Saturday, August 1, 2020

The F-Word, Chapter 6

Audrey

That was unexpected.

Of all the things I thought I would be doing next week, going to Katie’s play with Blake was pretty low down the list. I would’ve put bungee jumping way above that. I mean, you never know.

And he was being nice when he invited me. Joking around like he used to. I can’t even remember the last time Blake made a joke around me. Part of me is scared it’s some sort of elaborate trap, but that’s not his style. I think he’s genuinely trying to be friends.

I hope it works out. I’m so exhausted with being his enemy.

Patrick and I have dinner reservations tonight at eight. Even though I hate giving up the kids for the weekend, it’s nice having the place to ourselves and not have to worry about a babysitter. I look down at my watch—almost time to leave.  So I go over to the bedroom to let him know.

The bedroom door is slightly ajar. Patrick seems to be talking to someone on the phone, and his voice carries out into the hallway. He seems to be… flirting.  Not that there’s anything wrong with being a little flirtatious—I turn on the charm for my male clients—but then again, it’s Friday night. Who is he having a flirtatious conversation with?

“Great,” he’s saying, “I’ll see you then… can’t wait…”

My breath catches in my throat. Who the hell is he talking to?

I step closer, trying to hear the conversation better, but then he hangs up. Damn.  Who was on the phone? Why is my future husband making plans to meet up with another woman?

“Audrey?”

I nearly jump out of my skin when I realize Patrick has come to the door, and he’s standing right in front of me. His eyebrows are nearly at his hairline.  “Are you ready to go?” he asks.

“Oh.” I brush a strand of my red hair from my face. “Yes… um, who were you on the phone with?”

His eyes brighten. “That was Sasha. You know, the party planner?  Things are going great with your party. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

That doesn’t make me feel even a little bit better. “So… you’re meeting with her?”

He rolls his eyes. “I have to. We’re planning a giant party, Audrey. You want it to be great, don’t you?”

“I guess…” The truth is, I’m still not even sure I want this giant fortieth birthday.  Sometimes when I think about it, I feel sick.

“I came out to talk to you earlier and you were on the phone,” Patrick says. “Who were you talking to?”

“Oh.” I shrug.  “It was Blake. He actually… You’ll never believe this, but he wants to give me a ride to Katie’s show this week. I think he’s trying to be nice.”

Patrick knows how difficult Blake has been lately, so I thought he’d appreciate the fact that we might be making peace. But instead, his eyes darken. “Seriously? You’re going on a date with your ex-husband?”

“No!” I shift uneasily. “Not a date. What are you talking about? I said he’s giving me a ride.”

“But you were married to the guy.” He shakes his head. “And it’s obvious he’s still madly in love with you.”

“Madly in love with me?” I take a step back. “What planet are you on, Patrick?  He can’t stand me.  All he does is yell at me. I’m thrilled he’s extending an olive branch.”

“You’re so fucking naïve, Audrey.” Patrick’s lips twist into a grimace. “He yells at you because he wants you back. He’s mad that you’re with me. You really don’t see that?”

I want to tell him he’s being ridiculous, but suddenly I’m not so sure. Maybe he’s right. After I served Blake with those divorce papers, when I was sure our marriage was over, the first thing he did was call me and beg me to give him another chance. He put me through hell—basically disappearing from all of our lives for months, leaving me to deal with two small children alone, and refusing to take any of my calls. But when I heard his voice break on the other line, I almost took him back.  I considered it. 

Unfortunately, he discovered my dating profile online, and he completely lost his mind.  After that, there was no going back.

I didn’t even want to make that stupid dating profile. One of my friends talked me into it. I had been feeling incredibly depressed about the fact that my marriage seemed to be over, and I was convinced I would never find anyone again. So my friend went ahead and made the profile for me, to prove to me that men could still find me attractive.  Ironically, it was the dating profile that was the final nail in the coffin of my marriage.

“Fine,” I say, “I’ll make it clear to him we’re just friends and that’s it.”

Patrick is still sulking. “Or you could just not go with him at all. You don’t have to have any kind of relationship with the guy.”

I fold my arms across my chest. “Actually, I do. He’s the father of my children.  I have to be able to get along with him.”

“You know how I feel about it, Audrey. I don’t think he should be seeing them at all. He doesn’t seem like a responsible father to me.  He can barely take care of himself.”

I don’t get it. Patrick always says things like that, and admittedly, he has stepped up his game as a father figure, but he doesn’t act like they’re his own kids.  Blake is the one who picks up the kids whenever I can’t make it on time. He’s always there to help with them, and he’s never once dropped the ball.  As long as he doesn’t have to be around me. 

