Disability: Paraplegia / Genre: Romance
Wow, I thought to myself as I drove home, how quickly each of us could turn our attitude around. One minute I had been taking care of her and the next I was close to screaming. What was it about her, I wondered as I rolled over the threshold into the quiet of the house. What had gotten into me tonight was something I hadn’t experienced in a while. It had been quite a long time since I had played the part of rescuer, and part of me missed that. I had easily forgotten about myself while I cared for her and while it was something that had been missing from my life it scared me that she could bring that out in me. It had been so easy for me to comfort her and allow those feelings of wanting to surface. And did I want her. In just the short time I’d spent with her I could feel myself wanting more. Maybe it was the lack of love life I’d had in the past few years but something about her was different. The little comments about not minding the chair or being a good listener didn’t go unnoticed and it took everything in me not to stop and stare at those little words.
Everyone saw the chair, and it mattered to each person I knew in a different way. It made everything different for me most of all. I couldn’t believe that at some point it wouldn’t be something she minded. Hell, Meagan couldn’t even last two weeks with me, why would any woman want to deal with the hassles and limitations of dating a guy in a chair. I knew deep down that it was really Meagan’s issues that allowed her to bolt, but it still held me back from even trying to find someone new all this time. Her words when I was at a vulnerable state had crept in and made a home inside my mind that would slam the door on any possibility I could see. But this time, something had gotten in the way of that door and let a little bit of hope creep out. Hope that maybe this woman could find her way in. Going through the motions as my mind reeled with how I left things with her I got ready for bed and as I was transferring in my phone chimed.
Just wanted to let you know I made it home in one piece. Thanks again for everything you did tonight. Taylor.
It was from her. My heart stopped briefly as I read the words. Maybe there were more than just my feelings here. Why else would she take the time to send me a text, I thought as I began to write back.
Glad to hear Taylor. I’m sorry if I came on too strong with all the manly knight in shining armor business… I promise if I get to see you again I’ll be quite the ass. J/K. Despite the circumstances of the evening, I did really enjoy spending time with you and was thinking maybe one day we could meet for dinner or coffee or something… Elliot.
Before I could stop myself I hit send. Damn if I didn’t just ask her out, I thought as the nervousness made a home in my stomach. As I lay there trying to find sleep I waited for her response until finally I drifted off, a hint of her voice leading me to my dreams.
I woke with a start, not sure where I was for just a brief second before my consciousness took over. Startled that I’d slept the whole night with no dreams of my accident I lay there in a moment of calm like I haven’t had in years. While I stretched I remembered the text I sent her and wondered if she had responded yet. Part of me didn’t want to look but the hopeful part won out in the end. The little red circle next to the message app stared at me taunting me. With a quick press of my finger, the window popped open and two messages from my mother and one from Taylor. A little breath of relief escaped my lips as I swiped to see her response.
Please don’t apologize for being awesome anymore Elliot. I sometimes forget that there are still nice guys out there. I’ve had my fair share of douchebags and find myself terrified to show that at times I need saving. I don’t think you could ever be an ass either, I don’t think you have it in you. A little angry or moody maybe but an ass, no way prince charming. As for dinner or coffee, I don’t think that would work for me…I think we should do something a little more exciting!
I couldn’t help the face splitting grin that took up residence on my face as I read through it again just to be sure I’d read it right. She wanted to do something with me. I felt alive again in just those few moments. If I could have leaped from the bed I would have, but I had to settle for tossing my legs over and hauling my ass into my chair. I quickly got ready for the day and headed for coffee wondering if I’d catch a glimpse of her this morning. As I pulled into the same spot as yesterday I quickly replied to her message.
What did you have in mind?
I went through the same motions to get inside and waited for a response. I had opted to go inside despite the hassle hoping she would be in there. As I waited, disappointment bubbled, as I didn’t see her anywhere. When I ordered my coffee though the barista smiled and said she couldn’t take my money that someone had already paid for my coffee. I looked around and there she was sitting at a table with her back to me. I had missed her during my initial search but now I saw why. Her hair was pulled up and the only noticeable thing now was the bandage covering her right hand. The grin that had been plastered on my face was now forming again as I felt those long forgotten feelings of happiness. I thanked the barista and waited at the counter for my coffee unable to really take my eyes off her. Finally, as they called my name and I positioned the cup between my legs, I wheeled over to her and found a chair already missing from the table.
“Hey. Thanks for the coffee, Taylor,” I smiled at her.
“Least I could do after my stunning performance last night. Besides I believe I owed you one after yesterday morning,” she breathed as her eyes gave me the once over.
