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"I'm glad you came back when you did," she said, leaning against the wall near his doorway. "Aside from the fact that I was missing you like crazy, you almost missed out on Thanksgiving. I was really hoping we could spend it as a family. I wanted to put it off until you came back, but Dennis and Mr. Winkler are leaving soon, and Dad already invited them to come."

"I've had Thanksgiving... once," replied Jake, smiling to himself. "She missed me," he mused under his breath, still glorying in the fact that she cared when he wasn't there.

"Uncle Terry and I are planning a big meal with lots of everything," she continued. "Dad wanted to just order out from a fancy restaurant, but Uncle Terry and I wanted to do it, ourselves."

With a smile, Jake shook his head skeptically.

"What?" she laughed. "Contrary to popular belief, I can cook!"

"I didn't say anything," smiled Jake. It was good to be home! Just the sound of her voice made him warm inside. Jake put away his nightshirts and tried to stifle a yawn. He had had a busy day, and his body needed some rest.

Not trying to wear Jake out with her talking, Abby went to the living room to work at her computer before dinner. Dennis had already put Abby to work on his website, and had promised to give her more responsibilities, after he arrived in California at the end of the month. She was so engrossed in her work, that Abby didn't notice when Jake stretched out on the couch beside her computer table. For several minutes, he watched her with sleepy, half open eyes. Gradually lulled by the sounds of computer keyboard taps and mouse clicks, Jake softly drifted to sleep.

The hours flew by, until Abby at last stopped to take a break. When she reclined in her chair with a tired yawn, she noticed that the only light in the living room was coming from her computer monitor. Nightfall had descended on Three Mile Bay, plunging the unprepared house into darkness. After another weary yawn, Abby got up to close the window curtains and lock the front door, which was part of their nightly routine. As she made her way back to her computer, Abby realized for the first time that someone was asleep on the couch.

"Jake?" she whispered. When there was no response, Abby knew he was asleep.

With a cold shiver, Abby touched a button and the gas fireplace obediently came to life. Then she sat down at the computer, intent on finishing her work. However, Abby's concentration was elsewhere, for her gaze kept returning to the sleeping form on the couch, just a few feet from her table.

By the light of the fireplace, Abby couldn't help but notice how handsome Jake looked, and she marveled at the reality of his presence. The way his chest quietly moved up and down with each peaceful breath; the arm that hung over the side of the couch, so that his hand rested on the floor; his faded jeans, and the white socks that she had bought for him at the store; even his red and black checkered flannel shirt, was a source of amazement to her. This man was flesh and blood, and she belonged to him. As these thoughts flooded her heart, Abby offered a quiet prayer of thanks to the Lord in heaven who had brought this person into her life in such a powerful way.

While he slept, Jake suddenly became aware of a soft warmth covering his body. Blinking his eyes open, he found Abby, tucking him in with a warm blanket.

"I didn't mean to wake you up," she said, quietly.

"How long have I been out?" asked the young man, noticing that the fireplace was burning merrily.
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