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“Hey, Jacob, can I talk to you?” Bilhah called to him as he entered the resort’s lobby. He usually took a moment to stop and say hello to his girls in their offices on his way home from work, but that day, he basically smiled at them and waved, holding up the sack of groceries he was carrying.
“Sure. Wanna follow me? This is heavy.” The bag wasn’t actually heavy. He just wanted that as an excuse to dissuade rumors if any of the employees were close enough to hear. Once they got into the elevator, Jacob took her hand. “How’s your day been, sweetheart?”
“Um… good.” Bilhah looked down at their adjoined hands with an excited smile.
Jacob didn’t often touch her other than a quick hug once or twice a day, but he guessed the topic of this conversation. Although he’d already had confirmation from God that they would soon be planning their union, Jacob wasn’t expecting Bilhah’s pronouncement.
“I want a real wedding.” She bit her lower lip as if nervous.
The elevator door opened, and he dropped her hand just in case there were any people in the hallway. They walked in silence to the end of the hall without encountering anyone.
“Let me just tuck this bag of groceries into Rachel’s suite,” Jacob said, juggling his key card. There weren’t any perishables in the bag, so he left it on the kitchen counter and stepped back into the hall. Bilhah was already holding open the door to her suite, and he followed her inside. He said the first thing that came to his mind after seeing the decorations in her room. “That’s a lot of pink.”
“Yeah, pink’s my favorite color.” There were complimentary shades of pink on every surface, throw pillows on the white couch, a pink vase with pink flowers, kitchen utensils, wall art, and through the bedroom door, Jacob could see a pink comforter on the bed. “Anyway, can we sit down for a minute?” she asked.
He pushed aside several pink throw pillows and sat on the sofa, then turned to her and took her hand, wondering how best to address her declaration. There was no way they could keep this secret if she wanted a real wedding.
“I grew up in Gaziantep, which is over two hours away. Nobody from here knows me there and nobody from there knows me here. I want to get married there where I can invite my family and friends and wear a puffy, white dress and a tiara in my hair and have my father walk me down the aisle.”
“Let me guess, there would be pink rose petals strewn on that aisle and your bridesmaids would all be wearing pink gowns,” Jacob said, seeing her youthful vision.
“Exactly. See, you understand.” Bilhah nodded with excitement.
“This could work, sweetheart.” Jacob wanted to make every one of her dreams come true, even though they were somewhat juvenile and silly compared to the sacred nature of the vows they would take at the altar. “I need to see if I can get a few days off work so we can have a quick honeymoon.”
“Can we go to Cyprus for our honeymoon?” she asked, her eyes lighting up. “I’ve always wanted to visit Cyprus. We could walk the beach and pick up seashells and tour the shipwrecks.”
“I was just telling my father a few months ago that I’d like to make a trip over to Cyprus. That sounds like a lot of fun.”
“Oh! Thank you, Jacob!” Bilhah threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
He laughed at her jubilance, wondering how he could possibly compare the sacred love he shared with Rachel or the fire he shared with Leah to this bubbly girl who suddenly seemed too young to get married. She wasn’t too young though. He knew she was twenty-two, but still. If he didn’t have firm confirmation from God that this was the right course for his life, he would doubt this decision.
Bilhah gushed with excitement almost too fast for him to keep up. “I’ll talk to my parents and arrange for a time when you can meet them and ask my father for my hand in marriage, and then we can set a wedding date, maybe a few months from now so we’ll have plenty of time to plan, and don’t worry, I’ll do all the planning. You won’t have to do a thing.”
“That’s really good, because I work long hours.” Thankfully, he added in his head.
“I know you do.” She said it as if she was excited for him to work long hours. “You’re such a hardworking man. I’m so honored that you’ve chosen me to be one of your wives.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.” He hugged her back, relieved she was happy.
“Just… don’t tell my father that you have two other wives, okay? He would freak out.”
Jacob gulped. “I’m sure the subject will never come up.” Although he wasn’t keen on lying, he was certain that no one in her family would ever think to ask. He would have to be very careful around Rachel and Leah to make sure he didn’t show them any outward affection during the wedding or anytime around Bilhah’s family.
