Author's Note: I blame this on the fact that I went to see Anything Goes on Broadway and was struck by some of the dialogue. So I have borrowed some lines directly from the show, although the situation is very different. Hope you enjoy it.
"We should get married."
Emma laughs as she tugs at the blanket before sliding closer to the brunette currently hogging it. "Oh yeah?"
"You're forgetting some things there, babe." Emma teases.
Dark eyes turn to her, sparkling. "Like what?"
"Well, it's not legal here, for one."
"Two, I don't marry women who hog the covers." Emma laughs, pulling at the blanket again.
"I'm not hogging them. Besides, marriage is about sharing."
"Are those your only arguments? Because so far, they're not amounting to much."
Emma wraps her arms around a small waist and hugs tightly. "There is one other small problem."
A small sigh escapes red lips. "You mean that matter of you being in love with someone else?"
Emma drops a kiss against a streak of red hair. "Yeah. But honestly, Rubes, I think our biggest problem is the hogging of the covers."
Ruby laughs and turns in Emma's arms. "You say that you're in love with Regina, and yet it's my bed you're in right now."
"Fully clothed and watching crappy TV because you're my best friend and that's what best friends do."
"Oh please, this is straight out of an episode of Rizzoli & Isles and you know they're totally gay."
Emma shoves her shoulder. "Come on, Rubes. You know I love you. I just -"
"Love Regina more. Even though she treats you like crap."
"She doesn't." Emma protests weakly.
"Then why am I the only one who knows about you two?"
Emma doesn't have an answer, so she just closes her eyes.
Ruby runs a hand over Emma's cheek. "I know you love her and I respect that. But promise me that if you ever wise up, you'll remember that I proposed first."
"Agreed. Now quit hogging the covers and let the crappy TV marathon begin."
Ruby frowns at Regina as Emma walks out of the diner looking crestfallen after another unsuccessful talk with Regina about their relationship. "What?" Regina snaps when she notices Ruby's look.
Ruby shakes her head. "You're in love with her - why don't you just admit it?"
"Wh - how dare you?" Regina hisses, angry at Ruby calling her out about feelings she's not even ready to admit to herself, especially in this public location.
Ruby just shakes her head. "She may want you now, but she's not going to stick around forever. You know as well as I do that if there's nothing keeping her here, she'll run. And she loves Henry, but that's not enough."
"I suggest that you mind your own business, Miss Lucas." Regina's voice is icy enough to freeze the blood in Ruby's veins but she withstands it. She's going to get through to Regina, one way or another. Emma deserves that much.
"Emma is my business. And you should make her yours or you're going to lose her. Half the people in Storybrooke are crazy about her." Ruby smirks as she continues. "Why just last night one of the best looking dames I know practically proposed to her."
Regina falters at that. It isn't obvious, just a slight widening of the eyes and a flash of fear across her face that she quickly schools into her usual mask, but Ruby catches it. She's become far more tuned in to Regina since Emma had admitted their relationship. "What? Who?"
Ruby raises her eyebrow and pushes her chest out a bit. "Me."
And before Regina can reply, Ruby turns and walks away, adding an extra swing in her hips. She's never had a problem showing off the merchandise before and Regina needs to realize that she is a threat if she's going to get her head out of her ass and claim Emma for good.
"What did you say to Regina?" Emma asks as she flops down on the couch beside Ruby and steals her beer.
"What did she say I said?"
"She didn't say anything. We haven't talked since I left the diner."
"Then what makes you think I said anything to her?" Ruby grabs the beer back.
"Besides the fact that you just gave yourself away?" Emma nudges her shoulder. " I know you, Ruby. I felt your eyes on us the whole time we were talking. I know you said something to her, so what was it?"
Ruby smiles. "I merely let her know that you had other options."
"Rubes." Emma tries to sound exasperated but it doesn't really work. It's nice to have someone looking out for her for once.
Ruby opens her mouth to reply but is interrupted by Regina's ringtone from Emma's phone. She grabs it before Emma can stop her.
"Hello?" Ruby practically purrs into the phone and it has the desired effect when Emma starts giggling in the background.
If Ruby sounds like a pleased cat, then Regina's reaction to her answering Emma's phone is that of a growling pit bull. "Let me speak to Emma."
"She's a little… tied up right now." Ruby says, swatting Emma's hand away and wiggling her brows to make Emma laugh some more.
"Miss Lucas, let me speak to Emma now."
"Sorry Regina, but she really is busy." And Emma is busy, drinking a beer and laughing at Ruby, so it's not a lie. "And besides, it's not past Henry's bedtime yet, so I know you don't want her yet. Me on the other hand? I always want her."
Ruby flinches slightly at the anger in Regina's voice and quickly hits the end button to cut off the call.
"Ruby." Emma chastises, taking the phone from her. Regina is sure to be pissed about this.
