Chapter 1: The New Family
"Are you sure you can't come to Chicago with us?" Little Grace Hatter looked up at her beloved nanny with pleading eyes.
Regina Mills smiled as she shook her head. "I would love to come with you, but I need to stay here in Storybrooke with my daddy."
"Can't he come too?"
"He's too sick," Regina told her. She lifted the girl onto her lap. "But I met the woman who will be your new nanny. Her name is Belle and she's really nice. You'll love her as much as you love me."
Grace threw her arms around Regina's neck. "I'm going to miss you."
"And I'm going to miss you." She hugged the girl back. "So very, very much."
"Okay, Grace, why don't you go play? Regina and I need to talk." Jefferson, Grace's father, leaned against the doorway.
Grace nodded, hopping off Regina's lap and running to her playroom. Regina straightened up as Jefferson sat down next to her. "You're going to be missed. By both of us."
"I'm going to miss you too." She squeezed the hand of the man who was more friend than employer. "You have done more for me than I ever could imagine. Thank you."
Jefferson smiled. "And I'm not done yet."
"What do you mean?" Regina frowned.
"I've secured another position for you," he explained. "One of my colleagues, Robin Locksley, needed a nanny for his son. So I talked to him. He's agreed to hire you."
Her mouth fell open before she recovered her manners. "You didn't have to do that!"
"Nonsense. He needed a nanny and you needed a job. It was a match made in heaven."
She hugged him. "Thank you. For everything you've done for me and my father."
"You've done a lot for Grace and me." He let Regina go. "Now go do the same for Robin."
Regina set down the bowl of soup in front of her father. "Eat up!"
Henry Mills pushed the bowl away, shaking his head. "No appetite."
"Daddy." She pushed the bowl back. "You need to eat something."
"I just can't, Regina." He sank further into the couch cushions, looking small and frail. His skin was sallow, eyes sunken in and hair thin. But Regina still saw the strong man who had held her when she was scared and who had raised her alone after her eighth birthday.
That man would return, she vowed. No matter how difficult the fight was.
But she had learned to pick her battles. So she took the soup back, leaning over the sink as her friend and her father's live-in caretaker, Emma Swan, watched with sympathy. "The chemo was bad today," she said. "I'm sure he'll eat later."
Regina nodded before returning to her own dinner. Emma perked up. "Tell me about your new job."
"There's not much to tell." She shrugged. "His name is Robin Locksley and he has a son who needs a nanny. I haven't had much time to do any research."
"Let's do it now." Emma jumped up and retrieved her laptop. She powered it up and ran a search.
Regina scooted closer. "Well?"
"Let's see…Robin Locksley, President and CEO of Sherwood Corporations. Seems to make green products. So he's eco-conscious."
"Well, I guess he gets brownie points for that." Regina chewed her lip. "What else?"
Emma grimaced. "He's a widower. His wife Marian died in a plane crash earlier this year."
"That was them?" Regina almost shared Emma's seat as she craned her neck to look at the screen. "How awful."
"There's a picture." Emma clicked on a picture and Regina saw her new employer for the first time.
It was a shot taken from a distance, perhaps across the street from the cemetery. He wore a long black coat and held a small child in black who she assumed was his son, her new charge. The boy had his face buried in his father's shoulder so all she saw was his dark curls. They were a contrast to his father's blond hair.
"He's handsome," Emma said. "I mean, he's not my type but he is good looking in a rugged way."
Regina frowned. "Emma, stop."
"What? I was just making an observation."
"You were hinting that he is my type."
Emma shrugged. "He is kinda like Daniel."
"Don't go there."
Regina stood, getting her father's medications ready. "The fantasies. That he and I will meet and fall madly in love."
Emma scoffed. "Who do you think you're talking to? I don't harbor those romantic notions."
"Good." Regina sighed. "Dating the boss only ends in heartbreak."
Standing, Emma hugged her. "I know Leo hurt you. But in the end it was for the best. You got to move on to a career you love."
Regina nodded before waking her father to take his medicines. As she and Emma got him ready for bed, Regina let her mind wander. She didn't give in often to the romantic notion Emma scoffed at. But sometimes they were too strong to ignore.
She wanted love. And the thought of a handsome man sweeping her off her feet was tempting. But the man was not going to be one of her employers. No, she believed her happily ever after lied elsewhere.
Regina just didn't know where.
Regina hurried to finish packing. She didn't know how she had accumulated so much in the few days since she had left the Hatters', especially as she had never really unpacked. Where did it all come from?
Knocking made her panic more. She had been told Mr. Locksley would send someone for her today. And now she was running late.
