Autumn's Light

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Ryder ended up staying with me the entire night. Dustin was making calls to the other family members to get over here and quick as they could. Marley would be joining us soon, she was at her own homecoming the night it happened.

I had fallen asleep on Ryder’s chest at some point. I woke to his arms around me and himself being asleep, his head leaning against the wall behind us. Bryce was next to my uncle the entire night when he finally came back from storming around the hospital. I knew he was pissed. I knew he was hurting. But my brother was not the type to open up to anyone, he held it all inside. Blaming himself and taking it out on himself yet again. I knew this was going to be no exception to how he acted with my incident.

Ryder had gotten up around 3 AM to a phone call. He stormed out of the room and I could hear him screaming into the phone. What was happening?! I didn’t get to finish trying to listen to him when sleep took me again.

It was 6:00 am Monday morning when I woke up. I woke on Ryder’s lap. I didn’t understand how I got there but apparently I was comfortable. Huffing in exhaustion knowing I needed to wake up Ryder to get to school. I sat up and lightly shook his arm.

“Ryder, Ryder, Come on wake up.”

His eyes shot open and he sat up super quickly.

“What, what, what happened?”

His words were slurred and sleepy. I smiled at him. That kid always knew how to reach my heart with a tug.

“You need to get to school, its already 6..”

He let out a sigh and stretched. “Nope. You’re stuck with me kid.” I noticed he looked more exhausted than any of us. But something else. He didn’t sound the same. He sounded like something was wrong.

I shook my head at him. “Ryder. You need to go to school. There’s no reason for you to stay with me. I can call Hendrix if I need anything. Bryce is here. You can update everyone for me.. “

He rose a brow at me. “You realize Hendrix isn’t the only one that cares to not leave your side right?” He had a tone to that sentence.

I scrunched my face together in confusion. “I realize that Ry. But I would feel better if I didn’t disrupt anyone’s life more than I already do. Go be normal please.”

I got up from the chair only to be held back by Ryder grabbing my wrist.

“Yeah, nope. Good try though. Normal and me don’t go in the same sentence sweet cheeks.”

I sighed but mentally I was giggling a little bit. Such a Ryder comment.

“You’re still the absolute worst.”

I clumped down into the seat again and he wrapped his arm around me in a side hug.

“I know.”

He had a smirk on his lips which made me roll my eyes again. Bryce came and sat down next to me. He looked like a walking zombie.

“No word yet.” His foot started tapping the ground.

I shifted my weight off Ryder and leaned my head on my brother’s shoulder.

“He’ll pull through Bry. He has to.”

At this point Ryder grabbed my hand and we all sat there like that for a while. I couldn’t tell you how long. The tv on the wall blaring with white noise. I wasn’t even paying attention to it. The opposite doors came crashing open and Hendrix came in with Harley.

Ryder’s hand immediately came off mine and he stood up. I didn’t move from my spot. Harley came running over to me and grabbed my leg, sitting on the ground in front of me.

“Oh my god Autumn… I’m so sorry..”

I just stared at her. Ryder grabbed Harley off the ground, but not in a very loving way like I just witnessed at homecoming “Just let her be right now Harley, you’ve done enough.”

She shot him a look then looked at me again. “Sorry..”

I nodded at her. Then looked at Hendrix who was oddly hanging back. I didn’t have the energy to figure out what was going on with them. Bryce decided to end the silence.

“Thank you everyone for being here but me and Autumn need some time alone right now.”

Everyone’s heads turned to Bryce, including mine. He spoke and he spoke the exact thing I wanted to say too.

Ryder nodded and started leading Harley out the doors. “You call me Autumn, I mean it.” He stopped slightly in front of Hendrix and intentionally pushed past him, bumping shoulders. That was harsh.

They disappeared out of the doors as Hendrix looked over at me. I knew he was wanting to talk to me. I looked at Bryce and stood up.

“Be right back.”

I walked over to Hendrix.

“What’s on your mind?”

He shook his head. “What do you mean what’s on my mind?”

“You have this look and this very off putting behavior…”

He started looking around the room nervously. Something was going on. Something was off.

“Hendrix. Tell me now.”

He didn’t have time to explain when the doors came open yet again and there standing in all her glory was my cousin Marley. She ran immediately to me and pulled me into the biggest bear hug she could muster up.

“Oh my god Ott. I didn’t know. I would’ve come sooner. Dad called and I kept ignoring the calls, I’m so fucking selfish.”

And that’s my cousin. Sailor mouth of the century. She pulled apart from me.

“What’s going on? What’s the news? Did we find out anything? Is your dad ok? Why are we not allowed in there? Where’s the assholes that shot at him? I’ll kill them!”

She spat off a million questions which just made me smile at her. She stopped and did a double take at me and Hendrix standing there.

“Opps, sorry. I’ll go attack that other cousin of mine now.”

As she promised she went and attacked Bryce. Who looked very happy she was there. I turned back around to see Hendrix staring at me already.

“You going to answer me or not?” I spat out.

He grabbed my shoulder. “Not right now.” He kissed my forehead and walked away out of sight.

