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"Then why did she say her name was Wendy?" piped up Chad, who was following the conversation with much interest.

"She probably ran away," postulated Adam, "and didn't want us to call the police. Not to change the subject, but we had better drop Chad off at home before your mother gives me another speech about how she hardly sees her sons anymore. As a matter of fact," continued Adam, checking his watch, "it's almost dinnertime. She'll be expecting both of you."

When Charlie eagerly ran into Mullen-Overholt, she was halted at the door by an elderly woman dressed in a dark green jumper. The woman smiled at Charlie, taking her by the hand and leaned forward as if she didn't want anyone else to hear.

"Did you come to take me home? I want to go home. Please let me go home," she pleaded, pressing Charlie's hand tightly. Charlie, who was impatient to find her father, tried to politely pull her hand away from the old woman. "Please let me go home," the old woman repeated, tears coming to her eyes.

"I'm sorry, I can't," replied Charlie, still trying to escape the old woman's clutches. The more the old woman insisted, the more trapped Charlie felt. "I can't take you home," repeated Charlie, her voice growing louder. Just then, a young black lady came up behind the woman and gave her a big hug.

"You don't really want to leave me, do you, Goldie?" asked the lady in a gentle voice.

"Please let me go home," repeated Goldie. This time, however, the pleading tone in her voice had disappeared. She instead turned around and reciprocated the hug.

"Are you hungry, Goldie?" asked the kind lady. Goldie nodded. "Of course you are, it's dinner time. Wouldn't you like to go and finish your supper with your other friends?" Goldie reached for another hug. "Of course you would," said the lady, answering for the old woman as she gave her another hug.

"Goldie is one of our hugging residents," explained the black woman, slowly guiding her charge back to the dining room. "She's harmless," the lady assured, seeing the apprehension on Charlie's face. As Charlie turned to go look for her father, a middle aged white woman approached her. Her tired demeanor bespoke of one who had had a long day.

"Can I help you?" asked the woman, adjusting her ponytail, and brushing back the dark brown hair from her eyes.

"I-- I'm looking for someone," stammered Charlie, hesitating to give Chuck's name. For all she knew, everyone in the nursing home could have been asked to call the police if they saw a teenage girl asking for Charlton Overholt. The last thing she wanted was to be returned to Aunt Angela-- especially before seeing her father.

The tired woman smiled patiently. "My name is Evelyn Saunders," she said. "I'm the Director of Nursing at this facility. I know everyone here. Tell me who you're looking for, and I'll tell you where to find them." There was no hint of suspicion in Evelyn's voice. Deciding that it was safe, Charlie chose to trust her.

"I'm looking for Charlton Overholt," said Charlie, hoping she hadn't made a mistake that would suddenly find her on a return trip of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Evelyn gave a surprised start.

"You mean Chuck?" she asked.

"Yes, that's him," replied Charlie, trying hard to contain her excitement. The fact that Evelyn knew her father's nickname was tantalizing proof that he really was in Twin Yucca. Evelyn bent forward slightly, as if to get a better look at the stranger. Charlie shifted uncomfortably in her shoes and wondered if Evelyn subjected all newcomers to like inspections.
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