Regina's eyelids flutter as stirs from a dreamless slumber, low mumbles and groans escaping her as she points her toes straight to stretch her stiff calf muscles. Her hand goes over her mouth to cover her gaping mouth as she yawns and her left arm instinctively slides across the bed. When her hand is greeted with an empty space and cold, crisp sheets her eyes fly open.
Rolling onto her side and glancing around the room, she groggily calls out, "Emma?"
When there's no response she calls her name more loudly, but the house is eerily silent and a puzzled frown comes across Regina's face. Emma never wakes up before Regina and she certainly doesn't get out of bed any earlier than 10am during the holidays. The only reason she even manages to make it to work for 8:30am each morning is because Regina practically drags her out by her ankles and pours black coffee straight down her throat.
Regina gets out of bed, her black satin nightgown slips down and tickles her knees, then she walks around to Emma's side of the bed. Her cell is gone from the nightstand along with her car keys.
She heads for the en-suite, perches her cell on the edge of the sink and dials Emma's number. It goes straight through to voicemail. Knowing Emma never takes the time to listen to her voice mails, Regina hangs up with a sigh and proceeds to wash up.
Luckily, the ball of anxiety in Regina's chest is soon squashed, with the sound of a key turning in the front door, just as she's coming down the stairs.
Emma steps over the threshold bundled up in a black duffel coat that Regina recognises as being hers and a maroon scarf with matching gloves that Snow gave her as a Christmas gift. The tip of her nose is pink from the brisk winter chill still lingering in the air and brown bags brimming with groceries are stuffed under her arms and clutched between her chin and chest.
Regina stands midway up the staircase and fondly shakes her head at Emma, a smile on her face. Noticing the outline of Regina's silhouette out the corner of her eye, Emma peers up and inquires, "Um, Regina? A little help here?"
Rolling her eyes, Regina obliges and floats down the stairs, relieving Emma of two of the bags and carrying them into the kitchen, Emma close on her heels.
"Since when are you up and out of the house before," Regina glances at the clock hanging on the wall, "9:30 on a Sunday morning? And what in God's name are all these groceries for?"
"There's more in the car," Emma replies.
"More?" Regina asks, her eyebrows raised.
"Did you forget that we're hosting New Year's day dinner?"
Emma turns to Regina hand on hip.
"Don't give me that look, I didn't forget."
"Well, I did…" Emma admits. "…until Henry texted me last night to remind me. At least we can take comfort in knowing Henry hasn't inherited my scatterbrain."
"No, he hasn't. For that, and a few other things I think we can safely say he takes after me."
"Oh really?" Emma challenges, stepping towards Regina, an amused smile on her face. "Like what?"
"My charisma, my charm, my refinement and of course, my devilishly good looks."
Emma can't stifle the toothy grin that breaks across her face as she saunters towards Regina.
"Well, I can't argue with that."
Emma leans into Regina, kisses her softly and in an instant the chaos of the impending dinner is temporarily erased by the feel of Regina's lips against hers. Although the kiss is only brief, as the two women slowly move apart, their eyes remained closed and genuine smiles of joy linger on their faces.
"I'll go and get the rest of the bags from the car," Emma tells Regina gently stroking her arm before heading back out.
Regina watches her leave, a beaming smile still on her face and she bites her lip, wondering how she's so unbelievably lucky. Emma had once vowed that she wouldn't stop until she'd given everyone in Storybrooke their happy endings, including Regina, but Emma hasn't just given Regina her happy ending, she actually is her happy ending.
Because Regina and Emma being together is as natural as breathing for both of them, they forget that their romance has hardly unfolded in the traditional way they are usually expected to. They haven't followed specific steps, they've made decisions as and when they felt right. They still haven't even officially declared themselves as being in a relationship, despite the fact they practically live together and are a couple in every single way two people can be a couple. Telling Snow, David and Henry was a mutual decision that was made because Emma and Regina were tired of the lies and sneaking around. It's been only a month since they told them and right now things are…strange. Snow, David and Henry have been supportive of their relationship on the surface, but Regina and Emma can sense that things are tense and uneasy. Regina chose to have Christmas dinner with Zelena and Robin because of it, which devastated Emma, although she kept it concealed. That's why Emma arranged this dinner - to break the tension and help her parents and Henry adjust and accept the change.
Emma and Regina's relationship is strong and happy, and in fact Regina is so happy that there are occasions when Regina will often become overwhelmed with a sense of impending doom. When that happens, it makes it almost impossible for her to cling to the joy, because she convinces herself that it's only temporary and that she's going to lose Emma and Henry and everything that's important to her. The thought of the dinner causes her to feel that, but she doesn't let it show. Of course, Emma has the same fear niggling at her heart too, but Regina doesn't know that because Emma doesn't tell her, just as Regina doesn't tell Emma, both of them are unwilling to destroy each other's happiness for the sake of their insecurities.
"That's all of them," Emma announces, entering the house with a plastic bag filled with more groceries hanging off each arm. "So, I was thinking we could…"
Emma places the groceries on the kitchen counter with the rest of the bags, and when she catches sight of Regina's face her words leave her and she frowns slightly at her, before saying, "I know that look."
"What look?" Regina asks defensively squaring her shoulders back.
"Something's bothering you. What is it?" Emma asks tilting her head to the side, concern and worry in her voice.
Regina scoffs lightly, then turns her back to Emma, flicks the kettle on and grabs a mug from the cupboard.
"What are you talking about? I'm fine."
Regina's voice is firm and self-assured and the lie would convince anyone else in an instant, but not Emma.
"I can always tell when you're lying, Regina."
"I just need my morning caffeine fix," she insists. "And why do we need all of this stuff?" she asks, gesturing out towards the groceries and swiftly changing the subject.
Emma knows Regina's holding something back, but decides to let it lie. Regina will share whatever's on her mind eventually, because neither of them can hide anything from the other for very long, regardless of how hard they try.
"Because I said I'd cook dinner and things have been weird lately and I really just want everything to go perfect."
The kettle boils and Regina turns to make her coffee. "Want one?", Regina asks, even though she's already grabbed a second mug from the cupboard, knowing Emma well enough to know that she'd never turn down coffee.
"This is the first new year with all of us together. You, me, Henry, my parents and Neal."
"That's not strictly true, now, is it?" Regina says turning and handing Emma's coffee to her.
"Thanks," she says, cupping the mug in her hand and taking a sip, before adding, "You know what I mean, Regina. This is the first one where we're", she points to Regina and then herself, "together."
"Look, this clearly means a lot to you," Regina says eyeing the counter which has now been overtaken by toppled over bags of groceries.
"Yeah, it does. I want everything to go-"
"Perfect. I know, Emma, you said."
Emma places her coffee down and her intense eyes bore into Regina. "You could take this a little more seriously."
"Miss Swan, I'm the Queen of serious, but all I'm asking is if this is really necessary? I can whip up a dinner fit for royalty with a wave of my hand. And I should know, I am royalty, after all."
Regina smirks complacently, but Emma shakes her head forcefully.
"No, no, no. No magic. For one day, I just want everything to be normal. No Mayor stuff or cop stuff, no saviours, no villains and no magic. Just us."
"Emma, since when are we normal?"
Emma sighs lightly. "We're not, but there's no harm in trying, right?"
Regina bows her head, then closes the space between her and Emma. When she's mere inches from her, Regina reaches up and sweeps her cascading golden curls over her shoulder gently.
"Tell me, dear, why would we ever wish to be normal, when we get to be extraordinary?"
Emma's heart rate spikes at feeling Regina's hot breath on her face and the contours of her body against her. Emma knows Regina's right. Nothing about either of them is ordinary or normal, and their relationship certainly isn't. It's the kind of relationship Emma believed only existed in books. It's not rooted in the traditional fairy tale love that her mother and father have, it's something different. It's more explosive. More powerful. More intense. It's something Emma wouldn't trade for anything and she hasn't. She's had plenty of opportunities to turn away from Regina and she nearly did. In the months that her feelings slowly grew deeper with each day, she clung to her love for Killian as an act of denial, but being with Regina was a choice she made. She wanted this, she wanted Regina and she still does.
"Even though I think this whole thing is melodramatic to say the least, you can't do it on your own."
"What do you know about cooking a turkey?" Emma scoffs.
"About as much as you do," Regina fires back.
It's true that despite traditional female stereotypes, neither Emma or Regina were at home in the kitchen. However, whilst Regina's lack of culinary skills can be put down to having breakfast, lunch and dinner served to her each day by servants, Emma's is due to having to live off scraps when she was on the run, overcooked slop when she was in prison and take out in her later life when she was simply too busy or lazy to cook.
"I'm going to shower and change, you're going to find out how we cook the dead bird," Regina says gesturing at the turkey sitting on the counter, "and everything will be fine."
This time Regina is better at masking her reservations and Emma doesn't pick up on the fact that deep down inside Regina is as nervous for this dinner as Emma is.
With a firm kiss on the cheek, Regina leaves Emma alone to her thoughts and the relief that Regina provided her with evaporates the second she's gone, as Emma's anxieties catch up to her once more.
Her reasons for wanting one normal day (whatever that means) without magical interference isn't because she wants to change what she and Regina have or because she dislikes the life they have together, it's because she desperately wants it to be accepted by her family. Snow and David reacted as well as they could've when Emma sprung it upon them out of the blue during one of their Saturday movie nights. The popcorn in David's mouth spilled onto the floor from his agape mouth, but both he and Snow reassured their daughter that they loved her unconditionally and told her they respected she was an adult capable of making her own decisions. Snow seemed much more accepting, but perhaps that's because there was a knowing smile on her face that gave Emma the impression that she hadn't been completely blind to the blossoming romance between her and Regina.
Not surprisingly, telling Henry was even more nerve wracking and was a task that Emma and Regina decided to handle together. Whilst it would've been too optimist to expect Henry to be ecstatic about his mother's falling in love and the three of them living under one roof as a "real" family, the level of uncertainty and resistance he reacted with did take them by surprise. Perhaps it's merely natural for any child to react negatively to change of any kind as a defense mechanism, but it didn't stop both mother's from taking it personally and the first few weeks saw a dark cloud hanging over the Swan-Mills household. Fortunately, witnessing Regina and Emma together day after day means Henry has seen the level of devotion between his parents and since the initial shock has worn off, he seems to have embraced the idea of his mother's being together.
But Emma is still uncertain about her parents. Having spent practically her entire life without them, has actually somehow intensified the love she has for her David and Snow and their opinion matters more to her than she could ever begin to explain. Even having her son's approval isn't enough if Snow and David don't fully get on-board.
All Emma wants and has ever wanted is a real family. Now that she's found one, she wants it to be fully united and if that means cooking a turkey dinner and a day without interference from work, moral duties or magic, then that's exactly what she's determined to have.
It's less than an hour before Regina returns to the kitchen to find the bags of groceries untouched on the counters and Emma perched on a stool at the breakfast bar. She's propped up on her elbows, hands rested on her temples, leaning so far forward into her cell that it looks as though she's going to be sucked right into it at any moment.
"I can see you've managed to get a lot done," Regina states sarcastically coming up behind Emma and causing her to lightly jump.
"I've been trying to read about how to cook all of this," Emma snipes. "It's a good job we got an early start on this, because this is going to take hours. Look at this," Emma thrusts her phone into Regina's face. "The preparation takes even more time than the cooking! Why would anyone go to this much effort just to make a meal when you can get one ready made from the store or delivered to your door?"
Regina smiles in amusement at Emma and reminds her of her previous offer to use magic.
"You just say the word, dear."
This time Emma hesitates before she says no, more tempted than before to allow Regina to work her magic, literally.
"We're adults, we're mothers, we can do this. Team work is what we do best."
"Against villains and heinous beasts, not raw turkeys and root vegetables."
Regina's words were intended as a light hearted joke, but Emma's way too sensitive to be able to engage with that right now. She looks to Regina her brow furrowed with insecurity, her green eyes round and uncertain. All humour falls away from Regina and a strong desire to protect and support Emma washes over her.
"No, you're right. I'm Mayor, I've been a Queen responsible for the running of an entire kingdom, and you're…well you're Emma Swan."
The compliment is Regina's subtle way of saying that to her Emma is perfect, and Emma knows this, which is why she tilts her head to the side and tuts lightly, as though to bashfully and modestly say, "Shut up, Regina."
Emma looks back down at her cell to continue searching through recipes whilst Regina peers over her shoulder to look with her.
"Look at all these different kinds of vegetables we can do. How do we choose?"
"Oh, just do this one," Regina says pointing at the first recipe she sees eager to start so that it'll be over sooner. Oh the things she does for Emma Swan…
"Okay, so before we do anything we have to baste the turkey," Emma announces swinging round to face Regina. "So do you wanna–?"
Emma gets her first proper look at Regina since she changed and words completely fail her, as she stands in awe of her astounding beauty. She's wearing a signature red body-con, knee length dress, with a sweetheart neckline which manages to accentuate every inch of her voluptuous and womanly body. Clinging snugly to her figure, her slender legs are on display, highlighted by the black heels she's wearing and her cleavage is peeking through the top of the dress, revealing just enough to tease Emma and make her hungry to see what's underneath (even though she's already had the privilege of seeing what's underneath on multiple occasions).
