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Snowmom

Joy's Legacy Chapter 24

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CHAPTER 24

 

 

“I’m not sure yet,” Joy continued quietly, “but I haven’t gotten my, um, my sign that I’m not. Dave and I had been trying to get pregnant again, and, well… ” She stopped before she broke down crying. Victoria was four and a half, and Joy and Dave had been trying to give her a sibling for the last two years. They had done everything short of invitro fertilization, but to no avail. Every time that Joy thought she was pregnant their hopes were raised, only to be shattered again and again.

 

Jack raised his eyebrows and whistled softly through his teeth. “Wow,” was all he could say as he glanced away and let out a deep breath. He stuffed his hands in his pockets, wanting to do something with them, but not knowing what.

 

Joy felt the hope that she had just experienced begin to fade. Her eyes began to tear up, and she hated that she couldn’t just turn the faucet off. She didn’t want Jack to think of her as weak, but the truth was that he was right. This was the only real option to a decent life that she had ahead of her, and now, it might not even happen!

 

She cleared her throat, hoping that her voice wouldn’t betray her feelings of fear. It did. “Does that make a difference in your proposal?” she asked, her voice cracking mid sentence.

 

Jack could see the emotions she was feeling through her eyes, as she wasn’t that good at hiding them. He held her gaze, watching her intently. Thoughts of caring for three babies, in addition to the older children, and having to provide for another person in the long run raced through his mind. Could they do it? Would she be able to manage five kids? Would he? Then he thought of Joy’s fate if they didn’t get married, whether she chose to stay at the Reservation or not. Just as quickly as the doubts had come into his mind they went away. He felt a peace about this, one he couldn’t understand or even begin to explain. He felt as though God’s hand was on them, and He would walk with them wherever He led them.

 

Joy bit her bottom lip gently to keep it from trembling and looked away, afraid to hear what she was sure Jack was getting ready to say. Jack saw the worried look in her eyes and felt his heart sink. The same feeling that had come over him earlier that night when Simon had tried to hurt her was coming over him now.

 

“No, no!” he responded quickly taking her by her elbows and searching her eyes. He took her chin in his hand and lifted her face, forcing her to look at him. “No, Joy, it just makes it all the more urgent,” he said quietly, not taking his eyes off of her face.

 

Joy looked away from Jack’s piercing gaze as a tear rolled down her cheek, her lips trembling. She quickly brushed it away, glad for the distraction it provided.

 

“Ok, then.” Joy nodded, as she took a deep breath, trying to gain control back. “Let’s say I marry you. I would be a mother to your children, and you a father to mine. But what about us? What would we be to each other?”

 

Jack shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. “We will remain friends, and trust the Lord for the rest. I promise I will respect you and your privacy, Joy. I will not ever expect anything from you that you are not completely willing to give.” He was a little uncomfortable with the question as he really hadn’t thought everything through, but was sure that they could figure something out.

 

“But what about sleeping arrangements? Would we live separately? How would that work if I’m to help you with the twins?” Joy bombarded Jack with questions, her mind spinning out of control, trying to figure out what the best was for her and Victoria. As she thought through things quickly, she had to admit to herself that she was thinking about what was best for Jack and his kids as well. That has to be a good sign, she thought to herself.

 

“Whoa, Joy. Let’s take one step at a time. I can sleep with my kids at the cabin until the log home is finished, then we can all move in there. It has three bedrooms, so I’m sure we can figure something out. In the meantime, you can help me with taking care of the cabin and the kids everyday, and I’ll work at getting the house done for us,” Jack answered, feeling a bit overwhelmed himself.

 

All of the sudden a thought crossed Joy’s mind, and she was almost ready to say no to the whole thing. “Jack, what about Bethany? She is single, too.”

 

Jack looked a little shocked, as if the thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. He scratched his chin, noting that he’d have to shave in the morning before the service. “Yeah, I suppose she is,” he said, not sure what to do about it.

 

They walked a little more in silence, each into their own thoughts. “Would,” Joy paused and cleared her throat again, “would you rather ask her to marry you?” She offered, really hoping that he wouldn’t.

