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At intervals, John would walk by the open bedroom door to see what he could see-- both coming and going. It's not as though he didn't trust Abby or Jake, but the thought of a grown man in his daughter's room unnerved him a bit. Especially, one whom Abby had previously informed him was "cute."

That evening, Jake ate dinner at the Johanneses' house, safely insulated from John and Terry's presence in Abby's bedroom. The young man was fascinated with her aquarium, and could sit watching the fish for long periods at a time, if Abby let him. Outside, the rain which had threatened to come that afternoon, finally descended on Three Mile Bay, releasing a torrent of water from the dark skies.

While Abby worked at her fly tying table after dinner, Jake could hear the rain pounding on the roof overhead. He delighted in the thought that he was dry, warm, and safe in Abby's room. Safety is something we sometimes take for granted, especially at home; but growing up, Jake rarely had that feeling of security in his own house. Here in Abby's bedroom, he was more conscious of God's blessing of safety than he had ever experienced in his entire life.

"Safety is of the LORD."
~ Proverbs 21:31 ~

Later that night, when the household began to prepare for bed, Jake reluctantly went home.

"Go on," Abby had coaxed him. "I'll see you tomorrow morning."

Early Sunday, everyone started preparing for the day. For the first time since Abby could remember, she wouldn't be going to church in the same vehicle as her parents and Uncle Terry. It was an odd sensation for Abby, and it gave her the feeling as though she were somehow embarking on a path all her own.

Abby put on a pair of Sunday shoes and went out to the little garage to get the jeep. Unlike the day before, the sky was clear and brilliantly blue. John, Izumi, and Terry got into their car and drove away, with the expectation that Abby would soon follow.

"Jake!" she called, pulling the jeep up to the little house and getting out. "It's time to go!"

The door opened, and Jake stepped into the enclosed screen porch. He was dressed in his everyday clothes, and was holding the necktie she had given him the day before.

"Why aren't you ready?" she asked him.

"I'm not going," came the gruff reply.

"But, everyone is expecting you," she said, instantly regretting the words as soon as she had uttered them.

Jake quickly disappeared into the little yellow house.

"Come on, Jake! We don't have time for this right now," sighed Abby, going inside. "Jake? Where are you?"

"I'm not going!" he replied, coming from his room.

"Why not?" pressed Abby. "I didn't mean to imply that there's any pressure, simply because you're expected in church today."

"I'm NOT going!" repeated Jake, throwing the tie onto the coffee table.

"Take it easy," said Abby. "No one is going to force you to do anything. Now, what's the matter? You were ready last night. What changed your mind?"

"That tie," he said, pointing to the offending object on the coffee table, "it won't work!"

"Is that all?" she laughed. "I can teach you how to tie a simple necktie."

"And these clothes!" Jake exclaimed. "Do the others go to church dressed like this?"

"Some people come dressed casually," answered Abby.

"Not your father-- not Terry," pointed out Jake. "I saw them just now, and they were wearing suits!"

"What's the big deal?" asked Abby. "So you're not wearing a suit. Not everyone wears a suit to church!"

"Don't you understand?" asked Jake, wearily. "I'm a freak as it is. I don't belong there, and I look like I don't belong there."

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