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"That's enough talking for now," she instructed him, gently tucking a loose end of his white sheet back under the mattress. "Don't let this news get to you, Jake. The Bible says that all things work together for good, and I'm going to hold God to that promise. I'm like Jacob wrestling with the Angel-- I'm not going to let go until He blesses us."

"He already has," smiled Jake, now only half conscious from his medications.

"I'm waiting for the rest of it to come true," Abby said quietly, as the tired man stopped struggling against the drugs in his system and slipped back into sleep. When she was sure that he could no longer hear, she bent over him and gazed longingly at his swollen face. "I'll wait for you, Jake," she whispered. "I'll wait for as long as it takes. Only, don't take any longer than you need to, before you reach for me."

Abby sat down in the chair beside his bed and waited a few hours more before John appeared in the hospital doorway and asked if she were ready to eat dinner. Reluctantly, Abby went with her father. Jake wasn't awake, and she was hungry.

In the hospital cafeteria, Abby found Terry and Dick, intently talking to one another.

"Governor Smith called," Dick grinned to her. "The paperwork is through, and it's official-- Jake is a free man!"

With a weak smile, Abby sat down at their table. So much was happening in so short a time, that the finality of Jake's release almost seemed anticlimactic.

"Have you told Jake about his sentence being commuted?" asked John, as he set a dinner tray in front of his daughter.

"He already knew," replied Abby. "An orderly told him."

"Good news sure travels fast in this place," chuckled Terry.

"Did you hear that the man who did this to Jake was Alex Walters?" wondered Dick, in a sober voice.

"Yes, the doctor told me," replied Abby, starting in on a slice of cold meat loaf.

"Isn't that something?" sighed Terry in astonishment. "Who would've thought that anyone would put Jake into the same cell as the Bayside Rapist?"

Aghast, Abby looked up at her uncle. Suddenly, she found herself unable to swallow the meat loaf. After quickly taking a drink of water from her glass, Abby shook her head in disbelief.

"Alex Walters is the Bayside Rapist?!" she cried. "I thought the name sounded familiar, but I didn't know why until now. Dear God, what were they thinking!"

Dick remained silent, unwilling to speculate out loud why Jake had been placed into the same cell with such a violent sex offender. He quietly made a vow before God, that Jake's sacrifice would not be for nothing.

After the horror had a few minutes to sink in, Abby decided to let it go. She didn't want to waste her attention on the likes of Alex Walters, or expend precious energy on anger. Jake needed her too much.

When she had collected herself, Abby related to her father and the other two men, what the doctor had told her about Jake and his risk of having been infected with HIV. She told them about the viral load test, but decided at the last minute to leave out the reason why Jake's doctor had said he was prescribing it.

"It's in God's hands," sighed John, shaking his head wearily. He added an encouraging thought, but Abby didn't hear it. The high emotions of the day were beginning to take a toll on her. Even though she had had some rest earlier, Abby still felt worn out and exhausted. The young woman half wanted to find a corner somewhere, and curl up to have a good cry.

When John saw that his daughter wasn't going to finish her dinner, they returned to Jake's room until visiting hours were over.
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