Jordan and I sat in an embrace for a few moments and eventually we let go off each other. His eyes were on me and I held his hands in mine. I scanned his face and he smiled at me weakly.
I realized how Jordan now looked more like back at the hospital again, dealing with a battered and broken body and a life that seemed like a dead end. His expression was sad.
My heart wanted to burst at looking at him, I felt an overwhelming urge to be there for him.
I moved closer to him. Jordan’s eyes flickered nervously as my face was right there by his face. I moved my hand up to his cheek and he flinched at my touch. I gently let my fingers run over the side of his face. Jordan’s dark eyes were fixed on me, they were glistening and questioning.
His lips pulled me in and I imagined being a lot closer to Jordan.
Just as I was about to push my lips onto his, Jordan turned his face away, lowered his eyes, and he shook his head, “I can’t, Shay.”
I backed up from him, wondering what was wrong.
He said almost inaudible, “I’m sick…I can’t…”
When he looked up at me again, his expression was weary.
I didn’t have to ask the question, because he answered it already, “I have an infection.”
In an attempt to figure out what he was talking about, I tried to assess the possibilities for infections Jordan could be suffering from pertaining to his addiction. I only faintly knew about these things and I tried to remember if Troy or Kim or even Dr. Marcus had mentioned anything at the hospital about Jordan’s health other than the addiction. They hadn’t told me anything specific really, which was understandable, as I was not related to Jordan in any way. My mind was racing at what Jordan could be referring to.
Jordan moved away from me; our hands lost the connection between us.
“I’m sorry, Shay.”
I stared at him and afraid of the answer he would give, I asked nervously, “What kind of infection?”
He now swallowed again and cleared his throat, “Hepatitis C.”
I opened my mouth to speak but really didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know anything about this.
It seemed like an invisible gap opened up between us, a gap that could possibly keep us apart physically.
I asked with a trembling voice, “What does that mean?”
Jordan lowered his eyes and stuttered, “I’m not all…all the way sure. I’m on medication…for it. I…I don’t know…I think it could be contagious…”
I couldn’t help a slight worry overcome me at having hugged Jordan. I didn’t know how contagious an infection like this was. In my mind I already planned to read up on this and educate myself.
Just like Jordan read my mind, he stammered, “I think only with blood…I don’t know if it is with kissing and stuff…I’m so sorry Shay.”
I was disappointed, but at the same time this revelation made me realize that I had no idea about Jordan’s health and that I had been naïve in thinking I could be with him close and intimate. I knew nothing about his health and condition. Just because he was sitting there on my couch like a regular guy, looking somewhat healthy momentarily, didn’t mean anything. I took a deep breath in realizing how naïve I had been, thinking Jordan and I could be a normal couple. I longed for being close to him but I had been trying to push off the reality of our connection. Jordan could be dealing with all kinds of health issues that could endanger me just the same. All the fantasy images of Jordan and I being very close now seemed to blur in my mind, letting me realize once again the truth of what I was dealing with in being with him.
In the past I never had to worry about any of my ex-boyfriends dealing with infections and serious health problems. I never had to think about the possibility of any of them actually dying from some disease they were tormented by. I had dated regular guys. I had dated men who were fit, young, and strong. Our lives had been fun, healthy, and we had been couples living good lives, being intimate and enjoying sex.
My ex-boyfriends didn’t have bodies that had been plagued by various health issues or had been dealing with constantly being sick or unhealthy. I sat there and looked at Jordan again, and in my mind, I reprimanded myself on how I had to snap out of it and see what I was actually doing. This situation with Jordan was completely different from what I had ever known. And I was scared that this realization would actually persuade me to stay away from Jordan and let all this go again, forget about him and move on with my regular life.
Thinking about these things, tears had come up in my eyes again. I was with a man I couldn’t even kiss, let alone get any closer than maybe a hug.
Jordan had lowered his eyes and stared at the beer bottle between his hands. I hadn’t missed that he had shifted over some, moving away from me slightly. He was picking the label on the bottle, swallowing the lump in his throat.
