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Just then, Dave noticed a vehicle in the rear view mirror. "Charlie, get down on the floor, and don't look up!" he ordered in his firm teacher's voice. Charlie obediently did as she was told, and when the car continued to keep going, Dave breathed a sigh of relief. "Okay, it's all clear. I don't know why I'm so relieved," he chided himself out loud. "I should be tryin' to wave down help."

"You're afraid someone will recognize me?" guessed Charlie.

Dave nodded. "I know as sure as I'm sittin' here, Adam will come lookin' for us when we don't show up this evening. I'd rather wait for the right kind of help, then panic and let you fall into the wrong hands."

"I'm sorry, Dave! This is all my fault!" Charlie scolded herself.

"I won't fight you on that," smiled Dave, leaning back in his seat and folding his arms for the long wait ahead of them.

Just then, Charlie remembered something, and crawled between the front seats and into the back of the SUV. "I forgot about our emergency gas tank! Kevin..." Charlie groaned as she remembered, "Kevin took the tank out to refill it, but I was supposed to put it back in, before I brought the car around to the front of the house."

"As long as you're back there," sighed Dave, "you might as well stay there. You can hide easier when a car comes."


"I know," he chuckled, "you're sorry."

Before long, Charlie sat up and peered between the front seats.

"Stay back there, Charlie."

"Why?" she shrugged. "There's not a car in sight for miles."

"You'll make me feel easier, if you stay out of sight," insisted Dave. "Now get back there, and stay put!"

"You weren't kidding when you said you weren't Kevin," remarked Charlie, with a smile.

"Do it," he pleaded.

"Okay, you're in charge," she sighed, returning to her seat in the back. "Do you know what your problem is, Dave? You need to loosen up a little."

"I'll loosen up, after you're safe at home," he replied flatly. "Please, God, don't let anythin' else go wrong!"

There was silence for the space of five minutes, and Charlie couldn't hold still. "So," she asked, poking her head up front, "how is it you have a doctorate in music, and you wound up playing piano in some restaurant? Surely, you could find a better paying job than that!"

"You're worse than my little sister," chuckled Dave.

"You don't mind answering, do you?" asked Charlie.

"I reckon not," he shrugged. "Mom was ill after I graduated, and Dad needed me to help out at home. The restaurant was supposed to be a temporary gig, until I could find somethin' better."
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