Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lobster, With A Straw - Table Of Content


 
Lauren and Patrick. Art by Rowan

 
       Chapter 1
       Chapter 2
       Chapter 3
       Chapter 4
       Chapter 5
       Chapter 6
       Chapter 7
       Chapter 8 
       Chapter 9

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 1


Some people have the gift to make an entire hall fall silent.
 
I’m proud to say I can do the same. Only I‘m none of those people you’re probably thinking of.

Of course it would be kind of great if it were my stunning looks that make people stop talking mid-sentence or the beauty of my smile causing them to stare wide-eyed. Sure, I try to keep my appearance as immaculate as is possible. Which isn’t easy in fact if you don’t clothe yourself in the morning, shave your own face or brush your own hair. And yes, I’ve heard a few times that I have a sunny smile (mostly from women over fifty, though). But no, I don’t think any of that applies here. I’m pretty certain that those rows and rows of mostly middle-aged, gray-faced men in dark, pin-striped suits aren’t turned toward me now in almost perfect silence because of my style in clothing. Neither is it my voice, because I haven’t spoken yet and I don’t really plan to.

Monday, October 30, 2017

New Devo Diary

The flashback is over, now it's back to your regularly scheduled Devo Diary. When we left off, Skip had just asked me for an open relationship but after my history with K, I really don't want that. Also, some more discussions with friends about dating as a devotee.

Devo Diary Chapter 30: Skippy Boy Genius part 4

Table of Contents

Thanks again to everyone who leaves a comment! I really appreciate it!

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 2


Lauren and I are alone now and I got to admit I grow a bit nervous, busying myself with the talker. I type with the knuckles of my right hand, by leaning my fist to the side from the position of the joystick. I can only reach half of the screen that way and need to scroll through some of the alphabet to type anything. The word prediction algorithm is a blessing.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 3


I know that while most people might be fooled, Romina isn’t so easily deceived. I don’t know if she suspects that there’s something going on between Lauren and me but I’d bet my right arm she will soon. 

And my right arm is my good one, in case that may not have been obvious to you.

Update to The Girl I Didn't Kill For

So here I am, back with another chapter of Nick and Jessie.  I guess I'm still posting, thanks to your encouragement!  So that's the good news.  The bad news is I don't think I'm going to get the book out early, but I'll keep posting till then.  I got distracted by the sudden urge to write a Christmas-themed novella.  So, uh, that's happening.  Anyway, in the last chapter Jessie is quitting her singing job, so to get her to stay, Nick has to make her an offer she can't refuse...

Chapter 12 

Table of Contents

And once again, thank you for all the comments last time, and thank you in advance for the ones this time.  It definitely inspires me to know people are reading and what you guys like, since writing is on ongoing process.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 1


Chapter 1

Mark sat at the edge of the small dance floor, watching his friends having fun out there. The alcohol had been making its rounds all night and it showed now in the way everyone was acting a fool.
He had kept himself in check not overdoing it with the booze. His body wouldn’t take it very well. It was his 30th birthday and everyone had felt he needed to come out and party. They had basically forced him to celebrate his birthday despite his protest.

In a way they were right but it had taken a lot of convincing for him to come out to the bar. The last time he had actually celebrated his birthday had been for his 25th birthday.  At that party he had had no idea that within the next five years his life would get turned completely upside down and he would soon be celebrating all his birthdays in the sitting position, watching life happen around him from the seat of a wheelchair.

It was shortly after his 27th birthday when he was riding in a Humvee in the convoy taking him and the Infantry unit he was assigned to, to their camp in the desert about two hours away. At least ten vehicles ahead of him unknowingly dodged the IED and with everyone ahead apparently making it safely along the dirt road, Sergeant Phillips, the driver of their Humvee seemed confident enough to roll along with the rest of the unit, edging through the dust and heat of the Afghan desert.


Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 4


Berating myself for wallowing in self-pity, I dedicate myself to the task of making Lauren laugh a few more times before I have to leave, just because she looks beautiful when she does. She throws her head back, squeezes her eyes shut while her shoulders jump and her uninhibited laughter is loud enough that people turn their heads around to us.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 2


Chapter 2

At his apartment complex Mark paid the taxi fare.
The driver opened the door for him, “Can I help you with that?”
“I got it, thanks though.”
Mark pulled his wheelchair over and set it up right outside the car. He then quickly transferred into it under the curious eyes of the taxi driver.
Mark nodded at the driver and thanked him once again. The driver wished him a Good night and got back into his taxi and drove off.

It was a cool night and he sat there in his wheelchair in the parking lot right outside his ground floor apartment. He glanced over to the carports and saw his Dodge Challenger parked there. Since living in the apartment, the car alarm had not gone off once even though the neighborhood Mark lived in wasn’t exactly the greatest and he had pondered moving to a safer neighborhood soon. So far, he had not had the energy though. Changing his current living situation would take some effort and time in dealing with greedy landlords, inaccessible apartments, or way high rents for the places that were out there.

He looked around the parking lot for any suspicious activity and since everything seemed quiet he wheeled over to the sidewalk where the curb was slanted and he could easily push up onto to the sidewalk and to his front door.

The one-bedroom apartment had been remodeled to be accessible for at least two wheelchairs to get around in comfortably. The door frames were wide enough for Mark to get through, there were no stairs or high thresholds, the bathroom had an accessible shower with no door, the toilet had a sturdy frame around it, the bathroom counter with the sink was low enough to use from the sitting position and basically push a wheelchair right up to it and under some. The same was true for the kitchen counters which were low enough for Mark to reach easily. There was no carpet in any of the rooms. A few years earlier several apartments in the complex had been renovated for accessibility.

