Friday, July 15, 2016

New Beginnings - Chapter 18


 Chapter 18

On our way through town we stopped at a Sonic Drive In and ate. I also texted Jordan that we were eating in town and they didn’t need to wait for us to have dinner.
Before we drove home I stopped at an ATM machine and withdrew some money. As I got into the car again I handed Shane $ 200.
“What’s that for?”
“I just want to give this to you. I know you don’t have any money right now.”
Shane shook his head, “Anna, I can’t take that. I’m staying with Jordan now, he can help me out if I need it.”
“Just take it Shane. I want you to have some money for right now. I’m not going to leave you without any money. Don’t say anything else about it, just put it in your pocket.”
Shane stared at the money in my hand and I pushed my hand toward him, “Take it!”
Slowly he reached for the money and took a deep breath, “Anna, you don’t have to do this.”
“I don’t have to but I want to.”
Reluctantly he stuck the bills into his jeans pocket and then looked up at me, “Thanks baby.”
I smiled, “You’re welcome.”



We made our way back to Jordan’s house and as we parked in the front yard Shane said, “I need to put my braces on. I don’t think I can make it all the way over there and up the stairs without them.”
“I can pull right up to the steps.”
“I don’t think I can make it up the stairs just on my crutches. It’s too hard. I’m kinda beat.”

I helped him pull the braces out from the back seat and Shane opened the passenger door and moved his legs outside the car but stayed on the car seat.

I came around to the passenger side and as I saw he was somehow struggling to get his foot into the boot I set my purse on the hood of my car. It was still drizzling.
I helped lay the brace under Shane’s left leg and adjusted the straps on the back of his leg, then I squatted down and took his socked foot with my hands and slid it into the boot. His feet were still wet from our adventure. Shane started buckling the brace cuffs on his thigh while I started on the bottom, tying his shoe laces and buckling the shin cuffs.

I said while tying his shoe lace, “I can get it Shane. Just hold yourself up.”
He watched me as I quickly buckled the straps around his calf, and the knee pad. I was debating even tying his shoe laces because we really needed to get in the shower,
I strapped his right leg in and he just sat there holding himself up on the seat.

When I was done I stood up and as I looked over to the trailer I saw Jordan come out of it.
He jumped down the steps of the front porch and called over, “You guys need help?”
Shane slid his arms into his crutches and pushed himself up, his braces locking. I was hoping Jordan hadn’t seen Shane out of his braces and possibly wondering why he had been out of them, maybe asking about the reason.  

Jordan watched curiously and when he saw Shane managed and I nodded in confirmation he turned and went back to the trailer, Shane starting off behind him, making his way slowly.
Our hair was still wet, and I saw Jordan glance at us suspiciously, “Did you guys get wet or something?”
I smiled, “Just a little.”
Fortunately Jordan didn’t ask any more questions.

Jenny and the kids were in the living room watching TV and greeted us as we came in.
We stood in the living room for a moment talking until Shane said, “I want to take a shower so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning.”
Jenny got up from the couch, “Do you guys need anything?”
Shane replied, “Maybe a chair I could use in the bathtub?”
Jordan stood in the kitchen, “I’ll get you one of the plastic chairs from outside.”
Jenny looked at me, “Anna, I have a mat you could also use in the tub.”
I smiled at her, “That would probably help a lot.”

I followed Jenny to the back and she found the mat and handed it to me, then asked lowly, “Anna, are you guys okay with the bathtub? How does Shane get into the tub?”
I looked down for a moment, then up with a smile, “I’ll help him.”
Jenny didn’t seem convinced, “But how?”
“We did it last night and we did this at my house. He’s still capable to do lots of stuff on his own. It’s not easy but we manage.”
“Maybe Jordan can help him.”
“I think we’ll be all right, don’t worry.”
“Okay.”
With a sigh she handed me the anti-slip mat, “Okay, please let me know if you need anything.”

Jordan came to the bathroom with one of the white plastic chairs they had used the night before outside for the BBQ.
I put the mat in the tub first and then Jordan set the chair into it. The chair barely fit into the tub and we realized the seat was higher than the tub edge and with that Shane explained, “It may not work but if we could just keep that chair in here that would be good.”
Jordan said, “Yeah, of course. How can we make the tub better for you?”
Shane stood in the doorframe, “An actual accessible shower chair would be good. I would have to probably get that at a Medical supply store or something. I don’t know if there’s a store like that in Morgan City.”
Jordan said determined, “I think we have one. If not I’ll go to Houma. I know they have a store like that and I’ll buy that stuff there. What else do you need?”
Shane glanced at the toilet, “Maybe a frame for around the toilet, so I have something to hold on to.”
Jordan seemed concerned and looked at the toilet, “Yeah, I’ll get that too. You need to let me know that stuff Shane. I want you to be able to make it all right in here.”

