Author's Note: Things are switching up now. It's going to start to get complicated. Also, I apologize for the time it's been taking me to update. Work has gotten massively in the way. And just in case you guys wanted a visual for the ring, you can go to my tumblr and find a link in the chapter posted. Not the best chapter, I realize, but bear with me.
Regina was not really very sure why she had left so early in the morning. So early, in fact, that she had been up before Emma could even notice she had gotten out of bed. The house had been deathly quiet when she'd walked out the front door, locking it behind her. Her nerves were on edge and she felt like a complete wreck. Regina had sat in her Mercedes for an hour before actually pulling out of the driveway. It was a miracle Emma hadn't caught her just sitting there considering she left right about the time Emma's alarm clock would be going off.
The brunette spent another hour sitting across the street from the only jeweler in town. Her nerves made her stomach twist and brought on a bought of nausea. Regina sat with her head against the steering wheel for fifteen minutes, her arm wrapped tightly around her stomach. When the nausea finally dissipated, Regina began to wonder if maybe she should have looked up better engagement rings on the internet. She had no idea if the rings the jeweler in Storybrooke had were of great quality or not. Her mind kept telling her to just go in and look, that there was no harm in looking, but she had sat in her car a bit longer and let her mind race with nervous thoughts.
Eventually people began to walk past her car, staring as they walked by. Regina ignored them, shoving open her car door and retreating from the warmth of the car to walk across the street towards the store. Just as Regina placed her hand on the doorknob, she stopped and her eyes fell to the ground. This was a big decision she was making. Very, very big. Emma had never mentioned marriage before, never spoke of it or showed any interest in it. Neither had Regina, but for the past few month her mind had been riddled with the idea. It wouldn't leave her alone. She had been obsessing over it for so long that she had finally spoken to Henry about it. Henry had encouraged her, told her that it would be good for the both of them to make that commitment, even after three years.
While Regina wasn't sure she should be taking advice from a thirteen year old, she was sure that her heart agreed with Henry. It was her mind that continued to make her stall. Marrying Emma had become somewhat of a small dream for Regina. Not because it was something every little girl dreamed of, but because Regina realized she wanted permanence. She wanted to be bound to Emma in all way possible and the only move left was to marry her. Never in a million years would Regina have thought she'd be the one proposing, but getting Emma to do anything productive was a feat all on its own. So, Regina was taking matters into her own hands.
It was those thoughts that made Regina turn the doorknob and walk into the store. She was going to do this and she was going to do it right. Henry's advice about Emma rang through Regina's mind as rings immediately caught her attention. He had told her that Emma was a simple woman, something Regina already knew. This told Regina that Emma more than likely wouldn't go for the rings that were iced out to the max. While Regina looked at it as the more diamonds, the better, she was positive Emma would not look at it the same. So, with a large breath and a mental kick to her own ass, Regina took a few more step into the store and kept her nerves as steady as possible.
"Oh! Good morning, Madam Mayor!" The clerk immediately greeted, a nervous look on her face as Regina made her way to the counter. "What, uh…what can I do for you?"
Regina tried to give her best non threatening smile, but it didn't seem to quell the fear in the clerk's eyes. Clearly she still intimidated a large amount of people in Storybrooke. "I'm looking for engagement rings." The brunette stated, smile softening as she thought of Emma.
The woman's eyes went wide as she heard the Mayor's answer. She blinked, clearly taken by surprise. "Uh…" The lady's mouth hung open for a moment, but it immediately snapped shut when Regina raised a questioning eyebrow. "W-well, do you have anything…specific in mind?"
"Something simple, but of the best quality. Nothing that is too flashy. Platinum or white gold would be preferred. Price isn't a matter." Regina explained, placing her hands on the edge of the counter.
The woman immediately set into a nervous action and as she fumbled for engagement rings, Regina wondered if somehow this would get out to the town. She would have to put a stop to that before it even started. She didn't need Emma finding out about this before she was able to pop the question. In a matter of minutes, the clerk had five rows of rings sitting on the counter. The woman took a deep breath and gave a very tiny smile.
"These are all the simple, platinum and white gold engagement rings we have. All of them are of the best quality, as you asked. I do hope there's something in there that will catch the Sheriff's eye."
