Chris’ scheme sounded harebrained at best, but Carly was desperate and the convention coincided with her peak fertility period. It seemed like fate. She would go in, collect her deposit, and leave with no one the wiser. What could possibly go wrong—except everything?
Length: Long Category
Word Count: 45,517
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, October 2012
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
I suspected my belly was beginning to look like origami. It tied itself into another knot as I watched Christian ‘Chris’ Jones weave his way to the bar for yet another drink. He wasn’t a drinker, ordinarily, which made it abundantly clear that he was even more disturbed by our plans than I was.
Or maybe not. I was pretty stressed about it myself.
He was my best friend, but we hadn’t exactly hit it off when I’d first gone to work for Mueller Enterprises the year before. Chris suffered from what I called optical-rectumitus-he had a shitty outlook on life-worse even than mine. I supposed, once I got to know him better, that he had every reason to. He was gay. Life had been hell for him just because he was ‘different’. It didn’t help that his life partner, whom he’d been with since college, had just recently dumped him for a younger man.
Oddly enough, it was his jaded view of people in general that had drawn me to him. He was critical of everyone and that just aroused a need in me for his approval. I supposed part of it was because he reminded me of my favorite uncle, the one person in the world I adored more than anyone else. A person had to be exceptional to earn his approval and I wanted to be exceptional.
Chris also had a viper tongue-another similarity to my uncle-and a rapier wit.
He could cut you to pieces without breaking a sweat and I admired that in a man-as long as it wasn’t directed at me, which was another reason I desperately wanted his approval. I wanted to stand behind him and watch in admiration while he cut other people to the quick-not me.
Anyway, I did eventually earn his respect and once I had we’d become best friends. He was actually the best friend I’d ever had. I could talk to him about anything-anything-without worrying that he would look down on me. He might not always approve, but he always accepted me for what I was.
It was his willingness to listen that had led me, in a moment of weakness, to confess just how devastated I was that I’d never had children and how frightened I was that I’d missed my chance and never would.
I’d met my husband in college and fallen truly, madly, deeply-So truly, madly, and deeply that I was content for a long time just to worship and follow him around like a hopeful puppy. He didn’t want children-not right away. He was ambitious. He wanted to build his career. He wanted to have me all to himself.
He didn’t want to have to pay child support when he dumped me.
I don’t think I ever tumbled to the fact that I was ‘career building love slave’ until I found myself staring at the divorce papers. I might not have wised up then except that Todd already had wife number two-younger and better connected-waiting in the wings for the ink to dry on the divorce papers. He threw the usual at me-I’d ‘let myself go’. We’d grown apart. I didn’t want the same things he did, etc., etc. but the unpalatable truth was that he’d never intended to do anything but use me to pay the bills, cook, clean, and provide sex on demand until something better came along, and he’d known better would just as soon as he had his career on track.
The prick had married a debutante fresh out of college.
She was already pregnant when they got married.
I thought about killing him for a while. I really wasn’t a violent person per se, but he brought out the killer instinct in me like no one else. I finally decided, though, that I couldn’t just throw my entire life away on the prick. I’d already wasted more time on him than I could afford. Spending the rest of my life in jail, or going to the electric chair, wasn’t going to appease my need for revenge.
I had to show him that what he’d thrown away was better than what he’d ended up with.
As motivations went, it wasn’t the healthiest I could’ve come up with, but it was all I could muster at first. I’d ‘let myself go’ because I was too busy working to support the bastard and slaving for him when I got home to spend time on myself. I ate on the run, and it stayed with me.
Picking my trampled pride up out of the dirt, I dusted it off and focused on ‘showing’ him. By the time I’d managed to get back in shape and gotten a start on my own career, which I’d neglected trying to support him, I’d managed to put most of my rage and hurt to the back of my mind and go on with my life.
There was one vital part of my goal that seemed out of reach, though. I was in my late twenties by the time Todd dumped me. That didn’t give me much time to get on my feet financially-yes, the bastard got half of everything even though I’d actually paid for almost everything we had-find a new husband, and conceive. I tried marathon dating. I allowed anyone that would to try their hand at matchmaking.
None of it worked and I finally realized it was because I had developed a deep hatred and distrust of men in general because of what Todd had done. The right man could’ve knocked that wariness right out of me and I would’ve been just as gullible and vulnerable as I had been with Todd, but the right man didn’t come along.
I didn’t havetime for the right man to come along!
Every time I managed to convince myself I’d just take what I could get and get what I really wanted-a baby-I realized I just couldn’t stomach marrying someone I didn’t care two cents about. I looked at every man that I dated like someone shopping on the sales rack-trying him on for size, but none of them ‘fit’-in bed or outside of it. This one was great in the sack-everybody said so because he’d already fucked everybody and was still looking for new territory to conquer. That one was steady and reliable but stunk in the bedroom. This one had a seriously weak chin that I didn’t want to pass on to my offspring. That one had a name that would bring torment down on any child we had. This one kissed like a vacuum cleaner and I didn’t think I could stand much of that, and on and on.
Deciding I was being too picky, I triedharder, but I finally realized that if I couldn’t stand to date them I sure as hell couldn’t live with them.
Option number two came to mind-artificial insemination.