I wrote a slightly angsty one shot a few weeks back (Part 1) and was begged to write a second part so here it is! Enjoy!
A Happy Ending?
When Regina’s plane landed in Perth the next afternoon she was met by bright blue skies; a stark contrast to the smog and greys she’d seen every day in Malaysia. They were a blue so beautiful and yet so painfully close to the colour of his eyes it practically mocked her. But Regina was never one for moping or dreaming of what ‘could have been.’ She took a deep breath, clean air filling her lungs and if the breath she let out shuddered a little she would never admit it. She was home now and that meant she was back to the real world. Her fantasy romance, or lack thereof, was over. Regina jumped straight back into her normal life with a week of music education PD the day after arriving home and a week at uni. Then she would start another five weeks of teaching practicum and with any luck she would forget all about him and the ache in her heart.
Unfortunately, prac only made her miss him more. In Malaysia he’d been beside her with almost every class she taught, during their DOTT time they sat at adjoining desks and when they sneaked lunch in the cafeteria away from all the fasting children during Ramadan he sat opposite her; a light smirk sitting on his face at all times. Now she was alone. She taught by herself, wrote lesson plans on her own and often ate lunch at her desk.
She was fine. Of course she was. She’d spent most of her life being somewhat alone and it’s not like she wasn’t busy enough but she couldn’t deny she missed the company or the sarcastic banter that kept a smile in her eyes every minute of the day. At least once a day she felt the urge to message him and at least once a day she suppressed the urge and swallowed the fact that he hadn’t messaged her either. A month after she had arrived home was the first time they spoke. He sent her a message over Facebook one afternoon that read, “I can’t feel my hands.” She stared at it incredulously, unsure of how to reply.
She eventually settled with, “A bit cold over on your side of the country, dear?”
“I know you think I’m a princess but I swear it’ll probably start snowing any minute now. It’s freezing outside,” was his reply a few minutes later.
Regina smiled, “Yes, in a frilly pink dress…and if it does start to snow you’re welcome to send some over to me. Why don’t you just go inside?”
“I figured that’s what you were in envisioning. I’ll be sure to send some over but you won’t be able to make a very big snowman. We had sports carnival at my school so I had to stand outside all day in the cold and rain. How’s your school going?”
“That sucks for you. The weather over here has been sunny and about 20C all week. School is good. I sung a song about a squirrel, sat through auditions for the performing arts showcase that is coming up and assisted with rock band rehearsals.”
“Wow. I thought I was the primary school teacher and you were the high school teacher?”
“Yes, the life of a music teacher is pretty miserable.”
“I can only imagine. Anyway, sorry but I’m heading out for dinner so I’ll talk to you later.”
“Have a good evening!”
Regina grinned. She had missed talking to him way too much. How could a five minute conversation make her feel like she was flying? It was pathetic.
The next day it was pouring with rain as Regina got off the train. She had been running late and therefore forgotten her umbrella. By the time she got to school she was soaking wet, her hair hanging limply and sticking to her cheeks, her dress clinging to her sides and the top becoming mortifyingly see through. Even her shoes were sopping wet. She rolled her eyes as she stood under the veranda outside the music classroom ringing herself dry as best she could. She snapped a photo of herself, sad and drenched and sent it to Robin, the caption read, “Is this karma for laughing at you yesterday?”
The rest of the day was busy. Regina practically ran from class to class. Even her DOTT time was filled up with meetings with her mentor, lesson planning and arguments with the photocopier. By the time she got a chance to look at her phone again it was nearly five in the evening. There were two messages from Robin, one that read, “Yes. Serves you right,” and the other said, “Although I don’t think I looked quite as stunning as you do when wet.” The latter was followed by a winking face.
The outright flirting took her a little by surprise. She giggled as she read the message and her face flushed a soft tinge of red but she couldn’t bear replying. Surely that would not be fair on Marian to reply and continue his flirtation even though it was him that started it. Plus, she was positive that Robin was just being silly and if she responded similarly then she would probably just manage to embarrass herself.
After over thinking everything way too much she put her phone away and decided she would just message him later.
Regina didn’t even get the opportunity to think about him for the next few days; immersing herself in work for prac. A whole day was spent in tech rehearsal and she didn’t get home from school until nearly ten o’clock that night after the first show. The next day went relatively the same and by the time she reached the weekend Regina was ready to sleep for a month and drink an entire bottle of wine. Unfortunately there was still another week of prac to go so her entire weekend was spent marking student’s worksheets and planning the classes she was taking in the following week.
Prac finished and then she was straight back to uni. Regina thought about sending Robin a message to say hi or to let him know what she had been up to but somewhere her brain told her that if he really cared for her then he would have messaged her by now.
Eventually Regina stopped thinking about him so much. The loneliness that often sprung up at odd times became only a dull ache. She had a busy enough life without him or anyone else. Only once every few days she would notice a photo of him with one of their classes together that sat on her desk or hear a song that they liked to listen to together and everything would hurt for just a moment.
