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BE WARNED THAT THIS STORY MAY CONTAIN TRIGGERS OF BULLYING AND FIGHTING. THERE ARE TABOO RELATIONSHIPS, MATURE LANGUAGE AND THEMES. IF THOSE THINGS OFFEND YOU, DO NOT READ! AND IF
YOU’RE UNDER 18, I’D PREFER YOU NOT READ MY BOOKS!!
SOS: Send Over Someone: Sequel to Dreaming of Wilder
Chapter 1: Waking up to tragedy
Five years after Dran and Delores’s Wedding
Summer 2025 – Tel Aviv, Israel – Tel Aviv University
Five years – five years since I’ve been back in the US. Five years since I even gave this place any serious thought. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen my folks - they’ve visited here in Tel Aviv a lot and we’ve met up in Europe for holidays and in Canada to see Dran, Delores, and the kids before the pandemic affected the world.
But the USA, not as much as I would have liked to. There are reasons for my absence. But, for this chapters purpose – there’s only one. You may be wondering, what of Dorian? Well, that’s a more complicated story than I’d like to admit. Dorian and I have kept in contact. He may have visited me once or twice in Jerusalem, but we text more and speak less frequently. You may think he is what brings me home. But sadly…no, let me give you context.
Two days prior – August 15, 2025
I have a splitting headache from the celebrations the night before, Chaya’s birthday. I would be sleeping through the aching temples, but my phone has other plans. Damnit, I thought throwing my grey eyelet duvet over my head, shielding my bloodshot eyes from the Israeli heat.
“Hello –“ I snap at the incorrigible person on the other end of the phone.
“Romy…” it’s Delores. She’s been crying. I can hear her croaked tremble. I know her ugly cry voice anywhere. “R-Romy, I-it’s…”
Suddenly, it’s no longer my sister on the line. A deep, burly, husky voice breaks into the beginning of an uncomfortable and obviously painful conversation.
“It’s Dran – Rom. Umm, there’s been an accident.” He too sounded as if someone – “Your d-d…”
“No – no, D-D-Dran. Don’t tell me…” dropping the phone mid-sentence I began heaving and wrenching neck deep into my at one time, white porcelain toilet bowl. After flushing the bile down the drain, I crawl back to my bed, picked up the phone – only to hear the anguished weeping of my sister.
“I-I’m back. Dran…” My throat was on fire and the stale taste of booze from the night before had been replaced with the remnants of noxious stomach acid that rose from the pits of my belly up into my throat and past my gums.
“Romy, honey – you need to go home. I know it’s a lot to ask, but your mother needs you.”
“What happened to him, Dran. Tell me what I’m facing when I step off of that airplane.” Nothing I had ever been through before hurting me as much as I have been hurting right now.
The palpable tension could be felt thousands of miles away, over a vast sea, desert terrain, and vast currents of Wi-Fi data. He no doubt was silent because he was desperately trying to find the right words to say about what I already knew.
“He’s dead…isn’t he?” The four-word sentence just spilt out. No conjecture, no stumbling, no feeling. It was as if someone took a metal rod, held it into a ragging fire and without thrusting it in a cold vat of water – thrust it deep into my chest cavity, taking my heart with it.
Dran didn’t have to give me the affirmative response. It was clear as the sunny day outside my first-floor window. All I wanted to know was how.
I didn’t even say goodbye. Without a sound, a hung up the phone and like a chord knotted tightly around my heart, I wearily dialed his number. I could feel the fog rolling in. It was eminent, my anxiety would cause me to loose all control of my facilities and what I knew I should do and who I should call would have no rhyme or reason.
“Romy…baby…” His smooth milk chocolate – like timbre immediately made my eyes close, my head fell back, and tears fell. I wanted to cup my mouth with the palm of my hand, so no one – especially him could hear the sorrow expelling from my body. But knowing who I had on the line, wouldn’t stop me, or mock me for being vulnerable. “Let it out, baby. No holding back from me. Dran called and told me, Romy. Come home. Come home to your Mom – to me. Let me take care of you…”
Before he could finish, I cut Dorian off. “Okay.” I knew my mother needed me. I knew the congregation needed someone to comfort them. But, most of all, I knew what I needed. Him, I needed him – my compass, my sundial. My Dorian.
“You go and pack, I’ll get you the earliest flight out and I’ll meet you at the airport when you land.”
“I-I can’t allow you to do that, Doria-“
Without hesitation, he shut me down. “Nonsense, Romy – there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You know that. Just get yourself on the plane and I’ll be there with arms wide open, ready to catch you.”
It took everything in me not to tell him what I genuinely wanted to confess, but I couldn’t make the ultimate declaration in the midst of my grieving process. Could I?
“Thank you…” was all I could muster to say. Yet somehow, I believe he heard what my heart wanted to say.
“No need to thank me, honey. I’m just sorry this tragedy is what brings you home to me.”
“Is my mother, okay?”
“Yes, Dran, Delores, and the kids are actually here.”
Wait, what? I didn’t know that. I thought to myself.
“You didn’t stay on the phone long enough for him to tell you. She’s as well as she can be. She just wants her family around her. So, get off the phone doll and get packed. I’ll send you your flight details. You’ll be home by Monday.”
Dorian explained the burial had to wait at least until the autopsy is completed. It has to be overseen by a rabbi – making sure the body is handled with Jewish law in mind and that all vital organs are put back. My father’s favorite rabbinical professor would be handling the burial sermons and viewing. I just needed to get home.
