Chapter 1 Let's Send the Kids Away

"Madam, Mr. Allen is back," Margaret Garcia called from downstairs. "Great!" Charlotte Hall, clutching the ultrasound report, beamed with excitement. She was eager to surprise Frank Allen with the news. At the staircase, Charlotte met Margaret just as Frank was about to arrive. Unable to hide her excitement, Charlotte confided in Margaret, "I'm really feeling the joy of motherhood now. "I had my doubts about IVF with donor sperm, but now, it's pure happiness. "The challenges of pregnancy are nothing compared to this joy!" Margaret, with a look of concern, replied, "You've been through a lot. "Most people put on weight during pregnancy, but you seem to have lost some. I guess I'll have to cook more nourishing meals for you!" Charlotte smiled, "Thank you for caring so much." "It's my pleasure. Your health is what's important." Hearing sounds from the entrance, Charlotte quickly said, "I should go and meet him now." Seeing Charlotte rush away, Margaret called out, "Be careful!" "I will!" Frank entered, looking tired. He took off his suit jacket, loosened his tie, and sank into the couch. "Margaret, I need a glass of water." Margaret promptly fetched a glass of ice water, placed it before him, and said, "Here's your drink." After that, she went off to attend to other duties. The living room was now quiet, giving Charlotte the chance to approach Frank. Clearing her throat to draw his attention, she sat next to him. "I went for a check-up today. The doctor says the twins are doing really well. We can even see their outlines in the ultrasound now." At seven months pregnant, Charlotte found strength in the thought of soon meeting her two beautiful babies, despite recent hardships. However, Frank had been preoccupied. Ever since her pregnancy began, Charlotte had attended all her check-ups alone. Seeing other couples together often left her feeling isolated. Charlotte was eager to see how Frank would react to the news. As she reached for the ultrasound report to show him, Frank, putting his glass down, casually said, "Let's send the kids to an orphanage after they're born." Charlotte's hands stopped mid-air. The disbelief in her mind echoed, 'Did he really say that? Is this a misunderstanding or some cruel joke?' But Frank's serious face told her otherwise. 'I thought he was just tired from work, but...' Throughout their five-year marriage, the couple had longed for a child. The journey was marred by Frank's extremely low sperm survival rate, leading them, eventually, to the path of IVF with donor sperm. Only a few months ago, they had agreed on this path, leading to the conception of their twins after high-tech procedures. Charlotte was deeply invested in these babies, and even Frank's mother was excited for their arrival. Hence, Charlotte was stunned by Frank's suggestion to give them up. "I talked to a friend. He thinks I might be cured," Frank said earnestly. "Maybe later, we can try for a child that's biologically ours." Charlotte was hurt. "But we agreed on this. You said it didn't matter and that you loved me regardless. This is really painful to hear." She still wanted to show him the ultrasound, hoping it would change his mind. "Look at this. The twins are healthy. I'm seven months in. They'll be here soon. Don't you want to see them grow?" "I don't want these kids. They aren't mine," Frank said, his voice rising with emotion. "It makes me uncomfortable." Charlotte couldn't fathom Frank's sudden change of heart. 'How can he suggest an orphanage after seven months?' She often envisioned a happy family scene similar to those she saw in restaurants, picturing a future with her own children. Throughout their relationship, Charlotte had never resented Frank for his infertility. Her deep love for him and their eight-year bond outweighed the desire for children. Now, burdened with the emotional weight of her solitary pregnancy journey, Charlotte couldn't hold back her true feelings any longer. "I adore children, Frank. I've poured my soul into preparing for their birth. I can't just let them go," she said, her voice quivering. Frank, noticing her tears, gently wiped her cheeks. His tone softened as he said, "I do love you, Charlotte. But this is hard for a man in ways I can't explain." Charlotte had given up her cherished job to focus on her pregnancy, frequently talking with friends who were already parents. Frank's casual talk of abandoning their unborn children shattered her heart. The irony was not lost on her. Frank had been the one to propose IVF with donor sperm, a suggestion she had initially been reluctant to accept. Yet she had, for their shared dream. Now, it was as if he was the one backing away. "I'm not giving up on them. If you're uncomfortable, that's your feeling to manage. I'll raise them myself. And should you be cured, we can consider another child," Charlotte said, holding onto a thread of hope that he might change his mind. However, Frank grabbed the ultrasound report, tore it without even looking at it, and declared, "There's no need for more discussion. I've arranged for an orphanage to take them. I'll be there with you when it's time." Charlotte's frustration boiled over. She thought about how Frank had never accompanied her to any of the check-ups, yet now he seemed eager to be involved, only to ensure that the children were given away. In her mind, it was clear that he was acting out of fear that she might decide to keep them. She couldn't hide her shock and sadness. "I can't believe how cold-hearted you've become." Frank stood abruptly. "There's no more to discuss. I'm going to the study. Leave me alone," he said, and walked away. Charlotte watched him leave, feeling like the man she had loved for eight years had become a complete stranger. The resolve in his eyes as he turned away was new and unsettling to her. Just the night before, they had been discussing potential names for their children. She wondered how he could change so drastically in just one day. Margaret, unaware of their heated conversation, came in to clear the cups. Seeing Frank gone, she approached. Unable to contain her emotions any longer, Charlotte broke down, tears streaming down her face. Margaret rushed over, concerned. "What happened?" she asked, gently patting Charlotte's back. "He doesn't want our children anymore. What am I supposed to do?" Charlotte sobbed. Margaret's surprise was evident. "But Mr. Allen seemed so excited about the babies. Why don't you try talking to him again? He's not usually so cold-hearted." Charlotte, shaking her head with a sense of defeat, replied, "There's no point. He made his intentions very clear."
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