Author: Yva J PM
Takes place soon after 'A Person of Value' ends. Patty and Anton return to Jenkinsville to help her resolve the events of the past as well as embrace what the future will ultimately bring.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 29 - Words: 78,637 - Reviews: 147 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 17 - Updated: 01-18-11 - Published: 11-19-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4664532
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello and welcome to my newest story. Before you start reading this, please note that if you haven't read 'A Person of Value' that you might consider reading that before delving into this particular story. This is a sequel to 'A Person of Value', and takes place about a month after the epilogue in my other story.
I have not yet decided all the finite details of this story, as I don't want to repeat the events in the other story, but I do intend to bring both of our heroes back to Jenkinsville eventually. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out what sort of plot this one was going to have. I also knew that I wanted to write it, but wasn't sure about how to go about it without it being boring or filled with too much detail.
The first part of this does outline some of the experiences that I had when I first moved to Germany, so there are some autobiographical bits contained here, but I will leave you to ascertain which ones are real and which ones might be fantasy.
Otherwise, enjoy the story, and please let me know what you think.
A sequel to 'A Person of Value'
By: Yva J.
Her life had changed in the wink of an eye. She had said 'Ja, ich will', to the most wonderful man she had ever known. Those words sealed their union and showed to all that she was now his wife.
It had only been a month since she and Anton had gotten married. Her three month residency was close to expiring and she would be returning to apply for three years.
Soon after their wedding day, they had gone to West Berlin for their honeymoon and had returned several days before. All her friends who had been there from America had returned to their prospective homes, leaving her to a new life in the heart of Europe.
Patricia Ann Reiker, formerly Bergen, was now a married woman living something of a fairy tale existence in a home that was quite different than what she was accustomed to.
As she sat sipping from a cup of tea, she rested her elbows against the table, her head lowering slightly as she stared down at the notes she had written that day in class. Earlier that week, she had started taking a class in the basic constructs of the German language and was now adjusting to her new life. Sometimes she felt depressed being somewhere where she did not speak the language or fit in, yet she knew in America the same could be said as well. She did not mention these emotions to her husband, but somehow she knew that he sensed her feeling of isolation.
On top of all of that, she was close to 100 kilometers away from Anton's family. This might as well have been on the other side of the planet.
Professor Erikson Karl Reiker and his wife, Deborah, had taken Patty into their fold as one of their own from the first moment she had stepped into their home. Patty could still remember how Deborah had wrapped her in her arms during her second day in Germany. "You are such a lovely hero," Deborah had told her, the words still ringing in her ears several months later. Anton's father insisted from the first moment they had met that she address him as 'Karl' and not 'Professor Reiker'. This was the family that Patty had always aspired to have.
Of course, now living in a flat in Hildesheim was not always easy, the distance between them and their German family was sometimes quite difficult. She especially missed Hannah, Anton's sister. She had moved to Frankfurt to work at the Goethe Institute there and was now so far away that visits were now few and far between.
As she sat contemplating what was happening in her life, the phone in the living room chimed, the ringing abruptly startling her. Placing her hand self-consciously over her heart, she slowly got to her feet and exited the kitchen. In the hallway, she made her way in the direction of the chimes that were emerging from the living room.
Please let the person calling speak English, she thought to herself. This same contemplation entered her mind whenever the phone would ring and Anton happened to not be at home. She reached the phone and grabbed it before it could ring a fourth time. "Reiker?" She spoke her new surname into the receiver.
This was something that she had quickly learned since moving there. It was a bit more formal than the general: 'Hello' that one got when calling someone in America. At least it did not leave room for one to conclude that they had perhaps dialed the wrong number.
"Patty?" A young sounding voice filled her ear the moment she spoke. It was a voice strained with typical stress that she recalled during her years of living in Jenkinsville.
A bubble of concern welled up in her chest as she found her voice and spoke her sister's name. "Sharon?"
"Yeah, it's me." The affirmative response came in the form of a relieved sigh.
"How on earth did you get this number?" She could not stop herself from asking. After all, curiosity had always been one of Patty's stronger suits and that was now compounded with concern that grew the moment she heard her sister's voice. It seemed abundantly clear that it was laced with worry. This also seemed to indicate that her eighteen-year-old sister was trying to get in touch with her for a reason and not just to chat.
