Discharge is here and Jason is going home, his mind racing and somewhat frustrated at Ariana who is seemingly setting him up. Trying to make sense of the situation Jason is leaving the hospital with mixed feelings.
Dr. Shumar showed up and was pleased to see Jason up and his chair, dressed and ready to leave. They talked for a while and the doctor reminded Jason again about the assistance he could get through the hospital or Dr. Ramirez.
Dr. Shumar asked, “So where is your girlfriend today Jason? Ariana is her name, right?”Jason nodded, “Yeah, actually I am not really sure, I am kind of waiting on a call or text from her.”
He tried to sound carefree but his tone was tense.
Dr. Shumar added, “Well, I am sure she will call soon. Who is going to pick you up?”
“My dad will be here soon.”
“Good. Your father is a very nice man. I know he was worried these last couple of weeks and I am sure he is happy to see you well again.”
Jason just nodded and Dr. Shumar continued, “Please stay on top of your health and take care of your body Jason.”
As much as Jason appreciated everyone worrying about him he was done with it. He knew what he had to do and he would try his best to not let it get to this again. He had a bigger reason now to stay healthy and be o.k. He needed to be there for Ariana and his dad. He just nodded at the doctors preaching and finally the two men said their Good Bye’s.
Jason sat in his chair in the middle of the room and looked around for a moment. He really didn’t have a lot of possessions at the hospital and when his dad would get there he could get everything for him. He wheeled over to the window when finally his phone announced a call from Ariana.
He answered quickly, “Ariana, hey!”The connection was somewhat fuzzy, “Hey Jason, baby….I am sooo sorry.”
Jason couldn’t hold his feelings in, “Where the heck are you? Why haven’t I heard from you since yesterday? I was getting really worried.”
“Jason baby, I am o.k. I know this is so stupid but I have been so super busy yesterday and couldn’t call you. When I got home it was midnight and I didn’t want to call you anymore then.”
Jason replied tensely, “I had a shitty night and didn’t sleep good, you could have called or at least texted. I had my phone on all night next to my bed.”
Ariana realized he was angry at her, “I am so sorry baby. I will make it up to you I promise.”
Jason still sounded tense, “Well, are you coming to pick me up at least? I am ready to go.”
Ariana didn’t have a good answer, “Actually about that….I have something important I have to do before I can see you today. Please Jason don’t be mad at me, I have something I need to do.”
She couldn’t tell him what she was planning and she felt bad of having to tell him that she couldn’t pick him up. It was probably the last thing he wanted to hear from his girlfriend on this day.
Jason’s tone was cool, “You have something to do today? Ariana, what the hell is going on? I am going home, we have been waiting for this day for weeks and now you are basically telling me off. How am I supposed to feel right now?” His voice trembled as he was getting mad at Ariana.
Ariana said lowly, “Jason, please trust me…I need to do something and as soon as I am done with that today I will be there. I will call you and you can tell me how to get to your place. Darryl is picking you up, right?”“Yes, my dad is coming to get me….Ariana, I really can’t believe you are actually not coming to pick me up. I don’t know what to think right now. I am kind of pissed really…”
“Jason, please, don’t be mad at me…I love you and I will see you today, I promise.”
Jason didn’t know how to reply and even though she told him she loved him, right at this moment he felt anything but loved by her and he had a hard time saying it back to her when anger and disappointment were trying to overcome him.
His voice was low, “Well then, I guess I will see you whenever it fits in your schedule once again….you are really not making this day easy for me Ariana…why the fuck couldn’t you make time for this? I really don’t get it….”“Jason, I love you and I will see you soon.”
She could barely hear him say, “I love you” and he hung up right away. He was very angry.
Ariana sighed and hoped he would get over it. She turned back to her task and tried to forget about the conversation. She almost felt like crying though of having disappointed Jason that way.
Darryl came out of the trailer and she looked at him, “He didn’t take it very good at all, Darryl. Maybe I shouldn’t have called him back after all.”Darryl replied, “He will come around when he realizes why you couldn’t pick him up. I will try to cheer him up on the way. I am heading out now. Are you going to be all right back here?”
Ariana stepped off the ladder she was on and walked over to Darryl. He saw she was still having a hard time with having had to tell Jason off and he smiled, “Yeah, he is probably really mad now but it is o.k.. Don’t worry Ariana! He will be all right, he is a tough cookie.”Ariana leaned in for a hug and muffled, “I feel like I was really hurting him.”
