Sunday, July 5, 2015

Skin and Scars Chapter 7

 Chapter 7

Julia sat across from Holly at one of their favorite breakfast spots. Plates of eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes were strewn across the table. It was late Saturday morning and the two friends were catching up; Holly especially interested in the development with Aaron.

“He cooked?! Everything?!” Holly asked, obviously surprised by the previous night’s events.

Julia raised an eyebrow and smiled. “He did. All of it. And it was good.” She proceeded to cut a portion from her stack of pancakes and took a huge bite.

“Well, what was his house like? Clean, big, small, cluttered, old, or newer?” Holly rattled off some details she needed the answer to.

“I guess it was pretty large, super clean, not cluttered in the least, and I’d guess it’s fairly new. It was really nice, Hol. It just felt so much…like him.” Julia smiled as she recalled the previous night.

“So, dinner, and then you talked. Then what?” Holly sipped her orange juice in between bites of food.

“Then…we…talked some more. Kissed a little bit. Talked some more after that…,” Julia looked down and absentmindedly started pushing around the food on her plate.

“Just kissed? That’s it?” Holly asked bluntly.

Julia nodded her head as she continued to push around the food. “Yes, but,” she suddenly looked up. 

“It was fine. I mean, I’m not in any hurry here.”

Holly stopped eating then abruptly. “Have you talked about it though? Are you both on the same page about…that?”

Julia was quiet at first and took a long drink from her water glass. “Yes, we sort of talked about it…I think.” She looked at Holly and narrowed her eyes. “He said he does some things differently.”

“Differently? Uh, ok? No elaboration on that?” Holly said with a small laugh.

“No, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask yet!”

“Julia, seriously though. With him being in the chair and all, do things still work normally?”

Julia raised her eyebrows and she half smiled. “I really don’t know, Hol. Of course I felt him,” she paused and lowered her voice. “…become aroused, but I didn’t want to grill the guy about it. This is his ballgame; he knows what he’s doing.”

“Alright, alright. You’re right.”

“I’m not even sure that we’re there yet…you know?”

“But it is moving in that direction…”

Julia nodded slowly. “Yes. I think it is.”

Julia found herself sitting in Dr. Andersen’s office again late Monday morning. It was her follow up appointment where Julia hoped she would be cleared to return to work. She was feeling nearly back to normal again; the three weeks since the accident had given her time to heal and recuperate. Julia was feeling good, and like she was ready to go back to work. While she was eager to get back to flying, she was having a hard time with the fact that she would be back to her old schedule, which meant being on the road and not in Denver every day. Now that she and Aaron were growing closer, she worried that her work life would put a strain on their budding relationship.

The receptionist called Julia’s name and she sprung to her feet. She was walked back to an exam room where she waited for Dr. Andersen. From her purse, she heard the notification ringtone of a text message come through. Julia slid off of the exam table and went to retrieve her cell phone. She swiped the screen and brought it to life.

The text was from Aaron.

His message read Lunch?

Julia smirked. He was texting her from just down the hall because he knew she had an appointment with Dr. Andersen.

Yes. When are you free?

How is 11:30?

That works.

Want to come over to my office and we’ll go down together?

Sure. I’ll be over then. : )

See you soon.

Julia hit a button and the screen went black just as Dr. Andersen walked in.

“Julia! Good to see you again.” The doctor stretched out her hand in a warm greeting and Julia accepted her handshake.

“You, too.” She said with a smile. She was suddenly reminded how Dr. Andersen had a distinct way of making Julia feeling so at ease and comfortable.

“Well, how are you these days? How have the last couple weeks been?” The doctor pulled over a short rolling stool and sat down.

“The last couple weeks have been good; I honestly feel so much better. From what I can see, my head looks like it’s all closed up, and my ribs have been ok, too.” Julia said confidently.

“Mind if I take a look?” The doctor stood up and stepped closer to where Julia sat.

“Please do.” Julia said as she shifted.

Dr. Andersen moved Julia’s hair aside and inspected the area on her scalp closely. “Looks good.” She said before stepping back and sitting back down and reaching for a file on the counter.

She looked down to take a few notes on the pad of paper she held. “Let’s talk about your work. 
You’re a flight attendant, right?” She said when she lifted her head. “What does that entail for you? Specifically, the physical aspect.”

