Ultimate Graduation Gift
By: Jess Mercer
(© 2011 by the author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's
consent. Comments are appreciated at...
are you staring at?"
The harsh tone jerks me out of my daydream.
"Uh, nothing, I guess."
He takes a step closer, raking me with his eyes. I'm a devotee, but I'm usually careful to admire from a distance. Not this time! I've been mesmerized by the fantastic looking guy standing in front of me. He has to be at least six foot two, thick blond hair falling across his forehead, and eyes of turquoise. He's slender, but well built. The prime attraction for me, though, is the pinned up left leg of his crisp jeans, and the pair of forearm crutches supporting him. I try, but I can't seem to take my eyes off him.
"Well?" He asks.
He sighs. "What do you find so damned attractive about me?"
"Everything." Before I can stop myself the words tumble out. "You're the most beautiful guy I've ever seen."
His face flushes slightly.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"I'm not embarrassed." He smiles and I feel chills crawl up my backbone. "It's just been a long time since anybody was this open with me. I see people looking at me, then turn away when they notice I'm watching them."
"Don't see how they can. I wish I could look at you for the rest of my life." Look, hell! I'm in love. I want him in my arms; I want to stroke that beautiful stump and make him understand how gorgeous he is."
He jerks his head toward the small park just across the way. "Got time for some talk?"
He swings along on his crutches so smoothly I'd never notice he was using them if I spotted him on a crowded street. I follow him to a bench set apart from the others. He points to a pushcart where a guy is selling iced sodas. "It's hot. Let's get something cold."
I jump up. "What'll it be?"
"Root beer, if he's got any. Pepsi, if he doesn't."
I get the root beers and hurry back to the bench, half afraid he's vanished. "Thanks," he says, popping the top on the frosty tin and taking a long pull. "Ah, I needed that." He lowers his left hand until it and the drink he's holding are resting in the space his leg would have taken. "I'm Steve. What's your name, fellow?"
"Travis. I go by Trav."
"You in school?"
"The college. I'll be a senior fall semester."
"Didn't think you were more'n a freshman. I start next week with McKinnon Associates. Heard of them?"
"Who hasn't? You must be good."
He smiles modestly. "We'll see. This is my first job. Wouldn't have got it if my old man hadn't gone to school with Tom McKinnon. He's giving me a year on probation to see if I can cut it. What's your major?"
"Mechanical engineering. Wish I had taken architecture like you, but my old man said I'd never make in a field as crowded as that."
"It's tough, all right. I want to open my own office in a small town sometime. I'm sick of cities. You live around here?"
"Nah. Lorton. It's a little place up state. I'm supposed to be getting my books and signing up for a dorm room, but the line's too damn long. I'll stay over and do it tomorrow. Seniors are supposed to get preference, but I'll probably get a shitty room in the old dorm anyway."
Steve finishes off his drink and looks at his watch. "I'd better get moving if I'm going to get my shopping done."
"Mind if I tag along? I got nothing to do, and I can carry stuff for you."
He grins. "So you can watch me some more?"
I grin back. "Yeah."
"At least you're honest. Let's go." He's up on his foot with no effort and, after slipping his arms into the cuffs of his crutches, swings off with an easy stride.
At the supermarket I push the cart while he piles stuff in until I wonder how I'll manage to carry it all. After he's checked out I see him grinning while I struggle to get a grip on the three huge paper bags. He holds the third one until I get them balanced safely.
"How the hell did you plan to carry all this stuff?" I ask when we're outside.
He snickers. "I was going back to the flat and get my car, but you came along, so I decided to make you pay for all the looking you did. Worth it?"
"You're a rat. But, yeah, it's worth it. You're smooth a silk on crutches. How long's it been?"
"Wow! No wonder. Didn't you get a leg?"
"Yeah, but short as my stump is, the leg's practically useless. I had to use a cane with it, so I like crutches better. More comfortable and I'm not even conscious of them unless somebody stares at me like you did."
"Don't be so damn sensitive. You've got to let those of us who aren't good looking enjoy the sight."
He stops so suddenly I almost run into him. He's looking me over again. "Not a damn thing wrong with you, other than looking like a kid. Let's go."
We don't say anything else to each other until we're in his small kitchen and he takes the top bag from my arms and sets it on the counter. Then I can set the rest down without dropping anything. When he starts pulling stuff out and putting it away, I take the frozen stuff and put it in the freezer section of his fridge. After he's folded the last bag flat and stuffed them under the sink, he says, "What about a beer?"
"Great. I'm hot as hell."
