“Let’s go out tonight.” Ruby grins, sidling up to her best friend on the couch. Emma rolls her eyes, trying in earnest to push Ruby off of her. “ Please. We’ve got the same night off for once. I’d call it a Christmas miracle if it weren’t August. Besides, we’ve earned a drink,” she pauses before adding in a decisive, “or ten.”
Emma groans with exhaustion; the two nurses haven't been home from the hospital for more than ten minutes and are both still clad in their uniforms. Henry, Emma’s five-year-old son, is still in the outfit he picked out for himself before daycare: brown cargo shorts that have no business being paired with the orange and blue striped shirt he’s wearing. Not even his light-up sneakers have been removed.
“Exactly. Night off. I have a kid to be a mother to . We went out the last time we had the same night off, anyway. Once every six months is almost too much.” Emma replies, grunting when the brunette whines and slacks her body. Emma gasps, “Ruby, you feel like dead weight. Get off of me.”
“I will if you agree to go out with me tonight.”
“You know, you’re actually pretty comfortable—”
Emma rolls her eyes, sighing as she gives up her efforts to remove her friend. She glances at Henry as he attempts to read what looks like a Cosmo magazine. Emma is nearly certain that Ruby is the one responsible for its presence in the apartment. She has a habit of leaving things when she shows up for an unannounced visit—which she does often—and Cosmo is more Ruby’s idea of entertainment than it is her own.
“Rubes...” Emma starts, but she is cut off when the taller woman suddenly moves and stands in front of her instead. Her manicured hands, which are most definitely against hospital policy, yet somehow go unnoticed by everyone as these things tend to when it comes to Ruby Lucas, are firmly placed on her hips as she stares down at Emma.
“I will personally go ask that ridiculously saccharine neighbor of yours to watch Henderson for the night if you just come out with me for one drink.”
Emma scrunches her face with distaste. “Don’t call my son Henderson. That reminds me of Bigfoot.”
“Henderson was the name of the family. Harry is bigfoot,” Ruby corrects. “What about Hendrix?”
Emma mulls it over in her brain, eyes squinting as she stares at the woman in front of her. “Maybe.” She tentatively agrees.
“Sweet. Now tell me I can go get Mary Margaret.”
“Fine. But I’m not staying any longer than two—”
“Perfect!” Ruby claps her hands as she turns towards the little boy sitting in the small loveseat. “Hennessey, my man—”
“Don’t call him that!”
Ruby ignores the blonde and holds her arms out, the little boy jumping up and into them instantly, “Let’s go see if M&M wants to have a playdate!” She boasts.
“Do you think she’ll make cookies?” Henry asks, threading his tiny fingers into the soft red streak of hair in Ruby’s ponytail. “She let me eat them all last time. Well, actually, I throwed up a little bit when I ate a bunch. But then my tummy didn't hurt after that, so then I ate even more cookies!”
“We can ask her, but maybe don't throw up this time.”
Ruby’s voice fades along with the giggle of her son as they make their way out of the house. Emma had hoped that since she has the next two days off, she’d be able to stay home and spend quality mother-son time with Henry. However, the moment she knew that Ruby had the same time off, any hopes of peace and quiet were shot to hell. The woman had basically invited herself over for the evening, and Emma knew as soon as the idea crossed Ruby’s mind, there was no removing it.
But, as she stays slumped against the soft cushions of her couch, the thought of going out and getting a drink niggles its way into the appealing side of her brain. She reasons that she’ll have all day with Henry tomorrow.Besides, she does deserve a night out with her best friend—even if it’s for a few measly hours.
She gets up when she hears the tell-tale signs of Ruby and Henry making their way back inside, Henry chatting animatedly to Mary Margaret, who is trailing behind the two, listening to the bright babble of whatever Henry’s on about.
“Thanks Mary Margaret. I know it’s kind of short notice, but I’m being forced against my will.” She shoots a mock glare at an unperturbed Ruby. Mary Margaret turns her attention from Henry, glancing Emma’s way just long enough for Emma to smile gratefully. “It’s only for a few hours, though.”
“It’s not a problem, Emma. Henry and I have a lot of fun.”
Henry perks up like a puppy at the mention of his name. “Yeah, Mama! Mary Mar-gret showed me how to make paper birds and then float them in the sink! But then they got too sloppy and sinked.”
“Sloppy?” Emma chuckles, “You mean soggy, kid?”
“I said that.”
Ruby barks out a loud laugh, shaking her head with a proud sigh. “Such a smart boy. Gets it from me.”
“Don’t insult my son by comparing his intelligence to whatever you’ve got going on up in that air head of yours.” Emma snickers, finally garnering a laugh from the quiet Mary Margaret. She averts her eyes when Ruby glares, instead turning to Henry.
“Whatever, Swan. Go get ready. I’m not letting you set foot in public in those scrubs,” Ruby tuts.
