Out of the Blue
Chapter 1: Regina
Synopsis: Emma has just started her first year of college. Being away from home has pushed Emma to try new things and explore her identity. When she meets a woman at a bar who is being hit on by a man, Emma decides to intervene. What she doesn't know is that woman would end up being her professor, and that she would end up falling completely in love with her.
A rewrite and expansion of Unconventional.
"I can do this…" Emma thought the words to herself, just as she had a minimum of thirteen times already that night. She had moved into her dorm two days earlier and already her roommate was urging her to go to a bar. Not a party- a club. Those two acts felt worlds apart from each other, at least in terms of the level of danger that accompanied them. The danger level of going to a party? Medium. There was always the chance that Emma would have to field flirting from frat guys, but getting an underage drinking ticket? That chance was low. Going to a club was a whole other story. The danger level was high, because if they even got in, it would probably only be due to sheer luck. And Emma hadn't had a lot of luck in her eighteen years of life.
According to Emma's roommate Ruby, this bar only carded after 11 pm, and even if they did, Ruby had fake IDs. As they waited in line to enter the bar, Emma pushed her blonde hair out of her face and behind her ear, peering down at the thin piece of plastic. Staring back at her was a smiling face, with brown hair and blue eyes.
"Ruby, this doesn't even look like me." Emma sighed, her nerves beginning to get the best of her.
Ruby and Emma hadn't known each other for long, but it was clear that the other girl could sense Emma's anxiety. She shrugged, "So you dyed your hair before you got that picture taken. Big deal."
Suddenly, Emma got the feeling that Ruby could talk her way out of any situation that she needed to. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, willing the nerves to settle. "This is just new. New is good." Emma had never been a big partier. She didn't like big groups of people, and she didn't like to drink. It was clear on the day that they moved in that Ruby felt otherwise. And judging by the easy-going smile that remained on her face, even as they passed the bouncer and headed into the club, Ruby was living for this.
The brunette walked straight up to the bar, edging her way past people stationed around the edges, and ordered them both drinks. As she brought one back to Emma, she grinned. "See? That was easy… and now next time you can grab the drinks."
Emma looked down at the drink uncertainly. "What even is this?"
Ruby grinned, "Just drink it."
Emma took a sip, and resisted the urge to squeeze her eyes shut. "I'm only gonna ask this one more time… What is this?"
"Gin and Tonic."
A laugh escaped the blonde's lips, and she took another sip of the drink. "Well, it's disgusting. You can keep it." She handed the drink back to her roommate, who was beginning to stare longingly at the dance floor. "You wanna go? I can come find you in a little bit," Emma offered.
"You sure?" Ruby asked, but was already beginning to walk away.
Emma didn't bother to respond, instead gathering up the courage to push her way to the bar. Not too far away, someone was getting off of a barstool, and Emma rushed forward to take the seat before another person could. The chair spun as she hopped into it, and the blonde braced her arms on the counter to steady herself. The surface was sticky, probably from all the drinks that had been spilled throughout the evening. Looking back, Ruby was beginning to melt into the crowd. She was dancing and drinking at the same time. It was lucky that she had two drinks because it looked like one of the two was already spilled all over the floor. For a moment, Emma wondered how a person could be like that. Ruby seemed to fit in with the crowd, it seemed so easy for her. Meanwhile, Emma felt so out of place.
"Did you want something?" One of the bartenders asked, catching Emma by surprise. She jumped slightly, panic rising. What kind of drinks were there? Vodka… tequila… but you don't just order that…
"Vodka-cran please," Emma said with as confident a voice as she could, pushing a few dollars over the counter. A few seconds later, the bartender passed over a drink that was way too full of ice but was definitely better than what Ruby had given her. She sighed, looking back out at the dance floor again. The lights were dim, the room seeming to pulse alongside the beat of the music. Ruby was now dancing with some man, and Emma didn't feel like fulfilling her promise to join her. Instead, she took a few more sips of her drink, knowing that she wouldn't last much longer if she stayed sober.
As her gaze followed her roommate's path across the dance floor, Emma found her mind drifting. It wasn't that Emma didn't want to be there. She wanted to have the college experience that so many people had raved about. More than anything, she wanted to start fresh. Storybrooke University wasn't a big school, but it was filled with a few thousand new people. And none of those new people knew her. It gave Emma a chance to be more who she was than ever before. But how could she do that? Being in a new space alone wasn't going to change anything. It wasn't going to be making her bolder or braver or more comfortable.
"I would appreciate it if you found someone else to try to win over," a voice said nearby, catching Emma's attention. The voice sounded stern but calm, almost like a warning. Like the calm before a storm. As she glanced over at the barstool next to her, a woman was sitting. Her back to her, but she could see the man across from her as clear as day.
"I would appreciate it," repeating the woman's words in a slightly sarcastic tone. Emma found herself bristling. This guy has the nerve to mock her? Does he think that will work? He continued on, "If you wouldn't pretend to be so hard to get." He grinned, looking all too happy with himself.
By the woman's next words, Emma was nearly positive that she had rolled her eyes. Her voice went up half an octave, "Oh, you think I'm pretending." The blonde held back a grin, ready for this woman to put this guy in his place. She was trying to mind her own business, to not pay attention. But he looked too smug. And something about this woman was pulling her in.
