18-year-old Regina Crimson, having just graduated from high school, is looking for one last fling before starting off for college in the fall. After a week of partying and having fun on the beach, mysterious bottle of strawberry wine appear on the beach at her favorite spot. Intrigued, Regina spends the summer wanting to know who has been sending the bottles of wine and why? When Regina finally finds out who it is, is it a match made in heaven, or Regina’s worst nightmare?
“C’mon, Parker, let’s enjoy this last night before you go off to the air force?” Regina pleaded with her boyfriend. She had been dating Parker since they were freshman and had known each other since they were in diapers playing in the sandbox together.
“I’d love to Regina, but I really must pack and get some sleep for my flight in the morning.”
“So, that’s it?! No celebration send off before you leave?!” Regina said disappointed.
“I’m sorry, babe, but I can’t be hung over from drinking when I show up for boot camp tomorrow.” Parker apologized. “Hey, I tell you what. I will get a week after I complete my boot camp training at the end of summer. How about we spend it on the beach alone when I come back here then?”
“Okay, sweetheart.” Regina said, softening to Parker’s promise. His promises always seemed to have a way to soothe Regina with his promises.
“Oh would you look at the time.” Parker said, glancing at his watch. “I best be going.”
He gave Regina one last kiss before leaving her front porch. As disappointed as Regina was at the prospect of being separated from her boyfriend for the summer, Regina had hopes for a glorious reunion when Parker came back at the end of summer after his boot camp training.
She watch Parker leave in his beat up old jalopy. The was the one thing Regina loved about Parker. His family had money. He could afford to have the best car, yet, he loved that old jalopy. He was always fixing it up and adding new features to it.
After Parker left, Regina went inside her home and went upstairs to her bedroom. She dialed her best friend, Alice’s, cell to see if she was up to having some fun.
“Hello, Regina.” Alice said after seeing Regina’s name on her cell.
“Hey, Alice! Are you up for a night on the town?”
“Wish I could!” Alice said bummed. “The parents went out and I’m on babysitting duty.”
Alice’s parents just had a new baby, just 3 months old. Alice was always busy having to watch her baby sister. She never seemed to have any time for Regina anymore.
This was turning out to be the worst summer of all. The last summer they would be able to enjoy before they start their lives as adults. Parker was off at boot camp training for the summer and Alice was always watching her baby sister. Regina was left all alone.
Well, Regina decided in the morning, she was going to make the most of this summer. Even if she had to go it alone by herself. She decided she would spend it on the beach drinking her favorite Strawberry Wine. This was going to be the best summer of her life, even if she had to be by herself, Regina vowed.
Regina woke up the next morning, the sun streaming in through her bedroom window. What a glorious day it was going to be, Regina thought, as she jumped out of bed and retrieved her clothing that she had picked out—her 2-piece purple bikini that she would put on under her clothing, a white cotton blouse with pink flowers and a pink mini-skirt, complete with pink Crocs. After getting dressed, Regina went into the bathroom and washed and dried her face and put her long blonde tresses into a messy bun tied with a pink scrunchy.
After finishing up with her hair, Regina went downstairs to join her family for breakfast. But when she got to the table, no was there. Instead, there was note from Regina’s mother:
Had to take your sister to the hospital as she come down with the flu. Your father went off to work. Eggs and bacon on the stove. Enjoy your breakfast. See you soon.
Yep! That was her family! Always on the go! They never found any time to hang for just one meal! Feeling rejected again, Regina gobbled down her now cold breakfast and fixed a sack lunch of her mom’s fried chicken, potato salad, grabbed a bottle of her favorite strawberry wine. Then she locked the house and hopped into her car and drove to the beach for a little fun, even if she would be alone.
Regina pulled into the parking lot of her favorite beach and parked her VW Bug in a parking spot away from the other cars as she didn’t want to risk her car getting dinged by another car door. Regina got out of her car, grabbed her picnic lunch and walked a half-mile to her favorite spot.
As she walked, Regina loved the feel of the sun on her face. She took off her white blouse revealing the purple bikini and let herself get tanned as she walked to her favorite spot on the beach. When she got there, there were a group of teens already there.
One boy motioned for her join them and Regina decided to do just that. She set her lunch on her blanket and joined the others in the water.
While Regina was having fun playing in the water, she was unaware of someone watching her. The mysterious figure watched Regina the entire time, about 5 hours, as Regina swam and sunbathed on the beach, drinking her Strawberry Wine. It was as if the stranger was getting to know Regina’s habits.
The group of teens had already left after a few hours, leaving Regina alone on the beach. Unbeknownst to Regina, the mysterious stranger who had been watching her, was still there. Regina went for one last dip in the ocean before deciding to leave herself.
As Regina started packing her belongings and headed for her Bug, a guy about 20 stopped her.
“That was some fancy paddling earlier.” The guy complemented Regina on her swimming.
“Thank you?” Regina replied, not really knowing what to say. “I need to be going.”
“Hey, where are you going?” the guy asked her.
“Can’t you stay?” the guy pleaded with her.
“Excuse me?” Regina asked. “I don’t even know you?”
“It’s Jaden.” The guy introduced himself.
“Well, Jaden, it’s nice to meet you, but I really must be getting back home.”
“Please?” Jaden begged her as he grabbed her arm.
“Let go of me!” Regina nearly screamed, but came out a whisper as she yanked his hand off her arm.
