Just Hit 'Send' - The College Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 7

Jordan twisted the silver ring on his finger, knowing that on the inside, the word "always" touched his skin.

"Dan?"

"Yes, Jordy."

"Do you still have on my.....our ring?" his voice a little shaky.

"Jordy. Don't ever ask that. I'll never take it off."

"But Danny.........," he started and then couldn't go on. He was so confused.

"Nothing's changed, Jordy," Danny whispered, his cell phone clutched so tight his knuckles whitened.

"Everything's changed, Dan. You're gone. I can't feel you anymore. You're just not there. I used to could tell when you were anywhere near me but now I don't even know where you are. Don't do this.......please don't do this," his voice broke into sobs.

Danny closed his eyes and breathed in and out, in and out. He had to do this. If he never did another thing in his life, he had to do this.

"Jordy, you know why I'm doing this. I need you to really think about who we are, what we both need. I'm giving you time.........space, sweetheart."

"Don't sweetheart me. I don't need any fucking space, Dan. I just need YOU!"

Danny heard a loud crash and knew that Jordan's phone had hit the wall. His eyes filled with hot tears. There! It was said. Jordan understood.

"You sure you know what yer doin', Dano?" Easy asked as he leaned against the doorjam. "Sounds like ya just slammed head on into your best friend."

Danny didn't answer, just rolled over and cried into the pillow.

Easy had been there for over a week and all Danny did was lay in his bed and try not to talk to Jordan. He wasn't trying to exercise or get better. Something had to change. Easy owed Jordan. He was about to pay him back.

"Dan," he said as he sat down on the edge of the bed. "Hey, Dude. This isn't getting' anything done. You wanna cut Jordy loose. Is that the idea?"

"Yesss," Danny's voice was soft and full of hurt.

"Tell Easy zactly why." He rubbed his hand gently on Danny's back.

Danny rolled over. "He needs to find someone better than me."

"You forcin' him to go shopping? What if he's fine with what he's got?"

"He's not."

"And you can answer for my man Jordan because..................?"

"Sometimes you've gotta help someone decide."

Easy stared at Danny, sighed and shook his head. "You're so full a shit, Dan.

You can't make him unlove you."

Danny curled up in a little ball, hugging his pillow. "I don't want him to unlove me, Eas. I don't know what I want."

"Tell me about that silver ring, Lil Dude." He reached over and touched the silver band.

"I gave him his and he gave me mine. They are," he sniffled, "our "Always' rings."

"And what does always mean to you?" Big friendly hazel eyes stared into wide wet blue.

"It means what I wanted with Jordy."

"And he told you he felt different?"

"Noooo."

Easy rolled his eyes. He knew he had to take it real 'easy'.

"What do you think Jordy needs? Truth, now, Dannyboy."

Danny reached over and picked up the double framed photos he had by his bed. "Look at us." The picture on the left had been taken in the apartment, Jordan sitting on the floor leaning back against the sofa, Danny between his legs cuddled to his chest. They were laughing, mouths wide, eyes dancing, Jordan's arms around Danny, holding him tight.

"This one I like," Easy grinned.

"But now the other one."

Easy's eyes swept the other photo. He saw the two boys on the boardwalk by the ocean, tanned and mugging for the camera.

"You look good."

"Look closer. Tell me what you see."

Easy knew. He just didn't want to say it. "You and your fella. I see you and Jordy."

Danny sighed. "You see me in my wheelchair. You see Jordy standing behind me with his hands on the handles. That's the way it always is. The first picture is the way it should always be; the second is how it really is."

"Dan, he doesn't care."

"But," he said sadly, "I do."


Jordan was trying, he really was. He stared at his textbooks, he turned in his work, he slept a little, ate a little. Markie tried to keep his spirits up, tried to keep him fed.

"I'm not hungry, Marks," he sighed, pushing away the sandwich plate.

"Jordan!" She leaned over his shoulders to peer at the computer screen, ruffling his hair. "You have to eat."

"Why?"

"Don't be dumb." She picked up half of the turkey sandwich and offered it to him. "Just half, K?"

Jordan took the food and crammed it in his mouth, chewing and swallowing quickly. "There, now leave me alone."

Markie stood for a second, hurt by his tone and then turned to walk away.

"I'm sorry, Marks," he sighed, reaching out for her hand.

"I know. It's okay," she whispered.


"Dan?"

