Aaron was in the middle of a weightlifting set and he lost count of the rep he was on; he was distracted. It was early Friday morning, the sun hadn’t even risen yet, and he was at the gym having trouble focusing on his work out. An entire day had already passed since he and Julia went to the baseball game and he kept replaying the night’s events over and over in his mind. Aaron had gone for it; he went and kissed her at the end of the game, unable to resist it any longer. He thought the night had gone well and he thoroughly enjoyed being there with her. She was fun to be around and her energy was contagious. She was patient when it came to the wheels, never seeming to bat an eye at the reality of his situation and he appreciated that.
He hadn’t felt the way he was feeling about Julia in quite a while. He was no stranger to dating, having a few serious relationships under his belt already, but his focus was never on finding a woman. He worked, he traveled, he had friends, he took care of himself, and he lived his life. More often than not, he didn’t find room in that life or the time to devote to dating. The more time he spent with Julia, though, the more he realized she was unlike any other girl he had ever been with, which made him want to explore that dynamic further. And while that was exciting, it also scared him.
Aaron could admit to himself that Julia still made him nervous and even vulnerable sometimes; two feelings that he wasn’t used to having. He was a grown man, a secure and confident one. Julia had come into his life and shook it up. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. He also couldn’t wait to see her again.
As he sat on the bench in the weight room, Aaron took a deep breath. He reset the weight, getting a better grip on it before he lifted again, continuing the set. He had to get through this routine, even if Julia was on the forefront of his mind and the task at hand wasn’t.
It was mid-morning and Julia stood in the aisle of the grocery store. She hadn’t needed to shop for groceries as much as she had in the last three weeks for as long as she could remember. She was home each day of the week, not on the road, and had to actually make meals. She was deciding between penne and farfalle pasta for a dish she would make that weekend when she heard the ringtone of her phone. She reached into her purse to pull it out and glanced at the screen.
Ah, yes. Him.
“Well, hello.” Julia answered with a smile.
“Hey.” Aaron replied.
“Shouldn’t you be working?! Checking hearts and lungs with that stethoscope of yours?” Julia tossed the box of farfalle into the cart and continued down the aisle.
Aaron laughed. “I run the joint. Those hearts and lungs can wait.” He joked. “What are you doing?”
Julia groaned. “Ugh. Grocery shopping. The worst.” She said with a laugh.
“Ah, the dreaded supermarket.” Aaron teased.
“So dreaded…,” she said through a laugh.
“Are you doing anything this evening?” He asked quickly.
Julia tossed a couple small containers of Greek yogurt into the cart as she scanned the shelves in the dairy department. “No, I don’t have plans yet for this fine Friday night. I can be persuaded to make some, though…”
So, hurry up and ask me.
Aaron let out a low laugh. “Is that so? Well, I should be done here by about five. Do you want to come over and I’ll grill something? I’ve heard the food I cook is half-way edible.”
Julia bit her lip, trying to contain her smile. “Half-way, huh? In that case, yes, that sounds good. What can I bring?”
Aaron paused. “Uh, how about twenty three bratwursts, eight chocolate cakes, four loaves of bread, two lemons, and a bag of flour.”
He’s something else, this guy.
Julia laughed, and shook her head. “Alright, consider it done.”
“No, no… Just bring yourself.” He countered with a deep chuckle.
“Ok. I can do that, too.” Julia leaned forward and rested on the handle of the cart.
Aaron gave her his address, and told her rough directions. They decided on six o’clock sharp before ending the phone call.
Dinner at Aaron’s house. This kind of a big deal, isn’t it?
Julia took a deep breath and tossed her phone back in her bag. She took off again with the grocery cart, in search of the rest of items on her list.
Julia pulled into the empty driveway in front of Aaron’s house, glancing at the numbers on the house to make sure she was at the right home. She figured Aaron’s Jeep was parked in the garage. Situated in a nice neighborhood, the house was a one story ranch style home, in a corner lot, with a covered porch and a three car garage. The lawn was manicured, and a few trees dotted the property. When she was confident she was in the right place, she got out of the car, bringing the pan of lemon bars she made with her. She just couldn’t come to Aaron’s house for the first time empty handed.
