Sunday, February 16, 2014

No Strings Attached Chapter 19

 In this chapter Jason finds out some bad news and also gets to know Britt a lot better. Enjoy!


Jason didn’t feel like doing anything on Sunday and even though he felt better and his fever had subsided and his spasms had not gotten worse he still felt tired. He kept thinking about Ariana and how he may have been wrong to just leave the way he did. As many times as he thought it over though, it ended in the conclusion that it was for the better to finish this episode with Ariana because there was no future for them. He remembered how she honestly had told him how much his disability turned her on and how much she wanted him because of it.

How could she have made him such an object of her desire? How could he have fallen for it in his desperation of finding a woman? He felt sick thinking about it and how wrong it all had been. Ariana deserved credit for her honesty but he would not be the guy she could fuck any time she wanted and get wet just seeing him in the wheelchair or his braces. His feeling of sadness turned to disappointment and anger.

Sunday evening Jason was sitting on the small front porch with his dad watching the neighbor kids play in the drive way, cheering them on in a game of dodge ball and chatting with their neighbors. It was a hot evening still and after a while Jason looked over at his dad.

His dad looked tired somewhat and Jason asked him lowly, “Dad, how are you doing?”
“I am doing good son.”
Jason asked him in a serious tone, “You would tell me if there is ever anything going on with your health right?”
At that Darryl looked away quickly and out to the drive way, but didn’t say anything.
Jason felt his heart beat speed up as he asked his dad, “What is going on, dad?”

He knew at that moment there was something going on with his dad and it scared him. Darryl looked down at his hands folded in his lap, and then took a sip from the beer bottle sitting on the small table next to him. He looked up at Jason who looked at him expectantly.

He started lowly, “My labs showed activity again on the cancer cells….”
Jason threw his hands up a bit, “….and…”
Darryl continued, “I am starting Chemo again next week, I already have an appointment.”
Jason swallowed, “What the fuck? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Jay, you were dealing with Ariana and everything, I didn’t want to worry you.”
Jason shook his head, “No dad, no….you have to tell me these things…”
He sounded mad but he also felt a knot in his throat as his dad continued, “The cells have spread to some organs.”
Jason pressed his lips together, taking a deep breath through his nose and shaking his head, “Shit!”
He looked up at his dad and saw his dad’s eyes shiny when he asked, “How bad?”
Darryl shrugged his shoulders, “Bad enough I guess that they wanted to start treatment right away.”
Jason was breathing quickly now and threw his head back, rubbing with his hands through his hair muttering lowly, “Shit, shit, shit!”
Darryl said lowly, “Don’t worry about it too much Jason. It will be all right.”

Jason shook his head and trying to keep control of his emotions. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing from his dad and he felt his body react as he felt almost like air was not getting to his lungs.
Darryl just looked down; he didn’t know what else to say to Jason.

The labs had shown significant activity in the cancer cells, they had spread to his bladder and intestines and they had basically told him at the appointment that treatment had to start right away and if in 3 months there would not be any positive changes with the treatment it didn’t look too good. Darryl was 59 now and he had first been diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 56 he had gone through radiation and Chemo therapy and the cells had gone into remission. Now, 3 years later they obviously had come back with full force. He wanted them to tell him the truth and the way his chances were and they didn’t look too good anymore. The doctor had told him that within the next couple of months it would show if there will be a good chance of another remission or not. Darryl prepared for the worst and looking at Jason at that moment almost broke his heart. He couldn’t imagine leaving Jason behind with his own fate and he was very worried about him. Deep inside he wished so much Jason would find a serious relationship with someone who could keep him going and then it wouldn’t be so difficult to maybe let destiny go its course and maybe leave this world when his time came. Apparently the whole situation with Ariana had ended and Darryl once again had to worry about Jason.

He said softly, “Hey son.”
Jason looked at his dad and Darryl saw Jason’s dark eyes shiny. Jason put his hands to his rims and said without looking at his dad, “I will be back.”
Darryl knew this was Jason’s way of coping and he watched him spin his rims and rolled down the ramp and then along the driveway out of the trailer park. He pushed the rims forcefully to get some speed going.

