"How th' hell can you do this to yourself?" he asked without any pleasantries as soon as he was within ear shot. "How can you just stand here and put that thing on display like that?"
I looked down at the subject of our conversation. My nub's fairly long, the leg having been amputated only a couple of inches above the knee. It healed well without any significant fissuring of the scar, and I am told by my pros guy that it's perfectly shaped to support the sockets of my artificial legs. In short, I don't see anything so horrible about it.
"What's your problem?" I asked just as directly. "What's it to you how I dress," and then I added, "or who I let see my stump."
He winced. "Well, I guess you can show your residual limb to anyone you please," he bit off curtly. "I just know I'd be embarrassed to do what you're doing!" He looked around. "What are you doin'? Trolling for devs?"
Suddenly, it all fell into place. "Which leg is it you're missing?" I asked. Hell, if we're going to be rude to each other, let's be rude!
He looked around again. "Not so loud," he hissed. "My parents spent a lot of money on this new leg so no one would know!"
I looked down at the way he was standing, then remembered his slight limp as he had walked over. "Okay, so you're a LBK with a Natur-ankle and a Flexfoot," I said. "I bet you even have a skin cosmesis over it, right?"
The young man reddened. He looked down at the offending limb, obviously wondering what had given him away.
"Your limp and the statement about how much the leg had cost," I supplied. I started to say something else catty, but decided not to. This kid was obviously very sensitive about being one-legged. Who am I to make him feel worse about himself? At any rate, I added, "By the way, my name is Brian Dean. Good to meet you." I offered my hand to shake.
He took it. "Jackie Johansson," he returned. He swallowed a time or two. "Hey, man... I'm sorry for coming down on you like a ton of bricks. It's just that I, well, I'm so embarrassed about being a cripple and you seem so casual about it. I just don't get it."
It's all in how you look at it," I said with a smile. I looked at my watch. "Don't suppose you'd care to come back to my room and discuss it, would you?"
Jackie looked at his own timepiece. "I've got a 2:00," he returned, "but you're the only other amputee I've met here at school. I would like to talk with you some. What're you doing later this afternoon?"
"I have a 3:00," I told him, but I'm done after that. "I'm in 332 Todd Hall. Come on by."
**********I didn't pay much attention to Professor Steadman as he nattered on and on about the economics of the pre-depression 1920's. Instead, thoughts of Jackie filled my mind. I could tell by talking to him that he wasn't gay; it wasn't that at all. Hell, I've got a boyfriend and am just not in the market as far as that goes! No, I was actually looking forward to visiting with him. Being at a small college, it is, indeed, unusual for me to meet another amputee. The only other one I'd met in my four years here had been a young lady with only one hand. She and I had become friends of sorts, but she had transferred out at the end of the year.
Not that I was lonesome, by any stretch. I'd become a member of the LesBiGay club the week I first got here. After my amputation, some of the guys acted like shits and let me feel like the invisible man, but several others had begun giving me the rush until Hal (the above mentioned boyfriend) had threatened their lives if they didn't back off. One guy had actually made the comment that he'd assumed since I lost my leg, Hal and I had broken up. Hal had to hurt him a little over that one. I'm not sure if there are more devs in the gay community than in the straight, but it doesn't matter. There are enough who are super guys that I don't lack for either company or adoration.
No, that wasn't what I wanted with Jackie. At first I wasn't sure why I wanted to chat with him. I suppose at the root was his attitude. I met several of the guys at rehab who were major downers. They were the ones who wanted a super high-tech prosthesis not because it made life easier, but because they wanted to hide what had happened to them, I suspect as much from themselves as from the rest of the world. Jackie was obviously one of these. Like, I felt sorry for him. He wanted to still pass as an able. I know you just don't have to live like that! I guess, at the root of it all, I wanted to convert him, convince him that losing a leg was not the end of the world.
After all, I had that attitude, so it must be the right one! Right? I giggled at myself.
**********It was about 4:15 when I heard the knock at the door.
"Come in, it's not locked," I called from the chair at my desk.
Jackie opened the door and peered in. "Brian?" he asked.
"Yeah, you got the right place," I answered. "Come on in."
He walked in, taking everything in the room in with a long single sweep from one side to the other. I didn't know if he was more taken aback by the gay pride poster above my bed, or by the two prosthetic legs lined up neatly at the foot of it.
