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“Jacob? May I have a word with you?” The tentative voice of the woman knocking on his door was not his bride, so he didn’t hesitate to open the door for her sister.
He’d been nervously pacing by the door of his apartment, checking and rechecking his appearance in the mirror, straightening his tie, pulling nervously at his cufflinks, emotions warring within his stomach. A distraction was a welcome addition to his afternoon.
Rachel stood at his doorway in a royal violet floor-length gown that hugged her curves and made him question the vows he was to make one hour from now. He gulped as she pushed gently past him into his living room.
“I’m sorry to barge in like this,” Rachel said with regret and apprehension.
“You’re always welcome, darling,” Jacob said with an equal amount of regret but no apprehension.
“No, Jacob, for the next week, I am not welcome in your home, nor should I be.”
“I’m really not looking forward to going a week without seeing you,” he said through gritted teeth.
“I’m sure you’ll be sufficiently distracted.” Her sarcasm and frustration flashed through her statement, and she looked down at the suitcase by the door.
A concierge was planning to move some of Jacob’s belongings over to Leah’s suite in a little while, but Jacob was keeping his apartment for the time being. Knowing that in a week, he’d be spending half his time with Leah and half his time with Rachel, there seemed some logic to him having a space to himself where he could come to decompress and pray or meditate or just lounge around without needing to fill every empty space with conversation.
Men needed time alone, and Jacob especially since he spent so much of his day conversing with God. Some conversations were more private than others and he needed the freedom to have those conversations without anyone else involved.
Jacob didn’t validate Rachel’s snarky comment, just waited for her to speak again.
She lifted her shoulders and then sighed with what could only be described as unwelcome surrender to the inevitable. Jacob couldn’t help pulling her into his arms and just holding her for a moment. She wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head on his shoulder. They didn’t speak for a moment, and then she whispered, “I’m gonna miss you too.”
“It’s only a week, my love.” He pulled back and raised his hands to smooth her hair back from her face. She kept her arms around his waist but looked up at him with sad eyes.
“It might as well be a year.” Her voice wavered.
“Have you talked to Bilhah and Zilpah yet?” He changed the subject.
“No… you’re supposed to do that.”
“Dropped that ball, didn’t I?” Crap, he thought to himself. “Alright, maybe in a few days, the five of us can have dinner together and discuss what’s going to happen next week without telling them anything else. One shocking revelation at a time.”
“I honestly think they’re going to be excited when we tell them the long-term plan,” Rachel said with a smile. “They love you. If you were to turn to one of them right now and ask them to wear Leah’s white dress this afternoon, they’d take their vows today.”
Jacob snorted. “You’re probably right.” He chuckled softly. “Still, one thing at a time. Let’s get through today, tell them about next week, and then in a few weeks talk to them about the rest of the plan. They still have the choice to say no and slap me across the face and tell me to go home to Be’er Sheva.”
“But they won’t.” Rachel smirked. “Hey, none of this is the reason I came to talk to you.”
“Why did you come to talk to me?” Jacob and Rachel had stepped away from each other in the process of discussing everything, and he took the initiative to reach for her hand, giving it a little squeeze.
“I thought maybe you and I could spend some time in prayer before you take your vows with Leah.”
“I think that sounds like a great idea.” Jacob led Rachel into the living room and sat with her on the couch, turning so they were almost facing each other. He took her other hand in his. “Would you like to start? Or would you like me to?”
“You are my spiritual leader and head of my household,” Rachel said. “Would you please petition God for His Spirit to attend us as we discuss this with Him?”
“Of course.” Jacob gulped. Most of what Rachel had just said was news to him. She wasn’t his wife yet and therefore her father was still head of her household even though she was an adult.
She was putting a lot of faith in him by calling him her spiritual leader. The weight of her declarations rested on his shoulders, and he took a moment to breathe and silently contemplate how best to address this time of prayer with the woman who would eventually become his queen. He squeezed her hands gently and bowed his head, inherently knowing she would follow his lead.
“Father, thank you for this incredible gift that you have given us in bringing us together as a family. We are humbled by your trust in us.” Jacob paused and took another deep breath. “God, the vows we are about to take, we do as a family, intending to devote our lives and our children unto you. Please help us to have confidence and peace with our decisions to do so. Father, at this time, I ask that you hear the words of your servant, Rachel, as she petitions you for comfort and understanding…” Jacob paused his prayer, knowing Rachel would pick up where he left off.
“Thank you, God, for this time to be with your servant, Jacob, and to come before you in prayer. Today I need your comfort as I willingly hand over my husband to my sister, with faith that a week from now, he will be back in my arms.
“Please help me to set aside my wariness and frustration, surrendering myself to your will. Please help me to be happy for my sister, taking joy in the blessings that you are giving unto her and not envy for that which will never be mine. Heal my tender heart, Father, and send your Spirit to be with me this week as I am missing both my twin sister and my husband.
“Help my sister to find happiness in her husband’s arms and comfort as she allows him to leave her home temporarily a week from now. If it be your will, let the love shared between my sister and my husband bring forth the first of many children who will join our family…” Rachel took a deep breath, then gave Jacob’s hands a gentle squeeze, passing the lead back to him.
“God, thank you for this good woman who you have entrusted into my care, and for her twin sister who will willingly become my wife in a few moments. Please bless our marriage with your love and your children and send your Spirit to be with us. Amen.”
“Amen,” Rachel echoed.
For a moment, Jacob and Rachel sat there in silence, heads bowed, allowing God’s peace to envelope them. Finally, Jacob whispered, “Do you feel better?”
“I’ll be okay,” Rachel said. “Don’t think of me further today or for the next few days. Give yourself to Leah.”
“I promise,” Jacob whispered. They finally opened their eyes and smiled at each other.
“Oh no!” Rachel jumped up from the sofa and hurried to the kitchen.
“What?” Jacob stood and followed her.
Rachel grabbed a dish towel and ran it under the water at the sink. “My makeup is all over the shoulder of your suit coat.”
As she dabbed at the makeup, he realized there was no way that was coming off without a dry cleaner. “Stop, I have another suit. I’ll change. You go get ready for the wedding. I’ll see you at the altar.”
“I’ll be the maid of honor holding my sister’s bouquet.”
“I’ll be the one forcing myself to look into her eyes as I take my vows.”
“Very funny,” Rachel said.
Very honest, Jacob thought. Then he kissed Rachel’s forehead. “Goodbye, my love.”
“See you in a week,” she said, then slipped out the door to his apartment.
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