As we all stood around the bathroom discussing the issues Jordan must have realized that Shane did need certain things in the bathroom to make it easier and safer for him.
He added, “And if you need help with anything, you let me know, okay.”
Shane looked over at me, “While Anna is here, she can help me. When she's gone, yeah, I may need your help sometimes.”
Jordan sounded enthusiastic, “Yeah, sure.”

In the bathroom we went through the whole ordeal again of taking Shane’s braces off, then his jeans. I was getting somewhat cold with the air conditioner on in the trailer and the heat and humidity outside and our recent very moist adventure.

We left the chair in the tub but had to turn it sideways because the armrests were in the way of Shane being able to get onto the chair. He did have to lift himself up some and with his legs not helping at all he had to push himself up and over onto the chair with only his arms. I actually stood in the tub and held the chair in place so it wouldn’t fall over when Shane dropped onto it. The anti-slip mat was a good thing though.

Finally he sat on the chair, holding on to the arm rests. I quickly slipped out of my clothes and Shane was surprised when I got into the tub with him. He was on the chair, holding himself balanced and I stood there naked in the tub next to him.

As I let the warm water run over my cool body Shane just sat there and watched me for a moment.
It caught him by surprise when I got out of the way and let the water run over him, “Hey.”

I laughed and I squatted down next to him holding on to his leg. The warm water was running over us from the shower head attached to the wall above us. An actual shower head with flexible hose would have been a good thing too. Shane held himself steady with his hands by his sides.

It was crowded with the both of us in the tub. I squatted next to Shane on the chair and my hands ran over his legs. Under my fingers I felt the many reminders in the form of various scars of the leg injuries he had suffered. I softly let my fingers run over his thighs and down over his knees and shins.

His legs were somewhat skinny but not atrophied too bad yet. Being in the braces did keep his legs somewhat working as they were held rigid in the braces when he was walking and sometimes he was able to use at least his left foot somewhat with the right foot dragging when he was walking. This kept the muscles he still had in his legs working somewhat. Lots of spasms also kept the muscles and tendons working. As annoying as the spasms were, they were actually good for him. I let my hands run up and down his legs. Shane just watched me, holding himself up on the chair.
I looked up at him and with a fast beating heart I said softly, “You’re so hot.”
With his eyes he followed my hands as they travelled up and down his legs.
I smiled, “I love your legs.”
Shane smiled and shook his head, “I’m glad you feel that way but I don’t know.”
“To me you’re the hottest guy around. I love your body the way it is.”
He smiled, “Thanks. Don’t even get me started on how I feel about your body. In the days before my accident I would’ve totally taken you right here in the tub.”
We laughed and then kissed for a few moments, getting soaked this time by the very comfortable warm water from the shower head.
It was a lot easier for Shane to wash himself sitting in the chair. He had the arm- and backrest to support himself with and we got done fairly quickly.

Eventually we were in the bedroom, getting dressed in some lounge clothes.
Shane wanted to stay out of the braces and he sat on the bed mumbling, “I’ll try to get into the living room without them.”
It was still somewhat early in the evening and we made our way to the living room. Shane was very slow without the braces and he was totally focused on the path in front of him.
As he came into the living room Jenny and Jordan were amazed.
Jordan asked, “So you can make it without the braces too?”
Shane fell onto the couch with a deep breath, landing awkwardly and falling over some but quickly picked himself up. I sat down next to him.
He was catching his breath explaining to Jordan, “I can only make short distances, this was almost too far. Without the braces, I really only have my upper body and arms.”

Jordan remarked, “No wonder your arms are buff like they are. You could probably beat me within seconds in arm wrestling.”
Shane grinned and flexed his biceps, “Maybe I should challenge you.”
Jordan shook his head and laughed, “Not going to happen. Do you guys want anything to drink? A beer or something?”
Shane answered, “Whatever “something” is, I’ll take that. I’m not going to do beer right now.”
“Soda then?”
“I’ll take a Pepsi.”
Jordan looked at me, “Anna?”
“Just water please.”

Jordan got our drinks. Jenny was lounging on one of the recliners in the living room. I heard the boys outside playing and laughing.
Jordan tapped Shane’s Pepsi can with his beer bottle, “To my little brother at home again.”
Shane smiled and they drank.