Regina's voice brings Emma to, although her eyes continue to sweep up across her body in all directions.
"New dress?" Emma questions.
Regina absentmindedly runs her hands down the dress, before resting them on her waist driving Emma even wilder.
"Maybe I went into town and treated myself to a few things. But unfortunately this was the only garment I purchased that's appropriate for…day wear."
The glint in Regina's eyes enchants Emma instantly, but she shakes her head so as to snap herself out of it and says, "We should get back to this. I've already wasted too much time and mom and dad will be here for dinner with Henry and Neal at 4."
Emma grunts as she lifts the 10 pound turkey over to the counter nearest the stove. Regina's cell begins to ring.
"Henry," Regina says, the tone of her voice already softer just for knowing he's at the other end of the phone.
"Hey, mom. I was just calling to make sure mom got my text about dinner."
Emma comes up to Regina and mouths, "What's he saying?"
"Yeah, she got it and now our kitchen has been turned into a grocery store."
Emma rolls her eyes, but despite what a pain in the ass the situation is, she has to admit some small part of her is enjoying it. After all, everything she seems to do is fun when Regina is with her.
"Give me the phone," Emma says playfully snatching it from Regina causing Regina to pout.
"Henry, hey. You okay?"
Although she saw Henry only yesterday and knows he is perfectly safe with his grandparents, checking in on him is habit. Strange how naturally the motherly instincts come to her since she never considered herself capable of being a mother.
"I'm good, mom. So what's all this about groceries? You know you can't cook. When I reminded you about dinner I didn't mean you should cook. Can't mom use her magic or something?"
"You sound like your mother. I told grandma and grandpa that I'd cook, so that's what I'm doing," Emma replies stubbornly.
"But aren't you forgetting that the extent of your cooking is a pancake or a grilled cheese?"
Emma hears Henry titter down the phone.
"Hey! Watch it, kid," Emma says, though she can't help the smile that comes across her face. "You just have to trust us. You wait and see. Me and your mom will whip you up a feast fit for a king."
"Okay, mom, if you say so."
"Don't worry, Henry, I'm here to make sure she doesn't burn the house to the ground," Regina calls out.
Emma slaps Regina lightly and they both giggle, then exchange their goodbyes with Henry. Snow rushes to the phone and after Emma has reassured her that she and Regina don't need her to come round and help them, they hang up and turn their attention back to dinner. Whilst Emma lifts the turkey into a baking tray, Regina gathers the ingredients for basting the turkey.
"Did you buy cooking apples?" Regina asks.
"No, why? Is that on the list?" Emma asks panicked.
"No, no, it's just that if there's one thing I'm good at making in the kitchen, it's an apple pie." She raises a playful eyebrow at Emma as she adds, "It's my specialty."
Regina and Emma rarely get time alone with an angst ridden teenager stomping the halls and Snow, David and the entirety of Storybrooke residents popping in for visits as and when they please, so having a free house seems to leave room for only one thought in Regina's head and it's certainly not one of cooking.
"You know, maybe on second thought I'd be better handling this on my own," Emma states taking Regina by surprise.
"It's just that you being dressed like that, the gazes and teasing and you just being here in general, is a little bit distracting."
"Oh." Regina nods and smiles smugly, before sauntering over to Emma and walking behind her.
Emma's spine goes rigid at feeling Regina so close behind her and all breath leaves her body.
"So is it distracting when I do this?" Regina whispers huskily into Emma's ear, running the back of her hand softly down Emma's arm.
Goose pimples prickle all across Emma's skin as her body ripples with shivers, the electricity of Regina's touch taking her over as it always does and all she can bring herself to say is an almost silent, "Mmmhmm."
Regina gets so much pleasure from seeing Emma at her mercy, of knowing the profound affect she has on her - the same affect that Emma has on her - and she revels in it, teasing Emma and thriving on the intoxicating all-powerful chemistry and attraction between them. It's something neither of them have experienced before and is something that coaxed them together at the beginning. They couldn't ignore that unbearably strong magnetic pull between them and they still can't.
Regina leans into Emma more closely and brushes her lips lightly against her ear and the side of her neck, leaving traces of red lipstick on Emma's skin and causing her to exhale sharply. Regina's hands shift from her arm and she follows the slight curve of Emma's waist, knowing exactly how best to ignite a fire in her.
Emma's body involuntarily reacts to Regina's and she tilts her head back to give Regina better access to her neck whilst shifting her body into Regina's so that her ass is pressed against her more firmly.
Suddenly Regina completely detaches herself from Emma, removing her hands and stepping away from her, causing Emma's blood to turn cold. Despite being wound tight and read to combust, she feels herself sink with disappointment as Regina walks around to stand in front of her. Emma should be used to this by now - the constant push and pull - but it still manages to take her by surprise and drive her absolutely wild, which is exactly Regina's intention.
"Sorry, Miss Swan, I'm just doing as you asked. I'm not distracting you."
Emma sighs and rolls her eyes at her.
"Bearing that in mind, I have a proposition for you."
"Oh, yeah?" Emma asks, intrigued.
"Until dinner is over we adopt a strictly hands off policy. That means no kisses, innocent stroking or hand holding, not even a longing stare in each other's direction. We focus solely on getting this dinner done, no distractions, just like you wanted."
"Like a pact?"
"Exactly. Up to the challenge, Miss Swan?"
Regina smiles playfully and Emma glares at her for a moment, before folding her arms and smiling at her. "You know what? You're on."
"And maybe later on tonight you'll have the privilege of seeing the other outfit I treated myself to for Christmas." Regina wiggles her eyebrows at Emma and Emma feels herself clench firmly with sheer need.
What was Regina doing to her?
The next couple of hours pass by with Regina and Emma scurrying around the kitchen, juggling various pots and pans, setting timers on their cells, mixing concoctions of seasoning and sauces and for all intents and purposes, getting their chef hats on.
Although Regina protested, Emma insisted on playing music and soft, indie rock plays in the background. Emma absentmindedly hums, unaware of the fact that she actually has a rather tuneful voice and Regina catches glimpses of her gently swaying her hips as she stirs the stuffing mix. She breaks her own rules of no longing stares and when Emma's back is turned continues to steal gazes at her. Seeing Emma free from eyes on her and with no concern of how she may be perceived by others is truly beautiful to Regina, because this right here is her. The real Emma Swan. Completely authentic and uncensored. Regina's surprised about just how much she adores that person and how many underlying layers of Emma there has been for her to uncover.
Regina and Emma have more in common than just sharing a son. They're both guarded and reluctant to shed their armour by confiding in one another about their thoughts and emotions, for fear of rejection or hurt. That's something that they know they have in common, but what remains unknown to both of them is the other things they share, the least of which is their feelings for each other.
Just as Regina breaks her stare from Emma to check on the turkey in the oven and add more juices to it, Emma peers over at her. Regina's changed out of her dress and into a tank top and a pair of Emma's sweats. After all, Regina Mills does not do casual. Whilst her half of the wardrobe is filled with classic dresses, pencil skirts and blouses, Emma's half is scattered with jeans of all shades, sweaters, tank tops and leather jackets. Not forgetting the drawer rammed so full of beanie hats, scarves and gloves that it won't physically close.
The sweats cling tightly to Regina's hips that are wider than Emma's and the tank top is too baggy so the neckline dips revealing the top of her lacy maroon bra. Emma can't help but stare at her from across the other side of the kitchen, subconsciously licking her lips as she does. She loves to see Regina looking her best - which she always does - but there's something even sexier about seeing her like this. And she can't explain why but there's something about Regina wearing her clothes that makes her want to rip them right off of her.
Both women go about tending to the food, only stopping to steal glances at their cell phones to check the next step of the recipe and when the other's back is turned, each other. Their bodies are wound tight and they're anything but relax. The chemistry and attraction between them is always electrifying, but their hands-off pact has only caused the sexual desire they feel to expand since Regina and Emma are both opposed to rules and find a great deal of enjoyment in challenging and breaking them. Knowing they can't give into their wants, only makes them want to even more and adds a layer of tension and thrill. Now, their want for each other has turned into a need and the passion they have for one another is a white, hot roaring fire that is consuming them from the inside out. However, they're both so stubborn that neither of them will allow themselves to act on it for fear of breaking the pact and losing.
"That's all the veg prepared," Emma announces placing the last pan of vegetables that she's prepared on the hob. "Now we just have to remember to cook it in time with the turkey. How's the turkey coming along, by the way?"
Emma peers through the glass in the oven door at the turkey.
Regina nods. "It's in there with the roast potatoes. I'll have to take it out again in an hour to add some more seasoning."
Emma nods. "See? I told you we could do it."
"Don't be cocky, Miss Swan. It doesn't suit you," Regina teases.
Emma raises her eyebrows at Regina.
"Now that dinner's sorted, I'm gonna grab a shower and change. I'd usually invite you to join me, but since you decided on a no hands policy I guess-"
"Yeah, I get it, Emma," Regina snaps, unable to hide her frustration, which pleases Emma to no end.
"Keep an eye on everything," Emma reminds her before strutting off upstairs, leaving an increasingly sexually frustrated Regina behind, an amused smile still on her face.
Although Regina spends more time choosing an outfit, styling her hair and applying make-up than Emma, Emma has a habit of having long, scorching hot showers and so she always takes longer to get ready.
She climbs out of the shower, a white cotton towel wrapped about her when suddenly the blaring sounds of alarms cause her to practically jump out of her skin. She dashes downstairs and when she peers over the banister, she sees that the kitchen is filled with smoke.
"Oh my…", Emma whispers under her breath. "Regina?"
The smoke is so thick that she can't see if Regina is there or not and Emma's pitiful attempt at calling Regina's name is swallowed by the sound of the alarm. Emma lingers on the middle stair and stretches on her tiptoes to turn off the alarm that is fixed to the ceiling, before sweeping down into the kitchen.
"Regina?" Emma calls out again.
Choked coughs escape her and she swings her arm about in an attempt to quash some of the smoke. This time she sees Regina's outline amidst the smoke just as she rips the burning turkey out of the oven and screams out in agony. Knowing Regina is hurt Emma waves her hand, teleports the smoking turkey out into the backyard, clears the smoke and then dashes over to Regina worriedly.
"Oh, my god, Regina. What were you thinking? Are you crazy?" Emma exclaims, taking Regina's hand which is red raw from where she picked up the scalding baking tray. A ray of white light emerges as Emma heals her and Regina sighs softly with relief.
Emma backs up from Regina and asks again, "So are you going to tell me what happened?"
"You said no magic."
"Really? You're going to blame this on me?"
"I'm not blaming you," Regina replies nonchalant. "I'm just telling you why it happened."
"So you can't stop the house going up in flames without magic?" Emma asks, melodramatically. "What were you even doing, Regina? I told you to keep an eye on it."
"I was…busy," Regina shrugs.
"Busy doing what? I was only upstairs for an hour."
"I was in the backyard."
Emma should've known. When she was the Evil Queen, Regina's interest in apples stemmed from a fondness of using them as murder weapons, but it's now been transformed into a much more healthier and innocent hobby of gardening. Emma never would've taken Regina for having a green thumb, but she will take any chance she has to get out in the backyard or green house and tend to her vegetable patches and fruit trees.
"And…I might've had the temperature on the oven a little too high."
Emma wants to scald Regina more, but the baking tray kind of did that for her, plus she can't really criticise her because she probably would've made the same mistake. Still, Emma's suppressed emotions begin coming out side wards in the form of anger.
"Great, so now dinner is ruined. Might as well cancel the damn thing. I'll just call mom and dad now and tell them."
Regina shakes her head in disbelief at Emma. "Emma, what is this about?" she asks exasperated. "I know you wanted today to go perfect for your parents, but do you really care that much about some stupid burnt turkey? Here." With a wave of her hand a cloud of purple magic swarms the table and a lavish dinner emerges. "There's your dinner. Now, it's perfect."
Emma shakes her head and makes the dinner disappear.
"Why did you do that?" Regina turns to ask Emma.
"Because you still don't get it, Regina!" Emma yells.
"No, you know what, Emma? I don't get it. So why don't you tell me?" Regina replies, her voice loud and firm.
"You don't know what my life's been like. One disaster after another. You don't know the hell I've been through."
It's true that Regina doesn't know what Emma's been through and no matter how much Emma tells her, she still won't truly know because she hasn't lived through it in the same way Emma has, but Regina can't help but feel resentful when Emma plays the victim card.
"And what about the hell I've been through? You think I'm not scared too? You think I don't care about this? That I don't care about what Henry thinks, what your parents think? I'm the Evil Queen, Emma. Do you have any idea what that's like? To know that no matter how much good I do people in this town, even my own friends and family, will always question my motives and assume the worst of me. Try living with that."
"And being the saviour is so much easier? Having that responsibility thrown onto me and not having a choice? Anyway, this isn't about you being the Evil Queen or me being the saviour. It's about-"
"What?" Regina spits impatiently.
