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"Let's just take one step at a time," replied Dr. Jacoby. "If Jake can achieve a physical, intimate relationship with you, then no matter what other issues he may still have, I think we can safely call it a victory."

"So, that's why he's moving back in?" asked Abby. "To begin 'the process'?"

"Please, don't laugh at me," begged Jake.

"I'm not laughing at you," she sighed, quietly scolding herself for not being more sensitive in her choice of words. "I think this is a good thing, Jake. Even if it doesn't work, at least you'll be home."

"Then, you don't think it will work?" he asked in a disheartened voice.

Quickly, Abby clapped a hand over her mouth. She didn't seem capable of saying anything correctly, at the moment.

"Before I say something that we're both going to regret," she said, giving herself a few seconds of reprieve before shutting up once more, "just remember that I love you, Jake."

Jake smiled hopefully at the sound of those three precious words.

"Then," continued Dr. Jacoby, "you agree to try?"

Abby emphatically nodded her head in the affirmative. She only hoped that Jake hadn't suddenly changed his mind. She knew she had a propensity to disturb him with her offhand remarks, and prayed that God would teach her to be more sensitive with her very sensitive husband.

"Okay," replied Dr. Jacoby, smiling at the patient who was seated next to him on the couch. "She said 'yes,' Jake."

The ex-convict nervously returned the doctor's smile, and then chanced another glance in Abby's direction. Jake didn't know why he was so relieved, for he suddenly realized that he had only exchanged one set of concerns for another! To be truthful, Dr. Jacoby seemed to be the most optimistic person in the room. When Jake looked at Abby, he recognized the cautious, guarded look on her face, and realized that she wasn't very hopeful about "the process."

Just then, John made some excuse to enter the room. When he saw that the sensitive part of whatever discussion they were having was over, he stopped to talk to Dr. Jacoby. Hearing the all clear from his friend, Terry soon joined them. The only two that remained quiet were Abby and Jake. Abby tried to pretend that she was listening to what the men were saying, but her eyes continually to drifted back to Jake.

"Have you seen Mom, yet?" she asked him.

"No," he muttered, looking down at the toe of his shoe with renewed interest.

"I'll take you to her," said Abby. As she stood up, Jake noticed the size of her belly for the first time. "Yeah, I know," she sighed, "I'm really starting to show. For awhile there I just had this little pooch, and it looked like a beer belly, or something. At least, now I look like I'm pregnant. My first trimester ended last week."

"Yes, I know," said Jake, as they entered the hallway.

"How could you possibly know that?" she laughed, incredulously.
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