Sunday, May 31, 2020

Update to My Ex's Wedding

Hi all!  Here's an update to my story.  The one last week was on the shorter side, so this one is on the longer side!

Chapter 4

Table of Contents

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Building Love Final Chapter Finally



Hello everyone!

So I've noticed there hasn't been much activity in the blog lately. (Thank you Annabelle for publishing again.) So I thought I should seize the opportunity and finally publish the ending of a story I published 4 years ago. Yeah, 4 years ago. So I published all of 15 chapters of Building Love and then stop short of writing the final chapter. I’m so sorry about that. At the time, I ended up in the hospital for a long time, and then… well, let’s just say that life -or maybe my psychological issues- got in the way.

Anyways, I finished the novel about a year ago and then never published it for some reason. But now, here it is. I hope some of the older and very loyal readers still remember Building Love. If not, here’s the Table of Contents so you can read it from the beginning. I know I hold dear some of the stories that have been published here and I haven’t forgotten them over the years.

So, without further ado, I give you the final chapter of Building Love with all my love and a big apology for the extremely long wait.

I really hope you enjoy it:

Isabel and Eli had a terrible fight when Isabel found out that Eli had considered she might be with him over money. Can they fix things and fulfill the love they have been building?





Building Love Final Chapter


Friday, May 29, 2020

Update to Not Gay

I swear I planned to update last week, and then I went swimming instead (In a completely socially-distanced fashion of course. The lake was ice cold and no one else was stupid enough to get into it. I spent the rest of the day shivering in the RV, wearing three layers of clothing, while outside kids were playing in shorts). Now, with some delay, dev-geared dirty talk and still a little damp: Chapter 17!

Lovis
TOC

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Update to My Ex's Wedding

Hi all! Thanks so much for the comments and enthusiasm last week.... it means so much to me.  Here is:

Chapter 2

And if you haven't read it yet, here's Chapter 1.

Monday, May 11, 2020

My Ex's Wedding: Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Exciting News

Hi readers of my stories, 💖
I am happy to announce that I finally did it; published my first ebook for Kindle on Amazon.
This is a big deal for me as it's something I would have never imagined. I also thought that I wouldn't be able to figure it out or do it at all. But I was up for the challenge and Covid happened. I will always remember this time of Covid19 as the time I took the leap of diving into my writing and publishing my first novel.
As some of you know, I have been writing for a long time and I have been learning so much by writing and studying grammar rules and things like that.
I am a middle aged woman, English is not my first language, so it was a big deal for me to even take the leap and start posting stories on the Devotee Fiction Blog a few years ago. I have evolved in my writing abilities, I have learned so much; my English teacher Mrs. Schmitt would be so happy and proud of me. She would possibly also be a little bit shocked what I'm writing about. 😀
I know I am not perfect; this is my hobby, but if some people enjoy my stories, my heart couldn't be happier. I have exceeded my own expectations and abilities of myself.
Writing has been a tool for me to process my devness and it has been a tremendous outlet of lots of things.
I will get better and I will have to work over and remaster all the stories I have posted on the Fiction Blog; I plan on publishing all of them. I will keep on writing and have lots of ideas still in my head or already started writing on other stories. This is one the best gifts to myself for Mother's Day.
Anyways, here is a link to my book on Amazon, check it out, download a sample or look inside to get a glimpse.
Thank you to all my Blog readers over the years who enjoy my stories and have followed along. All of you have meant so much and you are part of the reason I am doing this.
So I leave you with this link and hope you will enjoy "Will Love Prevail" once more, edited and worked over to my best ablities and for your reading pleasure.
Sending you lots of love and virtual hugs,
Yours, Dani 😘

Will Love Prevail-Dani-Deveaux-ebook

Sunday, May 10, 2020

New Story from Annabelle: My Ex's Wedding

Hi all!  I heard things were dying down on the blog, so I decided to post this novel I wrote a couple of years ago.  I hope you enjoy it and are staying healthy!


Alex

“The wedding is in four weeks.”

Isabelle is watching my face as she speaks.  She’s talking to me in a slow, sweet voice, like I’m some kind of fucking mental patient.  Lot of people speak to me that way these days, but I don’t expect it from Isabelle.  She knows me better.  She should, anyway.

Or should I say, she used to.

“We’re having it in Las Vegas,” she goes on, as if I had responded in some way.  A smile touches her lips but not her eyes.  Isabelle turned thirty a few months ago, but she doesn’t look any older than she did when we first met. I, on the other hand, hit the big three-five six months ago and immediately noticed a few strands of gray at my temples. 

But let’s face it—that’s the least of my problems.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Devo Diary completed

Hi again, in case you missed it, last week I posted the final chapter of Devo Diary. Huge thanks again to everyone for reading and commenting, especially to the people who have been reading from the beginning. Thank you!

For anyone who is new or just finding Paradevo for the first time, Devo Diary is my memoirs of my dating life through my 20s and 30s, trying to find the disabled guy of my dreams. I changed the names and some identifying details but it's all completely true. It's been a very rewarding experience to write it all down and share it, to get something positive out of so many terrible, misguided relationships. I wrote it so that other devs might learn from my many mistakes and to show what dating as a dev is really like. So many of us have similar struggles but if we don't share, we would never know it.

Here is the updated Table of Contents with links to every chapter. Or you can click the tag Devo Diary, or scroll down to the dates, starting with December 2010. 

