The Secret Sad Life of Mrs. Autumn Halls - 4

Part 4

It was ten past eight, Autumn was an hour late from her morning wake. Draped in a warm blanket, it was still too soon for her to tip her feet onto the cold room tiles. Beside her was a crumpled blanked and a piece each of bolster and pillow, both with covered in crinkled sheets. Her sight was blurry. She could not afford to assess the room, but she knew that she was the last one to rise in the morning. Unlike any other day, she was relief to find herself alone in the bedroom. Nevertheless, the turned on television, the open curtain with a little hint of sunbeam that shades objects before the window pane, and the pain on her hips and back, left her a reminder of him.

She rolled herself into the blanket as she descended her toe tips onto the floor. It felt icy that she shrieked. Then a second she thought that it might not only be the cold. She feels ache from her back to her bottom. The pain spreaded encircling to her waist and front. She knew it the moment she crouched from the edge of the bed. It hurt so bad when she bended over that all of her weights were gathered onto her palm that touched the masonry tiles. Nevertheless, she managed to lift herself out of the bed and begun to roam with weak steps.

The next thing to do before making her morning coffee, was to text the university that she was unable to come for the day due to her unfitness. She could manage to come halfday but she'd rather not. This was unlike Autumn. In sick days Autumn would never refuse to excuse herself from work. However, she needed it so bad now. She would feel like she could not never heal from taking a day off.

It had been so long since she did not keep up with the latest telecast of every morning weekday shows in the television. Was it her vision or hearing getting distorted, because she does not seem to enjoy the show. 

She left the rooms and walk further to the kitchen. She really is alone, betting that Wade has already gone to the office. It drives more chill to her bones. She wondered what Wade looked like when he left in the morning. Did he feel the same way? Because for some strange reasons, Autumn was feeling left out and confused, as if being hit of thousands anxiety at the same time. The question, "how could he?" was resonating on her thought. She never thought that there would be one point in her life, as a married woman, she'd be feeling like no less than a random one night stand who did not deserve a proper goodbye at the morning. Even in her past dating experiences, no men made her felt this way. She expected her man to wake her up in the morning, ask her how was her sleep and cuddle on bed before leaving for the day. She would not mind a quick morning shower either. Or maybe she was thinking too much. She knew that her man was an extremely busy man now.

She took one shot of espresso to wash away the unsettling grief. Shortly after that there was a sting over her lips. She spilled most of the hot liquid to the sink. It was a salty tang when she bit down her lower lips that turned out to be an open wound. 

She remembered how aggresive Wade was previous night and he needed to make the wound on his lips even. She shook her head as might as well her feeling towards the hurt and tossed a damp cold wet cloth over the skin.

The next thing she feels right to do was calling her husband. Perhaps, to check on him or just voiced out the strange emotion that she was feeling. It took three dial tones before he picks up.

"Honey," his silky voice greeted her across the line, and as if being charmed, her feet turned weak like jelly that she needed to sit down to support the weight of her body that might feel a little too heavy.
"Hi," she answered flatly, "You went out early,"
"I didn't want to wake you up because you looked so peaceful. I did not bother to interrupt."
"Really?" that came out surprisingly irritating with her flat murmurs. Over the line, Wade felt a bit jumpy.
"Yes," he replied rather calm. "Are you okay?"
"I am okay," she paused, "I do not know. I cannot tell, can you tell?"
There was a slight break on the line before both of them talk at the same time, and it sounded like bullet.
"You don't sound okay..."
"Yes, you are right. I am sorry I have been feeling a little unwell since I woke up. I am just..." she stopped as she notices she dominated the conversation too much, "Hey, what do you want to have for dinner tonight I will cook you some fillet mignon if you want," she offers as she feels like obligated to make up something to him.
"Isn't it too early for dinner? It is barely nine o'clock in the morning."
"You are right,"
"And, I cannot promise that I'll be having dinner home. Let's pray for my workload today."
"Yea... sure," she kept short answers.
"Okay... are you okay, honey?" he asked as he notices his wife is avoiding the littlest argument. "I gotta go. Get some rests and I'll meet you soon. Love you..."
Concealing her hesitation, she answered back. "Love you."

As soon as the line closed, she realised that she didn't mention that she was absent from the work today. However, she thought that Wade would not mind if he wouldn't find out. She was not expecting him spooning her a hot soup nor placing a fresh flower next to her sick bed. Instead, she would be much fine only to sit alone in the kitchen, eating cold treat leftovers from the fridge although it results in even more churning stomach. But she needed to comfort herself in every positive way to drain all the sorrow. Beside the rum and raisin frozen cream tends her lip wound just fine.

Now as the cold cream takes freezing effect to her head, she dragged herself lazily to the shower. She might find warm wash could make her feel better before she tucked herself again onto the bed for a long nap.

That was when she realised, a trail of blood ran over her legs as soon as she cleanses herself in the shower.When she looks closely, it runs from between the inside of her thighs. Now she knew that sensitive part of her body that recently pricked whenever she moved. Then she hit the shower off, and watched as the red substance went all the way into the drain. Her knees met the wet floors and her hands covered her mute sob. That moment she knew, it never felt the same way again.

