AN: So here is the next chapter. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint but for those of you who followed, favorited, and reviewed...this one's for you.
Chapter 1: Welcome to Storybrook…Now Get Out
Emma Swan was driving along a very rural road in Maine, the music on low as she listened to the slightly robotic female voice of her GPS unit giving her directions. She had programed the address of the town of Storybrook, Maine's town hall into the GPS, hoping it would keep her from getting lost.
Emma Swan was on a mission. Emma was already 25 years old, but it had taken her the seven years since her 18th birthday to finally get the information she needed…it didn't help that she had gotten sidetracked for a year in a Florida hospital but that was a story for another day. Emma gave a quick glance to the folder on the seat next to her, it contained all the information a hacker friend of hers had managed to find on her birth parents.
Emma had spent the first 6 years of her life with two loving parents, the Swans. They had passed away in a car accident two weeks after her sixth birthday, on their way to pick her up from school. After that, she'd gone into the system, and had spent the next 12 years bouncing from one foster home to the next.
When she was 18, she was finally given the package her parents had instructed their lawyer to only release to her if they died, on Emma's 18th birthday. It was in that package that she found out the Swans, the only parents she'd ever known, weren't her biological parents. They had adopted her when she was only a week old. After spending a year or so angry and trying to come to terms with the lie she'd lived for so long, Emma had finally realized that her parents would always be her parents, regardless of blood, but she was also developing a curiosity about the parents who had given her away. So, she began to look for her biological parents.
She hadn't realized how hard it would be until she ran into the brick wall of red tape when she tried to get her adoption record unsealed. Emma spent years trying to find a way around the wall, but she didn't have the right contacts to properly search for them…especially if they didn't want to be found.
It wasn't until she was in DC, after her year in Florida, that she met the woman who would change her life. Emma had met the perky blonde in a bar and they'd hit it off. They had become fast friends and Emma was happy for the first time in a long while. Despite the serious nature of her job as an FBI agent, Jennie had a friend who was a world class hacker. She introduced Emma to her friend and had managed to convince her to tell the hacker about her search for her parents. It had taken the computer genius three hours to find the information that Emma hadn't even been able to find in her seven years of searching.
So, armed with the information, Emma had packed her stuff into her yellow VW bug, said goodbye to her new friends with the promise to keep in touch and headed north towards Maine…which is where Jennie's friend's information said her biological mother was from. Now here she was, driving to a town she'd never heard of, looking for a woman who had tossed her away when she was only a day old.
Emma didn't know what she hoped to find when she got to Storybrook, but she knew that if she didn't at least go looking, she'd spend the rest of her life kicking herself over it.
Emma smiled as she saw a sign on the side of the road that said 'Welcome to Storybrook'. She picked up the speed when she noticed she was going to have to go through at least another ten minutes of forest before seeing a town. Emma was suddenly eager to see the town where her birth mother lived.
Regina Mills, Mayor of Storybrook, had just dropped her son, Henry, off at school for the day and was on her way to her office in City Hall. Storybrook wasn't that big of a town so Regina had parked her car at City Hall and walked Henry to school, planning to stop by Granny's Diner on her way back to grab a coffee and a muffin before starting her day at work.
Regina loved being the Mayor but some days were harder than others to make herself leave her cozy bed for her office across town. As she walked, Regina took a moment to reflect on everything that had happened over the last ten years since she'd returned to her hometown, pregnant and for all intents and purposes…widowed.
There wasn't a day that went by that she didn't think of Daniel and wonder how her life might be different if he hadn't died in that fire. Regina knew one thing for certain, she wouldn't be living here in Storybrook.
Over the years, she had raised her son and lived her life, working as a private attorney on behalf of her parents, dealing mostly with contracts and things like that, since there wasn't much crime in Storybrook there wasn't much need for criminal lawyers. Still, Regina managed to make the best of it and she had Henry to help her move on with her life.
As much as she might've wanted to, she couldn't allow herself to sink into a deep depression over Daniel's death because her son needed her to be there for him. So she'd grieved her loss and then she had begun to look ahead, to the future, to all the stories she would tell her son about his father. She had kept her promise to Daniel's mom and had sent her pictures of Henry almost every month until the older woman had succumbed to breast cancer when Henry was only 4.
Regina's own parents had gone down in a plane crash a year later when Henry was five and they had decided to go away for a second honeymoon. Regina had again been devastated but, knowing her son needed her to be strong, she had forged ahead and moved on after the memorial service.
Soon after her parents' death, Regina ran for the office of Mayor that had been held by her mother. She'd won in a landslide and she had been Mayor ever since. No one ever even thought of running against her anymore, she had the town on her side by then.
Regina was so lost in her memories of the past, she didn't notice the yellow VW bug flying at her until she heard the loud squeal of brakes. Luckily, the car managed to stop just inches from Regina's legs. Startled, she jumped back a step and ended up losing her balance and landing on her ass in the middle of the street.
