Spoilers up to 3x08.
"Mom!" Henry called out from the bottom of the stairs. It was early the morning after they got back to Storybrooke. Henry said he would stay at hers for the night after she was pretty insistant on keeping an eye on him. She jumped awake at the sound of his voice and ran to the staircase in her silk pyjamas.
"What's wrong? Are you okay?" She asked worried after just getting him back.
"I'm fine but I got like 30 something texts from Emma she said to get you, that it was important." He held up his brand new cell phone given to him the night before by his moms as a way to make sure he could contact them if he ever got lost or there was an emergency. Regina purchased it in the first hour that they got back. Regina sighed. They had only been home a day before another catatrophe apparentely, she hoped this one could be fixed easily.
"Give me ten minutes, I will be right down. Where is she?"
"You are evicted? How?" Regina asked as she took in the news.
"Apparently the owner of the loft gave it to Wendy's brothers when we were in Neverland." Emma filled her in trying to keep in the anger.
"Didn't you sign a lease?" The mayor asked turning to Snow White who was choking back a tear.
"It ran out right before you were kidnapped by Owen, I didn't see the point of renewing it we were all gonna be using the beans to go to home. And then things got a bit more serious and I forgot. We will be homeless for the holidays!" She cried out before burying her head in her husband's shoulder as she weeped loudly.
"We can just get a place at Grannys." David said in a calming voice as he wrapped his arm around his wife and as if waiting for a cue the elderly woman came over to their booth"Actually we are booked." Granny informed him as she placed their orders on the table. "We have Tinkerbell in one room, Neal in another, Ariel in one with Eric and the rest have gone to the older few lost boys. Unless one of them offers I can't rent you any rooms."
"Well Emma maybe we can ask Ne-" Snow started but was cut off apruptly by Regina.
"No! I mean uh...Emma can uh, you can stay at mine. I have the space. That way Henry can stay there too." She grinned to herself and avoiding Emma stuck with that man. She bit the inside of her cheek trying to quell the envious feelings that emerged within her when she felt a body crash against her own.
"Oh! Regina thank you!" Snow crushed her in a hug.
"No I didn't mean yo-" Regina frowned as she realised that Snow and her prince Charming would have to tag along.
"Wow your house is huge. I don't think I have ever been inside." Snow said looking around with wide eyes as she stepped up the three steps to the foyer. Regina shrugged and pointed toward the staircase. "Your room is first one, and Emma your's is third down the hall." She didn't point out that that spare room was closer to her room aswell as Henry's.
"It's nice isn't it David?" Snow said trying to make the best of a bad situation.
"What? Oh yeah. I've seen it before though." He said lugging two boxes filled with clothes up the stairs.
"When were you ever here?" Emma asked suspicious of her father.
"Uh, Regina and I had dinner before. I helped her with her car. It was before the curse plus I was here to pick up Henry when you guys went through the portal." David walked ahead avoiding eye contact from the two women.
"You two had dinner?" Snow questioned unable to keep the hurt from her voice.
"It was before the curse broke." He said feebly defending himself.
"Did you two...?" Emma asked unsure if she was even able to finish her sentence, shuddering at the idea of her father bedding Regina before she did.
"Kiss? No!" David blushed and put the boxes down as they made it up the stairs.
Emma looked into the first room which was without a doubt the smallest room in the house. A double bed barely fit in the room. They sighed and put the boxes on the lumpy bed. Emma said a quick goodbye and went off in search of hers but managed to get distracted by the master bedroom. She wandered in looking at the queen size bed and the vanity mirror with antique and modern perfume bottles adorning it. She picked a blue oblong bottle up and spritzed some on her wrist and took a whiff smiling as she inhaled the rich scent.
"Your room is the next one." She heard a voice behind her. Henry was standing in a pose similar to his adoptive mother with his eyes narrowed.
"I...I know I was just...uh...next door." She cleared her throat and moved swiftly past him to the other room.
"Mom told me to come tell you that Belle said we should head over to Mr. Gold's at 7. Do I have to call him Grandpa now?" He asked as he thought about it.
"What now?" Emma replied wanting nothing more than to curl up into her new bed and have a long sleep.
"The dinner...The one Belle talked about last night. She said that we should have a big family dinner."
