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"Yes, I do," sighed Jake in relief. "I think I need to use the bathroom, first, though."

"All right," said Abby, trying to hide her nervousness from him. "How much help do you need from me?"

"I can make it on my own," replied the young man. If he had been perfectly honest with himself, he could have added, "I think." But Jake wasn't willing for Abby to touch him in any way, so this was something he had to do by himself.

With the speed of a desert tortoise, Jake got out of bed and made his way to the bathroom. He had stood up very rarely in the last few days, so he was still getting used to how much movement he could get away with, before it would send him into reeling pain.

Abby anxiously hovered nearby, only stopping when he shut the bathroom door in her face. After what seemed like an eternity, Jake reappeared, and slowly returned to his bed. When it was over, Abby could plainly see that he was relieved that he had been able to do it without her help.

"I'll take that sedative now," he requested.

"Do you want another Xantol, as well?" she asked.

After swallowing a very mild sedative and another painkiller, Jake settled back on his mountain of pillows and soon was able to fall asleep. Before leaving his room, Abby double-checked the baby monitor near his bed and left the door half open, as was her custom. Satisfied that she had made Jake as comfortable as she could, Abby went to the living room and used her computer until Terry arrived with the groceries later that night.

"You'd better keep warm, tonight," warned Terry, as he handed her the grocery bag. "The snow has stopped, but it's getting really cold out there."

"Thanks for going to the store for me, Uncle Terry," said Abby, kissing her uncle on the cheek.

"Call me if I can do anything else," smiled Terry. "Your Mom said to tell you 'good night.'"

When Terry had left, Abby set the grocery bag on the kitchen table and locked the front door. She could hear the wind starting to pick up outside the window, and was thankful that her uncle had already returned from his errand. With a tired yawn, Abby changed into her nightgown and climbed into bed. After a thankful prayer to God for bringing Jake home, the young woman soon fell asleep.

A few minutes after three in the morning, Abby was stirred from her slumber by a strange noise coming from the baby monitor. At first, she thought she had imagined it, but when she heard the noise again, Abby knew it was real. Immediately prepared for the worst, she grabbed her robe and raced to Jake's room down the hall.

"Jake?" she called out, bravely stepping inside his dark bedroom. As Abby went to his bedside, she stumbled over something soft on the floor. Half thinking it was some warm bodied animal that had somehow managed to get inside the house, Abby cried out in fright and rushed to turn on the overhead light.

What she found on the floor, however, was no animal. It was Jake. He was lying at the foot of the bed, gasping for air in his sleep, for he had difficulty breathing on his back. Abby quickly dropped to her knees and managed to sit him up, propping his head against her shoulder and letting his arms fall at his side. Gently, she dried the sweat on his forehead with the palm of her hand. This was unlike any flashback she had ever seen. In fact, Abby wasn't sure if this was a flashback, at all. Except for the labored breathing and a little sweat, he showed no signs of distress. Unsure what was going on, Abby decided to wake him up.

"Jake?" she prompted him. "Jake, wake up!"

"I'm awake," he muttered in a terse voice. "What do you want?"

"For starters," she smiled, "what are you doing on the floor?"

The ex-convict opened his eyes and stared up at her, his brow furrowed in thought.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, groggily.

"You're on the bedroom floor," Abby informed him.
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