Jordan was racing on the indoor track fast enough to feel the wind lifting his short hair. His T-shirt clung to his damp chest and a drop of sweat fell into his eye, blurring his vision until he blinked it away. He glanced over at his opponent, Dennis Taylor, and saw that he had at least a foot lead on Dennis. Jordan recalled that he had won his last three races against Dennis, so he lifted his gloved hands slightly off the wheels of his chair and let Dennis edge ahead of him. Dennis won by a nose.
A few of the other guys came over and clapped Dennis on the back. “Good race, guys,” said Jim, the PT who was supervising the race. “Nice effort, Jordan.”
The races took place almost daily since Jordan had arrived at this program five months earlier. The facility, specifically, was a rehab program designed for young males with spinal cord injuries. It included physical rehabilitation, but the psychological element was equally if not more important. It wasn’t that unusual for the program to have a patient like Jordan, who had been using a wheelchair for quite some time, but had never really adjusted for one reason or another. Most people stayed in the program for six months to a year, and Jordan was leaning toward the greater length of time.
Jordan undid the belt over his thighs that held his legs in place while he raced. The last thing he needed was for one of his legs to slip out of the footrests. He wiped a line of sweat from his forehead and held out his other hand to Dennis, “Good race, Dennis.”
But Dennis wouldn’t shake. “Jesus Christ, Grant,” Dennis said. “You don’t have to let me win.” Jordan’s eyes widened and Dennis grinned, “Come on, you think I didn’t notice when you took your hands off the wheels? Look, you’ve been wheeling for ten years and I’ve only got a year in. I can deal with you beating me sometimes.” He added, “For now.”
Jordan returned the smile, “Okay, but if I play fair, you’re never going to win again.”
“Oh yeah? I bet I’m kicking your ass by the spring.”
“You don’t have enough money to make a bet like that,” Jordan teased him.
“You know what? I’m going to kick your ass right now, you rich snot-nosed little gimp.” Dennis grabbed Jordan by the collar playfully and a minute later they were wrestling on the ground. Dennis had more strength in his arms but Jordan was used to wrestling without his legs, so he managed to pin Dennis without too much effort. It wasn’t the first time they had wrestled, but the outcome was always the same: Dennis leaned forward and pressed his lips against Jordan’s.
“Behave yourself, guys!” Jim snapped. He grabbed Jordan by the collar and physically pulled him off Dennis. “Get back in your chairs.”
Jordan laughed as he fell against the floor. They both lifted themselves back into their wheelchairs, eying each other with barely concealed lust. Jordan and Dennis weren’t the only couple in the the program, and the management tended to look the other way, but that sort of thing was frowned upon in public.
I want to fuck you, Dennis mouthed to Jordan.
Jordan nodded and they headed in the direction of their room. It had been the program that had placed the two boys together due to their similar injuries and age. Both of them were paralyzed from the waist down, although Jordan had been a wheelchair user for much longer. It took about two weeks for them to start fooling around. Except for Kirsten, this was the longest Jordan had ever been in a relationship. And it was the first time in a very long time that he had felt happy.
Dennis was great. Aside from his obvious physical attributes, he was just a generally great guy. Dennis had been in serious relationships before this (all with other guys) but this was his first since his car accident last year. Dennis had been in a relationship at the time of his accident, but his boyfriend had broken up with him. It was my own damn fault, Dennis told Jordan. I spent so much time feeling sorry for myself that I was a cripple, I was acting like a complete ass. Jordan could sympathize.
Jordan was relatively close-lipped about his former relationships. He never breathed a word about Kirsten to Dennis. He pretended that he didn’t have any interest in women and never had. He didn’t want to lie to Dennis, but when they first met Dennis made a big deal about not wanting to get into a relationship with a bisexual guy. So when their friends sneaked in one of the pornos with all the big breasted women, Jordan pretended to be uninterested. Truthfully, he missed breasts a little bit, but Dennis was pretty good at making him forget about it.
