Conrad watched Karen walking away with her husband. He had scraped his hands slightly in the fall and they stung painfully. Dennis was standing in front of him, shifting from foot to foot. "Shit, I'm sorry, Con," Dennis was saying. "I should have been paying attention. I could have gotten rid of that guy for you."
"No," Conrad shook his head. "Listen, it wasn't your fault. She was his wife. He had a right to be angry."
"Bullshit," Dennis said. "It still isn't fair to try to beat up a guy in a…" Dennis froze when he saw the look on Conrad's face. "Hey, I'm sorry. You could have taken him, Con. He just caught you off guard."
"Just fuck off, Dennis, okay?" Conrad said irritably. "I don't need you to patronize me."
"I'm not…" Dennis sighed. "I'm going to go take a walk, I guess."
"You can go back to the hotel," Conrad told him. "It's late. I can make it back myself."
"Are you sure?" Dennis asked.
Conrad's face flushed. "Yeah, I'm sure."
Conrad watched Dennis lumbering off. Dennis's reaction to the whole thing was evidence that Conrad had been getting too dependent on Dennis. God, Dennis didn't even think Conrad could even get back to the room by himself.
Dennis had been around even before Conrad's accident. Dennis had been a sort of bodyguard, which is never bad to have around when you're very wealthy. After the accident, Conrad knew he'd need some help getting around, so he employed Dennis as an assistant. The arrangement had worked out well, except Dennis was just a little more fretful than Conrad had expected him to be. He was becoming like a nervous mother.
For his part, Conrad depended on Dennis too heavily. He didn't like to be seen in his wheelchair, so he often needed Dennis's help to put it out of the way. Through Dennis, he was trying to recapture his life from before the accident. It didn't work. He felt humiliated when he needed help with simple tasks such as sitting down to a meal or getting into bed.
Conrad hadn't been quite truthful with Karen when he told her about his accident. He remembered the terrible rockslide during his mountain-climbing trip, and then waking up in the hospital unable to feel the lower half of his body. The doctor had told him right then and there that his spinal cord had been completely severed and there was no chance of him ever walking again.
Conrad wouldn't accept it. He hired the most expensive therapists there were, determined to regain his ability to walk. He never doubted for a minute that he could do it. He had earned his fortune from scratch, working his way through college with night jobs. He could certainly do something as simple as walking. The doctors told him he was wasting his time, but Conrad refused to listen. He truly believed that if he worked hard enough, he could make his legs do what he wanted again.
A year later, Conrad was no longer so sure. He had worked harder at walking than at anything else in his entire life, but not only was there no improvement, but his legs had deteriorated considerably despite all efforts to the contrary. The muscle tone in his legs was disappearing fast, and they didn't even look like they could support his weight anymore.
A year and a half after his accident, Conrad came crashing to the floor from the parallel bars for the umpteenth time. He lay on the floor, breathing hard and staring up at the bars that looked miles away. His arms ached and his lower body felt completely dead. He had long since been catheterized and he could see that his urine sac had not burst from the fall as it did last time.
Conrad heard the optimistic voice of his therapist: "Come on, Con, get up. You can do it. Here, I'll help you."
Conrad stared at the outstretched hand in front of him, looked over at his lifeless legs and shook his head. "Just get my goddamn chair, okay?"
"What?" The therapist couldn't believe it. Conrad had always seemed so determined.
"I said, get me my chair," Conrad repeated, trying to keep his voice under control. "I don't want to do this anymore."
That was his last day of therapy. He did the usual stretches so that his gut didn't expand and his legs didn't fade away to nothing, but he gave up all hope of ever walking again. He tried to get used to life in a wheelchair as best he could. But the best strategy he had was pretending that the chair wasn't a part of his life.
Conrad sighed. It was no use thinking about girls like Karen and what could have been. He had to get used to reality.
Karen and Jerry walked back to their hotel room in near silence. When they finally arrived at the room, Karen broke the silence. "What are we going to do now?"
Jerry shook his head. "I don't know."
"Is there anyone you can borrow the money from?" Karen asked.
Jerry laughed. "Are you kidding? All our friends are broke too." He hesitated. "Hey, how about your friend from the casino? He seemed to be pretty loaded."
Karen's face flushed. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, come on, Karen," Jerry said. "You know, that guy in the wheelchair. He seemed to be pretty interested in you. I bet if you go talk to him, he'll lend you some money."
"After you humiliated him?" Karen said. "Yeah, I'm sure he'll be thrilled."
"Well, if you're really nice to him…"
Karen's eyes widened. "God, Jerry, what are you saying? You want me to prostitute myself to him?"
"Of course not!" Jerry exclaimed. "I mean, he probably can't even have sex. But just talk to him and…"
"I can't believe you're asking me to do this."
"I don't want you to do this," Jerry said, "but the situation is desperate. Karen, honey, if we don't get this money, we'll lose everything."
Jerry touched Karen's face and drew her close to him. He kissed her deeply on the lips and looked into her eyes.
