You could say that this chapter of their story started with coffee.
The air was filled with the smell of freshly brewed coffee. It was rich and warm, like a comforting hug from an old friend, or the sweet kiss from your lover, or the smile your parents give you when they're really very proud. The smell alone was enough to lift the corners of their mouths into soft smiles.
"What is that smell? It...it feels so familiar."
"It's coffee," Emma murmured, tucking a strand of white hair behind her wife's ear so she could see that hopeful smile.
"I think I like that," The woman whispered.
"You do my love, you do." She sighed in relief and closed her eyes for a moment. She had hopes that Regina's memories might just come alive this evening.
"Would you prepare some for us?"
"Gladly." Emma pushed against her stiff knees, willing them to an upright position.
The other woman's dark eyes flashed with sudden fear and she clung to Emma's hand. "Where are you going? Don't leave me."
"To get you some coffee." She couldn't help it, her voice shook.
"I detest that vile liquid and I don't wish to be left alone," Regina snapped, pulling her hand back like she'd been burned.
"Of course my love, of course" Emma sank into the chair beside the bed, grimacing at the sharp pain in her knees. "Shall I tell you their story instead?"
Her wife nodded eagerly, "Oh yes please."
Regina nearly crashed into Emma, who was dancing and pacing in front of city hall.
"Do you have to use the potty dear? You look like Henry at age two," Regina chuckled.
"Nope." Her grin was infectious, "I'm just excited to see you."
She handed over a cup of coffee, but her trembling excitement had the burning liquid sloshing over the lip and searing her hand. ´"Shoot drarn gosh bother ughhhhh, " She slipped her finer into her mouth and sucked. "I just couldn't wait for our dinner date. None of our plans have worked because first Henry was sick, then I had to work, then you had to work. I just wanted to see you in like...an us setting."
"I have to admit, I'm glad you didn't wait," She guided the blonde inside with a hand on her waist. It was familiar, like they'd been doing that always.
Once inside though, they sat several feet from each other on the settee while they sipped at their coffee.
Correction. Regina sipped. Emma gulped.
The brunette spoke first, emboldened by the few sips of the dark roast, "Now do tell me dear,
That was some swearing outside? Anything you have to say for yourself?" She bit back a smile. 2
"Oh...ahh..."Emma blushed, "Snow.. I mean Mom, doesn't want me swearing in front of the baby.´
"And those are the words you chose?"
"Shut up," Emma mumbled.
"It's endearing," Regna teased, sliding a few inches closer to the blonde.
Regina laughed prettily, "You're telling me to shut up, and on our first date too. "
"Our first date...It's not dinner though?"
"You wanted an us time, so here we are. I believe that us time could qualify as a date, " She mused over the lip of her coffee cup.
"We've had us time before."
"Oh really dear, do you want to call dinner all together with the Charmings our first date?"
"Well no because if that counts, then I first invited you to dinner when I got back from the Enchanted Forest."
Regina slid closer, drumming her fingers on Emma's jean clad knee."Or one could argue, it was the apple turnover a few years ago. Now that was very clearly us time."
Emma chuckled, "You can hardly call it a date if you wanted to put me under a sleeping curse."
"Maybe I just wanted to kiss you awake," She blushed at the sudden boldness of the statement.
Emma did too, but still she stumbled forward, laughing nervously, "Then we could say you giving me apples in my underwear was a date."
"Mmmm now while that sight has always been an enjoyable memory, and one that I think of often, I think it must have been the first night we met. I invited you into my study, offered you a drink, you accepted, and that was our first real date." When Emma didn't say anything, she rushed on, "I was wary, so wary that night, and still you took my breath away with your smile." Regina slid closer, tracing Emma's lips with the pad of her thumb, "Your smile, and the irritating ways you bothered me, brought the life back into my life. I was breathing again. I was seeing in splendid colour instead of black and white."
That touch, it broke through the stately wall holding in their affections and they tumbled forward, falling one over another in their rush to be first to touch, to please, to love.
