“That woman drives me crazy!”
Selina slammed the phone down, startling Calvin out of his concentration and away from his computer.
“What now?” he asked, turning around from his desk to face her.
“Kathy has more changes she wants made to the radio spot,” Selina said.
“I thought we were done with that.”
“So did I. I keep telling her the script should be finalized by now, but she keeps coming back with more suggestions.” Selina leaned her head down and pressed her skinny fingers against her forehead. “The deadline is next Monday; we don’t have time for this.”
Here we go again, thought Calvin. It was the beginning of a ritual that brought him an odd sort of comfort. “Relax, it’ll be fine. She’s the boss. It’s out of our hands.”
“I know,” Selina said, “but she’s always undermining my decisions. She thinks she knows best just because she’s been working here longer.”
“You should be used to it by now.”
“I am. Doesn’t make it any less annoying.”
Selina seemed upset, withdrawn and focused on work in a way that Calvin found curious. Normally she was a firecracker of positive energy, a disarmingly short and beautiful Latina who wore her insecurities on her sleeve, always mindful of her looks in ways that bordered on obsessive. Before meetings she often turned to Calvin for assurances, demanding to know—sweetly of course—if she had anything in her teeth, or if there was a booger in her nose. This amused him, and he couldn’t help but be charmed by the extent to which she worried about her appearance when by all objective standards she had no reason to be.
In the beginning, it had been enough for Calvin to develop a crush on Selina, one he knew would never be reciprocated. In all the time he’d known her, she’d had a boyfriend, Arthur, whom he’d heard much about but only met in person once, and based on what he’d seen, they seemed happy. At over six feet, he towered over her, a contrast that struck him as almost comical. Compared to Calvin—slim, relatively nerdy, average height—Arthur was a walking talking hunk of masculinity, bearded and broad shouldered, a modern day viking. She certainly has a type, he remembered thinking. Just in his one brief meeting he could feel the chemistry between them; it was the kind people search for their entire lives, to varying degrees of success. And theirs seemed quite successful. As far as he could tell, she had no reason to leave him, nor him her. From the outside they seemed perfect for each other.
After that Calvin made a conscious effort to purge himself of any fantasies of being with Selina, and accepted the fact that she would always remain his friend and coworker, nothing more. The process was surprisingly freeing, and over time this acceptance flourished into a genuine appreciation. Selina was a kind and generous person; her presence enriched his life, made it better, less lonely. He’d be a fool to taint that with jealous thoughts of impossibility.
And yet his desire for her still remained, small and tucked away in the corner of his mind, peaking out every so often to remind him: what if?
“Everything okay?” Calvin asked, noting the pain of frustration lingering on her face. It was so unlike her; he found it disturbing.
“I’m fine,” Selina said, sounding oddly disingenuous. “I’m just hangry. Mind if we eat lunch now? I know it’s early.”
“Sure, I’m hungry too.”
In truth Calvin wasn’t hungry at all—he had eaten a large breakfast, as he often did—but he saw no point in admitting that. He looked forward to lunch with Selina, no matter the time. It was a welcomed reprieve from work, and gave them the opportunity to talk, which was always the highlight of the day, at least for him.
Calvin and Selina had been working together in the public relations department of their local environmental nonprofit for many years. Both had fallen into their positions by happenstance, volunteers at different times who did their jobs well enough that they quickly found themselves climbing the hierarchy, unable to escape its grasp. Not that either tried all that hard to do so. It was a relatively cushy job, though didn’t pay well, which both made peace with by convincing themselves they were at least doing some good, helping the planet in their own small way instead of mindlessly taking from it.
That, along with the freedom and relative convenience, was what Calvin supposed kept them there for so long. Tucked away in a corner of the second floor, their office sometimes felt like their own little world, small and separate from the rest of the building. They had a shocking lack of direct supervision, which they gladly took advantage of, spending much of their time discussing whatever was going on in their lives instead of working. It was the sort of rapport that grew naturally over time, until it became quite common for them to chat until both realized an hour had passed and neither had actually accomplished anything. Some days it felt less like a job and more like getting paid to hang with a friend for eight hours. How anything got done felt like its own miracle.
