When they were all seated, Otto smiled and began, “I trust everyone slept well. I, for one, think the wedding, though filled with activities, was a lot like a delightful family vacation.”
Quip muttered over the speaker phone, “That just keeps getting better, except for early morning conference calls.”
Otto replied, “I am sorry for the early hour, Quip, but we needed to get some customer requests handled, and find out what, if anything, was missed. We rarely are all gone at the same time from here.
“I had a few topics that I thought we needed to touch on. One of the topics is, are Julie and Juan coming back here before the twins are born or is the doctor forbidding her travel? If it is the latter then Haddy will be on a plane soon, I suspect. What can we do to get her close to her primary doctor?”
Petra interjected, “They are on their way back, as we speak. Lara and Carlos gave them a chartered flight so she could be at home and near her doctor. Mom already knows and is preparing the house for their arrival from here and having the staff set up a nursery, as well as using as much as possible from when we were babies. Haddy is totally in her element.
“Best of all, we can all visit easily when the babies arrive, yet the new couple can have their newlywed privacy.”
Jacob grinned then added, “I’ve never seen your family home, so I am really looking forward to taking a weekend trip to congratulate mom and dad when the time comes.”
Wolfgang looked pleased as he piped in, “It has been such a long time since any babies or youngsters were around, I am really looking forward to their arrival. Julie and Juan looked so incredibly happy at the wedding.”
Quip agreed, “They did look totally in love. I am so glad he was rescued, and the babies will have their dad. It was a cool venue at the winery in Texas, Petra. Great suggestion! EZ said she wants to go back there for a holiday some time.
“Julie believes she has a few more weeks before the babies arrive, and I, for one, wouldn’t dream of doubting her. She has continued to prove herself as one tough cookie. Even the guys from the three letter United States agencies commented on her during the wedding reception.
“What else is on your list, Otto, because I have a couple of items as well that I think we need to discuss.”
“The other item on my list is frankly a bit delicate in my mind.” Otto continued, “It has to do actually a bit with Julie and Juan, as well as a bit with you and Eilla-Zan. Quip, I am concerned about how much of the operations and family business information we share. I want to be honest here. I don’t think that couples should keep secrets from each other, but I want to make certain that we remain protected and well insulated from the scrutiny of outside eyes. Historically, we tend to walk a very fine line at sharing or holding information from those outside of our family.
“Even Julie, with her work, has only asked to have the information needed for her to complete assignments on our behalf. I don’t know how much Juan will question or just accept on faith. And well, Quip, your relationship with Eilla-Zan seems to be progressing to the next level with her agreement to live here with you. How is a level of guardedness going to work with her? I chatted with her a great deal during the wedding, and her inquisitive nature is as dramatic as her fiery red hair.”
Quip chuckled then said, “Otto, I couldn’t have said it better myself. This was one item on my list. I wanted to get input from both you and Wolfgang on the right way to approach this very subject. I think that you with your wives were a bit different as the lessons learned from the war were shared between families. You had the same foundational values, so the risk was minimal.
“Wolfgang, Jacob’s mom, your daughter, didn’t have enough time with Jacob’s father to have an issue. Both my parents died early so I have no idea how they handled it. Otto, you and Haddy have always worked together.
“Even with friends like Bruno, there have been lines that are simply not crossed, though we have helped him more than once due to his Interpol work. I am uncertain how much risk that I want EZ to have by knowing more than she should, especially after her being kidnapped.”
Wolfgang cleared his throat and offered, “This is a tough subject that each of us will always worry about. Though you make good points regarding a shared history, we each struggled a bit. It is a matter of both protection for those we love and wanting to share everything. Jacob and Petra do have a very different case. Then you look at the testing that Jacob went through with Otto in advance of being shown anything. As well as he had to pass through your tests, Quip.”
Jacob agreed, “Yes, that was a confusing and tough time, but well worth it. I would suggest that each couple take it a step at a time without being so open to all the details of the business. Julie wouldn’t risk her family for anything. I believe that Juan would respect that decision. Both Carlos and Juan have had help from our infrastructure even though they are not aware of the details.”
Petra suggested, “Quip, would you open up about every capability that ICABOD has to EZ at this point, or would you be more inclined to provide the information needed for each of our assignments?”
“Obviously, I wouldn’t give EZ access to ICABOD. Heck, it took me a long time to grant access to Jacob. She also doesn’t really need ICABOD to enhance her unified communications expertise. She is one of the best, no doubt. My inclination is just the information she needs.”
Petra nodded then continued, “Exactly. We have a check and balance in place already that outlines the tasks accepted, how and who works them, and that has always been kept very close. The agreed vote is required. It is work, and some of it can be discussed while other parts simply cannot.
“Another example is Julie’s and my relationship with Lara. I consider her a friend, but she doesn’t know everything. Julie adores doing that fashion design thing with Lara part time, but again doesn’t tell her everything. It simply isn’t necessary as a part of the relationship.”
Otto looked thoughtful then asked, “Do you think that we should talk to Julie and get her opinions on the boundaries that she would be comfortable with in her marriage? Quip, I think you are mature enough that you will set the right boundaries with EZ. If something comes up that makes that an issue, I or, I am sure, Wolfgang would be happy to lend an ear.”
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