Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Unexpected 3


-Chapter 3-

Meaghan and Bryan had been dating for about a month and they still hadn’t spent the night together.  Meaghan had (not so subtly) hinted that he should spend the night at her place the previous Friday after they’d eaten takeout and watched a movie, but he’d ignored her hints and left around midnight, after a rather passionate make out session on her couch.  She wondered why he was reluctant to spend the night with her and realized it had to do with his disability. Bryan still hadn’t revealed much about his disability to her (apart from the obvious part, his wheelchair). She'd done a bit of research online, so she had an idea of how it affected his life, but she wanted him to tell her himself. Part of her was starting to lose patience and wanted to ask questions, but something told her that prying would probably cause him to pull away from her, so she decided to be patient, at least for a little while longer.

“How do you feel about the sea?” Bryan asked casually. It was Friday evening and they were having dinner at a French bistro, not far from his apartment. Meaghan hadn’t been to his apartment yet and had to admit she was eager to see it. When Bryan insisted to have dinner at the bistro that was barely a block away from where he lived Meaghan hoped it meant he intended invite her back to his place after the meal. His question about the sea pulled her out of her musings.

“In general? Or did you have something more specific in mind?” Meaghan asked as she looked over at him with a puzzled look on her face, wondering where the question came from.

“Well…um…my parents have this cottage by the sea, down in North Carolina, and I figured we could spend Labor Day weekend there. If you don’t have some crazy family traditions that weekend of course…”

Bryan fidgeted with his napkin, his normal confidence was lacking. Meaghan’s jaw was about to drop; from refusing to spend the night at her place to inviting her to spend a weekend with him at his family’s cottage was a big leap.

“Well, my family does have some crazy traditions that weekend, but I’d much rather spend it with my boyfriend in a cottage by the sea,” Meaghan said with a wide smile that seemed to bring Bryan’s confidence back.

“Awesome! I was thinking we could leave Friday afternoon and come back to DC on Tuesday. That way we’d avoid the worst traffic. Would that work for you?”

“Absolutely,” Meaghan grinned. “A long weekend with just the two of us. I can’t wait.”

“I’m excited about it too.”

“So, you’re sure you have the whole weekend off?”

“Yep! I asked for time off a while ago.”

“Oh, so months ago you presumed you’d have a girlfriend to bring with you to your parent’s cottage in North Carolina?”

“Nope, I planned on spending the weekend at my parents’ house in Philadelphia, with my family.”

“Won’t they be disappointed if you don’t show up?”

“They’ll live,” he said with a reassuring smile. “I’m sure Josh will convince them. He’s been desperately trying to get me to find a girlfriend and he finally got what he’s been hoping for.”

“What about you? Haven’t you been wanting a girlfriend too?”

“Of course, but I haven’t been as desperate as Josh have been on my behalf – or his own for that matter.”

“I think your brother and my best friend have something in common,” Meaghan laughed. “Kelly have always wanted a family, but for some reason she seems to be perpetually single.”

“Maybe she’s trying too hard? I think that’s Josh’s problem.”

“I’ve been thinking the same thing about Kelly. She goes to speed dating sessions all the time; she has dragged me to a few. I never imagined I’d actually meet someone at a speed dating session.”

“Me neither, I only went because Josh insisted and I figured it would keep him off my back for a little while.”

“Well, I’m glad we both agreed to go,” Meaghan said and gave Bryan’s forearm a squeeze.

“Um…would you like to come up to my place? I’ve got a nice bottle of wine we could share,” he asked, insecurity evident once again.

“I’d love to,” Meaghan answered with a wide smile. Oooh, I sure hope this means I get to spend the night.

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“This is it,” Bryan said as he flipped on the light in his hallway. “It’s not as stylish as your place, but it’s home.”

Meaghan followed him down a wide hallway with cream-colored walls and dark hardwood floors that ended in a spacious living room.

“I like it,” she exclaimed. “It’s very you.”

He turned around 180 degrees and looked up at her. “Really?”

“Definitely,” Meaghan said with a wide smile. “Now, where’s that nice bottle of wine you were bragging about?”

“Oh…right…um, make yourself comfortable and I’ll be right back.” He gestured toward the big, brown leather couch and wheeled into what appeared to be the kitchen. 

Meaghan sat down on the couch and looked around the room again. There was a dining table and a credenza in one end and the L-shaped couch with a coffee table in front of it in the other end. Across from the couch there was big cabinet Meaghan assumed concealed a TV. Bryan wheeled back into the room with two wine glasses, a bottle of wine and a corkscrew in his lap and after depositing everything on the coffee table he transferred to the couch so he was sitting next to Meaghan. He made quick work of uncorking the wine and pouring two glasses of wine. He offered one glass to Meaghan.

“This is really nice,” she exclaimed after a couple of sips.

“It is, isn’t it? A buddy of mine is really interested in wine, like on a seriously nerdy level, and he told me to buy a few bottles of the 2008 version, which is apparently one of the best years for it.”

“I honestly thought of you as more of a beer guy,” Meaghan commented. “You generally order beer when we’re out.”

“Well, I am, but I appreciate a good wine from time to time too.”

“So do I, and this is great.” Meaghan kicked off her shoes and curled up against Bryan’s side, he wrapped his arm around her and tugged her even closer.

