Just Hit 'Send' - The College Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 10

Finishing the last sentence in his notebook, Terry stretched and rolled his neck, 2 A.M. by the glowing numbers on the clock. He should have long been asleep but writing in Danny's report kept him awake. Thinking about Danny Trainor seemed to be keeping him up a lot lately.

Terry, at 25, was just ready to take on the world, grad school giving him credentials he needed to work in just about any hospital facility he chose. Handsome and charismatic, he used his big brown eyes and athletic build to win him friends. He was good at what he did and he was confident, confident in everything except these feelings he had for a certain young blue eyed patient. He'd had one boyfriend and several casual short flings but this, for some reason, felt different. He watched as Danny built up his courage and his strength; as he dealt with almost impossible odds. His arms supported Danny as he cried from the pain and wanted nothing but to turn him in his arms and hold him gently and wipe away those tears. He had no idea whether Danny even saw him as anything other than his therapist, hadn't tried to make him open up. There were secrets behind those cobalt eyes and Terry wished he could be the reason Danny smiled.

He thought about Danny's friend's words......"Ask Daniel T. before the water gets too deep" and took them as a warning, but of what?


Finals, research papers, missing assignments.......jobs, baby doctor appointments, grocery shopping, living on nothing, eating a lot of hot dogs and tomato soup so Josh had what he needed.

"What?" Markie looked over at Jordan, who was at that moment flopped face down in the middle of the living room floor, laughing in a rather hysterical way.

"I was just thinkin'," he sighed in between kind of ragged chuckles. "I'm a daddy. I do all this daddy stuff. Here you are. Here I am. Here is Josh.

And I haven't had sex in like 10 thousand years."

"And that's funny?"

"Damn right. He's out there and I'm here and phone sex is crap and cyber is worse and I'm gonna explode."

"Maybe this summer............"

"You know there's no money."

"Soooooo," Markie decided to make him mad to get him out of this funk. She knew all the right buttons. "Sooo, you just want poor sweet Danny for the sex. Jeez ! And all this time I thought............"

"Okay! You shut up!"

"Haha......No, you shut up! Go call him. You know you feel better after you do."


"How's our boy?"

"Doin' great. He eats like a rabid space alien and sucks in anything that comes within 5 feet. He's gonna be a linebacker, wait and see."

"Jordy, I so wish I could be there."

"I know baby. It's no big deal. They hand me a piece of paper."

"You got any job interviews lined up?"

"Yeah. You still good about Daytona? I think it'll be cool to be near your parents and we'll have the beach. Josh will grow up like us, a little beach bum. Markie and I both have interviews at the schools there as soon as we grab those papers."

"I called Mom and she's so excited that you're gonna stay with them. She can't wait to get her hands on Josh."

"We'll look for a 2 bedroom apartment or duplex or something and get it all fixed up so when you get here, we can just be happy." Danny could hear the longing in Jordan's voice.

"We will be happy, won't we, Jordy?"

"Yes, baby. We deserve it."

Danny hung up the phone slowly. It seemed that every time he talked to Jordan, they seemed further and further away from their dream. It wasn't Jordan, he was almost there. It was Danny. He still couldn't support himself on his braces like before and there was no way he was going to make Jordy spend his life with a guy in a wheelchair.


It was Jordan's turn to take the baby to the park to watch the rug rats play. He never admitted it to Markie but he loved this part of watching Josh. He loved to sit on the grass with the baby in his lap, talking to him, explaining what he was seeing, just guy talk. He found himself telling Josh about his house and Tinker and Jerimiah and all the raccoon and squirrels and the owl that he'd tended to and how his daddy had taught him to drive the tractor and how he and Adam had played in the treehouse.

Josh sat, his baby eyes staring into his daddy's as if he understood every word. "One day, Joshie, maybe, we'll go there. Maybe one day I'll be good enough and we can go home." Josh didn't understand tears and it was a good thing or he would have questioned the ones that were sliding down his daddy's face.


"Just a little higher, Dan. I know you've got it in you. Just a little more." Terry held the calf of Danny's leg loosely as Danny lifted his leg just a bit off of the mat. "Wow!! Did you see that? Did ya? Dan, you are gonna make it."

Sweat pouring off his face, Danny felt like he'd tried to lift the Empire State Building with his leg. "Terry, it's gonna take me years to get this right."

"Nah, not years. Just awhile longer." Terry was always noncommittal about the time Danny needed because he didn't want him to give up.

"But, I haven't got "awhile", Terry. I haven't got forever."

Terry sat down on the mat, looked at Danny and jumped in the deep end. "Why, Dan?"

Danny lowered his head. "I don't talk about myself much."

