Emma considered things for exactly two seconds. Should she go downstairs and ask Suzie if she had been in her room?
Nope. Because Emma was already pretty fucking sure that Suzie hadn’t been in her room.
Should she go downstairs and tell Suzie that the door to her room was open?
Nope. Emma had an inkling that Suzie had no idea the door to her room was open.
Should she simply slam the door to her room open right now?
It was certainly tempting. But Emma forced herself to not act irrational. Suppose whoever it was still was in there?
She crept closer and listened carefully, trying to figure out whether she could hear any footsteps or movements coming from the room.
Nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch.
Emma moved closer to the door and looked in through the peephole.
Her worst horror fear didn’t come true. No eye were looking back at her.
Emma squinted as she looked through the peephole. There was no one in there. And everything appeared to be untouched. She could see her laptop standing on the table, exactly like she had left it. She could see the messy bed and the clothes she had left on the chair. Everything looked, well... Normal.
Except it wasn’t. Emma had a very strong feeling that someone had been in her room. She could feel it because of the way the little hair in the back of her neck was standing up. She rubbed her arms slightly. She had goosebumps, but not because of the cold.
Emma moved away from the slightly open door and tiptoed over to one of the niches where she couldn’t be seen by anyone. She carefully considered it for a moment. Was she supposed to believe that there had been a burglar? And that said burglar hadn’t actually stolen anything? Bullshit. If that was the case, it would have been a pretty fucking bad burglar. And besides, why her room? Why not aim for the money behind the counter downstairs in the restaurant?
No, there were other forces behind this. Emma knew it. She shifted slightly in her hiding spot. The floorboards creaked slightly. So did Emma’s head. Obviously, it wasn’t very hard to come up with someone who could have done this. Mary Margaret. But still, there were things about this that didn’t made sense. For starters, it appeared that the room was empty. Mary Margaret wouldn’t have left. She would have stayed here and waited for Emma. The blonde frowned. It was a stretch, but she supposed that Mary Margaret COULD have left again. She could have heard Suzie walk past and then make a run for it or something like that.
But that didn’t make sense either. The room looked too...untouched. Her clothes was still lying on the chair. Mary Margaret would have made some sort of creepy gesture like folding the clothes. Just to let Emma know she had been there. She had often done that when Emma lived in Toronto, and Mary Margaret so favored to force her way into Emma’s apartment. And Mary Margaret had always had the unfortunate habit of rifling through Emma’s belongings. She had never allowed Emma to get a lock on her door, and during her teenage years, Emma had been forced to take her diary with her wherever she went. Otherwise Mary Margaret would have snooped through it.
Mary Margaret would have left some sort of clue behind. An indicator that she had been in Emma’s room. And that was not the case here. Something was off about it. This “break in” didn’t have Mary Margaret’s usual signature. And speaking of break in... Emma frowned again. How the hell did Mary Margaret or whoever it was come in here? The door hadn’t been forced open. It had simply been unlocked. But Emma had taken her key with her. So how had this come to pass?
Emma answered that question herself. The master key. The master key that could unlock all the doors. That had to be the answer, right? But the master key was downstairs. And so was Suzie. And Emma doubted that Suzie would have just handed over the key to anyone. Would she?
Emma turned around. She had to get to the bottom of this. Right away.
She emerged from her hiding spot in the hallway and then crept as quietly down the stairs as she could.
Emma’s paranoia bade her to look around when she came into the restaurant again, but there was no one. But she could hear sounds coming from the back room, and so Emma went round the counter, knocked once on the door to the backroom and said: “Suzie? You in there?”
There was some rustling and bustling, and then the door to the backroom was opened, revealing Suzie on the other side. She had dust in her hair, but she was nevertheless smiling. “Hey. Miss Swan, right? Is there something I can do for you?”
“Has there been someone in the restaurant tonight?” Emma asked.
Suzie frowned a bit. “No, I don’t think so. I’ve been in here for most of the night, but I haven’t heard anyone.”
