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"You fainted, Pumpkin," explained Chuck.

"Did you tell them?" asked Charlie, addressing Adam, and beginning to cry.

"Yes, Adam told us all about it," assured Vera, "but you just put it out of your mind. Everything will be all right, you'll see."

"Are you sure you're not hurt?" asked Chuck.

"I fainted on the couch, Daddy," replied Charlie, between sobs.

"I'm going to make everyone some coffee," announced Vera, going to the kitchen.

"Don't cry, Charlie," comforted her father. "I've prayed, and everything will be fine. I know what! I'll fix strawberries just the way you like them! What do you say to that?"

Charlie remembered that emotional distress could aggrivate the Alzheimer's Disease, so she smiled bravely and dried her tears. While Chuck and Vera were in the kitchen, Charlie talked to Adam.

"Does Mr. Enslow have any idea where Jessica might have gone?" asked Charlie.

"They're looking for her right now," replied Adam. "I could kick myself for involving you in this mess," he said, reproaching himself. "You have enough to struggle with," he added, referring to Chuck.

"No, I'm glad you told me," said Charlie. "I was feeling guilty that I kept coming to you with my problems, but you wouldn't let me help with yours. I'm really sorry about Jessica," Charlie apologized again. "It was entirely my fault. If I had only done as you made me promise to do, none of this would have happened. If anything happens to Jessica, I'll never forgive myself!"

Vera and Chuck returned from the kitchen, with the coffee and strawberries.

"I hope you don't mind your coffee black," said Vera, handing Adam a mug.

"How long has Jessica been missing?" asked Chuck, sitting down on the couch next to Charlie.

"Since four o' clock," said Adam, glancing at the grandfather clock near the door. "Almost three hours now."

"Poor thing," sighed Vera, sadly.

"I wish I could do something instead of just sitting here feeling sorry!" said Charlie, stabbing at the strawberries with her fork.

"You said the Enslows live in Palm Springs, didn't you?" asked Vera.

"Yes," replied Adam, hesitating. "I volunteered to search for Jessica, but Mr. Enslow thought it would be best if I stayed out of it."

"He told you that?" asked Charlie.

"Not exactly in those words," said Adam, "but that was what Mr. Enslow meant. I think he was afraid what Jessica might do if I happened to find her. I can't blame him."

Charlie leaned back in her seat and took a small bite of strawberry. She felt Adam was getting the raw end of the situation. He saved Jessica's life, and now the Enslows were treating him as though it were his fault that he hadn't died attempting to save the other girl. Charlie tried not to think that. Maybe Mr. Enslow was just trying to protect Adam by not letting him search for Jessica.

Charlie felt ashamed for digging Adam deeper into an incident that Adam had treated as private and personal. The plumber had never talked about the accident to her. It was as though there were parts of Adam's life that he guarded and protected from everyone. Oh, he could keep quiet about a secret like no one else! In fact, it had taken great restraint on Charlie's part not to divulge what little she knew about the caller or the mysterious room to anyone.

The mysterious locked door. What did that room have to do with Jessica? Charlie quickly wiped the thought from her mind. She was done trying to pry into Adam's life. This was the one time she overstepped her boundary-- and look what had transpired.

Charlie thought she saw Adam wanting to leave, and yet something restrained him from going home. He would look at Charlie, look at the clock, and drink his coffee.
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