A story by Altimexis
Welcome to the thirtieth and final 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.
READERS SHOULD NOTE that this is not a story about eroticism gained through urination or scat. In fact, descriptions related to bowel and bladder movements, are described for the purpose of giving the reader an insight into the complications, embarrassments, and adjustments required in the everyday life of a paraplegic.
Summary of Chapters 1-29: Seventeen-year-old Aaron Johnson and fifteen-year-old Brian Sandler are two boys in love. Both sets of parents are now supportive of the relationship, but Brian's were deeply religious and an attempt to keep them in the dark ended in tragedy when the boys were struck by a drunk driver and Brian became a paraplegic. The boys are out at school and are active in the gay-straight alliance, the school's jazz ensemble, which Brian helped form, and an organization called Students for Peace. Aaron was elected to his school's student counsel and Brian became the sophomore class president, but had to resign when he developed health complications that required him to undergo risky surgery. The initial results left Brian worse off than before and he became severely depressed causing him to break off his relationship with Aaron. It took a nearly successful suicide attempt to make the boys realize that they still loved each other, and that Brian needed help to cope with his life-altering injury. They have a number of supportive friends, including Brian's best friend, Larry, Larry's girlfriend, Gail, Larry's former girlfriend, Cindy, Cindy's boyfriend, Steve, Aaron's fourteen-year-old brother, Adam, Adam's girlfriend, Jenny, a former slacker named Chad, and GSA members Sharon and her girlfriend, Jackie, Scott and his boyfriend, Jared, and Darren and his boyfriend, Jeff. For Aaron's seventeenth birthday, his and Brian's parents gave them an all-expense-paid Disney World vacation over the spring break. They made friends with a couple of boys while there, Billy and Chuck, and helped them come out to their parents.
Dr. Prentice welcomed her two patients into her office and had them sit down to begin their weekly counseling session. "So how've you boys been?"
"We've been great," Brian replied.
"Fully recovered from that trip to Disney World?"
"That was over a month ago. Yeah, it was intense, but we've recovered."
Dr. Prentice chuckled, then began, "Had any interesting dreams lately?"
Brian knew exactly where this was going. "Yeah, doc, I still walk in my dreams."
"Brian, I've spoken with people who've been paralyzed for forty years, and they still walk in their dreams. What I mean is has there been anything unusual that brings back memories? Any nightmares lately?"
"Nah . . ."
"Brian?" Aaron prodded.
"Well, OK, I had the burning one again. You know, the one where Aaron's in his mother's old car and it's on fire and I can't get to him."
"Yeah, and he woke up screaming again."
"That's OK, Brian. It just shows how much you care for Aaron, and how much you're scared of losing him. It's OK to express these dreams. You need to get them out. Only by talking about them can you address your fear head-on and get beyond it. Only then will these dreams lessen."
She looked towards Aaron and asked, "How about you Aaron? Have you had any nightmares lately?"
"Thankfully, not since before we left for Disney World. I guess I'm over the accident, but that last one where I dreamt that Brian died from his suicide attempt was a real doozy." Aaron would never forget that dream - it seemed so real at the time and he couldn't get a good night's sleep for more than a week afterwards - he was so afraid of having it again and waking up to find it was real.
"Well, it probably won't be the last time you'll have that dream, either, particularly when the two of you are apart. You may want to get some counseling when you leave for college."
Changing the subject, she continued talking to Aaron. "Oh, and how's your campaign for class president going?"
"It's been bitter," Aaron answered. He'd been flabbergasted when he was nominated, but then went into the campaign with gusto, knowing he could do some real good. He'd lost his fight with the school board to enlighten middle-schoolers about gay life, but he received a lot of positive publicity from his efforts and he and the GSA had vowed to continue the fight the next time the school board was up for election. Aaron knew that he might actually stand a chance of getting some real change on the school board if he were the senior class president, and it wouldn't look bad on his college applications, either.
Unfortunately, his chief rival was his old nemesis, Scott McDonald, the boy who'd painted Aaron's car pink the previous summer. "McDonald keeps using expressions like 'elect someone who represents your interests', inferring that a gay guy can't represent straight people's interests. It's disgusting. The principal finally clamped down on the campaign last week, making him cool down the more blatant of his rhetoric. You'd think spending 100 hours in an AIDS shelter would have taught him a lesson."
"Respect isn't something that can be forced, Aaron. He won't be able to show it until he learns how to earn it himself."
"Speaking of which, my locker was spray-painted 'FAG' again last week. The school put a camera inside my locker, but whoever's been doing this has been clever enough to cover up the ventilation slats. No one admits to seeing who did it, so nothing's changed. This campaign has showed me the darker side of student life at my school. I'm just trying to do what's right, but there are plenty of students who hate me for what I am."
"I went through some of this, too," Brian confided. "Nothing as blatant as what you're going through, but I feel for you."
"How do you feel about all of this, Aaron?"
"I feel like shit. I'll admit it. It turns my stomach. But I'm stronger than they are. I'm proud of who I am and I'm not backing down. If I lose, I lose, but if I win, things are gonna change . . . not right away, but things will be better."
"What about you, Brian?"
"I'm glad I decided to turn down the nomination for junior class president."
"That was a wise move, Brian. You're still going through a lot and you haven't fully recovered yet. Now is not the time to be involved in what Aaron's going through. We can talk a year from now if you decide to run for senior class president, but for now, it's better that you're on the sidelines."
"I guess. . . but there's a part of me that tells me I should be doing something, too. I love that my boyfriend has become so active in school politics, but it's never been my style to sit back and watch things happen."
"What do you mean, Brian?" Aaron jumped in. "You were the class president last year until you got sick, and you founded the Jazz Ensemble. You're still active in Students for Peace and on the planning committee of the GSA."
"Aaron's right, Brian," Dr. Prentice chimed in. "Many people would say you're already over-extended. I think it's remarkable that you've resumed so much of your life so soon after your suicide attempt, but pushing yourself only makes it harder to deal with the grieving process. You've come a long way in the last two months, but you have a long way to go."
"I don't suppose I should mention that I've been thinking about graduating early."
"Brian, you know I don't think that's a good idea. You've lost too much time as it is, and you need some breathing room in your life. If you push it too far too fast, you could end up right back where you started, and then where would you be?"
"I hear you, doc, but I took the SAT and I got a 1480."
"Damn, when did you do that? . . . You beat me! . . . by twenty points no less." Aaron said in mock disgust. "Honey, I don't want you to kill yourself just so we can be together during my freshman year in college. We're only talking nine months, after all, but if it comes down to it, there are some outstanding universities within commuting distance of here."
"No way, Aaron! You have to pursue your dreams. If you don't, you'll always wonder if you might have done better if you'd gone to a top school. And with a 4.0 GPA and your high SATs, you have a good shot of getting into whatever school you choose." Brian paused for a moment, and then went on. "Didn't you tell me that during your college visits, people talked about when you went there, rather than if?"
"All of them except MIT . . . I might have to retake my SATs to get in there," Aaron interjected. "But what was really cool is that no one seemed to care that I'm gay. I mean, the fact that I'm gay and that I'm out if anything seemed to be a plus, and even the kids who took me around on the campus tours all seemed to be OK with it. It's so different than in high school! Brian if I could get into MIT and if you could get into Harvard . . . don't you think would be worth spending those nine months apart?"
Brian let out a long sigh that shook Aaron to his core. He knew his boyfriend was about to bring up something huge.
"Mr. Jeffreys thinks I might actually have a good shot at getting into one of the top-ranked music schools."
"Oh?" Aaron asked.
"Who's Mr. Jeffreys?" Dr. Prentice asked.
"He's our school's music director, and he helped us get the Jazz Ensemble going. I'd always thought music would have to be my secondary degree. I figured I'd need a day job and it only seemed natural to get a degree in education, so I could make a living as a teacher, but Mr. Jeffreys thinks that I should try to get into a top-ranked music school. With my grades, my SAT scores and, well, with my minority status as a person with a disability, he thinks my admission to a top school is almost a lock. With a degree from a top school, I could have a career in music, which is something I'd only dreamed of before."
