Nina Harding was worried about her son. It was Adam’s 29th birthday today and as far as she knew, he was spending it alone. She had called him last night and suggested the family go out for dinner like they did every year. Adam had agreed without enthusiasm. Nina had been hoping Adam would say no, that he had a date that night, but as usual he was free.
As far as Nina knew, Adam hadn’t been on a date in 10 years, not since the accident that cost him use of his legs. As much as Nina cajoled him, Adam seemed completely disinterested in dating. He was terrified of being rejected by women. Before the accident, Nina remembered girls used to call the house constantly, looking for Adam. Now it seemed like he couldn’t get a date to save his life.
Nina bought a cake for her son: rich chocolate with vanilla icing. She thought Adam could stand to gain a few pounds. He kept in decent shape, but he had never quite gained back all of the thirty pounds he had lost the year following the accident. Nina wondered what he ate, all alone in that apartment. Probably pizza every night.
Nina and Tim Harding arrived at Adam’s apartment at 6:30 PM sharp. When Adam opened the door, Nina smiled despite herself. Adam was dressed in his work clothes—a shirt and tie with khaki slacks—and Nina thought he looked very handsome. Adam was always such a good-looking kid and so charming too, Nina had predicted that girls would go crazy for him when he got old enough. And she was right—until the accident.
“Hi,” Adam said, wheeling back his chair to let his parents come in. “You’re right on time.” Nina noticed that his slacks hung loosely on his thin legs. When Adam had first come home from rehab, they had struggled together to put his pants on in the morning. Getting dressed became a process that often took over an hour. As much as Nina hated to admit it, the sight of her son’s motionless legs made her very uncomfortable. She knew Adam felt self-conscious about needing her help too. When he made the decision to start college away from home, he insisted on getting dressed by himself, even though it could take up to an hour.
“We brought a cake,” Nina said, holding it out.
“Oh hey, thanks,” Adam said, placing the cake in his lap. He wheeled to the kitchen to put the cake away.
Tim sat down on the couch while Nina looked around. Adam had a nice apartment. He made a good living as a computer programmer and he didn’t have any expenses like a wife and kids. Everything in the apartment was wheelchair-accessible, which Adam explained cost more but was necessary. It wasn’t easy to have an accessible kitchen in the city.
“Where are we eating?” Adam asked.
“Is Mario’s okay?” Tim suggested.
Adam shrugged. “Fine with me.”
They were parked downstairs. Time helped Adam into the backseat of the car and put his wheelchair in the trunk. Adam never bothered learning how to drive again after the accident, since he moved to the city, where it was easier not to have a car. Work wasn’t far away and he just took the bus.
Mario’s was only a short drive away and they arrived quickly. The staff knew them there and the restaurant was very accessible. As they entered, Nina couldn’t shake the feeling that Adam should have been spending his 29th birthday with a woman or at least with his friends. Nina was pretty sure that Adam didn’t have any friends. He had become so shy about approaching new people. He was still the same sweet person he had always been, but somehow the accident had made him so afraid.
A pretty new waitress whose name tag said Carol came over to serve them. She smiled brightly at their clothes. “All dressed up, huh?” Carol said. “Is it a special occasion?”
“It’s my son’s birthday,” Tim spoke up.
“Oh, is it?” Carol asked, beaming at Adam. “Well, we’ll have to do something special for you.”
As Carol walked away, Adam frowned at his father. “I wish you wouldn’t do that.”
“Do what?” Tim asked innocently.
“Adam,” Nina nudged his arm. “Isn’t that waitress pretty?”
“I guess,” Adam muttered, looking away.
“You should ask her out,” Nina suggested.
“Please, Mom,” Adam groaned.
“What? Why not?”
Adam lowered his voice. “I don’t think a girl like that would be even remotely interested in me.” He added: “And if you try to ask her for me, I’m leaving.”
“Adam, sweetie,” Nina said. “You have so much to offer women. I just wish you knew that.”
“Mom...” Adam glanced at his father for help.
“Your mother’s right this time,” Tim said. “You’re 29 years old now, it’s time to find someone to settle down with. When I was your age, I already had you.”
Adam gritted his teeth. “You know I’m not going to have kids.”