“Have you listened to music or anything while you worked?” Emma continued.
Now Suzie looked a tad offended. “No, I have not. Mrs. Wolf asked me not to. She wanted me to keep an eye on things.”
“Right.” Emma looked around in the restaurant again.
“Is there a problem?” Suzie asked and raised an eyebrow.
“Do you know where the master key is?”
The young woman rolled her eyes now. “Yes, of course I know where the master key is, what is your pro-“
“Do you mind finding it?” Emma interrupted.
Suzie folded her arms across her chest.
“Please?” Emma added.
“Alright. Fine,” Suzie said and rolled her eyes as she crouched down behind the counter and rummaged there for a moment. “Where is that fucking key?!”
Emma got a rather sinking feeling in her chest.
“One sec,” Suzie said as she rose to her full height and went over to a cupboard. “I think it’s in here.” she opened the cupboard and rummaged through it. A stack of papers landed on the floor, but no key.
Emma’s heart plummeted and landed somewhere in her stomach.
“Shit,” Suzie cursed. “Mrs. Wolf is going to KILL me!”
“No she won’t,” Emma said. Because this was not Suzie’s fault. Someone had snuck in here and taken the master key while Suzie was engaged in the backroom. And then that same someone had quietly
gone upstairs and used the master key to unlock the door to Emma’s room.
“Is there.... Is there a particular reason you’re asking for the master key?” Suzie asked, now sounding very timid.
“Someone’s been in my room,” Emma said.
Suzie visibly paled at that. “Is something missing?”
“Nope, but I locked the door before I left, and when I came upstairs it had been pushed ajar,” Emma said. “Someone has been in my room, and they wanted me to know that. Otherwise they would have
used the master key to lock the door.”
Suzie responded by rushing over to the door. She was reaching out to touch the doorknob when Emma said: “wait, I don’t think we should touch anything!”
Suzie stilled with her hand in the hair. Then she looked at Emma. “What should we-“
“I think we better call Eugenia,” Emma said plainly.
“Yeah. Of course,” Suzie said. She rushed into the backroom and came out seconds later with her cellphone in hand. Her fingers were trembling as she dialed Eugenia Wolf’s number. Before bringing the phone up to her ear, she said: “miss Swan, I’m so sorry! This is my fault.”
“No, it’s not,” Emma said quickly. “You were busy in the backroom. You didn’t hear whoever it was.”
“No, but I was supposed to be watching this place,” Suzie said crestfallen. “And now someone has broken in because I didn’t pay attention-“
“Suzie.” Emma gently but firmly interrupted. “Just call Eugenia, okay? I’m sure everything will be fine.”
Suzie nodded and then brought the phone up to her ear and waited. Her brow wad furrowed, and her mouth was a thin, worried line.
Emma was pretty worried too. This was creepy. Actually creepy. The thought that someone had been in her room while she wasn’t there, was... Less than pleasant.
“She’s not picking up,” Suzie half-whispered.
“Try Ruby,” Emma advised. “She always picks up.” god bless Ruby and her phone addiction.
But it quickly turned out that Ruby wasn’t picking up either. For what reason Emma wasn’t sure, but she was guessing it was because they were on a family visit.
“Now what?” Suzie asked and looked at Emma. “She’s not picking up!”
“I’m calling sheriff Graham,” Emma said plainly and found her own phone in her pocket. She quickly dialed Graham’s number and waited. Calling the police was not overdoing it. Someone had been in her room, and even though everything appeared to be untouched, Emma had a rather bad feeling about this.
“Graham Humbert,” came the rather sleepy voice of the town sheriff.
“Hey, Graham,” Emma said. “This is Emma Swan. Sorry for bothering you this late, but we have a bit of a situation here.”
“Emma? What’s going on?” Graham asked, now sounding more awake and alert.
“Someone has come into the diner and stolen the master key, and then gone upstairs and used said master key to unlock the door to my room,” Emma quickly summed up.
“Has anything been stolen?” Graham asked professionally.