Darryl held her, “Well, he will forget about all of that once he comes home to this.”
He squeezed Ariana to him and she replied, “I hope so.”
“I will text you when we are about 15 minutes from here, o.k.”
“O.k. great. I will be ready.”
Darryl walked down the ramp and got into his truck to pick up Jason and bring him home.
It took him about forty minutes to get to Providence hospital, he arrived there at almost one o’clock and when he walked into Jason’s room he found him watching TV and upon Darryl entering Jason looked over at his dad with dark eyes, “I thought you were going to set me up as well.”Darryl realized the tone in Jason’s voice right away, “Hello to you too, son.”
Jason had his bag packed with the clothes he had there at the hospital and he was ready to go. He had said his Good Bye’s to the nurses as cheerful as he could after the conversation with Ariana. He also had been supplied with his medications and he was really only waiting for his ride to go home now.
Darryl asked carefully, “What is going on? You should be happy today.”Jason turned off the TV, threw the remote on the bed and grabbed his bag and set it on his lap. He wore his fingerless gloves and put his hands to his rims, “Let’s get out of here.”
He wheeled by his dad and Darryl knew Jason was angry. They came up to the nurse’s station and everyone called out to Jason again, giving him their best wishes and telling him Good Bye. He had already said a personal Good Bye to Rose earlier. Now she was nowhere to be seen. Darryl smiled at the nurses and thanked them. Jason also thanked them in passing. He just wanted to get out of the hospital now.
As they got to Darryl’s pick-up truck, Darryl came around to the passenger side to help Jason in. They had attached a piece of rope to the handle above the door so Jason could pull himself up into the truck if he needed to. Most of the times Darryl helped him up but as Darryl asked Jason if he needed help Jason just answered coldly, “I can get it on my own.”
Darryl just stood by and watched Jason as he threw his bag into the small back seat and then grabbed the rope dangling from above pulling himself up, barely managing to get into the truck and felt his arms shake as he settled in the seat. Darryl took care of the wheelchair and stashed it into the backseat from the driver’s side. He climbed in and looked over at Jason who was adjusting his legs in front of him, buckling up and then moving his eyes up and stared straight ahead in front of him without looking at his dad again.
Darryl attempted another question, “Jay, what is going on with you?”Jason still didn’t look at his dad, “Nothing, it’s nothing…”
Darryl felt it was best to leave Jason alone and threw the plan to cheer him up out the window, it didn’t look like he could cheer Jason up. He hoped Jason wasn’t going to explode of anger before they would get home to Junction 8. Darryl turned the key in the ignition and they left the hospital parking lot.
The forty minute drive home was silent and Darryl felt bad for Jason. He knew Jason was angry at Ariana and he was disappointed at her blowing him off but he couldn’t tell Jason why Ariana had to do what she had to do.
Fifteen minutes before they reached the house, Darryl pulled out his phone and texted Ariana. Jason looked over and said sternly, “You shouldn’t text while driving.”
The message was quick and Darryl didn’t acknowledge Jason.
They pulled up into the Dessert Dream Trailer Park and Jason was relieved to see the familiar place and to be back home, even though his joy was overshadowed by his conversation with Ariana earlier.
He had been feeling very tense at the whole situation and in his head he had been plotting the whole way home how he was going to call Ariana again and how he would tell her how bad she had made him feel with what she had said in the morning and how she couldn’t pick him up and that he was just very mad. His mind was racing and he thought about what to tell her when he would call her.
As Darryl made his way slowly through the trailer park driving 10 mph Jason looked around and was glad to be coming home. When they pulled next to the trailer Jason caught a glimpse of something colorful on the trailer front but couldn’t see it all the way because Darryl turned in under his covered parking spot next to the trailer. He put the truck in park, pulled the wheelchair out from the backseat and walked around to Jason’s side. Jason had the door open already and held on to the rope again, his legs dangling over the side of the seat and he slid himself over some more and then let himself down into his chair. He held on to the rope with both hands and realized he really wasn’t very strong yet. Getting into and out of the truck that way had never been a problem before. He had always had good upper body strength and tried to keep fit by regularly doing pull ups or work with dumb bells and rubber bands to keep his arms strong. He plopped down somewhat rough and as he put his hands to his rims Darryl got the bag out of the back seat, locked the truck and followed Jason up the ramp. Darryl realized how Jason was pushing his rims hard wheeling up the ramp. He could see Jason was still weak and asked lowly, “Are you getting it son?”
