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When She Dance

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”Emma, I’m sorry, but I can’t do this,’ Neal said and looked at the floor rather than looking at Emma.

“What are you talking about?” Emma asked and looked up from the seating plan. “Can’t do what?”

“This,’ Neal said quietly and nodded towards the seating plan in Emma’s hands.

Emma’s gaze snapped up and she suddenly felt lightheaded. “What are you... What are you saying?”

“It’s been going too fast,” Neal said and fidgeted slightly.

Emma shook her head, refusing to accept this. “You can’t be serious.”

“I’m sorry,” Neal repeated. “I thought I was ready, but-“

“Will you listen to yourself?!” Emma interrupted. “We’re getting married tomorrow, Neal!”

“I know, I just...” He sighed and rubbed his unshaven cheek. “All this talk about seating plans and decorations and cakes.... it’s not what I imagined.”

Emma dropped the seating plan entirely. “And what about me? Am I not what you imagined either?”

Neal didn’t answer that.

“You proposed to ME!” Emma bellowed. “You asked ME to marry you!”

“I know, I just...”

“We have eighty people coming to celebrate our wedding tomorrow,” Emma interrupted and gaped at her fiancé. “The church is booked, the rings are bought. My dress is hanging in the bedroom, we have the plane tickets for our honeymoon, and now you’re telling me that you can’t do this?! What the hell is the matter with you?!”

“I thought this was what I wanted, okay?!” Neal hissed. “And I’ve really been trying, but.... It just doesn’t feel right no more!”

“Is this about your dad?” Emma asked, grappling for reasons why this could be happening. “Is it because your dad doesn’t like me? Is that it?”

“No!” Neal said firmly. “It has nothing to do with papa!”

“Then what?!”

“Em...”

“No, explain this to me, Neal, because I don’t understand-“ Emma stopped talking when she saw the expression on his face. “Oh god. There’s someone else isn’t there?”

“Emma...”

“ISN’T there?!” the blonde yelled.

“Yes!” Neal exclaimed, shouting right back at her. “Yes, there is someone else, okay?!”

Emma was steaming with anger. She couldn’t believe that this was happening, and exactly as expected, her anger made her voice completely calm when she asked: “Who is it?”

“Does it really matter?” Neal asked, throwing his hands in the air.

“Damn right it does!” Emma sneered. “You’ve just told me that you can’t go through with our wedding tomorrow because you’ve met someone else! I damn well have a right to know who it is! Now tell me!”

Neal looked down at the floor again. He went quiet for so long Emma was starting to doubt that he would ever answer her question, but then she said: “It’s Tamara.”

Emma’s ears were ringing. “Our... wedding planner?”

Neal didn’t say anything, but his silence was a clear indicator.

“So while she’s been helping me with planning everything AND becoming my friend, you’ve been fucking her on the sideline?!”

‘I didn’t plan this, okay!’ Neal yelled. ‘I didn’t fucking plan to fall for her! But you... You were always so busy, and-‘

‘I was busy planning the most important day in our life,’ Emma interrupted icily. “I was busy making sure that our wedding would be the most wonderful day ever, and this is what I get in return?!”

“I’m sorry, okay?!”

Emma looked up at the man who had been her fiancé until five minutes ago. “You asshole,’ she whispered. ‘You lying, cheating asshole!”

“I’m sorry, I-“

“How long?” Emma interrupted. “How long has this been going on? Since the day you met her? Or did you manage to keep it in your pants until the next day, hmm?”

Neal didn’t answer that.

Emma inhaled sharply and looked down at the kitchen table. Her hands were shaking with anger. “You are the most pathetic excuse for a human being I’ve ever met, do you know that? How can you even sleep at night?! How could you keep up the charade with me while banging Tamara on the side line?! You stupid fucking asshole!”

“Look, I know you’re angry-“

“Angry?’ Emma laughed. “You haven’t seen angry yet, Neal! No. I’ll be calling all our guests. And I’ll explain to them what you did. I’ll be calling your father... Your mother.... Everyone.”

Neal’s eyes widened.

“What do you think dear old dad will think when he finds out his precious son cheated on his fiancé, hmm?”

“Emma, don’t-“

“Why the fuck shouldn’t I?!” Emma roared. “You’ve just screwed up my life! What goes around, comes back around!”

“Telling everyone isn’t gonna help any-“

“It’s gonna help ME!” Emma yelled. “It’s gonna be a huge fucking relief if everybody knows what a miserable bastard you are!”

Neal opened his mouth, tried to say something, but Emma was very much done listening. She grabbed her cellphone from the table, and her fingers trembled as she tapped in a number.

“What are you doing?” Neal asked.

“I’m calling Tamara’s boss,” Emma spat as she brought the phone up to her ear. “I think it’s a good idea to let her know that Tamara seems to have misunderstood her job, don’t you?”

“Emma, please-“

“Lorraine!” Emma interrupted when the call was answered. “This is Emma. I’m sorry to bother you on a Saturday, but I have a few complaints about Tamara...” she turned her back on Neal and stomped into
the bedroom where she slammed the door shut and locked it. Then she explained everything to Lorraine, and as she did so, she opened her closet and looked at the white cloth bag where her wedding dress was being kept. Her mother’s wedding dress. The wedding dress she was supposed to wear tomorrow at church when she said “I do” to Neal... Tears pooled in her eyes and she tried not to sniffle into the phone.

“My goodness!” Lorraine exclaimed. “Emma, I am so, so sorry! Rest assure that I’ll be having a very, very serious chat with Tamara in which we discuss her future employment. After this, I don’t see how she can possible function as a wedding planner anymore. I know that’s not an enormous consolation right now, but...”

“It helps,” Emma interrupted quietly. “I trusted her to help me with planning my wedding. I’ve been nothing but kind to her. I thought of her as a friend, and this is what I get in return?!”

“I am so terribly sorry about this, Emma.”

“It’s not your fault,” Emma said. “Thank you for all your help with everything, Lorraine. You’ve been a star.”

“Just calculate how many hours Tamara has worked for you, and I’ll be refunding the money,” Lorraine said.

“Thank you. I appreciate that. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Emma. Again, I’m so, so sorry about this.”

“Yeah. You and me both,” Emma muttered. Then she ended the call and walked over to the closet. She unzipped the white cloth bag and couldn’t do anything but break down in tears when she saw her
wedding dress. The dress that had been mended, cleaned and restored to its original state for the past few months. Her mother’s wedding dress. That beautiful dress she was supposed to wear in church tomorrow. The dress she was supposed to wear walking down the isle by her father’s arm. And her veil. That beautiful veil made of French lace. The veil her mother had insisted upon buying her even though it was too much....

Emma sobbed. Now everything was falling apart. Because stupid fucking Neal and his fucking inability to keep it in his pants! And with their wedding planner of all people! This was a fucking comedy! A soap opera!

The doorknob was being pressed down and then Neal’s voice: “Emma?”

“Go away!” Emma yelled. “Just fucking get out of here you stupid fucking...” she took a deep breath. “Asshole! Get the fuck out of here! I don’t ever want to see you again!”

She heard a sigh and then footsteps walking away from the bedroom. The floorboards creaked and then she heard the front door open and then slam shut. Emma was alone in the apartment. Alone to cry and get all her frustrations out. And for a solid five minutes she cried and called Neal every last horrible thing she could think of. And once her vocabulary was drained for things, she could call Neal, she proceeded to call Tamara the same and even added a few extra insults. For some reason it was easier to come up with things to call Tamara. She had been posing and pretending to be Emma’s friend while screwing Neal on the sideline. What sort of person did that?!

Once Emma felt completely drained, she did the only thing she could do in this situation. She called her mom.

It didn’t take many seconds before Mary Margaret picked up. “Emma, honey! I was just about to call you! How is everything going? Are you nervous about tomorrow?”

“There isn’t gonna be a tomorrow,” Emma whispered and felt herself choke up once again.

“What do you mean, honey? What are you talking about?” Mary Margaret asked, now sounding alert and attentive. And worried.

“There isn’t gonna be a wedding tomorrow,” Emma said, now crying openly into the phone. “Or at any other time for that matter.”

“What?! What are you talking about?!”

“Neal c-cheated on me,” Emma cried. “With... Tamara.”

“What?! No, that can’t possibly be!”

“It’s true. He just told me,” Emma almost choked on the words. “I don’t know what to do now, mom. All the guests.... the church.... Your d-dress. Everything is falling apart.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Mary Margaret said gently in the other end. “Baby, I’m so sorry. Is Neal still in the apartment with you?”

“No, I asked him to leave,” Emma croaked. “I don’t know where he went. Probably to Tamara’s place or something like that.”

“Then come over,” Mary Margaret said firmly. “I’ll make us some waffles and we’ll talk about it, okay?”

“Okay. I’ll be right there,” Emma said and then she heard her dad in the other end. He was mumbling something. He sounded concerned.

“Can’t you tell him?” Emma whispered.

“Of course I can, sweetie. Now hurry over here, okay?”

“Okay,” Emma murmured. “See you in a moment.” Then she hung up, sniffled and then wiped her eyes. She hated the fact that she was crying about this. She wished that she could just be angry and wish
to kick Neal’s sorry ass back to the hellhole he came from, but her heart didn’t quite agree. This was Neal. The man she had loved and trusted for three years. And now he had done this to her. He had carried on with another woman while playing the excited groom to be. That was fucking insane! What sort of person did that?!

Emma sniffled again and wiped her eyes. Her hand came away black. She probably looked a mess. She felt like a mess. A huge fucking mess.

She did her utmost to ignore the white cloth bag as she grabbed her leather jacket and then left the bedroom. There was no sign of Neal anywhere. And coming out on the street, Emma noticed that his
car was gone as well. Maybe he really had gone to Tamara’s place. Emma wouldn’t be surprised if he had. After today, nothing would ever come to a surprise to her again.

She fumbled with her car keys for a moment. Her hands were still trembling with emotion. While she struggled to insert the key into the lock, Eugenia Lucas, known amongst friends as “granny” walked past her, smiled and said: “good morning, Emma! On your way to discuss the last details? Ruby and I are so looking forward to the wedding tomorrow, it is going to be a wonderful day!”

Emma inserted the key into the lock, opened the door to the yellow Bug and climbed onto the driver’s seat. She inserted the key and twisted it slightly. The engine came to life with a roar and a splutter.

Very appropriate. “There isn’t gonna be a wedding tomorrow,” she said plainly.

Granny raised an eyebrow. “What, but I-“

“Now if you would excuse me, I’m a bit in a hurry,” Emma said as she maneuvered the yellow Bug away from the apartment. The tires screeched as she accelerated and drove away from the mystified Granny.

Emma knew that she had been rude to Granny for now apparent reason, but she couldn’t deal with people right now.

 

She was greeted at the door by her father who immediately pulled her into a hug. “Oh Emma, I’m so sorry,” he said. Mary Margaret had kept her promise and had told him what had happened.

“Yeah. You and me both,” Emma said meekly and tried to joke. She failed miserably.

“Come in. Your mother’s made waffles,” David said as he put a hand on her shoulder to guide her inside the house.

“That sounds good,” Emma said. She wasn’t sure she could eat anything, but she would try for her mother’s sake.

Five minutes later she was sitting at her parents, kitchen table, plate of waffles in front of her and a cup of hot, strong coffee. She was sure that the waffles were great and all, but she couldn’t taste them.

Not really. Nor she could taste the coffee. Everything had been replaced with a foul, metallic taste in her mouth.

She ran her fingers through her hair. “I don’t know what to do,” she said, and her voice broke once more. “The church, the guests...” yes, she had threatened Neal to expose his adultery to every last wedding guest, but honestly, did she really have the energy for that? Did she really have the energy for anything?

“I can talk to Archie,” Mary Margaret said and patted Emma’s hand gently. “That won’t be a problem at all.”

Emma nodded a bit. She knew that talking to Storybrooke’s kind and understanding minister, Archie Hopper was gonna be the least of her problems. “What am I gonna tell the guests?” she whispered and rubbed a hand over her face. “How can I tell them that a wedding they were supposed to go to tomorrow is suddenly cancelled? What will they think?”

“It doesn’t matter what they’ll think,” David said firmly. “Just tell them the ceremony is cancelled. That’s all they have to know.”

“I’m not calling Robert and Milah!” Emma said and cringed as she thought about Neal’s parents.

“No, Neal will have to take care of that himself!” David said and looked rather murderous. His hand curled into a fist.

“David, that doesn’t help anything,” Mary Margaret said firmly as she put a hand on his arm.

“Your wedding dress...” Emma murmured and could feel how her lower lip quivered. “I suppose I better stop by to give it back to you.”

“Oh Emma,” Mary Margaret said and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “There’s no need to think about all that now. You need time to-“

“I can’t keep living in the apartment now,” Emma interrupted. “Neal and I bought it together, and I doubt he’ll move out and let me stay there.”

“Emma-“

“And the honeymoon,” Emma said, interrupting her mother once again. “Do you think it’s possible to have the tickets refunded on such short notice?” She and Neal were supposed to go Madrid for three weeks on their honeymoon, but obviously there would be none of that now.

“Yes, I’m sure that’s possible, honey,” Mary Margaret said gently. “Now have some more waffle.”

“Or maybe you shouldn’t,” David interjected.

“Have some more waffle?” Emma asked dumbly and looked at him.

“No, refund the tickets,” he said.

Emma raised an eyebrow. “Dad, Neal and I aren’t going anywhere. Not now, not ever.”

“Then let us cover the expenses for his ticket and use your own,” David said.

“And... And go to Madrid on my own? I don’t think so,” Emma said and shook her head.

“Think about it for a moment, sweetie,” David said. “What you need right now is time to recover and be as far away from Neal as possible. If you went to Madrid, you could do that.”

Emma looked at her mother.

“I actually think your father is on to something,” Mary Margaret said. “I think some time away is exactly what you need right now. The chance to see something besides Storybrook.”

Emma shook her head. “I would be running away like a coward if I did that.”

“The only coward here is Neal!” David said firmly. “And I’ll make sure to tell him that if I ever see his sorry a-“

“What your father is trying to say, is that you’re not a coward,” Mary Margaret firmly interrupted. “You would be taking some time away. Some well-deserved time.”

Emma considered it. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea when it really came to it. Here in Storybrook, she could risk running into Neal every single day. She definitely couldn’t in Madrid. She would be far, far away. And oddly enough, she still wanted to go to Madrid. That hadn’t changed. Madrid had been on her bucket list for years now, and despite the chaotic circumstances, it seemed idiot not to take this chance.

“You know what, screw it,” the blonde said and slammed her fist lightly against the table. “I’m gonna do it! I’m going to Madrid alone. He can rot in hell!”

“I think that’s a very wise decision, princess,” David smiled and reached out and patted her hand softly.

Emma smiled at the old pet name. “You’re right, a change of scenery will be good for me.” her smile faltered as she fidgeted with the engagement Neal had given her, and then she slid it off. It left a white mark on her finger. That was how long it had been sitting on her finger.

“How much money do you think I can get for this thing?” she asked as she looked at the ring. She knew for a fact that it wasn’t a family heirloom or anything. Neal had tried to convince her otherwise but had confessed when Emma had spotted the exact same model in the local jeweler store.

“I’m selling it,” Emma said firmly and kept her gaze fixated on the ring, surprised over how little emotion she already had for it. “I’m selling it and buying myself something pretty. And in two days, I’m going to Madrid!’

 

To Be Continued..........

Chapter Text

Exhausted.

That was how Emma felt two nights later. But she still managed to smile at her parents, give each of them a hug and say: “goodbye, guys. I’ll see you in three weeks.”

“Take care of yourself, sweetpea,” Mary Margaret said as she gave Emma a tight hug.

“Call us a lot,” David mock admonished as he too gave her a hug and planted a kiss on her forehead.

“I will. Don’t worry.” With that she turned to her best friend Ruby and engulfed her in a hug as well. “Bye, Rubes.”

“Make some awesome memories, Swan,” the brunette said and nearly squeezed the life out of Emma as she hugged her. “And take lots of pictures.”

“I promise,” Emma half-chuckled. Of course she was going to take many pictures. As a photographer, it wasn’t often she was able to put her work down. And going to Madrid would definitely provide her with lots of opportunities to take beautiful pictures. And unwind her mind. And drink. Emma was counting on drinking a lot of alcohol on her three weeks long trip. She had definitely deserved that.

“You better get going, sweetpea,” Mary Margaret said. “Your plane will be leaving soon.”

“Okay then,” Emma said as she released Ruby and put on a brave face. This was all wrong. It was supposed to be her and Neal together, and now she was standing in the airport alone. With no husband, no plan, and most likely no apartment either.

Mary Margaret gave her another tight hug, David kissed her cheek and then Emma walked through the gate and into the waiting area. The flight time from Maine to Madrid was seven hours and three minutes, and Emma had a naïve hope about getting some sleep, but deep down she knew that she probably wouldn’t. She would sit awake and think and think while the plane took her on what should have been her honeymoon. God, this was so surreal! Emma still couldn’t quite believe that this was actually happening. That this was real.

Fortunately enough, there was lots of people waiting for the flight to Madrid. Lots of couples but singles as well. Emma didn’t feel quite as awkward sitting here. She didn’t feel like a scorned bride. Emma almost laughed at that. A scorned bride. It sounded so over the top. So dramatic. But then again, she supposed that being dumped on the day before her wedding was pretty dramatic.

Emma hadn’t spoken to Neal since two days ago where he dropped the “Tamara bomb” on her. She didn’t know where he was, and she didn’t care either. She had been far too busy with practical things to think too much about his whereabouts.

Yes, she had been plenty busy. With calling her friends and family and informing them that the wedding was off. All of them had been shocked, and some of them had asked for the reason why and Emma had called it “unfixable circumstances”. Despite her angry threat, she hadn’t told anyone except Ruby and her parents the real reason why the wedding was off. She had come to the realization that not everybody needed to know that Neal had humiliated her.

She hadn’t talked to Neal’s family, but none of them had called her and asked what was going on, so Emma guessed that Neal had given them some sort of explanation. A half-assed one, undoubtedly. If there was something Neal Cassidy was an expert in, it was giving half-assed, aloofly, explanations. “I don’t know”, had been his favorite.

Emma rubbed her face tiredly. She was pretty hungover. She and Ruby had spent most of yesterday drinking. She had literally been drinking her wedding day away. How absurd was that?! She hid a yawn behind her hand. It wouldn’t be long until she could get on the plane and be on her way. She knew that in this very moment, her mom was removing her wedding dress from the apartment. Emma hadn’t been capable of removing the dress. She hadn’t even been able to touch it. Her heart had been breaking every time she just looked at it, and so she had accepted her mom’s offer about removing the gown from the apartment once she was gone. But she had talked to Archie herself. And she had managed to explain that the wedding was off. Archie had expressed how sorry he was about that. Emma hadn’t given him the reason, but Archie was a pretty intuitive man and Emma had a hunch that he knew that there was more to the story.

Emma’s cellphone chimed, and the blonde quickly checked the message. It was from Ruby. She was wishing her a good trip and once again reminded her that she could call whenever she wanted. Emma texted back, thanked her, and told her that she would text when she landed in Madrid. Then she stared at her phone and wondered whether she should delete Neal’s number or not. It definitely seemed like the most sensible thing to do. Emma doubted that she would ever talk to him again. And she doubted that he would call her. He was probably far, far too busy with Tamara. That bitch. Emma knew that her thoughts about Tamara wasn’t very mature, but she couldn’t help it. She was allowed to act immature for a while. Neal had dumped on the day before their wedding by their wedding planner.

Emma felt this bizarre urge to laugh. God, it was so ridiculous! How could this even be happening?

Emma sighed deeply, and an elderly man looked up at her and flashed her a smile. Emma did her best to return the smile. Her jaw felt stiff. Unable to move. It would probably take a while before she would be able to smile genuinely. She sighed again. More quietly this time around. She wasn’t interested in having more people looking at her. She felt exposed enough as it was.

And then a voice over the speakers informed her that the flight to Madrid had landed and “please go to gate this and this”.

Emma quickly rose from her chair, hoisted her little bag up and then walked towards the gate along with the rest of the passengers. Soon she was standing in line and waiting patiently as a flight attendant with perfect blonde hair and a toothpaste-y smile to match checked everyone’s tickets and passport. There was clearly some trouble with the couple in front of her. Something about their ticket. Emma felt a sort of gruesome satisfaction at that. She knew she was being horrible, but that couple had looked irritatingly happy. All snuggly and lovey-dovey. Entirely too happy together. Emma had sort of been wanting to kill them for it, and now she was standing here and feeling gruesomely satisfied that there were getting into trouble with the flight attendant.

But then the flight attendant smiled at the couple and said: “all right. Have a nice trip.”

The couple thanked her and then smiled lovingly at each other. The guy slipped an arm around the woman’s waist as they disappeared down the narrow hallway that would lead them to the plane.

Emma gnashed her teeth.

“Next, please,” the flight attendant said, and that brought Emma out of her trance. She walked forward and showed both her ticket and passport to the flight attendant. The blonde flight attendant looked thoroughly at both her ticket and passport, and then she smiled at Emma. “Everything’s in order. Have a nice trip, miss Swan!”

“Thank you,” Emma said mechanically. Miss Swan. She was still miss Swan. If things had gone according to plan, she would have been Mrs. Cassidy by now. If Neal hadn’t been such a gigantic prick, she would have been Mrs. Cassidy.

“Move it!” the guy behind Emma bellowed, and Emma quickly got a move on.

She stomped down the corridor. She had to be grumpiest traveler ever. Maybe this had been a bad idea. Maybe she would have been better off staying in Storybrooke and work. But then again, she would have risked running in to Neal. And that would have been pretty fucking awful! So now she was running away. To Madrid. Despite what Mary Margaret had said, this still felt like running away instead of staying home and dealing with stuff.

But there wasn’t anything for her to deal with. Neal had ended things. End of story. No going back, no chance of fixing things. Emma couldn’t quite believe that things could shift a hundredth eighty degrees so quickly. When she woke up two days ago, she had been an excited bride-to-be. Now she was a dumped woman embarking on her honeymoon alone.

Emma made it to the plane where another smiling flight attendant welcomed her “aboard” and then pointed her towards her seat.

The blonde plopped down on the seat she had been pointed to and then buckled her seatbelt. It didn’t take long before the plane filled up. She got company when an elderly and pretty sweaty elderly man sat down in the seat next to her. Emma turned her head, pretended to look out of the window as she ignored him. He had already smiled at her once. God forbid she should accidentally encourage him to strike up a conversation with her or something like that. Emma was definitely not in the mood to chat.

As soon as everybody was seated, two flight attendants started to do the whole “in case of an emergency”-thing. Emma tipped her head back and closed her eyes. She sort of knew the drill. If the plane crashed, everyone would die. Plain and simple. She fidgeted with her hands and realized that she was rubbing the spot on her index finger where her engagement ring normally would sit. She was rubbing the spot because she no longer could twist the engagement ring around like she used to. Neal had called it a “quirk”. She had indeed gone to the jewelry store yesterday and had sold the ring. And she had gotten a decent price for it. She could either enjoy an expensive meal or buy herself something “pretty” in Madrid. A pity she couldn’t buy herself a new heart. Or perhaps new memories in which Neal didn’t have a part. Emma wanted to forget him. Wanted to forget that she had ever known him. Wanted to forget the past five years they had known each other. She felt like such a fool. She should have known that he would eventually do something like this. He had been dating another girl when he and Emma had first met. And he had unceremoniously dumped the other girl. Just like that. At the time,
Emma had been happy. She hadn’t even thought about the other woman whose heart Neal had broken. Now Emma was that woman. And she could see Neal for exactly what he was. A lying, cheating asshole who was never gonna “settle” for one woman. He was a fucking player. Emma’s hand curled into a fist. She had this urge to punch something or someone. Maybe it was a good thing that she was on her way away from Maine and Neal. Otherwise she might have ended up punching him square in the face. It would undoubtedly have felt good but would probably have gotten her into trouble.

Emma opened her eyes just in time to see the flight attendants smile and walk away from the corridor. There was a slight ding to alert the passengers to buckle their seatbelts, and then the plane rolled away from the runway. She closed her eyes again as she felt her navel being pulled backwards as the plane took off. Now she was really on her way. Thank god. Maybe she would feeling a little better once she arrived in Madrid.

Or maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she was in for three shitty weeks. And once she got back to Storybrook, things would be even worse. Emma sighed deeply as she opened her eyes once more and glanced out of the window. The ground below them was nothing but a glob. She leaned back in her seat, glanced at the seat next to her. That seat had supposed to be Neal’s. He should have been sitting next to her. This should have been their first adventure as a married couple.

Emma ran her fingers through her hair. Would she even be able to enjoy Madrid? Would she even be able to enjoy anything ever again? Right now she doubted it. Right now everything felt so hopeless. This was supposed to be the happiest day in her life, and now she felt worse than ever.

How could she have gone from about to get married to the man she loved to this?

It was all wrong.

 

To Be Continued.......

Chapter Text

”Sra. Cassidy! ¡Bienvenido!” an enthusiatic, brunette hotel clerk said to Emma and flashed her a big smile.

Emma both wanted to cry and murder the poor, innocent woman standing at the front desk. She didnt do either. It wasn’t her fault that Emma wasn’t “Senora Cassidy”. It wasn’t her fault that Neal was a massive dickhead. “Gracias,” Emma said and did her best to smile at the hotel clerk.

“¿Dónde está el señor Cassidy?” the hotel clerk asked and frowned in confusion.

“Estoy aquí solo,” Emma said half-heartedly. There was that urge to cry all over again.

The hotel clerk looked both confused and curious, but didn’t comment on it. Instead she just tapped away on the computer in front of her, checking Emma in and then finding the key to her hotel room.

Emma already felt pretty lost. She had some knowledge of the Spanish language, but she definitely understood it better than speaking it. Neal was the one who had been good at talking Spanish. Emma had counted on depending on him when they arrived in Madrid. And now she couldn’t. And she never would be able to depend on Neal ever again. Because Neal had left her. God, he was probably banging Tamara while Emma was here. In Madrid. On what was supposed to be their honeymoon. Alone. So many things were wrong with this.

God, what was she even doing here?!

The hotel clerk flashed her a smile as she walked round the counter and said “por favor sígame, Sra. Cassidy.”

Emma clenched her teeth. She felt awfully tempted to tell the hotel clerk that she wasn’t Signora Cassidy but very much Señorita Swan. But at the same time, Emma felt far, far too tired to come up with an explanation to the hotel clerk. She wouldn’t understand, and honestly, Emma wasn’t sure she would be able to come up with an explanation that was good enough.

Emma silently panicked as she followed the hotel clerk into the elevator which took them to the tenth floor. Then down the hallway. Emma dragged her suitcase behind her. She felt completely flat after seven hours of travelling. She hadn’t slept a wink. She was tired and angry and felt like she could benefit from a good cry.

Or possibly some alcohol. Yeah. That could work too. She hoped there was a minibar in her room. And preferably a well stocked one.

“Ahí estamos,” the hotel clerk announced as she opened the door with an exagareted movement.

Honest to god, Emma wasn’t sure whether she should laugh or cry when she stepped inside the room. No, not room. Suite. Honeymoon suite. Emma glumly looked around in the suite. It was pretty fucking huge. Had an enormous bed as well. A canopy bed. With rose petals sprinkled all over it.

“Muy romántico,” the hotel clerk said and flashed Emma a beaming smile.

“Sí,” Emma said meekly.

The hotel clerk then eagerly began talking way too fast in Spanish. And rapidly gesturing while she did so. Emma didn’t understand that much of it, but she did understand the word ‘baño’ which meant bathroom.

“Do you know any great places to go out?” Emma politely interrupted the brunette woman’s chattering. Emma suddenly noticed her little nametag said ‘Lucía’

“Si, si!” Lucía said eagerly. “Las Tablas”!” she then proceeded to rapidly give Emma directions to the place. Poor Emma struggled to keep up, but she managed to understand that Las Tablas wasn’t far from here.

“Gracias,” Emma interrupted gently but firmly and then reached within her pocket and gave the woman some money, hoping that that would make her disappear.

And after having profusely thanked Emma, Lucía made herself scarce. Emma was left alone in the room.

She unceremoniously dumped her suitcase on the soft carpet with a slight thud. Then she stomped over to the window and cranked it open. God, it was warm here. Despite wearing only a thin sundress, Emma was already sweating like a pig. She felt every bit miserable as she looked out of the window and glanced at the busy street far below her. Maybe coming here had been a mistake after all. Emma was second guessing her decision for the millionth time now. She huffed. Maybe she should take a shower so she was ready to go out tonight. Yes, she was intending on going out tonight and get wasted.
As in really, really wasted. She had deserved that. She had more than deserved that.

But first she had to call her mom. She had promised to call as soon as she arrived here. Emma turned her back on the window, walked over to the spot where she had dumped her suitcase and little purse.

She found her phone in the purse and then dialed her mom’s number.

It didn’t even take a minute before the phone was picked up and her mom’s soothing voice came in the other end: “Emma, sweetie.”

“Hi, mom,” Emma said and struggled to at least sound a bit more perky than she was. “I’ve made it to the hotel.”

“That’s good,” Mary Margaret said in the other end. “Was it a long flight? Is the room okay?”

“It’s the honeymoon suite,” Emma said plainly.

“Oh.”

“Yeah, turns out I couldn’t get that changed,” Emma said bitterly.

“Oh, honey, I’m sorry.”

“I’ll survive,” Emma said and then tried to quip: “at least I have this big, awesome bed all to myself. And I’m pretty sure there’s a spa bath here too, so it’s not all bad.” But still not how I imagined it.

“Are you gonna rest and get settled tonight, or do you have something planned?” Mary Margaret asked.

“I’m counting on going out,” Emma said. “The girl at the front desk mentioned some bar nearby, so I figured I would go and check it out.” And get stinking drunk. But she didn’t mention anything about
that to Mary Margaret.

But perhaps Mary Margaret already had an inkling about what Emma’s plans for tonight was consisting off, because she gently said: “be careful, sweetpea.”

“I always am,” Emma assured and tried to chuckle. The sound was completely dry. If she had been more careful, she never would have trusted Neal fucking Cassidy with her heart and her hopes and
dreams for the future. A future that was now gone. Because Neal was incapable of keeping it in his pants.

“Have you talked to anyone?” Emma asked. “Is half of Storybrook gossiping about me?”

“No, sweetie. Of course they’re not,” Mary Margaret said firmly. “And if they were, your father wouldn’t hesitate to-“

“I know mom. I know,” Emma interrupted and then frowned when she realized that she had in fact been snapping at her mother. “Shit, I’m sorry, mom. Everything is just so...”

“I know,” Mary Margaret said. “And if I could do anything to change that, I would do it in a heartbeat.”

Emma laughed softly at that. “I know you would.”

“Will you promise me that you at least try to have a nice vacation?” Mary Margaret said.

“I’ll try,” Emma promised. She really didn’t want to be miserable in Madrid.

“Go out and see the city,” Mary Margaret encouraged. “Meet new friends. Eat strange things you wouldn’t have eaten otherwise.”

“You sound like a tour guide,” Emma laughed, and now the sound was definitely more genuine.

Mary Margaret laughed too and then there was some scrambling in the other end. David’s voice and then Mary Margaret half-shouting: “it’s Emma!”

“Tell him I arrived safe and sound,” Emma snickered.

“I’ll do that,” Mary Margaret promised.

“Okay. I should probably get going,” Emma said. “But I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay, honey. Post lots of pictures!” Mary Margaret half-ordered.

“I will, don’t worry,” Emma chuckled. Mary Margaret had recently gotten Instagram, and now she was amazed at how much the little app could do. “Bye, mom.”

“Bye, honey. Have a nice evening.”

“I’ll... I’ll try,” Emma said. That was the best thing she could muster right now. “Give my best to dad. Bye.”

After one last goodbye, Mary Margaret hung up, and Emma threw her phone down on the bed. Now what? She didn’t have any plans until tonight. Maybe a nap? No, if she fell asleep now, she wouldn’t be
able to sleep tonight. No nap. But she could lie down and rest for a second.

The blonde slipped off her sandals and then lied down on the luxurious and too-big for-one bed. She grabbed her phone and hooked it up with the hotel’s free WiFi. She ended up scrolling through her Instagram account and deleting some of her old pictures. It was pretty pointless to keep the pictures of Neal. He had officially no business being on her pictures anymore. Emma’s heart throbbed as she deleted picture after picture of everything wedding related. Everything related to Neal Cassidy and his lying, cheating ass. That fucking bastard!

Once that was done (or, not entirely, there was a few pictures Emma felt too emotionally unstable to delete just now), she felt petty enough to actually stalk Tamara’s Instagram account. She mostly posted pictures of herself working out. Emma narrowed her eyes. Was that what Neal had fallen for? Those tiny shorts and crop tops? Was he really that shallow?

Yes, probably.

Emma’s jaw clenched as she systematically went through all Tamara’s pictures. God, she had an enormous urge to write something horrendeously cruel, but even though she was furious, she refused to sink to that level. But she did feel particularly murderous when she saw a picture Tamara had posted two days ago. It was a picture of a sunrise, and underneath it Tamara had written: ‘another busy day awaits!’

Emma was damn nearly steaming with anger. Another busy day awaits. Yeah, right, another busy day in which Tamara would completely screw up Emma’s life and ruin everything. That bitch. That stupid, fucking bitch! And the fact that Emma had liked her and considered her to be a friend was only making this whole thing so much worse. She had really, genuinely liked Tamara, she felt like she had gained a new friend, and that was really unusal. Emma was pretty introverted and didn’t easily connect with people and met new friends. That’s why Tamara’s betrayal was particularly horrible. Everything about this was horrible.

Emma sighed as she put her phone down. Now she was actually going to take that bath.

But coming into the bathroom only made her all the more depressed. It truly was a lavish bathroom. So beautiful. So. Fucking. Romantic. Chandelier dangling from the ceiling. Huge spa bath in the center of the room. Emma crossed the marble tiles and switched on a few of the golden tabs to fill the tub with water. She was supposed to have been sitting with Neal in this tub. They were supposed to enjoy the hot water whilst drinking champagne and eating strawberry and do all those cliché honeymoon things. Now there would be none of that.

Emma quickly shed her clothes and stepped into the tub. She slowly lowered herself into the bubbly water. It was nice and warm. The tub was ridiculously big. She could sit stretched out and still every part of her would be under the water. Except for her head, obviously.

But right now dunking her head under the water seemed sickeningly tempting. She was in Madrid. The city she had wanted to visit since she was thirteen. And now at twenty eight it felt as though her life was over. Dramatic, but nevertheless completely true. Emma had lost a huge part of her life the moment Neal had admitted his adultery. She had lost the person she had built a life around. A future. Two days ago she had been a happy bride to be, and now she was a single woman lying in a tub that was too big for one person. It was both sad and comical really. Emma couldn’t help but laugh over the ridiculousness in it. The tragedy in it all. The chaos that was her life now. The blonde laughed, knowing full well that the sound was so far from her usual laughter. She didn’t sound particularly sane. She sounded like she was on the verge of some breakdown. And who knows, maybe she was. Maybe that would be the outcome of all this.

But the breakdown would have to wait until tomorrow, though. Tonight she was going out and getting wasted. Tonight she was gonna drink her brain out in an attempt to forget her mess of a life. She couldn’t possibly be sober and deal with this situation for another minute. If anyone deserved a drink it was her. And make that a fucking huge drink. The biggest and strongest one the bar had to offer.

Emma tipped her head back and closed her eyes. At least she was here now. She hoped that this trip could give her something else to think about. She wanted to make new memories here in Madrid.

Memories Neal couldn’t soil with his asshole...ness. Memories he had no part in. Memories that were entirely her own. And she was planning on starting tonight in the bar. Getting drunk beyond wits would be her first “Neal-free” memory.

Emma chuckled darkly.

 

 

To Be Continued.........

Chapter Text

Taking a nap when you’re jetlagged was an incredibly bad idea. Emma knew that. But that was nevertheless exactly what happened after she emerged from her bath and wrapped the luxurious, white hotel bathrobe around herself. She more or less collapsed on the canopy bed and fell asleep. And woke up with a banger headache and renewed heartache when she once again was forced to remembered everything that had happened these past two days. She clenched her fists as she silently wrapped her head around the fact that she was alone in Madrid and Neal was back in Storybrooke. With Tamara.

Emma lifted her head from the mattress, wiped her eyes and then cringed at the stinging sensation. She’d had a good cry before falling asleep, but it hadn’t helped very much. Emma felt as though she still had plenty more tears to cry. And she sort of loathed herself for it. Kept telling herself that Neal wasn’t worthy of her tears. That he didn’t deserve any thoughts or attention from her. That he and his asshole girlfriend could rot in hell. She so wished she only could be enraged and not sad. She wished she could erase “asshole one and two” from her mind completely.

She pushed herself up from her bed. Rolled her head from side to side and then climbed off the bed. She hadn’t come to Madrid to mope. She had come to Madrid to experience new things. Starting tonight. Whether she wanted to or not. Right now, staying in the hotel room and mope was the only thing she wanted to do. But she really couldn’t. That would make her really pathetic. The blonde grabbed her toilet bag from her suitcase and then forced her unwilling body into the bathroom where she first unplugged the bathtub to let the water out. Then she unzipped her toilet bag and hauled out her makeup. She looked like a bloody train wreck. All pale and with dark circles underneath her normally so bright and vibrant green eyes. Even her golden hair seemed limp and lifeless and yellowish. She looked like a fucking ragdoll. And she definitely didn’t want to go out tonight. She wanted to stay here and empty the minibar. Fill her face with junk and then fall into a death like sleep. And yet she chose to go out. Simply because it felt as though Neal would “win” if she stayed at the hotel. Emma was thirsting for revenge. She was gonna go out tonight, take a bunch of pictures, upload them to her Instagram account and flaunt her “awesome” trip in Neal’s face. I went to Madrid without you. Take that, you asshat! Emma hastily applied some makeup. A bit of mascara, bit of pink lipstick and then lots and lots of concealer to hide the dark circles underneath her eyes. Her eyes still looked a bit puffy, a bit red, but that could just be allergies. You couldn’t tell that she had been crying her eyes out before falling asleep.

Emma stomped back inside the bedroom and opened her suitcase. After having brushed rose petals away from it. She had sent the rose petals flying once she had flopped down on the bed. Stupid fucking rose petals. What was the point of them anyway?!

She rifled through her clothes until she found something suitable. Mini skirt and crop top. Spain was warm, and you never knew who you ran into at the bar. A warm-blooded, passionate person, perhaps.

Maybe that was exactly what she needed right now. A rebound thing. A good old fashioned one night stand to take the edge of things. Things hadn’t been particularly heated between her and Neal for the past month. At the time, Emma had assumed it was because of the stress about the wedding and all that, but obviously she knew otherwise now. She knew that Neal hadn’t been in the mood for sex with her because he was banging Tamara. Well, good luck, Tamara, Emma thought to herself and realized with gruesome satisfaction how boring Neal had actually been in bed. He didn’t have an adventurous bone in his body. Always the missionary position. Always the same pattern. Approximatively ten seconds of foreplay and then straight to the point. There had been a time where Emma had mistaken that for eagerness. A sign that he couldn’t wait to have her and be inside of her, but now... Well now, she had come to the realization that everything about the act had been rushed. And boring. Emma laughed coldly to herself as she wiggled into the snug denim skirt. Poor Tamara. She was in for the most boring ride of her life. Someone ought to warn her. The blonde slipped the crop top over her head and turned around to look at herself in the mirror. That didn’t look half bad. Not bad at all. She scrunched up her hair, grabbed her camera bag, in case she went for a stroll and found something to photograph, and the key to her hotel room and then she left her room and stomped down the hallway. She was totally in the mood for going out. Yeah. Definitely. Abso-fucking-lutely.

If Emma’s life was narrated, the narrator would loudly proclaim: “she was not in the mood for going out” right about now. Her mood only plummeted further when she stepped inside the elevator and was confronted with the cozy couple in there. The guy had an arm around his girlfriend and both of them looked as happy as could be. Happy, in love and healthy. And tanned. They had clearly been in Spain for a while already. Emma gnashed her teeth. Yep, she was officially Miserable in Madrid. There had been chocolate bars in the minibar upstairs in her room. Maybe she was making a mistake in going out.

No. She couldn’t think like that. She had to somehow stop herself from sinking into that deep, dark pit. She really couldn’t Mope in Madrid. She could mope when she got back home to Storybrooke, but not here.

The elevator dinged, and the happy couple and Emma got out.

“Have a nice evening,” the woman said and flashed Emma a beaming smile.

