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"I'm just kidding," he smiled, kissing her on the forehead once more. "I didn't look. Promise."

"You're certainly in a good mood," she observed, as Jake took his mysterious, large shopping bag to his room. "What in the world did you get that's so big?" she asked.

"Hey," he smiled, "no peeking!" When Jake returned to pick up her shoes, he noticed the weary look on Abby's face. "You really look tired," he observed. "Do you want me to run you some bath water? You have time for a good soak before dinner."

"That would be wonderful," sighed Abby. "The mall was jam-packed. My feet are throbbing, and my back is killing me."

"It is?" asked Jake. "Do you want a back rub?"

"Are you sure it won't bother you?" she asked, cautiously.

"I don't think I'll have a flashback, if that's what you mean," replied Jake, helping Abby off with her coat. "Go lay down on the sofa-- on your side," he directed, as the pregnant woman did as she was told.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" she asked, trying to get comfortable on the cushions with her back turned to the room. "I don't mean to question that pregnancy book you've been reading, but I don't think you've ever given anyone a massage before."

"Would you relax?" he smiled, getting down on his knees beside the couch. "You want to feel better, don't you?"

As Jake began to slowly massage Abby's lower back, she sighed in relief.

"That feels good," she admitted. "This is the last time I ever go shopping so close to Christmas. The checkout lines took forever..." Abby turned her head to see Jake. "Why did Tyler come here?" she wondered.

"I guess he just needed someone to talk to," shrugged Jake.

"So he talked to you?" Abby puzzled out loud.

"You sound surprised," he replied, moving the massage up to her shoulders.

"I am," confessed Abby. "A little to the left? There! Right there," she sighed. "Tyler isn't a very emotional guy," she explained, "not like you. He never showed his feelings, so I always had to guess, and if I guessed wrong, he would say something silly like, I didn't understand him."

"Tyler said something similar about you," related Jake.

"You two talked about me?" Abby cried in dismay.

"What's the matter with that?" asked Jake, working the tense muscles in her neck.

"Well," she groaned, "how would you like it if your wife and old girlfriend compared notes about you? Not that Tyler has much to compare, but still, it's a little disturbing."

"I don't have any old girlfriends," said Jake, finishing up the massage, "so I wouldn't know."

"None?" teased Abby in mock surprise. "I can't expect to find a beautiful woman on our doorstep one day, trying to renew any old acquaintances?"

"Cut it out, Abby," smiled Jake, blushing with embarrassment. "I was too busy trying to survive, to do anything but imagine what real love was like. I knew love wasn't the things my father told me it was, and it certainly wasn't what the men at prison did to me. I could only hope that there was more."

"Is love everything you were hoping it would be?" she wondered.

"No," replied Jake, gazing into her deep blue eyes, "it's so much more."
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