I wake the next morning in, of course, Bobby’s room and Bobby’s bed, feeling more confused than ever. Last night was everything I’d ever dreamed– slow, tender, cherished loving. In fact, I could feel my cheeks heating as I remembered just how many ways Bobby had cherished me last night!
I lay still and opened one eye to see if he was awake and realized I was alone in the luxuriously big bed piled with soft white pillows. Why couldn’t I just be happy about us getting back together? Or even just about sharing a passion-filled night? What was wrong with me? Bobby was still as wonderful as I remembered from when we were teens, but it just felt like something was missing. Obviously it was my problem, because he was perfect. Well, as perfect as the boy who’d knocked me up as a teenager and then left for college without a word could be. Yes, yes, I knew that was unfair and even to me it felt like beating a dead horse, but I just couldn’t shake those feelings of abandonment and it was gonna take a lot of time and a lot of talking for me to change.
I stretched and winced as some sore, little used muscles protested, but I got out of bed, searching for something to wear as I did the walk of shame back to my room. Okay, fine, I’d just have to put on one of his tee shirts over my panties and hope it looked like I was dressed for the pool if I ran into anybody in the hallway. I was searching for the stationery note pad to leave Bobby a message and found it propped up on the desk.
“Baby,” Bobby had written, “you looked so sweet and worn out that I didn’t want to wake you. I know we didn’t get much sleep last night.” (Sleep is underlined twice, just like a guy!) “I went to grab us some coffee. Come down to the beach when you get ready, there’s something I want you to see.”
I run to the patio doors and push aside the curtain so I can go out on the balcony and gaze at the beach. Oh, no, no, no, how could he? I hastily scribble a note and leave it on the bedside table. Grabbing my dress and purse and shoes from the wedding, I blindly rush out the door toward my room. By the time I get my room key out of my purse and open the door, tears are running down my face.
I take a quick shower, throw my clothes into my suitcase and call a car to take me to the airport. I manage to get on an earlier flight back to the mainland, damn the cost. All I know is I have to be by myself to think, away from Bobby. He’ll try to change my mind, I know he will. He’ll be all sweet and loving and understanding and…rational! Damn him, I just can’t think straight when he does that.
God, I must be crazy, who wouldn’t want someone like him? But, I’ve kept these feelings inside for so long, I just can’t — I don’t know, give up myself, maybe? If I let myself even think I might be able to love him, won’t that make everything I’ve felt all these years wrong? So I send Bobby a text:
I’m boarding my plane to go home. I need some time to think. I’m sorry, I really am.
All I know is, I’ve got to run…
After the first hour, Bobby suspected she wasn’t coming down to the beach. After nearly two hours had gone by, he sighed and walked back up toward the hotel, dumping the now-cold coffee cups into a nearby trash can. He looked again at the text message Gina had sent him and shook his head, trying to make sense of it.
What did she need to think about? She hadn’t even come down to the beach to see and hear his proposal. He jammed his hands into the pockets of his board shorts and his fingers found the small velvet box. How could he have been so wrong?
Walking slowly back toward his room, his mind wandered to the previous evening. He knew there was still an incredible electricity between them. She’d been soft and warm and perfect in his arms. She looked incredible in the long, flowing blue dress she’d worn for the wedding, but even more beautiful as he’d inched the zipper down and she let it fall to the floor in a silken pool around her feet.
He shook his head to clear the delicious memories and willed the tightening in his groin to ease. He tried to subtly adjust his board shorts and when he looked up he stopped in his tracks. The drapes to his room were open and so was the patio door. He could see the drapes blowing in the breeze.
He knew he hadn’t opened the drapes when he left, so Gina must have gotten his note and gone out on the balcony to look for him on the beach. Dammit. How could he have been so stupid? Of course she’d seen the words in the sand and panicked.
Bobby squeezed his eyes closed in frustration. He should have taken things slower. He should have waited till they’d had more time together. Bobby rubbed the ache that had started right above his left eye. There was a way to fix this, he couldn’t lose her a second time. Smiling just a little, he shook his head and went up to his room to pack.
He should have known she’d run…
I’ll give you a little synopsis of what’s happened so far, but feel free to start at the beginning and read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 , 6, 7 and 8 for the complete story, especially if you’re new to my blog. 🙂
Regina loved Bobby back in high school, they had a huge fight and split up before they knew she was pregnant. When she lost the baby, she tried to get in touch with him but he never came to the hospital. They hadn’t spoken since, until they meet up in the airport on Maui, where they’re unknowingly standing up at the same wedding. They’ve talked some and Bobby insists he never knew about the baby, which has Reggie totally confused about her feelings for him. He’s always called her Gina and she always called him Bobby, but their friends (Jamie and Mike from my short story Eyes Wide Open) know them as Reggie and Rob.
