Be nice okay ☝🏻
By 3.30 we're already at her place to wait for the call. Pao is still at the party with Hugo and Alex, the hot date.
It's Saturday but I asked Hugo to take Pao today and tomorrow so Precious and I would be able to spend the entire weekend be it to celebrate a good news or mourn a bad one. I must say I'm grateful for having a considerate ex like him.
"Let me take the call okay," she tells me upon hearing her phone ringing, "Alone." Then she slips into her bedroom and shuts the door.
I'm nervous, like jumping-the-cliff-without-parachute nervous.
If she's not pregnant, she's gonna repeat IVF for the fifth time, and I bet she's gonna use the donor's sperm since she's been telling me a million times how she wants a baby of her own, not one that she has to share with anyone.
By anyone she meant me.
Blonde hair, green eyes, smart and artsy. Hello, has she seen my living testimonial? Paola Harris Ortega isn't only adorable, smart, and artsy, she's so much more.
Her eyes; she doesn't just have green, I even gave her a sparkle of blue and hazel in her iris, courtesy to my dad's lineage. And her blonde hair, didn't she see how shiny and soft Pao's hair is? All from me. My gene, my sperm.
This is taking too long. What the hell is taking too long? It's just a yes or no, why would she need six minutes for that? Unless-
Shit. Unless it's a negative. Then the doctor needs to calm her down, or explains about how the next cycle's gonna be. The procedures, when they will start, and a bunch other stuffs that, shit. Is it a negative?
The sound of the door being opened kills my overthoughts. There stood the mother of my child. Or children, if this one is a positive.
The frown on her face that soon is replaced with a forced smile cracks my heart. Shit.
We're fully aware of the low percentage of success, and have been preparing ourselves with whatever outcome we're gonna get but when it's time, we're always down to this; being too hopeful only to hit rock bottom that I have to be the one to act strong when in reality, I hit bottom too, not just her.
This feels like six years ago. Or the previous years when we got our negatives. Or miscarriages. I'm getting deja-vu.
"Come here," I open my arms wide as she rushes and hits my chest with her face first, then her body crashes with mine. I envelop her to provide a safe space, wanting her to know that I'm here, I'm not gonna leave her again, no matter what.
I've broken my promise once, I won't ever do that again.
"Owen," her voice vibrates as I rub her back, soothing her.
"I'm here, Precious. I'm here."
It's been ten years since we started trying, and it's devastating that she's still at the same spot where she started; no baby in sight.
Well. She doesn't know she has one in sight. I'm to blame for that. Should I let her know now?
I made a rash decision five years ago, to divorce her because I thought that's the only way to break the cycle.
We couldn't communicate, she didn't respect my decision to take a break from IVF -I wasn't saying no, I was just asking for some time off- and most importantly, she resented everybody that she pushed me, her family, everyone including her own bestfriends when we lost our first daughter. She was in her own bubble.
I was hurting too from all our failed attempts. I asked for a time out before the third IVF cycle, but I still went ahead when she disregarded my request.
I stayed, because I loved her. I stayed, no matter what the outcome was for the third cycle. Gratefully we were blessed with the news of a successful implantation. Everything began to feel normal, we're that loving couple again.
Until the stillbirth.
It was like a nightmare, except it didn't disappear when I woke up. It was bad, eating me up that I couldn't breath anymore. I had to leave, and I made a rash decision to divorce her. I was selfish.
But I needed to live, to feel me again. She too needed to live, to be her again. Together we were a mess.
I went to the fertility clinic to sign off my agreement to destroy the frozen embryo, because there was no hope for our relationship. I should move on, and she too.
But I couldn't do it. How could I kill my own baby? Even if it's not a baby yet. We've poured so many efforts towards the making of this one embryo, I'd be stupid and heartless to just throw it away.
She would never agree to surrogacy, and we both knew the embryo would have a very low chance of surviving if we were to proceed with implantation using her own uterus.
