Womb For Rent (Amanda Brian) – Chapter Eight

Summer turns to autumn and everything goes according to plan, at least more or less. Talli decorates the nursery and it’s described to us in great detail (which I’ll spare you).

Derek invites Talli to the Halloween party of the Children’s Castle. Talli falls in love with Derek even more (if that’s possible) because she sees him treating the children well. We get to know five-year-old Sarah who becomes Talli’s favourite right away.
Sarah asks Talli if she wants to marry Derek. Talli promises her that if she will, she’ll let Sarah know first.

Talli asks Mrs. Byrd, the “caretaker” of the children, why Sarah is there and not with her family.

“Sarah came to us a little over two months ago, from a chemical dependent [wonderful… is this the new PC phrase?] mother and an absent father. Sarah’s mother was young, too young to have a child and she took her frustrations out on Sarah. When we intervened, it was too late. The damage had already been done. [As hard as it sounds, you can only intervene after the damage is done. We don’t have a preemptive justice system.] Sarah had been forced to stay in the closet during the times her mother was “entertaining” gentlemen callers. From what neighbors and witnesses could tell us, her mother was prostituting herself to raise money for her drug purchases. Unfortunately, with the system so overworked, and the employees so underpaid, too many cases fall through the cracks before anything can be done about them.” [Sad, but true. There are even some, where the system can never react.]
Talli placed a reassuring hand on the woman’s arm. “I think Sarah was one of the lucky ones. She has you and the Children’s Castle behind her.”
Mrs. Byrd shook her head sadly. “She only has the Children’s Castle now. Her mother gave up all rights to custody yesterday. She claims Sarah would be better off placed in an adoptive home.”
[Well, you know, it sounds like Sarah’s mum is right. People always think that it is easy for drug addicts to give up their children, because they are drug addicts and therefore bad people. News Flash: It’s not. And when they have the grandeur to do what’s best for their children (which is either giving them up or giving drugs up), they are usually treated like bad people because, how can they decide to give their children away?]

I digress. Sorry. Touchy subject on my side.
Talli thinks about her child, which she will give up in a few months and almost starts to cry.

November brought the first winter’s snowfall. Derek pinched the bridge of his nose as he slid into the comfortable softness the leather chair offered. What he wouldn’t give to open the living room windows and let the cold air hit him square in the face. [Why doesn’t he open the window then? Or steps outside for a moment?]

Derek gets the first (?) doubts if the whole surrogate mother thing is going to work. He complains to Maimie about Talli’s weird cravings and how he can never get anything right.

“I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do. I can’t keep up with these crazy cravings she has. I thought something was wrong with the baby, but no, she told me that Wylie E. Coyote had fallen off the cliff chasing the Roadrunner. It’s a cartoon, for God’s sake! He falls off a cliff in every episode. Then this morning, she went off on another tirade about how the network executives left the castaways stranded on Gilligan’s Island for so many years. Oh, then she goes into a crying jag over how come Ginger and Mary Ann are so thin. Apparently they’ve never had to worry about stretch marks blemishing their skin on the island. Maimie, none of the books I’ve been reading go into any detail about what to do. How am I supposed to help her? How am I supposed to help myself to keep from going crazy until the baby arrives?”

I know that hormones can be a bitch but crying about Wylie E. Coyote? Oh well. It’s hard to be funny without being ridiculous. I know that myself.

Anyway, Maimie calms him and tells him to sleep til dinner. He then has a more or less dry dream about Talli.

He felt her breasts crush against his chest. [Ouch?] Derek slowly moved his hands downward, exploring her body swollen with child. [Swollen with child? Come on!] His palm caressed the length of her thigh. As he roused her passion with his fingers [that sounds like she carries passion around with her, which can be roused when needed], she moaned and slid her hand around him, holding him captive [She can slid her hand around his whole body? Oups, sorry… anyway, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with being with a woman who kidnaps my dick], stroking him slowly. Derek abandoned himself to temptation, as she welcomed him deep within her, his hands locked about her hips. [Can you really welcome somebody in your pussy?]

In his dreams he tells Talli that he loves here and feels great about it.
In this moment, Joseph wakes him to tell him that there’s an emergency at the Children’s Castle. Sarah’s missing. Derek goes out to search for her immediatly, Talli stays at home, worried sick.

Suddenly the doorbell rings. It’s Sarah, who was brought there by Jack, a rather ragged man who found her walking along the road. She has Derek’s business card and therefore Jack was able to bring her to Derek’s home (because obviously, he has his private address on his business card).
Talli tells Jack to take the busniess card with him and if he ever needed something, he should contact Derek. [It’s always good to make people, you want to thank, contact somebody else.]

Talli tells Sarah how they’ve been worried about her and Sarah is afraid that Talli will put her in the closet. Instead, Talli reassures her that she’d never do that and brings her to bed.

After Sarah falls asleep in her (Talli’s) room, Talli sits in the hallway and cries about the badness of the world. That’s where Derek finds her. He scoops her up and brings her to his bedroom and lies her down.

