Without waiting for a reply he walked into the room and over to the bed, repeating lowly, “Shawn, hey! Do you want to send me off today? I have to leave around noon.”
Shawn opened his eyes slowly and blinked towards Jesse, asking, “What time is it?”
“It’s nine o’clock, just thought I wake you up so we can still hang out a bit before I have to leave.”
At that moment Shawn remembered what he had witnessed the night before.
He opened his eyes some more and scanned Jesse with a serious expression, checking if he looked somehow different. Jesse smiled as always, looking tall and handsome in a white T-Shirt, blue jeans and towering over Shawn’s bed. It was really no surprise Trish couldn’t resist him.
Jesse added, “Well, I will let you wake up. Trish is making breakfast for us, she can really whip up a delicious omelet.”
Shawn didn’t respond and Jesse walked out. He stayed in his bed for a moment longer, hearing Trish and Jesse talking and laughing in the kitchen. He really didn’t feel like facing them but he knew he had no choice. Feelings of pain and anger toward both of them still lingered but he knew it was wrong of him to feel that way. Whatever happened between Trish and Jesse had nothing to do with Trish being his personal assistant and Jesse being his brother. He had no right to be mad at them. If they were attracted to each other they had every right to be together in any way they pleased even if it was just for casual sex. His mind was racing as he was trying to sort his feelings concerning the situation.
The more he thought about it the more he recognized it was the fact that Trish had chosen Jesse over him and in his opinion the reason was apparently his disability. No matter how much Jesse had done for him over the last couple of months and how much he had tried to help Shawn cope, always staying positive, always trying to motivate him, Shawn had felt the constant pain about being the one who had screwed things up and was now standing in Jesse’s shadow forever.
Sometimes he was resentful at Jesse’s mobility and his life and he had bound Jesse to himself with the underlying purpose that Jesse had to suffer through it with him and if he couldn’t have fun anymore, Jesse shouldn’t either. He knew Jesse was done with that, he was disconnecting himself from Shawn more and more. It scared Shawn more than anything to metaphorically having to stand up for himself, coming out of the dark hole he had dug and seeing Jesse climbing out of it but instead of lending Shawn a hand, he was only letting down a ladder for him to climb.
While he laid there thinking about these things, fear and sadness tried to sneak up on him and by pushing himself up to a sitting position he tried to shake off the negative feelings. He had to pull himself together and give Jesse the send-off he deserved, confirm to Jesse that he would be O.K. and manage back here with Trish while he was working and not having to worry about leaving Shawn behind. He felt wobbly sitting up and steadied himself with his hands. He used his knuckles on his left hand with the cast.
His chair was right next to the bed and with his hands he pushed his legs over the side of the bed and then let gravity work to slide his butt over to the edge so he could transfer into his chair.
Just as he plopped into the chair Trish appeared in his door frame and he was embarrassed as she had witnessed his somewhat clumsy transfer.
Trish lowered her eyes quickly, “I’m sorry Shawn.”
He felt awkward, “It’s O.K.” He paused and felt like he needed to explain, “It’s kind of complicated with my broke wrist right now…the transfers.”
She nodded, “I was just …I wanted to see if you’d like an omelet?”
Shawn felt somewhat exposed with Trish standing there and looking shyly at him from under her bangs. He sat there with his naked upper body, only in lounge pants and with bare feet.
Trish felt her hands get sweaty and her knees get weak seeing Shawn like this. His upper body and arms showed various tattoos and she could make out his muscular arms and pectorals. His dark hair fell around his face a bit chaotic, he had just gotten out of bed after all and he seemed nervous too.
Trying not to stare at him too much she asked lowly, “What do you like in your omelet?” Shawn thought for a moment and then replied, “Just surprise me.”
She nodded with a smile, “O.k., I can do that.”
Shawn couldn’t help checking her out as well. He realized again how good looking Trish was. She was also still in her sleep shorts and the tank top from the night but covered somewhat with a white fluffy looking robe and matching fluffy slippers.
He tried not to think about what had happened the night before between her and Jesse but he couldn’t help feeling envious of Jesse, who had gotten so much more of her than he probably ever would.
Trish added, “Do you need help with anything?”
He looked at her surprised, “Ahm...no…no, I am O.K.”
It was unimaginable to him how she would ever help him with anything and in his mind he plotted how he would make it his ultimate challenge to use Trish’s help as little as possible even if he had to struggle with some things. He was still terrified.