The VA had helped Mark find the apartment after he had been released from rehab at the VA hospital in Seattle. The apartment building owner was in contract with the VA and housed mostly disabled Veterans from wars past and more recently. In addition, there was some temporary housing for homeless persons to reintegrate back into society. Mark had been living there for almost two years. He knew his neighbors and even though everyone carried their burdens the small community they had was tightly knit.

As he pulled the key to his apartment out of his jeans pocket he heard the all familiar sound of a plane over him coming in for the landing at SeaTac airport. He didn’t live far from the airport and even though in the first couple of months living in the apartment the sound of the planes over him had constantly caused him stress and anxiety, he had now become used to the traffic in the sky, a not so great side effect of living in government subsidized housing. The only time he sometimes felt tense at the sounds now was when he woke up during the night from an occasional especially loud engine depending on which direction the wind was blowing.

Mark pushed his rims and wheeled over the very low threshold into his apartment.

Ranger, his black cat, welcomed him right by the door with a stretch and a yawn, followed by a meow.
“Hey bud, how are you?”
Ranger meowed again seemingly answering his owner and Mark closed the door behind himself, put in the chain on the door and locked it from the inside, leaving the key in the door.
He wheeled into his apartment and Ranger followed him. When Mark looked at the lit-up clock on his stove he saw it was almost one in the morning.

He was thirty now and he felt a slight buzz of the beer in his system. Nowadays alcohol didn’t mix too well with the medications he was on and it didn’t take much for him to feel it if he drank after he had been taking his medications in the evening.

He wheeled over to the cat’s food bowl and saw it was completely empty.
“Damn Ranger, did I forget to feed you before I left tonight?”
Ranger heard his name and meowed his answer.
Mark filled the small bowl with some dry cat food kibbles and set it down in its spot by the kitchen again. Ranger started devouring right away.

Mark still thought about the interaction with Chiara and still couldn’t believe that his friends had actually thought it a good idea to get a prostitute for him.

In a way it wasn’t a surprise though. They all had been pushing him to date again and had taken every opportunity to get him to go out with them. He had gone on a few dates but nothing had come from any of it. In his opinion the wheelchair was an impediment for most women and if someone knew just a little bit about the issues that came with being paraplegic, any decent woman would probably run for the hills at meeting him. Mark didn’t blame the women really. On top of the paraplegia causing many physical limitations the psychological wounds of war were a whole other issue he dealt with.

He had been trying his best to be a productive member of society again but on some days, it was harder than on others. The memories and the flashbacks couldn’t be completely erased by medications and were only kept in check and in the back of his mind. Triggers happened all the time and he would fall into days of depression or anxiety, fear or anger. He had been trying hard, had been going to his monthly counseling sessions at the VA and had been a regular at the gym to channel his anxiety into working out and keeping his mind off the trauma.

He was doing all right but it was strenuous to be okay and exhausting to stay strong sometimes. His friends had been there for him all the way though and if they didn’t hear from him in a few days, someone would either show up at his door or at least call or bombard him with messages on his cellphone.

Ranger was chewing away noisily as Mark wheeled into his spacious bedroom. He took off his T-Shirt and draped it over a chair. He then pulled his right leg up with his hands, setting his foot over his left knee so he could untie his sneakers and take them off. He also took his sock off at the same time. His feet were limp and even though he saw himself take his sneakers off he didn’t feel any of it. Now his naked foot just hung flaccid on his knee as he gently set it back down on the single foot rest of his TiLite. He repeated the same process with his other foot, then just in his jeans he wheeled into the bathroom and up to the sink. The counter didn’t have a cabinet under the sink, another welcome feature of the wheelchair accessible apartment.

Mark turned on the faucet and while waiting for the water to run warm he looked at himself in the mirror. He looked tired but his blue eyes still dominated his face. In the past his eyes had usually worked well with the ladies. His dark blonde hair was cut nicely and trendy and he usually kept a three-day shadow of a beard. Several tattoos he had acquired throughout his active duty military years covered his pectorals, down the right side of his chest and also over to both his shoulders and biceps. One tattoo depicted the names of the two fellow soldiers who had died the night he got injured, Private Lopez and Sergeant Kemplin. Their names with dates of birth and death inside the unit crest were now forever etched into the skin on the inside of his right forearm

Since he had been going to the gym at least three times a week, sometimes four he had built a good set of upper body muscles, defining his pectorals, and the muscle groups in his arms and shoulders. Only in his stomach there was not much he could do anymore to avoid a slightly distended belly. His stomach muscles didn’t respond anymore to any signals from his brain. The weights he lifted and the exercises he did at the gym were only effective for his upper body starting at his T-4 vertebrae upwards. Anything below his T-4 was dead and didn’t communicate with his brain anymore. Working out his upper body and arms though helped him with his transfers and getting around in the wheelchair.

Mark had not missed the atrophy of the muscles in his once strong legs and as they had become thinner his jeans had become looser. He didn’t like looking at his legs and there had been many times he had wished he would have just lost them instead of having to drag around two lifeless pieces of flesh, no use to him anymore and just making his body look unproportioned with his fairly built upper body and dead lower body and legs. No surprise that in his mind women weren’t into a man that was really not whole anymore, just a half of his former self. 

As the water ran warm now, Mark washed his hands, brushed his teeth and then wheeled up to the toilet. The toilet had been his enemy from the beginning of his injury. On top of everything else he had to get used to, the part about losing the sensation to his genitals and voiding organs had been tough. It took him a long time to accept the fate of not being able to urinate or defecate anymore the usual way.

