Chapter 19

Detective Winters headed to the hospital to see if Erica had any more pertinent information to give her. These kinds of cases hit home for her. She spent time in an abusive relationship and it was only for the grace of God that she got out. She was determined to do whatever she could to help other women in similar situations.

She walked to Erica's room and knocked as she opened the door. "Ms. Richards, it's Detective Kimberly Winters." She continued into the room to see Erica lying on her side. "Ms. Richards."

Erica sighed and turned upright. "Hello detective."

"I've kept in contact with your parents regarding your case. I came to see if you had anything to add to the investigation. Is there anything else that might serve in your best interest? Do you remember else from that night?"

Erica shook her head no. "I have nothing to add because there's not going to be a case. I'm dropping the charges."

Kimberly's eyes widened slightly. "Ms. Richards, I was under the impression you were going forward with this full force. Your parents have been coming to the station every chance they get. What made you change your mind?"

Erica dropped her voice and put on her best emotionless face. "I'm dropping the charges because I want to. I don't want to go through a trial and testify. I want to forget the entire thing ever happened. Sorry you and your partner wasted your time. Please, leave my room."

Kimberly closed her notebook and stuffed it in her coat pocket. "Ms. Richards, I know this is difficult because I've lived through it. If you let this go, Mr. Williams could possibly do this to someone else."

Erica's gaze didn't falter but her heart was racing. "I can assure you Detective Winters that Scott won't hurt anyone else. Please go."

Kimberly closed her eyes and inhaled. "Please reconsider your decision. Whatever has you spooked, we can protect you."

"Not from this you can't," Erica thought. "Thank you but the concern is unnecessary. I'm moving on with my life."

Kimberly nodded her head and walked out the door. Erica breathed out a sigh. She tried to choke back the sobs but couldn't. She grabbed her pillow and put it up to her face to the silence the sobs and screams.

Kimberly walked into the station feeling defeated. She wondered what made Erica change her mind. She figured like so many women that Erica didn't want to press charges because she loves the boy.

She sat at her desk and looked through the files on her desk. She stared at the pages not really comprehending anything.

"What's on your mind? Did Richards give you any more info?" asked Johnson.

"No she didn't. Guess what? She wants to drop the charges. I tried to change her mind but she's determined not to throw Williams in jail."

Johnson threw up his hands in frustration. "Are you kidding me? What happened?"

Winters shrugged her shoulders. "She did a 180. But it's nothing new. Some women do this because they're afraid of the unknown. I tried to get her to reconsider but it didn't work obviously."

Johnson groaned. "So Williams is just going to get off and go on with his life."

Winters nodded her head. "We just have to hope that nothing else happens."

Meanwhile, Henry had gone to see Erica. "Hey, sis. Ready to go home tomorrow?"

"Yeah," she said nonchalantly.

Henry arched an eyebrow. "What's with you?"

Erica wanted to say something about Tamara and her dropping the charges but she didn't need an argument. She knew Henry would tell mom and dad and that was a headache she didn't need either.

"Nothing. Just want to go home. I'm tired of being in this hospital," Erica said.

"Well, speaking of home, do you want to go to Storybrooke or stay with me?" asked Henry.

"I want to stay here. It's better that way. I don't need mom and dad hovering over me. They'll watch me like a hawk."

"So you think I won't," said Henry.

Erica chuckled. "I know you will do something. But you won't be as bad as mom and dad. They'll practically follow me wherever I go."

"They want to look out for you. They feel they let you down," said Henry.

"I know that but they didn't. I'm a big girl who made a wrong decision. I'm paying the price for it. I guess magic really does come with a price."

Henry frowned. "Not this price. No one deserves to pay this price. If I could have it my way, Scott wouldn't be breathing."

"And almost share a jail cell with dad. He better be thankful they didn't lock him up. I don't need any of you going to jail because of irrational decisions."

"Since you're the only girl, you're the most protected. You know mom and Daniel would do anything for you," said Henry.