Selina pulled a plastic container from her absurdly large purse and removed the lid, revealing two elongated objects wrapped in tinfoil.
“What’s on the menu today?” Calvin asked.
“Churros,” Selina said.
“What’s a churro?”
Her eyes went wide, as they often did when he admitted his lack of knowledge regarding food. “You need to get out more Calvin.”
“Won’t argue with that.”
Selina chuckled quietly and smiled, sending minor chills of relief through Calvin’s body. It was the first time he’d seen her smile all day, her teeth a bright white spotlight that brought attention to just how pretty she was all bundled up in a fleecy purple sweater and plain jeans; a simple combination, especially for her, but she worked it well.
“Here, just try it.” She wheeled herself across the office and handed him one. “I made it from scratch, so give me your honest opinion.”
Selina did this often, bringing in lunches for the two of them, always homemade, always asking for earnest feedback. It was another quality of hers Calvin admired; she was always trying to improve, in every aspect of her life.
Calvin carefully undid the tinfoil, revealing three long tubular looking pastries covered in sugar. More dessert than lunch, he thought, but that didn’t surprise him. Selina had quite the sweet tooth.
He slid the middle churro a few inches out of the foil and took a bite. It was sweet, soft and doughy and bursting with a subtle cinnamon flavor that he found delightful.
“This is good,” Calvin said before taking another large bite.
Selina nodded in appreciation, took a bite of her own, leaned back, and closed her eyes, while Calvin watched, as he often did. He liked the way she ate, the way she found satisfaction in the simple things. How such a small woman seemed to have such a limitless appetite, he never knew. She took her time with each bite, savoring every morsel, while Calvin, motivated with a newfound hunger, inhaled all three in mere minutes.
“Delicious,” he said, rubbing his stomach in an exaggerated manner before tossing the foil into the garbage.
“You sure?” Selina asked. “Did you even taste it?”
Calvin laughed. “Why do you think I ate them so fast? It’s a compliment.”
Selina rolled her eyes and shook her head in resignation before taking another bite.
“So how did your party go Saturday?” Calvin asked.
“Oh, it was awful,” Selina said. “Arthur’s family is certifiable. His uncles almost got into a drunken brawl in the middle of my kitchen.”
Calvin pictured it in his head, and couldn’t help but laugh. “Really? That’s ridiculous.”
“Yeah I know. And you know what drives me insane? He thinks it’s totally normal. I have to keep reminding him that that’s not how healthy families act. And I grew up with a bunch of Mexicans, so I should know.”
“Well, when you grow up around that kind of stuff, I suppose it is normal.”
“True, I have to keep reminding myself of that. How he came out decent from all that chaos still blows my mind.” Selina popped a last bit of churro in her mouth before moving on to the second. “What about you? How was your weekend?”
“Not nearly as exciting as yours,” Calvin said. “Mostly just played video games and vegged out on Youtube.”
“Are you still seeing that girl you told me about? Danielle?”
Calvin had hoped to avoid this topic. As close as he and Selina were, he was still uncomfortable talking about his love life with her, if only because, compared to her, he felt like a failure. “Nah, that ship’s long sailed.”
She shot him a sympathetic frown. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Eh, I’m not surprised.”
Calvin truly wasn’t. He’d dated many women over the years, but none stuck around any longer than a few months. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t hold on, resulting in a flurry of relationships that started out strong but fizzled fast. How other people seemed to do it he considered one of life’s great mysteries.
“If it’s any consolation, things aren’t going so swimmingly with Arthur and me either.”
Calvin’s ears perked up. “Oh? How so?”
Selina sighed, set her churros down on her desk, and wheeled herself beside him.
“So you know how Arthur and I have been trying for a baby for a while?” Her voice was hushed and muted with concern, forming a noticeable bubble of privacy around them.
“Of course,” he said quietly back. “Is everything okay?”
