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S/O Damsel in Distress Fan Fiction-Berke's Story UPDATE #2
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 9:33 am
I am NOT as talented as OP and this is my first foray into writing so please be kind! Here is the first installment.

Donny Berke

Donny stretched and ran a hand through his now tousled hair with a bit of amusement. At home, Ima would have already been heckling him to get it trimmed, and Mrs. York would have scheduled their barber Yates to stop by after night seder. He wasn’t minding the tiny bit of freedom ensconced in his tangly locks for the moment.
Donny tiptoed around the other boys and headed for the bathroom, sniffing the air appreciatively as he went along. Their host, a very good hearted young lady who chose to give up her space-no her sanity- and host 17 boys for the duration of this crazy lockdown- was making something that smelled of spice and warmth.
After shachris, as Donny bit into one of the fresh onion rolls, he made a mental note to give a proper thank you to Chava. While the boys had set strict boundaries, including not calling their host by her first name, in order to maintain some sense of propriety, he found himself irked by the lack of hakaras hatov some boys showed. Of course he respected their boundaries, but in normal circumstances taking and taking without any appreciation would be unacceptable.
Donny reminded himself that these circumstances were certainly not normal. He reached for the last onion roll, when another hand shot out and grabbed the last one.
“The early bird gets the worm, Berke ” said his friend Eli. Eli was the closest thing he had to a brother, being an only child. It was such Yad Hashem that they were drafted together, as being together made it feel as if the fabric of isolation had lifted somewhat. Truthfully Donny thought to himself, it was not that much different than being away in yeshiva.
Donny engaged Eli is light repartee as they helped clear the tables. Donny insisted on helping out Chava as much as possible, finding any acceptable means possible to show his appreciation and lighten the load. He watched Eli surreptitiously out of the corner of his eye. Eli had been up since the crack of dawn learning, and he most certainly could use this post-breakfast, pre-seder time to catch some shut eye, but he seemed much more intent on making himself available, should any help be needed. Donny laughed to himself. Perhaps there was a silver lining to all of this madness after all. He wondered if he would get shadchanus.

The feeling hit at around 4 am. All around him boys were sprawled across the couch, on makeshift beds, and even in the armchair. Everyone seemed to have found their peace with the crowded area, but Donny felt itchy, like he would crawl out of his skin if he didn’t find a quiet place.
Stealthily, literally without breathing, he stood up. Katz as snoring so loudly, he could have made a racket and no one would have heard him. Eli turned over in his sleep and Donny froze, but then realized as Eli drifted back to sleep, muttering something that sounded like “cookie, cookie”. Donny smiled to himself as he considered recording Eli’s midnight mutterings, then abandoned his plans as he slowly crouched by the barred window in the corner and began unscrewing the bars with his kipa clip.
When the Berke’s had spent the summer of tenth grade touring Europe, he had begged out of endless museum tours by explaining to his parents that he was signing up for some local classes. They didn’t need to know that those classes included his current skill, picking locks, and that he had learned them from some of the most experienced Italy had had to offer. It was a very educational summer, but Donny had learned that not everyone was privileged to come from such a cushy home, and many people felt pressed to use dishonest means to find money for basics. It was from there that Donny began appreciating what he had and chose to use his time well-Hashem had given him a gift of not having to worry about his livelihood, clearly he had better use his time well for something else. It was after that summer that Donny really turned around his learning and got serious.
With a small grunt, Donny lifted the bars halfway and squeezed onto the narrow fire escape. Ahhhh. He relaxed into the cool night air, reveling in the stillness. He knew it was a risk to be out here, but he needed the space and the air just a couple nights in order to stay sane. He listened to the stillness, eyes closed. Peaceful.
Clink. Clink. CLINK.

Donny started. Was he hearing things? He listened again. No, he definitely heard some loud clinking, and it was getting louder and louder. Donny looked up and down, not able to find the sources of the noise. It was only when he heard a small shriek and then a loud bang, that he realized the sound was right underneath him.

Donny scrambled into a sitting position, holding his arms up in defense as he imagined what size animal might be heading his way.
“Rawr, rawr” he whisper-shouted. Taking care not to wake the whole building or alert the guards, but scared enough to try and defend himself.
He watched as a huge mound of fur lifted itself off the floor and he literally began trembling. The fur turned around and he was staring at.
A girl.
A girl in a giant fur coat and ridiculous heels.
A girl is a giant fur coat, ridiculous heels, who was red faced and scowling at him.
Donny slapped both hands over his mouth in an attempt to control the laughter spurting from his mouth. He nearly doubled over with silent laughter, tears streaming down his face. Meanwhile, the girl was clearly seething, but did not move an inch.
“Are you quite done”, she asked in a very clipped voice.
Donny succeeded in calming down enough to explain.
“It’s just, I thought you were an animal…”
“An animal!?” the girl cried with such an insulted tone that it took everything in Donny’s power not to continue laughing.

