Tuesday, September 30, 2014

No Strings Attached Chapter 27

Hi friends, here is Chapter 27 of NSA. Hope you like it, let me know. Hugs and thanks so much for reading. Yours, Dani

Monday, September 29, 2014

"The Outsiders" - Chapter 8 is up!

My sincere apologies for taking so long to update. My life has been crazy busy for the past few months, both with work and some family issues.  It doesn't look like things will be slowing down anytime soon, but I try to find time to write regularly and I promise to carry on with this. Unfortunately there will be waits between each chapter.

Here's some more of Sigrid and Jonas in South Africa - they embark on the road trip to Cape Town.

Chapter 8 is here!

Enjoy!

Oh, and here's the updated Table of Contents.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Flower in A Storm



“If this rain doesn’t stop by tomorrow, I think I’m going to go insane,” Amy’s little eight year old voice piped up from the stairwell.

“I thought y-you w-were supposed to be in bed?” Slouching on the sofa, the gentle authority in his deep, quiet voice carried over the roll of thunder.

“But -”

“Amy…” And he heard her bare feet on the stone floor, and then the sound disappeared. She had stepped onto the carpet and had fallen silent. Like a ghost. He sighed with a knowing smile. “D-don’t think snuggling up to me is going to m-make a difference…”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No Strings Attached Chapter 26

Hi friends, thanks again from the bottom of my heart for your motivational comments last week, I needed that so much and you are wonderful. I guess I just had a rough week altogether but you really helped me find my mojo again. I commented more in details and thanked you on the bottom of Chapter 25. Here is this weeks Chapter 26. It is in the middle of the night here and I wanted to get the chapter posted on the blog for today so here it is. I did follow the suggestion to use a larger font size and it looks huge on the draft but I guess it looks normal on the actual blog so I hope this makes reading NSA easier for you. It does make the chapter look very long. Anyways, thanks again for reading NSA. I hope you enjoy this weeks chapter. Let me know. You mean a lot to me. Hugs, Dani

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Inconvenient Truth

Prologue
He grips the sheet tight between his teeth, pulling at it like a mountaineer scaling a steep cliff. His neck muscles, tightly wound as a jack-in-the-box, pulse as he shuffles his shoulders a fraction at a time. After each second, he lies back, panting, before starting again. He's glad that there are no railings on the side of the bed because it makes his imminent literal downfall a lot easier. Finally, he breaks free of the blanket. With one last shove of his head, he careens towards the floor. 

Part I: Arthur

Months earlier… 

It's another day. Arthur knows this because of the daily routine he suffers through each morning, a depressing chore that heralds a new dawn. Hours have passed. Arthur spent them staring at the ceiling, counting the specks. He usually makes it to at least a thousand before something interrupts him. One day he'll get to them all. It's another day, but it's an unusual day, because a nurse is trying to force him out of his miserable room. Her name is Grace, a woman of such age that she could nearly belong here as a resident herself, with wire-frammed glasses, sharp perfume and a sagging frame. But who's he to judge, with his own body long ravaged by the years he's spent in this awful place. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No Strings Attached Chapter 25

Hi my friends, I am writing this with a heavy heart this week. First off sorry about being a day late but two authors shouldn't post on the same day, so I skipped yesterday since another author was in the queue. I am feeling somewhat down and insecure this week with posting NSA. I know I have a few faithful readers and they keep me going but all the sudden with the way the story is going my hits have declined and comments even more so, maybe it is boring to some people now. I think about how to rewrite to make people happy but then at the same time, this is my story and I want to be true to myself and maybe shouldn't change a whole lot. Yes, right now my story is not overly sexual and instead a lot about bonding between Jason and Ariana and dealing with him being in a bad state and being in the hospital. As much as I like to write about sexual encounters I am a romantic after all and so many things are important to me when I write. I want my story to be as realistic as possible, also when it comes to the time line, which can be a challenge. All of this here is so important to me and YOU keep me going. If I don't have that, I start to doubt and become insecure about everything I am doing here on the verge of giving up and crawling back inside my shell. I guess I am just having a bit of a rough time this week. NSA is still here waiting to be edited and fine tuned and I hope I can keep you interested I guess, if not I am sorry. So with this I leave you with Chapter 25 and I hope you will stick it out with Ariana and Jason. Hugs, Dani

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Visiting Hours

The fuzzy yellow stuffed chick swings in and out of my line of sight.

"Happy Easter!" coos my nurse, Brenda, in the sing-song voice adults instinctually use with the very young or mentally feeble.

Brenda believes that I am the latter. Brenda is wrong.

"Would you let up with that?" says Steve, from the doorway.

Brenda looks up. "What?" she asks innocently.

"It's creepy."

