Me and Bryce slept for a solid 12 hours. We got updates here and there from Uncle Dustin but nothing major. He said the hospital had all of us on speed dial if they needed us. I woke up to my phone blowing up with voicemails and texts worrying when the news went on the local news station. I had been avoiding everyone. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to involve anyone else. My heart was not strong enough yet. I know that my dad’s okay, but that does not help the pain and hurt of finding out your world could’ve been taken from you in a matter of seconds.
I sat outside on the porch swing with a blanket around my shoulders. It was already 9 pm but I didn’t care. The porch lights were on and the space around me was black with the upcoming night. I had left my phone upstairs in my room and had no intention of answering it or anyone that called.
Bryce however was trying to avoid the quiet and had been playing xbox for a solid hour now. I knew he needed a distraction and didn’t handle difficult situations well but let’s be honest I don’t either. I shut out the world and he avoids by doing something else. Both of us are stubborn but in different ways. We process things differently. How did they go through this with me? How did they get through the nights of not knowing if I would make it out alive? Bryce has now gone through two family members being near death, I was more worried about him at this point.
My thinking was cut off by the sound of foot steps on the porch next to me. I looked up to see Ryder’s smiling face all comfy looking in his sweats and hoodie on.
“Hey neighbor, saw your light on…”
He came and sat down next to me. I’m sure he was one of the many people trying to get a hold of me or Bryce but, he probably decided to just walk next door and find out.
I didn’t respond to him or move when he sat down next to me. All he did was start swinging the swing a little bit more just staring at me.
“Sweet Cheeks. Everyone is worried sick. It was all over the news…”
I blinked a few times to adjust my head back into having conversations. Unwillingly but its Ryder and I love this kid to death.
That’s it. That’s all I could muster up right now.
Ryder’s hand appeared on mine that was wrapped around my knees, pulled into my chest. I sighed and looked over at him. He squeezed it and scooted closer to me.
“You know I’m here right? I’ve been trying to get a hold of Bryce too.. and-”
I decided to cut him off.
“He’s inside taking out his emotions on a racing game..”
Ryder’s face went into confusion. “Racing? Why is he doing that?”
I sighed and looked up into his face again. “Guns. Just no guns..” I softly rested my head into my knees and Ryder’s hand slipped away from its spot. I was trying not to cry again. Ryder was the last person I wanted to see me cry. He was my jokester. My happy guy. My truth. He always told me like it is and right now I don’t think I could handle that.
“I see.” Was all he said. I felt his body twist so he was facing front again. He was holding back from saying things and I knew he was. I could sense the anxiety in him stirring. He wanted to ask so many things. I appreciated that he didn’t.
“Why isn’t Drix here with you?” that’s the question he ended up asking?
“I sent him home.” I whispered softly. I wanted Hendrix to be here. To hold me and just stare off into nothing with me. But I knew my boyfriend. I knew him too well. He would want me to talk it out. To tell him how I was feeling. To let it out so I could feel better but right now was not that kind of time.
“I see.” He was now leaning forward on his knees and popping his knuckles. Why was Ryder being so weird around me? He’s never like this. He was oddly quiet.
“Ryder?” I sat up now and put my hand on his shoulder. “What’s wrong?”
His face turned to mine and he let out a small smirk. “You seriously just asked me what’s wrong when your dad is the one in the hospital right now?”
I mean he had a point. But that didn’t stop me from caring about my friends. “Well Yeah.”
He patted my hand on his shoulder then grabbed my hand with a sigh. “Its nothing Ott. Don’t worry about it. Just know there’s a lot of people out there that care more than you think.” He smiled at me and stood up. “I’m going to go check in on that brother on yours now.”
Without another word he went into the house and the door shut behind him. I was still processing what he just told me. There’s people out there that care more than I think they do? I mean I already have a ton of caring people in my life and I know they care, I don’t get what he was meaning by this.
When 11:00 PM hit I decided to go inside. I didn’t even realize the time. The boys were still inside, Ryder had joined Bryce in playing the game. Guess that was his way of showing Bryce that he was there for him. I trotted up the stairs and into my bed. I laid there face down in my pillow when I heard my phone go off. I grumbled. I’m not facing this yet.
It went off again. Ugh. No.
The third time I sat up thinking it was important and looked at the caller I.d. It was Uncle Dustin.
I shot up to my feet and answered.
I was cut off.
“You and your brother need to get here now. There’s been a complication.”
I booked it downstairs and ran right into the family room.
“It’s Dad!” I screamed.
Bryce jumped to his feet as did Ryder. I grabbed the keys off the counter and jumped in the car. The boys came following me. I noticed Ryder was not going to leave this time.
We got to the hospital and into the waiting room when my uncle came bursting yet again out of the doors. I ran to him and grabbed on to his arms. I had noticed he had been running his hand through his hair quite often because it was a mess.
“Infection. Some infection. He’s -not..”
My heart stopped.
“He’s not WHAT!” I screamed.
“He’s not doing good. They have to get the infection under control and then go back in for more surgery to see what could be causing it.”
Tears came flooding back to my eyes. Bryce looked over at me and immediately ran out the doors we just came in, slamming them against the walls. This was his anger side of grief.
I yelled after him and as I went to run after him, Ryder grabbed me to him.
“Let him be Ott… “
I was half crying and half going into shock. I grabbed onto Ryder with all my might. He held me up with ease.
“This can’t be happening…”
Ryder pulled me into him, as he wrapped his arms around me I exploded in a crying fit. This wasn’t happening. I was in a dream. Someone had to just wake me up right? My dad was not shot it was just my nightmare. It was a nightmare. Please someone wake me up!
I noticed my uncle had taken a seat on the ground, leaning up against a wall. He was staring off into space too.
My dad is losing the fight..