Emma was out of her car in a flash after throwing it in park and she rushed over to the woman on the ground. She reached a hand down to help the woman up as she began to apologize, "Oh my God I am so sorry. I don't know what happened. I tried to stop but the brakes didn't respond at first and then they finaly did and…are you hurt? I am so sorry." Emma was babbling but she didn't care, she'd been scared when the brakes on her car hadn't reacted at first, and when she saw the woman in her path she slipped from scared to panicked to desperate as she pumped the brakes. They finally reacted and she managed to stop before she hit the woman but Emma was still freaked out over the near miss.
Regina stood up, refusing help from the babbling blond woman who had exited the car. She looked at the woman and didn't recognize her, surmising the woman wasn't from around her.
Before she could say anything, Sheriff Graham Hunter came running over from Granny's where he'd just had his coffee, and said, "What happened? Madam Mayor are you alright?"
Emma groaned to herself as she heard the cop refer to the woman as Mayor. Just her luck she almost killed the Mayor!
Regina turned to Graham, whom she had gone to high school with and frowned, "I'm fine Graham, no thanks to this idiot. I want her arrested for reckless driving."
Emma's eyes widened, she couldn't believe it! She was going to be arrested for something that wasn't her fault?
Graham looked over at the newcomer, "Miss? What happened?" He wasn't about to arrest someone just because Regina told him to, he was going to hear her side first…then arrest her.
Emma explained again that she was driving into town and the brakes hadn't responded at first but then they did and she managed to stop before she hit the Mayor.
Graham nodded and said, "Well, why don't you come with me down to the station to fill out an accident report while I have your car towed to the local garage so they can take a look at the brakes? Sound fair?"
"Am I under arrest?"
"Not at the moment, but that can change if you don't wish to cooperate."
Emma took a moment to think about it and decided she was better off cooperating with the sheriff than getting arrested. So she nodded and said, "Okay then, lead the way Sheriff."
Regina watched the whole interaction and frowned before she pulled Graham aside, "I told you to arrest her not play nice!"
Graham looked at Regina and frowned, "I won't arrest someone without cause. No one was hurt and until the brakes are checked out, there isn't anything I can actually charge her for Regina. So just calm down and let me do my job."
Regina glared at him. "This is your job Sheriff, to arrest people who break the law. This woman was obviously speeding if her car took so long to respond. I am pressing charges and want her arrested for almost running me over!"
Graham sighed, "You know as well as I do Regina, she hasn't broken the law yet. So relax and go to work. I'll keep you apprised of the details but for right now, there's nothing for you to do here."
Regina looked at him for a few moments before she realized he wouldn't be swayed and so she turned and started to walk away. She turned back to face the stranger and said, in a cold voice, "Provided you're not arrested, don't get too comfortable here Miss, you don't belong here and I want you gone as soon as possible."
With that, Regina walked away and headed for her office, foregoing her coffee at Granny's and deciding to make her secretary come and get it later. She just wanted to be in her office away from the prying eyes of the small crowd that had begun to gather to watch what was happening.
Emma watched the Mayor leave and sighed before she turned to the Sheriff, "Is she always so…" She didn't know how to answer that so she just gave a vage wave of her arm to indicate everything about that interaction.
Graham turned to the blonde and smiled, she was actually very beautiful now that he had a moment to really study her without Regina hovering. She also looked vaguely familiar but he couldn't figure out why. He sighed, "She's usually much worse." He smiled then, letting her know he was kidding.
Emma smiled, he was fairly good looking and if she swung that way she could see herself dating him, but alas, Emma had already accepted her sexuality a long time ago. She was comfortable with who she was and what she liked…and it was with a slight pang that she realized the woman who had stormed away just now in a fit of pique, was actually a perfect fit for the type of women Emma usually went for.
From her haughty attitude to her powersuit to the mini hissy fit she'd pitched when the Sheriff hadn't jumped to her command to arrest her, Regina was every inch the kind of woman Emma always fell for and she sighed again as she realized it wouldn't matter this time…not after how they'd met.
Graham led Emma to the station house as he called Billy's tow service to take the car in and have the brakes checked out. Emma followed him in silence, looking around the town. She realized that in a town as small as this one seemed to be, news of her encounter with the Mayor would most likely be the talk of the town.
Emma suddenly didn't want to be there. She didn't want her biological mother's first impression of her to be some reckless driver who had almost killed the Mayor and then ended up in the police station. She didn't think this would work in her favor to endear herself to the woman who had given birth to her.
Emma was sitting in a chair next to a desk as the Sheriff typed out the accident report. She hadn't been to many small towns, but she had seen her share of police stations, both on TV and in real life and this one seemed…empty. She turned to the Sheriff typing out his own report and asked, "So, where's everyone else?"
Graham looked up from the typewriter, "What do you mean?"
