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Authors: Judy Sheehan

... and Baby Makes Two

BOOK: ... and Baby Makes Two
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Praise for
…And Baby Makes Two

“With humor and heart, novelist Judy Sheehan insightfully captures the birth of a modern mommy”

—
Marie Claire

“I love Jane! This is a woman that I recognize and would be friends with. I loved laughing and crying with her as she struggles to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother.
And Baby Makes Two
is real life, real love, real romance in the city”

—
ONICA
H
ORAN
(“Amy” on
Everybody Loves Raymond)

“Sheehan is a gifted writer who manages to juggle a panoply of characters with style, skill, and above all, wit…. A smart writer who knows exactly what her audience needs and delivers it wholesale.”

—The Christian Science Monitor

“An emotional, warm, character-driven tale … Filled with pathos, humor, and intelligent insights, this is a powerful and perceptive look at a single person adopting an infant overseas that fans of contemporary tales will want to read.”

—
HARRIET KLAUSNER
, The Best Reviews

“Rife with suspense and whip-smart prose.”

—Brain, Child

“Filled with touching and funny insights into the ups and downs of the adoption process. Recommended for all libraries.”

—
Library Journal

“A warm, funny look at foreign adoption and single motherhood.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderfully engaging tale … Sheehan has the magical touch that can lift a heart-wrenching story up out of its melancholy and even force the reader into an occasional hearty chuckle.”

—Oklahoma Gazette

“A happily ever after story … [a] warm, poignant, humorous adventure of a woman who wanted a child.”

—Armchair Interviews

“A delight … a gift from the writing gods.”

—Cleveland
Plain Dealer

For Annie

Acknowledgments

Thanks, thanks, and more thanks, in no particular order, to:

Looking Glass Theatre, Justine Lambert, and Kenneth Nowell for letting me explore new ideas and then giving me deadlines—what a great combination. Everyone should buy season tickets to Looking Glass.

David Kaplan, my teacher and friend, you are largely responsible for expanding and twisting my old ideas about storytelling and I am forever grateful.

Myra Donnelley my evil twin and my daughter's fairy godmother for being the madwright, for bringing my plays across the continent, and for the Wendy House.

The world of DreamMoms, especially my fellow travelers, Pat Nealon and Anne Marie Gussman, not to mention the adorable Sophie Nealon and the delightful Lucy Gussman, for all the playdates. And oh yes, remember that trip we took to China together?

Elizabeth Dennehy Diane Vecchiarello, and Monica Rosenthal for moral support and more, and to Ryan-Joseph Nucum, for maintaining my sanity.

China Seas, Laura Cercere, Roberta Ferdschneider, and MeeMee Chin for the baby. I owe you one.

Deirdre Lanning, my extraordinary editor, who guided the book to a happy landing, and Lisa Lester Kelly, my scary smart copy editor.

My wonderful agent, Simon Lipskar, and the amazing Dan Lazar. I wouldn't be thanking anyone if it weren't for you two. I've still got bruises on my arms because I can't stop pinching myself. How did I get so lucky?

My sisters, Jeanne and Mur, for love, courage, and early manuscript reading.

My dad, who loves language and taught his kids the same. My mom, who was the hardest-working mother in the business.

Bob Gilbo, the best of the best.

Annie, my love, my turtledove. Mommy loves her work, but she loves you more. Thanks for being the most fun ever. Let's play balloon baseball.

Chapter One

Jane walked out of her apartment building and saw the Christ Child. She was on her way to the gym when she saw a baby of such breath-stopping beauty she had to remind herself to inhale. He had gray-blue eyes, Nestlé cocoa hair, and was destined to have thick eyebrows after puberty. He had no pores. He had bliss. His mother held him on her hip in a swaddling sling that matched his eye color almost perfectly. She looked pretty happy, for a virgin mother, not that Jane noticed her. This glowing god-baby was the reason wise men traveled across deserts and little drummer boys drummed. He blinked, and Jane, a reasonably calm person as a rule, nearly wept. She had to talk herself down. She pretended to check her watch, and then she walked away. She only looked back at him four times. But he had already turned to perform other miracles.

Jane moved on. She really did. She was a grown-up, after all, so she went to the gym and climbed the Stairs to Nowhere. She showered. She tried to do something with that hair of hers, and why did it seem to have a mind of its own? And those roots. They were an evil announcement of her lack-of-youth. Jane was morally superior

to her lack-of-youth, but she still hid her roots, as best she could.

Jane's life was pretty good for an almost-thirty-seven-year-old. She lived in New York City. She was of medium height and had pale skin, because she was afraid of skin cancer, and reddish-brown hair, of the Nice n Easy #
110
variety. Her hair had given up being red all by itself years ago. At her age, it needed help. She still wore size six pants. She looked tense all the time, but she didn't know it. She walked fast, but always gave directions to tourists trying to find Broadway below Fourteenth Street.

Jane was lucky. She had a cool apartment with more sunlight than most people might expect in the East Village. The small extra bedroom used to serve as a darkroom, when she had been dabbling in photography. These days it was a makeshift office/storage closet/ place to stash things when parents came to visit. She still took photos, but only on vacations or at family events where someone had to say, “I wonder when we'll all be together like this again?” And she had the Indian guy on Bleecker Street develop the pictures. He was nice, and always found one shot in the roll to praise as “Oh, very pretty, very good! You should take more pictures!”

