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But fear wasn't the cause of Abby's distress, and Jake knew it. Then an idea came to him, and Abby found herself being lifted from the bed in his steady arms.

"Jake," she whimpered, "put me down!"

In her grief, Abby clung to her damp pillow, but as Jake carried her through the open bedroom door, it caught on something and fell to the floor.

"Are we going outside?" she asked between sniffles.

"We've been asleep for half the day," explained Jake, "and now that it's night, we can have the beach all to ourselves."

"I don't want the beach!" cried Abby, as he transported her outside, into the cool night air. "I want to go back, Jake!" Abby kicked her legs, but Jake had a firm grip on her and refused to put her down.

"This is for your own good," he smiled. Abby was horrified to see a playful twinkle in his eyes, and tried to kick even harder. "Careful you don't hurt my ribs," he chuckled.

Suddenly, the kicking stopped, but Abby's pleas did not. She suspected that Jake had only mentioned his ribs to lessen her resistance, for he hadn't said a word about them in weeks. When he spun her around with a laugh, Abby knew she was right.

"Where are you taking me?" she protested.

"I have no idea," admitted Jake, finally setting her feet down on the sand.

Before Abby had a chance to escape, Jake caught her by the arm and hugged her close to his warm body.

"Isn't it a beautiful night?" he whispered. "It would be such a shame to waste it."

The familiar boyish exuberance that always baffled Abby, began to surface in his features, and she found herself returning his smiles.

"You know, by the time this night is over," Jake softly laughed, "you'll be thanking Terry for baby-sitting Ricky for us!"

Before Abby could argue that she would rather have their baby with them, Jake pulled her onto the dark beach, the nippy summer air tugging softly at her long tresses. Overhead, countless stars bejeweled the black sky, while a small crescent moon hid itself from the couple, as if knowing that this night was theirs.

Even though this was private property, the absence of anyone in the distance seemed to echo the sentiments of the moon, overhead. As darkness gently engulfed them, Jake brought Abby to the dock that jutted out into the bay.

"Let's dip our feet in the water," he suggested, sitting down on the wooden planks and taking off his shoes and socks.

"I think I'll just stand and watch," she declined.

"Sit next to me," insisted Jake, taking her by the hand and tenderly pulling her down to the spot beside him.

With a sigh, Abby swung her legs over the edge of the dock and gasped as the cold water greeted her bare feet.

"It feels good, doesn't it," he grinned.
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