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A Tale of Two Hearts

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The moment Cora latched onto my heart everything I ever did and everyone I ever met flashed before my eyes. Out of everything two people stood out-- Henry and Regina--my son and his mother. I needed to get back to them and keep Cora away from…did I say them? I mean him..I need to save him.

          “Love is weakness.” Her voice snapped me from my thoughts and I looked her straight on.

          “No, it’s strength.” I’m not sure how, but with a burst of wind I sent Cora flying backwards. “Let’s go.” I took Marry Margret’s hand and jumped into the lake. A moment later, I pulled myself up and out of the magic well.

          “Mom!” Henry ran and wrapped his arms around me.

          “Hey kid.” I was out of breath and looked around trying to gather my bearings. That’s when my eyes fell on Regina. She seemed very shaken up. I hugged him back and wondered what this feeling in my chest was. I wanted to go see if she was okay. When Henry let go of me he went to Marry Margret. I walked towards her and just stood there a moment. I didn’t know what to say to her.

          “Welcome back.” She was out of breath. I couldn’t help but notice how..attractive she looked with her hair messy like that.

          “Thanks. It’s good to be back.” Before I knew it I had held my hand out for her. Regina looked at my hand and then up at me with hesitation before taking it. She stood up but was very shaky. “Are you alright?” Before she could say anything Ruby came over and hugged me.

          “Glad you’re back Emma. Now let’s go to Granny’s and get you two some food. You look like you could use a drink too.” There was a laugh in her voice. I agreed and she turned to walk away with the rest of them. When I turned toward Regina she was holding onto a tree to help her stand.

          “You need to get rest. You’re about to collapse. What happened to you?” Why was I so concerned about her? She’s been nothing but a bitch to me ever since I brought Henry back to her all those months ago.

          “It’s a long story. Why are you so concerned? You have what you want. You have Henry.” Her voice cracked and her eyes glistened with tears that she refused to shed.

          “Look,…” I didn’t know why I cared...I just did. “Henry does care about you; even if he doesn’t show it. Now come on. I’ll help you get home.” I held my hand out to her and wrapped her arm over my shoulder to help her walk. We didn’t say a word the whole way to her mansion. “Do you need help with anything?” Regina studied me a moment before answering.

          “No, I think I can handle it. Thank you.” Before she opened the door she turned back to me. “How do you know he cares about me?”

          “I’m not sure how to explain it. Just how he is around you now is different versus before I got sent to your land. Are you doing anything different?” There was a twitch to the corner of her mouth.

          “I promised him I wouldn’t use magic. I’ve been successful except twice. Once with Dan…with someone from my past and then putting your father under a sleeping curse.” Who was she about to say?

          “I’m sure if you keep your word he will come around.” Why did I want to comfort her? She looked down and pursed her lips a moment.

          “I hope so. I really hope so. All I’ve ever wanted to do is what’s best for him. He’s all I have left and if I lose him I have nothing.” The sadness in her voice was killing me.

          “You won’t lose him Regina.” Before I realized it I had placed a reassuring hand on her arm. Startled, we both looked at my hand then at each other. After I jerked my hand back I cleared my throat nervously. “I’m going to go.” I turned on my heels quickly and started walking away. The last thing I heard as I turned the corner was a small thank you.

          I couldn’t sleep that night even after I went to Granny’s and had a few drinks. I just laid in bed staring at the ceiling. Why can’t I stop thinking about her? She cares so much for Henry. When I helped her get home and when we spoke at her door there was something in those chocolate brown eyes that I’ve never seen before; something kind, tender, loving, and scared. I care about Henry and for some strange reason I feel like I want to help Regina out with him.

          I walked into Regina’s office with a few files and an irritated attitude. She had made me retype up my reports for the past few months for no real reason. Just to piss me off. “I have the files you asked for Madame Mayor.” She looked up from what she was writing and looked me over.

          “Hello Miss. Swan, I trust the files are done correctly this time?” That tone of voice. That tone that I hated but for some reason loved to hear. I walked over and dropped the files on top of whatever she was working on. She looked from the files up to me and there was that irritated look in her eyes. For some reason I got a kick out of irritating this woman. I don’t know why but I loved rattling her cage. She didn’t say anything but got up slowly and walked to the front of her desk. “I’ll take it you’re wanting my attention. What is it?”

          My eyes drifted downward for a second and I noticed the slight cleavage that showed from her dark purple, button up top. I felt a shot of electricity from my stomach to my crotch. When she leaned to sit on her desk and crossed her long legs I felt my body temperature rise a few degrees. Why is my body acting like this? It’s never done this before. “Yeah I did them right this time but don’t you want to look over them?” She cocked one of her eyebrows and God she looked sexy when she did that. She leaned back to grab a folder and thumbed through it.

          “Well Miss Swan it seems like you CAN do these reports correctly you just don’t want to put the time and effort into them it seems.” She looked from the file and caught my gaze. “What do you like putting your effort into then?” I couldn’t hold it back any longer. I lunged for the woman. As I tangled my fingers in her dark hair I pressed my lips to hers and kissed her passionately. She kissed back just as hard and somehow turned us so my back was on the large oak desk. “Or is your mind preoccupied when you’re up late at night trying to write these reports? Is your mind preoccupied with lust and passion? Tell me.” The seductive and demanding purr was making me wetter by the second.

          “Emma. Emma wake up.” I jumped when I realized someone was shaking my arm.

          “Huh?” I blinked and my eyes finally focused on Marry Margret’s face. “What’s wrong?”

          “You were moaning in your sleep.” I sat up and ran my fingers through my hair.

          “I was?” As I came to my senses I realized my body was buzzing like it had never done before. What could’ve caused this? Just then my dream flashed before my eyes. Oh shit. I just had a sex dream about Regina! What the Hell??

          “Emma!” I jumped and looked back to her again. “You’re starting to worry me.” I smiled apologetically and stretched.

          “I’m fine. No need to worry.” When I went to work that day I couldn’t concentrate on anything. My mind kept wandering back to the dream I had. Why did I have a sex dream about Regina and what is all this emotional attachment or whatever that just came up after I met her mother? Could it be that I understand why she is how she is now or something?

          “Sheriff Swan!” A husky voice broke me from my thoughts and when I looked where the voice came from there stood Regina. She was leaned over my desk about four inches away from me and I fell out of my chair. When I looked up at her from the floor she folded her arms and smirked. “What were you daydreaming about Miss. Swan?”

          “N-nothing. H-how can I help you?” I sat back in my seat and tried not to notice how sexy Regina looked in the button up, white, dress shirt, black slacks that came an inch or two from the ground, and black high heels.

          “Of course it was nothing.” She took in a deep irritated breath and shrugged. “It seems my son wishes to spend time with you. I’ll let him on one condition,” she leaned closer to me and I didn’t dare breathe. “You bring him back and without causing trouble.” I didn’t mean to glance down at her lips but it happened and I realized she had a scar above her lip. I opened my mouth but nothing would come out so I just slowly nodded. “Swan!” I jumped at the harshness of her voice.

          “Alright. I’ll bring him back safe and with no trouble.” With that she turned and walked away. “Regina.” She stopped at the door and looked over her shoulder.

          “What?” I didn’t know how to word my question. Shit I didn’t know what my question was.

          “Are you busy? Like…can we talk?” She looked intrigued and walked back and took a seat on the other side of the desk. “H-how are you? You were pretty…I’m not sure how to describe it but you weren’t yourself.” I was trying to not have a major case of word vomit but I couldn’t organize my thoughts. She raised an eyebrow and I tried to keep my cool.

          “I’m fine. I just needed a good night’s rest. Why?” She leaned back and crossed her legs. “But I’m guessing my well being isn’t all you want to talk about.” There was a pause as she pursed her lips. “But thank you for asking.”

          “You’re welcome. Why were you like that? You were like that after that thing sucked some of your…” I chuckled, “apparently existing soul.” I couldn’t help but smile to myself thinking back on when I said she had no soul. She looked really good in that gray dress.

          “Yes Miss. Swan I have a soul. You were wrong. Before you and your mother came through the portal, Mr. Gold and I weren’t sure if you had gotten the message from Charming. So we were preparing for my mother to come instead. He cast a spell on the portal that would kill whoever came through it, but, Henry…Henry begged me to believe in him. He was convinced that you and Marry Margret would come through so I did the only thing I could think of. I wasn’t sure if taking in that much magic would kill me or what it would do but I had to make him happy.” Her voice was starting to crack and for some reason I wasn’t pissed that she tried to kill me and Marry Margret. There was that hurt look in her eyes and I couldn’t stand to see it.