“I’m sorry.” Jaden apologized. “I just want to be a friend.”
“OK, if you’re really serious. . .” Regina began. “. . .Meet me here tomorrow afternoon.”
“It’s a date!” Jaden exclaimed.
Regina got back to her VW Bug, flung her bag inside and got inside and startd the ignition. When she looked into the rearview mirror, she put the Bug in park and reached into the backseat to pick up a bottle of her favorite Strawberry Wine.
“I wonder where this came from?” Regina said to herself as she put it into her bag, then put her Bug into drive and drove home.
Regina came home to a empty house and a note from her mother telling her that she had to go into the office and would be home late, her sister, Kaidence, would be working late and then a late date with her boyfriend, Jenkins, and her father left for a week on his business trip.
After reading the note, Regina walked into the kitchen to find that her mother had left her favorite casserole, Chicken Divan, in the refrigerator. After eating the cold casserole, because Regina didn’t feel like warming it up, Regina went up to her room and laid on her bed. She picked up the novel she was reading, “Little Women,” her favorite and had read over and over, turned to the page she bookmarked, and began reading. But within minutes, Regina was fast asleep.
The next morning, Regina woke to find Kaidence had finally come home, but were sleeping after hrt late night, but her mother had not arrived. Dialing her mother’s cell, a man’s voice picked up:
“Hello?” the voice answered.
“Yes, I was calling Robyn Crimson?”
“Just a moment.” The voice told her, handing the cell to Regina’s mother.
“Mom, are you still at work?”
“Yes, honey.” Regina’s mother covered as she looked at her supervisor and lover. “I was tired after working so late, so I just crashed on my desk.”
“Oh, OK.” Regina replied. “Well, I have plans at the beach today, so I won’t be home after work.”
“OK, honey. Have fun.” Regina’s mother said, hanging up and kissing her supervisor, Tom.
Meanwhile, Jaden had arrived at the spot Regina had told him to meet her a little early to drop off the strawberry wine before Regina found him there. Jaden felt bad not telling her he was watching her, but he couldn’t tell her why? Not yet anyway.
After a half an hour later, Regina came walking to find Jaden waiting for her.
“Hello.” Jaden greeted her.
“I’m here, Jaden, like I promised.” Regina replied to his greeting.
“Yes, you are.” Jaden said, noticing her new bathing suit, a lavender bikini that looked great on her.
Jaden extended a hand and helped her sit down on the blue and white checkered blanket that was spread out with a picnic meal of fried chicken, potato salad, and strawberry wine.
“I think I want to go for a swim before I eat something.” Regina replied, as she got up and headed for the water, Jaden following closely behind.
Regina and Jaden frolicked in the invigorating water for about a half hour when she noticed another bottle of Strawberry Wine, unbeknownst to her, left by Jaden, by the rocks by their picnic area. As she got out of the water to go pick up the bottle of wine, Jaden followed her.
“What did you find?” Jaden asked, not letting on that he was the one who left it.
“A bottle of Strawberry Wine.” Regina said, showing it to him.
“Hmmmm. . .you have a secret admirer?” Jaden mused.
“I don’t know, but they left one in my car yesterday when I went home.” Regina added in wonder.
“Well, let’s add it to our picnic.” Jaden suggested. “Besides, after that swim, I’m famished.”
“OK.” Regina agreed as they walked over to their picnic area to eat the wonderful meal Jaden had brought.
Regina was having a wonderful time with Jaden, but it was stopped short when it was stopped short from a call from Regina’s boyfriend, Parker, who had managed to get to a phone and surprise her.
“I’m sorry, Jaden, but I must get this.” Regina apologized when she noticed the call. “Parker, what a surprise?”
“Hey, babe, I was able to get a phone and give you a call.” Parker said. “How are you?”
“I’m good.” Regina said, not letting on to Parker that she was with someone.
“I miss you so badly.” Parker told her.
“I miss you too.” Regina said, feeling guilty for being with Jaden.
“Well, I have to go, sweetheart. I just wanted to give you a call and tell you I love you.” Parker told her before hanging up.
“I lo—–“ Regina started to say, but the call went dead.
“Who was that?” Jaden asked her.
“My . . .” Regina start to say, but felt guilty not telling Jaden she had a boyfriend.
“Boyfriend?” Jaden asked, as if finishing her sentence.
“Yes.” Regina said, regretfully.
“It’s OK.” Jaden told her.
“You don’t mind that I’m involved with someone already?”
“No, we’re friends, right?” Jaden reminded her.
Regina relaxed as she enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with Jaden. She liked him. There was an air of mystery about him, not to mention, she enjoyed talking with him. It was as if he understood her.
It was getting late and Regina had to be to work at the office early in the morning.
“I had a nice time, Jaden, but I must be going home.” Regina said. “I have an early day tomorrow.”
“Have a safe drive home.” Jaden told her as he watched her pick up her bag and head for her VW Bug.
When Regina was out of sight, Jaden drove to the office building where Regina worked as secretary to the CEO, and left another bottle of Strawberry Wine on her desk.
Regina woke the next morning and picked up her cell that doubled as an alarm clock. Usually Regina rose at the first alarm—rarely did she push the snooze button, but this morning she failed to hear the alarm. After realizing that she was late for work, Regina hurriedly got dressed for work and quickly made some toast with butter.