"Hi, Jordy."

"You doin' okay?"

"Yeah. Easy's making me exercise. He's tough."

"I could...."

"No, you couldn't. We've been through this."

Danny could hear the frustration in Jordan's voice. He could feel it through the very air that carried their voices from Tallahassee to Daytona.

"I get the cast off my leg next week. Yay Me!!"

"I never got to sign it," Jordan joked miserably. "Why are you doing this, Dan? What do you expect me to do in this huge space you've put me in?"

Danny knew he had to say something to stop this. "Jordan?"

Jordan's eyes widened. "Jordan?" he repeated. "You never call me that."

"Don't get upset. Just listen, please."

"I don't wanna hear this, do I?"

"No."

"Then don't tell me."

"I'm leaving."

Jordan felt the air leave his lungs. "Leaving what? Me? You already did that."

"No, I'm leaving here."

"Your house?" Jordan was totally confused.

"I'm leaving Florida. My aunt and uncle live in San Diego and Dad talked to them. They have room for me and for Easy. We've talked it over and I think it's the best thing to do."

"California is the best thing to do? What the fuck are you talking about?"

"The doctors say that I might be able to do better than I do now, in the chair. The physical therapy program at UCSD is the best in the country and I can get my degree and get the therapy at the same time."

"This is just to get as far away from me as possible."

Danny thought about lying. He never lied to Jordy. "Yes."

"Dan." Danny could hear him crying as the tears rolled down his face.

"Let me go, Jordy. I can't do it if you cry."

"This doesn't mean.......doesn't mean you don't love me?" he whispered through the tears.

"No, Jordy. It means I love you too much."


Easy waited till Danny was asleep and punched #1 on the cell phone.

"Hey Sk8r Boi."

"Hey Eas."

"You sleep?"

"No."

"I wanted to tell ya the truth of this mess. Your Lil Dude is gonna do this thing. I'm gonna go with and I'll watch him for ya. I always wanted ta sk8 the beaches in Californication."

Jordan smiled a half smile at Easy's words. "How can he do this?"

"Jordan, think clear, my man. Do ya think he cares whether he's in Daytona or San Diego or Paris, France if he's not with you? He's decided he isn't good enough........he's like a stone wall."

"So, there's nothing I can do?"

"Yeah, there is. Don't give up on him. I gotta tell ya. This is some way of saying 'I love you' that I never saw before, but the Lil Dude has gotta do it. I'll be with him. Ya gotta let him go. And, Jord........ ya gotta let him go knowin' ya understand."

"But I don't."

"Yeah, Jord. Ya do."

"But what if he doesn't come back?"

"He will if he knows he can."

"God, of course he can."

"Then tell him that. Let him go so he can come back. It's up to him now."


Jordan had been quiet for so long that Markie was getting worried. Tapping on his bedroom door, she said softly, "Jordan? You okay?"

"Yeah, Marks. Come on in. I'm just sittin' here thinking."

Markie opened the door. Scattered all over the bed were pictures of Jordan and Danny and many of just Danny alone. Jordan was sitting cross legged in the middle of the bed, looking like a lost puppy.

"Can I do anything?"

"Nah, Marks. I gotta do this myself."

He patted the bed and Markie gathered the pictures up and sat down near Jordan. He picked up the phone and punched #1. Closing his eyes, he let out a long breath.

"Hi Dan."

"Jordy." Jordan could hear the catch in Danny's voice.

"I love you."

"Oh, Jordy. I love you too."

"Dan...."

"Yes?"

"I understand and I'll be here for you, baby." His eyes were squeezed shut and his breath was coming in spurts. Markie moved closer and took his other hand.

"Oh Jordy."

"We never lie, Dan. I don't want you to do this but I stand by your decision. You do what you need to do and you come home.......please?"

"I will. I promise."

"I'll give you all the space you need, Daniel Trainor, but when the time is up, you come home."

Danny clicked his phone off and never saw the tears that flooded down Jordan's face or heard the racking sobs as Markie held him on that bed covered with pictures of a love he thought he had lost.


Danny and Easy flew out on the 10:00 straight flight to San Diego to enroll in The University of California in San Diego. Danny sat unseeing staring out the window of the plane.

"Dang! I'm gonna be way behind ya, my man," Easy said, trying not to show his excitement. He'd never thought he'd be able to go to college and when Danny's uncle offered to pay his first semester tuition until they could start a student loan, he was in heaven.

