IV. Sleeplessness

The very first night she spent on the Whiting farm, Sarah had slept hard out of sheer exhaustion. Since then she'd been sleeping like a baby. Up until the night before the wedding, that is.

That night was spent not at the Whiting farm, but with the Grants. Sarah was of the school of thought that a groom should not see his bride 24 hours before their wedding, so she and Anna packed their clothes and made their way to their neighbors' home after lunch, leaving Caleb with Jacob.

When Matthew and Maggie had gotten married, Matthew had sheepishly asked Jacob to keep Rose and Violet for a week after the wedding so that he and Maggie could have some time to themselves. At the time Kelly was still with the Whitings, employed as their live-in housekeeper. Knowing he'd have help and wanting to assist his best friend, Jacob had consented. Finding himself in the same situation, he had asked Matthew and Maggie to return the favor. They had been more than happy to oblige. Caleb would be joining his sister at the Grants' after the ceremony.

That night, questions snuck into Sarah's thoughts…nagging, hurtful questions: Had she judged Jacob accurately? What would he really expect of her once they were married? Did she really have the ability to raise children? And their wedding night…was she ready for THAT? She, who had no experience. Would he be patient with her? He certainly hadn't been patient with her about other things, not when she'd first arrived anyway. Would this be any different? Had he really changed? All this wondering combined with the anticipation the following day's excitement to keep Sarah awake until the wee hours of the morning.

For quite some time, Jacob had had trouble sleeping. Even before he placed his advertisement, he'd been thinking about being married again. Since Sarah's arrival and their disagreements, doubts had begun mounting up in his mind and they kept him awake night after night. He knew things could never be exactly the same, but he had an almost insatiable desire to know those kinds of things again. It was understandable; he was just a man, after all. He loved his children as much as any father could, but being single again had been eating at him off and on for almost six years now. Sometimes during the day, a silent tear would roll down his cheek, tracing a line through the dirt and sweat that built up while he was plowing or cleaning out the stalls in the barn. Most often, memories would creep up on him during the night…torturing, even mocking him it seemed. And it wasn't just the physical aspects of marriage he missed. Companionship, the "sharing of a life" as he'd so aptly put it, raising the children together, talking things out and making decisions together, bearing each other's burdens, experiencing each other's joys…all these things had been absent from his life. They had vanished along with Katherine, leaving a seemingly unfillable void. Until the night he proposed, that was.

That night, for the first time since Katherine's death, Jacob slept contentedly. That feeling of having been relieved of a burden allowed him to relax and rest like he hadn't done since before Caleb was born, and it continued until Sarah and Anna left for the Grant farm.

The night before the wedding Jacob suddenly became nervous, wondering if they were really doing the right thing. No, things wouldn't be the same, but just how different would they be? Would the progress that she and Anna had made continue? Would his own feelings for Sarah keep growing? Did she really think of him as a husband in *every* sense of the word? What if she rejected him on their wedding night?

"Get a hold of yourself, man. It's just pre-wedding jitters. You got cold feet before marrying Katherine, too and look how perfect you two were for each other," he scolded himself. Around midnight, he finally accepted the fact that only time would answer his questions and drifted off to sleep.