"Wow!" Was all Aaron could say at first. Yes, Aaron thought to himself, it would be nice to have a degree from MIT, but unless he planned to be a college professor, it would make less of a difference to his future than it would to Brian. Aaron knew then and there that his dreams would have to take a back seat to Brian's.
"Brian, I can get an engineering degree from a well-regarded school, just about anywhere. I don't need a degree from MIT to do what I want to do in life. I'll be there every step of the way as your partner in life."
"No, Aaron, I can't do that to you. Your dreams are every bit as important as mine."
"But my dreams mean absolutely nothing if I'm not with you."
"Nor mine if I'm not with you."
"Brian," Dr. Prentice said after a pause, "you've thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into both Aaron's and your college plans. You both have a lot to think about and there'll be a lot more planning involved. You're both young and, in addition to making your education choices, you have a whole life in front of you. You do have a little time, but before you know it, some very important decisions will be thrust upon you . . . decisions that could affect you for the rest of your lives.
"One thing that I find often helps is to make a plan for your future life. The plan should be written down on paper, so you can refer to it when you come to each fork in the road as you go through life. It should be general, in most aspects. You can format it in any way you wish, but consider this . . . a page each for what you wish to accomplish in the next six months, the next year, the next five years, and the next twenty years, with plenty of room to make changes. Keep the goals general, and even if it seems unachievable now, write it down anyway. Give your imagination some exercise. I'd also like you to prepare your life plans separately, but certainly include each other in your goals. In two weeks, at our regular session, the three of us will go over them. I think the result of this type of sharing will surprise you, and probably me as well."
As they exited Dr. Prentice's office, Aaron and Brian were silent, walking almost in a daze. They got into Aaron's car together, with Aaron at the wheel, but he didn't even insert his keys at first - he just sat there, staring directly ahead.
Finally, Brian broke the silence. "Are you as nervous as I am about making a life plan?"
"I'm scared to death that our plans will be different . . . that there'll be no way to reconcile our goals for the future."
"I'm scared, too, but I think that's part of the point of what Dr. Prentice is asking us to do. If we want different things in life, then there's little point to talking about our plans for going to college together. But that's not gonna happen. . . . It's all about finding common ground. I know we're going to be together for a long time . . . not just the twenty years Dr. Prentice was talking about, but the rest of our lives."
"I know you're right, Brian, but I'm still nervous."
"That's OK, but it's gonna be kinda exciting to work on our plans, don'tcha think?"
"I guess," Aaron said as he started the car and drove off. . . .
When Aaron went to school the next day, he groaned as he saw that his locker had once again been spray-painted with the word "FAG". This was getting to be old. Later in the day, he'd have to deal with it, but for now he just needed to get to his first class.
He was surprised when, late in the first period, the principal's voice came over the loudspeaker, requesting that Scott McDonald, Jeremy Sanders and Brian Phillips come to his office immediately. What did the principal want with his chief rival for class president, and two of the bullies he tended to hang with?
Later in the morning, when he was opening his locker, a kid with a locker across from him, whom he didn't really know that well called, out to him. "Glad I was able to help, man."
"What are you talking about?" he asked, confusion evident in his voice.
"They caught them red-handed. I hear they'll be expelled."
"Caught who? I Still don't get what you mean, man."
The kid then opened his locker up all the way and Aaron's jaw just about dropped to the floor when he saw a small video cam taped in place behind the slats in the locker door. "You heard the principal call them down to his office. Well, it was thanks to this baby. Again, I'm glad I could help. Looks like you'll be the new class president."
Aaron slowly started to absorb what the kid was saying to him. Scott McDonald, his chief rival in the race for class president, was one of the kids vandalizing his locker. Even if he wasn't expelled, he'd never be allowed to finish his run for class president. However, because McDonald had chosen to attack Aaron directly in his campaign, he'd effectively turned it into a two person race. The attacks had boosted Aaron's name recognition. With McDonald out of the race, there was no way the other candidates could catch up in the remaining week of the campaign. It hit him like a ton of bricks - he really was going to be the next senior class president. Brian's prophecy from a year ago had been right.
That evening, after dinner and after talking on the phone with Brian about the day's turn of events, Aaron pulled out a sheet of paper and started to think about his life's dreams. Although the election wasn't over, by the time he and Brian met with Dr. Prentice, there was a very good chance he would be the senior class president-elect. It still blew him away to think about it, but being the class president would certainly play a major part in his near future. With that in mind, he started to write.
Aaron thought that it would be difficult to write down what he wanted for himself and for Brian during the coming months and years, but it came surprisingly easy to him. First there was what he hoped to accomplish if he were elected class president, being an activist for gay students, but also respecting the needs of all of the students. That alone could have filled his four pages, so he kept this part general. Next came his plans for school and for his career. This, he found, was intimately tied to his life with Brian. His plans were flexible and could easily accommodate his boyfriend's life goals. Finally, he wrote about his plans and goals for life with Brian. A civil union or, hopefully, marriage was a given, but there was more to it than that. Aaron wanted Brian to be an equal partner in the relationship. Wherever life took them, they would share.
Aaron could scarcely believe it when he finished his first draft and looked at his alarm clock. It was three AM!
As he hung up the phone with Aaron, Brian similarly took out a sheet of paper and started to work on his own life plan. With a boyfriend who was the senior class president, he knew their time together would be somewhat limited during the coming year. He knew this from personal experience. He therefore organized the first part of his plan around supporting his boyfriend while, at the same time, pouring himself into his studies, so that he could graduate early if the opportunity presented itself. As an entering junior, he was eligible to take summer courses at the community college for dual enrolment, and he intended to take advantage of this, starting with the coming term.
Brian realized in that instant that his desire to graduate early was related to his desire to be with Aaron only in part. It was like a light bulb being turned on in his head. His desire to study was strong because so much of his time since the accident had been spent on his rehabilitation, physical and mental. This had left him with a mental vacuum and he had an overwhelming desire to fill it. That, he felt, was reason enough to push his studies to the top of his list, second only to his desire to be with Aaron. But if he were to graduate early, he would need to start thinking about schools now, and so his six month sheet would be filled with things related to this.
After he'd mapped out his plans for school in the first six months, the next six months and the first five years, he set about thinking about his relationship with Aaron. That was a no-brainer. He saw Aaron as his partner for life. There would be a commitment ceremony and, hopefully, one day a marriage. In the short run, they'd go to school together and support each other in their fulfillment of their dreams.
Thinking about the long term made Brian's head hurt. He could deal with planning for five years, but the next twenty years hinged so much on whether or not he gained admittance to a top music school. No longer a pessimist, Brian decided to assume he would make his career in music. He would complete a Ph.D. and find a position as a professor in a major music school. Performing professionally, however, just wouldn't be practical - most performance venues were far from accessible, and he really wasn't that interested in performing, anyway. He would be content to perform as a hobby, much as he did now, and to fulfill his passion for the enjoyment and study of music through teaching the next generation of professional musicians and music scholars.
His life with Aaron would involve stable doses of love and a sharing of mutual career goals. He would never consider taking a position in a place that would make Aaron unhappy, and Aaron's career would be every bit as important as his own. They would make themselves a home in a place that met both their needs, that was accepting of who they were, and that was reasonably wheelchair accessible. The final thought Brian had before he put down his pen was the issue of children. He kind of wanted them, but recognized the difficulty of being a paraplegic and raising kids. He imagined that being gay and paraplegic would be a double-whammy against him in seeking to adopt. In the end, he decided that children would be a nice goal, but one that he could take or leave, depending on Aaron's wishes.