“Well,” Julia said with a slight smile. “A day typically consists of three or four flights, each consisting of two or three, sometimes, four hour segments. I’m on my feet during flight time, pushing the food and beverage carts up and down the aisle, helping to lift bags in and out of the overhead bin, and then there’s walking through airports to get to the next gate.” Julia cocked her head, wondering if she missed anything.

“How many days in a row do you work?” Dr. Andersen asked.

“My trips are either three or four days. Three or four days on, and then either three or four days off is a normal schedule for me.” Julia answered quickly.

“And, so, for three or four days, you’re out of town? And you’re staying in a hotel?” Dr. Andersen took more notes on paper.

Julia gave the doctor an assertive nod. “That’s right. Then, when I’m off for three days, or sometimes longer, I’m here in Denver.”

Dr. Andersen simply nodded.

“Alright.” The doctor sat back and crossed her legs. “Well, I suppose the question here is do you feel like you’re ready to go back? Physically?”

Julia nodded instantly. “I feel like I am, yes.”

Dr. Andersen smiled. “Good. I’d like you to start out with some light duty if you’ll think that will be possible. For a week or so?”

Julia nodded. “I can do that, yes.”

“Excellent. I think you’re good to return to work.” Dr. Andersen smiled, and stood up. “I’ll get your release letter ready.”

“Wonderful. Thank you!” Julia slid off of the exam table.

“It was a pleasure, Julia. Please let me know if there’s ever anything else you need.” Dr. Andersen shook Julia’s hand once more before she left the room.

Julia breathed a sigh of relief. This was good news. She could go back to work. But all she could really think about was how her schedule might affect things with Aaron. She needed to have that conversation with him, and she had the perfect opportunity to do that.

After her appointment was over, Julia found the office with the nameplate displaying Dr. Aaron C. Evans, M.D. just two doors down from Dr. Andersen’s. She walked into the office and into the waiting area.

Just as she entered, a friendly voice came from the receptionist’s desk. “Julia?”

“Yes, that’s me.” She responded with a smile.

He told her I was coming…

“Dr. Evans will be right out. Feel free to take a seat if you’d like.” The young lady gestured to the chairs in the waiting area.

Julia nodded. “Ok, thanks.”

She turned and found a seat. Looking around the empty waiting area, she noticed it was a pretty open space. The walls were painted a warm neutral color, six padded chairs were arranged for seating, a rectangular oak table was in the middle of the floor that held several different types of magazines and journals, and two oak side tables held some small live plants and a couple books. A small area with children’s toys was in one corner, and a television was mounted on the wall. A few paintings also hung on the wall. Julia thought it was very Aaron-like; similarly decorated to his own home. After a couple minutes, she heard his familiar voice conversing with another man and could hear that they got closer to the waiting area.

Ah ha. He appears.

Julia looked up as Aaron came through a door behind an elderly gentleman. It was the first time seeing Aaron fully engaged in his element; he was patient, yet assertive and professional. Julia couldn’t help but listen in as Aaron advised the man to get his prescription filled, and come back in ten days for a follow up appointment. Julia noticed that Aaron stole a glance at her as he talked with the patient, which made her smile. When they were done, the man thanked Aaron and shook his head, then went on his way.

Aaron said a few words to the receptionist, then turned his chair toward Julia. She took in his appearance quickly, noticing he wore a navy blue gingham button up shirt, khaki colored pants, and the cognac colored belt and shoes she had seen before. His hair was fairly tamed as was his scruffy facial hair. He looked good. She noticed her pulse quicken as he got closer to where she sat.

“Well, hello, Dr. Evans.” Julia said with a smile.

Aaron gave her a toothy grin. “Hey.” He leaned forward and kissed Julia’s cheek softly. “I need to grab a couple things from my office. Want to come with me?”

Julia nodded. “Sure.” She stood up and followed his lead when he reversed and spun around, heading back toward the open door.

They went down a hallway, past a couple exam rooms, and then turned into an open doorway at the end of the hall. Julia followed him into the large room. She stopped near the doorway, and waited for him. She glanced around, seeing a big oak desk, and a tall oak cabinet against the wall behind it. Two chairs were situated in front of the desk. Aaron pushed around the corner of the desk and grabbed both his phone and car keys that lay on the desk. He slipped the phone into his breast pocket, and dropped the keys in his lap. He reached forward and Julia watched as he started jotting down something on a notepad.