Jason just nodded, breathing heavy and as he looked up he saw a banner along the ramp railing and over the door. It said “Welcome Home Jason” in large colorful letters and there were balloons all around the door. He was surprised at the decoration and looked over at his dad questioning. Darryl just smiled at him. Jason returned a weak smile, surprised about his dad having had the idea of decorating for him to come home. He was waiting on the top of the ramp for Darryl to unlock the door but Darryl just nodded, “It is unlocked, go on in!”
Jason was suspicious now, his dad would never leave the door unlocked. He slowly turned the door knob and pushed the door open carefully, not knowing what to expect.
When the door was all the way open Jason was greeted by a loud cheer “Welcome Home Jason” as at least fifteen neighbors stood in the trailer living room holding balloons and banners. Jason spotted Deb and John and there in the middle stood Ariana holding up a huge pink paper heart with “Welcome Home Jason, I love you” written on it. She was smiling at him, their eyes locked and everything was coming together in Jason’s head. He saw her lips forming an “I love you” as he wheeled over the threshold and everyone came up and hugged him and greeted him joyfully.
The trailer was decorated from top to bottom with balloons and banners and glittery things and Jason spotted a huge cake on the kitchen table. As everyone came up to him and he gave out hug after hug and saying “Thank you” and “What a surprise” over and over again, he kept glancing at Ariana who stood over to the side, just smiling. He hugged the neighbor kids who already asked for rides on Jason’s lap which he declined and promised for a later time and he kept looking over at Ariana. He couldn’t wait to wheel over to her and hold her. Darryl stood next to Ariana with his arm around her shoulders and they waited for Jason to finish greeting all the neighbors and once he gave out a last big hug to Deb who was overjoyed to see him home again and people starting chatting with each other, taking their attention from Jason, he put his hands to his rims and wheeled over to the corner where Ariana was standing. Darryl discreetly walked away and smiled at Jason in passing, “Welcome Home son, I am glad to have you back.” Jason glanced at his dad and held his fist up for a knuckle bump.
Ariana stood there like a vision. Her red hair was braided in a single braid draped over her right shoulder. She was barefooted and wore a green summer dress and held the huge pink paper heart in front of her, smiling shyly at him. Jason all the sudden felt a wave of emotions overcome him seeing her there and being home and trying to process the surprise and knowing now why she had to do what she had to do when she had called him. He wheeled up to her and his heart was racing, his hands all the sudden felt sweaty in his gloves.
She set the paper heart to the side and with a smile leaned down to him. He held his arms out for her and as he put his break on quickly she slid onto his lap and slung her arms around his neck, looking at him with her deep emerald green eyes, “Welcome Home baby!”
Jason felt his hands tremble as he wrapped them around her back and pulled her close to him. Instead of falling into a kiss though he buried his face in her hair and neck and let his emotions take over.
He could barely talk and felt tears come up in his eyes, “Ariana...I was so worried….about us…” He swallowed and he tried to somehow keep his tears from flowing, “I was so worried when I didn’t hear from you…yesterday and…today…”
She held him close to her as she felt his body tremble and felt moisture on her neck from his tears. He couldn’t talk anymore and she just held him and whispered in his ear, “Jason, I love you so much….it was so difficult for me to say the stuff on the phone, but now you know why…”
She stroked her hands through his hair some more and felt him nodding. She then took his face into her hands and when he looked up at her, she saw the tears on his face and she couldn’t stop her own tears from forming in her eyes, “I love you so much….”
Jason didn’t care anymore that tears were streaming out of his eyes and he said lowly, “You don’t know how much you mean to me….you are everything to me Ariana…I was so scared these last couple of hours…Ariana, I don’t ever want to lose you. I love you so much.”
He saw a few tears escape from Ariana’s eyes and he moved his hands up to her head and pulled her in for a long kiss, taking in the moment with every sense he had. He held her close to him, his lips on hers, claiming her again, letting his tongue circle around hers and feeling her warmth surrounding him. The salty tears ran over their lips and they didn’t want to let go off each other. Eventually they unlocked their lips, looking into each other’s eyes and just being in the moment.
