Caring Christopher

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#60 Shopping with Jagger

Abigail

I’m supposed to take Celeste and Jagger to school, but instead I drop Celeste off and ask Jagger to stay in the car for another moment.

“Do you feel sick?” I ask him, unable to hide my excitement. An idea hit me last night, and I knew right away that it’s the best idea I’ve ever had in my entire life.

“Erm… no…?” Jagger replies with a frown. “I feel fine.”

“I don’t think so,” I press, grinning like a madwoman. “I think you’ve got a terrible stomachache, and a headache, and maybe your arm is hurting again. I should definitely call your principal to tell her you’re sick.”

“Okay…” He catches onto the fact that I’ve got a plan that I need him for, and he smiles. “You know I’m already missing three classes to be at the courthouse in time for the adoption, right?” he asks, raising his eyebrows at me. “I thought you were supposed to be the responsible one.”

“Oh no, that’s Chris’ job,” I say, grabbing my phone to call the school. We’re still in front of the building, so it feels a little weird to lie to someone right inside and tell them that Jagger is sick, but I don’t want to do this without him. So far, I’ve only told Brittany, Jaxon and Caroline, who all agreed that I need to involve Jagger in my plan.

“Where are we off to?” Jagger asks, sounding excited when I speed off and take a left turn. “You know we need to be at the courthouse at noon, right?”

“Like I’d make you miss your own adoption,” I shoot back, rolling my eyes. “I need your opinion on something. It can’t wait, because I will need it tonight at the party we’re throwing.”

“Okay…” Jagger seems at a loss. “If this is about the cake, I already told you I eat anything with chocolate in it. Didn’t you already buy everything yesterday?”

He’s right, I did. The house is packed with balloons, food, booze, glitter, streamers banners, party hats… I went a little overboard, but hey, this is a big day for our family. We invited all our friends and family to celebrate that Jagger, Yoah and Davy are Christopher’s kids as of noon today. Just a few more hours. I can’t believe it. All five of us haven’t stopped smiling since we woke up this morning.

“I have one more thing to buy,” I say, gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles turn white. I’m a little nervous now. What if Jagger gets mad? Maybe this is too spur of the moment. Or too soon. Or he will think I’m trying to steal his thunder or something. This is not about wanting to be in the spotlight, though. I just want all four of my guys to know that I’m in. All in. Forever.

“What?” Jagger asks, getting impatient. “Come on, Abby, you’re scaring me.”

“I want to buy a ring,” I blurt out.

Jagger laughs. “Okay… why do you need me for that? I know I’ve got lots of jewelry…” He wiggles his fingers, where six rings are gleaming in the sunlight. “Still, I don’t think we’ve got the same style, Abby. Or did you help me cut class so I can give you a make-over? I’m totally up for that, of course.”

“The ring isn’t for me,” I say as I take right turn. We’re getting closer to the store now.

“You’re getting me a ring?” he asks teasingly.

I pull up in front of the store and turn off the engine. “No, I’m getting one for Chris.”

“Oh,” Jagger breathes, his eyes going wide. “Holy shit. Okay. Wow. You’re going to propose?”

I nod, trying to control my nerves. “That is… if you’re okay with it.”

“Hell yeah!” he replies right away. “Of course I am!” His smile lightens up the entire car, and he looks so young right now that I can’t help but reach out and push his hair out of his face tenderly.

“I want to ask him tonight, at the party,” I explain. “Chris and I have been talking about marriage for a while now, but it was always something that we would get to one day. Now that you and your brothers will become his kids… I’d like to officially be a part of your family as well, instead of just being the nanny. And, obviously, I love Chris more than I’ve ever loved any other man and I want to be with him forever.”

Jagger grabs my hands and squeezes them. “That’s great, Abby. And you were never just the nanny – I hate it when you say that.”

“Do you think…” I hesitate. “Should I ask Yoah and Davy before popping the question? I knew I needed to talk to you first, but I’m not sure about the other boys. I don’t want them to ruin the surprise and I don’t know if the kids can keep a secret this big.”

“Oh, you’d be surprised,” Jag replies mysteriously. “I know they’ll be excited for you and Chris. No need to ask them. Davy already thinks you’re his mother and even Yoah referred to you as Mom last night.”