Afterwards, Regina grabbed her bag and jetted out the door and into her VW Bug. Turning on the ignition and backing out of her parking space, Regina failed to see car behind her and ran into the side of the car that was passing by.
“I’m sorry sir.” Regina apologized as she dug into her bag to pull out her cell to enter the driver’s information for her insurance.
“Well, you should look where you’re going!” the irate driver berated Regina.
“Should we call the police?”
“Oh, heavens no!” the driver said.
“Ok. How can I take care of this matter?”
“Don’t worry about it.” The driver said. “It’s already been reported.”
“Huh?” Regina asked.
“I’m a cop and I took down your license plate with the police station.” The driver said.
“A cop?” Regina berated herself.. “Just my luck to run into a cop in an unmarked car.”
“Well, the way you just acted. Like I ran into your baby?”
“Oh, just my cover. I’m an undercover cop.”
“Well, just go about your day and the PD will give your information to your information to your insurance.”
“But you do—“ Regina started to say, but the driver was back in his car and had taken off.
Without questioning the guy, Regina drove to work, pulled into a parking space and hurriedly walked into the office and to her desk just as her supervisor had stepped out of the office.
“Oh, good Regina, you’re finally here. I need you in the conference room taking notes in 5 minutes.”
“Yes, sir I’m on it.” Regina said, hurriedly getting her pen and notebook in order.
As Regina was about to leave, she noticed the bottle of Strawberry Wine sitting on her desk with no note attached.
“Another one? I wonder who is sending these?” Regina thought to herself.
Regina didn’t time to wonder now due to the meeting in the conference room. But she vowed to get to the bottom of it as soon as she got off work today.
When Regina got back from the meeting and hearing her supervisor rant about when he wanted the meeting’s notes, Regina took out her cell as soon as her supervisor was out of sight and saw a text from Jaden.
“Had a gr8 time last nite.”
“Come by Ur place 2nite?”
Smiling when she read Jaden’s text, Regina text back: “Sure.”
“Be there at 8.” Jaden text back.
“K. C U then.”
While working on the meeting’s notes for her supervisor, thoughts went to her boyfriend, Parker, who was away. It was alright to hang with a friend who just happened to be a guy? Regina wondered. Jaden and her were just friends? Regina thought.
Later, after finishing her work for the day, Regina left to get ready for her visit with Jaden. She arrived home to her apartment to find another bottle of Strawberry Wine waiting for her on her kitchen table. But this time, the admirer left a clue to their identity as Regina walked through the apartment to her bedroom to get ready for Jaden’s visit: the same sterling silver bracelet she had seen Jaden wearing. Is Jaden the mystery man leaving these bottles of Strawberry Wine? Regina thought to herself.
Just then Regina heard the doorbell ring. “Omigosh!” Regina said to herself. “That’s Jaden. I lost track of time.”
Regina answered the door to let Jaden in, all the while still wondering if Jaden was the mystery man.
“I brought over Strawberry Wine as I know it’s your favorite.” Jaden said holding it out for her. “I knew it was your favorite and we drank all the wine last night.”
“Thank you, Jaden, but you didn’t have to.” Regina said thankfully. “I have two bottles.”
“Huh? How is that?” Jaden said cleverly not to let on he left them there.
“Well, one was left on desk at work, and another one on my table when I came home from work.” Regina explained.
“Gee, the mystery man strikes again?” Jaden smiled.
“Yeah, and this time he left this?” Regina said showing him the sterling silver bracelet.
“Oh, he left a bracelet too?”
“Isn’t this yours?”
“No, mine’s at home on my dresser where I left it.” Jaden covered.
“Oh?” Regina said confused.
“Well, how was work?” Jaden said, changing the subject.
“It was ok. I was weirdly late for work this morning.”
“Yeah, my alarm on my cell didn’t wake me up this morning. I’m usually pretty good at waking.”
“Well, maybe you were just tired and needed the extra sleep.”
“Yeah. Oh dear, my pot roast.” Regina said, running into the kitchen to check on her dinner.
Regina came out a few minutes later to tell Jaden the news.
“Jaden, dinner is ruined.” Regina said, slumping down in the chair next to Jaden. “I burnt the pot roast and the potatoes are mush.”
“Hey.” Jaden said taking her hand. “I have it covered.
A few minutes later there was a knock at Regina’s door.
“Who could that be?” Regina asked confused.
“I’ll get it.” Jaden said as he rose to get the door to find the pizza delivery guy standing at the door with a delivery.
“How much do I owe you?” Jaden asked the delivery boy.
“20.45.” the pizza delivery boy replied back.
“Here you go. Keep the change for a tip.” Jaden said, taking his order of 2 pizzas and breadsticks and a 2-liter of soda.
“I can’t believe how you saved the day.” Regina exclaimed.
“Hey, we have to eat.” Jaden said picking up a slice of pepperoni pizza.
As Regina also picked up a slice of pizza, some tomato sauce dripped down her chin and without hesitation, Jaden picked up napkin and gently wiped Regina’s chin.
“Sorry. You had some tomato sauce on your chin.”
Jaden leaned in for kiss as Regina nearly allowed him to kiss her until memories of Parker came flooding back and pushed him away.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to impose.”
“No. I’m just not ready right now.” Regina lied.
“Well, I had better be leaving.” Jaden exclaimed. “I have a long day tomorrow.”
“Sure. I’ll call you when I get home from work.”
Regina watched Jaden get into his car. She was sure the bracelet belonged to Jaden. She remembered seeing it on his arm the other day.
