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"What's the big news?" asked Charlie, with bated breath.

"Not yet!" laughed Maggie, as they all sat down in the living room.

It was quite an informal gathering. Maggie's mother was present (without her husband), as were Jeff's parents. Debbie sat on her grandma's lap while her grandpa talked to Jeff.

Vera seemed strangely happy, for one that didn't yet know what their news was. Jeff poured everyone a glass of sparkling apple cider, and with Maggie by his side, made an important announcement.

"I'm sure, by now, you're all wondering what the big news is," he grinned. "I won't keep everyone in anticipation, any longer. Maggie and I are going to have a baby!"

The room erupted with congratulations and tearful smiles. Maggie hugged Charlie, and tried to hold back the joyful tears, without success. It was a truly happy moment for everyone. Then, Maggie showed Charlie the room they were planning to turn into the baby's nursery.

"And we're going to put the crib over here, next to the window," said Maggie, as Charlie took another sip of her apple cider.

"Have you guys thought of any names, yet?" asked Charlie, as the two women sat down on the floor to talk.

"Jeff likes Sophie if it's a girl, or Donald if it's a boy," said Maggie, with a thoughtful face. "I think I like Rachel or James, but I'm not sure. Jeff says we have plenty of time to decide."

"Well, Maggie," sighed Charlie, contentedly, "I thought it probably would happen to you, before it did me. After all, you have an eight month head start! Wouldn't it be neat if you had a boy and I had a girl and they grew up and married each other? That would sort of make us related, wouldn't it?"

"Is the wedding still planned for July?" asked Maggie.

"Adam promises me the tour will be over by then," laughed Charlie, "but I sometimes find it hard to believe!"

"I already have your birthday present, bought and wrapped," teased Maggie.

"You didn't have to do that!" exclaimed Charlie.

"I wanted to," smiled the woman. "Can I give it to you, now?"

"But," pointed out Charlie, "my birthday isn't until the end of the month!"

"Please?" begged Maggie, getting to her feet to go get the package.

"It's yours to give whenever you want," conceded Charlie.

Maggie dashed off and quickly returned with a ribboned box. She thrust it beneath Charlie's nose and eagerly urged her to open the present.

Charlie undid the bow and carefully unfastened the tape on the wrapping paper, as was her habit.

"Oh!" exclaimed Maggie, impatiently, "go faster than that!"

With a smile, the teenager did as she was told. Soon, she uncovered a small felt box. Upon lifting the lid, she saw half of a heart on a gold chain.

"I have the other half!" said Maggie, eagerly taking hers off and piecing the two halves together so Charlie could read the inscription:

"Best friends, no matter how far apart."

"It's so you won't forget me, when you move," explained Maggie.

"I could never forget, Maggie," said Charlie, giving her friend another hug.

After the celebration was over, Kevin took Charlie and Vera home. That night, Charlie lie in bed awake, thinking about Maggie and the baby. An old, forgotten thought returned to her mind. She turned over, and closed her eyes. Charlie had made her decision.
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