Home > So It Goes (Twist of Fate #2)(7)

So It Goes (Twist of Fate #2)(7)
Author: Jennifer Probst

Like some twisted princess waiting for a kiss from Mr. Right.

Then another realization hit. Maybe she didn’t need a man to be a mother. Sure, a two-parent relationship was ideal and the image she’d grown up with. But the longing to hold a baby in her arms was a constant ache that had gotten even worse since Chiara had her own baby. If Mr. Right never showed up, what was she going to do?

Being driven by logic had its advantages. Malia finally decided to put her destiny in her own hands. Fate wasn’t going to screw her out of the opportunity to have a child.

“Yes, I got my blood test results back yesterday. My AMH level isn’t the best. It’s under 1.0, which is low, but not dangerously low the way I worried about.” The real worry was the ovarian cysts they’d found after fertility tests, raising the odds that she wouldn’t produce enough healthy eggs for pregnancy. She remembered Rory had suffered from the same diagnosis and had difficulty getting pregnant, which brought a whole new set of worries for Malia she’d never considered. She took a breath, willing her heart to steady. “I guess it confirms I was smart to freeze my eggs now, since getting pregnant later on could be difficult.”

Her friends nodded, and Malia immediately sensed the wave of support and encouragement surrounding her. They’d backed her up on her decision and never questioned her intentions.

Unlike her family.

“Good. What’s the next step, and how can we help?” Tessa asked.

Malia made a face. “I’m on birth control pills now to prep for the hormone injections. Once I start, I’ll need to inject myself for about two weeks, which I’m not looking forward to.”

“Ugh, the shots sound like the worst part. Then again, I used to dread my annual flu shot until I had Veronica and found myself begging for that mile-long needle in my spine to stop the damn pain!” Chiara said with a laugh.

Malia shuddered. “Don’t even want to think of that.”

“The epidural was worth it for Veronica. I know the fertility shots will be difficult but well worth it in the end. What about the side effects? Is it like having jacked-up PMS for a long time?” Chiara asked.

“Pretty much. I did some research, and women have a bunch of different reactions, so I won’t know until I’m going through it.”

“Did you tell your parents yet?” Chiara asked.

Hurt rippled through her. “No. I don’t think I’m going to tell my sisters, either. The few times I seriously mentioned the procedure, they all freaked out on me. It’s so unfair. They had such an easy time of things—all of them got married and pregnant by twenty-eight. But just because I’m still single, I don’t want to have to give up on being a mom. I want to have a backup plan.”

Sympathy gleamed from Chiara’s amber eyes. “You have us. We’ll help in any way we can.”

“What she said,” Tessa declared.

Malia smiled. “Thanks, guys. I better head out. We on for Scrabble at Mike’s this Sunday?”

“Yes, we are!” Mike’s voice boomed across the diner. “Have a good day, Mal.”

“Thanks.” She blew air kisses to her friends and slid out of the booth. “See you later at the office. Tessa gets the bill today for being a smart-ass.”

Malia left, hearing her friend’s laughter. Her spirits lightened as she made her way out to Main Street and took in a lungful of warm air. The lure of summer danced mischievously in the streets, tempting shopkeepers to move tables outside and display racks of wares on the sidewalk. With the chaos of March behind, it was time to pack up the boots and winter jackets and embrace the new season. Spring always made her think of second chances. A reset. Endless possibilities.

Her heels clicked on the concrete pavement as she made her way to her lime-green Mini Cooper. Her mind sifted through her goals for the day, and when her phone rang, she hit the accept button automatically without checking to see who it was.

Huge mistake.

“Mal! Why haven’t you called Mom back about your RSVP to Pam’s wedding? You know it’s rude to keep her waiting so long, and then she calls me to bitch because you’re never around to pick up. Not. Cool.”

Malia summoned up a great deal of patience and kept her voice calm while she navigated the morning traffic. “Davinia, I told her I’d call Saturday morning, so I’m not sure why she’s complaining to you. I’ve been in back-to-back meetings this week. We just created a new division at the company, and I’m slammed.”

The cry of her two nephews blasted over the line, and Davinia’s voice rose in a shriek. “Mommy said not to touch each other, and I mean it! Now go into separate rooms right now or no TV.” A crash, more crying, then a slammed door. “Sorry, it’s been a day.”

Malia’s heart softened. Juggling two preschoolers all day was hard, and dealing with their mom’s endless calls was even harder. “It’s okay. I promise to scoop them up next week and give you guys a date night.”

“I may forgive you, then. May. But only if you at least text Mom your RSVP.”

Dread coiled in her gut, but she kept her tone light. “I need to hold off until the last minute. My . . . date may be busy that weekend.”

Silence hung over the line. “You don’t have a date, do you.”

“Yes I do! I’ve been seeing someone, but he may be working that weekend, so he’s checking to see if he can get the time off.” Sweat clung to her forehead and under her arms. She tried not to babble—it was her tell when she lied.

“Malia, what is up? Are you a closet lesbian?”

She choked out a gasp. “No! Not that there’s anything wrong with it if I was.”

“Not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying this bullshit you keep giving us for every event is getting old. You say you’re dating, yet you haven’t brought anyone to a gathering in forever. Mama’s sick with worry you’re going to be a rich spinster with a bunch of cats. And when she worries, she calls me to share her worry, and I’m dragged down into the pits of hell.”

Malia knew that as the oldest, Davinia got the brunt of their mother’s anxiety, but her other three sisters weren’t much help, either. They were the first to gleefully back up her parents about Malia’s nonexistent love life. She’d become the black sheep of the family where having a family was the goal. “I told you I’m seeing someone steady now. I’ll make sure he gets the time off.” She tried not to wince at the lie.

“Oh, you better. And he better be good, because even Pam said everyone’s getting tired of kicking the bouquet to you.”

Humiliation burned. It was a ridiculous conversation to have in the current era of #MeToo and women’s rights, but her family remained stubbornly traditional and unapologetic about what was expected. Malia wasn’t the youngest daughter, and she was still unmarried and single. A double whammy and a complete disgrace. “I told you I’ll bring him, and I’ll call Mom on Saturday.”

“Fine. Next Sunday is family dinner. Aliya has an announcement to make, so your ass better be there.”

“Oh no.”

“Oh yes, but don’t tell her I said anything. You know she loves a good surprise.”

Another baby. Great. And now that her cousin Pam was getting married at twenty-five, Malia would be the talk of the party. People would stare sympathetically as she’d be the only one on the floor to catch the bouquet other than the flower girls. Hell, they’d probably get hitched before Malia would.

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