She shook her head. “It’s been more difficult than we expected. It got to the point where we figured something must be wrong, so we visited a fertility clinic recently and got ourselves checked out. I’m okay, but Arthur, he…” She stopped and swallowed. “His sperm count is low. Like, really low.”
Calvin simply nodded, unsure of how to respond.
“It’s really stressful,” Selina continued. “We’ve tried so many times, and now knowing this, it’s hard to even muster up the motivation anymore to, you know…”
“Mmm.” He nodded again, acknowledging the change into a more intimate topic.
“And of course both our families keep asking about it, which stresses us out even more. It’s getting to be too much pressure.”
“Have you thought about doing it artificially?” Calvin asked curiously. “That’s a possibility right?”
“It is, but I don’t wanna do it that way,” Selina said. “It feels too cold and artificial. I want a baby that I made with another person, the natural way.”
“I understand,” Calvin said, even though he didn’t. The prospect of parenthood never quite appealed to him. I can barely take care of myself, he thought, so the idea of another human being depending on him was terrifying, turning him off from the idea almost entirely.
“It’s hard.” Selina grabbed a tissue from Calvin’s desk and dabbed away the tears building in her eyes. “I just want to have a family with the guy I love, and it feels like life is trying to stop me.”
Calvin didn’t know what to say. Selina had always been open around him, always willing to share information about her personal life, but the level of vulnerability on display just then had reached new unbearable heights, leaving him dumbstruck, his mind searching for an adequate response, and only drawing blanks.
“Anyway, thanks for listening,” Selina said. “You’ve always been good at that.”
It was as if she had read Calvin’s mind, assuring him that he needn’t worry himself with finding the right thing to say. He acknowledged this kindness with a smile as his eyes drifted down her body, to her tiny hands trembling in her lap. Selina had always projected an air of fragility, it was in her nature, but in that moment she looked especially delicate, as if the pieces holding her together were on the verge of breaking apart. He couldn’t bare to see that, and in an attempt to stop it he reached out and rested his hand on hers. He held her, saying nothing, letting his touch say what words could not.
Suddenly Selina looked at Calvin with a strange sort of hope in her eyes, startling him free.
“What is it?” he asked.
She waited a few seconds before speaking. “I just got an idea, and I’m afraid to tell you because you’re gonna think I’m crazy.”
“You’re already crazy, so you’ve got nothing to lose.”
“Stop,” she said, gently slapping him on the knee. “This is serious.”
“Sorry,” he said. “So what’s this idea?”
“It’s…no, I can’t, it’s too weird.”
“Okay, now you have to tell me.”
Selina looked at Calvin strangely, her eyes a brighter brown and open to him in a way he’d never seen before. “What if it’s you?”
Calvin furrowed his brow in confusion. “What?”
“What if we have a baby?”
Calvin’s heart sunk into his stomach, becoming a seed of shock that took root and spread within his body. “You’re joking, right?”
Selina shook her head and placed a hand on his knee. “Calvin, I want to be a mother more than anything. Anything. I want to create a life, to experience the whole beautiful process, and Arthur can’t give that to me. I love him, and always will, but he can’t. But you can.”
Her words shivered out of her in time with her hand, a signal of desperation that drew Calvin closer, casting an attractive fog over the sheer insanity of her proposition.
“You’re right, you are crazy,” he said.
“I know,” Selina said. “But please, Calvin—”
“What exactly are you asking?”
“Just sex, that’s it. You get me pregnant, and Arthur and I raise it as our own. You don’t have to do anything else.”
“Seems unfair to Arthur.”
Part of Calvin hoped that pointing this out would deter her, would clear her mind of this absurd idea of hers. But the other part, the desire for her he’d long buried, reached up out of the dirt and screamed. What are you doing, this is your chance!
“It is,” Selina said. “But this whole situation is unfair. You should have seen Arthur when we found out. He kept telling me over and over again that he was a failure, that he was sorry he couldn’t give me a family. We’ve been together for eleven years, and I’ve never seen him so broken. He’s usually so happy and care free; that’s what I love about him, but ever since, he’s been different. He barely talks, and when he does I don’t recognize his voice. It’s like I’m with a whole different person now.”
