During the week Shawn proved to Jesse that despite his wrist injury he could stay at home by himself during the day. Shawn was used to staying at home by himself all day but it did get lonely sometimes. He kept himself occupied by playing Video games, watching TV, and surfing the Internet.
He usually hung out on some of the Spinal Cord Injury message boards, chatting to others who suffered from Spinal Cord Injuries. In the beginning of his life as a paraplegic he used to be on the message boards daily, discussing SCI issues with others, encouraging newly injured members and reading about other peoples’ issues and how they had learned to deal with the drastic change in their lives after their injuries. There were so many that had it a lot worse than him and he sometimes fed off their stories just to make himself feel better, realizing he had actually gotten away fairly good with the T-6 complete injury.
Some people learned to embrace their new lives as a blessing but Shawn could never see himself coming to such a contentment. No matter how hard he tried he didn’t enjoy being a paraplegic and not walking anymore for the rest of his life. It didn’t help that he had no one to blame but only himself and it made him angry sometimes. When he did read stories about someone who had come to terms with being a paraplegic or quadriplegic and they wrote about it in a state of calm and content, seeing the positive in their new lives, he sometimes felt so much rage and on more than one occasion he had turned his computer off angrily in the middle of reading or having the urge to just take the machine and throw it against the wall.
He couldn’t believe how people could actually be okay with their situations and this was also one reason he had quit physical therapy and going to any support groups geared toward SCI patients. In rehabilitation at physical therapy they had always been positive and motivating and he hated it. He didn’t enjoy being there and all the exercises and hated when they told him “how good he was doing”. The fact was he wouldn’t walk anymore and that was all he could think of and all the health issues arising with being a paraplegic. Before his accident he had never for just one second wasted a thought on living a life not being able to walk. He had been selfish sometimes and work was just a way to finance a life full of partying, picking up girls and living on the edge. Now that guy didn’t exist anymore and Shawn struggled with his new identity day in and day out.
Jesse worked hard all week and finished a project he was on with the company he worked for. This was also the company he would go with to the out-of-state job. His boss was glad Jesse was able to be on the team for the project in California, he wanted him aside nine other guys to come along for the job. Right up until recently Jesse had told his boss he wasn’t sure if he could join them for the job because of Shawn and so when Jesse had informed him he would now be able to go his boss was very relieved. Jesse was one of his best workers. On Friday they were finishing up the current job and had some final talks and meetings about the new project.
The job in California was to start on Monday alongside another road construction crew to widen an existing Highway and part of the Interstate into Southern Oregon. Friday afternoon they packed up and got their machines and equipment ready to be transported by train over the weekend to the new location.
Jesse came home late on Friday, Shawn was stretched out on the couch, watching a movie as Jesse walked in the door. Next to the couch on the small coffee table Shawn had a beer and three already empty beer bottles.
Jesse glanced from the bottles to Shawn, “You need to slow down with that.”
Shawn looked up indifferently, “Good evening to you too!”
Jesse threw his keys, cellphone and lunchbox on the kitchen table and then plopped into the recliner with a sigh, “Man, I'm tired."
He started talking about his day while Shawn paused the movie and listened to his brother. Sometimes he envied Jesse for still being able to work and being a productive member of society. Jesse finished with a question, “So what did you do today?”
Shawn hated the question. He had been feeling agitated all day and couldn’t help answering in a sarcastic tone, his voice slurring some, “Well, let me see…I didn’t walk, then I didn’t walk and a while ago I didn’t walk and then I realized I didn’t walk because I'm fucked up from the chest down and so I decided to watch a movie and drink.”
He picked up the beer and finished it with one gulp and then said without emotion looking at Jesse, “Can you get me another one?”
Jesse realized that Shawn was somewhat drunk and took the empty bottle from Shawn’s hand and the empty bottles from the table, “No, I think you're done! I see what’s going on here.”
Shawn was still tense, “What the fuck are you talking about Jesse? What do you think is going on here?”
“Don’t start Shawn…I’m tired, I've had a long day and I don’t feel like fighting with you. I'll put your ass to bed if you're going to be like this.”
Jesse straightened up in the kitchen while Shawn turned the movie back on.
Once Jesse was done in the kitchen he announced, “I’m taking a shower.”
Shawn didn’t reply but stayed focused on the TV. He had been feeling tense and bad all day and usually Jesse was his outlet and at the same time that in itself made him feel bad because he really didn’t want to be mean to Jesse but since he was the only person around him, Jesse usually got the blow. The drinking always made things worse.
