“Hello, Stella, I’m Dr. Hawkins. Professor Grant should have called you.”
“Yes, Dr. Hawkins, but I’m not Stella. She’s out sick. I’m Daisy.”
“I see. Well, Daisy, Professor Grant said we could use his office. I’d prefer it if we’re not disturbed.”
“Of course, Doctor.”
Daniel motions to Abigail and Neil and they enter the office and close the door.
“I’m very disappointed with you, Neil,” Daniel says.
“How’s that different than any other day?” Neil replies.
“I thought you would keep better company than this.”
“You mean brainy science chicks?”
“You don’t know anything about me,” Abigail says. “I’ve maintained a consistent 3.94 GPA the whole time I’ve been enrolled here and I’ve been on the dean’s list almost every term. My GPA would have been higher had it not been for a physics elective I took freshman year.”
“Granted, that is very impressive. This isn’t an easy school.”
“No, it’s not,” she says. “Biology isn’t an easy course of study either.”
“I haven’t decided yet. I’m not shopping around for med schools but don’t want to rule anything out.”
“Are you actually studying genetics or was that meant as some sort of subtle dig at me?”
“I really am studying it,” Abigail says. “I’m not subtle.”
“She really isn’t,” Neil says.
“Well you must want something. Most women who follow me around do. Take your mother for instance.”
“Leave my mother out of this. She’s not made any attempt to contact you since you dumped her.”
“And I’m sure she was paid handsomely for that.”
“How would you know? You let your wife handle all the dirty work on that.”
“Elspeth has more of a talent for that sort of thing.”
Abigail looks at Neil and says, “Should you be hearing this?”
Neil waves his hands nonchalantly. “Are you kidding? This is Sunday dinner conversation at our house.”
Abigail says to Daniel, “First, I had no idea you’d even be here today. Second, do you really believe this is how I’d want my first meeting with my father to go?”
“We have not yet established that I’m your father.”
Neil looks between them. “Actually we did.” He points between him and Abigail. “We took a genetic test that showed a 98% probability that he have the same father.”
“You know, Neil, I often wonder where I went so horribly wrong with you.”
“Oh, it was probably the not being around so much that did that,” Neil replies.
“Look, if I wanted something from you, don’t you think I’d have contacted you?” Abigail says.
“You’re here now.”
“Oh yeah, it was part of my diabolical plan to excel all through high school then choose this specific university knowing I’d run into you eventually. If you honestly believe you were always on my mind, you need to check your ego at the door, doctor.”
“I was wrong. You must be my daughter. You’re practically Jillian all over again.”
“Okay, that’s not fair, Dad.”
“You’ve done quite enough, Neil.” Turning back to Abigail, “I don’t know what angle you’re playing at here, young lady, but understand this. I’m not someone you’ll want as an enemy.”
“What? Are you going to sic your wife on me? For your information, I’ve already met her.”
“You know Elspeth?”
“Yes, we’re the best of friends. She’s taken a keen interest in my education.”
Abigail removes her phone and calls up a number. She holds her phone up for Daniel to see. “Recognize this?”
Daniel looks at the number. “So what? You know Neil. He could given you our number.”
“Hello, Elspeth? It’s Abigail. How are you? Oh, just fine. I’m here with your husband and he wanted to confirm that we know one another. That’s right. About how I expected. Sure.”
She holds out the phone. “She wants to talk to you.”
Daniel reluctantly takes the phone. “Elspeth? Yes. I see. No, no, that’s fine. Probably not tonight. Okay.”
He concludes the call and returns the phone. “You’ve made your point.”
“Glad we understand each other.”
He glances at his watch. “I need to be going. I have a consult in an hour. If you’re willing, perhaps we could try this again in a more neutral setting after we’ve had time to think things over.”
“Neil,” Daniel says as he exits.
“See ya, Dad.”
Once he’s gone, Neil puts his arm around Abigail’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”
“As many times as I’ve tried to imagine how my first meeting with my father would go, that wasn’t it.”
“If it means anything, he’s not much of a father to me either.”
They sit for a few moments before Neil has an idea.
“What are you doing this weekend?”
“Why? What do you have in mind?”
“How about a road trip? San Francisco.”
“Who do I know there?”
“No one, yet. I’m just thinking it might be time for you to meet Jillian.”