When Pete rounded the corner, he was bowled over with the unexpected scene in front of him. He was entirely out of breath, drenched in sweat, downright exhausted, and his first thought was that he was hallucinating—simply because he wanted it to be true. But the vision remained as he stood in his wrinkled suit and untucked dress shirt and rubbed both of his twitching eyes hard with the heels of his hands—the fingers of which boasted nails that were more bitten down than ever. The flight had been an incredibly long six hours. But, much to his thrill, when he opened his eyes, he saw that Will’s chair was still parked next to the end of a row of seats, his arm still remained firmly around Scottie’s shoulders, his hand was securely around hers resting in his lap, her head was definitely planted on his shoulder, her mess of curls covering half his chest, and his head was undoubtedly and delicately propped against hers. Both of their eyes were closed, and their even breathing indicated that they weren’t quite aware they were being watched at the moment.
Pete’s heart felt like it might burst. He had a newborn, healthy baby boy, and it appeared, for the time being, his brother, who’d been down the rabbit hole and back, had found his way home to the woman he loved. And by the serenity on Scottie’s face, it was absolutely mutual.
He grasped his brother’s shoulder and carefully shook. He opened his eyes, his face shifting quickly from sleep to confusion to recognition to excitement at seeing Pete.
“Go home,” Pete whispered, patting him on the back. “Thank you for being here. I don’t know what I would have done without you and Scottie.” Will flinched at the sound of her name and turned, his eyes wide, as if seeing her for the first time. He softened and smiled wearily, shaking her lightly and squeezing her hand.
“We’re family, Pete,” Will replied as Scottie started to rouse. “Anything for family.” Scottie stood to hug Pete hard. Then Will pulled him down for one, too.
“Congratulations. You’re the father of a beautiful baby boy.”
“He’s perfect,” Scottie added, her smile brighter than the fluorescent lights overhead. It simultaneously felt like the middle of the day and the middle of the night, and it was disorienting. Will looked at his watch and was surprised to see that it was around 10pm. He rolled his shoulders back and stretched his arms behind him. Pete was glowing, despite the heavy bags under his eyes.
“Go see your girl,” Will encouraged him, giving him a sideways push on the hip. Pete smiled.
“And your guy,” Scottie added, sliding in perfectly. Will’s chest opened up at the sound of her voice and normalness of hearing it tacked onto his own.
“Okay,” Pete nodded, smoothing his jacket and tucking in his shirt. “How do I look?” he asked nervously.
“Like an absolute idiot. Lise just gave birth to a human baby, she doesn’t give a shit if your shirt is wrinkled. Go.” Will was laughing as Pete put his hands up in dramatized guilt to mask real embarrassment. “Call us if you need anything.” Scottie noticed and appreciated Will’s unceremonious use of the word “us.”
“Okay, okay, okay!” he agreed, picking up his duffle bag and turning toward to locked door to the maternity ward. He buzzed and after a moment, was ushered in.
Silence, heavy and daunting, fell as they were left alone again, in the post reconciliation and sleep haze. Scottie bit her lip, unsure of what to say. Will, however, didn’t hesitate. His instinct and deep, deep, desire was to push forward at all costs, so he didn’t think before he spoke.
“Come over. We can eat, or we can talk, or we can eat and talk, or eat while we talk, or we can sleep, or maybe sleep together, or just sleep next to each other, or all of those things.” He was rambling all of a sudden. And this, he ridiculed himself in his head, is why it was often better to think before speaking, especially in high stakes situations. Scottie’s smile was wide and bright as it curled around her face.
“All of those things,” she replied tenderly, “please.”
Will turned his key in the lock, still reeling from the fact that Scottie had moved less than three blocks away. She’d exclaimed when Will had leaned forward through the cab window and spouted off his new address. Her eyes were wide and iridescent in the light of the passing street lamps as she shared her own address, and how much she loved the neighborhood, where she’d been spending time, and how long she’d been there.
“I can’t believe the only time we ran into each other,” she started quickly, but as the sentence progressed her string of words slowed almost to a halt. “Was that night at Brooklyn Social.” Will smiled knowingly, feeling slightly self-conscious but oddly confident at the same time. Whether or not she was still with that able-bodied Clark Kent didn’t seem to matter. She was heading home with him and she’d all but said sex was in the cards. As if reading his mind, Scottie looked down at her hands and then back at him, holding his stare tight. They’d had an entire conversation in that gaze, and she didn’t need to say what she said next, but she did.
