Erin felt nervous when Kieran pulled into the garage of the Jamison’s house. She stood next to the car and waited for him to get out. There was a ramp from the garage to the door into the house, and Erin watched Kieran wheel up, open the door easily, and rolled into the house. She followed him in and closed the door behind herself.From the living room she heard Fiona’s voice, “Is that you Kieran?”
Kieran replied and he gestured Erin to follow him to the living room.
When she appeared with him everyone seemed slightly surprised and Fiona jumped up, “Oh, hi Erin.”
Erin nervously greeted the family in the room.
Ashleigh came over and greeted Erin excitedly, “Hey Mrs. Decker. This is sooo weird to see you here.”
She then quickly leaned down to hug her uncle.
Ashleigh’s comment didn’t help Erin feeling awkward, “Hi Ash, good to see you.”
Fiona came up and Erin smiled nervously, “Hello Fiona.”
Fiona touched her arm gently, “Welcome to our home Erin.”
Tyler waved his hand from his lounge chair.
Fiona asked, “How are you guys?”
Kieran answered, “Good, Erin is hanging out with me.”
Ashleigh laughed, “Cool.”
As Kieran wheeled away for a moment Erin smiled shyly at Fiona, “I know this is…odd I guess.”
Fiona smiled, “Don’t worry….he lives here and he has his room and all. We leave him alone mostly. Sometimes I don’t see him all day. So please feel at home and don’t mind us.”
Erin nodded shyly, “Thank you Fiona.”
Kieran came back over and gestured Erin to follow him. She smiled at Fiona again and followed Kieran to his room.
He opened the door for her and motioned her in, then closed the door behind them, “Well, this is my place.”
He sat there in his Quickie in the middle of the spacious room and Erin looked around, “It’s very nice.”
Kieran felt awkward too, almost like a teenager bringing his girlfriend home for the first time and he could sense Erin’s hesitation.
He explained, “I want to get my own place again, hopefully soon. I know this is weird for you.”
Erin shrugged her shoulders, “Well, maybe a little but I’m happy to be here with you and see where you live. This is a large room.”
She glanced over toward the bathroom and Kieran explained, “Yes, I have my own bathroom and I have a wheel in closet.” He laughed lowly at the expression.
Erin looked over to the closet and smiled at his little wordplay.
“I have a view into the back yard and sometimes there are deer, rabbits or raccoons out there, and lots of squirrels.”
Erin walked over to the window and looked out, “It’s idyllic. You do have a nice little apartment here.”
Kieran smiled at her, “Thanks.”
He was hoping very much that she was comfortable being at his place.
She walked over to his closet and peeked into it. The bars for his clothes were separated into lower and higher ones. The lower ones were easily reachable for Kieran when sitting in the wheelchair. She had never seen anything like it and thought it was interesting. He also had neatly organized low shelves on one side and his shoes were lined up on the bottom in the closet. On top there were boxes and containers with items in them, not possible for Kieran to get to but most likely things he didn’t need.
Kieran came wheeling up behind her.
Erin walked into the closet and stated, “This is neat with the low bars.”
Kieran nodded, “Yeah, Tyler remodeled a lot for me in this room. He also took the carpet out a couple of months ago. He redid the former closet to what it is now and he also made the bathroom accessible for me.”
Erin walked by him toward the bathroom, “Can I have a look at it?”
He spun his chair around and watched her walk over to his bathroom. Again he came up behind her as Erin curiously checked out his bathroom. She saw the shower chair in the openly accessible tub, the shower curtain was pushed aside some. She saw the sturdy aluminum frame installed around the toilet and she realized the cabinet under the sink was taken out. This way Kieran could wheel up to his sink all the way. The view to the pipes underneath the sink was blocked by a colorful curtain, which still made it possible for Kieran to wheel up to his sink. She also realized the slightly slanted mirror.
Kieran checked out his bathroom and said, “Don’t mind the girlie curtain under the sink. That was Fiona’s doing.”
Erin smiled, “It’s cute.”
