Caroline and the Sperm Donor
--"Do you still need sperm?" Richard Karinsky asked abruptly, unaware of what he was actually saying. Or offering.
The question stopped Caroline Duffy dead in her tracks, the ascent up the stairs coming to a screeching halt. Needing a moment to digest what he'd said- what she thought she heard- she turned in slow motion. Her furrowed brow showed her complete and utter confusion.
"What?" she asked, her position on the steps cemented.
Only a sense of panic could have brought on such a statement. Richard was in full panic mode. He had always hated his job, but with the possibility of losing it, and with it his daily connection to Caroline, the rash words flew out of his mouth.
"You know," he explained himself, "Before? You asked if I would ever consider donating sperm?"
Intrigued by the possible direction this all was going in, she inched down one step, nodding only slightly. "Yeah?"
"It's not something I would normally do," he rushed on, still attempting to save his job, "but if it's something that's important to you, then, you know, you can have my—You can have my sperm."
Caroline cracked a smile, wiping it off her face a second later. She had no idea what was going on. His behavior had been nothing less than bizarre all day long, but whatever was going on, she wanted to get to the bottom of it.
"You would be willing to give me your sperm?" she asked, suppressing a grin, and he nodded only slightly in return. "Why?"
There was no logical answer to that question. "I don't know," he stated with all honesty, "But if you want it, you can have it."
Taking two more steps down the stairs, she asked, "You do understand what happens with donated sperm, right?"
His mind was starting to clear, regret taking the place of panic. God, what have I started here, he asked himself.
"I'm not an idiot, Caroline," he replied, trying for sarcasm but failing.
Completely forgetting about Jeannie's request for one of her eggs, Caroline took another step away from her room. "And knowing what I would be doing with it-- You would be ok with that?"
Swallowing had never seemed so hard in his entire life. "Sure?" It was more of a question than an answer.
"You want to have a baby with me, Richard?" she asked, taking the final step off the stairs, standing ground level with him.
There had to be a way to save face in the midst of this, he told himself. The previous fear over losing his job was all but gone, making it's way for self-loathing. "Sperm donors don't have children," he answered her. "They are released from that responsibility."
"So," she pressed further, "You would be ok with me having your child, as long as he or she doesn't call you 'daddy'?"
Richard sighed, pulling his glasses from their position and running his hand over his face in frustration. "If you're going to do this," he stated carefully, "Then I think it would be better to know exactly whose DNA your getting, don't you?"
"I never really thought of it that way," she murmured, her thoughts trailing off. Truth was, she wasn't thinking of it at all. She only asked him about donating sperm to get some perspective, because her friend and ex-colorist Jeannie wanted her to donate her eggs. Since she promised she wouldn't discuss the issue with anyone besides Annie, their mutual friend, she used the closest analogy she could when broaching the subject with Richard.
Somehow, he must have caught wind of what was going on, but assumed it was Caroline who was looking to get pregnant.
The idea of getting pregnant by a sperm donor had never once crossed her mind, but now, it was more than just crossing it.
"Wouldn't that be awkward," she asked, coming out of her reverie, "For me to be pregnant, give birth, have this child around you all the time, you knowing you're the father?"
Answering as if on auto-pilot, he said, "I can detach."
"Would you still be able to work for me?" she asked carefully. "Be my friend?"
He nodded almost imperceptibly, his eyes leaving hers and finding the floor. More than anything, he wanted to just say 'nevermind' and rush out the door, but he knew that he couldn't do that now. As inconceivable as it was, to have to see it through, he had to finish what he started.
It all started because he didn't want to lose his job. He had no idea, looking back, how he'd gotten to this point.
A gentle smile graced Caroline's face. The idea of helping a friend create a little life that was part her had stirred feelings in her, feelings that she had long ago buried because there was no husband in her life to make the dream a reality.
But in this day and age, women had children without a ring on their fingers all the time. Why couldn't she?
"The process might be unpleasant for you," she ventured further, just to see how serious he was. If he was going to rescind, she wanted to know now, before she got her hopes up any higher.
"The thought had crossed my mind," he muttered, still avoiding eye contact. He had no idea how the two situations were related-- Caroline wanting to hire back her old assistant and wanting to be pregnant, but the former was going to have to wait.
Besides, he was completely sure that if he did this- if he gave Caroline his sperm- there was no way she would fire him. That was how the two were connected for him, so that's what he chose to focus on.
