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Broken (Chap 11) from Loving You Hurts So Good

 

Loving You cover website

Broken teaser2

Broken teaser1

Here is the conclusion of Broken. Please be sure to read Chap 1-10 first. Links are below: 

Chapter 1 & 2: Link   

Chapter 3: Link

Chapter 4: Link

Chapter 5: Link

Chapter 6 & 7: Link

Chapter 8 & 9: Link

Chapter 10: Link

 

Chapter Eleven

Sage sat on the outdoor swing at her home with People magazine in her hands. She couldn’t seem to look away from the picture of Jed on the front cover. It was a picture of him playing the piano, seeming to be lost in his music. She must have read the featured article about him at least a hundred times already, word for word. Titled, “Jed Dalton Rises Again,” it detailed his life since the accident and how his music saved him.

She sighed, closing her eyes. He still looked as beautiful as ever. It had been a year since she had last seen him. Jed had left the very next day after he’d found out about Tim. She had tried to plead with him again, but he told her he wanted nothing to do with her.

She couldn’t blame him, though. Wanting to control every situation, she once again had disregarded his feelings.

Jed had done well for himself during the year. He had released a brand new album called Broken, which was an instant best seller. She wasn’t surprised by the success. Not only was Jed a talented musician, but every single song from the album was intense and heartfelt. Now, touring around the country, Sage couldn’t help but be proud of him. Seeing him happy and doing what he loved the most filled her with joy.

It didn’t mean she didn’t miss him, though. Sage missed him every minute of the day and night. She had decided to move back to her hometown, unable to walk away from the memories. If that were all she had, then she’d hold onto them with all her might.

Opening her own practice in town, Sage stayed busy at work. Although she still stalked him on the Internet, she knew she had lost Jed forever.

Seeing Trina’s car pull up her driveway surprised her. What was she doing here on a weeknight?

“Hey, Sage!” Trina waved as she climbed out.

“Hey! You never come over on a weeknight. What’s up?” Sage asked, giving her a hug when Trina reached her.

“Well, so you know Jed is on a tour, right?”

Sage nodded, afraid to find out where Trina was going with this.

“He’s ending his tour in Dallas this weekend. Did you know that?” Trina asked.

Sage shrugged her shoulders. Of course, she knew that. She knew exactly which city Jed was performing on which date.

“Anyway, he had sent me two tickets to his show, saying he really wanted me to come. Of course, they’re VIP tickets. I’m going, but I want you to come with me.” Trina’s eyes danced with excitement.

“No, I can’t, Trina. I’m sure he wouldn’t want me to come,” Sage mumbled.

“Oh, whatever! He sent me two tickets, so I can bring whoever I want. Why wouldn’t I want my best friend to go with me? Come on, Sage. You have to go. It’ll be so fun. And I know you’d like to see Jed again. Don’t even try to deny it.” Trina put her hand on her hip, ready to take on the battle.

Sage had to admit, she would love to go see him. The mere thought of watching him perform live gave her goose bumps. Maybe he didn’t have to know she was there. Maybe she could slip out as soon as the concert was over.

Without giving herself time to change her mind, she quickly answered, “Okay, I’ll go. But on one condition. I don’t want you to tell Jed I’m coming with you. I honestly don’t think he would be happy with that, and I don’t want to ruin his mood while he’s performing.”

Trina rolled her eyes before answering. “Fine, I won’t say anything.”

***

A limo picked them up Saturday evening from Trina’s apartment, courtesy of Jed. He wanted to make sure his sister was well taken care of.

As they got closer to Gexa Energy Pavilion, Sage’s anxiety built. A part of her couldn’t wait to see him, but the other part was petrified of how she’d be able to hold herself together once she did see him.

Sage put up a brave front, though, and followed the security who escorted them to their front row seats. After the opening act was done, the crowd went crazy, waiting for Jed. With her heart pounding out of her chest, she was consumed by the energy around her. She was not at all surprised that the show was completely sold out.

The stage went completely dark and began filling with smoke. Suddenly, through the fog, a lonely wheelchair rolled forward. The audience were screaming for Jed as his silhouette filled the stage.

When Sage was able to see him completely, everything started spinning. Unprepared of her reaction, she had to lower herself down to her seat. Jed looked breathtaking as he dominated on that stage. It didn’t matter that he was in his wheelchair. He was confident, mesmerizing, and incredibly gorgeous.

