A Baby For MariabyGale82©
I remember every detail of that morning. It was one of the dark days of early December; the rain was beating against the windows of the bedroom, driven by a cold north-west wind, and Sam and I were huddled together beneath the covers. It was that 'just-five-minutes-more' that seems to be the most satisfying part of a good night's sleep, and we wanted to make the most of it. Just a few seconds before the snooze function on the radio alarm completed its task, I felt the soft touch of lips caressing the side of my neck.
"No you don't!" I insisted, "We've both got a long day ahead!"
Pushing the covers back, I swung my feet out of the bed and was relieved to be able to locate my slippers because, no matter how good the laminated flooring that Sam had installed might look, it could be damned cold underfoot first thing in the morning. Not for the first time, I made a mental note to buy a rug.
"Right, then..." I said, stretching and yawning, well aware that Sam was gazing lustfully at my naked body, "I'm having a quick shower. I'll only have time for a coffee and a slice of toast before I go. If you want anything, you'll have to help yourself... okay?"
There was the sound of a grunt, the shapeless form of the covers moved, and then there was the sound of deep, regular breathing.
"Do not go back to sleep!" I shouted, "You've got appointments this morning!" And I gave a hearty slap to where I correctly guessed Sam's buttocks would be.
"Ow! You've got a heavy hand, y'know?" Sam's voice whined as I headed into the bathroom.
By the time I'd showered and dressed there was still no sign of any movement from the bed but, as I stepped towards it, I heard: "Don't hit me again! I'm awake. Don't worry... I'll be there on time."
"Okay," I smiled, "make sure you are." And then, as I leaned over for a parting kiss, I heard the words that were going to have such a huge impact on our futures.
"We've been together long enough now, Maria... it's time we had a baby."
"But... I mean... I don't know, Sam... I...."
"Think about it, Maria," Sam whispered. "It's what we need to bind us properly together... it's the only thing that's missing from our lives. I want you to have a baby... soon. Just think it over, Maria... just think about it."
Well, not surprisingly, I did think about. I thought about it a lot. For most of that day at the gymnasium where I worked, I thought about it -- and the next day, and the day after that. I just hoped that the often overweight and out-of--condition ladies who expected me to turn them into irresistible sex-kittens didn't notice my distracted mood.
For the most part, it was middle-aged females who required me to set and supervise their programmes and suggest sensible diets, and they paid handsomely for the privilege. So I never could understand why, after a good session in the gym, most of them seemed to head straight for the Starbucks across the road for coffee and cakes. There were some, mainly young office workers, who were more serious, wanting to keep fit for their various sports or, more often I guess, for their husbands. Like sugar in a cup, fat on females tends to settle on the bottom, and that was what I was most often asked to help with.
Very few males, I'd found, wanted a female to direct their programmes and there were two other trainers to look after them. Mind you, that didn't stop either the bodybuilders or the young executives who were trying to stave off their potential coronaries from trying to hit on me.
I suppose it's not too surprising, because I do cut a pretty impressive figure. As a quick sketch; I'm 5'9" and I weigh 150lbs -- much of it muscle. My figure, I'd probably describe as 'lithe;' small breasts, flat stomach and narrow hips. I also have powerful arms and legs which might have taken me into the international volleyball team -- had it not been for a broken wrist that received poor treatment from an incompetent surgeon and took the best part of two-and-a-half years to mend properly. So I received a lot of passes from male clients at the gym -- and even one or two from females -- but it was never a problem. I had Sam. I wasn't interested in anyone else and, as it wasn't hard to see, I could take care of myself pretty well. But if anything did happen that was a bit much for me to handle, I knew I could always rely on Blake or Mike -- the other two trainers -- to help me out.
So, I liked my job. It didn't pay a fortune, but the money was okay and I was normally pretty wrapped up in it. That day, though, the talk of a baby had disturbed me. It wasn't something I'd thought about very much but, as I was closing in on 30, I knew Sam had a point. If we were going to have a baby, we'd have to do something about it fairly soon.
