"Well, THAT went well," Bill observed sarcastically.
"I suppose someone should go after her," Peter suggested.
Regina and Bill just looked at him.
"Aaaaaand, I guess that person is 'yours truly'," Peter said with resignation, and walked out the door.
Peter found Lou sitting alone in the small park across the street from the Utopia House. "Mind if I sit down?" he asked cautiously.
Lou said nothing. Peter sat down anyway. "Want to talk about it?"
"My supposed 'best friend' got engaged and bought a house and didn't bother to tell me for 2 days," Lou said sadly. "How would YOU feel???"
"Well, I was as surprised as you," Peter admitted. "I knew Regina and Bill liked each other--and they have SO much in common, with the whole 'living off the grid' thing--but I didn't see this coming. I found out just a couple hours ago when I came home from work.
"I think there are TWO reasons why she didn't tell you, Lou," Peter went on. "One, as Regina explained, she didn't want to steal Kelly's thunder--everybody around here can sense Kelly's happiness and excitement, and we all assume she and Derek are getting married any day now.
"Two, you've just been so busy and focused on your new job and getting ahead and making game mods and plugins and everything else that I think Regina didn't want to distract you. She knows how important success is to you."
"But," Lou whined, "if Kelly is with Derek, and Regina is with Bill, then I'm stuck with Alice. And I don't WANT to be stuck with Alice!"
"Well, what I was ABOUT to suggest to you back at the house--before the train went off the tracks," Peter took a deep breath, "was that you and I could get a house together."
"Just as roommates," he hastened to add. "We'll find a two-bedroom somewhere, then once you make enough money, you can always get your own place. Or I could move out."
"I guess that could work," Lou said. Though still upset, she sounded a bit relieved.
"Gee, thanks for your enthusiasm!" Peter kidded. "Now let's go back to the house."
Just as they were leaving the park, Regina caught up to them.
"Oh, honey," Regina said, "I'm so sorry!" and hugged her friend.
"It's just that I suddenly found out that you were leaving, and since Kelly's leaving, I was afraid I'd have to live with Alice! But Peter and I have decided to share a house, so I'll be okay," Lou assured Regina.
Regina looked a little surprised by this. "You should know, Lou, that Bill and I have decided to offer Alice a room in our house, so we can help her stay sober," Regina said. "We just haven't told her yet."
Now it was Lou's turn to look surprised.
"Are you sure you've thought this through?" Lou asked. "You and Bill are starting your life together, and you're going to add Alice to the mix, with all her problems?"
"Believe me, we've talked about it a LOT," Regina assured her friend.
"I couldn't live with myself if I let Alice fall off the wagon. I really think she's got such a good chance of finally making something of her life. Besides," Regina laughed, "neither Bill nor I can cook, so we can really use Alice's help!"