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Charlie was amazed at how different she looked, and gasped in surprise at the beautiful form that was staring back at her. Vera burst into tears and had to sit down with her handkerchief, while Shirley quietly stood by and mutely approved of the transformation.

"It's a near perfect fit," said Diana, checking the seams with an expert eye. "Let's try on the tiara and veil."

Diana crowned Charlie with the tiara and matching veil, and stood back to judge the presentation.

"We'll need to take in the dress in at least one or two places," observed Diana, "but on the whole, it fits you like a glove. I always say, the wedding dress is the centerpiece of any wedding."

"It's perfect," breathed Charlie. "I can hardly wait for Adam to see me in this!"

Charlie looked to her grandmother, who was now working on the box of tissue Diana's assistant had brought her.

"Grandma!" sighed Charlie, "if you're going to cry this much when I'm just trying on the dress, what are you going to do on the big day?!"

"Never you mind," admonished Vera, getting a fresh tissue. "Just let me enjoy this moment."

"Congratulations, Charlie," said Shirley, covering her mouth in delight, "it looks like you have your wedding dress! I confess, it didn't take as long as I thought it would."

Just then, Charlie's satellite phone rang. The young woman limped to the chaise longue and quickly snatched it up.

"Charlie, it's Constance," said the caller. "The bidding went up to one million, two hundred thousand dollars, but you and Adam are now the proud owners of the Villa Rosa Estate!"

"We've got it!" Charlie exclaimed to Vera and Shirley. "We've got Villa Rosa!"

Charlie wanted desperately to go see Villa Rosa once more before the wedding, but there was so much to do, that it was impossible for her to find the time. It was now the last Saturday of June, just ten full days from the wedding, and Shirley was working overtime on the preparations. The hall Shirley had reserved for the reception had canceled, so a last minute substitute was called into play. The hotel that was to board many of the relatives and friends that had to be flown in for the wedding, promised they would be able to accommodate such a large party, so the reception site was moved to the entire ground floor of the fancy hotel.

The publicity over Wallace Shipley's upcoming wedding had gone beyond anyone's expectations. Even Melvin had been surprised, suddenly finding it necessary to minimalize the wedding whenever he spoke to the press. So great was the public's interest, that Vera and Charlie found it impossible to return home to Twin Yucca. Shirley, who was unwilling to let Charlie live at the low end motel any longer, quickly moved the young bride and her grandmother to the hotel that would host the wedding reception. This prompted several members of the media to announce that Charlie had finally "come out of hiding." Charlie had never considered herself "in hiding" in the first place, but soon discovered that the technical difference lay in the number of paparazzi that recorded her every public moment. When Charlie realized this distinction, she tried to stay "in hiding" as much as she could.

Saturday also brought Aunt Angela and Uncle Mark Goodman, their son Reggie, daughter Sherri, and little one year old granddaughter, Eliza. They had come all the way from North Carolina to attend the wedding, ten days in advance, (at the Goodmans' expense). Aunt Angela had considered it her responsibility to be there for her late sister's only child, and was determined to fulfill that duty. Uncle Mark was eager for a vacation, as was Reggie, but Sherri, however, had come grudgingly.

"I'm so glad you could come!" greeted Vera, as the Goodmans entered the hotel lobby. "Did the taxi driver get all your luggage?"

Just as Aunt Angela was about to answer, a photographer quickly took their picture.

"I'll take you to your room, now," smiled Vera, patiently. "That way, we can lose the you-know-who," she added in a whisper.

"We're so thrilled to be here!" exclaimed Aunt Angela, as they got into the elevator.

"The last time we were in California," recalled Uncle Mark, "was for Martha's funeral. Charlotte was just a baby, then."
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