Genevieve is set to graduate June 14, and their trip to Atlanta is scheduled for the following Saturday. Neither of them is quite prepared to face the reality that, for Genevieve, it will most likely be a one-way trip. While Abigail will be happy to see Genevieve attending a good school, she doesn’t relish the thought of all the distance between them. Plus, there’s the added tension of dropping in on a family who, for the most part, may not even know nor care that she exists.
Their spare time is spent gathering as much information on Leah and Alyssa as possible. To that end, they spend a great deal of time on Facebook, messaging or chatting with Alyssa, who has been, so far, the easiest of the sisters with whom to interact. Abigail isn’t quite the social engineer that her cousin is, but she finds she enjoys communicating with Alyssa online, though she has to be sure to keep the fact sheet nearby that she and Genevieve maintain to keep track of the legend they’re developing on Zelda, and to record facts about Alyssa and Leah. Occasionally, while messaging, she slips and adds some personal fact not on the sheet and must scramble to cover. Sometimes she responds to Alyssa’s posts with an recipe she gets from her mother. She learns that Alyssa and her husband are expecting their first child around September.
“We waited,” Alyssa explains. “Sooner or later, though, you just have to say, now’s the time.”
On some level, Abigail feels a little guilty that they aren’t more honest with Alyssa, because she genuinely likes everything she knows about her. Alyssa teaches second and third graders in Fulton County, and has a side job where she plays a princess for children’s parties and other functions. She’s a distance runner, who also hikes, cycles and camps. One thing both Abigail and Genevieve have noted is a reluctance on Alyssa’s part about discussing her sister, Leah. Equally so, there are almost no records of Leah online, no property records, no traffic citations, no mention of her in the Journal and Constitution despite her being a business owner in town.
“She’s a ghost,” Genevieve says after an afternoon of investigating Leah fails to produce more information than her name in two obituaries, one for Margaret Blaine, her aunt, and one for Paxton Walker, her father. Abigail has a little better luck, searching trade publications for Leah, but only yielding a handful of articles authored by Leah, mostly security related.
“For someone with her credentials she should have published more,” Abigail says.
One person Abigail hasn’t kept in the loop about visiting Atlanta is Neil. Several months before Rosalind died, Abigail set him up on a date with her friend from high school, Zoë, who was also in the marching band and who writes poetry. While Abigail didn’t date in high school, she’s always felt she and Zoë might have made a good match, if Abigail hadn’t been so reluctant to bring it up, and if Zoë had shown the slightest inclination toward women. Neil and Zoë hit it off so well that after two dates, they started making plans to move in together. Since setting them up, Abigail hardly sees Neil except at band practice, and Zoë is usually with him, having joined the band as a flutist, guitarist, and singer. Having Zoë around totally took Neil’s mind off Abigail.
Freddy is another matter.
Since her days with the band in Portland, Freddy has always had a bit of a crush on Abigail but typically kept it under wraps, given the hostile and vindictive nature of his relationship with Annie. Freddy and Annie were always arguing and sometimes their arguments would escalate into violence, though never outright abuse. Rather their anger would be directed toward each other’s things, such as when Annie smashed Freddy’s CD collection, or when Freddy gave away Annie’s cat to a sweet old lady who lived a few blocks from them. An outburst by Annie toward Abigail one evening after practice alerted her that somehow she’s part of the reason for the tension.
“Get out of our bed!” Annie screamed at Abigail after seemingly appearing out of nowhere as Freddy helped Abigail carry some instruments to her car. Freddy interceped her and dragged her away before any real harm could be done, leaving Abigail to load her car alone.
Shortly after Neil and Freddy moved to Seattle, Abigail got a terse phone call from Annie telling her she was now free to pursue Freddy, and Abigail spent over an hour explaining why that wasn’t likely to happen, which Annie found terribly amusing. Since then Freddy has dropped a number of not so subtle hints that he’s interested in Abigail, only to be reminded by her why he should find someone else. She’s actually looking forward to putting several thousand miles between them.
At last Genevieve’s graduation arrives and Abigail and Rhiannon, along with Neil, Zoë, and Freddy attend. Genevieve is seated with the honors students, and she says she just missed out on being valedictorian due to the fact that she had not been enrolled in school there the full year.
After the ceremony is over, Neil asks her, “So, what’s up next?”
“I guess I’ll go to college somewhere,” she replies, being purposely vague about her plans at Abigail’s insistence.
Rhiannon almost gives everything away. “Weren’t you just accepted—”
“At a couple of good schools,” Abigail breaks in, giving Rhiannon a look which alerts her to keep it a secret.
“Definitely some good options,” Rhiannon says.
“Enjoy your trip to Atlanta,” Neil says. “You should look up Danny while you’re there.”
“How the hell do you know we’re going to Atlanta?” Abigail says, somewhat frustrated.
“Oh, the airline called the other day while you were in the shower. I was actually supposed to tell you that.”
“Just a nice little vacation, that’s all,” Genevieve says.
“Yep, just a quick two weeks,” Abigail says.
“I’ll give you Danny’s number. He works there at the CDC. Oh, and he actually goes by Winn. Jill and I are the only ones who still call him Danny.”
“Great. I’ll look him up.”
Once again Neil and the band arrange a party to celebrate Genevieve’s graduation. She and Abigail have been packing for several days, and early Saturday, toss a few more things into their bags..
“If things work out, I’ll pack up the rest of your stuff and ship it to you,” Abigail says.
Saturday morning, Rhiannon drives them to the airport, and after an extended session of hugs and tears, they board their plane.