As was the case with most holidays -- for some reason that Kelly didn't really understand -- Derek would have to leave at dawn on Valentine's Day, and wouldn't be back home till the following morning. So, "Valentine's Eve" was the only time they had available for a night out (while Regina and Alice were babysitting their little girl, Kelsey).
Since the couple -- despite Derek's high income -- somehow never seemed to have any money, Kelly had accepted the generosity of Ophelia (who had a business deal with Zoe's Boutique about borrowing clothes) to get a very pretty dress just for that evening.
'You can do this, girl,' she said to herself confidently, repeating what Ophelia had said to her that morning.
Her sky-high heels, which she had bought for cheap online, were already killing her feet.
"Wow -- you look GREAT!" Derek said, entering the bedroom and kissing his wife.
Kelly was thrilled at her husband's compliment.
"You know what?" he murmured in her ear. "We should get you some really short dresses, so you can show off those fabulous legs you've got. And it wouldn't hurt to show off your cleavage a bit more -- I could make all my fellow astronauts SOOOOO jealous of me."
Kelly, taken aback, didn't really know what to say.
"Oh, and can you at least take down your hair for tonight?" Derek asked. " 'Cause I'm not really into this 'bun thing' you've constantly got going."
Kelly followed Derek up the stairs at the Solar Flare Lounge.
Javier Sykes, off work for the rest of the night, and keeping his fellow bartender, Nina Caliente, company while she worked her own shift, noticed the couple walking behind him.
'Harumph', he said under his breath.
"What?" Nina asked, as she made him another drink.
"I'll tell you later," Javier said. "For now, I'm trying to overhear as much as I can from those two."
"It seems so odd, having Declan away from our home for a whole weekend," Kelly said.
"Well I for one couldn't be happier about it," Derek declared. "I'm so tired of that little shit I can't tell you."
"But Derek!" Kelly said, shocked. "He's your son!"
"Yeah, sure, but it's not like I planned him," he protested. "Or wanted him. Or even suspected that he would exist."
"But he's HERE, Derek," Kelly argued, gently. "And he's YOURS. And it's obvious that your ex isn't emotionally willing to take care of him."
"You and I are young marrieds!" he grumbled. "Don't you miss the 'newlywed' time we were supposed to have together? Until Lana just dumped that damned kid at our doorstep?"
Derek went on. "He never finishes his frickin' homework, he picks fights with other kids at school, he's uncooperative at home."
"He's a CHILD, Derek," Kelly protested. "He knows only what he's learned from his environment-- and he hasn't been taught very well, at least until he came into our home."
"That's the guy I told you about," Javier told Nina.
"WHICH 'guy I told you about' ?" Nina asked.
"The big-shot astronaut. Who's conveniently away from home all the time. And who gets more tail than your average rap star.
"Which is a crime, really," Javier went on, "because his wife is so sweet, and beautiful, and kind."
"How do you know all this?" Nina asked. "I mean -- are you sure???"
"I know because we're all bartenders, girl," Javier said. "And bartenders all TALK."