With a stutter he added, “If I need help…I can have…Jesse…help me.”
Trish looked at him earnestly, “He is leaving today Shawn…” she paused and took a breath, “You know we have to do this, right?”
He lowered his eyes nodding and bit his lips, then saying very lowly, “I know.”
Trish smiled warmly, “Well, I will get that omelet started for you.”
Shawn placed his hands on his rims and wheeled out of his room behind Trish and into the bathroom. With the cast on his hand it was difficult for him to wriggle his pants over his butt and off his legs. Assistance would have been good but he wanted to try to get it himself especially in the morning when he not only had to slip off his sleep pants but also the incontinence briefs.
The accident had left him without the sensation of when he had to urinate and even a bowel movement could sneak up on him at any time. He had tried to go without wearing protective underpants at night but when on a couple of occasions he actually woke up in a soaking wet bed he had to accept the painful truth that he definitely had to wear the adult incontinence briefs at night if he wanted to avoid the mess.
Many times during the day and when he knew he would be gone for longer he usually also slipped on incontinence briefs under his jeans. Public restrooms were not always accessible and sometimes there was no way for him to catheterize. His doctor had suggested using an indwelling catheter but Shawn had declined this method so far.
The bowel program was an even bigger deal and usually he would try to use the toilet every other morning, sometimes with the help of an enema or a laxative the night before, sometimes manually stimulating his anus to trigger a bowel movement.
The issues of the bowel program and the catherization were the most challenging and hardest to deal with for him and just the thought of Trish being somehow involved in any of it gave him chills. It was no question for him that he would not involve Trish in any of these issues.
After he had emptied his bladder in the bathroom and struggled to get his pants pulled up again he washed his hands and face quickly, brushed his teeth, brushed through his hair and then rolled out to the kitchen where Jesse was eating at the table and Trish stood at the stove apparently preparing his omelet.
Jesse looked up, “Hey Shawn, you’re up.”
Shawn didn’t say anything and maneuvered his chair over the carpet and rolled up to the table.
Trish announced without taking her eyes from the stove, “It’s almost done.”
Coffee and Orange juice were on the table. Shawn took a mug and poured himself some coffee.
Jesse looked at him, “You could have put a shirt on, man! We have a lady in the house now.”
Shawn looked at Jesse without a care and then over at Trish, who at that moment turned around and looked at him, “It’s O.K. for me.”
Shawn shrugged his shoulders, looking at Jesse, “See…no big deal for her!”
The TV was running in the living room, showing a car race.
After a few minutes Trish placed the omelet in front of Shawn, “Here you go, enjoy!” Shawn thanked her as Jesse remarked, “Her omelet is great.”
Trish asked Shawn, “Do you want some toast with it?”
Shawn wasn’t used to a woman cooking in their house and tending to him, it felt strange but he nodded, “Yeah, sure.”
Momentarily a freshly toasted slice of bread was next to his plate.
Trish then sat down with them and Jesse turned off the TV, getting an annoyed look from Shawn, “I was watching that.”
He took another bite from his omelet, then looked over at Trish, “It is very good. Thanks!”
He felt strange looking at Jesse and Trish and knowing they had bonded in a very close way the night before and he was fighting the emotion of being the odd one out but he was wondering if it had been just sex or if they felt more for each other. They acted like nothing had happened, not aware that he actually knew exactly what had happened.
Jesse started lowly, “Well, we need to talk about stuff, Shawn!”
Shawn looked at him chewing and asking with a full mouth, “What stuff?”
That’s when Trish turned to him, “About the things I can assist you with and about your meds and everything else.”
Shawn stopped chewing and looked at her questioning, “What about all of that?”
Jesse said in a serious tone, “About you possibly needing Trish to help you in the morning with your bathroom routine and showering, which could be problematic with your hand in the cast…you need to talk to Trish!”
Shawn felt agitated and nervous at the same time, almost losing his appetite even though the omelet was delicious.
He replied with hostility, “I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
Jesse added, “Well, you just have to!” He sounded concerned but also angry.
Shawn didn’t look up from his food, “I don’t have to do anything.”
Trish cut in with a soft voice and Shawn saw her place her hand on Jesse’s hand, “It’s fine Jesse.”
She turned to Shawn, “Shawn, maybe we can talk about it later. I want to know because I want to be there for you without feeling weird and having this awkwardness between us.”