Aaron and Brian worked on refining their life plans over the subsequent two weeks, interrupted only by a night of extreme celebration when Aaron won his election by a landslide. They started out with dinner with both sets of parents and Adam at one of the best restaurants in the city. With their parents' permission, they each even had a glass of wine with their meals. They returned home late that night and the boys continued their celebration in private. It was a bowel night, and they took full advantage of the opportunity to become better acquainted with each other's bodies. Suffice it to say, they were not particularly alert the next day in class.
Finally, the day of their next session with Dr. Prentice had arrived. She greeted her patients warmly and led them into her office. Before they got started, she asked them if they'd completed their life plans and, when they told her they had, she asked her secretary to make three sets of copies of each of them. Sitting down together, she handed both boys a full set and took one for herself. She instructed Aaron and Brian to read each other's plan while she read both of them herself, but cautioned them not to read too much into the other's life plan. Ten minutes had elapsed by the time they were all through.
Both boys were silent and had blank expressions on their faces as Dr. Prentice lifted her head and looked at them.
"Well, you both have invested a lot time and effort into building your life plans . . . that's very obvious from what we have here. I must say that I'm very pleased with what you've come up with. I see a great deal of maturity here. . . . well beyond your years. Many of my patients who are much, much older than you are can only manage to come up with a few odds and ends. I'm impressed with how much each of you has based your plan on the other. I'm generally skeptical about teenage relationships, but yours has all the hallmarks of one that has the potential to be long-term. You're still young and, as you've already seen, there are all too many ways you could still screw it up, but if you want to spend your lives with each other, there's nothing I see in either plan that will prevent that.
"Brian, your plan is one of the most detailed I've ever seen. I suggested you stick to generalities, but you've filled your pages and left little room for changes to be made. You might want to step back a bit and be a bit less specific. The one thing I can assure you is that there will be changes. For example, consider the likelihood there will be changes in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. You have planned your life under the assumption that nothing will change over the next twenty years, whereas I know for a fact that some things have changed even within the last five years.
"When I said, make your goals general, it was for a purpose. When you make too many specific goals this early in your life, you can be setting yourself up for disappointment with each goal you fail to achieve as intended. Eventually you lose sight of your life plan and discard these papers, just because of the disappointment they represent.
"That said, I think it's very clear you know what you want to do with your life, but that your first priority is spending that life with Aaron. You have strong scholastic aspirations, and I'm less worried about your plans for speeding up your studies, now that you've explained yourself. Keep in mind that if it gets to be too much for you, you need to slow down, and you need to plan for the possibility that you may need to slow down.
"Aaron, your plans are considerably more nebulous, which probably is a good thing in light of Brian's plans. You've demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to compromise to make sure your plans don't interfere with Brian's. Your dedication to Brian is evident throughout your plan, and that again bodes well for your future together. My one concern is that you need to also be able to make a life for yourself, separate from Brian. I'm not saying you won't be together with Brian, but that your relationship may not succeed if you aren't able to be your own person, first.
"Don't worry . . . we'll have lot's more time to discuss your life plans in some detail in future sessions, but with the little time that remains, I'd like to ask each of you to tell me how closely your partner's life plan coincides with what you expected their plan to be.
"Why don't you start, Aaron?"
"Wow. I'm not sure what to say. You said it all, Dr. Prentice. I'm not sure I know what I expected Brian to write for his life plan. I knew that it would contain his wanting to go to music school and I'd hoped it would contain a lot about being together with me, but I had no idea he wanted to be a university professor. Actually, I think that's pretty cool. I can definitely see Brian doing wheelies around the campus in his wheelchair, running over students who dare to get in the way." Brian laughed at that. "Like you said, Dr. Prentice, Brian went into a lot more detail than I could have possibly thought about. It blows me away that he thought about having children . . . the thought never even entered my mind, but I kinda think I'd like to be a daddy. That would be cool."
"Brian, what do you think about Aaron's plan?"
"I think it's really sweet. I know that's a stupid thing to say about something as serious as a life plan, but it just fits with the person Aaron is. He's selfless and that shows through clearly. I never really thought about what he might have written, except to hope and pray he didn't want to live some place like Calcutta, where getting around in a wheelchair is impossible." This time it was Aaron who laughed. "My only worry is that he may be sacrificing too much to be with me." Brian put his hands up, cutting off what he knew Dr. Prentice was about to say. "Don't worry, Dr. P. . . . I've long gotten over my feelings of inadequacy. Aaron is giving up a lot to be with me because he feels I'm worth it, and I know that to him, I am. I'd hoped Aaron would have put a bit more of his own plans in there . . . things that didn't necessarily revolve around me. It would kill me to think he's holding back on his ambitions on my account. . . ."
"Honey, don't worry," Aaron interrupted. "I had always assumed I'd go to a top engineering school and start my own software development company. That hasn't changed. What you've read in my life plan is exactly what I wanted to do before I met you. I didn't give up anything to be with you."
"You can't imagine how wonderful that makes me feel, Aaron. God, I love you so much, I can't believe we met . . ." Brian started to cry as he tried to get his last sentence out. Soon both boys were locked in a tight embrace, crying on each other's shoulders.
After their tears had subsided, Dr. Prentice said, "Well, I hate to end this at such an emotional point for the two of you, but I'm afraid our time's up. I must tell you that I've really enjoyed working with you two and that these are great life plans. I must add though," Dr. Prentice smiled, "that our sessions together have done a lot to enhance my own life plan. Let's pick this up at our next visit."
Brian and Aaron left the office smiling, with a new confidence in their relationship, knowing that their goals for the future were goals they would share together.
The swearing in ceremony for Aaron as senior class president was held that Friday in a general assembly for all of the student body officers. It was a real point of pride for Aaron and Brian, and for both his and Brian's parents, who were also present. It was a very nice ceremony and Aaron held his head high as he took on the reigns of responsibility. Aaron Johnson, the shy, dejected kid who'd had to go with his parents to the movies just a year and a half earlier, was now the senior class president. A lot had happened over that time and he'd found love and endured tragedy. He'd realized he was gay, but found strength in it rather than adversity. From the way he handled himself, he gained respect - respect from his teachers, respect from his peers and even respect from his detractors. He'd even taken on the school board and, although he didn't win, he'd found something inside of himself that he didn't know he had. He found confidence, and courage.
Shortly after the end of the school year, it was time for Brian's sixteenth birthday party. This time they invited Larry with his new girlfriend, Gail; Larry's ex-girlfriend, Cindy, with her boyfriend, Steve; Aaron's brother, Adam, and his girlfriend, Jenny; as well as their friends Scott and Jared, Sharon and Jackie, and Darren and Jeff from the GSA. Also making an appearance were Jamal, Brian's friend from the rehab center, and his boyfriend, Corey; as well as Chad and the rest of the Jazz Ensemble.
Everyone had a great time eating cake and ice cream and dancing the night away. They even drank champagne - as per Brian's parents rules - no beer and just four bottles of champagne for everyone, including the parents. Eventually, it was time to open the presents - Larry and Gail got him an iTunes gift card, Cindy and Steve got him a couple of DVD's, Adam and Jenny got him a video game, Scott, Jared, Darren, Jeff, Sharon and Jackie all chipped in to get him and Aaron tickets to an upcoming Ben Folds concert, and Jamal and Corey got him an autographed copy of Marc Antoine's Universal Language CD that they'd gotten on eBay.
"I just got you a little something," Aaron said as he handed Brian a small, flat box. Brian opened the box to find a key with the prominent Honda logo on it. Brian looked up at Aaron with tears in his eyes.
"Sorry it's not a new one, but you're gonna need the car more than me, and I won't need it at all when I go away to college. We can still ride together to school, but now that you got your license, you can drive yourself to therapy and your after school stuff . . . no more waiting around for me and shit . . . and I can always take the bus."
"But Aaron, you're the senior class president. You need a car."
"Don't sweat it, man. I can always catch a ride from someone else, or from you if I hafta, but more than anything, I want you to have the car. You deserve it and it gives me great pleasure to give it to you. We'll go to motor vehicles tomorrow to change the title."
