A/N: This version has been heavily edited to remove the smut scene. If you want to read the smut, you'll have to go to either Archive of Our Own (AO3) or Wattpad. Thank you.
Chapter 29: Reconnecting
Regina smoothed down her black dress as she stared at herself in the mirror. She had taken a chance on the tight one that showed off the swells of her breasts over black lace and highlighted every curve. Which included her stomach, which she swore had doubled in size over night. Yet it gave her a nice pear-shape that made her really appreciate her pregnancy. She felt beautiful rather than bloated. Picking up her phone, she opened her camera and focused her reflection in the mirror. She turned just so to get the best view of her bump and smiled as she took the picture.
"Someone's feeling confident," Emma said, leaning against the doorframe as she watched Regina with a smile.
"And sexy." Regina put down her phone to put her diamond earrings in as she smiled at her friend. "I definitely feel sexy."
"Which is a good thing, especially given yours and Robin's plans for tonight." Emma wiggled her eyebrows as she sat down on Regina's bed.
Regina gave her a look. "I'm regretting telling you our plans."
Emma rolled her eyes. "Come on. You would've told me anyway. And Will knows too. I've seen the cake."
"Please don't tell me he made another one," Regina said, thinking of the first cake Will had made for them way back in April.
It felt like another life ago. Then again, it was.
Emma nodded. "And I think he made red velvet, your favorite. He's hidden it well so Roland won't find it. No one wants to explain that to him yet."
"Good." Regina turned from the mirror and held out her arms for Emma to review her. "Well?"
"You look beautiful, Regina, and you're going to have a great night with Robin even though you're only going to your own backyard." Emma rolled her eyes before standing to hug her.
Regina chuckled, picking up her phone again. "I think it's perfect. And it's best to do this now before it turns cold again."
Someone knocked on the door and it opened a crack. Two little brown eyes peeked through it and she heard a little laugh on the other side. "You look pretty, Mom," Roland said.
"Thank you, sweetheart," she replied. "Do you want to come in and give me a hug?"
The door creaked open as he raced inside, carefully hugging her. His cheek was pressed to her bump and his eyes were closed. She felt him try to clasp his hands together but his little fingers couldn't reach each other. "I can't reach around you anymore," he said.
"No. Your siblings are getting in the way," she agreed. "But that just means you're hugging three of us now.
"Cool," he replied, his brown eyes wide. He looked straight at her stomach. "Hi, babies. I'm your brother."
Her heart skipped a beat at how much Roland reminded her of his father at that moment. She ran her fingers through his curls. "I'm sure they can't wait to meet you."
"And I'm sure Robin can't wait to see you," Emma added, jumping up off the bed. "You should head downstairs."
Regina narrowed her eyes at her friend. "Are you trying to chase me out of my room?"
"Yes," Emma said matter-of-factly, holding Regina's eyes. She pointed to the door. "Get out."
Huffing, Regina patted Roland's back. "Come on. We're being thrown out of the room."
Roland giggled, taking her hand as they left the room. She carefully went down the stairs in her heels and he ran ahead of her, shouting at his father: "She's coming, Papa! And she's really pretty."
"Mom is always really pretty," she heard Robin reply and she smiled even as she rolled her eyes.
"But she's super-duper pretty tonight," Roland answered as she rounded the corner, stepping down off the last step.
She chuckled, standing in front of Robin as he knelt before his son. "Super-duper pretty, huh?" she asked.
Robin stood up fast, his mouth falling open. As he stood dumbstruck, Regina took the opportunity to look him over. He wore a light green collared shirt under a forest green sweater that was paired with black slacks. His blonde hair was brushed back and he looked very relaxed but very handsome. She felt her heart flutter at the sight of him.
"Well?" she asked, trying to shake him out of his stupor. "Do you agree I look super-duper pretty?"
He nodded dumbly before Roland tugged on his father's shirt. "Aren't you going to kiss her?" he asked in a loud whisper.
She tilted her head, waiting for his answer. Robin smiled, leaning forward to press a quick kiss to her lips. "You look absolutely beautiful," he told her.
