Emma was sick and tired of being sick and tired. She plucked at the corner of the to-go bag from Granny's with a wrinkle of her nose. Not even a greasy hamburger could tempt her at the moment. Pushing back from the desk, she stood, stretched her long legs and went to the window as she cast a guilty look back to the alarming mountain of paperwork on her desk.
The past month had been nothing short of torture. Sharing Henry with every god-forsaken person in town it felt like. She understood her parents' need to see their grandson; hell, she even had very little problem with Regina and Henry's time spent together as it seemed to be doing the kid wonders to reconnect with his reforming mother. Neal and Tamara on the other hand, were an entirely different story. The happy couple, so together, so right. She thought in frustration as her hand slipped up to tuck an errant strand of hair behind her ear.
Not that she resented Neal for loving Henry or finding romance himself; she was completely over that nonsense. However, his fiancé was a different matter. Sweet, charming, and all smiles she had quickly won over the inhabitants of Storybrook; and Henry. But Emma sensed something boiling under that gorgeous façade of hers. The woman smelled like trouble; and Emma knew that smell a mile away. She heard heels clicking in the hallway and sighed, Speaking of trouble.
"Sheriff Swan." Came the cool voice behind her. The blonde turned to face the brunette.
"Madam Mayor." The dark woman's lip curled. It was interesting to her that though the titles were different; the Sheriff pronounced the words as one would Your Majesty.
"I'm here to pick up Henry." She announced and looked around as though he were going to fold out of the beat up filing cabinet in the corner. "Where is he?"
An irked eyebrow raised. "I was under the impression that I was to pick him up for dinner at 5:00 pm," The woman checked her shiny watch, "It is now 5:01." She said unnecessarily.
"I know. He was supposed to drop him by twenty minutes ago. I haven't heard from them."
"You did not think to pick up the phone?"
"I haven't been able to contact him."
"And you are not worried?"
"Not really." Her answer caused the Mayor to exhale sharply. "Someone would have called if something had happened; Neal is hardly ever on time. It would not surprise me if he simply lost track of it." She shrugged her shoulders at the woman who found it infuriatingly similar to her son's own gesture.
"I find it strikingly coincidental that every time I come to pick him up from you, he is late."
"Yeah, well I do too."
"Perhaps you should speak to your ex-boyfriend about it."
"Perhaps you should keep your nose out of my business, Mayor." She replied evenly and met her cold dark eyes with her own green stare. "I can't control Neal any more than I can control you."
"Oh, but you do try to control me don't you, Sheriff?" Regina stepped closer to her, eyes flashing dangerously. "These little sessions with the cricket, scheduling time with Henry, and those dreadful town meetings."
"You don't have to attend."
"And miss another one of Charming's speeches about how love conquers all?" She gave a humorless laugh, "I think not."
"Look, I get that you're frustrated, I hardly see Henry at all-"
"Oh but at least Henry lives with you now, doesn't he?" She took a step neared and Emma held her ground. She knew this was inevitable; the woman had been far too cordial than was possible for Regina Mills. "He eats breakfast with you, he doesn't have to avoid certain people or places when he's with you, does he?" Emma was on the verge of pointing out that technically that wasn't her fault at all. But she didn't get the chance because the cell on her hip rang causing both women to look down.
"It's Neal." Emma looked at the name and answered. "Neal, where the hell have you been?"
"Sorry, Em." She winced at the nickname and the flicker of annoyance was not lost on the Mayor who was watching her closely. She drew nearer to hear the conversation and Emma narrowed her eyes and moved away. "We lost track of time."
"Obviously, get here as soon as you can. The Mayor is here to collect him."
"Oooh, what's she wearing today?" Emma rolled his eyes. He found Regina rather attractive and often joked with Emma about it; when Tamara wasn't around.
"So I take it that Tamara didn't go with you today?"
"Nope, she was pretty sick today; it was just me and Henry." Emma narrowed her eyes.
Sick was she? Must have become overcome with illness after I saw her laughing today with Mendelson in the diner. "Right, well get him here pronto. The Mayor doesn't like to be kept waiting and neither do I."
"Alright, Moms." He said mockingly and hung up.
Emma turned to find Regina right behind her; she took a large step back as the woman hovered menacingly. "Why is your ex-boyfriend concerned with my attire?"
"He just thinks you're hot is all." Emma looked down at her phone, arbitrarily hitting buttons to avoid looking at the sneering face..
"Oh, that's all is it? Wouldn't have picked myself for his type."
Emma looked up and saw a quick flash of humor. Was that a joke? She wondered and decided that a non-committal "Mmm." Was the best answer.
"What did he mean by Moms?"
Emma laughed nervously. Damn, why had she not seen the Evil Queen bit before? "Another joke, about Henry having…more than one mother." Emma decided the phrase two moms would have been a bit much for the humorless woman before her.
"And now he has three." Regina hissed more to herself than anything.
"Um, no." Emma said with solidarity. "He doesn't." She strode around the brunette who looked curiously after her and sat down at her desk.
"Don't like the fiancé, do you, dear?"
"Jealous?" Regina wore a strange expression and Emma glanced up to see something undefined floating in her eyes.
No doubt trying to figure out how she can use this against me. "Nope, the only good thing that came from Neal and I was that I had Henry and learned a lesson." She dismissed with genuine neutrality toward Henry's father. "I can't fault him for wanting a slice of Henry's time, the kid's awesome." Regina snorted at the compliment of her son.
