At five in the morning Shane’s watch alarm was beeping on the bedside table. I moved my hand over and grabbed it.Next to me Shane mumbled, “Give it here.”
I handed him his watch and in the dimness of the room he fiddled with it and turned the alarm off.
He moved some and groaned, “Fuck, my back is stiff.”
I said softly, “Good Morning to you too.”
“I’m sorry baby, it’s just…my back.”
With a moan he turned toward me and we kissed.
We laid there for a few more moments until Shane said, “Well, I guess I need to get up.”
I moved out of his way as he pulled himself over to the edge of the bed and let his legs drop over the bed. I handed him his crutches and he slid his arms into them.
I came up behind him and kissed his naked shoulder and he moved his head to the side, “Good Morning.”“Is your back going to be okay?” I yawned.
“Once I get up it’ll loosen up.”
I had switched on the bedside table lamp and watched as Shane gripped his crutch handles tight and with a sigh he pulled himself up. His one foot had a slight grounding, but he mostly dragged his feet along as he slowly made his way out of the bedroom and to the bathroom.
I considered following him but then decided to give him a few moments. I knew the chair in the bathroom made things like catherization and brushing his teeth over the sink easier. I actually heard the urine flow into the toilet then and when it stopped I waited a few more minutes and then got up and walked to the bathroom.I heard low noises from the kitchen, Jordan was probably awake already.
In front of the bathroom door I hushed, “Shane I’m coming in. I have to pee."
Shane was sitting on the plastic chair in front of the sink, brushing his teeth. His feet lay scrambled in front of him. His crutches were leaning next to him on the sink counter.Without hesitation I sat on the toilet to pee and Shane glanced at me grinning as he was brushing his teeth over the sink. I wiped and washed my hands and freshened up some.
I started brushing my teeth and Shane was finishing up, “I’m going back to the bedroom to get dressed.”
I nodded with the toothbrush in my mouth.
I came into the bedroom as Shane was just buttoning up his jeans laying halfway on the bed.
I threw the braces on the bed next to him.
He grabbed his left brace and mumbled, “Didn’t I just take them off?”
“The night was short. Here, I help you.”
Shane held himself on the edge of the bed as I slipped his feet into his boots and then buckled and strapped his legs into the braces once again.
I did this with full concentration and he just watched me from above and asked lowly, “You’re going to miss these guys?”
I finished and leaned on his knees, “I’m actually really going to miss this guy in his braces.”
I pushed my index finger into this belly and he smiled.
He spread his legs some and pulled me up in between them, looking into my eyes, “I hate this day. What am I going to do without you?”
I smiled trying to joke, “Well, you’ll have to strap your braces on yourself again.”
He grinned, “That’s just one of the problems I’ll have without you.”
He pulled me up and we kissed again.
We held each other in an embrace for a few moments until Shane sighed, “Well, I gotta get out there. Jordan is probably wondering if I’m up.”
When we came into the kitchen, Jordan was in the middle of making his and Shane’s lunch, “Good Morning you two.”We greeted Jordan and he pushed a mug of coffee over toward Shane, “You want some coffee too Anna?”
“No, I’m still good. I may lay down again for a little while.”
Shane went up to the counter and thanked his brother for lunch and coffee and letting go off the crutch handle he took the mug in his hand and had a large sip.
He then poured some cereal in a bowl on the counter, the milk jug was on the table and when he looked somewhat questioning from the counter to the table, contemplating how to get the bowl over there, I grabbed the bowl with the cereal and set it on the table for him. He thanked me lowly and sat down. I sat down next to him and watched him eat for a moment.
Jordan said, “So Anna, I won’t see you anymore today.”I smiled at him, “No, I’ll be leaving probably around ten.”
“Well, I have to get going so it’s Good Bye for me right now.”
I got up and Jordan held his arms out and we hugged.
He said, “Take care of yourself. I’m really glad we got to meet you. We’ll keep this knuckle head in line here.” He flicked his finger against Shane’s head.
“When do you think you’ll come up again?”
I sighed, “Not sure yet. I usually work on weekends.”
I realized Shane pause in his eating momentarily and I quickly added, “But, hopefully latest on Sunday or Monday in a week.”
Jordan smiled, “Well, you’re welcome anytime.”
