A story by Altimexis
Welcome to the thirteenth installment of Love in a Chair. If you haven't read it already, please read the foreword under Chapter 1. It goes without saying that this story is under copyright. It is a work of pure fiction and any resemblance of characters to real people is completely coincidental. This story involves gay sex between minors and if reading it is illegal where you live, please don't. As with the last chapter, there is no sex involved, but things will definitely start to look up.
Summary of Chapters 1-12: Fifteen-year-old Aaron Johnson and fourteen-year-old Brian Sandler are two boys in love. Aaron's parents are very supportive of the relationship, but Brian's are deeply religious and cut off all contact between the two when they discovered the boys had gone to a `fag' dance. Aaron and Brian formulated a ruse to spend some time together, but Aaron was forced to drive Brian home, though a month shy of his license, when their plan for a ride fell through. They were struck by a hit-and-run driver and Brian was seriously injured, becoming a paraplegic. Brian's parents have cut off all communication between Brian and Aaron, and even with Adam, Aaron's 13-year-old brother, and Larry, Brian's best friend. In the meantime, the threat of an investigation by the sheriffs office into the accident hangs over Aaron's head.
After spending the entire night and much of the morning at the hospital, Aaron, Adam, Larry and Larry's father, Bill, headed home to the Epstein residence, where they wasted no time in sending an e-mail to Randall Sampson, Aaron's history teacher and one of the faculty advisors for the school's GSA. Mr. Sampson surprised everyone when he showed up scarcely twenty minutes later.
"Hi, Aaron. How are you doing?"
"I'm OK, Mr. Sampson. I have some broken ribs and a mild concussion, but compared to Brian, I came out of it without a scratch. It's Brian I'm worried about. He just got out of surgery and his parents won't tell us how he's doing or even let us near him."
Aaron told his teacher the whole story - how Brian's parents thought homosexuality was a sin against God, how they found out about Aaron being gay and how he and Brian had fabricated a ruse to spend some time together.
"Well, I can understand how his parents feel, Aaron. As screwed up as it may be, they probably blame you for the whole thing, including Brian's being gay."
"Yeah, Mr. Sampson, I already figured that."
"I don't need to tell you that you really did something stupid, and they're not likely to forgive you for your deception for a long time, but what they're doing is just plain wrong. Perhaps I could try talking to them . . . get them to cut you boys some slack."
"Actually, we thought that it would be better if it came from one of Brian's teachers," Larry said.
"Do you know the names of some of Brian's teachers?" Mr. Sampson asked.
Since Larry and Brian were in the same grade together, they shared a few classes and he knew most of the others that Brian had, so he told Mr. Sampson those he knew about.
"Barbara Watson would be perfect!" Mr. Sampson, exclaimed. "She and my wife are good friends."
"You mean you're not gay?" Aaron asked.
Mr. Sampson chuckled and said, "No Aaron, I'm not, nor are most of the faculty advisors. It is, after all, a gay-straight alliance. Listen, I've seen what happens to gay teens. It's bad enough being in high school, but the added stress of being gay and having to deal with peer pressure and ridicule is sometimes too much. A few years ago, one of my students committed suicide. I didn't even suspect he was gay at the time. Actually, I never really thought about any of my students' sexual orientations. When the story came out afterwards, I decided I needed to do something. Life isn't fair for you guys. You didn't choose to be gay . . . almost no one would . . . but you have as much right as any of us to live your lives, to fall in love and, yes, to marry. I feel very strongly about that and can't fathom why most people have a problem with it. No one should have to choose between hiding in the closet and taking their own life.
"Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know. In any case, let me call Mrs. Watson. Knowing her, I'm sure she'll be willing to help."
"One more thing . . . we're concerned about what might have happened to Sharon when she showed up at the mall without Brian. We may have outed her, too. Could you check up on her?" Aaron asked.
"That can obviously wait until later, but I'll see what I can find out. And thanks for contacting me! This is exactly what I'm here for. I'm glad you guys thought to contact me at your time of crisis." Mr. Sampson took out a card and gave it to Aaron. "This card has my home and cell phone numbers on it. Feel free to call me any time, day or night."
Just as Mr. Sampson was leaving, Mr. Epstein entered the room and approached the boys. "I just got off the phone with a Harvey Lasserman, a friend of mine who's an accident scene investigator in the city. He's gonna meet me at Lewis and Elm in a little while. I'll tell you what," he said as he faced Aaron. "Why don't I drop you and Adam off at your house so you can get washed up and get some clothes. Your parents should be there later this afternoon and I know they'll want to see you right away. In the meantime, I'll meet Harvey and we'll see what we can find."