“I don’t think so,” Emma said. “Well, except for the master key.”
“Stay where you are. I’ll be right there,” Graham said. There was a faint click in the other end, and then silence.
Suzie looked at Emma with wide eyes. “Is he coming over here?”
“Yeah,” Emma said. “We have to get to the bottom of this. I’ll try Ruby again.” she quickly dialed the waitress’ number, but Ruby didn’t pick up this time either. Neither did Eugenia when Emma tried.
“Damnit!” the blonde cursed.
Suzie anxiously looked out of the window. “Do you think whoever it was could still be out there?”
Emma almost snorted. Wow. Thanks for the nightmare material, Suzie. You’re a real gem. She forced herself to answer calmly: “no, I don’t think so.”
Now Suzie looked slightly panicked. “Do you think he could still be HERE?!”
Honestly, Emma had considered the exact same thing. All the other rooms were unoccupied. It was entirely possible that whoever it was had used the master key to unlock the door to one of the other rooms and then hide away in there.
“I don’t know,” Emma said truthfully.
Suzie’s breathing quickened, and her eyes flicked towards the backroom. For a moment Emma thought the young waitress was about to run in there and slam the door behind her, but Suzie didn’t move. Instead she looked full of self-blame as she said: “he’s been walking around all over the place while I’ve been here! And I didn’t hear a thing!”
“You were moving boxes,” Emma reminded her. “This is not your fault, Suzie.”
“Yes, it is!” Suzie said firmly and shook her head. “I should have paid more attention! I should have-“
“There’s Graham,” Emma interrupted when she saw the lights from the police car approach.
“Thank god!” Suzie said, rushing over to the door to greet Graham.
It didn’t take long before the Steveston sheriff was standing in the middle of Eugenia’s Inn. He briefly greeted Suzie and then motioned for Emma to come upstairs with him. Emma willingly followed. She wasn’t that afraid. Even though one of her theories had been that whoever it was could be hiding in one of the other rooms, Emma had a feeling that the intruder was long gone.
Graham quietly pushed the door to Emma’s room open, and the exaggerated, squeaky sound the door made definitely fulfilled every last of Emma’s horror fantasies. And the fact that he had one hand on his gun didn’t help the matter much either.
As expected, the room was empty. And everything was untouched. Exactly like Emma had seen through the peephole. Her laptop was still standing on the table. The memory stick was still inserted, and Emma was willing to bet all her money that no one had tampered with the memory stick either.
Graham swiftly crouched down and checked under Emma’s bed. At this rate, Emma was grateful she had a dresser and not a closet. More nightmare stuff.
“Is anything missing?” Graham asked and frowned.
“Nope,” Emma said and felt a chill run down her spine. An intruder was one thing. An intruder who didn’t steal anything was something else.
“Do you have any idea who could possibly have done this?” Graham asked, still frowning. “I mean, you’ve just moved to town. You can’t possibly have made any enemies already.”
Emma chuckled dryly at that. “I don’t think it’s anyone from here,” she said. “If I had to guess, I would say it’s my adoptive mother, but...” she ran a finger through her blonde curls.
“What?” Graham asked.
“This isn’t like her,” Emma said and shook her head. “I mean, it definitely wouldn’t be the first time she forced her way in to wherever I live, but she would have stayed here and waited for me. She wouldn’t haven taken off. And even if she would have, she would have left some sort of clue behind. Folded my clothes or something. Given me a creepy indicator that wherever I’ll go, she’ll always find me.”
“This has happened before?” Graham asked. Now his forehead was almost one big wrinkle.
“Yeah,” Emma said and then proceeded to tell the sheriff all about the controlling, dominating Mary Margaret Blanchard-Nolan who had sunken her metaphorical claws into Emma when she was a baby and now refused to let go no matter what Emma said or did. The blonde told Graham about all the times where she had come home and found Mary Margaret waiting for her in her at the time apartment. About all the letters and phone calls. Obviously, she mentioned the hang up calls she had received the other night as well.
