Caring Christopher

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#48 Bonding over racy pictures and sexting

Abigail

Christopher left a few hours ago, and I already miss him. That’s stupid, especially since he usually works on Mondays, so it’s not like I’d normally be with him right now. When I open the door and see Edward on the front porch with Freddie, I sigh.

“Oh good, my babysitter is here,” I comment dryly, motioning for him to follow me in.

“He told you?” Edward asks, putting a hand on my shoulder and squeezing. “You know it’s only because he cares about the kids so much.”

Freddie bounds off to play with Davy in his bedroom upstairs, and I pour Edward a cup of coffee. “Don’t worry,” I assure him. “I get why he feels a little worried leaving me alone with the kids for three days straight. Plus, I don’t mind hanging out with you.”

“Same here.” He sits down on the couch, sipping his coffee. Right when he opens his mouth to say something, Yoah runs in, holding up the last book in the fantasy series we gave him for his birthday. He’s been reading non-stop the past weeks and by the looks of it, he just finished the last one.

“This book is amazing!” he exclaims, his eyes alight. “I only have five more pages left, and I’m kinda sad that it’s over.”

“Oh, yeah, I’m reading those books to Freddie,” Edward says, nodding when he sees the title. “Did you know there is a spin-off series as well? The author’s wife wrote it.”

“Really?” Yoah’s eyes go even wider. “Do you have it?”

“No, we’re only on the second book.”

Yoah’s shoulders sag, and I smile at how deflated he is about not being able to dive into the next book. “Honey, do you want to head to the bookstore to see if they have the next book?” I ask, already knowing he will jump at the chance.

Ten minutes later, I’m leaving the house with Yoah, while Edward watches Freddie and Davy. Jagger isn’t home from school yet – he has band practice, and I have to say I love that he’s bringing his guitar to school these days and doing something he loves with someone other than Celeste, who I still don’t particularly like.

Yoah talks about the books the whole way to store. We’ve got Titus with us, and since dogs aren’t allowed in the store, I hand Yoah my credit card – well… Christopher’s card that I use for groceries and stuff – and tell him he can buy all the books he wants. He looks at the card like it’s the holy grail and tucks it into his pocket with a serious expression on his face. I stand outside, watching him through the store window. He’s such a serious, responsible kid, and I feel so proud as I watch him walk around the store, talking to a store clerk, asking where to find the books. I pull out my phone to take picture of Yoah, sending it to Christopher, knowing he will get a kick out of this too.

By the time we get back to the house, Yoah is buzzing with excitement and wants to dive right into the first book as soon as possible. Titus follows him into the hallway, tail wagging, ready to spend the rest of the day at Yoah’s feet while he reads. They’re so cute together.

“What’s wrong?” I ask the moment I step into the living room and see Edward putting his phone down, his face ashen.

“My father had a heart attack,” he says, looking like he can’t believe it. “That was my mother. It’s bad. He’s in the hospital.”

“What can I do to help?” I ask, rushing over to hug him, trying to provide any kind of comfort I can.

“Nothing,” he breathes, squeezing me. “I’ll go get Freddie and head over there. Oh God – this is going to be horrible for Freddie. He hates hospitals. His parents ended up in there after drug overdoses so many times that he can’t stand even being in the parking lot for longer than a few minutes.”

“Leave him here,” I say, happy to be able to do something. “I’d be happy to watch him.”

“Oh that would be great, but I can’t.” Edward grunts pulling at his hair. “My parents don’t live close, and I don’t want to dump Freddie on you for the night.”

“I’ll take him to school in the morning,” I assure Edward. “Davy and he can have a sleepover. It’ll be fun. You go take care of your family, okay?”

“Okay,” he breathes, hugging me again. “Thanks.”

Edwards runs upstairs to explain to Freddie where he’s going and that he will spend the night here, and then he’s off. I get started on dinner, but I’ve only been chopping vegetables for a couple of minutes when the doorbell rings. Maybe Edward forgot something?

