The next morning Cristian was back in his beloved kitchen, whipping up several dishes.
Cristian: I’m so happy Kenya gave Gavin that push to just be himself. He’s so happy, and so am I! How could I be anything but happy in this amazing kitchen?
He finished his first dish and started on the next as the maid came in. His smile dropped a bit as he listened for Kenya. The maid was doing a good job, and he didn’t want her to get fired just because they ended up in being the kitchen at the same time so often.
The maid turned around to say hello, but Cristian turned as well because he took Kenya’s threat seriously. All he knew about the maid is that she was a brand new immigrant from somewhere they spoke Spanish. Her Simlish was minimal, and he figured she probably really needed this job.
Luckily, the maid moved on without speaking. Cristian finished his second dish and moved to the third. He decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. He never made them, but he figured he should make them more now, especially if he was going to have kids around the house again soon.
As Cristian waited for the cookies to bake, he considered speaking to the maid to warn her. Then there was a knock at the door and Kenya answered it and let in the little girl who lived in the apartment next door. Apparently she smelled cookies being baked and wanted some. Cristian decided his chat with the made should wait.
“Thanks for letting me in to have some cookies, Mrs. Ralston,” said the little girl.
“Of course sweetie,” said Kenya, “help yourself.”
“Whatcha doing today? You’re still in your robe.”
“I don’t have to be at work until later today,” said Kenya. “Plus, I don’t need to get dressed to handle today’s business.”
“What’s today’s business?”
“Hiring a new maid,” answered Kenya.
“Oh yeah,” nodded the little girl, “my family is always hiring a new maid.”
Gavin and Akira both came home from work early because Gavin received a call from Laurel. She had news and she wanted to call a club meeting to share her news.
Akira wasn’t sure her news needed to be shared at a full club gathering, but Gavin assured him it was fine. The club usually handled these big things together; they were each other’s chosen family. Well, Laurel chose the family, but she’d chosen well. They had come to rely on each other for support through all of the ups and downs in each of their lives.
Finding a surrogate for Gavin and Akira was definitely an up, and Gavin was looking forward to having the whole club over to the apartment, so Akira didn’t object.
Soon the entire club, plus Akira and Kenya, were gathered around the dining room table.
“This is really nice, Akira,” said Laurel. “If I lived in the city, I’d love to live in a place just like this!”
“The rest of us couldn’t afford it,” said Carmen with a smile, “but we’ll happily visit the spacious homes of our more affluent friends.”
“Oh, so I’m affluent now? You’ve got jokes,” said Gavin.
After dinner, Laurel shared her news. Cristian arrived back home from work just in time to hear it.
Her guy in Bridgeport had really come through. Apparently, surrogacy was a big business for him. The finder’s fees he collected made it more than worth the work to find solid surrogacy candidates. Based on Gavin’s and Akira’s requirements, her guy in Bridgeport had six candidates they could meet.
“This is amazing,” said Gavin. “How soon could we meet them?”
“As soon as you’d like,” said Laurel. “He said he only needs 24 hours notice to get the girls here. It’s too late to get them here tomorrow, but they can be here the day after tomorrow if you’re ready to pull the trigger.”
The voices of Akira, Gavin, Cristian, and Kenya rang out in unison. “We’re ready!”
Carmen and Laurel chuckled. Laurel said, “I’ll give him a call as soon as I get home tonight. We’ll setup a meeting time in two days. We just have to figure out where.
“We should have it at Bringing Home Baby,” said Carmen. “Y’all know the place?”
“Yes, it’s that fertility clinic,” said Akira.
“No, it’s an adoption agency,” said Laurel.
“I thought it was a research facility,” said Kenya.
“It’s all those things,” said Carmen. “But they have spaces specifically for conducting meetings of potential families. I can call and see if we can use their space.”
“That’s perfect,” said Laurel.”Call me tomorrow if we can do it there, and I’ll arrange to get the girls here.”
“I’m so excited and nervous that this is happening this soon,” said Gavin. “Is there anything we can do?”
“Just think of some questions to ask when you meet the girls,” said Laurel. “Other than that, nothing, and that goes for all four of you. Just rest, relax, and maybe start baby-proofing the home!”
“Now, why’d you go and say that?” asked Cristian. “Now we’re going to have to redecorate the whole house!”
“We were going to have to do that anyway,” said Kenya. “This place isn’t ready for small children.”
“Fine, just don’t touch my kitchen.”
“Yes, woman, my kitchen. Feel free to turn the rest of this place into a pink and blue padded asylum, but leave my kitchen alone.”
“Whoa,” said Laurel, “I didn’t mean to cause a fight.”
“Who’s fighting?” said Cristian and Kenya.
Gavin, Akira, and Carmen all laughed. “Don’t mind them,” said Gavin. “Just give me a call tomorrow and let me know it’s on. We’ll take off the next day and clear our schedules for the meetings.”
Laurel still eyed Cristian and Kenya warily, but she smiled at Gavin and responded, “sounds like a plan.”