"You're creepy," Brenda returns, but she has a playful tone to her voice. She leaves the duck on the table by my head and walks behind me. I hear the click of the door lock and a moment later feel someone sit on the foot of my bed, inches from my legs. I can't see what Brenda and Steve are doing, since they're behind me, but I'm guessing they've come to do what they usually do in my room on quiet Sundays around here. Visiting hours aren't for another forty-five minutes, and my room has a spare bed since my roommate, Jerry Gilson, died two months ago at the age of ninety-six: They're working in a quickie.

I hear wet mouth sounds and my bed jiggles.

"Not on his bed," Brenda whispers, and she appears in my periphery, dragging Steve around my bed and over to the one Jerry vacated.

My eyes have been (annoyingly) locked on an (extremely uninteresting) ceiling tile for the last twenty minutes. Now, in a fit of unexpected usefulness, they decide to swing hard to the left. I suddenly see Brenda and Steve clearly. They are lying on the bed ten feet from me, pulling urgently at one another's clothes.

Brenda sees me see her. She pushes Steve away. "Steve," she hisses. "He's looking at us!"

"You're crazy," Steve insists, continuing to nip at Brenda's neck.

She smacks him in the chest and points a red-nailed finger at me. "Look."

Sighing in exasperation, Steve stops what he's doing and looks. We lock eyes. It does not have the same impact on him as it had on Brenda.

"Bren," he says, "the guy's non compos mentis. You've read his chart, same as me. 'Profound retardation,' babe. The stroke rebooted his brain. It's just a blinking cursor. He's not in there."

As I watch Brenda scrunch her brows, my own face blank and passive, I root silently for her.

Come on, Brenda! Tell him I'm in here!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming Home Update

Dear Readers,

Here's Year Two of Coming Home. 

Thanks for the kind comments. I've rearranged some things in the first part of the story, which is why you'll recognize the first few paragraphs of the second part when you begin reading. But if you'll continue, you'll find a lot of new material just beyond. I'm really sorry about this; I probably jumped the gun on publishing. I'm also sorry if I'm not formatting this update correctly. If I'm not, please take a moment to let me know in the comments. I'm new to this.

Thank you,
Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coming Home

YEAR ONE

GAVIN: I'm home. Everything is just how I left it. And everything's different.

My Nikes, muddied from our late spring runs, sit gathering dust in their spot on the floor next to the front door. My mountain bike hangs from the garage rafters next to Melissa's smaller model. Our wetsuits hang in the hall closet, second skins that smell mildly of lake water and mildew.

I'm on my side of the bed. Melissa lies next to me in her spot. It's my first night home and I can't sleep. I'm not sure why she's here. Why she stayed. We had known we wanted to marry, but we didn't have rings, we didn't have dates. Nobody would blame her for leaving me. Least of all me. Honestly, I find the fact that she's refused to go away pretty fucked-up.

What the hell kind of future can we have now? Not the one we had planned, that's for sure. That future is dead as a doornail.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Coming Home: Year Two

YEAR TWO

GAVIN: I have been paralyzed for exactly one year. Where're my cake and presents? Even though my actual birthday was months ago, this date feels more significant. On this date last year, I was born again into a new form, a new life, a new way of interacting with the world. I am nowhere near acceptance. But I'm noticing here and there a few things that used to be hard are getting easier.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Coming Home: Year Three

YEAR THREE

GAVIN: It's late spring, but it's unseasonably cold as shit at 7AM. I can see my breath rising in front of me in a cloud when I exhale, as I sit here in my wheelchair at the finish line, swaddled in blankets. Trent and DeShawn have dragged my ass out here, and the only reason I came is because it's a 5K fundraiser for wounded vets and I'm far from the only person here in a chair.

Pete, a buddy from rehab, sits beside me in his own. Of course, his is the "cool" kind, with a barely-there backrest and levered wheels. His girlfriend, Larissa, sits on his lap.

"How long do these things usually go?" Larissa asks, blowing into her cupped hands and shivering as the last of the runners disappears into the woods. Pete wraps his muscular arms around her.

I answer, "Trent and DeShawn'll be back in less than fifteen minutes. Allison won't be too far behind."

I'm right. At almost exactly the fifteen-minute mark, Trent and DeShawn explode from the trees, aimed at the finish line where we sit. They are twin rockets, and it's hard to tell who might pull ahead at the last minute and take the (largely symbolic) first-place trophy.

In the end, it's DeShawn. And in a spectacularly bold move, he then throws his arms around Trent and kisses him passionately. Of course, we knew that Trent and DeShawn were dating; we'd all conspired for years to get them together. But the sizable contingent of military-affiliated folks surrounding us are, as a general rule, assumed to be the homophobic type. The crowd hushes for a moment and then, just when it seems the same-sex PDA will go unremarked-upon, a gruffly anonymous voice calls low, "Faggots."

More runners are pounding through now, so Trent and DeShawn, stretching on the other side of the path, don't hear it. Pete, Larissa, and I do, though. For a moment, we three are frozen.

