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After witnessing Izumi's boisterous reception from the girls, Jake went home to get Ricky's infant bouncer, and placed it near the dining table in the living room, where he and Abby would be sitting.

Before long, someone knocked on the front door, and Terry showed Dick and Sara Doyle into the noisy house.

"Good evening!" greeted Dick, shaking hands with Terry and John. Then he turned to Jake, and readily accepted the embrace that was offered. "I'm grateful you're letting us share this special time with you and Abby," acknowledged Dick. "It's an honor to be counted among your friends."

"Thank you for coming," said Jake, putting a loving arm around Abby as she stood beside him with their son. The young wife smiled, knowing that Jake could touch her right now, only because they weren't alone, and there was no possibility of getting into trouble.

Then Dr. Jacoby arrived, and sent the triplets into peals of baby laughter when he jingled his car keys above their playpen. Ricky didn't see what the big deal was, and contented himself with clutching Abby's blouse, and smiling indiscriminately at his admirers.

Sheriff Peterson and his wife were the last to arrive, until the house was crowded with lively chatter, punctuated with the occasional sounds of baby cries.

"Ricky sure is a quiet child, isn't he," mused Dick, as he watched his namesake cradle in Jake's arms while the triplets vocalized their feelings to everyone in the room. "Just look at him grin, Sara! Doesn't he look like Jake when he does that?"

Even though Ricky was smiling, his eyes kept falling shut, as if they were the heaviest things in the world to hold up on his own. When he at last fell asleep, a faint grin was still evident on his face, so that Dick could not take his eyes off the infant.

"What a precious boy," remarked the former warden. This was a completely unbiased opinion on Dick's part, for he quietly reasoned within himself that with such an obviously exceptional child as Ricky, anyone would have said the very same thing. Dick was so certain of his lack of partiality in the matter, that he went on to observe how intelligently the newborn looked at him, whenever he met Ricky's gaze. At this, Sara only laughed, for she knew how attached Dick was to Jake and his family. She had to admit, though, that Ricky was a very sweet tempered baby.

Before long, Terry's camera came out of hiding. Since Jake no longer had flashbacks when his picture was being taken, the proud uncle took photos of Jake and Abby, and several of Ricky in his tiny shirt and pants. However, the others weren't immune to his attention, so that everyone had to say "Cheese!" at least twice that night.

Then dinner was ready, and the party found their seats at the large table in the living room, while Jake placed Ricky in the small infant bouncer on the floor between his and Abby's chairs. John sat at the head of the table, and everyone bowed their heads to pray.

"Dear Heavenly Father," began John, "we're here tonight to celebrate Jake and Abby, on their first year of marriage. Lord, it hasn't been an easy year for them, but Your faithfulness has continuously been present. We thank you that Jake is not spending this anniversary, elsewhere, but is free to be here with his family. Thank you for this great mercy, Lord.

"You are doing a great work in Jake and Abby's lives, and the proof of that is in their baby boy, Ricky. We ask You to grace Jake and Abby with your presence in the coming years, so they will always have the confidence to go forward and meet the future that you are preparing for them. Grant them wisdom to patiently work through differences; faith to always know that You are with them; and love to sustain them through the pains that must come, for we know that to live without pain, is to be dead to everything. Bless your children Lord, and embrace them with Your favor. [Psalms 5:12] This we ask in Jesus' name. Amen."

Jake squeezed Abby's hand beneath the table, enjoying a private exchange with his wife. He didn't look in her direction, but the return pressure on his hand, assured him that she understood.
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