“This is Me Trying”
Rehabilitation Center - Friday Morning
“How long you gonna be?” Bella asked her brother as she carefully watched him slowly transition from his walker to one of the chairs in the empty waiting room by the front reception desk.
“I should be done by 12p.” Sonny told her as he finally made it into his seat and thought about how long it had taken him. He sighed as he realized he wasn’t nearly as proficient with his walker as he probably should be at this point due to an over-reliance of using his wheelchair.
Bella nodded. “Ok. I’m gonna run to the bank and take care of a couple of other things and will come back to get you.”
She started to head out to leave, but then turned back around. “I talked to Amanda for a little bit last night and let me tell you somethin’. She’s not kiddin’ bout leavin.’ Do you want to lose the only woman you’ve ever really loved? Or be that ‘see my kid once a month’ kind of dad? Because that’s what’s gonna happen if you don’t get your shit together.”
“I know.” Sonny said to her quietly. “And I will.”
“I hope so.” Bella said as she placed the sunglasses that rested on top of her head over her eyes and headed out.
Sonny sighed as he ran a hand through his hair and tried to get as comfortable as he could while he waited for his physical therapist to call him in. After a couple of minutes he pulled his cell phone out and began sifting through the camera roll. He smiled, a little sadly, as he looked down at photos of him with Amanda and the girls. Liv had given Amanda the remainder of the month, up until Labor Day, off and the idea of her and the girls not being around for that long, possibly permanently, just gutted him.
As he looked through the images, a woman was wheeled into the facility and sat by the front desk, waiting for the office assistant to finish on the phone to check her in.
Sonny could feel the woman’s eyes fixated on his phone. He eventually glanced up at her and, having realized she had been caught, she said to him, a little teary eyed. “Sorry for staring. It’s just your oldest daughter…she reminds me so much of my Madyson. I…lost her a…f-few months ago in the car accident that left me this way.”
Sonny’s heart instantly sank upon hearing this woman’s story. He could tell by looking at her that unlike himself she was a quadriplegic and wouldn’t be getting out of her wheelchair. And, unlike him, the incident that paralyzed her took away the most precious person in her life.
It was at that moment he realized just how poorly he had been acting. That while what he’d gone through was horrible, it could have been much worst. That there were many other people out going through worst. Unlike this woman, he had the ability to walk again. Unlike this woman, the incident that left him hurt didn’t hurt anyone else. Amanda was still here. Jesse and Billie were still here.
“I am…so so sorry for your loss.” Sonny said to her.
She nodded. “I wish I could squeeze Mady and tell her I how much love her. Just once more.” She said to him.
“She knows.” Sonny said to her.
The woman gave him a sad small and then directed her attention to the office assistant behind the desk who was now off the phone and ready to check her in.
Just then, Sonny’s physical therapist entered into the room and walked over to him. “Hi Dominick. You ready?”
Sonny nodded his head slowly as his gaze slowly shifted between the woman and his therapist. “I think I finally am.” He said to him.
Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Sunday Afternoon
After picking up some supplies while out with his sister, Sonny had spent much of his Friday, a bulk of his Saturday and Sunday morning working on a special project for Jesse and a separate one for Billie.
By Sunday afternoon he was almost done, just needing some ribbon to finish off Jesse’s. He knew there was some on the top shelf in the hall closet and though he was a little unsure if he could get it, he decided to try.
So Sonny, who had decided he would refrain from using his wheelchair unless his legs got tired or there was no other way to do something, carefully made his way to the closet with his walker. When he got to it and opened it up, he brought his eyes to the top shelf and spotted the purple ribbon he was in search of. He very slowly let go of his walker and, once he felt somewhat balanced reached his left arm up slowly and grabbed the ribbon.
Sonny smiled softly to himself, feeling pretty proud he was able to get it, but his smile soon faded when he remembered he was alone and there was no one there with him to share in these tiny triumphs. Not even Frannie, who Amanda had also taken with her. He sighed, as he started to head back toward the kitchen to finish up, but paused when he came across the room that was to be the nursery. He slowly stepped inside and began looking around.
Amanda had cleared the room, which had previously functioned as both a guest/pseudo playroom for the girls, but hadn’t done much else. The only thing that currently sat in the empty room was a rocking chair and the baby’s crib, which hadn’t been put together and was still in the box. Sonny pressed his lips together and stood quietly thinking to himself.
