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Not wanting to monopolize what was not his own, Dave hurriedly gathered his things and prepared to surrender the room to Adam and Charlie.

When Adam saw what he was doing, he assured Dave he could stay if he wanted. "Charlie will only be working on finger exercises. Unless the monotony of music scales hinders your creativity, I don't think she'll get in your way. Charlie, where are you going?" he suddenly asked.

"I just need a cup of coffee," she explained, for she had been trying to edge her way off the bench without being noticed.

Folding his arms, Adam gave her a knowing look. "You're stalling."

"Is it working?"


"You'll let me go for bathroom breaks, won't you?" she laughed.

"Yes, but don't abuse the privilege," smiled Adam.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" questioned Charlie.

Undaunted, Adam placed an instruction book on the piano in front of his nervous wife and opened it to the first page. "This key in the center is middle C," he explained, hitting the white key and sounding the note for Charlie. "The next white one to its right is D, then E..." Adam continued his lesson while Charlie nodded that she already understood. Even with her sparse musical training, she could remember the names of all the keys. It was everything else that concerned her.

"Okay," smiled Adam, "now it's time to start your finger exercises. Sit up straight, and place your right hand on the keyboard with your thumb on middle C. Curve your fingers like I showed you, Charlie. Play C, D, E, F, G, and then work your way back to C."

Slowly, Charlie pressed each key until she had completed the exercise. Triumphantly, she smiled at Adam.

"Now do it a hundred more," he ordered. "I want to hear each note in a steady, even tempo. I'll wind the metronome to help you mark time." Adam picked up a pyramid-shaped wooden object and wound its key. After adjusting the device to tick out the proper beat, he set it on her piano and told Charlie to begin.

Tick, tick, tick-- the hand of the metronome swung back and forth, prompting Charlie to keep up with its evenly timed intervals. After a few times through the exercise, Charlie could feel her fingers becoming heavy.

"Keep going," Adam urged her forward. "They'll get stronger with practice."

Out of the corner of her eye, Charlie could see Dave watching them, his mouth curved upward in a smile. Returning her attention to the finger exercises, Charlie sighed heavily. Her back was getting sore from sitting ramrod straight on a hard piano bench. C, D, E, F, G, and then back to C.

"I'm going to leave for a minute and make a phone call to Bill," announced Adam. "I want you to keep at it, until you've done this exercise a hundred times. Then, I want you to switch hands, and do it with your left."

"You've got to be kidding!" she exclaimed in protest. "Aren't you driving me a little hard for my first day?"

"Honey," he smiled, "we're just getting started."
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