I stood there staring into nothing for a while. What the actual fuck was that about? I patted my pockets for my phone and mentally swore to myself. I left it at home.

Marley was catching us up on her life. She had been involved with her school’s rodeo team and had one state championships. She had been so busy and that’s why she didn’t come in the summers and she had a boyfriend the entire two years who she just broke up with months ago because of his cheating on her. My heart broke over hearing that. I wanted to kill that guy for hurting her. No one deserves to be cheated on.

Finally, around 3:00 pm the doctor came and told us that they cleared the infection but, he had to be on strong antibiotics for the next few days to see how his system responds. But he should be in the clear now. We were not able to see him for the risk of bringing germs in. But we stood outside his room and watched through the window. Marley had her arm around me as a single tear went down my cheek. He was going to make it. But this would be a rough road ahead of us.

My uncle took the liberty to inform the school of what happened and why we were not at school. They excused us with no issue. Dustin however wanted us to get back into school as quickly as we could to get back in a normal routine and get something else in our heads. So, we planned on going back tomorrow and see how we would do.

Marley and Uncle Dustin came and stayed with us in the house. There was no point of staying at the hospital any longer. They would inform us when we could see him.

After dinner I went to the front porch again and sat on the swing. This has become my spot to sit and think. The same blanket wrapped around me. Again, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and I turned to see Savannah walking up. She half smiled at me and instead of going to the door she came over to me.

“Hey..” she whispered.

“Hi. Come to see my brother?” I asked.

She nodded. “Yeah, I’m checking up on him. I knew he needed time to get himself together.”

I smiled at her. “You know, you’re good for him. You understand his weird ass ways.”

She smiled back at me. “Yeah. He’s a tough egg to crack but I think I’m finally getting it.”

We both laughed a little bit.

“Why isn’t Hendrix here with you?” she asked when we stopped laughing.

I shrugged. I had my phone with me but, I had not got one text from him.

“He hasn’t talked to me since he left the hospital this morning.”

She looked nervous and looked down at her feet. There was something everyone knew that I obviously didn’t. Someone had to cough up the truth damnit.


She sighed heavily and came and sat down next to me.

“Look you didn’t hear this from me but, you deserve to know if he’s not going to tell you and obviously he hasn’t told you or you would’ve answered that question differently.”

I shot her a look. “TELL ME WHAT!”

“Sunday night. When Ryder came over and stayed with you guys… well.. Hendrix was with someone else.”

My heart literally broke into pieces.

“What are you talking about?!” I stood up now screaming. Did he go back to Evie? Someone new? Were all my problems too much for him to handle? What the actual hell!

At this point of hearing me scream Bryce came flying out the front door and walked over to us.

“What the hell is going on?!”

Savannah stood up and looked between me and Bryce.

“Bryce just me just say this okay.”

He looked confused but hell so was I at this point.

“That night. He was with Harley and that’s why they showed up to the hospital together this morning.”

My entire world stopped spinning when my dad got shot. Now my world was exploding.

“What did you just say?!” Bryce screamed taking a step forward.

“I don’t know the details. But Harley spilled it all to Hazel. Who told me bits of the story…”

I grabbed Sav’s arm at this point. “Tell me.”

My phone started ringing and I ignored it. Bryce’s rang and he ignored it too. We knew my uncle would be out here if anyone at the hospital was happening.

“They kissed Autumn. I’m so sorry…”

I think I dropped to my knees in utter heart break. First my dad and now Hendrix. So much for having a normal life. My fucked up life just came back around. I couldn’t make out the noises around me. I heard my brother screaming and then Savannah pleading with him. I heard Marley at one point trying to get me to stand up. Tires screeching in our driveway caused my head to snap up.

Ryder was suddenly holding back my brother from running off the porch. When he got here, I had no idea. Marley had her arms around me and she was screaming at someone in the driveway. My head turned to see Hendrix standing there, his truck parked on the street. That was the tires I heard.

I came back to reality.

“HOW THE FUCK DARE YOU COME HERE WHEN YOU DID THIS TO HER?! YOU MOTHER FUCKER!” Marley’s screams out did the rest of them.

I dropped to the ground. Anger. Sadness. Heartbreak. Everything was going on inside me.

“Just listen to me Autumn. Listen! I can explain!” Hendrix was screaming.

Again, I hear Bryce screaming thing and Ryder holding him back. “Trust me dude, I want to kill him too. That was MY girlfriend he was with. But this is NOT the time.”

Ryder was the sane one in the situation. For once.

My uncle came out the front door to the chaos surrounding him. He figured it out by everyone’s body language.

“Son. I suggest you leave and leave quickly.” He narrowed his eyes at Hendrix.

I shot a look to him. The only look I gave him. I was crying at this point. His face held so much hurt too. He turned around and got in his truck and left without a word.

Marley held onto me and pulled me into her lap. I heard Ryder and Bryce yelling back and forth and my uncle also. Savannah appeared next to me too and she grabbed my arm.

I can’t believe anything that just happened. I was cheated on while my dad was fighting for his life.

What a luck magnet I am.

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