Emma stared at the pregnancy test she had fished out of the bathroom trash can a few minutes before. She hadn't moved much in those few minutes, staring blankly at the negative symbol with a dull roar filling the back of her mind. What had Regina been doing with this? Why did Regina think she could be pregnant? Unless she...
Emma set the pregnancy test down on the bathroom counter, hesitated, picked it up, set it down, picked it back up.
Regina wouldn't do that to me. Emma shook her head and tossed the pregnancy test back into the trash can. She wouldn't.
But that was what Emma had thought about her first three boyfriends. What made Regina different from them? Regina had plenty of issues of her own. Maybe cheating was one of them.
Emma left the bathroom, jogged down the stairs, and grabbed her brown leather jacket on the way out of the door. Shrugging it on as she headed to the car, she fought with herself. She knew who she wanted to run to, but it was a school day, and Mary Margaret would be in the middle of class.
As she started the car, she thought of the only other person she could and headed toward Granny's Diner.
"Emma, hey," Ruby said, smiling. Then she saw the look on Emma's face and led her into the back. "Hey, what's wrong?"
"Regina's cheating on me," Emma said. She stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets; she didn't want Ruby to see them ball into fists.
"What? Why would you think that?"
Emma shuffled. She forced herself to make eye contact. "I found a pregnancy test in our - her - bathroom." She shrugged with a wry grin. "I don't know why she'd be worried about me getting her pregnant."
"Em, I'm sure there has to be a better explanation for this." Ruby placed a hand on Emma's arm. Emma wished she wasn't wearing a thick leather coat: she could have used human contact.
"Like what?" Emma watched Ruby flounder for an answer. "Never mind." She shook her head. "I just... I just need to figure out how I'm going to...to deal with this and move on." She ran a hand through her hair. "I should go and let you get back to your job. I'm sorry, Ruby."
"No." Ruby shook her head. "Don't be. I hope things work out for you." She looked so genuinely sad that Emma found she could only say, "Me too."
To say that Regina was surprised when she looked up to see Mary Margaret and Ruby Lucas entering her office would be an understatement. Miss Blanchard had a fascinating expression on her face, one that was a mix of anger and fear, determination and nervousness. Miss Lucas appeared more resigned to her fate as the seconds ticked by as if she were regretting being apart of whatever scheme Miss Blanchard had concocted.
"Miss Blanchard," Regina said coolly, "to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Really, Regina?" Miss Blanchard said, disbelief and anger saturating her voice. She moved agitatedly back and forth in front of the desk as she spoke. "I mean, I know you two had your problems, but I never thought you would stoop so low as to cheaton her - "
Whether it was the accusation itself or the self-righteous condescension in Miss Blanchard's voice that set her off, Regina wasn't sure. "What the hell are you going on about, Miss Blanchard?" she said. She couldn't bring herself to regret her lack of calmness and poise. Miss Blanchard had the nerve to accuse her of cheating on Emma? Especially, after all she had done with David Nolan, a married man? The look on Miss Blanchard's face, like she had been slapped, gave Regina a certain smugness.
"Emma found your pregnancy test, Regina," Miss Blanchard said.
Regina stared at her for a moment, silently composing herself. I can't believe this."That test was Kathryn's. You know, David Nolan's wife." She placed a subtle emphasis on 'wife', and Miss Blanchard paled, momentarily ducking her head. Satisfied, Regina continued, "She didn't want to tell David until she was certain." Regina rose to her feet. "But she didn't want to be alone while she waited for the results so she came to my house yesterday."
"Why didn't Emma know?" Miss Blanchard asked.
Regina raised her eyebrows. "Why would Emma know?"
Miss Blanchard rolled her eyes. "Please, Regina. Emma is - was - my roommate. She practically lives with you now."
Regina ignored that. "Emma was on patrol late last night. She wasn't - " Her voice stuck on the word 'home'. " - there last night when Kathryn came over." She regarded Miss Blanchard suspiciously. "Did Emma come to the conclusion that I was cheating on her by herself?" Her gaze bore into Miss Blanchard's.
