Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New Beginnings - Chapter 14

Chapter 14

I slowed down and turned onto a dirt and gravel driveway, slowly moving along until we reached a weathered looking double wide trailer under two large oaks. There were a couple of cars parked in no particular order in front of the trailer. Two large dogs were running around and barking as we neared the trailer. A few people standing around amongst the cars were talking, holding beer cans or solo cups in their hands.
I found a spot over on the side away from all the other cars. The two dogs came running around my car barking loudly.
I remarked to Shane, “They look a little mean.”
“Yeah, I don’t remember them.”
We sat there for a moment, I could see Shane’s obvious anxiety and I asked carefully, “Are we getting out or what?”
Shane looked over at me, “I guess so.”

Just as we were getting out of the car, hoping the dogs wouldn’t attack us, a small pick-up truck came speeding down the driveway, leaving a dust cloud, and coming to a sliding halt.
Shane turned his eyes toward the driver, who was just jumping out of the truck.
“It’s my youngest brother Jared.”
I looked over to the young man as he yelled at the dogs, “Get outta here you dirt bags.”
The dogs ran off and Jared looked over to us suspiciously. Shane had just moved his legs out of the car and was slipping his arms into the crutches, about to pull himself up.
Jared now recognized Shane and called over to us, “Damn…look who it is?”
He jogged over with quick steps and a big smile on his face.
Shane shut the car door as Jared had reached him, saying somewhat hesitant, “Shane bro…”
I saw Jared’s curious glances at Shane’s legs and he seemed unsure at how to greet his brother.

Jared was a wild looking young man, longish dark hair, tattoos all over his arms, wearing baggy jeans and a muscle shirt. He had sunglasses on his head.
He walked up to Shane and actually hugged him then, “Man, Shane…I‘m so happy to see you.”
Shane kept holding his crutches and smiled, “Jared, what’s up!”
Jared then curiously looked over to me and Shane introduced me, “Jared, this is my girlfriend Anna.”
Obviously surprised at his brother’s girlfriend Jared smiled, “Anna, nice to meet you. I’m Jared, the youngest one.”
He reached his hand out to me and I greeted him with a smile.

He then turned his eyes back to Shane and glanced down to his legs, asking straight forward, “So what the hell is all of this?”
Shane seemed nervous as he tried to explain, “That’s just how it is.”
I could sense his discomfort with the situation and Jared didn’t let him off the hook that easy, “What do you mean? Shit, I thought they fixed you up at Charity, what’s all this stuff with your legs?”
I moved next to Shane letting him feel I was right there with him as he replied to Jared’s blunt questioning, “That’s pretty much all the fixing that could do…”
Jared seemed upset, “No way man, that can’t be all…you’re going to get rid of these things, aren’t you?”
Shane shook his head now and with a deep breath he explained more determined, “I’m paraplegic Jared. These braces help me walk and it’s not temporary, this is permanent. I had a spinal cord injury and it messed up my legs, my brain can’t transfer the signals to my legs anymore.”
Jared cut him off, “I have no idea what the hell you’re saying but it sounds fucked up. They probably didn’t know what the hell they were doing at Charity, damn free hospital! You know they probably don’t always do everything they need to.”
Shane was tense now, “Jared, listen to me…Charity was great and they did everything they could for me. They did know what they were doing, they helped me with a lot of stuff. The braces are permanent and help me walk, I’m okay. I’m cool with this.”
Jared was still visibly upset by Shane’s predicament and I could see the anger in his face but also sadness, “Shit…I’m sorry Shane, that’s just not right.”
Shane’s voice was softer now, “It’s all right Jared. I’m okay with it.”
Jared hugged Shane again, “I missed you bro.”
Shane replied, “I missed you too and I’m happy to see you man.”
Jared held his hug for a moment and then stepped back.
Shane asked, “Is your girlfriend here too?”
“Yeah, they’re all out back. You ready to meet all the crazies?”
With a weak smile Shane took a deep breath, “I guess so.”

