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Thunderstruck, Abby could feel hot tears rolling down her cheeks. It was the first time he had ever yelled at her like that, and it stung. Abby bent down and put each pill back into the open prescription bottle Jake had thrown at her. She purposed within herself not to give it back to him. No amount of intimacy in bed was worth poisoning him. Abby hid it in her coat pocket and waited on the porch, trying to gather enough courage to face him inside.

"God," she prayed silently, "please, help us! Tell me what to do!"

Abby turned the door handle and went in. Jake was on the couch, staring at the unlit fireplace, his hand nursing the side where he was feeling his ribs. He looked up at her only briefly, before staring back at the empty fireplace. Timidly, Abby went to her room and searched for a place to hide the bottle of Xantol. She opened her closet, and grabbed the nearest shoebox she could find. After shoving the bottle into the toe of a running shoe, she carefully hid the box and quickly shut the closet door.

Just then, Abby heard footsteps directly behind her. It was Jake. She didn't like the wild look in his eyes.

"Where did you put the bottle, Abby?" he asked, in a low voice.

Jake had never hurt her before, but she still felt herself shrinking from the dark look brooding in his eyes.

"I'm not giving it to you," she replied, fighting to keep her voice calm.

"Give it to me," he insisted, taking a step toward her.

Abby defiantly shook her head "no."

With a loud moan, Jake took her by the arms, and frantically began to kiss her face and neck. Abby struggled to get free, but Jake pinned her against the bedroom wall, unwilling to let her go.

"Please," Abby begged him, still trying to remain calm, though she was feeling more panicked by the second, "don't Jake-- not like this."

Suddenly recognizing the panic in her voice, Jake paused and looked at her, his chest heaving in pain.

"Please, Abby," he entreated her, "I need the Xantol."

Abby bravely shook her head.

"I can't let you hurt yourself," she breathed.

Slowly letting go of her arms, the young man sank onto the bed. His face was ghostly white. Abby tried to calm her breathing, for she was starting to hyperventilate and began to feel faint. The pregnant woman stumbled from the bedroom and went to the kitchen to splash cold water on her face, and revive herself.

Jake sat on the edge of the bed, his chest on fire with agony. The pain had been cumulating since last night, and it was getting worse. When Abby returned, she carried a damp washcloth, and knelt down on the floor in front of him. With a great deal of gentleness that he knew he didn't deserve, Abby wiped the sweat from his face, and helped him to lay down on the bed.

God had heard Abby's prayer, and the Holy Spirit was working on Jake's heart. It didn't take much longer for Jake to admit to himself and to God that he had sinned. As remorse swept through his soul, Jake looked up at his wife.

"Is it too late to ask you to forgive me?" he wondered in a shaky voice, his broken ribs shooting waves of pain through his chest with every word he breathed.

"It's not too late," she answered.

"I'm sorry," Jake apologized.

"I've never seen you look at me like that before," shuddered Abby.

"I know," he said. "I saw the fear on your face."

Still dazed, Abby went to the living room and curled up on the sofa. She was pregnant and hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch. The added stress of what had happened between her and Jake, made her feel weak. She tried to close her eyes and rest, but found she couldn't. Heartsick, Abby began to cry.
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