Gavin and Akira stood outside of the Bringing Home Baby office building.
“We should’ve dressed up,” said Gavin. “Maybe we should go home and change.”
“It’s too late for that,” said Akira, “and besides we look like us. We should look like us when we meet these women.”
“You’re right,” said Gavin. “Okay, let’s do this!”
“No turning back now. We’re in this together, right?”
They entered the building and greeted Carmen, who was waiting for them by the receptionist’s desk.
“I’m so pleased this came together so soon,” said Carmen. “Nobody is happier for y’all than I am!”
“We couldn’t have done it without you and Laurel,” said Gavin.
“True, but that’s what friends are for,” said Carmen. “Are y’all ready to go upstairs and start interviewing?”
“Yes,” said Akira, “but how is this going to work?”
“I’ll explain,” answered Carmen, “just follow me.”
“Wait,” said Gavin.
“Just–this.” Gavin pulled Carmen in for a hug.
“Aww, stop,” said Carmen. “You’re gonna make me cry. Let’s save this for the birth of the first child, hmmm?” She headed up the stairs to the second floor and both men followed.
Carmen led them to a room that was simply decorated. There was a table with two office chairs on one side and two comfortable armchairs on the other side. There were several plants and a fireplace to make it feel more cozy.
“Y’all sit in the office chairs and we’ll send the girls in one by one to meet and interview with you, “said Carmen as she lit the fireplace. “Do you know what questions you want to ask them?”
“Oh yes,” said Akira, “we’ve got that all sorted. When do we start?”
“Right now?! Oh wow,” said Gavin. “That’s so… soon.”
“Well if not now, when do you wanna do the interviews?”
Gavin and Akira had another one of their silent eye conversations, then finally Gavin took a deep breath and nodded.
“Never mind, we’re ready now,” said Gavin.
“Alright then,” said Carmen. “Y’all go ahead and have a seat. Give me a couple of minutes, and I’ll send in the first girl.”
All six surrogacy candidates were waiting in the next room.
Laurel was in there with them, and she went around the room starting from the woman closest to her left, confirming she had the correct names and information for everyone.
“Okay, so we’ve got Iris Dove, Aubree Hart, Candace Ochoa, Corina Saucedo, Jessie Spinks, and Aurora Vaughn?”
“Call me Rory,” said the blonde all the way to the right.
“Rory” Got it,” said Laurel, making a note on her clipboard.
Laurel put away the clipboard because she didn’t want the girls feeling like rats being observed in a lab. Then Carmen walked in the room and said, “they’re ready.”
“Great! Okay, here’s the plan ladies,” said Laurel. “You will each meet Gavin and Akira, one by one. They haven’t been given your files because they’re more interested in getting to know each of you in an organic way. After they interview each of you one by one, they’ll review your files tonight.
“They want to move quickly, so we will most likely notify you tomorrow who they’ve chosen. The plan is for their chosen surrogate to have two pregnancies, one with each man. Five of you will head home tomorrow, and one lucky lady will stay with the Ralston-Kibo family in their apartment in Uptown until the end of the surrogacy agreement.”
“Are there any questions? Last chance to back out now,” said Carmen. “Two pregnancies might be more than you bargained for.”
When no one spoke or moved, Carmen continued, “okay, cool. So Laurel will call you one by one, in no particular order, to go in and talk with the guys. The rest of you will stay here with me and Laurel. We’ll chat and get to know each other as well.”
“Looks like we’re ready to start,” said Laurel. “Aubree Hart, you’re up first.”
Aubree stood and went to the room where Gavin and Akira were waiting to meet her. She sat in one of the armchairs facing the table they sat behind. She turned to look at the door to see if this interview would be just the three of them.
Appearing satisfied, she turned back to the men and smiled.