I OWN NOTHING
"When Regina Met Lucy"
"Go on. Knock," Lucy urged softly.
Henry had been arguing against this since before this sudden home-coming trip began. He hadn't planned on going at all. Then Lucy showed him her book, and he realized she was telling the truth.
She really was his daughter, and his family might indeed need his help. Again.
However, no Dark Curse of any kind or magnitude could instill the fear churning in his stomach: telling Regina that he had a kid.
Lucy braced her hands on her hips. "Want me to do it?" she challenged.
"No." Henry's reply was quick and laced with fear. Man, it amazed him just how much alike they were. Had they met as kids, one might think they were siblings.
Swallowing thickly, Henry rapped on the door three times and, prompt as ever, a deep regal voice came from inside.
Henry turned the knob and slowly stepped into the Mayor's office. "Hi, Mom."
Regina suddenly lifted her chin, and her eyes widened as she stood from her desk. Henry stumbled back a bit as she bombarded him with a hug.
"Henry!" Regina looked him up and down as loving tears filled her eyes. "My God, look at you. You're as tall as a bean stalk! Not to mention as handsome as ever."
"Thanks," Henry replied, somewhat embarrassed.
It was Lucy's turn to speak up. "Hi, Grandma."
Regina's faced turned white. "Excuse me?"
"I'm Lucy. Henry's my dad."
Regina turned her eyes back to her son, who suddenly had a guilty look on his face. "You're married?" she demanded. "And you didn't tell me?"
"No, Mom. I'm not married," he assured. "Lucy and I just met. She came to my apartment and said you needed me."
"Wait. You mean..."
As they continued to stare at each other, Henry could only imagine the gears grinding in his adoptive mother's mind. Suddenly, her bewildered expression was replaced with a serene smile as she knelt down to speak with Lucy.
"Well... I certainly wasn't expecting this." Tapping a finger on Lucy's nose, she added, "I must say, you're a very beautiful girl, Lucy."
Lucy smiled. "Thank you."
Regina shot a glance over her shoulder toward her desk. "Say, are you hungry? I always keep fresh apples on my desk. How about you have a few for a snack while your dad and I talk?"
"Okay." Lucy gave Henry her storybook before bounding over to the desk and grabbing a couple apples.
"Come on, Henry," Regina said calmly. "Let's talk in the filing room."
"You have a daughter!? And you're just learning this now!?"
"Believe me, I'm just as shocked as you are."
"Henry, what did I tell you about safe sex?"
"Not much. We were usually too busy protecting the town."
"Does Emma know about this?"
"I called her, but it went straight to voicemail. She's real busy these days, you know?"
Regina huffed a sigh. "Hook's been traveling back and forth between here and New York, so I have some idea... But that doesn't excuse the fact that you up and left a woman pregnant!"
"That's the thing," Henry countered. "Lucy told me a whole bunch of stuff, and I swear I've never met the her mother before in my life."
"Then maybe this kid isn't who she says she is." Regina frowned. "Oh, how I'd love to bake an apple turnover for the lucky Mommy Dearest."
Henry shoved Lucy's book in Regina's hands. "But Mom, look at this."
As Regina started flipping through the pages, her heart began pounding harder than ever before. Their story-Everything leading up to Hook and Emma's wedding-It was all there. Word for word. Though this book was slightly different than the original, the words Once Upon A Time remained embossed in gold on the white hardcover.
On the front page was an inscription.
In Henry's handwriting.
"Oh, my God." Blinking, some color returned to Regina's cheeks before she asked, "What else did this girl tell you?"
"Not much," Henry replied. "Only that her mother and I share an... epic love story. At least, that's what her mother told her."
"Are you sure it wasn't Violet?"
"Sorry, sorry, it's just... Well, I remember how much you liked her."
The bewildered mother and son peeked through the opening Regina left in the door. Lucy was eating her second apple, and as they both watched her, they saw even more of a resemblance. The hair, the eyes, even the mannerisms in which she carried herself at such a young age.
"Mom," Henry began calmly. "I think Lucy and I will be staying in town for a while."
"Not a problem. You know my house is always open to you." A hint of a smile appeared on Regina's face. "Lucille Mills. Now that I think about it, the has a nice ring. Don't you think?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess so."
Regina reached into her pocket and handed him the key to their house. "You've had a long trip. Why don't you go home and get some sleep? In the mean time, I'll get ahold of Emma."
Henry graciously accepted her offer. "Thanks, Mom."
Regina planted a kiss on Henry's cheek, then one on Lucy's forehead, before they left her office. Then she sat back down and firmly pressed the phone receiver to her ear while dialing Emma's number.
"Here we go again," she said to herself.