Back in their room, they both transferred into Jordan’s bed and they started undressing each other. But they kept their pants on. Dennis hadn’t been able to get erections since his accident, and since he had no feeling down there, he preferred to keep his pants on. The first time Jordan had tried to unzip his pants, Dennis had stopped him with the explanation: “There’s no action down there.” Jordan had looked down at his own crotch and saw that he wasn’t hard either, but it was nothing a little physical stimulation wouldn’t fix. Still, Jordan made the decision to leave his pants on from then on. He wouldn’t have minded taking his pants off, but he left them on out of respect for Dennis. Yes, Jordan could get hard, but it didn’t make a hell of a lot of difference if he couldn’t feel it.
Dennis cried in group therapy when he talked about his inability to get it up anymore. Jordan had heard about spinal cord injured men getting sexual pleasure through their nipples and other body parts, but he had never had anyone to experiment with before. Together, the boys realized that they hadn’t really lost anything. The sensation in the penis was transferred to the rest of the body, which was now hypersexual. Dennis had many orgasms thanks to Jordan, none of which had anything to do with his penis. Jordan too had orgasms that were more intense than anything he had experienced in the past.
Jordan disentangled his lips from Dennis’s just long enough to say, “You first.” Dennis grinned and lay back against the bed, waiting. Jordan lowered his mouth onto Dennis’s chest, laying a moist trail to his nipple. When Jordan reached the nipple, Dennis’s back arched and his gasped with pleasure. “Jordan, Jordan...” Dennis moaned. “I love your fucking mouth...”
Jordan used all the same tricks he had perfected on his cousin’s clitoris. Dennis gripped the sides of the bed, crying out loud enough for everyone in the halls outside to hear him, but fuck it. Dennis reached out and grabbed a handful of Jordan’s hair as he came hard.
“Ow,” Jordan said afterward, rubbing his head. “You hurt me.”
“Shut-up, Jordan. You love it when I hurt you.”
Dennis had picked up on the same thing Kirsten had. Of course, Dennis wasn’t nearly as adept at causing pain as Kirsten was. Jordan never had his wrists bruised as bad as when Kirsten brought in her handcuffs. Of course, now he had a permanent scar on his left wrist from the razor.
Jordan wished he had only taken the pills again, so he wouldn’t have the scar as a constant reminder of what he had tried to do. And it raised too many questions. Dennis looked at the scar and it made him worry. At the time, the razor had seemed easier, faster, and it was right there. Plus the pills hadn’t worked the first time.
When Jordan woke up in the hospital after fainting in his room at school, his father had been sitting at his bedside. His father had been crying. He said, What can I do, Jordan? Tell me what to do. He was terrified of losing his son.
College was no longer a possibility and this program came highly recommended by the doctor. Their insurance didn’t cover it, but Monty Grant was more than willing to fork over the considerable fee. It turned out to be what Jordan had needed all along.
“Now your turn,” Dennis said, pushing Jordan flat onto his back. As Dennis made circles with his tongue around Jordan’s nipples, Jordan thought about how sexy Dennis was and how great it was to wake up next to him in the morning. It was fate that they had found each other.
As Jordan’s body trembled with his climax, tears rose in his eyes. Wow, he thought. He had never known it could be quite this good. Jordan had never experienced a traditional orgasm, since he was so young at the time he was injured. He asked Dennis how his current orgasms compared to the ones he had before. Dennis hadn’t given him a straight answer. What you do for me is really good, Jordan, he had said. Jordan didn’t press the point. After all, there was no way he could experience “the traditional orgasm”, so why bother thinking about it?
After Jordan came, they lay next to each other, exhausted from their respective orgasms. Dennis rolled his head toward his bedmate, “I love you, Jordan.”