Nearly two months after Malaysia, Regina sat staring at her laptop willing her fingers to type out an assignment for uni but becoming more and more uninspired by the minute. She took a sip from her mug of tea but it was cold, because of course it was. She sighed and rolled her shoulders back and then nearly jumped out of her skin when her phone vibrated noisily on her desk. It was a message from Robin. Regina looked over at the message, his name on the screen automatically making her smile.
“How was the rest of your placement?”
Regina wasn’t sure whether to be angry at him for having not messaged for so long or to just be glad that he now had.
“It was pretty good. Been finished for about a week now. It seems strange to be back at uni only a few days a week after the strict timetable of school. How about you?”
“I finished too. It was fine.” the message read. A few moment later he sent another, “Can I call you?”
Regina gasped softly, not sure if it was a good idea. After a couple minutes of over-thinking yet again she messaged him her number and moments later her phone buzzed beside her. She took a deep breath. She could do this. They were friends before her stupid heart decided it was falling in love. She answered the call and suddenly couldn’t stop grinning when she heard his voice on the other end.
“Hey stranger,” he said, the warm sound of his voice filling her ear.
“Hey yourself,” she breathed.
“I’ve missed you! How are you?” he asked and Regina could practically hear him grinning.
Regina’s heart stilled. Such a simple question. But what on earth was she meant to reply to that when the answer was ‘embarrassingly miserable without you’?
”I’m well. Keeping myself busy. How about yourself? Was there a reason you wanted to call?” she answered, impressing herself with how composed she was managing to sound. He didn’t reply for a moment. Regina worried the line had been disconnected but then finally he let out a small whisper, “I think Marian is leaving me.”
Regina’s eyes widened. She knew she should be upset for Robin but she wasn’t. However, relieved or not, it did come as quite a shock.
“What do you mean? How come?” she asked.
“She thinks I’m in love with someone else.”
Now Regina’s heart was racing. “Oh. Why is that?”
“Because I am.”
A quaver of hope told her that just maybe he was in love with her but a cacophony of voices in her head told her she was being stupid because of course he wasn’t. However, if it wasn’t her she really didn’t want to know. She was sick of just being the friend who got to hear about other people’s love life issues. She didn’t even have enough of a love life to have issues.
“I thought she was the love of your life? That’s what you kept telling me when we were away.”
“I do love her. I possibly always will but…I’m not in love with her anymore.”
“So…what are you going to do?”
“Well I’m thinking I should tell the person I’m in love with.” He sounded nervous, although why, Regina couldn’t work out. She was sure that whoever it was would love him right back. He was charming to a fault.
“Right. Well I should probably leave you to that then…” Regina squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to stop the tears that were suddenly threatening to escape. She mentally cursed herself for getting so stupidly emotional over nothing.
“Wait! Don’t hang up! Regina, I-”
Regina steeled all her courage and then in a rush she hissed, “Please don’t do this to me. I understand we’ve become friends and you needed someone to talk to about this but I really don’t need to hear about this new love of yours when…”
“Forget it. I’m sorry, Robin. I’ve got to go.”
“Regina! Wait a sec!” he exclaimed, desperately.
“I’ll talk to you later,” she said in a rush before hanging up and collapsing face first on to her bed. Regina was so embarrassed. She couldn’t believe the word vomit that had bubbled out of her mouth. She had royally stuffed up.
Regina awoke the next day with three missed calls from Robin and a message that read, “I need to talk to you.” She debated throwing the phone across the room but she resisted and instead left the message unanswered and forced herself out of bed. She stood under the hot water in the shower long enough that her skin started to turn red. She felt awful. She had no clue how to undo what she’d said. She didn’t want them to not be friends or not speak but even that was better than hearing him say he wasn’t interested in her. She couldn’t stand having her heart broken. Not again.
Robin had spent several hours that night simply pacing up and down his bedroom, shoving his fists into his eyes, willing himself not to get pathetically upset. It had taken nearly all his strength to call her. He had rehearsed a whole speech and everything but how could he tell Regina that it was her he was in love with if she wouldn’t even listen? Sure, it had taken him a while to realise himself but now there was nothing he was more certain of. After she had kissed him that last day in Malaysia, albeit only on the cheek, it was like a switch had been flicked and he just knew. Considering he may never see Regina again he had thought for quite a while that maybe he could just forget about her and continue his life with Marian but his heart was no longer with her. She could see it and as much as he tried to ignore it, he could too. Marian and he had been fighting almost non-stop for the past few days and mostly it was about Regina. Maria had demanded to know exactly what had happened with them in Malaysia and had thought that he had been cheating on her. Robin adamantly denied it because the truth was, nothing had happened and it was only after he had said goodbye that he realised how much he regretted that fact. After tears from both sides, he and Marian had decided it was best not to see each other for a little while, at least not until after he had sorted out whatever it was he was feeling for Regina.