Tim’s face flushed a little. When Adam was first injured, the doctor spoke to Tim about the fact that Adam wouldn’t be able to have sex and had encouraged the father and son to discuss this. Nina hadn’t been present for the conversation, but she knew Tim was very upset by it.
“Adam, I understand how you feel,” Nina said. “I know you don’t feel comfortable around women. So I have an idea.”
Adam raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“I was talking to my friend Ethel,” Nina said. “Her daughter is about your age. Her name is Marisa and she’s in a wheelchair too. So I thought...”
“Wait a minute,” Tim interrupted. “Ethel’s kid? You mean the one with cerebral palsy?”
“Yes, that’s right,” Nina confirmed.
Tim shook his head. “Are you out of your mind, Nina? That girl is... she’s mentally retarded!”
“Shh, Tim,” Nina said. “She has a slight mental disability, but Adam, she’s such a sweet girl.”
“My son is not going out with a girl who’s retarded,” Tim declared.
“Tim, you sound like such an ignorant old fool!” Nina shot back.
“Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad,” Adam said slowly. “What did you say her name was?”
“Marisa,” Nina said. “She would absolutely love it if you called.”
Tim took Nina’s arm. “Nina, I’d like a word with you outside.”
They walked out of the restaurant, leaving Ada to study the menu. When they were safely outdoors, Tim growled, “Adam is not going out with that girl.”
“Did you see how excited he looked?” Nina retorted. “He hasn’t been out with a girl in ten years. Can you imagine what that must be like for him? He’s very lonely.”
“Fine, get him a date,” Tim said. “But that girl isn’t for him. She isn’t at all attractive and she sounds all weird when she talks.”
“My god, Tim,” Nina said. “How could you be so shallow? The poor girl has a speech impediment. She has a disability just like our son. I think he’d feel much more comfortable with another disabled person.”
“But not her,” Time said. “She’s all... twisted. God, how could you equate Adam with her?”
“I was just trying to give him a chance to be with someone,” Nina said. “I don’t want him to be all alone. And it’s very hard for him. I mean, we see Adam the way he always is, but he’s right that most people see the wheelchair first.”
Tim was quiet, considering this. “You might be right,” he said finally. “But I still don’t want him going out with that girl. Give him a little more time before you resort to drastic measures. Okay?”
“Okay,” Nina agreed reluctantly.
Three hours later, Adam was saying goodbye to his parents in his apartment. Even though he loved his parents, he was a little relieved to see them go. His mother meant well, but she was always pushing him to get out there and meet some girls. She just didn’t understand. As she left, she pressed a small white piece of paper into his hand: “Marisa’s number... just in case.” His father would have been furious if he knew.
Not fifteen minutes after they left, the intercom buzzed. Adam wheeled over and pressed the button to hear the doorman speak. The button had been lowered in order to accommodate him. Adam was only one of two wheelchair-users in the building, the other being an 80-year-man who had suffered a stroke, but they were still pretty good about accommodating anything he asked for.
Adam thought his parents were calling to say they forgot something, which was why he was surprised when he heard the doorman say: “It’s Kimberly.”
“Let her come up,” Adam said.
Kim worked in the same department as Adam. She had been over once before when they had a project for work. While they were working, Kim had told Adam about how unhappy she was in her marriage. She had talked and he had listened. Listening was something Adam never had a problem with.
Kim arrived at his door a few minutes later wearing a short skirt and tight blouse. Adam felt his pulse quicken as he looked at her. Kim was definitely hot. He wondered what she was trying to do to him, coming here dressed like that.
“Happy birthday, Adam,” Kim said. She held out a cake that she had been hiding behind her back.
“Oh, wow,” Adam said, “you didn’t have to do that. How did you know it was my birthday?”
“You let it slip a few weeks ago,” Kim said, beaming. “I always remember birthdays.”
Adam took the cake from her and wheeled to the dining room. He put the cake on the table. “I’m not that hungry right now,” he said apologetically. “I just had dinner.”
“Do anything special tonight?” Kim asked.
“My parents took me out to dinner,” Adam told her. He could see the sympathetic look in her eyes: that poor cripple who has nothing better to do on his birthday than have dinner with his parents. “Where’s Mark?”