We hugged again and Jordan said Good Bye to me and Shane and left to go to work.
I sat back down next to Shane.
He looked over at me and remarked lowly, “I won’t see you again for a while then.”I didn’t know how to reply and softly touched his hand, “I’ll try to get off on Sundays or something.”
Shane didn’t say anything else but I could sense he didn’t like the answer.
Scott showed up in the house, “Good Morning love birds.”
We greeted him. Scott took the coffee pot and poured coffee in the thermos he had brought in with him, “Damn, I finished my coffee already just from home to here. I’m sure Jenny doesn’t mind if I refill here.”
He laughed and sat at the table with us, “How are you guys?”
I smiled, “All right.”
He grinned, glancing at Shane, “Well, I’m glad you’re up, I figured you’d be busy the whole night and then you wouldn’t get up for work.”
Shane looked at him somewhat tensely, “I’m up.”
Scott smiled, “Okay, okay bro, not a morning person I guess.”
He smiled at me and also asked me about my leaving and I told Scott the same thing I had told Jordan.
Scott hugged me Good Bye, I told him to give Becky my regards and best wishes with the pregnancy.
He then walked outside, “I’ll be waiting outside man.”
Shane didn’t say much anymore at all and finally we stood at the door.I wrapped my arms around him, “Well...”
Shane looked at me, “This is it then?”
“I’ll call you when I am at home, okay?”
He nodded and I pushed myself to him. He couldn’t wrap his arms around me as he was holding on to his crutches.
I kissed him and he only weakly replied the kiss. I knew it was difficult for him and it was for me too. I didn’t want to show it though. As I pushed my body to him I felt his braces on my bare legs and it sent a shiver up my spine. It was the very thing that had made me check him out back at Charity a few weeks earlier. I couldn’t believe I actually stood there with this guy who I found so very hot in his leg braces and who was now my boyfriend but here we were and had to part ways again.
Even though he had his backpack on his shoulders I pushed Shane against the wall so he could use it as support. He let go off the crutch handles and with the crutches still dangling on his arms he wrapped his arms around me and we kissed for a few minutes. My heart was beating fast and when we let go my eyes were blurry.
He slipped his hands back onto the handles, “I’ve to go Anna.”
He said lowly, “I’m going to miss you. I love you.”
“I love you so much too.”
He smiled, “Just don’t forget about me back here.”
I pounded my hand on his chest softly, “Why would I forget about you?”
“I don’t know, you got your life down there.”
“But that life does not include one hot guy in leg braces and on crutches. Didn’t we clear that up last night?”
He laughed lowly, “Yes, we did and you better not forget who your brace daddy is!”
We both laughed, I stepped back and let him make his way to the door. At the door he made it over the threshold and we kissed once more and I told him again, “I love you Shane.”
He turned around to me once again, “I love you.”
Then he carefully made it down the steps and he said, “You better remember this moment because you won’t see this for a while.”
I laughed with tears in my eyes and he turned around on the bottom once more, “Bye Anna.”
I watched him make it to the car and once Shane was in the passenger seat Scott started the ignition and they were off.
Later on that morning I was out in the kitchen with Jenny after the kids had left for summer camp again and we had a cup of coffee together, talking.
I told her how my Good Bye with Shane had been in the morning and she smiled, “Well, I hope it won’t be too difficult for you both. I feel you two have a very strong bond and that’s why you guys can do this. We’ll keep him in line back here. I’ll call you if he acts up.”I smiled, “Thanks Jenny. I really appreciate everything you do for him.”
Jenny started lowly, “You know Jordan feels very bad that he wasn’t there more for Shane when he was in the hospital. He really wanted to do more for him but….”
She sighed and continued, “We had issues back here too while he was in the hospital.”
She stopped and stared into her coffee mug.
Her eyes were shiny when she looked at me again, “You know I was pregnant with twins, two girls.”
I stared at her expectantly and she said, “I lost them in the fifth month, and I wasn’t doing well at all.”
I touched my hand to her hand, “I’m sorry Jenny.”
She nodded, “Yeah, all that was going on while Shane was in the hospital and Jordan couldn’t do much for Shane because he had to take care of me and the kids back here and do his job and all. Becky helped out a lot too but it was a tough time for Jordan too.”
“Does Shane know?”
