Caring Christopher

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#25 Babysitters and a hotel key card

Christopher

I hardly slept last night. Not because of Davy’s snoring, although it was loud, and not because he slept like a starfish, taking up all the space there is in my pretty big bed. I didn’t sleep because Abby pretty much rejected me and rushed off crying, locking her door on me. She hardly ever locks her door these days, so using the lock I put on especially for her… It hurt. A lot.

She did let Yoah in, which I only know because he got up before she did and came out of her room when I came out of Dorothy’s room after checking on her. He told me in a serious and quiet voice that Abby had a rough night and that I should let her sleep. So now I’m in the kitchen with Yoah and Davy, getting them ready for school before I have to head out for work myself.

“Hey,” Jagger says in a surprised voice when he sees me putting bread in lunchboxes while gulping down coffee. “Where’s Abby?”

“Sleeping,” I grunt, in no mood to play happy father today.

“Hah, is she tired?” Jagger asks, wiggling his eyebrows.

“She had a rough night,” Yoah says in that mature voice of his, looking up at his big brother with a solemn expression. “She’ll be okay though. She was crying a little last night, but I think she’ll be fine.”

“Oh,” Jagger says, putting a hand on my shoulder in support. “Sorry, man.”

I grumble a response. I appreciate him not making crude comments right now, but I’m not going to let an unruly 16-year-old comfort me over what happened between me and Abby. I was being stupid, putting it all out on the table like that. Of course I scared her off. I should have stuck with my instincts after all, taking her out on a real date before trying to sleep with her. I can’t even imagine how she’s feeling right now. I’m just as bad as those other guys she worked for. She blew me and then she had to go back to her own room. I made her cry. Abby, the girl who is always trying to be strong for everyone, crying because of me.

I fucking disgust myself.

“Chris?” Yoah asks, tugging at my sleeve. “Are you sad too?”

“Just tired from Davy’s snoring,” I reply, trying to make light of the situation. The kids don’t need to know what’s going on. It’s bad enough that Jagger caught on.

“Come here,” Jagger says, taking the butter knife from me and shoving me aside. “I’ve got first period off. I’ll make lunch for the boys and drive them to school, okay? You go take Titus for a walk before going to work.”

“You don’t have to-”

He cuts in. “I know, but neither do you, yet you always do. Just say yes. Or…” He hesitates, looking strangely vulnerable. “Or don’t you trust me to take the kids to school?”

“Of course I trust you with them,” I assure him, ruffling his hair before realizing I’ve never done that before. “Okay, thanks Jagger. That would actually be a big help.”

He grins and pushes his hair back. “Then go. We’ll be fine.”

I kiss Yoah and Davy, telling them to have a good day at school, and ruffle Jagger’s hair again, who rolls his eyes at me and waves the butter knife at me. Titus is already wagging his tail at the back door, so I put his leash on and take off for a walk, trying let the biting cold and the wind take my mind off Abby. Which obviously doesn’t work, but at least I’m trying, right?

***

Work exhausts me in a way it normally doesn’t. I’m in the OR for hours at a time, and I lose a kid on my table, which always takes me a moment to get past before diving back in. My friend Francesca comes in during my break, with her baby in tow, and she plays on the piano for a while, the kids from the peds wing gathering around her and singing along. She is coming back to work just before Christmas, and I can tell she misses work already, and is happy to be here for an hour or so, seeing her colleagues again. She and nurse Jacob get along like a house on fire, and they gossip about all the other nurses and doctors like it’s their job to know everyone’s business.

“Why are your panties in a bunch today?” Franny asks me right before my break is over and I have to head back into surgery. “You’re all moody. That’s not like you, Chris.”

I shrug. “It’s just one of those days.”

“You don’t usually have those days.” She gives me a scrutinizing look. “Is it Jagger?”

“No, he’s been doing alright, I guess. He actually stepped up and helped out this morning, which he’s never done before. He could tell I was having a shit morning, and he wanted to make it better for me, which was pretty sweet.”

Fran keeps frowning. “Why were you having a shit morning?”

I don’t answer, sipping my tea while looking out the window.

“Oh,” Fran says, shifting little Zachary in her arms. “Abby, right? I thought you guys were getting closer.”

“We were.”

When I don’t say anything else, Fran puts a hand on my knee and leans against me. “That sucks, Chris.”

I sigh and put my hand on top of hers. “Yeah, it does.”

We sit like that for a moment, but then it’s time to get back to my job, the one the pay me the big bucks for. I give Franny a hug goodbye, kiss her baby on the forehead and tell her to give my love to her husband Joshua. Ten minutes later, I’m scrubbing in for another surgery that will take three hours at least. I just want this day to be over.

