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Together at Last; The Hidden Family Part III

Updated on August 13, 2013
Chupah Garden
Chupah Garden | Source

A few hours pass and then the phone rings; it’s Agent Collins, she said, “Hi James, Nathan and I are coming to pick up Sarah now. When we arrive we’ll come to your room to get you. I want you to come outside with us and say goodbye to Sarah and to Nathan as if you’re going to be leaving to go back home. Get your things packed now, so that you can bring your luggage out with you, and put it in your car while we’re there. You and I will have a brief conversation together in which we will make it appear to be exchanging phone numbers. We’ll have a friendly hug goodbye and I will drive away with Sarah and Nathan. When we leave I want you go check out of your room and then drive up the street to the corner gas station, where Agent Simms will be waiting to escort you here to your new home. It will take us about thirty five minutes to get there; that should give you enough time to get packed.” James replied, “I got it, see you in a bit!”

James told Sarah the plan and she began to help him pack. She asked him how he was going to make Jonah Silverman disappear without anyone filing a Missing Persons Report on him. James said that he would tell the few people to whom it would be obvious that he was gone, that he was taking a teaching position in a private college out of the country. Jonah has done that before, so no one would think that there was anything suspicious going on. He asked Sarah if Mr. and Mrs. Wright have a bank account, and she said yes; both a checking and a savings. James said that he will close out Jonah’s bank accounts and deposit the money into their accounts. James told Sarah that he would like to get a few things from his apartment and tell his best friend and roommate Neil that he would be leaving, which is going to be very difficult being that they are so close, and Jonah is all that Neil has.

James was still trying to believe this was all happening. If this was only a dream, he didn’t ever want to wake up. James told Sarah, “I want Nathan to have a normal life. I know that we’ll be the Wright family for the rest of our lives, but we can be the Wright family in a different country if we have to, in order to have some kind of normalcy. When Nathan finishes college would you consider our family moving to another country?” Sarah lovingly said, “Nathan can finish college in another country, we don’t have to wait. The main thing is that we’re together.” There was a knock at the door, James opened it and it was Agent Collins and Nathan. James gave Nathan a very big fatherly hug, and told him that everything is going to be fine. Nathan replied, “Okay dad!” James grabbed Nathan’s face with both hands and gave him a big kiss on the forehead. Agent Collins asked if James was packed and ready to go, and he gave a final look around the room to make sure he didn’t forget anything, and he said, “I’m ready, let’s go.” Nathan helped his dad carry his luggage to the car and James told Sarah and Nathan good bye, he walked around the driver’s side and he and Agent Collins had conversation and exchanged phone numbers. As James was walking away from the car Agent Collins said, “Thank you again Professor Silverman, have a safe drive home.” They drove away and James went to the office to check out and pay his bill. He then drove to the corner gas station where Agent Simms would be waiting for him. He’d never met Agent Simms, but he figures there’s not going to be too many people just sitting in their car waiting for someone. James arrived at the gas station and there was only one car there. A hand motioned from the window to follow, so he did. They drove for about twenty minutes and then arrived at a gated community. The gates opened and it was a beautiful park-like setting. It didn’t take long to figure out that this was not a gated community at all; the fact was that this was the family house.

James followed Agent Simms around to the back of the property to a covered carport. James got out of his car and waited for Agent Simms so that he could thank him for the escort. When Agent Simms got out of his car James was shocked to see that it was in fact his roommate and friend, Neil. Agent Simms; (Neil) smiled, and said, “Hi James!” A befuddled James replied, “Your Agent Simms? I thought you were my roommate and friend of many years, Neil. What’s going on?” Agent Simms replied, “I’m Special Agent Neil Simms. I was assigned to protect you after the death of your friend Aaron. The department thought that the same people who killed Aaron (And his family) would likely come after you as well, and they did, you just didn’t realize it.” James said, “You mean our whole friendship has been a lie? And what do you mean that they came after me?” Neil replied, “No, our friendship has not been a lie, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had James, truly! In regards to them coming after you; do you remember a day approximately six months after Aaron died, when you were at the cemetery and a strange man approached you?” James nodded yes that he remembered that occasion. “Well, he was likely sent there to either scare or to kill you, but whatever you said to him stopped him from doing what ever he was sent to do. What was your conversation with him?” James said, “He walked up and I was standing there just staring at the ground. He asked why there wasn’t a headstone yet, being that the family died almost six months earlier. I explained to him that it is Jewish tradition to wait a year before you put a headstone on a grave. Next he said that he was sorry for the loss of my good friend Aaron, and I told him no, that I was there mourning Rosalind. He said that he was mistaken; he thought that I was a good friend of Aaron’s. I told him that I was engaged to Rosalind, and when I was in Israel for my Rabbinical studies Aaron asked her to marry him and she did. I wouldn’t say that was much of a friend. The man told me that he was sorry I lost my girl, and he walked away, and I never saw him again.”