Later, Jaden got home to work on the next phase of his plan to win Regina’s heart. It was a good thing he covered for the bracelet he dropped in Regina’s apartment when he slipped the Strawberry Wine earlier before he arrived for the date. He had to be smarter. Regina couldn’t find out it was him—not now at least.
Regina went to bed and dreamt of Jaden. After waking up to the sound of her cell ringing, Regina groggily looked at the caller to find it was Parker.
“Parker?” Regina said surprised, feeling guilty about the dream she woke up to.
“Hey, beautiful.” Parker said cheerfully when he heard the sound of Regina’s voice. “Happy birthday, love.”
“Omigosh!” Regina said surprised yet thankful. “I completely forgot about my birthday!”
“Been busy working?”
“Yeah. The boss is a real slave driver!” Regina lied.
“Well, cheer up baby. I have good news!”
“Really? What is it?” Regina said happily.
“I get a weekend leave this weekend. So I’ll be home to celebrate your birthday.”
“That’s great, Parker.” Regina exclaimed.
“I have big plans for you, baby.”
“I can’t wait.” Regina said with worry, but trying to hide it so Parker wouldn’t notice.
“Well, kisses until this weekend love.” Parker said.
“You too.” Regina said before Parker hung up.
Parker will be here by the end of the week. What was she going to do? What will she tell Jaden? She would just have to come up with an excuse to tell Jaden while Parker is visiting.
Regina needed a break so she decided to head for the beach and look for Jaden. But when she got to the her and Jaden’s private spot on the beach, she was surprised to see a private party set up with a picnic basket full of delicious fried chicken, potato salad, and the same strawberry wine on a purple blanket complete with candles and a ghetto blaster that was playing her favorite Air Supply tunes.
The mystery guy with the strawberry wine, Regina thought. She was sure it was Jaden.
“Looks like you have an admirer!” Jaden said, nearly scaring Regina and causing her to fall into his arms.
“Jaden!” Regina said surprised to see him. “Did you do this?”
“No.” Jaden said, knowing he did but not wanting to reveal himself as the mystery guy.
“I wonder who it is?” Regina said with curiosity.
“Who cares?” Jaden said. “Let’s just enjoy it.”
Jaden needed to gain Regina’s trust before he revealed himself to her as the mystery guy sending her the Strawberry wine. He need to be sure that she was all his and no one else was in her life.
Regina and Jaden enjoyed the picnic lunch that, unbeknownst to Regina, had left for her. Although the lunch, Regina decided to tell Jaden that she would be out of town this weekend so Jaden wouldn’t see Parker in town.
“Jaden?” Regina began. “I have to go out of town this weekend.”
“Oh? Where are you going?”
“I have to visit my grandmother for her birthday up north.” Regina lied.
“Okay. When will you be back?”
“Okay, then we can get together then.” Jaden said.
Regina and Jaden enjoyed the rest of the afternoon swimming and lying on the beach and eating the most perfect fried chicken Regina ever tasted.
“Well, Jaden, I had better go.” Regina hated to tell him. “I have an early morning tomorrow. I have to get packed for my trip to my grandmother’s.”
“Okay,” Jaden said, giving her a quick peck on the cheek. “I’ll see you on Monday when you get back.”
“Sure was sweet for that mystery person to leave all this?” Regina said.
“Yeah, it sure was.” Jaden replied.
“Well, see you on Monday.” Regina said packing her bag and heading to her car.
Jaden watched Regina head back to her car and started packing up the picnic lunch he had set out before Regina arrived. He hated lying to her, but now was not the time to reveal himself to her.
Parker knocked on Regina’s door. There was no answer.
“Hmmm. That’s weird?” Parker mused. “Regina knew I was coming?”
Parker tried the door knob to find it was unlocked. When he walked inside, he found Regina still sleeping.
“Baby?” Parker whispered in her ear. “I’m here.”
“Parker?” Regina woke with a jump at feeling guilty that she was dreaming of her time with Jaden last night.
“Babe. Why you shocked? I told you I was coming?” Parker reminded her.
“I’m sorry, Parker. I stayed late at work last night.” Regina lied, knowing she was with Jaden.
“I’m sorry Babe. But I missed you so much.” Parker said as he kissed her.
“I missed you too, Sweetheart.” Regina replied as she pushed his lips away from hers.
“I’m sorry. You don’t like kissing until you’ve brushed your teeth.” Parker apologized.
“Yea. So let me go get dressed and we will go out. Wherever you want.” Regina promised.
As Regina got up to go get ready to leave, Parker turned on the TV and flipped through the channels.
“Nothing on.” Parker said bored. But something in Regina’s apartment caught his eye: the Strawberry Wine that was sitting on the kitchen table. Parker knew Regina had a weakness for Strawberry Wine, but there was so much of it, like Regina had been saving it.
“Okay, Parker, I’m ready to go.” Regina came out dressed in her light pink bikini and a white mini skirt with white flip flops and her hair pulled back in a ponytail with a pink scrunchy.
“You look awesome!” Parker said, as he kissed her on the lips. “I see you have Strawberry Wine? Care to bring some along on our outing?”
“Sure.” Regina said as thoughts of Jaden came to mind.
“I’m glad you have some of this. I wanted to surprise you with a few bottles, but funny thing is, the store I went to was all sold out.”
“Really? I can’t imagine a store being out of stock?”
