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When Charlie turned to face them, both women became silent.

"What do you think, Grandma?" asked Charlie.

"I think..." Vera hesitated, not wanting to influence her one way or the other, "I think that you and Adam should talk it over."

"Could we take some pictures?" wondered Charlie. "Maybe we could email them to Adam."

With an inward groan, Constance pulled out the digital camera from her briefcase that had become an essential tool of her profession, and began to take as many pictures as she could.

"What's the asking price?" inquired the teenager.

"$600,000 dollars," replied Constance. "It includes the main house, the five bungalows, and twenty acres of adjoining land. The owner is selling it 'as is,' so any renovations would entirely be left up to you."

"Isn't this exciting?" Charlie asked her grandmother.

Vera smiled weakly. It took more vision than she had, to see the possibilities that had made Charlie so excited. After the digital camera could hold no more, everyone got back into the hot car.

"I must warn you," said Constance, addressing Charlie on the drive back, "that there are at least two other buyers eyeing this piece of property."

"You're kidding!" said Vera, in surprise. "Whatever for?"

"It has nothing to do with the mansion, and everything to do with water," explained Constance. "There's recent talk of an underground water source, somewhere in this vicinity. It's more rumor than anything else, and many are entirely dismissing it as fiction. However, one or two buyers are considering the possibilities, and if they decide to act, it wouldn't surprise me if a bidding war followed. I'm not trying to pressure you, Charlie, but you should be aware that this land might not be on the market very much longer."

Charlie was silent. This was a lot to think about. When they reached the motel in Palm Springs later that day, the sun was declining in the west, and fast sinking into the horizon. The breeze had a tantalizing hint of cool in it, making everyone wish for the night to hurry and descend.

"As you requested, I'll have the pictures emailed to Adam, tonight," said Constance, before driving away.

After Kevin had secured Charlie and Vera in their room, he went to get dinner at a take-out, for there was no room service at the motel.

"I'm bushed!" exclaimed Charlie, collapsing onto her bed, and letting the crutches fall to the floor with a thump.

Vera gently lifted Charlie's ankle and propped two pillows under it, so her ankle could rest. In a room next to theirs, Charlie could hear the screaming of a rambunctious child who didn't want to go to bed.

"Do you want to watch television?" asked Vera, tossing the remote on Charlie's bed. "Kevin will be back with dinner, pretty soon."

Charlie turned on the set and muted the news anchor, absentmindedly watching the moving pictures.

"What did you really think of the villa, Grandma?" she wondered.

"It's not for me to say, Pumpkin," answered the grandmother. "This isn't my life-- it's yours and Adam's."

"But," reasoned Charlie, "you're going to live with us. It's only fair that you have an opportunity to give your input."

"All right," sighed Vera, "I'll tell you my honest opinion. Villa Rosa has so much that needs to be redone, or replaced, that it's going to take more work than I can imagine, to make it inhabitable again. I must admit, however, that despite it's present condition, the place has a certain degree of charm that I hadn't expected. I suppose it only comes down to what you and Adam want."

Just then, Charlie's satellite phone rang.
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