Jed took his place behind the piano and started to sing. The crowd shouted even louder, some even crying when they heard his voice. But, he didn’t hear them. Jed was in his own world as he lost himself in his lyrics.

Sage’s entire being reacted to his singing, and her body trembled. Jed controlled every single fan that night as he pulled them into his spell.

The night came to an end much too quickly. But, before he left the stage, he grabbed his guitar. The crowd fell silent, as Jed demanded attention. “I have one last song for you guys. It’s called Broken.”

The crowd went wild.

Jed smiled and signaled his fans to quiet down. “It’s for a very special person who had stolen my heart when we were kids. The thing is, she never gave it back. This one is for you, Sage.”

Some say I was broken,

Maybe I was,

But how is it that a broken man feels whole?

‘Cuz baby, only you possess my soul.

 

Yes, I’ve been a fool,

Too proud to understand.

Maybe I’m just crazy

Crazy in love with you.

 

Broken, Broken

Will never let you go

Broken, Broken

Only you can possibly know

Broken, Broken

No, nothing can hold me down

Broken, Broken

Not when my baby is around

 

Silent tears slipped down Sage’s face as Jed looked straight at her while he sang. She felt Trina squeezing her hand, but Sage’s gaze remained fixed on the love of her life.

When the song ended, Jed put his guitar down. While the crowd screamed for him, he pushed himself up to standing. Sage almost fainted at the sight of him standing so tall on stage. Somebody from his crew ran to him and handed him crutches. Jed then took steps with his crutches on the stage until he came to the edge. All Sage could do was stand there with her hands covering her mouth, shocked to see Jed actually walking.

The pavilion exploded to see him up on his feet and moving around. There wasn’t a dry eye in there. Before long, Jed was rushed off of stage, and the security grabbed Trina and Sage to take them backstage.

Sage remained in a haze, as everything was happening fast around her. It was as if she was in a dream, floating toward something beautiful. To Jed.

When they were brought to a room, Jed was already waiting there, standing with a cane.

Trina squealed in delight and ran into his arms. “Why didn’t you tell me you could walk?” she cried.

“I wanted to surprise you.” Jed wiped her tears and kissed her cheek.

“Jed, oh my gosh! You have to come home. You have to show Mom and Dad,” Trina continued to stare at her brother, astonished at his strong will.

Jed looked over Trina’s head and caught Sage’s eyes. She was frozen on the spot, shocked at seeing him up with only a cane for support.

“Your brother is a stubborn guy. Of course he was going to beat the odds and walk again.” Nick strolled in, his eyes dancing. “You killed it out there, man. The crowd is still screaming for you.”

Jed didn’t respond but continued to stare at Sage.

Clearing his throat, Nick said, “Come on, Trina, let’s leave these two alone.”

Neither Sage nor Jed noticed them leaving the room and closing the door. Finally, Jed said, “You came.”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“Come here.”

As if in a trance, Sage reached him. He pulled her in his arms and brought his lips down, incapable of holding back. His passion rose as Sage’s body molded to his, and she deepened the kiss. Unable to control his breathing, he lowered himself down to his chair, pulling her down onto his lap.

Sage clung on with dear life, afraid to let him go…afraid to lose him again. Interlocking her fingers to the back of his hair, she brought his face into the nape of her neck, trying to fight the tears.

“This year…” she started.

“I had to leave, Sage. I had to find myself. Do you understand?” He looked up at her and cradled her face with his hands. “I had to find me again.”

Sage nodded, her eyes moist with unshed tears.

“I needed to believe in myself again. I knew that would be the only way I could finally love you with my whole being.” Jed pulled her hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ears.

“And you’re walking.” Sage’s voice trembled.

“I can even take a few steps with my cane. I’m diligent with my workouts. I have all my sensations back now, so I know it’s just a matter of time before I won’t even need the cane.”

Sage buried her face in his hair, unable to stop the tears.

“Hey! None of that now! You’re my badass girl, remember? Tough love and all that?” Jed teased.

She looked up at him and tenderly kissed his lips with all the love she possessed for him. “Now what?” she asked, caressing his cheek.

“Hmm, I’ve been having this same dream every night. This crazy girl keeps showing up in it.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, some girl with long dark hair and light brown eyes. I kid you not, she follows me everywhere.”

“Huh, strange dream.” Sage smiled.

“Sure is. Finally, I accepted that she had no plans on leaving me alone.”

“So what did you do?”

