Ruby watched Emma walk into the diner. She couldn't help it that every time the woman walked in her breath caught and she would always have to ask the customers what three times before she could write their orders down…the only thing she could concentrate on was the blonde.
She knew she had to tell her… and she needed to get it done with so that maybe she could either start to move on or… actually gain something from it. So… since the diner was pretty much empty… now was her best bet.
She walked over to Emma, coffee pot in hand and sat down across from her, "I have a confession to make."
Emma eyed her with amusement, "Alright…?"
"I'm in like with you… like schoolgirl, if I don't get you soon my life will end kind of like… I know that you only ever do one-nighters, but I just… I needed to tell you that before I asked you this…" she took a breath and stared at the coffee pot, "You wanna go out some time?"
"Oh Ruby…" Emma's tone was solemn and a bit sad… that was all she needed.
"Okay…" She shook her head and still refused to look at her, "I'll just… pick up what's left of my dignity and walk away…" She got up then turned around, "Oh… what do you want to drink?"
"Ruby…" Emma said again.
"No… it's okay." She looked to her face, "I'm fine!" She was not fine. So, when Emma said nothing, she turned and walked to the back… she was not expecting Emma to follow her.
"Ruby you can't just drop a bomb like that on me and not give me time…" She said quietly.
Ruby nodded, and it was back to avoiding eye contact, "Right. I'm sorry."
"Ruby." Emma stopped her and took the brunette's face in her hands, "There's just… some stuff that you need to know before you really decide that you want to go out sometime…"
"Like I'm not going to do anything serious… I might very well go on other dates with other women… I know for sure I will actually… I'm sort of… meeting Regina here for a lunch date—If I had known… I wouldn't have told the mayor here…" She took a breath, "I don't do relationships… I'm standoffish when people want more… I'm hard to talk to… I'm just… I'm a lot better friend than I am girlfriend… I'm a little fucked up… so… I mean… yeah, I'll go on a date with you if you still want to…?"
As Emma said all these things to Ruby for some reason she thought she'd be able to fix Emma… and then Emma would want her forever…and only her forever… Emma's words were like putty to her ears… she melted… So, it was no shocker when Ruby's immediate reply was, "I do!... Still want to."
And that was how she wound up so willingly in the predicament she was in… the predicament being the mayor requested a private meeting with her to 'discuss personal matters'.
She walked passed the secretary before she was stopped, "Uhh…. You can't go in there!" The girl said.
Ruby turned around, "I have a meeting with her…?" Ruby gestured behind her to the door like that would solve the confusion.
The secretary looked at the computer, "Are you Ruby?"
"Is it the red streaks?" Ruby joked, "Is that how you knew?"
The secretary didn't really react. She only reached for her phone and dialed into the mayor's office, "Yes Madam Mayor. Ruby is here to see you."
Wow, tough crowd. Ruby thought as she waited for what she was supposed to do next.
"She's ready for you now." The girl said then got up to lead her into the office.
"Ruby please… take a seat." Regina said as she gestured in front of her desk.
Ruby sat down and silence resumed over them, "What is this about, Madam Mayor?"
Regina stopped writing whatever it was she was writing and set her pen down. She inhaled through slightly flared nostrils as she looked up, "I think you know very well what this is about."
"Indeed." She shifted in her seat. She came forward, put her hands on her desk, sat taller… ever the regal mayor, it felt to Ruby as if she were looking down on her before she continued, "Emma is a difficult person." Ruby, though intimidated, still looked up at the mayor as if she needed more, "She's stubborn as a bull. She's cocky, arrogant. She's defensive. She's rude. She needs to be told things more than once. She doesn't 'do' relationships…"
"Yes…" Ruby nodded along, agreeing with the mayor completely.
"Yet she's managed to get into two relationships at the same time."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that she's exclusively seeing you, and she's exclusively seeing me. When you two started, did she make it seem like there would be many other women, me included?"
"Yes.." Ruby knit her brows.
"As she did with me…. There are no other women. There is only you… and me… and since she actually is capable of exclusivity, I would like you to back down."
Ruby sat there a moment. She stared at Regina's nameplate as she swallowed and shifted in her seat, "I don't want to back down…"
"Dear, you will do as I say."
"Why? Because you always get what you want?"
Ruby shook her head, "Not this time."
Regina laughed, "That was very convincing, but I don't think you quite understand what I am capable of… Besides, it only makes sense… I mean, she is Henry's other mother, we already fight like a couple… the only thing left to do is seal the deal… and you aren't a part of that deal."
"Madam Mayor do you actually care for Emma, or is she just a good fuck and a sensible partner."