He turned to Adam and continued, "Adam, I need you to help your brother. He has a concussion and needs to rest more than anything else right now." Turning back to Aaron, he said, "Aaron, I know you want to get back to the hospital to see Brian, but his parents aren't going to let you near him just yet, and we probably don't want to push it. I heard a bit of what Mr. Sampson said and let's let him and Brian's teacher implement their plan. Now I want you to rest . . . you're going to need your strength to help Brian in the days ahead." Turning back to Adam, he said, "Adam, if you notice anything strange about Aaron's behavior, or if he seems confused or if anything seems amiss, call me." He took out his business card and gave it to Adam. "This card has my cell phone number on it. Call me if there is anything strange at all going on. OK?"
Adam nodded his head.
Bill Epstein dropped Aaron and Adam off at their home, then he stopped in at a local diner to grab himself a bite. He'd thought about inviting the boys to eat with him, but Aaron's hospital gown wasn't exactly something he imagined Aaron wanted to be seen wearing in public. Besides, he wanted some time to collect his thoughts. After finishing his meal, he glanced at his watch and decided it was time to meet his friend. Harvey was already at the scene taking photographs when he got there.
"Harvey, you old goat. How are you doing?"
"Life's a bitch, Bill, but then you already know that."
"Anything interesting so far?"
"Yeah, it looks like the local boys haven't put much effort into finding out what really happened. First of all, look . . . see all the small pieces of glass sticking out of the pavement in the intersection?"
"I'll bet you it came from the front side window of your client's Jetta. I'm photographing the area in detail, and then I'm going to collect some samples of the debris for more detailed analysis. It's definitely from a side window . . . that much is certain. Side windows are designed to break up into fine chunks like this, so that they don't form shards that could otherwise kill. Unlike the plastic used in the car's headlights, side lights and grill, the glass sank into the snow and was pushed under the snow plow blade and into the pavement. We should be able to match it to your client's Jetta if that's where it came from.
"The most important clues, however, will be in the snowbank on the northeast corner of the intersection." Harvey said as he pointed in the general direction. "If there was a collision, there should be plastic shards from your client's Jetta, as well as from the headlights of the SUV that hit it, buried in that snow bank. After I finish photographing the scene, I'll get out my shovel and start excavating. We should then know if something other than a Volkswagen contributed to the debris, and what make it might have been."
"How will you know if the debris came from this particular accident?" Bill asked.
"We won't, but if we can match the shape any of the fragments to matching edges on your client's car, we'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they crashed before they hit that telephone pole."
"It's too bad there aren't any skid marks to match to your client's tires, but tires don't make skid marks on snow. C'est la vie."
"A major part of the county's claim that there was no collision, is that my client's side-impact and side-curtain airbags never deployed. Any thoughts on that?"
"That one's a no brainer. From what your client said, the SUV hit his front fender, spinning his car to the right. Side airbags deploy for translational forces, not angular ones. Indeed, the torque on the sensors from the car spinning may have actually prevented the sensors from activating with linear forces that otherwise should have been sufficient."
"Could you put that in English?"
"The side airbags didn't deploy because the car spun rather than slid on impact. One thought that's sobering . . . had your client been a split second earlier, he would have been fully into the intersection when the SUV hit him. If that had happened, the passenger would have probably been OK, but the driver would have at minimum had a severe brain injury, even with the side curtain airbags deployed, and more likely would have been killed.
"After I finish photographing the scene and collecting specimens, I'll head over to the county impound lot and see if I can get a look at your client's car. I'll photograph it as much as I can without drawing attention, and I'll try to surreptitiously get samples from paint scrapings. If I can find an impact zone from the first collision, I'll grab some paint scrapings from there. It might lead us to the make and model of the other vehicle."
"Thanks, Harvey. This is all outstanding. I certainly owe you one."
"Oh, don't say that until you see my bill, Bill"
Both men broke out laughing. Mr. Epstein decided to let Harvey to his work and he headed over to the Johnson residence to see how Aaron and Adam were doing.
When he got there, he found Aaron sitting on a sofa with a woman he'd never met. After he introduced himself to Ms. Watson, she said, "Why don't you have a seat, Mr. Epstein. I just got here myself a minute ago and I was just about to tell Aaron about my encounter with Brian."
She made it a point to sit directly next to Aaron so she could hold his hands and look into his eyes. "Well, Brian came though his surgery just fine and although he's still in intensive care, the worst of the danger is over. He had a ruptured spleen, which they had to remove, and he lost a lot of blood. He also suffered a collapsed left lung and they have a chest tube in him to keep it inflated, and he's on a ventilator, but will probably be able to breathe on his own by as early as tonight."
