If There's A Chance
I woke the next morning, Charlotte’s head burrowed into my chest. She looks so beautiful even in her sleep. I lightly kiss the top of her head and whisper “I love you”.
Now that I have confessed my love for her, I can’t stop saying those three words to her every chance I get. There is no going back. She is mine and I am hers and I know I must do whatever it takes to walk again, to be the man she needs, to make her happy always.
“Good morning!” She looks up at me smiling.
“Good Morning, Love” I kiss her lips this time.
“Are you ready for today?” she asks, looking slightly worried for me.
Honestly, I am not sure I’m ready for this trip to California. I have come to despise the process of getting onto a plane. I am excited and apprehensive about the stem-cell procedure. There is nothing I want more than to get back the strength I need in my hips and left side, but there’s also the chance this treatment may not work and that is the part that really scares me. I know Charlotte is worried about that too, she knows how badly I want this, and knowing her; the most conscientious person I know, will feel like she has let me down if this doesn’t work. I will not let her feel that way, I promise myself this. Whatever happens, I need to remind her that she is doing everything she can to help me.
“Levi!”, she snaps me out of my thoughts.
“Sorry, yes I’m ready for today”, I smile.
We get to the airport and I numbly undergo the same degrading security procedure. Charlotte is patiently waiting for me nearby looking at me with her beautiful doting eyes, so I keep my gaze fixed on her while security invades my space.
She holds her hand out for me after and I happily grab it, our fingers intertwined as we make our way to our gate.
“I’m sorry you have to go through that every time”, she says to me.
“I’m getting used to it”, I try to convince her.
We check in my chair and walk together onto the plane and get into our seats without any problems. Halfway into our flight Charlotte notices that I am bouncing my leg up and down out of nervousness and I accidently squeeze her hand tight enough to cause her concern. I can’t hold it in any longer and the thought of what comes next vexes me.
“Levi, what’s wrong?”
“I have to piss”, I huff.
I hear her breathe in deep and let out a sigh. She is dredging this as much as I am, but she does her best not to show it for my sake.
“Okay, let’s go then”, she says in the most confident manner.
“How are we going to do this?” Panic clear in my voice.
“The bathroom is three feet away, we can do this, I will just squeeze into there with you”, she half laughs.
“This isn’t funny, everyone will be staring at us”, I remind her.
“What? Don’t tell me you haven’t made any movies where you meet a nice girl on an airplane and have sex with her in the tiny bathroom”, she laughs again.
“Um, no I haven’t”, laughing with her this time.
She helps me stand and locks my left leg brace while I hold on to the back of my seat. There isn’t any room in the aisle for us to walk side by side, so she stands behind me, her body close to mine and holds my hips steady as we take a few steps to the bathroom. We get inside the cramped space and she shuts the door.
“This is humiliating you know”, I mutter.
“Well, I can always start moaning loudly then let everyone know that we just had the most amazing sex when they stare at us walking back to our seats”, she giggles.
“I’m kidding Levi, but I am sure the onlookers will be the ones humiliated If I blurted that out, not us”.
“You’re killing me Charlie! I’m done, let’s get back to our seats”, I smirk.
We sit back in our seats and decide to watch a movie. I can see her peering at me every so often and gripping my hand a little firmer.
“I can feel you looking at me”, I smile.
“Your handsome face makes it hard not to…I love you”, she utters.
Her eyes look as if they are peering right through my soul. Her touch and the way she tells me she loves me, causes that butterfly feeling in my stomach. I gape at her as if she weren’t real. The butterfly feeling turns into fear and trepidation with just the thought of what will happen if this treatment doesn’t work.
“Charlotte, will you still love me if it doesn’t work? If I never get my strength back or ever walk again”, my voice trembling when I ask her.
