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"We need to let it chill," he said, placing the bottle carefully into the ice bucket. "This apple cider was bottled from my Dad's last harvest before he turned the business over to me. I've been saving it for a special occasion, and I can't think of a better one than this!"

Uncle Rick poured three glasses full and was about to fill Mae's when she put her hand over the mouth of her glass.

"None for me, honey," she smiled. "Alcohol isn't good for the baby."

Uncle Rick grinned broadly.

"So it is! So it is!" he chuckled happily. "We're going to have a baby! Now, for a toast," he announced. "Mae, you just grab that glass of iced tea. That's right. At a moment like this, I'm reminded of Hannah from the Old Testament when God had given her the child she had long desired. She said, 'My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD'! Mae and I can now repeat those same words with a very grateful heart! Here's to the LORD!"

Everyone raised their glasses and said in unison, "Amen!"

After everyone had eaten dinner, they sat on wooden adirondack chairs and sipped apple cider from a much less alcoholic vintage. The evening air was beginning to chill a little, but everyone hated to go inside, for they were enjoying the ever-changing hues painted on the horizon as the sun slowly sank in the west.

"What a good day this has been!" exclaimed Uncle Rick, reaching for Mae's hand, for she was siting in the chair beside his. "God has been very good to us!"

"I can second that," sighed Adam, smiling tenderly at Charlie. "Charlie and I couldn't have had a better place to spend our honeymoon."

"You both are welcome to stay as long as you want at the cottage," said Uncle Rick. "Mae and I are in no hurry to get rid of you guys. Right Mae?"

"Thanks," replied Adam, "but we can't hide out here forever. I have to get back to my piano, and Charlie is excited about starting working on Villa Rosa."

"Wait until the end of the month, then," reasoned Uncle Rick. "That's only a few more days. Do it for each other."

"Please, Adam?" asked Charlie. "Just until the end of July?"

"If that's what you want," said Adam, "then we'll stay a little longer. I'm in no hurry to leave, either."

Charlie got up and kissed Adam. Then the two went for a stroll in the orchard, savoring the evening and each other.

"Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse... Thou hast ravished my heart... thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love... how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon."
~ Song of Solomon 4:8-11 ~

"Keep me as the apple of [your] eye."
~ Psalms 17:8 ~

end of chapter
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