In rehab he had been a difficult patient to teach catherization to and learning other means to defecate instead of the common way. It had been difficult for him to accept this part of his paraplegia and not seldom during rehab he had refused to use catheters to pee and had then peed himself just to realize that catherization was the only way for him to pee now if he didn’t want to wear adult diapers all the time. He had learned the hard way that he just couldn’t control the reflexes of his spastic bladder anymore. As much as he hated it all, he had established somewhat of a routine but at least at night in bed he was wearing the incontinence briefs to not wet his bed unknowingly.

To minimize the chance of peeing while sleeping every night right before going to bed Mark used a disposable catheter to empty his bladder and he did this at least four to five times throughout the day. The catheters were a necessity now in his bathroom, in his back pack, and even in his car. He had them everywhere so he would not ever be without this very important item.

He wheeled up to the toilet with the frame around it and unzipped and unbuttoned his jeans exposing his boxers. The catheter packages were stacked right next to the toilet in a container. He used self-lubricating catheters and with somewhat shaky fingers he prepared the tubing inside the package, opened it and inserted the tubing into the opening on his penis and pushed it up through his urethra into his bladder holding the other end into the toilet. Soon the urine was flowing in a steady stream into the toilet and he just sat there and watched.

He was lost in thoughts about his birthday again and even though he was only thirty, the paraplegia sometimes made him feel much older. His body was in a constant battle with his brain and on some days, it wasn’t easy. Those were the days when he dealt with spasticity all day long, days when he was out and about and couldn’t find an accessible bathroom nearby, the days when he was frustrated about the inaccessibility of buildings he needed to enter, or the days when ignorant people reminded him of his fate.

Then there were the days when people actually thanked him for his service to his country and showed respect and kindness or the days when he felt good and fit and could forget about the wheelchair for a little while.

The evening had been okay until Chiara showed up. He hadn’t been sure how to talk to her and how she could be interested in him. He also had been reminded by her that things didn’t work for him anymore as they did for healthy guys and above all she had made him feel inferior because his friends thought that at least a hooker could make him happy when regular women had not shown interest in him anymore. It hadn’t been her fault, she was hired by them to make his birthday unforgettable. She had only tried to do her job and he had turned her down.

While the last drops of urine dripped into the toilet bowl he also remembered the guy who had waited for Chiara and how he had slapped her so hard several times. Mark felt anger inside.

He shook the tubing and then gently pulled the catheter out of his penis, dabbing the end with toilet paper and disposing of it.  He was done with his urination for the night.
Ranger came into the bathroom and Mark washed his hands once more, then wheeled back into his bedroom with Ranger trailing behind him.

He skillfully transferred onto his bed, pulled his body up and then leaning on the headboard he wriggled his jeans and boxers over his butt with his legs falling from side to side. He had to keep adjusting his legs and his feet to get the jeans all the way off. In his jeans pocket he found the $ 250 from Chiara and looking at it for a moment he then dropped the money on his bedside table.

Taking a deep breath, he then pulled out an incontinence brief from his bedside table and slipped into the soft thick padded brief. He couldn’t feel the brief as it hugged his privates and if someone would have ever told him when he was still walking that one day he would be wearing diapers to bed before he was even thirty he would have thought they were crazy. Now it was normal for him and it’s not that he liked it but he had no choice. Since he was by himself he didn’t bother with any pajamas or sleep shorts but merely pushed his body down into the bed and covered himself up. Ranger had jumped up onto the bed and curled up next to his feet.

He pulled his cell phone over and when he looked at it he saw a message from Patrick:

Hey man, where the hell did you go? Are you with the girl? You just disappeared on us.

He saw another message from his friend Corey:

Dude, where the fuck are you? Are you getting laid right now?

Mark realized that he had left without his friends even knowing and quickly sent a group text to all of them.

Guys, sorry I just left. I’m at home now. Everything is all right. Thanks for taking me out tonight.

He sent the message off and it didn’t take long and Patrick replied:

Did you have fun with the girl you left with?

He debated telling them a lie or the truth and opted for the latter:

I didn’t go with her and she’s not with me. Thanks for the present I guess but I didn’t take her up on what she offered. I know you guys meant well but I just couldn’t do it. Sorry guys.

Now it took a few moments and no reply came but instead his phone rang and he saw it was Patrick.
Mark answered, “What’s up!”
Patrick was on the other end, “Bro, what happened? We thought you were with her.”
Mark explained to him how things had gone with Chiara and ended with, “I just couldn’t do it.”
“Well, that just sucks. We thought it was a good idea and would be fun for you.”

Mark knew he should have told them a lie because he could hear Patrick was disappointed.
He tried to think of his reply.
“Listen Pat, you guys meant well but I just couldn’t do it, okay. I can’t feel my junk down there, it’s fucked up, man. The chick wanted to give me a blowjob but I don’t feel a blowjob or any other job down there. I can’t fuck a chick anymore like I used to. And it doesn’t matter what she will do, I won’t feel any of it so the money was a waste. I saw her get slapped by her pimp. It pissed me off. It wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t you guy’s fault but I’m done with shit like that. I’m fucking paralyzed from my chest down and I can’t feel shit anymore. I probably can’t even get a chick pregnant anymore, so I’m pretty much done. Thanks for whatever it was but it kinda didn’t work.”

