I drove back home after school to check on Bryce before going back for the game. When I opened the door my dad was sitting at the kitchen table with his laptop, his arm was out of the sling but wrapped up this time. I shook my head. He was such a bad injured person, like father like daughter.
“I’m home!” I announced while dropping my backpack on the ground.
My dad’s eyes went to me and then back to his laptop. “He’s upstairs.”
Okay hello to you too dad. I flew up the stairs and into Bryce’s room. He was laying there watching tv from bed. He noticed me walk in and sat up higher.
“Hey, how’d school go?”
I plopped down next to him. “Awful. I let my mouth get the better of me with Evie.”
He rose a brow. “Uh oh. What did that bitch do now?”
I muffled a giggle and sighed instead. “She started all these crazy rumors. Like I was pregnant, you overdosed.. and then everyone heard Blake got arrested.”
He poked my stomach. “I’m going to be an uncle?”
I huffed and crossed my arms. “BRYCE!”
He was chuckling as he placed his hands behind his head. “I’m just messing. Don’t worry about her. She’s stupid. If she only knew you and Ryder haven’t even slept together..”
I punched his arm and yes I made it hurt. “BRYCE PATRICK!”
He was rubbing his arm and trying not to laugh anymore. “Jesus. Go beat on Ryder, not me.”
My phone dinged making me just glare at him for a response. He won’t win. Even though I was glad he was back to his usual asshole self.
‘I’m picking you up in 30. Got a tip from Ryder. He got in with Harley and Evie fell for it. She might be dealing or using tonight. If we catch her, we might get names. Blake isn’t talking still.’
My brows crossed in frustration.
Just as promised Axel showed up, but not on his bike because the ground was still wet from the previous rain storm earlier. He was in a blacked out Ford explorer. Just like my dad’s just without the police markings on it.
I quickly changed into a long sleeved blue sweater and jeggings with rips on the thighs, matching it with black converse. My hair was pulled into a French braid and on my bed laid Ryder’s letterman’s jacket that he left for me. I put it on and ran downstairs.
Axel was in the kitchen with my dad, coffee in hand. My dad was showing him something on his laptop.
“Ah hmm.” I coughed out.
They both turned to me.
“Ready to go?” Axel asked like I haven’t been standing there for the last couple minutes. So, I just nodded in response.
“Now sweetpea, you tell Axel if things get out of hand. I can’t be there on duty just yet, but I’ll swing by and check on things if I can.” My dad rose out his chair and hugged me. “Be careful.”
I nodded and turned on my heels, Ax turned to face my dad. “I’ll keep her safe Chief.”
We got to the field. They were now onto the playoffs. They only had this game and if they won, they would go on to State championships. Me and Axel found seats and watched the game. I mostly stayed quiet and watched the crowd and the students walking around in front of us.
After the first half Axel leaned in to me. “Let’s go walk around.”
We got up and walked along the track where most of the students were gathered up. Axel was staring around intently and I knew what he was looking for. I tried to zero in on anything weird too. We reached the entry gate and walked out. Finding more students sitting on the grass by the softball fields. I noticed Evie sitting there with Ayla. Ayla pulled out her phone and flashed it to Axel, who grabbed his phone in response and turned his back to them, but facing me.
He looked down at the screen and smirked. “We got them.” I side glanced at Evie as she brought something to her lips and took a drag. Axel was texting something on his phone when a hand was on my shoulder and I turned to see Ms. Gale.
“Autumn dear, why are you out here? The game is in there.” She pointed to the gate and I flashed a smile.
“Oh, it was too loud in there for a moment. I’m going back.”
Axel had walked off to make a phone call. I figured it was to the station to send out more units to come arrest Evie. Ms. Gale was staring at me then at Axel.
“Not to pry dear. But why are you out here with Axel? Aren’t you dating the Hawkin’s boy?”
I nodded. “Oh yes. But that doesn’t mean I’m attached to him at the hip..” my gaze wandered to Evie who glaring at Axel. Ayla had a look of concern on her face. Axel was a ways away now and not within earshot.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Hendrix’s form running through the gates in his football gear and his helmet off, but I could see the blood on his forehead. I panicked and ran to him.
“Holy shit Drix, what happened?” I went up to touch his face but hesitated and brought my hand back down.
He noticed. Damnit. His lips went into a smile.
“It’s nothin, just going to go get some bandages. The first aide guy out there sucks at his job.” He chuckled to himself then looked at Ms. Gale that was still standing there.
“Ms. Gale? Did I interrupt something?” He asked in a very short toned voice.
“Oh no dear. Just asking Ms. Greene here why she was spending company with Axel and not her boyfriend..”
I caught that tone and turned to see her face. She had a hint of annoyance on her face. Why did she want me around Ryder so badly? Hendrix was glaring at her now and then looked down at me.
“Join me? I need some help with this.” I knew he didn’t but something was on his mind. He grabbed my hand and led me into the locker rooms. He even pushed me into the boys locker room when I protested.
