"Oh, you're back from your trip to Latin America," Zoe said sleepily.
"Please do not get up, Corazon," he urged, shedding his robe and climbing into bed next to her.
"Okay," she said, getting back into bed. "Hey, I invited a friend over last night--Lana. Is she still here?"
"No," Rafael said, "she had to attend to something related to her police job search. But I met her, and think she is very nice.
"I missed you very much, Zoe," he purred.
Kelly could not stay away from Alice's new baby--she visited every spare moment she could.
Alice suspected she knew what was going on.
"Soooo," she asked, "how are you feeling?"
"Oh, just fine," Kelly cooed. "Especially whenever I'm with this little guy!"
Alice figured Kelly wasn't ready to spill the beans.
Rafael was making Zoe and himself Spinach Frittatas for lunch. "So, Corazon," he told her, "I will need to be away till late for a production meeting. But I have hired your friend, Lana, to make dinner for you."
"Really?" Zoe asked, surprised, as she went to make coffee.
"Yes," Rafael replied. "She will not start her police career for a few weeks, and I thought it would be wise to keep her close by. In my country, it is NEVER a bad idea to have a friend on the police force."
"Do we even know that Lana is going to GET a police job?" Zoe asked, as they sat down to eat.
"Oh," Rafael laughed, "of course she will. I placed a call to the local government official who is responsible for setting up the police department. Since I pay a significant amount of income taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes here, you may be assured that my recommendation of Lana carries considerable weight."
"Aww, what a cool little dude!" Peter whispered.
He made silly faces at baby Daedelus.
"You look like a natural dad," Alice commented.
"Not going to happen anytime soon, sweetie," he responded. "At least not with Lou."
Zoe returned from her day of spa-going and shopping late afternoon,
and was happy to find Lana cooking dinner in the kitchen.
"Wow--that smells fantastic!" Zoe enthused. "What is it?"
"Cioppino," Lana answered. "Kind of a fancy fish stew."
The two sat down with their dinner on the patio.
"You look nice," Lana complimented Zoe.
"Thanks!" Zoe said. "And you look ... umm .... Hey, do you want to go shopping sometime?"
Lana laughed off what she figured was an unintended insult.
"Yes, but," Zoe protested, "Rafael's got tons of money. And it would be easy to get you a couple of nice outfits, if you wanted."
"He'd even WANT to, if I told him," she added. "He really likes you."
"Look, I'm just trying to get to be a cop," Lana said. "I don't need a great wardrobe for that."
"But I have to say," Lana continued, "I think you got lucky with Rafael. Sure, he's kind of full of himself, but I think he actually values you. And I really appreciate that he's paying me to cook for you till the police job starts. He's a generous guy."
An hour later, after they'd finished dinner, Zoe made them both cocktails, and the two girls sat down to watch another episode of Rafael's telenovela.
About an hour after that, Lana told Zoe that she had to leave.
"Oh, really?" Zoe asked, disappointed. "You can always stay here--there are three extra bedrooms."
"You KNOW I've got to get home to Declan," Lana said. "If I don't, there's going to be a shit storm."
Zoe hugged her friend goodbye,
and went to bed.
"So, are you thinking at all about going to see Alice's baby?" Peter asked Lou tentatively, as they worked side by side late into the night, as they always did.
"Hell, no," she muttered. "I don't like Alice, and I don't much like babies, either."
Rafael got home late, as he had predicted.
He figured Zoe was already asleep, but then heard splashing sounds from the pool.
"Perhaps the delightful Lana is still here," he thought, walking to the backyard. "Swimming naked again!"
He was unprepared for the sight that met his eyes.
"Who--or what--is this bizarre creature in my pool???" he asked aloud.