Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Oh Brother Episode 46-48


I grabbed the doorknob of the front door and closed my eyes. Repeatedly, I reminded myself of what happened yesterday. Of how crushed I had been from what Christian said. With everything that had happened since we got together, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this anymore. Even though I loved him, Stephen was right. So much had happened, even though I was alright before.
My grip tightened on the doorknob and I took a deep breath in. Even when I knew that I could get my old life back by breaking things off with Christian, I didn’t want to. What I felt for him was something I never felt for anyone. Something I felt like I would never get again. Christian was one of a kind, I knew.
I groaned and laughed bitterly. Everything Christian related was so complicated. It had always been that way, and would always continue to be that way. Life seemed to want me to be both happier than I ever been and more stressed than ever. It was so messed up, but that made me realize that maybe I should try to let him go. My life had never been perfect, but this entire situation was too much for a kid like me.
Smiling sadly, I opened the door. But, at that very moment the phone for my home rang. Frowning, I quickly shut the door and walked back in. No one called the motel phone, so I was curious.
I walked over to the phone that sat next to the couch and picked it up, seeing that the phone number was unrecognizable. With a frown of my face, I waited to hear a familiar voice.
“Hello?” An unrecognizable voice said.
“Hello?” I responded. “Who is this?”
“Is this Autumn?” The person asked, ignoring my question.
“Yes…” My heartbeat sped up, wondering who this person was.
“Hi, sweetheart.” The person’s voice softened, sounding sympathetic all of the sudden. “I’m a nurse and… I’m so sorry.”
My heart dropped. “Why… What happened?”
“Your father, Stephen. He passed away a few minutes ago. I’m so sorry sweetheart.”
My heart froze. My entire body froze along with every system in it as well. I couldn’t breathe or think. This was impossible I told myself. Stephen and I talked a few days ago. He was okay. He was alive.
“Are you sure you have the right number?” I asked nervously, hearing her mumble apologies. “My stepfather and I spoke a few days ago. He’s a healthy man… There’s no way.”
“He had a sudden heart attack. It happened fast and the doctors weren’t able to save him. I’m sorry.”
My breathing became uneven. That was when I realized this was actually happening. Somehow, Stephen had passed away. Stephen, who had been a good guy, had died suddenly and out of nowhere. My throat constricted at the thought, wondering how in the world this happened.
That was when I remembered Christian. Before I could allow tears to reach my eyes, I realized with horror that Christian had just lost his father. I gasped as my heart ached. I needed to see him.
“Is Christian, Stephen’s son, at the hospital?” I asked the nurse.
“Yes, so is your mother,” she replied.
Ignoring the second part, I asked, “What hospital?”
“Sentential. Are you coming?”
“Yes. Thank you for calling.”
Before she could reply, I hung up the phone. With a dagger twisting at my heart, I ran to the front door. The next thing I knew I was running to catch a bus, wanting to see Christian as soon as possible. A part of me hoped that this was some sick dream, but I knew better. Life could be cruel.
“Where is Stephen Woods room located?” I asked the nurse at the front desk.
“Second floor,” she replied. “Room B12. I’m sorry about-”
I ran off before she could finish. I hated when people apologized for things that were out of their hands. It was useless and it didn’t make the person feel better. Well, that was how I felt.
With every step I took, my heart pounded against my chest painfully. Christian was all I could think about as I walked up the stairs and down a hallway. He had lost so much, so this was unbelievable. It was just so cruel of the world to do to him. Sweet, innocent him. I was so angry that I found it hard to be sad, which was helpful because I didn’t want to cry. Not when I needed to support Christian.
I saw the sign that said room B12 and rushed over to it. Entering it, I was surprised to see a waiting room that consisted of two people. The very person I wanted to see, and the very last person I wanted to see.
Without thinking, I ran to the boy who had his head hung low. I ran past my mom who had tears streaming down her face, and embraced Christian who stiffened at the touch. He then hugged me back and I heard a sob escape him, breaking my heart. He didn’t deserve this. That was all I could think about as I hugged him.
Christian’s body rocked with tears as he cried into my shoulder. I rubbed his back, wondering why this world was so horrible. Why everything had to be taken from us. Why was happiness so hard to achieve?