Ariana smiled and said lowly, “I live here now Jason.”Jason sniffled a little and smiled, “You do?”
She nodded, “Yeah, I moved some things over here yesterday but not everything yet. Darryl helped me last night, I ended up cancelling the job I was supposed to have and we moved some stuff over here. I will have to get the rest some other time.”
Jason really was surprised now and even though overwhelmed with joy also nervous at the revelation he had just heard. His tears had stopped and he said lowly, “So you and my dad are already teaming up against me?”Ariana laughed, “We had to yesterday and today.”
Jason grinned, “Damn, I was ready to kill a person….”
Ariana stroked over his cheek, “I am so sorry I had to do this to you.”
They leaned in on each other again and held an embrace for a few moments until Ariana said softly into Jason’s ear, “We have a cake and you should probably go over there and cut it. I think people are waiting.” Jason glanced over Ariana’s shoulder and saw all the guests happily chatting with drinks in their hands.
He turned back to face Ariana, “I guess so...so, tonight…you are staying here?”Ariana laughed and replied, “Babe, I am going to stay here every night from now on…” She looked at him with a serious expression and asked, “You are o.k. with it right? I thought we made the decision to do this Jason…”
He nodded and said quickly, “Yes, I am o.k. with it…we are going to do this.”
They kissed again and Jason said, “I have to go to the bathroom real quick, I will be right out.”
Ariana scrambled off his lap and Jason wheeled to his bathroom in the back hallway.Ariana walked over to the guests and Darryl came up to her and put his arm around her, “How is he?” She smiled, “I think he is happy. He will be right out.”
A few minutes later Jason came wheeling into the living room. He had taken his gloves off and everyone cheered at him again. Darryl smiled, “Jason, we are ready for that cake…”Jason waved his hand with a smile, “O.k. O.k. I am getting there.”
The guests made room for Jason to wheel into the kitchen to get to the cake. Darryl had a camera ready and as Ariana walked over there with Jason, he shot some pictures. Ariana held her sign in one hand, then one without the sign, just with her on Jason’s lap in front of the cake and another with some of the neighbors around Jason, some with the kids on his laps and the cake by itself, pictures of memories made in those moments of joy. Ariana also pulled out her own phone and took some selfies of her and Jason with the cake and their heads close together smiling into the camera.
Ariana and Darryl had thought of everything for the party, there were drinks, non-alcoholic, alcoholic, finger foods, snacks and chips and paper plates with “Welcome Home” printed on them. Jason wheeled up to the cake and Darryl shot another picture of him with the cake. The cake was decorated with different medical items like a small syringe, a tiny measuring cup, hospital bed, wheelchair and even a small nurse figure was on the cake. The icing was in white and red and there were some red crosses on it.
Jason eventually held a knife and started cutting the large cake while Ariana held the plates out to him and he set one piece after another on the plates and Ariana handed the plates to all the guests. Everyone was happily chatting and celebrating Jason’s coming home with him.
Jason kept glancing at Ariana who was cheerfully passing out the cake to all the neighbors who apparently already knew her and had met her, joking with her and chatting with her. While Jason was still slicing cake pieces, Deb came over and leaned down to him with her arm around him, “Oh my dear Jason, we are so glad you are home and I have to tell you, your girlfriend Ariana is wonderful. She did all of this last minute yesterday.”
Jason looked at Deb and smiled, “Thanks, I am glad to be home again.” Deb squeezed Jason quickly and then got her piece of cake and joined the gathering. Once everyone had a piece of cake Jason set the knife down in the box and wheeled himself backward from the table. He joined Ariana who was chatting with another neighbor.
All the guests stayed for a few hours and everyone had a wonderful time. When Jason parked his wheelchair on the small front porch of the trailer and waved Good Bye as the last guests walked down the ramp, Ariana came outside and joined him quietly.
The trailer was empty again, Darryl was inside cleaning up already and Ariana stood leaning on the door frame when Jason looked over at her. It was dark now and only the porch light was on. He shook his head and she smiled at him, “Why are you shaking your head?”“I don’t know, I was just thinking how I could have doubted what we have. I should have known better than to get mad at you.”