“Yeah, a cute curtain in a dude’s bathroom.”
She was glad to see him smile, “It’s really cool how your room is accessible. I do realize that my house is nothing like that.”
Kieran shrugged his shoulders, “Well, you didn’t know that one day you may have a guy in a wheelchair hang out at your house.”
Erin pressed her lips together and nodded, then replied, “You’re right. I didn’t know that one day I will find my dream guy.”
Kieran tilted his head and looked at her curiously. Erin lowered her eyes and she actually sat down on the chair that Kieran had in his bathroom, the chair where he usually hung his clothes.
She looked back up at him with a serious expression..
Her gaze stayed on him for a moment until she repeated, “I really didn’t think that I could ever be so lucky to meet someone like you Kieran.”
Kieran slowly wheeled closer to her and she admitted lowly, “You know, I have always fantasized about meeting a guy like you.”
Kieran emphasized lowly, “A guy in a wheelchair?”
“Exactly.” She looked away.
Kieran took Erin’s hand in his, “I’m worried that this will turn out to be too much for you.”
Erin leaned over some and looked at Kieran deeply, “I want to be with you and that is all.”
She brought her hand up to his face and stroked over his cheek, the whole time keeping her dark eyes on him, scanning his face, “Kieran, I want to be part of your life and of anything you are dealing with. I want to make you happy and I want to be there for you when you are sad.”
Kieran nodded slowly and took a deep breath, “I’m very glad we met Erin.”
“Me too.” They kissed.
Erin eventually sat on Kieran’s bed looking at her phone when he came out of the bathroom after emptying his bladder. He wheeled up to the bed.
“Chloe texted and wanted to know how things are going.”
Kieran nodded, “Yeah.”
Erin finished texting back and forth with her daughter for a few moments, then put her phone on the bedside table. She looked at Kieran who sat somewhat insecure in his Quickie in the middle of the room.
She asked with a smile, “So which side do you get on your bed usually?”
“The side you are sitting on.”
“Maybe I need to move over then, so you can come up here.”
She slipped her flats off her bare feet and let them drop to the floor. Kieran watched as she crawled over his bed and got comfortable on the opposite side he had pointed out to her.
She watched as he pulled first his right leg up with his foot on his knee and untied his shoe laces to get his sneaker off, then did the same with the left leg. He took this sneaker off carefully as he was still dealing with the sprained ankle.
Erin watched him and asked, “How is your ankle?”
“Actually I don’t know.” Kieran laughed lowly.
Erin smiled and Kieran came wheeling closer to the bed and whipped his wheelchair into the angle to transfer. He slid his butt to the edge of his Quickie seat, placed one hand on the bed and then pushed his body off his wheelchair with the other hand. Erin realized that Kieran’s bed wasn’t as high as her bed at home, it was almost at an even height with the seat of his Quickie. He managed the transfer easily and under Erin’s amazed watch he pulled his legs up on the bed and adjusted them in front of himself. He then pulled himself up to lean on the head board. Erin watched him and felt her heart beat fast. When he was positioned, his eyes met hers and she snapped out of her moment of admiration.
She looked away quickly and he held his hand out to her, “Come here.”
Erin scooted up next to him. Kieran right away wrapped his arm around her and she snuggled close to him. For a moment they laid there enjoying the closeness.
Stroking his hand over her hair Kieran said lowly, “Well, I hope you feel all right being here at the house.”
“I’m okay. Are you glad you are living with your sister and her family?”
He thought for a moment and answered, “I’m okay with it for right now. It was the best solution for me a couple of months ago. After I got out of rehab I thought I could be on my own but I wasn’t doing well. I’m better now and I hope to live in my own place soon.”
“Where did you live on your own?”
“Well, it wasn’t all the way on my own. I had a roommate, a guy who had been med boarded out from the Military. We shared an accessible apartment down in Vancouver. The Military had helped with the apartment thing.”
Erin snuggled closer to Kieran and he wrapped his arm around her tighter. She felt his heart beat and the warmth radiate from him.
