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"Well!" cried Dick with a happy laugh. "I can see you're growing like you should! Two months from now, you'll be just about right!"

Not very amused at the remark concerning her size, she invited Dick inside.

"I can't tell you how proud Sara and I were when Jake told us what you're naming the baby," sighed Dick, gratefully. "It meant a great deal to me. Thank you."

"Jake thinks a lot of you," replied Abby, politely offering him a seat on the couch.

"I believe he does," admitted Dick, suddenly looking a little uncomfortable. "I see the bay is thawing," he began, as if trying to find something to talk about. "You're probably impatient to get back to fly fishing. I know I would be. There's nothing like sending that line out and feeling that first tug when a fish takes the bait!"

"Sometime," invited Abby, "you should come over, and we'll go fishing. When the season's right, you can catch some pretty decent pike and plenty of smallmouth bass. Maybe, you might even catch Ole Sequoia! That bass is really tricky..." Abby paused, sensing that Dick wasn't interested in what she was saying, even though at any other time, he would have loved to talk about fly fishing.

"I apologize for showing up uninvited," faltered Dick, "but I was wondering if I could see Jake. I have something important to discuss with him."

"Oh?" Abby asked curiously.

"Yes," hesitated Dick, shifting in his seat and precariously dangling his sunglasses from one hand. "Is he around?"

"He's at my parents' house," she slowly replied. "Jake's been a great help, especially since the triplets arrived."

"I can imagine," nodded Dick. "Well," he said, rising to his feet after an awkward pause, "I've interrupted your work long enough. I'll just go on over and see Jake."

After Dick had showed himself to the door, Abby went to the living room window and watched as the balding man crossed the beach to her parents' house. Apprehensively, she folded her arms and tried to calm herself. This was only Dick, here to visit someone that he was as close to as a son. It was no cause for worry. Then why was her heart pounding so hard? Just then, she noticed her parents' front door slowly open and someone stepping outside. Abby leaned forward to get a better look. It was Dick.

"Surely, he's not leaving so soon," she thought to herself. "He only went inside a minute ago."

Soon, Jake exited her parents' house and led Dick to the picnic table on the beach. They brushed away a few remnants of the last snowfall from the benches and sat down.

Abby tried to talk herself into returning to her computer, but something kept her rooted to that spot in front of the window.

The longer they sat there, the more engrossed they became in their conversation. Abby could see Dick's animated hands emphatically gesturing in the air, while Jake's head nodded up and down in apparent agreement to whatever his friend was saying.

Then Dick's hands became still, and he was leaning forward across the table, as if in great earnest. Abby could see Jake's back stiffen, and then his head slowly nod up and down.

"What is he getting you into, now?" she sighed nervously, for the last time Dick had talked to Jake out on the beach, Jake had testified at the hearing.

Any excuses Abby had been trying to calm herself with suddenly evaporated when Jake pulled a lighter from his pocket and lit up a cigarette. Her heart stopped. Something must be wrong, for he hadn't smoked in months.
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