A/N-I want to thank a special friend Bekki for being an amazing beta, a great ear. Thanks so much boo! Hope you enjoy this one.
Today was a very special day for Regina Mills, today she was celebrating her tenth birthday, she was on vacation with her parents in England. And today they were going to Hamley's toy store, her father Henry Mills had promised to take her. Regina couldn't wait to visit the toy store, she wanted to see the different dolls they had. She had on her new dress she had gotten this morning, upon waking up. It was a red polka dotted A-line sleeveless dress.
Cora Mills on the other hand saw it as a waste of time.
"Really, we're going to spend the morning at a mere toy store? Why we could be seeing the best stores in London," Cora complained. She would rather be in numerous stores, doing her own sort of shopping and not in a toy store. Henry Mills was a successful banker, and they had always led an entertaining life.
"Cora, it's her birthday," Henry said as they headed into the store, Henry turned and crunched down to his daughter's level, "and today she gets this to spend on anything she wishes in the store." He gave her a coin, worth twenty dollars.
"Oh, thank you, Daddy. Thank you!" Regina cried out as she hugged her father.
"You're welcome, sweetheart," Henry said as he hugged his little girl back. "And I also have this for you." He pulled out a red hair bow, and proceeded to put it in her hair.
"There," Henry remarked, "now you look like my little princess." He turned her around to look in a mirror behind her.
"It's so pretty, Daddy," Regina said as she looked at how beautiful the red ribbon was against her dark hair.
"Not as pretty as you," Henry said as he patted her shoulders. "Now run along and find you something to spend your coin on."
Regina smiled up at her father as she headed to where the dolls were located in the store.
"Really, Henry, you spoil her too much," Cora admonished him.
"She's my little girl, it's my job to spoil her," Henry said as the two adults started to walk around the store.
Regina was looking at several dolls, going back and forth between two of them, not being able to decide on which one she would pick over the other. She had finally decided on the doll with the red ribbon in her hair. She smiled as she went to reach for it, but in doing so she saw something outside the department store window.
A little boy, a little boy that from the looks of him was very poor. She watched as he tried to draw people's pictures for them for money. Most people just walked by him, some of them very rich from their clothes and the several bags they were carrying with them.
Regina saw his sad face and as she watched his shoulders seem to slump even more, Regina looked down at the coin her father had given her and knew what she wanted to do. She made her decision and looked around for her parents, when she saw them talking to another two adults across the store, she made a beeline for the front entrance.
She walked down the sidewalk, and slowly approached the little boy. "Hello?" she said as she was only a few feet from him.
The little boy turned around slowly, "Hello." his voice was low, but he had an English accent that much she could tell. She liked how other people could speak with another type of accent to their voices.
"Do you, do you want me to draw your picture?" he asked as he smiled at her.
"No, today is my birthday," she informed him.
"Oh. Well, Happy Birthday," he told her.
"Thank you," she said as she held out her hand with the coin her father had given her. "And I want you to have this."
"But, why?" he asked, clearly confused on why the little girl was just going to give him money.
"Because, my father gave it to me and told me to spend it however I wished," she told him.
"But didn't you come out of the toy store?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered.
"Don't you want to spend it on something in there instead?" he asked.
"No, I want you to have it," she said as he looked at her and slowly took the gold coin from her.
"If I take it, my mom might think I stole it," he said.
"You can't steal something, that's been given to you," Regina said with a smile.
"Thank you," he whispered. "I can still do a quick drawing of you if you wish."
Regina smiled and was about to answer him, when she heard her name being called out loud, "Regina! Regina where are you?"
"It's mother! I have to go," she said as she turned and ran back into the store before her mother found her outside the store.
"Wait! I don't even know your name!" the little boy called out from behind her, but it was too late she was already back in the store. He looked down on the sidewalk and saw that her hair ribbon had come out as she had left him. He picked it up, and put it inside his worn out coat.
Once back inside the store, Regina carefully made her way back to the doll aisle. She had just picked up a doll as her parents came around the corner.
"Regina! There you are. Where have you been?" Cora asked as she stopped right in front of her.
"I was looking at the paints over there, and came back to the dolls," Regina answered. She hoped her mother could not tell that she wasn't telling the truth.
"Is that so?" Cora asked as she stared down at her daughter, as she raised her eyebrows with a look of disbelief.