“Blake is a great dad,” I say.  “The kids adore him.”

“Well, shit, Audrey,” Patrick snorts. “He sounds great. I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you marry him?”

“Patrick…”

“I feel like a fool,” he mutters.  “Here I am, spending my time planning this amazing birthday party for you, and you’re off flirting with your ex-husband.”

You were flirting with Sasha, I want to say. But I don’t want to make the situation worse. “Patrick, I wasn’t flirting with him.”

He holds up his hand. “You know what? I don’t feel like dinner anymore. Why don’t you just go ahead and cancel the reservation?”

With those words, he spins on his heels and storms into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him. 

I just stand there, not sure what to do.  Patrick has always been touchy about the topic of my ex-husband, but it seems like since our engagement, it’s only gotten worse.  He’s been not-so-subtly pressuring me to cut Blake out of my life, as if that were possible.  But this is the first time we’ve outright fought over it.  I’m not entirely sure how to handle it. Should I try to talk to him about it? Should I explain to him that I don’t have any feelings left for Blake?

But I shouldn’t have to explain that to him. He should trust me.  What Blake and I had is in the distant past.

In any case, he’s too upset now to discuss it further.  Better to leave it alone and we’ll talk later.

I wander back out to the living room and plop down on the sofa. If we’re not going out to eat, maybe there’s something decent on television. Or else I can stream something on Netflix. I flip around the channels for a few minutes and…

Oh my God.  It’s a Get Smart marathon.

Blake’s favorite television show. And it’s never on TV anymore. I reach for my phone, instinctively ready to tell him about it.

But no. Even though I extended an olive branch, we’re not quite at the point where we’re sending casual texts yet. 

Of course, he’d be so excited about Get Smart.

Screw it. I’m texting him.

Hey, Get Smart marathon on Nick at Nite.

A few seconds later, a text message pops up on my phone: I know. Katie and I are watching it together.

He already knew. He’s already watching it. So I’ve done my duty.

I settle down on the couch, watching Max and 99 arguing on the screen. How many times have I been sitting next to Blake on a couch, watching Get Smart or some other old sitcom?  More times than I can count. But not in a very long time.

My phone buzzes again.  It’s Blake:  It’s only fair to warn you, this facility is surrounded by a highly trained team of a hundred snipers.

I smile down in his text message. I quickly type in my reply:  Would you believe two dozen commandos?

How about Chuck Norris with a BB gun?

I asked you not to tell me that!

I see the three dots on the screen covering for a moment. Finally, his reply comes: Katie is trying to take the phone away from me.  She says we’re both too dorky.

I imagine Blake and Katie sitting together on the couch, watching Get Smart. For a moment, I am overcome with the urge to be with them. My daughter and the guy I thought was the love of my life.   If I asked Blake if I could come over, would he let me?

But if he did, it would change everything.  And like I said, I don’t feel that way about him anymore.  He and I are long over.  I’m engaged to another man.

So instead, I put my phone on the coffee table and change the channel.

 


Blake

On Monday, I head over to the office for the lunch Greg planned.  It’s the first time I’ve been here in at least a month. It always looks bigger than I remember, mostly because the last time I was coming into work regularly, we were in our old office, which had three rooms total.

Our business has grown tremendously since then. We now have seven accountants working for the firm, and we just hired a new assistant. I’d like to take credit for it, but Greg is responsible for a lot of the success of the business. I probably would’ve let the whole thing fall apart after I got hurt.

Not to say I don’t do my share. Even though I work from home, I carry more clients than any other accountant at the firm. I’m quick, but I’m also thorough. I’m really fucking good at what I do.  My clients are loyal to me, and I get more word-of-mouth referrals than anyone else. Not that I have much room anymore to take on anything new.

When I wheel through the door, Greg is talking to the new assistant, Nina. His eyes light up when he sees me. “Who is that over there? I don’t recognize him.”

Nina turns around to look at me. We met over Skype a few times. Greg likes me to help interview anyone we hire, but I trust his judgment. Of course, Nina is more attractive than anyone I would’ve picked on my own. She’s in her twenties, slim, long dark hair—she’ll be a distraction for the six out of seven male accountants.  Well, just five out of seven, since I’m not here ever.

She smiles brightly at me, without even a trace of surprise on her face. Greg must have warned her. “It’s nice to finally meet you in person, Mr. Campbell.”

