Robin knew it was late. She’d tried to sleep, but despite her best attempts, something was keeping her awake. So with a sigh, she left her warm bed and headed to the kitchen, deciding to make herself a cup of tea, hoping that the warmth and chamomile would finally lull her to sleep.
Instead, she found her son sitting at the kitchen table, unopened bottle of beer held loosely in his hand. He didn’t look up as she entered the room, simply staring at the bottle. Normally, one wouldn’t be concerned at finding their child in their kitchen, but knowing her son, he’d normally be out at this time, or have already holed himself up in his room.
“Sebastian?” Robin questioned softly. He jumped slightly, and looked up. His eyes were red, and not in the way that they were after he smoked sometimes. “Is everything okay?”
“Selena… broke up with me.” Sebastian said quietly.
“What?” Robin blinked in surprise. Selena and Sebastian had started dating about seven months ago, and as far as she had seen, thing had been going swimmingly. Sebastian had been happier than he’d been in a long time. “Did she say why?”
“Not in a way that made sense… She said that it would be better without her holding me back.” Sebastian said, brow scrunching. He looked up at his mother, a desperate confusion clear on his face. “She’s never held me back. What is she talking about?”
“Oh, baby.” Robin said softly, sitting next to him at the table. “Did you tell her that?”
“Of course I did! But she just kept saying that, and then she told me that she was going to bed, and that I needed to go home. So I did.” Sebastian said, putting his head down as a small sob escaped him. “What did I do wrong?”
It took everything in Robin not to cry as well. It had been years since Sebastian had let her see him cry, and she never wanted this to be the reason why he showed her his vulnerable side again. She did what she could, pulling her baby boy into her arms, as he sobbed.
Despite only getting Sebastian off to bed around two in the morning, Robin still got up early the next morning. She had a job to do, and a farmer to question. The farmer had bought an expansion for her barn, wanting to add goats to her repertoire of animals. It irked Robin. Did Selena know that she was going to break up with her son that morning when she’d handed over the money and supplies?
Robin hiked over to the farm, barely setting down her supplies outside the barn when an orange cat suddenly burst off the porch directly at her. It wasn’t her first interaction with the farmer’s cat, but this behavior was different.
The cat yowled at her, winding around her as if trying to push her towards the house.
“It’s like you know I don’t want to go over there yet.” Robin grumbled. The cat ignored her, continuing to run back and forth between her and the house. Robin sighed, finally following the cat up to the house. She knocked on the door, and at a lack of answer, she placed her hand on the door, finding it to be unlocked.
“I’m coming in.” Robin yelled, hoping that Selena could hear her. She entered the house, noting the way that it was dark. Selena was normally up before Robin managed to get there most days. She headed back towards the bedroom, not really seeing anywhere else she could be. She opened the bedroom door, not finding the farmer, but instead finding a blanket mound in the middle of the bed in the room. When she shut the door behind her the blanket mound moved and a head popped out.
“…Robin?” Selena looked confused at Robin’s presence, before recognition filled her face. She tripped out of her bed, almost hitting the floor, but taking her blanket with her. “Oh, shit. Robin.”
Robin’s eyes went wide as Selena moved, starting to frantically put away the things that covered the floor. Selena looked rough, Robin noted. She also noted that Selena was wearing one of Sebastian’s hoodies, and the blanket covered in llamas she was wearing had been a gift from Sebastian. Robin would know, she’d helped him pick it out.
“Sorry! I forgot you were coming by today. Silly me, huh?” Selena laughed awkwardly. “Little out of sorts today.”
Robin raised an eyebrow, unable to stop herself. “Don’t see why. You’re the one who broke up with him.”
Selena flinched, coming to a stop. “I… I did.” She then looked up, eyes intent. “But I needed to.”
“Why?” Robin asked her. “Seb said you told him you didn’t want to hold him back. But he doesn't think you are.”
“I might not be now, but I will be.” Selena said softly, sitting back down on her bed, wrapping her blanket back around her.
“Let me understand.” Robin said, sitting down next to her.
“Sebastian has had the same goal ever since I arrived in the valley. To get out of here, to leave this town and make something of himself in the city.” Selena said, rubbing at her eyes slightly. “I have a farm. I’m tied here for the foreseeable future. I’d tie him here. And eventually? He’d hate me for it.”