"You look very handsome," she replied, gently tugging on his sweater. "I didn't know our backyard had such a fancy dress code."
He chuckled. "Just for tonight. Then tomorrow, it'll be back to very casual. No shoes, no shirt, no problem."
She laughed, leaning against him as Roland hugged her again. Regina smoothed down his curls. "You'll be good for everyone, Roland?"
"I will, Mom, I promise," he said, dragging his fingers over his chest in an attempt to cross his heart. It was adorable.
Robin cupped his head and leaned down to kiss him. "Have a good night, Roland, and pleasant dreams."
He straightened up and took Regina's hand. "Are you ready for our date, milady?"
"I am," she said, letting him lead her outside. Butterflies flew around her stomach as they crossed through the kitchen. He stopped, holding open the door for her and she happily crossed the threshold to step out onto the patio.
She let out a soft gasp as she saw orange flames dancing in the fire pit. They illuminated a table set for two sitting by it, a dark red tablecloth covering it. Will had set out two china plates, two soup bowls and several utensils along with two wine glasses. A bottle sat in a bucket of ice and she frowned, looking at Robin. "What's that?"
"Sparkling grape juice," he assured her, taking her hand again. "It seems mean to put a bottle of something you can't drink out just to taunt you."
"Very considerate," she replied, following him to the table.
He pulled out one of the chairs for her and Regina sat down, thanking him. Once he had pushed her in, he then turned to the bottle of sparkling grape juice. She watched as he opened it and filled the two flutes.
"Here you go," he said, handing one to her. She took it with a smile, watching as he took his seat across from her.
Robin raised his flute. "To you, Regina, for being an amazing woman who for some inexplicable reason loves me."
She gave him a pointed look. "Don't put yourself down like that. You're an amazing man and that's why I love you."
"So are you toasting to me?" he asked with a boyish grin.
"I think we should toast to us," she suggested, holding out her glass. "To reconnecting on this beautiful night."
He clinked his flute with hers. "Hear, hear."
Regina took a sip of the bubbly but sweet liquid before setting the flute down. She leaned over to glance at the table behind them. "So, what did Will prepare for us tonight?"
"Exactly what we ordered," he told her, standing again to pick up the covered plates. "Grilled salmon, a vegetable medley and roasted potatoes."
Her mouth watered and she heard her stomach growl. "That sounds absolutely delicious," she said.
"It smells delicious," he said as he set her plate down in front of her. He then set his own plate down and took his seat again. "Bon appetit, ma cherie."
She raised her eyebrow. "French? How fancy."
"I'm practicing because one day, Regina Mills, I will take you to Paris. That's a promise." He was solemn as he said it and it made her heart skip a beat.
Cutting her salmon, Regina smiled. "I can't wait to see Paris with you. There's so much I want to do…"
"Me too," he admitted. "I've been doing research even though I know we probably won't go for a while."
"Not until the twins are older," she said, taking another bite of the delicious salmon Will had made them. She let out a soft moan.
Robin chuckled as he cut his dinner. "Well, I definitely want to take you on a romantic ride along the Seine."
"That sounds wonderful," she sighed. "Can we go to that bridge where everyone puts a lock? And can we put our own lock?"
"I think they're trying to discourage people from doing that, but if we can, then yes, we'll put a lock on the bridge." He reached over and squeezed her hand.
She squeezed back. "And can we go to the Louvre?"
He looked up, smiling at her. "We can go wherever you want, lovely. I only ask that we also go to the Riviera."
"You do?" she asked, confused. "Why?"
"Because it seems the thing rich folks like us do," he replied, sipping at his sparkling grape juice. "Besides, it's a beach and we would be in bathing suits, you with gorgeous sun-kissed tan skin…"
She raised her eyebrow. "And you wouldn't have gorgeous sun-kissed tan skin?"
"I doubt I would look as good as you," he said, smiling at her with absolute adoration in his eyes.
Regina grinned back at him, her cheeks flushing though she was pleased with his compliment. "Well, I think you'll be gorgeous as well."
"Oh, you." He waved her off with an exaggerated hand movement and a goofy grin.