Jason had to get away from his house, his dad, and from Ariana still in his head. He felt almost like all life was being drained from him by an invisible force. He pushed his rims with full speed and rolled along the sidewalk quickly, pushing and rolling, his muscles working extra hard as he was breathing heavily.
Through his lips he hissed, “Fuck!”

He wheeled along the road and further away from the trailer park and to the outskirts of Junction 8. He ended at the empty playground of the Junction 8 elementary school, parked himself under a tree and tried to keep his emotions in check.  Like a hole was trying to swallow him, Jason felt alone and vulnerable, the emotions almost bringing him down as he tried his hardest to not cry again. What was he going to do without his dad? Why was everything all the sudden seemingly falling apart?

He couldn’t believe he had just heard his dad tell him those terrifying news. Everything seemed like it was coming down on him now. He felt his strength leave him and his arms were shaking from the energy he had used to push his rims hard. A cough took his breath away as he tried to collect himself and pulled out his cell phone tapping and sliding his fingers over the screen, and thinking about who he could call. He thought of Ariana and he missed her so badly that it hurt him tremendously as he came across her number and picture on his display. He had taken a few photos with his phone the times he was with her and the photos appeared on his screen. He was mad and angry at her, at his dad and at his life. His head hung, a few lonely tears were dripping as he came up to Britt’s number which he had programmed into his phone on Friday when they had met on the street.

He pulled up the text option on her number and tapped the letters with his finger, “Britt, hey! Are you there?”
It didn’t take more than 30 seconds and he had a reply, “Hi Jason…happy to hear from you.”
He wiped over his eyes quickly to see his screen clearly and texted, “What are you doing?”
“Not much, I am hanging out at home. What are you up to?”
Jason looked up for a moment, realizing how far out he had wheeled, the elementary school was about two miles from his house.

His hands were still shaking as he typed, “I am actually out by the Junction 8 elementary school….I am having kind of a crappy evening and needed to get away from the house.”
“Oh sorry to hear, what are you doing there?”
“Feeling sorry for myself…J
“Where is your girlfriend?”
“What girlfriend?”
“??? I thought you were with your girlfriend this weekend.”
“First, we never were girlfriend and boyfriend and second, no, I am by myself and that is how it will be unless you want to come out here and pick me up and get me out of my misery….”
“Jason, are you trying to tell me something?”
“Yeah, I want you to come here and go for a drink with me. I need a drink really bad.”
“Oh, is that so?”

Jason actually had been able to collect himself during the texting with Britt and joked, “…really, my arms are like pudding now because I wheeled out here like an idiot at 40 miles per hour and now I am stuck two miles from my house and I don’t have enough strength to get back….I guess I could use a ride back J 
“Well, I see what I can do. J I can be there in about 15 to 20 minutes because I live on the other side of Junction 8….”
“I won’t be going anywhere…”
“O.K. I will be there soon.”
“Good. C u soon.”
 “Laters.”

Jason clicked his phone off and thought about what just happened, but he didn’t care. He needed some company really bad and Britt seemed a good fit for that at the moment. He needed to get his mind off the news his dad had just given him and he needed to forget how messed up everything was with Ariana. He sat under the tree when his phone played its song announcing an incoming call.
 
Jason saw his dad’s picture on the display and answered, “Yes dad.”
Darryl’s voice sounded concerned, “Jay, tell me you are o.k.!”
Jason looked down and answered lowly, “Yes, I am o.k. dad. I needed to get away for a bit…..I am sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry, I just want to know you are o.k.”
“I am o.k., I am going to get a drink with a friend of mine.”
“Which friend?”
“Her name is Britt, she is a girl I met a couple of days ago. I will be home later.”
“O.k." There was a small pause, then Darryl added, "Jason?”
“Yes dad?”
“We can do this you know, we can make it through this shit again….you hear me.”
Jason took a deep breath and replied lowly, “I hope so.”
“We will. I will see you later.”
 “O.k. dad.”
 “Bye son.”
“Bye dad.” Jason tapped the end call button and sighed.

About 20 minutes later Jason saw Britt’s car pull up in the empty parking lot of the elementary school and he saw her get out of the car and look around for him.

He called out to her, “Britt, I am over here.”
Britt waved and came jogging over as Jason got ready to wheel toward her.
In her sprint she laughed and called, “What on earth brought you out here? Did you go to school here?”