"Emma? Can you get that for me?" she yelled into the apartment.
"Yeah! Don't worry!" Emma called back. A few seconds later, Regina heard the door open and her friend greet the person on the other side.
"Tell her not to rush," a male voice with a strong British accent said. "We have all the time in the world."
Regina raised an eyebrow but slowed down as she finished packing. She pulled it out of her room and into the living room.
"Let me get that." The man took her bag with one hand and held out the other. "Will Scarlet. I'm Robin's right hand man."
"He means butler," Emma said with a smile.
He rolled his eyes. "I detest the word."
"It's nice to meet you. I'm almost ready." Regina put on her coat, hugging her father. "I'll call tonight, Daddy, and I'll be home soon to visit. I love you."
"I love you too," Henry rasped. "Good luck."
With one last hug to Emma, Regina followed Will down to his waiting limo. She stopped short. "Isn't that a bit much for a nanny?"
"You'll learn Robin's not your normal rich guy." Will opened the door and bowed. "After you."
Robin Locksley lived about a half hour outside the city of Storybrooke, along the lakeside village of Misthaven. It had been too long since she had visited. She remembered riding the ferry with her father where he would buy her a hot chocolate as they sat outside, no matter how cold, watching the boat cut through the water and the white crested wake it left behind. When they got on the other side, he would then take her to Mama Odie's for an early dinner. Summer trips ended with ice cream at Any Given Sundae, with Regina playing with the owners three daughters—Ingrid, Helga and Gerda. She wondered if they were still there.
Will turned the limo off the main road and headed down one that clearly didn't see much traffic though it was well-kept. He glanced back at her. "This is Robin's private driveway, though it's a trek. You should see the tip he leaves for the mailman at Christmas."
"I can just imagine," Regina said, staring out the window. "How much property does he own?"
"Not really sure. Several acres, I know that. Most of it to keep developers from ruining this forest."
Regina smiled. "He really likes the environment."
"He really likes the forest," Will replied. "But you'll learn that. Robin's pretty much an open book and willing to let people read his story."
He pulled up to large black iron gates and rolled down the window to press the code into the keypad. She heard a buzz emit from the gates before they swung open and Will continued to drive in. "We'll tell you the code once you've settled in, just in case you ever need it."
"For what? I don't have a car," Regina replied. "I sold it because it was too expensive to keep in a city where I had no use for it. But I guess that means I'll need it for car services on my days off."
"Yeah," Will agreed. Though she swore she heard him mutter under his breath: "Though I doubt it."
He parked the limo and got out to open the door for Regina. She stepped out and looked up at her new home. It was a three-story white Colonial-style mansion. A balcony rested over the door and she half expected to see Robin Locksley standing there like some king watching over his kingdom. She hoped the several windows meant there was plenty of light inside and the house looked like it stretched back further than she could see. Regina considered asking Will for a map so she didn't get lost inside.
"For today, you'll use the front door. Other days, if it's just you, you can use the kitchen entrance round the side. I'll show you later." Will said, pulling out a set of keys. "I'll let you in and then go grab your bags."
Thanking him, Regina stepped into the expansive foyer of her new home. A sweeping staircase stood in front of her and a young boy with dark curls and sad brown eyes sat on a top step. He hugged his knees as he watched her.
"Hello." She smiled as she climbed up toward him. "My name is Regina. What's yours?"
"Roland," he replied. "Are you my new nanny?"
"I am. Is that okay?"
He shrugged. "I guess. Not like I get a say."
"I'm sure if you hate me, your father will replace me." She leaned closer. "But I really hope you like me. Can you give me a chance?"
Roland tilted his head before nodding. "Okay. As long as you don't make me eat peas. Yuck!"
Regina laughed. "Okay, no peas. But I won't be so lenient about broccoli."
"Deal." Roland stuck out his hand she shook it. He then leaned forward. "I like broccoli anyway."
"Good to know. What else do you like?"
"Why don't you go write a list for your new nanny? I'm sure she'll appreciate it." Another male British voice entered the picture, this one more refined than Will's.
Regina looked up into the bright blue eyes of her new employer. He smiled down at her and Roland, revealing dimples that made her heart skip a beat. His blond hair was combed back but he had scruff rather than being clean shaven like other businessmen she had encountered. He wore only a button down shirt and gray slacks, choosing to walk around in his socked feet.
He held out his hand, helping her up before shaking her hand. "Robin Locksley. If you follow me to my office, I just want to discuss a few things."
Robin knelt down and hugged Roland. "Why don't you go to your room and work on that list for Regina?"