“The hell Hendrix?! What’s going on?”
He was wiping off the blood from the gash on his forehead.
“Something’s not right. Something is off..” He was whispering which made my senses heighten.
“What do you mean something’s off?” I walked closer to him when the door behind us opened and Ms. Gale appeared again, this time holding a gun and pointing right at me.
I froze. Hendrix pulled me behind him, his hands half in the air. “I knew something wasn’t right..”
I blinked and looked between them. Ms. Gale was behind all this?! What the hell?!
Then it all made sense.
She put me in her T.A position to get all the drama spilled to her. She called me into the office saying she ‘heard’ I was dealing drugs to point the finger at me and get it off Evie. The killing myself rumor went around without anyone knowing except me, her and Axel. She always had an interest in what was going on with me. She pulled me out of class for information more than a couple times. She was in administration, meaning no one would suspect her. Damnit. She was good. She was the supplier. No wonder her and Evie exchanged glances all the time. She was pissed I got Blake in trouble. Blake was always in the office with Axel. That made so much sense now. Hendrix was never a dealer, he was a user and nothing more. He was just an innocent idiot. We would have never got information from him.
I stepped to go in front of Hendrix. “YOU! It was you this whole time?! How could you?!”
She had a smirk on her face. “I knew you would figure it out in time and with Blake in jail and your father questioning him to no end. It was just a matter of days before he would talk.” She stepped closer. “Then I saw Axel on his phone and you standing there staring at Evie. I knew she screwed up and she would be in jail next, and she would sell me out for everything.”
I glared at her. “So, what’s your plan now? Shoot us? That’s a great plan to add Murder to your Rap sheet.”
We heard the sound of screams and yelling coming from the field. I know the game wasn’t over yet, but we must be close to finishing. They needed Hendrix out there. I had to formulate a plan.
“Let’s do this. Hendrix goes back and plays his game and wins for the school and me and you can take a little walk.” I proposed.
She sneered. “You think I’m that gullible? Hendrix will go tell the whole team and get the cops in here on me.”
I crossed my arms. “Maybe, but they will send in people to find him if he doesn’t return. That’ll make for a fun sight right now if someone came in.”
She glared at me but I had her. She did not have a choice. Hendrix was the pawn here and I was going to use him with everything in me.
“Fine.” She pointed the gun to Hendrix now. “You go back and if you tell a single soul about this, I will shoot her. You understand me?”
Hendrix looked down at me and I nodded at him for reassurance. I slyly handed him my phone out of my back pocket mouthing Axel to him. He could just call and Ax would come looking for me. He wrapped it in the towel he was using with his other hand behind his back.
“I’ll go. I won’t say anything.” He slid around Ms. Gale and to the door, looking back at me. When he disappeared from the door shutting Ms. Gale dropped the gun to her side and flicked it, motioning towards the door.
“To my office, walk.”
I walked in front of her and tried to make my pace super slow. I knew if Hendrix called Axel would know something’s wrong. We got the main area of the school and down the main hallway when I spoke up.
“Why are you doing this Jen?” I made sure to use her first name this time. She was no teacher to me and I had zero respect for her. “You don’t strike me as a drug dealer.” I turned to look at her and she glared, still pointing the gun at me.
“You know nothing so I suggest you shut up.” She spat at me.
I shrugged and turned to the Admin door. She had to drop her gun to get the keys out to unlock it. This was my chance. The only one I knew I had.
Without a second thought I kicked her hands and the gun dropped out and slid on the ground. She took that second and lunged at me, knocking me to the ground. She ran to the gun but I was quicker and tried to grab it but she kicked it out of my hands. Getting to my feet, she wrapped her hands around my neck. I struggled and kicked and punched to get her off me. We both fell with the aggressive energy. She landed on top of me, but I punched her in the face which made me fall to my side. I got to my feet and ran for the gun.
I stopped dead in my tracks right next to the gun at my feet when I heard a clip load from behind me, I turned to see Evie standing there with Ayla by her side, also pointing a gun at me. What the hell. I looked to Ayla’s eyes and she winked at me, motioning towards the doors. I read that as they were coming. Ax was coming.
I put my hands up in surrender.
“Evie.. Drop the gun.” I pleaded.
She was glaring daggers at me. “You know, I could’ve just told the gang and they could’ve just took care of you like I wanted them to. But Hendrix begged me to let you live. Begged me. But now, I don’t see a point. You crossed the line the other day.”
Ms. Gale stood up and went to grab her gun behind me and I winced a bit as she picked it up and pushed it into my neck.
“You have just been a thorn in everyone’s side since you arrived. You could’ve just been like your brother and taken the damn drugs and kept your nose out of everyone’s business.” She spat out, digging the barrel into my throat more. “You’ve already got one person killed from your actions Autumn Greene.”