"It's about me not wanting to lose you, okay?" Emma shouts, her eyes on the ground.
"And because I accidentally burned the turkey, you're going to lose me?" Regina asks sarcastically.
Emma shakes her head and can't help the small amused smile that comes across her face as she realises how ridiculous that sounds. How ridiculous this all sounds.
"It's nothing to do with the dinner or even today," Emma explains, her anger having faded and her voice soft. "I'm bad at admitting it, but I'm-I'm just…I'm scared. For the first time in a really long time I'm happy, and I don't want what usually happens to happen. I don't want it to be ruined."
Emma doesn't even realise until she says the words that all the pressure she's been putting on herself about the dinner has been less to do with winning her parents approval and more to do with her attempting to deal with the tangled web of emotions she's feeling.
She and Regina have been so busy getting lost in the euphoria of being together that they've barely given any thought to the realities of their relationship, of what it truly means for them to be together and for Emma, that's only just hit her. She realises that regardless of how much she wants to be with Regina, there are so many obstacles that could potentially get in the way and issues she and Regina have individually as well as collectively that they still need to address and overcome.
Although Regina does share some of those reservations and insecurities that Emma has, she's fighting to be more hopeful, to believe that they can and will overcome whatever difficulties they face. Ironically, that is a quality that Emma has inspired in her and now it is her turn to return the favour.
"Things have changed, Emma. This isn't the same world anymore. We're not facing constant battles and we don't have villians showing up on our doorstep threatening to ruin our lives every day. You, we, gave everybody their happy endings and now…now we get to have ours."
Emma lifts her eyes to look at Regina and a quiet breathy laugh escapes her. "I wish I was as hopeful as you seem to be."
"Trust me, it's not easy." Regina responds causing both of them to laugh lightly.
Silence extends between them for a moment and it's clear to see that their mini tiff ended as quickly as it started.
Regina is the first to break the silence as she takes a deep breath and says, "I'm sorry, Emma."
Emma looks up at Regina a mixture of surprise and confusion on her face as Regina goes onto explain.
"I'm sorry for not seeing from the beginning what this was all about, for not realising how you were feeling. I should've…I should've…" Regina trails off unable to articulate her guilt.
Seeing how afraid and uncertain Emma is makes her feel as though she has somehow failed her. Regina has had so few people in her life that she's truly cared for, so selflessness is not necessarily a trait that comes to her naturally. The most important person in her life has always been herself and although having Henry changed that, she still feels that she's not good enough for Henry or Emma or anyone she loves.
"And what about me? That stuff you said about being the Evil Queen…I never even thought about it before. All this time I've been thinking about me and what I was afraid of and I…I didn't stop to think about you."
Regina shudders violently as though a ghost has walked right through her and Emma asks, "What was that?"
"Nothing. It's just…this…it's still so strange."
"What? You mean actually opening up and talking about our feelings? I know, it still feels unnatural to me too." Emma laughs lightly then walks closer to Regina and takes her hand. "But we're working on it."
Regina meets her eyes, returns her smile and nods. Somehow it's comforting to know that regardless of their issues – and boy is there a lot of them – they're in it together. It's the first time either of them have truly felt that they're not alone, that they have another person who is there by their side at all times to support and encourage them. That means that regardless of any lingering fears they may have, they feel more powerful than they ever have before.
Swallowing the lump that has formed in her throat and blinking back the tears in her eyes, Regina asks, "So what do we do about dinner now?"
Emma lets go of Regina's hand and sighs. "What we should've done in the first place."
Emma raises her hand and Regina turns to see the mess of ingredients, pots and pans full of vegetables disappear and a cherry red tablecloth materialises on the table along with five place settings, a high chair for baby Neal and even the added touch of candles.
Regina turns back to Emma, tilts her head to the side and gives her a smile.
"What? It's not like we haven't broken the no magic rules already today," Emma states.
"They aren't the only rules we've broken."
Emma's frowns slightly in puzzlement for a moment, until she realises what Regina is referring to and then a smile comes across her face to match Regina's.
Their eyes lock and their teeth remain exposed in grins for a few moments, until suddenly the tension between them rises at such a speed and impact that it knocks the smiles right off their faces. Their heart rates grow erratic which is apparent by their heavy breaths and rapid movements of their chests and at once their eyes drop to each other's lips. Regina's pout is full and scarlet red, and Emma's are glistening slightly in the light from the strawberry lip balm she applied when she first got out of the shower. It's only now that Emma actually realises that all she's wearing is the towel she wrapped about herself when she got out of the shower, which Regina had noticed the second she saw her.
As though a rope between their bodies is violently yanked at once, both women push off and run to each other, their lips colliding hard and fast, in one swift, movement. Groans escape them without them even realising, both of them unable to contain their desperate hunger for one another as they kiss so desperately that they practically render one another unconscious. Emma's fingers run through Regina's sleek black bob but as Regina tries to do the same, her hand gets caught in damp, towel dried tangles. That doesn't lessen her desire for Emma and she gets closer to Emma's body, pressing herself against her so that she can feel her breasts against hers. Even through multiple layers of material feeling them against hers causes something in her to tighten and their kiss grows more erratic. Emma returns her fervour with every bit of passion as she runs her hands down Regina's back and cups her ass, pulling her in ever closer.
This spurs Regina on and she pushes Emma backwards until she reaches the wall. Their kiss breaks for a moment as they meet each other's eyes and Emma laughs breathlessly, before grabbing Regina by the scruff of her tank top to bring her mouth back to hers.
There are times when they are so slow in their love making, when they will spend hours stroking, kissing and licking every square inch of each other's bodies, devoting themselves to providing each other with prolonged, euphoric pleasure that causes their nerve endings to tingle, but in this instance there is no such time. The entire day has been an excruciatingly long act of foreplay and it's a miracle that they've been able to hold off as long as they have.
As their tongues dance together, Regina tugs on Emma's towel and it falls to the ground leaving Emma stark naked. Regina leans back from the kiss and Emma's eyes fly open, as she wonders why the hell Regina has stopped kissing her. She sees Regina's intense dark eyes on her, slowly sweeping over her body, drinking her in and Emma's breath catches in her throat when she sees the way Regina looks at her.
A shiver runs through Regina, her body naturally reacting to the sheer power of need that she has for Emma and regardless of the fact that she knows every crevice of Emma's body by heart by now, it still renders her speechless every time she sets her eyes upon it. She is truly beautiful in every way. Her long, slender legs, athletic build, slight biceps, toned stomach, narrow hips, small, perky breasts, the mole at the side of her belly button…Regina cherishes every single part of her. There was a time when she would catch herself gazing at Emma in awe and wonderment of her radiant beauty and she would simply convince herself that it was nothing more than admiration or perhaps even envy – the typical emotions that females feel towards their beautiful female friends. But as she stands here now, her body wrought tight as she fights to contain the sexual excitement she feels that threatens to make her explode, she knows with certainty that it's so much more than that. She wants to possess Emma in every which way, to have her scream her name at the top of her lungs as she trembles with pleasure beneath her and she wants to know that she is the only one that can do that to her.
Regina leans down and gently plants a few kisses on each of Emma's breasts. Her creamy, smooth skin tastes of strawberries and cream and Regina laps it up. It's not long before Emma reaches for Regina's face, desperate to continue their kiss. The sounds of their mouths smacking together combined with Emma's 'mmm's' of pleasure is music to Regina's ears.
Emma continues to eagerly grasp at Regina, her caged up sexual frustration dominating her. Regina breaks the kiss once more and Emma's wide green eyes fly open and plead with her. As Regina licks and sucks her neck, Emma buries her head in the crook of Regina's neck, inhaling the smell of her. Her scent is musky, a hint of cinnamon breaking through and to Emma it smells like home.
Regina leans back to meet Emma's shining, emerald eyes and reaches out to stroke her cheek gently. "Now, Miss Swan, I'm going to make you come."
The words are so powerful and spoken with so much conviction that Emma could swear she almost came right there on the spot. A short gasp escapes Emma, which is one of elation and anticipation as Regina lightly runs her hand from Emma's cheek, down her neck and then her arm.
Emma and Regina have been together long enough by now that they know exactly what they enjoy and their rhythm comes naturally to them. Emma knows well enough what Regina wants and she also knows that what Regina wants most of all is to give Emma what she wants. That is why Emma has no problem with remaining still against the wall as Regina begins exploring Emma's body with her hands and mouth.
Leaving trails of saliva on the surface of her skin, Regina scatters light kisses across Emma's collarbone. Emma leans her head back and sighs softly as she attempts to control her breathing so as to stop her head spinning.
Regina slides a single hand down the center of her breasts and stomach, landing in the place Emma has been desperate for her to touch. The initial contact is a shock and her clitoris is already so sensitive due to the level of arousal she's experiencing that her body jerks. A smile of satisfaction comes across Regina's face as she leans in to Emma's face, kissing and licking her cheek. Regina finds as much pleasure in seeing Emma squirm from her touch than she does having her own orgasms, maybe even more.
Regina's touch is soft and her fingers shift in small circular motions against Emma's wet lips. "Do you like that, Miss Swan?"
Emma nods enthusiastically, as she bites the side of her lip so hard that it hurts.
Regina doesn't have to ask twice and Emma twists her head to the side and reaches for the back of Regina's head, before pulling her into her. Regina's tongue becomes more firm against Emma's, letting Emma know that things are heating up and Regina's hand glides against Emma easier as she grows more wet.
Emma begins grasping at the hem of Regina's tank top and Regina lifts her arms up into the air so Emma can take it off her. Emma itches to have Regina's hand back on her, but her need to see, touch and kiss Regina's body is too strong to ignore. Emma leans her head down to kiss Regina's chest and slowly moves across to her breast, but Regina lifts Emma's head up by her chin.
So caught up in her lust for Regina, she keeps forgetting the rules. Regina is in charge now. And it's not just Regina that likes it that way, it's Emma too. But on occasions like today her wanting to show her appreciation to Regina overtakes and she forgets that she too will get her turn to have her way with Regina.
"Lie down," Regina orders.
Emma does so without question, despite the kitchen tiles being so cold on her back that she lets out a light gasp of surprise. She props herself up on her elbows and watches as Regina kneels down at the bottom of her legs and reaches behind her back to unhook her bra. It falls to the floor to reveal her round breasts and erect, dark nipples.
"Just for you," Regina says locking her eyes on Emma.
A wide grin comes across Emma's face and it takes every ounce of strength she has not to throw herself on top of Regina. Unlike, Emma, Regina's stomach is slightly rounded, her hips are noticeably curvy, her breasts rounder and droopier and her skin a rich, olive colour. She is by far the sexiest woman Emma has ever seen and thankfully, Regina doesn't leave Emma waiting too long.
She crawls towards Emma and rests her legs either side of Emma's ribcage. She lies atop Emma so their bare breasts are against each other and Regina gives her one sweet kiss on her mouth. She then makes her way down Emma's torso, leaving no corner of Emma's body untouched. In a more relaxed position Emma seems more able to appreciate the sensations that Regina's hot, wet tongue cause.
Teasing Emma is what Regina does best and she swirls her tongue around Emma's breasts, chest and stomach over and over, focusing on Emma's weak spots and occasionally dropping all the way down to her pubic bone, before shifting away again. The anticipation makes Emma feel as though she's about to burst into flames and as the time passes Emma can't help but reach out for Regina's head and lightly give her a nudge in the right direction.
Regina knows exactly what Emma's doing and usually she would object to letting her dictate the timing, but after the amount of teasing that's already taken place this morning, she decides to give Emma what she wants.
Emma is so wet that even without touching her, Regina can see she's glistening with juices. She leans in closer and lightly blows against Emma, causing Emma to lightly inhale and when she finally kisses her, Emma immediately bucks her hips in response, her body begging for more. Fortunately for Emma, the waiting is over and Regina is going to do exactly what she said she would; she's going to make her come. Hard. And not just once either.
She moves her mouth across Emma's outer lips firmly and in erratic and random patterns. Her taste is immediately all over Regina's mouth and it makes her hungry for more. Regina steals a glance at Emma, peering up at her from between her legs and Emma has her eyes closed and her mouth ajar as she soaks up the first flurries of building pleasure.
For minutes Regina kisses and sucks, using minimal amounts of tongue and only when she senses that Emma wants more does she begin to trail her tongue lightly across her labia and around her clit. Increasing in pressure, she zones in on her clit more and more, which causes a reaction in Emma who gasps and wriggles her hips.
She lifts her head up to meet Emma's gaze, who is now fully propped up on her elbows, wanting to lock her eyes on Regina's and connect in this moment. Regina takes her hand and lightly rubs Emma who is soaked with the moisture from Regina's mouth as well as her own arousal and then slips a finger in.
Emma nods at Regina appreciatively and Regina curves her finger upwards, ensuring she hits the right spot. Emma is so wet that Regina's finger slips in and out with ease and she easily inserts another two fingers in, Emma's body begging for the stimulation.
Emma's eyes involuntarily fly shut when the sensations momentarily take her over, but for the most part, she keeps her gaze firmly on Regina's dark, hypnotic and sensual eyes. Emma licks and bites her lip, desperate to feel Regina's kiss once more, but Regina's mouth has other places to be.
