Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Unexpected 7


-Chapter 7-

Bryan was stunned. He definitely hadn’t imagined they’d run into his ex-fiancée in Oak Island.  They’d barely had contact after she’d walked out of his hospital room; she had moved her things out of his apartment while he was still at the hospital and they’d spoken a few times to settle some formalities.  It had been close to two years since he’d last seen her and if he was to be completely honest with himself he’d kind of hoped he’d never see Jennifer Stratton again. And he sure as hell hadn’t wanted Meaghan to be part of the unavoidable awkwardness of their encounter. Now he had no choice but to deal with it. He decided to get the introductions out of the way first.

“Meaghan, this is my ex-fiancée Jennifer Stratton. Jennifer, meet my girlfriend Meaghan Barnes.” The women shook hands awkwardly and he noticed that Jennifer appeared to be nervous. It felt good that he wasn’t alone in feeling uneasy about the situation and in a way he felt like he had the upper hand. He was there with his amazing girlfriend and Jennifer appeared to be alone. “Have to admit I’m a bit surprised to see you here Jennifer.”

“My sister’s in-laws have a house here, I’m spending the weekend here with her and her family. I take it you’re spending the weekend at the ‘cottage’?” Jennifer air-quoted the word cottage.

“Yeah, we are.”

“You look well,” she said with what he felt was a condescending mile.

“I am well. What did you expect? That I’d spend the rest of my life in a hospital bed, with a nurse changing my diaper and a tube sticking out of my dick?” Bryan said harshly.

“Bryan, don’t be that way.”

“What way? You fucking walked out on me in the hospital a week before you had planned to love me ‘in sickness and in health’ and to make a bad week even worse your mother had the nerve to walk into my hospital room and demand that I covered the deposits your parents lost because we cancelled our wedding. Was it her that told you to leave my crippled ass?”

“Bryan…I’m sorry for leaving you like that. I truly am. It was all just such a shock and I just couldn’t deal with it.”

“How do you think I felt?” Bryan asked, a bit calmer. He didn’t want to cause a scene.

“I…I can’t even imagine…” Jennifer shuffled her feet and bowed her head. Before she could say anything the waitress arrived with Bryan and Meaghan’s food. When the waitress left she spoke again. 

“I’ll let you enjoy your meal. My number is still the same if you ever want to get in touch and talk things out. I think I owe you that much.”

“I don’t think there’s much to talk about though. I’ve moved on, what happened between us is behind me.”

Jennifer nodded. “Well, enjoy your meal and the rest of the weekend. Nice to meet you Meaghan.” She patted Bryan’s shoulder and walked away.  Meaghan and Bryan started eating and finished the meal in silence. Bryan was grateful that Meaghan didn’t start asking him questions. He needed to work through what had just happened in his own mind before he discussed with her.

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That afternoon Bryan lay on his back on a yoga mat out on the porch while Meaghan was doing his range of motion exercises.  It was the second time she helped him with it and she was doing surprisingly well. He only had to correct her a couple of times when she didn’t stretch his legs far enough; he knew she was a bit scared of hurting him. After she finished she put his AFO’s back on, to his amazement it looked like she enjoyed it.  There was something about the look on her face when she lifted his legs into the braces and made sure his feet were positioned correctly, so his heels weren’t in contact with anything, then she carefully placed the sheepskin padding over his foot and secured the three straps that held it in place and finally she secured the strap around his calf. After repeating the process on the other leg she got to her feet and positioned his wheelchair so he could transfer back to it.  Transferring from the floor took some effort, but Bryan was in great shape and managed it in one fairly smooth movement.  Then he placed his AFO clad feet on the footrest and shifted his weight a bit so he was comfortable. When he was settled back into his wheelchair he turned to Meaghan who was rolling up the yoga mat. She looked tense, she had been tense since lunch and Bryan knew he needed to talk to her about what had happened.

“I’m sorry about the whole scene with Jennifer today. I sure as hell didn’t expect to run into my damn ex here.”

“I think you should call her. You two definitely have a lot of unresolved things between you and I think you’d both benefit from talking about it.”

Bryan was stunned. It definitely wasn’t what he’d expected Meaghan to say. “You think?”

“Yeah…I mean, you were together for a long time and you were about to get married.  You loved each other, right?”

“I loved her. I’m not sure how she felt about me, since she couldn’t deal with this,” Bryan gestured to his wheelchair.

“What happened was a shock to both of you. Maybe you both get some closure on your relationship if you talk about it?”

“It’s a closed chapter in my life,” Bryan insisted, it really was a closed chapter to him. He had worked through it with the therapist he’d seen while he was in rehab and he really didn’t have any need to talk to Jennifer about it.

“Judging from your reaction earlier today I’m not sure that’s completely true.”

“My reaction today was simply shock. I haven’t seen her in two years and all of a sudden she walks up to our table like nothing happened…”

“Still…there has to be lots of unresolved things between you too?”

“I thought you were an architect, not a shrink…”

“I happen to have pretty good people skills.”

“Well, this time you’re wrong. I’m done with Jennifer, I’ve moved on and I really don’t feel like going back there.”