“Where does your adoptive parents live, Emma?” Graham asked as he looked up from the note, he had been using to scribble everything down.
“Forest Hill in Toronto.”
“I see. I’ll contact the local police in Forest Hill and ask them to stop by your adoptive parent’s house. If your adoptive mother isn’t home, it should be pretty obvious who’s behind thi-“
“No!” Emma interrupted.
Graham looked at her.
“Sorry,” Emma amended. “But if it really isn’t her who’s behind this, I don’t want to risk her finding out where I am!”
Graham nodded. “I understand. I’ll ask the local police to be discreet.”
“Thank you,” Emma said and could feel how her shoulders uncurled.
“Since everything appears to be untouched, I doubt that our intruder left any fingerprints behind, but I’ll have it checked out anyway,” Graham said as he reached within his pocket and found his phone. “Is
there a place where you can stay tonight, miss Swan?”
“I’ll call Elsa Frost,” Emma said. “I can probably stay there.”
“Good,” Graham said and flashed Emma a little smile. “Try not to worry. We’ll figure it out.”
“Yeah,” Emma said vaguely and nodded.
Graham went into the hallway to contact his colleagues. Emma shifted slightly as she looked around in the room. She didn’t feel calm in anyway. If anything, she felt like this was only the beginning of something....
“Okay, but that’s like the scariest thing ever,” Elsa proclaimed as she sat a cup of coffee down in front of Emma.
Emma snorted and rolled her eyes. “Thanks. Now I feel lots better.”
“Sorry,” Elsa amended and flicked a lock of her platinum blonde hair behind her ear. “It’s just so unusual. Nothing like this has ever happened in Steveston before.”
“I bring nothing but trouble,” Emma joked as she took a sip of her coffee.
“That’s not true,” Elsa immediately protested and sat down opposite Emma.
“It kinda is though,” Emma said and took another sip of her coffee before continuing: “I’m pretty sure my adoptive mother is behind this.”
“Your adoptive mother?” Elsa echoed and pushed her long braid over one shoulder.
“Yeah,” Emma nodded. “To put it simply, she’s not in her right mind. Never has been. That’s why I ran away from Toronto.”
“Oh my god,” Elsa said, taking a sip of her own coffee. “Well, you’re welcome to stay here as long as you want.”
“Thanks, but doesn’t your sister and her fiancée come to town tomorrow?” Emma reminded her friend.
Elsa frowned a little at that.
“I’ll be fine,” Emma assured with a slight chuckle. “Graham said that they’ll be done searching the diner tomorrow. I don’t think they’ll find anything, I doubt Mary Margaret will be hiding in one of the closets, but still, it’s nice to know that they’re taking this seriously.”
“Yeah, definitely,” Elsa said and took another sip of her coffee.
That was when Emma realized that she had in fact forgotten to tell Graham about the grey station car she had seen in her rearview mirror and maybe-maybe not seen on the parking lot outside Dragon Publishing. Maybe she should have told him about it, but then again, she couldn’t be a hundredth percent certain that the car had been following her. As she couldn’t be sure that it had been the same car, she had seen leaving Dragon Publishing. It could be one big, freaky coincidence.
Emma sighed a little and shook her head. “And I was having such a nice evening! One minute you’re on a date and having an awesome time, and the next...”
“You were on a date?” Elsa asked casually and took another sip of her coffee. “Anyone I know?”
“Maybe,” Emma answered just as nonchalantly. “It was actually Regina.”
“Oh. Yeah, I know Regina,” Elsa said simply and flashed Emma a little smile. “Did you have a good time?”
“Yeah. Definitely,” Emma smiled.
“Good,” Elsa said and took another sip of her coffee.
And that was exactly why Emma didn’t have a problem with telling Elsa about her date with Regina. Elsa was so down to earth. She didn’t poke or prod or ask a million questions. She wasn’t as nosy as other people living in Steveston was.
Elsa emptied her cup of coffee and then lightly put a hand over Emma’s. “I’m going to bed now. Are you sure you’re alright with the guestroom tonight?”
