Just a little fun Bachelorette AU for you guys! I hope you enjoy! Thanks to the wonderful waterbaby134 for betaing
Roses Are Red
"I honestly cannot believe I agreed to do this," Robin groaned loud enough for everyone to hear as John got out the camera to take the video of him.
"Well, Robin let's think of it this way. If they don't take you, you'll be getting 500 bucks from either of us. Think of it as a financial precaution for Roland's college fund." The bearded man grinned at him, before he gave Will a high-five. Robin rolled his eyes.
"And when I lose and they take me the two of you will be getting 250 bucks each. Either way, I'm making a fool of myself. Remind me why I couldn't keep my mouth shut?"
"Because ya were drunk off ya arse, man! Ya lost the bet," Will laughed. "Now get ya charm working and be convincing for the ladies."
Robin huffed out a breath. There were over a thousand applicants for this stupid show, so why the hell should they pick him to be one out of twenty guys anyway? He'd give his best, but honestly, he was a widowed thirty-four year old English teacher with a four-year-old son and a taste for camping and archery, living in a tiny little town called Storybrooke in Maine - a normal guy, really. He couldn't cook, was a little messy, and preferred playtime with his son over any date he could have. To top it off, he'd forgotten to shave this morning and still felt a little hungover from last night. So why the heck would they take him? Whatever. All he had to do was answer a few stupid questions John asked him, shoot a few arrows and be done with it. Later on, he'd collect the money from his friends and put it into his little boy's college fund like John had suggested, and hopefully be able to forget this whole nightmare had ever happened.
"Papa! Are you going to be a movie star like Spiderman?" Roland asked curiously. He was sitting on the forest ground, covering their German shepherd Tucker with fallen leaves. The dog didn't seem to mind; he loved Roland more than anything and was very protective of the little boy.
"I think your father would rather be Green Arrow, with all the sticks he's shooting. Hey Will, we should've put him in green tights!" John laughed. "Is it too late to change our plan?"
"Oh be quiet, John! Don't give my son any ideas - and I will not wear tights. No, Roland, Papa just has to do a stupid and very boring video for Uncle John and Will. Now remember, you promised not to interrupt, okay? And you must make sure Tuck doesn't interrupt, too."
Roland nodded seriously, placing one hand on Tucker's head, whispering into his ear. "We must stay here, Tuck." The dog's head shot up to lick Roland's face, who scrunched away with an "eww!"
Robin smiled at his boy before he turned back to John and Will. "Let's get this over with."
"Camera's on, Robin. Get started."
He took a deep breath, his hands nestling with the end of his green scarf for a moment. "Hello, I'm Robin Locksley, thirty-four and teach English at Storybrooke High School in Storybrooke, Maine. I live in a small flat with my son Roland and my dog Tuck..."
"That's me!" Roland piped up happily, quickly putting his hands in front of his mouth when he remembered he'd promised not to interrupt. John panned the camera over to the boy and the dog, while Robin just chuckled. Of course his son couldn't keep still for five minutes. He was just like his father. Roland waved at John and the camera, giving them a smile with his adorable deep dimples, before he continued covering Tuck with dried leaves.
Robin continued telling a little about his life and hobbies, shooting a few arrows which all hit the bull's eye. Roland cheered, saying "Uncle John always says Papa is even better than Robin Hood. One day I will be as good as Papa!"
"Oh I'm sure one day you'll be even better than your old man, Roland," John grinned.
"Well, he's four and already beat you, John," Robin reminded his friend with a cheeky grin.
"Yes, I beat Uncle John! Papa always says Uncle John wouldn't hit the bull's eye even if he was standing right in front of it." Roland grinned proudly, taking the mini version of a bow Robin had given him for his fourth birthday and the small arrows with a vacuum cup instead of a tip, pretending to shoot an imaginary target not far away from John and Will.
"Oh, did he say that?" Will laughed, patting his friend John on the back. "Don't play grumpy, John, you know Robin's right!"
Robin shrugged apologetically, reminding himself to have a serious talk with Roland about quoting him in front of other people. He continued talking to the camera and described what his perfect date would look like - take-out dinner for two (because he couldn't cook) at a special place with a fallen log right in the forest, then roasting marshmallows over the campfire and sleeping on a blanket under the stars. When he thought about it, it was actually pretty romantic and something he'd used to do with Marian quite often before she passed away. Marian... Those nights had always been special.
He didn't say a lot about her, not wanting to look too vulnerable and too much like a grieving widower. In his opinion it wasn't fair to use her memory to receive pity for her passing. He just mentioned she'd passed away and that she'd given him the greatest gift on earth, Roland. Robin told them his son was the most important person in his life and he'd not let just any woman become a part of their life, no. If there was ever going to be a new woman in his life, she must be special.
"Seriously Robin, was there no one else before Marian? You must bring a little bit of a tragic love story into this, or your chances are gone faster than Will's beer last night," John complained.