“They said some dude came in and wiped them out of their entire stock.” Parker explained.
“Well, bring some along.” Regina told Parker.
Parker and Regina left the apartment and got into Parker’s jalopy. Parker wanted to take Regina to a special spot on the beach. He just didn’t know it would be the same spot Regina had been spending with Jaden.
“Parker, why are we here?” Regina said when Parker parked his jalopy.
“I found this spot when I came back. I thought you and I could christen it as ours.”
“That’s sweet, Parker, but can’t we go somewhere else?” Regina told him.
“What’s wrong with this spot, Babe?” Parker asked confused by Regina’s attitude. It wasn’t like her not to like his ideas.
“Please, Parker, this place gives me bad memories.” Regina lied.
“I’m sorry, Babe. I didn’t know.” Parker apologized. “What happened?”
“I don’t care to get into it.”
“Okay.” Parker said as he got back in his jalopy and started the engine. “I know another spot.”
As Parker drove to his other spot, Regina thought about Jaden. She hated lying to him. How could she tell him about Jaden? Not to mention, she lied to Jaden about going to her grandparents because Parker was going to be in town.
Suddenly Parker turned around and drove Regina home.
“Parker, why are we home?” Regina asked when she realized Parker had taken her home.
“It’s over, Regina!” Parker said all of a sudden.
“What? I don’t understand?”
“I know all about him.”
“I’m sorry, who are you talking about?”
“Your new guy!”
“My new guy?” Regina inquired. “There is no one else, Parker.”
“Lies. I saw you with him yesterday.”
“Are you telling me you were here yesterday and you were watching me?”
“Yes, and it’s a good thing too!”
“So you took me on this great date only to dump me afterwards!”
“That was the plan, yes.” Parker confessed. “That is, until you told me you wanted to go somewhere else other than that spot on the beach.”
“So, you knew the whole time!”
“Yes! Yes, Regina I knew. I wanted to break up then, but I wanted to make you pay for betraying me while I was gone.”
“Well, now that you’ve had your fun, have a nice flight back to the base!” Regina yelled at him. “Now, get out and don’t ever contact me again!”
“Fine!” Parker yelled back as he got back into his jalopy and sped off.
Regina couldn’t believe that Parker played her the way she did. Yeah, she knew she was probably wrong for hiding Jaden from Parker, but Parker hid the fact that he was back early only to spy on her. It was like he didn’t trust her. Well Regina was glad that Parker was out of her life. As far as he was concerned she never wanted to see him again.
Moments later, there was a crash just down the street as Parker was hit head on by a drunk driver. He died instantly from injuries sustained from the crash, while Regina had just walked into her apartment to find the same Strawberry Wine and a note waiting for her:
Tonight’s the night. Meet me at the beach spot. I reveal myself tonight.
Your Mystery Man
Jaden waited at his and Regina’s special spot waiting for Regina to show up. He wanted to reveal himself to her as her mystery man. But Regina never showed. He didn’t understand?
Meanwhile, Regina was sitting in her apartment crying when Parker’s mother came by to tell her that Parker had just been killed by a drunk driver in an auto accident. The news hit Regina hard when Parker’s mother came by to tell her the news of her son’s death.
“Sweetie, I know how hurt you are by Parker’s death.” Parker’s mother told Regina as she held out her arms to her.
“I can’t believe he’s dead!” Regina bawled in her arms.
“Sh-h-h-h-h! Let it all out!” Parker’s mother said holding Regina and comforting her in her arms.
“It’s not that!” Regina let out in between sobs.
“What is it honey?’
Regina just kept silent. How could she tell Parker’s mother that she and Parker had broken up just moments before his death?
“Nothing.” Regina said, drying her tears.
“It’s okay, Regina. I know Parker loved you.” Parker’s mother told her. “He showed me the ring he was going to give you.”
“Parker was going to propose?” Regina asked feeling guilty.
“Yes. He was going to ask you to marry him after he finished basic training.”
“I don’t understand?”
“He had everything all planned out. The Army was shipping him to France after basic training.” Parker’s mother revealed. “Parker couldn’t be without you. He wanted to take you to France with him as his wife.”
“So, that’s why he did it?” Regina said to herself.
“I’m sorry, Parker did what?”
“Oh, nothing. I was just talking out loud.”
“Oh, dear look at the time. I have to be at the funeral home to discuss what to do about Parker’s body.” Parker’s mother said. “Are you going to be okay?”
“Thanks, but I’ll be okay.” Regina told Parker’s mother as she saw her out.
After Parker’s mother left, Regina thought about Parker and her last few hours with him. Was he really going to propose to her? Why did he break up with her? Did he really arrive early and see her with Jaden? As Regina mulled this over, there was a knock on her door.
“Jaden?” Regina said surprised to find him standing in her doorway.
“You didn’t show up?” Jaden asked her.
“Huh? Show up?”
“At our spot?”
“I was supposed to show up at our spot?”
“Yes, the note that I left you yesterday telling you to show up?”
“Jaden, the only note I got yesterday was from that mystery man telling me. . .” Regina said, as she realized it was Jaden who had been leaving the bottle of Strawberry Wine. “You?”
“Yes. I am your mystery man.” Jaden revealed.
“Jaden, I can’t be with you right now.” Regina told him sadly. “I’m going through something right now.”
“I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?” Jaden asked with concern.
“No. I have to be alone right now.” Regina told him.
