| Autumn refused to talk to Jaycee; she just had enough of the lot of them.
"Go away," she managed. Jaycee walked to the other side of the hallway so she could still see Autumn and take any neededaction but give Autumn the space she needed.
"I said...go away!" Autumn's attempt at a shout passed through feeble lips, but it was clear that she was livid. Just then, Abbie approached to talk to Autumn, so Jaycee walked back toward her office. She knew Autumn didn't mean a thing she said. It was just that most people in her life took advantage of her, and now they were using her physical weakness and emotional fragility to inflict more pain. A person could take only so much. Autumn had been pushed way beyond her limits, so her unkind words didn't bother staff at all.
"Are you ready to--"
"Leave me alone!" Autumn interrupted Abbie's question.
"I'm going to take you back to your room," Abbie tried again.
"what in blazes" Jason seemed to appear out of nowhere. Abbie raised her hand for silence and motioned for Jason to remain where he stood. Abbie would explain everything to him, but she had to get Autumn back to her room and help to aleviate her agitation. Abbie helped her to change into soft jammies and tucked a heated blanket around her. Jamison had done some detective work and purchased some aromatic lotion for just such times as this. As Abbie gently massaged the lavender scented lotion into the girl's tense body, Marla entered with some meds.
"Where is Sariah?" Autumn demanded, but her vocal expression wasn't nearly as angry. Abbie looked at Marla, unsure of what to say.
"She just left to get something for you...something you'll enjoy." Abbie wondered if this was true or if Marla just said something to explain Sariah's absence. Marla nodded almost imperceptibly to Abbie's unasked question. Marla injected the antianxiety med into Autumn's I.V. line and left just as Sariah was about to enter. Abbie put Autumn's slippers on her cold feet and smiled when she saw what Sariah had in her hand. As Abbie left the room, she heard Autumn's exclamation of pleasure when Sariah showed her the hot cocoa she had searched for. It was one of Autumn's favorite beverages, and warm liquids often worked to relax people. Abbie left, but not before she saw the tiny smile on Autumn's face. This crisis was over, and they were all praying that Lynn's past and people would leave Autumn in peace.
Jason paced through the hallway, and his agitation matched that of his daughter. Obviously, something had happened. When Jason demanded to know why Abbie wouldn't let him go into her room, Sariah explained what had happened and what caused the girl's emotional state. Now Abbie sought him out to offer reassurance. She gave him a more complete version of the story.
"Well," he said when she finished, "I don't have anything against the boy. I mean, it takes all of my self-control and God's strength not to make them all pay for what they have done. I'm surprised nothing like this hasn't happened until today." Abbie's back was turned toward the door, so she didn't see the figure until she heard someone say his name.
"She's asking for you, Jamison," Sariah was standing in the doorway to Autumn's room. Abbie turned to see the uncertainty pass over his face. It only took a moment for him to collect his emotions so he could do whatever Autumn needed to get through the latest catastrophe. He felt a measure of guilt. After all, he was the one who had hit that lady. But he just couldn't take anymore of that, especially when he saw her triumphant smile when she noticed Autumn's "pathetic" form. Jamison hesitated; he didn't want to do anything to make this even more difficult for her. Sariah smiled reassuringly, despite her swollen and bruised face. Then Jamison looked toward Autumn, who gave him a groggy smile as she struggled to keep her eyes open. She lost the battle and was asleep within one minute. Although she was no longer aware of her surroundings and hopefully sleeping peacefully, Jamison wouldn't leave her for anything.
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