Excerpt from Morgan's Child
"Maybe if you can give me some idea about your business," Morgan said, impatient because she'd interrupted his private dart game. This woman looked angry, worried, and very, very serious.
"It's personal," she said, and then she lowered her eyes to her huge belly and lifted them back to his. He stared at her, dumbfounded. She was implying—she must mean…
After he forced a courteous expression, he turned back to the woman, who had stood up. Now that she was on his eye level, he saw the panic behind her eyes.
"My office is this way," he said, wondering what was going on here. He had an idea that she was going to be big trouble.
He ushered her into his office.
"Please sit down," he said.
She sat. Here in the natural brightness of his office, the woman looked prettier.
Her blond hair hung past her shoulders in sun-bleached stripes, and she was appraising him with eyes as clear and gray as the summer sea at dusk. The smooth planes of her face were agreeable to the eye, but she was clearly a person of no sophistication, and as for those clothes, they were outlandish—a huge brownish-green dress with a ridiculous flirty ruffle around the hemline. She wore a flowing tie-dyed scarf around her neck, but it must have been an afterthought because the colors had nothing to do with those of the dress, which looked like a camouflage tent for an army tank.
"I don't believe I heard your name," he said.
"Will you state your business?"
"I thought about writing you a letter, but I couldn't think of any way to phrase it, and I thought about telephoning, but I was sure you'd think I was some kind of oddball. But now..." and her words dwindled away. To his horror, her eyes filled with tears.
She pulled a clean white handkerchief out of her handbag and pressed it to each eyelid in turn.
"Ms. Sinclair, I wish you'd get to the point," Morgan said.
"This baby—" she said, folding her hands protectively over her abdomen "—this baby is yours."
Morgan leaned back in his chair and regarded her with distaste. Then, without meaning to, he winced. He'd forgotten where he'd hidden the dart.
"I've never seen you before in my life," he said, changing positions and unobtrusively sticking his hand in his pocket. The point of the dart had maneuvered itself into a most inconvenient place and was poking a very tender part of his anatomy.
"Courtney is an acquaintance of mine. She wanted to have a baby without actually bearing it, so I volunteered."
Morgan wasn't having any luck with the dart. He couldn't reach it without twisting his torso into an awkward and obvious position.
"Now I think it was the stupidest thing I've ever done," Kate continued, oblivious to his discomfort, "but at the time—at the time—" and she buried her face in the handkerchief. Her shoulders shook uncontrollably.
Now she wouldn't see, so Morgan writhed uncomfortably and plucked the dart out of his pocket.
She didn't notice, he thought thankfully when she lifted her head. He slipped the dart into a desk drawer and accorded her his full attention.
"Am I to understand that my ex-wife asked you to serve as a surrogate mother?" he asked, ending his sentence on exactly the right note of disbelief.
"Yes," she whispered.
"And you claim that this child of yours is the result of those fertilized embryos that were given by the court into the custody of my ex-wife?"
Kate nodded miserably.
"Would you mind telling me what in God's name this has to do with me? She insisted on custody, and she was awarded it. I have nothing more to do with the matter." His eyes blazed with fury.
"Courtney doesn't want the baby now," Kate said. "Her new husband says there's no room for a baby in their lives."