While Jesse was in the shower Shawn pulled himself upright on the couch, pulled his wheelchair over and with difficulties using his left hand he transferred into his chair. He felt wobbly with the alcohol in his system and as he had trouble keeping himself upright in the chair he decided to buckle the seatbelt over his waist and while he was fiddling with the straps Jesse came out just in his lounge pants, hair damp, and no shirt.
He looked at Shawn, “Is the movie over yet?”
Shawn shook his head feeling slightly dizzy, “I'm going to bed.”
Jesse sat on the armrest of the couch, “Really, I thought we can hang out a bit, watch the rest of the movie maybe or talk…”
It was Jesse’s attempt to cheer Shawn up, because he knew when Shawn was drinking and being rude to him he didn’t have a good day and Jesse felt guilty of being gone all day.
Shawn shook his head, “I don’t feel like it.”
Jesse shrugged his shoulders, “Well then.”
He saw Shawn struggle with the buckle of the belt, “You want me to get this?”
Jesse knew better than to keep asking Shawn if he needed help so he didn’t say another word but he knew Shawn well enough to see that he wasn’t feeling good. Shawn gave up on the belt buckle and felt unsteady but he placed his hands on his rims and managed to slowly wheel to his bathroom, feeling dizzy and his vision blurry.
After a few failed attempts to insert the catheter he finally managed and lots of urine ran through the tubing into the toilet. Jesse was outside the bathroom door listening to the noises coming from inside without Shawn knowing trying to make sure he was all right.
Just when Shawn clumsily plopped onto his bed Jesse appeared in the doorway.
As Shawn adjusted his body in his bed he realized Jesse standing there and snapped at him, “What are you looking at? Why don’t you leave me alone?”
Jesse shrugged his shoulders, “Whatever Shawn, I'm just making sure you're okay. You shouldn’t have drank that much.”
Shawn didn’t look up and breathing heavy while trying to adjust his lifeless legs under his blanket he hissed, “I'm an adult and I can make my own fucking decisions!”
Jesse didn’t let Shawn antagonize him anymore but it hurt him to see his brother struggling.
He couldn’t let Shawn get to him though and replied calmly, “Whatever Shawn! Good Night.”
Shawn didn’t say a word and Jesse walked out, biting his lips and shaking his head. He needed a drink now and eventually settled with a beer of his own in front of the TV. It was after nine o’clock when his cell phone announced a text message.
When he checked it, he saw it was from Trish, “Hey Jesse! Looking forward to being there tomorrow. Are you ready for me to move in?”
Jesse smiled and texted his reply, “I’m ready. Not sure about Shawn though.”
A short moment later her reply came, “Oh no, I hope he'll be okay with it. I guess he has no choice.”
Jesse nodded in agreement and texted, “He doesn’t! I have to do what I have to do.”
Trish replied, “Yes, and you're doing the right thing. I'll be there around noon. See you tomorrow!”
“Looking forward to it. C ya!”
He sent his message and sighed. Hopefully everything would work out with Trish being there for Shawn.
Saturday came with sunshine and blue skies. When Jesse got up he walked over to Shawn’s room, his bed was empty and Jesse heard him in the bathroom.
He knocked on the door, “Shawn, good morning!”
A muffled, “Morning”, came from inside.
Jesse asked, “You okay in there?”
When Jesse came out of his bathroom Shawn was already in the kitchen setting the coffee on.
Jesse walked into the kitchen, “Hey! How are you feeling today?”
“Did you sleep all right?”
Shawn nodded, “Yeah.”
Shawn easily spun himself around on the kitchen floor and he looked up at Jesse, who was leaning on the kitchen cabinet.
He said lowly, “I’m sorry about last night.”
Jesse smiled, “It’s okay, but you're really using up all your asshole passes lately.” Jesse laughed, “You better replenish them while I'm gone and you do know they can’t be used on a woman.” Shawn had to smile at his brother’s joke and mumbled lowly, “Yeah, yeah, don’t worry.”
Shawn sat in his wheelchair outside on the porch when around one o’clock Trish pulled up in her car. He felt his heart beat faster and his hands tremble slightly. He saw her wave inside her car as she parked next to Jesse’s truck.
She got out and looked over to him, waving again, calling out, “Hi Shawn!”
Shawn nodded at her, “Hey!”