“I married her and had lots of kids with her.” Jed laughed. “And, that’s exactly what I’m planning on doing. Hope you’re ready for feisty, brown-haired girls running around.”

Elated, Sage closed her eyes, cherishing this moment in time. “Or stubborn, blond haired boys,” she whispered.

***

“When Life pushes you down, show that bitch you can get back up again.”–Flavia Weedn

The End

 

Hope you all enjoyed Broken. As a physical therapist, I’ve had many patients with spinal cord injuries. This story is dedicated to these courageous people! Thank you for showing me what perseverance truly means. 

There’s a part of my heart and soul in every story I write. All of my books can be found on Amazon (and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited). LINK

As always, thank you for your support!

Broken (Chap 10) from Loving You Hurts So Good

Broken teaser1

Jed and Sage’s story continues in Broken. Things are not going well with these two…so much pain, so much anger.

Here is Chapter 10. Please be sure to read Chap 1-9 first. Links are below: 

Chapter 1 & 2: Link   

Chapter 3: Link

Chapter 4: Link

Chapter 5: Link

Chapter 6 & 7: Link

Chapter 8 & 9: Link

Chapter Ten

That weekend, both headed to Dallas to meet with Dr. Tim Johnson. They were having lunch with him at the hotel restaurant. Jed was looking forward to meeting him, hoping the doctor could provide some insight. He had already made significant gains and was even able to take some steps in the underwater treadmill with assistance.

When they reached the hotel, Sage led them to a corner table.

“Hey, gorgeous,” Dr. Johnson pulled Sage into his arms and kissed her cheek.

Jed took an instant dislike to the man. He was a young doctor, probably in his thirties. With nicely groomed dark hair and blue eyes, the guy looked more like a model than a physician.

“Hey, Tim. This is Jed. I’ve told you about him,” Sage said, slipping out of his arms.

“Hello, Jed. Nice to meet you.” He shook Jed’s hand and sat back down once Sage took her seat.

“Likewise,” Jed mumbled, already in a bad mood.

While eating lunch, Sage filled the doctor in on Jed’s diagnosis and his progress. She also told him how quickly he’s making gains.

“The fact that you have an incomplete spinal cord injury and your body continues to show improvement are all good signs. If you keep improving at this rate, who knows? The key is repetitive movement. Studies show that repetition of the same movement patterns—let’s say walking—helps to retrain your muscles.”

Jed nodded politely, but all he really wanted to do was to get out of there.

“And as far as your bowel and bladder program, I’m happy to hear it’s going well for you. With your sensations returning as fast as they are, you may be able to reach your prior level of function.”

“That’s great to hear,” Sage exclaimed, smiling at Jed.

Jed threw her a tight grin and quickly finished his meal.

“I’m going to go use the ladies’ room,” Sage announced after she completed her plate.

Once she was gone, Tim Johnson abruptly pushed his chair back and announced, “I’ve got to use the bathroom as well. Be right back.”

Jed did not like the feeling of unease that had lingered with him during the entire meal. Unable to resist, he decided to head toward the bathrooms as well. When he reached the hallway, he could hear Sage and Tim’s voices. He couldn’t see them because he hadn’t turned the corner yet, but he could clearly make out their conversation.

“Baby, I’ve missed you so much,” Tim said.

“Tim, please, don’t.” Sage sounded distraught.

“I just don’t understand anything. Are you coming back to Boston? It’s been too long.”

“No, I told you, I have to stay here. I’m going to help Jed as long as it takes.”

“He seems to be doing fine. I’m sure he has plenty of money; he can hire help. What does he need you for?”

“Tim, please stop asking me the same questions.”

“Who is he anyway? Why do you feel obligated to help him?”

“He is a good friend. We grew up together. I already told you all this. Of course, I’m going to help him.”

“Sage, I know you always like to help people, but you know he’s not one of your patients, right? You can’t blame me for wanting my fiancé back. I miss you and want you back home—where you belong.”

Jed’s heart stopped beating. Had he heard that right? As if needing to torture himself some more, Jed scooted forward to get a visual of what was happening. While Sage was leaning with her back against the wall, Tim was very close to her. Jed saw him reach and caress her face. When Tim leaned forward for a kiss, pain like no other pierced his heart, and he couldn’t watch any longer.

Swiftly turning his wheelchair, he hustled back to the table. He didn’t want to wait here anymore, but he was stuck. With his pride at stake, Jed decided he quickly needed to take control and calm himself down. He didn’t want them to know he had witnessed their interaction, and he certainly didn’t want Sage to see his pain.