“We aren’t together anymore. We never really were. A couple of dates. He was a friend of Max’s. Max thought I, well, I guess he thought I needed a push to get back out there.” She shrugged because she didn’t really want to go into the state of her mental health following their breakup. Not quite yet. They’d get there one day—she knew that—but today didn’t feel like that day. And Will, being the receptive and perceptive dreamboat that he was, just reached for her hand and pulled her closer to him. She rested her head on his shoulder and let herself breathe easy—easier than she had since December. She was learning to put more faith in people, and Will had taught her that.
Pushing himself over the threshold of his apartment, Will felt a strange sense of deja vu ripple through him. He knew they’d never actually been here before, but at the same time they had. The sense of comfort they’d always had with each other was present, but there was a crackling anticipation and a question mark. His mood turned slippery and he hesitated, unsure of what do next. He had so much he wanted to ask her. He had so much he wanted to say to her. He had so much he wanted to do to her. But instead he sat, paralyzed with indecision.
“Mr. Nash?” she asked, her voice sexy and low. Will’s breath hitched and he felt slightly off kilter. Pivoting his chair, he turned to face her. The apartment was dark, with some light filtering in through the windows. It gave her an eerie glow, like she wasn’t of this world. He didn’t move to flip the light switch.
“Let me get you a drink,” he said—he also wanted to pop a Viagra in the bathroom, just in case. She smiled and stepped toward him, placing her lips directly and delicately on his.
“Okay,” she whispered, her breath hot, then swayed sideways and walked past him into the living room. Sitting on his couch—the same one from the place he’d shared with Pete—Scottie was overcome with the familiarity of it all. She didn’t want to get ahead of herself. All she wanted was this to be the beginning of the rest of her life with him. But what was he thinking? A one-night stand? She shivered at the thought, appreciating the cocoon of darkness. It kept things in limbo—foggy and grey. No decisions had to be made. Those kinds of things could be discussed with the daylight.
Will appeared suddenly in her peripheral vision, his glide smooth but quieter than she remembered. Looking him up and down she noticed something major had changed.
"You got a new chair?” she asked, the look of surprise and pitch of her voice giving her away immediately. Will smiled looked down at his feet self-consciously.
“I did, yeah,” he replied, nodding. “It was time.”
“How long have you had the new one?” she asked, feeling weirdly sad that she hadn’t been there with him when he made this decision. It was part of him, and she’d missed it.
“About, a month actually,” he answered, looking up at the ceiling self-consciously for a second considering, “yeah, I think a month.”
“It’s beautiful,” she breathed. And it was. It was still all black, but with even cleaner lines and a sleeker profile than his previous chair had been. It looked incredibly light, and didn’t have as many metal spokes as before, but simply six clusters of three spokes each with space in between. It seemed to even fit him better. Every inch of it seemed considered and intentional. Will chuckled and handed her one of the beers he’d situated between his legs.
“Thanks, its Italian,” he offered, as he looked down and sideways at it, appreciating how well it fit him and how quickly he’d adapted to it. “I had my eye on it for a while.”
“How does it ride?” she prodded coyly, taking a sip of her beer.
“Like a goddamn Italian sports car,” he joked, taking a sip of his beer. Scottie’s laugh was such a welcome sound to his ears that he almost choked on the liquid. Coughing, he leaned over slightly and recovered. He could feel her eyes on his.
“It’s oddly, sexy,” Scottie alleged, furrowing her brow as she regarded him.
“Is that so?” Will probed, wheeling himself slightly closer to her, trying to decide if he should transfer or stay put, considering how sexy she seemed to find him in his new wheelchair.
“It wouldn’t be with anyone else in it, but,” she shrugged and took a sip. Will smirked and reached for her hand. She pulled him directly to her until their legs were touching. They both took another sip of beer without breaking eye contact. Scottie leaned forward and took Will’s beer from him, placing both bottles on the end table to her right. Half of his face was hidden by shadows, but she saw his gaze flicker to the couch as he leaned toward it to begin his transfer.
“No,” she whispered, “don’t.”
“Okay.” Will froze as her request hung in the air.
“I can’t wait. Not a second longer,” she breathed.
“Okay,” he granted, smiling mischievously. She put her arms up straight in the air and challenged him, a half smile quirking her lips. He reached forward, pulling her coffee-stained t-shirt over her head. Tossing it behind him he reached around her lithe body and unhooked her bra with one hand. It fell away, revealing the perfect breasts he’d missed so much. He placed both of his hands on them with an air of reverence.
“Your turn,” she mouthed and leaned forward to lift his shirt over his head. Starting at his neck, her eyes traveled all the way down to the top of his pants, reveling in every rock-hard delicious inch of him. She then stood, kicked off her shoes, and slowly shimmied out of her jeans and thong.