There were problems about it, of course. To begin with, Sam is not the patient type. If I agreed, I had the feeling that it would be seen as a project that needed to be started immediately. Okay, I had a think about that and realised I could live with it as long as I took enough time to be certain about it first. Financially, there was no problem. Sam was a very good lawyer and an extremely high-earner -- my contribution to the household wouldn't be missed. The major sticking point, however, was that Sam wasn't capable of making me pregnant!
So even when I'd thought it all through and tried to consider everything about the differences a child might make to our lives -- both the positives and the negatives -- I still had no idea what kind of plan Sam would come up with.
I have to give Sam credit for the fact that there was no further mention of the idea (unless I raised it) and no pressure placed on me while I thought about it. It was, after all a human life that we were talking about, not something that could be taken lightly in any way whatsoever, and I didn't want to rush into a decision. I needed to be certain that it would be the best thing for Sam, for me and, most of all, for the child.
It was early January before my thoughts finally came to a conclusion. Sam was delighted -- but I was a long way from celebrating when the 'plan of action' was revealed.
Sam was absolutely adamant that it was to be done 'naturally.'
Once again, I insisted on time to think about it because, for me, what Sam actually proposed would be an enormous step.
I'm a long way from being a prude; in fact there had been a time -- just after my dreams of sporting glory had been lost -- when I'd 'slept around' a bit. Actually, I'd better qualify that; I'd had three one-night stands when I'd been drunk enough not to care, and that was over the course of a year. I'd then had a four-month relationship with a guy who'd become gradually more abusive and increasingly violent. It ended when he went too far (slapping my face when I refused to wear a slutty dress so he could show me off to his friends) and a single punch dumped him on his ass with a broken nose.
When the idiot tried to sue me for damages, a friend recommended Sam. The case was thrown out of court and the rest, as they say, is history. Sam and I became friends, started dating, became lovers and, eventually, moved in together. Or, rather, I moved into Sam's beautiful home. It was Sam who found me the job at the gym (the owner was a client) and I had never known such contentment.
The idea that I would now have to have sex with a strange man -- in the hope of being impregnated -- was a horrific one. Sam was all that I wanted: a generous and loving partner, an exciting, inventive and adventurous lover and, being a good bit older and much wiser than me, someone I was constantly learning from.
Ultimately, it was the increasing desire I felt to have a child of my own, even more than the feeling that I owed so much to Sam that I couldn't refuse, that finally made me reach a decision to agree. It was on the condition, naturally enough, that Sam was absolutely and completely positive about it and then, the decision having been made, everything seemed to go quiet for a while.
It wasn't mentioned again and, although there were times when it felt as if it might all have been put to one side, I had no doubt that it was because Sam was making meticulous plans to achieve our aim. But, even though I was expecting it, it still took me by surprise when it began to happen.
It was a beautiful spring morning; one of those when there's an early-morning frost that glistens in the pale sunlight as if someone has spread millions of tiny sequins across the countryside. There was no rush to get up; Sundays are for resting from work and Sam and I always tried to spend as much of them together as we possibly could.
The night before, I'd cooked us a meal of beef, oyster and ale pie with fresh vegetables accompanied by a wine -- chosen by Sam -- that was a perfect complement to it. We'd then had the best part of half-a-bottle of Calvados with the home-made apple sorbet -- and I'm pretty sure my glass had been filled up far more often than Sam's. After that, there'd been Irish coffees (Sam's speciality) and, although I didn't actually have a hangover in the morning, I was light-headed enough to know that I'd probably been a little bit drunk.
I remembered the love-making. The memory of that came back to me as soon as I became conscious. It had been such a gentle exploration of our bodies -- of every inch of flesh -- with fingertips and tongues. There had been the deceptively slow rise that raised the senses and emotions in perfect symmetry; the eagerness held in check until, unable to be contained any further, the cascading harmonies of rapture left us both helpless and exhausted -- our arms entwined and legs entangled until we fell into a deep and restful sleep.