“I’m going to put this out there now before we have any more conversation… I can be an ass lady. You witnessed it first-hand yesterday at our first encounter. I would like to invite you to call me on my bullshit,” I muttered out.
“Like I’m any different Elliot. I sometimes lack the filter from my brain to my mouth, especially if I’m stressed out or angry. So right back at you buddy,” she smiled brightly.
I sat momentarily staring at her like I’d never seen a woman before. She was just perfect, I thought as I began to speak. “I can’t wait to hear what you have in mind for this… for when we hang out…”
“You mean the date we are going to go out on?” she chuckled sensing my discomfort and inability to call it what it was.
“Yeah,” I stuttered.
“It’s going to be a date, Elliot. You can say the word,” she laughed even harder. “For a physician you sure are skittish.”
“I’m not skittish, I just don’t want to freak you out. I think I like you a little,” I smirked.
“Good now that we both acknowledged the fact that we are attracted to each other this can stop being awkward,” she said motioning from me to her.
“So what do you have in mind and when?” I asked, unable to hide my excitement.
“Are you free this Saturday? Mid morning?” she asked.
“I am,” I answered.
“Well there is this thing I sometimes do on Saturdays when I’m off and I’d like you to join me,” she said shyly.
“Can I get any hints?” I asked, a little nervous.
“Well… let’s see,” she said, thinking. “Casual dress. Maybe some sunglasses. Other than that just meet me at Davy’s.”
“Hmmm. I know this is obvious but there aren’t any stairs involved are there?” I asked softly, not wanting to ruin my good mood.
“I think we are safe on that one,” she smiled.
“I don’t want to be a downer but there are some things I just can’t do Taylor,” I said, in almost a whisper.
“Elliot, I kind of figured that. Not to sound all know it all or anything but I guessed some things were off limits,” she said reassuringly.
“You guessed correctly. I’m not that big of a runner. You caught me!” I joked.
She laughed at my dumb joke and then we got quiet. I wondered what she was thinking as her face got a little sad looking. “Is there anything you want to ask me, Taylor, anything at all?”
“Really? Anything at all?” she questioned.
“Anything. I may reserve the right to answer at a later date but I’ll give you something at least,” I answered honestly.
“What happened and how long ago?” she asked softly, her left hand coming to rest over mine.
“Motorcycle accident. Almost three years ago,” I said, waiting for her reaction.
“How old are you?” she said, without missing a beat.
“35. You?” I shot back.
“31,” she smiled. “Can you have sex, kids, etc?”
“Yes, yes, and it depends. I can’t get up and do a jig or roller-skate anymore,” I said, feeling my cheeks get hot. She wasn’t pulling out any punches.
“It really didn’t matter I just wanted to see you get embarrassed,” she smirked, squeezing my hand. “One of my best friends in art school was paralyzed so I know a little about it.”
“You’re too much you know that? I am beginning to wonder where you came from and how I got so lucky to meet you,” I grinned.
“Don’t count all your eggs before they hatch mister. I may not be all that great you know,” she chuckled.
“We’ll see about that princess,” I Laughed.
“While I could sit here and chit-chat with you all day Elliot I really should be getting to work before I get canned. For some reason they frown upon the employees showing up late,” she said, removing her hand from mine to gather her things.
“I wonder why that is…” I said backing up from the table, so I could hold the door for her when we left.
I wasn’t surprised to find that she was parked next to me; I should have known that the little blue mini cooper was hers. “Taylor, can I call you later?” I asked before she got in.
“I’ll be working at Davy’s tonight but I can call you on my break,” she answered, leaning down and kissing my cheek.
“Good deal. Have a good day Taylor,” I said, winking at her as she got in her car.
She gave a little wave as she pulled out of the parking spot after I had gotten in my truck and I couldn’t get rid of the smile on my face the whole way into the office. I couldn’t believe I had to wait for three whole days before our date. I was really curious about what we would be doing. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t the last to arrive at our office, I pulled in just as my father was getting out of his car. He waited next to my truck as I got out looking at me curiously.
“Who are you and what have the pod people done with my son,” he asked squinting.
“What do you mean old man? Same Elliot I was yesterday as far as I know,” I shrugged, kind of knowing what he meant.
“You beat your brother here today and you are smiling…” he said, as we went inside.
“No reason Pops,” I feigned innocence.
“That’s bull El and you know it. What gives?” he asked, stopping inside the door.
“Am I not allowed to smile, would you rather me continue through life miserable?” I asked.
“Kiddo it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this type of smile coming from you. Elliot, I would rather go on in the dark than see you be miserable for one more day,” he said softly.
“I…well I met someone,” I said, unable to hide my excitement.
“Very good son. It’s about time,” he said, patting me on the back, “I’m sure your mother will be happy to hear this news.”