She walked up the sidewalk to the front door, noticing there were a couple wide steps leading to the entrance. She knocked on the door, took a deep breath, and waited. She looked down at her outfit; feeling confident and pretty. She had chosen a beige colored jersey maxi dress and paired it with her denim jacket that she rolled the sleeves back on. She wore a long gold necklace with an aqua stone, small gold dangly earrings, and wore a pair of flat sandals on her feet.
Julia, you’ll be fine.
Aaron pulled open the front door a minute later, a smile on his face. “Hey!” He said, and pushed his wheel backward, giving her room to come in. He looked handsome; seeming to be more so each time she saw him. He had on tan pants with a long sleeve forest green shirt, the sleeves pushed to his elbows in typical Aaron fashion. He wore the casual brown suede shoes again.
Julia stepped up over the threshold and into his house. She refrained from looking around, although she couldn’t wait to see what it was like. Still holding the pan of lemon bars, she leaned down and hugged him. “Hello.” She said with a warm smile.
He returned her embrace, and eyed the pan. “Wait a minute. What’s this?” He said with a laugh.
She looked down at the pan in her hands. “Oh, dessert!”
I hope he likes lemon…
“She bakes…,” Aaron said, sounding impressed. He pushed the door closed behind them and pushed
forward. “Kitchen is this way.”
Julia followed as he wheeled across the hardwood floors past the living area. Rounding a corner, they ended up in an expansive kitchen. Maple kitchen cabinets lined the walls, with sand colored granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. A wide rectangular island stood in the middle. It was a beautiful space.
Oh. Wow. This kitchen is…wow.
Julia could smell something radiating from the oven then saw that a pan was on the stove. A tray of raw steaks and chicken was on the countertop, along with a set of tongs. Aaron turned to Julia and reached for the pan. “Here, I’ll take that,” he offered, and set the pan on his lap.
He wheeled to the stove then lifted the lemon bars onto the counter. “Looks good, thank you, Julia.”
“I had to bring something.” She said with a small shrug.
“Want to go out back?” He asked as he titled his head toward the back door.
“Sure. Need a hand with something?” She asked as she looked around the kitchen.
Aaron lifted the tray of meat to be grilled from the countertop and placed it evenly on his lap. “Uh, yeah. You want to bring that extra dish there?” He gestured to a tray by the stove.
Julia grabbed it then followed Aaron. He wheeled to the sliding glass door off of the kitchen and opened it easily. He pushed smoothly out onto the covered sandstone patio and pulled up to the table next to the grill. He set the tray of steaks and chicken down, then turned to Julia, who was admiring the area. The backyard was big, and well landscaped. There were a few trees and shrubs along the fence line. A dining table, and several chairs, along with the grill were on the patio. The biggest feature, though, was prominently placed in the middle of the yard, set in the ground, surround by smooth stones.
“You have a pool!” Julia said, unable to hide her surprise. Julia walked toward it, taking in the several cushioned lounge chairs that were set up around the pool deck.
Aaron laughed. “I do, yes. It’s what made me buy this place.” He gave his wheels a push, and
followed right behind her.
Julia looked around, totally enamored by the yard. “Aaron, seriously. It’s gorgeous out here.”
“Thank you.” He said, sounding humbled.
She stood for a moment longer and looked around before turning to him. “Can I do anything?”
A smile spread across Aaron’s face and he shook his head. “No, thank you. I’m going to get the grill started. Take a seat. What can I get you to drink?” He turned and pushed back toward the open door to the house. “Water, iced tea, soda, wine, beer?” He said over his shoulder.
Julia walked to the dining table nearby and pulled out a chair. “Water is fine, thank you.”
Aaron returned a moment later with two bottles of water on his lap. He opened the cap of one and handed it to Julia, then opened one for himself. He took a long drink then set the bottle on the dining table before turning to the grill.
He sat sideways to the grill, but a few inches back from it. He opened the lid and reached for the plate of steaks and chicken. He placed the four steaks and four chicken breasts on the hot grate of the grill top. “I’ve got a salad and some potatoes, too. Then steak and chicken. How do you like your steak cooked?”
Julia watched him intently as he worked. “Oh, uh, medium well is fine. I’m not one of those ‘still mooing’ people.” She added with a laugh.