Each time Regina thinks Emma is as aroused as she can be, she's proven wrong and finds Emma to be even wetter than before. She removes her fingers and puts her mouth back to Emma, burying her nose into her pubic hair as she almost violently licks Emma rapidly from side to side.
"Oh! Oh!" Emma calls out in surprise.
It only lasts a minute though and then Regina places two fingers back inside her as she continues to lick. Hearing Emma's increasing moans and feeling her body growing tense with the build-up of her orgasm, causes Regina's insides to clench and makes her yearn for Emma to be touching her instead.
The combination of fingers and tongue causes Emma's pleasure to double almost instantly and her elbows practically collapse beneath her as she falls backwards onto the floor, unable to think of anything other than how damn good it feels.
Regina alternates her speed, deliberately bringing Emma to the edge, but never allowing her to fall over, so as to build the intensity of her orgasm. Emma grows more disarrayed as she takes her hands up to her head and pulls at her own hair in utter frustration.
Regina peers up at Emma, needing to see her face and the level of enjoyment she's experiencing and when finally she's ready to see her come, Regina goes all out. She curves her fingers up inside Emma, using more pressure to stroke her g-spot as her tongue dances about her clit.
Emma reaches for Regina's head, tangling her fingers in her hair and can't help but shout out her approval and tell Regina what she wants as she screams, "Oh! Oh! Oh, Regina! Faster! Faster!"
Regina doesn't listen, because she doesn't need to. She knows exactly where she needs to be and when to make Emma come undone. As Emma's spine begins to curve, her screams quieten, her breath having been stolen from her and Regina slides her fingers in and out to the maximum speed until she feels Emma's insides begin to tighten and then she licks, sucks and kisses her vigorously, the stimulation of her clit combined with the g-spot finally sending her over the edge.
One squeal rips its way from her lungs as her entire body erupts in euphoric orgasmic pleasure that electrifies every nerve ending in her body and sends her mind into a different dimension. She grabs hold of Regina's head more firmly and involuntarily gyrates her hips against Regina's mouth, and Regina still doesn't stop, knowing that this is only the beginning. The build-up was so incredibly huge that the first orgasm is intense, but over quick. It leaves Emma lying back, breathless and rosy cheeked, but Regina still isn't satisfied.
She crawls over to Emma and strokes her damp hair from her sticky forehead before kissing her firmly on the lips. Although there was a time when Emma would've been more than satisfied with one orgasm, being with Regina has spoiled her and she's ecstatic to know there's more to come.
Regina remains next to Emma, her arm wrapped about her waist, but her other hand slowly makes its way down in between Emma's spread legs. She's still so sensitive that she gasps when she feels Regina's hand on her, but this time Regina is much more gentle and slow. She kisses Emma tenderly, and Emma still raring for another orgasm gently sways her hips from side to side against Regina's hand. Whenever Regina gets close to her clit, she almost cries out from the sensitivity so Regina enters three fingers inside Emma and massages her.
"Mmm-hmm," Emma mumbles.
Knowing that there's no issues with sensitivity here, Regina isn't afraid to move faster.
"You still want more?" Regina asks against Emma's mouth.
"You still want more?" Regina asks again, wanting a verbal response from Emma.
"Yes," Emma replies slightly breathless.
Regina grins at her and Emma runs her hands across Regina's naked upper torso, the feel of her skin and breasts turning her on even more. As Emma strokes Regina and plays with her nipples, she's reminded of what she's in store for in a few minutes and she can barely contain herself.
Regina looks down at Emma, her fingers sliding in and out of her at a steady rhythm and witnessing it is so beautiful that she can't seem to break her stare. She increases her speed and Emma grips on her arm firmly, letting her know that she's getting closer again. This time Emma's body is much weaker from exhaustion and Regina can feel how fast she's reaching climax again.
Emma's groans of pleasure remain steady and quiet as she lingers in the slow pace and sweet sensations. She holds Regina's face tenderly and kisses her gently, until suddenly a scream erupts from her followed by almost violent convulsions which rip through her body. It takes Regina by surprise, since she can usually always sense when Emma is about to come and she didn't on this occasion. Her hand stills and juices gush from Emma onto her hand. When Regina realises what's happened she re-enters her fingers, reaching up to massage her g-spot again and within seconds Emma is yowling so loudly that Regina fears the entirety of Maine will hear her. Her body spasms uncontrollably against Regina and Emma completely loses herself in an overwhelming current of intense, mind-blowing orgasms that ripple right from her core and electrifying every nerve ending in her body. She's no longer even aware of Regina, all she's aware of is the overbearing sensations which are wracking her entire body, pushing out the capacity for any other thought or emotion.
Regina sits by watching her in awe, fascination and arousal. Her hand seems to unconsciously find its way into her sweats, the pleasure of seeing Emma come so hard making her want her own orgasm right now.
It takes a few minutes for Emma to return to some semblance of consciousness and when she does, she lets out an almost animalistic growl as she throws herself onto Regina. By this point Regina is surprised she hasn't combusted and she allows Emma to rip her remaining clothes off. Still delirious, Emma proceeds to frantically kiss and lick Regina's body all over, but Regina is burning for Emma's mouth to be in one place only. She grabs Emma by the hand and Emma follows her into the living room on shaky legs.
"Now lie back," Regina asks Emma.
Emma is almost high and obliges once more. It's only moments until Regina has climbed atop of Emma, her wet pussy on Emma's mouth. Experiencing her own orgasm has made Emma ravenous for this and she buries herself in Regina, smelling and tasting her, wanting to become as one with her.
Although Regina took her time with Emma and used technique and stamina to build the suspense and intensity, Regina could care less about that now, and proceeds to ride Emma's face exactly the way she needs. Now, completely naked, Regina's breasts fly about as she shifts back and forth against Emma and she lets every single one of her inhibitions go. She doesn't hold back on her moaning, the self-control she's shown up until now completely leaving her.
This is a side to Regina that no one but Emma gets to see and although Emma loves the elegant, reserved and demure Regina, seeing her let go of herself in every single way is so incredibly sexy. Nothing produces the same level of supreme elation in Emma than witnessing that.
"I need you, Emma," Regina breathes. "I need you."
She presses down on Emma's mouth harder and harder, and although Emma's technique is every bit as good as Regina's, it wouldn't matter if it wasn't, because Regina has been verging on the edge of an orgasm for countless minutes from witnessing Emma's pleasure up close and personal.
Regina rubs her clit against Emma's nose as Emma's tongue slickly enters her over and over again in perfect rhythm with her grinding. Emma begins to wriggle her head vigorously and Regina reaches up and entwines her fingers in her hair as her back arches and her breathing grows shallower.
Emma grabs Regina by her hips as Regina continues to grind against her. Low moans vibrate from Emma's throat, the taste of Regina's arousal and sound of her heavy exhalations and occasional moans cause her already throbbing pussy to pulsate more noticeably.
"Please, please," Regina begs, desperate for the coil inside her that has tightened to an almost painful extent to finally be released.
Though it's tempting to hold out and delay the satisfying end Regina so craves, Emma cannot fight the burning desire to make Regina come any longer. She wants to feel her, hear her, see her, she wants to experience it with her all over again, just as Regina did with her.
Emma reaches up for Regina's breasts, lightly twizzles her nipples and puckers her mouth to kiss Regina's dripping wet folds, before slipping her tongue inside and then gently sucking on her clit. She repeats this cycle over and over, increasing the speed and intensity each time, until Regina's body goes rigid. All breath seems to leave Regina for a moment as her legs clamp tightly around Emma's face. The orgasm she's in the middle of urges her to lap up as much as possible as her body involuntarily trembles and she rubs herself against Emma's face more wildly.
When she finally remembers to breathe, a single yelp of gleeful euphoria escapes her, which sends shivers down Emma's spine. She closes her eyes for a moment, to appreciate fully the feel of Regina's weight on her and her unique, sweet flavour and smell.
As Regina's orgasm continues to rip through her body for a few more moments she leans herself forward, thrusting her hands into Emma's until their fingers are meshed together. Then Regina slides down until she's sat on Emma's lap, her juices flowing onto Emma's bare skin.
Emma sits up to look at her. Regina's brow is dripping with sweat, her red lipstick is smeared all over her face, her eyes are glazed over yet twinkling, her cheeks are rosy and her lips are parted, her breathing still heavy. For the longest moment all Emma can do is stare at Regina in wonderment.
Regina returns her stare, her eyes never moving from Emma's, intense green ones. Even with her light blonde hair a matted mess and her face covered in red blotches, she is still the most beautiful woman she has ever seen.
Their hands are still interconnected, but Regina breaks them apart so as to reach for Emma's face. She places her palm flat against Emma's hot cheek and Emma sighs contentedly and closes her eyes, soaking up the comfort and completeness that Regina's touch brings her. Emma's hand goes up to the crook of Regina's neck as she leans into her and kisses her softly.
Their lips are still moist, the taste of one another residing on their lips and it only adds to the intimacy of the moment. Their kiss, although nothing more than a peck on the lips, is long and sweet and as they pull apart, blissful smiles are on both their faces, their eyes shining with adoration and unadulterated joy.
Regina runs her hand down Emma's arm, her eyes wandering down Emma's body as she does so, but Emma's eyes remained fixated on Regina. A sudden impulse comes over her to say something that she's never said before and although her mouth opens, no sound comes out and her pounding heart prevents her from saying the words that are screaming in her head.
Regina doesn't seem to notice as she says, "Will I ever get tired of this?"
All anxieties in Emma are obliterated then as she returns to the moment and replies, "I know I won't. How could I ever get tired of that? That was…incredible."
Emma lets out a light laugh and Regina smiles, before slowly moving closer to Emma and kissing her neck softly. Emma knows exactly what that means and although part of her is thrilled, the other part of her wants to collapse into bed and sleep for the next week.
"Again?" Emma asks, as Regina continues to gently lick her neck and across her collarbone.
"Mmm-hmm", Regina replies in between smooching noises.
Regina reaches for Emma's breast, cupping it in her hand and moves from her neck to meet her eyes.
"This time I want us to come together."
Regina shifts down, lightly licking and sucking Emma's breasts and Emma begins to protest, although every cell in her body is screaming at Regina to continue.
"My parents will be here soon. We have to get ready and clean up and—"
Regina's head jerks up and she raises an eyebrow at Emma. "There's plenty of time and anyway who are you kidding? The rate we've been going, it'll be over in less than 5 minutes."
Emma can't help but smile and blush slightly at that.
Both Emma and Regina are sexual beings, though they never considered themselves to be before, and the amount of orgasms they have per week is off the charts. Their past relationships have always been with men and although sex was good, that's all it was – good. There wasn't one tenth of the sexual or emotional connection that's between Emma and Regina and in the past very often sex would end with not even one measly orgasm. A lot has changed since then and "multiple orgasms" are two words that are now familiar friends to both women, luckily for them.
Regina can see in Emma's eyes that she's prepared to go upstairs, shower, change and get ready for dinner, but she also knows that with a light nudge in the right direction she will succumb to her true desires. Regina's hand travels south and Emma watches her do it, not stopping her and gasping when she touches her. Her sensitivity is still high and she knows that Regina's right and that it won't take her long. As for Regina, she's always able to climax easier than Emma and the mere thought of knowing what is about to come has her oozing with wetness once again.
Regina slides further down Emma's body and Emma spreads her legs, a look of arousal and anticipation on her face. Regina opens her legs, climbing atop Emma and lowering until she feels Emma's wetness against her. For a minute or so limbs are readjusted and the two women continue to shift their bodies until they're in the perfect position and at just the right angle.
"Ready, Miss Swan?"
Emma nods enthusiastically as Regina begins to grind against her. Though their sex entails many varying acts and aspects to it, all of which are exciting, pleasurable and intoxicating, there's something about this that is the most intimate of them all. Feeling the other's dripping pussy, throbbing clit, of being able to hold each other and maintain eye contact as they come together. A strap-on allows for the last part, but it doesn't allow them to truly feel each other in this way.
With Regina on top, she dictates the speed and pressure of the movements and Emma watches Regina, mesmerised by her glorious body. The way her hips move along with her torso, the way her breasts jiggle and her stomach tenses and relaxes with each forward and back motion she makes. Emma gets so lost in that, in just watching her that she forgets all about what they're doing and once again those three words that she failed to speak earlier enter her mind.
Regina can see that Emma is distracted and not as reactive as she usually would be and so she slows and asks Emma what's wrong.
"Nothing, nothing," Emma insists. "I think maybe…Let's switch places."
Regina raises an eyebrow at Emma as if to say, "As if," but Emma is ready to challenge her on it.
"I'm in the mood to be on top and despite what you say, I know how much you it drives you when I actually take control."
Regina can't argue with that. Although she generally maintains control and that turns her on, there's something about the roles reversing and Emma possessing her body that is even more of a turn on.
So with a quick role reversal, Emma is on top and decides to lose herself in Regina so as to forget her anxieties about those words that keep wriggling their way into her consciousness.
