A/N: I'm probably not the first person to use this idea, and probably won't be the last, but this is a fic based on the film The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. It's one of my favourite films so I just had to write it using my favourite ship.
This is based on the film, but won't be word-for-word... well, not always. I did use some of it in this chapter, but it will only be this chapter. Also, it's not going to follow the exact plot because I'm writing it for SwanQueen, so it will have SQ quirks to it.
I don't own OUAT or The Proposal but I wish I did.
Anyway, enough of me. Let's get on with the story!
It was just her luck, really.
The first proper night of sleep she'd had in weeks and it was coming to an untimely end just because of a gap in the curtains. The sun shone through the sliver of space, directly onto Emma Swan's face. Even with her eyes closed, the light was blinding, penetrating her eyelids and making her squeeze her eyes shut tighter. Emma groaned and rolled over so that the sun shone onto her back and her eyes no longer felt like they were under attack. Much better.
But the damage was done. Emma had woken up and was capable of coherent thought. It's Monday, which means I have to go to work. It also means that it'll be a busy day because work will have piled up over the weekend. My boss will be in a bad mood because it's Monday and everyone hates Monday. She'll be a bigger bitch than usual.
Emma groaned again as she realised that her day was destined to be terrible. It wasn't surprising, really, seeing as she hated her job. She was the assistant of Regina Mills, one of the best book editors in the business; who also happened to be the devil dressed in practical pantsuits. She was a cruel woman, who terrorised her workers and made them fear her.
Despite Regina's best efforts, Emma wasn't scared of her boss. No, she just detested her. She was bossy, arrogant and acted like she was God's gift to book publishing. Emma had worked for her for two years doing her bitch work, and had come close to quitting on more than one occasion.
So, why did she continue to put up with the Evil Queen?
Easy. Emma wanted to be promoted to editor, and Regina was the one who had the power to do that. It was Emma's dream job and she had come this far, so she wasn't going to give up now. Also, Emma had written a manuscript that she wanted to get published. Again, Regina was the one with the power to do that.
That was the only reason that Emma forced herself to sit up and open her eyes. She had to get ready for work because, if she were late, she would be signing her own death warrant. She had only been late once in the two years she had worked for Regina, and she wouldn't make that mistake again. The brunette had threatened to fire her right there on the spot, and Emma had had to beg her not to. While her pathetic begging hadn't been good for her dignity, Regina had at least agreed to give her one more chance.
But Emma didn't doubt that Regina would fire her in an instant if she were late again. So, she would get out of bed and get ready, then go to her very own hell-on-earth for the day. Wait, what time is it, anyway? Emma frowned and turned to look at the alarm clock that sat on her bedside table.
She squeezed her eyes shut, blinked a few times, rubbed the sleep from her eyes, then looked again. It's just, last time it had looked an awful lot like it had said...
Her stupid alarm hadn't gone off, meaning she had 24 minutes to get to work in New York rush hour.
Emma wasted no time in jumping out of bed and running into the bathroom. She decided there was no time for a shower, so she just washed her face, brushed her teeth and made sure she put on plenty of antiperspirant. She threw on her work trousers and a white shirt, picked up her bag and raced out of the apartment.
Pushing her way through the throng of New York commuters proved extremely difficult, but Emma was a woman on a mission. If she was even a minute late, Regina would want her head on a plate, and Emma didn't doubt for a second that the bitch would be the one to personally murder her. That drove Emma on, giving her the energy to worm her way through the crowds until she reached a small coffee shop on the corner.
Emma joined the back of the queue, with an agitated sigh. It was now 8:21, meaning she had nine minutes to get the office and, from the looks of the queue, she was going to be here for at least 20 minutes. She tapped her foot impatiently while the line crawled forwards and cursed her stupid alarm clock for not going off.
Emma looked up and saw the barista standing at the end of the counter. In her hands, she had two to-go cups of coffee which she was holding out towards Emma. Perks of going to the same coffee shop with the same order every morning. Emma smiled and rushed to the front of the queue, throwing her money on the counter and grabbing the cups.
"Amy, you are literally a life-saver. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
The red-headed barista laughed as Emma turned on her heels and ran out of the shop, heading across the street to the building of Queen of Hearts publishing. She ignored the car horns that sounded in her direction as she narrowly avoided being ploughed down by an oncoming cab. The sliding doors to the building were barely even open as Emma flew through them and towards the elevator.
"Hold the elevator!" Emma yelled as she watched the grey doors sliding closed.
Luckily, a hand came out just in time and stopped the doors from closing, leaving Emma to sigh in relief as she jumped into the crowded space. She smiled at the man who had stopped the doors and thanked him, ignoring the irritated glances she received from the other occupants.
