Disability: Spina Bifida / Genre: Erotic Romance
“This is insane. Are they all like this in Chicago?” Dustin asked himself in the quiet of his apartment. Halo was still on, so he turned his console off and sat on the couch. 5:30 already, and he hadn’t even showered yet since coming home from work.
He stripped his clothing and looked down at his naked body. Thin, slightly atrophied legs below the knees, where his molded plastic braces hugged him during the day, a bit of a belly, but nothing out of the ordinary, and those feet, those crazy, wacky feet. Spina Bifida is a strange disease. He had it since birth, so disability was all he ever knew. He walked with a limp which made his right foot and leg turn outward while his left pointed more or less straight.
There were…islands of feeling and numbness, as he liked to think of it. The backs of his legs from his butt to his calves were numb. He could sit on an upturned thumbtack on the back of his thigh and not know a thing until the seat had a stain of blood. But on the front sides of his legs, from the thighs down to his ankles, he could feel everything. On the sides, it was a gradual tapering of feeling, like an island where the sand gently slopes down into the water.
His feet were the most “gimpy” looking thing about him. They were marked with scars from numerous surgeries as a baby and child. Luckily, he hadn’t needed to go under the knife for some time now. The nice thing about Spina Bifida, if there is one, is that it’s not progressive like some more maleficent diseases. The equivalent of his middle finger, his middle toe, twisted over the “ring toe” of the other, as if permanently crossed for good luck. This happened on both feet.
He could feel his left foot to an extent, if he ran his fingers on his sole, he’d feel a faint hint of something. But his right foot was dead. It was like something attached which didn’t exist. He hated his feet. He secretly had a fetish of having them tortured, because they could take so much abuse, but who in their right mind would want to do that to someone?
Dustin turned on the water, allowing the hot streams to work into his sore shoulders. He was busy at work today, running from meeting to meeting, and his back hurt from the constant walking. The water did wonders, like a free masseuse. He shaved, shampooed and conditioned, and dried up. He splashed a bit of brut aftershave on his cheeks and neck, and got dressed.
6:30, there was still some time to relax. After all, the commute to her place was twenty feet down the hall. She seemed nice enough. Cookies, dinner, a friendly interest in his game; ok fine, she probably gained more XP points on his profile in that one match than he could in ten. There was something…strange about her, though. Not the nerdy look. That was hot. No, there seemed to be something…dark about her. She didn’t even give him a chance to back out of dinner. What if he had a business meeting or was going to meet up with someone? Ok, so she’s a little bossy, that’s alright, bossy women can be sexy. Hmm, ten to six.
He checked himself in the mirror. A dark blue, long sleeve t-shirt and slate gray cargo pants. Stylish, but not snooty. Casual, yet not sloppy. He looked at the clock again. Five to six. He slowly made his way to the door. He didn’t want to be early, but not tremendously late either. What’s fashionably late?
“Shit, it’s been so long since I’ve been on a date,” he said to himself. Two after seven. Fair enough. He left his apartment and made the very short journey to Melissa’s. He knocked on the door and was promptly greeted by the auburn haired beauty. She must have been a natural redhead, for her face was pale and delicate, with a few scattered freckles on her cheeks. Those dark blue eyes, where the hell did she get eyes like that?
“Hey, come on in Dustin,” Melissa said. She was wearing oven mitts on her hands, and a white apron around her form-fitting black dress. Whoa. Dustin was sure he just burned himself, because she was smoking hot.
“Thanks…you look stunning,” he said.
“Oh this little old thing? Thanks. Make yourself comfortable, have a seat,” she said. Her apartment was nice. Well, in comparison to the box-o-rama that was his dwelling, whose apartment wouldn’t be nice? But she had chic geek culture proudly displayed. Dr. Who posters, Firefly action figures, hell, she even had a Borg Cube replica. The girl knew her sci-fi geek, he gave her that.
“Want something to drink? I have a bottle of merlot open.”
“Yeah, uh, that sounds great, thanks.”
Melissa poured two glasses. She sat down on the couch next to Dustin.
“Dinner will be ready in about fifteen minutes. Ugh, it’s nice to sit down.”
“Hey, I really appreciate this, Melissa. I mean, you barely even know me and you bring me cookies and make me dinner. Are you all this nice in Chi-town?”
“Ha, no, there’s a lot of dipshits here. But not all of us.”
“Well you’re certainly no dipshit,” he chuckled.
“Thanks, that’s probably the nicest thing I heard anyone say to me today,” she burst out laughing. Those weird vibes…starting to melt away.
“So, I see you’re a bit of a sci-fi geek,” he replied, and quickly added “that’s a good thing, by the way.”
“Of course it’s a good thing! The question is, which Trek captain was the best?”
“Man, put me on the spot here! Well, I’ve always been a Next Gen fan myself,” he admitted.
“Picard. Wise, stoic, and likes his Earl Grey hot. Wise choice, young ensign,” she said.
“Can’t argue with the original, Captain Kirk, screwing his way through the known universe, but I think Benjamin Sisko on DS9 is my favorite.”
“Really? No kindred spirit with Janeway?”
“Ugh, please, no.”
“Alright, alright, sensitive subject,” he said waving his hands defensively.
“So, when you’re not unpacking unwieldy boxes or playing Halo, what do you like to do for fun?” Melissa asked.
“Hmm, well, I’m always looking for new, unheard of music.”
