Author's Note: I apologize for the exceptionally late update; however, as some may know, I've had an exceptionally rough two months. The month of October started out amazing with a family vacation and a trip to Vancouver...that was cut short when my dad had a heart attack. He passed away at the end of October and I've just been dealing with it roughly. Needless to say, I've had very little interest in pursuing any writing, but I received some inspiration a bit and so this is what's come about. Enjoy and as always, please read and review. Thanks.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Regina sat waiting, waiting for Dr. Whale's appointment to finish and so she could go in. To find out if she was pregnant. Why she'd even listened to Snow, she'd never really understand, except that a small part of her was both terrified and elated at the possibility. What exactly would she do with a baby as a single mother? Granted, she'd worked it out just fine with Henry, at least for the first few years of his life, but this was different. Henry had had no father then. If she was indeed pregnant, and that was looking more a possibility by the moment, then she'd have to contend with Robin. And Robin's wife.
Stifling a wince, Regina crossed her legs and then uncrossed them in agitation. What was taking so long?
"Regina, be patient. Dr. Whale will be out soon and we'll be able to get a blood test," Mary Margaret chimed in, gently chiding, and placed a semi-comforting hand on her restless one.
Regina closed her eyes for a second, counted to ten, and then opened them, a bit calmer for it. Regina didn't do patient. She wasn't used to waiting for anything. She was a queen, not a peasant! Just then the door opened, Dr. Whale's patient, a 40-something male that Regina didn't recognize, coming out. "Michael, you'll find the antibiotic prescription waiting for you with the nurse. Get it filled, follow it to the letter, and your infection should clear right up. "Michael," whoever he was, pinkened in what appeared to be embarrassment and Regina's eyebrow went up in amusement. The client quickly left.
"So what can I do for you today?" Dr. Whale asked Regina as he motioned her and Mary Margaret into his office, Neal's stroller in tow. The doctor hadn't seen Regina Mills since the party at Granny's several weeks ago and the town was abuzz with the news of Marian's return from the dead. And Regina's misfortunes. It was exceptionally curious that Mary Margaret was with the queen, considering their past, but that was their business.
"Before I address that concern, you must vow to never speak a word of our conversation. I do not need to be the topic of whispers throughout this town." She paused for a moment, eyes darkening, before adding, "Anymore than I already am."
"Confidentiality and professionalism are ideals I take very seriously," Dr. Whale stated gravely.
Regina's eyes narrowed slightly at that, considering the stunt he pulled a few years ago with Daniel. But that was the past and the present and future concerned her more. Nodding slightly, she continued, "Regardless, just remember the consequences of crossing me."
"Regina," Mary Margaret said, her voice trailing off, a warning in her tone.
"It's a valid concern," Dr. Whale intervened, clutching his clipboard with his pen attached. "Considering our history. Regardless, Regina, I will not divulge anything that is said inside this room with anyone else."
Regina was silent for a long moment, eyeing Whale and evaluating his trustworthiness. Regardless of his assurances, she'd been burned by him before, so she remained leery. Finally, she relented. "I need to have a blood test completed. A pregnancy test," she specified haltingly.
Dr. Whale's eyebrows twitched and Regina's mouth twisted at the suppression of his surprise. "So you think you could be pregnant…when was the date of your last menstrual cycle?" Regina consulted her iPhone and told Whale her period had been roughly a month prior. "And you've been…active in the last month for you to believe you could be pregnant?"
Regina's withering look was enough to quell that doubt.
"Ok, then, so what I'll do is draw some blood and run a test that will test for the presence of hCG levels in your body. This is what is commonly referred to as the pregnancy hormone. The quantitative test will not only tell us whether you're pregnant, but also the levels of hCG."
Regina took a seat in one of two chairs in the exam room and held out her arm for Whale to commence the blood-letting. She winced slightly as the blood was drawn and had to look away. She detested needles. Damned torture devices. Funny considering she didn't have a problem inflicting pain on others for the longest time. Dr. Whale left the room with the tube and Regina with her worries.
Exactly what would she do if she was pregnant? Single motherhood hadn't exactly been a slice of heaven the first time around. The panic and fear of those first few months, braving the unknown…. She hadn't known what to do with a crying baby. What cry meant hungry versus diaper change or Henry just wanted to be held. She'd not had anyone there to help. Done it all on her own. If she was pregnant, could she do it all over again? The sleepless nights, the 3am feedings, lugging baby, diaper bag, and her briefcase into the office when the sitter was sick or daycare was closed?
If she was pregnant, would she keep it? Would she tell Robin? How would she tell Robin? Hey Robin, remember that afternoon delight in my office a few weeks ago? Well, we have a bit more of a memento of that time than we bargained for… Yeah, that would go over real well. And just how would he take it? Excited and happy that they were having a child (and subsequently leave his wife?) Or would he be upset and reject her and the baby? After all, it would be spoiling his reunion with the little wife.
Oh God, and this time around she'd actually be carrying the baby and all that entailed. She'd never been pregnant before. She'd taken care of precautions the old fashioned way in the Enchanted Forest with Snow's father, using folk remedies at first, and then once she'd gotten the hang of her magic, Regina had utilized potions to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The hell she would gift the king with a male heir. She'd watched Snow carry Neal for almost a year and complain toward the last three or so months about the back aches, sore feet, and bloating. The morning sickness wasn't limited to the morning, as Regina had found out, if indeed she was pregnant.
Mary Margaret sat in the corner, watched the play of emotions across Regina's face, the way she was unconsciously anxiously biting her lip in worry, slight frown creasing her forehead. "Regina," she said softly, leaning in and getting her attention. "It will be all right. If you're pregnant, I'll help you. And Henry's here, too."