I'm sorry to be ending my regular posts when the site is going relatively quiet. I'm working on another historical novel but I'm not going to post anything from that until it's finished, which will take a while. But I hope other dev authors will start posting. And of course you're welcome to join the message board. Thanks again, and see you round!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Last Chapter - What It Was

Hi my favorite readers, 💖
wow, it has been a journey once again. I have felt deeply writing this story and it has sometimes taken lots of emotional energy, but I loved every minute of it. When I first jotted down the idea for this story I never imagined it would also turn into a full on novel.
I am thankful for each and everyone of you wherever you are in this world for reading my story and following along until the end. 🤩
I had thought about writing a longer last chapter but came to the conclusion that not much had to be said anymore and with that I have only written an Epilogue to What It Was.
So with this, I thank you again from the bottom of my heart and give you Epilogue What It Was Let me know your thoughts one last time. I hope you enjoyed another story of mine.
I'm now going to focus on finally realizing my publishing dream and I hope that if you like my style and my stories, you will stay with me as I make my first fully edited book "Will Love Prevail" available on Kindle for you very soon. I will let you know here when it launches.
Lots of Love, 💕
Hugs, Dani

Table of Contents "What It Was" TOC What It Was

Friday, May 1, 2020

My Ex's Wedding, Chapter 9

Alex

 

Parker Ashmont.

Parker fucking Ashmont.

I haven’t heard his voice in four years, but somehow, I have no problem recognizing it. He’s usually the loudest guy in any room, and he talks like he knows more than any of us. I was one of the few people who used to call him on his bullshit—most people didn’t have the guts. But I was never afraid of guys like Parker. That asshole was all talk.

“Hey!” Parker’s voice carries across the Coffee Bean from wherever he’s standing. “Giant wheelchair! That’s gotta be Alex Warner!”

And then he’s in my line of sight, standing right in front of me. I haven’t seen the guy in four years, but he hasn’t changed much in that time. Same broad shoulders, same blond hair, clipped slightly shorter than it was last time I saw him, maybe a couple of extra lines on his face, but who’s counting?

His hand drops onto my shoulder, one of the few places I can still feel. I want to tell him to get his hand the fuck off me, but I bite my tongue.

“I can’t believe it’s you, man!” Parker says. “Shit, it’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

I tear my eyes away from Isabelle, who is still looking shell-shocked, and force a smile. “Yeah, it has.”

Parker takes his hand off my shoulder and drops into the seat next to Isabelle. He swings one arm around her shoulders, and maybe it’s my imagination, but she seems to flinch. He plants a big, sloppy kiss on her cheek. “You two having fun catching up?”

“Uh huh,” Isabelle manages.

Parker swings his attention back in my direction. “I swear to God, Alex, I never thought you’d show up here in a million years. I told Izzy you were messing with her when you said you wanted to come.”

“Well, here I am,” I say.

He narrows his eyes, looking me over more carefully. I’ve seen very few of my old coworkers from Coleman since my injury, and the way he’s looking at me makes me grateful for this. I see him looking at my immobile legs in the footplate, the straps holding my body in the chair, my arms lying quietly on either side of me, and finally, at the sip and puff controls.

“That’s some machine you got there, Warner,” Parker says. “How fast does that thing fly?”

“Five miles per hour,” I say.

He nods. “Not bad.”

My wheelchair is technically capable of going five miles an hour, but my controls set the default maximum speed at two-and-a-half miles per hour, so that’s the fastest I ever go. I had a few minor collisions (mostly with inanimate objects), and I got nervous when I was going much faster than that. It’s not a bad speed—slower than a brisk walk, that’s for sure, but it’s the right speed to keep pace with my elderly parents when I’m out with them. I do sometimes notice Doug slows down to keep pace with me, and so did Nellie, but that’s fine. It’s not like I’m ever in a hurry.

“How does it work?” Parker asks. “Are those the controls by your face?” Without asking, he grabs the sip and puff tube with his hand. What the hell is wrong with him? I have to put that tube in my mouth, and now he’s gotten his greasy fingers all over it. “Do you bite it or something?”

“I blow in it to move forward,” I explain.

Thankfully, he lets go of the control, but he’s twisted it to the side. I’m not entirely certain I’ll be able to reach it anymore. I want to check, but I don’t want Parker and Isabelle to watch me flailing around, attempting to grab the tube with my mouth. I’ll deal with it when they leave, when Nellie is back here to help me.

Parker is studying my face in a way that makes me uncomfortable. “I heard you’re living with your parents. That must be rough.”

“It’s fine,” I mumble.

He lets out a guffaw. “Bullshit. If I had to live with my parents, I’d be going batshit crazy.”

“It’s fine,” I say again. “My parents are nice.”

“Yeah, well.” He shrugs. “If you ever feel like you need to get away, gimme a call. We’ll go get drinks.”

“Thanks,” I say. I have no intention of ever calling him and he knows it.

“Or Izzy.” Parker nudges Isabelle. “I bet she’d be happy to drive out to Long Island and hang with you. Right, Izzy?”

“Sure,” Isabelle says weakly. I remember how much she hated it when he called her “Izzy,” and here they are, about to get married, and he’s still doing it. Is it possible she’s changed her mind?

Parker tips back in his seat, just staring at me. It’s rude. It’s fucking rude. Who stares at someone like that? I’m not a freak in a circus. If he hadn’t moved my controls, I’d be backing myself out of here. But the more I look at the controls, the more convinced I am that it’s out of my reach. I’m stuck.

“You know, Warner,” Parker says, “I really admire you.”

I don’t like where this is going. “Yeah?”

“Oh yeah.” He nods vigorously. “If that happened to me—if I couldn’t move my body like you, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to go on. I’d have gone to one of those euthanasia centers.”