We started walking toward the front door as Jared called out to some people standing around, “Hey you guys, can someone come over here and help me get the ice out of my truck?”
Two guys came walking over to Jared’s pick-up and helped him take out several bags of ice. Shane didn’t seem to know those people. They glanced at us curiously.
Shane was focused on the very uneven ground, dirt and gravel, not a very smooth surface to walk on. When Jared realized his brother making his way very slowly he curiously glanced at Shane’s legs and feet, still obviously upset about Shane’s situation.
He adjusted his pace to ours, “Let’s go this way.”
We followed Jared around the side of the trailer, the dogs were still running around barking but Jared chased them off again. Shane seemed nervous and I wished I could have done more to support him somehow.

In the backyard of the trailer lots of people with red and blue Solo Cups, beer cans or bottles in their hands, were sitting and standing around. Children were running around, playing and screaming. Toys were scattered randomly around the back yard. Two rusted pickup trucks were off on the side, obviously not working anymore judging to the tall grass growing around them. Some kids were climbing around on the trucks. It smelled like food in the air, country music was blaring out of a speaker on a back porch. Coolers were standing around and I saw the two guys who had helped Jared spread some of the ice into the coolers. People were talking and laughing, no one took notice of us.

Jared walked ahead and disappeared into the crowd. I saw him talk to a guy by a table with food. Shane and I had stopped and just stood there now, looking around somewhat lost.
Shane adjusted his stance, “That’s Jordan over there.”
Just when he had said it, Jordan looked up toward us, and came hurrying over, smiling happily, “Shane…”
Jordan was tall and thin with a baseball cap on backwards, dressed in washed out jeans and a plain white T-Shirt.
He quickly glanced at Shane’s legs, but didn’t hesitate to hug him, “Shane man, I’m so glad you’re back home.”
Shane couldn’t really hug anyone because he had to hold himself up on his crutches.
“Hey Jordan.”
Jordan stepped back, seeming very glad, “It’s so good to see you Shane.”
He looked over at me, “You must be Anna?”
I smiled at him, “Yes, hi Jordan, nice to meet you. We made it.”
Jordan was not bad looking, there were definitely similarities between Shane and Jordan, even though they had different fathers.
Jordan looked down at Shane’s legs again and said lowly, “So this is it then, huh?”
Shane nodded, “Yeah.”
“Are you okay?”
Shane nodded again, “Yeah, I’m good.”

A woman walked up next to Jordan. Her long red curly hair was held back with a bandana. She was skinny like Jordan, wore some very short shorts, a tank top, big dangling earrings, flip flops on her feet, and a cigarette was glowing between her fingers.
Her freckled face framed a kind smile, “Shane, it’s so good to see you, hon.”
She hugged Shane too and he greeted her, “Hey Jenny.”
Jenny turned to me, “Anna?”
I smiled, “Yes, hi…nice to meet you.”
“Likewise, Anna, welcome to this crazy family.”  
Jenny turned to Shane again and said warmly, “Hon, we’re really glad to have you back. We missed you down here.”
Shane just smiled. I know he felt like on a pedestal with everyone looking at him and he didn’t like it one bit. I stood next to him and placed my hand on his back to let him know I was right there with him.
Jordan seemed nervous but tried to sound carefree, “The kids are running around here somewhere.”
Shane nodded again, “They probably got big. Is Scott here too?”
“Yes, I think he’s inside.”

Jared came over with a quirky looking young, petite girl with long black hair, beer can in one hand, cigarette in the other.
Jared introduced her, “Shane, this is Candace, my girlfriend.”
We greeted Candace, and she replied with, “Nice to meet you guys.”

We then followed Jordan as he headed toward the trailer. Shane moved slowly over the grass as to be expected. Jared walked ahead and jumped up the stairs onto the back porch. When we reached the stairs Jordan turned to us and I saw his concerned expression at Shane. 
I softly spoke for Shane now, “He can make it.”
Jordan nodded unsure and Shane started up the stairs, his legs locked in the braces and people watching him. He placed one foot after another onto the steps, all the while holding his balance with his crutches. I softly touched his back and we made it up.

