"So this is my little princess," he said in awe, cradling the new baby.
Alice put down the book. "Yup, she's a cutie."
"Where's Kelly?" Derek asked.
"She's gone back to bed," Alice told him. "But she's gotten up twice to feed Kelsey since I came over this morning."
"Okay, I'm going back to Kelly and Derek's to babysit," Regina told Bill that evening, "so that Alice can go to her job."
"I might as well be," Regina replied, "if I'm going to be there all night."
"As if Derek knows ANYTHING about newborns," Regina scoffed. "Kelly wants another mom there--at least for a couple of days."
Alice had made Derek and Declan dinner before she left for work, and had put some leftovers in the fridge for Kelly. Derek occupied himself analyzing plant samples and making prints of them, and selling the prints to raise money.
Regina tidied up the house (which was pretty clean, anyway),
tended to baby Kelsey,
and slept in Kelly's room.
Derek set up the ugly child's bed he had gotten for Declan (and which he had not managed to return) in the future dining room, figuring it was better than sleeping on the living room couch.
The next morning, Regina made breakfast for Derek and Declan. (She wasn't the best cook--in her own house she usually relied on Alice--but Regina was certainly a better cook than Derek.)
After Declan left for school, Derek said to Regina, "You and Bill have the best marriage of any couple I've ever known. So, give it to me straight--what do I have to do to fix things with Kelly?"
"I wish I knew," she replied, "but I don't--that's between you two. But I think you need to START by explaining to her why you ignored Lana's dozens of calls, voicemails, emails, and texts to you, when she found out she was pregnant with your kid."
"But I don't HAVE a good excuse," he said glumly. "I was just an asshole to Lana. I was done with her--not interested in taking things any further. And I didn't want to get into a whole huge discussion with her about that."
"Then say THAT to Kelly," Regina urged him. "And THEN you have to come up with some reasonable assurance to her that you're no longer an 'asshole'--that you've really changed."
"But I HAVEN'T changed," Derek admitted. "Kelly was ALWAYS the kind of girl I was ultimately looking to settle down with, and Lana and all the other girls before Kelly were just for sex. I wasn't serious about any of them--I was just waiting to find a perfect goddess like Kelly to marry and have kids with."
"Well, I wouldn't lead with that," Regina sighed.
"Does Kelly at least understand that I didn't KNOW Lana was pregnant with Declan?" Derek asked. "Until she showed up here with him a couple weeks ago???"
"Yes," Regina answered, "but she also understands that the only reason you DIDN'T know was that you 'went dark' on Lana by ignoring her many efforts to communicate with you. And that's something Kelly fears--she worries that that callous, boorish, and selfish side of your personality might still be there under the surface."
Derek was stunned.