She rolled her eyes before turning back to her salmon. After a few more bites, she then asked: "Do you think Roland would like to go apple picking?"
"I thought we agreed no talk about the children?" he asked, eyebrow raised. "I didn't say anything when you mentioned the Beans but now…"
Regina paused, knowing he was right that they had agreed not to talk about the children and she had broken that twice. And the second time, she had made Roland the entire topic of conversation. So she nodded. "You're right. But I do want to go apple picking."
"Then we can go apple picking," he said, moving on to his potatoes. "What are we going to use the apples for though?"
"Many, many things. Pies, applesauce, cider, other delectable autumn treats…" She trailed off at his amused smile. "What?"
He shook his head. "I don't know. I knew you could bake and cook and make things as good as Will, but I never thought it was something you enjoyed doing."
"I do," she told him. "I just don't get a chance to do it that often. Lately, I haven't had much time and Will is very protective of his kitchen."
"That he is. But if you ever want it, just ask. He'll let you have it. Or let me know. I can throw him out if need be." He winked at her and she giggled.
They turned back to their food and she started to list off everything she would love to bake again, including her special apple turnovers. Robin raised his eyebrow. "What makes them so special?"
"That's a secret," she told him, smirking. "However, I will say that Roland shouldn't eat any."
His eyes lit up but he resisted the urge to smile as he nodded. "I see. Well, I can't wait to try these 'special' turnovers."
She grinned, already planning a perfect dinner for them to enjoy with the turnovers. "Next date night, then, I'm cooking."
"Is that a promise?" he asked, eyes sparkling.
"Yes, it is," she replied, already looking forward to their next date night though she didn't want this already perfect one to end just yet.
Their empty plates and flutes sat on the table as stars twinkled over Nottingham. Music played over the speaker Robin had in his yard for parties and he held her close, swaying in time to Like I'm Gonna Lose You. Regina rested her head on his shoulder, sighing happily. "This is a wonderful date."
"Good," he said, kissing the top her head. "And it's far from over."
Excitement filled her as she stepped away from him, taking his hand. "Shall we switch locations then?"
He held up a finger. "Wait right here. Give me about five minutes and then head upstairs, okay?"
"Five minutes?" she asked, raising her eyebrow. "What are you doing?"
"Making sure Emma set the mood." He wriggled his eyebrows before heading back toward the house.
Chuckling, Regina sat back down before realizing she wouldn't know when five minutes passed. She wasn't wearing a watch and they had agreed to leave their phones back in the house so they weren't distracted. Her best bet was to go wait in the kitchen and then head upstairs when it was time.
Regina stepped inside the kitchen, finding it empty. She guessed the rest of her family had gone to their respective rooms and she sat on a bar stool, watching the kitchen clock for the right time to head upstairs. It felt like waiting for the school bell to ring on the last day of school, her stomach a bundle of nerves as she felt like she wanted to crawl out of her skin. This was going to be an amazing night.
She perked up when she heard someone on the stairs. Robin's back appeared and she noticed he was dropping red rose petals on the stairs. It made her raise her eyebrow. "Will is going to kill you for that," she said.
He jumped, turning around with wide eyes. Robin tilted his head. "What are you doing here?"
"I needed a clock to determine when five minutes had passed," she told him, pointing to the clock overhead.
Robin glanced up and then nodded. "Right, okay. Well, upstairs is all ready. Shall I escort you up?"
"You may, good sir," she teased, moving around the island to take his outstretched hand. She glanced down at the rose petals on the stairs before looking at him again. "You know Will probably threatened Emma not to do that so he really is going to kill you."
"Then we should make my final night one to remember, don't you agree?" He kissed her cheek and she felt them heat up.
They followed the trail of roses up the stairs and along the hallway that led to Robin's room. He jumped in front of her, opening the door for her. Giving a little bow, he said: "After you, milady."
Robin left Dr. Espenson's office with a bounce in his step and headed toward the elevator bank, He hit the "up" button, ready to meet Regina at Dr. Ludgate's office. They were going to discuss the options for determining the sex for their twins and go from there. Excitement and anticipation filled him as he boarded the elevator car and headed up two floors.