“I love you too, Dennis.” The words stuck a bit in Jordan’s throat. He wasn’t sure if he loved Dennis. In fact, he thought there was a good possibility that he didn’t. But Dennis had spoken the words a month ago, and he couldn’t leave that kind of thing hanging between them. At the very least, he cared about Dennis very much. Maybe he loved him. Jordan wasn’t sure yet.
It was nearly time for dinner, so Jordan and Dennis put their shirts back on and transferred into their wheelchairs. It was Thursday—meatloaf night. The food in this place was actually decent and Jordan even managed to put on some weight for the first time in years. It was a good thing he was getting a lot of exercise too.
The dining area was designed for the members of the program. There was only one chair at every table, for able-bodied guests or for the assistants that the quads needed, but otherwise the tables were set up so that the boys could easily pull up their wheelchairs. Jordan and Dennis nearly always ate together, but they were usually joined by other friends in the program.
Today they sat with their friends Mike and Frank. Mike was a para, like them, and Frank was a quad. Frank couldn’t move his hands at all, but he wore splints so that if an assistant helped him put a utensil in the splint before the meal, he was able to feed himself. Frank was only 23 years old and he was going to need help with all his daily activities for the rest of his life—he’d never be independent. Yet Frank was almost always upbeat, always cracking jokes and enjoying himself. Seeing a guy like Frank maintain his good humor made Jordan realize what an idiot he had been for being depressed all these years. Jordan had so much—what right did he have to ever complain? And now he had Dennis too.
“I finished the entire New York Times crossword puzzle today,” Frank spoke up.
“The Sunday puzzle, very impressive,” Dennis said, between bites of mashed potatoes.
“I think that was on my list of lifelong goals,” Frank said. “Where did that list go, anyway?”
“If the list looks anything like that crossword puzzle, it’s probably completely illegible,” Mike said. “I swear, Frank, I’ve seen doctors with better handwriting than you. Honest to god, doctors!”
Frank lifted his splinted hand, which now had a fork attached to it. “Yo, give me a break! I’m controlling the pen with my friggin’ elbow,” he shot back.
“Which reminds me, I heard you guys had quite a race today,” Mike commented to Jordan and Dennis.
“Yeah, it was some workout,” Dennis said, running his hand over Jordan’s shoulder.
Mike rolled his eyes, “God Dennis, give it a rest with the innuendos, will ya? You two are fucking, I get it.” Mike had endured Jordan and Dennis’s incessant flirting since even before they were a couple.
Jordan laughed. “You’re free to join us one day, Mike. Just once though.”
Mike shook his head. “Nuh uh. This place might be all guys, but I’ve still got my hopes up that some hot brunette will walk through that door.”
It was just as Mike said those words that a gorgeous girl walked into the dining hall, dressed in a mini-skirt and knee-high boots. She was probably the most beautiful woman to have graced this dining hall, and every heterosexual man in the room was staring at her. Mike himself dropped his fork onto the floor as he watched her cross the room. She stopped in front of their table.
Kirsten slid into the one empty seat. Jordan was amused to see Mike and Frank staring at her appreciatively while Dennis glared at her suspiciously. When Jordan did nothing in the way of introductions, Mike eagerly held out his hand to her. “I’m Mike,” he said.
She took his hand, “I’m Kirsten.”
Frank simply nodded at her, as he was still awkward with his hand splints. “Hi, Kirsten. I’m Frank. Any friend of Jordan’s, et cetera, et cetera.” Kirsten laughed. “Nice to meet you, Frank.
Dennis didn’t hold out his hand either, although he was physically capable. “I’m Dennis,” he said. “I’m Jordan’s boyfriend.”
Now it was Kirsten’s turn to be amused. “Well, hello, Dennis. It’s very nice to meet you.”
“Kirsten’s my cousin,” Jordan spoke up. “First cousin,” he added.
Dennis looked both relieved and slightly embarrassed. “Oh, really? Yeah, I can kind of see the resemblance.”
“The eyes,” Kirsten murmured, winking at Jordan. She leaned forward, “Listen, would you mind excusing Jordan and me? We have some... family business to discuss.”