As she came closer Jason realized again how she was definitely attractive. Different than Ariana but nice looking in a tomboyish way, her brunette hair up in a ponytail flapping as she walked up.

He said with a smile, “No, I actually went to school in Northern Cali.”
Britt laughed, “I went to school here….”

She stopped in front of him, looking at him with glowing eyes, obviously happy to see him, “Hi!”
Jason smiled, “Hi Britt.”
They smiled at each other and Britt said, “Well, out of all places I didn’t expect to meet you again here at the Junction 8 elementary school…I was hoping you would come by the gas station sometime again.”

Jason looked down smiling. He was hoping there were no traces of his break down on his face from earlier but Britt saw how his eyes looked shiny still.

Jason realized her curious look at him and said quickly, “So when did you go to school here, like 2 years ago?”
Britt laughed with him, “No…..I am not that young you know.”
“Well, you look like it…”
“I am 25, thank you!”
Jason smiled, “O.k., I feel really old now, I am freaking 31.”
Britt laughed, “Oh my God, YOU are old!”

Jason fell into the laughter with her.
Britt leaned on the tree and her expression turned serious, “So what’s going on with you?”
Jason looked down for a moment, then up at her, “Just a really bad weekend…”
“What is going on with the girl you were with? Is she out of the picture?”
Jason nodded with a pain in his heart, “Yeah, I should have never started anything with her. I am totally single….”
Britt smiled, “Me too.”
Her expression turned serious again, “She was stupid to let you go.”
Jason shrugged his shoulders, “I guess I let myself go.”

They were quiet for a moment, until Britt picked up the word again, “I was just about to have a drink and dinner at my place when you texted….do you still want to have that drink?”
“You just left everything to come out here?”
She nodded, “It’s all right, you sounded like you needed a shoulder to cry on…”
Another smile brushed over her face.

Jason realized she was asking him to her place and almost like Britt sensed something she said, “There is a ramp into my house, I live in a rambler with my sister.”
He was surprised at her direct approach and answered, “O.K. sounds good.”
“Let’s go then, you will have that drink at my place.”
Jason didn’t object even though he was a bit intimidated by Britt’s candor. She smiled at his obvious surprise, “What is it? You don’t have to be scared of me.”
Jason shook his head, “I am not scared of you.”
Britt laughed, “Well, you better be.”

She jumped light footed in front of him. Jason wheeled over the grass, which was somewhat rough and then over onto the path to the parking lot where Britt’s Kia was parked. He glanced up at Britt in front of him. She wore jeans shorts and a tie dye tank top in all different colors. On her feet she wore plain Flip Flops. She definitely had a very nice toned body, her legs tanned nicely and naturally. At her car Jason wheeled around to the passenger side and Britt stood next to him, “Can you get in there?”
Jason nodded, “Yeah, I got it.”

He opened the door and Britt stayed right there watching him. Jason looked up at her shyly. He felt odd when people were watching him transfer. He had had incidents of actually not making it because he was nervous with people watching.
Britt smiled, “Can I watch?”
Jason was thrown off by her open curiosity but also felt better being open about everything than secretive or shy.
He smiled, “If I fall out of your car, can you just pick me up and stuff me back in?”

Britt laughed. Obviously Jason was a bit of a joker. He made the transfer quick and easy and Britt insisted on watching him fold up his chair so she could stash it into the back seat, “That is cool how easy the chairs fold nowadays.”

Jason didn’t miss her comment sounding like she knew about wheelchairs and nodded as he adjusted his legs in the car. Britt came around to the driver’s side, started her car, and they were off.

Jason asked, “So you live on the other side of town?”
“Yeah…”

Jason didn’t have his back pack on him and knew he couldn’t stay for too long without his stuff. His backpack had all the things he needed in it, catheter, meds, water and change of clothes. He always had his back pack stocked with everything he would need in case of an emergency. He had not thought about his back pack when he left the house impulsively a while ago and now he was worried about possibly needing his stuff.

He looked over at Britt, “Britt, I got one little problem…”
Britt looked at him concerned, “What is it?”
“I usually have my back pack with all my supplies in it…I kind of left my house in a bout of…well, frustration and didn’t bring it. I didn’t plan on staying gone long and I also didn’t plan to wheel half way across Nevada in my outburst….but I did and I also texted you and now you are taking me away to the other side of town…”
He smiled at her and Britt replied, “Do you rather want me to take you home?”

