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"I wish you'd be more careful, Abby," he reproved her. "You could have fallen on that ice!"

"I'll be careful next time," she assured him.


"I promise," she smiled.

"I'll walk you home," said Jake, taking her by the arm to leave.

"I'm not ready yet," said Abby. "Since I'm here, I'd like to visit with Mom for awhile."

"All right," he said. "When you're ready to go, let me know. No more walking across that ice by yourself, okay?"

"Okay, Jake."

As Jake left the room, Izumi looked at her daughter and smiled warmly.

"He takes good care of you, Abby. That's good to see."

"Mom," wondered Abby, shutting the bedroom door so she could speak in privacy, "I've been waiting for a time when you were alone. I need to ask you something, but it's a little embarrassing."

"What is it?" asked Izumi, as Abby sat down on her bed to talk.

"Dad's probably told you by now that Jake and I..." Abby rubbed her forehead and suddenly wished for some aspirin.

"Yes, your father has told me," smiled Izumi, knowingly.

"The thing is," continued Abby, "when we started being intimate, I was two or three weeks into my second trimester. I thought I was normal enough, but lately, things are changing, and I'm beginning to worry a little."

"Your desire to be with Jake is stronger?" guessed Izumi.

"How did you know?" asked Abby, in wonderment.

"It's normal, Sweetheart," assured her mother.

"It is? I wasn't so sure. I already feel like a freak with this huge belly."

"That isn't huge," laughed Izumi, "this is!" She patted her triplet sized belly and eyed her daughter's with some amusement. "Does Jake know how you feel?"

"No, he doesn't," hesitated Abby, unsure how much she should tell her mom.

"Do you mind if I give you a little advice?" asked Izumi. "Tell him what you're feeling. You know, you could have asked Jake about the movement of the baby, and he would have been able to tell you what was happening. I've given him several books about pregnancy, and that man has read every one. Be careful to include him, Abby. That's his baby, too. Just because he's a man, it doesn't mean he can't understand what you're going through."

"Thanks, Mom," smiled Abby.

"Before you go," added her mother, "there's one more thing you should know. Enjoy your second trimester while you can. You might not be so romantic during your last one."

Pondering over her mother's wisdom, Abby walked down the hall and found Jake folding laundry in the living room.
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