“I don’t think they have those in this country,” I mutter.

“Well, I would have gone to Amsterdam or wherever the fuck they are,” he says. “I’m just saying, I wouldn’t have been able to cope. But look at you.” He flashes me a smile that shows all his perfect, white teeth. “You’re out in public, took a plane to fucking Vegas, going about your life in that bigass chair. I admire you the hell out of you.”

It’s the classic Parker backhanded compliment. I admire you, because if I were in your shoes, I would wish I were dead. I look at Isabelle, who recognizes how incredibly insulting her “sweet and sensitive” Parker is being, but she doesn’t say anything. No surprise there.

I want to tell him where he can shove it, but no. I need to be civil. Not until I’ve done what I need to do here.

Not until he and Isabelle are over.

“I’m sure you’d get used to it,” I say. “Just like I have.”

“No,” he says firmly. “I couldn’t do it. You got real cojones, Alex. I mean it.” He laughs. “Even if you can’t feel your cojones anymore.”

My face burns—that was too far. “Fuck you, Parker,” I spit at him.

He laughs harder. “Don’t be so goddamn sensitive. I’m just messing around with you.”

I want to punch him. I want to do it so bad, it’s amazing to look down at my right hand and see it hasn’t moved at all. It seems like the anger I have for Parker should surpass any sort of spinal cord injury. This seems like the miracle moment in the Hallmark movie where the guy all the doctors swore was paralyzed forever somehow leaps out of his wheelchair and punches the bad guy square in his perfect, Aquiline nose.

But no. I’m still paralyzed. I’m not going to punch Parker in the nose. Not in this lifetime.

“Parker,” Isabelle says before I can tell her fiancé where he can shove it, “we should probably get going soon. We’re meeting everyone at the karaoke bar at six.”

“We’ve got time.” He waves his hand. “Alex, you ought to come. Karaoke. Lots of hot girls there. Some of them can probably even be bought. Wink, wink.”

“Actually,” I say tightly, “I’ve got a girlfriend.”

Maybe it wasn’t a mistake to tell Isabelle that Nellie was my girlfriend. In any case, I already did it—may as well use it.

“No kidding!” Parker grins at me. “Warner, you dog. You still get around, don’t you?”

“She’s really sweet,” Isabelle says quickly. “I met her when I got here.”

“Sweet, huh?” His grin broadens. “And when do I get to meet this sweet girlfriend of yours?”

Never. I don’t want Parker to ever lay his eyes on Nellie. And if I can persuade Isabelle she’s making a mistake before the wedding, I won’t have to.

 

 

 

 

Nellie

 

I should probably get back to Coffee Bean.

It’s been about forty-five minutes. Is that long enough for Alex to tell Isabelle she’s making a mistake and for her to tell him as kindly as she can that she’s still going ahead with the wedding? Because honestly, there’s no chance he’s talking her out of it. She’s getting married in two days. She’s not going to call it off. No way. He’s deluded.

Anyway, I’m heading over there. I’ve already lost ten dollars at video poker.

When I get to Coffee Bean, I immediately see Alex’s wheelchair through the glass of the door. He’s facing away from the door so I can’t see his face, but I assume he’s the only person in the vicinity in a large power wheelchair with a headrest. And Isabelle is sitting across from him, an uncomfortable expression on her face. And sitting next to Isabelle, with his hand slung around her narrow shoulders, is…

Parker Ashmont. Chief Douchebag

Why the hell does Chief Douchebag have his arm around Isabelle?

Oh no.

Oh no.

I search my brain, trying to remember if Alex ever told me the name of Isabelle’s fiancé. Unlike him, I have a good memory for names. But nothing is coming to me. I don’t think he ever told me his name. All he said was that it was an asshole i-banker who’s been cheating on Isabelle.

Oh my God, Isabelle is engaged to Parker.

Whoa.

I stand a few paces away from Coffee Bean, unable to move. I can’t believe this. The guy who grabbed my boob and got me fired is the groom. I want to turn around and walk in the other direction. I can’t face Parker. I never want to see the guy again.

Did Alex know Parker was the one who got me fired? Is that why he never mentioned the groom’s name? Doug knew it, so it makes sense Alex would know too.

That jerk.

I should storm off. That’s what I should do. I won’t leave Vegas, but I’ll let Alex sweat a bit. Make him find his own way back to the damn room. He can call his lying brother to come help him open the door. That will teach him a lesson.

Or…

Or better yet, I can tell Isabelle I’m not really his girlfriend.

That will really teach him.

I finally make up my mind and push my way through the door to Coffee Bean. I stride over to the table where the three of them are chatting. When Alex sees me, a look of such utter relief and happiness comes over his face, my resolve falters. But no, he lied to me. That is not cool. God knows what other surprises are in store for me.

“Wednesday?” Parker blinks a few times in surprise when he sees me. “What are you doing here?”

My stomach turns. I thought I’d never have to hear Chief Douchebag call me “Wednesday” ever again. I’m going to make Alex pay for this one.

“This is Alex’s girlfriend,” Isabelle says brightly.

“Actually,” I begin. “I’m not—”

Wednesday is Alex’s girlfriend?” Parker interrupts me.

Alex has a deep crease between his brows. “You two know each other?” He looks up at me, his gray eyes narrowed. “How do you know each other?”

Wow, I almost made a terrible mistake.

Alex had no idea I knew Parker. It’s clear from looking at his face—nobody is that good an actor. Now that I think about it, if he’d known, he probably would have used that information to keep me from coming on the trip, considering he didn’t want me here in the first place. Doug’s the liar.

