My eyelids rip back from my face. "I promised!" I throw the other woman's coat off and splash out of the boat. The men call back to me and most of the people think I've lost my mind.
I swim through the dead, calling her name. "Regina! Regina Mills!" It's still gray out and I can't tell what body is who. A cough comes from someone floating ahead of me. "Regina, it's me, Emma!"
Her voice cracks. "Emma?"
I swim up to her and hug her so roughly we bump beneath the surface for a minute. Her eyes are only open halfway and her lips are deathly blue and her skin dangerously frozen. It appears that she cannot move well at all.
"Why are you here? Where's the lifeboat?"
"They're over there, oh, I hope they don't leave us."
"I promised you."
"You promised me what?"
"I promised I wouldn't let go." I take her frozen hand in mine even though she probably can't even feel it. "I can't break a promise."
"Emma, there is no choice right now. Some childlike promise means nothing."
"On the contrary, it means a lot. I'll figure out a way to get you into the lifeboat, come on."
I help her swim through the icy water where the lifeboat sits, waiting. But I refuse to get in unless they make room for her. We sit the children in their parent's laps, shuffle around a bit and make enough room for her to lie down. They pull me into the boat, wrap me again in the woman's coat and help Regina in after me. The tears freeze on her cheeks as she cries in happiness. She is not going to die. Since I'm wet she lays her head in the man's lap next to me and we continue to gently hold the others hand.
Like my dream, we float for a long time. I appear to get better, but even though Regina is draped in two jackets, she appears to get worse. I replace the St. Nicholas necklace to her neck to remind her who she is alive for. She presses a small smile to her lips, but it's obvious.
"I'm not going to make it Emma. Thank you for everything you've done. I'll never forget it. But nature beat your attempts."
Tears leak out and form ice on my cheeks. "But-but Henry loves you. He needs you."
"He wants you Emma, not me." She hands the St. Nicholas necklace back and looks up at the man who is holding her. "Kiss me." She whispers softly. "So I can die with sweetness on my lips."
His eyes are teary too and when he blinks they trail along the sides of his face. But he bends over and oh so gently presses his lips to hers. He holds the bottom of her chin and the sides of her face until the long, tender kiss breaks. When his face rises from her and he removes his hands her head lulls to the side, her mouth slightly open and her eyes are closed. Both of us search for her pulse, but it's gone. No more fog passes from her lips. Gently, I brush her bangs off of her forehead, stuck there by ice. Softly, I murmur a prayer for her soul and the man joins me. We sit in silence after that, waiting for rescue.
"Thank you." My voice cracks. "For being so kind."
He presses a sad smile to his lips. "I always thought she was beautiful. I admired her from afar many times. She knew it too. But having a son, she couldn't really start a romantic relationship."
I nod. "That kiss showed compassion. What's your name?"
He nods. "Lovely name."
Two more chapters people! Are you ready?