WHEN SPARKS FLYby Ines Bautista-Yao
Genre: Sweet Romance
Genre: Sweet Romance
Twenty-four-year-old photographer's apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana's heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her.
As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?
After Lana had gone, promising not to dig up more dirt about the newest hussy Ben was supposedly dating, Regina sat on the grass as Katie and Chris ran around the field with their other friends. That was where Tita Beverly found her and plopped down next to her.
“Ever notice how Chris just follows Katie around?” Regina forced a smile at her tita.
Tita Beverly looked at her for a few seconds, as if pondering what she was about to say, then turned to look at her daughter and her friends. “He’s a sweetheart. Katie bosses him around, but he doesn’t complain. As long as I don’t get a call from his mom saying he’s upset that he doesn’t get to do what he wants, I’m letting them be.”
“Wise words.” Regina snapped a few more shots, hoping to distract her aunt from the earlier drama.
“So what did Lana want?”
No such luck.
Regina put down her camera and let out a deep sigh. She turned her eyes to her young aunt and studied the features she shared with her daughter. “What made Tito Patrick different?”
Tita Beverly let out a laugh. “I didn’t expect that. Where is this coming from, Reg?”
Regina shrugged and waited for an answer. It was better than spilling her guts out and most likely getting a stern reprimand. Her conscience was already doing that anyway.
She watched her aunt’s expression soften as she gazed at her husband who was standing next to the kids, holding their hotdogs. The preschoolers were trying to throw rings around prizes that were laid out on a wide piece of plywood. “I guess he was the one I felt the most like myself with. Does that make sense?”
Regina felt her head move up and down on its own. She too was looking in the direction of Tito Patrick, but her thoughts were on someone else. Someone with round, brown eyes who preened when he talked about being on TV and complained when made to wear an apron and watch a cheesy movie.
“What does this have to do with Lana?” She knew her aunt wasn’t going to let this go. Katie’s tenacity had to come from somewhere.
“She’s upset that the guy she was dating is now dating someone else.”
“But that never got her down before.”
“What she doesn’t know is, the girl he’s dating…” Regina took a deep breath, “is me.” She lifted her eyes to her aunt’s, afraid of what she would see in them. But instead of shock and judgment, she saw sympathy. And pain.
Regina closed her eyes and shook her head. “I didn’t mean for it to happen.”
“No one does,” Tita Beverly whispered. “Are you going to tell her?”
“If you were in my place, would you tell her?” Regina gave a short, bitter laugh. “Sorry, that was rude. No. She doesn’t have to know. Because nothing is going to happen between us. Nothing anymore. We had one date. And it was lovely.” Then she straightened up and clutched her camera to her chest. “But hey, one date doesn’t make one true love, right?”
Tita Beverly was searching her face with her eyes, her lips in a tight, straight line. “No,” she murmured. “It doesn’t.”
“See? You agree!” Regina didn’t know if this was a victory or not. But she was going to see it that way anyway.
“But it can be the start.”
“Tita Bev, don’t say that!” Regina’s head fell into her hands.
“I don’t know what’s going on, Reg, but I’m just afraid that you’ve sacrificed your happiness too many times for Lana. Don’t get me wrong. I love her. But I worry about you.”
“It’s nothing, Tita Bev. It’s early enough to break it off.”
“But I thought there was nothing to break off?” Her aunt threw her a knowing smile.
“You know what I mean!”
“Maybe more than you know. Just stop selling yourself short, okay, Reg? It’s getting old.”