"Yeah. Almost kill Scott in Storybrooke."

"I know. Once this is behind us, we can all move on," said Erica.

"Speaking of moving on, what are you going to do about Scott?" asked Henry.

"What about him?"

"You still have the ring. Obviously, you're not keeping it. You have to give that back. More importantly, have you thought about the trial yet? I know it's going to take a little bit of time but are you prepared to face him?"

Erica bit her lip. "I can handle it. As far as the ring, I'll send it by mail or something."

"I worry and I'm here if you need a shoulder to cry on," said Henry.

"Yeah, I know. Let's switch subjects. When are you going to make Rachel my sister-in-law?"

Henry chuckled. "Maybe one day." Henry looked at his watch. "I need to go and get the place ready for tomorrow. See you later." He kissed Erica on the forehead. "Love you."

"Love you too," said Erica.

The Following Day…

Regina helped her daughter get cleaned up and changed. "You know it's not too late to come home with me and your father. We will gladly bring you back here whenever we need."

"I appreciate that but I'll feel better being in New York. I can't put my life on hold. I have to move forward with my life," Erica said.

Regina smiled and pulled Erica into a hug. "That's my girl. Life doesn't hold us down. You are a fighter, baby girl.

"Thanks mom." Erica let go and sat on the bed. "Can you do me a favor?"

"Of course dear. Anything," Regina replied.

"Promise me that you won't go near Scott again," said Erica.

Regina closed her eyes for a moment. "I promise and your father won't go near him either."

"Good. I don't want anyone getting hurt because of me," said Erica.

Regina tucked some hair behind Erica's ear. "Love, no harm is going to come to you. Not if your parents have anything to say about it."

"Not after what I had to do," Erica thought.

Daniel interrupted them. "May I come in?"

"Yeah dad. We're waiting for the discharge papers."

"Ok. Are you sure about staying with Henry?" asked Daniel.

"Mom already asked and yes, I'm sure. I'll be fine. If it's any consolation, you can call and bug me all the time."

Daniel smirked. "Nice to have your approval Ms. Richards."

All three of them laughed. The nurse came in with the discharge papers. After signing the necessary paperwork, the family headed over to Henry's apartment.

Daniel knocked on the door and Henry answered. "Hey. Come in." Henry took the bag of out Daniel's hand and set it on the living room table.

Daniel and Regina saw Rachel coming from the back. "Hi. I was just finishing up in Erica's room. Everything is ready to go."

Erica hugged Rachel. "Thanks Rach. Are you staying for a bit?"

"For a bit. I have to get on a plane to Washington in a few hours," Rachel said. "In the meantime, have a seat. I'll get you something to drink." She went to kitchen.

Erica arched an eyebrow at Henry. "Why haven't you proposed yet?"

Henry rolled his eyes. "We're here to focus on you."

"Right. Just make that girl your wife," Erica joked.

Rachel came back with the drinks and handed them all one. "Erica, how are you holding up?"

"I'm good. I'm kind of hungry though. Hospital food isn't the best you know," said Erica.

Rachel nodded. "Well, I can get you something or make something."

Erica waved her hand. "No, you have a plane to catch. Besides, Henry knows how to cook."

Rachel turned to Henry. "Really? You never cooked for me."

Henry started rubbing the back of neck. "I…I always just your cooking so much more."

Rachel rolled her eyes and then looked at Erica. "Thanks for telling me."

Rachel looked at her watch. "I'll leave you all now. Call me if you need anything." She hugged each one of them before Henry walked Rachel to the door. They stepped into the hallway.

"Hey, thanks for coming. It means a lot to all of us. Thank you for keeping me together," said Henry.

"No problem. Erica is like my little sister. Believe me, you're not the only one who wanted to go out and do something to that bastard. Call me anytime. I love you."

"Love you too," said Henry. He kissed her and then said his goodbye. "Let me know when you get to D.C."

