Worthy, Part 31

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Abigail enters her mother’s home and drops her bag in the living room. Rhiannon comes in and is surprised to see her.

“Hey, kiddo. Twice in one week?”

“We need to talk.”

“This sounds serious.”

“Did you know Genni isn’t Rosie’s biological daughter?”

“How do you— You ran her DNA didn’t you?”

“So you do know.”

“Of course. Rosie didn’t keep secrets from me.”

“How long have you known?”

“I’ve known Rosie couldn’t have children since she was in college. When she announced she had Genni, I figured she must have adopted. I didn’t learn the whole story until they moved in with us.”

“Which is?”

“She used an egg donor and a surrogate. Our cousin Barbara.”

“Barbara the religious freak?”

“She was a little less so back then. Actually she was kind of sweet.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Abigail asks.

“Rosie told me not to tell anyone. She didn’t want Genni to find out. The only people who knew were me, Rosie, and Barbara’s family.”

“And you didn’t think I should know?”

“You were barely a teenager when they moved in. I wasn’t going to dump all that on you.”

“You’ve had a lot of time since.”

“Would you have wanted to know if you couldn’t tell Genni? Trust me, it’s not knowledge you want to conceal from those you love.”

Abigail considers this. “I see your point. She knows, by the way.”

“I guess that was inevitable. How’d she take it?”

“How do you think? She’s devastated. I cheered her up a bit by telling her I’d help her try to figure out who her bio-mom is.”

“If anyone can, it would be you.”

“Do you know who the donor is?”

“No idea. That’s information Rosie took to her grave. I asked when it first came up and she said I didn’t need to know. She told me Barbara didn’t even know a donor was involved and was really pissed when she found out. I think that’s what pushed her down the religious path.”

“That’s what Barbara meant. When I talked to her, she was very critical of Rosie and told me to tell her she remembers. I almost feel sorry for her.”

“What I do know is that Rosie always thought whoever it was would come back and claim Genni.”

“That’s why they moved so much.”

“Yeah, that was part of it.”

“I wish you’d trusted me with this. When I was looking at Genni’s results, I was sure I’d made a mistake.”

“Does it not occur to you that Rosie might have planned all this?”

“Why would she have planned it this way?”

“She was nuts. Haven’t you figured that out yet? Of course a normal person wouldn’t have kept something like this from her child, but Rosie wasn’t normal. She had to know Genni would want to join your DNA study once she was gone. It’s probably why she was so adamant about not letting her join while she was alive.”

Rhiannon goes to the counter and retrieves a packet which she holds as she speaks to Abigail.

“What difference does it make, anyway? You and Genni have a great relationship. Would knowing she’s not your biological cousin have changed any of that?”

“No. But it might have helped prevent me from finding out the way I did.”

“I’m sorry you had to learn like that. But you knew Rosie had cancer all those years ago.”

“I didn’t know how radically they treated it. I never imagined she was unable to conceive a child. But, I have to confess I’ve never thought Genni resembled anyone in the family. I just thought she took after her father.”

“That’s because you never met Paul in person. She doesn’t look much like him either.”

Rhiannon takes the packet to Abigail.

“Speaking of Barbara, why did you have to call her about that study of yours?”

“I just asked if she wanted to contribute a sample.”

“I know she turned you down. She gave me an earful on the phone about people playing God.”

“She called you?”

“Yes. She also sent me this.”

Rhiannon hands her the packet. Abigail examines the contents, finding it to be brochures about a program at Barbara’s church.

“Pray away the gay?”

“Yes. Barbara understands that you probably won’t want to move to Massachusetts, though she did say she’d accommodate you for a good cause. She recommended several similar programs in this area.”

“All right. I thought I had heard every ridiculous idea there was, but this?”

“She suggested I take it to the Lord in prayer. I didn’t mention that the last time I was in a church was the one and only time Mom and I visited her family when I was little.”

Abigail puts the packet under her arm. “I’m sure I have a file someplace just for this. Tell me what else you remember about Genni’s birth.”

“Like I said, Rosie just sort of announced she had Genevieve. After Rosie moved in, she said she and Paul wanted a child that matched their competencies in math and science.”

“I assume they were successful.”

“Rosie seemed to think so. I mean, look at Genni.”

“So probably a scientist, mathematician, or computer expert. It’s a start.”

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