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"Why?" she wept. "Why did you feel you had to prove your love to me?"

Jake paused, looking away for a moment, and then back at her, as if hesitant to give the reason. But the answer was right there in his eyes, and Abby suddenly realized her mistake.

"My new job," she stammered. "You felt left out."

"I felt ignored," he admitted.

"I suppose," she said thoughtfully, wiping the tears away with the sleeve of her terry robe, "that with all the hours I've been putting in lately, it would be easy for you to feel that way."

"You once told me never to shut you out of my life," he smiled, tenderly. "I'm only asking that you do the same for me."

"I'm sorry," she whispered, burying herself in Jake's open arms.

"Abby," he confessed, "I didn't just do this to get your attention."

"I know," she whispered, knowingly. "I wanted you, too."

For a few minutes, the two sat on the bathroom floor, just holding each other, until Abby realized that Jake wasn't wearing much. Despite the fireplace still being on, the house was chilly.

"You'd better get some clothes on," she advised him. "You don't want to catch a cold."

Seeing that his night was over, Jake reluctantly let Abby go. When he tried to help her to her feet, an involuntary gasp of pain escaped his lips.

"I'll be all right as soon as the Xantol sets in," he smiled, trying to minimize the pain.

"I didn't think you could take any more so soon," said Abby in surprise, for sometime that morning, she thought she had stirred from her sleep long enough to hear him taking more medication.

"I suppose," Jake said wistfully, "Dennis has a lot of work for you, today."

Just then, someone knocked on their front door. Jake was about to go answer it, when Abby reminded him that he was only wearing a bath towel. Abby laughed as the young man quickly retreated to dress himself.

When Abby unlocked the door, she found Terry in his pajamas and slippers, huffing vapor trails as he rubbed his arms in the freezing cold.

"I locked myself out of the house," he explained, quickly stepping inside, and immediately going to the fireplace to thaw. "I just went out for a second to get the paper, and the door swung shut!" Terry flapped his arms and stamped his feet to get his circulation going.

"I'll call over and get someone to let you in," said Abby, starting for the telephone.

"It won't do any good," said Terry, rubbing his cold hands together. "I think your Dad's in the shower, and Izzy can't come to the door. Got any coffee?"

"How long have you been out there?" laughed Abby, going to the kitchen to see what she could find.

"About ten minutes," answered Terry from the next room, for he wasn't ready to leave the warmth of the fireplace just yet. "We got a good five inches of snow last night," he informed her.

Abby remembered the snowman that her father had wanted to build for Izumi in front of her bedroom window, and smiled. Now there would be enough snow for one.

"We don't have any coffee," announced Abby, "but how about hot chocolate, instead?"

"Perfect," said Terry, coming to the kitchen doorway. "Say," he grinned, noticing her attire, "you're really getting into the work-from-home spirit of things! It's nine in the morning, and you're still in pajamas!"

Abby could have told him that she was only wearing a robe, but quickly decided against it. That was more information than her uncle needed to know.
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