Now Robin was alone in his room staring at Flight Centre’s homepage on his laptop. His fingers twitched as he contemplated whether he should take the opportunity of his upcoming mid-semester break and his mother’s frequent flyer points to find out once and for all if he could find his happy ending. He let out a deep breath and clicked, ‘book.’ Nobody ever had a happy ending without a little risk, right?
It wasn’t until he was sitting on a plane a few weeks later that he started to doubt his somewhat rash decision. He was wedged between an overweight business man who seemed ignorant of the chips he was spilling everywhere and an elderly woman reading one of those terribly cheesy romance novels. Neither of them were taking any notice of the young man sitting between them who was taking shallow breaths as his heart raced as he realised that he hadn’t even planned how he would confront her. He wasn’t even sure where she lived. He would message Emma when he landed and hopefully she could help him with an address but what if she didn’t want to see him? Their last conversation wasn’t particularly positive and she had replied to his desperate, “I need to talk to you,” plea with a simple, “Later.” They hadn’t spoken since unless you include the odd silly video of a cat falling off a roof or a stupid photo he had sent to which she had replied with something as pathetic as “haha.” At this point he wasn’t really even sure if they were friends, let alone if she could love him but that was why he needed to see her. He needed to spit the words out, hopefully in a somewhat romantic way, and then get the chance to see that beautiful smile of hers again. He just hoped it wouldn’t back fire with her slamming the door on his face.
Regina was sitting, cocooned in her doona on the couch in her living room. It was her one day off a week and it was pouring with rain outside so she decided to take the opportunity to sit for a few minutes, read a book for the first time in forever and enjoy the soft patter of rainfall outside. She had only been sitting for a few minutes when she heard a knock on the door. Regina jumped at the sound. She wasn’t expecting anyone so she peered through the curtains beside her front door cautiously.
There he was.
He was standing underneath the veranda on her front door step. Half soaked from the rain, looking a little tired but still breath-takingly handsome as ever. Regina gasped. Her heart suddenly beating so fast it was like her internal metronome was about to blow up. He turned and saw her, peeking through the curtains and grinned. He waved somewhat awkwardly and then pointed frantically at the door; a request to let him in. Once Regina’s brain had finally caught up to what was happening she ran to grab her keys. She groaned when she realised she was still wearing ugg boots and had barely brushed her hair yet but unlocked the door anyway. She opened the door and before she could overthink anything she pulled him inside and wrapped her arms around him. It took him a moment before he relaxed into the embrace and then squeezed her back. When they pulled apart his smile was a little wobbly as he whispered, “Hi.”
“Hi? You turn up at my house unannounced and ‘hi’ is all you have to say? What are you doing here?” she asked, overwhelmed with both excitement and confusion.
Robin scratched his jaw, something Regina knew he did when he was nervous, and let out a soft sigh. “I needed to talk to you and…”
“So you flew all the way to Perth to talk to me?! What the hell, Robin!”
“Hear me out! I just…you look stunning, by the way,” he paused for a second, his hand coming up to her face and his thumb caressing her cheek. He cocked his head, his mouth curving into his terribly sexy half-smile. Their eyes met and god Regina had missed staring into that ocean of blue each day.
She rolled her eyes and sighed but she couldn’t stop herself from smiling. “What is it, dear?” she asked, bringing her hand to cover his on her cheek.
“I’m in love with you.”
It took Regina a few seconds to process what he had just said. She didn’t believe it. No one had ever been in love with her before.
She watched his face, waiting for a sign to prove to her that it was all some charade and that someone out there was playing a cruel joke on her but when his gaze didn’t shift and his grin only got wider. Regina whimpered, her hound flying to cover her mouth as she stepped away from him. She shook her head adamantly, “You’re lying. What about Marian?”
Regina stared at him incredulously.
“I understand if you don’t feel the same but Regina, I love you. I didn’t realise before but when you left me in Malaysia it felt like someone was literally ripping a part of my heart out. I tried to ignore the pain once I got home but Marian and I…our relationship just wasn’t the same anymore. I was too hung up on you. I missed you terribly but I didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t know if you felt the same and…so I just had to come see you.” Robin clasped her hands in his. “Tell me I’m a fool and that you never want to see me again but I just needed you to know how I felt.”
A tear fell down Regina’s face and she sniffed. “You are a fool,” she whispered and Robin looked heart broken.
“But…” she continued before giving up on words all together and crashing their lips together. He moaned into the kiss as her arms wrapped around his neck and pulled him close to her. When they parted with a gasp of air she couldn’t stop smiling. She brought her hand to his cheek and their eyes met. “I’m glad you eventually came to your senses, dear,” Regina beamed, her eyes dancing. “I love you too.”
Robin’s half-grin turned into a smile so wide it nearly reached his ears. “Maybe you can start your happy ending at twenty after all?”
Regina huffed out a laugh and he pulled her in for another kiss.