Recap of Chapter 11
While Cassie is monopolized by Gary, Matthew decides to surprise everyone once again going two flights of stairs up. Father and son have an emotional exchange. On the way back to the city, an animated discussion about Melissa ends up in a bad argument between Cassie and Matt. There are both very upset and Matthew decides to take a break from their relationship.
I haven’t been that desperate and felt so lousy since the fateful day I broke my back. I feel lonely, worthless, useless and cannot go to work for three days straight. I have to cancel all my appointments at the center and I feel bad for Tim. I don’t even have the energy or the heart to call him. I refuse to go out with my group of friends finding lame excuses. Psychologically speaking, I am a wreck. Physically, I am just as bad. Sleepless nights and spasms attacks are killing me and I can’t stay seated for too long. I try to sleep and lie down on my side, but I know my sore is getting worse, and I sense a hospital stay draw closer. I reluctantly decide to call Abby to the rescue.
“Thanks sis. I knew that already.”
“What are those bags under your eyes and this five o’clock shadow on your cheeks?”
“Hey! Could you stop that and don’t mention my terrible look and my lousy temper. I’ve been lying down for seventy two hours. I could barely sleep and…I still have a butt issue, so are you a nurse or what?”
“Whoa! You definitely are in a bad mood today and it’s not like you big bro! Where is Cassie?”
“Hmm…I haven’t seen her since we came back from our week-end.”
“Did you two have a fight?”
“More like an animated debate.”
“Seeing your devastated face and hearing your edgy voice, I assume it upset you. Me two, by the way. I like her you know. You look really good together. I haven’t seen you so happy in a longtime. You only had eyes for each other the whole week-end and it was kind of irritating. It reminded me I am still single, and no, my date was hopeless, thanks for asking. Why can’t I find a normal guy? Cute, smart, kind and athletic.”
Despite my physical and psychological miserable state, I can’t hold back a grin,
“Maybe because you are just too demanding. You forgot ‘wealthy’ in your wish list, and I wouldn’t call that a normal guy. He sounds too perfect to be true.”
Yes, he exists. I have one specimen right in front of me and much to my misfortune he happens to be my brother.”
“Abby, please! Buttering me up won’t lead you anywhere. Anyway, I am in no mood for jokes right now.”
“That’s not a joke, Matt. I envied Melissa and now I am jealous of Cassandra.”
“Oh no, you are not going to start with that too, are you? What’s with you, women? Why this jealousy and suspicious minds? Please Abs, can you just spare me a trip to the hospital?”
As I am already lying down on my stomach on the sofa, I put my briefs down to uncover the embarrassing wound.
“Hmm…It doesn’t look too good Matt.”
“Yeah, I trust you, but I need to know if you can do something. I can’t beg on my knees, but you have to help me on this one.”
“It is still a stage 2 and doesn’t look infected yet. It’s a raw sore and it’s bleeding though. You need antibiotics. It is good you don’t feel anything because it must be painful.”
“Can you check in my medicine cabinet? There is disinfectant and gauze, and I might have more ointments. They gave me samples at the hospital, but I didn’t think I would need them. Maybe they are expired.”
I probably have a worried and pleading face because she doesn’t argue with me, and I hear her rummaging through my bathroom cabinet. She comes back with her hands full. “When was your wound last cleaned?”
“Cassie did it before we left mom and dad.”
“What? But that’s three days ago! Are you irresponsible Matt? You know it has to be checked and cleaned with an ointment applied several times a day. It is serious matter and you know it.”
“As you can easily notice, I can’t reach it on my own. Do you think I’m a contortionist of some kind? Plus I can’t feel or see what I’m freaking doing! I didn’t ask you to come here to boss me around Abby, or worse, give me a lecture. Just tell me if you can help. Otherwise, I guess I’ll just have to go to my doctor.”
“Don’t take that sarcastic tone with me Matt or I’m out of here, and you won’t have to go anywhere because I will personally call 911 to get you. As you rightfully asked for me to come, simmer down and don’t push it. I am not your ten-year-old sister anymore.”
“I am sorry Abs. I only had one of those when I was bedridden for weeks after the accident, and the nurses took care of it. What do I know?”
I never argue badly with my sister other than playfully, but this time I am aware I got out of line. I don’t answer back trying to pull myself together. Everything seems to go wrong. Mentioning Cassie is more depressing, but it’s not fair to take it out on my little sister. She is totally right and I could face terrible consequences due to my negligence. She looks concerned and asks me in a reproachful voice,
“Why didn’t you call me before?”
