We Can Love Again

Tough Love

He had been out for two days now- the constant beeping of the monitor beside the boy was torturing their sleep to no end. At first, both parents stayed at Roland's bedside, wanting to be there when he opened his eyes. But that quickly fell through when Regina and Robin became so sleep deprived, they found themselves in constant hell. So they agreed to switch off every night- Henry was gladly welcomed at the Charmings.

"Well little man, I miss you," Robin sighed, "maybe today you'll come back."

It became more and more weighted, the feelings he had when he gazed down at his son. He didn't know how or why it all happened; Robin just knew that he missed spending time with his boy. He was also beginning to miss Caroline; waking up in the middle of the night to care for her had easily became normal to him.

The door then opened, and Robin turned around in surprise to see Regina enter the room.

"Sleep well?"

She instantly shot him a look, the intensity quickly ebbing. "I can't... It's impossible."

The feeling was mutual. Robin was sick of sleeping in a chair. But he noticed dark circles under her eyes- she wasn't even trying to conceal her pain any more.

"And Ruby hasn't responded to any of my calls," Regina continued, her countenance low, "I think she's avoiding me for some reason. It's making me insane! We're supposed to be having our first dress rehearsal today too- guess that's cancelled."

Putting his arms around her waist, Robin pulled her into a hug. In the past few days, he felt like he never got time alone with her anymore. "She's probably just busy with things, don't worry about it," he said softly, "we still need to get ready for the wedding, though, we're getting married in less than three weeks."

Closing her eyes, Regina tried to shut down the war in her mind. "I know... It's just... What if he... He doesn't..."

"Hey, don't you think like that," he ordered, tightening his grip around her, "it's only been two days. Whale said that these things usually end up in sudden death when such young kids are involved- we have to be grateful he's okay."

She was about to tell him that Roland wasn't okay, that he was lying there motionless on the bed behind them, but she couldn't get the words out. So instead, she listened to the monitor's soft beeping and let it drone out her thoughts.

"Mom, Dad," Henry called, figuring he could find them in the room, "Mary Margret brought lunch."

The two broke away and smiled slightly when Snow walked in, carrying a plastic container in her hands.

"You look well Regina," she said, in her usual uplifting tone.

Her stepmother shot her a contradicting look. "I sure don't feel well," she muttered, "but thank you so much for bringing food, and for taking in Henry for the night."

Snow put the container down next to Roland's bed, taking the lid off to reveal five perfectly made ham and cheese sandwiches.

"You know he's always welcome at the apartment."

Henry's expression soon changed as he accepted a paper plate from his grandmother; he had remembered Emma talking about Will, attempting to keep it a secret from him. But he had heard bits and pieces of the conversation, and he knew very well that his uncle was in some serious trouble.

"Um, Mom?" He asked tentatively, knowing the next few minutes were going to end badly, "what happened to Will?"

A defensive look on her face confirmed to Robin that his fears had turned into a reality- she had shut him out.

"That's... Nothing we need to discuss right now." She attempted to say while keeping her demeanor positive.

Henry's heart fell inside of his chest. He had seen her act this way before in the past, it was part of the reason why he was motivated to find his other mother in Boston. This was an attitude he hadn't seen in years... It freighted him to see her old ways come back.

"Is he okay though?" Henry continued, "he must've been either really sad or really mad. What other reasons do people drink like that?"

Regina sighed heavily, trying to formulate the right words- he knew more than he should. "Henry... People who drink heavily are dangerous. He could have got angry and hit you, got into a car accident with you in the car, anything really. He had no right to put you in that situation with your brother."

Maybe the twelve year old agreed with her there. He was a little mad about Will being no help, but he still loved him. Why his mother couldn't do the same was beyond his reasoning.

"I know... But is he hurt? Who made him sad or mad? Can I go over to his apartment and see how he's doing?"

This was it- she had to tell him the truth, whether he liked it or not.