"Are you sure, Aaron?"
"Baby, I've never been more sure. Every sixteen year-old should have a car. I had mine, and now I'm giving it to you. I love you more than anything and won't take no for an answer."
"Um, Aaron," a voice came from out of the blue, "you really should have discussed this with us first," Alan Sandler said.
"You're not going to let me give Brian my car?" Aaron asked incredulously.
"You can give it to him if you wish, but he really doesn't need two cars, now, does he?"
"Whatdaya mean?" Brian asked with a shocked expression on his face.
"Why don't you take a look outside?"
With a growing sense of anticipation and apprehension, Brian wheeled himself out the front door. All he saw were his guests cars, parked in his driveway and in the street in front of his house.
Alan and June came up behind Brian, followed by all his friends. June put her hand on his shoulder and said, "You see that minivan across the street?" It was dark out, but Brian could easily see under the light of a streetlight, a dark red Chrysler Town and Country minivan, parked across the street.
"I thought that was Jamal's."
"I wish!" Jamal called out from behind him. "My parents and I are saving up to buy a used one."
Alan extended his hand to reveal a set of car keys. "Why don't you push this button, and watch what happens, Brian."
Brian nervously wheeled himself up to the side of the van and did as he was told. Suddenly, the right side door of the van swung open and a ramp inside swung downward. The floor of the van was very low to the ground, so it was easy for Brian to wheel himself inside, which he did, with Aaron and Alan following close behind. There were two seats behind where he wheeled in, and two in the front of the van.
"Usually, they remove the driver's seat so that you can wheel right up to the steering wheel, lock your wheelchair in place and drive away," Alan explained. "We did some research, however, and found that most wheelchairs and wheelchair mounting systems don't fare well at all in a crash. The way this van's set up, you can wheel right up to the driver's seat, swivel it around, transfer into it and lock your wheelchair behind the seat in all of about thirty seconds. With you going off to college in a couple of years, we thought that a minivan would be a lot more practical for you than a conventional car. It'll allow you to get around campus more efficiently, wherever you go."
"But I thought the trip was your present to me."
"It was in part, but like Aaron said, every sixteen-year-old deserves a car." Mr. Sandler turned around and said, "Although it was very generous of you to offer yours, Aaron, as you can see, Brian doesn't need your car . . . and I think he's right. As senior class president, you need your own car."
"I'm sorry, Brian, but I didn't get you anything else for your birthday."
"Are you kidding me? In March you got me that incredible guitar on your birthday." Aaron started to open his mouth, but Brian silenced him. "And don't you tell me that it was a gift from all the members of the Jazz Ensemble. . . . I know you paid for more than half of it. Your share of it had to be several hundred dollars."
Before Aaron could answer, they heard a car drive up and some car doors slam, followed by a familiar voice asking, "Excuse me, but is this the Sandler residence?"
Brian's head shot up like lightening. "Billy! Billy, is that you?"
"Brian? I'm sorry we're late, man, but our flight was delayed."
Brian practically ran everyone over with his wheelchair as he rushed out of the van, just as the taxicab sped away. He threw his arms around Billy, and then around Chuck.
"I can't believe you guys came all the way from Colorado, just for my birthday."
"Who said anything about your birthday? We're here to do some sightseeing in the city, and we thought we'd freeload off of you guys for the week."
"Asshole," Brian said as he punched Billy in the arm, just as Aaron managed to emerge from the minivan.
"Hey Billy . . . hey Chuck. I was beginning to wonder."
"Sorry, man, but you know how it is with flight delays and all. A storm system in the Rockies and everything comes to a halt."
"Hey, I'm just glad you made it," Aaron said as he gave both Billy and Chuck a hug.
"You set this up, Aaron?" Brian asked.
"Yup. I had a feeling it would put a smile on your face."
"And you said you didn't get me anything for my birthday. . . ."
"Hey, we weren't about to turn down Aaron's invitation. We're gonna have a blast! Like Billy said, we're staying the week you know. Gotta make sure you and Aaron don't get into any hanky-panky . . . at least not without us!"
"Man, we're not into any of that four-way shit."
"Speak for yourself, Aaron," Brian said playfully to his boyfriend, causing him to blush deeply.
"So this is your new set of wheels?" Billy asked Brian.
"Yeah, my parents got it for my birthday. Check it out."
Jamal was already inside, looking around. "This van is so cool! It has a built-in DVD player, a JBL sound system, built-in GPS navigation, power everything. This thing's loaded."
"Yeah, everyone, go ahead and take a look. Billy, Chuck, why don't you grab your stuff and we'll take it all inside, and then I can introduce you to everyone."
After everyone had checked out Brian's new van, they shuffled back inside, where Brian introduced them to Billy and Chuck. Brian's mom got the Colorado boys some cake and ice cream that she had surreptitiously put away for them. Brian's dad brought out a fifth bottle of champagne and they all celebrated a final birthday toast to Brian.
Billy told everyone about how Brian and Aaron had helped them come out to their parents. Chuck spoke with awe about how Brian had helped his father accept him for who he was.
"So how are things between you guys and your parents?" Aaron asked.
"Good . . ." Billy answered, "but different. I mean, before, there was an element of danger when Chuck and me used to do things, you know, like we might get caught, but it was kind of exciting. I wouldn't want to go back to those days for anything, but now it's kinda like, 'You're gonna spend the night with Chuck? That's nice, dear. Don't forget to use condoms.' Having my parents talk about our sex life kinda takes the fun out of it . . . well, a little bit, anyways."
"My folks are just plain being weird," Chuck added. "My mom, on the one hand, has joined the local PFLAG chapter, but my dad's kinda still in denial. Sometimes we're sitting together on the couch, watching a ball game, and he'll just suddenly look at me and shake his head. It's like, 'He doesn't look gay and he doesn't act gay, so how can my son be gay?' I know it freaks him out, but then he'll suddenly throw his arm around me and tell me that he loves me."
"How are things at school?" Brian asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, have you joined your school's GSA? Do you have any other gay friends? You know, that sort of thing."
"Our school doesn't even have a GSA," Billy replied dejectedly, "and if there are any other gay kids, they sure aren't wearing rainbow flags or anything, but then neither are we."
"Oh man, that sucks," Brian said in sympathy.
"You know it," Chuck chimed in.
Billy added, "We'd like to get a GSA started, but we'd have to come out to do it, and that has us petrified."
"There may be a way to get one going without having to come out," Aaron suggested.
"Go to your guidance counselors. Anything you tell them is confidential. They could go to the principal without having to say the request came from you, and maybe even get some teachers to help volunteer."
"You know, that could actually work. We may try that when school starts up next fall."
"It would be so cool if you did," Aaron responded.
"But what if the our counselors or the principal turn out to be homophobic?" Chuck asked.
"I'll tell you what, remind me later," Aaron said, "but I know there are some great resources out on the net on starting a GSA. I think read something about ten steps to starting a GSA, and I even remember seeing something specific to high school, and how to deal with obstinate administrators. If it gets to that point, though, you may have to come out. I know that's a big step, but sometimes it's the only way to effect change. There are undoubtedly a lot of gay boys and girls at your school who could benefit. You may even save someone's life."
"Wow!" was all Billy could say at first. "When you put it that way, it sounds like we have an obligation to come out."
"Only you guys can make that decision, Billy, Chuck, but we'll be there for you every step of the way," Brian added. "I mean, look around this room. There are eight totally out boys and girls here whose lives are much better than they might have been, were it not for our school's GSA. Our school is huge, with close to 4000 students, and out of the hundreds of potential gay students, we have about 60 gay students in our GSA, about 20 of whom are out to the rest of the school. There are close to a hundred straight members of the GSA. The GSA provides a safe haven for gay students to be themselves, to have role models who are out and to see that there are straight teens who are accepting."
