A Tricky Proposition(7)

By: Cat Schield


Ming’s confidence waned beneath her sister’s criticism. Despite her free-spirited style and reluctance to be tied down, Lily was a lot more traditional than Ming when it came to family. Last night, when Ming had told her sister she was going to talk to Jason today, Lily had accused Ming of being selfish.

But was she? Raising a child without a father didn’t necessarily mean that the child would have problems. Children needed love and boundaries. She could provide both.

It wasn’t fair for Lily to push her opinions on Ming. She hadn’t made her decision overnight. She’d spent months and months talking to single moms, weighing the pros and cons, and using her head, not her emotions, to make up her mind about raising a child on her own. Of course, when it came right down to it, her longing to be a mother was a strong, biological urge that was hard to ignore.

Ming slipped out of her lab coat and hung it on the back of her office door. “Have you told Mom about the job offer?”

“No.” Lily countered. “Have you told her what you’re going to do?”

“I was planning to on Friday. We’re having dinner, just the two of us.” Ming arched an eyebrow. “Unless you’d like to head over there now so we can both share our news. Maybe with two of us to yell at, we’ll each get half a tongue lashing.”

“As much as I would love to be there to see the look on Mom’s face when she finds out you’re going to have a baby without a husband, I’m not ready to talk about my plans. Not until I’m completely sure.”

It sounded as if Lily wasn’t one hundred percent sold on moving away. Ming kept relief off her face and clung to the hope that her sister would find that Portland wasn’t to her liking.

“Will I see you at home later?”

Lily shook her head. “Got plans.”

“A date?”

“Not exactly.”

“Same guy?” For the past few months, whenever she was in town, her sister had been spending a lot of time with a mystery man. “Have you told him your plans to move?”

“It’s not like that.”

“It’s not like what?”

“We’re not dating.”

“Then it’s just sex?”

Her sister made an impatient noise. “Geez, Ming. You of all people should know that men and women can be just friends.”

“Most men and women can’t. Besides, Jason and I are more like brother and sister than friends.”

For about the hundredth time, Ming toyed with telling Lily about her mixed feelings for Jason. How she loved him as a friend but couldn’t stop wondering if they could have made it as a couple. Of course, she’d blown any chance to find out when she’d agreed to have dinner with Evan three years ago.

But long before that she knew Jason wouldn’t let anything get in the way of their friendship.

“Have you told him about your plans to have a baby yet?”

“I mentioned it to him this afternoon.”

She was equally disappointed and relieved that she’d decided against asking Jason to help her get pregnant. Raising his child would muddle her already complicated emotions where he was concerned. It would be easier to get over her romantic yearnings if she had no expectations.

“How did he take it?”

“Once he gets used to the idea, I think he’ll be happy for me.” Her throat locked up. She’d really been counting on his support.

“Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you that you’re on the wrong path.”

“I don’t need the universe to tell me anything. I have you.” Although Ming kept her voice light, her heart was heavy. She was torn between living her dream and disrupting her relationships with those she loved. What if this became a wedge between her and Lily? Or her and Jason? Ming hated the idea of being pulled in opposite directions by her longing to be a mom and her fear of losing the closeness she shared with either of them.

To comfort herself, she stared at her photo wall, the proof of what she’d achieved these past seven years. Hundreds of smiles lightened her mood and gave her courage.

“I guess you and I will just have to accept that neither one of us is making a decision the other is happy with,” Ming said.

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