“He’s home,” Kim said. “He had a lot of work to do tonight, but he told me to tell you happy birthday.”
Adam had only met Kim’s husband once, but he had obviously decided that a man in a wheelchair couldn’t be a threat to his marriage, even to the point where he let Kim out dressed like a hoochie. Mark in fact encouraged Kim to be friendly with Adam.
“How are things with Mark?” Adam asked her.
Kim sighed and fell onto the sofa. “Oh, the usual,” she said. “Honestly, he can be so verbally abusive, sometimes I feel like I can’t stand another minute.”
Adam nodded. “You don’t deserve to be treated that way. He doesn’t realize how lucky he is just to have you.”
“You’re so sweet,” Kim murmured. “I wish Mark were more like you.”
Adam’s face flushed and he looked away. A long awkward pause followed. “Do you mind if I move to the sofa?” he asked her. “I’ve been in this chair all day.”
“Oh, sure,” Kim agreed quickly and slid over.
Adam used the strength of his muscular arms to lift his body up from the chair. He grabbed onto the sofa and pulled the rest of his body along with him. Then he carefully positioned one leg at a time.
Kim looked a little pale. “You... you can’t feel your legs at all?”
“Not at all,” Adam shook his head. “Sorry, Kim... I guess it makes some people uncomfortable to see me transfer.”
“I’ve just never seen it before,” Kim explained. “But you shouldn’t feel embarrassed. I mean, part of who you are is your disability.” She bit her lip. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”
“It’s okay,” Adam said. “I mean, I know I’m disabled. It’s not like it’s a secret.”
“I just think you’re such a great person, Adam,” she said. “I hate the fact that someone as wonderful as you could be so alone.”
Adam looked her square in the eyes. “Girls don’t want ‘great people.’ Come on, Kim, you know how it is.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kim said. “If I weren’t married...”
Adam frowned. “What?”
“I’m just saying, if I weren’t married... you’re a really cute guy...”
“Yeah, right,” Adam muttered. “Listen, you don’t need to humor me. I’m an adult.”
He was right, Kim wasn’t being completely honest. The truth was that she had wanted to make love to Adam from the moment she first saw him. He was cute and very sweet, no denying that, but there was something more about him that drew her to him. Even with all the problems with her marriage, she had never even considered straying until she met Adam.
Adam’s disability had kept anything from happening so far. Back in high school, Kim had known a boy with spina bifida who used a wheelchair, and she remembered thinking of that boy as strange and asexual. With Adam, it was just the opposite. There was something alluring about those thin legs that didn’t move, so much so that Kim found herself staring at his legs. But in some ways, his handicap made it harder for her to talk to him, because she knew he was sensitive about it and she didn’t want to say the wrong thing.
“I’m not humoring you,” Kim said finally. “I just think you should try to get out and date more.”
Adam shook his head. “You just don’t understand how hard it is...”
“You’re 29 years old today,” Kim pointed out. “I mean, that’s a year away from 30. Don’t you at least want to have a girlfriend?”
“Of course I do,” Adam mumbled, his face very red. “It’s just... women won’t talk to me.”
“I’m talking to you,” Kim pointed out.
“Most women won’t,” Adam said, his eyes filling with tears. “They don’t want to be involved with a guy who’s disabled, not even as a friend. You... you’re different, I guess. I... I’m glad we’re friends, Kim.”
Kim put her hand on his shoulder to comfort him and she felt a tingle go down her arm. Adam looked up at her and her heart skipped a beat. She thought about her wedding vows, then realized it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except this moment. She leaned forward and kissed him.
Adam’s eyes widened. “Kim, I...”
“Shh...” she said. She pushed him back onto the couch as they continued to kiss passionately. She wondered if this was his first kiss, at least since his accident. There was something very romantic about that, which made her panties even more wet than they already were.
He was so gentle with her in a way that Mark never was. It was as if he was almost afraid to touch her, although he desperately wanted to. His hand gingerly crept under her shirt, exploring all the boundaries before he moved forward. It seemed like an eternity before his hand cupped her breast and the anticipation made her clitoris throb.
Instinctively, she reached down to undo the button on his pants. His hand caught her. “No,” he said.
She pulled away, her face flushed. “What?”