“Oh no, you’re not a hipster, are you?”
“No, no I swear!” he laughed. “It’s just, I get tired of top 40 songs all day long. And my new office seems to love it. Kill me, please.”
“Well, you’re in luck, though. Chicago has a ton and a half of small venue stages and bars that attract new acts. If you can’t find decent music in Chicago, you won’t find it anywhere.”
“Nice, maybe you can give me your rundown on the best spots.”
“Or maybe even take you to a concert or two.”
“Yeah, that’d be cool.”
“Oh, there’s the timer. Noodles should be done. Hope you brought an appetite with you.”
“Well it smells delicious.”
They sat down and Melissa placed pasta and salad in front of her guest and then served herself. She freshened their wine. “Dig in, go for it,” she said.
“Man, this is good.”
“I’m glad you like it.”
“No, I mean seriously, this is freaking awesome, and the company is even better.”
“I can say the feeling is mutual, even if that company is from Tampa.”
“How’d you know that?”
“Your boxes all had a to and from label. They’re kind of unavoidable to miss.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I’ve got to sort all that crap out.”
“Are you sure you don’t need a second set of hands?”
“Nah, seriously, I’ll be alright. You know, usually by now, someone will ask what’s wrong with me.”
“What’s wrong with you? Why, are you going to say you liked Phantom Menace better than The Empire Strikes Back?”
“Never! No, I mean, you know, my condition.”
“Oh, well, I figure that’s your business, and if you want to tell me about it, you would. I won’t press the issue.”
“That’s kind of you, but I don’t mind. I think it puts people at ease when they know a bit about my disability.”
“I wasn’t uneasy; but if you want to talk about it, I’m happy to listen,” Melissa said as she twirled the noodles around her fork.
“Well, I’ve got Spina Bifida,” he said.
I knew it-Melissa thought. Well, actually it was one of her guesses. “What’s that?” she asked, feigning ignorance.
“Well, it’s a neurological condition I’ve had all my life. It affects the way I walk. I have these…well artificial leg braces around my lower legs. It’s why I walk the way I do.”
“Like I said, Dustin, I’m not uneasy about it.”
“Well…that’s good, some people are. Or they walk on eggshells not to offend me. But hell, I call myself a cripple, a gimp, handicapped, none of those words bother me. Oh, and I’m not contagious.”
“Well, now, I think I’m going to have to disagree there. Your smile certainly is contagious,” she said, giving a warm grin of her own. “Are you blushing?”
“Well, I’m not used to having such a pretty lady complimenting me.”
“So you think I’m pretty?”
“Well yeah! I mean, who wouldn’t think that of you?”
“I don’t know, I’ve always considered myself kind of awkward, nerdy, and geeky.”
“And those are bad traits?” he quipped.
“Now I’m the one blushing,” she said.
“That was a delicious meal. One of the best I’ve had in a very long time.”
“You flatter me, Dustin.”
“Hey, excuse me for just a second, I need to use your washroom,” he said.
“Sure, same layout as your apartment, so you’ll know where it is.”
Dustin freshened himself up, and as he left the bathroom, he noticed the bedroom door was open just a tiny bit. From the hallway, he saw the bed, and what he saw sent chills up his damaged spine. There were handcuffs and ankle cuffs on all four corners of the bed, along with a riding crop, cat-o-nine tails, a blindfold, and who knows what else?
Those weird vibes? Yeah. 100%. Melissa was putting away the last of the dishes.
“Well, I want to thank you for a lovely evening, the food was delicious, and I hate to cut things short, but I really must be going back.”
“What, so soon?”
“Yeah, I have…a meeting tomorrow.”
“I know, bastards won’t let a man have any time off. I’m really sorry to leave so abruptly but being the new transfer in town, they um, they want me there bright and early.”
“I…I understand,” Melissa said with a crestfallen voice. She noticed her bedroom door was open just a smidge and she clenched her hands into fists. Stupid! She thought to herself.
“Well, I can’t tell you how much it meant to have a home cooked meal my first night here, that was very lovely of you.”
“We should do it again, real soon,” she tested the waters.
“Hmm? Oh…right, sure, real soon.”
“Are you alright, Dustin? You look flush. Do you want to lie down for a spell?”
“No, no! No, I’m okay, I think I’m just flustered about tomorrow’s meeting, that’s all.”
“Must be a heck of a meeting,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
“Real killer, anyway, thank you so very much for the wonderful evening, and…um, goodnight, Melissa.”
“Good night, Dustin,” she said as she watched him walk with his delicious limp out the door and to his own apartment. He turned to look at her still standing in her own threshold. He politely waved, and she waved back. He entered his apartment and shut the door.
“Oh shit, what the fuck? What the fuck did she have planned for me? Well, I mean maybe it was meant for her, maybe she wanted me to cuff her to the bed? No, no you did the right thing Dustin. She’s shorter than you, but she looks fit, she could overpower you and…well, who knows what she would do. I mean, maybe she’s a serial killer. Maybe she gets off on torturing and killing gimps. No, this is too wild,” he said to himself as he leaned against his door.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Melissa said to herself. “He probably thinks I’m a psycho-killer dominatrix…well, I’m not a killer. I can’t believe I left my door open. Shit! He’ll never want to speak with me again. But…he’s so damn hot. Oh, he’s so damn hot. Stupid.”