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"Are you still awake?" she asked in surprise. Charlie took off her robe and climbed into her side of the large bed. "Sorry I took so long in the shower," she apologized. "Every major muscle group in my body is sore, and that hot water felt good."

Smelling the clean fragrance of the soap she had just used, Adam leaned forward and turned off the light. Instead of quickly falling asleep as she usually did, however, Charlie cuddled against Adam and began to be intimate with him.

"What are you doing?" he asked her through the darkness. "You're already worn out, Charlie."

"But, you need me," she reasoned, trying hard to stifle another yawn.

"It's all right," he assured her, unwinding her arm from about his neck and tucking her into bed. "Go to sleep, Charlie."

"Goodnight, Adam," her voice drifted away. "I love you."

"I love you, too," he whispered.

Later that night, Adam was awakened by the soft touch of Charlie's lips against his mouth. His eyes traveled to the blue glow of the clock near the head of the bed, and he realized that it was extremely early in the morning. Halfheartedly, Adam tried to resist Charlie's touch, for he could feel her still-tired body straining to please him. But she wasn't giving him much chance to resist, and before long, he succumbed to her embrace.

As the time slipped by, Charlie grew so tired that she wouldn't have been able to stay awake if the house were on fire. Still in Adam's arms, she fell into a deep, sound sleep, and didn't even awake the next morning when he climbed out of bed and dressed for the day. Not even the smell of Vera's hot breakfast was enough to rouse Charlie from her slumber.

"You need to have a talk with Beppe and the rest of the crew," Vera whispered to Adam, as they checked in on her before lunch that day. "Just look at her! It's not her responsibility to do their work for them!"

Adam didn't know how to respond. He was feeling guilty for accepting Charlie's sacrifice last night, and guiltier still for the thoughts he had been wrestling with the day before.

Outside, Beppe did as much work as he could without Charlie's input. Some projects came to a complete halt, while others went forward as planned. Adam had a hard time caring if it meant that they would fall behind schedule, or not. He was determined to give Charlie as much rest as she needed, and wasn't about to wake her before she was good and ready.

With a satisfied yawn, Charlie rolled over in bed, her sore muscles protesting as she stretched out beneath the covers. What a day she had had! Then she remembered the love she and Adam had shared the night before, and a smile parted her lips. Charlie knew Adam had needed her attention, and she was glad that she had made the effort to spend time with him.

Charlie groaned as she put her nightgown on and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Her muscles were stiff, but after she stood up and moved about the bedroom, the discomfort gradually lessened.

It wasn't until Charlie was buttoning her blouse, that she noticed the odd position of the sunlight coming through the bedroom window. Didn't it usually shine differently, when she woke up in the morning? Maybe it was cloudy outside, and that explained why it was darker than usual. Charlie looked for the familiar presence of the clock on the nightstand, but couldn't find it. No doubt, Adam had hid it again, so he wouldn't know how late he had stayed up with his insomnia.
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