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.
He pulled his wheelchair closer to him and sitting somewhat wobbly on the soft couch he moved his legs over with his hands. They fell over and his feet lay scrambled on the floor, his bony knees sticking out and his thin thighs looking like they were not part of his body. His legs were now still and didn’t twitch and didn’t tremble, the spasms had subsided with the Baclofen he had taken at four in the morning. Mark saw the padded incontinence brief on his lower body. With a disgusted expression he realized the fact that he had actually lost urine during sleeping soaking the brief and showing a yellow shadow of urine now. The small belly he had acquired over the past three years being paralyzed and always sitting was sticking out and Mark quickly moved his eyes from his lower body.
He pulled his TiLite over and pushed his body onto it, then pulling his feet onto the foot rest. He pushed his rims and wheeled over into the kitchen to feed Ranger, who was pacing around the wheelchair and meowing loudly again.
Mark yawned, “Yeah, man, I got you. Be a little bit patient.”
He fed the cat and made it to his bedroom. He realized he had left his phone on his bedside table during the night and rolled over to it, checking for any messages but there was nothing.
Chiara crossed his mind and he wondered what she was up to during the days. Her work happened at night and he really didn’t know what she may be doing during the day. He had visions of her locked up somewhere and worry and anger tried to creep up again.
He made his way into his bathroom, slipped the brief off his body and catheterized. Only a small amount of urine was running into the toilet and Mark tried to remember how much he had drank the night before. It really hadn’t been that much and he hoped that the small output of urine didn’t mean anything bad. He looked at the urine in the toilet and even sniffed it, trying to figure out if there was any indication of issues maybe. He had dealt with a few urinary tract infections before and it was usually something that put him in the hospital for a few days until it would all clear up. UTI’s usually showed up in the form of severe spasticity, fever and weakness.
Mark didn’t think he was on the verge of a UTI yet but he always kept an eye on this situation. He made it into the shower, sitting on the shower chair and letting the water run over his body. It felt good on his head and running over his sore shoulders. On his legs he felt nothing, but merely saw the water run over his motionless legs. He glanced down to his penis and it lay just as still. It didn’t give him any kind of pleasure anymore, it didn’t do anything but let urine run out of it without Mark even knowing or only when he inserted the tubing into his urethra to pee. His penis was of no use to him anymore to please a woman or to give him any pleasure by maybe jerking off in the shower. Now it was just a piece of his body that was attached but didn’t give him any sensation.
Nowadays he didn’t even touch himself because his penis was nothing to him anymore. The days of waking up with a hard on in the morning or feeling the blood run to it for excitement of seeing something hot or being turned on by a woman, had long gone.
Even nowadays when Mark maybe came across something that would have been a turn on for him in his healthy days, he could never fully release the built-up sexual tensions he still felt and it always felt like it was just stuck in his chest resulting in his heart racing or feeling sick instead of being able to ejaculate like any other guy. His penis was useless like his legs and in Mark’s mind it didn’t deserve any attention anymore.
His thoughts wandered back to his birthday night and he had to laugh softly about his friends’ idea to hire a hooker for him to give him pleasure. He hadn’t really talked to his friends about his sexual inability nowadays and they had not really asked. Somehow the fact of Mark’s missing male sexuality felt like the elephant in the room but no one addressed it. When the friends hung out and the guys started talking anything sexual Mark usually just zoned out and eventually when his friends realized they would awkwardly stop talking sex.
Mark ignored his lower body, washed himself off and finished up. When he pulled the shower curtain back, he was surprised to find Ranger on his wheelchair seat, paws folded in and laying there comfortable with both eyes closed.
“Dude, you need to move.”Ranger opened his one eye and looked at Mark but didn’t make a move to get off.
While still sitting on his shower chair Mark rubbed himself dry with the towel, giving the cat some more time in his wheelchair seat but he would eventually have to move him.
