Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 44
I stared at the clock, watching as it struck six o’clock. And with that, I found my veins boiling. I felt indescribably mad as I clenched my hands into fists. I had missed Christian’s graduation. All because of my mom, I had.
This to me was cruel. Even if our family was messed up, this one event was something we all had to attend. Me, being his stepsister, should have been there. I should have gotten an invitation at the very least, but instead I got nothing. I only knew about his graduation because I went to the same school as him. Otherwise, without any sort of communication with Christian because my mom took my phone away from me, I wouldn’t have even known that this special occasion occurred.
I got up from the couch I was sitting on and began pacing around my tiny living room. With a TV and couch already taking up most of the room, there wasn’t much space to pace. Seeing that, I only felt angrier. My mom was ruining my life.
I found myself taking in quick breaths as rage filled me. A rage I hadn’t felt in a while began to consume me, and I needed an outlet for it. So without thinking, I walked over to a vase that sat on a counter and threw it at the wall. It shattered instantly, and I smiled as I instantly felt relieved. I felt like I was going crazy, but I also felt like I had every right to.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I jumped, surprised by the sound that interrupted my rage. Frowning, I wondered with a bit of excitement if it was Christian. I jogged to the door to see.
When I did open the door, my jaw dropped. Standing in front of me was someone I didn’t expect to see. Someone I hadn’t seen in a while. With his eyes expressing pity, Stephen smiled at me.
“Hi Autumn,” Stephen said. “It’s been a while.”
I didn’t know what to say as I stared at him. Stephen was the one person I never had issues with. I never really hated him, but I never necessarily loved him either. I was fond of him, but knowing he allowed my mom to kick me out made me angry. So angry that I scowled at him.
“What are you doing here?” I asked flatly.
He seemed caught off by my tone, but his smiled remained. I found myself getting annoyed.
“I came to see you.” He scratched the back of his neck, seemingly nervous. “Can I come in?”
“Why?” I asked. “You kicked me out of your house, so why should I let you into mine?”
His eyes widened, but I saw that there was also guilt in his eyes. As I glared at him, a part of me saw how innocent he really was. My mom was more like his ruler than his wife, I realized. He didn’t have any say when it came to things.
Suddenly feeling tired, I said, “Fine. Just come in for a bit.”
He smiled in relief and I turned around. Hearing the door shut behind me, I made my way to my couch. Stephen sat on it too, but made sure to leave a lot of space between us. I was thankful.
“So, how have you been?” Stephen asked awkwardly.
“Great.” I said sarcastically. “I’m living the life.”
“Autumn.” Stephen frowned. “Don’t lie to me.”
“Why did you let my mom do this to me?” I blurted out without thinking. “How could you?”
The guilt on Stephen’s face was clear and he looked uncomfortable. Not caring, I stared at him with eager eyes. Eyes that pleaded for him to tell me that I didn’t mean absolute nothing to him. That even though we were never close, he still saw me as part of his family. I didn’t know why I suddenly cared so much, but I did.
“Autumn…” Stephen started, sounding surprisingly sad. “I don’t agree with this.”
“But you let it happen.” My eyes were wide with hurt. “Why didn’t you stand up for me?”
“Your mom… You know how she is.”
“You’re a grown man. How could you let her kick out a child. Her child.”
“How could you fall for your brother,” Stephen suddenly shot back, looking disappointed.
My eyes widened. From the look on his face, it was clear. He didn’t agree with Christian and I being together. I should have expected it, but I had always thought Stephen was more open minded.
“He’s my stepbrother,” I said calmly. “Do you really think that what we have is… Incest?”
Stephen looked away, shaking his head. He looked upset, but not with me.
“When I married your mother, I was hoping the four of us could be a happy family. Christian and you would be siblings, and your mom and I would be a happy couple.” He laughed bitterly. “Being a happy family was out of the picture a long time ago, but you and Christian. You guys gave me hope that at least my children would have a family within each other.”
Stephen suddenly looked at me and the disappointment was clear on his face. My eyes widened and I felt something clutch at my heart. It was painful, and I realized I felt guilt. For some reason, I felt bad for Stephen.
“But then you two fell for each other,” Stephen continued. “You two were supposed to be siblings, but you guys are a couple instead. The last of my dream was destroyed by that.”
“But we’re happy,” I quickly said, suddenly feeling hopeless at Stephen’s disappointment. “We have that.”
“Really?” Stephen asked. “You’re happy here, all alone in this ugly motel?”
I nodded, looking away as I lied. Something about Stephen’s piercing blue eyes made it hard to be the strong person I usually was. Maybe because they looked so disappointed, and he had been one of the few people I didn’t want to disappoint.
“Don’t lie to me,” Stephen said, bringing me to look at him again. “I see that broken vase over there.”
He pointed at the vase that laid shattered on the ground. I had forgotten about it, and suddenly I felt ashamed of myself. Stephen had somehow seen right through me.
“It wasn’t like I was happy at home,” I muttered, knowing I had to win this fight.
With Christian and I’s relationship up for the test, I knew I had to fight back all of his claims that our relationship had ruined my life. I already knew it hadn’t, but I had to show Stephen that. I had to show him in hopes that he would also convince my mom that it was okay for us to love each other.
“Maybe, but you weren’t lonely,” Stephen said, eyes softening a bit. “As long as your mother was out of the way, you didn’t hate living at our house.”
He clearly saw through me, and I was shocked. Stephen and I weren’t related in any way, but somehow he knew me. In the eleven months we had known each other, Stephen had figured me out. I was terrified.
“But…” I began, unsure of what to say next.
“Tell me this,” Stephen suddenly said, ignoring me. “Is it worth it? Is your relationship with Christian worth it?”
“Yes,” I replied confidently. “It is.”
“I want you to really think about it.” His eyebrows furrowed. “Think about what has happened. Think about where you live now, and of how lonely you are. Then compare it to your old life. Give me an answer then.”
I rolled my eyes, but listened to him anyways. Knowing I was sure of myself, I was surprised to find my heart dropping at the thought of living in this motel for the next couple of years. With the idea of being all alone in this ugly apartment, my heart sank even more. And that was when I connected this to Christian.
I could never see him. I couldn’t even go to his graduation just because of our relationship. I loved him – I knew that for sure – but I thought about the past.
Christian and I had been so close. We could see each other whenever we wanted, and he had become the family I had always wanted. And the truth was, I was somewhat happy back then. Willing to stick with that, even though my heart wanted more. It was great dating Christian, but I had suffered so many losses because of it. Stupid losses that could have been prevented if we never loved each other. I froze at the truth.
Seeing that I was so conflicted, Stephen sighed lightly. He suddenly got up and walked to the door, surprising me. I frowned at him.
Opening the door, he said, “I see you understand. If you’re willing to break up with him, I’ll convince your mom to allow you to come home. Okay?”
I nodded robotically, still in a daze from the horrifying truth. Stephen then left and shut the door, snapping me out of my thoughts momentarily.
Was it worth it? That was the question he had asked me, but I had no idea now. A few days ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly, but now I didn’t know. Christian and I both suffered a lot. Just because we loved each other, we had. Knowing we were once happy as just siblings, I began to wonder if I should listen to Stephen. My heart didn’t want to, but knowing my future was set to live in this motel, I was conflicted.