"But don't you worry that the straight members of your GSA might out some of the closeted gay kids?"
"That's one of our fundamental ground rules," Aaron answered. "Any student who deliberately outs a GSA member will not only be banned from the GSA, but by agreement with the student council and the school administration, they will banned from all extracurricular activities, including school sports, and face a mandatory two-week suspension. We had pushed for expulsion, but the principal thought that was too harsh, and I guess he was right. The thing to remember is that you need to set the ground rules from the start and get school backing for them to have any teeth."
"You've given us food for thought. Billy and I will have a lot to talk about when we get back to Colorado!"
The boys ended up spending a lot of time catching up with each other, oblivious to the rest of their friends at the party. It came as a shock when Scott and Jared approached them to say their goodbyes. It was nearly two o'clock in the morning! The others soon did likewise, leaving only Billy, Chuck, Jamal and Corey.
"Why don't you guys stay for the night?" Brian suggested to Jamal and Corey.
"We'd really hate to put you out, man."
"You'd be putting us out if you didn't stay the night, Jamal. You guys live too far from here to be out driving home at two AM."
"Well, when you put it that way. I guess we could just crash right here in the great room," Corey said, "but Jamal needs to sleep in a regular bed. He could never manage on the floor."
"Don't sweat it, man," Billy chimed in. "We'll sleep out here for the night and you and Jamal can have the guest room."
"Hey," Brian said, "Why don't we all crash here in the great room together? It'd be cool . . . sorta like camping out. The sofa pulls out to a queen-size bed, and we have a couple of queen-size air mattresses everyone else could use."
"What'll you and Jamal do?" Billy asked.
"Brian blushed a bit and said, well, I guess we could share the sleeper sofa. That way we could transfer in and out of our wheelchairs without worrying about having to get down to the floor."
"But you and Aaron should be together for your birthday," Chuck said.
"It won't make much of a difference, anyway. It's not a bowel night, so Aaron and I can't have sex tonight anyway. We might as well spend the night with our friends."
"What do you mean it's not a 'bowel night'?" Chuck asked.
"Brian uses suppositories every other night to make his bowels move," Aaron explained. "and then I give him an enema to get him cleaned out. That way I don't have to worry about him having an accident when we make love."
"What a lovely thought," Billy added.
"So anyway, Brian and I were never going to have sex tonight in the first place. I think it would be fun to all have a group sleep-over."
"Yeah, I think it'd be fun . . ." Jamal said, ". . . and besides, I've been wanting to sleep with Brian since I first saw him at the rehab center."
"What?" Corey exclaimed.
"I'm just messing with you, babe. You know I only have eyes for your tiny white ass." Jamal turned to Brian and said, "Sorry, Brian. It's not that your not good looking, but you're not my type. I've never been fond of long hair. No offense . . ."
"None taken . . . and I happen to know someone who loves my long hair."
"You said it, sweetheart. I can never get enough of running my hands through those long, golden, silk strands."
Brian wheeled over to his parents, who were busy cleaning up in the kitchen, to ask if the boys could all sleep in the great room. After proper assurances that they wouldn't wreck the place, Brian's parents agreed with the plan. They helped open the sleeper-sofa and inflated the air mattresses. June got out three sets of sheets and two extra sets of towels. Aaron, Corey, Billy and Chuck all helped her make the beds while Brian and Jamal headed to the bathrooms and started getting ready.
After everything was set up in the great room, Brian's parents said their goodnights, and Aaron joined his boyfriend in the bathroom. He leaned down and kissed Brian briefly on the lips.
"Did you have a good time tonight?"
"I had a wonderful time, Aaron. I still can't believe you were gonna give me your car . . . and I can't believe my parents bought me that van! I never in a million years expected to get my own van."
"It's a really cool van, Brian. They really went all out. You must be pretty excited about driving it. . . . Hey, I just realized you haven't even driven it yet."
"I know. I was thinking about that, but when Billy and Chuck arrived, I was so excited about seeing them that I forgot all about driving my new van. I still can't believe I forgot about it."
"Tell you what, right after we eat breakfast tomorrow, we'll take her for a spin . . . just the two of us."
"You've got a date," Brian agreed.
"Just don't go off in your van and forget about me, now," Aaron added.
"Honey, I'm excited about my van all right, but it won't mean anything to me if you're not there with me. I'd rather be with you in your car than drive the van by myself."
"Brian, I'll always be by your side, whatever set of wheels we use. You know that. I may be only seventeen, and you're only sixteen, but I want to be with you forever. I want to have a commitment ceremony as soon as we're old enough, and if we do end up in Boston, I want to legally marry you."
Tears started to well up in Brian's eyes as the reality of what Aaron had just said started to sink in. "You really do want to marry me?"
"Like I said before, it's for better or for worse, man. I love you, Brian, more than anything in the world. Seventeen's not too young to know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone."
"Sixteen's not, either," Brian said as he reached up and pulled his lover's face down to meet his own. Their tongues slipped inside each other's mouths as their kiss took on a fiery intensity. After what seemed like an eternity, Aaron pulled away.
"We have guests and we really should get back out there."
"Yeah, I guess . . ."
"Are you having second thoughts about inviting them to a 'camp out' in the great room?"
Brian smiled and said, "No, not at all. Let's get back out there and keep them entertained." Brian winked at Aaron as he started to get undressed. "I guess we should wear pajamas, though."
"Well, Jamal and Corey would need pajamas, too, and I know you don't have anything that could fit either of them."
Brian laughed hysterically, thinking about how Jamal was a good foot taller than Aaron and Corey was a good foot shorter than either of them or so it seemed.
"Shall we go with boxers and T-shirts, then?" Brian suggested.
"Sounds like a good solution to me," Aaron responded.
Stripped down to nothing but their boxers and donning some T-shirts, Aaron and Brian sauntered across the bedroom hall and knocked on the guest bedroom door. Hearing no answer, Aaron tentatively opened the door and called inside. Getting no response, he and Brian entered the room and approached the guest bathroom door, which was slightly ajar. Only then did they hear the distinct sound of moans, coming from inside.
"Jamal, are you in there?" Aaron called out.
They heard sounds of rustling around from inside, followed by the sounds of giggling before Jamal replied, " Yeah, we're in here. You can come in."
Aaron tentatively pushed the bathroom door open and he and Brian were greeted by quite a site. Corey was sitting in Jamal's lap, facing him and with their arms draped around each other. They both appeared to be naked, with a large bath towel draped across both their laps. They both looked at Aaron and Brian as they entered the room.
"Interrupting a little hanky-panky?" Brian asked.
"Nothing you and Aaron wouldn't be doing," Corey replied.
"You two really look great together," Aaron said.
"You don't think we look weird?" Jamal asked. "I mean were a real 'odd couple'."
"You two look perfect together. I can see the love in your eyes."
"Yeah?" Corey asked.
"Definitely," Brian responded.
"Anyway, we came to tell you that we're all going to wear boxers and T's tonight, since we don't have any pajamas that would fit either of you." Aaron turned to Brian and said, "Why don't we leave these two lovebirds alone so they can get dressed."
"That's OK . . . you can stay," Corey said as he threw the towel off to reveal that he and Jamal both had their boxers on. "Gotcha, didn't we?"
"You did have us going there for a millisecond or two," Brian said as he winked. "Besides, I've already seen Jamal's equipment"
Even with his dark skin, Aaron, Brian and Corey could see that Jamal was blushing.
"Is there something you didn't tell me about?" Corey asked his lover.
"You remember I told you about how Brian, er, ah . . . lent me a hand when I wasn't sure if my . . . equipment worked."
"Oh, right, I forgot about that," Corey said. He turned to Brian and added, "Pretty impressive equipment, isn't it?"
This time it was Brian who was blushing.
Corey jumped down from Jamal's lap and started reaching for his shirt when Jamal asked Brian, "You wouldn't mind if I didn't wear my shirt, would you? Since my injury, I have a real problem with my body temperature. In the winter I have to bundle up and in the summer, I have to watch that I don't get overheated. I usually don't wear anything to bed and use only a thin sheet . . . otherwise I sweat like crazy."
