A/N: Surprise! Speedy update. Thank you all for your awesome reviews. You continue to make this story such a fun and wonderful experience for me. I appreciate it so much.
I hope you all enjoy this chapter. It's a doozy. XO-Chrmdpoet
Chapter Twelve: Revelation
When Regina was finished tending to her hair, applying her makeup, and then dressing, she slipped on her heels and took one last glance in the large full-length mirror that hung in her closet. She wore a light gray dress with a circle neck and a thick black belt around the waist. Her dark locks were perfectly coiffed and settled softly around her face, and the striking black pumps she wore perfectly accentuated her toned calves.
Regina nodded at her reflection, pleased with the choices she had made. "How's this?" she asked as she stepped through the open archway of her massive walk-in closet and out into the main portion of her bedroom once more.
She was staring down at her dress as she smoothed her hands over the front of the material. However, when she received no reply to her question, Regina's head snapped up and her eyes locked onto her bed.
"Emma?" she said quietly, stepping closer to the bed where the blonde lay with Henry still atop her chest.
When she reached the bedside, Regina's heart stuttered in her chest at the sight before her. Emma was sound asleep and so was the sleeping boy lying on top of her. The blonde's chin was tucked atop Henry's head, her eyes were softly closed, and one of her arms was hooked tightly over Henry's back.
A soft smile crept across her lips, slow and unconscious; the kind of smile rarely caught on camera—genuine and quiet, like a silent secret of inexplicable bliss. Regina couldn't bring herself to move in that moment. She merely stood beside her bed and stared down at the two sleeping people settled against her sheets.
Her steady gaze roamed over the babysitter, over golden curls fanned out across her pillow, over slightly parted pale pink lips. She giggled softy as Emma's nose twitched and wriggled, tickled by the fly-away hairs on her son's head. Her gaze then landed on the darkening bruise that had expanded over nearly the entirety of Emma's forehead.
Regina's stomach lurched uncomfortably as guilt itched at her insides. She could hardly fault herself for her actions, but it certainly did little to make her feel better about the outcome. She reached forward before she could stop herself and grazed her fingertips gently over the puffy, purpled flesh.
Regina could feel the fluid beneath the bruising as it squished beneath her fingertips, the skin swollen and pliant, and it only made that uncomfortable feeling in her gut grow. Suddenly conscious of what she was doing and the possibility that she could cause the younger woman pain by pressing on the tender flesh, Regina pulled her hand quickly away. When she did, she was greeted by two, heavy-lidded but assuredly open emerald eyes.
"Oh," Regina said, the word hardly more than a whisper between her teeth. "I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?"
Emma smiled lazily at her and shook her head, her chin rubbing through Henry's messy hair, but said nothing.
Regina, feeling strangely exposed and inclined to act, quickly offered, "An ice pack, perhaps?"
Emma's forehead scrunched at that, her brows furrowing, the movement causing her to hiss in pain. "Oh," she croaked sleepily. "For my head." She laughed at herself for not having understood quicker and then nodded to the woman hovering over her. "Sure, thanks."
"Okay," Regina said, and instantly turned to leave the room. She was halted though by Emma's groggy voice calling out to her again, though quietly so as not to disturb Henry.
"Did we…me and the little man…" She seemed confused about something, her face scrunching again. "Have we been asleep this whole time? I mean, are you already back from your date?"
Regina chuckled as she made her way back over to the side of the bed and patted the blonde's arm. "No, Emma," she whispered. "I haven't left yet."
"Oh, right," Emma said through a wide and whining yawn. "Wow…guess that blow to the head really took it out of me."
Regina's expression completely crumbled at those words, and Emma quickly moved to comfort her. She shifted just a bit under Henry's little body and reached out to grab Regina's hand. She thought nothing of it as she laced her fingers through the back of Regina's and said, "Hey, hey, I didn't mean anything by that."
Regina nodded as she unconsciously squeezed Emma's fingers before pulling her hand free and turning toward the door again. "I will just go and grab that ice pack for you."