I hesitantly asked, “Why do you have the infection and how long have you had it?”
He seemed reluctant to answer but replied with a scratchy voice, “I’ve had it for a couple of months. I’m on meds for it…and hope to get over it again. I’ve had shots against the A and B. I’ve had the C before, it…it could become chronic. It’s from…”
He stopped and took a trembling breath before he added in a slightly frustrated tone, “It’s from dirty needles…most likely…”
A tear ran out of my eye and I stated, “So we can’t kiss?”
When Jordan looked up at me, I realized the glistening in his eyes had turned into tears.
He spoke softly, “I’m so sorry Shay. I don’t know but…I don’t want anything to happen…” He took a trembling breath, “I don’t want you to get sick.”
He stopped and bit his lips. He set the beer bottle on the table and placed his hands on the couch next to his hips.
He attempted to straighten his back some and with his head hanging, he said, “I…I should have never…have never come here. This was…it was not a good…idea.”
He sat there and I saw him take quick breaths. I didn’t know what to say really.
Jordan didn’t look at me anymore and just sat there like he was about to get into his wheelchair. I touched my hand to his shoulder blade.
He flinched slightly but he didn’t look at me.
He didn’t react but I could sense his desperation.
I swallowed my tears and said, “It doesn’t matter to me, I don’t have to kiss you. I’m just happy you’re here and next to me. I don’t want you to leave or even consider that all of this was a bad idea. This wasn’t an idea, it wasn’t anything we chose, it just happened. I saw you, I wanted to get to know you, and fate has brought us together. We didn’t plan this; we didn’t know this was going to happen. It just happened and I’m thankful that it did. Is it going to be easy – no, probably not. I’m scared as hell and I don’t know how we’ll manage, but I just know I want you in my life, Jordan. It doesn’t matter that maybe right now we can’t kiss because you’re sick. I’m glad you told me. We’ll just go reverse…we’ll start at the part where couples usually end, in sickness…and we’ll work our way back to the part where couples usually start out…in health. I will read up on this stuff you’re dealing with, on the infections, on the addiction, and I want you to do your part so we have a chance. It may not seem like we do, but I think we do. It just takes a lot of strength from both of us.”
I pressed my fist to my mouth and I tried to keep my emotions under control but I could barely hold it together. I tried very hard to sound like I was ready to take this on. I wanted Jordan to believe that we could do this, no matter what was going on with him.
“Jordan, I don’t know how it’s all going to be, but I do know that I want to be in your life and…I want you to be in my life some way or another. Please don’t give up on us already, before it has even begun all the way.”
I had to stop talking because my voice threatened to break under my emotions. And Jordan just sat there, hunched over, his hands by his sides and swaying slightly. I saw his body rise and fall as he was taking breaths and I saw a tear drop down from his face and it landed on his jeans, leaving a tiny wet spot. He didn’t say anything.
I moved closer to him again and let my hand run over his trembling arm, “I’m here for you and me not being able to kiss you right now, is not going to stop me from wanting you near me.”
I now moved myself directly next to him and with my hands wrapped around his arm I nestled my head onto his shoulder and said softly, “This infection is not going to stop me from caring about you. I’m not that easily deterred and I’m tougher than I look.”
I now laughed softly and Jordan also couldn’t help a soft laugh and eventually turned his head and looked at me from behind his hair.
He had tears in his eyes, “Shay, I’ve been dealing…with all of this stuff for my whole life. You’re the first and only person who cared for me in this way ever. I don’t know why…and how you’re in my life…but maybe this…maybe this is my last chance…”
Some more tears ran down and dripped onto his jeans. He now took a deep breath and he attempted to push his spine straight. Instead though he let himself fall back onto the couch and when he looked at me, a few tears were still running over his cheeks.
I added, “Jordan, if you let me, I’ll be there for you, no matter what happens. I can be next to you when you can barely make it and I can be behind you when you feel okay. I can be in front of you when you are weak and I can be on you when we need to be close. I can stay away if you need distance but I want to be near you always. I’m willing to do anything to help you and change your life from how dark it has been to something brighter and better. If you want the help, I’ll get it for you. And if you don’t want the help, I’ll understand but I want to be by your side, no matter how much it hurts.”