She then turned directly to Aaron and continued, "Aaron, Brian has a fracture of his spine. He broke a vertebra in the middle of his back. The broken vertebra is compressing his spinal cord and they're going to have to operate on Monday to remove the compression and fuse that part of his spine. The surgery should help him some, but there's a good chance that some of the damage will be permanent."
What she was saying, slowly began to sink into Aaron and tears started to flow down his face.
She continued, "This has to be hard on you, Aaron. I think you know what I'm saying, and of course, there's still hope, but Brian's going to need you. I hope and pray that his parents get some sense, but I don't think they're going to be able to deal with their son being gay and being a paraplegic at the same time. Aaron, I don't know how we're going to do this and we may have to wait them out, but somehow we're going to find a way to get beyond this and get you back together with Brian."
Aaron sobbed, "Why? Why? Why him and not me? He's so alone right now. If it had been me, I'd have had Larry and Adam, and my parents and maybe even Brian. It's so unfair!!!"
Mrs. Watson threw her arms around Aaron and allowed him to bury his face on her shoulder. She consoled Aaron and gave him the personal message she had coaxed out of Brian a short while before. She added, "He's not alone, you know. As long as I can serve as your go-between, you'll be with him, in spirit if not in person. Believe me, he knows you're with him in your thoughts. He's very lucky to have you.
"Oh, and I got an update on Sharon. Mr. Sampson spoke to her earlier this afternoon and, confronted by her parents, she came out to them last night. Apparently they're taking it a lot better than Brian's parents did, from what she told him."
"That's a relief."
Just then, the door to the garage opened and Aaron's parents walked in. They ran to him and hugged him, causing him to wince in pain. Over the course of the next hour, Mr. Epstein, Mrs. Watson and the boys filled them in on what had happened and what was happening with Brian. His parents knew that the boys had done a terrible thing in lying to their parents, but that was secondary. The main thing was that Aaron was OK, and that Brian was not. They knew that Aaron, and to a lesser extent, Adam and Larry, were suffering more than any punishment they could ever inflict on them. Now more than anything, the boys needed their support.
"Jim, Ruth, there's something else we need to discuss," Mr. Epstein began. "The sheriff's office has done a very cursory evaluation of the accident and they seem to be looking to pin the entire thing on Aaron."
"You're kidding me," Jim Johnson responded.
"I wish I were. They haven't arrested Aaron or anything like that, at least not yet, but they certainly don't seem to be interested in doing a thorough accident scene investigation, and the detective that interviewed Aaron is a homophobic jerk."
"They interviewed Aaron without us being there?" Ruth asked.
"It seems they talked Aaron into it. When I got there, I put a stop to it, but he's already told them a lot . . . none of it seriously incriminating, but still worrisome. I therefore took it upon myself to represent Aaron. If you agree, I'll continue to represent both his and your interests unless you have someone else in mind."
"Of course, we couldn't find a better lawyer ourselves."
"Well, thank you. You need to know that I've hired a private accident scene investigator, actually he's from the city and moonlighting on our case. He won't come cheap and unless the county clears Aaron, his charges could end up costing you thousands of dollars."
"What?" Aaron exclaimed.
Mr. Johnson went over to Aaron to comfort his son. "Aaron, we're going to spend a lot more than that on your college education starting in just two-and-a-half years. Do you think we're going to skimp on something like this? If we don't nip this in the bud, you might never even get to college. Don't worry, son, we believe you, and we believe in you."
"Even after what me and Brian did?"
"You may not have exercised the best judgment, but you're still our son and we know you wouldn't lie about a thing like this."
"Besides," Mr. Epstein continued, "Aaron's story definitely fits more with the evidence we've gathered so far, and more than what the sheriff's office is proposing. I wouldn't get too worried if I were you, but we do need to gather our own evidence since the sheriff's office didn't do their job. One other thing . . . we'll probably need to send some samples of the debris found at the crash scene, and possibly some paint scrapings, to a lab for analysis, That cost will be passed on to you. I might also need to hire a private investigator to track down the other vehicle. The good news is that if we find it, we may be able to sue the driver for all he's worth, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. If it's any consolation, I won't take even a penny of your money for my time."
The Johnsons started to protest, but Mr. Epstein held up his hand and said, "I know you'd do the same thing for me if the situation were reversed. It would be an insult for you to try to pay me."