"They put you in a sterile room," she continued, "Pop, in some porn, and then you get, you know, intimate, with a cup."
Richard groaned. "Ugh! Caroline! Was that really necessary?"
"Sorry," she apologized with an almost impish smirk. "Just want to be sure you know what you would be getting yourself into. I wouldn't want you to back out after agreeing," she added.
"So," he asked nervously, "Does that mean you are, accepting, my offer?"
Nodding, she stepped forward with her arm extended, prepared to shake hands on the deal. "Yes," she said with all the seriousness in the world, "I am."
Slowly, he took her hand, shaking with her as a sort of unwritten pact. "Ok," he whispered, all the while his brain was screaming at him to back out at once.
"If you'll excuse me," she said, withdrawing her hand and heading back for the stairs to her loft, "I just have a few phone calls to make."
Sprinting up the steps, she dialed the phone as she went, addressing the party on the other line as soon as they picked up. "Jeannie, hi. It's Caroline. Um, I'm afraid I have some bad news…"
Richard sighed, dropping down in the chair nearest the couch. "My job is secure," he mumbled to himself, "But at what cost?"
"I love you Jeannie, you know that," Caroline said into the phone once in the privacy of her room, "But, I'm afraid I can't give you my egg. Turns out, I'm going to be needing it."
--Richard sat fidgeting, the room being crowded and the walls being adorned with pictures of pregnant women, babies in utero, and tiny newborns only adding to his anxiety.
"How did I get here?" he asked himself quietly, forgetting at that moment that Caroline's best friend Annie Spadaro was seated a measly three feet in front of him.
"By taxi," she muttered disinterestedly, her attention more on an article about breast pumps. "That's gotta hurt," she said to no one, shuddering before turning the page.
"This is your fault," he snipped at the brunette, leaning in so as not to be overheard. "If you hadn't tried to convince me that Caroline was looking to hire Jeannie back, I wouldn't be here!"
"Tried to convince you?" she shot back with a laugh. "Tell me, Richie, just how many scratches did you get giving Salty the ol bathe and fluff?"
"Too many!" he griped, adding, "She won't give me a moment's peace now!"
Annie laughed heartily, but stopped when he shot her a glare in response. "Look, Richie," she said to him, gaining seriousness, "If you don't want to do this, then just, tell Caroline you don't want to do it! She'll understand," she assured him. "Hell, she's been asking you if you're sure every day since you agreed to it!"
"I can't do that to her," he whispered, resolved to his fate. "It would crush her."
"Suggest she use a donor from the registry then," she offered, taking new interest in her magazine.
He shook his head. "It's twice as expensive!" Glancing first at the surrounding people, he added, "Besides, do you have any idea the kind of gene pool people who donate have? She'd wind up with a drooling idiot!"
"You wanna know what I think? She asked, dropping the magazine she had been thumbing through down on the table that separated her from him.
"No, but I'm sure you'll tell me anyway," he replied flatly.
"I think you want to do this!" she told him sharply, teasing him.
"Oh, yeah," he muttered sarcastically, "Getting friendly with a plastic cup has always been high on my list of goals for my life."
"Not that," she snipped, "The 'having a baby with Caroline' part-"
"I knew what you meant!" he shot back, interrupting her, spotting Caroline on the approach a second later. "Just drop it, ok?"
"Done with your forms yet?" Caroline asked happily, taking a seat next to Annie, completely unaware of the smile her friend wore, and was directing at the annoyed blond seated across from her.
Shortly, his irritation showing, he passed the forms, clipboard and all over to Caroline.
"Are you ok?' she asked him, receiving a brief nod from him in response. "You know, Richard," she said to him sotto, "If you want to back out of this-"
"For the love of God!" he whispered harshly, interrupting her, "Would you please stop saying that to me?!"
"I just want to be sure-" She tried again, only to be cut off again.
"I'm sure, ok? I've told you that a thousand times!"
"If you're so sure," she asked, "Then why are you acting so irritated?"
"Forgot to take his bran today?" Annie interjected, only to be ignored.
"It's nothing," he said, evening his tone of voice for Caroline's benefit. "I have a headache, is all."
"A strong, strong headache, no doubt," Annie baited him, smirking to herself.
Glaring at Annie, Richard asked Caroline, "Did you have to bring her?"
"She's my best friend, Richard," Caroline defended herself, "And this is a big deal for me! I brought her along for support!"
