(Peter and Ophelia had gone back to Peter's house in the wee hours of the morning, totally prepared to lie to his elderly houseguests that they had innocently been hanging out at Regina and Bill's house, instead of having mad, passionate sex at Alice and Dude's otherwise unoccupied house. Fortunately, Andromeda and Daedelus I had slept through the night, so no lying was necessary....)
Although both Dude and Alice had to work that day, Alice would at least be home when Daedelus came back from school. Dude was disappointed that he would have to leave for his job at 2 p.m., so wouldn't be able to see his son until that evening.
"I made brownies!" Alice chirped, trying to cheer up her husband. "You wanna take some to work with you?"
"Sure, thanks," Dude moped. "I'm sorry, babe--I'm just bummed that I won't be here when Daedelus gets back from his first day of school. Do you think I should skip work today?"
"No," she said firmly. "There will be LOTS of these days--when one or both of us can't be here for Daedelus. We just have to make it work, with the help of our friends and family."
Just after 3:00 p.m., Alice ran out to the sidewalk to greet her son. "How was your big first day of school???"
"It was fun, Mommy!" he answered. "There are some nice kids, and the teachers aren't mean at all!"
"That's good to know!" Alice laughed. "Hey, want some brownies and milk?"
Daedelus told his mom all about his day,
then did his homework without complaint. (Alice was desperately hoping he wouldn't ask her for help, since she was not very educated. In fact, Alice hadn't even finished high school.)
Alice took the boy next door to fish with Bill before leaving for her bartending job.
The guys were still at it when Dude got home from work (although Regina had long since gone to bed).
"Dad!" Daedelus cried. "I caught THREE fish--2 minnows and a perch!"
"That's great, buddy!" Dude told him. "Grandpa will be SO proud of you!"
"Well, it's just us guys for dinner tonight," Bill declared. "Regina's gone to bed already. So, Franks 'n Beans, everybody?"
Daedelus went inside to resume his homework,
while Bill fired up the grill.
"How was the kid this afternoon?" Dude asked.
"He was great," Bill assured his friend. "He's funny, he chattered about school, he caught some fish. He had a good day."
"You gotta stop worrying, Dude," Bill continued. "We're all here for you and Alice."
Alice got back from work at 2 a.m., exhausted and starved.
Regina heard her, and came downstairs. "Congratulations on finding something to eat here OTHER than Franks 'n Beans!" she kidded.
"I'm guessing YOU didn't make dinner tonight?" Alice asked with a laugh.
"Heck, no!" she retorted. "I went to bed right after you left for work, and I had the bedroom windows open, and when Bill started the Franks 'n Beans on the grill, I nearly barfed again!"
After a moment, Regina said suddenly, "You know, I JUST remembered something I've been wanting to tell you--I saw LOU the other day."
"Really?" asked Alice. "Were you over in her new neighborhood, Newcrest?"
"No, that was the odd thing--it was in Oasis Springs," Regina told her. "I went to the park there to collect lemon seeds, and she was sitting on a bench with some woman I've never seen before. And they were having what looked to be a REALLY intense conversation."
"And I waved to her, and I'm SURE she saw me, but she quickly turned away and pretended she hadn't. It looked for all the world like she was 'up to something' and didn't want anyone to find out about it."
"And you're SURE you've never seen this other woman before?" Alice quizzed.
"I'm certain," Regina assured her. "And--I hate to say this, because it sounds catty, but she wasn't the kind of woman Lou hangs around with. She was, umm, really fat, and kind of dumpy. And you know Lou's kind of a snob about appearance."
"Maybe a co-worker from the hospital?" Alice offered.
"But the other woman wasn't in uniform, and Lou was."
Alice sighed, getting up to clear the table. "Well, I guess Lou gets to have her secrets. That's probably one of the reasons she moved so far away from Willow Creek."