“Aston,” I say, surprised to see him. Then I realize why he’s here and I sigh. Edward fell through as my babysitter, and he must have let Christopher know so they could find someone else to make sure I don’t bolt. Do they seriously think I would take off when I’m in charge of not just Christopher’s kids, but Edward’s foster kid as well? Even I’m not that horrible.

“Is Chris here?” Aston asks, sounding tense. He’s got Benjamin in his arms and his hand is around Steffi’s little one as she looks up at me with wide brown eyes.

“No,” I reply, realizing that is Aston doesn’t know Chris is at the conference in Ney York, that must mean he’s not here to watch me. “What’s wrong?”

Aston grunts and I notice he looks worn. “Annabel is in the hospital, and my parents are out of town, and her parents don’t live close enough to help out. I was hoping to dump the kids with Chris for a few hours while I go be with Anna.”

“Oh my God, what happened?” I ask, picking up Steffi and carrying her into the living room while Aston follows me.

“She got really sick about an hour ago, apparently. I don’t know, I wasn’t there.” He looks guilty when he says that, even though that’s ridiculous. She was probably working, so how could Aston have been there? “Chloe was with her,” he continues. “Anna has been vomiting, she fainted twice, she’s got a fever… I haven’t seen her yet. Chloe called me five minutes ago, and I rushed over here because I don’t want to take two babies into the ER. I would have gone across the street to Asia’s and Terryl’s, but they’re both out and their 17-year-old son is watching the younger kids. I love Marcus, but I’m not adding two little kids to the mess in their house. Could you…?”

“Sure.” I put Steffi down and take Benjamin from Aston. “Put all the stuff in the hallway and get going. The kids can spend the night. You focus on Anna.”

“Thanks, Abby.” Aston hugs me before rushing out, running back to the house two times to put his kids’ stuff in the house. He waves when he takes off, and then he’s gone.

Okay. So I’ve now got three kids who aren’t mine and two who are to take care off. And dinner isn’t anywhere near done yet. I call for Yoah, and he gets down, agreeing to sit with Steffi and Benji while I grab the old crib Chris’ nieces used to sleep in for sleepover years ago. When it’s set up in the corner and Benji is kicking up at the mobile above his head, I put the vegetables I was chopping back in the fridge. No way I’m cooking now.

“Pizza or Chinese?” I ask Yoah.

He grins up at me from the floor where he’s playing with Steffi. “Pizza.”

I text Jagger, asking if wants pizza as well, and then I put a huge order in. Not the healthiest choice, but I’ll make up for it by forcing broccoli down everyone’s throat tomorrow. Jagger shows up fifteen minutes later with Celeste in tow, and they’ve got a kid with them. A 3-year-old girl with golden curls.

What the fuck?

“This is Hazel,” Jagger says, handing the kid to me. “Celeste’s niece.”

“Okay…” I smile at the cute little girl that looks like she might cry at any moment. “And… why is she here?”

“I was babysitting,” Celeste explains, popping her bubble gum. “But Jagger wanted to come here for pizza, so we brought the kid.” She doesn’t look interested in her niece at all, and flops down on the couch, flipping through the channels.

Jagger grabs a beer from the fridge, which I yank out of his hands. He rolls his eyes and sit down with his girlfriend, pulling her into his lap to start a make-out session that has me feeling awkward. Hazel starts crying then, and Benjamin follows suit, followed by Steffi.

Great. Now I’ve got three crying kids.

Yoah saves the day by getting Benji from his crib and sitting down with him on the floor while he talks to Steffi in soothing tones. That leaves me to calm down Hazel, who looks at me like she doesn’t trust me at all. And why would she? She doesn’t know me.

The doorbells rings, and my stomach rumbles at the prospect of pizza. I need sustenance and I need it now. Davy and Freddie run downstairs and I allow them to open the door while I stand behind them with Hazel on my hip. Instead of a pizza delivery guy, there are two young women on the front porch, one holding a baby.

What is happening?

“Shaughna?” I ask, recognizing the blonde woman as one of Aston’s best friends. She’s the girlfriend of Aston’s half-brother Dshawn and we’ve met a few times before.