Selina refused to turn away as tears began leaking from her eyes, stirring within Calvin a level of empathy so profound he quickly felt himself on the verge of crying as well.
“I need him back Calvin,” she continued, wiping her eyes. “And this baby is how I do it. But he needs to think it’s his.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Calvin said. “This is a lot you’re throwing at me all of the sudden.”
“It’s an unusual request, I know.”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
Selina sensed his hesitation. “I’m sorry if it feels like I’m pressuring you. I understand if you don’t want to.”
Do I want to?
Calvin took the time to seriously ask himself this question. On a purely primal level the answer was obvious. But Selina wasn’t merely asking for a quickie at work; that he could wrap his head around. She wanted to make a baby. She wanted his child, a secret child no less, and that seemed mad to him. But as he looked upon her, watching her watching him with heavy wet eyes, waiting, her cocoa brown skin glowing in anticipation for his answer, the more reason began to slip away, cast aside by a temptation that was too good to pass up.
“Why me?” Calvin asked.
“Why not you? Aside from Arthur I don’t know any other guys as well as you. And we’ve always gotten along well. Who better?”
Calvin briefly looked away, processing her answer.
“Also, I’ve seen the way you look at me.” Selina said. “You think you hide it but you can’t. I know.” She leaned in closer, grabbing Calvin’s hand and slipping her fingers between his. Her palm was soft and sweaty, sending goosebumps up his arm. “You’ve wanted me for a long time haven’t you? Tell me the truth. Please.”
“Yes,” Calvin confessed.
Selina smiled. “This is perfect then. We can both get what we want.”
“And you’re really okay with this?”
She nodded. “Only if you are.”
Calvin expected more resistance within himself, but without hesitation he nodded back, and for the first time in weeks he realized Selina looked truly happy. Suddenly her hand was on him, caressing the manhood underneath his pants with a tender grip.
“Wait, you wanna do it right now?”
“Yes, we have to do it now,” Selina said. “Arthur and I haven’t had sex in weeks, so I need to get pregnant as soon as possible if he’s to think it’s his.”
Oh great, no pressure then, Calvin thought.
Selina smiled and cupped Calvin’s cheek with one hand while continuing to stroke him with the other. “Relax,” she said, as if hearing his thoughts. “Let’s just have some fun. That’s the best way to assure success.”
Everything was happening so fast it felt like Calvin’s brain was a few precious seconds behind reality, adding a blur to the experience, like that of a dream. He could only watch as Selina’s little brown hand coaxed him out of hiding, hardening him for a purpose that broke all social norms. It was both frightening and exhilarating, leaving him panting in anticipation as she stood up and began removing her clothes, first her sweater, than her shoes and jeans, all so quickly and nonchalantly that it took Calvin a few moments to do the same. He almost asked her to slow down; he barely had time to relish the sight of her in her underwear before they were on the floor as well.
The first thing he noticed were Selina’s breasts. They were remarkably small, fitting her fragile figure perfectly, beautifully rounded and capped with brown, delicious looking almond shaped nipples. Her ass was equally impressive, tiny and taut. Together they filled Calvin with a surging desire, causing his cock to flop forth with surprising intensity when he removed his boxers.
For a moment Selina and Calvin could only gaze at each other’s nakedness, sizing each other up to the sound that of their combined breathing, and the frantic beating of their hearts in anticipation for what they were about to do.
Calvin began to take a step toward her, but Selina was faster. She placed her hand on Calvin’s chest and gently ushered him back down into his chair, and before he could say a word she was mounting him.
“Are you ready?” Selina asked.
“Yeah. How about you?”
“Mhmm.” She grabbed his hand and brought it down between her legs, gliding his fingers across the outer lips of her pussy. She was already wet, and her warmth sizzled against his touch. “Can’t you tell?”
“Wow,” uttered Calvin.
Selina giggled and brought his hand back up to her right breast. He squeezed, and felt her nipple stiffen, grazing his palm in rhythm with her hips. She leaned down and whispered into his ear.