“F--k this world,” I mumbled, finally allowing myself to tear up. “It’s cruel.”
“F--k it,” Christian choke out in agreement.
My sight got blurry as more tears filled my eyes. Stephen . We may never have been close, but I knew he didn’t deserve this. No one deserved to die, but Stephen especially should never have died. He was so young. So alive with dreams of his family being strong. It was unbelievable.
As Christian continued to cry against my shoulder, I felt a tear run down my face. All of my sadness I tried to withhold finally released, and I was okay with it. Being with Christian in this situation suddenly made me realize something.
I was such an idiot. I was just about to give up on him, even though he meant the world to me. Sure, things were complicated. And sure, my life was a mess. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t the one person that meant the absolute world to me. The one person who actually made me feel like I mattered. I definitely needed to appreciate him for as long as he remained reachable. That was what I realized as tears streamed down my face.
“I’m sorry,” I choked out as I became Niagara Falls with my tears. “For everything. You’re worth it. This relationship is worth it, and Stephen deserves to be here with us.”
Christian held onto me tighter, which made me smile despite my tears. It seemed to me like we realized something today. People in your life can disappear at any moment. It was for the best to hold onto them, knowing you could have your last moment with them at any second.

The funeral was depressing. I tried to be strong for Christian, but I ended up crying my eyeballs out as we lowered Stephen into his grave. Knowing he should be standing with us, seeing him placed in a grave broke me. He didn't deserve this.
Christian hadn't spoken much since the day I comforted him at the hospital. I went home with him and my mom allowed it - surprisingly - so I stuck by him. From his face I could tell this was killing him, but I didn't bring it up. By giving him space and by being at his side simultaneously, I tried to be his rock.
Grabbing onto Christian's hand, I led him to his black car. Without a word, we walked there and I sighed sadly. The graveyard was depressing and I wanted nothing more than to go home. I was tired of crying and the place brought back bad memories.
"Are funerals always like this?" Christian suddenly asked. "This is my first one."
"Yeah, pretty much," I replied, hiding my slight shock.
"Are they supposed to make you feel like screaming until your insides melt?" He avoided my gaze.
"That was how I felt for the ones I went to," I answered quietly. "They're horrible."
"Was your last one your dad's?"
I nodded, looking down.
"Wow, you're strong." He smiled sadly as I looked back at him. "You made it through it."
"You will too." I kissed his cheek quickly. "Christian, the one thing I can tell you is that you'll make it through this. It's hard, but you will."
He looked away, but I noticed tears threatening to spill out of his eyes. From what I saw, he didn't cry at the funeral. A part of me hoped he would later because it wasn't good to hold everything in. It would destroy you, I knew. So even though I hated seeing him cry, it was for the best if he did.
Christian and I finally made it to his car, and I was surprised to see my mom already in the drivers seat. Pretending she didn't exist, I sat in the back seat along with Christian. As she began to drive, I laid my head down on Christian's shoulder. It had been a long week.
After a few minutes, my mom said, "Of all the times you could act like this, don't be selfish and choose now. Stop touching each other."
I rolled my eyes, but listened to her. Even if I hated her, I felt sympathy for her. She had just lost her husband. For the second time, she lost her soulmate. It was almost heartbreaking for me to know she had to suffer like that twice.
The rest of the car ride was silent and we soon got home. Not caring about what my mom said minutes ago, I grabbed Christian's hand and we exited the car. Looking at him, my heart broke as I realized his cheeks were wet. He was in so much pain and I hated it. I hated seeing the guy I loved like this.
The three of us went into the house and the minute the door shut, my mom said, "Listen. I need to talk to you, Christian."
"About what?" Christian asked tiredly.
"I want to talk to you alone," she said, also sighing tiredly. "Autumn, go up to your old room."
Christian's hold on my hand tightened. I looked up at him and watched as his jaw clenched. It was clear he didn't want to deal with this.
"Whatever you need to tell me you can say in front of Autumn," Christian said.
My mom's eyes narrowed at me - to my slight surprise. It really did seem like she would never hate Christian. He could burn the world into ashes, and she would still love him more than me it seemed.
