The rest of the vacation proves to be fairly uneventful, aside from Emma being unable to look at Regina for too long without blushing, and Regina trying her best not to think about their kiss - to no avail.
Regina’s exhausted when they finally arrive home after dropping Paige off at home. She goes straight to the couch and collapses face-down in the familiar upholstery.
“I’ve got news,” Emma announces, a huge grin on her face. “I got a call from the hiring department at Queen.”
Regina sits straight up. "I got it?"
"You got it!"
Regina doesn't think twice before throwing herself into Emma's arms. It’s only after Emma doesn't hug her back that she pulls away, awkwardly wringing her hands in front of her. "Sorry."
Emma shakes her head. "Let's go to the mall tomorrow," she says, changing the subject back to Regina's job. "I'll get you some things to wear to work, maybe get your hair done. It'll be great."
"You've already done so much for me, Emma."
Emma smiles. "You deserve it. I'd do it for any friend," she adds with a shrug.
Regina bites her lip. Of course she would. She’d be foolish to think she’s anything special; especially to someone like Emma Swan. "Well then... thank you." She turns and lies back down on the couch, arms wrapped around herself. “I’m going to go to sleep.”
"You're... sleeping on the couch again?"
"Are you all right with that?"
Emma frowns. "I guess I just... well I kinda liked sharing is all." She shakes her head. "Never mind. G'night." She makes to walk to her room.
Regina stands up. "I could share. If you're all right with that, of course."
Emma grins and goes into the bedroom, Regina following behind her. Regina can't sleep; not after the excitement of learning she got the job and her ever-growing anxiety about her feelings for a certain blonde. So she watches Emma sleep.
Her breathing is even and soft, and her hair falls over her face. She looks utterly peaceful; not like she does when she’s awake, running around chasing after Henry’s needs and the needs of everyone else. Regina sometimes wonders if Emma ever tends to her own needs. It doesn’t seem like it – Emma’s one of the least self-centered people Regina’s ever met, and she grew up in a kingdom where it was against the law to be selfish.
Emma’s nose scrunches in the midst of a dream, and for the first time Regina notices a smattering of barely visible freckles across her face. She decides she likes them, and has to restrain herself from reaching out to run her hand over them. “Emma?” she whispers, half-hoping the blonde can’t hear her. She doesn’t stir, so Regina continues. “I think I might love you.” She sighs quietly. “Walsh is a lucky man.” She turns over and lies on her side, a single thought circulating through her mind.
How much she’d love to take his place.
"Yeah, I'm free tonight."
Regina frowns at the sudden interruption of her sleep, blinking her eyes to adjust to the bright light in the room. Emma’s sitting on the edge of the bed talking on her cell phone.
"Where were you thinking?... yeah okay... I'll see you tonight... love you too." She hangs up and turns to Regina. "Morning," she says with a smile.
Emma's smile falters a bit, but she recovers quickly. "Yeah, he's taking me to dinner tonight after we're done at the mall."
Regina nods, ignoring the slight tug she feels on her heart. "When are we going again?"
"The mall opens at ten, so I was thinking we grab breakfast at Granny's and then go?"
"Sounds good to me."
"Righty ho; get dressed and I'll grab Henry."
Regina bites her lip. "Could I use your makeup again?"
Emma nods slowly. "Yeah. But just remember you don't need it to look beautiful. You already do."
Regina smiles but doesn’t say anything. She tries to push down the butterflies she gets every time Emma tells her that, tries to tell herself that Emma has Walsh, that she’s happy, but there’s a niggling voice in the back of her mind whispering, but what if she’s not?
After getting dressed, Regina tries somewhat successfully to replicate the makeup Emma had given her at the cabin. She frowns at her reflection. She may have gone a bit heavy on the eye pencil, but she deems it fairly good for her first time.
Emma knocks on the bedroom door. "You decent?"
"Yes, you can come in."
Emma comes in, eyebrows raising. "Get a bit excited?"
Regina blushes. "I've never done it myself before."
"Here, let me help you." Emma grabs a thin, moist wipe from a box on the makeup table and gently dabs it around Regina's eyes. It’s the first time Emma’s touched her voluntarily since the kiss, and that fact doesn’t escape Regina. She feels her cheeks grow warm beneath Emma's gentle touch.
