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"You didn't hear me make any protests, did you?" he asked, kissing her once more before relinquishing her to the computer and Dennis.

"I wish you'd cut that out," said Abby, her voice much more serious now.

Jake backed away, grinning at her the whole while.

"Don't think I don't know how to fight back when I want to," he cautioned her with a boyish smile. "Dennis is getting this time, only because I choose to let you work tonight."

"My, what bold words!" laughed Abby, folding her arms in defiance.

"Dennis may own much of the daytime," replied Jake, "but your nights belong to me."

"I'll tell him you said that," offered Abby, quickly turning to her keyboard to email Dennis. "Dear Dennis, only Jake gets my nights."

"Oh no, you don't!" cried Jake in alarm, grabbing the office chair and rapidly wheeling her away from the computer.

When Abby burst into laughter, Jake suddenly realized that she had only been teasing.

"You're blushing again!" she observed in merriment.

"That's because you're provoking me again."

"Oh, but it's so easy!"

"Too easy," he groaned, meeting her loving gaze and surrendering to it without a struggle.

"You were saying something about fighting back?" said Abby, with an arched eyebrow.

"I could if I wanted to," said Jake, giving her office chair a small tug.

"You see," sighed Abby, with a roll of her eyes, "I don't believe you. I think you're so hopelessly in love, that you don't know whether you're coming or going."

"Ha!" exclaimed Jake, his eyes glancing about the living room before resting on her face. He knew they were alone, but still felt the need to check.

"You're no match for me, Jake Murphy, and you know it."

"Don't push me," he warned under his breath.

Abby recognized the building desire in his eyes and knew she was winning.

"I'll come to bed when I'm good and ready," she declared, getting up and pushing her chair back to the computer table.

Jake saw the small glance in his direction, and realized that she was baiting him to come after her. Thinking to teach her a lesson, Jake shrugged and bid her good night.

Disappointed, Abby tried to return to her work. Even the deadline wasn't enough to get her mind off Jake. She had stirred the pot, only to discover that the only one simmering, was herself.

An hour passed, and Abby finally regained her concentration. Dennis emailed to confirm something important, and Abby had to rush to check her information. After a few hurried minutes, Dennis had his response, and Abby could return to the looming deadline. In the confusion, a note from her desk fluttered to the floor, landing near her feet.

Abby was nearly nine months pregnant, and bending over was out of the question. She eyed the paper and shook her head wearily. After pushing it about the floor with her socked foot in a futile attempt to somehow move the slip of paper within her reach, she let out a sigh of defeat.

"That was pretty sad."

Abby looked up to see Jake standing near the hallway, leaning against the doorjamb as though he had been observing her for some time.
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