Searching for Swimmers–Chapter 41
Now that he had gotten what he wanted, Jason wasn’t exactly sure what to say. As he tried to get comfortable on Gabrielle’s couch, the coldness of the room combined with the very large size of her stomach made him speechless.
Gabrielle sat in a recliner opposite Jason. She did not look very happy about the circumstances.
Jason looked around her house. In many ways, it reminded him of his own home—sparse furnishings and very few decorations or personal touches. But there was one distinct difference.
“I notice you don’t have a television,” Jason said.
“Don’t like TV, rots the brain. So, now that we’ve gotten to know one another, speak up. Give me your big heartwarming speech about how I should do whatever the fuck it is that you want me to do, so I can kick your ass out of my house and send you on my merry way.”
“Okay, okay. Well, it’s just, just…”
“Just what? Spit it out.”
“I just need to know if the baby’s mine.”
“The answer is no.”
“So, I take it CryoGenerous contacted you.”
“You took the DNA test and it proved the baby belongs to the original donor?”
Gabrielle sighed. “I didn’t say that. I said that the baby isn’t yours.”
Jason shifted his position. “Look, I am very clearly aware that this is your baby, but it is important for me to know whether my DNA contributed to the being in your uterus.”
“Why? Why does it matter so much to you?”
Jason leaned back into the couch, closed his eyes and grabbed the bridge of his nose. He slowly breathed out. “You know, I don’t really know why.”
“And you never stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, you should’ve asked yourself that one fucking all-important question before you decided to barge into someone else’s life and stir it up?”
“No, no I didn’t.”
“Well, maybe I should kick you out of my house and give you some time to contemplate your actual reason for being here and why you seem so dead set on fucking with my life.”
“Maybe, but then I’d just be back later.”
Gabrielle got up and walked to the kitchen. She came back with a glass of red wine and paced behind the recliner, sipping the wine.
“Um, maybe you should ditch the hooch, being pregnant and all,” Jason suggested.
“And maybe you should mind your own goddamn business.” Gabrielle drained the glass. “It’s because of you that I am having the one drink a day I’m allowed right now, and it’s times like this that I wish I were allowed more than one.” She set the empty glass on the coffee table and continued pacing.
“Sorry for being presumptuous,” Jason said, “and for causing you to drink.”
“Thank you.” Gabrielle sat down.
“Look, all I want is for you to take a DNA test, find out if I contributed the second chromosome to the kid inside of you.”
“And what then?”
“Well, then I know.”
“And if it’s yours?”
“Then I know it’s mine.”
“And what then? He or she gets to visit daddy in Denver on the weekends? We go to court for custody rights? I get child support?”
Jason frooze, he had not thought this through.
“Cat got your tongue?”
“Well, then…well, then…I don’t know.”
“Here I thought you were all about knowing. But once you do know, if it’s not the knowledge you want to hear then you’re right back to the beginning: choosing not to know.”
Jason leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, staring at the floor.
“Speechless all of the sudden,” Gabrielle said. “You know it’s too late for you to pay for the abortion.”
Jason jerked his head up. “Wow, you really hate men, don’t you?”
“There have been more than a few examples of the gender to make me skeptical.”
“Can you at least acknowledge that this is an extremely awkward predicament for me?” Jason asked.
Gabrielle remained silent.
“All I wanted to do was freeze my goddamn sperm on the off chance, that somewhere in the distant future, I might change my mind about my life and decide I want a creature to carry on my genes. And now, because of a colossal fuck up, I’m sitting here dealing with a ferocious pregnant bitch.”
Gabrielle turned her head to the side and covered her face with one hand.
Jason leaned forward for a closer look and saw that she was crying. “Shit. Look, I’m sorry I called you a bitch. I didn’t mean it. Well, I meant it, but let’s just say it was a rush judgment. I know you don’t want to be having this conversation.”
“Back off. You didn’t hurt my feelings,” Gabrielle gasped. “It’s just these fucking unrelenting hormones.”
Jason wanted to jump up and comfort Gabrielle, but he knew that move would only make things worse. Instead, he sat quietly and waited for her tears to subside.
Once her tears were under control, Gabrielle continued, “Not that my motives are any of your concern, but I’m not getting a DNA test. It could damage the baby. I refused one when CryoGenerous called, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to cave because you’re sitting on my couch.”
“Why? Why won’t you do it?”
“I just told you. It could damage the baby. I’m not going to risk it so you and the sperm bank can have a little peace of mind.”
“I don’t know much about this, but I’m sure if it could damage the baby, it wouldn’t be allowed.”
“Look, it’s too late for a blood test. The only way for the doctors to determine paternity is to stick a fucking needle into my baby. Sure, the risk is minimal, but there’s risk and that’s enough for me to say no.”
“Well, what kind of risk are we talking? Fifty-fifty? Ninety-ten?”
“If I had some deadly disease, regardless of the risk of surviving a treatment, it would be worth taking the risk. However, this is not life or death, and I’m not risking my baby’s life. I will never risk the life of the baby I chose to have of my own volition, all by myself, simply so you can know whether or not your DNA is floating around in the world. You don’t get to make that decision. I get to determine the risk.”
Jason didn’t know what to say. There really wasn’t anything he could say. “Okay.”
“Okay, you’re right.” Jason stood up.
“And that’s it?” Gabrielle asked. “You’re just going to leave? Just like that?”
“Yeah.” Jason walked to the door.
“Why does it matter why? You’re getting what you want.”
“Which you fought me on every level,” Gabrielle said as she got up and followed Jason to the front door.
“Yeah, but you won. I might like to argue, but I acknowledge when I’ve been defeated. You won it. Your body, your choice.”
“So, it’s over then?”
“Yeah, for now. If you change your mind or get a test once the baby’s born, please call me.” Jason pulled an old business card from his wallet, wrote his number on the back, and then handed it to Gabrielle. “For all of our sakes, I hope it’s not mine.” Jason smiled and left.