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That same night, long after everyone had gone to bed, the couple quietly made their way to the kitchen and cracked open the freezer for one of those healthful treats. It was a small carton of expensive, healthy ice cream, but it was worth every cent.

As Adam and Charlie sat at the table slowly eating their modest portions, Charlie looked over at the man seated next to her. He didn't have to go without, but here he was, smiling happily over a very small helping of dessert.

"I'd nearly forgotten ice cream could taste so good," Adam chuckled softly. Then he noticed Charlie's loving gaze and he looked at her puzzled. "What?"

Beneath the kitchen table, Charlie snuggled her foot against his and Adam grinned. "I wish you'd start eating like everyone else," she sighed wistfully. "You don't have to make this sacrifice. I'll still do what I'm supposed to."

"We're in this together," reasoned Adam. "This is one thing I can do for you, and with you. Besides, if I eat healthier, I'll live longer to give you more piano lessons."

"A mixed blessing," smiled Charlie, "but a blessing, none the less."

"Your last bite of ice cream is melting," Adam observed from over his empty bowl.

Charlie scooped up the sweet mouthful and guided it to his lips. "Think of this as a down payment for all those lessons you're going to give me."

Adam opened his mouth and accepted her payment.

With a tender smile, Charlie gazed at her husband. His white T-shirt and blue pajama bottoms were typical of what he usually wore to bed, and his bare feet were warm against her foot. The man grinned and reached for her hand. When she gave it willingly, he sighed contentedly.

"Adam, there's a lot of people who'd say you're not getting enough in return for all the sacrifices you're making."

"I'm being well paid," he insisted.

Charlie didn't look so sure.

Adam squeezed her hand reassuringly. "Some things can only be paid back in love."

The next morning, they had an unexpected telephone call from Peter Webber. When Vera answered the phone, he asked to speak to Adam and Charlie.

"Adam isn't here right now," explained Vera, "but I think Charlie's in the music room with Dave. Hold on a moment and I'll go get her."

Charlie was at her piano while Dave worked on his composer's notebook at Adam's desk. When Vera walked in, Charlie looked as though she could use a break from her practices. "Please, tell me you want me to do some housework!" she laughingly begged her grandmother. "Adam left Dave in charge, and he won't even let me take a break!"

Hearing his own name, Dave looked up from his work. "You don't need a break," he responded dryly. "After spendin' a half hour to use the bathroom, I reckon you can go a few more minutes without rest."

"I did not take a half hour!" protested Charlie, indignantly.

Dave smiled wryly and returned to his work. "Finish the exercise, please."

"That will have to wait," interrupted Vera. "Charlie, Peter Webber is on the phone."
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