Beware the Perils of Online Dating Book 2
Did I Make the Most of Loving You
Summary: Sequel to Beware the Perils of Online Dating. In the previous book, Robotnik was introduced to online dating and met Aleena. He is now in love with her but unconscious after a heart attack. Aleena has kidnapped her own children and erased their memories. Read Beware the Perils of Online Dating first before you read this or you will be lost. Pairing focus: SoniaxBartleby, SleetxManic, SonicxSally.
Robotnik found himself just outside the mansion as he knew it when Maria was alive. He stood over the rose gardens that she adored so. "Maria… Maria… I don't know what to do. I'm all alone… I want to love again and… I love Aleena. But she despises me. She won't even give me a chance. Please tell me what to do?" He begged before he heard the door open.
Sonia watched as her mother magicked the three strangers out of the flat. "Mother, who was that man? He… he did seem familiar…"
Aleena came and sat beside her, kissing her forehead in a maternal fashion. "He was no one for you to worry about my dear. He's gone now." She willed her magic to wipe away this sudden meeting. She subtly cast the same spell on Manic. "Now, did you three sleep well?"
Manic nodded. "Yeah… Thank you, Mom." He let her hug him.
"Good, now. I have to get ready for work." She kissed Sonic's forehead last before going to get dressed. "Don't worry about doing anything but getting better. You three have been terribly ill for the last several days. I'm not surprised that you're confused."
Sonia put a hand on her aching head. She could believe it. "Don't worry, Mother… I'll make sure we all rest quietly here while you're gone." She promised.
Aleena smiled. She told her conscience to shut up. This was nice. "I'll just be at the diner down the street if you need me. The phone number is on the refrigerator. Try not to eat anything overly heavy." It wouldn't sit well with the potion she'd dosed them with. "If you want, I can bring you back some chicken soup at lunchtime."
Sonic nodded. "That would be good. Thanks, Mom. Be safe." He said as she left. He looked at his siblings. "Wow. Whatever we were sick with must have been a doozy."
Sonia looked out the window. "Yeah… but... ohhh… Something doesn't feel quite right. Maybe I'm still feverish though." She looked out at the harbor. She could see a few large fishing boats in the distance. She closed her eyes as she tried to sort out the confusion in her memories.
Bartleby remembered the chat logs as he and Sleet looked around their new one-room apartment. They had presented themselves as two college chums looking to split the rent. "I can't believe we have to live here while we woo them again. I never had to woo Sonia. We just got in instantly. We knew as children that we were destined to be."
Sleet nodded. "We don't have a choice. Without their memories, they won't fight her. Look, we just need to woo them enough to waken their memories. Once we get one memory out, the rest will follow and her spell will crumble." He sighed. "I'll claim the Murphy bed out here. You take the bedroom."
Bartleby nodded. He wanted to offer up the bedroom but knew Sleet's pride would not allow it. "Well, what do we do now?"
He sighed. "I think we should go get breakfast at the diner and get some groceries. We just need to live normally. They are just a few buildings away. And we have the upper hand." He reassured his charge. He knew if anything happened to him, his Royal Roundness would have him roboticized before likely dying of another heart attack.
Aleena felt a heaviness in her chest but she ignored it. She had been prepared to accept Bartleby until it became clear to her. Robotnik would never change. He couldn't possibly love her as they claimed. Alas, the kingdom had put their trust behind him now. She would never be queen again but she would have her children.
She took a deep breath as she prepared to tell Murray the good news. She opened the red metal and windowed doors and walked in. "Murray, I'm home. I've got such good news."
Murray, a tiger with slightly graying fur smiled at her. "Aleena, good timing! I have some good news for you too.P" He used his spatula to flip a flapjack and an egg. "You know my son has decided not to take over the diner. He's decided to join the Grevillea Navy."
The hedgehog queen smiled. "You must be so proud." She took a plate and delivered it to its table.
