Just Hit 'Send' - The College Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 8

Jordan slept with Danny's old faded blue sweatshirt, Danny's scent almost gone but the feel, the softness felt good under his cheek. Some nights, he locked the door and jerked off slow and easy, looking at Danny's pictures. Other times, he was angry and nearly hurt himself trying to get past the pain. But some nights, like tonight, he just missed him; couldn't gather up the energy to do more than hold the sweatshirt and lay staring at the ceiling. He knew he needed to tell Danny about Markie, so he reached for the phone.

"Hey Dan." It was funny how distance made him awkward; how fast he got insecure with the one person who knew him so well.

"Hi Jordy," Danny's soft voice flew across the miles. "Everything going good?"

"Yeah. You?"

"My workouts are getting better. The professor says I'm making progress. When classes start, I'll do all my therapy early in the morning and after dinner."

"Don't max out, Dan. I worry about you doing too much, trying too hard."

"Don't worry about me. I'm fine." Danny always tried to steer the conversation away from his therapy. It was hell and going really slow because of all the years he'd wasted. "How're classes?"

"Same ole......same ole. Only have 12 months to go till I'm done."

"You gonna work this summer, Jordy?"

"Yeah, I've got my job at the labs and I'm gonna work at The Outback waiting tables."

Danny was confused. "Why Jordy? Why two jobs? You aren't gonna take classes too, are you?"

"Yeah, a couple. I'm gonna try to have a light class load the last semester. I have to intern at the high school and other stuff is gonna be happening."

"What other stuff?"

Jordan sighed. This just got more and more complicated. "Danny?'

"What Jordy? What?" Danny could hear the tone Jordy took when he was gonna lay something big on him.

"Marks is pregnant."

"WHAT?" Just for a split second, Danny panicked. "JORDAN??"

Confused by the sound in Danny's voice, Jordan started to say, 'what?' and then it struck him.............Good God!! "Daniel Alan Trainor!!!!! My GOD!! You are so gonna get it."

"I thought you meant..........," Danny gasped.

"Danny? Baby?" Jordan sighed the word. "That would SO never happen."

"I just..........."

"What? You're gone for 2 months and I turn straight?"

"I just thought maybe......."

"Dan! There's a blue tattoo on my butt that I take VERY seriously."

"Jordy," Jordan heard his baby giggle.

"Yeah, it says I'm the very personal property of one Daniel Alan Trainor. That's you."

"Yep, that's me. Jordy? Are you by yourself?"

"Nope. I've got the entire FSU football team in here and I've been a very busy boy..........of course I'm by myself, you nut."

"I thought maybe Markie........,"

"Dan! She's having a baby. It's not mine. I'm gonna help her; not sleep with her, doofus."

"What happened?"

"Well, I'd venture a guess that she got nekkid with that jerk and he.........."

"JORDY!!!"

"Okay, okay. She says it's Jeffrey Holden's and she isn't gonna tell him and she doesn't like him at all and she's totally ballistic about the whole thing."

"Her parents?"

"I'm takin' her there next weekend. She says it won't help but she's gotta try. She needs the support and she needs money to have the baby. She won't go unless I take her."

"I wish I was there, you know, to help."

"Then come home."

Danny sighed. "I will when I can."

Jordan thought about what Easy had said, about letting Danny go so he could come home. "I know baby.....and I'll be right here when you do."

"Jordy?"

"Uh huh?"

"Put the phone on the pillow by your ear."

"Why?"

"You're gonna need both hands."

"Oh God.................................."


"This is SO not gonna help," Markie whined from her huddled corner of the front seat. "You don't know my mom. All my life she's yelled at me about this very thing and now I've gone and proved her right."

"Well, we're gonna try. If they turn their backs then we'll just figure out another way." Jordan was really nervous about this. He just hoped Markie exaggerated about her parents but he knew how his own dad was and knew just how stonewalled he could be.

The drive to Pensacola over, they pulled into the driveway of a slightly rundown house on a nondescript street. "Here we are," Markie sighed.

Opening the screen door, she called, "Mom? You home?"

A tired thin woman came from the back of the house, her apron on and a dish towel slung over her shoulder. "Markie? What are you doing here? Who's this?" she looked at Jordan.

"Mom, this is Jordan Lawrence. He's a friend from school."

"What are you doing home?" her mom repeated.