I gently touched my fingers to his arm, feeling the little bumps and uneven surface of his skin.
We looked at each other for a few moments and I smiled at him, trying to cheer up the bleak situation, “It really does suck that I have a boyfriend now whom I can’t kiss.”
We both laughed and Jordan nodded.
He wiped over his face, then turned serious and moved his hand to my face, stroking his fingers over my cheek and whisking long, wild strands of my hair behind my ear. His eyes scanned over my face and he smiled again.
Jordan then said, “I hope it goes away…the infection. When they did my labs the other night, I still had it but I’ve been on meds for it for about four months now. Sometimes it can take a long time.”
I nodded, “It’ll go away again. I’m sure of it.”
Even if I sounded naïve, I wanted to be positive and I felt like I had the strength and motivation to deal with this.
Jordan’s dark eyes were scanning over my face as he gently let his fingers run over my cheek and my neck.
He glanced at my hand on his arm and said softly, “Even with touching me, you should probably be careful if there…” He stopped and took a deep breath, “If there are like open…open wounds. You should wash your hands.”
I sat up and looked at his arm and my fingers tracing over his skin.
Jordan swallowed and looked at his arm and he stuttered, “I think…I think my arms are okay right now. It’s just with blood…like that can cause…”
He stopped and took a deep breath again and as I moved my hand away from his arm, he lowered his eyes and mumbled more to himself, “Fuck!”
He obviously was frustrated with his situation and I thought about everything that was going on. I felt how an enormous wave of hopelessness wanted to come over me, but I was fighting against it. I couldn’t kiss Jordan, I couldn’t really touch him or had to be careful at least. I had clearly seen all the punctures of needles in his skin along the inside of his arm and even on top of his hand. I wanted to believe that we had a chance though, that we could make this happen, but his revelation of the infection was seemingly another set-back. I didn’t know what to say and just sat there thinking about everything.
“I’m so sorry, Shay.”
I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at him. I wanted to say something motivating but I couldn’t come up with anything.
Jordan mumbled, “I should’ve never come here.”
I now took a deep breath and I touched his arm again and he glanced over at my hand on his arm.
“Jordan, don’t ever say that again. I don’t want to hear that anymore. You’re here and it’s good you’re here. We’ll figure it out. I’ll be careful and I will get information about it so I know how to act. Don’t worry anymore, we will figure it all out.”
Jordan looked at me and nodded with a weary smile, saying softly, “You’re a very stubborn person, aren’t you, Shay?”
I pushed his dark hair out of his face again, looking at him with a smile, “I am known to be stubborn, yes…I don’t give up that easy.”
Jordan laughed softly and then turned serious, “How can I be so lucky to have met you, Shay?”
“I told you it was meant for us to meet, Jordan. I’m going to go with that.”
Jordan smiled and I added, “I guess I should buy some Latex gloves so I can touch my boyfriend.”
We both laughed now and I moved closer to Jordan again and hugged him.
He held me to him and mumbled into my hair, “So…what is this about a boyfriend?”
I looked at him and now was serious, “Isn’t that what we are now, girlfriend and boyfriend? At least that’s what I would like us to be.”
Jordan now nodded and replied, “I really want that too but it won’t be easy, Shay.”
“I know that, but I’m ready. I like you a lot, Jordan.”
“You’re like a dream to me that I never want to wake up from.”
I smiled, “The thing is though; it’s not a dream. You’re awake Jordan, and I’m awake more than I’ve ever been.”
He wrapped his arms around me again and I pressed my body to his. We sat there in an embrace, just feeling our hearts beat in unison next to each other and feeling a very deep connection that I would have loved to seal with a kiss, but I was willing to wait for that day and until then I would be by Jordan’s side while he got better.