"Yes, I am. Very much so. Maybe someday he'll be an admiral commanding his own fleet," he laughed. "But that is only part of the good news. Where you come in is now, I will need someone to take over for me. I'm ready to retire, Aleena. I was just going to make you a manager but I think it's more appropriate to offer you a co-ownership. The diner would be yours, I would take a step back and simply share in the profits. You would hire your own staff and everything."
The woman could only stand there in shock with a tray in her hands. "Oh Murray, you don't know what that means to me right now… I… I finally found my children. I've brought them home with me."
The tiger clapped. "Congratulations. In more ways than one. I'm glad to hear it. All our ships are coming into port then."
Aleena laughed as she heard the doorbell jingle-jangle. She delivered the orders on her tray and grabbed a pair of menus. "Welcome to Joe's on the Harbor." She froze when she saw the mink and wolf that she had kicked out earlier. "What are you doing here?" She whispered dangerously.
Sleet grinned innocently. "Whatever do you mean? We are just here for some breakfast. We are new in town and heard a lot of good things about this place." He chuckled at her dismay. "I will get a cup of coffee, black."
Bartleby followed Sleet's lead, best not to get themselves thrown out again. "And I'll have… a cup of peppermint tea please." He coughed heavily. The walk from the apartment to the diner had been strenuous.
"Take your medicine…" Sleet said absently. Bartleby rolled his eyes and did just that. He read through the menu.
Aleena's voice asked lower. "You know what I mean. What are you still doing here?"
"We are having breakfast." The wolf said again simply. He would not rise to her. "We have just moved to town and we want breakfast."
Aleena sighed, realizing that she wouldn't be able to get rid of them without causing more trouble than she wanted. She couldn't ruin this good day. "Fine, black coffee and peppermint tea, coming right up."
In Robotropolis, Dingo stood in the hospital room talking with Mr. LaTour on the phone. "Yeah, Bartleby was wondering if you or Mindy could handle the day-to-day operations. Yeah, he and Sleet are on a mission and I think we both know that we do not want me in charge. Yes, the mission is pretty serious. You're the only ones they trust not to take advantage of the situation. Thank you, sir. I'm sure his lordship will appreciate it when he wakes up." He hung up the phone and sighed. He sat down as the hospital door opened. The Freedom Fighter, Cyrus, entered with his friend, Trevor. "Can I help you?"
"Yeah, we want to know where Sonic, Manic and Sonia are!" Cyrus demanded. "We haven't seen them since the ball."
Dingo shrugged. "No clue. I haven't seen them or Bartleby either." He left it at that.
After they finished their breakfast, Aleena took their money and walked out with them. "Now, I don't know what you are thinking but you are not going to get anywhere near my children. You better just go back to Robotropolis."
Bartleby shook his head. "I can't. Not without Sonia. Sleet cannot leave without Manic. We do not leave this city without them. We won't force them to go anywhere but we will find a way to break your spell. We are not going anywhere." He said flatly.
Aleena clenched her fist. "You would leave your county without someone to care for it. It is that selfishness…"
"I can't leave without her. I cannot live without her." Bartleby pushed. "I need her like I need my inhaler." He turned and followed Sleet from the diner to find a market. This woman was not about to call him selfish. He would get his wife back.
Robotnik walked through the mansion, listening to the sounds of music echoing through the halls. He went to the room that was his nephew's nursery when he was a baby. It was his favorite room. He longed for children of his own but Bartleby was a few months old before Maria had become pregnant and neither of them would ever get to hold their precious baby. He sighed as he looked through the room. He looked at the photographs of the boy.
"Julian…." A voice echoed through the mansion and he turned. He hurried after the voice. It called his name again and again. As he grew closer, the voice became decidedly more feminine. He came to the living room and froze. A young minkette smiled at him lovingly from her place by the piano. "You found me. You found me at last." She ran to him and he caught her in his arms.
"Maria!" He twirled her around and kissed her deeply, feeling varied emotions churning inside him until he could only cry, kissing her over and over again. "Oh, Maria… Maria…"
AN: What does it mean that Robotnik had found Maria? Will Bartleby and Sleet be able to break the spell that Aleena placed on the hedgehog triplets.