“But I didn’t finish eating dinner,” Jordan protested.
“You’re not starving,” Kirsten observed.
Jordan was reluctant to go off with Kirsten. He grabbed onto Dennis’s arm and pulled him closer to kiss him on the lips. He had intended it to be a brief peck, but he was compelled to slide his tongue gently into Dennis’s mouth. He felt the heat of Dennis’s body and didn’t want to let him go. “I’ll come find you later, okay?” Jordan breathed.
Dennis nodded, his eyes echoing the longing that Jordan felt. Jordan led Kirsten out of the dining hall, toward his room. He didn’t want to be alone with her, but she wasn’t giving him much of a choice.
Once alone in Jordan’s room, Kirsten sat down cross-legged on his bed. She smiled at him suggestively, but made no movement to get closer to him. He had to admit, she looked really good. He hadn’t seen her since he had been brought to the hospital. His father took pains to keep her away from him.
“So you have a boyfriend, do you?” Kirsten said teasingly.
“You’ve decided to be gay then?”
“It’s not a decision, Kirsten,” he said. “I like him. But I think that I can safely say you’ve turned me off of women at least through the rest of my twenties.”
“You wouldn’t be the first,” Kirsten laughed. She squinted at him, “What’s with the black eye make-up? You’re certainly going all the way with this gay thing, aren’t you?”
Jordan touched his eye self-consciously. “I’m not wearing eye make-up.”
“Oh, so what then, Jordan? Are you recovering from two black eyes?”
His face flushed. “Dennis put a little make-up on last night and it didn’t all wash off. It was a dumb idea and I let him talk me into it.”
“It’s not dumb. It brings out your pretty eyes.”
“Shut the fuck up, Kirsten.”
Kirsten laughed, enjoying his discomfort. “You haven’t changed at all, have you?”
“Neither have you.” Jordan eyed her cleavage peeking out of her tight shirt. “I heard you and Kyle were an item for a while.”
“Who told you that?”
Kirsten smiled. “I didn’t know the two of you had become so buddy buddy.”
“Sure, he comes to visit me like once a month,” Jordan said. “Everyone’s been to visit except you. Kyle’s a good guy. Too bad you dumped him.”
“He just couldn’t compare to you,” Kirsten explained. “Nobody can.” She reached out and slid her fingers into his hair.
He pushed her away without hesitation. “No.”
“I’m in a serious relationship, Kirsten,” Jordan said coolly. “Why would I jeopardize that for a couple of minutes of pleasure?”
Kirsten raised her eyebrow. “A couple of minutes?”
“Well, you know.”
Kirsten crossed her arms, “So what—are you in love with this guy?”
“That means no.”
“That means maybe.” Jordan shook his head. “That means it’s none of your business.”
“You don’t love him as much as you love me.”
Jordan looked into her beautiful brown eyes. “I don’t love you.”
She was right. He did still love her. He was more certain about that than he was about any of his feelings for Dennis. But he was even more certain of the fact that he didn’t want to be with her. Never again. She only made him miserable while Dennis made him very happy.
“Does you father know about your boyfriend?” Kirsten asked.
Poor, predictable Kirsten. Always looking for the upper hand. “Why? You thinking of blowing the whistle on us?”
“I’m merely inquiring.”
“He knows,” Jordan smiled at the surprise on his cousin’s face.
“And he’s... okay with his son being a fag?”
“Dad’s okay with anything as long as it keeps me from trying to off myself again,” Jordan explained. “He’s not thrilled obviously, but he keeps telling himself it’s just a phase.”
“Are you ever going back to college?” she asked.
He shrugged. “Eventually, I guess. There’s no rush, since Dad’s going to support me as long as I need it.”
Kirsten ran her hand over his chest and this time he didn’t stop her. It was a test really. Could he resist her touching him? He thought he could. Dennis, think of Dennis. Think of Dennis’s mouth on your...
