Graduation Night, continued....
Adam found himself whistling as he sat in his cubicle at work the next morning. He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this entranced by a woman. Every time he would try to get some work done, his thoughts would stray to Brynne. Ah, Brynne.
This morning they had flirted for a few minutes by her desk. She said she wanted to come over that night and make him dinner. He gladly accepted her offer. He still couldn’t get over how lucky he was that she was interested in him. He only regretted he couldn’t tell her the whole truth about himself.
Adam was sitting at his desk without a care in the world when he saw an email appear in his inbox. He received several emails over the course of any given day, so he thoughtlessly clicked on it. The words that appeared on the screen snapped him out of his daze:
His jaw fell open. He checked the return address on the email, but it was blank.
Shit, he thought.
Adam jumped and quickly minimized the screen on his computer. He looked up at the large and rather threatening-looking man standing by his cubicle. It took him a few seconds to realize this man was Mark, Kim’s husband. And he looked furious.
“Uh, hi...” Adam mumbled. He backed up his wheelchair a few inches, as if he could try to make a run for it in his chair. “Uh... Mark, right?”
“That’s right,” Mark said.
Adam could see his huge biceps even through his shirt. Adam knew about Mark’s temper and that he got very jealous. And he didn’t seem like the sort of person who would mind beating up a paraplegic. Even if he had his legs, Adam didn’t think he stood a chance against a guy like Mark. “Uh... what’s up, Mark?” Adam stammered.
Mark leaned in closer. “I’ve got to talk to you. You think we could go someplace a little more... private?”
Not a chance in hell. “I really can’t,” Adam said.
“I really gotta talk to you, Adam.” Mark was frowning.
“There’s a chair in that empty cubicle,” Adam said, gesturing to the cube across from them. “Nobody will hear you in here.”
Adam’s heart was pounding as Mark reluctantly dragged the chair over to his cubicle. He cursed himself for getting involved with Kim in the first place—what a mistake. There was no way she was worth all this trouble. He had been involved with married women before, but messing with the wife of a guy like Mark was really asking for trouble.
Mark sat down inside the cubicle and leaned in real close to Adam. The anger had faded a little from his face and what was left was fear. “Adam, I think Kimmy’s been cheating on me,” he said.
“No, she would never do that,” Adam insisted.
“I’m almost positive,” Mark said quietly.
Adam didn’t say anything.
“Look,” Mark said. “I know you and Kimmy are friends. I was just wondering if you’ve seen any guys hanging around her. Anything suspicious, you know?”
Adam let out a breath of relief. Mark wasn’t accusing him—he was confiding in him. Naturally, Mark assumed the guy in the wheelchair couldn’t possibly be messing around with his wife. He couldn’t help but feel a little insulted, even though assumptions like that had saved his ass more than once in the past.
“I haven’t really seen anyone,” Adam said.
Mark folded his arms. “You covering for that bitch?”
“No, I’m not,” Adam replied. “And I wish you wouldn’t call her a bitch.”
Mark’s hand balled into a fist and Adam flinched, hoping he hadn’t gone too far. But then Mark’s hand relaxed. “All right, you’re right,” he breathed. “But I just can’t believe she did this to me. I’ve given her everything and she spit on me.”
That wasn’t the story Kim told, but Adam was willing to believe that maybe there were two sides to the story. In any case, he didn’t want to get any more involved than he already was. “I really don’t know,” Adam finally said.
Mark sighed and leaned back in his seat. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “But if you do find out something, you think you could give me a call?”
“Sure,” Adam said, although it was pretty clear he had no intention of giving Mark a call.
“Good,” Mark said. His eyes darkened. “If I find out who that son of bitch is, I’m going to tear him a new asshole.”
Mark stood up so fast, his seat nearly toppled over. Adam vowed to end things with Kim next time he saw her. He had been planning to stop seeing her anyway, and this cinched it. From now on, he was only going to go out with Brynne.
