"Hi, Aviva! Surprise!”

Aviva, sitting in the office writing notes, looked up in shock. “Naama!” She gripped the table hard, eyes rounding at the sight of her older sister. “What are you doing here?”

Naama smoothed her perfectly set sheitel. “I happened to be in the neighborhood — an old friend of mine is making a vort tonight and she wanted my help with the setup — so I decided to stop by and see the famous clinic.” She looked around at the colorful play area. “Nice. I love what you did with this space.”

Despite herself, Aviva felt a glow spread over her cheeks. “It wasn’t me, we hired a decorator,” she murmured.

“No shame in that,” Naama said with a tinkling laugh. “Though you could’ve asked me, if I make the trip out for a friend, then of course for my sister—”

“Well, look who’s here!” The two women turned as Zevi walked in through the front door.

“Came to visit Aviva?” he asked as he strode toward the office door.

She smiled. “I see I’m not the only one.”

Zevi looked surprised for a moment, then laughed. Aviva narrowed her eyes, praying he would be smart enough to hold his tongue….

“Me? I ain’t no visitor. I’m the secretary!”

Aviva closed her eyes as Naama laughed, clearly certain this was a joke. But she opened them again to see Naama’s expression flicker doubtfully as Zevi made his way toward the reception desk.

“You’re so funny, Zevi,” Naama said. There was a question mark in her voice.

Aviva quickly stepped in. “Zevi has been working here for several months already as clinic administrator. I don’t know what we’d do without him.”

“Ah, I didn’t realize,” Naama said delicately. “Administrator. Of course.”

Zevi seemed on the verge of saying something more, and Aviva jumped up. “Can I give you the grand tour?”

“So,” Zevi said later, when Naama had blessedly left, “When did I get the promotion? I think I deserve a raise.”

Aviva blushed. “You know Naama. I needed to say that.”

Zevi stared at her for a moment, as Aviva felt her face grow redder. Finally, he said quietly, “Did you? I thought you got over it by now.”

She sucked in her breath, stung. Not fair, she wanted to shout. This is my family we’re talking about, my perfect big sister. But he’d never understood. Coming from a large, warm, loving family himself, he’d never really grasped where she was coming from. Sure, he knew that a visit from her mother could throw her off-kilter for a week, but Zevi, with his laid-back, happy-go-lucky approach to life, couldn’t possibly appreciate how deeply these family dynamics ran.

Instead of responding, she changed tacks. “While we’re on the subject, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this job.” She forced her voice to sound steady, matter of fact; she wasn’t quite sure how Zevi would take the news that they wanted to replace him.