Just Hit 'Send' - The Interim Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 10

Dr. Meadows noticed the heavy leg brace the minute Dan wheeled through the door. It was made up of metal clamps and leather straps and bound his leg from foot to hip. He saw the lines of stress at the corners of Dan's eyes and the thin pain line of his lips.

"Got something new, I see," he said carefully.

"Yeah," Danny groaned. "Dang thing weighs a ton and hurts like hell but I can stand up." He wheeled over to the chair, leaned down to lock the brake and struggled to grab two canes hooked to the back of the wheelchair. The look of concentration, the beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead, made the doctor instinctively want to help, but he stood still.

Danny lowered the footrest, wiggled his butt forward and grabbed the brace to swing his right leg out, bringing his foot to the floor. Grasping the two canes, he balanced himself and, straining with his powerful arm muscles, he raised up, to stand, wobbling, and then steadier, in front of Dr. Meadows.

"Bravo!!" the doctor exclaimed, applauding Danny's obvious effort and pride.

"There's no stopping you now, Dan."

Danny swiveled and tried to sit gracefully but ended up flopping into the big easy chair. "My landing leaves a lot to be desired," he smiled a bit sadly.

"Dan, look what you've accomplished. You're on your feet. It's only been a few months. Think about a year from now."

"I am. That's all I have been thinking about," Danny sighed. "For so long, all I've dreamed of was standing up tall and straight, walking towards Jordy with my hands outstretched."


"The doctors and my therapists all say that this is pretty much it. I only have myself to blame. The first accident I could have walked away from but I didn't. The second one took too much away. I lost too much muscle ability in the deterioration in all the years I spent feeling sorry for myself. Now, I can't get it back even with the constant exercise."

"What's the best case scenario, Dan?"

"I'll always have a leg brace and possibly I can maneuver with just one cane. I'll be able to walk but never the way I want."

"Do we always have everything we want, Dan?"

Danny's eyes jerked up. "I thought about what you asked me. You know, about if it was my fault, the problem between Jordan and his father."

Dr. Meadows noted the swift topic jump but didn't comment. He knew that no matter what they discussed, it always came back to Jordan. "And what did you decide?"

"You were right," Danny sighed. "If it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else. I didn't make Jordan gay. I just made him love me."

"Made him? He had no choice?"

Danny smiled softly. "Neither of us did." But then, the doctor watched as Dan squared his shoulders and rolled his neck slightly. "But I have choices now."

"And Jordan has none?"

"Not in this. This is my choice." His eyes fluttered over to the painting, his mind soaking in the peace that he always found in the woman's face as she watched her child play.

"Tell me."

Danny sighed. "You would have to know Jordan, Dr. Meadows. He loves the beach, the water, the sun. He's always wanted to go to Hawaii, to Australia, find the big waves. He's never indoors unless it's raining. It's the way he was raised. It's his life. His dream is to buy a house on the beach and walk out his front door to the surf."

"And you don't think that dream includes you?"

"How can it?" Danny slapped at the ugly brace. "Picture me running happily along the shore, walking easily through the sand."

The doctor thought through all that Daniel Trainor had overcome; all that he was still facing.

"Dan? Do you face things better alone or with Jordan?"

"You already know the answer to that."

"Say it out loud."

Danny let his mind slide to Jordan. "He starts my day. He walks through my day with me. He's with me when I go to sleep. I could face anything with Jordan."

"Then, why not face this?"

Danny struggled to find the words. "Don't you see?" His voice cracking as he tried to make the doctor understand what was so clear to him. "This isn't facing something WITH Jordan. This is me, trying to do what's best for him."

An old sarcastic saying from his boyhood shot through Dr. Meadows mind: "Well, zactly who died and made you king??" but he shoved it back and answered with yet another question.

"Is Jordan so strong that he doesn't need your help?"

Danny thought back to all those long lonely nights when two boys had sat in front of their computers, aching to find someone who cared. How Jordan had cried sometimes, ashamed that Danny knew. "Jordan has needed my help but never as much as I've had to depend on him."

"When we were talking last session and you told me about Jordan and his brother. That Jordan always feels he has to prove himself. How does that affect you? Do you think he pities you?"

Danny flinched but he answered strongly, "No. I know the inside of Jordan's heart. He just loves me. He doesn't pity me."

