“I’m sorry Ella.” My physician says gently. “I’m afraid you have very few viable eggs remaining. Frankly, I normally see these numbers in women ten or fifteen years your senior.”
“What?” I murmur, not believing my ears. I’ve been trying to get pregnant for years. I’m only 30, I should have plenty of eggs left.
“In terms of fertility, you have very little time left.” She continues. “If you want to conceive, you need to do so before your next cycle begins.”
“My next cycle?” I repeat, my mouth hanging open in shock. I love kids more than anything, and though it might not be everyone’s ambition, I want nothing more than to be a mother.
I have to get home and tell my boyfriend this news, and there’s not a moment to waste.
I make it home in record time, bursting through the door and opening my mouth to call for Mike, but stopping dead in my tracks. As soon as I walk inside I see a pair of high heels and a handbag by the door – neither of which belong to me.
I cock my ears towards the bedroom, and my stomach churns when I hear the unmistakable sound of moaning, accompanied by a steady thump thump thump, as the bed collides with the wall. Worse even than realizing that Mike is clearly in there with another woman, is realizing who he’s with. I know that handbag, and I know those shoes – they belong to my best friend, Kate.
“Fuck, Ella is so stupid.” Mike laughs, “can you believe she actually expects me to have a baby with her?”
Kate snorts, “she’s delusional. I don’t know how you put up with her for so long in the first place.”
“If she wasn’t so beautiful I never would have given her the time of day.” Mike scoffs. “Thankfully daily doses of plan B kept her from ever conceiving.”
“The morning after pill?” Kate asks, “how did you manage to give it to her without her realizing?”
“I put it in her morning coffee.” Mike chortles, sounding far too proud of himself.
My vision goes completely red as everything finally falls into place. Suddenly it’s clear why I’ve never been able to get pregnant, despite having unprotected sex multiple times a week for years. It’s even clear how I could have the eggs of a 45-year-old, if my despicable partner has been secretly feeding me emergency contraceptives every day – there’s no telling what other damage that might have done to my reproductive system.
Before I can think better of it, I pull the smoke alarm on the wall, wanting to frighten and punish the pair in the bedroom so fiercely that I fear I might attack them when they emerge. Water immediately sprays down from the sprinkler system mounted to the ceiling as a shrill siren fills the air, and I hear Mike and Kate cry out in surprise.
A few moments later they come rushing out of the bedroom, stopping in their tracks when they see me looming in the doorway. Mike’s eyes go comically wide, “What are you doing home so early?” The snake has the nerve to sound affronted that I surprised him, when he’s the one who’s been sneaking around behind my back for God knows how long. He seems to realize how suspicious it looks that he and Kate are standing there in their underwear and quickly adds, “Kate came to see me so we could plan a surprise for your birthday, but then we spilled coffee all over our clothes so we had to change.”
Fire blazes in my veins, he must truly believe I’m an idiot if he expects me to buy such a feeble excuse.
It’s a testament to their horrifically low opinion of me that they buy my act, and I vow to get my revenge one way or another. I can’t believe I wasted so many years – my best years – on this scumbag. And now he may have cost me my future too. As soon as the thought enters my head, I know I can’t afford to waste another moment on Mike, I have more important things to take care of.
I make my excuses and rush across town for the second time that afternoon, running to the comforting arms of my surrogate sister, Cora. Not only did we grow up together in the orphanage, but she became an OBGYN and now works for the most exclusive sperm bank in the city. I’ve never gone to her before because I always imagined Mike and I would eventually conceive the natural way, but that clearly isn’t an option anymore.
Even if I could find a man willing to have a baby with me in time, I’m not eager to trust anyone after Mike’s betrayal. I’m going to have to do this on my own, and I know Cora can help me. I don’t have much money, but I have enough savings to pay for the insemination, especially since I basically have one shot and one shot only.
When I arrive, all my plans to lay out my situation for Cora clearly and concisely go out the window, because the moment I see my sister I fall to pieces. She hugs and kisses me until my tears subside, slowly extracting the story from me piece by piece. When she hears about Mike and Kate she swears up a storm, but that’s nothing compared to her reaction when I explain about my fertility.
“That little shit! I’ll kill him!” She fumes, studying me with a worried expression. “Ella, if your doctor was right this means you only have one chance to conceive.”
“I know.” I sniffle. “And if this is going to be my only baby, I don’t want to take any chances. I want the best donor we can find.”
“Don’t you worry about that.” Cora assures me, “We’ve got donations from actors, models, scientists – it’s only the creme de la creme here.” She glances at the door and lowers her voice. “You didn’t hear it from me, but even Dominic Sinclair sent his samples here for testing.”
“Dominic Sinclair? I repeat, “the billionaire?” I’ve seen the man around town, but we don’t exactly run in the same circles. He lives in the same neighborhood as my wealthy employer and often says hello to the children I nanny, but he’s always surrounded by bodyguards and is so intimidating I get goosebumps just thinking about him.
“Oh my god!.” Cora slaps her hand over her mouth. “I wasn’t supposed to tell you that! I don’t know what I was thinking. Apparently he’s no stranger to fertility issues himself, and he trusted us to handle his swimmers over every other lab in the country. I’ve got his sperm in the other room at this very moment.” She frets, “But Ella you can’t tell anyone, you have to promise me.”
“Of course!” I agree immediately. “I know how important confidentiality is here.”
“Thank you,” Cora breathes. “Now, I’m going to give you a dossier of our clients so you can pick a donor, and once you’ve chosen we’ll get you knocked up before you can even blink.”
It’s not an easy decision, but eventually I choose a handsome surgeon whose photo practically makes me swoon. Cora leaves the room only long enough to prepare the sample, and though she looks a bit flustered when she returns, she quickly and professionally completes the insemination, holding my hand when the procedure is finished. “It’s all take care of now, Ella.” She promises, “You can come back in ten days to see if it worked.”
Ten days. I think dazedly. Ten days to decide my entire future.
If only I’d known that by the time those ten days were up, my future would no longer belong to me – but to Dominic Sinclair himself.