“Absolutely,” Emma smiled. “Thanks for letting me spend the night here.”
“Anytime,” Elsa said and returned the smile. “Goodnight.”
Emma watched as the other blonde disappeared upstairs. She heard the floorboards creak a few times, the sound of water running, an electric toothbrush being switched on, a bit more creaking, and then completely silence. Emma supposed that was her cue. She emptied her own cup of coffee and then grabbed the pajamas Elsa had borrowed her and went upstairs to get ready for the night in Elsa’s bathroom.
It didn’t take her long before she was done and ready to head to bed. She tiptoed down the hallway and then into the guest bedroom where she closed the door as quietly as possible. She lied down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. She already knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight. She couldn’t stop thinking about what had just occurred. It had to be Mary Margaret. Or David. And if it wasn’t one of them, it had to be someone they had hired to find her. There were no other explanation. It had to be one of the three possibilities. Who else could it be? As Graham had said, Emma had just moved here. She didn’t have any enemies whatsoever. At least no one that she knew of.
Emma scoffed in the silence. No, that was ridiculous. She did NOT have any enemies. It had to be someone Mary Margaret had hired. That would explain the deviation from Mary Margaret’s normal modus operandi. Emma scoffed again. That bitch had actually HIRED someone to find her. But how the hell had that someone even done that? Emma had left absolutely no clues behind when she left Toronto. Not even in her trashcan. She had made sure that there wasn’t a shred of evidence left anywhere. So how?
Emma frowned. No matter how little she liked it, there were things about this that didn’t make sense. Things that suggested that Mary Margaret maybe wasn’t the one behind this.
Nope. Emma quickly banished that thought from her mind before it could take root and grow. It had to be Mary Margaret. Or someone she hired. Only acceptable explanation. Emma hoped that Graham would have some answers for her tomorrow. Some sort of magical explanation that would make everything make sense.
The blonde rolled onto her side and pulled the covers with her. She could watch the door from this position. Good. She felt the most comfortable with that. She puffed out a breath of air. It was incredible how quick a situation could shift a hundredth and eighty degrees. Earlier tonight she’d been having the time of her life with Regina, and now she was asleep in her friends’ guestroom because someone had been in her hotel room. It was insane. Everything about this was insane. Emma couldn’t sleep. Most of all she wanted to just get out of bed, walk back into town and shout from the top of her lungs: ‘Mary Margaret! Come out, come out, wherever you are!’
Emma doubted it would work, but still... it could at least have been worth a shot, right?
She looked at the door again. She was being paranoid. Elsa’s house was sort of old, and thus it made all the classic “old house”-creaking noises. And right now those noises were Emma’s worst nightmares. She kept imagining that someone was in the house. That someone was looking for her. Obviously, that lead her to wonder what would happen if Mary Margaret found her? She wondered if Mary Margaret would actually be capable of harming her. Like physically harming her.
Emma shivered involuntarily under Elsa’s blankets. No, this was ridiculous. She had to stop thinking like that. She was fine. She was safe. Nothing had happened. Except for the fact that someone had been in her room. But apart from that, everything was fine. Yes, Mary Margaret might have been here, but surely, all the commotion would have made her take off. And even if she still should be here, Graham and his colleagues would easily find her. Because while Mary Margaret was many things, subtle was not one of them. And it never had been.
Emma shifted on the guest bed. She really had to get some sleep now. Tomorrow was Sunday, and she still had a bit of work to take care of before going to work on Monday. She would like to be in shipshape for that. Ergo, she had to go to sleep right now. And fortunately enough, Emma knew exactly what would send her of to dreamland. Regina. Emma closed her eyes and thought about the beautiful brunette. They’ve had such a great night together. Everything had been wonderful. And there would be a second date. Emma could hardly wait for that. And she would lie if she said that she wasn’t hoping that their second date would end with a kiss. Emma felt a pleasant tingle in her belly at that. Kissing Regina. Finally kissing those beautiful, plump lips. Warmth spread through Emma’s body as she thought about how it would feel to kiss Regina for the first time. She already knew that it would feel amazing, but there were other things she wondered about. How it would feel to run her fingers through Regina’s smooth, silky hair. To cup her cheeks. Would her skin be soft? Yes. Yes, of course it would. Emma already knew that. Her body was starting to feel heavier and heavier, and somewhere along the way, Emma finally drifted off....
