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Three weeks after Jacob and Bilhah returned from their quick honeymoon in Cyprus, he and Emre were in his convertible, driving home from a two-day trip to one of the dams in the Tigris River Basin, when Jacob’s phone rang. Without glancing at the caller ID and forgetting that the Bluetooth was connected to his car, Jacob answered the phone, and Rachel’s voice came through the speakers, sobbing.
“Darling, what is the matter?” Instinctively, Jacob slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road, inherently knowing something was very wrong.
“I’m having—” More sobbing.
“Jacob, it’s Leah,” Leah’s voice interrupted her sister’s crying. “Rachel’s had a miscarriage. I’m here with her. How far away are you?”
“Miscarriage? I didn’t even know she was pregnant!” Jacob gripped the steering wheel with both fists.
“I didn’t… want to… get your hopes up,” Rachel said.
“My love, this is something I would have wanted to know, hopes or not.”
“Our father and I are going to take her to the hospital,” Leah said. “How quickly can you get here?”
“We’re still—” Jacob glanced at his watch and then at Emre.
“We’re about five hours away,” Emre said.
“Five hours?” Leah growled. “Okay, don’t worry about a thing. I’ll stay with her.”
“Not worry? How can you even say that?” Jacob lost control of his emotions but tried to hold himself together for the sake of his wives. “Babe, there is no way I could possibly not worry.”
“You know what I meant,” Leah said. “Just don’t speed and get in a car accident or something. Get here safely.”
“I’ll drive,” Emre said, placating all of them. “We’ll get your husband home safely. I promise.”
“Thank you, Emre,” Rachel choked out. “And, Jacob, pray for me all the way home.”
“I will, my love, I promise.”
“We’re gonna go now, Jacob,” Leah said. “I’ll call when I have an update.”
“Thanks, babe, I love you.”
When they disconnected the phone, Jacob leaned over the steering wheel and sobbed with every ounce of energy he had in his body, no coherent thought, not even praying to God, just sobbing, his heart broken into a million pieces.
Emre rubbed Jacob’s back in silence. A dutiful friend who probably had a million questions. When Jacob’s crying had lessened marginally, Emre finally spoke. “Come on, man, switch me places so we can get you home to your wife.”
Those were the magic words that woke Jacob from his stupor, and he opened the car door to walk around the other side. Before he climbed into the passenger seat, he retched on the roadside, every emotion choking his body eliminating along with his lunch.
When he stood there with his hands on his knees, breathing heavily, completely spent, Emre called to him. “Here, man, have some water.”
Jacob grabbed the proffered water bottle and rinsed out his mouth, knowing the sooner he could get this over with, the sooner he could get home to Rachel.
“Thanks,” Jacob managed to whisper as he slipped into the passenger seat and clicked his seatbelt into place.
Emre pulled back onto the highway, only a little clunky with the manual transmission. He glanced over at Jacob a few times with a nervous expression. “Now you want to fess up about your twins?”
“I have three wives,” Jacob said without emotion. “And will be marrying the fourth in a few months.”
Emre whistled once but didn’t otherwise react. “Leah was your… first?”
“Rachel a week later,” Jacob said.
“Hence the two-week honeymoon,” Emre said. “Makes a little more sense. And the third?”
“Bilhah and I were married almost a month ago.”
“Five-day vacation to the Mediterranean?”
“We were married near her family’s home in Gaziantep and honeymooned on the Island of Cyprus.”
“Sounds exotic.” Emre nodded but without humor or teasing.
“It’s not like that at all,” Jacob said. “God has asked me to bring forth twelve sons who will multiply into a great nation, and one beautiful daughter.”
“Wow, that’s a lot of kids,” Emre said. “A lot of responsibility for one man.”
“God will provide the strength to endure the weight that has been placed on my shoulders. Rachel and I counsel daily, multiple times some days, and make many decisions together.”
“She’s kind of… your favorite,” Emre guessed. “Isn’t she?”
“Rachel is my queen and my true love. Leah is… oh, I love Leah almost as much as her sister. She and I have an incredibly passionate marriage.” Jacob smiled softly, feeling his cheeks warm. He cleared his throat. “Bilhah is a sweetheart. She’s so youthful and easy to please. Wrap her in pink snuggles and feed her chocolate and she’s in bliss.”
Emre chuckled. “And the fourth one?”
“Zilpah scares the crap out of me,” Jacob admitted with his eyebrows raised. “I’m afraid on our wedding night she’s going to handcuff me to the bed and do things to me that will have me on my knees begging for God’s forgiveness.”
Jacob and Emre both laughed lightly, and Emre finally settled down. “On that note, you promised your wives you’d pray all the way home, so you’d better get on it.”
“I’m mostly going to pray in silence if you don’t mind.” Jacob glanced over at his friend and confidant. “Much of what I need to talk to God about is too sacred for me to share.”
“Go right ahead, man,” Emre said. “I’ll just drive.”
“Thanks, man.” Jacob let himself drift into a meditative state and petitioned God for all the help he could get that day and going forward. God never promised this life was going to be easy, just that he would never walk alone.
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