The commissioner knocked on the door frame. "Hi, Gwen. How are you doing?"
"Oh, about the same as when you were here a half hour ago," She answered with a smirk.
"I'd like to talk with you about the task force for minute, if I can."
She raised the head of her bed a little more. "Of course. What's up?"
"Well as you know, Greg's eyesight is starting to return. He may not get his full eyesight back, however. I've convinced him to stay on and help train new recruits, should, God forbid, that be the case. With the exception of his eyesight, he's made a full recovery.
"With you making a full recovery, that just leaves Kevin. Should his paralysis, and again God forbid, be permanent, I have a couple of ideas how he can still be a contributing member of the task force and the police department." Gwen's raised eyebrow prompted him to continue. "The first would be to send him to forensics school and put him in the lab."
"He wouldn't like that. Although forensic science fascinates him, he'd be restricted to only working on our cases that need forensics. Plus, he'd have to work outside cases that may have a higher priority."
"You just said basically the same thing Greg said. The other idea would be to make him a researcher for the task force."
"Researcher?" Gwen asked, her curiosity piqued.
"Yes. He'd research criminal backgrounds, case histories anything and everything involved with the active cases. I've noticed he has a good analytical mind. I think he'd be a great asset to the task force. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I just didn't have the manpower."
"You know what, Commissioner? I think he'd really like that, even if he does get the use of his legs back."
"Up to visiting your brother?"
"You bet!" As quickly as she was able, she was up and out of the bed, grabbing for her robe.
Peeking into his room revealed a sleeping Kevin. "We'll do this later, Gwen." The commissioner whispered.
"I'm not asleep. Come on in." Kevin said, slowly opening his eyes.
Gwen sat in the chair closest to the bed while the commissioner walked around to the other side, placing his hand on Kevin's shoulder. "How're you doing, son?"
"As well as can be expected." A lone tear escaped his right eye. "The doctors have told me at this point it's extremely unlikely I'll ever walk again. Looks like my career as a cop is over." He said softly.
"Not if you don't want it to be." Kevin shot a startled look at the commissioner. "You're a good cop and have been an asset to the task force. I don't want to lose you. I have a couple of ideas I'd like to run by you."
"Okay," he said slowly.
"Your sister has told me how much you love working with the task force and how dedicated you are. My first idea is to send you to forensics school and put you in the lab. The upside of this is that you'll still be actively involved in some of the cases. The downside is that you'll only be involved in cases when the lab has to process evidence.
"Also, you may have to push task force cases aside temporarily in favor of higher priority cases." The look on Kevin's face pretty much confirmed what everyone thought his reaction would be to that idea. "The other idea is to make you a researcher."
"Yes. You'd be looking into backgrounds of the suspects and victims, looking for any kind of criminal records. You'd also be searching for anything connected to the crime scene, evidence, people involved and so on. You could use that sharp mind of yours to analyze any and all information collected by yourself and the task force, and maybe, just maybe, discover something they have missed."
A glimmer of hope shown in his eyes. "Can I really do this?"
"I don't know. Can you? The choice is yours."
Kevin looked at Gwen who smiled and nodded encouragingly. "Okay. Sounds good. What do I have to do?"
"Get yourself out of here, Sergeant Jordan." Both Gwen and Kevin shot the commissioner startled looks. "Your official title will be Research Analyst. We'll have an ADA compliant office built for you in the task force squad room, which we're going to be expanding anyway. The increased case load requires additional personnel. A squad car will be modified for your exclusive use. You will answer only to Lieutenant Peters and Captain Jordan. And, of course, myself. You will only be required to work task force cases. You may, at your discretion and caseload permitting, assist other departments."
Sharp intakes of breath and expressions of disbelief followed the commissioner's statement. Gwen's mouth dropped open so far that you could drive an 18-wheeler in, turn it around with plenty of room and drive it back out. "I told you I was thinking of restructuring the task force. Does this meet with your approval, Captain?" Gwen could only nod.
"Kevin, I'll have our IT guy come in and talk about what you want for a computer system and I'll have furnishings management talk with you and your doctor about what kind of furniture you'll need. You'll have complete access to all police case files, archives, DMV, and public records. I want everything set and ready for when you're released back to duty."
"I don't know what to say," Kevin said in a voice choked with emotion. When the doctors told him that it was extremely likely that he'd never walk again he became depressed over not being a cop anymore. Now he was able to continue in a job he loved, although in a capacity he never expected.
"Your facial expressions say it all. I'll leave you to talk over things. I'm looking forward to having the three of you back to work. See you later."
"Bye Commissioner and thank you so much."
"Yes, thank you Commissioner."
"You're both welcome."
Right after the commissioner left, Dr. Sims, the neurologist assigned to Kevin's case came in. "Kevin, how are you feeling today?" Anticipating bad news, he simply shrugged. "Gwen, could you give us a few minutes please?"