“Parker’s the one who got me fired,” I say. I look directly into Isabelle’s pretty blue eyes. “He grabbed my boob while I was waiting on his table.”

Alex’s mouth falls open. “Parker’s the guy who got your fired?”

It gives me no small amount of pleasure that Alex and Isabelle are looking at him with equal expressions of anger and disgust. Hey, maybe I’ll be the one to break up the wedding.

But no, Parker is way too smooth to take the heat for this. He flashes that grin of his at his fiancée. “Look, Izzy, everyone is making such a big deal out of this.” He shakes his head. “All I did was brush against her chest, and suddenly, she’s pouring a huge glass of beer over my head. Don’t you think that was an overreaction?”

“You grabbed my boob and squeezed!” I practically shout at him. A few people turn to look at us. Well, good. I don’t mind a scene.

Parker turns his attention in my direction, apparently deciding he might be able to placate me. “Look, Wednesday, I’m sorry you interpreted it that way—”

Oh, no fucking way. He’s doing the non-apology apology.

“No, Parker,” Alex snaps at him before I can give him an earful. “Don’t tell her you’re sorry she interpreted it that way. Tell her you’re sorry you did it.”

There’s a hard look in Alex’s eyes that I’ve never seen before. He might not have the ability to take a swing at Parker anymore, but it’s clear there’s some unspoken threat behind his words. I wouldn’t want to cross a guy looking at me like that. And from the way Parker is shifting in his seat, it’s obvious he feels the same way.

“Fine,” Parker says. “I’m sorry I grabbed your tit, Wednesday.”

“No,” Alex says. The intensity in his gray eyes makes my chest flutter. “Call her by her real name. Nellie.”

“Jesus Christ,” Parker mutters. “Okay, okay. I’m sorry, Nellie.”

I look at Alex. His face relaxes and he winks at me so fast, I almost miss it. I can’t even believe it—he got Parker to apologize. Damn, this boy has skills. Maybe he can get me my job back.

Isabelle looks up at me with a pained smile. “I’m afraid Parker and I have to leave in a minute. We’re meeting some friends.”

“What a shame,” I say, without bothering to hide the sarcasm in my voice.

Now that he’s managed to spit out an apology, Parker is back to being his old charming self again. He’s smooth, that one. I can see how he managed to sucker a girl like Isabelle into marrying him. She’s pretty, but I’m willing to bet there isn’t much going on upstairs. “You two should join us,” he says. “We’re going to do karaoke!” He says “karaoke” with what almost sounds like a Spanish accent.

“I don’t think so,” I say.

“Aw, come on.” His grin widens. “I apologized, right? I had no idea you were Warner’s girlfriend. If I knew, I would never have joked around with you that way.” He sees the hesitation on my face and adds, “Look, the first round of drinks are on me.”

I glance over at Alex. His eyes are pinned on Isabelle. “No, thanks.”

Parker looks like he’s going to say something more, but then he shrugs. “Your loss. We’ll be there at six, if you change your mind.”

“Got it,” I say. Now get out.

I don’t start breathing normally again until Parker and Isabelle have gone out the door. I watch them to make sure they’re gone, and it’s hard to miss the lecherous look Parker gives me just before the door jingles closed. Ugh.

“I can’t believe he’s the guy who got your fired,” Alex mutters. “Just when I can’t possibly think any less of him…”

“Well, it’s not like any of his buddies at the table stood up for me,” I say. “Including your brother.”

Alex sucks in a breath. “Jesus. That’s how you met Doug…”

I nod. “Yeah, and it would have been nice if he had warned me…”

He’s quiet for a moment. Eventually, a smile spreads across his lips. “I can’t believe you dumped beer all over his head. That must have been awesome.”

“Until I got fired, it sort of was.” I almost reach out and put my hand on his, but I draw back at the last second when I remember he won’t be able to feel it. “Thanks for making him apologize.”

Somebody had to.”

Right. And that somebody had to be Alex. Alex, the hero. The guy who saved his fiancée from a mugger and is paying the price of spending his life strapped to a wheelchair. The amazing part is I don’t even think he regrets it. He isn’t happy about his situation, but he doesn’t regret saving Isabelle.

“So how did it go with Isabelle?” I ask.

“I messed up.” He sighs, leaning his head heavily against the headrest. “Parker walked in, and I just blurted out that he was cheating, but I didn’t have time to say anything else. I don’t think she believed me.”

“I think you’re right.” Isabelle was clinging to Parker’s arm as they left the restaurant together—not a sign of a woman about to call off her wedding. “Honestly, Alex, you’re wasting your time. She’s never going to leave him.”

“I’m not giving up yet,” he says firmly. “I need to get her alone again.”

I don’t try to talk him out of it. As if I could. And anyway, the truth is, now that I’ve realized Isabelle is marrying Parker, I want to stop this wedding too. Maybe not as bad as he does, but I don’t think Parker deserves a happily ever after. Getting dumped right before his wedding would be the perfect punishment for him.

“You know,” I say, “if we go to that karaoke bar, I could sit next to Parker and try to get him to hit on me. If Isabelle caught him trying to kiss me…”

“No.” Before I can even complete my thought, Alex is glaring at me. “You’re not doing that. No way.”

“But it would convince Isabelle that—”

“I said no.” His jaw twitches. “I’m not letting you prostitute yourself. Forget it. There’s got to be another way to convince Isabelle.”

