Caring Christopher

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#7 Finally one of them


“So, how’s your hot nanny working out for you?” Aston asks while he hands me a beer.

I shush him and cut a look at the kids playing on the other side of the room. They probably didn’t hear him. I hope. “Keep your voice down,” I tell Aston, rolling my eyes. I knew it was only a matter of time before my friends would ask me about Abby. They were civil during dinner, because the kids were right there with us, but especially Aston doesn’t care what people think of him, and he says the crudest things sometimes. Part of me was hoping he’d ask about Abby, so I can find out what my friends know about her. I don’t know what to make of her, to be honest.

“Christopher thinks Abby is hot?” Brittany asks, looking up at us expectantly. The girl may be 26 and married, but she looks like she could pass for a high school student. So small, and with blonde angel hair that looks like it should have a halo floating above it. I have only talked to her a few times before tonight, but she’s married to Aston’s half-brother Jaxon, so the more time I spend with Annabel and Aston, the more I see of her and Jaxon as well.

“That’s not at all what I said,” I say with a grunt, drinking my beer.

“So you think she’s ugly?” Brittany asks in her high-pitched voice.

“No, of course not,” I say quickly. Brittany is Abigail’s best friend and the last thing I want is for her to tell my new nanny that her boss thinks she’s ugly. No way. “She’s beautiful and very… nice.”

“Nice?” Brittany repeats. “Abigail isn’t nice. She’s weird, quirky, spunky, and amazing, but not nice. That’s too bland a word for my best friend.”

Brittany is absolutely right, of course. I think of how Abby moans when she eats and the way she carefully studies Yoah when he’s being all quiet and withdrawn, that frown on her face making her look so damn sexy. After that first night, I’ve been jerking off to her every single day, even though I wish I could stop. I don’t want to be the creepy boss who wants his nanny, but I can’t help myself.

“Abby has the best tits I’ve ever seen, aside from Anna’s,” Aston says, sipping his water. “Damn, I haven’t thought about those tits in a long time.”

“And I’m warning you right now that it would be very wise to stop thinking about them right now,” Annabel tells him as she steps into the room with Stefani in her arms, balancing the 18-month old kid on her hip, trying to make it look like she’s not having trouble doing so. She’s only about two months from popping out their second child, so she is pretty big by now.

“Chill, babe, you’re the only woman I have eyes for,” Aston says with a grin. “With the best rack in the whole damn world.”

She rolls her eyes and hands him their baby girl. “As punishment for talking about Abigail’s breasts, you get to change her poopy diaper. Good luck. It smells like she’s been cooking up something wonderful just for her daddy.”

Aston scrunches up his face and walks out of the room, calling his daughter a stinky little pooper. Annabel sinks down onto the couch next to me and puts her head on my shoulder with a sigh. “What I am supposed to do with that foul-mouthed husband of mine?” she complains.

I laugh and put an arm around her, squeezing her shoulder. “You’re the one who picked him when you could have had me. No going back now, Anna.”

She laughs and pushes me away playfully. It’s strange how well we work as friends even though we used to date and I slept with her sister. We get along really well and since her husband is ten years younger than she is and most of our friends are too, we often find ourselves rolling our eyes at each other at stuff they do or say. The things we bonded over when we dated are still there, but I no longer feel attracted to her. Seeing her fall in love with another man and a baby with him took care of the last lingering feelings I had for her. We’ve been nothing but good friends for a long time now.

Aston returns from changing Stefani’s diaper and he sets her down with Davy and Yoah before stretching out on the couch opposite us, yawning loudly. “It’s so tiring to be a father,” he says, rubbing his eyes. “I never knew that my body could be this exhausted.”

“No!” Steffi exclaims loudly from the corner of the room. “No! Mine!”

“Steffi, don’t be a drama queen,” Annabel says, getting up to smooth things over. “Davy can play with your toy train too. You weren’t even playing with it.”

“I’m sorry,” Davy says, close to tears as he gives Steffi the train back. “I didn’t mean to make her sad. I’m so sorry, I will never do it again.”

“Hey…” I get up and drop to my knees in front of him. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Kids cry sometimes. She’s just a little girl. You only picked up a toy, you didn’t hurt her or anything. It’s fine.” I point at Steffi, who is already happily chewing on her barbie doll. “She’s fine.”