Beth Anne’s House - Wednesday Afternoon
When Amanda returned after a walk with the girls and Frannie to her mother’s, who had headed out to run errands while they were gone, she was surprised to see a fairly large sized package on the kitchen counter and even more surprised to see it wasn’t her mom’s, but was addressed to Jesse and Billie.
“Girls, it looks like you got some mail.” She said to them as she removed Frannie’s leash, picked up the package and set it down on the kitchen table.
“Who’s it from?!” Jesse asked excitedly as she and Billie scrambled to the table.
Though there was no return address, when Amanda looked a little closer at the handwriting she knew instantly who had sent it.
“It’s from Sonny.” The blonde told them as she and Billie watched Jesse rip into the box.
Both girls eyes, as well as Amanda’s, beamed when they looked inside at the contents. For Jesse there was a book, but not just any book. It was a homemade one featuring a story Sonny wrote and had put together using the purple ribbon from the closet. And for Billie there was a homemade jigsaw puzzle he had created and cut into pieces for her to put together.
“The Prin…cess and t—the Pig,” Jesse said out loud, smiling. “I’m going to go read it now!”
Amanda watched her oldest daughter scurry out of the kitchen with her book. She then turned her attention to Billie, who had placed her puzzle pieces on the table in front of her. “Mama, will you help me?” She asked hopefully.
She smiled at Billie and took a seat next to her at the table. “Of course. Let’s do it.”
Amanda quietly sat and let her mind drift as she passively assisted Billie with her puzzle.
One Week and Two Days Later
Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Evening
Sonny had just taken the eggplant parmigiana he made out of the oven and transitioned from his wheelchair, which he sometimes still had to use for cooking, back to his walker when he heard keys jingling, the front door to the apartment slowly open and Amanda suddenly standing before him.
“Hey.” He parroted back to her.
Though Sonny was surprised, he was so happy to see Amanda. For the first time in a little over two weeks. He smiled softly as he quietly took in her appearance. She was dressed casually, but nicely in a light blue sleeveless swing dress. And though it hadn’t been a huge, significant amount of time since he last saw her in person he noticed her bump had grown larger in a way that suited her so well.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt your dinner.” Amanda said as she ran a hand through her blonde locks. She noticed and was glad to see him using his walker, but refrained from commenting on it. “I just needed to stop by to pick up a couple things I forgot for myself and some stuff the girls were asking for.”
“You’re not interrupting anything.” He responded, though a little sadly after realizing Amanda’s main motivation for coming back to the apartment. “How are Jesse and Billie?”
Amanda nodded. “Good. They got your package. Billie’s must’ve taken apart and redone your puzzle a hundred times now. And Jesse reads your book with Billie every night. They really loved everything.”
Sonny nodded and then a long awkward silence filled the room, which lasted a while before he finally broke it. “I know you came to here get things and you’ve probably eaten already, but I made a bunch of food. Do you want to stay and have dinner with me?”
Amanda stood contemplating for what seemed like an eternity to Sonny before answering. “I did eat. But…I could eat a little more. So yeah. I’ll have dinner with you.”
He gave her a small smile. “Great.”
“Thank you for dinner.” Amanda said as she stood up and began clearing the table. “It was really good.”
Sonny shook his head. “You don’t have to thank me. And you don’t have to clean up I —“
“You cooked.” She said cutting him off. “Cleaning up is the least I can do.”
Sonny sighed, but relented. “Ok.”
Amanda fairly quickly washed the dishes and put everything away. Once she finished, she turned her attention back to Sonny. “I should go get the stuff I came for. It’s starting to get late.”
He nodded and watched as she headed down the hall, before suddenly remembering he left the door to the nursery open. Sonny tried to get out of the kitchen chair and grab his walker as quickly as he could, hoping to stop her from poking her head in, but was too late.
By the time he got to the nursery Amanda had already stepped inside and was silently looking around the room.
She stood staring in awe at what once was a very empty, depressing looking bonus room she hadn’t felt inspired to start fixing up and saw that it had been transformed into a beautiful, nearly completed nursery. The walls had been wallpapered in a neutral, cool gray colored design. The cream crib Amanda had bought a while back was put together and, in addition to the rocking chair, there was now a dresser and matching changing table, a bookshelf with a small collection of baby books placed on it, a diaper pail, a few toys and a baby swing.
