Operation Nanny by Tani Hanes
Maggie Velasquez put her arms around the man who sat at the piano, giving his neck a very moist kiss that ended in a raspberry. This made him laugh, as she knew it would, wrecking his concentration and causing him to screw up the notation he was making in the open notebook that lay on the music stand in front of him.
"Did you want something?" he murmured, turning to face her. He laid the pen down so he could wrap his arms around her waist and kiss her, gazing into her dark blue eyes.
She shook her head.
"You sure?" He gave her a little shake. "That fart sound you made was so fucking sexy."
"I’m sure, Mr. Ormonde," she replied. "I just wanted you to know how much I love living with you."
Behind them, the nighttime lights of New York City sparkled through the floor-to-ceiling windows of their Soho loft.
"You know what would be a good way to show you love me?" he asked.
She shook her head, making her dark braid swing.
"Marrying me and taking my name," he said with a smirk.
She sighed. It was obvious this was a discussion they’d had many times before.
"Jeff," she began.
He let go of her waist so he could stroke her hair away from her temple. "Shh, I’m joking, I’m joking," he assured her.
"I’ve told you and told you," she said, sitting next to him on the bench. "The Velasquezes are a proud bunch from Spain, and I’m the last of my family, there’s no one else. I just don’t want to let it go, you know? Besides, I don’t believe in marriage, you know that. I thought you didn’t either?"
She gestured toward a painting on the wall, an impressionistic representation of the Brooklyn Bridge. The signature, in the lower right, glowed in yellow, "M. Velasquez." "I’ve been signing my work that way since I was eleven. I can’t change that."
"Shh, shh, I know, I know," Jeff soothed, putting an arm around his girlfriend. Brown eyes regarded her fondly. "It’s not that I don’t believe in marriage, I just don’t care, and I don’t care about names, honest. I’m just messing about, sorry.
"I’ve been Jeffrey Ormonde since I was born," he said. "If someone suddenly asked me to start registering all my music with ASCAP as Jeffrey Velasquez, or Jeffrey anything other than Ormonde, I’d feel a bit odd, if I’m honest, so I do understand, I do." He kissed her temple. "I don’t care if we ever get married, or what your last name is, truly."
Maggie turned and straddled him so they were sitting tummy to tummy. "Well, it’s made my parents pretty upset," she said. "First, the fact that you’re not Catholic, then the fact that we’re not getting married, though why they should care about that is a mystery to me since you’re not Catholic—" She shook her head. "Makes my head spin.
"Anyway," she said, changing the subject. "Living in sin with you for the last four years has been wonderful, even without their blessing." She gave him a steady, blue-eyed gaze. "But I’m getting a little long in the tooth, and I hear my biological clock ticking louder and louder, you know? And I thought it would be really fun to make their heads explode even further by bringing a bundle of joy into the picture, what do you say?"
"A baby?" Jeff managed to inject surprise and disbelieve into the three syllables while pretending to almost drop Maggie. "I don’t remember agreeing to anything like that, my dear Margaret."
She shook him. "Stop teasing me, Jeffrey!"
He took pity and laughed, hugging her. "All right, all right, sorry, my love!" He stood her up in front of himself and raised her shirt so he could kiss her flat stomach. "Let’s get to bed, then, and put a baby in this beautiful belly of yours, what do you say?"
She leaned forward and ruffled his brown curls. "Sounds like a plan."
* * *
"I’m so sorry,"Dr. Gettleman said, closing their file. She looked at them, eyes filled with sympathy as she sat behind her desk.
Jeff and Maggie’s clasped hands and huge eyes told an eloquent story as they looked back at her.
"Because of the number of fibroids present, removal isn’t really an option," she explained. "That is to say, we could remove them, but there’s a good chance they’d grow back, you see."
"So does this mean that there’s nothing you can do?" Jeff asked, unwilling to look at his girlfriend.
"As far as Maggie carrying a pregnancy, unfortunately, there is not," Dr. Gettleman said. She didn’t believe in mincing words. "However, there are many ways of becoming parents in this day and age. There’s adoption, there’s surrogacy—"
"We’d like to try surrogacy," Maggie interrupted.
"Shouldn’t we talk about this?" Jeff asked her.
Maggie shook her head. "I want this child to be you and me, Jeff, made of us. If we can’t, then we can adopt, and it will still be spiritually, emotionally you and me, and that will be enough, but first I want to try for a child that’s physically you and me as well, okay?" She turned agonized eyes to her boyfriend. "Okay, Jeff? Please?"
He looked back at her. He swallowed, then nodded. "Okay." He turned to Dr. Gettleman. "We want to try surrogacy, please."
"It’s very expensive," she warned the young couple. "A very expensive, invasive, and time-consuming process."
"The money doesn’t matter," Jeff assured her. "My last record was number one in ninety countries, and her last three gallery shows completely sold out in days. We have the money."
Dr. Gettleman nodded her head. "Surrogacy it is, then. I’ll have Joyce get going on the paperwork right away."
She rose and held out her hand. "Best of luck to both of you. I’ll be with you every step of the way as well." She walked to the door of her office. "Have your attorney contact my office as soon as possible so we can get started, okay?"
Jeff and Maggie nodded, hands still clasped.
Maggie turned to Jeff as soon as they were alone.
"I’m so sorry," she whispered.
"For what?" He was surprised.
"That my body has let us down and forced us into this position," she responded, shaking her head.
"Don’t be silly. This is just life. It could just as easily have been me. We’ll get through this." He gave his girlfriend a little shake. "And you know, given how crazy we are, we could end up like Phoebe in Friends, you ever think of that? Can you imagine if we ended up with triplets or something?"
Maggie laughed as they exited the office. "Oh my god, that would be crazy, wouldn’t it?"