 

“No!” Jack answered a little faster than he had intended. He didn’t want to sound like he didn’t like Bethany, but the truth was that he really didn’t. He didn’t appreciate the advances she had made towards him that same night, or the looks she gave him while they danced. She seemed to think that she owned him somehow, and that was certainly not okay with him. “No, Joy. The fact that she is single and we don’t know what’s going to happen to her doesn’t change things at all.”

 

“Would you ask her if I said no?”

 

Jack coughed, trying not to snicker to loud. “No, I wouldn’t,” he answered as seriously as he could. “I haven’t been able to put much thought in what I’m asking you, but I feel like it’s the right choice. I will think and see what I can do for Bethany, but I assure you, no matter what your reply is, I will not be asking her to marry me.” He paused for a second, and then added “or anyone else for that matter,” after he realized that of the women he knew, Joy would be the only one that he wanted to marry.

 

They turned and started heading back towards the farmhouse. Joy felt relieved that Jack didn’t want to take his offer back, but was still concerned for Bethany. She knew that it’d be foolish not to take Jack’s offer on account of Bethany; after all, Joy wouldn’t expect that of her.

 

Joy took a deep breath of the cool night air and let it out. “What about our kids?” she asked gently. “Will you be more than a provider for Victoria? Will you be her father as well? What I’m getting at is how would we raise the kids? Would you discipline Victoria, and do you trust me to discipline Luke, and later on the twins? I know this might sound petty, but it’s important to me.”

 

Jack nodded his head, wanting to reassure her. “It’s very important to me too, Joy. But I’ve seen you with Victoria, and with my kids, all four of them in a very stressful situation. You did great. I was very impressed with how you handled everything,” he teased a little, “that is until you went and cut your finger!”

 

They both laughed, relieved at a little humor in the situation. “Seriously, though,” Jack continued, his eyes piercing through hers again as if he could see through to the depths of her soul, “Yes. I do trust you to raise my children. I’ll have to. And you’ll have to trust me to raise yours. It’s the best that we’ll be able to do.”

 

“Okay,” Joy said quietly, pulling Jack’s shirt closer around her shoulders. Some how it brought her comfort, almost as if Jack himself had his arms wrapped tightly around her. Joy pushed the thought aside, wanting to focus on the conversation, and not wanting to deal with the feelings that went along with the thoughts. Jack stopped and turned to look at her, wanting to see if he could read anything else in her face.

 

Joy bit the inside of her cheek thoughtfully, and looked up at him, her eyes softening. “You are a very generous man, Jack Daniels.”

 

He smiled at her and moved a stray lock of hair out of her face that the wind insisted on blowing across it. “Is that a yes?” he asked quietly, wanting to make sure that he was understanding her right.

 

Joy gave up a small smile of her own and nodded slightly, her eyes shinning in the moonlight. “Yes,” she replied, her voice suddenly strong and confident. She didn’t know what was going to become of them, but she too felt a peace that she could not ignore. She looked up at Jack and hoped that her deep appreciation for him showed through her eyes. How could she ever thank him? She still had many questions that would have to go unanswered, but for now was very relieved that her near future was taken care of.

 

Jack sighed a sigh of relief. He wasn’t quite sure why, but this whole thing was turning out much better than he thought it would. His children would now have a full time mother, and Joy would be saved from the likes of Simon Little. He pushed aside the feelings that arouse deep inside of his heart, promising himself that he would deal with them later.

 

“Do you mind if we pray? I realize that we are both making a life changing decision, and I’d like to put it in the Lord’s hands.” After Joy nodded, Jack reached out and took both her hands in his. “Abba, we come before you with thanksgiving and praise. Our hearts are full of wonder at your ways, even if we can’t fully understand them. As we begin our life together, we ask that you will be the one that leads us and guides us, that our new family together will be a reflection of your love, of your grace. We give this decision to you, and ask that you take it and bless it for your own honor and glory. In your name, and for your sake we pray, amen.”

 

“Amen,” Joy whispered opening her eyes and looking back up at Jack. He let go of her hands, and turned to go back towards the farmhouse.

 

“Ok. Let’s get back to the house and get Allen. He can go get your dad, and then he can marry us. We have to hurry if we are going to do this in time, while it’s still today.” He started walking back, but Joy stopped him, putting her hand on his arm.

