Authors: Roxy Wilson
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Multicultural, #Multicultural & Interracial
The Baby Proposal
by Roxy Wilson
She’s having a baby…
Selene Alexis is a recent casualty of her company’s cost-cutting measures. With a sister to support and no close relatives to lend a helping hand, she grabs the opportunity to become a surrogate mother. By getting pregnant, she’ll be able to meet her monthly expenses and make a small dent in her debts, at least for the next nine months.
He makes a proposal…
Former soldier, Triston Walker, struggles to adjust to civilian life after tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. A glimpse of Selene, the girl he left behind to serve his country, is a breath of fresh air, until he realizes she’s pregnant. He’s never fallen out of love with her, and now he wants to take their multicultural romance one step further. So he proposes a long-term solution to Selene’s current woes. Marriage.
A tempting offer she shouldn’t refuse…
With Selene’s hormones raging, her due date fast approaching, and doubts about Triston’s feelings for her, can she trust herself to make the right decision? Will she take the plunge, or dash Triston’s dreams of an eternal interracial romance between a black woman and a white man?
Text copyright © 2014 Roxy Wilson
All Rights Reserved
“You’re screwed, girl,” Selene muttered under her breath as she sat at the wobbly kitchen table trying to sort through the mounds of paper covering its surface. The tightness in her chest seemed to worsen as she reviewed the various bills coming due.
How am I going to make these payments?
elene was out of options. After losing her job as editor of the local magazine no one read anymore, she had little else to fall back on. She was angry with herself for being overly confident that her job was secure. Fresh out of college two years ago, Selene had landed the position. Though she had a ways to go to make it at the top of the corporate ladder, she’d made a promising start. Two months ago, she’d learned the lesson the hard way that no one was indispensable.
Selene surveyed the bills that she’d organized on the table. The ‘must pay’ pile was much bigger than the ‘can pay when money comes in’ pile. So here she was, twenty-four, unemployed, in debt up to her ears, and had no future prospects that could possibly cheer her up.
The only silver lining in Selene’s life was her younger sister, Jamie, who was on a partial scholarship. It was only after their parents’ death, a year ago, that Selene learned that her father wasn’t disciplined when it came to saving and had left her with some debts. The modest insurance he left behind was not enough to cover Jamie’s rent and school expenses. Jamie did odds and ends on campus to help to fill in the gaps. She’d pleaded with Selene, on more than one occasion, to allow her to defer her studies so that she’d be able to seek full-time employment, but Selene insisted that she stayed in school and finish what she’d started. An Alexis, she’d told her, never started something and didn’t see it through to the end.
Selene had called
more than a dozen newspapers and magazines, trying to find even the most menial job that they had available, but no such luck. She had a degree in English from a local college but it seemed that people like her were a dime a dozen. No one wanted to hire her.
e felt overheated all of a sudden. She snatched her monthly planner from off the table and began to fan herself. She could feel the pressure mounting and the beginning of a headache taking root. With her other hand, she flipped through the classified ads. There had to be something in her field she could do to keep herself afloat. Her eyes scanned the pages and her heart sank at the hopelessness of her situation.
Her headache intensified.
“Come on, Selene, you’ve got to think of something.” She
pushed the chair backward, got up, dragged her feet towards the kitchen cabinet, reached for a glass and poured herself some ice-cold water. She popped two painkillers and then returned to the shaky chair.
Another skim through the paper revealed not a single thing. Selene
stared at her monthly planner and then at the stacks of bills: utility bills, student loan, rent, just to mention a few and no one wanted to hire her.
“You’ve got to lower your ambitions, girl.” She picked up the phone as she stared at the ad she’d circled earlier. The lady had two St. Bernard
and she wanted to hire someone to walk them twice a day.
“Hello? Preston residence.”
Selene circled the figure that the woman had quoted in the ad. It wasn’t much, but it would at least cover part of the rent.
“Yes, my name is Selene
Alexis and I’m calling about the ad in the paper.”
