The Greatest of These: Chapter 43: Page 6

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"After dark, tonight," he suggested, "do you think we could slip away without anyone noticing?"

"I suppose so," replied Charlie. "Why do you ask?"

"Now that our chaperons have gotten married," smiled Adam, "the only thing left to us is the night. Wouldn't you like to take just one more ramble on the Mojave, before I go? We could hike out to Harrison's Ravine, and watch the moon glide overhead. What do you think?"

"'Harrison's Ravine'?" repeated Charlie, incredulously. "Isn't that more than an hour's walk from here? Besides, we couldn't be away that long, by ourselves! Adam, I know we wouldn't fool around before we got married, but why put temptation in our way like that?"

"I suppose you're right," sighed Adam. "Hey! I have an idea!" he said, suddenly brightening. "We could drag Kevin along!"

"I don't know," hesitated Charlie. "We wouldn't be alone, but what would other people say?"

"Well," reasoned Adam, "that's why we would slip away after dark. No one but Vera and Kevin need know."

"What about Bill?" asked Charlie.

"What about Bill?" said Adam.

"Won't Bill wonder what you're up to, when you don't come home, tonight?" she asked. "I want to avoid the appearance of evil." [1 Thessalonians 5:22]

"I'll tell him what's going on-- he'll understand," said Adam. "How about it?"

Charlie paused to think.

"Where's you're spontaneity, Charlie-girl?" he coaxed. "Please, do this for me."

"I'll come," said Charlie, "if we take Bill with us, too."

"Consider it done!" exclaimed Adam, springing up from the couch. "I'll get him to come, if I have to promise half my royalties! First, I'll go clear the hike with you grandmother. Thanks for going along with this, Charlie! Tonight will have to last me a long time."

To Adam's relief, Vera consented, while Kevin considered it his duty as bodyguard to come. Bill, on the other hand, was another matter. His idea of enjoying the outdoors was a leisure game of golf, or maybe a little tennis. Long walks in the middle of the desert at night, were not his idea of fun. However, since Adam was going to give the tour his undivided attention for the next several months, Bill finally agreed.

"Thanks, Grandma," said Charlie, after Adam had gone home to get a little sleep before the outing that night. "You made him very happy."

"No," smiled Vera, "you're the one who's making him happy. Go get some rest, yourself. The sun won't set until about five o' clock, so you have time to get in a little sleep."

"Grandma," asked Charlie, "if I decide to go house hunting, would you come with me? I would appreciate your opinion."

"Of course, Pumpkin," replied Vera, thankful that she was to have some input on the decision.

Charlie went to her bedroom, for now that Maggie was gone, she could sleep in her own bed, instead of on the couch in the living room. She brushed her teeth, changed into a nightgown, and climbed into bed. Before long, Charlie was fast asleep.


At five in the evening, Vera woke her granddaughter up.

"The sun is setting," she announced.

Charlie climbed out of bed and changed clothes. It felt a little surreal to have slept the middle of the day away, only to wake up before nightfall.

"Do you still have that backpack?" asked Vera, as Charlie tied on her hiking shoes.

"I think it's in the closet," replied Charlie. "What do you want it for?"

"I'm going to pack you and the others a light meal," explained the old woman, searching the closet for the article. "I thought you might get hungry after hiking so far."

"Thanks, Grandma," smiled the teenager. "That sounds like a good idea."
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