"Why don't you shut the fuck up, you intolerant prick? In case you hadn't noticed, this is a blue state. And, by the way, the guy who just gave his boyfriend a victory kiss is a decorated veteran and a patriot."

I flick the joystick under my chin and turn my wheelchair around with a mechanical whir. An ugly grunt stands toe-to-toe with Melissa, who glares down at him from her full six-foot height.

I don't know what I wish I could do more at this minute: Run to Melissa's side and clobber the guy, or jump up and down and cheer. Of course, I can't do much more than watch.

The guy backs down. He walks away muttering various insults aimed at Melissa's race and reproductive organs. But it's sour grapes and everyone watching knows the score.

Melissa Fucking Simpson.

For. The. Win.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wish Upon A Star

"So how'd your parents tell ya?" Star asked, trailing her fingertips up and down Jeff's narrow chest as she lay beside him in bed.

"They didn't make a big production out of it. They just sat at my bedside and told me how it was going to be."

"Still, that's gotta be rough. For alla yous," Star murmured.

"Eh," Jeff made a dismissive sound, then waited for the ventilator to fill his lungs with sufficient breath for his next sentence. After an hour, Star was starting to get used to the way it interrupted the flow of their conversation. "You have a lot of leeway with an eight year old. It's not the same sense of loss as it is for an adult. They talked to a child psychologist about it once the doctors finally confirmed my injury was irreversible. The shrink said to just be straightforward."

"So what'd they say? I mean, exactly."

"Why are you so curious?"

Star flashed him a smile. "'Cause I find ya fascinatin'."

"Well, I don't know if I even remember exactly what they said. But it was something along the lines of, 'Jeffy, you got hurt really bad when the truck crashed into us. You won't be able to move your body anymore or breathe on your own.' They told me what my injury was--C1 complete, by the way, when you're gossiping to all your colleagues about this later--and that was that."

"I wasn't gonna tell nobody," Star pouted.

"Right," Jeff smirked. "Anyway, my wheelchair just became a part of who I was. It didn't, like, ruin my life or anything for the first few years."

"But then it started botherin' ya?"

"Yeah. I think the first time I felt really self-conscious about it was when I was twelve. I was starting sixth grade and all the guys were starting to look at Victoria's Secret catalogs and shit. They all talked about masturbating. I'm sure they realized I couldn't masturbate, and maybe they suspected I couldn't have an orgasm, but I didn't want them knowing I couldn't even feel my dick. And it's not like I had a major social life in high school, but even what I did have would've been torpedoed if anyone had ever found out I had to wear diapers. Stuff like that. It wasn't exactly awesome growing up totally paralyzed."

"Goll-eeee," Star whispered, crossing herself absentmindedly. Unable to turn his head, Jeff gave her a funny look out of the corner of his eye. "You're Catholic?"

"Yeah, ain't you?" Star asked.

"No," Jeff said, wheezing a laugh.

"What's funny?" she asked, smacking her gum and sitting up to narrow her eyes at him.

"I just didn't know there were Catholic prostitutes."

Star blew a bubble with her gum and let it pop loudly. "Yeah well, I'm one-of-a-kind, don't ya know." As she said it, she straddled his naked body with her own. She looked at his sunken chest, his painfully thin arms and bony shoulders. The spot where his ventilator pushed breaths into his neck made her a little squeamish. But then she allowed her gaze to rise to his cleft chin with a day's worth of reddish-brown stubble covering it, up his strong, straight nose, to his thick hair the same color as his beard. "You ain't a bad-lookin' dude," she finally pronounced. God knew she'd been with worse. "From the neck up anyway. Kinda cute in a dorky sorta way."

"Gee, thanks," Jeff replied, sarcasm playing at the edges of his voice.

"Hey, sorry, I didn't mean nothin' by that," Star apologized. "It was 'sposed to be a compliment. You look like one a them smart guys my mother's always wishin' I would date instead of the losers with the motorcycles."

Jeff smiled crookedly. "In that case, I accept your apology and your compliment."

"Well," Star said in a suddenly seductive voice, "I'm gonna have a real crisis of conscience acceptin' your money at the end of this date if we don't do more than talk about your childhood."

"I don't know if I could live with myself if I gave you a crisis of conscience," Jeff said in his low, gravelly voice, desire beginning to smolder in his chocolate brown eyes. "Did my pill kick in yet? Am I hard?"

Star didn't break eye contact with him as she reached around behind herself and felt for him. For a second her hand brushed the other tube coming out of his body, the one a couple inches above his dick. She guessed he pissed out of that one. Then she found his penis. She cocked an eyebrow at him. "You're hard."

"Tell me how hard I am," he whispered.

"Hard as a rock," she lied, watching his eyes widen with pleasure.

"I want to be inside you."

