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"But, if you don't belong in a church," argued Abby, "then, where do you belong?"

"In prison," he muttered.

"Jake, I refuse to spend the entire Sunday morning debating with you," she warned, turning to leave. "I'd offer you one of Dad or Uncle Terry's suits, but you're a little smaller than they are, so they wouldn't fit. This tie and my promise that you won't have to face the others alone, are the only things I can give you. If it's not enough, then I'll have to go without you. What's it going to be, Jake?"

All the congregation had arrived and were seated in their pews, ready for the church service to begin. John nervously searched the faces to see if Abby and Jake were present.

"I still don't see them," he observed, craning his neck to get a better vantage.

"Don't hurt yourself," smiled Terry.

"They'll be here," assured Izumi.

"Maybe, they had a flat tire," wondered John.

"Abby can change a tire," reminded Terry.

"If they don't show up soon, I'm going back-- " John suddenly stopped in mid sentence.

The front door opened, and Abby appeared with Jake following close behind. Smiling, she waved to her family, and took a seat near the back of the church, so Jake would feel more comfortable.

"I told you they would come," smiled Izumi, a little triumphantly.

Seeing this, John relaxed, and opened his song book as the congregation began singing, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." Jake didn't sing, and Abby didn't urge him to. It was enough that he was here.

Every once in a while, someone would glance in Jake's direction, more out of curiosity than anything else. The ex-convict sat in the pew and stared at the open song book until it was time to stare at an open Bible.

When the service was over, everyone stood up and began to file outside. Dr. Gregory, who had been eager to meet Jake for some time, approached Abby and made a comment about the service.

"Yes, it was a good sermon," she agreed, recalling her promise that Jake wouldn't have to speak to anyone, if he didn't want to. "If you'll excuse us, we really have to get going. It's my turn to fix lunch, and if I'm late, Uncle Terry could get a headache."

True, it was a lame excuse, but it worked. Abby successfully extracted the young man from the building, and was hurrying him to the jeep, when Tyler called out. Abby turned, only to see him coming toward her.

"Could I talk to you for a moment?" asked Tyler, hinting that he didn't want an audience.

"Here, Jake," she said, handing him the car keys, "get in the jeep. I'll be there in a moment."

Jake nodded in compliance and glanced at Tyler, who was drawing Abby aside by the arm.

"I see you brought him to church," began Tyler in a disapproving tone. "You shouldn't have come together, Abby. People will think there's something going on between you two."

"There's nothing 'going on,' as you put it," refuted Abby. "Is this what you wanted to talk to me about?"

"No," he replied, calming down a little. "I wanted to see how you were. My feelings for you still haven't changed."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Abby, "because mine haven't, either."

"Abby," he pleaded, "I'm leaving for college at the end of August! It's the same college you were going to attend! I can't understand why you're throwing away your future like this!"

"I don't think I am throwing away my future, Tyler," she reasoned.

"Is it because of him?" asked Tyler, nodding toward the direction of the jeep.
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