"What's wrong?" asked Jonas. "You act like you ain't happy to see me."
"It ain't that," said Lou. "I do like you, Jonas. It's just that we can't never be together again like we were Saturday. It just ain't right. I'm married."
"But your husband can't give you any now, and he might not ever can again," Jonas protested.
"That don't matter," Lou replied. "He's still my husband."
Jonas looked disappointed but didn't say anything. He didn't sit with her at lunch like he usually did. Lou saw him sitting at the opposite end of the cafeteria, talking and laughing with another woman who worked with them. Relief flooded through her.
The next time Lou went to visit Rad at the clinic, she found him in a very cheerful mood.
"Look what I can do now!" he said proudly. He took a crutch in each hand and painstakingly pulled himself into a standing position. Ever so slowly, he began to shuffle across the floor, leaning heavily on the crutches. When he got to the other side of the room, he looked back at her triumphantly.
"Good for you!" Lou exclaimed, clapping enthusiastically. She rushed to hug Rad tightly.
"And that ain't all," Rad told her. "The feelin' is startin' to come back in other places too, if you know what I mean."
"That's wonderful," said Lou. "I can't wait to hold you in my arms again." For the first time since Charles' death, Lou felt genuinely happy.
A month later, Rad was finally discharged from the clinic. He still used crutches, but he was able to walk much better, barely needing them at all. Lou baked a cake for the occasion and dressed herself and the children up. Rad's eyes lit up when he stepped into the house and saw all the preparations she'd made.
"Did you really do all this for me?" he asked.
Timmy, Wyatt, and Ruby, overjoyed to see their father again, constantly swarmed around him, craving his attention.
"One at a time, kids," he finally told them.
Lou cooked fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Afterwards she served cake and ice cream.
"You're really spoilin' me today, sweetheart," Rad told his wife.
"I'm just ever so happy to finally have you home again," she replied.
That night Lou put on the black negligee that Rad had brought from Paris for her.
"You're beautiful," Rad whispered, beginning to touch her.
She helped him to take off his pants. She saw that he was slightly hard, but not enough so for penetration. She took him into her hand, stimulating him as she normally did, but instead of immediately hardening as he had before his illness, he remained partially limp. She continued to stimulate him for a long time with no further result.
"Aw, it ain't gonna happen," Rad cried, frustrated.
"I've got an idea," Lou said. "Somethin' I ain't never tried before."
Feeling a bit uncertain about it, but desperate to help her husband, Lou gingerly took Rad's organ into her mouth and began to gently lick and suckle it. The sensation was not an unpleasant one; in fact, Lou found herself becoming quite aroused.
"Golly!" Rad cried in surprise and delight. Within seconds he was firm enough for penetration, and Lou lay back so that he could enter her. Afterwards they lay in one another's arms, and Lou felt that a raw, aching wound deep inside her had finally healed.
"Lou, you are really some woman," Rad told her gratefully. "I don't know what in the world I'd do without you. And I swear to you, Lou, I'll never again take another woman to bed, no matter how lonely I get."
"I love you, Rad." Lou had never meant the words more fervently than she did now.