Chapter 3: Too Many Questions
After leaving the cemetery, Mary Margaret found herself heading towards Granny's diner. She had taken the day off from her job at the school, allowing a substitute to take over for the day, because of the significance of this day. Today, her parents would've been married for 35 years if death hadn't taken them so soon.
Mary Margaret wasn't under any illusions when it came to her parents' marriage though, she knew that by the time a heart attack took her mother from her, the love that once existed between her parents was gone. When her father had passed away three years ago, she found herself wondering why he'd continued to bring flowers to her mother's grave on their anniversary, though she had taken up the tradition upon his death. In the years following her mother's death, Mary Margaret and her father had grown apart, each dealing with their grief separately, not knowing how to bridge the distance.
Mary Margaret sat down in one of the booths in the diner and waited. She knew that Graham always stopped by after his shift at the station to see Ruby for a bit before heading home. She didn't have to wait long before the familiar form of the town's sheriff sauntered into the diner.
Mary Margaret waited until after Graham had greeted his girlfriend before she called him over to her table. He joined her and smiled at the sweet school teacher.
"Hello Mrs. Nolan."
Mary Margaret smiled at the sheriff, "Hi Graham. How was your day?"
Graham looked at the school teacher and frowned, she had never really been one for small talk, at least not with him anyway. The fact that he was dating her best friend was the main reason the two of them ever even talked at all. Still, he was willing to stay and talk, maybe find out what Mary Margaret wanted. "It was…interesting. How was yours?"
Mary Margaret shrugged, "It was okay. Today was the anniversary so…yeah."
Graham nodded. In a town as small as Storybrooke, where everyone knew everyone else, the significance of this day was well known. Everyone was aware of what today meant to the school teacher and they usually gave her the necessary space to deal with her grief. Mary Margaret was, hands down, the most liked person in town. Her parents had owned Blanchard Industries which owned the cannery as well as the fishing boats and they were responsible for over 80% of the jobs in town. After Leopold Blanchard's death, Mary Margaret's husband, David Nolan, took over as CEO of Blanchard Industries because Mary Margaret was more invested in being a teacher.
Before Graham could say anything about the anniversary, Ruby walked up to the table and smiled at her best friend, "So, how did it go at the cemetery today Mary Margaret?"
Mary Margaret had already told her about her day, and she knew that this was Ruby's way of bringing it up around Graham so Mary Margaret could see his reaction. They had been best friends since first grade, Ruby knew her almost better than she knew herself sometimes.
Mary Margaret smiled, "Actually, it wasn't so bad this year…there was someone there that I didn't recognize. Someone new," she turned to Graham with a curious look on her face, "know anything about that, Sheriff?"
Graham cocked his head as he thought about what she said, "Let me guess, female, blonde hair, red leather jacket?"
Mary Margaret just nodded. Ruby grinned as she sat down next to her best friend, eager to hear anything about the blonde she'd served earlier, knowing Graham might have more information.
Graham smiled, "She's just in town for today. She'll be gone by tomorrow."
"Okay, but who is she?"
Graham sighed as he looked around to make sure no one was close enough to eavesdrop. "Her name is Emma Swan. She came to town looking for someone but she wouldn't tell me why. And she…almost hit the Mayor with her car this morning."
Ruby and Mary Margaret both frowned but it was Ruby who asked, "Did she say who she was looking for?"
Graham squirmed a bit, not sure if he should disclose that part but when he saw the look on Ruby's face, he gave in, knowing he'd never be able to keep it from her. His eyes shifted over to Mary Margaret before he sighed and said, "The name she gave me was…Eva White."
The silence that followed his words stretched out for at least two minutes before Mary Margaret broke it, "Eva White? White was my mother's maiden name. This Emma Swan came here looking for my mother? Why?"
"She wouldn't tell me why." Graham was the only one who noticed the door to the diner opening up and the woman in question walking in, "But now's your chance to ask her." He motioned discreetly with his head towards the door.
Mary Margaret and Ruby both turned towards the door and saw the blonde woman that Graham said was named Emma. Ruby smiled at the sight but Mary Margaret just frowned.
Mary Margaret stood up and left the booth, walking over to the blonde stranger and, without a word, grabbing her arm and dragging her to the back of the diner not stopping until they were standing in the alcove next to the pay phone.
Mary Margaret looked the woman in the eyes and, with a serious face and steel in her voice, she asked, "Why are you looking for my mother?"
In her office in City Hall, Regina Mills was just signing the last document that needed her signature when there was a knock on her door. Regina glanced at the clock on the wall and smiled when she realized who it could be. "Come in."
The door opened and in walked her son, Henry, smiling as he looked at his mom. "Hey mom. You almost done?"
