Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Unexpected 5

-Chapter 5-

“Kelly, this is my brother Josh Norfleet. Josh, this is Meaghan’s best friend Kelly…um, sorry I never caught your last name Kelly?” Bryan looked at Kelly with a slightly flustered look on his face.

“It’s MacIntyre, Kelly MacIntyre,” Kelly said with a smile as she extended her hand to Josh who grasped it at shook it firmly.

“Nice to meet you Kelly Macintyre,” Josh replied with a crooked grin. Before they could say anything else the hostess approached them and announced that their table was ready. They followed her to a table and Bryan was pleasantly surprised when she removed one of the chairs to make room for his wheelchair without him having to ask. She handed out the menus and walked away.  A few moments later a waitress approached the table and took their drink orders.

“So, what do you do for a living Kelly?” Josh asked.

“I’m an art teacher at McLean High School. Not very glamorous, but I actually love my job. What about you?”

“I’m a lawyer, specialize in corporate law. Sounds fancy, but it’s mostly a hell of a lot of paper work. I like it and it pays pretty well, so…” Josh shrugged.

“How did you and Meaghan meet?” Bryan interjected.

“Freshman year in college. We had a couple of classes together and when we were paired up for an assignment. Didn’t take us long to realize we’re soul mates. We’ve been pretty close since then.”

“Come on Kel, soul mates? Seriously?”

“Well, whatever you wanna call it. Bottom line is that we’re close friends, right?”


Kelly turned her attention to Bryan. “So, what do you think about my best friend?”

“Meaghan is great. Best thing that ever happened to me,” he said sincerely.

“Hey, I’m right here,” Meaghan admonished him, swatting him on the arm.

“Well, now you know how I feel about you,” he said with a warm smile in her direction.  Kelly smiled approvingly at both him and Meaghan. Meaghan felt relieved; first test passed. It seemed like Kelly approved of Bryan, despite his disability.


“That wasn’t as bad as I feared,” Bryan stated as they got back to his apartment well past midnight Saturday evening.

“Definitely. I don’t think your brother and my best friends are madly in love or anything like that, but they seemed to enjoy each others company.”

“That’s what I think too. And since my brother also happens to be one of my best friends it’s a good thing that he gets along with your best friend.”

“Exactly,” Meaghan agreed. “I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to go to bed. I might have had one or two Margaritas too many.”

“Me too. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had this much to drink. To be honest I’m surprised I’m surprised I don’t feel more dizzy than I do. Wanna use the bathroom first? You know my routine takes a while.”

“Sure, I’ll only be a few minutes.” Meaghan grabbed her tote and headed into Bryan’s bathroom.  When she emerged dressed in a camisole top and a pair of sleep shorts Bryan had undressed down to a pair of black boxer briefs.  It was the first time she saw his bare legs. They were skinny; the lack of muscles was evident. She’d realized they were skinny, both from how they appeared under his pants and how they felt when she sat in his lap.

“All done,” Meaghan announced.

Bryan nodded and wordlessly made his way into the bathroom and closed the door behind him.  Nearly forty-five minutes later he came back to the bedroom, still wearing the black boxer briefs. He quickly wheeled over to his side of the bed and pulled the covers back.  Meaghan watched as he lifted his feet of the footrest of his wheelchair and made the transfer to the bed in one smooth move. The impressive muscles in his upper body were the exact opposite of his thin, lifeless legs. When he’d lifted his legs onto the bed he pulled out his AFO’s and put them on; carefully aligning his lifeless feet in the braces and securing the straps. Meaghan noticed how his toes were pointing downwards before he put on the braces.  When he was done he pulled the covers over himself and lay down. Meaghan quickly scooted over to him and curled up against his side; Bryan reciprocated by wrapping an arm around her and they fell asleep in each other’s arms.


