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Chapter Twelve
When Innocence is Betrayed

"The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
~ Proverbs 12:10 ~

While John and Terry were away on their business trip, Izumi didn't see much of Abby during her stay at the yellow house. After work every day, Abby practiced with Dennis, training for a tournament that he hoped she would be ready for in August. As Abby trained, Jake watched from the porch swing, while Izumi tried her best to keep him company.

The first of July brought the men back from Vancouver, where they had spent the past week training the staff of one of their client's law firms to use the custom software that John and Terry had designed for their specific needs. It had been more tedious than usual, and both were eager to get home. When the men arrived in Three Mile Bay, they were surprised to find Abby on the beach with Dennis, practicing her casts and training with the determination of one who was serious about what she was doing.

"How long has this been going on?" asked John, as he and Terry sat at the picnic table to watch.

"Almost a week now," replied Izumi, taking a seat beside her husband.

In the enclosed porch of the little house, John could see a solitary figure, sitting on the swing, watching the pair on the beach. John waved, and Jake came out to meet him.

"When did you get back?" greeted Jake, in a friendly voice.

"Not ten minutes ago," answered Terry. "I hear Abby's trying for certification."

"Yeah," sighed Jake with a half smile.

"Thanks for looking after things while we were away," said John. "I really appreciate it."

After one or two more exchanges, Jake returned to the porch.

"I feel sorry for him," mused Izumi, leaning her head on John's shoulder. "Abby's been so busy with Dennis lately, that she doesn't have time for Jake. When I moved out of their house this morning, I almost felt as though I were somehow abandoning him. I'll be glad when this training business is over."

"I think Jake feels the same way," remarked Terry, thoughtfully.

Down by the waterfront, Abby was trying to perfect her roll cast.

"Relax your wrist a little," directed Dennis. "You're tensing again, Abby!"

"I'm doing the best I can!" exclaimed Abby, trying to keep her patience.

After another clumsy effort, the fly casting instructor took the rod from her hands.

"Take five," he groaned, as Abby pulled her green baseball cap down over her eyes. "I keep telling you that there's nothing wrong with your roll cast. Why can't you believe me?"

"Then why do I keep messing it up?" she argued.

"Because you're not having fun," answered Dennis, simply. "Abby, when you start taking all of this too seriously, you lose all the grace and technique that makes you a standout in the first place. I'm not here to change you, only to hone the skills you already have. Go cool down."

Seeing that her father and uncle were watching with Izumi at the picnic table, Abby walked over and joined them.

"What went wrong?" asked Terry. "You were really struggling to get control of the line. It's not like you."

continued on next page...
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