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"I know you're going to find this hard to believe," said Abby, struggling to explain, "but Jake's arrival only COINCIDED with my decision about us. He has nothing to do with this."

"Then," argued Tyler, "is it me? Is it something that I did, or didn't do? Tell me!"

"It isn't you," answered Abby, "it's ME. I don't love you. I'm afraid it's just that simple."

"What about college?" asked Tyler. "If you attended the same school, we could still see each other. Maybe, I could change your mind."

"Even if you could change my mind," said Abby, "you can't change my heart. You wouldn't want a wife who doesn't love you, would you?"

"I'm thinking," said Tyler, in mock hesitation. "No, I suppose I wouldn't-- not even if it is you."

"I'm sorry," she apologized.

"I hope you find what you're looking for," said Tyler.

"I'm not sure I'm looking for anything," replied Abby, "except an art career in wildlife and maybe something involving fly fishing."

"Well, I guess this is good-bye then," he said, holding out his hand. "I won't be coming over to your house before I leave for college."

"Good-bye, Tyler," said Abby, shaking his hand. "I think that's for the best."

The two parted ways, and Abby got into the jeep. She couldn't pretend that the conversation had had no effect on her, for Tyler had always been a good friend.

"Are you all right?" asked Jake, seeing that her face was pale.

"It's over," said Abby, putting the key into the ignition.

"I know I wasn't the reason you and Tyler broke up," said Jake, "but I hope I'm not responsible for your not getting back together."

"No," she replied, starting the engine, "it's not because of you."

Jake leaned back in his seat and sighed heavily.

"By the way," she suddenly remembered, "the next time you come to church, I can't scuttle you from the building as hurriedly as I did today. Eventually, you're going to have to shake someone's hand!"

"Okay," he replied, closing his eyes. "If you say so."

"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD."
~ Psalms 31:24 ~

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