It took Patrick a few seconds to reply and his voice was filled with guilt when he said, “Well then, I guess we seriously fucked up with this. Sorry man. I feel like shit now and I’m sure the guys will too. We should have known better bro. I mean we know you can’t walk anymore and all but you never said anything about…about that other stuff. I’m really sorry.”
“It’s all right. It’s over. Moving on. No more hookers please.”
Mark tried to sound cheerful but it didn’t work all the way.
“Mark, I’m really so sorry. We fucked up big time.”
“It’s okay. Let’s forget about it. She was hot all right and had a nice smile. I just hope she didn’t get in more trouble with her fucking pimp.”
“Did you really see her get slapped?”
“Yes, it pissed me off. It wasn’t her fault that I turned her down. She gave me the money back. I feel bad about it.”
“She gave you the money back? Wow! Well, nothing you can do about it man.”
“Where did you guys get her from anyways?”

Mark heard as Patrick asked the other friends and then came back on, “Corey said they got her from the streets.”
“The streets, like where?”
Patrick asked his friends again and came back on again, “He doesn’t remember.”
“Hhm, well…I’m going to sleep now. I’m beat. Thanks for taking me out tonight though.”
“Okay man, sorry again. We’ll talk to you later then. Good night.”
They finished up and Mark let his phone drop onto the bed next to him and laid his head back.

He still thought about the night and how it had ended with Chiara and he couldn’t get her out of his head. She had been pretty and really didn’t look like a hooker. For a few moments in the bar he had wondered how an attractive and sexy woman like her could have been interested in him. He thought about how he should have known it was too good to be true.  He fell asleep and that night he didn’t wake up drenched in sweat and screaming from the nightmares he constantly dealt with. Instead he woke up from dreaming of Chiara and for a moment he was angry he had woken up because it had been a good dream where she wasn’t a hooker. 

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 5



Romina returns after the time it would take to blend every single dessert in the entire dinner hall. She places the glass on the table and comes around to me, businesslike, hooks her arms under my shoulders to pull me upright, tightens the strap over my chest and puts my right hand next to the joystick again, like she does countless times a day. Her face is carefully guarded while she works with me, then, without a word, she sits on Lauren’s abandoned place, looks from me to Lauren and finally moves the glass with the dessert over to me with a questioning quirk of her eyebrows.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 3


Chapter 3

It was Sunday and Mark had slept in. Ranger was next to him in bed and was purring noisily while pushing his paws into the pillow next to Mark’s head.

Mark looked at him sleepy, mumbling, “Hey buddy, are you waking me up?”
With his yellow eyes Ranger looked right at him and purred even louder.

The cat had been with Mark over a year. He had found it at an adoption event outside a Target store. Ranger wasn’t a kitten anymore, he was 5 years old already when he was up for adoption because his previous owner had passed away.  Now he was almost 6 years old and was Mark’s companion. The cat had been nothing but good for him, always there, calm and peaceful, never annoying. Ranger had been a source of content for Mark and he enjoyed having the cat around.  On many nights when Mark was plagued by nightmares Ranger would come up and push his paws into Mark’s chest waking him up and pushing his nose onto his face. It’s like the cat could sense his owner’s distress and never strayed far away from Mark. It had helped to have the cat there and Mark didn’t want to miss it.


Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 6



I briefly debate imitating the jackasses from dinner and letting the rest of the conference slide to have more time to spend with Lauren the next day. However, I have a few important meetings to attend in the morning and discussion rounds I can’t miss, and Lauren has appointments too, she explained. So we simply exchanged numbers and decided on a time when she’ll pick me up at the hotel.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 7



“That’d be 11.50 for you, sir,” the lady behind the counter says in a voice that is flat with boredom. She doesn’t look at me, though, instead she talks to Lauren who is standing right next to me.

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 4


Chapter 4

Highway 99 turned into International Boulevard and connected Seattle and SeaTac. It was close to where Mark lived in Burien. He made his way out of the city as he remembered the girls telling him that there were roads off International Boulevard where he could possibly find women but he had no idea which roads they were referring to. He didn’t really know where to even start looking.  

He pulled over onto the side of the road and pulled his phone out. He texted his friend Mitch again:

Hey man, do you know where hookers are off International Boulevard? You mentioned you found the one for my birthday off Highway 99.

He just sat there and waited for a little while looking at his social media.
It didn’t take long for Mitch to reply:

Dude, what’s going on with you and the hooker? Why are you still worried about that?

Running his fingers over the phone, Mark replied quickly:

I’m still trying to find her. Do you know if there are hookers off International Boulevard or not?

Instead of still giving Mark a hard time Mitch actually replied with a few street names both off Highway 99 and International Boulevard and suggested that Mark try those. Mark thanked him and started his car again heading to the first destination Mitch had mentioned.

It was another industrial area, no regular homes but only business buildings, either closed for the night or maybe some nightshifts going on with the lights on. Mark slowly drove into one of the roads but instead of prostitutes he only found homeless people living in their tents and sitting around a make shift heat source.

He felt tense driving through the dark streets with his nice car. He had his gun in his glove box and debated getting it out so he would actually have it right there in case he needed it. The homeless looked up from warming their hands around the fire pit but didn’t seem too interested in Mark driving through.  

Mark kept glancing out his windows, making sure no one was approaching his car and looking for any signs of prostitution but he didn’t see any hookers or women that could be hookers. Instead the women he saw there were homeless, unhealthy looking, and most likely drug users.  