"Dan, you're working several huge obstacles out of your way. You've accepted that Michael was not your fault." He watched Danny's eyes shine with tears. "You've discovered that Jordan would be gay no matter whether you had met him or not."

"I guess," Danny whispered.

"Jordan's father is who he is. Can you change him?"


"Now you're facing a big decision. If you stay with Jordan, you feel you'll be a weight around his neck and he'll grow to hate you. Is that right?"

"I never said hate."

"Oh, what then?"

"I mean, he'd........he'd eventually want more. Want more than I can give him."

"More what?"

Danny searched for words. "Freedom. Movement.........Sex."

"Ahhhh, so what you and Jordan have is all about sex?"

"Stop. You're putting words in my mouth."

"You said the word."

"Well, he does deserve more."

"Dan, when you and Jordan have sex..............,"

"Make love," Danny murmured.

"Good. When you and Jordan make love, is he happy?"

Danny remembered all the laughter, the soft words, the whispers, the moans, the subtle pain followed by the sunburst of joy. Nose to nose, toes to toes. "Yes, he's happy." He stared at his hands, twisting the silver ring:

"These are our 'Always' rings, Danny. The 'J' in yours and the 'D' in mine. I'll always love you...........always."

Danny closed his eyes as the memories flooded back. The giggles, the tears, the gentle touching, the waves of pleasure.

"Dan, I want you to picture your life with Jordan and your life without him. Next time we talk I want to know what you see. No walking back into the dark now."

Daniel Trainor Post Session 6

Dan is fighting so hard to overcome huge obstacles. His life has been one long string of painful circumstances. He is unable to accept that he could be the light of someone's life.
He needs to let Jordan help him with this but his pride is winning out.
The brace will build his confidence.
We will continue to talk over his concerns about his future.

Jordan couldn't talk to the one person he needed to. He'd never tell Danny where he'd been or what was said. Danny didn't need anymore hurt.

"Griff, I did everything I could." They were sitting out on the sand watching JD chasing the surf.

"Yeah, you did, Jord. It'll all fall down on your old man one day. He's one lucky bastard to have you and your mom. I don't know if I'd been that nice about it all."

"He loves me, Griff. I know somewhere down in there, he cares. But what he did was unforgivable. He hurt Dan. I don't know how I'll ever get him to come home now."

You know that old saying about March coming in like a lion......well, stand on the sand of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina in the middle of March and you'd totally feel the impact of an entire pride of lions roaring their wrath down the shifting sliding shore. The waves were cold, the air was frigid and Markie, Jordan and JD were out braving the winter, walking a section of unfamiliar beach.

"So, Marks, somethin' I should know about?" Jordan grinned. He'd watched Markie and Griff cut their eyes at each other. He'd watched Griff ease his way into JD's life. The new job had taken him to Leland but he was still only 20 minutes away and seemed to be underfoot constantly.

"No," Markie huffed, then sighed, "Maybe........Yes."

Jordan looked at his best girl. "Marks, you knew this would happen one day. We've both prayed for this to happen for you. I didn't know it would be my best friend in the world but that just makes it all that much greater."

"I don't want to leave you, Jordan. I don't want JD to lose you."

"He's my son, Markie. He won't lose me." He leaned in a kissed her soft wind reddened cheek.

They walked along the shore watching the waves kick up, Jordan wishing Dan was here to share the day.


Jordan broke out of his thoughts as JD's voice rang out.

"Daddy.........Look. The house!!" He wiggled to get down and bounced, pointing to the white clapboard house with gray shingles, a porch running all the way around and a swing swaying in the cold winter wind. "Daddy!! Your house!!" JD took off at a run through the white sand and up the long wooden ramp that lead to the porch.

Jordan looked. His heart opened up and everything inside seemed to flow out. Danny's house!! "Marks!!"

Markie smiled, "Danny's house..oh, Jordan."

They climbed the steps and tapped on the door. Peering through the windows, they could tell the house was empty.

"Jordan.....Look!" Markie called from the street side. He followed her voice to find her looking at a "For Sale By Owner" sign tacked to the front door.

"If this isn't an omen, I just don't know," Markie laughed.

"OMG, Marks."

"It's prolly expensive, Jordy. It's right on the beach."

"I don't care. I have to know. This is Danny's house, for cripe's sake. I have to get Danny his house!!"

Markie fished out her cell phone and dialed the number that was written on the black and white sign. Jordan grabbed it out of her hand.

