Ethan: “I think Abby may be slightly out of my league. Okay, a lot out of my league. But I guess she’s got to pick one of us and who’s she going to pick? She’s mad at Jamie and Noel, and all Harry does is lie in bed and watch television. So I think I have a pretty good chance.”
Abby: “I think Ethan’s a cutie. I’m worried I’m going to corrupt him.”
Ethan Saunders was very nervous about his date with Abby that night. He tried on three different jackets and still hadn’t found one he was happy with. Harrison was lying on his bed, watching Wheel of Fortune while his nurse Steve was off getting dinner for him. “Just pick a jacket, for god’s sake,” Harrison said. “It’s doesn’t matter.”
“None of these look good,” Ethan said in frustration.
Harrison eyed the beige jacket that Ethan had on now. “Believe me, it looks better on you than it would look on me.”
Ethan rolled his eyes. He was getting a little sick of Harrison’s negative attitude that seemed to pervade nearly everything he said. He looked at his roommate, whose body was splayed out across the bed, his paralyzed arms folded for him across his stomach. Ethan supposed Harrison had a right to be a little bitter, but it was two years already—time to get over it. “Maybe you should go have dinner with Jamie and Noel tonight,” Ethan suggested. “They’re getting the limo to take them to a nice restaurant.”
“That’s all right,” Harrison said. “I don’t really enjoy eating out anymore.”
“What do you enjoy?” Ethan said, fixing his blue eyes on Harrison.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“No, I’m serious. I’d like to know some things you like doing. Maybe I could help you out, you know? Make this experience a little more pleasant…”
“I used to like riding my motorcycle,” Harrison said quietly. “I used to like serving drinks at the bar.”
“Yeah, well you can’t do those things anymore,” Ethan said. “What do you like to do now?”
Harrison bit his lip. “I… I don’t really do much. I guess I like surfing the internet. I like to talk to people, but I don’t meet many people anymore. I mostly just see my parents and Steve.”
“You know,” Ethan said, “there are non-profit groups for people with severe disabilities. You go these community groups and you can meet new people similar to yourself. It won’t cost you anything because all the people who work there are volunteers. I used to volunteer at one of those places when I was in high school.”
Ethan nodded. “Yeah, sure. I mean, I know I’m disabled myself, but there was still a lot I could do for people. Like I would read to them or if they wanted to play cards or something, I could hold the cards. It was great.”
“I don’t know,” Harrison shook his head. “I hate being a charity case.”
“It’s not about charity,” Ethan said. “You really should think about it, Harry.”
Ethan: “Oh my god, Abby, you look… amazing.”
Abby: “You look pretty cute yourself.”
Ethan: “No, I mean it, Abby. I… I don’t have the opportunity to meet a lot of women like you. I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in person in my whole life.”
Abby: “What do you mean, ‘women like me’?”
Ethan: “Uh… what?”
Abby: “You mean, a woman who isn’t disabled?”
Ethan: “Oh, um… I guess so. I mean, I went to schools where all the girls had spina bifida like me or CP or something else, and… well, at least none of them had a body like you.”
Abby: “So you’re saying they’re not as good as me?”
Ethan: “What? No, no, I’m not saying that at all. I mean, they were great girls.”
Abby: “Then how come you never went out with any of them?”
Abby: “You said you never had a girlfriend. How come you never dated any of these disabled girls, if they were so ‘great’?”
Ethan’s face flushed. He didn’t understand why Abby was suddenly attacking him like this. All he was trying to do was tell her she looked nice, that was all. “I was too shy to ask them out, I guess,” he finally said.
That was, in fact, the truth. As much as Ethan felt that Abby was out of his league, he felt that almost all girls were out of his league. When he looked at himself in the mirror, with his short misshapen legs and thick braces, he couldn’t imagine any girl, disabled or AB, would want him.
Abby seemed to believe him. Her eyes softened. “Were you ever in love with a girl?” she asked.