"Who said I'd keep it even if I am pregnant?" she murmured and absorbed the look of surprise and shock in Mary Margaret's eyes.
"You would have an abortion?" she asked, mouth open slightly. Mary Margaret's mind raced. Why? It's a life growing inside. A piece of her and Robin.
"I don't know, Mary Margaret. I'm just weighing my options. Talking aloud. I'm not making any decisions until I know I have a decision to make," she replied wearily.
It seemed an eternity later when Dr. Whale finally came back and by then Regina had paced the small office at least 20 times, eyes on the door, waiting, waiting. When he came in, clipboard clutched under his arm, her gaze met his and she couldn't look away, arms crossed over her chest protectively. "Well, what is it? Am I pregnant or not?" And for the life of her, Regina couldn't figure out if she'd prefer one or the other. Her mind was torn.
"Ordinarily, I'd congratulate you on the impending birth of your child, but at this point, I don't know if that would be welcomed. You are pregnant, Regina and by your hCG levels, I'd estimate you are a month along, since we count from the date of the beginning of your last cycle."
Regina had to take a seat in the chair next to Mary Margaret as her legs turned to water and her mind crystallized. She was pregnant. It was real. She had a baby, hers and Robin's, growing inside of her. Barely registering Mary Margaret's gasp of delight and the warmth of her hand on top of hers, she dimly heard Mary Margaret's exclaim. Everything felt…fuzzy and sharp at the same time. Oh, Lord, she thought she was going to be sick.
"Regina, Regina are you o—" Mary Margaret asked.
"I'm fine," she interrupted, forcing herself to focus.
"Considering the circumstances, you have a couple of options," Whale continued. "You can keep the baby or I can give you a pill to allow you to miscarry. The longer you wait to decide, the more invasive it will become to evacuate the pregnancy, if that is your choice."
"Evacuate—? It's a baby growing inside of her, not a piece of trash," Mary Margaret huffed, outraged, and crossed her arms defensively.
Whale cocked his head to the left. "Some prefer the clinical language when deciding to abort the fetus."
"No," Regina said softly. "I'm not having an abortion." The words were out before her conscious mind had even made the decision. It was instinct. The baby was real, a part of him and her. Even if they weren't together, it had been made out of love. No matter that it was fleeting and they'd not intended to create life. This baby, she decided, would be carried to term and she would take care of it the way she had taken care of Henry, loved Henry all these years. But this time would be different. No birth mother to try to take him away. He or she would be all hers. Her baby to love unconditionally and be loved unconditionally in return. A little person to love for always. She would have a second chance, a chance to change things, to right the wrongs with Henry and start over. So many times she'd pushed him away when she should have pulled him in tighter, or worse, the opposite and instead of drawing him in, she'd only alienated her son. Although they were in a very good place now, it had not always been so and Regina was determined to do things differently. She'd learned so much in the last few years, what to do….and more importantly, what not to do. She resolved to treat her child the way she herself had not been treated, with love and respect, kindness and compassion, understanding, patience, and mercy.
"In that case," Whale continued, "you'll need prenatal vitamins and schedule an appointment every month. Currently, your progesterone levels look fine, but you'll want to start a supplement until the placenta fully takes over the generation of that hormone."
Regina waved her hand away at his face. "Anything else I should know before I leave?" Whale shook his head. "Just remember something, Doctor…the consequences of crossing me are not pleasant. I may have channeled light magic, but I do have darkness still inside and I am not to be trifled with."
"You have my complete confidentiality."
Nodding her head slightly, Regina exited, followed closely by Mary Margaret, collected her prescription, paid the co-pay, and left the hospital. Filled the prescription for prenatal vitamins and headed home with Mary Margaret and baby Neal.
"So…a baby," Mary Margaret started as all three of them entered the house. "Do you know what you're going to do?"
Regina sighed as she set her keys down on the table, walked into the kitchen and turned to face Mary Margaret. "No, I don't," she said, hand rising to rub at the headache brewing over her temple.
"Are you going to tell Robin?" Mary Margaret asked tentatively, unsure of the answer.
Regina's mouth tightened defensively. "It would serve no purpose if he knew. It would only further complicate a complicated situation, so no, I'm not going to tell him."
"That's your decision, Regina, but don't you think he'd want to be involved in the baby's life, as his father, if nothing else?" she broached tentatively.
"And that's exactly why he won't ever know. He doesn't deserve the headache this will create."
"A baby, his baby, isn't a headache, Regina. He would love this child as much as he loves Roland."
Regina closed her eyes for a moment, forcing back the pain that thought generated, and opened them again when she thought she had her emotions under control. "Is this going to be a problem, Mary Margaret?" Do I need to make a new forgetting potion? was implied.
"No, of course not," she replied. "I won't say anything to anyone about the baby. I'll take my cue from you. If you don't want to tell Robin, then that's your business, even if I don't agree with your decision. I'll respect it."
"So this is one secret you'll keep," Regina stated.
"I'm not that 10-year-old girl anymore, Regina. You can trust me with this," Snow said softly, resolutely, the firm tone in her voice meant to reassure Regina and it did. She was finally learning she could trust her old nemesis turned friend. So much had happened in the last few years. Putting old grievances aside felt surprisingly good. She didn't remember when it had started, this tentative friendship, but it felt good. It felt right. It felt peaceful, she dared think, to let bygones be bygones and just…be. Turn a new page in this book of life and start fresh.
"Not even David, Snow. He may be your husband, but he's not mine and has no business knowing mine," Regina warned.
Mary Margaret hesitated for a moment, hating keeping secrets from David, but ultimately, Regina was right. It wasn't her secret to tell. "Even from David," she swore and at the slight easing in Regina's eyes, Mary Margaret took her cue and a massive smile brightened her face. "So, when do we start the shopping for Baby Mills?"