Autumn's Light

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Sam

Lunch came and like yesterday Hendrix appeared with a bowl of fruit for me and surprised me with a soda while sitting down next to me, a pillar on the other side of him. So he gracefully leaned on it, his body facing me now.

“YAY! Thank you!” I did a little happy dance while eating the fruit. Ryder rose his eyebrow at me and watched with a smirk on his face.

“If you get that excited over fruit just wait till.-“

Hendrix kicked him hard on the table, hard just when Bryce came and sat down on my other side.

“What’s the gossip today ladies?”

I could tell Ryder was in pain and glaring daggers at Hendrix who was just ignoring him. I looked between both of them and then looked at Carter who just sat down too.

“Coach wants us in the locker room after lunch. Guess Jensen screwed up big time and now the team’s gotta pay for it. Its lap day boys!”

Grumbles were heard all around the table, except for Hendrix. He was staring off into space. I nudged him with my elbow.

“Hey, what land did you just disappear to?” I poked his side which made him jump out of whatever daydream land he was in.

“Oh, sorry. No no where I suppose.” He looked around the table and noticed no one was watching us then leaned into me.

“Come on, I think we need to have a little talk.”

I rose my eyebrow In question at him. A talk? About what? I was totally fine. But if this man wants time alone with me, I’ll answer yes any day. Wait no, that should be the opposite thing in my mind. Say no say no.

“Ok.” Was the only words that came out. I mentally face palmed myself. I’m an idiot.

We both got up from the table, Hendrix saying he was going to walk me to my next class himself. The boys all nodded like they understood but Bryce was watching me like a hawk. We walked around the corner till we got to a hallway where no one was.

Suddenly Hendrix’s hand was on my good shoulder and softly led me to the wall where my back was placed against it and he was leaning on it with his hand now that he took off my shoulder. He was right next to me.

“Hendrix what-“

Before I could say anything else he placed his hand on my cheek, cupping It in his hand in the most gentle way I’ve ever felt.

“You, that’s what.”

All I could do was stare at him. His hand on me was turning me to mush again. I’ve known him two days and I’m doing this to myself.

“I’ve only known you two days and I feel like I’ve known you for years. Every part of me wants to be near you.”

The heat went to my cheeks. I could feel it, I was blushing. What was he saying? My heart was pounding in my chest. He was inches from my face, leaning down when Axel appeared through the doors and Hendrix’s pose went straight again and his hand was off the wall by my head. I could tell he was super annoyed by the look on his face.

“Axel.”

“Hendrix.”

Axel looked at me and smirked at the situation in front of him. “Did I interrupt something?”

I shook my head quickly but Hendrix was staring directly at Axel in a death glare. “Yes, actually..”

I quickly changed the direction my head was shaking into a nod instead. I was confused as to that this something was in the first place.

“Oh darn, my bad timing..” He winked at me and I could see Hendrix’s hand close into a fist.

We heard a door slam open and Ms. Gale came strutting down the hallway with a stern face.

“You kids should not be in the hall! Ms. Greene Principle Jacobs wants a word.” She looked from Hendrix to Axel with a raised brow.

“Yeah okay..” I slid past Hendrix and limped over to Ms Gale, but before I could Hendrix grabbed my elbow and leaned into me. “Text me after.”

Axel was staring at me. Just staring. He had his arms crossed over his chest. Like I was amusing him. Hendrix walked past him, making sure to bump into his shoulder as he did. Axel just laughed and took off down another hallway.

I limped to Ms Gale and walked with her to the office. Luckily we were pretty near it. I stepped into Principle Jacobs office and sat down. He was looking over something on his computer then stopped and looked at me with a stern look. What was I in here for? I have done nothing wrong.

“Ms Greene, Firstly welcome to Jackson high. Second, I’m sorry your first day ended with you…” He trailed off with his voice and his eyes to the door then back to me clearing his throat.

“I understand there was an incident at your last school?”

Shit.

I nodded then sort of shrugged at him. “Yes sir, I mean.. kind of.”

He rose an eyebrow at me and turned his computer screen to meet my eyes. My town’s newspaper headline.

One dead, One in critical condition in High school stabbing.

All reports say the incident was over a boy

My entire body froze. Sweat started coming down my forehead. I didn’t want this known throughout this school. I didn’t want to be the girl that broke someone’s heart that drove him to insanity, when I was just watching out for my best friend. I sighed and kept the tears back.

“You care to tell me your side of this story?” Principle Jacobs tapped on his screen with his finger.

I nodded. “Yes sir. You see.. It was.. well.” I gathered myself to keep from crying. “My best friend Sam was dating a kid on the football team Jared, he was my brother’s best friend. But I always had a weird feeling about him. Well the morning of the game Sam told me that Jared hit her and screamed at her the night before. I told Sam she should leave him. He found out and cornered me in the hallway before the game and told me to stay away from Sam. Bryce my brother found us in the hallway and didn’t put two and two together when I tired to warn him of Jared. Anyway..”

I looked to him then to my hands. This was the tough part.

“When I was in the locker room with Sam, she got a text from him saying to meet him in the hallway. But I told her to stay in the room and I would talk to him for her. I didn’t want her getting hurt I knew he was angry she told on him to me. So I went instead, met up with him and told him to stay away from Sam and that my dad would find out about his abuse and lock his ass up. That’s well all hell broke loose.”