It was true that Patty had not heard so much as a word from her sister since before she had left for Germany earlier that year. She had pretty much figured that her sister did not want any contact with her because of what Harry and Pearl Bergen might have said about the telegram that she and Anton had sent prior to getting married.
From Patty's point of view, it seemed abundantly clear that their parents were doing whatever they could to distance the two of them from one another. Now, given the fact that Sharon had reached out to her estranged sister, meant that perhaps Patty's assumptions had been inaccurate.
Regardless of any of that, she waited patiently for her sister to respond.
"I was snooping," Sharon confessed. "I found your telegram to Mother and Father in the study on top of a bunch of brochures for the store. I was trying to figure out what to do after Mother left this morning to go see Father."
"To go see Father?" Patty parroted as her eyebrows arched uncharacteristically in nonverbal confusion.
"Yeah, please don't be angry with me for calling like this, but, I'm scared. I've never been more scared in my life. Patty, I didn't know who else I could talk to."
"It's alright, I'm not angry with you. Just tell me what happened that has made you so afraid," she said calmly.
"Father was taken to the hospital early this morning," Sharon began. "I woke up to hear Mother in the hallway screaming and crying as though she was being tortured. Not knowing what to do, I finally got out of bed and managed to wrangle the story out of her. When she said that Father was sick, I immediately went to call for an ambulance. Less than ten minutes later, they arrived and took Father to the Emergency Room in Wynne City. I asked Mother if I might go along, but she would not hear of it."
Patty took a deep breath, her expression grave. Although there was no love loss between herself and her father, she would never wish any ill towards him. She also knew that objectivity and diplomacy was just what her sister needed at that moment. "Sharon, did they say anything about what was the matter with him or what his condition was?"
"I don't really know, mother came back earlier today to pick up some clothing and said something about him having 'cardiovascular' something or other." As she spoke her voice rose high with anxiety. "I don't know what it is, but it sounded serious. Anyway, all last week, Father kept complaining that he was always tired. Even Ruth stopped by here three days ago and said that he had gained weight and looked as though he was about to fall over because he was all out of breath."
"Let me guess, he kept insisting that nothing was wrong and that it was just stress because of something with the store," Patty said.
"Yeah," came the response. "Patty, what should I do?"
"I don't really know, but I will talk it over with Anton when he gets home," Patty said without thinking. She had yet to mention her husband to her sister at all and was not quite certain as to how Sharon would react. When the younger of the two sisters did not respond, Patty continued. "Perhaps he will have some idea about what it is and can put your mind at ease. Are you going to be home in the next half hour?"
"Yes," Sharon said. "But, Patty, I don't want to talk to Anton about any of this. Mother would be mortified and Father would probably end up worse off than he already is. I just wanted to tell you that something was wrong and that maybe you should think about coming home."
"I understand that you're worried, Sharon," Patty said patiently. Without thinking about what she was doing, her fist unconsciously clenched at her sister's blunt wording. This was exasperating, she thought. Her parents had gone and basically brainwashed Sharon against Anton and probably wanted her to 'come to her senses' and return home.
After several moments had passed, she guessed that it was to be expected after their telegram had arrived. Everything seemed to have escalated from there.
Perhaps it was for that reason that she could not really blame her little sister for her hostility or ignorance. After all, living with their parents would perhaps cause something of this kind to eventually come out.
After several moments of silence, she found her voice and spoke. "I'll call you back as soon as I talk to him. Just stay by the phone. If Mother knows that you actually found our number and called me, then chances are she would be the next one who is carted off to Wynne City Memorial."
"Okay," Sharon spoke and moments later, the line went dead.
As soon as she had returned the phone to the cradle, Patty took a deep breath as she began to run her hands through her hair. "What next?" She muttered under her breath as she self-consciously glanced towards the front door. Minka had always sauntered over to it and this seemed indicative that their cat was just as anxious for Anton to get home as she now was.
Instead of continuing to stare at the door, Patty returned to the kitchen and began cleaning up the dishes that had accumulated in the sink from breakfast and lunch. Her thoughts continued to drift as she washed the items and placed them in the metal drainer to dry. She then went over to the table and picked up the mail. Most of it was addressed to her husband, which she never saw fit to open since it was addressed to him. Several white and beige colored envelopes found their place on the dresser in the hallway.
