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"But what will people say?" asked Shirley.

"Why should you consider other people?" asked Adam. "As long as we're living with an honest conscience before God, and we endeavor to have a good testimony before all, why should we consider the opinion of those who think so meanly of us as to believe such ugly lies? As if we could force them to think or say differently than they do!"

"Still..." hesitated Shirley.

"Very well, for your sake and for Mom's, I promise I'll do something about it," said Adam.

"What are you going to do?"

"Leave that to me," replied the plumber.

"Thank you, Adam," smiled Shirley, hugging her brother.

The next opportunity Adam had to pull Mike aside, he confronted him with what his mother had said concerning the "mystery girl."

"But it's none of Mrs. Jacob's business!" fought back Mike.

"That may be, but it IS your mother's business. She loves you enough to know you're innocent, but she's under the misapprehension that Charlie is the one everyone thinks is your girlfriend. It's not fair to Charlie for her to have to bear the burden of your secret," said Adam.

"I guess you're right," yielded Mike. "I don't suppose you would explain it to Mom, for me?" grinned Mike, hopefully.

"Don't you think that after everything you've put your mother through, you owe it to her, to tell the truth, yourself?"

"What's Mom going to say when she finds out that even Sandra's parents know about us?" groaned Mike. Then something else came to Mike's mind. "Charlie is just a baby," he reflected, "surely no one actually thinks I could possibly... ewwww!" he shuddered.

When Chuck and Charlie visited Adam in his garden that evening, as was their routine, Adam made a proposition that surprised Chuck but delighted Charlie.

"Oh, please, Daddy, say yes!" pleaded Charlie, excitedly.

"But it will interfere with school," debated Chuck.

"I'll do my homework after I finish working here," she reasoned, "and it won't effect my grades one bit! Oh, it's terribly nice of you, Adam," thanked Charlie. "I've been wanting an after-school job for a while now, but was putting it off until I got my learner's permit. Are you sure you really need a housekeeper?"

"I'd have done this sooner, but I hate the thought of strangers unsupervised in my house. Currently, Shirley insists on doing my housekeeping. She feels guilty about me living by myself, or something, so she'll be glad I finally hired someone."

"Please, Daddy?" begged Charlie.

"If Jerome is willing to drop you off here instead of at home," resigned Chuck, "then I guess it's all right with me."

Adam gave Charlie a rough idea of what would be expected: vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, laundry, cleaning the windows, and other ordinary household chores.

On the walk back home, Charlie realized that in her excitement, she had forgotten about her father.

"Daddy, I forgot! You're with Grandma all day at the nursing home, and if I go on to Adam's house, you can't go home until she does! I'll go back and tell Adam I can't accept the job," resolved Charlie.

"I already thought of that when I gave my permission," said Chuck, stopping his daughter. "I don't mind being at Mullen-Overholt. There's a guy in room three who's really good at checkers!" he said, trying to brighten Charlie's disappointed face.

"But, Daddy..."

"It's all right," consoled Chuck putting his arm around Charlie's shoulder and resuming their walk back home. "Maybe I could get a job. Surely there's something I can still do," he mused.

"You could be an airline pilot," suggested Charlie. "Women love men in uniforms!"

"Naw," rejected Chuck.
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