Stanton Unconditional

By: T L Swan

Chapter 1

Adrian

“Hi Birgetta. How is he today?”

“No change, love. He still hasn’t left his room. He’s been locked up there since Friday. Go and drag him out.”

I shake my head in disgust. He needs to snap the hell out of it—it’s been weeks. I knock on the door … knock … knock … knock. No answer. I open the door, expecting to be told to go away, just like he has told me every day for the last week. My eyes flick to the television. Jesus, he’s watching porn. Actually, that’s a good sign—maybe he’s returning to some normality. I can’t see him so I look back down the hall and into his bathroom. No, nothing. My eyes are drawn to the television again as I hear the girl’s voice … Australian. I narrow my eyes at the screen. Shit, that’s Natasha! He is on his back and she is on top and topless … Oh fuck. I don’t want to see this shit. Why do they film themselves? Then I see it: a bare foot coming from behind the bed on the floor. I frown and walk around to the other side of the bed. To my horror Joshua is lying on the floor, unconscious. My eyes scan the room and I see a tray of cocaine on his side table.

My eyes widen as I put the pieces of the puzzle together. Oh fuck—he’s taken an overdose!

“Ben! … Help! … Call an ambulance!” I scream. I drop to my knees beside him. “Ben!” I scream again.

Ben casually walks to the door eating an apple. “What’s up?”

“Joshua has taken an overdose! Call an ambulance.” Ben’s eyes scan down Joshua’s body. He stands still , eyes wide with shock.

“Fucking move, Ben!” I yell.

He snaps out of it and runs down the hall, yelling to Birgetta. “Call 911—the stupid fuck has overdosed.” I hear Birgetta scream and at the same time Joshua starts to convulse.

“Oh my god. Hold on … Joshua hold on.” I start to panic as fear grips me, then I try to roll him onto his side.

Ben runs back into the room. “Get him on his side,” he yells.

“What does it look like I’m trying to fucking do? Help me,” I scream. We both work together and roll him onto his side and he has what seems to be another small fit. “What’s happening?” I yell.

Ben shakes his head, “I don’t know.”

I put Josh’s head in my lap as I start to hear my heartbeat in my ears. What the hell do I do? “Go and find the fucking ambulance!” I scream through my tears. Ben nods and runs back out of the room. “Josh … stay with me. Wake up. You can’t die …What the fuck were you thinking?”

Birgetta runs into the room and drops to her knees beside him. “Joshua, my boy, it’s going to be alright. You need to be strong, the ambulance is on its way.” She takes his hand and holds it up to her lips and starts to pray as she wipes the hair from his forehead. “How much has he had?” she asks Ben.

He hunches his shoulders, “I didn’t even know he had any drugs in the house. Carson must have left them here.”

“What’s taking so damn long?” I shout. Ben starts doing CPR and I hold my breath. I hear people running in the hallway outside and I realise that the whole house is in an uproar. All of the staff have come inside and are freaking out. I finally hear the ambulance sirens and I put my head in my hands and burst into tears of relief. They are led into the room by Murray, Joshua’s gardener, and the paramedics immediately start to work on him. I am pushed to the back of the room as they take over. My heart is in my chest and Birgetta and I are crying uncontrollably. We embrace and sob into each other’s shoulders as Ben runs from the room and vomits in the bathroom. Within seven minutes Joshua is on a stretcher and being wheeled through the house and into the back of the ambulance.

And we are left in shock.

Natasha

‘Cabin crew, crosscheck’.

I sit back in my seat and brace myself for the takeoff. Jeez, I hate this. I sort of thought I would be used to this extreme sport by now, but my stomach is in my throat. I don’t know any other twenty-five year-old girls who act like a two-year-old when flying. Max, my right-hand man, is sitting next to me. I have made him sit next to the window just in case … you know. Glass smashes on impact, so I hear. I give him a weak smile. I have grown quite fond of dear old Max in the last two months. He has been by my side during the most traumatic eight weeks of my life. Joshua left him to guard me when he went back to America. At first I think it was to guard me from myself and then it was to guard me from Brock my brother. I smile as my eyes flick to him—he did that job well. Max and Brock have been hating each other for weeks. Brock blames Joshua for Dad’s death and every time Brock even brings up Joshua’s name, Max shuts him up with just a look. I’m having a hard time dealing with Brock myself. I blame him for Joshua leaving and Dad’s death. If he hadn’t made it so hard for us, Joshua would have come to the hospital with me on that dreaded day. He would be here with me now and we would be dealing with this mess together as it should be.

I had an affair and Joshua is another man’s child.

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