Imagine finding out you could never have a baby with the man you love…
Expat American Laney Halliwell finds out the hard way when Niklas tells her he had a vasectomy before they met and isn’t interested in reversing it. Why should he? They’ve got his kids from his first marriage and an enviable life in Stockholm.
What if you fell in love in the most unexpected way…?
But Laney wants more. So when a friend suggests she look into an alternative sperm bank in Copenhagen to find a potential father for her baby, things don’t go exactly as planned. Especially when Laney meets Mads and finds herself falling in love.
Maybe Babyis available in paperback, mobi and epub formats.
“What?” Long lines of sweat trailed down my face and neck.
“The clinic Uma uses for super sperm.” Eddy was still jogging in place, waiting for me to catch my breath.
“I wish you wouldn’t call it that.” I gasped and used my already damp sleeve to wipe my face.
Eddy bumped my sweaty shoulder with hers and grinned. “You have to admit—it must be pretty good sperm if she’s gone back so many times.”
“Yeah, well you’ve got a point there.”
“Proof is in the pudding.” She loosened her armband and slid her iPhone from the sleeve. She tapped the screen a few times and then handed her phone to me. “Check him out.”
The face staring back at me was ruggedly handsome, with the square jaw and cheekbones of a young Viggo Mortensen. His lips were full and generous, curled into a knowing smile. He was looking directly into the camera, and there was something almost too candid in his pale blue eyes, like he knew what you were thinking and was game for whatever you suggested.
“Wow,” was the only word I could breathe out. I swallowed hard and quickly handed Eddy’s phone back to her.
“Wow, indeed,” Eddy said and laughed lightly. “Uma says he’s worth every penny she pays. Well, you’ve seen her kids. They’re gorgeous.”
“And she found him in Copenhagen?”
Eddy nodded. “He’s one of the donors at Copenhagen Cryo.”
I shook my head in wonder. No wonder Uma kept going back for more. Sure there was nothing sexual going on between them, but there must have been some spark that made her decide he was the right donor for her.
Imagine Laney and I are sitting in a wine bar somewhere in Copenhagen. It’s a frosty day and she’s in her favourite olive green cashmere sweater, skinny jeans and boots. Her hair is pulled into a messy bun. She looks stylish but casual. And though she seems relaxed, she’s fidgeting. I’m guessing she’s a bit nervous about opening up…
Me: This relationship with Mads–is it the first time you’ve cheated?
Laney: (nodding) I always said I would never be one of those people who cheats. If I was attracted to someone else, I’d wait or ignore my interest. I thought if I ignored it long enough my interest in the other person would disappear, and it usually did. But when I met Mads I couldn’t ignore how I felt. He…it sounds like a cliché but he made me feel like I’d come home. I didn’t have that with Niklas. I don’t think I ever did.
Me: You never talk about your parents. Sometimes you mention how bad their marriage was, but you haven’t even told Mads much about your life in the US. Did you ever tell Niklas about your life in the States? If Maybe Baby were ever made into a movie, I’d want Kerry Washington to play Laney.
Laney: In the beginning I did. I thought I could tell him everything and that it would just be between us. And then I found out he was discussing our relationship with his ex-wife. I couldn’t believe it. All that time I was telling him my deepest secrets and he was talking about with Karolina.
Me: How did you find out?
Laney: We were at a dinner party and Karolina started talking about how our parents and their bad decisions haunt us. And then she asked me if I felt the same. Then she started giving everyone who was there–people I barely knew–my whole story. I was mortified. But I knew I couldn’t react. If I did, she would see that as proof I wasn’t good enough for Niklas. I bottled it up inside me. I think I went out on the balcony and chain-smoked. When Niklas came out to join me, I held him off by smoking more. He hated it when I smoked. I don’t think he thought he’d done anything wrong. When I confronted him later, he said he told her everything. It had always been that way.
Me: Why did you say you’re not the girl men fall in love with?
Laney: I’m not. Or I wasn’t in the past. I’ve never been enough for the men I’ve dated. Mads is the first person who made me feel like I was the only person who could fulfill him. Even Niklas still needed his ex-wife.
