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"Jake," she apologized, "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

"You didn't," he smiled.

"I'd better go get your lunch," said Abby, seeing that her husband was still a little sleepy. "Try to stay awake," she requested.

In the kitchen, Abby carefully cut two slices of hot pizza into small bite sized pieces, to make it easier for Jake to eat. Then, she doled out the medication he was to take, and placed it on a tray beside a glass of orange juice with a straw in it. When the tray was ready, she carried it to Jake's room.

"Before you eat," she said, setting the tray over his lap, "you need to take your medication." Abby placed the pills into his mouth and then held up the straw so he could drink. "There's something I've been waiting to tell you," she smiled, sitting down in a chair near his bed while he started in on his lunch. "I was going to tell you over the phone while you were in prison, but Alex Walters... well, everything else followed so quickly, that I decided to wait until you came home before I told you the good news."

Jake looked at her curiously.

"What good news?" he asked.

Abby smiled, her blue eyes twinkling with excitement.

"My obstetrician says we're going to have a boy," she informed him, stealing a small bite of pizza from Jake's plate and popping it into her mouth. "What do you think about that? I haven't even told my parents yet, because I wanted you to be the first to know."

"A boy?" repeated Jake in astonishment. "I don't understand. Don't you people always have girls?"

"What do you mean by 'you people'?" exclaimed Abby with an indignant laugh.

"Your mom has had all girls," pointed out Jake, suddenly turning a little pale.

"We aren't my parents," she reminded him with a grin. "What's the matter, Jake? If I didn't know any better, I'd think you weren't happy."

"Are you sure it's a boy?" he asked. "Could it be some kind of mistake?"

"I don't get it," said Abby, in a troubled voice. "I thought you'd be overjoyed to know that you're going to have a son."

"Abby, you don't understand," explained Jake, his face betraying panic. For once, he was speaking louder than he should, and his broken ribs immediately rebelled at this oversight. "I can't have a son," he breathed in a low whisper. "Abby, I don't know how. I'd wind up hurting him the way my father hurt me! I can't..." Jake's voice trailed off.

"I think I understand now," sighed Abby. "Jake, you could no more hurt your son, then you could intentionally hurt me," she assured him. "It's just not in you. You're a good man, and you're going to be a good daddy."

"I grew up in terror of my father," whispered Jake, looking out the window at the silently falling snow. "When I grew older, I tried not to let him know how much I feared him, but he always knew. Oh, Abby!" Jake cried in a hushed voice. "How can I possibly know how to raise a son?"

"Do the best you can, and I'm sure God won't be disappointed," she said, trying her best to sound encouraging.

For a few minutes, Jake was silent, the remainder of his lunch sitting untouched before him.

"Aren't you going to eat any more?" she coaxed hopefully.

"I'm not hungry," he replied, wincing a little as he touched his still sore shoulder. "Abby," Jake muttered, his face turning as white as the sheets that covered him, "I think I have to..."

Before the young woman had a chance to ask what the matter was, Jake leaned forward and threw up onto the carpet beside his bed. Each heave caused wrenching pain, but Jake couldn't stop until it was completely over. Abby quickly disappeared and returned with a damp washcloth and cleaned his pale face.
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