The next day of school went normal as normal could go. I was sitting and observing everything I could. Axel had taken the day off and was reporting back at the station, or that’s what he told me he was doing. I was now home and cleaning up the house a little. My dad would be coming home in an hour, Bryce was at practice, so I was the one going to pick dad up. Thank god I would have some time to talk to him one on one.
As I pulled up to the hospital, my heart was in my stomach. I was worried my dad wouldn’t let me continue helping Axel. But then if he knew Axel what would he think of an adult man talking to his teenage daughter? Well, I will be 18 in a couple weeks. Hopefully that made a difference. But also, why was he holding back every bit of information when he knew my school was the one having issues? When Hendrix’s dad was around 24/7 and his own son is doing them? What do I say? How do I ask?
I found myself in my own mind when the jeep’s door flew open and my dad was climbing in the passenger seat with a sling around his arm. I blinked, where did he come from? He thanked the nurse helping him out and shut the door, turning and smiling at me.
“Thanks for coming to get me sweetpea.”
I smiled at him, be normal Autumn. Be normal. “Well duh, what would you do without me?” I gave him a smug look and he started to chuckle.
As we drove my nerves were getting the better of me, so I decided it was time for word vomit. Just get it all out there in the open.
He turned to face me. “Yes?”
“We need to talk.”
The expression on his face was completely normal, completely relaxed. “Yes, we do.”
I rose my brow to his comment. Did he already know? Did Axel spill the beans? Was he still worrying about my suicide attempt? I was in my own head again when he tapped the arm rest.
The light we were stopped at changed and I didn’t even notice. Okay, I clearly was way too nervous. I decided to see what he knew first.
He made a smirk in my direction but nothing else on his face changed, just completely neutral. “Axel came and talked to me today.”
I gasped and turned my head to him quickly, but he pointed to the road. “Eyes forward dear.”
I kept my eyes on the street and tried to not freak out. I knew it. I freaking knew it. Damnit Axel.
“He told me everything.” He sighed. “Why didn’t you tell me it was this bad Autumn? Why didn’t you come to me?”
Man, my heart thumped against my chest. I wanted to tell him but, I also wanted him to get better. I didn’t want to bug him with my problems until he was in a good place too. Maybe that’s my problem for caring about others before myself.
“It’s not that simple dad. I should be able to deal with things on my own by now. I should be fine. I didn’t know any of this was happening so when it hit me, it hit me really hard..”
“Sweetpea, you’re barely almost 18. There’s a lot in this world you won’t learn till you’re older. I don’t expect you to deal with everything on your own.”
I pulled into the driveway and parked. “Yeah, well I’ve proved several times how badly I screw everything up anyway, Maybe I just want to prove that I can do something right for once.”
I got out of the car and started walking to the front door when I heard my dad’s door open and shut. Then him trailing me with his footsteps.
“Autumn Greene. You stop this right now.”
I stopped. He had his dad tone.
“You did not screw up. You are not a screw up. You’ve made mistakes and yes you’ve made bad decisions. But that’s what life is honey.” He grabbed me and turned me around to face him with his one arm. “You learn from your mistakes. That’s how you become a better person.”
I collapsed into his chest and hugged him. He took his arm and wrapped it around me, kissing my head. “You’re my baby girl. You will always be.”
He pulled me back to look at him. “You don’t need to explain to me why you want to this with Axel, I already know why.” He tipped my chin up when I tried looking at the ground.
“I see so much of myself in you sweetpea. Always trying to make things better for everyone else..” He sighed. “Come on, let’s go in.”
I half smiled at him. He agreed. He is letting me help, but I still had so many questions.
I let him readjust to house to himself for a while before we talked. I was sitting on the porch swing upfront when my phone started to ring.
“Baby.” His voice was quiet.
“Why are you whispering?”
“Get here quick. Bring Axel or your dad… anyone.”
He hung up. They were at the school. I rushed inside and grabbed the jeep keys and dashed out of the house. My dad was asleep. I immediately dialed Ax.
“Get your ass to the school NOW!”
I hung up, flying into the Jeep and down the road towards the school. Serving into the parking lot I parked near the curb and ran to the gym. They had to be there or on the field.
