Just Hit 'Send' - The College Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 9

"Dan, a couple more weeks like this and you'll be back up on your braces."

Danny was so pleased to hear Terry say that. He'd been working overtime to get the strength back in his legs. It would have been impossible except for that soft voice that whispered 'I love you' inside his head. Danny had admitted to himself that if it weren't for Jordan, he'd have just sat back in his wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Terry had been a huge part of Danny's rehabilitation. Terry DeMarco was a therapy intern, working out his last year in grad school. His final assignment was to make a case study of one particular therapy patient and keep a journal of the entire workout process and make assessments of his patient's development, both physically and mentally. Danny was his case study.

"Terry?" Danny asked as the older man, as he lay on his stomach getting his end of the workout massage, "What made you go into therapy?"

Terry smiled. "I played ball in high school. I broke my leg before the last game of the season. I've never forgotten the disappointment, the anger, the frustration of not being able to walk. I don't want anyone else to suffer any more than they have to." His strong hands kneaded Danny's bunched up muscles.

"Yeah," Danny sighed, "Me either. I know I'll never be able to do everything you can do for patients, but I'm gonna try."

"Dan, you will maybe do even more. To see you, to know how hard you've worked to get going, will inspire people who would rather just give up. Don't put yourself down, Danny," Terry's voice softened, "You have a light inside that glows." He looked down at Danny's soft tossled curls, long eyelashes on closed lids that Terry knew covered those incredible crystal blue eyes. His hands hesitated for just a moment, then he sighed and continued to talk softly, encouragingly, all the while wanting to drown in those eyes.

"Marks....we need to talk." Jordan had been staring at the hospital bills for like ever, hoping they'd just explode in flames but they wouldn't disappear. "We're gonna need some help."

Markie was nursing the baby, the little slurpy sounds loud in the quiet room. "I know," she answered. "I never knew having a baby cost sooooo much."

"Well, yeah...$4 for a Tylenol. Shit, if I'd known that, I'd a brought you a bottle."

"And the psychologist coming in to see if I had any trauma, and the insurance people screeching cause we didn't have any. It was like a money circus......"

"And I think we turned out to be the clowns," Jordan said wearily. He stood up, stretched and walked over to sit carefully down by Markie.

"Hey Lil Punkin," he said softly as he reached out a finger to stroke Josh's downy little cheek. The baby was full and sliding into sleep but his tiny mouth was still puckered and Jordan couldn't resist offering him his thumb, smiling as Josh began to 'nurse' furiously.

"I love him so much, Marks. I wish he was mine."

"He is yours, Jordy. You loved him before he was born; you love him now. He is yours."

"But Danny....."

"Jordan, I think you can love as many people as you want, any way you want. If you were straight and you got married to a girl you loved with all your heart and then you had a child.........you wouldn't love that child??? There would be no room in your full heart for that child?"

"Of course I would, Marks. I just never thought I'd love anyone except Danny like this...and now there's Joshie and...............you." He frowned. "I mean........."

Markie sighed. "I know what you mean, sweet Jordan. You know I've been in love with you since the first time our green eyes met. You've always known it." She felt him tense up. "It's nothing new. I'm not a threat. The only reason I'm saying it out loud is because you need to know that it's okay to love people. To love them and care for them in whatever way you can. Josh and I feel your love in everything you do. But Jordy.........I KNOW how you feel about Danny. He completes you. Your life will never be quite right til he's back beside you."

Jordan heard her words, ached inside for Danny and pulled himself together.

"I'll be right here as long as you need me...you and Josh."

"I know Jordy." She looked at his face, the sad eyes and thought for the millionth time, 'Dan, you fool. He only wants to love you.'

Easy had made like a gazillion new buds. He was an extremely cute fun to like guy. He had made the beach boardwalks his second home and caught the waves, the sand and the sun every chance he got. Between classes, studying with Dan the Man and helping him with his exercises, Eas flirted with the girls and found California life amazing!

Stopping off at the therapy center to grab Dan and head for home, he walked toward the sauna/Jacuzzi room, stopping in the doorway and watched as Terry and Danny sat in the Jacuzzi, Terry against the wall with Danny seated between in legs, his back up against Terry's chest. He saw Terry reach under the water and lift Danny's leg, bending the knee, then pulling the leg out as straight as it would go. Over and over, he took one leg and then the other. Danny's eyes were closed, his face concentrating on the pain and then on the relief.

But, it wasn't Danny's face Easy watched. WTF? He thought to himself.

The drive only took 5 ½ hours but, to Jordan, it was a lifetime. Josh was a terrific baby. He never cried unless he was hungry or yucky. Jordan swore he was already talking even though all they heard were gurgles and burps.

He was tucked in his used car seat in the back of the Cherokee and sleeping like......well, like a baby.

"Are you sure, Jordy? We can turn right around."

"No, that's the thing, Marks. We can't. This is the only way right now and I'm not gonna let my pride get in the way of Josh."

"What are you gonna tell them?"

"Whatever truth they need to hear."

"And what will that truth be, Jordan?" Markie knew without a doubt that Jordan would never say anything to embarrass her or make her feel ashamed.

