Caring Christopher

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#12 Good with his hands


On Sunday, Christopher and I are both up early, before the boys – which never happens – so we sit in the yard to enjoy our coffee. It’s getting quite cold out these days – it’s late October, after all – but neither of us seems to mind. Titus plays with a tennis ball and we take turns throwing it as far away as we can. I’m surprised to realize that I can throw it much further than he can.

“You throw like a girl, Dr. Davids,” I tease him, sticking out my tongue.

He rolls his eyes. “So I can’t throw a ball all the way across the yard. Trust me, I’m very good with my hands when it comes to other things.”

A shiver runs up my spine and for a split second, I can imagine his hands on me, his fingers pinching my nipples, moving down to take off my panties, slipping a finger into my-

Stop it, Abby. Don’t go there. He’s too old for you, and he’s your boss. Besides, sex never leads anywhere. Especially not with guys you work for.

“Erm… I meant like… I’m a s-s-surgeon,” Chris stammers, his cheeks flushing bright red. “I cut people open, so I’m good w-with my, erm, hands.”

I can’t help but laugh at his embarrassment. Guess I’m not the only one with a dirty mind. Good to know.

“Chris?” Davy’s voice calls out from the living room. “Abby? Where are you?”

“Out here, honey!” Chris yells back, his whole being lighting up the moment Davy walks into the yard.

Davy walks out barefoot in his pajamas, settling on Christopher’s lap with a happy sigh, wrapping his arms around him. “You left me all alone in bed,” he complaints.

“You were snoring too loudly,” Christopher teases, kissing his forehead.

“Was not!” Davy complains.

About two seconds later, Yoah walks out as well, already dressed and shoes on his feet. He’s way too put-together for a 9-year-old and I hate that he had to grow up so fast. Chris is doing everything he can to give him a great childhood from now on, and I’m happy I can help, but there’s no taking away all the hardships Yoah has faced already.

“Wanna go for a walk with me?” I ask Yoah, getting up and stretching. “Titus is a little restless this morning.”

“Can I hold the leash?” he asks, his eyes lighting up at the prospect.

“Chris is the boss of the house,” I say, shrugging. “If he’s okay with it, I’m good.”

“You’re just as much the boss as I am,” Chris says, smiling up at me. “And yeah, I’m good with it. Yoah is really responsible. He’d never let anything happen to Titus and he’s really good at looking both ways when we cross the street, right Yoah?”

It’s so cute to see Yoah glow when Chris praises him. We say goodbye to Chris and Davy, and Yoah and I walk in comfortable silence for a long time. To my surprise, it’s Yoah who strikes up a conversation.

“How do you know Chris?”

“He hired me to take care of you guys when he’s at work,” I explain. “A friend of mine knew Christopher, and I was looking for a job, so that’s how I ended up living with you guys. Not that looking after you is truly a job, of course. I love hanging out with you and Davy. You’re so much fun to be around. Except when you cheat at snakes and ladders, of course.”

“I don’t cheat,” Yoah says indignantly. “Davy does.”

“Oh, you cheat,” I tease him. “I saw you roll the dice again when you didn’t like the number.”

“Did not!” He looks up at me with a hint of anger in his eyes, but he relaxes when he sees me sticking out my tongue at him. “You’re so mean, Abby.”

I laugh. “No, I’m not. You love me.”

“Yes,” Yoah replies seriously, standing still on the sidewalk with Titus’ leash firmly in his grasp. “I love you. You’re really nice to me.”

“Oh, Yoah,” I breathe, taken aback by how mature and young this boy is, all at the same time. “I love you too. And Chrisopther loves you very much as well. You know that, right?”

He nods. “He’s really nice too. Davy doesn’t cry himself to sleep at night anymore.”

Oh wow. That tears me up, but a few deep breaths keep them at bay. No crying allowed. “You’ve been through some real crappy stuff, haven’t you?” I ask softly.

Yoah shrugs and resumes walking. “We’re okay now.”

“Yes,” I agree. “You’re okay now.”

“Abby?” Yoah asks while we cross the street. “Are the people from the office going to take us away again?”

It takes me a moment before I realize he’s talking about the social workers. “I don’t know,” I say, not wanting to lie to him. “I don’t think so, but it’s not up to me. What do you want?”

He sighs deeply. “I want Mom to get better, but I know she’s dying. So I guess… I like Chris. If we can’t go live with Mom again, I want to stay with him.”