“Ok,” he said with a nod. “Good to know.”
Julia drank her bottled water and looked around, taking in the surroundings some more. “How long have you lived here?”
Aaron continued to work at the grill, monitoring the meat. “Hm, I guess two and a half years now.” He turned to Julia. “I rented a condo when I moved back from Texas, then found this place. It works for me.”
Julia glanced around again. “It’s a beautiful home, Aaron.”
“Thank you.” He said with an appreciative smile, then he turned back to the grill.
There was a silence then on the patio as Julia looked around and Aaron cooked. Julia let her mind wander and she wondered what the rest of the house was like. She didn’t know what to expect when she arrived, but what she was found was beyond anything she could have expected. The house was large, and well maintained. She knew Aaron had to have worked hard to be able to afford the property and it made her impressed with him even more.
Pushing the thought aside, she spoke up. “Ok, seriously, I can’t do nothing. Put me work, please.”
Aaron laughed. “Just relax, really. Everything else is already put together.”
“Ok, ok…I’ll try,” she said with a smile.
Julia was fighting the urge to get up and help with the meal, but she also enjoyed sitting there just watching Aaron. He moved around with such ease as he sat at the grill. Even from his position he seemed to be able to reach just fine as he babysat the steaks and chicken on the top grill top.
“These are ready I think.” Aaron said a few minutes later as he transferred everything on the grill to the clean tray.
Julia stood up eager for an opportunity to help out. “I can take that,” she said as she reached out.
“Alright, thanks.” Aaron smiled up at her. He closed the lid of the grill and laid the tongs and dirty platter on his lap. He turned and wheeled back inside of the house and into the kitchen with Julia following. Aaron pushed to the sink, his knees rolling right underneath it where there was an empty space, and put the dirty serving items down into it. Julia place the tray she carried on the counter.
Aaron opened the refrigerator and pulled out a bowl of salad and two bottles of dressing. He leaned over and placed everything on the counter, then he wheeled over to the stove. Leaning forward, he pulled open the oven door and reached inside to retrieve a sheet of roasted potatoes with an oven mitt. He placed them on the stovetop carefully.
“I think that’ll do. Can I get you something else to drink? I’m going to have a beer I think…” Aaron turned back to the refrigerator and pulled open the door.
“Ok, ok…you’ve convinced me. I’ll have some wine, I guess.” She stood leaning against the counter of the island and watched Aaron reach inside for the bottle of white wine and a beer for himself. He turned around and put both bottles on the counter.
As Julia watched him, she also noticed then that the cabinets and counter seemed to be of average height. There were no rugs on the hardwood floor, and the space between the island and the outlying cabinets was wide. Aaron navigated the area easily. The only modification Julia saw was the empty space under the sink, which allowed Aaron to roll right underneath.
Does he keep anything in the upper cabinets? How would he reach?
Aaron filled a wine glass for Julia and twisted off the cap of a beer for himself. “Here you go…,” he said with a smile as he pushed the wine glass to her from across the island.
“Thank you.” Julia smiled.
“Let’s eat! Plates are here…” Aaron gestured to a stack of two on the counter. “You go first.” He backed up out of the way, and Julia came around the counter.
“You should go first, you did all the work!” Julia laughed and began to fill a plate. She got a grilled chicken breast, a small steak, roasted potatoes, and salad.
Aaron started to fill a plate after Julia. “We can eat outside if you’d like.”
“Sounds good to me.” Julia said as she waited for Aaron.
He finished getting his food and lay the plate on his knees. He carefully pushed to the back door and out onto the patio and Julia followed him. He placed the plate on the dining table and gestured for Julia to sit. “I’ll grab some silverware and napkins.” He spun around and pushed back into the house quickly.
Julia pulled out a chair and sat down, then looked up to see Aaron coming out. He rolled over to her and handed her a set of silverware wrapped in a napkin. “You might need these…”
Julia let out a small laugh. “I mean, I might…”
The weather was nice and the sun had begun to set, bringing the temperature down with it. The setting was perfect for an outdoor meal on the patio. As they ate, a steady conversation flowed. They talked for a while even after both of their plates were empty. Aaron went inside and retrieved the bottle of wine and another beer for himself, then returned for the pan of lemon bars.