We held each other for a while until we let go again and just sat next to each other. I grabbed Jordan’s beer from the table and handed it to him. He thanked me and took a sip from his beer. He kept it between his hands on his lap. I drank some water. I rested my head on his shoulder and we just sat there.
His legs were constantly twitching and as I glanced at them, I asked him, “Do you not want to take any meds for it?”
“No, it’s all right. I deal with this all the time. It’s really the least of my problems.”
I glanced over at his wheelchair, “So where did you get the wheelchair?”
“I got it while at Rehab. My physical therapist there knew about my situation and he organized it for me. I didn’t have to pay for it or anything. I don’t have insurance. It’s not a new one and it squeaks and is not very advanced but it does get me from place to place. I can’t afford a new one so I just have to make do with this one.”
“What all did they teach you in rehab?”
“Well, they taught me the basics I guess but when you don’t have assistance or anything, it’s not easy. Being out on the streets in a wheelchair and paralyzed is not exactly safe. Everyone kinda has to fend for themselves, including me. Doesn’t matter that I’m in a chair, I basically had to figure stuff out on my own out there.”
I asked him, “So your stuff is all at the place where you’re staying in a tent.”
“Everything I own is in that back pack out there.”
I asked softly, “Your clothes and everything?”
He nodded, “Yeah, I don’t own a lot. I have a few extra clothes. It’s all stuffed in there. My meds, my supplies, everything.”
“It’s getting too cold out there for you.”
Jordan swallowed and nodded, “I try to stay in the shelter when it gets too cold. Even if I can’t get a bed or anything, at least be inside where it’s warm.”
With a trembling voice I remarked, “People die out in the streets during winter.”
Jordan shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah, but winters here are not that severe. Last year was mild and I know spots where it’s warm enough.”
I nestled myself closer to him, “Your hands were ice cold when I first saw you out there. You were shivering.”
Jordan looked down at his hands and fingers like he was inspecting them, “I guess I’m used to being cold.”
He now laughed softly, “And last year in the fall and winter I spent a few times in the hospital because I was sick, so I had a bed and it was warm at least.”
His factual blunt statements surprised me, “No one should have to live like that.”
Jordan sighed and as I was looking at him, he now ran his hands down the length of my hair, stating softly, “That’s the only way I’ve known for a long time, Shay. And when I wanted to change things in my life, I got shot.”
I had heard bitterness in the words of his last sentence. His dark eyes were glistening and he scanned over my face.
As he kept running his fingers through my hair he said, “Your hair is soft, you’re beautiful, Shay.”
I smiled, “I don’t feel very beautiful right now with my head injury and my foot.”
Jordan now smiled again. His smile was beautiful, it caused wrinkles in the corners of his dark eyes. Surprisingly his teeth were good considering his life situation.
He then said, “You’re still beautiful, even with the injury. Why did you have to run and fall though the other night?”
I debated if he was joking and I replied joking, “I felt like it was the only way to make you stay by almost dismembering myself. And even though I’m stubborn, I’m also clumsy. “
I loved hearing Jordan laugh and looking at him when he did. My heart skipped a beat and for a fleeting moment he seemed to be happy once again.
He replied, “Well, it definitely worked; you had me worried though. But yeah…it worked. You made me turn around after all.”
He took a breath and added, “And then everything went downhill from there.”
I thought about that evening and how worried I had been about him too.
I said softly, “You had me very worried too and I felt very helpless. I didn’t know what was going on with you.”
He moved his fingers from my hair and lowered his eyes.
I looked at him from the side, “I was worried when you…when you had the seizure.”
He didn’t look at me but was staring at his hands in his lap again.
I wanted to know more, “How often do you get them?”
Now he looked back at me and he shrugged his shoulders slightly, “Sometimes I don’t have any for…for months, other times I get them almost daily; I can’t really say.”
“What do I need to do if you ever have one when I’m there?”
He answered softly, “I’ve meds in my bag. But most of the times the seizures only last a few minutes or so and there is not much you can do. It’s good when someone is around to kind of watch me but I’ve had them in the middle of the night out on the street when I’m by myself…”
I scanned over his face, “Is it dangerous?”