"Your wish is my command," Star smiled. She grabbed the condom off the nightstand and Jeff watched as she put it on. Then she straddled him again, lifting herself briefly and then settling back down with him penetrating her. He closed his eyes and let out a low moan. Star tilted her head. "I thought you said you couldn't feel nothin'."

Jeff opened his eyes. "I can't. But let's pretend, okay?"

"No problem, sugar," Star shrugged. She slowly began to swivel her hips. "Does this feel good, baby?"

Jeff smiled wide. "It feels so good. It feels really sexy."

"Yeah, sexy," Star agreed, running her fingernails lightly up the flaccid muscles of his abdomen and chest. He groaned again as Star sped up the pace. She watched his eyes dart from her breasts to her face to her slender thighs to the place where their bodies joined. Impulsively, she reached out and grabbed his hands, locked in stiff beige braces, and placed them on either of her breasts. Jeff's eyes bulged.

"That is so hot."

"Yeah, baby?"

"Yeah. Your boobs. They're so...soft?" Jeff hesitated slightly. Star nodded, encouraging him. "And warm," he added.

Suddenly Star stopped her rocking motion and looked down. Jeff frowned. "What? Did I say something wrong?"

"Oh, sweetheart."

"What." Jeff's voice was hard.

"I think you had an accident."

"Fuck," Jeff cursed. Star watched as tears filled his eyes. "Just--I need--you can get Sean. He can--he'll help me--ah, fuck." He squeezed his eyes shut against the tears.

Star reached out and touched his cheek. "Hey," she whispered. When he didn't open his eyes, she said it louder. "Hey." He looked at her. "I seen worse."

"I don't believe you."

"I don't lie. 'Member I'm a good Catholic girl?" She smiled. Jeff just clenched his jaw and closed his eyes once more. He heard her rise from the bed and go into the bathroom. A few moments later she came back into the room. When Jeff reopened his eyes, she was in the middle of cleaning him up.

"Don't," he said. "Don't do that. You don't have to do that. Sean can help me."

"Baby, no thirty year old guy wants his kid brother wiping his ass the night he loses his virginity," she replied matter-of-factly.

Jeff stared at her in disbelief. "This isn't part of your job."

Star shrugged. "My job is to make you happy for the--" She searched the room for a clock, finding one finally on the wall behind her, directly across from the bed. She began again: "My job is to make you happy for the next twenty minutes."

Jeff was quiet while Star used the wet wipes she'd found in the bathroom to clean him. She lifted his now-flaccid penis up and wiped around the base. Then she carefully rolled him onto his side to get the rest of the mess. Finally, she jimmied the sheet off the bed in steps, moving him back and forth. She wasn't an expert, but she found a way. When she was done, she took the soiled sheets back into the bathroom and dumped them in the tub. She washed her hands and pulled on her clothes, which she'd ditched there two hours earlier. Re-entering the room, she walked back to him, drew the comforter up over his still-naked body, and kissed his forehead.

"Thank you," he said quietly.

"How about you just tip me extra nice and promise to hire me again soon and we call it even?"

Jeff smiled. "I think I can agree to those terms."

Coming Home: Year Four

YEAR FOUR

GAVIN:
The lake water fills my ears and I flinch, lifting my head.

"You good, buddy?" Trent asks.

"Yeah," I say after a moment, allowing my head to drop back onto the inflated headrest of the yellow raft.

Trent and DeShawn stand on either side of me, holding the raft steady. Of course there's no surf, but it's Memorial Day weekend and the motorboats that speed by every thirty seconds or so have made the water choppy.

Yup, I'm back in a lake on a Memorial Day weekend. I'm wearing sunglasses and I'm with my best friends and I'm happy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Coming Home: Year Five

YEAR FIVE

MELISSA: Gavin and I are fighting. A lot. It seems like we can't get through a day without an argument. We moved back in together six months ago, got engaged three months later, and it has not been going well.

So, I'm sitting on my sister Alisha's bed and crying my eyes out while my brother-in-law wrangles my nephew in the living room.

"What are you guys arguing about?" Alisha asks, smoothing my hair and shushing me comfortingly as I lie in her lap.

"Us. The television shows we want to watch. How to pay the bills. Sex. Our jobs. Kids. The future. Politics. Religion. Everything. There's literally no topic you can mention that we haven't fought about."

"Oh, sweetheart," she murmurs, and I cry harder.

"It was never this hard between us. We used to get along so well. We were always on the same page."

"Before."

She says the word that means everything in my and Gavin's life. Before. Before he broke his neck. Before we fell apart. Before life changed forever.

"Yes," I sigh. "Before."

"Are you happy?" she asks, and I start to say Of course! How could you ask that? But then I stop myself and really think about it. There's a part of me, way deep down, that worries that I spent so much time and energy trying to get Gavin back that, now that I have him, I'm not sure what to do. And I'm not sure I want him. That I want Gavin.