“Don’t know, had something else in mind.”
“So I figured; something apparently more important than your health.”
She sounds afflicted and sighs,
“Well, you are going to see me a great deal until you are healed. I’ll call your doctor today to have a prescription for something stronger than this gel, which will have to do for now. No pressure at all on this and no shower without covering the sore with a waterproof bandage.”
I bet she will be a good nurse. She already is. She cleans the wound thoroughly and delicately, not that I’ll mind if she wasn’t gentle. She spends some time spreading the ointment and scotch-taping the compress meticulously, so I can wash.
While I shower she stays to fix me something to eat and clean up the kitchen. I only ate junk food and TV dinners and left a mess in the place. I feel a little bit better after the shower and some shaving, but I still am depressed. I miss Cassie and I wonder what she is doing. I watched out for the noises in the hallway and I heard her door closed yesterday evening and this morning. I am dying to go knock on it, but I wouldn’t know what to say. I am the one who decided to take a break and even if I feel bad about it and want to see her badly, I have my pride. I need a little more time. Mostly I need some sleep because I can’t think clearly.
“Well, you seem a little less than a zombie now. Eat your sandwich, take a sleeping pill and have a good nap. I’ll come back tonight on my way home to change your bandage.”
“I love you baby sister. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I’m sorry for being such a dick.”
“Look who’s talking! And I am the one buttering up the other? You better make up with your sexy neighbor, or I’ll have to get involved in your silly argument!”
I grin tiredly, pull her to me and peck her cheek.
When Abby comes back six hours later, I barely open my eyes. She has a key to the apartment and lets herself in. I am in bed; drowsy from the Valium I took earlier on her advice. It’s now common knowledge I hate medication and since the hospital, I rarely take some, but when I do I am very sensitive and the effect on me is magnified. I feel her tending my sore and she disappears in the kitchen. She asks me out loud,
“Do you feel better Matt?”
“Yeah. You can go home and not a word to mom and dad, understood?”
“Not before you have eaten the soup and the salad I brought you.”
I don’t feel like eating anything at all. Getting out of bed; even less. But as I don’t want to piss her once again, I sit up painfully and reach out for my wheelchair. My sister’s hand forward stops me in my attempt, “Stay where you are. I’ll bring you a tray.”
Not only I don’t argue, but I lean back against the headboard with a sigh of relief. I am still worn out and I feel abnormally weak. Five minutes later she returns with the promised dinner. She seats on the bed next to me and watches me eat silently. I don’t talk either busy to gulp the soup down. Still keeping a protective eye on me, I see my mother’s concern and softness in her.Working on the chicken salad I eventually speak between two bites,
“Thanks Abby. It’s really good.”
I was hungry after all. Without her I guess I would have fast.
I willingly finish my plate and she seems happy when I’m done.
“Now, can I go back to sleep Doc?”
She laughs, “Yes you can.”
Before she leaves she brings me some extra catheters and the empty plastic bottle I asked for. It will save me a night trip and an early morning one to the bathroom. She also rearranges the pillows in my back to block me on my side, and she tucks me in like a baby.
“See you tomorrow big bro and have a good night sleep. Call anytime if you need me.”
I groan and mumble an intelligible answer.
I sleep around the clock and spend the next day doing nothing, dozing in and off, watching a bit of TV and shifting sides every two hours. I drag my sore butt out of bed only to grab what I can find from the fridge. Thanks to my sister’s thoughtfulness, I get hold of ready-to-eat meals I just have to heat up in the microwave. I postpone my bowel routine protocol and catheterize from the bed. The big bottle is almost full, but I’m too lazy and not feeling well enough to go empty it.
At around six o’clock, I hear a knock on the door.
“Come in Abs, it’s open. I’m in the bedroom.”
My back is turned to the door and as I don’t hear anything I watch over my shoulder. It is not Abby, but Cassie. She is pale and she doesn’t seem like she got much sleep. She doesn’t look good at all.
“Matt, can I come in? We need to talk.”
Her voice is hesitant and I am really afraid of what she has to say. I pray it is not going to be a break-up announcement yet.
“No. Enough talking.”
The fear makes my voice sharper than intended. She is taken aback and ready to turn back.
“Cassie! Don’t go. Not wanting to talk doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you. I am in need of you so badly; I’ve been the most desperate man for three long days and nights. Come here.”
She is crying now and I bet that’s what she did before as well. She approaches the bed and goes around it to face me. I take her hand and tug her down gently in my arms. She just snuggles up not looking at me. With a hand on her chin I lift her head to me. Her eyes are filled with tears, and I can’t stand the thought I am the one responsible for this foolish separation.
