Nevertheless, they found the one for them. It didn't seem fair. It was a strange feeling to be actually jealous of his brothers. Soon it would be just him and his mom at home. He loved his mother, but good grief, he was twenty-two and wished for a special somebody of his own. He'd sorted through the available females in his wide circle, and it was worse than sorting through peaches to find the perfect one. Some were too hard, some were too soft, and some were bruised. It made him wonder if he'd ever caused anyone to be bruised. He hoped not. Joel smelled a peach in his hand. Sweet. It was just the perfect ripeness, so he bit into it and let the juice drip down.
She was saying, "I was so full of myself and thought I had it all together back then. I don't know if you remember when I finally agreed to go out with you that time."
Justice, would you pray for Jake and Windy in this new direction of their lives?"
Everyone in the room reached out and grabbed the hand closest to them until the circle was unbroken.
"Dear God, you alone know everything going on in our lives. Thank you for the love you have for us and the love that you have seen fit to bring into our lives. We especially are grateful for bringing Lark back safely. We know we are all sinners saved by grace here, so we lift Jake and Windy up to you for a cleansing of their hearts before you. We pray also for this unborn baby..." He paused and had to wait until he wasn't so choked up. "Please keep your hand upon this little one as he or she grows and may these two be the best parents with your help to raise the child in the way it should go. May we also be the family surrounding Jake and Windy and their little one as we should be. In Jesus name, Amen."
There was a kind of holy hush in the room.
"And maybe replace all those upholstered pieces of furniture since they reek. We both have some money saved we can use."
"Well, I don't want Lizzie around the paint fumes either, so I'd appreciate any help y'all can give with the painting.
"Sure!" was echoed all around.
"I was just kidding about getting married that soon though. I think we need to take some time getting to know each other before we plan a ceremony," Lark said almost shyly.
"Ahh, you got my hopes up, but I think you are right. But I'm not willing to wait three years to see if it works though. A few months sounds like plenty of time for me!"
"After all, Joel, We need someone to stand up with us to be Jake and my best man," Justice grinned.
"And I'd like you to be my maid of honor, Lark," Lizzie added.
"Sure! Of course!" Lark and Joel agreed. "I think we can just announce our engagement at the wedding if it's alright with y'all."
"You bet," his brothers agreed.
Finally, Lark shook off all the swirling events of the day and playfully punched Joel in the arm to ask, "By the way, since it looks like I'm marrying into this family, what do I call you, ranchers or farmers?"
Joel laughed and quoted his dad. "I don't care what you call me..." and his brother's joined in to say the last part in unison, "as long as you call me for dinner!"
"Dinner?" His mother jumped up. "We forgot to eat dinner for the first time in our lives!"
Joel said, "Well, let's go celebrate!"