AN:: Again I am apologizing to everyone for the late reply... I'm horrible, but I also want to issue a huge thanks to everyone who offered me their opinions, and I have tallied up all of the "votes" so to speak, and I am happy to say WE as a family (...sorta...), have decided upon option 2 by a landslide, and I will do my best to give you all what you expect, and maybe some things you might not expect.
(Also, please tell me if you think I should take down the authors note chapter that took the place of what would have been this and chapter nine... hmm?)
Thank you all for your involvement and your support for me to continue. It really did take a lot of stress off of me with this story and I am happy to give you all more!
Enjoy, and R&R if you so graciously would :)
(Again, always taking requests for what you all would like to see happen between our girls :))
I waited at the mayors table for about a half hour before I left, refusing to make eye contact with Ruby as if my life depended on it. I figured I'd just walk around town being all 'sheriff-like' and whatnot.. Which wasn't too hard - I just had to check in on everyone and smile and nod when they told me their idiotic stories about their lives that they were so willing let me listen in on and really be a part of. Part of me was grateful for being so accepted, and the other part of me was honestly confused how they could let someone so new become so intertwined in everything they did and everything they wanted and hoped for. I was just a stranger with one small connection to this town, and they just set me in the middle of everything without any questions.
Never in all my life have I been in this position - accepted to the point I would be genuinely missed if I were to leave. Or I think I would be.
Eventually I meandered my way to the mayors house, a little earlier than one, but what would she be doing that I would be interrupting, really? Re-Organizing some carefully placed ornaments on her mantle-piece that no one looks at anyway?
I climbed the steps, looking around as though I suspected a boobie trap at any second, (not that I would mind being trapped in Regina's Boobies... but still), and knocked on the door. A few seconds pass with no answer so I knock again, hearing a very muffled "Come in!" on the other side.
So I stepped in the house, seeing things in perfect order and hearing nothing.
"Hello?" I called, carefully taking more steps in the house.
There's a cough behind me. "Yes, dear?"
Yet when I turn around, no one is there. "...the fuck...?"
Sure enough, the queen herself is perched prettily on the railing of the upstairs, resting her chin on her knuckles. Immediately I could tell there was something different about her, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I offered a tight lipped smile rather than replying to her.
"I see you've found your way over with your profanity still in tact." She smiled smirked.
"Did you really expect any less?" I shoved my hands in my pockets. "What did you want to talk about?"
Her smile fell and she tilted her head. "Right down to business, hmm?"
I shrugged, trying to smile a bit more for her sake. "What else would you have in mind, then?"
She placed her hands on her hips and started down the stairs, allowing her hips to sway in the most appealing of ways. My eyes decided to wander over her figure without me really giving them permission to. "Oh... I don't know..." She drew out the words, probably knowing her affect... damnitt. "Maybe a cheerful 'Hello' before a pet name of your choice. Possibly an embrace? And on the off chance you'd like to show some affection, I wouldn't pass up a kiss." Somehow she calculated her words so that she was down the stairs and directly in front of my by the time she'd finished.
"You want me to kiss you?"
She just nodded as her smile grew bigger.
I couldn't completely stop my smile either, though I'm pretty sure I kept it under a little more control than she was able to. I stepped forward with as much suave as I could manage, getting into her personal space and relishing the way her eyes lowered. Finally I ran my hands under her blazer, over the silky material before cinching my arms around her waist, pulling her flush to me.
She giggled and wrapped her arms around my shoulders.
In the back of my mind, I didn't want to do this. There was something telling me to get her to talk first, but I was pulled in by that smile and the way she smelled, and the sensation she sent to my stomach without having to try. So I leaned in, and she let out this long release of air like it made it easier to breath now that I was close, and I wanted to believe something like that.
When I had decided to pull away Regina's head swooped back in for one last tiny kiss. I won't deny the fact that I had a stupid grin on my face at that, no matter how angry I may have been back at the diner she possessed this silly way of still making me feel like we were perfect as we were.
Her head tilted back as she giggled at herself for a moment before she rested it on my shoulder and allowed herself to cling to me for a moment, and I had no choice but to hold her right back, which was fine.
"I missed this..." she sighed.
I laughed. "What, in the less than twenty-four hours that we've been back?"
"Mm hmm..." she nodded. "Last night when I had to crawl in bed all by myself... it was harder to fall asleep..." she pulled back and looked at me again with a little bit of sadness in her eyes. "I missed waking up with you." She shook her head. "It didn't feel right."
"I had the same thought."
"Yeah." I nodded. "Marry Margaret was a little upset I woke her up early. Apparently I'd been clompling around downstairs and woke her up."
Her smile wasn't what I expected it to be - maybe I just thought it was funnier than she did, but there was a definite change in her.
"Come to the kitchen with me.." she said, starting in without me. It seemed like she was moving far faster than she was because she was just out of my grasp a little to quickly for my liking.
"Okay...?" I called after her
"I started to make lunch... Would you like to help finish?"
I laughed a little. "I don't know how to cook anything."
"No... not exactly nothing... I can do pancakes?" I sighed.
"Is that it?" She smiled.
