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Trust Fund: Chapter 22

“Akiva Frankel. He has been your best friend since you were 14. If he’s now doing well, you’re supposed to be happy for him”



eena thumped the mail down on the island and plopped onto a stool.

“I’m actually starving, is there anything to eat in this house?”

Libby bit the inside of her cheek. You were a teenager once, too, Libs, and you were no ray of sunshine. Be cool, be cool.

“Didn’t you have a salad for lunch, and then a muffin and latte from the Muffin Show after school?”

She’d received a debit card notice, not that she minded.

Deena looked at her, eyes hooded. “Yeah, so?”

Be cool, be cool. “There are grapes in the fridge and biscotti on the tray.”


Libby grabbed the mail in an effort to keep herself from criticizing. Was she a super critical person, or was Deena super annoying these days?

Flyer, flyer, bill, bill, bill. Those thin envelopes had the ability to cause her blood pressure to skyrocket these days.

Invitation… what was — ah, the Abrams bar mitzvah. Well, this should be fun.

She tagged it on the magnetic board near the breakfast nook and set off to inform Akiva they now had plans for November 15.

She clicked through the wholesale website, highlighting sellers who looked lucrative and trustworthy. There was no actual method behind her selections; she was kind of relying on her gut with this one.

Batya, her business consultant, was helping her break the process down step by step. Since Akiva was managing the importing, it was up to her to find sellers and to ensure superior quality. Akiva had hired Liam an agent in China to examine the merchandise for them.

Libby found a product she liked, she sent Liam the information, and he went to check out the quality. He examined the material, stitching, buttons, and more. He was every Jewish mother buying Pesach wardrobes, which was exactly what she needed.

She sent today’s leads to Liam and closed the computer, feeling extraordinarily accomplished for a woman who had just spent two hours basically shopping online. She loved this business.

The intercom crackled. “It would be ironic if it was just as ostentatious as a Frankel event, no?”

Libby rolled her eyes. Ever since she’d told Akiva about the bar mitzvah, he’d been making wisecracks about Baruch now being new-money.

Obviously, he was feeling insecure and unsure of the dynamics of his friendship with Baruch these days. Libby pressed the talk button.

“Akiva Frankel. He has been your best friend since you were 14. If he’s now doing well, you’re supposed to be happy for him. So go talk to him. And bring me back a powdered jelly.”

Akiva slid into the booth. A car door slamming had him looking out the window; Baruch had arrived. Akiva grinned sardonically at the sight of his best friend locking a Range Rover. How the tables had turned.

Baruch slid into the bench across from him. “Hmm, last time we were at Kosher Korner, things were different, eh?”

Akiva remembered letting Baruch go, the guilt and misery he’d felt at having to betray his best friend.

“They sure were. Range Rover? Is that new?”

Baruch loosened his collar and leaned back. “Ohhh, yeah.”

They laughed. Baruch looked Akiva up and down. “You look good, Keevs. Being part of the huddled masses suits you.”

Akiva raised an eyebrow. “That probably came out more insulting than you meant it to be.”

Baruch cocked his head. “I’m not sure about that. The memory of our last time here still stings.”

The waiter brought their doughnuts.

“So bar mitzvah planning? Wow, can’t believe Mo Mo is putting on a hat.”

Baruch smiled proudly. “He’s the coolest kid. Yeah, plans are moving along. It’s no Frankel event, but it’ll be nice.”

Oh, boy. Akiva needed to change the subject quickly.

“Hey, remember all our drumming sessions in the miklat? Guess who’s picked up the old sticks again?”

Deena’s first drum recital was the next night, a fact she only shared with them at dinner.

Libby bolted up, dropping her spoon. Minestrone soup splattered.

“What?! Your first-ever recital! Deens, this is amazing. Are you excited? Oh, boy, what are you going to wear?”

Deena looked at Akiva pleadingly.

He looked at Libby, she sat back down. “I mean, wow, so nice,” she said feebly. Why couldn’t she say anything right these days?

Deena nodded. “Yeah, so it’s eight o’clock, at my school.”

“Nice,” Libby murmured again. She had to go check on Deena’s black velvet two-piece with the white collar.

“And I’ll just wear my uniform,” Deena shrugged.

Deena would willingly wear her uniform like Libby would wear a dress from Target. She was just saying that to annoy her mother.

Now Libby was the one looking at Akiva pleadingly. He grinned, drunk with power.

“Deena, you’ll wear something nice. Anyone want more soup?”

Deena was nervous, Libby could tell.

She looked around the room. Everyone was more casual, people were holding balloons and Slurpees, no one else had bought roses.

She was such a Frankel. She stuffed the roses under her chair and texted Akiva, who was running late.

Bring balloons please.

The music was just beginning when Akiva slid in, two enormous garbage bags in his hands bulging with far more balloons than necessary.

Forget it, he was the Frankel.

Deena was amazing — not that Libby knew the first thing about drums, but she thought it sounded rhythmic and on beat.

She and Akiva were smiling and nodding at the other parents afterward with cocktail party grace, when Deena came flying over, cheeks flushed.

“Ma, Ta, guess what!”

Libby was so distracted about the fact that Deena had addressed her before Akiva, she almost missed the news.

“… a frum band called Chrein, like beets, like beats, ha! And they want me to play a set at the Neshei event this Motzaei Shabbos!”

Akiva was pumped, he high-fived her and then pulled her into a hug.

But all Libby could think was, “Oh, no, this is what’s going to make Daddy and Mommy disown us.”

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 990)

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