He had been in a good mood for almost a week now following his night with Regina. Not even a surly Will had been able to dampen his spirits, even when he shoved a broom and dustpan at Robin so he could clean up the rose petals. Robin had happily done it, knowing it had been worth it for the smile on Regina's face that morning. They were closer than ever now and that night may have been even better than their first night together—not because they knew each other's body better but because their relationship was stronger.
The doors opened again and he stepped off, easily locating Dr. Ludgate's office. Her receptionist looked up and smiled at him, pointing toward the chairs. "She's in the corner reading a magazine, Mr. Locksley."
"Thank you," he said, turning to find Regina right where the secretary was pointing to. He trotted over to her. "Hello, love."
She looked up, smiling as he leaned down to quickly kiss her. "Hello, there. Have a good session?"
"I did," he confirmed. "Have you been waiting long?"
Regina shook her head. "Probably about ten minutes. It seems pretty dead so I'm sure I'm the next one."
He glanced around the empty waiting room and nodded. "That seems like a pretty good bet."
She moved closer to him and he wrapped his arm around her, holding her close. He kissed her head. "Are you nervous?"
"A little bit," she admitted. "I don't know what we're going to have to do to determine sex. We may not be able to."
"Then we'll be surprised when the twins are born and we'll just pick several name options as well as decorate the nursery in a neutral theme. How does that sound?" he asked. When she nodded, he moved closer. "In fact, I've been thinking about the nursery…I have an idea."
She tilted her head. "You do? What is it?"
"I was thinking we could do a fairy tale theme," he said. "Maybe an enchanted forest or a castle? There could be a dragon and we can make your book of fairy tales the centerpiece."
"That sounds…really nice," she said, smiling at him.
Pride filled him and he grinned at her. "You really think so?"
She nodded, eyes lit up. "I think we can go back and start picking out furniture in earnest while we work on designs. Are we going to decorate ourselves or hire someone to do it for us?"
"How are your artistic skills?" he asked.
When she frowned and sighed, he knew her answer. He had been hoping she would lean toward hiring someone to decorate their nursery walls so that she could avoid the paint fumes but hadn't wanted to push her toward that decision.
Regina turned slightly so she could look him right in the eye. "I want us to choose the decorator together, got it?"
"Got it," he told her, kissing her cheek.
"Regina?" a nurse asked, opening a door. "Dr. Ludgate will see you now."
Robin stood, holding out his hand to Regina. "Want a boost up?"
"Sure," she said, taking his hand and letting him pull her to her feet. "Wait until we need a forklift to move me everywhere."
"You're not going to be that bad," he told her, wrapping his arm around her and kissing the top of her head as they followed the nurse to the examination room.
Regina handed Robin her purse and jacket before slipping behind the curtain to change into an examination gown. He placed everything on his chair, waiting for her to return. The nurse asked her some basic follow up questions as she changed and when Regina emerged, she told her to hop onto the examination table.
Once Robin helped her onto the examination table, he then took his own seat as the nurse completed a few more checks. She then backed away, smiling. "Dr. Ludgate will be in shortly."
They thanked her and Regina reclined on the table, rubbing her bump. "I'm still nervous, Robin," she admitted.
"I know," he said, feeling antsy and like his stomach was churning as they waited for the doctor. "I'm nervous too."
"Nervous about what?" Dr. Ludgate asked, entering the room. She looked between Robin and Regina. "Is something wrong?"
Regina shook her head. "We're just talking about possibly finding out about the twins' gender."
Dr. Ludgate nodded, sitting down. "Right, I know we discussed this last time. Did you look over the information I gave you?"
"We did," Regina replied, looking over at Robin. "We have some concerns and questions."
"I would be surprised if you didn't. So, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to do my usual examination and then we can discuss everything so we can hopefully figure out what works best for you. How does that sound?" Dr. Ludgate asked.
They agreed to that and Robin watched Regina relax as the doctor examined her, measuring her abdomen to track the twins' growth. Dr. Ludgate nodded at the end, sitting back down. "Everything looks good, so let's discuss your concerns."
