Lana had finally saved enough money to get herself out of her rented trailer and into a decent house,
with a small but serviceable kitchen,
a dining/living area,
a bedroom/bath suite for Lana, a bedroom and second bath for her son, and a small terrace.
Kelly had convinced Derek that he should get Lana to take Declan to the Willow Creek Swim Club, to try to repair their relationship.
"Do I HAVE to go???" Declan whined.
"No," Kelly said calmly, "you don't HAVE to go, but I think you SHOULD go. Because she's your mom."
Once at the swim club, Declan headed immediately for the StarCruiser jungle gym (there was one other kid already playing there).
"I'm going to stay until your mother arrives," Kelly told him.
"Don't worry about it--she'll probably be a no-show," Declan said dismissively. "I'll just go back to your house when it's lunchtime."
Kelly found Lana in the bathroom.
"I'll be just next door if you need anything," Kelly said, somewhat uneasy.
"And you can always just bring Declan back to my house if things ... umm ... don't go well."
"I'm sure I can deal with my own kid," Lana said, with a slight edge in her voice.
As she was leaving the swim club, Kelly did not have high hopes for a reconciliation between Declan and his mother.
Declan had moved to the monkey bars.
"So, how're you doing?" Lana asked her son, whom she hadn't seen in weeks.
Declan waited a while before answering.
"What do YOU care?"
"I'm going to make lunch, Declan," Lana said. "Come over to the picnic table in 20 minutes."
30 minutes later, Declan shuffled over.
"Go get yourself some milk from the vending machine," Lana told him. "Do you have money?"
"Yes," he replied sullenly. "Because Kelly ALWAYS makes sure I have money!"
He got his drink,
and sat down at the picnic table across from his mother.
Declan was very uncomfortable having to face the woman who'd dumped him on Derek and Kelly's doorstep.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spied his schoolmate, Erin Garvey, and called her over. "Hey, Erin!" he yelled. "Come have a hot dog!"
"Cool!" she said, taking one and sitting down.
"Hi," Lana said to the girl, trying to make the best of this interruption. "I'm Lana Moriarty--Declan's mom."
Ignoring Lana, Erin turned to Declan. "I thought that OTHER blonde lady was your mom," she said.
Declan didn't feel the need to say anything, but was smugly happy at this (unintended) insult to his mother.
After Erin left, Lana told Declan her news.
"So, I bought a house in Oasis Springs," she said. "It's small, but you'd have your own bedroom. And your own bathroom."
Declan thought for a moment. "No," he said flatly. "I like it here."
"But this isn't your home, Declan," Lana said. "You can't stay here forever."
"YES I CAN!" he yelled. "Kelly says I CAN stay here forever! And she's home all the time! And she doesn't ignore me! Or leave me alone!
"And I don't want to live with YOU in the FUCKING DESERT!!!"