the hot seat

Chris could still sense it, even if it had been weeks of this with Chloe. Max was upset. He knew he acted as if everything was all right. And deep down, Chris never wanted to take anything away from him, but he guessed he had when he got the OK about the adoption.

He remembered the look on Max's face that day in the social worker's office.

"How could this have happened?" He was so shocked as if he might lose it right then, but he'd kept it together as the lady went through the facts that yes, Chris had a stable home. He was part owner in the business where he worked. And yes, Chris had saved his money. He could do this. Plain and simple.

"All right." It was two small words that Max had barely said and had some how sucked it in.

They'd gone home with the baby. And at least she was still in their hands through fostering in the next few months. Chris had aced the back ground check. Chris was so sure they'd find something to hold against him, but they hadn't.

He remained quiet about it. Max was rather mute. Still. Of course, a few weeks later he said, in a whisper because Chloe had just fallen asleep in his arms. "How could you have not told me!" While they were sitting at the kitchen table.

Chris was at least glad he got that out of his system. Max put Chloe in her crib. He'd hoped they were done and Max would be OK.

"Were you ever going to tell me about this ownership?"

"Yeah." He'd nodded. It had been a Christmas gift given to him by his boss. Chris had been his most loyal employee. "Not a lot has changed, you know, I'm still doing what I always did."

"Maybe I need a job," Max said.

"You have a job," Chris didn't understand.

"Yes, but evidently it wasn't enough to pay the bills." He sounded frustrated and tired and possibly vulnerable.

"Its all right. Really, it is. I know only one of us can adopt her, but..but you know I only did this for you." Chris told him.

"You don't even want her, do you?" He looked as if he was going to call the social worker and tell her to come right over and pick Chloe up.

"Don't say that," now Chris felt frustrated. "I do. I do want her. All right. I know this isn't perfect, but we have to make the most of it, all right."

"What are you talking about?" Now he looked hurt and sadden.

"I'm just saying, we have her now, and we have to both enjoy every moment we can with her...just in case."

"Just in case what?"

"I don't know. Anything could happen." Chris shrugged. "You don't have to have job. You love what you do at the church."

"Its just," he shook his head, no. "I could help. I will help. I never meant for you to have to be... the bread winner."

"Is that the way you see it?" Chris wasn't sure what this was they were having. A discussion perhaps. The truth, maybe. "You just thought of me as somebody you'd take care of?"

"No, its not like that," Max shook his head. "I just knew I could take care of us. I have enough money for us. And Chloe. I just didn't think it would come down to a technicality, here and there, you know."

"Look, we love each other, we help each other out. We both love Chloe and we'll see that she has a home. A loving home." Chris sighed.

"Then I'll have to find a real job." Max just stared at him.

"Fine, but I thought you wanted to be the one to stay home with Chloe," Chris said.

"I do." That's when he decided he'd take a couple shifts during the week at the hospital nursing.


dawn said...

and so it begins...all that growing up stuff. i'm still struggling with it! :)

i'm glad you enjoyed milk. i haven't seen it yet and it's strange that i'm not on fire to see it strangely. but after hearing your excellent insightful take on it i am more persuaded to go see it. i do want to go see the reader. have you seen it?

i hope you're thawing out a little out there. it's been cold here, but the sun has been shining which is so great.

Ivyoaks said...

Oh..is the love over?? Hopefully, not.

ellie said...

Hopefully, Max will be ok with this. As if they hadn't any problems before.

Roxy Motion said...

you are such a good writer. -is impressed-

taffy. said...

i'm so glad that they can TALK!