“Thank you,” Emma said and winced as soon as the words left her mouth. She sounded completely flat an uninterested. A right Ebenezer Scrooge. A sour old man and not a vibrant twenty eight year old woman. Bah, humbug.

She headed towards the exit, and Lucía at the front desk looked up and smiled at her. “Buenas tardes, señora Cassidy. ¡Que tengas una buena noche!”

“Gracias,” Emma said flatly and did her utmost to smile at Lucía. It wasn’t her fault that Emma was having a crappy night. It wasn’t her fault that Neal was a gigantic, cheating asshole...

Emma continued out on the street and was almost knocked over upon discovering how warm it was. The air was balsamic. A bit gross. “Fucking hell,” she muttered and wiped her forehead. She definitely should have put her hair up before leaving. And she didn’t even bring a hair tie. Marvelous. Tonight was really shaping up to be epic, she sarcastically though to herself. But at least Madrid was beautiful.

The blonde quickly whipped out her phone and snapchatted a few pictures to Ruby. If anything, she could give the impression that she was doing fine and enjoying the view. It didn’t take long before she received a snapchat in return. Of Ruby’s pouty face. Emma laughed softly. Someone was jealous. Maybe she should have invited Ruby to come along. She could have used Neal’s plane ticket. But deep down, Emma didn’t feel as though she had the energy to hang out with her friends. Not even with Ruby. She didn’t even have the energy to hang out with her best friend.

Emma crossed the street and a guy smiled at her. She supposed he was kinda cute. She hoped she would be fortunate enough to meet someone interesting in the bar. She was officially single. Not tied to anyone anymore. She should take advantage of that. She should have a little fun. She should insure that this was gonna be the trip of a lifetime even though it was very different from what she had planned. But maybe she could pretend. Maybe she could pretend that she wasn’t on a solo honeymoon. Maybe she could pretend that she was just on a normal holiday here in Madrid. She could at least try even though it was gonna be difficult. She kept thinking about Neal. What was he doing right now? Banging Tamara? Maybe he had even brought her back to the apartment he once shared with Emma.

He was certainly shameless enough to do that. Emma wondered if he was going to contact her. And say what, exactly? What was there even left to say?

She would somehow find a way to accept that Neal was a finished chapter.

After about ten minutes of walking, Emma reached the bar she had been instructed to go to by Lucía. And the second she walked inside, she knew it was a mistake. Happy couples was all she could see.

Couples snuggling by the corner tables. Couples kissing openly by the bar. Emma instinctively hated all of them. Literally. If looks could kill, all of them would be dead by now. But what the hell, now she was here. Might as well make the most of it. She walked inside and was pointed to a table by a smiling waitress. As Emma sat down, she noted that she was sitting near some kind of stage. This was clearly a place that offered live entertainment. Oh dear god. Emma silently prayed to whatever god that there would be none of that tonight. She couldn’t bear that. The radio was already playing loud enough as it was.

Emma ended up ordering some sort of Spanish ratatouille and a very large drink. Sangria, to be more specific. Maybe not very fitting for ratatouille, but what the heck. It was the only thing Emma could come up with right then and there. And she knew from experience that it tasted good. She could definitely live with sangria.

Emma looked around in the bar as she waited for her food. Was she imagining things or was there exceptionally many men in here? She was pretty sure there was. Both old and young men. Emma carefully scanned every inch of the bar. Some of them were quite good looking. Maybe one of them would approach her before the night was over. Or maybe she would approach one of them before the night was over. She could totally do that. She could live a little and have a little “holiday flirt” if she wanted. She could literally do anything now that she was single. Single. No longer engaged. No longer getting married. Emma looked down at the spot where her engagement ring usually sat. That damned white spot on her finger. She sighed as she realized that she had in fact forgotten to contact the jeweler and have him cancel the order of the wedding rings. A cruel little smile blossomed on her lips when she realized that the bill would be sent to Neal. Ha. Take that, you lying, cheating scumbag! It suited Emma just fine that Neal would be stuck with the bill. It seemed more than fair.

After about twenty minutes of waiting, the waitress came over to the table with her food. And her drink. Emma succeeded in flashing the waitress (Izabela) a very genuine smile. Once the waitress had left,
Emma grabbed her glass of sangria and took a deep gulp. Ahh. Perfect. Now things were starting to look up. Maybe she would even feel good if she drank the whole thing. After a couple of more deep sips, the blonde dug into her food. Her mood instantly lightened. That tasted really good. Emma was relieved she was still able to enjoy food. Food had always been one of her greatest comforts and thus also today. Maybe that was how she was going to spend her time here in Madrid. Taste as much different food as possible. She could turn this into a food adventure of sorts. Emma chuckled quietly to herself.

 

As the night progressed, Emma emptied her plate and ordered another sangria, hoping to achieve that wonderful, floating feeling. She hoped that her brain would switch off as the alcohol began working in her system. She supposed this wasn’t as bad as it could be. As the night had progressed, she was paying less and less attention to all the happy couples around her, and she was genuinely starting to believe that she could actually have a nice time here in Madrid. She could take these three weeks to try and heal after the unexpected breakup. She would relax and do stuff that made her happy. See things. Take pictures. Maybe upload a few of the pictures to her website. She would try and remember how it was to be Emma Swan and not “Emma and Neal”. Just Emma. She didn’t have to call home to let anyone know that she was gonna be late. She was officially her “own boss” now. And as she sat there and sipped her sangria, she tried to convince herself that that was a good thing. It wasn’t like she needed a man to be happy or anything. Definitely not. She was more than capable of being happy by herself, thank you very much. She refused to let her happiness be defined by a man. Not even a man that had been a part of her life for almost seven years. Nope. Definitely not. She took another sip of her sangria. She was going to be fine. Of course she was. This meant that she would be able to focus more on her job. Brush up on her skills. And she would start here in Madrid. Tomorrow she would google everything there was to see here and then she would go to all the places and take lots and lots of pictures. No more miserable in Madrid. Emma scanned the bar once more and happened to make eye contact with a rather good looking guy. He couldn’t be much older than her. Maybe thirty. Emma wondered what his name was. Something ridiculously Spanish, of course. Like... Santiago. Emma chuckled a bit. Or Luis. Or maybe even Pedro or Fernando. Emma flashed the guy a smile. He smiled back at her. Was he gonna come up to her table? Emma sort of hoped he would. That could be another thing she could do here in Madrid. Brush up on her Spanish. And preferably with a dashing teacher. Why not make this trip as memorable as possible? She flashed the guy another smile. Come over here. Just come over here. I’m a single woman. You’re a single man. Anything could happen.

The guy didn’t come over to her table. Instead he rose from his chair and greeted a young brunette woman who entered the bar. He kissed her on both cheeks and then on the lips. So not so single anyway. Of course not. Emma quelled a sigh. She should have known. Of course she wasn’t gonna be that lucky. Emma glanced at the woman he was with. She was rather good looking too. Spain was apparently full of beautiful people. The blonde sighed quietly and took another sip of her sangria. At least her drink tasted good. That was something. Maybe she would end up ordering a third one. Just one more. One more wouldn’t make her incapable of walking back to the hotel.

While she was considering that, the lights in the bar was suddenly dimmed and an excited chatter erupted.

A waiter who had been walking around between the tables stepped out on the floor and began to talk fast and excited in Spanish. Emma had no idea what he was saying, it was going a little too fast for her to understand. And then two men dressed in loose white shirts and black pants came up on stage. Both of them were carrying guitars. So tonight was clearly a live music night. Emma silently cursed her rotten luck. Of course tonight was a live music night.

But everyone else seemed to be a hundredth percent onboard with this being a live music night. Everyone began cheering and it took Emma a moment to realize that everyone was in fact shouting: “¡La reina! ¡La reina!”

The two men with the guitars initiated that people should start applauding, and it didnt take long before everyone did. Applauded and cheered, screamed for “la reina”, and to Emma’s surprise, a young woman stepped on stage. She was wearing a red dress with off the shoulder sleeves and a very large and ruffled skirt. Her skin was golden and she had long dark hair that hang in curls down her back.

She had a red rose in her hair, but what really struck Emma was her eyes. She had these big, vibrant, dark eyes. She offered the crowd a slight smile and then she signalized to the two men with the guitars. They begain playing. And she began dancing. Like Emma had never seen anyone dance before. She had never seen anyone move their body quite like the young woman did right now. She was stomping her feet, creating the most amazing sound Emma had ever heard. Playing around with her skirt, throwing her head back and making her hair float around her.

“¡Te quiero mi reina!,” An elderly man sitting next to Emma shouted. “Te quiero!”

Emma knew enough Spanish to know that the elderly man had just declared “the queen” his love.

The young woman answered by once again picking up her skirt while stomping her feet and throwing her head back once more. Dark curls danced in the air.

Emma put down her sangria and gave the young woman her full attention. She couldn’t be very old. Twenty two at most. And the quintessial Spanish beauty too. Emma knew a photo opportunity when she saw one. She fumbled for a second to unzip her camera bag and then she grabbed her camera, switched it on and then lifted it. It took a second before it focused properly on the dancing woman, but once it did, Emma eagerly began snapping picture after picture of her. Seriously, this was brilliant stuff. Emma captured everything. The way the young woman’s hair floated in the air as she danced. The look on her face. Emma only wished that she also could capture the sound it made every time she stomped her feet. The rythm was amazing. She has just taken another picture and was looking up when the young woman rather suddenly jumped off the stage. To Emma’s utmost surprise, she came over to her table and began dancing around it. She flashed Emma the faintest of smiles and nodded towards the camera still in Emma’s hands. Oh. Now things were starting to dawn upon Emma. The young woman had noticed Emma taken pictures of her and now she was giving Emma the opportunity to take even better pictures of her.

The young woman picked up her ruffled skirt once more, stomped her feet even faster than before. And as Emma snapped picture of her, the young woman lifted her hands and began clapping. And so did everyone else. Clapped in the same rythm as she did, and the young woman closed her eyes and smiled a little, clearly througholy satisfied with that. She looked strangely relaxed even though her feet were barely touching the ground anymore. Her skirt billowed around her. Faster and faster she danced, faster and faster Emma was taking pictures of her. This had to be the best photo opportunity she’d had in years. The young woman was still dancing around her table, and for whatever strange reason Emma came to think of that scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame where Esmeralda dances on the square. She supposed that this young woman bore a bit of resemblance to Esmeralda. Except for the eyes, of course. The young woman had opened her eyes again, and Emma caught herself lowering the camera just a smidge to get a better look at her. Those eyes. They were quite... expressive. She flashed Emma slight smile, twisted her body and arched her back just a little as she danced. The crowd was going mad. Clapping and cheering. Hell, some of them were even screaming for “la reina”. But “la reina” seemed far too busy dancing to notice. Emma forgot about taking more pictures as she looked at the way the brunette’s hips moved, the way her feet stomped against the grond. The way the golden bracelets around her wrists twinkled slightly in the dimmed light. The way the rose in her hair seemed to glow. Wow. Emma had definitely had too much sangria tonight. The blonde folded her hands underneath her chin as she gave the woman her full attention. She already had enough pictures as it was.

And she couldn’t wait to check out the result later, but for right now, it seemed a shame to not appreciate this woman and her dance. The woman stopped clapping for just a second as she ran two fingers through her hair, pushed it away from her face and then resuming clapping, easily falling into the rhytm. Emma caught a glimpse of her high heels when her dress swished around her. Those were some serious heels. Emma felt every bit impressed at the woman’s skills. The woman- la reina- twirled around, picked up her skirt and showed off her stomping feet. Everyone cheered louder at that. Emma wasn’t quite sure when she herself had started clapping along with everybody else. It had just happened naturally. Simply because it was impossible not to. It was impossible not to get captured by the mood and the woman’s energy as she danced. Emma could literally feel the rhytm inside her.

“La reina” threw her head back, swayed her hips as she spun around, and Emma wondered why the heck this dance was so.... sexy. Why did it make her heart beat just a little faster? Why did it make her palms sweat like this? Surely, it had nothing to do with the fine sheen of sweat she had seen on the dancing woman’s collarbone, right? No, it had to be those sangria’s she’d had tonight. There couldn’t be any other explanation for this.

The brunette’s feet were moving faster and faster, and then with one last stomp that seemed to echo through the bar, she shouted: “Olé!” and stopped dancing.

The crowd went absolutely mad. A good bunch even rose from their seats, several men were shouting declarations of love at “la reina”.

And “la reina” curtsied almost a bit jokingly and then pointed at the two men playing their guitars, indicating that they deserved to be applauded as well and as she did that, Emma noticed a feather tattoo on her wrist. The two men playing guitar rose from their chairs and then both them and “la reina” disappeared through a door Emma hadn’t noticed. It most likely lead to some backroom of sorts.

“Tienes mucha suerte.”

Emma quickly turned her head upon registrering that someone was talking to her. It was the elderly man sitting next to her. There was just one problem. Emma wasn’t sure what he was saying.

“Lo siento, pero no entiendo. No hablo español,” she said rustily.

“Ah. ¿Eres Ingles?,” he asked.

“Si. Yes,” Emma said. She was pretty sure he had just asked if she was English.

And she was right. “Lucky,” the elderly man said with a thick accent. “La reina dancing by your table. Especial,” he said firmly as he pointed lightly to Emma. “Eres muy especial.”

“Huh.” Emma said, not fully knowing how she should respond to that. But one thing was sure. Madrid just got a hell of a lot more interesting....

 

 

To Be Continued.........

Chapter Text

Emma was up bright and early the next morning. She was eager to get out and experience everything Madrid had to offer. She was eager to get out of her honeymoon suite. And she was eager to shake that stupid dream off of her. In the dream, she had walked in on Neal and Tamara making out on the couch. On top of her wedding dress. That had been a pretty terrible dream, but at least she had cried and thrown stuff at both at them, an opportunity she didn’t have in real life. Unfortunately. She wouldn’t mind throwing a few things at Neal Cassidy and his stupid face.

She had left the honeymoon suite early. Had headed downstairs and treated herself to a big cup of strong coffee and a lavish breakfast from the buffet consisting of tostada, Huevos rotos con chorizo, a bowl filled the freshest fruit she’d ever tasted and a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. And churros. Simply because she was on holiday and wanted to have churros for breakfast.

After she’d had breakfast, she headed out with Lucía’s “¡Que tenga un buen día, señora Cassidy!” echoing in her ears. Perhaps she should tell Lucía that she wasn’t señora Cassidy, but Señorita Swan. But then again, she didn’t have the energy to come up with a decent enough story. And the truth was definitely not something she could tell Lucía. So she had let it stand and convinced herself that it didn’t bother her. If anything, she could try how it was to be señora Cassidy for three weeks. That had made her chuckle darkly.

She headed out in Madrid’s balmly air. It was fairly early, but it was obvious that it was gonna be another ridiculously warm day.

Emma hopped on the bus that would take her to the Prado. A Madrid essential. It was Ruby who had been yapping on about it, and so Emma was being a good girl and going in there to check out some art. Photographing in there wasn’t allowed, so Emma would have to “settle” for soaking up the experience. And it was a pretty amazing experience. There had been plenty of other tourists visiting the art museum. Emma hadn’t felt like the odd one out. And she had barely noticed the many couples holding hands in the museum. She almost hadn’t paid attention to how one woman had leaned in and rested her head on her boyfriend’s shoulder. No, Emma had been entirely too busy looking at the many pictures and sculptures. A bit of a pity she wasn’t allowed to take pictures, Ruby would have loved that. Emma would have to tell her all about it when she got back from Madrid. Emma didn’t dare think about her departure just yet. She couldn’t quite bear to think about going home to Storybrooke where she was bound to run into Neal sooner than later. Oh god. She could risk seeing him and Tamara together. How was she gonna survive that? She had checked Tamara’s Instagram this morning, but she hadn’t updated since three days ago. Neither had Neal and Emma found that to be rather suspicious. He and Tamara was probably together. Busy fucking each other senseless now that Neal didn’t have a fiancé to worry about anymore...

Last night before she had gone to sleep, Emma had once again been ever so tempted to contact all of Neal’s friends and family and tell them the real reason why the wedding had been called off. But she had come to her senses. Yes she was angry, but she refused to sink to that level.

After having seen all of the Prado she continued onwards to Retiro Park. Another must-see in Madrid. Madrid’s green heart. And it was really beautiful with a pond where you could rent little boats and everything. Quite romantic, Emma noted a bit glumly. And her mood had only soured when she had been “ambushed” by this lovely couple who smilingly had asked if she could take a picture of them.

Emma had been at her best behavior. Had smilingly replied in rusty Spanish that of course she could. That wouldn’t be a problem at all. She had taken the picture and the couple had smiled and showered her in thank yous. And Emma thought to herself that it could have been worse. She and Neal had discussed the honeymoon destination for quite a while, and they had almost decided on Paris. And if that had come to be, Emma could have been in the most romantic city alone. And that would really have been depressing. Madrid was definitely to prefer over Paris.

Emma had spent a while in the park, just strolling around and taking pictures. And she’d had great fun with that. Well, at least that was what she repeatedly told herself. She claimed that she was just fine.
That of course she could be on holiday alone. Of course she was enjoying life to the fullest. This was only the beginning. Tomorrow she would visit royal Palace and take a stroll down Gran Vía. Do some shopping. Buy some presents for her parents and Ruby. Maybe spend all day in the city and take pictures. See Telefónica Building. Visit one of the nightclubs maybe. And of course when Sunday came, she would have to see El Rastro. The greatest flea market in Madrid. Who knows, maybe she would stumble upon something interesting. Something worth buying. Something she couldn’t possibly live without.

So you see, she had plenty of plans. Plenty of things she could do and see. If only she could switch off her brain completely. That would really have been great. But at the same time she knew that this was bound to take time. She had been dumped on the day before her wedding, for crying out loud. Of course she couldn’t expect to be over it within a couple of days. That was unrealistic. Even for her.

Unfortunately.

 

After having spent a couple of hours in the park, Emma felt hungry and found a little pavement café where she settled down and ordered la comida, a full Spanish lunch starting with entrants, appetizers which consisted of a plate of cheese and Serrano ham and pan con tomate, a tomato bread Ruby had been yapping on about. After she had ate herself through that, it would be time for Primer Plato, first course which would be sopa de pescado y marisco- fish and shellfish soup. Emma could honestly say that she hadn’t tried that before, but she was feeling particularly adventurous today. She wanted to taste as much “weird” Spanish food as she possibly could. And now she really had the opportunity to do just that. It wouldn’t have been possible if Neal had been here. He was a “traditional” man when it came to food. Not one bit adventurous whatsoever. He would have found some place that served hamburgers. And while there was nothing wrong with hamburgers, Emma hadn’t come to Spain to eat the food she perfectly well could eat at home.

Maybe there was certain perks of being here without Neal. Emma chuckled darkly at that.

She munched her way through her fish and shellfish soup and then leaned back and waited for the next course. Balcalao con tomate, codfish with tomato sauce. Despite the two courses she’d already ate, Emma’s stomach was growling in anticipation, and she chuckled to herself because she had finally found a place that served the correct amount of food for someone who happened to be a bottomless pit. It should be like this in America as well. That would be perfect. Emma made sure to take pictures of every single meal. Some of them she took for professional reasons, but most of them she took to annoy Ruby. Her reaction when Emma sent her a new snapchat was most entertaining. Emma could almost see the frown on her friend’s face. She had taken quite a few “silly” pictures and sent them to her friend and family, but she had taken just as many professional pictures. She had some of vague idea about putting together a portfolio. Just for fun of course. She already had a name for the portfolio. “Lost and alone in Madrid.” Perfect name.

A waiter came over to her table with the next course, and he smiled and said: “Buen provecho!”

“Gracias,” Emma said and flashed him a smile. Then she dug into her food. It looked good, it smelled good, and it tasted fucking good! Best. Fish. Ever. Her Spanish food adventure was proceeding nicely.

She snapped a quick picture of her food and sent it off to Ruby. Once again, her friend gave a rather disgruntled answer and “threatened” Emma that they one day would go to Spain together. Emma found that that was a rather good idea. Maybe she would take a lot more vacation in the time to come. She hadn’t had time for that lately. She had worked her ass off in order to save up for anything wedding related. But since she wasn’t getting married anymore, she suddenly had a pretty decent stack of money on her hands.

Emma was quick to eat the codfish with tomato sauce. It was impossible to eat it slowly. Every bite seemed to melt on her tongue, and even if she could, she wouldn’t slow down. She scarfed down bite after bite until her plate was empty. Now she just had to wait for the fifth course, Cocido Madrileno, a stew named after Madrid. Emma didn’t know much about the dish apart from it consisted of various meats, vegetables and pasta. Emma was looking very much forward to trying it.

She leaned back in her chair and rubbed a hand over her stomach, then took a sip of her wine. Spain was most certainly a wine country. Seriously, Emma had already consumed so much wine in the two days she had been here. Not to mention that ridiculously delicious sangria she’d had when she was on that flamenco bar last night. Speaking of flamenco bars.... Emma suddenly remembered the thing she had reminded herself to do this morning but had managed to forget between visiting the museum and the park. Google flamenco bars. That was what she had forgotten. You see, Emma hadn’t forgotten about the young and beautiful flamenco dancer she had taken pictures of last night. She would like to take more pictures of her. And generally, she’d like to see her again. Delicious food clearly wasn’t the only interesting thing Madrid had to offer and Emma should like to get the chance to see the young flamenco dancer again. “La Reina”, everybody had called her. Emma wondered what her real name was. The blonde quickly learned that flamenco bars definitely wasn’t in short supply, but the question was, which one? Which bar would “La Reina” be dancing at tonight? If she even was dancing tonight. Obviously, Emma couldn’t know that for sure. Maybe she had an official website or something like that? Emma quickly typed in “La Reina flamenco dancer”, but none of the results gave anything.

Damnit. How was she supposed to find her again then? She couldn’t just search all of Madrid to find her. That would be ridiculous. And exhausting. Emma huffed slightly. She found this to be highly irritating. And she found it irritating that it irritated her so much. She had just been dumped the day before her wedding. Surely, she couldn’t be attracted to a pretty face that fast? Emma shook her head and clicked her tongue. Always with the pretty faces, Swan. That’s your weakness. Neal had been a pretty face too. And so had Lily before him. And both of them had turned out to be complete assholes.

Coming to think about it, she didn’t have the best track record when it came to relationships. Every person she fell in love with seemed only to be interested in fucking with her heart.

But... It couldn’t harm to try and see if she could find the little dancer again. It was different here. She was on holiday. She wasn’t at home. No risk of having her heart broken here in Spain.

Emma’s musings were interrupted when the waiter came over to her table with the next course. The blonde saw an opportunity and grabbed it. Now her Spanish would really stand its course. “Disculpe,” she said to the waiter as he turned to walk away.

He turned back to look at her and smiled: “si, senorita?”

“Estoy buscando una bailarina de flamenco que se llame "La Reina". ¿Has oído hablar de ella?” Emma asked and felt quite proud of herself for not stumbling over the words or goofing up in any other way.

“Ay, La Reina! Si, si, si!” the waiter exclaimed and smiled broadly.

Awesome. He had heard of her. Not a huge celebrity, but a local one. Perfect. That was a very big step in the right direction. “¿Sabes dónde pue...puedo encontrarla esta noche?” Emma asked hopefully and gnashed her teeth. She almost fucked up there.

“Si, senorita,” the waiter said and helpfully hauled his phone out of his pocket. He tapped on the screen and then nearly put the device under Emma’s nose in his eagerness to help. Emma moved her head backwards slightly and then glanced at the website he was showing her. It was the name of a flamenco bar. Emma recognized it as one of the names she had seen when she was googling. And the bar wasn’t too far away from her hotel. Only a block or so. That was perfect.

“Gracias,” Emma said and flashed him a smile. “Has sido de gran ayuda!”

“De nada, señorita. Disfrute de su comida,” he said as he returned the smile and then walked away from her table.

Emma dug into her food and mentally patted herself on the back. She had just pretty much aced a conversation in full Spanish. Maybe her “school Spanish” was better than expected. And this food was definitely better than anything her food fixated mind ever could have come up with. Damn it tasted good! As in really, really good! She would have to cook more Spanish food when she came back to Storybrooke.

Emma didn’t even have time to snap a picture of this meal. She was far too busy just eating it, and she felt so utterly spoilt. This food was working like some sort of balm to her soul. If only it could cure her broken heart too. That would have been perfect. The blonde briefly stopped the “eating contest” and checked her phone. Almost siesta time. She would finish this meal, have her dessert (peaches in red wine) and then she would catch the bus back to the hotel and relax in her room. Maybe she would read one of the books she had brought with her. Or use the hotel Wi-Fi and catch up on some Netflix.

Maybe she would treat herself to a cheesy romcom for once. It had been a while since she last watched a romcom. Neal hadn’t been a fan of romcoms...

Emma finished her meal and as on cue, the waiter came back and replaced her empty plate with dessert. It didn’t take the blonde long to finish that either and she felt utterly stuffed when she rose from the table. She made sure to tip the helpful waiter handsomely......

 

 

Emma made it back to her hotel. Back to the honeymoon suite. She still wasn’t used to that. She still found it to be both incredibly sad and tragically comedic.

There was this sort of siesta atmosphere all over the hotel. Emma felt incredibly lazy. She slipped off her sandals and then more or less threw herself on the bed. She felt even too lazy to fetch her laptop from the coffee table. But her phone... Her phone was right here in the pocket of her sundress. She quickly checked the time. It was midday here in Madrid, which meant that it wasn’t terribly late to call her parents. She had promised to call home every day, and she hadn’t actually done that today. Emma chuckled softly. Mary Margaret, bless her. Emma had officially moved out when she was nineteen, but now at twenty eight, her mother sometimes acted as though Emma was still living at home, and it was positively adorable. Emma grinned a bit as she tapped in Mary Margaret’s number and then brought the phone up to her ear and waited. It didn’t even take a minute of dialing tone before Mary Margaret picked up. “Emma, sweetie! It’s so nice to hear from you!”

“Hi mom,” Emma said and smiled even though her mom couldn’t see it. “Is it still raining in Storybrooke?”

“Oh yes,” Mary Margaret confirmed. “It’s pouring down. How are you doing, honey?”

“I’m doing alright,” Emma said truthfully.

“And what have you been doing today? Have you been out sightseeing?”

“Yeah, I’ve at the Prado and Retiro Park. And I’ve had the most amazing lunch at a café. And tonight I’m going to a flamenco bar.”

“That sounds good,” Mary Margaret said in the other end. “You have a packed program. But you find time to relax in between, right?”

“Of course,” Emma said and snickered. “And I’m taking my vitamins every day. You have nothing to worry about. How’s dad doing? Is he still out on patrol?”

“Yes, he had to arrest Leroy again. He was spray painting vulgarities on the library’s façade.”

“Oh,” Emma cringed. “Poor dad.”

“You know, sometimes I feel more sorry for Leroy,” Mary Margaret mused. “I’m sure whatever circumstances he’s facing can’t be easy.”

Emma agreed with that and then laughed softly at that. Her mom was as good as gold. Kindhearted, empathic. But she could also be incredibly firm when she needed to be. All those qualities combined was probably what made her such a good mayor of Storybrooke. She had been Mayor of Storybrooke for two years now, and she was doing an excellent god. A far better one than the previous. Mary Margaret had really straightened certain things out. She had initiated certain things that benefitted the town, and Emma was proud of her. She was proud of the hard work Mary Margaret was doing every day.

“Emma, there’s something I have to tell you,” Mary Margaret said gently and interrupted Emma’s musings.

“Okay?” Emma said. “And what’s that?”

“Neal came by earlier this morning,” Mary Margaret said carefully.

Emma could feel how the anger brimmed in her chest and she forced herself to stay calm as she asked: “Okay? And what did he want?”

“To talk to you,” Mary Margaret said. “Apparently, he had stopped by the apartment earlier, and when he couldn’t find you... Well, he asked for you.”

“And what did you tell him?” Emma asked and her free hand curled into a fist.

“I told him that you had told me that you would take some time for yourself, but that I had no idea where you were,” Mary Margaret quickly summarized. “Was that wrong of me?”

“No, not at all,” Emma assured. “You did great, mom. Thank you for not telling him where I was. What else did he say? Did he say anything about Tamara?”

“No, he just said that it had all been a mistake.”

“What had been a mistake? Me or Tamara?” Emma asked.

“It was my impression that he was talking about Tamara,” Mary Margaret replied. “He seemed very determined to talk to you.”

“He can go fuck himself!” Emma exclaimed.

“Language, sweetie,” Mary Margaret gently admonished. “Anyway, your father threw him out and warned him about ever stopping by again.”

“Way to go, dad,” Emma laughed. “Good for him.”

“What are you gonna say to him if he call you?”

“Dad?”

“No, silly. Neal.”

“Oh. A lot of things. And most of them probably won’t be pretty,” Emma admitted darkly. “Or maybe I won’t even pick up. I don’t owe him anything.”

“You sure as hell don’t.” Mary Margaret stated plainly.

“Mom! Language,” Emma mock admonished and laughed.

Mary Margaret laughed too. “It’s so good to hear from you, sweetie. And I can tell you’re doing a bit better. Your voice sounds different.”

“Well, I’ve just had food,” Emma joked. “That tends to make me very happy.”

Mary Margaret laughed again, and after a bit more chit chat Emma wished her mom a good day and then ended the call. She scowled as she dumped the phone on the bed. So Neal wanted to talk to her.

Well. That was just too bad. Emma wasn’t interested in hearing what he had to say. He could go and fuck himself. Or Tamara..........

 

 

That same evening found Emma leaving the hotel with Lucía’s customary: “ Que tenga una buena noche, Sra. Cassidy!”

“Gracias,” Emma replied and flashed the woman an amused smile. For some reason she was beginning to find the whole “Señora Cassidy”-thing funny. Which it obviously wasn’t. But it kinda was anyway.

Tragically funny in a way.

Emma walked outside in the balmy Madrid air. Even though it was evening, the temperature hadn’t dropped at all. If this continued, she would have to find a beach. Maybe she would even have to find a beach tomorrow. She had been pretty distraught and distracted when she packed her clothes, but she had managed to pack a bikini. It would be a shame not to use it. Finding a beach. She would have to google that when she came back home. Right now, her main focus was finding the bar “la Reina” was gonna perform at tonight. According to good ol’ and reliable google maps it wasn’t far from here.

Emma crossed the street and knew from the prickling sensation on her back that she was being watched by the guy she had just passed. Emma smirked a bit. He was more than welcome to watch her. She felt pretty confident tonight. She had traded her sundress for a black minidress with thin straps. She had her faithful denim jacket slung over her shoulder just in case it was gonna get colder tonight. Which she doubted it would, but at least she was prepared. She had also brought her even more faithful camera. She was hoping to catch some snaps of the beautiful flamenco dancer. And who knows, if she was being particularly obvious about it, maybe, then maybe the young flamenco dancer would dance around her table like she had done the last time. Emma had liked that very much. She was an incredible dancer and she was gorgeous. Without a doubt the most gorgeous girl Emma had come across in a very long time. It was impossible to not be captured by her beauty and the way she danced.

The way she had moved her body, swayed her hips...

A car honked and a guy yelled: “¡Muévase, señora!”

Although not a hundreth percent certain what that meant, Emma could take a hint. She quickly got a move on and flashed the guy an apologetic smile. It was pretty unfortunate to zone out in the middle of the road. Less thinking more walking, Swan, she silently scolded herself as she reached the safety of the pavement. Where she instructed herself to be careful. Walking into people was also pretty unfortunate.

She felt her phone vibrate somewhere in her camera bag, and she was willing to bet all her money that it was Ruby who was expressing her jealousy over Emma’s plans for tonight. Emma chuckled. She would have to drink a sangria for her. And send Ruby a picture of said sangria. After all, what was the point of being on holiday if she couldn’t make her friends jealous once in a while? Another unexpected perk of being on vacation alone.

As soon as Emma reached the bar she knew she had come to the right place. Even before entering, she knew that this was indeed THE bar. A large poster was covering one of the windows, and the motive gave Emma all the more reason to hover outside. The motive was the young woman she had seen dancing last night. Underneath the picture was written: ‘¡La reina del baile flamenco aquí esta noche!’

Emm walked inside the bar and found a table close to what she was guessing was the stage. She had already had dinner at the hotel (she’d settled for something light after the big lunch she’d had) so tonight she only ordered herself a large sangria. And then she waited. There was nothing else she could do. Just sit and watch the other guests and soak up the atmosphere in the bar. Spanish music was playing on the radio, and everybody were talking and laughing loudly. It would appear that everyone was in a good mood, and, to her surprise, Emma noted that so was she. She definitely felt so much better than yesterday. Maybe this trip would turn into being exactly what she hoped. A way to cope with what had happened between her and Neal. A soothing balm. She hadn’t thought as much of him as she had yesterday. Maybe she would eventually forget to think about him entirely. At least that was what she hoped for. That douchebag wasn’t worthy of her thoughts nor her tears. But still.... Emma shifted slightly on her chair. He had been looking for her. He wanted to talk to her. The blonde huffed. And say what? What was there even left to say? He had dumped her on the day before their wedding.

Case closed. End of story. And what was all that crap with Tamara being a “mistake”? Like seriously, what was he expecting? That Emma welcomed him back with open arms? What planet was he even from? If that really was what he thought.... Emma shook her head in disbelief. No, her mom had to have misunderstood something. Neal couldn’t possibly have stopped by with the intention of winning her back. Nu-uh. Impossible.

Her pissed off thoughts about Neal were interrupted when a waiter appeared seemingly out of nowhere and placed the sangria in front of her with a: “Aquí tienes, señorita. Una sangría.”

“Gracias,” Emma smiled.

He returned the smile and then walked away from her table once more. Emma was left alone with her sangria. Not the worst situation to be stuck in, she thought to herself as she took a large sip of the drink. Mmm. Damn, that really tasted good! Best sangria ever. She quickly thrusted one hand inside her camera bag and found her phone, took a picture of the sangria and sent it to Ruby. She was gonna have her head when Emma came back from Madrid. The blonde chuckled at that. Poor Ruby..

She took another sip of her sangria, tapped her foot up and down. She could feel the impatience prickle all over as she sat tight and waited for “la Reina” to dance again. Hopefully she would get some great pictures.

Emma was halfway through her seond sangria and was considering to find a bathroom because she had drunk pretty fast and her bladder was starting to make her aware of that, when the mood in the bar suddenly changed. An exicted murmur errupted amongst the crowd. The lights were dimmed so only the stage was lit up, and Emma quickly forgot all about finding a bathroom. Instead she hauled her camera out of the bag and switched the device on so it was ready.

A waiter who appeared to be more “official” than the others came out on the stage and announced: “Damas y caballeros, La Reina!”

Everyone cheered and applauded. Including Emma. Maybe she was the one who was the most enthusiastic when it came to it. The two guitar playing men came out on stage, bowed for the audience and then held their instruments prepared as they waited.

Emma heard her before she saw her. Heard those footsteps. The guests in the bar began cheering again, and then “La Reina” came on stage. She was wearing the same red dress with the dramatic, ruffled skirt. Her long raven black was hanging in soft curls all the way down to her waist, and like the last time, a red rose was fastened in her hair. She picked up her skirt and the room instantly fell silent. The only sound Emma could hear was her erratic heartbeat.

La Reina stomped her foot tree times and the men began playing their guitars as she began moving around on the stage. She wasn’t following them, they were following her. The sound of her feet stomping echoed through the bar and every time she moved, the faint light reflected in her golden bracelets. Dark curls were dancing around her face as she moved. She twisted her body, swayed her hips, stomped her feet faster. She lifted her skirt slightly, giving everyone a glimpse of her long, tanned legs.

“Hermosa!” an elderly man sitting next to Emma shouted, and Emma fully agreed. Muy hermosa. Jesus christ, she had to be the most beautiful woman Emma ever had seen. And then she remembered that she actually was supposed to photograph that beauty. She quickly picked up her camera and angled the lens so she could get the best possible shots of the dancing young woman. As she took picture after picture, Emma thought to herself that she would have to dedicate an entire portfolio to this woman. She could call it “Spanish Beauty” or something like that. Or maybe just “La Reina”.

Emma’s breath hitched and she had to lower the camera for just a moment as the young woman raised her skirt further and allowed everyone a peek of her thighs. The crowd was going mad. Both men and women were cheering, few of the men whistling, and it didn’t seem to bother “La Reina” at all. She seemed a hundreth percent focused on dancing. She released her skirt and gracefully lifted her arms above her head, accentuating that it wasn’t just her feet she used. Every part of her body seemed vibrant and alive, and Emma once again caught a glimpse of the tattoo adorning the young woman’s wrist.

The elderly man sitting next to her leaned forward slightly and the movement made Emma’s camera move. The blonde once again remembered her quest and picked up the camera once more. She impatiently waited as the camera focused and then she resumed taking pictures of her. And just in time. The young woman spun around, the ruffly skirt billowed around her. She pushed her dark hair away from her face and arched her back slighly. Then she spun around once more and smiled. Emma lowered the camera for two seconds. Was the young woman smiling at her? It certainly seemed like it.
A rather tantalizing smile. Her dark eyes twinkled. Emma quickly lifted the camera once more, making sure to immortalize that smile.

The woman’s feet stopped stomping for just a second as she elegantly hopped down from the stage. Emma’s breath hitched again. Was she? No, she wouldn’t... Would she?

Oh yes, she would. The young woman elegantly sauntered over to Emma’s table and then she resumed stomping her feet, easily falling into the rhytm once more. The camera shook in Emma’s hands as she took another picture and she silently cursed herself. She was better than this. She didn’t take blurry pictures. But she would end up with just that if her hands didn’t stop trembling. Was she imagining things or was this young dancer flirting with her? It certainly seemed like that in the way she smiled and swayed her hips a little extra. She began snapping her fingers in synch with the way her feet were stomping, and her audience immediatly began clapping in the same rhytm. Except for Emma, that was. She was far too busy taking pictures of the dancing beauty in front of her. The dancing beauty who kept smiling at her every time she twirled around and they were briefly face to face.

Emma was beginning to feel rather warm and especially when “La Reina’s” face twisted just a bit and she closed her eyes. Seriously, this had to be the most passionate thing Emma had ever witnessed. Her hands trembled just a bit as she took another picture. This was gonna be one hell of a portfolio. She could probably sell this stuff.

“La Reina” began snapping her fingers once more. The music became faster, her feet stomped faster as she spun around and around, giving Emma another glimpse of her gloriously long, golden legs. Her arms moved gracefully above her head as she kept snapping her fingers. She was seemingly more than capable of multitasking. Her eyes were still closed, her lips slightly parted as she tipped her head backwards slightly. Emma had never seen anything more sensual and passionate. She had never taken pictures faster than she was right now.

And then, with one last stomp of her feet the dance stopped and “La Reina” gracefully and a bit mockingly curtsied and received her audience’ applaud.

And her audience was going mad. Nearly all of them shouting declarations of love to her, and the elderly man sitting net to Emma even went as far as throwing a rose for her. But “La Reina” didn’t seem to notice as she picked up her skirt, signalized to the two guitar playing men and then walked through the bar and disappeared.

Emma lowered her camera and stuffed it back inside the bag. Reached for her sangria and took a large sip only to regret it ten seconds later. Now she could suddenly remember how badly she needed to pee. She had to find a bathroom. As in right now. She slung the camera back over her shoulder as she rose from her chair and wiggled her way through the bar. Yes, wiggled. That was literally what she had to do. La Reina’s dancing had apparently made everyone extremely thirsty. And extremely happy and loud. The music that had been playing on the radio was being switched on once more. Significantly louder than before, and everyone whooped and cheered and sang along. Quite a few were dancing as well, and Emma gnashed her teeth slightly, tried to be as elegant as possible as she wiggled her way through the mad crowd.

“Excuse me. Perdóneme,” she said strained as she nearly bumped into a guy.

“¿bailar conmigo?” he half-shouted through the noise.

“I don’t understand,” Emma said tiredly. It felt as though she had used her quota of Spanish today.

“Dance with me mujer hermosa!” he said and flashed her something that probably was supposed to be a flirty smile.

But Emma wasn’t in the mood. She had to pee really bad. “No thank you.”

“Por favor?”

“No,” Emma said firmly. “Now if you would excuse me.”

And with that she wiggled past the guy. Her bladder was entirely too filled for her to pay attention to anything else. Her cursing when she felt his hands on her butt wasn’t even particularly ferocious. She had to settle for glaring at him as she pushed past him and headed towards the door at the back of the bar. There had to be a bathroom there.