“So it didn’t work out with you and the roommate.”
Kieran took a deep breath, “He was a super cool dude and good guy. I just wasn’t ready to be on my own. I was still dealing with PTSD severely, my meds weren’t adjusted right and the whole paraplegia crap was really just too much. I don’t know what I was thinking, trying to live on my own right out of rehab…”
He stopped and took another breath before he admitted nervously, “I tried to commit suicide twice. After the second suicide attempt Fiona got on my case big time and was not going to let me move back into my apartment. They got me back to somewhat normal and I came out of the hospital and moved straight here. While I was in the hospital they had already taken all my stuff and brought it here.”
Erin sat up and looked at him shocked. Kieran met her eyes and he could see the worry in her face.
She asked carefully, “You tried to commit suicide twice?”
He nodded without saying anything.
Erin looked very sad, “How did you try…”
Kieran answered flat, “First one was with tablets and booze. Second one with tablets and…”
He turned his hand around and showed Erin the inside of his left wrist where she saw several prominent scars of apparent deep cuts.
“That one almost did me in.”
She let her finger run over the scar and she looked up at him again with sadness in her eyes, “Kieran…but…are you…” She really didn’t know if she should ask more.
Kieran answered before she could ask, “I’m okay now. My meds are adjusted. I see a Psychiatrist regularly, I go to a support group on post, and I have Fiona and her family. I’m somewhat stable I guess. I still dream a lot of stupid shit and sometimes I get anxiety attacks out of nowhere. I’m not very good in crowds. I’m doing okay with the…with the whole paraplegia shit.”
Erin still had her gaze on him, “Kieran, are you really okay?”
He looked away and for a moment said nothing, then replied lowly, “I really try to be, but the things that are happening to me right now are difficult to deal with. I can feel it getting to me.”
He let his finger run over her cheek, “But that’s why I’m really happy that you are here with me. I wish I could make it all stop somehow but I don’t know how. It’s like a really bad dream in a way and I….”
His green eyes drilled into her as he said lowly, “I really need you Erin.”
Erin was stunned at Kieran’s disclosure and at the same time a whole new worry came bubbling up, new found concern about Kieran and how stable he really was. She hadn’t been aware that his mental health had been so compromised by all the trauma he had been through. The situation he was going through right now definitely didn’t help his mental health.
Erin pushed herself to him and said lowly, “I’m here for you Kieran, always! Whatever I need to do, I want you to be okay. We’ll make it through this.”
He kissed the top of her head and whispered, “Thanks.”
He lifted her face to him and kissed her again, long and hard. Erin pushed herself closer to him. She really didn't want to take this any further though, not in Fiona’s house and not with her daughter’s best friend probably hanging out in her room close to Kieran’s room. It just didn’t feel right.
Kieran didn’t take the kissing during the evening any further than just that, kissing. He didn’t try to touch Erin in certain places, he didn’t let her get too aroused and excited but he held her, and he kissed her and he let his fingers run up and down her arms. Erin wanted more but she felt his hesitation and even when she wanted to slip his T-Shirt over his head he stopped her and she was embarrassed at seeming pushy. He confirmed to her that it was okay but he just couldn’t, not yet.
It was after 10 o’clock when they laid together and were talking about random things and Erin said, “Kieran, do you think you can take me home tonight?”
He shifted some, “Yeah, sure.” He sounded disappointed.
Erin added, “But if you want to stay at my house again, I would really like that.”
Even though Kieran had thought about this option all night, he somehow wanted to experience the nightly mystery again and he was almost certain it wouldn’t happen with Erin next to him.
“I think it would be better if I come back after I take you home.”
Erin had expected him to say that and she wasn’t too surprised at his answer. Still she was sad at the outlook of having to spend the night without Kieran next to her.
At Erin’s house Kieran pulled up into her driveway in front of her garage.
Erin turned to him, “You don’t have to get out unless you changed your mind about coming in and staying.”
Kieran turned his car off and shifted in his seat, turning to face Erin and she did the same.