“Okay. Give me a call as to your decision?” Jaden said as he walked out of Regina’s apartment.
Regina closed the door and sat down on her sofa and cried after Jaden left. She didn’t want Jaden to know about Parker. And she couldn’t believe that Jaden was her mystery man. But the one thing Regina knew, she had to end it with Jaden. She couldn’t be with him. She knew in her heart she couldn’t be with him or anyone. Her heart still belonged to Parker, even if he was dead! Now that she knew who Jaden was, their friendship or whatever was between them. . .had to end.
Several days later, Jaden left several text messages and calls but Regina ignored them. He didn’t understand why she was ignoring him. He went over to Regina’s apartment and knocked on the door.
“Hello?” a gentleman answered the door.
“I’m sorry, but is Regina home?” Jaden asked the gentleman.
“I’m sorry, sir, but who is Regina?”
“The tenant who lives here.” Jaden told him.
“I just rented this apartment two days ago.” The gentleman told Jaden. “There’s no Regina who lives here.”
“What?!” Jaden asked, confused. “where did she go?!”
“I’m sorry. I just rented this from some guy. He just said the last tenant suddenly abandoned the apartment without no notice.”
“Well, thank you sir.” Jaden told the man, as he went on his way.
Jaden got in his car and drove to his and Regina’s spot. He didn’t understand. Where could she be? Why the sudden turnaround now that he revealed himself to her? He had to find her. He had to convince her to be his girl. He couldn’t live without her.
Meanwhile, Regina was being shown around her new digs as she checked herself into Serenity Springs, a mental hospital, for some counseling. She had to rethink her life now that Parker was dead and Jaden had revealed himself as her mystery man, the one who had been sending the strawberry wine.
Regina had to get a message to Jaden so he wouldn’t worry. She managed to get an aide who had been kind as to lend her her cell phone so she could leave a voice mail on Jaden’s cell:
“Jaden, I’m so sorry for disappearing on you. I am at an undisclosed location rethinking my decisions. I need time to think about some things. I hope you understand.”
“Thank you, Geri.” Regina told the aide who had lent her her cell. “Now I can rest easy.”
“I am glad to help.” Geri the aide told Regina. “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.”
“I will remember your kindness.” Regina said before she settled in her bed to sleep.
Minutes later, Jaden had just noticed a voicemail on his cell. He pushed the button to retrieve the message and heard Regina’s message to him. He looked at the call log to see where Regina had called from and dialed the number that showed up.
“Hello? “ Geri asked when she swiped the phone to answer her ringing cell.
“Yes, I got a call from a friend from this number.” Jaden asked.
“Oh, you must be the guy my patient called?”
“Regina is your patient?” Jaden inquired confused.
“She’s staying at the facility I work at.” Geri told Jaden.
“Facility?” Jaden asked. “I don’t understand?”
“I’m sorry but that’s all I can tell you and I’m afraid I may have breached too much already.” Geri told him.’
“Please, you have to tell me where Regina is.” Jaden pleaded. “You’ve told me so much already. I won’t tell anyone it was you. I need to find her.”
Geri contemplated telling Jaden where Regina was, and trusting that Jaden’s word, she went ahead and told him.
“Okay, sir, I will tell you.”
“She’s at Oakville Haven.” Geri revealed to Jaden hoping she wouldn’t regret doing so.
“Thank you, ma’am.” Jaden told her. “You’re a life-saver.”
Jaden got some things together and drove the 100-mile trip to talk some sense into Regina, whatever she was in there for. He needed her in his life and he would die convincing her.
After Jaden left, she felt bad for giving him the wrong institution where Regina was, but she had made a promise to not tell anyone where Regina was.
Jaden arrived at Oakville Haven and asked for Regina’s room but the girl at the front desk said that there wasn’t a Regina at the facility.
“Ma’am, it’s imperative I see her.” Jaden pleaded with the girl.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve looked over the patients here and there is no Regina in this facility.” The girl told Jaden.
“Okay. Sorry to waste your time.” Jaden said sadly.
Jaden didn’t understand what was going on? That lady said Regina was here. If the girl said she wasn’t then where was Regina?
Jaden got back in his car and drove the 100-mile trip back home, just as Geri watched him leave. There was no way she was going to let Regina move on after what she did to her son Parker.
Meanwhile, Regina had just got back to her room at Serenity Springs after being in therapy and checked her cell to see if Jaden had left a message. But there was no message. She had tried to reach him regarding where she was going, but couldn’t. She didn’t understand why Parker she had not heard from Jaden.
Regina was interrupted when the aide came into her room to tell her she had a visitor waiting in the dayroom for her.
“Tell them I’ll be there in a few.” Regina told the aide.
Hoping it would be Jaden, Regina combed her hair and spruced herself up before heading down to the dayroom.
But she was shocked to find Geri, Parker’s mother waiting in the dayroom instead.
“Geri?” Regina said surprised.
“Regina, I came to see how you were doing?” Geri lied. She wanted Regina to pay for Parker’s death. Regina was to blame after cheating on her son with that Jaden fellow.
“I’m doing alright.” Regina informed her. “I’m in therapy.”
“Good.” Geri said, but making an excuse to leave. “Oh, gee, look at the time. I’ve got to go.”
“Geri, you just. . .” Regina started to say before Geri rushed out unexpectedly, then started back to her room after Geri’s hasty exit.