“I’m sorry, but the position has been filled. Thank you for calling.” The woman hung up.
Selene flipped her phone closed and sighed.
Back to square one
She clutched the newspaper, offered a small prayer for a job and started to check the ads again. A small one caught her eye.
Wanted: Surrogate Mother
There was a phone number and little else to go on.
Selene didn’t know
much about surrogacy but right now, she was willing to give it a try. She took a moment to think about it. Was she prepared to go through nine months of pregnancy to have someone’s child? A lot could go wrong, but then a glance at the pile of bills made her reach for the phone. As she dialed the number, Selene crossed her fingers, hoping that this one would pan out. The phone rang.
“Hello?” It was a woman’s voice, clear and melodious.
“Yes…” Selene was a
t a loss for words. She felt a bead of perspiration making a silent trail down her forehead. She flicked it away with her finger. “I…” She cleared her throat and mentally shook her head in self-disgust. She was ruining her chances of making a good impression and she hadn’t even gotten a sentence out her mouth as yet. “This is…my name is Selene and I’m calling about the ad that was posted for a surrogate mother?”
“Oh, hi, Selene. I’m Megan, but you can call me Meg.” She giggled. “And, yes, we’re…I mean Warren and I are looking for a surrogate.” She giggled again. “Would you be willing to come to an interview with my husband and me?”
The woman’s unrepressed excitement made Selene feel a little better. She felt the tension easing from her neck and shoulders, but not by much.
“Sure. When and where?” Selene’s heart pounded in her chest. Maybe this
work out. She didn’t want to get her hopes up, but maybe being a surrogate wouldn’t be such a bad thing. How hard could it be to give birth? Women did it all the time.
Tomorrow is fine. How about the Lounge on Roberts Street?”
most cried in relief. It was only a few blocks from her apartment and she wouldn’t have to spend a dime on gas.
“Sure, I can do that.”
“Would two in the afternoon work for you?”
“Yes. That’s perfect.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful. I was about to give up hope because we haven’t been able to find anyone as yet. Thank you so much for calling. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
Selene flipped her phone shut
, but not before she heard Meg squealing in the background. She tossed her phone and it landed on the pile of bills. A sigh escaped her lips. She’d been hearing about surrogacy a lot. In San Diego, California, where she lived, compensated pregnancy was legal and acceptable. If others could do it, why couldn’t she?
Of course, once upon a
time, she had different dreams: a house, a big garden, children—and Triston.
But that wasn’t meant to be. To him, his duty to country was more important than his love for her. He’d left her, anyway, and was never going to come back
in her life again.
No use going down memory lane
She needed to set her life right
. Selene was willing to hang all her hopes on tomorrow’s meeting and ignore the mess on the table for now.
Two o’clock on Friday rolled around, and Selene was sitting at a table in the Lounge, nervous as hell. Earlier, she’d told Meg what she planned to wear, so she and her husband would be able to spot her easily. Selene eyed the door, and every time a couple strolled in, her heart stopped. A couple who looked to be in their mid to late forties, sauntered in, scrutinized the crowd, and then headed in her direction.
Oh, shit. They’re here
The woman stepped forward. “Selene?” When Selene nodded, she extended her hand to her and gushed on. “I’m Meg.” She continued to shake Selene’s hand enthusiastically and beamed at her husband. “And this is Warren Steven
s.” She giggled. “I’m sorry we’re late.”
The opportunity to get a closer look at Meg changed Selene’s earlier estimation of her age. She
appeared to be around forty and had the soft, pampered look of a woman who never did a hard day’s work in her life.
smiled at Selene and held the chair out for his wife. His hair was speckled with silver, and he had a mole on his right cheek.
“Thank you for coming to meet us, Selene. We have a few questions we want to ask you
, just so we can figure out if we’re a good fit. Do you mind?” He jumped right in as if he couldn’t bear to waste any time.
“Not at all. I understand completely.”
