Emma was having weird dreams. All of them were about Regina and some even included Henry. She tossed and turned in the small bed and eventually woke with a start before sunrise.
Usually she made it a point to stay in bed and under the covers until at least ten, but after having stared up at the ceiling for a little less than an hour, Emma decided that she would make an exception and start her day at seven in the morning. She dragged herself out of bed and trudged over to the bathroom, her small bag with some fresh clothes sitting in a corner.
She slipped out of her shorts and tank top to take a shower, letting the hot water soothe away her grumpy morning mood. She smiled to herself as she thought about the previous day, closing her eyes and letting the spray hit her face.
Sure, she had reason to be mad, especially since Regina had obviously been spying on her, but she felt happy about the fact that the mayor cared enough to find out her last name. She couldn’t remember if she had accidentally checked into the hotel using her real name, but she usually used fake ones to remain off the grid. It surely couldn’t have been easy for Regina to track her or find out anything about her, so Emma knew that on a certain level Regina was interested in her. It was a nice feeling albeit a distracting thought. She decided not to call the mayor out on it just yet. Who knew what she could do with the knowledge as long as Regina didn’t notice her little slip-up?
She finished her shower and quickly dressed in jeans, usual white tank top and a sweater, ready to go to Granny’s to get some much-needed coffee and those infamous pancakes.
Two things were surprising when she walked into the small diner, one was the shockingly young and attractive waitress and the other the fact that she started flirting with Emma as soon as she’d taken a seat at the counter.
“Here’s your hot cocoa, pancakes will be right up,” she said with a small grin as she placed the mug down in front of Emma. With extra whipped cream, oh yeah she still had it.
Emma smirked and tilted her head slightly to the side as the waitress rested her elbows on the counter and leaned toward.
“I’m Ruby by the way. I haven’t seen you around before, are you new in town?”
“Yes, I just got here yesterday.”
“And what exactly brings you to this pretty little town? Storybrooke sure has a lot to offer, with the fair and a single movie theatre, but usually there aren’t many visitors. Or none.”
Emma chuckled and took a sip from her hot cocoa.
“Actually…,” she began but the door to the diner was violently thrown open and drowned out the rest of her words. A man not even tall enough to reach Emma’s chin staggered in and slapped his palm onto the counter.
Emma could smell the alcohol from a mile away and crinkled her nose as Ruby straightened with a sigh.
“Listen Leroy, I cut you off last night so you could go home and sleep it off, not come back first thing in the morning to get drunk again, or even more drunk.”
“Listen sister, you sell beer and I want beer, so I don’t see a damn problem… here.”
The man burped and took several steps toward Ruby and consequently Emma.
Emma sighed quietly and slid off the barstool.
“You listen bud, I think Ruby here made it clear that she isn’t selling anything to you so you should just turn around and leave.”
“Who the hell are you? The new sheriff in town?”
Leroy barked out a laugh and burped again so that Emma had to turn away with a hand clamped over her nose and mouth. Ugh.
Leroy sneered at her and moved to walk past her but he stumbled over his own feet and collided with Emma. She shoved him away and he staggered backward only to shove right back.
“That’s enough Leroy,” Ruby yelled, moving over to the phone on the wall. “I’m calling Graham.”
Leroy wasn’t listening. Emma doubted he had heard even a word of what Ruby said because his unfocused eyes were glaring at her. He stepped up to her, his ugly breath hitting Emma squarely in the face. It took every bit of her mental strength not to fling herself over the counter and away from that disgusting smell.
“What you think you’re doing sister? You ain’t got nothing to say here, so… so get out of the way.”
He was stumbling over his own words even as Emma made no move to step aside. She wasn’t going to be the one to start this but all it took was just one little spark and she would be the one to end it.
The spark came when Leroy shoved his paw against her shoulder.
“Hey I’m talking to you.”
“Leroy,” Ruby called, clearly scandalized.
Emma allowed herself a tiny smirk before she reacted. Leroy didn’t even have the time to pull his hand back before she grabbed it and twisted his arm behind his back in a painful arch. He howled and Emma used her free hand to hold him by the neck.
“Time for you to go bud.”
She sighed internally. This was her first day in this town and already was she attracting trouble. Not that she’d asked for it, but Leroy sure did.
“Let go of me,” he cried, an edge of fear creeping into his voice. He could barely move with the vice grip Emma had on him, but he was flailing like a duck taking off into flight and somehow managed to slam his elbow right into Emma’s side. The full force of the drunken man’s hit caused her to exhale shakily and stumble back two tiny steps. Damn that hurt. Still she kept a secure hold on Leroy, using him as support. She wanted nothing more than to let go and just double over in pain but instead she clenched her jaw and maneuvered the still struggling man through the door and out onto the street.