Jason didn’t really want to hear about her taking him home but he did feel worried about being gone too long without being able to cath.
He replied, “Not really but it depends on how long the drink at your place will take…”
Britt smiled, “It won’t be an all-nighter if that is what you are getting at, I have to work tomorrow.”
Jason decided he would be o.k. until about 10 o’clock, which would make his last cathing be 5 hours away, “I will be all right if I will be at home at latest 10…”
Britt laughed, “O.K. Cinderella.”

Jason looked at her from the side and admired how pretty she was, without any kind of makeup and an open smile. Britt pulled out of the parking lot and went on her way toward her house across town.

She asked with her eyes on the road, “You don’t drive then Jason?”
“No, I would like to but I need to get the money together to get a car with hand controls. My dad has a small pickup truck.”
“You live with your dad?”
Jason nodded and said lowly, “Yeah.” He remembered the painful conversation with his dad.
Britt asked, “Is that why you had to get out of there a while ago?”
Jason answered lowly, “Kind of, we didn’t have a fight or anything but my dad told me some stuff that upset me.”
Britt said, “Sorry! Are you all right again?”
“Yeah, I guess…”
“So, where is your “not-girlfriend”?”
“I don’t know…”
“What happened?”
Jason shook his head a little, “Long story.”
Britt said softly, “Well, you did tell me some of it already when you first came into the gas station.”
Jason nodded and smiled, “I did, didn’t I? Is it o.k. if I don’t want to talk about it right now?”
Britt replied, “Of course it’s o.k.”
She looked over at Jason and he met her eyes and they both looked away quickly.

After about 20 minutes they pulled up to an older brick rambler on the other side of Junction 8. It looked kept up and taken care of. Britt parked in front of the double garage and got out. Jason waited for her to help her with his chair out of the back seat. He had the passenger door open already and Britt said with the wheel chair in her hands, “Can I unfold it?”
Jason smiled, “Be my guest.”

He watched Britt how she quickly unfolded the wheelchair and was amused at her enthusiasm.
She sat it up in front of him, “Here you go sir; your ride is ready.”

She laughed again and Jason couldn’t help smile at her cheerful attitude. It was almost contagious and he was glad now that he followed his gut instinct and had texted her earlier in his misery. Something told him she was good for him. He had remembered her friendliness and smile from when he met her the two times before and she had made him feel good. Jason transferred into his chair with Britt standing by. He kept his eyes down but he managed a graceful transfer.

She smiled at him, “Come on.”
Jason followed her toward the door as Britt said, “This is my humble home. I live here with my younger sister, she is 22.”

When they came up to the door Jason saw the ramp over the two entrance steps up to the door and he wondered why the ramp was there.

Britt went up and stood by the door watching Jason, “Can you make it up?”
He wheeled up to the ramp, it was wide enough for his chair. It wasn’t too difficult and he was up and next to Britt. He stayed behind Britt and wheeled into the house after her.
It smelled like food.
Britt said, “We are having Fajitas tonight.”

She closed the door behind Jason and he stopped inside the house. To his relief the whole house was carpet free and had a nice wood floor.

A moment later a young woman smiling came out from the back hallway and Britt introduced her, “Chelsea, this is Jason.”
Chelsea looked almost like Britt, just with curly hair and she came up to Jason and held her hand out, “Hi Jason, nice to meet you.”
Jason shook her hand, “Hi Chelsea, likewise.”
Chelsea said, “Dinner is done, if you are hungry, you are welcome to join us, Jason."
Jason looked at Britt, “Only if you guys have enough.”
Britt smiled, “We have enough. Chelsea’s boyfriend will be here soon too. Come on into the dining room.”
Jason followed Britt with an ease over the floor he enjoyed, “I like your floor in here. It makes things really easy for me.”
Britt turned to him, “I bet. What kind of floor do you have in your house?” “
“Except for the kitchen and bathrooms we have freaking carpet in our trailer; we need to take it out sometime.”
At the dinner table Britt pulled out a chair without a word and turned to Jason, “Here you go.” Jason nodded a thanks to her, pulled in with his chair and put on his break.

