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"Yes, that's fine," said Adam, a little unsure what was going on. "I'm terribly sorry," he apologized, "but what's your address?"

The woman gave the address, and then politely hung up. The conversation hadn't cleared up any questions Adam had-- instead, they brought up several more. Why would Charlie call a university? Had she applied to attend? He recalled some distant conversation where she had alluded to an old desire to become a dentist. Could that be what this was all about? And why was Jerome so secretive? Then there was the receptionist he had just spoken to. When she realized who Charlotte was, she suddenly seemed very polite and helpful, but was slow to say anything very informative. Adam had the sense that it just wasn't because he was Wallace Shipley, either.

"I MUST know!" he cried.

Not wanting to be spotted by fans, Adam began the drive to LA, just as the sun was threatening to peak over the Mojave horizon. He knew he would arrive hours too early, but he had to do something.

To his surprise, Adam discovered that the address he had been given was not the university's admissions center, but a research building, instead. An uneasy feeling crept over him as he made his way down the long walkways to the building number the woman had told him. Adam's heart sunk when he saw that it was the Alzheimer's Disease Research Building. He put his sunglasses back on and went back to his car.

"This is probably about Chuck," he told himself. "Please God, cause that to be it!"

The hours slowly ticked by, until it was time for the appointment. Adam followed his footsteps once more to the Alzheimer's Disease Research Building. When the female receptionist saw him coming, she immediately recognized him, and pointed to an office door.

"He's waiting for you," she said.

Adam took off his sunglasses and knocked on the door.

"Come in," said a male voice. "Mr. Shipley, please sit down. My name is Peter Webber. I understand you're making inquiries about Charlotte Overholt."

"Yes," said Adam, sitting down in a comfortable chair facing the desk.

"First, I must tell you," said Peter, "that what I'm about to tell you is in the strictest confidence. In fact, the only reason I even agreed to see you, is because the said person's legal guardian has given permission for me to do so."

"Jerome Overholt?" asked Adam.

"Precisely," answered Peter. "How much about this matter are you already familiar with?"

"Nothing," said Adam. "I'm completely in the dark."

Peter became very sober. He got up and made sure the office door was closed, before resuming his seat behind the desk.

"I see," sighed Peter. "Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning. I'm a Certified Genetic Counselor. I was approached by Jerome early this month concerning someone who wanted to test for the PS-1 gene, but wanted to keep their identity secret. Of the people we test, it's not rare to have someone wanting to use an alias, because they're afraid of not being able to get life insurance, and other such issues. Well, Jerome's friend came in, and was tested. I didn't have to see her face to know who she was. Her family's medical history told me that I was looking at an Overholt. For many years, I've been after Jerome to get tested, because families like his could tell us a lot about genetics. Finally, I had the opportunity to test another Overholt, but I couldn't use her in any family case studies."

Adam gripped the arm rests of his chair.

"Do you wish to take a moment, Mr. Shipley?" asked Peter.

"No," answered Adam, "go on."

"Charlotte was given the test, and the results came back positive. She has the PS-1 gene," informed Peter.

"What is this PS-whatever gene, you're talking about?" asked Adam, trying to hold back the feelings that were starting to flood his being.
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