"I mean the others. The deputies, maybe a secretary or two to type out the reports and answer the phones. A detective or three to handle the big cases. Where are they?"
Graham sighed and sat back in his chair, the report forgotten for the moment, "There's only me…and one deputy who works nights. We don't get a lot of crime here Miss Swan. As for secretaries to type up reports and answer phones, I am capable of doing that stuff myself." He paused a moment, his curiosity suddenly taking over for a moment, "So what brings you to Storybrook?"
Emma shrugged, not yet ready to tell this stranger the truth. "Just passing through."
Graham chuckled, "Passing through? On your way to where, the ocean? Storybrook is pretty much the end of the line. We're on the coast of Maine that hugs the Atlantic Ocean with no road to Canada without leaving town. So again I ask, what brings you to my town?"
Emma sighed, she looked around to make sure they were alone before she turned back to the Sheriff, "Fine, if you really must know, I'm looking for someone. But I don't want to give away that I'm looking for this person until I find them and can figure out a way to make contact."
Graham didn't say anything, he just looked at her. He was trying to decide if this woman was a danger to someone in his town.
Emma realized he wasn't going to say anything so she said, "I'm not looking to hurt anyone or anything like that and I am not a stalker or anything. I just…it's a delicate matter and I would rather not go barreling in like the proverbial bull in a china shop, okay?"
Graham took that in, "Okay that sounds reasonable. Who is this person? I know everyone in town I can point you in the right direction."
Emma looked at him, skeptical of his easy offer to help her. "Why would you do that? You don't even know me."
Graham shrugged, "I know the people of my town. If the one you're looking for can't handle you, I'll tell you and I'll insist on being there when you make contact…to protect that person. Otherwise, I'm just a very helpful person."
Emma took a few moments to think about his offer. It seemed fair and reasonable, she just didn't want to have to tell him about her reason to see who she was looking for before she had a chance to tell her biological mother first. It seemed only fair she be the first to know. Still, he might be able to shave a day or two off her search. Emma made up her mind and said, "Alright, the person I am looking for is Eva White." That was the name on the birth certificate that Jennie's hacker friend had managed to dig up.
Graham frowned, he didn't recognize the name, however, "There's no one here by the last name White…but there's Eva Blanchard. Though I don't suppose there's a chance it's the same person. I don't recall anyone here ever going by the last name White."
Emma thought about that and realized that sometimes a coincidence is more than what it appears to be. It's entirely possible that this Eva Blanchard was in fact Eva White…maybe White was a maiden name before she married, or it was an alias to further muddy the trail in case Emma ever went looking for her.
"It's worth a try I suppose. Do you know where I can find this Eva Blanchard?"
Graham frowned as the memory came back to him of that day so long ago. "She um, she passed away in 1994, heart attack. I'm sorry. Her husband died three years ago of a stroke. The only Blanchard left in town is their daughter, Mary Margaret…she's a teacher at the local elementary school."
Emma did the math in her head and realized that if this woman was her biological mother, she'd died when Emma was 7…a year after her parents had been killed by that drunk driver. Emma frowned.
"Oh…okay. Um, how long do you think it will take the garage to look at my car?" Now that she knew her biological mother was dead, Emma's only thought was to get out of this town as fast as she could. She wasn't interested in meeting the woman who might be her sister. Emma only wanted to find her mother and she had…a bit too late but now she knew. She could go back to DC and stay with Jennie for a bit before planning her next move.
Graham frowned, "Um, there's a bit of a backlog at Billy's…he's the only mechanic they have, so it might be tomorrow before he gets to your car. Sorry."
Emma sighed, seemed she was stuck in this town until tomorrow. "Okay, well…is there a motel or something here? A place I can rent a room for the night if I'm going to be stuck here until tomorrow?"
"Sure. Granny's Bed & Breakfast, it's right next door to the diner. Let me finish this report and I'll take you to the garage to get your things from your car then to Granny's, okay?"
"Okay…take your time I'm just going to sit here and wait. Not like I got anything else to do." Emma pulled out her smartphone and began playing Solitaire while she waited for the sheriff to finish his report. Idly, she wondered if she would be able to make it until tomorrow without running into the Mayor or the woman the sheriff had mentioned, the teacher who could potentially be related to her. Emma hoped to avoid everyone she could. She wanted to be gone from this place before anyone knew why she'd been there in the first place.
AN2: I changed some of Emma's background because well...it fits the story still to come but also because I wanted to give her something she could think back on with a smile...the Swans. Also, technically speaking...Jennie and her hacker friend could possibly be JJ and Garcia from Criminal Minds but then again...it might not be them. As of right now I am not laying any claim to Jennie and her hacker friend. Just wanted to help Emma find her birth mom. So yeah...I changed it so Mary Margaret is her sister, not her mom...helps with the aging. Hope you all liked it.
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