"Can we get a hot chocolate please?" Henry asked.
Emma glanced at him from the corners of her eyes. Granny's had more or less become her main source of nutrition ever since she'd come to Storybrooke and in the last couple of days Ruby had started being able to tell what she was in the mood for by the look on her face. It was almost creepy. The food however was amazing, as was Ruby's hot cocoa with whipped cream and extra cinnamon.
"Sure kid, we'll have one before we go get your mom."
Henry beamed at her and Emma frowned at the cars parked in front of Granny's. She was trying to find a parking spot for the Benz but half the town had seemingly decided that this would be a good time to have lunch at the small diner.
"How about you go in and order while I park?"
Emma stopped and waited until Henry had unbuckled his seatbelt and was on his way toward the entrance.
She sighed and looked around again. There, a Jeep was pulling out of a parking space. Just as she was pushing down on the gas, driving toward the now vacated spot, a sleek silver Mercedes got in her way. It stopped several feet away from the hood of Regina's car on its way into the parking space, forcing her to halt as well.
"Come on, get out of the damn way, that is my spot," Emma called.
She slowly inched forward until the Mercedes driver relented and pulled away from the parking space. Emma swiftly pulled into the spot and jumped out, throwing a dirty glare in the direction of the silver car that was still circling around.
The side window slowly rolled down, revealing a woman with brown hair piled on top of her head. A perfectly shaped eyebrow rose and Emma huffed. She turned on her heel and walked into the diner.
Henry was already sitting at the bar with a hot chocolate in front of him. Emma joined him and rested her elbows on the bar, huffing again.
"What's gotten into you?" Ruby asked as she stopped in front of them.
"I had to basically fight dragon lady for a parking spot out there. I thought this was a friendly small town."
Ruby's eyes widened and she jerked her chin toward something behind her. Emma gulped and slowly turned only to be faced with the woman driving the silver Mercedes. Emma opened her mouth but snapped it shut a second later. She watched everything that happened afterward with utter horror.
"Grandma," Henry exclaimed and launched himself off the barstool and into the older woman's arms. A smile spread across her clear-cut face and she hugged Henry against herself, patting his head with a black leather gloved hand.
Emma's mouth fell open. What. The. Hell.
"Hello dear, it's so good to see you."
"Uh oh," Ruby mumbled from somewhere behind her and slowly scurried off to serve coffee to the next person down the bar.
"What are you doing here grandma?"
"I came to see you of course, you and your mom," the woman replied.
The smile on her face was genuine and reminded Emma so much of how Regina looked at her son. Emma's gaze swept around the small diner, looking for a way to escape since no hole would open in the ground and just swallow her whole.
"Who are you here with sweetie?"
Here it comes, Emma thought. Henry turned around and looked at her. She tried to subtly shake her head, make the kid understand that he was signing her death sentence, but none of her panic seemed to get through to him.
"I'm here with Emma. She's staying with me until we can pick up mom."
"From the hospital?" the older woman asked.
Henry raised his eyebrows. "How'd you know?"
"Well since my own daughter doesn't deem it necessary to call me when she gets injured, it was Doctor Whale who contacted me. No worries sweetheart, I'll take care of everything now."
The woman smiled at Henry again and then raised her head to look at Emma. No friendly smile, no handshake, no 'nice to meet you'.
"So you must be Emma. I'm sorry but my daughter has never mentioned you before."
Emma opened her mouth but Henry was quick to reply. "Emma is a friend of mom's and she watches me until mom gets released from the hospital. It was the easiest thing to do."
The woman inclined her head. "I see. Well I am Cora Mills, Regina's mother and I will be taking care of Henry now."
Emma clenched her jaw and squared her shoulders. That Cora person had no right to come barging in like that. Of course Emma had absolutely no claim on Henry either, but Regina had entrusted him into her care, hers alone.
"But we were gonna get mom right now," Henry replied in his ever so brilliant innocence. "How about you wait for us at home and we'll surprise her?"
Henry beamed at his own idea and happily bounced up and down. Cora eyed her warily for several moments before nodding.
"Fine. I will get everything ready for Regina while you bring her straight to the house."
It sounded like a command, but Emma wasn't about to protest. She just wanted to get to Regina before her mother did.
Cora leaned down and pressed a kiss to Henry's cheek. "I will see you in a little bit, darling."
She curtly glanced in Emma's direction and gave her small barely perceptible nod which Emma returned with just as much enthusiasm. Cora held her head high as she strode out of the diner, several sets of eyes following her.
Emma breathed a tiny sigh of relief. "That's your grandmother huh?"
Henry nodded. "Yeah, she's pretty cool."
"I think icy is more the word I'd use," Emma mumbled. Henry hadn't heard her and simply rambled on.
"She actually lives in New York, so she must've flown here. I see her couple of times every year, for holidays and stuff."
"Here you go," Ruby said from behind them.
She put two portable cups with hot chocolate down on the counter and leaned forward.
"You okay?" she asked Emma quietly while Henry grabbed his hot cocoa and slurped noisily.
"Aside from the fact that Regina's mother, of all people, hates me now, yeah, just fine."
"Yeah, I wouldn't want to upset mommy-in-law either if I were you."
"Exactly. Wait, what?"
Emma stared at Ruby who chuckled quietly.
"Come on Emma, let's go," Henry called from the general vicinity of the door. Emma narrowed her eyes at Ruby and leaned forward across the counter. "We're not done here."
"Of course," Ruby answered with a smirk while Emma followed after Henry with a frown.
On the drive to the hospital Henry told Emma everything about how awesome Cora was and how she always brought the most amazing Christmas presents. She learned that Regina's mother was in fact a renowned cardiac surgeon, head of her own department. It seemed like the women in the Mills were successful in their careers and selective with people they allowed into their lives. Emma just had a feeling about Cora that she was fiercely protective, not unlike Regina, and that she wouldn't want someone like Emma entering the lives of her daughter and grandson. Well if she thought she could easily get rid of Emma then she had another thing coming.
