Alice sat down next to her friend.
"Bill and I wanted to give you and Dude some privacy to talk," Regina explained.
"Dude suggested we get a place together," Alice reported happily. "Even BEFORE I told him I was pregnant. And he's okay about the baby."
"Well, those are very positive developments," Regina said.
"But," Regina went on, "Bill and I STILL want you both to stay with us as long as you want--till you guys have enough money for a decent place. And remember--Bill and I both work from home, so we would be able to babysit any time you and Dude are at your jobs at the same time."
Dude, looking out one of the dining room windows, had spied Bill.
"So, how long have you known?" he asked, irritated.
"A couple days," Bill admitted.
"How could you not have told me???" Dude demanded. "A man has a right to know."
Dude continued. "And, furthermore, how could you have let Alice twist in the wind for 2 days???"
Bill tried to explain calmly.
"For one thing, Dude, it was ALICE'S choice not to call you, and and not to disrupt the band's tour."
"For another," he went on, "Alice was NOT 'twisting in the wind'--she knew she had the full support of Regina and me. And Peter. And Kelly."
"So, four other people were taking care of my baby, before I even KNEW I had a baby," Dude observed, somewhat wistfully.
Bill tried levity. "Hey, 'it takes a village,' Dude."
Dude was not amused.
Bill tried another tack. "And--as I've already said--it was ALICE'S choice not to disturb you on tour."
"I was raised by Greek parents who immigrated to this country with NOTHING," Dude said. "Nothing except VALUES."
"And I share those values."
"Let's get married," Bill urged Regina.
She laughed. "You proposed to me weeks ago, and as I RECALL I've already said 'yes'."
"I mean," he said, "let's get married NOW. As in, say, tomorrow."
"What's the rush, Bill?" she asked him, confused. "It's not as if I'm going somewhere."
"But why wait?" he countered. "We love each other, we're committed, we like the same things, we have fun every day. And we've talked many times about starting a family."
"And now that Alice is having her baby--don't you think that kid will need a playmate???"
"I think that's your phone, Lou," Peter said. He could hear it out in the dining room, where Lou had left it on the table.
"I can't stop now," Lou said tersely. "I'm in the middle of a tournament."
Peter's phone rang. He put down his paintbrush and went to answer it.