Melissa woke up with a start. She looked around in panic and couldn’t remember where she was. And then she remembered. She was at the Fengs. Last night Victor had brought her back to the apartment where two police officers were already waiting for them with an anxious Lily. When they arrived, Lily brought Melissa over to the couch to sit down and had Paxton bring her a cup of tea.Lily told her that she had already spoken with her family and had let them know that she would be spending the night with them. One of the officers wrote down Melissa’s statement, and several times Melissa broke down in sobs. The other officer took evidence samples from Melissa, such as fingernail scrapings, and put them in a kit to be examined later. The officer also took a photo of her arms, which had bruising from being forcibly held. They also interviewed Victor, while Lily had the first aid kit out attending to some cuts on his face. After the officers had left, Lily then brought her upstairs to spend the night in their butler’s room.Melissa got up slowly and made her way to the bathroom to wash up. She couldn’t find her clothes, so she headed downstairs in the dressing gown that Lily had given her. As soon as they saw her, Lily rushed over and led Melissa to the dining room table.
“How are you feeling, Melissa?” asked Lily with a look of concern on her face, “We didn’t want to wake you dear, you looked so exhausted when you arrived last night.”
Victor came over and sat beside her and placed a cup of tea in front of her along with a small wrapped package.
Melissa looked from Victor to Lily confused, “What’s this?” Melissa asked.“Just a little something to replace something you lost…” replied Victor with a smile. Melissa opened the package slowly and inside was a brand new cell phone. She looked at the phone and felt the tears well up in her eyes again.
“Now, now…it’s just a phone. A rather nice one, but nothing to cry over. And, see, I’ve already programmed our phone numbers in it for you,” said Victor jokingly, trying to cheer Melissa up.“Paxton, let’s get something for Melissa to eat. The poor girl is probably starving,” said Lily trying to lighten the mood, “And are her clothes ready? We can’t have her walking around in a dressing gown all day….” Turning to Melissa, Lily said, “I had Paxton wash your clothes so they are all clean now and he’ll set them out upstairs for you when you’re ready to change.”As Paxton went about making pancakes, scrambled eggs with toast and more breakfast items, Victor’s cell phone rang and he excused himself to take the call.
Lily heaved a sign and patted Melissa’s hand, “You know, Melissa, Nancy Landgraab called last night and I told her what had happened to you. Nancy was shocked. We had just discussed this at our ladies luncheon the other day about how dangerous it can be for surrogates going on these interviews. It’s just so sad how some sims can be. I am just glad that Victor showed up when he did and that everything turned out all right,” Lily said pointedly as she took a sip of her coffee.Melissa sat there clutching her tea cup as Lily continued, “And Nancy just wonders why you went on that interview anyway when she so desperately wanted to have you as her surrogate. Don’t let on when you see her, but she told me she has been having a terrible time with the fertility treatments, she is just so desperate to have another child. They just wish they could find a surrogate as good as you. Oh they just adore you. In fact, everyone at the dinner party adored you and told me how lucky we were to have found you.”
“Yes, they were all very nice to me, Lily. They really welcomed me with open arms,” answered Melissa thinking back to the dinner party.“….And Nancy confided in me that she wishes that you would be her surrogate. But, of course, I told her that you wanted to go through the surrogate agency. It’s just too bad because with all our friends, it would be so easy for us to match you up with someone. And there wouldn’t be any horrible interviews to go through. And a lot of their husbands have already placed specimens in the donor bank, so it’s just so easy to pick and choose who would like to use you first…” Lily paused a moment to take another sip of her coffee.