“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever fucking seen,” Will exhaled before he could stop himself. The words took on a life of their own. He reached for her hips and pulled her closer to him, kissing her between her legs first gently, then more hungrily. She was so incredibly wet as she moaned and bucked against him.
“Not yet,” she managed, “I don’t want to finish yet.” She pulled away, sitting back down on the couch on her knees.
“Get over here then.” He undid the button on his jeans and unzipped the fly, then lifted himself up with his hands just enough. Scottie folded herself forward and grabbed the waistband, tugging his jeans and briefs down his legs until they bunched at his ankles. But instead of sliding them off his feet, she pushed him back away from the couch and got down on her knees in front of him. She was completely naked, vulnerable and laid bare as she leaned forward to kiss his right thigh, then his left. She took him in her mouth and used her hand to stroke him as she went. Watching her was incredibly erotic, his upper body shivered, goosebumps prickling down his arm. He could feel the heat in his neck. He might not be able to sense the direct contact, but his body was clearly experiencing the pleasure in the best way it could. He realized he’d grown hard in her mouth as she slid off him, returning her lips to his right thigh. Alternating between his legs, she left a trail of kisses across almost every inch of them, all the way down to his feet as she lifted them to free them from the bundle of clothing, placing them carefully, just as he liked them, back on the footplate. He went red with the tenderness of it all, his heart aching for Scottie in a way that it never had before. He couldn’t believe he almost let her go. The despair of losing her was so close and so familiar he had to actively bat it away.
“What?” he asked her, as she stood, her gaze rising as she did, her mouth slightly open, eyes glassy. She smiled sadly and shook her head. He was so sexy—all of him—and she’d thought she’d never see him ever again. Swallowing hard, and hoping against hope that this was the last and only man she’d ever sleep with again, she slid gingerly over him, taking his full length inside her. He remained hard as she slid down and onto his lap, wrapping her legs around the barely there backrest of his new chair. Her toes brushed his lower back, tickling the extra sensitive skin north and south of the border and Will quaked wonderfully, leaning into her as she pressed up and down with her hands on his pushrims. He slid his hands under her thighs and helped to lift her up and down, going faster and faster until she started to shudder and gasp. He found her clitoris and worked it gently as she moved. She tugged at his ears with her teeth, using her tongue to trace edges. He wasn’t able to come, but he still felt when he’d reached his peak—it was just different, a pressure and heat in his chest and a release throughout his body as all his muscles—functioning and nonfunctioning—seemed to release. His knee started spasming as Scottie came, loud and beautiful.
They remained there, intertwined with each other, fitting into each other’s nooks and crannies like they’d been sculpted as complements. Will kissed the top of Scottie’s head, inhaling the scent of her—sharp and peppery, with a saltiness that only came after physical exertion. She had her arms wrapped around his neck and her legs were still roping his torso, keeping it tight against her.
“Bed?” she asked quietly.
“Pizza?” Will countered with a smirk. He realized, quite suddenly, how hungry he was. She returned his expression and nodded.
“Pizza in bed,” Scottie suggested.
“Good compromise,” Will chuckled as he rolled them backwards and pivoted. “Don’t move a muscle. I’ve got you.”
“I’ve got you, too,” she promised, kissing him on the neck with swollen lips grazing his sweat slick skin. She then laid her head on his shoulder and tightened her grip on him, her smooth hands sliding up and down his powerful back as they moved across the apartment as one.
The next morning came as next mornings often do—quickly, harshly, and brightly. Scottie’s eyes fluttered open and she had to take a moment to orient herself. The light was still cold, so it must have been early, but she was wide awake and humming—and she was in Will’s bed. Will’s. Bed.
Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes again and relished the feel of his sheets—the same sheet’s he’d had when she’d woken up a year ago in the same place, hungover as all hell, unsure of where she was, assuming it was Queens, with no recollection of the man who’d carried her home. She was knocked sideways with how far she’d come since then.
The mattress creaked as Will stirred. With flushed cheeks, Scottie rolled over to face him, their faces, once she’d settled, only inches from one another.
“Hi,” she whispered through swollen lips.
“Hi,” he reciprocated, reaching for her face. His rough hand cupped her cheek then brushed her hair behind her ear. Silence wrapped them up, but it wasn’t awkward. It was comfortable and wanted. Scottie closed her eyes and took a deep cleansing breath. It felt like this was more than a one-time thing. The energy between them was palpable and she wanted it to last forever, but she wouldn’t put herself out there. She couldn’t. It had to be him.