We started talking about the kids, about Jordan’s job, Jenny’s job as a hair stylist and also about Scott and Becky. Jordan was employed with a house siding company and did houses as far as Alexandria in the north of the state and also Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. Sometimes he was gone over night and because of that Jenny only worked a few hours a week at a salon in town where she rented a booth.

There was a pause and after he had another sip from his Pepsi Shane asked lowly, “How was Nick’s funeral?”
I knew Nick had been on Shane’s mind all day and Jordan looked down at his bottle, then up at Shane, “It was very nice. Lots of people were there, people I didn’t even know. A lot of people asked about you back then as well.”
Shane just nodded and I could sense Jordan getting nervous.
He took a deep breath, then looked at Shane and stammered, “Shane listen…I know…I know I never said anything before…but while you were in….”

He stopped for a moment, swallowed, then kept on with a shaky voice, “While you were locked up, I missed you a lot, we all missed you. Then you got out and I was so happy you and Nick were both going to be back home and I promised myself I wasn’t going to let you guys get in trouble again with stupid shit...”
He paused again, took a breath and continued, “Then that night the cops came to the house and told me that you and Nick had been in an accident…I freaked out, man…I broke down.”

I glanced from Jordan to Jenny and I could see the sadness in her face.
“They told me that Nick hadn’t made it and that you were taken to Baton Rouge in critical condition. I couldn’t believe it and I thought the world was coming down on me. I felt helpless and all I could do is get wasted for days. Scott came over and he was going nuts, he was pissed off so bad at whatever and whoever and we even got into a fist fight over all of this, trying to figure out what to do and all. You were kept in a coma and they told us we couldn’t see you because you were on probation still and they had to investigate if you had been drinking, on drugs and shit. They told us to not even come to Baton Rouge because they wouldn’t let us see you. Eventually they informed us that you were moved to Charity in New Orleans and then at least you were closer but we still weren’t allowed to see you and they said they couldn’t accommodate us there. I had to work, Jenny had to be here for the kids, but she called down there every other day to check on you. And you know Jenny was pregnant too…”

Jordan stopped talking and took a large sip from his beer, I could see his eyes were shiny.
Shane asked lowly, “Did you get to see Nick?”
Jordan seemed thrown off that Shane was still only concerned with Nick, “Yes, we did get to see him.”
He paused then added, “He looked like the Nick we knew.”
Jordan waited for a response from Shane. I sat next to Shane and moved closer to him.
He took my hand in his, “Was our…was our father there?”

Jordan shook his head and looked down, “No, not yours, not ours. I think they knew though. From mom’s side of the family her two sisters showed up, but I haven’t seen or heard from them anymore after the funeral. Jared and Candace of course were there too. It was very sad for all of us. While we laid Nick to rest we worried about you not making it either. You never did tell me about the accident…”

Jordan looked back up at Shane, his eyes were moist with tears, “I’ve had these thoughts and scenarios in my head for a year now Shane, but only you know how it was and how it happened. You spent the last moments with Nick and I’m so longing to know.”

Shane took a deep breath and when he started I got up.
He looked at me, “Anna?”
I couldn’t sit there and listen, I felt exhausted from the day and drained from all the emotions we had been through during the day.
“Shane, I’m sorry, I’ll be outside and give you guys a few moments.”

Shane let my hand slip from his and I went outside. I left the guys and Jenny behind to talk about the fateful night. The rain was still a drizzle. Everything was wet, I heard the frogs croaking nearby. The thunder was a low rumble in the distance. I heard the boys playing in the front of the trailer.

I found a chair under a type of shelter and sat down, looking out into the dusky yard. I imagined Shane telling Jordan about the accident and about his last moments with Nick. They needed to talk to clear the air. All of this had been hanging over them like a dark cloud and they needed to talk it over.

I sat silently for a while, just listening to the frogs croak and the millions of crickets chirp in the trees and the humidity came over me again but I just stayed and listened to rain softly pattering on the roof above me.
I don’t know how long I sat there when I heard the door on the back porch and I saw Jordan look around the yard and then his voice, “Anna? Are you out here?”
I replied letting him know where I was and he jumped down the steps and came over to me.
He said lowly, “Hey.”
“Hey.”

He leaned on one of the poles of the shelter and I asked him lowly, “So you know the whole story now?”
Jordan nodded, “Yeah, he told me everything. I’m glad he did.”
“It’s all been very hard on him and I think he really wanted to tell you.”

