Hello! Hope all is well! Jed and Sage’s story continues in Broken. This contains both Chap 6 & 7 since both are fairly short. Please be sure to read Chap 1-5 first. Links are below:
Chapter 1 & 2: Link
Chapter 3: Link
Chapter 4: Link
Chapter 5: Link
For the next month, Sage attended all of Jed’s therapy sessions. Although Jed was reluctant at first, he allowed himself to let his guard down around her. To his surprise, they were back to being the same friends they were years ago.
Knowing Sage was his biggest cheerleader during his therapy, Jed continued to work hard. He wanted to impress her, and she used that to push him even harder. Sage gave him no breaks, and he knew that was exactly what he needed.
One evening after dinner, when they pulled up to his parents’ house, Jed noticed the limo parked out front. “Who could that be?” he wondered out loud.
As soon as he had pulled himself into his wheelchair from the car, he heard, “Jed! Oh my gosh! I’ve been worried sick about you.”
Recognizing Bonnie’s voice, he immediately felt his muscles tense. Turning to face her, he asked, “How did you know where to find me?”
“What kind of greeting is that, darling? You look great as usual.” Bonnie leaned down and kissed Jed on the lips.
“Bonnie, how did you know where to find me?” he repeated.
“I kind of found out from Nick’s laptop. I know I shouldn’t have snuck around like that, but he wasn’t talking, and I really had to see you. I’ve missed you so much, babe.”
Sage cleared her throat. “Um, yeah, I gotta go now.”
“Er, sorry, Sage. Yeah, so this is Bonnie.” Jed introduced them awkwardly.
“Hello, I’m his girlfriend,” Bonnie interjected.
“Uh, no, Bonnie. You know that’s not true.” Jed was becoming irritated with her.
“Girlfriend, lover…what’s the difference?” Bonnie purred.
“I have to go,” Sage said, turning quickly to retreat. But, before she could go anywhere, a bright light flashed in her eyes, blinding her. Suddenly, there seemed to be hundreds of flashes coming from every direction.
“Damn it!” Jed cursed. “Let’s get inside.”
“Jed Dalton, do you have a statement for us?” One question after another was being fired off all at once.
“Are you still paralyzed?”
“Is this your new girlfriend?”
“When will you write music again?”
“Will you ever be able to walk again?”
“Is your music career done?”
Sage and Jed retreated into the safety of the house, desperate to escape the paparazzi. Bonnie, on the other hand, stood out there, waving and smiling at the cameras.
“Of course he’ll be writing music. He’s doing fantastic,” Bonnie answered.
Jed cringed in the house, hoping she wouldn’t say anything stupid.
“Real piece of work you got there,” Sage mumbled. “Guess you prefer looks over brains for your girlfriends.”
“Stop. Just stop. You know damn well she’s not my girlfriend.”
“Girlfriend, lover…what’s the difference?” Sage mimicked. “I’m out of here.”
“How are you going to go? They’re all over the place out there.”
“I’d rather face the stupid paparazzi right about now.” Sage ran out and dashed into her car while Bonnie continued to pose for the cameras. As she sped her car out of there, the press had no choice but to get out of her way.
When Jed saw Sage the next day, he was pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t think you’d come today.”
“I told you I was sticking around. Where’s your girlfriend?”
“For the hundredth time, she has never been my girlfriend and never will be. I sent her home last night. I had a feeling she brought the press with her, so I let her have it. She flew back out to LA last night.”
“Now that they know where you’ve been hiding out, what are your plans? They’ll keep hounding you here at your parents’ home. I already saw some lurking out there.”
“They’re already here? Damn it! I’ll have to leave from here, but I want to continue my treatment with the therapists who know me. I’m thinking of moving into a hotel for a while.”
“You remember my family owns that cabin not too far from here, right? It would be a perfect place for a hideout because it’s completely secluded. That might be better than a hotel. I mean, they’ll find you at a hotel for sure.”
“Sage, did you forget? I need everything handicapped accessible. How would I be able to do things for myself?”
“We can bring your bath bench and your adapted toilet seat. There are no steps into the cabin, and it’s all one story. The driveway is a nice pavement. I really think we could make it work.”
“We are not going anywhere. I’m the one who’ll need to figure something out,” Jed said.
“I’ll stay at the cabin with you. It’s a two bedroom cabin. It’s not like we’re staying for a long time. It’ll just buy you some time to work things out,” Sage insisted.