I can't even think the words. No, I won't go there. I do want Gavin. What kind of a person would I be if I didn't? Yes, things are different, but I can handle it. I am handling it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coming Home: Year Six

YEAR SIX

GAVIN: Anybody who's ever looked at Melissa could've guessed she'd make a beautiful bride.

Still, as the church doors swing open, I can't believe my eyes. We've been together half our lives, seen the highest highs and--I can confidently say--the lowest lows. And I've never seen her look like this. It's like she's translucent, and the setting sun behind her is streaming through her. My breath hitches and I'm so thankful I'm not on the vent anymore so I can experience it. This is the good kind of breathlessness.

MELISSA:
This isn't how I'd always pictured marrying Gavin. I'd always imagined him standing up at the altar; squeezing and spinning me for the kiss; lifting me and running from the church like a bandit at the close of the ceremony, baptized by dried rice or soapy bubbles.

And yet this is just fine, too. I'm laughing and crying and hiccuping as I sit on Gavin's lap, him wheeling us down the aisle for the recessional while the Beach Boys blare from the speakers. There is literally not a dry eye in the house. Certainly not mine. And, shockingly, not Gavin's either. I wipe away his tears as well as my own.

This day almost never happened.

GAVIN: If this had been six years ago, we'd probably be in Fiji, or maybe Belize. Since it's now, we're honeymooning in New York City.

It's technically still spring, and the weather is perfect. Melissa insisted on hauling me out of my wheelchair and onto the grass with her in our shady spot in Central Park. She sits behind me, supporting me in a seated position, arms circling my chest like a brace, while we talk and people-watch.

I feel normal. Well, almost normal. I guess the giant electric wheelchair to the side of our blanket is a clue I'm not. Oh, well.

"We haven't talked about kids in a long time," Melissa says out of nowhere.

I turn my head enough to catch her eye in my periphery. "Where'd that come from?"

She lifts a finger and points. A young family with two boys is having a picnic lunch a hundred yards away. Well, trying to anyway. The boys are wild, cavorting and wrestling and occasionally crying out in outrage over something the other has done. I guess they're about five and seven. It's just a guess, but they do seem about the same age as Heather's daughters, Claire and Lily.

"Cute," I agree, non-committally.

"Cute like an animé character? Or cute like you'd like one of those one day?"

I sigh. "Melissa. You know I want kids."

"I know. That's why I think we should talk about it," she prods.

"Okay. What do you want to talk about?"

"Timing."

I raise my eyebrows, but I'm pretty sure she can't see me. "We need to have this conversation face-to-face, I think."

In response, she scoots out from behind me, carefully lowering me to the blanket. She bends my right leg at the knee and gently rocks my hip until I'm more or less on my left side. Then she lies down next to me, reaches across to grab my right shoulder, and pulls it into alignment with the rest of my now-left-facing body. Finally we can see each other. She grabs my right hand and places it on her left cheek and I smile, seeing her wedding band glint in the sun. God, she's charming.

"When are you thinking?" I ask. I'm scared of the answer.

"Um...nowish?"

MELISSA: My palms are sweaty, so I pause at the door of the fertility specialist's office to wipe them on my jeans before grabbing the door handle. I swing it open to reveal a pleasant, tidy waiting room with soothing Muzak quietly doo-doo-dooing in the background. The receptionist looks up and smiles. Then she sees Gavin, and the smile drops.

I should be used to it by now, but I'm not. I'm not one of those angry spouses of a disabled person, constantly jousting with the able-bodied world, but the stares catch me off-guard. Because, to me, Gavin mostly still looks like Gavin. I'm somehow able to see him as he was and as he is at the same time. It's only when I see him through other people's eyes that I realize how...well, disabled he really looks.

The receptionist is frozen, bless her heart. "Would you give me a hand?" I ask, and she immediately runs over to hold the door as I push Gavin's chair in.

He's in his manual chair today for two reasons. One, we've never been to this office before. And, even though I called ahead and specifically asked about wheelchair accessibility, we've learned through hard experience that most people who don't use wheelchairs or live with someone who does have no idea what wheelchair accessibility really is. Especially not with Gavin's powerchair which, at three hundred pounds, and carrying a six-foot-four man, can't navigate even the most diminutive of steps. If we come across one of these impenetrable barriers in Gavin's electric wheelchair, we have no choice but to go hunting for a different entrance (which often as not doesn't even exist). So Gavin's a sport and allows himself to be lugged around in his manual chair, which I can muscle up a step or two, when we're scoping out new territory. And sure enough, when we entered the lobby, I had to do just that.

The other reason that Gavin's in his manual chair today is that his powerchair is not so reliable lately. He's had the same chair since he was injured six and a half years ago and he desperately needs a new one. Insurance will pay for one, but not the one that Gavin really wants, the one that will give him the most possible independence in what is an almost completely dependent life. That one is an additional $35,000.