With the aftershocks of their orgasms still lingering in their bodies, its mere minutes before the two are close. Panting, Emma clings to Regina's hair and Regina wraps her arms around Emma's sweaty back, as the two cooperatively move together as one, each movement striking their clit until they climax together.
Skin on skin, they hold each other close, their sweaty bodies pressed together, their juices covering each other and their thudding heart rates thumping against each other's rib cages.
The final kiss they share has no sexual energy to it at all and is one of pure romance and tenderness. Overwhelmed with emotion, Emma bites her lip with all her might to stop those words from falling from her mouth, that seem to keep creeping back to the surface no matter how hard she tries to shove them back into a locked box.
A hot, steamy shower leaves Regina and Emma feeling refreshed and despite the exhaustion of their excursions radiating throughout their muscles, they're relaxed and as ready as they can be to face David, Snow and Henry.
The pair get ready together, which is never a good idea, because all they do is bicker. Regina perches herself at the vanity table, taking good care over primping her hair and applying her makeup and Emma stands over her, blocking her light and reaching over her to grab various products.
After applying a minimal amount of concealer, a layer of mascara and curling the ends of her hair, Emma changes into a long grey jumper dress – one of the only dresses she owns – paired with black leggings and Ugg boots.
Emma then sits on the bed and chatters incessantly to Regina who is still applying makeup. Restless and anxious about the impending dinner, Emma fiddles with items around the bedroom and floats around the room aimlessly until Regina loses her patience and yells out, "Emma, will you just leave me alone in peace?"
"Ooh, I am truly sorry, your Majesty," Emma mocks with a curtsy.
Regina raises her eyebrows at her and cocks her head to the side. Emma gets up from the bed and marches to the door like a sulky teenager.
"Nice to know I'm only wanted for one thing," Emma snipes before leaving the room.
Regina stares into the mirror and watches Emma leave and it's only seconds before she's jumped up from her seat and called out Emma's name.
Emma comes back to the doorway and Regina walks over to her.
"You know how fond I am of you, but when I'm trying to get ready you're a massive pain in my ass."
Emma scoffs. "Well, thanks for not holding back, Regina."
Regina can't help but smile and leans in to kiss Emma tenderly. Suddenly Emma pushes Regina backwards until she hits the wall and kisses her hard and fast taking Regina's breath away. Emma's tongue expertly massages Regina's causing Regina's heart to leap in her chest and she can't help but return the kiss desperately.
When Emma pulls back, Regina is still breathless and Emma smiles smugly, before saying, "Guess I'll see you downstairs when you're ready."
Emma steps away from Regina and heads for the door.
"Oh and Regina? Don't forget to reapply that lipstick. Looks like you've got into quite a mess with it."
A pleased smile comes across Emma's face, and she leaves Regina in the bedroom, not knowing whether she's angry, aroused, amused or a combination of all three. Regardless of what she is, it doesn't change the fact that her stomach is filled with butterflies and her heart is somersaulting in her chest.
Finally, Regina is able to answer her earlier question with confidence now; she will never tire of this.
With four o'clock lingering just around the corner, Regina comes downstairs to find Emma anxiously cleaning.
"Emma, what are you doing?" Regina asks.
"What does it look like?" Emma gestures with the cloth in her hand. "I'm cleaning."
Emma goes back to vigorously polishing the dining table with swirling strokes and Regina comes up behind her, placing a comforting hand on her back.
"Emma, I thought we talked about this."
"What?" Emma asks, though she does not turn to meet Regina's eyes.
Regina leans over the table and places her hand on top of Emma's until it stills. Emma sighs lightly and turns to face Regina. Her head is bowed and Regina lifts her chin up so that Emma is looking at her.
"I thought we established when I burned the turkey to ash, that there's nothing to worry about. I know we're both still trying to get used to this idea of emotional openness, but I don't want you to think you're facing this alone, because you're not."
Emma nods appreciatively. "I know. I just can't help but be a little nervous," she admits honestly.
Regina would never tell Emma that she's every bit as nervous as her, because she knows that Emma needs her support.
She reaches out to tenderly stroke her face and tells her, "Everything will be fine."
Emma smiles and nods, and although she's not still not convinced Regina still manages to reassure her.
"I'm glad you decided to put that dress back on," Emma comments, swiftly changing the subject and lightly running her hand down Regina's stomach, once again appreciating how stunning she looks in the red dress she bought for Christmas.
"You don't look so bad yourself, Miss Swan," Regina beams.
Just as the two are slowly shifting towards each other for a kiss, the doorbell rings, causing the two women to jump and bump heads.
"Ow!" they exclaim in unison.
When they look at each other, they can't help but start giggling and Regina looks Emma square in the face as she says, "Remember, this is a family dinner, not judgement day."
Emma nods but just as they're about to head to the door, Regina hits Emma in the arm and lets out a gasp.
"What? We can't keep them standing on the doorstep," Emma replies.
"Aren't you forgetting something?"
With a flick of her wrist, a fine dinner appears upon the table Emma has polished within an inch of her life and set earlier with her magic.
"What are you doing? We can't let them eat that," Emma whispers.
"Emma? Emma? Are you there?" Snow calls through the door.
"Yeah, coming, mom. Give me a minute."
Using her own magic Emma downgrades the dinner and makes it look more like a dinner she and Regina might've been capable of preparing. Regina tuts in disapproval, but Emma simply turns to her and says, "We want them to believe we cooked it."
"But we didn't."
"Yeah, but they don't need to know that, do they?" Emma retorts.
Regina rolls her eyes and Emma heads for the door, Regina closely behind.
Openly speaking to Regina has somewhat reduced the level of anxiety Emma feels about seeing her parents and how dinner might go, but it doesn't change the fact that her parents approval still means so much to her and she hasn't really gotten it yet. Although they haven't actively protested against her and Regina being together or displayed any animosity or dislike about it, they might feel that way.
As Emma opens the door, she can feel her stomach churning with nerves, because she knows that this is it and that today will be the day she truly learns how her parents feel about her new relationship with their former arch enemy.
Emma and Regina's worries are obliterated the second Snow, David and Henry step over the threshold. They have wide, warm grins on their faces as all three of them exchange hugs and greetings with both Regina and Emma. When Henry pulls both his mom's into a hug, Regina and Emma feel relieved to be reunited with him. Even though he's only been gone for one night, they've been acutely aware of his absence and the house doesn't feel like a true home when he's not there.
The family take their seats at the table and Snow slips Neal into the high chair that Emma magiced along with the table placements. Snow immediately compliments Emma and Regina's efforts.
"Wow! Emma, Regina, you did all of this?"
Emma hangs her head and despite the lie being only a little white one that she thought she could go through with, she realises she can't lie to her family even about something so insignificant.
"No," Henry answers, before Emma even has chance to admit the truth. "They used magic."
Everyone looks to Emma and Regina and Regina says, "What? We did try, but the turkey got ruined."
"How?" David inquires.
"I made the mistake of leaving Regina in charge and it turned to charcoal."
Snow and David laugh with amusement and Henry shakes his head and smiles. He knows his parents well enough to know that they'd never pull off dinner, but it doesn't make him love them any less.
"Look on the bright side. At least now, we know there's no risk of being poisoned."
Regina tuts at Henry and Emma playfully nudges him in the arm as she says, "Hey," and more giggles come from around the table.
As they eat, conversation and laughter flows with ease and Emma has a moment where time slows and the world falls completely silent. She looks around the table to see the smiling, joyful faces of all of the people she loves and it feels so surreal. Each member of her family is one part of her and with them all here together she feels utterly complete.
Emma had been so caught up in imagining all the possible things her parents might say about her and Regina that she'd forgotten that this isn't new. Regina isn't a stranger she's just picked up off the street and started dating, she's a part of Emma's family and has been for a long time.
Overwhelmed with joy, Emma instinctively reaches for Regina's hand, taking it in hers and giving her a warm smile. Regina radiates joy and contentment as she returns Emma's smile, feeling every bit as complete as she does.
Choking sounds come from David then, as he splutters on the mouthful of turkey he's just taken. Emma and Regina's heads jerk towards him as Snow gently pats her husband's back and asks, "Are you okay?"
"Mmm-hmm," he says in between coughs as he takes a gulp of water. "Just went down the wrong way."
Snow accepts David's response and continues to feed Neal mashed potatoes, but Emma can see that the carefree expression on her dad's face has completely disappeared. His eyes are fixated on something and Emma looks uncertainly to Regina and Regina meets her eyes, a look of confusion on her face.
Then Emma realises what her dad is staring at; her hand which is still clasped around Regina's. Though she knows she shouldn't, Emma can't help but tear her hand away rather violently from Regina's when she realises that's what David is staring at. It doesn't escape Henry and Snow's attention and their conversation falls away as they both look to Emma. Suddenly Emma feels that all eyes are on her and her face feels as though it's on fire. Regina sits by weighed down heavily by the bitter disappointment and upset at seeing the look that is still on David's face.
"Is everybody finished?" Regina asks with a smile, attempting to squash the rising tension.
"Yeah, everyone except for little greedy pants here," Snow replies, before leaning down to her young son and babbling baby talk at him until he starts helplessly chuckling.
Regina stands and begins collecting everyone's dishes and Henry stands to help her.
"It's okay, kid. I've got it," Emma tells him.
Henry sinks back into his seat, Snow goes back to asking him questions about the game console he had for Christmas, still attempting to wrap her head around modern day technology and Regina and Emma are relieved to be able to slip out into the kitchen.
Placing the plates in their hands on the kitchen counters, Regina and Emma turn to each other, sighs simultaneously escaping them.
"I knew it," Emma says putting her hand to her head. "I knew he wasn't okay with this."
"Hey, we don't know that."
"We don't know that?" Emma scoffs. "I hold your hand and he practically chokes on his food and stares at us like we're aliens or something. And what? You think that's a good thing? Come on, Regina."
"You just need the chance to speak to him and Mary Margaret alone. I'll say we need something from the store and I'll take Henry with me. That'll give you the chance to talk."
Regina nods and looks at Emma waiting for her response.
"Um, yeah. Yeah, I guess that'll work."
Regina is doing this because she knows it's necessary for Emma, Snow and David, but she's also doing it, because she can feel her emotions getting the better of her and she doesn't want to exacerbate the situation by doing or saying something she might regret.
Emma marches back off into the dining room, leaving Regina behind and Regina sighs deeply before following her.
"So, it turns out I completely forgot about desert. I planned to make an apple pie but with all the turkey drama, it slipped my mind. I'm just going to run to the store to get something."
"No, Regina, don't be silly. It's freezing out and we don't mind going without," Snow replies sweetly.
"Now what kind of host would I be if I didn't even offer my guests a slice of cake?" Regina replies with a smile. "I'll just grab my coat. Henry, come with me?"
"Sure," Henry replies, immediately getting up from his seat and following Regina to grab his coat and shoes.
Having finished his dinner, Neal begins fussing, agitated by the straps that are keeping him confined to his high chair. Wrapped up warmly in a black duffel coat and woolly red scarf, Regina approaches the table.
"I can take Neal for some fresh air too, if you like?" Regina offers.
Snow looks to Regina and asks, "Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Of course not."
Snow lifts Neal out of his seat and David helps Snow in bundling him up in his jacket, hat, gloves and shoes, until the only flesh that is on show is the area around his nose and eyes. They strap him into his buggy and Snow informs Regina that he'll likely drop off on their journey there and back since he hasn't had a nap yet today and with that Regina, Henry and Neal leave.
Emma is still seated at the table, wondering what she's possibly going to say and the second she's alone with her parents, she wishes she'd never agreed to Regina leaving her alone with them.
Snow seems enthused for the alone time with her partner and eldest child, and Emma isn't sure whether her mother's cheery mood is still intact because she's really that oblivious to the tension in the room or whether it's a deliberate attempt to diffuse the situation.
Either way, Emma decides to indulge in Snow's small talk, still not knowing what the hell she should say or if she should even say anything at all.
She thought introducing the idea of her and Hook as a couple to her dad was difficult. She never would've guessed that it would be even harder with Regina.
The evening is bitterly cold and Regina and Henry stroll down the street, their arms interlinked as Henry fills Regina in on the evening he spent at his grandparents last night.
Regina tries her hardest to listen and take an interest, but she can't help the question that falls from her lips right in the middle of Henry's sentence.
"Are you really okay with me and Emma being together?"
Henry falls silent and turns to look to his mother, his mouth slightly open in surprise.
Regina shakes her head. "I'm sorry, Henry. I shouldn't have asked you like that. I'm just…"
"You're worried about what grandma and grandpa think so you want to know what I think."
Henry's insight and understanding of the world, and emotions in particular, astounds Regina. She often wonders how she managed to raise such a wise, sensitive and intelligent child. But, then again, she largely credits Emma for that.
"I know what today's dinner is all about. Mom has been waiting to hear what they think, to finally get answers and she thought this would be the way to get them."
"Yeah, and it's hardly gone the way we would've liked," Regina remarks bowing her head low.