“Have you talked to him about it?” Robin asked her. She did see the point she was making, but at the same time, she couldn’t actually remember the last time Sebastian had actually talked about going to Zuzu.
“No, but you know him.” Selena said, bittersweet smile on her face. “He’d give that up for me.”
Selena sighed, standing up from her bed again, and moving to her door. She turned to look back at Robin, burgundy hair an absolute mess, and tears beginning to roll down her cheeks to meet her smile.
“It’s for the best, so why does it hurt so much?”
It was only during dinner that night that Sebastian made his reappearance.
“Hey, baby. There’s soup on the stove.” Robin said, trying to ask Sebastian if he was okay, purely with her eyes. Sebastian smiled at her tiredly.
“Thank you, Mom.” Sebastian said softly, kissing her on the top of her head as he walked past, busying himself with a bowl.
“Look who joined the land of the living.” Demetrius drawled out. “Don’t see how Selena deals with that.”
“Demetrius.” Robin said, eyes narrowed at her husband. Sebastian had frozen out of the corner of her eye, and Maru had stilled as well.
“What? I’m just sayin-“
“She doesn’t have to.” Sebastian cut him off. He turned around to face the rest of the family, and ran his tongue over his front teeth before speaking again. “She broke up with me last night, so it’s not her problem anymore.”
“Wha…?” There weren’t a lot of things that caught Demetrius off guard but this clearly had. Sebastian laughed awkwardly, and ran a hand through his hair.
“Shit. I need a smoke.” Sebastian said, sticking his hand into his back pocket by habit, only to find nothing. He pressed his face into his hands. “Shit.”
“Check my computer desk drawer.” Maru said, completely ignoring the scandalized look her father gave her at her admittance that she had cigs.
“Thanks, Maru.” Sebastian said, smiling weakly, before disappearing into Maru’s room. Not long after there was a slam of a door, making it clear that Sebastian had taken the side door out. Maru immediately turned to her father.
“Good job, Dad.” Maru frowned, picking up her bowl of soup. “I’m gonna do some work while I eat.”
“I didn’t know!” Demetrius tried to defend himself as he watched his daughter’s back as she left the room. He looked to Robin, and she bit her lip as she shook her head.
“I’m gonna go check on him.” Robin said, standing up as well, leaving her husband sitting at the table.
She found Sebastian exactly where she thought she would. Standing at the side of the lake as he inhaled, causing the end of his cigarette to light up cherry red. Robin walked over, standing upwind of him. She loved her son, but she didn’t love the smoke smell.
“You okay?” She asked.
“Peachy.” He huffed. Dropping his cigarette, he stamped it out and turned to her, raising an eyebrow. Robin smiled. No matter how long they’d been at odds, he could still read her like a book.
“I think you should go talk to Selena.” Robin started.
“She was pretty clear how she felt about things.” Sebastian said, rolling his eyes slightly.
“You know how she gets ideas stuck in her head?” Robin asked. Sebastian looked at her in confusion. “Like when she thought you hated her.”
“And then spent months doing her best to avoid me.” Sebastian said with a nod.
“She’s stuck on another idea.” Robin said with a slight laugh.
“What is it this time?” Sebastian looked at her curiously.
“She thinks that you want to leave for Zuzu. That you’ll give up that dream and come to resent her.” Robin said. He frowned.
“I’d never hate her.” Sebastian said, almost indignantly.
“But if you give up your dream for her, she’s afraid you will.”
“That’s not even my dream anymore.” Sebastian said, thinking to himself. “I honestly haven’t even thought about it in a while…”
“…Does she know that?” Robin asked. A look of realization came over his face.
“I need to talk to Selena.” Sebastian said. Robin smiled at her. Sebastian began to take off back to the garage. “I got to go! I’ll let you know what happens!”
Robin couldn’t help but laugh as he turned and ran, pulling open the garage and pulling out his motorcycle. She didn’t like the thing, thought it was dangerous, but she understood the urgency Sebastian was feeling.
“Good luck, baby.” Robin whispered, smiling softly to herself.
Sebastian didn’t come back that night, but she did get a picture. The two of them were together, lights of Zuzu city in the background. They were both smiling widely, arms wrapped around each other. To most, it was a beautiful picture, a simple selfie taken on a date, but Robin could see the slight tear tracks on both of their faces.
It looks like it all worked in the end. Misunderstandings unable to pull them apart.