He eventually put up less of a fight and just as Emma was feeling like she couldn’t hold on any longer a police cruiser came to a halt on the street ahead of them. The man in his brown leather jacket who leaped out of the car could’ve easily jumped out of a magazine. What was it with this town? Was that where all the supermodels took time off from their super busy famous lives?
“Graham, you need to arrest Leroy, he’s drunk and he’s assaulted Emma,” Ruby informed the sheriff from somewhere behind Emma.
“Okay Leroy time for you to calm down, I have cell with your name waiting for you,” Graham said and finally, finally, took the drunken man from Emma.
It seemed as if he wasn’t in the mood to fight anymore and simply let himself be dragged to the police car. Graham shoved him into the backseat before slamming the door shut and turning to Emma and Ruby with a worried look on his face. His freaking perfect magazine front cover face. Who the hell looked like that with a three-day stubble?
Emma shook her head at her own thoughts. She was in greater pain that she’d realized now that the adrenaline was slowly starting to wear off. She leaned forward, hands resting on her thighs while wheezing out one breath after the other.
“Are you okay? You look like you’re hurt,” Graham remarked with his weirdly soothing accent.
Emma was trying to wave it off. “I’ve had worse.”
“Okay, but I’m sure Ruby can take care of you if you need anything, or need to go to the hospital.”
Ruby nodded and walked over to Emma to rest her hand lightly on her shoulder.
“Yeah, I’ll make sure she’s fine. Thanks Graham.”
“No need to thank me. I didn’t do anything. I should thank you, Emma is it? I’m impressed, you handled him spectacularly well. You need to tell me where I can learn that grip.”
“Sure,” Emma breathed and straightened only to wince pathetically, “next time.”
Of course Regina chose that moment to pull up behind Graham’s cruiser in her black Benz. Her hair fell in perfect waves as her head appeared from inside the car. Brown eyes took in the entire scene quickly before she walked around her car and came to stand next to Graham.
“What is the meaning of this Sheriff?”
Emma was still hurting but the sight of Regina, again impeccably dressed in a black skirt, white blouse and suit jacket, made it a bit better. At least she had something to distract her from the dull throbbing in her side where Leroy’s elbow had collided with her ribs.
“Well Leroy was stirring up some trouble but luckily Emma here was on the scene to take care of it.”
Regina scowled and her gaze slowly, very slowly, traveled to where Emma was standing, Ruby’s hand still resting on her shoulder.
“And you decided to get into a scuffle with the local drunkard because…?”
“What? Me? I wasn’t doing anything,” Emma immediately defended.
The talking hurt her side and she gently rested a hand atop the bruised area. Regina’s eyes briefly flickered down at her gesture but returned to Emma’s face a nanosecond later.
“I was only trying to eat breakfast, which I didn’t by the way, and that guy was walking right into me, trying to bully Ruby into giving him alcohol at eight in the morning.”
Regina’s eyebrow rose as Ruby leaned toward Emma with a smile.
“I’ll make you a new hot chocolate and fresh pancakes, on the house of course.”
Emma turned her head to return the smile. “Thanks.”
“Take him to the police station then,” Emma heard Regina say and Graham immediately scrambled off toward his car.
It seemed like the mayor had an iron grip on this town and its inhabitants. It was kind of hot, Emma decided, that bossy self-confident version of Regina. Not at all like the person she remembered from their night together, but still the same woman.
“A word Miss Swan?”
Ah, there it was again. Emma smiled and nodded toward Ruby as she shot her a questioning glance before going back inside. She slowly made her way over to where Regina was now standing, away from prying eyes and ears.
Emma was walking slowly, taking deliberate steps and quiet breaths. She was sure her rib wasn’t broken, she knew how that felt, but there was most definitely some bruising going on and that hurt almost as much.
The glare Regina was directing her way vanished when she saw Emma grimace.
“What are you…are you hurt?”
“It’s nothing, just a bruise.”
“Nothing wouldn’t have you looking like a puppy whose tail got stepped on.”
“I… I don’t look like a puppy,” Emma protested indignantly.
She’d been compared to many things in her life, but never a puppy in pain. Regina rolled her eyes.
“Ever so eloquent. I said show me your side.”
Emma glanced around the empty street and at the diner behind her. “Where everyone can see me?” What she’d meant to say was ‘no’ but that had come out slightly awry.
“I didn’t think you were the modest type, but fine, in your room then. At the Bed and Breakfast,” Regina added as Emma stared at her without moving a single muscle.
“That’s not necessary, like I said, it’s not a big deal, I just -”
Emma swallowed her words when Regina poked her in the ribs. Just like that. Pain shot from her bruised side up her shoulder and down to her hip. She gasped loudly, not even sure if she did it because of the pain or because Regina had just freaking poked her.
“Now Miss Swan, I haven’t got all day for this. Some of us have a job.”
