Just Hit 'Send' - The Interim Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 7

**Two days until he'd turn twenty-five. Jordan tried not to think about it any more than he had to. Twenty-five, alone. He knew his family loved him; his Mama and even his Daddy, in his way. He saw the love in his little boy's eyes. Even though Markie was married now, she loved him unconditionally. Lucky she had found someone who could understand. But, he was alone.

He sat on the old log they'd dragged onto the sand a few months back after he'd bought the house. It had been a fluke really, finding the house. He and Marks and Josh had been walking in the surf on a part of Wrightsville Beach they'd never walked before, just playing and laughing and he'd looked up and seen it. The house. Danny's house. Just like the one in the tiny painting Danny had given him that Christmas when they had first been apart. It wasn't hard to imagine the two lovers walking, arms around each other, the big doofy dog twinning around the legs. Fiddlesticks, Danny had said. What a name for a dog.

The 'For Sale' sign was there, stuck in the ground, just like Jordan knew it would be. Fate wouldn't be that cruel.......well, yeah, it would be but this time, this time she smiled down on Jordan Lawrence. "You can't have your love but I'll let you have his house", she seemed to say.

He always wanted to call Danny and tell him "I found the house!! Your house; OUR house, Baby." But he couldn't. There were no more late night phone calls, no more soft whispers, no more giggles or tears, at least no more tears together. After eleven months, Jordan wanted his heart to move on but he couldn't. He knew the answers to many questions but still he didn't have Dan.

He let Markie live in the house with Josh and her new husband while he lived in the apartment but there was always the tiny flicker of hope that one day......one day, Danny Trainor, with the dreaming blue eyes would come home. Jordan knew he would never live in that house without Dan.

Markie pulled the curtain back and peered out the window. "He's just sitting there again." She worried so about Jordan but she knew there was only one thing that would mend his heart. "Maybe I should......."

"No, let him be. I'll go out in awhile. Sometimes, Jordy needs to be alone. Ever since he was a kid, he's always been like that."

They heard the screen door slam and shook their heads when they saw that Jordan being alone with his thoughts was no longer an option. "Hi Dadda," Josh said as he screeched to halt by his daddy's leg. Scrambling up, he schooched around until he made a perfect nest in his daddy's lap. "What cha doin'?"

"Just listening to the ocean, JD," he smiled, ruffling his son's hair. "It's singing to me. Hear it?"

"Awww, Dadda," the little boy laughed, "Water dun't sing."

"Sure it can. It's like a roar of little elves as they do whatever job they're working on."

"Like Snow White?"

Jordan laughed, "Yeah, kinda. Those were dwarfs, but same difference, little guys singing "Hi Ho Hi Ho" I guess."

"I love you, Dadda," Josh snuggled closer.

"I love you more than you know, JD." They sat quietly watching the moonlight glint off the waves and listening to the elves and dwarfs sing.

They walked out quietly, settling on the 'talking log'. "Jordy? Why are you calling him JD?" Markie asked.

Jordan sighed. "I love both the names. You know that but sometimes Josh is too hard cause all I do is think of Adam. I love that you chose my brother's first name but I can't use it without hurting inside. I can still hear my Mama calling 'Joshua Adam, get out of that tree!' and well, Daniel's just not an option. I guess I just need to think of my little guy here as a little man in his own right."

"I kin be JD, Dadda. Or Mickey Mouse. Me wants to be Gigamanchu or...or...," he had a fit of laughter.

"Gigawho??????"

"On TV, Dadda," Josh twisted his face up with that 'grownups can be so dumb' look and laughed at his Dadda. "On the toons."

The night was quiet, only the sound of the singing waves. "Dadda?"

"Um Hm?"

Josh snuggled closer. "Tell me my story."

Jordan bit his bottom lip and sighed. "Once there was a lonely prince who lived all alone in a high tower..........."

"Maybe tonight, he kin see Prince Happiness, Dadda," Josh interrupted.

The tears that always hid behind his lashes burned. "Maybe, JD."


"Where's Terry?" Jordan asked, as he snuggled his nose into Danny's neck. "Will I meet him before I have to leave?"

Easy threw another log on the fire and flopped back in the comfy chair. "Terry went to Seattle to see some dudes. He said he'd be back today."

Do you have to go, Jordy?" Danny sighed, not willing to move one muscle, just wanting to smell Jordan, breathe him in.

"I gotta go back to work," Jordan laughed. "Now that you're all fixed up, I gotta go back home." Jordan had decided not to ask Danny about coming home anymore. He could feel the stress in his love and he wasn't gonna add to it. Not now, anyway.

