What was left of the week dragged in as Mary-Margret and Ashley tried in vain to talk to a still annoyed Ruby. Just at the shift changeover on Friday Emma had finally had enough and managed to grab Ruby before she ducked out. "They're trying to apologise."
"They don't know what they're apologising for," Ruby said sternly, "Mary-Margret cornered me and tried to force me to accept her lame apology, when we went to hug and make up - she flinched!"
"Oh," Emma grimaced, "she was probably surprised?"
Ruby stared at her and Emma admitted that was a little weak. Ruby had always been tactile and her suddenly ninja hugging them was expected by now. "Okay so she's an idiot, but she's still trying to be your friend, that has to count for something, right?"
"Emma I'm not gay," Ruby rolled her eyes and huffed, "but that's not the point. There's nothing in the world that could make me stop being friends with you guys, the fact that Ashley and Mary-Margret care about something so stupid and act so damn ignorant...it just makes me sad."
Before Emma could reply Mary-Margret came in. She stopped dead when she saw Ruby and gave a nervous smile. "Hey, can we talk?" She asked tentatively.
Ruby's face softened for a second before her eyes widened in disbelief. Emerging right behind Mary-Margret was Father Frollo holding his bible. He came to stand beside the school teacher and Ruby's face lost all its fleeting warmth. "Did you really get the priest for me?!"
Mary-Margret's eyes widened as started. "What? No – Ruby!"
"I can't believe you!" Ruby snapped before she stormed out the back entrance.
"Ruby!" Mary-Margret called after her desperately. The violent swinging of the kitchen door was her only answer. "I'm not with him..." she trailed off with a sigh of defeat.
"Should I be concerned at Ruby's guilty reaction to my presence?" Frollo asked bemused as he went to stand in front of Emma. "Has her immoral ways finally got to her?"
"No," Emma said firmly as Mary-Margret shifted looking guilty, "if you didn't come in with her, then why are you here?"
"To confirm that you will be working this Sunday at the soup kitchen. My offer of a ride home is still open," Frollo said easily.
"Yeah, I'm still happy to help," Emma said although she didn't sound very enthusiastic at the moment.
"Wonderful," Frollo nodded "I shall see you then. If Ruby is in need of guidance, I can help. It is my job to protect the sheep from the wolves after all."
"She's fine," Emma said again, her tone not welcoming an argument.
When he left Mary-Margret all but collapsed into a chair, "I didn't get him Emma I swear. There's no way I would wish him on Ruby, he's way too intense."
"You guys need to sort this out," Emma scowled as she put away glasses.
"I've tried but she just gets mad at me and runs away. She's really over reacting; it's not as if I'm trying to pin a pink triangle on her and send her to a camp. Even Soleil won't talk to me and Sonny talks to everyone!" Mary-Margret complained but she did look incredibly lost and hurt.
Emma relented, "maybe when she cools down, you guys can talk about why you're really fighting. You don't actually hate gay people, right?"
"No!" Mary-Margret answered quickly but just as quick she deflated and looked away apprehensively, "they're, just a little weird. I mean gay men are fine but...and this is why Ruby is getting annoyed with me isn't it?"
Emma gave a thin smile at the teacher's tone of realisation. She left her there to ponder while she took table fours order. When she came back she was startled to see Mary-Margret's mind working over time.
"I know what I have to do. We'll throw her a coming out party," Mary-Margret said with a determination that was more suited to fighting dragons than party planning.
"What?" Emma asked alarmed.
"Yeah, that will show her that we're all okay with it," Mary-Margret nodded seeming lost in her own head, "we can make Granny's into a gay friendly place. We'll bring all of Ruby and Soleil's friends. I'm pretty sure Sydney is gay so we can invite him. There's also an Asian cross dresser, that's nearly the same thing right? This will show her that we'll support them right?"
"I think you're missing the point," Emma could clearly see Mary-Margret ignoring her completely. She tried again anyway, "this is a bad idea. A really bad idea."
"No! This will show her that Ashley and I are comfortable around her type of people!" Mary-Margret argued looking decidedly uncomfortable with the notion. She seemed to wave away her apprehension, "this will work. Ruby and Sonny will feel supported and we can be friends again."
"Mary-Margret-" Emma tried to talk but Mary-Margret was already standing up.
