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Brotherly Love

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Daegaer wrote, @ 2003 -04 -16
Secret discovery
Hmm. therealjae has a 500-word "secrets" challenge.

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The friends of Amnon, eldest son of the king, were an unobservant group. They liked to laugh, to drink, to chase pretty girls, and they liked Amnon to do the same. When he stopped laughing, when he stopped drinking wine and could muster no energy even to look a pretty girlís way his friends never thought to ask why. They accepted his excuses: that he was ill, that he was simply bored of them. His friends simply forsook him and went to wait for him to start acting more like his old self.

One of them turned back, however, his cousin Jonadab, famed for his subtle mind. He knew the value of seeming simply one of the crowd. None of the friends would remember him staying behind, acting as if he had special privileges. He had privileges, of course. He walked past Amnonís servants, into the private chamber and looked at his cousin lying in bed, his face to the wall. Amnon looked not ill but guilty.

"My friend," Jonadab said. "Burdens are eased when two men share them."

Amnon made an indistinct sound. Jonadab sat on the edge of his bed and put a hand on his shoulder.

"What is wrong, cousin? You know you can tell me."

"I am in love," Amnon whined. "I am in love and I can see no respite."

Jonadab smiled and fetched a cup of water.

"Can you not speak to the girl?"

"She is of good family," Amnon said dully. "She is beautiful and carefully chaperoned. She is a virgin, and I can see no way to change that."

"Servants can be distracted or bribed. Virgin girls can be flattered. Families will accept much after the fact. Who is this girl, cousin?"

Amnon groaned and turned his face to the wall again.

"She is my sister Tamar."

Jonadab sat thinking. What an interesting situation. He shook Amnonís shoulder and offered the water.

"Drink, cousin. There is no need to make yourself ill in truth. I know how to solve your problem."

Amnon sat up.

"How? Speak, Jonadab!"

"Send word to the king your father that you are too ill to eat, and can only face freshly made little cakes. Ask for Tamar to come make them for you. Then you can do as you please. Sheíll hardly bring a chaperone into her own brotherís house."

"What if she refuses me?" Amnon whined.

Jonadab looked at him in surprise.

"What if she does? You are a man with a manís strength. She is little more than a child. I shouldnít worry about it."

Amnon smiled and thanked him. Jonadab accepted his thanks graciously and begged leave to go. He felt it was time to leave Jerusalem, to go and visit his parents out on the country estate. It wasnít that he feared the plan would fail and Amnon would be angry. He knew it would work, and he wanted all Jerusalem to remember that he hadnít been in the city at the time.

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