Worthy, Part 20


After Rhiannon is released from the hospital, Abigail sets her mother up with a room in her apartment. Rhiannon is suffering mobility issues, some lack of function in her right arm and hand, and has difficulty walking without a cane. In addition to classes, Abigail undertakes the responsibility of seeing that Rhiannon gets to her rehabilitation appointments and follows the prescribed regiment at home to regain her strength and mobility. Despite her familiarity with the process, Rhiannon is not the most cooperative patient, so Abigail frequently bribes her mother with interesting activities in the afternoons when they’re free. Most evenings, this includes watching the band practice.

The role Abigail plays in the band has expanded considerably since she first sat in during their preparations for the fraternity party her freshman year. Being the most astute with numbers, she serves as the accountant and is the one who negotiates with clubs over gigs as well as with other musicians who sit in with the band. The core members of the group trust her implicitly and Neil, who’s typically the one who coordinates talent, defers to her decisions regarding whether or not they can afford certain musicians. Whereas the guys constantly argue over the musical direction of the band, they never question the bookkeeping, not wanting to endure the protracted lesson in finances they know they’ll receive from Abigail. She has become such an integral part of the band, that when she doesn’t play with them, they frequently bill themselves as “Not Worthy”.

Arrangements have been made back in Seattle for Rhiannon to return to her home, where she’ll be under the care of her sister, Rosalind, niece Genevieve, and an army of nurses from the hospital where Rhiannon works as a nursing supervisor. While they enjoy their time together, both Abigail and Rhiannon are looking forward to Rhiannon’s returning home and resuming, as best as she can, her normal activities. Abigail has decided to take a lighter-than-average load for the upcoming semester, which meets with the disapproval of her mother.

“You’re on track to graduate nearly a year and a half early,” Rhiannon says as they’re arriving at band practice one evening. “I don’t want you squandering that because of me.”

Neil, who’s helping Rhiannon navigate the steps, stares at Abigail. “Really? A year and a half? I knew you took some extra classes, but I didn’t realize you were that far ahead of me.”

“It helps not having social life,” Abigail says.

“What about that woman you met when you and Jillian went out?”

“What woman?” Rhiannon asks.

“Thanks a lot, Neil,” Abigail says. “She’s someone I haven’t had much success in hooking up with so far. We’ve had coffee but keep running into problems making an actual date.”

“Because of me? You know, I can navigate your apartment just fine. I can get along for a few hours.”

“True. But I can’t bring her home, can I?”

“She doesn’t have a place of her own?”

“I’m sure she does.”

“Then what’s the problem? You need to get out. Make some friends, or maybe something more.”

“Mom. I’m perfectly capable of handling my own love life.”

“Sometimes I wonder. You never dated in high school.”

“I never wanted to date in high school.”

“This is precisely why we never had cats.”

“I thought you were allergic,” Abigail says.

“Well, that too.”

Inside, Rhiannon waves Neil off and uses her cane to get to a seat. He goes to help the others set up. Abigail drops her bag off with Rhiannon, but before she can go, her mother catches her by the arm.

“Promise me that you’re going to call this woman and set something up.”

“Okay,” Abigail says, then gives Rhiannon a hug. “I promise.”

“Hey guys,” Neil says once Abigail joins the group onstage, “I know she’s going to kill me, but Abby has a new song she’s been working on.”

“Neil, I told you it’s not ready yet.”

“Let’s hear what you’ve got,” Freddy the drummer says. The others agree.

Abigail picks up a guitar and sits.

“I think I’ve got the lyrics but the tune doesn’t sound right.”

She plays a few bars and sings a verse. Rob, the bass player nods.

“I see what you mean,” he says. “I think it’s the tempo. Seems like it’s dragging.”

Rob improvises a bass line in a slightly faster time but Freddy stops him. He starts to tap out a beat. “Try this.”

Rob starts to follow along and Abigail starts to nod in time with the beat.

“I like that,” she says and starts to strum along finally adding in the next lyric. Neil joins them on guitar and they’re soon playing along like they’ve been playing it for a while.

After rehearsal, Neil tells her, “See, I told you the guys could help.”

“You were right. I just need to learn to trust people.”

“Sounds like good advice for your social life as well,” Rhiannon says.

“Maybe so,” Abigail says.

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