Regina nodded, "Just finishing up dear. Have a seat, I'll only be a moment."
Henry went over to the small sitting area where there was a couch and two arm chairs and he threw himself down on the couch, stretching out and getting comfortable.
Regina smiled at her son's little ritual. He always stretched out on the couch, no matter what and it was comforting for her to see it. "So how was school today?" Regina asked as she finished sending the few last minute emails that she'd been putting off.
Henry frowned, "It was boring. We had a substitute today and she made us spend the whole day doing work sheets and reading." Usually, his regular teacher, Mrs. Nolan, would give them free time if they finished their work, or they would have an arts and crafts project if they got through their spelling drills. Substitutes ruined the routine of the class.
Regina frowned, "A substitute? Why-?" Regina started to question it but then she noticed the calendar and she remembered what today was and she closed her mouth.
There may not be any love lost between Regina and Mary Margaret Blanchard-Nolan, but she could at least respect the meaning of this day. After all, she knew what it was like to lose both your parents and the pain that never really went away from that kind of loss. "Never mind." Regina paused a moment to smile at her son, "So, Granny's for dinner?"
Henry smiled and nodded, happy to be going to Granny's for dinner. Once a week, his mom treated him to dinner at the diner rather than the extremely healthy but still delicious meals she cooked. At the diner, his mom let him order anything he wanted and she didn't try to lecture him about the grease and calories and cholesterol. Henry loved it.
Regina smiled at her son's enthusiasm for their diner outings. She was very aware of how healthy the food her son ate was and she recognized that once a week, it was okay to let him eat something fun, like a burger or chicken fingers.
Regina gathered her things and motioned for Henry to follow her out the door. "Come on dear, let's get dinner."
Together, mother and son walked out to Regina's Mercedes and they climbed into the car and drove to the diner.
Emma was pressed up against the wall of the alcove in the diner, staring into the eyes of the woman from the cemetery, Mary Margaret if her memory was correct. She was confused as to why the shorter woman had her pressed up against the wall asking her why she was looking for her mother.
Emma's mouth opened and closed twice before she regained her senses and sighed, "Who told you I was looking for your mother?"
Mary Margaret took a step back, not expecting to be put on the defensive, "That, um, that's not important. Answer the question, Miss Swan."
Emma frowned, "How do you know my name?"
At that moment Ruby stepped up next to Mary Margaret and gave Emma a sweet smile, "It's a small town Emma, people talk."
Emma's shoulders slumped and she sighed again, "Yeah well, people may talk but I don't have to so, I'm out of here." Emma shouldered past the two women and began walking towards the front door, not in the mood to explain herself to anyone…most especially not to the woman who was allegedly her sister.
On her way to the door, Emma breezed right by the woman she'd come to recognize as the Mayor of this small town, and she was with a small boy. Emma spared a glance at the boy, smiling back when he offered a grin of greeting, before she walked out the door and crossed the small patio area before reaching the small white fence at the edge of the patio area. She leaned against the edge of the gate and looked up to the sky, sighing as she thought back to the look on the other woman's face.
A part of her wanted to go right back in there and tell that woman everything, and possibly learn a thing or two about her birth mother, but the rest of her was too angry and hurt to follow through.
It was one thing to know you were given up for adoption, most likely because for whatever reason your parents couldn't keep you…it was another to realize that your birth mother had kept another daughter and you, for whatever reason, weren't good enough to keep…to love.
Emma had gotten over the usual adopted kid syndrome a long time ago, or so she thought. Finding out that the parents she thought were her birth parents had lied to her for the first six years of her life, had thrown all her hard won peace over being in foster care and a throwaway kid, out the window.
Emma was still leaning against the gate when she heard the door to the diner opening. She looked up and saw Mary Margaret walking towards her, the look on her face was determined. Emma's head dipped down in defeat as she waited for the other woman to reach her. She decided she was done running, if this woman wanted a confrontation, then dammit she would have one.
As they sat in a booth and waited for the food they had ordered,Regina took a moment to think back on what had happened when they'd entered the diner. She saw the blonde from earlier leave the diner in a huff, but she'd stopped for a moment to smile down at didn't know what to think about their interaction but she decided to keep an eye on the blonde and make sure she stayed away from her son until she was sure the blonde was gone from town.
AN: This story was lightly inspired by the format of soap operas, so I am trying to do their cut between scenes. Don't know if I pulled it off but I'm trying. Enjoy! Also, Regina is a little different here than in canon because she never became the evil queen...she grieved her loss and had Henry to help her through it and she came out the other side a better person and mother (she still has her snark and her 'tude). But she's better because of her son.