Jordan seemed to think for a moment, then he looked back at my face, still running his fingers through my hair, “It is I guess…but there’s nothing I can do. I take meds for it to keep it at bay but…every once in a while something can trigger it. I’m still here, so…”
He took a deep breath and I whisked some dark strands of hair from his eye, “Are you not scared for your life?”
Now he looked at me intensely, “I don’t’ think about being scared for my life, Shay. I’m actually kind of surprised that I’m still here.”
I bit my lips and my eyes travelled over his face and to my surprise he smiled at me and said, “Every day I am alive is another day of survival.”
This sentence stunned me in a way because it made obvious what Jordan was dealing with every day and at the same time it also made it apparent to me once again what I would be dealing with. I felt a distant fear inside of me but Jordan pulled me from my thoughts.
“Now I have a reason to keep going every day.”
I nodded and said softly, “I don’t want anything to happen to you Jordan.”
He didn’t reply to that but we were distracted with Jordan’s legs shaking more severely.
Jordan pressed his hands on his thighs to hold his legs down somewhat but I could see that it didn’t really work.
I shifted and moved closer to him and asked softly, “May I?”
Jordan’s eyes scanned my face, “Sure.”
He moved his left hand away from his left leg and it hopped up and down vigorously. I gently rested my hand on his thigh and even though I pressed my hand down slightly, it didn’t stop his leg from vibrating under my hand and I felt a tingling in my loins at this.
Jordan had laid his head back on the couch and watched me as I held my hand on his leg.
I stated softly, “Your legs are shaking a lot.”
“It’s normal for me.”
I looked up at him for a moment, “It really doesn’t hurt?”
Jordan shook his head, “I can’t feel my legs with actual pain or anything. It’s just really my whole body is in a constant…”
He sighed and finished, “In a constant thing…I guess.”
I added, “Is it because of the drugs?”
“A combination of everything I guess, the paraplegia and the drugs…I don’t know…just everything.”
“You don’t want your spasm medication?”
Jordan shook his head and watched as I slowly rubbed my hand along the top of his thigh. The vibration of his legs travelled into my hand and really up my arm and into the rest of my body, causing me to take quicker breaths.
Jordan’s eyes were on me but I didn’t want to look at him. Touching his leg excited me and it felt wrong to me that it did. He moved his right hand away from his right leg and it caused that leg to hop up and down quickly, just like his left leg. I scanned his baggy jeans and his crotch right there, both his legs trembling and hopping.
Jordan now said softly, “You said you knew a lot about paraplegia.”
This made me nervous. Earlier I had been able to somewhat dodge more questions pertaining to this but Jordan apparently had not forgotten. I barely nodded.
Jordan shifted some, I couldn’t look at him. His eyes were curiously on me.
Jordan now touched my arm, “So what all do you know?”
I let my hand run over his leg and took a deep breath, “A lot I guess.”
He inquired, “So why have you always been interested in it?”
I pressed my lips together and shook my head before I answered, “I don’t know.”
He now put his hand on my hand on his leg and asked softly, “Do you like this; the spams?”
My heart beat speed up, I was nervous having this conversation but I managed a small nod.
I couldn’t look at Jordan and he then said, “Look at me Shay.”
I slowly moved my eyes up and I saw the questions in his eyes.
“I’m okay with it, Shay. I’m okay that you like it.”
He now moved his hand up to my hair again and let some strands run through his fingers.
“What else do you like about my being paralyzed?”
It was difficult for me to focus and Jordan said, “Tell me Shay.”
I looked away again and over to his wheelchair parked next to us by the couch.
I bascially whispered, my voice had no power, “I like to see you transfer.”
“What do you mean?”
I shrugged my shoulders, and explained still very softly, “Like when you transfer from your wheelchair or into your wheelchair. I also like seeing you push the rims and getting around in the wheelchair.”
He kept his eyes on me and they were full of questions. I glanced at his legs. They were still shaking in his lose fitting faded jeans. He followed my eyes and looked at his legs, then back up at me.
