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Learning Curve: Chapter 18

Gila Arnold

Yael’s sister-in-law invites her to her clothing boutique to revamp her wardrobe. Aviva stays up late straightening out the insurance mess, and then confronts Zevi

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Z evi sat absolutely still, staring at her. “Ten thousand dollars? You’re joking.”

Aviva shook her head grimly. “Probably be closer to 15 by the time I’m done.”

Her husband’s face turned white. “But, I don’t understand — — what did I do?”

She told him about the insurance mix-up.

“I’m an idiot.” He looked dazed. “A total, complete idiot.”

Aviva’s lips tightened. “Why did you give them information without looking it up?”

Zevi shook his head. “I don’t know. I don’t even remember. Maybe I figured I would just answer them quickly, and then check it up later?” He shrugged miserably.

Though she had just spent the past day playing the martyr for his sake, seeing him in this weakened state inexplicably aroused all her frustration.

“I’m sorry, but that was rather—”

“Idiotic. Yeah, I already said that.” He slumped back in his chair and closed his eyes. “Who discovered this?”

“Suri.”

He nodded. After a few moments, he opened one eye and asked casually, “So, you guys ready to fire me?”

Aviva stopped short. Fire him? How could she fire her husband?

Suri could, though. For a moment, the idea was tempting. Tell Suri to let him go, and Aviva would no longer have the headache of having Zevi around.

She glanced at him. No, Suri couldn’t do that, either, not without creating a major rift. She let out a loud breath. Why had she ever given in to the idea of Zevi coming to work for them? If anyone was an idiot here, it was her.

Zevi was actually waiting for an answer, she realized. “Of course not,” she said, with a weak laugh. “I… I actually took the blame for it myself. Suri doesn’t realize it was you.” She paused, waiting for his thanks for her sacrifice. But he remained silent, though his eyebrows popped up. “But we do have to make sure this never happens again,” she continued awkwardly.

“Sure, of course.” It was scary how relieved he looked, and her annoyance grew. Why should he care so much about keeping a dinky secretarial position? Doesn’t he realize how beneath him this is?

“You do remember, though, that this job was only meant to be temporary, right? Until we expand to the point that we need someone full-time, and then we hire someone else.”

He seemed startled. “Uh, yeah, that’s right.”

She chewed her lip. Her husband was supposed to be a partner in a law firm, or a CEO, or—

Don’t go there.

Zevi had picked up a pen and was doodling on a paper. “I’ll borrow the money from a gemach.”

“What?”

He looked at her. “Fifteen thousand dollars.”

She made a face. “From a gemach? Don’t be ridiculous. How will we pay that back?”

“Not we. Me. This was my fault. I’ll—” He waved his hands in the air— “I’ll work harder. Make a bigger effort to get printing jobs.”

She snorted, then immediately regretted it when she saw the hurt on his face.

Zevi leaned forward. “You don’t believe me, huh? You don’t believe I can do it?”

She didn’t answer. He lowered his eyes. Abruptly, he stood up. “It’s late. I’m going home.”

At the door, he paused. “Thanks for picking up the slack for me. But I never asked for that, and, frankly, I would’ve rather taken the heat for my own mistake. I’m a big boy.”

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MM217
 
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