          “Thank you for believing in Henry. That meant a lot to him.” That got her attention.

          “Did he say something?” I have never seen her like this before; so emotional.

          “He didn’t say anything but I can tell it made him think about you and that you’re really trying to change. He caught me up on everything I missed while I was gone.” I paused a moment and leaned forward to rest my elbows on my desk. “Since I’m the sheriff, could I get arrested for punching Gold in the face?” She chuckled and finally cracked a small smile.

          “You could get in trouble, yes, but I wouldn’t say anything. He deserves it in my opinion for some of the shit he’s done over the years.” I got a twitch in my stomach when she cussed. For some odd reason I find it hot.

          “You’d be secretly cheering me on, wouldn’t you?” I knew I had a coy grin on my face but I couldn’t help it.

          “Don’t get cocky now. For once we don’t want to kill each other..yet.” She was right. We weren’t at each others’ throats. It’s actually a very nice conversation. She not answering the question told me she wanted to say yes. I shrugged my shoulders.

          “True. It’s nice; us not wanting to kill each other. Even if it is for Henry’s sake. He obviously means the world to both of us and we need to work something out between us.” The words were coming out of my mouth faster than I could process what I was actually saying. To my surprise, Regina didn’t say a word. It looked like she was trying to mull everything I just said over in her head.

          “We do need to figure something out for his sake. What do you suppose we do?” She’s letting me choose?

          “Joint custody?” I slightly regretted the words the second they came out of my mouth. There she goes cocking that damn eyebrow again.

          “I believe to get that the parents need to first be married then get a divorce. But do you mean a week with me and a week with you?” She was curious.

          “Yeah. I guess so. And of course during that week the other one can see him.” I was treading on thin ice. Before Regina could agree or disagree my phone rang. I jumped and answered it. “Hey kid, how are you? That’s good. I’m just sitting here talking with Regina. Yeah I’m not sure what time I’ll be done here and there’s no food at the house but I know Regina is cooking dinner for us tonight.” Regina gave me a surprised look that then turned into a glair. “What time would you like us over?” She looked at the clock on the wall quickly.

          “Seven will be fine.” She had a hopeful look in her eye that made me happy.

          “Alright then. I’ll see you in a few hours. Once I finish here I’ll go freshen up and head over to Regina’s.” I closed my phone and looked over at her. “Guess you’re making dinner.”

          “I guess I am. What are you trying to pull?” She knew I was up to something.

          “I figured he could see that we’re getting along and we can tell him our idea.” I hoped I didn’t over step my boundaries. I mean I did just invite myself to dinner at her place.

          “Since you’re pitching the idea to him I believe he may go for it better than if I did.” She got up slowly and picked up her hand bag. “Well I better get cooking.” With that she turned and walked towards the door. “Oh, and I promise to not poison it this time.” The slight laugh in her voice made me snort.

          After work I rushed home to freshen up but was met by Marry Margret and David sitting at the table. They had stopped talking when I walked in. “Why are the two of you waiting for me?” I walked in slowly and closed the door.

          “Well, Emma…” Marry Margret seemed to be choosing her words wisely before she was cut off by David.

          “Why are you going to Regina’s tonight and why are you taking Henry?” I hung my jacket up and walked to the table.

          “Regina and I talked earlier and…”

          “When? Why were you two talking about Henry?” David constantly cutting people off was starting to annoy me.

          “Well…she came into the office today to see about a file and we started to talk. Henry came up and he ended up calling. While I was on the phone with him I invited myself and Henry to dinner.” They looked shocked that I invited myself to her house. “And we are going to share Henry…”

          “You’re what!” They looked at me like I was crazy. Well, I kind of am for everything that’s happened in the past 5 months and even more so for whatever this is I have for Regina.

          “We came up with a plan so both of us could spend time with him. And before you say anything,” They both shut their mouths then. “She’s changed; or is in the process of trying to change. I can tell.” I really didn’t want to get into this because I needed to get in the shower and get ready. “And I think seeing Henry and he knowing that Regina and I are trying to work things out and not want to kill each other will help her. We are going to run our idea by Henry tonight.” They were quiet and looked at each other and then back at me.

          “Well okay…if that’s what you want.” David sat back in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair. I suddenly got the teenager/parent feeling between us.

          “Okay then. I’m going to go get ready. Henry and I are supposed to be there at seven.” With that I went and got in the shower and finished getting ready. Once I was done I called for Henry to come down from his room and we were on our way. The whole way over there I was nervous but it wasn’t about us telling Henry about our plan; it was about seeing Regina. Ever since that dream I can’t seem to get her off my mind.

          “Mom.” Henry’s voice broke me from my thoughts and I jumped.

          “Yeah?” I kept my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road as I continued the familiar drive to Regina’s home.

          “Why are we going to Mom’s for dinner?” He calls us both Mom…that’s a good thing right?

          “Well we were talking earlier today and she wanted to have us over. She wants to see you Henry.” I could tell he wanted to ask something else but before he could ask we pulled into Regina’s driveway. We got out and walked to the door. I kept a few steps behind Henry so I could try to calm myself before she opened that door. The door opened and my stomach dropped.

          “Hello. Please come in.” Regina was still in the same outfit but had the sleeves pushed up a little showing she had been cooking. “How are you Henry?” She stood to the side so we could walk in.

          “I’m okay.” I could tell his short answer hurt Regina and I wanted to say something but I didn’t know what to say. I gave Regina an apologetic look as I passed her.

          “Hello Miss. Swan.” She closed the door and started towards the dining room. “I just finished putting the food on the table. I made you’re favorite Henry.”

          “Hi.” I followed Henry and Regina to the dining room and took a seat across from Regina. The food smelled amazing and I felt my stomach growl. Regina and Henry looked over at me. “I guess I forgot to eat lunch today?” We passed the food around the table and started to eat. “So Henry, Regina and I have an idea to run by you.” Henry looked up from his food and swallowed.

          “What is it?” He took a sip of his drink waiting for me to answer. I glanced over to Regina for a vote of confidence or something before I started.

          “Well, I know how you want Regina to prove to you that she’s trying to change and be a better person and I thought that if she saw you a little more that would help her. We wanted to know if you’d like to spend some time at my place and then at her place also. You’re room here is ready and waiting for whenever you want to come over and you know it’s fine with me if you want to stay here some.” Regina seemed to be holding her breath. “So what do you say?” There was a silence in the room and it was nerve wrecking.

          “Henry, we both love you and you truly mean the world to us. I just want to see you more and so you can see firsthand that I’m really trying to be a better person and change.” Regina’s voice was heartbreaking. It was a mix of hope and anxiety. Seeing the raw emotion in her eyes was ripping my heart into pieces. All I wanted to do was comfort her in some way. Henry looked at Regina and I a moment before answering.

          “I guess we can do that.” I heard Regina let out a sigh of relief. I was glad Henry said yes. I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain to him why I wanted him to see her if he said no. We continued to eat and talk some.

          “Henry, would you like some Red Velvet cake ice cream? I went out to the store and picked up some just for you.” Regina picked up her and Henry’s plate and headed towards the kitchen. I followed with mine.

“You hate that stuff though.” Henry looked slightly shocked. Regina chuckled.

“Yes, but I picked it up for you.” She loaded the dishwasher as I leaned on the counter.

“Sure. I’d love some.” Regina took down two bowls and went to the freezer.

“Would you like some Miss. Swan?” Regina seemed so happy that Henry was there and we were all having a good time.

“I’d love some.” Regina portioned out some into the two bowls and handed it and a spoon to Henry and I.

“You can eat it in the living room if you’d like Henry.” Henry nodded and headed to the couch. After we heard the TV come on Regina turned to me.

“Thank you.” I took another bite as Regina went to the other side of the kitchen.

“You’re welcome Miss. Swan. I should be thanking you though. If you had not come up with this whole idea I wouldn’t get to see Henry much at all.” Her back was to me as she made herself some coffee. I couldn’t help but think how nice this was. The three of us getting along and enjoying each others’ company. I’m glad I was able to make her happy.

“Glad I could help. You seem to really have changed and I know how hard that can be. Especially when it’s changing something big.” After I finished the ice cream I went to the sink and rinsed it out. While her coffee was cooling Regina came and put it in the dishwasher.

“Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?” Oh shit. I can’t tell her the real reason. “I don’t know. For Henry, I guess. As I said, we need to get along for his sake.” After she was done stirring her coffee she popped the spoon in her mouth and pulled it out to get the last drops of coffee off it. Damn…spoons have all the fun. Fuck! Did I really just think that?

“Are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” She studied me a moment but before I could answer Henry called out Mom and we both answered. We awkwardly looked at each other and then to the living room where Henry was. “Yes Henry?” Regina walked towards the couch and I followed a few steps behind.

“When did you get the Fringe season box set?” Regina watches TV?

“A few weeks ago. I ordered it and thought I’d give the show a chance. Try to see why you like it so much. So far it’s not bad. I’m only a few episodes in though.” Henry and I were shocked. “What?”

“I didn’t know you watched TV.” I was shocked and I know it showed on my face.

“What did you think I did then?” She put one hand on her hip and I had to bite my tongue. I loved that sassiness.

“I don’t know…” She is human. I’m not sure why this shocked me as much as it did. “I just didn’t think you’d like a show like that.” I picked up the box to fiddle with something. The awkward silence was killing me.

“How many episodes have you watched?” Henry turned fully around on the couch waiting for Regina’s answer.

“About two or three episodes in but I need to re-watch them because I think I missed something. Why?” She had leaned on the couch while answering him.

“Could we watch some now?” Regina smiled and you could see joy in those dark eyes of hers.

“That’s fine with me.” Regina glanced at me. “Would you like to watch as well?” Did she actually just invite me to stay?

“Yeah. I’d love to. Mind if I make some popcorn later?” Regina chuckled.

“What’s a movie, or in this case a TV show without popcorn? I’ll make some in a little bit. Why don’t you put in the DVD and I’ll get some drinks for us.” As she headed toward the kitchen Henry popped the DVD in and took a seat next to me on the couch. A moment later Regina came back with three drinks and put them on the coffee table. After she took a seat on the other side of Henry we started the show.

It was nice hanging out with Henry and even Regina. Before we started the second episode I made some popcorn. Henry kept the big bowl on his lap since it was between us all. When I reached for popcorn I didn’t realize Regina had done the same and instead of grabbing a hand of popcorn it was Regina’s hand. I instantly pulled back and whispered a sorry. The rest of the episode I didn’t dare reach for popcorn again. For some reason it rattled me. I glanced over at Regina and couldn’t help but notice how pretty she was with the flicker from the TV on her face. What am I thinking? “Hey, where’s your bathroom?”

“Down the hall, third door on the right.” When I got to the bathroom I closed the door and just looked in the mirror.

“What the hell is wrong with me? I mean good lord.” I had to keep my voice down to make sure that no one heard me. I took in a deep breath and opened the door to head back to the living room. When I took my seat I stretched my arm over the side of the couch. During the next episode I felt Henry shift beside me and when I looked he had leaned on Regina and fell asleep. I looked from him to Regina and smiled. She was looking down at him and petting his head.

“It’s times like this that I cherish the most.” When she looked at me there was so much love in her eyes. She really does care about him. I always knew she did; she just didn’t know how to show it. Which, after meeting her mother is totally understandable.

“He’s fast asleep. Do you need help carrying him to his bed?” Regina stopped petting his head.

“You’re going to let him stay?” Why was she so shocked about me letting him stay?

“Yeah. There’d be no point in waking him up to go to bed when he has one here.” I stood up and put the empty cups in the empty popcorn bowl. “I’ll take this to the kitchen while you take him upstairs.” As I finished putting the dishes in the dishwasher Regina walked in.

“Thank you.” I looked up as she leaned on the counter.

“You’re welcome but for what?” I’m not used to her thanking me so much. I’m not used to being thanked a lot before I came to Storybrooke.

“For letting Henry stay and for putting the dishes in the dishwasher.” Regina turned towards the counter but flinched in pain.

“Are you alright?” I may have been a little over worried about her being in pain. She posed a moment and looked at me.

“Yes I’m fine. I just sat wrong on the couch and have a crick in my back.” She placed her hand on her lower back to support it. I know exactly how to get the crick out and make it better but it involves getting rather close to her. And I’m not sure if I trust myself getting that close to her right now. She took a step towards the fridge but stopped from the pain.

“I know a way to make your back feel better but…” I didn’t know how to word the rest of what I wanted to say.

          “I do too but I can’t use magic.” She must not have realized what I said or found it odd that I wanted to help her get out of pain.

          “Well my way doesn’t involve magic it just involves me touching you.” I bit my tongue and she looked at me shocked. “That came out wrong. It involves getting close to you. That came out wrong too. You know what; I’m going to just shut up and…” I could feel my cheeks flush a little from my word fail. Regina chuckled and bowed her head.

          “From how much pain I’m in right now, I almost don’t care.” She looked at me and the pleading in her dark eyes killed the rest of my self preservation. I took a deep breath and let it out trying to calm myself.

          “Alright. Turn around and cross your arms over your chest.” Her chest…Emma stop it! Bad Emma! Bad! Regina hesitated for a moment but did what I said. “Okay, I’m going to wrap my arms around you and lean back to straighten out your spine, then jump to have it realign.” When I stepped behind her I paused a moment. Why am I doing this again?

          I wrapped my arms around her and bit my tongue hard when her butt touched my front. It was so round and firm. I cleared my head and jumped. Hearing that pop told me it worked. “Oh damn.” Regina stumbled a few steps away and glared at me. “What the hell? That hurt.”

          “Lean up.” She did and the glair turned to surprise.

          “Oh. That did work.” She took her hand from her back and stretched. “Thank you.”

          “You’re welcome.” I nodded with a smile. “Oh geez.” I looked at the clock in the kitchen and realized it was close to one in the morning. “I better go. It’s really late.” Regina looked at the clock and was just as shocked as I was.

          “Oh. I didn’t realize it had gotten so late. I have to get up for work in seven hours.” Unconsciously Regina ran her slender fingers through her long, dark hair. She looked gorgeous.

          “Yes, we wouldn’t want to be late for our jobs.” I headed for the door to get my jacket. As I slipped into my red leather jacket I heard the familiar sound of heels a few steps behind me. Before I opened the door I looked over my shoulder. “I’ll see you around. Tonight was nice.” Shit. Did I really just say that? Regina gave me a small smile.

          “It was. Goodnight Miss. Swan.” I walked out to my car with an oddly happy feeling. Half way to my car I heard the front door close. On the way home tonight was all I thought about. How much Regina seems to have changed, and how she really is human. I don’t think many people have ever seen that side of her. For some reason I thought about what just happened in the kitchen more. Did she take in a sharp breathe when her butt touched my front and her back touch my chest? Why did I get a sharp bolt of electricity when that happened? I mean she is attractive, I’ve always noticed that. With her curvy body, dark hair, dark, chocolate eyes…I need to stop. What the fuck is wrong with me?

          I tried to be as quiet as possible when I walked in but was met by Marry Margret and David…again. “Where were you young lady? It’s passed one in the morning.” David had his arms crossed while he and Marry Margret were sitting on the couch. “And where is Henry?”

          “Henry’s at Regina’s.” I closed the door and hung up my coat. “He fell asleep and we didn’t see the point in waking him when he had a bed there.” I went to the kitchen to get something to drink. “Why are the two of you still up anyway?”

          “When you didn’t come home we thought something may’ve happened to you.” Marry Margret’s voice was a worried tone verses David’s which was harsh.

          “What did you think was going to happen? Her kill me in front of Henry?” Their awkward silence answered my question. “Oh come on. Really? Look, Regina is really trying to change and so far is doing a great job at it. She had plenty of chances to use magic but she didn’t. The three of us had a good time.” I need to shut up now.

          “Like when? When did she have the chance to use it?” David’s tone was really starting to piss me off. “And when did you start being on team Regina?”

          “The whole night. And even when she was in pain she didn’t even use it.” Oh shit. I didn’t mean to say that.

          “When she was in pain?” Marry Margret shifted in her seat.

          “It’s a long story. I’m beat and have to get up in a few hours for work. And so do the two of you.” With that I went to my room and didn’t look back. Why did I suddenly feel like a teenager? I’m twenty nine years old. I couldn’t sleep. My mind kept going back to Henry and Regina. Tonight was fun and I wanted to have more like that. Just the three of us hanging out and having a good time. Last time I looked at the clock it was a little after three AM.

          “Oh wow Regina you look…amazing.” There she stood, at the top of her stairs in a lovely black dress that hugged her in all the right places. As she walked down the stairs all I could do was stair.

