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"I'm fine," resisted Jake, his attention fully resting on Abby. "I thought she was going to give birth-- right there in bed!"

"Well," yawned Terry, "now that the emergency is over, I'm going back to sleep. For once, the girls haven't been waking up every hour, and I want to enjoy it!"

John lingered at the yellow house a few minutes more, making sure that the expectant father wasn't about to faint. When the color finally returned to Jake's face, John was ready to go home, though he wondered how his son-in-law was ever going to make it in the delivery room.

While Jake walked her father to the door, Abby tried to relax in bed. She was relieved that the pain had gone, but a little disappointed that the hard part was still to come. After a few minutes, Jake returned to the bedroom and checked to see if she were still awake.

"Is it okay if I come back to bed?" he whispered.

"Jake," she confessed, "I'm scared."

Taking that as a "yes," Jake climbed beneath the covers and gently held his wife.

"Little Miss Confident is frightened over childbirth?" he smiled. "I don't believe it!"

"What if I can't do this?" she asked, her frame shuddering with dread. "That pain was so awful, Jake!"

"I know," he whispered.

"Will you be in the delivery room?" she asked, in a tremulous voice.

"I was planning to be."

Abby was silent, but Jake knew what she was thinking.

"You're remembering the pike incident," he sighed knowingly.

"It had crossed my mind," she admitted.

"Unlike that fish," explained Jake, "I know what's coming, and I have time to prepare myself. Bleeding a pike is entirely different than childbirth."

"I don't know," hesitated Abby, unconvinced that what he was about to witness could be easier than dispatching a fish.

"I didn't want you to find out," he confessed, "but I've been desensitizing myself with self-therapy."

"What in the world are you talking about?"

Jake let go of her for a moment and leaned over the nightstand for Abby's book.

"See this?" he said, opening the volume and showing her a rather graphic picture of a screaming woman giving birth. "I can look at this and not pass out."

Jake may have looked alert, but Abby was beginning to feel queasy.

"Please, close it," she requested, rolling onto her side and gathering the blankets around her. "I don't like that book."

Returning his arms to his wife, Abby sighed as they enveloped her in a hug.

"You'll do just fine," said Jake, as if reading her thoughts.

"Would you make me a promise?" wondered Abby. "If you don't think you can keep it, then say so right now."

"What is it?"
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