"But, nothing, Mayor." She said.
"Sheriff Swan, you and I have known each other far too long for you to lie to me." The Mayor leaned down and Emma caught a sniff of the enticing scent around her. Yep, that's what trouble smells like: apples, spice, and darkness. She thought to herself before looking up at the woman hovering over her.
"I'm not lying. I just find, Tamara to be…" She narrowed her eyes.
"Fake." Regina supplied.
"Yes, I know a manipulating woman when I see one; she has all the signs." Emma wondered vaguely if the sighs included driving an expensive car, wearing power suits, and making backhanded compliments. Because if they did, Tamara and Regina had a lot in common. But she somehow found Regina more transparent, despite her wickedness. "What time did he say they would be here?" The brunette asked, shaking Emma out of her comparison.
"Should be about ten more minutes, you can take a chair if you like." She gestured to the seat opposite her desk.
The Mayor made a show of wiping it down before sitting and watching Emma with an unusual expression of reflection upon her face. After a few minutes of feeling the Mayor's dark eyes on her she sighed and looked up. "Can I help you?"
"Do I unnerve you?"
"No, I usually have a wicked witch watching me while I work, really turns me on, ya know?"
"I wouldn't presume to know what, turns you on, Miss Swan." The inflection Regina put on the words made them sound so much worse than they had coming from Emma's mouth. The blonde cringed slightly.
"Right, so stop staring at me." She went back to writing.
"I was just curious." The Mayor said causing Emma to sigh quietly and look up at her once again. "How your ex-boyfriend can presume to find me attractive, impregnate you, and plan to wed Tamara. It's quite bizarre don't you think?"
"I try not to think about what men think."
"Quite right, dear. They make no sense. Now Tamara and myself…" Regina cocked her head thoughtfully and Emma had a sneaking suspicion there was going to be a jibe for her in there somewhere, "Are more similar. Both strong, powerful, good taste in clothing and style." She counted off and Emma waited, knowing what was coming next. "But you, dear, simply do not fall into any of those categories." There it was; the inevitable critique.
"You know what I find bizarre, Mayor?" Emma stood and placed her hands on her desk, staring down the insolent woman. "I find it bizarre that as little as you try to convince everyone that you think of me, I seem to be the person you talk the most about." She growled and Regina stiffened then bristled in anger as she too stood and leaned into the desk so that their faces were barely inches apart. Heat and anger fluctuated between them.
"Make no mistake, Sheriff. That were it not for Henry and the risk of making you a martyr, you wouldn't be around for anyone to think about."
Emma opened her mouth to retort angrily when the sound of small sneakers caused them both to jump back and twirl to the door. Henry came bounding in with his usual amount of energy.
"Hey, Mom." He said.
"Hey." The women answered in unison and then glared at each other. The boy smiled at the reaction.
"Ready to go?" Regina walked to him and stroked his hair.
"Let me say bye to, Emma." He said and flung his arms around his other mother.
"Hey, kid. See you later?"
"Duh, I live with you." He answered and she ruffled his hair as Regina stiffened at the casualty of his tone. He walked back over to Regina and took her hand. She smiled beautifully down at him and patted his hair down again from where Emma had mussed it. They walked out together but not before Regina could cast the blonde a withering glance that would have left lesser mortals shaking.
Emma just shrugged to the empty room and pulled the to-go back to her; forcing herself to eat angrily. Where did Regina get off threatening her like that? She shoved more burger into her mouth. Regina Mills was the most infuriating woman that she had ever met. She was quick, sharp, and gorgeous and she knew it. She had a mean curveball with her fists of fire and a brutal right jab as the blonde remembered. She wore expensive material like it was her right and probably ate small kittens for breakfast. Moody, unpredictable and remorseless; that was Regina Mills. Well, not entirely remorseless as I weaseled out of Archie the other day. She added as an afterthought to her trail of memories.
"Sheriff," the balding man sweated. "You know I can't-"
"I know, but is she giving you a hard time, Arch?" Emma asked, genuinely concerned.
"I won't deny that Regina is a…willful woman."
"That's putting it mildly, I was thinking stubborn as an ass. But your word sounds better." She smiled.
"Yes, well she's coming around; she's very interesting from a psychologist's point of view." He admitted.
"Emma, I can't-"
"I know, I'm sorry." Emma waved a hand. "I just want to know that she's not bullying you; because that's not ok. I would put a stop to it."
"She bullies everyone, Emma. That's her shtick; how she gets things done. But she's quickly realizing that might not be the best way." He reddened. "But I shouldn't have said that."
Emma ran two fingers across her lips as if zipping them and then smiled. "Seriously, if she becomes too much of a pain though, let me know." She said and the man leaned across to pat her hand.
"You always seem to take care of everyone, don't you Emma? When was the last time you had a break from being the Savior?"
Um, let's see, the day before my 28th birthday. She thought sarcastically but instead pulled away from him and stood. "Just doing my job, right?" She grinned and then bid him a good afternoon.
As the memories came back to Emma now, she was jolted back into her train of thought before Regina had clicked into and possessed her office. When was the last time I had a break? She questioned herself. It seemed that since Henry had showed up on her doorstep, she had been chasing around after everyone trying to make them behave; make them be good. Emma was tired of it. She shook her head, knowing her grumbling was useless and she rubbed her eyes, picked up her pen, and got back to work.