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Jacob found Leah sitting by the pool, with a novel in her hand and wrapped in a sweatshirt against the impending cool of evening.
“Whatchu reading?” Jacob asked casually, pulling up a lounge chair as if this was any normal social conversation.
Leah held out the book for him to read the cover. “The Source.”
“James Michener? Impressive choice.”
“Not historically accurate, but whatever. It’s fiction, right?” She set the book aside. “Not exactly in the mood for a romance novel right now.”
“Yeah, why’s that?” He gulped, knowing Rachel had told her sister everything about her vision.
“Finding out my groom intends to marry my sister seven days after he marries me doesn’t exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”
“You are not my second choice, Leah.” Jacob tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “You are God’s first choice.”
“And if God hadn’t given you this big premonition, you would have ignored your obvious attraction to my sister and approached me all on your own?”
“I love you, Leah,” Jacob declared, believing every word even though he hadn’t planned to say them.
“You love her more.”
“There is no more or less, there’s just love.”
“I don’t believe you.” Leah crossed her arms over her chest, her creased brow showing vulnerability rather than anger.
“Let me prove it to you,” Jacob begged.
“Do you remember the first words I said to you after we met?”
“Something about having soft eyes and asking me if I was single or something.” She shrugged.
“I mentioned that you looked like you were in love, and I wondered who the lucky guy was.”
“And I suppose you think that lucky guy is you.”
“I hope that if I can prove my love for you that someday I will be that lucky guy.”
“You’re a smooth talker, Jacob Medad.” Leah brushed the shaggy hair off Jacob’s forehead. “You need a haircut before the wedding.”
“Know any good hairstylists?” His words came out as a husky purr brought about from Leah’s fingers playing with his hair. For the first time in his adult life, he allowed the stirrings of desire to flow through his body. For the first time in his adult life, he was alone with the woman he intended to give his body to on his wedding night.
“Based solely on your glassy eyes, I should probably do the haircut myself. I wouldn’t want your longings for me to be misdirected toward whoever has her hands in your hair.”
“We might want to do that haircut in a well-lit, public location, with people around, or I’m going to need to spend a significant amount of time on my knees to get back in God’s good graces after I take you to our marriage bed days before I’m legally allowed to do so.”
“Wouldn’t want that.” Leah’s voice was seductive, and the tone of their whole conversation shifted. Jacob realized in that moment that allowing Leah to be his first would be easier than he originally thought. Easier than ice cream on a summer day or a shower after a strenuous workout. Easier than flying down the highway in his convertible. Easier than a king-size bed covered in down blankets and Giza cotton sheets.
“Will you marry me, Leah?” Jacob blurted out softly, no preamble, no declaration of romantic notions, no promising to spend the rest of his life making all her dreams come true.
“Yeah, I’ll marry you, Jacob.” She sighed and smiled softly.
Jacob scootched closer and lifted the book off Leah’s chair, then nudged her gently over and climbed onto the lounge chair with her. He cradled her body in the crook of his arm and gazed down into her eyes. “There they are,” he whispered.
“There who are?” Leah asked in a quiet voice.
“Not who. What.” Jacob leaned forward and kissed the tip of her nose. “Your soft eyes. The ones that show me you’re in love.”
“Does that mean I’m in love with you?” she asked.
“You tell me.”
“I’m getting there.”
“Me too.” Jacob didn’t pass up the opportunity to share with her his first kiss, knowing that kiss was the first of many, many firsts. All of his firsts would be shared with Leah. The woman he would marry. The woman he loved with… half… his heart.
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