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"What are they making you do out there?" wondered Adam, running a finger down the bridge of her nose and creating a pale streak where her skin showed through. "We're paying them good money to do the work FOR us!"

"No one is goldbricking," assured Charlie, as Vera called them to dinner. "Those guys have been working really hard."

Adam was quiet. After letting go of Charlie so she could go wash up for supper, he tossed the remote onto the couch beside Chuck.

"Time to eat, Chuck," he said, helping his friend to his feet.

The smell of good food filled both mobile homes, for Vera had fixed a hearty, old-fashioned American supper of mashed potatoes and gravy, glazed ham, green peas, and sweet corn on the cob. To this, she added hot buttermilk biscuits, that just begged to be patted down with butter and honey. With a very empty stomach, Charlie sat down and eagerly helped herself to the food before her. To Vera's delight, her granddaughter ate as though she hadn't seen a crumb of food all day, and even forgot her vegetarianism long enough to enjoy a small slice of ham.

When Charlie later excused herself from the table to go take a shower, Adam was still eating.

"Won't you have some dessert?" offered Vera, buttering another biscuit for Chuck.

"Thanks, Grandma," smiled Charlie, "but I couldn't hold another bite!"

Wearily, Charlie readied the shower and was returning to the bathroom with her nightclothes, when Adam unexpectedly met her in the hallway.

"I thought you were still eating dinner," she said, somewhat surprised by his presence. She tried to move past him, but Adam wouldn't budge.

"I wasn't very hungry," he replied, reaching out and gently stroking her cheek with his hand.

"You know," she mused with a loving smile, "you've been very understanding about all this. I realize we haven't had much time for us, lately."

Adam was about to say that he understood, but that wouldn't have been quite true, so he remained silent.

"I'm trying to turn Villa Rosa into a home," continued Charlie, "and I really appreciate your patience while I get this done. I want you to be proud of me, Adam."

"I'm not sure I deserve your saying that," he hesitated, dropping his hand and looking into her deep brown eyes.

"Nonsense," she smiled. "Of course, you do."

Instead of responding, Adam moved aside so she could get into the bathroom.

"Are you all right?" wondered Charlie. Concerned, she placed her hand on his forehead to check his temperature. When Adam softly groaned at her touch, she smiled knowingly. "There's nothing wrong with you," Charlie diagnosed in a soft whisper, "that a little attention wouldn't solve."

Adam gazed at her lovingly.

"I don't deserve you," he confessed.

"No more than I, you," replied Charlie.

"You don't understand," resisted Adam, stepping back and shaking his head in self-reproach. "I don't know what came over me today."
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