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“Jacob!” Rachel called to him as he walked through the resort lobby after his first workday. He turned and found her in an office near the front desk. She hurried out of her chair and practically skipped to the door. Lifting onto her toes, she kissed him on the cheek and gushed in a happy voice, “I heard an answer from God!”
“You did?” Jacob took both of her hands in his, excitement filling his heart. “What did he say?”
She pulled him over to some waiting room chairs near her office suite. “Well, he didn’t exactly say anything. More that I could just feel that he was listening.”
“That is wonderful, darling.” Jacob squeezed her hands, wishing he’d known her long enough to pull her into his arms and kiss her. He was pushing his luck, holding her hands and calling her darling. “I’m so happy for you.” Happy for us, he echoed in his head. That thought came out of nowhere, but he’d learned to trust random thoughts.
They were interrupted by three smiling and laughing women, including Rachel’s twin. Jacob stood as they approached but kept one of his hands clasped with Rachel’s.
“Jacob.” Leah seemed pleasantly surprised. “How nice to see you again.”
“I live here now, you know.” He nodded politely. “You’re stuck with me.”
Leah giggled and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Why did that elicit a reaction deep in Jacob’s heart?
Rachel squeezed his hand lightly as she stood and held out her arm to introduce the other two women. “These are our friends, and administrative assistants, Bilhah and Zilpah.”
“I hear you are the only two employees here at the resort who can tell these lovely twins apart,” Jacob said, reaching out his hand. “I’m honored to make your acquaintance.”
That same comforting warmth traveled up Jacob’s arm when he clasped each of their hands, and he wondered what it was about this resort that gave him such a visceral response. Perhaps the proximity to the hot springs. He decided to make it a point to shake as many people’s hands as possible and see if that happened with everyone.
Both women seemed to experience the same spark as the twins had, and their confusion was clear when they glanced at one another and shook out their arms as if they’d been shocked. Although Jacob thought of it as a warm, fuzzy kind of shock, it was still disconcerting.
“You were right,” Zilpah told one or both of the twins. “Jacob is a… unique man.”
“Glad you didn’t call me strange as Rachel does,” Jacob teased.
“Have I have ever actually called you strange?” Rachel asked.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure you did.”
“Unique is far more polite,” she acknowledged.
They all chuckled nervously and looked around at each other sheepishly.
“We were just about to go get some dinner,” Leah said. “Would you like to join us? Have you eaten already?”
“I am famished, and I would be honored to escort you ladies to a meal together.”
“We’d be honored to have you dine with us,” Bilhah said. “These two haven’t shut up about you all day. Zilpah and I have been dying to meet you and see what all the hype is about.”
“Really?” Jacob grinned at Rachel and then Leah. “Haven’t shut up, huh?”
“Well, it’s not every day that a hot guy from Israel moves here,” Zilpah said. “If you hadn’t already pledged your love to Rachel, we’d all be scrambling for your attention.”
“As it is, we are content to help Rachel plan your wedding,” Bilhah added.
“Ah, so we spend one hour together in a car, and she’s already planning our wedding?” Jacob tucked Rachel’s hand into the crook of his arm and winked at her.
“Gotta get married soon if we’re gonna start making those babies, right?” Rachel winked back. She tugged him gently out of the office suite and into the lobby.
“Definitely can’t start making babies until we’re married.” Jacob was quite certain about that. He knew God’s commandments about staying chaste before marriage. That was one path he was determined to follow.
“Is it true that you’re, like, a prophet or something?” Zilpah asked as they made their way toward the formal restaurant. The closer they got, the more Jacob’s body responded to the delectable aromas and the opportunity for deep conversation.
“Yeah, did you really tell Rachel you were going to marry her before you even knew her name?”
Jacob chuckled nervously. “Did I? Huh? Kind of thought I knew your name first.” He looked down at Rachel and smiled. “You’ll have a new name when you become my queen anyway, right?”
“Right,” Rachel whispered. There were almost tears in her eyes, and her smile was brilliant in its simplicity.
He wished he could just kiss her and get it over with. Not with this many people surrounding them. He’d never kissed a girl and had no idea how to go about doing that. But he knew he wasn’t going to allow himself to be that vulnerable in front of anyone except his future wife.
Jacob held Rachel’s gaze for a few seconds longer than was socially acceptable while walking down a hall in the company of others. He knew instinctively that his life was about to change.
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