"Fine," she eventually said, bringing her attention back to Christian. "Okay."
She took a deep breath in. My mom looked nervous, which made me nervous. I wondered what she wanted to say.
"We suffered a great lost. You lost you dad, and you have no parents now." Her eyes teared up, but there was a certainty in her tone. "I have always loved you like my own son and I've been thinking... I'm going to adopt you, so you can be my own son."
My jaw dropped and Christian stiffened beside me. I never expected this. It made perfect sense, but the fact that my mom desperately wanted him as her actual son was almost out of the blue. Without giving it much thought, I knew I didn't want this.
"No," Christian said. "I don't want to be adopted by you."
The hurt was evident on my mom's face. "Why not?"
He shrugged and I was thankful. With the recent loss, we didn't need anymore drama. I hoped my mom had some sort of common sense to know that.
"Is it because of Autumn? Because of your relationship?" My mom asked, eyes widening wildly. "Is it because if you and I aren't related, you two being together would be fine?"
My eyes widened. I never thought about that. As selfish as I was, the thought never crossed my mind. My heart lightened as I realized that all of my problems were gone. Christian and I could finally date because we weren't related in any way as of now. I hated myself for feeling happy, but after everything it was the best news ever.
"I'll disown Autumn," my mom suddenly said, seeing that no one would reply. "I don't care if you two are dating, but I want you as my son."
I winced because I felt like someone slapped me. Her own words felt like a wrecking ball smashing into my heart because she admitted it. In a somewhat blunt way, she admitted that I meant nothing to her and Christian meant the world to her. Even if I already knew that, it hurt. It hurt more than I would like it to, and I felt stupid. She hadn't been a mom to me for a while, but I still cared about her. I was an idiot.
Christian suddenly let go of my hand and stepped in front of me. That reminded me he was here, and my eyes widened as I saw his hands clench into fists. With his body stiff, I realized he was furious. My eyes widened as my pain turned smaller.
"What is wrong with you!" Christian shouted. "How could you say that!"
My mom and I both jumped. I had never heard him shout like that, and even I was caught off guard. Maybe even a bit scared.
"What?" my mom asked calmly.
"Why would you say you'll disown your own daughter for me!" he exclaimed. "What the fuck is wrong with you!"
"Don't you understand that I hate her!" She yelled back suddenly. "I want nothing more than for her to be gone!"
I didn't stop the tears from pooling into my eyes. With my heart painfully thumping, I allowed a tear to slip down my face. My own mom hated me. The last of my own immediate family despised me.
"Why?" he snapped. "How could you hate Autumn?"
"Because she reminds me of my old life!" My mom exclaimed. "She reminds me of what used to be!"
I didn't get that at first, but then it hit me. Our past. The one where we were all happy and never lonely. I reminded her of that. I scowled. She had to be kidding me.
"That's a horrible reason," Christian spat. "You're the worst mother ever and guess what, you're all alone now. I'm out of here."
My mom froze. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm taking Autumn and we're never coming back." He smiled, but there was no happiness behind it. "Have a good life."
Christian grabbed my hand again and with my eyes wide from what happened, I felt myself being dragged away. It was hard to process everything, but I soon realized as Christian opened the door that we were getting away from my mom. I smiled, knowing she hurt me enough.
"Wait!" My mom screamed as we stepped outside. "Christian! Let's negotiate."
"Never," he simply replied.
My mom continued to scream things at him, but he ignored her. She screamed so loudly that I began to question her sanity. Christian seemed unaffected though. With his eyes set with determination, he dragged me to his car. Without saying a word, we got in and he began to drive off.
Finally realizing this was actually happening, I asked, "Where are we going?"
"I don't know." He smiled sadly. "Anywhere but where she is."
I couldn't help but smile, even though I was nervous about our futures. "That sounds great."
He smiled back, and suddenly I felt like everything was okay. Even after everything that just happened, I felt oddly relaxed. My mom who made me feel nothing but pain was finally out of my life. Christian and I weren't related anymore. Even with Stephen gone, things were changing in a way that looked bright. It was scary, but I felt hope.


"Yes Dee, I'm fine," I said, smiling as I held my cellphone closer to my ear. "And yes, Christian is too."
