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Just then, the phone rang. It was Shirley. When the call was over, Charlie groaned softly to herself, and made a mental note to tell Adam what his sister had just said.

Then she went to the living room window and looked out at the fast dimming sky. There was not a sign of any photographers or fans to be seen. Pleased, Charlie smiled.

Just then, Adam and Bill walked through the front door.

"Are you ready?" asked Adam, with uncharacteristic eagerness.

"Almost," replied Charlie, going to the kitchen to see if the backpack was prepared.

"You'd better put on a coat," he added from the next room. "It's a little chilly outside."

"Here you go," said Vera, handing her granddaughter the backpack. "Make sure you stay warm, and keep track of the time, for you must be back before sunrise."

"I will, Grandma," assured Charlie, giving her a kiss before leaving.

Kevin appeared in the living room, wearing combat boots and fatigues.

"What, no night vision?" joked Bill, seeing his colleague preparing for the night out.

The bodyguard smiled wryly, and strapped on his shoulder holster.

When Adam opened the front door, a cold late November breeze greeted them. Bill muttered something about the sanity of this idea, but continued to trail behind Adam and Charlie, as Kevin remained closer to Charlie's side.

It was dark out, and the half moon overhead afforded little light. Suddenly, Kevin noticed someone moving on the far end of the street.

"Stop for a minute," he told the others, as the dark figure made it's way down the walk and then disappeared into one of the houses. "Okay, all clear," said Kevin, for not only was he on the lookout for anyone who may want to hurt his client, but he had the added burden of trying to leave Twin Yucca without being noticed by anyone.

Adam and Charlie remained silent, until they were out of earshot of Twin Yucca. The city lights slowly grew smaller and smaller behind them, as they hiked beside highway 247 before making a right that would take them deeper into the Mojave.

"Are you warm enough?" Adam asked Charlie, as she zipped up her coat.

"I'm warm," she replied, her breath causing a trail of vapor before melting into the night air.

"You've never been to Harrison's Ravine before, have you?" said Adam. "I've taken the boys up there, several times. Mike used to love those outings, but when he became older, I suppose he lost all interest. Chad, on the other hand, has an insatiable appetite that I don't think all the outings in the world could satisfy. I'd be surprised if Chad ever follows Mike into the family business, when he grows up."

"I want to look for a house, while you're on tour," announced Charlie. "I've been thinking about it, and I want us to be able to go to our own home after we come back from the honeymoon, and not to Shirley's, like she offered."

"Shirley invited us to stay at her home?" asked Adam, shining his flashlight at a passing coydog in the distance. "When did this happen?"

"She called just before you came," Charlie explained. "I think your sister is trying to keep you in Twin Yucca for as long as possible."

"That wouldn't surprise me," he grinned.

A cool gust of air kissed Charlie's face as Adam turned from the road and started off in a westerly direction. He glanced at his young friend and noticed she was looking a little tired.

"Here," said Adam, taking the backpack from her shoulders, "I'll carry that."

"Thanks," breathed Charlie, getting her second wind. "I must be out of shape. Daddy and I often went hiking, but I never tired this fast."

"Do you want to stop for a minute?" he asked.

"No," replied Charlie. "I'm not that tired!"
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