And here we are in a fertility specialist's office, where we'll be exploring IVF. Which, considering first cycles almost never take, will probably end up costing us about...$35,000.

I make a great salary as a physician, well into six figures. And Gavin contributes a modest, but not insignificant, income to our shared pot. But I have huge debts from undergrad and medical school, and we live with the astronomical, life-long costs of high quadriplegia.

So yes, I'm putting my desire for a child above my partner's need for mobility. I never claimed to be a saint.

GAVIN: The appointment goes basically the way I'd expected it to. Lots of eyebrows raised at Melissa. Lots of "ifs." Lots of ignorance about spinal cord injury.

"Now, are you able to masturbate?" the doctor, a gray-haired man in his sixties, asks.

"Uh, no," I say. "I can't move my arms. Or, um...orgasm."

"Okay..." He furrows his brow, leading me to believe he hasn't even looked at the email my urologist told me he'd sent him. A roomful of girly magazines and all the time in the world won't get him the sperm sample he needs from me.

"My doctor'll collect the sample," I say. "It's a procedure he does in his office."

"Oh," Dr. Rabin says. "How does that work?"

Oh, hell. Do I really have to explain all this? But this doctor is staring at me with an expectant look on his face. "They use a, a rectal probe that stimulates my, uh, prostate. It causes ejaculation. Allegedly." I see Melissa squeeze my hand in my lap. I haven't ejaculated since my accident and we're all running on fumes of hope here. But my urologist, Dr. Spencer, claims it can be done.

"That's certainly one way to do it," Dr. Rabin comments.

Next up is a run-down of my general health and I can't help but wonder why he's not putting the same questions to Melissa who will, you know, be actually carrying the baby. Then he asks me, straight-up, "Don't you think it will be difficult to manage the demands of fatherhood?"

I look him in the face for five full seconds before I say, "Why? Because I work full-time?"

At least he has the decency to blush.

MELISSA: At home that night, we lie in bed and talk about the next couple of months.

"I'm scared of all the shots," I say.

"Wish I could take 'em for you," Gavin says. "I wouldn't even feel 'em." I snort and whack his shoulder.

"Come here," he murmurs. I do.

We make out for a good twenty minutes. Kissing has become a lot more important to Gavin since he lost sensation in his genitals. While it can't get him "there" (nothing really can), it's the closest thing possible for him. We've both read a lot online about disabled sex, but so much of it doesn't apply to Gavin, with his high, complete injury. He can't even feel his nipples, which apparently is, like, a big thing for paraplegics. Fuckin' Pete, lucky son of a bitch.

So we kiss until I can't stand the suspense any longer, and then I break away to straddle him. I pull off my camisole, exposing my naked upper body, and Gavin sighs appreciatively. I still got it. I bend so that my nipples are hovering inches from Gavin's lips. He strains to reach them and I giggle evilly and pull them away. He growls like a disgruntled dog, but there's laughter in his eyes, too. The psychological element of sex is basically the only thing he can experience anymore, so I try to keep things interesting. But even I can only last so long. I'm dying to have his tongue on my breasts, so I move to within his reach, and he begins to do miraculous things with them. My favorite is when he sucks one into his mouth and does something with his tongue that is fast and flicking and sends me into orbit every time. I'm literally panting after ninety seconds of this and my warm center is throbbing with need. A certain kind of need.

I smile shyly and give Gavin my best puppy-dog eyes. "Would you mind if we...?" He knows what I'm asking. He gives me a wry smile, and then a nod. "Okay. Whatever you need, Missy." I beam at him. He really is a good sport.

GAVIN: A lesser man might feel threatened by his wife needing to use a toy to get off during sex. Good thing I left all my dignity at the bottom of a lake six and a half years ago.

Melissa fumbles in the closet and I hear a bump. "You okay?" I call out. "Shit," I hear Melissa mumble, and I know that she is, in fact, okay. Not that I could do much about it if she weren't. My phone is on the nightstand six inches from my head, but it might as well be in China for all the likelihood of my being able to get ahold of it on my own. It's a thought that often niggles at the back of my mind: What if something were to happen to Melissa while we were home alone? I wouldn't be able to help her, or even call for help.

But those thoughts are banished as she emerges from our walk-in closet with a small, locked chest that we keep our secret sex stuff in. She's rubbing her forehead, and I can guess she pulled the damn thing down on herself. "How big a bruise are you going to have?" I ask.

She squints and shows me her forehead. A nice red welt the side of a quail's egg is developing. "Great," I say. "Now everyone at your office is going to think I beat you." She laughs in spite of herself as she walks to the nightstand and sets the chest there.

Then she sits beside me to undress me. Up and over my head goes the white undershirt, and down and off my feet go the flannel pajama pants I wear to bed. I used to sleep in just my boxer briefs, but my body temperature is so hard to regulate now that I need the extra layers. And, of course, I haven't worn underwear since my accident. Melissa removes my diaper, as always without the slightest appearance of revulsion at my need for it. I don't know how she does it. I certainly feel revolted by it. She uses medical tape to adjust and secure my catheter tube out of the way.

