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While Charlie slowly pecked out her music scales, Adam sat at his piano, easily drowning out her meager offerings with that of his own. Once in a while, Adam would give her a loving wink, and it always managed to lighten her tedium.

The months passed in lessons and finger exercises, and Charlie was suddenly staring at her eighteenth birthday. April had literally taken the teenager by surprise, for she had been too preoccupied with music to pay very much attention to birthdays-- especially her own. Even though it meant she would no longer be considered a minor, Charlie felt embarrassed about making too big of a deal over it.

"What's wrong with a birthday party?" insisted Vera, who wanted a large celebration with layered cake and brightly colored balloons.

Charlie resisted the idea, and tried to talk Vera out of going forward with her plans. "I'm too old for birthdays, Grandma!"

"That's ridiculous!" Vera exclaimed. "You're too young to feel that way, Pumpkin!"

Charlie was having difficulty explaining her feelings. "Grandma, I really don't want a party with lots of balloons and a big cake. I'd rather not remind Adam that I'm now legally an adult! As my husband, he already takes that for granted!"

Disappointed, Vera did as her granddaughter wished. Still, she didn't want Charlie's special day to go by unnoticed. When she was able to speak to Adam in private a few days before the birthday, Vera told him what Charlie had said.

"I hadn't forgotten her birthday," he smiled. "And I hadn't forgotten how old she's turning! Why is Charlie so embarrassed? Eighteen is a big deal! I know it was for me, when I turned that age!"

"But at the time, you weren't married to someone over twice your years," Vera reminded him. "I think she's trying to live up to your expectations, and you already know how sensitive she sometimes is about your age difference."

The only new expectations Adam had of his wife, were concerning their music. "Do you think I'm pressuring Charlie too hard with all these piano lessons?" he wondered.

"Perhaps she needs a day or two to get her mind on something else for awhile," proposed Vera, hesitant to meddle too far into Adam and Charlie's relationship.

"But, do you think I should stop, altogether?"

"I don't honestly know," Vera confessed. "That's something Charlie will have to tell you, herself."

As Charlie's eighteenth birthday crept closer, she was surprised Adam had yet to say anything that indicated he remembered. Charlie really didn't want a party, but was still a little hurt that her Adam had seemingly forgotten it so completely.

A few hours before the midnight of her eighteenth birthday, Charlie was awakened from her sleep by a tender voice coaxing her to get out of bed.

"Come on, Charlie," whispered Adam, "it's time to get up."
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