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When they had calmed down, both cleaned up the magazines that were scattered across the bedroom floor.

"Are you going to tell him?" asked Maggie, placing the periodicals back into their storage box.

"No," replied Charlie.

"Can you stand not to?" pressed Maggie.

"I have to admit, that it's becoming harder every day," sighed Charlie. "But, I can't tell him!"

"Why not?" pursued Maggie.

"What if he laughs at me?" asked Charlie.

"Do you think he would?" inquired Maggie.

"Yes... maybe... I don't know," hesitated Charlie. "What about you? Have you told Jeff you love him, yet?"

The bashful look on Maggie's face said it all.

"You're braver than I am," said Charlie.

Maggie stared at her incredulously.

"Charlotte Overholt," said Maggie, "you are the bravest and smartest woman I know! You've done things I've never been able to do," said Maggie, referring to Charlie's good grades in school. "You take care of two households, and a sick father! If any one can do this, you can!"

That night, Charlie went to sleep optimistic that she could tell Adam what she was feeling. By morning, however, the effects of Maggie's pep talk had worn off. Charlie felt awkward and unsure of herself. She didn't know what Adam would say or how he would react. Unsure as she was about how to approach the man she loved, Charlie was sure of one thing-- that she did love him.

In late October, Adam arrived at Twin Yucca airport in his newly acquired private plane, exhausted from the grueling schedule his career was demanding of him. Melvin had flown home on a commercial airliner to spend time with his family, while Bill and Gary had followed their client home.

Adam was so fatigued that he took the phone off the hook, and went straight to bed. He said little to Charlie, other than to thank her for the preparations she had made upon his arrival.

Bill only stayed for a few hours, before heading off to a private resort in nearby Yucca Valley, for some quiet and relaxation. Gary, on the other hand, didn't seem to know what the word 'rest' meant. He remained downstairs, tapping away at his laptop, and working his cell phone.

Gary's refusal to pretend that the rest of the world hadn't gone away, annoyed Adam, who dearly wanted to spend the two weeks of no engagements without continually being reminded of who he was. At last, Gary understood. He set his laptop and cell phone aside, though Charlie thought it almost killed him to do it.

When she came to work the next day carrying an armload of groceries, Gary followed her into the kitchen.

"What do people around here do for fun?" asked Gary, slumping into a kitchen chair, and putting his feet up on the table. "Twin Yucca rolls the sidewalks up at nine on the dot," he joked.

"Well," suggested Charlie, putting the groceries away, "there's always the bowling alley."

"Can't bowl," said Gary. "Weak wrists."

"Or," continued Charlie with a smile, "if you're really desperate, you can walk to the edge of town and count coydogs."

"What are coydogs?" asked Gary.

"You know, part coyote, part dog," explained Charlie.

"There's coyotes around here?" asked Gary, sitting up in his chair. "It's the first I've heard of this! Why don't they put up signs to warn poor unsuspecting people who weren't born here, of dangers like this?!"

"The Mojave is a desert," reminded Charlie. "And you don't have to be born here to live in the Mojave Desert. When I first came to live here, I admit, it did take a while to appreciate the natural beauty of a desert, but in time, it'll grow on you. You'll see."

"If I run into any of those coydogs, I have a feeling it'll grow on top of me, too," muttered Gary.

Charlie laughed. She wondered if this was the way she had once sounded.
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