He felt frustrated as there seemingly was no prostitution around this area and he edged his way out of the block and headed for another street Mitch had mentioned.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 5


Chapter 5

Mark slept until Ranger jumped up onto his chest and pushed his paws onto his skin, waking him up from a deep sleep. Finally, in the morning after his spasms had let off with the Baclofen and his sleeping pill had kicked in again, Mark had fallen asleep again.

“Hey you little devil.”
He held Rangers paws away from his skin some because Ranger was using his claws to cause havoc on Mark’s chest.
He still liked seeing Ranger’s cat face in front of him though and just like Ranger knew it he pushed his nose against Mark’s nose for a morning greeting.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

Ranger was hungry and Mark blinked into the room and let his hand run over the cat who was busily pushing his paws into his chest.

Ranger jumped off as Mark pushed himself up on the couch. The couch was soft and Mark had to find his balance on sitting up and leaning onto the back rest. Ranger had ran to the kitchen and was meowing. It was raining outside again. Autumn was now around the corner and indicating the beginning of the dark months ahead, something Mark didn’t deal with very well nowadays.

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 8



When we exit the museum we still have another hour to go until the taxi will pick us up, and Lauren and I decide to have coffee in the museum’s cafeteria. It’s a glass building tacked into the side of the concrete museum building with a narrow door that I navigate with gritted teeth. The sleek metallic counter is very high and there’s a queue of people in front of us, so I can’t possibly read what is written on the chalkboards behind the counter. Lauren bows down to me and reads the menu to me. I appreciate the effort but unless I ask her to negotiate with the chef about getting me a blended cake or something I won’t really eat anything here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 6


Chapter 6

As always Ranger was at the door greeting his human with meowing and Chiara walked into the apartment behind Mark. Her eyes lingered on his back and his arms and hands on the push rims of the wheelchair. She saw the TiLite logo on the back rest.

She closed the door and Mark spun his chair around, “Can you put the chain in and here, stick the key in too.”

She took the key from his hand, stuck it in the door lock, and slid the chain in its holder. She was certain that little chain and a key in the door would never stop Trey if he wanted to come for her.

Ranger meowed and crept around Mark’s legs and wheelchair, then jumped up on his lap. Mark petted Ranger and greeted him and Chiara just stood there and watched him shyly.

As Mark had switched the light on in his apartment, Chiara could see him so much better. When she had met him inside the bar it had not been very bright and even when she had been outside with him the lights had only been dim. The time he had come out to the streets to find her he had been in his car and she had not been able to see him all the way then.

Now she saw him clearly sitting there in his wheelchair in the light of the room. She remembered how he had worn jeans the night at the bar and how her hands had been on his legs. And she remembered thinking about his paralyzed legs under the baggy jeans and how her hands had vibrated at touching him. He wore jeans again and his hoodie with the hood pulled over his head. He just then slid the hood off his head and she now saw his dark blonde hair slightly ruffled from wearing the hoodie.


New Devo Diary

Here is the second part to the flashback about my relationship with K. Big thanks to everyone who commented about the hot blind guy action! I tried to make it extra devvy for you. This is the second year of our relationship, when things went from complicated to crazy.

Chapter 29, part 2

If you want a reminder of the post script to K, I coincidentally ran into a mutual friend a few years later and got an update on him that made me rethink my feelings about him a little. It's in chapter 14 in the middle.

Lobster, With A Straw - Chapter 9



“Is Romina waiting inside?”
 
I nod.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Update to The Girl I Didn't Kill For

Thank you soooooo much for all your comments and support on the last chapter.  Obviously, it's really influencing me because I mean to stop posting two chapters ago, yet here I am with:

Chapter 11 

Table of Contents

Would love to hear from you guys again!  Tell me any lines you particularly liked or just pop in to say hi!

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 7


Chapter 7

It was around five in the morning when Mark fell asleep again and he didn’t wake up until Ranger finally jumped up onto his bed and started biting his nose. Mark opened his eyes sleepily and when he remembered the night before he quickly looked at his phone and saw the time was after nine. He moved his hands to his crotch and felt the saturated briefs. Ranger meowed and bit his nose again trying to relay to his owner how hungry he was.

“Yeah, yeah, good morning man.”

Mark yawned and listened for a moment for any noises.
He pushed himself up in the bed and glanced to his door, it was still shut enough where Chiara couldn’t see him get out of his bed.

He leaned over some, pulled his TiLite all the way to the bed, and transferred into it, yawning again in the process. He made it to his bathroom and closed and locked the door behind himself. He had to get out of the briefs, they were wet like after most nights. His bladder retracted with spasms sometimes and with that there was always a chance for urine to leak.  He managed to pull the briefs off his privates and he balled them up and threw them in the closed trash can in his bathroom. He then used a wet wipe to somewhat wipe himself off before he sleepily pulled out a new catheter and emptied his bladder all the way. He was going to get in the shower after he fed Ranger.

He washed his hands and ran his wet fingers through his ruffled hair, then splashed some cold water in his face to wake up somewhat.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Consolation Prize—Chapter 20


Nora took off to her family’s house the next day. Her parents had moved out to Costa Mesa in California, so she booked her ticket, took the bags she packed the night she found the key, and boarded a plane—just like that. She had taken a leave of absence from work and hadn’t booked a return trip. Her life was falling apart, and she was running. It was something Scottie was eerily familiar with.

The initial earthquake might have been over, but Scottie had a feeling that the aftershocks had just begun. Cory’s secret would come out—Scottie was hellbent on that—and Nora was walking a tightrope over a breakdown—it was only a matter of time before she got tired of keeping her balance.