She huffed slightly as a dancing couple managed to “dance” straight into her. Neither of them apologized and Emma clenched her teeth. She was a hundreth percent going home once she had been to the bathroom. She was getting tired. Today had been a long day. And besides, she got what she came for. The blonde grinned a bit. She should like to see La Reina dance again. And again. Take more pictures of her. She had danced around Emma’s table again tonight. Most likely because Emma was taking pictures of her, but the way she had smiled had been very... friendly. Almost flirty. But surely, that couldn’t be, could it?

 

Emma finally made it to the door and ripped it open. She stepped inside the narrow hallway and closed the door soundly behind her. Ahh. That was better. The music from the bar was less loud now. She could actually hear herself think now. She padded down the hallway and stopped when she reached the first door. That had to be the door to the bathroom. It couldn’t be anything else. The blonde turned around and scanned the hallway througholy. Just to be certain. Just to make sure that that creepy dude didn’t get the idea of following her inside the bathroom or some shit. But there was no signs of creepy dudes in the hallway, so Emma breathed a sigh of relief and then backed into the bathroom. Alone at last.

“Hola.”

The blonde yelped and spun around, almost tripping over her own feet in the process. This was not the bathroom. This was a dressing room of sorts. Only Emma would mistake a dressing room for the bathroom.

And obviously, la Reina was sitting in front of her in a plushy chair. She was wearing a bathrobe instead of her flamingo dress, and she was extending her right leg out and had clearly been in the process of taking off her shoes when Emma bursted in.

“Oh god!” Emma blurted. “I’m sorry-“ you’re in Spain right now, Emma. “Lo siento!” she hastily corrected herself. “¡Lo siento mucho! I was looking for-“ damnit. This clearly made her unable to communicate in both Spanish and English. “el baño,” she said half-heartedly. “I was looking for el baño. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry!” Emma turned back around and blindly fumbled to find the doorknob.

“The bathroom’s just down the hall.”

Emma froze in surprise at that. “You...You speak English.”

“Si,” the young woman said with a hint of teasing in her voice. She had a suprisingly low and raspy voice, Emma noted.

“I’m sorry for barging in like that,” Emma said sheepishly. “I’ll just.. leave you to it.” She opened the door and stepped outside in the hallway again.

“Did you like it?”

Emma’s head whipped around at the question and she cautiously peered inside the dressing room again. “I’m sorry?”

“The dance,” the young woman clarified as she slipped off her shoes and then rose from the chair. “Did you enjoy it?”

“Yeah,” Emma said truthfully. “It was beautiful. And impressive.”

The young woman chuckled richly as she lifted a hand and removed the red rose from her hair. “Thank you. Did you get some good pictures?”

“I sure did,” Emma said and smiled a little.

“Good. Do you think it would be possible for me to-“

Whatever the rest of the sentence was gonna be completely drowned when there was a brisk knock on the door and then one of the guitar playing guys stepped in. He had a rose in his hand. “Otra rosa para la reina,” he announced. Then he spotted Emma and tilted his head curiously.

“Solo tíralo,” the young woman waved him off.

He nodded and kept glancing curiously at Emma.

“Sorry, I was just looking for the bathroom,” Emma said, not bothering to check whether this guy understood English or not. She hastily turned around and opened the door once more.

“I’ll be dancing at La Taranta tomorrow night!” the young woman called after her. “Come and see me.”

That took Emma by suprise, but she was smooth enough to go along with it and proclaim: “I’ll be the one with the camera!”

 

To Be Continued...............

Chapter Text

Emma had gone back to her hotel with her head swimming with thoughts. La Reina had basically invited her to come and see her dance. And Emma was more than willing to admit to herself that La Reina had caught her attention. She was beautiful and interesting, and she had most definitely been flirting with Emma in the way she had danced around her table and smirked.

And Emma noted that she didn’t mind La Reina’s flirting one bit. If anything, she appreciated the attention. And she definitely didn’t mind this beautifully wrapped little distraction. She had hoped that she would meet interesting people here in Madrid, but she hadn’t exactly foreseen that the distraction would arrive in shape of a beautiful young flamenco danceress.

But she didn’t mind. She most definitely did not mind. It seemed like Madrid was getting more and more interesting for each day she spent here.

The blonde slipped off her sandals and then wiggled out of the little black number of a dress she had worn today. Despite having already showered once today, she felt dusty and sweaty and so she grabbed the luxurious, soft hotel bathrobe and headed into the bathroom. She snorted a bit as she looked around. Seriously, this bathroom was bigger than the living room back in her apartment. Old apartment. She couldn’t keep living there now. Not when Neal was moving out. She couldn’t afford the rent on her own. Emma sighed a bit as she stepped into the shower and switched the water on. It would appear that she had to move back to her parents farm house for a while when she got home. Just to find her own feet. She would need that. And she knew that her parents would welcome her home with open arms. Living with them wouldn’t be a problem at all until she found out what to do and checked her money situation. She already knew that her parents would offer to buy a place for her, and she already knew that she was going to turn that offer down as gently as possible. She was twenty eight years old. She had to handle this herself. And she would.

The blonde quelled a sigh as she spread the soap over her neck. There were so many things she needed to think about and consider when she came home. She had to make sure that Neal didn’t claim the things from the apartment as his own. They weren’t his. Few of the things were. He hadn’t done shit to decorate the apartment or make it seem like a home. Emma had been in charge of all that, and there was no way in hell she was about to let him have anything for free. She had every intention of driving him through the wringer should he be stupid enough to try and lay claim to any of the things in the apartment.

Emma quickly washed her hair and then stepped out of the shower. She wrapped a towel around her hair, shrugged the robe back on and then padded back into the bedroom. Her phone screen was lighting up, and she quickly grabbed the phone to see what that was about. Maybe it was a text from Ruby or Belle or something like that.

It wasn’t. It was a missed call. From Neal. Emma’s heart sank. So her mom had been correct in her prediction. The bastard had even left a message on her voicemail. Emma seriously debated whether she wanted to hear it or not, but in the end, curiosity won, and she brought the phone up to her ear and listened to the message: ‘hey, Em, it’s Neal. I stopped by your Mary Margaret and David’s place earlier to talk to you, but you weren’t there, and when I asked them where you were, they told me they didn’t know, which I’m guessing is a lie, and I understand why they wouldn’t want to tell me. But look, Em, I....” a sigh in the other end. “I just really need to talk to you, okay? I know that I’m an asshole and that I’ve screwed up everything, but lately I’ve just felt like everything has been about the wedding, and I.... I panicked. Which is not an excuse for what happened with Tamara, I know that. Anyway, could you please just call me? Please?’

“You. Fucking. Bastard.” Emma hissed lowly as she dumped the phone on her bed. “Couldn’t even apologize, could you?!” if there had been any doubt in her mind before, she was most definitely sure now. Neal Cassidy was an absolute asshat. What was he even expecting? That she actually wanted to talk to him? Emma laughed bitterly. That was actually hysterical. He had to be absolutely delusional or something. There was no way in hell Emma would call him back. She grabbed the phone once more and deleted his message. Maybe she would even delete his number too. Yeah. That was actually a good idea. She felt this gruesome satisfaction as she tapped on Neal’s number and then pressed delete. “Go fuck yourself, you miserable bastard,” she muttered and took a deep breath. She immediately felt lighter. Having deleted Neal’s number felt pretty good. And if he dumb enough to contact her again... Well, then she would block him. Plain and simple. And now she wanted to go to bed. She’d had a long day, but a nice day. And tomorrow would be nice too. Because tomorrow she would see La Reina dance again, and she was so looking forward to that.

Emma reached underneath the bed and grabbed her suitcase. She shrugged off the bathrobe and traded it for loose white t-shirt and red cotton boy shorts. It was too hot to wear anything else for bed.

She removed the towel from her hair and shook her head a bit, sending damp, golden curls flying around her face. She should probably brush that out. Otherwise she would end up with a frizzy mess tomorrow. But she was entirely too exhausted to do anything about it tonight. She even felt too lazy to brush her teeth. That would have to wait until tomorrow as well.

She cracked the window open and then walked back to bed, eagerly climbing up and adjusting herself between the sheets. Then she grabbed her camera bag from the bedside table. Unzipping the bag she found the camera and switched it on. It didn’t take long before she was going through all the pictures she had taken tonight. Her stomach fluttered in a particular way as she looked at the pictures of La Reina dancing. All of these were great shots. Very good shots indeed. There was in particular one of the pictures that really made her belly flutter. La Reina had her head thrown back, her arms were gracefully raised above her head. Her skirt was almost standing out around her, and her dark curls seemed almost alive.

Emma wetted her lips. She could pretend all she wanted, but she couldn’t deny the fact that she was ridiculously attracted to this young flamenco dancer. Which was an absolute cliché. Woman travels to exotic country and becomes interested in one of the locals. That was absolutely ridiculous. And painfully true.

Emma was almost happy that La Reina had been the one to flirt with her and not the other way around. To put it plainly, Emma was horrendously bad at flirting. As in very, very bad. She once again went through the pictures of La Reina dancing. Her mouth suddenly felt a bit dry. Then she scoffed. She was definitely getting tired. She should get some sleep instead of staring herself blind. She switched the camera off and then put it back to the camera bags safety. She switched off the night light and then curled up under the covers.

But she couldn’t sleep. She could feel that right away. Too many things had happened today. Good and bad. The call from Neal hadn’t been entirely unexpected, but none the less unpleasant. A horrible way to end her otherwise nice day of exploring the culture here in Spain. Once again, she thought of La Reina, and once again something fluttered in her belly. She had definitely enjoyed exploring that part of the Spanish culture. Even more so than tasting all that wonderful food. Emma snickered quietly to herself. It wasn’t often she found something that could top food. But here in Spain she definitely had. And tomorrow she was gonna see her again. She almost couldn’t wait. And she definitely couldn’t sleep in this balmy air. Emma wiggled around in the bed. Tossed and turned until the covers ended up on the floor. She didn’t bother removing it from the floor. She was actually far more comfortable like this. Less warm. Emma closed her eyes and tried to focus on relaxing every part of her body. Not think about anything. Not Neal and his asshole... ness. Not La Reina and the way she had been smirking and flirting and dancing around Emma’s table.

Not thinking about La Reina was definitely more difficult than not thinking about Neal....

 

 

 

The next morning Emma woke up to another beautiful day in Madrid. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and she could hear the faint rustling and bustling as Madrid started to wake up. Emma stretched lazily in the big bed. Cliché or not, she felt all kinds of blessed. She was one lucky bastard. One hungry lucky bastard. Her stomach growled insistently, and the blonde was quick to hop out of bed and open her suitcase to find some clothes. She snorted quietly as she roamed through her clothes. Had no idea where her head has been at when she packed. There was several pairs of jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts in the suitcase. That was ridiculous. But understandable. She had been completely out of it when she had packed. Oh well. At least she had managed to squeeze a few sundresses and shorts into the suitcase before closing it.

Emma settled on a green sundress today. It was made from a light, soft material that maybe, just maybe wouldn’t make her sweat. And the color complimented her eyes and hair nicely. Emma was hoping that she would draw attention to herself. And she was especially hoping that she would catch La Reina’s attention tonight. Emma hoped that La Reina would pull the same little stunt and dance by her table like she had done the two previous times.

Emma put on the dress and then headed into the bathroom to do something about her frizzy hair. The solution turned out to be a loose side braid. Then she brushed her teeth thoroughly, put on a ton of deodorant, a bit of that flower smelling perfume she so favored. Then she grabbed her purse, camera bag and room key and headed downstairs.

She was greeted by Lucía and her usual: “¡Buenos días, señora Cassidy! I hope you’ve had a comfortable night despite the heat.”

It had been a great relief to discover that Lucía did in fact speak a bit of English. “Buenos dias, Lucía,” Emma replied with a smile. “The heat wasn’t a problem at all. I opened the window.”

“Remember to switch on the air condition in case tonight will be as warm,” Lucía said with a heavy accent and flashed Emma a friendly smile.

“I’ll definitely remember that.”

“Will you be dining in the restaurant, or will you prefer to eat outside in the garden?” Lucía asked.

“I think I’ll chose the garden today. Weather’s almost too good to stay inside.”

“Indeed,” the brunette said. “If you head outside and make yourself comfortable, your breakfast will be right there. You want coffee this morning, correct?”

“Coffee would be great. Thanks, Lucía.”

“I’m here to help, señora Cassidy,” Lucía smiled.

Emma suffocated her amusement. That name was turning into a bit of a joke. She thanked Lucía again and then headed outside in the garden.

She found a nice little table for one underneath one of the large trees. She wasn’t in the mood to sit in the sun right from the get-go. Her skin was burning a bit after having spent most of yesterday
outside. She would have to put on her sunscreen before she left the hotel after she’d had breakfast. She had already decided what she wanted to do today. She wanted to find a beach. And according to Google Maps she wasn’t that far away from Santander Bay Beach.. She wanted a bit of a calm day. She had been out and about for most of yesterday, and since she was going out again tonight, she had deserved a day where she did nothing. Maybe she would bring her book with her to the beach. Relax and read in the sun.

Emma snorted a bit. Yes, she was exicted about going to the beach, but deep down she knew that she most of all was eager to pass the time until tonight. Until she could see La Reina dance again. Emma so hoped that she would smile at her again. Or talk to her again. Give Emma an excuse to chat with her. Emma was still completely struck by the young woman’ beauty.

Emma’s musings were interrupted when Lucía arrived with a tray in her hands. A tray filled with good stuff. Chocolate Con Churros. Los Picatostes. Delicious small pieces of toasts fried with butter. They were absolutely delicious and Emma was already struggling with the fact that she couldn’t have them when she returned to Storybrooke. And then there was croissants, a little bowl of freshly cut fruit, and a cup of coffee. And of course a glass of orange juice.

“That looks really good,” Emma said earnestly, and her stomach growled in anticipation.

Lucía smiled. “Do you have any plans today, señora Cassidy?”

“I was thinking of finding a beach,” Emma replied. “It’s too warm to do anything else, really.”

“That sounds like a good plan. Enjoy your breakfast, señora. And let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.”

“Thanks, Lucía,” Emma said and flashed the other woman a smile as she walked away.

Emma dug into her breakfast with vigor. A good breakfast was important, and the breakfast’s she’d had here in Spain had to be some of the best meals she’d ever tasted. Seriously, she was having churros
with chocolate for breakfast. She loved getting her usual bacon and scrambled eggs at Granny’s Diner, but it couldn’t quite measure up to churros you could dip in melting chocolate...

This trip was definitely spoiling her. Emma chuckled a bit as she took a sip of her coffee.............

 

 

Emma followed her plan perfectly. After breakfast she went back to her room, packed a bag with her bathing suit, a nice big towel, her book, camera sunscreen and of course a bottle of water. God forbid she shouldn’t stay hydrated in this warm weather.

Then she left her hotel. Found a bus and stewed along with the other passengers. But not for that long. Google Maps had been right. There really wasn’t that long to the beach. And it was a very nice beach. Crystal blue water and perfect white sand. Complete and utter paradise. Emma made sure to take lots and lots of pictures. Both with her phone and camera. Phone pictures for Ruby and camera pictures to show off to her parents when she came home.

Ruby texted back that she “hated” Emma, and the blonde laughed heartedly at that. And even more so when Ruby “replied” with sending Emma a picture of the weather in Storybrooke. It looked incredibly grey and sad. Emma almost felt sorry for her friend. Emma also made sure to send Ruby some pictures of herself posing on the beach. Just to show Ruby that she was okay. And as she looked at the picture before sending it, she noted that she actually looked VERY okay. Her green eyes were sparkling and the smile on her lips was every bit genuine. Emma sighed deeply and breathed in the smell of the beach. It would appear that she had found a reliable Neal Cassidy antidote. Maybe she just never would go home. Maybe she would stay right here on this beach until the end of time. She snickered lightly as she reached within her bag and found her sunscreen. That would really have been something.

She did exactly what she had told herself she would. She read her book and relaxed. She soaked up the sun and prayed that she would end up with a nice tan and not with pink skin. Ending up looking like a salmon wasn’t exactly the plan. Definitely not.

While she was laying on the beach and relaxing, she was almost “attacked” by a dog. And an extremely cute dog. A tiny chihuahua who found it appropriate to lick her face repeatedly. Emma laughed heartedly and when the dog’s owner profusely apologized, she was quick to say that it was completely fine. She didn’t mind this interruption one bit.

But unfortunately, she was also interrupted in a bad way while she was on the beach. Her phone began blarting, and Emma had no problem with recognizing Neal’s number. She let it rang out this time, but if it happened again she would reject the call. Once it had stopped blaring, it chimed once, indicating that Neal had left another message for her. Emma deleted the message without having listened to it. She felt a rather gruesome satisfaction by giving Neal the silent treatment, but if he continued to call her she would either call or text him and ask him to leave her the hell alone. She had absolutely nothing more to say to her ex-fiance. He could crawl right back to that hellhole he had emerged from. Then she resumed reading her book. Well, it wasn’t her book. It was one she had borrowed from Ruby. Actually, she had borrowed most of the books she had brought from Ruby. Ruby had a rather morbid taste in books, and Emma had plain refused to read any love stories. That was the reason why she was now reading “Pet Sementary”. On a beach in sunny Madrid. Even Emma could see the hillarious aspect in that. Next book on her list was “The Shining”. Right now, Emma had never been more grateful for Ruby and her profound love for Stephen King.

The blonde stretched her legs, reminded herself to shift to lie on her back soon. Otherwise she would just end up getting sunburned. She lowered her sunglasses and looked at the perfect, crystal blue water. Should she go for a swim now or should she wait a little while? As she considered that, she noticed that a guy was looking at her. And a rather handsome exsemplaire too. Had the situation been any different, Emma would have flashed him a smile or better still come over to him and struck up a conversation, but she wasn’t interested in striking up conversation with this man. Or flirt with him.

There was only one person she was interested in flirting with. The young flamenco dancer she was going to see tonight. Emma was entirely too interested in her to consider other opportunities. Emma wetted her lips as she once again thought of La Reina and the way she had danced last night. Was she dancing every night perhaps? If that was the case, Emma would simply have to go to every single performance. She chuckled. She could definitely do that. And she would enjoy doing that. Very much so. Watching La Reina dance every night? Yes, please.

Emma streched a bit once more. God, she was so comfortable. She was never going home. No, she would simply stay here in Madrid and spend her days getting tanned. A chuckle escaped her as she thought about what her parents would say if she suddenly was to announce that. It was an entertaining thought, but unfortunately not a possible one. In three weeks she had to go home. And deal with Neal and everyone gossiping about the wedding that never happened. Emma’s mouth twisted as she thought about what everyone was thinking and saying. How much did they know? Had the rumor about how Neal had humilated her already spread? Would Emma be the object of gossip when she came back? Did everyone know that she had gone on her honeymoon alone?

She sighed a little and then laughed almost against her will. All the more reason to stay in Spain. If only she had a colorful drink. That would have been the perfect holiday cliché. Maybe she could get a colorful drink tonight. Be a little adventurous and try something that wasn’t Sangria.

Emma rolled onto her back and pushed her sunglasses back in place. Time to work on getting tanned equally. She couldn’t be tanned on her front and pale on her back. She chuckled again. Such luxury problems. What a tough life she had these days......

 

 

That same night found Emma heading into the bar La Reina had instructed her to go to last night. La Taranta. It was very nice place. And clearly more flamenco-esque than the other places. A bit more exclusive. And a bit more packed. Seriously, the bar was more or less packed with people. Emma had to develop elbows of steels in order to even get inside, and by some mere miracle she found an empty table for one right there by the stage. She quickly claimed that table as her own and sat down. God forbid anyone else should get the smart idea and “steal” this table. It was perfect. Right by the stage. She would possible develop tinnitus because of the loud music, but it was worth it. She wanted to sit close to the stage. She hoped that that would be hint enough for La Reina. She hoped that this would encourage the young brunette to come and dance by her table again. Emma fished her camera out of the bag and switched it on so it was ready to take pictures. This time she didn’t want to waste time with preparing it. This time she wanted to be ready the moment La Reina came on stage and began dancing.

Emma quickly checked how much battery there was left on the camera and felt a twinge of satisfaction. The charger had clearly been doing as told this time. Thank goodness it hadn’t been unreliable as it sometimes was. Emma chuckled darkly. It would appear that her camera charger shared something in common with Neal Cassidy.

No. She didn’t want to think about Neal tonight. He wasn’t worthy of her thoughts. He could rot in hell, that asshole. Instead of worrying about him or the future for that matter, she stretched her neck, tried to find a waiter and it didn’t take long before she caught the attention of a waiter who came over to her table, said: “Buenas noche, señorita.”

Emma succeeded in ordering a drink in very rusty Spanish, but with mixed results. She might have messed up a few words here and there because the waiter came back and presented her with a very pink drink. One that tasted of both raspberry and whipped cream. Not quite what she’d had in mind, but oh well. Emma decided to just roll with it. The drink wasn’t all that bad. As long as she only took little sips, that was. Otherwise it would be quite nausea inducing.

“I suppose it’s ridiculously Spanish,” she muttered to herself as she took another small sip. Yep. Very, very spanish!

Exactly like the last time, Emma waited impatiently to see La Reina again, and this time she even went as far as drumming her fingers lightly against the table. The door to the backroom opened, and
Emma eagerly stretched her neck when she saw the two guitar playing men come in. She watched as they talked to one of the waiters, and Emma took another little sip of her very pink drink. So very impatient.

 

But she didn’t have to wait that long tonight. Emma had arrived at the bar at 7:45, and at 08:59 the lights were dimmed, and every one started cheering. Well, everyone except for Emma. She was far too busy holding the camera up.

The two guitar playing men found their positions and sat down. There was a moment of exicted muttering, and then that muttering turned into wild cheers when La Reina came on stage. Tonight she was wearing a black dress. Tight at the top and then spread out in a dramatic, ruffled skirt. The sleeves were lace from the shoulder and down to the elbow where they transformed into the most dramatic ruffle sleeves Emma ever had seen. And what’s more, the dress was backless, only had a couple of strings holding it together in the back. Emma swallowed something. As opposed to the previous times, La Reina’s hair was rolled into a tight, sleek bun tonight, and the rose had been fastened at the back of her head, giving the impression that it was the only thing holding the bun together. Her lips was painted a dark shade of red and her eye makeup was darker and more dramatic than the previous times. The look made her seem older. Everyone applauded once more, some whooped, but La Reina seemed more interested in looking around the bar. Then her dark gaze landed on Emma, and she flashed the blonde a rather beaming smile. Emma returned the smile, wished she was bold enough to wave.

La Reina said something to one of the guitar playing men, he nodded and to Emma’s enormous surprise, La Reina elegantly hopped off the stage and walked straight over to her table. She flashed Emma another beaming smile and then began tapping her right foot lightly. It didn’t take long before everybody began clapping in the same rhytm. The two men began playing and fell into the rhytm La Reina had created.

She began dancing, began moving her body, swirveling her hips to the rhytm. She wasn’t dancing as fast tonight, Emma noted. Her dance was still every bit impressive, just a tad slower. And it actually made it easier for Emma to snap pictures. La Reina smiled every time her face was turned towards Emma. She couldn’t very well flick her hair tonight, but she sure as hell could swish her skirt. And she did. In Emma’s face more or less. She lifted her skirt, gave everyone a peek at her long legs. Emma doubted that she had ever snapped pictures faster than she was right now. God, that girl was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Once again Emma felt that stirring low in her belly. That undeniable attraction. It was actually a bit hard to focus on taking pictures. Just staring at the young woman seemed far more important. Emma was officially the worst photographer in the world. But this was a bit of a special case. She wasn’t exactly used to taking pictures of people she was attracted to.

La Reina smirked a bit as she moved to dance behind Emma’s table, and as if pulled by a string Emma turned around on her chair. She lifted the the camera, and as on cue, La Reina threw her head back and arched her back just a little bit. Emma was feeling all sorts of things as she took another picture. She might have to create a new portfolio. And she was going to name it “La Reina”. Plain and simple.

The music became faster, more intense and La Reina gracefully extended her arms out above her head. The ruffly sleeves fell backwards and revealed that feather tattoo on her wrist. As fast as lightening, Emma took a picture of her in that pose and then took an extra back when the brunette spun around and her back came into view once more. Fucking hell, Emma couldn’t concentrate on taking pictures.

She had to put the camera down and just watch the woman dance instead. She had never seen anyone dance like this before. The way she moved her body, the way she seemed to simply be one with the music. Emma sat there and wished that she was the one who could create that type of beauty with her body.

Emma hadn’t even noticed that one of the two guitar playing men had left the scene before he came back and suddenly threw a red scarf at La Reina. She swiftly caught it and effortlessly made it a part of her dance. She spun around and never ceased to stomp her feet as she came just a little bit closer to Emma’s table and then practically waved the scarf in her face.

Emma suffocated a chuckle. That little tease. She had never experienced anyone flirting so blatantly with her. And she rather enjoyed it. It was nice and exicting to be given attetion from such a beautiful woman. Emma couldn’t remember the last time a woman had given her attention. She swished the scarf in Emma’s face once more and then draped it around her own tanned arms in a particular flirty manner.

Emma’s mouth felt dry once more. She had to clear her throat. Several times. And La Reina flashed her another smile. Almost a smirk. Was it possible that she had heard Emma clear her throat? Or was Emma just imagining things?

The blonde took another sip of her pink drink and kept her gaze fixated on the young woman dancing. Half of the bar was cheering and shouting declarations of love, and Emma suddenly found it rather tempting to participate in those cheers herself. She had very much fallen under this young woman’s spell herself. How could anyone do anything but? How was it possible to not become entranced when she was dancing? Emma bit back a chuckle. When she read about “Madrid’s temptations”, the guidebook hadn’t mentioned anything about beautiful young flamenco dancers.

La Reina stomped her feet faster and faster and Emma’s heart dropped a little because she knew what it meant. The “show” was almost over. Now she would just have to soak up the rest of it. And she did.

She watched as the young brunette threw the scarf on the floor and picked up her skirt again while spinning around. It looked as though her feet was barely touching the ground now, and Emma desperately wanted to know what her secret was. How could someone look so graceful?

She didn’t get an answer. With one last stomp of her feet and a confident: “olé!” the dance stopped and everyone began cheering loudly. La Reina curtsied and then she was flashing Emma another smile. Her dark eyes twinkled slightly.

Emma returned the smile and flashed the young dancer a thumbs up, and in response La Reina laughed and then picked up the red scarf from the floor. She elegantly draped it around her shoulders and then crossed the bar and disappeared through a door.

Nope. This couldn’t be the last time she saw her. Emma refused to accept that. She just had to talk to her again. And she was willing to work a bit for it. She emptied her horrible pink drink and then rose from her seat. She grabbed her camera bag and purse and then tried her best to wiggle her way through the crowd. Because exactly like the last time, the music had been turned up and now everybody was dancing and having the time of their lives. Emma was starting to figure out that La Reina’s dancing was way to get the party started so to speak.

“Esa chica es una verdadera belleza!” a guy loudly proclaimed while putting a hand over his heart.

Emma nodded as she silently agreed with him. La Reina was indeed a true beauty. No doubt about that. Emma wondered how many hearts she had stolen while dancing. The blonde continued to brave the crowd. Two times she had to say “excusa”, and two times she hadn’t given a damn as she elbowed her way through the crowd. God, this was an absolute madhouse. If it wasn’t for La Reina Emma would have been out of here a hell of a lot faster. But now she was entirely too intriqued. She really didn’t want to leave without having spoken to La Reina. That would be a shame. She had basically invited
Emma to come and see her dance. The least Emma could do was to come and tell her what she thought about her performance. It was simple common curtsy, really.

Emma chuckled darkly. Common curtsy, my ass. What she really wanted to know was whether La Reina made a point of flirting with every other guest in the bar? That first night Emma had seen her dance, an old man had called Emma special afterwards, and now Emma wanted to know whether that was really the case?

Emma slipped past another dancing man and the look he gave her was positively lewd. For once, Emma was grateful that she didn’t understand Spanish that well when he mumbled something. She could tell that it was something suggestive, but exactly what it was, was lost on her. Fortunately enough. And so she only settled for scowling at the man. In response, he made kissy sounds and gestured to his chest in a rather disgusting fashion.

Emma sighed deeply and turned her back on him as she finally reached the door and ripped it open. God, men could be so disgusting sometimes. Well, so could women, but would they really go as far as making those horrible kissing sounds? Emma wasn’t quite sure.

The blonde frowned a bit as she looked around in the little hallway she had reached. She had expected this place to be a bit more quiet, but to her surprise she heard raised voices. Feminine voices. Two women were clearly having a heated argument in Spanish. Emma curiosly peeked around the corner and to her surprise she saw La Reina in the middle of a heated argument with a woman with dark curly hair. She was angry gesturing towards La Reina whilst screaming in her face. Some of the sentences were lost to Emma.

“Vete al demonio!” the other woman yelled, and Emma didn’t need a translation in order to know that she was cursing at La Reina.

“Marian, por favor!” La Reina said calmly. “¡cálmese!”

“¡cálmese!?!” the other woman- Marian- mocked. “¡CÁLMESE?!” the rest of it was completely lost to Emma as she began shouting angrily in Spanish, gesturing rapidly clearly seething with anger.

Emma was starting to feel more and more like she probably shouldn’t be here. This looked like a private confrontation.

“¡Puta!” Marian screamed. “puta de mierda!”

“¡Eso es suficiente!” La Reina yelled. “¡No lo sabía, no lo sabía!”

Marian mockingly repeated that and then she was yelling in La Reina’s face once more.

Now Emma was starting to feel like maybe she should intervene or something like that, but before she got the chance to do more than just think about it, the curly haired woman took a step forward and then slapped La Reina hard in the face. The slap echoed through the otherwise quiet hallway, and Emma immediatly came out of her hiding place. “Hey!” she bellowed. “What the hell is going on here?!”

Both women turned around at that, and Marian hissed in La Reina’s face once more. “¡Maldita perra!” she yelled and then she turned around and pushed past Emma on her way out. The door slammed behind her, and that sound echoed in the hallway again.

La Reina rubbed her cheek slighly.

“What the hell?!” Emma bellowed as she hastily walked over to her. “Are you okay?”

“Sí. I’m fine. It’s fine.”

“She punched you in the face. Explain to me how that is fine?!”

“I deserved it,” the young woman said and shrugged lightly. Then she flashed Emma a smile. “It’s nice to see you again.”

“Yeah, I... It’s nice to see you too,” Emma said, accepting that La Reina wasn’t gonna explain more about that violent showdown.

“Did you like tonight’s performance?” the younger woman asked as she shifted slightly and then rubbed her cheek slightly once again.

“It was brilliant,” Emma said truthfully.

“Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.” La Reina turned around and opened a door on her left.

Emma followed her as she walked inside the little “backstage” room as La Reina removed the rose from her hair and shook her head slightly, sending dark curls tumbling around her face.

“How long are you in Madrid?” she asked lightly.

“Three weeks.”

The young brunette nodded. “Long holiday.”

“Yeah. Something like that.”

“Have you been seeing all the sights then?” La Regina asked lightly as she sat down and unfastened all the straps on her dance shoes. She winced slightly as she wiggled her feet.

“Yeah, I’ve been to the Prado and Retiro Park already. And I’m planning on visiting El Rasto.”

“How about The Bosque Encantado?” the young brunette asked as she rolled her shoulders slightly.

“Huh?” Emma said and blinked.

“The Enchanted Forest,” La Reina translated. “It’s a botanical garden. There are sculpures of dragons and carriages made of greenery. It’s really worth a visit.”

“Oh,” Emma said. “Never heard of it before, but I’ll definitely visit it.”

“It’s a bit difficult to find,” La Reina continued as she ran a brush through her hair. “A bit tucked away.”

“Oh, okay. Well, I’ll try and see if I can find it,” Emma said.

“I think It’ll be easier if you had a guide,” La Reina said plainly.

“You think so?” Emma said and now she couldn’t quite quell a smile.

“I’m not doing anything tomorrow,” the young brunette said and tilted her head. “I could be your guide if you’d like...”

“That would be great!” Emma said with a soft chuckle. “I could really use the help of a local to see all the good stuff while I’m here.”

“Which hotel are you staying at?”

Emma eagerly told the younger woman the name of the hotel, and La Reina nodded. “I could wait for you in reception at say... ten o’clock?”

“That would be great,” Emma repeated and then added with a chuckle: “what’s your name? I can’t very well keep calling you “The Queen”, can I?”

“You might have to,” the brunette said and her dark eyes twinkled slightly. “My name’s Regina.”

Emma laughed. “Are you serious?”

“Quite so,” Regina said and shook her head slightly in amusement. “And what’s your name?”

“Emma. Emma Swan.”

Regina came over to her and outstretched her hand towards Emma. “Nice to meet you, Emma.”

“Nice to meet you too... Regina,” Emma replied and smiled as she shook Regina’s hand. It was very soft and warm....

 

 

To Be Continued...........

Chapter Text

Emma was up early the next morning and felt a fizzle of excitement radiate through her body as she opened her suitcase. What was she gonna wear? It was like a million degrees outside, so something light and comfy for sure, but she also wanted to look good. She wanted to impress her beautiful guide just a little bit. Emma smirked slightly. There were so many reasons to appreciate Madrid. Before Emma had left, Mary Margaret had talked a lot about the beautiful landscape and how Emma had to remember to appreciate the exoticness of it all. Did she by any chance also mean that Emma had to appreciate the exotic flamenco dancer? Emma chuckled. Nah, probably not, but nevertheless, that was exactly what she was planning on doing. After all, she was here to appreciate the local sightings.

Emma hauled a blue sundress out of her suitcase. It tied with strings at the front and was just a teensy bit sexier than the rest of the sundresses she had brought. Yep, this was a perfect choice for today’s little excursion.

She slipped the dress on and then headed into the bathroom. Emma brushed her teeth thoroughly, brushed her hair, let it hang loose in golden curls.

Then she grabbed her camera bag, her purse with her phone, money, sunglasses and sunscreen and then she headed downstairs.

Lucía greeted her with the usual: “buenos días, señora Cassidy!” and Emma headed inside the restaurant where she had a breakfast as solid as the one, she’d had yesterday. But this time she spent less time on savoring the food. She couldn’t spend ages on eating. She had plans. Important plans. Plans that involved a beautiful, young guide. Emma snickered a bit as she as she munched her way through churros with chocolate dip. Seriously, she would miss eating like a royal when she returned home to Storybrooke. Maybe she would have to start making her own churros for breakfast. With lots and lots of chocolate dip. Emma took a sip of her fresh orange juice. This was a very good morning. Calm and quiet. Her phone had been delightfully quiet. There hadn’t been any phone calls or messages from Neal, and Emma wasn’t sure whether she should be relieved or not. She had a feeling that he wasn’t done trying to contact her. Oh well, if that was to happen, Emma would simply have to block him. Plain and simple. End of story. She deserved better than some asshole guy who couldn’t commit to her. Who had commited the greatest of all relationship crimes: bailing on her right before their wedding. Honest to god, Emma felt sorry for the girl who ended up with Neal. Poor girl. Someone should warn her. Emma took another sip of her orange juice.

At nine forty five, Emma was sitting perched on the edge of her bed. She had considered to wait in the lobby, but she hadn’t wanted to seem overly eager, so now she was sitting here and waiting instead.

But she would head downstairs in ten minutes. Until then she bided her time with playing around with her phone, uploaded a few pictures to her Instagram account. She had promised Ruby to do so, and maybe she was feeling a teeny tiny bit vengeful still. She knew for a fact that Neal was following her on Instagram. This was such a deliciously wicked way of letting Neal know where she was. Take that you asshole. I went to Spain without you. Good luck trying to find me in Storybrooke.

Emma made sure to write disgustingly happy captions underneath each picture, and she even uploaded quite a few of herself smiling broadley. Maybe she was being an enormous cliché, but she didn’t care about that. She was allowed to rub it in Neal’s face a little bit. She was allowed to feel vengeful.

After a few more “look how happy I am without you”-pictures, Emma stuffed the phone inside her purse, grabbed her camera bag and slung both purse and camera bag over her shoulder and went downstairs to the lobby. She sat down in one of the plushy chairs where she could see the door. This was the perfect spot to wait in. Emma’s foot tapped up and down slightly as she kept a close eye on the door. She wanted to be able to spot Regina right away.

 

But as 10 am rolled around, Emma was starting to feel antsy. They did decide on 10 am, right? Yes, they did. Emma was sure of that. She was a hundredth percent sure they had agreed on 10 am. So why wasn’t Regina here? Second thoughts? Was she regretting? Didn’t she want to be Emma’s guide anyway? Emma fidgeted slightly with her hands in her lap and thought to herself that it could be real “funny” if Regina was planning on blowing her off. If that was the case, Regina would be the second person who had blown Emma off in a very short time span. Emma snorted quietly.

“Can I get you anything, señora Cassidy?” Lucía asked as she came over to Emma.

“No, that’s okay. I’m waiting for someone,” Emma said. At least she thought she was. It was five minutes past ten now, and honestly, Emma was loosing hope. It definitely didn’t look like Regina was planning on showing up like they had agreed. It surely looked like Emma had been stood up. For the second time. Pretty discouraging. But hey, at least she hadn’t been on her way to the altar this time. It was all about counting your blessings. Or something like that. Emma quelled a sigh. She felt disappointed. She had really wanted Regina to be her guide. And Regina was the one who had suggested this in the first place. It wasn’t entirely fair that she had changed her mind over night.

Oh well. Emma waited another five minutes. Now it was ten minutes past ten. She had no choice but to accept the truth. Regina wasn’t gonna show up. Bummer.

Emma rose from the plushy chair. She had every intention of heading out on her own, but just as she made it to the door and was about to open it, someone beat her to it and opened it from the outside.

Emma took a step back and felt both surprised and relieved when Regina stepped inside the lobby.

“Hola,” Regina said and flashed Emma an apologetic smile. “Sorry I’m late!”

“That’s totally fine,” Emma lied and returned the smile.

“Are you ready to leave?” Regina asked.

“Yeah, definitely,” Emma said firmly. God, she was so relieved that Regina had shown up!

“Then lets get going,” Regina said and turned to open the door once more.

Emma followed her outside in the Spanish sunshine. This was the first time she saw Regina in something that wasn’t her flamenco attire. Today she was wearing a light, flowy dress with flowers printed all over. Her hair had been styled in a loose side braid. She looked good. Exactly as she did in one of those flamenco dresses.

Regina steered towards a little silver grey car and then turned her head. “You don’t mind a bit of a drive, do you?”

“No, that’s completely fine,” Emma said.

Both women entered the little grey car and Regina switched the engine on. “I’m sorry I was running this late. Have you waited a long time?”

“No-no, not at all,” Emma smoothly lied and suffocated a chuckle.

“Oh, good. My morning just took a crazy turn,” Regina half-laughed and shook her head slightly as they drove away from the hotel.

“Oh,” Emma said with a slight headshake. “Yeah, I know that feeling. I’ve had a few crazy mornings myself recently.”

“You think you’ve got everything under control, and then suddenly...” Regina made a gesture indicating that everything went to hell.

“Oh yeah,” Emma said and discreetly studied the younger woman’s face. She could still see a faint red mark on Regina’s right cheek where Marian had slapped her. That little incident still puzzled Emma.

And now she wondered if Regina’s “busy” morning had something to do with the slap Marian had landed across her face last night. The slap that seemingly hadn’t taken Regina by surprise at all.

And then she heard her phone going off in her purse. Emma was willing to bet a million bucks it was Neal calling her. He had undoubtedly seen the pictures she had posted on Instagram, and now he was frantically trying to reach her. Emma scoffed as she reached within her purse and found her phone. Yup, it was Neal calling her. Well, good luck with that, pal, Emma thought to herself as she rejected the call and then blocked his number.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Regina glance at her, but when Emma looked more properly at her, the brunette’s attention was only on the road.

“What do you do when you’re not dancing?” Emma asked curiously and to take the attention away from her phone.

“Rest my feet mostly,” Regina answered with a snicker and adjusted the mirror slightly. “To be honest, dancing is what I do most. It’s what I want to do in the future, earn my money by doing something I love, you know?”

“I get that,” Emma nodded.

“What do you do when you’re not on vacation in Madrid?” Regina inquired and rolled both windows down.

“I’m a freelance photographer,” Emma said and enjoyed the way a light breeze found its way into the car.

“Oh. Now the professional camera makes sense,” Regina said with a light chuckle. “I hope you brought it today. There are so many photo opportunities in El Bosque Encantado.”

“I always bring my camera,” Emma assured.

“Perfect.”