I straighten out my tie self-consciously. I haven’t worn one in at least a month—I usually don’t even bother when I go to the office. But today I’m wearing the brown one that Audrey used to say brought out my eyes.  “Blake is fine,” I say.

“The food I ordered should be here any second,” Nina says. “Thank you both so much for treating us to lunch.”

Greg winks at her. “My pleasure.”

She hurries off to the other room while Greg ambles over to me and claps a hand on my shoulder. I look different than I did when we started, but so does he. Every year since we started the firm, Greg has gained about ten pounds.  We’ve been in business now for almost fifteen years, and he looks like a walking heart attack. He’s only forty-one and he gets out of breath walking across the room. I worry a lot about him.

“Blake,” he puffs.  “Good to see you, buddy.  Thanks for coming in.  You even got dressed up nice—you’re making me look bad.”

Greg doesn’t believe in ties, but he’ll put one on when forced.  He wore a black bowtie when he was my best man.  “Hey, I’m meeting the staff.  May as well make a good impression.  Especially since I’m pretty sure you tell them all I do is sit around in my underwear.”

“Don’t you?”  He arches an eyebrow.  “You know, you look even more pale than usual.”

“Gee, thanks.”

Greg’s chins wobble as he laughs.  “I’m telling you, the sun is a good thing, man.”

“I took the kids out to the park this weekend,” I say.  There was a scary moment when Katie climbed on top of a jungle gym and couldn’t get down. Thank God Andy was able to go up there and coax her off, because there was no way I could do it.  I could barely even wheel myself over the wood chips on the ground.  “How’s Rachel?”

“Wonderful.  She’s finally back at work now that Oliver is in kindergarten.”

Oliver is their youngest of three. Their oldest is the same age as Andy and their middle child is Katie’s age—I swear Audrey and Rachel synchronized their conceptions.  Audrey and I had also planned to have a third child—we even had a girl name and boy name picked out. We had just started trying again when I had my accident.  I guess it’s good she didn’t get pregnant quickly.

Of course, maybe that would have kept us together.

“Anything new with you?” Greg asks.

“Audrey is engaged,” I blurt out.  So much for keeping it to myself. But Greg was going to find out one way or another. Audrey and Rachel still occasionally talk.

Greg’s mouth drops open. “Oh… shit. I’m sorry, Blake. No wonder you look so lousy.”

I shoot him a look.  “No, this is just how I always look.” 

He rubs my shoulder. “You okay? Do you want to go out and get a drink after this? I can cancel my one o’clock.”

I shake my head.   “No, it’s fine. It’s a good thing. I needed to get over her, and if she marries someone else, I’ll be able to stop thinking about her.”

Except it was very hard to stop thinking about her after Friday night. When she texted me to tell me about the Get Smart marathon. And then for a few minutes, we were tossing back and forth quotes from the show. Just like we used to.

And all I could think was I wished more than anything she was with me.

“Anyway.” I clear my throat.  “I’m trying to be nicer to her.” I grin sheepishly. “It was pointed out to me by my kids that I’m a jerk to her.”

“Oh, you definitely are.  You’re the worst. I wouldn’t want to be divorced from you.”

I roll my eyes.  “So I’m giving her a ride to this show Katie’s in today. Maybe we can talk things out.”

“Good for you.  There are millions of women in this city. Enjoy yourself. Hell, that’s what I would do if I were single.”

I follow Greg’s gaze, which is aimed straight at the ass of our new assistant, who is bent over as she sifts through a file cabinet. Great. Greg wouldn’t cheat on Rachel, but he enjoys eye candy a little too much.  “Greg,” I mutter.  “Lawsuit.  Seriously, man—stop.”

“What? Is there a law against looking?”

Before I have a chance to lecture him about sexual harassment, there’s a rap on the door to the office. A client, probably. “Come in!” I call out.

The door swings the rest of the way open. It takes me a few seconds to recognize the woman standing in the doorway from our Skype sessions.  It’s Cindy Holland, the attractive divorcee. Who I turned down when she suggested getting drinks.

She looks better than she did on Skype. When you get to a certain age, the lighting in the computer camera doesn’t do you any favors. In real life, she has honey-blond hair and her body is all sexy curves.  She really does look a lot like Ginger, except for the hair color.

Then I see her checking me out. I look different than I did on Skype too, because she’s only seen my top half.  Nina, the new assistant, might’ve had a heads up about me, but Cindy didn’t. I see that familiar look of shock on her face.

Well, at least she won’t be bugging me for drinks anymore.

