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Chapter Seven
A Relationship of Mutual Dependence

"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps."
~ Proverbs 16:9 ~

Ever since Gary had been fired, the tackle shop had lacked a good, qualified fly casting instructor. Since Mr. Winkler was still unsuccessful in talking Abby into becoming accredited so she could take the job herself, he placed an advertisement in one of the popular fishing magazines, and received a response late in June.

"He's going to arrive next Monday," announced Mr. Winkler one late afternoon, when Abby had dropped by to pick Jake up from work.

"Who is?" asked Abby, only half listening. "Are you ready to go, Jake? Uncle Terry is cooking dinner tonight. For once, I have to ask you to sit at the table like the rest of us. Okay?"

Jake remained silent.

"His name is Dennis Beckman," continued Mr. Winkler, "and he's won the MRD Championship for two years straight."

"That's nice," replied Abby, getting the jeep keys out of her pocket. "Jake, you can't eat on the bed, indefinitely. You have to learn to be around Dad and Uncle Terry."

"His salary will be almost double what I paid Gary," informed Mr. Winkler, "but he'll be worth every penny."

"Uh-huh," replied Abby, still waiting for Jake to respond.

"I'm going to stay home, tonight," answered Jake.

"So you can eat by yourself?" sighed Abby. "Isn't that a steep price for avoiding my family?"

"Dennis is qualified to train others interested in becoming fly casting instructors," added Mr. Winkler.

"Who will?" asked Abby.

"Couldn't I eat in your room, like I've been doing?" pleaded Jake.

"Dennis Beckman!" answered Mr. Winkler. "Abigail Johannes, you haven't heard a word I've said!"

"Of course I have," said Abby, checking her watch. "We're going to be late for dinner, Jake."

"I said, I'm not coming," muttered the ex-con, putting the broom away and heading out the door.

"Then, what did I say?" tested the old man.

"Only that you're overpaying Dennis Beckman," replied Abby, "so he'll teach me to become a fly casting instructor."

"So, you think you know me as well as all that?" grinned Mr. Winkler. "Maybe you do, but Dennis could teach you a lot, young lady. He'd make an excellent instructor for you."

"I have to get running," smiled Abby. "Uncle Terry is expecting Jake and I to be on time."

"But, I thought Jake said he wasn't coming," Mr. Winkler frowned.

"He'll come," replied Abby, as she turned to leave.

"Give it some thought!" called out Mr. Winkler. "I still don't think you should hide your talent behind an easel!"

Outside, Jake was nowhere to be seen. With a patient sigh, Abby climbed into the jeep and caught up with him further down the main road. He was so intent on getting away from her, that Jake didn't even pause when Abby called out to him to stop.

continued on next page...
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