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Terry and Abby looked up in surprise. It was Jake.

"What did you say?" she asked.

"His name is Dennis Beckman," he repeated.

Terry smiled at Abby, and then returned to his sauce.

"Only set three plates, Abby," instructed Terry. "Your parents are going out, tonight."

"You'd think that after being married nineteen years," sighed Abby, "they'd act more their age!"

"Age has nothing to do with it," smiled John, coming into the kitchen. "Terry, Izumi and I won't be back till late, so don't wait up for us. Oh, hi, Jake. I almost didn't see you standing there. I noticed you've started the mural in Abby's room."

Jake nodded in the affirmative, but remained silent.

"Well," sighed John, trying to remain positive, "at least you're in the kitchen. Abby, clean up the mess in the living room by the time we get home. I don't mind you using the room to do your painting in, but it's getting a little out of hand. I almost put my foot through one of your canvases."

"That's all right, they're blank," shrugged Abby.

"Blank or not, move them out of the walkway," ordered John.

"Yes, Sir," she sighed, leaving the kitchen.

Jake followed her into the living room where Abby began to clean up her makeshift art studio. He stopped in front of Abby's easel and looked at the painting of the heron she had been working on for the last few weeks.

"I just finished it, today. What do you think?" she inquired, curiously.

"It's very realistic," he remarked.

"It's supposed to be," replied Abby, slowly.

It was obvious to her that Jake was holding back something.

"What is it?" she asked. "What's wrong with the painting?"

"I don't know," he replied. "It's only..." Jake hesitated.

"Go on," coaxed Abby. "You're not going to hurt my feelings by telling the truth."

"It lacks something," he observed.

"Like what?" laughed Abby. "The heron isn't missing any limbs. That's an anatomically correct bird."

"It's not that," said Jake. "There's something missing. I can't put my finger on it, but it just doesn't feel right."

"'Feel right'?" she repeated, puzzled by his choice of words. "I don't understand."

"Never mind," said Jake, dismissing his comment. "It's better than anything I could have ever done."

Just then, Izumi entered the room, carrying an evening purse.

"Sweetheart, you're cleaning up your mess!" she smiled in approval.

"Dad said to," replied Abby, with a half smile.

"I see you've started painting the mural, Jake," commented Izumi. "I just walked by Abby's bedroom and saw the wall. It's a little exciting, isn't it? Abby's talked about finishing it for so long, that it's nice to see it actually going up!"

"It never seemed important enough," shrugged Abby. "Besides, I'm not going to launch an art career by painting fish on a wall no one hardly ever looks at, Mom!"

Jake suddenly lowered his head and pretended to have a reason to excuse himself from the room. Just then, John approached and draped Izumi's jacket around her shoulders.
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