IV


6 years ago

"Leo?"

"Hm?" He didn't look up from the newspaper he was reading, but she decided to take his reaction as a sign that he was listening.

"My boss offered me a promotion."

No reaction. She frowned, maybe he wasn't listening to her after all, she decided to continue anyways. "I can work at another department in the bank, I would have to work full time, but that's okay.I get paid a lot more as well."

Now he looked up from his newspaper. "I'm sorry dearest, I think I didn't hear you right? What was it you said?" He continued before she could answer. "Because I thought you said that you are an ungrateful bitch who isn't satisfied with what her husband gives her. Who not only needs to work in order to keep herself busy, but apparently also thinks she needs a raise because apparently she doesn't get enough from her husband."

"No..Leo..that is not what I meant. You give me everything I want..it's just…they offered it to me and..well I thought, extra money is never a bad thing right?"

"They don't just offer people a promotion. You must have asked for it."

"No they didn't." She whispered and she regretted her words immediately when he got up from his chair and walk over to her.

"Well then you must have slept with the boss or something. Is that it? Did you cheat on me too?" And he grabbed her wrists when she tried to back away. She shook her head heavily.

"No, no of course not Leo. I would never do that. I have you. You are my husband. I belong to you."

"Exactly."He growled. "You belong to me. I am the man in this household, I bring in the money. You are supposed to stay here, take care of the children we don't have because you seem to be unable to give me one. We have been married for four years now and we still don't have any children. Do you know how that makes me look? Like a loser, that's how, how will the people ever vote for me if I don't have a real family, they won't be able to identify with me. I suggest you focus on that task first, that is your sole purpose at this very moment, that should be your priority before you dream about getting a promotion. You will decline that promotion first thing tomorrow, do you understand me?" She felt how his grip on her wrists tightened to emphasize his words.

She nodded. "Yes Leo."

"Good. Then be a good girl now and come with me. We should work on that first priority of yours."

"Yes Leo." She said while she followed him to their bedroom, tears stinging behind her eyes.


Regina woke up with a start, she sighed when she realized where she was: At Granny's, safe. She looked over to Henry who was still sleeping and a smile appeared on her face. She would let him sleep a little longer and shower first, he had had a busy day the day before.

They had been in Storybrooke for three weeks now, and Regina was glad she had decided to come here. Emma and Neal did everything to take her mind off of the dark months that now lay in the past and Henry too seemed to enjoy his time here. He had made some friends at the playground, and yesterday he even was invited to the birthdayparty of one of the kids. He hadn't talked or asked about his father these past weeks either. Maybe he finally understood now, she sure hoped so.

The warm water of the shower was nice to her back, which had been hurting for a few days now due to her growing belly. She lovingly put a hand to her belly, feeling the child moving. This child sure was a miracle. It was a miracle, it was unexpected, it was frightening, it was beautiful, it was….a mistake? No. It was not a mistake.

When she left the bathroom again, dressed in a simple red dress that fell loosely over her belly she saw that Henry was awake, patiently waiting for her on his bed, with his clothes already on.

"Look mommy, I got myself dressed." He said happily.

"Well, aren't you a big boy." Regina said with a smile. "However, didn't you forget something?"

When a pair of brown eyes looked at her questioningly she pointed at the bathroom. "But I took a shower yesterday evening already. Before I went to sleep." The boy pouted.

Regina nodded. "I know dear, but it couldn't hurt to at least wash your face? Do I need to help you?"

Henry shook his head and quickly made his way to the bathroom. "No I can do it myself."

"That's my boy."

"Mommy?" He asked when he came back. "How come daddy still isn't back?"

Regina's good mood was gone in an instant, she sighed. "Henry come sit with me." But the boy shook his head.

"No." He said stubbornly.

Regina raised an eyebrow and she saw him turn red a little because he knew very well not to talk like that to his mother. "Why don't you want to come here then, Henry?" Regina asked calmly.

"Because you are going to tell me about daddy and the stars again. But I don't want to hear about that. I just want to know when daddy comes back again."

"But Henry. Your father is…"

"dead. That is what my friend Peter says, and you say it too. But that's not true!" He stamped his foot to the ground as his face turned even redder.

Regina now got up from the bed and kneeled down in front of Henry – her big belly making that rather difficult. "Why do you think that is not true Henry? Do you know what dead means?"

Henry nodded. "Dead is when you are not alive. It is when you are not here anymore. When your heart doesn't work anymore, when you do not breathe anymore, and then you are gone."

Regina nodded. "That is what happened to daddy too."

Henry shook his head and Regina frowned, tears stinging behind her eyes at the sight of her confused and above all angry little boy. "No that is not true! I have never heard about a daddy who is dead. All daddy's always live. Only old people die. Old people and hamsters. I don't know one story about a daddy who dies, or a mommy who dies."