When I'm naked, she shimmies out of her underwear and straddles me once again. She kisses my forehead, my nose, my lips, my chin, and a line down my skinny chest. I'm lying too flat to see what she does next, so I whisper, "Hey, get me a pillow?"

"Oh, sure." She reaches to her side of the bed, then wraps one strong arm around my shoulders and uses the other to lever in a pillow that sets me at about a thirty-degree angle. Enough to see what she's doing to me. Which is giving me a blowjob. I can't feel it, but it's still hot. I know she's doing it so I won't feel bad about what comes next, and I appreciate that. Of course, my dick acts like a beautiful woman sucking on him is no big deal. Like an asshole, he remains floppy and limp, despite the oral acrobatics Melissa is performing on him. When I feel she's more than done her part, I say, "Thanks, babe. Your turn." She looks up with questioning eyes, checking in. "It's okay," I confirm.

Melissa sits up and leans across me. She's almost close enough that I could take her right nipple in my mouth. Almost. She rummages through the box and I look down. At the space between us. At my thin and atrophied body, with its perversely soft, round belly. At the way Melissa's flat abs twist and flex. Compared to me, she has the body of a goddess. But then, she always did.

"Got it," she says, from over my head, and sits back on her heels with the object. After I confessed to Trent that I rarely got reliable erections and pills were off-limits due to my blood pressure issues, he'd come back to me a week later with a suggestion he'd gotten from some lesbian friends of his: a strap-on. I only had the vaguest idea of what one was, and since I'd done almost all my sexual exploration with Melissa, she was clueless, too. When we first called up images in a Google search, we were both a little horrified. Melissa swore that she would never use one. That she was fine with a life without penetrative sex.

For about six months.

Then she asked if we could buy one. I won't lie and say it wasn't a blow to my ego. But when I decided to marry Melissa, it was with the knowledge that she was making huge sacrifices by taking me on. She swears she doesn't feel that way, but it's the objective truth. So if my end of the deal is to occasionally wear a sex toy made for women to keep her happy and satisfied in bed, so be it.

MELISSA: I hate to do this to Gavin. But just like the IVF, I've put my needs above his. And it's not all the time or even most of the time. But yes, I do occasionally have a deep need to be filled up like Gavin used to be able to fill me up. Viagra or Cialis are miracle drugs for many spinal injured men, but I'm not willing to risk Gavin's life to get him hard. And there are a patchwork of other options, but they're all less effective and have more (and sometimes scary) side effects. So we've landed on the strap-on. Or rather, I've landed on it. Har har.

I secure it around Gavin's narrow hips and hitch myself up. Before I lower myself onto it, I ask again, "Okay?"

"Yes," he answers, with a bite of exasperation. Jeez. Just wanted to make sure.

I relax my thighs and sink down until the tip of the dildo is knocking at my door. I sigh and sink further, allowing it to enter me. It feels so good to have something inside me. I wish it were Gavin himself, but that's not our life and this is a reasonable facsimile. I begin to thrust against him, moaning low in my throat. After a minute of rhythmic rocking, I swallow and open my eyes. Gavin's are on me, and he licks his lips. "Can I finish you?" he asks.

"Okay," I nod. "But not yet. I'm not there yet." I reach for his left hand, the one with the thin circle of titanium on the fourth finger that tells the world he's mine. First I drag it to my right breast and Gavin groans with desire. I let it drift down till it's lying on his lower belly, at the intersection of our two bodies. I rub it somewhat clumsily against my clit. It's not graceful, but it gets the job done. Or, nearly done. When I'm so close my gluts are quivering, I lift off the strap-on, letting it flail in the wind, and scoot up to Gavin's upper chest. I'm always afraid I'm going to smother him, but he swears it's not like that.

"Yeah, right here," he whispers. I move up further still and I feel his hot breath in my wet vagina. He has gotten so incredibly, amazingly good at going down on me these past few years. I wouldn't say I'm glad he broke his neck and had to learn, but it is a small bonus in what is a mostly-shitty situation. He licks at me, blows softly, sucks on me, flicks his tongue back and forth and up and down and in tight little circles. When I'm crying out in a staccato "ah, ah, ah, ah," he enters me with his tongue and seals the deal.

I topple forward and scoot down so that I'm lying, panting, on Gavin's chest. He chuckles underneath my ear and I both feel and hear the rumble of his deep voice: "I still got it?"

I exhale, "Oh yeah, baby. You still got it." We lie there in peaceful silence for a minute, me still (always) wishing there was something I could do for him. But I know that this--giving me pleasure--is as good as it gets for him. And he says he's accepted that.