"I don't mean to pry, Dan. I was just asking why you need to walk so badly aside from the obvious." Without thinking, he reached out his hand and touched Danny's cheek.

"Oh," was all Danny could think to reply as he felt the warm fingers on his skin. He raised his head and his eyes looked, really looked in to Terry's.

"Are.................?"

Terry knew what he was asking. What prompted him to ask was a different thing altogether.

"Yes," he answered.

Danny blushed, his eyes disappeared again. "Me too."

'Ah,' Terry thought. 'I was right. I knew there was something.' "So, now that we've established that we're um......simpatico, can we be friends?"

Danny laughed. "Sure, Terry. I don't make friends easy. That's Jordy's job."

"Jordy?" 'Here we go', Terry sighed.

"Jordy....Jordan I mean. He's my boyfriend." Danny got this really impish look on his face and grinned.

"So, why haven't I seen him around here?"

Just as quickly as it came, the grin flew away. "He lives in Florida."

"The ring?" He had looked at the silver ring every time he helped Danny work out.

"It's our "always" ring. Jordan has one just like it."

"Is there a mountain of story behind your Jordan?"

"Yeah. More like the Alps."

"Wanna shower and go grab a pizza? I think I wanna hear this story."

"K."

In the special shower room, as Terry helped Danny with his clothes and lifted him to the seat under the low spray, he tried not to look at Danny's body; tried not to feel the heat of his skin; tried not to want to touch him.

Danny could feel Terry's eyes on him and he willed himself not to feel anything. 'Think Jordy...Think Jordy' he yelled frantically to himself but his body didn't mind him. As he felt himself harden, tears burned his eyelids.

"It's okay, Danny," Terry's gentle voice assured him. "I think we're just at a different place now."


"So, tell me about Jordan," Terry asked as they ate their pizza.

"Jordan......Jordan is wonderful. I...." he blushed, "I love him so much. He found me and made me alive again and we laugh and I owe him so much. I just love him."

"So, why are you here and he's there?"

Danny did the eyes down thing again. Terry reached over and lifted his chin with the tip of one finger. Danny smiled and sighed. "He skateboards. He surfs. He rides horses."

"And?"

"And I can't."

"Okay, I got that but why are you way over here?"

"There was a car accident. I got worse than I was before. You've read my files. You know."

"Yeah," Terry replied.

"I had to leave. I had to try to get better on my own. Jordan was doing everything for me; like what you do, carrying me, lifting me, always having to help me." His voice had filled with tears.

"Did he resent having to help you?"

"No....never. He says he loves me no matter what."

"But you couldn't deal?"

"I couldn't, no."

"I think I understand. You love him too much to be a burden."

"Yeah."

"Well, Dan, we'll just have to work harder and get you on those feet. We can't have you so sad all the time."

Danny smiled, "I'm glad you understand, Terry. I'm," he added, shyly, "Glad you're my friend."

Terry's brown eyes smiled a friendly smile while all the time his heart was tripping double time.


Easy bought two tickets. One roundtrip and one open ended. He knew he was coming back. He hoped Danny wasn't. He had the money but he so hoped he didn't have to spend it. He hadn't told Danny yet.

He'd been watching the friendship grow between Terry and his lil dude. As much as he wanted to hate Terry's guts, he couldn't. He was so good with Danny, knew how far to push him with the exercises and when to back off. When Danny told him that they had talked and that Terry had told him he was gay, Easy knew it was time for Danny to go to Jordan. He'd never forgive himself if anything......ANYTHING..........happened to his best friends.


"You WHAT??"

"I got us two tickets to the sunshine, lil dude."

"You so did not???????"

"K........I'll go by myself."

"Oh, Ezzzzzz!! I love you!!"

"Save that stuff for The Man. I go for the ladies," he laughed.

"When? When? When?" All Danny could see was Jordan's face.

"Graduation is June 3rd. We'll fly in that morning and get there for the ceremony and then fly right back." He watched Danny's face, trying not to laugh.

"Oh, okay. That's good."

"You are such an easy mark, lil guy. I'm gonna fly you to Jordan and not let you have a night? You think I'd live to see another day if my Sk8r Boi got hold of me?"

"OH ! OH ! Oh, Easy! How long? I can't wait." How long til we go? Get the calendar."

They counted 17 days. "That's 408 hours.....that's 34,480 minutes........Oh, Easy."

The look on Danny's face was enough to rest the fears Easy had been having. He was takin' his boy home.

"I'm gonna call Jordan right..........................No, let's surprise him."

"God, he'll look out there and see you and fall off the stage."