          “Why thank you Miss. Swan. Now, shall we go?” I wrapped my arm in hers as we walked out the door.


          “May I have this dance my Queen?” She agreed and took my hand. As we danced all I could do was get lost in Regina’s gorgeous dark eyes. “Thank you for giving me a chance to show you how a woman is supposed to be treated Regina.”

          “You’re welcome dear. Who knew when your plan for us to share Henry would end up with us being together?” I smiled and leaned in to plant a soft kiss on her lips.


When the alarm went off I shot up from the bed. What the hell was that? Why have I dreamt about Regina twice? At least this one wasn’t a sex dream. “Emma! We’re gone.”

          “Alright! I’ll see y’all later.” Knowing they were gone I fell back to my bed. “Damn it what’s wrong with me?” Seeing what time it was I finally got up, made me coffee then went to work. On my lunch break I decided that I needed to get this out before it drove me nuts. I picked up the phone and dialed Dr. Hopper.

          “Hello, Dr. Hopper speaking.” He must not recognize the number.

          “Hey it’s Emma, how are you?” I can feel my heart thump in my chest. I’ve never been one to talk about my problems. Especially something like this.

          “I’m alright. How are you?” He seemed curious to why I was calling. “Is everything okay?” I was quiet a moment. “Emma?”

          “Sorry Doc. I’m not used to asking for help or talking about my problems but…can I make an appointment?” I fiddled with the pen on the desk.

          “Oh. Well of course I have an opening for today actually. How’s 5:30?” When I agree to this I can’t run from it.

          “That works. I get off at five so I can come from there.”

          “Alright. See you then.” With that we both hung up the phone. I ran my fingers through my hair and the motion made me think of Regina when she did that last night. Damn it I can’t get this woman out of my head.

          “Emma.” I jumped at the sound of Ruby’s voice.

          “Hi..How are you?” She had a white bag and two drinks with her. “What’s that?”

          “Lunch. On me.” Ruby placed a sandwich and drink in front of me and took a seat on the other side of my desk. “I figured I’d bring you some lunch. You’ve been rather preoccupied lately. Some of us are worried about you.” They worried about me?

          “Who’s worried about me? And thank you for the food.” I opened the sandwich and took a bite.

          “Granny, me, Snow, and some others.” Oh great. What has Marry Margret said?

          “Oh. I’m just…I have a lot on my mind.” I can’t tell her the real reason but I don’t want to lie.

          “It’s so different isn’t it; our land versus here. That’s quite a change for you. I’m not surprised.” I can’t tell if Ruby can tell that I wasn’t being honest or not. She’s a smart girl so I’m not sure. But I’ll go with that.

          “Yeah. It was a lot different. Who knew the stories I was told as a kid were actually true.” We talked a little more and once we were done she headed back to Granny’s. Work seemed to drag by since there wasn’t really much going on. Well, much that I could help with. After I clocked out I headed to Dr. Hopper’s office. “You can do this Emma. You can’t back out now.” I knocked on the door and a moment later it opened.

          “Hey, come in.” He stood to the side allowing me to enter. “You seemed troubled earlier, what’s wrong?” How did he…oh yeah..he’s been doing this awhile. He can probably read people like a book by now.

          “It’s complicated.” I took a seat and tried to act calm and collected; even if I was the total opposite on the inside.

          “Well I’m here to help you sort it out. You know I don’t judge and whatever is said in here stays between us.” I know this has to be a speech but I can tell that he means it.

          “I’m not used to talking about my problems…or asking for help.” I didn’t know where to start. Because I can’t come right out and say oh hey I’m having sex dreams and other feelings about Regina. What does this mean? “But…I can’t seem to get something off my mind.”

          “What is it?” He started to reach for a pen and paper but I stopped him.

          “Can this please be off the record?” He looked at me confused but then agreed. “Where should I start?”

          “Why not start with what happened when you went to our world? How did that affect you?” How did he know that’s where this all started?

          “It was interesting to say the least. But the thing that I can’t stop thinking about started to happen after I stopped Cora from getting through the portal.”

          “Alright. What happened with Cora and then when you got back here?” I could feel my guard still being up and not being able to relax.

          “We fought each other and when she tried to rip my heart out it didn’t happen. But everything that I’d done until then and everyone who I met flashed before my eyes. I didn’t think about it much right off but a few things stuck out.” I was getting nervous and needed something to fiddle with to calm them but nothing small was around.

          “What were those things?”

          “Henry and…someone else.” Damn; I about said Regina. Beating around the bush isn’t one of my strong points.

          “Who was the other person?” Dr. Hopper shifted in his seat. Apparently I have his attention. I bit my lip and looked away. “Was it Regina?”

          “No!” How the fuck did he guess it? Damn it. He knew I lied. “Yes.” I sighed and bowed my head. He didn’t say anything so I finally looked back up. “What?”

          “Nothing.” He wasn’t lying. “Why do you think Henry and Regina stood out in all this?”

          “I don’t know. That’s why I came here. They’ve stayed on my mind ever since then.” He studied me a moment before responding.

          “Is it Henry and Regina or just one of them?” How can he read me like this? No one has ever done this before. I feel almost violated. I opened my mouth but nothing would come out. “What do you think about Regina and her trying to change?” What is he trying to pull? He’s up to something I know it.

          “I think she’s really trying to change. Henry filled me in on everything that happened here while I was gone. She’s trying to change to be a better person and to show him that she really does love him.” I paused a moment. “She seems to be doing a good job so far.”

          “Where do you see this? How she’s changed I mean.” Now who’s beating around the bush? Before I could answer him my phone rang.

          “It’s Henry, can I answer it?” He gave me a nod. “Hey kid, what’s up?” He doesn’t seem mad that I left him at Regina’s last night. That’s good. “Yeah you were asleep so we agreed it’d be better to not wake you.” I could tell Dr. Hopper was listening. “It was a nice night. Do you want to just stay with Regina a few nights? If you do that’s fine with me.” Oh damn. Hopper’s going to ask about this I know it. “Alright. Do you need anything from my place? I can bring it by.” Oh geez…am I making excuses to go see her? “Okay I’ll bring it by tonight. Bye.” I hung up and could feel Dr. Hopper’s eyes burning into me.

          “Henry’s with Regina?” He shifted in his seat again.

          “Regina and I came up with a plan to share Henry so he can spend time with us both. I think if she can show him that she’s changing he will want to spend more time with her. And if Regina gets to see Henry that will make her want to be a better person. It’s a win/win situation. And Henry said it was alright with him to spend a week with me and a week with her.” What I said mulled over in his head and he thought about it.

          “So, you and Regina get along now? And what was that about leaving him there last night?” Yup. There he goes asking me about it. I give up. I’ll tell him about last night.

          “Yeah. We get along now. We, Henry and I, had dinner over at her place last night and pitched the idea to Henry and he agreed. And we all just had a great time together. No fighting or magic.” Dr. Hopper chuckled at the ‘or magic’ part. That put me a little at ease. It feels good getting some of this off my chest.

          “Well that’s good. I’m glad you all had a good time. Are you going to do that again?” I want to. I want to see her again.

          “I want to.” I regretted the words instantly. “I mean, it would be nice.” Dr. Hopper was quiet a moment and that bothered me. “What?”

          “This maybe out of line but I need to ask, do you have feelings for Regina?” I felt the blood drain from my face.

          “Nnnnooo. Why?” Fuck I’ve been caught. Now I know how all the people I got their bounty felt.

          “Well, just the way you talk about her and she is the adoptive Mother of your child. It’s natural to have some connection or feeling towards her. Especially if the two of you get along.” I know there’s a deeper meaning to that. I just know it.

          “Right. Well I need to go grab some stuff for Henry and take it to him.” I got up and put my jacket on. “How much do I owe you?”

          “It’s on the house Emma.” He stood and opened the door. “If you ever need to talk about this or anything else again, just let me know.”

          “Thanks Doc. I appreciate it.” With that I went out the door and back to my place. I grabbed what Henry wanted and headed to Regina’s. I was kind of happy to go see her again. I just hope tonight was as nice as last night. After I got there with each step closer to her door I could feel the butterflies in my stomach. I knocked and waited. When I heard the familiar set of high heels on wooden floor I smiled. Finally the door opened revealing a slightly shocked Regina.

          “Hello Miss. Swan. Can I help you?” Did Henry not tell her I was coming?

          “I brought by some stuff Henry wanted since he’s staying here a few days. Did he not tell you?” I held up the bag of stuff I brought for Henry.