Erin took his hands in hers, “Kieran, baby, I hope you can understand that I can’t stay at your house. It just doesn’t seem right with Ashleigh there and Fiona and all.”
“Yeah, I get it. It kind of sucks, it actually sucks big time and you being there with me tonight made me want so much more to get my own place again. I do need to get out of there again.”
“There will be a time when you will have your own place again. What you have at Fiona’s is wonderful but it just doesn’t feel right for me to stay there. I’m sad that my house is not more accessible and I know it is difficult for you to stay at my house. I understand why you don’t want to stay here either. My house sucks when it comes to accessibility.”
Kieran looked down, “Erin, it’s not the accessibility of your home…it’s…” He paused and took a deep breath, then continued, “I need to see if it happens again without you being there. I just want to try it again without us being together during the night and see what happens.”
Erin looked down at their hands, “And what if it does happen?”
Kieran sounded weak, “I don’t know…”
“I’m here for you anytime Kieran. If it does happen maybe you can call me or something. I would really like to know too.”
He nodded and after a moment of silence said, “Erin, being with you last night and today was….it was amazing and I’m so happy I met you, but I’m still worried and confused at this whole situation.”
As much as she wanted to be happy and carefree with Kieran she felt his hesitation and she felt his worries and she couldn’t ignore her own doubts about everything that was going on with him. She loved him but she feared that falling in love with him could turn out to be very painful and she wasn’t sure if she could go through with it all.
She held his hands in hers still and looked at him, her eyes reflecting the street light, “Kieran, I want you to know that no matter what happens and what you decide I’m here for you. I care a lot about you and if your decision means we will only be friends then I will take that over not having you in my life at all.”
Her words stung in his heart and he looked down. He had been expecting for her to say the three words but was actually relieved when she didn’t. He still wasn’t sure how all of this would play out but it hurt a lot.
He pulled her to him and said, “Erin, I’m so sorry about all the drama.”
They held each other for a long time and Kieran mumbled into Erin’s hair, “I hope all this will somehow end soon. You mean so much to me Erin.”
She nodded, “We will make it through this.”
She wasn’t really sure about that. They kissed for a long time and it was very hard to let go of each other.
Kieran waited for Erin to be inside her house until he started the Mustang with a revving engine and pulled out of her driveway.
His initial plan was to go home but on his way there he decided to make a stop for a drink at the “Watering Hole” and maybe tell Roger how things were going with Erin now.
As he wheeled into the bar, lots of eyes turned to him. On this Saturday night the bar was not empty like the first time he had come. Now it was crowded, the music was loud, and people were laughing and talking, playing pool and darts. He scanned the place quickly trying to see if there was a spot he could actually park his Quickie in. All the tables were occupied and the only seating was right at the bar, high bar stools he would not be able to get up on. He still wheeled over toward the bar where he saw Roger and a young woman busy making drinks and tapping beers. He wheeled up to the side of the bar, next to an empty stool. Trying to get Roger’s attention he kept looking at him.
Eventually Roger spotted him, “Kieran, man…hey, how are you? Good to see you.”
Kieran waved and Roger called over, “I’ll be right there man.”
Kieran watched him draw up another beer from the tap and then he came over, “Alaskan Amber or Jack.”
Kieran was surprised how Roger remembered his drinks, “Alaskan.”
Roger handed him the beer bottle and looked at the bar stool, “Can you get up on that thing?”
Kieran shook his head, “No. I won’t even try, I’ll make an idiot of myself.”
“Should I help you up?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
“So Kieran how are you?”
“I’m pretty busy right now but I would love to talk to you. Are you going to hang out a while?”
“Probably just this one beer.”
“Let me help Tessa out real quick to catch up on the drinks and I will come back over here.”
Roger rushed back to his bar girl and helped her with all the drink orders. Kieran held his bottle in his hands and just looked around in the bar and at the people. The crowd around the dart board seemed the loudest, apparently a tournament was going on, and it sounded fun and exciting.