She was up bright and early the next day, and after having thanked Elsa for shelter and breakfast, Emma took off and walked back to Eugenia’s Inn.
Ruby and Eugenia had returned home, and both of them were talking to Graham when Emma arrived. Eugenia looked like an angry bulldog as she mumbled something about having a crossbow and knowing exactly what to do with intruders.
Graham ignored that as he turned to Emma. “We searched the entire building, but we didn’t find anyone. Whoever was in your room didn’t leave many clues behind. There were some fingerprints here and here, but I doubt they’ll lead to anything.”
“Great,” Emma said a bit sardonically.
“And we didn’t manage to find the master key either,” Graham added. “The intruder most likely took the key with them.”
“I’ve already arranged to have the locks changed,” Eugenia stated. “All of them.”
“And furthermore, I had the local police stop by your adoptive parents’ property last night,” Graham continued and rubbed a hand over a stubbly cheek. “They weren’t home, but their neighbor told that they had been away since the previous day. According to her, they were going on a family visit.”
“Family visit?” Emma echoed. Considering what had happened last night, that was a very creepy way to put it. “So, it could have been Mary Margaret who was in my room last night?”
“Technically, yes,” Graham nodded. “And judging by what you told me last night, I’d say there’s a very good chance that it was in fact your adoptive mother who was here.”
Emma felt something cold shiver down her spine. “Do you think she could still be here? In Steveston, I mean?”
“No, I don’t believe so,” Graham said.
“That’s not good enough!” Eugenia barked. “You have to be certain! I’d say we arrange neighbor watch and keep an eye on strangers in Steveston.”
“Hear, hear!” Ruby said
“Arranging a neighbor watch is a good idea,” Graham said before Emma could open her mouth. “But I’d like to stress out that it’s not the same as taking matters into your own hands. Should you encounter someone who are not supposed to be here, you will call the police and let the authorities handle it.” he looked at Eugenia. “Keep your crossbow under lock and key. And I’d to see your weapon permission before I leave.”
Granny glared at him, but that didn’t affect Graham in the slightest.
“I think a neighbor watch might be a bit much,” Emma interjected. “Sure, it was not pleasant to find my door unlocked, but we have to be sensible. Nothing really happened.”
“Enough things happened,” Eugenia said firmly. “I will not have someone waltzing in here and scaring my guests. The locksmith will be here later today to change the locks. I am not taking any chances!”
Graham turned to Emma again. “I’ve arranged that the police will stop by your adoptive parents’ house a few times during the next week, and when they arrive home, the police will have a little chat with them, alright?”
“Yeah,” Emma said. But she didn’t have a very good feeling about this. What kind of punishment could Mary Margaret even get for this? Yeah, so maybe she had dipped behind the counter and stolen a key and then used said key to open a door that had been locked. It was barely breaking and entering, really. She hadn’t threatened Emma in any way. And the phone calls Emma had received from that hidden number? She couldn’t prove that it had been Mary Margaret. Nor could she prove that Mary Margaret had been behind the wheel in that grey station car that had followed her. She couldn’t prove ANYTHING.
“Call me if anything else happens,” Graham said firmly.
“I will. Thank you,” Emma said.
He nodded to both her and Ruby and Eugenia, and then the sheriff of Steveston left the diner.
Emma sighed and shook her head.
“Ems, are you okay?” Ruby asked and put a hand on her arm.
“Yeah,” Emma said quickly and nodded. “I guess.... I guess I had just hoped that it would take Mary Margaret longer to find me here.”
