Jacob entered the bedroom, lost in his thoughts. Sunshine beamed through the window, catching little specks of dust that floated about.
Leah was standing in waiting, combing her long dark hair. She looked at the reflection of her husband in the mirror and smiled.
Jacob noticed Leah’s affections and gave a little smile, not to betray the pain behind his eyes.
“We have to talk. My bride…” he trailed off. Jacob remained uneasy using that term, despite their intimate time together.
Leah turned to face him, and put down the brush. For all Jacob’s awkward use of the term, it filled Leah with a burst of joy.
“You have no idea how happy you’ve made me, my love.” Leah replied, filling the silence in the air.
She moved up and over to him, wrapping her arms around his neck like she expected Jacob to pull her closer and support her.
“Don’t…” escaped his lips.
Jacob took her by one hand, and twirled her so that he could sit down on the bed. She embraced the fun of the movement, and swiftly turned to join him, perching herself upon his lap.
“Seriously. I need to tell you something, and it’s been really hard for me.”
She leaned into him, feeling his chest.
“You can tell me anything.”
Jacob let out a big sigh, and tried to find the words.
“I love you, you know that right?”
Leah ran a finger down the pectoral muscle on his left side. “Of course.”
“I never intended us to be together, and now that we are I am happy… But… I… have a feeling in my bones that won’t go away.”
The fear was immense, like prey that can only hear the surrounding wolves in the darkness.
“Shh… shh…” Leah reassured him. “Nothing you say can hurt me.”
Jacob clenched his jaw and let the words out.
“I still love your sister, Rachel.”
Leah’s finger stopped its trace just at the rib, feeling Jacob’s heart race. She let it rest there.
“I’ve never stopped loving her,” he continued, under this breath.
Leah knew. Of course she did. After all, she had taken her sister’s place under the wedding veil surreptitiously. Their marriage was a trick; an arrangement hobbled together at the last moment.
“It’s okay,” she replied.
“You… You’re not mad?”
There was a hesitation.
“How could I be?” She lied.
Leah wanted true love. Jacob was her best chance at that, and through some backhanded ways, she had landed this sweet, kind man.
But his heart would always be cleaved, and there was no denying it. She just hoped he could love both sisters equally.
Jacob was surprised to hear those words, so bluntly.
“Marry her and love us both.”
“I don’t know if I can do that,” he stammered. “What about laws of polygamy, and what’s right? You’re sisters, after all…”
“You say you love her.”
“And you love me?”
“Then what’s the question?”
Jacob pulled Leah close, and kissed her passionately. She couldn’t help wonder who he was kissing in his thoughts.
But this was an embrace she hadn’t felt since their wedding night, and she accepted the love, wherever it came from.
Featured image by Christian Gonzalez.