Part of Regina knows she shouldn't be burdening Henry with this, but she needs a comforting shoulder and kind ear and her son is the best one to provide that. Whilst Emma desperately seeks her parent's approval, Regina is turning to her son for answers instead.
"They just need time. They've only known for a few weeks. Remember how long it took me to get used to the idea."
Regina nods. "But I've never really asked you what you think about it. Do you think we're making the right choice?"
Henry sighs deeply and Regina is nervous for what's about to come and braces herself for the worst.
"Mom, I'm not going to lie to you and say it's not weird for me sometimes, because it still is. I saw my mom and my dad together, then her and Hook, and you and Robin. I never really thought or expected that you two would…"
"I know, me either."
"At first I was confused, but then I started to get used to the idea and now I realise that you and mom being together makes perfect sense."
Regina is taken aback by that.
"How's that?", she can't help but ask.
"Well, I'm the Author, right? I'm all about stories, fairy tales, happy endings; it's what I do. And yours…it never made sense before. Even when you found Robin, I knew you loved him, but it didn't quite fit. And mom was supposed to have found her happy ending with Hook, but she was never really happy. But now…now it does make sense. All of it does."
Regina listens to her son intently as he continues.
"When mom gave me up, anyone could've adopted me but it wasn't anyone, it was you. That wasn't a coincidence. You were supposed to find me and I was supposed to find mom. When I first brought her here to Storybrooke, I thought it was to end the curse, but it wasn't just that. When mom broke the curse, she saved me, she saved everyone…she saved you. Mom was the first person to really believe in you, even when I didn't. She trusted you and thought you deserved a second chance. You became a hero because she believed in you, because she made me believe in you again. You've done so much good because of that. You fought to save everyone in Storybrooke, to give them their happy endings and–"
"That was Emma," Regina interrupts. "She's the saviour, I'm just—
Henry stops in his tracks and turns to Regina, reaching for her arm. "No. Don't you see?" he says firmly. "Everything that happened, everything mom did, everything you did, even the bad stuff…it was supposed to happen. It was fate. If it hadn't happened exactly the way it did, none of us would be here. From the beginning we were supposed to be together, a family. Me, you and mom. We needed each other then and we need each other now."
Regina is overcome with emotion and blinking back the tears in her eyes. "You—you really believe that?" she asks, choked up.
Henry nods and smiles. "With all my heart."
Regina pulls her son into her arms, holds him close and he nestles into her, always appreciating the security and comfort of a hug from his mom, no matter how old he may be.
"Grandma and grandpa will realise that, too. They're just in shock and don't know what to think. And even though mom's an adult, they missed out on her entire childhood, so to them she's still their little girl. They're just overprotective, especially grandpa. That's kinda his thing."
Henry laughs lightly and Regina smiles.
"So you really are happy about me and your mother?"
"Would I say I was if I wasn't? And anyway, what kind of teenager would I be if I complained about my parents being in love and wanting to be together?" Henry adds as they break their embrace.
In love? Is that what she is? Is she in love with Emma? The whirlwind of passion and excitement hasn't left much room for analysing, but Regina can't help but hover on it for a moment as she wonders why Henry chose those specific words.
However, she quickly dismisses it and reaches up to ruffle Henry's hair. The pair chuckle as they continue down the street and Regina's blue mood has been completely transformed by her son's hope and optimism. Despite being from a land of fairy tales, she'd never been one much for fate, but perhaps that's exactly what this is. Being with Emma and Henry is so natural to her that she can't help but agree that it feels as though they were supposed to be together from the very beginning.
Unfortunately, Emma doesn't get to hear her son's inspirational and uplifting speech and is left at the house, feeling so incredibly uncomfortable that she wishes the ground would swallow her whole.
Snow has progressed onto a conversation about how much fun they had at Christmas and Emma attempts to nod along, but can't ignore David who has barely uttered two words since he first saw Emma and Regina hold hands.
Emma almost wants to explode with anger and scream, "Is holding hands with my girlfriend really such a terrible thing?"
However, she manages to hold her tongue and it's actually Snow that is the one to crack as she lightly slams her hand on the table and exclaims, "Okay, that's it. What's going on with you two?"
She looks back and forth from her daughter to her husband and both remain tight lipped.
"Honestly, it's like having two teenagers," Snow remarks. "Emma?"
Emma shrugs. "Don't look at me, I'm not the one with the problem."
When David still doesn't speak, Snow asks, "Is this about Regina?"
David sighs. "Okay, okay, so I got a little freaked out when I saw Emma and Regina holding hands."
"David," Snow says, tilting her head to the side, disapproval in her voice.
Emma bites her lip to keep herself from exploding with fury as David continues.
"It's just a little weird, okay? One day she's with Hook, then she's with Regina—"
"Hook died over a year ago," Emma interjects.
"But it's still Regina. She's the same Evil Queen who spent her entire life trying to kill us, Snow." David turns from Snow to Emma and adds, "Emma, she tried to kill you and accidentally killed Henry in the process. Or did that just slip your mind?"
Emma licks her lips, shakes her head and feels the lava bubble up inside her, until she can no longer keep a lid on it.
"No, it didn't slip my mind! Do you think I've just forgotten about everything she did? I haven't, but that's the past. We've all made mistakes in our past, even you. Regina is a different person now. You know that, you've seen it, we all have. The Evil Queen did those things, not Regina and the Evil Queen was destroyed a long time ago."
Snow bows her head, but Emma's convincing words are still not enough for him.
"And that makes it all okay? The Evil Queen was a part of Regina and still is."
"David…" Snow says shaking her head lightly, urging her husband to stop.
"Just listen to yourself, dad," Emma shouts jumping up from her seat. "You've been working alongside Regina for years, risking your life to protect her, fighting for her happy ending, including her in our family. But now what? Now that something's changed, now I tell you we're together suddenly she's the Evil Queen again?"
Emma didn't expect things to grow quite so heated, but she's so furious at the way David is treating Regina and can't help but fight to defend Regina from his unfair and unjust words.
"Mom, you understand, don't you?" Emma asks turning to her mother for support.
Snow bows her head then peaks up to look at Emma, a pathetic stutter leaving her. Emma feels her entire body sink and her anger gives way to hurt. She's not shocked that her dad is opposed, but her mom? She thought she could always count on Snow to be on her side, to support her on matters this important.
"So you think the same as dad?" Emma asks her voice quiet, unable to hide the sheer gut wrenching pain of her parent's complete lack of support.
"No, I—I didn't say that," Snow says holding up her finger.
"So what are you saying?!" Emma shouts, a small fit of rage finding its way to the surface again.
"Your mother is just–
"You're Snow White," Emma exclaims, cutting David off mid-sentence. "You believe in true love, it's what you do. It's who you are. You're the one that helped Ruby find Dorothy, you're the one that told her she should never give up on true love. You told me that story and now what? Now you don't believe any of that?"
"Of course, I do, Emma," Snow replies, almost offended at the insinuation she doesn't. "I followed you to the Underworld to save Hook, because I wanted you to have the chance to fight for your love, the same way your dad and I have always fought for each other."
Emma shakes her head, irritated that Snow is choosing now to bring up Hook.
"I'm sorry, Emma. I don't want to upset you. You know how much I care for Regina. I just want you to be the happiest you can be and…"
Snow trails off and David steps in to assist his wife, as she struggles to find the words to say and becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
"We want you to find love, we want you to be happy, we're just saying that this is different. Have you even stopped to think about how this affects Henry?"
Emma zones in on David in an instant with, "What? Because having his two remaining parents, happy and together is a bad thing? He'll have me and Regina. We'll be able to there for him all the time."
Emma had her own concerns about how hers and Regina's relationship would affect their son, but she's not about to admit that now. She wouldn't give David the satisfaction.
"A child's parents being together isn't the best thing for the child, if the parents aren't good for each other."
"So that's it? You think Regina isn't good enough for me?" Emma questions.
"Truthfully, Emma, no."
"David, stop," Snow calls, reaching for David's arm and pulling him back so she can step in front of him.
"Emma, please, you're our daughter and we love you so much. We just want you to be happy and safe and to have the best—"
Emma completely ignores her mother, unable to let go of David's words. "And why is that, dad? Even after everything she's done for us, the amount of times she's saved all of our lives, the good she's done, she's still no good for me. Why?"
"You think the good she's done changes the fact that she dedicated herself to making our lives hell for countless years? Do you even know what your mother went through because of her? Being forced to flee from her own kingdom, to give up everything her father had built, to live on the run, to turn to crime so she could feed herself. All Regina cared about was making us as miserable as possible and do you want to know the worst part? She cursed us. She forced us to give our daughter away…"
"Don't, David," Snow begs tearfully.
"No, Snow, she needs to hear this. We did the hardest thing any parent could ever do when we gave you up, Emma…"
"You think I don't know how hard it is?" Emma exclaims tears rolling down her cheeks. "I gave up my son! Don't talk to me like I don't know what that's like."
"But yours was a choice, ours wasn't. We wanted you, Emma. We wanted you more than we've ever wanted anything. We did what we did because we had to to keep you safe, to protect you from her."
Emma is crying harder now, but still she can't seem to let go of her fury.
"I know that! It kills me every day. I grew up thinking I was unwanted, unloved, that I was completely worthless."
Snow sobs loudly at hearing that, stifling her cries with her hand, unable to withstand the heartbreak of knowing how her daughter suffered.
"And you don't know what that was like, but I accepted it for what it is. I accepted that you made the decision that you thought was best for me, for all of us and I trust that. I trust you. So why can't you do the same for me now? Why can't you trust that I know what I want, that I know what's best?"
"Because you're my little girl and I want to protect you." David sighs and his expression softens. "I know you think I'm trying to hurt you, Emma, but I'm not. I couldn't protect you from feeling the way you did as a child, but I can protect you now and that…it's all I have."
He bows his head and Emma meets her mother's eyes, a river of tears flowing from them. Emma steps towards her parents and David drapes his arm around Snow, pulling her into him. Emma looks on at her parents and cannot believe the level of love she feels for them. She's never known what it's like to have family, to have a mother and a father, so it still takes her by surprise at just how natural it is to her to love her parents with every fiber of her being. No matter what they do or say, she can't break the chord that's connecting her heart to theirs and she would never want to.
"I'm sorry, Emma," Snow's voice wobbles and she reaches out for Emma's hands. "I know Regina is not the same person that did those terrible things and I forgave her a long time ago for everything she's done. And you're right. No matter how we might feel, you're an adult and we should trust you to make the best decisions for you."
Emma smiles a small smile of appreciation at Snow, more tears falling from her eyes.
"D—dad?" Emma asks looking up to her father nervously.
David's eyes are glistening with tears too and he takes a deep shaky breath in as he attempts to compose himself.
"I gave Regina my forgiveness a long time ago and it still stands."
Emma exhales with relief.
"But, it doesn't mean that I think she's good enough for you."
Just when she thought she was getting somewhere, David rips the rug right from under her feet. Emma can't help but roll her eyes and groan in frustration.
"Dad, why can't you see it? Why can't you understand?"
"That I'm in love Regina!"
Emma blurts it out without even thinking, the confession leaving her lips for the first time.
Snow and David are stunned into silence and stare on at Emma, who is breathing heavily, her chest rising and falling rapidly.
"This isn't just a–a thing to me, it matters. Regina matters. And I do…I love her. She makes me happy. Happier than I ever thought I could be."
Emma says the words aloud, but her eyes are fixed ahead instead of on her parents, as though she's finally admitting the truth to herself for the first time, as well as them. When Emma finally does look up to Snow and David she sees that their eyes are staring overhead.
She follows their eye line to see Regina and Henry standing in the doorway, a sleeping Neal snoring lightly from his buggy. Emma's eyes immediately fall on Regina and panic shoots through her when she realises Regina must've heard everything she just said.
Regina's mouth is parted slightly, her body frozen. Did Emma really just say that? All eyes are on her and when she can finally move her limbs, she sprints out of the room, leaving a devastated Emma behind her.
At first, Emma's instinct is to chase Regina, but she decides against it and remains rooted on the spot. She immediately seeks out Henry and when her eyes meet his, he places the grocery bag in his hand down on the floor and comes over to her, winding his hand around her waist. Emma leans into her son, allowing him to comfort her and Snow and David standby. Both of them are genuinely upset and concerned, because as much their words may portray otherwise, they love Emma and Regina and care about what happens to them.
Henry guides Emma to a seat and Emma wonders how she could've been so stupid to blurt out her feelings like that. She was keeping them quiet for a reason and this is exactly why. She didn't want to jeopardise what she and Regina has all for the sake of offloading her emotions.
When Hook died last year Emma burned her red leather jacket, determined to shed her armour for good and let her walls drop completely so as to let those she loves in without limitation, but now she can't help but wish she could have it back. She wanted to let Regina in completely so that their relationship could be different from her past ones, but whether Emma likes it or not she still needs that armour to keep her heart protected, even from Regina.
Despite Emma's heart actually pulsating with the pain of Regina's rejection, she maintains a façade, her automatic reaction, still being to protect herself from looking vulnerable in any way.