I saw Axel pull up, but I opened the gym doors and went in. My eyes went directly to the side of the basketball court. There was a group of guys sitting there from the team, they eyed me but didn’t say anything. I went straight for the locker room after that, but a voice made me stop. It was coach Kent. I turned and went to his office instead. My eyes locked onto Hendrix leaning on the wall. He motioned towards the coach’s office. Ax appeared behind me and grabbed my arm. Hendrix made a weird face at our contact.
I went and knocked on the door and Ryder appeared opening it. His normal happy demeanor was gone. He was serious and upset about something. I pushed past the door and Coach Kent came into view and my brother laying on the couch behind him acting like he was passed out but moving extremely slow and odd. I stared at Coach Kent and he motioned for me to follow him outside. I did so and I motioned Ax over, I knew Axel was addressed to some staff as well. Most didn’t know who he was, but some did that needed to know.
“I found him like that in the locker room. His eyes are dilated. He’s not moving very fast. He has marks on his arm…”
I felt my eyes starting to tear up. I bit my lip from exploding at the news.
My brother just used Heroine.
“I’ll take him Kent. Don’t worry. Do you know who gave him it?” Ax asked.
“No but I have the needle and the evidence in my office.”
They both went back into the office and left me standing there. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to think. I turned and noticed Hendrix was not there in the hallway anymore. He was no where in sight.
I gathered up my senses and got angry instead. I marched back into the office and right over to Bryce. Ryder was watching me, while trying to explain how he found him to Ax.
“You son of a bitch. Why would you do this?!”
I grabbed my brother’s arm and pulled him up right to a sitting position.
“Let’s go you stupid idiot.”
I helped him to his feet. He was so out of it. His eyes were dilated and his movements were still really slow. He was trying to talk to me, but it made no sense. I struggled to get him out of the door. Being half of him was getting the best of me right now. But I was so angry at him I didn’t want help, I was going to handle this dumb ass myself.
I didn’t even glance over when we got out the door and started through the gym. The guys that were sitting there were now gone. I had Bryce’s arm over my shoulder and holding him up by his waist. I heard footsteps when we were half way through the court and Bryce’s weight moved off me and I saw Ryder took hold of him for me. I was still glaring when we kept walking forward.
“Autumn!” Ax yelled from behind us.
Ryder nodded at me. “I got him.”
He kept walking with him and I walked back to Axel.
“I don’t understand!” I was screaming. “How could he do this?! Why didn’t I see the signs?!”
He gripped my shoulders. “Don’t. This isn’t your fault. I’m going to the lab and see if I can get finger prints off this stuff.” He was holding a bag. “You go to your house and don’t let him leave. He cannot be around this again Autumn. Heroine is very addictive, it stays in your system for a long time. He will look for his next high very soon. It’s not like weed where it stays in your system for a few hours and you can go on and off like nothing happened. Even this one time, he will have withdrawals.”
I was tearing up again staring at him so I decided to stare at the ground, trying to clear my mind.
“Hey.” He tipped my chin up with his hand. “He needs you. You need to be there for him. I will call you if I find out anything.”
I nodded and slowly turned back around. Suddenly my body was heavy and I was broken. I felt broken. My hand was suddenly grabbed and I faced him again.
“If he says anything. You need to call me right away. This is the first heroine usage. It’s getting serious now.”
I nodded and stared at his hand in mine. He dropped it when he noticed my attention to it. I slowly walked out of the gym and to the car, where Ryder had Bryce buckled up in the front seat for me and he was leaning on the car next to that side.
“I’ll follow you home.”
I nodded and didn’t even try to touch him or say anything, I just went to the driver’s side and started the car, taking off down the street.
I pulled into our driveway as Ryder pulled in behind us. I got out and saw my dad come to the front door.
“Autumn, what the hell..”
He was coming down the steps when I stopped him in his tracks.
“Dad.. it’s Bryce..”
His eyes shot to the passenger seat and lightly pushed me out of his way while Ryder got the door open for my dad. Dad leaned in and was checking over Bryce’s face and eyes.
“Damnit son why!” He checked his arm and I could sense his heart break right at that moment. He deflated. His tone dropped.
“Ryder, help me with him.”