Me: But what makes you feel that way?
Laney: If you’d grown up with my dad and being told all the time you weren’t good enough or that you weren’t worthy of his love and affection because you weren’t pretty enough or smart enough…I was never enough.
Me: What are you most afraid of?
Laney: Being alone. I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone leaves. I think every argument means a break-up is imminent. I don’t really know how to deal with them, arguments I mean. I try to talk through them–explain my feelings and all that, but I can’t always put words to how I feel. And then I get agitated. And I say hurtful things or I just walk out. Sometimes I almost bait the other person to say something awful just so I can feel justified in walking away. I have to stop myself. It’s hard. I hate that I do this. But I know I do it because it what’s I learned from watching my parents’ relationship fall apart. And then I think about how my dad just walked away from my mom and never went back. He started a new family, didn’t care one bit about us. Even when my mom got sick, he didn’t call or ask me how she was doing or how I was doing. I called him once to tell him she was back in the hospital and he said it was my problem so I needed to deal with it. So when my mom died, I didn’t have anyone. She didn’t have any relatives. My dad’s family kind of abandoned me. The only one’s who stayed in touch were Eddy’s mom and grandmother. Her grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. Eddy’s mom and grandmom took me back to New York with them. I lived with them until I started college. I love them. They’re my only family. But they’re not…my family.
Me: Is that why you got a bit obsessed with having a baby?
Laney: I wasn’t obsessed. I just felt like it was time. I thought I wanted a family with Niklas. He’s not perfect, but he…he could give me and the baby security. He loves his kids–even with how screwed up they can be, he loves them unconditionally. And I wanted to have a baby with him that would have that kind of love. Because I never had it, not really.
Me: Is that what you think you can get with Mads?
Laney: (nods) It’s different with Mads. He’s more relaxed. He takes things as they come. He doesn’t plan for a lifetime. He’s the opposite of Niklas. If you tell Mads something, he’ll never share it with anyone else. When he says he loves you, you feel it so deeply. I feel it so deeply. And I know if we have a child together, she’ll feel it too. She’ll never have to doubt that she is loved. She’ll know it all the time.
I kept my eyes trained on Niklas, hoping he would be attuned enough to turn to me and reassure me with a smile. If he turned to me and there was a return of the smoldering intimacy he once felt for me, I could hold on. I could call off everything with Mads, I thought. But he was watching his ex-wife with such an intensity that I knew he’d forgotten I was even there. And the way he was drinking her in was how he used to look at me. I blinked and looked away. I didn’t say no when Oscar refilled my wine glass.
New York seemed like such a long time ago.
I told myself I imagined how he drank her in. I even convinced myself he couldn’t make love to me at night if he’d started sneaking around with Karro again. But I sensed it in the strange vibe between them. The smiles they directed at one another. The looks that lingered a little too long. I knew Niklas too well. He’d been this way with me. And whether it was alcohol that fueled his inability to keep Karro at a distance or something else, I could tell he’d slept with her again.
Karro caught me watching them. Instead of glancing away, she held my stare and then smirked. She angled her body closer to Niklasʼs and whispered in his ear. The neckline of her caftan gaped and displayed the tops of her breasts. And Niklas, oblivious to anyone around them, kissed her on the side of her mouth. His hand slid beneath the table.
What the fuck was going on? I gulped down my wine and looked away. I was sure of it now.
He was fucking her.
We were even now.
Even if it didn’t make me feel any better.
About the Author
I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and spent most of my summers in Smithfield, Virginia.
I first realized I wanted to be a writer while attending the George Washington Carver Highschool for Engineering & Science–yes, there was a time when I wanted to be an architect, at least I thought I did. Then one day I just couldn’t take the boredom of another chemistry class and decided to write a novel. It was passed around to all of my classmates, who loved it. I did this a few more times and realized I had absolutely zero talent for math, science or architecture. I was much better at writing so I focused on that when I went to university.
In 1995, I chucked living in the US for the good life in Sweden with my Swedish husband.
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