Donny took a deep breath and explained about the fur.

The girl listened with her head cocked to one side, as if weighing his explanation.
“All right then” she said finally. “I accept your apology”.

Donny good naturedly smiled and questioned the mystery girl, why are you out here?
“why ae you out here”, she snapped back.

“Um, I needed some air, and snuck out”, Donny stammered taken aback by her tone.
“I’m sorry”, the girl apologized with a sigh, it’s just the other girls think I’m so stupid and my reasonings are dumb so I feel really defensive. She began to tear up and looked away.
Donny plopped down on the fire escape a few steps above and offered his best smile, “well, I’m a great non-judgemental listener, if you’d like to share”, he said.

The girl sniffed and said haltingly. “well, when I got drafted I cried for a month straight. And I promised myself that when I come out of lockdown, two things will still be true. I will not be fat and I will not forget how to walk in heels!”. I am going to marry someone normal and I can’t afford to hurt my shidduch chances any more than this insane experiment already is”. I mean, none of us will have normal social skills, everyone is eating junk, the uncirculated air in the apartment is terrible for my skin, I share a conference bathroom with a million girls and we wash our hair in the sink, I’m just trying to control what I can!”
Donny sat and listened, watching carefully, his expression not giving away anything.
The girl continued “I threw such a fit that the guards give us space to exercise, but they insist it has to be in isolation, so the only place they allow is this fire escape”.

Donny immediately stood up.
“Well, I respect that you have your principles and that you are willing to fight for them”. I see this is important to you, so I am going to make sure not to get in your way. I understand now why you are scowling and looking so mad. This is important to you. No worries. I’ll figure something else out, I always do”.
Donny almost sprinted up the stairs after his rushed speech when a strangled voice choked out “waaaait”.
Donny turned around in surprise. The girl was trying to walk up the stairs after him, but her hair was tangled up in the staircase pole.
The girl slumped dejectedly back against the pole., gesturing vaguely at her hair.
“This is why I was mad”, she said. “I’m not mad at you at all, I’m just feeling so stuck”.
“Literally and figuratively”, Donny quipped, and despite herself, the girl cracked a smile, even as she insisted he wasn’t funny.
Donny sat back down and turned towards the girl and said, “well, looks like we have a bit o a hairy situation here we need to get you out of”.
To be continued…

Chapter 2:
Kayla

Kayla mentally reviewed her criteria for a successful life as she click-clacked up and down the fire escape.

It was FREEZING outside.

She pulled her fur warmly around her, straightened her back, and click-clacked up and down.
“I will not get fat”.
“I will not give in”.
“I will work hard and feel accomplished after this mountain”

Kayla paused, wondering if it made sense to allow her mind to ponder the difficulties she was currently facing. Missing her two year old sister Layla. Wondering if Laylah would even remember her. Imagining her twin sister Perry snapping up the first shidduch that comes her way, being pregnant and having the first grandchild, being so amazingly good and aidel and kind that everyone all but forgot kayla existed….
Bargh. Kayla slammed the mental door close with a thud and resumed trudging up and down the staircase. She might not be perfect like Perry, but at least she was not going to come out of this awful period looking like the mess everyone thought she was. She was NOT a mess. She was
OW!
Kayla’s hair, piled atop her head in a stylish “don’t care” bun, was looked around some part of the stairwell. Kayla twisted and tried to reach up and free herself, only to find herself flat on her stomach, covered entirely by fur.
She heard a vague “rawr” sound, and her blood turned ice cold. Was there an animal on the stairwell? She held her breath, willing the creature to flee while Kayla desperately tried to imagine how she could free herself. She stood up against the side of the stairwell, hair still tangled as ever, and whirled around, scowling at the sound.
And what she saw was NOT an animal.
It was a yeshiva boy.
Arrrrr. Kayla scowled. She did not need to be seen looking like a crazy exercise junkie in a fur coat in the dead of the night. This experiment would hurt her shidduch prospects enough.
As the boy introduced himself, Kayla felt herself thawing. There was something so open and non-judgmental about Donny, he certainly didn’t come from the circles she did. Although, judging by the cut of his clothing, they certainly weren’t poor. She decided to file this information for later, and focused on what the boy was saying.
Suddenly this Donny-berke-he said his name was? Got up to leave.

“wait!” Kayla called. “Um, I might be stuck!”.

She watched Donny sit back and assess the situation. She tensed as he moved his eyes back and forth across the metal pole extending from the fire escape, where her hair was now tangled.
“Well, said Donny, I want you to know that I have examined the situation from every angle and layer, and I think to get us out of this knot, there is only one solution.”

