Life is Better with You

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Levi’s POV

Charlotte kept me busy all weekend with therapy. I can completely control my right arm movements, so Charlotte focused on helping me gain enough strength in my arm so that I’m able to support some of my body weight or shift my body when I sit up. Plus, if Emma really shows up today, I want to be able to feed myself without her worrying that she needs to help me.

My left arm is another story. I can move it around but when I try to grab hold of something or use my arm to push anything, it just gives out on me.

I got into the pool for the first time this weekend, which was a nerve wracking and calming experience at the same time. It wasn’t to swim or anything like that. There is a wide swim out in the deep end where the water comes up to my chest when I sit in it. Charlotte was right when she figured that the buoyancy of the water would make it easier for me to learn how to balance myself upright.

I am surprised and relieved when Emma finally calls me to tell me she’s landed in Boston. Nate finished up my morning therapy and helped me get into jeans and a light blue t-shirt. I actually managed to style my hair too. I know I shouldn’t have to, but I feel like I am back to the stage where I need to impress Emma all over again.

Charlotte agreed to let me take the rest of the day off from therapy as long as I promised to work extra hard tomorrow.

I decide to wait in the lobby for Emma to arrive. I can’t help but smile when she walks through the door covering her face from the small swarm of photographers hoping to steal a picture of her... or me.

“Levi!” she squeaks, either surprised or happy, I can’t really tell by her expression, but I hope it’s happy.

“Hey baby! I say back, holding out my hand for her.

She walks over and accepts my hand. I pull her towards me and plant a kiss on her cheek.

I feel a little nervous and start rambling off questions without giving her time to answer, “How was your flight? Are you hungry? Do you want some coffee or tea?”

Not sure she was listening to me because she was just standing in front of me examining me up and down and then staring at my chair.

“Emma”, I call out her name, so she looks at my face.

" Yes, some coffee would be great”, she says.

I lead her outside to the patio. It’s a beautiful day and we can drink our coffee and enjoy the view of the sailboats on the water instead of her focusing her thoughts on my wheelchair.

She smiles while we sit together silently drinking our coffee, neither having the courage to speak first.

Surprisingly, she grabs my hand from across the small table, ” You look great”, she says, and courageously keeps going...

" You’ve told me all you’ve done here so far, but it’s nice to see it in person”.

" Yes, it is nice to see it in person”, I politely remind her while biting my tongue so she can’t hear my annoyance.

I want to tell her that she should have been here in person this whole time.

Changing the subject, I maneuver my wheelchair around to her, still holding her hand and ask her to come for a walk with me. I’m appreciating every moment of her pleasant mood while she follows me to the small garden area. I bring her to a cushioned iron framed love seat among the flowers.

" We should sit here and talk for a while”, I point to the love seat.

Her eyes glance at the love seat then back to my wheelchair. She lets go of my hand and says, ” I need to go freshen up first, is that ok? I will be right back”.

Nodding to her, I ask her to tell Nate to come see me on her way back inside.

Thankfully, Nate quickly comes out to me and I have him help me sit onto the love seat. I know why Emma scurried away; she was looking at me in my wheelchair wondering how to get me onto this bench. So, I wanted Nate to help me before she realized she would have had to pick me up and move my legs for me to sit up properly.

I know she misses me being the one to take care of her, now the roles are reversed, and she doesn’t enjoy it, I can see it in her face... the conflict she’s feeling inside her. I want it to be love that I see in her eyes when she looks at me... and desire to be here for me helping me get through all of this. I would be here if it were her in this chair.

Emma returned after a few minutes. I smiled when she looked at me, amazement in her wide eyes and happily took a seat next to me.

She disclosed herself to me and started talking about our film and how it was wrapping up, maybe completely finished in a month or two. With slight hesitation, she informed me that Liam has stepped up into a more leading roll with her when the director had to make a few changes in my absence.

That made me frown. So, she quickly decided to tell me about the gala they were having in October in honor of the film’s completion, and that she wanted me there for it. I was a bit stunned when she said everyone is looking forward to me attending.

" Yeah! I should be able to make it to that”, I impulsively agree.

It’s getting a little colder out, I notice her rubbing the goose bumps forming on her arms and suggest we eat lunch on the patio near the fire pit.

She stands up and begins to walk towards the patio until she realizes I am still sitting on the bench. She walks back to me, staring at me waiting to see how I’m going to get into my wheelchair.

" Can you help me transfer?” I softly ask her.

“Yes, sure”, apprehensively agreeing then starts walking to stand in front of me.

I place the slide board on my chair and the edge of the bench next to me.

" I’m going to hold onto the back of your neck so you can grab under my arms and lift me up, then slide me into my chair”, I instruct.

She nods, her eyes unsure and places her arms around me. I slide into my chair and get my right leg onto the leg rest. She catches on as I struggle to use my right arm to adjust my left leg and reaches down to move it for me.

Shit ... this was a bad idea; I should’ve just stayed in my wheelchair and avoided this situation. My left arm doesn’t help me any and I’m sure I still look useless to her.

We head up to the patio in silence. This time I stay in my chair when we get to the small table by the fire pit. Sarah brings out our meals and quickly leaves us alone again.

I can’t stand this awkward silence between us, so I gather all the courage I have left inside me to talk to her about what I fear she might say, but I need to hear it.

“Talk to me Emma... Please! I nearly beg.

" I need to know what you’re thinking... What you’re feeling.”

She grabs both of my hands in hers and looks down and I wait for what feels like hours before she looks up at me.

” I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to come back here Levi, I wanted to, but I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel or what I was supposed to do”.

Looking at me while she continues, her blue eyes wary, liquid filling them now.

" I had so much to do back home, finish my scenes, accepting a new role for a new movie”.

I look straight at her, fear and hurt take over when I begin to anticipate what comes next. Her next words are more of a whisper and a tear rolls down her check as she looks away from me.

" I only came to Boston today because I’m catching a plane to Los Angeles tonight to start filming.”

" Please Emma!“, I plead...” I Love you”, I tell her.

She stands up and walks over to me. ” I love you too Levi, but we can’t be together, I can’t be here for you like you need me to be”.

I feel the all too familiar feeling of panic building up as she leans over and kisses me goodbye.

I turn my chair to face the bay and just stare out onto the water. My body is shaking and I’m crying.

I stay out watching the sun disappear from the horizon. I am utterly alone.

Not unloved, she reminded me.... just Unwanted.

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