Regina caressed her cheeks and laid a gentle kiss on her lips, "To many more of these dates until we have one fit for a princess like yourself."
Emma groaned and squirmed out of reach, "Ugh don't call me that, or do you want me to remind you that you were a Queen."
Regina pouted, her brow furrowed , both at the reminder and the sudden lack of a warm body cuddled into her side.
Neither lasted for long.
"You're so cute " Emma giggled and let her calloused fingers smooth away the lines on her forehead.
"No, I'm not," Regina reminded her, "Neither am I adorable."
"Yeah you are."
"No I'm not."
"Oh yes you are,
She was cut off as Emma reach over and pulled her into her lap.
"Emma the coffee!"
"Got it." And she did. She snagged the cup with her free hand and put it on the floor, though she could only hope it was upright. Her mouth was on Regina's, kissing, sucking, tasting. Emma nipped at her lower lip, only to soothe it with her tongue, and again in a silent plea. Regina gasped into the kiss, letting Emma in, and then taking what was hers. They poured into each other, everything that had been awakened, and promised for more.
Regina steadied herself, hand above Emma's heart, and pressed a last lingering kiss to her cheek. She struggled to speak after a moment and was breathless when she did. "That's not fair."
"It worked didn't it," The blonde smirked, before resting their foreheads together, still breathing heavily, "Regina it's like all I want to do right now is kiss you, and I'm trying to hold back a freaking tsunami wave of kisses, man I could just take you right here on this couch if it weren't rushing into things or the fact that people could just walk in here, and I the fact that I really just want our first time to be special. "
"Just like you wanted our first date to be special?" There was jest in her words, but her eyes brimmed with emotion.
"Yeah, just like that."
Regina buried her face in Emma's leather jacket, breathing in the scent of the leather with years of sweat and miles of travel, mixed with Emma's sweet shampoo and heady scent of musk. When she looked up at last, her eyes were clouded over with memories. "That was a very crass yet beautiful speech thank you because, no one has ever treated me like this...Except...¨
"Except Daniel, " Emma cupped her face, lifting her eyes to meet her own, "It's ok, I'll never take his place but I'll have my own place, can I not? "
"You do, you do Emma. Thank you." Regina slid off her lap to land beside her and scoop up her now cold coffee from the floor. "Maybe we could pick a date now?" She asked timidly.
Emma took her phone from her pocket whole Regina opened the zippered leather folder beside her.
"Emma," She whispered.
Emma noticed that her breath rattled a little in her chest and her own heart clenched with fear. She made a very bold mental note to tell the doctor when she came later.
"Emma, am I still cute?" Her deep brown eyes sparkled.
"Yes my love, you are most definitely cute." She rested her leathery palm on her cheek and kissed her softly.
"Emma," Her wife began again. "You still have the most beautiful smile."
Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.
Regina pouted suddenly, her brow furrowed like always and her scar winking.
"What's wrong? "
"I want you to kiss me, you always kissed me when you said I was cute."
Their mouths met with old familiarity and they sank into a deep kiss.
Regina lay back, her eyes fluttering shut for a heartbeat or two, and a faint blush dusted her otherwise pale cheeks. When she opened her eyes, her gaze first landed on the tree beyond the window. "What a beautiful tree, oh just look at it. Is that your tree?"
"No, my love it's yours." How quickly the memories came and went. The dam burst so long ago, releasing their love for each other, but for the past few years, the water had turned murky and their love, their life, was often obscured.
"I would think that I would know if I had such a beautiful tree..."
"Maybe could tell you a story about that tree?"
"Oh would you be such a dear," She brightened noticeably, reaching out blindly for Emma's hand.
Emma's eyes felt like they were filled with sand, and while she longed to climb into bed and hold her wife like she used to, she knew it wasn't a possibility. Regina just didn't know her today. The best she could do was tell their story and hoped they would find each other one more time.
They stepped out of the Bug, Emma insisted she drove so it would be a surprise, and they found themselves outside the glowing lights of the diner.