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They sat like that in comfortable silence for a while and just enjoyed the wine.  After she finished hers Meaghan put the empty glass on the coffee table, Bryan followed suit.

“Um…would you like to spend the night?” He blurted out, suddenly insecure again.

“I’d love to,” Meaghan said with a wide smile. Finally!

“But before we go any further I think we need to talk a little bit.” Bryan sighed and leaned back against the soft pillows of his couch. It was evident that it was a conversation he wasn’t looking forward to. Meaghan reached over and took his hand in hers; giving it an encouraging squeeze in an attempt to tell him she could deal with whatever he told her.  Part of her was tempted to tell her she’d done some research about paralysis and had a basic idea about what he was going to tell her, but she wasn’t sure how to say it.

“Do you know anything about spinal cord injuries?” he finally asked.

“Not much,” she shrugged. Seeing how miserable it made Bryan look she decided to tell him she’d done some research. “But I have to admit I did a little research after I met you. You’re a paraplegic right?”

“I am, T12 complete injury. I can’t feel or move anything below my hips, it’s like that part of my body doesn’t exist.”

“But you have full use of your upper body? Your arms and shoulders seems to be in excellent shape,” Meaghan said with a smile, tracing a finger across his chest. She could feel the tautness of his muscles through his thin dress shirt.

“Yep, that part of me is probably in better shape than it was before I was injured.” A small smile spread across Bryan’s face for a brief moment, then he got serious again.  “You realize I can’t have sex like an able bodied person?”

“Yeah, and you have a bowl and bladder routine you follow, and you have to regular skin checks to make sure you don’t get sores, right?”

Bryan nodded. “You did some thorough research, didn’t you?”

“Not that thorough,” Meaghan shrugged.

“Doesn’t all of that freak you out?”

“At first it sort of did,” she admitted. “But I really like you and I want to be with you.”

“You mean that?” Bryan looked amazed.

“Yep, you’re not getting rid of me Dr. Norfleet.”

“You know, I’ve been dreading this conversation. The last time I did it the girl couldn’t get out of her 
fast enough…”

“As I said, I’m not going anywhere.”

“Well, how about my bedroom? I have to admit I’m tired, it’s been a long week.” Bryan tried to stifle a yawn, but failed miserably.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Meaghan got up and grabbed the wine glasses and bottle from the table. In the kitchen she rinsed the glasses in the sink and placed them in the dishwasher. She replaced the cork in the wine bottle and left it on the counter. She liked Bryan’s kitchen; it had obviously been adapted, with lowered counters so he could work while sitting in his wheelchair, but the cabinets were sleek and modern and the countertop was shiny black granite.

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When she returned to the living room Bryan was gone. Meaghan flipped off the lights and followed the hallway down to the door in the end, it was ajar and the lights were on in the room.  She felt butterflies flutter around her stomach as she entered Bryan’s bedroom.  It was spacious; furnished with a king size bed that was made with a dark gray down comforter, a dresser and a leather armchair in the corner.  A big flat screen TV filled the wall across from the foot of the bed.  There were doors on both sides of the screen; the one on the right was ajar and revealed a walk in closet. The one on the left was closed, she assumed it was the bathroom and that Bryan was in there.  She realized he probably had to go through some sort of routine before he went to bed and she decided to not interrupt, so she grabbed the remote that was resting on the nightstand that also held Bryan’s alarm clock and turned on the TV. She flicked through the channels until she hit CNN and settled in on the opposite side of the bed to watch the evening news. 

She had dozed off when Bryan came out of the bedroom, almost half an hour later. The sound of the door latch opening woke her up and the sight of him wheeling out of the bathroom, wearing only a pair of grey pajama pants brought a smile to her face. His upper body was even more toned than she’d expected. He looked a bit insecure again.

“Sorry for hogging the bathroom for so long, unfortunately it’s a regular thing.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Meaghan said with a reassuring smile. “Um…can I borrow a t-shirt to sleep in? We didn’t exactly plan this, so I didn’t pack an overnight bag.”

Bryan did a face palm before he wheeled over to the dresser and pulled out the top drawer. “I should’ve thought about that, help yourself. Do you want to borrow pajama pants too?”

“Nah, I usually sleep in a t-shirt,” Meaghan said as she picked a faded blue t-shirt from the drawer. Bryan disappeared into the bathroom again and reappeared a couple of moments later.

“There’s a new toothbrush for you by the sink,” he said with a smile.

“Thanks,” Meaghan replied and headed into the bathroom. Just like his kitchen it was adapted to his needs; a big shower with a bench in it, lower sink and grab bars in several places.  It was warm and inviting, with travertine tiles on the floor and walls and a dark wood cabinet in the corner. 

When Meaghan came out of the bathroom a few minutes later Bryan was already in bed. She smiled when she saw that he’d pulled back the comforter on ‘her’ side of the bed. She quickly rounded the bed and got settle next to him.  Both of them were tired and a bit insecure about the situation, so they didn’t move past passionate kisses and Meaghan curling up next to Bryan, resting her head on his shoulder. 

5 comments:

  1. aww, that was a cute chapter! She's such a cool chick.

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  2. I'm loving this story, looking forward to seeing where it goes.

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  3. What a great surprise!!! Love your story!!

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  4. I like where you are taking your characters. Great job.

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