Emma tightened her grip around the steering wheel and nodded sporadically at what Henry was saying.
By the time they pulled in to the hospital's parking lot they found Regina standing outside already waiting for them. She had her arms crossed in front of her chest, her purse dangling from her forearm.
"Shit," Emma cursed under her breath and immediately got out of the car after killing the engine.
"I'm sorry we're late," she said as she hurried around the car to Regina.
In his excitement Henry flung the door on his side open, almost knocking Regina over. He jumped right into her arms and hugged her tightly.
"It's alright, they were early. Quickness is usually not something associated with Storybrooke's hospital," Regina answered with a small smile as she held Henry tightly.
Her lower lip quivered slightly and Emma realized that she was shivering in her dark coat. Without thinking she stepped up to her as Henry moved to look at them. Emma wrapped an arm around Regina's shoulders and used her free hand to rub up and down her arm.
"How long have you been standing out here?"
Regina tried to shrug it off but still leaned into Emma for warmth. Henry grinned up at them and Emma raised an eyebrow at his smug smirk.
"Hey Henry, how about you get your mom a tea from inside? I'll get the car to warm up too."
He hurried toward the hospital entrance without another word, obviously determined to figure out how to get tea by himself. Emma smiled after his retreating form and then turned to Regina who was still shivering. She used both hands to rub up and down Regina's arms.
"It's actually supposed to be a surprise but I don't think you're the kind of person to enjoy surprises too much. Your mother is waiting for you at your house."
Regina's shoulders immediately stiffened and her eyes widened. "What?"
"Yeah, Henry and I just ran into her."
"Does she know what happened?"
"Apparently Whale called her."
Regina's face darkened. "That little –"
"Mom, I got your tea," Henry announced as he rejoined them, handing the cup to Regina who took it with a smile.
"Thank you dear."
Emma reluctantly let go of Regina, receiving a small thankful smile, before she waited for Henry and then Regina to climb into the car. As she sat behind the steering wheel she cranked up the heat to warm them up. Beside her Regina was staring out the window.
"So what did the doctors say? Are you completely okay?" Henry asked from the backseat.
Regina turned to face him. Only a small band-aid still reminded of the gash on her forehead.
"Yes I'm okay. No signs of any kind of damage. All I have to do is take it easy for a couple of days and I'll be perfectly fine."
"And your head?"
"Just a minor concussion. Nothing for you to worry about dear."
"So will you be off work?"
Regina raised her eyebrows. "I guess so."
"Cool," Henry said with small smile as he leaned back.
Regina gave him a look and then turned to face Emma. She obviously wasn't happy, but whether that was because her mother was in town and conspired with her son to surprise her or because she'd spent a night in the hospital and now had to stay away from work Emma couldn't tell. She was just the designated driver. The Benz still felt too big for her, hell she could hardly see the tip of the hood and was constantly afraid to hit something. Like lamp posts, or hydrants, or people, and since it was Regina's car Emma thought of them in the order of the size of dents they would leave.
"I appreciate you picking me up and taking care of Henry," Regina said quietly.
Emma nodded, keeping her eyes on the road. "No problem at all, honestly, I owe you after that stunt with the horse."
Emma grinned briefly at Regina and reached over to pat her thigh. She smiled to herself at their reversed positions. It didn't feel like two months since Regina had stopped on the road that rainy night.
They made it to Regina's house and Henry was out of the door like a flash. He hurried to the front door and bounced up and down, waving for them to get out of the car.
"You don't have to come inside you know. Keep the car until yours is fixed," Regina said quietly.
Emma was tempted to leave. She had no desire at all to see the older Mills again, but she felt like Regina could use her support more than she could use a respite from Cora.
"I'll just come in for a moment," Emma answered, turning her head to look at Regina.
"Act surprised, okay? Henry's really excited about the idea of your mom surprising you."
Regina sighed quietly and nodded before she got out of the car. Emma did the same and followed her closely up the path to the front door. Henry was already waiting for them as the door swung open, revealing a smiling Cora.
"Surprise," Henry called and turned to them with a broad grin.
Regina put a hand to her chest, mouth slightly hanging open. "Mother."
If Emma didn't know any better she really would've thought Regina was shocked to see her mother standing in the door. Cora stepped forward and inclined her head, the small smile on her lips died as she took in the band-aid on Regina's forehead and her overall appearance, wrinkled clothes and all. Emma picked a piece of straw from the back of Regina's jacket without any of the others noticing.
"Hello dear, it's good to see you. I only would've liked the occasion to be a different one," Cora said.
"Aren't you working?" Regina asked. She was still staring at her mother without making a move to go into the house.
"I took a few days off, of course, and came to take care of you."
Regina nodded and accepted the hug Henry was bestowing upon her.
"Isn't that great? Now we can spend time with grandma and Emma."
It was as if the Mills family had completely forgotten about her until Henry had mentioned her name and three pairs of eyes turned in Emma's direction.
"Mother, may I introduce Emma Swan," Regina offered.
Cora nodded with little enthusiasm. "We've met. Well thank you Miss Swan for bringing my daughter home, have a pleasant day."
It was clearly a dismissal but Emma decided to not be insulted by it since Regina looked scandalized on her behalf.
"Mother, Emma is more than welcome to come inside and have a coffee after going through the trouble of getting me from the hospital."
Henry nodded and moved over to stand beside Cora.
"Yeah and then mom can tell you all about how she jumped off the horse to save Emma."
Cora's eyes widened as her gaze traveled from Regina to Emma and back.
"She did what?"