The door opened with a crash and snow flurries came in with Terry, all bundled in his parka and wooly cap. Jordan raised his eyes to see the man that wanted his baby.

"Hey, guys!" he called from the hall as he stripped off the heavy clothing and walked toward the fire. Jordan detached himself from his human lovebug and stretched out his hand.

"So, this is the famous Jordan," Terry said smiling, gripping his hand and squeezing it tightly.

"Don't know how famous, but yes, Jordan. Hello, Terry."

Easy watched as the two handsome men sized each other up. It was like two Rottweilers sniffing before they slammed into each other. He glanced over at Danny and saw his brows wrinkled as he sensed the tension.

"Hi Terry," Danny said softly.

Immediately, Terry's manner changed and he swung his eyes toward the sofa. "Hey, Punkin. I want to know all about the doctor. How did it go?"

Jordan cocked his head and his eyes jerked to Easy with a look that screamed 'WTF??' Easy shot back and equally heavy 'I told you'.

Jordan moved back over and sat down beside Danny, easing his arm around his shoulders. Danny curled back onto him automatically. Terry watched the motions and his eyes darkened for a second and then he sighed. "You guys had supper?"

"Yeah, but there's plenty of chili left in the fridge."

"When's your flight, Jordan?" Terry asked, looking at Danny, then flickering his eyes towards Jordan.

Danny could feel Jordan getting angry. "He has to leave in a couple of hours to catch the red eye so he can go to work in the morning."

"I can talk for myself, Dan."

Easy cleared his throat. "Hey, Lil dude. Let's go heat Terry up some chili. I'm still kinda hungry myself."

"But.."

Easy scooped him up and dropped him in the chair, talking to hear himself talk. "Looks like it's really coming down. Who'd ever thunk a bunch a Florida bois would be watchin' the snow instead of the surf?"

"Soooo," Terry said, as he stood by the fire, holding out his hands, "Did you accomplish what you wanted to at the doctor? Is Dan gonna be less screwed up now?"

Jordan groaned. Why did Danny like this guy? "I think it helped a lot. Thanks for helping to get him there. He needed to talk."

"Yeah, he's a great guy and has had more than his share of trouble." He looked pointedly at Jordan.

"Excuse me?"

"Face it, man, he hurts all the time and it all comes from you."

Jordan flinched. "I don't want to talk about Dan with you."

Terry glanced toward the kitchen doorway and then back at Jordan. "Let's be honest here. I'm not gonna like you and you're sure as hell not gonna like me. If I could take him from you, I would in a second."

"He's not some prize. He belongs to himself," Jordan growled, thinking Damn!! Noooo, he belongs to ME!!

"Look at you, one of life's golden boys, no worries, and Danny on top of it all, like icing on the cake." Terry realized he was saying too much but someone had hurt Danny, said things to make him feel pathetic and unsure and Terry always thought it was Jordan. "I bet you've never had to ask for anything in your life, have you, golden boy?"

Jordan breathed hard. "You're right, Terry. Everything comes easy to me." **just my brother, my daddy...I seem to have lost them along the way and Danny is easy too** God, this guy was an asshole.

"I bet it kills you that he won't come home."

"I understand all that," Jordan shot back. "He will when he's ready."

"But, will it be any different than it was before? He's told me how you baby him and how pathetic he feels all the time. He told me the things that were said."

"But, he's gonna walk now. What things?"

"What if he doesn't? What then?"

"None of this is any of your goddamn business, but it won't make any difference. I've always loved him. I always will."

"But will he?"

"Will he what?"

"Be able to accept the pity and the help all his life from the one person who's perfect in his eyes?"

Jordan felt the tears. God, not now! He hated the weakness of the tears. Terry had hit the sore spot. He knew Danny wouldn't come home if he couldn't get out of that wheelchair. "It isn't pity. It's never about pity. Fuck this!" He walked away toward the sound of laughter but his heart was crumbling. Danny had gotten the story of Michael's betrayal out and part of the battle was won. Jordan had been so happy that he'd forgotten the other battles. Nothing had changed, not really. Danny had a reason to try now. A clear path if only he could make it.

"Dan, I need to talk to you." Danny looked up to see the tears in Jordan's eyes.

"Push me," he said quietly, Easy gripping his shoulder for a second. Easy looked at Jordan but couldn't read his face.

Jordan pushed the chair up the ramp and into Danny's bedroom. "Wanna stay in it or on the bed?"

"Is this something bad?"

"No, baby. I just need to say some things we may not either want to hear."

"Then the bed please, Jordy." He raised his arms and Jordan lifted him gently and they stretched out in their Jordy/Danny talk position; nose to nose, toes to toes. Lips close, Jordan stroked Danny's curls.