“No, Sage. There are still some things I need help with. Things I don’t really want you to be around for.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Jed! I’m a doctor. I do this for a living, remember? If I can help strangers, why can’t I help my friend?”
“You know damn well it’s different.”
“If you’re worried about the whole toileting thing, I have an idea. I think we need to talk with your doctors and see if they’ll pull your catheter and put you on a bowel and bladder training program. You already said you can feel the urgency to use the bathroom more consistently now. That’s a good sign. If you toilet yourself every couple of hours, I think you could really train your body.” Sage’s eyes danced with excitement.
Jed’s heart raced at the thought of having the silly tube pulled, but he remained cautiously optimistic.
“Don’t you see your doctor today? I planned on going with you if you’re okay with that. Maybe we can ask him.”
“Okay, it would be nice, that’s for sure. This has been a huge thorn on my side.”
Before long, both were sitting in the doctor’s office. After Dr. Parker reviewed Jed’s therapy notes, he said, “I’m pleased with your progress, Jed. Looks like some of your muscles are starting to work. And yeah, I think it’s a good idea to see how your bowel and bladder training program goes. I’ll have the nurse pull your catheter today.”
“Wow! That’s great! Thanks, Doc! I was scared this tube was permanent for me.”
“Well, let’s not jump the gun, Jed. This is all trial and error. Hopefully, all goes well, but be prepared for accidents. You still don’t have all your sensations and motor functions back. So, one day at a time, remember?”
“We’re going to remain optimistic, Larry,” Sage replied. “Jed is already doing so much more than we had anticipated. Plus, once he makes up his mind on something, he’s a stubborn fellow. If anybody can get through this, it’s Jed.” A hint of pride echoed in her voice.
“With your expertise and support, Sage, I know odds are in Jed’s favor. You know how it is with medicine, especially with rehab. It’s one day at a time…one step at a time.”
“We appreciate your honestly, Doc. I’m ready for this tube to be out of me, though. Where’s that nurse?” Jed asked.
When they were alone in the car later, Sage asked, “So, how does it feel?”
“Well, the good news is when they pulled the catheter out, I actually felt a little pain. I think it was pain anyway. An uncomfortable feeling maybe. That’s a good sign, right?”
“Absolutely!” Sage said and reached to squeeze his hand.
Jed smiled. “So, we’re moving in together in that cabin of yours? You sure you know what you’re getting into?”
“Oh, I’m ready, big guy. I’ll pick you up in the middle of the night to avoid being seen.”
When they reached his parents’ home, they rushed inside to avoid the paparazzi once again.
“What the heck is going on out there? How did they find you, Jed? You’re all over the gossip sites.” Trina was in the house, waiting for them.
“Already?” Jed turned to his sister.
She pulled her phone out and searched for his name. “Here’s one headline. It says, ‘Jed Dalton Doesn’t Let His Wheelchair Slow Him Down With Women.’ And, there are pictures of Sage and some bimbo.”
Sage laughed. “What type of reputation have you built for yourself?”
Jed rolled his eyes. “They’re parasites. I need to get out of here.”
Just then, his parents came to the living room. “Where are you going to go? They’ll just find you wherever you go.”
“Right now, I need to focus on my rehab. I can’t worry about the paparazzi.”
“I’m getting him out of here,” Sage replied. “We’re going to the cabin tonight. Hopefully, that’ll buy some time.”
“Oh yeah, great idea. They haven’t figured out where you’re getting your rehab yet, have they?” Jed’s mom asked.
“Not yet, anyway,” Jed answered, rolling his eyes.
More to come soon! As always, thank you for your support. All of my books and stories can be found on Amazon (and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited). LINK
Happy Sunday! Here’s Chapter 5 of Broken. Before you read this, please make sure to read
Chapter 1 & 2: Link
Chapter 3: Link
Chapter 4: Link
“Rise and shine, handsome!”
It had to be a joke. What was she doing here? Jed pulled his blanket over his head, hoping she’d vanish.
“Come on! We have a full day today for your therapy sessions,” Sage said.
“You are not allowed to come in and out of my room as you please! What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Old habits die hard.”
Flinging his blanket off of his head, Jed said, “We were kids then. This is crazy. Just get out. Mom! Dad!” He was angry at his parents for allowing her into his room again.
“Your parents aren’t here. I gave them a day off and promised them I’d take good care of you.” Sage flashed a smug smile.
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” he mumbled.