At that moment Jesse came out with his face lit up smiling, calling out to her, “Hi Trish. Welcome!” He jumped over the front porch railing down into the yard, “Good to see you again and today we don’t have an ocean around this place.”
They laughed and Shawn was surprised to see them hugging each other. He felt a small sting in his heart seeing Jesse greet Trish with so much enthusiasm. Jesse helped Trish get a large bag out of her trunk. She carried her purse and what looked like a laptop bag. They walked up, Jesse first and Trish behind him.
Jesse was smiling big as he passed Shawn and walked in, “I’m taking these to your room, Trish.” “Thanks Jesse.”
Trish stopped right in front of Shawn and said nervously, “Hi Shawn, it’s good to see you.”
She looked like from another planet, beautiful and perfect, smiling down at him.
Shawn looked up at her, “Hey Trish, how's it going?”
She sighed with a smile, “A bit nervous. Are you ready for this?”
When she squatted down Shawn was surprised and answered quickly, “Not really.”
He smiled at her but was thrown off when she touched her left hand to his right hand on his thigh, “It’ll be okay.”
Her hand felt sweaty on his, she was nervous. For a moment their eyes locked and Shawn felt insecure looking at this soft and perfect face of a woman down in front of him.
Jesse opened the door and interrupted the moment, “Okay, your stuff is in your room.”
Trish jumped up, “Great. Thanks Jesse.”
Shawn was pulled out of the moment harshly and followed Jesse and Trish into the house. She wore Jeans, a tank top and flats. He couldn’t help notice her perfectly shaped ass tightly held in her jeans. He bit his lips glancing at her behind. They sat down in the kitchen at the table, Shawn rolled up to his spot as Jesse poured coffee. Jesse was smiling and cheerfully babbling like a little boy. He seemed like a different guy around Trish.
For a few hours mainly Trish and Jesse were chatting happily about all different things and seemed to connect very well. Shawn was watching and listening to them and almost felt like Jesse liked Trish more than just Shawn’s personal assistant. Trish smiled and glanced at Shawn on many occasions too and tried to engage him into the conversations but Shawn didn’t really participate a whole lot, feeling almost like a fifth wheel.
During the afternoon it was decided that they would go out to eat that night in celebration of Trish’s moving in and Jesse’s leaving the next day.
Trish was more than nervous around Shawn, she tried to cover it up by being especially quirky and happily joking and chatting. She could barely ignore the tingle in her loins every time she looked at Shawn in his blue framed Tilite wheelchair, the way he moved in it, his hands on the black rims, one hand in the cast, the way his legs set side by side, his knees touching and perfectly aligned parallel with a soft Velcro strap holding them together, his feet on the foot plates and this time he actually also had the black seat belt buckled over his waist visible over his T-shirt. He wore blue jeans and black sneakers. In her mind she asked herself how she could have agreed to this when Shawn gave her such intense feelings and how she was going to be able to actually make it through this.
Jesse distracted her in her thoughts with showing her everything in the kitchen and where all the dishes and food was stored. He had bought groceries during the week, stocking up the kitchen before his departure.
His voice came in, “…and if you need certain items to cook you can of course buy them.” Trish nodded with a smile. Jesse went on telling her how Shawn could get money or write checks for whatever they needed. Shawn knew everything about their finances and had access to the bank accounts.
Trish told them how she liked to cook and added, “I even brought my favorite recipes and I hope you're ready to be my guinea pig with some of my cooking, Shawn.”
She looked over at him and smiled.
Shawn replied with a smile, “Good thing I'm not picky.” Trish felt her knees get weak.
Around five that evening they were ready to go to dinner. Trish couldn’t keep her eyes off of Shawn and secretly watched him slowly rolling down the ramp, softly holding his break and then transferring into the truck with Jesse’s help.
Once she was in the backseat of the truck there was a moment when Shawn was positioning his legs in front of him and he looked into the mirror on the sun visor and his eyes directly met Trish’s eyes. She looked away quickly as she had been watching Shawn with curiosity and excitement. Jesse was in the process of putting the wheelchair in the truck bed and eventually jumped into the driver’s side.
Trish remarked, “It’ll be a lot easier for you in my car, Shawn. It's not so high and your chair will fit in the trunk easily.”
Shawn met her eyes again glancing in the sun visor mirror, “Yeah, that’s good.”