Taking deep breaths, he willed his heart to slow down. He chugged his whisky, desperately needing something to help him get through this. What a fool he had been. He broke his number one rule by letting his guard down and trusting her. Why would he possibly think she would want somebody like him anyway? She didn’t even want him when he was whole…when he could satisfy her every need…when he wasn’t a burden to her. And now? He had nothing to offer her. Could he even blame her?

He watched the two of them walking back to the table together. He wasn’t surprised to see Sage’s blushed face, and how she was avoiding eye contact with him.

“You ready to leave, Jed?” she asked, grabbing her purse.

Without answering, he wheeled himself out of the restaurant and into the parking lot. Both were silent in the car until Sage asked, “Is everything okay?”

“How do you know Tim?” Jed asked, his voice dangerously soft.

“Oh, he’s just a friend,” she replied, almost too quickly.

He always knew what a terrible liar she was. “Okay.”

“Why?” she asked, glancing toward him while driving.

“Just wondering.” Jed turned away to stare out of the window. Lost in his thoughts, he remained quiet for the rest of the trip.

Once they reached the cabin, he went straight to the bathroom. He splashed cold water to his face, hoping it would help the agonizing ache in his heart.

When he returned to his bedroom, Sage was waiting for him. “I know something is bothering you. What’s up?”

Jed clenched his jaw and took a deep breath. “I’ve decided to leave for LA as soon as possible. I’ll be contacting my agent, Nick, to get it all set for me.”

“Why are you leaving? I thought you liked your therapists here.”

“I can get therapy there as well. I have a home there, and I need to get my life in order.” Jed kept his voice indifferent, not wanting her to see how much he was hurting.

“I don’t understand,” Sage whispered, confused.

“There’s nothing to understand, really. You have your life to live, and I have mine. I need to go back to it. Can’t hang around here forever.”

“What’s this about? I know you, Jed. I know you’re upset about something.”

Jed tried to wheel away from her, unable to look at her. But, Sage dashed in front of him and halted his progress.

“Get out of my way, Sage.”

“No! Not until you tell me what’s going on.”

Losing his temper, Jed yelled, “Fine! You wanna know? You’re nothing but a liar. All this time, you’ve been lying to me. You think I’m that stupid? And I specifically asked you about Tim. I gave you the opportunity to come clean, but you continued to lie.”

Sage blinked a few times, shocked at hearing his words. “I…what?”

“Yeah, you got nothing to say now? I saw you guys, Sage. I know he’s your fiancé.”

“No! He’s not, I swear. I broke up with him. We were engaged, yes, I admit. But as soon as I saw you with Trina that first day, I flew back to Boston the very next day and broke it off with him.”

“Yet, you lied to me. You’ve been lying. And when I just asked, you said he was only your friend. Why?”

“Fine, I should have told you right from the start. I just didn’t know what to say. I took the easy way out by not saying anything. I didn’t want that to stop you from seeing him to get a second opinion. I’m sorry, Jed, but I swear, I’m not with him.”

“Why aren’t you with him?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Tears tumbled down her cheeks, but Jed had hardened his heart by then. “I’m in love with you, Jed. I’ve never stopped loving you. I realized that as soon as I saw you again. You have to believe me.”

“You’re in love with me? Really? Yet, when Tim asked you who I was to you, you told him I was just a friend. Why wouldn’t you tell him straight up that you’re in love with me?” I paused, trying to catch my breath. “You know, I’d rather be with somebody like Bonnie. At least I know exactly what I’m getting with her.”

A look of pain flashed before Sage’s eyes. “I…Jed, please.” Her voice trembled as she hid her face in her hands.

“Leave my room now. I don’t want you near me.”

Ahh, Jed and Sage…sigh. Chapter 11 (the conclusion) coming soon. Thank you, amazing readers, for your support. All of my books and stories can be found on Amazon (and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited). LINK

Broken (chap 8 & 9) from Loving You Hurts So Good

Broken teaser2

Hey, everybody! Jed and Sage’s story continues in Broken. Here are Chapters 8 & 9. Please be sure to read Chap 1-7 first. Links are below: 

Chapter 1 & 2: Link   

Chapter 3: Link

Chapter 4: Link

Chapter 5: Link

Chapter 6 & 7: Link

 

Chapter Eight

The cabin was surrounded by trees and hidden nicely away from the main roads. Luckily, it was fairly easy to move his wheelchair around because of the cemented pathways. They arrived at two in the morning, and by the time Sage unloaded everything and set the bathroom up, it had turned into three o’clock.