She grabs hold of the front of my shirt and pulls me towards her and kisses my lips, slowly and passionately. She runs her fingers through the back of my hair before grasping onto the strands and leaning our foreheads together. She releases her lips from mine and says, “No matter what happens, I will always love you, I am not going anywhere”.
“Good”, I smirk.
Somehow, we finagle our luggage and my wheelchair into an Uber and head over to her new rehab facility. The building is more expansive than the one in Boston. She says it holds double the patients and offers more invasive treatments right on site, so no one needs to have anything done at the hospital. I can have the stem-cell injections done here along with my therapy afterwards.
She brings me to meet Dr. Lee, who will be performing my procedures. We watch a small presentation on stem-cells and how they work with the body. I will be having four procedures, two this week and two next week where they will inject the cells directly into my spinal canal. After each injection, I will undergo extensive physical therapy. Dr. Lee goes on to say that there are risks with every procedure, I could get an infection, or my body may reject the cells. And there is always the grim realization of the 50/50 chance it may or may not work. He gives me hope though and tells me that there has been a lot of success with other patients and he is confident that I will also have some success.
Charlotte shows me to my room then tells me to feel free to tour around place while she gets some work done in her office.
“Can I see your office?”, I ask her.
I don’t want to be alone in this strange place, the size of this building is intimidating, and she is the only person I know here.
“Of course! You can come, as long as you do not mind hanging out while I do boring paperwork”, she says.
“You don’t have to worry about me as long as I’m with you”, I attest.
“Great, and afterwards I can give you a tour and we can grab something to eat. Your first procedure is at eight tonight”, she reminds me.
Even with the six-hour flight, it is still early in the day here because of the time difference. Charlotte had enough time to get some work done and bring me around the facility.
“So, this is where you run off to every time you leave me alone in Boston, huh?” I josh.
“Yup, this is the place”.
“This place is amazing! You are amazing”, I praise her which causes her to smile ear to ear.
The cafeteria is massive, and it offers every kind of food imaginable. She reminds me to pick something light to eat because of my upcoming procedure. She watches me with concern as I pick at my food, but she doesn’t say anything. My nerves are getting to me and I don’t have much of an appetite.
“How about I help you get into the shower? The hot water will feel good after our long flight and will help ease some of your stress”, she suggests.
“How about you take a shower with me? That will surely relieve my stress”, I tease.
“Don’t tempt me Levi”.
We hurry back to my room and she runs the water until it turns hot, then helps me get undressed and onto the shower chair.
“Are you all set?”, she asks me.
But I don’t respond, instead I quickly grab her arm before she walks away and pull her into the shower with me. Her clothes are still on and she lets out a yelp when the water touches her.
“Levi, what are you doing”, she shrieks with excitement.
I still don’t answer, I just start taking off her clothes and throwing them onto the shower floor. Her flawless naked body standing in front of me while the hot water pours over her. All worry flushed away from my mind at this moment and I reach around her waist and pull her onto straddle my lap. Her skin feels so soft against mine. I grab some soap and start massaging her back while she runs her fingers through and tugs at my hair. My body aches for her touch, her sublime lips softly caressing mine as she takes me into herself.
“I love you so much”, I moan as I release all of myself to her.
Our perfect moment comes to an end and she helps me get into some boxers and a hospital gown for the procedure. I walk with her so that we are both sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for the doctor to come and take me away. She starts gently rubbing her soft hand up and down my back in a comforting gesture, then looks at me and asks, “How are you feeling about all this?”
“I am eager and scared at the same time”, I admit.
“Yes, I am too. I am also extremely proud of you for going through with this”, she says.
“I would not be able to do this without you”, I say to her just as the doctor enters my room.
Charlotte helps me into my wheelchair then gives me one last kiss before she whispers into my ear, “I love you, and I will be right here waiting for you when you get back”.
“I love you too Charlotte.”
She gives my hand a squeeze and I bring her hand up to my lips to kiss the back of her palm.
“See you shortly”, I smile while Dr. Lee takes me away.