Regina's eyes swung up to the woman with her last sentence, but she said nothing. She gave a nod before looking back down at the rings. Regina found herself wondering if perhaps she should look at them through Emma's perspective. Which was, of course, harder than she imagined. Regina gave a sigh, wishing like hell she could travel somewhere else to look for a ring for Emma. Regina Mills did not look around in second rate jewelry stores. But unfortunately, this was the only option she had. Regina wanted to propose to Emma on Saturday when they had their alone time, so online shopping wasn't an option.
The brunette skimmed over the first three rows of rings, finding them all to be unsuitable. A frustrated sigh escaped her as she passed up the fourth row as well. Fortunately for the pale clerk watching her, one of the rings on the fifth row caught Regina's eyes. She pointed to it, and requested to pick the ring up. The clerk only nodded her head in answer, clearly afraid to refuse the Mayor. Regina gingerly picked up the ring and examined it, looking at it from every angle. After a moment, she look up to the clerk with a serious face.
"What can you tell me about this one?" Regina questioned.
"Oh! It's eighteen carat, white gold straight engagement ring. Very beautiful and assuredly wonderful quality." The clerk answered, giving a hopeful smile.
Regina nodded and began to examine it again. It seemed simple enough. There was a fairly good sized diamond in the middle and three smaller diamonds beside it on both sides. It gleamed beautifully in the light of the store, which made Regina think it would look marvelous in the sun. A small smile grew across her painted lips, but it disappeared a moment later.
"I do like this one, but perhaps I should look at more. Show me a few more rows, but keep this row sitting here." Regina demanded, placing her hand on the row she had gotten the ring out of.
The clerk immediately did as she was told, scurrying to remove the first four row of rings and bring out four more. When all the rows were set into place again, Regina began to eye every single ring. She had to be sure of the perfect one, had to be sure that Emma would like it. The special moment would be ruined if Emma hated the ring. Regina was putting far more pressure on herself than was necessary, but she wanted to do this as correctly and beautifully as possible. It was as she thought this that her brown eyes caught a ring more beautiful than the one she had picked up. Quickly she reached for the ring and immediately the clerk explained it to her.
"This one is called the intertwined pavé diamond engagement ring. Eighteen carats and white gold as well."
Regina couldn't quit staring at the ring, finding the name of the ring interesting. Just with the word 'intertwined,' Regina was sold. Immediately she began to question the clerk about price and all questions she could thing of about the ring. It didn't take much to persuade that this was the perfect ring. It wasn't as simple as she had originally wanted, but she was positive Emma would love it. Especially if she explained why she bought this particular one. Of course, Regina knew she was getting ahead of herself. Who knew if Emma would actually say yes. Regina found it quite embarrassing that Emma had somehow changed her into the woman worried about the perfect engagement ring.
Some time later, Regina exited the jewelers shop with the engagement ring tucked protectively and secretively into her purse. She chanced a few glances inside of the box inside her car before continuing on to work. Regina would find herself staring at it for most of the day.
Later that day, Emma sat at her desk behind mountains of paper work. For a small town, there seemed to be an awful lot of it. Emma dozed off a few times, nearly knocking some of the paper off of the desk, but she'd wake up in time not to shove it all the way off and into the floor. Excitement was scarce for the Sheriff department, sadly. Leroy being let out after a night of drunkenness was the only had done all day. Hell, she had even given up on the paperwork and sat back in her chair with her legs propped on the desk. Little did Emma know that Mary Margaret was out to find her and her day was about to decline quickly.
Emma had just dozed off once again when Mary Margaret came bursting into the office. Emma jumped and nearly fell out of her chair as the door to the office slammed. Emma blinked, completely disoriented and missing most of what Mary Margaret was babbling to her. The blonde rubbed her temples and then threw her hands up, waving them for a moment before getting up fro her seat.
"Mary Margaret!" Emma yelled, immediately cutting off the brunette's chattering. "What the hell are you blabbering about? And you need to calm down. You scared the hell out of me," She chastised, glaring at Mary Margaret. Emma's small rant, however, didn't seem to effect Mary Margaret at all.
The brunette rushed over to the blonde and threw her arms around her, giving her a tight and almost endless hug. Emma struggled not to be a total bitch to her friend, but Mary Margaret was acting a little freaky. She squirmed out of Mary Margaret's hold and took a step back. She was about to ask a question when Mary Margaret cut her off and started her awkward babbling again.
