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Relieved, Charlie handed over the necklace. Her tremors increased again, when she felt the cool touch of the jewels against her skin as Adam draped them around her throat.

After fastening the tiny clasp, Adam looked her over with great satisfaction. "Charlie, for shame," he smiled proudly, "all those gemstones, and you outshine every one. I'd give you more, but since the stars were busy tonight, these will have to do."

"Oh, Adam," she sighed.

"Just be happy, Charlie-girl. Since you won't claim your birthday, I'll do it for you. I don't want you to think one single thought today that will make you unhappy."

Tears glinted in Charlie's eyes, and Adam softly groaned when he saw that he was making her cry.

"Thank you just isn't enough," she whispered. Adam's eyes kindled lovingly as she pulled the sleeping bag around them for privacy.

On the rooftop of Villa Rosa, Charlie turned eighteen. As the sun greeted them in the morning, she knew this day would forever live in her heart.

"A good name [Adam Clark] is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold [and diamonds]."
~ Proverbs 22:1 ~

end of chapter
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