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"That's a toughie," breathed Thomas. "I'd have to see the architecture for myself to know if this is possible or not, but how about converting the area into an indoor courtyard, meaning that it wouldn't be open to the elements. If you built a skylight as large as the ceiling of the courtyard, you could still have the sensation of being outdoors, but in a controlled environment."

"That sounds perfect!" exclaimed Charlie. "I was getting concerned about that issue, but your suggestion would fix it entirely!"

"Back to finding a GC," returned Thomas, "you probably could find some very good ones, but I'd love to do it myself. I've had experience GC'ing my own house, and am familiar with guys in the industry who could subcontract out for the different jobs that this project would entail. I like your approach to the reconstruction, Charlie. Keep things natural and clean, but still retaining the look and feel that the architect had in mind when Villa Rosa was first drafted. You're probably even thinking of landscaping with native plants."

"As a matter of fact, I am," laughed Charlie, surprised at his perception. "Are you sure you want the job, Thomas? I don't know how long all this is going to take."

"I don't have to think twice about it," he replied, enthusiastically. "If you and Adam will let me, I'd love to be a part of this."

"Thank you," Charlie gratefully accepted. "We don't expect you to do this for free, of course. This would pull you away from your day job for a few months, at least. Maybe you could drive up to Villa Rosa to see for yourself what needs to be done and then get back to me with your input."

"I'd like to bring along an inspector," agreed Thomas. "After that, we'll need to get an architect to design what you want changed about the architecture, such as the addition of skylights in the courtyard. Then I'll need to look into contacting subcontractors to get their best bids, and do research about what's available for homeowners who want to use solar power or wind energy."

"That sounds good," said Charlie. "I'm going to shop around for a mobile home that we can put on the property where Adam and I can live while work is being done on the house. Grandma and Daddy will stay in Twin Yucca until Villa Rosa is ready."

"Then I'd better get a septic tank into the ground fast," said Thomas, "and set up a temporary generator for electricity, and a water tank until the well is drilled. I'd also like to have a surveyor mark off the property boundaries, so we can put up a security fence as soon as possible. I have to get off the phone and write all this down," said Thomas, for his mental list was getting quite long.

"I'll talk to you later then," said Charlie, after she had thanked him once more.

After she hung up, Charlie found Adam in the living room of the small cottage, and related the substance of her conversation with Thomas.

"I'm not surprised Thomas was interested," smiled Adam. "He's was into do-it-yourself long before it became popular. It's nice to go with someone you trust, isn't it," he smiled, as Charlie cuddled on the couch beside him.

Thomas wasted no time in setting to work. He had a surveyor mark off the several acres of land, and hired someone to put up a high perimeter fence to keep people from wandering into the area. Before long, the septic tank was in, the water tank installed, and a shed for the generator was built. Then came the day that the mobile home arrived. Charlie wanted to be there, but she and Adam didn't dare leave their hideout in their hosts' apple ranch, until they had a place to move into. Thomas was in charge of installation, and had hired enough workers to expedite matters in as short a time frame as humanly possible, for he knew Adam and Charlie were waiting on it. For once in his life, Thomas could say, "Money is no object," and actually mean it.

When everything was in place, Adam and Charlie gathered their belongings and made their way down the cobblestone walk to the main house to say good-bye to Uncle Rick and Mae.

"I don't know how we can ever thank you enough for these last few weeks," said Adam, heartily shaking Uncle Rick's hand in friendship. "You and Mae were Godsends."

"It was our pleasure," replied the man. "I'm glad I was finally able to meet Wallace Shipley, but even happier to know Adam Clark. You both are welcome here, any time!"

"We'd consider it a snub if you stayed away," added Mae, hugging Charlie tightly.
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