“Hi…” Her eyelashes flutter. “I… It’s Cindy. Cindy Holland. You’re… Blake, right?” She looks over at Greg almost accusingly. “Your partner told me you would be in today.”

“That I did,” Greg confirms.

Cindy shifts between her feet and tugs at her skirt. She looks dressed up—is this on my account? Wow, she must be so disappointed. 

I lift my eyes to meet hers.  “Do you have questions for me about your return?”

“Um…” She looks down at her light pink nails. “Well, yes. But only if you have time.”

She doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. She’ll still hire me to do her tax return, because I did a damn good job. But she’s not going to flirt with me anymore. Drinks are off the table.

“You can use my office, Blake,” Greg says.

I don’t have an office here. It seems like I ought to, since I’m one of the partners and owners of the business, but this is Manhattan, and I’m not around often enough to justify the space. And it’s not like I can cram into some tiny office. I need space to negotiate my chair.  So Greg lets me use his giant office on the rare occasions I show up.

I gesture at Cindy, and she follows me into Greg’s office. Of course, his chair is behind the desk, so I have to shove it out of the way. I load up his computer, while Cindy settles down in one of the wooden chairs in front of his desk. She crosses her long legs, giving me a nice glimpse of her thighs before quickly yanking his skirt back down.  It’s too bad I have no chance with her.

“So.” I fold my hands in front of me. “How can I help you?”

Cindy glances at the closed office door behind her, then back at me.  “Um…” She chews on her lip.

I lean back in my chair.  “Do you actually have any questions for me?”

She tucks a strand of blond hair behind her right ear. “Honestly? No. I just… I thought it would be nice to meet in real life after all the times we’ve talked.”

I would be irritated, but it’s happened too many times. I’m used to this reaction. And anyway, it doesn’t do me any good to piss off clients.  Instead, I shrug.  “So was it everything you hoped it would be?”

A slow smile creeps across her lips. “You deliberately didn’t mention the wheels.”

I raise an eyebrow.  “Didn’t realize I was required to disclose it.”

She uncrosses then crosses her legs again. This time she doesn’t pull her skirt down, and she grins when she catches me looking.  “You know, I’m still interested in getting that drink if you want. Whenever you’re done here.”

I suck in a breath. That panicked look in her eyes has vanished, and she’s looking at me the same as she did when we were on Skype.  Maybe I’ve got a chance after all. Well, why not? I’ve still got a lot of the right boxes checked off. And like Greg said, I look decent today. But I find myself hesitating, for reasons I can’t explain.  “I’ve got a busy day today.”

She raises an eyebrow.  “Don’t you sort of make your own hours?”

“Not always.”

“Uh-huh…”

I do have a busy day today. As soon as we’re done with this lunch, I’ve got to go pick up Audrey and head over to Katie’s school to see her play.  And I’m sure Audrey won’t come down super quick. She’s always been slow to get ready for things. Even when we were on the way to the church to get married, I was standing outside her bedroom in my tuxedo, knocking on the door.  Audrey, are you ready yet? You’re not climbing out the window, are you?

Of course, I knew she wasn’t climbing out the window. We were on the tenth floor.

And now it hits me. Why I’m turning down drinks with this attractive woman who doesn’t seem to mind one bit that I’m in a wheelchair. It’s the same reason why I wore the brown tie that brings out my eyes.

Audrey.

I’m seeing Audrey today, and the truth is, it’s all I can think about. Even though it’s not doing me any good, I can’t seem to turn off my feelings for her. I’ve had one serious relationship since my divorce, and I sabotaged it because I was still too hung up on my ex-wife.  Eliza was great, and she really liked me, but at every turn, I kept comparing her to the woman I fell in love with at first sight when I was twenty-four.  It just wasn’t the same.

You can’t choose who you fall in love with.  And texting with her on Friday night just hammered home how much I miss her.

“It’s just busy now,” I finally say.  “It’s tax season and all. March is always a disaster.”

“I see.” She nods. “So you’re saying on April sixteenth, you’ll be good to go?”

“Well,” I say, “there are always the people who get extensions on their taxes…”

She laughs as she twirls a strand of her blond hair between her fingers. “I’ll tell you what, Blake. When your schedule opens up, you can go ahead and give me a call.”

She stands up from the chair and I watch her go. I should call her back. If she’s on the prowl, she’ll have found somebody else before too long.  Why pass up this opportunity?

 But then I adjust my brown tie as I let her walk out.

 

Audrey

On my way.  Should be there in fifteen minutes.