He hands me one from the fridge and takes another for himself, then swings toward the living room, pausing to turn the AC up before he flops down in a leather recliner. I take an easy chair near him and look around. There's a large desk with a computer, and a drafting table near the front windows. Across from our chairs, one wall is taken up with filled bookshelves and a big-screen TV with surround sound equipment.
"I appreciate your help, Trav. I could have gotten that stuff in, but you saved me a lot of trips to the car."
"No problem. You've got a great place here. I'll bet the sound on that TV is awesome."
"It was at home; I could let it shake the place. Here I have to keep it down. I miss it."
"I hope when I get a job after school I can make this good a life for myself."
"No reason you can't. I'm going out to eat tonight, I'll be glad to have you come along." He grins. "Since you helped, I'll buy."
"You don't have to do that. Besides, you said I owed you for the looking, and you better believe I'm still enjoying the view."
"So I've noticed. Go wash up, if you want. Clean towel behind the door."
I'd gotten so hot and sweaty carrying the bags, I scoop up my backpack and head for the bath, glad I brought along clean socks, underwear, and another shirt. I can see why he has this flat. The bath is equipped with grab bars and everything else he might need. The large shower stall even has a seat built in. The pulsating water feels great. I only wish he were in here with me. While I'm drying with a luxuriously thick towel, I come to my senses. Enjoy the evening, kid, cause this is as much as you're gonna get of this dream, I tell myself.
I've just pulled on my clean bikini briefs when he comes in. "About time you got out of my shower."
"Sorry, but it's great."
"No problem, but I need one myself."
I feel him looking me over. I have a fairly decent build I'm not ashamed for anybody to see, but I wish I had his blond good looks. I'm almost six feet tall and dark haired, but my baby-face is embarrassing to a guy old as me. I'm sorry when he sits down on the bed and waits for me to finish dressing, then waves me out. I'd love to see his awesome bod in the raw.
I switch on his TV to watch the evening news, keeping the sound low in hopes he'll call me to pin up his pants leg, but he doesn't. When he comes out, I see why. The left leg of his slacks has been tailored neatly over his short stump.
We go to a nice quiet little restaurant and have a good meal. I suppose it is, but with Steve to look at, I hardly notice what I eat. I keep reminding myself that the fall into reality is going to be hard and make me miserable, but I can't help myself. I'm falling deeper and deeper in love with this guy, who's shown no apparent interest in me, other than being nice in a casual way. He begins to ask me personal questions which I answer without thinking twice.
We go back to his flat after dinner and he makes coffee. Once we each have a mug in hand, he looks at me with a neutral expression. "What do you think of gays?"
The question is so unexpected I almost drop my mug. I set it down and grab some paper towels from the kitchen and wipe up the drops of coffee that landed on the carpet, hopeful that it won't stain the dark carpet.
Steve nods in approval. "I like a guy who's neat. Thanks."
He keeps staring at me, finally asking, "You going to answer my question?"
"How do you feel about gays?"
"If you're asking, yeah, I'm gay."
As if admitting to him I'm gay isn't enough, my answer to this one is going to finish it. "You should know that already. Guys with one leg have fascinated me all my life. I've always wanted to have only one leg. Maybe some day I'll make it come true."
He stares at me for a minute, then smiles. "I had you figured for a devotee and gay, but I'd never have guessed a guy like you was a wannabe. I'm impressed by how openly honest you are with a stranger. I like that, because I like you. Think you'd like living with me while you finish school?"
"Don't joke with me, Steve, I've fallen for you hard."
"Then we can give it a try tonight and see if it's going to work out."
I can't take my eyes off his fantastic looking four-inch stump when he strips for bed. He lies down beside me and wraps his arms around me, giving ecstatic moans while my hand caresses his stump. No way life can get any better than this.
My parents are charmed by Steve when he drives me home to pick up all my stuff for my return to school. Dad, who's not easily impressed, is delighted when Steve tells him I'll either study and make good grades, or he'll kick my ass out the door.
For me it's a year filled with change. My face loses its chubbyness, thinning into mature craggy planes in a way that pleases both me and Steve. When I make A's in every course to please him, he asks me if I still want to be an amputee. Fool question! Of course I do.
In a way I'd as soon not know, Steve locates an impoverished foreign medical resident who will be returning to his own country in a few days. The guy's so desperate for a few bucks he doesn't hesitate to accede to our request. We go to a deserted farm where the resident fills my right leg so full of local anesthetic I have no sensation in it at all. One swipe with a chain saw and I'm a mid-thigh amp.
After my stump heals, our pleasure in each other doubles. It's the ultimate graduation gift.