Autumn had flipped the pillow many times just to find the cold side to help her sleep. Yet, she was too deprived to even rest. Questions were juggling inside her mind. The flashes of last night on the very same side of the bed. Where Wade encircled his arms over her waist and tries to pull her closer. So close, that she could feel the uproar tension in his body. Those hands that used to be so delicate, but turned impulsive when imploring her. Or maybe again, was it just in her head?

"Hey," a voice called from behind as she feels a wet kiss on her back.
She turned around carefully. There he is, her man, in his casual business suit greeting her with his signature smirk. 
"Hi," she tried to reply groggily.
"What is my princess doing today?" he reached out for the front strand of her hair but he could notices that she withdrew herself for a second before lapsing against his arm.
"Nothing," she answered.
He kept kissing her temples and down to her lips before he ordered in slight whisper, hands were over her waist, "bend over."
That sounds like a hiss to Autumn's hearing. She tried to let go the hands that wrap her on the waist.
"Bend over," he repeated.
Autumn slid her body away in caution.
"Autumn," he said her name in between his teeth.
Before she could get out off the bed, he caught both of her legs with his grip. His grip was so tight that it caused her to scream. He pinned her chest over the mattress and she begun to feel the weight over her body. The louder she screamed, the less gentle he had become. She screamed until her eardrum hurt, and until then, her voice turned into ringing.

She opened her eyes. Her heart beat so fast and her palms were sweating. On the bed, she panted heavily. She was dreaming. The ringing phone wakes her up. She didn't notice the caller ID on the phone, but she was aware that she had been sleeping for over four hours from the display clock. She never thought that the nap turned into a short hibernation.

"Hello," she hurriedly answered the phone knowing that the line might end up soon as she ignored it for too long.
"Hi Autumn!" a cheery female voice greeted her on the other line. She was actually expecting a more deep, manly voice whose Wade was.
"Grace?" she tried to guess.
"What are you doing? Joining a marathon? Because girl, I can tell you that your breath sounds like a roaring photocopy machine..."
Autumn thought, what kind of metaphor her friend was using. Before Autumn can even answer, Grace spontaneously continues. "Yes, of course it is your one and only Grace. Guess what? I am boarding to LAX now!" Autumn could tell that her friend is feeling jumpy, and she hoped she can jump for this too. It had been a long time since Grace and she had not had an enjoyful girltalk. "Why don't you sound surprise?! Listen, you pick a place for drinks or dinner because I'll be there before dinnertime. Okay..."
"Cool! Is it a business trip or are you coming down only to see me?"
"Don't be silly Autumn. Well, technically, I got to choose between Miami or California for attending an architectural seminar. Of course, I pick Cali because I have you!"
"What an easy life you have there!"
"Well, speak for yourself... Mrs. Autumn Halls." Autumn felt her chests hurt as Grace exaggerates on her name. It sent her to an awkward silent.
"I'll fetch you as soon as you arrive." she said.
"You don't have to. I can get a cab"
"Please, Grace..."
"Okay, if you said so. I'll land around 7."
"Okay, I'll be at the airport at 6.30."
"Thank you, hun. You don't have to come so early. Gotta go now, it's boarding call..."
"Okay, take care sweet heart. Safe flight."

After saying a quick goodbye, there was a click at the end of the line before it goes off. Autumn laid her head against the pillow. Asking over and over, should Grace now about what she was thinking.


"Gin and tonic. Why am I surprised?" Grace peered at her cautiously as soon as the bartender took their order.  They were seating at the Hummingbird, one of bars in the town center that Autumn liked to hang for two reasons. First, there was very thin chance that she would bump into the students and second, she liked the interior of it. Not to sporty, but cozy for hosting a long talk. In this case, a girl's talk. One point, she wondered herself, why would she paid attention to every detail into every cafe, dinner, or public places that she visit. She quietly questioned how did the owner build those black, sleek industrial lamps and place it on the most unthinkable place possible since she did not even see a power plug. She thought that the giant glass door should be facing to the north, because it felt like the sunset directly heats her cheek. Architectural criticism had been part of her interest ever since she knew Wade.

"How's things are going Mrs. Hall.  It is just so cute and surreal, seeing you ended up together. You guys are practically my bestfriends."
Autumn arched a smile. Grace had a point, and she begun to feel trusting her won't do any hurt.
"Been good." she paused, "How's Miles?"
"He's good."
"Good," Autumn rubned the back of her neck and gaze nervously at the strawberry blonde young woman who enjoyed sipping on her umbrella cocktail. It seemed like a perfect time to bring this up. "Is he supposed to join you on this trip?" she diverted.
"No, he isn't. This is a very short business trip, besides he's busy with his own work too."
"Yeah, Mr. Suit and brief case, that one. You are marrying a legit man."
"Speak for yourself," she giggled, and for a reason, until she spilled a few drops of her drink. "I am sorry Autumn for saying this, you know we are all bestfriends so I got to. Wade, he seems like a different person now. Much, way different. I mean, who could never guess that he is now opening his own firm. Back when we were working together, he took all his annual leave in within 3 months. God knows what he was doing. I knew he was freelancing here and there, but our boss intervened him a lot about his absence. But he walked out like he didn't even bother."
"He has too-cool-for-school attitude," Autumn smirked, not defending her husband but only stating the fact. She begun to stir her drinks and takes a deep gulp. Without knowingly, Grace watched her with her wide, googly eyes. "Yeaa, wow." she comments.
"What?" Autumn asked her back,
"No, it is just that I have never seen you drunk so manly before. I mean we were practically rommates but I have not even seen you drink anything except sangria or cosmo. Tell, me are you also smoking now? I won't judge."
"No, Grace." she sounds relax as possible eventhough Grace's eyes are piercing on hers.
"Is there anything you would like to share with me,"