“I haven’t had these in years.” Aaron said as he cut into the dessert and lifted one out for Julia.
“Well, I haven’t made them in years, so…you’ve been warned.” She said with a laugh, a nod to when Aaron had warned her about the tuna salad sandwich day at the hospital on her first day there.
Aaron served one for himself and dug in with his fork. “Oh yeah. These are delicious.” He closed his eyes and mocked savoring the bite.
Julia laughed and shook her head. “They’re alright…”
They each finished off dessert and Aaron collected their dirty dishes. “Want to see the rest of the place?”
“Sure, I’d love to.” Julia stood and pushed her chair back.
Aaron placed the dirty plates and silverware of his lap and Julia grabbed the pan of lemon bars and bottle of wine. They made their way back into the house. Julia placed the lemon bars and wine on the counter and Aaron deposited the dishes in the sink.
“Alright…,” he said with a smile when he spun around. “This way.” Aaron pushed forward slowly.
Julia followed him and they turned a corner leading from the kitchen. Aaron pulled open a door and flipped on an overhead light, illuminating the garage. He rolled down a small ramp smoothly. His Jeep was parked inside next to a wall of storage shelves. As they made their way around the front of the Jeep, Julia saw that a tool bench and a tool chest were along the opposite wall. A four-wheeled low to the ground bike was also parked there. It had a seat and handle bars, almost like a traditional two-wheeled bike.
His bike. So, he does still ride…
“So, here’s the man cave, if you will.” Aaron said with a grin.
“Man cave is right. Testosterone is just everywhere in here!” Julia laughed as she looked around.
“Come on, I’ll show you the other rooms.” Aaron turned around and pushed up the short ramp back into the house with ease.
Julia followed Aaron as he pushed past the living room and down another hallway. He turned quickly into the first room they came to and switched on the light.
“My office is here. Pretty boring.” The room had a corner desk and some bookshelves. A desktop computer and a laptop were both on the desk. Julia immediately noticed the framed photographs on the walls; the same that she had seen at Dr. Andersen’s office.
Julia nodded as she looked around. “It’s not boring…it’s nice.”
Aaron shrugged a shoulder and nodded his head toward the door. Julia stepped aside and he pushed into the hallway.
“Restroom here, if you need it”, he said as he pointed the room out.
“Guest room is in here. Or Hotel Evans as it’s known to my family.” He said with a low chuckle when he flipped on the light. They stayed at the doorway and peered inside.
The room was large with a nicely made queen sized bed situated in the middle. A chest of drawers, two bedside tables with a couple lamps, and a flat panel television completed the room.
“Hotel Evans looks like the place to stay! I don’t blame them.” Julia said.
“My room is back here.” Aaron reversed his chair and turned down the hallway. He pushed forward into a dark room and flipped the light switch on the wall and the room lit up. A dark wood four post king sized bed was in the middle of the room with a sitting area off to the side, and a dark wood wardrobe was at the end of the bed against the wall. A fan hung over the bed from the high ceiling.
Not wanting to invade the private space any further, Julia stayed at the doorway.
Don’t be nosy, Julia. Keep your distance.
“Ah, so he does sleep…,” Julia said softly.
“He does.” Aaron nodded in agreement with a smile. He turned then and switched off the light.
“Want another drink?” He asked as he pushed back down the hallway toward the kitchen.
“Sure.” Julia said from behind him.
They entered the kitchen again and Aaron poured Julia another glass of wine. He then started to clean up the dishes and pans from cooking.
“Wait, wait, wait…,” Julia said, putting her glass down. “Let me help, please.”
Aaron gave her a look, but let her pitch in anyway. He put the leftover food in containers and into the refrigerator while Julia rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Aaron wiped down the counter and stove and then they were done.
“I’m going to excuse myself for a minute.” He said as he lifted off of the seat of his chair.
“Ok.” Julia said with a small smile.
“You want to grab your glass?” He asked quickly and gestured over his shoulder.
Aaron directed Julia to the living room. “I’ll be right in. Make yourself comfortable.” He turned and pushed around the corner, out of sight.