The next week flew by for both of them. Bryan pulled several double shifts at work and Meaghan had three projects in that was in the final stages and she felt like she was constantly running from one building site to the other to straighten out the typical last minute issues that always seemed to occur.  She hadn’t seen Bryan all week and because he’d been working most evenings their only communication had been a few text messages. When she left work late Friday afternoon she felt immensely relieved that she’d managed to get everything sorted and with nothing major on her plate she’d taken the whole coming week off, she knew Bryan had the week off too and the next weekend was Labor Day weekend. She was excited about their little getaway and looked forward to some downtime.

The first thing she did when she got home was to change into a pair of black shorts and a tank top and then she grabbed her phone and dialed Bryan’s number. He answered the phone on the third ring.

“Meaghan! I’ve missed you so much this week.”

“Hey there. That feeling is mutual; I’ve missed you like crazy. The upside is that I’ve managed to clear my desk and I’m taking some vacation days. I’ve got the coming week and a half off. I don’t have to worry about work ‘till after our Labor Day getaway.”

“That’s awesome! Um…I might be a bit forward now, but would you like to spend the week with me at my place? I’d suggest going to the cottage now, but my sister is there with some friends for a few days.”

“I’d love to. We can be lazy on your deck if the weather is nice,” Meaghan suggested. Her favorite part of Bryan’s apartment was that it was on the ground floor of a newer building and he had a decent sized deck that was surrounded by a hedge.  Meaghan’s apartment didn’t even have a balcony, and she missed having an outside space of her own.  The communal garden in the building was always filled with kids playing. 

“I like that idea. Anything involving being lazy sounds amazing to me after the week I’ve had.”

“Why don’t I get some things together and I’ll head over to your place?”

“Sounds good to me. What do you want to do for dinner?”

“Why don’t I pick up some takeout on the way over? I don’t feel like cooking and I have a feeling you’re not too keen on that either.”

“Thai? You know what I like.”

“You read my mind. Do you have beer or should I pick up some.”

“Let me check, hold the line for a sec.”

Meaghan waited while he wheeled into the kitchen and checked his fridge. Moments later he was back on the line; “I’ve got a six pack of Guinness, so if you want some lighter beer you’ve got to bring it.”

“Got it. See you in an hour or so.”

“Awesome!” Bryan ended the call. “Call me if you need me to help getting something inside.”


An hour later she pulled into a parking space just outside Bryan’s building. He came out of the front door of the building just as she parked. She was surprised to see him wearing shorts; he was self-conscious about his thin, atrophied legs and preferred to hide them under jeans or slacks. He smiled broadly when she stepped out of the car and hurried over to her and pulled her into his lap.

“Damn, I’ve missed you,” he said as he hugged her tightly.

“I’ve missed you too.” Meaghan kissed him hungrily, but quickly and got to her feet. “Let’s get inside.”

“Need me to help you with anything?” Bryan offered as he shifted his weight in his wheelchair.

“If you take my bag I think I’ve got it,” Meaghan said as she held out her duffle bag to him. He grabbed it and placed it in his lap. Meaghan grabbed the case of beer she’d bought and the bag of Thai food from the trunk and followed Bryan inside. He wheeled straight into the bedroom with her bag and when he came back a few moments he had his AFO’s on.

“I’ve got beginning pressure sores on both my heels, so I’ll be wearing these around the house to make sure I don’t put any pressure on my heels. Hopefully the sores will get better by the time we’re going to North Carolina,” he explained when he saw the questioning look on Meaghan’s face.

“Wear them 24/7 if you need to,” Meaghan said as she unpacked the Thai food and placed the containers on the lowered breakfast bar in Bryan’s kitchen. “What do you want to drink? A beer?”

“Sure,” Byan smiled as he grabbed plates and cutlery and placed it next to the food.  Meaghan grabbed two beers from the case she’d brought with her and sat down to the chair next to him.

“So, apart from working, what have you been up to all week?”

