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While Bill was on the phone with room service, Charlie pulled out the chess game she had brought with her to the hotel room.

"I'm not going to play chess with you, so you can just put it away!" resisted Adam, recognizing this ploy.

Charlie looked up in feigned surprise.

"And who asked you?" she asked, folding her arms. "Gary is going to play against me, aren't you Gary?"

"Sure," replied Gary, getting up from his spectator seat on the couch and walking to the small table Charlie had set the chess board upon.

"You can't trick me into playing you," smiled Adam. "I know you."

"Listen to him!" said Charlie, addressing Gary.

The two played chess, while Adam watched on.

After a few minutes, Charlie shouted,


"You win," acknowledged Gary.

"Oh, come on!" argued Adam, "Gary's not even trying. He let you win!"

"I beg your pardon!" said Charlie, placing her hands on her hips indignantly. "I thought the only one who threw chess games, was you!"

"Oh," challenged Adam, "you're just asking for it, aren't you? Why, I could beat you at chess, any day of the week!"

"Any day of the week... except this one," smiled Charlie, batting her eyelashes playfully.

"Move over, Gary," said Adam, getting in front of the chess board. "This kid needs to be taught a lesson."

"And you're just the one to teach me, aren't you?" agreed Charlie.

"You know it!" replied Adam. "There. Your move."

Gary quietly returned to his seat on the couch.

"Hey," whispered Melvin to Gary, "she's good! Just look at him relaxing!"

Vera finally felt as though she could breathe easy. She sat down on the other couch and took out her knitting bag, following Adam and Charlie's banter from across the room.

Just then, room service knocked on the door. Bill got up and let them in. Adam didn't notice, and continued to play chess with Charlie.

"Bill," she asked, "could you bring that plate of spaghetti over here-- the one without meatballs."

Bill set the delicious steaming spaghetti in front of Charlie on her side of the small table.

"What are you doing?" demanded Adam. "There's no spaghetti in the rules of chess!"

"There is now," retorted Charlie. "Please be quiet, I'm trying to say grace."

Adam sighed, patiently.

"Amen," finished Charlie, opening her eyes and helping herself to a mouthful of pasta. "Oh, this is good!" she said, wiping her mouth with a finger.

"Do you want a napkin with that?" asked Adam.

Bill came forward and handed a napkin to her.

"Thank you," she said. "You know, Bill, this is the best spaghetti I've ever had! You've just got to try it! There's a plate over there," Charlie offered.

"Wait a minute!" protested Adam. "I thought that second plate of spaghetti was for me! It even has meatballs!"

"I thought you weren't hungry," remarked Charlie, continuing to eat. "Your move," she said, advancing a chess piece.

"Bill, you've already eaten, so you don't mind, do you?" asked Adam.

Bill quickly handed him the plate and sat back down on the couch, amazed at what he was seeing.
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