“Come on, it won’t be that bad. It’ll give us an opportunity to catch up. Maybe you can stop being such a grouch for some of the time.”
Feeling completely helpless, Jed threw his blanket off of him. “I really don’t want to be around you, Sage.”
“That much is obvious. But I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Let’s go, or we’ll be late.”
Staring up at the ceiling, Jed sighed in frustration. How had he managed to lose all control of his life? “Every day is a struggle to get out of bed,” he whispered.
Sage sat down on the bed and turned to him. “But, you are getting out of bed. Every single day. And that counts, damn it.” She sighed. “That counts, Jed,” she whispered.
Closing his eyes, Jed knew she was right. It was another day he had to get through. There was no choice in the matter. He reluctantly got into his wheelchair, angry at his parents, sister, and this horrible situation that had been thrown at him.
“I need to jump in the shower. I’ll see you in the kitchen in about thirty minutes.”
Before long, they were heading to the rehab hospital for his therapy. Jed remained silent in the car and was surprised Sage knew where to take him for his sessions. Once they reached their destination, he turned to her and said, “You don’t need to stick around. I have aqua therapy in the afternoon as well, so it’s going to be a full day of sessions.”
“I’m staying. I want to see how you’re doing.”
Grinding his teeth, he said, “Maybe I don’t want you to see, Sage. Did you ever think of that? Why are you doing this anyway? You want to be a big savior or something? Find a cure, and I’m your guinea pig?”
Sage sighed, and Jed noticed her eyes becoming moist. She quickly recovered and replied, “Nope. Believe it or not, you mean a little more to me than a guinea pig. Come on, let’s go in.”
During the therapy sessions, Sage commented on how he had some movement returning in his legs. “How fast are the sensations and the muscle activation returning?” she asked Robin, the physical therapist.
“To be honest, every week, he’s able to do something else. Remember, Jed? Just last week, you were able to maintain standing in the pool with assistance. I mean, granted, we had to help you quite a bit, but you were actually able to use your muscles,” Robin said.
Jed grunted, annoyed that Sage was all in his business.
“What about sensation?” Sage continued to inquire.
“That’s also returning nicely. Right, Jed? You told me you sometimes can feel the urgency to urinate.”
“Okay, do we need to talk all of my personal business here?” Jed asked, aggravated.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Robin said. “I just assumed—”
“Well you assumed wrong!” he barked.
“Don’t mind him, Robin. He’s just crabby. I’m Dr. Ramsey, and I’m involved with monitoring his progress. We’re also friends, so he’s a bit too comfortable acting like this around me.”
“We are not friends! And to be clear, I’m not comfortable around you at all!” Jed said, but he had to admit, a part of him wanted to work extra hard just to show her how much he could do. He also didn’t deny her remark about her monitoring his progress. Truth be told, he knew she would give him the best advice and the brutal truth—whatever that may be.
“Okay, take all that energy out on your workout, tough guy!” Sage directed, and Jed had to turn away to hide his smirk.
By lunchtime, Jed was much more relaxed around Sage, and they both headed to the cafeteria. He appreciated that Sage didn’t make him feel helpless. As a matter of fact, she expected him to do everything for himself, including figuring out how to carry his tray back to the table while wheeling his chair.
Once seated, she said, “I want to see your medical records when we get back. I’m assuming you have incomplete spinal cord injury, and from what I could assess, it looks like it’s at L4/L5 level?”
“Yeah, you got it. The injury is at that lumbar region of my spine.”
“The therapists seem pleased with your progress so far. Are you?”
“It’s frustrating, Sage. My life has changed drastically. It’s really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he confessed.
“I’m really sorry this happened. I had no internet where I was in Brazil during the time. It was also almost impossible for anybody to reach me. If I had known, I would have returned immediately to come see you.”
“And done what?” Jed frowned. “I was a mess when I first found out at the hospital. I didn’t believe it initially. There was no way something like that could happen to me. Not Jed Dalton. Then, I was pissed at the world. I completely shut down, not interacting with anybody. Of course, that got mixed with the depression. Trust me, you wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere near me at that time.”
“I would have been there. Whatever you were going through, I would have stood by your side,” Sage mumbled. Changing the subject, she asked, “Are you receiving psychological help?”
“I was seeing a shrink for a few weeks, but now, I’m not seeing anybody. It gets old talking about your pathetic life. I was done with it.”
Sage sighed. “I see your stubbornness hasn’t changed any. What about your music? What are your plans?”
