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"Hello, down there," she said, as Jake looked up and met her gaze with a tender smile. "You wouldn't happen to know where my husband went to, would you?" she asked, playfully. "I know he's around around here, somewhere."

Folding his arms behind his head, Jake sighed wistfully.

"I missed you," he confessed. "Sleep is so much sweeter when you're with me." Jake regarded her for a moment, and then his lips parted in pleasure at a new thought. "Do you know what time of year this is?" he asked her, knowingly.

Puzzled, Abby blankly stared at him.

"Bass season?" she took a wild guess.

Jake frowned, and Abby could see his chest rise and fall with a sigh of disappointment.

"It's near the end of June," he hinted, with raised brows.

"I know," laughed Abby, "bass season! Honestly, Jake, I have no idea what you're talking about!"

Jake opened his mouth as if to explain, but quickly shut it again. A hurt look crossed his face, surprising Abby.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Nothing," he muttered, kicking his legs free from the sleeping bag and getting to his feet. "I'm going to have a quick shave before starting breakfast at your parents' house. Do you mind if I again take Ricky with me, this morning?"

"No, I don't mind," replied Abby.

"Feed him, so he'll be ready when I go," murmured Jake, brusquely jerking past the doorway and slamming his shoulder against the door in his haste. With a small groan, he crossed the hall and disappeared into the bathroom without looking back.

Bewildered by this sudden moodiness, Abby nursed Ricky and readied him for her husband.

When she had finished, Abby went into the hall and stood in the bathroom doorway, quietly watching Jake as he shaved in front of the mirror before the sink. Water splashed into the basin from the faucet and onto his jeans, but Jake didn't seem to mind. Abby sighed. What had she done to make him so disappointed in her? As she contemplated a list of possibilities, Abby's eyes surveyed the shirtless man before her. In public and around the house, Jake was always careful to keep the scars on his back and wrists covered, so that Abby rarely had a chance to observe him like this, outside the privacy of their bedroom.

Lost in a daydream, Abby found herself admiring Jake's square shoulders and observing things that were a wife's privilege to notice. Abby didn't realize how long she had spent with these silent observations, until she suddenly became aware of Jake's steady gaze, reflecting back at her from the mirror.

Caught in the act, Abby quickly lowered her eyes. When she recovered enough courage to look back at the mirror, she saw a grin playing at the corners of Jake's mouth.

"If I didn't have shaving gel on my face," he smiled, "I'd kiss you."

"I hope you don't let that stop you," she replied, her cheeks flushing a pretty shade of pink.

Washing the last bit of soap from his jaw, the young man shut off the running water in the sink, and turned to face her. For a moment, Abby thought he might kiss her, but Jake remained where he was.

"I don't think I can trust myself to stop with a kiss," he confided, tugging at the long sleeved shirt hanging on the back of the bathroom door. "Maybe later?"
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