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    Mac Rountree
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

And A Child is Born - 16. Brussels and Back

Yonatan had been in Brussels for a week when he decided to confront Black about his attitude. Black had basically ignored Yonatan and when asked a question, he would give Yonatan a one-word answer. One morning, Matan and the children were going on an outing for the day, and it was just the two of them in the apartment.

“Tell me what is bothering you, Black. You are clearly upset with me.”

Black looked at Yonatan and didn’t answer.

“We can’t continue to function this way. I need to know. I owe my life to you, I mean it, I owe my life to you, and it is only fair that we communicate.”

Black looked at Yonatan and acknowledged that he had saved the young man’s life.

“You dishonored yourself and me at Cameron Farms. I don’t like you dishonoring yourself that way. You were so angry that you didn’t think about what you were doing. I was disappointed and angry, especially when you talked directly to Green about arranging transportation to Brussels instead of talking with me. I was your go-to person, Yonatan, and you chose to go to someone else. You were hurting so much you ended up hurting others who love you.”

Yonatan thought about what Black had said. He admitted he was angry, damned angry that day. Yonatan went directly to Green because he was the one who handled those types of logistics. As the boss, Yonatan thought he had the right to go to whomever he wanted, not understanding the underlying tension between Black and Green.

“Thank you for your honesty. May I have time to think on this? Also, can we return to normal? Green got everything done, and I thought the two of you were good friends as well as co-workers, so I assumed it would be okay?”

“I didn’t know Green until he arrived at the house in Suffolk. I had a telephone call that a man named Green would be arriving.”

“Well, who is he?”

“I told you that I don’t know. Maybe you should ask Mr. Cohen.”

“I will ask Mr. Cohen. But I still need time to think about what happened and how it is that Todd ended up in the hospital.”

“Yes, you may have time to think on this. I have done nothing but think about it for the last few days. No, we cannot go back to normal because you have put Green ahead of me in authority. He is now directing my work. It was never like this before, and he is enjoying being the fair-haired person who saved you in the latest moment of distress.”

“This is too much for me. I don’t want to live my life like this.”

“That may be true that you don’t want to live like this, but it is the life you were chosen to live.”

Yonatan was startled by his pronouncement of it being the life that was chosen for him to live.

“So, how do I make things right regarding you?”

“Let Green know that I am in charge. Simple as that, except you then have to follow through and live it. I don’t know who he is or was, but he is enjoying being in charge.”

“I can do that.”

“One more thing, boss.”

Yonatan looked at Black.

“Call Todd and apologize for what happened.”

“He owes me an apology; I wasn’t in the wrong.”

“That is true. But, take the high road and apologize. Todd doesn’t know how to apologize and is full of himself with that new farm. He has some tough lessons to learn about managing people and a farm. You, however, have an ease and grace from working side by side with laborers on your family’s farm. You know how to get along with people. Generally.” Black smiled at Yonatan’s recent rant. “I was wrong to take it personally when you went directly to Green. We were under a lot of stress. Please forgive me for thinking you didn’t value me and my intelligence.”

Black had just shown Yonatan how to act like a gentleman.

“You are right, of course, dammit. When will I learn all of these lessons? Is Todd out of the hospital, and can the apology to Todd wait until we return to Virginia?”

“I think a telephone call where you apologize and then suggest a dinner at the Williamsburg Inn when you return would work much better.”

Yonatan took the advice.

“Oh, and can I ask that you speak with Green today? He is busily preparing another work schedule for the rest of our stay here. He is also on the phone with many people, and I have no idea who they are. He is coordinating with someone else. I also think you and Matan need some time in Paris which will provide some relief to the coverage problems we are having.”

“I will do that tonight after dinner. Thank you for suggesting the visit to Paris. Do you think you can arrange for us to travel tomorrow? I would love to travel by train if possible.”

Black grinned and walked out of the room.

Yonatan circled the room, trying to figure out what to say to Todd. Finally, he picked up the telephone and placed the international call to Todd’s apartment. Luckily, Todd picked up the telephone. Yonatan started by apologizing and asking if they could have dinner upon their return. Todd stumbled in his speech and started apologizing to Yonatan, then started whimpering, and Erick took the phone.

“Yonatan, he has been so distraught. I am so glad that you called because he didn’t know what to say to you. There are some things we need to tell you, and we prefer to do it in person.”

The guys would arrive back in Virginia two days before Todd flew back to Atlanta and agreed to have dinner at the Inn. They hoped their friendship would withstand the blow-up at the farm. They were all under pressure with different needs and expectations.

