During the eighteenth week, they met with seven couples interested in adopting their baby and turned them all down. None of them were right.
It worked out pretty well for Michael. He never had to voice his doubts about putting the baby up for adoption. He didn't have to admit that he changed his mind, and that exactly what Ellen said would happen had happened. He didn't even have to voice his doubts about the couples they met. Fi shot them all down, and he just tried not to agree too enthusiastically.
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After saying no to the seventh couple, Fi and Michael got some take out and went home.
"None of them are ever going to be good enough," Fi says as she chews a bite of her fish taco.
"I know." After the beach, he promised himself he'd at least meet the potential adoptive parents. Maybe, if he could put a face and name to the idea of a different family for the baby, he could get back to the idea of it being right. Because he knows, in the hard, rational part of his mind, that giving the baby up is safer, but safer or not, he just doesn't care. He sat there and watched people, perfectly safe, normal, fine people talk about how much they'd love to provide a perfect 1950s-Hollywood-fantasy family for their child, and he couldn't make himself say yes to any of them. "We can move. Start over, new life, new city, new names."
"Fake our deaths?"
Michael perks up a little. "That's got potential. Big car accident, lots of fire, and then vanish."
"Shoot some bullets into the car, spatter some blood around, Jesse and I have done that before. It's not too hard."
"I'd prefer all of your blood stay inside you right now."
"I'd prefer all of my blood stay inside me all the time, but if you've got to sell a dead person when you've got no body, you need blood, with the right DNA."
"I know." Michael takes a bite of his taco, not really tasting it, just chewing to keep himself fed. "How are we set for cash, if we're going to do this?"
"I've got enough tucked away in a few different names, untraceable to me, to set us up comfortably, but not much more than that. Call it a year of savings." Mike thinks about that. For him, a year of savings could be as low as ten thousand dollars, as long as he's got one decent suit and a pair of shoes, he's good to go. But he knows Fi prefers a higher standard of living than he does.
"I can shift some of mine around, but most of it'll have to get left."
That stops both of them dead. Normally they aren't the kind of people who worry about that. Both of them are pretty good at squirreling money away, but when you fake your death, if you want it to stick, to look like you really died, especially if there's no body, most, if not all, of your assets get left behind. Enough to set them up comfortably is one thing, but a baby on the way means big expenses coming soon and lasting for the next twenty years.
Likewise, the jobs they're both best suited to do require a web of trust and people who know you. Fake your own death, and suddenly that web of job referrals vanishes, making it that much harder to make new money.
The stupid thing is they've got enough to retire, comfortably, if they stay alive. Michael did finally get his assets unfrozen, and Barry moved them outside of any banking system that would work with US authorities less than ten minutes later. Six years of compound interest worked out pretty handsomely. So, he's got money.
But it's still in his name. If they "die," they've got to leave it behind, which means they'll need to work, and the kind of work you can get when you know no one and have no reputation is very dangerous and pays lousy.
Catch-22. Stay "alive" and be a target. "Die" and end up a target all over again trying to get enough work to keep living.
He shakes his head. "Five years from now, we can fake our death. That's enough time to hide the assets slowly. For now we'd be better off on the run. New town, new name, have Barry keep a trace on all of our information so that if anyone tries to use it to track us, we'll get a heads up. We'll still have our money. If we do it right, we'd even get to come back here on occasion, see everyone."
"I'd like that. Your mom would, too."
"Yeah, she would. And Sam would miss us if we completely vanished." Michael puts his food down and takes her hands. "We're going to do this, keep the baby and run?"
She half-smiles, half-cries a little, "Yes."
"Then I guess we're going to need a name."
"Then I guess we're going to need a name."