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"Should I have cleared this with you, first? I didn't think I needed to," remarked Charlie.

"You don't have to get my permission," replied Adam, not wanting to sound overprotective. "You're old enough to make decisions for yourself, and I want to give you room to do that."

"I understand," laughed Charlie. "But, do you want me to go?"

"Not really," Adam answered candidly.

"Then, why didn't you say that in the first place?" smiled Charlie.

"Why were you going shopping, anyway?" he asked, curiously. "I thought we were going to spend the day, together."

"I know," explained Charlie, "but Maggie's father kicked her out of the house last night, and she doesn't have any clothes. Besides, she's getting married soon, and I thought it would be nice if I could give her a wedding trousseau as a gift."

Charlie could hear her future husband audibly exhale over the phone, as if wincing at the thought of trying to stop her from doing such a thoughtful act.

"Go, Charlie-girl," sighed Adam. "You told me of all the precautions you're taking, so you're not being reckless with your safety. We must learn to live with these kinds of situations, and it's best to learn to face them now. If you want to go, then go. But, please call me when you get home."

"Thank you, Adam," replied Charlie, knowing that it was a step of faith on his part.

"I'd love to go with you," he continued, "but I don't dare show my face in public. You'd be mobbed for sure. It's less likely you'll be recognized, if I'm not there. Do you need any money? I can send Bill over, if you don't think you have enough. This trousseau could be from both of us, if you don't mind sharing the cost," he offered.

"Wow," Charlie replied, in a soft dreamlike voice. "And to think, in a few months, you're going to be all mine!"

The ensuing smile that crossed Adam's face, would stay there all day long. Ten minutes later, Bill arrived with a more than generous donation to Maggie's wedding trousseau. After wishing Maggie well, Bill returned to Adam's home.

When the women were ready to leave, Kevin stepped outside and checked the rear windows, ensuring that no one was hiding in the back seat. When it was all clear, he motioned for them to come out. The women quickly ducked inside the landrover, with Maggie sitting in the back, and Charlie sitting on the passenger side up front, for Kevin had insisted that she remain where he could best protect her.

Even without the darkly tinted windows, it would have been difficult to recognize Charlie. She had gathered her long brown hair and discreetly hid it beneath a baseball cap; the beautiful engagement ring had disappeared from her finger, and sat waiting for her return, in the wooden music box; all in all, Charlie's dark sunglasses and hand-me-down clothing made her look more like a person in need of work, rather than the fiancée of the world famous musician and multimillionaire, Wallace Shipley. It was a good disguise-- or so she thought. Only the day would tell.

As the landrover drove away, a news car pulled up to the house.

"Do you think they know that this vehicle is me?" Charlie asked Kevin, as he quickly made tracks for the road out of Twin Yucca.

Kevin checked his rear view mirror to see if anyone was following them.

"I don't think so," he observed.

Charlie held her breath.

"Maybe this landrover shouldn't be parked so close to the house," she remarked, thoughtfully. "If people know this vehicle is Adam's, we'll be followed everywhere!"

"That's not a bad idea," agreed Kevin, as they merged onto Highway Sixty-two.

Everyone was quiet on the drive into Palm City, for though Maggie wanted to chat with Charlie about her upcoming marriage to Jeff, Kevin's presence was still new, and she felt awkward discussing such personal things in front of a stranger. Maggie contented herself with silent raptures of exhilaration, for she was going shopping with her friend, for a wedding that was to take place the day after tomorrow! It was almost more excitement than she could take!
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