And with that he slowly pulled out a pocket knife.
“I think I need to cut your hair”, Donny said.
Kayla crossed her arms over her chest and stared Donny down with what she hoped was the most intimidating “don’t cross that line” look possible. She narrowed her eyes and spoke in a very very soft whisper.
“NO ONE IS CUTTING MY HAIR”.
Donny looked completely nonplussed, but perhaps that was because it was he that held the knife in his hand. He couldn’t imagine such fire in a typical bais Yaakov girl, and he was intrigued.
“Alright”, Donny said magnanimously. “Can you share why”?
Kayla stomped her foot and attempted to turn away, but stopped sharply when her hair began twisting.
“Stop, you’ll hurt yourself”, Donny said. And now Kayla detected an air of professionalism-she glanced at Donny in surprise, who sheepishly held up his hands and said “so sorry, EMT, not used to letting people stay in pain”.
Donny cleared his throat and looked Kayla in the eye.
“If you don’t want me to cut your hair, then we’ll find another way”
Kayla did not know whether she should laugh or cry.
“You can’t just promise things you can’t guarantee!” Kayla snapped, annoyed at Donny’s false hope.
Donny looked at Kayla in surprise. “What false hope?” he asked.
“Hashem is in every single situation with us, and He waits to bring the yeshua for us, as soon as we turn to Him and trust, He’ll bring it”.
Donny spoke with such clarity and conviction that Kayla forgot to be cynical and just let herself revel in the feeling of just….being safe. Of knowing. Of knowing with certainty that things would be ok.
Donny waited patiently for Kayla, who seemed to be digesting his words.
Kayla looked up at Donny and asked sincerely, without any sarcasm in her voice “do you really live like that”? “believing every day, every situation that you aren’t alone and that Hashem will get you through”?
“100 percent” Donny replied, his voice growing a bit thick. It wasn’t like he was used to sharing his life beliefs with a stranger on a fire escape in middle of the night.
Donny shook his head and aimed for a lighter tone. “Now, how shall we get you out of this mess”, he asked aloud.
Kayla closed her eyes and inhaled, searching for a breath of inspiration. She inhaled a few times, until she realized she was smelling something sweet.
“What is that smell”, she asked.
“Um, I think it’s shampoo actually”, Donny said. We started keeping our soaps and shampoos out on the landing outside our window since there was literally no room to shower anymore.
Kayla snapped her fingers.
“That’s it”, she said excitedly, eyes dancing.
Donny looked so confused she couldn’t help but giggle as she explained.
“My hair is super dry, probably how it got tangled up in the first place”. “If you can reach the shampoo and pour it over my hair, then I’ll move around a bit, and the hair will be all greasy and will slide right off the pole”.
Donny looked at her with amusement.
“So, what your saying is that I get to be a knight in shining armor by pouring shampoo all over a crazy girl who is dressed in her finest winter wear”?

Kayla frowned and looked at her pristine fur coat. No, she said, I’ll take it off.
Kayla plopped the fur coat a safe distance from her, and promptly began chattering.
“Well, hurry!” she urged Donny as she moved in placed trying to stay warm.
“absolutely not”, Donny dsaid with a firmness that both surprised and comforted her. She watched as Donny shrugged off his jacket and handed it to her.
“I can’t” said Kayla
“I insist” said Donny.
Kayla looked over at Donny but he had a hard set to his chin that indicated to her that she would certainly lose this battle, so she gratefully tugged on the coat.
Donny nodded, pleased that she was warm, and started to head up to the sixth floor landing where the shampoos lay.
“wait”, cried Kayla.
“It’s freezing, at least take this scarf”.
Donny turned around just as a thick Burberry scarf hit him in the face.
He grinned as he wrapped it around his head.
“I have the same one”, he yelled down to Kayla as he made his way two stairs at a time to grab a shampoo.
He headed down the fire escape and stopped a floor above Kayla’s head.
“Ready”? he called?
Kayla squeezed her eyes shut and waited for the miserable pitiful feelings to engulf her, but she was surprised that all she felt was a lightness she had not felt in years. She opened her eyes to see Donny looking worriedly down at her.
“If you think this is a bad idea…” he called down
“Nope, ready!” called Kayla.
As Donny emptied the entire contents of a shampoo bottle over her head, Kayla couldn’t stop herself from giggling. Soon Donny joined it and they continued cackling, muffling their sounds with their hands, until Kayla finally twisted her hair free.
Phew!
Kayla took a step away from the spot she had been contained to for over an hour and shook her shoulders loose.
“Thank you SO much”, she exulted. “I’m free”.
Donny smiled.
“As much as I’d love to stay here and get to know you better, I do think you’d better go inside and wash that entire bottle off your beloved hair”, he said.
Kayla smiled appreciatively, and handed Donny back his coat. He accepted it, but made no move to return the scarf.
Donny looked at Kayla and said, “I hear that Wednesday night” there may be a meteor shower, in case you’re planning to come exercise again”.
Kayla felt a warm feeling balloon through her entire being and beamed up at Donny.
“I’ll see you then”.
Donny walked Kayla to her landing and then bounded up the stairs to his apartment. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something wonderful was happening. He slowly lifted the bars to his apartment and swung his legs over the sill, pulling himself into the apartment.
And he turned around only to find himself face to face with a scowling Eli.
TO Be Continued…. Very Happy

Chapter 3
Donny
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Donny held up his hands as if to shield himself from Eli’s displeasure which was literally emanating from his scowling face.