“Please Cassie, don’t cry. I am sorry I said those mean things. I don’t know what got into my twisted mind. I wasn’t like this before. I guess being a cripple changed my way of thinking.”
“Oh Matt! I am the one feeling sorry. I’ve been such an idiot to make a scene. I’ve never been jealous before. I had no right to judge you or assume you could go back to your former girlfriend. The worst was implying you might have used me for personal egoistic purposes. I will never forgive myself for thinking that. I know it is not true because you could never be that kind man.”
Tears are now flowing along her cheeks and she sobs on my shoulder. I run my hand through her long soft hair,
“It makes two of us. I will never forgive myself for having said you were just fulfilling a fantasy with me. I know it’s not the case either because we have strong and true feelings for each other. I love you Cassandra. Don’t ever forget it.”
“I love you too Matt.”
I feel her halting voice whispering again my chest. Her hot breath on my skin and the fresh scent of a fruity shampoo arouses my senses. I dry her wet cheeks with the tip of my fingers and take her lips in mine. I start kissing her avidly, thrusting my tongue in her welcoming mouth, exploring it thoroughly. I missed her so much, I need her so bad it seems like it is a survival matter, as if she is my only reason to live. I want to feel her whole body against mine. I long for her touch, her caresses and I can’t wait to make love to her. I guess I will have to postpone that enticing idea for now. We both need to sort things out first and she needs to be at peace. We just kiss madly, moaning and panting from the wilderness of our making out. When we feel satiated enough, we stay close in each other’s arms without saying a word. After a while she starts talking,
“Matt I want you to know…”
I put two fingers on her warm and sensual lips, “No, you don’t have to tell me anything, I get it. You don’t have to justify yourself…”
She removes my fingers gently and keeps my hand between her breasts, “Yes I want to.”
This intimacy is not going to make things easy, but I let her speak.
“I recently discovered I became jealous, after I met you to be exact. You are a handsome man Matt, and I have seen the looks of other women on you. Believe me, there were not out of pity, compassion or embarrassment and… it kind of annoyed me. I need to share something with you as you are the main person concerned. I just hope you won’t be mad at me afterwards. It is really embarrassing to confess, but I am not the only one to be attracted to disabled guys. I’ve done some research on the Internet and I found out I am not alone. I came across websites in which disabled guys and girls attracted to their disabilities can interact and meet. I have never participated in any discussions and never seek to date one of the handicapped members, but thanks to those people I could put a name on my shameful interest. Girls like me are called ‘devotees’. I tried many times to figure out why and from where I get those weird feelings from, but I guess I never will. It goes back to my childhood. I already liked to watch movies or read book with a disabled character and kept it as a fantasy all my life. When I first met you in your wheelchair I had a shock and a revelation, but I didn’t know what to think of it. It triggered something deep inside me. Was it a coincidence, luck or fate? The only thing I know, my fantasy became reality and I wasn’t disappointed. The hardest part was to tell you I was at first attracted to your wheels and paralyzed legs. I feel such a freak when I think about it. I never told anyone and it is a relief to be able to tell you. I had to. It’s liberating. I know it sounds awful your disability can turn me on but you have to believe me, you were never an experiment for me. Obviously it goes much further than a fantasy too, because since I am with you, every passing day I love you more and miss you more. Matt, I simply think we were meant to be together and this has nothing to do with your physical state.”
Wow! I am speechless for a while. I already knew she liked my wheelchair and seeing me tall in my braces and crutches, but I had no idea it was much more than that. She has more issues than I thought but who doesn’t have any? I have mine and there are not the easiest ones to live a normal sexual relationship. With Cassie, not only it became possible but it is harmonious. At first, devotee sounds like a negative term to me. Like some sort of fetishism or maybe related to a mental disorder. But thinking of the way Cassie is with me, caring, understanding and loving, I can’t believe her attraction to me is only physical, like some kind of sexual perversion. She never showed any sign of being a SM relationships’ fan, and after the bad experience she went through I assume she must despise rough sex. She is so gentle and sweet, it is even harder to imagine her as a Dominant. She just loves me the way I am inside and I happen to be paraplegic which is a motivating incentive for her. I cannot blame her for being drawn to wheelers as long it 's just aimed at myself. Our encounter wasn’t premeditated, she didn’t ask for that. She didn’t hunt me down. We just met out of sheer luck and I should take it as a blessing.