Before Roger came back Kieran caught the attention of another person in the bar. There was a woman who had seen him wheel in and had kept her eyes on him the whole time. Kieran was surprised when he saw her come straight at him. At first he thought she wasn’t coming to see him but maybe came that way for some other reason but a seductive smile straight at him proved otherwise.
She wasn’t bad looking at all and seemed fairly young with dark wavy hair, held back by a sparkling head band, blue jeans and a tight fitting T-Shirt, showing her curves nicely. Her feet were strapped into some high heel sandals but she wasn’t overly tall so the heels didn’t give her too much advantage over Kieran’s height.
He still had to look up to her some when she greeted him bluntly, “Hello wheeling hottie!”
Kieran was caught off guard at her greeting and he only replied with a low, “Hey.”
She still stood over him some and it bothered Kieran to have to look up at her that way. She must have sensed it and walked over to a group of people around a table with one empty chair which she ended up getting and brought over and sat down right in front of him.
“I guess you’re a man of little words Kieran.”
Kieran took a sip of his beer, keeping his eyes on her, “It depends on who is talking to me.”
“I have never seen you in here before.”
“Only my second time.”
In a way Kieran was hoping Roger would save him from the woman but he didn’t. She was attractive but Kieran wasn’t in the mood to talk to a woman and really no one at the moment, except for Roger maybe. He was busy though behind his bar and didn’t seem to have time for Kieran anytime soon.
Sarah surprised him when she said, “So, I have a thing for guys in wheelchairs.”
Kieran was astonished at the comment but it also alerted him in certain ways.
He tilted his head slightly and asked seriously, “What do you mean?”
“Simple - I like guys in wheelchairs, especially hot one’s like you, which I get to see very rarely. Tonight must be my lucky night.”
“You think so?”
“I do think so unless…” She paused, then smiled, and stated, “Please tell me you don’t have a girlfriend!”
Kieran sipped from his beer again and looked at her with curious eyes, “I actually do have a girlfriend. I’m just coming from her house.”
“So why isn’t she with you?”
“She has an early day tomorrow.”
“So you don’t live together?”
“You are asking a whole lot of questions.”
“Just trying to calculate my chances of getting lucky with you tonight.” She laughed lowly.
Kieran was amazed at her straight forward hitting on him and even though he was somewhat flattered he was also slightly annoyed.
“Well, you won’t get lucky with me tonight.”
“Bummer….are you at least going to buy me a drink?”
He was again surprised at Sarah’s approach but seemingly she was backing off.
Sarah asked, “Is your girlfriend a dev?”
Now he didn’t know what she was talking about and when he didn’t answer right away Sarah repeated, “Is she or is she not?”
“Is she what?”
“A dev girl, a devotee.”
Kieran didn’t want to seem ignorant and thought for a moment about his answer. He had no clue what Sarah was talking about.
She grinned knowingly, “You don’t know what a devotee is?”
He looked at her nervously and shook his head.
Sarah broke out in laughter and hit Kieran’s knee with her hand, “Bless your heart…if you buy me a drink, I will explain to you what a dev is.”
He was curious now and he thought of Erin and the things she had told him about the way she felt for him when it came to his disability.
“What are you drinking?”
Sarah got up and ordered her drink with the girl behind the bar. Shortly after she came back with the Tequila Sunrise and sat down on the chair again.
He watched her sip from her straw and he anticipated her to start talking.
“So your girlfriend is not a dev?”
He didn’t know how to answer that and didn’t say anything.
Sarah moved her chair closer and leaned over, “Okay, Kieran honey…listen to me.”
He just gazed at her. Sarah had dark eyes that almost seemed like they sparkled.
“I’m a devotee for disabled men, meaning in my case I like guys in wheelchairs and guys who can’t walk. Devotees are women who are into men like you. Let me guess, you are a para?”
Kieran didn’t know what to think of her words and just nodded unsure.