I don’t know if it would be prostituting myself exactly, but I see his point. I’m not excited about allowing Parker to put his slimy paws all over me again either, even if it’s for the greater good.

“Fine.” I chew on my lip. “But, you know, it might be fun to go to karaoke. I haven’t done that in years.”

He frowns at me. I’m almost certain he’s going to say hell no, but then a smile touches his lips. “Are you saying you’re going to sing if we go?”

I return the smile. “Curious?”

“I can’t say I’m not…”

“Let's do it then!” I clap my hands together and he laughs. “But can we go upstairs first? I’m cold and I want to grab a sweater.”

“Sure,” Alex says. “Let me just…” He leans forward in his chair and tries to grab at the sip and puff control with his lips, but somehow he can’t reach it. Usually, it’s so close to his face, he barely has to move his head to get at it. He strains at the strap across his chest, trying desperately to reach it. After realizing his problem, I reach over and move it a few inches closer.

“Thanks,” he says gratefully. He makes a face. “Parker moved it.”

“Why am I not surprised?” I roll my eyes. “Is it in a good place for you?”

“Uh…” He leans forward and tentatively puts his lips on the tube.  But he’s able to bring it closer to himself on his own at this point. “Okay, this is good. Thanks.”

“No problem.”

He hesitates before putting his lips back on the control. “Also, thanks for going along with the girlfriend bit. I know what I said before, but… well, thanks.”

“Hey, that’s what Doug is paying me to do.”

“But don’t feel like you have to, you know…” He lowers his gray eyes. “I mean, you don’t have to touch me or anything.”

“I don’t mind touching you,” I say. That’s a big understatement. All day, I’ve been looking for excuses to touch him.

He smiles wryly. “I feel like such a loser,” he sighs. “Having to pretend I have a girlfriend…”

“You could have a girlfriend if you wanted.”

He gives me a look like I’m out of my mind. He has no clue how hot he still is. He hasn’t even tried to put himself out there. It’s understandable and all, but until he does, of course his self-esteem is going to be low.

I almost say all that to him, but I don’t. It’s none of my business.

 

 

 

Alex

 

This karaoke bar was a mistake.

It’s too crowded. Too loud and too crowded. And everyone is drinking too goddamn much. Also, there are too many young people around.

Wow, I sound like an old man. I swear, I’m only thirty-five. I’m not ready for the retirement home yet.

“Smile,” Nellie whispers in my ear.

I force the tiniest of smiles. She swore she wouldn’t leave my side without asking first. If she did, I’d start panicking. Nellie’s presence is the only good thing about being here. The other bad things include Parker sitting directly to my right, Isabelle next to him, and then a bunch of other guys I used to know from Coleman, all of whom stare at me bug-eyed, then tell me how fucking fantastic I look.

“I can’t believe you got me to agree to this,” I hiss at her. “I must have gone temporarily insane.”

She giggles into her hand. It’s cute how she does that. Nellie—my fake girlfriend. If only she were my real girlfriend, instead of the paid help. I wish when she touched my shoulder, it was because she liked me and not because she’s putting on a show.

“This round is on me!” Parker calls out to the table, as a waitress comes by and distributes a bunch of whiskey shots to each occupant. “Everyone take one!”

Christ, Parker is in his late thirties and acting like a college frat boy. But because everyone always does what Parker says, they all take a shot glass and down their drinks. Including Isabelle, who shudders at the taste of it. But I can tell Parker is pleased, because he rewards her with a big, sloppy kiss that makes me look away. I never kissed Isabelle that way. He kisses her like he’s a dog who’s happy she got home from work.

“Warner!” Parker snaps. He’s pulled away from Isabelle and is now holding up one of the shot glasses. “You didn’t take a shot.”

“No, thanks,” I mutter. I’m on a lot of medications that don’t mix well with alcohol.

“You used to be able to hold your liquor, Warner.” Parker’s lips curl into a smile. “You got soft.”

Yes, I used to be able to match Parker shot for shot. Friday night was drinking night when we were at Coleman. I’d throw back three or four drinks and barely feel it. I never worried about how much I used to drink, but in retrospect, it was a lot. It’s not like I ever got blackout drunk or did something irresponsible while drinking, but another twenty years of it would have probably done a number on my liver.

“Not everyone needs to get shit-faced to have a good time,” Nellie speaks up. She didn’t do her shot either.

“Well, la dee da,” Parker laughs. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you skipping out on your shot too, Miss Nellie.”

I glance over at Nellie, who is glaring at Parker. “You can take a shot if you want,” I tell her.

She eyes the glass. “Only if you’ll do it with me.”

I hesitate. I like the idea of taking a drink with Nellie. One shot is probably okay with my meds. My tolerance may be shit, but I don’t think it will make me drunk. I don’t want to get drunk—I’d need Nellie to steer me home if that happened.

“Okay, sure,” I say. “Just one.”

Nellie grins. She grabs her own shot glass and downs it in one quick gulp. Christ, she looks sexy when she does that.

Then she picks up my glass and holds it to my lips. This is the first time Nellie has given me something to drink, since I was pulling off the long straw from my water bottle while we were having brunch. She does her best, but half of it still ends up splattered on my shirt. She grabs a napkin off the table and quickly dabs at my chin and shirt. I don’t have to look up to know everyone at the table is gawking at me.

But a few minutes later, I feel a sensation of warmth go through my whole body, even the parts I can’t ordinarily feel. And just like that, I’m not quite as bothered by any of it anymore. Even the idea of being in this karaoke bar with Isabelle and fucking Parker.

