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"Is Uncle Jerome as bad as all that?" asked Charlie, a little incredulous.

"I won't say anything against him in your company," replied Skip, "seeing as how he is your uncle. I'll only say that I pray for him, daily."

"That's very good of you," smiled Charlie, trying to hide her amusement. To her, Jerome came off as being very institutional, but nothing more.

"Go ahead and smile, Charlotte," said Skip. "You'll see what I mean soon enough." Charlie smiled politely and excused herself. Before leaving, Skip was able to extract a promise from her to visit him again.

"Med cart, coming through!" announced the black woman, this time going the opposite direction. Charlie quickly ducked into a nearby room to get out of her way.

"Are you visiting someone, dear?" asked an elderly woman. Charlie turned to find an entire room of women staring at her.

"Of course she's visiting someone, Ellie," said a resident named Madeline. "Does she look like she lives here?"

"What's your name, honey?" asked Ellie.

"Charlie," came the response.

"Disgraceful! Charlie is a boy's name!" exclaimed Laura, always eager to disapprove of anything.

"Let her be," scolded a kind voice. "Come over here, child," beckoned the woman. Charlie did as she was told. The only time she had seen this many old people in one place was at a senior center in Montana. "Is Charlie short for something, child?" she asked.

"Charlie is short for Charlotte. I was named after my father, Charlton," explained Charlie, for the second time that day.

"Why, you must be Chuck's daughter!" exclaimed the woman.

"You know Daddy?" asked Charlie, in surprise.

"Jerome's niece! I should have known," grumbled Laura.

"Oh, hush!" scolded Ellie.

"Nothing good ever came out of the Overholt's," continued Laura.

"Vera is an Overholt," reminded Ellie, "or have you forgotten?"

"Vera was a Harper before she was an Overholt," came Laura's stout response.

"My son, Adam, is friends with your father," explained Ruth, trying to change the subject. Charlie gave an involuntary start. "Adam tells me you've already met my grandsons."

"Grandsons? Oh, you mean Mike and Chad," replied Charlie. "They gave me a ride into town."

"Yes, I know. They're good boys," observed Ruth. Charlie smiled nervously, wondering how much Adam had told his mother of the discussion they had that morning.

"People think a lot of Adam in Twin Yucca," Ellie commented. "And the boys too, of course," she quickly added, not wanting to slight any of Ruth's kin.

Charlie remembered how she accused Adam of manipulating her father. She wondered what Ruth and the others would say if they knew what she had said. Charlie had regretted her accusation almost as soon as she had said it. Adam didn't strike one as being a manipulator. In fact, the reverse was true. His willingness to help others made him prone to be taken advantage of.

Charlie politely excused herself from the women of Room 2. Anyone who was capable of conversation, wanted to talk; and those who couldn't, would track your every movement, until Charlie felt like a goldfish in a glass bowl; it seemed as though everyone wanted attention. She quickly decided to go back to Room 3.

Upon returning to Arnold's room, Charlie found Jerome and her father in a heated discussion.
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