Caring Christopher

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#24 Catch me when I fall


I want to cry out in disappointment when Chris pulls away from me and gets out of bed, pulling his boxershorts and sweatpants back on.

“Chris?” Davy’s voice says on the other side of the door. “I can’t sleep.”

“Coming,” Chris says, looking at me with regret in his eyes. “Sorry,” he breathes. “I’m so sorry, Abby.”

I shake my head and get out as well, catching the shirt he throws me and picking up my panties where I left them. My pajama pants are on his dresser, and I pull them on as well, wishing we could just remain naked, continue what we were doing.

Chris opens the door and picks up Davy, who wraps his arms and legs around Chris like a monkey climbing a tree. “Hi Abby,” he says with a cute little frown. “Why are you in here?”

“Why are you in here?” I shoot back, trying to sound teasing instead of breathless and horny.

“I couldn’t sleep, and I want to sleep with Chris.”

Yeah, kid, so do I, but you’re making that impossible.

“I can’t sleep either,” I say, walking over to ruffle Davy’s hair. “Chris was telling me a bedtime story.”

“Oh, a story!” Davy perks up. “Will you tell me one, Chris?”

I watch the two of them get in bed, and I look at Christopher, wondering what I should do. Part of me wants to get in there with them, but I know that I’m no mood to cuddle with a kid tonight. I need Chris inside of me, but that’s not going to happen anymore, so I might as well head back to my room.

“Goodnight,” I say, waving at him stupidly. “I’m going to see if I can catch some sleep. Thanks for the story.”

“Abby…” Chris trails off, not knowing what to say.

I smile at him, needing him to know that I get it. He’s a father first, and my… whatever he is to me, second. It’s not his fault the kids need him. He’s paying me to be there for his three foster kids, not to sleep with him, so I should be making sure Davy is in his own bed, fast asleep, but instead I’m out here in the hallway, closing the door of Christopher’s bedroom behind me while I’m wearing one of his shirts.

I can’t possibly sleep right now, so I go back downstairs to make myself a cup of tea and I grab my phone, calling Brittany. I check the hallway to make sure Jagger or Yoah or someone else isn’t listening in on me, and I sit down in the recliner in the far corner where Chris likes to read, pulling his pillow onto my lap while I wait for Britt to pick up.

“What?” she grunts when she picks up. “Do you know how late it is, Abby? You better be fucking dying, or I’m going to be so mad at you!”

“I kissed Chris,” I tell her, smiling to myself.

“You what?!” Brittany sounds wide awake now, and I can hear her squealing. “Oh my God, why didn’t you say so right away?! Okay, what was it like? When did you do it? Oh my God, did you sleep with him?”

“I tried to, but-”

“Oh my God, is he too old to get it up?” she asks incredulously. “He’s only 45, right?”

“That wasn’t the problem at all.” I explain what happened to her, unable to keep a grin off my face. This night didn’t end the way I hope it would, and I’m sexually frustrated like never before, but I’m so glad we kissed, and touched, and… I’m just so happy all of this happened. He made me feel special even though we got caught by Jagger and had to stay quiet. He didn’t even get a chance to get me off, and I still feel like he’s better in bed than any of the guys I was with before him.

“Oh, Abby,” Brittany says, sighing. “I’m so happy for you. Chris is one of the best people I know, nothing like the douches you used to date. Lock him down before he realizes what a completely and total shit show you are.”

The smile freezes on my face when I realize she’s right. I’m a mess. He’s perfect, and I’m far from it. Sure, he thinks I’m cute and all, but this is never going to work. I’m 18 years younger than he is, and he’s all mature, with a stable job, lots of money in the bank, three kids to take care of. And I’m… well… me.

“Oh no,” Britty says softly. “No no no, I’m sorry, Abby. I was just kidding. You’re not a shit show. God, I’m so stupid. Sorry sorry sorry, I’m so dumb. Don’t start overthinking things. You’re amazing and Chris would be stupid not to realize that. Please don’t go doubting yourself now. I never should have made that stupid joke. Abby, please, ignore my stupid comments like you always do!”

I hear Jaxon murmur something to her, but she shushes him, waiting for my reply.

“I’ve got to go,” I say, choking up. “Bye, Britt.”

“No, Abby, don’t-”

I hang up, trying to keep the tears at bay. How stupid am I? Of course this is never going to work. Britt is right, even though she was just kidding. I’m a mess. A young, immature mess with bad genes and a shitty past. I’m not good enough for Chris.

The door of the living room opens and Christopher walks in, immediately walking over to me and taking me into his arms. A few tears slip out, and I hold him tightly while I try to calm down.

“Sorry, it took a while for Davy to fall asleep,” he whispers, stroking my hair. “Are you…” He pulls back and his face falls when he sees my tear-stained face. “Oh God, what did I do wrong?”

“Nothing,” I assure him, wiping at my eyes furiously. “Nothing at all. I just… I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have done that. I’m not right for you.”

“Abby,” he says with the sweetest smile ever. “You’re the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. You’ve been the one person keeping me sane in the whirlwind I’ve been in the past months. This night is one of the best of my life, even though it was so far from perfect that it’s ridiculous. Don’t go doubting yourself now.”