And finally Regina understood. "But sometimes Henry…sometimes people don't die because they are old, but they die because something happened to them that causes their heart to stop working. Like with your daddy, with the car accident. His heart stopped working, and the doctors couldn't fix his heart, and that is how he died." Regina explained again and she was trying her hardest not to cry at the sight of her son with tears in his eyes and a trembling lower lip. She had to stay strong.

"But that is not fair." He sobbed, she tried to pull him in a hug but he still didn't allow her to touch him. "I know honey, I know that isn't fair." She said instead. "And it isn't supposed to happen, but sometimes it does. And you have to try to accept it. And you can be sad about that, but the thing is. He isn't really gone, because you still have him here, in your heart." And she placed a hand softly on his body where his heart was beating.

But Henry set a step back and shook his head. "No it's not fair, it's not fair!" He yelled. "Everyone has a daddy! Everyone at Peter's party has a daddy and I don't! It is not true, my daddy is not dead. He has to come back, he has to! You are a liar!" He yelled.

"Henry." Regina now said in a firmer tone, she had to intervene before this would end in a tantrum. "Calm down. I don't want you to speak to me in that way."

"Liar! My daddy is not dead, you are a liar!" He yelled while tears were rolling down his face.

"Henry, stop it!" Regina said her voice harder now.

But the boy shook his head. "Liar!" He yelled again, and when Regina wanted to grab his arm to calm him down he backed away again, ran to the door and ran out of the apartment.

"Henry! Come back!" But she heard his little feet running down the stairs.

"Damn it." She cursed while she was miserably failing in getting up quickly because of her belly being 'obstacle number one'. She didn't wear any shoes but she didn't care as she made her way to the door. Quickly she headed for the stairs, feeling panic taking over as she realised that he could easily walk through the - at this early hour still rather empty- diner without getting noticed, and then run to god knows where in Storybrooke.

"Henry!" She yelled again, hoping he was still in the diner, and she quickened her pace down the stairs. In her panic missing one of the steps, slipping and therefore sliding rather than walking down the last four steps of the stairs while she desperately held on to the handrail in order to protect her belly and baby. When she tried to get up at the bottom of the stairs she fell down with a cry of pain again the moment she tried to put weight on her left foot. "Shit." She cursed as she tried to get up, but without any luck, a sprained ankle and being 19 weeks pregnant didn't go well together with getting up from a floor. Tears of frustration streamed down her face.

When she tried to get up a second time she suddenly felt two strong hands helping her get up, and when she looked up she saw a pair of kind dark eyes stare at her. "Thank you Mister Mills." She breathed, quickly wiping away the tears of her face. "My son, he ran off, and I couldn't go after him quickly enough because of all this." She gestured at her belly. "And then I fell down the stairs and now I think I sprained my ankle and my son has run away and I have to find him because he is upset and.." She stopped rambling when the man held up his hand.

"It is okay Regina – is it okay for me to call you Regina?" He continued when she nodded. "My wife and I tend to come here rather early every morning. Granny and Miss Lucas were still in the back when suddenly a very upset little boy entered the diner. We heard you call after him from upstairs, so my wife took care of him. When he heard the sound of someone falling we figured you might need some help. So don't worry, your son is right here in the diner. Now we have to worry about you first. Did you fall from high? Did you hurt anything else than your ankle? Do we need to get you to the hospital to check on your baby?"

Regina shook her head to all these questions. "No thank you Mister Mills, everything is alright, it's just my ankle."

"Please call me Henry."

"Henry?" Regina asked surprised.

The man smiled at her again, and Regina didn't know why, but she felt extremely at ease. There was some sort of peace and quiet radiating from the man that calmed her down. "Now, do you think you can walk to the diner with my help?"

Regina nodded, and she couldn't help but let out a sigh of relieve when she indeed saw Henry sitting next to the Mayor in a booth, drinking a strawberry milkshake. He stopped drinking when his mother sat down in front of them with the help of Mr. Mills.

"Mommy what happened?" He asked with fear in his eyes.

"I fell down the stairs, Henry. Nothing serious."

Tears welled up in his eyes again. "Are you going to die now too?" He asked in a small voice while he moved past Cora and quickly went to sit next to his mother wrapping his small arms around her as well as he could.

"No Henry, of course not." Regina said in a soothing voice.

"But you had an accident, and when you have an accident you die." He sobbed.

"No honey, only when you have an accident that is really really bad. Then it is possible that sometimes you die."

Henry was quite for a while. "Like when you fall in the water but you can't swim."

Regina nodded. "Yes that is a possibility. It's why I don't want you to come near the water until you know how to swim."

"But Henry?" Regina started, and by the way she felt his body tense a little, she knew he knew what she was about to say.

"I don't want you talking to me like that again. Do you understand?" She continued softly touching his chin with her hand, forcing him to look at her. "And you cannot ever run away from me like that! I was very worried about you. Do you understand that?"

