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"He's in your room," informed John, folding his arms with a patient sigh.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Just go to him," ordered her father.

Abby went down the hall and through the open bedroom door.

"Jake?" she called, for she didn't see him, anywhere.

"Please," begged a voice from the corner of the room, "don't hurt me!"

Abby turned to see Jake huddled beside her fly tying desk, his arms wrapped around his head, as if expecting to be assaulted.

"Oh, Jake," sighed Abby, getting down on her knees in front of the ex-convict.

"Please," he begged once more, obviously caught up in one of his flashbacks.

"You're all right," she said in a calming voice. "No one is here but Abby."

"Abby," he whispered weakly, his arms beginning to relax a little.

"That's right, no one is hurting you," she consoled him, careful to maintain her distance.

Gradually, Jake came out of the flashback. Abby waited patiently, until he struggled to get to his feet.

"Maybe you should wait a little longer," she suggested, when his legs collapsed beneath him.

Jake nodded in agreement and leaned his head back against the wall.

"I hate being like this," he muttered. "I wish I could be like one of your fishing buddies out there, with not a care in the world."

Here, Abby laughed softly.

"You don't think they have any problems-- any crosses to bear?" she asked. "Dr. Gregory has had a string of health problems, and could only go back to his veterinary practice within the last year; Mr. O'Shea, the lawyer, recently took in his sister from Illinois after her husband and daughter were killed in a car accident. I can't think of anything going on with David right now, but Tyler... well, you know about Tyler. The others all have their problems, Jake. We just have to do the best we can with what we've got. As the Bible says, 'He that endureth to the end shall be saved.' You can't give up-- none of us can."

It was then that Abby noticed Jake had wet his pants.

"I'll bring you some dry clothes," she volunteered, getting up from the floor. "Just close this door if you feel like it. I'll be right back."

"Abby?" he called after her.


"Thanks," said Jake.

She smiled.

John stopped Abby in the living room and asked what was going on.

"It was just another flashback," she explained. "It wasn't a bad one. I've seen him go through worse."

"When Jake is your guest in this house," cautioned John, "he is your responsibility."

As Abby walked across the waterfront to the little yellow house to get some dry clothes for her friend, she had a sinking feeling that she was getting in over her head. Not only was Jake becoming more and more reliant upon her to help bring him out of his flashbacks, but so were the others.
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