"Let's head to the river again," Bill suggested. "None of these danged sinks or showers have broken today--YET!--so this may be my big opportunity to get better at fishing."
"Want to come with us?" Regina asked Alice.
"I would," said Alice, "but I'm going back to the Blue Velvet Lounge in Willow Creek tonight to practice my bartending."
"Why don't you go to the Solar Flare Lounge in Oasis Springs, instead?" Bill asked Alice. "Because I think that's where Lou and Peter and Kelly and Derek are going to end up later tonight."
"How 'bout you, Dude?" Bill asked.
"Oh, I think I'll go along with Alice," Dude replied. "I need to make some more tip money. And I did really well at the Blue Velvet the other night!"
"So, what was that about?" Bill asked Regina. "Is Alice trying to avoid Lou?"
"Surely it can't be lost on you that there's tension between the two of them," Regina chided him.
She continued. "I DID tell you how they met, right?"
"Yes, but," Bill wondered, "why is Lou always so darned angry?"
"I think a lot of it is that she's frustrated that she can't skate anymore," Regina sighed. "She was a pretty big star in the ice show, and she was making a lot of money. I think she's saved quite a bit, but she had a master life plan that involved performing at least 5 more years. And now she's got to scramble to get something else together."
"So, it actually has nothing to do with Alice, is that what you're saying?" Bill inquired.
"No, it has a LOT to do with Alice," Regina answered. "Lou despises people who waste their lives, or their potential. She's exasperated with Alice for the same reason she admires Kelly--it comes down to a person's strength of character."
The two fished in silence for a few minutes.
Bill decided to take the plunge, and ask a question he--and the other guys--had wondered about for several days. "Is Kelly really a virgin?"
Regina sputtered, laughing. "Yup!" as she reeled in her first catch of the night.
"Sorry, but how is that possible for a woman as beautiful as she is?" Bill asked.
Regina was mildly put off by Bill's question, but kept her feelings to herself. "It's POSSIBLE," she replied, "ESPECIALLY for a woman as beautiful as Kelly."
She continued. "Because there's an unlimited number of guys who want Kelly, as soon as whoever she's dating pressures her for sex outside of marriage, she tells him politely that she doesn't think they're right for each other, and just waits for the next guy who's interested in her. Which generally takes about a day."
"Is Kelly a commitment-phobe?" Bill laughed.
"Nope," Regina answered. "She just knows what she's worth."
At the Blue Velvet Lounge, Dude quickly started drawing a crowd,
Alice was doing okay at the bar, and an hour or so later when the crowd thinned she took the opportunity to run upstairs to the bathroom.
On the way, she stopped to listen to Dude play.
Alice caught herself--for a moment--thinking how attractive Dude was.
'Knock it off, Alice!' she reprimanded herself. 'Stay focused.'
She continued on up to the bathroom.
"So, classy lady," he said, pulling up a chair next to the woman who'd played piano with him,
"you said your name was 'Zoe'--are you Greek?"