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"How soon do you think those awful pictures will be published?" Charlie wondered with a shudder.

"I don't know," replied Adam, picking up Charlie's satellite phone. "I'm going to talk to Bill. Maybe there's something we can do about it."

While Adam phoned his personal manager, Charlie looked at the bandaged knuckles on Adam's hands. He was covered in dirt from head to foot, and where it didn't fall from him in the form of dust, it caked to his clothing and skin in dried patches of perspiration and mud. Charlie looked at herself, and suddenly realized she wasn't very clean, either. Propping her head against Adam's shoulder, Charlie decided not to go after the dirt they were spreading. In a short while, they would both be heading back to work, so the housework would have to wait until later.

After a few minutes of discussion with Bill, Adam hung up the phone. By the glum look on his face, Charlie guessed that he didn't have encouraging news.

"Bill says we'd better file a police report, so that if we ever need to, we have an official account of what happened today," related Adam. "It's possible that Lyle could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon."

"What about the cameraman who took our picture?" asked Charlie.

"Until someone actually does something libelous with the photos, Bill doesn't think we have much recourse against the photographer," Adam sighed. "Besides the fact that the he was probably paying Lyle to hide out in his van, we don't know who he was, or who he might sell the photos to. Bill's going to hire a lawyer so we'll be ready to act, but for now, all we can do is wait and see what happens."

Disappointed, Charlie picked at a small patch of dried mud on Adam's shirt and tossed it onto the carpet.

"Hey," he tried to encourage her, "no matter what they do with the photos, we'll get through it all right."

"Okay," she nodded, forcing a smile when she didn't feel like one. "We'd better get back to work, before Beppe comes looking for us."

With a heavy heart, Adam watched as Charlie got up from the couch and headed out the front door. She had already had a difficult day, and it wasn't even lunchtime.

When Adam returned to Hiram and Mike, he noticed his young wife in the distance. She was sticking close to Beppe, and looking very timid about venturing too far without him. But Charlie wasn't the only one who had changed. The entire crew had suddenly become extremely sober. For once, the broad-shouldered man who frequently hovered near Charlie, had conveniently found a task that required him to be as far from her as he could possibly get. Adam smiled grimly. At least something good came from this morning.

The day waxed on, and lunchtime finally came. Since Vera wasn't home to fix their meal, Adam decided he would take Charlie to the small restaurant in Drywell, and have lunch with the rest of the workers. Not surprisingly, Charlie resisted his suggestion.

"We need to show the guys we're not angry with them," explained Adam. "Everyone's been tiptoeing around me as if I'm going to pounce on them if they look at me wrong."

"Not everyone," Charlie smiled weakly. "Not me."

"Okay, one victory," chuckled Adam. "Please come with me, Charlie. I won't let anyone hurt you."

"It's that kind of thinking that's making the guys so skittish," pointed out Charlie. "It looks as if we don't trust them."
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