As Mark walked away, the phone rang on Adam’s desk. What now? He reached for the phone, “Information technology.”
“Is this Adam Harding?”
“Yeah, it is. How can I help you?”
“Mr. Harding, this is David Richards.”
Adam didn’t even need the fifteen seconds it took Roger to register the name. He knew right away who David Richards was. He felt his heart beginning to accelerate again as he leaned forward and said quietly, “What is it?”
“I just thought you might be interested to know,” Richards said, “I’m bringing a civil suit against Roger Jacobson for the suffering he’s caused by murdering my wife.”
“I see,” Adam said.
“The police called me and told me what happened,” Richards explained. “I always sort of suspected you weren’t the driver, but I never knew for sure.”
Adam didn’t say anything.
“Actually,” Richards said. “The reason I’m calling is that I need you to testify at the trial. Between the two of us, we’ll take Jacobson for all he’s got.”
Adam hesitated. “I’m not going to testify.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Look, what’s done is done...”
“Oh, fuck that!” David Richards cried. “That piece of shit wrecked my life and he put you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life! Don’t you want to see him pay?”
Adam considered the answer to this question for a moment. He had spent a long time resenting Roger. Now was his chance to get some sort of revenge. But the truth was, that wasn’t his style. “No,” he replied.
“You’re making a huge mistake, Harding,” Richards said in a low growl. “Roger Jacobson is going to pay whether you help me or not.”
With those words, the other line went dead. Adam looked up at the email still on his screen, taunting him. Once again, he had sacrificed himself for Roger. It seemed like it got easier each time he did it.
He remembered when Roger called last night and gave him Maggie’s phone number. He had felt happier than he had felt in a long time when he was writing down her phone number. It had made him forget all about the beautiful girl waiting for him in the other room.
Despite all of Roger’s bad traits (and there were many), he knew Adam better than anyone else in the world. And that was worth something, at least.
Adam tried not to think about the threatening letters as he got ready for his date with Brynne that night. He didn’t have to dress up too much because they were just going to be staying in for dinner, but he still felt a need to change out of his work clothes. He felt like a teenager again, trying so desperately to impress her. It was, in many ways, a good feeling.
Adam finished changing and bathing over an hour before Brynne was due to arrive. He wheeled into his bedroom and turned on the television, flipping through the channels to find something half-decent to watch. After ten channels, his eyes strayed to the dresser where he had stored Maggie’s phone number.
He did have an hour after all. He could give Maggie a ring and be off the phone before Brynne arrived. Knowing Maggie, he’d probably be off the phone in ten minutes.
But it wasn’t a small thing, calling Maggie McConnelly after all these years. He had no idea how she’d react to his call. And he had no idea how he himself would react to hearing her voice again.
Oh, what the hell, he thought.
He pulled out the phone number, noting that the area code was local. His hand was shaking slightly as he dialed slowly. When he heard the ringing on the other line, he nearly chickened out and hung up.
It was a woman’s voice. Adam knew right away that it wasn’t Maggie... the woman sounded too peppy. Could this be a wrong number? Maybe Maggie was a lesbian and this was her lover. “Uh hi, is... Maggie there?”
“Yes, she is,” the woman replied cheerfully. “Who may I say is calling?”
“Uh... this is Adam.”
“Oooh,” the woman breathed. Adam was surprised by this reaction... how did this random woman know who he was? “Well, I’ll go get her...”
“Wait,” Adam said quickly. He had an odd request, but he thought somehow this woman would understand. “Would you, uh... would you not say who it is on the phone? I mean, don’t tell her it’s me.”
The woman laughed. “You know Maggie pretty well, don’t you? Don’t worry, I’ll get her on the phone.”
Adam was gripping the phone so tightly his knuckles turned white. There was no turning back now, since he had told this woman his name. In a few seconds, he’d be talking to Maggie McConnelly.
