"Okay," Regina said, putting Daedelus back into his bassinet. "I'm going to go drop in on Kelly. She took leave from her job till her baby comes, so she's home every day now."
"The little dude and I will be okay," Dude assured her.
"PLEASE tell me that's not what you're going to call him!" Regina exhorted.
"Nah," Dude laughed. "Alice won't let me."
Regina crossed the street to Kelly's house,
and let herself in the side door.
She was very surprised to find her dear friend in tears.
"Kelly, sweetie--what the heck is wrong???" Regina asked, worried.
Kelly told her--between sobs--about a woman named Lana who'd shown up that morning and had dumped "Derek's kid" on the doorstep, then left.
Regina resisted the urge to say, "WTF????" and instead heard Kelly out.
"Soooo, where is Declan now?" Regina asked. "Is he upstairs?"
"No," Kelly sputtered, "she said he had to go to school. So I took him to school, and I gave the principal my phone number, and this address, so that Declan could get on the appropriate bus at the end of the day."
Regina had to admire Kelly's ability to do what was necessary, in spite of what she'd gone through in the last couple of hours.
"Have you spoken to Derek?" Regina asked. "To see what the TRUTH is behind this woman's claim???"
"Noooooo," Kelly wailed, doubling over, and looking like she was about to be sick. "He's at work, and I didn't want to bother him."
" 'Didn't want to BOTHER him'???" Regina exclaimed, incredulous.
Kelly went into the powder room to splash cold water on her face, and Regina called Bill and told him what had happened.
Then she called Lou and asked her to come over.
Lou arrived in less than a minute.
"Sorry to bother you," Regina apologized, "especially when you were about to leave for work."
"Don't worry about it," Lou answered. "I was going in today only to quit, anyway, and to get my stuff out of my cubicle."
"Really!" Regina exclaimed. "I had no idea!"
"You've probably noticed I don't talk a lot about my tech job," Lou said.
'Yeah, but, I figured it was top-secret, or something," Regina said lamely, and she felt bad that she'd been so occupied with Alice's baby, her own pregnancy, and Kelly's pregnancy that she hadn't been paying much attention to Lou's life.
"Has Bill called Derek yet?" Lou asked.
"I'm sure he has, by now," Regina assured her.
"You KNOW Derek will come back here instantly," Lou said. "I think I should get Kelly out of here, and over to my house, and get her to lie down--maybe with a cool compress--while Bill straightens this shit out with Derek."
Bill arrived just after Lou and Kelly had left.
"WHY are you cleaning?" he asked his wife.
"Because I have to do freakin' SOMETHING!" she responded.
"Do you think it's true?" she asked him.
Bill thought for a moment how to answer this question.
'It COULD be," he admitted.
"Derek HAS mentioned an ex named 'Lana' before," he added.
"REALLY!" Regina confronted him.
"Come on, hon'," he pleaded, "you know how guys talk. And it was YEARS ago."
"GEE," Regina said sarcastically. "Enough years to father a child who's now SCHOOL-AGE???"
Regina left for Lou's house.
Lou's prediction was accurate--that Derek would rush home like a bat out of hell.
He was anxiously looking for his wife, but found only Bill.
"Where's Kelly???" Derek demanded, enraged.