“Fuck me Calvin. Put your baby in me.”
Selina’s voice was sultry and soft, her eyes eager and pleading along with the ache between her legs. Calvin gripped her by the waist—so small his fingertips nearly touched along her back—and held her as she lifted herself up and gently guided him inside her.
In the early days, when he’d fantasized about her, Calvin often wondered how tight Selina must be, imagining how she’d feel wrapped around him. But the fantasy didn’t compare to the real thing. She was so tight even Calvin’s average size struggled to fit. She took a few seconds to adjust, easing herself down on top of him until, to his astonishment, he was gone, swallowed whole to their collective gasp.
“Oh shit,” he grunted, his voice cracking under pressure.
“I know,” Selina said with the tone of an experienced woman, one who knew exactly how she was making him feel.
Selina’s movements were slow at first, little motions that drew him in, deeper and deeper, until there was only her, and her dark pink lips hovering over his. Calvin leaned forward to kiss her, but she pulled away.
“No kissing,” Selina said.
“Oh, uh, sorry,” Calvin said, feeling embarrassed.
“It’s okay. It’s not personal. I just don’t want our feelings getting mixed up, ya know?”
Calvin understood. Selina was in a committed relationship, and for a brief moment he had forgotten that, that she was doing this for Arthur, not for him. Still, there was no hiding the sting of rejection he felt, and she could see it.
“Hey, we can still do everything else,” Selina said. “Don’t let that spoil this moment.”
She brought Calvin’s hands down to her ass and rested her chin on his shoulder as she impaled herself upon him with short, hard thrusts, each one forcing the air out of his lungs. She’s so tight, he thought. His grunts were oddly timed with hers, which, along with their slapping flesh, created a strange organic tune that aroused those familiar old feelings hiding in the corners of his mind, encouraging them to step out of the shadows and grow, until he was filled with thoughts of only her.
Suddenly, as if to counter himself, Calvin thought of Arthur again, the man who’d claimed Selina’s heart before he’d ever had a chance. He imagined him, tall and handsome and strong, picking her up and throwing her around their bedroom, having his way with her, making her squeal with delight.
Inspired by this vision, Calvin secured his arms tight around Selina’s waist and stood up, squeezing a shriek of surprise out of her, a recognition of an act of aggression he sensed she was very familiar with. She wrapped her legs around his waist and held on, hugging herself against his chest as, still inside her, he carried her across the office. Her mouth pressed against his ear, hitting it with hot frenzied breaths, fueling him with adrenaline. She was even lighter than Calvin had anticipated, which made him feel powerful, a feeling he realized he liked very much.
With gentle force he pinned Selina against the wall, sliding his hands from her waist down to her ass, which sat firm in his hands.
“Is this what you want?” Calvin whispered, searching for the assurance he needed to keep going.
“Yes,” Selina whispered back. She latched her arms around his shoulders and relaxed her hips, surrendering to his desire. Calvin drew his hands up, just under her knees, and spread her open as wide as he could. His first thrust came hard, and she accepted it with a quiet whimper.
“Just like that,” Selina said. “Don’t be afraid to be rough.”
Calvin felt vindicated. He’d always figured Selina liked to be dominated; it was obvious as soon as he saw her and Arthur together. Forget about him, he told himself. She’s with you right now. That’s what matters.
Calvin started slow, taking his time to work into a rhythm of powerful thrusts, each one of them breaking her with a high pitched squeal that suggested pain as much as pleasure. “I’m not hurting you am I?”
Selina laughed, as if his concern were a joke. “No.” She drifted her hands down to Calvin’s ass and pulled him in deeper. “No,” she said again with breath so heavy it punched him in the nose, as if she were punishing him for asking.
Selina was unlike any woman Calvin had ever experienced, open and warm, yet vulnerable in a way that frightened him. Every time he entered her, it felt like a violent act, like at any moment he could break her in half. But she took it, each and every time, and the harder he pushed, and the faster he went, the deeper she pulled him in, and the louder she moaned.
