Graduation Night, continued...
Adam and Maggie attempted to unpack her things, but instead they wound up in bed. Maggie was flattered that Adam seemed unable to keep his hands off her, even for a second. This time she came during sex—an earth-shattering orgasm that made her feel as though she might levitate off the bed. Adam seemed very pleased with himself.
As they lay in bed together, Adam gazed at her. Maggie felt a little self-conscious of her naked body. She knew her folds of fat were unattractive, as much as Adam pretended not to care. She pulled the covers around to conceal her body.
“What are you doing?” Adam said.
Maggie frowned. “Come off it. I know my body is disgusting. I guess... I believe that you love me, but you don’t have to pretend you like it.”
Adam shook his head. “You think your body is disgusting? Look at my legs, for god’s sake.” Maggie looked down and saw his painfully thin and bony legs lying lifelessly on the bed. “You think I’m proud of that?”
“I love all of you,” Adam insisted, stroking her cropped hair gently.
“Even my hair?” Maggie said with a shy smile.
“Why did you cut it so short anyway?”
Maggie shrugged. “I guess I was sick of people saying that I had a pretty face, if only I’d lose some weight. When I cut my hair off, people figured out that I wasn’t interested in trying to look good anymore. It was sort of like severing the last ties with my sexuality.”
“You could never sever the ties with your sexuality,” Adam said firmly. "You're too goddamn hot."
“Well, be that as it may...” Maggie touched her hair. “I suppose you’d like me to grow it out again.”
“Actually, just the opposite. I think you should shave it all off.”
“Yeah, I always thought the Sinead O’Connor look was totally you.”
Maggie giggled and kissed Adam on the mouth. “You’re wonderful, you know that?”
“Well, see, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you,” Adam said. “But you never seemed to believe me...”
Maggie stroked the stubble on Adam’s face with the back of her hand. She knew Adam had been dating another girl before, but he hadn’t mentioned that girl. Maggie wondered who she was and what had happened to her. Was she pretty? What had he said to her when he ended the relationship? Adam had probably casually broken it off with her, just like he had already done countless times on Maggie’s behalf. She remembered back in high school, a girlfriend of Adam’s named Alyssa had come up to her with red, puffy eyes, sobbing, I hope you and Adam are miserable together, you bitch. Maggie had been shocked, unaware she had been the one responsible for that particular break-up.
“God, I can’t believe we’re actually together,” Maggie sighed.
He took her hand in his, “And you’re going to be my wife.”
Maggie saw the love in his eyes and it nearly overwhelmed her. It was too bad they hadn’t come together sooner—perhaps it would have saved Adam the loss of half his body and saved Maggie two-hundred pounds. But it was dumb to mull over what might have been. They were together now, at least.
Adam glanced at a clock on the nightstand, “Oh no, I gotta get going...”
“Yeah, I, uh... I’m supposed to meet with Roger and his girlfriend.”
Maggie’s eyes widened. “With Roger? The man who tried to poison you?”
“He was my best friend though all of high school,” Adam reminded her. “He was our best friend.” He winked, "Lame as he was..."
“I never liked him,” Maggie said. She wasn’t sure if that was true. She had always felt fairly indifferent to Roger. It was Adam who she wanted to see and be close to—Roger just happened to always be there too. Roger never tried to hit on her either, something she appreciated back then. He was a quiet, nice enough kid. She supposed she never had anything against Roger, but she wouldn’t have called him her best friend.
“Come on, Maggie,” Adam said, “I don’t think he’d try something again. Look, he was just panicking. I... I think if I sit down with him and Joy and tell them the whole story, then... maybe we can end this whole thing.”
Adam was so damn naďve sometimes. How could he still have trust in Roger after everything that had happened? Roger should be in jail right now, but Adam still wanted to “work it out.” Adam could never be accused of not being devoted to his friends.
But even deeper that her sense of righteousness, Maggie had strong feeling that something bad would happen if Adam went to see Roger. A sick, terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. She and Adam had just found each other... she didn’t want to lose him.
“Please don’t go,” Maggie said.
Adam took her hand. “Maggie honey, I promise I won’t be gone for long.”
Maggie’s eyes filled with tears. “Please... I love you...”
“I love you too,” he told her, cupping her damp face in his hands. “I don’t want you to worry, Maggie. I’ll be fine, I promise.”
Adam asked his doorman to hail a cab to get to Roger’s apartment on time. The driver was one of the old-time cabbies, who had been driving for forty years. Adam was glad not to have one of the foreign drivers who had no clue what to do with a disabled passenger. This cabbie actually folded his chair for him without being told what to do, and carried it to the the trunk.