He was done drying and leaned over some to pet Ranger, “Man, you don’t need a wheelchair, you’re still perfectly fine on your four paws. So, let me have my chair back.”
Instead of moving, Ranger just rolled over for some more petting and Mark laughed, “Is that how it’s going to be? Do I have to actually kick you off?”
Mark ended up gently lifting Ranger off his wheelchair seat and when Ranger made a move to jump back up Mark moved his chair sudden and Ranger ran away.
Eventually Mark was done and dressed in his work-out clothes and over a bowl of cereal he checked his social media. Not much was new with all his friends and relatives and he really didn’t have anything of importance to add. His life hadn’t been very exciting lately.
He was on his way to the gym close to his apartment. Traffic was heavy that morning and it took him longer than usual to get to the gym.
At the Fitness center he parked his car in the disabled spots right by the entrance and with his driver’s side door open he assembled his wheelchair next to his car.He transferred into it, locked his car and wheeled into the gym.
At the reception even though they knew him already he had to hold up his membership badge and the staff member scanned it in and greeted him friendly.
The weight room was surprisingly busy that morning and for just a moment Mark pondered leaving again. He then realized that it was silly of him and he stayed. He just needed to get over his insecurity when it came to the gym. He didn’t like when people looked at him or watched him curiously as he got onto the seats of the weight machines or even worked out on the benches.
He started his routine with the rubber bands attached to the wall. While sitting in his wheelchair with the breaks on, he was parked a short distance from the wall and pulled the medium strong rubber band with his arms, working his biceps and triceps for a warm up. He had his back turned to the room so he didn’t have to look at the people. On his hands he wore fingerless gloves to prevent blisters.
Not far from him he saw a young woman wiping a mat provided by the gym with sanitizer and she then walked to the trash can to throw away the paper towel. The mat was still drying as she walked by and Mark glanced up at her for a second.
She directly met his eyes and smiled at him and said a soft, “Hi.”
Mark didn’t react quick enough to reply with a greeting as he had not expected her to say anything at all. He barely managed a weak smile as she passed him.
She wore yoga pants, a sports bra tank top and tennis shoes. She was right in his line of sight now and Mark tried to keep his eyes down as she sat down on the mat and started stretching. Her hair was up in a ponytail and she definitely had a nice body.
Mark felt a little off in his workout routine now having the attractive woman not far from him stretching all the different parts of her body. He wanted to appear confident and not clumsy or funny looking working out. He pulled the rubber bands to his body hard and released them again holding the tension though and he felt his arms warm up with the work out. He wanted to appear strong like all the other guys in the gym.
When he glanced up he realized the woman was looking at him and she smiled again.She then remarked, “It’s crowded here this morning.”
Mark was surprised for a second that she had actually said something and he looked over making sure she was not talking to anyone else close by.
He replied, “Yeah, it sure is.”
She sat on her mat in a yoga pose stretching her legs looking at Mark, “It’s unusual for a morning during the week. I usually come in the evening when it’s actually busy with everyone after work coming in but I didn’t think it would be like this during the morning.”
Mark looked at her again. She was nice looking with a toned body and thick long brown hair up in a pony tail that was swaying slightly with any movements she made.“Yeah, I usually come in the mornings about three times a week.”
She smiled still, “Oh cool, I try to come about three times a week, I don’t always make it. I’m off today so I thought I’d give it a try in the morning.”
Mark smiled at her and pulled the bands again.
Just a little bit he wanted to show off his arm strength, “I try to get this over with in the mornings. Once afternoon rolls around I’m too lazy to come out.”
The woman smiled at him, “That’s why I have never seen you before.”
Mark was surprised she mentioned this nonchalant. He smiled and didn’t really know what to say.
She then added, “My name is Corinne.”
He replied with a smile, “I’m Mark.”
Corinne smiled, “Nice to meet you Mark.”
He had lost his rhythm in his warm up with Corinne getting more personal with him.
“Nice to meet you.”