"It's no problem with me. No one needs to wear a shirt if they don't want to, for that matter."
Cory set his shirt back down and shrugged his shoulders. The four of them then walked and wheeled as a group back out into the great room to find that Billy and Chuck were engaged in a pillow fight. They were also wearing only boxers and no shirts. Seeming to be overdressed, Aaron removed his shirt and tossed it aside. Not wanting to be the only one with a shirt, Brian followed suit. A pillow hit him in the face, just as he got his shirt off.
"C'mon guys, you might break something," Brian reminded them.
"Sorry, Brian," Chuck said apologetically.
"OK, then, let's kill the lights. Just a warning if you get up during the night, be careful not to trip over Jamal's or my wheelchair, guys. Oh, and just a warning, I'll be setting my watch to get up in four hours. I have to cath and turn myself. Do you have to get up to cath yourself, Jamal?"
"Nah, my bladder works fine, but I usually get up to pee when it's time to turn myself, so I'll get up with you."
Brian and Jamal pulled their wheelchairs up on opposite sides of the sleeper-sofa and transferred effortlessly to their bed for the night. Everyone but Corey was surprised when Jamal literally stood up to transfer himself to the bed.
"You can stand?" Brian exclaimed.
"Only for a few seconds. I can't take more than a step or two without my knees buckling. I have an incomplete injury . . . I'm only an ASIA C. I have some muscle function in my legs, but not enough to walk . . . believe me, my therapists and I have tried."
"Still, that must make a real difference in what you can do. Being able to move your legs, even a little, lets you do so many things I can't do."
"Yeah, but you have full use of your hands. My zone of injury is right through my hands. I can't even button a shirt without using a button hook, and I have to use a cuff to hold a spoon or a fork, or even a pen or pencil. They're talking about maybe doing some tendon transfers that would at least give me enough function in my thumb to grasp and pinch, but it's complicated surgery and I'd have each hand in a cast for many weeks while the tendons heal. I've been thinking about it, but I'm kinda scared to go through the whole surgery and rehab thing again."
"I can't blame you one bit," Brian said, understanding what Jamal meant better than anyone else.
Aaron killed the last of the lights, and then climbed in bed with Corey. He pulled the top sheet and blanket up and tucked them into the space between his head and his shoulder, and turned away from Corey, managing to uncover Corey in the process.
"Hey! I need some of that," he said quietly.
"Oh, sorry," Aaron said, apologizing as he turned back to face Corey instead. "I didn't mean to leave you 'exposed', so to speak."
"It's no problem . . . and thanks for being so understanding about Brian's helping Jamal out."
"I'm glad he was able to help. . . . so, Jamal's . . . er . . . large?"
"Yeah . . ." Aaron could almost hear Corey blushing with his answer. Corey continued, "His cock is pretty huge alright. I know there's that stereotype about African American's having big dicks, but Jamal's a big guy. He's six-nine, you know."
"I didn't know, but I figured he had to be pretty tall. Until he stood tonight, I never new just how tall, however. I bet he musta been pretty good at basketball."
"You'd think so, but that's not Jamal. Yeah, he liked to shoot hoops and he was good at it, but it wasn't really his thing. You know what he wants to be? He want's to be a pediatrician. He has a heart of gold and he's kind and loving. Sure, I like it that he has a big dick, but I absolutely love him. I love who he is and how he makes me feel. I may be a foot-and-a-half shorter than him, but he makes me feel ten feet tall."
"That's really sweet. You know, Corey, I've been meaning to ask you . . . When I met Brian, it was before he was in a wheelchair. You met Jamal after he was already paralyzed. I'm not saying I wouldn't have fallen in love with Brian if he'd already been paralyzed when I met him, but to be honest, the wheelchair would have been a major obstacle. It's pretty hard to look past it, and yet you did."
"Well I have to admit, Aaron, that I'd had my eyes on Jamal long before the accident, so it's not like I didn't know him before, too. I just didn't think he could ever be interested in me, of all people. I knew I was gay, but I never in a million years thought he could be gay, too. When I heard about the accident, I was crushed. When he returned to school in that wheelchair, I felt sorry for him, but I also admired his courage. Of course, later he told me that there's nothing courageous about being in a wheelchair . . . when you're injured, you do what you have to do . . . but at the time I couldn't help but admire him. I just couldn't believe it when he approached me and, well, you know the rest."
"How did Jamal injure himself, anyway?"
"It was a freak diving accident. He was swimming in gym class and he dove in too steep, and hit his head on the bottom of the pool. He's so tall, he should have never been diving into the shallower end of the pool. The swimming coach knew just what to do, or it could have been much worse."
"Wow. I never thought swimming could be so dangerous."
"Neither did I, but we can't change what's already happened. All I know is I love him just the way he is."
"Hey, do you think you could quiet it down a bit?" Billy from whispered across the room.
"Sorry 'bout that, Billy," Aaron apologized.
Turning back to his lover, Billy continued the conversation he'd been quietly been having with Chuck. "I still can't get over Jamal and Corey. I woulda never pictured them bein' together."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't know too many interracial couples, let alone a gay couple, but the size difference is intimidating. I wonder who's the bottom."
"Corey is. I overheard Jamal talking to Brian. He said that Corey is a total bottom."
"Man, can you imagine the logistics of how they make love?" Chuck asked in wonder.
"I wonder how they do it, with Jamal being paralyzed and all."
"Whoa, I hadn't thought of that!" Chuck whispered. "I guess the missionary position isn't exactly practical for them."
"Prolly not," Billy mused. "I'm guessing Corey must sit down on Jamal. That would give him control and he could do all the work while Jamal caresses him."
"Yeah, I bet you're right. Maybe we could ask them."
"Are you crazy?"
"Nah, just curious, but I bet they wouldn't mind us asking," Chuck replied.
"I s'pose you're right."
"It's kinda weird bein' in the room with two guys in wheelchairs, don'cha think?"
"Maybe a little bit, but Brian's a great guy, and Jamal seems really nice, too."
"Would you still love me if I was in a wheelchair?" Chuck asked.
"No way, I'd dump you in a second."
"I'm just kidding you. You know I'd still love you. I'll be there with you, no matter what, through thick and then some, until we're so old, our dicks fall off," Billy added with a chuckle.
"Same here, babe. I wouldn't care if you were paralyzed, or missing an arm or a leg, or if you weighted 300 pounds. I love you, Billy. I'll always love you."
"Hey guys, could you hush up? We're trying to sleep up here," Brian asked.
"Sorry about that, Brian. We'll be good."
"You'd better be," Brian chuckled as he turned back to face Jamal.
"Thanks again for coming to my party, Jamal."
"Hey, man, I wouldn'ta missed if for anything in the world."
"Well Aaron and I are glad you came."
"Brian, I know you probably don't want to talk about it, but I got real depressed for a while after I got home from the rehab center. I never really thought about committing suicide, but if things hadn't started to get better, I could see having gotten to that point."
"Man, that's a heavy topic, Jamal. I know that everyone tried to prepare me for life in the real world, but I don't think any amount of rehab can prepare you for what happens after you go home."
"You sure got that right. Corey was the one thing that made it all worthwhile. I don't know what would'a happened if Corey and I had been together before the accident, like you and Aaron were. I didn't find out until later that he'd been crushing on me for a while. But the way he accepted me in my wheelchair, right from the start, made it a lot easier. I never second-guessed his love for me. . . . he fell in love with me the way I am."
"That Aaron and I were already together had a lot to do with my trying to kill myself. I just couldn't accept that he could still be attracted to me . . . that he could still love me. I tried to convince myself that what we had was still the same afterwards, but there was always that nagging doubt in the back of my head. When I got the syrinx, I just lost it. At first, things actually got worse after the surgery. I just couldn't see the positives in my life anymore and I pushed Aaron away. Here he was, this loving, caring boyfriend and all I could think was that he stuck with me out of guilt . . . guilt from being the driver, and guilt that he wasn't the one who was paralyzed. I thought he felt sorry for me.
