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Some people Charlie recognized, but most were complete strangers to her. Adam, however, seemed to know many of them. Friends from the music industry, friends from college, friends from Twin Yucca, friends of friends, and so on, lined up to congratulate the new husband and wife.

Time moved slowly, and Adam saw that Charlie's strength was beginning to flag. He whispered something to a waiter, and then moments later, the band began to play music with a quick tempo. Sure enough, the reception line picked up speed. Adam gave Charlie a wink, and then returned to thanking the guests.

"It was a lovely wedding, dear," said Mrs. Jenkins, the woman whom Vera had stayed with during those terrible months when Charlie had run away. "I'm so happy for you!"

"Thank you," said Charlie, hugging the old woman.

An hour went by, and the line began to dwindle. Many asked to take a picture with the famous newlyweds, while others wanted to ask questions. This held up progress, but the longer everyone waited in line, the more eager they became to get the congratulations over with and return to their tables to rest their feet. More than once, Charlie stifled a cough. She hid it so successfully, that no one knew she wasn't as overjoyed as she appeared to be. In spite of everything, she had to admit that she was happy... even though she felt hot and scratchy.

When the last person had at last been thanked, Adam led Charlie back to the elevator while people waved good-bye. The second the doors closed, Charlie collapsed into Adam's arms, exhausted from the ordeal. Adam gently picked her up and waited for the elevator to arrive at their floor. Even though her face was leaning against his collar, he could feel her fever.

"I shouldn't have let you do it," he reproached himself.

"It was my decision," mumbled Charlie. "I'm so tired, Adam."

Adam carried his young wife to her room, and lay her on the bed. He felt her forehead and sighed heavily.

"You're burning up," he said. "This wedding dress is holding in your body heat, Charlie. You've got to take it off."

Adam was wondering whether he should leave or not, but when he saw the teenager make a weak effort to unlace the bodice, he intervened. The musician gently unfastened the gown and lifted it over her head.

"This thing has a petticoat, too?" he exclaimed in concern. "It's no wonder you're fever is worse!"

Adam helped Charlie off with the weighty garment and discreetly covered her with a light blanket as she lay back down on the bed. Charlie was feeling self conscious of her present state, but lacked the energy to ask him to leave.

"I helped take care of Mike and Chad when they had the measles," said Adam, "so I know what to do. Just get some rest. I'm going to go for a minute to talk to the guys. Kevin is outside, so if you need anything, just call him, and he'll come get me. I'll be back soon."

He tenderly kissed Charlie on the forehead and left the room.

Bill smiled as Adam walked in.

"Adam," said Bill, "we have an idea. You and Charlie need to go somewhere private and out of the way, and I think I know of the perfect place. My Uncle Rick, from my mother's side of the family, lives out in Oak Glen, and he and his wife have a guesthouse. When I told him of your situation, he said to bring you both down whenever we wanted."

"You told him?!" exclaimed Adam. "After everything Charlie's gone through to keep her measles a secret, and you told him?"

"Uncle Rick was standing right next to me when I got Shirley's call," explained Bill. "From just my side of the conversation, he could pretty much guess for himself what was going on, already."

"Your uncle is in Palm Springs?" asked Adam, a little puzzled.

"Actually," smiled Bill, "he was invited to your wedding. He's a big Wallace Shipley fan, and I thought he'd get a kick out of attending the wedding. You probably shook hands with him in the reception line."

"There were a lot of people," sighed Adam.
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