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Adam smiled grimly and made room for Charlie beside him on the sofa. Without needing further encouragement, Charlie joined him and propped her head against his shoulder. For a while, both were silent.

"Besides God, you, my family and my friends, nothing else makes me happier than when I'm at the piano." Adam's voice was hushed with an intimacy that made Charlie feel as though they were the only two people on the face of the earth. Tenderly stroking the strong arm she was leaning against, Charlie let him speak his heart without interruption. "When I'm playing, I feel complete. I'm not like others who can communicate what they're feeling through words. I always struggle to speak from the depths of my soul, but when I'm with my music, it becomes my language. It's a speech without words." Adam lifted his arm and hugged it around Charlie. "I don't know if any of that makes sense," he smiled. "I suppose that's what you get for marrying a musician, Charlie-girl. I sometimes think my native tongue is music, and not English."

"Adam, if your next album fails because I was on it," Charlie pondered out loud, "everyone is going to blame me. They'll think I talked you into it."

Trying to conceal his hopefulness that she was still considering his offer, Adam was careful to not frighten Charlie into another "no." "You don't have to be a virtuoso," he assured her. "They'll listen, simply because you're my wife."

"That doesn't mean they'll like what they hear," she groaned.

"All you have to do is play one composition, Charlie. It's like anything else-- you just keep practicing until you know it by heart."

"What if I can't do it?" Charlie cuddled closer to Adam and shuddered at the thought of what failure might mean to his career. "What if all the teaching in the world isn't enough to make me play your one song?"

"Then," smiled Adam, "I won't include the arrangement on my album."

"You wouldn't be angry?" she murmured quietly. "All your work would be for nothing."

"There's other benefits," he was quick to point out.

Having already been told by Dave of Adam's hopes, Charlie immediately understood what he was referring to. "All the music in the world won't stop Alzheimer's, Adam."

"It might help," he pleaded. "Let me try, Charlie. That's all I'm asking."

With a lump in her throat, Charlie tightly closed her eyes and nodded.

Since she was resting against Adam's chest, he was unsure if that small movement of her head indicated agreement. "Charlie?" he asked pensively.

It took a great deal of courage, but she finally managed the words, "I'll do it," before quickly hiding in the protective arms encircling her.

Grateful, Adam gave her a tender squeeze. "Thank you for trusting me, Charlie."

For the next several minutes, the two sat on Adam's old thinking couch and remained silent. Each were occupied with their own thoughts, but both concluded with the same unspoken prayer: "God, please help us."

Over dinner that evening, Charlie took advantage of the first opportunity she had to apologize to Dave. He dismissed it as being unnecessary, but his smile was a little wider afterward.

Early the next morning, Adam took Charlie to the music room and seated her at the new piano. Dave was already there, working at Adam's desk on a composition of his own. Since Dave spent much of his personal time trying to improve his craft, Adam had encouraged him to make use of the music room whenever it was available.
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