Well, I must have been hydrated again, because supersonic tears were leaking down my face like the valve in my shower that won’t quite shut off. I raised my right arm and awkwardly passed my eyes over the pin stripes. Walking down the hallway, I heard Perry slamming cabinet doors in the kitchen. I found a box of tissues in the bathroom and helped myself to some. As I dropped the snotty paper into the cute wicker waste basket, it occurred to me that no one would be emptying the trash. So I’d better collect it all and then— then what? I doubt the Florida Keys Trash Authority or whatever the entity is called will sail up to the dock and empty the big green plastic can. Mike must burn his trash. Must have burned his trash.
Darn it, here go those tears again. I’ve lost three of my parents within a month. My first Daddy, Dr. Nathan Payne, the sociopath pathological liar who raised me. And I did love him and I know he loved me. It wasn’t his fault he manipulated our family like a master, for reasons known only unto him. He did what he decided was best for us. No matter how skewed that best might’ve been.
I grabbed a fistful of tissues as the tears for Momma, Chloe Lambert-Taurus-Payne, began deluging. Like lava flowing from Mount Saint Helens. Oh Momma. We loved each other so much. Even when we didn’t like each other, we still clutched that unbreakable umbilical cord. And now I’ve lost my biological father too. Mike Taurus. The guy you truly loved. Why couldn’t you have remarried Mike instead of Nathan? You would’ve been so much happier. And me too. Mike seems like he was an awesomely laid back, happy fellow, unlike mister doom and gloom Chicken Little the sky is falling, Nathan. And Mike was a romance writer, just like me. That’s where I get it from. It isn’t environment, it’s heredity.
Despite growing up in the dysfunctional family from a dark reality show, I am a bright person, with a sense of humor and drive for success. Not success for me in a stingy way, mind you. I just feel my calling is to write books. The world needs new stories and I’m just the girl to tell them. If only an up and up agent will give me the chance.
So my three parents are gone now. Three outa four. My biological momma died before I was conceived. Not that anybody living knows about it, or would believe it. My dream weaver, Ashley Jones, took me back in history and helped me assemble the pieces.
I remembered the enhanced dream revelation where genius Hollywood ob/gyn Dr. Nathan Payne manipulated Marilyn Monroe (who was unable to carry a baby to term) into allowing her ovaries to be transplanted into a donor, to produce a genetic baby for her. But poor Marilyn tragically died two months later. A year before I was even conceived. Me, the first test tube baby. No, no test tubes involved. I was conceived in the usual way, so far as I know. I’m the first surrogate baby. I’m the first baby conceived from a donor ovary. I’m the culmination of Daddy’s medical research. I’m Orpha Donna Payne, made in the U.S.A.
And Momma, Chloe Payne, was the unwitting guinea pig when she drew the bad luck of presenting in the emergency room of the hospital with bilateral ovarian cysts, nearly gangrene while Daddy was on duty. He saved her life and didn’t mention he’d transplanted a new one. Marilyn’s. It took and produced eggs. One of Momma’s same-time-each year secret interludes with Mike created me.