“He did?” I ask, my heart doing a backflip.

“They both love you. So do I. And Chris worships the ground you walk on, Abby.” He grins and shakes his head. “Are you sure you don’t just want to wait until Dad gets around to asking you? I’m sure it won’t be long before he buys you a ring and gets down on one knee.”

“I know I want to marry him, and I’m not very traditional when it comes to this stuff,” I say with a shrug. “Besides, I want to show him that I’m all in. I’m not going to sit around and wait for him to ask me. I’m not taking a backseat in my own damn life. I’m so done with that.”

Jagger laughs. “Okay then. Let’s pick out a ring.”

***

The little black box with Chris’ ring is safely tucked into my purse when Jagger and I get back to the house. We only took about twenty minutes to pick out a ring. Jagger was quite opinionated, vetoing a few right off the bat. We found a beautiful gold band that I think Chris will love. Jagger and I spent the rest of the morning walking around town, drinking coffee and talking.

Chris arrived a few minutes after we do. He thinks I was with Brittany all morning and that I picked up Jagger from school on my way back. Chris has Davy and Yoah with him, who are all smiles. About fifteen minutes later, Chris’ brother Cameron arrives as well, along with his parents. Cameron’s wife and kids couldn’t make it, but Cam said he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Jagger want to drive his truck to the courthouse – any excuse to get behind the wheel of his new car, of course – and Davy, Yoah and Cameron join him. Chris and I take his car, with his parents in the back.

“I’m such a mess,” his mother says, wiping tears from her eyes. “We’re not even there yet and I’m already crying. I’m just so happy for you, Christopher.”

He smiles at her over his shoulder. “Thanks, Mom.”

“And I’m so happy you’ve finally found yourself a good woman,” she adds. “I didn’t like the last few, to be honest. This one…” She reaches over to squeeze my shoulder. “This one I love. Are your parents coming too, Abby?”

I glance at Chris when I pull to a stop at a red light. “You didn’t tell them?”

“Wasn’t sure you wanted me to,” he says quietly.

“Tell us what?” his mother asks incredulously. “Did I say something wrong?”

“No… I just… You tell them,” I say to Chris, pulling up and revving the engine.

“Abby’s father died when she was still a kid,” Christopher explains to his parents. I knew it was a good idea to let him explains things in a delicate manner. I wouldn’t just blurted out that he got stabbed in prison, which might have been a bit much. “And her mother has early-onset Alzheimer’s. She’s in a group home and doesn’t remember Abby is her daughter.”

“Oh honey…”

The love in Mrs. Davids voice make me tears up, and I have to work hard to keep my eyes on the road.

“Well, she’s got us now,” Mr. Davids says in his deep voice. “We’ve always wanted a daughter.”

“You guys are making me cry,” I complain, happy that we’re at the courthouse so I can park the car and grab the tissue Chris is holding out to me. “Before I met Chris, I never cried. Never. Now I’m a goddamn wailing monster.”

His parents laugh as we get out of the car. Mrs. Davids is misty-eyed as well. She pulls me in for a hug and holds me for a long time, stroking my hair. It feels so nice to be held like this, but it makes me miss my own mother more than ever before. I choke back my tears and pull away from her.

“Why the fuck are you crying?” Jagger asks when he reaches us, Davy and Yoah right behind him. Cameron is standing next to Chris, an arm thrown around his brother’s shoulders.

“Language,” Chris and I say at the same time, which causes Jagger to roll his eyes.

“Come on,” Yoah says with a serious look in his dark green eyes. “I don’t want to be late.”

“I getting a Dad!” Davy yells at a two people we don’t even know who are just walking across the parking lot. He points at Christopher with a huge smile on his face. “He’s going to be my Dad!”

“Congratulations!” the couple yells back, laughing.

“Come on!” Yoah shouts, already at the doors. “We’re going to be late!”

Quickly, we hurry after him and walk into the courthouse. In a few minutes, Chris will finally be the legal father of these three beautiful boys. And in a few hours, I will be engaged. I hope.

Oh God, I hope he says yes.

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