Mike and Jamie’s wedding day dawns cloudless and beautiful, but it’s Maui, so what else would you expect? We have all day to get ready, staring with massages and mani-pedis, hair and make up, and its wonderfully relaxed and pampering. Jamie wants our hair kind of loosely pulled back with flowers which is perfect for a beach wedding. And she even found some kind of sun block with glimmer to it, so we’ll be glowing even as we’re protected!
When the girl doing our make up asks if we’d thought about false eyelashes or lash extensions, Jamie and I look at each other and just burst out laughing. Jamie tries to explain how the one time she tried lash extensions her lashes got stuck together and she ended up tripping and spilling red wine across the front of her white silk blouse, all in front of her soon-to-be groom. But the little Hawaiian cosmetician only looks confused and Jamie trails off into a fit of nervous giggles.
Jamie’s mom came with us to the spa and she’s looking good, even though she’s about 60 now. She hugs me tightly and I can tell she’s getting all emotional. I guess it’s not everyday your only daughter gets married. I assure her that yes, I think Jamie and Mike are very right for each other and will be blissful together. Jamie rolls her eyes and makes faces at me behind her mom’s back like we were 10 years old. It feels really good to be smiling again.
Then it’s early evening and time to go back to our rooms to get dressed. Bobby knocks on my door to escort me downstairs and I can see the appreciation in his eyes, especially as they settle on my cleavage before guiltily returning to my face. I can’t help but smile and shake my head at the chagrined look on his face.
He clears his throat. “You look incredible, Gina — Reggie. I told myself I was going to try to call you that, sorry.”
I smile a little. “So should I call you Rob now?”
“Well, Bobby does sound a little high school, doesn’t it? It didn’t work out so well at my first job. Nobody wanted their accountant to be called Bobby. But when you say it, it sounds like home.”
I shrug my shoulders and turn away quickly, before Bobby can see all the emotions I’m feeling. I wonder what he’s doing, saying all those things to me now. I don’t like the swirl of emotion in my stomach and turn to gather up my purse and a light summer sweater in case the evening breezes are too cool later on. Then we set off for the beach.
It looks like everyone is assembled already, with the exception of the bride and her father. Mike looks really relieved to see us. He’s so big and solid, I guess I didn’t expect him to be nervous. But I swear I’m seeing his hands shake just a little bit. I walk over to kiss his cheek and whisper, “I’ll go check on her and see how long yet.” Mike grabs my hand and leans in. “You don’t think something’s wrong, do you? Like she changed her mind?”
“For God’s sake, Michael, get a grip!” I hiss at him. “Talk to Rob over there and I’ll be back in a minute.” I toss my head toward Bobby and find him looking a little amused. He claps Mike on the back and moves him toward the beach bar. “C’mon, man there’s probably time for one beer,” he says and Mike looks shocked. As I walk toward the hotel, I hear Mike saying how Jamie would kill him if he smelled like beer during the wedding. Maybe some ice water will calm him down!
As I’m heading past the lighted tiki torches, I spot Jamie and her dad walking towards the beach. She looks wonderful and I can see by the glow about her that Mike has no need to worry. “Reggie,” she calls. “You look fabulous in that dress!” I smile because it’s just like her to do that. The bride telling me how good I look. “Aww, honey, you’re so beautiful,” I say, careful not to muss her dress or hair as I give her a hug. “You better hurry,” I tease, “or Mike will think you’re not gonna show up!” “Yeah, right, like he’d ever worry about that,” she smiles. “But I’m more than ready. Daddy, what do you say we get on down there?”
Mr. Cooper wings out his other arm for me to grab and escorts us to the beach where Mike is looking considerably better now that we’re approaching. And as I take my place to walk towards the flower-strewn trellis on the sand, the beautiful strains of “Over the Rainbow” accompany Jamie and her dad as they start down the sandy aisle. The sun is just beginning to set as Jamie and Mike face each other and take their vows.
Afterwards we all go to one of those fun touristy luaus with all the Hawaiian delicacies and wonderful music. Mike and Jamie are feted by the Master of Ceremonies as the only newlywed couple tonight. Deliciously tropical mai tais and pina coladas are flowing and by the time I get up to dance with Bobby my head is spinning ever so slightly. He holds me a little too close and I find that I don’t mind a bit. I swear, it’s like all the years are falling away and we’re back together again.
As I look into Bobby’s beautiful face I can hardly remember why we aren’t still together. And I swear he’s looking at me with love in his eyes. He leans down and I feel his breath on my cheek, as he whispers into my ear, “I love you, baby. Please spend tonight with me.”