Suddenly Selina pressed all her weight against Calvin, leading him down to the floor. She sank herself on top of him, giving him a full view of that tight little body of hers he’d dreamed of. Am I dreaming? he thought, and to confirm he reached up and seized her breasts with both hands. They were real, there was no doubt about it, so soft and small, filling his palms completely. He squeezed and held on as she took control, riding him, drawing out his life force, readying it to combine with hers. It felt incredible, and Calvin wanted more. He leaned up, gripped her close, and took her left nipple into his mouth, where he remained for as long as he could, suckling her. He imagined their baby, Selina holding it to her chest just as she was doing to him now. It would be their little secret, a living embodiment of the present moment they were sharing with one another.
“Oh Calvin,” Selina moaned, so loud he suddenly remembered where they were.
“Shhh, we gotta be quiet.”
“Sorry.” She giggled between long drawn out breaths. “I can’t help it.”
“It’s okay,” he said. “I’ll take it as a compliment.”
“You should. You’re better than I thought you’d be.”
“Uhh, thanks I guess.”
They stopped, taking in the awkward moment, acknowledging the air of intimacy growing around them. Suddenly Selina kissed him, taking Calvin by surprise. He melted to the softness of her lips, and the faded taste of churro mixed with the cherry flavored lip balm he’d watched her lather on earlier that morning.
“I thought you said no kissing,” he said once she’d finally pulled away.
“Sorry,” she said again, looking embarrassed. “I got caught up in the moment.”
“It’s okay, I don’t mind.”
Calvin gripped Selina by the back of the head and kissed her back. She moaned into his mouth and began thrusting again, slowly, encouraging him to do the same, until their hips were locked, writhing together in one long sensuous motion, sending ripples of pleasure coursing through their bodies. They were no longer merely having sex, no longer fulfilling a lesser need for the sole purpose of a greater end. They were making love.
“Selina,” Calvin said. She shivered to her name.
“Calvin,” she purred back into his ear, inching him closer to the edge of their world.
“I’m gonna come.”
“You should get on top then,” she said. “It’ll maximize our chances.”
Calvin didn’t know if that was true or not, but he wasn’t about to start arguing against Selina’s request now. It was too late for that. For both of them.
He flipped her onto her back and kissed her, gliding his tongue across hers in time with his thrusts, slow and deep, and once more the office came alive with the song of their heavy breaths and aching flesh. She held him tenderly, one hand on the back of his head, the other on his ass, bearing all his weight and wants upon her. It was then that Calvin understood just how strong Selina was, despite her stature. She could take whatever he wanted to give, which in this case was everything.
As he neared the point of no return, Calvin decided he wasn’t finished. As soon as he climaxed, he realized it would all be over, and he would never get to experience Selina again. He needed to make the most of it now, to turn this into a memory neither of them would ever forget. And so without warning he swiftly slipped himself out of her and turned his attention down to her sex. He took a moment to admire it, how small and cute it looked, just like her, a pink center outlined by dark thin fleshy lips.
“Calvin, what are you do—”
Selina’s confusion transformed into shock when he pressed his tongue against her. She screamed in pleasure, and out of instinct—and a perverse desire for control he’d just discovered he very much enjoyed—Calvin reached up and covered her mouth, turning it into nothing more than a muffled moan. Her lips hummed against his palm, and her nostrils blasted hot steam across the back of his hand, together encouraging him to keep going. He held her down with one hand as he sucked and licked her with quick powerful strokes, and all the while she fought back, shivering and bucking her hips against him like a tidal wave.
While Selina was surprised by Calvin’s proficiency with his tongue, he wasn’t. It was one of the few things he seemed to have a natural talent for, at least he thought so. His past girlfriends had certainly never complained; quite the opposite, though it was never enough to maintain a relationship. One had even told him it was the only reason she stuck around as long as she did.
At that moment though there were no other women. There was no past, no future. Only the present, and in the present Calvin was determined to make Selina come. He wanted her to remember, to know how much he cared, to make her feel good in the way only a woman can feel good. He slipped his tongue in and out of her slit, lapping up her pleasure until it was inside him, and every molecule in her body shook, bringing her to climax.