Roland nodded, running off down the hallway. She and Robin followed at a slower pace, letting Regina take in the crème walls and wood floors. Pictures hung on the wall, showing Robin, Roland and a beautiful woman with black hair, brown eyes and dark skin who Regina believed to be Robin's late wife and Roland's mother.
He stopped in front of one door. "This is my study. Usually I leave the door open, but if I close it, knock once before entering."
She nodded as he let her into the room, which was decorated much like the hallway. One of the windows she had spotted outside lit up the room and one was open, letting in the crisp autumn breeze.
He sat behind the desk, motioning for her to sit in one of the chairs in front of it. "Water?" he offered, opening a small black refrigerator.
"No, thank you." She settled into the seat. "Your son is sweet."
"Thank you. He's my everything," Robin said with a smile. It fell as he leaned forward. "I will be honest with you. Roland has not taken my wife's death well."
"I can't imagine any child handling such a loss well," Regina said, thinking of the nights she had cried herself to sleep.
Robin studied her before continuing. "I'm afraid he refuses to leave the house. I've tried everything but he still believes something bad will happen if he leaves. When Will or I go out, he's a nervous wreck until we return."
"Oh," Regina said, unsure what else to say.
"Dr. Hopper comes in twice a week to help him and for now, Mary Margaret tutors him. You'll meet them soon. But I wanted you know what to expect."
She nodded. "Of course. Thank you."
"Robin? Regina's things are in her room," Will said, leaning against the door.
Robin stood. "Then I'll let you get settled. I'm sure we'll have plenty to talk about once you get to know Roland."
"Thank you, Mr. Locksley."
"Oh no. Please call me Robin." He smiled. "I insist."
She nodded, not trusting her voice, and it hoped it didn't look like she had fled the room after Will. He led her a few doors down, pointing out the bathroom and Roland's bedroom.
"And this one is yours." He stopped in front of the door next to Roland's. "Let me know if you need anything."
Regina thanked him and entered her new bedroom. It was the size of her father's apartment and had two windows, which overlooked the lake. A queen-sized bed sat by the door next to a nightstand. She had a desk, a chest and a vanity. There was also a crème colored couch in the room as well as her own flat screen TV mounted to the wall. Bookcases lined another wall, shelves waiting for her to use them. It was perfect as far as she was concerned.
She found a piece of paper on her desk and wondered if it was the list Roland was to write her. But when she picked it up, it was a drawing instead. A tall stick figure with black hair and wearing a dress held the hand of a little stick figure with curly black hair who was wearing a blue shirt and shorts. She didn't need the names written in childish writing to know they were her and Roland.
Touched, she vowed to find some place to hang it up as she continued unpacking. As she put her clothes away, she heard the door connecting her room with Roland's creak open. She turned to find the boy watching her. "Is something wrong?" she asked.
"Did you see my picture?"
"Yes, I did. Thank you so much for it."
Roland scrambled into her room and onto her bed. "Do you have a dad, Regina?"
"I do." She pulled out a framed picture of her and her father, handing it to him. "This is him."
He studied the picture before looking back at her. "Where's your mama?"
"She…uh…she left." Regina sat next to him, unsure if there would be any follow up questions.
There were. "Is she in heave like my mama?"
"No." Regina didn't say anymore and she hoped he didn't press the issue.
Roland looked down at the picture. "Do you miss your dad?"
"I do," she said. "But I'm going to talk to him every night and visit twice a week."
"Are you bothering Regina?" Robin leaned against the door, arms crossed.
Roland looked at her and she shook her head. "We were just getting to know each other."
"Regina doesn't have a mama either but she's not in heaven." Roland hopped into his father's arms.
Robin raised an eyebrow, mouthing "sorry" to her. He shifted Roland in his arms. "Well, dinner is ready. Shall we ask Regina to join us?"
"Regina, do you want to have dinner with us?" Robin whispered something in his son's ear and Roland added: "Please?"
She smiled and agreed, walking with father and son to the kitchen. All of them, including Will, ate around the small table. It was clear from their interactions that Will and Robin were more than master and servant. Then again, even on her first day, Robin already treated her as more of an equal than an employer.
Roland brightened up with everyone gathered together and he started chattering away. She did her best to follow his conversation as well as Robin and Will's. It wasn't easy but she found she enjoyed being around this family already. Calm washed over her as she realized this job was going to work out.
Just as soon as she stopped getting butterflies in her stomach every time Robin looked at her.
A/N: This has been slightly updated since I first posted it. The lovely ReginaMills on Wattpad made the cover and it gave me an idea to change everything. So I'm incorporating Storybrooke over New York (which had originally been chosen as a nod to the TV show "The Nanny" but I like this a bit better). Hope you like the changes!