He stood, one broad shoulder propped against the wall, surveying the group in front of him.
A smile tugged at one side of his mouth as he watched the short little man in the jeans and sweater attempt to smooch up to a cute redhead that stood head and shoulders over him. Smile growing, he looked down into his mug of coffee as the redhead shook her head and turned away.
Sorry buddy. She’s too old for you.
As his eyes ran around the room, taking in all the people that were so dear to him, he thought over the past few years that had brought these people into his life.
His gaze settled on Rachel, his best friend, his love, his wife and he remembered that first meeting ten years ago tonight.
He grinned as he realized his love for her had only grown over the intervening years.
As he studied her, the cute redhead approached her and Rachel immediately turned her attention to that conversation.
Feeling someone touch his arm, he turned to find the guy in the jeans and sweater standing next to him.
“Hey there, Caleb. What’s up buddy?”
“Uncle Jake, Laura won’t play with me.”
“I’m sorry Caleb. It looks to me like Laura is busy now with your Aunt Rachel.”
Jake reached down and hoisted the little guy into his arms. “What do you say we go get you a glass of juice and something to eat. Are you hungry?”
The two moved through the room to the table that was laden with a feast of pizza, chicken wings, and macaroni-and-cheese; a far cry from the elegant spread Ted had put on all those years ago. Jake stopped and glanced at his passenger.
“Well, Caleb, what would you like to eat?” He grinned. “Sardines?”
“Ummm…” He rolled his eyes in thought. “Dog food?”
The giggle delighted him.
“No! Uncle Jake!”
“Well, let’s see…..No, don’t tell me, I’ll get it eventually…..I know! How about pig’s feet?”
The giggle had turned into a full-blown belly-laugh making Jake chuckle.
“Ahh-hah! I got it! Liverwurst!”
“Uncle Jake, that’s gross!”
“But I like liverwurst!”
He watched Caleb’s little nose wrinkle in childish disgust and hung his head in shame.
“All right. I give up. What would you like to eat?”
“Uncle Jake! I want mac-n-cheese!”
“Mac-n-cheese??? Well, why didn’t you say so?”
Suddenly Caleb placed a tiny hand on the side of Jake’s face, causing Jake to stop and look at his nephew.
“I love you, Uncle Jake.”
“I love you too, Caleb,” Jake answered with a tight throat.
He moved around the table to grab a bowl and spooned in some hot macaroni-and-cheese, feeling so blessed and thankful with the life God had led him into.
* * * * *
Rachel stood, leaning against the wall, trying to keep up with the activity going on in front of her.
She watched as Caleb approached Laura, sighing as her daughter gave him the brush-off. She was just thinking she would have to talk to the eight-year-old about her attitude when the object of her attention approached.
“Mom, why can’t I go in and play with Tommy and Ethan?”
“Did they ask you?”
“No they said I was a girl and not allowed in their room.”
“Well, then, you’ll have to stay out here.”
“Laura. Boys don’t always want girls around. Sometimes they just want to do boy things, with no girls.” She watched the lower lip stick out in a pout and sighed. “Tell me, Laura, do you always want to play with Caleb?”
“No, he’s just….”
Rachel watched the lesson sink in without further discussion.
The tone of voice made it obvious it was not fine, but she knew her daughter would take it to heart and remember it.
“Can you help me get your little sisters something to eat?”
She smiled as Laura walked away rolling her eyes; before turning her attention to where her husband was spooning mac-n-cheese into a bowl for Caleb.
Her gaze swung to Ted and Kate where they stood talking over the head of baby Emma, asleep on her mom’s shoulder.
A loud crash brought the attention of all four adults swinging to the hallway just in time to see nine-year-old Thomas and seven-year-old Ethan come racing through with hundred-pound Kayla on their heels.
“Thomas! Kayla! No!”
The dog skidded to a halt and turned to look at Ted, who raised his arm in silent command. She walked over, head hung, and lay down at his feet. Ted looked at his two older sons and scowled.
“You two know better than to run through the house with her, especially when we have company.”
Rachel placed a hand over her mouth to cover the grin that would not be controlled; and glanced across the room. Jake turned to catch her eye and suddenly she was transported back ten years to that first encounter.
She could see it as clearly as if it were actually happening in that moment, and she smiled softly at the man she had grown to love so dearly.
So much had happened in the intervening years. God had filled her life so full of love and joy.
She stepped away from the wall and toward her husband, praising God for bringing them together from across the room.
I hope you have all enjoyed this story of Jacob and Rachel as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thanks for stopping in to keep up with their lives.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011