Geri , disguised as a nurse, made her way into the med room and found Regina’s meds and switched them with other meds. Then she walked out of the med room unseen by staff and walked out of the facility with a smile on her face.
“Have a good recovery, Regina!”
Regina overdosed on her medication that the nurse gave her, unbeknownst to the nurse that they had been switched by Geri, who was posing as a staff member, but was really Parker’s mother, who wanted revenge on Regina for Parker’s death.
Regina flatlined and was clinically dead for 3 minutes before her heart started beating again. After being revived, Regina was rushed to ICU where she was put on life-support.
By this time, Jaden found Regina and was watching at the window when doctors where working to revive her.
“Can I see her?” Jaden asked a nurse, who ignored Jaden as they rushed Regina to ICU.
Jaden, feeling discouraged went to the nurse’s station to see if he could see Regina.
“I’m here to see Regina Crimson?” Jaden asked a nurse, who was too busy to respond to Jaden.
“I’m sorry, but only immediate family only for Ms. Crimson.” The nurse said on her way to answer an emergency.
Frustrated, Jaden waited to until he could see Regina, but was unknowingly being watched by Geri, who was seeking to find out if Regina was dead.
“Excuse me, sir.” Geri asked a saddened Jaden.
“Yeah, what do you want?” Jaden said irritated.
“I couldn’t help but wonder. . .you were waiting for Regina Crimson?”
“So, what of it?” Jaden told the intruder.
“Did she make it?” Geri inquired.
“Who are you? Why do you need to know?”
“She’s a friend.” Geri lied.
“She’s in ICU.” Jaden told Geri.
“So, she didn’t die?” Geri said sounding disappointed.
“You wanted her to die?” Jaden said, sensing her disappointing glance.
“I didn’t say that.” Geri defended herself.
“I watched the doctors finally revive her. She’s in ICU.” Jaden told Geri, who seemed happy to get the information.
“Thank you, sir.” Geri said slipping off.
As Jaden waited to see Regina, Geri slipped into Regina’s room hoping to pull the plug on Regina’s life-support system.
“Sir, you may go in and see her.” The CAN told Jaden, but as he was about to go in and see Regina, the life-support machine started beeping.
“Code blue, Room 320!” the CNA called over the PA system, as nurses and doctors headed into Room 320 to try to revive Regina, as a horrified Jaden watched from outside Regina’s room.
“Regina just had to be alright.” Jaden silently prayed to himself, as Geri snickered in the background, knowing Regina was going to die, after the deadly drug that she released into Regina’s system.
“Serves you right, Regina!” Geri said to herself. “It’s payback for letting my Parker die!”
Doctors worked frantically to revive Regina. But she was gone!
“Time of death, 3:35 p.m.” the doctor said sadly, as he started to cleanup.
As everyone looked on at Regina’s body, for like seemed like hours, but was actually just about 3 minutes, Regina started breathing on her own.
“Doctor, come quick!” the nurse yelled out, as Jaden prayed for Regina to be alright.
“Yes?” the doctor asked.
“She’s got a pulse and is breathing shallowly.” The nurse told the doctor.
“She’s come back to us.” The doctor said, checking Regina’s vitals. “Get her to x-ray, stat!”
As Regina was wheeled to x-ray for tests, Jaden smiled to himself, as he thanked the Lord.
Geri wasn’t happy as she silently cursed God for bringing Regina back.
After tests on Regina were done, the doctor found the deadly drug inside Regina and called for the antidote to be administered to Regina to heal her. Then he reported the scene to administration, who then reported to the authorities where an investigation was being led by police to see who poisoned Regina.
Jaden was glad that Regina was okay and even more glad when he was finally able to see her.
Entering Regina’s hospital room, she looked like a sleeping princess as he walked over to her bedside and held her hand.
Regina woke up to Jaden’s touch when he held her hand.
“Jaden?” Regina said groggily.
“Shhhhh!” Jaden told her. “Just take it easy.”
“You flatlined for a few minutes.” Jaden told her.
“You mean I was dead?”
“No, baby, you stopped breathing, but you came back to us.” Jaden rejoiced.
“I just wanted to die!” Regina said.
“You tried to kill yourself?” Jaden asked, confused.
“It was the old woman at the mental health center.”
“Yeah, she gave me some pills and told me to take them.” Regina explained. “She said they would help me leave this world, if that’s what I wanted.”
“So, someone poisoned you?” Jaden said.
“I just couldn’t take the guilt.”
“Guilt?” Jaden asked her.
“Over Parker’s death.”
“My boyfriend.” Regina confessed. “Before you and I began to see each other.”
“Yes. A car crash. After he broke up with me because I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry him.”
“This Parker proposed to you?”
“Yes. He went away to the Army. That’s when I met you.”
“Oh, you had a boyfriend who was away when you met me.”
“When he was killed, I felt so guilty. That’s when I pulled away and ran away.”
“I’m so sorry, Regina.” Jaden said, as he held her close. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was scared you would leave me if you knew I was involved with someone else when we met.”
Regina and Jaden enjoyed a blissful afternoon as Jaden lie next to Regina in her hospital bed. Geri, on the other hand, was bitter and vowed to end Regina’s happiness at all costs.
Regina got happy news that she was able to go home. She worried that she would have to go back to the clinic, but the nurse informed her that would be going home, not the clinic.
“I can’t believe I’m going home.” Regina said elated, as Jaden wheeled her out of her room and down the hospital corridor to the nurses’ desk to sign out.