"Well, she's hardly sensible, and she learned some of what she knows from me…"
Ruby picked up what the woman didn't actually say, which was, 'Yes. I do care.' Ruby stood and leaned over the desk, "As much as you care for her, I honestly think I care more… Madam Mayor, I think you just got yourself a fight to the death." She smiled a fake smile as she walked out of the office.
A week later, Emma and Ruby were taking a bath in Ruby's sneaky amazing bathtub… Ruby liked to pamper herself and one way to do that was in the bathtub… and yes, she did say that with innuendo.
Emma had had a hard day… "Regina was on my ass for every little thing and expects me to come over tonight after treating me the way she did today? No way… I'm coming to spend time with my nice lady friend… that gives me food and takes baths with me… and hugs me in public, and makes me feel like a good person instead of a terrible parent…" Emma swallowed hard as she laid her head back on Ruby's shoulder. "But I am a bad parent… so.."
"Honey no you're not…" Ruby hugged her tight, sloshing the water a bit, "You mind if I ask you a personal question?"
"I might not answer… but no, I don't mind…"
"Why do you stay with her if she makes you feel like crap?"
Emma pushed more into Ruby's hold. She looked at the hand on the side of the tub and took it, playing with it, kissing it, "Because she's… she's captivating and a hardass and gorgeous… and she's my son's mom…"
"If she weren't Henry's other mom, would you be with her?"
Emma considered this, but deflected, "She is so why does it matter?"
"Because about a week ago she called me into a meeting and told me to back off because after careful realization she realized what I had realized since the beginning… that you are just a person with two different women that know about each other… you don't hide it, you say you'll sleep around, but you never do… and with the realization of you actually being able to be with someone, she asked me to back off…"
Emma turned and looked up at her, "What did you say?"
"I said I wouldn't."
Emma only nodded.
"Do you want to know why?" Ruby asked, and received another nod, "Because…" She inhaled a suddenly ragged breath, "Because I want you more than anything… because whether you believe it yourself you are loveable, you are capable of feeling love and someone does actually want you for who you are…"
"What are you saying?"
"I'm falling in love with you… maybe I've already fallen…" She spoke quietly and turned away from the blonde's face and wiped her eyes with her free hand.
"You love me?" Emma asked.
Emma bit her lip, "Do you think it's possible to love two completely different people?"
"Not when their names are Regina and Ruby." The brunette said flatly.
"Do you think that she loves me?"
"I certainly know she cares for you… she wouldn't have asked me to back down if she didn't."
"Why didn't you ask her to back down?"
"Because she was with you first… on all technicalities, I'm the other woman… That's what people have labeled me as on top of my shining list of, 'town whore' and 'town tramp' I'm also, 'Emma's side dish' to which most people say it's fitting seeing as I work in a diner… but all of that doesn't stop my heart from wanting you… it doesn't embarrass me enough to hide my feelings for you…" Her lips was quivering, "It just makes me realize how much I truly want you…"
"Why?" Emma asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Why do you want me?"
Ruby only smirked, "Come on, Emma… has Henry not told you lately? You're the savior…"
Emma rolled her eyes, "Seriously."
Ruby took another minute to think, "…Because you're my lemur, honey… You're the one thing I feel like I could do right in this world… you're the one person that I've truly, truly cared for… And it's foreign to me… you're my lemur…"
Over the next few months, Emma tried to have real conversations with Regina like she did with Emma to no avail. Regina would start then never get anywhere… she'd never listen to what Emma had to say, or listen to how she felt on the matter… Regina really only saw Emma as a fuck buddy that only she should have.
So, one afternoon while Henry was hanging out with Nicolas after school, Emma walked inside the mayor's house, knowing she was working from home. She stood in the study doorway and stared at the woman. She knew Regina knew she was there, "I can't do this anymore."
"Can't do what, dear?" Regina looked up from her file.
"I can't do this… us… I can't do it… I deserve better than this… You do too."
Regina stared at her, "I don't… what so… you're ending this?"
"Yeah… I found someone that I can be exclusive with… I found someone that loves me and isn't too damn scared to say it… and I love her too…"
Regina snarled, "Ruby."
Emma walked into the room more, "Yes Ruby, and NO! Don't even think about doing whatever you're thinking to end her livelihood or the diner… this is my decision… she has no idea that I'm doing this and she certainly never asked me to." Regina gave her a questioning look, "She believes the town when they tell her she's the other woman… You and I both know that the word 'other' should be changed to 'right'…" She let that comment sink in a bit before she started moving back.