“Can we not go overboard with this just yet dad? I don’t want to jinx it.” I nearly begged.
“You won’t be able to keep it from her for long. Especially if you keep smiling like a fourteen-year-old.” He chuckled, as he unlocked the door to the waiting room.
“Can’t a guy just have a good day every once in a while?” I joked.
I continued through my day as usual, thoughts of a little brunette with blue eyes trying to creep up a little too often. I needed to slow down because if I didn’t, more than likely, I’d end up hurt here. Taylor had the potential to really mess me up. This could be my first relationship since Meagan and my accident and while I was eager, I needed to stay cautious. As I was wrapping up for the day Mark appeared at my door.
“Hey, little brother… you’ve been quiet today, you okay?” he asked, in his own way checking on me after his tongue lashing yesterday.
“Yeah. I’m good. Nothing out of the ordinary,” I answered, not willing to get into anything that would sour my mood.
“Okay. Hey Julia asked me to remind you about dinner Sunday,” he said, backing up a little.
“I’ll be there, don’t worry,” I offered up a smile.
He cocked his head as though he was confused before he spoke, “Good. Jake will be happy to see you.”
“It’s been awhile hasn’t it…” I said, realizing just how long it had been.
“Almost six months. Too long. Everyone will be there so don’t be late,” he added.
“I’ll be there. No worries man. Now go home,” I laughed.
“See you tomorrow Elliot,” he said disappearing.
I gathered my things to change for the gym when the phone started ringing.
“Hey, princess. I wasn’t expecting your call for a few hours,” I answered happily.
“I know, but I wanted to ask you something before I forgot,” she chimed.
“Ask away,” I waited.
“Okay, you aren’t busy are you, I mean I didn’t interrupt anything right?” she him-hawed.
“No, I was just about to get changed for the gym. What’s up?” I responded.
“I was wondering if you could maybe take a look at my hand. It looks like one of the stitches may have come undone…” she said sheepishly.
“Oh. Yeah, I can meet you at Davy’s in like a half hour?” I answered, hoping she hadn’t done any damage.
“Are you sure, I don’t want to put you out. I bumped it earlier when I almost dropped the phone and reached to catch it. I forgot that it was injured for just a split second…” she explained. “I’m really not giving you the best ‘I am woman hear me roar’ impression am I”
“It’s no big deal, Taylor. With where the laceration is I am not surprised. That’s a hard spot to keep inactive,” I said, hoping I could fix it. “I’ll see you in a little bit then, try and keep it covered though okay?”
“Okay,” she said, with a sigh of relief. “And Elliot, thanks.”
“Don’t thank me fair lady. It’s all in a days work for this knight in shining armor,” I laughed.
“I am not usually this clumsy you know. I think it’s your fault actually,” she laughed too.
“Whatever do you mean?” I asked.
“I broke the glass trying to avoid you and then you rescued me. And then today when I almost dropped the phone I was thinking about you… see it’s all your fault!” she chuckled.
“Well I don’t know about that, I think you are just secretly clumsy and don’t want me to think you are,” I laughed. “Now let me off the phone so I can patch you up. I’ll see you in a half hour princess.”
“Bye Elliot,” she huffed.
I quickly got changed, locked the office up and set off for Davy’s. Luckily I had remembered to grab my medical kit and some supplies before leaving because I didn’t know what I’d run into when I got to her. As I drove I mentally reviewed my suturing techniques, as it had been a long time since I’d done any suturing. Pulling into the lot at Davy’s I realized the only open spots were the handicapped ones so I reached into the glove box and pulled out the tag, hanging it from my mirror, indignantly. As much as I hating using it, it did come in handy in a pinch. I pulled the parts of my chair out and started assembling them and then lowered myself down into my chair, checking to make sure I wasn’t too disheveled.
I grabbed the bag from the backseat and headed into the bar. I was a little surprised to see her with a messy bun in her hair and jeans and sneakers, a stark contrast to the professional woman I had seen this morning. I liked that she could be dressy and casual and look awesome either way. She didn’t notice me right away and I took that opportunity to give her the once over before I heard from behind me “I saw that,” I spun around to find Josh smirking at me.
“Hey Josh,” I said, with a nod.
He just nodded back in response and then when I turned back around I caught her giving me a good stare. Her face changed from sultry to embarrassment in a split second as I caught her.
“Hi princess,” I said, with a grin.
“Ah, my knight has arrived,” she smiled, as she walked around the bar. “Let’s go in back and get this over with.”
“Lead the way,” I said, following her around to where we’d gone the night before. I can’t say that I wasn’t enjoying my view on our way.
