Title: The Book of Love
Rating: Adult (I may change this to Mature, but for now I'll leave this)
Category: Dreamer (Max's POV)
Disclaimer: I do not own a thing, except for my thoughts and ideas and a couple of the characters I made up for the story. I will state that this is based on a challenge by La'Shon (FSU/MSW-94). The full abbreviated challenge is posted on my WBA page, you can feel free to read it, it won't spoil the story since she gave me just a place to jump off from.
Summary: Max and Liz meet in the most extraordinary way and their lives and their futures will never be the same because of it. This is a story about learning to appreciate the gifts we’re given, no matter how they come to be.
A/N - This was originally posted in the Sneak Peeks section on RC. I have since removed it, and have found the courage to post it on here. I do have several chapters written and I waited to post this until I have enough written ahead that I could give you weekly (Friday) updates.
Special Thanks - Lala, this is for you as promised! Thank you for the brainstorming. Bixie, thanks for the help with the support & pics. Tiffany for those awesome timing sessions we have and lastly to Stacie for keeping me sane! Love you! *MUAH*
I've been away for a while...let's see if I remember how to do this...
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of chance and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing
But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything
The book of love, has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it's transcendental some of it's really dumb
But I, I love it when you sing to me
And you, you can sing me anything
The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It’s full of flowers and heart shaped boxes
And things we’re all to young to know
But I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
And I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
You ought to give me wedding rings
-The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel-
banner by me (which may change several times before the end *lol*)
Did you know that my nipples are even more sensitive now that I’m even further along,” says the woman I’m sitting across from. Of course she’s not talking to me, but to someone on her cell phone. Why do women feel the need to share such private things in an open room, full of people? It’s not that I don’t like women’s nipples but…that’s not important right now.
It’s bad enough that I was called out of my meeting by my ex-wife’s obstetrician, for an emergency. I can’t imagine what the emergency is, since I’ve been divorced for almost a year and a half now.
Nevertheless, here I am, reading through a parenting magazine, and reflecting back on a time when I was thrilled to be thinking about being a father. Unfortunately, my wife and I weren’t one of the lucky ones. If I’m honest, our relationship for the most part was composed of me being away on business and her sitting home waiting for me. It wasn’t much of a relationship, now that I look back but I loved her…as much as I could.
That was my problem, not hers. She loved me too much, and I didn’t know how to love her enough. We thought creating a baby would solve our problems. She miscarried three times, and by the last one, she’d told me she didn’t think my heart was in it anymore.
I couldn’t lie to her, she deserved better, and that was the end of that. I honestly wish I could have given her more.
I peer down at my watch; I’ve been waiting a damn near half hour. I throw down the magazine I was just leafing through; I have every intention of not sitting around here much longer. A moment later though the door of the office opens and a petite brunette walks in and makes a beeline for the receptionist. I guess I can wait another minute.
I’m trying not to eavesdrop, but it’s kind of hard in this small waiting room. Apparently the brunette was called here and is demanding to know what’s going on (that makes two of us).
“I don’t understand, is there a problem with my baby?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“Well then, what the hell is the problem?” I can hear not only the agitation in the brunettes voice but also fear. I can hardly tell she’s pregnant, but when she turns to the side and brushes her hair away from her face, I get a better, unobstructed view of her.
She’s cute, really cute, and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t have a baby bump under her blue and white striped top. For some reason, seeing her makes me smile.
“If you would just let me get the doctor we will call you in,” says the nurse in the maroon scrubs and red hair. The brunette doesn’t look happy but accepts defeat. She turns and walks to the nearest seat; which happens to be right next to me.
I don’t dare look at her, she seems pretty upset and I don’t want her jumping down my throat. I’ve learned my lesson with women; when they are upset you walk away and don’t say anything. It’s a lot safer.
“Ms. Parker, Mr. Evans, the doctor will see you now.” I look to my right in surprise, because the brunette is standing but what I can’t figure out is why the doctor is seeing us together. Without another word I follow the brunette into the back, and through another doorway and finally into a small conference-type looking room.
What the hell is going on?
“Why is he here?” she asks the nurse, who looks uneasy.
“Ms. Parker, I would just ask that you wait until the doctor arrives to explain.”
“Explain what?” I finally find my voice and ask. The nurse looks at me and begins twisting her hands, she’s making me nervous now.
“Look, I don’t know who he is and to be honest, no offense,” she pauses and looks at me and I shake my head in understanding.
“I really don’t care. The doctor called me, and I want to know what’s going on so I can get back to work.” Well she sure told them, too bad I don’t think that’s going to solve our waiting problem, but once again I just take a seat and mind my business.
Which is what? I ask myself. I don’t know this woman and I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing here with her.
Thankfully, for the brunette’s sanity and mine, the doctor enters shortly thereafter.
“Liz. Just call me, Liz.”
“Very well, Liz and Mr. Evans.”
“Max.” I add and the brunette whose name I now know gives me a small smile, which I return.
“Okay, Susan you can leave us now,” the doctor calls out and the nurse who was with us before strides out of the room, quickly and closes the door behind her.
I let out a breath I didn’t know I was even holding. Perhaps I’m just a little apprehensive to even hear what he has to say. Just a little. I mean, again I don’t know this woman, maybe it’s an oversight of billing or something stupid like that.
“I’m not sure where to start but,” he pauses and chances a look at the both of us before continuing.
“We have discovered a mix-up at one of our main labs, an assistant misread charts belonging to two other couples in addition to the both of yours.” He continues to drone on and on about specimens and in vitro, artificial insemination, testing…Honestly I haven’t a clue what he’s even getting at. I’m about to ask, and it looks as though Liz is as well but then the doctor says something that causes us both to freeze.
“—pregnant with your baby, Max.”