"One," Robin said firmly, "I don't even want this stupid farce to go any further than it has to, and two, there is no other tragic love story, John. I like to believe I've had enough tragedy in my life." He grew serious. He'd agreed to answer a few fun questions, but he would not dramatize his life any more than necessary to give the producers a chance to clatter around on.
"What about her?" Will asked with a smirk.
"Who?" Playing innocent was useless, he knew who Will was talking about. Now it was John to raise an eyebrow.
"Regina," Will answered, a smug smile on his face.
"That was a long time ago, Will."
"She was ya first love, mate."
Robin sighed deeply, before he scratched his neck. "Yeah... Yeah, she was. But it didn't work out. You know what happened."
"The camera doesn't," John grinned.
He sighed. Perhaps it would be better to give them what they wanted and then they'd leave him alone once and for all. "Okay, fine. There was this woman I met. I don't know how it happened - I never really believed in love at first sight - but that's kind of how it was. We fell in love... as in really in love. I'd have given her the stars and the moon, but she was young and she was engaged to a guy who could be her father. It was not her choice though, her mother had arranged it - a horrible, horrible woman by the way, a real witch. We... decided to run away together, I wanted to save her from this farce of a marriage. She agreed on meeting me at our tree in the forest one night. I'd had everything packed, my car ready to bring us to the airport and take the next best flight out of the country. I waited for her the whole night, but she never showed up. The next morning I found out from a friend she'd already left on her honeymoon the night before. I never saw her again after that. All she left me with was a broken heart and a long time parking ticket at the airport. That's when I decided to screw it all and go through with our plan - alone. I drove to the airport and took the next flight to Rio, which turned out to be the best decision of my life, because I met my wife who helped my heart heal and showed me how to love again."
He could see how John lowered the camera, a sorry expression on his face. "You never told me about her, Robin."
He shrugged, feeling uncomfortable all of a sudden. "Yeah, it's... in the past. Now are we done with the stupid video?"
John nodded. "Yes, I think we have enough material. Now let's go and celebrate at Granny's."
"Lasagna!" Roland shouted excited and got up, putting his full weight on Tuck who gave a silent whine. "Papa, can we get lasagna? And ice-cream?"
"Of course, my boy," Robin smiled enthusiastically.
Sometimes he wondered what happened to her, what would have happened to them if she'd come to meet him that night. Nevertheless, he was sure about one thing. He wouldn't trade Roland and the time he'd had with Marian for anyone or anything in the world.
Robin was sitting in the black limousine, sweating a little. When they'd shot the video, he'd never actually thought they would take him, but here he was in this glossy car, in neat dark jeans with a crisp white shirt and green jacket, his favorite scarf casually slung around his neck. The hairstylist had spent what it felt like an hour on his hair, while the make-up artist had put so much powder on his face he was not sure how he was supposed to ever get rid of that stuff again.
"With your bow and your arrow, you're just like a modern-day cupid," the producer had told him, excitedly. "That's just what we need for the show!"
A single yellow rose was resting on his lap. Robin had done his research and found out yellow roses stood for friendships and new beginnings. Hopefully this would make his intentions clear. He was not looking for a new love. He was sure he wouldn't receive a rose tonight, had planned on staying in the background so the Bachelorette would kick him out after the first round and he could go back to his son - but this didn't mean he couldn't be nice and leave a striking first impression.
The limousine stopped and his heartbeat increased. Even though he'd sworn himself he'd not be nervous, he couldn't shake this awkward feeling off. Robin took a deep breath and opened the door, ignoring the cameras in front of him.
She was standing with her back toward him, was still looking at the man who'd greeted her before him, watching him go into the villa. Robin took a few steps but when she turned around he froze. No. No, this couldn't be.
The cameraman told him to move forward, to go and meet her (his voice would be dubbed with music once the show aired). He stepped forward, never taking his eyes off Regina for one second. She looked beautiful. A tight red knee-long strapless dress, which hugged her curves in all the right places. Her lips were as red as the color of her dress, her eyes heavy with dark makeup, giving her a mysterious aura. Even though ten years had passed, she didn't look one day older from when he first met her. More mature, more grown up, but still stunning in every way.
How would she react? What would she say? Was it not against the rules to have a history with the Bachelorette? Who the hell had been in charge of the stupid casting? Why hadn't they checked?
Regina smiled at him, warm, welcoming, but her eyes told a completely different story. She looked troubled and insecure. He could tell. He'd always been able to read her like an open book and nothing had changed in these ten years.
Robin walked toward her and stopped, greeting her with a soft kiss on the cheek like he'd been instructed to do. She shivered under his touch... just like she always had.
"Hi... I'm... Regina," she explained like the seventeen times she'd done before.
"It's nice to meet you, Robin."
He was at a loss for words. What was he supposed to say? He had so many questions, didn't know whether to be angry or happy to see her, so instead, he handed her the rose. "For you."
Regina smiled down at the rose, closing her eyes when she smelled it, before her lips formed into a wicked smile. "Aren't roses supposed to be red on this show?"
Robin let out a laugh. In ten years, nothing had changed.