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"If it's any consolation," said Abby, relaxing under the sheets before closing her eyes to retire, "I don't feel the least bit romantic. I have baby spit on my pajamas, the smell of Ricky's last diaper is still in my nostrils, and my eyes are bloodshot."

"Thanks, Abby," Jake sighed gratefully, "it helps." He wanted to add, "only a little," but held his tongue. He knew she was exhausted, and before long, he could hear her softly breathing in her sleep.

It was a little after two in the morning, when Abby was awakened by Ricky's hungry cries. Patiently, the sleepy mother climbed out of bed, but as her toes touched the floor, they unexpectedly came into contact with something warm and slightly squishy. Alarmed, Abby quickly pulled her feet back onto the mattress.

"Jake!" she exclaimed in horror. "There's an animal on the floor!"

Abby heard a muffled yawn, and then a low voice stirring from the same direction as the mysterious creature.

"What animal?" asked the voice. "Are you all right?"

"Jake, is that you down there?" Abby wondered in amazement. She ventured to the edge of the bed and tried to peer into the darkness of the room.

"It's me," he sighed, wearily.

"Why are you on the floor?" she gasped in surprise.

"Ricky's crying," breathed Jake, getting up and turning on the aquarium light so they could see.

Abby's heart fell when she recognized the sleeping bag on the carpet beside their bed.

"Take it easy, little man," soothed the young father, as he scooped Ricky into his arms and gently delivered him to Abby. "Your meal is coming, Ricky." Jake stretched his limbs and checked the clock, shaking his head groggily when he saw just how early it was. "I'll be glad when he starts learning to tell time," he joked softly.

When Abby discreetly adjusted her pajamas to nurse the baby, Jake quickly turned away. He was missing her terribly, and everything she did right now only seemed to make him worse.

"I'm sorry," she mumbled.

Exhaling slowly, Jake took a seat at Abby's fly tying table and ran his fingers through his hair. With a small smile, he looked back at Abby, who was modestly nursing their son on the bed.

"I hope you already know," he said, thoughtfully, "that sex isn't the reason why I love you so much. You already know that, don't you?"

"I know," she smiled.

"Good," replied Jake, rubbing his face with the palms of his hands. "I just wanted to be sure you understood. I may be going through Abby withdrawal," he smiled at her, "but not for your love. That part of you is always with me."

When Abby met Jake's honest gaze, she knew he wasn't just saying that to make her feel better. He had meant every word. Before she had a chance to give him a loving response, Jake got up and left the room. Abby looked down at the babe in her arms, and smiled at the half awake eyes that stared back to her.

"Do you know how much your daddy loves us?" she mused gently. Ricky kicked his tiny legs and smiled as milk dribbled down his little chin. "You know what," she laughed, patting his face dry with a corner of her pajama top, "I think you do."

The next morning, Abby looked over the edge of the mattress, and greeted the reclined figure in the sleeping bag on the floor.
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