God, he’s gorgeous, and he better hurry up and get in this pool, before I pull him in myself! Although, I could just sit and watch his sweet, stunned face for a while and handsome (deliciously asymmetrical) form. Oh, he’s fit, but he has just enough softness to him to be oh, so wonderfully cuddly and I cannot wait for him to get in here. Oh patience Mari, patience, let him come in his own time, you don’t want to scare him off…
Locke stood there for a moment, just processing what had happened, he needed a moment to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. He walked from the entrance of the pool, damp from where Mari had just hugged him, over to the middle of the pool where Mari was smiling and waiting for him. He put his crutches down and sat on the edge of the pool where Mari was hugging the wall. He put his legs in the water. Locke sat there looking at her nervously. Sure, she ran up to him and gave him a hug, but was she just “ignoring” the obvious to protect his feelings? He sat there, just trying to get himself together. He dangled his legs in the pool, as he looked down, hesitant to make eye contact with Mari. Why am I so nervous, I have been in the pool here and other places a thousand times and I swear I haven’t felt this nervous since the first time I went swimming in a public place, post-injury. What is wrong with me? I guess I worry that things won’t work out. I am still afraid that she will suddenly remember an “appointment” and hop out of the pool like that one girl did. I really just have to sit here a moment, at least with my legs dangling in the water, I look “normal” from above the water, and at the moment that is where her attention is focused. Maybe it will be okay. I’m sure it will be okay. Why can’t I just live in the moment and trust her!
Mari gave him a grin like a Cheshire cat and then she dipped under the water. What was she doing he wondered? Next thing he knew, he felt a thousand sweet kisses from his toes, up out of the water, to his knee. Wow, this is divine. He thought as he sucked in a breath. That was different and new, I’ve never had anyone do that before, it is like a school of guppies daintily massaging my leg. God, I hope she didn’t get unnerved being so close to my other leg. Mari dipped in again, Okay, wow, I really had no idea I would enjoy that so much, but here she goes aga– WHOA. His thought stopped right there. As Mari dipped back in the pool, she again went to daintily cover him in kisses like butterflies landing in a field, but this time, oh, he was not prepared for this. This time, she started at the base of his left leg, that is the stump of his left leg. Locke started breathing heavily. Oh my word, this feels, wow. Has anyone I’ve been with ever touched me here like this? I had no idea that this would actually feel good. Who knew? It isn’t like, I would have or could have casually asked any girl to do this. Simply, unbelievable. Mari covered his left leg in kisses all the way up to his knee. She popped back up with a hopeful smile. Locke’s expression went from strangely blissed, to shocked, to very pleased with a content smile. He slid into the pool and kissed Mari like there was no tomorrow.
Oh, I think my bold plan was a win. If this doesn’t prove that he appreciated my little move there, then I don’t know what else would! Well, I mean there are other things, but I’m not ready to go there quite yet! I think I could stay here in his embrace, kissing that gorgeous face forever!
“Mari, what in the world was that?” Locke said, with a smile in his eyes, but delivered in such a manner that seemed, somehow to convey a multitude of emotions.
Mari attempted to analyze what she thought she detected, a touch of shock, maybe a hint of sadness, mixed with a bit of pleasure, bewilderment and perhaps even a glimmer of anger? She couldn’t quite tell for sure, but overall, he seemed to have received it positively, judging from that intense kiss they had just shared.
“Oh, that is just a little something, I think I’d like to call the Mermaid Special, I hope you liked it. Well, actually, I’m going to take the liberty to assume that you appreciated it, given the response it received.” Mari replied flirtatiously. She dove underwater, and playfully swam around him, popping up to kiss him on the back and then swimming across the way. She popped up and teased Locke, whispering in his ear, “Catch me!” and then swam around to the deep end.
This girl, she is so sweet, so playful and …
“Mari, you SO GOING TO GET IT!”
Locke swam after her and splashed her in response and they swam around teasing and playing for a while before he finally caught up to her and caught her.
“Mari, did I mention that I have a Jacuzzi?”
“No, you didn’t, but that sounds like a great idea to me.”
“Mari, would you mind grabbing my crutches and meeting me at the other end of the pool?”
“Oh, it would be my pleasure.”
Mari jumped out of the pool and went and grabbed his crutches. Now, she knew he was more than capable of getting them himself, but this really telegraphed the message to her that he was trusting her in a way that was huge. The one thing that he didn’t know is how much of an honor (and maybe a bit of pleasure too, if she admitted it to herself) Mari felt to be allowed and trusted to handle a part of his mobility. Mari met him near the entrance of the pool and watched him emerge from the water as he crawled up the ladder alternating between his foot and knee, enjoying the view as the water droplets rolled down his body.“Here you go sweet-pea.”
“Thank you ma’am.” He grabbed the crutches from Mari, situated himself and continued. “ If you’ll follow me, it is kind of hidden in a back corner of the yard, it gives a little extra privacy there.”
Mari cocked her eyebrow,“Oh yeah?”