Eli lifted his hand and poked Donny in the chest, hard.

“Ow”, Donny said rubbing his chest with surprise and annoyance.
Eli cut him off with a glare and a mock whisper.
“How could you”, hissed Eli.
Donny inwardly rolled his eyes at his friend’s self righteousness.
“You mean, how could I jeopardize the study”, Donny asked callously?
“How could I risk putting ANOTHER 20 boys and another group of 20 girls through this misery”?
“What would have happened had they spotted me out there”, he continued, gaining momentum.
“Nothing would have happened, Eli!”
“We all know that. No one cares about this study”.
“And besides”, he said with a touch of bitterness. “We both know that while my father didn’t feel right bribing my way out of this study, the guards are well paid to look the other way when I don’t quite toe the line”.
As if to illustrate the point, Donny kicked his newly purchased shoes against the carpet. When he suddenly had another growth spurt three months into quarantine, he was secretly allowed to meet up with Mrs. Yates, who, while tut-tutting about how the family missed him, took stock of his growth and sent him an entire new wardrobe, including new shoes.
Donny looked up at Eli, who did not look one ounce calmer. In fact, he looked even more incensed.
“Do you think I care about being here”, said Eli?
Donny immediately thought of Chava, and Eli’s perpetual sleep talk of “cookies”, but chose wisely not to bring it up at this particular moment.
“Do you think I wouldn’t back you up for needing some fresh air”? Eli continued gravely.

“Then what’s your problem Eli” shot back Donny angrily.

“What you’re doing is against halacha”, yelled Eli. By now some of the other boys were stirring, and curious eyes were focusing in on Eli and Donny.
Donny felt his face go red. “What are you talking about”, he stammered. “I was just getting some fresh air”…

“There was a GIRL out there”, said Eli. A girl!
The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop.
Donny decided to play it cool despite the butterflies permanently taking up residence in his stomach.
“Oh, yeah.” He said nonchalantly.
“I went out for some air and there was one of these girls exercising. I would have just left her to it but she got stuck so I helped her and then went inside”.
Eli was turning all shades of red, white and purple and back again, literally shaking.
“What about hilchos yichud”, he hissed?
“Do you want to destroy this girl’s future”. Eli yelled. He took a menacing step towards Donny.
“Rabbosai, calm down, calm down”, soothed the deep voice of Refael.
Almost immediately everyone sat up a bit straighter, and even Eli dropped his hands to his sides, fists still balled up in anger.
Refael was the unofficial “rav” among them, having received semicha and studied under a famous rabbi for some time. He was relied upon to be the calm voice of halacha and yashrus when things got heated between the boys.
Refael looked at Eli unfazed.
“Halachically, Donny did nothing wrong”. Rafael intoned, using the singsong lilt of gemara learning as he spoke.
“Since the guards or any of the 38 people behind the windows could have discovered them at any time, and they were clearly worried about that since they didn’t call for help when the girl got stuck, there was no issur yichud transgressed”.
Donny let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding.
“Awesome” said Donny. “Because there is a meteor shower Wednesday night…”
“Wait”, Rafael cut him off with a serious look.
“I think as a group we must all agree that having contact with the girls has to be entirely off limits for the duration of the lockdown, or we will all find ourselves on the wrong side of halacha. We can into this challenge intact, and we must leave intact”.
Donny felt his heart squeeze and crack a little, even as mentally he acknowledged that Rafael was right.
If there were no limitations and careful boundaries put in place, who knew what this experiment could make of 20 good yeshiva boys and 20 good yeshiva girls.
Eli, looking a lot calmer, pumped Donny’s hand in an exaggerated handshake as a display of reconciliation.
“look”, said Eli.
“I’m really sorry I misjudged you, it’s just I care about you”, he said sincerely.
Donny lifted his hands up in a mock bow and quickly grabbed Eli in a headlock.
As they wrestled and agreed to always look out for one another, Donny was already planning for Wednesday. He stood back, and with some satisfaction noted the warmth around his neck where the scarf was tied. He wasn’t sure he would ever take it off.
The week passed in a blur, until Wednesday evening when most of the boys had already fallen asleep. Donny looked around, stretched, and headed to the bathroom. He checked his reflection, pleased with what his saw, and headed to the exit.
He tried the door, but the handle seemed stuck.
He tried again.
He jiggeled it.
It just wasn’t moving.
He slowly began pushing against the door, finally calling to his roomataes and making quite a racket.
“Sorry, Donny”, said a voice he knew to be Eli’s.
“We can’t let you do this”.
Donny felt a mad wave of desperation pass through him.
“Eli! Open this door”. He managed.
“I’m really sorry Donny”, Eli said firmly. But once you stand her up then she won’t expect to see you anymore, and this will be over. You can explain what happened after the lockwodn is over and you can meet in a proper setting.
Donny didn’t even bother responding, just immediately proceeded to the window.
His friend had done a fine job. The window bars were secured in ways that would require either too much time or power tools in order to remove them.
Donny was vaguely aware of his friends commenting outside the door, but his head was entirely focused on one thing. How could he get a message to Kayla that he was not standing her up?
Donny willed himself not to panic. He felt the worries start swirling in his head.
What if she was the one?
What if everything was getting messed up?
What if she thought he was toying with her, or worse, setting her up to look stupid?
From his brief encounter with Kayla, he already got the feeling that she was nobody’s fool. She didn’t seem the type to give someone a second chance to make her feel small.
Donny reached deep. He took a few deep breaths. Hashem would help. Donny knew he was never alone.
He inhaled deeply.
He heard the tell-tale click-clack of Kayla’s heels moving up and down the fire escape. He knew the landings didn’t reach as high as the bathroom ledge, but he peered down. Sure enough he caught a glimpse of a giant fur, and smiled to himself as he recalled his initial fright, thinking there was an animal on the fire escape.
Donny closed his eyes and took deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.
What was that sweet smell?
He looked around confused, then smiled as he saw the shampoo bottles. Aha!
Donny grabbed a bottle of the same shampoo he had poured over Kayla’a head just two nights earlier, and climber onto the tiny window ledge. Holding the bottle out the window, he slowly began pouring shampoo down, down past the ledge, until he heard it hit the stairwell.
This might actually work…
To be Continued…
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 10:18 am
I love the concept: One imamother doing fanfiction of another's work. Smile
Fun to read.
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amother