“How do you guys do it, anyway?” she asked. “I assume he’s like you and he can’t feel anything down there...”
“Don’t worry, we manage,” Jordan assured her. He wasn’t about to start explaining to her about how they gave each other orgasms through their nipples.
“Is he impotent?”
“That’s none of your fucking business.”
“I’d love to see it...”
“Yeah, and I’d love to walk again.” Jordan smiled wryly. “Dennis doesn’t like women very much.”
“I guess he doesn’t know about us,” Kirsten asked and Jordan shook his head. “Does he even know you like girls?”
Jordan shook his head again. “He’s already jealous of every male in the program. Why torture the poor guy?”
“Well, you are very hot,” Kirsten said, slipping her hand under his shirt.
He was getting turned on by her touch. He knew it, and by the way she was eying his crotch, he could tell she knew it too. He yanked her hand away. “Okay, enough.”
Kirsten unbuttoned her shirt and he could see her breasts restrained by her flimsy brassiere. Breasts. How long had it been since he had seen Kirsten’s breasts? (Hell, any breasts.) He felt his heart speed up a notch. “You like this, you fucking homo?” she said.
Jordan tried to shrug, but it was a pointless gesture. It was obvious to both of them that he didn’t even have the willpower to look away from her. But he knew all he had to do was wait and eventually his erection would deflate, breasts or no breasts.
“Oh, come on, Jordan... why are you denying yourself?”
“Do you even understand the concept of monogamy?”
Kirsten leaned forward, close to his face, “So be monogamous with me.”
A year ago, Jordan would have been thrilled at the very suggestion of a monogamous relationship with Kirsten, his love. But he was a different person now. Sure, life was exciting with Kirsten, but she treated him like shit. He didn’t like it when she teased him about his accidents or the fact that he couldn’t always get it up. She kept him from ever being truly happy and well-adjusted.
“Kirsten, you’re the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” he said.
“No, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to you,” she corrected him. “Come on, who took you out at night when you would have been locked in your room studying? Who made you your first fake ID? Who gave you your first blow job?”
“I couldn’t feel it anyway...”
“Oh, fuck you, Jordan,” Kirsten shot back. “You blame me for all your problems... why don’t you blame yourself? Nobody stuck a gun to your head and made you fuck me when we were kids. You liked it just as much as I did.” She stared him in the eyes. “You’re having the time of your life here with your crip basketball and fucking your boyfriend, but you can’t stay here forever. Once you get out into the real world, you’re going to be just as miserable as you were before.”
Jordan shook his head. “You’re wrong.”
“I guess we’ll see, won’t we?”
“I guess we will...”
Kirsten stood up and began buttoning her shirt up. “I suppose you want me to leave then.”
He didn’t want her to leave. He wanted her to stay. He wanted her to do all the things she had done to him in the last seven years. He didn’t want it to be over. But he couldn’t go back to that. “I don’t see any point in your staying.”
Kirsten smiled slyly. “I could show your buddy Mike a good time,” she suggested. “He looks like he could use some fun.”
Jordan’s eyes darkened. He was suddenly certain he had made the right decision pushing Kirsten out of his life. “Don’t even think about it,” he admonished her. “The last thing Mike needs is you fucking with his mind. I should know.”
“Fine,” she said. “Out of respect for you, I’ll leave him be.”
He turned his chair to watch her walking out of his room. He could see the curve of her ass under her tight skirt and he bit his lip hard. Yeah, she had a great ass, but there were a lot of great asses out there. Like Dennis’s, for one. He couldn’t wait to find Dennis after this. Seeing Kirsten again just made him want Dennis more, if that was possible. Fuck it, I’m never going back to women.
Kirsten hesitated at the door. She gazed at him, her eyes softening. “You sure I can’t change your mind about us?”
Jordan shook his head. “Get out, Kirsten.”
“I’ll come back in the summer,” she said.
Their eyes met for an instant. “I know,” he said.
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