Caring Christopher

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#70 Do you want out?

Abigail

“Are you okay, Mom?” Yoah asks, looking up at me with a frown while he tugs at Titus’ leash so the large dog will come to a stop before running into traffic. I just picked the boys up from school, and we’re taking the long way home since the weather is so nice.

“Yeah,” I say, ruffling his hair with a smile. “I’m fine.”

It’s not even a lie, even though I’ve got every reason to be upset right now. I spent all afternoon with Chris and Dr. Gio at the hospital, taking test after test to see what’s wrong with me exactly, but I could see the answer to all my questions in their eyes already, so I didn’t bother asking.

No, I’m not pregnant.

And no, I will never be.

Yes, I will need surgery.

But no, that will not suddenly make my uterus fit to grow a baby in there.

And yes, I’m infertile.

It sucks, but I’m honestly not all that surprised. I got lucky with the Alzheimer’s gene, and I was extremely fortunate to meet Christopher, fall in love, and basically become a mother to Davy, Yoah and Jagger. My luck had to run out eventually, right?

My heart mostly aches for Christopher. I wish I could give him the kids he craves, but he picked the wrong girl for that. Nothing about my uterus is the way it should be. Dr. Gio explained to me that I probably won’t get a period again even though I’m not on birth control. The last one wasn’t even a real one, it was just some spotting, which is probably all I’ll ever experience. Being on the pill kept me from finding out that it’s probably been years since my body last ovulated.

In a way, I’m fortunate. I could have been experiencing all kinds of horrible symptoms from everything that’s wrong with me, but I feel fine. I still need to wait for the outcome of a few tests, but it looks like all the growths in there are benign, meaning I don’t have cancer and my health isn’t in danger. The only thing that’s truly wrong is that I can never have kids, not even through IVF or with a donor egg or anything. I’m one hundred percent infertile, no matter what treatments I will get or whatever medications Dr. Gio puts me on. I’ve got so many different things going on in there that even if we manage to cure one, there will be ten other things popping up to ruin my chances.

Walking home from school with Davy and Yoah telling me all about their day, I can’t feel too sad for myself. I’m already a mother. In a few months, I will be able to officially adopt all three boys, and they don’t have to be the only kids I take care of. I want to look into become a foster parent myself, getting the proper training done, taking courses, filling out the paper work. If I’m registered alongside Chris, we can foster more kids together. We might even be able to adopt a baby one day, who knows.

I’m not falling apart, strangely. My life is already so much better than I ever though it would turn out to be. I found love, I’m no longer afraid to let other people in, and I’ve got three kids. Things could be a lot worse. So, I can’t have kids of my own… that’s not the end of the world.

It doesn’t feel that way to Christopher, that was clear from the moment our eyes met when Dr. Gio finally came out and said the word we were all fearing to use.

Infertile.

I could see the pain in his eyes, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. I haven’t tried to talk to him about it yet, sensing he needs a moment to wrap his head around all of this. When we got home, we held each other for a long time, both crying. I managed to pull myself back together in about ten minutes, right in time to walk over to the school to be there in time to pick up the boys. Chris stayed home, needing more time to look like… well, like his world didn’t just collapse around him.

With a sigh, I look down at my engagement ring. Should I offer to give it back to him? Should I give him the chance to walk away from me without giving him grief about it?

No, a loud voice in my head screams. No way.

I look at the boys, playing a game that consists of a lot of running and screaming, and I know I’m not walking away this time. There won’t be a note, no packed bags, no goodbye of any kind. Not unless Christopher is kicking me out, which I doubt he will. He made it pretty damn clear that he’s in, for better or for worse, and for the first time in my life I feel like I might be okay with someone sticking around even though I’m nowhere near perfect.

He’s not perfect either. Sure, he’s a way better person than I am, and I love every single part of him, but he’s not perfect. Yet I will never leave him. If the roles had been reversed, I wouldn’t even think about leaving him, not for a second. I trust it’s the same for him.

