“I really don’t think you have the right to,” Mrs. Thompson’s voice withered as Miriam’s small beady gray eyes shot her a fierce look before zeroing in on Kaitlyn. “Sit down,” she said with the practiced authority of an army drill sergeant. “Now.”
Kaitlyn obeyed, a wide-eyed dazed look on her face.
Miriam folded her pudgy hands on the oak veneer desktop. “You think you’re the only one that’s ever had something like this happen?” She paused, not blinking. “Well?”
The question roused Kaitlyn’s anger. “Of course not,” she sneered.
“Right. And you know what else? You won’t be the last.”
“This is way out of line lady,” Mr. Thompson boomed. “Don’t talk to my daughter that way.”
“Excuse me sir,” Miriam eyed Mr. Thompson primly. “I wasn’t through.” When he closed his mouth she continued. “Now,” she said, her voice softer, “I am truly sorry for what happened to you, honey. What you’ve been through is more than horrible. But there is someone growing inside you now and you can’t just think of yourself anymore. You can’t be that selfish.”
Covering her face, Kaitlyn burst into tears.
“I think we should go.” Mrs. Thompson put an arm around her daughter’s shoulders.
“Does that mean you want to raise the child then?” Miriam asked, eyebrows raised. “We have services to help with that too.”
“No!” Kaitlyn protested.
“Then this is your only choice,” Miriam said calmly. “And seeing that you’re so far along, the paperwork really needs to start now. I’m afraid there’s nothing else to do.”
“This is ridiculous,” Mr. Thompson fumed.
“Sir, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave until we’re done. You’re only making things worse for your daughter.” Miriam threw Mr. Thompson a withering glare as she pushed a button near her phone. “I’ll just call for an escort.”
“Now wait a minute,” Mr. Thompson sputtered.
“Dad, please.” The idea of her dad being “escorted” away snapped Kaitlyn out of her stupor. She couldn’t let this happen. “What do I have to sign?” she asked Miriam brusquely, adding to herself, you fat, disgusting cow.
The older guard entered the lobby. He removed his hat and wiped his bald pate with a handkerchief. “Everything okay in here, Miriam?”
Miriam stared at Kaitlyn, with a determined expression. “Yeah, Hank. It’s all going to be just fine. Everything’s taken care of,” she said, sliding pen and paper toward Kaitlyn and her parents. “Now, Hank, would you mind witnessing some signatures?”