There was no way possible this day could get any worse. Diana refused to believe that it would. To start off the week, she lost her job. It was completely unexpected. After working for that company for almost ten years, all she got was a memo that explained they were downsizing and her job would be phased out effective immediately. They gave her two weeks pay and promised if she needed a recommendation or a reference, she could feel free to call and ask. Already living check to check and with no real savings, she did not have any type of cushion for hard times. And no one went to work expecting to be fired with no recourse.
She had no problem pounding the pavement, looking for a job. At this point, she was willing to do just about anything for work. Diana was used to working hard and making her own way. Pride would always stand in the way of her asking for any handouts. She did not have many people she could ask for assistance anyway. Her father was in an assisted living home after a stroke debilitated him years ago. Her mother passed away when she was a teenager. Along with the fact that Diana was an only child, she barely had any family to speak of. There was an aunt out in California, but they only talked twice a year or so and had infrequent visits.
So she had no choice but to figure it out on her own. In the past few days, she’d heard no way too many times. Diana could deal with rejection but so many times in such a short span of time was starting to weigh on her. She could not seem to find anything that was hiring immediately and everyone else thought she was too overqualified.
After a morning of being out job searching, a jolt of caffeine was in order. She rushed inside her favorite cafe and ordered a small cup of black coffee. There were a few more places that were hiring and she wanted to get to the them before it was too late in the day.
As soon as she finished stirring a bit of sugar in her cup, the crack of thunder made her practically jump out of her dark brown skin. Just another damper on her plans. The rain began pouring in sheets and there was no way she was going to go out there trying to finish her job search in that torrential downpour.
She flopped down in an arm chair, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. How was she supposed to get to the rest of the things on her list today? There was nothing else left to do but sip her coffee and laugh at the way her life was playing out. In order to deal with things, Diana knew she had to now start expecting the unexpected.
It dawned on her that there was usually a large bulletin board filled with want ads and job offers. There was bound to be work posted on it. Searching the shop, she found the board in the back near the restrooms. Diana headed back there, happy that no one else was hogging the space at the board. Maybe she could find a few things that would work out for her. Several papers hung there in various colors. Flipping through, there were only roommate wanted ads and ads for tutors. She sighed, sipping her coffee. Once the rain stopped, she would have to continue her search. It did not look like she was going to score anything here off of the bulletin board. Diana flipped through the last of the sheets on the board when a peach colored one caught her eye. It asked you to donate blood for money. She ripped the paper tab with the phone number off of the wall.
A slip of blue peeked out from underneath the blood donation requests. She pushed the peach colored sheets aside and could not believe what she saw.
Businessman looking for surrogate. Please inquire within. Only serious candidates will be considered.
Diana read the paper at least three times.
“I’ve seen ads for this more than once before. I would probably go for the surrogate versus the blood donation. More money.”
Diana turned to her present company, a young looking red head girl with a wide smile and tons of energy.
“What do you know about surrogacy?” Diana was curious, especially since the girl brought it up.
The girl shrugged. “My friend has a friend that did it. She made several thousand dollars doing it. Got to live in this luxurious house and get pampered for a year. And they paid her a bonus since she was not able to work for the year of the pregnancy, so that covered the cost of her expenses in terms of getting her life back on track after the surrogacy. It turned out to be pretty cool.”
The girl continued gabbing about all of the opportunities that were posted on the wall. Diana tried to digest the information the red head shared with her about the surrogacy. She watched out of the corner of her eye to see what the girl was going to choose from the board. She ended up taking a tab from the blood donation and the tutoring and walked away.
Without thinking twice, Diana ripped the entire surrogacy ad off of the board. She was not sure what she was going to do with the information, but having a windfall right now would change her life. The thought of thousands of dollars and a life in the lap of luxury for a year was enough to get her intrigued.
She made it home to her apartment, but was soaked to the bone. The downpour did not allow her to complete her job search, so Diana resigned to end it for the day. There was always tomorrow.
Peeling her clothes off at the front door, she let them fall into a pile on the floor. All she needed was a shower and a hot cup of tea. The warm water washed away all of the anxiety and frustration for the day. A fresh start would be great. She could get her mind together and approach her situation differently.
Lying down on the bed, freshly showered and wrapped in a towel, Diana’s mind kept spinning, trying to think of job opportunities. Then she remembered the surrogate ad. Where had she put it?
When she jumped off the bed, she almost tripped and fell because she was rushing. Fishing through her purse, she could not find the ad. Diana tossed the contents of her purse on the bed, rummaging through still not finding what she needed. She then remembered that she folded the sheet of paper and stuck it in the pocket of her jacket at the last minute.
She tip toed to the living room and found her jacket on the floor in the heap of wet clothes.
“Damn it!” she cursed to herself. The paper was wet and barely legible. Anxiety built up inside of her as she peeled the paper open. All of the numbers were visible except the last digit, which was slightly smudged. She ran with the paper to her bathroom. The only way she could think to dry it was with her hair dryer, which she put on the highest setting.
After a few minutes, the paper dried. The last digit was slightly more visible, leaving Diana to guess that it was either a six or an eight. She would have to work with that much.
Impulsively, she dialed the phone number, choosing eight as the final number.
“Hello, Marshall Incorporated. How can I help you?”
Diana pulled the phone away from her ear and looked at the number. She had dialed it correctly.
“I’m sorry. I must have the wrong number.”
“Okay, thank you.”
She ended the phone call, then dialing the number with the six as the last digit.
The voice was that of an elderly woman. That was the definitely the wrong number. Diana apologized and hung up.
She hopped on the internet and quickly researched the company Marshall Incorporated. A site popped up for a multi million dollar company that made its money off of real estate ventures. It said that the CEO’s name was Clay Marshall and that he was a world renowned consultant that built his company from the ground up.
Maybe Clay Marshall was the businessman that the ad spoke of. She dialed the number again and waiting for an answer.
“Marshall Incorporated, how can I help you?”
Diana read the ad and mentioned the reference number that was listed.
“Yes, I’m calling about reference number 5837, please.”
“Wonderful. Let me connect you.” The woman was pleasant and made Diana feel more comfortable.
“Hello, what is your reference number please?” The next voice was not so calming and comforting.
“Yes, it is 5837.”
“Alright. Do you have a pen and paper?”
Diana scrambled to find a pen and paper. “I do.”
The woman that answered the phone rattled off an address. “Please be there at six o’clock tomorrow night.”
“Okay, is there-”
“Thank you very much. Have a good day,” the woman said interrupting to close the conversation.
The call ended, leaving Diana wondering what she was about to get herself in to. She sighed, throwing her phone on the bed. With only enough money to make it through possibly the next month, she did not have many options.
Diana went back to the computer to do an internet search. She typed in the words ‘becoming a surrogate’. There were more websites than she expected on the subject, making it completely overwhelming to find a place to get started.
Instead of worrying about it, she lay back on the bed and closed her eyes.
Tomorrow could not come fast enough.
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