"As far as cooking goes, yeah."
Regina hummed a small laugh. "Why does that not surprise me?"
I shrugged before she turned to the stove turning some knobs whose meaning I didn't understand even a little bit. For some reason it was only from behind I could tell the change.
"Did you get your hair cut?" I asked.
She whipped her head around smirking at me. "Do you notice everything about me?"
"Yes." I took a few steps closer so her back was touching my chest and I rested my hands on her hips, leaning to one side so she could still see me. I loved the grin on her face - it was the kind she only showed to me in the privacy of four walls when no one else could see it. She started to lean in like she was going to kiss me again, but swooped her face back around toward the stove so my face landed somewhere in the side of her hair.
Regina laughed. "Darling... whatever might you be talking about?"
She was playing dumb. And it was hot.
Even with my hands still on her hips she just kept on getting things out from the cupboards to make lunch with like nothing was different with me pressed up behind her. And I'm not going to lie, it was kinda turning me on. So what does the girl from nowhere do? Why, sure I started nibbling on her neck, just to try and break her focus... because I'll be damned if I'm the only one turned on by a completely mundane situation - I wasn't going to be left all alone.
And sure enough, everything is dropped to hold herself up on the counter top and I can feel her start to wriggle happily, and as I glanced up I could see her bite her lower lip.
"Did you ask me here just so I could see you acting like this domestic goddess?" I asked with my teeth and lips still exploring the open skin of her neck.
"Maybe..." she breathed, tilting her head to the side for me.
I kissed where her neck and shoulder met a little harder. "Don't tease."
"Me?" She laughed... which turned into a moan... which was really hot. "Am I the one doing the teasing?"
With that I flipped her around - a little rougher than I had originally intended, but it didn't stop the smirk on her face to grow and her half-lidded eyes to bore into me like I was hers to do what she wanted with... and I was... kinda. "Maybe..." I flexed my fingers on her hips, feeling them make little divots in the firm skin beneath her skirt.
Her eyebrow twirked up, and that paired with her smirk sent my mouth right back on a mission to even the score... She already had way too many points on the board without doing much of anything, and I was not about to let that go down. I almost lunged for her neck again, but I made the mistake of resting my hand behind her... right over the stove.
Because I am a fucking genius.
Regina's eyes shot open as I clutched my hand, hissing at the sting i felt all over the meaty part of palm just under my thumb.
"What? What's wrong?" She asked, both of her hands on my biceps looking all over me frantically.
I was still holding my burnt hand, both pissed at myself for being an idiot, and shocked. "I burnt my fucking hand!"
I wasn't meaning to yell at her, and it seemed like she got that I was just kind of yelling in general because all she did was go into (what I can only imagine must have been) 'mommy mode' and rushed to the sink and blasted cold water from it before dragging my whining ass over to it and sticking my hand under for me.
And because I am the strong, awesome warrior Henry keeps telling me I am, I totally cringed and tried to take it out because it fucking hurt, but Regina just kept holding it under until I stopped struggling.
"I know it hurts right now..." She spoke over my being a baby, "But just wait a second... it'll feel better later if it doesn't swell a ton, which this will help with!"
Eventually, I stopped resisting, and she let go of my wrist, allowing me to hold it under the water myself, then she pointed at me like I was a dog. "Don't take that out from under there until I get back."
Just going to admit it - I felt a little like a six-year-old, and pouted a tiny bit... but it was more because I was mad at myself for being an idiot and forgetting she turned the burner on... which wasn't on anymore. Because she was awesome and turned it off on her way out of the room. I swear that woman didn't miss a thing.
Before long she came back down with a first aid kit and went to the pantry and pulling out a tiny bottle of something I didn't recognize. She shut off the water first, then dabbed at my hand with a paper towel, to which I hissed and was even cooler than I had been before.
"Sorry..." She murmured, not even looking up from my hand. Her focus was both maddening and fascinating, she looked like she had a mission and knew what she was doing. Probably being she did - she'd been a mom for a hell of a lot longer than I felt like I had been. Then she got out the little bottle and squeezed a little of whatever was in it on my palm. It was room temperature, and the first thing that didn't feel like it was hurting worst than the actual burn. Regina also looked up at me then before she gently spread it around with her finger. "Honey..." she said quietly.
"Does that help burns?"
She nodded and licked the excess honey off of her index finger.
"I didn't know that."
"Not many people do."
For some reason it had gotten eerily quiet. The only sounds I heard for the next minute was Regina putting different goopy stuff on a one of those square band-aids and the crumpling of garbage after she was finished and was cleaning up.
Finally she closed the box, leaned up against the counter with her arms folded and looked at me. "That'll hurt for a while." She said, nodding toward my hand.
"Probably." I nodded back.
All Regina decided to give me was a tight-lipped smile, but quickly turned to stare at something on the little island.
That's when that feeling took hold of the pit of my stomach. That feeling like you had to defend yourself or something you cared about from some oncoming doom, though I didn't have a clue of what that might be, but I could feel it was closer than I wanted it to be. I knew I wasn't ready for it and it was coming fast.
"Do you ever just... feel as though the only thing left to do is leave?"