Melissa took a bite of the pancake that was set in front of her, chewing thoughtfully as she listened to what Lily was saying.Lily continued talking, “And as you know, our friends are all well-off and would be inclined to ensure that you and their child would be well taken care of. But, alas, I told Nancy that it was out of the question…and you would never go for that….” Lily trailed off and picked up a piece of toast and buttered it slowly.Lily rambled on, but Melissa was lost in thought dwelling on what Lily had said. It was true, all of the Fengs’ friends at the party had welcomed her like she was family. They were all so friendly towards her and wanted to feel the baby. They were genuinely interested in her and wanted to get to know more about her. In fact, she and Nancy and Geoffrey had talked alot during the evening. Melissa made up her mind.“Lily, you’re right,” interjected Melissa, “all of your friends were all so happy and positive around me, not like what happened…what happened last night. I don’t think I can go through another couples’ interview again with sims I don’t know,” Melissa took a deep breath and steadied herself at the thought of last night, “So, I’ve made up my mind. If Nancy still wants me, I would be more than happy to be her surrogate,” Melissa said smiling at Lily with determination.
Lily looked at her and pursed her lips, “Are you sure, dear? I don’t want you to feel that I was pressuring you…” Lily said uncertainly.
Melissa shook her head and knew this was the right choice, “Yes, I’m sure. I want to have a baby for someone who truly wants ME to have their baby. Could you set up a meeting for me with Nancy?”
Lily seemed very pleased with Melissa’s decision and smiled warmly at Melissa, “Oh Melissa, Nancy will be so thrilled. And a meeting is unnecessary. All you have to do is go to our private fertility clinic and Geoffrey’s sample is already on file. In fact, a lot of the husband’s have done that when the government mandated that virile males give donor samples.”Victor came back into the dining room and Lily gave him a welcoming smile, “Victor, I have some wonderful news, darling, Melissa has decided to be Nancy’s surrogate. Isn’t that fantastic?” Victor beamed warmly at Melissa and went over to give her a hug.
“Oh and Nancy wanted the same contract that you have with us. I kind of let that slip out at the luncheon. Oops. She thought it was a wonderful idea as she and Geoffrey both have busy career schedules. I didn’t see a problem with that. Do you Melissa?, Lily asked sweetly, running a finger over the rim of her coffee cup.
Melissa shook her head and said that it would be fine. Lily clapped her hands together and conferred with Victor. Victor smiled at Melissa before he headed to his office to prepare the contract.“Melissa, dear, I know that when my other friends find out that Nancy is having you as her surrogate and won’t have to worry about actually raising the child, they will want that, too. So, if it’s okay with you, why doesn’t Victor just do a “carte blanche” contract, so anyone who wants to take advantage of the special contract can do so. They all have busy schedules and they will just want to have that child when the child becomes a young adult. I mean, most of them want another heir or heiress to carry on their business. What do you think, Melissa?” Lily said soothingly to her.
Melissa thought about it for a moment. It was not what she had planned to do, but her mother had liked the idea of keeping the children longer, so she readily agreed.Lily sighed contentedly, “I would ask Paxton to get out the champagne to celebrate, but under the circumstances, I think we’ll just toast with orange juice,” Lily said laughingly.
When Victor came back with the contract, Melissa had changed into her clothes, and after signing the contract, they all toasted with orange juice. Lily was telling Melissa how she would be the surrogate to the elite and would be so sought after. Melissa looked at Lily and Victor smiling at her and couldn’t believe how happy she felt. Even Paxton came over and raised a glass to Melissa. It was almost like last night had never happened.A sudden loud knocking on the door quelled the celebration a bit and Lily wondered who was at the door. Paxton went to answer the door while Victor explained that his earlier call had been from an Officer Parker who was coming over to discuss some facts about the case. Officer Parker had not been there last night, but apparently was the lead detective.“Well, I don’t want this Officer Parker getting Melissa all upset again. She still has to go to see the doctor this morning to ensure that the baby is fine…..” Lily said in an irritated tone.
As she said that, Officer Parker entered the dining room, “I promise I won’t take much of your time Mrs. Feng, but I felt the news I have uncovered needed to be said in person.”
Lily turned around speaking to the officer, “I’m sorry, Officer Parker, but this ordeal has just been upsetting for all of us, and I care about Melissa’s welfare and that of the baby.”
