I gently unwrap Levi’s arm from me to sneak away from the couch. It is 5:30am so I decide to use this time to shower and pack some clothes before I wake him up. My neck hurts from sleeping in the crook of Levi’s arm all night, but I am not going to complain too much, I love the comfort of his body holding mine. It is the first time I have gotten a full night’s rest without having any worry invading my mind.
“Levi, wake up!” I tap on his shoulder.
He rubs his eyes and stretches while trying to focus on me.
“What time is it?“, his voice groggy.
“It’s 6:30”, I tell him.
“6:30 at night? come back and lay down with me”, he pats the couch.
I pull on his arm, making him sit up.
” It is 6:30 in the morning, now come on I have to get to work”, I laugh and wrap his arm around the back of my shoulder to help him stand.
I bring him into the bathroom to use the toilet and so he can brush his teeth. We are awkwardly standing together at the sink while he maneuvers his toothbrush with one hand, his left arm around my neck and my right arm holding around his waist so I can support his weight. I am a little annoyed that he does not think anything of it, he just goes about doing what he has to do at the sink while I hold him up.
“You know this would be a lot easier if you sat in your wheelchair to do this”.
“No, this is fine”, he says nonchalantly.
“Ok, let’s get going then”, I say as I lead him around with me to my room to grab my bag, then to the kitchen to grab my keys and out the door to my jeep. I guess I cannot be too annoyed, I am the one who didn’t force him to take his chair with us yesterday.
We grabbed some Starbucks coffee and breakfast on the way to the rehab center. When we get there, I lead him to his room and towards his wheelchair.
“I’ll sit on the bed for now”, he says.
“Alright”, I exaggerate.
“I have a ton of work to catch up on, so you’ll have to meet Nate in the gym”, I let him know, and then lean towards him and plant a quick kiss onto his lips.
“I’ll bring your chair next to you so you can transfer when you want”, I try to say, but he cuts me off and says with a stern voice,
" No chair, Sarah can walk me to the gym”.
I give him a weird look even though he is the one acting weird today. I turn to walk out the door, let out a small sigh of confusion, and simply say, “Fine... I will come find you this afternoon”.
Why is he acting so strange about his wheelchair? I ask myself. Is it something I did or said, or worse, is it something Andy said to him yesterday causing this newfound persistence to not use his chair? As much as I want to be with him every minute, our arms wrapped around each other, walking together... I can’t. I cannot walk him around everywhere and get my work done. I need to get his stubborn ass back to using his chair.
I found him sitting on the couch in the lounge after I finished all my other work. No wheelchair in sight, only Levi. I walked over to him and he looks up at me smiling, then pulls me down onto his lap to kiss me.
" I missed you all day”, he cheerfully says.
I’m glad he’s in a good mood so I quickly blurt out, ” Let’s get to the gym, we are going to tackle your fear of the parallel bars”, hoping he doesn’t switch his mood to angry.
Too late! He pushes me off his lap and glares at me.
“What? No, absolutely not”, he grunts.
“Levi, you have to work on this and I’m going to be the one helping you this time”, I try to deter him from thinking about his first horrible experience with the bars.
He sighs while I lock his left leg brace, then puts his arm around me so we can walk to the gym. I stop with him right at the edge of the piece of equipment he’s so scared of and move myself to stand in front of him, in between the bars. I tightly grab both of his hips. He does not move and keeps both of his arms firmly holding my shoulders.
“Levi, you have to let go and grab the bars”, I tell him.
“No!... I can’t”, his accent accentuating his shaky voice.
“You’re not going to fall, your leg brace is locked and I’m holding you... you just need to grab the bars and practice using your arms to help you balance while you walk”, I let him know.
He slowly releases his grip from my shoulders and places both hands down onto each bar. As soon as he takes a step forward his left arm gives out and he huffs loudly at me. He does not fall though because I am holding his hips steady. He pauses to peer into my eyes and all I can see is frustration all over his face. So, I glide my grip up his left side to help straighten his stance while he tries to make his left hand hold the bar again. His arm continues to give out every time he tries to support his weight with each step, and he is staring at me like he wants to strangle me, but I ignore it. We almost reach the end of the bars when all of the sudden his left hand lets go and he yells, ” Ow! Fuck”. He winces in pain at his left arm going into spasm.
I quickly reach my left arm to wrap around the back of him, bring his spasming arm up to rest against his chest then bring myself close and embrace him.
“I’m sorry, we should’ve stopped after a few steps, I made you work too hard”, I apologize.
I keep hold of him, putting pressure on his left arm while it is embraced between us. It seems like he has been holding his breath forever, waiting for the pain to stop. When it finally does, he exhales and says, ” I’m fine now, can you bring me back to my room?“.