“Yeah, once,” he replied. In high school, Ethan had fallen in love with a girl named Amber, who was in his poetry class. Amber was very severely disabled with cerebral palsy and needed an assistant with her at all times, but when he first heard her read one of her poems, he fell in love with her. The poem was about what it was like to be trapped in her body and it nearly made Ethan cry, because it was the way he felt every day.
Amber and Ethan became friends. He joined her for lunch every day and he wrote her love poems. It became a game for him to show her the poems without her nurse seeing it too. He was crazy about her and he knew she loved him back, even though she never specifically said so. But it was the typical Romeo and Juliet story. Amber’s overprotective parents didn’t think she was capable of a relationship, not now or not ever. And Ethan’s parents told him he shouldn’t be dating a girl who was so severely disabled. Together, their parents made it logistically impossible for the couple to ever see each other.
The worst part was, they never even kissed.
“What was her name?” Abby asked.
“Amber,” Ethan said quietly. “I knew her in high school. Look, I don’t really want to talk about it.”
Ethan wondered what Amber was up to now. He remembered she wanted to go to college, although her parents were against it, but her real dream was to become a writer. When he was in bookstores, sometimes he’d check the shelves of poetry books, hoping to see her name.
Abby put his hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Ethan,” she said softly. “And I’m sorry I gave you a hard time. You didn’t deserve that. It’s just that… I had a friend in college who was disabled and it seemed like even among the wheelchair community, she just ‘wasn’t good enough’. I hope I didn’t put a damper on the evening.”
“No, it’s okay,” Ethan said with a smile. But he was lying. Now that Abby had brought back his memories of Amber, it was all he could think about. Until now, he didn’t realize how much he missed Amber.
Abby: “Ethan seemed… a little distracted tonight. I would have liked to stay up later and have some drinks, but he said he was too tired. I’m beginning to feel a little rejected here. I wonder what Noel is doing. Maybe I’ll go find him.”
Ethan: “I feel bad about tonight. I’m usually not like this. It’s just… Abby brought up some things that got me thinking… it just got me down a bit. I really think I blew it with her tonight. There's no way she'll pick me now.”
After dinner out with Jamie, Noel went to shoot some pool. He wondered if Abby would want to be with him again tonight. He knew he had disappointed her last night, but it was a rule of his that he never had sex with a girl the first night. The rule wasn’t based on morals or anything like that… it was because he knew he was great at eating girls out, and that was the memory he wanted to leave with them.
Not that he wasn’t great at fucking. He figured he was probably at least above average, but it was almost impossible for him to try to hold out until the girl came. Sometimes he got lucky and didn’t come for a while, but it wasn’t something he had much control over.
Plus Noel always got nervous about how women would take the sight of his legs. It was a big insecurity of his. Because he was injured before he had his growth spurt, his legs didn’t really grow normally during his teenage years, and he was left with two child-sized sticks for legs. They looked so strange, even baggy pants weren’t enough to hide them, hence the blanket he always kept over his legs. But if he was having sex with a girl, he had no choice but to show her his legs.
Noel was trying to sink the six-ball in the corner pocket. He had the shot lined up perfectly, but his cue slipped when he felt hands on his shoulders. He looked up and saw Abby standing behind him. “Hi, Noel,” she said.
“Wow, it’s really early,” he commented. “What happened? Did you get rejected again?”
Abby bent down and kissed him on the corner of the mouth. “When did you get to be such an asshole? What happened to that suave cripple from the first day?”
“That was just an act to get you into bed,” Noel said, staring at Abby’s chest as she unbuttoned her shirt.
“Didn’t you say you were going to fuck me tonight?” Abby said impatiently. She sat down on the pool table. “Or doesn’t your dick work?”
“Oh, I’m going to fuck you,” he said, touching the insides of her thighs. “But I’m the one who’s fucking paralyzed so I get to be on the bottom.”
Noel fingered the side of the table, wondering how the hell he was going to get onto it. It was probably at least a foot too high for him to transfer comfortably.