Miss Lucas stepped forward so that she stood beside Miss Blanchard. "She came to me first. She told me you were cheating on her." She seemed to wither slightly under Regina's gaze. "I tried to tell her there had to be another explanation..."
"I see," Regina said. She turned back to Miss Blanchard. "Where is Emma now?"
"I don't know," said Miss Lucas. "I went to tell Mary Margaret about it because she's Emma's best friend, and then - "
"And then Miss Blanchard brought you here to sling accusations at me," Regina said coolly. "I see." She threw her head back a bit, squared her shoulders. "Well, if that's all you have to say, please leave my office." She turned her back on them and stared out the large window behind her desk.
"For what it's worth," Miss Blanchard said hesitantly, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have accused you."
"No," Regina said without turning around, "you shouldn't have. Have a nice day, Miss Blanchard."
She didn't turn around until she heard them leave. Then she sat down and buried her face in her hands and didn't allow herself to cry.
Emma slammed the door to Mary Margaret's apartment. Tossing her jacket on the couch as she past, she stormed to her room and tossed a small duffle bag on her bed. She closed the door behind her and flopped on the bed beside the bag, draping an arm over her eyes. Soon she would have to unpack her clothes from the bag, but she couldn't bring herself to do it at that moment.
She wasn't sure how long it was before she heard the front door open and close. "Emma?" Mary Margaret called. "Are you here?" She listened to Mary Margaret's footsteps come down the hall. There was a tentative knock on her door. Emma didn't respond. It cracked open. Mary Margaret must have popped her head in because she said, "I've been looking everywhere for you."
Emma sighed, moved her arm and stared up at Mary Margaret who moved to sit carefully on the edge of her bed. "Did Ruby tell you what happened?"
"Yes," Mary Margaret said, "and I talked to Regina. She didn't cheat on you, Emma. The pregnancy test was Kathryn's. She didn't want to tell David until she was sure, but she wanted someone with her while she waited for the result."
Emma stared at her for a moment, hardly breathing. "I'm such an idiot."
"No, you're not," Mary Margaret said. "We all forgot Regina has friends."
"I should have remembered." Emma sighed. "So Regina knows I thought she cheated on me?" She cringed. "Great."
Mary Margaret smiled. "You'll be fine."
"I'm so dead."
The house was quiet when Emma slunk in, duffle bag slung over one shoulder. Carefully, she closed the door behind her so that Regina wouldn't hear. She needed a few minutes to compose herself; maybe she could figure out what she wanted to say too.
She made it all the way to the bedroom without seeing Regina. Maybe, just maybe, she could get to their bedroom and put back the clothes that she kept there...
No such luck. Regina stiffened as the bedroom door opened. She refused to face Emma. She had on the same dress she wore the first time Emma saw her, and for a moment all Emma could think about was how pretty Regina looked. Then she followed Regina's gaze: the drawers which had held Emma's clothes were open and empty just the way Emma had left them.
"I'm sorry, Regina," Emma said quietly. "I was stupid. I should have known you wouldn't - "
"Have sex with someone behind your back?"
Emma cringed. "Yeah. That."
Regina turned to glare at Emma. Her eyes dropped to the bag Emma carried. "Are those your clothes?"
"Yes," Emma said. "Look, Regina, I'm sorry. It's just I've been cheated on before and - "
"Put your clothes back and then find yourself something to eat," Regina said. "I didn't know if you would be back so I didn't bother to make any food for you. We'll talk about this later."
It went better than Emma had expected even as Regina brushed past her and out into the hall. At least she didn't kick me out of the house.She threw her clothes haphazardly into the open drawers, stuffed them down enough so the drawers would close properly and then took a deep breath before heading down to scrounge up some dinner.
She hoped their talk later went better than this one.
