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- Yvette told Tempest that she is strongly considering giving up her unborn child for adoption.
- Diane suggested to Alex that he and Trevor should adopt Yvette’s baby.
- Alex
broached the subject of the adoption with Trevor, who bristled at the quick timeline and at the fact that Alex already seemed to have made up his mind about what to do.

Claire Fisher stands over her living room sofa, picking items of clothing from the laundry basket. She folds them and places them in neat piles atop the sofa as a cable news program plays on the television. She keeps trying to make herself focus on the news, but after the past several months, her political fatigue causes her to zone the broadcast out -- maybe for the sake of her own sanity. 

When there is a knock at the apartment door, she sets aside the pair of black leggings currently in her hands and looks through the peephole before opening the door. 

Diane. Hi,” she says with clear surprise.

“Good. You’re here.” Diane Bishop wastes not a second more before she pushes past Claire and into the apartment. “I need to talk to you."

“Okay… Is it about the girls?"

“Sort of,” Diane says, her feathered brown hair waving around her head as she plops down on the sofa beside the laundry. 

“Make yourself at home,” Claire says, half-under her breath.
  Diane Bishop

Diane hoists her purse onto her lap. “Actually, I need your help with something."

“Diane, what’s going on?"

“It’s about Tempest’s mother. And that baby."

Harbor Boulevard

Trevor Brooks hangs his olive-colored anorak jacket on the back of his chair before sitting down. 

“I’m so glad you called,” his father says from across the table. “It’s nice to get out in the middle of the day."

Trevor smiles over the table, which sits along the large window of Harbor Boulevard, overlooking a busy King’s Bay street. Outside, the pavement is still slick from the rain that has, mercifully, taken a break for the time being. 

“We should do this more often,” Trevor says as he flips the menu open. “It’s good to get out of the office for a bit."

Patrick’s head dips in an understanding nod, but there is something forced about his expression, something that has become ubiquitous since Roz’s murder. He always looks, at least to Trevor, as if he is trying to appear cheerful, and maybe part of him even is, but it’s as if the sentiment is coming through a thick film that dilutes it so badly that it is hardly even recognizable. 

Trevor places his open menu down on the table. “How are you doing? Keeping busy?"

“I’m trying,” Patrick says. “The consulting work is good for me. Gives me something to focus my attention on. I’m a little rusty, but that’s part of the challenge."

“That’s good,” Trevor says encouragingly, though he hates the idea that his father is mostly working again in an attempt to occupy his mind. “Do you think you’ll go down and see Lauren again soon?"

This time, when Patrick brightens, it is more genuine. “Next month, I’m hoping. I can’t wait to see that grandbaby of mine. She’s getting so big. And so opinionated. You should see her when we FaceTime."

His father’s genuine joy brings a wide grin to Trevor’s own face. 

“I need to get down there for a visit, too,” he says. “Speaking of which… well, I don’t know. Sort of…"

Patrick props his elbows on the table and levels a serious stare at his son. “What is it?"

Trevor gazes down at the menu, though he is so distracted that the print runs together into indistinguishable blurs of black. 

“When did you and Mom know that you were ready to be parents? Did you plan for it? Or did you find out she was pregnant and then realize you could do it?"

“We weren’t actively trying to start a family,” Patrick says, hands balled together beneath his chin. “We weren’t opposed to the idea, but it happened quicker than we expected. We were both petrified, if that’s what you’re asking. I think every expectant parent is."


“Where’s this coming from? Are you and Alex…?"

“We’ve talked about it in, like, a general way,” Trevor says. “But then he came at me with this-- this idea, and it was like he’d already made up his mind."

“What’s the idea?"

“This lady we know -- well, we don’t know her, but she’s the mom of Samantha Fisher’s girlfriend -- is having a baby. Really soon. She just decided she’s giving the baby up for adoption. And Diane told Alex that we should adopt it. Him. Her. Whatever."

“And Alex wants to do it."

“I think so."

“And you don’t,” Patrick says slowly.

“It’s not that I don’t,” Trevor says. “But she’s due in a couple weeks. We’re not ready at all. Like, I have no idea what I’m doing with a baby. And we’re planning a wedding. The timing just feels all wrong. But then, like you say, people get pregnant and they figure it out, and…"

“And what?” 

“Like, yeah, it’s going to be expensive for us to have a kid, or take forever to adopt one. I know.” Trevor sighs. “Am I stupid for not being onboard with this?"

Thaw Coffee & Tea

As he waits at a small table in the center of Thaw Coffee & Tea, Alex Marshall gawks at the unexpectedly wild amount of activity taking place around him. Three women are clustered around a nearby table, having a spirited discussion about something to do with a bake sale for which a person named Noelle has apparently done very little; at the bar against the window, a middle-aged couple has an increasingly heated conversation about a house their realtor took them to see this morning. The coffee shop is, in general, far busier than Alex anticipated it would be right now.