“Hey, is Chris home?” Shaughna asks, rubbing the back of her crying friend, whose light brown hair is a mess. “Caroline’s little girl is a little under the weather and we were hoping he might be able to take a look at her. We were over at Dshawn’s mother’s house, and we figured that Chris’ place is closer than the hospital.”

“Chris is at a conference,” I say, feeling sorry for them. “Sorry. Come on in, though.”

“We should get to the hospital,” Shaughna says, steering Caroline – whoever she is – back to the car. “Thanks, Abby.”

“What does she have?” I ask while I usher Davy and Freddie into the living room and tighten my grip on Hazel. “I may not be a doctor, but I’ve been taking care of kids for a living since I was 19. And I’ve got Chris on speed dial.”

Caroline explains that her little Daisy has been running a fever for a few hours now, she’s fussy and her nose is runny. Sounds like a normal cold to me, but I call Chris just in case. He talks to Caroline for a while, and he eventually manages to assure her it’s just a cold and tells me where to find the kid-friendly medicine. I hang up to grab the acetaminophen and hand it to Caroline, who looks less panicky after talking to Christopher.

“Sorry,” she says, rubbing her eyes. “Daisy’s my firstborn and I tend to get a little overprotective and worried when she gets sick. Nathan normally keeps me calm when something like this happens, but he’s back at home with his older daughter and I’m here with Shaughna for a few days during spring break.”

“Oh, you’re Nathan’s wife,” I realize, remembering the green-eyed 40-something-year-old man I met at Aston’s birthday party. I remember Chris cradling baby Daisy to his chest, making me go mad at the thought of me robbing Chris of the chance to have a baby of his own. Little did I know back then that I don’t have the gene and that we have a shot at having a kid of our own in the future.

“And you’re Christopher’s girlfriend,” Caroline says with a little smile, extending her hand. “Nice to meet you. You’ve got a good one with Chris, you know.”

“Oh, trust me, I know.” I put Hazel down on the floor and stroke her hair, trying to make the 3-year-old girl look a little less scared. “Do you like pizza?” I ask her softly.

“Yes!” she says with wide, shiny eyes. “Pizza!”

Right on cue, the doorbell rings and Shaughna jumps up to open the door, returning with a stack of pizzas. Jagger grabs a box and escapes the living room full of little kids, taking Celeste upstairs with him. Those two stupid teenagers are leaving me to babysit Hazel, which doesn’t even surprise me at this point.

A few minutes later, all kids are settled onto the floor around the coffee table, eating pizza straight out of the box. Except for Benji and Daisy, of course, who are gulping down the bottles of milk I heated up for them. Shaughna, Caroline and I sit on the couch, munching on pizza as well.

“Why are you all alone with so many kids?” Shaughna asks, looking down at Yoah, Davy, Freddie, Hazel and Steffi, all covered in cheese and tomato sauce by now.

“Chris is at a conference, Annabel is in the hospital, Jagger is babysitting Hazel, and Edward’s father had a heart attack,” I summarize, takes a swig of my water. “And of course, there is you guys showing up with Daisy. And then there’s Jagger and Celeste upstairs.”

“Wow,” Caroline says, burping Daisy. “That sounds… intense.”

Shaughna’s phone rings and she gets up to answer it in the kitchen, leaving me to chat to Caroline. We talk about Daisy’s cold, and we watch the other kids eating pizza like their lives depend on it. Shaughna returns, looking annoyed.

“What is it?” Caroline asks, looking up at her friend.

“Nothing important.”

“Doesn’t look like nothing,” Caroline presses.

Shaughna rolls her eyes. “Apparently the band that was supposed to play at the club just cancelled, the bartender called in sick and three toilets are overflowing. Dshawn is flipping his shit right now.”

“Then go,” Caroline urges. “Save your man.”

“No way, I’m off for the night and he knows it.” She grabs another slice of pizza right from under Davy’s nose. “I’m not leaving you alone with Daisy all sick.”