"Can Robin sit on the examination table with me?" Regina asked, reaching out her hand to him. When Dr. Ludgate nodded, he moved to sit next to Regina and took her hand.
The doctor answered their questions and explained some of the procedures in more depth. When she finished, she looked between them. "Do you want more time to discuss your options? We can always do this another time."
Robin looked over at Regina, squeezing her hand. "Well? What do you say?"
"I think I would like to try the ultrasound," she said, never breaking eye contact with him. "If that doesn't work, then we'll just have to be surprised."
He nodded, relieved that Regina didn't want to do any of the blood tests. "Sounds like a plan to me."
"Let's go get everything set up then," Dr. Ludgate said, closing the file and picking it up as she stood. "Follow me."
Robin helped Regina off the examination table and followed behind her as they headed down the hall. An assistant prepped the ultrasound machine and she motioned to the bed next to her. "I think you know how this goes by now."
"I do," Regina said, sitting up and letting the nurse help her move her examination gown until her stomach was bared. She then reached out for Robin's hand and he took it, sitting down next to her.
Dr. Ludgate also took her own seat. "Now, do you want me to reveal the gender to you now or do you want me to write it down for a special reveal later?"
"We're planning a gender reveal party," Regina said, squeezing Robin's hand. "So if you could write it down, we'd appreciate it."
"Alright. Then, let's see if the twins are going to cooperate with us." Dr. Ludgate placed the wand on Regina's growing bulge and the screen crackled to life as she located their growing babies.
They looked more like babies this time and Robin could make out their little hands as they moved about. He tilted his head. "Are they playing patty cake with each other?" he asked, letting out a little laugh.
Dr. Ludgate chuckled as well. "They might be. We do know some multiples do play with each other. I've taken pictures of twins holding hands in utero."
"Aww," Regina said. She then took a deep breath. "Can you…Can you tell their sex?"
The doctor turned the screen to face her, studying it intently. Robin held his breath until he saw her smile. "I think I can. Looks like they are cooperating."
Regina squeezed his hand as they watched Dr. Ludgate leaned closer. She wrote down something on a piece of paper and then studied the screen again. Once she finished writing, she flipped the paper over. "Okay. I'm going to give this paper to one of my office admins. She'll make a copy and put it in an envelope for you. I'll keep the original in case something happens so you can always call and get the results."
"Thank you," Regina said, sounding relieved. "We have a few plans of our own, but it's good to have another backup."
They were going to give Will and Emma their own copies of the results so they could plan the gender reveal. Robin was then going to take a third copy and give it to Johanna to keep on file. His secretary hadn't lost a single piece of paper in the time she had worked for him, so Robin knew it would be safe with her.
It was still good to know Dr. Ludgate would have a copy as well.
"Well, I'll go give this to the admin while you get dressed, Regina," Dr. Ludgate said, closing the file. "You can make up a follow up and I'll see you then."
Regina thanked her and Robin helped her off the examination table, handing her clothes to her. She kissed him. "I'll be right out," she said.
Once she finished, Robin helped her into her lightweight jacket and took her hand. "Let's go make that appointment and then I'll treat you to whatever you want," he offered.
"Ice cream?" she asked, hopeful. Her eyes lit up and he was pretty sure he saw her mouth water. "I just really, really want it."
"Then we'll head straight to Any Given Sundae." He kissed her and they both left the office, smiling widely.
The bell over the door greeted Regina as she stepped into Granny's. Her favorite table was free and she quickly grabbed it, dumping her bags in the empty side. She had spent the day picking up new clothing for Roland as well as for herself—they were in an unofficial race to see who could outgrow their clothing the fastest. They were tied at the moment but she knew she would soon pull ahead as the twins continued to grow and develop.
She had been sorely tempted to go into the baby section but had resisted, wanting to wait until they knew the genders of the babies. Then all bets would be off—whether she was buying every boy item, every girl item or a good mixture of both. She just had to wait a couple more weeks and then they would know. Her patience was being tested and she feared she would fail, attempting to sneak a peek at either Will's or Emma's envelope before then.