“Izzy.” Parker nudges Isabelle. “You should get up there and sing.”

“No, thank you,” she says. “I’d prefer not to make a fool of myself tonight.”

“Baby,” he says, “you could never make a fool of yourself.”

For once, I agree with him. Isabelle would be classy cleaning the toilet.

“Maybe I’ll sing something,” Nellie speaks up.

“I’d love to see that,” Parker says, giving her a look that makes me want to hit him.

Nellie ignores him and smiles in my direction. “What do you think I should sing?”

I smile back at her. “I don’t know. ‘Baby Got Back’?”

“Alex!” She swats at my arm. She’s doing a good job acting like she really is my girlfriend. “What are you saying?”

“Well, what do you want to sing?” I ask her.

“I don’t know. Maybe something by Green Day. They’ve always been my favorite punk band.”

I gasp. “Nellie, I’m going to pretend you didn’t just call Green Day a punk band.”

“Um, they are a punk band,” she says. “They popularized punk rock music.”

“Yeah, and that, by definition makes them not punk.” I shake my head at her. “Punk music is loud and aggressive and anti-establishment. The Sex Pistols are punk music. The Clash is punk. The Ramones are punk. Green Day—mainstream.”

“No way.”

“Nellie, they played a Green Day song at my fucking high school graduation,” I say. “You don’t get more mainstream than that. At best, they’re pop-punk.”

She whips out her phone from her purse and starts punching in keys. After a moment, she holds it up in triumph. “Look here! Wikipedia says Green Day is an American punk rock band.”

“Ooh, well, if Wikipedia says it’s true…”

Nellie lets out a loud huff. “Isabelle, was he always this opinionated?”

Isabelle, who has been quietly observing our dispute, smiles shyly. “Yes,” she says. “He thinks he knows everything.”

I do know everything. Okay, fine, I don’t know everything. But I know a lot. More than most people. Moreover, I know how to act confident. Confidence can make up for a lot.

I’m not that way anymore. How can I be confident when I need help with every tiny little thing? But I know Green Day isn’t a punk band.

“I’m not saying I don’t like Green Day,” I say. “Just that they’re not punk rock.”

She pokes me in the shoulder, in a place I can feel. “What’s your favorite Green Day song?”

I remember what she said when we were waiting in line for brunch—Nellie loves playing the Favorite Game with guys she likes. Or apparently, guys she’s pretending to like. Although for a split-second, I wonder if it means something more.

Don’t be stupid, Warner. Look at the girl. Out of your league by a mile.

“Probably ‘When I Come Around,’” I say.

“I like that one.” She nods. “Maybe not my favorite, but…”

“So what’s your favorite of Green Day’s many pop-punk songs?”

“Probably ‘Holiday,’” she says.

“I approve.”

“Good to know.”

Parker ordered a bunch of appetizers that all arrive at our table at once. It looks like he got just about everything on the menu: curly fries, normal fries, onion rings, nachos, wings, stuffed mushrooms. I look at the array of food and my stomach growls. I’ve eaten nothing since our brunch, and I’m hungry. Nellie looks at the food and raises her eyebrows at me.

I quickly shake my head. No. No way. I don’t care how hungry I am. It doesn’t matter if I hadn’t eaten in a week. I’ll be damned if I let her feed me in front of Parker. I’m sure as hell not letting her put a bib on me.

I’ll eat later, when we’re upstairs. Maybe Doug can feed me.

Everyone else digs in with gusto. The food smells really good. I’m so fucking frustrated. Everyone else in the world can feed themselves like it’s nothing. It’s exhausting to rely on other people for this basic task.

Nellie picks up a French fry and she’s giving me a look. I can tell she’s itching to feed it to me. I mouth the word “no.” She mouths back, “Come on.” I shake my head again. She doesn’t get it. She really doesn’t.

And that’s when she stands up. At first, I assume she’s going to the bathroom, so it shocks the hell out of me when she sits down right on my lap.

I’ve seen photos before of women sitting down in their wheeler boyfriends’ laps, but this is the first time I’ve ever experienced it. And the truth is, it’s nice. Nellie wriggles up against me, her small body pressed against mine, her right arm around my shoulders, squeezed into the gap between my neck and the headrest. Her face is inches away from mine, and I can smell the whiskey on her breath.

I love how close she is to me. I love the way this feels.

I hate that she’s being paid to be here. I hate that after this trip, I’ll probably never experience this again. Well, unless I’ve got another two-thousand dollars burning a hole in my pocket.

Nellie puts the fry near my lips. I try to grab it, but she pulls it away, teasing me with it. She giggles, then brings it closer again, this time allowing me to take a bite. I’ve been fed hundreds of times now, but this is the first time it’s ever been sexy. It’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed it.

I’m not worried everyone at the table feels sorry for me, that’s for sure.

There is one thing I am worried about though. What Nellie is doing is turning me on like crazy, but since the connection between my brain and my dick is severed, I don’t have to worry about getting a boner from her sexy game with the French fry. But I do have to worry that her curvy ass on my cock is stimulating it, and therefore giving me a hard-on.

I probably get two or three erections each week—not that I’m keeping track. I started getting them again maybe two months after my injury. The first time was when I was getting sponge-bathed by a sixty-year-old nurse. She was wiping down my junk, and all of a sudden, my dick was standing at attention. I almost cried with relief—I’d never gotten up the courage to ask, but I’d assumed I was impotent since I couldn’t feel the damn thing. But my dick wasn’t dead. It was alive and well, albeit a little confused.