For a moment, Adam was rendered speechless by the sound of Maggie McConnelly’s voice. She sounded just the same as she did ten years ago. It was enough to make him break down crying. “Maggie?” he said softly. He wondered if she’d recognize his voice as readily as he knew hers.
“Yeah, who is this?” There was suspicion creeping into Maggie’s voice.
“This is Adam,” he said, his voice cracking. “Adam Harding.”
Please Maggie, please don’t hang up, he willed her. He knew she was thinking about it, at least.
“What... what do you want, Adam?” she said in a strained voice.
It wasn’t the reception he had hoped for, but it was no worse than what he had expected. “Roger told me he ran into you,” Adam said, “he gave me your number. I was just... wondering how you’ve been all these years. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”
Maggie hesitated a long time before answering. “Yeah,” she finally said, “it has.” She sighed, “So Roger gave you my number, did he?”
“Sort of, yeah.”
“Typical Roger,” Maggie muttered. “He really hasn’t changed, has he?”
“I guess not,” Adam said. “Well, except for that ridiculous beard.”
To Adam’s surprise, Maggie started giggling. He got a sudden flashback to the hours he spent talking to her on the phone back in high school. “Isn’t it silly looking?” she said.
“It looks like he’s pretending to be a woodsman,” Adam commented, encouraged by her laughter. “And how about him being a lawyer?”
“Oh, I know!” Maggie giggled. “What did we always say Rog was going to be? An accountant for a...?”
“A cracker factory,” Adam finished her thought.
With that, both Adam and Maggie dissolved into hysterical laughter.
The hour flew by. They mostly reminisced about old times, intentionally avoiding discussion of the present. Adam mentioned his job as a computer programmer and Maggie said she was a clerk in a store. Other than that, very little was said regarding the last ten years. Adam figured it was just as well, because there was nothing that had happened since then that he really wanted to talk about.
Adam looked at his watch and realized that Brynne would be arriving soon. He silently cursed himself for making this date with her and not allowing himself more time to talk to Maggie. “Maggie,” he said hesitantly, “I’m sorry about this, but... I have to...”
To his surprise, Maggie giggled, “Adam Harding, are you telling me you’ve got a date?”
“Uh yeah, I guess I do,” he confirmed. He paused. “I could break it though... I’d be happy to break it if you want me to.”
“And I could come over instead?”
“You could if you want,” Adam said. In actuality, he didn’t think he was ready to see Maggie again. “Or we could just keep talking, if you want.”
“I think you should go on your date,” Maggie said. “We can talk some other time.
Adam tried to hide his disappointment. “All right, but... I’m going to call you again. Very soon.”
“I know,” Maggie said softly.
I love you, Maggie, he wanted to say. But he knew if he said it, it would just scare her away. But it was what he felt, as intensely as he had ten years ago. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?” he said.
“Okay,” Maggie agreed. “Goodbye.”
No sooner had Adam hung up the phone than he heard the buzzer ringing to announce Brynne’s arrival. He buzzed her upstairs and went to take one last look in the mirror. His face was nearly glowing with the euphoria of just having spoken to Maggie.
Brynne took his breath away, as usual. She was dressed in a simple blouse and skirt, but nothing was simple when Brynne wore it. The thin fabric clung to Brynne’s curves, showing off every contour of her perfect body. Once again, Adam was having trouble comprehending why this woman was willing to go out with him.
“I brought dinner,” Brynne said, holding up a paper bag filled with Tupperware.
“It smells delicious,” Adam told her, even though he couldn’t really smell anything.
“You can’t smell it through the Tupperware, you liar,” Brynne said with a smile. She strolled inside, examining the apartment in the light of day. “This is an amazing apartment, Adam. It must cost you a bundle.”
Adam shrugged. “I do pretty well. Not too many expenses.”
Brynne looked over at Adam’s EZ Stand, which was pushed into the corner of the living room. “What’s that?”