Chestnut
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 1:48 pm
Please keep this up.
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amother




Glitter
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 2:29 pm
Awesome
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amother




Arcticblue
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 2:48 pm
That's amazing, one small thing though, Berke is his first name Smile
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amother




Aubergine
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 2:53 pm
amother [ Arcticblue ] wrote:
That's amazing, one small thing though, Berke is his first name Smile

Huh? I didn’t think so. What language is Berke as a first name? What does it mean?
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amother




Lightpink
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 2:59 pm
amother [ Aubergine ] wrote:
Huh? I didn’t think so. What language is Berke as a first name? What does it mean?


Lol it's a nickname for berel. Yiddish as all the ugly names are LOL (my name is yiddish)
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chili-n-cholent




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 3:02 pm
amother [ Lightpink ] wrote:
Lol it's a nickname for berel. Yiddish as all the ugly names are LOL (my name is yiddish)

Oh I was pronouncing it in my head as Burk, haha I wonder what the original OP of Damsel meant
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amother




Pansy
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 3:06 pm
Hi, it's Damsel here Smile

I was originally thinking Berke as a nickname for Dovber, but part of the fun of fanfic is seeing how differently others imagine the fictional world. So I don't think that the OP of this one should feel compelled to change anything.

Looking forward to seeing what happens next in this alternate but parallel universe!

(Halfway through the next "official" chapter, daven for me that I can steal some time tomorrow for the rest!)
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Winterb




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 3:12 pm
Following! Can’t wait for the next chapter! I wish I could write like you ladies, there are so many spin off character possibilities 😊
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 3:15 pm
amother [ Pansy ] wrote:
Hi, it's Damsel here Smile

I was originally thinking Berke as a nickname for Dovber, but part of the fun of fanfic is seeing how differently others imagine the fictional world. So I don't think that the OP of this one should feel compelled to change anything.

Looking forward to seeing what happens next in this alternate but parallel universe!

(Halfway through the next "official" chapter, daven for me that I can steal some time tomorrow for the rest!)


OP here. I feel like I have received a nod from jk Rowling herself. Thanks for the chime in! Having so much fun with this
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scintilla




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 3:17 pm
chili-n-cholent wrote:
Oh I was pronouncing it in my head as Burk, haha I wonder what the original OP of Damsel meant


Lol - I believe it's in the Russian style of nicknames, as many Chabad ones are. So it would be pronounced Ber-ke (like -le just with a k).
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 8:10 pm
Posting chapter 2 again here for ease of reading
Chapter 2:
Kayla

Kayla mentally reviewed her criteria for a successful life as she click-clacked up and down the fire escape.

It was FREEZING outside.

She pulled her fur warmly around her, straightened her back, and click-clacked up and down.
“I will not get fat”.
“I will not give in”.
“I will work hard and feel accomplished after this mountain”

Kayla paused, wondering if it made sense to allow her mind to ponder the difficulties she was currently facing. Missing her two year old sister Layla. Wondering if Laylah would even remember her. Imagining her twin sister Perry snapping up the first shidduch that comes her way, being pregnant and having the first grandchild, being so amazingly good and aidel and kind that everyone all but forgot kayla existed….
Bargh. Kayla slammed the mental door close with a thud and resumed trudging up and down the staircase. She might not be perfect like Perry, but at least she was not going to come out of this awful period looking like the mess everyone thought she was. She was NOT a mess. She was
OW!
Kayla’s hair, piled atop her head in a stylish “don’t care” bun, was looked around some part of the stairwell. Kayla twisted and tried to reach up and free herself, only to find herself flat on her stomach, covered entirely by fur.
She heard a vague “rawr” sound, and her blood turned ice cold. Was there an animal on the stairwell? She held her breath, willing the creature to flee while Kayla desperately tried to imagine how she could free herself. She stood up against the side of the stairwell, hair still tangled as ever, and whirled around, scowling at the sound.
And what she saw was NOT an animal.
It was a yeshiva boy.
Arrrrr. Kayla scowled. She did not need to be seen looking like a crazy exercise junkie in a fur coat in the dead of the night. This experiment would hurt her shidduch prospects enough.
As the boy introduced himself, Kayla felt herself thawing. There was something so open and non-judgmental about Donny, he certainly didn’t come from the circles she did. Although, judging by the cut of his clothing, they certainly weren’t poor. She decided to file this information for later, and focused on what the boy was saying.
Suddenly this Donny-berke-he said his name was? Got up to leave.

“wait!” Kayla called. “Um, I might be stuck!”.

She watched Donny sit back and assess the situation. She tensed as he moved his eyes back and forth across the metal pole extending from the fire escape, where her hair was now tangled.
“Well, said Donny, I want you to know that I have examined the situation from every angle and layer, and I think to get us out of this knot, there is only one solution.”

And with that he slowly pulled out a pocket knife.
“I think I need to cut your hair”, Donny said.
Kayla crossed her arms over her chest and stared Donny down with what she hoped was the most intimidating “don’t cross that line” look possible. She narrowed her eyes and spoke in a very very soft whisper.
“NO ONE IS CUTTING MY HAIR”.
Donny looked completely nonplussed, but perhaps that was because it was he that held the knife in his hand. He couldn’t imagine such fire in a typical bais Yaakov girl, and he was intrigued.
“Alright”, Donny said magnanimously. “Can you share why”?
Kayla stomped her foot and attempted to turn away, but stopped sharply when her hair began twisting.
“Stop, you’ll hurt yourself”, Donny said. And now Kayla detected an air of professionalism-she glanced at Donny in surprise, who sheepishly held up his hands and said “so sorry, EMT, not used to letting people stay in pain”.
Donny cleared his throat and looked Kayla in the eye.
“If you don’t want me to cut your hair, then we’ll find another way”
Kayla did not know whether she should laugh or cry.
“You can’t just promise things you can’t guarantee!” Kayla snapped, annoyed at Donny’s false hope.
Donny looked at Kayla in surprise. “What false hope?” he asked.
“Hashem is in every single situation with us, and He waits to bring the yeshua for us, as soon as we turn to Him and trust, He’ll bring it”.
Donny spoke with such clarity and conviction that Kayla forgot to be cynical and just let herself revel in the feeling of just….being safe. Of knowing. Of knowing with certainty that things would be ok.
Donny waited patiently for Kayla, who seemed to be digesting his words.
Kayla looked up at Donny and asked sincerely, without any sarcasm in her voice “do you really live like that”? “believing every day, every situation that you aren’t alone and that Hashem will get you through”?
“100 percent” Donny replied, his voice growing a bit thick. It wasn’t like he was used to sharing his life beliefs with a stranger on a fire escape in middle of the night.
Donny shook his head and aimed for a lighter tone. “Now, how shall we get you out of this mess”, he asked aloud.
Kayla closed her eyes and inhaled, searching for a breath of inspiration. She inhaled a few times, until she realized she was smelling something sweet.
“What is that smell”, she asked.
“Um, I think it’s shampoo actually”, Donny said. We started keeping our soaps and shampoos out on the landing outside our window since there was literally no room to shower anymore.
Kayla snapped her fingers.
“That’s it”, she said excitedly, eyes dancing.
Donny looked so confused she couldn’t help but giggle as she explained.
“My hair is super dry, probably how it got tangled up in the first place”. “If you can reach the shampoo and pour it over my hair, then I’ll move around a bit, and the hair will be all greasy and will slide right off the pole”.
Donny looked at her with amusement.
“So, what your saying is that I get to be a knight in shining armor by pouring shampoo all over a starnage girl who is dressed in her finest winter wear”?

Kayla frowned and looked at her pristine fur coat. No, she said, I’ll take it off.
Kayla plopped the fur coat a safe distance from her, and promptly began chattering.
“Well, hurry!” she urged Donny as she moved in placed trying to stay warm.
“absolutely not”, Donny dsaid with a firmness that both surprised and comforted her. She watched as Donny shrugged off his jacket and handed it to her.
“I can’t” said Kayla
“I insist” said Donny.
Kayla looked over at Donny but he had a hard set to his chin that indicated to her that she would certainly lose this battle, so she gratefully tugged on the coat.
Donny nodded, pleased that she was warm, and started to head up to the sixth floor landing where the shampoos lay.
“wait”, cried Kayla.
“It’s freezing, at least take this scarf”.
Donny turned around just as a thick Burberry scarf hit him in the face.
He grinned as he wrapped it around his head.
“I have the same one”, he yelled down to Kayla as he made his way two stairs at a time to grab a shampoo.
He headed down the fire escape and stopped a floor above Kayla’s head.
“Ready”? he called?
Kayla squeezed her eyes shut and waited for the miserable pitiful feelings to engulf her, but she was surprised that all she felt was a lightness she had not felt in years. She opened her eyes to see Donny looking worriedly down at her.
“If you think this is a bad idea…” he called down
“Nope, ready!” called Kayla.
As Donny emptied the entire contents of a shampoo bottle over her head, Kayla couldn’t stop herself from giggling. Soon Donny joined it and they continued cackling, muffling their sounds with their hands, until Kayla finally twisted her hair free.
Phew!
Kayla took a step away from the spot she had been contained to for over an hour and shook her shoulders loose.
“Thank you SO much”, she exulted. “I’m free”.
Donny smiled.
“As much as I’d love to stay here and get to know you better, I do think you’d better go inside and wash that entire bottle off your beloved hair”, he said.
Kayla smiled appreciatively, and handed Donny back his coat. He accepted it, but made no move to return the scarf.
Donny looked at Kayla and said, “I hear that Wednesday night” there may be a meteor shower, in case you’re planning to come exercise again”.
Kayla felt a warm feeling balloon through her entire being and beamed up at Donny.
“I’ll see you then”.
Donny walked Kayla to her landing and then bounded up the stairs to his apartment. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something wonderful was happening. He slowly lifted the bars to his apartment and swung his legs over the sill, pulling himself into the apartment.
And he turned around only to find himself face to face with a scowling Eli.
TO Be Continued….
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my mama




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 8:27 pm
Loving this! Thanks
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amother




DarkViolet
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 9:33 pm
Ooh love this and the original! Can't wait for more!
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amother




Honey
 

Post Tue, Dec 28 2021, 10:35 pm
This is great! Thanks for the laugh!
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amother




Narcissus
 

Post Wed, Dec 29 2021, 4:17 am
👏👏👏👏👏
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Revafe




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Dec 29 2021, 5:21 am
Amazing! Totally in love with all things damsel!
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Dec 29 2021, 11:09 pm
reposting chapter 3 here for easier readability

Chapter 3
Donny
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Donny held up his hands as if to shield himself from Eli’s displeasure which was literally emanating from his scowling face.

Eli lifted his hand and poked Donny in the chest, hard.

“Ow”, Donny said rubbing his chest with surprise and annoyance.
Eli cut him off with a glare and a mock whisper.
“How could you”, hissed Eli.
Donny inwardly rolled his eyes at his friend’s self righteousness.
“You mean, how could I jeopardize the study”, Donny asked callously?
“How could I risk putting ANOTHER 20 boys and another group of 20 girls through this misery”?
“What would have happened had they spotted me out there”, he continued, gaining momentum.
“Nothing would have happened, Eli!”
“We all know that. No one cares about this study”.
“And besides”, he said with a touch of bitterness. “We both know that while my father didn’t feel right bribing my way out of this study, the guards are well paid to look the other way when I don’t quite toe the line”.
As if to illustrate the point, Donny kicked his newly purchased shoes against the carpet. When he suddenly had another growth spurt three months into quarantine, he was secretly allowed to meet up with Mrs. Yates, who, while tut-tutting about how the family missed him, took stock of his growth and sent him an entire new wardrobe, including new shoes.
Donny looked up at Eli, who did not look one ounce calmer. In fact, he looked even more incensed.
“Do you think I care about being here”, said Eli?
Donny immediately thought of Chava, and Eli’s perpetual sleep talk of “cookies”, but chose wisely not to bring it up at this particular moment.
“Do you think I wouldn’t back you up for needing some fresh air”? Eli continued gravely.

“Then what’s your problem Eli” shot back Donny angrily.