My stomach dropped. I shook my head and rolled my eyes, showing all sorts of disappointment in that statement. "Regina... I'm not leaving.. I don't know how many times-"
"I'm not saying that." She shifted her weight, turning her eyes to her feet for a moment before she continued to look at anything but me. "I'm trying to bring up something completely different.."
"Is this what you wanted me to come over for?"
"Should I sit down?"
She looked at me void of any and all humor and cuing me to cut out whatever awkward tension breaking humor I was trying for. "I'm being serious."
I took a breath and nodded, bracing myself and silently trying to come up with every counter measure that I could think of if she was trying to end things - I was prepared.
"What would you think about leaving Storybrooke?" She asked with her big brown eyes shining at me.
"I don't want to be away from you and Henry... and I'm the Sheriff, and-"
"Not just you." She shook her head. "The three of us... You and Henry and I."
I wasn't prepared for that.
"This town isn't the most liberal, and maybe if we got away I wouldn't be so worried all of the time." She took a step closer to me. "I don't like pushing you away in public.. what if a fresh start for all of us is the best thing? And Henry would have both of us, and sure - it wouldn't be easy from the very beginning but he'd come around. And we can get a little house outside a city and not have to think about things that are so stupid and trivial here. Wouldn't that be nice?" She was smiling like she was trying to convince herself too.
I was nothing short of shocked, needless to say that was not at all what I was expecting. "What happened to taking it slow?"
"I think we tried it for a few hours and it hurt more than it helped... it just made you frustrated and I didn't know what to do with myself."
"You just want to rip the band-aid off fast?"
Her face twisted in confusion and she looked down to my hand. "It's not ready... I just put it on-"
"I meant figuratively."
Regina just pushed the comment away. "I don't want to delay something we've already decided on. And I don't want to deal with the ridicule that will inevitably come with people here finding out and then what will I do as Mayor when no one respects me?"
"No." She put a finger up. "Stop that where it's at."
"A few people... sorta..." Her face dropped. "...already know..."
Those big brown eyes I loved so much at the cabin had me ready to shit myself just then - they opened wide and had a little bit of fire behind them. "Emma, no!"
"I didn't tell anyone! Jesus!"
"Oh, so suddenly choice citizens in my town have psychic abilities? - Oh yes, THAT sounds plausible." She started pacing around the hardwood.
I tried to approach her but she was beginning to take on characteristics of a steam roller... including the tendency to run anything (me) over if she went too fast.
"I can't believe-"
"We got home last night and Marry Margaret... just kinda... guessed."
I shrugged and held myself a little. "Yeah! She just knows shit about me. She can tell - it's weird." That only set her ablaze a little more.
"...saw us at the diner and..."
I didn't want to say it, but I really just set myself up to be flattened. "She asked me... to give her 'all the details after I was done ruffling our dear Mayor's hair'" I air-quoted.
"I can't believe this."
"It's not that bad..."
"NOT THAT BAD?" She yelled. I was a little taken back, but she wasn't done. "Not that bad would be you telling Leroy, because he's a drunk and no one would believe him! You being so obvious that the biggest town gossip and my son's teacher knowing about my personal life, let alone with a woman who's barely been here five minutes, THAT does not constitute as 'NOT THAT BAD' EMMA!"
Well, that stung.
"You act like it was all me!"
"I was the one being cautious!"
"You push me away!"
"I'm being safe! This is my life - Henry's life we're putting in jeopardy here!"
"Jeopardy? Nothing is in jeopardy, Regina! These people are my friends, so even if they don't like you they wouldn't do anything to hurt me and definitely not Henry!"
"It's more than that." She braced herself against the island and stared me down. "Ruby opens her mouth, then what? My career is shot because this town isn't ready for any of this. Henry gets made fun of at school because he has two moms, and they'll call us names and him names that will hurt him.. you know how sensitive he is."
"Well they would have found out sooner or later anyway, right? Because we were going to tell people once you were ready or were you making that up?"
She huffed, but calmed herself before walking over to me and lowering her voice. "I want this. I want you and I want a family, alright? And I've admitted that to myself and now to you and it hasn't been easy." She looked at me with pleading eyes. "It'll be so much harder having to cope with us changing and Henry, and having to defend ourselves from people here." She slid her hands in mine, gently trying to avoid the burn. "I want to leave. I want to make things as smooth as possible, and we'll work everything out as it needs to be, but I want to get out of this place. I want you, and our little boy somewhere where we can breathe and we'll be happy."
"I'm happy here."
"I won't be happy here." She shook her head. "There's too much that's broken and we can't build anything here."
Like so many times before I saw the things she wasn't telling me. I saw the barriers I had to tear down and the walls that were placed so strategically where no one could get to where she kept herself safe. And I realized she wouldn't let me in if we didn't get away from whatever she had to run from here. And I wouldn't be running if I left with them - this would be the opposite of running. This would finally be chasing a future, and building the family I never had. And I wanted the same things she did.
I pulled her into my arms and took a deep breath as she nestled her head to rest comfortably on my shoulder.
"You want to leave?" I asked.
"I want to leave."