August 18, 2025
That’s what brings me back to – today. Waiting at the terminal of JFK International Airport. Bags in hand and at feet, staring blankly with tears falling at the beautiful man in front of me with arms open wide – Dorian Corretti.
He stood tall and proud – a pillar of strength I was so desperately wanting to latch on to, never to let go of again. His resolve failed him the moment I flew into his strong – superman sculpted arms. His hold is what kept me up. His vice grip was the only thing that kept my knees from caving. That was until I heard an unfamiliar female nasal voice screeching from behind him.
I think that’s when my life flashed before my eyes and I died a little. Of course, he had a woman in his life. After five years of pining for me and me rejecting him, then pulling him back into my noncommittal void, he was bound to settle down with someone else. I cleared my throat and managed to wiggle myself out of the warmth of his embrace. Before he could stop me, I dried my eyes, put on my large circular framed – blacked out framed sunglasses and snatched my bags out of his hands.
“It’s not what –“ he began to choke out the words. An empty explanation I couldn’t afford to hear.
Holding up my hand to silence him, I put on my best poker face as the bleach blonde bimbo began to saunter over to us.
“Hello, and you are?” I over eagerly greeted the tart with a smile he could see right through.
The woman was roughly five years older than me, and eight years younger than Dorian. Obviously, she was the best choice for him. I’d never be anything but a broken little girl to him. One who has been cheated on, taken advantage of, and ignored most of my life. Now, grieving for my father – he can rub this relationship in my face, perfect.
“I’m so sorry for your loss. My name is Grace, Grace Bishop.” Looking down at her hand as she weakly shook mine, I noticed the three-karat doorknob on her right-hand ring finger. Choking back my tears, I could almost hear sincerity in her harsh long island accent.
“Thank you…” I barely heard my own voice when I pulled my hand out oh hers. Gathering up my luggage, Dorian made an unprovoked move to help me with my abnormally hefty baggage. “I don’t need your help.” I snapped. Yes, I was being rude and petty. What did he expect from me? I was here to lay my father to rest, find out who killed him, and the last person I thought would hurt me…did.
“Let me help you, Romy. It’s not what you think.” He said through gritted teeth. But never once had his Miss Bishop made any declaration to clarify their relationship.
“You’ve helped enough, Dorian. Just take me to see my mother and my sister. That’s all I need from you – a ride.”
The walk to the car was done in uncomfortable silence. Dorian continuously attempted to take my hand or grab a bag. For some reason, Grace shared my load, by wheeling the bulk of my luggage on a luggage rack and I carried my purse and carry on.
“Please, Romy. I know we have our issues, but you’re acting like a child. It’s not wat you think. Grace and I –“
“Don’t Dorian. Don’t lecture me on our issues or my maturity level right now. I don’t give two shits, about yours and Grace’s relationship. It’s not any of my concern. All I want to do is get as far away from you as possible and see how my family is.” I snatched my carry on out of his hand and hurdled expletives at him from behind gritted teeth. What I really wanted to do was kick him in the balls and scratch her eyes out.
As we approached what looked like a showroom new black, sleek Rolls Royce with blacked out windows I was stunned to see Grace open the trunk, stack my luggage snugly inside, and then gracefully move around to the back passenger side doors and opened it to invite both myself and Dorian into the car. Why was he allowing his fiancée to behave more like an…employee?
“I’m not going to dignify your little outburst with a fucking response, Romy. And I’ll let it slide because of the situation. But I swear to everything that is holy, if you ever speak to me that way again…” Dorian gently pushed my trembling body up against open doorframe of the luxury car, tilting my chin up, removed my dark lensed glasses, so he could better take in my apparent quivering expression. He knew what he was doing and how it affected me. “I will not hesitate to take you over my knee and making that perfect curvature of an ass of yours redder than your cheeks are right now.”
Gulping hard, I ease myself off the door frame and slowly shift my knees in a bent position, bending forward slightly, pushing my bust ever so much – giving him just enough of a view to make him shutter – “I’d like to see you try, Mr. Corretti…” biting my bottom lip, I swing my legs inside, feeling the supple smoothness of the leather on the back of my thighs. I slide over behind the drivers seat, patting the cushion beside me, with a wink and bashful grin.
Finally, Grace closed the door and without hesitation, Dorian caged me in – growling in my ear.
“In due time, Miss Sweitzer – in due time.” Chills ran down my left arm as his soft plump lips caressed my temple. “Grace is my assistant and engaged to my best friend, Romy. Although as hot as your jealousy was back there – never do that again. Am I clear?”
Nodding ever so slightly, I irrevocably crumble. I think the moment we left the parking garage of the airport and we head onto the Long Island Expressway, towards my hometown, I realize one major male figure in my life won’t be there to greet me. Won’t be there to wrap his arms around me and hold me so tightly, brush my hair lovingly as he squeezed me – not wanting to let his baby girl out of his sight. Not there to tell me, all will be okay.
“Halle lo jethan lenu extra mome sanhano ams lahtemoddad (the lord won’t give us more than we can handle).” He would say in the simplest of tones but with the most love a father could ever gift his child with. Staring out the window, I felt five long and strong fingers lace with mine. Looking down at the middle console that now separated us, I saw and felt his thumb rubbing circles onto the flesh in between my thumb and pointer finger.
The blubbering I had absolutely no control over anymore was being returned. My strong pillar of strength cried with me as Grace drove.