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"Abby," he whispered in renewed agony, "can I take something for this pain?"

"I'll be right back," she said, racing to the kitchen cabinet for his bottle of prescription painkiller. Abby placed a pill on his tongue and Jake swallowed it down with a gulp of orange juice. When the pain on his face started to ease, Abby began to clean up the mess on the floor.

"I'm sorry," he apologized.

"It's my fault," Abby reproached herself. "I shouldn't have brought up the subject of the baby when I did."

Even though he sorely wanted to talk to Abby, and to hear the sound of her voice, Jake had to close his eyes and rest.

Since he remained asleep for the remainder of the afternoon, Abby kept herself busy by working on the hand tied flies that she had promised Mr. Winkler for the tackle shop. She was about half way through her third pattern, when Abby heard a knock on the front door.

"Is Jake around?" smiled Dennis, as Abby let him inside. "I thought I'd drop by and say 'hello.'"

"I think Jake's asleep right now..." she hesitated.

"Well, in that case, I'll come back later," said Dennis, turning a little eagerly for the door.

"But I'll go see," she quickly added, disappearing down the hallway.

Dennis sighed and looked about the living room he had just helped to clean earlier that day. He had done a good job.

"He's awake," announced Abby, returning a minute later.

With a faint smile, Dennis took off his coat. He followed Abby to where her patient was snugly tucked in bed.

"Just thought I'd stop by to see how you're doing," greeted Dennis, awkwardly accepting the chair that Abby offered him.

Jake smiled politely at the intruder and glanced at the floor. Thankfully, Abby had cleaned up the mess he had made, earlier.

"Nice weather we're having," commented Dennis, desperately searching for something to say to the man. "It's still snowing a little, but I think it'll taper off before long."

A few moments of awkward silence followed.

"Hey, did Abby tell you about the emergency house cleaning we did this morning?" wondered Dennis, suddenly thinking of something interesting to talk about. When he glanced at Abby and saw the embarrassed look on her face, he suddenly realized that she had wanted to keep it from Jake. "Oops! Sorry, Abby," he apologized. "I didn't mean to spill the beans."

"House cleaning?" asked Jake, curious as to what he was talking about.

"You might as well go ahead and tell him," laughed Abby with a resigned sigh.

"Jake, you probably already know this," chuckled Dennis, leaning forward in his chair, "but you have married possibly the worst housekeeper in all of Upstate New York. You should have seen this place! I don't know how Abby lasted as long as she did without you!"

"Really?" asked Jake in surprise. The spotless condition of the house had convinced him that she had managed just fine without him.

"Dennis, I think you're over exaggerating things, just a wee bit," protested Abby, smiling even though it was at her expense.

"Good thing she's a better instructor than she is a housekeeper," laughed Dennis. "We're really looking forward to her coming back to work. Abby, you remember Mr. York, don't you? He keeps asking about you, and when you're going to return."
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