"Hmmm, ANOTHER lovely house that is much better than that awful place my son's family lives in!" Andromeda muttered.
"Hello, auntie!" Ophelia said, hugging her. "I'm sooooo glad you made it!!!"
"Oh, the trip was DELIGHTFUL!" Andromeda insisted. "Your uncle and I have never before flown first-class! The stewardesses were just lovely to us--especially when I explained what we had been through."
Andromeda had a fleeting thought about how much the "stewardesses" had enjoyed having Andromeda as a passenger.
"Thank you, son, for arranging our travel," Daedelus told Dude.
"I didn't do much, Papa--it was really Peter who made it happen."
"But why would someone we barely know do this for us?" Daedelus asked.
"I think he likes Ophelia," Dude whispered.
"Oh, my dear son!" Andromeda cried dramatically. "I feared I would never see you again!!!"
"How was your flight, Uncle?" Ophelia asked Daedelus.
"It was very pleasant," he assured her, "and your aunt had great fun regaling the various crew members with her tales of woe!"
The two went over to Peter, who was making coffee.
"Thank you so much, young man, for your generosity in getting us safely to this country," Daedelus thanked Peter. "And I will of course reimburse you as soon as my U.S. bank opens tomorrow."
"Please don't worry about it, sir," Peter assured him. "Your son is one of my closest friends, and it was a pleasure to be able to repay his endless kindness to me in some small way."
"Well, THIS very nice!" Andromeda pronounced, upon taking in Lou's former suite.
The elderly couple took a short nap after their long flight,
while Alice and Ophelia made dinner.
"So, how bad are things back home, Papa?" Dude asked his father.
"There has been looting," Daedelus admitted, "and even some rioting, but that's mostly in the big cities."
"We are safe out in the countryside for the time being, but that will change if people run out of food--then they will head for farms like ours."
Andromeda and Daedelus went to bed early,
though Peter and Ophelia stayed up talking for some time.
First thing the next morning, Daedelus headed out to his U.S. bank (where he kept a lot of money, because he had long been mistrustful of the banks in his home country),
which left Andromeda free to be her usual busybody self.
She tracked down Ophelia in Peter's bedroom.
"What a lovely bedroom you have, my dear," Andromeda purred. "So elegant!"
"Umm, this isn't MY room, Auntie," Ophelia stammered. "This is Peter's room, but he had to leave early this morning, so I just came in to make his bed."
Ophelia had no reason to be feeling guilty, because she had in fact slept in her own room the previous night.
"Come on, Auntie--I'll show you MY room."
Andromeda was not as impressed by Ophelia's room.
"HOW on earth do you sleep in here???" Andromeda demanded to know. "It looks so hot and stuffy!"
"Oh, Auntie, you're so funny!" Ophelia laughed.
Andromeda eventually went over to Regina's to tend the neighbor's garden and to get some vegetables.
"Wow, finally a few moments of peace," Ophelia sighed, as she made herself a salad for lunch.
The front doors suddenly burst open, and Ophelia whirled around, startled.
"Who the hell are YOU???" a very angry woman demanded to know.
"I ... I'm ... Dude's cousin," Ophelia stammered, but thinking quickly. "I'm with his parents, who are staying here at Peter's."
"Hrrrumph," Lou muttered, as she stomped into the back room. "This is MY house, too, until Peter buys me out!"
"Where's my diploma?" she yelled. "And all the rest of my things???"
"Ummm, I think Peter packed up and shipped you some boxes the other day," Ophelia offered hesitantly.
"Well, tell him I haven't gotten them!" Lou responded as she brushed by Ophelia and abruptly left the house.