Her watch said it was 8:28. She was almost there. Come on, come on. She willed, watching the floor numbers going up. 24... 25... 26...
With a 'ding', the doors slid open and Emma rushed out, not seeing the woman walking past the elevator until it was too late. The pair collided, causing the coffee in Emma's hands to spill over both of them. Emma's eyes widened in horror as she looked down at her white shirt, which wasn't white anymore. Instead, it was covered in the hot, brown liquid which was rapidly seeping into the material.
Great. The Evil Queen is going to kill me.
"People in this country are busy, broke, and hate to read. They need someone to say, 'Hey! Don't watch CSl: Indianapolis tonight. Read a book! Read Frank's book.' And that person is Oprah." Regina said into her phone as she walked calmly through the streets of New York City. This wasn't her job: trying to get the authors whose books they published to do interviews with Oprah. However, the person who she had assigned this to hadn't been able to get the job done, therefore Regina had to intervene. She would ensure the incompetent imbecile would be sufficiently punished but, for now, she had to convince Frank to go on Oprah.
"Frank, the truth is, all A-plus novelists do publicity. Roth, McCourt, Russo... and you know what else they have in common? A Pulitzer!" Regina smiled into her phone as she heard Frank reluctantly agree to do the interview. It didn't matter whether or not he wanted to do the interview, all that mattered was that he was going to do it. Publicity was key in this business, and Regina made sure that the books she published sold as many copies as possible.
She put down the phone as she walked into the building of Queen of Hearts publishing. The company had been created by her mother, who had built it from the ground up. It was now one of the most prestigious publishers in the world, and Cora Mills had hired Regina as Chief Editor. It was Regina's pride and joy; her life revolved around it. That's why she spent so many hours a week working, but she wouldn't trade it for the world.
The ride in the elevator was quiet, despite the uncomfortable amount of people cramped in the small space. Regina was thankful when the doors slid open and she stepped out, her heels clicking on the hard floor as she walked. She noticed with a smile that people instantly put their heads down and got on with their work when she passed. Being feared was something that Regina enjoyed immensely, and the smirk on her face showed everyone that. It wasn't her fault that she was so strict, though. She wanted the company to be the best of the best, so she wouldn't settle for anything less than excellent from her workers. They all knew this, which is why they all feared her and gave her the nickname the 'Evil Queen'. They thought they were so clever calling her that behind her back, but she knew all about the things they said about her. It didn't matter though, as long as work got done.
Regina walked through a set of double doors which led to the room outside her office, where her assistant's desk was. Emma Swan, her assistant, was currently sitting in her desk chair, scrubbing furiously at her white shirt, which appeared to be stained with some brown liquid.
Regina cleared her throat, trying to get the blonde's attention. The way that Emma's eyes snapped up told her that she succeeded. Regina smirked and looked down, noticing two empty coffee cups in the trash. It didn't take a genius to piece together this puzzle, and Regina smirked again when she saw Emma blushing.
"Is that my coffee on your shirt?" Regina asked with a quirked eyebrow, causing Emma to blush more.
"Uh... y- yes."
It was clear Emma was worried she was about to face Regina's wrath, which just amused the brunette more. Though Regina would never admit it, she would never fire Emma. The blonde wanted to get her manuscript published, which meant she needed Regina and would jump through hoops for her. Regina knew this, and also knew that she would struggle to find another assistant willing to put up with as much as Emma did. That's why she overlooked Emma's mistakes most of the time, and why she wouldn't get rid of the blonde, no matter how disappointed she was that she wouldn't be having her morning cup of coffee.
"I'm not having you looking like that all day." Regina stated as she walked towards her office.
She walked through the door and over to some drawers that were pressed against the wall of the room. Regina was prepared for anything and everything that may arise, so she had spare clothes stashed away, just in case. She never thought she'd be giving them to her coffee-stained assistant, but at least they were coming in handy.
She pulled out a bluish-grey silk shirt and then walked back to Emma. She threw it onto the blonde's desk, choosing not to comment on the surprised look that overtook the other woman's features.
"You have a staff meeting at nine." Emma dutifully reminded her, choosing not to comment on the fact that Regina was giving her clothes to wear.
"I know." Regina nodded, walking into her office again. As she expected, Emma followed her like a well-trained dog.
"And you have a conference call at eleven."
"I remember." Regina nodded, sitting behind her desk and needlessly rearranging some sheets of paper.
"Your immigration lawyer called." Emma informed her. This got Regina's interest. "He said it's imperative..."
Regina pursed her lips and looked down. "Cancel the staff meeting. Keep the lawyer on the sheets. Oh, and get a hold of PR, have them start drafting a press release." At Emma's confused frown, Regina elaborated. "Frank's doing Oprah."
