Out of the Blue
Chapter 2: Close
"Important question," Regina asked, now sitting beside Emma at the bar.
The man earlier was nowhere to be seen, and at the moment, Ruby was also gone. While she didn't know her roommate well, she assumed she was okay. And that she would find her if she needed her. And right then? Emma's attention was completely focused on the woman next to her.
"I'm ready," Emma responded, grinning a little.
"What's your favorite drink?" The brunette asked. The question was innocent enough, but the blonde immediately rolled her eyes good-naturedly.
"I'm the one buying you the drink. You should be answering that question," Emma said, propping one elbow on the edge of the bar.
"An Old Fashioned," Regina answered almost immediately, though her eyes widened as the blonde let out a small laugh. She asked suddenly then, seeming completely confused, "What's so funny about that?"
Emma smiled, "Nothing. I'm just… not surprised."
"What about you?" Regina questioned then.
"I usually get a Long Island."
The brunette's eyes narrowed slightly as if appraising the blonde. "I heard once that Long Islands are for people who have problems and want to get rid of them quickly."
Emma knew she was kidding, but the truth of Regina's statement hit her hard.
The bartender looked free for a moment, so Emma waved them over, not ready to respond to the other woman's statement. She ordered an Old Fashioned and a Long Island, hoping the entire time that her ID wouldn't get checked. That would make things a whole lot more uncomfortable. She didn't need Regina to know she was under twenty-one, and honestly, she wasn't sure that the brunette would still be speaking to Emma if she knew.
When the bartender slid over their drinks, and she passed Regina hers, Emma began tried to push those thoughts out of her mind. But what would Regina do if she knew? And did it matter? They'd only been talking for a few minutes.
Emma did wonder how much older she was than her, though. She didn't know much about the bar they were at, or what the main demographic of it was. The university had students completing both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. So bearing in mind that she had never been good at judging age to begin with… that meant Regina was somewhere between twenty-one and thirty years old.
"You look deep in thought," Regina mused, pulling Emma from the depths of her mind. She watched as the blonde's focus shifted back to her, the brunette's gaze curious.
Emma shrugged a little, trying to play off her thoughts like they were no big deal. There's no way she could begin to explain the depths of her mind right then. She quickly asked another question before the other woman could. "So what are you studying?"
"Mm," Regina said, putting down the drink she was sipping. Her expression turned more excited then. "Educational Psychology.. And you?" She tilted her head to the side, almost definitely trying to guess what the blonde's response would be.
For a moment, Emma struggled with what to say. She had just started college- she didn't know what she wanted to do. She had come into her first year Undecided. But she did have some idea, so she gave the best answer that she could. "Psychology. But not the educational kind." Emma grinned, trying to hide any of the uncertainty that she was feeling inside. "Education, though… You like kids?"
The brunette nodded a little. "I like to learn about how they remember things, and how they form connections."
"Do you do that with everyone? Try to figure out how they think?" Emma asked curiously.
"No." Regina returned quickly, then paused, looking thoughtful. "But I'm getting the idea that I couldn't figure out your thoughts if I wanted to." She reached over and took the blonde's hand in hers.
"Hm." Emma smiled then, looking down at their hands, their fingers entwined. "You might be right about that." She took a big drink of her Long Island, willing the alcohol to kick in. She liked the way that it felt to be holding the brunette's hand. Talking felt easy, and it was all too easy to get lost in her warm eyes. Or the way that her hair fell, just barely above her shoulders-
"So," Regina began, her thumb running over the blonde's hand, pulling Emma's focus back to her. Really, her attention never left the brunette. "Why were you just sitting by the bar by yourself anyway?"
"Ah, my date disappeared," Emma said jokingly, her nose crinkling.
A brief look of concern flashed across the other woman's gaze. She looked unsure of if the blonde was joking. "What?"
"I'm kidding." Emma smiled, then. "I didn't come with one. A friend convinced me to come and celebrate the beginning of another school year."
Regina let out a breath, obviously more than a little exasperated at the blonde's joke. She let go of Emma's hand but remained close. "They all blend together after a while, don't they?"
Emma sighed a little. "Yeah. They definitely do." She paused, missing the contact that they had just a moment before. "But why were you sitting here alone? No date for you?"
The brunette didn't respond right away, thinking over her response for a moment. She turned in her chair to face the blonde more directly. "To answer your first question, I need to answer your second." She shrugged a little, her hand playing with the sleeve of her shirt. "I came with a couple of friends. It was a little bit of a congratulatory party, for a new job." Her gaze moved to the dance floor, never stopping on any one group of people. She cleared her throat a little. "But they have… miraculously disappeared."
While Emma knew by now that Regina was more than capable of taking care of herself, she found herself wondering why anyone would want to leave her. The alcohol wasn't helping. The time was going by quickly, maybe too quickly. Eventually, the night would have to come to an end, and even now, the night had "bad idea" written all over it. She already felt like she was lying to Regina. She hadn't necessarily flat-out lied, but she was lying by omission. And maybe that was worse.
It was the confidence in her tone of voice, the way 100% of her attention seemed to be on her. That was what attracted Emma, against all reason to the brunette.
At that moment, what she really needed was some advice. She needed someone to tell her: "Emma, lying is not okay. You need to get out of this situation." But that person was on the dance floor, likely oblivious to the fact that Emma had even found someone to occupy her time. So for now, she was going to rely on herself… and let the alcohol guide her. A hint of a smile edged its way onto the blonde's lips. "Do you want to dance?"
Regina nodded, her lips forming a smile. God, was that a smile Emma could get used to seeing more often.
