HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 118

She took Virginia’s laptop and camera out of her bag and slid them across the table. Before coming here, Frederica had deleted everything related to herself and her friends, but left the rest of Virginia’s files intact.

“Were you really serious about giving these to Paulson?” Virginia asked.

“If I weren’t, you would’ve called my bluff,” Frederica replied.

“I almost did,” Virginia said. “But then I decided Carter wasn’t paying me enough to risk prison for him. Going after family is always a gamble, anyway. Clearly I miscalculated.”

“That’s one way to put it,” Frederica said. “I am sorry I dragged your son into all this, though. It’s obvious you were trying to keep him away from it.”

Virginia shrugged.

“It was a good play,” she said. “I probably would’ve done the same in your position.”

“He really misses you, you know,” Frederica said.

“Yeah, I know,” Virginia said.

“So why don’t you go see him?” Frederica asked.

“He’s better off without me,” Virginia replied.

“But you’re his mother,” Frederica said.

“Trudy’s got that covered,” Virginia said. “I was never good at the whole ‘nurturing’ thing. That was always her speciality. The best thing I could do for him was to just get out of the way.”

“You know what I think would be even better for him?” Frederica asked. “Not growing up thinking his own mother hates him.”

“Oh come on,” Virginia replied. “He doesn’t think I hate him.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Of course I’m….” Virginia sighed. “God, why am I even arguing with you? You’re barely older than he is. What would you know about this kind of stuff?”

“Not much, I guess,” Frederica said. “It’s not like I can read minds or anything.”