“Well, milady.” Jaden said, as he held his hand out for her to grab, as he walked her out to his car and helped her get in.
Regina was quiet on the ride home, which made Jaden a little worried.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Jaden asked her, worried.
“I was just reflecting on my life the last few months.” Regina said, reassuring him.
“No regrets. Just thankful.” Regina said, as she held his free hand and squeezed it tight inside hers.
Regina and Jaden enjoyed each other’s company for the rest of the drive home to Regina’s apartment. Jaden pulled into Regina’s parking spot about 30 minutes later, and grabbed Regina’s bag while she headed inside her apartment.
Regina lay on her bed, thankful to be alive. Jaden laid down beside her as they both fell asleep in Regina’s bed, tired from the last couple days.
A few hours later, there was a knock on Regina’s door, alarming them both. It was the delivery boy, delivering Jaden’s surprise. Jaden completely forgot about the surprise he had delivered to Regina’s apartment on this day.
As Jaden signed the delivery boy’s pad, he tried to hide it from Regina. He didn’t want to stress her on her first day back, but Regina wanted to know what it was and took the box from Jaden, and opened it up to find a diamond stone with two garnet stones on each side.
“Oh, Jaden, it’s lovely.” Regina exclaimed.
“I totally forgot I had this delivered today.” As he got down on one knee. “Regina, I know this probably isn’t the right time, but will you…..”
“Yes.” Regina said ecstatically before Jaden could finish his proposal.
“But I didn’t finish my proposal?” Jaden said, who was met with happy kisses across his face.
“I don’t care.” Regina exclaimed. “I will marry you. As soon as possible.”
Regina and Jaden rejoiced in their happiness as someone watched from outside the window. Little did they know, their happiness would be short-lived.
The engagement party was in full swing as Jaden and Regina danced to Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” No one seemed worried and was oblivious to the danger that was about to take place at the party.
“Are you sure you want to marry me?” Regina whispered in Jaden’s ear.
But he wouldn’t get to reply when Parker’s mother came into the club brandishing a gun and waving it around the room.
“You!” Geri screamed at Regina as Jaden stood in front so Geri wouldn’t hurt her.
“What do you want!” Regina asked Parker’s mother.
“You killed my son!” Geri screamed. “And I’m here to make you pay!”
“It was an accident!” Regina tried to make Geri realize, but she was too distraught to see Regina’s point of view. She wanted to make Regina pay—no matter what!
Geri fired into the crowd of party guests, where she hit Jaden’s father, injuring him in the leg. As guests scrambled to help, Geri kept Regina at bay, preventing her from helping.
“No you don’t!” Geri yelled at Regina and held her back from helping.
“Jaden’s father needs help!”
“Let someone else do it!”
“You have bigger things to worry about!”
“Oh, yeah, Regina! That shot was just the tip of the iceberg of what I have planned for you!”
“Well, when you’re son’s girlfriend kills your son, that would do it!”
“For the last time, Parker’s death….” Regina started to say, but was interrupted.
“It’s okay, mom, I’ll handle it from here.” Parker said, laying his hand on his mother’s shoulder as Regina took one look at him and went unconscious in Jaden’s arms.
“Parker?” Geri said, surprised to see her not-so-dead son.
“Parker?” Regina said, shocked that Parker was alive.
But Geri, pretending to be shocked because she knew Parker was actually alive, as it was part of her plan to get revenge on Regina. But Parker wanted more from Regina. He needed proof that Regina was cheating on him. That’s why he and his mother faked his death in the fake car crash.
“That’s right, Regina! I’m alive!” Parker said to a still-shocked Regina, who was being comforted by Jaden.
“I had a suspicion you were cheating, and I needed proof!”
“I never cheated!” Regina said, defending herself.
“You were different!” Parker berated. “You were always missing our dates!”
“I was studying!”
“At the beach! Drinking strawberry wine with this creep!”
“We were friends!” Regina shot out. “And why did you and your mother need to fake your death to proof I was cheating!”
“We wanted to teach you a lesson.”
“Don’t speak for me, Parker!” Geri told her son. “I wanted revenge on you, Regina!”
“I knew you were a gold-digger!”
“A gold-digger!” Regina said, hurt. “I loved Parker!”
“Yeah, right, Regina. You loved me so much, you were stepping out with him!” Parker said, pointing to Jaden.
“I’m sorry you felt you had to go to the trouble to proof I was cheating, Parker.”
“Well, now I know the woman you really are!”
“Just leave you two!’ Jaden said to Parker and Geri. “You’re upsetting my fiancée!”
“Well, you see, Regina, you can’t marry him!”
“And why not?”
“Because you’re married to me?” Parker revealed, to a shocked Regina as well as Geri.
“Remember the trip we took last year?” Parker explained.
“To Paris?” Regina asked confused.
“Yeah! You were drunk from our partying…drinking too much strawberry wine…no joke!”
“So I was drunk?”
“I was going to rape you then, but I thought better of it. Instead, I married us!”
“You married us?!”
“Yep.” Parker said proudly. “You were mine, Regina, and no one was taking you from me.”
Regina slapped Parker square in the jaw before leaving her and Jaden’s engagement party.
“Parker, you went too far!” Geri scolded him after Regina, Jaden and their guests left.
“Mom, we had to do more than fake my death.” Parker explained.
“But did you have to marry her?”