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"I think it's big enough for the bottom," announced Jake. "Now for the middle."

They repeated this until AJ had three large balls of snow, each stacked one on top of the other.

"You know," grinned Jake, with a playful hint of fun in his eyes, "we could..." he whispered the rest into Abby's ear so Izumi couldn't overhear.

Abby burst into laughter.

"I don't know if we have enough snow to do that, though," she said, looking about her thoughtfully.

"Okay, what are you two up to?" laughed Izumi.

"You'll see!" giggled Abby. Abby suddenly caught herself. "Oh great," she gloomily thought, "he has me giggling!"

As Abby collected all the loose snow she could find within an easy distance, Jake began to craft three snow people in front of Izumi's open bedroom window. Delighted, Izumi covered her mouth with her hand, and watched as they took form.

"I'll go get some things to dress them with," volunteered Abby, running into her parents' house.

Izumi watched as her daughter rummaged through their closet, and then hurried to Terry's room before rejoining Jake outside.

"Close that door!" shouted John, appearing from the office, and rubbing his chilly arms.

"John, look what the kids are building," beckoned Izumi.

The father looked out the open window and grinned. There were two tall snow people, and one short one with a large, distended belly. Abby had dressed one of the two taller people in John's old baseball cap and sunglasses, while Terry's snowman sported a fishing rod. For good measure, Abby topped her mom off with an old, ridiculous gardening hat.

Izumi laughed, and clapped her hands in delight.

"Oh my!" exclaimed Terry with raised eyebrows, when he came to the window to see what all the fuss was about. "They look vaguely familiar." Then he saw the lopsided grin on his snowman, and wagged a playful finger at the two responsible artists. "I'll get even with you AJ!" he laughed.

After everyone had finished admiring their creations, Jake quietly took Abby by the hand and led her down the snow covered beach. John leaned out the window to see Jake put his arm around Abby before they disappeared out of sight.

"Did you notice something different about them?" wondered John, closing the window while Izumi took off her coat.

"Don't bring it up if they don't," she cautioned him.

"Then, you noticed it too?" asked John.

"I'm so happy for them," affirmed Izumi. "Jake must love her very much."

Out on the snow covered beach, Jake didn't say a word for some time. He clung to Abby's hand, and kept whatever thoughts he was having to himself. When he stopped to look out at the icy bay, Abby leaned her head against his shoulder, and clasped his hand with both of hers. A cold wind blew against them, and Abby moved even closer to Jake for warmth. He looked at her for a moment, and then back out at Three Mile Bay.

"What are you thinking about?" she asked, as a contrail of vapor spilled from her mouth and vanished into the chilly winter air.

"I can't take you from this," muttered Jake, shaking his head.

"What are you talking about?" wondered Abby.

"This," he said, pointing to the bay with his free hand, "all of it-- it's your home."
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