What he didn’t realize at the time was that Zilpah would be a bigger problem.
Bilhah didn’t choose Rachel or Leah to be her bridesmaids. She made an excuse that Leah was going to be too pregnant by then and that she didn’t want to ask Rachel if she couldn’t ask her twin. She did have Zilpah as one of her bridesmaids and that made Jacob nervous.
Zilpah had taken to flirting with Jacob more in recent months, and she gave him butterflies. She was exotic and sultry and seemed to know the effect she had on him. He had no doubt that being married to her would be passion on steroids. That made him simultaneously nervous and excited. Jacob had a talk with her, together with Rachel and Leah, the day before the wedding after Zilpah winked at Jacob as she walked down the aisle at the rehearsal dinner.
“You cannot do that to me when I’m around Bilhah’s family,” he insisted. “Her parents think I’m an innocent minister or something even though I told them I work in agriculture irrigation.”
“Oh, please.” Zilpah scoffed. “Anyone who can’t see that you’re a prophet is blind. And you might want to avoid glancing at either of the twins tomorrow because you worship the ground Rachel walks on, and undress Leah with your eyes from across the room. There are reasons I can’t wait to be your wife, and it’s not just because you’re drop-dead gorgeous. Everything about you is sensual.”
Jacob’s jaw dropped, and Rachel and Leah were wide-eyed and speechless. He wasn’t even sure how to validate any one of the things Zilpah had said, much less address them collectively as a whole. “Uh…”
“I won’t flirt with you again. I promise,” Zilpah said, then mumbled under her breath. “Until you’re home from your honeymoon with Bilhah.”
Rachel grabbed Jacob’s hand and pulled him down the hall in the direction of his suite at the Grand Hotel Gaziantep where they were staying the night before the wedding. The reception the following day would be held downstairs in the ballroom. “You and I need to spend some time in prayer before you take vows with Bilhah tomorrow.”
“Don’t keep him up too late,” Zilpah called after them. “He’ll need his energy for tomorrow.”
When Jacob glanced back at where Zilpah stood in the hallway, he saw Leah smack Zilpah on the arm, chastising her.
“What has gotten into her?” Jacob asked Rachel once they were safely inside his suite.
“I think she is desperately jealous,” Rachel said. “Still, there was no excuse for that.”
“Thank you for getting me out of that incredibly uncomfortable conversation,” Jacob said, then looked Rachel firmly in the eye. “Are you sure we’re making the right decision here?”
“I’m not sure about anything right now.” Rachel paced in front of him, pulling at her hair. “All I know is that we need God’s direction and advice, and we certainly weren’t going to get that with Zilpah practically climbing on your lap.”
“Okay, that was a visual I did not need to see in my head.”
“Relax, once you’re married to her, you won’t need a visual. I have a feeling you will have an extremely fun wedding night.”
“Again, that’s not something I want to think about right now. I need to spend this night on my knees and sincerely ask God if I’m making the right decisions.”
“Trust me, you are,” Rachel said, tossing a couple pillows onto the floor. “I pray about this every day and get the same answer. Bilhah and Zilpah are each going to give you two sons.”
Jacob lowered himself to his knees in front of Rachel and chuckled. “That specific, huh? Which one of you is going to give me a daughter?”
“Leah,” Rachel said with a serene expression, and Jacob could tell there was something she wasn’t telling him.
“What about you?” Jacob whispered, worried she was going to tell him she would never be able to have children.
“Two sons,” she whispered back. She still seemed to be hiding something, but Jacob didn’t push the subject.
“Gee, guess Leah’s gonna have six children. Am I counting right?”
“Is it true I undress her with my eyes?” Jacob cringed at the answer. At six months pregnant, Leah was as beautiful as she’d ever been, maybe more so. The fire between them hadn’t lessoned since the day they’d said their vows.
“Oh yeah, Zilpah was totally right about that. Don’t even so much as glance in Leah’s direction tomorrow.”
“Okay, then.” Jacob took Rachel’s hands gently in his. “Shall we pray?”
“Sure… I’ll get us started.” Rachel took a deep breath and let it out slowly then spoke with authority. “God… we need your help.”
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