Jordan looked down, he had his arms crossed in front of him, leaning on the pole with his shoulder, his feet crossed on the ground, “Nick and Shane were very close, probably the closest two out of all of us. They had been through a lot together, pretty much since we were kids. They were always together. It shouldn’t have ended like it did for them.”
I sighed, “Yeah, sometimes things just don’t seem right and I’m sad they never caught the person who pushed them off the road.”
“Yeah, that makes it worse. They didn’t deserve any of it.”
Jordan’s voice trembled, “I hate seeing him like this…not able to walk and all. It makes me so angry. Someone should be held responsible for that.”
“Maybe they will find the person one day. Is Shane okay right now?”
“Yeah, I know it has been a rough day.”
I nodded, “But I know he wanted to see Nick’s grave.”

“Yeah….” Jordan paused for a moment, looked out into the yard, then back at me in the twilight, “I can see he cares a whole lot about you. You guys seem very close.”
“I love him and I want us to have a good life together eventually. I know we still have a little ways to go but I want to thank you that he can stay with you and Jenny for now.”
“Yeah, no problem. Shane stayed with us before the accident too. He was going to get back on track, find work and all. Then the accident happened.”
“I want to find a job for him in New Orleans soon but I still need some time. There’s still a lot going on for me too and I work a lot.”
“You don’t want to move up here?”
I shook my head, “I’ve all my friends down there. I’m not planning on quitting my job anytime soon so probably not.”

Jordan nodded, “Fair enough…Shane told me a little more about your brother too. I’m very sorry.”
“Thanks Jordan. I truly believe my brother and Shane would’ve gotten along. He was a wonderful person and shortly before he died I was able to tell him about Shane and he had said that he thought Shane was good for me.”
Jordan smiled in the dusk, “He said that?”
“Yes.”
Jordan shifted, then said, “I saw how you helped him today with his…with the braces. And I guess you help him with…other stuff too.”
I nodded, “Yeah, I’m totally okay with it. I’m okay with his paraplegia, it doesn’t bother me at all.”
“That’s good and I’m very happy for you guys. But doesn’t it also…”
He paused, obviously nervous at what he wanted to say, “Aren’t there also issues…with like…like sexual stuff and…I know that's farfetched but what about kids?”
“It’s not an issue for me…yes, there are things that don’t work the common way anymore but we’re making it work.”
“I’m sorry Anna, I shouldn’t be asking stuff like this.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m very happy with Shane.”
“I know he’ll miss you a lot once you leave.”
I nodded, “I’ll miss him too.”
“I’ll keep him in line here, make sure he’s okay.”
I got up from the chair, “I appreciate you and Jenny so much and I know Shane will be in good hands here.”
“We’ll try our best.”
I hugged Jordan and he said with a trembling voice, “Shane’s a lucky guy. You’re a good person Anna.”
I smiled, “Thanks Jordan, I’m a very lucky girl to have him.”

------------

As we finally laid in bed that night I snuggled close to Shane and asked him, “Are you nervous about tomorrow?”
“Yeah, kind of. I just don’t know how it’ll be going to work again and being there all day.”

I knew it was going to be an adjustment for him to go back to work for the first time since that fateful night. He would have to adapt to new people, talk to people about his disability and maybe the accident, and possibly other things would come up. He would have to learn new things, deal with new people and get back into a routine. Unfortunately he had to go through all that by himself, I couldn’t be there with him.

Shane said lowly, “I hope I can do this.”
I asked him, “Would you have been nervous about a new job before all of this happened, like when you were still “old” Shane?”
He thought for a moment, “Probably not.”
“So baby, I want you to try to remember how the “old” Shane would have started a new job.”
Shane laughed lowly, “The old Shane would have gone to work with a serious hangover and not given a crap.”

I laughed and added, “Well, at least you’re not going with a hangover and the rest is on you, baby. I’ll be here when you get home.”

We fell asleep in each other’s arms but I was rudely awakened when Shane jerked next to me and was gasping for breath. He threw his hands up and in the darkness I could barely see him. He was mumbling words I couldn’t understand. He moved his head from side to side and I held his arms down, “Shane, baby, you’re dreaming again.”
He was pushing against my hands and after a few moments he calmed down but he didn’t really wake up. His body relaxed and he seemed to be sleeping again. I fell asleep again next to him.