Emma swirled her drink in her glass, too nervous to actually drink it. She wasn't sure she would be able to keep it down. Thinking she ought to try though, especially when she glanced up and saw the way Regina was staring at her, she took a small sip. But even that little bit made her stomach churn, and she set the glass down on the coffee table.
"So," Emma said, and she couldn't think of anything to say after that.
"So, indeed," Regina said. Emma clasped her hands together to stop her fingers from twitching. "Would you care to explain to me why you thought it appropriate to jump to such an awful conclusion about me?" Emma stared hard at her shoes. "Furthermore, would you care to explain what possessed you to pack your bags before even talking to me? Did you even think of how this would affect Henry?" Emma started. She stared at Regina with wide eyes. Regina clearly read her expression. "Henry didn't even occur to you at all, did he?"
Emma looked away. She hated seeing the disgust on Regina's face. Even when she was clearly hurt, Regina still put Henry first. "I'm sorry."
"Save it," Regina said. "Just tell me now: are these kinds of displays going to be a common occurrence? Because I can't subject Henry to this back and forth. He needs stability. And so do I."
Tears pricked Emma's eyes. "I wasn't thinking."
"That much is clear."
"I won't do it again," Emma said. "Please. I was stupid and made a mistake."
"A mistake? Oh, is that all?"
"Look," Emma said, getting angry now, "I've been cheated on before, okay? I just thought - "
"Don't you dare get angry with me," Regina said, her voice lowering dangerously. "I don't care what happened to you before. You're an adult, Emma. Not a child. And Henry needs you to be a responsible role model - regardless of whether you and I are together."
Emma flopped back against the couch. "You're right. I just...I don't want to lose this. Lose us. I got scared."
Regina's eyebrows rose. "You didn't want to lose our relationship so you reacted to your suspicion of cheating by packing your bags and leaving?"
Emma groaned, running a hand over her face. "It was stupid, I know."
"Knowing is half the battle, I suppose," Regina said.
"I'll make it up to you, I swear," Emma said. "Just name it, and I'll do it. I promise."
Regina leaned forward, setting her half-empty glass on the table. "Never pull a stunt like this again. Respond like a mature adult. Realize that we have a child to think about, and you cannotcontinue to childishly lash out." Her gaze bore into Emma's. "That's all I ask of you."
Despite Regina's insistence, Emma knew that wasn't all Regina required of her. She kept insisting that Henry was her main concern - and while Emma didn't doubt that that was true, she knew there was other concerns that Regina refused to voice.
The past few weeks were hard. Emma had been allowed to drop Henry off at school and pick him up as usual, but Emma's contact with Regina had been limited and fraught with tension. Regina rarely dropped by the Sheriff's station anymore (an annoyance Emma had never dreamed she would miss), hadn't returned her calls, hadn't texted her, and the few times Emma had been over for dinner, Henry excused himself from the table early and disappeared upstairs.
They tried to have conversations to no avail. They had sex once after Regina consumed several glasses of alcohol, and there were no lingering touches or soft kisses. Emma left soon after, knowing she wasn't welcome. When she arrived back at Mary Margaret's apartment to find Mary Margaret waiting up for her, Emma collapsed on the couch beside her, buried her face in Mary Margaret's shoulder and sobbed so hard her body shook, and she gasped for breath. Mary Margaret rubbed her back and murmured "it'll be okay" into her hair. Emma had never wished for a mother harder than she did in that moment.
"I don't know what to do," Emma gasped. "I've wrecked it. I've ruined everything."
"You can still fix it," Mary Margaret said. "I know you can. I believe in you."
"Oh, Emma... I'm afraid you'll have to figure that out for yourself."
It was the fourth time that Henry went to bed early claiming to be sick that Emma waited until she heard his door close before turning to face Regina. Regina stared at the ceiling in the direction of Henry's bedroom, brow furrowed in concern.
"We can't hide this from him," Emma said. "He knows something is wrong."
"And what are we hiding, dear?" Regina said, and the way she said 'dear' made it sound like an insult.
