61: School Once More

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Adrian meets her at the end of his driveway. 

"Little Leaf! How was your weekend?"

She grins. "Fantastic. Remember Jaxson?"

"From the movie?"

"Yeah!"

"Yeah, what about him?"

"He's my brother,"

Adrian looks at her. "Uh, what?"

"Remember when we went to Oklahoma? And my brother's memorial was there?"

"In the memorial for the bombing?"

"Yeah!"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"He wasn't really dead. He was just hiding from my parents, who both thought he was dead."

"Huh?"

"Well, my brother wasn't really dead, he was just missing, but people thought he was dead because he was at the site of the bombing and they couldn't find his body, so they assumed he was dead, so my dad killed himself, and Jayson felt bad that he hadn't called to say it wasn't true, and if he called my mom then, it would have killed her to know that Dad died for no reason, so he just went along with it, changed his name, and pretended not to know me, afraid I'd tell mom," she explains. 

"Wow, uh..." Adrian is at a loss for words. Autumn laughs. She tells him about her meeting with him over the weekend and what he said about him giving up on cancer research. "It's amazing, though. My brother is still alive!"

He nods, and his confused face contorts into a smile as he begins to understand. 

"I'm impressed you figured it out," he admits, the two of them stopping walking at the doors of the school to finish their conversation. "I think... I want to help cure cancer. Science and math, those are my thing. I think it's something I want to do before I die. Make a difference in the medical world."

She smiles. "I think you definitely are capable of figuring it out."

He smiles at her, and they go their separate ways to their classes. 

She really hopes he can, anyway. Not for her, as it would take too long for that to happen, but for everyone else. She’s not the only one suffering. There are millions.

Depressing thoughts are things that seem to happen often in Autumn’s mind, she realizes. 

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