The text message from Blake pops up on my cell phone as I sit at my desk, looking through the set of designs for an apartment on the Upper East Side. Half of me had been hoping he might cancel. Because it’ll save me the trouble of doing it.

Patrick and I made up over the weekend. He was very sweet about it.  He bought me flowers and told me he’d been a jerk. Work has been stressful, he explained.

I made a concession too.  He asked me not to go with Blake to the play, and I agreed.

I don’t know what he thinks is going to happen. I mean, Blake and I were divorced for three years before he came along. It’s more likely we’ll get in a screaming match than anything romantic would happen. I don’t know why Patrick is so jealous over the whole thing.

How would you feel if I were hanging out with my ex? he pointed out.

It was a reasonable point. Especially because I saw a picture of Patrick’s last girlfriend, and she was drop-dead gorgeous and eight years younger than me.  But Blake and I aren’t “hanging out.” We have two kids together, and we are co-parenting. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m sure after Patrick and I get married, he’ll feel more secure.  In the meantime, I’m not sure what to do about this situation.

While I am contemplating how to break it to Blake, another text message comes up on my cell phone, this time from an unfamiliar number:

Thank you for your rental of a champagne fountain!  Please call us if you have any questions about your purchase!

Um, I have about five-thousand questions about my purchase. For starters, what is a champagne fountain and why would they think I wanted one?

I quickly dial the number, and of course, I get put on hold. After a couple of minutes, a peppy receptionist answers. “Hi!  Chapman Party Rentals!  Brandy speaking! How can I help you?”

I clear my throat. “Hi. I just got a confirmation for the rental of a champagne fountain, but I never rented a champagne fountain. So.”

“Oh.” Brandy sounds terribly sad about this turn of events. “I’m so sorry about that. Can you tell me your name please?”

“Audrey Campbell.”

I hear the clicking of keys on the other line. “Mrs. Campbell, we have you down for a one day rental of a five-gallon champagne fountain on April eleventh.”

“No, I didn’t—” But then it hits me. April eleventh is my birthday.  This must be for the party.  But why is it under my name? “Who booked the reservation?”

More clicking of keys. “Patrick Prescott.”

Okay, so at least I know it’s not a case of identity theft. “But I don’t understand.  Why did the confirmation go to me?”

“Well,” she says thoughtfully, “maybe the primary phone number for the credit card is yours?”

It finally makes sense. Patrick booked the champagne fountain using the joint credit card we keep. I’ve got my own card, of course. But when we got engaged, we decided to have a joint credit card and open a small joint bank account, so we wouldn’t have the “my money, your money” situation when it came to planning the wedding. Also, the new credit card gives a ton of frequent flyer miles, so I’ve been using it from time to time, even though we haven’t started planning the wedding.

He’s been using it too.  We got into an argument when our first bill came last week because the bill was so much higher than I expected, and we didn’t have enough money in the joint account to cover it. So then we had to have a discussion about keeping the joint account replenished.

It made me miss the days when Blake and I had just one big pile of money.

“So…” Brandy clicks her tongue on the other line. “Do you think it was a mistake then…?”

“Um,” I say.  “Can I ask you something? How much was the champagne fountain rental?”

“Two-hundred dollars.”

Geez.  “Does that include champagne?”

She laughs.  “No, of course not.”

Great. So we’re spending two-hundred dollars on a champagne fountain, and that doesn’t even include the champagne?

“Let me get back to you,” I finally say.

Just as I hang up with Brandy, my phone buzzes with a text message. It’s from Blake again: I’m downstairs.

Crap. I didn’t have a chance to tell Blake I couldn’t go with him. And if I tell him now, he’s going to lose his shit, rightfully so.  I can’t afford to do this to him when he’s making an effort. Patrick doesn’t need to know about it.

Be right down, I text him back.

Before I head downstairs, I quickly take my compact out of my purse and check out my appearance. I do this every time I’m about to see Blake. It’s stupid—I know.  We’re divorced—he doesn’t care what I look like.  But I still take a second to smooth out my hair, glad that I recently had the roots touched up.  And I dab a little concealer under my eyes. More than anything, my eyes give me away. I do have a few fine lines around my mouth, but it’s not too bad.  With sunglasses on, I really might be able to pass for twenty-five.

Or maybe not.

Still, Blake fell in love with me when I was barely twenty-four years old.  That was the version of myself he wanted to spend his life with.  I don’t look that way anymore. I’m not even going to kid myself it’s remotely true.

Although the real question is, why do I care? I’m with Patrick now, and he fell in love with me as I am now.

