The following days were a blur for Shawn. He spent his days in front of the TV, either binge watching shows or playing his Video games. He tried to not think about Trish but it didn’t work too well. He resisted the urge to call or text her. Somehow he felt he needed some other explanation about this “thing” that Trish apparently was. In his head he played over and over all the things she had told him over the last couple of weeks and every way he turned it, he had felt nothing but happiness with her coming into his life. How could it all have seemed so good when apparently it was just some sick game she had been playing with him the whole time?
Remembering the message board Trish was on and recalling the terms “devotee” and “Abasiophilia” it was on Wednesday night when he was on his computer doing some research and coming across quite some information. Somewhere during his research he ended up on the message board again, the place where Trish was merely an avatar named “Paradreams” among others with names like “Wheelsonfire”, “Hotwheels” or “Wheelergirl.
Since Shawn wasn’t signed up as a member he couldn’t access all the sections of the board but he started reading and clicking on some of the public threads that looked interesting. An initial quick glance turned into two hours of Shawn reading up on some of the topics and more and more “Paradreams” didn’t seem so sick and twisted anymore.
Apparently this attraction wasn’t easy to deal with for many and the board served as a platform to exchange fears, worries and dreams about anything to do with disabled men and the women who admired and desired them. Shawn was very intrigued when he read about some member’s long term relationships and even marriages with disabled men and just reading he realized that for some this situation had been a blessing in disguise.
That night he went on his favorite Spinal Cord Injury site and in the “Love and Sex after Injury” section he started typing:
“Hey everyone, T6PacNW here. I know it has been a while but things have been busy with my brother gone out of state for work and hiring an assistant for me just in case. Well, this assistant turned out to be a lot more than I bargained for. Even when I first hated the fact to have someone live in my house it all somehow happened so differently. This woman was a dream come true for any guy and I was totally thrown off with her living here. To make a long story short, she and I became very close and she changed my life so much over a short period of time until I found out some stuff about her. She is on this site for women who are apparently into guys in chairs for whatever reasons. They call themselves “devotees” and I guess there is something called “Abasiophilia”. I was shocked beyond belief and it all turned to total shit within one day…I am not in a good place right now. The girl is gone, I kicked her out but I can’t stop thinking about her, yeah, we became really close, the “L-word” was said…I am just really freaked out at the fact that she possibly just used me for her weird fetish thing. Have any of you guys had any experience with devotee women or whatever they are? I really don’t know anything about it but I want to know what it is and if I maybe overreacted by throwing her out of my life. Did I make a fucking mistake? I need your advice…Peace out!”
Shawn sighed as he pushed the “Send” button.
Shawn sighed as he pushed the “Send” button.
He laid awake for most of the night and at four in the morning he impatiently checked the site again and was surprised to find thirteen replies from guys all over the world. Sentences like:
“Devs are our dreams come true…don’t let her go man.”
“My wife is a dev, she is the best thing that could have happened to me after my whole life turned upside down on that fucking mountain.”
“I only date devs because they know about all the issues I deal with, they don’t freak out when they see a fucking Foley catheter in my pants instead of a hard-on…”
“Devs are heaven sent for dis guys, they are normal women, just a whole lot cooler.
Not all the replies were positive, there were at least four very angry replies talking about how horrible and sick devotees are.
Shawn wanted to only believe the good things the guys wrote about devotees and he read over the positive replies a few more times.
He leaned his head back on the pillow and clicking on Facebook he looked at the pictures of Trish and him again. He clicked on Trish’s profile and it still stated “In a relationship with Shawn Callahan”. She hadn’t thrown him to the curb yet.
Shawn had deleted his relationship status while he was still in the hospital.
Thinking about it more he came to realize that finding out what Trish was scared him more than anything. He was angry but a lot of his anger stemmed from the insecurity in knowing how a woman could be all right with his disability to an extent where it actually turned her on and he felt anything but sexy being paraplegic. He had never ever expected that there could be women who would actually be into him because of his disability. Now it almost felt like he had to live up to some kind of disability hunk image thinking about that his disability did things to Trish he had pushed far away in his mind.
He looked at the pictures and he couldn’t help that somehow he really missed Trish and everything they had had.
He was tempted to write to her but he didn’t. He had not heard from Trish at all.
