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"Do you know what time it is?" she asked. "Everyone will be waiting for dinner in a few minutes."

"I guess I'd better go," sighed Jake, as Abby stuck her hand out and retrieved some of her clothing. "You're not going to tell your parents about this, are you?" he asked, fastening his pants beneath the blanket.

Before Abby had a chance to answer, someone hurriedly knocked on their front door.

"I may not have to, if they see us like this!" she softly laughed.

Unable to see any humor in the situation, Jake hurried into his long sleeve shirt, and stood at the front door buttoning while the person outside continued to frantically knock.

"Just a moment!" called Jake, as Abby finished dressing.

When he opened the door, their telephone suddenly rang.

"I'll get it," said Abby.

To his surprise, Jake found Terry on their porch, excitedly trying to speak.

"It's time!" Terry finally gasped, his face flushed with excitement.

"What is?" asked Jake, for surely this wasn't about dinner being late.

"It's Dad!" Abby called from the telephone. "He and Uncle Terry are taking Mom to the hospital!"

"That's what I was trying to tell you!" huffed Terry, his breath making long contrails in the evening air. "There's not enough room in the car for you and Abby, so you'll have to follow in your truck!"

"Uncle Terry, Dad says to hurry!" cried Abby, relating his message over the telephone.

Without another word, Terry went to the garage and pulled John's car up to the front door. Hurriedly donning his coat, Jake stepped outside to see John carefully helping a very pale Izumi into the awaiting vehicle.

Back inside the little yellow house, Abby was frantically running about, gathering things and stuffing them into her purse. At first, Jake thought she was simply panicking, but when he saw her jam a cell phone and his camera into the open bag, he realized that she was thinking clearly, after all.

"Don't forget your coat!" he exclaimed, when Abby had grabbed the truck keys and was two steps out the door with only her blouse and his sweater on her arms.

"I don't have time!" she argued.

"Dad and Terry have things under control," said Jake, firmly leading her back inside and dressing her in a warm winter coat. When John's car pulled away without them following behind, Abby wanted to get as fast as she could to their pickup truck. Jake, however, made her take the time to walk carefully over the slippery ice, instead of flat out running as she had wanted.

As they drove down the main road on their way to the Mercy Memorial Hospital in Watertown, Jake glanced at his wife, anxiously sitting behind the wheel. John's vehicle was so far ahead of theirs, that they were unable to see them, and Abby was impatient to know how her mother was faring.

"You're speeding," Jake warned, keeping his eyes on her speedometer. "Slow down, Abby. Your Mom's in good hands. There's nothing you can do to help her right now."

Annoyed by how much sense her husband was making, Abby slowed the truck to a legal speed and nervously drummed her fingers on the steering wheel.

After what seemed to be forever, they finally arrived at the hospital. When the vehicle was parked, Jake helped her out of the truck and remembered to bring the purse that Abby had absently left on the front seat.
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