“As far as I’m concerned, she didn’t find you last night, and she certainly won’t get any other opportunities!” Eugenia barked. “We’ll keep an eye out. All of us.”
“Yeah, we got you covered, Ems,” Ruby said and touched her arm lightly once more.
Emma laughed slightly. “It’s very sweet of you, but Mary Margaret is my mess. I don’t want to bring anyone else into it.”
“Too freaking bad,” Ruby deadpanned.
“I mean it,” Emma protested despite laughing. “Mary Margaret is my problem, and if she really is here, I’m not afraid to confront her.”
“That may be, but she has nothing to do here!” Eugenia said firmly.
“Mary Margaret is an expert in being places she has no business of being,” Emma pointed out.
“Yes, well, as far as I’m concerned, she can take that expertise and just shove it-“
“Granny!” Ruby interrupted, looking positively scandalized.
But Emma just laughed. “Promise me you’ll tell her that if you see her.”
“You have my word,” Eugenia said, and then their conversation was interrupted by a grey van pulling up in front of the diner.
“Excuse me, girls. That’s the locksmith,” Eugenia said hurriedly as she speed-walked out of the diner to greet the men jumping out of the van.
“Wow. She doesn’t waste any time, does she?” Emma asked ever so slightly surprised.
“Haven’t you noticed that you’re becoming her second granddaughter?” Ruby deadpanned.
Emma laughed, surprised and delighted. “Uhh.... No, I actually haven’t.”
“She adores you,” Ruby said plainly and mocked: “I suppose I should be jealous of you.”
Emma snickered and gave Ruby’s arm a playful little punch. “It’s hardly my fault I’m so loveable, is it?”
“Maybe she’ll testament the diner to you if you’re really lucky,” Ruby deadpanned.
Emma laughed again. “Swans’ Diner? Nah. Can’t really picture it.” she yawned. “Anyway, I think I’ll be going upstairs and try get some work done.”
“Okay,” Ruby said. “I’ll be right downstairs if you need something.”
“Cool,” Emma said. She flashed the waitress a smile, and then she moved towards the wooden staircase. As she began ascending it, she silently marveled at everything she had heard Eugenia and Ruby say.
They were going to arrange a neighborhood watch. Because of HER. Eugenia had threatened to wave her supposed crossbow around. Because of HER. Emma had never experienced anyone having her back like that before. Steveston truly was a magical place. Full of great people. Emma would be very upset if she had to leave again.
But maybe that wasn’t gonna happen. Maybe Mary Margaret would finally be scared off once the cops had talked to her. Maybe that was what it would take to finally make her stop what she was hoping.
Emma certainly hoped so.
She walked down the hallway and found her own room. She didn’t have any problems with stepping inside the room and closing the door behind her. She wasn’t afraid of being here. And why should she be? Eugenia was gonna get all the locks changed. After today, no one would be able to get in here. It didn’t even matter that the master key had been stolen.
Emma sat down on the edge of the bed. She was tired. She hadn’t gotten very much sleep last night, but there was nothing she could do about that now. She had some work she had to take care of before tomorrow.
But first there was something even more important she had to do. Text Regina. Emma found he phone in her pocket. She hadn’t even texted the brunette and thanked her for yesterday. It was time to rectify that. It was definitely time to rectify that. Right now. She smiled a little as she began typing. It didn’t take long before she had constructed a text message and send it to the brunette. ‘Thank you so much for last night! I had a really good time.’
Emma smiled. Now she could only wait.
But she didn’t have to wait for long. She had only just settled down in front of the laptop before her phone chimed. Emma let work be work and grabbed the phone to check the message. What she read made her grin broadly: ‘so did I. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so relaxed.’
Emma was quick to text back: ‘I’m very happy to hear that. What are you and the kid doing on this fine Sunday morning?’
It only took a moment before her phone chimed again, and Emma quickly read and chuckled at what she was reading: ‘Henry decided that today is pajamas and movie day. I decided to just indulge him, so now we’re watching The Lion King. For the millionth time.’