“My favorite disability is paraplegia.” She took another sip from her drink and continued her explanation, “So there are devotees for all kinds of disabilities, I like paras. Other girls like amputees or guys with genetic disabilities. There are devotees who are into blind or deaf dudes. Some devotees are into guys who stutter. Any kind of disability you can imagine, there are girls who are into men with a disability. You are exactly my dream disabled dude.”
Kieran sat there and stared at her in disbelief and watched when Sarah put her hand on his knee again and said with a warm smile, “I know, it’s a lot to process.”
He nodded and asked her carefully, “So you are telling me that there are women who are turned on by a disabled guy? Like sexually?”
She nodded and added, “But I want you know and listen, Kieran - it’s not only sexual. It’s different for every devotee. Some girls are turned on by certain aspects of the disability and some girls are just interested very much in the disabled guy and how he lives his life every day. Some girls are into assisting the disabled man and some don’t want to be a caretaker at all. Some just like the whole package of the disabled man. It’s very different for every devotee but you need to know that it’s not only the disability that we see, it’s the whole person and everything that comes with the person. We are not some sick freaks that get off on seeing anyone suffer. Unfortunately devotees have a bad rep in some of the disabled communities. So if you are totally freaked out right now by all this stuff I am telling you I would understand.”
Kieran shook his head, “I’m not freaked out, I’m just…I didn’t know. My girlfriend has mentioned some things like this pertaining to me but I don’t think she knows this is actually a thing. So, do you only date disabled guys?”
Sarah laughed, “I wish, but there are not exactly hotties like you at every corner, so I make do with able bodied guys as well.” She laughed and added, “That sounds mean, I know. But I like able bodied men as well and so far I have only dated one disabled guy a couple of years ago. I’m single right now and you wheeling in here is like a dream come true which unfortunately that bubble got busted real quick since you have a girl already. You don’t think your girlfriend knows she may be a devotee?”
“I don’t think so. It’s actually something she is kind of dealing with somehow. Our relationship is still new and she has mentioned some stuff like this but at the same time she feels bad about it. You telling me this stuff may help her to understand. Help me understand.”
“There are some websites I can give you and you guys can look it up.”
Sarah’s eyes stayed on Kieran and she sighed, “It’s such a bummer you are already taken but it’s not a surprise really.”
Kieran felt slightly embarrassed and was still thinking about the things Sarah had told him.
She laughed, “I’m sorry. I should leave you alone.”
“It’s all right. Who are you here with?”
“Just some friends, they are over there.” She pointed to a group of about six people laughing and chatting.
“You don’t think they are wondering why you are over here?”
“They know I have a thing for guys like you. When you came in my antennas went up and on high alert.”
She laughed again, “You probably think I’m some kind of crazy bitch.”
Kieran shook his head, “No, I don’t think that. You’re a very attractive woman and if I wouldn’t have someone it wouldn’t be a question of “If” but only a question of “When”.”
Sarah smiled at him seductively, “Oh Kieran, you make me think of some crazy fun.”
Now Kieran actually had to laugh a little and looked down at his beer.
Just then his phone announced a text message from Erin.
He pulled out his phone and after seeing it was from Erin, he looked up at Sarah, “That’s her.”
“Wow, I guess she is sensing that there is a bad girl hitting on her boyfriend.” She grinned, then shifted, “I should go Kieran. Sorry it’s not going to happen with us but if you want those websites, give me your number and I will text them to you.”
“Yeah, I would appreciate that.”
Sarah gave Kieran her number and then she leaned down and planted a soft kiss on his cheek, “Bye Hot Stuff. It was nice meeting you.”
He smiled, “Bye Sarah, thanks. It was nice meeting you as well.”
She walked away and Kieran looked after her. She was definitely an attractive woman and he was sure she wouldn’t be single long.
He opened the message from Erin:
Hey baby, did you make it home all right?
He thought for a moment if he should tell her where he really was:
I actually didn’t go straight home. I stopped at the “Watering Hole” for a drink. I’m still here.
Erin’s reply came quick and he was worried she would be angry:
Oh, okay. Well, please don’t drink and drive. I wish we could have spent the night together again but I understand that you needed to be alone.
