Kiersey Lips tucked her hands into the hollow of her thighs to hide the slight tremor rippling through her skin. Her normally radiant face was pinched tight with worry as she waited for the clinic workers to see them.
Rocco, her stout husband shifted uncomfortably on the plush leather reception seats beside her. "You'd think they'd answer us immediately after making all that racket about an emergency over the phone," he said in a barely concealed voice. Rocco had patience the span of a fireworks's lifecycle. He glanced at his wife and frowned. "Kiersey, stop fidgeting."
Obediently, Kiersey removed her hands from between her thighs and bunched them into fists beside her to calm the involuntary shaking. She raised her head to give Rocco a slight smile. He still had his annoyed frown on his face and she wished they would be called in sooner. It wasn't a good thing for Rocco to be annoyed for a long stretch of time. Especially at her.
He was a good husband, most of the time, he just had anger issues. She wouldn't put it past him to lash out at her, verbally or physically, right here and now if she didn't stop fidgeting. She wasn't very certain, though. He hadn't vented his anger on her since she'd gotten pregnant. But that could be because he hadn't been angered at all during that period.
"What do you think they wanted to see us about?" she asked.
"I don't know," Rocco snapped, his bushy, brown eyebrows coming together in an angry conference again. "And I'm tired of hearing you ask that a thousand times over." He exhaled. "If those people don't come out in sixty seconds, I'm going to fucking break that fucking door down."
Kiersey winced and looked away. She couldn't start to imagine the number of eyes that were now turned to them.
"Dr and Mrs Lips?"
She jerked up instantly, almost getting a head rush. "That's us."
A tall, black guy in a lab coat, who looked like he belonged in high school smiled at them. "Come with me. We apologise for the delay. Our senior staffs were having a meeting about your case."
"Who fucking asked you? Let's just get this over with. I have a meet-up with my buddies in an hour." Rocco stood up, still wearing his frown.
The guy's smile only faltered for a second before he put it back on and started to walk out of the room. "The head staff's office is just in the next hallway."
"What did you want to see us about?" Kiersey asked, fiddling with a leather strap of her lilac handbag.
The guy renewed the plastered smile on his face. "I don't know, Mrs Lips. I was just told to fetch you guys."
Kiersey blew out a deflating sigh and shrugged. "It sounded like something bad."
She had worried her poor stomach into knots ever since she had picked the call from the hospital. And now her poor tummy churned like a washing machine with worry. And that also worried her about the growing baby. If she was this worried, she was bound to give herself high blood pressure and that would be bad for the baby, first trimester or not.
The lab coat guy veered off into the next narrow hallway and stopped to push open the first set of swinging double doors to the right. They entered into a large, airy room with blazing florescent lights overhead and a few gurneys to the side. A long formica-topped conference table dominated the center of the room, embraced all around by a number of high backed chairs.
The whole room gave a feeling of an operation room to Kiersey. She was sure it had been meant to be or used to be one. She rubbed the chill away from her arms. Operation rooms brought bad memories to her.
"Dr and Mrs Lips." A slightly rotund, balding man stood up from one of the nearest chairs to shake their hands.
"Good evening, doctor." Rocco's anger at dissipated on entering the room. He was a famous chemist with a wide chain of retail pharmacies all around the state and he always tried to make a good impression on anybody in the medical field.
"Good evening, sir, ma. Please have your seats."
Now that they were finally about to be told the news, Kiersey's worries escalated some more. What was the news going to be? There were about four other people at the table, all female, and they didn't look like bearers of good news. Now that she thought about the grim looks on theirs faces, she noticed a thick fog of untold horror hung in the room, thick as cotton wool. Kiersey almost choked on it.
Why would the artificial insemination department want to see them? And why now? No matter how much she searched through her mind for a reason, none highlighted itself. She hadn't started any prenatal care yet, so how could it be about her baby? Even if it was about, why was it the AI unit that was seeing to her? All they did was inject? the baby in her.
They took their seats and were all settled. Kiersey and Rocco looked at them expectantly. It didn't escape her notice that they were sitted on opposite sides of the oval table with them.
An elderly woman in faded pink sweater cast a glance at her colleagues and they all slightly nodded. She cleared her throat and turned back to face them.
"Dr and Mrs Lips. We regret to inform you that there was a mistake in the insemination. We—"
"A mistake? What mistake?" Rocco cut in. His eyebrows were drawing up and he was relaxed in his seat, contrary to his facial demeanor? He was angry.
Kiersey's heart turned in the cages of her ribs. What was happening? Whatever did they mean by 'a mistake'?
The woman looked away, regret deep in her chocolate-brown irises. "There was a mix-up at the lab. The two samples were put in the wrong compartments. A disastrous error on the part of the interns."
"Please, what are you saying?" Kiersey was pretty close to tears with the horror building up inside her. She felt fit to erupt and explode with compressed worry at the news to come. She could feel, already, what was about to be said.
"What we're trying to say," an Asian woman spoke up, "is that you were given the wrong sperm. The baby is not Mr Lips's."