She stopped Derek on his way out to go jogging. "Hey, Derek, could you please catch 4 small fish for me? I need them for my garden."
"I'll see," Derek said, and went back inside. He found Bill in the midst of yet another repair--both bathroom sinks had broken at the same time again.
"Hey, Bill," Derek said, "Regina asked me to get her some fish for fertilizer. But you and I discussed that you would take over some of the fishing duties so I could work more on the Logic and Fitness skills I need for my future NASA career."
Bill was slightly amused. "Well," he said slowly, "unless YOU want to fix both these sinks and clean up the mess in both these bathrooms, I can't go fishing right now."
So Derek strode back into the kitchen, where Kelly was watching cooking videos. "Hey, Kelly, I'm going fishing to get Regina some fertilizer for her garden. Would you care to accompany me?"
Kelly thought this sounded like a pleasant outing, which would also give her an opportunity to ask Derek some important questions (as Regina had advised), so she agreed.
Regina and Bill were already in the small park next door, harvesting plants and collecting.
"You never finished your story from last night," Bill prodded Regina, who was picking bluebell flowers.
"What story?" she asked.
"The one about how you met the girls. You told me how you met Lou, but not how you met Kelly and Alice."
"Oh, well, THAT'S a story," Regina smiled grimly.
The two moved on to a nearby fruit tree.
Regina picked an apple. "My soccer team had won a big game, and Lou came to the victory party, which was in a local bar. And Alice was there--we didn't know her then--but she was obviously wasted by the time our party even got started."
"Hours later, when we were about to leave, I noticed she was passed out in a chair. No one else seemed to be taking any responsibility for her--or even seemed to be concerned about her--and I couldn't just leave her there. Although Lou was all in favor of just leaving her there."
"Yeah, I think I've seen that particular 'quality of mercy' in Lou," Bill observed. "She's not the most emotionally generous person."
Regina ignored this. "So," she continued, "I got Alice into a cab and took her back to my houseboat and, with the cabdriver's help--and a BIG tip to the cabdriver--got Alice onto the sofa. The next morning--and it was pretty messy--I went out to find some headache medicine for her. And while I was out, I saw this hysterical blonde girl putting up posters with Alice's photo on every telephone pole and storefront."
"Let me guess," Bill said. "That was Kelly?"
"Yup," Regina answered, plucking a lily. "They were sharing an apartment at the time, and Kelly was frantic when Alice didn't come home and didn't call."
Kelly kept Derek company while he fished. He caught his first fish almost immediately.
"Wow--you're really good at this," Kelly admired.
"I'm a good provider," Derek announced, casting again. "In many ways."
and after Derek had caught the 4th fish he'd promised Regina he was famished enough to sit down and eat.
"Delicious as always, Kelly!" he complimented her.
Kelly took this opportunity to ask the question that had been on her mind. "So, Derek, what is it that YOU want out of life?"
Derek put down his burger, and paused a moment, then looked at her squarely.
"Kelly, life is short. So I'm not going to waste your time. I want to be a NASA astronaut. I want to be married to a beautiful, smart, kind lady. I want children. I want to read them bedtime stories. I want a nice house with monkey bars in the backyard."