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"What's the matter?" he asked. "Aren't you happy?"

"Of course I'm happy," she replied. "This isn't going to be easy, John. I'm not a young girl, anymore. I'm going to need a lot of help from you and Terry. I'm glad Abby is living so nearby. When my bed rest starts, I won't be able to do the housework, or cook."

"Don't worry," smiled John. "We'll manage."

"And then there's the baby nursery," sighed Izumi. "Dr. Williams was right, we do need to get it ready before mid August. We can use Abby's old room. I guess it's Providential that she moved out when she did."

"I hadn't thought of that," reflected John.

"Let's not tell anyone about our news yet," suggested Izumi, "until we can get them all together at one time!"

Down at the marina, the tackle store was welcoming a new arrival of its own. Dennis Beckman, the new fly casting instructor and two time MRD champion, was beginning his first day on the job. Mr. Winkler showed him around the marina and introduced him to Jake, who did much of the menial work at the store. Dennis was twenty-six, two years older than Jake, and every bit the professional. He was entirely at home with a fly rod, and had an easygoing personality that put even the most nervous student at ease. His handsome features and single status would prove to be an attraction to many of the same unmarried women who had been too frightened by Jake's troubled past to consider him as husband material. But Dennis wouldn't meet with the same hesitation from the fairer sex of Three Mile Bay, for he was much easier to accept than Jake Murphy.

An hour before work ended, Dennis Beckman was reeling in the yards of extra line his last pupil had strewn on the docks, when he saw Jake sweeping up nearby.

"How long have you worked here?" asked Dennis, prepared to be friendly.

"A few weeks," replied Jake, in a gruff voice.

By Jake's body posturing and demeanor, Dennis could see that this man clearly did not trust him. Dennis wondered why. He hadn't done or said anything to Jake to warrant this kind of treatment, but he was still being mistrusted.

"So, you're new here, just like me," smiled Dennis. "Except for Mr. Winkler, I don't know anybody in town yet."

Jake remained silent and resumed his work.

"Is everyone in Three Mile Bay as friendly as you, or are you determined to be the exception?" asked Dennis, with a broad grin.

Realizing that he was being more gruff than he had intended, Jake let down his guard a little.

"I don't..." he hesitated, "I don't get along with people very well."

"Oh," replied Dennis, placing a fishing lure back into the tackle box. "I've got a room at the boarding house down the road. How about you?"

"I live near the beach," said Jake, tapping the broom against the edge of the dock to clear the stiff bristles of debris.

"The beach?!" exclaimed Dennis in surprise. "Pushing that broom must pay better than I thought!"

Not knowing how to answer, Jake didn't respond.

"That was a joke," explained Dennis, stepping forward and giving Jake a good-natured slap on the shoulder.

Unprepared for this sudden physical contact, Jake grabbed the broom and shoved Dennis backwards, pinning him against the wall of the tackle store.

"Don't touch me!" growled Jake, his eyes flaring angrily at the fly casting instructor.

"Easy, man!" exclaimed Dennis, frightened by this sudden outburst. "I didn't know!"
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