"I will. See you later dear," Rachel said winking.

Henry groaned. "Only my mother uses that term."

"I like it. I might use it from time to time," she teased.

Henry chuckled. "No wonder my mother likes you so much." Rachel kissed him once more before leaving. Henry went back inside to find Regina and Daniel sitting on the couch.

"Where's Erica?"

"Erica went to put some of her things away. Thank you for letting her stay here. Dear, do call us if something happens," Regina said.

"Ok but she'll be fine," Henry said. He saw the concern and anguish in his mom's eyes. "Mom, she's safe. No one is going to harm her here. I'll make sure of it."

Regina nodded her head. "Well, I guess there's nothing left for us but to go back home." Regina and Daniel went to see Erica one more time before heading out. They hugged each other and wiped away a few tears.

"Be careful sweetheart. Remember, we're only a phone call away," said Daniel. Erica nodded. Regina and Daniel headed out to the living room.

"Henry, thanks for doing this," said Daniel.

Henry nodded. "Everything will be fine."

"Ok, love. Ready to go?" Daniel asked his wife. Regina nodded and magicked them back to the hotel.

Daniel got the bags and put them by the door. He turned around to see Regina pacing. "Gina, she's going to be fine."

Regina shook her head. "That's what we thought last time. Look how right we were. I just don't want Erica to go through any more pain. It's going to bad enough to sit through a trial. She'll have to testify."

"She's our daughter. She won't give up her life and wallow in pain. Once Scott is in jail, this nightmare will be behind us," Daniel said trying to reassure his wife. Honestly, he wasn't comfortable with his only daughter being left in New York.

Regina sighed. "I guess we have no choice. Should we call the detectives for an update?"

Daniel shook his head no. "No, he said he'll call us if anything pops up. However, if he doesn't call within a week or so, I'll call. I promise."

Regina nodded and held out her hand. "Ready to go home?"

"Don't we have to check out first?" asked Daniel.

"Oh that. I checked out already and I said I was waiting for my husband to pack the last minute items. No one was going to bother us. Let's go home."

Regina and Daniel were in Storybrooke in a manner of seconds. They went inside their home and headed upstairs. After unpacking, they heard the doorbell ring.

"I'll get it," said Regina. She headed downstairs and opened the door. It was Snow.

"Good, you all are finally back. How's Erica? Is she here?" asked Snow.

Regina shook her head. "She decided to stay in New York. She's staying with Henry. Please come in."

Regina guided Snow into the living room. "It was awful. The only time I felt so helpless was when Henry was in the hospital. I never expected this to happen." Snow placed a comforting hand on Regina's.

"I assume you heard of my little tour with Scott," said Regina.

Snow nodded. "Gold said he felt someone do magic. Besides, Jacob called me and told me. We all figured we let you slide on this one," Snow joked.

Regina smirked. "I scared him but I don't know how'll this end up when we go to trial. How is Erica supposed to tell what led up to the attack?"

Snow tilted her head to the side. "How exactly did this happen? I thought they were fine."

Regina's voice hardened. "They were until Erica told him about us and he didn't handle the news well. He called off the engagement. A week went by and Erica saw him at a party. Words were exchange and then early the next morning he went to her apartment. Things spiraled out of control. She called Henry and he called us."

Snow wiped the tears from her eyes. "That's horrible. You should have let me and David take a crack at him."

Regina chuckled. "If I thought that would have helped, I would have gladly done so. I was too caught up in rage to think straight when I brought him out here. I snapped and I just hope I didn't cause any further damage. I mean, he saw me at the station and started shouting about I ripped out his heart and used magic."

Snow gasped. "Well, you did."

"Yes I did. I just said I was caught up in rage. I wanted to make him pay," said Regina.

"I understand that but I wish you hadn't gone all Evil Queen," said Snow.

"Well, what would you have done if it were Emma?" asked Regina.

"The same thing if I could. Or I could pump a bunch of arrows into the guy's chest," Snow answered.