I get him back to his room and he lays down onto his bed, grabs the remote and starts flipping through channels, all while keeping his eyes from looking at me.
I sit down beside him on the bed, put my hand on his thigh and speak softly hoping that he will at least acknowledge me,
" I’m very proud of you for trying so hard on the bars, it will get better if we keep working at it”. He does not look at me, he just keeps his eyes focused on the screen and says,
Not sure what I should do or say now. I feel terrible that the parallel bars ended with a painful spasm and he is upset right now. So, I force myself to leave him alone in his room since he does not want to talk to me anyway.
I went home to try to get some sleep but of course I just ended up lying in bed worried about Levi. In the morning I made sure I got back to the facility before he woke up.
“Where did you go last night?“, I hear his tired voice ask me when I entered his room. I thought he would still be sleeping, but instead he tells me that he was up all night wondering why I left.
“I know you were upset with me, so I wanted to give you some space”, I tell him.
“I don’t need space... I just hate using the parallel bars”, he looks at me hoping that I believe him.
“I know ... I’m sorry...That’s why we can take a break from the bars and try something else”, I say to him.
He is only in his boxers, so I throw a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt at him and tell him to get dressed.
He looks at me surprised and asks, “You are not going to help me?“.
“No, you can dress yourself, I will be back in a few minutes,“, I smirk, pushing his wheelchair next to his bed before heading out of the room.
When I get back, he’s dressed and sitting up on the edge of the bed.
“Why aren’t you in your chair”, I ask him.
He narrows his eyes at me and growls, ” I’m not using the wheelchair so stop asking me”.
“Fine”, and I lean down next to him so we can grab hold of each other like usual and walk to the weight room. I bring him to the weight chair and strap in his left arm and leg. I set the weight at 5lbs and he begins alternating his arm and leg, pulling, and pushing the weight. After the first set of ten, I see him wince and hold his breath. He can barely move 5lbs now and his arm is twitching under the straps.
“Ok, take a break before you try it again, I’ll lower the weight this time”, I say.
“No! Do not lower the weight”, he demands in a harsh voice.
He struggles through another set until I see both his leg and arm shaking.
“Levi, you need to stop now so that you still have strength to work on something else today”, I persist.
He reluctantly lets me detach him from the weights and I pull him up to stand in front of me. When he wraps his arms around the back of my neck, I pull him into me and hug him for a quick moment. He does not seem to want to hug me back, so I let go and reach up to put my hands on both sides of his face, look into his worried blue eyes and say,
” You are doing great”.
He doesn’t respond, instead he looks at me and gives me a fake smile.
We went from weights to stretching to working in the pool the remainder of the day. I could see he was exhausted, dark circles forming under his eyes from lack of sleep. His stubbornness kept him going and he worked through his painful spasms. I kept praising him and rewarding him with small kisses and hugs, but he did not want to reciprocate my affection and I was afraid of finding out why.
The same went on for the rest of the week and then the next. Still stubborn, working himself too hard and refusing to even look at the wheelchair. I slept alone at my place each night while he was alone in his room. Somehow, even though I was also getting frustrated, I managed to keep acting the same around him, showing him affection and showing him that I cared. He is not going to push me away that easily.
It was now the day before Thanksgiving, and I had had enough of Levi’s behavior. If he no longer wanted me to be more than just his therapist, then he needs to tell me that.
Again, he was dressed and sitting on the edge of his bed when I arrived. This time he smiled at me when he saw me walk in.
“Good morning Love!“, he greets me.
I am in shock of course, not expecting this mood at all.
“Good morning”, I slowly stretch the words out from my mouth.
“Come here”, he beckons, stretching his arms out towards me.
I hesitate to make my way towards him. He pulls me into him and hugs me.
“I’m sorry for the way I have been acting”, he says with his head on my chest.
“You have been mad at me for the past two weeks! I want to know why”, I say to him.
He lifts his head from my chest and discloses, “I was not mad at you; I was mad at myself... I just took it out on you, I shouldn’t have... I’m sorry”.
“Why are you so mad at yourself?“, I ask him.
“Because we have tried everything to make my left side stronger and nothing is working. I am sorry if it bothers you to always have you walk with me, but I hate being dependent on a wheelchair, I do not want to use it.... I want my left side to work and I want to walk!“, his eyes tearing up as he confesses this to me.
I place a soft kiss onto his lips then he lays his head on my chest and hugs me again.
“I know Levi, that is why I’m going to California on Friday”, I tell him.
He quickly pushes back,
“My new rehab facility in LA is open and I need to go there and make sure all my new programs are up and running”, I tell him.
I can see he is nervous, and I know he hates when I leave, so I quickly assure him,
" It is a very short trip, I’ll be back Sunday night, I promise”.
“Ok”, he solemnly says and looks down at the floor.