“I can’t,” he whispered. “I can’t feel anything down there.”
Her eyes widened. “Not at all.”
He looked away. “I’m sorry.”
“You can’t get an erection?”
“No,” he said. “I haven’t had an erection in over ten years.” His eyes filled with tears.
“Have you... tried?”
“Well, with... you know, magazines and stuff.”
“With a girl?”
He shook his head.
“Can I try?”
“It won’t work, I’m telling you.”
Kim pushed his hands away and unzipped his pants. She could see the anxiety on his face, but she went ahead anyway. She had been thinking too long about what was underneath his pants to let it go.
Sure enough, his penis was completely flaccid. What she wasn’t expecting was the plastic tube covering his penis. “That’s a condom catheter,” Adam explained. “It’s for... you know... because I’m incontinent.”
“Oh,” Kim said.
“If you want to leave, I understand,” Adam said quietly.
“No, it’s okay,” Kim said quickly. “Can you take it off?”
Adam nodded. “Yeah, but... can you look away?”
Kim turned her head and waited for Adam to remove the catheter. Poor guy, he was so embarrassed. She had to show him that she didn’t care and that she still thought he was sexy.
With the catheter gone, Kim began to stroke Adam’s crumpled penis. He raised his head to watch her. “I’m telling you, nothing’s going to happen,” he said.
Kim moved her hand to stroke the slight paunch of his belly as she lowered her mouth onto his penis. She heard him inhale sharply as she greedily licked him. Slowly, she felt him start to grow.
“Oh, Kim...” he murmured. “Oh god...”
Mark always had an erection when she first took his pants off. But with Adam she had to really work at it. She had to touch him just right as he slowly grew in her mouth. He wasn’t nearly as big as Mark either, but there was something very arousing about the erection she had worked so hard to create.
“Please, Kim,” he breathed. “Please let me fuck you... please...”
She lifted her mouth off his penis and let him slide inside her. When she and Mark fucked, he was always on top and the sex always ended when he came. Now she was in charge, plunging him deeper inside her as he begged her to keep going. He stroked her breasts, gently played with her clit, and ran his hands down her thighs, appreciating every second of her. Finally, she exploded in orgasm and a minute later, he came too.
She collapsed on top of him, both of them breathing hard. Adam put his arms around her. “Oh god,” she murmured.
“Thank you, Kim,” he whispered. “I... I can’t even believe it. I thought I’d never...” Instead of completing his sentence, he simply squeezed her tighter.
She sighed happily. It was so nice to realize that it was Adam’s arms she was lying in, rather than her husbands. She wished she never had to leave, but Mark would get suspicious if she wasn’t home soon. “I can’t stay,” she said.
She sighed. “Can I use your bathroom?”
Adam nodded. Kim stood up, her body dripping with sweat, and stumbled in the direction of the bathroom. As the door slammed closed, Adam heard the phone ringing. He struggled into a sitting position and answered it on the fourth ring. “Hello?”
It was a female voice: “Adam, it’s me. I... I’m sorry I haven’t called.”
Adam stared at the phone. He had no idea who it was. “Oh, hi.”
“I just wanted to tell you that last week was really wonderful,” the mystery woman said. “I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. I’ll never have another orgasm that good.”
Oh god, it was that bitch Cynthia. He had hoped he had driven her away by acting all clingy the day after. “It was incredible for me too,” Adam said. “You... you changed my life.”
“I’m just not sure it will work out between us,” Cynthia said. “I didn’t want to leave you hanging, because I know you’re not like the other guys. You deserve someone better than me.”
Damn straight, Adam thought. “I’ll always love you, Cynthia,” he said tearfully into the phone, glancing nervously toward the bathroom.
“Me too,” Cynthia said. “I’ll see you around, okay?”
“I hope so,” Adam said. He hung up the phone quickly and breathed a sigh of relief. Cynthia was the hostess at a local restaurant he had gone to last week. He had sworn off waitresses a few years ago, but he figured it might be okay to bang a hostess. But now Cynthia had cured him of that delusion.
Coworkers, Adam knew, were also probably a mistake. Now he was going to have to see Kim every day and it would be really awkward when it ended between them. But the temptation was just too great. Kim was wagging her tight little ass in front of him every minute and there was the added challenge of her being a married woman. He was only human.