"Now there is my little girl," Henry said as he walked up and picked up Regina in his arms, he settled her on his hip. "So did you find something to spend your money on?"
"I'm sorry, Daddy, but I lost the coin you gave me," Regina answered as she lowered her head. She hated lying to her Daddy, more than anything. She hoped he would never find out, and be disappointed in her for doing so.
"That's what happens when you spoil a child, Henry," Cora stated flatly.
"Nothing wrong with losing something," Henry stated, as he lifted his daughter's chin up to tell her the rest of his statement, "just remember that sometimes we loose things, but sometimes we are meant to find them again. Always remember that, Regina."
"I will, Daddy," Regina said, as she hugged her father.
"That's my girl," Henry said, "now how about we go get some ice cream."
"Thank you, Daddy," Regina said as he turned and started walking towards an ice cream shop down the street.
"Regina, where is your hair ribbon?" Cora asked.
Regina put a hand to her hair and didn't feel it, "It must have fallen off somewhere."
"You need to be more careful about your things, Regina. Or else you'll end up loosing everything," Cora chided her daughter. Regina lowered her head, and her bottom lip came out in a small pout.
"It's okay, Regina," Henry said as Regina looked up at him, "As long as you have love in your heart, you'll always have everything."
"You keep doing this and she's going to be even more spoiled," Cora stated.
"It's her birthday, and she's entitled to be spoiled for her birthday, Cora," Henry said as he walked out of the toy shop.
"Seems like it's her birthday then, every day," Cora said.
"Ignore, your mother, Regina," Henry whispered as Regina buried her head into the crook of her father's neck. As he walked, Regina turned her head to look over her father's shoulders, to see if she could see the little boy anymore. But now there was no sign of him, she hoped that wherever he was, that he was safe and not hungry tonight.
As the years passed, things changed dramatically for the Mills family. They had moved to England after a few years, settling in Kennington, which was a district in London, England, south of the River Thames. It is mainly within the London Borough of Lambeth, running along the boundary with the London Borough of Southwark a boundary which can be discerned from the early medieval period between the Lambeth and St George's parishes of those boroughs respectively.
Henry Mills had a few bad years, which was made worse when he had several bad investments, which resulted in them loosing lots of money. Because of the added stress, Henry Mills suffered a heart attack and after several weeks in the ICU, his heart gave out.
Regina Mills was heartbroken, her daddy had always been her hero. She had been inconsolable when he had passed away. She loved her mother, she did, but Cora Mills had made it hard to love her as she always wanted to be in complete control of everything in her life, her daughter included. Now, there was just her mother and herself. They had been forced to sell the house and had moved into Cora's mother old house, it was an old farmhouse but it was all that they could afford.
Regina was working as a child care worker at a local children's orphanage, when she wasn't taking night classes at a local university. She was studying to be a teacher. She loved being around children, and they seemed to love being around her. Especially this one little boy, who had been given up for adoption on the day of his birth. Often, when on her breaks throughout the day, she would go to the nursery and sit in a rocking chair and hold him. He would just look up at her and eventually his eyes would grow heavy and he would drift off to sleep.
They hadn't started off that way, when he had first come to the orphanage he had cried when she had held him. She had wanted him to like her so much, and after she made a deal with him, that she would rock him every day that she was here if he would stop crying with her. He seemed to accept the deal and started to come around to her, now falling asleep in her arms every day she worked.
"Regina!" Cora yelled from the doorway of the nursery.
"Shh!" Regina whispered as she stood up from the rocking chair and put the little boy back into his crib. She then brought her mother outside into the hallway, and carefully closed the door behind her.
"You almost woke him up," Regina said.
"Oh who cares," Cora said as she grabbed her daughter's forearms.
"What do you want, mother?" Regina asked.
"Oh, Regina. I have the most wonderful news," Cora said. "I was in town today and ran into an old friend of your father and I. We quickly caught up and he's coming by for dinner tonight."
"That's wonderful, mother. I hope you have a great time," Regina said as she walked around her mother and started walking down the hallway.
"I want you there at five, Regina," Cora said.
"I'm working tonight, mother," Regina said.
"You can skip working tonight," Cora reassured her.
"What is so important about tonight? Who is this person?" Regina asked.
"Oh Regina, he's the man who is the answer to our prayers," Cora answered.
Regina looked skeptically at her mother, and before Regina could question her further, her mother continued.
"His name is Leopold Blanchard," she said.