"What if I tell you, you aren't allowed to see him anymore unless you stay?"
Emma looked back at her and walked back over again, "Then you're not the woman I thought you were… Regina I deserve this. You know thanks due to Sidney what my life consisted of… and I just know that you've been hurt so many times to be as fucked up as you are, so I know that you deserve better than a few fucks a week knowing that the partner is going to be going to someone else later anyways… You deserve what Ruby is willing to give me… And I deserve it too…" She walked back to the door again, "They're out there, Regina… I think Kathryn's been a little lonely…" Emma eyed the other woman, "She's blonde too… I know you like blondes…"
Regina stared at her perplexed before giving her a smirk, "Go to your waitress." She said before adding, "And please bring Henry home from Nicolas's at eight."
Emma nodded before she walked out.
Two Years Later:
Emma walked into the empty diner. It had just opened and she was the first customer.
"I'll be right with you!" Ruby said from the back before she entered and a smile graced her lips, "Oh Mrs. Swan… what a pleasant surprise… I thought you'd be in, in the middle of the rush, not just before."
Emma grinned as she scoot her chair out for Ruby to come sit on her lap, "Well, Mrs. Swan, I couldn't help myself from following my wife in here… that woman has the legs… and these eyes…" Ruby grinned, "And these teeth and lips." Ruby giggled, "And this laugh, God… that laugh…" Emma leaned in and kissed her, then it became confession time, "I don't like sleeping in our bed when you're not there anymore…"
Ruby smiled and kissed her back, "I don't either." She kissed her once more.
"Ma! Ruby! Ohhhh gross…" Henry's excitement ceased immediately as he saw his mother and his step-mother kissing.
"Hi Henry." Ruby, embarrassed, got up and kissed his hair then moved behind the diner.
"I keep walking in on that… and it's gross every time…" Henry walked and sat next to his mother as if he were traumatized.
Emma could tell something else was going on, "Henry… you okay?"
Henry nodded, "I knocked on the door and came in to tell mom and Kathryn that I was leaving early and…" He put his hand up in a wave as if displaying something and made a disgusted face.
Emma's brows shot up. She looked around as more and more people started filling the diner. She leaned over and whispered, "You didn't… you didn't see them…?" She couldn't finish her sentence.
"In the act?" Henry asked as he looked his mother in the eyes, whose brows raised just a bit more in question, "No… but I'm pretty sure that's where it was headed." He gagged a bit before hot cocoa was placed in front of him, "Thanks Ruby…" He looked up at her then over to Emma, "Is it okay if I stay with you guys for a while? I think mom and Kathryn are still in the honeymoon phase…"
Emma and Ruby laughed a bit, "Of course Henry." Ruby nodded, "That's why we picked the place that you liked your room best… so it would get used." She ruffled his hair and kissed it again before running her hand over her wife's shoulders and walking to start getting everyone's orders.
"Of course, we'll have to check with Regina first… but I get the feeling that she will say yes."
Sure enough, a few cups of cocoa later, the other mothers of Emma's child walked in and sat down with them.
"Sorry we're late." Regina said as she held her new wife's hand.
Emma started laughing immediately. Henry hit her arm, "Shut up! Ma!"
Emma kept laughing and mouthed, 'I'm sorry!' to her son.
She looked over to Regina who was not impressed in the least, "I don't know what I ever saw in you." She said with no callous… it was just a fact.
And that made Emma laugh even more.
"What's so funny?" Ruby asked as she came and sat down now that the rest of the party was here, "Oh… I put the usual in for everyone."
"Thank you…" Kathryn started, "I think that Emma knows about something that happened this morning…"
Ruby looked from Kathryn to Ruby, "Oh yeah! Henry catching you two about to…" She shriveled at Regina's look, "Never mind." She said quietly.
"Oooooohhh…" Emma blew a breath out a couple minutes later and wiped her eyes… she couldn't stop because every time she looked at one of them they would give her a mortified look and it would start all over again. "So… Uhh… Rubes and I were wondering if we could take the kid for a few weeks…" She said as she wrapped her arm around her wife's chair.
Regina was mortified at the though of Henry being out of her sight for that long, "A few weeks? Absolutely n—That sounds perfect." She changed her answer completely due to her wife's hand digging into her thigh, and her look telling her of all the lovin' she was going to get while they had the opportunity.
Emma looked over to Henry, "Aren't you glad you got two extra moms?" She asked him.
"Yes." Henry said relieved. "Although, technically, it's three extra moms… should people only have one?"
"Depends on the family… I like this family." She said as she wrapped her arm around her wife tighter and Ruby happily snuggled into her more.