Looking around the office as Aaron wrote, Julia saw the desk had a desktop computer, a phone, and a thin laptop laying on the surface. Several files were neatly stacked off to the side of the desk. A holder housed a stack of his business cards, the same ones that she also had a copy of. The walls had framed diplomas and certificates, as well as a few other black and white landscape photographs that Julia knew he must have taken. She peered onto the shelves of the cabinet, and noticed a few glass sculptures, engraved with Aaron’s name. She assumed that they might be awards of some sort. The cabinet also had a printer in it, and several rows of books.

His office. Nice.

“Alright, sorry about that. You ready?” Aaron said as he wheeled forward.

Julia nodded and left the office, Aaron right beside her. As they passed the front desk, Aaron said a few words to the receptionist then wheeled to the door. He opened it and let Julia exit first, then went right behind her. They traveled down the hallway a few feet, then Aaron stopped suddenly.

“Hey, wait…,” he said quietly as he grabbed her hand.

Julia raised an eyebrow as she looked at him, taking note of the sly smile he wore.

“I need to do this.” He said as he pulled her down slowly for a kiss.

Julia felt Aaron’s hand come around the back of her neck, and then his fingers were in her hair. She reached out her hand and laid it on his shoulder to steady herself. The connection was brief but meaningful.

Well, hello to you, too…

“Alright. Now we can go.” Aaron said with a smile when they pulled apart.

Julia smiled, once again surprised by Aaron and his actions.

This guy…

“Feeling like having something in particular to eat?” He asked when they reached the elevator.

Julia shook her head. “No, nothing in particular. What do you feel like?”

“Let’s just figure it out as we go.” Aaron chuckled as they entered together.

“How long do you have, anyway?” Julia said as she turned to face Aaron.

Aaron shrugged a shoulder. “An hour and a half. Roughly.”

Perfect. Because I really need to talk to you about something.

Julia smiled. “Long enough then...,” she let the sentence hang.

“Should I drive? Or do you want to just meet somewhere?” Aaron asked as the elevator doors open, and they exited into the lobby from the small space.

“I’ll ride with you, if that’s ok?” Julia followed right next to Aaron as they traversed the lobby.

“That’s perfectly fine.” Aaron said with a nod.

They made their way out of the building, and to the nearby parking lot. Aaron’s grey Jeep was parked close and he reached down for the keys from his lap, clicking the key fob to unlock it from afar. When they reached the car, he wheeled around to the passenger door, and reached forward to open it.
Julia smiled at the notion as she was continuously appreciative of his willingness to open doors for her.

“Well, thank you.” She said as she made her way into the vehicle. Aaron waited until she was situated before closing the door and wheeling around the back of the car and opening the driver’s side door. He quickly transferred himself into the driver’s seat, then reached down to disassemble the wheelchair. He took off one wheel and turned to toss it in the backseat.

“Watch your head, Julia…,” he said with a small laugh, and she ducked down as he deposited the wheel in the back of the vehicle.

Julia watched as he took off the other wheel and tossed that one in the back as well. Then, he took the seat cushion out and placed that onto the back seat. Finally, he folded down the frame and leaned his seat back in order to put it in the backseat with the other pieces without hitting Julia. He leaned out and grabbed his legs, one at a time, bringing them both into the vehicle. Aaron lifted off of the seat for a moment, then shifted, and settled back into the seat. The process took only a couple minutes; he had it down to an art. As Aaron started the car and reversed out of the parking spot, Julia absentmindedly reached over and gave his forearm a gentle squeeze. She was beginning to get used to those small moments; the ones where they didn’t need to say anything, they were just content. She was hoping there would be more of those.

Aaron gave his wheels a final push, and glided right to the entrance of the Mexican restaurant not far from the hospital medical center. He leaned forward and grabbed the door handle, then gave his wheel a shove backward and opened the door.

“After you.” He said to Julia with a nod.

She walked in and he followed, letting the door shut behind him. The restaurant wasn’t too busy; it didn’t look like the lunch crowd hadn’t descended yet. Aaron asked for a table for two, and the hostess led them over to one nearby.