She had barely taken a step, though, when the chime of the doorbell rang through the enormous house, catching both Emma and Regina off guard. "Oh," Regina said quietly. "I suppose my date is here."
"Yup," Emma agreed, smacking her lips and slowly pushing herself up into a sitting position. She carefully shifted Henry off of her chest and settled him gently back against the sheets before rising from the bed. She smiled softly at Regina. "I'll just grab the ice pack myself."
They walked quietly down the hallway together, their shoulders occasionally brushing. Before they made it to the end of the hallway, where the path split to lead further into the house in one direction and toward the foyer in the other, Emma nudged Regina's arm with her elbow and smiled as she asked, "So, what do you think you'll get this time?"
Regina arched one perfectly sculpted brow at the blonde. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, you know," Emma drawled, her smile only growing. "Could be another dude with bowel issues."
Regina laughed softly as she realized what Emma was getting on about. "Very funny," she said, bumping Emma's elbow with her own.
"Could be a big hairy Sasquatch," Emma carried on, "or like, a guy with a lisp so bad that you can't even understand what he's saying and every time he asks you a question, he accidentally spits on you. Oh, or it could be some guy that's totally sexist or something. I'm sure that would be a quick way to piss you off. Oh, what if it's like one of those middle-aged men that still lives with his mother and talks about her all through dinner? Do you take issue with severe Momma's boys? What if Henry turns out to be one? What if your date is like a major horndog and the guy just makes lewd comments the entire time or stares at other women throughout the whole date? Would you b—"
Regina chuckled as she threw out a hand and cupped it over Emma's mouth to quiet her. "That's quite enough, dear. I will never make it out the door if you continue to plant such horrid scenarios in my mind."
Emma laughed into Regina's soft palm, and when the brunette moved her hand away once more, she leaned over and whispered, "What if it's not even a person? What if it's like an alien in a man-suit and it tries to abduct you and take you back to its mothership to probe you and implant microchips in your brain and alien baby eggs in your ut—"
Regina's palm cupped tightly over Emma's mouth again as the woman then turned full-bodied toward the blonde, laughing as she somewhat tackled Emma. She unconsciously pressed herself against the front of Emma's body, both of them wrapped up in their shared laughter—Regina's melodic and floating through the air and Emma's muffled against the heat of a soft palm.
"Hush," Regina hissed playfully at her. Neither had even realized that Emma's back was now pressed to the wall of the hallway. One of her hands was gripped around Regina's wrist, and the other was splayed across the brunette's waist. They laughed together as Regina's sparkling chocolate eyes locked onto Emma's mirthful green gems, and she asked, "Are you going to stop now?"
Emma's shoulders shook with her muted laughter as she nodded to show her surrender, and when Regina's palm dropped from her mouth, it slipped down to rest on Emma's shoulder. They continued to stare at each other, their laughter slowly fading, when the doorbell chimed loudly again, and both women practically jumped out of their skins. They shot apart like their flesh was electric and they had just zapped the hell out of one another.
They smiled awkwardly at each other as Regina pointed toward the foyer and quietly said, "I should get the door."
"Yeah," Emma agreed, nodding. "You should, and I should get that ice pack."
They lingered another moment before both women wordlessly sprang into action. Regina headed into the foyer and Emma darted quickly into the kitchen. She shot like lightning over to the freezer, yanked a small ice pack from the back, and looked it over. Considering the little bag had a dinosaur on it, Emma assumed the ice packs were for Henry in the event that he should ever hurt himself or to put in a snack box or something. Who knew? It didn't really matter, because it was getting the job done.
She let out a heavy sigh of relief as she pressed it to her forehead, her entire body humming in delight as the ice pack in that moment was like a frozen orgasm on her aching face. "Yeeeeeeesss," she hissed low in her throat before reality crashed back on her and she took off, using one hand to keep the ice pack pressed to her head.
She wanted to see Regina's date.