Regina looked with surprise to the twinkling lights and the glowing sign. "The diner," She glanced at her clothes, "I thought..."
Emma tried not to pout, not with a gorgeous lady in mile long legs, in a midnight blue dress, living and breathing beside her. "Oh..." She longed to hide her face in embarrassment.
A soft reassuring hand on her shoulder brought her back up to face the brunette. "You look beautiful," Regina purred in her ear, "Your behind looks incredible, oh my those pants are tight, how do you get them on."
"Wouldn't you like to see me take them off," She returned in jest. "And behind Regina really?"
"Why? Do you want me to be crass and say, " She looked around and whispered, "Ass."
"Yes I would."
"Oh Emma, I'll keep that in mind." She leaned into her and placed a reassuring hand on her arm, only absentmindedly enjoying the feel of her silk blouse beneath her fingers, "Shall we go inside."
The ice cracked and the river started flowing again.
"Yes, ummm...wait Regina. this will be easier said outside." She tugged her into the circle of her arms. "I just thought that with everything over the years, our lives have been so far from normal, like so so far from normal. And now we're here and I'm easily falling in love with you, and its wonderful don't get me wrong..." She took a deep breath and rambled on, "I guess I just want us to be a couple, go on dates and stuff like a real couple would in a small town. I've waited all my life to be anywhere near my definition of normal. And here she is standing before me. My normal."
"I am far from normal, or need I remind you..."
"That you're cute?"
"No, that I'm an evil queen."
Emma brushed it off, buzzing a kiss to her cheek, "It's just I'm so sick of the crazy in our lives and I just want things to be back to normal with you and Henry, even my parents. I feel like this town has the chance to be normal and wonderful all the same. Um, so tonight, I guess I was kind of going for a normal date to start us off right. I mean it is the only restaurant in town and I know we'll have everyone watching, but I'd really love to be normal with you Regina Mills. "
"Emma. Emma Swan. I would love to be normal with you too." She wrapped her arms around the blonde, her hands snaking beneath her jacket to pull her closer, and run her hands down her back. "Truth be told, I'm so relieved that you brought me here, I was really nervous."
Emma couldn't see a blush beneath the dim lights of the road, but she knew it was there.
Once inside they were led to a reserved table, properly adorned with a white table cloth and table settings. Two tapered candles lit their cozy booth near the back of the diner. A single rose bloomed in a pot beside the window.
"Emma dear," She nodded at the plant.
The blonde averted her gaze, she couldn't trust what she might see in those dark eyes. "I know you hate picking flowers, because it's so wrong and all, so I got you the whole plant. I still wanted to give you a flower on our first date."
The brunette tugged on her hands, holding them sandwiched between her own. "Thank you Emma, for the rose, and for knowing me so well."
A tear formed at the corner of her eye, and then it was rolling down her cheek.
Emma caught it with her knuckle, "Regina, what's' wrong."
"You're just special Emma, really special you know that?"
The glib answer was there on her tongue but instead she said , "Thank you. "
Glasses of white wine appeared shortly after they sat down.
"Mmmm sweet, " Regina sighed, as she took her first sip.
"Just like you," She teased.
"Oh shut up."She feigned indigence.
From the table behind them little Alexandra whispered, She said a bad word mama, she said a baaaaad word.
Emma smirked, mouthed, "Oops."
Regina could only grin and shake her head.
A few quiet sips later, she looked feverishly towards the blonde, "Thank you for bringing me here, in case I forget to tell you later."
"What if I'm a terrible date, you can change your mind."
It was the moment that Emma reached across to take Regina's hand across the table, her thumb caressing her knuckles and the sensitive skin at her wrist.
A cheer rose up in the dining room, and money was pitched from all directions for Leroy to scramble and pick up.
Emma giggled, squeezing her hand, "So much for normal."
"I guess you could say this is our normal Emma," Her brown eyes twinkled with mirth. "
"I kinda love it," The blonde brought Regina's hand to her mouth and kissed it.
Leroy cheered again and raised his glass to the jovial crowd.
