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Jacob was the first to leave the office that evening, barely waiting for the clock to tick its final second. He knew that, as a salary employee, he would be able to make up the time on a later date. He almost felt that he needed to use a vacation day to replace the time he’d spent distracted. Maybe this could even count as a sick day as terrible as his stomach was churning because of what he was about to do.
He peeled out of the parking lot without bothering to lower the top on his convertible, which was something he almost always did before driving back to the resort. He left the radio off. He drummed his fingers against the steering wheel. He tried not to even think. The car knew the way home.
After parking in the front lot that was designated for guests rather than residents, Jacob hurried inside, past the front desk to the offices where his true love sat at her desk with a patient expression as if she’d been waiting for him.
Dropping to his knees beside her chair, Jacob rested his head on her lap and said the only thing he could choke out in that moment. “I love you, Rachel.”
“I know, Jacob.” She rested her hand on his head and ran her fingers through his hair, finally whispering words she would likely regret. “I love you, too.”
“I can’t do this without you.” Now understanding what God was asking him to do, he couldn’t fathom how he was going to go through with this.
“Yes, you can.” Her tone was indifferent and monotone. Even though she was the first of them to see the vision, she couldn’t possibly be happy about God’s plan for their future.
“I don’t want to do this without you.”
“You don’t really have a choice, do you?”
Jacob lifted his head from her lap and met her gaze. “We all have a choice. God gives us the free agency to choose.”
“And what will you choose, Jacob?” Rachel’s words were poignant.
“You already know what I will choose.” He lowered his eyes in shame, dreading the next steps in this course for his life. God was asking him to marry four women. Four! There was nothing that was okay about that. He wanted to crawl into a cave and escape the world rather than take upon himself this task.
Rachel lifted his chin, forcing him to look at her again, then she rested her hand against his cheek, wiping away a tear he hadn’t realized had fallen.
“Rachel, do you understand each of the choices I must make?” He feared her answer, but she just nodded with solemnity.
“Yes, Jacob, I know it all.” Her words were clipped and frustrated. “You know I do.”
“And you don’t mind?”
“Of course, I mind,” she said. “How could I not?”
This trial of faith was extraordinary. Not only was Rachel being asked to step aside and let her sister marry Jacob, but she was also being asked to marry him one week later. And then a few months later welcome two other women into their family. Granted, Bilhah and Zilpah were already like family but that didn’t make the situation any easier.
“I want this to be you,” Jacob whispered.
“No.” Rachel shook her head. “You need to give your whole heart to my sister.”
“How can I do that when half my heart belongs to you?” His frustration bordered on anger.
“Promise me something,” Rachel said, ignoring his tantrum.
“Anything, my love.”
“Let it be her.”
“What do you mean?” He sat back on his heels, already suspecting he knew her answer.
“Don’t pretend it’s me.”
Jacob tried to force his heart to expand and accept her request. “Have you talked to Leah yet? Explained everything?”
“Yeah, I talked to her and my father,” Rachel said.
“I bet he’s livid.”
“He has stronger faith than you’d expect. I think he’ll surprise you.”
He almost choked out his next question, “Where can I find him?”
“Take the elevator to the top floor. His penthouse suite of offices will be on your right.”
“Okay.” Jacob stood and took a step back, his heart breaking as he backed away from her. As he turned to leave, she called out to him one last time.
“Jacob?” He turned to meet Rachel’s gaze. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
He nodded once and gulped, knowing he wouldn’t have that same luxury. While Rachel was waiting for him, he was expected to give himself to her sister. He choked back emotions and headed for the elevator.
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