New York was blessed with many immigrants that brought their skills to America where the skill would be appreciated and the immigrant could grow and prosper. There were immigrants from Russia, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Greece, Portugal and other places. Each of the immigrants brought their own culture with them which made New York City the most multi-cultural city in the world. From each of the countries came a sizable number of Jewish immigrants. Immigrants from the countries brought their taste in food and how to prepare the food. There were even Chinese that brought their way of preparing food. No matter how your tastes ran, you could find a restaurant in New York that served the food.
The Pole decided it was time to expand. He found a chef that was excellent at preparing Hungarian dishes. He found a chef that was excellent at preparing Russian dishes. He found a chef that was excellent at preparing German dishes. He found a chef that could prepare Polish dishes so the Pole could devote his time to the management of the restaurants. He discussed his ideas for expansion with Andrei and offered to make him a partner if he would help in the management of the four restaurants. Andrei immediately accepted and would have a one-fourth interest in the profits of the restaurant group. They kept the restaurants in Greenwich Village so they could be more easily managed. Andrei was 25 years old and was making more money a year than he could have earned in a lifetime in Russia.
Natasha was now a 21 year old beauty. She assisted Andrei and the Pole with keeping the books for the restaurants. She also helped Lara with the three children of Lara and the Pole. She had a flat in the same building and Andrei lived next door. She had many suitors but none of the men she knew was acceptable to her. They all had to meet Andrei and he was very protective.
Natasha was working with Andrei in the Russian restaurant. The hostess had not come in so Natasha was filling in. This was something that she did frequently in all the restaurants. Andrei noticed that one of the patrons was taking special notice of Natasha. He was a man of about 50 and was with a group of six people. When the man was leaving, he approached Andrei and asked about the beautiful young woman that seated them. Andrei advised that she was his sister. The man gave Andrei a card with the man’s name and address. The card said that he was a talent agent and he asked if Andrei and Natasha would come to see him as he thought that he could help Natasha. Andrei told Natasha of the man and said that he would go see him alone. Natasha was not certain that she even wanted to see him as she was very happy doing what she was doing.
Andrei went to meet with the man in his office to find out what the man was about. The man told Andrei that he supplied beautiful young girls to entertain men at special functions and that he could guarantee Natasha would make a great deal of money. Andrei controlled himself and did not strike the man but told him to stay away from Natasha and to never come into his restaurant again. Andrei left in anger and sought a police station to tell them what the man had proposed. The police said that they would look into the man’s activities.
Natasha became very ill. She was running a high fever, had chills, and was having difficulty breathing. Andrei took her to a nearby hospital for help. Since they had no personal doctor, Natasha was examined by a resident at the hospital. He checked her and determined that she had a serious case of pneumonia and needed to be hospitalized. He checked her into a private room at the hospital so she wouldn’t infect the other patients. He called in other residents to confirm his diagnosis. His expertise was in orthopedics and he did not want to make a mistake. Two other residents confirmed his diagnosis and the chief of staff looked in on her and agreed with the diagnosis.
Dr. Matthew Peters was very taken with Natasha and Andrei and Lara. He was especially impressed with how solicitous Andrei was to his sister’s welfare. The young Doctor spent a great deal of time with Natasha. If he had spare time, he spent it in Natasha’s room. Natasha was pleased with the attention that Dr. Peters was giving her. Even in her illness she thought that he was a very handsome man but, more importantly, very gentle and considerate. He was what she thought all doctors should be. Finally Natasha was well enough to be released but Dr. Peters kept her two more days. He said it was to be certain that she was cured but he knew it was so he could spend more time with her. Finally the time came when he had to release her from the hospital but he asked her to come back in a week for a follow-up to be certain her lungs were clear of the pneumonia.
Natasha was feeling fine and felt the follow-up silly but she wanted to see Dr. Peters again so she went. He checked her and found that she was, indeed, cured. He asked her if she would meet some friends of his that were also residents. They would all have dates for dinner and Natasha would be his date. She was thrilled but did not want to show it. She agreed if the eight people would eat at her brother’s restaurant. None of the young men had ever eaten Russian food so they agreed.
The night of the date found Natasha very nervous. While she had had many young men as suitors, Dr. Peters was the first that she had truly cared about and wanted to spend time with. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John showed up and the other three had their dates with them. They were a boisterous, fun loving group of people. Natasha met them at the restaurant and fell in love with all of them but had special feelings for Matthew. It was a glorious evening. Andrei liked Dr. Peters a lot and was grateful that he had helped Natasha to get over that deadly disease. Andrei gave the group special attention and made certain the food they received was of the highest quality. When the evening was over Andrei informed the four young doctors that the meal was on the house. It was a celebration of Natasha being cured. They left, all but Matthew, who asked if he could see Natasha home. Andrei gave his blessing and so the evening ended on a special note.
Dr. Peters had Sunday off so they made plans to spend the day together. Natasha wanted Matthew to meet Lara and the Pole and the children. They made plans to go on a picnic in Central Park with the whole group. Natasha wanted her family to meet and get to know Dr. Peters. The children loved him. He played with them and teased them and ran after them. Lara and the Pole thought he was one of the nicest young men they had ever met. Things were going well.
Every time Dr. Peters had time off he spent it with Natasha. They were falling more in love every day. The time was approaching when Matthew would finish his residency and would be able to start practicing medicine on his own. He wanted to return to New Zealand but he did not want to leave Natasha. He didn’t think that he would ever find anyone that he could love as he loved her. He also knew of the history of the family and that she was the only family Andrei had left. Would it be fair of him to take her so far away from her only family? He also considered Lara. She was like a daughter to Lara and knew that they would miss each other. The children adored Natasha and would miss her terribly.
There was only one thing to do. He had to talk with the family and see how everyone felt. He knew that Natasha loved him and would marry him but would she go to New Zealand to be with him. He had his family in New Zealand and knew that they would adore Natasha and treat her like family so she wouldn’t be without a family; just a different family.
A meeting was called for the family. Present was the Pole, Lara, the children, Andrei, Natasha, and Matthew. Matthew explained that he loved Natasha and wanted her to marry him. He also explained that he had to return to New Zealand as that had been his goal. There was a shortage of orthopedic doctors in New Zealand and that is why he had chosen that specialty. He had to go. Everyone understood but they did not want to lose Natasha. New Zealand was half way around the world.
Finally it was Natasha’s turn to speak. She loved Matthew and would go with him wherever he needed to go. She would go to China or Africa or India or the Arctic but she had to be with him. Now the decision was made. There would be a wedding. It was a tearful time as any break-up of a family would be.
The wedding was set for the week after Matthew finished his residency. The Pole would close all four restaurants so the staff could attend the wedding. Many of the regular customers were invited. The staff of the hospital was invited. This would be the last time the Disciples would be together and they all showed up in their normal fun loving way. It was a great wedding and the reception was marvelous.
The next week the happy couple took a train to San Francisco to board a ship to Wellington. Matthew ordered a private car for the trip. The trip to New Zealand was three weeks but Natasha could not believe how short it seemed. She was deliriously happy and spent every moment with Matthew. Only one thing marred the trip. One of the crew fell and broke his leg. He was fortunate that Matthew was aboard to give him care and to set the leg.
The ship arrived in Wellington and the entire Peters family and the entire Huffman family was there to meet the ship. They knew of Natasha and all of her qualities as Matthew had written glowing letters about her. The large family accepted her immediately and she felt as though she had come home.