall asleep, but to no avail.

“Ugh!” He shouted. “Why haven’t they come out to say anything yet!”

“Riley...” My dad warned. “Please, don’t. We are all worried, let’s just sit here and wait peacefully. I’m sure when Landon’s parents get here, the nurses will give them some more information.”

Riley rolled his eyes.

“Riley... maybe you should go back to your dorm and get some rest. I will call you as soon as we know anything. You’re hurting and sore, you need to just take it easy for a little bit.” I choked out.

“I’m not leaving you.” He replied softly.

I walked over to him and placed my hand over his. “I promise I will be alright. Just please go and take care of yourself. You need to shower and change out of these clothes anyway. You look terrible.” I teased, with a small smile.

“O-Okay... but I want you to call me as soon as you hear something. Then, I’ll be right back here.”

“I promise.”

Riley stood up and turned to our dad. “Please take care of her.”

“With my life.”

Riley nodded and then left. I looked over at Tori and smiled because he left his jacket with her.

I walked over to her and gently shook her awake.

She slowly opened her eyes, and once she realized where we were she quickly shot up.

“What happened with Landon? Is he okay?”

“Tori, relax. We still haven’t heard, but his parents should be here soon. They are coming from California. Riley went home to shower and sleep. I think you should do the same.”

“I’m not leaving you here alone, Olivia.” She replied.

“She’s not alone, Tori.” My dad said with a smile.

Tori’s frown instantly turned into a smile and she leaped into my dad’s arms.

“Hey Mr. Harper!” Tori cheered.

“Hey kiddo.” My dad said back, releasing her.

“Well, I’ll go then. Call me as soon as you know!” She urged, pulling me in for another hug. “And be strong!”

“Always.” I said back, letting go of her.

Tori left and I sat back down beside my dad. There was no way I was going anywhere. Not until I heard news.

He needed to be okay.

Come on, Landon. I can’t go on without you. I need you.

A few minutes later, Landon’s parents came bursting through the doors. They saw my dad and me and turned toward the nurse’s desk. I saw them exchange some information and another nurse came out of the back.

Landon’s parents followed the nurse back and I was instantly angry. Why wouldn’t they let us back? We were as close to family as family gets!

My dad shot me a small smile and rubbed my shoulder to comfort me. About twenty minutes later, Landon’s parents came out from the back walking slowly. Landon’s mom, Barbara, had her hands over her face letting out loud sobs. Her husband, Brian, was trying to comfort her.

Realization hit me and I couldn’t move. Time stopped. My heart died a little bit.

Something was really wrong, and I didn’t want to find out the outcome. I didn’t want to know the inevitable. I swallowed the lump in my throat and stood up anyways, ready to engulf them both in a hug.

I slowly walked over to them, my dad following behind me.

“Barbara... Brian...” I said softly.

Barbara instantly looked up and once she saw me she pulled me into her arms and cried harder onto my shoulder. Her tears soaked Landon’s shirt and all I could do was stand there and hold her. All I could do was let this poor woman cry onto me, knowing there were no words that could be said to change the way she felt.

“Please...” I choked out. “Where is he?”

Barbara slowly lifted her head and blinked a few times, trying to calm herself down.

Her lips were trembling, but she still managed to speak those five words that I knew I wasn’t ready to hear.

“Landon is in a coma.”

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