I think I might be falling in love with him again! The thought surprises me, but I nod my head and smile and he breaks into a huge grin. “C’mon, then, let’s say our good night’s to everyone so we can go. After all this time apart, I don’t want to wait another minute.”
(To be continued…)
Photo credit: Pixabay
I’ve gotten behind in posting installments of Lessons Learned! I’ll give you a little synopsis of what’s happened so far, but feel free to start at the beginning and read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 , 6 and 7 for the complete story, especially if you’re new to my blog. 🙂
Regina loved Bobby back in high school, they had a huge fight and split up before they knew she was pregnant. When she lost the baby, she tried to get in touch with him but he never came to the hospital. They hadn’t spoken since, until they meet up in the airport on Maui, where they’re unknowingly standing up at the same wedding. They’ve talked some and Bobby insists he never knew about the baby, which has Reggie totally confused about her feelings for him. He’s always called her Gina and she always called him Bobby, but their friends (Jaime and Mike from my short story Eyes Wide Open) know them as Reggie and Rob.
I had just finished telling my story to Jamie about losing the baby and Bobby when we were seniors in high school and how Bobby insisted he never knew I was pregnant when my cellphone vibrated. I didn’t recognize the number and debated whether or not to answer. Finally I flicked my nail across the screen and said, “Hello?”
It was Bobby. “Can we get together and do something? Maybe just walk down the beach? Swim, snorkel, maybe?”
“Sure, I guess,” I say. “Are we gonna do something with Mike and Jamie?”
“Yeah, I think they want to make sure we’re okay together. You know, for the wedding.”
“Bobby, did you, uh, tell Mike the whole story?”
Silence greeted me. “I, well, it was okay, right? You don’t mind, do you?”
“No, I guess not…” I sigh. I mean, I told Jamie.
He breathes out loudly. “So maybe Mike and I will just come over where you are?”
“Sure,” I say. Might as well get past any awkwardness. “Yeah, fine, I saw you at the restaurant awhile ago anyway.”
So we walk on the beach for an hour or so and after the initial awkwardness of introducing Bobby to Jamie, we’re all fine together. Everyone decides that after having a quick lunch we’ll go swimming and snorkeling down by what they call Black Rock, which is literally that, a protrusion of black lava rock out into the ocean that we hear is a great place to snorkel. At night during dinner there’s a cliff diver at the Sheraton Hotel who climbs up Black Rock and dives into the ocean.
Jamie and Mike are walking ahead of us and off in their own little dream world, arms wrapped around each other, whispering, stopping to nuzzle and kiss. Bobby and I follow several steps behind, but it doesn’t feel awkward, not really. We have so much history that it almost feels, well, normal to be together. And yet, we’re not together at all, just two people with some painful shared memories. But the islands do that, all blue water and sparkly sand, and with a burst of the trade winds everyday problems just blow away and fairy tales start to feel real.
We spend a few hours swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters, spotting beautiful, brightly colored fish seemingly right under the surface. But when we swim over scuba divers near the ocean floor, I realize how deep the water is and look around quickly for the shoreline. Bobby is next to me in a blur asking what’s wrong. I didn’t realize he was so close behind me. I quickly shake my head that it’s nothing and start paddling for shore. People at the snorkel rental store had told us to walk into and out of the water backwards because of the flippers and though it wasn’t easy, it was more manageable. I admit I was happy to have Bobby’s arm to grab onto as we walked over the rocky shoreline to flop down on our towels. And even his hand low on my back felt — comfortable.
We had a couple of hours to relax and get ready for the rehearsal and dinner party that night. Jamie and Mike had decided to have a little intimate dinner at the hotel restaurant after a run through of their wedding vows on the beach.
I’m not sure why, but tears were stinging my eyes by the time the evening was over. The love in that room was just palpable and even though I felt a twinge of envy, I was truly happy for them. Bobby and I had easy roles — I’d hold Jamie’s flowers and he would hand over the rings when it was time. We would sign our names as witnesses. Easy peasy. I could do this. I just have to focus on the two of them and forget that I’m standing up with Bobby. If only he’d stop looking at me like I was dinner…
(to be continued…soon!)
I’d been having that dream I hadn’t had in a long while. I felt as though I was under water and couldn’t breathe. I’d struggled to sit up and cried out for help. The baby, I didn’t know where the baby was, why couldn’t I find the baby?
When I opened my eyes, I was lying on a bench and, God help me, Bobby was crouching next to me, slapping my face. “Stop that,” I snapped at him, grabbing his hand before he hit me again. “I’m fine, you can stop whacking me!”