          “I don’t believe he did. Come in.” I walked passed her and was met with the smell of a roast. “I was just cooking dinner. Would you like to stay?” Yes! Yes I would love to.

          “Sure. Is there anything I can help you with?” I placed the bag of stuff on the couch and followed Regina to the kitchen.

          “I don’t believe so. I was just pouring Henry and me something to drink. Here, you can set you a place at the table.” She handed me a plate and silverware.

          “Thank you.” I guess Henry heard me because he was coming down the stairs.

          “Hey Emma. How are you?” He came up and hugged me like always.

          “Hey kid. So I see you didn’t tell Regina I was coming.” I was glad Regina didn’t flinch when Henry hugged me like she used to. It shows that all this may really work out.

          “Oh I thought I did.” He walked towards Regina. “How’s dinner coming along?”

          “It’s about ready so I’d go clean up.” The smile on Regina’s face brought warmth to my heart. Henry walked by me to go clean up. “It seems Henry is warming up to me now that he can see that I’m trying really hard to change. It’s hard, that’s for sure. But if it means I get to see my son then it’s worth it.” I helped Regina take the food to the table and sat down in the same spot as last night. It would be nice for this to be a weekly thing, or nightly thing. What am I thinking? This could never happen nightly.

          “This is awesome Regina. I didn’t know you could cook so well.” The roast was so moist and tasted wonderful. I tried my hardest not to shovel it in like a barbarian.

          “Why thank you Miss. Swan. I had it in the crock pot all day. I baked a cake and will frost it once we are done with dinner.” I’m glad she didn’t make her famous apple turnovers. I’m not sure I’d eat them considering what happened last time.

          “What kind of cake? If you need I can help you frost it.” Oh God…Regina and frosting… I need to stop thinking like this.

          “Red Velvet. It’s odd; I like the cake but not the ice cream.” For some reason I thought the look on her face was adorable and chuckled. “What?”

          “Nothing. That is slightly odd.” Damn it I feel like a little school girl near her crush. What the hell Emma? “But the cake is better than the ice cream. Especially if it’s made right.”

          “Oh. Do you bake?” It sounds like a sarcastic reply but I knew she didn’t mean it like that.

          “I know a little. Not much though. I’m not good at baking or cooking by any means; especially if you compare it to this.” I’m not trying to sound like a brown noser but I’m just being honest. We continued to chat about our days but I left out the part of me seeing Doctor Hopper. That’s the last thing I need them to know about. Once we were done I helped Regina clean the table and kitchen while she frosted her cake. While I loaded the dishwasher I couldn’t help but steal glances at Regina since her back was to me. My thoughts were broken when I heard something humming. When I looked up I realized it was Regina. I had never heard her do that before.

          She turned around and I think she caught me looking at her. “Well the cake is frosted so all we have to do now is let it sit for about an hour. Then it will be ready to eat.” If she did catch me she didn’t say anything about it; thankfully.

          “Can’t wait. Is it your favorite along with Henry’s or..” I leaned against the counter as Regina walked to the sink. I about died when she ran her finger along the butter knife and then popped a frosting covered finger between her lips. I could only imagine the fun that finger was having.

          “It’s my favorite cake but not my favorite desert.” What is your favorite desert…I can probably tell you mine. Bad Emma! Stop thinking that way! Damn it! It was hard keeping my cool with the inner battle that kept going on in my head. “You want to ask something. I can tell.” Oh fuck. Think quick!

          “How are you and Henry getting along?” Keep your cool Emma. You can do this. Just don’t think about…damn it.

          “Things are going well. Would you like a glass of wine? I’ve had a bottle chilling in the fridge for a few days but don’t want to drink it all by myself. And I don’t believe in leaving any leftover. It doesn’t seem fresh the next time you drink it.” She thinks the same way I do.

          “Love some.” Regina took down two glasses and went to the fridge. “Oh that’s a great one; especially since it’s only ten dollars a bottle. I may not know much about baking but I do know my wines.” Regina seemed intrigued.

          “Well you’re just full of surprises aren’t you Miss. Swan?” She handed me a glass and I couldn’t help but remember the last time she handed me a drink like this.

          “I have my moments. Cheers.” I held my glass towards Regina in hopes she wouldn’t leave me there looking like an idiot.

          “Cheers. To Henry and becoming a better person.” We clicked our glasses and took a sip.

          “I can drink to that. Shall we?” I motioned my hand towards the living room where Henry was. Regina followed and for some reason I could feel her eyes watching my every move. “Hey kiddo, what are you watching?”

          “Just flipping through the channels. Hey Mom, can we finish up that second disk of Fringe?” Regina smiled down at him.

          “Sure. The cake should be done sitting by the time one episode is done so then we can cut it.” Henry popped in the DVD and took a seat between us on the couch. “We didn’t get to watch any further than last night so you haven’t missed any Miss. Swan.” The episode seemed to rush by. Regina cut us all some cake and we ate it while the last episode played. When the disk was done it was about 9:45. “Henry, go brush your teeth and get ready for bed. You’ve got school tomorrow.” I helped take the dishes to the kitchen. I couldn’t help but think it was almost getting to be my job loading the dishwasher.

          “How’s your back Regina?” She looked up after turning it on and leaning against the counter.

          “It’s doing well. Thank you for that and everything else you’ve done while you’re here.” She looked over to the stairs a moment. “Henry really seems to like the three of us hanging out together. He gets to spend time with both of his mothers at once. And I think he likes us not hating each other.” Did she just acknowledge me as his mother? Does she enjoy spending time together? If it stays nice like this I do.

          “We could make this a weekly thing? If you would like.” Oh please don’t think I’m a freak for that. Regina cocked an eyebrow and that knot in my stomach got tighter.

“That would be nice.” She chuckled. “Though I don’t think your parents would like having me in their house.” My parents…damn.

          “Oh yeah. That’s true.” I bit my lip and looked out the window trying to think of what we could do.

          “Hey Mom! I’m in bed!” Regina and I looked towards where Henry’s voice came from.

          “Well I guess I better head out.” I gave Regina a sad smile and headed towards the door.

          “You can come tuck him in with me if you’d like.” I stopped and turned back. Was that a longing voice?

          “Alright.” I grabbed the bag I brought and followed Regina up the stairs and to Henry’s room. “Hey kiddo.” Regina and I went to Henry’s bed. She tucked him in and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. Seeing how caring and tender this was made my heart swell with warmth.

          “Goodnight Henry. I love you.” She stood from the bed and walked towards the door. I walked to where Regina had stood.

          “Night kid. Be good and I‘ll see you later.” I kissed him on the head and went to stand by Regina.

          “Night.” With that Regina switched off the lights and cracked the door. Regina followed me down the stairs and to the door.

          “Well good night Regina.” I slipped into my jacket and zipped it.

          “Good night Miss. Swan.” She opened the door and stood to the side. I walked out but turned before she closed the door completely.

          “You can call me Emma you know. Or at least when we’re not in public.” Regina thought about it a moment.

          “We shall see.” I gave a nod and walked to my car. On the way home I wondered how I could talk Marry Margret and David into letting me have Regina and Henry over for dinner. There was something different about Regina tonight. She acknowledged me as Henry’s mom, how we talked was different, and how she allowed me to come with her to tuck him in was odd. It was odd but in a good way. I’m probably just over thinking this. It was a little after ten when I walked through the door and no sight of David or Marry Margret.

          “OH CHARMING!” The blood drained from my face. “OH CHARMING!” With that I turned and basically ran to my car. Oh my God they were having sex. I think I’m going to puke. I sped to Granny’s to rent a room like I did when I first came to Storybrooke. When I entered and rang the bell it took a few minutes before Granny came to the counter.

          “Emma are you alright? You look faint.” I braced myself on the counter before answering.

          “I may get sick but can I rent a room for the night?” I can’t believe I walked in on that.

          “Sure but why can’t you go home?” I shrugged trying not to think about it.

          “Let’s just say they are having private time and didn’t leave a note or tie on the door.” It took a moment for it to sink in.

          “Oh goodness. Yes here’s a room key dear. On the house.”

          “Thanks.” I took the key and headed to the room. Ironically, it was the same room as I had the last time I was here. I washed my face and headed to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep right away. All that went through my mind was Regina and my parents.


          The next day went by relatively fast and once I got home I decided to wait for my parents like they did me. The door opened at exactly 5:30 and was met by David and Marry Margaret. “Hello there,” I folded my arms, “we need to talk.”

