Caring Christopher

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#16 Sleeping with Chris


Dorothy coughs up blood for the second time in a minute, and I get up from her bedside, calling for Christopher. He comes stumbling out of his bedroom in nothing but boxershorts, causing me to inhale sharply. Even my worry about Dorothy can’t keep me from admiring his body. He’s got a runner’s body: lean, slightly muscular, with defined calves. He’s hot. For sure. That damn V leading down to his shorts makes my mouth water.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, rubbing his eyes. “Why are you up?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” I say vaguely. Truth is I was masturbating after waking up from a hot dream about Chris, when I heard Dorothy coughing like she was dying, so I pulled on my pajamas, unlocked my door and sat with her until I got too nervous about her health and called out to Chris. Dorothy has been living with us for a month now, and the boys are really excited about having her here for Thanksgiving in a few days, but she’s not looking good right now. I doubt we can even get her downstairs to eat without hurting her.

“She’s coughing up blood,” I explain. “I’m worried.”

“Mom?” a soft voice sounds from the doorway, and Davy appears, his messy dark hair sticking up in weird directions. “Mommy?”

Chris and I lock eyes and we nod, knowing what needs to be done. I pull Davy up for a hug, carrying him back to his room while Chris shuts the door of his mother’s room and gives her a check-up. It’s a good thing we’ve got a doctor in the house. I’m the one helping her shower, feeding her, making her comfortable, but when she starts getting sicker and sicker, there is nothing I can do. Chris is the one making sure she’s got the right amounts of pain meds in her body, that she’s hydrated, hooked up to her IV drip, and able to sleep. He’s the true backbone of our weird little family, and I don’t think he even realizes it. We all lean on him for guidance, support, help. He gives it freely and without complaining, even though he’s not doing so well himself.

I didn’t think I’d ever see the day, but Chris might be cracking under the pressure. I feel bad waking him up when I know he’s having trouble sleeping lately, but I can’t let Dorothy hurt when he can help her.

“Abby?” Davy asks, crying in my arms. “What’s happening?”

Yoah appears in his room, closing the door behind him as he takes in his brother’s tear-stained face and my attempts to comfort him.

“Mom?” he asks simply.

I nod, not knowing how to make this better for them. “Chris is with her.”

Yoah walks over and puts his arms around the both of us, taking the role of Davy’s father even though he’s only 9 years old. Davy keeps sobbing for a while, but with Yoah’s soft touches and my murmured comforting words, he calms down. He’s so exhausted he falls asleep in my lap, and I settle into his bed with my back against the wall, not wanting to wake him up.

“Is she dying?” Yoah ask softly, stroking Davy hair while he scoots onto the bed as well, putting his head on my shoulder.

“Not tonight,” I say, feeling sure about that. She looked bad, but not like this was it for her. She still has some fight left in her. “Soon, though.”

He nods. “I know. Shouldn’t she be in the hospital?”

“There’s nothing they can do to help her, and they only have space for her in a different town,” I explain, putting an arm around Yoah to give him some comfort too. He pushes his face against my shirt, but he doesn’t cry, just hugs me for a long time.

“Thank you for taking care of her,” he mumbles into my skin. “Chris too.”

“It’s our pleasure,” I assure him. “Your mother is such a strong and kind woman.”

Yoah almost breaks, but he pulls himself back together. I understand him better than he knows. That’s what I do too. When I feel tears threatening to spill out, I take deep breath and push through, knowing that crying won’t fix things. It’s not healthy, but it’s all we can do to survive.

“Davy is lucky to have you,” I tell Yoah, stroking his hair just like he’s doing to Davy. “You take great care of him, and that’s lovely to see, but you don’t have to anymore, Yoah. Chris and I are here now. We can take care of Davy. All you have to do is take care of yourself and let us be there for you.”

“He’s all I have,” Yoah whispers, sounding a million years old.

“No, he’s not,” I insist. “Christopher isn’t going anywhere, Yoah. He would move and heaven and earth for you. So would I. We’ve got you.”

He shakes with unshed tears, still refusing to break down completely. “People die,” he breathes through his pain. “They leave.”

“Not me and Chris,” I vow. “We’re perfectly healthy and we’re not going anywhere.”

A small voice inside of me tells me to be careful. I’m only the nanny and if Chris fires me, I have to move out. I don’t think he will, though. Things have been a little awkward since that night with Brittany two weeks ago, when he overheard me talking about wanting to get laid and he told me he wants the woman he sleeps with to feel safe and cherished. His words have been on my mind every single day and night, but we’ve kept things professional. He doesn’t even seem affected, not like I am. He just goes to work, plays with the kids, goes to parent-teacher things at school, and treats me with nothing but respect and kindness.

