Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chapter Eighteen

Well... I'd like to say I'm back to posting every other day, but unless a miracle happens, the next Chapter will be posted on Friday... until then, I will most likely leave you hanging... I apologize now!!

The stars are dancin' on the water here tonight
It's gonna fall a soul when there's not a soul in sight
This boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life now I'm alive and well

I'm Alive - Kenny Chesney/Dave Matthews

“Fletch!! You are almost there!” Dean yelled as he jumped up and down.  I had walked half the length of the parallel bars and I was taking the last few steps to the end where he was waiting to catch me so that we could celebrate together.

It felt like I had practically sold my soul to the devil to get to this point, but finally all the hard work was paying off.

“I can’t believe this!” I whispered loudly.

“Look over here and smile!” Terry called out.  When I looked over I found him using his flip camera to film me.  He must have seen the confused look in my eyes because he immediately piped up, “I promised Sam I’d record you…”

“I’m going to kill him,” I grumbled through my teeth, unable to stop smiling because I was too happy at what I was doing.  It didn’t mean I wasn’t going to argue with Terry before he sent it to Sam.  Of course I wasn’t walking like a normal human being.  In fact, I was fairly sure I looked like a fawn that was just born and trying to figure out how their legs worked.  It was most likely a very awkward looking sight.

“If you are worrying about what you look like right now, then you definitely are a princess!” Dean chirped, just a foot away from me now as I neared the end.

I left go of the one bar and reached out to smack him.  My effort was taken as he scooped me up and swung me around the gym, hooting and hollering out congratulations.

It seemed like I wasn’t going to need to worry about getting my wheelchair to Edmonton after all.

“So when are we going to meet this woman of yours, Gags?” Gilbert asked as we sat with several other guys from the team at dinner.  Teddy had already announced to Gilby about my new status as soon as I stepped into the locker room on the first day of training camp.  Teddy was known for not keeping his mouth shut and Tom was considered the most sappy love-struck guy on the team.  He was more than amused to hear that I was involved with someone that had more than a nice set of tits and a hole to stick it in.  Not surprisingly, he had never been a huge fan of Eden.

“The day after the Canucks game…on Sunday her plane is arriving,” I said quietly, mainly because I refused to be all giddy about my girlfriend like Tom could be.  There was nothing wrong about being happy and in love with your girlfriend, but there was definitely something annoying when you constantly talked about her and all the sappy romantic stuff you do for her when you’re with the guys.  I always found it irritating when Tom did it, and I know I wasn’t the only one.

“You have to bring her to the party Hallsy and me are throwing,” Eberle piped up from across the table.

“Are you two old enough to throw a party?” someone chirped, causing the whole table to bust up in laughter as Taylor and Jordan glared.

Once I stopped laughing with the rest of the gang, I asked, “When is it?”

“Monday night, after the baseball game the team is attending,” Taylor spoke a little quieter than normal, still seeming annoyed at the joke on his and Ebs, expense.

“For sure.  Wouldn’t see that being a problem…” I said, not sounding as sure as I wanted to. Suddenly I found myself wondering what the guys’ reaction was going to be when they found out that Alex was handicapped.  After getting the video that Terry sent me the other day, I was sure she’d be walking, but it wouldn’t be without some sort of help.  I didn’t care what they thought, but I was more concerned for Alex’s sake.  I knew she was probably going to be more than a little self conscious, especially around all new people.  She wasn’t going to know anyone but me.  I guess my slight hesitation was noted and by none other than Gilbert.  He knew me all too well after rooming with him and Cogs for two years.

“So I’m thinking there is something you haven’t told the group about Alex…” Tom half inquired while we walked back to the arena where our cars were parked.  We were spaced far enough apart from the other guys, making it private enough to talk.

I sighed and shrugged.  “It’s not a huge deal…” I said slowly.

“If it wasn’t a huge deal, then you wouldn’t be so cautious about telling me,” Tom chuckled.

He was right.  But I was right too; it wasn’t a big deal, at least not to me anymore.  “Alex was in the Army and was shot in the back, causing enough damage to keep her from walking.”

“So she’s paralyzed?” Tom asked.

“Well, not really,” I said.  “See, we met while at the gym.  She’s been doing rehab there and actually, she’s now beginning to walk again,” I spoke, unable to hide a smile because I was still so proud of her.  I pulled out my phone and pulled up the video.  Terry sent this to me last week, she’s making huge progress.”

Tom laughed when he hear Alex make the comment about killing me.  “I like her already,” he winked.  After I put my phone back into my pocket, I looked over at him and watched him shrug.  “So what’s your worry?” he asked.

“I just don’t want the guys acting all weird around her…you know how they can get.  Hell, I know how I was the first time I met her.”

“I don’t think you give them enough credit.”  He paused and then asked, “So what how were you the first time you met her?”

I groaned and shook my head.  “A real ass.”

“I don’t know Denise…” I whined as I stood in the department store, staring at the dress she insisted I put on.  We were out shopping for my trip to Edmonton, which was a big deal for someone who was not the real big shopping type.

“The dress looks beautiful on you, Alex.  Sam is going to love it!”

I frowned.  It was a golden yellow, paisley patterned, cotton dress that could be dressed up or dressed down.  Denise thought it would be perfect for me to wear as I walked off the plane.  The color really did compliment my skin color, making me look even more sun-kissed than I already was, but I had never been the type to wear dresses for everyday attire.  “I’m fairly sure Sam would appreciate it if I would just show up naked…”

“Yeah, but that would be illegal and you have to look good for not only him, but all the new friends you are going to meet!” Denise squeaked.  “You promised to be open about this, Alex.”