“Oh Derek, you’re so good to them [the children].” Talli hiccuped, “And to me too.” Another hiccup escaped from between her lips.
“No, Talli, I’m not good. I’ve been there and done that. I know what it feels like
[That you experienced abuse obviously means that you can’t be a good person.]. I’ve seen it all before and it’s not a place I want to go back to. My father was a lot like Sarah’s mother. He drank, then blamed my mother and me for his problems. After he was done verbally abusing us, he would physically abuse us, he beat us.” Derek’s eyes closed at the memory as a shudder went through him [How often can one shudder per day? In this book, the people shudder as though they chronically have a body temperature of 15°C.]. “I’m not going to let anyone have the opportunity to hurt a child as long as I have something to say about it.” [Well, that’s all nice and well, but how much have you really to say here?] When his eyes reopened, Talli saw the hurt reflected there.
Before either of them knew what was happening, she pulled his mouth down to hers, to place a gentle kiss upon his lips.
“I believe you, my knight in shining armor,” she whispered, her hand reaching up to push a lock of wayward black hair off his forehead. Her fingers lingered, tracing through the lines of silver gracing his temple.
[How come that in those books, gray hair always looks good? I don’t deny that graying temples can be really nice but sometimes it just makes the person looks old…]

Well, they are in his bed, it’s been an emotional exhausting evening and both of them are seeking comfort. The perfect chance to finally let them clear the situation, telling each other that they’re in love and so on. But AB lets this perfect opportunity slip. Talli tells Derek that he could sleep with her in the bed, but he answers with another cliché (how could I expect something else?): “Talli, if I stayed in here with you, neither of us would get any sleep, especially if you wore that black lace outfit again.”

She’s not wearing black lace. He could just get in bed with her, they could spoon a little until they both fall asleep, which would definitely be a scene with an “Awwww” factor higher than anything else AB has written so far. But we are talking sex right away. Well.

So, Derek says good night, although both of them long to be with each other. Talli’s comment about the knight in shining armor triggers his memory though. He digs up his old year book and remembers the high school scene. His take on things is much shorter:

The scrawny little girl who had deemed him her hero. All grown up and living under his roof. Derek thought back to that fateful day so long ago, when he had intervened on her behalf. She had looked up so adoring at him, a look that made him uncomfortable. He was more accustomed to a sneer, or even a backhanded slap, but never a warm smile full of promise.
“Well, what do you know,” he muttered softly, as he reached for the brandy again.

To be honest, I’m surprised he remembers at all.

Change of scene: The preparations for a big banquet for the benefit of the Children’s Castle which will take place at Derek’s house.
The guests start to arrive. Talli is nervous until Derek comes to her room to bring her a dress he bought for her for this evening. Talli gets dressed and goes downstairs where she meets up with Derek and Anthony.

Anthony leads Talli in the ball room, decorated in medieval style. She’s intimitated by the high society present.
Also here, we have a big gossip, and we have a guy cheating on his wife, while his wife is there and cheating on him. This cliché of a decadent lifestyle impresses Talli.
They are approached by another gossip:

“Anthony, darling, wherever did you find this divine creature? Darling, you must be the little mother we’ve been hearing so much about. You look stunning and your dress is divine. You must tell me all your secrets.” [Because everybody who has money talks like that.]
Talli lifted her eyes to the woman in front of her. “I beg your pardon?”
Cornelia Vandergood tittered. “You’re such a gem. So darling, tell me, is Derek as good in bed as they say he is? You can tell me, I’m one of his closest friends.”
A wicked gleam entered Talli’s eyes as she moved forward, lowering her voice. The woman moved closer, eager to hear Talli reveal her secret.
“Actually, Derek and I never made it to the bed. We thought it was far more romantic to just rut like pigs in the back seat of the limousine. Don’t you agree?”
[I actually like that put-down.]
Talli watched Mrs. Cornelia Vandergood’s eyes widen in surprise, as her bejeweled hand crept up to clutch her wrinkled neck. “You can’t be serious! Rut like pigs in the back of the limousine. What on Earth did the driver say?”
“I think he took pictures, if my memory serves me correctly.” Talli placed a hand on her chin, pretending to seriously think back to the night in question.
The woman summoned her wits about her and stormed off, muttering, “Well, I never. I certainly hope Derek knows what he’s getting himself into with that one.”

Anthony starts laughing his ass off, Talli thinks that she’s not made for the party and wants to leave. His laughter is infective though and Talli joins him.

Suddenly, Talli’s water breaks. Anthony informs Derek and they rush to the hospital.


2 Responses

  1. ….ooooh, this is soooo exiting! I just can’t wait for Talli to become Derek’s trophy wife. Sll her dreams about staying home waiting for her gorgeous husband day after day will come true. Oh, and what nice dresses she will wear, and how nice life will be in Derek’s nice castle-like-house… certainly they will adopt little Sara and Derek will be able to forget about his terrible childhood because of Talli’s good heart and friendlyness. *swoon*

    btw, Talli has a strange body. The doctor can see her carrying a baby-boy one month after intercourse (I think he’d rather see some not even fish-like piece of genome) and some months before birth-time her water breaks (she can’t be in some sick condition…. this is a romance novle after all….)

    I like Anthony the lawyer. By the way, when did Derek and Anthony make up after the terrible betrayal?
    go on, this is fun!

  2. Of course they will adopt Sarah. Was there ever any other possibility?

    I don’t know about the body thing… It seems that AB skips time passages sometimes, but then never bothers to tell us so.
    My guess is that it’s december by now and as the child was supposed to be born in January, it’s kind of realistic. As realistic as the rest of the book at least.

    Anthony is actually the nicest character in the book. But we’ll never know when and how he and Derek made up. They just did. Obviously.

    Oh, it’s two more chapters by the way. I think I might be able to finish it today. 🙂

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