Emma wanted to ask why Regina cared in the first place. She could just go to work and leave her standing in the middle of the sidewalk, but she was pretty sure that she would be poked, if not punched again if she said anything. And really, it was kind of sweet that Regina cared.
So Emma moistened her dry lips with the tip of her tongue and nodded. She turned and began walking, more or less biting down on her bottom lip to stop herself from whining every time she took a step.
Walking up the stairs was even worse than walking across the street but she swallowed every single sound of pain, vowing to let them out when Regina was gone. Not that she had to prove anything, but she’d never been one to admit that she was in pain until she couldn’t conceal it any longer.
Emma unlocked the door to her room and stepped inside, turning to Regina who looked around briefly before focusing her attention on Emma.
“You really want to see my side?”
“That’s what I said. Why else would I be here?”
How could Emma not jump at that opportunity? She’d thought about it often enough and now Regina was here, they were alone, the bed was only a couple of steps away.
She boldly closed the distance between them and saw Regina’s eyes widen slightly. Emma smiled and leaned closer, ignoring the dull ache in her side.
“I can think of a few reasons,” she whispered, moving closer still until her lips were merely a breath apart from Regina’s. A kiss was exactly what she needed to make the pain go away Emma decided and slowly brushed her lips across Regina’s. The brunette was still too stunned to react but after a few seconds her lips softened under Emma’s insistence and she returned the kiss. It was glorious. Emma closed her eyes and focused solely on the breathtaking feel of Regina’s lips moving so perfectly against her own. Just like she remembered, maybe even better.
She raised a hand and cupped Regina’s cheek, her fingertips brushing through dark silken hair. Regina moaned quietly somewhere in the back of her throat and Emma celebrated on the inside. Regina wanted her just as much as she wanted Regina. She used her free hand to rest on Regina’s hip to tug her closer, her body flush against the expensive clothes she’d admired earlier.
Emma parted her lips to gently drag her tongue across Regina’s full lower lip, begging to be accommodated. She was in absolute heaven, finally getting the one thing she’d thought about for months, until, well, until Regina poked her. Again. This time with more force and two fingers, jammed right against the ever-growing bruise on her side.
Emma gasped into Regina’s mouth and immediately let go, stumbling back several steps across the small room.
“Oh my god,” she hissed, the pain almost completely taking her breath away. She leaned forward and rested her hands on her thighs, just like she’d done in front of Granny’s.
“I don’t what you’re trying to accomplish here Miss Swan but that is certainly not why I followed you into your room.”
“Pity,” Emma answered, glancing up at Regina from her awkward position.
Regina blinked several times and then let out a quiet huff. “If you could show me your side now.”
“You just poked me. Again.”
“Yes, well, it seems to be the only way to keep you in line, so if you don’t want me to do it again, you will do as I say.”
Emma grumbled quietly under her breath and slipped out of her red leather jacket, simply dropping it to the ground. She hooked both hands under her sweater and tank top and pulled them both up to her chest to expose almost her entire torso to Regina.
“There, happy now?”
Regina didn’t say anything. Instead she stepped closer to Emma and carefully reached out to trace her fingertips across Emma’s side. Her fingers felt cool against Emma’s heated skin and she shivered.
“It looks worse than it is,” Emma said. She watched Regina’s face intently, the slight crinkle of her brow and the frown pulling down the corners of her mouth.
“I suppose. But it will take time to heal, the bruising is minor, but you shouldn’t move too much or do anything strenuous,” Regina commented.
She dropped her hand and looked at Emma. “Do you have any pain medication?”
“No. Didn’t think I’d need any here of all places.” Emma shrugged with her good side.
“Lie down, I’ll be right back.”
Regina turned and walked to the door, looking over her shoulder when Emma failed to comply. “That wasn’t a question Miss Swan.”
Emma stared at the door for another solid minute after Regina had left. Seriously?
She sighed and sat down on the bed, trying to reach down to unlace her boots and take them off, but she could not get any further than touching her knees without little black spots invading her vision. So she scooted back on the bed as carefully as she could and settled in a semi-comfortable position, closing her eyes.
Her attempt to seduce Regina had failed, but she wouldn’t have made it through anything more exhausting than kissing anyway. It was stupid, that much she could admit to herself.
Her eyes popped open when the door opened yet again. Part of her hadn’t expected Regina to come back, but there she was, a bottle of water in one hand and two white little pills on a tissue in the other. With a raise of her eyebrow Emma tried to remember what color cyanide pills had.
Regina walked around the bed and placed the bottle and the pills down on her bedside table with a frown.
“Those will help with the pain, but you might want to go and get more later. On your way out of town.”
Emma snorted quietly and pushed herself up into a sitting position, refusing to show that even such miniscule movements were causing her pain.
Emma eyeballed the pills for a moment before taking them both at once and washing them down with water. Regina frowned at her for a moment longer before swiftly turning on her heels and walking out of the room again, this time closing the door with a flourish.