I don’t want to keep Blake waiting anymore, so I head downstairs in the elevator.  As promised, his Honda is waiting in front of the building. As I step outside, it occurs to me with a jolt that I haven’t been a passenger in Blake’s car since he started driving again.  I haven’t had a car since I moved to Manhattan, because it was such a pain in the neck and I never liked to drive.  A few times we rented one for road trips, and he was always the one who drove because he enjoyed it.  Of course, he can’t use foot pedals anymore since he can’t move his legs.  I remember at rehab they mentioned hand controls, and Blake looked freaked out at the idea of it.

I guess he got the hang of it.

I walk over to the passenger side of the Honda and slide into the car. Blake flashes me a brief, tight smile.  “Hey,” he says.

“Hey,” I say.  “Thanks for the ride.”

“No problem.”

I can’t help but notice how handsome he looks right now. Unlike me, he’s only gotten better looking as he’s gotten older.  And sexier.  He’s got on a nice, crisp white dress shirt, and that brown tie that makes his eyes look really soulful. I always loved the way he looked in a shirt and tie.  He wore a dress shirt and tie on our first date—no guy I dated ever did that before. He also brought me a single rose when he showed up at my door, and it was so romantic.  He was trying so hard. 

And now he can barely look at me.

Blake starts up the car again, and sure enough, he seems to be controlling the gas with his right hand while he steers with his left.  I find it terrifying to drive in Manhattan, and it seems like it would be impossible to do it entirely with your hands, but he’s doing it somehow. He doesn’t seem anxious about it at all. That makes sense, considering he’s had this car at least three years.

Blake starts driving in the direction of Katie’s school. We sit there in silence.  We used to be able to share a comfortable silence. Like when we would be sitting together on the couch, and I would rest my head on his shoulder because I was tired from work or maybe the kids were up all night. And we would just sit there quietly, maybe holding hands.  That’s how you know you found somebody really special. When you can just shut up.

This, on the other hand, is not a comfortable silence.  It’s an awkward silence. It’s a borderline hostile silence.  I feel like if I don’t say something soon, one of us might whip out a gun and shoot the other one.

“Um,” I say, “I’m excited to see Katie’s dance.”

“You haven’t seen it?” He glances at me. “She was practicing nonstop all weekend.”

“Really?  What’s the dance like?”

“Oh.”  He shrugs.  “The usual. A little spinning. Some flossing and dabbing.”

I frown.  “What’s flossing and dabbing?”

He looks at me in amazement. “You don’t know what flossing and dabbing is? You’ve got to get with the times, Audrey!”

“I floss my teeth every night…”

“No, no, no.” He shakes his head. “Flossing is this swinging motion you do with your hands and hips. I mean, I can’t do it, but Katie can.”

“I see… so what’s dabbing?”

He snorts.  “You kidding me, Audrey? You really don’t know?”

I roll my eyes. “I really don’t.”

“Dabbing is when you, like, swing one arm out to the side and with the other, you almost hit yourself in the face.” He glances at me again. “I would demonstrate, but I’m driving with hand controls so it would probably kill us both.”

“And this is something you’re able to do?”  I’m skeptical, given Blake was the world’s worst dancer.

“I could, theoretically, do it.  But it’s not pretty.” He winces. “You know, the great thing about being in a chair is nobody drags you onto the dance floor. I’m off the hook for life. Pretty sweet, huh?”

He winks at me as I blink in surprise. It takes me a second to realize what just happened. He made a joke about being disabled. I’ve never heard him do that before.

When Blake first got hurt, and the doctor was talking to us about him spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair, it was all too horrible for words.   The doctor saw the looks on our faces, and he said, I know this is hard to take in right now. But someday, this will all seem normal to you. You’re going to adjust to this.

Blake looked at him like he was an idiot. He hated the chair back then. He hated everything about it. But now…

It’s five years later and the doctor was right. He’s adjusted. He’s not angry about being disabled anymore. He’s accepted it, to the point where he can joke about it. I never believed it was possible back in those early days. When he was angry and drinking too much and we couldn’t even figure out how to be intimate.

But he is still angry. Except he’s not angry about his disability. He’s angry at me. 

I have to give him credit for trying to get over it though.

To be continued...

5 comments:

  1. You’re the best! Dying for more & excited to preorder wooo

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  2. Thank you for he next episode of Audrey and Blake's story!

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  3. Love it! Can't wait to read more. I think it might be because I'm just reading each chapter as you post it, but how old are Katie and Andy (I can't remember!)

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