“Eating and sleeping. Exciting stuff,” he said with a crooked grin as he spooned out rice and chicken with green curry and vegetables from the takeout container. “I’m not much fun when I’m working back to back double shifts. What about you? What’s been going on in your world?”

“Apart from working 12 hours a day I’ve managed to squeeze in a dinner with Kelly and I’ve watched a lot of TV. I haven’t really had the energy to do much else.  I’m so ready to have some time off and what makes it even better is that I get to spend that time with my sexy boyfriend.”
Bryan scoffed at her. “I think you’re at the wrong apartment.”

“Will you please stop being so self conscious Bryan. You’re a very attractive man.”

“I guess I’m not too bad from the hips up, but you can’t honestly say my legs are sexy or those damn braces I’m stuck wearing for god-knows-how long…and in bed forever…”

“Honey, it’s all part of the package and as a whole it’s a damn good one. You’re not getting rid of me anytime soon, so you better get used to me calling you sexy.”
Bryan just shook his head and dug into his food.  They finished the meal in comfortable silence and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and chatting.  Since they were both tired they went to bed early.


Saturday turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day and they decided to spend it lounging on the couch Bryan had on his deck. Meaghan loved it; it was made of dark wicker with soft beige cushions and a chaise lounge on one end. Meaghan settled in on the end with the chaise and Bryan ended up on the other end with his feet resting against her thigh. He felt a bit self-conscious when he realized she had his AFO’s so close to her, but she didn’t seem to pay attention to it at all, so he decided not to say anything and put his sunglasses on and focused on his book. Bryan had a Sonos sound system installed in his house and they’d brought a portable speaker with them and plugged it in outside. Meaghan had grabbed his iPad and put on a piece of soft jazz. After about half an hour she noticed that Bryan dozed off. She gently took the book from him, put the bookmark in place and put it on the seat of his wheelchair. Meaghan settled back on the couch with her book and without thinking about it she absentmindedly started fingering with one of the Velcro closures on his right AFO. The first time she saw them they’d seemed a bit scary to her, but now she thought they looked kind of cozy with their soft sheepskin lining. He was wearing a pair of shorts, just like he had the previous day and Meaghan grasped the opportunity to study his legs without his knowledge. They were thin, almost only skin and bone. His knees were very prominent. His fragile looking feet looked like they were safe inside the braces; his toes were sticking out from under the wide piece of sheepskin that covered his foot. Meaghan noticed that his toenails looked well cared for.

Bryan woke up nearly an hour later. He yawned and stretched his arms over his head.

“Hey there, enjoy your nap?” Meaghan asked when she realized he was awake. Her arm was resting across Bryan’s ankles and she was still fingering with a Velcro closing on the right AFO.

“Yeah, I actually feel pretty rested now. Wanna go down to the café and grab some lunch? I don’t feel like cooking, but I’m getting hungry.”

“You have really cute toes.”

“Huh?” Bryan’s jaw almost dropped to the floor from the non sequitur.

“Well, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to study your feet while you were sleeping and I realized you have cute toes.”

“Um…thanks I guess,” Bryan replied, seeming a bit unsure about how to respond to that. “Anyway, are you hungry?”

“Getting there. I need to freshen up a bit before we go out,” she said, looking down at her outfit that consisted of a worn tank top and a pair of sweatpants she’d cropped off mid thigh.

“What’s the problem with what you’re wearing?” Bryan asked as he lifted his feet to the ground and then he moved the book from the seat of his wheelchair and lined it up next to him to transfer to it.

“I’m not even wearing a bra Bryan. I’m not leaving the apartment looking like this.”

“Well, I need to pull on some pants and see if I can find the covers for my braces. My mom made them for me the first time I had sores, but since I’ve only worn them to bed lately I’m not sure where I’ve put them. I hate the thought wearing these things in public, but when I checked my heels this morning they were still very red, so wearing shoes is absolutely not an option.” Bryan sighed heavily and then he completed the transfer to his wheelchair and positioned his feet on the footrest.