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"We're sorry," apologized John. "We don't want to pressure you into making the wrong decision."

"I just met our new neighbor," announced Abby, smiling.

"I told you to leave him alone," sighed John.

"How was I to know it was Jake?" replied Abby. "I don't think he knew who I was, either, because after he asked me if I belonged to this house, he walked off."

"What did he say?" asked Terry, curiously.

"That was about it," answered Abby. "It's more what he heard, than anything else. A short time after I went out to the shoreline, I heard footsteps behind me. I thought it was you, Uncle Terry, so I started talking about how I wasn't sure I wanted to marry Tyler-- and he heard every word!" She groaned in embarrassment.

"Then what did he say?" asked Terry.

"Nothing. We just stared at each other. Dad, you never told me he was cute!" said Abby, going to her room to put away her fishing rod.

John was less than pleased. While he wanted Abby to be nice to Jake, he wasn't sure he wanted them to become friends. Jake had a hard time ahead of him, and it wasn't a comforting thought to John, that Abby might be dragged through it all. Terry recognized the apprehensive look on his friend's face. While a part of him wanted Jake to have a friend, Terry was also having the same concern.

Despite her attraction, Abby still wasn't ready to approve of Jake. For the next few days, she warily watched him from her bedroom window, as he walked back and forth from work.

Endeavoring to stay away from the Johannes girl, as the Sheriff had said to, Jake kept a wide berth around her whenever he happened to pass her on the beach. He never looked in her direction, or said anything more to her. After all, no pretty face was worth being sent back to prison for.

This was the way it went, until Friday morning, when John and Izumi had a discussion, and the subject of Jake came up.

"I don't see what we're waiting for," Izumi was saying. "He's been going to work everyday, and he's stayed away from Abby, as you asked him to. I think we should have the cookout tomorrow, and invite him to come."

"What if they become friends?" asked John, in a concerned voice.

"We knew that was a possibility when we said he could live in the yellow house," reminded Izumi. "After all, most of our Abby's friends are men. Just watch, sooner or later, she'll turn him into another 'fishing buddy'-- or at least, she'll try to!"

"Just treat him as part of the family?" asked John. "You realize, that's what we're doing by inviting him to come, tomorrow. The cookout is supposed to be a family celebration."

"Do you have the heart to barbecue outside and have a good time in front of the yellow house, knowing that he's not invited?" asked Izumi, getting out of bed and putting on her robe.

John got out of bed and tenderly drew his arms about Izumi's waist.

"Tomorrow is going to be a special day," he smiled.

"No matter what, don't let Terry worm it out of you," warned Izumi.

"He's going to know something is up," said John, nuzzling her neck.

"I mean it!" she laughed. "If you tell Terry, everyone else will know five minutes later!"

"I'll call it a 'spontaneous family gathering,'" he joked.

"Please be serious," asked Izumi.
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