Emma knew her boss had wanted this for a while but had been having no luck, so she smiled at the news, which is how she imagined Regina would want her to react. "Nicely done."
"If I want your praise, I'll ask for it." This caused Emma's smile to falter. "Before I forget, I have some manuscripts for you to review this weekend. I'll need you here at seven until... well, you know how it works. Late nights in the office aren't exactly rare." Regina looked down at some work, expecting to hear Emma's obedient agreement. However, an uncomfortable silence ascended the room, causing Regina to frown.
She looked up at a shifty-looking Emma, her frown increasing. "Is there a problem with that, Ms. Swan?"
"It's just," Emma cleared her throat awkwardly. "I booked some days off this week. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It's my parents' anniversary so I'm going home to see them." Regina quirked an eyebrow at the blonde. "You approved the leave." Emma added sheepishly. Regina narrowed her eyes. She remembered approving the leave, but she needed Emma in the office. "It's fine." Emma cracked. "I can just tell my parents I'll visit them some other time. I'll be here. No problem."
Regina smiled with satisfaction and looked back down. The sound of the phone on Emma's desk ringing filled the room, and Emma immediately turned and walked away. When she returned a few minutes later, Regina noticed how sad she looked. She hadn't looked that sad this morning. Was it because she was no longer going to see her parents? Regina felt slightly guilty, but tried to push away the feeling. Emma had duties at work and she could visit her parents some other time.
"Gold wants to see you upstairs now."
Regina nodded her head and put her papers into a neat pile. She hated her boss. but knew that seeing him was a necessary evil. "Go and get changed." Regina instructed as she stood up. "Come and get me in ten minutes. I don't have time for Gold today."
Mr. Gold was looking out of his window at the busy streets of New York below. He didn't even turn around when Regina came into the room, but he somehow knew it was her who entered.
"Good morning, Ms. Mills."
"Mr. Gold." Regina nodded, even though Gold wasn't looking at her.
"I heard you got Frank to do Oprah. Congratulations, dearie." He said, finally turning around and leaning against his cane.
"Thank you." Regina nodded again.
She hated the man in front of her, and always had. He reminded her of an imp, from his mannerisms to his manipulative ways. He was an older man, with a Scottish accent and a cane at his side. He always wore meticulous suits which were old-fashioned, like he'd owned them for years. Even though Regina was the executive chief editor of the company, Mr. Gold was the person that her mother assigned to be her boss when she passed away. She detested Cora for it, too.
"I'm sure you're wondering why I've asked to see you." Mr. Gold said, making his way closer to Regina.
"I assume it's not because I've got a raise." She quipped with a raised eyebrow.
He chuckled slightly, though Regina could tell it was insincere. "Do you remember when we agreed that you wouldn't go to the Frankfurt book fair because you weren't allowed to leave the country while your visa application was being processed?"
"Yes. I do." Regina swallowed thickly. She knew where this was going.
"And you went to Frankfurt anyway. Didn't you, dearie?"
"I had to. We were going to lose DeLillo."
"It seems the United States Government doesn't care who publishes Don DeLillo. I just spoke to your immigration attorney. Regina, your visa application has been denied."
So many emotions passed through Regina's mind that she didn't even have time to register them all: shock, disappointment, fear... anger. That damn imp was smirking at her like the news had made his day, and it made Regina's blood boil just looking at him. He hated her just as much as she hated him, and he made damn sure she knew it. She clenched her fists and narrowed her eyes, hating Mr. Gold more and more by the minute.
"There was also some paperwork that you didn't fill out in time, dearie. Very irresponsible of you." He tsked. "You're being deported." Mr. Gold added after a moment of silence. If looks could kill, Gold would have been a dead man.
"Deported..." Regina echoed in disbelief. "No, there must be something we can do. I'm hardly even an immigrant! I'm from Canada!"
"We can reapply," Mr. Gold conceded. "But you have to leave the country for at least a year first." He smirked again, but Regina tried her hardest to ignore him.
Her mind whirred as she tried to come up with a solution. She couldn't leave the country for a year! What would happen to her business? She couldn't leave it in the hands of Mr. Gold, that just wasn't an option. Unless...
"I can manage everything from Toronto." Regina stated victoriously. "With videoconferencing, the Internet-"
"No." Mr. Gold narrowed his eyes at her. "Until this issue is resolved I'm going to turn operations over to Zelena."
"Zelena?" Regina repeated in disbelief. "My sister? Who lives in Washington."
"The one and only." Mr. Gold confirmed.
"No way." Regina shook her head vehemently.
"We need an editor in chief, dearie, and unfortunately you're not able to stay."
"But- You can't- Not-"
Regina heard a knock on the door behind her before it clicked open. She turned to see Emma sheepishly stepping into the room. "Sorry to interrupt," She said quietly, looking extremely uncomfortable.