By the third time he did it, Granny had had enough, she brandished a carving knife at him and told him off because he was causing indigestion among the guests and frightening her lobsters. "The flesh will be tough and no longer sweet if you keep this up!" She growled.
Entirely chastised, he sent a silent wink to their table and turned around to nurse his beer.
Ruby brought them warm rolls, with a side of knowing smirk.
Emma held the roll in her hands as if were a precious jewel. She stuck her nose in one and breathed in, "God I love the smell. We used to live beside a bakery, well a long time ago, and they would let us kids watch and sometimes give us leftover dough. It's a really good smell," Her gaze, when she turned to the brunette, was one of long ago happiness.
"I hope you don't go teaching that to our son," She chastised though it didn't stop the slow soft smile that swept across her features or from giving Emma's hand an extra reassuring squeeze.
Emma shrugged it off with glib, " To late."
Salads came and went with Emma laughing when Regina attempted to tuck a too large price of lettuce into her mouth.
"Shut up, "Regina whispered again
Mama, she said it again. The little voice came again from the other side of the booth.
The delightful smell of basil and garlic wafted to their noses as Ruby set down a small plate of bruchetta.
"Oh god look at that, Jesus Regina, why would I take you anywhere else when this is the best food in miles around."
"Do you hear me complaining?" Regina nudged her with her knee, daintily let dabbing at the corner of her mouth with her paper napkin, granny's diner emblazoned proudly on the face in fire engineer red. .
Emma stuffed a whole slice of toasted baguette in her mouth and groaned.
"Miss Swan, some manners please."
Her eyes lit up, "Miss Swan eh? I must be in some trouble."
Regna shook her head around her own mouthful of bruchetta.
"Don't worry, " Emma continued, "I like it, in fact I like it so much that I look forward to hearing you say that in bed, if you know what I mean Madam Mayor."
Regina blushed and squirmed unworkably in her seat. "I ..."
"You agree," Emma smirked.
Regina kicked her shin under the table and resulted in a successful yelp from the blonde. She whispered fiercely, "I agree goddamnit, and now I have to sit here and eat this lovely meal when I all want to do it ravish you on this very table."
Emma chuckled, her eyes wide with delight, "I like to see this side of you."
Emma was practically bouncing in her seat when the main course arrived ; maple glazed salmon , Rosemary roasted potatoes and broccoli steamed to bright green perfection. "We caught it!" The words came stumbling out over each other each trying to be the first word out of her mouth.
"You?" The brunette looked dubiously at the fish before taking a bite. Sweetness, sweetness and sweetness burst across her tongue, from the mustard and maple syrup glaze to the sweet fresh fish.
"Well," Emma conceded, "Henry and I, we were down by the dock this morning when they brought the fish in on the boats and we picked out the best one for our dinner tonight."
She was beaming, from her upturned mouth to her glowing curls. A brilliant flame to guide them home, to guide them to their future as lovers, as a family. "Then the guys showed us how to fish a little. Henry caught a tiny little bugger and you should have heard his very manly scream for 'Emmmaaaaa' ."
"I caught nothing though," She pouted, her dimple twinkling irresistibly.
Regina crooked her finger and motioned her closer to kiss her cheek.
Their faces burned under towns scrutiny, but still it felt like they were home. Storybrooke, the townspeople, their families, this was home at long last.
People were cheering again, new bets were being placed, and the world had turned the right way up. The water flowed down instead of up, catching them for an easy ride.
The first bite of Emma's salmon had her moaning out loud, her tongue slipping out to catch the juice that fell.
Regina's dark eyes closed over with lust and If not for the polite company of the diner she would have drooled at the sounds coming from Emma's throat. Wild, unrestrained, and sexy as hell.
The blondes eyes fluttered open and she knew instantly what Regina was thinking, She smirked, "Gotcha."
Regina didn't even care to hide it, just shrugged helplessly and inconspicuously put a bite of fish in her mouth.
Emma leaned in across the table, whispering , "Maybe later Madam Mayor, if you're good."
It wasn't long after that that Emma had deftly covered the bill and escorted Regina to the bug.
