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"Why it this place called Harrison's Ravine?" asked Kevin, for Adam seemed to know everything.

"Beats me," shrugged the musician. "Over this way, there's a large flat boulder that gives a good vantage of the desert," he said leading them up some steep rocks.

After a few minutes of exertion, the group made it to the top. They were only a few feet from the desert floor, but in the clear night, Charlie could see sparkling lights in the distance.

"That's Twentynine Palms," explained Adam. "Look over here, Charlie. Do you see those faint glimmers on the horizon?"

Charlie squinted her eyes, and nodded in the affirmative.

"That's Twin Yucca," he smiled.

"Really?" she said, in surprise. "Have we hiked that far?"

Adam searched the top of the rock with a flashlight, and pronounced it to be free of scorpions. Charlie asked for the backpack and sat down on the face of the large rock. Kevin and Bill sat down also, but tried to remain out of the way, while the couple settled down to watch the stars.

"What did you bring?" asked Adam, as he sat down beside his fiancée.

"Grandma thought we might get hungry," smiled Charlie, getting out the individually wrapped sandwiches. "Would you pass these to Bill and Kevin?"

Charlie smiled as she heard, "Hey, thanks!" coming from the other side of the flat boulder. Soon, Adam returned, requesting his share.

The rock was cold, and the air was dry, but it only added to the strange rugged beauty of the desert. Off in the distance, a coyote howled, while another answered it's call. Shadows raced along the Mojave floor as overhead clouds played with the remaining moonlight, jumping over sagebrush, and caressing the sandy expanse in the distance with long fingers of light and darkness. Overhead, stars were brilliantly shining from large patches of clear night sky, as if serenading them with the grandness of the universe stretching beyond the heavens.

"I have to admit," sighed Charlie, "for all the scorpions, rattle snakes, and tarantulas, the Mojave is beautiful!"

When Adam didn't respond, Charlie turned away from the breathtaking vista, and found Adam had been watching her. The soft moonlight highlighted the shadows of his handsome face, revealing the loving gaze that he was showering her with. Charlie lowered her eyes, and looked back on the stillness of the Mojave, still conscious of Adam's gentle stare. Charlie's lips parted in a smile.

"Please, stop," she pleaded. "You're making me self-conscious."

"When I'm hundreds of miles away from you," said Adam, in a hushed voice that made Charlie feel warm in even the coolness of the night, "and I'm in cities I've never seen, with people I don't know, I'll remember the way you are right now. I want to memorize you by heart, so that no matter where I go, or what I do, you will be there with me. Oh, Charlie," he sighed, "do you know how beautiful you are?"

Charlie was going to make some response about him needing his glasses, but the words stuck in her throat. All she could see were his intently flashing eyes. Overhead, the moon ran it's course, while falling stars cascaded around them.

"I tell myself that you love me," said Charlie, "and I can hardly believe it. I tell it to the mirror, and the reflection stares back at me incredulously. Only when I'm with you, or when I close my eyes, does it actually seem real."

Adam cupped his hands to his mouth, and shouted into the stillness,


His voice carried off into the distance, until all was silent once more.

"See?" he said. "No one is there to tell you that it isn't so."

Adam looked back at Charlie, only to see a glittering tear falling from her cheek.

"Our night is almost over," she said, trying to hold back the tears she felt welling up inside.
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