Taking his cue, Julia sat down on the chocolate brown soft leather couch, bringing one leg underneath her. She sipped her wine and waited for Aaron. The living space was a large room; big enough for the couch and two overstuffed arm chairs. A neutral colored area rug laid underneath the rectangular coffee table in front of the large couch, which had two square side tables on either side. A dark maple entertainment center was against the wall, and it housed a flat panel television. A stone fireplace was situated in the corner of the room, with a mantle directly above it, and a painting of a mountainous landscape hung above that. Julia glanced around and noticed several little details were scattered around the room. A few hardcover books lay on the coffee table, and there was one on a side table.
He has good taste…
A couple framed photos were on the side table, too, and Julia leaned over to study them. One was an old photograph, taken many years ago. It was a photo of a man and a woman in a loving embrace standing behind three small children, two boys and a girl, who were all smiling. Julia thought it must be an old picture of Aaron and his family, but she had a hard time picking out which young boy was him; they both looked a lot alike, only one was clearly older. The next photo was more recent; Julia picked out Aaron immediately, sitting in his wheelchair on the end of a large group of people. Four adults stood behind an older gray haired man and brunette older woman. One of the standing guys in the back looked a lot like Aaron, and he had his arm around a blonde woman. Julia assumed that was Aaron’s brother. A brunette woman was next to a light haired guy, who held a small baby, and Julia thought that must be his sister. A couple young kids were down in front with what Julia knew must be Aaron’s parents. Everyone looked so happy, their smiles wide and genuine. Julia studied it closer, taking a look at Aaron. He was leaned back in his chair with his hands on either wheel rim. His smile looked like it was captured during a laugh; his grin was big, and his eyes shined. Julia smiled as she looked at him; she loved that smile.
Julia turned and looked around again. She took a sip from her wine glass. She felt comfortable in the room, it was an inviting space.
This room feels like him. Grounded, rustic, organized, masculine, clean, and warm.
Julia didn’t hear Aaron as he came into the living room; his wheels silent on the hardwood floor. Julia saw him when he wheeled around the opposite end of the couch and he had a bottle of beer between his legs. “Can I join you?” He asked with a nod of his head toward the couch.
Julia smiled. “Please do.”
Aaron leaned forward to the coffee table and set the beer there, then turned his chair diagonally, in the wide space between the table and the couch. He scooted forward in the seat and lifted each leg off of the footplate. Then he reached out and placed a hand on the couch cushion and left the other on the edge of his chair. He swung onto the couch easily, scooting over and back to be next to Julia. He leaned forward and pushed his chair to the side, out of the way, then grabbed his beer. He adjusted his legs, making sure his feet were flat on the floor, then he settled back.
Julia turned to face him then, bringing her wine glass to her lips and taking another sip. “Thank you for dinner. You’re right. Your food is half-way edible…”
Aaron looked at Julia and laughed. “You’re welcome. Thank you for coming over.” He placed a hand on her leg softly.
“Well, thank you for having me…” She said as she leaned forward and kissed his cheek.
Aaron squeezed her leg gently; his touch was comforting. Julia smiled as she looked at him.
They both were quiet for a moment, comfortable in the silence.
Julia broke the silence when she gestured over her shoulder to the side table. “That’s your family in the photo, right?”
Aaron nodded. “It is. May I?” He asked as he started to lean over toward the table and Julia leaned back so he could reach a framed photo.
With the more recent photograph in his hand, Aaron held it out for Julia to see. “These are my parents, my dad David and my mom Katherine. This is my older brother Jay, his wife Amy, their kids are here; Caleb and Gracie. Then this is my little sister Cara, her husband Andrew, and their son Mason.” Aaron pointed out everyone in the picture. “Then there’s this sucker on the end here…,” said with a smirk as he referred to himself.
Julia laughed. “Who’s that guy?!”
“Who let him in there?” He said sarcastically with a laugh. He leaned forward and placed the frame on the coffee table.
“So, the middle child, huh?” Julia asked before a sip of wine.
Aaron nodded. “I am. Stayed right under the radar growing up.” He said with a laugh.
“And you have some nephews and a niece…” Julia also pointed out.
Aaron smiled. “I do. They’re a handful, but they’re good kids.”
“Uncle Aaron…” Julia teased. She reached out and squeezed his shoulder.