"Richard Karinsky? We're ready for you," a nurse announced as she stood in the doorway to the waiting room.
He stood slowly, almost as if preparing to meet his eminent demise. He had only taken two steps when he heard her wisecrack behind him.
"Go get 'em, Richie!"
Only hesitating for a moment, he attempted to ignore her as he continued after the woman in white he was following, trying not to think too hard about the task in front of him.
"Annie, please," Caroline pleaded, "Ease up on him today, ok?"
"Fine, fine," Annie mumbled, unhappy about giving up her intended fun.
--"After you're done depositing your specimen," the nurse explained to Richard, "You'll place the cup on the platform of the revolving window, then push this button to signal that you have." She pointed to each before continuing. "Then you will vacate the room and take a seat back in the waiting area."
He nodded his understanding, moving to lock the door as soon as she stepped through it. His eyes scanned the room for a moment, a look of disgust crossing his face. Spotting the box on the counter near the sink, he quickly grabbed a latex rubber glove, snapping it onto his left hand. Then, as if they were toxic waste, he lifted a porn magazine out of the stack with his gloved hand by just the corner and placed it on the counter, flipping it open to a random page.
He looked at the naked woman displayed there for a moment or two, then turned the page. Another naked woman graced that page as well, but still there wasn't the slightest stirrings.
Sighing, irritated, he turned to the next page. Nothing.
This is not working, he thought to himself, but an idea soon followed. He closed his eyes, seeing Caroline there in the darkness. She smiled, her tight dress eloquent and sexy, her figure accentuated.
He felt himself responding. This was working.
--"He's been in there a long time," Annie offered as she flipped absently through yet another parent-minded magazine. "Hope he isn't having a, hard time." She smirked in amusement at her quip, but quickly wiped it away off Caroline's glare.
"Annie," Caroline scolded, "This is difficult for him! To do something so private, in a place like this. He has to be riddled with anxieties!"
"Ok, ok, I'm sorry," Annie apologized. "I'll stop."
"I mean, he's being nice enough to do this for me," Caroline chattered nervously, "The least we can do is allow him to exit this with a little dignity."
"True," Annie agreed, "But Caroline," she added, "Through all this, did you ever stop to ask yourself why?"
"Why, what?" Caroline asked, but before Annie could answer, they both saw Richard heading towards them.
"Hey, Richie," Annie teased, "Make a new friend?"
Richard glared at her as he retook his original seat, pressing his fingertips to his forehead, obscuring his view of her and Caroline both with his palm.
"You promised!" Caroline scolded Annie in a whisper, then turned her attention back to Richard. "It wasn't that bad, was it?" she asked him.
"I'll live," he muttered, dropping his hand onto his lap.
The needed images he'd conjured up, in order to finish what he'd had to do, still played through his mind, creating the need to distance himself from the red-head who now stared back at him intently.
"Caroline, please," he said, refusing to meet her eyes, "I feel self conscious enough already. Stop staring at me."
"Sorry," she apologized, looking away and taking an exaggerated interest in the magazine Annie continued to thumb through. "Oh, look!" she announced quietly, "Breast vs. bottle article! Hand that over!" She snatched the magazine from Annie's hand, leaving her friend to examine her skin for possible paper cuts.
--"What do you suppose is taking so long?" Caroline asked as she checked her watch for the tenth time in as many minutes.
"Relax, Caroline, they're just checking the motility of Richie's little swimmers first," Annie reminded. "Making sure they can hit the pool without a lifevest," she added, hiding her smirk behind the magazine she was holding.
"Ms. Duffy?" the nurse called, reading aloud the name printed on the blue folder she carried in her hands. "We're ready for you."
Caroline stood, then glanced back at Richard and Annie before asking, "Can my friends come in with me?"
"Caroline, I don't think--"
"Yes, of course," the nurse interrupted Richard.
Richard was shaking his head slowly and purposefully as Caroline grabbed his hand and gave a strong tug.
"Richard," she near-whined, "This is the most important thing I will ever do in my life. I want you in there with me."
Physically and emotionally relenting, he allowed Caroline to pull him from his seat. "Fine."
"Thank you," she whispered, smiling slight as she linked arms with him, the three of them then following the nurse down the hall.
--"You can change into this gown behind that curtain," the nurse instructed, handing Caroline the gown then pointing at the curtain.
"Does this mean Richie here isn't shootin' blanks?" Annie asked, to which Richard glared in return.