"See. Mothers don't know boundaries when their children are hurt," said Regina.

Snow nodded. "Is there anything I can do? Not just Erica but for you and Daniel. Technically, she is my stepsister."

Regina smiled. "No, dear."

Snow got up form the couch. "Well, I'm here for anything. Call me day or night," said Snow.

"I will. Let everyone else know that Erica is recovering," said Regina. She walked Snow to the door and she left. Regina headed back upstairs to see Daniel sleeping.

She kissed her husband lightly on the forehead. She pulled back the covers and got as close as possible to Daniel. Daniel felt her presence and pulled her in. Her head rested on his chest. They drifted off to sleep to try and forget the pain and heaviness in their hearts if only for a little while.

Meanwhile, Scott was in his apartment. He was surprised that Erica dropped the charges. He wondered what Tamara had said to make Erica do that. She was bent on throwing him in jail. Whatever she said, he was grateful.

His doorbell rang. He answered it and saw Tamara standing there. "Come in Ms. Benson."

She walked in. "Call me Tamara. It looks like you're settling back in. Now that the charges are dropped I need you to stay out of trouble. Given your history, I need you to stay very far away from any places that will land you back in jail. I got you out of this as a favor. If you do it again, I'll have to charge you."

Scott said, "No arguments from me. What did you say to Erica to change her mind?"

"I gave Ms. Richards an incentive to drop them. She saw my reasoning and obliged. Now I have a surprise," said Tamara.

"A bill?" asked Scott.

"No." She walked to the door and motioned for someone to come in. Owen walked through the front door. Scott stood there in shock. "Dad?"

Owen smiled. "Hello son."

Scott hurriedly hugged his father. He took a step back. "I never would have guessed."

"I've looked everywhere for you," Owen said.

"I'll go and Scott, please listen to what I said," Tamara stated.

"I will," Scott replied. Tamara left.

Owen looked at Scott's face, which was clearing up. "What happened to your face?"

"Erica's father did this to me," Scott said. "He completely flipped out on me."

Owen nodded. "How did you get caught up in the Mills family?"

Scott shrugged his shoulders and sat on the couch. "I didn't know anything about magic or that she could do it. I met her in a law class. Dad, I proposed to her. She told me about her abilities and I freaked out. Fast forward a week later and I did something incredibly stupid."

Owen pinched the bridge of his nose. "Yes, you did but the charges are dropped. Now the real work begins."

Scott looked at Owen confused. "Real work?"

"Regina and her family took a lot from me and I won't stand for it anymore. She and the wretched family is going to know not to mess with my son," said Owen.

"I can't get close to Erica and I definitely don't want to go near her parents," said Scott.

"You won't have to. I will. I'll make sure they'll know that their magic won't protect them forever. I almost succeeded in getting rid of magic a long time ago. All I need to do is destroy Regina. Erica is the best way to accomplish my goal."

"But isn't that a suicide mission? Isn't the goal to stay out of much trouble possible? I don't want to lose you. I just got you back," said Scott.

Owen put his hand on Scott's shoulder. "You won't lose another parent."

"What about Tamara?" asked Scott. "Are you going to include her?"

"No, this has nothing to do with her. I'll take care of things. We'll let a little time pass before I make my move," said Owen.

"Are you sure about this?" asked Scott.

"I'm sure," said Owen.

Later that night…

Henry was sleeping when he heard Erica's screams. He rushed to the guest room and saw her thrashing around. He called her name before approaching the bed. He tried to shake her but she continued to fight. She almost scratched him but he caught her wrist. After a few minutes, she woke up wide eyed.

Her eyes finally registered that it was Henry in front of her. She leaned into his chest and sobbed. Henry quieted her down and she relaxed. He held her until she fell asleep.

"This is going to be harder than I thought," Henry thought. All this chaos because someone told the truth. Henry sighed. One way or another, he was determined to help stop his sister's pain.