They talked some more for a while, Aaron finished his beer, and Julia polished off the glass of wine. They were comfortable together, laughing and joking, and talking about all sorts of things.
Julia could feel the effects of the wine as the evening wore on, and felt her inhibitions slipping. The conversation had been flowing easily, and Julia felt like she could finally ask some questions she had wondered about, but hadn’t asked Aaron.
“Can I ask you something?” She said.
Aaron nodded and leaned into Julia, nudging her softly. “Anything.”
Second guessing herself suddenly, Julia looked away then, unsure if she had the courage to actually get the words out. She was quiet for a moment.
Aaron cleared his throat and spoke up. “My middle name is Campbell, I’m O negative, Stones over Beatles, Presley over Cash, mint chocolate chip, socially liberal, financially conservative, and twelve stamps in my passport.” He rambled out quickly with a wry grin.
Julia swatted his arm playfully, feeling more at ease after his attempt to answer some possible questions he thought she might have. “Smart ass. All of those are good to know, though.”
Aaron laughed. “Come on. Shoot.”
“How tall…are you?” Her voice was quiet.
“Six foot two inches. One eighty five soaking wet.” He answered quickly.
He is tall. Is? Was?... Is?
Julia paused before asking her next question. “Do you often turn down girls who try to get an appointment with you, only to take them out instead?”
Aaron shook his head. He looked her in the eye then, his face showing no signs of shying away. “No. Never. You’re the first.”
Oh, thank god.
“Have you ever been married?”
“No, I have not.” Aaron shook his head again.
“Came close one time a while ago. It didn’t work out.”
Julia was quiet then, almost satisfied.
“Hey, your turn.” He squeezed her knee gently.
Julia laughed. “Ok. Uh, my middle name is Kate, I’m AB positive, I’d choose Stones over Beatles, AND Presley over Cash, too. Wait, what were the others?” She let out a small laugh. “Oh yeah, uh, chocolate chip cookie dough, Independent, and fifteen stamps in my passport.”
Aaron gave Julia a lazy smile. “Alright. And the other stuff.”
“Ok, well, I’m five three, and I’m not saying how much I weigh. I’ve never dated a doctor. Never been married, and I turned down a proposal when I was young.”
Aaron nodded. “Alright. Well, I feel enlightened about you now, too. Anything else you want to know?”
Julia was quiet, more questions seeming to come to the surface of her mind. She looked away for a moment.
“Julia, I’m an open book. Really.” Aaron leaned to the side and nudged her shoulder again.
Ah, what the hell. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
“Do you have any pain? Because of your injury…” Julia asked softly as she looked at him.
Aaron nodded his head slightly. “Some. In my lower back especially. Then my right leg, with that tiny bit of sensation,” he reached down and tapped his thigh. “I get this prickly feeling sometimes that drives me absolutely crazy.”
Julia listened closely as he answered.
Aaron went on. “It’s manageable though. It’s really not bad.” He reassured.
Julia nodded understandingly. “Do you have to take medication for the pain?”
Aaron shook his head. “Nothing regularly, no. I did when I first got hurt and also took something for spasms, but I stopped both. The spasms don’t really bother me, plus they help to keep muscle tone, and pills just deaden all of that.”
Julia thought back to when Aaron’s knee had bounced up and down the night they had drinks. She now realized what he meant by saying “It happens…”
“These guys,” Aaron placed a hand on his knee and gestured to his legs. “Aren’t too thin yet. I’ve really tried to work my legs as much as I can with the rest of my parts, so I don’t have too much atrophy. I work out just about every day, though, and stretch to keep things loose and working. Range of motion is important because my joints are susceptible to locking up if they’re not moved around a lot.”
Julia looked down at his lower half. If she hadn’t known better, she wouldn’t have known he was unable to stand straight up and stride across the room.
“I was really lucky with my injury.” He paused. “Well, as lucky as one could be I guess.” He let out a small chuckle. “I’m a T-11, which means I’ve still got most of my hips, and all of my abdominal muscles, and trunk.”
What about…the other…thing.
The details he was giving were more than she expected to get, but she dared not ask about his sexual function. Not yet anyway.
