Worries & Distractions
Chapter One: Let's Play Hooky
The day Emma had been dreading for weeks had finally reared its ugly head.
When she awoke, she found the space next to her empty. With brows furrowed in confusion, she pushed on her elbows to sit up. She turned her head to look at the window. The sun's rays were weak. She looked to the clock to find the time early.
With a hoarse voice from hours of sleep, Emma called for Henry. No answer. She got out of bed and wandered to the bathroom. The door was wide open.
Emma turned for the staircase. She hurried down the flight and a small breath of relief escaped her lips when she found Henry seated at the counter, eating breakfast.
"Morning," Snow greeted with a smile.
"Morning," Emma murmured in return.
After downing a spoonful of lucky charms, Henry turned to smile at his mom. Emma did her best to return the sentiment, but Snow could see her heart wasn't in it.
"Are you sure it's okay that I go?"
Henry smiled further.
"Where is Neal taking you?" Snow asked.
With a shrug, Henry said, "he asked if I wanted to go on a mini road trip. He said we could drive around for a while until we find something cool."
"Drive around… outside of Storybrooke?" Snow asked, her eyes going to her daughter.
Emma shifted uncomfortably while crossing her arms over her chest.
Henry looked between his mom and grandmother and said, "I know you're worried about me because of Cora, but she won't have magic if she leaves Storybrooke. She can't hurt me… isn't it better that we leave Storybrooke?"
"Well, when you put it like that," Snow murmured.
"Henry, why don't you go change. Neal will be here in a few minutes."
The boy nodded while sliding from his chair and racing to the second floor.
With Henry gone from earshot, Emma turned to Snow.
"I know what you're thinking-"
"No you don't."
"I shouldn't let him go."
"That's not what I'm thinking. It's just… they're leaving Storybrooke."
Emma sighed while falling to a stool. "I'm not happy about it."
With a small smile, Snow said, "but you're going along with it anyway. For Henry's sake."
Emma nodded. "Neal wanted to spend the day with Henry. I would have invited myself, but I'm not… we're not."
"Things aren't okay."
"Yeah," Emma agreed softly. "Part of me feels like this is a good thing. He wants to spend time with his kid. Let 'em do the whole father-son bonding thing… but it sucks," she said truthfully. "I just go to the point where I don't have to go to someone else to spend time with my kid and now suddenly Neal is in our lives and I can't make all the decisions. I have to share him with someone else."
Snow nodded while walking around the counter and sitting on the vacant stool. "I understand how you feel. But Emma, I'd give anything to be able to go back and have the chance to share you with your father."
A corner of Emma's lips pulled to a half smile.
"Are you worried he may try and leave with Henry?"
Emma shook her head. "For a decade I found people for a living. He knows that. If he bolts, I'll be on his ass. He isn't going anywhere with my son."
Snow gave a faint smile. A question floated in her mind. She wasn't sure if bringing it up was a good idea… but she couldn't help her curiosity.
"If you don't mind me asking, did you ever look for Neal?"
Through a sigh, Emma said, "No… but I did wait for him in Tallahassee. I had no interest in being with him. But I wanted him to show up. I was ready to demand answers and yell and scream and… knee him in the groin."
"I spent eleven years thinking one thing when really it was something else. But he can't pin this on August. Not all of it. Neal made the choice to leave me. If he all wanted to do was help me break the curse, then he could have brought me here himself. But he's a coward. He didn't want to see his father. So instead his sent me to prison… I just… I can't wrap my head around all of this… I'm all mixed up… I've had a migraine for weeks."
"Okay," Snow announced while hoping to her feet. "I've got an idea," she said while walking around the counter.
With brows knit in question, Emma turned in her chair to follow her mother's path.
"How 'bout you let your father handle the station alone for the day and you and me go do something fun," Snow suggested with a bright smile.
"Anything," Snow said happily. "What do you say? Come on, play hooky with me!"
After a moment of thought, through a shrug Emma said, "what the hell."
"That's the spirit! Grab your coat!"
Thoughts? Please leave 'em before you go!