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"Well, you better enroll her before she misses too much of the school year," warned Vera. "You probably miss your friends, don't you?" asked Vera, addressing Charlie now. Charlie shrugged. She didn't miss anyone in North Carolina. But there were some friends in Montana that she did miss. Taking Charlie's shrug as a sign that she was worried, Vera continued. "Don't worry, you'll soon make lots of friends," she assured. "Twin Yucca has a really good public high school."

"Actually, Mom," said Chuck, "I was thinking of a private school." Vera looked up in surprise.

"Whatever for?" asked Vera.

"I think she'll be better off in a private school," replied Chuck, thoughtfully.

"Nonsense!" contradicted Vera. "She'll be just fine at the public school, right here in Twin Yucca."

"She wouldn't learn about Christ in a public school, Mom," said Chuck, rotating his coffee mug clockwise on the kitchen tablecloth.

"You want me to attend a Christian school?" asked Charlie, incredulously.

"That's what I'm thinking, yes," replied Chuck.

"But private schools are so expensive," reasoned Vera.

"It's worth it, to me," said Chuck, his voice sounding extremely final to Charlie's ears.

"I won't go," flatly refused Charlie.

"You'll do as I say," came Chuck's firm response.

"But, it's not fair!" retorted Charlie.

"What's so terribly unfair about a good private school?" asked Chuck.

"Do you think most people my age go to a private school? Daddy, I'm weird enough without hanging this albatross around my neck."

"Charlie, you're not weird," assured Chuck. Charlie gave him a disbelieving look.

"You have to say that. You're my father," she replied.

"Think about a private school," continued Chuck, "you might change you mind."

"Either way, I'm going, right?" asked Charlie. Chuck remained silent. "Dura lex sed lex," grumbled Charlie, punching her finger into the toast on her plate.

"What did you say?" asked Chuck, alarmed that Charlie had been picking up bad language.

"It's Latin," Charlie informed him. "It means, 'the law is hard, but it is the law.'"

"It isn't law, Charlie. It's my wish. There's a difference," stated Chuck, trying not to lose his ground. Charlie stared dejectedly at her toast, which by now, had been poked to pieces. Chuck silently asked God for help. It was only eight-thirty, and already, it had been a difficult day. Chuck had no joy in making his daughter unhappy.

After seeing that she was not going to respond to him any further, Chuck rose from the table.

"Where are you going, Chuck?" asked Vera. "You haven't finished your breakfast, yet." Chuck had not finished his breakfast the day before, either. This pattern disturbed Vera. In her mind, he was still a boy who needed to eat everything on his plate so he could grow up to be a strong, healthy man.

"I'm going to lie down awhile," answered Chuck. His body wasn't tired, but he could tell his mind was slowing under the strain of the events of the morning. Thoughts were no longer whole. He felt like a clock, slowly unwinding. If he could get some rest, then he would feel better. Chuck retreated to his room, and lay down on the bed. The dotted ceiling panels blankly stared back at him, as if to say, "You again? What are doing back here so soon?"

As he stretched out on the bed, Chuck heard his door open. A soft hand touched his. He looked up. It was Charlie.
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