The cabbie kept glancing at Adam in the rearview mirror, wondering what a young guy like him was doing in a wheelchair. And he was too old to be shy about asking. “You been in that chair long?” the cabbie asked him.
“Ten years,” Adam replied, trying to transmit the fact that he didn’t feel like chatting.
The cabbie nodded. “Yeah, I could tell you wasn’t born crippled. You ain’t got that look. You a veteran?”
“No,” Adam said.
“You the one driving?”
“Damn shame,” the cabbie said. “A young kid like you, stuck in a chair your whole life because of some idiot driver. Real damn shame.”
Adam didn’t say anything. He just looked out the window. It wasn’t like he needed a cab driver to tell him it sucked that he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
As the cabbie blabbed on about people he knew who used wheelchairs, Adam tried to plan out in his head what he was going to say to Roger and Joy. The truth was, despite what he said to Maggie, he was very scared. He had absolutely no idea how Roger would react when confronted like this. And now, for the first time ever, Adam actually felt like he had something to lose.
Maybe this is a mistake, Adam thought to himself.
Well, either way, it was too late to turn back now.
When Adam got up to the apartment, he expected Roger to be waiting for him. Instead, it was Joy who answered the door. And she looked... well, fantastic. He wasn’t sure exactly what she had done to herself, but she looked very beautiful. It almost made his breath catch in his throat.
“Hi, Adam,” Joy said with a wide smile. “Roger isn’t back from work yet, but you can come in and wait.”
Adam felt a little relieved. He had been worried that Roger would be the one greeting him at the door and would beg him not to say anything to Joy. “Okay, thanks.”
Adam wheeled himself in and parked his chair by the couch. As he shifted his weight, he noticed the bulge of his full leg bag was slightly visible through his pants. He tugged on his slacks to hide it before Joy sat down next to him.
“Adam,” Joy said, looking him straight in the eyes, “there’s something I... I’ve been wanting to talk to you about...”
He frowned. “Is there anything wrong?”
“It’s just this feeling I’ve had lately,” Joy sighed, “that... that maybe Roger isn’t the right person for me...”
“What?” Adam couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
Joy shook her head. “I... I don’t know. I mean, at first I thought it was just wedding jitters, but now I’m not so sure. I feel like my feelings for Roger have sort of cooled off, for some reason.”
“It’s probably just nerves.”
“And, there’s been someone else I’ve been thinking a lot about lately...” Joy added.
Joy smiled. “You, actually.”
Adam nearly choked. “What?? You’re kidding me, right?”
Joy put her hand on his knee. “I’m being completely serious, Adam.”
“Yeah, but...” Adam felt his head spinning. Something seemed very wrong about all this. “I don’t think you know what you’re saying. I think... you’re making a huge mistake.”
“I don’t think so,” Joy breathed.
She leaned forward so that he could feel her hot breath on his face. She brought her lips close to his and he wheeled backwards, ducking away from her. “Jesus Christ, Joy!” Adam cried. “What the hell is wrong with you? What do you want me for? Roger is your fiance and... and I’m fucking paralyzed! Jesus!”
“I don’t care that you’re paralyzed,” Joy said. “I want you anyway... I want you to make me scream...”
Adam looked into Joy’s blue eyes and saw that she meant it. Her eyes seemed so bright today, much more vivid than in the dim light of the club the other night. The color contrasted oddly with her dark brown hair. Except... her hair wasn’t really brown. The roots were a different color—the roots were blonde. Her hair was dyed. Joy was really a blonde.
Suddenly, Adam felt very ill. The room started spinning and he gripped the armrests of his chair. He had to get the hell out of here before Joy figured out that he knew.
“Are you okay?” Joy asked, squinting at his face.
“Fine... I’m fine,” Adam gasped. “Just... I think I should go out and get a breath of fresh air. Maybe... come get me when Roger gets home.”
Adam backed away from her, trying not to seem too eager to get the hell out of there. He might have even made it if at that moment, his goddamn leg bag hadn’t sprung a leak, almost instantly forming a puddle on his pants leg. This hadn’t happened to him in over three years, the last time being at a restaurant with his parents. Adam hoped Joy didn’t see it, but unfortunately she did.
“Oh my gosh,” Joy said. “Here, you can use our bathroom to get cleaned up.”
“No, that’s okay,” Adam said quickly, “I’m just going to go and...”
He could see the confusion on Joy’s face over why he’d be willing to go outside with his pants soaked in urine. Their eyes met for an instant and her confusion ended. “Oh, Adam,” she sighed, “you’re so smart.”
“Doesn’t do me much good,” Adam said with resignation, as she pulled her gun on him.
“No,” Joy agreed, “it doesn’t.”
to be continued....