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The next day, Abby drove Jake into Chaumont and parked the jeep in front of Pierre's Tuxedos-- a modestly small store with a large, grand sign out front. Jake reluctantly followed her inside, and let her do all the talking.

"What can I do for you?" asked the shopkeeper, resting a clipboard on the counter.

"We need a tuxedo for a formal dinner on Wednesday," replied Abby.

"That's short notice," sighed the male shopkeeper, looking Jake over. "It leaves little time for any alterations. Let's get your measurements and see if we have anything already in your size."

The shopkeeper picked up a cloth measuring tape and approached Jake. The young man took a wary step backward.

"He's just going to measure you," coaxed Abby. "It won't hurt," she added with a smile.

Jake held his breath and let the man do his job. It was all he could do to keep his composure, however, when the shopkeeper took his crotch measurement for the inside leg seam. Armed with these numbers, the man was able to locate a tuxedo very close to Jake's size.

"Try it on in the dressing room," he directed Jake.

With a sigh, the ex-convict did as he was told. When he came out a minute later, he was wearing the tuxedo over his everyday shirt.

"It's a good fit," nodded the shopkeeper. "The jacket needs a little alteration, but it will have to do."

To Jake's relief, Abby nodded in approval, freeing him to go change back into his everyday clothes.

"From time to time," informed the man, as they waited for Jake outside the dressing room, "I hire male models to wear my tuxedos for catalog and garment photos. They're the kind that make people think if you wear my merchandise, you'll look as good as this. Would Jake be interested in a modeling job?"

The young woman recalled Jake's reaction to cameras, and promptly declined.

After they were back in the jeep, they drove to Dr. Jacoby's house, for it was Tuesday, and both of them had separate sessions with the psychiatrist.

"That guy must have been desperate," reflected Jake, as the vehicle stopped outside of Dr. Jacoby's home office.

"You mean the tuxedo man?" asked Abby, removing the key from the ignition. "What makes you say that?"

"He wanted me to be a male model," answered Jake, getting out of the jeep. "Isn't that reason enough?"

"Your self-esteem must be pretty low," reflected Abby, taking a paperback out of the glove compartment to keep herself busy while Jake was inside. "Hasn't anyone ever told you that you're good-looking?"

"Not by anyone I ever cared about," he replied, closing the passenger door. "When someone is about to take advantage of you, they'll say anything."

"If I told you that you're handsome," asked Abby, "would you believe me?"

"I guess so," he conceded.

"Then," she replied evenly, finding her place in the book, "consider yourself told. You'd better get inside, or else you're going to be late."

Jake stared at her, for the comment had taken him a little off guard. If she was aware that he was looking at her, Abby didn't let it show, for her eyes never moved from the book she was reading. Slowly, the ex-convict stuffed his hands into his pockets and went inside.

When Jake's half hour was up, he waited in the jeep while Abby had her session. Afterward, the two drove back to Three Mile Bay in the early evening light, while wind whipped through Abby's black hair.
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