"Something wrong?" I asked.
"Uh... naw..." he drawled. "I just didn' know you were... you know..."
"Gay? No reason for you to know it." I grinned. "Sit down. I'm not going to attack you." I gestured at the artificial legs. "Besides, you could out run me if I tried to. I ain't wearin' a leg!"
I watched a small mental battle ensue. Staying won. He sat down. "I'm sorry," he began. "I never had any gay friends. Like, you know, where I come from nobody'll admit they're que... I mean... you know."
"Well, it's not catching, and we're not all rapists," I assured him. "Besides, I've got a boy friend. All I want to be is your friend."
"Where is he?" Jackie asked, "Your boyfriend, I mean."
"In his last class," I answered. "He'll be here shortly. I'd like for you to meet him."
The boy glanced at the naked stump protruding from the left leg of my shorts. The end of it floated in mid air bobbing up and down a bit, unsupported by the chair seat since I was sitting on the edge, more or less. "I don't see how you do that," he said shaking his head. "How do you stand to have people looking at it all the time?" He glanced at my artificial legs. "It's not like you have to go around like that."
"Hey, the falsies are great when I need to be unobtrusive, or when I know I'm going to need my hands free to do something. But for just getting around, the sticks are easier and faster." I looked at his slack-covered left leg. "If you don't have your knee, you find using a leg is a lot harder than if you do."
Jackie's gaze darted down at his own leg then returned to me. "Why do you have two?" he finally asked.
"The skeletal job is fairly high performance," I told him. "I use it when I'm really going to be active... you know, playing basketball or shit like that. The plastic 'Ken doll' one is just for around here. It's actually the first one I got at rehab. It's pretty crude... just a swing hinge knee, but I still keep it to limit the miles on the monster!"
"I'm home, Roomie!" a voice boomed as the door burst open. Hal filled the doorway, all six-six of him. "Oh, sorry," he said. "Didn't know we had company!"
"Jackie Johansson," I said, gesturing to our guest, "Hal Gifford."
"Hey, man, I know Jackie," Hal effused. "We both got old man Rogers for Cinema History. He sits just in front of me! How ya doin', Man?"
"Uh, fine..." Jackie finally got out. He looked at me and mouthed "Is he your boy friend?"
"Uh-hum," I answered softly, looking like the famous canary-eating cat.
"What brings you by?" Hal asked, then said to me non-stop, "Didn't know you knew Jackie."
"I didn't until today," I finally got in.
Hal raised an eyebrow. "Family?" he asked.
"No foul," I assured him. "He knows."
For a man who 'knew' Jackie was looking bewildered. "Hal was asking if you're gay," I explained. "I told him 'no.' Then he was concerned that he'd outed me in front of you. Again, I told him you knew."
"Oh." was the extent of his answer. He looked at Hal for a moment. "I had no idea," he said simply.
"That I was gay?"
"Hey. No reason for you to know," he told the young man with a shrug. "Just like I have no idea who your girlfriend is."
"I don't have one," Jackie said darkly. Hal had apparently hit a nerve.
"You get what he means," I put in. "Who we sleep with is not something that comes up in polite, casual conversation."
All three of us grinned and nodded.
"Besides," Hal said, sitting next to me and resting his hand on my stump, "I'm afraid you're not quite my type!"
I laughed out loud.
"What's funny?" Hal asked, totally confused.
I composed myself. "Jackie, if you don't mind, pull up your pant leg just a bit for Brother Hal here."
"Do what?" Jackie looked a little horrified.
"Please, humor me."
Jackie obviously didn't like the idea, but he complied, raising the cuff to about mid-calf.
"So?" Hal asked. The life-like shape and texture of the limb had totally fooled him.
"Come on, Jackie. You know what I want him to see."
Jack pulled the cloth up far enough for Hal to see the top of the prosthesis, then quickly dropped it. He wasn't very happy.
"No shit?" came Hal's reply.
"You saw it. No shit. That was why I invited Jackie back here," I explained. "I wanted to talk with him, amp to amp."
"You need me to leave?" Hal asked.
"Naw, don't be a goose," I told him. I turned to Jackie. "As you can see you can't always tell about people. No one ever thinks Hal walks the gay side of the street. After all, he's on the basketball team and all that stuff."
"I don't know what's got my mind blown more," Jackie mused. "The fact that you guys are gay or the fact that Hal here is one of those devotee people."