“Your English is very good,” Emma complimented.

“My mother is from the US,” Regina said. “And she insisted that I grew up learning and speaking English even though we’ve been living here since before I was born.”

“So your parents lives nearby?” Emma guessed as they waited for green light.

“My father does. My mother is planning on moving back to the US. My parents are splitting up and I can scarcely remember a time where my mother expressed that she was happy in Madrid,” Regina said plainly.

“Oh. I’m sorry about that,” Emma said sympathetically.

Regina shrugged lightly. “It’s fine. The more distance there is between my mother and I, the better.”

“Oh,” Emma said. She didn’t know what else to say, really.

Regina chuckled softly. “What do you think of Madrid so far, Emma?”

Emma felt a slight rush of warmth at that. Her name sounded good when said like that. Em-ma. All drawlingly and sexy. “I really like it here,” she said truthfully. “It’s warm all the time and the landscape is beautiful. What’s not to love?”

“Where are you from?” Regina asked interestedly.

“I live in Maine,” Emma told her. “In a little town called Storybrooke. You probably haven’t heard of it. It’s this teeny tiny town...”

“Storybrooke?” Regina repeated. “No, I can’t say that I’ve heard of that, but it sounds like a very idyllic place.”

“Oh, it is,” Emma said, happily telling Regina all about the town she called home.......

 

 

 

Emma had expected this enchanted-forest-botanical-garden-place to be close by, but to her surprise, they were driving for an hour before they reached their destination and Regina parked the car. Emma was surprised for several reasons. One: she hadn’t expected this car ride to take an hour. And two: how could it already have been an hour? It felt only like minutes since she had gotten into the car with Regina. They had talked all the way here. Emma had told Regina more about her job as a photographer, and Emma had learned that Regina lived alone in a little apartment.

“Aquí estamos. Here we are,” Regina said as she unbuckled her seatbelt.

“Great,” Emma said as she did the same and then followed Regina outside. They headed towards the entrance and paid to enter the garden.

Emma’s jaw nearly dropped as she looked around in the garden. She could easily say that she had never seen anything like this before. This wasn’t just a botanical garden. This really was an enchanted forest. The things they had managed to sculpt out of greenery was impressive. A carriage that looked like it had been modelled after Cinderella’s. Troll-like figures higher than average children. Ballet dancers gracefully lifting their legs in the air. A sea serpent that looked as though it was emerging from the grass. A whole little orchestra complete with tall figures playing drums, guitars and trumpets.

There was a fountain in the middle of the garden with dolphins made from the bushes with water coming out of their mouths and everything. There were also wild animals like tigers and lions and giraffes made of bushes, but Emma’s favorite things had to be the all the impressive dragons and unicorns scattered all over the garden.

“Wow,” she said and tried to pick her jaw up from the floor. “This is amazing!”

“Yes, it’s beautiful here,” Regina agreed with a smile. “I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this.”

“I’m really glad you told me about this,” Emma said earnestly. “And drove me here. I don’t think I could have managed to find it on my own. It is a bit tugged away. Exactly like you said.”

“Si, it’s a bit difficult to find if you haven’t been here before,” Regina replied.

Emma looked around. “I can’t even decide what to photograph first!”

“Well, take your time. It’ll be a while before the garden closes,” Regina chuckled.

And so they went exploring together. Emma took plenty of pictures, and she couldn’t wait to add all the pictures to her portfolio. Maybe she wasn’t so miserable in Madrid anymore. Maybe she would have to think of a new name for her portfolio.

“Oh my god, this place is great,” the blonde marveled. “If this won’t make my friends jealous, I don’t know what will...”

Regina chuckled at that. “Is that your goal? Making your friends jealous?”

“A hundredth percent,” Emma snickered. “It’s so rare I go anywhere. It’s always them who goes place. Now it’s finally my turn to live a little!” live a little on what should have been her honeymoon. God, this was ironic.

Regina laughed again.

“Any more hidden gems you wanna tell me about?” Emma asked as she lowered the camera for a second.

“There is La Azotea,” Regina replied. “It’s a multifunctional building, but you can have lunch on the rooftop. The view’s amazing. It’s definitely worth a visit.”

“I’ll remember that one,” Emma said firmly.

“And if you also want to do things that are less touristy, I can recommend Quinta de Los Molinos Park. It’s a very historical place.”

“That sounds good,” Emma said. “I can imagine that I’ll get tired of being a tourist.”

“And if you’re after tapas, I recommend you visit Casa González,” Regina continued. “It’s the tapas bar in all of Madrid. But unfortunately, not many people know that.”

“Awesome,” Emma smiled. “I’ll definitely visit everything.”

“You’ll be busy then,” Regina observed with a slight glint in her eyes. “Shame. I was hoping you would come and see me dance again.”

“Well, I’m sure I could find the time to do that,” Emma smirked, trying to keep the unbridled happiness out of her voice. “Name the time and place and I’ll be there. With my camera.”

Regina laughed and the sound made Emma’s stomach feel completely liquid. She had one very beautiful laughter. One that could have made Emma drop the camera entirely if not careful. She told herself to snap out of it. And snap more pictures.

She focused the camera on the unicorn and took a few pictures of it. But then her attention was divided once again when Regina strolled over to one of the bushes to take a closer look at the flowers blooming on them. She leaned down and smelled one of the flowers on the bush, and Emma was hit by a flash of inspiration.

“Is there any chance I can take a picture of you?” she asked and lowered the camera once more.

“Haven’t you already taken plenty?” Regina asked a bit cheekily and laughed.

“True, I have,” Emma agreed and laughed too. “But I’d love to take a few more. Can I?”

“Sure,” Regina said lightly. “In front of this bush?”

“Yeah, it matches your dress. Almost. Say cheese!” Emma said as she raised the camera once more.

Regina flashed her a big smile and took not one but several pictures of her.

“This is award winning stuff,” the blonde quipped. In her time as photographer, she had taken pictures of many pretty things, but Regina for sure had to be the prettiest “thing”.

Regina chuckled again. “Don’t you think you have enough pictures of me already?”

“I like taking pictures of beautiful people and places,” Emma said boldly.

Regina snickered. “Is that so?” then she once again smiled for the camera.

“Perfect!” Emma said as she took another picture, then realized that her camera was running out of battery. “Damnit,” she mumbled. “Might have to switch to my phone instead.”

“And take pictures of something that isn’t me?” Regina slyly suggested as she pushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

“Just one more?” Emma asked sweetly as she switched the camera off, stuffed it back into the camera bag and then fished her phone out of her purse instead.

“Alright. One more,” Regina agreed. “But don’t forget the rest of the park.”

“I won’t. I swear,” Emma said with a snicker. “Say cheese.”

Regina posed for the camera once more. She smiled broadly and turned so she was in the classic sideway-pose with one hand on her hip.

“Damn,” Emma laughed and shook her head as she looked at the result.

“Can I see?” Regina asked as she came over to Emma.

“Of course,” Emma said and willingly turned the screen so Regina could see the picture.

“That IS a very good picture,” Regina smiled. “And even from my bad angle. You must be really talented!”

“Bad angle, my left foot,” Emma scoffed as she looked at the picture of Regina again. She doubted Regina had any bad angles. “Seriously, this is great! This should be on my profile.”

“Profile?” Regina asked.

“Instagram profile,” Emma clarified. “I have a personal page and one I use for business. SwansPhotography, the profile’s called.”

“I’ll have to follow that,” Regina said. “And especially if you’re going to upload that picture of me.”

“I have your consent?” Emma asked.

“Absolutely,” Regina said and flashed another smile. “It is a good picture.”

“Uploading as we speak,” Emma said and looked down at her phone once more. She didn’t have to use a filter. The colors were vibrant enough as it was. She just settled for writing a clever caption underneath the picture: ‘seeing the sights and photographing the exotic flowers”. Then she uploaded the picture and looked back at Regina. “Thank you for letting me take pictures of you,” the blonde said.

“Sure,” Regina said with a light shrug.

“And thank you for taking me here,” Emma added as she slipped the phone back in her purse. “I had no idea it was such a long drive.”

“It was not a problem at all,” Regina smiled. “As I said, I’m not dancing today.”

“Are you dancing tomorrow?” Emma asked, once again feeling bold.

“No, I’m not dancing tomorrow either,” Regina replied and brushed that lock of hair behind her ear once more. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I was wondering if I could invite you to have dinner with me at my hotel as a thank you,” Emma said. Now hopefully.

“Oh,” Regina said. She sounded slightly surprised, but then she smiled. “Sure. I’d like that very much.”

“Tomorrow night? Seven o’clock?” Emma asked just to confirm.

“That sounds perfect to me,” Regina said. “It’s very nice of you to invite me.”

“And it was very nice of you to drive me all the way here,” Emma retorted.

Regina laughed, and then Emma felt her phone vibrate in her purse. She quickly wiggled the device out of her purse and then checked what that vibrating sound had been about. It was a message from Ruby: ‘who is that mysterious, exotic beauty on your profile, Swan?!’

Emma grinned a bit as she looked back up at Regina. Who indeed?

 

To Be Continued..........

Chapter Text

“Come on, Em!” Ruby complained in the other end. “Who is she?!”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Emma teased lightly and snickered.

Ruby groaned. “Don’t be a prick, Swan! I’ve got some free time. I could buy a plane ticket to Madrid right now....”

“Granny would kill you if you did that.”

“Who. Is. She?”

“Granny?” Emma asked innocently.

“Oh my god,” Ruby said. “Stop teasing and gimme some answers, damnit! Who is the mysterious, Spanish beauty in your pictures?”

Emma laughed a bit. “She’s just someone who offered to be my guide, Rubes.”

“And does this guide have a name?” Ruby pressed.

“She does,” Emma confirmed, teasing her friend once more.

“And what might that be?” Ruby snipped, now sounding like her patience was wearing thin. “Do I have to guess? Is that it?”

“You could try,” Emma laughed.

“Isabella?” Ruby suggested.

“Nope.”

“Ana?”

“Nah.”

“Elena?”

“Not even close.”

“Maria? Martina?”

“No and no.”

“Amaya?”

“No.”

“Lucía?”

“Not that either.”

“Sofía? Carmen? Valentina? Daniella?”

“No,” Emma laughed. “Sorry to disappoint you, Rubes, but you are way off.”

“Okay, I’m definitely coming to Madrid,” Ruby threatened.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Emma laughed.

“Keep testing me and you’ll find out!”

Emma snickered. It was always so entertaining to tease Ruby. So, so very entertaining. In fact it was one of the things she found to be the most entertaining.

“Just tell me her fucking name!” Ruby screeched in the other end, and Emma had to move the phone away from her ear.

“Okay, okay,” the blonde surrendered. “Her name is Regina.”

“Regina,” Ruby repeated. “That doesn’t sound very Spanish.”

“Her mom is from the us,” Emma said automatically.

“You already know her family situation?” Ruby drawled.

“I do not,” Emma protested. “She just told me because I told her that she was good at English. That’s all.”

“How old is she?” Ruby prodded.

“I don’t know,” Emma said truthfully. “Twenty one? Twenty two?”

Ruby scoffed in the other end. “She doesn’t look like she’s a day over twenty one.”

Emma gave an unintelligible answer in return. Maybe Ruby was right. Maybe Regina wasn’t a day over twenty one.

“So? What does she do when she doesn’t act as a guide for lost blondes?” Ruby teased.

“She’s a flamenco dancer,” Emma told her friend.

“You’re shitting me,” Ruby laughed in the other end. “Is she really?”

“Mhmm, and she’s really good,” Emma replied. “I’ve seen her dance three times now.”

“Have you now?” Ruby snickered. “And do I detect some interest from you, Swan?”

“She’s nice,” Emma said and shrugged even though Ruby wasn’t here to see it.

“So, will there be more guided tours in the future?” Ruby asked, still chuckling.

“I’m actually supposed to meet her for dinner tomorrow night, and then she asked me to come and see her dance-“

“Wait a second,” Ruby interrupted. “Back up, Swan. You’re supposed to meet her for dinner tomorrow night? That’s a date. I hope you are aware of that.”

“It’s not a date,” Emma protested half-heartedly. “It’s just-“

“A date.” Ruby dully finished the sentence.

“It is not! It’s just my way of saying thank you to her for showing me around,” Emma defended.

“So you’re the one who invited her. Interesting.”

Emma groaned a bit.

“Look, I’m not judging you, honey,” Ruby said firmly. “Not even in the slightest. You deserve to have some fun. In every way you can. Whether it’s by eating all the delicious food, or hanging out with the local, and not to mention smoking hot flamenco dancer-“

“Ruby.” Emma said flatly.

“But I think you should know that Neal has seen the picture,” Ruby continued. “And he’s not overly thrilled about it...”

“Oh, boo-fucking-hoo!” Emma hissed. “Like I care about his state of mind!”

“I know you don’t, but anyway, the prick’s been texting me ever since he saw that picture. He’s been asking me questions about the girl in your picture none stop!”

“And what did you tell him?” Emma asked.

“To piss the hell off and leave me alone.”

“Good answer,” Emma chuckled. “I knew I could count on you. I’ve blocked his number.”

“Easy when you’re in Madrid. I have to see his stupid face on a regular basis,” Ruby groaned.

Emma laughed again, but then grew serious once more as she said: “did I tell you that he actually had the nerve to call me and try to explain his thing with Tamara was because everything had been about the wedding?!”

“Yeah, you told me that,” Ruby said. “I can’t believe that idiot!”

“No, neither can I,” Emma said darkly. “I mean, what is he expecting?!”

“I don’t know, but I do know what you can expect when you come home from Madrid,” Ruby said.

“Okay? And what’s that then?”

“He’ll try and win you back,” Ruby warned.

“He what now?”

“Yep, he told me so,” Ruby said and sounded completely disbelieving. “After seeing your picture on Instagram, he suddenly seemed to realize that he doesn’t want to loose you and all that shit.”

Emma literally snorted at that. “Wow. Thanks for the heads-up. He really is an asshole. I wish I could have realized it sooner. Could have saved me a lot of heartache.”

“You’re through with him now,” Ruby soothed.

“Mmm, could have done with out the cancelled wedding, though,” Emma half-joked. “I still don’t understand why he proposed to me if he never intended to go through with the wedding. I mean, he’s
probably been banging Tamara right from the get-go...”

“Don’t try to understand it, Ems,” Ruby said softly in the other end. “Once an asshole, always an asshole, right?”

“Right,” Emma agreed.

“Anyway, shouldn’t you be on your way to bed?” Ruby continued and then teased: “I wouldn’t want you to be tired for your date tomorrow night.”

“It’s not a date.”

“It totally is. Goodnight, Ems. Sleep well. Try not to dream about sexy flamenco dancers.”

“Oh, shut up,” Emma growled, and the last thing she heard before hanging up was Ruby cackling shamelessly.

Emma put the phone down and absorbed the conversation. So Neal had seen the picture of Regina. Emma would lie if she claimed that that didn’t make her feel gruesomely satisfied.

But what she wasn’t satisfied with, was the fact that it had caused Neal to suddenly “see the light” and realize that he wanted to win her back. Ha. Think again, asshole. Emma wasn’t the slightest interested in Neal’s pathetic attempts at winning her back. No way in hell Emma would waste another minute of her time with him. Now that the first shock over his betrayal had died down, Emma was very determined to move on as quickly as possible. She wasn’t interested in moping around and feeling sorry for herself. She was just interested in being happy. Neal could crawl right back to the hellhole he came from.

Emma stepped out on the balcony and breathed in the balmy air. She’d had the most amazing day today. It had been incredible, walking around in that beautiful garden. She had gotten some amazing pictures out of it. And she had spent time with Regina. Who was as delightful off stage as she was on it. She had been a complete breath of fresh air, and Emma had felt like a very weak woman every time Regina had smiled....

And now as Emma was standing here on the balcony, she caught herself wondering how old Regina was. Maybe Ruby was right. Maybe Regina wasn’t “a day over twenty one”. Emma sighed. She should be going to bed instead of thinking about Regina. If she wasn’t careful, there was a chance she indeed would end up dreaming about sexy flamenco dancers...

Emma left the balcony again and went inside her room. She left the door to the balcony wide open, hoping to get at least a little bit of fresh air inside the room. God, it was so warm tonight! And according to Lucía (who seemingly knew everything), tomorrow was gonna be just as hot. Coming home to Storybrooke was gonna feel like coming back to a deep freezer or something like that. Emma chuckled a bit as she slipped into bed. She hoped that it wouldn’t be too warm to sleep tonight. She actually wanted to be well rested tomorrow. She wasn’t planning anything overly strenuous, maybe she would check out the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. She had been up and about and done lots of exploring the past few days. Tomorrow was gonna be a slow day with drinks by the swimming pool. She had deserved that.

Emma yawned loudly and curled up under the thin covers. She didn’t even try to scold herself when the image of Regina dancing popped into her mind......

 

 

She woke up the next morning to beaming sunshine and the sounds of birds chirping. Lucía the oracle had been right. Today was gonna be another beautiful day. Emma felt every bit well-rested and refreshed as she stretched and then elegantly climbed out of bed. She couldn’t wait to start the day. She couldn’t wait to have churros dipped in chocolate for breakfast, and most of all she couldn’t wait to see Regina later tonight. Who knows, maybe Emma would get the chance to take a few more pictures of Regina. As a photographer, Emma had never been able to resist a beautiful motive, and Regina was most DEFINITELY a beautiful motive. Hell, she was the DEFINITON of a beautiful motive. Emma’s belly fluttered just a tiny bit as she thought about the beautiful young woman.

She shook her head ever so slightly as she headed inside the bathroom and brushed her teeth. She then slipped her long t-shirt and underwear off and stepped inside the shower. She made sure that the water wasn’t too warm as she quickly but thoroughly washed her hair and soaped herself in. As she stood in the shower, she thought to herself that it actually was a bit of a shame that she only had used the ridiculously large tub once. She would have to remember to use it frequently now that she had the opportunity to do so. Everything else would be a damn shame. After a few more minutes of soaking, she switched the water off and wrapped one of the ridiculously large, fluffy white towels around her body. The large towels were another good thing about staying in the honeymoon suite. Emma continuously reminded herself about the many perks when she felt particularly annoyed about it. She had asked Lucía last night if it was possible for her to change to another room, but it wasn’t. Every other room were occupied. And so Emma would have to live with finding rose petals in her room once in a while.

She quickly toweled herself off, walked back to the bedroom and grabbed her clothes. Today’s choice was a pair of blue shorts and a grey tanktop, and of course her bikini underneath. She had every intention of spending the day relaxing by the pool outside and work on her tan. Maybe finish her book. Order a drink or two. She could change into something nicer later. She had no intention of wearing shorts and tanktop for her meeting with Regina. No, she was going to wear one of the dresses she had brought with her.

Once she had put on her bikini and clothes, she went back inside the bathroom and put on just a little bit of makeup. Then she brushed her hair and tied it back into a low ponytail. Now she was ready to head downstairs and have breakfast. Now she was ready to try her best to make time pass quickly.

Emma sighed just a tiny bit as she left her hotel room. It would appear that tonight couldn’t come soon enough. It would appear that she was most definitely was thinking too much about sexy flamenco dancers.

 

Downstairs at the reception, Lucía greeted her with the usual: “¡Buenos días, señora Cassidy!

“Señorita Swan,” Emma gently corrected, exactly like she had corrected it yesterday afternoon when she came back to the hotel. She had finally decided that she couldn’t bear the thought of being “señora
Cassidy” another minute. Her time with Neal was officially over, and there was no reason why she should be called by his last name and not her own.

“Oh sí, me disculpo, señorita Swan,” Lucía said a bit sheepishly, and Emma saw a hint of pity in her eyes.

Emma chose not to comment on it, but she knew her status from “señora Cassidy” had been updated to Scorned Woman. After all, she was staying in the honeymoon suite alone and had requested to not be called “señora Cassidy”. Of course Lucía had put two and two together.

Emma didn’t care. She didn’t care that she was a “scorned woman”. Right now she was a hungry scorned woman. That was about the only thing that mattered, so the blonde simply flashed Lucía a smile and then requested to have her breakfast served outside. Lucía promised that she would be right there.

Emma went outside in the glorious sunshine and found a table where she wasn’t sitting in the shade. She hadn’t put on sunscreen this morning, but she was willing to risk it right now. The weather was too good to sit in the shade. And she could put on sunscreen later. She would bring the sunscreen with her when she went down to the pool. She tipped her head back slightly and smiled. She couldn’t wait to spend her day relaxing and just laying around by the pool and doing nothing. It was gonna be a good day. And tonight was gonna be a good night. Emma’s stomach did a slight flipflop as she thought of her plans for tonight, and she caught herself wondering what Regina was doing today. What other hobbies did she have besides dancing? She hadn’t really told Emma that. She hadn’t really told
Emma much, to be completely honest. Just a bit about her parents and that dancing was her life. That was it. Emma made a mental note to herself about finding out more about Regina tonight.

Emma leaned back on her chair and scratched her arm lightly. Maybe she should have put on sunscreen anyway.

Her musings were interrupted when Lucía came outside with a tray full of delicious breakfast and coffee. And orange juice. Emma smiled at her and thanked her profusely, although her smile faltered just a teeny tiny bit when Lucía once again called her “Señora Cassidy”. They would have to work on that. Later. For now, Emma settled for digging into her breakfast. She was far, far too hungry to really think about names and what they meant. She stuffed another churro into her mouth. What a way to start her morning. Today was gonna be a good day.....

 

 

That night, Emma was hauling her blue dress out of her suitcase. The blue color looked very nice with her blonde hair, and Emma silently thanked herself for having been present enough to remember to bring this dress. She quickly traded her bathrobe for a fresh set of underwear and the blue dress. Then she tugged a lock of hair in front of her nose and inhaled deeply to insure that her hair was not smelling of chlorine. She had just taken another shower and spent an ungodly amount of time on washing her hair, but she still wanted to be sure. And thankfully, her hair only smelled of vanilla shampoo and absolutely nothing else. Good.

Emma scrunched up her hair a bit, frantically making sure that the curls she’d spent so long time on styling were still sitting in place. And they were. Excellent.

Her stomach growled loudly, and Emma chuckled slightly. It was true, swimming really did tend to make you hungry. Emma had spent most of her day in the pool and by the pool. She had switched between “The Shining”, and when the things happening in the book got too gruesome, she had left her little spot and dived head first into the water. Which had been very refreshing in the hot weather. It had been nice not doing anything today. Her feet and legs had been hurting quite a bit after all that walking she had been doing, but it seemed as though the ache had lessened because she had been nice to herself and relaxed today. Maybe her feet would be back in shipshape tomorrow. No, they HAD to be back in shipshape for tomorrow. Emma was going to El Rasto tomorrow. The biggest fleamarket in all of Madrid. She had been looking forward to that, and so she hoped that her feet wouldn’t end up betraying her. And now she really had to stop dawdling. Yes, Regina had been ten minutes late yesterday, but that wasn’t an indicator that she would be tonight as well. Emma scrunched up her hair one last time and then realized that her mascara was in fact clumping. “Damnit!” she cursed as she rushed into the bathroom to take care of the problem. She really couldn’t go downstairs with clumpy mascara. That would be disasterous.

But going into the bathroom proved to be dangerous. Meaning that while she was in there, Emma discovered that her curls in fact wasn’t as excellent as they could have been. They were more a frizzy mess than curls, really. Out came the curling iron and steely determination. And the curses. Had Emma’s mom been here, she would have been appalled at the colorful language Emma was demonstrating as she forced her hair around the curling tong. Up until now, she’d had everything under control, but of course her hair had to betray her at the very last minute. Maybe she had spent a little too much time in the chlorine water. She should have known better.

After a few more minutes of forcing her curls to obey, and a few more well chosen curse words, Emma was finally ready to head downstairs. She switched the curling ton off and rushed out of her room, praying that Regina was in fact ten minutes late.

 

She wasn’t. She was sitting in the plushy chair in reception when Emma came down the stairs. The blonde immediately noted how good she looked in that ruffle-y white top and blue denim miniskirt.

Miniskirt. Emma felt how she for a split second was distracted by Regina’s gloriously, smooth, long, golden legs, and she immediately forced herself to look up again. Regina’s hair was once again hanging loose and curly down her back, and for a second Emma’s only thought was how good Regina looked, but then she noticed two things at once. She could hear the very faint sound of a voice shouting, and she could see that Regina was holding her phone up to her ear. Emma quickly connected the two things and deduced that Regina was listening to a message on her phone. A message in which someone was shouting in Spanish. From what Emma could hear, it was given that it was a female voice. And even though the blonde couldn’t understand what was being said, she knew it couldn’t be good. Regina didn’t look one bit happy. In fact she looked pretty sad. After a moment she moved her phone away from her ear and sighed gravely. “Dios mio,” she muttered and rubbed a hand over her face. Then she shook her head. “maldita sea! ¡Mierda! ”

Emma felt beyond curious and the question about what the heck this was about, was almost burning on her tongue as she walked the last few steps and then lightly said: “Hey.”

Regina’s facial expression changed faster than a traffic light. Her face immediately lit up in the brightest of smiles as she rose from the plushy chair and slipped the phone back into her purse. “Hola!”

“Hola,” Emma parroted and returned the smile, but she was still dying of curiosity. Who had left the message Regina was listening to, and what exactly did her exclamations mean? Emma wanted to know. Badly. But she couldn’t just ask about it. So instead she said: “are you ready to have some food?”

Regina nodded, looked at Emma and smiled a little as she said: “bonita.”

“Huh?”

“Pretty,” Regina translated with a little smile.

“Oh,” Emma said. She wasn’t aware whether Regina was complimenting her dress or just her in general, and she actually didn’t care. She would take the compliment anyway. “Thank you. You look very bonita too.”

Regina chuckled a bit. “Thank you.”

They headed inside the rather crowded hotel restaurant where several members of the staff were moving around, assisting the dining guests. Emma saw several waiters she had seen before. She could even remember some of their names. There was Luis, serving food for an elderly lady in the corner, and there by the window table was Santiago busy taking a couple’s order.

And of course the ever present Lucía was here as well. She flashed Emma a beaming smile and said: “buenas noches, señora Cassidy! Table for two?”

Before Emma could even answer, Regina stepped backwards some and sounded every bit guarded as she echoed: “señora Cassidy?”

“No,” Emma said firmly and shook her head. “I’m not señora Cassidy. At all.”

“But nevertheless that’s what the waitress just called you,” Regina said and took another step backwards. “You told me your surname was Swan.”

“It is,” Emma said and felt tempted to reach out and touch Regina’s arm. She very much looked like someone who could take off at any moment.

Regina didn’t look one bit convinced.

“Why don’t we sit down?” Emma suggested. “It’s a bit of a story.”

“Okay,” Regina said, still looking every bit cautious as she followed Emma to a table in the corner. Once they were both seated Emma said:

“This is actually my honeymoon.”

She had hoped that the joking approach would make it a bit easier to talk about, but the humor in her voice was completely lost on Regina. The young brunette rolled her eyes. “Dios mio. Then I really
don’t understand what I am doing here.” Her eyes flickered towards the door again.

“I mean, it was supposed to be my honeymoon,” Emma hastily corrected. “I’m... I’m here alone. My fiancé turned out to be a massive asshole. He dumped me on the day before our wedding. Apparently, shagging our wedding planner was more important.” She hadn’t actually meant to blurt that last part out, but her bitterness against Tamara won for a moment.

“Dios mio,” Regina said again. “I’m... I’m very sorry about that.”

“Yeah, so was I,” Emma said, once again trying to joke. “In fact I was so pissed I chose to go on my honeymoon alone and turn it into a holiday dedicated to me and me alone.”

“Good for you,” Regina said. She didn’t look like she wanted to take off, but Emma couldn’t help but notice that she still looked a bit uncomfortable.

“Yeah, so right now I’m basically just trying to find my feet again,” Emma said.

“Me, too,” Regina said spontaniously, and then her phone began chiming insistently somewhere in her pocket. She scowled a bit as she whipped the device out of her pocket and glanced briefly at the screen. “I’m sorry about that. I’ll mute it.”

“You can answer it if it’s something important,” Emma said.

Regina shook her head. “Believe me, it’s not.”

Emma pretended to be studying the menu in front of her, but she was actually wondering about who it was that was calling Regina. Could it be the same shouty woman that had left a message on her voicemail? And could that shouty voice by any chance belong to that Marian woman who so viciously had slapped Regina? Emma was still wondering what that had been about.

“El Rasto tomorrow, was it?” Regina asked, interrupting Emma’s musings.

“Yep,” Emma confirmed and smile. “And I’m pretty exicted about that! My friend’s been telling me that it’s a pretty big deal.”

“And your friend is absolutely right about that,” Regina said. “El Rasto is a very big deal.”

“I’ll have to make sure I see all of it then,” Emma said firmly.

Regina tilted her head slightly. “Do you need a guide?”

Exactly the question Emma had been hoping for. She didn’t even try and suffocate her smile as she said: “no dancing tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow night,” Regina said. “So that gives us plenty of time.”

“Are you sure? It won’t be too much for you?”

“No,” Regina said. “Not at all. I would be happy to go to El Rasto with you, Emma.”

Fucking hell, the way she said the blonde’s name. Em-ma. Said woman wetted her lips slightly as she looked at Regina and the way she tugged her hair behind her ear as she looked at her own menu. “Can I take another picture of you?” Emma blurted.

Regina seemed quite surprised as she looked up once more. “You don’t have your camera here.”

“No, but I have my phone. And that’s almost the same.”

“I don’t think it is,” Regina laughed.

“Okay, maybe you’re right. Maybe it isn’t,” Emma agreed. “But I really want to take a picture of you.”

“On one condition,” Regina said and her dark eyes gleamed teasingly.

“Name it,” Emma shot back.

“That you’ll come and see me dance tomorrow night at Casa Patas,” Regina said.

“Are you gonna dance around my table again?” Emma asked innocently.

Regina sounded less innocent when she asked: “do you want me to?”

And Emma didn’t bother to hide the truth. “Yes, I do. That does give me the best opportunity to photograph you.” They both snickered because they knew that that was only half of the reason, and now
Emma remembered what their original discussion had been about. Whether she could take a picture of Regina or not. The blonde smirked a bit as she reached within her own purse and found her phone.

“Say cheese,” she joked as she held the phone up.

Regina flashed the camera a big, beautiful smile and her dark eyes sparkled.

And as Emma snapped one picture and then another, she realized that she was in trouble. As in big time. Because she was undoubtedly on the brink of getting a little bit smitten with Regina. Regina who wasn’t “a day over twenty one”. Regina who happened to be a flamenco dancer.

Emma nearly scoffed. She doubted she could be a bigger cliché even if she tried. This holiday would definitely get her in trouble. She just knew it would.

“¿Todo bien?” Regina asked and leaned forward slightly on her chair.

“Todo bien,” Emma confirmed. She happened to know what that meant.

“Good,” Regina smiled.

Emma returned the smile and decided it was time to small talk. “How long have you been dancing for?”

“Since I was a little girl,” Regina answered.

“And who taught you?”

“My father picked up on how much I liked to move my body, and so he send me off to flamenco lessons. Despite my mother’s wishes. I think she would have preferred if I took up ballet or something like that.”

“She doesn’t like that you are a flamenco dancer?” Emma guessed.

“No, she doesn’t. She’s very displeased that that’s what I want to do with my life. I’m not exactly her favorite person,” Regina said with feigned lightness.

“Oh. I’m sorry about that.”

“It is what it is,” Regina said with a light shrug. “She doesn’t understand my life, and I don’t understand hers.”

Emma was about to ask something more when Lucía came over and interrupted by asking what they wanted to eat for dinner. Both Emma and Regina quickly ordered their food and drinks, and it didn’t take long before Lucía had reappeared with their drinks. Wine for Emma and water for Regina. She was driving home.

“Salud,” Emma said as soon as Lucía had left their table once more.

“Salud,” Regina smiled and clinked her glass lightly with Emma’s. “Thank you for inviting me for dinner.”

“Well, however else could I say thank you for being my guide?” Emma laughed.

“It was my pleasure,” Regina insisted.

“And it’s my pleasure to say thank you by inviting you over for dinner,” Emma stated plainly.

“Well, this is certainly a nice change from sitting in my apartment and moping,” Regina said and took a sip of her water.

Emma copied that action but silently wondered what Regina was moping about. Had it just been random choice of words, or was she actually moping about something specific? Emma couldn’t figure it out. And she wasn’t sure she should try either. It was up to Regina to decide how much she wanted to tell Emma.

And so Emma settled for just flashing Regina another smile.

Regina returned the smile tenfold, her dark eyes twinkled slightly in the light from the candles on the table, and Emma just silently acknowledged the fact that she was royally screwed. It was official. She couldn’t become a bigger cliché. This felt like a fucking farce, but there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. She couldn’t help it. How could she not get at least a little bit smitten with Regina when she was sitting there and smiling like that?

Emma was beyond help, really.

 

 

To Be Continued........

Chapter Text

Everything Ruby had said about El Rastro turned out to be a gross understatement. This place was huge. Enormous. The biggest flea market Emma had ever seen. And boy, was the place crowded! It was literally crawling with people, and for a second, Emma felt completely overwhelmed as she looked around. How was she supposed to locate Regina in this crowd?

Emma began to make her way through the crowd. She was looking more for Regina than looking at all the different stalls. She could do that once she had found Regina. They had agreed to meet here, but now Emma wished that they had decided on something a bit more specific than “here”. Now she wasn’t completely aware of where “here” was exactly. There were so many people here. She could easily walk past Regina without noticing. There was plenty of brunette girls with golden skin here. Emma huffed a bit as she elegantly avoided colliding with a couple who were standing right in front of her and just chatting away.

She wasn’t quite as lucky when a kid ran straight towards her and barreled into her knees. “Perdóneme,” she said a bit stiffly. She was already sweating in her thin purple sundress. She could feel the sweat gathering at the nape of her neck and felt relieved that she at least had remembered to put her hair up in a high ponytail. Everything else would have been pretty unbearable. To be perfectly honest, she was starting to have second thoughts about this. This place was warm, crowded and Emma felt awfully paranoid about pickpockets. Before leaving, she had spoken to her mother, and Mary Margaret had spent quite a while on warning Emma about pickpockets. Until David had shouted in the other end that Mary Margaret should stop making Emma paranoid.

The warning had come too late. Emma felt a hundredth percent paranoid as she walked through the crowd and kept one hand firmly planted on her bag. Maybe it looked ridiculous, but she didn’t care. She would rather look ridiculous than risk being robbed.

And where was Regina? Emma already felt as though she had been walking around for a couple of thousand years on this marketplace. She reached within her bag and found her sunglasses, slipped them on and then looked around in the marketplace with “fresh eyes”. But she still couldn’t spot Regina anywhere. Yeah, they definitely should have decided on a more specific place. Or she should have been smart enough to get Regina’s number, so she had been able to text Regina and let her know where she was. Or maybe she should just have gotten Regina’s number in general.

Emma yelped when she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder, and she was already mentally shouting police! Police! Police! as she turned around. And discovered that there was absolutely no reason to send for the police.

Regina was standing right behind her and smiling. “Hola. I’m sorry I scared you.”

“I thought you were a pickpocket,” Emma said and grinned a bit.

“Not today,” Regina joked and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. She looked very nice in her orange halter neck dress. She had matching flowers in her long dark hair, and Emma’s fingers were practically itching to take a picture of Regina. But they had barely said hello. Emma couldn’t very well ask to snap pictures right away. That would be weird.

“This place is... bigger than I thought,” Emma said as she looked around.

“Yes, El Rastro is an absolute madhouse,” Regina said and chuckled lightly. “Shall we go and see what it’s all about?”

“Let’s do it,” Emma said with a smile.

Regina lead the way as they walked around and checked out the different stalls. Emma had never seen so many different antiques in the same place, and she stopped at one of the stalls and bought a vase for her mother. Emma had a feeling that she would love it. Then she stopped at another stall and bought an absolute horrible t-shirt for her father. One that was so tacky he would love it, and so horrible, Mary Margaret would despair when she saw it. Emma chuckled a bit as she paid for the t-shirt.

“I don’t think that color would be all that great on you,” Regina snickered.

“Really?” Emma said, feigning hurt. “I thought it would look smashing on me!”

Regina didn’t look entirely convinced, and Emma laughed. “It’s this joke me and my dad have. Who can find the ugliest t-shirt. The loser has to buy the winner coffee. I think I might be winning this round.”

Regina laughed, and the sound momentarily made Emma completely forget about ugly t-shirts. Jesus, she had a pretty laughter. No, a gorgeous one. Smooth and raspy, and for some reason, Emma was coming to think of chocolate. Dark chocolate. Damnit. Emma silently cursed herself for being so goddamn weak all the time.

“Nice,” Regina said as she inspected a particular horrible t-shirt that was laying on display. It had this really ugly print of a smiling bull in the front. Regina chuckled lightly. “Maybe I should buy one for my dad. I’m sure that would make him laugh.”

“Does he need a laugh?” Emma asked without thinking much about it.

“He’s in the middle of being divorced from my mother, yes, I’d say he could do with a few laughs,” Regina said as she grabbed one of the t-shirts and paid for it.

“Oh. I’m sorry,” Emma said.

“Don’t be. Trust me, the divorce from my mother is a good thing,” Regina said and flashed the seller a smile. “A very good thing.”

There was clearly no lost love between Regina and her mother, Emma noted. Her voice sounded distant and frank when she spoke of her mother, but warm and gentle when she spoke of her dad. And
Emma had also noted that Regina strictly used the term “mother” for her mom, and “dad” for her father. That was all very telltale and gave a pretty good idea about how things were between Regina and her mother. Emma remembered what Regina had said last night. ‘I’m not exactly her favorite person’ and ‘she doesn’t understand my life, and I don’t understand hers’. Emma wondered what that was about. She wondered why Regina had such a troublesome relationship with her mother.

They continued their little stroll between the different stalls and chitchatted about everything and nothing. Regina asked what Emma’s plans for tomorrow was, and Emma truthfully answered that she didn’t have any plans. So far, she’d had a pretty packed program, and this holiday was supposed to be relaxing, so tomorrow she would do absolutely nothing. Except for maybe spending some time by the pool with a colorful drink.

“That sounds like a good plan,” Regina said as she rummaged through her bag.

“Yeah. What about you? Are you dancing tomorrow?” Emma asked. She could easily imagine herself heading out and seeing Regina dance tomorrow night. For some reason, seeing Regina dance flamenco was quickly becoming one of her favorite things to do.

“No, not tomorrow. But I do have a shift in a bar,” Regina replied and muttered something in Spanish as she seemingly couldn’t find what she was looking for in her bag.

“You work in a bar too?” Emma asked curiously.

“Si. Dancing doesn’t really give much money. I have to make money somehow until I’m discovered by a flamenco talent scout,” the young woman joked and then muttered exasperated: “Maldición. ¿Por qué siempre olvido mis cigarrillos?” she withdrew her hand from her bag and as she did so, some kind of brochure fell out and landed on the ground.

Emma was quick to take the opportunity to be a “gentleman”, and she quickly crouched down and snatched the brochure before anyone could step on it. As she handed it to Regina, she saw the words
“Universidad Autónoma de Madrid” written across the front of the brochure.

“Gracias,” Regina said and smiled slightly as their fingertips briefly brushed together as Emma gave her the brochure. Regina stuffed the brochure back into her bag while muttering something about her “cigarrillos” and complaining that she seemingly had forgotten them somewhere.

“University, huh?” Emma said and tried to sound casual.

“Mhmm. The brochure had magically appeared in my bag after I saw my mother yesterday. Her passive aggressive way of giving me a nudge, I suppose. She doesn’t seem to understand that I have plenty of time to enroll in university if that’s what I want.”

“How old are you?” Emma asked curiously and a bit spontaneously. She had long given Regina’s exact age some thought, and now seemed like the perfect moment to find out.

“Nineteen,” Regina replied as she walked over to one of the many stalls to take a closer look at the antiques being sold.

Emma followed her, but she wasn’t paying much attention to the antiques. Instead she thought about what Regina had just said. Nineteen. She was nineteen. Not twenty two. Not twenty one. Not even twenty. She was nineteen. Only nineteen. Suddenly, twenty eight year old Emma felt ridiculously mature and “adult”. Which was pretty bizarre because Emma had always claimed to be the most immature twenty eight year old. And that was what both Ruby and Belle had teased her about. That she stayed eighteen years old no matter how old she got. But now Emma felt incredibly old. And particularly pathetic. She was smitten with a nineteen year old young woman.

“Nineteen,” she tightly repeated and struggled to figure out how to feel about that.