Hugging her tightly, Scottie inhaled the herbal scent of her hair. She’d washed it before confronting Cory the night before—the first time in seven days—and it was tied up in a messy knot on the top of her head. Despite her misery and dark circles, she still had the look of a beautiful person, the scaffolding of attractiveness firmly in place. No amount of emotional trauma could wipe that away.  

But seeing the pain in her glassy eyes, when Scottie slammed the cab door and watched the yellow car disappear down the street, was like swallowing nails. Her guilt was at an all-time high and it was threatening to lite her up from the inside out. The farther away Nora was right now, the better. She’d have to tell her eventually. Will as well. But right now wasn’t the time. She needed answers first. Pulling her long sweater around her against the chill, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a cigarette, lighting it and inhaling like someone who’d been starved. It was her first sober cigarette since college. Taking another drag she closed her eyes and hardened her resolve. She knew what she had to do.

<> 


SCOTTIE: Are you home?

She sent the text without looking at the screen, pressing the gas of Will’s car flat against the floor and accelerating like fire through the light at the Holland tunnel. Will had removed the hand controls for her when she’d called him at work and asked, trying to keep the desperation in her voice at bay, to borrow it. They were currently jostling around in the back seat.

She had insisted on picking him up on her way back through the city, but he was adamant he would just meet her at home. There was an accessible subway station not too far from his office…according to him. Part of her didn’t quite buy it, but she didn’t argue. Will had seemed wound tight and tense when she’d met him in the lobby of his building. She’d assumed she’d have to go up to his floor to grab his keys, but he’d intercepted her like a bad pass. It was as if he couldn’t wait to get her into the car and out of his sight. It made her pause, but not stop. He was probably still frustrated with how she’d acted last night, and she couldn’t entirely blame him. She had been stone cold, barely able to look or speak to him after she’d pieced together the identity of Angela K. King. Every time she opened her mouth she was worried word vomit, or worse, actual vomit, was going to pour out, ruining his pants, shoes, wheelchair, and their relationship. 

Will kissed her like he meant it as she zipped her coat back up and leaned down to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. The smell of him was comforting—masculine and clean—like a bar of soap. She didn’t know what she was going to find but she tried not to show how nervous she was. She’d lied and said she needed to see a storage facility for the stuff in her family’s apartment she couldn’t take with her but didn’t want to get rid of. He didn’t ask for much clarification past that, and Scottie wondered if he believed her at all. She watched him wheel his way back to the elevator, pressing the button and running his hands through his hair as he waited. Biting her lip, she took off down the sidewalk to his blue Volvo.

But driving back to the city, her heart was in her throat. She could feel herself shaking slightly as she tossed her phone into the open cup holder and reached for the XL 7/11 diet Coke. The bubbles were flatter than she wanted. She ached for the kind of carbonation that almost hurt and pricked her throat all the way down and cursed 7/11 under her breath. Fuckers. If she wasn’t behind the wheel of a car she’d be drinking tequila—that much she knew.

Her phone pinged almost immediately, and Cory’s name lit up the screen as she gazed sideways, slowing down at another light. She reached for it and opened his message, feeling a bit sick. She swallowed to keep the bile down.

CORY: Yes, I am.

He typed quickly as the three dots appeared again just as the light changed. She hastened the car and her pulse. She was ready to jump out of her skin. Everything swirled in her brain, words fuzzy and intangible. She took a deep breath and focused on the road ahead of her. Passing the gas station and the Holland Hotel, she imagined that people were in those rooms—with an hourly rate for convenience—doing exactly what she and Cory used to do. Again, her stomach churned and threatened to empty its contents all over the dashboard. Her phone buzzed again and she glanced at it carefully, keeping her eyes on the road as much as possible.

CORY: Want to come over?

He had sent it with bated breath, unsure of what she wanted. Of course, Scottie couldn’t have known that. Because it was typed, she couldn’t see his uncertainty and more importantly, his twisted hope that she was coming over for what he’d been wanting ever since she took off for the west coast. He may have lost Nora but he knew she’d come back eventually. As for Scottie, he thought he’d lost her to Will, and he had a really hard time comprehending how a guy who’s dick probably didn’t even work could keep a woman like Scottie. According to this text, it seemed, he couldn’t after all.

SCOTTIE: I’m on my way.

<> 

Before she found herself speeding up the West Side Highway to Cory’s apartment, Scottie had gone for an unannounced visit to the home of Angela K.King, or Kristin as she now knew her. She’d spent most of the night, while Will’s chest rose and fell in the comforting rhythm of sleep, on her laptop in the corner of the bedroom, scouring the internet for an address. She finally scraped it out of a news clipping from five years ago.  

Kristin and her sister lived in Orange, New Jersey, and ran a tattoo and piercing place out of their home. They’d turned the garage and the downstairs into a parlor. The clipping had a picture of the two of them—both blonde, Kristin considerably more attractive than her sister Hayley—posing outside the small house they shared, beaming at the camera. It made Scottie feel icky knowing that she was about to just show up at their doorstep, but she didn’t let her resolve weaken. This wasn’t about her anymore.

She’d parked Will’s car in their driveway, slamming the door, her sneakers scraping across the asphalt badly in need of repaving. It looked like the shop was open, but the cold was intense, and there was no life outside. She’d squinted as she approached, hoping to catch something through the windows. The lights were on and then she’d seen it—a flash of movement. Someone was home. Zipping her coat up to her chin, she’d sped up, jogging the rest of the way to the door. She couldn’t tell if it was the front door to their house or the front door to their business. Maybe they were one in the same? A deep breath. A mental reset. A brief knock.

