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"You know," he observed, "we may be outside, but this place feels incredibly private."

"That's because it is," affirmed Charlie. "The only way you can get in here, is to either scale those walls, or somehow force your way through the gate."

"And if I'm not an intruder?" Adam raised his eyebrows to await her response.

"You'd come through our bedroom," she whispered. A soft breeze caressed her face, and Adam found himself jealous of the wind. "I wanted a space that was just for us," she murmured quietly. "Somewhere we could be together, and not have to worry about anyone else."

Adam brushed a wisp of hair away from her face.

"I'm sorry I didn't wait up for you, last night," Charlie apologized. "I tried to."

"I know." With a contended sigh, Adam leaned against the tree trunk and drank in the beauty of their private garden. A few clouds lazily drifted above the Mojave, making Adam feel very restful. Shutting his eyes, he contemplated taking a nap.


"Hummm?" he smiled dreamily.

"Would you hold me?"

By the intimate tone of Charlie's voice, Adam knew what she was asking. His eyes immediately popped opened, and he stared at her in surprise. "Out here?" he asked. "Are you serious?"

Charlie settled back on the grass and looked up at him expectantly.

"You've never let me do this outside our bedroom, before," he quietly mused.

"Do you want me, or not?" she teased.

"Oh, I want you," he confirmed, grinning the handsome Clark smile that Charlie loved so much. Stretching out beside her, Adam gazed down at his his beautiful wife. Charlie tenderly drew his mouth to hers, and the two spent the remainder of their afternoon in each other's company.

The winter rains that had driven Beppe to hurry Villa Rosa's completion, finally descended a few days before Thanksgiving. The dirt road leading to the estate turned to mud, and Adam was grateful they had a truck that could handle traversing the thick muck. Charlie had been hoping to invite everyone for Thanksgiving, and help celebrate Villa Rosa's completion, but the main house and bungalows were still not finished. Adam and Kevin helped Charlie arrange furniture, while Mike volunteered his time to help Adam hook up the appliances. At the rate they were going, Adam and Charlie would be doing good to move in before Christmas.

Using this opportunity to get everyone together at her house for the Thanksgiving holiday, Shirley stepped in and started making plans. Remembering last year's celebration at the Garner house, the Westons politely declined her invitation, and instead chose to have a family gathering of their own. It was a disappointing blow to Shirley, but when Mike announced that he and Sandra were going to celebrate that day at her parents' house, Shirley nearly came unglued. Mike promised to spend Christmas with her and Chad, but for a while, Sandra had difficulty talking to Shirley without coming away in tears.
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