“I don’t have much to answer to that. I heard you. I just thank you for being honest with me, and I am flattered by your recent jealousy because it is related to me. I don’t know what future holds for us but there is one thing I am sure of, I want to be with you, and I thank whoever is up there for sending me a devotee.”
She is smiling and crying at the same time, and I wonder how I could live three days without her. I plant little kisses on her wet salty eyes and cheeks and toy with her lips in mine, “Forgive me Cass, I love you. I was so miserable since our argument.”
She sniffles, “I know. I felt the same. Let’s try to never do that again.”
I have been bedridden for three days, and I am looking at the mess I left by the bed on the floor. At least a dozen of empty bottles of Cranberry juice, a recommended beverage for paraplegics to avoid UTI are lying around. There are also used cotton swabs and medical supplies but more embarrassing, I didn’t throw away my used catheters and urine container which is filled to the top. Cassie can see it too and I feel really ashamed.
“I’ve been confined in this room because of this.”
I lift up the sheets to point out at my naked rear end covered with a large piece of gauze.
“I am sorry Matt for not being there for you when you needed me. I couldn’t stop thinking about your sore and I worried sick.”
“Well, I am the one to blame. I wanted to be left alone, not you. Ok, let’s put this unpleasant topic behind. I feel like going out to have something to eat. What do you think?”
“I guess I could have dinner. I haven’t eaten much lately. Can you use your wheelchair?”
“If we just go down close to the building, I think I can manage with the braces. I try not to put pressure on my butt as long as I can. Shamefully, I had to ask for Abby’s help and in return I have to follow her strict orders or she promised to send me back to the hospital. Tomorrow I am going back to the center anyway and I’ll have to drive and be in my chair. Just wait for me. I have to make a trip to the bathroom. I won’t be long.”
For now I transfer to my chair and start picking up the junk from the floor. Cassie holds me back,
“Leave this and do whatever you have to do, I’ll clean this up.”
I feel nervous about letting her empty my urine bottle, but she doesn’t seem to be repelled by the chore. I wonder if it’s a distinctive devotee feature, love or both. Whatever it is I like it. When I come out, the room is tidy and the bed is made. She is waiting for me in the kitchen.
“Can you help me with the braces? It will be faster.”
“Are you sure you are fit enough for this Matt? Is your sore better?”
“Don’t know yet, but this ‘pain in the butt’ is not preventing me from a reconciliation dinner with my girlfriend.”
My shoulders are still a bit sore from the stairs climbing, but I feel good being on my feet again. I struggle for a few seconds to find my balance, but Cassie is here to readjust my unruly right foot while I hold on tight to the crutches. I have known for a while I am at my maximum capacity in regards to walking. Keep my torso and my head straight is the best I can do. As for what’s below my waist, it is purely artificial assistance. At least this time I wear the braces under my jeans and I don’t look crippled enough to draw attention. Well, less than in the chair.
When we arrive in the lobby, René cries out completely startled, “Monsieur Matthew! Vous êtes debout, vous marchez. Quel plaisir! Fini le fauteuil roulant alors?”
(Mr. Matthew! You are standing up, you walk. What a pleasure! The wheelchair is gone then?)
I grin, “Non, malheureusement René. C’est juste pour un petit moment. Je ne peux pas aller bien loin comme ça. On va juste dîner au restaurant d’à côté.”
(Unfortunately no René. It is just for a short while. I cannot go very far like this. We are going to eat in the nearby restaurant.)
He watches me with a rueful face and let out a sigh,
“Ah! C’est vraiment dommage. Un instant j’ai cru que ma prière avait été entendue. Passez une bonne soirée.” (Ah, that’s really a pity. I thought for a while my prayer had been heard. Have a nice evening.)
I tell René Abby is supposed to visit after work and I ask him to tell her where we will be at. We are seated in the diner and haven’t ordered yet, when my sister enters the restaurant. She seems happy to see us back together, and I invite her to sit down next to me. I remove my crutches out of the way and she looks at my braced legs hidden under the table,
“Don’t you have enough of those? You’re straining yourself Matthew.”
“I am just listening to my nurse sister who told me to avoid pressure on my butt.”
“You’re seating on it if I am not mistaken.”
“Yeah, after spending three long days laying on my side and my stomach. Can you just give me a break?”
She smiles, “You’re right. You deserve one. I called your doctor and I got a new medicine for you and antibiotics you have to start taking this minute. I had to promise the doc you will pay him a visit tomorrow and call him if it gets worse.”
“Will do. Thanks sis. Let’s order now.”