“Thanks again for everything. I think we escaped undetected. I know you must be tired. I’m going to try to use the bathroom one more time, but I think I should be okay now. You should get some sleep,” Jed said.

“Yeah, I’m wiped. I’ll just wait until you’re in bed.”

“You don’t need to tuck me in, Sage.”

Sage laughed. “I like tucking you in. Now, go try to use the bathroom. I want to know if you’re successful with it.”

“You’re a bully!” Jed laughed, wheeling himself into the bathroom. He had no idea how he got so comfortable with her so quickly. It was as if the last ten years had never occurred.

When he returned to the bedroom fifteen minutes later, Sage was still there, but was wearing her sweats and a tank top. “Figured I’d go change and then check on you before hitting the sack.”

“Cute nightie. Sexy!” Jed teased.

“Hey! It’s comfortable. So, were you able to pee in the toilet?”

“I know you won’t leave me alone until I answer, so yes, I did pee. Satisfied?”

“Much.” Sage watched when Jed positioned his wheelchair next to the bed to scoot himself over. “Why don’t you try to stand up to get into the bed?”

“Because I’ll fall flat on my face,” he answered, frowning.

“How do you know unless you try? You have to try every time so you can teach yourself to stand again,” Sage encouraged.

“You think I can just miraculously stand and get into this bed?”

“No, but I can help you stand. I’m just saying the more you force yourself to use the muscles, the better.”

“All right, let’s try it. I’m a lot taller than you. You sure you can help me? I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Yeah, I’ll do what your therapists do. I’ll be right in front of you and hold onto your waist to assist.” Sage took her position, and Jed made sure his feet were properly placed under him. “Okay, at the count of three. You ready?” When Jed nodded, she continued, “One, two, three.”

Jed pushed up with his legs with all his might, and Sage helped him up. He had to hold her shoulders with his hands for support. Somehow, he was bearing weight through his legs, but he knew they would collapse any second. Quickly turning, he fell onto the bed, taking Sage with him.

Both laughing hysterically, Sage remained on top of him while he continued to hold her. “Hey, I think you were able to stand for a second or two,” she said.

“I was pushing down with my hands quite a bit on your shoulders. You okay?” Jed asked while playing with her hair.

Sage looked up at him, suddenly realizing how close they were. “Yeah, um, I better go.”

When she tried to pull herself off of him, Jed held her tighter.

“Not yet,” he whispered. He held her face and brought it down for a kiss. Deepening the kiss, Jed heard her moan. He permitted his hands to roam her body, reliving every memory. He knew exactly how to touch her…what made her feel good. With skin as soft as snow, she melted under his touch. What he wouldn’t do to make her his at that very moment. Reality came crashing down, though, and he abruptly pulled away. “We better stop.”

“Mm,” she moaned. “That felt good.” She rested her head on his chest, enjoying the rock-hard muscles under her. Jed had always been athletic and active, which is probably what’s helping with his rehabilitation.

“Sage? Yeah, so I totally felt something.”

Looking up at him, she asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean, it felt good, like really good. I didn’t think I could respond like that with my paralysis and all. But, you definitely were able to wake up some muscles that have been inactive since the accident.”

Smiling ear to ear, Sage kissed him again. “That’s the best news yet, Jed.”

When he saw her eyes filling with tears, he said, “Don’t. One day at a time, right?”

“Yes, one day at a time.”

 

Chapter Nine

Each day, Jed continued to show improvements, and each day, they became closer. While she was stretching his legs on his bed one evening, she said, “One of my colleagues is attending a conference at Dallas this weekend. He’s a neurologist, and he specializes in spinal cord injuries. I’d love for us to meet with him to get his opinion. We can bring your records, and maybe he might be able to give us some type of prognosis.”

“You want us to drive up to Dallas?”

“Yeah, I’ve known him for a while, and I know he’s good at what he does. I think he’ll be honest with us.”

“All right, sure. We can drive up. It’s only an hour and a half drive.”

“Okay, good. I’ll let him know. Maybe he can meet us for lunch or dinner, and we can fill him in.”

Jed remained quiet for a few moments before he finally asked the question that had been bothering him for a long time. “Why did you break up with me, Sage?”