Pulling her toward him, Will tucked her head under his own and pressed his nose into her hair. The smell of her hadn’t changed at all and his shame rushed at him so fast and angry that he lost his breath for a second.
“I’m so sorry,” he exhaled. Scottie tensed against him, and he held her tighter in response, pressing every inch of her against him. He wished he could feel her legs intertwined with his, but just knowing they were there was enough.
“I should have never doubted you,” Will whispered. Scottie inhaled sharply, but stayed quiet. She didn’t know what to say, and she wanted to give him the space to express what he needed to—what she needed him to.
“I know you never cheated on me,” he continued. “I just couldn’t handle everything. Finding out what Cory had done,” he hesitated and shuddered. It was now Scottie’s turn to pull him closer. He leaned into her, fitting into the curves of her body.
“Finding out what he had done, what Kristin had done, it gutted me. I was hollow. I had nothing left to give.” Scottie scrunched her eyes closed and felt the oppressive heat of a rising sob unrelenting against her eyelids, her throat, her chest.
“And finding out you’d been with my friend without telling me. You’d been with this person that put me in this fucking chair. This person that conspired with the woman I thought I’d marry. This person who’d kept it all from me?” He muffled a choked sigh, the pain unfurling like fiery ribbons in front of them. “It was too much. It was just too much.”
“I forgive you,” Scottie heard herself say, it rose out of her like a knee jerk reaction, and the second it was real and vibrating in the air, she knew it was true.
“That’s the interesting thing. It was easier to forgive Cory and Kristin than it was to forgive myself. I spent the better part of a decade trying to make peace with myself. And when I think of all that wasted anguish and wasted time it makes me sick. If I had known it was Cory behind the wheel from the beginning, I could have moved forward so much sooner. I could have found a way to love this altered version of me rather than resenting it.”
“Will,” Scottie cooed as she traced the scar down his spine, intimately feeling the bumpy raised line that had defined so much of his life.
“I could have been better for you,” he exhaled with sorrow.
“No, I…I…I…should have been better for you,” he stuttered so quietly, Scottie barely heard it. Turning her head, she looked up at him as her heart pounded against her rib cage. His eyes were glassy, and his lower lip was quivering.
“Will.” She’d only said his name but a thousand words passed between them. All the days they’d been apart melted into a blurry mess in the background. He sighed and pressed her against him again. She savored the sensation of his smooth skin against her cheek.
“If I can’t be everything for you physically, then I need to be everything for you emotionally, mentally, spiritually…I don’t want to be damaged goods,” he continued as a salty tear slipped down his cheek. Scottie, pulled back from his grasp and considered him. Pressing her thumb into his skin she wiped the rogue droplet away, her dark nail polish glinting in the light from the window.
“Will,” she whispered, “we’re all damaged goods.” He exhaled and closed his eyes, kissing her on the top of the head. “I love you,” she continued without a hitch, “always will. No matter what damage you think’s been done.”
He parsed her words and her tone with precision. She meant what she was saying. And he was struck with the sudden and ironclad knowledge that he wasn’t her consolation prize. He was her everything. She would choose him every day, over everyone else, for the rest of her life. And he would choose her.
“I love you too,” he said after a long moment. Scottie didn’t reply, and they laid in the warm bed, holding each other as time stretched and pulled around them. When Will finally spoke again, he had no idea how long they’d been like that, but he didn’t want to move.
“Be my girlfriend again,” Will asked.
“Yes,” Scottie replied.
“Be my family,” he plead without desperation, there was only warmth and love in his voice.
“I already am,” she answered without thinking.
“Be my wife,” he persisted without skipping a beat. Scottie heard the words and let them ruminate for a second with glorious wonder.
“Tell me when and where,” she replied finally and resolutely, glancing up at his baby blues. He drew her up to his face and kissed her with the kind of passion she’d missed like oxygen.
He considered holding back on what he was about to say, but couldn't help himself.
"Today,” he rasped when he pulled away, his hot breath mingling with hers.“City hall.”
"Today,” he rasped when he pulled away, his hot breath mingling with hers.“City hall.”
Scottie gave into the grin she’d been saving from him ever since he closed the door on the crumbling heap she’d been all those months ago. She scooted up so their noses were lightly touching and the only thing she could see were his perfect wild eyes. Eyes she never wanted to look away from. This was her person and the joy she felt rushing through her at a clip was beginning to spill out of every crevice. She couldn’t hold it in any longer as she reached for his face with both hands, pressing her palms against the warmth of his cheeks.
“I better find myself a dress, then Mr. Nash.”