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"It's true," Adam smiled at Charlton, "insomnia is a cross I must bear patiently. But when I think of the cross Christ had to bear for me... well, it shames me to even think of complaining about mine." Adam waited for a second, and when Jerome didn't bother to introduce the tall stranger, Adam took it upon himself to make the man welcome. "I'm Adam Clark," said Adam, extending a hand to Charlton. "And you must be Charlton, Jerome's brother?"

"That's right," replied Charlton, smiling for the first time since arriving in Twin Yucca.

"How was your flight?" asked Adam, silently making a mental note of how opposite the two brothers were from each other.

"Good," replied Charlton. "It was a smooth flight. So, how long have you known Jerome?" asked Charlton, curiously.

"I guess it's been a few years now. Twin Yucca hasn't been the same since," smiled Adam.

"I can imagine," grinned Charlton. Just then, Vera appeared in the doorway. She looked tired and exhausted, but extremely happy to see her son.

"Chuck!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around Charlton. "I've missed you, baby," she said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Oh, but look at you. So healthy and strong-- look at all those muscles! Why, you'd have to turn sideways, just to get through the door!" she exaggerated.

"Mom, you haven't changed," smiled Charlton, giving her another hug. Vera peered from under the bear hug, and looked about the room. She smiled when she saw Adam, but turned wonderingly to Charlton. "What is it, Mom?" asked Charlton.

"Where is she?" asked Vera.


"Charlotte, my granddaughter! Where is she?" repeated Vera, in an overprotective grand-motherly tone.

"She's... she's living with Angela Goodman, Mom," replied Charlton, ashamedly.

"Since when?" demand Vera, temporarily forgetting how happy she was to see her "baby boy." Charlton covered his eyes with his hand. His shoulders began to shake uncontrollably. Vera put her arms around her son and comforted him.

"Mom," Charlton whispered, "I sent her away!"

Feeling that he was intruding in a private family matter, Adam quietly excused himself from the room. On his return walk home, Adam was reminded of a passage in Deuteronomy: "When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee." Adam looked up into the heavens. On the far horizon, he could see where the darkness was giving way to the light of a new day.

"Therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you [Charlton], and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him... thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is The Way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
~ Isaiah 30:18-21 ~

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