"Come see what I got!" she said gleefully to Regina, who was busy working on her new book.
Regina followed Alice out to the deck.
"Adorable!" Regina gushed. "But why did you get TWO bassinets?" she asked.
"Well, I don't know if I'm having a boy or a girl," Alice answered. "But I want to be ready in EITHER case, 'cause it feels like this baby is coming any day now!"
"Or--my baby could use one, and your baby could use the other," Alice suggested. "Do you think we could get the guys to bring them upstairs?"
"Oh, please--we're pregnant women!" Regina said seriously. "We can get the guys to do ANYTHING we want!"
After a brief discussion, the group decided to put one bassinet in Alice's room (because it made her happy at least to have it nearby while she was still having relatively sleepless nights),
and the other downstairs, so that the baby could be with people during the day,
"Dude, could we talk for a minute?" Alice asked him.
This request took Dude by surprise. Not that Alice had been cold to him, but she'd been so self-focused during her pregnancy that he had been walking on eggshells around her.
"Regina was thinking of making the room you sleep in into a nursery for both babies," she said, "once mine--I mean, OURS--arrives. So maybe after I give birth, you and I could sleep in the same room?"
Dude was thrilled. He had worried that he was about to be asked to live elsewhere. "That would be good," he responded, trying not to sound too eager, for fear of scaring off Alice.
He added, tentatively, "I'd be happy to be sleeping with you NOW."
"Trust me, Dude," Alice groaned, "I am NOT a pleasant bed-mate at this point!"
Alice was delighted with the new bathroom that Bill, Derek, and Dude had put in.
For one thing, the household of four adults and--soon--two babies really needed another bathroom.
For another thing, Alice was happy finally to have a shower in the house, since lowering herself into and raising herself out of the wooden bathtub was difficult at this point in her pregnancy.
"Well, I guess I'm done woodworking for the day," Bill said, "if Alice is taking a nap."
"I have some good news, though," Dude told him. "Alice said after the baby comes Alice and I can share a room. That means there can be a nursery."
After her day of spa treatments and shopping, Zoe didn't feel like going back to Rafael's house right away. He was away filming his Latin soap opera anyway and, since Zoe couldn't cook, instead of just having dinner delivered to Rafael's house, she decided to go to the Solar Flare Lounge to dine.
'SOMEONE should be admiring me in this dress!' she said to herself.
Zoe walked upstairs and sat down at the bar next to a woman who was sitting alone.
"Not a lot of eligible-looking guys here tonight," the woman in the red sequined top said to Zoe.
"Oh, I HAVE a boyfriend," Zoe assured the woman. "He's just out of town on business for a couple days."
"Lucky you," the woman said. "So, your 'boyfriend' is out of town, and you go to a bar by yourself?"
"I just came here to eat dinner. Because I can't cook," Zoe admitted.
The woman laughed, but kindly. "I couldn't cook, either--until I was 25."
"Do you live here in Oasis Springs?" the woman asked Zoe.
"I'm not sure, really," Zoe said (and she wasn't really sure why she was being so forthcoming with this stranger). "I used to live here in Oasis Springs with my bandmates--when we had a band--but then the band broke up, and then I met this guy who lives in Willow Creek, and he has a really nice house, and I've been hanging out at there for a while."
"That sounds sweet!" the woman enthused.
"Do YOU live here in Oasis Springs?" Zoe asked.
"Not really," the woman replied. "I'm here checking out the neighborhood to see if there are any jobs. I've got a VERY short-term rental. Which was cheaper than a hotel."
"I'm Zoe," Zoe introduced herself. "Zoe Patel."
"Nice to meet you, Zoe," the woman said. "I'm Lana. Lana Moriarty."
Note from the author: In case you don't recognize Lana, you could go back and read post #61: Derek's Dream