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Trying to anticipate their needs in advance, Charlie emptied the cupboards and refrigerator of all highly perishable food, instead stocking the shelves with canned food, so Adam and his entourage would have something immediately at hand to eat when they stopped by. Cases of bottled water were stacked into the broom closet, along with soft drinks, and several cases of ground coffee. She also laid in an ample supply of large bath towels-- which the men went through rapidly-- and more bed linen.

Charlie buried herself in her work, so she wouldn't have to think about her father's present situation. But one heartbreak followed on the heels of another: her best friend was leaving. Charlie kept a brave face in front of the guys, and Vera. She consoled herself that there would be plenty of time to cry, later.

Finally, the day came for Adam to say good-bye. Most of the luggage was already packed into a rented limousine that would take them to the Los Angeles International Airport, several miles away. Melvin had done his job and invited the media for Adam's sendoff. The front lawn was teeming with reporters and news crews, all vying for an opportunity to interview the celebrated musician before his tour began. Before going out to meet the media, Adam said good-bye to his family, behind closed doors.

Shirley was in tears when Adam hugged her good-bye.

"And remember," advised Shirley, "don't drink the tap water. You don't know where it came from!"

Thomas, Adam's brother-in-law, had flown in to wish him well.

"We're all pulling for you," Thomas said, shaking Adam's hand.

Mike hugged his uncle with all the emotion of a son saying good-bye to his father. It seemed impossible to Mike to think that Adam was truly leaving.

"Be safe," said Mike, giving him another hug.

In a way, Sandra was grateful that Adam was leaving. All the hype of Wallace Shipley was distracting Mike, who had his own career to think of.

"We'll miss you," said Sandra.

Chad soberly hugged Adam good-bye. He was proud of his uncle, but like Mike, could not imagine daily life without him.

"Don't forget to come back," reminded Chad.

Like Sandra, Constance was also glad to see Adam leave, but for entirely different reasons. She hoped distance would cool Charlie's ardor, and quell Adam's dependence on her.

"Don't forget to write," said Constance, giving him an elaborate gift basket of nuts.

Adam went up to his music room-bedroom to get the last of his luggage, and found Charlie looking out the window, watching the media on the front lawn.

"Will they ever let you come back to stay?" asked Charlie, swallowing back her tears.

"I don't know," he replied, candidly.

Charlie turned to bravely say her good-bye.

"Could you hide this, somewhere?" asked Adam, handing her the gift basket Constance had just given him.

"Sure," answered Charlie, smiling at the assorted nuts. Only Constance would think to be formal at a time like this.

"Well," said Adam, turning to leave, "I have to go now. Thank you for all your help."

"I'll keep the house in readiness," Charlie confirmed. "Try not to stay away too long."

Adam hesitated. He knew her well enough to know that she was trying to be brave.

"God keep you, Charlie-girl," uttered Adam. Closing the music room door behind him, he returned downstairs.

The flood of tears she had kept at bay, refused to be contained any longer. Sinking to the floor, she let the tears come. Charlie was grateful Adam had been so thoughtful as to close the door, for she needed to be by herself.
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