"And by family dinner?"
"Well Dad, Her and Mr Gold. You, Grandpa and Grandma and she invited mom too oh and Granny, Tinkerbell and Ruby."
"Did I miss something? Are you related to Ruby and Tinkerbell aswell?" She groaned getting fed up with how fucked up his family tree was becoming.
"No. They overheard the invite and Belle and Ruby are friends." He said grinning to himself that the gorgeous woman was one of the few people in the town that he wasn't related to. "And Tinkerbell kind of invited herself..."
"Do we have to go?" Emma sighed not wanting to see Neal or his father for a while after spending so long with them in Neverland. Her good for nothing ex had come back from the dead and while she was happy for her son that he was alive she wasn't too happy with the idea that her parents, his and her son would be working as matchmakers to get them together. She took some solace in the fact that Hook wanted time by himself on his boat. At least that was one male suitor gone for now.
"Yes! Plus aren't you curious to see the inside of Mr. Gold's house?"
She shrugged. "It looks just like his crummy shop."
"Well we are going."
"Belle, you will have to give me the recipe for these potatoes." Snow said as she took another bite. Granny humphed, they were not as good as hers.
Regina rolled her eyes. It was garlic butter. She sighed as she watched Emma across the table who was playing with her mashed potatoes.
"Neal made them." Belle informed her. Snow beamed at him. "You can cook? Who knew." She elbowed Emma who groaned.
'And so it begins.'
"You have come a long way from that hot plate Neal." Emma commented in a bored tone making at least Regina smile.
"What's a hot plate?" Henry asked confused.
"It is a cheap portable stove top." Emma explained before jutting her knife through the meat in front of her.
"Did you guys not have an oven?" He asked again.
"No Henry see you father thought that stealing and being on the run was more 'fun' than being tied down to one place." Emma said angrilly cutting up her meat.
"Says the woman who stole the car I was in." Neal bit back not wanting to be seen as the bad guy.
"Didn't your thieving however get an underaged I might add, Emma get sent to prison...no one else remembering that? Just me?" Regina said causing everyone at the table to turn to look at her. Neal and Rumple were blushing a dark pink while Emma was smirking having won with Regina's help. She looked over at the woman in front of her again. Regina have her a small smile.
"I am really excited for this Christmas celebration coming up. I did some research on it and it seems fascinating." Belle said cheerfully trying to change the subject making all the other women except Snow smirk at the attempt.
"It is awesome! Santa Claus brings presents all the way from the north pole and he is pretty magical. He can get through Mom's curse every year without fail." Henry told her giddy that Christmas was getting closer.
Emma looked over at Regina who was throwing a sweet look at her son. They turned to each other and shared a look.
"I built that into her curse." Rumple added with a small wink at his grandson so no one could refute it.
"Is that what Secret Santa is?" Tinkerbell asked as she took more potatoes.
"Uh no, that's when you and a group of people put names in a hat and whoever gets a certain person than they have to get a gift for them and someone else will give you a gift back." Ruby explained looking over at the blonde grinning back at her.
"We should do that!" Belle said eagerly. "Oh it will be fun and be a great way to get to know one another."
Everyone else groaned at the idea before Mr. Gold smiled "That sounds like a really good idea dear. I think to make it even Henry; son, you will be out of this but don't worry rather than get one gift off a secret santa I think it is safe to say the boy will be getting something of each of us."
He smiled happily as they all nodded.
"I'll go write everyone's name down on a piece of paper." Henry told them getting up from his chair.
"Top drawer by the computer!" Rumple called out to his grandson to tell him where he had paper and pens.
Henry came back with a bowl in his hands. "Mom, you go first." Regina pulled a name out and smiled to herself. The bowl went around the table until all the names were gone.
"The gifts must be good and something to make the other person smile." Belle said looking down the table at Regina.
Ruby nudged Emma's side. "Who'd you get?"
Emma showed her a piece of torn paper with "Tinkerbell" wrote on it.
Ruby smile grew and she whispered closer. "Wanna swap, trust me you want who I've got."
She showed the name to Emma and without missing a beat she nodded swapping pieces of paper to get the page that simply said "Regina."
Let me know what you think.