Chapter 5: Dina

The house was quiet without unpredictable Nina or wild-child Al, and Dina was all too happy to have Don to herself. She had long harbored a secret crush on him and thought he might be hiding his feelings for her. Now that her mom was definitely out of the picture, Dina confessed her attraction. Don was all too happy to return it. He realized he’d grown tired of hearing the same stories about work from Katrina, grown tired of constantly reassuring her she looked fabulous. To his surprise, Don had even grown tired of being Katrina’s boy toy. Dina, on the other hand, was sweet and quiet. When Dina was at work, Don thought of moving on. But when she came home, he decided he could wait a few days. His bed was pretty comfortable, hers even more so, and besides, Dina was a good cook and could mix up one heckava Zebra Fizz.

After a steamy evening with Dina in the hot tub, Don found his thoughts wandering to little Al and the whirlwind of tantrums he could throw.

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Maybe he was an alien hybrid. Don had heard rumors, one didn’t spend much time in Oasis Springs without hearing whispers. Don even dreamed sometimes that he had played a part in getting someone abducted.

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Al looked pretty normal, but those musical gas notes he passed were pretty strange. Who knew, Don reassured himself; Nina loved the Rattlesnake Juice Bar and even went on Alien Night. Perhaps it just ran in the family. No, he was not likely to truly be responsible for Al as fond as Don was of the wild child. Don’s thoughts were jarringly interrupted as Dina pulled him down under the water. She wanted to enjoy a little bit more than just relaxing in the hot tub.

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As Don popped up for air, he heard the back door open and saw lights on inside. It was Katrina. He took a deep breath, ducked under the water again, and hoped Katrina thought Dina had a guest over.

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An embarrassed Katrina told Dina she was just back to give a special performance. “I tried calling you all day.” Katrina turned away from the glowing hot tub. “You have company, so I’ll spend the night at Nancy’s. I can head back to Granite Falls and extend my vacation. No — No, please don’t get out.” Katrina hastily went upstairs to change and then left. Don re-emerged, breathing deeply. That was close. Too close. Juggling three women, even serially, was getting overly difficult.

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The next afternoon, Dina invited Don to relax in the hot tub. “I think we should just tell Mom and Nina,” she smiled at Don. “You know, I’ve never felt that I was her real daughter. Weird, huh. But thinking that makes it not so creepy being your girlfriend.” Don didn’t answer; he was trying to think of a way out of this unforeseen situation. “They’ll be back soon because I told them I have big news. I will just say, ‘Mom. Nina. Don and I realize we care for each other.’ If they get mad, we can get our own place together. It will be small and we won’t have much, but we’ll have each other.” Before Don could reply, Dina pulled him to her and kissed him.

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