 

“Jack,” she said softly as she reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a hug, “thank you.”

 

Jack wrapped his large arms around her, and his heart skipped a beat as her body pressed against his. I’m going to have to keep an eye on this hugging business if I’m going to stay true to my promise, he thought as he pulled away. He smiled down at her, and led her back to the farmhouse.

 

They walked back in silence, Joy holding Jack’s shirt tight against her once more. Neither of them spoke a word, as they both thought about what they were about to do. Once they were back at the house, Joy went into her parent’s room and knocked on the door softly as Jack went to get Allen. Joy updated Liz on what was happening, and Liz reached over and gave her a big hug as she started to cry.

 

“Oh, Joy, I can’t tell you how relieved I am. There seemed to be no way out of this, but I can see that God has provided a way.” Liz said, stroking Joy’s hair thoughtfully.

 

“Why is it that we have to do things that we don’t want to do? How can this be God’s will? I have peace, but I don’t understand,” Joy whispered, as if she didn’t want anyone to hear.

 

“Well, sometimes God asks things of us that we aren’t willing to give, Joy. Sometimes life is easy. But for times like now, He makes it abundantly clear that His grace is more than sufficient for what we are going through. Think about Queen Esther. Do you think she wanted to marry that king? It was not up to her whether she wanted to or not, she didn’t have a choice, much like the situation you are in. I’m sure that she had to do things that she didn’t want to do, but regardless, she trusted God. She did what she had to do, and God used her to save her people. Now I’m not sure what God will do with this, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will use it if you allow Him to. Jack is a good man, Joy. I’m grateful that it is him that you are marrying, and not some other man like Simon Little.”

 

Joy nodded, fully knowing that it was a blessing that she was marring Jack instead of Simon. She shivered at the thought of how different life could be for her, and for Victoria. She knew that Jack cared for Victoria, and was grateful that he would hopefully fill in the gap for Dave as a father.

 

“Are you going to get married in jeans or are you going to have a ‘real’ wedding later like Leslie and Marie?” Liz asked, interrupting Joy’s thoughts.

 

Joy looked down at what she was wearing and shook her head. “No, Mom. This will be the only wedding. But for Jack’s sake, I’ll go freshen up a bit, and maybe even put a dress on,” she smiled. “It’s the least I can do for the man that is saving my life, right?”

 

Liz nodded, “I’m so sorry, honey!” Liz gave her daughter another hug, and then Joy went and looked in the closet for a dress. She had hung all of her good clothes in this room, so she was able to find her long, white dress that Ann had made for her earlier that year. She fought with herself for a few seconds, wondering if she should wear the dress. It was white, and she knew that meant purity, and she was obviously no longer a virgin. At the same time, she had kept herself pure, and although she didn’t know how she and Jack were going to relate to each other, she was also going into this relationship pure. It was a strange feeling, but she felt that she should wear the dress. She took her braid out and brushed her hair, allowing it to go free. She looked at herself in the old mirror above the dresser, wishing she could see better in the dim light but decided it was going to have to do. She also decided to go barefoot instead of waking Victoria up to get the shoes to go with the dress. She wondered if their kids should be there. No, she thought. This was all traumatic for them as it was, they could talk to the kids in the morning. She washed her face in the bathroom and put a little make-up on, wanting to look her best. She even put on some of her homemade perfume, making her smell like fresh roses.

 

“So how do I look?” Joy asked Liz as she went back into the room.

 

“Lovely, dear. Just lovely.” Liz smiled back at her, holding Joy’s hands. She pulled a necklace off of her neck and put it on Joy.

 

“Mom! Your necklace?” Joy exclaimed, touching it softly.

 

Liz nodded and turned it so that the clasp was in the back. “This was the one my mom gave me when I got married,” she said. “I was going to leave it to you when I died, but I think you should have it now. See the three strands in it? It’s symbolic, based on the verse from Ecclesiastes 4:12 were it talks about the cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Read that whole passage, Joy. I think God has a wonderful plan for you and Jack. I know you are not in love now, but I trust that it will come, and that in the meantime you can learn to take care of each other, and of course, your kids.”