Yonatan still had to figure out where they were going to live when they returned because Black had made clear that the house in Suffolk made them too vulnerable. A discussion with Black that afternoon led Yonatan to look for housing in Williamsburg closer to the college. A couple of new neighborhoods were being developed that might provide safe housing. One was particularly interesting because several former highly placed government officials lived there. Black had been discreetly told that the government provided some security for the gated neighborhood to keep those gentlemen safe. Yonatan decided to use his contacts and called Senator Fairfax, who said he would make inquiries and be back in touch. Later that same day, the Senator called and said he had found the house for Yonatan and Matan. It was on the water and next to a Secretary in the last administration. He said the guys might not agree with the man’s politics but that there would be constant surveillance because the gentleman was still active in international affairs and had a high-level government security detail. Without seeing the house, Yonatan agreed to purchase it. The Senator said he would get them a good deal. Yonatan told Black, who said he would get the site plans and start to arrange security. Yonatan then told Matan, who was excited about decorating the new house. Matan said they would need lots of new artwork. Yonatan chuckled. He could imagine the house with no furniture but with the most incredible artwork in the area.

Yonatan met with Black and Green and apologized to Black for going above his head. He told Green that the hierarchy had not changed. Green did not blink an eye. It was as if he knew the content of the conversation ahead of time. Both men were very professional and said nothing afterward about any jockeying behind the scenes.

Matan, Ossie, Juju, Pink, and Yonatan left for Paris the next day. Yonatan somehow knew that Black and Green were on the train, but neither let himself be seen. Arit was waiting for them when they arrived in Paris to take them to Matan’s parents.

They had busy days in Paris, including an obligatory visit with the Chief Rabbi to talk about the opening of the art exhibit in Paris. He told them that he had heard from Rabbi Herzel about the art exhibit in Brussels. He said that he was negotiating with the Musee d’Art d’Historie du Judaïsme about the opening in Paris and that he would be presiding over the opening ceremony.

“Of course, I won’t be standing in the plaza in front of the museum lighting a Chanukiah, but I will figure out something. There is talk about a complementary exhibit at the Louvre. I am working behind the scenes to make that happen. I think an opening event in front of the Pei Glass Pyramid would be perfect, but the Jewish Museum president probably wouldn’t like it. Of course, we don’t have a Queen to come to the opening, but who knows. Maybe the Pretender to the Throne? Yes?”

Rabbi Akiva laughed, and they knew he wanted to one-up his colleague. Then Yonatan suggested something that startled the older gentleman and made him cry. Yonatan asked that the Shoah survivors from Paris be invited to the opening. Matan promised that he, Matan, and the family would be in attendance if the rabbi could make that happen.

“Don’t tell the old man in Vienna. Luckily, the exhibit will be here before it goes to Vienna. I will invite all of the French Shoah survivors to the opening. We will fill the plaza with survivors who are here to celebrate, and we will remember those who did not live. We will honor life and light. We don’t need the Pretender to the Throne. Forget I even suggested that. I was thinking of the pictures in Le Figaro. I must admit that I was jealous. That evil entered my body, and I fell for it. You are angels who have come to wrestle with me and force me to remember why the Jewish people are still here. I should call one of you Jacob and the other Israel.”

“We are merely Matan and Yonatan who are trying to practice Tikkun Olam. We need to help repair the world, and hopefully, this exhibit will help.”

Matan said the children needed supper and that they must leave. When they arrived at the apartment, Judy and Herbert had fed the children, changed their nappies, and put them to bed. Herbert had opened a bottle of wine for Yonatan and Matan to drink with a dinner of grapes, figs, dates, cheeses, and crackers. It was a simple but perfect meal.

The next morning, Yonatan went to the law office for a quick meeting, and Matan headed to the museum. They only had a half-day before they needed to leave for the airport and return to Virginia. Black, Green, and Yellow joined them at the apartment. There were many tears as Matan and his parents separated. Arit drove them to the airport in a van. They quickly negotiated their way through security and then to the boarding area. Luckily, they were anonymous to most travelers returning home after a winter holiday in Europe. The children received more attention than their parents. They felt fortunate that the children liked to travel and had sunny dispositions. They were starting to see their physical features in them. Ossie was looking more like Matan every day. Juju was a daddy’s girl who loved to be in his lap. The men carried them onto the plane and secured them for take-off. Matan and Yonatan had enjoyed parenting the last three weeks but knew that they would need a nanny again when they returned to school. Matan looked at Yonatan when he said that. He also said, “make it right, Yonatan. Whatever was said, make it right.” It seemed that Yonatan would be having more than one dinner at the Williamsburg Inn.

Except for a major winter storm that tossed the plane around for a short while, the trip across the Atlantic was without problems. The storm, however, was a challenge as the plane dropped in an air pocket as they were trying to eat while feeding the children. Each grabbed a child and held them close while food trays were flying around the cabin. Ossie let out a wail, and then Juju followed her brother’s lead. They could hear the commotion from the cabin behind them. The flight attendants were busy cleaning up the cabin and offering wet cloths and napkins to clean themselves and the children. Ossie and Juju were not cooperating. They were scared. As soon as either man would try to put them in their seats so they could clean themselves, the children would start squalling. It didn’t help that Pink and Yellow were there to assist; they wanted their daddies. Matan shrugged his shoulders and said it didn’t matter that they were covered in baby food because they wouldn’t know anyone at Dulles and could escape through the crowd. Matan’s dictum that they always be well turned out was abandoned in favor of making the children feel safe.