Saturday rolled into Sunday and Sunday into Monday and the days seemed endless. Barbara Watson tried to get to the hospital all she could, but she couldn't go more than once or twice a day without raising Brian's parents' suspicion. Monday was particularly tough because she and the boys had to go back to school. She tried to talk Aaron out of going back to school so soon - he himself had been through a life-altering event and needed time to cope, but he wouldn't hear of it - he needed to be doing something. None of them could concentrate, however, knowing that Brian was in surgery.
Mrs. Watson rushed over to the hospital after school only to find that Brian was still in surgery. She went back later that evening and found out that the procedure had gone well, but that it lasted over eight hours. When she saw him, he was still heavily sedated in the ICU and he was back on the ventilator. All she could do was to stroke his hair and wish him well before she left to fill Aaron and the others in on Brian's progress.
The coming days dragged on endlessly and Brian clearly was making progress. Literally, the only thing that was keeping Brian going was the daily visits from Mrs. Watson. Just knowing that Aaron cared, gave him the strength to deal with his injury. His parents had stopped talking about Aaron or his being gay and at least he was getting along with them marginally.
By Friday, however, Mrs. Watson heard something from Brian's parents that concerned her deeply. Brian didn't know about it yet. She knew he would be devastated even more than he was already from his forced separation from Aaron and his friends. When she got to the Johnsons, she knew she would be in for a rough time.
"Hello, Mrs. Watson, how's Brian doing?" Aaron said.
"Getting better every day, Aaron. Still no change in his legs, but he's getting stronger and making an excellent recovery from the surgery." She led him to the sofa and sat down, facing him. "Aaron, I spoke with Brian's parents today and they've decided to send him to Atlanta for his spinal cord injury rehab."
"Atlanta! Why? We have one of the best SCI rehab programs in the country just a little over an hour away from here. Why would they send him to Atlanta?"
"I see you've been checking this out on-line, too. You probably already know that Atlanta's program is also one of the best, but I think we both have our suspicions as to the real reason for the move."
Aaron's heart sunk to the basement. He didn't know what to do. Brian would be gone for months. Then, what if his parents decided to just move away? He could lose Brian forever. Aaron started to cry when his mother came in and asked what was wrong. Mrs. Watson filled her in.
"Oh Aaron. I know how this must hurt," his mother said as she leaned over and rubbed his back. "There isn't anything you can do, but maybe I can talk to Brian's mom. It probably won't change anything, but at least I can try."
Later than night, Aaron sat alone in his room. He was on his computer and was doing what he had been doing every night for the past several days - chatting online in an SCI chat room, seeking comfort for his anguish, solace for his loneliness, but mostly - hope for Brian's future. Most of the participants were people who themselves had a spinal cord injury, some of whom had been in a wheelchair for years and were giving advice, and others who were more recently injured and had a lot of questions to ask. There were also some friends and family members who were there to learn, as was Aaron. He hadn't been shy and everyone already knew that he had a friend who was injured just one week ago. Everyone was very helpful and understanding, but cautious as they knew that the hardest part of Brian's recovery was yet to come.
Aaron was amazed at the wealth of information he had already gathered. He understood how people managed their bowels and bladders and he'd even read discussions related to having sex with wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends. With the latest news about Brian, however, he was particularly dejected and more determined than ever not to lose him. He therefore decided to go for broke and ask what was really on his mind.
Aaron: Is anyone in here gay?
Aaron waited for a response, but there was nothing. All chatting completely stopped and no one typed anything for what seemed like several minutes, but was probably less than a minute in reality. Finally, there was a response.
Hotwheels (admin): First of all, I want to tell everyone in here that I will not tolerate any kind of gay-bashing or derogatory commentary. I think that we all recognize that it took real balls (no pun intended) for Aaron to ask this question. Now Aaron, you need to know that people with SCI are like the rest of society and there are a lot of people here who will probably take your question the wrong way. I would guess there probably are other gay people here, but you can't expect them to out themselves on your behalf.
Hotwheels (admin): If anyone here would like to help Aaron, I suggest you contact him in a private chat or off-line. Aaron, if anyone here harasses you, let me know and I'll yank their privileges in this chat room. If no one responds, e-mail me and I'll see if I can find someone who can help you.
Just then, Aaron got a request for a private chat with someone named Steve. He accepted the chat.
Steve: Hi Aaron. Yes, I'm gay. What would you like to know?
Aaron: Brian isn't just my friend. He's my boyfriend. I've heard some discussion of sex in the chat room, but all of it heterosexual. What can Brian and I expect in the sex department once he finishes rehabilitation.