It had seemed impossible that either of us could have escaped from that embrace without disturbing the other being aware of it but, as I soon discovered, Sam had not only succeeded in that but had also managed to shower, dress and depart without disturbing me at all. I only became aware of it when I turned over and found that, instead of my partner's head, the pillow next to mine was occupied by an A4-sized white envelope.
I stared at it with considerable apprehension, seeing my name written on it in Sam's beautiful script and, even in the comforting warmth of our bed, I shivered. I was fairly sure what kind of thing I would find in it and knew that its contents would soon dispel the wonderful memory of the previous night.
Delaying the moment, I left it where it was while I showered, made myself a coffee and then, wearing only my dressing gown, returned to the bed to open it.
The top sheet, handwritten said:
My darling Maria, I have made the necessary arrangements.
If there is anything -- anything at all - that prevents or deters you from carrying out this task, please shred the contents of this envelope and we'll talk about it again when I return.
I will be in New York for the next few days, which is probably for the best because I don't want to be there to put any extra pressure on you. Whatever you decide, I will accept and will, of course, love you more with every day that passes.
And it was signed with the usual flourish and postscripted with our answer to how much we loved one another -- MTY, NAMAT (More than yesterday, not as much as tomorrow).
The second sheet (typed) began;
I'm sure you're well aware; as I am that you will be at the optimum time for becoming pregnant within the next few days. I hope you may agree that this is a good time to work on our plan. If you're still willing to go through with this for us, you will need to follow the instructions set out below. If you are not, then please send me a text before this evening so that I can put the arrangements on hold. I've informed the gym that you have to travel with me for a few days and the lads there are happy to cover for you.
1)A taxi will be outside our home tomorrow morning at 10:30 to take you to the airport.
2)The check-in time for your flight is no later than 1145 -- take off at1230.
3)Your flight will arrive in Nice at 1430.
4)You will be met at the Nice airport by a man holding a sign with the name 'Maria Bentley' on it. (this will be the name you'll use until your return flight)
5)The car that picks you up will also pick up your temporary partner along the way.
6)You will be driven to the Radisson Blu Hôtel on the Promenade des Anglais where you will sign in as Mr & Mrs Bentley. (I've stayed there -- it's excellent!)
7)You are both booked in to the hotel for 4 nights.
8)When you leave, the same car and driver will pick you up. The man will be dropped off along the way and it will take you to the airport.
9)All of the above have been paid for in advance.
10)The man has been given more than sufficient funds to cover all other expenses (Under no circumstances are you to use your own cards for anything -- the envelope in the hall contains a bundle of Euros in case you need anything -- as well as your passport. You will, of course, check in for the return flight under your own name.
1. His name is Matthew -- known as Matty.
2. He is someone I happen to know a great deal about (although he knows nothing of my involvement in this).
3. I can guarantee that he does not have any STDs (Sorry to be so basic, but it is important!)
4. I can also guarantee that he will treat you with all due respect.
5. He does not know who you are or anything about you -- other than that you are a young lady who needs to have a baby.
6. He knows that he has been hired by a lawyer -- but believes it to be one by the name of EJH McDonald from Canada.
7. His motives for accepting this are worthy -- he has a relative that he cares about dearly who needs very expensive medical care. His fee will more than cover it.
If you decide to go ahead with what I've arranged, I am hoping that I won't be hearing from you until your return flight touches down (I never thought I'd be writing those words to you, my beautiful Maria!), because I'm hoping you'll be able to relax, put me out of your mind, and enjoy yourself.
I will be tied up a lot of the time in meetings etc., so I won't always be able to take calls. However, if -- for any reason whatsoever -- you decide that you're not able to go through with this, simply call it off immediately. That applies at any point in the proceedings. Simply call and leave a message on my voicemail if I'm not available.
If that happens, do not feel guilty about depriving the man of his financial reward. As long as he is not the direct cause of the cancellation, I will ensure that he still receives the fee.
If all goes according to schedule -- and there's no reason why it shouldn't -- I will be home on Thursday night. By the time you arrive on Friday afternoon I should have slept off my jetlag and be able to greet you properly.