The next time we woke up was when the alarm went off at five in the morning.
Shane shifted and mumbled sleepily, “Shit, is it already morning?”
“Yes, it is. You have to wake up.”
Shane stretched his arms out and yawned, then mumbled, “I feel like I didn’t even sleep.”
I leaned over him, “Well, you were dreaming again last night, mumbling in your sleep.”
He blinked at me, “I did…I’m sorry Anna. What did I say?”
“I don’t know.”
He pulled me closer, “I’m sorry.”
I smiled, “It’s okay, good morning.”
“Good Morning, I love you.”
“I love you.”

Shane made his way into the bathroom without his braces. I stayed in the bed and waited for him. He came back in and I saw right away he was freshly shaved and he had moistened his hair some to tame it on his head. I assumed he had been able to do those things because we had moved the chair out of the tub the night before and had set it by the sink.

He sat on the edge of the bed and got dressed. Finally he sat there in his socks and jeans, and a fresh clean T-Shirt.
He turned to me, “Can you hand me my braces?”
I got up and grabbed his braces from the floor across the room. I watched as he slid his feet into his boots and then buckled all the straps and cuffs, holding his legs in the braces. I felt my heart beat fast at watching him and once again could not really believe that I was with this guy.
He looked over at me and smiled.
I smiled at him, “You look so hot right now.”
He shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know.”
“Oh yes, you do.”
He leaned over and kissed me.

We went out to the kitchen and only the light over the stove was on. The scent of fresh coffee lingered in the house. Jordan was sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal and a coffee mug in front of him.
He looked up when we came in, saying softly, “Good Morning you two.”
“Good Morning Jordan.”
Jenny and the boys were still sleeping and we kept our voices low as I helped Shane get himself some cereal and coffee too. I sat down at the table with the guys.
Jordan pulled out a lunch bag from the refrigerator, “I made your lunch.”
Shane seemed surprised, “Thanks man, you didn’t have to do that.”
Jordan grinned, “So you wouldn’t be eating all day?”
Shane shrugged his shoulders and I actually thanked Jordan, “That’s nice of you, thanks for thinking about Shane.”

“No big deal.”
He set the lunch bag on the table in front of and Shane thanked him too.

Jordan walked back to where his bedroom was and came back after a few moments, “Well, I’m outta here, gotta go. Scotty should be here any moment to get you.”
Jordan grabbed his keys and cell phone, turning to Shane, “So I hope you’ll have a good first day. They’re all right over there, Webber is a cool boss. I think you’ll be all right. The job shouldn’t be too hard for you, you’ll be sitting down mostly.”
Shane nodded again. Jordan patted him on the shoulder, “Well, I’m out of here.”

Just as Jordan opened the door, Scott appeared right outside it, “Here to pick up the newbie.”
Scott laughed and Jordan said in passing, “He’s in there. See you later.”
Scott came in, and Jordan left.
“Hey you guys.”
Scott sat down across from us at the table.
“So, are you ready bro?”
Shane nodded, “As ready as I can be I guess.”
Scott laughed lowly, “You nervous?”
Shane shrugged his shoulders, and Scott added, “You’ll be okay dude. Don’t worry.”
He looked at the lunch bag, “Is that your lunch?”
“Yeah, Jordan made it for me.”
Scott smiled, “What the hell, he’d never do that for me.”

Shane finished his cereal and Scott took the lunch bag, “I’ll take this out to the truck with me. I’ll be waiting outside while you say Good Bye to your lady.”
He got up and smiled at me, “See you later Anna.”
“Thanks Scott for helping Shane out.”
“No problem.” He smiled and walked out.

Shane had his backpack with him, and slipped it on. He then shifted on the chair and grabbed his crutches and got up.
I got in front of him and wrapped my arms around him and looked into his eyes, “I know you can do this.”
“I hope so.”
“I’ll miss you, but I’ll be thinking about you all day. I know you’ll have a good day. Just stay focused, take it slow and easy and just be yourself. And don’t worry about these babies…”
I smiled and rubbed my foot along his brace.
He lowered his eyes, “I’ll try not to worry about it.”
“If people ask, just tell them the deal. Be strong for me baby!”
He nodded and we kissed for few seconds.

Eventually I watched Shane make his way down the steps and I called after him, “I love you.”
On the bottom of the stairs he looked over his shoulder, “I love you.”
I watched him make his way to Scott’s car and as he got in, he waved at me once more and then shut the door. I waved at him and watched them pull out of the driveway. For some odd reason a single tear rolled out of my eye.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this chapter. I especially enjoyed the conversation with Jordan and how he finally realised the situation. I am curious to learn how Shane manages his Job and the separation from Anna.

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  2. Another great emotional chapter for poor Shane and Anna! They are breaking my heart. We have a long way to get to HEA (I hope)!

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