When I feel like I can walk on my legs again, I get up and pull the sheet up over him, the dildo comically tenting the covers. I walk to the bathroom, where I fill a cup with water and apply a bead of paste to Gavin's toothbrush. I also grab a warm, soapy washcloth. Though it never really bothered Gavin before, and it still doesn't now, I prefer to clean him up after oral sex. It's just too weird for me to taste myself on his lips. So I gently wipe off his mouth and brush his teeth. I also remove the strap-on, then diaper and re-dress him. Then I slip back into my cami and undies. I crawl back into bed with him, kiss him goodnight, set my alarm for two hours from now to turn him, and have one last thought before falling asleep:

I can't wait to have a baby with this man.

No Strings Attached Chapter 24

Hi friends, here is Chapter 24 one day early. I hope you enjoy this chapter. I am excited about posting and getting more into it again. I have really been trying very hard to edit and proof read over and over again, trying to do my best on giving you a story worthy to read. I am somewhat scared to go back to my first chapters of NSA because I am sure they can still use lots of work, I am getting better with every chapter I am posting I think. Writing takes a lot of time but it is definitely fun and when for so many years my writing has lay silent while life was happening to me I really hope now I can pursue it once again and I can get better and better and provide some good stuff for people who care to read it. I have actually pulled out stories I have hand written when I was a teenager and OMG, how horrible but still kind of interesting my writing was back then and deeply hidden inside those lines of a teenage girl's fantasies I see tiny traces and signs of being a dev girl. Well, enough reminiscing...enjoy Chapter 24 and let me know how you like it. Hugs!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Coming Home: Year Seven

YEAR SEVEN

GAVIN: Melissa unsnaps my chest harness and pulls me forward. I obviously don't resist, but slump against her like a bag of wet sand.

"Oh!" cries out one of the nurses.

"It's fine," I say, my voice muffled by Melissa's be-sweatered right shoulder. "She's done this once or twice."

She lifts me and scoots me forward, till I'm seated at the edge of my wheelchair's cushion. It's true, Melissa has done this hundreds of times. But manual transfers are always a little scary. If Melissa slips or trips or makes a wrong move in any direction, I could end up on the floor. I'm more scared of this now than I was before Tim dropped me and broke my leg.

But Melissa's never dropped me, and today is no exception. She grunts quietly as she lifts me onto the gurney, and I admire her strength for the millionth time. She lays me down slowly, until I feel the bed under my head. The two other nurses make themselves useful pulling my legs up onto the bed, and then Dr. Spencer breezes into the room.

"Gavin," he announces pleasantly, and I see him reach out and squeeze my left hand, which Nurse B has laid neatly beside me on the bed.

"Hey, doc," I say, and force a smile.

"You ready?"

"Yup."

He turns to one of his nurses. "Gail, will you undress Gavin from the waist down?"

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Coming Home: Year Eleven

YEAR ELEVEN

MELISSA: "Evan, sit down," I command, and he looks at me with his devilish grey eyes before plopping down so forcefully that at least a gallon of water sloshes out of the tub. "Dammit," I yell, and he and his brother grow quiet. Jesse's lip quivers.

"Mom's sorry, guys," I apologize. But I am sweating through my t-shirt, and my socks are soaking wet now, and I am bone-tired. If my yelling stopped the chaos, I am really not that sorry.

When the boys are out of the tub, I do my controlled cattle herd of them down the long hallway to their room at the end. Ahead of me, Jesse reaches the open master bedroom door we have to pass to get there, and pauses to stare in.

Jesse has gotten more curious about his dad's care as he's gotten older. Much to Gavin's chagrin.

I grab the handle of the master bedroom and quickly pull the door closed, catching only a glimpse of Rick doing Gavin's bowel program on the bed before the door clicks shut. Rick is a saint. At almost eighty-three, he drives to twenty minutes to our house each night to bathe and get Gavin in bed, while I do the same for our kids. I don't know how we'd do it without him.

"I wanna see," Jesse protests, but I place a firm hand on his shoulders and direct him to his room instead. In the room, Evan has pulled out a bin filled with puzzles and dumped it on the ground. So for the next fifteen minutes, I struggle to get both boys dressed and in bed and their room tidied enough to see the floor.

When I fall into bed beside Gavin that night, I kiss him on the check, sigh heavily, and say, "Some days I wish I were the paralyzed one."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

No Strings Attached Chapter 23

Finally, here is Chapter 23 I know you guys have been waiting patiently. I am finally free again, have time to myself to follow my hobby of writing. This chapter actually turned out somewhat long, but I couldn't find a good place to cut it. I needed to cover some days of Jason in the hospital and Ariana being around so I left it as one chapter. The last couple of weeks I missed my story and being able to fully indulge in it, but hopefully now I can get back into it again and post weekly. Thanks for being faithful and reading NSA. Looking forward to read how you liked this chapter. Hugs!