Hal stuck his long tongue out the left side of his mouth and began to make 'uhhhhhhhh' sounds as he widened his eyes and brought his face down near my stump. I punched his shoulder hard.
"Wha???" he asked in mock hurt.
"You're being a shitass," I reminded sweetly.
"Fine, fine, I gotta go eat with the team this evening, anyway," he said cheerily, grabbing his letterman's jacket. "I'll let you gentlemen have whatever deep dark discussions of the brotherhood you were planning. Woe be it for me, a simple able, to intrude!"
He kissed me full on the lips and was out the door.
"Is he always so..."
"...much of a dickwad?" I finished for Jackie. "Pretty much. But that's why I never get tired of being around him. He's the funniest guy I've ever known."
"Yeah, Professor Rogers is always on his ass in class for clowning around."
"Rogers just doesn't like anyone who's more of a wise-ass than he is," I observed, having had the class under discussion. "But Hal is always 'on.' I loved him from the first night I met him."
Jackie shook his head. "This is a lot to take in."
"Don't worry about it," I told him. "It's just love. If you're not wired that way I doesn't make sense to you, but it is the way we are." I paused. "But the gay stuff is not what I wanted to talk to you about." I looked at the clock. "You want to go to the cafeteria for supper?"
As it turned out, the dinner was uneventful. I had started out with the idea of getting him tuned into the positive aspects of having a devotee for a partner, but we never quite got around to that. By the end of the meal Jackie and I had discovered we had quite a lot in common. We liked a lot of the same movies, the same music, the same TV shows. He's the only other guy I've ever met who is really passionate about stamp collecting. In short, he had the makings of a really good friend. I was glad. You can never have too many of those.
**********It was perhaps a week later when our conversation returned to our disabilities. It was a simple question, and one that I have answered countless times. Still, I know that sooner or later everyone is going to ask it.
"How did you lose your leg?" Jack asked me as he was studying a four stamp block I'd just received from England.
"Freshman stupidity," I told him.
"You mean you actually lost your leg since you came to school?" he asked, incredulous.
"Yeah, about three months into my freshman year. You seem surprised."
"I am. As casual as you are about it, I thought you'd been this way since you were, like, four years old!"
"Nope." I thought a moment. "Three years almost to the week. Not a lot of story to tell, really. I was by myself here over the weekend. It was the Halloween weekend and I had decided to get drunk and watch the old monster movie marathon on AMC. I had a fifth of Jack Daniels and enough munchies for the whole weekend in the mini 'fridge. I pulled my wicker chair over in front of the set, curled up in it, and started sippin' the Jack straight."
Jackie shrugged his shoulders, clueless.
"I had my leg pulled up under me, you know, sitting on my left foot?"
"I made it through 'Dracula' but passed out about half way through 'Frankenstein.' Seven hours later, I woke up with my leg completely asleep. I tried to get up and walk it off, but the knee wouldn't behave and I didn't have any control of the ankle at all! I managed to hop to the bathroom and pee, then it hit me that a hot shower might help."
"Well, I thought it did. Still nothing working right, but at least the leg didn't feel cold to the touch any more. I actually sat down in the floor of the shower for about 30 minutes! Anyway, I had a hell of a hangover, so I drank some orange juice from the 'fridge and then hopped to my bed, thinking I'd sleep it off."
Jackie was riveted.
"I woke up about eight hours after that. The leg still felt funny. It was all pin-prickly from about the mid calf up to the knee and the lower part was completely numb. I looked at the clock. It was about three on Saturday afternoon. I knew there was no one over at the dispensary, so I decided to gut it out until morning. I had food there in my room, so I made it all right as far as not starving, but I was really getting afraid when I woke up about three that morning and found that the totally numb part was all the way up to the knee and the pricklies were up above the knee!
"What had happened?"
"Well, when I got one of the guys next door to help me over to see the doc, he just about shit on the spot. He called an ambulance and they took me straight to the hospital. It seems my long nap with the leg folded under me had caused a major blood clot in one of my arteries. It cut off the blood flow. The leg had actually died over the weekend and the dead part was working its way up! They barely gave me any time to think... just told me it had to come off and come off right then! I called my parents and they talked to the doc and in the end, I was in surgery an hour later. I woke up that night like you see me now."