"Good, tell him I said hi." I could tell Dee was grinning. "I miss you though. It sucks that you're moving schools."
"I know, I miss you too." I sighed. "But I'm at my happiest here. You and Cheryl are the only things I miss from my old life."
That was true. Leaving home a month ago was the best thing that had ever happened to me. With my mom out of the picture and the word incest nonexistent, I was truly happy.
"Autumn!" Christian's aunt called. "Come. I want to do your hair."
I smiled excitedly. "Sorry Dee, I have to go. I'll talk to you later."
"Bye. You better come visit soon."
"Bye." I smiled sadly.
My friends were the only things I missed from my old life. I made a mental note to visit them soon. Then smiling, I thought about ways to convince Christian to come back to our old home. He was more than happy to be gone from it, so I knew that, that would be a mission.
Getting up from the couch, I walked to the stairs. I walked upstairs and into Christian's aunt's room. She was there, sitting in front of a table with a mirror attached to it. A straightener was in her hand.
Before letting her know I was there, I stopped by the door and admired her. I wondered how a woman could be so nice. When Christian and I left with no destination in mind, he offered to show me his aunt that he loved. I agreed, expecting to just see her and have a casual chat. But, that didn't happen.
Christian's aunt, Tracy, had embraced the both of us the moment we stepped out of the car. She fell in love with me before I had spoken and made preparations for our wedding. That made Christian mention how we were homeless, and before we knew it we were telling her our life story. And before we could refuse, Tracy had forced us to live with her - not that we were complaining. Ever since that day, my life had been looking bright.
Tracy suddenly looked at me and grinned. She was beautiful. With her bright red hair and blue eyes that were replicas of Christian's, she screamed beauty. And hot with her curvy figure, despite being in her forties.
"Sweetheart, what are you doing standing there?" she asked, still grinning. "Come here. You and Christian need to be there in an hour."
I smiled sheepishly and made my way towards her. I wasn't sure if an hour was enough time, so I quickly sat down in front of her and allowed her to move my hair around. The entire time, I stared at myself in the mirror. Whoever said how you're feeling inside can affect the way you looked on the outside was right. I definitely looked brighter now.
"Are you excited for the festival?" Tracy asked as she straightened my hair.
"For sure." I grinned. "I've been waiting for it ever since Christian gave me the tickets for my birthday."
"Yeah, I love these type of festivals." She sighed. "If only my husband was home more often."
"You could come with us."
"No, it's fine." She smiled. "I don't want to third wheel my favourite couple. Are you guys planning on marriage anytime soon?"
I laughed lightly. She asked us that everyday, which was odd because our answers were always the same.
"Tracy, we're still young," I replied, admiring how she curved the ends of my hair to give it a nice shape. "We have a lot more to get through in life before we can even question marriage."
"I know." She sighed lightly. "But you two are perfect for each other. No couple would have went through so much for each other."
I shrugged, even though I agreed. Breaking up with him had always been the easiest solution, but we had fought for each other. We never gave up, and here we were at our happiest. Perseverance was something I learned from this one year and a month journey of knowing Christian.
"Christian learned to really smile with you," Tracy said, finishing straightening my thin hair. "I love you for that, you know."
My heart fluttered. Hearing that I bettered Christian was always my favourite thing to hear. The fact that I helped him as much as he helped me meant a lot.
"He makes me happy too," I said honestly. "And I love you, Tracy. Thank you for all of your help. We'd probably be homeless and unhappy without you."
She kissed the top of my head. "You're welcome. I love having you two here, so no need to thank me."
I smiled and wondered if this was how it felt to have a mom who appreciated you. After my own mom, I had no idea what it was like. Watching as Tracy played with my hair, my heart softened. Christian, Tracy, and I seemed to be the family Stephen wanted. I hoped he was watching us now.
"You look beautiful, did I tell you that?" Christian said as I got out of his car.
I rolled my eyes, but smiled. "Yes. You've been telling me that for the past thirty minutes.
He grinned sheepishly and my heart softened. Seeing him in his black jeans and black buttoned shirt had me wondering how he was so gorgeous. With his blue eyes sparkling and his grin that made him seem younger, he was perfection to me.
