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Here and Now

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“I love this plane! It comes with video games!” Roland declares as he looks at his seat with a goofy smile.

Robin bites down his guilt and tries to accept the gift Regina gave him and Roland.

She insisted on buying them first class tickets, and with the fact it was last minute… he really can’t imagine what it costs.

“I treated myself to first class when I first moved to Michigan and had a baby,” she had explained, “And I never looked back. I have… issues.” She had admitted it in a small voice and he hated to see her still so embarrassed. “Sitting that cramped and close to strangers… I couldn’t risk it. I still can’t. And I’d just feel better if you were with me, so let me do this for you.”

He’s never thought of himself as traditional or stuck in the 1960s, but the thought of a woman providing for him has made him feel a bit of a leech.

Looking at how happy Roland is with the seats, he can only laugh. “Don’t get used to it, buddy,” he teases. “Not all, um, planes, are this big.”

He shoots Regina a teasing glance, but she doesn’t seem to find this as funny.

“Can we sit together? I can teach Roland how to play Rally!”

Robin looks over at Regina. “It’s a racing game,” she explains. “And Henry, it’s late. You two should be sleeping. It’s way past Roland’s bedtime. And yours.”

They took the redeye so they can have plenty of time tomorrow.

“But Roland took a nap today,” Henry argues, “And I’ve been up later than this before!”

It’s nearly 10:30 at night, and Henry may have made it to midnight a few times, but he certainly won’t be able to spend many more hours up.

“You can play until we have to turn off the electronics. But remember that Roland is only five.”

“I know,” Henry says dramatically. “But I was five when I started playing—“

“I know. And you were not as good as you are now,” she warns. “Go easy on him.”

“I can sit with Henry?” Roland looks up at his dad in question.

“We are going to be right behind you, if you need me,” Robin tells him. “And you’re still expected to nap.”

Roland just looks excited as Henry starts whispering to him.

“Henry doesn’t want me to sit next to him because he thinks he will be able to sneak more soda and cookies that way,” Regina explains, though she looks more tense than amused, “That’s what he’s whispering to Roland about.”

Robin chuckles and grabs her hand, squeezing it. “Are you alright, darling?”

She nods and takes her seat by the window. Robin joins her.

“Somethings wrong,” Robin notes. “Be honest, what is it?”

He worries she will tell him she’s having an episode, that she’s regretting this trip altogether, that she wants to leave—they will do it, absolutely, he and Roland can get a flight to his father later.

But instead, she surprises him by blushing, looking down at their joined hands and asking softly, “Why did you tell Roland not to get used to first class?”

Okay, unexpected, she should know the drill but maybe she’s forgotten just how expensive it is or thought he’d love the experience so much he’d readjust his nonexistent discretionary budget to accommodate it. “Love, this is wonderful, and I am so thankful you gave us this. But, I simply can’t afford it.”

“Right,” she nods and presses her lips together tightly, and god, something is wrong. “Of course. You don’t want him to get used to anything in case this doesn’t work out with us.”

Oh, that’s it.

“That’s not at all what I mean.” He bites his lip. “I don’t want to depend on your generosity or just assume you’ll be treating us from here on out. I want to provide for my son on my own. That doesn’t mean I think we have an end date, okay?”

She nods, and he sees the nerves on her.

“I want to be with you, I’m confident in us,” he assures her.

She scoffs a bit. “You don’t seem confident.”

“I am,” he insists. “I’m just having difficulty wrapping my head around the lifestyle change.”

“Are you sure it’s not that you’re worried this… meeting won’t go well?” she asks, fidgeting.

“What, this trip?”

She nods, squeezes his hand tighter. “I’m nervous.”

“We can still get off this plane,” he tells her. “I will love you just as much, I’ll be just as happy with you if you decide to never go back. We can see my parents here. I have you and MM here. I don’t need anything there.”

“No, no, I want to go,” she admits as her leg shakes. “I think it will be cathartic. I’m just really nervous to see your parents again.”

Robin can’t help but laugh at that. She scowls in his direction. “Regina, they love you. You know that.”

“That was before I…” she drifts off, throwing a worried look at the boys in front.

“They still love you,” he insists, kissing her forehead. “I promise. And listen,” he cups her chin and urges it up, wants her to look him in the eyes. When she does, he loses his thought, caught up in how beautiful she looks and can’t help but kiss her pretty little pout. “I love you. I love Henry. You’re so perfect, and I’m so happy with you both, you really have no idea. I still think I’m going to do something to screw it up. I’m still shocked you want to be with me.”

Regina rolls her eyes. “I’m far from perfect. And few men would want to—”

“—Would want to be with a beautiful, intelligent, witty, charming doctor?” he finishes for her.

“I have my baggage,” she reminds.

“Mm, you did overpack a bit for such a short trip,” he teases.

She sighs at his corny jokes, but can’t help but smile at it just the same.

“I don’t want to get too sappy here on a red eye flight,” he tells her quietly, “But I know what I feel. I know you’re it for me. I would not be moving in with you and taking Roland with me if I didn’t know that. You’re stuck with us, okay?”

She nods and takes a deep breath, exhales slowly and holds tighter to his hand.

“And I might not be able to picture that aspect of my future, the one where we live in a giant house and fly first class and don’t worry about money. It’s not something I can wrap my head around. But it’s not like I’m even capable of picturing a future without you in it. I promise. ”

That seems to settle her, she nods, and tells him to hurry up and get used to it, and his heart breaks at her quiet plea.

She’s not slept well these past few days and he’s tried desperately not to notice, he knows how difficult this trip is, despite everything. So when they climb up in altitude, after telling the boys they’ve had their last snack and should sleep, he urges her to cuddle against him and take a few moments of peace.

For a few blissful moments, a little over an hour or so, she sleeps, wrapped against him.

He does not.

It’s not that he’s entirely worried, he’s just… not sure how to communicate all he feels for her. Because he can tell she doesn’t entirely know how amazing she is, she’s not completely confident in herself. If only she could see what he and the rest of the world sees, she wouldn’t have any of these ridiculous fears. He truly doesn’t know what he could have done—perhaps in some past life—to deserve to have known and love her all these years, and even be loved back by her.

What he does know is he will make sure she knows how absolutely wonderful she is, how lucky he is to have her. He won’t stand for her thinking otherwise. Of that he is certain.


“Grandma and Grandpa have a jacuzzi! And bikes! And there’s a whole place that just makes ice cream! And grandma makes the best cookies! And—” Roland is practically jumping in his seat, or might be, if not for the seat belt holding him in place in the rental car.

Regina can see Henry in the rear view mirror. The boy is tired from a day of travel and… dealing with all that is Roland (who, it turns out, sleeps fabulously on a plane and may be the best rested of all of them). Henry is still trying to take an interest in Roland, though his eyes are focused on the scenery, the road.

He’s been so interested in her life, her childhood, she’s not surprised he’s soaking it up. She wonders if he recognizes the parts that are similar to Oregon, if he understands that there are many parts of her childhood she loves and still clings to, despite everything terrible that happened.

“How far away are we?” Henry asks.

“Oh, we should be there in about a half hour,” Regina murmurs, trying to ignore the sting of nerves nipping at every inch of her skin.

Robin picks up on her mood, she knows he does, it’s in the way he moves his head, the way his breath comes out, just subtle but she can hear it. She waits for him to yet again offer to turn the car around and go home if she wants, but he must think better of it. Instead, he just smooths his hand over her knee, stilling her leg from doing this nervous gyration he hadn’t even realized was occurring until he helped her stop it.

She offers him a grateful smile as he gives her one of his own.

Okay, this is okay.

She just has to breathe, has to remember that Leo is dead and his family doesn’t live in town, that it’s not his place she’s coming back to, it’s hers.

But her town is still full of many people who remember her as a murderer, and god, Robin’s mom and his dad.

She loves them both fiercely even with all the time that’s passed, they were a cozy, beautiful memory of a happy family for years. They gave her the love and attention she craved as a child but didn’t quite get, even before the abuse, Leo was… all show. He gave her gifts and treats but she never truly felt loved or cared for, she supposed because he never did. But Robin’s family, god, the way they love…

She lost that love and isn’t sure she can get it back.

His dad is the one she’s most scared to see, if she’s being honest. Robin has assured her that his mom is thrilled to see her, that she’s spoken complimentary of her, but he’s never mentioned his father. It’s not like Robert to say anything, she knows that. And yet, it worries her. She had such a wonderful relationship when she was younger, before it all went to hell, when she was a wild little girl, a dare devil who ruled over the boys in the neighborhood like nothing else. Robert was endlessly amused with her antics, and she can still hear the way he teased her, the way he called her Xenia, warrior princess, and her constant correction that she was not a princess, she was a queen.

Their banter, the innocence of those moments, this perfectly wholesome, loving relationship, it can’t be that anymore. Time is passed and she clearly was never the brave, fearless child he thought her to be.

And she can’t let Robin know she’s worried about this, he will seek assurances and get his dad to say something to calm her nerves, so… no. She hasn’t told Robin these fears, there’s no point.

The rest of the trip she tries to at least look calm, because the idea of actually being calm is out of the realm of possibility.


“Grandma!” Roland runs ahead of everyone, jumping out of the car and toward the door the very second Robin snaps his car seat restraint off.

“Careful, Roland, be sure to kno—” He is cut off by the door opening, and oh, there’s Rose, as beautiful and comforting as ever.

It knocks the wind out of Regina, just to see those kind blue eyes.

“Roland, my love!” Rose murmurs, scooping the boy into her arms. He’s a bit too big for all that, but Rose is strong and seemingly has no trouble lifting and spinning him in the air as he giggles.

“My friend Henry is here. And Regina! She is Daddy’s girlfriend.” He says it with a snicker, as if the concept of girlfriends is scandalous and silly at the same time. “Daddy says you are already friends with Regina!” Roland adds just as Regina approaches, Robin next to her in a nervous chuckle.

Rose smiles, her eyes leaving Roland’s to focus on Henry. Regina feels her heart stop. She wonders what Rose is thinking, if she’s picking up on some quality of Henry that’s so distinctly Leopold she somehow hasn’t noticed.

But her smile is warm and inviting and she draws the boy into a hug. “Henry, I’ve heard so much about you.”

“You have?” he asks a bit excited.

“Well of course. Robin talks about you all the time. You’re quite the little actor, aren’t you? I’m sorry I missed the play.”

Rose looks up at Robin and shakes her head. “I am usually invited to visit far more often than this. But someone must have been distracted.”

“Since when do you need an invitation?” Robin asks playfully.

His mother shakes her head.

“Oh, Regina, what a beautiful woman you’ve grown to become.”

Regina feels her cheeks heat and her eyes water.

“And such a wonderful mother, I’ve heard, and I can see, plain as day,” Rose says, motioning down to Henry. “I’m so proud of you, my dear.”

And those simple words shouldn’t mean the absolute world to her, but Cora certainly never said them, and Rose was always like a second mother to her, and it does mean so much coming from a woman who knew her as a child, into her awkward preteen and… difficult teen years.

So tears well up, but she doesn’t let them fall (they won’t, not in front of her son.)

“Now I’m going to tell you, Roland, that against everyone's better judgment I bought one of those above ground pools this summer—” she raises a hand up at Robin. “And I know Maine only has about twenty hot days worthy of a pool, and I know they are a terrible investment, but I don’t care. We didn’t have time for a beach trip this year and god knows if we will have time for the beach this visit. Come on in, have a look out back.”

Roland practically runs in, urging Henry to follow him as he runs into the house, the adults following blindly.

The house looks the same, and in some ways different. It still smells the same, of baked goods (something with apples, she thinks) and spice, there’s been some updates to the furniture, the drapes…. and well, Rose has enclosed the patio, Regina notices, expanded the house and added a room. And a little raised porch is off the patio, the lower level of the house is the one that is the ground floor in the back. This newly enclosed room is all windows facing the backyard, and it’s all beautifully gardened, trees and bushes and flowers so pristinely organized and trimmed, but behind the little apple tree is something brightly colored and inflatable, a large eyesore of an above ground pool beside it. Regina can imagine what Robert thinks about that.

She knows Rose doesn’t much care.

“Wow! Can we go swimming?” Roland asks his dad.

Robin shoots a glance to Regina, who nods.

“I’m going to get the luggage and help Roland find his swim suit and make sure he puts on suntan lotion. I’ll be right back,” Robin tells her, kissing her lightly, just a peck on the lips that’s all too common for them, but he does it in front of Rose, and Regina blushes a deep crimson as an odd sense of shyness fills her.

“I’m helping Robin with the luggage,” Henry declares.

“Me too!” Roland decides.

Regina chuckles. Henry can carry the heavier bags, it’s not something he’s in the habit of doing, but he loves spending time with Robin, so he’s been volunteering for these chores a lot.

Roland… he just wants to be like Henry. And she doesn’t think he can help much, except for carrying his own backpack.

“Alright men, let’s move,” Robin says with gusto, “Off to get these bags the rooms upstairs.”

They walk back out the front door and Regina is left with Rose, just minutes after seeing her for the first time in over a decade, and it’s a bit awkward.

To say the least.

“I made you something,” Rose says, motioning for Regina to follow her as she makes her way into the kitchen. Regina does and then cannot help but laugh.

Apple turnovers, piled high on a plate.

“Do you still like them? I remember your cute little face every time I baked them. Still call them my Regina Special,” she laughs, and then motions to the other tupperware containers. “You liked the snickerdoodles even if they were Mary Margaret’s favorite, and I remember you always preferred the brownies from the box.” Rose rolls her eyes dramatically, “Something about those premade ingredients, huh?”

“I still make them from the box,” Regina admits softly, willing her voice not to shake.

“Of course you do, no taste when it comes to chocolate,” Rose says with that affectionate smile, “Never understood why you refused to try cinnamon sprinkles in hot chocolate like Mary Margaret did. And you love cinnamon, but insisted it didn’t mix with chocolate. I always wanted to prove you wrong.”

“Henry likes cinnamon in his hot chocolate,” Regina murmurs and then immediately regrets it, because she has revealed something Mary Margaret and he share, which only draws attention to the unspoken truth that they share many of the same genes that would lead to the same taste, as many siblings would.

Regina is sure she looks visibly horrified and incredibly embarrassed, but Rose, bless her, just moves on.

“Well it’s good to know Henry has good taste, too. By the way, I made an apple cinnamon pound cake, too. Saw the recipe years ago and the first thing I thought about was you.”

Regina grabs the edge of the counter to steady herself as she takes in this outpouring of affection, and she’s sure she can’t breathe, her eyes watering as she tries to find the words to thank the woman for still caring about her, for treating her as if she weren’t some toxic, broken thing. It’s then that Regina realizes she’s been assuming Robin's parents are somewhat disappointed in the turn of events, in the fact their lovely, bright and wholesome son fell for something dark and twisted. That perhaps they would be happy they reconnected as friends, but not as a couple.

But Rose shows her love through food, Regina has always known that, and seeing all that she’s baked has done more to quell all those quiet hidden fears than any words could do.

“Thank you,” Regina says in a choked whisper. “You don’t know what this means to me.”

“I’m just so glad to have you back, sweetheart,” Rose says earnestly, her eyes bright and shiny. “And he,” she motions to the front door, no doubt talking about Robin, “God, how he loves you. I could tell right away when he told me on the phone. But he’s loved you all this time, so I wasn’t surprised. Robert wasn’t either. We’re both so happy for you two.”

“Thank you,” Regina asks, smiling through her tears, wiping the wetness of them off her cheek. “I know I’m… complicated, and maybe not the best—”

“Stop saying nonsense, girl,” Rose waves off. “You’ve never been anything less than wonderful.”

And that seems like it’s the last of it. Rose, who has always been affectionate, seems she can’t waste a moment before drawing Regina into a hug.

Regina won’t let herself sob. Henry could come into this room at any moment, she needs to keep composed. But a part of her just wants to cry while Rose strokes her hair and tells her it’s alright.

A childish desire, but one perhaps she’s entitled to.

“We were so happy to hear Robin reconnected with you,” his mother’s words are soothing and gentle in Regina's ear as they hug. “We’ve missed you terribly. Robert, too. More than you know.”

Regina takes in the affection, then ends the hug far sooner than she’d like, just to be polite.

“Speaking of Robert,” Regina wipes another stray tear off her cheek, “where is he?”

“Oh, he’s downstairs in the den. I tasked him with getting some pool toys inflated, he may be hauling them out back.” Rose smiles and motions to the small set of stairs that lead to the den in their little split level house.

“He hasn’t come up to say hello yet,” Regina ponders, chewing her lip. That has her nervous, worrying if maybe is avoiding seeing her again. Maybe it’s too hard.

“Oh, he’s probably waiting for the right moment, that sweet man. Go, go see him yourself.”

Regina bites her lip and looks up at Rose. She can hear the boys—upstairs, luggage dragged in already, and it sounds like Robin is trying to get Roland changed for the pool.

She can do this. She can say hello.

She walks down the stairs softly, holding her breath as readies herself to see perhaps the best older male figure she’s ever had in her entire life.

The urge to make him proud, to make sure he still can stomach her, to meet his approval, it’s all there, and the fear of what he may think of her, she tries to squirrel that away, but it’s there under the surface.

She enters the den just as Robert does—he, coming from the lower level back door, no doubt fixing something for the kids.

It’s been years, his once brown hair is now a salt and pepper gray, face perhaps showing a few smile lines, but overall, he looks exactly the same.

He stares back at her from a distance, and she has to hold her breath, she cannot speak, is unsure what even to say.

She watches his blue eyes turn shiny and wet.

And then he opens his mouth, his voice shakes, but the words come out confident as he looks at her with nothing but admiration and greets her with her childhood nickname.

“Warrior Queen.”

She can’t quite stifle the sob that comes out at those words, and he closes the distance between them, wrapping her in a tight hug.

“I always knew you were a little warrior,” he tells her, and she can hear the way his voice breaks, feel his tears on her skin. “But you were right. You are no princess.”

“I’m so, so sorry,” she says above a whisper, her voice choked and wobbly, and she’s not sure what she’s sorry for, but she’s overwhelmed with the need to apologize, perhaps she should have been a better warrior. She should have—she knows this now, she should have confided in Robert when the abuse started. She should have been stronger.

He would have believed her, she knows that now, even if as a child she was sure no one would, she should have trusted this family more.

“There’s not one thing you have to apologize for, except for maybe staying away all these years,” Robert tells her, then kisses her forehead and releases her from the hug, but his hand still falls on her shoulder, and he looks her in the eye with a seriousness that shocks her. “You never had to hide from us. You will always be a part of this family. Do you hear me?”

She nods, trying to look brave but the tears keep coming.

Robert smiles and wipes at his own.

“Oh, you’d think we were at a funeral with these tears instead of celebrating,” he says, his voice still cracking. His smile is wide when he asks, “A doctor, huh? A pediatrician, even.”

“Yes,” Regina nods. “I like it, but you knew I always liked the hard sciences.”

“Well it’s not President like you told you’d be one day, but I think it might be more important,” he smiles, shaking his head. “You’ve done amazing things. I’m truly honored to see the woman you’ve become.”

And he won’t know how much gravity those words have, how it shakes and rattles in her, causes a burst of warmth and fills a spot inside her that’s been empty all this time.

“Thank you,” she tells him, and she’s about to pour her heart out, to say so much more, but then Roland bounds downstairs.


“Oh, there’s the old moptop,” Robert says as the boy rushes to hug him.

“I am not a mop!” Roland giggles.

He looks over to Regina, who is aware she probably looks a mess, tear stained cheeks and red eyes.

“Are you happy or sad?” Roland asks, “‘Cause you can cry both times.”

“Well isn’t that clever of you,” Robert praises. “We are happy, happy to see each other after so long.”

“Like how Grandma cries when she sees me,” Roland says, “But we don’t have to cry now because we are all together! And because we are going swimming!”

“Indeed,” Robert laughs. He is looking behind Regina now, but she can’t place why until she follows his gaze and sees her son.

Robert looks… a bit enchanted.

“Hi,” her son says a bit shyly, “I’m Henry.”

“So you are,” he says, as if he’s not sure the boy is real. “I’ve heard so much about you. I can’t believe how tall you are.”

Henry laughs and blushes. “Thanks.”

“Hey, Dad.”

Robin is in a nice fitted tee shirt and swim trunks, and she can almost feel transported into those perfect days when there wasn’t such darkness looming over her head, when they just had lazy summers and days at the pool together.

She relaxes into the feeling.

“Hello, my boy,” Robert says, placing an arm around his shoulders. “Don’t let so much time between visiting next time.”

“I won’t,” Robin sighs. “Mom has already assured me that I am never to do that again.”

“I suppose you’ve made up for it, bringing such lovely company,” Robert notes, winking at Regina.

“Come on! It’s pool time!” Roland whines, breaking the mood, causing the three adults to nervously laugh.

“I’m going to get on my swimsuit, then, though I’m not quite sure the pool is big enough—”

She has a better look at the spectacle that is the backyard from this view, from the ground floor. The pool is large enough for all of them, but that’s not what catches her eye. The colorful inflated mass next to the pool is some form of inflatable water slide, and she can only chuckle and the boys run out together.


“This was a big day for us,” Robert explains. “We may have gone a bit overboard. But Henry looks happy. Perhaps he’ll be agreeable to another visit.” And then he presses his lips together as if he realizes he said something unagreeable. “I mean, if you decide another visit is agreeable. If you don’t, that’s okay. We love Oregon, I swear it. We’ll visit all the time.”

“Well, I love Oregon too. But I think we’ll be back to Maine,” Regina tells him in a gentle whisper.

And she’s not quite sure, there are no promises yet and so many parts of this town to rediscover, but she thinks in this moment that if all she has to see is Robin’s family and this cozy home, that it wouldn’t be bad to visit often.


It’s a long day of playing, eating, and despite the fact they are three hours ahead, Regina struggles to make it to even ten o’clock.

She’s trying to stay up and focused, listening to stories of Robin’s teenage and college years, but the emotion of the day has sucked all the energy out of her, and she’s sworn she could have run a marathon.

“Come, love, lets get settled in for the night,” Robin whispers in her ear.

She’s been cuddled against him on the couch, and now she’s leaning against him, practically laying against him, and it’s all felt so comfortable, even in front of his parents. There’s no concern over whether they are ready to see this type of affection, if it’s too public to do this yet. Everything just feels natural with him, with them.

“I’m sorry I’m so tired,” Regina yawns. “I suppose I didn’t sleep much on the plane.”

“Get your sleep,” Rose tells her, “and sleep in tomorrow, if you can. Or don’t. Go do something fun, together. We have Roland, and Henry, too. He’s a curious little one. I think he’d like to spend the morning with us, trying to get more stories out about his mum.”

“If he asks about his father—” she starts.

“Robin filled us in, love. I’ll just tell him I didn’t know Daniel very well, which is true.”

Regina nods and flashes a grateful smile.

“I always meant to come back here one day,” she admits. “I missed you all more than you know.”

“Oh, there was a hole in our hearts for years, too,” Rose tells her. “It’s good to have you back, my girl.”

She grabs her hand and squeezes it tight.

Regina feels in a trance, showering, washing her face and brushing her teeth in the same bathroom she used to when Robin and she had their sleepovers, before they were separated as a boy and a girl and were just children who enjoyed telling ghost stories in the dark with flashlights.

Roland and Henry are in his childhood bedroom, though, and Regina and Robin are in the guest room. It feels… odd. This room was always for “grownups”, like Robin’s grandparents, his family friends. And now it’s her, tucked into the fresh smelling linens, breathing in the fresh, just-washed scent and feeling just as clean and pure as everything she’s surrounded by.

Robin follows her when his shower is up, the fresh pine scent of his soap filling her lungs, the hint of mint on his breath as he draws her close to him. The old mattress squeaks as she readjusts into his arms, and there’s something reassuring about that sound, about the feel of the mattress, so old fashioned and yet so oddly familiar.

“Hello, love,” he whispers, kissing her forehead. “Big day, huh?”

“Mm-hmm,” she hums, soaking in the affection. “I’ve been nervous about seeing them for… a decade now. And it went better than I could have dreamed.”

“Should have listened to me,” he teases, kissing the tip of her nose. “I told you they loved you.”

“You did,” she admits, dipping her head down to capture his lips. He deepens the kiss, adn she can tell what he’s thinking from the way his hands are moving down her side, not pressuring, not pressing or probing, but definitely… softly exploring.

She laughs into the kiss, pulling out of it with a smile. “We are not having sex in your parents house. And definitely not on this old, squeaky bed. If your parents hear any hanky panky going on I will die right here in their house.”

“I wasn’t trying anything!” Robin laughingly insists in mock offense.

”Mhm,” Regina hums, unconvinced. 

”Well, I might have been thinking about it but I hadn’t made a move,” he amends on a guilty smile.  “And of course, I hadn’t really considered that happening this trip.  But, should you ever feel up to it down the road, I feel I should note that we are both up a small flight of stairs and across the house from the boys and my parents. They can’t hear a thing.”

It’s a split level, and his family is across the house, down the first set of stairs on top of the den, while they are on a floor above the kitchen.

The likelihood of them hearing is small, and yet…

“Oh, and the bed isn’t really that squeaky. There’s just one stubborn spring over there,” he points to her side.

“And how would you know?” She asks, raising an eyebrow.

Robin looks sheepish.

“Have you had sex on this bed?” she asks.

Robin can only chuckle.

“With who? With how many?”

Robin shakes his head, holds his hand up, “Regina, I can assure you I was in no mood to take random flings to my parent’s 1960’s style home to woo them.”

Regina snickers but, no, she’s not letting him off that easily. “Who?”

He bites his lip. “Well, who do you think would come to visit Maine with me, would sleep in this bed with me?” He asks teasingly, and then it hits her.

“You and Marian?” she asks, laughing, “God Robin, if this already wasn’t happening it is definitely not happening now!”

“Oh, am I the only person who's been on your mattress with you?” he teases, his hand wandering up and down her spine, staying in innocent territory yet somehow causing her to have decidedly un-innocent thoughts.

And he has a point. There weren’t many, but there was another, long ago, when Henry was sleeping over with Mallory.

“Still, no,” she teases, and he pouts theatrically, winking after to make sure she knows he’s not upset in the least. 

“Just know that you are utterly incredible.” she wrinkles her nose at his compliment as he adds, “And it turns out I find you quite irresistible when you're laughing at my expense with my parents, in case there was ever any doubt, And I assume you’ll be doing a lot of that these next few days, or, well, years, as it is. So, should you change your mind on any other visit, just remember that I know how to avoid that pesky loose spring.” He winks again playfully and kisses her forehead chastely. 

She can’t help but smile wide at his antics before rolling her eyes at him. She loves that he is comfortable with her, that Robin is at the point where he can try to initiate sex and doesn’t mind in the least when she turns him down. And he also doesn’t ask her about past trauma or dissolve into guilt or make her talk out exactly why it’s not happening. She’s not sure how he is so confident and comfortable with her, how any man could be, but she’s forever thankful for it.

“Goodnight, Robin,” she whispers.

“Goodnight, love,” he answers, a faint, minty whisper over her hair as he snuggles into her.

She doesn’t think she’s ever felt as comfortable in her own skin as she has tonight. The last thought that she has before sleeps takes her is that going on this trip is one of the best decisions she’s made, and things might get rocky later, but for now, she’s going to soak in feeling accepted and loved by some of the best influences in her young life.

She’s so glad to have them back.