"Emma do you want us to go?" Snow asks after she's unwrapped Neal from the puffy jacket, scarf and gloves that were practically smothering him in his sleep.
Emma shakes her head insistently. "No, no, of course not. We still have desert. I'll just take this apple pie and put it in the oven."
Emma hastily heads for the kitchen, desperate for a minute alone so as to have some relief.
"I'll go with you," Henry calls out, close on Emma's heels.
Once in the kitchen Emma proceeds to take the apple pie out of the packaging, but is so flustered that she can't seem to puncture the tight cellophane clinging to the pie.
"I can't open this damn thing," Emma comments, pathetically gripping it with her hands and quickly losing her resolve.
"Henry, read this," Emma thrusts the box in his face. "How long does it say it takes to cook?"
Henry takes the box from her, but completely ignores it and moves closer to Emma.
This time he reaches out for her shoulder and forces her to face him. With a deep breath she swings around to face him, tears already stinging her eyes.
Henry's face is empathetic and soft, as he tilts his head to the side and reaches out for Emma's hand. His act of kindness, although small, causes Emma's emotion to rush to the surface.
"I'm fine. I'm fine."
She's so choked up that her voice is barely a whisper. She's so used to being guarded, of being completely independent and dealing with everything on her own that she forgets she doesn't need to do that anymore. Least of all with Henry.
"She'll be back."
Emma bites her lip and nods, though she's not so sure. When someone loves you it's supposed to be a positive thing, but with the hurt and tragedy Regina and Emma have suffered, their immediate association of love is heartbreak. The second the word love is used, to Emma and Regina it's almost confirmation that their happiness is about to be torn apart. That fear is exactly the reason Emma didn't want to admit her feelings, even to herself. Because she can't stand the thought of losing her happiness, of losing the life she has, of losing Regina.
"She will, I promise," Henry reassures her. "She's not ready to admit it yet, but she loves you too."
Henry's words take Emma by surprise and she looks at him with wide eyes.
"You're so stupid, mom," Henry says shaking his head and laughing lightly.
"You don't understand how anybody could love you, how mom could love you. You still think you're that little orphan girl, that you're worthless and you don't matter, but you're wrong. You're important and you're special and so many people love you. I love you."
Emma can no longer fight back tears and they come streaming down her face.
"I love you, too, kid."
"I thought this whole thing was about grandma and grandpa, but it's not. It's about you and mom."
"No," Emma says firmly. "I care what your grandparents think. It matters to me."
"I know it does, mom. But you know they'll accept it eventually. The real problem is that you and mom are so terrified of admitting how you really feel because you don't want to have your heart's broken again and you think you're unworthy of true love. On the way to the store, do you know what mom asked me?"
Emma shakes her head.
"She asked if I was really okay with you and her being together. The thing is, she already knows I'm okay with it, she's the one that's not okay with it because she's scared of what it is, what it will be. So are you."
Emma is astounded by Henry's theories and blinks at him in awe, before asking, "How do you know all of this?"
"Because you're my mom's and I know you. Both of you. And you're more alike than either of you would ever admit."
Emma smiles at that, because she knows it's true.
"And do you know what else I told mom when she asked if I was okay with you two? I told her that I know now this is the way it was always supposed to be. You, me and mom are supposed to be a family and we will be. I know that."
Unlike Emma who is uncertain and afraid, Henry is completely assured in the future and Emma is blown away by the faith her son displays. It's so powerful that it even momentarily sweeps all of her fears aside and makes her believe it too.
Emma dabs her damp face with the back of her hand and pulls Henry towards her.
"How did you get to be so smart, kid?"
"I don't know. Must've been dad, because it definitely isn't from you," Henry teases.
Emma laughs and pulls her son out of her arms so as to look at him. It still catches her by surprise at just how much he's grown. He's at least 2 inches taller than her now, but when she hugs him he still feels to be the little boy that showed up on her doorstep all those years ago. It's times like these that she understands her own parent's over-protectiveness. Regardless of his age, Emma will never stop seeing Henry as being her baby and she will never stop protecting him.
After their tender moment ends Emma does the task she actually set out to do and places the apple pie in the oven. Just as she's about to head back out to Snow and David, Henry calls her name.
"When mom comes back you need to tell her how you feel."
"Okay, are you my son or my counselor?" Emma mocks.
Henry tilts his head to the side. "I'm serious, mom. You told me that your biggest regret when dad died was that you never really let him in and you did the same with Hook. Don't make the same mistake again. Let her in."
For a second Emma herself forgets that Henry is in fact her son and not her counselor as she asks, "But what if I let her in and she doesn't do the same? What if I wind up with my heart broken?"
"She'll let you in, she's just not ready yet. She needs you to do it first. Trust me."
Emma stares at Henry, amazed at the transformation he's gone through. Where he was once opposed to her relationship with Regina and then indifferent, she can now see that he is completely invested he is in it. He wants Emma and Regina to be together. He really wants it. That is something he and Emma have in common.
Emma nods. "I will, kid. But first I think I need to work on letting two other people in."
Emma looks out the door and into the dining room where Snow and David are sat. Henry beams at Emma with pride.
Emma already thought she'd conquered this, that she'd gotten over her fear of loss and finally learned to let people into her heart without limitation, but she was wrong. Perhaps it was losing Hook or maybe it was falling in love with Regina, but somewhere along the way something triggered Emma's walls to go straight back up and now she has to work to get them back down again. She's already lived a lonely life whereby people are always at arm's length, only half there and it's miserable. She doesn't want to live that life anymore and her family deserve better. They've given themselves to her entirely and she needs to do the same in return.
"Mom, dad," Emma addresses her parents as she steps back into the room, with Henry close behind her.
"Emma, I'm sorry," David says before Emma can say anymore.
"We're both sorry," Snow interjects, getting up from her seat and standing beside David.
"I behaved like a jerk."
Emma sighs deeply and nods. "It's okay, dad. You were just being honest about how you felt, which is more than can be said for me."
"What do you mean?" Snow asks curiously.
Emma looks to Henry and he gives her an encouraging nod, which gives her the strength to dole out some honesty.
"I've been shutting you out lately. I've been shutting everyone out."
Snow nods. "We know."
"Of course we do. Emma, you're our daughter. You can't hide these things from us, even if you think you can."
David nods in agreement. "Which is why I shouldn't have said what I said about you and Regina before you'd had the chance to explain."
"It's my fault. It was a big step even telling you about me and Regina and I guess…I didn't really know how I was feeling about it myself."
"But now you do?" David asks.
Emma sighs deeply and before she can answer that question, she needs to know how her parents truly feel.
"Did you mean what you said? Both of you?"
Emma looks to her parents, anxiety all over her face as she waits for their response.
David and Snow exchange a look.
"We meant what we said. We want you to be happy and safe. That's all," David says.
"And what about the rest? About Regina and what she did to you and her not being good enough for me."
David sighs deeply. "Emma, I know sometimes it probably feels like your mom and I are interfering in your life, but we weren't there for over half of your life. We didn't get the chance to do the overprotective parenting when you were a child and sometimes…sometimes we try and make up for lost time."
Every time Emma thinks about the years she's lost with her parents it breaks her heart. Somehow knowing how much they love her and how desperately they wanted to be with her, makes it harder to accept that they were separated.
"Dad, I understand I do, but I'm not-"
"You're not a child anymore. I know that. But I'm sorry, I can't promise to stop interfering or worrying about you, because that means I'm not there for you and I won't do that."
Emma can't help but smile at that.
"We just wish you'd talk to us more," Snow admits. "We know you're used to handling everything on your own, but you don't have to anymore. We're here for you, Emma. We're always here for you. You can be honest with us and we will never judge you."
Emma already knows that, but somehow it doesn't make it any easier to confide in her parents about her feelings, particularly regarding Regina.
"I've just been…I've been scared," Emma finally admits her voice wobbly. "So much has changed and I didn't want anything else to change and I wanted to protect Regina. I wanted to protect what we had."
Snow nods understandingly.
"I told you because I didn't want to lie to you, but I never made it clear how I really felt. That's why I planned this dinner. I wanted you to see how important this to me and I wanted you to accept me and Regina being together. And if you don't…I don't know what I'll do."
Emma begins to cry again, overwhelmed with emotion and Snow immediately steps forward to envelope her daughter in a warm hug.
David looks from Emma to Snow and then Henry and they all exchange warm smiles.
"Oh, Emma," she coos. "Whatever you do and whoever you are with we will always love you and support you. We're a family, nothing can ever change that and Regina is a part of that family."
Emma nods and as Snow lets go of her, she looks up to David expectantly.
"Your mom's right. Regina is family," David simply says and nothing more is required.
Suddenly David runs forward grabbing Emma into a rib cracking hug and kissing her head firmly. Emma feels her entire being melt with relief and contentment underneath David. Having her parent's love and unconditional support means more to Emma than she could ever possibly express.
"Henry, Mary Margaret, get in here," David calls out extending his arm out.
Henry and Snow beam and bound over to David and Emma. Their heads bump together and they become entangled in a web of limbs, but eventually they all have their arms about each other and are clinging to each other desperately. Emma is undeniably happy in this moment, but still acutely aware that something - someone - is missing.
As though on cue a familiar voice calls out, "Sorry to interrupt," causing Emma's entire body to go rigid and shivers to reverberate up her spine.
Regina. Emma remains at the center of the family circle, still too afraid to face Regina and hear her response to what she overheard earlier.
Regina has been walking round town in circles, replaying Emma's exact words in her head over and over again and contemplating what she was going to do next. She convinced herself that she'd misheard. Because how…how could Emma love her? Before the word love was used, Regina never questioned whether she was deserving of Emma, but now it's all she can think about. All she can do is wonder how the hell she could ever be good enough for Emma, how she could live up to her expectations and be everything she needs. She doesn't even know how she managed to pluck up the courage to come back and face Emma. A part of her wanted to run and never look back, but nonetheless she's standing here completely unknowing of what's going to happen next, her entire future hanging on what Emma says next.
Snow, David, Henry and Emma all slowly step away from each other to face Regina. Emma notices that Regina's nose is pink from the brisk winter evening and her mouth is parted slightly, her dark eyes intense and locked on Emma.
Emma's heart is pounding so hard in her chest she feels as though her ribcage is going to crack open. She feels Henry's hand reach for hers and she knows what she has to do. It will take every ounce of strength she has to say it, but she let her parents in and now it's time to do the same with Regina.
Emma steps forward and in a wobbly, soft voice asks Regina, "Where have you been?"
"Just walking," Regina replies. Unlike Emma, her voice is steady and confident. No one would ever guess that she's completely terrified.
Emma gets closer to Regina, until they're only a few feet apart, leaving her family behind watching in anticipation.
"Regina, what you heard…what I said…"
Regina intended to listen to Emma, to find out whether what she said is actually a true reflection of her feelings or merely something she said in the heat of the moment, but there's so much hanging on her answer that Regina can't take it.
"I understand. You were emotional and you said it in the heat of the moment. It's okay. You don't have to explain."
Regina not understanding how wonderful she is, how beautiful she is to Emma, automatically assumes that Emma couldn't love her and to save herself from the heartbreak of that rejection she's forcing the words into Emma's mouth that she expects to hear. But there's just one problem. Regina's wrong. Very, very wrong.
Emma is so taken aback by Regina's words that she completely doubts herself. How can she admit the truth now when Regina seems so utterly determined not to hear it?
The irony is that Regina and Emma's relationship has been growing and changing since the day they first met. At first it was their mutual love for Henry that brought them together and made them push their differences aside, but along the way they developed a friendship that was just theirs. They fought with each other, they fought for each other, they suffered the loss of the men they believed to be the loves of their lives, their differences became less and less, their similarities more and more and before they were even aware of it, they were stealing secret kisses and slipping off for steamy rendezvous. They've never been consciously aware of the blossoming romance between them, it's always been an unspeakable force that has developed silently and felt so natural that they've acted on it without ever truly questioning it. But now that the 'l' word has become involved they're questioning everything. They don't realise that they've already said I love you in every single way a person can say it without saying the actual words. They say it every day with their eyes, their bodies, their souls, their actions and their selflessness. Emma said it when she sacrificed herself to the darkness to save Regina, Regina said it when she left everything behind and risked travelling to another dimension to bring Emma home, they both said it when they decided to raise a child together and share their lives with each other. Yet despite all of that, ironically, the biggest and hardest step for them is what is comes next; saying the actual words.
"I do have to explain," Emma says. Regina lowers her head, bracing herself for the next words that are about to come out of Emma's mouth. "Because it wasn't something I just said in the heat of the moment."
Regina looks up at Emma, her eyes wide.
"I didn't really realise until I said it, but I do."
Emma steals a backward glance at Henry and her parents, and they all have smiles on their faces as they nod at her in encouragement. That is enough for her to know that it's okay now. It's okay for her to be unashamedly honest about how she feels.
"I love you, Regina."
Hearing those words knocks all of the wind from Regina and she struggles to catch her breath. Emma keeps her eyes locked on Regina, desperately trying to read her expression so as to gage her reaction. But all that's on Regina's face for a few moments is shock.
