Womb for Rent (Amanda Brian) – Chapter Three

Chapter Three starts where Chapter Two left off: Derek scrambles up from under is desk to see the woman who owns the gorgeous legs and finds this:

Her face, from what he could see of it, was hidden by a pair of ugly, oversized, gray tinted horn-rimmed glasses and a huge gray fedora.  A neat chignon held auburn tresses in place at the base of her neck.

She introduces herself as Tallulah Jayne Paxton. 

Wait a minute! For those people who haven’t guessed yet, and Derek is obviously one of them: Derek has an employee called Talli Paxton. She has auburn hair. The woman in front of him is pulling a Clark Kent (the single most unbelievable thing in the comics is that nobody ever recognises him although all he ever does is wear glasses to become Clark). Does he connect the dots? No.
I actually googled it. The last name Paxton is the #2467 most common last name in the US, which means that 0.005% of Americans share it. And Tallulah or Talli is so rare a name that it doesn’t even show up in the statistic (see for yourself).
But Derek obviously hit his head pretty hard.
He starts interviewing the mystery woman.
To show you the ridiculousness of this interview, I reproduce it here in it’s entirety:

“So, Miss Paxton, my attorney tells me you’re interested in the position I’m offering.  Tell me why, if you don’t mind.”  Derek steepled his fingers and waited for her to begin.  His eyes studied her intently as she began to speak.
“To be quite honest Mr. Cameron, the money was a big factor in my decision.  I hope to open my own business eventually and it would give me the means to secure my future.”  
Derek nodded appreciatively.  A businesswoman.  One for the plus side.  “You would be willing to put your future business on hold until my child is conceived?”  
“Yes, it would be put on the back burner until a more suitable time arises.”  
“I see.”  He couldn’t fault her response.  Two for the plus side now.  She was direct and spoke without hesitation.  Derek paused before continuing. “Miss Paxton, I have to tell you, I have had more than my share of–shall we say, strange and unusual applicants these past few days.  Your resume impressed me, as did your answers to the questions I’ve posed.  You say you’ve lived in the area your whole life, you have no relatives here and no emotional ties at the present time.  Is that accurate?”
“Yes, very accurate.  I am not seeing anyone now, nor have I plans to anytime soon.  I’m quite free.”
Derek had to admit this one had great potential.  So far, everything he’d seen or heard pleased him.  Still, he wished he could see her face without those God-awful glasses.  Somehow he believed her eyes would be as nice looking as the rest of her.
“I noticed on your resume that you’re fond of animals.  I have four very exuberant dogs at my home.  Would it be safe to say that you’re not adverse to having them underfoot?”
She met Derek’s stare with a hint of alarm.  Did he see through her disguise?  Was this a test?  Or possibly she was just overreacting to a very normal question.  “Well Mr. Cameron, I have absolutely no problem with having dogs underfoot.  Actually, I welcome their affections, as they can tell you so much about a person, more so than the average human can.”
Derek nodded, letting her words filter through his brain.  For a brief minute, he was sure he had heard those exact words somewhere before.  Shaking his head to clear the cobwebs, he spoke up.
“By the way, you wouldn’t happen to be a vegetarian or a heavy drinker, would you?”
Miss Paxton looked amused.  “No, neither, Mr. Cameron.”
“Sorry, just curious.”  Derek placed his hands on the edge of the desk and pushed himself upward.  “I may have mentioned, this is only the third day of interviews, but to tell you the truth, you are the best candidate I’ve seen so far.”

That’s it. That’s the whole interview. I was scrutinised harder when I applied for my job, even though my brother in law was one of the interviewers. And that’s all the information he thinks he needs to find the woman who shall have his baby. No “Tell me about yourself!”, No “What kind of business do you want to open up?”, nothing. A HR nightmare.

Anyway, just after she left Derek seems to get it. Shaking his head, he pushed away the feeling that he had seen her somewhere before. But that’s it. No recognition. I’m just asking myself right now how this guy ever finished High School.  

Well, be that as it may, Talli drives home with Anthony. Jospeh and Maimie did connect the dots and know about the whole thing. Talli wants to clear things up when they signed the contract.  Switch to Derek who has dinner with the mayor and his wife to convince them of a charity ball for the Children’s Castle. Of course, he succeeds.  

In the quiet of the limousine, he thought back to his interview with Tallulah Jayne Paxton.  Such a long, Southern belle type of name for a woman as pretty as she was.  [What’s that supposed to mean? Southerners aren’t pretty or Southern names aren’t?] His mind’s eye remembered her legs as she approached his desk.  Long, and lithe, surely leading up to skimpy silk lingerie.  
Black – no red.  Grimacing, he pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose.  What was wrong with him?  He shifted on the seat, trying to ease his tortured body [Is he still talking about his strained muscle? I thought Talli healed that with her 30 seconds wonder massage?] into a more comfortable position.  He was supposed to be interviewing for a surrogate mother position, not thinking about what she might be wearing under her suit.