"I thought we were supposed to be handling this like adults." Emma crossed the room and knelt in front of Regina. "We're not handling this at all, though." She placed a hand on Regina's bare knee, feeling the way the skin tensed up under her touch. "I don't know what you want me to do, Regina."
"I've already told you," Regina said.
"Yeah, but I know that's not all. We've..." Emma bit her lip. "I missyou. I don't know how to fix this." She gestured between them.
"Perhaps you should have thought of that before running away."
"I know. But I'm here now. I've been here for weeks."
Regina shook her head. She took a sip of her wine. "Why should I trust you again, Emma? Why would you want to be with me if you're so willing to believe that I'm unfaithful?"
"I let my own insecurities get the better of me. I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry." Emma cupped Regina's cheek in her palm. "Let me make it better. Let me fix something for once."
Regina stood up, forcing Emma to stand as well. She put a few feet between them, finished her wine and put it in the sink, keeping her back to Emma.
"You're not a bad person, Regina," Emma said. "I swear, what happened was about me and my insecurities. Not about you." She moved to stand behind Regina, wrapped her arms around Regina's waist and dropped a soft kiss to the exposed skin of Regina's neck. "You're smart and clever and devoted, and you're a fantastic mother and an amazing girlfriend." With each affirmation, Emma felt Regina relax slightly. She pressed soft, open mouthed kisses to Regina's neck; this time Regina titled her head back with a soft sigh.
Everything in her screamed at Emma to tell Regina she loved her, but Emma found she couldn't say the words. And while the words would be nice, Regina had always been a person of action. Emma sucked on Regina's earlobe.
Regina gasped softly. She pulled away enough to turn around in Emma's arms. "We can't. Not here. Henry might come down..."
Emma smiled. "Then let's take this to our room." A second later, she noticed her slip, but Regina didn't say anything. Maybe it really wasn't just Regina's bedroom anymore.
"But only if you want to," Emma said, taking a step back and moving her hands to Regina's waist.
"How about," Regina purred, stepping close enough that her breasts pressed against Emma's, and Emma's breathing hitched, "we just see where it goes."
Just as Emma gathered the courage to try sliding the straps of Regina's dress down her arms, Henry knocked on the bedroom door. They hastily straightened their clothes, and Regina left to see what Henry wanted. Figuring the mood was been lost, Emma moved downstairs and turned on the television. She turned the volume up enough that Regina would be able to hear it and know where Emma had gone.
Half an hour later, Regina came down the stairs and sat on the couch beside Emma.
"What did Henry want?" Emma asked.
"He was worried about us," Regina said. Emma frowned. "He wanted to know if we were splitting up. I told him we were having a rough patch, but we were getting through it. I told him that all healthy relationship have their rough patches and not to worry."
Emma placed draped an arm along the back of the couch. "And he shouldn't have to worry." She tried to keep her tone light and unworried. "We're going to be okay."
Regina hummed low in response, an noncommittal sound. Emma tensed.
"We are, aren't we?" she asked.
Regina sighed softly. "I need to know you won't run away anytime things get hard or you get insecure."
"I promise," Emma said. She started to move her arm, to lay it across Regina's shoulders, and then stopped, leaving it where it lay on the back of the couch. "I'm so sorry. I promise I'll talk to you first. I promise I won't just run out. I just don't know how to make you believe me."
Regina shook her head. "The only way you can prove it to me is by showing me." Emma's heart sank, thinking Regina believed she would screw up time after time. "However, for Henry's sake, I forgive you. Just don't do anything that stupid again." Regina turned her head to look at Emma, and for a second, Emma saw the pain she had caused in Regina's eyes.
Emma leaned forward, pressed a gentle kiss above Regina's eyebrow, and murmured "I'm sorry" against her skin.
Regina smiled softly for a second. Then she suppressed a yawn as she rose from the couch. "Let's go to bed then, shall we?"
Emma smiled at the thought of sleeping in the same bed again, of feeling the warmth of Regina's body against hers. "That sounds great."