“I can feel your eyes boring holes in my ass Elliot…” she laughed.
“I can’t help that it’s almost at eye level for me,” I joked.
With a sultry look over her shoulder at me, I winked at her, which made her stumble across the threshold. I chuckled softly at the effect I had on her.
“Laugh it up Elliot, it would be you who would have to patch me up if I bit it,” she blushed.
“Ok Princess, let me see that hand before I cause any more damage,” I said, instructing her to take a seat.
I wheeled up close and popped the brakes on my chair only to realize after that my knees were touching hers. I stared down at them briefly before I felt her looking at me. “Is it strange for you, ya know, not being able to feel that?” she asked honestly.
“I guess…” I shrugged, as I pulled some gloves on. “Let me see that hand.”
“It doesn’t look as bad as I imagined. I’m glad you’ve kept it covered all day though I can only imagine the damage you could have done,” I smirked, looking up into her gorgeous eyes.
“Really Elliot, you make it seem as though I’m a rough and tumble kind of girl when in reality I’m just distracted by this brilliant man sitting in front of me…” she started loudly but had ended in a barely a whisper.
I could feel the redness creeping up my neck, and hoped she wouldn’t notice. It had been a long time since I had any type of flirtatious conversation with a woman and even though normally I could toss it right back, I couldn’t form any words. I just sat there blinking away watching her watch me until finally she spoke. “Elliot, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable… I’m sorry,” she said as she turned away.
“You didn’t… I just… it’s…” I started, and still couldn’t find a sentence to save my life.
“No, I shouldn’t have said that out loud. It was too much,” She said, fidgeting in the chair trying to pull her hand from mine.
“Stop… Stop pulling away. Taylor…” I pleaded with her, while my mind decided to either bear it all or clam up. “I haven’t… wow, I haven’t ever been this much of an idiot ever. I like you, Taylor. I think I probably like you too much for only having known you for two days. And it scares the shit out of me. I…I haven’t been in a relationship since my accident, and I haven’t been this close to starting anything in a long time and that also scares me. I don’t want to mess it up…” I blurted out.
It took maybe a minute or two before her eyes found mine and what I saw in them surprised me. It wasn’t pity, but something more, in her eyes was understanding and admiration. “Elliot…” she started, and then stopped, taking a deep breath before starting again. “I’m not going to pretend that I’m not attracted to you. I am. Even when you were scowling at me from your truck yesterday morning I was attracted to you. I don’t want to mess this up either Elliot but sometimes I forget to place the filter between my brain and my mouth. I’m not a person who holds back either. I like to tell people how I feel because you never know when you won’t have that chance again,” she said, trailing off.
I sat there, her injured hand in both of mine, her thumb absently stroking the back of my right hand. I’d never wanted to kiss someone more in my entire life than I did in this moment. “I didn’t get scared by your remark Taylor, I got scared that maybe once you get to know me you won’t think of me like that. I’m just a guy…” I confessed before she cut me off.
“You don’t know do you?” she questioned me.
“Know what?” I asked confused.
“You are not just a guy. You are someone who has dealt with things, hard life changing things. I’m guessing that it isn’t always easy being you, and maybe you haven’t let anyone in because you don’t think you are ready or whatever you tell yourself. But really Elliot I see this man in front of me who takes care of someone he barely knows with such ease, who treats me the way I hope to be treated. I’m not pretending to know you with those statements but I want to get to know you. I knew that the minute you got smart with me yesterday, but I don’t want to push you,” she said, looking me straight in the eyes.
“Am I that transparent?” I chuckled, realizing she had me pegged.
“It isn’t about transparency, it’s that I can read people Elliot. I capture moments for a living, well, I used to anyways. I can see it in your eyes that you are fighting this war inside when you look at me, the way you turn away when you are feeling insecure or something I say surprises you as though you don’t deserve my attention. I see it,” she said, not breaking eye contact.
I sat there somewhat floored at her description because she was dead on. She didn’t need me to tell her I was fighting that war she could just see it. She had gotten in my head so effortlessly it was frightening. “Taylor…” I started, but she spoke before I could finish.
“Elliot, I want to get to know you. I know you want the same thing with me. Can we just see where this will go? Without the doubt, and the insecurity?” she asked.
“I can’t promise that I won’t be insecure… I just can’t. But I can promise that if you talk me down from the ledge I will be able to let it go,” I said, being completely honest.
“Okay, now fix my hand,” she said, laughing loudly.
That laugh was one of the greatest sounds I’d ever heard and I found myself joining in her laughter. It had been a long time since I’d truly laughed like this, I thought to myself, a long time since I’d let my guard down long enough to do so. “Yes, princess.”