“She’s doing better already,” Caroline says, smiling down at her girl slowly falling asleep. “I freaked out over nothing.”

“And she’s not alone,” I add while I get up to put Benji back in his crib. “I’m here, aren’t I?”

It takes us another few minutes, but eventually we convince Shaughna to head out to the night club she and her boyfriend own. It’s strange how different her life is from Caroline’s and mine, not having any kids to take care of and a business to run.

“Sorry for showing up here,” Caroline says softly. “I know I overreacted. And it was stupid to come over here without calling first.”

“Do you have any idea how relieved I am to have another adult with me?” I say with a smile, motioning at all the kids around us. “Of all days to be gone, Chris has to be in New York this night. Great timing, huh?”

She laughs. “Tell me about it. When my stepdaughter Rose got appendicitis, I was pregnant with Daisy and Nathan was three towns over for business. I barely kept it together.”

Davy asks if they can watch a movie and have some ice cream. Normally I’d say no since it’s a school night, but right now, having all these kids shut up and stare at a screen sounds great, so I put on a Disney movie and go sit at the kitchen isle with Caroline so we can talk and watch the kids from a distance. I take picture and send it to Christopher, explaining briefly what kind of night I’m having. He doesn’t respond immediately, but that’s okay. I’m happy he’s busy with his friends. He told me he was meeting up with some college roommates tonight for dinner, and I hope he’s having fun.

My night ends up to be pretty fun as well. Exhausting, but fun. By the time Caroline and I get all the kids into bed – all beds, cribs, matrasses, and cots are taken – we sink down on the couch, exhausted. I turn on a show and make us some tea. We’d both love some wine, but she’s still breastfeeding, and I wouldn’t feel right drinking alcohol when I’m responsible for so many kids at once, so tea it is.

“How did you meet your husband?” I ask Caroline, curious to hear more about her. She’s sweet, nurturing and kind from what I’ve seen so far, and I’m surprised she’s with someone so much older than her. Not that I’m one to judge, but still.

She glances at me for a moment and laughs. “I’m wondering if I should give you the real story or the more normal one.”

“Real, please,” I say, pulling my legs under me. “Come on, you already know I’m a nanny playing house with a foster dad. How bad can your story be?”

“One-night stand turned into a relationship,” she admits with a grin.

“How is that bad?” I ask, frowning.

“When we met, I didn’t even know his last name, so we’d already seen each other naked many times by the time I realized he was actually the father of one of the kids in my class,” she explains. “I’m an elementary school teacher. Could have lost my job over dating him.”

“Oh shit,” I comment dryly, laughing. “Okay, yeah, that’s bad.”

She shrugs. “It wasn’t pretty at first, but now we’re married with a kid, so things turned out alright for us.” Caroline’s eyes meet mine and she looks like she wants to say more.

“What?” I ask, sipping my tea. “Come on, we’re past being strangers now, aren’t we? You helped me change three diapers not that long ago and we cleaned poop off each other. I think it’s safe to say we’re intimate friends.”

She grins. “Fair enough. I was just wondering… How much older is Christopher than you are?”

“Almost 19 years. How much older is Nathan than you are?”

“17 years.” She pulls a pillow onto her lap and runs her hands over the soft material. “It’s kinda nice to meet someone like me. Someone who’s in a relationship with an older man, I mean. My friends and family are all very accepting, but none of my friends are with someone his age, and Nathan’s friends are all his age, so I often feel like one of us is always little out of place.”

“Yeah,” I nod, knowing what he means. “I don’t feel that way with friends, to be honest, but I was very nervous to meet his family. And when I pick up the kids from school, all the parents are always gossiping about me. Suddenly, he’s not the hot single doctor anymore, but he’s the 46-year-old divorcé fucking the young nanny.”

Caroline laughs. “Yeah, Nate gets that a lot. People always make jokes about him bagging the hot teacher. It’s funny, but sometimes… sometimes it’s not.”

“Because age shouldn’t matter,” I agree. “If it fits, who gives a shit, right?”