"You said there wasn't much to tell," Jackie said. "I'd say that's quite a story!"
"How about you?" I asked, brushing his response aside.
"Farm accident," he said flatly. "I got run over by a discing harrow spring before last. Went to the hospital, spent six weeks with them screwing around with it. Finally, one day they come in and tell me it's coming off the next day."
"At least you had time to see it coming," I told him.
"Not really." He got a curious, far-away look in his eyes for a moment. "I really thought they were going to be able to fix it from the beginning."
"Yeah." Jackie's eyes returned to the rounded end of my stub. "So, you haven't been an amputee much longer than me. How the hell can you accept it so well? I've watched you. You don't seem to mind having to screw with the crutches or the legs or anything else about it." He knocked on his own leg. "I hate this bastard."
"Yeah, it's tough sometimes," I agreed. "I wonder sometimes what it would be like if I hadn't... hadn't lost my leg. But I decided at the very beginning that I could either get bitter or get with it. I got with it and I've found out I really like being an attention getter." I smiled. "I guess it's the drama queen in me!" I paused. I started to mention being put on a pedestal, but I remembered Jackie hadn't seemed to accept Hal's devotism very well the first day we'd met. He'd never mentioned it to me again, but Hal had complained that Jackie'd been cool to him in class ever since. Since he had become a friend of mine, I knew it wasn't the gay issues. It had to be the dev business bothering him.
Then an idea hit me.
"Enough about all this," I said brightly. "What are you doing this weekend?"
"Studying, I guess. Why?"
"Why not come to the LesBiGay Picnic?"
"Yeah, well... there's just one problem with that. I ain't one of the above."
"Oh, shit on that. It's not just for us queers. It's for anyone in the group and their friends. Don't you fit in that category?" I asked with my sweetest smile.
For the first time since we'd met, I had the feeling that he didn't quite trust me. I hate it when I'm transparent.
"I, uh, I don't know Brian," he stammered. "What if, uh, you know, somebody sees me there and thinks I'm.. You know... like you guys? What if someone there hits on me?"
"Well, for openers, you won't be the only straight there. There's always just plain friends that come to this thing. Second, if anyone hits on you, I'll break their face." Jackie looked at me skeptically, an eyebrow raised. "Okay," I amended, "Hal will break their face. All I have to do is tell him to do it."
Then I added, "Besides, it's the best barbeque you'll get this year. You know how well gay men can cook!"
Jackie shrugged his shoulders. "Okay. Just for a while. Where and when?"
"Meet me here at the room at about 4:00 Saturday afternoon." He was headed out the door and I called after him: "Casual dress... not optional... okay?"
**********Hal and I had been making love all afternoon. Hey. It was Saturday. There was nothing else to do. He had been worshiping my stump and my cock in equal measure, and I had been giving as much as I'd been receiving. We were both spent, and if I hadn't decided I couldn't stand to be stucky a moment longer, he probably would have gone to sleep, his head pillowed on his favorite part of my body. He does that sometimes. I think it's kind of cute, but it does make my nub go to sleep.
I had already showered and Hal was finishing up at the appointed hour. Jackie, as always, was prompt. As always, I was still getting dressed when he got there.
"Give me a minute," I told him as he let himself in. I crutched to the closet, got a pair of trousers and returned to my bed. While I was putting them on, I noticed a questioning look on Jackie's face.
"Aren't you going to wear a leg?" he asked. "Wouldn't that be more convenient for the picnic?"
"More convenient, but not as picturesque," came Hal's laconic comment from the bath.
"He's being an asshole again," I returned. "Why should I bother with a leg? I've got two great-looking guys to carry my plate... right? Besides, watch this! I grinned as I buckled the belt of the slacks and reached to my side table to snag a pair of narrower leather belts. Both were much shorter than the one I was already wearing. I folded the empty pant leg up against my stump and slipped the first strap around, buckling it into place. Next, I put the second strap in place about three inches up from the bottom. I stood up, grabbing my crutches. "What do you think?" I asked innocently.
"I think you're a total fruit loop," Hal laughed.
I stuck out my tongue at him. "Jack?" I asked.
He looked at me a moment. "I guess you do make quite a statement in that get-up."
"Hey. I gotta be me."
"I'm still not sure about this," Jackie said shaking his head. "Guys, like I know you say it's okay for me to go, but... damn! I don't think I'm gonna take it okay if someone hits on me!"