"What is it, Jordy?' Danny's voice wavered.

"Dan, will you come home with me now?"

"I can't."

Jordan sighed. "Tell me why."

"I........I can't."

"I know I baby you and I know you hate it but I do it because I love you. You know that. You do know that, don't you?"

"Oh yes, Jordy. Part of me loves you to baby me. But Jordy.........,"

"Yes, ba.........yes, Dan?"

"I can't be a burden. I won't be a burden. You do not need to be carrying me around all your life."

"Is that all coming from you? Did someone say that to you?"

Danny hesitated and Jordan caught it. "Who?"

"No one, Jordy. I just feel this way."

"Is any of this to do with us loving each other?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean. You're beautiful, Dan. You could have anyone you wanted."

Danny let out a slightly hysterical laugh. "Do you know how stupid that is? I'm stuck in this bigass wheelchair and you're telling me I could have anyone I wanted. You're the one who should be finding another perfect person."

Both were breathing heavy, the stress building. Neither wanted to say what they were saying.........once spoken; never taken back.

"Have you ever thought that I NEED to take care of you, Dan? That I need it as much as you might need me?"

"But see, that's sad, Jordy. Between the two of us, we've seen more hurt than most people see in a lifetime. You need someone whole who can fulfill your dreams. I can't."

The words were hurting now. "You need to catch Adam. You do it every day in everything you do." He heard Jordan's gasp.

"Dan.........if you don't walk..............?"

"I won't come home."

Danny felt Jordan begin to cry. He couldn't take the words back. "You're the strong one, Jordy."

"I'm always the strong one....but you know what? I'm really not. Don't do this. Don't take away the hope. Our lives can't just be a series of hours to get through until we can sleep. I need more than that. Promise me you will try."

"Jordy, I'll do the best I can. That's all I can promise. And Jordy.........,"

"Yes?"

"I'll do it for you."

"So, truth now, Danny. The only reason you aren't home with me is because of the therapy. It has nothing to do with anything else; anything anyone said or did." Jordan just had this niggling feeling in the back of his mind ever since Terry accused him of hurting Dan.

Again the hesitation. "Dan?"

"No, Jordan. It's just the therapy." Danny's eyes ducked down and Jordan felt fingers of fear thread along his spine.

"Why are you lying to me, Dan?"

"I'm.......I'm not."

Jordan moved away and sat up on the side of the bed, his long legs stretched out, his body stiff with unbelievable feelings of anger. God, anger towards Danny. His back to Dan, he said softly, "We've spent years together, Danny, years. We've never lied. I can't live like this. Do you have feelings for........Terry? Is that what it is? You want to stay here because of him?"

"Jordy!"

"Tell me what you're hiding. Make all this go away."

Danny lay still, words echoing in his head. "He has to have a chance at a normal life. He can have a family now. Don't make Josh ashamed of his queer father. Don't be selfish enough to tie my son to a crippled faggot the rest of his life." He sighed. "I'm not hiding anything, Jordy." The words came out as whispers and Jordan knew the boy he loved was lying.

Slowly, he stood up and looked down at the blue eyes filled with fear and salty tears and wanted to just lie down and hold him and forget what had been said. Wanted nothing more than to love the ugliness away. But, it was there, hanging in the air like a miasma.

"I love you more than my own life, Dan. You know that."

"Then let it go, please, Jordy." Danny reached his arms up and Jordan ached to fill them.

Easy tapped on the door. "Jord, we gotta go if you're gonna make that flight."

"Don't leave like this."

"Tell me. There's nothing we can't solve if we do it together."

"Jordy........."

"Tell me."

"I can't."

One last question..........."Dan, is whatever it is what's keeping you from coming home?"

Danny nodded his head, tears flooding his eyes.

"Is it why you ran away from me in the first place?"

Another nod.

"Then believe this, Dan, I WILL find out and when I do, you will come home. Do you hear me?"

"I hear you."

Jordan lifted his duffle to his shoulder, took Danny's face in his hands and kissed him. Kissed him for all the years and all the tears, all the laughter and all the love. "I love you Daniel Trainor. Call me when you trust that." He turned and walked out the door, not looking back.

Danny wanted to call him back, wanted to tell him everything. God, he wanted Jordy. But, his father had been right. He would NOT make Jordy spend his life with a cripple, or ruin the chance he had at a normal life and hurt Josh. He panicked when he realized that even if he walked away from his wheelchair, even if he could dance by the end of the year, he would still be gay........he would still hurt Jordan.


"Jord?" Easy just let the name hang in the air. "Wanna tell me?"

"He's hiding something. He won't come home till he lets it out. Damn it all, Ez. Why is this all so hard? Why can't we win just once?"

"You've won, man. You have each other. I know it's bad now but the wind's gotta shift. I'll get him to therapy, body and mind. Dr. Meadows said he wanted to talk to me. Maybe I'll just lay a few words on the doctor dude. See if he can spring this mess from Dan. And I swear, my sk8r boi, he WILL try his damndest to get out of that chair."

"I'm not gonna call him, Ez. Stay by him. He's gonna need you. If he needs me, he'll call. I hate this but the doctor said I was babying him too much and maybe right now is where I have to take my hands off and let him go, so he can find me again."

"I'll call Marks. And Jord.................Terry don't mean shit to Dan. You know that, don't you?"

"Yeah, but he's still a total duckweed."

"We got eleven months to go. That's all and we graduate and he's free. I know it sounds harsh but the time will pass."

"But what will happen in eleven months, Ez? Will he come home?"


Jordan stared out the plane window blindly. One problem down, another larger one blocking the road ahead. Did everyone live like this? Lives full of drama? If we weren't gay.........If Dan hadn't been hit by that car.........If we hadn't spun out on that ice.......If.......If........If. He made a vow on that plane from Portland to Wilmington. He would wait, losing his mind, for eleven months, the time it took to end the therapy and college. He would give Dan that time. But then...........and he realized that in eleven months he would turn 25...then he would get back what was his.


Stepping through the outer doors of the terminal, he spotted the jeep and Josh waving madly from the open window. He could hear him yelling, "Here, Dadda. Me here." He laughed and stored away the pain for late at night when he would take it out and feel it again.......every night.

"Hi there, big boy. Miss me? Hiya Marks." He leaned over and kissed her and she saw his eyes. Oh shit!

"Oh Dadda. Missed you yes......Me got a new truck and stuff. Play when we gets home, K?"

"Sure, punkin. Dadda always wants to play."


"Jordan?"

"Daddy?"

"I have a check here that needs explaining."

"I went to Portland to help Danny."

"Jordan. I did NOT give you the money to throw away on that little fag."

"It was important and I actually didn't give a flying fuck as to why you gave me the money. Dan needed me and I used it."

"There will be no more then."

"Fine, I didn't ask for your shit money........oh and Father.............Dan is doing very well. Thanks for asking."

"At least he's out there where he can't hurt you, be a burden you don't need."

Jordan ran his hands through his hair, his frustration level at the red line. "You know something, Father? He's way out there and he never hurts me. He loves me. You're down there and you hurt me every single day."

"Is he sick? Does he have.............?"

"Oh for God's sake. Goodbye. I thank you for the money. Let me live my life."

"Are you praying for forgiveness?"

"Actually, I'm praying to get off this phone." Jordan slammed the receiver down and stood shaking. Words flashed through his head....hurt you..burden. But that just couldn't be. There was never a time..........


Jerry and Missy's baby arrived and they named the little boy Jordan Daniel. Jordan, Marks and Josh drove over to visit one weekend and fell in love with the little guy.

Life eased back into place and the days clicked by. Jordan had a calendar by his computer where he had counted the days, weeks and months until his birthday. Winter would end, spring would pass, summer would ease on by and September would come. He marked every day off with a red pen waiting each day for a phone call that never came. Whatever the secret was, Danny wasn't gonna let it go. Little thoughts would flutter into Jordan's mind but the actuality of them was too horrible to think, so he clamped them down. No one who loved him would ever do anything like that to hurt him.

Easy would call. They knew Danny was doing good. He was up on the parallel bars and his upper body strength was superior. There was talk of a leg brace to support his weakest right leg. Jordan wanted to talk to him so bad he could taste it but he would wait.........until September.


One cold February day, the phone rang. "Can you get it, Marks? I've got a boy on me," Jordan laughed as Josh tickled him again.

"It's for you," she said, handing him the receiver. He raised his eyebrows but she shrugged her shoulders.

"Hello?"

"Jord?"

"OMG...........you dog, where are you?"

"Down the street actually. Got time to see an old friend?"

"Get your sorry butt here.....NOW!!"

Jordan ran down the steps and out the front door barefoot, in his t-shirt, watching a black Dodge Ram truck edge its way through the snow. The truck stopped, the door opened and he launched himself at the body that crawled out.

"I have NEVER been so glad to see anyone in my entire life," Jordan laughed, hugging for all he was worth.

"Jeezz, you're out here in your sorryass barefeet. Go, fool."

They took the elevator this time and Jordan threw open the door. "Marks. Josh. Guys.........Meet my best friend in the whole world. Griff, meet my family."

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