Just as we were up on the patio, a heavy set woman opened the screen back door of the trailer and said loudly, “Look who’s come home!”
Shane looked up, “Hey Becky.”
She came up and with a quick glance to his legs she hugged him awkwardly, then turned to me, “And who’s this young lady here?”
Before Shane could say anything I answered, “Hi, I’m Anna.”

Becky nodded curiously, “Hi Anna, I didn’t know Shane had a girlfriend down in New Orleans.”

She was somewhat heavy for her short stature, with brown curls resting on her shoulders, wearing tight jeans that wrapped around her big legs and a wide Minnie Mouse T-Shirt covering big breasts.
Shane didn’t seem too excited to see Becky but asked lowly, “Is Scotty in there?”
Becky answered, “He sure is…”
Just as Jordan held the door for us to go inside Becky asked bluntly, “What the hell did they do to you in New Orleans? What are you wearing these things for?”
Shane swallowed, focused on getting over the threshold and just as he was about to answer Jordan cut in, “Let’s not worry about that right now. Where’s your husband?”
“Inside, stocking the fridge with his beer. He didn’t want to put it in the coolers for other people to drink.”

I saw Becky stare at Shane’s legs as he walked by her and into the trailer. Inside it smelled musty but was cooled by a noisy air conditioner in one of the windows. The trailer had definitely seen better years. We stood in the living room, an old fashioned flower design three piece couch set was in the corner, a large flat screen TV fit just right into a dark wood entertainment center, and lighter colored wood paneled walls were lined with family photos in frames. A fan was on high speed spinning over us in the living room. The kitchen was only separated by a breakfast bar from the living and dining area. It was the usual open floor plan of an older model trailer.

As we had come in Scott who was busy at the fridge stopped in his task of stacking beer cans into it and with a big smile he came right up to Shane, “Shane, bro, it’s good to see you. I’m so glad you’re finally home again.”
He hugged Shane and right away looked at me and I got introduced again. I hadn’t missed the curious glances of Shane’s brothers. Shane seemed tense and nervous still. I had a feeling it was all a little much for him, everyone telling him how happy they were to have him home when he actually hadn’t once mentioned that he was happy to be home again.
Scott looked down at Shane’s legs, “How are you?”
“I’m all right.”

I saw Becky, Jenny and Candace over in the kitchen by the stove, apparently viewing some kind of dish.
I saw Shane’s knuckles white from gripping his crutch handles and was relieved when Jordan said, “Sit down on the couch you guys.”
Shane didn’t have to be told twice and made his way over to the couch under the curious glances of everyone. I wish I could have done more for him. Everyone stared as he let himself down and unlocked his braces without looking up. I quickly sat down next to him and after he leaned his crutches next to him he took my hand.

He insecurely looked up at everyone and Jordan asked, “What do you guys want to drink?”
I was surprised Shane didn’t want a beer but opted for a Pepsi and I actually asked for water. I still felt slightly nauseous from overdoing it the night before. Jordan brought our drinks and plopped down onto the three seater couch opposite us. Candace found her spot on Jared’s lap in a matching armchair.
Scott came over and sat on the armrest of the couch, “Shane, man…it’s really good to see you here.”
As Jenny and Becky were done in the kitchen with whatever they were looking at they came over too, Jenny plopped next to her husband on the couch and Becky next to Jenny.

Jared didn’t beat around the bush and asked curiously, “So how did you guys meet?”
Shane explained how we met at the hospital and Candace asked, “Is that where you work at Anna?”
I smiled, “No, I was just there visiting a family member.”
I was hoping very much Candace wouldn’t ask anything else pertaining to my job but she did, “Oh, where do you work at Anna?”
I lowered my eyes for a moment, glanced at Shane and then answered honestly, “I’m an exotic dancer at a gentleman’s club in New Orleans.”
Candace seemed sincerely surprised and I saw everyone looking kind of expectant.
She replied innocently, “Oh wow…really? But I can see it, you’re really pretty.”
I smiled shyly, “Thanks.”
Now Becky cut in bluntly, “So you’re a stripper?”
I felt Shane look at me from the side and I stayed strong, “Somewhat, it’s a high end club.”
I wanted to somehow keep my dignity before I lost it all.
Jordan changed the subject and said warmly, “Well, we’re happy to meet you Anna.”
I smiled, “Thanks, I’m glad to meet all of you.”

