Sorry the update was late! This one is very revealing - enjoy!
This town is really weird. Of all the places we had to end up, did it really have to be here?
Abbie and I are in the room we are sharing at Granny's Inn. She's relaxed on her bed reading a book, and I'm sitting on mine trying to find something to watch on TV. "Look at this – this TV is ancient. It's not even a widescreen TV," I say in disapproval as I look at the sad, boxy little Panasonic TV.
Abbie glances up and takes a look, but doesn't seem too concerned. "It's a small town; what do you expect? They probably don't make a lot of money here."
"Even so, it's kind of strange." I can't find anything worth watching so I switch the TV off and turn around to face Abbie. "Don't you think it's odd how everyone stared at us when we first came into town? And how the mayor went out of her way to introduce herself to us at the diner?"
"No," Abbie answers quickly, not even looking up from her book. "It's not weird at all. Everyone in this town knows everybody else. That's a normal reaction to outsiders. I come from a small town – trust me, I know. And Granny's looks to be the only diner in town. The mayor probably eats there every day. So I don't think it's strange that she was there and would want to welcome us to her town."
Well, I think it's strange. I've had a weird, unexplainable feeling ever since we entered this town. And I can't shake the look on the mayor's face when she shook my hand. What was the deal with that, anyway? And the look she gave me before she exited the diner…it's like I personally did something to her, even though I've never met the woman before today.
"Did the mayor remind you of anyone?" I ask, wondering if Abbie got the same impression of her that I did.
She finally looks up from her book and smiles. "Alex?"
"Yes!" We seem to be on the same wavelength here. "It was kind of eerie. The suit, the attitude. Kind of a hard-ass."
Abbie bursts out laughing and puts her book down so she can turn her attention on me. "You think Alex is a hard-ass?"
"Well, yeah. Don't you?"
Abbie looks thoughtful. "I guess so. But I like her."
"So do I. I didn't say I didn't like her. But it was kind of eerie to meet Storybrooke Alex. Storybrooke – what kind of name is that for a town, anyway?"
Abbie laughs. "I thought the same thing. And you're right – those two are kind of cut from the same fabric. You saw it, I saw it, I'm sure Olivia did too, but I think Alex was completely oblivious."
I'm kind of glad that Alex and Olivia got their own room together and I get to share one with Abbie. I'm looking forward to being alone with her. I'll never admit this to anyone, but I've had a crush on her for a long time. I didn't know it was obvious until Alex had said something about it, then I just kept denying it. I still won't admit that I like her. Sometimes I think the feeling is mutual, and other times I feel like I annoy Abbie. She's very hard to get a read on.
Right now is one of those time that I think the feeling is mutual. We're sitting on our beds facing each other, laughing at the Storybrooke Alex situation. After the laughter subsides, we sit there silently and look at each other. I don't know what to say, and I don't think Abbie does either. She's the first to look away, and grabs her book and settles back against her pillow to resume reading.
I'm kind of disappointed, but I play it off well. I shrug it off and get up off the bed, grabbing my jacket. It's still relatively early and I don't want to sit around a motel room watching an old boxy TV all evening.
I look at Abbie hopefully as I put my jacket on. "I think I'm going to go check out this strange town. You want to come?"
She shakes her head. "No thanks. Don't get lost."
I try to hide my disappointment again. "Yeah, like I could get lost in this small little town." I promise her I won't get lost and head out the door.
Olivia and Alex's room is right next to ours, so I knock on their door. Maybe one of them is feeling adventurous.
Olivia comes to the door and smiles when she sees me. "Hey. What's up?"
"I was just going to go for a walk around town and I was wondering if you two wanted to come?"
Olivia shakes her head. "I don't think I want to. After dealing with the car and walking back here, I'm kind of tired. Hold on, I'll ask Alex." She disappears momentarily and closes the door behind her. When she reappears, she opens the door slightly, like she doesn't want me to see inside and shakes her head again. "She said no. She's tired too. But be careful, all right?"
I have a smile on my face as I step away from their door. I wonder if I interrupted something? Olivia seemed determined for me not to see inside the room. They're too tired to go for a walk, but perhaps not too tired for other activities. That thought makes me giggle. I've always thought the two of them would be perfect together.
As I walk into town I realize there aren't many people on the sidewalks so at least I don't get stared at. I guess one person walking alone doesn't look quite as conspicuous as a group of four people. A few people turn their heads to look at me, but no one goes out of their way to stop and just stare, which I'm thankful for.
