I knocked on Chris' temporary bedroom door at Leo and Mouse's house and he didn't answer, so I kicked the door open.
My brother was lying on his stomach on his bed, talking on the phone.
"Uh-huh.... Yep.... Oh, yeah!... Haha, I know, right?" He said, laughing.
My God, you're practically a teenage girl. I thought, rubbing my temples.
"Sure, we'll be right over." Chris said into the phone, "Bye, Alice."
He hung up and I scowled at him, crossing my arms.
"What?" Chris said.
"Nothing," I said, shaking my head, "You're just really obnoxious. What's up?"
Chris smiled broadly and said, "Do you want to go meet Alice's baby brother?"
I smiled and nodded, "Yeah, for sure. Today?"
"Uh-huh," Chris said, "Alice invited us over."
"Cool." I said.
We told Jessica where we were going and left for Alice's house.
I knocked on Alice's front door and waited patiently with my brother.
Alice opened the door and a grin broke across her face.
"Hey, guys!" She said.
Then, her mother came from behind Alice and put her arm in the doorway.
"Oh, hello, kids." Alice's mother said, smiling tightly, "What brings you here?"
"Oh, Alice invited us here to meet the new baby." Chris said, smiling politely, "Congratulations, by the way. I heard the baby is healthy and the birth went well."
The fake smile on Alice's mother's face made me want to punch her.
"Sorry," She said, putting her hand that wasn't blocking the door on Alice's shoulder, "Silly Alice must have forgotten she has piano lessons today."
"Mom, no I d-" Alice started to say, but her mother put her hand over her mouth.
Chris winced and gave Alice a pitiful look. He wasn't OCD and he still knew that he wouldn't want Mrs. Coleman's hand over his mouth.
"Ah, silly, silly girl." Alice's mother said, patting her daughter's head.
"Now wait one minute." I said, stepping up, "I need to have a word with you."
Alice's mother looked surprised and I said firmly, "My brother has never done anything to you, now has he? Chris has never done anything to harm you or your family. Am I right?"
Alice's mother didn't say anything and I kept talking; I was on a role.
"No, he didn't. And just because he's attracted to guys instead of girls doesn't mean he's infected or mentally ill." I said sharply, staring Alice's mother right in the eye, "He is polite and sweet and kind and respectful toward you and you have never returned the favor, now have you?"
I heard Chris sniffle and I continued my rant, "He is a kind, generous, polite, good person and you do not have the right to treat him like he's some sort of disease! He's not going to infect your baby if he gets too close!"
There was a long, still silence before I continued in a softer tone, "Now, please, Mrs. Coleman, Alice invited my brother and I to meet her new baby brother. If you would, we would like to carry out this task."
Wordlessly, Alice's mother stepped to the side and I turned to look at Chris.
He blinked back tears and smiled at me.
I turned back to Mrs. Coleman and, stepping around her, said quietly, "Thank you."
Chris followed me and nodded slightly to Alice's mother.
Alice lead us to the baby's room, where Chad and Tyler were looming over the crib.
They let us get in to peek at the baby.
My heart swelled when I saw the tiny person. Those delicate little fingers, those tiny feet... A creature so fragile and helpless you couldn't help but protect it with your life.
I exchanged a looked with Chris, who smiled. He was tearing up again; So sensitive.
"You want to hold him?" Alice asked, turning to Chris.
Chris smiled and nodded, wiping his eyes.
"Yes, I would love to." He said quietly.
Alice picked the tiny little angel out of his crib and Chris sat down in the recliner by the crib.
Alice gently set the delicate little baby in Chris' arms; He held him like he was the most fragile, precious thing in the world.
I laughed quietly and said, wiping my eyes, "Chris, you're gonna make me cry."
Chris chuckled and gazed down at the baby.
"His name is Wesley." Alice said, smiling.
Alice's mother came in and she froze when she saw Chris holding her baby.
Chad touched her arm and whispered something to her.
Alice's mother sighed reluctantly and let her shoulders drop. She watched as Chris held the baby so gently and I saw a smile start to spread across her lips.
"He's beautiful," Chris said, and a tear slid down his cheek.
Alice's mother nodded and she bit her lip.
Chris sighed and said softly, "Do you want to hold him, Ange?"
I nodded and Alice took Wesley from Chris so he could give me the seat.
I sat down in the recliner and Alice handed me the baby.
He was so tiny and fragile I was afraid he would break, but that was not going to happen. I was going to protect him.
I held the baby gently, but firmly enough to keep him securely in my arms.
I was too nervous, I didn't want to hold him for too long, so I said, "Okay, Alice."
Alice nodded and took Wesley from me, smiling down at him.
Slowly, Wesley opened his big blue eyes and looked around at us.
"Hey, there." Chris said, gently touching the baby's small hand with his pinky finger.
The baby grasped his finger and gazed up at him.
Alice whispered something in Chris' ear and he chuckled, putting his hand over his mouth and trying not to cry.
Babies sure make people emotional, don't they? I thought, I guess there's a reason. Babies are supposed to make people sensitive so they will take care of them.
That image - Alice holding the baby and the baby holding onto Chris' finger - I wished I had my camera.
Alice looked at her mother, who, to my surprise, was crying too.
Chris also looked at her and a slow smile spread across her face.
Alice's mother nodded to Chris and he smiled at her.
"Thank you for inviting us to meet your brother, Alice." Chris said.
Alice nodded, still looking at the baby in her arms, "I'm glad you could come."
As we were leaving the Colemans' house, Alice's mother called, "Um, Christopher,"
Chris turned around and said, a little bit nervously, "Yes, Mrs. Coleman?"
Alice's mother walked up to him and studied him for a minute.
"I'm sorry," She said, but I could tell she was still having a little bit of difficultly letting go of her seat as Queen for a moment.
"I misjudged you, I really did, Christopher." She said, holding out her hand.
Chris shook it and said politely, "Apology accepted, Mrs. Coleman."
Alice's mother smiled at him and he smiled back.
Chris let go of her hand and followed me down the steps, but before walking down the street toward our house, he turned around once more and called, "Mrs. Coleman?"
"Y-yes?" She said, still with a hint of awkwardness.
Chris smiled and said, "Call me Chris, if you would."
Mrs. Coleman nodded and waved to us.
We waved back and walked to our house.
So, the wall between Chris and Alice's mother was now broken and Chris and I had just witnessed the most beautiful thing in the world.
Life is good.