"Regina?" Ruby asked softly, as if trying not to startle her. She smiled when Regina's eyes met hers. "Do you want a menu or should we skip the formalities and just put in an order for a BLT, fries and a ginger ale?"
"That sounds perfect," Regina replied, smiling back at the waitress. "Thank you, Ruby."
"Are we still making this without cheese?" Ruby asked. The question made Regina's stomach turn and Ruby nodded. "I can see it in your face. Still no cheese. Got it."
Regina thanked her before sighing as she reached for one of the books she had bought after clothes shopping. She made sure not to pull out the baby books—she and Robin had decided to wait until after the gender reveal to announce her pregnancy but they had issued a statement calling out the paparazzi and asking for privacy. So the paparazzi had gotten stealthier in their attempts to get pictures and gossip about them, so Regina had to be extra careful in public when it came to anything about the pregnancy. Otherwise, she found she didn't care how many pictures or lies they tried to sell—they weren't worth her time or energy.
A strange sensation passed through her and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Somebody was watching her, standing not far away judging by the person-shaped shadow falling across the table. It seemed one pap had gotten bold and she didn't think she was going to like dealing with whoever it was. Her heart beat faster as she slowly turned around, holding her breath as her observer came into view.
The breath she had been left her body with a soft whoosh and her heart stopped. It wasn't a pap armed with a camera and a lot of probing questions but a tall man with light brown hair standing next to her table. He was a decade older than the last time she had seen him but despite a few new wrinkles around his blue eyes, he still looked very much the same. "Daniel?" she asked.
"Hello, Regina," he said. He removed a hand from the pocket of his black coat and motioned to the empty booth seat. "May I sit?"
Unable to speak, she could only nod. She watched as he slid in across from her, removing his other hand from his pocket. It seemed surreal to be sitting there, in that booth, again with him. It almost seemed like the last ten years hadn't passed yet at the same time, they still stretched out before them. Though they were only sitting on opposite sides of a table, they might as well have been standing on different sides of the Grand Canyon.
He gave her a sheepish smile. "Virginia has softened me up. Even this lovely Maine autumn day is too cold for me."
"So you moved to Virginia?" she asked, finding it a safe topic for now.
Daniel nodded. "I've opened my own ranch dedicated to equine therapy. I have about six horses and a good amount of clients."
"I'm glad to hear it." And she was. Even though their relationship crashed and burned and she still had some anger over how he abandoned her, she didn't wish him any ill.
"And I read that you became a nanny," he replied with a soft smile. "You always had a fondness and a special way with children."
She nodded as they lapsed into an awkward silence once more. Regina took a deep breath and asked: "Are you in Maine for work or just visiting?"
"Yes," he answered before fidgeting in his seat. "I've been meaning to come for a while now but…well…I've been scared. And ashamed. I kept debating whether you would want to see me after how badly I hurt you."
"You did hurt me," she told him, voice wavering.
Guilt filled his eyes. "I am so sorry, Regina. I know that must be too little, too late but I want you to know."
She swallowed. "Thank you. I take it you know everything?"
"I do," he confirmed, a haunted look in his eyes aging him before her own.
He shifted in his seat, finally taking off his coat. "I saw the report about you being charged with embezzlement. And forgive me, but I thought you might have been guilty for a minute."
Anger burned inside her. "You did?"
He nodded, glum. "You were so secretive and jumpy at that time, I thought it would make sense if you were stealing from your company."
"I wasn't," she replied, disdain dripping from her every word.
Daniel swallowed. "I know. I told you I was suspicious for a minute or two. Then I remembered you were a dedicated worker who was loyal to the company and you wouldn't steal from it."
"Well, I kinda was," she allowed even as her inner voice screamed that he should've known what kind of person she was, that she would never steal without a good reason.
"Because you were being forced," Daniel said, anger in his voice—though she didn't know if he deserved the right to be angry.
"Yes, I was. And a whole lot more than that," she said pointedly.
He turned a shade of green. "I heard about that as well. I threw up while thinking how you were going through that and I accused you of having an affair. Even knowing your history and my educations, I didn't recognize that you were sinking into depression. I just focused on my own pain and walked away."