After about ten minutes of walking, I come across an antique/pawn shop. I've always liked these kind of places, and small towns seem to have the most interesting antiques. The sign in the window claims it to be open, so I go inside.
The shop is bigger than it appears to be from the outside, and somewhat dimly lit. I see no other patrons in the shop but there is a man behind the counter, and he smiles as I approach.
"Welcome to Mr. Gold's," he tells me, leaning on his cane. I catch the hint of some type of accent, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is.
"I assume you're Mr. Gold?"
He smiles again. "Yes, dearie, I am. And my assumption is that you aren't from around these parts."
I'm checking out a display of odd antique glasses next to the counter. I've never seen anything like them before. They look like something straight of out an old movie. I turn away momentarily to look at Mr. Gold. "I must have it tattooed on me somewhere. My friends and I had our car break down and we're stranded here for a couple days. We're from New York. Have you ever been?"
"Yes, dearie, I have. My son used to live in New York. Very busy place."
Dearie? Really? Isn't that something an eighty-year old grandmother would call someone?
I shrug him off and go about looking at the glasses. I'm fascinated by them, but they aren't something I'd actually spend money on. They're just very unique to look at.
Mr. Gold doesn't try to make further conversation and allows me to move around his shop, but I can feel his eyes on me. He's watching my every move. Does he think I'm a thief because I'm from New York? Or does he treat all outsiders with this kind of suspicion?
I stop in front of a shelf containing a very old carved knife. Normally I wouldn't interested in such an item, but something about this particular knife catches my attention and I can't help but reach out and pick it up.
Mr. Gold is instantly next to me. I'm amazed at how quickly a man with a cane can move. I'm momentarily startled – was I not supposed to touch anything? I didn't see any signs saying we could only look but not touch.
"I'm sorry," I tell him quickly, and I move to put the knife back, but he stops me. He reaches out and covers his hand with mine, causing me to effectively freeze, holding the knife in my hand. He looks at me strangely and lets his hand linger on mine a moment too long before quickly letting me go.
I take a step back, still holding the knife. I feel a bit strange and freaked out, but it wasn't so much Mr. Gold's actions that affected me – it was the feeling I got when I closed my hand around the knife and he touched me. It's something I can't explain.
"I didn't mean to startle you, dearie," he says with a smile. "That particular item is very rare and delicate. I just wanted to make sure you were careful."
I look down at the knife in my hand. It's really heavy and the carvings on the handle are very intricate. I couldn't tell you what they mean, but they're mesmerizing. The lines and shapes almost appear to tell a story.
I know I've never seen this knife before – or anything like it, really – but for some reason, it looks oddly familiar. Like I've seen it before. Like I've held it before. I raise my eyes to Mr. Gold. "Where did you get this?"
"I acquired it long ago from a faraway place. I've had it in my shop for a very long time. Not a lot of people are interested in old knives." He's watching me intently, as if he's waiting for something. "I think it really has to be the right person."
The way he says that last line causes me to look at him again. He's staring at me with such a serious expression that I can't look away. It's as if he knows something about this knife that he doesn't want to tell me.
Suddenly, out of the blue, he says, "How are you liking the town? What made you decide to come here on your road trip?"
I look back down at the knife, the strange feeling still with me. "We didn't mean to stop here. Like I said, our car broke down."
"Sometimes ending up in a place we've never been is the best way to find out who we really are."
I raise my eyes to him again and realize he's wearing the same serious expression he had on just moments go. There's something about this man that is mysterious and yet fascinating. I just stand there holding the knife and find myself lost in what he is saying.
"You have a busy life in a busy place, but you've never quite felt like you've belonged, have you? Like you aren't doing what you were fated to do? You watch everyone around you fall in love and find what they were meant to be, but it doesn't happen for you, does it? Everyone on the outside looking in thinks you have a happy, full life." He starts to pace in front of me, and I just stare at him.
Everything his is saying is true. It's as if he's reading my soul. But how is that possible? I have never before met him or been here. How can he know so much about how I feel?
"I know this, dearie, because I know how to recognize a desperate soul. Someone who would do anything to find the place where they belong. Well, sometimes it finds you."
