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Reluctantly, the men left.

When her tears finally subsided, Abby undressed and climbed into her bubble bath. She leaned her head back, and closed her eyes. The water felt good, and helped to relieve the soreness.

After having a good long soak in the bathtub, Abby returned to her room and took the sheets off her bed. She placed them into the washing machine, and walked across the way to her parents' house.

While John worked at his computer in the office, Izumi was lying on her left side in the master bedroom, struggling to keep her attention on the book she was reading.

"Hi," said Abby, coming into the bedroom to see her mother.

"I heard about the job," sighed Izumi. "Terry told us everything."

"Has the bed rest started?" inquired Abby, eager to change the subject.

"Today's the first day," said Izumi, a little nervously. "I haven't been here for two hours, and I already can't wait to get up! Abby, did you get much sleep last night?" asked the concerned mother. "You look tired."

"I am, a little," she admitted, wearily.

"Why don't you lay down here for awhile and get some rest?" suggested Izumi, prepared for Abby to turn it down, for her daughter was never a cuddler. To her surprise, Abby snuggled into her mother's arms. "This is a welcome change," smiled Izumi, stroking her daughter's hair into long smooth strands. "You don't know how often I wanted to do this, when you were little."

Abby drifted in and out of sleep, comforted by the near proximity of her mother. The young woman was still dealing with the reality of last night, and wasn't ready to talk to anyone about it yet-- not even Izumi.

Near lunchtime, Abby was awakened by the sound of her parents' hushed voices.

"You woke her up," Izumi sighed disappointedly, when she saw that Abby's eyes were open.

"Sorry, Sweetheart," apologized John, as he stood by the bedside to talk to his wife.

"I don't want you eating take-out because of my bed rest," Izumi insisted once more.

"But," protested John, "Terry and I don't have time to fix homemade meals everyday. We have to hold down full time jobs and keep house! At least, if we order take-out, it'll help save some time."

"I don't mind fast food once in a while," argued Izumi, "but I won't see my family living off of it for six months!"

John sighed and stared at the carpet, his eyebrows furrowed in thought.

"What about Jake?" suggested Abby, sitting up in bed. "I recently discovered that he can cook, and he cleans our house all the time."

"Jake already has a day job," declined John.

"He won't, when the season ends," replied Abby, for this had been a long standing concern with her friend.

"John!" exclaimed Izumi, happily. "Why not? This could be the winter job that he needs to stay out of prison! It would help out the kids!"

"It would help us out," chimed in Terry, coming into the room and readily approving the suggestion. "I'll chip in for his salary. It'd be worth it, John."

"Yes, it would be," admitted the father. "When you put it that way, it doesn't matter if he can really cook, or not."

"He can cook," affirmed Abby, knowingly.

"There's only one little problem," pointed out John. "The fishing season isn't over until the end of November. What are we supposed to do in the meantime? "

"If we hired Jake before the season ends," Izumi asked Abby, "do you think Mr. Winkler could spare him? He's been very kind to this family by giving Jake that job in the first place, and I don't want to insult him by taking his helper."
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