Trish had spent her past days working and hanging out at her apartment. She was still in shock over the way things had turned out with Shawn. Most of her online friends had suggested she contact him again and try to meet in a neutral location and explain to him what it meant to be a devotee.
She did love him more than his disability or anything else. She loved him as a man and her dreams had come true with Shawn coming into her life. Now she knew she had waited too long to explain her situation to him but she had been so scared he wouldn’t understand.
Shawn was on her mind all day and all night and she tried to figure out what the best approach was to win him back.
Jesse had been trying to call her and she didn’t answer. It was Thursday morning when she was off and her phone announced a call. When she looked at it she saw Jesse’s number again. She didn’t answer and let it go to voicemail. Jesse hadn’t left any messages for her but had texted, she hadn’t replied to him. The phone stopped ringing and a few moments later it announced a voice mail from Jesse and she listened to it:
"Trish, it’s Jesse, again. I know you are getting my calls and texts and I wish you would answer or write to me. You and Shawn are so freaking stubborn, he doesn’t answer me or call me either. I am only getting my updates from my uncle and cousins. I have been so worried about Shawn and also about you. I feel responsible for bringing on all of this. Shawn didn’t want anyone in our house from the start, I pushed it on him and apparently I caused a lot of pain with this now. It is very hard for me to say this but I know Shawn really cares a lot about you and I know he is suffering from whatever happened between you two. I am not sure why you wanted to be with him, I only heard bits and pieces about the fall out and what happened, really no one knows and Shawn doesn’t talk. I just can’t believe it should all end this way. I wish we could talk about all of this once more. Call me or text me please, I still work nights only right now, usually I am in my room at nine in the morning. I go into work at six. Bye!"
Trish’s vision got blurry and tears built up in her eyes again. Jesse’s voice sounded sad and it hurt her to hear him say the things he did.
She really didn’t know what to do and another day and the weekend went by without her texting or calling neither Shawn nor Jesse.
On Monday night when Trish had just gotten out of the shower and was slipping into her pajamas her phone played its ringtone and when she looked at it, the number didn’t look familiar at all. It was an out of state area code.
She decided to answer, “Hello?”
“Hi, could I talk to Trish Brooks?”
“This is her…”
The male voice continued, “Hi Miss Brooks, my name is Captain McIntyre from the California State Patrol.”
Trish sat up on her bed quickly and was very alert, “Yes?”
“Miss Brooks, your contact information was given to us by Ray Covington owner of Cascadia Construction. Jesse Callahan works for the company and was on a project with Cascadia Construction. We also tried to contact a Shawn Callahan but couldn’t get in contact with him yet. You are the next person on Jesse’s contact list. Unfortunately I have some bad news concerning Jesse.”
Trish felt her heart beat speed up, her hands became sweaty holding her phone tightly to her ear, “What is going on?”
“Jesse Callahan was hit by a car early this morning during his work on Interstate 5 between California and Oregon. Jesse was on foot, the driver of the vehicle that hit him apparently suffered from a heart attack and drove right through the construction barriers. The driver died at the scene, the investigation is still ongoing.”
Trish didn’t let the Captain keep talking and cut him off, “Oh my God, is Jesse O.K.?”
Captain McIntyre’s voice was low, “Jesse was air lifted to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon, close to Eugene. The hospital is the closest trauma unit. As far as I know he is in ICU there but I will give you all that information to contact the hospital.”
Trish couldn’t believe what she heard, “What is wrong with Jesse?”
“I can’t give you that information but we do need someone to come down here. Is it correct that Shawn Callahan is Jesse’s brother?”
“We need to get in contact with him, his phone keeps going to voice mail. Is there any way you can contact him and get him in touch with us?”
Trish was shocked at everything she heard and she asked again, “Is Jesse all right?”
“I will give you the information to the hospital, but a family member needs to call them to find out about Jesse’s condition. He is alive, I can tell you that.”
Captain McIntyre didn’t give Trish much more than his phone number and the information to the hospital.
He ended with, “I know Cascadia Construction is also trying to get in touch with Shawn Callahan. So if you can get a hold of Shawn, can you please tell him to call us as soon as possible?”
“Yes, oh my God…what is going on with Jesse?”
“I am sorry Ms. Brooks, I cannot tell you that. Please have Shawn call me as soon as possible. I will stay in touch over the next couple of hours.”