So, the plan was set. Danny was going to Jordan to watch him graduate, to hold him, to just breathe when he breathed.......nose to nose, toes to toes. It had been so long. Too long. Seventeen days, not long........an eternity.


"I'm going to go see Jordan graduate," he grinned as Terry helped him onto the exercise table. "Easy bought me a ticket." His face showed Terry how excited he was.

"That's great news. A little Jordan fix is just what the doctor ordered. I'm so happy for you. He'll be proud of all you've accomplished."

"With your help, Terry. How much longer?"

"Just awhile, Dan, just awhile."


Jordan and Markie had been going through al the junk in the cabinets and closets, trying to clean up enough to get their damage deposit back. Jerry and Missy came over with one of Missy's tuna casseroles that everyone pretended to love.

"He's getting so big," Missy cooed, holding her arms out for Josh. He was such a good baby, happy and beginning to laugh. "How old is he now?"

"He was five months last Wednesday. The doctor says he's fit as a fiddle."

"What the heck does that mean really??" They laughed and joked and it almost seemed like old times except that where they now had Josh, they were missing Danny.

"It's not gonna seem right, him not being here," Jerry said softly. "None of this was his fault."

"Nothing ever is Dan's fault," Jordan sighed. "Life just keeps knocking him down and he keeps climbing back up. I wish he could be here on Friday but I understand why he won't be."

Changing the subject quickly, Missy asked about their job interviews. It was just assumed that Jordan would stay with Markie and Josh.

"We're driving down to Daytona the day after graduation. We've both got interviews and we're gonna look for an apartment while we're there."

Jerry had gotten a great opening position at an up and coming software company in Atlanta and he and Missy would be moving there in June. Jerry had asked Jordan to be his bestman and Markie was to be one of Missy's bridesmaids on June 24th.

Jordan topped everyone's wine glass and proposed a toast: "Here's to us. We made it through. Dan's here with us in spirit. May we be happy for the rest of our lives. We deserve it."

"Here Here !!" Jerry grinned.

Jordan raised his glass to his lips and whispered, "Here's to you, Baby. Come home."


Looking over his shoulder at the parents, families, friends all seated behind him in the bright Tallahassee sunshine, Jordan didn't know what he wished. He knew his Mama was back there somewhere but he didn't know if his Daddy had come. It had been up in the air when he had called his Mama last weekend. "I'll try, Jordy," was all Claire could promise. Part of him wanted his Daddy to come and clap and be proud of him but part of him knew that was not possible. He could have handled this a lot better if Dan were here. He slid his hand into Markie's.

"Latham...Lawrence. We're just destined," he laughed. "You guess Joshie is behaving himself?"

"Mrs. McCafferty loves him to death. If Floppy doesn't try to eat his pacifier, they'll be fine."

"That dog is crazy."

The chairs were arranged in rows with an aisle down the center, a low hill to the back. The speeches droned on forever and the scarlet robes began to stick to every part of their bare skin as the hot Florida sun shone down. Finally, finally, they began to call out the graduate's names.

"Caroline Allen."

"Brandon Grayson."

"Gregory Kyle."

"We're up. You ready?"

"Yeah........you?" He squeezed her hand and she jumped when she heard, "Markie Latham."

Jordan watched her edge her way out of the row and begin that long walk to the steps.

"Jordan Lawrence."

Jordan rose and followed the others to the base of the stairs and took his first step up onto the platform. Deep breath, he walked toward the president of the university, one hand reached for the diploma, the other shook the man's outstretched hand.

"Congratulations, Mr. Lawrence."

"Thank you, Sir." He smiled to himself and turned toward the audience, hoping to pick out his mom, his rolled diploma in his upraised hand.

Instead, he saw the sunlight glint off the metal of a wheelchair sitting at the top of the hill, a tall young black man standing behind it. But all Jordan could see was Danny, his hand raised in a wave.

He started to jump off the stage and Markie had to grab his arm. Laughing, tears flowing down her face, she babbled, "Oh, Jordy. Don't break your neck now. Danny's here."

How he got down the steps, he'd never know but instead of following Markie back to their seats, he took the aisle almost at a run.

For the first time, he didn't care what anyone thought............all he saw was Danny. Screeching to a halt in front of the chair, he knelt down on one knee. "Dan," he sighed, his voice full of tears and love.

Who reached for who, who cared. Arms tangled, Jordan found Danny's mouth and, there in front of the entire graduating class, Jordan kissed his baby.

"How? When? Oh, Dan !"

Danny laughed through the happy tears. "Easy. Easy bought tickets."

Jordan grinned up onto those laughing hazel eyes. The look they exchanged said it all. Said 'I love you, my friend'.

"How long?"