Several different responses flew through Regina's mind—she had hid the hell she was living through, not even her father noticed until it got really bad, she only recently told her whole story—but she had a counterargument for each that only further stoked her anger. Daniel did accuse her of having an affair, chose to believe tabloid magazines over her, ignored how withdrawn and unhappy she had become and made everything about him. She had been acutely aware of how he was being affected but hadn't had the tools to help herself let alone him. And in the end, he had walked away rather than fight for her and with her, to support her though her trials.
"Yes," she said, not hiding her bitterness. "You did. You made the shittiest time in my life even more shitty, Daniel."
He hung his head. "I know."
"Do you?" she asked, unable to hold herself back. "We were going to get married. You were going to pledge to love be in good times and in bad but when things got bad, you just let me fall. You weren't there to catch me."
"I didn't know I had to!" he argued back. "You shut me out."
She knew he was right about that, but at the same time: "You didn't even try to knock. You just walked away."
Tears pricked her eyes and she looked away, trying to scrub them away. She felt Daniel reach for her hand and she pulled it away, not wanting any comfort from him. Nor did she want to give him any comfort—he didn't deserve it.
"Regina, sweetheart? Do you need me to escort a certain someone out of the diner?" Granny asked. When Regina looked up, she found the older woman leaning against her side of the booth as she glared at Daniel.
Daniel shrank back as Regina shook her head. "That won't be necessary, Granny. This talk is long overdue and I'd like to see it to its conclusion."
"Okay," Granny said, setting down Regina's lunch. "But don't let yourself get too worked up. It's not good for you."
Regina nodded and Granny made a motion to tell Daniel she was watching him before leaving them alone. Pushing her plate aside for the moment, Regina turned back to her former fiancé. "So."
"So," he echoed. Then he continued: "Is there anything else I can do? I am sorry for how things ended between us, I'm sorry I didn't realize how you were suffering and I'm sorry I didn't do more to fight for us."
The anger seeped from her and she swallowed. "I'm sorry too. I'm sorry that I retreated and that I didn't trust you or our love enough. I just…My thoughts about myself were so horrible that I feared if I voiced them, everyone would see what I thought was the real me."
Daniel seemed to deflate before her eyes. "Oh, Regina…"
"I know the truth now," she assured him. "I know that was just the self-loathing and depression caused by what happened to me talking. But back then, I thought it was the truth."
"Are you happy?" he asked. "Now?"
She smiled, nodding. "I'm very happy. And I have a great support system. Are you happy?"
"I am," he told her before playing with a napkin. "I'm engaged again. Her name is Amanda and she works with me at the ranch. We've been together for a few years now and I'm really excited for our wedding."
"Congratulations. I'm happy for you," Regina said, meaning every word. She had often wondered over the years if he had found love again, if he had married and had the family they had always talked about. It used to hurt her to think of him with someone else but now, it just made her happy.
He thanked her before giving her a sly smile. "What about you? The news said you were dating some millionaire."
"Robin," she replied, nodding. "He's been my rock through all of this. I honestly don't know if I could've made it without his love and support."
Daniel's smile dimmed. "Unlike me."
This time, she let him off the hook. "The situations were different."
"Maybe," he said. "Or maybe he was who you needed the entire time and we never really would've worked out."
She shook her head. "Let's not go down the path of what ifs and maybes. Our lives have turned out the way they have and we're both happy. That's what's important."
"Agreed," Daniel replied. He then checked his watch and started to stand. "I need to get going. But it was good to see you again, Regina. I…I hoped our talk helped."
"It did." She moved out of her side of the booth, standing as well. Regina opened her arms and they hugged.
She felt him tense for a moment and then Daniel whispered: "Uh, Regina, is there someone else in this hug?"
"Actually, there are two," she whispered back. "We haven't made any official announcement though."
"Congratulations. You're going to be a great mom. And don't worry. Your secret is safe with me." He let go of her, stepping back. "Goodbye, Regina."