Regina was silent on the drive and looked aimlessly out the passenger side window. She couldn't quite manage to hide her disappointment at thinking that the evening was over .
At her door, she steeled herself and held out her hand to shake. "Thank you for a wonderful evening."
"Don't worry Madam Mayor, the night is still young." Emma grasped her hand quickly, entwining their fingers, as she led them around the side of the houses. She took a beat to notice how tiny Regina's hands were, engulfed in her larger and soft calloused hands.
Regina whirled around to face her, their bodies flush together, " She whispered, "I don't know what you have planned for me, but I swear if you call me Madam Mayor again, we won't see the light of day for weeks.
Emma mouth went dry, "What if I want your way? I t doesn't sound like much of a punishment."
Regina hummed nonchalantly, slowly stepped out of the embrace and gestured for Emma to continue.
"Oh!" She exclaimed at the sight of small picnic of miniature tarts and champagne beneath the apple tree. Soft white candles were stuck in the ground all about them, casting a warm glow over the plaid picnic blanket. "Emma this is beautiful."
"I... thanks...They're apple," Emma blurted, gesturing to the tarts, before they even made it to the blanket, "I made them from apples from your tree. "
At the slight stiffening in Regina's posture prompted Emma to pull her into her side and guide her down to the blanket.
She pressed a kiss to her furrowed brow, "Henry said you wouldn't mind if we just took some of the ones with brown on them, or on the ground, but they're still good apples I promise. I cut off all the other bad bits. And I know the tarts won't be good as yours, but I really wanted to make them for you. And if you drink enough champagne you won't notice how bad they are." She looked up through dark lashes, "I just wanted to do something special and they're probably crap, but I really tried and that's what counts right..."
The brunette reached out a hand to calm the blonde's jumbled nerves, "Shhhh shhhh I'm sure it's delicious."
Regina sighed contentedly, "Emma you did a great job on these."
"The crust is a little dry," Emma pouted. "Maybe you need more champagne?"
"I'm quite alright," She leaned over to drop a kiss on her nose. "Practice makes perfect ."
These touches between them, they multiplied unchecked.
"But Regina, that means you agree that the crust is dry..." She sighed heavily.
"Shut up," She poked her chest teasingly, "It only means that it will take some practice to make it to your standards ."
"You're too wise for your own good, " Emma sang happily, leaning over to caresses her cheek and smooth back her hair.
Regina shifted and buried her head in her chest, breathing in the comforting scene of warm leather, sweet tarts, soap and Emma, pure Emma. "It's perfect Emma, tonight was perfect. "
"It's not over yet," Emma giggled and twisted out for the embrace to pull out her phone.
"Emma Swan, You are really going to ruin a perfectly good evening by taking out your phone? You know the rules, no cell phones at the table."
"This is the exception," Emma pressed her index finger to the bow of her lips. "Alright Siri, is Regina Mills the most beautiful girl in the world
Regina mills is the most beautiful girl in the world
"It's a machine, it's lying." But she sat a little closer to Emma, eagerly waiting for her next trick.
"Siri, do I like like Regina?"
It is not my place to say.
"Saucy minx isn't it," Regina giggled.
Emma grinned, "Will you play a special song for us?"
I have found one song with the word special in the title, shall I play it for you?
"No Siri, play I'll be Seeing You."
Soft, slow notes swept over the back yard and Emma pulled the brunette up and into her arms. They waltzed beneath the apple tree, their bodies warm and soft, fitting together as they should.
Regina hummed along, her hands resting on Emma's shoulders. She whispered, "When I first got here I did a lot of research you know, and I have to say I enjoyed the music and the films that came out of the years that this song was popular."
"Aha, well this is my favourite decade," Emma teased and lifted the phone to her mouth, "Siri play As Long as You Love Me."
Emma began crooning along, using the device in her hand as a microphone, "I dont care whooo you areeee, whereeee you're frommmm, what you doooo, as long as you loooove meeee."