I will not question or cross-examine you! I hope you will tell me whether or not everything has gone well. Other than that, I will leave it entirely up to you to decide how much, or how little, of the experience you wish to share with me.
At the foot of that sheet, there was, as I'd expected, a reaffirmation of life-long love. My eyes were filling up by the time I finished reading -- strange tears that came from an overwhelming sense of love, a fear of what I might be doing over the next few days (and nights!), and a certain feeling of resentment that the responsibility was mine.
"Damn you," I muttered under my breath, thinking that it was very well for Sam to make the practical arrangements, but it was me -- my body -- that was going to have to carry them out. For a moment or two I felt resentful about it all, but I lay back on the pillow and those thoughts were pushed, slowly, from my mind, by the realisation that the true motive was one of love and commitment to each other.
I dozed for a little while and then, rising again, I began to work out my own practicalities. For example, what clothes should I pack? If I dressed too conservatively might I, given my build, prove a bit intimidating? (It had been known to happen!) But if I dressed more provocatively, would I end up looking like some desperate tart and put him off anyway?
Was I expected to be loving or just seductive -- or both? And what would happen if, despite Sam's assurances, I found the man unpleasant or even repulsive? Or what if he found that he didn't fancy me at all? For most of that Sunday I was virtually frozen into immobility by the numerous fears and doubts that, despite Sam's careful and elaborate planning, simply wouldn't go away.
Okay, I did finally manage to pack a holdall -- but that was as much for the sake of something to occupy my mind as anything else. I made myself a salad -- which I ate without enthusiasm -- and a mug of hot chocolate at bedtime that went cold when I fell asleep reading, and re-reading Sam's instructions. And that, apart from worrying and finding more and more things to worry about, was about all I achieved throughout that wasted day and restless night.
The airport, the wonderfully named Nice - Côte d'Azur, was extremely busy and my minimal knowledge of French (barely-remembered from schooldays), struggled to keep up with the announcements. Eventually, I found the baggage carousel to retrieve my holdall, received a 'friendly' wink from a customs officer and, a minute or two later, spotted the man holding a card with my assumed name on it. He was elderly, small and so thin it seemed a breeze could probably lift him off his feet -- but he hauled my bag into the boot of the Mercedes with no apparent effort.
The sunshine was dazzling, even filtered through my sunglasses, and I was grateful for the air-conditioning in the car. The driver, even though I wasn't entirely convinced that he could see much above the dashboard, drove at speed for a few minutes until he suddenly swerved and screeched to a halt in front of the Novotel Nice Arenas just opposite the airport.
It was noticeable that he didn't offer any assistance to the second passenger (assistance only offered to females, apparently!). I heard a case being deposited alongside mine in the back. Then the door opened to let a blast of warm air come in, along with a young man who was both tall and broad. He turned to me as we set off again and gave a slightly shy smile.
"Hi... I'm Matty," he said, "...and unless you're Maria, I've jumped into the wrong car."
That made me smile, too, and I recognised the faint trace of what I thought was an Australian accent (it actually turned out to be a New Zealand one, which he was a little bit sensitive about) and one of my fears was eliminated as I realised that I definitely didn't find him repulsive.
He was younger than I'd expected -- certainly younger than me -- and good-looking in a boyish sort of way. He was clearly very nervous (that made two of us) and the conversation on the short ride to the hotel was a bit stilted because I think we were both wary about not revealing much about our backgrounds.
He was confident enough at the hotel when we went to book in, although that evaporated when the desk clerk, as a matter of form, asked to examine our passports. Fortunately, another clerk had been primed in advance and he stepped forward to take charge; our passports were barely glanced at and we were able to sign in as 'Mr & Mrs Bentley.' The nerves set in again when we reached what was a very good room -- a 'Senior Suite' as it was called -- with plenty of space, a terrace with a view over the promenade and... well... a very large bed that we both tried to avoid looking at!
Left to ourselves, we did everything except refer to the reason for being there; we checked out the terrace, had a look at the bathroom, and examined the chairs until, finally, Matty said, in a very nervous voice: