The Best Laid Plans Chapter 25

Jeff Connors was at Dulles International Airport with Dana, waiting for Kemal's plane to arrive. ’’He's been through hell,’’ Dana explained nervously. ’’He - he's not like other little boys. I mean - don't be surprised if he doesn't show any emotion.’’ She desperately wanted Jeff to like Kemal.

Jeff sensed her anxiety. ’’Don't worry, darling. I'm sure he's a wonderful boy.’’

’’Here it comes!’’

They looked up and watched the small speck in the sky grow larger and larger until it became a shining 747.

Dana squeezed Jeff's hand tightly. ’’He's here.’’

The passengers were deplaning. Dana watched anxiously as they exited one by one. ’’Where's - ?’’

And there he was. He was dressed in the outfit that Dana had bought him in Sarajevo, and his face was freshly washed. He came down the ramp slowly, and when he saw Dana, he stopped. The two of them stood there, motionless, staring at each other. And then they were running toward each other, and Dana was holding him, and his good arm was squeezing her tightly, and they were both crying.

When Dana found her voice, she said, ’’Welcome to America, Kemal.’’

He nodded. He could not speak.

’’Kemal, I want you to meet my friend. This is Jeff Connors.’’

Jeff leaned down. ’’Hello, Kemal. I've been hearing a lot about you.’’

Kemal clung to Dana fiercely.

’’You'll be coming to live with me,’’ Dana said.

’’Would you like that?’’

Kemal nodded. He would not let go of her.

Dana looked at her watch. ’’We have to leave. I'm covering a speech at the White House.’’

It was a perfect day. The sky was a deep, clear blue, and a cooling breeze was blowing in from the Potomac River.

They stood in the Rose Garden, with three dozen other television and newspaper reporters. Dana's camera was focused on the president, who stood on a podium with Jan at his side.

President Oliver Russell was saying, ’’I have an important announcement to make. At this moment, there is a meeting of the heads of state of the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Iran, and Syria, to discuss a lasting peace treaty with Israel. I received word this morning that the meeting is going extremely well and that the treaty should be signed within the next day or two. It is of the utmost importance that the Congress of the United States solidly support us in helping this vital effort.’’ Oliver turned to the man standing next to him. ’’Senator Todd Davis.’’

Senator Davis stepped up to the microphone, wearing his trademark white suit and white, broad-brimmed leghorn hat, beaming at the crowd. ’’This is truly a historic moment in the history of our great country. For many years, as you know, I have been striving to bring about peace between Israel and the Arab countries. It has been a long and difficult task, but now, at last, with the help and guidance of our wonderful president, I am happy to say that our efforts are finally coming to fruition.’’ He turned to Oliver. ’’We should all congratulate our great president on the magnificent part he has played in helping us to bring this about...’’

Dana was thinking, One war is coming to an end. Perhaps this is a beginning. Maybe one day we'll have a world where adults learn to settle their problems with love instead of hate, a world where children can grow up without ever hearing the obscene sounds of bombs and machine-gun fire, without fear of their limbs being torn apart by faceless strangers. She turned to look at Kemal, who was excitedly whispering to Jeff. Dana smiled. Jeff had proposed to her. Kemal would have a father. They were going to be a family. How did I get so lucky? Dana wondered. The speeches were winding down.

The cameraman swung the camera away from the podium and moved into a close-up of Dana. She looked into the lens.

’’This is Dana Evans, reporting for WTE, Washington, D.C.’’


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