Regina’s head snapped up and her dark eyes narrowed at Emma’s tone. “Twenty in a week,” she said a bit defiantly.

“Oh,” Emma said, voice still tight, and still struggling to come to terms with Regina’s age. Was Emma completely insane? Was this creepy? Was she creepy? Was she creepy for being smitten with a nineteen year old?

Regina was still looking at her. And now she looked pretty sad. “Does this mean you won’t come and see me dance tonight anyway?”

Emma actually hadn’t thought about that. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out.

“It’s okay,” Regina said and failed miserably at looking nonchalant as she turned her attention back to the antiques in the stall. “I get it.”

Oh, hell no. She looked so sad it almost broke Emma’s heart right then and there. “Of course I’ll come and see you dance tonight,” the blonde said.

Regina’s head whipped up at that. “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” Emma confirmed with a smile.

Regina returned the smile, and Emma could feel how her knees buckled dangerously at that. Regina had the prettiest smile ever, and Emma was a damn fool for getting affected by it.

Emma walked over to the stall where Regina was standing, and forced her knees to cooperate instead of buckling, damnit!

“I’m sorry I’m nineteen,” Regina said and now her smile grew a bit more sheepish.

“I don’t think that’s something you can actually be blamed for,” Emma said and chuckled.

Regina chuckled too as she studied the antiques once more, and Emma bit the inside of her cheek as she looked at the young brunette. The ridiculously beautiful young brunette. The nineteen year old brunette. Hell, Regina wasn’t even old enough to drink in the us. God, why did she have to be just nineteen? Emma couldn’t deny that she was ridiculously attractive to Regina, but....

“Are you hungry?” Regina asked.

“Huh?” Emma asked, a little taken aback by the sudden question.

“Do you want tapas?” Regina asked slowly. “I’m getting pretty hungry myself, so I was thinking...”

“Oh,” Emma said and nodded. “Yeah, that sounds good. I had an early breakfast.”

“Let’s go and find some food then,” Regina smiled and lead the way and they steered towards the food halls.

But unfortunately, they ran straight into a wall of people. Emma was separated from Regina and stretched her neck in an attempt to spot a brunette in an orange dress. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

But it was. Emma tried not to curse as she once again found herself elbowing her way through the crowd. God damnit. Did she seriously just manage to loose Regina in the crowd? Or was it in fact Emma who had gotten lost? Either way, she was suddenly reminded of that time when she was seven years old and had gotten lost in a department store. Her mom had freaked out for the whole of ten minutes Emma had been lost, and she had later told Emma that it had been the “ten scariest minutes in her life”. Emma had laughed at the time, but now she was feeling less than chuffed. Getting lost in a department store was one thing, but getting lost on a Spanish market place was something entirely different.

But then a hand found hers, and Emma immediately felt not quite so lost. Hell, her breath almost hitched when she felt Regina’s hand in her own.

“Don’t get lost, I have no idea how I would find you again,” Regina said with a soft chuckle.

“It’s pretty easy to get lost here,” Emma observed. Seriously, there were so many people here.

“Quite so,” Regina said and hastily released Emma’s hand as she continued: “the food hall’s that way.”

“Right,” Emma nodded, once again following Regina. This time in the right direction. She had accidentally been let astray when that wall of people had surrounded her. And now she felt an odd twinge of disappointment. Holding Regina’s hand had been nice. Why couldn’t they just....

Because she’s nineteen. Emma squared her shoulders and clenched her jaw firmly. She really couldn’t have a silly “schoolboy” crush on a nineteen year old, could she? Grow up, Swan, she firmly told herself. She really couldn’t do this. She could literally hear Ruby’s reaction if Emma told that Regina was nineteen. Cradle robber. Cougar. Sugar mama. Emma sighed. Of course the woman she was interested in had to be nineteen years old. That was what she got for becoming interested in someone while she was on her honeymoon. Fucking hell.

They reached one of the many food halls, and Regina insisted on paying for their tapas.

Emma opened her mouth to protest. “That doesn’t seem fair. You’ve been acting as my guide all day-“

“And you bought me dinner last night,” Regina sweetly pointed out. “I think this is more than fair.”

Emma shut up then and settled for listening as Regina ordered tapas for them. Then she turned back towards Emma and asked: “what do you want to drink? Wine?”

“Water’s fine,” Emma said.

“Water it is then,” Regina confirmed, and then they found an empty table where they sat down. Regina once again searched her bag and then scowled slightly once more when her search after her cigarettes didn’t pay off this time either.

Emma drummed her fingers lightly against the wooden surface of the table and then glanced at Regina. Now she was pushing a lock of dark hair behind her ear, and fuck she looked so attractive!

“Do you ever get nervous before dancing?” the blonde asked spontaneously.

“That depends on who I’m dancing for,” Regina said a bit drawlingly and grinned.

Emma immediately felt lightheaded. Regina was most definitely flirting with her. Emma felt so tempted to flirt back. So, so tempted, but she forced herself to just smile back instead. She wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to flirt with Regina.

One thing she was sure of, though. She really, really liked spending time with Regina. After a little while, their plate of tapas arrived along with their water, and Emma lifted her glass and clinked it with Regina.

The smile Regina flashed her was positively beaming, and Emma had to swallow something....

 

 

 

That same night found Emma back in her honeymoon suite where she was rummaging through her clothes. She had already showered and done her hair. All she needed to do, was pick an outfit for tonight. She wobbled between a black miniskirt paired with a red top, and a strapless red leather dress she hadn’t had the chance to wear yet during this vacation.

And it didn’t take her long to decide on the leather dress. She knew she looked good in it, and she really wanted to-

Emma stopped with the dress partially pulled up to her chest. She wanted to what, exactly? Impress Regina? Was that wise? She kept telling herself to be sensible, damnit, but at the same time she couldn’t deny how she felt when Regina looked at her. All warm and giddy. Emma pursed her lips as she pulled the dress all the way up and zipped it in the side. She couldn’t deny that she was ridiculously attracted to Regina, and she didn’t for a moment doubt that Regina felt the same. Her flirting earlier today told Emma that.

That was when her phone began ringing. Absentmindedly, Emma picked it up and said: “hello?”

“Hey, Ems.”

Oh, hell no. Something inside Emma threatened to snap completely when she heard Neal’s voice. That bastard had actually gone out of his way to contact her. “The hell do you want?!” she snapped.

“I just wanted to-“

“Nope,” Emma interrupted sternly. “You do not. You don’t to get to “just” anything, Neal! You dumped me on the day before our wedding. You cheated on me with Tamara. The woman I left in charge of planning our wedding. I don’t have anything to say to you, you asshole!”

“Emma, please I-“

“Don’t call me again. Go back to banging Tamara or whatever the hell it is you’re doing these days!”

“I’m not-“

Emma successfully cut his nonsense short by hanging up on him. Then she blocked his number, took a deep and steading breath and then stomped over to her suitcase to find the high heels she was planning on wearing tonight. She was practically fuming with anger as she slipped the shoes on. Fucking Neal. Fucking Neal and his fucking excuses. He had always been so damn good at giving excuses. Always hiding behind some lame excuse. Or his rich ass father that seemed to think money solved everything.

Emma grabbed her purse from the bedside table and then left out of the hotel room. If there was anything she needed right now, it was a drink. And seeing Regina dance.....

 

 

Emma ended up taking a walk to fully recover from that unpleasant evening surprise Neal had provided her with, and once she had finished her little walk, she ended up getting a bit lost. Again. The GPS in her phone clearly wasn’t very reliable, but eventually, she found the right bar and by the time she stepped inside, the crowd was already cheering: “la Reina! La Reina!”

The place was completely crowded, and Emma wasn’t sure how she even managed to find a table. That was obviously good, her feet were a little sore from having walked around at the flea market for most of the morning, but to her dismay, she wasn’t sitting anywhere near the stage. She had to stretch her neck in order to see anything, and she immediately regretted the walk she had taken. She should have come straight here instead. If she had done that, she wouldn’t have ended up sitting where there was such a crappy view. How was Regina supposed to know that she was here if she couldn’t even see her? Damn it.

The bartender appeared out of nowhere, and Emma felt a bit “adventurous” tonight, so she ended up ordering a drink called “Horchata”. She hadn’t tasted that before and she was looking forward to it.

But not as much as she was looking forward to seeing Regina dance. After a surprisingly short wait, the bartender once again appeared with her drink. Emma took a sip of it and “mm’ed!” quietly in appreciation. It actually tasted very good. She would definitely order this drink again before her holiday was over.

She had barely managed to take another two sips before the lights were dimmed in the bar and the spotlight was switched on. Everyone started cheering once again, shouting for la Reina. Emma optimistically found her camera and switched it on. She wasn’t holding up much hope for the possibility of taking pictures tonight, she was sitting too damn far away from the stage, the camera thing had more been a force of habit thing, really.

Everyone began applauding and Emma kept her neck firmly stretched like she was some sort of giraffe as Regina walked on stage. Her hair was still hanging loose and curly down her back, but the orange flowers in her hair had been traded for deep red ones as her orange halter neck dress had been traded for a deep red flamenco dress with a dramatic, ruffled skirt, and her makeup had been intensified for tonight’s show. She was wearing a black shawl over her dress tonight, and Emma was immediately wondering why that was. What sort of plans did she have with that shawl?

Regina greeted her audience with a smile, then scanned the bar, and honest to god, Emma was sure she saw a look of sheer disappointment on Regina’s beautiful face. Emma desperately wished that it had been appropriate for her to stick a hand in the air or something like that. She hated the fact that Regina thought she wasn’t here tonight.

Regina put on a smile for her audience again and then she began stomping her feet in that telltale manner. Emma felt the excitement prickle on her skin. If only she was sitting closer. If only it was sociable acceptable for her to stand up or something like that. But she couldn’t very well do that. Instead she had to sit with her neck firmly stretched and watch as Regina enticed the entire bar. She twirled around, slowly and seductively, moved her hips in a way that was absolutely sinful. Emma’s mouth felt dry. She only faintly registered that the men began playing guitar. All she could do was sit spellbound as Regina spun around once more, making her skirt stand out around her. Then she took off the thin, black shawl and Emma could have fainted on the spot. The bodice on Regina’s flamenco dress was lowcut to say the least. Emma discreetly crossed her legs under the table. Man, it was hard to not let her gaze settle on Regina’s chest. She could almost feel the muscles in her eyes tremble with effort. She sucked in a breath as she turned her attention towards Regina’s high heeled flamenco shoes instead. Her feet stomped and stomped, and she played around with the shawl. Now Emma was watching her hands rather than her feet. Regina had incredibly beautiful hands. Emma had held one of those hands in her own today. The memory made her heart beat a little faster.

Regina glided her fingers over the shawl in an almost caressing manner and then she tossed it away. A man sitting close to the stage caught it, and he looked as though he had just received a most precious gift. Emma couldn’t blame her. She could easily understand why he looked so utterly dazed.

Regina gracefully lifted her arms, so her fingertips were pointing towards the ceiling. Then she arched her back and tipped her head backwards. How the hell she managed to do that while she was still stomping her feet in that perfect rhythm was a bit of a mystery to Emma, but she just as quickly abandoned thinking about it. She couldn’t think about anything besides the way Regina was moving right now. God, she was gorgeous. Emma noted that the young brunette had closed her eyes, and for some reason that only made the impact bigger. Emma had to uncross and cross her legs once more, and she silently cursed her body and the way it was betraying her right now. It really wasn’t fair. Why was it that she had been capable of being all chivalrous earlier but not now? Emma gnashed her teeth slightly and had to draw in a breath when Regina began clapping her hands. Emma’s own hands felt sweaty. Clammy. Emma growled quietly. What the hell was wrong with her? Why was she suddenly acting like a horny teenager? The blonde took a deep gulp of her drink and coughed when it trickled down the wrong tube.

Regina was still clapping while stomping her feet, and when she was sure that everyone was clapping along, she left the clapping to the audience and picked up her skirt instead and began swishing it around as she danced. Her eyes weren’t closed anymore. Instead she looked completely concentrated. Focused. Emma took another deep breath. She felt entirely too warm and knew that she would have no choice but to splash cold water onto her face after this. She grabbed onto the edge of the table and squeezed slightly. She couldn’t look away from Regina’s long and smooth legs. She couldn’t tear her gaze away from that golden skin on display.

Regina was dancing faster now. Stomping her feet so the sound echoed through the bar. The sound seemed to send shockwaves through Emma, and the blonde knew that she was beyond all saving. She couldn’t just ignore her undeniable attraction to Regina. It was impossible. She finally tore her gaze away from Regina’s legs and looked at the brunette’s face again. Regina’s dark eyes were twinkling, and she was smirking at her audience. She looked hella seductive, and Emma pathetically wished that Regina would look at HER like that. The blonde scoffed. So much for “she’s- only-nineteen-and-you-most-definitely-absolutely-cannot-be-attracted-to-her”

Regina spun around once more, and was Emma kidding herself, or was the brunette still scanning the bar? Was she really searching for Emma, or was Emma’s overinflated ego making her mind playing tricks on her?

“¡Mi reina! ¡Mi reina!” the man who had caught the scarf chanted as he clapped the rythm Regina had brought on earlier. He looked at her like she was some sort of goddess, and Emma both completely agreed with him and hated him a little bit for it at the same time.

Regina swayed her hips again, arched her back, then stomped her feet faster and faster, and Emma felt a little twinge of disappointment. Because she knew what this meant. The dance was coming to an end. Damn it. Was Emma exceptionally terrible for wishing that Regina would keep dancing all night?

Yes, probably.

Regina lifted her arms again in that graceful manner, and Emma decided not to give a hoot about what was socially acceptable and what wasn’t. She stood from her chair, grabbed her camera and then slammed her finger down on the button again and again. She needed pictures of this, everything else be damned! Regina was such a beautiful motive. She was beautiful now, and she had been beautiful earlier today when she had worn her orange dress and orange flowers in her dark hair. The quintessential Spanish beauty. Plain and simple.

Emma had decided to take pictures just in the nick of time. Regina stomped her feet faster and faster, spun around one last time then declared: “olé!” and blew everyone a kiss.

The crowd went mad and applauded like crazy, but Emma was far more interested in getting the applaud over with so she could slip into the backroom to let Regina know that she was there. To let Regina know that she had seen her dance tonight.

Regina elegantly hopped off the stage, and Emma had to sit down when she saw the faint sheen of sweat glistening on Regina’s body. Regina smiled at the man who had caught her shawl, and in return, he threw the shawl right back to her. Regina elegantly caught it and then she bowed just as elegantly for her audience. Then she turned around and headed towards a door, Emma guessed lead to some sort of back room.

The hell with it, Emma thought to herself as she slipped the camera back inside the bag. She slung said back over her shoulder, took one last sip of her drink and then went in the same direction as Regina. She didn’t even care whether the people in the bar was looking at her or not. All she cared about was seeing Regina and tell her how freaking good she danced tonight.

As opposed to the other nights, Emma quickly made it to the door. No delays tonight. The blonde opened the door and slipped inside a little hallway. She carefully closed the door and trotted down the hallway. Where she found Regina. The young brunette hadn’t made it into the backroom yet. Instead she was standing nonchalantly leaned against a wall, sipping water from a bottle.

“Hi,” Emma said and grinned.

Regina looked up in surprise and then she flashed Emma this big, beautiful, beaming smile. “Hola! You’re here.”

“Of course I am,” Emma said and felt how intestines melted when Regina smiled at her. Yep, she was most definitely going down.

“Did you enjoy the dance tonight?” Regina asked eagerly. “I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it.”

“What? You have to be kidding me!” Emma huffed. “It looked perfect. You looked perfect.” Oops. She hadn’t meant to blurt out the last part.

“You think so?” Regina said softly.

Too late.

“Yeah,” Emma said and swallowed something. “I really do.”

“Thank you,” Regina said and now her voice dropped an octave. The look she was flashing Emma was dark and intense, and Emma felt reduced to a melting mess.

A door was opened and one of the bar guests came into the hallway and disappeared through a door on the left. The sound of water running effectively broke the spell and Regina said: “I should probably change out of this dress.”

“Yeah,” Emma said. But she wasn’t ready to let Regina go for the night. She abandoned all common sense (and forgot Regina’s bottle of water) and said: “do you want to get a drink once you’ve changed? You have to be thirsty after all that dancing.”

“A drink sounds really nice,” Regina smiled. “Give me two minutes.”

“Sure. I’ll wait here,” Emma said, and her stomach did a somersault. Three times Regina today. She was one lucky woman!

Regina flashed another smile and then she stepped inside the “dressing room”.

Emma leaned back against the wall and moved her head from side to side. There was a crick in her neck because of the way she had been sitting and stretched it. But the pain was entirely worth it. Seeing Regina dance had been-

“¡¿Me estás tomando el pelo?!”

Emma’s head snapped up at Regina’s exclamation, and without thinking much about it, she opened the door to Regina’s “dressing room”, peered inside and asked: “what’s going on?”

Regina didn’t answer, but it still didn’t take long before Emma figured out what was going on. Someone had been “creative” with a red lipstick and had abused the mirror hanging on the wall.

Emma stared at word written on the mirror. “¡PUTA!”. She knew just enough Spanish to know exactly what that meant.

“A drink sounded good before, but now it really sounds good,” Regina said and her voice was completely calm.

“Who did this?” Emma asked, even though she had a feeling she already knew the answer to that question.

“Marian,” Regina said dully and inspected the lipstick-written word. “I wonder how she managed to sneak in here?”

“There was a lot of people, and....” Emma stared at the younger woman. “Exactly what went down between you and Marian?”

“I screwed up spectacularly,” Regina and her mouth twisted again. “Well, I suppose it wasn’t entirely my fault, but...”

“Okay,” Emma said. “Is it... is it something you wanna talk about?”

Regina shifted a bit, clearly uncomfortable.

“Okay,” Emma said again. “Do you still want that drink?”

“I would absolutely love a drink,” Regina said.

Emma nodded. “Alright. I’ll wait right outside, okay?” the idea of heading back inside the bar and wait didn’t seem very appealing. Suppose Marian was still lurking somewhere?

 

To Be Continued........

Chapter Text

Regina looked incredibly uncomfortable as she re-emerged from her dressing room. She had traded the flamenco dress for a short dress with flower pattern and a worn out denim jacket over it. She had pulled her hair back in a long braid that flowed down her back.

“Are you ready to grab a drink?” Emma asked and flashed the brunette a little smile.

“Yeah. I suppose I am,” Regina replied, trying to make her voice light but failed miserably. Her voice was tight with concern, and Emma felt sorry for her. Knowing that someone- Marian- had been in her dressing room and had written that on the mirror was creepy.

They headed back out to the bar where Regina declared that she’d rather have water and not alcohol. The last thing she needed tonight was a floaty head, she said, and so Emma ordered water for the brunette and a sangria for herself.

Regina still looked completely crestfallen, and Emma took a chance and reached out and touched her hand lightly. “Hey. Are you okay?” the blonde asked and took a sip of her sangria.

“Not really,” Regina admitted and looked down at her hands.

“We could ask the bartender to check the place?” Emma suggested. “To see if Marian is still here?”

“No-no,” Regina said and shook her head. “I suspect she’s long gone. Slipped out of the backdoor, or something like that. And I can’t actually prove that she’s the one who did this.”

“But you’re sure she’s the one behind this?” Emma said and took a sip of her sangria.

“Oh yes,” Regina said with a firm nod. “She’s absolutely the one behind this.”

Emma frowned as she took another sip of her sangria. While Regina had been changing out of her flamenco dress, Emma’s thoughts had been spinning in every possible direction. She had wondered herself crazy why Marian had written that terrible message on Regina’s mirror. What could possibly have made Marian so angry? She looked at Regina, but the young brunette seemed to look everywhere but at her. Gone was the cheeky energy she had been displaying while dancing. Now she just looked tired. And so much older than nineteen, Emma noted as the brunette sipped her water and then sighed deeply. She ran her fingers through her hair, tugged a stray lock of hair behind her ear.

Emma flashed her a little smile, but Regina didn’t return the smile. Now Emma almost felt worried about her. She looked as though she was carrying the weight of the entire world on her young shoulders.

Regina took another sip of her water and looked down at her hands. Was she nervous? It certainly looked like it to Emma. The blonde momentarily “forgot” about the whole “she’s only nineteen”-thing and reached out and touched Regina’s hand once again. “It’s going to be okay,” she said gently.

“No it won’t,” Regina said simply. “Because I like spending time with you, Emma.”

“I like spending time with you too,” Emma said honestly and flashed the brunette another smile. She could tell her that. The world wouldn’t collapse in on itself if Emma admitted that she liked spending time with the younger woman.

“And you’re pretty involved in my drama already,” Regina continued. “We might not know each other that well, but I don’t think it would be very fair if I just didn’t tell you why Marian wrote that message on my mirror and why she slapped me. So I’m going to tell you, but once I’ve done that, you wont want to spend time with me anymore.”

“What?” Emma said slightly surprised. “What makes you say that?”

“Because you’ve told me your story,” Regina said dully. “I know that you were screwed over by the man you were supposed to marry.” she took another sip of her water.

“What does that have to do with-“

“It has everything to do with it.” Regina quietly interrupted. “Believe me, it has.” She took another sip of her water.

“Regina-“

“I screwed up,” Regina dully interrupted and took a sip of her water. “Like, really screwed up. Badly.”

“How badly?” Emma asked and felt something cold in her belly.

“Think about it,” Regina sighed. “Why would a woman write “whore” on another woman’s mirror?”

“Oh,” Emma said plainly as the wheels in her head finally began turning. Her green eyes narrowed as she looked at Regina. Things were starting to make sense now. Perfect sense. Regina had done to Marian what Tamara had done to Emma. Of course Marian was a scorned woman. Exactly like Emma was. Marian was feeling all the things Emma was feeling. Anger, betrayal, hatred, sadness. And Regina... Emma instinctively moved her hand away from the brunette’s. Was Regina really like Tamara? Didn’t she care? No. Emma refused to believe that. She refused to accept that Regina was like Tamara. She couldn’t be. She just couldn’t.

Regina took another sip of her water. “I didn’t know,” she said quietly.

Emma looked up at her again, silently urging the younger woman to continue.

And Regina did. She looked down at her hands. “It was two weeks ago. I was working late in the bar and I was serving for this guy who was sitting right by the counter. It was a pretty busy night, so I didn’t really notice that he was flirting with me at first, and honestly, it wasn’t the first time that one of the customers-“ she interrupted herself and shook her head as though she had said something incredibly impolite.

Emma laughed almost against her will. Yes, she could easily imagine that the beautiful, young Regina would turn quite a few heads in the bar.

“Anyway, he kept flirting with me, and so when my shift was over, I decided to stick around and began talking to him,” Regina continued, still looking down at her hands. “He’s name was Robin, and he was actually really charming. Maybe coming on to me a bit too strongly, but at the time I didn’t care. I’d had a bit to drink, and I was feeling good, so I kept talking to him. We actually ended up talking for a while....” she took another sip of her water before continuing: “maybe it was stupid, maybe I was being stupid, but he was a nice guy and we really hit it off. He told me that he lived in Avila and was in Madrid on business, and he kept hinting how nice it would be if I went back to his hotel with him for the night-“ the brunette took another sip of her water and cleared her throat before continuing: “and I... Well, I just wanted to have a bit of fun. I had been spending all my time on dancing and working, so it had been a while since I... anyway, he asked me if someone was expecting me home tonight, a fancy way of asking me if I was seeing anyone. I said no, and then I asked him the same. I literally asked him if he had a girlfriend. And he said no. He said that he wasn’t seeing anyone. And I believed him.”

“Oh,” Emma said again. She was beginning to realize that she might have been a tad hasty to judge Regina.

“I went back to the hotel with him, and alcohol did the rest,” Regina said dully. “And the next morning he was practically shaking me awake and yapping on about that I had to leave. Because his wife was on her way for a surprise visit. Apparently, she had called him from the car and was only ten minutes away. I thought he was joking. I honestly did. Until he opened a drawer and found his fuc- his wedding ring and slipped it back on his finger.”

“Oh god!” Emma exclaimed.

“The bastard tricked me,” Regina said bitterly, and Emma was sure she could see something glistening in her dark eyes. “I asked him in the most direct way if he was single, and he said yes. I suppose I was naïve...”

“You didn’t know,” Emma said.

“No, but I should have been smart enough to-“

“How could you possibly have known?” Emma interrupted with a headshake.

“I was dumb,” Regina insisted and grabbed the napkin and used it to lightly dab underneath her eyes, and hell no, Emma couldn’t possibly live with that. She couldn’t stand seeing Regina practically sitting
and crying in front of her. She reached out and touched Regina’s hand again. “Hey. It’s going to be okay.”

“No, it’s not,” Regina said and shook her head. “I feel like such a fool. I screwed up.”

“You didn’t know,” Emma repeated. “How could you possibly have known that he was married?”

“I shouldn’t have gone back to his hotel room with him in the first place,” Regina said bitterly.

“You’re hardly the first woman who have hooked up with someone you met in a bar,” Emma said plainly. “And you won’t be the last one either.”

“And do all the others have angry wives breathing down their neck?” Regina said and tried to joke but failed miserably.

“Robin told her?” Emma guessed.

“Or she figured it out,” Regina said. “I’m not sure, but either way, two days after Marian was suddenly standing in the bar I work at. She asked me if I was Regina, and I didn’t know who she was, so I
obviously said yes. And she began screaming me and said that I had ruined her life. I tried to tell her that I had no idea Robin was married. I really tried to explain that he had told me that he was single. Obviously, she didn’t believe me. And why should she?” The brunette shook her head and dabbed her eyes with the napkin once more.

This situation was not at all like the situation Emma had been in with Neal and Tamara. Not at all. Regina had been tricked by a man who had been looking for “a bit of fun” and had been forced to confess because he was about to be caught by his wife. He had broken his wife’s heart, and he had screwed up Regina’s life in the process.

“Was Marian the one who called you that night we were having dinner together?” Emma asked softly.

“Yeah,” Regina said confirmed.

“How did she even get your number?” Emma asked and raised an eyebrow.

“I have no idea,” Regina sighed. “But she has, and so far, she’s left me quite a few... messages. She seems convinced that I’m still carrying on with her husband. Even though I’m not. I only saw him one time. That night.” she shook her head again and chuckled darkly. “You wouldn’t believe how many times my dear mother has warned me about working in a bar. Apparently, she was right.”

“I’m sorry,” Emma said sincerely.

“Yeah. That makes two of us,” Regina tried to quip as she downed the rest of her water. “Anyway, I should be going.”

“What?” Emma asked slightly surprised.

“Don’t you think it’s for the best?” Regina said softly. “You’re here to relax, Emma. You don’t want to get involved in all my drama. That’s not fair to you.”

Emma opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She knew that Regina did in fact have a point. She had come here to relax and get the whole “Neal’s-been-banging-Tamara”-thing out of her system.

Getting involved in another love triangle was just about the last thing she needed.

“It’s been fun being your guide,” Regina said with a slight smile as she rose from her chair and grabbed the bag containing her flamenco dress and shoes. “Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Bye.”

And with that she crossed the floor and left the bar. Emma took a sip of her sangria and stared thoughtfully out of the window. She could see Regina walking away, and the sight made her heart break just a little bit. She felt so sorry for Regina. Really, genuinely sorry. That poor girl. She had ended up in such a messy situation because a man had lied to her. She hadn’t known. That guy- Robin- had lied to her. Practically tricked her into bed. God, what a douchebag! Emma took another sip of her sangria. In a way, they were in the same situation. They had both been screwed over by assholes. Regina was as much of a victim as Marian was. Regina had been deeply affected and upset about what had happened, that was obvious. She had just been having a fun night out, and then some asshole guy had decided to be a total douchebag and lie to her. God why was it so hard to just be fucking honest?! The blonde could feel that she was turning murderous all over again. And towards a guy she hadn’t even met. Not that she had to. She already knew that this Robin guy was a stupid fucking son on a bitch. Exactly like Neal.

Emma downed the rest of her sangria in one go and hoped that the alcohol would make her feel less murderous. It was a possibility, right? Emma had had quite a bit of alcohol to take the edge of things lately, and she really hoped that the effect would be the same tonight as it had been the other nights.

Maybe she should quit being a photographer and become a hitwoman instead. She could rid this world of every last asshole. She would start in Storybrooke with Neal, and then she would travel back to Spain and track down Robin. Emma chuckled darkly. Fuck him! And fuck Neal!

And fuck the fact that Regina was walking home on her own. Surely, Emma couldn’t let her walk home on her own when she was upset and had basically been crying?

No, sir. She could not.

Emma jumped up from her chair and walked up to the counter where she quickly paid for her sangria and Regina’s water. Then she more or less sprinted out of the door.

She found Regina not too far away from the flamenco bar. She was walking slowly with her head bowed and her shoulders slumped. You just so easily tell that she was upset just by looking at the way she was walking.

Emma easily caught up with her. “Hey.”

Regina turned around, surprised was etched onto her pretty face. “What are you-“

“At least let me walk you home, yeah?” Emma asked softly.

“You don’t have to,” Regina said quickly. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not, and I’d like to walk you home. Please?” Emma said and flashed the younger woman.

“I suppose that would be nice,” Regina said quietly.

And so they walked down the street together. “Are you living far away?” Emma asked.

“No,” Regina replied. “I live pretty close by.”

“Alright,” Emma said and bit back her concern. Regina was used to walking home alone. Being worried about that was ridiculous. “Do you have any other tips for must-sees in Madrid?” she continued,
taking every opportunity to strike up a conversation with Regina.

“That depends on how much you’re into museums,” Regina said.

“I’m cool with museums,” Emma smiled.

“Then I’d recommend the Reina Sofia museum,” the young brunette said. “That’s definitely worth a visit.”

“Reina Sofia museum,” Emma echoed. “That’s modern art, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“I’ll remember that,” the blonde said and then joked a bit: “I think I passed a place that offered flamenco dance lessons. Maybe I should try that too?”

Regina chuckled softly. “You could. I’m sure you would find it entertaining. But be warned, you’ll end up with very sore feet, so best not plan anything the next day.”

“I’ll remember that,” Emma laughed. “I’m sure I would look pretty awesome in a flamenco dress!”

Regina chuckled softly at that. “Yeah. I’m sure you would.” She then looked away and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

Emma forced herself to look away from Regina’s fingers which were fiddling with her dark hair and curiously queried: “are your feet sore right now?”

“A bit,” Regina admitted. “I think I’ll treat them to a nice soak when I get home.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Emma nodded.

Silence fell over them as they continued their walk, and once they rounded a corner and reached a little block of apartments, Regina announced: “this is me.”

“Alright,” Emma said and ignored the twinge of disappointment in her stomach.

“Thank you for walking me home,” Regina said and flashed a little smile.

“No problem. Have fun with soaking your feet.” Emma wasn’t entirely sure why she said that.

But Regina laughed, and dear god, the sound was so sweet! “thank you. Bye,” she said and grabbed a little more firmly on to the bag with her dress and shoes as she walked towards the block of
apartments.

“Which bar are you working at tomorrow night?” Emma asked before the younger woman could get the chance to slip inside the building.

“El Tigre Sidra Bar,” Regina said slightly surprised as she turned around. “Why do you ask?”

“Well...” Emma grinned a bit as she tugged a lock of her own hair behind her ear. “I’m on holiday. And I like getting drinks when I’m on holiday. Do you guys have cheap drinks?”

“Well, yes,” Regina said, still sounding slightly surprised. “Our drinks aren’t that expensive.”

“Cool,” Emma grinned. “I’ll stop by tomorrow night then.”

“Really?” Regina said and now she was smiling a little.

“Yeah,” Emma confirmed. “I have to check out your drinks, right? And your tapas. You guys do have tapas, right?”

“Yes, of course we have,” Regina confirmed and chuckled lightly.

“Getting better and better then,” Emma laughed. “See you tomorrow night then.”

“I- yes. See you tomorrow,” Regina nodded.

“Goodnight,” Emma added.

“Goodnight, Emma,” Regina said, and there was that smile again. That damned smile. That smile that made Emma want to do crazy things. And to add to that, a lock of dark hair was blowing around
Regina’s face. Emma’s fingers were itching to push that lock of hair behind Regina’s ear.

She didn’t though. Instead she flashed Regina another smile and then turned around and walked back in the direction she had came from.

Seeing Regina again was important. Very, very important. She had made Emma’s less than perfect trip to Madrid so much more pleasant. Emma didn’t want to loose contact with the beautiful young woman who had acted as her guide.

Emma shook her head slightly as though she was trying to shake Regina’s smile off.

She didn’t succeed. Not even remotely. And maybe she didn’t care about that. Maybe she was more than completely fine with having Regina’s beautiful smile stuck in her memory........

 

 

To Be Continued.........

Chapter Text

“¡Que tenga una buena noche, señorita Swan!” Lucía sing-songed after her, and Emma turned around in the door and smiled at the young receptionist.

“Gracias, Lucía,” she said and flashed the young receptionist a smile. Then she left the hotel and began her walk down the street towards her destination. She had about five minutes of walking before she would be at El Tigre Sidra Bar, but that was okay. It was another warm and balmy evening, and honestly, Emma could do with a bit of exercise after having done absolutely nothing today. She had literally just been laying around by the pool, sipping a drink and then going for an occasional swim. That was all. She walked a bit faster as she crossed the street. According to the road description, she was going the right way, and she was very much looking forward to reaching her destination. She hadn’t been able to stop thinking about Regina and the way she had been crying over what had happened. Emma had been itching to do something to console Regina. Exactly what that “something” was, she wasn’t quite sure of, but one thing she did know: she instinctively hated both Robin and Marian. Robin for obvious reasons. He was a prick who had lied to Regina and lured her into bed under false pretenses. And she hated Marian for blaming Regina instead of her asshole of a husband. Yes, Emma understood why Marian didn’t believe Robin when he said that he wasn’t seeing Regina anymore, trust was probably the last thing there was left in their relationship, but why couldn’t she believe Regina when she said the same? If Regina had cried when telling Marian that she wasn’t seeing her husband, like she had cried last night at the bar, Emma found it very, very hard to believe how anyone could not believe the sincerity in her words. Regina was clearly one of those who wore her heart on her sleeve. Both a curse and a blessing.

Emma was pulled out of her musings about the young flamenco dancer when she felt her phone vibrate somewhere in her pocket. She was willing to bet all her money it was Neal trying to contact her from another phone he had either borrowed or bought. That was his newest strategy. Trying again and again from different phones. Emma had a long list of blocked numbers in her phone now, and she found it equally amusing and sad. And confusing. Seriously, how could Neal possibly think that there was anything left to build on? He DUMPED her. On the day before their wedding. There was absolutely nothing left, and Emma was more than willing to explain that to him very thoroughly when she got back from Madrid.

Emma snickered a bit as she thought of her dad and the way he had told Neal off on her behalf. Good ol’ dad. He always knew exactly what she needed.

She crossed another street and then reached her destination. There it was. El Tigre Sidra Bar.

She pushed the door open and walked inside. It was a pretty good place. And clearly popular too. It was packed with people. Some of them were sitting and enjoying a late dinner while others were hanging out by the bar, sipping their drinks and chatting. And some were dancing to the fast music playing. Emma quickly scanned the bar, but it didn’t take long before she found who she was looking for. Regina was standing behind the counter. She was wearing a grey tanktop and a short little denim skirt. Her dark hair had been arranged in a long braid. She wasn’t serving anyone right now and appeared to be spending her pause with swaying in tact to the music. Emma snickered lightly as she crossed the floor and walked over to the counter. Regina hadn’t seen her yet and she kept swaying back and forward to the music.

“You just can't stop dancing, can you?” Emma chuckled as she elegantly sat down on one of the tall barstools.

Regina blinked in sheer surprise and then the most beautiful smile blossomed on her lips. “Emma! You came.”

“Yeah... of course I did,” Emma said and tried not to grin like an idiot. Seriously, Regina’s enthusiasm was adorable. She scanned Regina’s surprised face once more. Then asked: “you didn’t think I would?”

“I... wasn’t sure,” Regina admitted, tugging a stray lock of dark hair behind her ear.

“Why?” Emma asked and raised an eyebrow.

Regina shrugged and tried to sound casual as she said: “I think I wept all over the place last night.”

“Technically, you wept into a napkin,” Emma said with a slight grin.

Regina scowled slightly.

“I’m sorry,” Emma said. “Bad joke. My point is that it’s fine. You cried because you were upset. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“I don’t think I agree,” Regina said. “But it’s nice to see you again.”

“It’s nice to see you too,” Emma smiled.

Regina tugged a lock of hair behind her ear again and returned the smile. “What can I get you?”

“A margarita,” Emma said. She was in the mood for something else than the many, many sangrias she’d already had.

“Okay. One margarita coming up,” Regina said lightly.

Emma leaned forward and watched as Regina combined different ingredients in a cocktail maker and then shook it thoroughly to ensure that the ingredients were well mixed. Emma bit the inside of her cheek slightly and wondered how in god’s name it could be sexy to watch someone mix a cocktail. That didn’t make sense. Regina shouldn’t look sexy mixing a cocktail. Emma was just being silly.

Regina abandoned the cocktail maker for a second and then grabbed a chilled cocktail glass and rubbed the rim with a lime wedge. Her hands worked quickly and professionally, and Emma wondered what the hell was wrong with her. Regina was literally just doing her job. That was all.

Regina poured the newly mixed and stirred drink into the cocktail glass and then handed the glass to Emma. “Here you go, señorita Swan. One margarita.”

“Thank you,” Emma smiled and took a sip of her drink. “Mmm! This is really good.”

“Oh, it better be,” Regina quipped.

“How long have you worked here?” Emma asked curiously. It was obvious that Regina was an expert in mixing and serving drinks.

“Six... No, seven months. Yes. Seven months,” Regina said. “Time flies.”

“And you like it here?” Emma asked and took another sip of her newly made margarita.

“Si,” Regina nodded. “It’s a good and steady income.”

Emma chuckled into her drink. And suddenly Regina sounded like she was thirty and not nineteen.

“What?” Regina asked and raised an eyebrow slightly.

“Nothing,” Emma said, taking another sip of her drink and tried to abstract from how freaking attractive Regina looked when she did that.

“What have you been doing today?” Regina asked curiously, leaning against the counter slightly.

“Not much, to be honest,” Emma admitted as she glanced at the feather tattoo adorning Regina’s wrist. “I’ve mostly just been hanging out by the pool and sipping drinks and reading.”

“That sounds nice,” Regina smiled. “Weather’s been too hot to do anything else, really.”

“Yeah, exactly,” Emma nodded and took another quick sip of her drink. “When you’re used to the temperature in Maine, this is one hell of a culture shock.”

Regina laughed sweetly. “I can imagine so. But even for the people living here permanently, it’s been crazy warm today. I might have to pay Lago Pool a visit tomorrow in order to get cooled down.”

“Lago Pool?” Emma echoed.

“Public pool, not too far from here,” Regina explained.

“Oh.” Emma took another sip of her drink and considered it for a moment. Then an idea popped into her head and setting the drink down she said: “tell you what, if you’re planning to visit a pool tomorrow, why not just stop by my hotel? There’s plenty room for one more. It’s a big pool.”

“I’m not a guest at the hotel,” Regina pointed out with a smile. “I don’t think that’s allowed.”

“No one will notice,” Emma said and grinned. “Too many people to keep track. And if they do notice, I’ll tell them it was my idea. Surely, nobody will get mad at the sad woman living alone in the honeymoon suite, right?”

Regina started completely disbelievingly at Emma for a few seconds, but then she began laughing heartedly.

Emma laughed too but the sound wasn’t loud enough to drown the sound of Regina’s sweet, sweet laughter. Unfortunately. That laughter could very well end up messing with Emma if she wasn’t careful.

“I’d like that,” Regina said with a smile once she was done laughing.

“You’ll come to the hotel?” Emma asked and felt the excitement bubble in her stomach.

“Yes,” Regina confirmed. “But my shift doesn’t end until late afternoon, I’m afraid.”

“That’s totally fine,” Emma assured. “Most of the screaming children will have deserted by then, so big win-win.”

“Then I’ll stop by at four,” Regina smiled.

“Great! I can’t wait,” Emma said earnestly.

Regina’s smile widened, but whatever she response she was planning on giving, completely drowned when a big, bulgy guy appeared a bit out of nowhere and said: “Roni, tienes clientes! Muévelo.”

“Sí, sí, estoy en camino!” Regina replied and looked a bit annoyed as the guy disappeared into a backroom. Then she disappeared herself. She elegantly went round the counter and then walked over to a male customer who was sitting nearby. She smiled at him as she took his order, and then she walked back behind the counter so she could mix him a drink.

