Emma stops listening to Regina somewhere around mile forty.
Regina keeps talking to her anyway. (Talking might not be the correct word; speaking within the vicinity of Emma regardless of whether or not any of the information is being absorbed.) Emma's response doesn't seem to matter to her. It's a weird sort of nervous babbling that Emma hasn't ever really seen come out of Regina before. She is saying too many things, far too quickly. Her words all jumble together, and none of it is of any real importance. She doesn't even mention anything about the spell book they are currently looking for.
Emma isn't paying much attention to that either. Regina had found some old bookstore down in North Carolina that had a copy of the book they needed about selkies. Goddamn selkies. Next, the friggin' Loch Ness Monster is going to show up at the docks of Storybrooke. Emma had been itching to get out of town. Her parents had been slightly insufferable ever since she broke up with Hook a few weeks ago. There are warm beaches in North Carolina; warmer than in Maine right now for sure. So, road trip.
There was a slight bit of hesitation, considering the last road trip the two of them took together, Emma had nearly killed her only other friend in cold blood. But, she didn't bring her gun along this time. And Lily is back in Storybrooke.
So, murder is not on the table today.
Apparently, getting the book that they need is also not on the table for today. Emma stands beside Regina as she glares at the closed sign hanging across the bookstore's front door. As if she could will the store into opening just by glaring at it hard enough. Honestly, if anyone could, Regina would probably be the first person to manage it.
“We can just get a room for the night and come back first thing tomorrow morning.” Emma offers.
“You told me that their website said they were open late. It is only six-thirty.”
Emma shrugs. “Maybe they closed early tonight.”
Regina turns her glare on to Emma.
“So... room?” Emma asks.
Regina stalks back over to the bug in a huff. Emma decides to take that as a 'yes'.
They're still bickering as they walk up to the motel clerk. Emma doesn't even know what they are fighting about this time. They just fight. It's their thing apparently. She gives the elderly woman behind the desk a brief smile. “Could we have a room please?” she asks.
“Two rooms,” Regina cuts in.
“Why would we waste money on two rooms Regina?”
“So I don't have to share a room with an idiotic, childish, slob, who doesn't bother to read the hours of the store we drove hundreds of miles to get to.” Regina snaps, as if it should be obvious.
“Nice,” Emma says. “Real mature. I'm sorry that I was helping our kid with his homework when I looked up the hours, and got a little distracted. My bad. I said sorry like a hundred times already.”
“You weren't helping him with his homework,” Regina scoffs. “The two of you were reading a comic while Henry was supposed to be working.”
“How old?” The woman asks them.
Emma looks at her in confusion. “Sorry?”
“How old is your son?” she clarifies.
“Oh,” Emma smiles at her. “Fourteen.”
The woman grimaces, but laughs. “That's when mine couldn't stand to be in the same room with either my husband or myself for more than around ten minutes. If yours will still read comics with you, I'd take it while you can.”
Regina gives her a placating smile.
“Do you have any other children?” the woman asks, shuffling around to get them a room key.
“No.” Regina answers, flipping some of her growing hair out of her face. Emma kind of likes it this length. It looks good. Well, Regina always looks good. Emma shuffles her feet and stops looking at Regina's hair. “Just the one,” Regina adds.
“I've got four boys myself,” the woman says, typing away on the computer as Regina passes her a credit card. Emma smiles at the woman while Regina taps her foot impatiently. Emma shifts over and presses down lightly on Regina's foot with her own. A little small talk never killed anyone. Regina smacks her on the arm and pushes her leg away.
“Always wanted a girl,” the woman says, passing Regina back her card with a wistful smile. “But it didn't happen. Are you planning on having anymore? Boy's gotta have some siblings. Good for them.”
Emma glances between the woman and Regina, confused. Regina's cheeks are turning pink, a sign that she is either becoming furious or embarrassed. Emma can't tell which. “I... I've never really thought about having more kids,” Emma says, truthfully. Regina goes very still. Emma has no idea what is happening. “But... I don't know about Regina.” Emma doubts very much that this is information Regina deems appropriate for discussing with strangers. And, honestly, Emma really doesn't want to think about little babies that look like Robin Hood running around Regina's front lawn. Even if Roland is super cute. Something about the image makes Emma's insides go prickly, even though they have no right to.
“Well, I'd hope it would have been something you already talked about, if your boy's already fourteen. Sal and I talked about how many babies we wanted well before our wedding night.”
Emma chokes on air, and Regina goes very, very pink. “You...” Emma lets out a shaky little laugh. “We're not... marriage?”