Kieran sighed and typed:
I’m sorry. I wish I would have a better answer. I have some things I need to tell you when I see you tomorrow.
Now Erin’s reply took a moment:
I can’t wait to see you again Kieran. Please text or call me tonight if something happens. I miss you so much.
Kieran missed her:
I miss you too and I will get in touch with you tonight. When should I be at your house tomorrow?
Erin texted him back to be at her house around noon and they finished the messaging. Just as he was about to put his phone away another message arrived. It was from Sarah and he looked across the room and saw the group she was with was gone and there was no sight of Sarah anymore. In her text message she sent him the links to two websites and wrote:
Check these out with your girlfriend. She is a lucky dev. Take care.
A heart emoticon followed her words and Kieran smiled about it.
Roger came over, “Hey man, sorry I couldn’t come over earlier but it has been busy all night and it looked like you had some company.” He grinned at Kieran.
Kieran explained quickly how Sarah just approached him but he didn’t mention anything about the information she had given him.
Roger pulled the chair over that Sarah had been sitting on, “So, how have you been?”
“Lots of stuff has happened.”
“I want to hear all about it.”
Kieran told Roger about all of the things that happened and that he was now back together with Erin but he was still dealing with all his demons and the nightly encounters. He also told Roger about the situation at the Wildlife refuge and Roger listened in amazement.
“It sounds like Erin is on your side Kieran.”
Kieran nodded, “Yes, I think so. All of this stuff drives me crazy. How can I make a decision like this?”
“I don’t know but maybe things will decide itself.”
Roger was called over to the bar again where it was busy and he just touched Kieran’s shoulder quickly and then got up to help out behind the bar.
Kieran finished his beer, he knew he shouldn’t drink another one and he decided he should be going home.
When Roger came back, Kieran paid him.
“Man, I wish we could have talked a little bit more. It’s really busy tonight though.”
“It’s all right, I should be heading home anyways.”
Kieran got home at almost midnight and everyone except Ashleigh was sleeping. Under her door there was still light coming from her room and he heard her talking.
He softly knocked on her door and he heard her bed squeak and then her door open a crack and she whispered, “Uncle Kieran?”
Kieran whispered, “Hey, why are you still up?”
Ashleigh opened her door wider and gestured Kieran to wheel into her room. She closed the door after him.
Her room was a typical teenage girl’s living space and Kieran felt odd in her little kingdom.
Ashleigh sat on her bed, “Where are you coming from?”
“I took Erin home.”
“Why didn’t she stay here?”
“It’s weird for her.”
“Why didn’t you stay at her place again?”
“It’s not very accessible for me.”
“Oh, that sucks…”
Ashleigh stretched out on her bed and smiled, “Are you like totally together with her now?”
Kieran nodded, “I think so.”
“What do you mean, you think so?”
“Well, I guess we are together.”
“Do you like her?”
“I like her very much.”
Ashleigh rested her head on her hands on the bed, “There is a boy at school that I find really cute.”
Kieran smiled, “Really cute, huh?”
Ashleigh laughed lowly, “Well, he is. I’m in Algebra with him.”
“Have you talked with him yet?”
“Yes, we talk about Algebra problems, he has helped me with some stuff.”
“What’s his name?”
“Do you know more about him?”
“I know he plays Basketball, that’s about it.”
“Well, I hope you will get to know each other a little better.”
“I hope so too. I have to find out if he has a girlfriend yet.”
“That would be good.”
Ashleigh showed Kieran some pictures on her phone when all the sudden he had an onset of strong spasms. He was parked close to her bed where Ashleigh was still lying with her phone when Kieran pressed his lips together and held is legs down to keep them from jumping. As he glanced at Ashleigh’s clock on the wall he saw it was 12:48.
He had totally forgotten about the nightly situation and now he was in Ashleigh’s room.
He put his hands to his rims, “I should go to my room.”
Ashleigh sat up on her bed and just when Kieran was about to push his rims he had to stop again because of a severe spasm running through his leg and letting it fall off the foot rest. He waited and leaned forward some, pressing his lips together.
