Mary Margaret hands me a fresh cup of chocolate, sprinkling powdered cinnamon over the top of the cream. I can feel her watching me, irritatingly patient, because she knows I won't be able to help myself from telling her sooner or later. Sometimes her trustworthy smile and kind eyes frustrate me, even though I know I should be grateful that somebody cares about me at all. But guy trouble was definitely easier to handle when other people didn't know I had guy trouble.
"I couldn't reach him," I finally admit, scooping up a hefty helping of cream from the top of my cup. "I thought I might be able to get him... from the station. But there was no response." I think about the empty space where the dagger lay. I guess he didn't trust me to guard it after all. Perhaps last night was even just a ploy to get me away from it, for him to send someone in to get it back.
"So, are you going to look for him tomorrow?" Mary Margaret asks. "He'll be opening up the shop Monday morning, right?"
A little warm bubble of anger bursts in my stomach.
"No, screw him," I say. "He can come to me. I have a job to do too."
Mary Margaret nods her head. "Good for you," she replies. "Who needs him anyway?"
The anger fades, and a sad little memory crosses my mind. I gaze across the apartment to the couch, and I can see his face in the dark, grin a mile wide, feel his warm hands wrapped around me. And then the horrible moment returns when he upped and left, that emotionless look on his face.
The glossy look in his eyes.
And I think of the missing dagger again, and a possibility enters my head.
The doorbell rings, and I'm on my feet before I even know it. The moment I click the lock the door flies open, and Gold rushes past me in a blur of tailored suit and shiny hair.
"What the hell?" I say, stumbling back.
He turns sharply, putting a finger to his lips. His eyes are dark and serious, and for the first time I notice the screwdriver in his other hand. I give him a puzzled look, but he just keeps the finger at his lips a moment longer, repeating the gesture to Mary Margaret.
We watch in amazement as Gold sets aside his cane on the kitchen floor. He kneels beside the phone, using the screwdriver swiftly to dismantle the box on the wall leading to the phone line. Gold crouches, peering into the cavity in the wall, then feeling around inside, until we hear a crunching sound. He produces a little black box with some odd wires sticking out here and there, dropping it onto the floor.
And with another sharp move, he takes up his cane and smashes the box to bits.
Gold rises to his feet, looking at me properly for the first time. His eyes have lost their hard edge at last.
"Regina's been tapping your phone," is all he says.
And his grave expression tells me the rest. It tells me why the dagger is missing from my safe, and why he vanished in the middle of what should have been a night to remember.
"And that's why you had to leave," I reply.
Gold casts a quick look at Mary Margaret, considering my phrasing.
"I'm sorry, but yes" he says.
I nod, and a relieved smile breaks out onto my face.
"It's okay," I reply. "I'm just glad that's the reason."
"Sorry," says Mary Margaret, rounding the kitchen counter to view the smashed phone bug. "But how is it okay that Regina's tapping our phone? And actually, Mr. Gold, how do you know she was?"
Gold turns, ever prepared, slipping off his jacket as he speaks.
"It's not okay, of course. It has terrible implications for us all."
Gold hangs his jacket over a kitchen stool, coming to lean on the back of the couch near where I stand. The thought of Regina possessing that dagger shudders through me as I look at him. So very nearly mine. The only thing in this damn town that wasn't under her control. And now she's got him too.
"Emma spoke to me last night on your phone here," he continues, "And we talked about an artefact that she was looking after for me at the station. Regina now has that artefact."
"And, well, as soon as Gold realised he rushed off to investigate," I jump in, afraid that Gold might give too much away. The last thing I need is to have to start the whole dagger-magic conversation with Mary Margaret right now. "He didn't even have a minute to tell me."
"I know you tried to call me," he says, looking to me with an apologetic curve in his lips. "I've been checking my phone line," he explains, "checking the shop for bugs. I even had the boys give the club the once-over. This was the last place on my list."
"And sure enough, it's us she's out to get again," says Mary Margaret, folding her arms. She looks between me and Gold, then moves to get her jacket. "Ugh," she sighs. "I'm going to walk out my anger a little. I'll give you two some time here."
"I'll get her back for this," I promise her. Mary Margaret gives me a little smile.
"I know you will," she says.
And with that she leaves me and Gold together, the couch between us. I circle it unsurely, approaching him. He watches me softly, and when I touch his arm he pulls me into an embrace. I let him, the comfort and excitement of his touch masking some of my worry.
"Thought I wasn't going to get to do this again," I mumble into his purple shirt.
"You might not want to, when you hear the rest," he replies.
I pull back a little, keeping hold of his side with one hand. I take in a little breath.
"So she called you, with the dagger?" I ask.
He nods, and I can feel his hand toying with the ends of my hair behind my shoulder. He chews his lip in uncomfortably for a moment.
"I don't remember anything that happened," he explains. "After a while under the dagger's control, it's like a trance. Total blackout."
"Okay," I say with a nod.
"But I woke up in the Mayor's office this morning," he says. Gold turns his eyes to the floor. "And I think you ought to know... that it was without my clothes."