“That’s my EZ Stand,” he told her. When she raised an eyebrow, he explained further: “I used to use it to stand up while I was watching TV or something. It’s good for circulation and the bones.”
“You don’t use it anymore?” Brynne asked.
“Sometimes,” Adam said. “But it’s a pain in the neck and I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t used it in a while.”
“Can I... see?”
Adam bit his lip and looked over at the EZ Stand. He had never used it in front of anyone else before. “Why do you want to see?”
“I’d like to know if you’re as tall as I am,” Brynne said with a smile. She ran her hand over his shoulder.
“How tall are you?”
“Five foot eight.”
“I think I can beat that.”
“Well, let’s see.”
Adam sighed and wheeled over to the EZ Stand. There was a chair that he could transfer into and a harness wrapped around his back. He made sure the harness was securely fastened. Then an electric motor raised the harness, pulling his body along with it. There were bars on either side that Adam gripped to help keep his balance. It took some effort to stay balanced, but the harness did the majority of the work.
Brynne walked over so that her face was close to his. Even though Adam had been five foot ten before the accident, being supported in this position took a few inches off his height, so that his eyes were exactly level with Brynne’s. It felt good to be standing up, at eye-level with another person. He had almost forgotten what that was like. She leaned over and kissed him on the mouth. “You seem pretty steady,” she commented.
“Yeah, this harness is supporting most of my weight,” Adam explained.
“Can you stand at all on your own?” she asked.
“Uh... on my own? No, I can’t stand. But if I’m holding on to something, I can stand a little bit.”
“So if you undid the harness, could you stay up?”
A while back, Adam had practiced standing on his own. It was, in fact, why he had bought the EZ Stand in the first place. After having an affair with his last boss, Jessie, she had done her best to try to get him to quit. One of the things she did was assign him a speech to give to the entire department. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but Jessie said that it would really “look better” if he gave the speech standing up. Of course, Jessie knew that Adam couldn’t stand for two seconds, much less the duration of a twenty minute speech. However, there was a podium that he could grab on to and he thought that if he practiced, maybe he’d be able to make it through the whole twenty minutes.
He practiced as much as he could, but by the time ten minutes passed, Adam felt like he couldn’t even breathe, much less give a speech. After several weeks of practice, he gave up and told Jessie he had to give the speech in his wheelchair. Instead, she assigned the speech to someone else. A week later, he quit.
“I could stay up for a couple of minutes,” Adam told her, although he wasn’t even sure he could do that much anymore.
“Let’s see it.”
Adam shook his head. “You trying to kill me, Brynne?”
“You said you could do it,” Brynne said innocently.
“Yeah, yeah,” Adam mumbled. “Okay, can you unhook the harness?”
Adam felt Brynne unhooking him and gripped the handlebars with all his strength. Suddenly, he felt his support giving out, but he kept his body up using the muscles in his arms. He hadn’t done this in a while and he had forgotten how hard it was and why he had given up two years ago. He felt beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead and his biceps began to tremble.
“Wow,” Brynne murmured, “you really can’t stand, can you?”
Adam shot her a look, then carefully lowered himself back into the seat. He took a second to catch his breath. “Good observation,” he said, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
“So let me ask you this,” Brynne said, “what would you do if I did this?”
As Adam looked on in surprise, Brynne took his empty wheelchair and wheeled it across to the other side of the room. “What the fuck did you do that for?” he asked.
“Pretend I’m not here,” Brynne said. “What would you do?”
“Jesus Brynne, I’m really tired...”
Brynne crossed her arms. “I’m not even here. Come on, Harding, what would you do?”
Adam rubbed his legs. “I... I guess I’d pull myself over to it...”
“You’ve done that before?”
“Yeah, sure. I mean, they teach you how to do it in rehab.” He looked her in the eyes. “Just in case some sadistic weirdo moves your wheelchair.”
Brynne smiled. “So I’m a sadistic weirdo now? You better watch it.”
“I didn’t mean you,” Adam said. “I meant some other person who isn’t quite as beautiful as you.”