I can't even find any words to say. This is all too strange and I'm suddenly very uncomfortable. My hands start to shake and I find myself running my thumb over a deep carved groove in the knife. It's as if Mr. Gold is willing me to do it, but I know that's impossible.
And suddenly, a scene flashes into my mind. It's very vivid and real.
I'm running through a forest. There are people behind me, chasing me and yelling. I feel scared, but I know I have to keep running. I was told to keep running. My hand closes around a heavy object in my hand, and it seems to give me strength. I keep running until I see a tree in the distance. More yelling behind me, and then I'm running for the tree. I know I have to get to it before they do.
I suddenly drop the knife and the scene is ripped from my mind. I feel my heart rate increasing, and I step back and grip the side of a nearby shelf to keep from falling over. What the hell just happened? How did it happen? What was I seeing in my mind?
Mr. Gold bends down and picks up the knife. I take another step away from him, inching my way towards the door. I need to get out of here. I can't breathe, and my mind is going a million miles per hour.
"I – I'm sorry," I manage to stutter, moving towards the door. "I have to go."
Mr. Gold makes no attempt to stop me. He simply puts the knife back on the shelf and says, "Come back any time."
I barely hear him. I'm out the door so fast I probably set a speed record in Storybrooke.
From across the street, I watch the redhead run away from Gold's shop. Judging by how fast she is running, she saw something she didn't want to see.
I waste no time getting myself into the shop. I practically slam the door behind me. Gold looks up from the lamp he is polishing and acknowledges me. "Madam mayor; nice of you to visit me. What can I do for you?" he pauses as I approach the counter. "Need to turn some innocent person into a hideous monster? Or will it be another dark curse?"
I ignore his smugness and cross my arms in front of my chest. I am in no mood for his games today. "The four outsiders that are in town – I saw one of them just leave your shop. How did they get here?"
He puts his polishing cloth down and looks at me. "I do believe their car broke down just over the town line."
I stare hard at him. "So they say. But what are the odds that their car would break down here?"
He leans on the counter and shakes his head. "Well, dearie, you know machines – very unreliable. It's nice to see some new faces. Town was getting a little…" He pauses for dramatic effect. "Stagnant, wouldn't you say?"
My stare has turned into a full-on glare. He knows more than he is telling, and his coyness won't be tolerated. "I want some answers, Gold. Who is the redhead?"
He cocks his head and gives me a confused look. "I'm not sure what you're asking. I've only met her once."
"Cut the crap, Gold. I shook her hand in the diner. I've only felt what I felt at that moment one other time…and you know how that ended up."
He smiles slyly. "I do indeed."
"Who is she, Gold?"
Gold grins and picks his lamp and polishing cloth back up. "I'm afraid I can't help you, dearie. Not even she knows who she is."
"But you do," I prod him, reaching out and taking the cloth out of his hand so I have his full attention. "Is she from our land?"
His knowing and cocky expression never wavers. "I believe she's from New York." He gestures to the lamp he had been polishing. "No do you have any more questions, or can I get back to my work?"
I continue to glare at him. "You need to tell me what I'm dealing with, Gold. This is my town."
"I don't believe it's been 'your' town in quite some time, Regina. Since the curse was broken and folks around here know who they really are and what you've, no one in this town considers anything here to be 'yours'. You have power in title only. Now I suggest you let our four guests stay in peace and be on their way, before you have to find out who the redhead is. Before she does." He leans towards me and looks me in the eyes. "You may not enjoy finding that out, Regina. In fact, I can guarantee you won't."
"Don't you threaten me, Gold," I growl at him.
He shakes his head. "It's not a threat. Just some friendly advice."
I step up to the counter and let him know I mean business. "I have no intention of letting anyone go anywhere, Gold. Not until I know what is going on. The blonde could be persuaded to my ways. She craves power. But the others need to be dealt with. So they don't interfere."
Gold smiles coyly again. "Tread very lightly, Regina. This is a showdown I don't believe you are prepared for."
I scoff at him and turn to leave his shop. Before I'm out the door, he adds, "You'd better hope the redhead doesn't meet Mary-Margaret."
I give him one final glare before exiting his shop and slamming the door behind me.
I find the girl easily – no magic needed. She's sitting on a bench in the park, her head in her hands, obviously upset by whatever she found out at Gold's shop.
I smile to myself. This is the perfect opportunity to act. A better one will never present itself.