Meaghan nodded and placed a peck on Bryan’s cheek, and then she turned and walked into the house with the mat under her arm.  The tension was still there.  Bryan didn’t get much sleep that night. He had too much on his mind. The more he thought about things it became clear to him; he loved Meaghan and he was done with Jennifer.

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When Bryan woke up Friday morning Meaghan wasn’t in bed with him and as far as he could tell she weren’t in the bathroom either. He sat up in bed and stretched before he transferred to his wheelchair and wheeled into the bathroom to cath himself.  About fifteen minutes later he finished brushing his teeth and wheeled out of the bathroom. He headed straight into the living area. It was empty, but one of the French doors leading out to the porch were open and he headed out there.  Meaghan was curled up in one of the lounge chairs with a coffee mug cradled in her hands, staring at the ocean.

“Good morning, I missed you in bed this morning,” he said as he wheeled up to her and stopped right in front of her, flicking the brake lever on his wheelchair.

“Couldn’t sleep,” she said with a shrug, avoiding to maker eye contact with him.

“What’s bothering you? And don’t say nothing.”

“Jennifer. I feel stupid, but all night I’ve been thinking about what will happen if you decide to call her and talk things out. That maybe you’ll realize she’s the one after all…that you miss her and she misses you and you decide to give your relationship a second chance…” Meaghan’s voice trailed off and she wiped away a tear with the back of her hand.  Bryan was stunned. He didn’t know how to respond; how to make Meaghan realize that she was the one he was in love with.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said firmly. “I’m done with Jennifer.”

“How can you be so sure about that? You two have a shitload of unfinished business and unresolved issues Bryan.”

“Meaghan, I barely slept last night, my mind kept racing. It’s clear to me that Jennifer is in the past and I don’t want to revisit that. I’ve moved on. I love you and I see you in my future.”
Meaghan’s expression softened. “You see me in your future?”

“Definitely. You’re amazing. You’re beautiful, smart, funny, caring… I love you Meaghan Barnes.”

Meaghan smiled and then she put her coffee mug on the small table next to her chair. Before Bryan could say anything else she was sitting in his lap, hugging him tightly. “I love you too,” she whispered into his ear. “I’m sorry for acting like this, it’s just…I’m afraid to lose you. And I’ve been burned before…”

“You’re not going to lose me,” Bryan assured her, placing a kiss on her lips. He meant it; the more time he spent with Meaghan the surer he became that she was the one for him.  He was tempted to propose to her right then, but he realized it wasn’t a good idea. They’d barely dated for two months; it was too soon and he didn’t want to scare her away by being overeager. “I’d be an idiot if I let you go. You were willing to start a relationship with me, knowing I have a severe physical disability. Not many women would do that.”

“I’d be an idiot to let you go. I’ll admit some things have freaked me out a bit initially, but I’ve actually started to find them sort of sexy.”

“Really? Which things are we talking about?” Bryan had a few ideas, but he wanted Meaghan to tell him.

“Your AFOs is one thing. They were a bit creepy when you first showed them to me; now I kinda like them.  I like putting them on for you. I know it’s weird…” She seemed a bit self-conscious.

“Maybe it’s a bit weird, but I prefer that over you being disgusted by them any day.”

“I like helping you with those exercises too. I’m honored that you trust me to help you with that. I just hope I’m doing them right, I don’t wanna hurt you.”

“You’re doing great, you just need to realize I’m not going to break. My legs aren’t as fragile as they look.” Bryan felt a bit self-conscious; he realized he all he was wearing was his black boxer briefs and his AFOs. He looked down at his skinny legs and wished he’d taken the time to pull on some sweats and a t-shirt.

“I’m starting to realize that,” Meaghan said with a small smile. “I’ll go shower and get dressed real quick and I’ll start on breakfast. Sound like a plan?”

“Yep, sounds like a good plan to me.”


9 comments:

  1. Oh no! I hope they don't hurt each other down the road.
    They are so sweet and cozy together!

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  2. Good chapter. I love how he told is ex off!

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  3. I really liked that, usually people write about guys being totally awkward and non confrontational in those situations, but this was a fresh take. And as always, this couple is oh so sweet.

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    1. In the first draft for this chapter Bryan was much less confrontational, but it just didn't feel right. I wanted him to stand up for himself and make it clear to both Jennifer and Meaghan that he's done with Jennifer. She's his past and Meaghan is his future. :-)

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  4. Wonderful! Great job and loving characters.

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  5. Is there another chapter (s) that follows this chapter? I stumbled upon this ssite and this was the first story I delved into and I absolutely love it. I certainly hope you plan to follow up with a few more chapters before ending it. It is really a good story. I think I've actually read it 3 times this week, as I just discovered this site and Unexpected was on the home page.

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    1. Glad you like it :) I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to update, work has been crazy busy lately and I just haven't had the time to write much. I'm actually putting the finishing touches on a new chapter right now, I hope I get it up tomorrow. :)

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    2. You wouldn't believe this, but I check this site several times a day hoping for your update. But I certainly understand about work getting in the way of writing.

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    3. That makes two of us then....

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