“Yes!” Caroline agrees, looking relieved to have found someone who understands. “Do people ask you if you have daddy issues?”

“What? No!” I feel bad for her now. “Do people ask you that?”

She grimaced. “This mother at school is always making comments just loud enough for me to overhear. Her kid was in my class back when news about me and Nathan dating got out, and she was a real bitch about it, filing a complaint against me and everything, even though I was perfectly nice to her kid.”

“That’s horrible! So… do you have daddy issues?” I try to lighten the mood a little, winking at her.

“God no,” she grins. “Do you?”

I shrug, thinking about it. “I don’t know… Maybe, I guess? My dad got stabbed in prison when I was 12, so truth is I probably do, but that’s not why I love Chris. He’s just so good.

Caroline smiles, not freaked out by my sudden admission about my youth. “You look so happy when you talk about Christopher.”

“That’s because I love him.” I take a sip of my tea. “I miss him like hell even though he only left this morning. He’ll be home in two days, but it seems like forever.”

“You should send him a naughty text or something,” Caroline proposes, sounding excited. “Nathan goes on business trips sometimes and even though I thought it was really fucking scary at first, we sext a lot these days and it’s actually very… I don’t know… liberating or something.” Her eyes are glinting with excitement. “Empowering, even. It feels like I’ve still got a hold on him even when he’s miles away.”

“Actually…” I blush fiercely, not sure if I should come clean about this. “I got this new lingerie set and I look a few racy pictures a few days ago to send him while he’s gone, but I’m too scared to hit send.”

“Show me!” Caroline is bursting with excitement while she flips through the pictures on my phone. I’m not naked in any of them – although the lingerie doesn’t leave much to the imagination – and I feel my cheeks heat up even more when she gets to a close-up of my breast spilling out of a red bra.

“I know it’s stupid,” I say, yanking my phone out of her hands.

“Hell no, he’ll love that,” she assures me. “That last one is really sexy. They all are, but I think the last one if the best one. Send it!”

“Oh God, I need wine for this,” I grunt, glaring at my tea. “Stupid responsibilities.”

“Being a mom means being brave even without alcohol in your system,” Caroline says, grinning. “How about this… I send Nathan a pic and you text one to Chris.”

“You first.”

She pulls down her shirt – she’s in her pajamas and there’s no bra underneath – and takes a snap of her breasts, her cheeks flushed just like mine. After a deep breath, she hits send and types a massage as well, showing it to me.

I miss you so much, baby. Can’t wait to get home tomorrow so you can spank my ass so hard I won’t be able to sit for days.

“Oh wow,” I breathe, looking up at her.

She turns bright red and puts her phone on the armrest of the couch. “Yeah, guess you know all there is to know about me now. I like things… rough.”

“Good for you. I’m into anal.”

We both laugh at how weird this night is for both of us, but I feel like I made a real friend. Most of the people I hang out with these days are Christopher’s friends. They’re all very nice, but they’re mostly nice to me because I’m with Chris. I doubt Francesca or Aston would stay in touch with me if I had taken off when I had planned to. The only people I’ve got are Brittany and Jaxon. And now… maybe… there’s Caroline. She knows and likes Christopher, but they’re not close or anything. He’s just a friend of a friend to her, and they see each other at birthday parties and weddings, that’s all. I like the idea of staying in touch with her after tonight.

Caroline’s phone buzzes and she smiles shyly at her husband’s response, not showing it to me. It’s cute that she doesn’t mind me seeing her breasts or reading her sexy text about getting spanked, but that she draws the line at her husband’s reply. I like that. She keeps some things private, and I’m like that too. I may have told her about my preference for ass stuff, but I’m not going to go into detail about my sex life with Chris. No way.

“Send yours,” she says, nudging me. “You can do it!”

With a deep breath, I select the racy picture of me in the red bra. Here goes nothing…

***

Author’s note:

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this chapter!! I loved writing it (that’s why it is a lot longer than most chapters) and I’m excited for all of you to read & comment! Hope you enjoyed it. I’m going back to writing now, because I have a fun chapter for Chris planned as well.

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