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"I think he could spare him," answered Abby. "Jake's job at the tackle store isn't exactly essential. If you guys are really serious, I could talk to Mr. Winkler, later today."

"Then, you'd better do it," said John.

"Since it's lunchtime and Jake doesn't work here yet," said Terry, "we'd better grab some take-out. Hey, Abby!" he observed happily. "It's good to see you smiling again!"

Abby stayed with her parents and Uncle Terry for the rest of the day, until it was time to drive Jake home from work. When the young man saw her pull up in the jeep, he was relieved to find her in better spirits, than when he had left her that morning.

"My parents have a proposition for you," she announced. "Remember how you've been praying that God would give you a winter job? Well, I think He's answered. Mom has to have six months of bed rest until the triplets come, and Dad and Uncle Terry don't have time to run the house or cook meals. Interested?"

Jake grinned broadly. This was an answer to prayer!

"There's just one hitch," added Abby. "Mom and Dad could really use you right now, and not when the fishing season is over."

"Do you want me to talk to Mr. Winkler?" asked Jake, seeing where the conversation was heading. "He's still here."

"No," she replied, "I'll do it myself." Even while she spoke to Jake, Abby strained to see any sign of recognition in him, that hinted he remembered or might possibly remember some small detail about last night. To her utter disappointment, the ex-convict showed no such signs.

As she climbed out of the jeep, Jake saw Abby wince in pain.

"Are you hurt?" he asked in concern, thinking that it had been caused by her fall in his bedroom, earlier that day.

"I just need another long bath," she responded.

Inside the tackle shop, Abby found Mr. Winkler at his fly tying table, intent on his work. Understanding that a delicate process was going on, Abby waited for him to notice that she was there, so she wouldn't spoil his concentration until he was ready. After a few seconds, Mr. Winkler looked up and smiled sympathetically at her. "Dennis told me all about it," he sighed.

"Mr. Nelson actually suggested that I divorce Jake, because he's going to hold me back," related Abby. "After that, I didn't care if I got the job, or not." Then Abby related her parents' proposal to Mr. Winkler.

"Of course, he can go," replied the old man. "I have to admit, I'm going to miss that boy. But, maybe, I can still have one of the Murphys working here," he offered, looking up at her with raised eyebrows. "Dennis, of course, would be the main fly casting instructor, but there's still a few months left to the season. I know what you're making right now as a translator, and I can promise you at least double that."

"I have the sneaking suspicion that you're being too generous," hesitated Abby.

"Maybe I am," admitted Mr. Winkler with a kind smile, "but it's my store, and I can do what I please." Hearing this, Abby surprised the old man with a big hug.

"God bless you," she said, gratefully.

Upon reaching home, Jake hurried inside the little yellow house while Abby put the jeep in the garage for the night. She lingered in the garage for awhile, checking the engine oil, and making sure that the jeep was being kept in good operation. When she was finished, Abby went inside and kicked off her shoes. As she tossed the keys onto the coffee table, Jake appeared from the bathroom.

"Your bath water is ready," he announced, picking up her shoes from the floor. "Take as long as you want. When you get out, I'll have dinner waiting."

"Thanks," said Abby, in surprise. "You don't have to do that, Jake. I'm not mad at you."

"I believe you," he answered quietly. "Would you like pancakes, tonight?"

"What's the occasion?" she smiled, letting down her long hair.

"I just feel like it," he shrugged.

Going to her room to get her nightgown and robe so she could change after her long soak, Abby noticed that Jake had made her bed with the clean sheets that she had stuck into the wash earlier that morning.

With a resolute face, Abby went to the kitchen where her friend was mixing the pancake batter.

"What is it?" he asked.

Abby struggled within herself to tell him, but the words simply would not come. How could she tell a man that couldn't bear to be touched, that he had spent the night in bed with her, only because he was intoxicated? And even worse, how could she explain why she had let him? The young woman was afraid what his reaction might be.

"Thanks for making my bed," she answered, leaving the kitchen. Abby promised herself that she would tell Jake at a later time-- but not today.

"There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid."
~ Proverbs 30:18, 19 ~

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
~ Genesis 2:24 ~

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