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Ever After

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A heavy gulp.

A deep breath.

A quiet, “What?”

That was all I could bring myself to do.

She replied in a hushed tone, as if saying it would make it even more real. “They were going to a friend’s house and there was an accident. Josh was driving. They’re both in critical condition and Scarlett’s parents are with her right now.”

Just as the words came out of her mouth, she broke down in tears. I stood there, watching, unable to move. I stared at her in disbelief.

This had to be a nightmare.

Right then, a doctor came out of the room, which I assumed was my brother’s or Scarlett’s. He walked over to my parents and I, and took a deep breath before speaking.

“Your son just came out of a successful surgery. You’re all very lucky. He’s very lucky right now. Do any of you know what intracranial hemorrhage is?” He asked.

My parents shook their heads no while I questioned, “Isn’t that where there’s like blood around your brain or something?”

He nodded, “Basically. It’s when blood builds up within the skull. It leads to increases in intracranial pressure, which puts more and more pressure on the brain. You could see how this could be very serious and deadly. When Joshua’s car flipped over, he hit his head on the top of the car, which caused intracranial hemorrhage. Luckily, he got to the hospital in time after the accident for us to perform surgery and drain the blood and decrease the pressure. He’s still in serious condition, but we’ve stabilized him and have the bleeding under control. He is unconscious, but you’re welcome to go see him.”

My eye twitched once before I managed to croak out, “He’s in the room you just came out of?”

The doctor nodded before leaving us by ourselves.

I decided to let my parents see Josh first. I wanted to see him by myself; I wanted it to be just us two. My parents left me alone in the empty common area and I took a seat onto the uncomfortable couch. I didn’t understand why all hospital furniture was so uncomfortable. As if having someone you care about in the hospital wasn’t enough, the furniture had to add discomfort.

My parents took their time seeing Josh, but I didn’t mind. I would take my time, too.

As they came out of the room, my father holding my mum under his arm, both of their faces were tear-streaked. I made my way to the door, the only sound was our feet hitting the ground. I could here people talking faintly in the distance but didn’t care enough to make out what they were saying.

I hesitated, letting my hand linger on the doorknob for a second, before opening the door to Josh’s room. Lying on the bed in the small, claustrophobic hospital room was a terrible version of my brother – still, broken, lifeless. Bandages were all over his head, a cast covered his right leg, and his left arm was in a sling. There were bruises and wounds all over his body. I gasped at the sight. Suddenly everything hit me a little harder; this was all real. Everything around me felt artificial except for Josh. He was how I knew that I wasn’t having a nightmare. He was how I knew that this was the cold, hard reality.

“Josh,” I muttered, “h-how did you end up in here? Like this?”

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Chapter 16

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Kaya Scodelarioas Rosie
Louis Tomlinsonas Himself

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