"I need to talk to you.....and Dad."

"What's wrong," her mom's eyes narrowed. "You in some kind of trouble?"

"Maurice........come out here. Markie's here with some kid from school and she's in trouble."

Mr. Latham walked into the room and squinted at the two young people. "Markie," he said, nodding to Jordan, "What kind of trouble?"

Jordan reached over and took Markie's hand. He could feel her shivering.

She took a deep breath. "Mom. Dad...........I'm............"

"Oh Sweet Jesus...........she's pregnant. Markie Latham.............is that true?"

Markie stared at the floor, feeling her parents staring at her, waiting for her answer. "Yes," she answered softly, her voice full of tears.

"Oh God.........I told you..........didn't I always tell you? That's all boys want. I told you. You go to that school and slut around and then walk in that door.

Wel, you can just walk back out. No child of mine can whore around and expect me to love her."

"And you," Mr. Latham started toward Jordan, "Tomcattin' around my little girl. I'm amazed you'd show your face here in this house after fuckin' this innocent girl."

"No! No! Daddy, No! It's not Jordan's."

"Mr. Latham, I'm Markie's friend. I'm just trying to help." Jordan wasn't used to this. His parents got angry but this was different.

"Go call Reverend Smiddle, Maurice. We have to pray. Markie. Go to your room."

"You just told me to go," Markie said, tears streaming down.

"We'll send you to Aunt Doreen's and she'll help you get rid of it."

Jordan felt like he'd walked through the wrong door into parent hell. "Markie, let's go," he whispered. "Mr. Latham. Mrs. Latham. It's been a real slice of life," he said carefully, tugging Markie toward the door.

"You go out that door, girl, and there's no coming back."


"I told you," Markie sobbed. "I told you, Jordan."

"Lord, I'm sorry. I really didn't know that would happen. We'll be okay. You'll see. I promised I'd help you and I will. Come over here, sweetie," he smiled and held his arm out as Markie flopped across the seat and curled into his chest to cry all the way back to Tallahassee.


"Okay..............the rent is covered cause My mama and Danny's parents are still paying it. You don't have to worry about that. I've got my lab job and the Outback for food and electricity and stuff."

"I can keep working at the drugstore and I'll tell Mr. Neuhoffer when I get um....bigger and he'll give me vitamins and stuff," Markie said, trying to be brave.

"Jordan?"

"Hmm?"

"Why are you doing this?"

Jordan looked at her green eyes, so much like his, at the questions in those eyes. "You're my friend, Marks. You stuck through lots of bad times and some really great ones too. I guess I could leave you to sink or swim cause it's not my responsibility, not my baby but, you know.............I'm not gonna. Loving Danny's taught me a lot. He's giving up what he loves to try to make things better. I'm just waiting for him to figure out that we had the best there was." His voice broke, but he kept on, "I couldn't walk away from you when you need me. I'm your friend. It counts for something."

"I wish..............."

"Marks, don't go there."

"I know."


Danny and Easy began that summer semester, Danny balancing classes with therapy. He loved the swimming pool sessions the best cause it reminded him of Jordan and the beach and the surf.

"You talk to the Man last night?" Easy asked as he held Danny under the arms and coached him to move those feet.

"Yes," Danny blushed and just the thought of what they had said and done, made him hard.

"Yo! Too much imfo, Lil Dude," Easy laughed. "How's our Princess doin?"

Easy had had talks with Markie late in the night, asking how Jordan was holding up and Markie asking after Danny.

"She's doin okay. I'm worried about Jordy though. He's working really hard and taking classes. He always sounds tired."

Easy asked, "Why's he doin this? It's way beyond 'friend duty'."

""Did Jordy ever tell you about his little brother?"

"Nah, but Griff did. Tough deal for a little kid."

"He's never gotten past it, Eas. Where you or I would let something go past, he HAS to make it right. I talked to him last night. He knows it's not his responsibility but Adam was and until he can catch Adam before he falls, Jordan isn't gonna be able to really smile."

"But," Easy said sadly, "He'll never catch Adam."

"No, but he CAN catch Markie.....just like he caught me.....and you."

"Do you guess he realizes at all how much we all love him, Dan?"

"No. he wouldn't be Jordan if he did."


Senior year................supposedly the last rung on the ladder before LIFE !! Jordan and Markie hardly noticed it when it started. Life to them was a blur of books, jobs, bills and barfing.

Jordan began internship at George Washington Carver High School in Tallahassee and found that he loved teaching. His teacher that he interned under was a bored old guy and just wanted someone to take over so he could sit in the teacher's lounge, so Jordan was just handed class lists and told to 'go for it'. Taking a deep breath, he jumped in the deep end and found that he didn't drown. He made English fun and the Literature cool by using modern authors instead of making the kids read Hamlet.

One morning, in early October, he looked at Markie, really looked at her and realized that she looked just beautiful, all glowy and chubby faced. "You're looking good, Marks."

"I feel good, Jordan. Remember what we talked about?"

"Yeah, do we gotta?"

"Yes. You promised."

"Wait till I tell Dan."


"Dan..........you are SO not gonna believe what I've gotta do."

"Jordy, at this precise time, I'd believe anything!! What now, my precious Jordan?"

"Mmmm, I liked that."

"Thought you would."

"What was I saying?"

"Something you've gotta do."

"Oh yeah. I've gotta go to the Y with Marks and do those LaMaze things."

"OMG!! Get a picture."

"Shut up."

"That's that puff puff........breathe stuff, right?"

"Yeah."

"Well, you'll be real good at the puff puff part. I've heard you puffpuff pant pant in my ear enough to know."

"DAN!!" Jordan smiled, devilishly. "You alone?"

"No, Easy's here studying."

"So, if I unzip your pants and slide my hand in there reeeally slow and start to..........."

"Cheater."

"Okay....but you quit with the puffpuff jokes."

"K, my sweet one," Danny grinned as he made some more soft little panting sounds into the phone.

"Guys!! I do NOT want to even guess what you're doin," Easy complained.


Christmas was right around the corner. December 20th was Markie's due date and she was poked out so far in front that Jordan just knew she was gonna give birth to a front end loader, even though they'd been to the clinic to have a sonogram and knew the baby was a boy.

The people at the clinic assumed that Jordan was the daddy and he just never told them any different. It made things a lot easier. The fact that everyone in their lives, except Danny and Easy, assumed the same thing didn't phase him. As long as Dan understood.

"You're going to have a beautiful baby," the nurse smiled. "All that blonde hair and those green eyes. Have a name picked out?"

They had discussed it and Jordan had told her that it was totally her decision, just no Jordan please. Markie just smiled and knew what her little boy's name was.


"Remember last Christmas, Dan?"

"How could forget?"

"Do you.............?"

"I told you I'd never take it off. I never will, Jordy."

"I love you."

"Me 2 U, always."

"Wanna open now?"

"Yes, please."

They had mailed their gifts to each other and sat on their beds, one in California, one in Florida, both wishing they were together, both knowing it was just a matter of time. Danny wanting with all his heart to be able to walk toward Jordan; Jordan not giving a damn but both knowing how much it meant to Dan.

Danny unwrapped his package. He found a journal, well used and filled with words. "I didn't have much money this year, baby," Jordan sighed. "I'm sorry."

Danny leafed through the pages and saw that Jordan had written him a love letter every night since the day he left for home after the hospital. "Oh, Jordy," he cried. "This is wonderful."

"Really?"

"I love you so much right now.............so much."

Jordan opened his gift. He found a lovely small painting of a clapboard house, the sand and beach in the background, and in the distance two men walking along the shore with a big black dog twisting around their legs. The men had their arms around each other and anyone could tell they were in love. Jordan's eyes overflowed. "Our house," he whispered.

"Our house."


December 20th came and went. Markie was so big, so miserable. Jordan rubbed her back and made her stay on the sofa with her feet up.

"Come on, little baby, get born. Come on out here."

"Marks, if I was him, I'd stay in there as long as possible."

"True," she sighed.


At 2:00 AM on December 25th, Markie yelled, "Jordan, get up. NOW!!!"

"Huh?" he rubbed his eyes and then jerked awake. "Now???"

"Now!!"

They made it to the hospital in record time and as Markie growled and cursed, Jordan had his cell phone on and Danny laughed all the way through.

"We've had a baby, Dan. He looks like a squished prune."

Danny giggled. "Get pictures, bunches of pictures."

Jordan put the phone up to the tiny baby's ear. "Say hey to your other daddy, little guy. Dan, say hi to Joshua Daniel Lawrence."

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