"Corazon, I need to go to Los Angeles for a couple of days," he announced.
"Umm, okay," she said.
"Normally, I would not worry about leaving you alone in such an exclusive neighborhood," he said, "but last night I found a very strange man swimming in the pool.
"I have reported him to the local police chief but, since there is not yet a functioning police force in this town, I worry about your safety."
"Well, I got an offer for a two-night gig playing piano that would take me out of town," she said. "I suppose I could do that."
"Perhaps that would be best," he said. "I am having contractors here to work on the first-floor bedroom the next two days, but I could pay Lana to house-sit, so she could keep an eye on them, and she could call me if any issues arise."
"But if there was a trespasser here last night, would Lana be safe?" Zoe worried.
"I am sure Lana would be more than a match for any trouble-maker," Rafael chuckled. "I assume she is always heavily armed."
"I don't actually know how to fish," Peter said, after Bill had cast a rod and handed it to him, then picked up his own.
"It's just not that hard, dude," Bill laughed. "And you're using my pregnant wife's rod, so please try to do it justice."
"Besides," Bill continued, "fishing clears the mind. And it's obvious you've got something on yours."
Peter was silent.
"Lemme guess," Bill said. "It's about Lou."
Peter sighed. "I just don't understand why she's so difficult. I don't understand why she's so pissed off all the time. And I sure don't understand why she won't even come to see the baby."
"Oh, SURELY you understand THAT at least!" Bill said.
"Nope," Peter replied. "And don't call me 'Shirley'."
"Haha--'Airplane,' right?" Bill laughed.
"Yup," Peter said. "Lou's unhappy at work--I know that at least. It's just not challenging enough for her. I think that's what causes her bad moods."
"You make a lot of excuses for her," Bill observed. "Just saying."
They fished for a few more minutes in silence.
"Here's a question," Bill said, "that ALL of us are wondering, even those who have been friends with Lou for a long time--why the heck do you like her?"
Peter sighed again. "She's brilliant, and beautiful, and really creative. The mobile apps she makes are amazing. And we both really like money, and the things it can buy. I just wish she weren't so cold."
"Hey--you caught your first fish!" Bill cried, as Peter reeled one in.
"Yeah, but I have no freakin' idea what to do with it!" Peter said, obviously uncomfortable, regarding the wiggling thing.
"Just give it to Regina," Bill advised. "She'll clean it and grill it for lunch."
Regina's pregnancy had started to show quite a bit, and she was peppering Alice with questions.
"Is breastfeeding painful?" Regina asked her friend.
"Yup," Alice admitted, "every time we start. Once he gets positioned, it's okay, but the first few seconds are always brutal."
"But I'm going to tough it out," she assured Regina, as she placed baby Daedelus back into his crib. "There've just been too many things in my life that I've given up on."
Regina made them both tea.
"Soooo," Regina asked slowly, "have you thought any more what you want to do about Dude?"
"Trust me," Alice responded grimly, "I think about it at least half of every day."
"That means, I guess, that you haven't yet decided to marry him," Regina said.
"No," Alice admitted.
"Dude's great," Alice said. "And I really care for him. And we're best friends. And I'm attracted to him, physically. And I really respect that he wants to do 'the right thing'."
"So what more do you want, Alice???" Regina asked.
"I want to be IN LOVE, Regina," Alice stated flatly. "Like you and Bill are. And I now have money from Rafael. And I thought two, three, four and more times about whether to accept it. But--hell--it gives me the freedom to do what I want."
"But a baby needs a FATHER, Alice," Regina insisted. "And you must see how Dude is with Daedelus--he's devoted to him."
"So what's your plan?" Regina continued. "Are you seriously thinking of doing some joint custody thing, where Dude has Daedelus half the week, and you have Daedelus the OTHER half the week? Is that what you want for your child???"