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"Do you really think so, Jake?" she asked in surprise.

"I always knew you had it in you," he said, with a pleased nod of his head.

"I guess," smiled Abby, "I just needed someone to coax it out of me."

As she gazed at him with those large blue eyes, Jake felt his heart begin to race. Oh! if she only knew how much he loved her!

"Thanks for going along with me back there," he said, in a hushed voice. "You must think I'm pretty ridiculous. Any other man..."

"I'm not married to 'any other man,'" finished Abby, with an encouraging smile that went straight to Jake's heart. "I'm married to you! I don't think you're ridiculous," she added, recalling the talk she had had with her uncle earlier that month. "I think this takes a lot of courage."

"What I'm trying to do is for both of us," explained Jake. "I want this, Abby. I need you."

With these words, Abby felt a hot tear roll down her cheek. She covered her mouth and began to sob. Not wanting the others to overhear them, Abby's husband softly closed the nursery door and came to her side.

"Please, don't cry," he gently pleaded.

"I can't help it!" she wept. "I've missed you, Jake!"

"Well," he smiled, "I'm here now." The young man tried to reach out and touch her arm, but couldn't.

Though Jake was disappointed by this failed attempt, Abby was encouraged that he had even tried. If physical intimacy was in their future, Abby knew it would take time. Whatever the outcome, she wanted him home-- whether he could ever touch her, or not.

"When are you moving back?" she asked, gratefully accepting the handkerchief Jake was offering.

"My stuff is in Dr. Jacoby's car," he answered.

"Good," she sniffed, drying her face. "Are my eyes red? Do I look as though I've been crying?"

"You look beautiful," Jake sighed tenderly. "Do you want to go home, now?"

Leaving the privacy of the nursery, AJ said their good-byes to the others and went outside to collect his things from Dr. Jacoby's vehicle. Overhead, storm clouds gathered, reminding Abby that snow was forecasted for that night. Hurrying in out of the cold, the two entered their little yellow house. Just as Jake reached to close the front door, a strong gust of wind slammed it shut.

"The wind is starting up," breathed Abby. "It's going to be a cold one, tonight."

"I'll go put my things away," said Jake, disappearing down the hallway.

Carelessly tossing her coat aside, Abby went to her room to feed the saltwater fish. After making sure the aquarium heater was properly working, she walked to Jake's room to watch him unpack the few things that he had taken with him.
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