When Emma’s finished, Regina looks significantly less like a raccoon. She smiles. "Thanks."
"Of course." Emma turns to Henry, who’s standing in the doorway. "Let's get this show on the road."
"What do you mean you've never had a Cinnabon?" Henry exclaims. He turns to Emma. "Ma, we have to get her one today."
Emma grins, glancing at her son through the rearview mirror. "Guess we do, don't we? And hey, sit back in your seat. You're gonna break the seatbelt."
Henry frowns and retreats from where he was leaning so far forward that his head was between Regina and Emma in the front seats.
Emma parks in the Granny's parking lot and walks inside with Regina and Henry behind her. "Hey, Ruby," she greets the long-legged brunette. "I got three."
Ruby smirks. "You brought her again," she observes with a wink, casting a glance to Regina.
Emma gives Ruby a warning stare that sends a million and one questions racing through Regina’s head, and the girl leads the three to their table without another word on the matter.
After a hearty breakfast, they all load themselves back in the bug and head for the shopping mall. "All right, first thing's first," Emma says as they walk in. "You need a new wardrobe. Clothes for the working woman."
Regina smiles. "Sounds great."
In the first store, Emma immediately grabs her a blazer and slacks combination. "Try these on," she instructs. "I'll ask the clerk for some more stuff."
Regina walks uncertainly into the fitting room. Is she supposed to strip naked in public in this tiny little stall? Chewing on her lip, she slowly removes her clothes and dresses in the red button-down shirt and the pantsuit.
As Regina looks at herself in the mirror, she feels a stirring in her stomach. She’s changing; becoming a new person. No longer a princess, no longer a good girl. She is, as Emma said, a working woman. Her wings stir slightly, as though to remind her that she doesn’t truly belong in this world like she’s starting to feel like she does. She’ll always be a stranger to Emma’s world, no matter what.
She jumps at a knock on her stall door. "Are you decent?" Emma asks.
Regina unlocks the door and steps out, feeling a twinge of satisfaction at the way Emma's eyes widen and she sucks in a sharp breath. "How do I look?" Regina asks, turning so that Emma can see the back as well.
"You look... wow."
Regina smiles at her ability to take Emma's breath away. Back home, she knew she was beautiful, but she was never allowed to acknowledge it or use it to her advantage. That would be selfish, after all. She was never even allowed to look in the mirror but once a day to make sure she was presentable to the world.
Emma holds up a few more things on hangers. "The lady gave me these. You wanna try 'em on?"
Regina nods and takes the items back into the fitting room with her. As she looks herself up and down in the mirror, her wings flutter and tickle her arms with the soft feathers. She trails her fingers along the wings absent-mindedly as she stares at her reflection. As much as she's changed, her wings will always be black. And now... she might even be okay with that.
"This is really good!" Regina exclaims as she takes a bite of the cinnamon roll. Henry was so enthusiastic about her trying one from this shop – Cinnabomb, she thinks it is – and now she knows why. "We had these rolls at home but I was never allowed to have one."
Emma frowns. "Why not?"
Regina shrugs. "It would be selfish. And my mother didn't tolerate selfishness."
"Sounds like your mom was a bit of a hardass."
"I... don't know what that means."
Emma shakes her head with a smirk. "Never mind." She stands up. "Ready to get your hair done?"
Regina nods. "I suppose so."
"Let's hit it."
The next thing she knows, Regina’s sitting in a stiff chair with a black cape over her body, wings folded neatly beneath her.
"So what are doing today?" the stylist asks. Her voice is much too nasal for Regina's liking.
"I..." Regina realizes she hasn't actually given the haircut much thought. Her eyes fall upon a catalog sitting on the counter in front of her. The woman on the cover has hair that falls just below her chin. "Like this," she says, picking up the catalog to show the stylist. "Just like this."
"All right, I'm gonna have you sit back for me. It should take about an hour, okay?" the stylist adds, turning to Emma.
Emma nods. She leans over to talk to Regina. "I'm gonna take Henry to the video game store," she says. "We'll be back in forty-five minutes, okay?"
Regina smiles. "Have fun." She tries her best to relax in the chair as she hears the first snip snip snip of the scissors and watches the last bit of her old self fall gently to the floor.