"We can do this Sunday, I'll send Ruby to pick you up after church and you can bring her back here and we'll surprise her with the party. Ashley can talk Sonny into coming – it will be fine. This will fix everything," Mary-Margret seemed to be assuring herself of that rather than Emma.
"She's not even-" but Mary-Margret had left before Emma could finish. The blonde hid her face in her hands as she shook her head. This was not going to end well she just knew it.
As Emma prepared to lock up later that night, she mused on how odd it was to not see Regina. This Friday was date night so the hour that Regina came for her dinner was spent staring at an empty room. It was a nice chance for Emma to put up her swollen ankles but a part of her actually missed the caustic mayor.
Seeing Regina had become a part of her routine and Emma found she actually missed it. She really missed the ride home and wasn't looking forward to the walk.
She scanned the room one more time to make sure she hadn't missed anything when the phone rang. "Hello, Granny's diner?"
"Ms Swan you haven't left yet – good. I need your assistance," Regina's voice came crisply through the speaker, "I'm having car trouble."
"So call a mechanic," Emma retorted. She was actually glad to hear Regina's voice.
"I did he's intoxicated, apparently it's his birthday. He should celebrate it, it will be his last after this," Regina sounded furious that someone's celebrations would get in her way, "there is no way he would be in any condition to service me. You however could do the job."
"I don't know anything about fixing cars," Emma explained.
"Of course you don't, did I ask you to fix my car?" Regina said her tone clearly added 'you idiot.' "No, I have a different task that would suit you."
Regina then gave her the address and hung up just expecting Emma would jump. The waitress had half a mind to just go on home but curiosity got the better of her. Muttering under her breath she pulled her coat around herself and set off. The weather was thankfully only threatening rain and not actually delivering but it was still cold enough that her breaths came out in smoky puffs.
"Emma, there you are!" Graham's voice rang out in the chill.
She looked up and tried her best not to laugh. Graham was usually synonymous with scruffy. He put his rakish good looks to use in his bedraggle appearance. Tonight however he was in a suit ironed so thoroughly it looked like it could stand on its own, his hair was immaculate and still sporting comb marks and he was freshly shaven.
"Did she clean you?" Emma asked trying not to laugh at the image of Regina scrubbing his with an exfoliator and a razor.
Graham's eyes narrowed at her teasing and he crossed his arms in a huff. "The car is over here," he nodded behind him.
Emma looked at blinked with surprise.
"No laughing now are you?" Graham muttered petulantly. He thought she was struck dumb by the intimidating sight of Regina, just like most of the town. He was only half right.
Emma knew that Regina was a person. That had been brought harshly home the night she found the mayor frantically scrubbing clean dishes after her mother's visit. She had somehow never realised that Regina was actually a women too.
"About time," Regina huffed lounging against her BMW. She was wearing a form hugging black dress that wrapped around her body. It didn't dip low enough to expose her curves and the hemline was modest but it showed off every flattering line Regina had before it left off at Regina's long legs encased in black six inch heels. Around top she had a wrap draped to conceal her bare shoulders and arms as she stood shivering in the cold.
She looked gorgeous.
A wave of embarrassment washed over Emma and she felt stupidly self conscious. She hadn't realised that Regina was actually hot as well as a short tempered, socially stunted idiot.
"Must we wait even longer for your brain to arrive?" Regina asked but there was real concern in her eyes.
"No, but my patience is running behind so how about you get to the reason why I'm here?" Emma retorted trying to move on from her gaping.
"I need you to break into my car and hot wire it," Regina said evenly like she hadn't just asked Emma to commit a crime, in front of a cop and city official no less.
"That's going to need a bit more of an explanation. I'm on parole remember?" Emma mirrored the mayors cross armed stance.
"Millicent stopped by to ruin dinner and throw my purse away. Luckily, I only had about a hundred dollars in cash but my keys are in my purse, hence the need for you," Regina explained.
Emma held her breath at the idea of losing a hundred dollars as a bit of 'luck.' When she had regained control she raised her eyebrow, "and you just assumed I would know how to break into a car and hotwire it?"
"Of course," Regina sniffed not seeming to realise she was being insulting.
"You are such an ass," Emma shook her head sounding fonder than she had meant to. "I need something to pop the lock. I don't suppose you have a screw driver or a wire hanger at hand?"
"I'll go check the restaurant, I think I remember they had hangers when they took my coat," Graham offered heading back towards a small Italian restaurant.