She’d chewed on her lip as she waited, moving her feet around in her boots just to keep herself from bolting. Her heart was pounding hammer hard when the door had clicked open. A blonde woman in a sweatshirt, light jeans, and bare feet stood there with a cigarette hanging out of her lips and a baby propped up on her hip. The baby had been crying, fresh tears soaking her cheeks. She sniffled once and stared at Scottie, her blue eyes startling. Scottie looked down immediately before she could picture Will’s blue eyes looking up at her, his rough hand reaching for her own, his lips brushing her neck. Then she immediately thought of the hunch Nora had about a secret child. This baby couldn’t be it, right?

“The entrance to the tattoo shop is down there,” she said flatly, a thick Boston accent weaving its way over her words. Scottie nodded twice, thrusting her hands in her pockets, moving her feet back and forth against the cold.

“I’m actually looking for Kristin,” Scottie answered, her voice conveying more confidence than she felt. She brought her eyes up to look at Hayley. She wasn’t the Hayley from the newspapers. Her face was wrapped with lines, especially around her eyes and mouth. Her hair was dreary, dry, and dyed an unnatural blonde.

“Oh,” she cracked, cocking her head and looking Scottie up and down. “Fine,” she acquiesced, stepping to the side to allow Scottie into the house. Scottie stepped over the threshold and onto the thick carpet that went wall to wall. It smelled like cat pee and the shades were drawn over the two windows in the living room.

“Kristin?!” Hayley shouted, her voice scraping like a car tire over gravel.

“Yeah?” A response came, muffled and far away.

“You’ve got company,” she shouted again, inhaling on her cigarette and bouncing the baby up and down on her hip. “I’m sure she’ll be down at some point,” she offered vaguely, waving her cigarette wielding hand above her head. She nodded once and turned left, sauntering out of the room, leaving a trail of smoke behind her. Scottie took a deep breath and hugged herself, almost wishing she was still out in the cold as she heard footsteps taking the stairs two at a time.

And all at once, there she was, the beautiful woman who had driven her out of Royal Palms in one full swoop. Her throat was tight as she took her in. The same woman with soft blond waves and dark green eyes that sparkled and creamy pale freckle-free skin stood before her in grey sweats and a white t-shirt. She was considerably shorter than Scottie though, and in this grey light, without Will’s hand in hers, there was something slightly off about her face and the way she carried herself. She wasn’t quite as beautiful as Scottie had remembered. A bitterness came out of nowhere in her mouth and she cringed reflexively. It didn’t go unnoticed.

Kristin took a step toward Scottie slowly, confusion knitted in her features then as she crossed her arms, the pieces seemed to click together slowly. Her expression went from confused to guarded in a matter of seconds.

“You’re here about Will Nash, aren’t you?” she asked, words cautious. Scottie took a deep breath and nodded.                

“Uh huh,” she answered quietly, never letting her eyes leave Kristin.

“Cory warned me you might show up,” she said flatly, narrowing her eyes slightly and biting the inside of her cheek. “He told me not to tell you anything.” Scottie didn’t speak. She didn’t even breathe. The silence between them was loaded and highly combustible. It stretched on for what felt like a full minute, but then Kristin let out an exhale and shook her head wearily, as if all of a sudden, she was completely exhausted.

“Come on into the kitchen. I’ll make some coffee. You’ll want to sit down for this.” 


<> 

Will pushed himself through the locker room of the gym a few blocks from his apartment. He felt like a caged animal and needed to blow off some steam. His quads were spasming from the tension and frustration, but Will didn’t move to massage them. He had to work out his frustration by pushing himself to the limit. Emerging into the main floor of the gym, he looked around. It was relatively quiet, and he slid comfortably into the rhythm of metal clanking on metal as he found the free weights. It was inevitable that he would get a strange look here and there. People didn’t expect people like him to workout, to push his fractured body in the ways he still could. It was as if they were seeing a fish out of water, but he’d gotten good at ignoring them. His workout was just that—his.

He’d taken off from work early after he’d blown up at Emily on the corner of Wooster and Houston. He couldn’t believe some of things he had said. They’d been in a meeting with a potential client. And, like it was with most things, there had been a half-second, when he’d been introduced as the creative director on their project, where Will had seen a flicker of confusion. He found this to be one of the most tiring things of all. People were afraid of people with disabilities, and whether it was their ignorance or self-congratulatory pity, Will had to constantly prove himself. He had to prove that his life still had worth, even without his legs. He had to prove his opinion was as valid as anyone else’s. He had to prove that his brain was in complete working order, even if his lower half refused to listen to it anymore. Although, he had spent quite a bit of time questioning his judgement in light of the nightmare that Emily had become.
                 
He’d nailed the presentation they’d planned, and sitting around the table, discussing the logistics of a partnership, he’d felt as if they’d completely forgotten that he was sitting not in an office chair, but in a wheelchair, and that was a victory. Until he looked down and saw Emily’s hand resting on his knee. Furthermore, she’d pulled his right foot off of his footplate and had slipped out of her shoe, her left foot rubbing up and down his leg. Will felt suddenly ill, wondering how long she’d been touching him without his knowledge, the violation of it all visceral and all consuming. Calmly, he reached down and grabbed her hand hard, moving it away from him, while trying to concentrate on what the client was saying. He didn’t want a scene. He wanted to fucking disappear.

Wheeling and weaving through the weight machines, Will found the chest press, loaded the right amount of weight, parked and locked his chair, and transferred onto the narrow bench. It had taken some practice to get the hang of that particular transfer, considering how narrow the seat was, but he’d spent years doing it. At this point it was second nature.