Regina was laughing too hard to wrestle the phone from Emma's grasp. "You have the worst taste in music and the worst singing voice. Siri, play Celia." She barely got the words out through her giggles.
Emma deftly slipped the phone into her back pocket and trapped Regina's arms about her waist. "Hold onto me woman, lets dace."
Momentarily Regina was more than content to rest her head above Emma's heart and listen to its song.
Then curiosity got the better of her, "Siri does my apple tree give the best apples? "
I didn't quite catch that, please try again
"Siri" She giggled more, "Siri ..."
"Regina stop," Emma pleaded, holding her sides with laughter. "Shut up ok..."
Regina clutched at her shoulder, vying for balance while the two of them laughed. "Emmaaaa, I want to know..." She whined, blindly reaching for the phone. "Siri does my apple tree give the best apples?"
The two women collapsed on the ground giggling. Regina rolled into her chest and Emma's arms were around her and their lips were meeting in a roar of ecstasy under a waterfall of laughter.
Desire overcame any other thoughts, their mouths locked together, their hands roaming, and bodies moving together. Regina's breath came in short pants, her vision cloudy with lust, "Emma, Emma..."
"What is it? " She asked pressing kisses to her nose, her jaw, the full bow of her lips.
"Please..." She struggled to speak, "I just want to thank you for a perfect evening."
"It was my pleasure..." Emma husked, before capturing her mouth once more in heady delight.
Later, much later, Emma walked her to the back door, their lips swollen from kisses and both unsteady on their feet from the bubbly champagne and the giddy end of the evening.
They kissed there on the doorstep, passionately, tasting of joy and affection that had been with them all night.
"Do you want to come in?" Regina asked, her fingers curling at the lapels of Emma's jacket.
"I shouldn't..." She groaned, "It's our first proper date and I'm trying to be a lady. Plus with all the planning Henry did to help me out with this date, I would bet that he's wide awake upstairs waiting for you."
"Right, right... of course." Frustration blazed in dark eyes.
"Regina, look at me."
"When the time comes, We'll need the house to ourselves because I'm going to drive you absolutely crazy."
Their gazes locked with understanding,
"I'll be waiting Miss Swan, until next time." She kissed her cheeks chastely and enveloped her in a warm hug.
She started walking backwards to the front of the house, and to her bug, "Until next time, Madam Mayor."
And so, that was the story of their first date. They had their first real date, their first dance under that apple tree.
"Is that why it's so special? " The woman asked.
"It's special for so many more reasons," Emma sighed deeply and closed her eyes to the rush of memories flooding her mind, "That date was only the beginning of many years of special memoires surrounding that tree."
The roaring river of memories, one by one she'd pick them out of the stream and share them with Regina. She'd tell her how wonderful their life had been, how full of laughter and love.
The older woman started, grasping at Emma's wrist, "What if something were to happen to the tree? Where would the memories go?"
"We've got seeds collected for decades my love, we'll never lose your special tree I promise. As for the memories... Well, they live inside of us, they'll never go away. Our family will carry its legacy with us always."
She smiled readily, "You look like a woman I can trust....Are you my family?"
"Yes, I am . I am your wife." Tears stung her eyes, and she swallowed hard to keep them from spilling over.
The other woman looked her up and down, nodding appreciatively, "I did pretty good for myself then."
"Thank you," Emma chuckled, "I could say the same thing about you."
She kissed her softly then and the fire that was between them, oftentimes dormant these days, came roaring up to meet them in a kiss.
Gone were the days of reckless and insatiable passion. Gone were the later days of comfortable and slow sultry passion that became a treat more than anything else in their busy lives. These days, every breath, every touch , is celebrated as if it were their last.
Regina smiled up at her, "I think I'd like that coffee now dear."
A/N: Hey, Hi, Hello! Thanks for reading this random little fic of mine. Many of you mentioned it was kind of like The Notebook, and yeah I can see that:)))) So I put in a little reference there with the song, just in case anyone was worried they were going crazy :P. Thanks everyone for reading!!! Happy SwanQueening!!!