Corinne turned back to her stretching and Mark tried to find his rhythm again but had lost it for good. He then decided to stop the band work out, released them, and let them drop to the ground.
He turned to Corinne who was watching him, “Well, I’m heading to the weight machines now.”
She smiled, “Yeah, I’ll be coming that way shortly. I’ll see you around Mark.”
He nodded, “Sure.”
With that he put his hands to his rims and spun his wheelchair around to make his way over to the machines. He felt Corinne watch him roll away and he felt somewhat nervous.
At the machines he started with his regular routine and he knew Corinne could see him from where she was at. He didn’t dare look over toward her because he felt nervous already with her eyes possibly on him and watching how he moved onto the machine seats and everything else about him. He had avoided any female contact for a while now and even in the gym he always kept to himself and he still felt awkward in his movements nowadays in comparison with some of the able bodied strong guys in the gym, even men double his age moving quicker and more secure around the work out room.
Everything took a little longer for him nowadays and he still felt clumsy sometimes in his transfers or the way he had to deal with the everyday challenges of getting around. It definitely didn’t help now with Corinne possibly watching him and it made him nervous.
He tried his best to ignore this and went about his work out as confident as possible. He made his way through the machines and Corinne actually came walking up as he sat on the seat of the biceps curl machine, his legs on either side of the seat and she just stood there with a towel around her neck and smiling at him, “How’s your work out going?”He pulled the weights up, trying to breathe and talk, “Good.”
She made him very nervous and just at that moment his left leg jumped up oddly and fell over, just hanging there.Mark saw Corinne glance at his leg and he felt silly and wished very much she would keep on walking and not stand right there in front of him. His leg jumped again and Corinne looked from his leg to him questioning.
He let the weight down and adjusted his leg anxiously, breathing quickly and trying not to look at her.
Corinne smiled and walked on, “Well, I’m moving to the next one.”
Mark smiled nervously but inside was relieved, “Yeah, hope you have a good work out then.”
“Thanks, you too.”
She kept walking and he glanced at her perfect tight behind in her Yoga pants. She was not bad looking at all, actually very attractive and seemed definitely fit and healthy.
Even more so a reason for Mark to keep his distance, at least in his mind. A woman like her didn’t need to hang out with him, she had choices of any guy in this gym; she didn’t need the paralyzed one in the wheelchair, whose legs flopped around like fish out of water.
He kept working out and almost felt like putting on more weight to fully occupy his mind with the pain of his work out, feeling the muscle tendons in his arms and upper chest make up for the weakness in his lower body.
As much as he had planned to actually lift free weights with the assistance of one of the gym’s staff members to spot him he decided against it because Corinne was still making her way through the work out room and he didn’t want her to see him clumsily get onto the weight bench and also because his legs were acting up some.
He wanted to make his getaway but was surprised when at the door he heard Corinne behind him, “Mark, are you leaving for today?”He stopped his wheelchair and spun around toward her, “Ahem, yeah, I’m done for today.”
Corinne seemed nervous now and she said softly, “Well, it was nice meeting you here. I wish I could come in the mornings more often.”
Mark looked down for a moment, then back up at her, “Yeah.”
He really didn’t know what to say to her and he wasn’t sure what she was getting at but he had a feeling it had quite a lot to do with him being there in the mornings.She confirmed it, “I would see you more I guess.”
He was insecure at what to reply and she added, “Would you like to have coffee sometime or meet up for a drink?”
Mark lowered his eyes, thought for a moment, then looked up at her again, “Yeah, that would be nice.”
Corinne smiled with relief, “Great, let me get your number.”
She pulled her phone from the pouch on her upper arm and tapped into it, then looked at Mark, “Okay, I’m ready.”
Mark recited his number to her and she smiled happily, “Thanks, I’ll text you.”
He wanted to be nicer and smiled at her, “Yeah, cool.”
Corinne seemed a little unsure now and she stuttered, “Okay, I’ll see you soon then.”
Mark nodded in assurance, “Yeah, totally.”
