“Where are we going, Kellan?” Heather asked as he droved down a country road out in Powhatan County.
“I told you I have something to show you.” He smiled, looked straight ahead; didn’t know if he could meet her eyes without letting on to his secret.
“Way out in Powhatan County? Nothing out here but farms and the jail.”
He laughed. She was right. Still… “Just relax and enjoy the ride. You like Sunday drives.”
“True.” She agreed, watching the sunlight play through the bare branches of the trees. Autumn’s bright colors had given way to piles of brown leaves and tree limbs against the pale blue sky.
In just a few weeks, Richmond would be her home. She had accepted the position with Doug Shepherd, who wanted her to start right away. She had given her notice to Jack, who wanted her to finish the project she was on. Jack and Doug had negotiated and she would be allowed to assume her new role the first week in December. She needed to pack, to decide what to do with her furniture since she was moving in with Kellan. Moving in with Kellan. She looked over at him and smiled. It couldn’t get much better.
“You look happy.” He commented.
“That’s because I am.”
“Good. We are almost there.”
He turned onto another winding road, drove about two miles and started to slow down.
Heather saw a little farmhouse with a wide front porch and a green tin roof set way back off the road. A “For Sale” sign was strategically placed in the middle of the lawn, which was flat and still green. Old trees studded the lawn in areas that would provide shade in the summer. Deep green pots filled with deep red chrysanthemums lined the steps and either side of the doorway. The front door was painted the same red as the chrysanthemums, with an etched glass panel.
“We are looking at houses?” Heather asked as they pulled in to the gravel driveway, parking beside a blue Ford Taurus. “This one is charming.”
“I thought you would like it. Want to see the inside?”
“Of course.” Heather got out of the car and walked around to his side to wait while he got into his chair. It wasn’t just good manners on her part. Watching him transfer was a huge turn-on. And she would be seeing a lot more transfers. His follow-up appointment with his dad had sent him to his orthopedist, who had taken him off crutches and reduced his training schedule. As hard as it had been for Kellan to accept the restrictions, even after just a few weeks, he was feeling better.
Once he was in his chair, she looked around what she could see of the house. “It isn’t accessible, Kellan.”
“Don’t worry about that.” He smiled. “I can get around.”
Heather watched him wheel toward the house.
“Are you coming?” He stopped and turned to her.
She nodded. What was he doing? Did she dare tell him she could see them living in this house? She followed his path, slightly behind him so she could watch him. Her sexy rollerboy.
As they reached the porch steps, an older woman with graying curls and a taupe-colored suit came out onto the porch.
“Hi, Kellan.” She said, smiling warmly. “And you must be Heather.”
“I am Susan Dodd.” She extended her hand. Heather climbed the three steps to meet her on the porch and shake hands.
“Mrs. Dodd is a friend of my mother.” Kellan explained. “I told her what I was looking for and she found it.”
“Oh.” Heather looked back at him. Her heart pounded in her chest. She was afraid to think what she was thinking.
“I will meet you inside.” Susan Dodd stepped back in the house.
Kellan nodded. “She doesn’t want to watch this.” He told Heather once Mrs. Dodd was out of earshot.
“Watch what?’ Heather said, eagerly anticipating what had to come next.
“How a gimp gets up stairs when there is no ramp.”
“Oooh.” Heather smiled. “I want to watch.”
He laughed. “I know you do.” He loved that she was so attracted to the things he had to do differently, that his disabled body was a turn-on rather than turn-off for her. But then, it wouldn’t have worked for them any other way.
Kellan lifted his feet out of the footrests onto the walkway and reached down and then lowered himself to the walkway in front of the steps.
“Will you take my chair, please?” He looked up at Heather.
“Sure.” She skipped down the steps and got his chair, carefully pulling it up onto the porch with her. Then she looked down at him again and a shiver of excitement coursed through her. There he was, on the ground, paralyzed legs bent close to his body. She knew he was far from helpless, but the illusion was there and for a moment, she really liked it.
She continued to watch, heat and excitement building in her as he used his hands to move his legs and got his body positioned to begin pulling himself up the steps. With his back to the steps and his legs stretched out on the walkway in front of him, he put his hands on the step behind and pushed up and pulled himself onto the next step. Heather felt that familiar throbbing. Jesus, she was about to cream herself watching her boyfriend scoot up steps. He repeated the process until he pulled himself up the final step then scooted backwards until his legs and feet were on the porch. Heather gripped the handles of his chair and lined it up for him.
He looked up at her as he transferred into it, knowing what the deepness in her eyes meant. “Was it good for you?” He teased.
“When isn’t it?” She kissed him.
They were both flushed and laughing as they met the realtor inside the house. Getting Kellan’s chair through the door was a little tight, but they made it. Heather was immediately swept away. What had been charming from the outside was perfect from the inside. The layout was open. High ceilings, hardwood floors and sturdy plaster walls. The living room opened into the dining room, which opened into the kitchen. No true hallways and wide arched doorways connected these rooms. Three bedrooms and a bathroom made up the other side of the house. The stained glass window in the bathroom cast blue shadows on the black and white tiled floor. The tub was an old cast-iron claw-footed beauty.
Kellan saw Heather’s smile and knew she loved the house as much as he did. The house did need work, it had been well-lived in and not meticulously cared for. It needed modifications for him. And it needed that red tin roof.
Heather walked into the kitchen. The windows above the sink showed the view of the back yard with its big trees and an herb garden. A screened porch caped the back of the house. She walked out on the porch. Kellan followed. Susan Dodd had stayed out of their way, allowing them to look around at their leisure.
Heather stood, holding the wooden porch frame, staring through the screen at the tangle of flowerbeds and patch gardens.
“Could you live here?” Kellan asked her.
She held her breath, unable to speak, nodding her head.
“Would you live here with me?” He asked, taking her hand.
“Yes.” She turned to face him.
Her smile was the sweetest he had seen. He backed up a little and pulled her to stand in front of him. He held one of her hands while he reached into his jacket pocket with the other.
Heather saw the little blue box in his hand and tears came unbidden. He dropped her hand to open the little box.
“Heather Grace Whitlow, will you marry me?”
She didn’t even look at the ring. She looked at him. His expression was earnest and Heather saw nothing but love in his eyes.
“Yes” She was smiling and crying now. He took the ring out of the box, reached for her hand and slid it on to her finger.
She looked down at the ring. It was the perfect size, perfect shape, set in white gold. “It is beautiful, Kellan.” She whispered.
“Not as beautiful as you.” He pulled her into his lap to wipe her tears away and to kiss her.
Susan Dodd chose that moment to check on them. “Congratulations!” Their posture gave away what had transpired.
“Thank you.” Heather looked up, smiling, not the least bit embarrassed to be caught in Kellan’s lap.
“We want to make an offer on the house.” Kellan said, turning around after Heather stood up.
“Perfect.” Mrs. Dodd smiled. “Congratulations again.”
To be continued...