"Oh, Emma! My baby girl! I knew you would come back to us." Tears formed in Mary Margaret's eyes and began to trickle onto her cheeks. "I'm just so glad I have you back!" She tried to pull Emma back into a hug, but Emma put her hand up and took another step back.
"What in the world are you talking about?" Emma asked, finding Mary Margaret's before beyond freaky.
"Emma! You're my daughter! Henry was right! There is a curse and Regina…" Mary Margaret trailed off, remembering that Emma was in a relationship with Regina. Her face fell dramatically, a deep frown etching into her mouth. "I knew you would save us, but…. But I never expected you to be in a relationship with the Evil Queen. How did that happen? Why would you do that? She's evil and she cursed us!" Mary Margaret fell into Emma's chair, placing her face in her hands.
Emma watched Mary Margaret with wide, worried eyes. Clearly there was something wrong with her. Or maybe, just maybe, this was just some weird way to get Emma to realize her relationship with Regina was a mistake. Mary Margaret had been questioning her about ever since Emma had revealed the relationship. Emma gritted her teeth and her blood went hot. She hadn't realized her friend was so against the relationship.
"I can't believe you, Mary Margaret. You barged in here just to use some dumb fairytale excuse to try to tell me you don't approve of mine and Regina's relationship?" If it were possible, Emma was sure steam would be rolling from her ears. Pissed would be a very large understatement to be used for how she felt.
"No! No, no!" Mary Margaret insisted, rising from the chair. "I'm telling you that Henry's book is real. Those stories are real. And Regina is the Evil Queen. She cursed all of us. Emma…." Mary Margaret paused, the lines of her forehead crinkling and tears staining her cheeks as she tilted her head. "I'm your mother, Emma." The words were soft, almost as if the brunette couldn't believe it.
Emma went silent, staring blankly at Mary Margaret for a moment. However, after that moment of silence, she ground her teeth together as her jaw tightened. She couldn't believe her best friend was doing this. Most of the town seemed to have at least slightly accepted that Regina and Emma were together, but she would have expected this reaction from anyone except Mary Margaret.
"GET OUT!" Emma hollered, pointing angrily at the door. Mary Margaret's mouth fell open and she tried to speak, but Emma stopped her. "No! Don't you say anything. Dammit, Mary Margaret! What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you say something like that?" Emma's hands began to shake with anger and she balled them into fists. "Get out. Before I do something I'll regret. Get. Out. Now." The blonde was seething as she stared Mary Margaret down.
The brunette looked as if she was about to protest, but thankfully she had better sense. Mary Margaret only nodded and quietly exited the Sheriff's office. She hung her head she walked out of the door, clearly disappointed in Emma's reaction. Although, she should have known better. She knew very well that Emma didn't believe in any of the fairytales.
Emma didn't move, even after Mary Margaret left. She stood there, glued to the ground, with her fists tightly balled up. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, wishing that her day had just gone on being boring like it had been before. When her muscles ached from being strained too long, Emma finally stretched out her hands and let out an angry growl. She didn't even feel like sitting in the Sheriff's office anymore. So, she quickly threw her leather jacket on, picked up her keys and turned off all the lights before heading out to her bug. She slammed every door, including her car door, and punched her steering wheel before deciding to turn the car on. Saying 'fuck it' to any speed limit rules, Emma sped all the way home, making it there in a record time of four minutes.
Regina returned home at her usual time, but instead of waltzing in as she usually did, she sneaked in. She kicked her heels off at the door, unusual for her, and tip toed her way into her office. With swift and precise motions, Regina had the engagement ring locked away in her desk. She felt like she could breathe again when it was secure and safe from wandering eyes. Regina gave herself a nod before retreating from her office and making her way upstairs.
It was as she slipped into her bedroom that she noticed it was unusually quiet in her home. She knew Henry was with Dr. Hopper, but Emma was usually making some kind of noise. In fact, Emma usually found Regina immediately after she came home to greet her. But that hadn't happened yet and she had to wonder what had happened during Emma's day to make her this quiet. Regina turned towards the closed door of their bathroom and found light shining from under it.
Regina made her way to the door and slowly opened it, peaking inside. She found Emma sitting in the tub, water covering her up to her neck. The blonde had her head leaning back against the wall and her eyes closed. Regina slipped into the bathroom and closed the door quietly behind her. She situated herself on the edge of the tub, brown eyes roaming over Emma's naked form through the water. After a moment of studying Emma's face, Regina reached out her hand to smooth back some of the loose blonde curls.