I went crazy; I hired a woman a week later to be my surrogate. I didn't tell Estelle anything, I just went with it and decided to share the news if we succeeded. I wouldn't want to crush her hope again if it turned out to be another negative.
The surrogate had a bad first trimester, but the embryo survived! And months later Pao was born when I was already moving on with Hugo.
I didn't reach out to her because Kimmy warned me; don't even think about getting close to her. She's flushing you from her life, she doesn't need you to appear just for her to repeat everything all over again.
Until three years later when Evie and Augustine handed over the guest list for their yacht wedding that I agreed to provide my service for the food catering. For the first time after three years, I was going to meet Estelle Evans again.
The original plan was to go to the wedding without Pao; we were set to send her to my parents in Chicago. But upon seeing her name, I decided to take Pao along. I had been hiding her baby for the past two years, perhaps that was a sign, a way to introduce them to each other.
It was a smooth sailing journey from there onwards. We met again in New York; I probably had something to do with her career change in the same city I just moved to but nobody needs to know about that. Let's just say I used the little connection I made while mingling with her bosses in Aberdeen.
Pao became closer to her, and I was glad how open Hugo was to allow the mother to connect with our daughter. I was a happy man. I had everything; a smart daughter, a loving husband, and a good relationship with the mother of my daughter.
Until Hugo and I had some conflicts that lead to our separation, then she decided to go for IVF, everything fell apart once again. I was lucky I had Pao, because my daughter was the source of my strength, to keep going.
Perhaps she needs to know she has a daughter, for her to keep going? Instead of being sad like this in my arms.
"We have Pao," I tell her softly.
"I want my own baby, Owen."
"Remember the frozen embryo?" I pause, praying hard that I'm doing the right decision by telling her at this moment, "She's that frozen embryo. She's ours."
She pulls her head that instant with wide eyes, totally shocked hearing the revelation. Her jaw drops, making a fierce facial expression. She's mad.
"I used it after our divorce. I had a surrogate to carry her-"
"You had a surrogate?" She takes a step backward, distancing ourselves. At that moment I feel like pulling her back inside my arms, but I'm aware that I need to let her process this in her own space.
"I know it's wrong of me not to consult with you first, but we were-"
"You had the audacity to justify that? It was wrong, full stop." The tone is sharp, and I'm starting to regret my decision about telling her this.
"You had a surrogate," it's obvious how she tries to say it in a calm manner, preventing an outburst, "You used our frozen embryo behind my back, had a surrogate, raise the baby, and after four years, no. Five. Five years. After five years," she stops, takes a couple of deep breaths, then looks at me again, "You've kept my own daughter from me all this while."
It's scary how she says everything in a monotone. Just like how calm it is before a volcano erupts.
"You're not gonna tell me at all if it weren't for what's happening today, are you?" She sneers, shooting knives with her eyes.
"You, of all people, know how much I want a baby of my own. You, of all people, know how hard I try to get one. You, of all people, know how fucking bad I want it!" She's already shouting at this point, with her index finger jabbing the air each time she mentions the word you.
"Is it fun? To watch me play the aunty role since day one? Is it fucking hilarious to see how desperate I've been to fuck you for a baby when I have one right next door? Is it?"
I sigh, running my fingers through my hair as she walks to the main door. I've expected this to be bad but not as ugly as what I'm having right now.
"Get out," She's already opening the door when she says it, "Get out of my house. You're the worst person I've ever met, I never want to see you again. You're officially out of my life, because I fucking hate you, you asshole. Get out."
She crosses her arms on her chest, looking at the kitchen as a way to avoid the sight of me.
"GET OUT!" The way she shouts at the top of her lung makes me feel like I'm indeed the worst person on earth. I did steal all four years of Pao's life from her.
"GET THE FUCK OUT YOU ASSHOLE!" She's hysterical at this point, showing a finger to the door, with anger radiating on her face.
"I'm sorry, Precious." I tell her softly before stepping out, deciding she needs the time and space to process this.
I really am sorry, Precious.