After removing the crust from my eyes, I took a few deep breaths, grabbed my phone from the nightstand and sent the text. “Jean, sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I really need to see you.”

She replied a couple of hours later, saying that she would see me at 9, after her last patient that night.

When I got to the office, Karine told me that Eric had called to set up dinner. “He said he's still out west but wanted to make sure he got something on your calendar, so I took care of that. He's really interested, I think. I'd love to know what you're going to tell him.”

“I'm sorry, Karine. I really don't know what to do. I'm not sure I will until I meet with him.”

“I get it,” she said, though I could sense the tension and anticipation in her voice.

* * *

I hopped on the subway and made it to Larry's in time for an early dinner before my appointment. Ginette made a pork roast with some garlic mashed potatoes. She may have had some issues with me, but whenever I joined them for dinner, she would prepare one of my favorite meals.

“This looks fantastic, Ginette. Thank you so much for making this.”

She nodded.

“So, give me a college update, team,” I said.

“She was accepted,” Ginette said as my eyes opened widely in anticipation, “to LaGuardia.”

Paula looked at her mother and calmly but firmly stated, “I don't care about that! I'll get into Stonebridge, and that's where I'll go.”

“Oh, honey,” said Ginette. “I hope you do as well. I'm just being practical. Even if you do ...

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