As swiftly as he had slipped out, Calvin slipped himself back in, just in time to steal Selina’s orgasm for himself. Her contractions gripped him, consumed him, ate at and chewed away what little self control was left, until there was none.
They climaxed together. It was the longest and most powerful orgasm Calvin had ever had, as if a series of massive explosions were carpet bombing everything in its path in paradise. But it was so much more than that. He knew he was giving a large part of himself to Selina, piece by piece, a part he’ll never get back, and she took it eagerly, moaning along with him, holding him deep in place as he filled her up with life.
They kissed for a few minutes afterward, both of them lost in post-orgasmic bliss that neither had quite expected. Calvin felt himself growing soft within her, but Selina’s eyes were telling him not to leave, to stay with her just a little longer. They lay together, entwined in silence, until eventually their bliss faded, and reality separated them.
Calvin pushed himself off Selina and fell beside her. He could only stare at the ceiling in disbelief, at the bright fluorescent lights, until his eyes began to water, forcing him to look away.
“So what do you think?” Selina asked.
“Duh, about the baby silly. You think you managed to knock me up?”
Calvin turned to face her, and placed his hand on her tiny flat stomach. Something inside him stirred to the sensation, an intuition he couldn’t explain. “I do.”
Selina smiled and placed her hand over his. “Do you think it’ll be a boy or a girl?”
“A girl.” He said it without thinking, as if he’d been given a brief glimpse into the future.
“I hope so,” Selina said. “I’ve always wanted a baby girl.” Suddenly she placed her hand on his cheek, and all joy faded from her face. “You know you can never see her. Right?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I understand.”
“I’m sorry, I know it’s not fair, but this is Arthur and mine’s child, and—”
“It’s fine Selina,” Calvin interrupted. “I know what I agreed to. And I don’t regret it.”
Tears welled in her eyes as she pressed her trembling lips to his.
“I’ll never forget you. No matter what happens.” She took his hand and placed it on her stomach again, letting themselves rest there, taking in their final moments together. “Thank you for giving me this chance.”
“It’s been my pleasure.” Calvin said it with a goofy smirk, causing them both to break out in uncontrollable, tension cutting laughter; a reminder of a bond that had sustained them for years, as coworkers, as confidants, as friends.
“We better get dressed,” Selina said.
They did so without saying a word, all the while staring at each other, acknowledging the change in frequency between them. Things will never be the same, Calvin realized. Just then it dawned on him what he had given up to have her. Was it worth it? Suddenly he wasn’t sure. Doubt crept into his mind. Was the few fleeting moments of pure happiness we had together worth the sacrifice?
But then he saw it. That hope in Selina’s eyes, this time colored with a knowledge they both were certain of. He could feel it in his bones. She’ll be a good mother. The thought erased all doubts and filled him with his own sense of hope, a hope that he had given her the life she had always wanted.
The tides of change that followed after came in rapid succession, beginning first when Selina formally revealed that she and Arthur were pregnant. A few months later they announced their engagement, and that they were moving away to be closer to family. Aside from the flurry of well wishes and congratulations, her last day at work was like any other, except by the end of it she was gone, exiting Calvin’s life as quickly as she had entered it many years ago.
Adjusting to a life without Selina was hard, but less so than Calvin had anticipated. He was sad, and work was lonely, but these feelings were offset by an acute, almost existential sense of satisfaction. Time marched forward, two years passed, and eventually her absence became a faint echo of another life, one that followed him around from a distance, watching with heightened interest, growing closer, until one day it returned to him.
The letter came in a plain white envelope. Calvin didn’t recognize the return address, and thought nothing of it as he ripped it open with his thumb. Inside was a small card, the cover a pattern of generic looking flowers swirling against a white background. He opened it, and his heart dropped when he saw her. Chubby cheeks. A mop of dark brown hair. And a smile so infectious it transferred through time and space, just for him.
He removed the picture from the card and brought it closer, to the four simple words written at the bottom in an elegant cursive he recognized.
Thank you. Love, Selina.