The One - Chapter 6
I looked down at my phone in shock. I slowly looked towards John and struggled to keep any emotions off my face. “And? What did you both say?” asked John impatiently.
“Well I apologised and told him the chair makes no difference. I then went on to explain that I’d really like to be friends if nothing else,” I said. John nodded his head and smiled. “Oh no don’t get excited,” I replied. “He totally rejected everything. Told me it’s better off if we pretend we never met.”
“The stubborn son of a. You do know why he’s saying this. It’s to stop himself from getting hurt. Well let’s see if he’s as brave face to face. Grab your stuff I’m bringing you to ours,” directed John. I looked at Clare for reassurance, she nodded her head and gave me a warm kind smile. I quickly put on my shoes and followed John to the car.
In the car I was unnervingly quiet. My mind was in overdrive. What if the chair did make a difference? What if I did now pity him? Could I act the same way with him? John seemed to read my mind and said, “The chair does take some getting used to but he’s still the same old Ben. The one you got on so well with in the pub just remember that. One bit of advise, don’t ask him if he needs help and avoid staring at his chair. He’ll take both acts as pity.” I just sat there nodding as we pulled up outside a fairly large detached bungalow.
I heard John return and it sounded like he wasn’t alone. There were muffled voices inside the lounge and I wondered who it was. I slowly wheeled as quietly as I could along to corridor until I recognised the voice. I froze in my tracks. Why was she here? Couldn’t she take no for an answer? Instantly, I looked down at what I was wearing because I knew in any minute they could both walk through the door. I was relieved to find I was wearing some sweat pants that covered my legs apart from my feet. My feet didn’t look too bad on the foot rest but I knew it was a different story when they didn’t have the foot rest for support. My toes had started to droop on their own accord.
Suddenly, the hall door swung open and there before my eyes was John looking extremely pissed off. “Right you arsehole, you’ve one minute to be out there and sort this out with Sophie. She doesn’t deserve this shit from you,” he explained. I nodded to him and slowly rolled through the door into the living room. I turned around and John said, “I’ll be in my room. Please think carefully about what you are going to say, she’s not Jenny.”
The hall door opened and it seemed like forever before anyone came through it. Just then Ben appeared dressed in a pair of baggy grey sweatpants and a navy blue T-shirt. I looked up at his face and I was shocked to see his eyes were blood shot and he had dark circles under each eye. “Rough night?” I asked whilst placing a fake smile on my face.
Ben smiled back and said, “You could say that. Sophie I.”
“No stop there,” I jumped in. “I really am sorry if you thought I looked at you in disgust. That honesty wasn’t the case. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t shocked because I was. But to me you are still the same Ben from the pub. The same super sexy guy with the most amazing blue eyes.” Ben laughed and told me to shut up. “Seriously the chair doesn’t make a difference to me. Yes I’m bound to slip up and put my foot in it or insult you in some way without realising it but that’s because I’ve never known anyone in a wheelchair before. Can we pretend that you were introduced to me in your chair and be friends? At least to start with!” I replied.
I looked down at my legs. Suddenly feeling very unsure about myself. “You know even a friendship with me will be hard. Some days I’ll be down, we won’t be able to go or do a lot of things you do with your other friends and I hope I won’t always be like this but at the moment I can take a lot of things the wrong way,” I explained.
“This all stems down to Jenny?” Sophie asked.
“Great! Loud mouth told you all about her I see,” I stated.
“No not at all. He mentioned she left you not long after your accident because she couldn’t cope so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what that would do to you,” said Sophie.
“Yes it messed me up pretty bad. If my girlfriend of 7 years couldn’t bare to look at me what hope did I ever have of another woman finding me attractive? God I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this but after if you want to leave the doors over there and I won’t judge you. Jenny left me 10 weeks after my accident. At that point I’d only been able to sit up for 2 weeks and I was in a hell of a lot of pain still. I had to wear a brace that went from my shoulders all way down to my hips so even the basics like sitting up had to be done with aides. I was that weak I had to be strapped into my chair to stop me from falling over. Don’t know how but Jenny had managed to miss all my hygiene routines until one day she was there when the nurse came to change my nappy. I.. I.. I don’t have to wear one now this was early days,” explained Ben who went red in the face and looked extremely embarrassed. “Well that day I’d shit myself. Yes definitely not a highlight in my life but there was nothing I could do about it. Jenny’s face went yellow and she excused herself and didn’t come back for nearly a week. When she did come back she called it off. She explained how she was disgusted when she looked at me. How she wasn’t a carer and didn’t want to be with an overgrown baby and the best part how I should have died in the crash because all I was ever going to be was a burden to people.”
“The cow! She’s an evil bitch! Don’t you ever listen to her,” I spat feeling extremely angry. “You are better off without her and she better hope I never see her.”
“You can see now why I don’t have much confidence. I’m sure it will come back but for the time being I need to concentrate on me and not a relationship. I would like to be friends if you still want that?” I asked.
“Of course you silly idiot,” Sophie replied. And with that she stood up from the sofa and sat herself on my lap. She tightly wrapped her arms around my neck, gave me a peck on the cheek and whispered into my ear, “I’m going to do everything in my power to prove to you that you are more than enough of a man for any woman.”