"When I got to that point in my life, I just couldn't stand to be around him . . . it hurt too much . . . and so I broke up with him. Of course I never stopped loving him, and when he started dating again, I knew my life would never be the same. I'd never really come to terms with being in a wheelchair, and losing Aaron was the last straw."
"Well thank God you didn't succeed."
"I have Aaron to thank for that . . . and God, I guess. I would have never pulled through without Aaron's love. After all we've been through, I know we're in it for life. We talked about it earlier, when we were getting ready for bed. We definitely intend to have a commitment ceremony when we're old enough, prolly when I graduate high school. We even talked about getting married if we ever live somewhere where it's legal."
"Corey and I already have our commitment rings."
"Yeah. For now we wear them on chains around our necks"
"So that's what those are!"
"Yup. We've already set the date. The day after our high school graduation, we're gonna tie the knot."
"That is so cool! I'll have to talk to Aaron about maybe getting our commitment rings to wear around our necks, too."
"That ID bracelet you wear is way cool."
"Yeah," Brian said with an almost dreamy gaze. "It's hands-down my most treasured possession. I can't believe I gave it back to Aaron when we split, but it was too painful to look at back then. This bracelet says it all," Brian said as he held up his right arm to show it off. "It says I'm gay, I'm out, I'm proud and I love the most wonderful boy around."
"Shit, it's already getting light outside."
"Damn, that means it's probably only a couple hours until I have to get up to cath myself."
"Is there any reason you couldn't cath yourself right now? That'd at least give us four uninterrupted hours of sleep."
"Yeah, I don't suppose there's any reason I couldn't. OK, let's get up now, and then we can reset the alarm for four hours from now."
"I might as well get up, too," Aaron said from the floor below. "I have to piss anyway."
"Same here," Corey chimed in.
Brian and Jamal each transferred effortlessly to their respective wheelchairs, and their boyfriends followed them to their separate bathrooms.
Once they were alone in Brian's bathroom, Aaron leaned over and gave Brian a passionate kiss.
"Mmm, that was nice," Brian responded.
"I'll never get enough of you, my love. Why don't you get out your cath supplies and I'll help cath you."
"Do you still get aroused from cathing me, Aaron?"
"Yeah, I do. It may sound weird, but it's something very personal and intimate that we can share that isn't at all sexual. I enjoy the intimacy, and can't help but get aroused."
After Aaron had finished draining Brian's bladder, Aaron cleaned up as Brian wheeled himself out into his bedroom with his dick still sticking out the fly in his boxers. By the time Aaron finished up, he exited the bathroom to find Brian sprawled out on his bed, wearing nothing but his beautiful, sweet smile. Aaron walked over to his lover and leaned over to give him a kiss.
"You know, this isn't a bowel night," Aaron said.
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean we can't have some fun. As long as we're careful not to do anything that might kick off a bowel movement, we should be safe and, besides, I enjoy pleasuring you as much as having you pleasure me. . . . So what are you waiting for? Get those boxers off and lie next to me."
"Yes sir," Aaron saluted as he complied with the birthday boy's wishes. Aaron kissed his boyfriend, opening his mouth and allowing his tongue to duel with Brian's for supremacy. They kissed passionately for several minutes before Brian broke the kiss and started licking at the diamond stud in Aaron's right ear - the same one he'd given Aaron for his sixteenth birthday.
Aaron took over the initiative by licking his way down Brian's jaw line and his chest, landing his lips squarely on Brian's right nipple as he tweaked Brian's left nipple.
After a few minutes of this, Brian cried out, "Aaron, please. I love what you're doing, but any more of this and I might have an accident."
Recognizing the potential risk, Aaron backed off and returned to sucking on Brian's mouth. After some more kissing, Brian backed off and asked, "Aaron, would you scoot up in bed a little so I can get to your nipples?"
"Sure, honey," Aaron said as he complied. Since Brian had no use of his legs and limited use of his trunk muscles, the boys had long ago learned that it was much easier for Aaron to do most of the moving, leaving Brian more energy for the stuff that counted.
Brian started licking and nipping first one nipple and then the other, noticing for the first time the presence of a few short hairs around each nipple. He licked his way down Aaron's chest and abdomen, swirling his tongue around and into Aaron's navel. He licked his way down Aaron's light treasure trail and inhaled deeply when he reached Aaron's bush. Aaron responded by flipping himself around so that he could enjoy the smell of Brian's own equipment as Brian went to work on pleasuring Aaron.
Aaron inhaled deeply as he nestled his face in Brian's groin, burying his nose in the space between Brian's thigh and his ball sack. Aaron lovingly caressed Brian's dick, holding it against his cheek. He knew Brian couldn't feel it, but he knew that the thought of this was a major turn-on for Brian.
Brian spread Aaron's legs wide and licked his way from Aaron's perineum to his crack. He rimmed Aaron and plunged his tongue deep inside. Aaron gasped. Brian thrust his tongue in and out of Aaron's anus, nearly causing Aaron to lose it. Brian pulled back, only to insert his finger deep inside, where he rubbed it against Aaron's prostate. Copious precum flowed from Aaron's dick, spilling out over Brian's zone of injury.
Brian plunged down over Aaron's dick, taking it deep into his throat and applying vigorous suction. He slowly built up a rhythm, going up and down Aaron's member as Aaron thrust in and out of Brian's mouth. It didn't take long - Aaron's balls drew up tight against his body as his orgasm overwhelmed his senses.
After coming down from his high, Aaron flipped himself back over and kissed his lover, sharing in the taste of his seed. He snuggled up with Brian - Brian lying on his back and Aaron lying partly on top of him. They fell asleep almost instantly, and this was the position June found them in a few hours later. They'd left the door ajar without realizing it and she'd only been checking to make sure they were alright.
Seeing her two 'sons' lying there, sleeping peacefully, made her heart sing. That they were naked somehow seemed natural to her. She knew it was anything but innocent and, yet, it seemed to embody the very essence of innocence. She realized at that moment, that the sex they shared was nothing more than a natural expression of their love for each other, and that trying to put a stop to it had not only been naïve, but futile. She smiled at the peacefulness she saw on her son's face - it was such a contrast to the look that had been on his face from the time of the accident until his suicide attempt. Her boy was happy, and that made her happy.
Closing the door behind her as she exited back out into the hall, she checked the guestroom door to find it closed, and decided against knocking or opening it. She continued out into the great room, where she found Billy and Chuck, fast asleep on the sofa sleeper. So much for 'camping out' in the great room, she thought to herself with a smile. In the end, they had ended up sleeping as couples.
Quietly getting back into bed, she attempted to settle down into her pillow without waking her husband. She knew she had failed when Alan asked her with a smile, "So do we still have a great room, or is the place trashed?"
June recalled to Alan what she had found when she went to check on the boys. She told him about how natural Brian and Aaron looked together and how happy it made her feel to see them together.
"So they left the door open? I guess that explains why they seemed to be extra loud this morning."
June laughed as she recalled hearing Aaron's moans. "You'd better not tell them we can hear them, either, Alan. It would embarrass them to no end."
"I won't tell them. I was once sixteen myself, you know."
"Oh, don't I know it. Do you think our parents heard us that time?"
"God, I hope not," Alan replied.
"Honey, I don't doubt your love in the least, but do you ever wish you'd lived the life Brian has now?"
"Like I told the boys, I have absolutely no regrets. Back then I thought homosexuality was evil and the feelings I had were evil. If I had acted on my feelings, my parents would have killed me, and I don't mean figuratively. I got lucky . . . I found a remarkable girl who managed to make me feel loved and who managed to arouse me, even as I found myself attracted more to boys. I think it all worked out fine in the end."
