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To Adam's relief, they only had one dining room to shop for, so they could scratch an entire room off their list with just one showroom!

Orders for tables, chairs, recliners, dressers, sofas, lamps, and a china cabinet, all made it onto the salesman's clipboard.

Watching on in silence, Shirley was unsettled at how quickly Charlie was making decisions. They had been at the same store for the entire day, and Charlie wasn't looking elsewhere for more selection! Yes, the furniture appeared to be of a good quality, but Shirley was annoyed by Charlie's easy acceptance that this was all there was to choose from. What if somewhere else had lower prices? As far as Shirley could determine, Charlie hadn't even checked. After making her concern known to Adam, and subsequently being shrugged off, Shirley could only watch as Charlie bought out the store, showroom by showroom.

By the end of the day, they still had the bathrooms and the kitchens to finish. That would have to wait for tomorrow.

While Shirley knew her older brother had already paid a small ransom for Villa Rosa's renovations, it still bothered her to see Charlie going through his money, in what she thought, verged on irresponsibility. When she voiced her concerns to Adam that night at Villa Rosa, he dismissed her with annoyingly good-humor. "At least, Charlie's spending it quickly," he had dryly smiled.

"Adam," Shirley used her most patient voice, "I like Charlie."

"Thanks, Sis. I like her too."

"But," Shirley continued, "I think you forget how young she is."

"Charlie is seventeen-- not ten," Adam replied, his back stiffening in spite of the fact it was sore from being on his feet all day. "We're both tired, and I really don't want to get into another disagreement with you over Charlie."

Shirley looked back at the mobile home just as the porch light came on. It was getting dark, and she really needed to pick up Chad from Mike and Sandra's apartment. "I just want what's best for you," she reminded him.

Afraid his voice might sound argumentative, Adam didn't risk responding out loud. He acknowledged the truth of her statement with a weary smile, and reciprocated her sisterly hug before she left.

Even though he didn't like admitting it to himself, when Shirley called the next morning to tell them she wouldn't be coming, Adam heaved a sigh of relief. Everyone was under a lot of pressure, and Shirley's presence the day before had been the hardest on Charlie. Charlie had never complained, but Adam sensed that she felt as though all her decisions were silently being second-guessed by his sister.

Today, however, would be different. And not just because Shirley wasn't coming. Instead of roaming a giant furniture warehouse, they would be spending the day at a home shopping center. Villa Rosa needed accessories to complete nine bathrooms, and Adam was curious to see what had come on the market since he had retired from the plumbing industry.

From the start, Charlie could see Adam was obviously having a good time. Since the major bathroom fixtures had already been installed by Clark Plumbing Service and Supply, Adam enjoyed taking his time by perusing the shelves of plumbing accessories and picking up nine of this, and nine of that.

"Are you sure we need nine toilet plungers?" Charlie had asked, as another shopper passed them and looked at their grocery cart in wonderment. After all, who buys nine plungers?

"Ask me that again when one of the toilets gets backed up," chuckled Adam.
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