They said Good Bye awkwardly and Mark pondered in his mind that he maybe hadn’t been friendly enough to Corinne. He really felt insecure about flirting and women in general nowadays so Corinne asking him for his number and maybe hoping for a drink with him had caught him by surprise and he didn’t really know how to act about it.
At home he freshened up and changed clothes, then spent his afternoon just hanging out and every so often checking his phone for anything.
Mitch eventually texted him, “Hey, are you up for a drink tomorrow night?”
It was Friday and there was really not much going on throughout the weekend so Mark really had no excuse not to go out.
He thought about it for a few moments, “Yeah, why not? Where at?”
Mitch’s reply came quick, “Rookie’s.”
“What time tomorrow?”
“We can meet around eight.”
“Who is we?”
“The guys only.”
Mark finished texting with Mitch and turned back to his Video game and played a couple more rounds. It was in the later evening when another text came in, this time from Corinne.
“Hey Mark, just wanted to let you know once more that it was nice meeting you this morning.”
Mark stared at the screen for a moment and thought about replying or not. Corinne had been nice, she was very attractive and everything was good but on his mind was Chiara. He had been hoping all day to get a message from her but at the same time he knew there really was no reason for Chiara to send him a message. She was a hooker and nothing else and she didn’t care about him in any way than having met him as a customer who ended up not being any kind of work for her. They had not connected any other way but just knowing how the guy probably treated her all the time kept Mark thinking about her and trying to figure out how he could maybe get her out of there. The more he thought about it though the more he realized that it was stupid of him to think that way and he didn’t know why having met Chiara had affected him in that way. He wanted to see her again and he wanted to get to know her on another level and he really didn’t think she should be where she was at.
It was eight o’clock at night now.
He tapped on the reply to Corinne:
"It was nice meeting you as well. Corinne, I may have not thought this through though but at the moment I’m actually kind of seeing someone and maybe shouldn’t have agreed on that meet up for coffee or a drink. I’m very sorry."
"It was nice meeting you as well. Corinne, I may have not thought this through though but at the moment I’m actually kind of seeing someone and maybe shouldn’t have agreed on that meet up for coffee or a drink. I’m very sorry."
He felt bad writing this but it was better to let her down now until this would go any further.He was glad he didn’t see her face as she read his message and it didn’t take long and a reply came from Corinne:
"Oh, okay, I’m sorry I bothered you. Well, you got my number in case you are ever not “kind of seeing someone” anymore."
Mark debated if he should write anything else but decided not to. He felt bad though but then transferred into his wheelchair and wheeled over to his bathroom. He freshened up, catheterized and wheeled into the living room where he put on his sneakers. He pulled his hoodie from a chair in his dining area and slipped it over his head and with his wallet and car keys he left his apartment and wheeled out to his car.
His mind was made up, he was going back out to see Chiara to make contact with her again.
It was still raining hard and the streets were busy on this Friday night. The street and car lights were reflecting off the wet roadways. Mark had his wheelchair frame stashed on the passenger seat, the wheels off their axles on the floor board in the passenger seat.
He made his way back into the Industrial Area where he had found Chiara in one of the side streets the night before. It was raining hard and he wondered if she was even out in weather like this. He came to her street again and as he drove along he realized there weren’t as many girls there this time. Some tried to approach his car and he heard them call out to him but he didn’t stop and was hoping none of them would try to do anything to his car. Toward the end of the street he let his window down and soon he found Chiara in the shadows again. She had not stepped out and he rolled the window down all the way and said her name.
Chiara slowly came into sight and her hair covered her face some as she softly said, “What do you want Mark?”Mark leaned out some, “Chiara, I came to talk to you and if it’s easier you can get in my car and I will give you some money so you won’t get in trouble with him.”
“I can’t get into your car. You need to leave me alone Mark.”
Her hair covered half of her face and Mark felt she was hiding something, “Are you all right?”