I had a QAF flash moment. You know, like on 'Queer as Folk' where the camera zooms in and there's this flash frame when the blinding insight hits the character? I made my face very innocent and said: "You know, Jackie, I've got just the thing."
Hal looked at me, knowing something was up. He knew 'that tone' in my voice. I crutched over to my dresser and got a clean pair of Bermuda's out. "Here," I said, tossing them to him.
"Are you out of your mind?" Jackie asked. "What's wrong with my slacks?"
"Of course he is," Hal broke in. He reached back in the drawer. "That color clashes with your shirt." He reached into my drawer and tossed the boy another pair. "Here. Wear these!"
I had to bite my fist not to laugh.
"Naw. I ain't doin' this little-boy-one-leg routine with you, Brian!" He was shaking his head so hard I was afraid he'd get dizzy.
"You say you're afraid of being hit on," I stated. "Well, you're always telling me how you hate everybody feeling sorry for us poor cripples. Fine. Let's use that to our advantage! Put the damned shorts on. They won't call a lot of attention to your prosthesis. But the guys will see it and know what's really with you." I almost giggled at my own bullshit. "If you go in long pants, hey... you look like a real little stud." I had to make sure the laugh that was trying to escape didn't. "You'll be flying false colors!"
Hal rolled his eyes, but said nothing.
"Okay," came the final hesitant reply. "I'll do it."
Jackie disappeared into the bath. When he reemerged, he was sporting the shorts lo-rider style, allowing the hem to just touch the top of his artificial leg. I had to agree the leg itself was a work of art. If you didn't catch sight of the top of the socket, you'd never suspect. It was even shaped to match the musculature of his sound leg! The only difference was, of course, it didn't ripple and flex as he walked. "Let's get on with this," he finally snorted.
As we were walking out the door, Hal whispered into my ear "Now who's being the bitch?" I shushed him and we were on our way.
It didn't take long for us to be noticed when we arrived. Let's face it, between Hal's height and my in-your-face one-leggedness we're hard to miss! A number of our friends hailed us and we drifted over to the left side of the smoking barbeque grill to make small talk.
From the start I was introducing Jackie as a straight friend of mine. The guys and gals accepted him without blinking, although I did notice a few catch sight of his leg and hold the gaze just a couple of beats too long. Still, it was nothing all that strange to them; they are accustomed to my far more flamboyant displays of amputeehood.
It was about 5:00 when the thing I had been counting on to happen happened.
When I had first re-appeared sans my leg, two guys (other than Hal) had given me the hard rush. One had been a drooling loser whose name I don't remember. The other had been this really dreamy blond boy named Pete Novak. Campus legend had it that he was hung like a horse, but I was already with Hal, so I never found out for sure.
I knew I had a 'hit' when I saw Pete talking to Stephanie (one of the afore-mentioned lezzie girls who'd fawned over Jackie) and gesturing to his leg. A few moments later, he was making a bee-line for our little group.
"Hi Brian, Hal," he said as he oiled his way to our bench. "Who's the new face?" He smiled at Jackie and offered his hand.
"Jackie Johansson," I supplied, then added: "Jackie, this is Pete Novak."
"Glad to meet you."
"Charmed, I'm sure," Pete answered. "Where have you been hiding, sweetheart?" he purred deeply.
Jackie's mouth dropped open. He looked at me panicked.
"Petie," I began sweetly, "that is a no-no. Ix-nay. No availy. Not Family."
Pete looked at me. "So why's he here advertising?" He gestured at the clearly visible demarcation line at the top of the prosthesis.
"Friend of mine who shares my misfortune. That's all." I put added emphasis on the last.
"Tragedy," Pete answered, then turned to Jackie with "If you ever switch teams, look me up sugar. You look as hot as they come!"
And he was gone.
"That's it. I gotta get out of here," Jackie whispered to me, fear filling his voice.
"Sure, we can go if you like," I told him. We both got up and headed back to my room.
By the time we got there, Jackie seemed calmer.
"I... I'm sorry I got so spooked," he said a little sheepishly.
"Fisrt time out, hey, I understand."
"I wasn't out! I'm not gay!"
I put a calming hand on his shoulder. "I meant, 'out' as an amputee," I said softly.
He looked down at his bare calves, the strength of the natural one and the sculpted shape of the prosthesis. "I can't believe I did this," he said shaking his head. "I feel so... ashamed."