          “Okay.” After they hung their coats they took a seat at the table. “What do you want to talk about?” Marry Margaret folded her arms on the table.

          “We’re having Regina and Henry over for dinner next week.” They were quiet. “And both of you will be respectful and civil towards her while Henry is around. Got it?” They were still quiet. The shock of me saying Regina is coming over must have made them speechless. “Oh and next time the two of you decide to have sex…tell me to not come home. It’s better than walking through the front door and hearing your mother scream ‘oh Charming’ really loud.” Marry Margret got wide-eyed and turned beat red and so did David.

          “Why do you want to have her over here?” David was the first to get his speech back.

          “Because Regina and I decided it would be good for Henry to spend time with both of his Moms at once since we’re getting along. He really enjoys having us all hang out.” I watched this going over in their heads.

          “Emma, Regina tried to kill…”

          “Look, I know she’s done some really shitty things in the past but so has everyone else in the world. Some not as bad as others but there’s nothing anyone can do about it now but move on and forgive. She tried to kill me too by the way. Twice.” I felt bad for cutting my Mom off but I had to make my point clear. They looked at each other for a moment then back at me.

          “Okay. We can have her over next week.”


          The next week was mine to have Henry so Regina came to my place for dinner. David and Marry Margret ended up not staying so it would just be the three of us. Since I can’t cook I just ordered a pizza. About seven is when I heard a knock on the door. Before I opened the door I made sure I looked presentable. “Hey guys, how are you?” Regina looked great as always.

          “I’m good.” When Regina walked passed me I got a whiff of her perfume. It smelled like…cinnamon and apples. “I see your parents are nowhere to be found?” There was a little pain in her voice. “But I did bring a desert for us.” The fact that they wouldn’t stay did irritate me a little because we’re doing this for Henry.

          “Well if this desert is anything like your other one it’s their loss. Did you bring the DVDs?” I think it’s become a routine that we all have dinner then watch episodes of Fringe together. There’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

          I’m going to clean up and get ready for dinner.” He headed towards the bathroom.

          “Yes I brought them.” She placed the box set on the counter. “What are we having tonight if you don’t mind my asking?” How is it she still looks awesome even in a dressy casual outfit? “Miss. Swan?”

          “Sorry. Uhm…” Before I could answer the doorbell rang. “Pizza. You know I can’t cook.” I tipped the delivery guy and placed the pizza on the table. “Mind helping me set the table?”

          “Sure.” We set the table and once I poured drinks Henry came out of the bathroom.

          “Oh yum!” We took our seats and I served the pizza. It could just be that I’ve never seen Regina eat anything without a fork and knife but it was funny seeing her try to eat a meat lover’s pizza and keep clean.

          “Regina, there’s no way to eat a meat lover’s pizza and not get it almost everywhere.” No sooner did I finish that sentence did a piece of sausage fall between her cleavage. I had to laugh at the look on her face and so did Henry.

          “Shut up you two.” The joking glair she gave made us laugh even harder. We finished the pizza and I cleaned up while Regina went to fish the sausage out of her shirt.

          “Uhg. I’m too full to eat anything else right now. How about we start the next DVD and once the pizza settles we can eat desert? If you’re for that, say I.” Both Henry and Regina said ‘I’ so we piled up on the couch. It dawned on me when we walked into the living room that there was just a small love seat for a couch. That meant Regina and I would be sitting side by side and Henry on one of our laps. Can I sit that close to her and keep my cool? And I had an odd feeling that Regina was hesitant also but she wouldn’t show it. We sat down as Henry put the DVD in but the couch was so small we were literally side by side.

          I tried moving my arm and found that the only comfortable way to have it was laid on the back of the couch. This though had my arm slightly touching across Regina’s shoulders. Heaven forbid she moved any because it would make her arm brush my boob and I think I’d die. Even the thought of it made my stomach start to knot up. “Alright, here we go.” Henry took a seat on Regina’s lap and stretched his legs out over my lap trapping us both. Did this kid have other motives? Nah, he’s only ten. Neither I nor Regina moved unless it was absolutely needed. Though, as the episodes went by the awkward tension between us faded a little. By the third episode we decided to have some desert.

          “And she does it again.” Regina looked at me with a cocked eyebrow. “Your desert is fantastic. Are the apples in the pie from your tree?”

          “Yes, they are. I’m glad you like it. How do you like it Henry?” He didn’t answer; he just shoveled the pie into his mouth. “I’ll take that as you like it.” For some reason seeing us all like this made me the happiest I had ever been. What is this feeling of warmth in me? I’ve never been this happy before. “Well shall we finish the last episode on this disk? Then I have to head home.”

          “Aww. But it’s Friday. I don’t have school tomorrow. Please Mom. Can’t you stay longer than one more episode?” I could see Regina’s resolve lessoning by the second.

          “Hey Henry, let’s see how this last episode goes and then we’ll figure something out. Okay? Because me and your Mom have work tomorrow.” Henry shrugged but finally agreed. We all took our place back on the couch. When I placed my arm on the back of the couch there wasn’t that tension between Regina and I anymore.

          Right as the episode ended we heard the front door unlock. Neither Regina nor I could move because Henry had us pinned. When Marry Margret and David entered and saw us the awkward tension came back full force. I can only imagine how bad this looks right now; their daughter sitting on a love seat up close and personal with their enemy. No one said anything. I had to break the silence. “Hey guys. Uh…How are you?”

          “Grandma, Gramps how are you?” Henry hopped off Regina’s lap and went to greet them. Regina and I stood and turned towards them as they hugged Henry. I glanced at Regina and she must’ve been thinking the same because she glanced at me too. There was what seemed like a nervous fear in her eyes.

          “We’re good. How’s your night been?” Marry Margaret was the one to finally answer. David didn’t move. “Regina.”

          “It was good. We’re having a great time.” I could tell that warmed Regina’s heart hearing her son say that.

          “Marry Margaret. David.” She looked down to Henry. “Well I better head home. I don’t want to over stay my welcome.” When she headed towards the door they moved quickly to the kitchen. “Goodnight Henry. Oh Emma, you can keep the rest of the pie and bring the pan by anytime. Goodnight.” With that she walked out the door in a hurry. I looked at the coat rack and saw she left hers so I grabbed it and went out the door.

          “Regina, wait a second.” She stopped before getting in the car.

          “You forgot this.” I handed her the jacket and she slipped it on.

          “Thank you. I’ll take it they weren’t too keen on the idea of me coming over in the first place.” I sighed and ran my hand through my hair.

          “Yeah they weren’t but I told them it was for Henry so they said they’d leave for awhile.” I fell quiet a moment; unsure of what to say. “I had fun tonight. It seems we always do.”

          “It seems we do. I know it will take time for them to see that I’m trying to change. I just wish they’d give me a chance to prove it like you did.” She looked away and I could see a sadness come over her. “I know I’ve wronged them in the past and vise versa. I’ve wronged a lot of people…well, everyone in this town, but I’m trying to make up for it. I’m not asking for forgiveness because what I’ve done is unforgiveable but…”

          “We’ll figure something out.” She looked back at me curiously. “I mean…I don’t know. Some of them may come around eventually. From what I’ve seen, you are trying very hard and you have changed. Even though you’ve tried to kill me twice, before a few weeks ago weren’t the nicest person towards me and everything else…I think I’m on the way to being able to forgive you.” She was really surprised about that.

          “Y-you are? And I’m sorry about all that.” The look on her face made me laugh. There’s that joking glair again. “Well, thank you. It’s late and I better get home. Goodnight Emma.” She got in her car and before she could close it I grabbed the door.

          “It’s better than Miss. Swan isn’t it?” She looked up at me confused. “You called me Emma not Miss. Swan.”

          “Oh I did. Yes I guess it is.” I smiled and closed the door. I stood there and watched as she drove off. Oh this will be fun explaining. I could see the outline of my parents watching me. As I walked back to the door I could only imagine how this conversation will go. When I walked in Henry was nowhere to be found but Marry Margaret and David were on the couch.

          “What’s that look for? And where’s Henry?” I kept my eyes on them as I closed the door.

          “Have a seat Emma.” Oh no; they are not pulling this on me now! No way! I took a seat on the opposite side of the room. “He’s in bed asleep. What was that about?” David’s voice was slightly condescending.

          “What was what about?” If he’s going to talk down to me I’ll be a smartass. Great plan Emma. Act like a teenager.

