My name is Lucy Mills, and I'm ten years old. I'm in fourth grade at Storybrooke School. I have three grandmothers who all live in the same house. Emma Swan is 48 and she's the Sheriff of Storybrooke. Regina Mills is 87 but she spent 28 years being cursed so it's really like she's 59. Maleficent doesn't know how old she is, which is really cool, because dragons don't keep time the same way we do. She was born in the spring of the long winter, the third in a row and the longest.
I don't know how to figure out what year that is, but it's before my great-grandma's family had a kingdom. Rumplestiltskin, who is my great-grandfather on the other side, says that she's probably older than five hundred years, which is older than him by about two hundred years. Sister Nova would be proud that I have so much math in my writing assignment.
My parents are called Henry and Ella and we live near my grandma's house because they wanted to be close. Mom says it wasn't idea, at first, who wants to live next to three of their mothers-in-law, but she likes it now.
I have three aunts, Lily, Araceli and Orla. Lily is 48 like Emma (they were once connected by a prophecy) married to my aunt Marian (who also isn't really sure how old she is but she picked a birthday in fall), and my cousins on that side are Roland, Evan and Jayne. Grandma Mal says dragons are dangerously fertile when they're happy.
Araceli is 18 and a senior, she has very blue wings which Grandma thinks is funny. Orla is 15 and a freshman and her wings are purple-black, more like Mal and Lily.
My Uncle Neal is 20 and wants to be an artist, my cousin Sam is 17 and so far just likes sailing boats. Robin is my dad's cousin, not my cousin, and she's 21 but she lives in Seattle still, where I used to live. She has a girlfriend.
It's okay to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or two girlfriends, or none. Whatever makes you happy is what's important.
"The last part is true, that's a very good line," Grandma Mal says, leaning over to put more pancakes in the middle of the table.
Grandma Regina tilts her head a little to the side and reaches for the paper but Grandma Emma shakes her head.
"You don't need to edit."
"Some of the sentences-"
"She's in fourth grade-"
"I could just--"
"It goes with my family tree!" Lucy says, watching Grandma Mal kiss Regina's forehead. "It was very complicated."
"I bet, kiddo," Emma says, grinning over her coffee.
"We'll see you later, moms," Orla announces, grabbing coffee on her way towards the door.
Ara kisses her moms on the cheek, one after the other, and stops over Lucy to steal part of her pancake and kiss her head. "Bye, kiddo."
"Hey, where are you going?"
"Flight practice with Lily. We're doing the half-time show at the soccer game."
Grandma Regina smiles over her plate. "I didn't know soccer games have half-time shows."
"You come up with something to do for a sport when you have dragons and fairies." Ara shrugs, tosses a napkin at Orla and disappears outside. "See you after lunch moms."
"At least Ara's not too cool to say goodbye."
"Orla's in a phase, she's a teenager."
"She's been a teenager for years."
"But now she's in high school, I hear that's different."
"Says the dragon who never went to school."
"I've watched them on TV."
Grandma Emma and Grandma Regina share a look behind Mal's head.
"That means you understand it, of course."
Grandma Mal laughs and nods. "Of course, I understand it utterly."
Regina pours syrup over her pancake. "Not that either of us have been to much of high school either."
"I think I've been the most, and it was terrible," Emma finishes. "But you'll go and love it, Lucy."
"I like school, grandmas, don't worry."
"We don't worry, little one," Mal says, touching her shoulder. "You always make us proud."
Mommy and Daddy both have to work, so she's with her grandmas all day sometimes. Sometimes all weekend. Emma works too, less than she did, because she has more deputies now than she did when Araceli and Orla were little. That's something that makes her grandmas laugh. It's something funny. Regina tries not to work weekends, but it doesn't always happen.
Mal doesn't have to work. She does sometimes, she helps Emma and Regina, sometimes she does stuff for the school, but she doesn't 'go to work' the way other people do. She doesn't do a lot of stuff other people do. She still hasn't learned to drive a car, which everyone thinks is funny and silly. All the other adults can drive a car. She likes magic better, and magic comes easily to her.
