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Chapter Thirty-nine
The Engagement Ring

Adam "being taken from you [Charlie] for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire."
~ 1 Thessalonians 2:17 ~

It was such an early Monday morning, that the sky was still pitch black, when Charlie and Maggie walked down to the Twin Yucca Airport to meet Adam's private jet. Adam had correctly guessed that a quiet arrival in the wee hours of the morning would not attract as much attention from the media, so he chose to "sneak" into Twin Yucca rather than advertise the fact in broad daylight.

This Thanksgiving holiday at home meant a lot to Adam, because for the first time as an engaged couple, his Charlie-girl would be there. They had briefly talked on the satellite phone the day before, but Adam longed to see her face.

Vera had not been up to the early morning walk, so Maggie readily accompanied Charlie, instead. Maggie was excited, for she had never seen Adam's private jet. When she mentioned to Charlie that such a thing must have cost at least ten million dollars, Charlie laughed and said that it was not likely, for Adam had told her that he had gotten a great deal on the jet, because it was used!

"He doesn't throw around money, needlessly," added Charlie, as the two women stood outside the airport waiting room.

A gentle cool breeze caressed Charlie's face as she looked to the sky to spot Adam's plane.

"Do you think he would give you a 'used' engagement ring?" asked Maggie, wide eyed.

Charlie tossed back her head and laughed.

Just then, the noise of approaching jet engines greeted their ears.

"I see him!" exclaimed Charlie, stepping forward as if to draw him to the ground sooner.

In amazement, Maggie watched as the jet touched down on the runway and taxied to a complete stop. The side door opened and the musician stepped out.

"Adam!" screamed Charlie, running out to meet him.

Seeing her coming to him, Adam opened his arms and hugged his young fiancée.

"Oh, Adam," she whispered in his ear, "I'm so glad you're here!"

He looked into her deep brown eyes and sighed softly. Yes, the voice on the phone had come from this woman-- it had not been wishful thinking, after all. Then Shirley and the rest of the Garner clan, who had been patiently waiting for their turn, came forward to welcome Adam home.

"Congratulations on your engagement!" greeted Thomas, warmly shaking his brother-in-law's hand.

"Thank you, Thomas!" replied Adam, returning the handshake. "It's good to be back home, isn't it?"

"It certainly is," agreed Thomas, putting an arm around his wife, Shirley.

"Have you been eating regularly?" asked Shirley, hugging her older brother. "What has that manager of yours been feeding you?"

"Hello, Sis," smiled Adam.

"Well," said Shirley, after the others had a chance to say hello to Adam, "we had better get home and eat breakfast. You should see the dinner I've got planned for tonight! That will put some meat back on your sorry bones!"

Adam turned to Charlie, who had remained quietly at his side. No one had congratulated her. No one had included her in anything.

"Thanks, Sis," answered Adam, smiling lovingly at Charlie, "but we have other plans. Maybe you could invite us, another time?"

"Yes... yes, of course," stammered Shirley.

continued on next page...
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