Regina's entire body has turned to jelly and her head is spinning. She never thought it was possible for words to have such a profound effect on her, but then again this is Emma Swan and the way Regina feels about her means there's no end to the impossibilities that can become possible with her.
When suddenly Regina catches her breath, she exhales loudly and shakily, tears dropping from her eyes suddenly and a wide smile coming across her face. This time Emma is the one that can finally breathe again as she too smiles, relief making her entire body sink. As they keep their eyes locked on one another, they come alight with sheer adoration and giggles simultaneously escape them.
It's only seconds before Regina takes three strides forward and her lips collide with Emma's. The moment is so euphoric, so surreal and the tornado of intense emotions swirling about inside them makes them quiver. Yet even through that, the sexual attraction and longing they have is still present making it feel as though literal fireworks are exploding between them. They're no longer aware of Snow, David and Henry's eyes on them as they get lost in one another. Emma has her hands in Regina's hair and Regina has hers clutched around Emma's back and their mouths are frantic, their kiss passionate and desperate. Their difficulty with words means that this is the way they've always best communicated their feelings for one another and it's how they communicate now.
It's undeniably erotic and sensual, and David, Snow and Henry know they should divert their eyes or leave the room, yet it's so beautiful to witness that they feel compelled to watch. Even David, who earlier struggled to see them merely hold hands. With that kiss there is no denying the depth of emotion they feel for one another and strangely, for David and Snow it is a moment whereby they realise that they do completely accept Emma being with Regina. How could they not accept it after seeing how totally happy and in love their little girl is?
Regina and Emma only come up for air when Henry clears his throat. Their kiss ends, but their arms remain around each other as they turn to look back at their son, Snow and David. A wave of embarrassment comes over them as they remember where they are, but the uncomfortableness of the situation is immediately diffused with ripples of laughter coming first from Snow and then spreading until they're all in fits of giggles.
The negative mood that was lingering over the Swan-Mills-Charming family at the beginning of the dinner, lifts after that and the rest of the evening is filled with conversation, jokes and genuine laughter. Emma and Regina play with Neal - which never fails to stir fond memories of Henry as child and make them realise just how much he's grown - until he practically passes out into an exhausted sleep. Emma and Regina feel on top of the world, a weight having been lifted from their hearts all for having finally said those three little words. David's ill mood seems to have long passed and he's back to his beaming, warm and charming self, whilst Snow seems to lose herself completely in the positive family atmosphere which she thrives on. They're all so caught up in talking that they don't even realise it's approaching 11pm and Henry sleepily drags himself up to bed after exchanging kisses and hugs with each of his family members.
"Now that the children are asleep, I think it's time to crack open a bottle of red," Regina says a cheeky smile on her face.
Everybody laughs and Snow gets to her feet, offering to help Regina carry the glasses. Once in the dining room, Regina opens the drinks cabinet filled with expensive bottles of liquor and wine, all of which seem to be untouched.
"The wines are all here," Regina gestures at the rack of wines. "Do you have a preference?" Regina turns to ask Snow.
Snow giggles lightly. "Regina, I'm hardly the biggest expert when it comes to wine."
Regina expected that answer and picks up a bottle of her favourite.
"Glasses are in the kitchen," Regina states and the two head for the kitchen.
Snow knows where the wine glasses are and goes over to get them, but is too short to reach the top shelf. She strains, stretching her arm so far that Regina's certain it will come out of the socket and she stands by and watches, waiting for Snow to relent and ask Regina for help. But Snow being Snow, continues to struggle on, determined to succeed, until Regina can no longer watch and reaches over her head and grabs the glasses with ease.
Snow turns around and frowns at Regina. "I could've reached them."
Regina tilts her head to the side and Snow begins to laugh. Regina smiles fondly and hands the glasses to Snow.
"Want snacks?" Regina asks. "I'm pretty sure we have some of those awful Cheetos that Emma loves."
Snow smiles and replies with, "They're David's favourites too. When I was pregnant with Neal I he wasn't allowed to keep them in the apartment, because the smell made me puke."
The two women laugh and Regina grabs the bag of Cheetos from the cupboard for David and Emma.
"I just wanted to say…"
"I'm really happy for you."
Regina looks at Snow suspiciously for a moment, but there is real emotion in Snow's eyes and her smile is sincere, radiant and warm.
"I know hard you've fought to be good, to be a hero and you felt like no matter how hard you tried or how much you proved yourself, the shadow of the past was still hanging over you, but it's finally gone. I'm so proud of who you are now, how far you've come."
"Snow, you don't have to—"
"Yes, I do, because you're with my daughter now and I need you to know that it's…it's okay. You don't say it, but I know inside you're afraid of what I think, what David thinks, but you're my friend, Regina. You're my familyand you belong with us."
There was a time when Snow was the one person Regina loathed most on the planet and now she questions how she could've ever felt such hatred for a person so completely selfless, kind-hearted and gentle. After everything Regina has put Snow through she wouldn't blame her if she despised her or murdered her in her sleep just to keep her from being with Emma, yet here she is giving Regina her blessing. Regina is floored.
A mere thank you doesn't seem enough, but Regina doesn't know what else to say. Snow doesn't mind though and she steps forward and hugs Regina tenderly.
"I came to see what was taking you ladies so long," David announces as he steps into the kitchen.
Snow smiles, lets go of Regina and wipes a stray tear from her eye.
"David, I was just telling Regina what we spoke about earlier."
"I told her that the past is the past and that she's part of our family now."
David nods. "Looks like we're stuck with you, daughter-in-law."
David smiles and raises his eyebrows at Regina playfully.
"Okay, that's just too weird."
They all laugh. Of all the people on planet earth, Regina is the last person Snow and David expected to be the one to steal their daughter's heart, yet somehow it's completely okay. Now that the initial shock has worn off they see that Regina on some level has always been a part of their family. And she still is. Her and Emma being in love only changes the dynamic of how she fits into the family, nothing else.
"I'll take these glasses into Emma," Snow says.
As she walks past David, she gives him the eye, encouraging him to talk to Regina. Even though Snow does it without Regina seeing her, Regina knows Snow well enough to know what she's doing and can't help but smile.
"So you're really okay with this?" Regina asks David once Snow has left the room.
He nods. "I really am."
"You sure you're not just saying that for Emma's benefit?"
He laughs down his nose quietly. "Of course I want her to be happy, but it's not just that. We've been through so much together and I know you, Regina. I've seen the way you are with Emma today and I know true love when I see it."
Regina is caught off guard with that and her mouth parts slightly in surprise.
"And who am I to stand in the way of true love?"
David beams at her warmly and Regina stares at David in awe. Her friendship with David and Snow has been one of the greatest developments she has gone through during her battle against the Evil Queen, but she never realised it was this strong, that they cared for her this much.
With David no words at all are necessary and an exchange of smiles is all they need to communicate their feelings, before they return to Snow and Emma.
Regina takes her seat beside Emma and Emma smiles at her, knowing that her parents have just pulled her aside to bestow her with their blessings. Regina returns her smile and Emma reaches for her hand. This time when David catches sight of their clasped hands, he smiles and meets Emma's gaze, adoration and unconditional love reflected in his eyes.
As the wine is poured conversation resumes and Emma and Regina are left wondering how what started out as such an uncertain and gloomy day has turned out to be so utterly perfect.
Snow and David don't leave for home until after 1am, both merry and incredibly giggly. Regina and Emma walk them home to ensure they get back safely, and they stumble down the street arm in arm, chuckling heartily at everything like a couple of teenagers. More drunk than David, Snow leans on her husband for support and David laughs at her every time she stumbles or trips.
Regina and Emma push Neal in his buggy and walk behind Snow and David, watching them with smiles on their faces. Since they're more accustomed to a glass or two of wine, Regina and Emma are merely a bit tipsy and are amused at just how drunk Snow and David are off so little alcohol.
Once they've got Snow and David back to their apartment safely, Regina and Emma are relieved to be back home and to have some time alone.
Whilst Emma goes to the bathroom, Regina lights the fire, kicks her heels off and stands in front of it with her hands extended so as to warm her body back up. Emma returns downstairs and joins Regina in front of the fire. They're still giddy from the events of the day and completely exhausted, but neither of them can fathom sleep knowing they can instead have quality time together.
"What a day," Emma says with a yawn and a stretch of her arms.
"I know. Looks like all that worrying you did about dinner and the turkey was for nothing after all, huh?" Regina teases.
Emma rolls her eyes at Regina. "I guess you want me to admit that you were right?"
"You were right," Emma says begrudgingly.
"Mmm, I don't think I could ever get enough of hearing that," Regina says smugly.
"Everything's really going to be okay, isn't it?" Emma says.
Regina nods. "I think it is."
Emma smiles unable to believe that for once her happiness doesn't seem to be getting ripped away from her before it's even truly begun.
Regina shifts to face Emma.
"Emma…I want you to know that things are going to be different now."
"What do you mean?" Emma asks turning to her.
"I mean, I don't want us to hide things from each other anymore."
Emma nods in concurrence.
"I've always kept things inside or tried to. I never…I've never wanted to share myself with anyone not truly…until you. I don't want to let you down."
"You won't," Emma insists. "I know that I need to let you in more, I need to let everyone in more and I will, because I don't want to lose what we have."
Regina nods and takes a deep breath.
"Emma…when you said you loved me earlier, I…there's something I didn't say."
Emma pretends she doesn't know what Regina's talking about, that it escaped her attention that Regina never said it back, but Regina knows that she noticed, because how could she not?
"I love you, Emma Swan. I am completely and utterly in love with you."
Although Emma already knew that Regina felt it, to hear it aloud is something quite different and her heart contracts.
"I think I have been for a long time but I was just too afraid to admit it."
Emma bites her lip, fighting to withhold the emotion that's trying to explode out of her. Regina reaches her hand up to stroke Emma's cheek and Emma closes her eyes, a tear rolling down her face and onto Regina's hand. Emma shakes her head and presses her lips together, so unbelievably happy that all she can do is cry. Regina sweeps her golden hair behind her ear and traces circles on Emma's skin with her thumb lightly and finally their walls have been completely dropped in a way they never have before.
"I love you," Emma gasps out, completely overcome with emotion.
Regina's own tears fall as she and Emma embrace each other, their soft lips finding each other. The kiss is soft and tender and their faces are wet with each other's tears. It's only a moment or so before they're overwhelmed with an incredibly intense sensation at the centre of their chests, more powerful than either of them have ever felt before.
A loud whoosh sounds followed by a gust of wind that blows Emma and Regina's hair across their faces and disturbs the flames of the fire. They break apart and stare at each other in confusion.
"What was that?" Emma asks, breathlessly, her hand clutched to her chest. "Did you feel that?"
Regina's light headed and still attempting to decipher the eruption of emotions that just exploded inside her. However, she's experienced enough magic to know exactly what that was.
"True love," she whispers.
"What?" Emma chokes out.
"True love's kiss," Regina states again still astounded. "It must've happened because we finally admitted how we feel."
Emma stares at her, her mouth hanging open as she tries to process it.
"That's what David said. He said he knows true love when he sees it," Regina adds, reflecting on her earlier conversation with David.
The shock lingers for a few moments, but it passes to give way to elation.
"Henry was right, I have been stupid," Emma says. "Stupid to have wasted so much time when I knew ages ago that I loved you."
The two women gaze at each other devotedly and lovingly, before resuming their kiss, groans escaping them as they get lost in one another.
Both of them resented the fact that their happy ending might be true love, because it was a cliché and neither of them really believed they would ever find it. So the fact that they have and with each other…it's unbelievable.
Even without true love's kiss their love would've still be profound and special, but this confirms that they're something more than they ever thought they were. Their love didn't just develop by chance or coincidence, their souls were always connected, destined to meet, to fall in love and spend eternity together. Emma and Regina realise that their son was right. It was fate and true love's kiss confirms that.
Emma strokes Regina's smooth hair tenderly and Regina pulls back from Emma's mouth.
"I love you so much," Regina tells Emma for a second time.
Now they've broken the wall and said it once, neither of them wants to stop saying it, because they so desperately want to express the depth of love they feel for one another. But words could never be enough to express that.
Locking her seductive eyes on Regina's, Emma runs her hand down Regina's arm and says, "Show me how much."
Regina grins and then the women crash into each other so hard that they collapse back onto the rug, ensuring they never break their kiss. With the cackling log fire being the only source of light in the room, only their silhouettes can be seen as sit up and begin shedding each other of their clothing.
Their hands and mouths run across every crevice of each other's bodies and they make love, slowly and vigorously until their brows are glistening with sweat, their cheeks are rosy red, their skin is lingering with the smell of the other and their lips with the taste of the other. Every single barrier between them is completely obliterated, which makes their connection more profound than ever before and there is no longer any doubt that what they have is anything less than true love in its realest and purest form.
As they fall asleep that night in each other's arms, blissful smiles still plastered on their faces, there is no uncertainty or fear anymore, because Emma and Regina know that this is their destiny and has been from the very beginning. They've finally found the home they never believed they'd have, a love they didn't know could exist and the happy ending they never thought they deserved.