The bell rang ending my office class period, I knew the boys would be trying to check on me. Especially my brother, but Principle Jacobs was nodding his head to proceed with my story.

“He slammed me up against the wall and threatened my life. Told me that Sam was his and I was getting in the way. To be honest with you, I don’t remember a lot of what he told me. But I sassed him back and told him as long as I was alive I would keep Sam away from him. He took that very seriously.”

I hugged my knees to my chest now in the big chair I sat in. I hated telling this story.

“Me and Sam were on the field, cheering for the team. When Jared showed up and stabbed Sam and when I went to save Sam, he stabbed me too. I almost didn’t make it. But..”

I pointed to the computer article. “That article doesn’t tell you what really happened. My best friend was killed that night.”

I had tears coming down my cheeks at this point. “He killed her and tried to kill me. He was completely insane. Everyone blamed me for egging him on. But how was I supposed to know he was THAT insane? I was only trying to protect Sam..”

With the mention of her name tears again began to flow. I was full on crying now trying to keep my breathing normal. I missed her. I seriously missed her.

Principle Jacobs sighed heavily. “I’m so sorry that happened to you Autumn. No young woman should have to go through what you did. Please know that if you have any and I mean any concerns at our school you come straight to me. Understand?”

I just nodded, I couldn’t speak at this point.

“As to your injury now. I have suspended Adrian and Evie as of today. They will be back on Friday. In that time I will be meeting with their parents. If you would like me to, I could tell them your story but if you would like me to keep it quiet, I can do that too.”

My phone was buzzing non stop in my pocket. It was probably Hendrix, he was waiting for me. I grabbed it and texted him saying to go class and to tell Bryce I was staying with Ms. Gale. He’d flip if he knew I was with the principle. He didn’t respond.

“I would like to keep this between us please. The only person that knows is my brother and I would like to keep it that way.”

Principle Jacobs nodded and helped me stand to my feet.

“Absolutely. Now I’m sure Coach Kim would like to talk to you too, you have her class soon don’t you?”

I nodded.

“Good. Take a minute then get to gym.” He handed me a late slip with his stamp on it. “Come to me anytime Autumn, I mean it.”

I smiled at him, but was still crying.

-

I left the room and limped my way down to the bathroom. I was crying my heart out in the stall. I slammed my fist into the door. I always felt at fault for her death. That if I didn’t open my mouth she would’ve been okay. If I just would’ve kept my mouth shut.. and now again my mouth is getting the better of me. I didn’t realize how long I was in there till I heard the bell ring. I wiped more tears from my face and tried my best to look semi decent to walk into the hallway. I was heading to the gym and getting my damn brother.

I was crying still and wiping the tears off on my sleeve. My face was probably a mess. It was probably all red too. I just wanted my brother at this moment, I needed him more than anything. I tried texting him but I knew he had his phone in his locker. I skidded into the gym and ran straight for him.

The minute I saw him and he took in my appearance he dropped the basketball and ran to me too. I jumped into him and held him, balling my eyes out. The entire gym went silent and you could only hear my sobs.

“Whoa whoa.. Ott.. Ott.. What’s going on, what’s wrong?”

I didn’t pull away from him, I didn’t open my eyes. I didn’t have to face this for months, I went to therapy, tried to block it all away and move on. But now its right back in my face.

“Sam…” was all I could whisper.

“Fuck.” He turned to find Ryder looking at us and Hendrix almost half way to us, both of them had serious looks of confusion but also hurt from seeing me cry.

“Tell Coach I had a family emergency.” Ryder just nodded but Hendrix came over to meet us. While Bryce pried my arms off him. “I have to get my stuff, I will be right back. Stay right here. I mean it Ott. Stay right here.”

He turned back to Hendrix. “Keep her right here.” He took off and I dropped to the floor and clutched my head in my hands. Hendrix immediately dropped to the ground in front of me. “Autumn.. What can I do? What happened? Please tell me..”

I looked up to see his eyes. They were so full of concern. I sniffled. “You can’t do anything about it Hendrix. This isn’t your problem.”

He placed his hands on my shoulders. “Then tell me how to help…”

I just shook my head. “No one can help me one this one.”

Ryder appeared standing next to Hendrix. They exchanged glances then looked back to me on the floor. Hendrix dropped his hands from my shoulders and stood up because right then Harley came storming over. She could probably see me from the Dance class walls.

“WHAT HAPPENED!”

She dropped to my side and grabbed me into a hug. I hugged her back and grabbed onto her.

“I’m here sweetpea, I’m right here.”

Harley was such a miracle worker. Her comforting hug and words had me calm in minutes. She didn’t even need to come over and help, but she did. The boys were just standing over me watching.

“I’m sorry Harley, I can’t cheer.. I have to go..”

“Don’t be sorry hun.” She flashed to look at the boys. “She’s not an animal in a zoo, go occupy yourselves somewhere else.” She raised her hand and shooed them. I had not noticed the rest of the gym classes were now watching me too.

All of them went back to playing their game except for Hendrix and Ryder, they stood their ground. Bryce came thudding around the corner and to my side in seconds. Harley let go of me and I stood up with my brother. I looked at Harley and thanked her silently as Bryce led me out of the gym and into the parking lot.

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