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"Adam, I..." she began.

"I know," replied Adam, knowingly, "we'll talk about it later. Here, let me help you sit down on the couch," he offered, knocking some clothes off the couch so she could have a place to sit.

Vera sat down at the table with Gary, and watched the scene unfold.

"You're supposed to keep that ankle elevated, aren't you?" he asked, pushing a cushioned stool under her foot, so she could prop it up.

In this light, Charlie saw just how pale Adam's face was. She noticed that he had also lost weight, giving his handsome face a slightly drawn look. His dark eyes were weary, but his mouth was all smiles.

"They're calling you a hero on television," said Adam, his voice full of praise. "Finally, they're recognizing you for what you are-- a little piece of heaven! You understand what I'm saying, don't you? Surely, you know by now what you mean to me."

"Jo, the little girl," said Charlie, trying to change the subject, "is a big fan of yours. When she was in a lot of pain, I promised that you'd visit her. I know I had no right to make that promise, but I thought you wouldn't mind."

"'No right'?" repeated Adam, in a hurt tone. "Charlie, you know me better than that."

He walked to the tiny coffee table and picked up a bowl of dried fruit.

"Would you like some?" he lamely offered.

"When was the last time you got any sleep?" asked Charlie, concerned by what she was seeing.

"Please, don't start with the sleep," begged Adam. "I've had doctor after doctor guess what's wrong with me, and I've had enough-- for now, anyway! Tell me about Jo," he asked, tossing aside the untouched bowl of dried fruit. "On the news, they said you discovered a cave no one knew existed! That must have been exciting!"

"It had a lot of bats," she answered, unenthusiastically. "Adam, why don't you sit down?"

"I'd rather stand," he replied, shifting wearily to the other foot. "How have you been these last few weeks? You must have been hiding really well, because I had the best private investigator money could buy, out looking for you."

"Adam," said Charlie, "we need to talk about us."

"Not now," he implored, "please, Charlie, not now. At the moment, I don't have the strength to fight you, and I'm afraid you'll win. I'm so very tired," he said, his voice shaking a little.

Charlie's heart went out to him.

"Come, sit beside me," she offered, tossing more clothes from off the couch.

Adam didn't need a second invitation. He readily sat down, and let Charlie tenderly place his head on her lap, so he could lie down.

"I hope you're not doing this to wear me down," he said, gently taking her left hand and holding it close to his heart. "I'm not going to let you go, without a fight."

"Just rest," said Charlie, softly stroking his hair.
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