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"There's two photos!" exclaimed Charlie, gingerly sliding out the large glossies. Then, a peculiar look crossed her face. She looked at Adam and then back at the picture, and then back at Adam again. Suddenly, Charlie covered her mouth with her hand in astonished shock.

"Charlie, I--" began Adam.

"Hey!" interrupted Chad, who had gotten out of his chair and was now standing behind Charlie to get a look. "Wallace Shipley looks a lot like you, Uncle Adam!"

Shirley's eyes narrowed. One could almost see the gears in her head turn. She looked at Adam, and requested to see the photos, herself. Adam groaned and covered his eyes with his hand. The two glossies were handed down from Charlie, first to Jeff Erickson, who noted the resemblance also, then to Scottie, who could really care less, then to Sara, who could sense something exciting was going on, then to Shirley. All the while, Charlie sat speechless and numb, her eyes fixed on Adam.

"What is it, Pumpkin?" asked Chuck, growing concerned.

"Adam Wallace Clark!" exclaimed Shirley, angrily. "You promised Dad that you were giving up piano!"

"I never made any such promise!" refuted Adam, now showing his face.

"That day, in your college dorm room, you promised us to give up your music and go into the family business!" retorted Shirley, nearing tears.

"I said I would set it aside, not give it up altogether," replied Adam.

"How could you keep such a thing from me-- your sister!" cried Shirley. "And you never told Dad, not even on his deathbed! How could you keep this from us?!"

"Please don't take it that way," replied Adam, seeing the same hurt look on Charlie's face.

"All those years!" exclaimed Shirley, getting up from the table.

By now, Charlie was close to tears, herself.

"I'm sorry, but we're going now," said Shirley, dragging Chad behind her. The front door slammed shut as Adam's sister went home.

Everyone at the table was silent, including Adam.

"Say something, Charlie," pleaded Adam.

"What do you want me to say?" asked Charlie, in a dazed voice. "Do you want me to say that I understand? that everything is all right? Dear God! When I think of how you let me go on and on about the wonderful Wallace Ship... about you, and you said nothing!" Confused, Charlie jumped from the table and ran to her room.

"I'm sorry I ruined the birthday party," apologized Adam, getting up from the table. "Please apologize to Charlie for me the next time you see her."

After Adam left, the rest of the guests dispersed, unsure if what they thought was so, really was so. Vera cleared away the uneaten desert. Chuck helped put the wrapping paper that Charlie had so neatly folded after opening every present, into a garbage bag.

"Mom," asked Chuck, bewildered, "what happened this evening?"

Vera picked up the two glossy photos. One photo was of Wallace Shipley sitting at a piano in what looked to be a sound studio. The other, was of Wallace Shipley sitting with one elbow leaning on the piano, smiling that all too familiar Clark smile.

"Oh my, it's true!" exclaimed Vera, sinking into a chair.

Charlie didn't know what to think. One minute she was angry, and the next she was unspeakably happy. In a fit of confusion, she gathered all the Wallace Shipley CD's and threw them into her trashcan. She was sorry four minutes later, and fished them out again.

Every time she doubted that the truth was real, Charlie would take another long look at the photos, and the doubts would vanish. The first photo Charlie found interesting, but the close up of Wallace Shipley fascinated her the most. There was a marked difference in his expression to what she normally witnessed in everyday life. In the photo, Adam looked at ease, like he was utterly and thoroughly enjoying life. Charlie had never once considered that Adam wasn't entirely happy, for she had nothing with which to draw the comparison. She had become accustomed to his unusual need for privacy, and the way he had of keeping her at a distance. For the first time, Charlie was glimpsing the complete Adam Clark. Her mind awash in these thoughts, she fell asleep, forgetting to change from her party clothes.
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