Pausing briefly, she answered, “We were in the opposite sides of the country. Our relationship was drifting, and I knew you were starting a new life in LA. I didn’t want to hold you back.”

“Bullshit! Don’t turn it around on me. You know damn well, I never wanted either of us to quit on our relationship, no matter how hard it got.” Jed remembered feeling the betrayal and the pain when she had ended it. “You wouldn’t even meet with me in person. Our relationship was that insignificant to you that you just ended it over a phone call.”

“It wasn’t easy for me, Jed. But, one of us had to do the right thing. I was busy with my studies, and every time I saw pictures of you on social media partying with different girls, I’d go crazy. I literally couldn’t even focus on anything but what you were doing. Finally, it all just got too much. I knew I had to let you go.” Sage quickly wiped the tears that had slipped out.

Jed grabbed her hand and pulled her down toward him. Rolling on top of her, he stared into her eyes, her soul. His eyes raw with deep emotions, he said, “You made the decision for both of us. You gave me no choice. Like I had no feelings. Like I was just along for a ride. I mattered, Sage. You mattered, and our relationship mattered. I didn’t want us to walk away.”

Sage could see the pain and anger in his eyes. “I tried to stay connected. I called you numerous times, so we could keep in touch,” she tried to explain.

“You think after our history together that I could just be your friend? Come on, you know me better than that.”

With her voice trembling, Sage said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to feel obligated to stay with me. I wanted you to have your freedom. I tried so hard to let you go, Jed. But, you were always with me. Right here, you were always with me.” She took Jed’s hand and placed it over her heart.

Jed buried his face into her neck. “Losing you nearly killed me,” he whispered.

Sage tangled her fingers into the lock of his hair and held him close. Unable to resist, she began to pull his t-shirt off. Playing with his chiseled chest, she closed her eyes, savoring the sensation. She could feel him trembling under her touch, enjoying the power she had over him. “I’ve missed you, Jed.”

Looking deep into her eyes, he slowly lowered his lips, devouring her. Turned on by his passion, Sage instinctively molded her body against his. Soon, he had her tank top off and was already playing with her breasts with his hands and lips. She couldn’t help the moans that slipped out as both of their breathing became erratic.

“Sage, my whole being wants you so bad. You can’t possibly imagine. But, I don’t think I can yet.”

Slowing her breathing down, she said, “It’s okay. It doesn’t matter.”

Jed kissed her one more time. “Stay in this bed with me tonight. I want you in my arms.”

Nothing could make her happier. Sage slid closer to him and cherished the strong arms cradling her.

Jed held her tight, thanking his lucky stars she was back in his life. Holding Sage in his arms felt like being home again.

Chapter 10 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

Broken (Chap 5) from Loving You Hurts So Good

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

Broken teaser2

Chapter Five

“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

Best Friends, Chapter Five

Best Friends teaser3

Ryan and Kat’s story is getting a bit complicated, huh? This is Chapter 5. Please make sure to read Chapter 1-4 before you read this chapter. I would put this short story in contemporary romance and romantic comedy categories. Hope you’re enjoying it. 🙂

Chapter 1: Link

Chapter 2: Link

Chapter 3: Link

Chapter 4: Link

Best Friends

Chapter Five

During their drive home, Ryan was back to himself once again. She was quiet, though, confused about her encounter with Jeff.

“Okay, what gives? You mad at me for not having sex with you?” Ryan teased.

Kat couldn’t help but laugh. He always knew how to make light of awkward situations. “No, you were right, of course. It would totally complicate things. I think it must have been just that intimate setting.”

Ryan reached for her and caressed her cheek with his finger. “No biggie. I know I’m hard to resist.”

Kat shoved his hand away, groaning. “Ugh, you’ll never let me forget that incident, will you?”

“Seriously, though, I can tell you got a lot on your mind. Is it Jeff?”

Kat sighed. “He came into the room when you went for a run.”

“That prick!”

“He said a lot. Basically, he said he wants me back and he made a mistake.”

“Hope you told him to shove it up his ass,” Ryan said, frowning angrily.

Kat remained quiet.

“Kat, please tell me you did.” His frown got worse if that was even possible.

“It’s complicated, Ryan. You know I cared about him a lot at one point.”

“Yeah, and then you saw his true colors! What is wrong with you? You don’t need somebody like him in your life. He’s going to hurt you again.”