As soon as Regina touched her, Emma jumped and sat up, effectively splashing water all over the bathroom floor and Regina. When Emma realized what she had done, her green eyes went wide and she reached a hand out to her girlfriend.
"Oh my god! Regina! I'm so sorry. I didn't hear you come in. You scared me." Emma said through a few deep breaths.
Regina blinked a few times, standing up from her seated position and grabbing a towel from the cabinet. She dried off her face before looking down at Emma. From what Regina could tell, Emma's muscles were tense as she leaned forward. Regina frowned and waved her hand as Emma continued to apologize.
"It's alright, dear. Just… don't do it again." Regina looked down at her clothes, frowning at her soaked power suit. At least it was just water.
Regina began to unbutton the vest, slipping that off and laying it on the counter before going for her blouse. As she unbuttoned that, she noticed Emma leaning back against the wall and closing her eyes. This worried Regina, especially considering that anytime Regina took off an item of clothing, Emma was there to watch. The blonde stared at her body more times than anyone could count. Regina placed her blouse next to her vest and then turned to Emma, standing in just her pants and bra.
"Emma? What's the matter?" Regina questioned, quirking an eyebrow.
"Nothing." Came the quick answer, the blonde not even opening her eyes.
Regina narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms against her chest. She stared down at Emma for a moment before removing herself from the bathroom entirely. There was a better way of getting answers from Emma and it seemed she'd have to wait until the blonde was out of her bath. So, Regina disappeared into her closet, searching for the sexiest nightgown she owned. Which, to be honest, was not very hard to find. Most of her nightgowns showed quite a bit of skin.
Half an hour later, when Emma finally immerged from the bathroom, Regina sat quietly reading a book. Her reading glasses sat at the edge of her nose as she pretended to be reading a book. In all reality, she was watching Emma from the corner of her eye. Regina's legs were stretched out on top of the covers, the nightgown having rode up high on her thigh and revealing even more flesh. She could feel Emma staring at her as she changed into a fresh tank top and panties. Regina couldn't help, but stare at Emma from over her book. The things Emma wore to bed never left much for Regina's imagination.
The blonde climbed into bed, curling under the covers quickly and then turning on her side. Her back was facing Regina, thus missing the frown the brunette gave to her back. Oh, something was definitely wrong if Emma didn't even scoot closer to give her a kiss goodnight. Regina placed her book down on the bedside table and turned off the light. Quickly she scooted under the covers, immediately moving over to place a kiss on Emma's neck. She didn't move for a moment, Regina waiting anxiously for a reaction. It felt odd being the one to instigate these types of little things. Emma was always the one showing the most affection. Tonight though, Emma was off and clearly bothered by something, which immediately alarmed Regina. After being with the blond for three years, she was very attuned to how Emma felt. Except for tonight.
Emma stirred, turning around until she was face Regina. She placed a kiss on plump lips before scooting further into Regina's body. She buried her face in her girlfriends neck, but still remained quiet. Regina placed her hand on Emma's hip, massaging the skin there lightly. A small, tiny satisfied sigh escaped Emma and her breath tickled against Regina's neck.
"Emma?" Regina whispered, turning her head slightly to kiss Emma's shoulder.
"Mmm?" Emma moaned back, clearly finding herself in a comfortable position and appreciating the feel of Regina's lips on her skin.
"What is wrong?" She asked for the second time that night.
A long, aggravated groan fell from Emma's lips as she pushed her body further against Regina, trying to concentrate on the feel of Regina's body molding into her.
"Nothing." Emma told her yet again, clearly not wanting to talk about whatever was bothering her. However, Regina pushed further.
"You're lying to me." Regina's tone was almost sharp, a hint of softness behind it. "You crawled into bed and then turned your back to me. You never do that. Not since we started sleeping in the same bed. Something is wrong with you, Emma Swan, and I know it." The older woman pushed Emma onto her back, giving her access to look into green eyes.
Emma was clearly displeased by the turn of events, letting a long sigh escape her. She placed her arm over her eyes, trying to ignore Regina. Regina smacked her arm and moved it, glaring down at Emma. The blonde stared back for a moment, her expression angry, until she couldn't take it anymore. Her expression changed from one of anger to a mixture of anger and hurt. It made Regina's heart clench tightly in her chest to see Emma so crestfallen. Regina placed her hand on Emma's neck and leaned down to place a soft kiss to her lips.