“Need a little help?” Abby said with a smile.
“That depends on how important it is for you to fuck on the table,” Noel said.
“The floor suits me fine.”
Noel pushed his footrests out of the way, and carefully slid out of the chair onto the floor. The one good thing about having such short legs was that they didn’t get in the way as easily. He pulled away the blanket that was on top of his legs, leaving only the sweatpants he was wearing. Abby pulled down his sweatpants along with his boxers. When his dick popped out, he put his hand on hers to stop her from pulling his pants down any further.
“What’s wrong?” Abby asked. “You keep your pants on during sex?”
Noel blinked. “My legs are… uh…”
Abby didn’t stop. She pulled his pants completely off so that his legs lay before her. Noel felt his face turning as red as his hair. Both his legs were the same length they had been when he was fourteen. The muscles were completely atrophied to the point of being nonexistent and the skin clung to his bones. Abby stared at his legs quietly.
Sometimes well-meaning people would tell Noel that scientists were working on a “cure” for paralysis and that he might be able to walk again in his lifetime. Only last month, a secretary at work had shoved an article in his face: “It says here you’ll be out of that wheelchair in the next ten years, Noel.” If that secretary had seen Noel’s legs, they might not have had so much faith in medical science. He wasn’t walking again on those legs, not in ten years, not in fifty years, not ever.
All the humor was gone from Noel’s face. “You still want to have sex?” he asked.
“Is this where the women usually tell you they have to get up early?” Abby didn’t crack a smile.
“Usually, the sweatpants stay on,” Noel told her.
“That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard,” Abby said.
She lowered her head until the tip of her tongue just barely touched the head of his penis. He moaned softly as he felt his dick engorged by the hot wetness of Abby’s mouth. He pawed gently at Abby’s hair.
“You want to fuck me now?” she asked, raising her head.
“Oh god, yes!”
As Noel entered Abby, he forgot all about his legs. With her riding him, he was just a regular guy, getting laid by a gorgeous woman. She dug her fingernails into his arms and chest, hard enough to break through his skin. He bit his lip from the mixture of pleasure and pain, hoping he wasn’t going to be too sore to wheel himself around after this.
They came almost simultaneously, something that hadn’t happened to Noel in a while. He was very pleased with himself. He dropped his head against the carpet, exhausted.
“That was incredible,” Abby breathed, cuddling up against his side.
“Ditto,” Noel said. He pulled his blanket from the floor and put it over his legs.
“God, you’re really self-conscious,” Abby commented.
“Do you blame me?”
“They’re not that bad.”
“I’m paralyzed, Abby, not blind.”
“Whatever,” Abby sighed.
Noel put his arm around her and winced with pain as he flexed his forearm. God, that girl was a wildcat… this was going to leave bruises.
Abby fingered the scratches she had made on his chest. “You have a really nice chest, Noel,” she said. “Very sexy.”
“Is that why you felt the need to disfigure me?”
Abby smiled. “I can’t stand anything being too perfect.”
Eventually, they decided it was best to go back to their respective rooms. As Noel pulled himself into his wheelchair, he winced at the pain in his arms. It really hurt every time he tried to flex his forearm. “You okay?” Abby asked.
“Yeah,” Noel muttered, “except I think you crippled me… even more so, that is.”
“Do you want me to wheel you back to your room?” Abby offered.
“Don’t be so macho, Noel.”
Noel smiled and folded his arms in his lap. “All right, go for it.”
Abby wheeled him down the hall to his room. He definitely could have managed himself, but she seemed to get a kick out of wheeling him. Being in a chair for as long as he was, he had his fair share of being wheeled around by other people.
“So I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” Abby said.
“Don’t I get a kiss?” Noel asked.
Abby leaned down and pressed her lips against his. “Don’t presume this means I’m picking you.”
“I would never presume.”
“Good night, Noel.”
“Good night, Abby.”
Stay tuned for Abby's next date.