Kim’s arrival that night came as a complete surprise, however. Recently, he had been more interested in a secretary at the front desk at work named Brynne. She was about twenty years old, had blonde hair, and gave Adam palpitations on a daily basis.
Adam always reserved his birthday for dinner with his parents. First off, none of the girls he slept with were meaningful enough to him to actually spend an important occasion with them. Secondly, it was important to keep up appearances. He preferred that his parents think that he was a loser than let them know that he used his disability to manipulate woman.
It sounded bad, and sometimes he felt guilty about it, but Adam knew most of the women came away from the relationship feeling better about themselves. They believed that had restored his masculinity, or some bullshit like that. Truth be told, Adam started getting erections again the year after the accident. He never moved his legs again, but he got a little bit of sensation back in his penis, and it was enough to change his life.
Julie had proved to him that women were still drawn to him. Once Adam went away to college, he was free to pursue girls to his heart’s desire. He slept with some of the most attractive girls on campus, including the much fantasized about 35-year-old English lit professor. After sleeping with Dr. Westin, Adam was very sorry all his other professors were white-haired old men.
Of course, not one of these girls compared to Maggie McConnelly. Adam still thought about Maggie every day. After he came home from rehab, he had called her several times and she was never home. Finally, he gave up. Maggie didn’t want to talk to him again, she didn’t want to see him, she didn’t want to know him. A psychoanalyst might have said that Adam never had a serious relationship because of his disability, but Adam knew it was because he never got over Maggie.
He had no idea what had become of Maggie. She was probably married with kids by now. Maybe if he knew she was happily settled down with some nice guy, he could finally put his obsession to rest. But he didn’t have the nerve to try to look her up and find out for sure.
Kim emerged from the bathroom, looking flushed and happy. “Who was on the phone, Adam?” she asked.
“My mom,” Adam replied quickly. “Who else?”
“It’s sweet that you’re so close with your parents,” Kim commented.
“They’re all I have,” Adam said quietly. In a way, that was true. None of his relationships with women ever meant anything to him. And he hadn’t had a close male friend since Roger had turned his back on him.
“I have to go home,” Kim said. “But maybe we could have lunch tomorrow?”
This was why Adam knew office romances were a mistake. He didn’t want Kim distracting him all day while he was at work. He didn’t like her enough to want to be with her every minute of the day. “I’ve got a lot of work tomorrow,” Adam said. “I was just going to eat at my desk.”
“Oh.” Kim looked a little confused, but smiled anyway. He was sitting on the couch, his pants zipped up, but his shirt still off. She moved closer to him and bent down so that her lips inches away from his. “That was really wonderful,” she breathed.
Adam felt himself growing hard again, despite himself. It still wasn’t easy for him to get an erection that was hard enough for penetration, but he found it was good to let the women work at it a little bit. If he was worried he might have a problem, he had a bottle of Viagra that he took as needed. Every so often, he wasn’t able to get it up even with the help of Viagra, but that wasn’t so bad either. He had perfected the art of eating a girl out. They were usually so grateful for what he did, as well as feeling bad that they weren’t able to please him, they were willing to do pretty much anything for him the next time they were together. If there was a next time.
Kim kissed him deeply on the lips, then she stood up and walked towards the door. Adam reached for his wheelchair and started to transfer. Kim bent down, showing off her tight little ass, and picked up a letter that was on the floor. “This says your name on it,” she said. “Somebody must have slipped it under the door.”
“Just leave it on the table,” Adam said, as he adjusted his legs in the footrests.
Kim dropped the letter down on the table by the door, then left the apartment, blowing him a kiss as she closed the door. Adam tried not to roll his eyes. He figured he’d sleep with Kim one more time, tops. He was really much more interested in that cute secretary Brynne.
He wheeled over to the table and picked up the letter. It didn’t have a return address on it. He slit it open and saw that there was a single piece of paper inside. He unfolded the paper and saw the handwritten words in capital letters:
Adam’s face turned as white as the paper. The euphoria of sex faded and he felt very ill. Somebody wanted revenge for the murder that had taken place over ten years earlier. And Adam had no idea who it could be.
to be continued....