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"I already owe you so much," he sighed heavily, "and all I ever do is make things harder for you."

"This isn't right," said Abby, looking over the small stack of medical bills. "I know we're responsible for any sessions with Dr. Jacoby after you were released, but Dick said the State had taken care of all this."

"I feel so useless," confessed Jake, getting to his feet and standing before Abby as she sorted through the envelopes. "A man's supposed to take care of his family, and all I ever give you is more burden to carry. I feel like so much dead weight!" he exclaimed in self-reproach.

"Stop talking nonsense," replied Abby, still trying to understand why these bills had been sent to them.

"I have no job, and no prospects," said Jake. "I know your family is letting me work as their housekeeper, but I can't do that indefinitely! What else am I fit for, though? Who's going to hire a convicted murderer to do anything?"

"Calm down," soothed Abby.

"I'm failing you as a husband, and now also as a provider," Jake continued.

"You are not a failure!" rejoined Abby, her indignant blue eyes flashing up at him. "Stop saying those things about the man I love!"

"Some man," Jake muttered under his breath, leaving her bedroom with Abby still holding the bills.

With a sigh, she joined him in the kitchen where he was taking another Xantol for his chest.

"I didn't know you were hurting again," remarked Abby, becoming concerned that all this emphatic talking was causing him more than emotional distress.

"I feel so impotent," resumed Jake, swallowing the painkiller with a glass of water.

"I wish you'd stop saying things like that," she sighed, taking the glass from him and drinking a sip of water herself. "This baby didn't come out of thin air, Jake."

Abby was standing so closely beside him, that Jake dreamily closed his eyes and savored her presence.

"You smell so good," he sighed, his mouth parting in a wistful smile.

"It's only shampoo," she answered.

Retreating to the living room, Jake sat down on the couch, and clutched the coat that his wife had carelessly tossed there.

"Jake," reflected Abby, taking a seat on the opposite end of the sofa, "sometimes, I have a hard time keeping up with you. Earlier today, I was afraid you were building unrealistic expectations, and now you're just the opposite."

With that, Jake clicked on the television set. Anything had to be better than what he was presently thinking.

"I have some good news to share with you," she announced, trying to sound cheerful.

Seeing she had something to say, Jake patiently muted the T.V., and waited for her to finish.

"For a long time," began Abby, "my parents set aside a portion of whatever income they made for my college tuition. I found out today, that Uncle Terry had also been adding to it." Abby handed Jake a white envelope and smiled.

He opened the envelope and pulled out a very expensive slip of paper.

"It's my college fund," she explained. "Dad and Mom, and Uncle Terry," she quickly added, "thought we could use the money. We can pay those bills, Jake."
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