When they were settled and the waiter brought some waters, Aaron noticed Julia was being pretty quiet; unlike her normal, upbeat and talkative self. He knew she had come from the appointment with Sharon, but he didn’t want to pry as to what the result was. He decided to let it go, and enjoy their lunch instead. When the waiter came back, they both ordered a combination plate.

Aaron caught Julia’s eye then. He watched as she visibly took a deep breath in and started to fidget with the cloth napkin on her lap. He knew she had something to say. He waited, and listened.

“Ok. So…,” she said finally. “I talked to Dr. Andersen.”

Aaron nodded slowly.

“And…she cleared me to go back to work.”

I knew she would.

He smiled, happy to hear that she was well enough to return. “That’s awesome. Good news!”

Aaron watched as Julia looked down and nodded. “Here’s the thing, though…,” she said as she looked up. Her eyes were sincere as they stared back at him. “I have really enjoyed these past few weeks. I mean…with you.”

He smiled wide. “I have, too.”

“And, I just want to be upfront about the fact that I’ll be probably be out of town half of the days in a week.”

Aaron nodded, understanding her schedule would go back to normal. “I get it. You’ll be gone a ton.”

But then he suddenly questioned himself.

Wait, what is she saying…exactly?

“Aaron, I…”, Julia paused.

Aw, shit. Here it comes. She come to realize that she can’t foresee this going anywhere else with her being gone so much. Dammit.

“I just wanted to know if maybe you’d be interested in still dating me even though I’m going back to my regular work schedule.”

Aaron blinked, surprised by her statement. He was thinking the worst, and wasn’t considering the best.

Oh. Ok.

“Hey, but if not…if it’s not ideal…I get that, too.” She waved a hand around and reached for the water glass, seeming to become uncomfortable with his silence.

Speak, you ass. Say something.

“Julia, I’m absolutely interested in continuing to see you. One hundred percent.” Aaron spoke quickly, relieved that she was still wanting to see each other.

Julia looked at him; a smile was forming on her lips. “Yeah?”

Aaron grinned. “Yeah.”

“Ok. Good.” Julia said with a smile.

The rest of the lunch date went well. Aaron could tell the weight of talking to him about returning to work was off her shoulders. He drove them back to the hospital, but before they got out Julia turned to him.

“I feel like I need to tell you that I’m not seeing anyone else, or that I even want to. Just so you know.”

Aaron twisted in the seat to face her more straight on. “Well, just so you know…I’m not either.”

He leaned forward and took her face in his hand. He brought her mouth to his and kissed her. A good, long, deep kiss.

This girl. THIS girl.

When they broke, Julia brought her hand around the back of his neck. “I’m on board here. For…this. I like you. A lot.” The words seemed to tumble out of her mouth as she spoke.

Aaron chuckled. It had only taken a few words, but he understood her meaning. “I’m in. Also.”

She leaned in for another kiss and took his mouth once more.

“Just so long as we’re on the same page, here…” She said when they broke again.

“We are. We very much are.” He said in a low voice.

On Thursday evening, Julia’s doorbell rang. She gave a stir to the sauce in the pot on the stove, then turned to the living room. She ran a hand through her hair one last time, and pressed her lips together, ensuring the lip color she wore was in a good state. She glanced at the living room quickly; pillows were straightened, things were organized, her home was clean.

She pulled open the front door, and Aaron was there on the doorstep, a bottle of wine in his hand.

“I heard there would be food at this residence. Am I in the right place?” He said, his tone mischievous. He looked like he went home and changed after work. Dressed in a pair of dark jeans, his gray Nike sneakers, and a black long sleeve shirt, he looked comfortable and especially handsome.

Julia laughed and shook her head. “You heard right. Come in.”

She watched as he placed the bottle of wine in his lap, then grabbed both wheel rims. He leaned back, gave his wheels a small jerk, and rocked back, lifting up his feet and the two casters on the front of his chair. He balanced on the two wheels enough to reach out and take hold of either side of the door jamb and pull himself up enough to clear the small step into the house. Once he was in, Julia closed the front door and leaned down to embrace him quickly.

“I’m glad you’re here.” She said as she kissed his cheek softly. It was the first time he’d been inside her house.

“Me, too.” He said as he hugged her.

“Ok, ok…,” Julia as she stood upright. “Come on in.” She waved him to follow her and they went toward the kitchen.