I sighed and nodded.  “Yes, I did.  I just wish I didn’t have these stupid crutch things…”

Denise got in front of me and cupped my face with her hands, making sure I paid attention to her.  “Oh ye of low self esteem!  First all you did was complain about your wheelchair.  Now you are complaining about having to use the crutches to walk.  Did you hear the last two words of that sentence?!  TO WALK!  You are now walking, Alex!  Find some happiness in that.  You of all people should know these things take time.”

Tears sprung into my eyes as I really thought about her words.  “I guess I do sound selfish and ungrateful, eh?”


“But I’m so afraid of what these guys are going to think of me.  I’m afraid they are going to pick on Sam about me not being beautiful like all the other WAG’s and he’ll dump me,” I blubbered in the middle of the dressing room.

“Honey, you are beautiful and you are more na├»ve than I thought because I know for a fact that Sam is in love with you.  If the guys have an issue with a woman who served her country to her fullest, then they are lower than dirt and no attention should be paid to them anyway.”

I sucked in a breath and left out a manic laugh.  “Wow.”


“I sound like a pathetic child, don’t I?”

“Yeah, you do.”

I shook my head and looked back up at the mirror.  “I really need to see Sam.  This whole being far away from him is messing with my head.”

“That is obvious,” Denise, giggled and pulled me into a hug.

Later on the ride home, the trunk stuffed with practically a whole new wardrobe, Denise asked the next question that had been looming ever since the day Sam gave me the tickets to go back to my hometown.

“Have you talked to your mom and dad yet?”

I bit my lip and just shook my head.  “No.”

“I think you should.  I bet they would like to see you…”

“If they wanted to see me, then I’m sure they would have come to visit me.” 

My mom was the only one who would actually call me on a regular basis, which was only once a month.  When we did talk, the conversations were short and to the point.  How are you doing?  How is therapy?  When do you think you’ll be home?  She never seemed to get the fact that I didn’t want to come home.  I didn’t want to face my father because I already knew how he felt about my injuries.  He felt like I deserved this because it was my own choice to put myself in danger.  Funny how one decision can change a whole relationship.  I knew my mom cared, but I was fairly sure my father had filled her head with all kind of nonsense because she never really sounded like the same person I remembered from growing up.

“I think you should at least make an effort, Alex,” Denise said in a motherly tone.  “You still have your parents; you are lucky,” she grimaced.  Denise had lost both of her parents early in life.  Her father died when she was 18, from a heart attack, and her mother died from cancer a few years later.

I nodded and kept my mouth shut because I knew whatever I said was going to sound even more selfish than I sounded earlier in the day.

I was pacing back and forth nervously in the terminal, waiting for Alex’s plane to disembark.  Despite only getting to bed at 3am, I was wide awake at 7am, already wanting to leave for the airport.  Of course, her flight wasn’t getting in until 1pm.  I took a long, cold shower to calm my hormones, watched some Sports Centre and finally it was close enough to the time of her flight arrival that I wouldn’t be overly early. 

“Better watch it, you keep walking back and forth like that, they are going to make you replace their carpet in the terminal,” Alex chirped from behind me.

I spun around and found her standing with the help of forearm crutches, smiling at me.  Her hair was down, and her chocolate eyes were sparkling as she smiled at me.  It was strange to see her actually standing, but it was even stranger seeing her in a dress.  She looked like a country chick in brown cowboy boots and a paisley dress.  My brain turned to mush and immediately I felt the warm familiar churning in my stomach.  My dreams had not been doing me justice.  I couldn’t say anything and at first I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to move.  She began taking a few steps towards me and finally my body moved.  Within a few steps I had her scooped up into my arms.  “Alex,” I breathed into her hair before kissing it.

“You’re squishing me,” she whined as her crutches fell to the ground.  I swung her around and only loosened my hold on her by a little.

“You look beautiful,” I whispered before capturing her lips and kissing her hard.  I smiled when I felt her finally melt into me.  Her hands removed my backwards baseball hat and soon they were threading through my hair that was already growing longer.  Her mouth tasted like peppermint and our kiss deepened with every passing moment. We must have been kissing for a little longer than we realized because we soon heard someone clear their throat aside of us.

“Excuse me,” an older male voice spoke up.

I felt Alex’s body freeze and not move as I pulled back enough to turn my head and look over at the man.  A stern expression covered his face and for some reason he looked really familiar.

Still looking straight at me, Alex said, tight lipped, “Hello, father.”

Oh shit.


  1. well this should be good! I'm glad that Denise called her out for whining so much...Great Chapter and it will be good to have you back on a reagular basis...I miss you chica!

  2. At least I was ready for a cliffhanger! So exciting that she no longer needs her wheelchair. I love that after all her hard work and determination, she is seeing positive results!!

  3. I hope her Father doesn't try to come between Alex & Sam.
    I loved Sam's reaction to seeing her at the airport.

  4. Oh my god! How did he know she was there or was that a coincidence?!? I can't wait for Friday! :) The next chapter is goi g to be great! Im so glad she's walking. Even if it's only with crutches! It's so much improvement! :)

  5. Really... you end it there?!
    How can you do that to us??????
    This is just evil!
    And why did you not remind me that there was a chapter?!
    You're fallin' down on the job missy!!!

    Amazing chapter!
    She's walking!
    She's going to kill Sam for the video!
    And then her father!!!!

    I. Must. Know. More.