          “You know exactly what I’m talking about. Why were you all cozy on the couch with Regina? What were you doing?” Marry Margaret just sat watching the argument unfold between David and I.

          “It was the only place to sit and see the TV. Nothing was going on.” I wish there was though. Bad Emma! “We ate pizza, watched TV, ate desert, and watched more TV. That’s it.” I could feel myself getting defensive and wanting to defend Regina. Wow…I had never wanted to do that before.

          “Fine.” They both watched me for a moment before I finally stood.

          “I’m going to put the rest of the apple pie in a container, wash Regina’s pan, and then go to bed.” I walked to the kitchen and started putting the pie in a container. I could feel their eyes watching me with every move I made. While I transferred the food I couldn’t help but remember what fun we all had. Though, the fright that I saw in Regina’s eyes when they showed up stuck with me. Then she called me by my name like it was nothing at all and she didn’t even realize it. Why do I want to help her out so much? Why did I say ‘we’ll figure something out’ like we were a team? I need to just go to bed and sleep this off.


          The next day on my lunch break I went by the mayor’s office and for some reason I had thought of a way to maybe show the town Regina has changed. I lightly knocked on the wooden door. “Come in.” Her husky assertive voice made chills run up my spine. I peaked my head around the door. “Oh, hello Miss. Swan. How may I help you?”

          “Can I run something by you?” She put down her papers as I walked in.

          “Sure. Please close the door.” After closing the door I took a seat on the other side of her oak desk. As soon as I sat my dream from a few weeks ago flashed before my eyes. “Miss. Swan.” I jumped.

          “I may have a way to show people you’ve changed.” She leaned towards me.

          “Not here. Come to my place later. I can’t believe I’m saying this but…let Henry have some time with his grandparents so we can talk in private.” The look on Regina’s face when she said that was hilarious.

          “Okay. He can have a night to be spoiled by his grandparents and we can chat. Oh and I have your pie pan.” I placed it on her desk and she looked a little surprised. “Don’t worry. We didn’t eat it all yet. I put it in a container in the fridge. Luckily though, Marry Margaret and David won’t touch it.” I couldn’t help but chuckle. “More for Henry and me.” She smiled.

          That night I left Henry with Marry Margaret and David to be spoiled like the grandchild he is. He will enjoy it and I’ll enjoy spending some time with Regina alone. Not like I think anything could possibly happen but it will be nice to talk semi-freely. “Hello Emma.” She opened the door and invited me in. “I have some coffee brewing if you’d like a cup.”

          “I’d love a cup thanks.” I hung my leather jacket on the coat rack and followed her to the kitchen.

          “So what’s this plan of yours?” She poured me a cup and passed me the creamer. “We can take it to the den.”

          “Well, Christmas is in a few weeks and what better way to show the people of Storybrooke that you’ve changed then by hosting a Christmas party? We could see if Granny would let you have it at the diner or we could have it here.” Regina sipped her coffee and relaxed in her seat.

          “You say this like you’d be helping me throw this party yet you want it to look like I’ve done all the work. Why?” Damn, I have been saying we haven’t I?

          “I don’t know why I want to help you Regina. You would have to do all the face work and I could work behind the scenes.” I took a long sip of coffee. Regina studied me like she was trying to read my thoughts. I’m guessing she’s trying to figure out if I’m setting her up to fail; which I’m not.

          “I would love to do that but I will need your help. Obviously I’m not the most liked person in town so I’m sure they wouldn’t be very open to coming. I’ll ask Granny tomorrow if I can host a party there and then if she says yes, I can get to figuring out invites and what to cook. Especially what to cook since we both know you can’t.” The joking tone in her voice made me laugh and glad to help her. I could tell Regina was kind of excited about my idea.

          “Yes you could do all of that and I could type up the invites and send them out for you. I can also decorate and…”

          “If we’re having this at Granny’s you can’t help decorate. They will know it wasn’t all your doing if you do.” Oh yeah.

          “I can show up when you ask Granny about the party and I could volunteer to help decorate.” I believe Regina was quite surprised by my quick thinking. “You just have to tell me about when you’re going to ask and I can either show up before or right after you show up.” Regina thought a moment.

          “How’s about tomorrow? About noonish? You can have lunch with Henry and I can show up to get a cup of coffee and ask Granny.” She fell silent and looked down at the floor. Before I knew it I had moved beside her and placed a reassuring hand on her arm.

          “You can do this Regina. I have no doubt you can. Look at what all you’ve done so far…the good things I mean. Yes, it will be an uphill battle but I’ll be here every step of the way.” Regina looked up and into my eyes. Those chocolate brown eyes were longing for something. They glistened with emotion.

          “Why do you believe in me so much? You used to hate me before you went to my land and fought my mother.” Her voice was quiet and shaky. I looked down at my hand because I needed to look away from those eyes before I did something I would regret.

          “I don’t know. I just do for some reason.” I took my hand away and leaned back on the couch. “Your mother is a real piece of work though. But I see where you get your determination from. You just need to steer that in the right direction and go with it.” Regina cleared her throat and picked up her mug.

          “Thank you Emma. Another cup of coffee?” She stood and picked my mug up as well. I smiled and stood.

          “Sure. Then I better get home before they send the Calvary after me. Knowing my father he probably would.” Regina chuckled as we walked back to the kitchen.


          I didn’t tell Henry about my plan to help Regina. I’m sure he’d figure it out himself. We showed up at the diner about noon and ordered some food. Not long after I saw Regina pull up in her car. When she walked in I could tell she was nervous. I wanted to reassure her but we couldn’t let anyone know we were doing this together. There was heaviness in the air after she entered. When she walked in my direction I caught her glance and I believe the fact I was here helped her. “What’s Mom doing here?”

          “I don’t know.” Henry and I watched as her as she went to talk to Granny.

          “Hey, how are you?” Her voice was light. Granny stopped and stared a moment.

          “I’m fine. How can I help you?” Granny was harsh like she always was towards Regina.

          “A cup of coffee would be nice and a big favor.” Regina sat at the bar not far away from Henry and me and waited for her coffee.

          “What’s this favor you’re wanting?” Granny poured a large cup of coffee.

          “Would it be possible if I hosted a Christmas party for everyone here in a few weeks? I’ll do all the cooking, sending invites, decorating, ect. All you have to do is say yes.” Granny was quiet and so was the rest of the diner. I could feel Regina’s confidence fade fast and I had to do something.

          “Hey Granny, can I get a refill?” I leaned on the counter not far from Regina. “So what’s this about a party?” Regina looked at me like I was an idiot.

          “Regina here wants to throw a Christmas party for everyone in the town and use the diner. What do you think?” I took a sip of my drink and ‘thought’ a moment.

          “Why not? We need some fun around here and a party will do the trick. If Regina’s cooking and sending invites I can help decorate.” Now Granny was looking at me like I was nuts. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me.

          “Well alright then. Regina, I guess you have the diner for a night. Tell me when you are planning to use it and Emma can decorate.” Regina gave Granny one of her award winning smiles and picked up her cup.

          “Thank you.” Regina turned towards me. “Miss. Swan, thank you for volunteering to decorate. It will help me quite a bit. Cooking for a whole town and invites will be quite a lot of work.”

          “You’re welcome. I enjoy decorating.”


          The next week instead of Henry, Regina, and I eating dinner and watching Fringe, we ate and started plans for the party. “Okay so this is everyone you want to send invites to?” Henry wrote down everyone’s name and showed it to Regina.

          “Yes that’s everyone. Since that’s so many people, why don’t we split the list between the three of us? I’ll take all these, Emma can have all these and you can have the rest.” I think the three of us working on this together was good for us. I could tell Regina and Henry were enjoying themselves.

          “Okay I’ll get started typing up the addresses.” Henry pulled out Regina’s laptop and started typing out the mailing addresses.

          “So how do you want to decorate the diner?” I folded my arms and waited for Regina to lead the way.

          “I think something between warm and cozy. What do you think? I want it to look like I put thought into it but I’m not over doing it.” I thought a minute and then grabbed a pen and paper. I moved closer to Regina.

          “So something like this?” I sketched out the main places in the diner and what kind of lights and decorations we could use. Regina nodded and agreed and put in her thoughts and ideas as I drew.

          “Well wait, let’s do this.” She took the pen from me but before drawing placed it to her lips in thought. Oh that lucky pen. Emma! No! Bad Emma! “How’s about having the lights drape down like this near the bar?”