“’Roni’?” Emma curiously echoed.

“Huh?” Regina stopped stirring the drink for just a second.

“Didn’t that guy call you “Roni”?” Emma clarified.

“Oh,” Regina chuckled when she understood what Emma was talking about. “My middle name is Veronica, but that and Regina is a bit pretentious for a barmaid, so when I’m here I just go by Roni.”

“Barmaid,” Emma echoed and chuckled again. Regina’s use of old fashioned words was positively adorable.

“Oh. Yes, that’s my mother’s description of my job,” Regina said a bit darkly. “And for some reason she manages to make it sound positively dirty every time she says it. That and my job as a flamenco dancer. She has a certain ability to make it sound like I’m working as a stripper and not a dancer. I’ve tried many times to explain that there isn’t anything wrong with either occupation, but she’s not really listening.”

“I’m sorry about that,” Emma said.

“Don’t be,” Regina said lightly as she went back to stirring the drink. “I’m quite used to being on my mother’s blacklist. In fact I don’t think I would be very comfortable if I weren’t on my mother’s blacklist.” She unceremoniously poured the drink into a cocktail glass and went round the corner with the drink in hand.

Emma kept her eyes on the young Latina as she walked over to the waiting customer. She felt sorry for Regina. It couldn’t be easy to have such a strained relationship with her mother. Emma certainly couldn’t imagine having a strained relationship with her own mother.

After having chatted briefly with the customer, Regina came back to her spot behind the counter. She looked at the people having fun on the dance floor, and Emma chuckled, because if she didn’t knew any better, she would say that Regina was a bit jealous that they were dancing, and she wasn’t. Emma took another sip of her cocktail. An idea was brewing in her head.

But before she could get the chance to tell Regina about her idea, a slight buzzing sound caught her attention, and it didn’t take her long to figure out that the buzzing sound was coming from Regina’s skirt. The young brunette fished her phone out of the pocket of her skirt and then barked out a hoarse laugh. “Speaking of the devil... that’s my mother.”

“Maybe you’re off her blacklist?” Emma suggested.

“I doubt it,” Regina said as she slipped the phone back in her pocket.

“You’re not gonna answer her?”

“No, she can wait,” Regina said firmly. “She always calls me when I’m at work. I think she’s doing it deliberately in an attempt to get me fired or something like that.”

“She’d do that?” Emma asked and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh yes. Absolutely,” Regina said and resumed her swaying back and forward to the music.

Emma downed the rest of her drink. Now she could tell Regina about that idea she had. “Are you allowed to go out and dance while you’re working?”

“No,” Regina said, and little smirk danced on her lips. “At least not if it’s just to dance by myself, but if someone asks me....”

“How would you feel about dancing something that isn’t flamenco for once?” Emma asked with a grin as she rose from the tall barstool.

“I’d like that,” Regina answered and now she was smiling more than smirking.

“Well, in that case...” Emma mockingly imitated a prince from a far away land as she held out a hand towards Regina.

Regina laughed sweetly as she came around the counter and took Emma’s hand. They walked out on the dancefloor, and it didn’t take long before they were moving in synch to the music. Or, Regina was. Honestly, Emma was a bit rusty when it came to dancing, but Regina immediately found the rhythm, and as she held Emma’s hands in her own, Emma felt something warm stir in her belly. Oh, this was bad. She liked Regina. As in, really, really liked her. This was more than bad. This was a fucking disaster. Since when had she forgotten all about “she’s only nineteen”? Emma desperately tried to remind herself of Regina’s age and all the million “good” reasons why liking her was oh, so bad, but as she was spun around by a smiling Regina, none of those reasons made a wink of sense anymore.

Fuck.

“You’re a good dancer,” Regina said with a smile.

“Get out of here, I suck,” Emma huffed.

“You do not,” Regina said firmly.

“I’m completely rusty!” Emma pointed out.

“No, you’re not. You have plenty of rhythm. And you follow the music perfectly,” Regina said as they spun around once more. “There’s nothing rusty about that.”

“Says the flamenco dancer,” Emma laughed.

“I’m not dancing flamenco right now,” Regina slyly pointed out. “This is very different from what I normally dance.”

“True, but you’re still so much better than I am,” Emma pointed out and tried not to be lead astray when Regina hands lightly landed on her hips.

“Since when is it a competion?” Regina asked and smiled a bit again. “Aren’t we just having fun?”

“We are,” Emma confirmed and bit the inside of her cheek to not reveal just how much fun she was actually having right now. Maybe it had been a bad idea to ask Regina to dance. She still had her hands placed lightly on Emma’s hips, and her hands were alarmingly warm and soft, and shit, Emma was going down! Yep, it had been a bad idea to ask Regina to dance.

Regina jokingly spun around, and Emma saw a glimpse of the flamenco dancer Regina had been last night. Sure, she was dancing to a very different kind of music, and sure she was doing a very different kind of dancing, but the flamenco dancer never completely left. Emma could see the flamenco dancer in the way Regina stomped her feet just a little, and the blonde chuckled slightly.

“Force of habit, I can’t help it,” Regina said a bit sheepishly.

“And why should you? But be careful, though,” Emma chuckled. “Or you might end up being asked to give a show here.”

“That actually happened one time,” Regina admitted and moved one hand away from Emma’s hip to tug a lock of dark hair behind her ear. “And I felt quite ridiculously because I wasn’t wearing the right shoes or clothes. It just looks better when I’m wearing my flamenco dress.”

“But I’m pretty sure you aced it nonetheless,” Emma smiled.

Regina chuckled and didn’t deny it.

Emma wasn’t completely sure how long they danced for, but she did know that she felt completely dizzy, a bit out of breath and slightly ridiculous by the time they stopped. She couldn’t blame this on the one margarita she’d had tonight. No, the bubbly feeling in her stomach was definitely curtsey of Regina. Crap. Emma silently cursed herself and her weakness. She even tried that good old “she’s nineteen, she’s nineteen”-mantra, but it didn’t work. As in at all.

Emma Swan was officially a big fat cliché who traveled to a foreign country and became interested in one of the locals. The “clicheest” of all clichés.

Damn it.

Regina gave her another drink, just a beer this time, and then they talked more about the “swimming plans” they had for tomorrow. Emma suggested that instead of meeting at the pool in the downstairs area, they met at the rooftop pool. The pool in the downstairs area was always all the more crowded all the time. The rooftop pool tended to be less crowded and less interesting for all the families with children staying in the hotel. Mainly because the downstairs pool area was much more spacious and had better deck chairs.

“That sounds okay with me,” Regina said as she stirred a new drink for another customer.

“Great. That’s settled then,” Emma smiled. “I don’t suppose I can buy you a drink, right?”

“I’m not allowed to drink when I’m working, sorry.” Regina said as and flashed the customer a smile as she handed her the drink.

“Gracias, Roni,” the customer said as she flashed Regina a smile. “¿Como estas?”

“¿Estoy bien y tú?“ Regina replied. She and the customer chitchatted, no doubt “Roni” was rather popular here, and Emma could easily see why. With her sweet, friendly smile, she was very good at what she was doing.

Emma emptied her drink and decided that it probably was time to go home. She was getting a bit tired. “See you tomorrow, Roni,” she sweetly teased.

“Si. Vemos mañana,” Regina smiled. “It was nice of you to stop by.”

“Anytime,” Emma said as she rose from the barstool. She was just about to say something about how nice it was to dance with Regina, but she quickly decided that that was a bad idea………

 


******************************************

 

The next afternoon found Emma standing in front of her mirror and pursing her lips. Her navy bikini had seemed good enough when she left Storybrooke, but now she sort of wished that she’d packed her other bikini as well. Her “other” bikini was a black bikini that looked just a tad more put together. But what was done was done. She didn’t exactly have time to pop out and buy a new bikini. This one would have to do.

Emma turned and twisted in front of the mirror to be able to see herself from all angles. Well. She supposed that she didn’t look half-bad. Quite the reverse, actually. Maybe this wasn’t her favourite bikini, but it was good enough. Emma grabbed her sarong and shrugged it on. That left her a little bit less exposed as she left the honeymoon suite and headed towards the elevator with a bag containing her cellphone, sunglasses, sunscreen and Stephen King’s “Misery” in hand. As she went inside the elevator, she heard her phone make two, slight scratching sounds from the bottom of her purse. Emma decided to take advantage of her “elevator time” and wiggled her phone out of the bag. A number she didn’t recognize had left a message on her voicemail. Feeling half amused and half distraught, Emma brought the phone up to her ear to check the message. Yup, it was exactly what she had expected. ‘Hey, Em, this is Neal. Could you please call me back? Please? You can’t keep avoiding me fore-“ Emma deleted the message without listening to the rest of it. “Damn right I can, you asshole,” she muttered as she slid the phone back inside the bag. She was going back to Storybrooke in two weeks, and until then she refused to think about Neal Cassidy and his ability to be a complete and utter asshat.

The elevator dinged, indicating that she had reached the top, and as soon as the doors opened, Emma stepped out. All she had to do was open a door, walk up the stairs and then she was standing by the rooftop pool. There were a couple of people, but it was definitely nothing like the crowd of people she knew was hanging out by the pool downstairs. No, this was much, much better. Emma found an available deckchair and dumped her bag next to it. Then she shrugged off her sarong and sat down on said deckchair. Oh, this was heaven. It had to be. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky. She felt, warm, content, and she could see one of the waiters walking around with a little tray full of those colourful drinks. Perfect.

Emma lazily reached within her bag and grabbed her phone. She quickly snapped a picture of the rooftop pool and sent it to Ruby. She just couldn’t help herself when it came to teasing her friend. And it didn’t take long before the response came. She could almost see the disgruntled look on her friend’s face. Emma chuckled. And when Ruby asked how she was doing, the blonde truthfully answered that she was doing great. How could she possibly be feeling anything but great here in Madrid?

She wasn’t sure she ever wanted to go home.

And then she remembered that she had forgotten to call her mom yesterday. Time to rectify that. Emma quickly dialled her mom’s number, and it didn’t take long before her mom answered in the other end.

“Emma, honey!”

“Hi, mom,” Emma said and instantly felt a bit guilty. She knew what was coming.

“How are you, sweetie? Is everything okay? You almost had me worried when I didn’t hear from you yesterday.”

And there it was. “I’m fine, mom,” she assured. “And I’m sorry I forgot to call yesterday. I didn’t do much to be honest. I mostly laid around by the pool, and in the evening, I went to a bar and had a drink.”

“That sounds good,” her mom said in the other end. “And what about that girl we’ve seen in your pictures on Instagram? Have you seen her again?”

Emma’s jaw clenched a bit. At first, she had found it funny that her mom had finally gotten Instagram, but now she wasn’t so sure. “Yeah, I’ve seen her a couple of times,” she said half-heartedly and swiftly changed the subject. “Anyway, how are you and dad? Is he busy at the station?”

Her mom chuckled in the other end, she probably knew exactly why Emma was changing the subject. But she didn’t comment on it, though. Instead she replied: “yes, he had to drive a couple of sixteen-year olds home to their parents yesterday. They had graffitied the façade of doctor Hopper’s office.”

“No way!” Emma said. “Doctor Hopper’s office, really? They should have chosen Gold’s pawnshop instead.”

“Emma,” her mom scolded lightly and suddenly became “Mayor Blanchard”.

“Sorry,” Emma laughed. “But can you imagine the look on his face if he found out that his shop had been graffitied?”

“Emma.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll stop,” the blonde amended. “How about you, mom? Are you busy?”

“Very,” her mom said. “We’ve just had a board meeting, and we’ve decided to renovate the school from top to bottom.”

“Oh, really? Wow.” Emma said. She could easily imagine that that kept her mom quite busy.

“I think you should know that Milah came to see me yesterday,” Mary Margaret said.

“Oh yes?” Emma said and her jaw clenched. “And what did she want? To apologize for her son’s awful behaviour?”

“No, she was actually trying more to persuade me into convincing you to going through with the wedding.”

“What?!” Emma exploded. “Is she serious?!”

“I’m afraid so. Of course, I kicked her out of my office,” her mom said tightly. “But I have a feeling she’s not gonna give up that easily.”

“No, and neither is Neal,” Emma said bitterly. She knew why Milah refused to give up. She didn’t like Emma, but she loved the fact that Emma was the mayor’s daughter. That had to be the reason why she was trying to convince Mary Margaret to “talk some sense into Emma”. Prestige. Her son marrying the mayor’s daughter. Emma snorted. That was absolutely fucking ridiculous.

“Has he been calling you again?” her mom asked, and Emma could practically see her raise an eyebrow.

“Oh yeah, he has,” Emma said. “I’m not really sure what he’s playing at. The last time I checked, he was a cheating bastard.”

“Shall I ask your father to arrest him?” her mom asked playfully, and Emma laughed heartedly and told her mom that that wouldn’t be so bad.

“If he could, he would,” her mom assured.

“Yeah, I’m sure he would,” Emma snickered. She could easily imagine her dad taking great pleasure in handcuffing Neal and throwing him into the backseat of the squad car. Unfortunately, one couldn’t be arrested for being a cheating bastard.

Emma and her mom kept talking for a few more minutes and then Mary Margaret instructed Emma to “keep having a good time, and not worry about anything”, and then they ended said goodbye and ended the call.

Keep having a good time, and not worry about anything. Emma could do that. She could more than do that. The blonde slid the phone back into her bag and leaned back on the deckchair. She considered grabbing her book and read for a little while, but when it came to it, she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to move. She felt far too comfortable sitting like this. Emma closed her eyes and sighed contentedly, wondered how on earth she was ever supposed to go back to Maine and Storybrooke and her old life. Seriously, she didn’t want to go home. Couldn’t she just settle here for good?

Emma snickered. Perhaps that was a tad unrealistic, but seriously, she loved Madrid. She loved the atmosphere. And despite the crazy circumstances, this was easily turning into the best holiday of her life. She stretched comfortably on the chair, feeling the sun warming her skin. She sighed once more. She didn’t even have the energy to summon a waiter to get herself a colourful drink. But should she put on sunscreen? Nah. She didn’t bother doing that either. She was far too comfortable with just sitting here. And she felt heavy. Obviously, she wasn’t gonna fall asleep here in this deckchair, but she could rest her eyes for five minutes, right? She was on holiday. She was allowed to do that. She stretched a bit again, didn’t even try to hold back the yawn that found it’s way out of her mouth. Oh, this was heaven. Absolute heaven………

 

 

***********************************'

 

“Wait, what?” Emma’s eyes snapped open when she felt a soft, warm hand on her arm. She blinked and the sight of Regina standing in front of her became crystal clear.

“Hola,” Regina said and flashed her a little smile.

“Hola. I fell asleep,” Emma admitted.

Regina’s smiled widened. “Si. I’m sorry for waking you.”

“No-no,” Emma said, pushing herself up so she was sitting more properly. “I’m glad you did. Otherwise this would have pretty-“ she ran out of words when Regina unceremoniously pulled her flower printed halter neck dress over her head. Underneath, she was wearing a white strapless bikini that appeared to have been painted on. Her long dark hair was flowing freely down her back and she had a white flower fastened in her locks. Not very practical for swimming, but it matched her white bikini to perfection.

“Is something wrong?” Regina asked and raised an eyebrow slightly.

“No,” Emma said and felt a bit defeated already. God, Regina looked absolutely-

“Okay,” Regina said, interrupting Emma’s more or less sinful thoughts. “Have you been in the water yet?”

“No, not yet.”

“Do you mind if I jump right into it?” Regina asked. “I feel like I’m melting.”

‘Yeah, you and me both.’ “Go ahead,” Emma said and cursed herself for being such a stupid, bloody fool who couldn’t control herself.

“Great,” Regina said, and “jump right into it” hadn’t just been a random choice of words on her behalf. She bent her knees slightly and then elegantly dived into the pool headfirst.

Emma laughed a little when the water ended up hitting her feet.

“Did that splash on you?” Regina asked as her head remerged from underneath the water.

“A little bit,” Emma snickered.

“Oh. I’m sorry about that,” Regina said a bit sheepishly.

“It’s fine,” Emma assured.

Regina disappeared under the water once more. Emma could only see the silhouette of her as she dived and touched the bottom of the swimming pool with her fingertips. Emma was almost regretting not having brought her camera. She could have gotten some pretty great shots of Regina in the water. Because whether she was dancing or swimming, Regina made for one hell of a motive.

The surface broke and Regina remerged from the water once more, gasping slightly and laughing. She pushed her dark hair away from her face while laughing, and Emma silently wondered how it was possible for someone to be that beautiful.

“Aren’t you coming in?” Regina asked sweetly, looking up at Emma while resting her arms on the edge of the pool. The tip of her nose was dripping with water, and Emma suffocated a smile.

“Of course,” the blonde said, standing from the deck chair and then carefully crossing the wet tiles, only now realizing that the few people who had been lounging in the deckchairs when she fell asleep, were now gone. The rooftop pool was almost abandoned.

She didn’t quite follow Regina’s example and threw herself headfirst into the pool. Instead she opted for carefully submerging herself into the water. It wasn’t even cold. Not even in the slightest. It was lukewarm. Warmed up by the sun. But at least there was a light breeze today, so it still felt quite refreshing. She swam over to Regina.

“What a view you’ve got here,” Regina said as she stretched her neck slightly to look beyond the fence and down at what they could see of Madrid from the rooftop spot.

“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing,” Emma replied, fully agreeing with the younger brunette. “I’m very lucky.”

“Where is everybody?” Regina queried and looked around in the empty pool.

“Downstairs in the kiddie pool, I think,” Emma said.

“Oh. That makes sense,” Regina nodded and suddenly got a rather devilish look on her face.

“What?” Emma asked and raised an eyebrow in confusion.

The answer came when Regina caught her by surprise and splashed water in her face. Emma spluttered and wheezed and glared at the younger woman. “Oh, you are going down for this!” she assured as she splashed right back.

Regina laughed. Well, more like giggled. Yep, giggled. And the sound was so utterly contagious. Emma started laughing as well and splashed water at Regina once more for good measurement. Regina answered that by giving Emma a very light shove.

And naturally Emma shoved right back, and then they laughed some more. Well, Regina did. Emma tried not to get affected by the sound even though it was damn hard.

“Dangerous on a dancefloor and even more dangerous in a pool,” Emma teasingly accused as she laughed.

“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about,” Regina claimed, but her dark eyes were sparkling at the accusation.

Once again, Emma had to remind herself not to get distracted at the way Regina’s wet hair was sticking to her. But the laughter she came up with in response to Regina’s answer sounded a bit false. A bit
too high pitched and squeaky.

But Regina didn’t seem to notice that. Instead she playfully splashed water at Emma once more.

Naturally, Emma splashed back, fully enjoying that she could act like a kid for once. There was no one around to witness it. Well, except for Regina. And she didn’t seem to mind it. She just laughed in response and then spluttered slightly when Emma managed to splash water directly into her mouth.

“Oh, shit,” Emma half-laughed. “You okay?”

“I’m fine,” Regina chuckled. “But I think you might be the one who is dangerous in a pool.”

“Sorry,” Emma said, now a bit sheepishly. “I wasn’t trying to drown you.”

“Are you sure about that?” Regina teased lightly.

“Absolutely,” Emma firmly assured.

Regina laughed and then turned slightly so she could float on her back. “This is so much better than Lago Pool,” she said a bit lazily and added as an afterthought: “Unless the staff comes and throw me out in a moment, of course.”

“I don’t think anyone is gonna come up here, to be honest,” Emma said. “They’re far too busy in the kiddie pool.”

“Oh. Just you and me then,” Regina observed quietly.

“Yeah. Just you and me,” Emma repeated as quietly.

Regina smiled a little at that and then she was closing her eyes as she floated on her back in the water. Her hair was spreading out behind her like a dark curtain made of silk, and Emma wasn’t quite sure how she was supposed to look away from her. She looked so beautiful. So serene. Emma shook her head as her mouth went dry. There was far too much golden skin on display. Far too much of Regina she could admire. Her long legs. The flat planes of her stomach, muscular from dancing. The feather tattoo on her wrist. Her breas- nope. Emma shook her head firmly. Nu-uh. She was absolutely-most-definitely-not looking at Regina’s chest. Not even in the slightest. The blonde squared her jaw and turned her attention elsewhere. To Regina’s face. Her eyes were still closed, but that little smile dancing on her lips made Emma’s heart beat jut a little bit faster. Regina looked so utterly contend and peaceful as she floated on her back in the water.

Emma averted her eyes. And then she followed Regina’s example. She turned so she could float on her back in the water. All sound disappeared as she tipped her head backwards and let the water reach her ears. The only thing she could hear was the water around her.

She closed her eyes and felt how the light breeze tickled her skin slightly without ever making her feel cold. The sun effectively prevented that. Emma arched her back just a little bit, shifting her weight to make sure she wouldn’t end up sinking. This was incredible. Completely incredible. She felt completely weightless and free of any worry as she floated in the water. She suddenly couldn’t remember all the things she had to deal with when she came back to Storybrooke. They became unimportant. Insignificant. She felt like she was floating away in her own little bubble. A bubble where troubles and heart aches didn’t exist.

Emma exhaled in pure satisfaction and lazily reminded herself to not fall asleep in the water. If she did that, she would most definitely sink to the bottom. And drowning wasn’t on her schedule.

Then she felt something soft and warm brush against her hand. Emma opened eyes and saw that Regina wasn’t floating on her back with her eyes closed anymore. Instead she was more upright in the water, eyes wide open and with one hand stretched out in the water. The soft and warm feeling that had brought Emma out of her dazed state had been Regina’s fingertips lightly brushing against her hand.

Emma shifted in the water, so she too was in a more upright position. She smiled at Regina.

The water splashed softly and almost created little waves as Regina moved closer, and Emma drew in a breath, ready to apologize for nearly zoning out completely.

But before she could get the chance to do so, Regina turned her head just a little bit and brushed her lips against Emma’s. Her fingertips rested lightly against Emma’s hand once more, and her lips delicately pressed against Emma’s. So soft, so gentle, so utterly wonderful, so surprising. And so short. Just a tiny, soft little peck and nothing more. Regina lifted her head once more so she could meet Emma’s eyes. She smiled. A bit of a shy smile.

“Is that a good idea?” Emma asked softly, automatically smiling back at the brunette.

“You tell me,” Regina answered. Her voice was nothing more than a whisper.

And Emma gave the only answer she could. She flashed Regina another smile and then she dipped her head and captured Regina’s lips in another kiss….

 

 

To Be Continued………

Chapter Text

Emma wasn’t sure how long they kissed each other. But she did know that it felt absolutely amazing. It felt amazing to feel Regina, beautiful Regina, so close to her. It felt amazing to feel those soft, warm lips against her own. Emma could so easily become addicted to this. Kissing Regina was quite wonderful.
Regina’s soft, warm hands were lightly cupping her cheeks, and Emma hands were resting lightly on the tops of the brunette’s shoulders. Their lips molded together perfectly, effortlessly alternating between soft and firm pressure. The kind that made Emma feel dizzy. The kind that made her feel a bit floaty. Regina smelled of apples and spice and everything nice, and Emma wasn’t completely sure how she was supposed to stop kissing the young brunette. Sinful, absolutely sinful thoughts popped up in Emma’s mind. Sinful thoughts about simply ripping Regina’s bikini off and having her right here in this pool. And hearing the teeny tiny moan Regina made, definitely didn’t exactly make her thoughts less sinful.

Emma moved her hands down Regina’s sides, and she could have sworn she heard Regina giggle faintly into the kiss. Was she ticklish? If she was, that was probably the most adorable thing ever. Emma’s hands found home on Regina’s hips, and feeling the bare skin there made several new and even more sinful thoughts pop into Emma’s mind.

Yes, kissing Regina was quite wonderful!

And especially when Regina’s arms winded around her neck and they were pressed right up against each other. Emma was beginning to realize that Regina did things wholeheartedly. She danced wholeheartedly, she laughed wholeheartedly. And she kissed wholeheartedly and with a passion Emma was certain she had never come across before. She had never come across anyone like Regina before. She was like an exotic jewel. Emma gave Regina’s hips a very soft squeeze and was immediately rewarded with a very soft, delicate moan in return. Emma could become addicted to that sound. She could very easily become addicted to that sound. And the sensation of Regina’s lips against her own. It wasn’t like Emma hadn’t been kissed recently, she had, but this particular kiss was, well.... something else. Something entirely different that made Emma’s heart beat faster and faster in her chest and warmth quiver somewhere low in her belly. It would appear that kissing Regina was quite dangerous. It left you yearning for more immediately. It made sinful thoughts pop into your mind. It left you breathless and not even embarrassed about it. It made you forget that this was actually a very public pool and not a secluded area where you were hid away from the rest of the world.

Emma was the one who had initiated this kiss, but Regina was the one to end it. She was out of breath. And upon taking a deep breath, Emma realized that so was she. More than she had expected. She was almost gasping for air, really.

“You taste of cinnamon,” Regina said lightly, and Emma was impressed at how calm she sounded.

“I think that’s my lip gloss,” Emma replied, trying to get her heart rate under control.

“Oh.” Regina chuckled softly as she pushed a lock of hair behind Emma's ear. "I like cinnamon."

Emma tried to breathe normally. And then her brain finally caught up with what just happened. She had just kissed Regina. Nineteen year old Regina. Nineteen year old Regina who lived in Madrid. A completely different world from the one Emma came from.

“I’m.... I’m going home in two weeks,” Emma said.

“Si. Lo sé,” Regina said and chuckled lightly once more.

“So... So this can’t...”

“I believe you americans call it a “holiday fling,” Regina said casually and ran her wet fingers through her equally wet hair.

Emma laughed. Holiday fling. It sounded so cliché. Something that happened in the movies and never actually in real life. “I’ve never had a holiday fling before,” she confessed with a slight grin.

“I’ve never been someone’s holiday fling before,” Regina retorted, grinning right back at Emma. “There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.”

“And you’re... okay with that? With this just being-“

“Em-ma,” Regina interrupted and laughed sweetly. “Relax. You’re thinking too much. We’re having a good time, right?”

“Right,” Emma quickly agreed.

“Then lets stay focused on that, si? The only thing I’m interested in, is making sure you have a memorable time here in Madrid. You deserve that.”

“A memorable time you say?” Emma said and raised an eyebrow.

“Si. A memorable time,” Regina repeated and then she pecked Emma’s lips softly once more. “That’s all.”

“Well...” Emma said, leaning forward so she could peck Regina’s lips too. “I can definitely live with that.”

“Good,” Regina snickered and then she cupped Emma’s cheeks and kissed the blonde once more.

And this time, Emma’s brain completely switched off as she kissed Regina back and wrapped her arms around the gorgeous young brunette. A memorable time in Madrid indeed.

Regina’s fingers were in her wet hair. Pushing it away from her face and then locking her fingers in it. The tip of her tongue tapped lightly against Emma’s bottom lip, and Emma could do nothing else but parting her lips for Regina.

The kiss deepened, and Emma’s mind threatened to completely shut down on her. This was literally everything she had wanted to do ever since she laid eyes on Regina the first time. To kiss her. And now she was finally doing it! Emma couldn’t quite believe it was happening, and as to convince herself of how real it was, she held Regina a little closer. Wet skin against wet skin. The smell of chlorine tickled Emma’s nostrils, and she would never ever be able to think about chlorine without thinking about this moment and this kiss.

Regina’s arms winded tightly around her neck, and those sinful thoughts popped into Emma’s mind again when she felt Regina’s nipples hardening against her own. Suddenly it seemed like a good idea to wrap Regina’s legs around her waist, rip her bikini top off and do a number of things to her. Things that one absolutely couldn’t do in a public pool. Emma lifted her hands so she could cup Regina’s face, and then Regina pulled back slightly, bumped the tip of her nose against Emma’s jokingly and then announced: “I’m afraid I have to go now.”

“Really?” Emma said and cupped Regina’s beautiful face.

“Yes, I have somewhere to be tonight,” Regina said almost a bit ruefully as she put her hand over Emma’s for a moment.

“Are you dancing tonight?” Emma asked as she only reluctantly moved her hands away from Regina’s face. “And in that case, where? I wanna come see you.”

“I’m not dancing tonight,” Regina said as she swam towards the pool ladder and grabbed onto it so she could pull herself up from the pool. “I’m visiting my dad. He and my mother are still living in the same house, but she’s out tonight, so I thought I might as well take the opportunity to stop by and say hi to him.”

“You’re only visiting him when your mom isn’t home?” Emma asked as she swam after Regina.

“Yes. It’s easier that way. Trust me,” Regina said with a light snicker as she wrenched water out of her long hair.

Emma followed her example. She swam over to the pool ladder, grabbed onto it and then pulled herself up from the water. She sat down on the empty deck chair and didn’t even try to not-watch as
Regina toweled herself off and wrenched water out of her hair. She elegantly tied her dark hair back in a long braid and then slipped the flower patterned dress over her head.

“I’ll see you soon?” Emma asked and watched as Regina smoothened a hand over her dress.

“But of course,” Regina said with a smile. “I’m dancing at Corral de la Moreria tomorrow night. Come and see me.”

“I’ll be there,” Emma promised sincerely. Oh yes, she was most definitely going to be there! Without a doubt. She couldn’t possibly miss Regina dancing.

“And stick around and say hi afterwards,” Regina added and quirked an eyebrow.

“That too,” Emma snickered. That little eyebrow quirk was possibly the cutest thing she’d ever seen.

“Good. I’ll look forward to seeing you,” Regina said as she turned around so she could smile sweetly at Emma “Try not to get sunburned out here.”

“I’ll probably head inside,” Emma chuckled. “I think I’ve had enough chlorine water for one night.”

“Yes, me too,” Regina said and her dark eyes gleamed. “One could easily drown. Anyway, I should be going. I had fun tonight. Lots of it. Much better than the public pool I was considering to go to instead.”

“I’m really glad I invited you to come here instead,” Emma laughed. “I’ve had fun too.”

“I certainly hope so,” Regina said and flashed Emma another impossibly sweet smile. How was it even possible to be so sweet and so flirty at the same time? Emma wondered about that. But only for a second. Then Regina came closer, and Emma sort of forgot everything else. The brunette’s hand came up to Emma’s face, and Emma did her best to keep her head on as Regina pushed a lock of blonde hair behind her ear.

“See you tomorrow night, Em-ma,” Regina said a bit jokingly, almost over pronouncing the blonde’s name.

“See you tomorrow,” Emma echoed and fought the urge to kiss Regina one more time.

“I’m dancing at seven,” Regina added. And with that she turned around and headed towards the door that would lead her back inside the hotel and into the elevator.

Emma stood silently and watched as she walked away. She completely agreed with Regina. One could very easily drown.

Emma grabbed her own towel and quickly toweled herself off. Then she grabbed her bag and sarong to cover herself as she crossed the wet tiles and then opened the door that let her back inside.

She slipped inside the elevator and pressed the button. The elevator door slurped shut behind her, and Emma felt that pull somewhere behind her navel as the elevator brought her down, and after a few seconds the door opened once more, and Emma stepped out in the hallway. She left wet footprints in her wake as she walked down the hallway towards her own room. The honeymoon suite. Now Emma found it more amusing than sad. She opened the door and went inside. Closing the door before shedding the sarong and rubbing a hand over her wet hair, Emma considered what she should do now.

Obviously, she could take a shower and get ready to head downstairs and have dinner, but there was something she needed to do first. She needed to talk to her best friend.

Emma maneuvered her phone out of her bag and then sat down on the edge of the bed. She dialed Ruby’s number and then waited patiently, hoping that Ruby would pick up. She hoped that Ruby would actually be in a position to answer her phone. She was always so busy being everywhere at once. Especially at bars. Emma chuckled a bit, realizing that now she knew two people who worked in a bar. Ruby and Regina. Finally, there was some shuffling in the other end, and then Ruby’s voice: “Swan! The hell have you been? Didn’t we agree that you should call me every day?!”

“I know, I know,” Emma said and then amended: “I’m sorry, I’ve been busy.”

“Unacceptable,” Ruby scoffed and laughed. “I was about to contact the Spanish police and report you missing!”

“That’s very dramatic,” Emma laughed. “And unnecessary. I talked to my mom earlier.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know that?” Ruby shot back.

Emma laughed again.

“So?” Ruby impatiently prompted in the other end. “Tell me what I have been missing out on! Have you had enough sangria today?”

“I actually haven’t had any sangria today,” Emma said truthfully.

“Scandalous,” Ruby said plainly.

“Yeah, I know,” Emma snickered. “But I did hang out by the pool.”

“Without any sangria.”

“Okay, enough with the sangria already,” Emma half-groaned. “As I said, I hang out by the pool. And then I might have done something else.”

“What did you do?” Ruby asked in the other end.

“I kissed Regina. Or, she kissed me, but anyway-“

“Wait, back up! You kissed Regina?!”

“Yeah,” Emma admitted and swallowed back a grin. “I did.”

“As in flamenco dancer Regina? As in “not a day over twenty one”- Regina?”

“That’s the one,” Emma confirmed and tried to ignore the “not a day over twenty one” part.

“Holy shit!” Ruby screeched. “You KISSED her?!”

“Well, technically, she kissed me first-“

“But you kissed her back,” Ruby interrupted.

“Yes, I did,” Emma confirmed.

Ruby screeched again. Loudly. So loudly, Emma had to move the phone away from her ear and then scold her friend for completely smashing her eardrums. That didn’t really help, though, and she had to endure hearing Ruby sing a rusty and rather horrible version of Summer Nights.

“I want details, Danny,” Ruby demanded and laughed heartedly. “And lots of them! Tell me more, tell me more!”

“If you stop quoting fucking Grease on me,” Emma growled.

“Whatever you say, Danny.”

“Ruby!”

“Fine, fine. “I’ll stop,” Ruby promised.

“Thank you!”

“So. Details.” Ruby demanded once more. “When did you kiss?”

“Uhh... Ten minutes ago,” Emma answered and made herself comfortable on the bed. She knew Ruby and her third degrees. This could take a while.

“Okay. And where did this happen?” Ruby demanded. “More details!”

“Urgh, fine. I invited her over because the hotel has this really awesome swimming pool, and it’s like a million degrees outside, so we swam around a bit and then she kissed me,” Emma said, quickly
summarizing what had happened but keeping it PG 13. There was absolutely no reason to go overly into details. She wanted to keep those details to herself.

“You kissed each other in the pool?!” Ruby screeched, and then teased: "did she swim by you and get a cramp?"

Ignoring that, Emma said: “Yeah. That’s what I said, right?”

“Holy. Crap!” Ruby almost yelled. “Instead of moping around you go around and kiss the local, young flamenco dancers! You are a bad girl, Swan!”

“I don’t go around and kiss flamenco dancers,” Emma protested. “Just her.”

“And how was it?” Ruby asked, now grinning again.

“The best thing since they invented the grilled cheese sandwich,” Emma said happily and almost sighed a bit.

“That good, huh?”

“Exactly that good, Rubes,” Emma said earnestly. “She is... Well, I don't think I can come up with a word good enough. And don’t even start telling me how ridiculous it is, because I already KNOW that. I KNOW I’m going home in two weeks and-“

“So you’re going to see her again?” Ruby interrupted. “Or is she... Oh my god, is she still with you?!”

“No!” Emma said firmly. “She is not! But you’re right, I am going to see her again.”

“When?” her friend asked curiously in the other end.

“Tomorrow night. She asked me if I wanted to come and see her dance again.”

“And obviously, you said yes.”

“Obviously.”

“Exactly how mad about this girl are you?” Ruby asked plainly.

“I like her,” Emma openly admitted and then hastily added: “but I’m going home in two weeks, so it can’t ever be anything but a...”

“Holiday fling?”

“Yeah. Exactly.”

“And is she cool with that?”

“She was the one who mentioned it first,” Emma replied and shrugged even though Ruby couldn’t see it.

“Summer lovin’, had me a blast, summer lovin’, happened so fast, I met a girl, crazy for me-“

“Shut up!” Emma barked. “I told you not to do that!

“Can I at least tell Neal if I’m unfortunate enough to see that asshole?” Ruby asked hopefully.

“Oh god, don’t!” Emma spluttered. “Then he’ll intensity his calls, and that’s about the last thing I need right now.”

“Okay, okay, I hear you,” Ruby laughed. “I shan’t say a word.”

“Good!” Emma said. “So. What am I missing in Storybrooke?”

“Well, you’ve missed an epic thunderstorm,” Ruby informed her.

Emma laughed. She was shamelessly happy that she wasn’t in Storybrooke right now...

 

******************

 

A little while later, Emma walked downstairs to the hotel restaurant in order to have some dinner, but despite the deliciousness of it, she struggled to eat. Her stomach was full of bubbles, and her head was full of thoughts about Regina and the way they had kissed each other earlier. God, Emma couldn’t wait to see her tomorrow!

Emma drummed her fingers lightly against the table. A holiday fling. With a nineteen year old girl. God, what was she even thinking?

She was not. That was the very simple answer to that little mystery. For some reason, Emma became unable to think clearly whenever Regina was close by. Regina was simply bewitching in every possible way. And Emma couldn’t wait for more kisses when she saw the young brunette tomorrow. Madrid had literally never been more tempting.

Emma chuckled quietly to herself and treated herself to a large glass of wine and a big meal when the waiter stopped by her table.

Maybe she should invite Regina out for dinner again. It had been very nice the last time. Or maybe they could go out somewhere. A bar. Where Regina wasn’t working. A bar where she would be free to dance as much as she wanted. That had been nice too the last time. Dancing with Regina.

Emma felt something warm and treacherous somewhere low in her belly, and she reminded herself that this was a very posh and public restaurant. She really couldn’t sit here and get half aroused while thinking about Regina. It just wasn’t suitable.

A few moments later, the waiter returned with her glass of wine, and Emma had never been more grateful in her life. She immediately took a large gulp of the red wine only to choke slightly and then cough. Oh well. Coughing was better than getting aroused.

Maybe she was crazy. Having a holiday fling with a nineteen year old. Maybe that was insanity.

But Regina had been the one to initiate the kiss. Emma was a hundredth percent certain of that. She had kissed her first. And it had been absolutely wonderful, Emma thought a bit dreamily to herself as she leaned back in her chair. She could almost smell the chlorine still.

Maybe she really was bewitched. There was a fair chance. Emma felt how the warmth spread in her chest when she thought of Regina’s sweet, sweet smile. God, that girl was lovely! And Emma had two weeks she could spend in her glorious company. The blonde felt like she was one extremely lucky woman.

 

 

 

To Be Continued...........

Chapter Text

The following night had Emma entering Corral de la Moreria. And this place was slightly different from the other places Emma had seen Regina dancing in. This wasn’t a bar. This was a proper flamenco restaurant. With a proper stage. Regina would have no opportunity to dance by Emma’s table tonight. Emma felt a teeny tiny bit disappointed at that.

And what’s more, this place was packed with people. Literally. Emma wasn’t sure how in hells name she was supposed to find somewhere to sit. It looked like it was an impossible task. Crap. She should have come earlier. Maybe she would have been able to find a place to sit then. What should she do? She didn’t want to leave, definitely not. She had promised Regina to come and watch her dance, and Emma really WANTED to see her dance. Maybe she could just stand up or something like that.

While Emma was still considering whether it would be acceptable for her to stand up all night, a waiter came over to her. He flashed a beaming smile and then said: “ señorita Swan?”

“Uhh... Si,” Emma said, suprise coloring her voice.

“Ahh, come, come!” he said enthusiastically, waving her along.

Emma’s suprise didn’t lessen as she followed him over to a table very close to the stage. There was a little white note lying on the table, saying “reservado”.

“I haven’t reserved a table,” Emma said, now realizing that she probably should.

“No. La Reina did,” the waiter informed her and smiled again.

“Regina... Regina reserved this table for me?” Emma asked.

“Si, si,” the waiter said with a nod, and Emma wasn’t a hundredth percent sure he actually knew who she was referring to. He probably knew her as La Reina and not Regina. “Do sit down Señorita Swan,” he said enthusiastically and pointed to the chair.

And so Emma did. She willingly sat down in the surprisingly comfortable chair. The waiter disappeared only to reappear a moment later with a glass of wine.

“I didn’t order that either,” Emma pointed out.

“No,” the waiter smiled. “She did.”