That doesn’t change the fact that the knowledge that we won’t be able to make a baby is crushing him right now. It totally is. He may have made his peace with not having kids of his own back when he was married to Gianna, but with me, he thought he got a second chance at love, including marriage, kids, the whole shebang. Instead, he’s stuck with an infertile fiancée.

“Look, Mom!” Davy yells jumping onto a rock on the side of road, his arms wide. “I can fly!”

I laugh and run over to him, grabbing him around his waist and running across the street with him, making him shriek in delight. Yoah follows us with a small smile playing around his mouth. Titus barks, enjoying all the excitement. How can I be heartbroken when I’ve got these wonderful kids who I will be able to call my own soon? It would be amazing to have a baby growing inside of me, and I’m not saying I’m not disappointed, but I know I’ll be okay. My life isn’t over, not by any means. My life didn’t truly begin until Christopher opened his front door over nine months ago, his blue eyes traveling over my body until he caught himself and showed me that there are still good men out there, and that he’s the best of all of them.

Yoah, Davy and I walk into the backyard and take off our shoes outside, not wanting to drag dirt into the house. I brush Titus off, telling the boys to help get the big dog dust-free. Jagger steps out into the yard right when we’re almost done, his green eyes sad and intent on me.

“Abby,” he says, his voice tight. “Can I talk to you?”

“Sure,” I say with a frown. “Boys, go on inside.”

“No, I think they should play in the yard for a moment,” Jagger says, trying to smile but failing. “Put your shoes back on, Davy. You too, Yoah. I’ll be out to play with you in a moment, okay?”

Davy cheers and pulls his boots back on before jumping onto the swing and yelling at Yoah to push him. Yoah walks over slowly, glancing at me and Jagger over shoulder. He knows something is up, but he doesn’t ask any questions. Jagger gabs my elbow and pulls me inside, shutting the backdoor loudly.

“What is it?” I ask, getting worried now.

“Dad’s not doing so well,” he says, tears in his eyes. “I don’t know what happened today, but he… he’s crying. And he’s not responding when I talk to him.”

“Oh God,” I breathe, feeling my eyes get wet from the mere thought of how badly Chris must be hurting right now. It’s weird how I’m so calm about this while he’s a wreck. I guess it’s a good thing that we always seem to take turns to fall apart. Apparently, it’s his turn today.

“What happened?” Jagger asks, following me into the living room, where Christopher is still sitting where I left him, staring at the wall with unseeing eyes, tears streaming down his face.

“We’ll tell you later,” I promise him, sitting down next to Chris and pulling him into my arms. “Don’t worry,” I tell Jagger while I stroke Chris’ back. “No one is sick, everyone is okay. We just got some bad news.”

“Oh,” Jagger breathes, his eyes wide. “So you’re not pregnant?”

How the hell does he know? Then again, Jagger always seems to know exactly what is going on between me and Chris, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

“I’ll give you guys a moment,” Jag says, backing away until he’s at the backdoor, stepping out to keep an eye on Davy and Yoah.

“Oh Chris,” I murmur, running my fingers through his hair to calm him down. “It’s okay.”

“It not okay,” he says with a trembling voice, burying his face in my hair. “It’s so fucking unfair.”

“I know,” I agree, tearing up as well. “I’m sorry I can’t give you any kids. I’m so sorry.”

“No!” he exclaims, sounding forceful now. He pulls back and looks me straight in the eye. “This isn’t your fault. You shouldn’t be apologizing, Abby. I don’t even know why I’m so…”

“You want kids,” I say, wiping away a tear. “And you thought you and I could have that. Together. I thought so to. We were already hoping I was pregnant and now we know I’ll never be. It’s really fucking unfair, but it’s not the end of the world. We’ve already got three kids, and we can foster and adopt if we want to.”

Chris shakes his head. “I know, I know, but I just… I really wanted to have a baby with you. Not just any baby, but your baby.” He puts a hand on my belly and looks down, still crying uncontrollably. “I’m sorry, I know I’m being ridiculous. I should be the one comforting you right now, not the other way around.”