"I'll help you catch up," Danny smiled. "I'm so glad you're with me."

"Hey, I gotta watch put for my Sk8rBoi's main squeeze." He reached over and wiped the tiny tear that threatened to drop from Danny's eye.

"No more of this, Lil Guy. Let's get this show on the road."

Danny had to smile. They'd all changed so much from the boys who climbed under that bridge that morning. Easy had sprung up, his body long, lean and well muscled, his curly brown hair worn in soft waves that fell over into his bright hazel eyes. Gone was the scared little boy who came home with them that day. Danny saw a confident good looking mocha skinned young man; one always ready to help his friends and devoted to them all.

"Thanks for coming with me, Eas."

"No thanks needed, my man. Let's get you on those roller blades."


The coldest of the winter weather drifted away in the Florida panhandle and the trees began to bud out again. Jordan and Danny talked on the phone as much as they could afford to. Easy said Danny was doing okay, his aunt and uncle were great and things were looking good. They'd start classes with the start of the summer term but Danny had already started therapy.

"God, this hurts."

"You wanna get outta that chair before you're 97?"

"Shut the fuck up!!"

"What a nice mouth you have. C'mon, just 10 more."

Easy knew the exercises hurt like hell. Danny's face would get gray with the pain of trying to use those long unused muscles. Easy couldn't quite hear and didn't ask, but he knew what Danny muttered under his breath. "Jordy."


April came and went. Jordan had accepted that he was alone. He had Markie and Jerry but he was alone. He got quieter and spent a lot of time in "their" room with the door shut.

Hungry, he went in search of food, grabbing some leftover pizza from the fridge. Heading back, he heard soft noises coming from the bathroom. "You okay, Marks?"

"Yeah," her voice kinda trembled out.

"You need me?"

Silence, then, "Yeah, I do."

Opening the door, Jordan found Markie huddled on the floor, the smell letting him know she had just barfed.

"Oh, Marks. Why didn't you call me?" he got a cloth, wet it and wiped her face. "Did ya eat something bad?"

"No."

"Maybe a stomach flu or something?"

Markie began to cry softly, "No."

"What can I get for you?"

"Just sit with me." Jordan perched on the edge of the tub, rubbing the back of her neck. He could feel tremors running through her body. Neither said a word as she relaxed against his leg. Jordan glanced up on the counter and saw the edge of a little box. He could read the words ".....ancy Test". OMG!!

"Marks?" he said gently, "Marks.............talk to me."

"I'm pregnant, Jordan," she got out right ahead of a flood of tears.

"Oh, Markie." He slid down onto the floor and gathered her up in his arms.

"Are you sure?"

"I've done it 3 times. It keeps coming up blue. Blue means b..b....baby."

Jordan let her cry then he said, "Shhhhh, this can't be good for you or the..............baby. Shhhh, sweetie."

"I already knew I was. I've missed the plague and I've been barfing my guts up for days. I just had to confirm it, I guess."

"Markie," he asked quietly, "Is it Jeffrey Holden?"

"Yes. He's the only boy I've been with."

"Have you told him?"

"No."

"Are you going to?"

"No."

"Why not, Marks. He needs to know."

"No. I don't even like him very much. He doesn't need to know."

"But, Markie. I'd want to know. Maybe you're not giving him enough credit."

"Jordan, most guys aren't like you. He's already moved on once he got what he wanted."

"Don't you care?"

"No."

Jordan stood up and held out his hand. "Let's get you on the sofa. We need to talk." Markie took his hand and he led her to the sofa. They sat down side by side, his arms around her.

"I'll help you, Marks. You know that."

"I know, Jordan."

"Can you go home?"

"NO!!"

"Surely your parents......................"

"NO!!"

"What will you do then?"

She started to sob again. "Shhhhhhhh, sweetie. That won't help."

"I'll get an.........ab......ab.......abor.........," she started.

"Markie Latham."

"I don't know what else to do. I'm not ready to be anyone's mother."

"Well, sweetheart, you are. Ready or not, you're a mom." Markie began to cry and Jordan just let her this time. "Get it all out, Marks. Then there's not gonna be anymore crying. I'll help you. Somehow, we'll make it through the rest of the year. You'll see. It's you and me, Marks. I won't let you down. I promise."

"Danny always said you keep your promises," she sighed.

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