“Right. Of course she did.” Emma muttered and felt something warm flutter around in her chest. Regina had certainly thought of everything. Reserved a table for her. Bought her wine. Now Emma’s heart was fluttering too as she thought about Regina. Beautiful Regina. Emma couldn’t wait to see her dancing. And she couldn’t wait to talk to her afterwards. And kiss her. Emma’s heart was thudding slightly now. Yes, she had every intention of kissing Regina later on. She definitely hadn’t had her fill of Regina’s kisses. The memories of the kisses they’d shared the last time they saw each other swirled around in Emma’s mind. Suddenly she could smell chlorine and the spicy sent of Regina’s perfume all over again. Emma felt how something warm and pleasant swirled around in her stomach, and her heart thudded just a tad faster in her chest. She most certainly felt like Regina had unleashed some sort of witchcraft on her. A certain witchcraft that made Emma’s palms feel ridiculously sweaty. She was pretty sure her cheeks were flushed as well. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the wine she was drinking. No, this was all Regina’s doing.

Emma took another sip of her wine, and when another waiter stopped by her table, she ordered herself tapas. She’d had a lot of tapas while she was here, but she didn’t care. If she shouldn’t have tapas when she was in Spain, when should she?

The blonde glanced at the stage. The huge stage. Regina would have lots of room to dance tonight. Good. She deserved that. She deserved more than just cramped space in a bar. That was when she saw something out of the corner of her eye. The faintest glimpse. Emma quickly turned her head just in time to see a woman with curly brown hair duck down and disappear in the crowd. Emma’s heart thumped slightly in her chest. There was no doubt in her mind that Marian was here tonight. Emma stretched her neck and looked around once more, but she could no longer see the other woman. She had disappeared somewhere in the crowd, and Emma didn’t like it one bit. And now the question was, should she tell Regina or not? The blonde once again looked around in the bar, trying her best to see if she could spot Marian in the crowd, but it was impossible. She had quite literally vanished in plain sight. Emma couldn’t figure out whether she should try and find Regina so she could tell her about it.

Suppose Marian was up to more than just low key stalking? Suppose she had planned on doing something that could somehow sabotage Regina’s performance tonight?

No. Surely, she wouldn’t be that stupid, right? This place was packed with people. If Marian tried to do something, she would be caught in no time. But still, Emma decided to stay alert and look for signs that Marian was up to no good. And if it really turned out that she was up to no good, Emma would definitely step in and ask her what the hell the thought she was doing. She was not about to let Marian get away with being a total bitch to Regina. Regina wasn’t to blame for this. Robin was. He was the one who had tricked Regina into bed. He was the one who had told her he was single when he was actually married. That douchebag, Emma thought to herself as she took another sip of her wine. So much like Neal. He hadn’t called today, by the way. And Emma was really, really grateful for that. Maybe it meant that he had finally gotten the message. That Emma didn’t want to hear from him ever again. That bastard. That stupid fucking asshole. Emma took a larger gulp of wine in an attempt to drown her anger.

Emma was still thinking less than pretty thoughts about both Neal and Robin when the waiter arrived with her tapas. The blonde’s mood instantly lightened. Because nobody could be pissed when eating tapas. It just wasn’t possible. She dug into her food and almost moaned out loud at how good everything tasted. Seriously, this had to be the best fucking tapas she had ever tasted. And in a moment, she was gonna see Regina dance. And then “stop by and say hi afterwards” like Regina had put it. Hell yeah, Emma was gonna say hi afterwards! And create some more memories. What was it, Regina had said yesterday? That she wanted Emma to have a good time while she was in Madrid. Well, thanks to Regina, Emma was having a VERY good time in Madrid. The blonde chuckled, almost choking on a Croquetas in the process. She reminded herself to be careful. Getting choked wasn’t exactly on her schedule for tonight. But taking pictures of her food however, was. Emma immediately found her phone and snapped a couple of pictures of her food. Pictures she immediately sent to Ruby. The blonde snickered again. Making her friend who was back home in Storybrooke, was so much fun. And it didn’t take long before Emma was “rewarded” with a series of very sour looking emojis, and the message that she was a “goddamn sadist”.

Emma felt quite good about being a sadist. She had absolutely no problems with being a sadist. And she didn’t even feel annoyed when Ruby asked if she was seeing “the little Spanish beauty dance tonight”. Regina WAS Spanish. And she most definitely was a beauty. Emma could have chosen to correct the “little” part, but she didn’t. Instead she texted back that yes, she was indeed going to see Regina dance tonight. And she couldn’t wait. Ruby answered by asking Emma if she had heard something from “ginormous asshole, aka Neal”, and Emma chuckled loudly when she told her friend that nope, her ex-fiancé had been delightfully quiet today. And Ruby answered that by expressing her concern that Neal’s sudden silence could mean that he was on his way to Madrid. Emma took a moment to consider how fucking terrible that would be, but then she shook her head firmly and texted Ruby that she refused to believe that Neal would take things that far. And if he did... Well, Emma would certainly not have any problem with reporting him for harassing her all the fucking time. She chuckled darkly at the thought. That would just make Robert and Milah Gold delighted if Emma reported Neal to the police. Milah would especially be horrified, and Emma thought to herself that this was one of the perks of not marrying Neal. She would avoid getting Milah Cassidy-Gold as her mother-in-law. Cassidy-Gold. The hell kind of name was that even? Emma snorted. At least Neal had never called himself “Neal Gold”. He and his father had a “conflicted” relationship at best, and as a result of that, Neal had resorted to taking his mother’s maiden name as his surname. Emma Cassidy. It didn’t really sound that good.

Emma’s musings about surnames and Neal’s insufferable parents were interrupted when the lights were dimmed, and people began muttering excitedly. It was time. Emma took another sip of her wine, then delved into the tapas and leaned back on her chair. She was more than ready to see Regina dance.

The two guitar playing men came on stage, and everyone applauded. But not half as loudly as when Regina came on stage a moment later. Emma’s breath completely hitched in her throat when she saw the beautiful brunette. Regina’s long hair had been slicked back in a tight bun held together by that red rose. Her eye makeup was dark and made her eyes seem even more intense than usually. Her lips had been painted a dark shade of red, and she was wearing a black flamenco dress with corset back and a ruffled skirt. There was literally no trace whatsoever of the girl Emma had spent time with yesterday. Regina looked so... different. Mature. Emma took an extra big sip of her wine and then fumbled to get the camera out of the bag. She made it just in time. Regina curtsied for her audience. Once to the left (Emma took a picture) and twice to the right where Emma was sitting, and the blonde was willing to bet her camera that Regina was doing it deliberately. To ensure that Emma snapped some great pictures of her.

Then everything went silent, and Regina glanced at the two guitar playing men. They nodded back to her, and Regina began tapping her foot. Lightly, at first. To create a rhythm. But as she eased into it, she began stomping her feet louder and louder as she danced. Emma was supposed to take pictures. She knew that. But right now she couldn’t stop looking at her. She couldn’t risk missing a single movement just because she had to raise the camera. Emma’s mouth went completely dry as she saw how Regina elegantly moved on stage. How she twisted her body and twirled around and picked up her skirt to give everyone a good look at her dancing feet. Only now Emma noticed that the two men weren’t playing guitar as usual. Regina was creating the rhythm entirely on her own. She gracefully lifted her arms and dramatically threw her head back. Now Emma HAD to take a picture of her. She quickly grabbed the camera and slammed her finger down on the button again and again. As many times as she could possibly manage while Regina held that position. She truly lived up to her stage name right now. She really was a Queen. And a damn beautiful one. A damn beautiful one Emma was so longing to kiss again. She could feel that ridiculous yearning in the pit of her stomach, and she couldn’t quite decide whether she should be angry with herself or not.

Regina spun around once more, and Emma lowered the camera in defeat. She couldn’t concentrate on taking pictures tonight. She was entirely too spellbound. The only thing she could do was sit quietly and watch as Regina bewitched her audience. God, that girl was beautiful! So, so beautiful!

Emma noted that she was getting more and more affected by Regina’s dancing. She could feel that tingling sensation somewhere low in her gut. Could feel that familiar warmth sizzle down her spine. Her pulse was quickening, and her heart was beating alarmingly fast in her chest. It was ridiculous, but she couldn’t help it. She was officially getting aroused. In public. While watching Regina dance. Emma clenched her jaw firmly, trying to will herself to stop feeling what she was feeling, but it was too damn late. The ache between her thighs didn’t stop just because she told it to. Fucking hell. She was torn.

She was both afraid of looking and Regina and looking away. If she kept looking at her, the throbbing sensation between her thighs would only intensity, but if she looked away, she would miss out on Regina’s dance. And that would be awful.

Utterly consumed, Emma kept watching as the young brunette danced and gracefully moved her arms. It was like Regina was two different people. The sweet young woman with the soft smile and glorious laughter. And La Reina, the dancer who acted like she was owning the stage and the audience watching her. Both versions of her was so damn alluring, and Emma felt completely dizzy as she looked at Regina who gracefully raised her skirt and then spun around while her feet kept stomping and stomping, echoing slightly every time. Emma still wondered how Regina did this? How was it even possible for her to dance like that? So gracefully and so effortlessly.

Regina snapped her fingers once, and one of the two guitar playing men threw a red scarf at her. Regina swiftly caught it, and the scarf waved in the air like a red flag as she incorporated it in her dance.

She draped it around her arms, then holding it out as she spun around, letting it fly behind her. Next she was touching it in an almost caressing manner as she slowed down some.

Emma swallowed something. Crossed her legs under the table. And what Regina did next didn’t help the matter one bit. She threw the scarf. Right at Emma. The blonde’s reflexes kicked in right at the last minute, and she caught the scarf in the air.

The audience cheered, and Emma shifted a bit on her seat as she saw the smile Regina flashed her.

Emma wetted her lips for the millionth time that night, and only now she realized that the men had started to play guitar. Until now, Regina’s stomping feet had been the only source of sound in the room.

Regina spun around and around, faced the stage, faced Emma, and every time she did so, her dark gaze almost burned Emma. Seriously, those dark eyes could see right through Emma. If she didn’t knew any better, she would say that Regina was in the process of undressing her with the eyes.

Emma smoothened a hand over the baby blue dress she was wearing tonight. Was it possible to feel aroused by the way someone danced, Emma silently wondered to herself? Well, yes, that was why lap dancing existed. But this wasn’t lap dancing. This was flamenco dancing. And Emma was starting to feel like “the odd one out” for getting aroused to this.

Regina spun around and oh god, the way she made eye contact and smiled at Emma, was almost enough to send Emma straight into the bathroom to do something about the throbbing between her thighs. The blonde was sure that smile was only meant for her. It was different from the way Regina had been smiling at the other people present in the restaurant. Then she was spinning around again, and the ruffle-y skirt billowed around her. She moved her arms up above her head again, arched her back slightly, and even Emma still wasn’t capable of grabbing her camera. All she could do was watch as Regina danced. Watch while she could hear her pulse pounding in her ear. Her heart kept stuttering in this uneven rhythm, and Emma wasn’t completely sure whether she needed a heart doctor or a very, very cold shower.

Regina spun around faster and faster, the pounding of her stomping feet against the stage floor intensified. So did Emma’s heartbeat. She grabbed on to the edge of the table. Her knuckles cracked slightly, and Emma was sure they were turning white.

The music was playing faster and faster. Regina was dancing faster and faster. The only thing Emma could see was the blurry outline of a ruffled skirt.

And then, with one final stomp and an ever confident: “Olé!” Regina concluded the dance and the audience went wild. Everyone rose from their seats and clapped. So did Emma. She felt oddly lightheaded, but she still managed to clap for Regina.

While the other guests were still clapping, Emma quickly gobbled down the rest of the wine. She watched as Regina disappeared out back, and Emma was quick to follow her example. She still had food left, but the only sort of appetite she had right now, was an appetite for the beautiful young dancer who had just bewitched her completely. And apparently undressed her with the eyes. Emma chuckled lightly as she wiggled past the crowd. From what she could understand, the two men playing guitar had just announced that they would buy drinks for everybody. Bold suggestion, but definitely met with a lot of enthusiasm from the people here. As Emma passed the bar, she was sure she saw a glimpse of curly brown hair. The blonde stopped and briefly looked around, once again trying to see if she could
spot Marian in the crowd, but once again, the other woman had disappeared in the crowd. Which was a pity, really. Emma wouldn’t have been afraid to ask her to leave Regina the fuck alone. If Marian wanted to antagonize someone, she could antagonize her husband. Not Regina.

Emma excused herself again and again as she slipped past the crowd and reached the door. She swiftly opened it and stepped into the hallway. Her footsteps echoed slightly as she trotted down the hallway. First, she passed a door with a sign saying “Baño”, and then she reached a second door with no sign on it. Emma chose to believe that she had come to the right place, so she quietly knocked on the door.

“¿Quién está ahí?” Regina inquired behind the door.

“It’s me, Emma,” the blonde announced.

“Well. Come in then, It’s-Me-Emma,” Regina said and laughed behind the door.

Emma wasn’t sure whether to laugh or inform Regina that that was a horrible joke, but either way she pushed the door open and went inside the dressing room.

This room was considerably larger than the other rooms, Emma noted as she quietly closed the door behind her. There was a proper vanity with a low chair in front of it, two plushy chairs near the wall, a large full figure mirror, and a screen. Emma could hear Regina move about behind the screen, could hear the telltale sound of a zipper being pulled down and then some shuffling. Emma swallowed something when she realized that Regina quite literally was in the middle of changing. Maybe she should just... come back in a couple of minutes or something like that.

“I’ll be done in a second,” Regina said from behind the screen. “Just make yourself comfortable.”

Okay then. Emma sat down in one of the plushy chairs and listened as Regina moved about behind the screen. Now and then she heard she heard the younger woman curse softly under her breath. Emma tried not to look at the clothes she could see hanging slung over the screen that shielded Regina from her eyes. She could see a blue denim skirt, a peasant blouse and a pair of red lace panties. Emma swallowed something. A red lace bra. Gods above. Now Emma was totally stretching her neck to see if she could get a better look at it. At least she was until she reminded herself that she was in fact staring at Regina’s underwear. Which definitely was a bad idea. The blonde cleared her throat and tried to shift her focus by saying: “thank you for booking me a table so close to the stage.”

“You’re welcome.”

“And thank you for buying me wine as well. You didn’t have to do that.”

“I wanted to,” Regina said behind the screen.

“Well, I definitely had a good time in Madrid tonight,” Emma joked.

And Regina laughed in the sweetest way possible behind the screen. Emma saw how the black flamenco dress was nonchalantly thrown across the screen. The red lace bra disappeared, and Emma saw no new bra being thrown across the screen. Which could only mean one thing. Regina hadn’t been wearing a bra while dancing. Regina was most likely braless right now. Fucking hell.

Emma forced herself to think about something else and said the first thing coming to mind: “I think Marian is here tonight.” which probably wasn’t the best thing she could have said, really. Upsetting Regina wasn’t exactly Emma’s reason for being here tonight. Darn it.

“I know,” Regina said behind the screen. “I could feel the daggers in my back every time I turned around.”

“Oh.”

“Was she bothering you?” the young brunette continued, and Emma wiggled a bit on her chair when she saw the denim skirt disappear. Regina in a bra and a denim skirt and absolutely nothing else. Jesus Christ.

“No, she wasn’t,” Emma replied. “I just saw her, that’s all.”

“Oh. Then I don’t care that she’s here,” Regina said plainly.

“It doesn’t bother you that she’s basically stalking you?” Emma said and frowned slightly.

“No. Next time I’ll punch back,” Regina laughed.

So did Emma. “Okay then.”

The peasant blouse disappeared and after a bit more shuffling, Regina stepped out from behind the screen. Her makeup was still dark and on point, and her hair was still tightly pulled back. But the beaming smile on her face was a stark contrast to her strangely “intimidating” makeup.

“Hi,” she said, and her dark eyes sparkled.

“Hey,” Emma replied and returned the smile. “You did amazing tonight!”

“Thank you, Em-ma,” Regina said softly. “I’ll just do something about my hair. You don’t mind waiting while I do that, do you? It won’t take long.”

“That’s completely fine,” Emma was quick to assure.

“Great.” Regina sat down in the low chair in front of the vanity. She unfastened the rose, and her hair immediately tumbled down her back. Emma stared unabashedly as she shook her head, sending dark curls tumbling.

Regina grabbed a brush and ran it through her hair repeatedly before grabbing a hair tie and then beginning to braid her hair. Despite the dark makeup, the different hairstyle instantly made her look softer, and Emma shook her head. She was quite attracted to both versions of Regina.

“Have you been busy today?” Regina asked and glanced at Emma in the mirror.

“I went for a walk and took some pictures,” Emma said. “But that was about it. I’ve been looking forward to tonight.”

“Me, too,” Regina smiled. “It’s really nice to see you again.”

“It’s nice to see you too.” maybe even a bit too nice. Seriously, should she be this excited about seeing Regina again? Emma wasn’t too sure about that. What she was feeling for Regina felt much too strong, and it concerned Emma quite a bit. She was going home in two weeks. She had to contain herself. One way or the other.

But every thought about that completely went out the window when Regina came over to her and flashed her a beaming smile. “Hello.”

“Hello,” Emma said meekly. Man, she was going under! Big time.

“I think my hair still smells of chlorine,” Regina said sweetly, clearly thinking about what had happened the last time they saw one another.

“Really?” Emma said with a grin. “Funny. I can only smell apples from where I’m standing.”

Regina laughed and then she leaned in and kissed Emma. But not for long. As soon as it had happened, she pulled back and flushed slightly. “S-sorry, I was just-“

Emma effectively shushed her by planting one on those beautiful, luscious red lips. Regina had absolutely nothing to feel sorry about. Apologizing for spontaneously kissing Emma was ridiculous. Emma had absolutely nothing against it. Kissing Regina was exactly as nice as it had been yesterday at the pool. And maybe even a bit nicer. Emma’s dreams hadn’t quite lived up to the real deal. She wrapped her arms around the young brunette’s waist to bring her just a little bit closer. She felt Regina’s soft hands in her hair. Her touches were delicate yet confident. Soft, yet bold. And it damn well worked.

Despite her fingers only being in the blonde’s hair, Emma could still feel the touch everywhere. Her body was tingling because of the way Regina was touching her, and fuck she smelled so good! Of apples and cinnamon and summer rain. Emma wasn’t completely sure how the last part was possible, but oh well. She licked along the seam of Regina’s lips, teasing them open, and Regina more than willingly parted her lips for Emma. Their tongues met and brushed against each other, the tip of Regina’s wrapping around Emma’s and then sucking lightly. Emma moaned shamelessly into the kiss. Yes, maybe she was going under, but maybe it didn’t matter squad. Maybe she was completely fine with going under. Maybe she just wanted to be able to inhale the scent of summer rain in Regina’s skin for a couple of hours. Or a couple of days.

Regina’s fingers tightened slightly in her hair, and the light and soft moan she released almost made Emma lose it completely. Regina had to be some kind of witch. Designed to entice Emma completely.

There was no other explanation for the crazy effect she had on Emma. Seriously, Emma had never experienced anything like this before. She wasn’t normally one for doing this kind of thing. Holiday flings. Kissing a woman she’d only just met. The kissing part alone was almost a bit foreign. It had been years since Emma last had kissed a woman, and now she was beginning to realize just how much she had missed it. Regina’s lips were soft and warm and wonderful. And when Emma cupped her cheeks, she only felt softness. Smooth and warm and wonderful softness. No scratchy stubble. Emma moaned softly once more.

What interrupted them wasn’t lack of oxygen, but the sound of people passing by on their way to the bathroom. Emma pecked Regina’s lips one last time and then took a step backwards.

Regina’s cheeks were glowing beautifully now, and her dark eyes were sparkling with something Emma could only describe as mischief. Sexy yet thoroughly endearing mischief. Emma felt tempted to kiss that smirk right off the younger woman’s lips, but then once again heard people walking past the dressing room.

“Would you like to go for a walk or something?” Regina asked as she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. “I would have suggested that we took a drink here, but I don’t really wanna risk running into Marian. I’m not interested in dragging you into another showdown. One gotta be enough.”

Emma chuckled softly, agreeing with the brunette. Tonight wasn’t for showdowns. “Would you mind if that walk is back to my hotel? I’ve heard there’s a heavy rainfall coming.”

“I’ve heard the same,” Regina said and nodded. “And I’d like that.”

“Perfect. But just for the record... I’ll be buying you a drink,” Emma said firmly. “You’ve already ordered wine for me.”

“So?” Regina teased.

“So I’ll be buying the next,” Emma said firmly.

Regina chuckled but didn’t disagree. “I’ll just be changing shoes then.” she walked back over to the low chair in front of the vanity, and Emma noted that she was wincing slightly as she wiggled her foot.

“Feet hurting?” the blonde asked and raised an eyebrow in concern.

“I might have over stomped a bit,” Regina admitted lightly.

Emma chuckled. “Are you dancing again tomorrow?”

“No, tomorrow I’m working at the bar,” Regina said as she slipped the high heeled dance shoes off and replaced then with plain, black ballerinas.

“Your poor feet,” Emma said earnestly.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Regina brushed her off and stuffed the shoes into a large plastic bag along with the flamenco dress. She left the plastic bag under the table, ensuring Emma that Alejandro (one of the guitar playing men) would take care of it.

“Shall we?” she asked as she walked over to Emma again.

“Yes, lets,” Emma said, suffocating a grin. Now that Regina was wearing those flat ballerina’s, she was actually a head shorter than Emma. She was tiny. It was quite cute.

Regina lightly bumped her shoulder against Emma’s as they left the dressing room, and that made Emma smile all over again. The blonde reached out and took Regina’s hand as they left the restaurant and walked outside. Maybe handholding was a far too “serious” gesture, but right now, Emma didn’t give a damn.

 

**************************

 

But as soon as they came back to the hotel, it became abundantly clear that they couldn’t “hang out” in the restaurant. Every last table was taken due to a “Conferencia”. A conferencia that had been announced on a large sign right by the lobby the entire week. A sign Emma had totally not paid attention to.

Emma glanced at Regina. Now what? It was pouring down outside. And out of the many things Emma had brought with her on holiday, an umbrella was not one of them. Ergo, it would be ridiculous to go outside.

“Maybe we could stay in the lobby?” Emma suggested halfheartedly. She wasn’t really up for that. The lobby was such a “public” area. She didn’t wanna hang out in public. She wanted to be alone with Regina.

“Or maybe you could show me your room?” Regina suggested and tilted her head slightly. “You’ve spoken so much about it, and I’ve become so curious about how it looks.”

Regina in her room. Emma’s belly fluttered at the mere thought. She had to wet her lips again. Having Regina in her hotel room seemed so exhilarating. So thrilling. And what options did they have? They couldn’t very well go outside in the rain. And they couldn’t head into the restaurant. It was full of people.

“That’s a good idea,” Emma said with a slight nod. “I have a pretty good minibar in my room. I still wanna give you that drink.”

The smile Regina flashed her was full of playfulness, but her voice was coated with innocence as she said: “lead the way.”

And so Emma did. Ignoring everything she knew about handholding, she took Regina’s hand once more as they headed towards the elevator. It didn’t take long before the elevator arrived, and Emma and Regina literally had to stand back as the door opened. The elevator was full of suits attending the conference, and Emma had to silently admire them. Wearing suits in this heat. That craved some determination. Emma and Regina stepped inside the elevator, and Emma pushed the button. The elevator doors slurped closed, and Emma felt that pull somewhere behind her navel as the elevator brought them up. She noted that she was still holding on to Regina’s hand. She hadn’t even attempted to let go. Nor had Regina.

Soon the elevator doors opened once more, and Emma and Regina stepped out in the hallway. Emma lead Regina towards the door to her room and fumbled briefly to grab the key in the pocket of her dress. After a few seconds, she could unlock the door and push it open.

“Welcome to the honeymoon suite,” she said, cringing the second the words left her mouth. She should definitely not have put it like that, damnit! And what’s more, she had sounded completely seriously when she said it. She couldn’t even write it off as a joke. Double damnit.

“What a room,” Regina said as she stepped inside and looked around.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure everybody at the hotel is gossiping about me,” Emma said halfheartedly.

“Why would they be gossiping about you?” Regina asked and frowned softly.

“Single woman? Living alone in the honeymoon suite? Originally registered as “Mrs. Cassidy”, but insist on being referred to as “miss Swan”?”

“Oh,” Regina acknowledged.

“They’re definitely gossiping about me,” Emma half-laughed. “And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one or two of the guests gives me a real sympathetically look.”

“Are you very upset that you’re here alone?” Regina asked softly.

“I was at first,” Emma said. “But if I wasn’t here alone, you wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

“That’s true, I wouldn’t,” Regina nodded and chuckled lightly. She looked around once more, curiously. Then said: “I think this is the nicest hotel room I’ve ever been in.”

“It’s the nicest room I’ve been in too,” Emma smiled. “I was pretty shocked when I stepped in here the first time.”

Regina chuckled softly once more. Such a deep and rich sound. Emma bit the inside of her cheek and tried to snap out of it as she walked over to the minibar. “How about that drink?”

“Actually, I would prefer something sweet,” Regina said. “Dancing always makes me so hungry.”

“That’s pretty understandable,” Emma snickered as she roamed through the minibar and found a piece of chocolate. “Is that sweet enough?”

“That’ll do,” Regina said with a smile as she accepted the piece of chocolate from Emma. “Thank you.”

“No need to thank me,” Emma assured.

Regina unwrapped the piece of chocolate and stuffed it inside her mouth.

First flamenco dancing. Now chocolate eating. Emma was finding a lot of things to be attractive tonight.

Regina was quick to munch her way through the piece of chocolate and then she elegantly wiped the corners of her mouth with her thumb.

Emma swallowed something again and tried to look anywhere else.

Regina walked over to the bed and elegantly perched herself on the edge of it. “This is quite the bed.”

“It is,” Emma said halfheartedly.

“Won’t you come and sit next to me?” Regina asked and patted the bed lightly.

“Sure.” As pulled by a string, Emma walked over to the bed and sat down next to Regina. And tried not to stare at Regina’s legs.

And Regina put her hand over the blonde’s. “What are you thinking about, Emma?”

“I don’t know,” Emma muttered. Her heart was thumping entirely too fast in her chest.

“Yes, you do,” Regina said lightly.

“I’m thinking that we’re sitting on my bed,” Emma said, now feeling like she was the nineteen year old.

“And is that a bad thing?” Regina asked softly and reached out, putting her hand over Emma’s.

“No,” Emma said. “It’s a good thing. Maybe even a little... too good.”

“Emma, you’re thinking too much,” Regina said with a soft little chuckle.

“Am I?”

“Yes. We’re having a good time, aren’t we?” Regina inquired and tilted her head lightly.

“We are,” Emma agreed.

Regina turned her head and captured Emma’s lips in another soft kiss.

Yes, they were having a good time. Just having a good time in Madrid. That was what Regina had said yesterday, and that was exactly what she was having right now. Their kiss quickly grew into
something less soft and more passionate. Something Emma had tried to push back for a while now, and maybe she should continue to do so now. Because maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe Emma was digging herself in entirely too deeply. The wheels in Emma’s head kept turning and turning as she tried to figure out what the hell she was doing.

Regina broke the kiss, whispered: “Emma. Stop thinking.”

And why was it so fucking to just do what she said? Emma’s arms automatically wrapped around Regina’s waist, pulling the young brunette closer. God, how she wanted Regina! She could seldom remember a time where she had wanted anything or anyone as much as she wanted Regina right now.

And the feeling was entirely mutual. Regina’s lips moved against her own. With more intensity than before. Now she was the one to pry Emma’s lips open. And Emma more than willingly opened her mouth for Regina and let her slip her tongue inside. Emma was growing increasingly warm. She couldn’t get enough of Regina, and Emma didn’t think twice about it when Regina gently nudged her onto her back and elegantly straddled her waist. Emma opened her eyes for a second and looked at Regina. As she met the brunette’s eyes, her brain finally switched back on so to speak. “Regina...”

“Emma,” Regina gently parroted and flashed a soft smile as she continued: “relax. You’re thinking too much. I just want your time here in Madrid to be memorable.”

Emma’s breath completely hitched at that. “I’d.... I’d like that too, but are you-“

“Yes, I am,” Regina said, sweetly interrupting the blonde. “I am very, very sure. And I have been since the first time I danced around you in the bar. Do you remember that?”

“Si,” Emma said, trying her best to tease but failing miserably and ended up just sounding breathless. “I... I felt the same. I feel the same.”

“Then what is there to talk about?” Regina said, offering another sweet laughter. She grasped Emma’s hands and placed them on her thighs where her denim skirt had ridden up.

Emma’s hands clasped behind Regina’s neck as she pulled the brunette down for another kiss. She was right. There was absolutely nothing more to talk about. This was going to happen sooner or later. Emma realized that now. Why fight the inevitable? Why fight something that already had been decided that night they first saw each other?

Emma kissed Regina fiercely and reveled in that soft moan escaping Regina. Like hell she was gonna waste time on talking when she could be kissing this stunningly beautiful woman......

 

 

To Be Continued...........

Chapter Text

With her brain switched off, Emma found herself more than capable of kissing Regina. In fact it was the easiest thing in the world. Her hands were still planted firmly on Regina’s thighs, and the warmth from the other woman seemed to seep right through Emma’s skin and into her bones.

Regina shifted a bit on top of her, made herself comfortable, and Emma opened her eyes for a split second to appreciate the view. She had seldom seen anything more beautiful than this. Regina on top of her. It didn’t even seem real. Emma moved her hands up to Regina’s waist, squeezed a bit and earned herself a slight moan. The blonde almost smirked at that. Somebody liked that.

Then Regina moved again. She broke the kiss and now she was the one to smirk as she lifted the peasant blouse and pulled it over her head.

Emma’s throat immediately felt dry as she looked at Regina’s red lace bra. The bra she’d seen once tonight already when it was slung over the screen, but it most definitely looked better on Regina. The red lace cradled two swelling breasts, and Emma felt a mixture of jealousy and arousal when she looked at Regina. “Holy shit, you’re stunning.”

“You think so?” Regina asked and her voice was coated in mischievous “sweet” innocence.

“Oh yeah,” Emma said.

Regina flashed her a smile and then she grasped Emma’s hands, guiding them up so they could cup her breasts.

Emma wetted her lips when she brushed her thumbs over Regina’s nipples. They were hard and straining against the fabric of Regina’s bra. The little moan Regina released was enough to make Emma lose it completely! She grasped Regina’s waist again and then she was flipping them, so she was the one on top.

Regina yelped in delight and then laughed. “Such force, Em-ma.”

“Oh yeah,” the blonde repeated and then she took Regina’s mouth in a quick, firm kiss. The way Regina pronounced her name drove her absolutely mad. Regina was driving her mad. Had been for a while now. And now Emma was finally kissing her like she had imagined to do so many times. Regina was right here, in her hotel room, in her bed. It seemed completely crazy, but nevertheless, it was true.

Emma tugged lightly at her bottom lip, and Regina moaned again, her fingers locked in Emma’s blonde hair. That was driving Emma mad too. Completely and utterly. Everything about Regina attracted her. She was like gasoline to an already flickering bonfire.

Emma moved her lips from Regina’s mouth to her jaw. Found a particular spot that made Regina moan once more. She was sensitive. Exactly like Emma had imagined.

And she was soft. So soft. Emma hadn’t quite realized how much she missed feeling that softness until she kissed Regina’s neck and found nothing but softness there. Regina moaned softly and her back arched. Her fingers played with the straps on Emma’s dress, pushing them down, and now it was Emma’s turn to moan. Regina’s fingers were soft too. Impossibly soft. The way they played with her hair and tugged slightly was... well, something Emma had missed for quite a while. A slightly harsher pull had Emma zoning out and moaning into the kiss for a second, and Regina immediately took advantage of that. Perhaps she was tiny, but she definitely possessed some strength. Emma discovered that when Regina effortlessly flipped them, so she was the one on top again. She grinned at Emma, then rucked the blonde’s baby blue dress up, up, up. Emma licked her lips as she lifted her hips and then she flushed ridiculously when she suddenly remembered that she was not wearing a bra underneath the dress. It had been too warm to even think about bras when she got dressed this morning. Emma bit her lip when Regina pulled the dress over her head in one fluid motion and bared Emma’s breasts. Admittedly, lying only in her panties was a bit nerve-wracking for Emma. It had been quite a while since she last had gotten undressed for someone new. Normally, Emma was fairly confident about her body. She liked the way she looked. She liked her muscular arms, her toned abs and long legs. Her small, but shapely breasts. But now... now she suddenly felt self-conscious. And almost painfully aware that she hadn’t been nineteen years old for many years now.

“Hermosa,” Regina said softly. “Muy hermosa.”

“You think so?” Emma echoed and smirked a bit at the younger woman.

“Si. I really do,” Regina said, and there was that sweet and genuine smile again. That smile was dangerous. That smile made Emma think “scary” things. Like postponing her return to Storybrooke with another week. Very, very dangerous.

“Are you alright?” Regina asked, and Emma noted that she had zoned out.

“Yes, I’m fine,” the blonde assured and almost laughed at the absurdity. Regina wasn’t supposed to ask if she was alright. It was supposed to be the other way around. How could Regina be more mature than Emma was? It was a bit laughable, really.

“Touch me,” Emma half-demanded as to make up for her journey into her own mind.

And so Regina did. She delicately placed her small hands on Emma’s breasts, squeezed slightly, and Emma noted that it was a very perfect fit. She moved her own hands to the front clasp on Regina’s red lace bra and unhooked it. The bra popped open, and Regina’s breasts almost sprung free. Emma silently wondered whether she was wearing a size too small or something like that. It certainly seemed like it. Regina moved her hands away from Emma’s breasts and shrugged off her bra completely and now Emma definitely had to swallow something. She didn’t even think as she reached out and lightly cupped Regina’s right breast.

Regina licked her lips at that, pushed herself forward in order to gain more contact. Emma took the hint and cupped her breast more firmly. “You are so beautiful.”

“Gracias,” Regina said with faux modesty, and Emma laughed as a way to cover for her own insecurity about her partial state of nudity as she said:
“You wanna take your skirt off?”

“We wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to take my skirt off,” Regina quipped as she unzipped her denim skirt and then elegantly wiggled out of it. The denim skirt ended up at the bottom of the bed, and Emma could see long and smooth golden legs. Toned from days of dancing. Regina truly was breathtaking. Stunning. In every way.

Emma didn’t tell her that. It would be too much. She settled for thinking it. Loudly. Regina leaned forward and pecked her lips one more time, and then her mouth was venturing down over Emma’s jaw, her neck, down her collarbone, her sternum. She pulled slightly at the skin. Emma moaned again. Her eyes slid closed and her head lolled to the side, automatically offering Regina more of her neck. And oh, how Regina took that opportunity. She nipped and sucked and swirled her tongue over the skin, but she did it with flair. Elegantly. She knew what she was doing. Emma moved her hands, placed them on Regina’s hips and gave a little squeeze. Regina made a slight hissing sound at that, and Emma’s ministrations clearly spurred her on. She took her attention lower and placed a kiss on the top of Emma’s breast. The grip Emma had on Regina’s hips immediately grew lax, and the blonde moaned again. Regina was incredible! And when Emma told her that, the young brunette chuckled into Emma’s breast. The vibrations from her mouth made Emma’s skin tingle. She could feel those tingles in her crotch, and it made her moan again and wiggle slightly.

“Jesus Christ!” she murmured.

There was that chuckle again, and then Regina’s talented mouth was hovering just above her nipple. Emma instantly arched forward. And Regina took the hint and wrapped her lips around Emma’s hard nipple. She began sucking gently, and Emma squeezed her eyes shut. She felt those pulsating tingles in her crotch again and moaned strangled when she felt the wetness emerge from her core.

“Oh, fuck!” the blonde cursed and clasped her hands in Regina’s hair. The brunette’s braid was slowly coming loose, and Emma wrapped strands of loose hair around her fingers. Regina kept sucking and sucking, gradually intensifying the pressure on Emma’s nipple, and the more pressure she applied, the more Emma wiggled and squeezed her legs together as best as she could. God, Regina was good at this!

Honestly, Emma still struggled to comprehend that this was actually happening. That Regina was on top of her, coaxing these sounds out of her, making her body twist and turn like this. She moaned sharply again, shifted her hips. Regina switched side, wrapped her lips around Emma’s other nipple and began sucking. Slowly and gently first, and then gradually applying more and more pressure.

Emma’s back arched as she pushed her breast further into Regina’s mouth, and Regina’s hand came up to knead Emma’s other’s breast. Emma’s brain was rapidly clouding over as she lied there on the bed. The canopy bed. The canopy bed she was supposed to enjoy her honeymoon with Neal in. Sometimes things worked out in a weird way, and right now Emma had never been more grateful for it! Regina’s mouth on her breast felt absolutely incredible. Emma didn’t want it to end. Ever. It left her breathless and aching for Regina in certain places, and she found herself squirming and moaning, almost begging for more. Which was incredibly surprising. Emma didn’t normally... she didn’t normally “go” this fast. It usually took her longer to get this point. The point where she desperately craved more. Regina had reduced her to this already. Emma had little idea how, but she had.

She hissed again, now feeling a little delirious. Regina gave her right breast a firm squeeze, then released Emma’s left nipple with a soft pop and lifted her head. She smirked at Emma, and before Emma could get the chance to as much as say anything, Regina had claimed her mouth in a kiss. Emma very willingly returned the kiss, clasped her hands in Regina’s hair, but her grip became lax the moment she felt Regina’s hand slipping inside her panties. Emma gasped unabashedly into the kiss and Regina answered by circling Emma’s throbbing clit. Emma’s body completely twitched at that, and she broke the kiss to hiss: “oh god!” she swore she saw Regina’s eyes sparkle slightly at that, but she wasn’t completely sure. Regina kissed her again, pulled and tugged slightly at her lower lip while she circled Emma’s clit with her smart fingers.

Emma felt more wetness emerge from within her. She was positive that her panties were soaked. Her core clenched and she once again had to break the kiss. This time to throw her head back. She arched her back, rocked her hips against Regina’s touch. And Regina’s fingers kept playing with her clit, kept doing things that left Emma completely breathless and on the brink of coming already. The blonde’s jaw clenched as she felt that tingling sensation starting in her heels. She knew exactly what that tingling sensation meant, and damnit, it was too soon! She couldn’t be this close already! It wasn’t possible.

“Fuck, Regina!” Emma panted. She could practically already see stars.

But then Regina pulled back. She moved her fingers away from Emma’s clit, and Emma’s head immediately snapped up to see what that was about. Now was literally the worst time to have second thoughts.

But second thoughts seemed to be the last thing on Regina’s mind. She moved further down Emma’s body, tugged the blonde’s panties down and then licked her lips slightly before moving up so she could plant two light kisses on Emma’s hard nipples. Emma squirmed at that, and even more so when Regina slowly kissed her way down. She circled Emma’s navel, then dipped her tongue in it. Emma gasped again, eyes snapping open when she felt Regina’s tongue so very close to her core.

“Regina...”

Regina too lifted her head. “You don’t like that?” she asked and licked her lips once more.

That was not the case. If there was one thing Emma loved, it was what Regina had been about to do. “I do,” the blonde said slowly, breathlessly. “But you don’t have to do-“

“Emma.” Regina interrupted and laughed sweetly. “Relax. You’re thinking too much. Would I have initiated this if I didn’t want to?”

“No,” Emma conceded.

“Switch your brain off,” Regina said plainly. And then she lowered her head once more. This time she didn’t hesitate. She licked along Emma’s slit, and Emma’s brain immediately switched off as she was reduced to a moaning, writhing mess. She lifted a trembling hand and brought it down to Regina’s head. She tangled her fingers into Regina’s dark locks, tugged slightly. Moaned when the tip of Regina’s tongue brushed against her clit. Emma couldn’t remember the last time she had felt this good! Couldn’t remember the last time anyone had made her feel this good. And now she wondered how the hell Regina was capable of it. How could she just know what Emma liked? How did she know that Emma had a profound fondness for the way the brunette fluttered her tongue too lightly over Emma’s clit?

Emma moaned again, maybe she even cursed a bit under her breath. She tugged slightly at Regina’s hair once more, and as Regina wrapped her lips around her clit, Emma silently confirmed a “suspicion”.
She was definitely not Regina Mills’ first girl. Regina had most certainly tried this before, and fuck she was good at it! Something deep inside Emma twitched, and she bit down on her bottom lip as those waves of pleasure started to rise within her again. Her body moved on its own accord as her back arched and her hips rocked against Regina’s mouth. She felt Regina’s soft fingers caress her inner thigh, then spreading her legs farther apart. Her mouth disappeared from Emma’s clit, but even before Emma could get the chance to mourn the loss, she the tip of Regina’s tongue press lightly against her entrance. Emma’s breath completely hitched at that, and her voice was breathy when she said: “yes!”