"Tell me what happened." Regina commanded lightly, thumb smoothing soothing circles on Emma's neck.
Emma almost looked reluctant once again, but it seemed that whatever was bothering her hurt more than holding it in anymore.
"I yelled at Mary Margaret today and threw her out of the station." The blonde confessed, frowning deeply at the thought.
"Is that it?" Regina asked, raising an incredulous eyebrow. Emma groaned.
"No. That's not it. If that was it I wouldn't be this pissed." Emma sat up, tying her hair into a band she had wrapped around her wrist. "She same into the office babbling about some crazy shit. She hugged me pretty tightly and then started calling me her 'baby girl.' It was really weird." Emma stopped for a moment, looking back at Regina. Regina looked back at Emma, nodding her head to encourage her to go on. "And when I asked her what was going on, she told me that Henry's book was real and she knew I'd come back to save her. Before I could say anything, she started to get all sad and depressed about how I was in love with the Evil Queen. Oh, but here's what takes the cake. She told me she was my mother. And that's… that's when I threw her out. That was too much. I yelled at her and threw her out."
Emma let out a long sigh when she was through, but she scrunched up her face and placed her head in her hands. She shook her head, sighing inwardly. "I know it sounds ridiculous and I shouldn't be this mad, but she pretty much chastised me about my relationship with you and used the whole parents thing against me. Why the hell would she do that?" Finally the blonde stopped, realizing Regina hadn't said anything. She turned her head towards her girlfriend, nearly catching the terrified look on Regina's face. However, Regina had managed to school her features and smooth them out before Emma could get suspicious. Regina was silent for a moment, feeling Emma's inquisitive stare on her face. Eventually, she turned her head towards Emma and gave her a fairly sad smile.
"I am sorry you're upset, dear. However, you know my feelings for Ms. Blanchard, so I'm not sure I'm the best to give you advice." Regina's tone was rather cold, almost as if she had reverted back to the woman Emma had met when she'd first arrived in Storybrooke.
While Regina could be a handful most of the time, Emma had found that she had melted the Ice Queen's heart fairly well and the warm moments were shown to both her and Henry. Of course, their fights could bring forth the cruel tones and facial expressions, but they were nowhere near a fight. Emma stared at Regina, jaw clenched as her mind mulled this over. On one hand, she wanted to lash out at Regina for being so cold. On the other hand, she knew that doing that would most definitely bring about a fight. So, Emma puffed up her cheeks and then nodded before letting the air out slowly.
"You're right. The two of you have never gotten along very well." Emma's tone was tense and she could feel an eye twitch coming on, but instead she leaned over and kissed Regina on the lips. "I'll just… talk to her about it tomorrow or something. Good night, Regina." She gave Regina a weak smile before turning onto her stomach and burying her head into her pillow.
"Good night." Regina whispered, laying back on the bed herself.
When she was positive that Emma was good and asleep, the blonde's mouth slack and arm slung over her eyes, Regina quietly slipped from the bed. She quickly put a robe on and moved herself quietly downstairs, checking on Henry on the way. Regina slipped into her office and locked the door, making sure that if Emma woke up and came looking for her, she didn't see what Regina was about to take out. Regina placed herself in the chair behind her desk and retrieved the key from a different drawer in the desk.
With precision and carefulness, Regina unlocked the drawer the engagement ring was in, took out the box and placed it on the desk. Her dark brown eyes gazed at the box for a few moments, unwilling to move as she thought about what Emma had said. It wasn't that she didn't feel horrible for getting into a fight with her friend, but the fear that Mary Margaret's memories had returned trumped any other emotion she could be feeling. What she wanted to know most was how it had happened. What had triggered Mary Margaret's mind to remember her old life?
Regina began to wonder if perhaps she wasn't going to get her happy ending at all. Maybe life was just letting her get a taste before it ripped it right out from under her yet again. It was all she had ever known, ever experienced, so why would this time be any different. Tears formed in Regina's eyes as she opened the box to reveal the engagement ring. However, she refused to let them fall. With a feather like touch, she ran the pad of her thumb over the ring. It was beautiful and it told her that she had been ready for really dive into forever with Emma, but it seemed that life wanted something very different. Regina to began to wonder if she had made a mistake buying that ring, wondered if perhaps that had set something off. Just when she thought that void inside herself had been filled, life was rearing its ugly head back to rip it out once more.