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"I don't even remember his name," said John. "He was pretty old, back then. It's been nineteen years, Terry. He's probably long gone by now."

Izumi followed Abby to her bedroom to pick out a dress for the wedding ceremony.

"You're not too disappointed, are you, Mom?" asked Abby, as she rummaged through her closet for a white dress.

"Sweetheart, you're making a mess!" sighed Izumi. "Let me do this. I admit, at the first, I was a little disappointed. But, I wouldn't want to put Jake through that kind of ordeal, and neither would your father."

Izumi pulled out a white dress that Abby hadn't worn in months, for she had the habit of getting especially light colored clothes dirty with her frequent visits down to the shore with her fly rod.

"What about you?" wondered Izumi. "Are you disappointed there's not going to be a formal wedding?"

"I don't know," shrugged Abby. "I've never given it much thought. Besides, you know I'm not romantic or sentimental like you."

"I know," smiled Izumi, remembering the squirming child who would never sit still for a hug.

Izumi sat down on Abby's bed and felt her belly.

"I'm already showing," she smiled to her daughter.

"When are you and Dad going to know if it's a girl or boy?" asked Abby.

"By the end of July, I think," recalled Izumi. "We're going in for an ultrasound next Monday, so pray everything goes all right."

"I will," said Abby, soberly.

"Go to my room, and get my jewelry box," instructed Izumi.

Puzzled, Abby did as she was told. When she returned, the teenager handed the box to her mother.

"There's a string of pearls I want you to have," said Izumi, rummaging through the box. "Here it is. Let me put them on you. There. Go look in the mirror. Oh," Izumi suddenly remembered, "you're going to need wedding rings."

The mother pulled out a small velvet lined box and opened the lid.

"Grandma and Grandpa Johanneses' wedding bands?" asked Abby, in surprise.

"They would have wanted you to have them," assured Izumi, handing the small box to Abby. "Grandpa and Grandma Johannes were godly people who loved each other very much. Your grandparents are watching you from heaven, right this moment. Abigail, I want to tell you something, and it's very important, so please pay attention."

"I will, Mom," said Abby, sitting down beside her on the bed.

"When you marry Jake, he will become a part of you," exhorted Izumi. "You, above anyone else in this world, will have the ability to hurt him, because he trusts you. I realize this will be a marriage in name only, but there's more to marriage than sex. Your father and I have been married for nineteen years, and I'm proud to say that he respects me, and values my opinion, even when his differs from mine. Remember to be patient, especially with someone as vulnerable as Jake. Be long-suffering and gentle. I know you have been, but there's still so many times, when I see you treat Jake like he were one of the guys. Be mindful of his weaknesses, and encourage him at all times. You'd be surprised how much of this applies to all married couples, and not just Jake. 'But the fruit of the Spirit is... longsuffering, [and] gentleness,'" quoted Izumi. "Like it says in Genesis, 'And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.' That's you, Sweetheart. Jake's help meet."

"I'll remember, Mom," promised Abby.

Izumi kissed her daughter and returned to the living room, where Dick was tying one of John's neckties on Jake.

"Is she almost ready?" asked Terry, recording the whole event on his digital camcorder.

"Almost," smiled Izumi, going to John's side.
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