***

Coming back home is a strange sensation. Instead of Abby making dinner in the kitchen, I find Aston there, along with Edward.

“Erm… hi?” I greet them questioningly, putting my bag down and kicking off my shoes.

“Hey,” Aston says with a grin. “You’re home late, honey.”

I laugh and look around the living room, where Jagger, Yoah and Davy are sitting on the couch watching TV. Jagger has Aston’s daughter Steffi in his lap and Edward’s kid Freddie is lying on the rug with Titus, scratching him behind his ears.

“Where’s Abby?” I ask, my heart sinking. “Did she… quit?”

Edwards gives Aston a pointed look. “I told you he’d immediately jump to that conclusion, didn’t I?”

Aston grunts and pulls a ten-dollar bill from his pocket, handing it to Edward. “Fine, you win this bet, but don’t count your blessings yet. Double or nothing – I bet they did the nasty last night.”

“Shhhh,” I say, my eyes going wide, looking over my shoulder at the kids. “Keep your voices down!”

“Well, did you?” Aston asks, leaning against the kitchen island while he continues chopping the vegetables.

“No,” I grunt. “Well… kind of. I don’t know, man. I just want to talk to Abby. Where is she?”

“The Garden Inn,” Edward replies like that explains everything.

Oh God. That’s a hotel a few blocks from here. Does that mean she moved out without even telling me? I know I was wrong for telling her I love her this early on, but did I really mess up so badly that she doesn’t even want to face me again before leaving our family? She’s not just the nanny and she knows it. The kids will be devastated if she’s truly leaving. Oh God. I messed up even more than I realized.

“Dude, why do you look like you’re about to cry?” Aston asks incredulously. “You’re about to have the night of your life. Why do you think Edward and I are here? We’re the babysitters.”

“Babysitters?” I repeat, not sure what they’re getting at.

“Abby told us to tell you that she got you the hotel and the babysitters you guys talked about,” Edward explains, grinning and winking at me. “And to tell you – and I quote – me too.

I can’t help the grin that curls up my lips. “She really said that?”

“Yeah, so what the fuck are you still doing here, dipshit?” Aston makes a shooing motion with his hands. “Go get your girl, man.”

“Yeah, okay, I just – I need a shower, and to shave, and-”

Aston laughs. “Dude, she’s been living here for two and a half months. I think she’s already seen you at your worst. Just go to her. Don’t waste any more time.”

He’s right, I realize. I put my shoes back on, run upstairs to throw some clothes into a bag, and say goodbye to the kids. Yoah and Davy both kiss me goodbye, and Jagger waves at me, laughing when I ruffle his hair.

“Chris?” Jagger calls right before I step out the door.

“Yeah?” I ask, sticking my head back into the living room.

“Get her back, okay?” He looks utterly serious. “She’s kind of awesome.”

“I will,” I promise him. “See you tomorrow, Jagger.”

With that, I rush off to my car, jump in and drive off to the Garden Inn, a smile on my face the whole way there. I didn’t lose her after all. She didn’t move out. She’s not leaving me. Thank God for that.

The woman at the front desk hands me a key card and I run down the hallways, my eyes searching for the right number. When I get to the door, I swipe it through the scanner and push open the heavy door, dropping my bag and coat right inside and kicking off my shoes before making my way to the small living room space. There’s even a small adjacent kitchen with a tiny stove for two pans, but Abby isn’t here. I move further into the suite and see that the door to the bedroom is open.

“Abby?” I call out, my heart beating so loudly I can barely hear myself think.

“Chris!” her voice sounds joyous, and then she appears in the doorway in the sexiest lingerie set I’ve ever seen. Then again, she is the sexiest woman I’ve ever laid eyes on, so she could be wearing a trash bag and I’d still want her. The panties are bright red, and so is the lacy slip dress she has on, which is pretty much see-through, giving me a peak at her big, beautiful breasts.

“Fuuuuck,” I breathe, feeling like I should pinch myself to make sure she’s real.

“Hi,” she says almost shyly, pulling a hand through her messy hair. “I thought we could use a moment to ourselves.”

“Yes,” I agree immediately. “You look… wow, Abby, I mean… Jesus.”

She smiles. “Yeah, you like it?”

“I love it,” I assure her, moving closer, still a little apprehensive after what happened last night.

“I love you,” she says without further ado, reaching up to wrap her arms around my nek and pulling me down for a kiss. “Sorry I freaked out last night. It’s hard for me to… you know? But I do love you, Chris.”

“I love you too,” I say between kisses, my hands knotting in her hair. “So much, Abby.”

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