I grab both of his hands and he looks at me.
" Will you please come to my place for Thanksgiving tomorrow?“, I ask him.
His face lights up, “Sure I would love to”.
Thankfully, he stays in a good mood the rest of the morning and does not give me a hard time when I tell him I am leaving early to go food shopping.
“I am picking up my brother and parents from the airport tonight, and I’ll be back to get you in the morning”, I smile and kiss him goodbye.
Thanksgiving morning Levi was waiting in the Lobby for me when I arrived. I had to catch my breath at the mesmerizing sight of him. His hair was smoothed up and out of his face. His black jeans and light blue button-down shirt accentuated his blue eyes and his perfectly sculpted upper body. I am not sure what his firsts thoughts are when he looks at me, I am only dressed in a dark grey knee length dress with long laced sleeves. My long black coat covering most of me.
“Hey beautiful”, he grins widely.
“Hey!“, I smile then lean down to kiss him.
" You look really nice”, I whisper into his ear before we head out to the car.
Levi sat quietly and held my hand the whole drive to my apartment, only looking anxious and squeezing my hand when we finally get there.
" Don’t worry it will be fun!“, I try and convince him and kiss him on his cheek before helping him out of the car.
I have already filled in my parents and brother about Levi and his accident, so they will not be surprised to see me holding onto him as we walk in. My parents are usually disappointed in my choice of guys. My dad has always wanted me to find some smart doctor, but that would never work out with our jobs and schedules. My brother does not understand why I would want to date one of my patients, he says it’s like taking my work home with me all the time. I obviously do not agree with him, I know he is just looking out for me.
Everyone greets us when I walk in with Levi. My dad and brother shake Levi’s hand and ask him if he wants to watch the football game with them. I bring Levi to the couch and sit him down so he can lean on the arm rest. This is my chance to help my mom in the kitchen and get all the food out onto the table.
“Dinner is ready”, my mom shouts to the guys.
My dad heads right to the table but my brother takes his time watching Levi put his arm around me while I stand him up. I look over at my brother and he rolls his eyes at me to prove his earlier point. It would be better for Levi if he used his wheelchair here, he would not have to wait for me every time he wants to move somewhere.
Dinner tastes great and everyone is engaged in constant chatter. A few times I feel Levi reach under the table and squeeze my leg which makes me smile.
The three guys get back to watching football while I help mom clean up.
" Sorry I have to leave tomorrow mom, you can stay here while I’m gone and we can spend some time together when I get back”, I tell her.
She gladly takes me up on my offer and says they have a hotel for tonight but will stay at my place the rest of the weekend. I got my brother and father tickets to the Bruins game this weekend, so they are psyched about that.
After everyone left, I walked Levi to the bedroom, and he sat on the bed while I looked for comfortable clothes to sleep in. He changed into some cotton shorts but did not want a shirt. I certainly didn’t mind that.
He pulled me onto the bed with him.
“Come lay down next to me, you’ve done enough today”, he smirks.
I gladly lay next to him and pull the covers over us. He immediately turns on his side to face me while I lie on my back and he starts tracing my ear with his finger. Slowly and lightly, he brushes his fingers down my neck. He reaches under my shirt, making small circles around my breasts with his fingertips, then glides one finger down my stomach until he reaches my panty line.
“You should take these off”, he says, his accent makes his voice more seductive.
“Yes, that’s a good idea”, I breathe out.
My breathing is getting heavy as he continues to gently brush my skin with his fingers, causing goose bumps to form all over my body. He reaches his hand down and gently glides his finger into me and slowly pumps it in and out, my body tenses with pleasure and I grab down on the sheets.
" You are so ready for me”, he says.
I roll onto my side so that we are face to face, our bodies touching and move my hand down between his thighs and see that he is ready too.
" I need you Charlotte”, he moans, while sliding himself into me.
" It feels so good”, I say to him.
He catches my words with his mouth, pressing his lips hard onto mine while our bodies move together in a sensual rhythm.
We fell asleep after, encased in each other’s arms, both too tired to speak.
The next morning, I got Levi back to the rehab center, checked on all the patients, then talked with Nate to make sure he was all set for the weekend.
I went back to Levi’s room to say goodbye and found him still sitting on his bed where I left him.
" Are you going to stay in this spot until someone comes and walks with you?“, I joke with him.
He laughs, ” Yeah probably”.
" I don’t want you to go”, he looks down and says to me in a low voice.
I walk over to him and stand in between his knees and he grabs my hips to bring me closer. I grasp his face in my hands then lean down and kiss him.
“I have to go... there’s a new treatment that I have to make sure is up and running”, I say.
He pulls me in close and hugs me and I lean my chin on the top of his silky brown hair.
“Everything I’m doing over in L.A. is for you Levi, you will soon see”.