The girls got the table set up and Britt asked Jason, “Do you want a soda, beer, wine or something stronger?”
“I’ll take a beer.” Britt brought a Corona from of the fridge and handed it to Jason, “Is this all right for you?”
He nodded, "Thanks."

Chelsea sat across from Jason and held her hand out for his plate so she could put some food on it. Jason thanked her and while he fixed his Fajita, Chelsea asked like it was the most normal thing, “So you are paraplegic, Jason?”
Jason looked up from Chelsea to Britt, then back to Chelsea and nodded, “Ah, yeah….”
Chelsea smiled and asked furthermore, “What is your injury level?”
Jason was even more surprised now, “I am a T-5 complete.”
Chelsea nodded and Britt laughed, “Yeah, my sister is not nosy at all….”
Jason smiled, “No, it’s cool.”
Britt asked after a little while, “Jason, you said you went to school in California?”

He nodded and started telling Britt about where he was from and where he went to school in Northern Cali. He ended up telling her in short how he came to Vegas. He ended his story with the accident and at his present life.
Britt and Chelsea had been listening attentively and Chelsea asked him, “Are you dealing o.k. with your paraplegia?”
Jason was surprised at Chelsea’s interest in his disability and when Chelsea saw his questioning eyes she said with a smile, “I am going to school to become a physical therapist and I want to work with SCI patients one day.”
Now Jason realized where her curiosity stemmed from and he replied, “Oh, I see.”

He didn’t know if that was a good thing because for him physical therapy had never been a good thing, it was a very desperate and sad time for him because it had made it clear to him through all the therapy that he would never walk again and realizing the things he was not able to do anymore and even though everyone had been great and wonderful, physical therapy for him was not a good memory.

Chelsea didn’t say anything else; she seemed to sense his emotions on the topic. They went back to eating and eventually Jason asked Britt where they were from. It turned out Britt was born and raised in Las Vegas; her parents still lived outside of Vegas in a town called Henderson. Britt also had another sister and a brother there too, already married and with kids. From her telling she sounded like a really nice young woman and Jason felt good being around her. The two sisters were joking around and seemed very grounded and sincere. A couple of times through the joking Britt touched Jason’s arm playfully.

After a while there was a noise at the door and once the door opened a young man appeared in it and Jason was stunned to see him in a wheelchair. He closed the door, laughed and greeted the girls and eyed Jason curiously for a moment when he spotted him there at the table. Quickly Jason realized that the young man was Chelsea’s boyfriend as he wheeled up to her swiftly and they kissed.
Then he turned to Jason and said with a smile, “So, Hi….I am Micah, Chelsea’s boyfriend.”
Britt took the word and introduced Jason, “Micah, this is my friend Jason.”

Micah reached out to Jason and they shook hands, Jason still a little surprised at Micah’s apparent disability.
Micah smiled at Jason, “Man, these girls have a thing for guys in chairs….”
Jason glanced at Britt, she just smiled and Micah continued, “I am T-2 incomplete…what about you?”
Jason answered and Micah nodded his expression turning more serious. 
He then spun around toward the table and asked with a smile, “What’s for dinner?”

Chelsea answered him cheerfully. Jason was quiet and still somewhat nervous at Micah’s showing up. He hadn’t really been around any other para guys since rehab and he didn’t go to any support groups in the city so seeing Micah had touched him strangely. Micah looked over at Britt and Jason and asked toward both of them where they had met and Britt took the word and told Micah.

Micah smiled and then turned to Jason, “Chelsea and I met in a rehab center over on the West Side. She was doing like an internship there or something, right baby?”

Chelsea explained how they had met while her boyfriend started eating.  Jason found out that Micah had only been inured about a year ago. He had been in a car accident, caused by his friend driving drunk. He was only 23 years old. Micah seemed totally o.k. with his situation though and of course he meeting Chelsea had been a wonderful coincidence for him.
He laughed, “Now, I am like her guinea pig with all her tests and exams, she makes me do all these exercises and stuff man.”

Britt met Jason’s eyes and smiled at him. Jason envied how Micah seemingly dealt with his disability like it was the most normal thing in the world. After dinner Chelsea and Britt cleared the table and the guys wheeled over to the living room area with a beer in between their thighs.