"I do, too. If you couldn't be gay back then and had to be straight, I'm glad I was able to provide you with the love you deserved. I got lucky, too. You have been nothing but a wonderful husband and father. I'm just glad that Brian doesn't have to suffer the way you did. I only wish he could have avoided all the pain he's experienced in the past couple of years."
"I'd give anything for Brian to be able to walk again, but if the price of that were to take anything away from what he has now, it wouldn't be worth it."
"Yes, I know, but I wish he hadn't had to suffer so much as he did."
"If it weren't for that suffering, neither Brian, nor Aaron, would be the wonderful young men they are today."
"Well, if Brian had never met Aaron in the first place, the accident would have never happened, but Brian would have still been gay. Who knows how long it would have taken for him to accept himself had it not been for Aaron's influence. Without that, our boy would have been lost.
"Had he met Aaron, but had they not gone to the GSA dance, they would have never met their good friends. He and Aaron would have probably stayed in the closet, perhaps indefinitely, sneaking around behind our backs and very likely getting into mischief.
"Had they gone to GSA dance and been found out by us, but had Jackie's father not had his 'heart attack', our boys would have probably gotten away with their deception. Emboldened by this, they would have likely continued to deceive us, heaping lie upon lie to carry it off. With each lie, a small part of their honesty would have slipped away, making lying easier and easier until it became effortless. As lying became easy, other types of dishonesty would have probably followed. Our boys wouldn't have been the same.
"Had the accident occurred, but if the timing had been different, the drunk driver might have hit the side of Aaron's car squarely, probably sparing Brian, but leaving Aaron with a severe brain injury, or killing him outright. I shudder at the thought of what that would have done to Brian. We would have known he was gay, and so he'd have lost our support and Aaron's at the same time. He might well have ended up committing suicide.
"Had the accident occurred as it did, but had Ruth not spoken to you or had you not been astute enough to figure out that the problem was my sexuality, we would have probably taken Brian to Atlanta for his rehab and perhaps even moved away from here. Again, Brian would have lost us and lost Aaron.
"Had everything happened as it did, but had Brian not developed the syrinx, he might never have come to terms with his disability. His depression would have festered, slowly eroding him from the inside until he ultimately couldn't live with it any more. Again, he might well have attempted suicide, and perhaps succeeded.
"And if Brian hadn't attempted suicide, neither he nor Aaron would have realized just how much they loved each other and needed each other.
"So in the end, Brian and Aaron are very much who they are because of the events of the last two years," Alan concluded.
"You know, I would have never thought of it that way, but I think you're right. I know they're young, but I sure hope they make it."
"You're right, Alan, we did at that . . . and something tells me that our boys are going to make it, too."
Thanks for reading this, my first attempt at gay fiction. I hope you liked the story and that it touched your life as much as it has mine. I wrote this at an interesting time in my life, as I have recently come to terms with my own sexuality now that I'm well into middle age. There's a bit of me in many of the characters in this tale, from Aaron's early shy and confused nature to Dr. Stevens' approach to helping kids with spinal cord injury. My own story most closely resembles Alan Sandler's, with one important exception. I'm not a very religious person, and I grew up not with the belief that homosexuality was a sin, but that it was a psychiatric disorder. No one wants to believe they're sick, so I just assumed that I didn't have to be gay if I didn't want to be - that I could "cure" it on my own. I knew I had strong feelings for boys and in retrospect, these began when I was ten, if not sooner. The closest I ever came to a sexual experience was when I was twelve and coerced my best friend, who was eleven, to get naked with me and touch each other. To this day I have never had another homosexual experience.
If I had it to do over again, would I change things? Well, it's hard to say. I think one of the reasons I like to read stories about sexual encounters between boys is that it allows me to vicariously live the life I wish I'd had. The grim reality is that if I had listened to what my dick was trying to tell me, I might well have died of AIDS. In any case, what might have been is irrelevant - I can't go back and relive my life and I couldn't be happier with the one I live now.
I love my wife deeply and we do have a satisfying relationship. The one thing we both know is that we couldn't stand the thought of losing each other. It's hard to say how the knowledge of my sexuality will affect our long-term relationship, but our love is strong and my wife couldn't be more supportive.
So what was the impetus for writing Love in a Chair? Well, I've read a lot of gay fiction on the Internet and have been impressed by the quality and depth of the writing from several outstanding authors. Sadly, only a few stories have dealt with people with disabilities, some of them very superficially, often portraying them as helpless, even to the point of them not being able to propel their own wheelchairs. This angers me greatly, as I've dedicated my life to helping people with disabilities. I decided that the best way to counter the misinformation out there was to write my own story to set the record straight. Even men with complete spinal cord injuries such as Brian's can have satisfying sexual experiences - not always as normal as what I portrayed here, but satisfying nonetheless. They can even father children, with a little help from modern medical technology.
Now there are a couple of good stories out there that I am aware of that deal with gay teens with disabilities. Neither of them deals with a disability that impairs sexual function as in Brian's case, but they are still very good stories and I can highly recommend them. The first is Tim by Cole Parker - although the central theme has more to do with the abuses of Christian fundamentalism and with a pedophile minister, the main character's boyfriend has brittle bone disease and is largely wheelchair-bound. The second story is Just Hit Send by the renowned net author Grasshopper. It deals with the love between two fifteen-year-old boys, one of whom was severely injured when struck by a car when he was very young, and is also mostly wheelchair-bound. The story chronicles their trials and tribulations over the course of the next decade of their lives, including a period of prolonged separation because the one with a disability feels inadequate and flees. Both of these stories are must-reads.
Some may undoubtedly wonder why I wrote Love in a Chair primarily from Aaron's point of view, rather than Brian's. One of the reasons is that, although I've worked with paraplegics most of my adult life, I am not myself a paraplegic. No matter how intimately knowledgeable I may be on the subject, I cannot possibly know what it feels like to be in Brian's shoes. Perhaps more importantly, a story written from Brian's perspective in its entirety would have been incredibly intense. Consider Chapter Twelve, which was told from Brian's viewpoint when he was in intensive care, multiply that by twenty times and one can see how the story might have been overwhelming.
What will happen with Aaron and Brian? Well, I'd like to think they'll eventually become lifelong partners, but that is well into the future and only time will tell. If there is an interest, I will do a sequel with the two boys in college and helping a young gay man with a spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy to deal with his own demons as he searches for love. It was difficult enough for Brian and Aaron, but imagine trying to find a partner while already in a wheelchair, being gay and not able to have "normal" sex. If I write the sequel, it will be at least a couple years in the future and will have the title, I Can't Walk, but I Can Fly. In the meantime, I plan to spin off Jeff's story, starting back when he was in fifth grade and first started crushing on Darren, but mostly covering the period after they come out to each other. Of course Aaron and Brian will have a definite role. It will also have a strong focus on sex in a person with a disability, in this case an amputation, and it will be titled, Out on a Limb. If you're interested in reading this, let me know, but I'll probably give it a rest for several months before I get started.
Thanks for reading Love in a Chair. Again 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. There are a number of other people I would like to thank for their feedback on the story, not the least of which are C James, Rigel and Bondwriter, as well as all the folks at GayAuthors.org, where my story is hosted in the eFiction section. There is also a discussion thread for Love in a Chair at Gay Authors as well.
I would like to especially thank Dyllan and Brad, two fifteen-year-old boys who know from personal experience about life in a chair. They may not have been the inspiration for writing Love in a Chair, but their response to my story has made my writing well worthwhile in and of itself. Dyllan, or Dylls as he likes to be called, was injured in a car 'smash', as he calls it, at about the same age as Brian in my story. He wrote to tell me that my story has made it possible for him to talk about what he is feeling. Brad has been his support and his love, and I wish them both the best and hope that they, too, make it in the end.
I hope that I have been true to my word and that you learned something from this story, and will never look at sex quite the same way again.