Even if Chris fires me, nothing can keep me from wanting to be there for these kids. I love Davy and Yoah and it would break me if I couldn’t be a part of their lives anymore. I always care about the kids I look after, but not like this. For the first time ever, I feel like I have a family. They’re not just kids I babysit, they're my kids. And Chris… As much as I want to deny it, he’s not just my boss. Not even just my friend. I’m attracted to him and I admire his compassion, his strength, and his unyielding kindness for everyone around him. I’m not going to act on my attraction to him, but it’s there. One hundred percent there.

Chris walks into the room with a sad look in his eyes, and he gets in Davy’s small bed with us, his arms going around me and Yoah, trying not to wake up Davy.

“She’s okay for now,” he says quietly. “She’s sleeping.” He pulls back and I can tell he’s beyond exhausted. He stretches out on the bed, rolling onto his side when Yoah lies down as well, his arms going around Chris. There’s not enough space, and my legs are tangled with Christopher’s, Davy smushed by all of us, no space for him in this small bed.

“Come on,” I say softly, picking up Davy and getting out of bed to talk into Christopher’s bedroom. Chris and Yoah follow me, and Yoah gets right into bed when he notices that Davy is waking up. He strokes his younger brother’s hair tenderly, helping him drift back off to sleep. Chris gets in as well, moving over to the boys so he’s in the middle of the bed. Yoah has never slept in here with Chris before, and it warms my heart to see all three of them together like this.

“Good night,” I whisper, turning around to leave.

“Abby?” Yoah calls out in a forceful whisper. “Could you… stay?”

I spin back around and suck in a breath. The only space in the bed is next to Christopher, and I can’t exactly tell Yoah that we need to wake Davy back up just because I feel a little weird getting into bed with Chris. To Yoah and Davy, we’re pretty much a parenting unit, because that’s how Chris runs things in his house. I’m his equal and he consults me before making decisions, making sure the boys know that my word is just as good as his.

“Want me to put on some pants and a shirt?” Chris asks when I step closer to the bed.

I shake my head, not wanting him to have to get back up. He looks more drained than I’ve ever seen him in these two month I’ve been living here. Slowly, I pull up the blankets and slide in behind him, lying on my back. There’s barely enough room for that, I can tell Chris is trying to give me all the space he can by curling himself around the boys.

“Good night,” he whispers.

“Yeah, good night,” I reply, trying to calm myself down. I’m tired too, but my whole body is tingling from being so close to him.

“Good night,” Yoah echoes with a yawn. Judging by his breathing, he’s off to dreamland only a few minutes later, while Christopher’s fast inhales and exhales sound more like mine.

“I can go back to my own bed,” I offer, my voice even lower than a whisper.

“Yoah wants you to stay,” Chris says, rolling over to he’s facing me. “And to be honest… I’d like you to stay too.”

“Okay,” I breathe, looking into his deep blue eyes so close to mine.

“I won’t touch you,” he vows, indeed not a single part of him close to my skin even though there’s not much space in bed since Davy and Yoah are taking up half of it. “You can get out whenever you feel uncomfortable.”

So goddamn sweet of him to think about how I might feel in the midst of all this. I reach out to brush my fingers over his arm, feeling goosebumps erupt on his skin.

“Sorry,” I say softly. “I won’t touch you either.”

When I pull back, Chris catches my hand and puts it back on his arm. We don’t say anything, we just lie there, both breathing rapidly. It’s been a long time since I was in bed with a man and the way I was touching that guy was way more sexual than this, yet somehow, this simple touch of my fingers on Chris’ arm feels more intimate than anything has ever felt before.

“Good night, Abby,” Chris says with a smile in his voice.

I want to keep touching him, but that would be utterly stupid and inappropriate with the boys lying in bed with us, so I roll over, so my back is facing him. Almost immediately, he drapes an arm over me, careful to rest it on my shoulder and not on my breasts.

“Okay?” he asks, his face pressed into my hair. We’re not quite spooning, his lower body is carefully angled so it’s not touching me, but it’s closer than we ever been before, and knowing he’s almost naked has my blood boiling.

“Yeah,” I breathe. “Okay.”

He drifts off a few minutes later, and when he’s completely submerged in the blissful darkness of sleep, he pulls me closer, his hand slipping a little until it moves over my breast for a moment before settling on my stomach. It takes me another fifteen minutes to relax, trying to keep myself from snuggling against him completely.

“Hmm,” I hear Yoah murmur in his sleep, and he turns, making Chris roll away from me a little because the matrass moves when Yoah does. I’m a little disappointed that Christopher’s face is no longer nuzzled against my neck, but it’s for the best. He’s already too close.

After what feels like an eternity, I finally fall asleep, Chris’ warmth and scent lulling me into a feeling of safety that I haven’t felt… ever, I think.

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