Ariana squatted down, “It’s o.k. You had the right to be mad at me…”
She placed her hands on his knees and they just looked at each other. Jason set his hands on hers and said softly, “Thank you for all of this, it was awesome.”
Ariana smiled at him, “You are welcome.” She leaned over and kissed him quickly and then said, “Let’s go inside.”
Jason let her go in first and then he pushed himself over the threshold again and closed the door behind them, locking it from the inside.
Darryl was in the kitchen as Ariana walked over, “We can get it tomorrow Darryl. You are probably tired.”Darryl turned around, “Well, I guess. I am kind of tired. It is my bedtime.” He laughed.
Ariana added, “I can get it from here and you can go to bed.”
It was almost nine thirty and Jason looked around the trailer. It wasn’t too bad. They could clean it up fairly quickly. Deb had already done some of it before she had even left. Darryl came up to Jason and he looked up at his dad.
Looking at Jason with tired eyes, Darryl said lowly, “I am very glad to have you back home Jay and also happy to have Ariana here. It has been very lonely the last couple of weeks. I was really worried about losing you, son.”
Jason heard how his dad’s words were filled with real emotions and he tried to imagine how it had been for Darryl these last couple of weeks.
He felt somewhat bad and guilty and he nodded, “I am sorry dad. I know it must have been rough for you. It won’t happen again. I know I have to be healthy and be here for you and….” he glanced over at Ariana, who stood leaning on the kitchen counter, holding a dishtowel up to her face, trying to hide her emotions at Darryl’s words.Jason added, “…and be here for Ariana.”
With that Darryl leaned down to Jason and hugged him tight, “I love you son.”
Jason muffled, “I love you dad.”
Darryl let go quickly and gained back his composure, “Well, I will go to bed then, leave you two.” He turned to Ariana, “Ariana, don’t worry about cleaning up, we can do it tomorrow.”
Ariana smiled, “All right Darryl.”
Darryl looked from Ariana to Jason and said Good Night. They replied with Good Night and Jason looked after his dad disappearing into the back hallway to his bedroom. He let his head hang and ran his hand through his hair with a sigh. Ariana stood quietly watching him and when he looked up their eyes met and he put his hands to his rims and wheeled toward her. Ariana felt her heart beat in her neck as she watched Jason wheel closer to her and she took in the moment watching his every move, his hands on his rims, pushing the wheels, seeing the muscles work in his arms, his legs perfectly aligned next to each other, his still feet on the foot rests and she felt so much desire for him and at the same time so much joy to be in his life.
Jason had reached her and looked up at her and gestured with his hand for her to sit on his lap again. She sat down on his lap, felt his bony legs on her butt but it didn’t bother her. Her braid had come undone some during the course of the afternoon and some strands of hair were sticking out of the braid as Jason pushed the braid back. She had wrapped her hands around his neck and they looked at each other.
Jason’s eyes were dark and he looked tired but he said lowly, “I don’t ever want to be in a situation like the last couple of weeks again. I will try everything to stay out of the hospital. I know my dad needs me.”Ariana lowered her eyes and then back up into Jason’s dark eyes, “I need you too.”
Jason didn’t say anything else but pulled her closer at her waist and let his fingers trace over her face. Ariana felt so much longing for him at the moment and she imagined pulling his T-Shirt over his head but she stopped herself.
He said lowly, “I am so glad you are in my life Ariana.”
His hand was stroking over her cheek and she pulled him closer for a kiss. Their lips touched again and they kissed long and hard. Ariana didn’t want it to stop but after a few minutes Jason slowly let his lips unlock from hers. They held each other some more and with his face buried in her neck again he said, “I am really beat now. It was a big day.”Ariana nodded, “It was. We should probably go to bed.”
Hearing her say those words seemed so unreal and at the same time his mind started working on how this was going to be with Ariana right there in the same house and probably planning on sharing his bed with him.
Almost like she could read his mind she said softly, “If you want to go ahead I will pick up a few more things here and then join you in a few minutes.”Jason was relieved and nodded, “O.k.”
She got up from his lap and with one more smile Jason easily spun around on the kitchen floor and then made his way over the carpet in the living room, remembering how he couldn’t wait to get the carpet out one day. Ariana longingly watched him disappear in the hallway. She thought about if she should have asked Jason if he needed help but she didn’t think he would take any help from her just yet and hoped he would be able to manage