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"Sandra?" repeated Mike, questioningly, as though he had never heard her name before.

"You know, Sandra Weston. The pretty young lady you've been seeing almost everyday for a month," reminded Adam. "How serious is it between you two?"

"She's pretty terrific," admitted Mike.

"Does your Mom know about Sandra?" asked Adam, wadding his napkin and tossing it onto the empty plate before him.

"I'm over twenty-one," reminded Mike. "I don't have to report to Mom every time I go out on a date."

"If you don't tell her yourself, she'll find out about it from a gossiping neighbor. I promise you, what they will say about you and Sandra will be fifty times worse than the truth. 'The words of a talebearer are as wounds,'" warned Adam, solemnly.

"And the wounds 'Go down into the innermost parts of the belly,'" finished Mike. "But, what's to gossip about? We haven't done anything wrong!"

"I know that. I trust you to behave like a Christian when you and Sandra are together. But this is a small town. Nothing excites gossip like a secret."

"It's no big secret, really," insisted Mike. "I just didn't want to tell the whole world about us. We're not serious. We just wanted to be left alone without everyone insinuating things that are not true," explained Mike.

"I hope your plan doesn't backfire," warned Adam.

"Everything will be fine," reassured Mike. "We haven't done anything to gossip about, so there's no reason to be concerned." Before they checked out, Marilyn handed Adam an apple pie.

"What's that for?" asked Mike, pointing to the pastry.

"Today is Wednesday," reminded Adam.

"Family dinner night! I totally forgot!" exclaimed Mike, disappointedly.

"Son," said Adam, placing a hand on Mike's shoulder, "I hope you know what you're doing."

Their next stop was Mrs. Tieger's house. Adam's educated guess proved to be correct. After making some checks, he discovered a bad leak in the bathroom plumbing that was filling Mrs. Tieger's septic prematurely.

"My son... keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble."
~ Proverbs 3:21-23 ~

"A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter."
~ Proverbs 11:13 ~

end of chapter
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