“Do you…” I take a deep breath, knowing that even though I shouldn’t be asking this, I need to. Just for my own peace of mind. “Do you still want to be with me? Because if you want out, I totally underst-”

“No!” His tears subside a little as he grabs my shoulders roughly. “Of course I don’t want out! You’re okay, and that’s the most important thing. I already feel like I lost a baby today. I can’t lose you too.”

“You’re not,” I assure him, touching his face gently. It’s wet from all his tears. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Our lips find each other, and although the kiss is wet and a little sad, it’s also full of love. My hands knot in his hair and he lifts me into his lap, pulling me against him while we keep kissing. When we come up for air, I can tell there’s some life in him again, although he’s still heartbroken.

“We’ve got three amazing kids,” I remind him, playing with his soft blonde curls while I look into his eyes. “Well, you do, but I’ll be their adoptive mother soon enough. We’re getting married. I’m not going to forget any of you because of some stupid gene. There’s a lot to be grateful for.”

“I know,” he breathes, running his thumb over my lower lip. “Doesn’t feel that way right now, though.”

Usually, we’re on the same page, but I can tell it’s going to take a lot longer for him to get over this. I feel like I’m okay already, and I know why. I’ve always been a worst-case-scenario girl. Ever since I was 16, I’ve been convinced that I’d never have kids. It wasn’t until a few months ago that getting pregnant started feeling like something that might be in the cards for me at all. That felt like a gift, and now it’s like that gift has been taken away again. It sucks, but I don’t need it to be happy.

For Chris, it’s different. He already went through this with Gianna, and with me he felt like everything was finally falling into place. Now the whole vision he had for his future disappeared in a matter of minutes. He is a best-case-scenario kind of guy, even though he watches kids die in his OR every single week. He’s still an optimist. He never truly considered the possibility of us not being able to have a biological child.

“Chris?” I ask softly, slipping off his lap and taking his hand in mine. I carefully pull of his ring, which causes him to look at me in alarm. I sink down onto the floor on one knee and hold the ring up to him. “Will you still marry me, even though I’m all fucked up inside? Even though my uterus looks like a Jigsaw puzzle and all my hormones are out of whack? Will you help me apply to become a foster mom? Fill out all the forms with me so I can adopt our three boys? And go with me to an adoption agency to see if there’s any way for us to get a baby? Will you raise a houseful of kids with me, even though none of them will be biologically ours?”

He smiles in spite of everything. “Of course I will.”

I slip the ring back onto his finger and press a kiss to it. “Good. Because even though this is a horrible day, and we’ll both fucking hurt for while, I know we can get through this together.”

“Yes,” he agrees, a small spark igniting in his eyes. I’m seeing a hint of the strong Chris I know and love again. Not that I mind it when he breaks down – I love that he’s so open and vulnerable – but it’s so fucking hard to see him this hurt. “We’ll get through this together,” he repeats, pulling me into his arms to kiss me. “You’re right. We will.”


***

Author's note: It get that everyone is mad at me now.. Sorry, guys! This was the way I planned it from the beginning, but... this is not the end of the story, trust me! More drama to come, and of course the happy ending I always have for my main characters.

I will try to write more tonight, but I think I won't post until tomorrow. Work is too crazy right now.

Oh, and I will be editing in a few weeks, I think. I realized today that Chris has a pool (where he caught Fran and Joshua skinny dipping in the last book), but it's never mentioned in this book and there's this whole scene in the chapter "Mini vacation" where they all teach Abby to swim in the hotel, but... they've got a pool at home! Doesn't make ANY sense when you think about it. Stupid me for forgetting all about the pool.

And I noticed a few other smaller mistakes in the plot as well (Aston is the same age for two years in a row for instance and some eye colors seem to change halfway through the series). Those inaccuracies annoy the hell out of me, so I plan to start editing soon. Hopefully I won't get too annoyed, because I hate editing, but the mistakes are eating me up inside at the moment, so I need to go back and fix some shit.

Hope to post again tomorrow! And I'm sorry for hurting Chris and Abby. <3

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