As I struggled to sit upright, Bobby’s arm slipped around me to help and he sat down next to me, pulling me close. “Will y’all just sit still for a minute,” he admonished. “And I wasn’t whackin’ you, I was tryin’ to wake you up. You scared the bejeebers out of me when you fainted like that. What the hell is going on, are you pregnant? You were talking about a baby.”
Funny how our Southern came out when we were scared or mad. I haven’t heard anyone say bejeebers in quite awhile. And asking me if I was pregnant made me spitting mad!
“Bobby, how could you ask me that? I can’t believe you’d say that. Now y’all take your hands off me!”
Noticing that we were attracting attention, Bobby took his arm from around me and stood up, pulling me with him. “Okay, let’s calm down and figure this out. I don’t even know what’s going on here. C’mon, let’s go somewhere besides the airport. We definitely need to talk.” I didn’t really want to go with him, but I was embarrassed by the amount of people looking curiously at us so I followed behind him. We stopped and got our luggage and he turned to me. “I’ve got a rental car so let’s go pick that up and then we can find somewhere nice and quiet and you can tell me what the hell is going on.”
Just like that, I’m expected to follow along and do what he says. But since I was just going to take The Bus over to the timeshare, it was easier to follow along behind him as he pulled our luggage toward the shuttle stop. After getting the car, he loaded our bags in and asked me where I was staying. When I told him the name of the resort on Ka’anapali Beach, he looked flabbergasted. “We might as well just drive there, then, cause that’s where I’m at, too,” he said. “I’m here for my buddy’s wedding this weekend.”
I was starting to get a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. “I’m here for a wedding, too,” I said. “My old college roommate, Jamie, is marrying her fiancée, Mike, this weekend. And I’m the maid of honor.”
“Crap,” he said looking at me. “Reggie, of course. You go by Reggie now, Gina?” I nodded my head dumbly. “And I’m guessing you’re Rob, not Bobby?” It was his turn to nod at me as it dawned on us that our best friends were marrying each other and we were standing up in the same wedding. As he drove away from the airport, I finally remembered that Rhia had said call her immediately and I hadn’t done that so I texted her. I could guess the emergency now.
I’m in the car with Bobby and we’re on our way to the timeshare where we’re both staying cause we’re in the same freaking wedding! Did you know?? My phone pings almost immediately.
I swear I just found out. Mama told me Rob was going to Hawaii. For a wedding.
Just great. Too late now.
Talk to him, girl! Work things out ❤
We pulled onto Kai Ala Drive and into the gated resort with a beautiful waterfall at the entrance. At the desk, we gave our names and found that our rooms were on the same floor in the same building. Just wonderful, I thought sarcastically, we could walk over together. Bobby immediately took charge, getting a bellman to load our suitcases onto a cart and take them to our rooms.
“Gina, can we grab something to eat and talk a little, just the two of us?” I nod glumly and grab my purse off the counter and follow him out. In just a few minutes we’re seated at a lovely little outdoor restaurant overlooking a pool with the most beautiful turquoise water I’d ever seen. I could have sat there all day just staring at the pool and looking out toward the ocean. As we sipped our Bikini Blondes and waited for our food to arrive, I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes, savoring the sun on my face. I knew we had to get this out in the open if we had to be together all weekend.
“So, Bobby, why didn’t you come to the hospital?” He’s just looking at me, not saying a word. “Honey,” he says carefully, “I know you think I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t. When were you in the hospital?”
I’m so confused right now and I’m getting upset. “The summer,” I say haltingly, “the end of June after graduation. Right after our big fight. I called your house and your dad answered. I said I needed you to come to Sentara Hospital right away. But you never came.”
“Okay, Gina, but why? What happened that you were in the hospital? ”
“Bobby, where were you?” I’m choking back sobs now. “I know we were mad at each other, but I was in the hospital! Why didn’t you come?”
“Honey, I don’t remember. Maybe we had baseball camp? June, you said? I probably had baseball camp and tryouts for my scholarship. But, Jesus, what does it matter? Why in the hell were you at the hospital??” He’s running his hand through his hair like he always did when he was angry or upset.
“Because I’d just lost our baby, Bobby. I didn’t even know for sure I was pregnant, and then,” my voice is dropping to a whisper, “I started cramping and bleeding and I didn’t know how to find you –”
His beer bottle crashes to the table and he’s up and pulling me into his arms and we’re both crying and he’s kissing me and I can taste the salt of his tears. “I didn’t know. I’m so sorry, baby, I didn’t know,” he says it over and over, clinging to me. And I can’t tell which of us is shaking and crying harder, him or me, and we just hold onto each other and don’t even notice the beautiful Hawaiian sunset over the ocean.
