To be fair, I never wanted kids. They have bedtimes and "innocent ears", and they're always growing out of their Nike's as soon as you buy them. You start saying words like "potty" and "night-night", and before you know it, you're that weird guy in the minivan with the window covered in stickers picking up Happy Meals for "Friday Family Fun Night." I mean, even the thought of me as a parent is positively absurd. I still find it hilarious when people call babies "crotch fruit" for crying out loud! So yeah, I never wanted kids. However all that went out of the window, when Jessica Day entered my life.
Nick Miller rolled over, rubbing his eyes. He glanced over at the woman sleeping next to him. She was attractive, a solid 7, maybe an 8 with the right lighting.
"Well done, Nicholas," he whispered softly to himself.
Wild Woman Wednesdays at the bar next to his office had been the best thing to happen to him in a very long time. The cheap drinks brought in easy women; a lot of the time all he had to do was mention the word "lawyer" and they were hooked.
He untied his blue silk tie from the bedpost, smiling as he remembered steamy night. He crept quietly out of bed and rummaged through the tangled clothes on the floor to find his gray slacks. He slid them on, and stuffed the tie into his pocket. He slid the cool linen of his white dress shirt over his shoulders, and scooped up his shoes as he tiptoed out of the room.
He flew down the stairs, avoiding the third from the bottom, as he had mentally noted that it creaked insanely loud as he had made his way up stairs last night. The door was a puzzle of different locks, fastened all the way up the large red door.
"Is she freaking Houdini?" he muttered as he began to work on them, his temples throbbing with the dull ache of too many Manhattans.
He was on the last lock, when his phone began to ring. He grabbed it,frantically, trying to silence it.
"Nick?" A female voice called from upstairs.
The lock finally opened with a successful "clink" and Nick bolted out the door. He ran through small plots of neatly manicured lawns, hurdling a small inflatable baby pool. He sprinted a few blocks away until he came to a bus stop. He sat down on the bench, and pulled out his phone.
"Schmidty! Hey man I'm glad you called. I need a ride. I left my car at the bar last night," he said as Schmidt answered.
Nick could hear an audible sigh on the other end of the phone. "Another sex it and exit?!" Schmidt cried.
Nick chuckled. "it was Wild Woman Wednesday!"
"That would explain why you weren't at your office."
"You went to my office? What's up?" Nick replied, suddenly concerned.
Schmidt cleared his throat. "You remember that time you ran into that girl at the bar. Kira? Kara? Kela? Her name was something like that."
"Ah yeah, the crazy one! I'm telling you Schmidty the hot ones are the craziest, and she was HOT."
"Nicholas, please! Do you remember how I pretended to be your very attractive Jewish lover in order to save you from her?"
"Well you said you owed me, so I'm cashing in on that favor."
"What is it?" sighed Nick, apprehensive of Schmidt wanting him to come to yet another one of his kids' birthday parties, or water his ferns while they all went on a trip to Disneyland.
"I need you to take my friend's case."
"A case?" Nick's ears perked up, a legal battle much more enthralling than babysitting a fern Schmidt had named Fernando.
"My friend Jess, she needs a really good lawyer and you're the best. She's a surrogate for this couple, and some things are different than they expected, and now they want her to abort the baby."
Nick chewed his bottom lip. "Hmmm. What's she need a lawyer for? Breach of contract? She still wants to get paid?"
"No, Nick, she wants to keep the baby, Schmidt replied.
"Why would she want to do that?" Nick shouted incredulously.
Schmidt sighed. " Nicholas you owe me."
"Fine. Bring her by the office tomorrow morning. Now, can you come give me a ride?"
"He said he'd look at your case! " Schmidt said as he ended the phone call.
Jessica Day jumped up, hugging him tight. She exhaled deeply, not realizing that she had been holding her breath. "Oh thank you Schmidt, thank you!"
Schmidt pursed his lips tightly. "Now Jess! I told you! Don't get too excited, he didn't say for sure that he could do anything."
Jess placed a hand on the small bump that was budding under her shirt. "But there's a chance. I've got to try Schmidt. For this baby."
Schmidt sighed "Don't get too excited just yet."
"But he said he'd look at it Schmidt. That's a start, right?" Jess's eyes were wide, eager and hopeful like a puppy under the kid's table at Thanksgiving.
"Jess are you. . . are you sure?"
"Am I sure of what?"
"Are you sure you want to keep It? You heard the doctor, a baby with congenital heart issues are a big responsibility. The surgeries, the intense care. What if there's other deformities? Nobody would blame you if you wanted to walk away."
"I heard him, Schmidt. But I also heard him when he said that this baby is 9 weeks along, I heard it's heartbeat. I heard him say that it has tiny earlobes, and that it's starting to form teeth. This baby was was wanted, and cried over, and sought after. They CHOSE to create him. Even if they don't want him Schmidt, I do. I . . . I already love him. I can't just "walk away" because the doctors throw around some fancy words and percentages. They're not even sure that he will have a heart defect. I go back for another scan in two weeks.
Jess, the doctor could see it on the echocardiogram. He's 99 percent sure. . . "
"I have to fight for him., she said determinedly.
Schmidt sighed loudly. "Let's see what he has to say."
"Welcome to Miller and Associates." said Nick's secretary Amy, her cherry red lips parting into a smile. "Mr. Miller is waiting for you. Right this way." She led Schmidt and Jess down a hall to a frosted glass door.
"Schmidty! Come on in!" Nick said as he opened the door.
"Thanks Amy," he said, winking at her. Amy smiled as she sauntered away.
"New secretary?" Schmidt asked.