Just then a guy looked into the trailer, “Scott or Becky, your little one is over by the pond crying. I guess he stepped into a yellow jacket or something.”
Both got up and hurried outside and I was somewhat relieved.

Jenny looked at me and asked me, “Are you from New Orleans Anna?”
I explained my situation to Jenny and she smiled at me warmly. Candace and Jared, the two young lovers, were sitting in a tight embrace. Shane didn’t really say much. I felt everyone was somewhat nervous. It was awkward because they hadn’t seen him in a long time and now that he was back they didn’t seem to know how to act around him.
Jordan changed the topic, “Are you guys hungry at least?”
We both nodded and he explained, “There is crawfish outside and all kinds of other stuff. I could bring you some plates in here if you want to eat in here.”
I looked at Shane, “I think that would be good.”
Jenny and Jordan got up, “We’ll be right back with some trays.”
I got up, “I can help you guys.”
Jenny smiled, “Oh, okay, great.”
I squeezed Shane’s hand and left him behind with Jared and Candace, following Jenny and Jordan outside.

Jenny turned to me, “I’m really happy to meet you Anna. You’re going to stay here for a few days, right?”
“Well, I’ll actually have to go back on Monday or Tuesday, because I’ve to go back to work.”
“Oh, bummer, but you’re welcome to stay here as long as you want.”

I thanked her and we got to the food, where everyone was dumping loads of crawfish, potatoes, corn and all kinds of other delicious food onto large trays serving as plates.
I saw some people look at me curiously, probably wondering who I was. Not everyone had seen us come. There were lots of friends of the family.
Kids were running around and suddenly Becky appeared next to me, “There’s always something going on with the kids.”
I smiled at her.
She asked, “Do you have kids Anna?”
“No, I don’t.”
Becky turned away again calling out to one of her kids.  

I filled my tray with the food and Jordan had prepared one for Shane. Jenny carried hers and Jordan’s trays and we went back into the trailer and once we came in we sat the trays on the kitchen table. Shane was still on the couch talking to some people he apparently knew. He glanced over at me.
I walked over to him and everyone looked at me as he introduced me again and I just smiled. Shane told the people that he was going to eat now and be out there in a little while to hang out some more.
They laughed and walked out, one of them calling over to Jordan, “Jordan, the craw daddies are freaking delicious, man.”
Jordan laughed and replied, “Got ‘em this morning fresh from Arnaud’s.”

Shane made his way over to the table and I saw Jordan watch him from under his bangs.
Candace and Jared went outside and we sat down at the table with Jenny and Jordan.
As we started eating Jordan said, “I’m really glad you’re back home Shane. I know there are a lot of people here tonight and I kind of wish now I wouldn’t have invited everyone to come.”
Shane looked at his brother, “It’s all right.”
Jenny smiled, “Well, he wanted to make it a big party because he was so happy to have you home again.”
Jordan seemed nervous, “I didn’t know it would be….I don’t know…your situation and everything.”
Shane tried to make his brother feel at ease, “It’s all right Jordy, I’m good.”

Jordan took a deep breath, obviously nervous, “So, your legs…is it always going to be like this? I mean…is there a chance you can get rid of the…of the braces and crutches?”
Jenny looked over and I waited for Shane to answer.
He looked at Jordan, inhaled, licked his lips and explained, “It’s always going to be like this. I can’t walk without them unless I get a wheelchair. I can’t afford one right now and the braces were my other free option. I got injured at the T-12 and L-1 vertebrae and am now an incomplete paraplegic. This is permanent and nothing will change. I’ve a tiny bit of sensation in my left foot but it’s not nearly enough to walk.”

Jordan had stopped eating and just listened to Shane, now he asked lowly, “How are you doing with all of this?”
Shane shrugged his shoulders, I could sense he didn’t really want to talk about any of it. “I’ve no choice than to be okay with it.”
Jordan then said lowly, “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there more for you during the last couple of months. I feel really bad about that.”
Shane replied lowly, “It’s all right. I mean you have a life here and I know you guys are busy and you have to take care of your family.”
Jordan shook his head, “It’s not an excuse and I know I fucked up. I should’ve been there for you more.”
Shane sounded tense, “Don’t worry about it anymore, okay.”
Jenny now added, “We’re here for you now Shane. You can stay here as long as you need to and we’ll help you with whatever you need.”
“Thanks Jenny.”

We kept eating but it was awkward, I could sense that Jordan was not okay. He eventually got up and walked away without saying a word.
Jenny looked after him, “Baby?”
Shane knew it was because of him and he wiped his hands on his napkin and said lowly, “I’ll talk to him.”
Jordan had disappeared into the back hallway and I heard a door slam. Shane got up and locked his braces, then followed to where his brother had gone. I could hear him call out for Jordan and eventually heard a door.

Jenny and I just sat there for a moment, then Jenny smiled at me shyly, “Jordan feels very guilty for not having been there for him more. There was a lot of stuff going on back here too…I was sick for a few months, Jordan had to work a lot to pay our medical bills. Everything has been hard on everyone, Shane’s situation, Nick dying and everything in between. I’m just glad Shane is here now.”
I nodded, “I think it’ll be good for them but I know Shane isn’t too crazy about me going back to New Orleans.”
Jenny smiled, “So you two are pretty serious then?”
I nodded, “I love him and I think he feels the same way about me. Life kind of sucked for us both lately and I’m very happy I met him. I feel we have a deep connection.”
“That’s wonderful and I’m so happy for you both. We’ll take care of him here and you can come anytime you want Anna.”
“I think he misses his brother Nick a lot.”
Jenny nodded, “Yeah, we were all in bad shape about that. I think that was another reason Jordan couldn’t really face Shane, it was too difficult for him.”
“There’ll be lots of time to reconnect again.”
She nodded, “Yes, definitely.”

Just then two young boys came into the trailer, loud and rambunctious, “Mama, where’s daddy? Brady hit the baseball into the pond.”
They came running over to the table and the younger one of the two looked at me, “Who’s that?”
Jenny introduced her sons to me and told them I was “Uncle Shane’s” girlfriend. They asked where Shane was and she told them he was in the back talking to their dad.

When they wanted to run back there she stopped them, “You two, daddy and Uncle Shane are talking and you need to leave them alone right now. Go find Uncle Scott to get the ball out or find another one.”
They ran outside again and she smiled at me.

We kept eating and talked about Shane’s brothers some more. She also told me about Becky’s and Scott’s kids and that Becky was pregnant again. They already had two kids.
It was at least thirty minutes later when Jordan and Shane came back out.
They looked serious and not too happy but sat back down and Jenny said, “Well, your food is cold now.”
The two men ate anyways and there was not a word about what they had talked about.
Some other people came in and talked to Jordan and Jenny, some greeted Shane like an old friend. I was introduced many times as Shane’s girlfriend.

After we had eaten, everyone was heading outside but Shane told me he wanted to go to the bathroom but he didn’t have his back pack. I went out to my car and got his back pack and when I came back in he was standing in the kitchen talking to Jordan. Jordan told him which bathroom he could use and with his back pack on his back he made his way toward the bathroom Jordan had pointed him to.

Jordan and I were the only people in the trailer at that time and Jordan looked at me and said lowly, “Well, we talked about some stuff a while ago. I know I should’ve been there more for him in the last couple of months.”
I leaned on the kitchen counter and replied, “He’s going to be all right. It wouldn’t have changed anything medically if that’s what you’re thinking. His disability is permanent. It won’t go away anymore. There’s no cure for paraplegia.”
Jordan was leaning on the counter opposite of me.
He nodded, “I still should’ve done more for him. I knew he was having a hard time. I thought Mitch was at least there for him and I was so busy back here. Jenny wasn’t doing well…”
“She mentioned something.”
He looked down and explained, “She had a miscarriage. We were supposed to have twins, she lost them in the middle of the pregnancy shortly after all this stuff happened with Shane and Nick. She fell into a deep depression, it was tough. I had to work a lot too.”
“Don’t worry about it anymore Jordan. Shane is here now and that’s all that matters.”
He nodded, then asked, “So, you’re going back to New Orleans though…are you two…are you guys serious?”
“Yes, we’re very serious. I love him but I’ve to go back to work.”

