Eager for the night ahead, I quickly change into my pajamas, brush my teeth, and hop into bed. Chris is slower, more delicate, as if he is trying to make a mental note of where everything is.
"Hey, Jay," Chris calls, sticking his head out of the bathroom to peer at me. "Do you have any extra toothpaste? I left mine at home - I mean, my former home."
I smile up at him from where I've been reading a book on Wattpad - called "The Olive Garden" - and nod. "It's under the sink."
"Thanks, Jay Jay." He pops back into the bathroom.
"Hmm?" I ask.
He returns to the bedroom, this time brushing his teeth.
"That's your new nickname, Jay Jay." His voice is muffled by the paste and brush.
"I like it."
"I do too." He leaves for a few moments.
Jay Jay? It sort of sounds strange, but when those words escape his mouth, in the gentle, loving, caring way of his voice, I feel true happiness.
When Chris comes back, he jumps under the covers with me and snuggles deep into the covers.
"I think I know what your nickname should be." I declare.
"What?" The brown eyes flash with interest.
He gets a far away look on his face and plays with a strand of his hair.
"I really like that, Jay Jay."
"Me too, Chrissie."
He smiles softly and stares up at the ceiling, his eyes seemingly going through the roof and up to the stars, dancing with them in his mind.
"Goodnight, Jay Jay."
I squeeze his arm.
With that, I roll over and turn out the lamp, flooding the room with darkness.
A soft whimper awakens me from my sleep.
"Hmmm..." I turn over to face Chris, the small man beside me, and find him sobbing, hugging his arms around himself. "Chris?" I immediately turn on the light and grab my glasses. "What's wrong?"
"I-I-" He sobs harder.
"Chris..." I rub his arm gently. "Tell me."
"When I l-l-left, Brendon said he'd f-f-find me, Jay. I can't g-g-go back to living with h-h-him!" He buries his face in his pillow.
"Chrissie," I begin. "You have nothing to fear. He can't find you, and even if he did, we'd call the police before any game was done. You're safe now. All your days of abuse are over." I rub his arm again. "You're with me now."
He looks up at me, his eyes watery.
When he speaks next his voice is steadier.
"Thank you, Jay Jay. I feel safe with you here. I've never felt safe with any man before..." He whispers.
I stop him.
He lays down again, and I turn off the light. Just as I roll back into my back, I feel a soft hand on my stomach, reaching around for my hand. I take the searching hand gently.
"Will you hold me?" Chris mumbles. "Please?"
I reach around his small but nimble frame, pulling him into my chest and burying my face in his soft as rabbit fur white hair. He sighs contently, and I feel small hands slide across my chest, one resting on my stomach, and the other on my left pectoral.
"I'm sorry if you're uncomfortable..."
"I'm not." I touch the worried man's arm.
Soon I head soft breathing, and know he is asleep. I dive into the fleece like hair, and follow him off to dream land.