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"Do you think he recognizes me?" Adam asked Vera, bending down and trying to look Chuck straight in the eye. He strained for any glimpse of recognition, but there was none.

"I don't think so," Vera shook her head. "They say the oldest memories are the last to go, and you two didn't know each other very long before he became worse."

While Charlie helped Vera settle in, Adam returned to his piano. Every once in a while, Adam would pause at his music, and listen to the happy sound of Charlie's voice as she set her home in order. Then, with a smile, he would go back to his composition, grateful that she was there to bless his life with her presence.

With Beppe's help, it didn't take long for the work on Villa Rosa to begin in earnest. Vera's arrival soon proved to be a Providential blessing, for Charlie was frequently outside with Beppe, making decisions, and planning the next step of the renovation. Adam had offered to set aside his music and help her out, but Charlie guessed that he would rather be at his piano, and persuaded him that it wasn't necessary. In truth, now that she had Beppe Donato, all she needed from Adam was his occasional input on some aspect of the renovation.

August passed, and Adam was spending the majority of his days with his music. Most mornings, he would wake up, only to find Charlie already outside with the work crew. At night, Charlie came to bed too exhausted to spend any quality time with her husband, or to hold a conversation about how her day had went. Adam had thought he could be more rational about her having so little time for him, but the longer this went on, the harder it was to be so impartial. He was missing his Charlie-girl!

Near the middle of September, Adam finally decided that he had to do something more about the situation, and made up his mind to talk to Charlie. The problem was, trying to find time where she wasn't busy. After another day of missed opportunities, Adam went outside one morning and found her with Beppe.

"That's no problem," Beppe was telling Charlie. "We can plumb into the drilled well, and irrigate the bushes along the perimeter of your fence line."

"Now," asked Charlie, "are you sure we can get already full grown oleander bushes? We're going to need a lot of them, to hedge twenty acres."

"My landscaping contractor assures me he can do it," affirmed Beppe, nodding his greeting to Adam and then returning to Charlie. "They'll be several feet high, and make a good wind break when those strong Santa Ana winds come barreling through here."

"It'll also make it harder for the paparazzi to see the main house," grinned Charlie, pleased at the mere thought.

"Charlie," Adam finally spoke up, trying to wait patiently for a break in the discussion before interrupting. "May I talk to you?"

"Could it wait until after lunch?" she pleaded. "The contractor for the runway will be here in a few minutes, and he and I need to go over the plans so construction can begin as soon as possible."

"Runway?" sighed Adam. "Okay, after lunch then."

With a sigh, Adam walked past the musclebound men that were working nearby, and went inside.

When Vera had lunch ready, Charlie sat down to the table with a clipboard beside her plate, so she could work while she ate. With a grimace that even Vera noticed, Adam finished his meal in silence, and waited for Charlie to do likewise. Then, they were going to have a talk.

But, before Adam had a chance to speak with her, Beppe showed up at the front door, and informed Charlie that there was a mix-up in the order they had made for the roofing materials. With a cry of dismay, Charlie hurriedly went with Beppe to go sort out the situation.
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