James asked Neil, “So that sad story that you gave me eight years ago, about you being all alone in the world and you had no place to live, so could I please let you stay with me; that was all just a lie?” Neil replied, “No that was all true, I didn’t lie to you James. Just like Emily has the credentials to go under cover as a teacher, I really was alone in the world and could easily go under cover as someone needing a friend.” James asked,”Why didn’t you tell me what was going on?” Neil replied, “We had to make sure that you weren’t being watched. If I would have told you that the woman you loved was still alive, you would have wanted to have gone to her immediately, we couldn’t take the chance of you leading someone right to her and Nathan. I had to do my job James, and my job is to protect. It was horrible knowing the truth and seeing how torn up you were, but it was in the best interest of Sarah and Nathan. Once we knew for sure that it was safe to bring you to them; then you were called to come.”

James tried to lighten the moment a bit by saying, “I was going to let you have all the furniture in the apartment.” Neil replied, “Everything has already been moved here, but can I still have the furniture anyway?” They both smiled. James asked Neil, “Are there any more surprises? Every time I turn around it’s been another zinger.” Neil replied, “But they’ve been good zingers haven’t they?” James nodded and said, “Absolutely!”

Neil looked at the house and told James, “Wow, this is a lot bigger than our apartment was.” James added, “This is the size of our apartment building.” Neil asked if James was ready to get settled in to his new home, and he replied that he was, and he added, “Thank you Neil, for being there for me all these years!” Neil replied, “We’ve been there for each other all these years.” They started up the walkway and Nathan came out the back door to meet them. James asked Neil and Nathan if they had met each other yet, and they said yes that they had met the other night. Nathan looked at James and said, “Welcome home dad!” James grabbed Nathan around the neck and gave a cheek hug and said, “I’m glad to finally be home son.”

They went inside to have a bite to eat. James wasn’t very hungry; he was trying to take in everything in the house. One thing that caught his eye was all the photos of him and Sarah from when they were young. There were also a number of photos of Sarah, Nathan and James posing together, that Aaron had taken. Sarah even had Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s Marriage Certificate framed and hanging on the wall above an antique accent table that James’ mother had given to Sarah when she and James got engaged. James looked at the certificate; Nathan was standing next to his dad, James looked at the date of the marriage, it was July 26, 1991. He looked at Sarah with a smile and told her, “That couldn’t be a more perfect date for our marriage to have been on. It was Friday; the Hebrew date was Fifteen Av...” James and Sarah just looked at each other; each remembering what took place on that date twenty-two years ago.

Nathan spoke up and finished what his dad started to say, “The fifteenth of Av is the happiest date on the Hebrew calendar. It’s the perfect day for couples to get married or engaged, and I’m going to guess by the way that you two are looking at each other, that it was the day that you conceived me.” The look on both James and Sarah’s face turned to complete surprise. James said to Nathan, “You know that I’m your father?” Nathan replied, “Yes, my dad, Aaron, told me just a few days before he was killed. I’m the reason why we were going to the Shabbat Service to see you; I wanted you to know that I was your son. I’m the reason why my dad, Aaron is dead.” Emily spoke up; she told Nathan that it was not his fault that Aaron was killed. It wouldn’t have mattered where or when they were going some place, as soon as the three were together away from the safe house the attempt on their lives was going to be made.

Sarah asked Nathan, “You’ve known all these years, why didn’t you tell me that you knew the truth?” A weeping Nathan replied, “Because I felt guilty for being relieved that my real dad was the one that was still alive, when my adopted dad had been so good to me all my life.” Sarah grabbed Nathan in to her arms and cried how sorry she was for everything. She handled everything badly so many years ago. She asked if he could ever forgive her. Nathan told his mom how much he loved her and the only thing that mattered now was that they were together as a family.