"I didn't think you could actually live outside a power suit," Emma remarked to fill the silence after Graham left.
"They're much warmer," Regina frowned as she rubbed her arms against the cold.
Emma had the insane urge to offer her jacket but she had busted the zip trying to get it over her bump and anyway she was the pregnant chick. "So is Millicent still upset? Sonny hasn't come by the diner all week."
"She's homicidal – that's about normal for her. I think plotting her revenge is a hobby. Your friend is considering her offer to work as her assistant, if she accepts I'm sure Millicent will only plan to inflict grievous bodily harm rather than outright murder," Regina smirked.
"Here you go- oh, hey! That's the king Charles I've been looking for!" Graham shoved the wire coat hanger at Emma before he took off running after two dogs. "I'll be right back!"
"So he's also the dog warden too?" Emma snorted as she unbent the hanger.
"He has a thing for strays," Regina grimace in distaste.
"Two seconds and I'll have you inside where you can blast the heater," Emma promised and as good as her word after a few minutes the door to the BMW popped open with the alarm screeching wildly.
"So you're not even a good thief?" Regina yelled over the alarm and it almost sounded teasing.
Emma shifted her bulk to the electronics and crossed the necessary wires. The alarm shut off and a second later the car thrummed to life. "I'm sorry, you were saying something completely untrue?"
Regina smiled but just then Graham came back with a squirming bundle in his arms. "I got her! Regina, can we drop her off at her owners before we swing by yours?"
"I think not," Regina's lip curled in disgust as the king Charles licked Graham's face repeatedly.
"It won't take us that long," Graham protested.
"That flea infested thing is not getting in my car and neither are you with its germs all over you," Regina scowled.
"She's not germ infested, and you were going to make me shower anyway," Graham rolled his eyes but sounded fed up rather than disappointed that he didn't get to go home with Regina.
Regina sneered again before pointedly ignoring him and getting in the car. She back up but before she drove off she rolled down the window and looked expectantly at Emma, "well?"
"Huh?" Emma blinked at her.
The long suffering look on Regina's face really wasn't warranted in Emma's opinion. "Are you coming home or not Ms Swan?"
Emma jumped into action and slid into the passenger seat before Regina could change her mind. Emma really had got spoiled with the rides home. She gave Graham a cheery wave as they drove off, it distracted him long enough for the king Charles to jump out of his arms. Another grey dog shot out of the alley and the two took off together into the night as Graham gave chase.
"I'm sorry your date didn't end well," Emma said after they left the town centre. The normal rule of not talking in Regina's car didn't feel as comfortable as it usually did. Emma couldn't help darting glances at the mayor who looked so different in her dress.
"That's not your fault, Graham was the one that ran after that mange ridden animal," Regina grimaced. "Besides, I was about ready for the date to end. My mother will be visiting this Sunday..."
"Oh," Emma nodded in understanding. She had only met Regina's mother once but it was enough to know the woman was a bitch. An uncomfortable silence filled the car once more and in an effort to erase the traces of Regina's mother Emma managed to fumble "you, ah look really...pretty?"
Regina looked at her unimpressed.
Emma flushed and looked away.
"I have no idea how to turn this car off," Regina kindly decided to ignore Emma's comment.
Emma laughed relieved as Regina shot a worried look at the empty starter where her key should go. "Yeah they don't usually show you how to do that in the movies. You're lucky this isn't one of the models that had a computer, then we both would have been walking home."
"You might have been walking, I'm sure I could have rustled up a flying monkey or two," Regina smirked.
"Not everyone is there to do your bidding," Emma snorted.
"Well, at least you are," Regina smiled and Emma's normal sarcastic response flew out of her mind.
"Uh," she gaped like an idiot before she turned to look out the window. Regina didn't push it and just basked in the rare occurrence of Emma being speechless. The small smile on her face as she drove was enough to annoy Emma anyway.
Emma got her own back a little later when Regina parked the car in front of her house. The mayor looked expectantly at Emma. She inhaled sharply as Emma's hand stretched out towards her lap seeming to aim for the bit of skin the skirt had revealed during the drive. Instead Emma's hands made a jerking motion and disconnected the two wires she had used to hotwire the car and with a splutter the engine died.
"What did you think I was doing?" Emma smirked a little.
"Something foolish," Regina glared before she got out of the car.
"Night Regina!" Emma chirped cheerfully but received no reply.