When Trish hung up with the Captain she felt sick to her stomach, it felt like she was having a bad dream.
She kept muttering to herself and without thinking about anything else, she pulled out a tank top and yoga pants and slipped into the clothes, then into some Flip Flops, grabbed her purse and car keys and left out of her room. Katie was still at work and Trish just scribbled a quick note for her, left it on the kitchen table and rushed out to her car.
The whole way out of town, she was breathing quickly, mumbling to herself, mumbling Jesse’s name and talking to herself. She couldn’t grasp what she had just heard, Jesse having been in an accident at work and now in a hospital, possibly fighting for his life, she couldn’t bear the thoughts running through her mind.
Tears started running down her cheeks and she debated to call Shawn, his uncle or cousins on her way but decided she just wanted to get to Shawn’s house as quick as possible.
The city lights disappeared, she was driving on the dark Highway out to Shawn’s house, in town turning out into the woods with the one lane road that turned into a gravel road to their house. It was almost nine o’clock at night and out where Shawn lived it was so much darker than in the city. She drove into the yard of the old rambler and saw the lonely porch light on and a dim light in the living room. The yard was pitch black and she parked as close as possible to the four steps leading up to the porch and front door.
She still had the key to the house but once she stood in front of the door she knocked. Her hands were shaking, she was crying now. She knocked again and heard Shawn’s voice, “Just a moment.”
She imagined Shawn having to get from the couch into his wheelchair and waited for a moment, when she heard him right inside the door, “Who is it?”
She answered with a shaky voice, “Shawn, it’s Trish, please let me in, Jesse has been in an accident.”
The door was unlocked from the inside and Shawn appeared with a worried facial expression. When he saw the tears on Trish’s face he moved over with his wheelchair and she came in quickly, inside turning around and facing Shawn who was still at the door, “Trish, what are you talking about?”
Her tears were streaming now, “Turn on your phone, they tried to call you.”
Shawn wheeled over to the kitchen table with strong pushes and grabbed his phone, turned it on and Trish watched him silently and with shaky hands check his phone and messages. He put the phone on his ear listening to the messages. His left hand was still in a cast and he let his head hang while listening to the message. Trish sat down in the living room on the recliner, wiping her face and watching Shawn who seemed in shock, his bare chest rising up and down quickly. He was only in shorts, his face was unshaven and his hair looked ruffled like he hadn’t really cared to brush through it all day. Trish held her hand to her mouth in fear of what Shawn would find out. He was visibly shaking now as he took his phone off his ear and looking over at Trish with dark and shiny eyes he barely mumbled, “I have to call…a hospital…Springfield”
He was in shock and Trish just nodded with tears streaming down her face. She watched silently as Shawn dialed a number on his phone and with a shaky hand he held the phone to his ear again.
Trish heard him introduce himself with a trembling voice and swallowing nervously in between. He introduced himself again and then listened for a few moments.
Watching Shawn her heart was hurting for him because now he looked so very scared listening to the person on the other line telling him what was going on with Jesse.
Shawn ended the conversation with little words and once he clicked his phone off his head just hung for a moment until he looked up and over to Trish and said very lowly, “He is kept in a semi coma. Suffered a severe blow to the head, broke his right leg in several places, his collar bone, a couple of ribs and bruises and cuts all over his body. He is stable but the head injury is of concern….”
His words faded out and unexpected he pushed the kitchen table forcefully, moving himself away and saying lowly more to himself than to Trish, “Why can’t we catch a fucking break…what the fuck?”
He picked up his phone again, “I have to call Randy.”
Just then his phone rang and he answered it right away and quickly Trish realized he was talking to Captain McIntyre.
Shawn seemed to be engulfed in the news that had just hit him, barely acknowledging her.
Only when she heard him say, “Yes, she is here right now”, he looked over at her and their eyes locked and it seemed for a moment they connected once again.
After Shawn was done talking to Captain McIntyre he repeated, “I have to call my uncle.”
Trish just sat there quietly, tears still rolling over her cheeks, thinking about Jesse now and trying to sort her thoughts and feelings about seeing Shawn again.
On the phone with his uncle, Shawn’s voice trembled as he was telling his uncle what was going on.
Shawn told his uncle about Trish being at the house and it didn’t sound like Randy had any issues with that.
