Author's note: This is the sequel to The New Normal, which you MUST read before reading this. Takes place roughly 2-3 years after the end of The New Normal.
Emma looked down fondly at her daughter. She could hardly believe that Scarlett was already 2. That it had been 2, almost 3 years since everything had happened. That her life was truly, finally stable. And normal. Sometimes it was hard to believe that despite everything she'd gone through, her life was finally perfect. Regina was gone, she'd found her parents, and something she'd never thought she'd ever have: a family.
She watched as her daughter ran around the living room with her little toddler legs, dragging the teddy bear that her grandma had bought for her birthday last week. At 2, she was already as rambunctious as Henry and Graham were. Sometimes, she'd just watch as Graham chased Scarlett around, pretending to be a wolf while Scarlett ran clumsily around, laughing with glee.
It was times like those that made it hard to believe that it was all real. That when she'd first found out she was pregnant again, she'd (briefly) considered abortion. Emma knew that she was hardly a mother to Henry, so how in the hell could she raise a baby? It had been Graham who'd soothed her worries, who'd reassured her that everything was and would be fine, for she had a wonderful support system: himself, Henry, who had been super excited at the prospect of a sibling; and not to mention her parents.
And now, looking at Scarlett, she knew she'd made the right decision. Sure, there were times when Emma felt like her daughter would end up as cynical and jaded as she was, but there were other, more often times where, looking at her adorable daughter, she knew that there was nothing in the world more precious than Scarlett.
"Mamaaaaa….." Scarlett toddled to the couch; arms outstretched, to where Emma was currently sprawled, paperwork all around her.
"Hey, princess." Emma immediately put down her pen and picked her up. She planted a kiss atop Scarlett's mess of dark curls, identical to Graham's.
"Me hungwy." Scarlett said, her dark eyes wide. "Want ice cweam."
"Sorry Scar, but Mommy's really busy right now." Emma said apologetically. Her old self would laugh at the way she now talked (especially referring to herself as Mommy), but there was nothing she could do about it. What was she gonna do, swear at a baby?
Scarlett's face wrinkled up like it always did before she was about to cry. "Me want ice cweam!"
Luckily, Henry chose that moment to arrive home. He pushed open the door, backpack over one shoulder. "Hey Mom. Hey Scar."
"Oh, great. Henry, you're home." Emma stood up, handing her daughter off to her thirteen year old son. "Go take Scar out for some ice cream before she throws a fit."
Most thirteen year olds would object to babysitting their toddler sisters, but as we all know, Henry was no ordinary teenager.
"Sure." He said cheerfully. "C'mon, let's go get some ice cream." He said, heading out the door. Emma could hear Scarlett's giggles as they walked out.
Whew. Crisis averted. Emma thought, relieved, as she turned back to her paperwork. Normally, Scarlett was left with Mary Margaret during the day, so her mother got to deal with the tantrums, but today she was forced to stay home due to the sheer amount of work. Ruby had resigned soon after she'd made up with Graham, saying something about how she wasn't ready to be a full time deputy, and Graham had taken his job as deputy back, but he was just as terrible with paperwork as she was.
She looked around her messy apartment. Soon after moving into their own place (which happened to be right above her parents'), Emma had learned that Graham wasn't one for neatness. Something about liking his living space to reflect the disorder of nature. Whatever. And Emma was only OCD at work, which meant that their apartment was often strewn with Scarlett's toys, Henry's video games, and other piles of random junk. It was a small, yet cozy place. Her place, a far cry from her cavernous, fancy, yet exceedingly lonely apartment in Boston. She'd finally sold it not long after making up with Graham, using the money for their wedding.
Emma sat back contentedly. If someone had told her ten years ago that this would be her life now, she'd laugh and probably ask them what drugs they were on. Sometimes she still had nightmares about her past life. But then she'd wake up, see Scarlett's smiling face, and know that that was in the past.
That night, Emma, Graham, Henry, and Scarlett went over to Mary Margaret and David's for dinner. Mary Margaret claimed it was because she wanted to see her grandchildren, but everyone knew it was because Emma was a terrible cook.
"Gwandma!" Scarlett squealed as she toddled into her grandparent's apartment. "Gwandpa!"
"Hey Scarlett." David said, picking up the toddler and tickling her feet, making her howl with laughter.
"Oooohhh smells good. Watcha cooking?" Henry asked as he approached the kitchen, where Mary Margaret was stirring something in a pot.
"Just spaghetti." She answered. "Something so easy even your mother could make it." She stage whispered.
Emma rolled her eyes. "Very funny."
They sat around the table, eating, laughing, and chattering about the day's events. Mary Margaret told a story about how her students had let their class hamster loose, which resulted in total chaos for about an hour.
It was a normal day, yet Emma could not shake the feeling that there was something wrong. Later that night, as she tucked Scarlett in, she couldn't help but look out the window, half expecting someone out there to be watching.
"What's wrong?" Graham asked as Emma slid into bed beside him. "You look worried." He immediately began massaging his wife's shoulders.
"I don't know." Emma said slowly. "I just keep thinking that there's something wrong."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know." Emma answered. She shook her head. "It's probably just stress."
"Yeah." Graham agreed. "I should probably help with all that paperwork, huh?"
"No kidding." Emma scoffed as she turned out the light. "Good night." She yawned. But she found it impossible to relax, even as Graham slid his arm over her and planted kisses down her neck. All she could think about was that things were about to go very wrong.
Author's note: So, what did ya think? Like it so far? Please review!