Just a few moments later, the two of them had made their way back out to the dance floor. The alcohol made her feel lighter, but also made everything around her feel deeper. The lights pulsed, the beat of the music able to be felt down to the blonde's bones.
They were surrounded by people, but Emma's only focus was the brunette. Regina had been holding Emma's hand but moved it so that it was resting on her own waist. Her arms circled around the blonde's neck loosely, pulling her closer and closer. Emma didn't mind. The music pounded in her ears, blocking out any voices around them. With all the noise, she probably couldn't hear Regina if she wanted to. They moved to the music, and for the first time in a while, Emma didn't feel self-conscious at all. There was no judgment in the brunette's gaze. It just felt… freeing. And so, so secure.
The brunette's face was so close, and Emma was lost in her eyes. She watched as the lights from the club reflected… blue, then pink, then green. If she moved just a couple inches forward, there would be no more distance between them.
The situation itself felt comfortable, but also dangerous. It was like they were on the edge of a cliff, and the only thing keeping her from falling into the water below was the woman in her arms. It was a feeling of security that was easy to give into. But how? How had she gone from standing alone at a bar to this? It couldn't have been that long ago that she barged into the brunette's conversation.
Emma didn't know how much time had passed, but her trance was broken when the brunette moved away suddenly. The blonde would have been alarmed if Regina hadn't grabbed her hand, just as quickly leading her away from the vast ocean of people that was the dance floor. Before Emma could even question if something was wrong, she was stopped in her tracks by the brunette's expression. She looked sure and... hopeful? A small grin lit up Regina's expression as she pulled Emma to her once again.
The blonde couldn't be sure who initiated it, or even process what was happening right away. Regina was coming closer again… closer and closer until their lips met. The brunette's palm cupped the other woman's face, the kiss gentle. Emma found herself melting into it, an arm wrapping around Regina's waist to pull her closer. Their lips parted only briefly before meeting once again, a hand tangling in the blonde's long hair.
Emma felt the electricity, the feeling only accentuated by the shifting light and pulsing music. She needed her close, and at that moment, it seemed like the brunette was feeling the same way. It didn't matter how she looked, or if people were watching. It just felt undeniably right.
All too quickly, the moment ended. "Shit, Emma." A voice sounded suddenly.
It was like waking up from a dream, her body fighting the voice every step of the way. As much as she tried to ignore it, though, it returned. "Emma." A hand grasped at the blonde's elbow.
Regina took a small step back, looking surprised. She clearly was trying, and failing to get a grasp on what was happening as well.
"Ruby?" The blonde questioned, her eyes finding her roommate's now.
"Emma, we need to go," Ruby said, any hint of intoxication wiped clean from her voice.
She shook her head, trying to clear it. She focused on her friend's face, confused. "What, why?"
Ruby frowned then. She looked apologetic but rushed. "I'll explain soon. Just- come on!"
"I-" Emma began, her gaze moving quickly back to Regina, who had said nothing during Emma's exchange with her friend. Before the blonde could so much as apologize, she was being pulled away. And by the time they neared the doors to the club, the brunette was lost in the crowd.
The neon lights of the club signs faded as Ruby and Emma made their way back towards campus. They moved at a brisk pace and Emma pulled her leather jacket around her shoulders. She was trying desperately to make sense of things, but the alcohol was still clouding her mind. Just as fast as her time with Regina had started, it ended.
Once they had gotten a few blocks away, Ruby slowed down. She sighed, risking a glance at her roommate. "Sorry, Em."
Emma crossed her arms over her chest. The end of the summer heat had died down dramatically in the night, but the blonde didn't feel cold. She just felt a sense of loss. "What the hell was that all about?" Emma questioned.
Ruby's eyes widened slightly at her roommate's tone of voice. "I heard someone tipped off the cops. That some people were going to have their IDs checked on the way out."
Emma just shook her head. "And you didn't think that maybe we could have gone out a back door? Or figured something else out." She gave her friend the suggestions but knew their options were limited. School hadn't even started yet. And if they got underage drinking tickets now, or citations for fake IDs? That could ruin things before they even started.
Ruby seemed to sense that Emma didn't want her question answered. After a while, she nudged the blonde. "You seemed pretty cozy with your little girlfriend…"
Emma raised an eyebrow. "Little girlfriend?" In her mind, she was still with her. Regina had directed that same look at her more than a couple of instances that night. It almost felt like the whole night was a dream... like it didn't even happen.
Ruby continued, "Yeah I hadn't expected that. Honestly-"
"You were the one that told me to have fun… and I did," Emma said. She looked up at the streetlights, their dim light washing over the two of them as they made their way home. All too quickly her thoughts got the best of her. "I just- I feel like such a jerk."
"Why?" Ruby asked, putting her hands in her pockets.
Emma stopped walking then. "I just left her," she responded. "I should have told her that I had to go. I could-"
"Could have what?" Ruby cut her off. "Look…" the brunette sighed. "Maybe this is better. You get to end the night with good memories, knowing that you don't have to see her again."
"Oh," the blonde managed. She sighed, her friend's words only making her feel more uneasy. Chances were, though, that her roommate was right. If she had stayed, and Regina asked for her number, would she have given it to her? Would she have committed to seeing her again, knowing full well that the brunette had no idea that she was just in her first year of school? She didn't know the answer.
"It's the first rule of clubbing, Emma." Ruby nudged her friend gently, looking sympathetically over at her. "It's not good to get attached to the people you meet.
Author's Note: Thank you so much for following the beginning of this story! The support means so much. And definitely let me know of any thoughts and feedback moving forward. :)