 

Joy gave Liz another hug, thankful for her support. “Thank you,” she whispered, truly touched by the gift. “God is good, Mom. I feel such peace about all this, even though I don’t fully understand it. I know Jack does too, I could see it in his eyes. This will all be new to both of us, but like you said, I know that God will take it and use it for his glory.”

 

Liz nodded and then led Joy out of the room to find Jack standing there, talking to Ed. Jack looked at Joy, his eyes glowing. This made Joy blush, and she quickly looked away, hoping he hadn’t noticed. Maybe she shouldn’t have changed. After all, Jack didn’t, and she didn’t want to give him the wrong idea of why she had. It was for him, but at the same time, it wasn’t. Joy shook her head at herself, hoping that she wasn’t sending mixed messages to him. She hoped he would understand that she wasn’t ready to sleep with him tonight.

 

Mr. Bodaway was there, too. When had he come? Joy wondered, as she hadn’t heard anything about him coming.

 

“Mr. Bodaway is going to be a witness for out wedding,” Jack told Joy and Liz quietly.

 

Joy nodded her head and smiled at Mr. Bodaway. She was glad he was there, as she knew that he was a good friend of Jack’s. She wished that the rest of her family could be there too, but decided it was best to just keep it simple.

 

As Joy approached Jack, Ed started their wedding. “Would you please hold hands?” he paused to allow them to do so, Jack taking Joy’s small hand in his. “Jack, do you have something to say to Joy?”

 

Jack looked at Ed surprised, then nodded. “Joy, I promise that I will care for you and your children. I will respect you and provide for you, I will be with you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. I promise to always be your friend, and will be faithful to you for the rest of my life.”

 

Ed nodded. “Good. Joy, do you have something you want to say to Jack?”

 

Joy nodded. She was glad Ed had asked Jack first, as this gave her a little bit of time to figure out what she would say. “Jack, I also promise that I will care for you and your children. I will love them as my own, and will do my best to raise them as God intended. I will help you in whatever way I can, and will also be faithful to you for the rest of my life.”

 

“Let’s bow our heads in prayer,” Ed said, and they all followed suit. “Father, we present to you Jack and Joy and the promises they have made to each other. We trust that You will be with them at all times, that You will hold them close, and that you will be their provider. But most of all, we trust that You will be Lord of their new family, Lord of their new home. We ask that You will help them to grow closer to each other as they grow closer to You. In Your name and for Your sake we ask, amen.”

 

There was a number of amen’s responded, including Mr. Bodaway. Jack squeezed Joy’s hand gently, wanting her to know that this was his prayer, too.

 

“Ok,” Ed said as he cleared his throat, “now by the powers invested in me by God, and this Reservation, and in the presence of these witnesses, I pronounce you man and wife. I won’t tell you to kiss the bride, but you can if you want to,” Ed grinned.

 

Jack bent down and kissed Joy softly on the cheek. She smiled at him and blushed, but didn’t turn away, looking deeply into his eyes.

 

Ed came over and hugged Jack tightly. “Thank you, Jack. Thank you!” he whispered patting him on the back, tears running down his face. Hugs were shared all around, and then as Jack, Liz, Ed and Mr. Bodaway talked quietly, Joy wrote out a third marriage certificate for that night. She thought of how odd it was that she had to write her own marriage certificate, but glad that she could. When it came to writing what her new name would be, she hesitated, and then wrote in what she thought Dave would have wanted her to be called. She busied herself writing out copies, wanting to have several originals on hand in case they needed them. She hoped that there wouldn’t be any problems, but wanted to make sure that if there were, they weren’t for lack of marriage certificates. She signed all of the copies, liking the way they looked.

 

Once done, she handed the certificates over to her dad to sign. Liz and Mr. Bodaway were next, and then finally, Jack. Jack took the papers from Mr. Bodaway, and just as he was getting ready to sign them, he noticed that Joy already had. He was surprised by what he saw, and looked up at her in shock. There, where her new name was to be printed, she had written what she wanted her name to be. They had not discussed it at all, and as he looked at it again, he smiled at what he saw. Her name read Joy Hope Daniels.

 

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Guess what, this is the last that I have too. Not sure what happened, thought I had more. Maybe she only put in this many and had said there would be more.

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