Steve: Well, everyone is different and it depends a lot on Brian's level and the completeness of his injury. What did you say his level was again?
Aaron: I believe it's a T6 level. Something like ASIA A, but I don't know what that means.
Steve: It means that he has no sensation or muscle function below the sixth thoracic level. Basically, he has no sensation anywhere lower than about an inch or two below his nipples. It's a complete injury, which means he doesn't have any feeling at all in his rectum.
Steve: Well, first of all, there's a saying in SCI - the primary sexual organ is the brain. What that means is that our arousal is entirely cerebral. Right now, you get hard just by thinking about seeing cute men naked. Now although Brian can't get hard from his thoughts any more, he still can get aroused. In time, he'll learn to enjoy sex with you and even to have something similar to an orgasm . . . it just won't be as intense as yours and he may not be able to ejaculate.
To Aaron, that didn't sound so bad at all. In fact, it sounded like he'd be able to continue to have a satisfying relationship no matter what - if Brian didn't leave. He continued the chat.
Aaron: Will I be able to do anything with his dick?
Steve: Yes and no. His dick will still function and he'll probably have reflex erections, but he won't feel them and he won't be able to sustain them. Now erectile drugs do work, but Brian's erections won't be as hard as before. You may still be able to blow him and he may even cum, but he won't feel it normally and it may even be extremely uncomfortable to him. Also, his erections may not be stiff enough for anal penetration. Don't feel self-conscious and you don't have to answer this, but have you two had anal sex?
Aaron: Only once - we did it for the first time the night he was injured. I was the bottom. I still would kind of like to, but I'm not sure it will work. Maybe with me as the top?
Steve: Aaron, it's possible, but you have to keep in mind that it's a bit one-sided. You can pleasure yourself with his dick and anus, but he may not enjoy it and it may even cause problems. His bladder may empty on you. His bowels may empty on you. His legs may go into spasm and he might even become dysreflexic on you.
Steve: That's when your blood pressure shoots sky high from any irritation below the level of injury. Dysreflexia is a big problem for me, but my lesion's at C7, which is a lot worse than Brian's. When I attempt to have real sex with my partner, I get a severe pounding headache. We've tried medications, but they have side effects and it just isn't worth it. But keep in mind that everyone's different. You may not have any problems at all. And Brian has so much more than I do . . . he has his nipples! God I wish I had mine. Most importantly, we all still have mouths. You two can still kiss, he can suck you and you can both pleasure each other. In time, you'll find a way.
Aaron: Wow! I wouldn't want Brain to get a headache, but it sounds like there's still a lot we can do together.
Steve: You bet there is. It's really up to you and if you two love each other, no matter what you do, you'll enjoy it. What you do together can be every bit as satisfying as what you could do before and as young as you are, you'll have lots of time to explore and experiment and learn together. The future truly is up to you.
Aaron: That sounds pretty cool. I mean I'd much rather that the accident never happened, but I still love Brian very much and that's what really matters. If we can still have some kind of sex, even if it's just fooling around, I'll be very happy.
Steve: Oh, I think you'll find it's much more than just fooling around.
Aaron: Thanks so much, Steve. You've given me so much to think about. Now if we can just get past Brian's homophobic parents - that's truly the biggest obstacle right now. His parents found out about him being gay because of the accident, and you can guess who they blame.
Steve: I hear you loud and clear. Thank God both my parents and my boyfriend's parents are OK with us, but I think that's only because I was a quad before we met. I think my parents are glad I have anyone at all. Maybe someday, Brian's parents will realize just how important you are to him, too. For now, perhaps you should downplay your relationship and just try to be Brian's friend. You know, not rub it in.
Aaron: That would be great if they'd even let me see him.
Steve: Ouch! That must hurt like hell. You know, if they'd like to talk to someone, I'd be happy to talk to them. Otherwise, there isn't much I can do.
Aaron: I know, Steve, and I appreciate everything you have done. Thanks again.
Steve: Any time, bud.
Aaron signed off and went to bed. He knew it wouldn't be easy, but he vowed that somehow he'd win Brian back.
Well, that's it for the thirteenth installment of Love in a Chair. Hope you like it so far. Please e-mail me your comments. I will try to respond to all e-mail except flames, but I make no promises. I would like to thank Riley James of the Rainbow Community Writing Project for hosting my story. I would also like to thank WriteByMyself and David of Hope for their invaluable suggestions and editing, and Captain Rick for providing incomparable advice on the legal aspects of this story. The next installment should be posted in a week or two.