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With a satisfied little yawn, Abby snuggled against her husband and rested her head on his chest. With one arm hugged around her, Jake gently rocked the swing back and forth. He wasn't ready for the day to end, and was going to fight for every last second that he could. When Abby didn't say anything for the space of several minutes, he checked to see if she was still awake.

"What a lovely day," Abby sighed dreamily, as a cool breeze gently fanned her cheek. It was June, and even though the sun wouldn't set for another few hours, Abby could feel evening approaching. She shut her eyes and relaxed in Jake's arms.

"Abby?" he whispered. "Could I tell you something before you go to sleep?"

"I'm not sleeping," she mumbled groggily.

"I mean it, Abby," he squeezed her shoulder. "It's important."

"Okay, I'm really and truly awake," she softly laughed, forcing her blue eyes wide open. "It's all your fault, Jake. You fed me, and now you're rocking me to sleep." When the swing came to a stop, Abby realized that Jake wanted her attention. "What is it?" she wondered, sitting up and looking at him, inquisitively.

"Before the sun goes down on our first anniversary," said Jake, "I wanted you to know how deeply grateful I am to you, for being my friend."

"You don't have to thank me!" laughed Abby. But her mirth was quickly cut short when she saw tears welling in Jake's eyes. He grasped her hand and pressed her fingers to his lips.

"Your friendship has meant so much to me, that I don't think you even realize what you've done," he whispered.

"You don't have to say anything," she tenderly assured him. "I understand."

"Do you, Abby?" Jake clutched her hand tightly, and searched the two deep pools looking back at him. "This life is so different from what I've known in the past," he breathed, "I can't even begin to compare it to what you've given me. I wouldn't know where to start."

"It's all right," Abby consoled him, gently brushing away a tear that rolled down his cheek, "I know you love me, Jake. You don't have to find any words for me to know what's in your heart."

Drawing her to him, Jake kissed her, until she thought the very ground beneath their feet would surely fall away and they would find themselves airborne like the kite he had bought her. The young man gulped in a deep breath and gazed lovingly at his wife.

"Thank you for being my friend, Abby," he quietly whispered.

Unable to speak, Abby tenderly caressed his face and kissed his lips. Wanting more privacy than the front porch afforded, Jake carried his wife into the little yellow house and firmly shut the door.

"[Jake's] mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is [Abby's] beloved, and this is [her] friend."
~ Song of Solomon 5:16 ~

"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow [canopy] with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner [kite] over me was love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me... stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please."
~ Song of Solomon 2:3, 4, 6, 7 ~

end of chapter
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