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"Here it is," said Terry, handing the plastic bag to her. "Do you want any help with that?" he offered, after seeing the small bottles Abby had to sort through when she dumped them onto the table. "That's a lot of drugs for just one man!"

"Most of it is Jake's antiviral therapy for HIV," sighed Abby. "I have to make a schedule for when he has to take these drugs, and make sure he takes them on time. Thanks for the offer to help," she smiled wearily, "but I'm the one responsible for Jake, not you."

"All right then," sighed Terry, zipping up his coat to leave. "We'll leave you to it."

"If you need anything," admonished her father, "Terry and I are just across the way."

"And don't worry about food," added his friend. "I'll bring over some take-out at noon."

"Be sure you keep the house warm," said John, putting on his coat. "That fireplace is there for a reason. I want you to use it."

After the two had finally exhausted their last-minute advice, they went back to see how Izumi had fared with Mrs. Hopkins while they were away.

When Abby heard the front door close, she sighed contentedly. Everyone was gone, except for herself and Jake. Jake was home-- home where he belonged. There was no more danger of being sent back to prison, for he was now a free man. Abby smiled to herself. Well, maybe he wasn't entirely free. She tiptoed back to his room and watched Jake sleep from the half open door. He no longer belonged to the Watertown State Penitentiary anymore, but to her, and to her alone.

As the snow softly fell on the rooftop of the little yellow house, a feeling of hope descended on Three Mile Bay. Even people who didn't know of Jake and Abby, noticed it. Maybe it was because this was the first of November, and the holiday season was beginning to take hold with this first snow. Or, perhaps, it was simply because Abby's joy was so great, that it could not be contained within the four walls of their little yellow house; it had to spill outdoors and into the hearts of others. Whatever the cause, the people of Three Mile Bay were wearing smiles just a little bit bigger than they usually did that morning.

For several hours, Abby worked out Jake's medication regimen. She carefully read the instructions and wrote down the times and the amount of the drugs he was to take. By the time Terry arrived at the front door with lunch, Abby was just finishing her tedious task.

"Is he awake?" asked the uncle, setting two pizza boxes onto the kitchen table.

"Not yet," said Abby, putting away the last of the bottles into the cupboard. "If he doesn't wake up soon, he's going to be late for his next round of medications."

After Terry had returned to the house across the way, Abby went to Jake's room and peered through the open door. She found Jake in bed, peacefully watching the falling snow outside his bedroom window. When he noticed her standing in the doorway, the young man's face broke out into a warm smile.

"How are you feeling?" she asked, going to the window nearest his bed and opening the curtains all the way so he could better enjoy the view.

"Has it snowed since I was in prison?" he asked.

"No, you came home just in time for the first snow of the season," smiled Abby, getting out another warm blanket and setting it at the foot of his bed in case he became cold. "Uncle Terry brought over some lunch, and it's still hot. Would you like to eat now?"

"Okay," replied Jake, in a quiet voice. He looked back to the window, and a thought suddenly crossed his mind. "Abby?" he asked, as she was turning to leave.

"What is it?" she replied, going back to his bedside.

"Do you celebrate Christmas?" wondered Jake.

"Of course I do!" laughed Abby. "Doesn't everyone?"

"I never have," he answered, looking back at the window.
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