Four years later, my erections are a pain in the fucking ass. You think I want to get a woody when my mom is bathing me? I don’t. And every time I get a new PCA, I have to explain I don’t have any control over it and swear they’re not turning me on. One of these days, one of them is going to slap a sexual harassment suit on me for something I can’t control. If I were ever to have a girlfriend, I’m sure I’d be grateful for them, but considering that’s not anywhere on the horizon, I could do without them.

In any case, I hope I don’t have a boner right now. I can only imagine Nellie leaping off my lap, horrified.

She feeds me a bunch of fries, some onion rings, and a stuffed mushroom. She doesn’t attempt a buffalo wing, which is a wise choice on her part. I have a feeling my wing-eating days are over. Her face is only inches away from mine the whole time, her pink lips parting each time she smiles.

If she really were my girlfriend, she’d probably lean in for a kiss right now—that would be a natural thing to do. But that won’t happen today. Even though we’re paying Nellie, she won’t kiss me during this trip. Kissing is off the table. She made it painfully clear.

Christ, this is frustrating.

“All right,” Nellie says, after she’s stuffed me with food for the second time today. “I’m going to go pay my dollar to do a song.”

I grin at her. “Yeah? What song?”

“That,” she says, “is a surprise.”

And then she hops off my lap, scurrying in the direction of the stage. I watch her, because how could I not watch her? She looks so sexy in those tiny jean shorts…

“Nice ass.”

I glance over at Parker, who said the words just softly enough that Isabelle probably didn’t hear. He’s grinning at me as he watches Nellie make her way to the stage.

“Shut up, Parker,” I mutter.

“What? She does have a nice ass.” He punches me in the shoulder. “I always thought so. I can’t believe you landed her.”

 I won't dignify him with an answer.

“You always had a thing for waitresses, didn’t you, Warner?”

“She’s not a waitress,” I say. “She’s a comedian. She just waits tables on the side.”

“Oh yeah?” Parker looks impressed. “No kidding? How did you meet her, anyway?”

I decide to stick with something close to the truth. “I went to one of her shows. After it was over, I went to find her and tell her how great she was. We got to talking and… well, she gave me her number.”

“Niiiiiice,” Parker says. He holds up his fist to bump mine, which I’m sure is an automatic gesture for him and not necessarily meant to make me feel like shit. I hate Parker, but back in the day, I participated in his fist bumps like everyone else. But not today. Not ever again. When he realizes I’m going to leave him hanging, he laughs. Loudly. “Holy shit, look what I just did! I’m sorry ‘bout that, man.”

“No problem,” I mutter.

He takes an onion ring from the table and stuffs it in his mouth, all the while looking at me. “So the whole wheelchair deal,” he says, waving his hand over my body, “that’s all permanent, huh?”

“Yeah,” I say.

His brow furrows. “What about that stem cell shit? Isn’t that supposed to cure anything?”

I can’t even get angry at Parker for suggesting something like that. It’s what I thought when I first got hurt. Stem cells. Why can’t stem cells cure me? Why can’t anything cure me? It took a long time to accept that my paralysis was never going to get better.

“I don’t know.” I shrug. “Maybe someday.”

He grabs another onion ring, but before putting it in his mouth, he hesitates. “You want one?”

“No,” I say firmly. I would happily starve to death before I would ever let Parker Ashmont feed me.

He pats my belly, which makes me flinch. “Well, I don’t think it would kill you to cut back on the onion rings.”

I glare at him. I’m still quite a bit lighter than I was before my injury, but thanks to the lack of muscles to hold in the contents of my stomach, I’ve got a gut I’ll never get rid of. I miss the days when I had a washboard abdomen without even trying. I hadn’t thought it was that noticeable when I was dressed, but Parker has relieved me of that delusion. Thanks, Parker.

“Hey, you know what you need?” he says, his face lighting up. “One of those helper monkeys. You could train it to feed you.”

I don’t even know what to say to that, other than I’m not getting a fucking helper monkey. I’m not even sure those exist. Even if they do, I’m not getting one. I have enough problems without some monkey going crazy on me and scratching out my eyes.

“That’s okay,” I say, feeling suddenly tired. Dealing with Parker is exhausting—I don’t have the energy I used to.

Also, where’s Doug? I hope he’s not looking for me. We made some vague plans to meet up after he was done for the day, but I haven’t heard from him. I look down at my phone, but the screen is black. I wonder what the connection is like in this place…

“I made it through the wilderness…”

The clear voice cuts through the background music, and I turn my head best I can to look at the stage. Holy shit, it’s Nellie. She’s onstage in her little tank top and tiny shorts, belting out Madonna into the microphone. She has a decent voice.

But forget her voice—she’s freaking sexy. My breath catches in my throat as I watch her.

And then she takes the microphone off the stand and starts strutting around the stage. Her amazing tits are bouncing with each step. I know without looking that every guy in the audience is ogling her. Goddamn.

Mental boner. That’s the word for it.

“Jesus Christ,” I hear Parker breathe.

Looks like I’m not the only one getting turned on.

“Look at her,” he says, nudging my shoulder. “I bet she’s a wildcat in the sack, huh, Warner?”

I can’t answer that question. I don’t have any experience with Nellie in the sack, so to speak. And even if I did, I wouldn’t be talking to Parker about it.

Nellie slides down to get on her knees on the stage as she sings, “Touched for the very first time…” I think she’s trying to be funny by hamming it up—she doesn’t even realize she’s driving every guy in the room nuts.

Then all of a sudden, her eyes are entirely focused on me and me alone. It’s like every other person in the room has vanished, and it’s just the two of us.