“He can start his job here on Monday. Scott’s boss said, he’ll give him like a probation period to see if he can do the job and all.”
“That’s great. I hope things will work out.”
“I hope so too.”

For a moment we were quiet and then Jordan asked lowly, “So, you’re really a dancer in a club?”
I nodded and he asked, “How does Shane feel about that?”
I explained to Jordan about my job situation and how long I had been there and everything and I ended with, “It’s not easy for him but I don’t have a choice right now.”
Shane came back into the living room and we both looked over at him.
He asked lowly, “You ready to go outside?”

I nodded and walked over to him and we headed out. It was getting dusk now, the bonfire in the yard was burning strong and high, people were sitting and standing around, chatting and laughing, drinking and eating. Jordan walked ahead and I got in front of Shane as he was about to make his way down the few steps off the back porch. At the bottom of the steps, just as Shane was adjusting the grip on his crutches he was intercepted by two old friends who greeted him excitedly.

Again we went through the same introduction and then the much dreaded question about Shane’s medical situation. I know it was getting difficult for him to tell everyone the same thing about his disability being permanent, that he was paraplegic and that he needed the braces and crutches to walk. Everyone was shocked and didn’t really know what to say except for sorry and that they hoped he would be all right. Everyone looked at me curiously, probably wondering where Shane had picked me up and how serious we were.

These friends didn’t ask about my line of work and I was very glad about that. The way I felt about telling people what I did for a living was probably the way Shane felt telling people about his disability. Both things were sensitive topics and made people uncomfortable.

As we made our way in between people, we were greeted by old friends of Shane and then there were other people Shane didn’t know, but seemingly friends of his brothers. I saw Jordan with his boys, Scott getting on to one of his kids and Becky was talking with some friends. Jenny was by the dessert table talking to friends and Jared and Candace were nowhere to be seen.

We made it to the fire and I saw an empty chair, “Over there, you can sit down.”
Shane nodded thankfully and walked over to it. People were curiously watching us and I also realized he tried very hard to avoid those looks and I just smiled a lot at people. I held the chair steady for him so it wouldn’t slip out from under him. The ground was uneven and Shane tried to find a good stance before he lowered himself into the chair, then unlocked his braces quickly and let the crutches drop next to him to the ground. This time I decided to get a beer for myself out of a cooler nearby. Shane wanted another Pepsi. As there was no other empty chair around I let myself down on the ground in front of Shane in between his legs.

Scott came over with two beers and when he saw the Pepsi in Shane’s hand he said, “What’s up with the Soda man? Did you stop drinking or what?”
Shane declined, “I’m on meds man and I shouldn’t really be drinking at all but when I do I feel the consequences.”
Scott asked, “What consequences?”
Shane explained about the spasms and Scott listened interested but at the same time looked unhappy about the explanation ending with, “That’s fucked up, man. If I couldn’t drink anymore…shit…”
Scott laughed and looked at me, “Well, at least your girlfriend is cool.”
He tapped my bottle with his and Shane showed Scott his middle finger.
I turned to Shane, “Do I still have to drive tonight?”
Shane thought for a moment, “I don’t think so. I think we’re staying here.”
He looked at Scott, “Do you know where we’re supposed to stay tonight?”
Scott laughed, “In your car man…” He paused for a moment, then added, “Nah, man…here of course.”

