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"You wouldn't mind?" asked Terry, his misty eyes brightening.

"Go ahead," Jake encouraged him.

Terry looked at the cute little boy smiling up at him, and felt like crying. Not wanting to risk his shaky voice with "thank you," he smiled gratefully and headed out the door with Ricky.

"I think Uncle Terry appreciated that," remarked Abby, going to the window while Lizzie cradled in Jake's arms.

"Would you hold her for a moment?" asked Jake.

Before Abby could ask why, he handed over his bundle and embraced both sisters. Unused to Jake's tight hugs, Lizzie protested before Abby did, and whimpered until he finally let them go.

"Lizzie, now you know how it feels being married to this guy," Abby softly laughed.

Just then, the telephone rang, and Jake left the girls to answer it. Since Lizzie was getting cranky for her mother, Abby took the girl home to Izumi and returned only to find Jake still on the phone.

"Who is it?" she whispered.

"Dick," he silently mouthed.

With a wary glance, Abby returned to her bedroom to finish cleaning out her closet. Before long, she became so absorbed in her work, that she forgot the phone call until Jake poked his head inside a half hour later. Just one look at his hesitant face, and she knew he was working up the courage to tell her something.

"Oh, no," Abby groaned, "what does that man want now?"

"You haven't even heard what Dick said, and you're already calling him 'that man'?" smiled Jake. Abby, however, was not amused. "Tomorrow, Dick wants me to come to his house and meet the others who are going to be on the advisory board."

"I thought he said the first meeting wouldn't convene until after summer!" cried Abby. "It's only the end of July!"

"This meeting isn't official," explained Jake. "Abby," he pleaded, as she got up from the closet floor and stormed out the bedroom, "just give me a chance to explain before you get upset."

Abby was halfway through the bathroom door, and ready to shut it on Jake, when he reached out and firmly caught the door with his hand.

"Do you still love me?" he asked with a loving smile.

"You know I do," replied Abby, folding her arms.

"Then give me a chance to speak for Dick, before you change Ricky's name," chuckled Jake.

"How can you can joke at a time like this?!" she exclaimed, indignantly.

"Abby, you knew this was coming," sighed Jake, trying to calm her down.

"Dick said you wouldn't have to meet with those people until after summer!" Abby cried. "It's not fair of him to spring this on you, with only a day's warning!"

"I'm not looking forward to this," said Jake, in a brave voice, "but I know what I have to do. Abby, you said that you'd stand by me, and I need you to keep your word."
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