Micah looked over at Jason, “So, T-5 complete kind of sucks, don’t it?”
Jason nodded and said lowly, “Well, it starts like in the middle and I have no sensation whatsoever below T-5.”
Micah drank a sip, “I still have some sensation, man, like when I have to go to the bathroom, which is great.”
Jason was jealous, “That is great…”
Micah added, “I have some braces and I can walk a little in them.” 
Jason told Micah about his braces but how he still had a hard time walking with them.
Micah laughed a little, “Chelsea makes me practice my walking in the braces all the time so I guess I am fairly good at it but sometimes I am just too lazy…that’s when I prefer my hot rod…”
Jason said lowly, “You seem like you adjusted very well.”
“I had no choice man…I had no choice.” Micah looked at Jason with a serious expression.

They talked a little bit more and Micah told Jason that he was in college, getting his bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Jason told Micah about his job and his life a little. Eventually Chelsea and Britt were done in the kitchen and Chelsea came over to the guys and wriggled on Micah’s lap, “You guys seem to get along?”
Micah laughed, “Heck yeah, we paras have to stick together….”
He held his fist out for a knuckle bump. Jason smiled and knuckle bumped him.
Chelsea said with a smile, “Well, I am very glad to have met you Jason and it would be nice to see you around some more. I am sure Britt wouldn’t mind.”
Jason just smiled.
With that Micah said, “Well, same here…I am happy we met and if you ever want to hang out or anything give me a call or text. I have a car by the way.”
Jason replied, “That is really cool. Thanks Micah.”
They exchanged their numbers and then Micah wheeled off with Chelsea on his lap and they disappeared in the back hallway.

Jason looked over to Britt in the kitchen finishing up and she called over, “I will be right there. Just turning on the dishwasher.”

A moment later she came over with a beer in her own hand and she sat down on a recliner  close to Jason, pulling up her legs in a criss cross position. Jason smiled at her and Britt held out her bottle to him for a cheer. Jason tapped her bottle with his and they drank.

He looked down and Britt said softly, “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I am a lot better than two hours ago.”
He paused and then added softly, “I see you ladies have some experience with guys like me around.”
Britt nodded, “Yeah, Chelsea and Micah met like two weeks into his rehab, so it was about 2 months after his accident. They are inseparable and Chelsea actually had dated a guy in a chair before during High School.”
Jason looked down, “Really? How about you?”
Britt laughed, “Nah, you are my first…” She laughed, and then added, “I have always dated other guys; usually jerks….that is a different kind of a disability too.”
Jason had to laugh with her.
Britt looked at him and smiled, “So, what was going on with you earlier…at the school? You want to talk about it?”
Jason shook his head and sighed, “I don’t know…”
“What is going on with your dad?”

Jason took a sip and then told her nervously about his dad’s cancer coming back and how everything had been with his dad and him the last couple of years.
Britt said at the end of Jason’s story, “So you are devastated now?”
Jason nodded and drank again.
Britt said softly, “What about her?”
Jason shook his head, “I really don’t know…”

Britt felt very attracted to Jason but she knew that there was another woman in his life and even though he didn’t admit it, she knew that he felt a whole lot for her and Britt didn’t want to get too attached to him. She had been very surprised when he had texted her but she knew it was an impulse he had reacted on  in his mood earlier, feeling bad and sad, her probably just happening to be on his phone in the top portion of his telephone directory.

She said softly, “What do you mean you don’t know?”
Jason looked down, “It’s complicated I guess….”
Britt took a breath and said softly, “Do you love her?”

At that Jason looked up surprised but thought about the question for a moment.
He let his head hang again and then answered very lowly, “I think so.”
Britt had feared exactly that answer, “What about her? Does she love you?”
“I don’t know…she doesn’t want a relationship and she has a weird job…”
Britt sat up curiously, “What kind of job?”
Jason hesitated, not sure if he should tell Britt about Ariana’s job. She waited for his answer and finally he replied lowly, “She is an….escort.”
With surprise on her face Britt replied, “Wow….that sucks!”
Jason laughed a little sarcastically, “Yeah, kind of…not sure how I actually can live up to that.”
For a moment it was quiet between them until Britt said softly, “You shouldn’t have to live up to anything and that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you or care for you on a deeper level.”
“Britt, I am so sorry I dragged you into this, I shouldn’t have texted you.”
Britt drank from her beer, and then said, “Well, you did and I am really glad you did but of course devastated to realize I am staying in the friend zone….”

