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Chapter Forty-four
The Truth About Charlie

"I [God] will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel."
~ Isaiah 45:3 ~

After Adam left, life gained in momentum for Charlie. Maggie came back from her honeymoon on Monday, so Jeff could go back to work. She dropped by the Overholt house to say hello to her young friend, but couldn't stay long, for she had a new home to put in order.

"We had such a wonderful time, Charlie!" Maggie exclaimed. "You were right, there wasn't anything to worry about. And that birds-and-the-bees talk? It was true!" she added in amazement.

Monday also brought Mrs. Strickland to Twin Yucca, for the continued public interest over Wallace Shipley was such a problem, that it prompted Galilee Christian School to send over a teacher to tutor Charlie at the Overholt residence, so she could forgo turning the school grounds into a media circus. Even though this had been Charlie's plan for some time, the school board had beaten her to it.

With Vera knitting quietly, and Chuck watching television with the volume all the way down, Mrs. Strickland began tutoring Charlie in the living room. Kevin sat on a chair near the front window, maintaining a vigilant eye on the activity outside.

A policeman had been assigned to the Overholt house. He sat outside in a patrol car, maintaining order on the near-constant traffic of tourists, sightseers, and fans. The neighborhood had requested his presence, even though the Twin Yucca Police Department really couldn't afford to dedicate a patrol unit for that street alone. However, action had to be taken, for out-of-towners were parking on lawns, traipsing about the sleepy neighborhood, trying to see if they could spot Charlie or Wallace Shipley, (even though his departure had been widely publicized).

After her lessons were over, and Mrs. Strickland had left, Shirley came over to discuss plans for the wedding. Charlie dearly wished that she could postpone this meeting, but her future sister-in-law was so zealous, that the teenager didn't have the heart to say "not now."

"We really don't have much time to get a reservation for the reception room, you know," Shirley was saying. "I've found that most places are booked solid during the summer months, because many people get married then."

There were so many things to plan and arrange for the wedding, that Charlie felt numb. There were the caterers to consider, the dress to pick out, the reception room to rent, the flower arrangements to line up, the guest lists to prepare, the wedding favors to purchase, the dresses for the bridesmaids to pick out, the wedding cake to plan, the photographer to hire, the seating arrangements to lay out, and the wedding vows that needed to be written. All in all, by the time Shirley had left, little had been settled on, and Charlie was even more tired than before.

"Oh, Grandma!" exclaimed Charlie, wearily flopping down on the couch, after Shirley left, "I'm going to be so relieved when this wedding is all over with!"

"That's not a very healthy attitude," remarked Vera, taking in the tea tray to the kitchen. "You only get married once. You should be enjoying all these preparations, not dreading them."

"I might be able to enjoy it more, if I didn't have so many other things to do, at the same time," groaned Charlie, from the living room.

Just then, someone knocked on the front door. Kevin jumped to his feet and checked the woman out before letting her inside.

"Do you know a Constance Riley?" asked Kevin, looking over his shoulder to Charlie for her approval.

"Yes, she's all right," replied Charlie, bracing herself for Adam's old girlfriend.

A well dressed, blonde-headed woman stepped inside the living room. This was the second time Charlie had talked to Constance, the first time being in North Carolina at the Christmas concert.

"Thank you for seeing me," said Constance, coming forward to shake Charlie's hand. "I realize you must be busy. Shirley thought you might need help in finding a new house here in Twin Yucca."

continued on next page...
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