The waiter interrupted them, and the Stevens offered to buy her a cup of coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich. Warren waited until the waiter left before he continued his interrogation.
“Well, one of the main questions we wanted to ask you was about your family’s medical history. Is there anything hereditary in your family that could be passed on to the baby?”
“Wait a minute. Why would my family’s medical history matter? I read a little on surrogacy and aren’t the egg and the sperm supposed to come from you both?” Selene stared, first at Warren and then at Meg.
“Well, actually, my wife and I have been trying to conceive for years, but due to her PCOS and
my…my…err…” A flush slowly crept across his cheeks. He grimaced and then cleared his throat. “And because of my low sperm count, we haven’t been able to do so.” It was obviously difficult for Warren to discuss their problems to conceive.
“We could get a sperm donor but we’
re hoping to use your eggs.” Meg said. She glanced up at Warren and clutched her hand in his. “It will be quicker that way because we could start trying right away.” Her eyes seemed to plead with Selene to understand their plight. “We simply can’t stand to wait anymore.”
Warren squeezed his wife’s hand
. “Would that be all right with you?”
Selene hadn’t considered traditional surrogacy before coming here. It meant that she would be biologically related to the child. Was it something she was willing to consider?
As high school kids, she and Triston dreamt about having children of their own when they were grown. And even though he was not a factor in her life any more, she’d never once given thought that when she had kids they wouldn’t be his.
I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this.
The waiter returned with their order
Selene took a small bite of her sandwich as a means to buy some time to consider the Stevens’ baby proposal.
“Selene?” Meg’s eyes pleaded with her.
“We want that your only job is taking care of the baby,” Warren said.
And then what happens to me? I’ll be back to square one. No can do. I’ve got to continue to look for work, so I have something to fall back on when this is over.
“Selene?” Meg wringed her hands.
As Selene looked into first Meg and then Warren’s hopeful faces,
she felt a measure of compassion. It was a noble thing to do. Sure, she needed the money, but at least she was earning it while doing something altruistic. Impulsively Selene reached out and lightly touched Meg’s shoulder. “I completely understand.”
“So, will you do it?” Warren raised an eyebrow, his gaze questioning.
“For us?” Meg clasped her hands tightly under her chin. “We promise to make it worth your while.”
Could she do this? Could she take such a huge
, life-changing step? If anyone had suggested that she’d contemplate such a decision to mother someone else’s child, she would have asked them if they were crazy. But here she was, not only thinking about becoming a surrogate mother to a couple she barely knew, but also about becoming the biological mother, all at the same time.
“Selene?” Meg seemed to be holding her breath.
“All right, then.” Selene nodded. “I’ll do it.”
Meg expelled her breath in a mighty gush, and she and Warren beamed
at her. Warren extracted some sheets of papers from his brief case and handed them over to her.
“We’ve drafted a copy of a traditional surrogacy agreement.” He slipped on a pair of glasses, although it was obvious he wouldn’t need them since he simply handed the papers over to Selene to peruse. “It’s fairly simple and standard. Basically, you agree to get pregnant in return for reasonable living expenses, compensation for your time and effort, and medical fees, and once the baby is born, we take it over.” He cleared his throat. “You can, of course, take them to your lawyer and ask him or her to take a look.”
What lawyer? I can barely feed myself
Selene scanned the sheets.
There was a lot of legal jargon that she couldn’t understand, but she didn’t want to give the Stevens the impression that she didn’t know what she was doing. Selene took her time. “This seems fine.”
Meg’s face split into a smile. “So
, then? Your family’s medical history?”
Selene leaned back in her chair. This might take longer than she’d thought. “Not much that I can think of. My par
ents died in a car accident a year ago. My paternal grandparents lived to the ripe age of eighty and eighty-two. My maternal grandparents died when they were in their nineties. My grandpa smoked for over twenty years before he quit, but he didn’t have any diseases related to it.”
“I’m sorry about your parents,” said Meg.