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"Were you paying attention to his needs?" asked John. "Did you give any thought that maybe, someone who has killed another human, might not react well to the sight of shed blood?"

Abby had to admit to herself, that when Jake had first expressed aversion to her stunning the fish and dropping the net in shock, that she hadn't paid attention to him at all. Abby was used to being around men who could handle themselves without being concerned that they were going to "break down." Around her fishing buddies, Abby was the weaker sex-- the one who always had to prove to herself and to the others that she could hold up her end of a fly rod.

"I'm sorry," was all she could manage to say.

Still a little angry, John returned to the house, leaving the others at the picnic table. They looked up the beach to where Jake was still recovering from his close encounter with Abby.

"Where were you, Uncle Terry?" sighed Abby. "I thought you were supposed to wrestle me to the ground."

"Guess I was sleeping on the job," replied Terry.

"I had no idea he was this fragile," she continued. "I guess I should have, though. You and Dad tried to warn me enough times."

"I have to admit," said Terry, watching Jake try to get to his feet, "you took me by surprise, Abby. I never thought you'd knock him out cold!"

"If he's this shaky, maybe they never should have let him out of prison," remarked Tyler.

Soon, John came from the house carrying a large platter of assorted uncooked meat, and took it to the firepit. Next, he lit the charcoal, and placed the grill over the flames. Abby wanted to go back and retrieve the pike that she had left draining on the shore, but she didn't have the courage to intrude on Jake's recovery. Just as she was resigning herself to this fact, someone handed John the pike in question. Abby looked up in surprise to see that it was Jake!

"Thank you," said John, calmly returning back to work without making a fuss over him.

For once, Abby decided to follow her father's example. Terry and Tyler awkwardly tried to acknowledge his presence, but wound up keeping silent, themselves. It had taken Jake every ounce of courage he had, to return to the cookout. This act of bravery did not go unnoticed by Abby. Soon, the atmosphere of a celebration slowly returned.

"That's sure going to taste good!" exclaimed Terry, as John placed the fish onto the grill. "I think I'll go get my camera, for the announcement!" he added, excitedly.

Abby did a puzzled double take. Announcement? What announcement?

"Dad," asked Abby, as John carefully grilled both sides of the pike, filling the air with the smell of mouthwatering fish, "what is Uncle Terry talking about?"

"I guess he knows me too well," chuckled John, under his breath. "Abby, would you tell your mother to come out here, please?"

The troubled look on Abby's face incited Tyler's curiosity.

"What's going on?" he whispered to her, as she walked back to the house.

"I don't know, yet," replied Abby, disappearing inside. "Mom!" she called to the kitchen, "Dad wants you to come!"

"Wait for me!" shouted Terry, rushing back with a camera he had just bought in Hong Kong.

"Will you carry the drinks, Abby?" requested Izumi, her hands full with the salad bowl and a stack of plates.

"Izzy, let me carry that out to the beach for you," said Terry, thoughtfully taking her load.
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