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"Promise me you'll be there in the delivery room," she requested. "And whatever happens, don't leave me."

"I won't, Abby," he promised. "You can count on me. You won't be alone, you know. Your parents will be there."

"I want YOU," she insisted, squeezing his hand even tighter. "Promise me."

"I promise," assured Jake.

"After surviving prison," whispered Abby, "you probably think I'm silly for getting so frightened over nothing."

Jake tenderly stroked her cheek with his finger.

"Remember that Bible promise Terry gave me?" he asked. "'From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.' Do you remember, Abby? I've faced down many fears with that verse."

"I remember," she murmured softly.

"If there comes a time," promised Jake, "when you don't think you have enough strength, just hold on to me, and I'll lend you some of mine."

Abby buried her face in Jake's arms, and asked God for a safe delivery. She prayed for the health of their unborn son, and thanked her Heavenly Father for this man who was holding her ever so gently.

For the next few days, Jake wouldn't let Abby out of his sight. He kept such a watchful eye over her, that at times, his attention became a little frustrating to Abby. She had to eat when the others did, and Jake wouldn't let her work at home, unless he could be there to make sure she wasn't going into labor. When they were at her parents' house, he even went into the bathroom with her; at home, he insisted that she leave the bathroom door open. And every time she sighed or winced, Jake was right there, asking if it was time.

Izumi tried to entertain her daughter with stories of how nervous John had been during their first pregnancy, but even that did little to lessen Abby's fraying nerves.

It was at the breakfast table one morning in early May, when Abby finally vocalized her protest.

"Why are you staring at me like that?" she asked, as Jake sat beside her at the table, watching every movement she made.

"What are you talking about?" puzzled Jake.

John glanced at Izumi and remained silent.

"You act as though I'm about to explode all over the kitchen floor!" cried Abby, in exasperation.

"Well, aren't you?" he replied, only half joking. "Your due date is tomorrow, Abby."

"For once, could we talk about something other than birthing pains and hospitals?" pleaded the expectant mother.

"Did you guys know Abe Winkler [Mr. Winkler] is returning this month?" asked Terry, trying to oblige his niece.

"Abby, try to relax," coaxed Jake. "You're going to do just fine."

"I wish you'd stop saying that," she sighed. "It only makes me more nervous."

"No, I didn't," replied John. "It'll be good to see the tackle shop open again."

"Jake, would you stop it?!" cried Abby.

"Stop what?" exclaimed Jake. "I'm not doing anything!"

"Dad?" the daughter implored her father. "Would you make him stop?!"
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