Neil took James outside, and Emily stayed in with Sarah and Nathan. Neil said to James, “Talk to me James, are you alright?” James replied, “Two days ago, you and I had an apartment together, and I had no idea that this was all going on. I see the pain in my son and I don’t know how to make it go away. God! I still can’t believe all this has happened. And every bit of it is my fault. I didn’t have to go to Israel at that time, I should have stayed and married Sarah, and then both of us could have gone to Israel.” Sarah interrupted James. She said, “This is my fault James, not yours, not yours! I can’t go back and change anything though, I made a mess of things and I have to live with that, but you told me that we start from right here at this point in time, that our past is gone. Did you mean that?” James replied, “Yes I did!” Sarah said “Then we have to find a way to move ahead James!” James asked if he could go in and talk with Nathan, Sarah nodded. James hugged Sarah and told her that everything is going to be fine, finer than fine.

James went inside and Nathan was talking with Emily. James asked her if he could have a few minutes alone with Nathan. Emily went outside with Sarah and Neil. James told Nathan,”Let’s sit down son. Two days ago when I walked in to your classroom for the first time, you knew that I was your father, and you also knew that I didn’t have a clue what was going on. God Nathan, I’ve had a bodyguard for eight years and I didn’t even realize it, I just thought Neil was my friend and roommate.

Twenty-two years ago I thought my friend stole my fiancé; got her pregnant and did the right thing by marrying her. Eight years ago I thought you and your mother were killed. This passed twenty-two years of my life has pretty much been a lie, but I have been given a second chance at a new beginning, we all have. We can’t go back and do a thing about the past, but we have the choice of making our future happy or miserable. I vote for happy. I am happy to be here with you now. I want to be a happy family. Let’s start from this point in time forward, that’s what your mom and I are trying to do, but if you ever feel the need to talk about things from the past, I am always here to talk at any time you need to get it out. Okay?”

Nathan hugged his dad and as he wept he asked James if he was sorry that his mom got pregnant with him. It was as if James’ heart dropped into his stomach, he said, “God no Nathan! You’re the result of the love between your mom and me. In the Bible, when Rebecca arrived, Isaac took her to his mother’s tent and she became his wife. The act of intercourse was what sealed the covenant of marriage between them. You Nathan are the living Certificate of Covenant between your mom and me. That night was the one and only time that your mom and I have been intimate together. The only thing that I’m sorry about is that I left for Israel and didn’t take my wife with me. I’ll never forgive myself Nathan; I can only hope that you can.”

James just held his son in his arms. There was no need for any more words to be said.

Out on the porch, Sarah was beside herself with grief. Emily told her that she has the most loving relationship that she has ever seen. She and James have loved each other almost all of their lives. They have a second chance to be together and Nathan has the benefit of witnessing such a loving relationship. That’s going to help him to be a loving husband because of the love he sees between his parents. Nathan also had the benefit of having a loving adoptive father. He and Aaron were very close. What if Nathan marries a woman who has children, the loving relationship that he experienced with his adoptive father, Aaron will help him to be a loving adoptive father himself. Emily went on to tell Sarah that what Nathan is doing now is healthy. He needs to get these pent up emotions out, he’s been through a lot, and he can’t move on until these feelings have been addressed.

All of a sudden there was a delicious smell coming from the kitchen. Sarah, Emily and Neil went inside and Nathan and his dad were cooking dinner together. Neil made mention that James is a very good cook, and that he (Neil) began to gain weight after he moved in with James, because he was eating so much good food. Neil said, “I’ll make the salad. Emily, are you going to help or just sit there doing nothing?” Emily said, “Sarah doesn’t ask me to cook.” Neil replied, “Those days are gone darlin’ because the times, they are a changin’!” Emily replied with a snippy tone, “Who invited you to stay here anyway?” It was a much needed light hearted calm, a midst a storm of emotions. These were three people who were happy and hurting at the same time. They had so much to look forward to, but so much pain to deal with from the past.

The first thing that James wanted to do was to have a wedding ceremony. He wanted to have as Jewish a ceremony as possible, and as soon s possible. So Emily arranged for someone in the department to officiate, and James and Sarah finally had their long awaited wedding day. They had a lovely ceremony out in the garden. Everyone that was there was a part of the ceremony itself. Nathan walked his mom down the isle, Emily was the bride’s maid, and Neil was the best man. They exchanged their vows and rings, and kissed for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. James Wright, and it all took place under the beautiful handmade Chupah that was passed down from Sarah’s mother.