"We're in a meeting." Mr. Gold said firmly, his frustration clear.
"I understand, but Mary from Ms. Winfrey's office called. She's on the line." Emma said to Regina. "I told her you were otherwise engaged, but she insisted she speak with you."
Regina looked at Emma properly, noticing that the blonde was wearing the silk shirt that she had let her borrow to replace the coffee-stained shirt she had been wearing this morning. It was an inappropriate time to notice, but Regina found that Emma looked a lot better in that shirt than she had anticipated. She actually looked beautiful and sexy in it. Had she always been this attractive? Regina had always known the blonde was a good-looking woman, that much was obvious, but she had never felt this towards her. This was...
An idea sprung to Regina's mind and she smiled to herself while she signalled for Emma to come and stand next to her. The blonde looked slightly confused, but did as her boss told her to.
"Mr. Gold," Regina turned back to the imp, sensing Emma's presence at her side. "I understand the situation that we're in, but I think there's something you need to know."
He narrowed her eyes at her suspiciously. "And what's that, dearie?
"We're getting married."
"You're getting married?" Mr. Gold asked incredulously.
"Who's getting married?" Emma asked in confusion.
"You and I." Regina said matter-of-factly. She awkwardly took Emma's hand in her own, feeling how tense the blonde was. "We're getting married."
"We are?" Emma said, confusion dripping from the two words. After Mr. Gold gave them an incredulous look, and Regina squeezed her hand so hard that she was worried her bones were being crushed, Emma caught onto what was expected of her. "We are." She said, with more certainty this time. "Regina and I are getting married."
"Isn't Ms. Swan your secretary?" Mr. Gold asked, looking between the two women with narrowed eyes.
"Assistant." Emma corrected.
"Titles." Regina dismissed with a wave of her hand. "We didn't intend to fall in love, we just did." Regina said, looking at Emma and seeing the look of fear on the blonde's face. "All those late nights in the office." The brunette went on. "Weekend book fairs. Something happened, didn't it, dear?"
Emma's eyes widened at her cue and she instantly nodded. "Something happened." She confirmed. "It's really something..."
"Well," Mr. Gold said, still looking skeptical. "As long as you make it legal."
"Legal?" Emma repeated.
"Yes, dearie," Mr. Gold smirked in amusement. "You'll have to go to the immigration office and tell them the good news. Then... Well, you'll get married."
"Get married..." Emma repeated, turning to Regina with a look on her face that suggested the entire world had gone mad.
"Yes, honey." Regina put the hand that wasn't holding Emma's hand onto the woman's arm and tried to stroke it affectionately. Instead it just turned out to be awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. "Come on. Let's go to the immigration office and sort this mess out."
Emma walked into Regina's office in a state of shock. Did she just get engaged? To the Evil Queen? She was just supposed to go and get Regina out of Mr. Gold's office, so how did she end up agreeing to marry the woman she hated?
Regina was acting like nothing was out of the ordinary. She had walked out of Mr. Gold's office, let go of Emma's hand, then walked back to her office without a word. If she really expected Emma not to ask any questions, then she was sadly mistaken...
"What's happening?" Emma asked, standing by the door while Regina sat at her desk.
"I was going to get deported." Regina stated, not offering much of an explanation. Emma just narrowed her eyes at the brunette, which caused Regina to sigh. "This is for you too, Ms. Swan."
"They were going to make my sister chief."
Emma frowned, not believing what she was hearing. "So, naturally I would have to marry you."
"Yes. Anyway, what's the problem? You were saving yourself for someone special?"
It was clear from Regina's mocking tone that she was joking, but Emma just looked at her incredulously. "I'd like to think so."
Regina looked at her, then shook her head and looked at her paperwork.
"This is illegal." Emma reminded her.
Regina rolled her eyes. "They're looking for terrorists, not book publishers."
Emma sighed. Did this woman not see logic? "Ms. Mills, with all due respect, I'm not going to marry you."
Regina rolled her eyes, as if she were growing tired of this conversation. "Actually, Ms. Swan, yes you are."
"And why would I do that?"
Regina stood up and started walking slowly towards the blonde. "Because you need me to be here. Trust me, Zelena would have fired you as soon as she got hired, then the past two years would have been for nothing. The coffee runs, late nights, weekends working, all the time you spent with me, for nothing. Your manuscript would never be published. And your dreams of becoming an editor? Gone." Regina stopped walking when she was right in front of the blonde. "Don't worry, after the required allotment of time, we'll get a divorce and you'll be done with me."
Regina waited for Emma to agree, but the blonde just continued to look at her in disbelief. Regina grew impatient and put her hand out for Emma to shake. "Do we have a deal?"
A/N: Should I continue this? Please let me know what you think!