The doorbell rang just as Regina finished re-buttoning the cuffs of her blouse. She tried to make herself presentable as she made her way to answering it. "Sheriff Swan. You're early."

Shit, thought Emma. The mayor always managed to look alluring, but the soft domesticity of the blue print apron overlaying Regina's typical power attire pushed a button Emma hadn't even known she had. This was going to be more challenging than she'd anticipated. "I thought we should talk."

Regina smirked and tilted her head. "Talk," she repeated. It wasn't quite a question. Emma stared at the toe of her boot as it scuffed at the front walk and remained silent. After months of carrying on in secret, she was clearly still worried that anyone might see them relating as anything but adversaries. Regina sighed as she stepped back, opening the door wider. "Then I suppose you'd better come in."

The mayor strode confidently through her home toward the kitchen, a wave of her hand indicating that Emma should follow her. Emma rolled her eyes, remembering that this was why she did her best not to come here, or to Regina's office. She tried to keep their meetings confined to more neutral territory. Regina Mills was a woman who always seemed to have the upper hand. She didn't need the advantage of being on her own turf.

Emma tried her best not to stare at the woman's other… advantages as she took off her apron, folded it neatly and placed it on the counter. Regina turned and waited a moment, eyeing the sheriff expectantly, before prompting, "You wanted to talk, Ms. Swan?"

"Yes," Emma hesitated. She squirmed uncomfortably, pulling at the zipper on her favorite red jacket. "It's warm in here."

Regina indicated the oven with a nod of her head. "Baking will raise the temperature," she said as she moved to get Emma a glass of ice water.

With Regina's back to her, Emma was able to screw up just enough courage to say what she had come to say. "I think that this... whatever is between us needs to end," she blurted.

Regina turned sharply, frowning. Whatever this conversation was, it wasn't at all what she'd been expecting. "End?"

"Yes. This, what we're doing, is a problem. It's no good, Regina. The sneaking around, the lying, to Henry, to-" she stopped short, not wanting to mention Mary Margaret and risk derailing the whole conversation. Any talk of her roommate only ever seemed to be a shortcut to a full-blown fight.

Regina stepped forward, closer than was really necessary to hand Emma her glass of water. "So your solution to this... 'problem' is that it simply end?"

Emma took a drink and avoided Regina's eyes. "I think it should," she mumbled to the ice cubes floating in her glass. She held it in front of her with both hands, vainly trying to create space between them.

"And how, precisely, would that work? Surely you don't think you can simply leave?" Regina demanded. Emma winced, which was all the answer the mayor needed to understand that that was exactly what Emma had thought. "Oh no, Ms. Swan. You're in Henry's life now. That's what you wanted. And that doesn't just end. Your leaving now would hurt-" Frustrated, Regina tried to fight the lump of anger that was rising in her throat. She hated the way it strangled her, pushed at the ends of her words, betrayed her feelings. "Him," she finished. "It would hurt him deeply, and that is absolutely not going to happen. So you'll still be in his life. Which means that you and I will be in each other's lives. I suppose we'll have to find a way to be cordial."

Emma was still uncomfortably warm and the mayor was standing much too close for her to really think clearly, but at least now she could meet Regina's gaze. She found the mayor easier to look in the eye once Regina was a little unraveled. It was the way Emma felt most of the time, so it made her feel like they were on equal footing. "Cordial," Emma repeated slowly. "I'm not sure I can do that."

"Oh no?" Regina asked, eyes wide with mock innocence. "And why not?" She took the glass from Emma's hand and took a long sip, never breaking eye contact with the blonde, even as she set the glass down firmly on the counter. She watched with a feeling somewhere between satisfaction and astonishment as the sheriff's eyes visibly darkened.

