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"We have a plan," announced Shirley, as the women entered the room and closed the door behind them. "Adam, you and Charlie are going to go downstairs and attend the reception as planned. You'll do the receiving line, and then excuse yourselves early to go on your honeymoon."

"Charlie's taken more medication," added Vera, "and her fever has gone down a little. Your sister and I have covered the rash on her face with makeup."

"We've tried to talk her out of it," sighed Shirley, "but she's determined to do this. Charlie has some idea that this could haunt you in the press, Adam, so she's going to fight it with everything she's got. I'm not sure how wise this is, given she has the measles, but it's still in the early stages, so she still has a little time before it fully breaks out."

"There is one thing," added Vera, "she won't be able to go to the destination you both had originally chosen for the honeymoon. Charlie isn't thinking past the reception downstairs, so maybe you men could work something out. I'd suggest taking her back home to Twin Yucca, but there's too much publicity there to do that."

Adam put on his tuxedo jacket and retied his bow tie.

"I'm going downstairs," he announced.

"Me and the guys," said Bill, "will stay here and hammer out a plan."

Adam gave them a grateful look, and then went into the hall where Charlie had just come from her room. He wanted to take her into his arms and tell her that public opinion didn't matter, that as long as she was with him, he could brave the worst they had to offer. Adam could see how hard she was struggling with her emotions just to stand there and not break into tears.

"You may not want to hear this right now," said Adam, tilting her chin back with his finger, "but I love you. You don't have to do this for me."

"I'm sorry I caught the measles," said Charlie, in an unsteady voice. "I ruined today for you. If I wasn't so young, this wouldn't have happened."

"Not everyone has the measles when they're small," reminded Adam. "Unless you tell me that you deliberately set out to catch them, I refuse to accept your apology."

Once more, Charlie broke down into tears, and turned her back to Adam. Just then, Shirley and Vera emerged from Adam's hotel room.

"Adam!" cried Shirley, her voice sounding with reproach, "we just got her calmed down!"

"I only talked to her," he defended himself.

"How can you know so little about women?" sighed Shirley, as Vera comforted her granddaughter and fixed her makeup again. "During the reception, don't speak to Charlie! Got that? Charlie, are you ready now, dear?"

"I'm ready," replied the young woman, steadying herself.

"I'll go down and announce you," said Shirley, going to the elevator with Vera. "Give me five minutes and then come."

As they waited, Adam looked at Charlie, and was about to speak to her when he remembered his sister's admonition.

"It's time," said Adam, checking his watch.

The newlyweds got into the elevator and were greeted with cheers and congratulations when the doors opened in the hotel lobby. The wedding photographers busily took pictures while Shirley moved the couple to the head of where the reception line was forming. An ice sculpture of a grand piano, lit from beneath with soft white lights, was the centerpiece of the beverage table, while large bouquets of fragrant pink and white roses littered the rooms, for there were so many guests, that just one room wasn't enough to contain them all. At the head of the main room, a band played slow music while the reception line grew longer and longer.

"Thank you for coming," smiled Charlie, shaking one hand after another, as they filed past the couple.
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