Karen didn't know what hotel Conrad was staying at, so she picked the Taj Mahal, where she had first seen him. She walked up to the check-in desk and rang the bell to get the attention of someone behind the desk. Eventually, a young man came to her service. "Can I help you, Miss?"
"Yes," Karen said eagerly. "I'm looking for a guest of this hotel."
The man nodded. "And what is his name?"
"His name is Conrad…" Karen's voice trailed off as she realized she had never heard his last name.
"Conrad what?" the man asked.
"Uh…I don't know…" Karen replied, flustered. "But he…he's very wealthy. And…and he uses a…a…"
Karen whirled around and saw the handsome, paraplegic man sitting behind her in his wheelchair. "Conrad," she breathed.
"I'm surprised to see you," he said.
"Yes, I…" Karen bit her lip. "I was looking for you."
Conrad seemed baffled. "Why?"
"Can we…go someplace private?"
"Is my room okay?"
Karen nodded. She watched Conrad's muscled arms working the wheels of his chair and she felt herself grow wet. As she followed him to the elevator, all she could think about was how bad she wanted him.
Conrad's room was no less extravagant than Karen had expected. There were two king-sized beds, an enormous bathroom, and furniture that looked very expensive. There was a closed door that clearly led to another room. "Nice room," Karen commented.
"It's accessible," Conrad replied. He looked up at her. "Listen, Karen, why are you here?"
"I'm going to level with you," Karen said. "After I left you on the boardwalk, Jerry…my husband…and I were talking. He…he's in a lot of debt. Ten-thousand dollars. And he thought…he thought I should ask you for the money."
Conrad's beautiful brown eyes lowered. "I see. Well…if you really need money, I guess I could spare some. Ten-thousand dollars?"
"No, wait," Karen said quickly. "I don't want your money. I told Jerry to fuck off. I mean, he was asking me to prostitute myself to you."
"Yeah, I can see why you wouldn't want to do that," Conrad said.
"Jesus," Karen sighed, shaking her head. "Don't you get it, Con? I'm here because I want you to make love to me."
Conrad's eyes widened. "What?"
"I've wanted you from the second I first saw you," Karen said. She moved closer to him and slid her hand into his soft brown hair. She touched his cheek gently and directed his face up toward hers. "Do you want me too?"
"Are you kidding?" Conrad stared into her eyes. "Nothing would make me happier than to make love to you, Karen."
Karen dropped her lips onto his and time stood still as they kissed. She felt Conrad's hands caressing her body, sliding up her thigh until her panties were nearly soaked. She touched him back, running her hand down his chest toward the area she knew he could no longer feel. "Now," she breathed, pulling away from his lips.
"I don't know if I can," Conrad said, his voice breaking.
Karen looked down at his pants and saw that his penis was once again straining against the seams. "Of course you can."
"I'm afraid," he murmured. "I'm afraid I'll lose it before you're satisfied. I want to make sure you're happy."
Karen saw the worried crease between his eyebrows and her heart went out to him. She stroked his chest. "I've never been as turned on in my life as I am right now. You have nothing to worry about."
"But I want to make sure," Conrad insisted. He took her hand and led her toward the bed. Karen sat obediently and watched as Conrad pulled off her panties and spread her legs. She lay down on the bed, but lifted her head to watch as he licked the insides of her thighs, teasing her throbbing clitoris. She placed her feet on the arms of his wheelchair for support as his tongue touched the tip of her clitoris. His tongue felt like it was probing every nerve of her body. She grabbed at his hair with shaking fingers and moaned at the ceiling. His tongue danced circles until she finally exploded in the greatest orgasm of her life.
Karen propped herself up with trembling arms and stared at Conrad's face. "I want you to make love to me now."
Conrad nodded. He pulled his wheelchair up alongside the bed. He first hoisted his upper body out of the chair, supporting his weight on the bed. The tendons in his arms strained and trembled as he struggled to keep his balance. Finally, he had transferred his upper body into the bed and only his lifeless legs remained in the chair. He lifted them one at a time into the bed and arranged them so they were straight in front of him. He looked up at Karen with that same worried expression. "Did that disgust you?"
In reply, Karen crawled toward him and kissed him deeply on the lips. The worry faded from his face as he slid his tongue against hers and made circles with his fingers around her breasts. She was still clothed, so she pulled her dress over her head and removed her bra. Conrad stared at her naked body, as if he had never seen a nude woman before. She unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a well-toned chest. She licked his nipples and he moaned in response.
She began to unzip his pants to release his throbbing penis when he caught her hand. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Conrad asked her.
Karen shook her head. "If you stop, I'll kill you."
Conrad's face flushed. "I have to warn you then. I wear a catheter."
"It's a…" he hesitated. "It's a tube that's inserted inside my penis. I'm incontinent, so I need it to…to collect my urine. The urine is in a bag that's on my leg."
Karen's face paled. "Oh."
"It's okay," Conrad said quickly. "You don't have to do this. It's really okay."
