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"Hold on, Abby," said John, putting the box down on the table. "You don't know this man. Give him a chance to prove himself before calling him a liar. The Sheriff said Jake was raped and tortured from the age of four to twelve. Not many people have given him a chance, but this family will! After your mother and I have gotten to know him, we expect you to treat him like you would want to be treated."

"Raped and tortured?" repeated Abby, with a shudder. "He sounds creepy!"

"What did I just tell you?" asked John, patiently.

"I'll be nice to him, Dad," replied Abby, reluctantly. "I hope for your sake, he doesn't turn out to be a faker."

"For my sake," answered John, "I hope so, too."

"I've never met anyone who was tortured," mused Abby. She was about to wonder how Jake was tortured, but suddenly changed her mind. She didn't want to know. The whole thing made her feel uncomfortable. The little yellow house wasn't far from their own house. To have a man like that, living right next door to them-- the very thought troubled Abby.

"We're going over to get the house ready for Jake," said Izumi, putting a pan into the box. "Do you want to come?"

Abby hesitated. Her parents were too kind for their own good; someone had to look out for them.

"Sure," said Abby.

The key turned in the door of the little yellow house. John swung open the door and brushed aside the cobwebs.

"It's been a long time," said Izumi, following John and Abby inside.

"If I remember correctly," said John, thoughtfully, "Abby was two when we moved to the other house."

"It seems like it was only yesterday," sighed Izumi, accepting a hug from her husband. "Remember how Abby loved to sit by that window and watch the bay?"

"And when I picked her up, she would coo like a little dove," reminisced John.

"Okay, okay," groaned Abby, "after you're both done going down memory lane, we do have work to do."

"I also remember," sighed John with a small groan of his own, "how our Abby always fidgeted and wanted to be put down when you tried to hug her."

"I couldn't cuddle her, unless she was worn out," smiled Izumi.

The floors were swept and mopped; the windows were washed and the faded curtains were replaced with new handmade ones Izumi had sewn. The carpets were vacuumed and the bathroom was completely scrubbed clean. John and Izumi's old bedroom was to be Jake's room. Abby put clean sheets on the bed and set a pile of comforters in the closet, for in the winter, Three Mile Bay averaged a low of 8.2 degrees. However, it was June, and Abby hoped that their "guest" wasn't going to stay long enough to need the winter blankets.

The utilities were turned on, and the appliances were found to still be in working order. All old personal belongings were packed into boxes and put into storage. After John repaired the swing in the enclosed porch, he and Izumi sat down on it to take a small rest.

"I remember," mused John, an arm around his wife, "sitting here after I had taken you home that second night. When I saw my Little Dove come running up to the house, I knew I was going to marry you."

He kissed Izumi as they nestled together, the swing creaking as they gently rocked back and forth.

"Don't you two ever stop?" laughed Abby, coming out of the house and into the enclosed porch where her parents were hiding.
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