Julia’s floors were a combination of carpeting in the living spaces, and travertine tile at the entryway, in the kitchen, and bathrooms. She hoped the carpet and rugs she had wouldn’t cause Aaron any hang ups.

“This is for you.” Julia heard him say from behind her when they came to the kitchen. He handed her the bottle of wine when she turned around.

“Thank you. I’ll open it with dinner.” She placed the bottle on the island in the middle on the kitchen floor and went to the stove to check on the sauce.

“Sounds good.” Aaron stayed put off to the side near the island.

Julia stirred the contents of the pot again, and checked the progress of the boiling pasta.

“What can I get you to drink?” She asked when she turned to him.

Aaron looked around the kitchen, taking in the space. “I’m alright for now, thanks.”

“Dinner will be ready in just a few minutes. Hope you like liver and onions…” She smirked.

Aaron laughed. “Mmm, my favorite!”

“Wonderful. I was hoping you’d say that.” She turned off the heat for both pots, and reached for the strainer to drain the pasta at the sink.

“Hey, can I do anything? Need to put me to work?” Aaron asked as he watched her.

“No, sir. Not a thing. Food is now done, and the table is set.” She walked the pot of pasta over to the sink and drained it in the strainer, then returned it to the pot. She brought it back to the stovetop, and poured the pot of homemade sauce into it. Stirring it together quickly, she transferred the contents to a serving dish, and brought it to the dining table.

“Ok. Now what can I get you to drink?” Julia asked.

“I’m fine with water.” He said.

Julia nodded and went to the refrigerator to take out a glass pitcher filled with water and ice cubes. She grabbed the wine bottle from the island, and brought both to the table.

Julia looked over at Aaron. “I hope this is alright…” She said as she gestured to the table. She had deliberately moved a chair to make an empty space for his chair.

Aaron smiled and gave his wheels a push. He crossed the space between the island and the table quickly, and stopped in front of Julia. “It’s great. Thank you.” He took advantage of the space where she intended for him to sit, and swung his knees right underneath the table.

“Ok. I’ll just be a minute more.” Julia walked back to the kitchen and retrieved a basket of bread, and a bowl of salad from the refrigerator.

Once everything was in order at the dining table, Julia filled their water glasses. She then served him a hefty portion of pasta and sauce, and a serving of salad into a salad bowl.

“Here’s bread, too…” She said as she pointed to the basket.

“This looks great, Julia. Thank you.” Aaron said, appreciative of her offerings.

As they ate dinner, Aaron complemented Julia’s cooking several times. It felt nice to have him in her home, enjoying the food she cooked. It had been a long time she felt so comfortable around a guy, and was able to let him into her home to share the space together.

After they both had their share of pasta and wine, Aaron immediately took an initiative to get the kitchen cleaned up. He helped Julia clear the table and get the leftover food put into containers. Julia insisted on making a container for Aaron to eat the next day, and set in aside in the refrigerator next to a small salad and some bread.

Julia knew her kitchen was a tighter space than Aaron’s was, but he navigated it with ease. He unloaded the dishwasher and placed the clean items on the counter top while she rinsed the dirty dishes, and pots and pans. He reloaded the dishwasher and closed it up while she wiped down the dining table and kitchen counters.

“Where do these go?” Aaron asked, regarding the collection of clean plates, bowls, and glasses that were still on the counter. He had already put away some glass food containers and silverware.

“I’ll get those later, don’t worry about it.” Julia said quickly, knowing fully well that she stored those items in higher set cabinets.

Aaron gave her a nod.

Julia set her hands on her hips and looked around the kitchen. “Good grief. That was fast. Thank you for your help.”

Aaron reached for a clean dishtowel on the counter and wiped his hands. “No problem. Thank you for dinner. It was great.”

“My pleasure,” she said with a smile. “I better take this out.” She glanced down at the full trash can.

Julia collected the trash and excused herself while she brought it out to the garbage can on the side of her house. Returning through the garage, she rounded the corner back into the kitchen and stopped in her tracks. She was utterly surprised by the scene in front of her.

He’s somethin’ else…

Aaron was sitting up on the counter top, facing away from her, as he set a stack of plates into the upper cabinet, which was easily in his reach. His chair was right below him, next to his legs that hung off the edge of the counter. When he reached down for the bowls he noticed Julia standing there, and halted his movements.