“Of course, I totally understand,” replied Officer Parker.Victor asked Officer Parker if he would care for a cup of coffee and Officer Parker accepted. With that, Lily told Paxton to fix a fresh pot of coffee and tea and bring it into the living room. Once they were settled on the couch and the coffee and tea were served, Officer Parker opened his notebook and turned to Melissa, “Miss Collins, I’m sorry if I have to go over some questions from last night and don’t want to upset you, but there are some things I do need to clarify,” Officer Parker said calmly.
Melissa glanced at Officer Parker and said she was feeling better now and would help him with anything he needed to know. She also told him to call her Melissa.As Melissa answered the questions that Officer Parker asked, Officer Parker couldn’t help but notice how striking Melissa was. He didn’t understand why she had chosen the life of a surrogate when she could have been easily matched with someone. She talked with her hands, and he noticed how long her fingers were and wondered if she played the piano. When she was nervous, she would use one hand to put a stray hair behind her ear and when she laughed, it was with a kind of lilting warmth. He noticed that her eyes were a soft grey and he found himself gazing at her a bit too long. He cleared his throat and forced his head down to look at his notes, only to realize that he’d been doodling heart shapes on the pad. He quickly crossed them out so she wouldn’t see them.
Officer Parker closed his notebook shaking his head, “I am afraid that you have been a victim of foul-play, Miss, er…Melissa. We went over to 101 Llama Lagoon Drive and it is not a run-down shack as you described. In fact, it is a renovated house at the edge of Newcrest with a lovely “chosen” couple who are expecting their first child.”Victor spoke up, “But I saw the address of the house, Officer Parker, it was indeed 101 Lllama Lagoon Drive…”
Officer Parker nodded his head, “Yes, yes, you’re quite right Mr. Feng. But, in fact, the address that Melissa was taken to was 666 Freezer Bunny Way, not 101 Llama Lagoon Drive. Officer Long, who was here last night, found the house that you described. It is an abandoned house. No-one has lived there in years. We did see a sign at the front with the numbers 101 on it. So, it looked like it was 101 Llama Lagoon Drive, when in fact, it was not.“But how could the surrogate agency driver drop Melissa off at the wrong house? And these sims…from what Melissa described, they were expecting her. I don’t understand….” Lily said shocked.“Well, maybe because it wasn’t an agency car that picked Melissa up, Mrs. Feng. In fact, Officer Long called the surrogate agency and they had not scheduled another interview for Melissa yesterday. They knew she was expecting and they don’t normally schedule interviews so close to the birth of a baby. They like to wait awhile.” Officer Parker explained.
Melissa looked at Officer Parker not quite comprehending what she had heard, “So if the surrogate agency didn’t schedule that interview, who did?”
“We are still trying to uncover that evidence, Melissa, and Officer Long is following up some other clues,” Officer Parker said quietly.Melissa felt the tears start to well up in her eyes again, but she resisted the urge to cry. She had been duped. How could this have happened? For what purpose? She could have been in danger if Victor hadn’t shown up. She didn’t understand it. “Who were those sims?” Melissa asked, her voice quavering slightly, “They seemed to know I was coming, and the woman seemed rather nice and seemed to really want a baby…”Officer Parker said that they did not know the identity of those sims, but thought that maybe it was a plan to harm Melissa and the Fengs’ unborn child. It was a well-known fact that Victor would be running for mayor of San Myshuno shortly.Lily was almost hysterical, “I can’t believe this! Who would do such a thing! It’s preposterous. Why would someone want to harm an innocent unborn baby and our surrogate?”
“I really don’t have any answers to those questions, Mrs. Feng, and was hoping that you and Mr. Feng could give us some clues. Are there any threats that you may have received or any bad dealings with associates, perhaps?” queried Officer Parker.Lily and Victor looked at each other, but no-one came to mind. Victor looked over at Melissa then and she looked like she was in a daze, taking deep breaths and staring off into space.
“Melissa….” Victor called, “Melissa….are you alright?” asked Victor with concern. Both Lily and Officer Parker turned to look at her.Melissa looked at them all and said in a bit of a panicked voice, “I think the baby is coming…..”
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