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"But, I do mean it-- every word," asserted Charlie. "I've never felt this way about anyone in my life."

Adam sprang from the couch, and took two steps backward. He was as white as a sheet.

"Dear God, what have I done!" he exclaimed in horror.

"Adam," asked Charlie in alarm, "Adam, what's wrong?"

"This whole thing is wrong!" he cried. "You can't love me! Why, I'm old enough to be your father! I blame myself, entirely, for putting you in situations that could foster such feelings!" grieved Adam. "I swear to God, Charlie-girl, I never..." there his voice broke off.

As he turned to leave, Charlie called out after him. Hastening his exit, Adam left without another word.

Crying uncontrollably, Charlie fled to her room. Tears drowned her pillow, as the teenager wept in such heartrending sobs that even Chuck, for half a moment, wondered what deep pain could have been inflicted to create such grief.

Suddenly, Charlie could bear to be alone no longer. She ran to the phone and called Maggie. When there was no answer, she returned to her room and begged God for help.

"Please, God," she wept, "please, help me to bear it!"

Charlie cried herself to sleep, finally too exhausted to shed another tear. For Adam, however, sleep was not to come for him this night.

Gary heard the front door open violently and slam shut as Adam returned home from the dinner at the Overholt house. He had never seen Adam look so shaken or so angry as he was this moment.

"I see dinner didn't go too well," observed Gary, pointing out the obvious.

"Do you know what she told me?" shouted Adam.

"I can guess," replied Gary.

"She told me she loved me!" cried Adam. "ME!"

"The foolish child!" agreed Gary, surprisingly becoming angry at Adam's reaction to the situation. "To think that anyone could be sincerely in love at such a young age-- how completely ridiculous! Let alone to have the courage to tell you to your face-- how could she!"

"I don't blame her-- I couldn't!" retorted Adam. "It's all my fault!"

"Maybe so," replied Gary, calming down, "but the damage is done. She's in love."

"You sound as if you believe her!" Adam suddenly noted with surprise.

"I don't know," replied Gary. "Maybe it happened today-- maybe it was when I first met Charlie, but there's something genuine about her that just won't let me go."

"Now you're beginning to sound like her," said Adam.

"Am I?" asked Gary with a small short laugh. "Maybe she's starting to get to me!"

"You're too old for her," cautioned Adam.

"And she's too young for me," finished Gary. He wanted to add, "But, maybe not for you," however, on this point Gary held his tongue. "What are you going to do?" he asked.

"I have to leave Twin Yucca," Adam groaned heavily.

"It'll break her heart," pointed out Gary.

"And mine," replied Adam. "And mine."

Charlie didn't know it, but Adam and Gary boarded the private jet and left Twin Yucca that very night. A very sad weekend followed. Too much ashamed to face Adam again, Charlie didn't leave the house. Mercifully, Maggie showed up and let Charlie cry on her shoulder.

"How could he say those things to you?" asked Maggie, almost angrily.

"It's not his fault!" defended Charlie. "I misunderstood him. He never loved me! I misled myself!"

Maggie wasn't so sure.
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