  1. Nothing’s wrong with you to think about what kind of underwear the other sex is wearing. I personally do it and I’ve heard that men think even more about it.
  2. It probably helps you in your quest to get a baby.
  3. What a prude!

We get another pointless visit in Talli’s bedroom, where she’s watching a tear jerker and wishing that life could be like this (News flash: You’re a character in a romance novel. Life will be like this for you!).

 

The next morning Derek thinks about having a child (way to go, Derek! You start thinking how it will be like to be a father!). He’s afraid that he’s too old to be a father (just to remind you, he’s thirty years old). Then he imagines how his child would be like.
He sees his son as a great athlete, a quarterback or a star pitcher. Then he realises that the baby could also be a girl and sees her having sleepovers and going out with boys.

Ouch. I need some feminism right now. Please.
Good. Back from shakesville.com. Feeling good again. Able to continue.

After mentally beating up the future boyfriend of his not yet existing daughter, he calls Anthony and tells him that he has decided to go with Ms. Paxton.  Anthony draws up the contract and shows it to Talli. Talli has two things she wants to have changed: She wants the child conceived through natural means, not artificial insemination. Her explanation: 

“Anthony, it’s bad enough that Derek has to go to all the trouble of getting a surrogate mother to have a child, but to then make it artificial? [Because it’s much better to have sex with someone you don’t know in order to get her pregnant than to do it with artificial insemination.] A child is a wonderful living and breathing being.  A baby is the most precious gift on Earth.  It’s not like purchasing a package of sea monkeys in the toy store and then adding water to watch them grow. [I send a sympathetic ouch to all the people who had to be conceived artificially, for whatever reason, and are now compared to sea monkeys. I’m sorry.]  No, I want natural.  At least then, he can tell the baby how he or she was conceived when they get older and want to hear the story.  All kids long to hear tales of how they came to be.  I know I did.” 

Let me think about that. Would it be less traumatic for me to hear: “And your daddy paid your mummy and then they had filthy, passionate and hot sex and the result is you.” Or “And then your daddy paid your mummy and then they went to a doctor who took daddy’s sperm and mummy’s egg, mixed them together, put them back into mummy and the result is you.”
hmm… Maybe I’m funny, but I’d prefer the mental picture of a visit to the doctor to the mental picture of my parents having sex. 
 

The second change Talli wants, is that, in case Derek dies before the child turns 18, she wants to have the option of taking care of him or her. [Note: She only wants the option, which she can decline if she wants to.] 

Derek reacts to the natural conception part rather understandably:  

“What?”  Derek bellowed.  “She wants natural conception?  Are you nuts?” 

So, once he has a reasonable reaction. But he gets talked out of it by Maimie and Anthony. And he agrees to the changes, but not before Maimie shows that she really is an uneducated housekeeper like the cliché dictates:  

“Mr. Cameron values my opinion.  I tell you, it’s unnatural. What are you going to tell that poor little baby?  It was born in a pee-pee dish?”
Derek squeezed the bridge of his nose between two fingers and grimaced, feeling the intense pressure of an on-coming headache.  “I believe the correct terminology is petrie dish Maimie, not…”
She cut him off.  “I don’t care what the fancy-schmansy words are.  It isn’t right.  I think it’s down right unhealthy.”

Anyway, later Maimie and Talli have good time making fun of Derek’s reasonable reaction when he comes in to give Talli the possibility to drool a little over him.
After he’s gone, Talli worries that he will be angry that she tricked him because he downright forbade her to apply [That’s when you think about that, girl?]. But Maimie reassures her that she and Anthony will take care of everything for her.

Maimie reached out a time-lined hand [time-lined? puh-lease] to press against Talli’s cheek.  “Everything will be just fine.  You leave it to Mr. Legal Beagle and me.  We’ll take care of everything.  You just wait and see.”  Maimie nodded, muttering more to herself than Talli with her last few words.

The end of chapter three.

 

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2 Responses

  1. I usually love snarky reviews of terrible books, but I’m having a hard time getting through this. The whole thing is just so… horribly… *bad*. It goes beyond the “such a trainwreck you can’t look away” and becomes “such a trainwreck you don’t want to watch another second and you know you will need years of therapy just to forget the little you saw”.

    While of course the author gets some of the blame for writing this horrible clicheed mess in the first place, let’s not forget the editor who received the manuscript, read it over, maybe corrected some spelling and grammar, and went “yeah, we can publish this”.

    • Sometimes it really is amazing what gets published. And then you hear about (later quite successful) well-written books that get pushed from publicisher to publisher, from agent to agent and you can’t help but fear for humanity.

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