I slowly approach her and stand by the bench, switching on my compassion. "Is everything okay?" I ask, my voice kind and caring.
She looks up quickly, startled. I can see recognition in her eyes. She remembers me from the diner. "Yes. I – I just went for a walk and started to feel kind of sick. I'm all right."
I narrow my eyes at her. "Casey, is it?"
She nods. "Mayor Mills, right?"
I smile at her. "Call me Regina. We didn't get a chance to talk. What do you say we go to my office? You look like you could use some coffee. I have the best coffee in my office – even better than Granny's."
She looks a little hesitant and suspicious, but to my relief she nods and stands up. I inform her my office is only a few blocks away, and we begin to walk.
"Did something happen to upset you?" I ask her when we're halfway to my office. She's been staring at the ground the entire time.
She turns to look at me and smiles and shakes her head. I know something did, but she doesn't trust me enough to tell me what.
When we reach my office, I lock the door behind us. I can't have any interruptions right now. I tell Casey to make herself comfortable and I put on a pot of coffee to keep up appearances.
When the coffee is done, I pour us each a cup. Casey is seated on the couch, so I hand her her cup first and I take a seat in the chair across from her.
She gives me a smile before she takes a drink. I can tell she's still suspicious of me. That's very wise. She should be.
I break the ice first. "So you said you're a prosecutor? You and your friends?"
"Abbie and Alex are as well. Olivia is a detective."
I try to remember which one Olivia is. If she's a detective, I have to play this very carefully. She's the one I have to worry about the most.
"The brunette. I don't think you met her – she was at the car shop when you met us at the diner."
So I haven't met Olivia. I need to rectify that as soon as possible. Perhaps I'll bake her a nice apple pie. As a detective, she probably doesn't get a lot of sleep. I think I can help with that. And everyone likes apple pie, right? Especially freshly baked.
"Have you lived in New York your entire life?" I ask her as she takes another sip of her coffee.
"For a long time, yes."
"Tell me about your family. What did your parents do?"
She shifts uncomfortably and starts to play with the hem of her jeans. "Um, my dad was in the military and my mom stayed home to take care of me. Nothing to tell, really."
"Do you look like your parents?"
She narrows her eyes suspiciously at this question. "Why do you want to know about my family?"
"I'm sorry," I tell her quickly, leaning forward and locking my hands together in a casual posture. "I don't mean to pry. I lost my mother quite recently. I guess family is just on my mind."
Her expression softens. "Oh. I'm so sorry. That has to be rough," she says sympathetically.
"Thank you. It's quite fine."
I think she feels obligated to tell me now. She clears her throat and says, "I don't really look like either of my parents. I was adopted."
She was adopted. I know that's significant and it's hard for me to mask the shock on my face. Somehow, I manage to smile. "That's very nice. Were you a baby when you were adopted?"
"I was eight," she answer quickly. I can tell she's growing suspicious again.
I hesitate to ask my next question, but I know I have to. If this means what I think it does, I have to be sure. "May I ask how old you are?"
She stares hard at me, as if deciding whether or not she should answer. "I'm thirty-six," she finally says.
I do the math in my head – she was eight years old twenty-eight years ago. When I enacted the curse. The realization hits me hard, and I'm at a loss for words as my mind begins to work out who she could and how she fits in to Storybrooke.
I don't have long to think about it. Before I can say anything, Casey stands up. "I appreciate your hospitality, but it's been a hell of a day and I want to go back to my motel room and lie down."
I know I can't let her go. If what Gold said is true, she could be a real threat to me and everything I have worked for. People have gone missing in this town before. I can make it happen again.
I stand as well. Casey thinks I'm going to walk her to the door and turns away from me. I say her name softly, and as soon as she turns around, I do.
I reach into her chest and rip her heart out. She's so shocked that she stumbles backwards, falling to her knees. She clutches her chest and gasps, looking at me with a look of pure horror. I really enjoy seeing that look on people and I smile widely.
I look down at her beating heart in my hand. It's so pure and healthy – not blackened like my own. "You have a pure heart," I tell her with amusement. "That's very rare."
When she catches her breath, she says, "What the hell did you do?!"
I smile at her. "Don't worry, dear. It will only hurt for a moment."
So what do you think? Is Regina really going to kill Casey? And what do you think that was about at the antique shop? Please leave me a review and let me know what you think! More OUAT characters will be involved in the next couple of chapters.