"The doctor can explain all that to you," the nurse answered, "But he wouldn't have asked me to prep the patient if the specimen wasn't viable."
"Wow, Richie," Annie gushed after the nurse left the room, "You made a new friend and you learned something new about yourself. Big day!"
"Annie," Caroline warned from behind the curtain, "You promised to behave."
"I know, I know," she laughed, "It's just all too easy!"
"Yes," Richard returned dryly, "But your sexual promiscuity isn't the subject at hand, at the moment."
Annie smirked appreciatively at his comeback.
"Guys," Caroline scolded as she exited from behind the privacy screen in the barely-fitting hospital gown, "I'm about to have embryos inserted into my uterus here. Stop the bickering now, please!"
"Sorry," Annie and Richard both apologized, Richard turning around out of respect when Caroline attempted to hop up on the exam table as she cinched her gown closed in the back with one hand.
--The doctor explained the procedure, speaking of how the sperm specimen had good motility, and that they were able to fertilize 5 eggs successfully.
But even with as clinical and almost detached as the doctor was, Richard still inched himself into a corner in the back of the room, feeling as though he was somehow intruding.
"Richard, come over here," Caroline called to him, holding her hand out for him to take as Annie stood beside her and held her other hand.
"Are you sure?" he asked anxiously. "I don't want to, see anything I shouldn't be, you know, seeing."
"Just stay up by my head and you'll be fine," Caroline assured him, still waiting with her hand extended so he would step up and take it.
Slowly, he walked towards her, averting his eyes from her lower body and entwining his fingers with hers.
"Are you ok?" he asked, noting how almost frightened she looked.
"Nervous, but good," she told him with a whisper of a smile.
He nodded, squeezing her hand gently in support. "Why 5 embryos?" he asked the doctor, only glancing in his general direction.
"It gives us the best odds that at least one will attach," was the doctor's distracted answer.
"And what if all 5 attach?" Richard asked curiously.
"That rarely happens," the doctor returned, almost dismissively.
"But it does happen," Richard pressed further, starting to get slightly annoyed.
"Rarely," the doctor answered shortly, and Richard gave a 'hmph' sound in response.
"Don't worry, Daddy," the nurse addressed Richard, "Twins happen occasionally but larger multiples are rare."
"And he's not the daddy," Annie interjected. "He's the sperm donor."
"Oh." The nurse seemed a bit bewildered. "The sperm donors don't usually stick around for this part."
"Well," Annie offered in explanation, "This is a bit of an unusual situation."
"Oh?" the nurse asked, obviously interested in receiving details.
Before Annie could reply, Richard snipped her name at her, stopping her, then turned to the nurse. "Excuse me, but is knowing our exact situation needed information for working, down there?"
"No, sir," the nurse apologized sheepishly. "I'm sorry."
"We're friends," Caroline offered after several minutes of awkward silence. "We're just really good friends." Her statement accompanied a firm squeeze of Richard's hand.
This is my first CitC fanfic in, what feels like, a million years. Just got to watching my old VHS tapes of the show, and the idea hit me, and I just couldn't shut my brain up! So I grabbed a spiral bound notebook and started writing. I'm on my 4th notebook now and have over 400 pages completed. This story will be between 15 and 18 chapters, I believe.
This is an 'alternative universe' fic, so some of the character's personality traits might seem a bit off, for example, Annie, in later chapters, might seem a bit more intelligent then she was portrayed on the show. Well, it's my universe, and I can do whatever I want, so there! (J/K) LOL
Ok, in this universe, Julia is not in the picture in any way shape or form. Even though the episode this concept came from, 'Caroline and the Egg' was a season 3 episode, and Julia was annoyingly in season 3, she's not in my story! Poof! That easy! Bye, Julia!
Also, for the moment, this fic is rated 'T' or 'PG-13', but this rating will go up to 'M' or 'R' in chapter 8, so if you're liking the fic and don't want to lose track of it when the rating changes, put the story on alert.
Ok, so, for those who don't know, reviews make my world go round and round. Without them, I feel lost, like an empty vessel on unforgiving seas. Ok, well, maybe I'm exaggerating just a wee bit, but reviews ARE very important to me, and since this fandom sees very few visitors, it's more imperative than ever that if you read this, you review it! Even if you don't like it! But, hey, if you don't like it, be gentle. My ego bruises easily.
Ok, so, that's it for now. We'll meet again at the next chapter! MTLBYAKY