“I didn’t think it’d be so nuts,” Jason Fisher says as he returns to the table with his freshly brewed coffee. He takes a seat across from Alex. “We could always go up to the office to talk…"

“No.” Alex realizes that his response has come out far too quickly, far too harshly. “It’s just that… I don’t want to talk in front of Tempest."

Jason freezes, except to cock an eyebrow. “Why? What’s up?"

“It’s complicated.” Then, after a deep breath, Alex recounts the story of how Diane suggested that he and Trevor adopt Yvette’s baby, only for Trevor to be anything but receptive to the idea.

“Okay. Wow.” Jason nods slowly as he straightens the plastic lid on his coffee cup. “That’s serious."

“Yeah. And I know it’s sort of crazy. It’s absurdly fast. She’s due in only a few weeks. We haven’t done anything to prepare."

“That’s how life is sometimes,” Jason says.

“Exactly.” Alex looks down into the foamy surface of his macchiato. “I thought he’d be open to it. At least a little."

“He also had no idea that’s what you were going to ask him about. You were probably shocked when Diane told you."

“I was. Yeah."

Jason leans forward. “Question: if you weren’t engaged right now -- if you were single -- and Diane suggested that you adopt this baby, what would you do?"

The hypothetical scenario takes a moment to penetrate Alex’s consciousness; for all the angles from which he’s tried to consider this situation, this particular one hasn’t yet occurred to him, at least not in such a straightforward way. He tries to silence the buzzing signals inside his head long enough to hear his instincts. 

“What does your gut say?” Jason prompts him.

Alex gives it only a split-second longer, just enough to hear a voice from somewhere within himself. “I’d do it."

“You’d adopt Yvette’s baby."

“I would. Yeah."

“Then that’s important,” Jason says. “That’s what you want."

“Maybe, but I’m about to marry the love of my life. I don’t get to make decisions like this on my own anymore. If Trevor doesn’t want to…"

“Then you need to decide what’s most important to you."

“I want to marry Trevor. And I want to be a dad. It shouldn’t have to be one or the other."

“It isn’t one or the other. But, as much as I hate to say it, things will still be tougher for you guys, whether you decide to adopt or have a baby through a surrogate or whatever."

“I know,” Alex says. “That’s a big part of this. Is this fast? Yeah. Do I want to wait another five years or whatever? I’m not so sure."

“You’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you,” Jason says as he picks up his coffee cup, “but whatever that is, I’m gonna be there for you. Got that?"

“Got it.” With unsteady hands, Alex picks up his macchiato for the first time, hoping that the soothing warmth of the beverage might bring him some internal peace. 


“Thanks,” Claire says as the server sets a diet soda in front of her. She and Diane sit across from one another at a table inside 322 Bar & Grill, which is growing busier by the minute as the lunch crowd files in. 

Diane squeezes her wedge of lime into her glass of sparkling water. “I’m glad you see this the same way I do. Thanks for helping me get in touch with her."

“It makes a lot of sense. But Alex hasn’t made a decision one way or the other yet?"

“He needed to discuss it with Trevor, obviously. Planting the seed with Yvette might be a good idea, though."

“I just don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up,” Claire says.

"She's giving the baby up anyway. If we can present a great option for adoptive parents--"

"Then maybe we're helping. But I also want to make sure that Tempest doesn’t feel like we're forcing this baby to be in her life if that isn't what she wants."
  Claire Fisher

"Listen," Diane says. "She said in front of me that she felt a little weird about this brother or sister of hers being thrown out into the void and never knowing what happens to him or her."

"Yeah." Claire sighs. "Let's see how this goes."

As if on cue, Yvette Banks enters the restaurant and scans the crowd until she spots the two women. Claire waves her over.

“Thanks for coming to meet us on such short notice,” Claire says as the very pregnant woman carefully maneuvers her way into one of the other chairs at the table. 

Diane holds out a hand, which Yvette regards with skepticism.

“I’m Diane. Samantha’s mother,” she says. “We met at the chili cookoff."

Yvette seats herself as she tentatively shakes Diane’s hand. Her coat still on, the pregnant woman shifts her gaze warily between the two others. “What’s this all about?"

“We wanted to buy you lunch,” Diane says, “and talk about--"

“I don’t need y’all buying me anything."

“We asked you to meet us, so it’s only right that we treat you,” Claire says. “Besides, we all have the same thing in mind: the best interests of our children. Right?"

“Look here, I know I made some mistakes with Tempest,” Yvette says. “But I don’t need some white ladies coming in here, acting like they’re Sandy Bullock and telling me everything I messed up--"

“That isn’t what this is about,” Claire interjects.

Yvette’s face remains twisted with suspicion.

“Tempest said that you’re planning to give the baby up for adoption,” Diane says, her tone more cautious than Claire has perhaps ever heard. 

“I talked to my doctor about it,” Yvette says. “Met with the social worker, too. They’re gonna take care of things."

“That’s the thing. We might have a couple who wants to adopt your child."

Yvette’s eyes widen. “Really? Nice people? You think they’d be good parents?” Her hands cover her enormous stomach. “I just wanna do right by this baby."

