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Quinn stood out on the balcony, watching the water rushing through the gorge below. The surroundings were breathtakingly beautiful, but he barely noticed. He was mulling over a decision in his mind--one that he had never expected he'd have to make.

Jane Hill's words rang through his ears. "A child needs love Quinn. A mother who will love him and sacrifice anything for him." He knew that was true. That described his own mother perfectly. She'd made endless sacrifices for him--everything from taking the time for small things like fixing a scraped knee when he fell off his bike to giving up her own dream of a teaching career to stay home and raise him. She never made him feel as if she regretted any of the choices she'd made when it came to him. She always made it clear to Quinn that her family came first. It seemed like a small thing, but there were mothers who didn't always make that clear. Wade's mother, for example, often reminded her children that she gave up an opportunity to study art in Paris to raise a family.

Wade. There was another thing he had to think about. Quinn had to admit he loved her. This....well, it would almost seem-- to him anyway--as if he was being unfaithful to her. Even though they weren't an item in the traditional sense, Quinn had always tried to do the right thing where Wade was concerned. Sure, they'd both run across other people who they were attracted to, but they'd never gotten too deeply involved. Quinn really tried to stay faithful to Wade--that way if they ever did get out of this crazy mess and get home, he wouldn't have a guilty conscience when it came to starting something with Wade.

Quinn turned his back to the river and gazed through the glass door at the slim woman inside the house. It really wasn't fair...to either of them, he concluded. This world had already robbed Jane of so many things: her husband, the chance to start a life with someone new, and a child. She was right, he thought. Would it really be so wrong of him to go along with this idea? He'd be making a real difference in her life.

Quinn thought about his mother again. She was alone too--he was gone, his dad was gone. It was something Quinn felt guilty about every day. He wished he'd gotten a chance to explain things to his mom before he left--tell her how much he loved her and appreciated everything she'd ever done for him. Sure, he'd left that videotape, but it wasn't the same as telling her in person. Maybe by going along with this, he could in some small way make up for leaving his mother alone. It was a reach--but it was the only justification Quinn could come up with for agreeing to Jane's plan.

He slid the glass door open and stepped inside the house. Jane rose from her chair, her face wearing an expression that was both hopeful and cautious. She took a tentative step toward him, and extended her hand.

Quinn took a deep breath. He just hoped one day, if he ever did tell Wade about this, that she'd understand. Quinn reached out his own hand, enveloping Jane's small hand with his larger one and allowed himself to follow her.

read part 7