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Curious, Jake looked over Abby's shoulder as she slowly turned each page. The blush of newlyweds was evident in their faces, and Jake suddenly realized something that he had seen before, but had not fully recognized for what it was.

"Sometimes, they still look at each other that way," he mused, taking the album from Abby and inspecting one of the photos carefully. "Only, it's a little different now. What is it?" he sighed. Jake turned one page more and paused at a picture of John gazing at Izumi. "I know," he answered himself, "it's confidence. They look at each other more confidently now, than in these photos. I think there's more trust now, too."

"Really?" asked Abby. "I don't see it, Jake."

"That's because they're your parents," he explained, "and you see them all the time." Jake carefully took one of the photos he had been using as reference for the painting and compared it to Abby's album. "Your parents are both older now," observed Jake, "but you can tell that their bond is much stronger than when they were younger. Just look at the expression in your father's eyes, Abby. I think I understand it now."

"It's the same photo you've been staring at for weeks," sighed Abby, still not seeing what Jake was seeing. "What's so different about it, now?"

"I understand his soul better," replied Jake with a sigh of satisfaction. "Abby, eyes are a window to the soul. If you can understand the eyes, then you can read a person's heart."

Abby laughed and shook her head, good-naturedly.

"I don't know why you're so incredulous," he smiled. "You do it to me all the time. You can read me like a book, Abby. Sometimes, I don't even have to say a single word, and you know what I'm thinking."

"Well," she sighed, "that's different."

"How is it different?"

"After last night," she sighed, "do you have to ask?"

"It's no different for your parents," he smiled.

"Of course it's different!" argued Abby.


"I don't know how," she stammered, "it just is."

"Oh, Abby," laughed Jake, "don't ever change!"

"If you're going to laugh at me," sighed the young woman, smiling in spite of Jake's amusement at her expense, "then I'm returning to my computer."

Abby could feel Jake's grin all the way back to her desk. After typing a few words in an email to Dennis, she glanced in Jake's direction and saw him still smiling at her.

"I love you, Abby," he glowed tenderly, getting up with her photo album in hand. "Thanks for this. It'll help the painting."

As Jake returned to his room to work on the Christmas present, Abby sighed to herself. Sometimes, that man was beyond her comprehension!

The next day, Abby went out to do some last minute shopping for Christmas, while Jake stayed home to work on his painting. Since he hadn't had any flashbacks unrelated to their physical intimacy in some time, Abby was willing to leave him alone in the house. It was late afternoon, and Jake was putting a few finishing touches on John's shirt, when he heard a knock at the front door.
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