The trouble with people is what they'll do to get the things they want. Little girls, in particular (and princesses in very particular) are not accustomed to being told no or you cannot have this thing that you want so badly. They don't understand why nokeeps happening even after they cry and scream and stamp their little feet hard enough to make the whole floor shake.
Regina (who has said yes so many times, has said I love you, Snow and I hope to have a daughter just like you) is the first person to say no to Snow White since the day she demanded her father bring her mother back to life. Regina, who looks beautiful even when she cries, and who taught Snow how to ride a horse and tend a garden, keeps saying noeven when Snow's white face turns as red as blood. She says I'm sorry and I have to go but she keeps saying no, no, no.
Snow wants Regina to marry her father, just like the plan, and be by Snow's side always. She knows two things that mean this will not happen: that Regina loves some stupid stable boy with floppy hair and a kind smile, and Regina is going to have a baby. That is the worst of all, because having a daughter just like Snow means that once again Snow will have no mother, and father means well but he just calls her pretty and looks sad all the time.
Aunty Cora is a scary lady, Snow knows this and yet she is brave because it's important for her and Regina to get back to the plan, to be happy. Aunty Cora smiles with her mouth (and not her eyes) and tells Snow she's done a very good thing by coming to tell this secret. Snow feels better for hearing those words, because even a little girl (and a princess) knows the importance of not breaking another's trust.
Take this, Aunty Cora says, and she hands Snow White a tiny crystal bottle. Regina will be sad for a little while, she explains. Put this in her juice tomorrow morning and it will stop her being sad. Snow White does exactly as she's told, because grown-ups know best. She pours the clear liquid into Regina's goblet of apple juice just before she comes down to breakfast, and Regina squeezes Snow's hand as though she knows that Snow is trying so hard to make them all happy again.
Father comes down late, asks to see Regina in court that afternoon to formally announce their wedding. Regina goes stiff, just nods, and Snow smiles into her own goblet.
That night, just as the sun sets, Snow hears Regina trying to sneak down the corridor that houses both their rooms. Snow slips on her riding cape and follows Regina, who's weaving and staggering, all the way to the stables.
Snow hears the scream, and it makes her whole body go cold. She keeps walking towards the stable door, even though she knows she should turn back. Regina will be sad for a little while, she thinks, and in that moment she knows what Aunty Cora has done. (Snow is a little girl, and a princess, but she reads her books and she knows the wicked things that people do, to get the things they want.)
She slips inside to see Regina on the floor, stroking the head of the stupid stable boy with the floppy hair, but he's not smiling now. There's no blood, like Snow expected, but his neck is bent in a way that should (and cannot) be possible. Regina is stroking his hair and whispering no, no, no, and this time it's so much worse than all the ways she said it to Snow. Snow reaches out to Regina, to tell her yes and this is better and I'll be all you need to love but Regina recoils.
It's then that Snow sees the blood on Regina's dress, sees the way that Regina keeps one hand protectively over her stomach. Snow knows enough of what is expected of a woman (of a wife, and Regina is nobody's wife) to know why that might be, to know why Regina's loss is suddenly so much more than a stupid boy with floppy hair. Snow opens her mouth to say I'm sorry or I have to go, but instead she says Aunty Cora made me do it. All that does is turn the look on Regina's face from sadness (Regina will be sad for a little while) into hatred. It's the hatred of the villains and witches in Snow's storybooks, and she draws back in fear.
I will never forgive you, Regina spits, and in that moment Snow believes that Regina will kill her, too; that Snow will become another dead body on this dusty stable floor, and it terrifies her beyond belief.
All Snow wants, as she turns and runs back to the castle where her father will protect her (where her father will marry Regina and force her to stay, and to still love Snow at least a little, no matter how much she doesn't want to) is for Regina to never look at her that way again. She wants to travel back in time and force the words she spoke to Aunty Cora back into her stupid mouth, and she wants to say to Regina go, with my blessing or go, with my love.
But Snow is a silly little girl (and a princess) and even that will not get her all the things she wants.