“Follow through.” He grinned and shrugged his shoulder. He set the bowls inside the cabinet and shut it.

Julia walked forward to him. “Follow through, huh?” She said with a laugh. He had taken it upon himself to put the dishes away, and that’s what he intended to finish.

She watched Aaron lean down to retrieve the glasses that were left, and then he stretched over to flip open the next cabinet with one hand. He set the glasses inside carefully and closed it up. He placed his hands on either side of his hips, and gripped the edge of the counter.

“My ass is on your counter. I will clean it. I promise.” He said, another grin on his face.

Julia shook her head and walked nearer to him, walking right up to where he sat. “I don’t care.”

She used her foot to push his chair a few inches out of the way in order to stand directly in front of him, then she looked up at him. She reached both of her arms around his neck, taking full advantage of him at that height.

“Hello.” She said softly.

“Hey.” Aaron placed both of his hands around Julia’s back and pulled her closer. He bent his head a little and brought his hands up to her hair. He pulled her face to his and kissed her.

The kiss was deep and slow. The kind that made a girl weak in the knees. When they pulled apart for air, Julia took the opportunity to hug him to her. She ran her hands down his back, feeling the hardened planes of muscle. She breathed his scent in slowly, savoring the closeness of the moment. She rested her head on his chest.

“You are tall.” Julia let the words slip right out without even thinking.

Aaron simply chuckled then hugged her closer and buried his hands in her hair. He kissed the top of her head softly.

Julia pulled back and craned her neck to look up at Aaron. “Kiss me again, please.”

He did as she said and once again took her face in his hands.

As their kiss continued, Julia let one hand fall from his shoulder and travel down his chest. She let it rest atop his thigh and immediately felt the soft muscle there. It was the first time she had ever touched Aaron below the level of his injury and she wondered for a second if he even knew her hand was there without him looking down at it. She moved her hand quickly and found her way underneath his shirt. His stomach was flat and she traveled up to his chest. She ran her fingers across his collarbone slowly. She felt an imperfection as her fingertips grazed the area. It was raised, probably more than an inch long in length but thin in width. Julia thought it felt like a scar as she let her fingers explore it softly.

She pulled her hand from under his shirt suddenly when her breath caught in her throat as Aaron pulled away from her mouth and left a trail of kisses down her neck to her chest. The scruff of his short beard tickled against her skin.

“Oh god…,” she said softly. Aaron was hitting each one of the sensitive points of her d√©colletage as he made his way down to her breasts.

He lifted his mouth to her ear and spoke softly. “May I?”

Julia nodded slowly and Aaron brought his hand up to cup her breast. He continued to kiss her bare skin, making her near the edge of insanity in the process.

Good god, he’s good.

“Julia.” Aaron’s voice was low.

“Hmm?” She managed to get out.

“You’re so beautiful.”

She felt his hands slide underneath her top and travel up her sides. He held her close to him and let one hand travel to her breast. She felt him slip a thumb inside her bra and graze her nipple. Julia could feel herself getting wet as the moment went on.

Aaron’s mouth found hers once more, and Julia let her hands slip under his shirt. She raked her nails lightly up Aaron’s back, and he shuddered against her for a moment.

“Sorry,” he said softly. “Chills.”

Julia kept exploring lightly until her fingertips came to the middle of his back, right about where the waist band of his jeans was. She immediately felt another raised imperfection that ran from right under his waistband directly up his spinal column. Aaron didn’t shy away from her touch, but Julia’s brow furrowed as she traced the long scar. She knew exactly what it was from. It was smooth, but jagged in some spots. She ran her fingertips along the scar for a few inches before it ended. She moved her hands up his back to his shoulders and turned her head to rest her cheek on his chest. She took a deep breath in, and she felt Aaron’s arms come around her.

They stayed that way for a while before Aaron cleared his throat. “Come on. You’ve been standing too long.”

Julia leaned back to look up at him and nodded. “Ok.”

Aaron kissed her forehead then brought a hand down to the counter top. He pushed down and shifted his lower half. Julia knew he was wanting to move, too, so she stepped over and brought the chair closer before taking a step back and giving him room. She didn’t avert her eyes as he leaned down and grabbed the low backrest of the chair with one hand, then slowly controlled the transfer down into the seat. He looked up at her, and she gave a small smile. He lifted each leg from underneath the knee and brought his feet onto the footplate.