When they disembarked from the plane, Yonatan held both children while Matan wiped some of the food from their clothes. Again, Pink and Yellow tried to help, but the children would not go to them. They were quickly escorted through customs and were back on U.S. soil. It felt good to be home. They were waiting at the luggage carousel when they heard someone call their names. They turned and were confronted by a welcome home contingent. Todd and Erick were holding a banner welcoming them home, surrounded by Eron, Tayloe, Jan, Marjorie, and Robert. Nash was present but was off to the side in a wheelchair. As soon as Jan walked up, Juju put her arms out to be held. As Yonatan passed her to Jan, he hugged Jan and told her it was great to see her. She smiled and said it was great to be seen. She gave Yonatan a long inquiring look. He hugged her again. Nash rolled up in a wheelchair, and Yonatan fell to his knees, hugged him, started crying, and told him that it was so good to see him. Nash was in surprisingly good spirits and said he would be walking again in no time.

Robert said they had a small bus to transport everyone because they needed a vehicle with a wheelchair lift. There was also a professional driver. The U.S. contingent said they hoped everyone was hungry because they had made dinner reservations. Yonatan laughed and said he and Matan were wearing food but didn’t get to eat any, so it would be good to actually eat. Todd laughed and said he had never seen the boys covered in baby food before.

The bus appeared, and Yellow and Green said they would load the luggage. Again, Matan and Yonatan didn’t have much luggage because they left most of it in Paris and Brussels. They had one suitcase with the kid’s clothes. The children were growing too fast to leave anything in Brussels because they would have outgrown it by the time they returned. They did have knapsacks filled with books that would be sold at the college bookstore. They would get pennies on the dollar, but Yonatan didn’t want to see most of the books again. Matan kept a couple of his books to build his reference library.

Once Nash was secured on the bus, the driver left the airport complex and started driving on back roads that led them to Fredericksburg. They pulled into a shopping center where there was a family-style restaurant. It sounded perfect. The hostess did not blink an eye when told how many people wanted to eat. She and a waiter quickly pushed tables together and seated everyone. People could either go through the buffet line or order from the menu. Yonatan made sure he was beside Nash, who ordered from the menu. Matan filled a plate for Yonatan and then went to get something for himself and the children. Yonatan became emotional while trying to talk with Nash, so he just held his hand.

“It is not your fault, Yonatan. I will be okay. You saved my life by calling the apartment. I had intentionally knocked the phone off of the receiver. When you couldn’t get me to answer, these SWAT team guys suddenly appeared, and within a minute, everything was restored to order. It was like a fucking movie. Those guys were incredible. Boom, they show up. Boom, they take care of the bad guys. Boom, they were gone. They had disappeared by the time the ambulance arrived. I tried to explain things to the EMS guys, but they kept shaking their heads in disbelief. They were sure I had a brain injury. However, they knew I couldn’t have caused my own injuries. I did ask them to hang up the telephone.” Nash laughed at that. “The neighbors were quite taken by surprise by all of the activity, but they visited me at the hospital every day. They even threw a party when I was released. I will live in a rehabilitation facility until I can walk and climb steps again, but it isn’t too bad. I am the youngest person there, and all of those people want to be my grandparents. I am letting them fawn over me as my family does not talk to me anymore.”

He grinned at Yonatan and gave him a thumbs up. Yonatan didn’t ask Nash about the extent of his injuries because he knew that Black could find out for him.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. Eron, Tayloe, Robert, and Marjorie were dropped off in Richmond and the rest headed to Williamsburg. Yonatan wondered where he, Matan, and the children were staying for the night. Black had told him to stop worrying about it and that it would be handled.

When the bus pulled up in front of the Williamsburg Inn, Black told Yonatan that they had accommodations there for a week while the house was being prepared. Black said the guys needed to go furniture shopping the next day. Matan thought that was a marvelous idea. Yonatan said he would lie by the heated pool with the children. Matan laughed and said to give him a credit card, and he would be fine. And that is what happened. Luckily, they had a suite at the Inn, and Yonatan was able to get some work done when the children napped. Two days later, Black drove Yonatan to the house in Suffolk, and he saw the house was completely packed. The movers would arrive the next day, and everything would be placed in the house in Williamsburg. Some of it would be temporary until the new furniture arrived, but at least they would have a sofa to sit on. The children would have their cribs, and all of Yonatan’s work files would be handy.

They were standing in the living room after touring the house.

“Well, Black, tell Tim he needs to get me a proposal on using the house for LGBTQ youths. I didn’t know it would be so soon, but there is no need for this house to be empty when there are homeless youths in need.”

Copyright © 2020 Mac Rountree; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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So...high emotion leads to reflection and an injection of rationality.  Great chapter!

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Sorry but, I am having a difficult time to have any sympathy for Yonatan. He is and has acted like a spoiled child.

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On 5/14/2021 at 11:32 AM, drsawzall said:

Sorry but, I am having a difficult time to have any sympathy for Yonatan. He is and has acted like a spoiled child.

Yes, he is.  In some ways he is mature but still a spoiled child at the most basic level.


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