And she winks.

I hate Nellie right now. I really do. Because up until tonight, I was okay with being single for the rest of my life. I mean, I wasn’t thrilled. But I was fine with it. Yeah, I was disappointed when online dating was a bust, and I got pangs of jealousy when my brother talked about his new girlfriend, but for the most part, I had accepted it. So I wasn’t going to have a girlfriend any time in the near (or far) future. I could deal. There were worse things.

But now…

Now that this crazy sexy girl has sat in my lap, her body pressed against mine, her soft arms wrapped around my neck… now that I’ve watched her on the stage being sexy as all hell, and… shit, that wink she just gave me…

Why the hell did she have to wink? I was okay until the wink.

And now I’m wrecked. All I can do is stare at Nellie Levy, helplessly growing more and more infatuated with her with each gyration of her hips. I’m not okay with being single. It’s not fucking okay that I don’t even have a chance with a girl like Nellie. A real relationship with Nellie Levy? Not even a remote possibility for a guy like me. No way.

Christ, I want her. I want her to be my real girlfriend, not just a fake who’s tolerating me for a cool two-thou. I want her to sit on my lap for the whole night, not just feed me a few fries and hop off. I want her deep purple fingernails to run through my short hair and set every nerve on fire. I want to feel those soft pink lips on my mouth and her tongue massaging mine. I want to spend a night with her and figure out how my mouth is capable of pleasuring a woman.

I want her. I want her so bad, my chest aches.

Quit dreaming, Warner. Look and pretend all you want, but it’s never going to happen.

It’ll never happen. Reality is a real kick in the teeth.

 

 

 

Nellie

 

I get a standing ovation for my version of “Like a Virgin.”

Good deal. I don’t get a standing ovation for my comedy bits. Maybe I missed my career as a singer. Too bad I can’t hold a tune. Well, I’m not awful. But I’m no Alicia Keys. Hell, I’m no Ke$ha. I suspect it was the wagging of my butt that got me the standing ovation.

Meh, I’ll take it.

When I get back to our table, Alex is staring at me like… well, like every other guy in the room is staring at me. His jaw is hanging open, and he has a dazed look in his eyes. Even Parker is giving me that look, which creeps the hell out of me. I don’t need Parker slobbering over me. At least I’ve got Alex’s giant wheelchair as a buffer between the two of us.

“You were great,” Alex says quietly.

The way he’s looking at me… his gray eyes are completely focused on me. Like we’re the only two people in the room. It takes my breath away is the truth. I’ve never been looked at quite that way.

What if I asked him to go up to his room right now, just the two of us?

No, I can’t ask him that. Up until a few hours ago, he was just barely tolerating me. Better to keep things simple. The last thing I want is to antagonize the guy.

“You were fan-fucking-tastic,” Parker chimes in. He gives me that thousand-watt smile I’m sure wins over half the females on the planet, but not this female. “How come someone as sexy as you is dating this loser?”

I run my hand up Alex’s shoulder to the back of his neck. I notice all the hairs are standing at attention. “I like this loser.”

“Well, you could do better is all I’m saying.” Parker lets out a little chuckle. “How did you guys meet anyway, Nellie?”

If there’s one thing I can do, it’s think quick on my feet. Also, I got lots of experience from lying to my parents back when I was in high school. The best strategy is to keep the lies simple and never waver. Before he can see me hesitate, I say, “I was waiting on Alex’s table at a restaurant. We started flirting and… at the end of the meal, I slipped him my number.”

“So that’s how you met.” Parker’s grin broadens. “Interesting.”

I look over at Alex, who seems strangely pale all of a sudden. He coughs a few times, a weak sound that makes me nervous he’s choking.

“So Alex tells me you’re a standup comedian,” Parker says. I can tell he’s trying to get my attention away from Alex, and I hate that it’s working. It’s clear Parker’s good at manipulating people. “Is that true?”

“Uh huh,” I say.

“Are you funny?” he asks. Seriously?

“Of course she’s funny!” Alex manages, although he punctuates it with a cough.

“So, listen,” Parker says. The smile drops off his face and his eyes are focused on me. “This friend of mine, Blake Howard, is coming to the rehearsal dinner tomorrow. You know who he is?”

I shake my head no.

“Blake Howard,” Parker says with authority, “owns half the fucking nightclubs in Las Vegas. And plenty in New York too.”

“He… he does?”

“He sure does, Wednesday.” My toes curl as he calls me by that nickname I hate, but I can’t be rude. Not now. “I’d be happy to introduce you at the dinner tomorrow. You guys are coming, right?”

I glance at Alex, who has a pained expression on his face. But after a moment, he nods almost imperceptibly. “Sure,” I say.

“Perfect!” Parker claps his hands together. “I’m happy to help.”

I have to admit, an hour ago, I was close to pouring another drink on Parker Ashmont’s head. But right now, he’s doing a good job changing my opinion of him. This guy Blake Howard could be the big break I’ve been waiting for. It would be ironic if after costing me my job, Parker could keep me out of waitressing for good. Imagine if I could do comedy full time…

That would be amazing. A dream come true.

I dig around in my purse to google this guy Blake Howard. Except when I pull out my phone, I see there are five missed calls from Doug Warner.

Uh oh.
 
To be continued...

Update to Not Gay

Sorry for the delay! We are currently hiding from this virus in the most remote parts of Utah, with no reception or wifi whatsoever. Hope everyone is healthy and stays strong! Get a little distraction with Chapter 16. Thanks for reading!

Lovis
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