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Maggie seemed a little relieved that at least she now knew what Charlie knew. For Charlie, reasoned Maggie, was about the smartest person she ever met, and if Charlie believed that incredible story, then it MUST be true.

"As long as I'm already up," sighed Charlie, getting up from the table, "we might as well begin some of the preparations."

"Are we going to make a turkey?" asked Maggie, for the meal had originally been scheduled as a small Thanksgiving party for the two couples.

"You're getting married, today!" laughed Charlie. "We won't have time! Here's your to-do list. Make sure you've packed all the things you aren't taking with you on your honeymoon. Jeff will be over before breakfast to take it to his house, so be sure it's ready. The minister will be here at ten this morning and will officiate the wedding ceremony in the living room. After a small reception, you and your new family will drive to Los Angeles where you'll meet Jeff's parents for the first time. Then you and Jeff drop off Debbie there, and go on your honeymoon."

"We have to be back by Monday morning," added Maggie, "because Jeff has work."

"I'll begin fixing the reception meal, while you start packing," directed Charlie, who was already on her way to the bathroom to first change.

Maggie went back to Charlie's bedroom where Vera was getting the sleep denied her the night before. Quietly, the woman began to put the belongings that her Mom had brought the day before Thanksgiving, into boxes. Maggie felt strange as she packed away her old life, to begin a new one. The doll collection she had amassed over the many years, now seemed unimportant to her. With the hope that perhaps Debbie, her soon to be stepdaughter, would enjoy the menagerie, Maggie carefully bundled the dolls into separate boxes and labeled them, "For Debbie." The idea that she was soon going to be mother to a nine year-old, made Maggie joyous and intimidated at the same time.

Then she spotted the old Dairy Cream hat she had been so fond of wearing. Maggie had quit her job at Dairy Cream, so she could be a stay-at-home Mom. The Dairy Cream job had not been a sacrifice, but Maggie hated to toss away the hat, so she placed it into one of the boxes, for old time's sake.

As promised, Jeff arrived early, and loaded his car with Maggie's boxes. He smiled when he saw the cartons labeled "For Debbie." There was no time for the engaged couple to talk, for Maggie had to go back inside and start packing for the honeymoon.

Since there was much to do, and little time to fix breakfast, everyone ate cereal, and rushed off in different directions.

Vera went to the florist and returned with three arrangements of white flowers to be placed about the living room. She also bought a small bouquet for Maggie to hold, and a matching boutonniere for Jeff's lapel. Vera also stopped by the bakery and picked out something that looked the closest to a wedding cake as possible.

"Do you have to do that in here?" Charlie asked Kevin, as he cleaned his handgun on the living room table she and Vera had set up on one side of the living room.

"I'm almost done," replied Kevin, finishing his task.

"Charlie?" called Maggie from the bedroom.

"I'm coming!" replied Charlie, going to the bedroom.

"What is this for?" asked Maggie, holding up a negligée that Charlie had bought her on the shopping trip. "I don't remember buying this."

"Remember that talk we had this morning?" answered Charlie with a smile. "Well, that goes with it."

"Oh," said Maggie, quickly becoming embarrassed.

At nine o' clock, Jeff and Debbie arrived at the Overholts' house. Jeff was dressed in a rented tuxedo, while Debbie was very pretty in a pale yellow dress. Father and daughter nervously took a seat on the living room couch while Charlie and Vera helped Maggie dress in the bedroom. The minister came soon after, along with Adam, Bill, and Martin Thompson, who was Jeff's closest buddy on the Twin Yucca Police force.

Maggie's wedding dress consisted of a white dress suit, with matching pumps and a tiny spray of white baby's breath and tiny rosebuds that Charlie had fashioned from one of the florist arrangements. This was clearly the most beautiful Charlie had ever seen her. Gone was the baseball cap wearing woman who often waited at the bus stop for a long lost brother she had never met. The one whom so many had ridiculed as "Mad Maggie" was no longer the lonely outsider. Here stood Miss Maggie Veronica Downen, soon to be Mrs. Jeff Erickson.
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