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"It was good, Abby," smiled Jake, trying not to double over in pain. The deep breathing he had subjected his ribs to, was causing him more anguish than Abby had first realized.

"Please, take a painkiller," she entreated, finding it difficult to watch him fight under the excruciating pain. When Jake lamely tried to pretend it wasn't that bad, Abby went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of water and a Xantol.

"I'm only taking this because you said 'please,'" he joked softly. Without further prodding, Jake swallowed the medication and went to his room to lay down. "I'm getting better," he announced, as Abby drew the curtains on his windows so he could rest. "Just wait and see, Abby. I'm going to be normal."

"Try to keep your expectations realistic, Jake," she tried to caution him.

"But, Abby," he argued, raising his head so he could see her, "I kissed you! I didn't know I could do that! And if that isn't enough, I haven't had a really bad flashback in days!"

"But you still can't hold my hand," she gently reminded him. "I'm not trying to discourage you, but I hate to see you building unrealistic expectations. Besides," she added, going to his bedroom door, "if I had wanted normal, I would have married Tyler." With that, Abby closed his door halfway, leaving a happy Jake to his own thoughts.

"Thank you, God," he whispered. Too enthused to sleep, but too exhausted to get up, Jake lay in bed awake. Even the throbbing in his chest couldn't dampen his spirits. This was the closest he had ever come to being "normal," and no amount of warning from Abby was going to stop him from dreaming.

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine."
~ Song of Solomon 1:2 ~

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."
~ Psalms 85:10 ~

end of chapter
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