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For a moment, Charlie was tempted to be candid with Adam. She wanted to tell him about Darren, but she was afraid he would then go to her father and tell him everything. Chuck didn't need any emotional stress in his life; it could hasten the Alzheimer's progression. Charlie reasoned within herself that she hadn't lied. After all, the police had been there when she needed help. However grateful she was, the uniform reminded her of her own guilt about sneaking out of the house against the wishes of Aunt Angela. Charlie told herself that it wasn't her fault Darren took drugs, but in the back of her mind the thought kept returning that maybe if she had obeyed her Aunt, Darren might still be alive. She had asked God to forgive her, and then asked for grace to believe that she was forgiven.

"Is 'A cop!' better?" asked Charlie, trying to laugh away the matter.

"Funny what inflection can do," observed Adam, dryly. The look on Charlie's face and the sound of her voice told him that she was holding back something.

A few feet away, Jeff continued to talk to Maggie.

"I didn't know you liked to garden," Jeff said, observing Maggie's soiled hands and dirt stained clothes.

"I don't!" replied Maggie, matter-of-factly. "If only dirt wasn't so dirty!"

"Then, why are you out here?" asked Jeff.

Maggie shrugged, but looked in Charlie's direction.

"I see," replied Jeff, glancing at the teenager who was busy working a hoe. Maggie was here because Charlie was here.

"Maggie, please get me the hose," instructed Charlie. The woman obediently ran to fetch the hose near the back door.

"It's a very nice garden," observed Jeff, going to the other end of the row of summer squash and addressing Charlie. He hoped to enter this clique of new friends Maggie had acquired, and maybe, someday, to give her the courage to follow her own wants instead of doing what others were doing-- just because they were doing it! Jeff tried to tell himself that his intentions were disinterested, but something deep in his heart disagreed. "Do you follow any given design concerning which plants to plant, or do you simply plant what you want to?" asked Jeff, trying to be friendly.

"I'm only a volunteer," shrugged the girl, accepting the hose from Maggie and going to the side of the garden where it would be hard for Jeff to continue any conversation with her. Maggie followed Charlie close behind, holding the hose up over the vegetables so they wouldn't be damaged. Adam appreciated her effort to not do further damage.

"Does Miss Downen always take her lead from that girl?" asked Jeff, observing the two from a distance.

Adam nodded in the affirmative.

"Is it just me, or does she have something against policemen?" asked Jeff, wondering if he had done anything to offend Charlie.

"She's a little protective of her friend," observed Adam, unable to answer Jeff's question directly.

"Maybe you could put in a good word for me," hinted the officer, glancing at the plumber out of the corner of his eye.

"So, it's to be Maggie, is it?" asked Adam, smiling.

"If Miss Charlie won't stand in the way," replied Jeff.

"Charlie's only a teenager," dismissed Adam.

"She has a great deal of influence over Maggie-- I mean, Miss Downen," said Jeff. "Since before I arrived in Twin Yucca, Miss Downen had waited at the bus stop on Main Street. Almost every day for two years, I've escorted her home in my patrol car. Nothing in the world could persuade her to leave that bus stop! Suddenly, she's content to be someplace else. In my view, that's nothing short of miraculous!"

"Charlie won't stand in the way of her friend's happiness," replied Adam. "I know her. She's a good Christian."

"I'm grateful Miss Downen has such a good friend as Miss Charlie," said Jeff, his tone softening. It was not his intention to speak against any friend of Adam's.

"Don't be concerned, Jeff," said Adam. "Charlie is a level headed girl-- more than most kids her age. I'm sure everything will turn out all right."
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