Emma was incredibly jealous at how Regina and Henry were spending their Sunday, and she quickly texted: ‘that honestly sounds like the perfect Sunday morning to me. I’m kinda jealous now.’
Immediately, her phone chimed, and Emma had forgotten all about her work. This was a bit more important. She quickly read the message: ‘I know I should be happy that he still wants to watch movies with me, but honest to god, he has watched that movie about a million times. He knows all the lines.’
Emma chuckled as she texted: ‘yeah, I bet he does. But he’s not alone. The Lion King was my favorite movie when I was a kid. I could watch it all the time. I even had a CD so I could listen to all the songs all the time.’
The blonde had only managed to edit exactly half a page before her phone chimed again. Emma found it to be the easiest thing in the world to pause her work and check the message: ‘speaking of watching and listening to things... Can I ask a favor of you?’
Emma immediately texted back: ‘Yeah, of course. Anything.’ Then she excitedly waited for the answer. And luckily, she didn’t have to wait a long time. Just as she had edited the other half of the page, her cellphone chimed again. Emma eagerly picked up the phone and checked the message: ‘my sister and I were supposed to go to a classical concert at The Orpheum next Saturday, but she has just told me that she has to work that night. Over time. There’s nothing she can do about it; her boss won’t let her take the night off. She can’t go with me anyway. Is there any chance you’d want to go with me instead? I’m not sure classical music is your thing, but Henry just stared at me when I asked him, and I don’t want to go alone.’
Emma’s heart began thudding. Had Regina just asked her on a date? Yep, it definitely seemed so, and the blonde immediately knew what to answer. There was only one kind of answer she could give, really. Her fingers nearly slipped as she eagerly texted: ‘of course! I’d love to.’
The response came immediately and was short and poignant: ‘really?’
Emma snorted. Uhm, yeah. Duh. ‘Absolutely. Should I wear something special? Is there like a dress code or something?’
The response came exactly a minute after Emma had send the text. ‘Wear whatever you want. I’m just relived that I’m not going alone.’
Emma’s insides completely melted at that, and her text reflected her goofy state of mind: ‘Emma Swan to the rescue! Just call me the Savior. Should I pick you up somewhere? That would be most practical, right? There’s no reason why you should drive all the way to Steveston to pick me up.’
She put the phone down and turned her attention back to the editing process. But she wasn’t paying the least bit attention to what she was doing. She was much more focused on keeping tabs on her phone. She was much too busy to listen after that familiar chime indicating she had received a message. After all, that was the most wonderful sound in the world. And after a moment or so, Emma’s ears were once again blessed with the sound. The blonde smiled as she grabbed the phone and checked the message. Regina declared that she agreed with Emma, and then she had written an address somewhere in Vancouver West. A neighborhood that was called Granville. Emma had no idea where that was, but she wasn’t worried. She had GPS in her phone. She could easily find it. And she was quick to text Regina back: ‘no problem. I’ll find that. What time should I pick you up then?’
Regina texted back immediately: ‘well, the concert starts at seven thirty, so I think it could be good if you could pick me up at seven. That way we have time to find a parking lot, etc.’
Emma nodded even though the brunette wasn’t exactly with her to see it. Then she texted back: ‘perfect. I’ll be there at seven PM sharp.’ She didn’t even bother to go back to editing. Instead she simply sat tight and watched her phone intensely until she heard the familiar chiming of her phone. Emma was so eager she almost dropped the phone on the floor. She cursed slightly, shook her head and then checked the message: ‘excellent. I’m very happy you want to go with me. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.’
And just how the hell was Emma supposed to go back to work after such a message? Her heart sped up, and she had no idea how to even respond to the message. Her mind was completely bluescreened.
There was quite literally no thoughts to be found in her mind at the moment. Emma shook her head in utter defeat. Maybe she would just stop working for a moment. She definitely needed time to gather her thoughts. The blonde chuckled slightly as she looked at the message on her phone, still unsure on how to answer it.
She might as well lie down on the bed and melt on the spot.........
To Be Continued............