“What you’re doing is against halacha”, yelled Eli. By now some of the other boys were stirring, and curious eyes were focusing in on Eli and Donny.
Donny felt his face go red. “What are you talking about”, he stammered. “I was just getting some fresh air”…

“There was a GIRL out there”, said Eli. A girl!
The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop.
Donny decided to play it cool despite the butterflies permanently taking up residence in his stomach.
“Oh, yeah.” He said nonchalantly.
“I went out for some air and there was one of these girls exercising. I would have just left her to it but she got stuck so I helped her and then went inside”.
Eli was turning all shades of red, white and purple and back again, literally shaking.
“What about hilchos yichud”, he hissed?
“Do you want to destroy this girl’s future”. Eli yelled. He took a menacing step towards Donny.
“Rabbosai, calm down, calm down”, soothed the deep voice of Refael.
Almost immediately everyone sat up a bit straighter, and even Eli dropped his hands to his sides, fists still balled up in anger.
Refael was the unofficial “rav” among them, having received semicha and studied under a famous rabbi for some time. He was relied upon to be the calm voice of halacha and yashrus when things got heated between the boys.
Refael looked at Eli unfazed.
“Halachically, Donny did nothing wrong”. Rafael intoned, using the singsong lilt of gemara learning as he spoke.
“Since the guards or any of the 38 people behind the windows could have discovered them at any time, and they were clearly worried about that since they didn’t call for help when the girl got stuck, there was no issur yichud transgressed”.
Donny let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding.
“Awesome” said Donny. “Because there is a meteor shower Wednesday night…”
“Wait”, Rafael cut him off with a serious look.
“I think as a group we must all agree that having contact with the girls has to be entirely off limits for the duration of the lockdown, or we will all find ourselves on the wrong side of halacha. We can into this challenge intact, and we must leave intact”.
Donny felt his heart squeeze and crack a little, even as mentally he acknowledged that Rafael was right.
If there were no limitations and careful boundaries put in place, who knew what this experiment could make of 20 good yeshiva boys and 20 good yeshiva girls.
Eli, looking a lot calmer, pumped Donny’s hand in an exaggerated handshake as a display of reconciliation.
“look”, said Eli.
“I’m really sorry I misjudged you, it’s just I care about you”, he said sincerely.
Donny lifted his hands up in a mock bow and quickly grabbed Eli in a headlock.
As they wrestled and agreed to always look out for one another, Donny was already planning for Wednesday. He stood back, and with some satisfaction noted the warmth around his neck where the scarf was tied. He wasn’t sure he would ever take it off.
The week passed in a blur, until Wednesday evening when most of the boys had already fallen asleep. Donny looked around, stretched, and headed to the bathroom. He checked his reflection, pleased with what his saw, and headed to the exit.
He tried the door, but the handle seemed stuck.
He tried again.
He jiggeled it.
It just wasn’t moving.
He slowly began pushing against the door, finally calling to his roomataes and making quite a racket.
“Sorry, Donny”, said a voice he knew to be Eli’s.
“We can’t let you do this”.
Donny felt a mad wave of desperation pass through him.
“Eli! Open this door”. He managed.
“I’m really sorry Donny”, Eli said firmly. But once you stand her up then she won’t expect to see you anymore, and this will be over. You can explain what happened after the lockwodn is over and you can meet in a proper setting.
Donny didn’t even bother responding, just immediately proceeded to the window.
His friend had done a fine job. The window bars were secured in ways that would require either too much time or power tools in order to remove them.
Donny was vaguely aware of his friends commenting outside the door, but his head was entirely focused on one thing. How could he get a message to Kayla that he was not standing her up?
Donny willed himself not to panic. He felt the worries start swirling in his head.
What if she was the one?
What if everything was getting messed up?
What if she thought he was toying with her, or worse, setting her up to look stupid?
From his brief encounter with Kayla, he already got the feeling that she was nobody’s fool. She didn’t seem the type to give someone a second chance to make her feel small.
Donny reached deep. He took a few deep breaths. Hashem would help. Donny knew he was never alone.
He inhaled deeply.
He heard the tell-tale click-clack of Kayla’s heels moving up and down the fire escape. He knew the landings didn’t reach as high as the bathroom ledge, but he peered down. Sure enough he caught a glimpse of a giant fur, and smiled to himself as he recalled his initial fright, thinking there was an animal on the fire escape.
Donny closed his eyes and took deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.
What was that sweet smell?
He looked around confused, then smiled as he saw the shampoo bottles. Aha!
Donny grabbed a bottle of the same shampoo he had poured over Kayla’a head just two nights earlier, and climber onto the tiny window ledge. Holding the bottle out the window, he slowly began pouring shampoo down, down past the ledge, until he heard it hit the stairwell.
This might actually work…
To be Continued…




Last edited by amother on Wed, Dec 29 2021, 11:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Dec 29 2021, 11:10 pm
And every comment brightens my day Smile thanks for reading! So fun to share.
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