“They’re very nice people. Friends of mine,” Diane says. “One is a successful author. And his fiancé works in fashion. He used to be a model--"

“Wait,” Yvette cuts in. “It’s two men? You want me to give my baby up to some gay couple?"


“You’re never stupid for having feelings,” Patrick says. “That’s perfectly legitimate."

Trevor is mulling his response when the server stops by to take their drink orders. The men clam up until their orders are placed and the server has departed. 

“If you ask me, that is fast,” the elder Mr. Brooks continues. “Really fast. You don’t have a nursery, or equipment, or anything."

“That’s what I said!” Trevor agrees. “I seriously don’t even know what I’m doing. I’ve helped Lauren change diapers, like, twice."

“You figure those things out as you go. I promise you, you do. But that doesn’t mean you should dive into something you genuinely feel you aren’t ready to do. Having a child isn’t like buying a new couch you aren’t sure about."

“I know."

“You and Alex are embarking on a partnership,” Patrick says. “That’s what marriage is -- a give-and-take, something where you have to figure out how to approach these things together, if even you’re coming at them from very different places."

Trevor slumps in his chair. “How do you do that when you feel so differently about things?"

“You talk. You have the difficult conversations. Don’t think for a second that just because you say those vows, all the problems go away. You’re still too separate people with two separate minds.”

“I bet you’d love to be a grandfather again,” Trevor says.

“Of course I will be. Whenever it happens. It sounds like you and Alex want to have kids eventually. When you do, nothing will make me happier. But don’t do this for anyone but yourself."
  Trevor Brooks

“Not even Alex?"

Patrick hesitates, clearly caught up in slashing through the dense, tangled cobwebs of his potential answers. 

“You should never do anything solely for your spouse,” he says at last. “You have to compromise, of course, but having a child is too big a responsibility to take on if your heart isn’t 100 percent in it."

“Okay, yeah.” Trevor toys with the edges of his menu as he thinks. “I just keep thinking…"


Trevor feels his own chest tightening as he prepares to voice the thought that he hasn’t even allowed to crystallize inside his own mind until now.

“What if,” he says, “Alex wants to be a father to this kid more than he wants to marry me? What then?"

Patrick takes this in calmly, methodically, in a way that makes Trevor strangely nervous -- the way he used to pause before answering some fraught question that Trevor or Lauren would just blurt out when they were younger without ever realizing they were putting their parents on the spot.

“That’s why you have to talk,” Patrick says. “Honestly. Openly. And neither of you can leave anything left unsaid. This is the kind of thing in marriage that’s too important for you to be anything but totally honest.” 

322 Bar & Grill

The bluntness of Yvette’s statement rattles Claire, but as she attempts to measure her reaction, she watches Diane, who might as well have a halo of angry red energy radiating off her skin.

“You would be lucky to have your child adopted by this couple,” Diane says. “They’re caring, accomplished men who want nothing more than to give a child a good home--"

“If you were to hand your baby over to a social worker, you might never know who adopts him or her anyway,” Claire cuts in. 

Yvette frowns and brings her thumbnail, covered in cracked red paint, to her lips. 

“Alex and Trevor would be excellent parents,” Diane adds. “And frankly, to imply that a gay couple is somehow less fit to raise a child--"

“Diane.” Claire reaches across the table to tap the other woman on the arm -- a move that earns her a sharp look of rebuke. 

“Y’all really think they’re good people? Good parents?” Yvette asks. 

“Yes,” Claire says. “I’m sure they’d love to sit down and meet with you, if that’s something you’re interested in."

“Maybe. Yeah.” Yvette busies herself by picking up the straw that rests beside her glass of water and unwrapping it from its paper covering. “I know y’all are all modern and stuff, but it’s not something I’ve been around a lot. When I saw what kinda lifestyle Tempest was living…"

“It isn’t a lifestyle,” Diane says, though it comes out as a barely restrained bark. “It’s how Tempest and Alex and Trevor and Samantha were born."

“I always worried…” Yvette toys with the paper from the straw. “All those men, whatever they did to Tempest, they did some real damage. When I got here and saw her with that-- with your girl, I figured that was it. Those men, they ruined her."

Claire shakes her head, attempting to be as compassionate as she can even though there are so many things she is hearing that make her furious. “This is who Tempest is. Same as if she’d been born left-handed."

Yvette puts down the paper. She looks from Claire to Diane and then back.

“I just want my kids to be happy,” she says. “All of ‘em. I know how bad I screwed up with Tempest and Isaac. This new baby…” She touches her stomach again. “This is my chance to do it right, even if that means letting someone else bring him or her up."

“Then please, consider Alex and Trevor as adoptive parents,” Diane says.

A tense moment passes, a silent tightrope act that could fall apart at any instant.

“Okay,” Yvette says. “I wanna meet them. And if everything checks out, I’ll let ‘em raise my baby."


Will Alex and Trevor come to an agreement?
What did you think of Patrick’s advice?
Did Diane and Claire jump the gun?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum now!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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