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"They're there for your protection," reminded Dave, putting Charlie's cell phone in his pocket. "While Kevin's not here, I'm in charge."

"For your information," Charlie laughed, "Kevin took his orders from me."

"I'm not Kevin." Dave was unflinching in his response, and he looked very uncomfortable.

"Do you want me to turn around and go back home?" she offered.

Immediately, Dave looked relieved. "I'd appreciate it," he sighed gratefully. "If anything happens to you, I'll be the one responsible."

Charlie winced, when she realized the situation she had placed him in. "I hadn't thought of it that way," she apologized. "You aren't paid to be my bodyguard."

"I don't mind lookin' out for a friend," replied Dave, checking behind his shoulder to see if they were being followed, "but I'm in over my head, Charlie. I shoulda told Adam that, when he asked me if I could handle this."

"I'm truly sorry, Dave."

"Hey," he smiled good-naturedly, "you weren't tryin' to put me on the spot. There's no harm done--" Before Dave could say another word, he realized their vehicle was slowing in the middle of the road. "Why are you stopping?"

"I'm not!" cried Charlie, checking the gauges around the steering wheel. "Oh, no!"

"What?" asked Dave.

"We're out of gas!" she cried in dismay.

"We can't be!" exclaimed Dave. "Didn't you check the gauge before we left?"


"See if you can glide the SUV over to the shoulder of the road," directed Dave. When they were safely parked out of the way of any oncoming traffic, Dave opened Charlie's cell phone to call Adam. "I don't believe this!" he muttered. "Charlie, your phone battery is dead!"

"I was going to charge it overnight," explained Charlie, "before we boarded the jet tomorrow morning. Isn't there a little juice left in the battery?"

In complete silence, Dave closed the dead satellite phone. He was so busy thinking, that when Charlie tried to make a suggestion, he asked her to be quiet. A few minutes later, he was finally ready to speak.

"I can't get out and go for help," he explained, "because that leaves you by yourself in the car. I can't take you with me, because out on that open stretch of desert road, you're exposed to anyone that happens to drive by-- especially if they were followin' us in the first place." Dave turned about and quickly made sure all the locks on the doors were really secure.

"What are we going to do?" wondered Charlie.

"You're safer if we both stay here, and wait for help," concluded Dave. "If anything happens to you, it'll be my fault, and that's not the way I was hoping to repay Adam's kindness." Dave hit the dashboard with his fist. "This can't be happening!"
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