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"She hasn't called it off, yet!" retorted Adam.

"But, you're afraid she will," observed Jerome.

"What did you say to her?" demanded the musician.

"Not a thing," replied Jerome. "Not a single thing. She was here to pick something up-- that's all."

"What did she pick up?" asked Adam.

Jerome hesitated.

"An envelope," he replied.

"What was in the envelope?" pressed Adam.

"That, I don't know," said Jerome. "You don't believe me, do you?" he asked, his mouth spreading into a long thin line. "I know I'm not a likable man, but I'm not a liar."

"Vera said Charlie talked to you about wedding invitations," reminded Adam.

"Okay," conceded Jerome. "One little white lie, to get Mom off my back."

"Who was the envelope from?" asked Adam.

"Don't worry," scoffed Jerome. "It's not your competition."

"TELL ME!" shouted Adam. "I have a right to know!"

"I'm going to bed," said Jerome. "Please close the door on your way out."

Adam resisted the urge to resort to violence, and hurriedly left Mullen-Overholt. He stood outside, unsure where to go. With a heavy heart, he finally went home, to an empty house.

The next morning, Adam had the revelation to look through Charlie's satellite phone bills, to see what numbers she had been calling. With a quick call to the phone company, and after verifying that he was the the one who paid the bills, Adam was given a list of numbers. Most numbers he immediately recognized as friends and family, and of course, his own cell number. However, one number stood out.

Adam promptly called the phone number and held his breath. To his relief, it was a woman's voice that answered.

"University of Southern California, ADRB department," answered the receptionist.

"Hello," began Adam, "I need to talk to someone in charge."

"I'm sorry," said the woman, "you have to be more specific than that. What office do you want?"

"Well," said Adam, "I'm not sure. This is difficult to explain, but my fiancée is about to call off our engagement, and I found your number on her phone bill. It's the only number that I'm not familiar with, and I was hoping someone there might possibly know her. I know it's far-fetched, but I'm grasping at straws here. Maybe you've heard of her-- Charlotte Overholt?"

"Excuse me," said the woman, "but might you be Wallace Shipley?"

"Yes," said Adam. "I'm Wallace Shipley. Has Charlotte ever been there?"

"Please hold one minute, sir," said the woman, as she switched Adam to nondescript hold music.

Adam inhaled, and drummed his fingers on the desk. He hoped they hadn't only heard of Charlie because of the publicity.

"Sir, are you still there?" asked the woman, the music suddenly going still.

"Yes," answered Adam, "I'm still here."

"Mr. Webber has agreed to see you, at your earliest convenience," informed the woman. "Would twelve noon be all right?"
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