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While Adam took his turn in the shower, Charlie vacuumed the dirt they had deposited around the house. Several minutes later, Adam emerged from the master bedroom, his grimy shirt and torn jeans replaced by black slacks and a black button shirt. With the casual stride of a tired man, he went to the living room and found Chuck watching television, while his daughter tried to get him off the couch so she could clean the cushions.

"Adam," she implored, "could you get Daddy to move? He won't budge an inch!"

"Okay, Chuck," Adam went to his father-in-law, "it's time to get up so Charlie can do the housework."

Chuck blankly stared at Adam, but got to his feet when Adam helped him to stand.

"Charlie, do you want me to take him outside for a while?" Adam offered. "The heat of the day is over, and it's nice outside."

"Would you?" Charlie smiled at him thankfully. "If you could keep him busy for at least ten minutes, I'd really appreciate it!"

"Come on," Adam led Chuck to the door, "we're going for a walk."

A hushed breeze gently stirred nearby sagebrush, as Adam and Chuck began their usual stroll around the mobile home. With a smile, Adam looked down at their clasped hands. He wasn't sure if he was holding Chuck's hand, or if Chuck was holding his.

"Well, you're going to turn forty-four in a few days," Adam began their one-sided conversation. "I know if you could, you'd be talking about your little girl right now. She's doing just fine, Chuck. I'm trying to take good care of her, so try not to worry too much."

The muffled sounds of their soft tramps continued until Adam noticed a slight pressure on his hand. Surprised, he looked at his friend. "Could you hear me just now?" The light from the early evening sky shone in Chuck's eyes, and for a moment, Adam thought he saw a fleeting glimpse of the man he once knew. Much too soon, it was gone. "It's all right," Adam assured his father-in-law, "I understand." With a comforting squeeze, Adam resumed their walk.

At seven o' clock, a silver minivan pulled up to the Villa Rosa gates. Charlie ran out to meet it while Adam opened the fence so it could drive inside the estate. After the vehicle came to a stop, Jeff Erickson got out and opened his wife's passenger door.

"Maggie!" cried Charlie running up and hugging her dear friend. "You've gotten so big!" Maggie was twenty weeks along with her first pregnancy, and happy beyond words. She proudly showed Charlie her belly, while Jeff and his ten year old daughter, Debbie, watched on.

"Did you have any trouble finding us?" Adam asked Jeff, as Charlie giggled in delight upon feeling Maggie's unborn son move within her womb.

"No," smiled Jeff, "your directions were pretty good. I can't say I've ever been out this direction, before."

"We're definitely out of the way," chuckled Adam, as the two women began laughing together. Both men smiled and watched them for a few moments, before following the girls inside.

The sun had already set, so Jeff hadn't been able to see Adam's face very well. But once indoors, Jeff was surprised to see a black shiner forming around Adam's right eye.

"Whoa!" he exclaimed, stepping forward to get a closer look. "That's some black eye you've got! When did this happen?"
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