Yoah walks over and puts his arms around his brother, stroking his back until Davy’s eyes are dry and he’s no longer sniffling. I ruffle Yoah’s hair and smile at him. “You’re a good brother, Yoah.” The way his whole face lights up when I say that makes my heart hurt. I don’t think he’s been told that enough, even though all he does all day is take care of Davy. Poor kid. His childhood has been way too rough, especially for someone as sweet and caring as Yoah.

I get back to the couch and grab my beer, watching the kids play. It’s nice to sit here and finally feel like one of the parents, and not just a weird older friend their parents invite over for dinner partially because they pity him.

“I’m so happy Francesca gave you the nudge you needed to make this happen,” Annabel says, putting a hand on my knee. “You were meant to be a father, Chris.”

“Yes,” I agree. “It sure feels that way.”

“I can’t wait to have one of our own,” Jaxon says softly, pushing his long dark hair out his face while he studies the kids.

Brittany smacks her husband’s arm. “I told you, not yet, okay? You’re not the one having to carry the kid for nine months. It feels like we only just got married. I want to enjoy having you all to myself for a little while longer.”

“I think you’ll be a great mother,” Annabel tells Brittany with a smile.

“Oh, sure I will,” Brittany agrees with a smile. “I just don’t want to be one yet. Give me a year or two.”

Jaxon sighs, and his hair falls forward, hiding his face from us again. I feel his pain. Wanting kids and not having them is horrible, but at least he is young, married, and his wife wants kids eventually. It’s not like he’s in my position, halfway through my forties and just now getting my first chance at parenthood in a very unconventional way.

“We never finished our earlier conversation about Abby’s breasts,” Aston says, sitting up to look at me with a wicked grin. “Or well, about Abby in general. She’s been with you for a few days now, right? How are things going between the two of you?”

I roll my eyes and finish my beer, butting the bottle on the coffee table. “It doesn’t matter how things are going between the two of us, I hired her to take care of the kids, and she seems to be perfectly capable of that.”

“Oh, she’s great,” Brittany assures me, pushing her long blonde hair over her shoulder while she beams at me. “I’m so glad you decided to give her a shot, Christopher.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask…” I hesitate, knowing this might get back to Abby. “She’s not been treated very well in the past, has she?”

Brittany’s eyes widen. “She told you about that? Abby doesn’t like to talk her youth, so I’m a little surprised about that, to be honest. Abby’s life has been hard, pretty much since the day she was born. That’s why I’m glad I could get her a job with you. For the first time since I met her, I don’t have to worry about some guy treating her badly. You’re a sweetheart.”

Oh wow. Okay. I was just talking about her past employers, but I guess Abby’s youth wasn’t that great either. I wonder what happened…

“Yeah, he is,” Annabel agrees with Brittany, squeezing my leg before getting up. “I need to pee. Again. Damn pregnancy.”

Aston gets up as well, just so he can give her a kiss before she leaves the room. He sits back down and looks at me with a knowing look. “So, sweetheart, let’s get down to business, shall we. How hot are you for your nanny?”

“Aston,” I grunt. “That’s not what’s going on at all.”

“You’re asking about her past, looking all protective of her, I know she’s got a nice rack, and you said she’s beautiful. I’d be a little worried if you weren’t hot for her, to be honest. If I was single and not madly in love with my pregnant wife, I’d be all over that sweet ass.”

“Aston!” Brittany says, throwing a pillow at his head. “Can’t you just be a well-behaved adult for once in your life?”

“Hey, it’s only one more month before I turn 30,” he replies with a wink. “Maybe I will miraculously turn into a boring grown-up then.”

“I highly doubt it,” I comment dryly. Two years ago, I didn’t get why Annabel would want a guy like him, but I understand their relationship better now. He’s exactly what she needs. She’s serious, he’s fun. She’s a little too uptight and bitchy sometimes, while he is way too laid-back and can’t keep his mouth shut, especially when it comes to sex. They balance each other out. I’m jealous of them. Not because of Anna, I’m way past that by now, but because I want what they have. I want a woman to look at me the way she looks at Aston. The way Brittany looks at Jaxon. The way my friend and nurse Francesca looks at her husband Joshua. I want that.

Although… I guess I don’t need it. Sure, I want it, but what I’ve always needed was to have kids. Now, at age 45, I finally have kids. They’re not biologically mine, and I have no idea how long they will stay with me, but I do feel like a father. As long as I can keep being a foster dad, I will be happy. It would be nice to fall in love again and even better to find that love reciprocated, but I’m not holding my breath. If I never find my person, I will still be fine.

I have to be. Because chances are it’ll never happen.

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