Shawn was surprised at her honesty and also a little relieved to hear that she felt awkward too.
He nodded and replied lowly, “Yeah, later.”
Jesse’s expression was slightly irritated, but the closer his moment of leaving came the more worried he was.
Trish got up, “I’ll go take a shower now.”
Jesse replied with an O.K. and Trish left the table.
Shawn kept eating when Jesse said, “You have to talk to her Shawn.”
Shawn looked up at Jesse with dark eyes and between bites said lowly, “I thought you may have discussed all of it with her last night already.”
Now Jesse’s eyes got small and Shawn added, “I think since I became fucking paralyzed from my waist down my other senses are even more alert now.”
Jesse cleared his throat and swallowed but didn’t say anything.
Shawn finished another bite and looked at Jesse seriously, “You thought I didn’t hear anything…well you know how it takes me a while to fall asleep sometimes…” Jesse opened his mouth to speak and was trying to read Shawn’s expression.
Shawn knew he made Jesse nervous and continued, “It’s O.K. I got it Jesse…I mean I wouldn’t have turned her away either, but I guess I will never have that problem…so what’s the deal with you and her? I mean you’re leaving and shit?”
Jesse shifted in his chair, he thought of something to say, then swallowed again and started, “Shawn, I’m sorry! I mean…” he took a deep breath, “…it was nothing…it just happened…the heat of the moment.”
Shawn tried to fight the feeling of anger, Jesse didn’t deserve to be put on the spot like that, “Well, I hope it was good for you, Jesse…and I hope she knows it was nothing to you!”
Jesse got up pushing his chair back forcefully and looked at Shawn angrily, “I don’t have to defend my actions to you Shawn. Yeah, it happened…we slept together and yeah, it felt good, it felt fucking good and oh well, I’m leaving, she knows…you can have her all to yourself.”
Jesse left and walked away, leaving Shawn behind at the table. He felt bad about the situation. He heard Jesse in the shower and after a while saw him carrying his bags out to the truck and he couldn’t help a knot form in his throat, watching his brother getting ready to leave. He really didn’t want to part from Jesse on a bad note but the situation with Trish and Jesse had definitely gotten under his skin.
Trish came back out and she looked beautiful, smiling and dressed in tight blue jeans and a tank top.
She came into the kitchen and started cleaning up, “Did you like the omelet?”
Shawn answered, “Yes, it was very good. Thanks again.”
Trish took his plate, smiled at him directly meeting his eyes. She could barely look at Shawn sitting there in his wheelchair. His upper body and arms looked fit and toned. She wondered if he even realized how nervous she felt around him. She moved her eyes from him quickly and started washing some of the dishes.
Shawn watched her secretly. Her jeans were tight and her long blonde hair was flowing down her back. She looked surreal in their kitchen which had not been invaded by a woman for a long time. As much as it gave him a warm feeling, it also scared him tremendously. Jesse was walking in and out and met Shawn’s glance a few times. After Shawn was done he wheeled back to his bedroom to get some clothes on. He usually laid out his jeans and boxers on the bed so he could get them on while somewhat lying flat on his bed. It took him some wriggling around, pulling and tugging on his pants until they were finally over his butt and he buttoned and zipped them up.
Jesse was getting packed up and chatting happily with Trish when Shawn came wheeling back into the living room.
Noon came quickly and Jesse announced with a sigh, “It’s time for me to go.”
Shawn had felt strange all morning. It bothered him to see Jesse leave and even though it wasn’t Jesse’s fault, Shawn had stayed distant all morning and hadn’t talked much to him at all.
Trish remarked with a smile, “Is it that time already?”
Jesse nodded and when he looked at Shawn their eyes met.
Jesse had been busy discussing any further concern with Trish, they had put together a binder with any valuable information Trish might need, from a power of attorney to make decisions to all the health information on Shawn.
Shawn spun his wheelchair around and started off toward the door, “I’ll be outside.” Jesse nodded, “O.K.” and watched Shawn wheel out the door.
Jesse then turned to Trish, “Well…”
Trish smiled, “Well…”
Jesse looked down for a moment, then up at Trish, “It’s weird. I am so worried about everything.”
She took his hands into hers, “Don’t worry Jesse.”
He sighed, “I hope all of this works out.”
“Shawn can be so hard headed sometimes and difficult.”