There, Grace had said it. At least Autumn does not have to be the one who opened the conversation. She knew it the moment Grace throwed her a look. A cross between suspicion and expression of concern.

"You were saying that Miles is busy with his own work."
"Did he travel a lot?"
"Quite a lot. In fact, recently he travelled to Shanghai for 3 weeks. That was probably the longest trip he had made."
Before Grace could ask why, Autumn asked again, "Does he behave aggresively after that?"
"What do you mean?" Grace laughed, Autumn can tell she could not comprehend the question and neither herself. So she started again more clearly. "I mean did he behave aggresively in bed as soon as he meets you at home. Just wondering, you guys haven't met for nearly a month."
"Sex talks! Interesting!" Grace raised her own glass. Autumn sees her drooled her eyes and watch her thinker or maybe slightly aroused expression. "Well, he kind of was... Why are you asking me this que--oh my god, are you telling me Wade hurts you?"
Very quick speculation and accurate one, Autumn thought. But she did not feel like spilling it over. Yet. She'd rather keep it to herself. "One night was intense after he was back from New York. But no, he didn't hurt me."
Grace held her hands over her head. "Sometimes it is awkward to learn the fact that you are now husband and wife, and of course, having an intimate activity even before you guys married... you see my point, how cute and dreamy is that seeing your bestfriends getting together?"
"You mentioned awkward," Autumn tried to chime in a joke as she takes another gulps and Grace sipped another more.
"Yes, indeed. But don't worry honey. We are young. We gotta enjoy it while we can." She patted the back of Autumn's palm and winks.
Autumn tried her best to conceal all her worries groggily.

Over the reflection from bar shelves, she noticed that there was a giant being overshadows her body from behind. It looked like a male, and Autumn did not have any courage to have any encounter, even though if it turned out he was buying drinks for himself or his company, best for him to stay away or watch his distance. She felt so sensitive lately about opposite sex, and Grace could tell by the way Autumn pulled her body close together into a self-hug.

"Hi honey," It was Wade.
"Hi..." that caught her by surprise as well as the cold peck against her lips. "How do you know I am here?"
"He must have gotten my message," Grace replies as soon as her arms open to welcome Wade's brotherly hug. "How are you, dear?"
"Fine thanks, you look lovely." he replies politely. "I am sorry if I interrupt the girl's talks." he said as he lets go. For a second, Autumn noticed he stared at the half-full gin and tonic in tall glass. Autumn wished that she had time to hide it, now his silent stares begin to consume her, and for that reason, she feels terrified.
"I was just trying to fetch you from the uni, I thought you were going to leave for the day, but one guy told me that you were absent," his attention spared on a half-emply glass of gin and tonic over the table. "What an interesting drink you have here, honey? Or were you ordering for me?"
"Umm...I..." she answers nervously and she does not aware that her cheeks turns blushy.
"I'll have what she's having." He shouted as he point the drink to the bartender at the counter, there was no way he ignored what she was drinking.
" match each other don't you..." Grace shared another comment.
"Well we do..." Wade said as he pulls Autumn closer and she tried very best to look comfort in his embrace. "Have you told the news sweetheart?"
"What is it?" by the look in her eyes, Grace expected to hear an early pregnancy news.
"What news darling?" Autumn shared a look to Wade.
He shrugged, "The Utrecht news of course..."

Her mind flied to yesterday. The night when he looked very grumpy about it, and Autumn thought whether it is still a sensitive issue to bring up.

"I got shortlisted for a Master scholarship in Utrecht."
"Wow, congratulations!" Grace cheered excitedly, her voice occupied almost the entire bar. "You have always wanted to go there!"
"Well, shortlisted only. So I have to write a paper and practice for an interview..."
"But well done. You are Autumn Harpers now, Autumn Halls... you can practically take down everything," and then one sip too many she says jokingly, "But not this man." she pointed at Wade, who was looking like a deer caught in the headlight. Surprised by the motion on his eyes. That moment Autumn drew her body a bit closer.

Autumn tried to explain the joke and Grace realises that it might have been one sip too many. The conversation they had meant to be private and Wade was taking it really seriously, despite of ice-breakers that mostly Autumn throws. And Grace threw more offensive references of the night, one of it was, a beast.

For half an hour, Wade tried his best to be emotionally intact and so did Autumn. God knows what would happen after they leave Hummingbird. Wade's blue eyes had turn frozen and cold. She wished to keep Grace home all night long.


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