They went to an Italian restaurant in town. During the evening Jesse and Trish chatted happily about college, Trish’s job at the senior citizen community, Jesse’s job and all kinds of things. Trish opened up a little about her mother and Jesse told her about his and Shawn’s parents and how everything had been for them.
Shawn’s accident was not a topic and he was okay with that, he didn’t want to talk about it, not yet. He really didn’t want to talk about his disability anyways but in a way it made him uncomfortable that it did not come up at all, like they were trying very hard to avoid the topic. It made him slightly angry to think about how Trish was going to be his personal assistant if they couldn’t even talk openly about his disability.
He observed Jesse and Trish laughing and joking but realized on many occasions Trish glancing over at him shyly. He left the table to go to the restroom and when he came wheeling back Trish’s eyes were directly on him and he glanced up at her with a serious expression and dark eyes. This time she didn’t shy away but kept her eyes on him. He tilted his head sideways a bit as he wheeled up to the table looking at her and pulled off a little spin as he positioned his chair at the table again keeping his eyes on her when she finally looked away. He could tell she was nervous and he couldn’t help wondering if she had actually been checking him out.
Jesse laughed, “You're going to get a speeding ticket wheeling through here like this.” Shawn smiled, Trish laughed lowly.
Jesse added, “Maybe he'll pop some wheelies for you sometime, Trish.”
Shawn held up his casted left hand, “Not with this”, and he met Trish’s eyes again, trying to read her expression.
Trish had been drinking red wine during the course of the evening and seemed just slightly tipsy, laughing and giggling a lot. Jesse had been drinking Soda all night, no alcohol as he had to have a clear head the next day to head out. Shawn had only had one beer and Soda, he wanted to limit his alcohol intake.
He had been sloppy with his medications lately because of drinking too much sometimes. He needed to get back on track.
It was around eleven when they left and headed home. Even though Trish was giggling and saying how much fun she had and that she knew this bar they could go to now, Jesse put a stop to it and told her kindly how he needed to get some sleep and how Shawn was tired too, which was true.
Trish didn’t argue but calmed down. At home Jesse basically turned his bathroom over to Trish and she disappeared in her room while Jesse and Shawn finished up in their bathroom.
Jesse smiled at Shawn, “She's buzzing a little, huh?”
Shawn nodded, “I think so, first day on the job and drunk already.”
Jesse laughed, “Not yet on the job, starts tomorrow.”
After about fifteen minutes they heard Trish outside, calling down the hallway, “Guys, I'm going to bed. Good Night!”
Jesse opened the bathroom door and peeked out into the hallway, “Do you need anything else Trish or are you okay?”
She stood in the living room and smiled, “Nah, I'm okay.”
Jesse smiled back at her, “Well, Good Night then, hope you can sleep all right.”
“I'm sure I can, Good Night Jesse, Good Night Shawn.”
Shawn called a Good Night out to her and when Jesse came back into the bathroom he smiled, “Wow, I'm like so jealous Shawn.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You should have seen her, little bitty tank top and hot pants for sleeping. You'll have that for the next couple of weeks, man. You owe me big time for getting you such a hottie in here, Shawn.”
Shawn looked at Jesse with a serious expression and replied with sarcasm in his voice, “I’m forever in your depth to have such a hottie in here helping me pee, buying my diapers and disposing of enema kits! I’m so fucking excited, it’s not even funny.”
Jesse’s smile was wiped away as he realized Shawn’s attitude.
Shawn kept on, “Oh yeah, and I hope she'll never walk in on me unsuccessfully trying to jerk off or maybe she could help me find a good deal on Viagra.”
Jesse looked at Shawn but didn’t know what to say.
Shawn looked up at him, “I mean, really Jesse? How do you think this is going to go down?”
Jesse stated lowly, “You're still not okay with this?”
Shawn sounded angry, “No, I'm not, I'm not okay with it but I have no choice but to deal with it because the fucking truth is that you need to take on the job and I need someone here to help me out sometimes.”
With that he started brushing his teeth and Jesse sat on the edge of the bathtub.
When he was done Shawn spun his chair around and Jesse said lowly, “Shawn please, I don’t want to fight on my last night here.”
Shawn replied in defense, “I won’t fight with you. It’s not your fault Jesse….it’s me.”
Jesse didn’t reply because they had had so many talks about guilt and fault before, he was too exhausted to get into it once again. He watched Shawn wheel out of the bathroom and followed him to his bedroom watching him transfer into his bed. They said Good Night and Jesse went to his own bedroom.