“Wow, thanks for the optimism. You can try to be a little more supportive, or at least understanding.” Kat turned back to stare out the window.

“You just don’t want to hear the truth. You’re so much better than him. He doesn’t deserve you. Please tell me you know that.” Ryan was gripping the steering wheel tightly, his knuckles turning white.

“First of all, outside of my feelings for him, you know he’s a big shot at the firm right? He’s a big deal, Ryan.”

Ryan turned to her, his eyes wide with shock. “You want to date him because he’s a big shot? Are you serious? Guess not much has changed since high school.” He turned back toward the road, staring straight ahead.

“That’s not fair. It’s a different world where I work. You wouldn’t understand because you’re a teacher. I mean you teach third graders, for God’s sake. It’s cutthroat where I work. Jeff could ruin me if he wanted to.”

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing right now. Maybe I was wrong about you. Maybe I don’t really know you after all,” Ryan mumbled.

Kat reached for his hand. “Just hear me out, okay? It’s not just that.”

Snatching his hand back, Ryan interrupted. “Stop talking to me. I don’t want to hear anymore, and I don’t want to talk to you right now.”

Kat had never seen him this angry. While she was always more emotional between the two of them, Ryan was always cool and collected. Knowing he meant it when he said he was done with the conversation, Kat remained silent the rest of the ride home.

Once he pulled in front of her high rise, Ryan pulled her luggage out and handed it to her. “Look, I want some time to myself for a while.”

Kat frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, I don’t want you to call me or contact me in any way. If you must know, I see you in a different light right now. And I just don’t really feel like hearing all your drama with Jeff.”

“Wait, so what are you saying? How long do you want?” She couldn’t fathom the thought of not being able to talk with Ryan whenever she wanted.

“Take care of yourself, Kat.” Ryan turned back to his car and screeched away.

*****

True to his word, Jeff called her that evening. Kat ignored his numerous calls, not ready to deal with him. All she could think about was how long she had to wait before she could contact Ryan again. But after Jeff continued to call her for almost the entire week, she finally agreed to allow him to come over Friday night.

He wasted no time with bringing up his feelings again when he arrived. “Have you thought about what I said?”

“Jeff, I just don’t know,” Kat whispered, hesitant to trust him.

“Of course you know. Look, I broke up with Angel as soon as we got back because I knew my heart was with you. You remember all our special times together, right?” Jeff pulled her into his arms and led her to the sofa.

“My feelings are all over the place, Jeff.”

“Let me help you remember.” He lowered his lips to hers and showed her how much he had missed her.

Kat closed her eyes and relaxed against the familiar kiss. Soon, she felt him unbutton her blouse and slip his hand inside.

Instantly, she pulled away. “No, stop. You’re going too fast.”

“Too fast? What are you talking about? It’s not like we’ve never had sex before. And if I remember correctly, you made me wait a long time before you finally gave it up the first time.”

Jumping up from the sofa, Kat distanced herself from him. “I made a mistake. Sorry, Jeff, but you need to leave now.”

“No, wait, Katrina. You’re right, maybe I was too fast. I can wait. Please give me a chance. Hope you left that boyfriend of yours. He can never meet your needs like I can.”

All this time, Kat had put Jeff on a pedestal, but she finally saw him for his true colors. Jeff craved attention. He couldn’t stand the thought of her being with Ryan. Not because he cared about her, but because it was a challenge to win her back.

“Please leave, Jeff. There will never be us. I don’t know what I was even thinking, but I know I made a mistake.” She walked to her front door and opened it, waiting for him to exit.

“You’re going to regret this decision,” he hissed as he rushed past her.

After he stomped out of there, the first person Kat wanted to call was Ryan. She wanted to tell him he was right all along–that Jeff was a prick. She knew Ryan would be proud of her when she shared how she’d kicked Jeff out. But when she called his cell, he didn’t pick up. Kat’s heart suddenly felt unbearably heavy. It had been almost a week since she’d last talk with Ryan. Didn’t he miss her? They typically spoke to one another every day, even if it was briefly. Taking a deep breath, she texted him to call her back.

Ryan didn’t return her call or her text.

*****

That’s chapter five, folks! Chapter six will be posted next week. Any predictions on what you think is going to happen to these two? 

If you’re interested in continuing with this story or any other short stories, you can get Loving You Hurts So Good on Amazon. It’s also free on Kindle Unlimited. Amazon

If you’re interested in reading any other books, here’s my Amazon page. Link

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