The boy nodded, and she saw in his eyes that he really regretted his actions. "I am sorry mommy." He said in a small voice. Regina responded by pressing a kiss to his cheek and pulling him a little on her lap. "Now, and then we need to do one more thing here." She said but before she had to explain Henry already knew as he looked up to Cora, who had been quietly sitting on the other side of the booth with her husband, observing the interaction between mother and son.

"Thank you very much for the milkshake Mrs. Mills." Henry said politely. "And I am very sorry that I said you were stupid."

"Henry!" Regina scolded.

But Cora smiled. "You are welcome Henry, and it's okay. Apology accepted, I understand you didn't mean to say that and that you were really upset."

"That still doesn't justify him calling you that. I am very sorry." Regina said with a frown.

"It is okay." Cora repeated. "Now, young man. Do you see that coin over there?" Cora asked Henry and she pointed at a coin that was lying on the ground next to the bar. Henry nodded. "I let it fall earlier, and now it seems like it is glued to the ground, because I seem to be unable to pick it up. Could you try for me? If you manage to pick it up, you can keep it." Henry's face cleared up at that and he nodded. "Okay." He said happily and he quickly ran over to the coin.

"It's a little joke, that coin has been there for as long as I can remember." Cora explained to Regina. "But it keeps him busy and it gives us the time to talk a little."

"I am very sorry about what he said, Mrs Mills." Regina started again but Cora interrupted her in a gentle voice.

"I don't want to talk about your son Regina. I want to talk about you."

Regina frowned a little and her mouth formed a confused 'oh'.

"Because you see, you cannot continue like this. You are pregnant and you have a five year old son who is being a five your old by throwing a tantrum occasionally and being dynamic and sometimes a little hyperactive. You just lost your husband and I doubt that that pain is the only thing you tried to escape from when you came here, but the thing is. You have to start looking after yourself. That room at Granny's, that is no place for you and your son to stay. You have to share one room with each other at all times there. And of course it is good that you take such good care of your son, but it's also important that you take care of yourself."

Regina was slightly taken aback by the way the Mayor was talking to her. From other people she had heard that the mayor was a reserved and rather cold and distant woman, but too Regina she seemed none of these things. "But Emma and Neal sometimes take me out to do something nice, and Henry can sometimes stay with Ruby…" Regina started to protest, but Cora shook her head and interrupted her once again.

"No let me finish. Dear Regina, you fell down the stairs only this morning. You need help, now you have also sprained your ankle, how do you plan on looking after that bomb of energy that is your son? So here is what we are going to do. My husband and I, we have busy lives, I am the mayor of this town, my husband has his job, so that means we aren't home very often during the day. We live in a large house down the road, I'm sure you have seen it. I suggest you and your son move in with us in our guestroom. You and your son can both have your own room, so you will have some privacy, and we can keep an eye on the two of you too."

"O but Mrs. Mills –"

"Please call me Cora."

"But Cora." Regina continued. "That is very kind of you, and I appreciate the gesture very much, but I couldn't possibly accept such an offer."

"Why not?" Henry now asked.

"Because…because we would be a burden to the two of you. As you said yourself, my son isn't exactly the most quiet five year old. And I am pregnant which brings its own range of complications. That would be too much of you to ask."

"Of course you won't be a burden to us." Cora answered. "Don't be ridiculous. We don't just ask anyone to stay at our house. We have thought all of this through very well. And tell me dear, how were you planning on climbing up that stairs in a couple of weeks from now? You'll only get bigger and that stairs isn't exactly the most safe and easy thing to climb, let alone chase after your son with an eight or nine months pregnant belly

Regina sighed staring at her fidgeting hands, Cora had a point. She herself had thought about the steep staircase being a problem too. She had trouble getting up and down the stairs now already, and she had to admit, a little help wouldn't be too bad.

"Alright then." She said eventually. "But only until the baby comes." When she looked up she stared into the smiling happy faces of Mr. and Mrs. Mills.

"Wonderful." Cora exclaimed. "I will send someone to get all your things from your room and bring them over to our house. Don't worry about that. It will all be taken care of. You two can come with us right now, if you don't have anything planned. I don't have another meeting till this afternoon, so I have the time now to show you around?"

Regina nodded in agreement and just when she wanted to answer she was interrupted by a triumphant cry coming from her son. The three adults looked over to the five year old holding up the coin in his hand. "I got it!" He beamed.

"My god." Mr. Mills said. "That coin has seriously been there for years, no child has ever managed to pick it up. Your son is quite something, Regina."

"That he is indeed." Regina answered with a bright smile.


Soooo whaddya think? I would love to hear your thoughts on the flashback-thing I introduced in this chapter and on everything else that happened !

Please leave a review because they make me happy and thank you all new followers (and old followers too of course) for following this story ;)!

X

Metope