With a small laughter Britt tried to lighten the moment and Jason looked up at her, realizing how she must be feeling, “Britt, I am so sorry…I am really kind of in a weird situation right now with everything going on, I don’t know what I was thinking with texting you.”
Britt was calm, “It is o.k., don’t worry about it. If I can’t be your girl I want to be your friend at least.”
Jason shook his head, “Saying this you are definitely a very special girl….”
Britt laughed and then said softly, “You know it’s cool, I am o.k. I have just gone through a very nasty break up I am still dealing with it somewhat and I am o.k. with being your friend. You are a very attractive guy nonetheless and I will still lust after you every time I see you but I am cool with this. I want to hang out with you and you are welcome here anytime. I know Micah is going to call you, because one way of dealing with his disability is helping other guys overcome their anger, self-pity and frustration at their new found life. He is going to be all over you….”

Jason joined Britt in laughter, “So you think I may be a good candidate for Micah?”
“I don’t know but I sense that you are not exactly a happy camper with being a T-5 complete paraplegic.”
Jason said lowly, “You are right. I am angry sometimes…”
They smiled at each other and Jason realized once again how pretty Britt was, “Britt, I bet you have guys knocking on your door all the time.”
Britt looked down a bit embarrassed, “I take that as a compliment….Thanks!”
Jason added, “I want to hang out with you guys too. You seem like you got it together and I probably need someone like Micah to kick my para butt. I haven’t been around any other paras; I have been trying to avoid them just so I don’t have to be reminded of my own mess. It may not be so bad though to have Micah around.”
Britt smiled, “He is a very positive guy considering the whole situation.”
Jason sighed, “He is too damn young to be like this now.”
“Are you an angry guy right now?”
He looked up and had to smile at her, “I am….” He took a breath and said, “I mean one moment you are in the prime of your life, everything is good, the next you are done and will never walk again along with all kinds of health issues, just takes a second and one crack in one of those vertebrae in your back and you are done. It just sucks.”
Britt added, “Yeah, it sucks but it won’t help to ride on it forever. I think you still got a lot going for you Jason and things will work itself out, with your dad and ….Ariana.” 
They tapped each other’s bottles again and after a sip Jason said, “I should probably get home.”
Britt shifted in her recliner, “I will take you.”

About 20 minutes later they sat in Britt’s car going back to the opposite side of Junction 8 and back to Jason’s house. In the car Britt asked Jason when he would have to work again and he told her and also found out that she took college classes three nights a week and every other weekend working towards her Medical Assistant Certificate. She was already in the possession of a Certified Nurse’s Assistant license.

Jason said, “So, you guys are all into the health careers then?”
“I guess you can say that.”
They were quiet for a little while and then Jason said, “Britt, I just want to tell you thanks again for coming out when I texted you and inviting me to your house, it was very nice and I want to hang out again soon.”
Britt asked softly, “What about Ariana?”
Jason sighed and replied, “I just have to let some time go by and maybe things will work itself out, I don’t know. Right now it is better for me this way, not seeing her and all….especially now with my dad starting Chemo again; it will be pretty rough for us so I really don’t have time for all the drama and the….pain. I will have enough to deal with my dad being sick.”
“If you need just anything, Jason, please let me know and I am happy to help you out with whatever is needed.”
“I appreciate that a whole lot.”
Britt wasn’t shy to admit, “So if things with Ariana won’t work out, am I in?”
She smiled at him and he nodded shyly smiling. 

Britt pulled up into the trailer park and drove along the driveway slowly until Jason told her to stop in front of his trailer, “It is right here.”
“O.k.”
She put her car in Park and smiled over at Jason.
Jason sat there and asked lowly, “Was it wrong to text you tonight?”
Britt put her hand on Jason’s knee, he saw her hand but he didn’t feel it, “No, it wasn’t wrong Jason, I am really glad you did, so don’t worry about that anymore. Let’s get together again soon.”
Jason nodded, “Definitely. I will call or text you.”
“I hope so.”
Britt smiled at him and for a moment they looked at each other and it was a little awkward.  Jason felt his hands tremble. He didn’t know if he should hug Britt or even give her kiss. Eventually he said, “Well, I guess I need to go before I do something stupid.”