"Listen," Karen said. "I told you that I want you to make love to me. And nothing has changed. Now can you take the catheter out?"
"Then do it," Karen said.
"One thing," Conrad said. "Can you…can you move my chair away from the bed. I don't want to have to look at it."
Karen frowned, but got out of bed to oblige. Conrad was so insecure about his disability and for no reason. She didn't want to indulge him, but she did want to make him feel comfortable. As Karen moved his chair into the corner, she watched him pull down his pants to reveal a rather large penis with a thin tube snaking out of it. He gently removed the tube along with the small bag that it was attached to. He tried to remove his pants, but only got them down as far as his knees.
"Karen," Conrad said sheepishly. "Can you…help me out with my pants? Dennis usually gives me a hand."
Karen smiled and put one hand on his paralyzed foot. She caressed the sole of his foot, getting a thrill out of the thought that he was unable to feel her. She gently pulled his thin calves out of his pants and his legs lay bare before her. She ran her hand along his flesh and looked at him questioningly.
"I can't feel that," he told her.
She swung her body on top of his and enjoyed the feel of his bare skin against hers. His penis pressed against her thigh and her clitoris began throbbing again. "I always used to be on top," Conrad said, a little wistfully.
Karen looked at him and smiled. "Then why don't you be on top this time?"
A slow smile spread across his face. "Really?"
"Yeah, why not?"
Conrad eagerly propped himself up on his elbows. Karen lay on her back and he put his arm across her body. Slowly, he dragged the rest of his body across her so that all that was remaining was his legs. Karen reached out with one arm and pulled his legs so that they were directly over her own legs. With him on top of her, Karen was very aware of how limp the lower half of his body felt.
Karen took his penis in her hand and drew it inside her. Conrad used to strength of his arms to steadily move his hips up and down. Karen responded by moving her own hips in rhythm with his. Each stroke became steadily more intense until she felt another orgasm drawing near. Conrad's breaths sped up and he moaned softly as Karen gripped his shoulders. She came hard, screaming out his name, and seconds later she felt a rush of fluid shooting inside her. Conrad's eyes squeezed shut and he moaned loudly, then collapsed on top of her.
She lay with her arms at her sides, exhausted. The weight of Conrad's body on her own was comforting, like a warm blanket. He slid his arms around her body and allowed his breathing to slow down to normal. "I don't think I can move," Conrad sighed.
She kissed his lips. "That was incredible."
"Yeah?" he grinned. "It was pretty incredible on my end too. Am I crushing you?"
"Not at all." She gently stroked his hair, enjoying the feel of his body close to hers.
He lifted his head. "Karen, I love you."
She laughed. "No, you don't."
"I do," Conrad insisted. "I want you to dump that creep you're married to and marry me instead."
"No," Karen said, shaking her head. "You're just happy because you had good sex. And because you realized you're still a man, chair or no chair. And you realized that you're still goddamn sexy."
"Am I?" he asked with a grin.
"You know you are," Karen said, returning his smile. "Maybe you don't realize it yet, but you could have any woman in the world you want. And I don't want to be your wife when you figure it out."
"I would never hurt you, Karen," Conrad said earnestly. "I've had plenty of women. Now all I want is you."
"I believe you think you mean that," Karen said. "But a few months from now…I don't know."
"So what are you going to do?" Conrad sulked. "Go back to your husband?"
"After the way Jerry acted tonight, I could never go back to him," Karen said. "I didn't realize what a creep he was until tonight."
Conrad ran his fingers through her hair. "If you won't marry me, will you at least be my girlfriend?"
Karen nearly laughed because he sounded so cute asking her. "It's against my better judgment, but you're too handsome to resist."
"I knew my looks would someday come in handy," Conrad teased. He lowered his lips onto hers and kissed her until her whole body tingled. "You've changed my life, Karen."
"No, I mean it," he said. "Tomorrow, I'm going back home and I'm going to start over. I'm going to get a car with hand controls and learn to drive again for one thing. I've also heard about horseback riding for paraplegics. And skiing. God, I haven't been skiing in ten years."
"How will you squeeze me into all this?" Karen teased.
"You'll be with me, of course," Conrad said, grinning. "You know, I wonder if they have mountain climbing for paraplegics? I'd like to face that mountain again after it tried to kill me, and show it that I'm not so easy to get rid of. And in the meantime, they have wheelchair basketball twice a week at the gym I used to go to."
"Now that I'd like to watch," Karen said. "I'd like to see you get all hot and sweaty."
"You've already seen it," Conrad replied, staring deep into her eyes. "Karen, I'd just like to say thank you again. You don't know what you've done for me."
"It was my pleasure," Karen said softly, although it was he who had just given her the best sex of her life. She shivered when she remembered the sensation of him inside of her.
"One more thing," he said. "Maybe you could…bring my wheelchair back over by the bed. I don't think I need to keep it hidden anymore. I'd like to know I can get out of bed when I want to."
"Of course," Karen agreed. She started to get up, but he slid his hand onto her cheek and drew her close so that he could kiss her one last time.
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