I glared at her. She had better not be talking about Sam right now. “You don’t get it. Not everyone loves a sad story. All I saw from that story was a weak pathetic girl that couldn’t keep her mouth shut, and now look your in the same situation again. Only the gun is pointed at you.”
My sarcastic mouth didn’t stay shut. “It was a knife you idiot, not a gun.”
She didn’t find that funny because she pistol whipped the back of my head, causing me to stumble and grab the back of my head. Blood showed up on my hand and instant pain. “You don’t get to mouth off to me like that.”
Evie was getting frustrated and she fired at the ceiling causing all of us to look at her. “I’m done talking.”
She pointed the gun back at me. “You won’t be missed Autumn.” She smirked and just when she was going to pull the trigger Ayla turned her gun on Evie’s head.
“Don’t pull that trigger or I’ll fire your head off.” Ayla spoke. Which was like the first time in forever I’ve heard her talk.
Ms. Gale pointed her gun at Ayla now, sourly confused. “What is this?! You traitor!”
Ayla smirked when Evie dropped her gun to her side. “You don’t think they would just send Axel in here do you? Higher up positions are pretty dirty sometimes.”
I went to go grab the gun from Ms. Gale but she turned the gun back at me. “I can shoot you still. There’s one gun versus two.”
Ayla snorted. “And you’ll be out the best dealer you’ve had. Shame really.” She pressed the Pistol’s barrel into Evie’s temple. “I don’t joke around Jen. Drop the fucking gun, now.”
Evie’s eyes pleaded with her. Then suddenly we hear the opposite doors open and a flood of SWAT team members and Axel at the front. They had their guns drawn too. Next to Axel was I was guessing Evie’s brother, because the look on Evie’s face was pure heartbreak.
“LET HER GO JEN! THIS IS OVER!” Axel yelled but stopped when Ms. Gale wrapped her hand around my arm and pulled me into chest pressing the gun against my forehead again.
I struggled to get out of her grip but she held on strong. Ayla acted by grabbing Evie’s gun and throwing her to the ground behind us and pointing both of the guns at Jen’s head.
“Don’t, I’ll shoot you before you ever get a chance to shoot her.”
Jen managed to turn us, so we faced both sides. My right shoulder facing Axel and the left facing Ayla. I didn’t know what to think. My actions were out of pure adrenaline till this point, but now with a gun to my temple. I could not think of anything to do.
I caught a glimpse of Ryder’s face behind the SWAT team. Hendrix must’ve informed him on what was happening. A SWAT team member was holding him back from running to me. His eyes were glued to mine and I had a single tear fall down my cheek while staring at him.
I turned my gaze to Ayla. Her face was holding stern and no look of concern was on her face. This was her job and she was damn good at not portraying emotions. But out of the corner of my eye I saw a glint of flash coming from the dark hallway. I squinted to see more guys tiptoeing in on Ayla’s side. I smiled when I instantly knew whose hand that was. My dad’s and he had a rifle, not just a pistol and he was deadly accurate with that thing.
I smirked and my gaze went to Jen.
“What are you waiting for then Jen? Worried they’d shoot you before you shot me? You’re done anyway. You’ve got nothing anymore.” My taunts were working and she flinched, the moment she did I flipped my wrist out of her grasp and twisted her elbow with the gun in it. She fired but it just grazed my arm and then more shots rang out and we both fell on the floor.
I gasped and caught my breath before a pair of arms came and scooped me up. My eyes caught the sight next to me. Blood was coming out of Jen in a pool around her.
The arms that picked me up were Axel’s. I stared at him then back to Jen.
Evie was being handcuffed by Deacon and her brother. She was bawling her eyes out screaming at her brother. Axel nodded at me before joining him to take her outside. I stood there for a few moments before I was engulfed against the chest I needed to have the most. Ryder’s.
“Oh my god baby. I’m here I’m here.” I crushed myself into him more and the tears finally came. The shock wore off and the slow motion came back to reality.
Before I knew it, I was being pulled out of his arms and into my dad’s.
“Sweetpea, you did good. You did exactly what we needed you to do.” I hugged him back and noticed he had his gun in his bad arm.
I pulled back and stared at him. “But I thought..” I was staring at his gun.
He pulled his had into a tight grip. “Guess your dad’s a miracle worker after all.” He was speaking to Ryder.
Paramedics came over to me and checked out my arm. It really wasn’t that big of deal. Got it wrapped up and my face checked out from me and Jen’s brawl and I was cleared. Ryder stayed attached to my hip the entire time. I caught glimpses of Axel through the crowds. He was talking to each deputy and finally DEA showed up and were clearing the scene.
As soon as they were all done questioning me, I got a chance to break free from the crowds of cops around me. Ryder followed me into the parking lot.
“Are you okay?” He asked as I leaned against his car, grabbing my waist.
“It’s over..” I smiled up at him and he smiled back.
“Yeah, yes it is.” He leaned down and kissed me, holding the back of my neck. “And you were brilliant.”