Ruby just shrugs. "She needs to see what she has in you."
Emma laughs at that, but it's obviously a sarcastic one. "Ruby, she's the mayor. She's beautiful and smart and classy. I'm a high school dropout who doesn't even deserve to carry her groceries. The fact that she's even given me a second look is crazy."
"Emma," Ruby turns, taking Emma's hands, her voice serious, "if Regina can't see what's in front of her, then that's her problem. But don't ever feel like you're not good enough for her. You're amazing. You're the top, okay?"
Emma pulls the waitress into a tight hug. "No, you are."
"Do you think," Regina snarls as Emma walks into the bedroom, half an hour later than normal because Ruby had found Dirty Dancing on one of the cable channels and Emma hadn't been able to leave until she saw the ending, "that this is some kind of joke?"
Emma sighs as she flops down on the bed. "No, Regina, I don't think this is a joke."
"Then why are you making it into one?"
"I wasn't aware that I was." Emma admits.
"Telling Ruby, of all people, about us!"
"Ruby," Emma says, her voice rising to meet Regina's, "is my best friend."
"Yes," Regina sneers, "I've seen how friendly you two are."
"What is your problem, Regina?" Emma really didn't come here to fight.
"Your friend informs me that she proposed to you."
"She told you that?" Emma's eyes widen, shocked that Ruby had actually told Regina that.
Regina feels her stomach drop at Emma's reaction. "So it's true?"
"No." Emma shakes her head. "Well, I mean, yes, but -"
"Which is it, Miss Swan?"
"She wasn't serious." Emma defends.
"And if she had been?" Regina finds herself asking.
Emma searches Regina's face for something, but all she sees is the blank mask. She frowns slightly. "I could do a lot worse than Ruby." Hell, she already has, but Emma won't admit that to Regina. Not now.
"Where are you going?" Regina gapes as Emma gets off the bed and moves back towards the bedroom door.
"I'm going home." Emma sounds suddenly exhausted.
"Back to her?" Regina's voice is like poison and Emma feels it seeping into her veins.
She turns in the doorway, the frown more fixed on her face. "No, Madam Mayor. I'm going home to Mary Margaret's." Then she shakes her head sadly. "And just in case you were wondering, I turned Ruby down - even though she was only joking - because I happen to be in love with someone else. And that means something to me, even if it doesn't mean something to anyone else."
By the time Regina processes what Emma has just said, the sheriff is already gone.
"Why the long face?" Ruby asks as she sits a mug of hot chocolate down in front of Emma, even though she's already pretty sure about the reasons behind Emma's miserable mood.
"Long night, long face." Emma blows her bangs out of her eyes, sighing.
"Eww, honey, I love you, but I do not need to know about your long nights - especially if you aren't spending them with me." Ruby pulls her face into an expression of over exaggerated disgust.
Emma rolls her eyes. "It wasn't like that. I was at my place, by myself. I just didn't get a lot of sleep."
"Ah." Ruby nods.
"Do you think she's capable of love, Ruby?" Emma asks a few minutes later, the words murmured so quietly that if Ruby hadn't been leaning over, she never would've heard them.
"I -" she blinks and looks at the door of the diner where Regina has just entered, looking stricken at the sight of Emma and Ruby so close together, "I don't know."
Emma frowns and Ruby reaches out, grabbing her hand and damning Regina at the same time. "But I think if she is, then you're the prime candidate. You and Henry."
Emma nods sadly and squeezes her hand. "Thanks, Rubes."
Ruby offers her another smile and then releases her grip, moving to wait on other patrons. Emma downs the rest of her hot chocolate and turns to leave, stopping short at the sight of Regina still standing by the door.
The mayor makes no move to acknowledge her and Emma's feels her heart sink lower in her chest. She turns and exits out the side door.
Regina walks up to the counter where Emma had been sitting and slides onto the stool with a frown. She wants to talk to Emma, but this doesn't seem like the time or the place. Drumming her fingers on the newspaper that Emma had apparently left behind, Regina stares daggers at Ruby, waiting for her to turn around and take her order.
It's only after Ruby has unceremoniously set her coffee down in front of her, sloshing the liquid over the side, that Regina looks down at the newspaper. The coffee is spreading quickly over the paper, smearing ink in its tracks, but that isn't what catches Regina's attention. It's the large red circles around boxes advertising apartments for rent in Boston and Portland that stop her in her tracks.
"Who left this newspaper here?"
Ruby shrugs. "I don't know. Emma was there last - maybe it was hers."
Regina scoops the offending paper up and heads quickly out of the diner, dripping coffee as she goes. Ruby watches her, trying hard not to smirk as she pushes a red Sharpie further down in her apron pocket.
"What is the meaning of this?"