Her family was in New Jersey, the exact right distance away. Different area code, so she could feel separate, but the same time zone, so they could all feel close. Perfect. Her friends envied her out loud.

So why was there an ache in her life? Why did it feel like there was a hole in her middle? Most of the time, she walked too quickly to feel it, but sometimes it howled, and when it did, she walked faster.

After all, Jane's life was pretty good for an almost-thirty-seven-year-old. The other side of the last cute decade of her life. She was starting to be not young anymore. Thirty-seven sounded old. Older. Agatha old. Too old to change her ways, find a husband, and make babies. Too late for that.

So Jane moved on. She really did. She had only twenty-three minutes to get to work, but she bypassed the subway and opted to
walk. After all, it was a postcard of a morning in early May. Stray New Yorkers even smiled with late spring giddiness. She hit her stride and got a lucky stretch of green lights to keep the momentum. Nineteen minutes later, she would have just enough time to overpay for a double latte, smile as her elevator stopped at every floor, and then dive into the madness.

Jane always forgot to factor in the line at Starbucks for people who wanted to get brownie-coffee. And there he was. That same guy was there again. She had seen him last week, thinning blond hair, capped teeth. She noticed him noticing her. Why did she think he was an actor? And, even though Jane was going to turn thirty-seven in less than a week, he flirted with her anyway.

“Are you stalking me?” He grinned.

“Hey a girl's gotta have a purpose in life. Or a hobby. Or …”

She grimaced. Her answer was too long. The Christ Child sighting was still visible in her head, and still so distracting. And could she still legally call herself a girl? She didn't schedule any time for a flirtation. The city was full of handsome, capped-teeth smiles, and here was another one, but she shouldn't be late for the Monday morning meeting.

The actor looked pleased and settled in to flirt with her. Did he know that he was blocking the door? He was smooth.

“This is, like, the third time I've seen you here. Do you live around here?”

“I work here. Not here, upstairs. In the building. I work in the building.”

Oh, my God, she sounded like an idiot! His grin turned condescending, like he was George Clooney and he always had this effect on women, like he was taking pity on a stammering female fan. For Jane, it was time to move on. Really.

“My name's Richard. What's yours?”

“Jane. And I—”

“Really? Are you giving me a fake name or something?”

Did lots of women give him fake names?

“No. I'm Jane. Really.”

He took her hand, nearly scalding it with his own latte.

“Look at us! We're Dick and Jane! We're, like, I don't know, something out of a baby book or something.”

Jane smiled. This was no George Clooney just a guy blocking the door when she had less than two minutes to get to her meeting.

“Me Dick! You Jane!” And he pummeled his chest Tarzan style. Jane smiled.

“See you in school!” she said and ducked around him.

“Wait!”

But she didn't wait. Instead, she took long ballet leap-steps to the elevator, into the conference room, and the workday took hold.

Jane had seven employees and nine consultants on her team. She liked to take care of them. She bought them zinc when they had colds, she held birthday celebrations and baby showers, and she listened to love life sagas. Nice work and she got it. She ran IT Support for the high-profile investment bank Argenti. Wall Street. The Street. The nerve center of the city the country, the world. Decisions here reverberated throughout the universe, and Jane had to handle their latest Microsoft upgrade. And handle the eternal complaints about her Help Desk. And find a way to supply cheaper laptops to senior management. And phase out the old contact database. And integrate technology with the London firm Argenti had just acquired. And answer the e-mails she'd been ignoring. And make birthday plans. And get the latte stain out of her skirt. It was almost noon when Jane noticed that the actor had missed scalding her hand, but he had stained her skirt. Look at that …

…

Jane wrote lists all the time. In the middle of a conference call, she'd add a stray item to the list. She lived by her lists and her schedules. She upgraded PDAs twice a year and had entirely too many opinions about them. Lists brought her order and comfort. Maybe lists could fill that hole in her middle. When it howled, she fed it lists.

See? See how much you have? Why are you greedy for more? Be happy. Stop aching and howling.

“Do you want anything from A.J.'s?” Her staff was always diligent about including her in their lunch plans, and she was equally diligent about declining. No one was going to intercept her almost-break at lunch. Outside, in the absence of fluorescent light, there were no PCs, or at least, not as many. When she felt brave, she ate from the local food carts, and when she felt braver, she ate at the expensive delis.

“Mommy! Mommy, please? I want fries! Please? I can have fries, please?”

It was a technicolor Shirley Temple, ringlets and all. Jane watched and listened. How did little girls get that bell-quality to their voices? And why does it disappear? Jane wanted to be some beautiful fries godmother and make the girl happy, but she suspected that the mother might have a minor objection or two. Jane moved on to the deli line.

You may not believe it, but the Dick-Richard-Actor was there. Same deli.

“Are you temping too?” he asked. “I'm at Sloan. I told them I smoke, so I get, like, five breaks a day. Hey. You got something on your skirt.”

“Yes. Your coffee.”

BOOK: ... and Baby Makes Two
10.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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