I groaned as I looked at the clock on my computer. 119 minutes until the evening admin assistant would be in to relieve me of the front desk.
Minute after minute, day after day, I watch as these women, these families, come in with their excitement and hope and baby bumps.
Why couldn’t I have that?
Half my high school graduating class was already settling down with the loves of their lives, and the other half were on their second or third kid. I never thought I’d have everything together by my mid-twenties, but I’d at least hoped for something, a boyfriend, a fiancé, hell, even just some man candy to help me find my way.
A tall, blonde woman jolted me from my thoughts as she tapped a perfectly-manicured fingernail on the counter.
“Excuse me,” she said, as though I was the bane of her existence.
“Welcome to 6th Street Fertility Clinic,” I said, faking a smile. “I’m Casey. What can I do for you?”
The woman pointed to her protruding belly, as if my question was too ridiculous to dignify with a response.
“Right, of course. Please sign in and take a seat.”
As she slammed the pen against the clipboard with the last swirl of her signature, I decided she was about sixteen to eighteen weeks along. Three years of working at a fertility clinic had given me a myriad of useless skills, like predicting how far along a pregnant woman was, or guessing what men on the train were sperm donors.
There was definitely a type.
I almost felt sorry for whoever the father was of this woman’s child. I’d seen it dozens of times, rich men spending tens of thousands of dollars to give their wives whatever they wanted, as long as it wasn’t the time of day.
This time, it was a child.
Next time it might be a designer poodle, or a luxury cruise, or a new sports car.
Most of the patients we saw at the clinic were actually quite nice. When women came in with their husbands, it was usually because they had been actively trying and both really wanted a child. Those were the ones I felt bad for—that they had to go the fertility route— and I wanted to see them come back several months later with a beautiful, healthy baby bump.
But some women, like the one who’d graced me with her presence on this particular day, only wanted a child as a badge of honor, a trophy to carry around.
I watched from across the waiting room as the woman—Miranda James, as her signature identified her—freshened up her makeup, a small compact mirror in hand. I imagined she was trying to hide any trace of the weird spots and pigmentation that came along with pregnancy. Without the token baby bump, most people would never guess she was pregnant. She had toned arms peeking through her paisley tunic and freshly-dyed hair, telling me she didn’t take doctors’ recommendations seriously.
“Miranda James,” I said, startling the woman, who dropped her eyeshadow palette on the ground. Despite her arrogant demeanor, I knew better than to make a pregnant woman bend down to pick something up. I rushed around the counter and swooped up her palette, setting it in her palm.
She huffed and grabbed her makeup without so much as a “thank you”. Following me up to the counter, she asked, “What do you need?”.
“I just need your copay, Miss James,” I said.
“It’s Mrs. James,” she said, throwing her credit card at me. “Here.”
The clinic had a policy of always calling patients miss. We didn’t know their personal lives—and, quite frankly, it wasn’t our business. This wasn’t the first time, and certainly wouldn’t be the last, a trophy wife had yelled at me for this exact reason. I handed the woman her credit card receipt and told her, as politely as I could, to sit back down until she was called again.
How could the Mirandas, the Traceys, the Merediths, the Tiffanys of the world look so gorgeous and put-together all the time? How did they not only manage to find Mr. Right, but find them with so much money they could buy them whatever they wanted, and so much patience they’d put up with everything they did?
I glimpsed down at my round thighs, tight against my twill pants, and sighed. Beneath the pants were a pair of overpriced panties from Victoria’s Secret that hadn’t been seen by another person in months—maybe even a year. They were the prettiest, sexiest, naughtiest pair I owned, but for all the good they did me, I might as well have been wearing a plastic bag.
What I wouldn’t give for a strong, dashing sugar daddy to come in and sweep me off my feet, bend me over the reception desk, pull down my twenty dollar twill pants, and slide his long, hard cock deep inside me.
My job was stable, and my bosses were great, but working at a fertility clinic was hard sometimes. All of these happy couples with fairytale endings strolling in and out, day after day, as I just sat and watched them. The closest I’d come to my happily ever after was an averagely attractive boyfriend during my junior year of college. He played too many video games, and his personal hygiene wasn’t the greatest, but at least he kept me company. And at least he loved me.
Or so I thought, until I found him screwing my roommate on my bed. So that ended pretty fast. Since then, I’d been on exactly five dates. Three duds, and two mediocre one night stands.
Even my best friend, Liana, who had sworn to stay single until she was forty when I first met her seven years earlier, was now married and expecting twins. I was happy for her. She’d found a great guy who was smart and sexy and really complemented her personality. At the same time, it stung when I realized we wouldn’t be raising our kids together. With no prospects on the horizon, I was a good few years out from even the possibility of having kids.
I’ll admit that I’d considered doing what quite a few of the women who came into the clinic were doing. Having a child alone. They paid thousands of dollars for the most coveted sperm we had. Of course, these were generally wealthier women who were nearing 40 and didn’t want to go through life childless. Not only was I just 26 years old, but there was no way in hell I could afford the insemination process. I’d been on the other end. I knew all of the extra fees and hidden costs—and I knew there was no promise of success.
There were a few good-looking guys I’d kept my eye on, in case it ever did come to the point where I was seriously committed to artificial insemination with donated sperm. For now, it was just in the back of my mind. I wondered if my bosses would consider an employee discount.
I’d bet they’d never been asked that before!
I wanted a baby, badly. I wasn’t sure what it was that drew me to the idea of being a mother. Maybe it was the fact that I had no real mother figure of my own. Maybe it was that all of my friends, neighbors and colleagues were getting knocked up. Whatever it was, it ran deep. The envy that filled me on a daily basis was enough to make me dread going to work each day. If it weren’t for rent and bills and car payments and train tickets, I’d probably have left a long time ago.
I was stuck.
The bell on the door rattled, and I looked up to see a familiar face—one that I looked forward to seeing each month. His name was Alexander Preston, and I was certain he had no clue what my name was. As far as he was concerned, I was just the girl at the front desk of the clinic he visited each month to donate sperm.
To me, he was the hunkiest sperm donor I’d ever seen at the clinic. He was also number one on my list of dream sperm donors for my imaginary future child. With dark waves of hair that could make any guy envious, he looked like something straight off a magazine cover. Add in his perfectly-chiseled arms, his mess of tattoos peeking out over his starched white business shirt, his charming grin, and let’s just say I’d conjured up some pretty sexy fantasies with him in the lead role.
“Welcome to 6th Street Fertility Clinic,” I said, nervously tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. How on earth could one human be so beautiful?
“Hello. Good to see you again,” he said.
Again? He remembered me? I tried not to go into tween girl obsession mode as I asked him to take a seat. I didn’t know what the hell he did for a living, but he was wearing a suit—a form-fitting suit, I might add—that probably cost more than two months’ rent at my studio apartment. I’d never been able to figure out what exactly it was that brought him, rich and handsome as he was, to donate sperm each month, but I was thankful.
I imagined saying, “I want you inside me,” and blushed bright red just from the thought of it.
Alexander stretched his arms over his head, each bulge of muscle moving gracefully in sync. Damn. Now those were some genes I would pay good money for—if only I had some.