Ashleigh was worried, “Uncle Kieran, what is going on?”
“Nothing, I will just have to get on my bed. Just some spasticity.”
“I will get mom or dad.”
Kieran looked at her in horror, “No Ash, don’t wake up your parents. I’m good.”
When the spasm made his back arch tensely, Kieran saw Ashleigh’s very worried expression.
“I’m getting mom.”
Kieran hissed through his teeth, “Ash, please don’t get your mom, okay.”
He sounded tense and serious and Ashleigh watched him trying to control his legs.
She didn’t know that in those moments he was getting his sensations back for a short period of time. He felt his legs with his hands and he felt his butt on the seat of the Quickie. He knew he could try to get up any moment now but there was Ashleigh and he couldn’t let her see any of it.
“I will just go to my room.”
He put his hands to his rims and Ashleigh opened the door for him as he quickly wheeled by her and toward his room. She didn’t leave him alone though. Instead she walked into his room after him and closed the door behind her.
When Kieran looked at her questioningly she said, “I’m not going to leave you alone right now.”
“I’m all right Ash. Please go back to your room.”
The spasms had subsided into a distant feeling of tension in his legs but every nerve was working and feeling. He wanted to get up, he wanted to stand and walk but there was his niece in his room and he had to stay in his chair.
Ashleigh sat on the bed and Kieran wheeled up to her, “Ashleigh, please. I need to be alone right now. I’m all right.”
“You don’t look all right.”
Kieran was frustrated with the overbearing worry of his niece and her not wanting to leave him alone at the moment. He only had a short time to indulge in the mysterious ordeal and he wanted her out of his room. He also wanted to call Erin and let her know what was going on.
“Ash, I’m asking you once more. Please leave right now.”
Ashleigh was confused at his tension about her being there. She could sense he was getting angry.
She got up and frowned, “Whatever! I’m just trying to be here for you Uncle Kieran.”
“And I appreciate every bit of it but I’m okay. I’m just tired and I need to lay down Ash.”
He stretched out his arms, “Here, give me a hug.”
Ashleigh hugged him, “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yes, I am.”
Ashleigh finally walked out of his room and closed the door. Kieran wheeled over to the bathroom quickly, parked his Quickie and slowly moved his feet off the foot rest and holding on with one hand to the door frame he stood up breathing quickly. He looked down on his feet, making sure his feet were placed securely on the floor. He was still wearing his sneakers and he took a few steps into the bathroom looking up and at himself in the mirror once again, “Shit!”
He stood there, tall and straight, on his two legs again and he felt the material of his jeans on his skin, and he felt the weak muscles of his belly flex. He pulled out his phone and tapped on Erin’s number.
He was moving his feet and lifted them up taking turns standing on one leg. It was unbelievable and he was breathing quickly. He could also still feel some pain in his left ankle but he didn’t care.
He heard the phone crackle and Erin’s soft voice, “Kieran, baby?”
“Are you all right?”
He took a deep breath, “I’m standing Erin…I’m standing in my bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror.”
“Take a picture of it, I want to see.”
“I'll have to hang up and send it to you.”
“Okay, I’ll wait for it and I’ll call you when I get it.”
They hung up and Kieran took a couple of quick pictures like he had done before. He sent them to Erin and shortly after, his phone played its ringtone, “Yes.”
Erin sounded nervous, “I got them. Oh my God, Kieran…I don’t know what to say.”
On the other end she felt her eyes get blurry and Kieran sounded weak on the phone, “I don’t…I don’t know. This didn’t work last night when I was….with you.”
“Kieran…how does it feel?”
“It feels incredible. I wish it would last longer…”
He looked down his legs again and then back at his standing mirror image.
Just at that point he was suddenly pulled out of the moment by Fiona’s alarmed voice, “Kieran?”
Shocked he turned his face and there stood Fiona with Ashleigh behind her right outside the bathroom, staring at Kieran in absolute disbelief.