"Sure I'll be right outside."
"Okay, Kevin. Let's take a look at you." The doctor stripped the covers off him. "Can you wiggle your toes for me?" After a few seconds Kevin shook his head. "Can you lift your legs?" Same result. "Okay, how about your hips." This Kevin was able to do. "Let's try touch sensation. Let me know if you feel anything."
The doctor touched his groin, hips and various points along his legs and feet. With the exception of the groin and hips, Kevin felt nothing. Doctor Sims covered him back up and called Gwen back into the room. Sitting down, he delivered his prognosis. "I'm afraid all indications are that the paralysis is permanent. I'm so sorry, Kevin." This is so fucked up. The kid's only 22 and now he's going to have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Kevin was devastated, even though he pretty much expected the diagnosis. It was one thing to expect it, a completely different thing to hear it said. His world was coming apart at the seams. What am I going to do now? No more bike riding. No more rugby. The one thought that hurt most of all was, no more Perry. Huge wracking sobs practically shook him apart as he reached for his sister, who was equally hysterical.
Completely spent, they fell into the sleep normally associated with the emotionally exhausted. About an hour later, they woke to see their parents, Harry and Phyllis Jordan, sitting in chairs watching their beloved children sleep, completely unaware of Kevin's diagnosis. "Mom. Dad. Hi. Kevin, mom and dad are here."
A weak 'hi' was about all he could manage. His mother sidled up to him and took his hand in hers. "How are you doing, my darling son?" The floodgates opened again and he was rendered speechless. She turned to first her husband then her daughter, completely bewildered by Kevin's unexpected reaction.
Gwen reached out to both parents. "Mom, dad, Kevin and I just found out that his paralysis is permanent." Predictably, Phyllis fell apart and was pulled into her husband's arms who himself was distraught over the news.
In a shaky voice Phyllis asked, "Does Perry know?" Both parents were very proud of both their children and they supported them 100%. They both loved Perry as one of their own and couldn't think of a better person to be Kevin's boyfriend of 3 years.
“No. We just found out about it ourselves.” Gwen answered.
“He’s supposed to come by this evening when he gets off from work. I’m not sure I want him to now.” Kevin said sadly.
“Why not, son?” His father asked, getting in to the conversation.
“Do you really think he’ll want to have deal with not being able to hold me, go bike riding, and play rugby, all the things we used to do? I doubt it. He needs to move on with his life and find someone who can do all those things.”
Only Phyllis noticed Perry standing in the doorway listening, his eyes moist. “What if I don’t want to move and find somebody else just because you’re paralyzed? Do you really think I’m that shallow, that the only reason I’m with you doing all these things because I just want to fuck you? No, baby, I’m not. I love you for you, not for the things we do together. They’re just icing on the cake.
“I can still hold you. So what if we have to be horizontal instead of vertical.” Perry got a wicked gleam in his eye. “Besides, being horizontal is more fun. Seriously, though, I enjoy bike riding with you more than playing rugby. When I get through playing I feel like I’ve been smashed flat by a steamroller, even though I do like rugby.
“Did you know that they make a special bike that is pedaled using your arms? It’s made especially for people who are paralyzed from the waist down. We can get you one of those.”
“That’s all well and good, but what about getting into and out of my apartment? Cooking, cleaning, showering, all that kind of stuff.”
“I’m sure we can do something about that.” Phyllis jumped in. “In the meantime you can come stay with us. It’ll be easier since everything is on the ground floor.”
“Ah, mom? You may have changed my diapers when I was a baby, but in case you hadn’t noticed I’ve kinda grown up. I’m not sure I could handle you showering me, wiping my ass, that sort of thing.”
“I think that’s where I come in, baby. I’ve seen you naked in the locker room many times so I don’t think you’d have a problem with me helping you take a shower. As far as wiping your ass goes, I’m pretty sure you can handle that on your own.”
“There is some good news that goes along with all of this.” Gwen interjected. “Sergeant Jordan is still going to be with the task force. He has a new job, Research Analyst.” She went on to explain what the job entailed.
“That’s awesome, baby. I know how much the task force means to you. I love you so much and I’m so happy for you.” Perry climbed onto the bed and pulled Kevin into his arms. “See? I can still hold you.”
Gwen said, “I don’t think anyone really heard what I said, so I’ll expand on it. The commissioner has decided to restructure the task force. It will be headed up by Captain Jordan,” she pointed to herself. “Training and recruitment will be handled by Lieutenant Peters, and Sergeant Jordan,” she pointed to Kevin, “will play a very valuable part as Research Analyst.”
Everyone stood gaping when they heard about the promotions. All pandemonium broke loose. Kevin couldn’t help but smile. Perry was still part of his life. With all the support he was getting, he knew he’d be okay.
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