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"The main reason I was hiding my connection to the job offer," sighed Dennis, "was because I didn't want you to think I was pursuing your wife."

"I don't think that," denied Jake.

"I'm sorry I tried to keep it from you," apologized Dennis. "It was clumsy, but I didn't know how you would take it, if the offer came directly from me. I realize you've never liked me very much."

"I admit," confessed Jake, carefully inhaling each breath before speaking, "that I haven't been as friendly with you as I could have. When I see you with Abby..." he paused, searching for the words that conveyed what he was feeling. "I sometimes wish that she and I had never slept together," confided Jake. "Dennis, I'm not the kind of man she deserves, and I know it."

The fly casting instructor was pleasantly shocked by Jake's candor, and decided to return the favor.

"Listen," said Dennis, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Abby wasn't overhearing their conversation, "I have always respected the fact that Abby is your wife. She has never indicated anything to me but friendship, and a genuine love of fly fishing," he explained, his face lighting up with enthusiasm for Abby's talent. "One day, she's going to be famous, and it will be an asset to have her name associated with my publication. Jake, this is a win-win situation for everyone concerned, and could be a big boost to her career. I know Abby can do this, and do it well. There's a lot of ideas I've been playing with, but I was thinking Abby could start off by doing a whole series about fly tying and then..."

"Dennis," interrupted Jake, with a patient smile, "I don't need to hear the details."

"How can you NOT be interested?" asked Dennis, who was completely caught up in his own excitement. "The science behind some of the fly patterns is extremely fascinating..."

"Dennis," grinned Jake, "the only time I ever care about fly fishing is when I'm standing next to Abby on the beach, and I can smell the perfume of her hair when the breeze caresses her face."

At this, the instructor paused, and stared at Jake.

"You and I really are different," he chuckled. "However, I don't see any conflict of interests here. Maybe, there's still room for us to be friends, after all?"

"There's room," conceded Jake.

Dennis offered his hand in friendship, but soon discovered that his new friend was unable to accept it.

"It's all right," shrugged Dennis, "I understand. By the way, what I said about her becoming famous-- I'd appreciate it if you just kept that between us. I don't want to make her nervous."

Just then, Abby entered the bedroom carrying one and a half boxes of cold pizza.

"What have you two been talking about?" asked Abby, for she had heard a murmur of voices from the kitchen, but was unable to make out what had been said.

"We've been talking about fly fishing," answered Jake, wincing a little as he moved his arm to a different position.

Abby looked at her young husband and laughed.

"Yeah, right," she said, shaking her head at the joke. "Dennis, before I can give you an answer about the job offer, I have to talk this over with Jake."

"If you want the job," said Jake, in a soft voice, "then take it. It's all right with me, Abby."

"It is?" she asked. "Great! See, Dennis? I told you that Jake likes you, he just has a hard time showing it."

The fly casting instructor flashed a grin at Jake and helped himself to some cold pizza after saying grace over the food. It was only an hour before they normally would have eaten dinner, so Abby returned with some napkins and soft drinks.
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