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All through dinner, Dave never forgot for a second who was seated across from him at the table. He was in Wallace Shipley's house, and was careful to use his best manners, in spite of Mrs. Overholt's cool welcome. She kept looking at him with distrustful eyes, making poor Dave so uncomfortable, that he nearly had trouble swallowing his meal.

"I have a sister who was recently married," he answered another of Vera's questions. "My older brother has been married for eight years now, and has three young'uns." Dave's Southern accent surfaced again at the thought of his family. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he was already feeling a twinge of homesickness. Even though he was in his mid-twenties, Dave was unused to traveling out-of-state. He rarely ever got on a plane, and never expected to be in California, sharing supper with Wallace Shipley and his family!

"And what are your plans for the future?" inquired Vera, as Dave took a second helping of Mrs. Freemont's coleslaw.

"To learn what I can, and see where God takes me," shrugged Dave. "I've been the live entertainment for a few restaurants, and I'm eager to move on. It's sure tough to improve yourself when you're strugglin' to make a living."

"I hear you," Adam nodded understandingly. "If I hadn't gone into my father's plumbing business, I could have easily ended up the same way."

The conversation turned toward the subject of music, and Vera lost her opportunity to further question Dave Walker.

After Dave retired to his bungalow that night, Adam sat in the living room and stared at the television with Chuck, while Vera busily clicked away with her knitting needles.

"The armor of the Abrams tank," the narrator was saying, "was further improved by..." Adam's attention faded away from the television and traveled in Vera's direction. He knew she had something on her mind, and judging by the quickness of her knitting, it was apparently very hard for her to remain silent.

"Vera," Adam finally spoke up, "I like to consider myself as part of your family."

"You are," the old woman affirmed.

"I don't mind getting your advice from time to time... if you have any to give," requested Adam. "Ever since my mom passed away, I've sorely missed her counsel on more than one occasion."

The knitting needles slowed to a stop, and Vera looked at him with kind eyes. "I wish Jerome had been more like you," she sighed. "You do Ruth proud, Adam. Any mother would have been happy to call you son."

"Thank you," smiled Adam, "but I wasn't fishing for a compliment."

At this, Vera rested her knitting on her lap. "Yes, I have something on my mind, but I hate stirring up trouble where there's presently none. I just hope you've given some good thought who you're hiring as your secretary."

"This is about Dave?" Adam was surprised. He muted the television and puzzled at Vera. "What about him?"

"You brought a good-looking young man into this house, and he isn't married," Vera answered rather bluntly.

"Kevin isn't married, either," pointed out Adam.

"Kevin isn't young," the old woman sighed.
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