Emma sprinted back toward the foyer and slowed to a casual stroll so as not to appear like she was desperately trying to get a peek. She turned at the opening of the hall as if she was going to head back down to Regina's room to check on Henry, but she never actually went down the hall. Instead, she latched onto the wall with one hand to steady herself while she tilted her body back and craned her neck around so that she could just slightly see to the front door.
She could see Regina standing in the open doorway, and the woman's hand was moving as if in time to something the brunette was saying, but Emma couldn't see the person on the other side. She assumed that the fact that she couldn't even see the man's head poking up above Regina's meant that the woman had gotten strapped with another shorty, but then Regina shifted and turned to grab her clutch from the foyer table, and the person finally came into view.
Emma's jaw practically smacked into her chest as she saw that it wasn't a short man at all. It was a…a woman; a hot woman.
"What the—Shit!" Emma hissed out the curse as, caught off guard by the presence of a hot lady on Regina Mills' doorstep and seemingly there for a date with the brunette no less, she momentarily let go of the wall. Emma instantly lost her balance and though she tried to catch herself, there was nothing for her to grasp. She fell flat on her back in the mouth of the hallway with a loud grunt, her ice pack flying from her hand.
Only a second later, she heard the sound of heels clicking speedily toward her and then Regina's hands were sliding under her arms to help her up. "Emma?" the brunette asked worriedly. "What happened? Are you alright? Is it your head? Are you dizzy?"
"Whoa, twenty questions," Emma muttered as her eyes shot right by Regina and back to the woman who was still standing in the open doorway and now staring back at her with a curious expression.
Regina chuckled as she pulled Emma to her feet. "Are you alright?"
Emma didn't answer her. Her bright green eyes darted quickly back and forth between Regina and the woman in the doorway before she quietly blurted, "What is that?"
"I mean, who, I mean what…what is…" Emma huffed out a breath as her words got tangled, shuffled incoherently around by her rapid-fire thoughts. "That's a woman," she finally managed to spit out.
Regina glanced over her shoulder and offered her date a small smile while holding up her index finger to indicate she only needed another minute. She then turned back to Emma, her eyes locking hard onto the blonde's. She shuffled a bit under Emma's questioning gaze, but her voice was clear and confident as she said, "Yes. Rather observant of you, dear."
"You're going out with a woman?" Emma asked, stressing the word again as if she simply could not digest the shocking arrival of her own gender upon the doorstep. "Like on a date? A date date?"
"Yes, Emma," Regina huffed. "Why else would a woman be dressed like that and standing in my doorway?" Her gaze then grew conflicted and an uneasy feeling spilled through her stomach. Wait, she thought. Was Emma prejudiced?
Regina lowered her voice to a whisper as she hesitantly asked, "Is that…do you take issue with this?"
"Huh?" Emma asked, confused. "What do you mean?"
"With my dating a woman," Regina explained quickly. "Do you take issue with my sexuality?"
"What?" Emma coughed out, choking on her own saliva. "Regina! No!"
A soft smile touched Regina's lips as she let out a small sigh of relief then. "Oh," she whispered. "Okay, wonderful then."
"I'm just a little shocked," Emma admitted, "but no, of course not. I just didn't know you were into women." Emma wanted to tell her that she was into women, too; in fact, she was exclusively into women. The words were on the tip of her tongue, but Regina spoke again before Emma could put them to voice.
"Neither did I for many years," Regina joked before patting Emma on the arm affectionately. "You should probably wake Henry to feed him, but if he wants to go back to bed afterward, that is fine."
"Oh right, yeah," Emma sputtered. "Got it."
"Okay." Regina smiled softly at her and nodded. "I won't be home too late," she informed the blonde and then quickly turned on her heel and headed for the door, leaving an utterly astounded babysitter in her wake.
Regina's date was a gorgeous young woman named Alexis. She had long, dark, and thick hair, gorgeous caramel-colored skin, and brown eyes so light that they were almost amber. She was simply stunning. It was also obvious to Regina that Alexis was extremely wealthy or at least came from a wealthy family. The woman practically oozed money, from her Jimmy Choos to her Cartier diamond earrings to her brand new Ferrari.