She's a dragon. Which is the first thing that's weird about Lucy's family. Her grandmas have magic, one of them is a dragon, her dad's the author, her mom's a princess. That part isn't weird, there are lots of princesses.
Her dad has a little magic. Being the author is special, but it's less flashy than being the former evil queen and the savior and a dragon.
Maybe that's why they have to be together. No one else would get it.
She holds her questions most of the time. Dad says they just fit together. Sometimes pieces come in threes.
Mal never worries about questions though. She never pauses and blushes like Grandma Emma does, or gets slow with her words like Grandma Regina. Sometimes that means she can tell too much. Too many stories, answer things Lucy's not supposed to know, but Lucy likes knowing things.
"How did you get together?" she asks after breakfast while Mal's putting the dishes away and Regina and Emma went to work.
"How did we get what?"
"Together." She holds up her hands, winding her fingers together. "Like, you and Grandma Regina and Emma."
"Oh that kind of together." Mal hands her a coffee mug. "You want that story."
"I asked Daddy."
"You did?" Mal smiles and pours herself coffee. "What did he say?"
"That you and Grandma Regina were together before, that you had Lily before you could be together really."
Mal guides her over to the fridge, taking out cream for her coffee. "Chocolate milk or hot chocolate?"
"Hot chocolate!" Whenever Mal gets it out of the fridge, she cheats and it's really fun.
Chocolate milk stays in the fridge, but Mal pours it into another mug, then smiles. She blows on it, kissing the surface with fire.
"Now it's hot."
Mal waves her fingers for marshmallows and they appear in Lucy's drink. "And you need marshmallows."
"I love marshmallows."
"I know." She pulls her close, kissing her forehead. "It's how I know you're my granddaughter."
"But we're not related."
"Do you think blood matters to me?" Mal leands down and meets her eyes. "You are as much mine as if I hatched you myself."
"Then you wouldn't be my grandma."
"Eggs are shared, little one. If you were a dragon I would hold you while your parents hunted. I would keep you warm, and I did, when you were a little hatchling, all snuggly and warm."
"I don't remember." She can never remember these things. Living in another world, with her grandmas and her mom and dad. She remembers a little of walking in the woods, playing with sticks while her parents fought a rebellion, saved the forest. She's heard the stories, read them in the book, but that's not her home. Storybrooke is her home.
"You were so tiny."
"My aunties were tiny."
"They weren't you, little one." Mal curls up on the sofa, folding her legs up beneath her, curling up like a cat. "Regina and I fell back in love here, in this town. She'd lost, and she had Henry and she'd had time to be different. To be soft again, instead of hard and angry. We spent time together. She needed help with your aunt Robin and her house was empty."
"So you filled it."
"Love is a funny thing for some people. Sometimes it's easy, like putting on your favorite dress, and sometimes it's very complicated."
"And it was complicated for you and Grandma Regina?"
"So complicated." Mal sips her coffee and shuts her eyes, then smiles. Her eyes are too soft, too wet. "But it worked. We fell in love, we made Araceli, and Orla, and we were happy."
"If you were happy, why did you need Emma?"
"Because you can't have too much happy, little one. It's like too many marshmallows or too many hugs."
"And you loved her?"
"See that was easy. Emma is like sunshine, and sweet donuts. She's warm and gentle and full of love. She came to live with us when Orla was baby, and she stayed because we love her."
"But it's different?"
"Of course it's different, how I love you is different from how I love Roland, Evan and Jayne."
"That's not--" she knows the words for this but not really what they mean. "Emma is different."
"Oh," Mal begins then pauses, sipping her coffee. "There are some things Regina and I like to do that Emma does not but we don't love her less."
That was the question. She'd heard things, rumors, gossip. Stories kids told. This grandma was this, that was that.
"And you're happy."
"We are so happy." Mal pulls her in tight and hugs her. "We have the happiest life."
She smiles at that, wrapped up warm with hot chocolate in her hands.
"You can put that in your essay."
"Maybe end with that too."