Emma rolls her eyes and is about to ask what Ruby is going to wear, considering she doesn’t have clothes here at the moment (which is a startling change from the usual basket full of dirty laundry in Emma’s laundry room), but Ruby pushes the blonde down the hall, hands clasping onto the other woman’s shoulders.
“Also, I need to borrow some clothes.”
By the time Emma and Ruby make it out the door, there are shreds of Ruby’s Cosmo magazine littering the floor—simply for the fact that, according to Henry, the birds will be more colorful. They take Emma’s car, knowing Ruby will most likely drink more than she promised, though Emma is all too willing to be the designated driver for the night. They pull into the small parking lot of one of the only bars in the area, their favorite, and Ruby makes a beeline for the entrance, black boots clicking loudly on the pavement.
“Maybe one of us will get lucky,” the brunette boasts, then pauses, watching as Emma makes her way around the car, rolling her green eyes. “Well,” Ruby scoffs, “ you won't, especially not with that attitude.”
Emma shrugs, pulling the door open for both of them. “Somehow, I’m not too upset about that.”
But she is, just a little.
She loves Henry with everything inside of her and more , but she misses intimacy with another person. She misses serious, late night conversations, and not the ones about which color is better (yellow, always).
But she won't let on, not to Ruby at least. For all Emma knows, the other woman would make countless dating profiles under the guise of Emma Swan and set her up on random dates with complete weirdos.
“ God, you’re so fun tonight. Really. I’m shitting excitement,” Ruby deadpans, slinging her arm around the blonde’s shoulder.
“That’s a disturbing visual, Rubes.”
“Well, so are you right now. Perk the fuck up, and lets get some shots in you.” Ruby smiles and bumps her hip against Emma’s before leading them to a booth near the main window.
They sit across from one another, Emma facing the long bar and Ruby facing the exit. Emma arches a brow. “You said one drink.”
“And 10 shots equals a tall glass of beer.” Ruby pauses, tilting her head. “Well—quantity wise.”
And for the first time since they left, Emma cracks a smile. She feels the tension in her muscles quell just a bit and she can finally relax. As exhausting as her best friend is, she’s also a remedy for sour, unknown-sourced moods.
“Anyway.” Emma sighs. “I think I’ll stick with beer.”
“Suit yourself!” Ruby shrugs before getting up and making her way to the bar.
Emma watches her, elbow on the table and hand propping her cheek up. She straightens her back when she spots a pair of dark eyes looking in her direction. Her green eyes brighten slightly as she witnesses red painted lips quirk, and she sends a small smile to the stranger sitting at the bar.
Women have always been an option in Emma Swan’s book of sex partners—or life partners; she’s not too picky. She’d had her fair share of feminine experiences before Henry, but since he’d been born and the whole fiasco with his father happened, there’d been time for nobody .
The woman looks away finally, after what seems like a billion seconds of eye contact, brown hair brushing her shoulders in perfect coifs. From where she’s sitting, Emma can tell she’s wearing a tight, sleeveless black dress that hugs her body perfectly, and sheer, black stockings. The brunette’s got her legs crossed and Emma is drawn to the way her stiletto clad foot moves softly to the faint music playing in the overhead speakers. Emma is so taken that she barely notices Ruby loudly making her way back to their table, two shots and a beer in her hands.
“Oh, she’s hot.”
She hears, and it snaps her out of her daze. “What?”
“Shorty in those ‘fuck me heels’ at the bar. That’s what you were drooling about, right? I’m totally right.” Ruby’s stupid triumphant grin is the definition of irritating.
Emma scoffs and shakes her head, hiding her blush as she takes a large gulp of cold beer. She nearly chokes when Ruby suggests she go over there and “hop on that.”
“Ruby. I came with you to have a drink and unwind, not find someone to complicate my life.”
Ruby rolls her eyes, downing one shot with a little too much ease. “Please. I didn't say go over there and offer her your womb so you can house her babies. I just said go talk to her. Maybe exchange numbers. Get her to clean out the cobwebs down unda ,” she says in a half-hearted attempt at an australian accent. At the look Emma gives her, she shrugs, holding the shot glass over her tongue and tapping the bottom as if there were more to be consumed.
“Stop doing that, you look ridiculous.” When she doesn’t, Emma reaches over and snatches the glass, setting it down on the table, “I’m gonna tell them your ID was fake if you keep acting like a teenager.”
She’s unphased by the empty threat, both she and Emma knowing full well that her petulance is undoubtedly part of the Lucas Charm, as Ruby likes to say. “This shit was twelve dollars. I’m not wasting a drop. Now, go talk to her before I do.” Ruby smirks, wiggling her perfectly shaped eyebrows deviously.
So that’s how Emma finds herself walking nervously over to the gorgeous brunette woman at the bar; shaky, sweaty hands shoved into the shallow front pockets of her tight jeans. She almost feels a little too hot in her red leather jacket, but it’s too late to turn back now—especially because that very brunette is looking at her with an odd expression.
