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"Need any help with that?" he offered.

Charlie looked up from her vantage, and shielded her eyes from the sun to see who was speaking. "Oh," she sighed, "it's only you."

At the sound of her disappointment, Dave couldn't help smiling. "It's only me," he chuckled.

Charlie returned to her task with renewed zeal. If he hadn't known before that she was angry with him, he would now. "I don't appreciate your encouraging Adam in this," she yanked at a stubborn weed. "He'd put me on his album and turn himself into a laughing stock, just to make me happy! And there you are, helping him measure piano benches, and telling him you guys can teach me to play!"

Even though Dave didn't look very happy right now, it took a great deal more than this to fluster him into an argument. When he finally defended himself, Dave's voice was remarkably unruffled. "I only encouraged Adam, when I reckoned he had a good idea."

Unimpressed, Charlie continued to work without responding.

"If you'll stop a moment with those weeds," he continued, "I'll tell you why Adam wanted it."

The weed-pulling came to a pause, and Charlie waited for his explanation.

"Adam is tryin' to stop your Alzheimer's," explained Dave. "He said mental stimulation might push back its onset." The young musician sympathetically looked at Charlie. "I don't blame you for mistrusting me, but I really am tryin' to help." With a kind smile, he walked off to his bungalow and disappeared inside.

Tossing away one last weed, Charlie stood up and brushed the dust from her clothes. Dave was different from Kevin and the others who worked for Adam. They remained distant whenever they talked to her, but Dave usually addressed her as he would a friend. It was a nice change, and Charlie guessed that Adam was enjoying the difference, as well.

Thinking over what Dave had told her, Charlie went to go find Adam. He was still in the music room, this time stretched out on the tattered sofa with his composer's notebook absently laying open on his stomach. When Adam saw Charlie enter, he sat up and set aside his notebook. He quietly studied her face, as if able to read what she was thinking by simply gazing at her long enough.

Running her fingers over the polished hardwood of the new piano, Charlie lingered by the instrument, deep in thought. "I can't do it, Adam," she breathed quietly.

Adam hung his head and nodded silently, his eyes downcast with disappointment.

"Please, don't ask this of me," she begged.

"I won't, Charlie," he sighed. "I won't." Adam leaned back on the sofa, and picked up his notebook, halfheartedly attempting to return to his work.

Biting her lip, Charlie looked back at the piano with a dread that only complete novices could appreciate. "I got mad at Dave for talking you into this idea," she timidly confessed.

Adam stared at her intently with serious brown eyes. "You shouldn't have. How did he take it?"

Charlie shrugged. "Like you, he's hard to provoke."
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