Amanda, with her eyes and mouth opened up wide in surprise, turned her attention to Sonny, who lingered by the door.
“There’s still a couple of things I was plannin’ on doing, but it’s mostly done.” Sonny told her, quickly adding. “Unless you hate it. If so I—“
“No.” Amanda said as she grew teary eyed. “I love it. You…you did all of this? How?”
“I did a good chunk of it.” Sonny admitted. “With some help from a very special fairy godmother.”
Amanda chuckled at the reference, which was how a Disney loving Billie liked to refer to Liv.
“Liv was a big help with the wallpaperin’ and some other things. Took me days longer than it probably would’ve normally and I needed someone else to move everythin’ into place, but I did put the crib and all the other furniture together myself.”
Amanda wiped her eyes and smiled at him brightly. “It’s amazing. All of it.”
“I’m glad you like it.” He whispered to her.
She stood staring deeply into his eyes for a long while before finally telling him, “I should start getting the things I came for.”
Sonny nodded and slowly moved away from the nursery room’s door so Amanda could get by. She tried to hide her face away from him while she swiftly brushed by and headed towards their bedroom.
Sonny, not wanting to get in Amanda’s way, started to make his way back to the living room and kitchen area when he heard her call him.
He turned slowly around and, though it probably would’ve been easier for her to come to him, which she started to do, he urged her to stay where she was. Sonny then carefully headed into the bedroom, sat down beside Amanda on the bed, and moved his walker off to the side.
She tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear and looked up at him. “I lied.”
“About liking the nursery?” He asked curiously. “Because like I said—“
“Not about that.” Amanda said quietly to him. “I…”
She let her voice drift off and brought her left hand to her stomach.
“Are you okay?” A very concerned looking Sonny asked.
Amanda nodded and smiled softly. “Baby’s kicking pretty good. I wish you could feel it from the outside, but it’s still a little too early.”
A slightly disappointed Sonny nodded, placed his hand on top of the one she had resting on her stomach and then brought his eyes up to hers.
He stared longingly into them and then slowly moved his face closer to hers and placed a brief, chaste kiss on her lips. Sonny pulled away fairly fast to gauge her reaction, but was pleasantly surprised when she immediately leaned into and kissed him back.
He deepened the kiss and then moved his mouth away from hers and started to plant kisses down Amanda’s neck.
Not entirely sure where his head was at, a slightly breathless Amanda felt the need to tell him, “Sonny we…don’t have to…take this further. I know you CAN, and I want to, but…I don’t want to hurt you.” She said as she looked down toward his legs.
“You won’t.” He reassured her as he stroked her hair. “I want to be close to you. I want to make love to you. Let me.”
Amanda contemplated for a brief moment before lifting Sonny’s shirt off and then connecting his lips back to his.
They broke away momentarily so Sonny could lay his back down on the bed and Amanda carefully straddled herself on top of him, but as he went to lift her dress off overhead, she bit her lip and stopped him. He got a sense she was starting to feel self-conscious and he tried his best assuage those feelings.
Sonny mouthed to her ‘I want to see you’ as he slowly moved her hand from off his and gently lifted her dress up overhead and set it off to the side.
He smiled as he scanned Amanda’s body up and down and intertwined his fingers with hers. “You look beautiful. So so beautiful.”
Amanda relaxed a little, gave him a small grin and leaned down to kiss him.
Once the two finished, they laid together in the quiet, both deep in thought as Amanda rested her head on his chest and he absentmindedly stroked her hair. Eventually Sonny broke the silence.
“Manda I know this,” he said in reference to their love making, “the nursery, the things I did for the girls…that…none of it just fixes everything and makes up for what I put you through. I see the terrible person I had become and I hate it. And I know it’s going to take a lot more effort to prove to you that I’m not going to be that person anymore. But I want you to know that I’m tryin.’ I realize I’ve cut you so deeply and as a result it’s hard to believe me. And maybe at this point I’ve let you down too many times, but is there any part of your heart that thinks we can fix this? That still has faith in me?”
Amanda looked at him quietly as she took in and carefully contemplated his words.