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“Walk with me, will you, son?” Laban put his arm around Jacob’s shoulders as they all emerged from the elevator after the staff meeting and luncheon. He pulled Jacob down the hall toward his own suite, which was in the opposite direction from each of the girls’ suites.
“Have I displeased you, Uncle?” Jacob asked, glancing back at Rachel as she brought up the rear of the group of ladies. She shrugged, and Jacob returned his attention to his father-in-law.
“Not at all,” Laban said. “I thought things went well this afternoon.”
“Thank you, I agree.”
Instead of entering his suite, Laban pulled out a key ring and used one to open a door that led to the roof above the main part of the building, a floor down from the penthouse level.
“You know, if you push me off the roof, you’re going to have to raise all these children by yourselves.” Jacob chuckled in jest.
“How many of them are pregnant?” Laban asked without acknowledging Jacob’s taunting.
“No more than three since Leah won’t allow me in her bed for another four or five weeks,” Jacob said with lighthearted dry humor.
“Yeah, let’s not talk about you in bed with my daughters,” Laban said.
Jacob gulped as they stepped out onto the roof. “Long way down…”
“Sure is.” Laban draped his arm around Jacob again as they stood there in the desert air, overlooking the valley. “That’s why I think we need a sturdy fence going all around the garden, maybe wrought iron or something. What do you think?”
“Uh… sure. Wrought iron is nice.”
“You’re a fan of sustainable agriculture, right? Have you ever seen a roof garden?”
“I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never actually stood on one.” Jacob glanced down on the ugly tar roof below his feet.
“Well, you will soon because I’m remodeling.” Laban held out his hand like a game show host displaying a prize. “Can’t you just see it?”
Suddenly Jacob could see it. A roof garden laid out in front of him as if on a virtual-reality display grid. There were vegetable plants and playground equipment and flowers. “It’s beautiful.”
“And not just a garden.” Laban turned them around so they could look at the outside wall of the penthouse level of the building. “The whole upper floor of the building. A little girl needs her own bedroom, and I’m thinking each of the boys could bunk up two to a room, and then we’ll need a nursery or two for the babies, and a playroom full of toys, and maybe a computer room with desks and stuff for homeschooling. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and when twelve more grandchildren come to live here.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Uncle.”
“You’re my favorite nephew, Jacob.” Laban patted him on the shoulder. “Well… son of my cousin, but close enough. I’ll call you my favorite nephew.”
“That’s good because I’m married to two of your daughters.”
“Yeah, and if you ever hurt either of them, I will push you off this roof.”
“As well you should, sir.” They both chuckled.
Laban turned Jacob so they were facing each other, eye to eye, man to man. “In addition to marrying two of my daughters, you have also married four of my best employees, so I would appreciate it if you helped the four of them as they continue running my resort.”
“I’ll do my best, sir.”
“That being said, raising my grandchildren is their most important job, and I think if we all work together, we can pull this crazy brood into a great group of kids, and the start of a righteous kingdom devoting our lives to God.”
“I agree with all my heart,” Jacob said.
“Now, let’s get off the roof—through the door—and I’ll go draw up some engineering plans, and you go do whatever it is you do.” They chuckled as they walked toward the door that led back into the hotel. “Just, don’t give me any details about what you do with my daughters, and we’ll stay in each other’s good graces.”
“Fair enough.” Jacob stopped his uncle before they opened the door and pulled him into a tight hug. “Thank you. For… everything.”
“You’re welcome, son.” Laban patted him on the back, then they separated and went inside.
As Jacob strode down the hall, Rachel stepped out of her suite.
“What was that all about?” she asked.
He followed her inside and took her in his arms, holding her firmly with love and happiness and devotion. After breathing her in for a moment with his eyes closed, savoring her closeness, he whispered, “Your father loves us, that’s all.”
Rachel chuckled and held Jacob tight, resting her head on his shoulder. “That’s good to know.”
“And I love you,” Jacob whispered.
“I love you too,” Rachel whispered back.
After a few more seconds of bliss, Jacob pulled away and grabbed Rachel’s hand, pulling her toward the door. “Come on, let’s go tell your sisters about the remodel!”
“Remodel?” Rachel laughed as she followed him. “What remodel?”
“The one with the roof garden and the nursery and the playroom and the boys’ bunk beds and the little girl’s room—I think we should name our daughter Dinah!—And then there’s the computer room, and of course I’m going to need a man cave. Oh, your father didn’t mention that, but I definitely need one if I’m going to give up my apartment.”
Rachel giggled as she trailed him down the hall. Jacob knocked on Bilhah’s door and then Zilpah’s, calling them to join him in Leah’s room with baby Reuben.
Jacob welcomed each of his wives, and their eyes lit up as he told them about their patriarch’s plan of happiness for their future.
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