Finishing this, she waited with almost uncharacteristic impatience for him to come home from work. This consisted of walking the length of the hallway to the living room, back down the hall to the kitchen and entering and leaving their bedroom.
As she paced, she would periodically pick up and replace the objects that were on shelves throughout the flat. She hated this feeling of nervousness that she carried, but now, more than ever, she chastised herself for the fact that it was about someone she was supposed to not even like.
Was she really so worried about her father? He had been nothing but a monster to her growing up, and yet, now she was now concerned for his well being. It seemed strange for her to feel that way towards someone that she had spent much of her youth being deathly afraid of.
Her thoughts drifted back to the day that she and Anton had sat in the hideout and he had asked her if she loved her father. It had taken some time, but she did admit it. 'No, I don't like him', she had said. Anton had managed to encourage the truth from her, and that was something that she had lived with long after he had left her that very same night.
Today, she remembered that moment as one of her unspoken triumphs. She had admitted something that was generally not ever spoken of.
Now with her father being sick with some strange sounding disease, her feelings towards him were perhaps changing. "I'm so confused…" she muttered under her breath.
"Confused about what, Liebling?" A voice abruptly emerged and she nearly jumped out of her skin as she turned in the direction of the front door.
Relief washed over her when she realized that Anton had returned home. He had come inside only to hear her mumbling under her breath. He could tell by her stance that she was desperately trying to make heads or tails of something, but was not quite certain as to what it was.
Patty raised her head and looked into the grayish blue eyes of Frederick Anton Reiker. He was dressed in a suit and tie, his hair ruffled by the late summer wind and his briefcase was casually tucked firmly under one arm.
He closed the door, placed the briefcase in front of the door to his study as he leaned down and gave Minka a scratch behind the ears. Straightening out once again, he moved over to where she was standing. His eyes were shadowed in love and openness as he lovingly pulled her into his arms and leaned in to give her a kiss 'hello'.
As he felt her tense body beneath his touch, Anton raised his hand and began to stroke her hair gently. "Whatever has confused you will soon be rectified, my dearest," he whispered softly. These words seemed to have helped immensely as she abruptly relaxed in his hold.
"Now, what is it that has you so confused?" He eventually asked, all the while keeping his voice soft. "Is it your class? Are you still struggling with 'der', 'die', and 'das'?"
"I'm always going to struggle with those pesky articles," she whispered softly. As her words filled the hallway, her body sank further into his arms, thus allowing her own to wrap snugly around him. In this stance, her fingers were a mere centimeter of touching. "Why can't German just have 'the' like in English? It would make my life so much easier."
Anton, despite himself, began to chuckle. "Yes, but you also have 'a', and 'an' as an article. Don't forget those," he said softly. When she did not respond in kind, his forehead creased in concern as she lowered her chin and allowed herself to sink even further into his hold. Eventually, her face came to rest against the firm softness of his chest.
"Then tell me," he said gently.
"My sister called this afternoon," she whispered. Unwillingly, she backed her way out of his hold so that she could look up at him.
"Sharon?" He asked. When she nodded, he continued. "That is strange as you hadn't heard anything from your family in such a long time." As he spoke, he could not help but remember the times when Patty would speak of her estranged family.
"I know," she whispered.
"You never even mentioned what all they said in that telegram your mother sent. In fact, you tore it up and threw in the rubbish bin right after you read it," he said.
"I know," she repeated, all the while feeling rather like a broken phonograph record.
"Are you going to tell me what it said, or shall I take a guess?" He asked.
"T-they said that they were going to disown me for marrying…" her voice broke, but Anton finished the sentence with the same sort of bravado that she had always admired about him.
"…A Nazi," he whispered as he regarded his wife. Her face now looked pale, her mouth drawn to such an extent that she looked as though she was going to start crying. He pulled her into the sanctuary of his arms, his soft words filling her. "The war is over, Liebling. If your family still holds prejudices about where I come from, then it is their problem, not yours. I do not hold anything against you."
Contrary to his words, the shame still washed over her until she felt the tears catching in her eyes.
How would she tell him what Sharon had conveyed to her only moments before his return home?
Ja, ich will – I do.
Liebling – Beloved