As Abigail nears graduation, she becomes more apprehensive about her plans for afterward. She’s all but completely decided she’ll head back to Seattle, and there’s a genetics lab there which she interviewed with at a career fair who’s expressed an interest in having her work for them. She does not look forward to leaving behind her friends and newly acquired family. Her greatest apprehension comes from the inevitable talk she must have with Lauren.
Since they’ve been together, Abigail has developed a deep affection for Lauren, but she’s always felt something was lacking in their relationship. Lauren seems to feel it, too. Several months earlier, she suggested Abigail move in with her, but quickly let the matter drop when Abigail couldn’t commit. In considering the offer, Abigail realized she likes having a place to retreat once their dates are over. They always have lots of fun together, but there’s much about Abigail’s life she has yet to share and she hasn’t questioned Lauren much about her past. While Lauren did meet Rhiannon while she was staying with Abigail, Abigail has yet to meet any of Lauren’s family, even though they live in the suburbs of Portland.
For his part, Neil deals with the change in his usual nonchalant fashion.
“Seattle’s not that far away,” he says, “and they’ve got a great music scene up there.”
“How do you think the band will handle not having me around?”
“We’ll probably break up. But we pretty much do that every week anyway.”
For advice on how to handle the trickier issue of Lauren, Abigail phones Jillian. They haven’t seen one another since just after Rhiannon’s accident, but they talk occasionally on the phone whenever Abigail needs some advice.
Jillian takes her usual blunt position.
“The sex is okay, isn’t it?”
“That has never been a problem, and I’m not going to elaborate any further so don’t ask.”
“Okay. Okay. You’re always so cerebral about these things. Relationships need to be more organic.”
“Isn’t the fact that I’m questioning it suggestive of a problem?”
“Well, yes. It certainly doesn’t imply things are going smoothly. I mean, you’re talking to me now and not her.”
“I’m aware of that. I just don’t want to hurt her.”
“Sweetie, you’re going to hurt her a lot more by avoiding it. From what you’ve told me, it sounds like she’s already pretty well clued in. I doubt you’ll be telling her anything she doesn’t already know.”
“You’re probably right.”
“Of course I’m right. I’ve been to this rodeo a few times. Trust me, it never gets easier. It’s best to acknowledge you’re moving in different directions and part as friends.”
“Well, I’ll get my chance soon enough. We’re seeing Sarah McLachlan tomorrow.”
“I’m envious. I missed her in San Francisco last month.”
“Wish me luck.”
“Forget luck. Use tact. Speak from your heart and avoid cliches. Things go much better when they’re real.”