Britt laughed and got out of the car to hand Jason his chair. He had opened the passenger door and she quickly unfolded his wheelchair and Jason thanked her and then transferred into his chair.

He looked up at Britt again, “Thanks for this evening; I really had a good time with you guys.”
“Good, I am glad you were with us.”
“I will call you….”
“O.K., see you around Jason and like I said, if you need anything let me know. Chelsea or Micah would be glad to help out anytime as well.”
“Thanks so much!”
Britt then leaned over to Jason and gave him a quick kiss on his cheek, which left him surprised.

Without giving him a chance to say or do anything she then hurried around to the driver side, called Good Bye and started her car. Jason stayed at the bottom of his ramp and watched her turn around in a drive way and then leave out the trailer park. He waved after her and took a deep breath before he put his hands to his rims and wheeled up the ramp to the front door. It was dark now, crickets were chirping and from somewhere Jason heard a TV out of a trailer. The front door was unlocked as he opened it and pushed himself over the threshold.

His dad sat in his recliner in the living room and looked over at Jason, “Hey Jay.”
Jason knew he had been waiting for him to get back home. He closed the door behind himself and locked it, “Hey dad.”
He wheeled over toward his dad and with his head down said, “I am sorry I took off like a crazy person a while ago.”
His dad shifted and said warmly, “No big deal…I understand, son. I am sorry I had to give you those news.”
“I am glad you did, I want to know all this stuff. Don’t try to keep stuff like that from me, o.k.? I can handle it dad.”

Darryl nodded. He asked Jason where he had been and Jason told him about Britt and her family. After a while he went to the back and decided to get ready for bed. He was tired and exhausted from all the emotions his dad’s news had stirred in him. He took his time in the bathroom and eventually wheeled back into the living room just in lounge pants.

Darryl had dozed off on the recliner and Jason said softly, “Dad, maybe you should go to bed.”
His dad shifted startled, “What? Oh, did I doze off?”
Jason nodded, “Yeah!”

It was after 11 o’clock now and soon thereafter they were both in their beds. Jason was playing around on his phone a little bit still, sitting up in his bed, leaning on the headboard with a pillow behind him. Just when he went on Facebook once more all the sudden the Chat window opened and Ariana came on, “Jason, are you there?”
Jason felt his heart beat quicken and his hand shaking as he thought about responding or not. After a moment Ariana wrote, “I guess you may not be there…hope you are doing o.k.. I just got home from a job tonight and getting ready for bed now.”
He wanted to send her a message but then again he fought against his feelings and didn’t write anything. Ariana sent another message, “Jason, I miss you and I can’t stop thinking about you. I wish we could make this work somehow.” 

He saw the green dot go away from Ariana’s name and with that knew she was now offline. He swallowed and took a deep breath. On Ariana’s profile he saw she had posted a picture of the both of them at the Venetian. Under the picture her caption read, “Me and my sweet friend Jason”. 

He looked at the picture for a little bit and felt so much pain. Now she had pinned him as a friend to the rest of the world on Facebook.  With that he became angry and turned his phone off.  He threw it on the night table and pushed his body down into the bed, adjusting his legs, breathing heavy and then plopping with his head onto the pillow. It took him a while to fall asleep as he couldn’t stop thinking about Ariana and also Britt and the evening with her at her house, meeting her sister Chelsea and Micah, who seemed very content with his paraplegia and how the two of them were so much in love.

8 comments:

  1. Superb chapter! I really enjoyed the new characters, too. It's wonderful how the story is evolving and how all the characters have a fascinating back-story.

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  2. Boy am I hooked!

    Ariana better commit soon! Britt is sounding too good for Jason to pass up...........

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  3. Yay! Love the Britt story line. I'm over Ariana, she makes me mad. Great writing, you've got me thinking about these characters as real people! Thank you for posting this story :-)

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. It makes me especially happy to read about the characters feeling like real people because that is my intent, to have a story that could be happening right around the corner, I do enjoy real life love...:-)

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  4. Great chapter. I'm liking Britt more and more.

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  5. Thanks so much for your comments, I do appreciate them from the bottom of my heart

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  6. I still like Ariana’s! See's struggling with a lot of demons. Love your story!

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  7. Sad but interesting chapter with 2 new characters. Britt seems better for Jason and Micah good as a new friend who could cheer him up a little bit.

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