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Jake looked up and was shocked to find Abby, tired and dripping water all over the polished wooden floor.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, confused by her presence.

"Where have you been?" she demanded.

Jake hunkered back in his chair.

"It's my fault," apologized Dr. Jacoby. "I was running behind in my schedule, and asked Jake if he wouldn't mind waiting until I finished with another one of my patients. Afterward, it was so late, I invited him to stay to dinner. I'm sorry if this has caused you any concern."

Abby stared a hole in Jake.

"I didn't think anyone would notice if I was late coming home," explained the ex-convict.

"You could have called," rejoined Abby. "I thought you might have been hurt, or bleeding on the side of the road, or something!"

"I'm sorry," apologized Jake.

"You'd better be," Abby replied with a sneeze.

"My, you're wet to the bone," observed Dr. Jacoby. "You can put on my robe, and change out of those wet clothes. I'll just put them in the dryer, and they'll be as good as new. What do you say?"

Abby sneezed again.

"Right," replied Dr. Jacoby, "this way to the bathroom. There's a robe on the back of the door."

A few minutes later, Abby came out wearing an oversized bathrobe while the therapist put her clothes into the dryer. Jake stood up as she entered the room and looked about her surroundings.

"Do you want some hot coffee?" he offered.

"No thanks," replied Abby, quickly locating an easy chair on the far side of the room.

Jake lingered by the table for awhile, and finally meandered over to where she was sitting.

"I'm really sorry," he apologized once more. "I didn't think you cared."

"I don't," she replied stoutly, though the smile on her face ruined the effect she was striving for. "Don't scare me like that, again. I was so sure you were in trouble. Do you know, that on my way here, I saw the last bus back to Three Mile Bay, on its side, in the middle of the freeway? I thought you were on it!" Abby took a moment to steady her voice, before continuing. "Gary was on that bus. I don't think he made it," she reflected soberly. "If it had to happen to someone, I thank God it wasn't you."

"Abby," hesitated Jake, in a voice that sounded as though he were trying to warn her, "I'm not worth your concern."

Abby looked up at him in shock.

"What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded, her eyes flashing angrily at him. "Is this your way of saying you don't want to be my friend?"

"That's not what I meant," he interjected.

"Then what do you mean?" she asked, half shouting. "Am I supposed to believe that just because you've had a hard life, it somehow makes you unworthy or defective? Because if that's what you're selling, I'm not buying!"

Without another word, Jake returned to his chair at the table; he fingered the coffee mug and every once in a while, glanced in Abby's direction.

"Your clothes should be dry in half an hour," announced the therapist, as he entered the dining room. "Are you cold, Abby? It's much warmer on this side of the room. It's the heat register," he explained, pointing to the metal grate near Jake's feet. "Come, you can't be very warm over there," he insisted.
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