Abigail is lying on the bed in her room at the Caine residence. Toward the end of the previous week, Alyssa invited Abigail and Genevieve out to her house to hear what Steven concluded regarding custody of the embryos in deep freeze in Massachusetts. At that time, Alyssa offered to let Abigail and Genevieve stay with her and Tim for the duration of their trip to help them defray costs.
The evening yielded many surprises, the greatest being that because of an error in the agreement between Genevieve’s parents and Leah, that Leah never relinquished custody of the embryos produced and, as a result, is still Genevieve’s legal mother. After much discussion, Genevieve decided to move into a spare room at Leah’s condo, which is just a few blocks away from the Georgia Tech campus, where Genevieve has decided to start school in the Fall.
She and Genevieve haven’t seen much of one another since then, except for the previous day, when Alyssa, Tim, and Leah took them out to see some sights around town. Winn has invited them all over for dinner Wednesday evening, extending his invitation to Leah and the Caines once Abigail filled him in on the details. Other than that, Abigail has been planning how to spend her last week in town.
Alyssa taps on the door and looks in.
“Are you free this evening?” she asks.
“I don’t have plans, other than hooking up with Genni if she’s not doing anything.”
“Then let me take you to dinner. There are some things Leah and I would like to discuss with you.”
“Sure. Just let me know when to be ready and whether I need to dress up.”
When they arrive at the restaurant, Leah is already there.
“Is Genni joining us?”
“No,” Leah says, “they’re having some sort of event on campus for students who’ll be enrolling in the Fall.”
“We wanted to speak to you alone,” Alyssa says.
“Is everything okay? There’s nothing wrong with Genni is there?”
Leah shakes her head. “This isn’t about Genevieve. It’s about you. At this point, she doesn’t know we’re talking to you.”
They order drinks.
“What do you want to talk to me about?”
“We know you’re scheduled to head back to Seattle at the end of the week,” Alyssa says, “and we’d like to propose an alternative.”
“I don’t understand.”
“When we spoke at the house a few days ago, you indicated you’d be interested in attending medical school,” Alyssa says. “We’d like to make that happen for you.”
“Alyssa’s right. We have more than enough money, and can’t think of a better use for it than helping you achieve your goals.”
Abigail doesn’t know how to react.
“That — that’s very generous of you. Frankly I’m in shock.”
“We figured you would be,” Alyssa says, taking Abigail’s hand.
“We don’t expect an answer right now,” Leah says. “We’re just putting it out there for you to consider. We realize you’ll probably need some time to decide what’s best for you.”
“Where would I stay?”
“You can stay at the house with Tim and me,” Alyssa says. “We both like the idea of having a med student around with the baby coming. If the idea of staying there for free bothers you, you can always help out around the house, though we won’t expect that of you.”
“This is just a lot to take in,” Abigail says. “How would I ever be able to pay you back?”
Leah and Alyssa laugh.
“We would consider this a grant, not a loan,” Leah says. “An investment, if you will.”
“In your future,” Alyssa tells her. “We think you’re worth it.”
“But it’s so much money.”
“Trust me, we can afford it,” Leah says. “I’m in charge of our father’s estate and he left behind more than enough to fund several generations of our family.”
Alyssa touches Abigail’s shoulder. “Like Leah said, we’re not expecting an answer right now. We want you to make the best decision for you.”
“This is crazy. I never imagined something like this.” Abigail puts her hand over her eyes then takes a deep breath. “Okay. I’ll think about it. I mean really think about it.”
Leah says, “That’s all we ask.”