Jordan frowned. "I don't know yet. I truly don't. My Mama would accept anything I tell her but my dad.........I don't know yet. I don't like lying, you know that Marks......but I will."

"Jordan, don't do anything that hurts you."

Jordan saw a sign for a 'rest area' and pulled off, settling the car in the shade. Popping his seatbelt, he turned, stretched his arm across the back of the seat and said, "I've thought about this a lot, Marks. A LOT! I would marry you. I feel like I should to make it all easier. Everyone thinks we are anyway. My daddy, everyone would accept it better, us being together......."

"But..." she smiled.

"But...if I marry you, legally, on paper, and say the words that I only want to say to Dan....that I've said to Dan........then you would be first and Danny would be second in my life. He will never be second. I want him in the center of my life. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, Jordy. I've always known that. To me, it's just a piece of paper but to you it's so much more. You do what you need to do. I'm just sorry we have to ask for help. I'm sorry I had to involve you in this mess." Her voice broke with tears and Jordy touched her cheek just as he touched Josh's, with love.

"Hmmm," he laughed. Wrinkling his nose, "I think the "mess" in the back seat wants his mommie." Josh cried when he was hungry and he cried when was yuck...........this was definitely yuck. "Whoa...........Joshua Daniel !!"

Jordan had called Danny the night before they left to drive to his house.

He had to hear his voice.


"Hey Sweetheart."

"What ya doin'?

"Thinking about you, missing you, trying to write a paper, drilling Eas, missing you....What's up with you?"

"Missing you so much, holding a squirmy little guy while his mom takes a bath, missing you............"

"Jordy............I got up on my braces today."

"DAN !!!!! Oh baby !!! You'll be home in no time. How long? How long?"

Danny smiled sadly at Jordy's excitement. "Hon, I just managed to balance for about 60 seconds."

"But.....but........it's a start, right? Right?"

"Yeah, Jordy...It's a start."

"I love you."

"I love you too."

"I know you're doing this for us but dang! Dan...........You do know you're perfect to me already?"

"Yes, Jordy. I know."

"I'm taking Marks and Josh to Mama and Daddy's tomorrow,"

Danny was quiet for so long that Jordan said, "Dan?"

"It's okay, Jordy. That just surprised me is all. Why?"

"We need help. I don't know where else to turn."

Danny could hear the frustration in Jordan's voice. "Jordy, my mom and dad would........."

"Lord, Dan. Ask them for money to help pay for the hospital for a baby that they aren't even related to? Jeez, Dan."

Danny sighed. "You aren't related either. Don't get so wrapped up in this that you forget that. I hate to see you ask your dad for help. What will you say about me?"

"I don't know till we get there. I truly don't. I won't lie about you, baby. School will be over soon and Markie and I can both work......and you'll be home and everything will be perfect."

Trying to ignore the desperation he could hear, Danny put as much love into his voice as he could. "Yes, my sweet sweet Jordy. I'll be home soon and life will be perfect. I'll always love you."

Easy waited til Danny was in his 11:00 Theories class and then drove over to the therapy center.

"Hiya Terry."

Terry looked up from the clipboard he was jotting notes on, "Oh, hey, Easy. Danny's not here right now."

"I know, dude. I just wanted to check on my man's progress."

"He's doing great. He's strengthening his legs more and more every day and he should be back to where he started from before the accident before very much longer."

"Dan's a cool lil dude," Easy said softly.

"Yeah," Terry's eyes, his voice gave him away. "He's very brave and stubborn. He really wants to walk and I so want to help him."

"Do you know why it's so important to him?"

"He never talks about himself. I thought it was because he wants to be a therapist and he wants to be as strong as he can."

"Tell ya what, my man. Ask Daniel T. Before you get where the water's too deep. Trust Easy on this one. Have a great day." He turned and walked out the door leaving Terry to wonder what had just happened.

Pulling up in front of the house, Jordan thought how great it would be if Josh could grow up coming here, learning to love the animals, the outdoors like he had been raised.

"Give me the baby," he said, his voice rough with nerves.

They almost made it to the front door when it opened and Claire walked out, her eyes round saucers. "Jordan?"

"Hi Mama." He stood in the middle of the path, Markie beside him, Josh cuddled close to his heart. He knew how it looked. He didn't stop it.

As mothers instinctively do, Claire held out her arms and Jordan gave her the baby. Josh was awake and making that silly little snort sound in his throat that Jordan called his piggy noise. His bright green eyes blazed up at Claire and she lost her breath.


Jordan knew he had to say something. He loved his Mama. He would never hurt her. "Mama, remember Markie?"

"Yes, of course I do. Jordan, who is this?" she asked, seeing the blonde hair and laughing eyes.

"Yes, Jordan! Who is that?"

Jordan's head snapped around as he saw his daddy walking the path from the barn. 'Oh shit!' he thought, his mind spinning back to 9 years old.

"Wait, let's all go inside," Claire said quickly, stalling the inevitable. They walked inside, Jordan and Markie sat on the sofa, Claire nestled into the rocker with Josh and David stood, one foot up on the hearth, at the fireplace.