Emma felt a fluttery panic in her belly. This wasn't why she'd come. Well, ostensibly it was why she'd come, but she had hoped that she'd be able to exert some self control, to resist the pull Regina had on her, just once. "I can't be... in your life and…" Emma swallowed audibly and tried again. "And not..." She gave up on trying to say what she meant and simply did it, kissing Regina hungrily. The mayor responded almost immediately and with matched enthusiasm. Regina always smelled faintly of apples, but today she'd been eating them. Emma could taste them on Regina's tongue.

Regina pushed at Emma's leather jacket. Both women wrestled with it for a moment until it fell to floor. Suddenly the sheriff's hands seemed to be everywhere at once, tangling in the mayor's hair, snatching at the prim white shirt, sliding over her ass. When she fumbled with the buckle on Regina's fashionable belt, the dark-haired woman swatted her hands away and did the thing herself, letting perfectly tailored trousers form a dark puddle at her feet. Emma leaned in to kiss her again, but Regina managed to pull back, smoothly levering herself up to sit on the surface of the island. The cool marble against the exposed skin of her thighs was a pleasant counterpoint to the warm air of the kitchen.

"So I take it you don't truly want to stop?"

Emma looked at the woman sitting before her, all red lace panties and mussed hair and half-unbuttoned dress shirt. How could she possibly stop this? She shook her head ruefully.

"Even though you think we should?"

The blonde shrugged and answered in a low voice. "You're forbidden fruit, I guess." She stepped closer, between Regina's knees and let her fingertips skim up the mayor's thighs. A grin tugged at one corner of her mouth. "Irresistible," she added.

Regina smiled then, raising one eyebrow. "Indeed." She leaned forward and kissed Emma again, nibbling insistently at her bottom lip before releasing Emma's mouth, which then traced a familiar path down one side of her throat. She threw her head back and closed her eyes, bracing herself against the countertop as Emma sucked at her collarbone and licked at the hollow of her throat. When the wet heat of the tongue left her for more than a moment, she let out a brief noise of protest that quickly turned into a hiss as her head snapped up, eyes wide.

The sheriff had pulled away to shuck her black t-shirt, but she'd also retrieved a half-melted ice cube from the glass of water that sat sweating on the counter and was holding it between her teeth, dragging it down the other woman's sternum. At the sound of Regina's reaction, Emma grinned up at the mayor wickedly for a moment before continuing. Emma's hands were busy clearing a path down the center of the woman's smooth torso, undoing the front clasp of the white lace bra and nimbly working the last few buttons of her shirt.

Regina sighed and let her eyes drift closed again as she relaxed into the new sensation. The ice dragged swirling lines across her body, around her brown nipples. It melted into rivulets that slid around the swell of her breasts and down the lines of her ribs. She wondered briefly at the way people always muttered the word "cold" about her like it was a bad thing, when it was so clearly a good, good thing.

Somewhere past Regina's navel, the ice disappeared into Emma's mouth as she hooked her fingers around the red lace at Regina's hips and tugged insistently. Regina raised her hips just enough for Emma to slide the panties to the floor as she knelt between Regina's legs. One hand curved around Regina's thigh and the other parted dark curls. Emma's tongue dipped between folds slick with anticipation, the residual chill on her tongue sending a shiver up the other woman's spine before it dissipated completely into wet heat.

Emma's eyes roamed over Regina's body as her tongue worked a steady rhythm. The mayor's face contorted as she moaned and the muscles of her abdomen rippled as her hips tilted upward. Emma brought her fingers up to Regina's center and worked them in syncopated time with the movements of her tongue. Regina wound one hand in Emma's hair and opened her eyes again, meeting Emma's green gaze. The unqualified want she saw there pushed her over the edge.

When her body finally stilled, Regina slid off the counter onto the floor next to the blonde. She kissed Emma hard, shamelessly tasting herself. Emma smirked proudly and tried to suppress a laugh by kissing Regina back. A loud chirp from across the kitchen startled her, and she bit down on the mayor's lip. Not hard enough to draw blood, but enough to elicit a snarl. "S-sorry," Emma said breathlessly, straining to see what was happening in the oven.