Aaron went on. “A couple of guys I was in rehab with were quadriplegic, which is loss of function in your chest, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. I was thankful to retain all of that; I could have been hurt a lot worse.”
Julia listened as he continued.
“My legs might not work the same anymore, but I’ve still got everything else and I make it work.” Another lazy smile spread across his face and he shrugged.
Julia couldn’t resist reaching out and putting her hand to Aaron’s cheek. They looked at each other; neither breaking eye contact.
“You’re pretty great, Aaron. You know that?” She said quietly.
He reached up and pulled her hand to his mouth, pressing her fingertips to his lips. She let him kiss her fingers and work his way to her palm. Chills ran down her body and she could feel the swell of heat building. He clasped his hand with hers and leaned into Julia, putting his other hand behind her neck. He brought her mouth to his; the kiss deep. Julia leaned back slowly, bringing Aaron with her as she went. She ran her hand across his chest and down his back, feeling the hardened muscle there. She turned her head to let him kiss down her neck and décolletage; his breath was warm on her bare skin.
Aaron started to slowly pull away and pressed his hand onto the couch behind Julia to hold himself up over her.
“Julia, I…,” he said before he paused. “I want something with you. I want to see where this goes.”
She kept her hand behind his neck and ran her hand up into his hair. “I do, too.”
“You need to know something though.” He looked down, his brow furrowed.
Julia nodded. “Ok…”
“To just put it bluntly, uh…,” he looked up again. “There’s a very good chance I will never walk again. The chair will be a part of my life for the remainder of it. I’ve accepted that. I just…I just need you to know that upfront.”
Julia searched Aaron’s eyes. “I understand that.”
“And I do some things…differently.” The fleeting moment of self-consciousness she had seen one time before flashed in his eyes again.
“That’s fine. We can figure that out.” She said reassuring him.
Aaron looked down again and Julia felt him shift his hips, adjusting his position.
“And hey,” she said softly. “I like what we’re doing right now. No pressure here at all, ok?”
He lifted his head, looking her in the eye. “Ok.”
She brought his head down and met his mouth, kissing him again.
They stayed that way for a while longer, exploring each other with their mouths, until Aaron pulled away, his arm was starting to quiver from holding himself up.
“I’ve got to move,” he said with a forced laugh. He gently took his hand from behind Julia and used it to push himself upright. He grabbed the back of the couch with his other arm and pulled himself over and up. He shifted his sitting position, lifting up on one side then the other, to sit squarely on the couch.
Julia sat up, too, feeling warm all over. She pulled off her jacket and laid it across the armrest, revealing the thin straps of her dress on her shoulders. She caught Aaron steal a sideways glance at her, and she smiled.
I saw that look…
Aaron suddenly leaned forward onto his knees, with his back stretched out. It was a horrible moment to try to be fighting what he felt coming on. The tensing of his lower back signaled an all too familiar feeling. He knew had been in that awkward position for too long as they were kissing. A spasm was coming on fast and there was nothing he could do about it.
Seriously? At this very moment? Next to this very pretty girl? Right after I just got done saying that spasms don’t bother me? Well, right now they do.
Aaron could either hop in the chair and the leave the room, or ride it out right there on the couch, with Julia watching it all. It was at that moment that his right knee started to bounce and his left knee followed.
Shit. Too late. Here we go.
He turned to Julia then and noticed she was watching the involuntary movement his legs were making. “Well, speaking of spasms…,” he said wryly.
He then leaned up and reached down to adjust his legs, picking each one up underneath his knees and righting it. Both legs bounced up and down and his left leg started to fall to the side. He caught it and brought it back, then placed a hand on his thigh, keeping it in place.
As he leaned into the back of the couch he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Julia coming toward him, her face soft. She squeezed his shoulder gently and leaned in to kiss his scruffy cheek.
“I meant it when I said I thought you were pretty great.” She said into his ear.
Aaron let out a low laugh. “Even with the wonky parts and all, huh?”
“Yes, even with those.” She left her hand on his shoulder.
“Good to know.” Aaron said softly.
He lay back and closed his eyes, letting the crossed wires of his lower half work their kinks out. He knew it would be several more minutes before his uncooperative legs would calm down, but he felt better knowing that Julia was there beside him to stay.
As always...your feedback is welcomed! More to come.