Emma looks up, startled, to see a coffee stained newspaper dropping onto her desk. There's fire in Regina's eyes and Emma's sure that whatever it is she's mad about, it's somehow her fault.
"Looks like someone's apartment hunting." Emma shrugs, taking in the red circles and assuming that's what Regina is fired up about. "This one in Boston is a pretty good deal, actually. My old rent was -"
Regina yanks the paper away, storming out of the office. She's fuming so much that Emma's pretty sure she can see smoke coming out of the mayor's ears, but the sheriff is still in the dark about what this all means.
After she gets off work, Emma heads for Granny's to pick up her carry out order and to tell Ruby that she can't hang out tonight. She intends to get some sleep and then go talk to Regina to try and figure out what the hell is going on with the mayor and with their relationship in general.
Just as she walks in the door, Nicholas - who is in a booth with his father and sister - knocks his glass over, spilling a stream of water onto the floor. Emma's boots touch down on the still rushing water and lose their purchase, causing her to slip backwards, her arms flailing out.
She's bracing herself for the impact of the floor when she feels strong arms wrap around her, halting her fall. "Whoa," Michael grins down at her, "careful, Sheriff."
"Well, look at that," Emma smiles at him, her hands instinctively gripping his arms to help her regain her balance as Ava and Nicholas clap and cheer their father's heroics. "My own knight in shining armor."
It's then, as they're laughing and the kids are still cheering that Regina and Henry walk into the diner. All it takes is one look at Emma, wrapped in Michael's arms, for Ruby's words to echo painfully in Regina's head.
"Emma is my business. And you should make her yours or you're going to lose her. Half the people in Storybrooke are crazy about her."
With a frown she watches as Emma untangles herself from Michael, his hands still lingering on her waist. Ruby is there beside them then, a rag in hand and concern written all over her face.
"You okay, Ems?" She asks, her hand coming to rest easily on Emma's arm.
"I'm fine." Emma waves the concern off. "Seriously, it's okay. But thank you so much, Michael. I owe you."
Michael glances at Ava and Nicholas happily munching on their burgers and shakes his head. "No, you don't."
Regina's moves then, determination suddenly written on her features. Henry trails along behind her, aware by the look on his mom's face that something is about to happen.
"Miss Swan," her voice is that low, threatening hiss that Emma is well aware means she's in trouble, "may I speak to you outside?"
It might be framed as a question, but by the grip on her arm, Emma knows that it is a command. And normally she'd follow along behind Regina like a little puppy dog, but today she's just tired. She's tired physically, mentally, and emotionally.
So she straightens her spine, pulls her arm from Regina's grasp, and turns to look her in the eye. "Actually, Madam Mayor, now isn't really a good time. I'm just here to pick up my dinner and then go home to bed. But perhaps tomorrow we can talk."
Regina's eyes widen as Emma moves towards the counter where Ruby has already placed her bag of food. "Emma!"
Emma stops short at the sound of the mayor calling her by her first name in public She turns around and looks at her, allowing her exhaustion to show on her face, hoping that Regina will just let this drop. "Please, Madam Mayor, let's do this later."
She emphasizes the word, hoping Regina will get the hint that she's planning on coming over later and will be happy to talk to her then. But Regina doesn't seem like she's getting much of anything, except progressively more angry.
"No. We need to do this now."
"Why?" Emma demands, knowing she's being petulant but not caring. "What is so urgent that we have to talk about it right this minute?"
"Oh, I don't know," Regina huffs, allowing all of Ruby's words and the images of Emma with other people and the newspaper with those damn red circles to flood her mind. "Maybe the fact that I love you!"
The diner goes deadly silent, save for the sound of Emma's bag of food hitting the ground when it slips from her grasp. "Wh-what?"
Regina is aware - vaguely - that they are surrounded by people, but it doesn't seem to matter anymore. All that matters is Emma and the fact that - much as she tries to deny it - she can't lose her. "I love you." Regina repeats, her voice just as steady, although not quite as loud or desperate this time. "And that does mean something to me. So you aren't marrying Ruby or moving to Boston or Portland or anything else that doesn't involve you being with me."
Emma blinks. "Regina."
Regina rolls her eyes and looks around. Everyone looks shocked by her outburst, yet not surprised by what she's said. In fact, Henry's grinning ear to ear and everyone else looks like they're trying to downplay their smiles.
Her eyes fall back on Emma, whose mouth is open slightly in shock. She looks from Emma to the bag of food on the floor and then back to Emma. "Are you going to stand there doing an imitation of a fish all evening, or are you going to join Henry and me for dinner?" The words are tempered by her smile.
Emma closes her eyes for a second and when she opens them again, a beautiful smile blooms across her face. "Oh sweetie, I thought you'd never ask."
And then she's kissing her, right in the middle of Granny's while everyone claps and cheers. And above it all, she can hear Ruby's voice exclaiming, "It's about damn time!"