Trish squeezed Jesse’s hands, “I know, but I think he will come around, he just has to.”
“Trish, please, if for any reason this does not work out or if he gives you a hard time let me know and I will come back. Promise me!”
Trish smiled, “I promise!”
Jesse looked deeply into her blue eyes, “…and Trish…last night…it was really good. I really enjoyed being with you…it felt very good. Are we cool with all of that?”
Trish still smiled at him, “Yes, we are totally cool…no strings attached…you are a great guy, Jesse…I enjoyed it too and I know that you have to leave and all…who knows…but I’m fine…I knew the moment I snuck into your room that there won’t be more…don’t worry about me.”
Jesse smiled, “O.K. We will see what happens then?”
“Yes, we will see! Jesse don’t worry about us back here...focus on your job and work down there, we will be fine.”
She laughed, “I hope no poor women will come off the road with her car turning her head when passing by you working…”
Jesse looked down at their hands and laughed lowly, “Hey, thanks so much Trish!”
He looked up and they hugged and Trish kissed Jesse on his cheek.
They let go and Jesse said, “I will call you when I’m there tonight. It could get late.”
They let go off their hands and Jesse took a deep breath, “Bye Trish!”
Jesse turned to walk out the door. At the door he looked back at Trish once more and then walked out with a heavy heart, Trish following shortly behind him and stopping in the door frame. She watched Jesse jump over the rail again instead of walking down the ramp into the yard.
Shawn was parked with his wheelchair by Jesse’s truck, eyes down in front of him.
Jesse came up to Shawn, smiling, “Hey!”
Shawn had his fingers locked loosely resting on his thighs.
Jesse asked lowly, “You O.K.?”
Jesse squatted down in front of Shawn and tried to think of the right words to say, “Hey, I am going to miss your hard headed para ass.”
He laughed a little and Shawn replied with a weak smile, “Yeah right!”
Jesse just nodded and smiled. They were quiet, trying to find the right words to say to each other. There were really no words that needed to be said. Their bond was strong and they had been through so much together that they were basically one unit, which was about to be disrupted.
Jesse finally said, “Shawn, you can call me at any time, no matter if it’s in the middle of the night or during the day, call me any time. I’m still here for you, maybe not physically but I will have my phone on me 24/7. Maybe I can come home one weekend or so. I will try to call you guys every night unless I work too late or something. I will call you this evening to let you know I made it.”
They were silent again until Shawn said lowly with his eyes down, “Do you have feelings for her?”
Jesse had not expected a question like that and replied with a sigh, “So we are still brooding on that?”
Shawn looked up at him with dark and serious eyes, repeating the question tensely, “Do you have feelings for her?”
Jesse sighed, “If you are asking if I love her or something, No Shawn, I don’t love her. I barely know her.”
Their eyes met again and Shawn said lowly, “I am sorry about everything that has been going on with us the last couple of months…I know I made life hard for us. I know I fucked up big time and it all sucks…”
Jesse shook his head, “Let’s not go there. You don’t have to be sorry Shawn, it’s all good…I love you bro!”
Jesse put his hand on Shawn’s knee for a moment, patted it and stood up, “I have to go.” Shawn nodded without words.
Jesse leaned down to Shawn, “Give me a hug!”
They hugged quickly and Shawn said lowly, “Be careful down there Jesse.” He wanted to tell Jesse that he loved him but the words were stuck in his throat.
When they let go Jesse saw Shawn’s dark eyes glistening with moisture.
Jesse kept smiling though, fighting his own emotions and jumped up into his truck quickly. He knew that it was hard for Shawn and it was difficult for him to see Shawn like this and having to leave him behind but when he looked over to the rambler he saw Trish standing in the front door waving with a smile and he had to remind himself that Shawn would be O.K.
He rolled his window down and looked down at Shawn one more time, “Bye little brother!”
Shawn didn’t say anything, only nodded and gave Jesse a thumbs up. Jesse managed to keep a smile but felt his vision get blurry and couldn’t believe how tough this whole thing was. He tried to contain his emotions, gave Shawn a thumbs up and started his truck and headed out the driveway. As he drove off and glanced in his mirror he saw Shawn in his wheelchair looking very small and vulnerable and the colors of Trish on the rambler’s front porch, waving. He blew his horn when he pulled onto the gravel road leading him away from his house and the only close person he had, his brother.
A tear escaped his eye and a low curse came over his lips.