As he leaned back and pressed the bars forward, letting out a whoosh of air, he remembered the doctor telling him that one day, he simply wouldn’t think of himself as able bodied anymore—that being in a wheelchair would be normal. At the time he’d scoffed, angry at anyone and anything in his path, especially someone telling him he could still lead a full life from a sitting position. Then he’d be reminded of the bitter truth that he had no one to blame but himself. He’d driven off the road and into the ditch. And then he’d try to remember what had happened only to come up with nothing but a blank screen.

But sitting there, feeling the sheer power of his upper body, contrasted with the emptiness and stillness of his lower body, it did feel admittedly normal. He couldn’t remember what it had been like not to see a wheelchair waiting patiently by his side wherever he went. He couldn’t remember what it felt like contract the muscles of his leg to take a step.  

And what pissed him off, was that Emily had taken advantage of that comfort, that self-confidence, that acceptance in who he was in this body. She’d known he wouldn’t feel it if she nudged his leg under the table. She’d taken advantage of him, and of all places, an arena where he’d finally found comfort and pride.

He could barely stop shaking as he shook the client’s hand, a phony smile plastered on his face as he and Emily walked them to the elevators. The second the doors closed he rounded on her, trembling with hurt and betrayal. She stared at him blankly and crossed her hands over her chest, refusing to acknowledge that she’d done anything wrong.

It was hard enough working for someone he’d slept with who clearly was still working out the nuances of how that kind of relationship could slide back down the relationship scale from personal to professional, but working for someone who had lost all respect for him both as an teammate and as a person? She’d not only compromised his physical and psychological comfort, but she’d compromised his presentation, his client, his work as a whole. And Will was absolutely not going to put up with it. His resolve was hardening, a decision being made—if he wasn’t fired over what he’d said to Emily, then he’d quit.


<> 


Kirstin was focused on pouring cream into her coffee. She’d brought out two heavy mugs, one plain white one with a considerable chip in the side, and the other from a diner called “The Prestige Diner.” That was the mug she handed Scottie as she sat down with heaviness, groaning resignedly. She stirred the spoon round and round absently, while Scottie took a sip of hers, black, the edges clinking against the ceramic. The refrigerator hummed quietly as Scottie waited for Kristin to speak. She didn’t for a long time, and Scottie grew impatient.

“I just want to clear up that this isn’t about an affair, really, is it?” Kristin shook her head in shame, pursing her lips.

“And that baby? Not a secret love child of yours and Cory’s?” Scottie continued harshly but with conviction. Kristin shook her head again, this time, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

“Great,” Scottie retorted, “glad we cleared that up.” Scottie took another sip of her bitter coffee and leaned back in the kitchen chair to listen. Kristin didn’t speak right away, but when she finally did, her voice was strong, but small—an odd combination. It was as if she was trying to justify what she was saying, but also acknowledge that she’d fucked up considerably.

“I want you to know that I did love Will…” she started, catching herself and correcting her statement. “I do love, Will.” Scottie furrowed her brow and crossed her arms. Kristin refused to look at her, instead focusing on the skin around her left pinky nail.

“I was taking on student loans. I wanted to get my degree. I had something not everyone had. I was smart. I wanted to dig myself out of the life I’d grown up with. I thought Will would give me that. And maybe he would have. But I was also 19. I’d been brought up hard in a rough neighborhood in Boston. My parents were fuck ups. There was always something going wrong. I was exposed to lot of drinking. Sex. Drugs.

“And rock and roll?” Scottie snapped, immediately regretting her tone and intrusion. “Sorry,” she muttered lamely to herself, staring down at the mug of steaming coffee. Kristin just stared at her for a minute then huffed an exasperated breath.

“I don’t have to tell you anything,” she replied sharply.

“I know,” Scottie hedged, “I’m sorry.” Kristin narrowed her eyes and turned, looking out into the frigid yard. Dead grass gave way to one bare spindly tree. The desolation of the scene punched Scottie in the gut.

“Cory offered something Will didn’t. Will was always so…so safe. So…strong, and so stable. He gave me this kind of stability that I’d never ever had. But he was always so serious, so….genuine.” Scottie swallowed hard, hating the peculiar and uncanny reflection of herself she was seeing in this woman.

“Logically I knew Will would make me better. He’d make my life better. But Cory, well…he was rich. I’d never been with someone who had money like that. He’d take me to nice dinners. We’d sneak around. The sex was aggressive and rough. It was what I was used to. Sex with Will…well, it had never been like that.” Scottie bit her tongue so hard she tasted blood. Her vision was blurry and spinning, and she knew that if she opened her mouth she might just scream.

“The night Will was paralyzed…” Kristin continued, taking a deep shuddering breath and pressing her face into her hands. Scottie wanted to shake her but she rung her hands out in front of her instead. “Cory and I had snuck upstairs. We were at a party in New Hampshire. I’m sure he’s told you this part…”

“He has,” Scottie agreed, trying to keep her voice neutral, but it was proving incredibly difficult. “But I came all this way to hear your side of the story, remember?” Kristin sniffled and pulled face out of her hands, revealing blotchy skin and haggard eyes. Scottie knew with one look that this girl had been through hell in her life. A kindred spirit of sorts.

But then Kristin took a deep breath, opened her mouth, and told her side of the story. 

"I had a price," she murmured more to herself than to Scottie.  

And before Scottie knew it, she found herself doubled over in that frigidly desolate lawn puking up that bitter black coffee.