To be continued
I grabbed my bag and got out to the curb and looked around for Rhia. Ah, there she was, flirting with one of the baggage guys. I should have known. She tossed that long light brown hair of hers over her shoulder and our eyes met. She grinned a little sheepishly, gave her new friend a little wave goodbye and hurried over to me.
“Reg, I can hardly believe you’re here,” she said in that gorgeous soft drawl of hers. “You look so different from when I saw you last. Must be the hair. I like it longer.”
I pulled her in for a hug. “And you haven’t changed a bit,” I admonish her. “Isn’t there anybody left for me to flirt with in this whole state? What happened to Jimmy, wasn’t that his name? The guy you were seeing?” “Oh, hon, bless your heart, that was ages ago,” Rhia laughs. “I’m free as a bird right now.” “Well, that makes two of us,” I say as we head toward her little red hybrid. Rhia smiles at that and nods. “Good, then this week can be just about the two of us catching up.”
I lean back against the headrest as she pulls out of the lot, through the airport and onto the expressway. We’re heading toward the Beach and for a minute I’m confused and then I remember that Rhia put an offer in on a Virginia Beach townhouse last year. Before long we’re pulling into a parking space not too far off of Princess Anne, and I’m pleased to see that her building looks really nice. She’s a couple years younger than me and I’ve always felt protective of her, like a little sister.
“I can’t thank you enough for letting me stay with you, Rhia,” I say, giving her a big hug as we walk into the front room of her place. “This is gorgeous!” I’m stunned, spinning around to see everything. She really has done a great job decorating the place. It’s all soft blues and greens and grays and looks like it’s right out of a fashion magazine. “Did you make these pieces yourself?” I cannot believe the artwork on the walls. I knew she studied art in school, but these are crazy beautiful prints.
“I wanted to show you them before I told you my news,” she says. “I’ve got a showing at one of the galleries on the Boardwalk! And I sold two prints already, for an obscene amount! I can hardly believe it myself…” Rhia’s practically dancing with excitement and I’m so proud of her I could burst. There’s even a picture of a firefly lit night, exactly like those nights on the porch with me and Bobby and Rhia. It pulls me in, even though I don’t really want to go there anymore. I’m not going to ask, I’m not going to…
“How is he, Ree? I’ve lost touch over the years,” I say quietly. “Be honest, Reg, you didn’t lose touch with my big brother. You pulled away, hid away, wouldn’t even answer your phone anymore!” There’s a vehemence in her voice that catches me by surprise. I forget that she doesn’t know what really happened between us.
“Ree, I know you think I’m the bad guy here, but he didn’t want me anymore. He went off to college and that was that.” “Well, you went off to college, too,” she points out. “Did you find someone else right away, too — I mean, did you find someone else,” she finishes lamely. “See?” I say. “Sorry I brought it up, let’s just leave that subject alone, okay? I need to see my mom while I’m here, find out how she’s doing. See what happened with the dickwad she married.”
“Bobby dated around some, but he never brought a girl home, Reg. He’s not married,” Rhia says hurriedly. “I don’t know if he’s dating anyone right now since he moved away. I’ll be happy to go with to visit your mom if you want. I remember someone saying she was in rehab and I think she kicked her husband out and divorced him. You know she felt terrible about what happened.”
“Well, she sure as hell had a funny way of showing it,” I say. “I told her how he was all touchy-feely, practically molested me that time I came home for Christmas, grabbing my boobs and trying to stick his tongue down my throat when he trapped me in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, no less.” It makes me feel like gagging just talking about it. “I tried to tell her what happened, but she didn’t want to hear it. She actually said I must have done something to encourage him. God, when your own mother practically calls you a whore, it really, really hurts, you know?”
Rhia hugs me again and sighs. “I can’t imagine how that feels when it’s your own stepdad. What an ass he was. But I heard your mom was going to AA meetings now.” “Yeah, I know, she called me to apologize. One of the steps, I guess,” I say bitterly. Even after all this time it still hurts that she didn’t believe me and I don’t know if I’m ready to forgive and forget yet. But she’s my mom and I still miss her. I’ll call her tomorrow…
I wish that I could run again through fields of fireflies
And childhood Dreams of Skies
Of stars and moons with those who’ve passed but loved and left so long ago
My friends, I miss those nights of moons and fireflies…with you……..
(Reggie’s childhood was inspired by Rob at The V Pub and his song, Fireflies. That’s the outro in the paragraph up above, and you can find all the lyrics here. Thanks, Rob, for letting me link up!)
Photo found on browsedeviantart.com through Pinterest