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Adam ran with Charlie in tow, through a maze of empty cars, and to the entrance of the parking lot.

"What's going on?" asked Charlie. "Who were those people?"

Adam, however, was too busy to answer her. He slowed down to a walk, and checked behind his shoulder. No one had even noticed them. Adam smiled triumphantly and hurried Charlie to a car, parked near the entrance of a restaurant. Suddenly, a man stepped forward from the shadows and addressed them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Adam," said the man, shaking the musician's hand. "Bill has told me a lot about you. You too, Mrs. Clark," he added, shaking her hand as well. "If you'll both get into the back seat and keep down, I think we can get there unnoticed."

"Keep down," directed Adam, as he helped her into the back of the car.

Then he slid in beside Charlie and smiled at her with satisfaction.

"Who were those people?" repeated Charlie, as Adam tried unsuccessfully to put his arm around her.

"Friends," he answered with a twinkle in his eye. "Lean against me and get some sleep," he coaxed her. "Stop scratching, or you'll only make it worse. I'm not taking you back, Charlie-girl, so you might as well make the best of it."

Charlie leaned away from Adam and closed her eyes. She felt miserable, looked miserable, and in short, wanted her grandmother. To Adam's dismay, her tears began once more.

"Don't cry," he pleaded helplessly.

"You're doing the right thing," commented the man in the front seat to the groom. "From what Bill told me, you both need this time away from the spotlight."

"I don't know how to thank you enough," said Adam gratefully.

"It's my pleasure," smiled Uncle Rick, glancing in the rear view mirror at his famous passengers. "I've enjoyed your music for years, and I'm just delighted to be able to give back somehow!"

After a while, Charlie quieted down, but kept herself turned away from Adam so he wouldn't see her face, for the rash was slowly moving down from her hairline and would eventually travel the entire length of her body. As Uncle Rick continued to drive, Charlie had the sensation of gaining altitude.

"It's the mountains," explained Adam, seeing the look of apprehension on her face from the reflection on the car window. "Bill's Uncle Rick is letting us stay at his guesthouse in Oak Glen."

"I want to go home," begged Charlie.

"I can't take you back," he tenderly replied. "The media is too great right now."

"I live in an apple orchard, Mrs. Clark," spoke up Uncle Rick from the front seat. "I have twenty-four varieties of the best apples God ever created. We have an apple press and make the finest sparkling apple cider in the region, if I do say so myself. Maybe, when you get better, you and Adam could come to the house and have dinner with my wife and I. I'm sure she'd be delighted to have you."

"Thank you," replied Charlie, her voice sounding tired.

"We're almost there," continued Uncle Rick. "Just hang in there."

From her car window, Charlie could see the dark night sky overhead, sprinkled with twinkling stars. Soon, the vehicle turned onto a dirt road and bumped along until the headlight beams revealed a wooden gate.

"We're here!" the driver announced.

Uncle Rick got out, swung open the gate, and drove the car through. When he got out again to close it, Adam checked his watch.

"It's one in the morning," said Adam with a yawn.
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