They knuckle bumped and I leaned back in between Shane’s legs, I felt his hand in my hair and we looked into the fire.
After a little while Becky came over to Scott, “Scotty, you need to get the kids. They haven’t ate any dinner yet. They’re running around somewhere.”
Scott took a sip from his beer, “Yeah, yeah…they’ll come if they’re hungry.”
Becky got louder, “Get your lazy ass out there and find them!”
Scott walked away grumpily, “Excuse me guys, my wife’s about to throw a fit here. Let me find those brats.”
He walked away and Becky said, “He’s so lazy, always trying to get out of taking care of his kids.”
I didn’t know what to say to that but Shane asked lowly, “Are you going to have any more?”
Becky sounded annoyed, “Well, he got me pregnant again…”
I was somewhat surprised at the way she talked about the topic, like it was only her husband’s doing.
Lowly I asked, “So you didn’t want any more?”
Becky seemed surprised at my question, “Well, not that I didn’t want any more but two is plenty already. It’s a lot of work but I love my kids and it’s all good. It’s hard to understand for people who don’t have kids but having kids is a blessing really.”
I did hear the tone in her voice and said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t know since I don’t have any. I’m sure they keep you busy.”
Becky sighed in exaggeration, “Oh hell yeah, they’re a handful but you know I’m very involved in all their activities. I take care of my kids and I always put myself last. My kids are my priority and I just can’t worry about getting all fixed up all the time. As a mother those things aren’t really important.”

I felt she made those comments pertaining to my childless existence and probably in her opinion looking fixed up as she put it. I decided not to say anything else. I had a feeling Becky wasn’t too crazy about me.
She turned to Shane, “So, Jordan and Scotty got you a job at Webber’s construction then?”
Shane shrugged his shoulders, “I guess so.”
“They tried really hard to get you that job there. It wasn’t easy to find a job for you with your background and all of that stuff going on with you now.”
She nodded at Shane’s legs and I was getting tense at her instigating words.
Shane stayed surprisingly calm, “Well, I’m thankful to them for that.”

Becky then asked me, “So, are you going to move down here then?”
“No, that’s not in the plan right now. I’ve my job in New Orleans.”
She looked at me with dark eyes, “So, you’re going to do the long distance thing then since your job is so important.”
Becky was pushing it now and I didn’t know what it was that she obviously disliked me.
Because of her comments I then looked straight at her and said with confidence, “Well, my job is pretty important. I’m an assistant manager at the club besides being one of their top dancers. I make pretty good money, it’s an upscale gentleman’s club after all. I’ll be here with Shane any chance I have and I’ll make sure he is going to be okay. I’ll tend to him and his needs at all times.”

I just had to say these things and Becky looked somewhat dumbfounded. At the same time I felt Shane squeeze my shoulder some with his hand. I threw Becky a fake, cheesy smile. She stood there with an open mouth. If she wanted to be bitchy and if she wanted to play like that, I could definitely play dirty too.
Becky hissed, “Long distance relationships never work out.”
With that she walked away. Shane leaned over me, “Baby, I didn’t know you could be so feisty.”

I looked up at him with an evil smile, “Oh, I can be feisty all right, you haven’t seen anything yet. What’s her problem?”
Shane was too understanding, “Don’t worry about her. She’s just always stressed out and not so happy I guess. She’s just like that.”
“Like another Tammy?”
Shane shook his head, “Don’t even go there…and no…there’s nothing going on with me and her. Scott and Becky have been married for six years. He’s not easy sometimes either and she gets pissed at him.”

I saw Scott and Becky with their kids by the food.  

People were enjoying themselves and the music was still playing. Darkness had set in but the fire lit up the yard. Kids were still running around playing in the dark corners of the yard and having a blast. Shane had his hand on my shoulder, I was still on the ground in front of him. I felt his legs right next to me and glanced at the crutches on the ground, feeling chills on my back. My legs and butt were getting somewhat cool on the ground and I looked around for another chair but didn’t see one. For a few minutes we gazed into the fire and just sat there.


  1. Great chapter, thanks! Wow, what a family. It won't be easy for Shane, that's for sure. But they also seem to care about him in a way and stick together. Hopefully Shane can keep the Job. It will be difficult for the two of them to find some privacy now.

  2. Interesting chapter.
    Nothing is easy for poor Shane.
    Looking forward to where you take them.

  3. Keep going, Dani

  4. I was scared to meet the family since every time we've met people in Shane's past there have been... Well not awesome people.