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“I’m sorry the stem cell research nose-dived,” Gabrielle said as she rolled the wheelchair into the voluminous shower and locked its wheels in place. “It’s always nice to have hope. When Doctor Theia showed me the results from last year’s Ocata trials I was so excited. I just hope things keep going well. And that I’m not too far gone,” she added with a sigh.

As recently as a year ago Adriel had been able to help transfer his body from the wheelchair to the shower’s long, wide bench but now, muscles flaccid and voluntary muscle control essentially limited to above the C7 vertebrae, he could do nothing but wait patiently.

Once he was on the bench she unbuttoned and removed his shirt. Getting socks and shoes off was easy but now that he could no longer raise his hips pants and underwear were a big challenge. Knowing how difficult the work was and what was to come next she smiled at her husband, kissed his lips and then began to remove her own clothes in a slow and seductive fashion. “Hope is very important,” she whispered in his ear, gently nibbling on it. “We all need things to look forward to.”

Naked before him she knelt and removed his pants and undergarments. Once the clothes were off she set them on the wheelchair on top of her own and rolled it out of the shower. Closing the glass door she placed the safety straps around Adriel’s thin but soft mid-section and then bent down and again kissed him. “Hard to live in a world without hope,” she murmured just as she turned the shower jets on.