Patting my dress down, I stepped towards him and kissed him. My lips pressed against his gently, and he kissed me back. The both of us smiled as we then moved apart when we heard fireworks. The festival seemed to be calling us.
"What was that for?" Christian asked, grabbing my hand as we began to walk to the entrance.
"I love you," I answered simply. "And I'm happy."
"I like seeing you like this." His grip on my hand tightened. "Happiness looks beautiful on you."
I blushed as we reached the entrance. Giving the guy at the booth our tickets, we went inside. Excitement filled me as I glanced at the bag Christian was holding in his other hand. In just a few hours, we would be letting go of the lantern he got me. I couldn't wait.
Christian and I were sitting on a large rock away from the glowing Festival of Lights. We weren't talking. Instead we were admiring the fireworks that splattered the night sky with colour. I was counting down the minutes until we could let go of the lantern that was in Christian's hands. My heart was pounding with excitement.
"Did you ever think that you'd find love this young?" Christian suddenly asked.
"No," I replied honestly. "But I'm more than glad I did."
He grinned at me. "Same. If people knew how much we've been through, they'd think we should be joining your mom. But, our relationship has been the best thing that's happened to me."
I smiled, but the line about my mom bothered me. After Christian and I left, she began to go to a therapist. It was confirmed that she wasn't mentally stable after all of the losses she faced, and even though I hated her, I felt sorrow at the news. Maybe she had made me miserable, but she had been miserable herself. With me reminding her of her old life, she just wanted someone - Christian, to make her happy. But even knowing that, it still wasn't hard to hate her.
"Sorry, I shouldn't have said that about your mom," Christian said, seeing that I hadn't said anything. "But honestly, I'm happy. I'm glad we never gave up."
"Me too," I said honestly. "You're all I need."
I laughed lightly and he frowned. Nothing was funny, but I was surprised to see how cheesy I had become. Love had a funny way of softening you up.
"Five more minutes," Christian said, glancing at his watch.
He handed me the lantern and I held it to my chest. It was already glowing, and memories were brought back to me. My dad and I had done this too. At midnight, we had thrown a lantern into the air. He taught me to let go while doing it, and that was when I realized I needed to do that now.
My mom, Stephen, and everything that happened the past year was always at the back of my mind. I was happy. Happier than I had ever been since my dad passed away. But, that didn't mean I wasn't bothered by the past. By everything I had been through. Letting go like my dad taught me to seemed perfect now.
"Christian," I said, eyes sparkling as he looked right at me with eyes that told me he loved me. "Remember how I told you my dad taught me how to let go by throwing a lantern into the air?"
"Of course." His eyes softened. "How could I forget?"
"Well, we should do now that." I got up and held the lantern with one hand towards him. "Together, we should let go of the past."
Christian got up as well. "That sounds great."
I blushed as he stood beside me. He must think I was crazy, I thought as he grabbed onto the lantern with one of his hands. But as he suddenly looked at me, his determined eyes told me that he also wanted to do this. He wanted to let go.
"One minute left," he commented as we just stared at each other.
"One minute left," I repeated quietly.
I stared at the sky that was now blank. In just one minute, we along with a hundred people would be letting go of our lanterns. We would be letting go of everything as well, and my heart fluttered. This had been a day I'd been waiting for.
"Ready?" Christian suddenly asked.
I nodded. I was more than ready.
"Let go!" he then exclaimed.
The both of us let go of the lantern simultaneously, and a grin flew to my face. The lantern steadily flew up to the sky, and slowly I felt relieved. I felt like I could finally forget about my old life as the lantern floated up.
Christian grabbed my hand and I laughed as more lanterns joined the night sky. The sky glowed brightly as it was now filled with many lanterns. My heart was pounding as I admired the beautiful sight.
"Your dad is a smart man," Christian commented, also grinning. "I feel like I let go."
"Same," I said honestly. "I feel like life is finally good."
Christian's eyes softened as he pulled me to him. He wrapped his strong arms around me and I hugged him back. With him, I felt secure. With the lanterns in the sky, I felt relieved. This was how life should be. It should be spent knowing that everything is good. And that was exactly how I felt. With Christian by my side for many years to come, life was finally good.


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