The observation was only furthered when the woman took Regina to one of the most expensive sushi restaurants in Manhattan. "I hope you like sushi," Alexis said as she opened the door to the restaurant for Regina and let her step inside first before following her in.
"I do," Regina told her honestly, her eyes roaming over the interior design of the restaurant as they were escorted to their table.
Once they were seated, they settled into fairly comfortable conversation. Alexis asked her about her day and about her son, and Regina returned in kind with a few questions of her own. They placed their orders, and Regina had to admit that she was quite pleased with the date thus far.
Alexis was extremely well-mannered, she was beautiful, she was confident, and she seemed genuinely interested in Regina as a person. Where had Kathryn dug this one up, because her selection of women was apparently much better than that of the men?
When their sushi arrived, Alexis smiled up at Regina and asked, "So, how am I doing so far?"
Regina chuckled lightly at that as she reached for her chopsticks. "Quite wonderfully," she admitted.
"Fantastic," Alexis responded, "because I am quite interested. I suppose I simply wanted to make sure that you were enjoying yourself."
"I am, thank you," Regina said kindly.
"So, am I your typical type?" Alexis asked before taking a sip of her wine.
Regina quirked a brow. "What do you mean?"
"I mean am I the first biracial woman you have dated?" Alexis asked. "I am half black in case you hadn't noticed."
Regina nearly choked on her sushi, bringing her fist to her mouth as she turned her head and coughed until she could properly swallow.
Alexis chuckled low in her throat. "I'm sorry, Regina," she laughed out. "I didn't mean to make you choke. I was simply teasing. I assumed that you, yourself, were biracial. Was I wrong? I'm sorry. I thought it would be funny."
Regina coughed a few more times, though it was mixed with soft laughter as she shook her head. When she was able to speak, she said, "You most certainly caught me off guard with that one, dear, but no you were not wrong. I am biracial."
"I thought so," Alexis said with a smile.
Regina nodded and they shared another small laugh about the joke.
"Seriously now," Alexis then said, "what is your type? Or, I suppose a better question would be to ask what you are looking for in a relationship. Are you even looking for a relationship?"
Regina took a sip of her wine and sighed. "Well…"
"I mean, I just assumed that someone like Regina Mills would never be into women, you know?" Emma said as she tapped her fingers against the kitchen countertop. "She just seems so…I don't know…straight. And like...traditional."
"Now I'm just making assumptions, huh?" Emma shook her head as she rambled on. "Obviously, that is a dumb thing to do, because obviously I was completely and utterly wrong, right?"
Wide caramel eyes just blinked at her as Henry sloppily sucked and chewed on a dinosaur-shaped chicken nugget. He had spots of ketchup on his cheeks and mouth as well as on the one hand he was using to feed himself. He smiled around the nugget and nodded, even though he was completely clueless as to what was going on.
"Yeah, you're right," Emma told him. "I'm never making assumptions again." She popped a few of her own dinosaur-shaped nuggets into her mouth. "But why wouldn't she tell me that she liked chicks too? We're friends, right? You'd think that that would be something you tell your friend."
"Then again, I haven't told her that I like women, so I guess I really don't have any room to talk, do I?"
"Nope!" Henry exclaimed happily, and Emma chuckled at the kid.
"Do you even know what I'm talking about?" she asked him.
He giggled animatedly as he shook his head and reached for his juice cup. "Nope!" he exclaimed again, and Emma laughed even harder.
Once she stopped laughing, Emma fell into silence, her mind still reeling. She didn't know why, but she simply could not let go of the idea of Regina being interested in women. She didn't really even know what it was she was feeling about it, and that completely confused her.
"I just…" she started again. "I didn't even get like a gay vibe off her, you know? I usually have awesome gaydar, even on myself. I mean, I knew I was gay by the time I was like four years old and Olivia Marks gave me her socks when mine got holes in them at the home. I totally worshipped the ground that toddler walked on."