Nick smiled devilishly. "More like SEX-etary! I'm tellin' you Schmidt, she's an animal! I mean we. . . "
Jess stepped into the office from the hallway, clearing her throat. "Uh. . . Hi, I'm Jessica Day."
Nick glanced over in her direction, his eyes raking over her. She was petite, almost delicate, her blue floral dress only accentuating her small frame even more. Her raven locks tumbled softly down her back in long loose curls, contrasting against her creamy ivory skin. She peered over her plastic rimmed glasses at him, her gunmetal blue eyes, scorching his soul.
"Hi. . . I'm . . . I. . . Nick Miller." He offered her his hand.
Jess shook his hand, it enveloping her small, delicate hand. "Like I said earlier, I'm Jessica Day. Love the office, that water feature out front? WOWZA. The coffee bar in the lobby is also primo! Although,Could I suggest not offering straws and stir sticks with the coffee, plastic is polluting our ocean and if we keep using them all willy nilly by 2050. . ."
"Let's get down to business shall we?" Nick interjected, shooting Schmidt an annoyed, yet slightly intrigued look.
Jess pushed her glasses up on her nose. "I was rambling wasn't I? Sorry, I'm just nervous. And I think the barista mixed up my decaf coffee with Schmidt's espresso and I . ."
Nick placed a hand on Jess's shoulder, sending a small spark through his body. "Hey let's have a seat." He was oddly calm, almost amused by her nervous chatter.
Jess sighed loudly, plunking down into an oversized leather chair in front of Nick's desk. Nick walked to the otherside of the desk, picking up a small yellow legal pad. "So I understand that you were hired to be a surrogate?"
Jess nodded. "Yes. Their names are Lucy and Mitchell Yates. I am currently 9 weeks pregnant."
Nick scribbled something on the legal pad. "Ok, and Schmidt says that they want you to abort the baby now? Why would they go through this whole hassle, just to make you abort? "
"There's a chance that the baby could have a congenital heart defect." Jess said gravely.
Schmidt interrupted. "An 99 percent chance."
Jess gave him a sideways glance. " You can recover from it, but there's a lot of intensive care and therapy that goes along with as well as the higher chance of other birth defects. The Yates said that they are not prepared for. . .to care for a special needs child, so yes, they want me to abort."
"And you now want to keep this child? Correct?" Nick said, his face a mix of confusion and concern.
"I do. My boyfriend Sam, and I would love to be his parents."
Nick scribbled some more notes, his hand hesitating as he wrote the word "boyfriend" . "Why do you want this child? Why not try for a child with . . . .Sam."
Jess's lip quivered. "He's still a person.I can't give up on him, because of a chance that he might be born with something."
Nick loosened his tie. " 99 percent chance is pretty accurate."
"That's still a one percent chance nothing will even be wrong." Jess said smugly.
Nick rolled his eyes. "Oh, you're one of those people."
Jess sat up straight in the chair. "Excuse me? One of those people?"
"Everything is sunshine and rainbows. The cup is always half full. Yadda, yadda Unicorns and fairy dust." He kicked his heel up in emphasis. "You don't know how to be real."
Jess looked as if someone had just slapped her in the face. She closed her eyes, salty tears nipping at her eyelids. "I know how to be real."
"No you don't! You prance in here, all lovey dovey about carrying someone else's child, a child who has something seriously wrong with it's heart. A baby that has to have major surgeries. What about the other defects you sure you're prepared for that? What if the baby needs a heart transplant? Or a blood disorder? What if it's tiny kidneys are shutting down? Are you prepared for that? What if the baby doesn't make it through his first year of life?"
Jess drew in a deep breath, trying to control the emotions swirling inside. "It will be hard, but I'm prepared to face that challenge."
Nick tossed the legal pad onto his desk. "Well I didn't know Friggin' Mother Teresa was in my office. Such a martyr! You're not married. What if Sam one day wakes up and decides he doesn't want to raise another person's baby. Especially a baby that requires so much time, and attention. Are you just going to drop it off at the fire station? "
Jess could feel the tears, heavy on her lashes, threatening to fall. "I-I would never."
"You would never," scoffed Nick. "Until Sam, or some other prince charming comes along, and doesn't want all that! What makes you think that you're fit to mother someone else's child? You've never been a mom before."
"True, but I feel that. . . " Jess choked out.
Nick cut her off mid sentence. "I see from your medical records that your great-great-grandmother had a mental illness. Whose to say that you didn't inherent that gene?"
"My great great grandmother did what? How do you know that? I didn't know. . . " The tears she had so hard to stop broke free, spilling out, down her cheeks.
"NICK STOP BEING SO HARD ON HER!" Schmidt screamed, slamming his hand on Nick's wooden desk.
"IF I'M NOT THEY WILL!" Nick retorted with equal aggression, his face burning bright red. "I can't have some hormonal sobbing broad on the stand! They will eat her alive!"
He sat down on his desk and ran his fingers through the dark, curly scruff on his chin. "Look. Jessica. This is going to be a hard case. You're not asking for someone's house, or money, or shares in their business. You're asking for their child."
"A child that they don't want!" Jess yelled, defensively. She crossed her arms protectively over her stomach.
Nick cringed as he saw her crumbling, because of his harsh interrogation. "Still, biologically it is theirs. They created it, it's their DNA. The moral Ethics of that alone. . ."
Her piercing deep blue eyes looked up, pleaded with him, tugging at something deep down inside his soul. He shook off the unfamiliar feeling, drawing in a deep breath. "The moral ethics alone is why we better bring our A game. I'll take the case."