"Oh. Um....I'm calling about the house for sale on north Wrightsville Beach."
"Oh.....okay. Well........."
"Sure. I know where that is."
"Thank you."

"What was that all about?" Markie asked, watching the emotions fly across Jordan's face.

"That was the RestHaven Assisted Living Facility," Jordan said softly.


"The lady said that a patient there owns the house and will only sell it if he talks to the buyer and likes them."

Markie frowned. "What kind of deal is that?"

"I have no idea but, Marks, I want this house."

"Jordan, you know we can't afford to buy a house on the beach. It prolly costs something like $500,000 or more. We don't have the money, sweetie." Markie felt awful. She hadn't seen Jordan this happy in well, since Danny had been at graduation. That had been years. She wished she didn't have to rain on his happy parade.

"Are you gonna go?"

"Well, duhhh!"

Markie smacked his arm. "When?"

"Right now. The lady said I could come right now. I'll drop you guys off at home and go. I can't wait, Marks."

"Jordy, don't get your hopes up."

"I don't know.......there's something about this, Marks. I'm gonna have this house. Danny is gonna live in this house. I can feel it."

"I can't believe it looks so much like the painting Danny sent you for Christmas."

"I know. That's why I just have the weirdest feeling. Oh God, Marks, Danny's house. We found Danny's house."

JD pulled on his daddy's pants leg. "I found it, Daddy. Me! Me! Me!"

Jordan grabbed JD up and swung him around in wide circles. 'Yes, you did, you sweet little angel boy. You found Danny's house. I love you!!!"

Jordan dropped them off and as Markie was turning the key in the door, Griff slid his arm around her waist, picking JD up and hoisting him into his other arm. "My two favorite people," he smiled.

"Griff ! I found Danny's house. I did ! I found it by myself ! ME !!!!" JD was too excited to make much sense.

"What, Kiddo?" he threw a questioning look at Markie.

"Wait, I'll show you," she laughed, as she got the door open.

JD ran over to his Daddy's room and clammered up on the bed to lift the little 8X12 painting off the wall. "This house, Griff. Prince Happiness' house. Daddy loves Prince Happiness. This is where he lives."

"Ooookay, that makes piles of sense, little guy," Griff smiled, turning to Markie. "What's going on?"

Markie took the painting out of JD's little hand and her eyes widened. To herself, she murmured, "This is exactly the same house. Not like that house............It IS that house."

"Somebody tell me what's going on."

"Danny sent this painting to Jordan for Christmas when he was in San Diego. You know how Jordan is always going on about the house that they'll live in."

Griff remembered Jord soothing Danny on the phone on the trip back from Florida. "Yes, Danny's dream house."

"That's the one. Well, we found it today."

"I found it," JD crowed.

"Yes, baby, you found it," Markie smiled and ruffled his soft blond hair.

"A house that looks like this?"

"I can't believe I'm saying this but..........we found THAT house. And it's for sale and Jordan went to see that owner."

"Markie, it'll cost a mint."

"I know. He's gonna be worse than disappointed. I don't know what to do. We just don't have the money to buy a beach house."

Jordan stopped in the circle drive in the front of the Resthaven Nursing Home. Climbing out, he walked quickly through the front double doors and over to the desk. "I called a bit ago about the house for sale on Wrightsville Beach." He glanced around to see several elderly people visiting with family and friends or watching television.

"Yes, I remember. I told Mr. Collins you called. He'll be happy for the company." She led the way to a glass enclosed patio off the back of the main building. Jordan saw a white haired gentleman sitting in a wheelchair watching some cardinals pecking at a seed bell under the eaves of the roof.

"Mr. Collins." The man turned his head and Jordan was met by brilliant blue eyes, sharp and alive. "This is the young man that called about your house."

Jordan walked over and held out his hand. "Hi, I'm Jordan Lawrence, Sir."

"Nicholas Collins." He had a strong handshake and a twinkle in his eyes. "So, you're interested in my house?" He gestured towards a chair and Jordan pulled it over close to the man's arm.

"Oh yes, Sir. I have such huge reasons for wanting your house. That very house." He so wished Danny was here right now. It was his house, after all. "It's very expensive, I know. I'm hoping, so hoping we can work something out."

"What do you do for a living, Jordan?"

"I'm a teacher. I teach Literature at the high school."

"Are you married?" He watched shadows cross the young man's face and cloud his bright green eyes.


"You have a girl? Want the house to raise a family?"

**Raise a family? Oh God. Here's where the lies always start.**

"I have a son. His name is JD."

"And his mother?" Nicholas watched Jordan struggling with his answer. "Never mind, son. I'm a nosey old man." There was much more to this young man than met the eye. "You said you have huge reasons for wanting my house. Could you tell me?"

Jordan didn't know where to start. He knew there were things he couldn't say; things he couldn't tell Mr. Collins if he wanted the house. Things you don't say to people. How could he explain that he wanted the house so he and his boyfriend......In that instant, Jordan realized that he had no name for Danny. He was more than his boyfriend. What was he? His always. His forever. No, he couldn't tell him the truth. The truth always hurt. The man would look at him with hatefilled eyes and tell him he'd never sell his home to a queer. Jordan wouldn't lie about Danny. Wouldn't make up some stupid story about how straight he was. He didn't know what to say.

"I have a painting," he said slowly. "Someone I love sent me a small painting. We always dreamed of living in the house in that painting, Mr. Collins. When I saw your house there on the beach, it was the house in the painting."

"And you want to live there with your love?"

Jordan felt those damn tears welling up. He looked up with wet unhappy eyes. "Oh, yes, Sir."

The sun was on the slant now and shining into the older man's eyes. He ran his hands to the wheels of the chair and made a move to turn himself.

"Let me, Sir," Jordan said and jumped up to deftly swing the wheelchair around so the sun filtered away. He knelt and carefully locked the brakes.

"You know someone who uses a wheelchair, Jordan?" He looked deeply into Jordan's eyes, through the tears.


"Is it someone you love?"


Nicholas had always been good at reading people. Sam had always teased him, calling him psychic, telling him to get out people's minds. This was one of those times. Nicholas sighed, 'Sam, I wish you were here to see the young man who wants to buy our house. He's trying so hard not to say anything and it's flying off him like rays of sunlight. Shall we help him?'

Nicholas smiled. "Do you have time to listen to a story, young Jordan?"

Jordan heard the compassion, the honesty in his voice. "I have all the time in the world, Sir."

"Call me Nicholas, please."

"Yes, S.......Nicholas." Jordan settled into his chair by the older man's arm and watched the blue eyes as they reached back in time.

"I built that house with someone I loved. Loved with all my heart. Will always love. The love in that house is in the walls, the furniture, the very air. We lived there away from the world. I was a lawyer; Sam was a painter. I was the one who ran our lives. Sam was the one who made it beautiful."

Jordan listened, the tears tipping his eyelashes.

"We had a hard time, Sam and I. Life isn't always the way you want it. But, if you want something badly enough, you endure. We wanted to be together. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"

"Yes, Nicholas," Jordan whispered, sounding very young. "Where is Sam now?"

"My Sam died five years ago. He's just waiting for me now."

"Oh, I'm so sor.........."

"Don't be, Jordan. He's with me everyday. You have someone in your life that you love that much?"

"Oh yes."

"And you want to live with him in my house?"


"What's your young man's name?"

Jordan sighed, "Danny."

"Will you bring me the painting the next time you come to see me?"

"Yes, of course I will. Would you like to meet my son?"

"I would indeed. Where is Danny? He isn't with you, is he?" He watched the shutters fall over Jordan's bright smile.

"No, Dan is in Oregon."

"Why so far from you?"

"Reasons important to Dan."

"Not to you?"

"No, never to me."

'What do you think, Sam?' Nicholas murmured in his heart. He cocked his head and smiled gently. 'Yes, me too.'

"Come back tomorrow, Jordan. Bring the painting. Perhaps we can strike a bargain. I'll talk it over with Sam."

It was so odd but Jordan knew exactly what Nicholas felt as he talked with 'his Sam' because Jordan did it all the time too. He talked to Danny in his heart.

"I'll be back tomorrow, Nicholas, if that's all right. I have some people I'd like you to meet."

"Your family?"

"Yes," Jordan smiled, "My family."

Driving home, Jordan talked to Danny in his heart, reaching out to touch his face. "Dan, I found our house. I made a new friend. Life's working out for us, baby. Can you feel me talking to you?"

Danny stopped writing the notes for his Structure class, tilted his head to one side and smiled as he felt Jordan's fingers brush lightly over his face. "Hi, Jordy."

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