"We gotta go back tomorrow night but we're here now. Look, Jordy, move your tassel over. You're a teacher, Jordy !!" They watched all the graduates throw their silly hats up in the air.

Soon, Markie fought her way back to them and hugged Danny tight. "Hiya, Tiger," she grinned. "I knew you couldn't stay away long."

"Marks....this is Easy."

"So, I finally meet the original Sk8r Boi who taught Jordan how to skate the wall." She laughed and hugged him close. "Thank you for this."

"My pleasure, sweet lady. My two main dudes needed a little togetherness, if you know what I mean." He watched, satisfied, as the two young men touched and smiled and giggled and just generally assured the other that he was there.

"Jordan." He turned his head to see his Mama hurrying toward him. Standing, he kept Danny's hand tight in his.

"Mama." She put her arms around him and pulled him in for a hug, laughing when she realized that he was attached to something and wasn't about to let go.

Danny tried to wiggle his hand away but Jordan held fast. "Nope, hug around him, Mama. I'm not letting go."

"Well then, I guess I'll just hug you both." She bent down and included Danny in the embrace.

"We're so proud of you, Jordan. And you, Markie."

"We?"

"Your father came. He's right over there."

Jordan looked into his Mama's eyes. He didn't see happiness.

"Well, he can walk over here," Jordan said softly.

"Jordy."

"What baby?"

"Come down here, please." Jordan leaned over to put his ear by Danny's mouth. "He made the effort. He took a step. Go over there. Please, Jordy."

Danny was right. He had made a tiny step. He had come. "Okay, for you."

"Do not let him out of your sight," he instructed Markie and Ez. "I'm so afraid he's gonna disappear on me." He started to walk away and then turned and came back.

"You are gonna be here tonight, right?" he whispered in Danny's ear.

"You betcha," Danny grinned. "You owe me some heavy duty love,"

"Mmmmmmm," Jordan sighed. Steeling himself, he walked toward his daddy.

"Hey."

"Hello Jordan."

How had it come to this? They used to talk, tease, laugh. Now, they stood miles apart, afraid to touch, neither willing to give in. Jordan didn't think he should and he didn't think his daddy could.

"Are your plans still to teach in Daytona?"

"Yes, Sir."

"What about the girl and her baby?"

"Markie and my son will go with me."

"Jordan!"

"Yes?"

"And what about that boy?"

"What boy?" He knew he was being difficult. He didn't really care.

"Daniel. What about him?"

"He will come live with us when he graduates."

"What?? How can you all live together under one roof?"

"David!! This isn't the time or the place for this conversation," Claire interrupted. "This is Jordan's day. Let him enjoy it. Jordan, we want to take you out to dinner to celebrate."

God, Danny was here for like one day and he had to go waste some of it with his parents. He had to though.....for his Mama.

"Just us," his daddy added.

"Of course just us," Jordan muttered. "Where are you staying? I'll come by and pick you up at 6:00." (and be done by 8 and snuggled with my baby)

"At the Hampton Inn off exit 12. Room 213."

"K. See you then." He turned and fairly ran back to Danny.

"Claire. I can't let this continue. Everytime I hear something, it just gets worse. Now, he's going to live in sin with that girl AND corrupt himself further with that little fag."

"David, he's grown. There isn't much you can do. Jordan is a good boy. I know you don't think so but he is. He's chosen his path...let him walk it. And don't use those names around me. Jordan is whatever Danny is and all I know is that they're wonderful boys who need you to love them. Let them live their lives in happiness. They've been through so much. They deserve it."

'Not if I can help it', David Lawrence promised himself.


The dinner was tedious. Claire had made David promise not to bring up anything that would start an argument and she could see that Jordan just wanted to be with Danny. They discussed the weather, the horses and Claire's new addition to the house she wanted built.

David simmered and Jordan fidgeted. Finally, the waiter asked if anyone wanted dessert and all three said, "NO!" Walking out to the car, the night was warm and the smell of jasmine was heavy.

Driving them back to the motel, Jordan walked with them up to their door. "Thank you for coming and thank you for putting me through school. I'll always appreciate everything you've done for me," he said quietly. "I'll call and let you know about the job situation and my new address and phone number."

Hugging his Mama so hard it almost hurt, he felt tears burn his eyes. He didn't want it this way. Turning to his daddy, he didn't know whether to put out his hand or his arms. Finally, he tried to hug him and got one of those stupid three pats on the back kind of hugs. 'Probably afraid I'll give him a disease,' Jordan thought sadly. Claire hugged him one more time and he could see the tears in her eyes.

"I'll be down to see you soon, Mama. I love you." He walked to the top of the stairs. "I love you both, you know." Then took the stairs three at a time on the way to his baby.

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