James let a little time pass and then he asked Nathan how he felt about possibly their family moving to another country, is there a special girl in his life that he wouldn't want to leave behind? Nathan said that he tries to be careful and stay to himself because of their circumstances, so there is no girlfriend to be concerned about. James said that this is why he wants to get out of the states, he wants Nathan to have a chance at having a normal life. Nathan asked about Emily and Neil, could they come too? James told Nathan that he would invite them, but what if they didn’t want to come? Nathan said he would understand. James asked, “Does this mean that you would be opened to the idea of moving?” Nathan replied, “Yes!”

James told Sarah how it went with Nathan, she understood about wanting Emily to go, she’d been apart of their lives for nine years now, and Nathan had grown very fond of Neil as well. Sarah admitted that she would miss Emily terribly, and she knew that James would miss Neil. James asked Sarah if she would talk to Emily and he would talk to Neil. As soon as they walked outside where Neil, Emily and Nathan were talking at the patio table, Neil and Emily couldn’t say fast enough, “Could we at least move someplace where they speak English?” James looked at Sarah and said, “That was nice of Nathan to take care of that for us wasn’t it?”

That evening James told Sarah, “We’re all the family that Emily and Neil have, they wouldn’t be a part of our lives if things hadn’t have gone the way that they did. Neil is like a brother, and is second only to you as being the best friend I’ve ever had, and I know that you and Emily are closer that most sisters. God took the mistakes that we made and turned them in to something truly good. We’re a family of five, not just three, and I think that we need Emily and Neil as much as they need us.”

Sarah began to speak her heart, she said, “Look at all the different kinds of love in this home. You and I grew up together, and have loved each other practically our whole lives. I know what it’s to be with someone other than you, and how unhappy I was.

Then you have Neil and Emily. It’s easy to see that they have fallen in love with each other, but they didn’t grow up together, they came together because they both share the same purpose in life of wanting to protect people. Which leads to another kind of love; the love that they have for us, and we have for them, they want to go wherever we go, and it’s not because they’re getting paid to, it’s because we’re a family. It’s much like the Book of Ruth.

Nathan and I share a very special bond. We have gone through hell together, but it didn’t break us, it made the bond even stronger. He and I will always have a very special love, but the love that almost takes my breath away, is the love I see between you and your son. It’s as if you’ve been together his whole life. Nathan told me that when you walked in to his classroom, that he felt a sense of completeness for the first time in his life. He said that even when my dad, Aaron was alive there was always a void that he didn’t understand, but he felt a great deal of love from Aaron, and for him.

James held Sarah in his arms and said, “When we were young and would share our dreams about our future together, do you remember what we said we wanted to do?” Sarah smiled and replied, “We wanted to have three children and travel the world over.” James motioned his head toward the table where Nathan, Emily and Neil sat, and he said with a chuckle, “Well why don’t we take our three children and travel the world over, and then we can make a decision on where we want to settle.” Sarah was 100% for that idea. She said, “Come on, let’s go tell the kids.”

James and Sarah’s dreams of many years ago are now coming to fruition. They had to persevere in order to be together, and the years of pain have only made the joy that much sweeter. As far as James and Sarah are concerned, they were married on that fifteenth of Av, back in 1991, and Nathan is proof of the covenant that they made with each other.

James Wright cherished his family and protected them in every possible way that he could. He began writing books under the fictitious name of Solomon Roth; that way if any attention was brought to him, it wouldn’t be in the name of James Wright.

Jonah Silverman was a humble Professor and Rabbi, who walked in a classroom one day not knowing that he was about to be given a second chance to have the family that had been hidden from him for over twenty years.

God turned tragedy in to triumph. Through great loss He brought even greater gain. What James was unaware of was that Sarah was not going to give up until her family was together, and that every bear hug Neil gave him over the course of eight years, were those asked by Sarah to give. This was a woman who had great faith in God no matter what the circumstance, and God rewarded her by giving the family that she and her beloved James had always dreamed of.

Jonah Silverman, James Wright and Solomon Roth could be likened to the lesson that Jonah taught that first day in the classroom about Phineas, Elijah and John. He said that they are a bridge linking the Torah to the Gospels. Jonah, James and Solomon are as well a bridge, linking the anticipation to the fulfillment of one man’s true destiny in life.

The End

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