“In vitro—her husband’s sperm.”
I stand up and rest my palms against the table. I couldn’t have heard him right. I couldn’t have! I hear a sharp gasp and turn to see Liz’s shocked face. She doesn’t look so good. I quickly get around the table to her before she passes out in her chair.
“What the fuck is going on!” I growl out as I lean down to support Liz’s body.
“Damn it! Get her some water!” I bark out to the doctor who practically trips over the chair and out the office. Is everyone working for this office a complete moron?
I look down at the now pale woman in my arms and I try and coax her awake. “Liz, wake up.” I run my hand down her cheek and try and sit her up a little straighter. Finally she opens her eyes and blinks a few times.
“Are you okay?” I ask and she nods a little. I can feel her entire body shaking.
“You need to calm down,” I say as I hand her a cup of cold water the doctor finally brought in.
“I’m okay,” she says and places the cup on the table in front of her, after taking a huge gulp. I realize now that I’m still holding onto her and I quickly let go and stand.
“You need to repeat yourself. Cause it sure as hell sounded like you said Liz is pregnant with my baby.”
The doctor nods.
“No, my ex-wife was here almost two years ago, and she miscarried; that was my baby.” I try and reason with the doctor. Obviously he’s lost his mind.
“Max, I tried to explain the mishap at the lab. The charts were not read correctly and your sperm was frozen, which Liz, two and a half months ago…”
“Okay! We don’t need to share how I got pregnant. How do you know your lab didn’t mess up again? How do we even know if it’s his baby I’m even carrying?” She stands up unsteadily and takes a deep breath, I can tell she’s fighting back tears. I know the feeling.
She’s pregnant, this stranger is pregnant with my child, or so I think. I run a hand through my hair and lean back against the wall. I can’t accept this. I mean they could have made another mistake; obviously they don’t know what the fuck they are doing to begin with.
“Liz, we are almost a hundred percent sure. We have spoken to all the other couples and we have reviewed the charts several times and done the necessary testing. Max’s sperm was the only one set up to be frozen.”
“No! My husband came in here…we…he…this baby is all I have left of him and you’re telling me, it’s not even his?” she asks through clenched teeth and tears; utterly and completely devastated.
While I still think they’ve made a mistake, and she’s not carrying my baby, I think it’s even worse for her because she thought it was her dead husband’s child.
“Wait. You just said mine was the only one. But the paperwork I filled out was not for that, so how could it have gotten mixed up?” I ask, knowing that we will soon be talking in circles from the confusion of it all.
“As I explained earlier,” he takes a tone that I’m none too happy about, like I was supposed to be paying better attention.
“The lab tech was new, she was assisting since they were pretty backed up. She read the wrong column and mislabeled the specimens.”
“Yes, but if she mislabeled them, then my sperm would still be there if my name was on it right?” The doctor looks down at the paperwork in his hands, then back at the both of us.
“Unfortunately, to protect our patients' privacy, we do not label the specimens with your name, you are given a number and…” And he doesn’t need to say anything else. I got it; they fucked up in a big way.
“I want a paternity test done, how soon can we have it done?”
“I agree! I want to know for sure before we go any further,” Liz says standing beside me now.
Because whether we like it or not, we are in this one together…for now.
“Max, Liz, you can have a paternity test, but there are some risks to having one done prior to the child’s birth.”
I narrow my eyes, “What risks?”
“Liz, you will have to get an amniocentesis and then we will…”
“No. I’m not doing it.” I swing my head around towards Liz pinning her down with a glare. What is she talking about? We were just in this together as a team and she’s already backing down?
“You’re not serious are you?” I ask and she nods her head and places her hands on her hips.
“Of course I am! Do you know the risks involved with having that done?” she asks and I shake my head.
“Tell him doctor, tell him that I could miscarry because of it,” she says and takes a seat. I swing my head back to regard the doctor.
“This is true, it’s a small percentage and…” I have to stop him right there. I look down at Liz and I know I couldn’t ask her for that. I know what my ex-wife went through and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone else.
I wipe the sweat from my forehead and walk around the room trying to piece this all together. The doctor said they are almost one hundred percent certain she is pregnant with my baby.
“You said before, that you’re almost positive she’s carrying my child. How do you know?”
“Max, unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it for this particular situation, the other couples did not have successful pregnancies and we were able to test the paternity and they all matched.”
“So they weren’t mixed up?”
“Yes, they were but they belonged to the other couples. If you like we can do DNA testing for you with their samples, just to ease your mind.” Well, isn’t he just a helpful doctor?
“Yeah, it would ease my mind. And in case you didn’t know this already, your office will be hearing from my team of attorney’s on this one.” I punctuate my statement by walking out of the office and slamming the door shut.
A few minutes later I’m standing outside in the waiting room, which is thankfully empty, pacing.
I’m going to have a baby with Liz. Liz, whose last name I know is Parker and that’s all I know about her. Besides the fact that she was married and her husband died. This must be one of those twisted nightmares that I’m stuck in. I try and pinch myself.
“I tried that already, it didn’t work.” I look up and see Liz standing in front of me. I can tell she was still crying, but trying really hard not too. I offer her a reassuring smile in return.
“What should we do now?” she asks me, her voice suddenly just above a whisper.
I look into her deep brown eyes and realize; I have no idea where the hell we go from here. Instead of discussing it further, I change the subject.
“Do you need a ride home?”
“No, I can call my brother. I don’t live far from here. Needless to say I will not be going back to work.” She lets out a small laugh, which was probably more for my benefit than her own.
“Liz, let me take you home.” She looks up at me, uncertainty written across her face as if there were a stamp there, but then she agrees.
When we finally step out onto the sidewalk, with the sun beating down on us, I come to the full realization that I’m going to have a baby with a woman I not only just met…but also never even slept with.