"He's beautiful, Jordan," Claire whispered softly, as Josh won her heart by grabbing onto her finger.

"Whose baby is that?" David asked.

"Mine," Markie said, her voice shaky. "He's my baby."

"Are you the father?" David looked at Jordan. "Oh, wait. You can't be. You're gay. What was I thinking?" You'll never be anyone's father."

Sad how life just changes in one split second. Just a few words spoken by someone you love so much can make or break you.

Jordan stood up, took Josh from his mama, turned to his daddy and said, "This is my son. His name is Joshua. I am his father."

He heard his mama softly cry. "Mama, it's fine. Markie and I will be fine. We just wanted you to see Josh."

He saw Markie start to say something and shook his head. He'd work 10 jobs before he'd ask.

"Are you married at least?"


"So, I have a sometimes fag/ now father of an illegitimate baby for a son. Does that make you, what is the term nowadays, bisexual?" Jordan could see hid daddy struggling not to lose his temper. It was odd but Jordan would rather have the anger than the sarcasm.

"I have 3 months till graduation. I want to thank you for everything you've done for me to put me through school. I hope I see you at graduation. I know you aren't proud of me but you can be proud that I am graduating."

"How can you stand here in my house and act like you have anything to be proud of? First, you flaunt that.....boy in my face, knowing you will forever be in God's shadow because of it and now you bring home this.........person we don't even know and her child. All the years I spent teaching you right from wrong, how to live as God wishes and you do this............You can't even decide which way to sin.....you just go in every direction."

Markie wanted to grab Josh and run. Her parents were abusive but this was worse. This was so unfair.

"Mr. Lawrence," she said, standing up. "Jordan helped me when I had nowhere else to turn. I love him very much and it's not fair what you're saying."

"If he loves you so much, why doesn't he marry you?"

"I didn't say he loved me......I said I love him. He's being true to himself. Can't you stop and listen to him?"

Claire asked quietly, "Jordan? Where's Danny?"

"He's in San Diego, Mama. He's getting therapy after the accident."

"Does he know about the baby and Markie?"

"Of course, Mama."

"So, you still love Danny?"

"Of course, Mama."

"And you're helping Markie?"

"Yes, Ma'am. Like you taught me."

"David," Claire said softly, "Your "faith" is getting in the way of your love for your son. I don't believe Jordan stands in God's shadow; I think God holds him in the hollow of his hand. You need to do some really deep thinking before you lose your only son."

"I'm going to the barn. I think you need to be gone when I get back. Come back when you can admit your transgressions. I'll be here." David glanced down at the baby as he walked slowly out the door.

Jordan cried. He didn't want to; he tried not to. If he couldn't come home, he couldn't come home. It just hurt SO much. What was he doing wrong? He had never wanted Danny near him so much in his life.


Claire handed the baby to Markie and walked over to her son, taking him in her arms. "I wish I could say he'd change. I wish I could give you what you want. I'll try to get through to him. He can't help it, Jordan. I know that's no excuse but he was raised to believe what he says. Without that, he'd be lost."

"I know, Mama. I was just so hoping he'd see Josh and maybe want to hold him or something. We need to go."

Claire felt the tears she was so valiantly trying to hold back. "Why didn't you call me, Jordan? I would have helped."

"I know, Mama, but I didn't wanna put me between you and Daddy."

"That, I'm afraid, happened a few years ago, sweetheart. I want you to know that I'm very very proud of you, not only for helping Markie but for living your life the way you feel you must. You know who else would be proud of you?"

Jordan raised his tear stained eyes, "Who, Mama?"

"Your brother."

Claire packed them sandwiches and Markie changed Josh. "Here's gas money," she said as she tucked some bills into Jordan's pocket. "And Jordan?"


"I hope this helps out some too." She handed him a check.

"I can't take this," he said.

"Call it your graduation gift," she smiled.

"Oh, Mama. I love you so much, not for this, but for understanding and loving me anyway."

"I don't love you anyway, my sweet little boy. I love you because of who you are. I'll see you at graduation. We'll all go out to dinner and celebrate."


"We'll see, Jordan. That's all I can promise."


"JORDY!!!!! How did it go?"

"Super. He hugged us all and loved Josh and wants us all to come live at their house, especially you. We'll be one big happy family."

"That bad, huh?"

"Yeah. Mama was great though. She's coming to graduation and we're all going out to dinner. I wish you could come."

"Me too, but I don't have enough money for a flight."

"I know and I don't have enough to get you here. Mama was so cool. She gave me some money and we got most of the hospital paid for."

"Great. I can't believe I'm a year behind you now. Stupid accident."

"Yeah," Jordan sighed, "Damn stupid accident."

"When's graduation?"

"June 3rd."

"I so wish I could be there to see you walk across that platform."

"Me too. I'll be thinking about you the whole time and knowing it's not much longer till you're home."

"Not much longer, Jordy. I promise."

Easy sat listening to Danny's end of the conversation thinking that maybe he didn't really need that new surfboard he'd been saving for. His old one caught the waves just fine.

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