“Have you been with a paraplegic guy before?”
I took a deep breath, “No.”
He shifted his position and lay over to the side some, pulling me up and saying softly, “Lay with me.”
I was surprised at this but moved my hand from his trembling leg and moved up next to him. My heart was beating fast and I took some deep breaths. Jordan wrapped his arms around me and pulled me up to him. We halfway lay on the couch, Jordan’s legs trembling next to my legs and sending sensations of a certain type into my loins. I was taking quicker breaths and as I nestled my face next to his head and took in his scent and the warmth of his body.
We looked at each other and I let my hand run over the side of his face, feeling the thin stubble of his beard under my fingers.
Jordan said softly with his eyes on me, “So I’m your first para?”
I nodded, letting my fingers run over Jordan’s neck, over his shoulder, and down over his biceps.
I felt the vibrations of his legs next to mine and Jordan’s breathing quickened when I replied, “Yes, you’re my first in a lot of things.”
He smiled, “Is it bad that I like that?”
I smiled at him and shook my head.
I pushed myself further up and lay on Jordan now, he was under me, his head on a pillow and we looked at each other. His dark eyes scanned me as I let my hand run over his face. His lips were thin and his cheek bones were visible. Jordan was skinny and even as I lay on him, I felt his rib cage through his T-Shirt. His dark hair was somewhat long and messy on his head, but still smelled of shampoo.
I felt such a strong urge to kiss him but I knew I had to be careful. Jordan’s hands ran through my hair and down the strands hanging over the side.
He said softly, “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Shay.”
I smiled shyly.
There were some faded tattoos along his arms and with my fingers I felt the uneven skin in the crease of his elbow. I saw dark shades of bruising around some of the punctures on his arms and on top of his hands. At closer inspection I made sure that the punctures were closed as I let my fingers run among them like an obstacle course.
I sat up some and let my eyes focus. I could clearly see that his arms were covered with many small sores mostly in his arm crease and even down the inside of his forearm to the top of his hand. Both his arms were covered with the punctures of countless needles that had penetrated his skin with the drugs that his body craved.
Jordan just lay there and watched me inspect his arms. I was sad looking at this and when I looked up at him, he moved his eyes away from mine. He didn’t stop me though when I put my hands to his dark T-Shirt and gently pulled it over his head now. I now could make out a few more faded tattoos that covered his upper arms. Even though there was no layer of flesh on him really, his pectorals were well defined, his ribs were showing but his upper body appeared fairly strong so did his biceps and triceps, most likely strong from the transfers and pushing his wheelchair for the past seven years. With being so skinny the veins in his arms were protruding through the skin, I could clearly see the tendons of his muscles and there were puncture scars and wounds everywhere.
Jordan looked malnourished. His belly was hollow. My hand travelled down to his hips. His jeans barely hung on his protruding hip bones.
Our eyes met as I looked at him. The whole time his legs were still twitching and I felt them on my legs. I had been careful with my foot because it still hurt. Jordan put his hands to my hoodie and with a quick questioning look from him I nodded at him and I let him pull it over my head exposing the tank top I wore.
He ran his fingers over my arms and I watched him. My arms were smooth and healthy compared to Jordan’s arms.
As his fingers traced over my arms, I asked him softly, “So does it hurt?”
“When you shoot up. Your arms.”
He only nodded but didn’t say anything.
“Does it hurt when I touch it?”
He shook his head now and said softly, “Not when you touch it gently but you probably shouldn’t really touch it too much.”
I ran my fingers over his arms some more. I felt the scars and the puncture wounds and I felt my heart beat fast. I kept running my fingertips over his chest, looking at the tattoos that portrayed scary looking mythical creatures with glowing eyes. They radiated an aura of how he possibly lived and felt about his life.
He said softly, “My body is messed up. I’m sorry Shay.”
I touched my hand to the side of his face and Jordan opened his eyes.
“You don’t have to be sorry. I can see you have been through a lot.”
He didn’t say anything right away and then mumbled, “I’m actually running out of places to shoot up.”