“No plans yet. I’m just winging it right now. Just trying to get through each day.”
“Okay, fair enough. Jed, I’ve decided to stay here to help you with your recovery. I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.”
Jed stared at her, narrowing his eyes. “Why?”
“I want to, that’s why. And, whether you’ll admit it or not, I can help you. I know I can.”
Jed rolled his fingers through his thick, curly hair, trying to understand his feelings. Seeing Sage more often was a dangerous game, but the way his heart leaped just then when he heard her say that, he knew he would be willing to take the risk.
During his aqua therapy session, Sage cheered him on from the deck. Jed worked extra hard, willing his muscles to work. He was pleased that he was able to put weight through his legs to stand while holding the rails.
When he felt steady enough, the therapists asked him to take a step. He stared down at his leg under water, which remained locked in place. His brain knew what it wanted the leg to do, but it refused to budge. Without meaning to, his eyes landed on Sage.
She nodded and mouthed, “Try! You can do it.”
Taking a deep breath, Jed clenched his teeth and gave it his all to lift the leg up. Robin helped by shifting his weight and assisting to move the leg forward. With a little nudge, Jed suddenly felt his muscle come to life to finish the step. Completely shocked he actually took a step, he couldn’t hold himself any longer, and his legs collapsed. He didn’t care, though, because by then, he was laughing. Hell! He actually took a step!
Once again, his gaze found Sage, and she was standing with her hand over her mouth as the tears rolled freely down her face. Jed stopped laughing and pulled himself to her with the rail.
Sage squatted down so they were face to face, not hiding her emotions.
“I think I deserve a kiss for that effort,” he teased, his smirk widening.
Grabbing his face, she leaned forward, and her lips tenderly touched his. Slowly their lips explored, teased, and remembered.
“Mmm, I’ll have to walk some more if I’m going to keep getting those kinds of rewards.” Jed laughed, stealing one more kiss.
Once the sessions were completed, Sage said, “We have to celebrate. Come on, let’s go get something to eat. My treat.”
For the first time since his injury, Jed truly felt like he was having fun. He wanted to go out with Sage instead of rushing back home. Normally, he preferred to lock himself in his room and avoid any type of interactions.
They decided to eat at Rocky’s Sports Bar back in town. Once they were seated, he said, “Look, Sage, I know I can be a real douche, but I do appreciate this. You know that, right?”
“Yes, I know you more than you know yourself.”
“Really? That’s a bold statement,” Jed teased.
“Call it what you will.” Sage smiled, taking another bite of her pasta.
“No way! Don’t tell me it’s Jed Dalton!” Both Jed and Sage looked toward the source of the voice and saw Dan Kirby approaching their table.
“Great,” Sage said under her breath.
“And, lookie here! Sage and Jed eating dinner together. Wow! The homecoming king and queen reuniting again.”
Jed tried to control his temper at seeing his rival from high school. Dan was a bully back then, and he used to compete with Jed on everything, including Sage.
“You look hot as ever, Sage. Tell me, what do you see in Jed these days? I know he was in the limelight and all, but he’s washed out now after his accident. Aren’t you paralyzed, man? Can you even have sex?” Dan asked, throwing his head back while laughing.
Before Jed could react, Sage sprung up and punched Dan in the jaw. When he collapsed to the floor, she straddled over him and said, “I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time.” She then turned to Jed while tossing some bills on the table. “Let’s get out of here.”
When safe in the car, Jed focused his attention on her, frowning. “I don’t need you to fight my battles.”
“It wasn’t your battle I was fighting. I’ve wanted to do that to Dan since second grade. He used to call me ‘rabbit’ because of my bucked teeth.”
“What?” Jed laughed. “Why didn’t you ever tell me that? I would have beat him up for you.”
“That’s why I didn’t tell you. I knew you’d go after him, and I didn’t want you to get into trouble.” Both Sage and Jed laughed, sharing their past together.
“You’ve turned into a badass. Since when did you learn to punch like that?” he asked, shocked with her moves on Dan.
“Since I started going to dangerous parts of the world. I thought it would be best to take some self-defense courses.”
“I’m impressed. And now I know not to get on your bad side.”
“Yeah! Watch your back, buddy!” Sage laughed.
Hope you all are enjoying Jed and Sage’s story so far! Chapter Six coming soon! As always, thank you for your support. All of my books and stories can be found on Amazon (and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited). LINK