Snow stood rather awkwardly as she stood next to Robin, an untouched sandwich abandoned on her plate as she listened, having no choice.

"You won't be able to see him, sweetheart. I think it would be best if he figured things out on his own from now on. He's not good for you, your brother, or your sister- not after what he did."

Denial hit him like cinderblocks; Henry couldn't believe his mother was doing this. He had watched her change and grow into a new woman, one who was completely happy and content with the family and friends they had. Yes Roland was in a coma. But family was important; one never leaves anyone in the family behind.

"But- but Mom, he never drinks like that. I know he didn't mean it!"

Robin felt completely powerless at that moment- he needed to have a serious conversation about the ordeal with Regina, but he couldn't do it then.

"Because he could easily do it again," Regina replied firmly, crossing her arms, "we just have too much stress right now, with Roland... The wedding..." She thought her head was going to explode. How they were going to pull this off was beyond her knowledge.

Henry found himself near tears; never in months had he been so upset with his mother. With nothing else to do, the twelve year old took his ham and cheese sandwich and stormed out of the room, not even caring about where he was going. One thing was for sure though- he had to talk to Will. He was getting answers.

Back inside Roland's hospital room, Robin was sure his son's thoughts were exactly his. It was then decided; the man was getting to the bottom of things right that day, even if Regina killed him for it. But finding an excuse proved to be a problem. Regina was getting emotional again as she picked at her sandwich, feeling bad for ignoring Snow's nice gesture in bringing lunch. But she just wasn't hungry. She just wanted her little boy back.

Snow was trying so hard to stay positive as she talked about the wedding and how stressed out she was about writing a maid of honor speech. The queen was merely half listening to what she was saying, too caught up about the possibility of postponing her dream wedding due to Roland's comatose. How absolutely awful that would be.

Robin finished off his sandwich and went down the hallway to throw away his plate, only to discover a small blonde girl standing at the front desk, her hand interlocked in her mother's. A smile soon appeared on his face when he saw that little girl clutching an array of blue and red balloons in her other hand.

"Alex? What are you doing here?" Robin asked, causing her to turn her head in his direction.

"I want to see Roland," she began cautiously, "I know he's asleep but I didn't want him to feel lonely."

His smile broadened at her sweet words. "Well thank you. Roland's going to be very happy to see these when he wakes up."

"I really hope we're not interrupting anything," Ashley added in, "she just really wanted to make sure he was okay."

Robin nodded slightly. "Yeah, he's okay. Just got a few stitches on his head, that's all. But he's been in a coma... Asleep, for two days now. Would you like to put those balloons up on his bed?"

Alex nodded energetically, and tugged on her mother's arm.

"Are you sure it's okay for us to be in there?" Ashley asked, a precarious look on her face.

"It's fine," Robin confirmed, "Regina and Snow are both in there- they've got sandwiches."

Then he saw it; an open door to the outside world. He saw his chance for an escape, and he was going to take it. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some errands to run."

Regina was more than surprised to see Alex run into the room, balloons trailing behind her as she innocently began to search for her friend. Ashley came to her aid quickly in tying the balloons up to Roland's bedpost, barely even able to say hello.

"You brought balloons for Roland? How sweet of you!" Regina said, forcing her emotions back in check due to the sudden company.

"She's been begging me to take her here since she found out," Ashley explained, watching her daughter securely the knot around the post. "Sorry for barging in like this- I've been meaning to stop by and talk to you."

The woman pulled Regina into a slightly awkward hug, something she needed more than anything at that moment.

"Your wedding invitation was the cutest thing ever," Ashley started, "I have a small photography business I started up a few months ago. I would love to be your photographer if you need one."

Pulling back, Regina processed her words with a smile. "Yes, that would be perfect actually. I'll pay you anything you want."

Ashley shook her head. "No, that's not an issue. I just want to make your wedding the most amazing day of your life."

And it would be, most definitely, if her son would only come back to her again.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.