“I have a family announcement to make.” When Levi Cohen, Sam’s father, called a family meeting, everyone listened. At least he had waited until brunch the day after the wedding. Sam and his brothers were still nursing hangovers from staying out at the tiki bar the night before.
“Gee, dad, don’t you want to wait until Nicholas and Adele are home from their honeymoon?” Liam asked with a sneer. As the oldest of Sam’s brothers, Liam had a hard time accepting their father’s doting attention to their younger brother. Historically used as a public relations figurehead in the Cohen dynasty, Liam had been less and less capable of handling any social events without embarrassing the family.
“The deal will be signed long before then.” Their father waved his hand dismissively. “I’m buying a yacht manufacturing company.”
“A y-yacht company?” Sam asked. If someone had asked Sam five minutes prior what business venture his father would tackle next, he never would have come up with that answer. “But you know nothing about building yachts.”
“Nicholas mentioned on our last acquisitions trip that he’d like to learn to create things rather than just acquire them,” their father said.
“And we’re back to Nicholas again,” Lyle said, draping his arm around the chair of his wife, Miriam. His role in the family businesses had shifted since getting married. Where he used to schmooze the daughters and wives of dignitaries and royalty, he had tamed down and resigned himself to becoming a dad. “Sometimes I wonder if you remember that you have five sons, rather than one.”
“Soon to be six,” their mother said, resting her hand on her rounded belly. At forty-six years of age, Sam’s mother, Sarah, had conceived again unexpectedly, and was due to have her baby just two months ahead of her first grandchild.
“Don’t worry, gentlemen,” their father said to all of them. “When I die, my fortune will be split equally among you and all will be well.”
“I think we’d all rather have you than our inheritance,” Jacob said. As the youngest brother, for a few more weeks anyway, he was still a spoiled teenager. Mostly a momma’s boy growing up, Jacob had been spending more and more time with Nicholas and their father, learning the family businesses and earning their father’s respect.
Sam wasn’t exactly jealous, but he was quite literally stuck in between his younger brothers, Nicholas and Jacob, and his older brothers, Liam and Lyle. At twenty-five years of age, Sam was unsure where he fit into this family. He had embraced his role as one of the four vice-presidents in the family’s conglomerate of businesses, but still preferred working with the natural resource holdings.
For most of their lives, Liam and Lyle hadn’t done much to be proud of. Living like rich playboys, they had partied more than they worked and used their father’s generosity to their advantage. Sam had hovered in their shadows, not quite encouraging their wild antics, but not stopping them either.
In recent years, Sam had gravitated more and more toward their younger brother, Nicholas. There was something about Nicholas that drew the world to him. His charisma, his communication skills, his natural leadership ability. Sam never felt inferior to Nicholas like he did with their older brothers. He just felt good in Nicholas’s presence.
“Does Nicholas know he’s going to be manufacturing yachts for you?” Sam asked.
“When were you planning to tell him?” Lyle asked.
“Or us, for that matter?” Liam sat back in his chair and crossed his arms. All eyes were on their father and open hostility rolled across the room.
“We needed to get through the wedding.” Their father shrugged. “You all knew there were things in the works. Even Nicholas knew. I’ve been openly selling off all holdings in the greater Jerusalem area. We will be leaving everything behind. Israel will no longer be our home.”
“Where does that leave my family?” Mirium asked, her eyes lowering. All focus seemed to shift briefly to her pregnant belly.
“Your father and I have come to the agreement that we will all leave together.” Daniel Ashish had been their father’s best friend all their lives. Relationships had been strained between the two families in recent months when Lyle had gotten Mirium pregnant and been forced to marry her.
After Liam and Rachel had made a spectacle at the wedding, Daniel had vowed to keep his remaining daughters away from the negative influences of Levi’s sons. That lasted just long enough for Nicholas to replace his lost cell phone and track down his childhood sweetheart, Adele, forcing the family back together for the second wedding in less than six months.
“Daniel is very much a part of all my dealings in Dubai,” their father explained to Mirium.
“So, you’ve just decided that we’re all moving?” Sam asked, frustrated. “What if I don’t want to move? What if I like the life we have in Jerusalem?”
“Son, I need you here in Dubai.”
“I want to focus on our natural resource holdings, not yacht building.”
“We are not selling off our holdings in petroleum and potash,” their father explained. “You will still be in charge of those aspects, but our main business center will be in Dubai. Your offices will be in Dubai.” Father looked around the table pointedly at each one of them and everyone backed down.
“We will go where you want us to go, father,” Jacob piped in, his youthful innocence in stark contrast to his older brothers’ skepticism. Yet Jacob said what no one else was willing. It didn’t matter what any of them wanted to do, they followed their father’s lead.
Levi Cohen was a visionary man. He may be a hard-nosed businessman, but he had an instinct for knowing where the market would swing next. Sam suspected Dubai would be temporary as well although he had little evidence to support his gut feeling. Something about purchasing a yacht manufacturing company made him suspect their family would soon be boarding a yacht and setting off in whatever direction their father would lead them.
Sam took a deep breath of resignation and focused his attention back to the breakfast plate in front of him. No sense in arguing. Everything would fall into place somehow.
Then he remembered what his father had said about Daniel Ashish. His family would be joining them in Dubai. Which meant Leanne would be coming back to Dubai. Sam hid a smile behind a glass of juice, suddenly a little more optimistic.