Mark was tense, “I know and I’m sorry about that. Just get in my car and we’ll drive off. I don’t want anything. I just want to talk to you. I wanted to make sure you were okay after last night. Did he hurt you?”
Chiara didn’t answer his question but pleaded again, “Just get out of here Mark. Please!”
She walked away and Mark said tensely, “You shouldn’t be out here doing this shit.”
Chiara stopped in her pace and turned to him, came back to the car and leaned over, closer to Mark who was surprised at her sudden approach.She moved her hair to the side and he saw her eye was swollen and had a dark shadow around it, her lip was busted with a small visible wound.
She hushed, “If you care for me at all, get away from here and don’t come around anymore. You know nothing about me and it’s none of your business. Leave me alone and don’t ever talk to me again.”
Now she walked again and Mark was speechless for a moment.He pressed his lips together in frustration and took a deep breath, then said, “You like doing this shit? I highly doubt it. Just get in my car and let me talk to you.”
Chiara stopped again and Mark pulled his car next to her. She looked over at him and he saw tears running from her eyes.Softly she now said, “I’ve been doing this for years Mark. I know nothing else anymore. I depend on him. He has control over me and he’ll hurt everyone who tries to change that. You should leave and forget we ever met.”
Mark gripped his steering wheel tight and took a deep breath, “Just come with me. I’ll help you get out of this.”
Chiara sniffled her nose and shook her head, “I can’t do that. You can’t help me.”
Mark was frustrated at the situation, “Why don’t you try me? If you get in this car right now, you will never come back here, ever. I promise.”
Chiara stopped and Mark heard her sniffle her nose again.
Without looking at him she said, “He’s dangerous.”
“I don’t give a shit. I’m dangerous too but what I can’t deal with is when an asshole thinks he can treat women like shit and make fucking money with it too. It’s wrong and you know it.”
“He provides for me.” Chiara’s voice was filled with tears.
Mark got angry now, “Provides for you…what the fuck does he provide? That you have to stand out here in shitty weather waiting for desperate assholes to come by and let you be in a warm car for a moment while giving them a blow job or letting them go down on you. Chiara, I know you don’t want this.”
Chiara looked over at Mark again, “I know nothing else.”
Now two girls came closer, “Chiara, are you all right?”Chiara straightened her posture, dropped her hair over her face and tried to sound normal, “Yes, everything is cool. Just trying to cut a deal.”
Mark looked over at the two girls close by.
Chiara then looked at Mark and said, “So, a hundred bucks for a bj?”
Mark was caught off guard but realized she was playing it off and he just said, “It’s a deal.”Now she actually came around the car and called out to the girls, “I’ll be back in a bit.”
The two girls backed off and Chiara came up to Mark’s passenger side. He had his wheelchair stashed on the seat and when Chiara opened the door she saw the frame, wheels and cushion and before Mark could say anything she pulled the lever on the back rest of the seat, moved it forward with the wheelchair on it, and squeezed herself into the small backseat of the Challenger and pulled the door shut.
Mark didn’t know what to say for a moment but he felt his heart beat fast and was surprised she had actually gotten into his car. The Challenger only had two doors and usually his wheelchair took over the passenger side. He was able to stash everything in the backseat if he really had to but he hadn’t needed to do that in a long time. He usually didn’t have any passengers. Chiara shifted in the back seat and he only looked back to her and she met his eyes for a moment in the light of the car.
The light shut off with Mark putting the car in gear and he slowly drove off, looking around making sure there were no other girls and also no sign of Chiara’s pimp. The alley was dark and gloomy and the few girls that were out there stood on the side of the buildings trying to be under some cover at least. It was still raining and the windshield wipers were sliding from side to side.
Mark just drove away from the area without any words and Chiara sat silent in his back seat. He looked in the rear view mirror but in the darkness he barely saw that she was back there. In a way he was still stunned she had actually gotten into his car but he was also relieved.