"Trust me…" She looked up at him, seeming to make direct eye contact. "I couldn't pretend to be more uninterested if I tried." She said, then paused, waiting for him to walk away. When he didn't, she continued, her voice holding a tone of authority. "Now leave me alone."
The man looked like he didn't know what to do with himself. His expression flashed between annoyance, confusion, and anger. In the end, it settled on anger. His pride was obviously hurt. He braced his arms on the counter of the bar, moving further into the woman's space. "You know what, I don't think I will."
Before Emma could stop herself, or even think twice about what she was doing, she slid over to the two of them. She moved next to the woman and cleared her throat.
The man looked mildly confused by the interruption, then looked the blonde up and down. "Can I help you?" He asked.
Emma frowned, narrowing her eyes at the man. She was angry that he had checked her out, and more than anything else, Emma was mad that he had the audacity to ignore the woman's rejection.
"You can. You can get out of my fucking way because if you get one fraction of an inch closer to my girlfriend, I'm going to trip your arm out of its socket." Her voice came out confident, though where that confidence came from, Emma didn't know. She also sounded pissed off, and the root of that emotion was much easier to pinpoint. When the man didn't move, she spoke again. "Now move."
The man stared at her in disbelief, then looked between the two of them. Finally, he shrugged, looking like the effort of the conversation was no longer worth it. "If you wanted to get to know me, babe, you just had to ask." He shrugged and began to walk away.
"I can't believe he really just said that," Emma breathed. She realized then that she hadn't even looked at the woman beside her. It was all too likely that she was looking at her like she was a complete lunatic. What she had done was completely out of character for Emma. It was impulsive and… weird. After a few moments, Emma moved to look at the woman that she had been so quick to defend. She was a brunette, not much shorter than the blonde. Her eyes were a warm brown, and they were watching her with a look of cautious amusement. She was beautiful, her red lips tilting upwards and her hair falling just above her shoulders.
"I'm sorry," Emma said suddenly. Though if she was apologizing for the interruption or for staring, she didn't know. All the blonde knew was that she couldn't seem to look away. She shivered.
The woman looked like she was going to respond, then looked away, her gaze focusing somewhere behind Emma. Emma followed her gaze. The man from earlier was nearby, staring at the two of them. The brunette sighed, taking Emma's hand. "Follow me," she said and led the two of them away from the man and into the crowd.
As they weaved through what felt like a sea of people, Emma's mind began to whirl. She was going to have to explain why she did what she did. And she wasn't ready for that, mostly because she had no idea why. But the woman's hand felt secure, and soon they came to a stop, not too far away from the dance floor.
The woman dropped her hand, and Emma immediately missed the contact. "Well, Dear…" the woman said, emphasizing the last word. "I'd like to know what that was about."
Emma didn't speak for a moment, unsure of how to react now that the woman's attention was completely focused on her. "That guy was an asshole," was all she could manage to say, though it came out more like a question than a statement.
The woman nodded thoughtfully. "He was. And I'm more than capable of handling myself." She took a drink of whatever it was she was holding. Whiskey? She continued then, her gaze flicking back up to meet the blonde's. "But thank you."
"Anytime," Emma responded, words coming more easily now. "I just wish he would have gotten the hint the first time. Staring at us? That's… creepy." She took a long sip of her drink, finishing it off.
The woman shrugged. "It was. But it's nothing that hasn't happened before." She sighed. "He was probably just waiting to see two women together."
"Must have blown his mind when I said you were my girlfriend." A laugh escaped Emma's lips.
A grin appeared on the brunette's face. "He's not the only one."
Emma was caught off guard. By the woman's comment, but also the whole situation. She had to be older than Emma. Hell, ninety-seven percent of the people in the club were older than Emma. And the brunette seemed mature and really quick-witted. When Emma intervened, she didn't think their conversation was going to last this long. Now that it had, the blonde didn't know what to do. And she definitely didn't know how to react to the fact that she blew the brunette's mind.
"You haven't told me your name you know," the woman said.
"Emma," she replied, taking a breath. "I'm Emma… and you are?"
The woman grinned, amusement lighting up her features. "Regina."
It felt good to have a name for the woman in front of her. "Regina," she repeated back. "Is that what everyone calls you? Any nicknames that you go by?"
Regina's grin faltered a little. She shook her head, "Just Regina."
Emma nodded a little, feeling her cheeks flush. "Well, I don't have to keep you from what you were doing before. He's not looking anymore."
Regina raised an eyebrow, "So you claim that I'm your girlfriend, and then decide that you want to walk away?"
The blonde laughed at that. "No!" A smile spread across her face. "You know what? I was just thinking."
"And?" Regina responded quickly.
"And…" Emma began. "If you're supposedly my girlfriend, the least I could do is buy you a drink."
The other woman grinned then. "I suppose… I'll have to take you up on that offer. She began to head back in the direction of the bar, and Emma was quick to follow. And she had a feeling that she would probably follow this woman pretty much anywhere.
Author's Note: A few years have passed since I wrote my previous SwanQueen fic, Unconventional. While I could continue that story now, both my writing and I as a person have changed so much in a few years. That being said, I've decided to rewrite Unconventional. It'll include some of the same content as my past story, but will continue further and expand on different topics more relevant to this new college setting. I hope those who read my work before, and new folks alike will enjoy it. :) Thanks always for reading.