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Reluctantly, Abby stood up from the easy chair and trundled herself across the room to the chair Dr. Jacoby had pulled out for her.

"I'm glad to finally meet you," said the doctor, smiling at Abby.

"He talks about me, does he?" asked Abby, referring to Jake.

Jake lowered his head and continued to play with his coffee mug.

"We talk about many things," said Dr. Jacoby. "Sometimes, the ones who are close to victims of torture and abuse, don't know how to cope with the trauma that their partner is enduring."

"I am NOT his partner," refuted Abby.

"Still, you are friends, aren't you?" pressed the therapist.

"The jury is still out on that one," she replied, a little disappointedly.

"Even so, you may find it helpful if you come and talk with me, and maybe I can help you better understand what Jake is going through," offered Dr. Jacoby.

At this, Jake jumped to his feet and stared at the therapist, his face betraying fear and uncertainty.

"Now Jake," said the man, "I thought we agreed that eventually, anyone close to you would be invited to talk to me, so that they could help you, and understand what is happening to themselves, as well. You're not the only one the abuse affects."

"No," whispered Jake, pacing back and forth beside the table like a caged animal. "Not her-- not Abby."

"Why not?" challenged Abby, who up until now, had been prepared to turn the invitation down.

"Because," replied Jake, not finishing the sentence.

"Because, what?" asked Dr. Jacoby.

"Because, she'll hate me!" answered Jake, speaking directly to his therapist.

"Why do you think she'll hate you?" asked the doctor.

"I know what I've done, and I hate myself," replied the young man.

"And what did you do," finished Dr. Jacoby, "but survive the circumstances in the only way you knew how. Jake, you know that nothing we talk about will ever be spoken to another, without your complete and entire agreement. You know this. I am only inviting your friend to talk about HER feelings, and how SHE is coping with your problems. Do I have your permission to do this?"

"I guess so," Jake slowly assented, sitting back down in his chair.

"Wait a minute," piped up Abby. "You two are talking as if I'm not here. I didn't say I would come."

"Why not?" asked Dr. Jacoby.

"I have all my marbles!" she exclaimed, half jokingly.

"And Jake doesn't?" asked the doctor.

"Well, he wouldn't be here, if he did, would he?" reasoned Abby.

"I thought you wanted to help Jake? He must mean something to you-- you drove all this way in the driving rain, because you thought he was in trouble," reminded Dr. Jacoby. "If that isn't the very definition of friendship, I don't know what is. Come, do this for your friend."

"Promise me," Abby requested of Jake, "that next time, you'll call me if you're going to be late? You don't have to tell me where you are or what you're doing-- just call me so I know you're all right."

"Okay," Jake softly replied.

"Then, I'll come," conceded Abby.

"Good, I'll go get your clothes out of the dryer," said the therapist.
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