I had never in my whole life thought about anything like this but now seeing Jordan lying there in front me, paraplegic and with so much pain surrounding him in the form of his past and his present, I felt so drawn to him like I had never felt drawn to anyone before. My brain was in overdrive and my emotions for him were running wild. He had so much pull on me and he had had that pull from the moment I had first seen him. It was Jordan’s body and thinking about his paraplegia and all the pain he endured on a constant basis that drew me in with full force. It was the broken body of a man who had been living on the edge of society for a long time.
Softly my fingers ran over his arms and over to his chest and down to his flat, hollow belly.
A soft fluff of dark hair covered his pectorals around his nipples and I saw the same dark hair starting below his belly button and running down disappearing underneath the waist band of his jeans and boxers, which were showing some.
I felt a constant slight tremble radiating from him, like his body was charged with a kind of electrical current that ran through him the whole time.
We looked at each other. Jordan had not been taking charge in going any further than what I did. His eyes were on me, he only let his hands run down my hair. He softly ran his fingers over my skin. In his eyes I saw sadness but also admiration.
I sensed his hesitation to take it up a notch and the fact that he wouldn’t kiss me and I couldn’t kiss him really saddened me. I was with a guy I couldn’t even kiss but I knew that I really shouldn’t be reckless when it came to this. I didn’t know everything Jordan dealt with when it came to his health but he had been honest and sincere with me about his Hepatitis infection. I had no real grasp on the extent of such an infection and if and how contagious it would be. I couldn’t take a chance and I knew that Jordan wouldn’t let me kiss him.
The way this relationship formed was anything from what I had ever known. Jordan drew me in completely. I looked up at him and his eyes were scanning over my face.
“Shay, I…I…I don’t even know what to say.”
He took a deep breath, “I haven’t been with anyone in a long time. I’ve been too busy just trying to make it, you know. And since…since I got shot, the…I didn’t know if I would ever…actually be with someone, not that there are lots of options out there in my world. Most people I know are addicts, alcoholics, or criminals. There is usually no mingling between us and…regular people…people like you.”
I watched him and listened as he said these things.
I gently let my fingers run over his neck and he pressed his lips together and then continued, “I really don’t know how to act.”
My fingers ran over his cheek and I said softly, “You’re fine. You don’t have to act in any way. I’m happy you’re here with me, that’s all.”
I smiled at him and now let my lips come down on his cheek and kissed him. I felt Jordan take a deep breath under me. I nestled my face onto his naked chest and his arm was around me.
I was tracing with my finger over his chest, “I care about you so much Jordan.”
I felt him take another deep breath and he then said softly, “I never want to be without you Shay. I have never felt the way I feel about you for anyone before in my life. I knew you were different the moment I saw you, when you looked at me, different than everyone else passing by me every day. I just didn’t think I would ever see you again, let alone imagine being anywhere near you because our worlds seemed so far apart, too far to be connected in any way. But here I am, with you and I feel so many things right now. I’m also scared because I don’t know if I can make you happy.”
I felt how his legs were twitching on and off and let my hand run over his hollow belly. I felt the distant pain of my head injury, numbed by the pain medications I was on and I also felt the pulsating of my sprained ankle which I had carefully been moving around.
I pushed my head up and looked at him and his eyes were glistening again.
A tear slowly ran down my cheek but I smiled, “You already make me happy.”
He shook his head slightly and kept running his hand through my hair and then wiped the tear away with his thumb. I rested my head on his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around me again.
Having had all the conversations with Jordan had left me exhausted and melancholic in a way but at the same time it had also made me realize how much I cared about this man. I never wanted to be without him and I would do everything in my power to get him help if he wanted it.
Jordan’s hand was softly running over my back. His heart beat next to my face and when I glanced down, I saw his legs tremble. As I ran my hand over his belly and along the waistband of his jeans, I knew he didn’t feel any of it but in return I felt even stronger about him. This made me feel things, made my mind race, made my heart skip beats, and I was sure Jordan would bring me to my knees with the way he was.