I shake my head, not knowing what to think. I felt so beautiful, strong and worthy earlier, but Britt’s offhand comment hit me harder than I expected.

“Abby,” Chris says, taking my face in his hands. “I’ve already fallen for you. I know that’s soon and crazy, but I’ve known for a while now that I’m madly in love with you. So don’t tell me you’re not right for me. We fit. Surely you feel that too?”

What did he just say?

I pull back slightly, searching his face. He doesn’t flinch or look away. His blue eyes bore into mine, trying to convince me that he’s really here, saying all these lovely things.

“You… you love me?”

“I’d be stupid not to,” he states simply, leaning in to kiss me tenderly.

This is too fast. Part of me is ecstatic, but I can’t shake the feeling that he doesn’t truly know me. I’ve told him about my past, but he hasn’t truly seen the darkness. He hasn’t met my mother, hasn’t seen how I will end up eventually. He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into.

“I need to get some sleep,” I say stupidly, pushing him away from me even though I want to pull him closer. “We’ll talk in the morning.”

“Abby,” he says, reaching for me, then pulling back when he sees the look on my face.

“This is too much,” I tell him, trying to keep myself from bawling my eyes out. “I need a moment.”

“Okay,” he breathes, his shoulders sagging. “Take as much time as you need. Just know that I’m here for you, okay? No matter what you decide or how you want me – boss, friend, lover, boyfriend – I’m here. I’ll always be here.”

I turn around so he won’t see me break down, and I rush upstairs, hurrying into my room and locking my door behind me. I haven’t been locking my door lately, except when I was changing or masturbating or something, but not when I was sleeping. Tonight feels like one step forward, three steps backward, and I hate that. I want to revel in the feeling of finally getting intimate with Chris, yet instead I’m in here on my own, cursing myself for being such a mess.

He deserves better. I know he does.

There’s a knock on my door and I grunt, wiping my eyes on my sleeve before moving to open it. I’m expecting Chris, but instead I see Yoah standing there, looking up at me with wide questioning eyes.

“I woke up and heard you crying,” he says in a whisper. “Are you okay?”

I shake my head. “No, Yoah, I’m not okay. I will be in the morning, though. I’m having a rough night. Sorry for waking you.”

He steps into my room and wraps his arms around me, making me tear up even more. “You’ll be okay,” he says in that tone that tells me that he’s seen too much, experienced things he never should have.

“Yes,” I agree, stroking his hair. “I will be.”

“Want me to stay with you?” he asks, making me smile.

“Actually, I’d like that very much,” I tell him. “Are you sure though? Davy says I snore.”

Yoah chuckles. “I think he must have heard himself. Or Chris. They both snore.”

We make our way to my bed and he gets in with me, his head on my chest and his arm thrown carelessly over my stomach. We’ve never slept in the same bed aside from that one night with Chris and Davy, but it doesn’t feel awkward at all. He truly feels like my kid, even though I know he isn’t. He’s Dorothy’s first, then Christopher’s, and then maybe, just maybe, he’s mine.

“Davy used to crawl into bed with me when my grandpa beat me,” Yoah whispers, taking me by surprise. “He didn’t know what was going on, I always made sure he was safely locked inside his room when grandpa got drunk, but Davy could always tell I was sad and hurt after, so he got in with me. Even though he didn’t know why I was sad, he comforted me just by being there.”

I pull the boy tighter against me, crying even harder now that I know more about what he’s been through. I knew it had to be something like this, but I was hoping it would be something else. Something less horrible.

“I’m sorry that happened to you,” I tell him, stroking his hair. “Davy is so lucky to have you. And you’re lucky to have him too. It was sweet of him to comfort you, just like it is so nice that you’re here for me right now.”

Yoah nuzzles his face against my neck, getting comfortable. “You get it,” he says, yawning.

“Yes,” I say, knowing exactly what he means. “I do get it.”

And he gets me. It’s sad that a 27-year-old screw-up and a traumatized 9-year-old understand each other better than anyone else seems to, but it’s the sad truth. Yoah dozes off, and my tears dry, but my mind is still spinning.

Truth be told, Yoah isn’t the only one who gets me. Christopher does too. He hasn’t been through as much shit as Yoah has, nor does he share the kind of sad experiences that Jagger and I do, but he does get me. He always makes sure I’m okay, and he leans on me too. It’s not just a one-way-street with him. He lets me comfort him, and he allows me take the lead with the kids when he can tell that I have a connection with them that he doesn’t.

Even though I haven’t admitted it to myself before now, I know I do love him. He’s amazing, he gets me, and he’s just so good. Of course I love him.

Maybe I should stop worrying about being good enough for him. He seems to have decided that I am. Maybe… maybe I should let him in. I’ve been opening up more in the past two months than I have in the past ten years or even more. Hell, I think I’ve never opened up to anyone in my whole life the way I do with Christopher.

Instead of fighting this, I could just give in. I’ll be hard, but maybe it’ll be worth it. I’ve been through the ringer so many times, and damnit, I think I deserve some happiness after 27 years of mostly misery.

Chris definitely makes me happy.

These kids make me happy, even obnoxious Jagger.

It might all crash and burn at one point, but maybe it won’t. If I don’t jump in, I will never find out. I think that I’m ready to jump, no matter how scary. Chris will catch me.

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