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"Come in!" she shouted, not getting up from the sofa.

To her surprise, Adam walked in, looking very tired and sad.

"Adam!" said Charlie, in surprise. "I haven't seen you in a while. How are you doing?" She didn't really have to ask the question, for his weary appearance told her that most likely, Adam hadn't gotten any sleep. "Why don't you sit down?" asked Charlie.

"It's almost bedtime," sighed Adam, sitting down on the other end of the sofa. "I'm dreading the idea of going to bed only to stare at the ceiling, again."

"The weather forecast says tomorrow will be cooler than today," observed Charlie.

"I haven't been able to get a wink of sleep," continued Adam. "I'm just praying this doesn't turn into a several day episode."

"Today was pleasant, though," added Charlie. "How about a game of chess?"

"All right," shrugged Adam.

"Do you have any coffee?" asked Adam, as Charlie was setting up the chess board on the kitchen table.

"Won't the caffeine keep you awake?" she asked.

"It's helps me to relax," he explained.

"I'll pour you a glass of uncaffeinated iced tea," suggested Charlie.

"Do you have to fight me on this?" asked Adam. "Can't you just give me the coffee?"

"If you want caffeine, go home and get it yourself," replied Charlie, emphatically. "I refuse to make your insomnia worse! Now, do you want the iced tea, or not?"

"I'll take the tea," sighed Adam, sitting down behind his side of the chess board.

Charlie set the glass beside Adam and sat down at her end of the chess board.

"You're not going to let me win the way you did last time, are you?" asked Charlie. "Because this won't be any fun if you won't try."

"If you say so," replied Adam, drinking his iced tea, "but I warn you, I'm not an easy man to beat."

"That's more like it!" exclaimed Charlie.

After the first few moves, it was obvious to Charlie that Adam was keeping his word to not let her win. First he captured her knight, followed by half her pawns, both rooks, a bishop, and Charlie's queen, while she only claimed a few of his pieces.

"Checkmate!" said Adam, grinning.

"You win," conceded Charlie, content that he hadn't just rolled over and played dead like their previous game some months back.

As Charlie was clearing the table, Vera and Chuck returned from their walk.

"Adam, I can't tell you how sorry we were to hear about Ruth," consoled Vera, greeting their guest.

"Thank you," replied Adam, as the group sat down in the living room to visit. Chuck tried to speak, but when his body was tired, it became more difficult. He contented himself to resting in his armchair and listening to the conversation.

"I remember," said Vera, "when Martha, Charlie's mother, passed away. It was very hard on Chuck, especially with a new baby."

"I can imagine," replied Adam.

"But, life goes on," added Vera.
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