"Okay, I'll help you put in a bathroom," Bill gave in. "You're gonna owe me big time, though!"
"It could probably be done for about $2,000, Bill said, "or $4,000, if you want top-quality fixtures that you don't have to repair all the freakin' time. We'll just have to see how much money's in the Utopia House kitty when we all split it up. How much is this house selling for?"
"Just under $40,000, as is--without a bathroom," Derek answered. "I think it can be a really good house, in time," Derek mused. "And I like the neighborhood--lots of little nature spaces. I just wish it were right on the water, but then it would of course be more expensive. Hey, let's go check out that fishing spot over there."
The two walked to the canal. "What's the story with THIS place?" Bill asked as they passed a boxy, older-looking house.
"Oh, that's the only house that was here originally," Derek told him. "This whole neighborhood used to be a farm, and this was the farmhouse. I think the developer's plan was to tear it down and build something new, because the site is so great. But none of the other new houses have sold at this point, so he ran out of money."
The fishing spot looked decent.
"This could be great," Derek pronounced. "I can see fish jumping all over the place. After Kelly and I move in across the street, you could come visit and we could fish together," he said. "Of course, I'd have to TEACH you to fish, since I'm great at it and you SUCK," he razzed.
But Bill just kept looking at the old house. "This is amazing," he said, somewhat wistfully.
"Come ON, buddy," Derek admonished him, "this is a 'tear-down' if it's anything. I'd buy it myself--I bet it's dirt cheap--if I had the time to demolish it and build something new. But, like Lou, I plan to find a job on Monday, and I need to provide a respectable house for Kelly very soon, so I can propose to her."
The guys continued walking along the canal.
"Wow, I wonder what this place is?" Derek asked as they approached a very modern-looking house.
"I didn't notice it when I was researching this neighborhood," he remarked. "It seems to be mostly huge glass windows--why can't we see inside?" he asked Bill.
"It looks like there's some kind of plastic film applied to the windows," Bill ventured. "I guess to keep passersby from looking inside."
"The house is kind of anachronistic, given the rest of the neighborhood," Derek opined.
"If by 'anachronistic' you mean 'doesn't fit in well with the other houses here,' I agree with you," Bill said.
They continued walking. "Well, THIS place looks more normal," Derek said as they reached the next house.
They circled the building.
"It's better from THIS angle--except for that 'glass box' place next door, that is," Bill said.
"So," Bill asked as they crossed the street, "what's this big vacant parcel? Next to the house you're thinking of buying? Doesn't it worry you what might go up here?"
"Well, the Willow Creek Town Council said that, if these houses ever sell, so there's ever a tax base, they'll have a budget to put in a municipal center--with a pool," replied Derek.
They walked through the large plot into a smaller, fenced area.
"A little community garden?" observed Derek. "This is cute. Kelly would like this."
Back at the Utopia House, the guys walked over to Regina, who was outside talking to her plants.
"So, how was the house?" she asked excitedly. (Bill had told her that Derek had asked him for an opinion on a house he wanted to buy.)
"No, she's out in the little park over there harvesting herbs for dinner."
Derek immediately went inside (and not to the park).
Regina looked quizzically at Bill. "What the heck was THAT about?"
"Don't really know," Bill laughed. "But Derek is wrapped pretty tight about this whole buying-a-house-for-Kelly thing."
Derek sought out Lou, who was working on yet another mobile app.
"Lou, I want to have a serious talk about our household finances."
'WTF?' Lou said to herself.