“Hi,” Emma stutters out pathetically, a shy smile on her thin lips. “I’m Emma.”
Brown eyes look expectantly at her, as if to say, “ okay, and?” She clears her throat, now growing a hundred times more nervous. This is going well. Her cheeks are undoubtedly tinted pink as she gestures to the bar. “Uh... Can I buy you a drink?”
Finally, red lips part, and whatever Emma had possibly expected to come from that delicious looking mouth is so much farther from what really does.
“ Lo Siento. No entiendo Inglés... Em-ma.”
And as sexy as her voice is when it curves seductively around those spanish words, it’s also very disappointing. There goes her chances of a phone number—or the maintenance of her down under.
Emma shakes her head, smiling awkwardly as she points over her shoulder. The woman offers a semi-sympathetic smile as Emma stutters out dumbly, “Sorry to bother... I’ll just, uh... Go.” She is 100% humiliated, no doubt about that.
She turns back, and is immediately greeted with Ruby’s wide blue eyes and a hand covering her mouth in a poorly executed effort to not laugh.
“That was so bad. Jesus.” Emma growls, sliding into her seat, as close to the inside as she can, “I’m never coming out with you again.”
“Yeah, that was pretty freaking painful to watch.” Ruby finally lets out, cackling so loudly that the brown-eyed beauty at the bar turns and looks, an eyebrow arching again. Emma darkens to what can only be described as fire engine red. “Oh, man. You should’ve paid attention to your spanish lessons in high school.”
“I never took span—never mind… Why do I listen to you?” Emma shakes her head, ignoring the brunette’s teasing words as she downs the rest of her beer, which is now flat and room temperature. Perfect. A drink to match her sex life.
“I don't know. But, God, that was so bad.” Ruby shakes her head, downing a fourth shot that seems to have magically appeared out of nowhere.
“Yeah, you said that.”
Ruby finally cracks a sympathetic smile. “I think this calls for some shots.”
Emma scowls, jutting her chin to the four empty glasses in front of the other woman. “You don't think you’ve had enough?”
“Of course not. But anyway, I mean for you. That kind of rejection from that kind of woman calls for only the best tequila.” She raises her hand in the air. “Oh, serveur! Two rounds of Patrón please!”
Emma reddens again, and glances toward the bar, but is greeted with the view of an empty stool where the woman had been seated. She looks around the bar, seeing no sign of her, and lets out a sigh of relief. Deep down, she has a feeling the woman knew exactly what Emma was saying. She doesn’t acknowledge it though, in effort to save what little shreds of pride she has left.
If that interaction hadn’t done the job, then one shot won't kill her either.
Emma had to practically drag Ruby out of the bar after they paid, and, as expected, the taller woman was wasted. It took only twenty minutes to get her home and inside her small apartment, and another twenty to make it to her own home.
Mary Margaret sits on Emma’s couch, book in hand. The living room is clean as well, no trace of the shredded magazine in sight. Henry lies sleeping on the other end of the couch, and Emma smiles, arching a brow at the pixie haired woman.
Mary Margaret shrugs. “He wouldn't go to sleep until you came home—crashed about twenty minutes after he got settled on the couch.”
The blonde chuckles, pulling her sleeping son into her arms, carefully so she doesn’t wake him. “That’s fine. Thank you for watching him tonight. I’ll write a check after I put him in bed.”
“Emma, it’s no prob—”
“Don’t even, Mary Margaret. You didn’t let me pay you last time so I’m going to this time. Just wait there.”
Emma scurries off down the hall and into Henry’s bedroom, pulling the comforter back and placing him on top of his soft batman sheets. “Night, buddy,” she murmurs, kissing his smooth forehead and brushing his hair away from his closed eyes.
The younger woman is still in the living room when Emma walks back out, checkbook in hand. “There.” She smiles after she’s done, tearing it out and handing it to Mary Margaret. “Thanks again.”
“No problem, Emma.” As they make their way to the door, Mary Margaret turns to the blonde with a sudden, “Oh! When does Henry start school? Will you need me to pick him up when you’re working?”
“Oh, yeah…” She tilts her head and thinks for a moment, “he starts next monday. It’ll just be how we did with daycare. I’ll let you know before noon every day if you need to get him. There’s a daycare at the hospital I’ve signed him up for so that he can be near me after school, so you’d just need to bring him straight there,” she tells Mary Margaret, fighting the urge to whine—again.
The fact that her baby boy is starting kindergarten in a week had nearly slipped Emma’s mind. He’s getting old way too quickly.
Mary Margaret’s bubbly response draws her from her momentary lapse into that cliché motherly sadness. “Sounds good! Have a good night, and tell Ruby I said sorry for ruining her magazine. For what it’s worth, it made for some great paper birds!”