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"She must be stone deaf!" shouted Angela, covering her ears and stepping back outside.

"CHARLIE!" yelled Charlton, his voice barely audible over the ear-piercing noise, "turn it off!" There was no answer. Angrily, Charlton tried to open her door. It was locked. "Charlie," he shouted, "open the door!" One of the neighbors appeared at the front door and peered in. It was old Mrs. Jenkins from across the hall. She timidly tapped Charlton on the shoulder. Frustrated, Charlton threw up his hands and followed Mrs. Jenkins outside.

"It's about Charlie, the poor dear," began Mrs. Jenkins. "The poor dear! I caught her trying to run away, not ten minutes after you left this morning. I sent the poor dear to her room. Nearly broke my heart," sighed Mrs. Jenkins. Charlton looked at her in disbelief. Charlotte would never run away-- not his daughter!

"My Charlie would never do something like that," disagreed Charlton. Angela shook her head.

"Charlton Overholt, you are in denial. Pure and simple. Pure and simple," she repeated knowingly. Charlton clenched his jaw.

"Charlie's my girl! I ought to know her better than you," he retorted.

"Yes, you ought," observed old Mrs. Jenkins, as she returned to her apartment.

This humiliating scene was being played out in front of Charlton's sister-in-law at his expense. He had no control of his health, and now it appeared, no control over his own daughter. He angrily pounded on Charlotte's door. The music grew louder. She obviously was not going to listen. Charlton had enough. With one swift kick of his strong leg, the door swung opened.

He found Charlotte sitting on the floor by her bed, her hands clenching a pillow against each ear. Charlton quickly located the obnoxious disturber of the peace and sent it flying out the window, smashing into dozens of plastic pieces on the pavement. Charlton breathed a sigh of relief. Everything was quiet.

Angela entered Charlotte's bedroom, shaking her head in disapproval.

"Charlie, this is Mrs. Angela Goodman, your mother's sister," Charlton explained. Charlotte brought the pillows down from her ears. Angela stepped forward as Charlotte got to her feet.

"My, Chuck," Angela said, forgetting momentarily the trouble Charlotte had just caused, "you were right. She's Martha all over."

"Give your Aunt Angela a hug," prodded Charlton. "She graciously traveled from North Carolina just to help you pack." Charlotte rooted her feet in defiance of her father. "Charlie, do as you are told," he ordered.

"Now, now," said Angela soothingly, upon seeing Charlotte's continued defiance, "no need for hard feelings between family. Chuck, why don't you go take a walk while Charlotte and I get to know each other," suggested Angela. Charlton understood. He was being kicked out, however politely, by Angela. Charlton looked to Charlotte, half waiting for her to object, but she remained silent. Without a word, Charlton left the apartment.

"Well," began Angela, turning her attention to Charlotte, "the last time I saw you, you were just a baby. Look how you've grown!" she exclaimed.

"Fifteen years does that," replied Charlotte blandly. Angela grinned through her teeth.

"Chuck may put up with your smart mouth, but I assure you, I will not," warned Angela, in a sweet voice.

"Whatever," replied Charlotte, rolling her eyes. Before Charlotte knew it, a hand suddenly appeared, slapping her hard on the left side of her face. Charlotte touched her stinging cheek and looked somewhat fearfully at her Aunt.
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