"Why?" I asked, wrinkling up my nose.
"I... I let everyone... see it," he finally got out.
I smiled. "Yeah, you did." I paused a couple of beats. "And it wasn't thirty minutes before someone thought you were hot enough to want to pick you up."
"Jack," I began, "look at what just happened. Forget for a minute that it was a guy trying to date you. It took less than half an hour for someone to be interested in you. Some guys, like Hal, get hit on by both guys and girls because of their muscles. Even before I lost my leg, I used to get hits because people think I've got a pretty face." I tapped his false leg. "This is just another thing like that. It's something that a specific group of people think is hot. I know, you think it's the worst thing that ever happened to you, but they just see it as something that makes you special... special as in exotic."
"Yeah. I can get all of those guys I want. Wonderful!" The sarcasm dripped like syrup from a Log Cabin bottle.
I rolled my eyes. "The reason it was a guy who hit on you was, duh, it was a gay get-together, goose!"
Jackie screwed up his face. "You mean, there are... girls... who feel that way?"
I closed my eyes and took a breath. "Well, you're never going to know until you give it a try, are you?" It was a statement, not a question.
"I... I don't know..."
"And you're sure getting a hell of a lot of action hiding it in your jeans," I shot back at him. I giggled. "Your leg, I mean."
He laughed. Good. He had finally relaxed.
"What the hell." He paused. "So, you think I ought to try it this way?"
"Yep. In fact, if it was me, I'd go over to the Student U right now. There's always some females hanging out over there. Want me to go sit with you?"
It was Jackie's turn to tease me. "Sure you don't mind trolling for chicks with me?"
I make a funny face. "Well, if I have to..."
**********I actually put on my 'Ken' leg and a pair of slacks for the trip. No sense giving him competition, I thought. When we got to the café at the U, I did a little coaching about posing. Since Jackie wasn't going to go bare-stumped, it was his prosthesis that we needed to put on display. I pulled a third chair out from the metal lattice table on the patio and had him prop his leg up on that.
Predictably, a few girls walked by, glanced at the device, and quickly looked away. Jackie looked at me, frowning. "This is not going well," he began. "I'm getting really embarrassed."
"Percentages," I reassured him. "We are playing the percentages. How many girls that you see light your fire?"
"Okay, okay..." He took a deep pull at his coke.
We'd been there about half an hour, chatting about our favorite subject, film, when I realized Jackie had collected a 'hit.' She was three tables away, off to his side. I nudged him. "Dev-girl at nine-o'clock," I whispered.
Jackie casually turned his head her direction, then looked back at me. "No way," he began. "The redhead?"
"Naw, she's 'way too pretty," he started.
"She is sitting alone. I saw her look at you before she sat down. She keeps stealing glances. She is cruising you."
"So, what do I do?" he asked dumbly.
I rolled my eyes again. Dear God! It's amazing these breeders ever manage to make babies! "You might stroll over and ask if you could sit down," I suggested calmly.
"What if she says 'no?'"
I rolled my eyes yet again. "Get your ass over there and start pitching!" I scolded, giving him a friendly shove.
It was really funny to watch. I'm not sure which of them was the more nervous; the amputee boy or the devotee girl who'd been lusting after him. The important thing was, Jackie did wrangle the invitation to sit with the young woman. She was pretty, actually, if you like girls, I mean. The red hair was framing an oval face with green eyes and just a suggestion of a few freckles across the nose. Tits that any lipstick lesbian would kill for. I nodded to myself. Yes, if it worked out, she'd do very nicely for him.
I almost didn't notice when Hal fell into the chair that Jackie had vacated.
"Thought I'd find you here," he said softly.
"Yeah, it was a battle, but looks like our boy's in the game."
Hal shook his head. "You really are a piece of work." He raised an eyebrow. "Did you put Pete up to hitting on him?"
"Nope. Didn't have to." I smiled. "You weren't the only one interested after the accident if you recall!"
"Accident my ass," he snorted gently. "I bet you left out a couple of things when you told him the story."
I smiled. "There was no need to tell him about the ace bandage that I used to make sure the leg would stay bent," I said innocently.
"Or the tennis ball that you put behind the knee," Hal added.
"Or that you were there to help me, and make sure nothing went wrong," I added. I bent across the table and gave my lover a kiss.