It really was a goodbye, she knew. They would most likely never see each other again. She took a deep breath, realizing that chapter of her life truly was over. There was still some hurt at that realization, pain for what they once had been, but for the most part, she was at peace. Regina could continue moving forward without that baggage carried behind her.
"Goodbye, Daniel," she said, hoping she released him from his own baggage over the end of their relationship so he could start his married life with a clean slate.
He walked toward the door and she followed him. The door opened just as he reached it and her eyes widened when Robin stepped inside. Daniel looked at him before glancing back at Regina. He then nodded at Robin before leaving the diner.
Robin walked over to her, confused. She smiled, kissing him. "What brings you here?" she asked him.
"I knew you were in town and I knew you would want to stop here. I hoped to catch you so we could go home together," he said, helping her back into her booth.
He then slid across from her. "So, who was that?"
She pulled her plate back in front of her as she answered: "Daniel."
"Daniel?" he asked, surprised. "As in your former fiancé Daniel? What did he want?"
In between bites of her BLT, Regina told him about the conversation she had just had. Robin listened intently, stealing a French fry every often, and asking some follow up questions. When she finished, he then asked: "Do you feel better now that you've talked to him?"
"I do," she answered. "I feel like I finally have closure with that relationship."
Robin smiled, taking her hand. "I'm glad to hear that."
"Well, this is a better sight," Granny said, coming up to their booth. She picked up Regina's clean plate. "Are you two in a rush or can I entice you with an apple crisp for two?"
Regina perked up and she squeezed Robin's hand, sending a silent plea to him. He chuckled before turning back to Granny. "You've twisted our arms. We'll take that apple crisp."
"One apple crisp, coming right up." Granny walked off to retrieve their dessert as Robin took Regina's other hand as well.
She beamed at him. "Tell me about your day."
"It was rather boring," he replied. "You don't really want to hear about it."
"No, I really do. Please, tell me," she said, squeezing his hands.
He chuckled and as Granny set their apple crisp between them, handing them each a spoon, Robin told her all about his day. She listened intently as she placed the hot apple and granola treat in her mouth, letting the cold vanilla ice cream mix with the cinnamon. Regina loved the life she had now and loved the man sitting across from her.
She was very happy indeed.
A/N 2: For those who may have been unaware of the drama the past weekend, this story was one of eleven Outlaw Queen fanfics anonymously reported to a group here on this site dedicated to finding those who are violating the site's terms of service and forcing them to comply or face deletion of their story or profile due to a mass reporting campaign.
I am in violation of the TOS. A lot of what I've rated M should be MA, which is not allowed by the site. So I have very little recourse and so had to consider things very carefully. On one hand, I hate the almost harassing nature of this whole affair and hate to reinforce that this tactic works. On the other, I've had this account for over 16 years—I joined in 2001 when I was 15. The thought of losing it and all my history here almost made me cry. After weighing my choices, I made my difficult choice.
This will be the last chapter of The Nanny posted here on FFnet. I will continue to post new ones to AO3 and Wattpad and will be removing the story completely from this site once I back up over two years' worth of data and reviews, which will probably take a few weeks. I hope you will follow this story over on the other websites. AO3 does allow for anonymous comments and I do have it activated. I also allow anonymous comments on tumblr and Curious Cat (which is tied to my twitter), so you still have multiple chances to review the story once it's down off this site. However, many OQ writers are now migrating over to AO3 over this whole affair so I do encourage you to consider signing up for an account there so you can keep updated on many of your favorite stories.
As of right now, The Nanny is the only one of my OQ stories affected. I have no plans to take down my other stories and will continue to post them here for the foreseeable future.
I have made the decision to take this story down from FFnet because the particular chapter I was dinged for was Chapter 18, which features Regina's rape. I realized I couldn't edit it out without significantly altering that chapter so this seemed to be my best option in a rather horrible situation.
I want to thank all of you for all your support and your readership over the past 2+ years. Every comment, every follow, and every favorite meant the world to me. I sincerely hope you will continue to read the story on either of the other two platforms. Follow me on twitter or tumblr for updates. I will also try to let you know when I update in my other stories so you'll also know as well.
Once again, thank you.