Julia reached out a hand and Aaron took it. She pulled him to her and he slowly rolled forward.

“Will you stay longer?” She asked softly.

“I will.” He said; his voice deep but clear.

Julia began to walk backward and pulled Aaron along with her. She then let go of his hand and turned on her heel, before heading down a hallway. Aaron followed her and Julia closed the door behind them after they entered her bedroom.

Aaron looked over at the clock on the bedside table with blurry vision. It read 2:17 a.m. He tried not to disturb the sleeping woman next to him as he moved to his side slowly. He and Julia had fallen asleep in her bed. He turned to her and noticed she looked so peaceful as she slept. She was underneath the comforter and right up against him. He could feel the warmth of her body radiate against the bare skin of his chest. She had only a thin V-neck t-shirt and panties on.

He reached an arm out to retrieve his cell phone from the bedside table and swiped the screen to life. He quickly set an alarm clock for 6:00 a.m., because he had to head home and get ready for work; he had a patient at 9:00 a.m. He put the phone back on the nightstand and shifted slowly, careful not to wake Julia. He could get a few more hours of sleep still, with Julia right beside him.

A sound awoke Julia from a dream. Her thoughts were fuzzy as she lifted her head toward the source of the beeping. She opened her eyes to see Aaron stretching an arm over his head.

“Shit.” He muttered as he quickly reached for the bedside table. He scrambled for the phone to hurry and turn off the alarm. When it was silent again, he laid back down against the pillows.

“Morning…,” Julia said, her voice sounded sleepy.

“Good morning.” He returned.

“What time is it?” She asked quietly.

Morning breath. Great.

“Six o’clock.”

Julia groaned and closed her eyes.

Aaron took a deep breath and ran a hand down his face. He kept still for a moment, then Julia felt the bed shift. She felt Aaron place a kiss on her forehead, and her eyes fluttered open. He was leaning into her, still shirtless from the night before, and looking just as handsome as ever.

We’re waking up in the same bed. This is happening.

She smiled as the events of the night came back.

Aaron flipped back the comforter and began to sit up. Julia caught a glimpse of the jeans he still wore, and remembered the fact that although they had been close, they stopped before getting to the point of no return. Aaron hadn’t wanted to ruin the mood, but he explained very carefully that he wasn’t prepared that night to go there. Julia understood his meaning, and was satisfied with the other ways Aaron had pleased her.

Julia watched Aaron scoot back against the pillows and then reach down for his shirt that lay on the seat of his wheelchair. He tugged it on over his head.

Julia yawned and sat up as well.

“I’ve got to be in the office in two hours, so I’m going to have to head out.” He said quietly.

“I can make breakfast really quick…,” she suggested.

“You don’t have to do that.” He said with a small smile. He then grabbed each leg and swung them off of the bed slowly. He sat with his back to Julia for a moment and she admired the view. His shoulders were broad; she could clearly see the muscles of his back through his shirt. Aaron rolled his head from side to side, loosening his neck. He then reached down to his chair with one hand, and used the other to twist around and sit in the seat.

Julia scooted closer to the edge of the bed then and threw back the comforter. Her feet hit the floor and she picked up a pair of shorts that lay on the floor. She quickly pulled them on and turned back to Aaron who was putting on his shoes. She quickly made up the bed as she watched him closely. He had pulled the shoes off relatively easily the night before, but putting them back on seemed to be more complicated. She watched him lift his right leg and lay his ankle across his left knee, then he took the untied shoe and guided his socked foot into it. He tied it quickly, and lifted his leg under the knee to place his foot back on the floor. He repeated the process with his left leg, this time resting his ankle on his right knee. Once that shoe was on, he bent his leg and guided his foot down onto the footplate. Then, he lifted his right leg and placed his foot onto the footplate. He looked up at Julia, noticing that she had seen him.

“See? Shoes go on one at a time, too…,” he said as a wry grin formed on his lips.

Julia walked around the end of the bed and right over to where he sat. “Yes, they do.” She put her arms around his neck, and leaned down to kiss him quickly. When she pulled away she grabbed a hooded sweatshirt from just behind Aaron and held it close to her chest.

