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“Hey, man, how was your honeymoon?” Emre asked when Jacob walked into his office Monday morning. They gave each other a half hug handshake with a knowing grin.
“Absolute heaven on earth,” Jacob said.
“Did you guys go anywhere fun for your honeymoon?”
“We live at a hot springs resort, dude.” Jacob chuckled. “People come here for their honeymoons. Why would we want to go anywhere else?”
“I dunno. Get away from family drama?” Emre asked.
“We did have a fair amount of family drama,” Jacob acknowledged. “Identical twins tend to be joined at the hip and that doesn’t make for an easy honeymoon.”
“Dude, I don’t know how you can tell them apart. Thank goodness for the white dress or I wouldn’t have been able to discern which one was your bride at the wedding.”
Jacob wasn’t about to tell Emre they were both his wives. But he addressed the underlying notion. “They are nothing alike, man. Leah’s eyes are softer, but she’s a lot less religious. Rachel loves to pray almost as much as I do, but she’s fiery and snarky.”
“I thought Leah was your wife…”
“You talk about Rachel as if you’re in love with her.”
Stammering, Jacob wasn’t sure what to say to his friend’s spot-on observation. He decided to make a joke. “I’m gonna tell her you said that.” He pushed Emre’s shoulder jokingly. “She’ll get a kick out of that.”
“You’re not doing a little triangle thing, are you?” Emre wiggled his eyebrows mischievously. “King-size bed, one twin on each side? Huh?”
“I am a man of God.” Jacob wiped the humor from his face. “Lovemaking between a man and his wife is not meant to be cheapened in such a way.”
“Hey, man, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.” Emre tucked his hands in the pockets of his slacks and took a step back.
“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get upset. I forget that not everyone sees visions from God and hears his voice constantly.”
Over the course of the several months they’d known each other, Jacob had confided in Emre about his spiritual connection and conversations. He’d had to address the subject after the third time Jacob made a declarative statement out loud when there were no other people in the room besides Emre.
“Anyway, I probably have a ton of emails in my inbox, and I’m meeting with the engineers up at the Karakaya Dam in a few days. It’s the oldest dam in the system, and we’ll be planning some repairs.”
“Yeah, they’ve already set up the meeting for that one,” Emre said, heading for his desk, which was only twenty feet away from Jacob’s. “You’ll find the details in an email from last Friday, I think. We can ride up there together if you’re willing to drive the convertible.”
“Oh, can we?” Jacob laughed. “I think that can be arranged.” All tension from their uncomfortable conversation was broken after that, and they both buckled down on work, Emre helping Jacob get caught up with everything he’d missed.
Jacob had the distinct impression that Emre would eventually figure things out, but now was not the time to address the issues.
They had several more occurrences over the next few months when Jacob almost slipped.
One evening, Jacob received the strangest and happiest news of his life in the same conversation at dinner.
Zilpah smirked across the table at Jacob and said something that almost made him choke on his food. “You do realize women who spend every day together, like we do”—she looked around at the other girls—“have their monthly cycles synchronized. You’re going to have to deal with four women who all have PMS at the same time.”
“That… is not information I had ever considered.” Jacob dabbed at his mouth with the cloth napkin that had rested on his lap. “Good thing I kept my own apartment, right?” he joked.
“Yeah, I started this morning,” Bilhah said as if the subject wasn’t the most awkward thing a man ever had to discuss.
“I started last night.” Zilpah took a drink of her ice water and glanced at each of the twins.
Rachel lowered her gaze and set her fork aside.
Leah lifted her chin with confidence. “Now would be as good a time as any to announce that I suspect I’m pregnant.”
“You’re kidding?” Jacob almost jumped out of his seat. “Why didn’t you say anything?” He glanced down at her middle, then back up at her eyes, wanting desperately to take her into his arms and kiss her enthusiastically in congratulations and excitement. He tried not to do things like that when they were all together in hopes not to hurt any feelings. But this was too much. He reached for Leah’s hand and squeezed almost too hard in his excitement.
“Yeah, this would have been my second missed period.” Leah shrugged. “Guess I should go buy a pregnancy test, huh?”
“Excuse me,” Rachel said quietly and stood from the table, dropping her napkin on her unfinished dinner. “I’m not feeling well. I think I’ll retire early tonight.” She started to walk away, but Jacob also stood and left the table.
Jacob paused to say goodbye to the girls, leaned over to kiss Leah quickly on the lips and told her, “You and I need to talk later.” Then he hurried after Rachel, calling to her before she reached the elevator.
As they rode the lift up to the penthouse suites, he pulled her into his arms. “What’s wrong, my love?”
“I had hoped,” she choked out. “Guess it’s not meant to be yet.”
“Hey, we’ve only been married a few weeks.” He smoothed her hair away from her face and lifted her chin to look up at him. “These things take time.”
“I should have known Leah would be your first.” The elevator door opened on their floor, and Rachel almost stormed into the hallway. “She got to be your first at everything else. Why not your first baby?” She strode down the hall, and he hurried after her.
“Darling, I’m sorry,” Jacob said. “We’ll keep trying.” They reached her suite, and he used his key to let them in.
“Well, we can’t try tonight.” She pushed past him. “Or tomorrow, or the next day, and maybe several days after that. So you might as well go sleep with your other wife and celebrate with her.”
“I’m not leaving you tonight, my love,” Jacob said. “Sometimes celebrations need to be set aside in times of mourning.”
“It’s not like I had a miscarriage.” She rolled her eyes. “I just started my period. No big deal. Happens every month from now until menopause.”
“No, only from now until we get pregnant,” Jacob said, pulling her into his arms. “And we will, soon, I promise.”
“You don’t know that for certain.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head on his shoulders. “But I guess we’ll have fun trying, right?”
“Right.” He kissed the top of her head. “What do you say we do something fun tonight like pop some popcorn and gorge on M&M’s while we watch a funny movie or something?”
“I am still hungry from not finishing my dinner,” Rachel said. “And women crave chocolate this time of the month.”
“Cool. You choose the movie, and I’ll stick a bag of popcorn in the microwave.”
“Okay.” She pulled away from him, but Jacob snagged her close again and kissed her long and hard.
Later, when Rachel was getting ready for bed, Jacob took a moment to send a text to Leah.
Congratulations! I can’t wait to celebrate with you! We’ll talk tomorrow. Love you, babe.
Love you too, Leah’s return text read. Miss you.
Miss you too. He set his phone aside as Rachel emerged from the bathroom in comfortable pajamas.
As he brushed his teeth and changed into a pair of sweats, Jacob realized this was the first night since he’d gotten married that he wouldn’t be making love to his wife. He also realized he hadn’t taken the time to speak with God since he’d heard the news that he was going to be a father.
Not waiting until he was with Rachel and the welcome addition of a prayer pillow, Jacob knelt on the cold, hard floor in the bathroom and whispered, “Thank you God for the great blessing of a child growing inside my wife Leah. I am honored to have the opportunity to be a father. Please comfort my wife Rachel as she is mourning the loss of hope she had to become a mother. We have faith this will happen in your time, and we will be patient. I promise.”
When he left the bathroom, he found Rachel already in bed curled under the covers. Without another word, Jacob climbed in and wrapped her in the cocoon of his arms, treasuring the chance to comfort her. He knew he’d made the right decision to stay with her that night.
The following morning, Jacob excitedly told Emre that Leah was pregnant. He fought the urge to tell him that Rachel was not.
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