A number of interesting consequences result from Alyssa’s giving birth in the office of T. J. Bailey’s restaurant in Decatur and the first is that the owner awards the Caines and Neil free dinners for life, and since the restaurant is owned by a conglomerate, this offer extends to all their Atlanta area holdings. Neil and Sarah take full advantage of this offer, and realize significant savings on food costs by eating out all the time. Another is that the permutation of the band consisting of Genevieve, Sarah, and Freddy prove to be very popular with the patrons, garnering them an offer to become the “house” band, and earning them a reasonable stipend each time they perform. After extensive negotiations, the restaurant agrees to accept Neil and, occasionally, Abigail as part of the bargain, so long as either Sarah or Genevieve is present and that they perform together at least once a week. Of course, the happiest consequence is that Alyssa and Tim have a healthy six pound eleven ounce baby girl they name Leah Naomi, after her sister and his mother.
Abigail goes about the process of applying for medical school, under the watchful eye of Winn Hawkins. She contacts several of her professors in Portland for recommendations, plus Kyle, her former supervisor. The deadline is toward the end of the year, but because of the volume of applications received, it’s recommended applicants submit early. Her first decision is whether or not to pursue a Ph.D. with an M.D. Winn suggests that since she wants to specialize in genetics, she should pursue both and use the doctorate for something related to her specialty. She agrees.
Since she’s moved to town with no visible means of support, she decides to look for a job. Winn puts her in touch with a medical recruiter, Robert Jansen, who several of Winn’s fellow employees use. He’s a balding, heavily tanned guy with a wiry demeanor who wears horn-rimmed glasses, and is overly polite.
Abigail agrees to meet with him in the food court at Perimeter Mall, judging it to be sufficiently neutral for an initial discussion. She and Jansen meet for nearly an hour, while Robert quizzes her on her school and work background, interests, extra curricular activities, all part of building a profile to help him ascertain where she might be a good fit. From there, Robert begins offering suggestions.
“I know you’re hoping for a position with the CDC, but they don’t currently have openings in your area. You may want to consider a job in private industry until something opens up for you in the government.”
“Bickering Plummet has openings for genetic associates in their medical division as a matter of fact. The work would be very similar to what you were doing in Seattle.”
“Bickering Plummet has a medical division?”
“They acquired one with their takeover of Stratum Medical recently. If you’re interested in working at CDC, they do have contracts there.”
“I can’t say working with Bickering has been a dream of mine. My cousin might never forgive me.”
“At this point, I’d say the corporate culture is still closer to that of Stratum. Plus they offer a comprehensive benefits package.”
“I’m sure they do.”
Robert gives Abigail a long stare, as though considering something.
“Ms. Worthy, would you mind if I inquired about your dating preferences?”
“How is that relevant to finding me a job?”
“Oh, it isn’t and if you’d rather not discuss it that’s perfectly fine. It’s just that I may know someone who might be a good match for you, if you don’t normally date men.”
“Are you a recruiter or a matchmaker?”
“Is there that much difference between the two? I like getting people into the perfect situation, regardless. The young woman I have in mind shares many points of compatibility with you.”
“Okay, I’m listening.”
He takes out his phone and calls up a photo.
“That’s Gloria. I just found her a situation at Allied Health Sciences.”
Abigail looks. The photo depicts a woman around her age with dirty blonde hair wearing scrubs. Abigail finds her attractive.
“Yes, I would definitely give her a second look if I saw her on the street but how do you know —”
“Ms. Worthy, as you can see, I pride myself on getting to know my clients. Of course, I can’t share intimate details, but I can tell you you’re of a similar age, educational level, socioeconomic status, and you both work in the medical field. Plus, she’s a poet who’s performed at slams around town and she’s musical.”
“And she’s not already seeing someone?”
“I’m sure you can attest to how tricky the dating scene can be, especially if you’re looking for a long term situation.”
“With your permission, I could pass your number along or set up a meeting and you can see what develops.”
Abigail considers this.
“I don’t believe I’m about to say this, but, sure, give her my number. Now about that job with Bickering.”