Chapter Four

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The next morning, Stevie was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, waiting impatiently to head out to the adoption agency without Karen having to drag her out of bed like usual.

“Well good morning to you too!”

“Cut the sarcasm, Karen. I’m nervous enough as it is!” Stevie said, shifting her weight from foot to foot anxiously.

“Alright, calm down, skippy…” Karen said with a laugh. “It’s going to be fine; we’re just going there to fill out some paperwork.”

“I know, I know. But it’s all getting so real!”

“Please don’t tell me you’ve changed your mind…”

“No!” Stevie bellowed a little louder than she had anticipated. “No of course I haven’t Karen! I just – I can’t believe this is really happening!”

“Well nothing’s going to be happening if we’re late, so let’s go!”

They pulled up outside the building and snuck inside, making sure to stay as far out of the public eye as possible. Thankfully, there was no one waiting in the reception area and Stevie and Karen were swiftly shown through to a representative’s office.

Stevie’s leg shook involuntarily as they waited to be seen. More than anything, she was concerned that her past would come back to haunt her, and if that was the case, she was worried that she might not be able to defend herself well enough to be granted an adoption.

Before her demons were able to get the better of her, a bubbly-looking lady entered the room and held out her hand.

“Ms Nicks, is that correct?”

“Yes, yes that’s correct,” Stevie replied, shaking the woman’s hand with a smile. “And this is my assistant, Karen.”

“Hello there, my name is Brenda. It’s lovely to meet you both!”

Stevie tried her hardest to appear calm and collected on the outside, but it could not have been more different to how she was feeling on the inside.

“Well, thank you for coming in and meeting with us today. I’m sure you have a very busy schedule…”

There it was. Was that the first test? Or was she simply over-analysing things? Did they want to hear that someone looking to adopt had such a busy schedule that they hardly had time for a meeting? No, they certainly did not.

“No not at all! I would always have made time for this. I am just so thrilled that it’s all finally happening!” Stevie beamed, and Brenda smiled back at her warmly.

“That’s so great to hear, Ms Nicks!”

“Stephanie, please!”

“Okay, Stephanie! Well hopefully we can really get the ball rolling today for you!”

“I’m so glad to hear that!” Stevie breathed in relief. “There’s uh, just one thing that I’d like to ask you before we begin, if that’s okay?”

“Absolutely!”

“Well really just that, I’d like to keep this strictly between us if possible. I would hate for the press to get word of this before anything is final, or, you know, if things don’t go to plan…”

The vulnerability in Stevie’s voice was heart-breaking to Brenda, and so she tried her very best to put her mind at rest.

“Stephanie, this will remain highly confidential at every point. And please, rest assured that I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that you become a mommy to a very lucky child.”

Hearing someone refer to her as a ‘mommy’ took Stevie’s breath away. For so long, she had only been a godmother or an auntie to the children of her friends and family, but never had anyone once called her that before.

It felt right.

Over the course of the meeting, Stevie was presented with countless information booklets, each of them detailing a different step of the adoption process in excruciating detail. At first, it all seemed a bit daunting, but Stevie desperately tried to keep the end goal in sight to keep her going.

“So here we have ‘the book’,” Brenda announced, lifting a large ring-bound book onto the desk and pushing it towards Stevie. “This book is where we keep a record of all of the children we look after here, and all of whom are looking for a new family.”

Karen’s eyes widened and she was instantly saddened the sight of how many children must be listed in that book. She also knew that Stevie was hardly the most decisive person, especially when it came to big decisions like this.

“Would you like to take a look? I…”

Brenda was cut-off by the receptionist poking her head into the office and communicating something with her eyes. The sound of a baby’s crying suddenly rang through the office and she excused herself for a moment, leaving Stevie and Karen alone to look through the book.

“I didn’t think they kept any of the children here at the office,” Karen commented.

Stevie was so intimidated by the book in front of her that she could barely face opening it and seeing all of those children looking out from the pages at her. She hadn’t thought it would be like this. In fact, she hadn’t really allowed herself to think this far ahead.

The door opened again and Brenda re-entered, looking a little more flustered than when she had left.

“Is everything alright?” Stevie asked worriedly. “We heard a baby crying…”

“Oh, yes I’m sorry about that. We, uh – we’ve had a little problem on our hands for the last few days…”

Stevie’s eyes implored her to explain.

“Unfortunately, we found a little one who had been abandoned outside of our building a few nights ago.”

Both Stevie and Karen gasped in unison.

“The poor thing hasn’t stopped crying in three days,” Brenda continued sadly.

Stevie’s heart went out to that poor child, now left completely alone in this world. In a way, it was almost as if Stevie could relate to that sense of loneliness and something inside her told her to ask what she did next.

“Can I see the child? Is that – would that be okay?”

Brenda and Karen both looked a little startled at Stevie’s request, but after a little contemplation, Brenda could not see any harm in it and so she nodded her head and led Stevie and Karen towards the make-shift nursery.

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A/N: I hope you guys are still enjoying this, thanks for all of the lovely messages!

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