Shawn eventually announced, “I will pack my stuff. See you later.”
He hung up with his uncle and Trish just looked over to him.
Shawn stayed in the kitchen, “I am going to ride down there with my uncle tonight. We should get there in a couple of hours. I have to pack my stuff.”
Trish saw how he wiped over his face and she said softly, “I can help you pack.”
She really had hoped she could take Shawn to Oregon but he didn’t even seem to consider it. He seemed distant but he put his hands to his rims and wheeled over to the living room slowly, and stopped close to her. Trish looked up at him shyly and met his sad eyes, dark and weary on her.
“Thanks for coming out here to tell me about Jesse.”
Trish couldn’t act like nothing was happening and under tears she said lowly, “Shawn, I am…I am so scared. I am going to drive down there too. I can’t bear the thought of something happening to Jesse.”
Shawn lowered his eyes and added, “Well, that makes two of us. It feels unreal...”
He put his hands to his rims and wheeled by her, “I will pack now.”
She watched him disappear into the back hallway and really didn’t know what to say or do. Her tears subsided and as she sat there she thought about the situation and she knew she wanted to drive to Oregon to be there for Jesse too.
Shawn was in his bedroom, gathering some clothes and stuffing everything in a bag on his bed. Trish being at his house felt strange and he didn’t know what to do and how to act. Seeing her again hurt and as much as he wanted to talk to her he just couldn’t, especially now with Jesse in the hospital and everything that was going on.
Apparently Jesse had been hit by an SUV. The driver had suffered a heart attack but there was only little information so far, the investigation at the scene was still going on.
His heart was beating fast and his hands were shaky as he packed his things, he thought about Trish still being out there in his living room. How much had he missed her and how hurt had he been? He had been thinking about her night and day, had barely slept lately, Trish running around in his mind, pondering if he should talk to her about her interests again and what he should do about it.
Just when he took a moment to catch his breath, Trish appeared in his door, “Shawn, do you need my help?”
He was next to his bed and looked up at her. She was beautiful, even without makeup, just in her lounge clothes and not fixed up at all. He felt very raggedy all the sudden, he hadn‘t shaved, he hadn’t really done much over the last few days, he had been too busy falling into his pattern of self-pity again. He hadn’t ate much, drank again and had not felt very healthy lately.
He shook his head at Trish’s question. Trish didn’t leave and stayed there in the door, asking softly, “You want me to leave again?”
He looked away and let his head hang, but didn’t say anything.
Trish added, “I am going to leave for Oregon tonight, I hope it is O.K. that I want to go down there as well to see Jesse. I would appreciate if you keep me updated on what is happening with Jesse and with everything. If you change your mind you can ride with me too. I will probably get on the road about…” she stopped and looked at her phone, then continued, “...probably get on the road about midnight. I should get to Eugene around five in the morning then.”
Shawn looked up again and said lowly, “Yeah, we will probably leave about the same time. I will call you if anything changes or if I hear anything.”
“All right then…are you O.K. here?”
He nodded and Trish remarked, “Well, I may see you tomorrow then.”
She walked away and Shawn stayed put in his spot. Right when she got to the door he came wheeling from the back hallway and called out to her, “Trish?”
Trish turned around with her hand on the door knob, “Yes?”
Shawn’s voice trembled, “I think Jesse would like you to be there too. Drive careful and let me know when you get there.”
She smiled at him, “I will and I hope Jesse will be all right.”
Shawn just nodded and Trish turned the knob, “I will see you down there Shawn.”
She walked out and Shawn watched her close the door and his heart wanted to burst.
He felt overwhelmed with all the things that were going on. He couldn’t believe what had happened to Jesse and he didn’t even want to think about what could still happen. He tried his hardest to keep it together in the face of chaos, fear and worries. His heart was breaking because of Trish, he hated himself for not being able to step out of his stubborn self and he felt like the accident was happening all over again, the feelings he felt almost bringing him down and giving him the feeling of losing his grip on life all over again.
He barely managed to get packed and at eleven his uncle showed up, helped him finish packing and making sure he had everything, and securing the house. Shawn’s cousins Colby, Danny, and Ceci had been informed by their dad and everyone was making plans to go down to Oregon as quick as possible.
Jesse would have had two more weeks left on the job and now he was in a hospital fighting for his life.