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"What are you talking about?" wondered Charlie. Even now, she couldn't help but yawn, and Adam realized that this wasn't the right time for such a discussion.

"Not now," he sighed. "You're nearly asleep on your feet, as it is. I'll tell you later."

"Are we all right?" she smiled.

"I guess so," nodded Adam, turning to leave. "Charlie?" he suddenly asked, as she was about to go into the bathroom.

"What?" she yawned, her tired eyes falling shut and then struggling to open once more.

"Nothing," he dismissed. "I'll save you some dessert for tomorrow."

"All right, thanks," she smiled. Before she closed the door behind her, Adam called after her one more time.


Charlie opened the door and looked at him with a puzzled face.

"If I don't get to tell you later," he explained, "goodnight."

She cocked her head at him curiously.

"I just wanted to tell you goodnight," repeated Adam. With that, he returned to the table to finish his dinner.

Charlie was perplexed for only a moment. With a knowing nod of her head, she disappeared into the bathroom for that long awaited shower. She would take care of him, after she no longer carried half the Mojave Desert in her hair and clothing.

The hot water felt good, and Charlie was tempted to shut her eyes and drift to sleep under its soothing torrent. After the grime of the day had been cleaned from her skin and hair, Charlie wrapped herself in a large bath towel and ran water in the shower to rinse the dirt she had contributed to its walls and floor. When the shower still looked dirty, Charlie realized that it would take more than just a little water to get the bathroom looking clean again. Too tired to do anything about it now, the young woman put on her nightgown and robe.

As Charlie opened the bathroom door, a draft of air greeted her warm skin and chilled her, for she had just come from the humid atmosphere of a hot shower. In her bare feet, Charlie padded to the living room and found no one at the piano. When she stuck her head into the second living room, she found Vera asleep in her easy chair, while Chuck dozed away on the sofa. Charlie realized that she had spent longer in the bathroom than she had intended, for everyone had already gone to bed, or was about to. When Charlie turned to leave, Vera stirred and looked up at her granddaughter.

"You look much better," she observed, setting aside her knitting bag. "I think I'd better get Chuck ready for bed. Adam and Kevin have already turned in."

"Do you want any help?" offered Charlie.

"No, no, I can manage," said Vera, turning off the television set.

Kissing her grandma goodnight, Charlie went back through the first living room and then to the bedroom that she and Adam shared. Thinking he was probably already asleep, Charlie quietly opened the door and stepped through, careful to close it again without making any noise.

"How was your shower?" asked Adam, leaning forward in bed and clicking on a small lamp on the nightstand.
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