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"Is something wrong?" inquired Izumi, as Abby tossed her car keys onto the computer desk in the corner of the living room.

"I don't know," sighed Abby, plopping onto the couch beside her mother. "Dr. Jacoby says that if Jake continues to hide in his room, I'll have to move out."

"Is that what you want?" asked Izumi.

"You're beginning to sound like Dr. Jacoby," Abby smiled wearily. "No, I don't want to leave."

"Then, if I were you," advised Izumi, "I would do something about it."

"Such as?" wondered the young woman.

"Sweetheart," replied her mother, "you know him better than I do."

While Izumi started to fix a late dinner for the young couple, Abby went to her room. She removed the hairpins from her long silky mane, and let it gently fall down her back. After kicking off her shoes, Abby was about to shout down the hall to Jake's room to tell him that her mom was preparing supper, when something made her hesitate. Instead, she went to his door and softly knocked.

"Jake, it's Abby. May I come in?" she asked.

"All right," came the reluctant reply.

She found Jake on the bed, busying himself with a large sketchpad.

"I need to talk to you," said Abby, closing his door so they could have some privacy.

"Please, leave it open," he requested.

"Sure," replied Abby, reopening the bedroom door.

"What do you want to talk about?" Jake wondered a little nervously.

"Jake," she began, "are you happy that I moved in with you? Would you rather I leave?"

He stared down at his sketchpad.

"What makes you think I want you to go?" he asked.

"You always stay in your room," reasoned Abby, "and when you do come out, you often don't say anything unless you have to."

Jake bit his lip and sighed.

"I..." he hesitated, "I don't know... wait, that's wrong. I do know."

"You can tell me," she coaxed him. "What is it?"

"I don't know how I'm supposed to treat you," he finally admitted, his face blushing with embarrassment. "There, I said it. You can go tell your mom and have a good laugh."

"I would never laugh at you," she gently answered. "Treat me like your friend. I didn't marry you to be shut out of your life, okay?"

"Okay," he replied in a half whisper.

"Mom's fixing dinner, tonight," she informed him, "so you'd better start washing up." Then Abby went to the kitchen and set the table while Izumi prepared their supper at the stove.
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