She looked up at me, “Yes, he does…didn’t he tell you?”
“No, he didn’t. I’m so sorry.”
Jenny lowered her eyes, “It’s okay again. I’m better again, it was just very tough for Jordan to deal with it all. He had me back here, an emotional wreck and then Shane in New Orleans trying to make it through every day. I actually called the hospital for Shane every other day checking on him and it was keeping my mind off the girls some. I felt like I had a task.”
“I’m so sorry Jenny. I’m glad that you’re okay again, is there anything I can do for you?”
Jenny smiled, “It’s all good now. The girls were not well and I believe it just wasn’t meant to be. God has a reason for everything.”
Jenny ended up telling me about the rough pregnancy where she had to lay mostly, the girls were not developing right and had issues in the womb already. I just sat there listening to her and I was glad she had opened up to me about this.
We hung out for another hour or so until I decided I needed to get going before the afternoon traffic hit on I-10 into and out of the city.
While Jenny finished her kitchen I went back to our bedroom and got all my things together. I had my bag packed and pulled out a business card of myself from the club.
On the back I wrote, “This card entitles you to private dances at any time, because you’re my number one customer always, I love and miss you! Anna.”
On the front of the card was a sexy picture of me and all the info for the club. From my photo I drew a little thought bubble and wrote “Shane” and drew a tiny heart in it and I had to smile about myself. I slid the card under the blanket on Shane’s pillow, he would find it when he would go to bed.
It was almost 10 o’clock when I stood at the door ready to go. Jenny stood there with me and smiled ‘Well, Anna, I have to visit you sometime down there or maybe with Jordan and we bring Shane of course.”“I would love that. You can stay at my place, I have a pull out couch. I’d really love to see you guys down there sometime.”
“When do you think you will make it up this way again?”
“I hope next week sometime but I just don’t know yet. I hope Shane will be okay.”
“We’ll take care of him.”
“Thanks Jenny for everything.”
Jenny walked me out to my car and I handed her one of my business cards as well.
She smiled at me, “Wow, look at you. Very hot. Must be nice to have that kind of job?”
“It has its good and bad moments like every other job, but mostly it’s kind of fun.”
We hugged again and said our Good Bye, then I got into my car, let the window down and waving at Jenny I pulled out of the driveway.
I made my way out of Morgan City and soon was back on Highway 90 making my way to the Interstate.
My car radio was turned up and I was heading towards New Orleans. Even though it felt strange to having left Shane behind, it made me feel almost a little relieved. I would go back to New Orleans, go back to work again, catch up with some of my friends, visit my foster parents, and I would have time to finally let go of my brother. For some reason life had been put on hold for the last couple of weeks and then meeting Shane had added on to all the things I had already dealt with in my mind. I loved him and I knew I would miss him, but I needed the separation to figure out where I was with my feelings for him and where they would lead to.
Traffic was flowing on the Interstate and soon I made it to Metairie and eventually parked in front of my apartment building. This time I just walked up the stairs without having to worry about Shane making it up. It felt strange in a way and I realized how much I missed him already.
In my apartment I dropped my bag in my bedroom and in my living room my eyes wandered right to the urn on the shelf and I let myself down on the couch and stared at it for a moment. I was overcome by a sadness all the sudden and I couldn’t stop a few tears from flowing.
I took a deep breath and decided I needed to call Shane to let him know I made it. I dialed his work number and soon it started ringing on the other end.“Webber construction, this is Cody, how can I help you?”
“Hi my name is Anna. May I talk to Shane Lenalier?”
“Shane is actually not in the office right now. Can I give him a message or can he call you back?”
“You can just give him a message. I’m his girlfriend so if you could just tell him that I made it back home.”
“Okay, no problem.”
“Thanks so much.”
I called Jenny to let her know I made it home and afterwards I called Nadine and we talked for a little while. After a short nap I made my way to the store to get a few items.
Around six that night my home phone rang, “Hello!”
“Hey baby, how are you? I called you today when I got home but you were not in the office. Cody said he would give you a message.”
“He did, I’m sorry I missed your call. I’m glad you made it home all right.”
“How was your second day?”
“It was better than yesterday but I’m tired. I’ll probably go to bed early again.”
“I’m going to meet up with some of my friends for a drink later.”
