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"To spare me?" he muttered under his breath. "And I wanted to spare her. Vera, I didn't want Charlie to bear this, alone!"

Everyone was silent, as the car sped down the street and pulled up outside the apartment building where Chuck and Charlie had lived for so long.

"After she went missing," related Kevin, "I did a quick search of the streets surrounding the apartment building, but didn't find any sign of her, except for a few partial footprints left in the snow beneath the bedroom window."

"What time was that?" asked Adam.

"I'd say it was about six o'clock," figured Kevin, getting out of the car. "She couldn't have gone far."

"Charlie doesn't want to be found," concluded Adam, "and she's on familiar ground. She might as well be hiding on the moon!"

The three carefully went up the icy walk, and made their way to Mrs. Jenkins' apartment. When Kevin knocked on the door, an elderly woman wrapped in a blanket answered.

"Kevin," said Mrs. Jenkins, "you had a phone call just after you left."

"Who was it?" asked Adam, bracing himself for disappointment.

They went inside, and Mrs. Jenkins showed them the message she had taken from the caller.

"It was Charlotte," informed the old woman. "She wanted us to know that she's in a safe place, and not to worry about her. Before I had a chance to say very much, she hung up-- the poor dear! You must be her grandmother," she said, hugging Vera as though she were an old friend. "You can have Charlotte's room."

"We wouldn't want to impose on your hospitality," replied Adam, suddenly realizing that Mrs. Jenkins was preparing for them to stay at her apartment.

"Nonsense!" she exclaimed, helping Vera off with her coat. "I haven't had this much company since the Overholts lived across the hall. Do you know, of all the neighbors I've ever had, the Overholts were my favorite. Every Thanksgiving, they'd invite me to their apartment. There was always so much food, and she did all the cooking herself! I remember Charlotte, when she was about six years old, wrapped in an oversized apron, and standing on top of an orange crate, so she could reach the kitchen countertop. And there was Charlton, hovering nearby, in case she fell off. Oh my! All the convincing in the world couldn't pull her off that crate!"

As Mrs. Jenkins led Vera to the guest room, Adam and Kevin discussed what to do next.

"If we put her picture in the paper," Adam was reasoning, "then someone is bound to come forward!"

"But," resisted Kevin, who hated going against his employer, "if you make it generally known that Charlotte Overholt is alone in Butte, then you'll attract every opportunist in the nation!"

"Then," said Adam, trying hard to remain calm, "we could make up a list of people Charlie knows in Butte, and go visit them. Surely, one of them has seen her!"

"It's a sound idea," admitted Kevin, "except for one thing: you shouldn't leave this apartment any more than you absolutely have to. Don't you see, Mr. Clark, that if the media gets wind that you're in Montana, then it will only serve to endanger Miss Overholt?"

"I can't stand here and do nothing, Kevin!" he exclaimed. "I must do something!"

"Tomorrow morning," proposed Kevin, "you and Mrs. Jenkins and Vera, sit down and make up that list. I'll call Mr. Paulson [Bill] and see if he couldn't fly down and help me visit everyone on the list. There's no reason to believe she's in immediate danger. Miss Overholt said it herself, 'Montana has been my home... I'll be fine.' We must operate on that belief, and trust to Providence."

"All right, Kevin," conceded Adam, wearily dropping down onto the living room couch, and shuddering at the cold. "I pray she's warm, tonight."
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