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"What happened?" asked Gary.

"He married the serious relationship," smiled Adam.

"Smart guy," replied Gary. "But, does your family know about you and Charlie? Have you broke off with Constance, yet?"

"Hey," defended Adam, "this only happened last night! I haven't even talked to Charlie since then!"

Gary tossed the morning newspaper to his client. On the cover was a photo of Adam in front of the piano at the Christmas concert-- Charlie's picture on the tall screen behind him. The caption under the photo read, "Wallace Shipley and his significant other, surprised everyone Saturday, when he serenaded her with a longtime favorite from the 'Epiphany' album."

Adam was uneasy. He hadn't expected this.

"You are Wallace Shipley," reminded Gary. "Hold your silence, and everyone will think this is true-- which it is, but, apparently, you weren't ready for it."

"I'll talk to Charlie," said Adam in agreement. "We have to settle some things before I can tell anyone about our relationship. Still, I don't want to rush her into marriage," he warned.

"You don't have to marry her tomorrow," chuckled Gary, "just be ready with your story."

"It's not easy," explained Adam, folding the newspaper and setting it aside, "for me to talk about my feelings. And to do it in public..." he shuddered.

"You do love, her though, right?" asked Gary.

Adam responded with a frankness, that at once, put Gary at ease.

"I've never been so sure of any relationship in my life," he replied. "I just have to be assured that Charlie knows what kind of man she's getting."

Charlie had been asleep for five hours when Adam called her on the satellite phone for the first time since Saturday night. Tired as she was, she jumped out of bed and snatched up the phone.

"Adam!" she cried with delight. "I wanted to call you earlier, but Grandma insisted I get some rest."

"Oh," said Adam, "were you sleeping? I didn't mean to wake you. I can call back later," he offered, part of him wanting to procrastinate.

"Don't you dare!" laughed Charlie. "Now that I have you, I won't let you go!"

"I like the sound of that," he mused, a little awkwardly.

Adam and Charlie were transitioning from best friends to something more intimate and private. He was unused to "touchy-feely" talk, but with Charlie, it came more readily than Adam had thought he was capable of.

"Tell me you love me," coaxed Charlie, "or was I only dreaming last night?"

"I love you, Charlie-girl," repeated Adam, loving the sound of those words, himself.

"Oh! Why can't we get married right away?" asked Charlie. "I don't know if I can hold out till summer!"

"There's so much we have to settle concerning our future," he replied, soberly, "that I'm not even sure we're really engaged."

"Speak for yourself!" laughed Charlie. "You couldn't get rid of me, if you tried!"

"Before I enter into an engagement," said Adam, "I must tell you, that I've been engaged, before."

"You don't have to tell me, Adam," said Charlie.

"It's only fair that you know," he replied. "It happened after I came home from college to go into the family business. Many of my friends were either married or engaged, so I figured it was time for me to do likewise. Her name was Anna. I had known Anna since childhood, and it seemed reasonable that we should get married. Both of our parents wanted it, so I thought I wanted it, also. We were engaged for about two years, when we finally set the wedding date. Anna and I picked out a house, (it's the one I live in), and made plans for our future. Then, the day arrived. The only problem was, everyone showed up for the wedding-- except Anna. She literally left me standing at the alter. I could hear everyone whispering to each other, and giving me pitying looks. After two hours of waiting, even I got the message."
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