Shane sounded tense, “Aren’t you tired?”
I had a feeling he didn’t like to hear about my plans but I answered, “I’m good still. I won’t stay out too late.”
“Do you want me to call you tomorrow night?”
“Of course, or I’ll call you. Shane, are you all right?”
It took him a moment to answer, “Yeah, just tired…I should let you go so you can get ready to meet your friends.”
“Okay…” I thought of how to make him feel better, “I love you Shane.”
“I love you too. We’ll just talk tomorrow then.”
“Yeah, for sure. I love you Shane.”
“I love you Anna, good night.”
He hung up and my heart felt so heavy right then. He sounded sad, he sounded tense and I felt I shouldn’t have told him about my going out later on. Then again I didn’t want to keep stuff from him just because it was a little difficult. Shane needed to be able to handle this. I had a feeling it just wouldn’t be easy at all for us. This was probably a lot harder on him than it was on me. I loved him so much but we needed to make it through this.
I had a good evening with my friends. I told them about Shane and everyone was happy for me. I didn’t mention his disability but I did tell them that he was working in Morgan City and we were trying to make it work like this. The evening was fun and it took my mind off Jay and Shane some. I felt good hanging out with everyone and the only person missing was my brother and even though I thought of him, I wasn’t really sad. I remembered him as a part of the group and how everyone had always loved him. I danced with my friends, we had a few drinks and at the end of the evening I gave one of my friends a ride home because he lived on the way out to Metairie.
On Wednesday around noon I left to visit the Hamilton’s in Ponchatoula. It was a beautiful, clear day for a drive over Lake Pontchartrain. I remembered how often I had made the drive with Jay in the car and I was looking forward to visit my other home for a few hours. Al and Cindy had been great foster parents to Jay and me. We were sent to live with them when Jay was 12 years old and I was 7 years old. I knew they had been through some rough times with us but they had never given up on us and they had showed us nothing but love, they really were like our parents.
I had a great afternoon at their house, we had coffee, went to Wal-Mart and I stayed for dinner too. I had brought some items from Jay that I knew they would like to have. We talked about the burial plans for Jay and decided on a date. Cindy would take care of it with her church and her priest. It wouldn’t be huge but merely a family affair with a small ceremony.
As I was driving home that night around eight, my cell phone played its ringtone as I was driving over the bridge again.I picked up the phone from the seat and answered, “Hello?”
“Anna, it’s Shane.”
I was glad to hear his voice, “Hey baby.”
“I tried your home phone first.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m actually on my way home right now from Ponchatoula. I’m on the bridge right now. How was your day?”
“It was all right, long and busy, still learning the ropes.”
“Is Cody training you?”
“Yeah, he’s all right. I may go work out with him at the gym a few times a week after work.”
“That sounds like a great idea. Your physical therapist recommended that for you as well, didn’t he?”
“Yeah, for my back and stuff. I don’t know how it’ll be but I guess I’ll just have to try it out. The worst would be that I’m making a total idiot of myself.”
I tried to sound encouraging, “You won’t Shane. I think it’d be very good and I’m sure Cody would be a good companion since he’s…since he’s in a wheelchair.”
“Yeah, he’s a cool dude. So how was your night out yesterday?”
“I had a good time seeing my friends but I missed you.”
“Did you really?”
“Yes, I did Shane.”
Shane sounded sad, “I think about you all day baby. I miss you like hell already and it has only been two fucking days. I found the card you left on my pillow last night.”“Did you like it?”
“Hell yeah I did…I couldn’t sleep thinking about the private dances…”
I laughed a little and Shane asked, “When will I really see you again, Anna?”
“I don’t know yet Shane…maybe on Monday or Tuesday I will come down.”
I heard Shane sigh, “Yeah, I can’t wait.”
I wanted to change the subject, “How’s everyone at your brother’s house?”
I talked with Shane for a little while longer. I told him that I had to start working the next day and I would try to call him sometime in the evening if I wasn’t too busy. Shane didn’t say much about my work but I knew he didn’t really like to think about it.
When I got home I called Nadine and confirmed that I would be at work the next day. She was busy and we didn’t talk too long. I eventually got comfortable in my living room with a glass of wine and watched some TV. I missed Shane but I was hoping he was okay.