Brynne seemed happy with this answer. She threw herself onto his lap and straddled him in the EZ Stand. “I know you’re tired, sweetie,” she said. “I won’t make you drag yourself across the room. Not today at least.”
Adam shook his head. Damn, he was going to have to watch this girl. He never met any woman before who enjoyed watching him struggle with his paralyzed legs. It was sort of a turn on though. It made it easier to be himself.
Brynne began to unzip his pants, but he already knew he didn’t have an erection. She pulled his pants down around his knees, removed his condom catheter for him, and began working her mouth on his dick. He let her do it, but he could tell nothing was going to happen, even though he had popped his Viagra before she arrived. “It’s okay,” Adam told her, lifting her head. “It’s not going to work.”
“I’ll get it to work,” Brynne said confidently.
“No,” Adam said. “Listen, let me do something for you. Get my wheelchair for me.”
“How about: please get my wheelchair for me?”
Oh, boy. “Brynne honey, would you please bring my wheelchair over here for me.”
Brynne brought the chair over, although it seemed like she intentionally left it far enough away that he had to strain a little bit to reach it and pull it over by his side. He transferred into the chair, pulling his pants off his ankles in the process. Brynne sat in his lap and he wheeled the two of them over to the couch.
Brynne got off his lap and stood up. She pulled down her skirt and panties, and Adam checked his penis again, to make absolutely sure he wasn’t hard. He wanted to fuck her so badly it hurt, yet his own penis was going against him. But he could still make this memorable for her.
Adam lowered his mouth onto her clitoris. When he was new at this, he went with the old staples, such as writing the alphabet with his tongue. Now he had developed an oral sex groove. He had learned to sense the movements he made that gave her the most pleasure. He ran his hands up her thighs, onto her buttocks, drawing her closer to him as his tongue explored her.
Brynne moaned and reached out for his head with her trembling hands. Within minutes, she was gasping and crying out, lacing her fingers into his hair, her body shaking. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she exploded in orgasm.
Brynne dropped her head back against the couch as Adam stared at her sweat-soaked body. “Oh my fucking god,” Brynne gasped. “That’s was unbe-fucking-lievable. Where did you learn how to do that?”
Adam rested his hand on her thigh. “Did you really like it?” he asked innocently.
“Oh, sweetie,” Brynne sighed, cupping his face in her hands. “You’ve really never done that before?”
Adam shook his head.
“Unbe-fucking-lievable,” she repeated with a sigh.
Maggie was almost glowing when she got off the phone with Adam. She had forgotten what it was like to talk to him and to laugh with him. She had forgotten what it was like to hear the love in his voice.
He still loved her. After all these years, he still loved her. He didn’t say it, but she knew it was true.
Maggie turned and looked that full-length mirror that Audrey had given her for her room. She stood up and looked at herself in the mirror, straightening out the creases in her shirt.
Maggie could still see glimpses of her old self buried under all that fat, but she wasn’t sure if anyone else could see it. She had several chins now, a huge belly, thick legs, and an ass that was enormous, even compared to the rest of her. She couldn’t fathom that Adam might still be attracted to her, looking the way she did. If he knew, he wouldn’t even bother calling her.
After a moment’s thought, Maggie began stripping off her clothes until she stood in front of the mirror completely naked. She remembered being fifteen years old and staring at her naked body, amazed by how she had become a woman. Now Maggie was once again amazed at what she had become.
All she knew was that she couldn’t meet Adam like this. She had to get back to the way she used to be.
Maggie put her clothes back on and went into the living room. Audrey was sitting on the couch, reading a magazine. “So,” Audrey grinned. “You were on the phone a long time...”
“Audrey,” Maggie said in a hoarse voice, “I want to... I want to try to lose some weight. Can you help me?”
“Oh Maggie,” Audrey cried. She ran over to her roommate and threw her arms around her. “Of course I can help you!”
to be continued...