“Um-hum, and one more thing, darling.”
“Anything, my sweet-pea.”
“Can you grab the bottle of wine and two glasses?”
“Sure thing.” Mari had a little extra bounce in her step as she retrieved the wine and glasses.
Mari and Locke made their way to the Jacuzzi.
Locke set his crutches aside and slipped in and Mari joined him. Locke poured them each a glass of wine and began to talk.
“Yeah, so I didn’t originally have the Jacuzzi when I put the pool in, I added it later and figured it would be nice to have it in a cozy corner.”
“Ah, it is quite nice here, super cozy.” Mari scooted closer to Locke.
As she sat curled up next to him, she began to rub her foot against his leg. His left leg.
Locke stiffened and said, “Why are you doing that?”
Mari continued and looked at him with big doe eyes, “What, this?”
“Well, I like you, I didn’t realize I hadn’t made that clear?” she teased.
“No. I mean I get that, but why, this?”
“Well, I’m on your left side, so that is most convenient, is it too sensitive? Should I stop, I’m sorry if I’m hurting you.” Mari said and began to scoot over.
“No, I just…” Locke sighed, “I just don’t understand.”
Mari began to worry.“Don’t understand what?”
“Why you aren’t repelled by me, by it.”
“If by it, you mean your leg, I’m sorry, should I be?”
Locke answered with a bit of exasperation.“Well, no, I mean, maybe, ugh. I don’t know.”
Mari shook her head, perplexed.“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“Well, I guess I mean, I’ve had some girls be ‘okay’ with it, but I’ve never had such acceptance, and I guess it is more than just acceptance, you seem to embrace it in a way, I’ve never experienced before.”
Mari scooted closer.
“I’m just floored, Mari.”
“When I first met you back in August, I just knew in my gut that there was something about you. We flirted all through September, we have had one date and here we are now. You have only seen me in my full Iron Man regalia, one time. Just once. I have had family and friends that have been far less accepting in the way that you have been. Again, I say you have seen me with a prosthesis on once, and now, counting today, twice. You haven’t once flinched, wrinkled your nose, or given any hints of disgust, nothing to suggest that you are the least bit uncomfortable around me or my disability. It kills me to say that because most of the time I don’t feel disabled, but it is what it is. You have done nothing but love and accept me, no matter what I’ve thrown your way.”
“Why should it be different?”
“I don’t know Mari; I just don’t know. What I do know is that every other time I have been with someone; I’ve never moved this fast to trust them to let them see all of me. Honestly, I think it has maybe only happened once, and that was after a month of that girl seeing me and knowing that I was an amputee, and, well, it didn’t end well.
You, found out on Wednesday, saw the”Iron Man” get-up yesterday and today. Well, today you saw me. All of me. Mari, I need you to know that I sat there in my room feeling very unsure of myself. I sat there trying to decide whether I should wear one of my legs, wear the silicone sleeve to cover up or just go, as I am. I decided to bite the bullet and expose the most vulnerable side of me, and you, you have done nothing but accept and nurture it.”
“Sooo…” began Mari tentatively
“Am I okay to …” she eyed his legs.
“Yeah,” said Locke exhaling a breath, giving a crooked half-grin and closing his eyes “Yeah, go ahead.”
Mari leaned in to hug as she continued to gently rub her foot against his leg and alternately, his other foot for good measure.
They sat in silence for some time as Mari thought to herself, He revealed his underbelly to me, can I reveal myself to him? How I’ve actually known for longer than he seems to realize? I don’t want to ruin this, but I want to be honest with him.
“Can I be completely honest with you?”
“Sure.” Locke raised his eyebrow ever so slightly.
“I’ve kinda known about your leg for a while now.” she whispered nervously.
“Well, Finn mentioned that you were like a cool Iron Man.”
“I don’t follow.”answered Locke with a touch of tension in his voice.
“Locke, think about the picture Finn drew of you and gave to you the first week of school, the one on your fridge?”
“Oh.” said Locke quietly.
“Yeah, and I’m a bit of a Google gopher.”
“A Google what?”
Mari sighed.“A Google gopher, I see something I don’t know or understand and I run to google and learn.”
“Think about your bumper stickers.”
Locke was a bit confused.“My bumper stickers?”
“Remember your first day picking up Finn when you almost forgot his lunch box?”
“Ah, yes, not one of my finer moments.” he chuckled.
“Well, I saw two bumper stickers. Daryl Dixon, which we must talk about some time and a mysterious circle bumper sticker with the letters ABR”
Locke made the connection.“Oh. Amputee Blade Runners Association”
“You knew, and you still flirted with me?”
“Well, it wasn’t just me flirting, but oh yes, I knew and I very much flirted with you.” she said with a wink.
“Okay, fair enough.”
Mari took a deep breath, as she prepared to reveal a part of her that she had not revealed to many.“Also, one more thing.”
“One more thing??”
“Ummm, what?” Urged Locke, somewhat suspiciously.
“I’m a devotee.”