“Well, the laws are changing!” the woman says happily. “This damn country is finally doing some things right,” she snaps her fingers. “Y'all should have a fall wedding. Sal and I got married in July and it was hotter'n hell. I sweat right through my dress. Couldn't wait to take the damn thing off, but there was just too much to it. So, I jumped right in the lake!” she laughs, and suddenly looks about twenty years younger. Despite the complete surrealness of the moment, Emma finds herself smiling along with her. “My mother nearly had a heart attack, but Sal just grinned and jumped in after me. Tux and all,” she smiles to herself, and twists the golden band around her finger fondly. “Kissed me again in front of everyone, then dunked me under. We were always doing that. Play fighting like kiddies. I fought with that man more than anyone else alive, and had the time of my life doing so.” She looks back up at them fondly. “The dress was ruined o'course. My mother never forgave me for it. But it might have been the best part about that day. Me and Sal swimming in our finest.” She shakes her head, a few tears falling from her eyes. “Look at me, blubbering and keeping you. I'm sorry. All I meant to say is summer weddings seem nice on paper, but boy are they hot. Fall, with the leaves and a little chill to cool things off, that's what y'all should do for yours.”
Emma doesn't have the heart to correct her at this point. She hopes to god Regina doesn't embarrass this poor woman.
Emma is about to grab Regina's arm and yank her away to their room when the woman steps out from behind the counter. Emma freezes as she reaches up and cups Regina's chin maternally. Regina tenses. “You, would look absolutely stunning in fall colors. Bits of orange and deep reds behind you, while your dressed up in white,” she whistles. “You'd be a damn vision. Like a queen.” Regina looks more shocked than Emma has ever seen her in her life. Please don't kill this sweet old lady. Emma urgently tries to convey to her with a look. The woman directs her attention towards Emma, but doesn't release her hold on Regina. Instead, she holds both of their hands in her own. “You make a lovely couple,” she beams.
Emma swallows and squeaks out a mumbled, “Thanks.” Itching to run into their room and escape.
Regina doesn't say a word.
“Well... we... better get going,” Emma says awkwardly. “We haven't eaten yet.”
“Oh! O'course, I'm sorry for talking y'alls ears off. There's a nice little diner about two miles back. Does a great chicken salad.”
Emma shakes the woman's hand. “Thanks, um...”
“Evelyn—Evie, I'm sorry. I didn't even introduce myself.”
“Evie,” Emma smiles. “I'm Emma, this is Regina. It was nice to meet you.”
Regina gives her a stilted nod, the barest hint of a forced smile on her face. Surprising Emma, she slips her arm around Emma's waist, pushing her slightly forward and tugging her along down the hall to their room. The minute Emma gets the door open, Regina pushes her inside and steps as far away from Emma as possible. Like she's been scalded.
“Well...” Emma runs a hand through her hair as she closes their door. “That was kinda weird. But, she's a sweet old lady huh? Jumping in the lake in a wedding dress sounds pretty funny.”
Regina only hums in response, walking into the bathroom and closing the door behind her.
Emma sighs, and walks over to the bed, flopping down onto her back. “Do you think most people think we're a couple just cause of Henry?” Emma yells at the closed door. “I mean... we're not out of Storybrooke all that much. So, everyone there knows why we're both his moms. But... I never really thought about how it sounds if you don't know the whole story.” Emma lifts her head up, the door's still closed, and she can hear the faucet running. “Do you want to get food at that diner she mentioned? I'm starving.”
Emma sighs, Regina is probably gonna be in a mood all night now. It's then that Emma sits up and realizes she is currently sitting on the only bed in the room.
“Oh, shit,” she whispers. That is only going to make things more awkward. Emma tilts her head at the chair beside the window. It doesn't look very inviting. But she is pretty sure that Regina is going to make her sleep on it tonight.
The water shuts off and the bathroom door finally opens. Emma jumps, and sits up straighter. “So, food?” she asks.
Regina stares at her for an uncomfortably long time. Emma can't make out the look in her eyes, so she just swallows awkwardly and fiddles with her hands.
“Pretty funny story though right?” she says in a slight panic. “Remember that time we were invaded by selkies, and had to take a road trip to North Carolina. Met that sweet old lady Evie who thought we were married!” Emma forces out a laugh. Regina is still staring at her. “She's right about one thing though,” Emma says softly. “You would look really good in fall colors.”
Regina's eyes flare and she lets out a small gasp before clenching her fists together.
Emma quickly backpedals. “Don't throw a fireball at me! I was saying that you'd look pretty, geez!”
“I have no magic here,” Regina reminds her, voice stilted and highly annoyed at the prospect.
“Right,” Emma mumbles, “well... still.”
The two of them fall into silence, avoiding each others gaze; quiet in that heavy way that's far louder than talking. Emma has a weird sensation in her legs. She wishes that she had time to run around the block once or twice; maybe then she wouldn’t feel as if she were about to burn up or shatter.
Regina finally moves, flipping some of her hair out of her eyes again and gritting her teeth as if preparing for a battle. “The lettuce better not be wilted,” is all she says as she moves towards the front door. Emma raises her eyebrows in confusion as Regina turns back around to her. “Are we going to eat or not?” Regina snaps at her.
Emma jumps off of the bed, stumbling a little as she goes over to Regina. “Right, yeah. The chicken salad. Lettuce. I got you.” Emma puts her hand on the small of Regina's back and she jumps, glaring at Emma. “In case Evie's still out there,” Emma explains quickly. Truthfully, she'd done it on instinct. She moves to pull her hand away, but Regina gets a hold of it. Entwining their fingers together and staring down at them with an odd look on her face.
“Just in case,” she whispers, and pulls Emma along.