"Better," Dude responded, "now that you've told her you're pregnant, too."
"Before that, she really felt like an outlier," he explained. "You know, being the only pregnant one of the 4 of you girls."
"Do you two have a plan?" Regina pressed. "For any kind of future together?"
"No," Dude admitted. "Don't get me wrong--I'll do ANYTHING Alice wants. She just has to decide what that is. And she hasn't yet, and I don't want to pressure her."
"Once she gives birth, maybe she'll make up her mind."
Regina took a deep breath. "Please tell me if I'm overstepping, but--do you love Alice?"
"Of course!" Dude sputtered. "And she's my best friend. I wouldn't say I'm 'in love' with her, but--hey--being best friends is not the worst foundation for a marriage."
The renovations on Rafael's new house, Cypress Terrace, were continuing.
He was especially pleased with his new master bathroom.
Rafael was also pleased that Zoe never left his house without looking immaculate (after her own fashion, of course).
Her shoes and dress always went together (again, after a fashion), and her lipstick always matched her outfit.
Rafael was even more pleased that Zoe had actually learned how to operate the coffee maker.
"Rafael, would you like coffee?" she asked, sounding somewhat proud.
"Corazon, this is AMAZING!" he gushed. "You have done such an impressive job preparing this coffee!"
Zoe frankly wondered whether she merited such an extravagant compliment. 'His standards for girlfriends must be REALLY low,' she thought.
Zoe left for the day spa soon thereafter. She was spending a LOT of Rafael's money, but he didn't care as long as she looked great.
"YOU'RE dressed up," she observed, slightly suspicious. "Do you have a business meeting today or something?"
"Yes," he said, after a brief, uncomfortable pause.
"Hello, Regina," Rafael said as he approached her from behind, as she was outdoors talking to her plants.
"I need to speak to Alice--will you please ask her if she will see me?" Rafael asked.
Regina whirled around.
"My husband's inside," she told him. "Ask HIM."
Bill was upgrading their kitchen sink.
He was not thrilled to see Rafael (in fact, his first response to seeing the guy was always to reach for one of his firearms), but he resisted the urge to ask, 'WTF do YOU want???"
"I would like to see Alice, briefly," Rafael said. "Would you kindly ask her if she will meet with me, if only for a few minutes. And I already know that you do not like me, but this is NOT about me--this is about Alice. And her baby."