It was almost nine o’clock on that Friday night and Mark really didn’t know what to say to her now. She sniffled her nose in the back seat and he felt his hands tremble holding the steering wheel and operating his hand controls.
He glanced into the mirror again and asked softly, “Are you all right?”Chiara sniffled her nose again and answered almost inaudible, “I shouldn’t have gotten in your car.”
Mark took a deep breath, “It’s okay. I’m glad you did.”
He stared out at the traffic in front of him and then added, “You’re safe with me.”
They didn’t speak as Mark was driving along and thinking about if he should go to his apartment or anywhere else. He knew Chiara was crying in the back seat and he wanted to say things to her but he didn’t know what. She was in his car now and if she wanted to, he could take her back to her spot in the alley again and nothing would change and he would probably never see her again then. She would stay out on the streets and her pimp would keep beating her and forcing her to do things she didn’t want to do.
Carefully he asked, “Are you getting warm back there?”Chiara softly answered, “Yes.”
Mark nodded and thought about what else he could say.
“Are you hungry?”
Chiara sniffled her nose. He could hear the tears in her voice, “No, I’m good, thanks.”
He was just driving and debated if he should go to his apartment.
Even though he had not wanted anything else but to have Chiara in his car and take her away from the life she was living he now realized the seriousness of the situation. Having taking Chiara away from there had changed everything and as soon as her pimp would come to get her later on and she wasn’t there it would probably start a series of very dangerous events. The girls who were there would possibly tell him that they had seen Chiara leave with a customer, a guy in a green Challenger and Mark bit his lips thinking about what this could mean for him. He had put himself and Chiara in a dangerous situation. He swallowed and his mind was racing.
He heard Chiara cry softly in the back seat and his heart hurt and with a deep breath he said, “Are you okay if we go to my place?”He swallowed again and nodded to himself, then turned in the direction to his apartment.
She said barely audible, “Yes.”
She said barely audible, “Yes.”
About twenty minutes later he pulled into the carport and with a sigh he turned the car off but just sat there. Chiara had been quiet the whole time and he now turned the light on in his car and turned to look at her.
Her face was flushed and her eyes were glistening with tears, her make-up was smeared. Her hair looked stringy and she still used it to cover the half of her face where she had obviously been abused.
He started with a trembling voice, “This is where I live.”
Chiara nodded but didn’t say anything.
He felt he had to explain more, “It’s a small apartment. It’s just me and my cat.”
Chiara nodded again and he added, “You can stay here with me.”
She lowered her eyes and Mark then opened his door and said, “I’ll just pull my chair out and then it’s easier for you to get out on that side.”
Chiara quietly watched as Mark pulled his TiLite frame out, set it up next to him, grabbed the wheels and snapped them on and then put the cushion on the seat. Before he got out he leaned over to the glove box and he pulled out his gun and stuck it in the pocket of his hoodie. Chiara didn’t see him get the gun out.
She felt her heart beat quickly though at watching him set up his wheelchair and just as she folded the passenger seat forward, she saw how Mark transferred from the driver’s seat onto his wheelchair seat and she felt her hands tremble. She got out on the passenger side and closed the door and walked around to the front of the car. Her feet hurt in her high heel boots and she really couldn’t wait to get out of the boots. Her legs were cold and she felt a shiver go through her as she stood out in the cold and rain again. Mark was focused on pulling his legs up and setting his feet on the foot rest of the wheelchair and Chiara glanced at him from under her bangs, her heart racing inside her chest.
Mark locked his car with the beeping of the keys, then pushed his rims and she watched as he came up on the sidewalk and with a quick glance toward her he said softly, “It’s right here on the first floor.”
She followed him to the door of his apartment and she couldn’t help watching him push his rims and move his wheelchair to the door. She watched every move he made really and her whole body trembled from the cold and from watching him.
At the door Mark said with a weak smile, “You’re not allergic to cats, are you?”Now Chiara finally said something, “I love cats.”
While putting the key into the door Mark said, “Good. His name is Ranger.”