"I'm a todder!" Henry exclaimed brightly.
"You totally are," Emma said, smiling at the happy boy. She sighed then as she carried her plate and Henry's now-empty one to the sink and began to wash them. "I can't believe your mom tricked my gaydar. There wasn't even a tiny blip. I mean, did you know?"
"Nope!" Henry cheered, and Emma cracked up again. He didn't have a damn clue what she was going on about. She wetted a washcloth and walked over to clean his face. He giggled as the cloth tickled at his neck, and Emma pressed a kiss to his forehead.
"You're such a good listener," she teased.
"I honestly don't know if I am looking for a serious relationship at this point," Regina told her date. "I have been out of the dating game for quite a while now, as my son and my career have been the primary points of my focus."
"That's understandable," Alexis told her, nodding. "If you were interested in a relationship, though, what sorts of qualities would you be looking for?"
"Oh, I don't know," Regina said, chuckling. "I haven't put much thought to that either, I suppose."
Alexis grinned widely at her. "Well, now is as good a time as any."
"Hmm," Regina hummed, swishing her wine gently in her glass before taking a long sip. "I suppose there would be a number of things that would cause me to favor a person."
"Well, he or she would obviously have to be good with children," Regina told her. "Henry would have to approve, of course."
"Of course," Alexis agreed. "Go on."
"Proper hygiene is a must."
"An absolute must," Alexis said, laughing. "What else?"
"Someone kind," Regina continued, ducking her head a bit. "Someone confident. Someone unique."
"Unique?" Alexis inquired, intrigued by that particular statement.
Regina nodded. "Yes, someone who is different from me but also understands me, who has individual and unique tastes in things."
"Ah, I see. What else?"
"I would like someone who is intelligent but not superior," Regina carried on, now completely lost in her thoughts. "Someone who is both responsible and carefree. Someone who can make me smile, who can make my son smile. Someone who can make me laugh."
"That is always a plus," she heard Alexis say, but the words fell quietly against her ears.
Regina's heart was pounding frantically against her ribcage as the words spilled out of her, because an image was beginning to form in her mind, an image of someone she already knew. "Someone who…" she swallowed thickly as her voice dropped to a whisper and she said, "Someone who challenges me but respects me. Someone who makes me feel at home no matter where we are, no matter how far outside my comfort zone."
Regina's eyes closed tightly in that moment as the image finally blasted fully to the forefront of her mind. She felt the sting of tears build at her eyelids as a perfect picture of golden curls and emerald eyes swam through her mind. She heard the young woman's melodious laughter and her own, saw the blonde playing with her son. Regina's breath caught roughly in her throat in that moment, and before she could stop herself, the girl's name escaped her lips in a choked whisper.
"I'm sorry?" Alexis asked, confused. "Who is Emma?"
Regina's eyes snapped open then, wide and completely ripe with her sudden shock. Was she really feeling…could she possibly be interested…?
"I…I'm so sorry, Alexis," Regina stammered out quickly before rising from her seat. "I need to…" Regina was entirely flustered in that moment, unable to sort through her feelings and not exactly in the place or position to do so. She needed to be alone. She needed time to think, time to mull over this revelation, because for some reason, she couldn't calm her racing heart. "I need to leave."
"Are you alright?" Alexis asked, also rising from her seat.
"Yes, I'm fine," Regina told her. "I simply have to leave. I'm terribly sorry."
"Okay, well just let me find the waiter for the bill and then I can tak—"
"No no," Regina said quickly. "Please, stay." She pulled several large bills out of her clutch and placed them on the table. "I will hail a cab. Dinner is on me. Thank you for a lovely evening, Alexis, and again, I am terribly sorry about this."
Alexis was completely surprised and confused, but she managed to put a smile on as she nodded to Regina and said, "It's quite alright."
Before she could say another word, Regina patted her shoulder and then darted quickly away, heels clicking loudly with every speedy step.