          “That looks great. I can go get the decorations we need tomorrow and bring them here. What all do we need?” Regina sat back a moment probably going through what all she had of decorations in her mind.

          “Let me write all of it down. I have a lot of lights in the shed so we won’t need much. Maybe a few ornaments and that’s it. We’ll need paper plates and stuff for the food also. When it comes to what I’ll need to cook, I’ll get that closer to time.” I could tell Regina was excited and enjoying herself. Every time she stopped to think she’d put the pen to her lips and I could feel myself envying it even more.

When Henry got done typing his portion of the addresses, I did mine and then Regina did hers. Regina had printed out some actual invites and signed each of them. After the addresses were printed we started putting the invites in envelopes and got them ready to send. It was getting late and Henry kept yawning bigger and bigger. “I think someone’s ready to crash.” I lightly elbowed Henry and he just yawned again. “Yup. He’s about to crash.”

“Yeah but I want to help finish all this up.” Regina and I laughed. Henry could barely keep his eyes open.

“Well thanks to you and Emma it’s basically all done. I’ll drop these by the post office tomorrow…” She glanced at a clock. “Today, and Emma is going to get the decorations and that’s it for now. I’ll get the plates and everything else the week of the party.” With a yawn Henry said okay and went up the stairs to bed. “We’ll be up shortly to tuck you in.” She said ‘we’ll.’ I don’t know why that brought such warmth to my heart.


The day of the party, Henry and I went to the diner and started to decorate. Everything went well and people started to show up early. Some brought their own dishes or finger food. As I was hanging the last string of lights my phone went off. “Hey what’s wrong? It’s getting dangerously close to go time and people have started to show up.”

“Oh shit. Really? The lasagna is taking longer than normal and thankfully the cake didn’t fall.” She sounded frantic. “Could you come help me get stuff to the car and get it there? Please. The front door is unlocked so just come on in.” She said the magic word. Granted I would’ve helped her even if she didn’t say please.

“Yeah I’ll be right there.” I hung up my phone. “Hey Ruby can I barrow your bike for a bit?” She agreed and I was out the door. It wasn’t a long bike ride. I was surprised when I walked in Regina’s door. She didn’t tell me she had decorated for Christmas. “Oh wow Regina. You didn’t tell me you decorated your house. It looks amazing.” I walked in awe into the kitchen where I heard a frantic Regina running around.

“Yes I put up a tree and decorated with Henry.” She leaned up from the oven and ran her fingers through her hair. For some reason all the holiday spirit brought a big smile to my face. “I’ll show you later on after the party. We need to get this stuff to the diner now.” She was so worried about being late for the party we planned it was adorable.

“Alright calm down. We’ll get the stuff there safe and sound. Well maybe not the cake…” She glared when I acted like I was going to swipe my finger across the frosting; which only made me laugh more.

“Emma Swan don’t you dare touch that cake.” Oh God I can’t help it…I have to…

“Or what? What would you do Miss. Madame Mayor if I did?” I knew I had the biggest and cockiest grin on my face and I loved it. She authoritatively walked towards me with her hands on her hips and a twinkle in her eye and got rather close. That strut was killing me.

“Don’t underestimate me Miss. Swan because you have no idea what I’m capable of.” We’re both trying our hardest to keep a straight face but I’m about to lose it.

“Now where have I heard that before?” With that we both burst out in fits of laughter. “Okay, okay. Enough fooling around. Let’s get this stuff to the diner and show everyone how much you’ve changed.” Regina agreed and we headed to the car. It didn’t take us very long to get to the diner because apparently Regina has a led foot when necessary. “You know, I’m still the sheriff, I should give you a speeding ticket for this.” Regina chuckled.

“Sorry I’m late. My lasagna took longer than expected.” Regina walked through the door and held it open for me with her foot. We placed all the food on the bar and drinks on a separate table. “Before we all eat, I’d like to make a toast.” She stood on a chair. I stayed close in case she fell. I’d be able to catch her. “Thank you all for coming to my Christmas party. I know I’ve not been the nicest person to you all but I’m trying to change. If you’ll give me the chance I’d like to try and redeem myself. I know what I’ve done is unforgivable but I’d like to at least get to a place where we can be civil. Thank you Granny for letting me use the diner tonight. Henry for giving me a chance to prove myself to you…and Miss. Swan,” she looked down at me and held my gaze. “Thank you for everything you’ve done the past couple months.” She turned back to the crowd of people. “Now let’s eat!” Everyone clapped and made a line for food. I took Regina’s hand and helped her off the chair. Regina served the lasagna and I poured the drinks. The smile on her face was genuine and I couldn’t help but realize how beautiful it looked on her.

“Emma. Earth to Emma.” Dr. Hopper tapped me on the head a few times to get my attention.

“What? Sorry. Tea, water, or soda?” He chuckled at my reaction.

“I’ll take tea. So I see you’ve figured out what those feelings were we talked about huh?” I felt the blood drain from my face. I knew no one could hear us but I tried not to think about it. I just looked at him without a word. “Emma, it’s okay. It happens. We can’t chose who we fall for.” I nodded and he walked off so I could pour the next drink. When everyone got their food and drink I saw Regina sitting at a booth slightly away from everyone else.

“This seat taken?” Regina looked up pitifully.

“No. It’s empty.” She sighed heavily. “I knew that me doing all this and what I said wouldn’t change peoples’ minds about me right away but I was at least hoping for something. Henry has been going back and forth between my table and your parents’ table but it’s not the same as having someone not split between tables.” The sadness in her voice was breaking my heart.

“Well you have me.” She looked up and I bit my tongue. I meant it in the way it came out but then I don’t know if she wanted it to mean how I meant it. “That and I want to stay as close to the Red Velvet cake as possible.” She cheered up a little with that last comment.

“Thank you Emma for everything.” She looked past me for a moment. “Why is Dr. Hopper looking at us like that?” I quickly looked behind me and glared at him.

“I don’t know. Don’t pay attention to him.” I could feel my cheeks heat up a little. The Red Velvet cake was a hit and there wasn’t a crumb of it left. “Dang, not a bite left. I knew I should’ve stolen half of it when we were at your place.” Regina chuckled at my sorrow over the delicious cake.

“I made another dear. It is in the fridge.” I perked up quickly. “I knew this one would be gone so I made another for you.” I’m glad no one else was here while we cleaned up. Granny gave me the keys to lock up so it was only Regina and I. Henry went home with Marry Margaret and David. There was a comfortableness between us.

“Thank you. I appreciate that.” I quickly looked around the diner to see everything had been put back into place. “Well after I throw the trash out back I think we’re good to go.” As I grabbed the bags of trash Regina got the door. “Thanks.” She went out to the car and I threw the bags in the dumpster. “Shall we?” With that we headed back to her place.

When we walked in I hung my jacket where I normally did. “So would you like to see the decorations?” I stretched trying to wake myself up and fight the food coma I was so close to giving into.

“Yeah. Because if I don’t move around I’m done for.” I followed Regina into the living room. There was a tree that stood almost to the ceiling, covered in ornaments and lights. It was remarkable. “Wow, you and Henry did this?” I looked closer at one of the ornaments that stuck out.

“It was a gift from my father.” She walked next to me. “Before…before he passed. He gave it to me our last Christmas together and I cherish it like I do his memory.” As she looked at the ornament her voice was low and quiet. “This one,” she pointed to another a few branches up, “this was the first one I gave to Henry on our first Christmas together. I get him one each year.” The glow from the lights and fireplace danced on Regina’s beautiful face as she told me the story behind each ornament.

“I never had a real family,” Regina opened her mouth but I told her to stop. “So I never got to have traditions like that. I hope that one day I’ll have a family and be able to do something like this.” I could feel her gaze as I looked at the ornament in her hands. There was silence between us but Regina wanted to say something.

“If you’d like, you can join Henry and I in ours. You are his mother.” I looked into her face and saw the sincerity in her eyes. In that moment it was totally clear to me. Everything Dr. Hopper had said and everything I had been feeling since Cora latched onto my heart. I have fallen for this woman and didn’t even realize it. I never thought I’d end up falling for a woman but since Regina is her I wouldn’t want it any other way. I glanced down at her lips and then back to the chocolate eyes that I love stealing glances at and leaned in slowly.

“Regina, I love you.” With that I closed the gap between us and kissed her gently. There was no hesitation on Regina’s part. I guess she felt the same. She kissed me right back. I heard her hang the ornament back and then felt her hands rest on my hips. I tangled my fingers in her long dark hair and deepened the kiss.