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"I'm really not hungry," he resisted, lying on top of the bed covers in his room.

"Do you want me to save you something for later?" persisted Abby, for she knew he hadn't eaten lunch because of her, as well. Whether they were kissing or arguing, everything made his chest worse-- or so it seemed to Abby. "At least, come with me and lay down on Dad and Mom's couch while we eat," she urged. "I don't like leaving you by yourself, Jake."

"Then," he suggested wearily, "take the baby monitor with you."

"Very well," she sighed. Abby watched as Jake closed his eyes and tried to rest. "I love you," she whispered, trying to encourage his spirits a little.

"I know," he replied with a small, tired smile. "I love you too, Abby."

When she returned home later that night, she found Jake asleep in his bed, dressed in the day clothes that had become his version of pajamas. After ensuring that he had enough blankets to keep warm through the cold winter night, Abby disappeared into the bathroom to prepare for bed. When she opened the door, however, she found Jake, waiting for her in the hallway.

"I thought you were asleep," she pleasantly greeted, brushing past him on her way to her bedroom.

"Abby, could you answer a question?" wondered Jake, only following his wife partway into her room.

Abby turned on the aquarium canopy light, and climbed into bed. The room filled with the soft shimmer of the aquarium, inviting Jake to linger and watch the colorful fish that he had come to love so dearly.

"What question?" asked Abby, pulling the blankets up under her chin. "Oh! These covers are so cold!" she exclaimed. "I wish it would hurry and cozy up! It's warmer where you are than under here!"

"I wanted to ask you," began Jake, getting another comforter and gently draping it over Abby, "if you think I'm capable of making a living without relying on the money you make."

The question immediately alarmed her.

"Oh, no!" she gasped, at once sitting up in bed. "You're not trying to move out, are you?"

"Take it easy," he smiled, "I'm not leaving. Slide back down under your blankets," directed Jake, covering her once more. "I meant," he explained, "if you thought I could ever earn a good living with the skills I currently have."

Abby cautiously looked at Jake, wondering how honest she should be in her response.

"I thought so," he sighed disappointedly, seeing her quietly searching for a safe answer. "I don't mind menial work," said Jake, venturing to sit down on the edge of her large mattress, "if I thought that it'd be enough to provide for what you and the baby needed. You've done so much for me," he added, "I'm never going to be able to repay your kindness." His gaze met hers, and she smiled sadly.

"I wish you'd stop talking as though you were a stray puppy I took in," Abby sighed. "I'm sorry I accepted Uncle Terry's pickup truck without your consent," she apologized. "I didn't mean to leave you out of an important decision."

"I'm sorry I was so touchy," said Jake. "I shouldn't have been."

"You had every right to be," disagreed Abby. "I was thinking about it, and if Mom had done something like that without Dad's agreement, I don't think he would've liked it."

Jake rubbed his arms, for the house was chilly.

"I don't want you to get nervous by what I'm about to propose," said Abby, "but why don't you stay with me, tonight? You could put your sleeping bag up here, on the bed."
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