Regina took Emma firmly by the chin and turned her face back. She leaned forward, her breath hot in Emma's ear, making the hairs on the back of the sheriff's neck stand up as she rasped, "Let it burn."

Orgasm always energized Regina more than it relaxed her, and this day was no different. She clambered onto Emma's lap, straddling her, and kissed her playfully, tongue dancing, giving Emma more and then pulling back just enough. Her hands snaked downward, and when she slipped her fingers under the waistband of the sheriff's skirt only to find the waistband of her tights, the mayor pulled a face. "This seems… unbalanced," she said, trying for disapproval but not quite getting there.

Even with the two of them working together, getting Emma out of the rest of her clothes proved a challenge. "You really did just come to talk, didn't you?" Regina teased.

"I should have known better," Emma replied, leaning for another kiss. Finally naked, Emma let Regina lay her back on the parquet. Those dark eyes bored into her as Regina hung above her on all fours. "Kiss me," Emma said. Regina didn't need to be asked twice, but when she began to move lower, Emma shook her head and cupped a hand around the nape of Regina's neck to draw her back. "Kiss me," she said again, and this time Regina understood.

Her hand between Emma's legs, Regina marveled at how wet she was after barely being touched. Emma always seemed to truly enjoy giving sexual pleasure nearly as much as receiving it. Before Emma, Regina hadn't even thought that was possible. Regina watched Emma's face between kisses, listened for the changes in her breathing until she settled on just the right combination of stroking fingers and swirling thumb that brought a series of small moans from the back of Emma's throat. Regina kept pace and was quickly rewarded when Emma's soft noises turned into a loud cry as she shuddered and clung to Regina's shoulders.

Regina slid off of Emma and laid on the floor next to her, pressing small kisses to her shoulder while her breathing steadied and slowed. After a long few moments, Emma turned and found Regina watching her expectantly. "Good?" Regina asked. The mayor looked so much like a young girl that Emma nearly laughed aloud. Instead, she kissed her firmly and assured her, "Good."

Regina smiled a Cheshire smile at that, sat up, and rolled to her feet with surprising grace for woman who spent most of her time seated behind a desk. She plucked her shirt off of the counter and slid into it as she padded over to the oven. "I've been thinking," she said over her shoulder.

Emma rolled her eyes. "Of course you have." She rose from the floor much more slowly than Regina had and began gathering her clothes.

"About your problem," Regina clarified.

"My problem?" Emma was still not quite sure what they were talking about.

Regina pulled a cookie sheet out of the oven and set it on the counter. Emma tried to pick at the center of the pastry, where the black hadn't quite reached, but Regina swatted her hand away. "You don't like having a dirty little secret."

"Oh." Emma deflated a bit. They were back to that. Emma was surprised at just how much it smarted to hear Regina refer to herself that way.

"There is an option we haven't explored yet." Regina picked up the ruined pastry and slid it into the garbage, taking the moment her back was turned to compose herself before saying her idea out loud, but Emma beat her to it.

"You want to tell people?"

Regina whirled, already on the defensive. "I know you don't want to. You're always worried someone will see us. But you said you don't want to hide and—"

Emma stopped her with a hand on her wrist. "Regina. I don't want people to know things about us that we're not ready to tell them. But it's been months and clearly neither of us wants to stop. So maybe we are ready."

Regina did her best to keep her voice measured. "You aren't worried what people might think? Mary Margaret?"

Emma shrugged. "Of course I am. But I care more about what you think."

Regina's face softened again, almost back into a smile. "At last, something we can agree on."

Emma chewed at her bottom lip. "So, how would we do that? Like, with Henry?"

Regina glanced at the clock over the stove. "Well," she answered slowly, "he needs to be picked up from school. You could do that and then, perhaps, stay for dinner?"

Emma was already grinning at the prospect of being Henry's ride home and she nodded once, firmly, as if striking a bargain. "Okay. We'll start with dinner. And then just… figure it out as we go."