“It’s freezing in here.” She said as she jerked the sweatshirt over her head and walked to the bedroom door.

“I’ll be right out.” Aaron said from behind her as he wheeled into the en suite bathroom.

“Ok,” she said as she walked down the hallway.

After a few minutes, Aaron wheeled into the kitchen just as Julia opened the refrigerator. “Tea? 
Juice? Coffee? Water? ...Wine?” Julia teased with the last offer.

“Maybe a bottle of water for the road.” Aaron agreed.

Julia pulled out the container of leftovers from the night before and a cold bottle of water. She also plucked a banana off of the bunch on her counter, and grabbed a muffin from the plastic container she had. She put the muffin in a plastic bag, and placed everything into a reusable shopping bag she had stuffed in the pantry. She could feel Aaron watching her as she buzzed about.

She handed the bag over to Aaron when she was done, whose smile could not be contained. “Here you go. Breakfast and lunch.”

“Thank you, Julia.” He said through a wide grin.

“You’re welcome.” Julia gave him a nod and a small smile.

Aaron glanced over at the clock and cringed. “Alright, I’ve got to get going.”

“Oh, right. Shit. Ok.” Julia followed in her bare feet as Aaron wheeled through to the front door. She reached out and unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door.

“I’ll talk to you a little later.” He said over his shoulder.

Julia leaned against the edge of the open door and nodded.

“Hey, wait,” he said and spun around quickly. “Come here.” Aaron reached out and tugged her hand, pulling her down to his level. He placed a quick kiss on her lips and brushed a thumb across her cheekbone.

“See you…,” she said as he turned back around and tipped back to balance on his wheels. He quickly wheeled to the edge of the doorstep and then dropped down smoothly onto the walkway.

Aaron glanced over his shoulder before he got to the driveway. “Bye.” He gave a small nod and Julia waved.

She closed the front door then, and leaned back against it. She sighed and ran a hand through her hair.

I’m a goner. For sure.

She stayed there for a couple minutes, only deciding to move when she heard his engine start and the sound of tires on the street.

I hope you enjoyed this chapter. As always, comments and feedback are appreciated. 


  1. Yay you're back!!!!!!!!! Omg OMG this chapter was great. I absolutely love this story!!! Please post again soon, I can't get enough of these two!!

    1. Thank you! I am so happy to hear that. Next chapter up this Friday. I promise.

  2. Yesss!! I second everything that the previous commenter said! Love the story and your writing talents blow me away, it flows so naturally and with so much detail! Being able to connect with a story like this means so much for me because although I've been a Dev since I can remember, I've not yet been brave enough to share that with anyone. This story has felt like a look inside my own thoughts, it's amazing!

    1. Your comment is so wonderful. It took me a while to put my own thoughts out there, so I am glad you're connecting with it.

  3. Thank you! Love this story!

  4. I was wondering what happened to this story! Nice to see another chapter and an enjoyable one at that.

  5. Loved, loved, LOVED this chapter! Glad to see you are still writing it! Some deliciously devvy scenes there, very much appreciated!

    1. So glad to hear you LOVED it. ; ) Thank you for reading.

  6. Yep. Loved it. Can't wait to read it again while patiently waiting for the next chapter.

    Have to say, I really liked Aaron sitting on the kitchen counter, putting him and Julia at the same height. Such a great original but natural idea.

    More please!

  7. Extraordinary chapter! Please continue more for us soon.

  8. That was so sweet and unique. I also loved the counter part; how original! I love Araon and especially how he opens her car doors. My own boyfriend does that even after dating for a while and it's such a gentlemanly thing to do! Excellent writing as usual and I can't wait to read more :)

    1. Glad I'm not the only one who liked the counter idea. Just adorable. And I love that he opens the door for her too!! My boyfriend of 6 years is the same way!

    2. I definitely loved the counter part too! Very sweet and shows his determination to not be underestimated!

    3. The Counter Scene, as we'll refer to it from now on, is a favorite part of mine, too. I'm glad you appreciated it.

    4. And on second reading, must add I also loved when she took his hand and pulled him toward her bedroom. Again, just a sweet, original idea I haven't seen before (and I've read EVERYTHING there is to read!).

      So glad to hear I can expect more on Friday!

  9. Great chapter! Thank you for posting. I've missed these characters!