“Then I’ll make sure to let the people from the office know that and I hope they will take that into account,” I promise. “They just want you and Davy to have a safe place to live, and for someone to take good care of you. I think Christopher is doing a pretty good job, right?”

“Better than grandma and grandpa,” Yoah agrees, nodding. “I didn’t like them.”

“Why didn’t you like them?” I ask softly, hoping to gain some insight on what their time with their grandparents was like. From what Chris told me, it must have been pretty bad.

Yoah shuts down immediately, and he doesn’t talk to me until we get back to the house. I regret asking him about his grandparents, but I do think that we just had some kind of breakthrough. I haven’t heard him talk this much since I met him and he truly opened up just now. I hope I did a good job of reassuring him he’ll be okay and making him believe that Chris and I truly care about him and Davy.

When we get back in the house, I clean off Titus while Yoah checks on Davy, just like he always does. He’s truly the best older brother ever. A little too good, even. He acts like his father in some ways. I motion for Chris to step into the hallway with me while the kids play in the living room, and I fill him in on the talk I just had with Yoah.

“Abby…” Christopher leans against the wall and closes his eyes, looking like he’s overcome with emotions. “That’s… I can’t believe he said that.”

“I can,” I say immediately. “You’re amazing with them, Chris. You devote every spare minute to the boys and you just… I don’t know. You were meant to be a father. You’re such a kind and genuine person. I’ve never met anyone quite like you.” I mean every word. I may have thought he was a creep at first, but that was just because I’m so used to men being scumbags. I feel safe with Christopher by now, and that’s not something I often experience.

“You have no idea how much it means to hear you say that,” Chris says, opening his beautiful blue eyes so he can meet my gaze. “Not just what you told me about Yoah, but also that you think of me like that. I have a sense that it’s hard for you to trust people, so I’m glad you feel that way.”

I shrug, getting a little uncomfortable with this whole mushy conversation. “Yeah, well, that’s just the way it is. You’re a good guy. So… breakfast?”

He chuckles. “Yeah, breakfast.”

He wants to go into the kitchen, but I don’t let him. I push him toward the boys who are watching TV, telling him to just enjoy this lazy morning with his kids. He smiles at me and settles between the two boys. They immediately snuggle up to him and they watch some stupid show together. I take a few pictures when they’re not looking, planning to get them framed for Chris. He’ll like that. He doesn’t have any pictures of him and the boys in here. In fact, the only picture frames show Chris’ brother with his family, and his parents. He needs some personal touches in this house. It’s all fancy, white and comfortable, but not very personable. The only personal stuff in the living room are the toys Davy leaves everywhere. I think Chris deserves to be reminded wherever he looks that he’s got a family now. An unconventional one, for sure, but he’s a father, for all intents and purposes, and he should be proud of that.

Fifteen minutes later, I call the guys into the kitchen for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, bread rolls, the works. Christopher thanks me, and tells the boys to do the same. They sit down on the stools at the kitchen island, Davy with some help from me, and then we all dig in.

“Abby?” Davy asks surprised. “What are you putting on your eggs?”

“Sugar,” I reply, grabbing some scissors to cut my bacon into tiny little pieces and mixing it with the eggs. “Do you want to taste?”

“Ew,” Yoah says, wrinkling his nose. “You’re weird.”

“That’s not nice to say to someone,” Chris says in a serious tone before cracking up. “But yeah, you’re right, she’s very weird.”

“Don’t knock it till you tried it.” I hold out a spoon full of sugary eggs with bacon snippets as a challenge.

“Oh, you’re on,” Chris says with a grin. Then his lips close around the spoon and he pulls back, wincing. “Oh God, that’s awful,” he says with his mouth full, gagging a little.

“Need a tissue?” I ask, holding one out to him.

He grabs it and spits the food back out. “Ew! Hand me some juice, will you?”

Yoah slides his glass to him, laughing loudly at our antics. He seems to be okay again after our heavy talk earlier, and it’s so good to see him smile.

“You are a witch,” Christopher tells me. “I think you just poisoned me, Abby.”

“Oh a witch!” Davy says excitedly. “Yeah! Can we play witches and wizards today, Abby?”

“Sure,” I agree with a smile at the little boy. “After we visit your mother, okay?”

Christopher and I lock eyes, our good mood fading. We both know that this is the last day Dorothy is in the hospital, since she will be moved to a hospice this afternoon. It’s only a matter of time before the boys have no family left to visit.

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