Regina’s tongue slipped inside of her, and Emma couldn’t decide whether she was going to die or going to come undone on the spot. Maybe both. She cried out sharply once more, back arching and hips rocking against Regina’s mouth as Regina’s tongue began twisting and curling within her, easily finding and pressing against that spot that rendered Emma’s speechless. More wetness spilled from her.

She squeezed her eyes firmly shut and tugged at Regina’s hair once more.

Regina was still grasping firmly onto her thighs. So tightly Emma suspected that she would end up with fingerprints adorning her skin come morning. And she didn’t mind it at all. She didn’t mind having a memory of Regina’s hands gripping her skin. Emma moaned again when she felt Regina shift slightly and angle her nose, so it brushed against the blonde’s clit with each thrust from her tongue.

“Oh, shit!” Emma cursed. She had always been very vocal in bed, and her exclamations only seemed to spur Regina on. Her grip on Emma’s thighs became firmer, and then she was pinching the skin lightly, earning herself a shriek from Emma. The blonde simply couldn’t hold herself back. It felt like every fucking part of her was on fire. Like she was burning up from the inside in the most pleasurable way possible. She felt how those delicious tingles intensified and became little jolt of pleasure. They began in lower back, wrapped around her front and then took permanent hold somewhere deep in her core. She cursed again when she felt more wetness emerge from her core, and the knowledge that that wetness spilled directly into Regina’s mouth...

Emma moved one hand away from Regina’s hair and tossed her arm over her eyes. Fuck, she could barely breathe. Couldn’t control her body. Her hips shifted, wiggled. She cried out once more. Cried Regina’s name.

“Oh, god!” Emma felt how her stomach quivered again. She was gonna... She was definitely gonna!

“Regina, fuck!” she panted as she felt how her hips lifted once more, rocked against Regina’s face. “I-“ that was all she managed before a particular skillful thrust from Regina’s tongue had her arching forward, and all Emma could do was to pant and pant as she felt herself spiral up, up, up, racing towards that precipice. For a moment she felt herself hover almost painfully there, but then another firm thrust from Regina’s tongue had her crying out as the pleasure exploded hotly in her core. For a moment she was sure she could see stars. Bright white stars exploding behind her eyelids. Her core kept clenching and fucking hell, Emma couldn’t remember the last time anyone had made her come like this! She moaned almost pathetically as she flopped back against the mattress. Her fingers were twitching in Regina’s hair, and her entire body felt completely limp. Useless. And as for her mind, well....

She couldn’t think right now. Her mind was blank in the most literal of ways. The only part of her that seemed to work right now was her mouth. “Oh, fuck, Regina!” she moaned. “Oh god!” the arm covering her eyes had gone limp, and for a moment Emma feared that she was going to literally melt and end up as a puddle on the mattress.

Regina slowly withdrew her tongue from the blonde’s core, and Emma groaned again when she felt Regina’s warm fingers stroke her inner thigh softly. The bed creaked slightly, and Emma felt the mattress dip slightly as Regina lied down next to her.

Emma slowly moved her arm away from her face and then opened her eyes to look at Regina. Several locks of hair had come loose from the braid. Her dark eyes were nearly black, and her lips were glistening slightly.

“Are you having a good time in Madrid, Emma?” she asked slyly.

Emma laughed strangled. “I didn’t know that Madrid could be this...”

“Pleasurable?” Regina lazily finished the sentence.

“Mhmm.”

Regina chuckled lightly and then used her thumb to wipe the corners of her mouth. “deliciosa,” she told Emma. “Absolutamente deliciosa.”

Perhaps Emma’s Spanish was quite rusty, but she had absolutely zero problems with understanding what Regina had just said to her. She felt a ridiculous blush rising in her cheeks and reminded herself that she was actually a full grown woman and not a teenager who had just been with a girl for the first time.

Regina chuckled lightly as she brushed her fingertips over Emma’s blushing cheek.

“You’ve tried that before,” Emma said almost accusingly and caught Regina’s hand. She brought the brunette’s fingertips down to her lips so she could kiss every one of them.

“Si,” Regina snickered. “But none of them were half as sweet as you are.”

“None of them, huh?” Emma said.

Regina laughed again, and that laugh had her tugged onto her back when Emma suddenly found that she could move again. And obviously she took advantage of that. She kissed Regina hard on the lips and felt how Regina’s long legs wrapped around her waist.

Emma felt awfully torn between kissing the breath out of Regina for a few hours and immediately going for what she wanted. She wanted to make Regina come, but she also felt like this beautiful woman deserved to be worshipped a little first. So that was exactly what she chose to do. She kissed Regina good and thoroughly until both of them were gasping for air, and then she attacked Regina’s beautiful, slender neck. She peppered every inch of it with kisses, felt a bit triumphant when she earned herself some breathy moans. Regina was fond of having her neck kissed. Emma was definitely going to take advantage of that! She pulled slightly at the skin, swirled her tongue over it, felt a bit tempted to make a hickey, but once again reminded herself that she was a full grown woman and not a teenager. Full grown women did not leave hickies. Definitely not. She kissed Regina’s neck again, nibbled lightly on the soft skin while smoothing her hands up and down Regina’s breasts. She stopped when she reached Regina’s nipples and tweaked them lightly.

“¡Oh Dios mío!” Regina exclaimed, and Emma felt how she shifted underneath her. Her fingers were nestled snugly in Emma’s hair, and now she was the one who tugged slightly. A rush of breath escaped Emma at that. She had forgotten how much she liked having her hair pulled. She kissed Regina’s beautiful lips once more and could feel the tangy taste of herself on the other woman’s lips. She scraped her teeth over Regina’s bottom lip and felt how Regina’s legs tightened around her waist at that. Once her lungs were screaming for air, Emma released Regina’s lips with a slight pop and then mouthed her way down to Regina’s chest. She pursed her lips and blew hot air on Regina’s hard nipple, then teasingly licked around it.

“Emma, por favor llévame!”

Emma looked up at the exclamation. The way Regina pronounced her name was definitely addicting, but she was also quite curious. “What does that mean?” she asked.

A little smile danced on Regina’s lips. “Wouldn’t you like to know..”

“Tell me...” Emma said and planted a light kiss on the very tip of Regina’s nipple.

“You’re a tease, señorita Swan,” Regina said plainly.

“Is that what it means?” Emma asked and brushed a lock of hair away from Regina’s eyes.

“No,” Regina said. “Ahora por favor, follame!”

“I didn’t understand that either,” Emma murmured as she lowered her mouth and gave Regina’s nipple another lick.

“Good,” Regina teased. “C-can’t reveal all my secrets at once, can I?”

Emma was impressed that she was capable of sassing right now. As much as the blonde liked Regina’s sass, she also really liked Regina’s Spanish exclamations. And she wanted to hear more. She intensified the pressure on Regina’s nipple, and was immediately rewarded with a: “¡Oh joder! Tócame!”

Emma had no idea what that meant either, but it was definitely the sexiest thing she’d ever heard. Regina’s raspy, low voice was just about the hottest thing ever, English was “bad” enough, but hearing her speak her native language definitely made Emma’s blood boil in entirely new ways. She sucked harder on Regina’s nipple, and more Spanish exclamations followed. Something about “Sí, sigue haciendo eso!” Emma didn’t know what that meant either, but it was definitely enjoyable to listen to. She lifted her hand and began to gently knead Regina’s other breast.

Regina whimpered. Yep. Whimpered. That little sound made Emma zone out for a few seconds. Until Regina made the same sound again. Followed by a completely breathless “por favor!”

Emma woke up then, and she hastily switched side and showered Regina’s other breast with the same attention.

Regina wasn’t exactly patient. She squirmed and wiggled and began pushing at the crown of Emma’s head. She muttered something about “tortura”, and this time Emma had no problem with understanding what she was saying. The blonde chuckled into her breast, then nuzzled her nose against it. Regina moaned again and her back arched as she pushed her breast further into Emma’s mouth.

And maybe, just maybe it was time to stop teasing. Emma gave Regina’s nipple one last teasing flick with her tongue and then she moved backwards to sit on her knees. Regina didn’t seem satisfied with that, but the dissatisfaction was quickly wiped from her face when Emma hooked her thumbs in the waistband of the red lace panties Regina was wearing. Regina helpfully lifted her hips so Emma could slide the panties down her legs. But Emma didn’t get much farther than just below Regina’s hips when she spotted something that made her pause.

“What?” Regina asked breathlessly and lifted her head.

Emma chuckled slightly and brushed her fingers over the simple, tiny black crown adorning Regina’s right hip. “I didn’t know you had two.”

“Oh,” Regina breathed and dropped her head to the pillow again. “Well, when your name is Regina, why not just own it?”

“Quite so,” Emma murmured and lowered her mouth to the tattoo on Regina’s hip. She brushed her lips over the ink. “It’s quite sexy.”

Regina chuckled (that was sexy too!), and then parted her legs slightly. “Thank you.”

“No thank you’s required,” Emma murmured as she tugged Regina’s panties down the rest of the way. They ended up dangling around Regina’s left ankle, and both women chuckled slightly when Emma plucked them off Regina’s ankle and threw them on the floor. Emma shamelessly let her eyes roam over Regina’s perfect body and especially at the place where she was wet and glistening.

Regina followed Emma’s gaze, then smirked up at her. “Are you going to do something about that, Em-ma?”

“Oh yes, absolutely,” Emma said and sort of wished that she could match Regina’s drawling tone. She lowered her hand to Regina’s core and brushed her fingers through the wetness there.

Regina was immediately done drawling. Her jaw completely dropped, and her eyes widened almost dramatically. “¡Oh si! ¡Mierda! ¡Sigue adelante! ¡Tócame!” her hips swiveled, and Emma brushed a fingertip over Regina’s clit.

Regina’s body completely twitched at that, and Emma couldn’t hold back a moan when she saw the wetness drip from Regina’s core.

“¡Más, Emma! ¡Necesito más!”

“I don’t understand what you’re saying,” Emma gently reminded Regina.

Switching to English Regina said: “I need more! Now!”

“Oh,” Emma chuckled. “So that’s what you’re saying.”

Regina huffed and Emma suspected that she was cursing at her in Spanish. Which was very entertaining to listen to, but Emma wasn’t a complete sadist. She could think of nothing she’d rather want than to feel Regina, and so she moved her fingers down to Regina’s entrance and lightly breezed it with the tip of her finger. Her intention had been to start out slowly with one finger, but Regina shifted, muttered “dos”, and Emma knew just enough Spanish to understand what that meant. She slipped two fingers inside Regina and immediately had to close her eyes. “Fuck, you feel so good!”

“YOU feel so good!” Regina breathed back and wiggled her hips slightly. “Now fuck me!”

“Yeah?” Emma growled as she moved so she was lying on top of Regina again. “That’s what you want?”

“Yes!” Regina hissed and wrapped her legs around Emma, taking her fingers in deeper. They both moaned at that, and then Regina hands gripped the back of Emma’s neck as she pulled the blonde down
for a kiss.

Emma more than willingly returned the kiss and moaned at the way their breasts brushed against each other. Her nipples damn nearly twitched with each brush, and Emma could feel how her sex clenched again. Why the hell was Regina so fucking addictive?

Emma wiggled her fingers inside Regina, feeling every part of her. Fuck, the way her soft, velvety walls just enveloped her fingers so snugly felt almost infuriatingly good! Dangerously good. Addicting.
Yes, Emma could so very easily become addicted to this. And a very small part of her knew and understood that that was bad, but right now she was more than capable of ignoring that small part of herself. Right now, her only focus was to wiggle her fingers and make sure they brushed against particular spot inside Regina.

Regina pulled out of the kiss (which had gone sloppy anyway) to cry out sharply, say something in Spanish, most likely a curse word. Her fingers were still locked in Emma’s hair, and her legs were firmly wrapped around the blonde’s waist, and fuck, she was definitely the sexiest creature Emma ever had seen! Emma tugged at the brunette’s bottom lip, and Regina made a slight hissing sound in the back of her throat. Her legs tightened around Emma’s waist, and Emma found herself completely mesmerized by the way Regina’s hips rocked against her fingers. There was something graceful about it. Something elegant. The movements were strangely similar to the movements Emma had seen her do on the stage sometime earlier. Regina really managed to incorporate dancing into everything she did.

Emma almost chuckled. Almost. The way Regina broke their kiss and cried out sharply prevented her from surrendering to amusement. Regina panted underneath her. Twisted and turned and then she was shouting in Spanish again. ‘¡Sigue follándome así como así!’ Emma would have paid a lot to know what that meant. It was possible that she would have to ask Regina about it. At some point. Definitely not right now. No, right now she was entirely too focused on fucking Regina and ensure that that chemistry there was between them kept flourishing just so.

Regina shifted, moved her legs from around Emma’s waist and throwing them over the blonde’s shoulders instead. That changed the angle of Emma’s fingers some, and Regina cried out sharply. She sounded a bit delirious now, and Emma froze for a split second. Fuck, Regina was just so... Well, hot didn’t even begin to cover what Regina was. She was fucking sexy. Gorgeous. Delicious in bed. And flexible like the dancer she was. How the hell did Emma manage to stumble upon her?

“Emma!” Regina exclaimed. “¡Te necesito! ¡Por favor!”

There was definitely a “please” in that sentence. Emma knew enough Spanish to know that. And she also knew that Regina didn’t have to say “please”. Emma was more than willing to give the beautiful brunette what she needed. She curled her fingers, brushed against that spot inside Regina again. She could feel how Regina’s legs- still hooked over her shoulders- completely twitched at that. Regina muttered something again, but this time Emma didn’t have the shadow of a chance to understand what she was saying. It was going to fast. But that was fine. More than fine. Regina’s Spanish exclamations had just become her new favorite thing.

“¡Dios mio!” Regina hissed as she hitched her hips sharper and harder against Emma’s fingers.

And Emma buried her grin in the crook of Regina’s neck. She understood that. And she fucking loved it. She mouthed her way up to Regina’s ear, murmured how gorgeous she was, how fucking hot and absolutely breathtakingly beautiful she was.

Regina didn’t respond to that, and it didn’t take Emma long to figure out why. She could feel the way Regina’s core clench around her fingers. Emma sped up her movements, twisted her hand slightly so she could press the heel of it against Regina’s clit. That earned her another Spanish exclamation. Emma bowed her head and kissed Regina’s jaw, then her lips again, swallowing every last moan.

Regina squeezed her eyes shut, her jaw tightened for a moment and then grew slack. She was trembling from top to toe, but she was completely silent as she came undone. Emma could feel how she tightened and tightened around her fingers, then that tightening was replaced with fluttering, and Emma’s fingers were covered in her juices.

Regina completely melted back against the mattress. Her fingers grew lax in Emma’s hair. Her legs still slung over Emma’s shoulders went limp and heavy. Her lips were slightly parted as she panted to catch her breath. She was literally the sexiest thing Emma had ever seen, and she didn’t hesitate to tell Regina that, but Regina still didn’t react to it.

Emma could feel how Regina’s walls finally relaxed, and she slowly withdrew her fingers from within Regina, earned herself a tiny moan, and then another as she gently freed herself from Regina’s legs.

Regina didn’t even respond to that either. Not even when her legs limply fell down against the mattress with a surprisingly loud thud. Emma cringed slightly at that. Regina’s legs and feet were sort of what the brunette used to earn her money. Emma should probably have been a bit more careful with them. The blonde brought her fingers up to her lips, silently confirming a suspicion. Yep, Regina tasted fucking delicious too. She licked her fingers slowly while drinking in the image of the panting Regina. Golden skin glistening with sweat. Dark locks escaping a braid. That dead sexy little crown tattoo on her hip. Her core, bare and glistening... Emma licked her lips. If she hadn’t been this exhausted, she would have wanted Regina again. And again. And again. She was some sort of siren calling out to Emma.

And clearly coming back to the world of living as well. Regina opened her eyes and flashed Emma a lazy smile. “Eso fue absolutamente maravilloso, señorita Swan,” she said a bit hoarsely.

“Is that good?” Emma snickered and kissed a spot just below Regina’s right ear.

Regina squirmed a bit at that. “That is good. That is very, very good.” She closed her eyes again, took a deep breath. “Do you have any cigarettes?”

“Nope, sorry,” Emma said.

“And I don’t either,” Regina said mock-tragically. “What a shame. I could really have used one right now.”

“Me, too. And I don’t even smoke. How about that?” Emma chuckled.

Regina laughed too, stretched her legs, clearly trying to test.

“Everything working?” Emma teased lightly and gave Regina a slight nudge.

“Si, I think so,” Regina said and stretched her legs once more. Emma heard a muscle pop somewhere in her leg and cringed slightly. That didn’t sound too good. Maybe Regina needed to soak her feet
again, Emma mused to herself. Perhaps she had been dancing too much.

Emma busied herself with playing with the stray locks of hair that had tumbled free from Regina’s braid. Regina hair was really soft. Exactly like everything else on her. After a few moments she smoothened her hand down Regina’s side instead. From her shoulder and all the way down to her hip. That softness. Those delicious curves. Why had Emma forgotten how nice it was to be with a woman?

And why was it so nice in particular to be with Regina? Emma wasn’t sure whether she should be concerned about that or not. She lightly traced the tattoo on Regina’s hip with the tip of her finger.

Regina exhaled and then lifted her head. “Have you seen my panties?”

Emma quickly glanced around. “Can’t say that I have. Do you need ‘em?”

“I do if I’m gonna leave in a second,” Regina said and stretched once more.

“Leave?” Emma echoed and raised an eyebrow. “Why would you do that?”

Regina shifted so she was lying on her right side and could look at Emma. “I wasn’t sure whether you wanted me to stay or not...”

Emma positively huffed at that. “Regina, I’m not about to ask you to Uber home if that’s what you think....”

Regina chuckled and then covered her mouth when she yawned. “D’you mind if I crash here tonight then?”

“Not about to kick you out,” Emma said firmly and planted another light kiss on Regina’s jaw.

“Brilliant,” Regina said and covered her mouth when she yawned again. “Sorry about that.”

Emma snickered. “It’s fine. I’m tired too. Fancy spending the night in a ridiculous large bed meant for honeymooners?”

Regina laughed throatily. “That sounds more than reasonable to me.” she wiggled closer to Emma, automatically cuddling into her side.

Emma froze for a second in sheer surprise.

“Sorry,” Regina said sheepishly. “I’m a spooner. Force of habit.”

“That’s fine too,” Emma snickered. “I don’t mind.”

“You’re sure?”

“Absolutely,” Emma assured.

And so Regina cuddled into Emma’s side, acting every bit like a little and very warm spoon. Emma pursed her lips slightly. Why was it that she had to go home in two weeks? That wasn’t fair. Maybe she could somehow wing it. Think of something.

“Maybe I could stay one more week,” she heard herself say.

Regina laughed sleepily. “That’s hardly a good idea, Em-ma. I don’t think extending one’s holiday is a part of the holiday fling routine.”

“Maybe not...”

“You will go back to your life in... what was it?”

“Storybrooke,” Emma said helpfully.

“Ah yes. Storybrooke. You will go back to your life in Storybrooke, and I shall become a distant memory to you,” Regina laughed. “And a fond one too, I hope.”

“Definitely a fond one,” Emma muttered halfheartedly.

“Good. Now could you be a dear and give me some of that blanket?”

Emma grabbed a fistful of the covers and carefully covered Regina with it. “That better?”

“Mmm, yes, that works, señorita Swan,” Regina quipped. Then she curled up in Emma’s arms, and it didn’t take long before her breathing evened out and she became a limp, sleeping little thing.

And as Emma listened to the soft sound of Regina breathing, she wondered just how the hell she was supposed to leave in two weeks. Right now, the very thought seemed impossible. She would just have to make the most of the time she had left here in Madrid. Emma wrapped her arms a little tighter around Regina and then she closed her eyes. It didn’t take long before the sound of Regina breathing lulled her right to sleep....

 

To Be Continued.........

Chapter Text

The sun peeking in through the thin, white curtains was what woke Emma the following morning. She blinked and then slowly opened her eyes. All she could see was yellow, and it took her a second to realize that it was in fact her own hair she could see. Emma blew out air in order to make it disappear.

Regina was still fast asleep. A beautiful mess of dark curls and long limbs. In Emma’s arms. She was quite literally cuddled up in Emma’s arms, and the sleep position gave Emma some pause.

It was far too much for something that “just” was a holiday fling. It felt too intimate, somehow. The way Regina was sleeping in her arms was a gesture Emma connected with something far deeper than “just” a holiday fling.

As on cue, Regina exhaled in her sleep. Shifted a bit, and then rolled away from Emma.

Emma took the opportunity to quickly nip into the bathroom. She had a feeling that they had slept for quite a while, and the way her bladder felt like it was about to combust, more than reflected that.

Regina was still fast asleep when Emma came back to the bedroom. She didn’t even wake when Emma climbed back into bed. Her only response was to instinctively roll back, so she once again was laying in Emma’s arms. And Emma silently cursed herself for finding it this wonderful. She really shouldn’t.

Emma aimlessly played with a lock of Regina’s dark hair. The braid Regina’s hair had been in yesterday had long been rucked apart, and the result was a tangled mess of dark curls. Emma sighed a bit as she wrapped a lock of Regina’s dark hair around her fingers. She knew that she was in trouble. She liked this girl too much. Far, far too much. And of course that was bad. Of course that was a problem. A holiday fling was a holiday fling. A bit of fun. That was the whole point with a holiday fling. Some good fun and the back to reality and let it become “a distant memory” like Regina had said last night. That was what was supposed to happen.

But Emma had a feeling she was failing miserably at that. Hell, she was already dreading going home. Damnit. Why couldn’t she just be normal for once? Why wasn’t she capable of having a normal holiday fling like everyone else? Why did she have to go and get attached? It was ridiculous. Stupid. It had to be that nasty business with Neal that had made her sensitive. Emma sighed quietly. She was fucking lying to herself. This had nothing to do with Neal. He had been the last thing on her mind. She couldn’t pin this on him. No, this had nothing to do with him. She was definitely developing some kind of feelings for the young woman who was currently asleep in her arms.

Fuck. Double fuck. This wasn’t good. This was definitely not good.

Emma’s mouth twisted a bit as Regina sighed and burrowed further into Emma’s arms. She had definitely not lied about being a cuddler. And it was positively endearing. Alarmingly endearing. Emma looked down at her. ‘Stop making me fall for you,’ she silently scolded the younger woman. It really wasn’t fair.

Regina sighed again. Her fingers twitched slightly. Was she waking up, or was it false alarm?

No, definitely not false alarm. Regina stirred in her arms and then she opened her eyes. Those dark eyes Emma had such a weakness for.

“Buenos días, Mi belleza,” she drawled in that rough, husky voice.

Emma chuckled. “Good morning yourself. Did you sleep well?”

“Mmm, I did,” Regina said and stretched slightly. Then she frowned upon realizing how entangled she was with Emma. “Oh. I’m sorry,” she said sheepishly as she wiggled away from Emma.

“Don’t worry, it’s fine,” Emma chuckled. “You did warn me about being a spooner.”

“Mmm,” Regina said again as she turned around. The covers slipped and revealed her glorious ass. “Did you sleep okay?”

“Like a rock,” Emma grinned.

“Great,” Regina said and covered her mouth as she yawned loudly. “Do you know what time it is?”

“No,” Emma admitted. “I haven’t been paying much attention to the time while I’ve been on holiday.”

“Fair point,” Regina said and stretched again. Emma heard a muscle pop somewhere in her leg and cringed slightly. “Careful.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Regina said lightly as she elegantly sat up in bed and then stretched once more. She seemed more than comfortable in her nudity as she rose from the bed.

“Going somewhere?” Emma asked, jokingly, but still worried deep down.

“Si. To the bathroom,” Regina quipped, and her dark hair swished as she glanced at Emma over her shoulder. “You don’t mind that, do you?”

“Nope,” Emma said and rested her head in her hands. “You don’t mind if I watch you walk away, do you?”

“No, definitely not,” Regina said and laughed as she jokingly swayed her hips on her way to the bathroom.

Emma quelled a sigh. What a woman. Seriously, every single thing about Regina attracted her. Every single thing about Regina made her feel like she was in serious trouble. Very serious trouble.
She WAS in serious trouble. Because she liked Regina. A lot.

Emma sighed and rubbed a hand over her face. How could something be both good and bad at the same time? It really shouldn’t be like that. She spend some time pondering about that, and she only snapped out of it when she heard the sound of the tap being switched on. The water ran for a few seconds and was then switched off again.

Regina came “swaggering” back into the bedroom, and dark hair tumbled over her shoulders as she climbed back into bed. She laughed as she came across her panties between the sheets and tossed the material to the floor.

“I should have brought a change of clothes,” she acknowledged.

“Well, we didn’t exactly plan what happened last night, did we?” Emma said.

Regina snickered in a rather devilish way, and Emma remembered the underwear Regina had worn last night. Red lace. Matching. Hell yes, Regina had planned what happened last night. Now Emma laughed too.

“I suppose doing the infamous walk of shame won’t kill me,” Regina mused and wiggled her toes. The movement made Emma chuckle, and she slid closer to Regina.

Regina smiled a bit at that.

“I know that you’re working tonight,” Emma said as she ran her fingertips up and down Regina’s naked back. “But are you doing anything this morning?”

“No, I am shockingly unoccupied this morning,” Regina smirked. “Why? Do you have anything in particular in mind, señorita Swan?”

“I have many things on my mind,” Emma said almost musingly as she traced a fingertip lightly over the ink on Regina’s hip. She chuckled when Regina visibly shivered at that, and then told the younger
woman: “this is awfully sexy.”

“Si, you said so last night,” Regina chuckled.

“But did I also do this?” Emma asked with faux innocence, then shuffled some and brushed her lips against the tattooed crown on Regina’s hip.

Regina squirmed and gasped.

“When did you get this?” Emma asked curiously as she brushed her lips over the tattoo again.

“When I turned eighteen,” Regina said.

“And the one on your wrist?”

“When I turned nineteen.”

The blonde snickered. “And are you planning on getting one when you turn twenty?”

“No, I think two is enough,” Regina replied and wiggled when Emma brushed her lips over the ink on her hip again. “Quiero que me folles.”

Emma grinned again. “It’s very sexy when you speak Spanish. Did you know that?”

Regina just hummed in response.

“What did all those Spanish things you said last night mean?” Emma inquired as she nipped teasingly just above Regina’s tattoo.

“W-wouldn’t you like to know,” Regina sassed.

“That’s kinda why I’m asking,” Emma husked. She nipped again at Regina’s skin again.

Regina moaned and wiggled again.

“Fol-lame,” Emma murmured against Regina’s skin, getting the pronunciation horribly wrong. “What does that mean?”

“Follame,” Regina echoed breathlessly. “That means... fuck me.”

“Oh,” Emma grinned and made Regina’s skin vibrate. “I see. Interesting.” She moved her lips to Regina’s inner thigh, feeling the softness there. Next, she mouthed her way closer to the place where Regina was still sticky from last night.

Regina oooh’ed and buried her fingers in Emma, and maybe Emma was still a little sleep drunk when she looked up at Regina and dumbly asked: “why are you so gorgeous?”

Regina chuckled airily. “Why are YOU so gorgeous, señorita Swan?”

“You think I’m gorgeous?” Emma teased.

“Si. Very much so.” Regina spread her legs further apart, making more room for Emma who was lying between them.

“Say something in Spanish,” Emma murmured.

“Tortura,” Regina said flatly.

Emma chuckled. She knew what that meant. “No, say something else.”

“Quiero que me folles,” Regina breathed.

“And what does that mean?” Emma inquired.

“I want you to fuck me,” Regina translated, and it instantly send shivers down Emma’s spine.

“Well...” the blonde drawled, brushing her fingers over the inked crown on Regina’s hip. “Whatever the queen wants, she shall have.” And with that she went in with her mouth and glided her tongue slowly through Regina’s folds.

Regina damn nearly yelped and her back arched. It didn’t take long before the Spanish syllables started spilling from her lips, and Emma almost grinned into her core. She really liked that. She liked how loud Regina was. It did absolutely delicious things to Emma’s ego.

She could get used to this. She could most definitely get used to this. How dangerous.

And Regina didn’t shut up. She kept babbling in Spanish while Emma lapped at her and then swirled her tongue in a particular teasing manner. The blonde had no idea why she hadn’t done this last night.
It had been a long time since she last had the opportunity to do this, and she had no problem with remembering how fucking amazing it was. And Regina tasted so fucking good! Emma briefly lifted her head to tell Regina that, and the young brunette reacted by exclaiming in Spanish. Emma had no idea what she was saying, but it didn’t matter. She more than understood that whatever it was Regina was saying, it was something good. Most definitely something good. She fisted Emma’s hair, and Emma responded by grasping her thighs more firmly and moving her tongue in a figure eight motion over her clit.

“¡Oh Dios mío!” Regina groaned, and Emma’s ego automatically swelled about a million sizes. Seriously, this wasn’t good for her. Her ego was completely overinflated. She pinched Regina’s inner thigh very, very lightly, and Regina responded by making this gloriously raspy little sound in the back of her throat. Fucking hell, Regina was so sexy. And so very, very addictive! Emma fluttered her tongue lightly over the brunette’s clit again, and Regina released a frustrated little sound along with a:

“Emma, vamos! ¡Deja de burlarte de mi!”

And what the hell did that mean? Emma didn’t know. But what she DID know was how much she liked when Regina said her name. The way she said it was so sexy. All deep and raspy. Gloriously sexy.

Regina groaned again, rocked her core against Emma’s face. She was starting to sound quite frustrated, and feeling every bit like a benevolent savior, Emma wrapped her lips around the brunette’s clit and began sucking. And not in a particular gentle manner.

The reaction was imminent. Regina shrieked, then cried out in Spanish, and it was fucking music to Emma’s ears! She would have grinned if she could. She could do that later. Right now it was much more important to focus on pleasuring Regina.

And pleasuring Regina was exactly what Emma did on that glorious morning. Regina yanked at her hair, her back arched, her legs moved, and Emma brought one hand up to fondle her breast. She felt a slight shift, and she was certain that Regina was massaging her other breast. And that thought alone was enough to drive Emma mad! She sucked roughly at Regina’s clit, and Regina’s reaction was to become quiet. With the memories of last night fresh in her mind, Emma knew exactly what that silence meant, and sure enough, she felt Regina’s body tense. The muscles in her thighs pulled taut, and then Emma’s mouth was filled with the sweet, sweet taste of her.

After a moment or so, Emma lifted her head and licked her lips while smirking at what she saw. Regina looked like she was in some sort of daze, and yep, this was definitely unhealthy for Emma’s ego.

After a moment, Regina smiled lazily at Emma. “Good morning.”

Emma bursted out laughing. “I think you already said that.”

“Mmm, but now it’s a REALLY good morning,” Regina joked.

 

And it only got better from that point. Because their glorious morning ended in the shower. With Emma pressed against the wet tiles and Regina’s fingers buried deep between her thighs. Yes, this was definitely a good morning.

Emma’s feet slipped some on the wet tiles, and her head lolled to the side as Regina kissed her neck. Her teeth scraped over Emma’s skin, and the blonde moaned and grabbed onto Regina’s shoulders to prevent herself from falling over. Something that very easily could happen. The way Regina’s fingers pumped within her, turned her legs into jelly and her brain to complete mush. Right now, the world only consisted of this bathroom. And Regina. She curled her fingers, wiggled them insistently, and Emma felt herself clenching around those fingers, and she noted that she had started to pant at some point. Fuck, Regina was touching her so well, and how the hell did she know that Emma loved those particular, slow, deep strokes within her? And the way she nibbled teasingly at Emma’s neck, mouthed her way up and sucked at the sweet spot just below her ear. The spot that drove Emma mad. How did Regina know about that spot too? Emma moaned sharply, feet slipping slightly on the wet tiles. Maybe she would end up on the floor. And maybe she didn’t give a damn. Right now, she was too far gone to care about anything, really.

“Eres tan hermosa, señorita Swan,“ Regina husked in her ear, and Emma almost whimpered. This was a dangerous cocktail. Regina fucking her like this. Regina breathing Spanish words in her ear. And more importantly, Regina saying something about “beautiful” in Spanish. Emma knew that much, and she knew that it was directed at her.

“Fuck, Regina!” She groaned and rocked her hips against Regina’s fingers.

“No, no, no, jódete, señorita Swan,” Regina chuckled and curled her fingers just so.

Emma damn nearly shrieked at that, and she was very grateful that they were in the shower now and not still in the bedroom. She was well aware that she was being loud. And most likely louder than she normally would be. Good god, what was Regina doing to her? What kind of super powers did this girl possess?

Emma abandoned figuring that out. She moaned when she felt herself tighten around the fingers buried deep inside her. A ragged breath escaped her as she silently complained about what was inevitably about to happen. She didn’t want to come just yet, damnit! But there was absolutely zero things she could do about it, and it didn’t take long before she cried out sharply as the orgasm ripped through her. There was a few seconds where her mind completely bluescreened, and then Emma groaned as she floated back to earth. She opened her eyes, and even through the steam in the bathroom she could see that Regina was smirking. Smug. Oh well. Emma supposed that she had every right to be so. Emma puffed out a breath as Regina slowly withdrew her fingers and then licked them clean. While maintaining eye contact with Emma.

“Are you having a good time in Madrid, Em-ma?” she lazily drawled and laughed shamelessly.

“I am having the time of my life in Madrid,” Emma assured as she moved away from the wall, testing if she could stand on her own. She didn’t do a very good job. Regina chuckled as she swiftly reached for Emma’s bottle of shampoo. “Mind if I borrow some of this?”

“No, of course not,” Emma laughed. “Take as much as you need.”

And so Regina squeezed a dollop of shampoo into her hand and began rubbing it into her hair.

“First dirty, then clean, huh?” Emma teased.

Regina tutted adorably and then bared her teeth in a grin. “Something like that,” she said almost musingly as she scrunched up her hair, ensuring that the shampoo kept foaming.

Emma snickered as she took the bottle of shampoo from Regina. She was well in the process of applying shampoo to her own hair when she heard a growling sound that was so loud it was audible through the water running.

“Was that your stomach?” she asked Regina, snickering again.

“Possibly,” Regina said airily as she carefully rinsed the shampoo out of her hair.

“I’ll buy you some breakfast,” Emma promised.

“You don’t have to-“

“You bought me a drink and reserved a table for me last night,” Emma brushed the brunette’s protests aside. “Of course I’m gonna buy you breakfast. We can’t have you going hungry.”

“Thank you,” Regina said softly.

“You’re welcome,” Emma said, and once again she was struck by how fucking intimate this was. Showering together. That was something you did with your partner. Right? Honestly, Emma wasn’t sure anymore. Being with Regina was totally blurring the lines.

Regina turned her head, snickered as she playfully asked: “what are you looking at, señorita Swan?”

Emma blinked, realized that she had been zoning out with her gaze fixated on Regina’s ass. Oh. “Nothing,” she said halfheartedly.

“Nothing?” Regina echoed, still teasing. “So I shouldn’t accidentally drop the bottle of conditioner and bend over to grab it?”

Emma chuckled. “You know what, that actually wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”

Regina’s sweet laughter filled the bathroom. And she did indeed “drop” the bottle......

 

 

Eventually, they made it downstairs to the restaurant. Emma, wearing a yellow sundress, and Regina wearing the peasant blouse and the denim skirt. Last night’s clothing. That had already amused Regina a few times, and she joked that she should have brought her flamenco dress so she could have worn it today. That made Emma laugh.

The blonde kept her word and did indeed buy Regina breakfast. Chocolate dipped churros, toast, orange juice and various fruits. Regina wholeheartedly threw herself into the breakfast, only interrupting herself to yawn and quietly declare that Emma had worn her out.

That didn’t help with Emma’s overinflated ego. In fact it only made it worse.

“I’d like to see you again,” the blonde openly admitted.

Regina flashed a sweet and beaming smile. “That would be nice. I’m dancing tomorrow night, but I’m not doing anything until then. We could meet up or go for a walk. Or something.”

“Or something?” Emma echoed with a grin.

Regina shrugged innocently. “I’m sure we could think of something else.”

“I think so too,” Emma laughed, and before she could stop herself, she reached across the table and put her hand over Regina’s.

Regina seemed surprised but nevertheless very happy about it. “I’m glad you came and saw me dancing that night.”

“Me, too,” Emma said. More honesty. She couldn’t seem to switch it off.

“And I’m glad you’re having such a good time in Madrid,” Regina added, now smirking. She gently wiggled her hand away from Emma’s to “attack” her chocolate churros.

Emma chuckled quietly. “Yeah. I am definitely having a good time in...” she trailed off when Regina licked a bit of chocolate away from the tip of her finger. Fucking hell. That shouldn’t be sexy, should it?

She took a sip of her orange juice and forced herself to look away. This was ironic as hell. She came to Madrid to nurse a broken heart and a wounded pride. She came to Madrid to put a bit of distance
between herself and everything. Feelings included. And now here she was, developing feelings for Regina. The age gap was something Emma was looking past now, but still, it was completely ridiculous.

Regina was her “holiday fling” and absolutely nothing else. Emma would have to get better at separating things. She was going home in two weeks. Two weeks. Best remember that at all times. She would go back to her life, and Regina to hers. Damnit.

Regina emptied her glass of orange juice, glanced at the clock hanging on the wall and then declared that she should probably get going.

Emma nodded and offered to walk her out of the hotel. Regina snickered a bit at that.

 

“Do you want to go for a walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens tomorrow?” Regina asked once they had made it outside in the Spanish sunshine. “There are quite a few photo opportunities.”

“That would be great,” Emma said.

Regina smiled, tugged a hair behind her ear. “Good. Then I’ll be waiting for you in the lobby at say.... ten? Is that too early for you?”

“No,” Emma chuckled. “Ten o’clock is fine. I’ll be there. And I’ll obviously come and see you dance tomorrow night.”

“I’ll try and book you a table then,” Regina said and brushed a hand over her denim skirt.

“That sounds good. Are you sure I can’t walk you home?”

“That’s alright. I prefer taking the walk of shame on my own,” Regina joked and then laughed heartedly at her own joke.

Jesus Christ, she looked so beautiful when she laughed. Emma’s plan about “containing herself” completely went out the window, and she asked: “can I take a picture of you?”

“You don’t even have your camera with you,” Regina slyly pointed out.

“True,” Emma conceded. “But I do have my phone. So can I?”

Regina laughed again. “Only if you’re in the picture too this time. I think you’ve taken enough pictures of me alone already.”

“One can never have too many.”

“That’s my demand, señorita Swan,” Regina warned, and Emma could suddenly see a hint of La Reina, the serious flamenco dancer, in her dark eyes.

“Okay, okay,” the blonde surrendered and laughed as she whipped out her phone. “I’ll be in the picture too. Happy?”

“Very,” Regina said and looked rather impishly. “How do you want me?”

“Loaded question much,” Emma said and tried not to get distracted as she held up the phone. “Pose however you want. Get creative. Or something.”

And creative was exactly what Regina got. “Let’s give that rotten ex of yours something to think about,” she declared devilishly as she stood on her tippy toes. She leaned in and kissed Emma’s cheek just
as Emma snapped the picture.

Emma was pretty sure that her cheek was burning now. “Yeah, that was... very creative,” she said halfheartedly as she looked at the picture. It was a very good picture. She looked surprised yet happy while Regina was kissing her cheek.

“Oooh, that’s brilliant,” Regina said as she glanced at the picture over Emma’s shoulder.

“Very,” Emma quietly agreed.

“Anyway,” Regina said briskly. “I should get home. I’m pretty sure my mother tried to visit me last night when I wasn’t there, so now I have to go and deal with that. It should be interesting.”

“What does she want?” Emma asked.

“You know what, that’s a good question,” Regina said almost a bit musingly. “And I’ve been asking myself the same question for years now. And I’ve reached the conclusion that not even my mother knows
what she wants.”

Emma frowned a bit. “Are you going to be okay?”

“Si,” Regina said lightly. “It’s not exactly the first time I’ve dealt with her.” a shadow flickered across her face, but then she seemed to shake it off, and her lips curled up in a little smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow at ten o’clock, señorita Swan.”

”Yeah. See you.”

Regina snickered softly as she moved her hands to Emma’s forearms. “And thank you for last night. And this morning. It was quite... alucinante.”

“Alucinante?” Emma echoed.

“Amazing, Emma. It was amazing,” Regina said softly.

“Oh. Yeah. It definitely was,” Emma agreed.

Regina snickered softly once more and then she was standing on her tippy toes one more time so she could kiss Emma full on the lips.

Emma immediately returned the kiss and breathed in Regina’s fresh, summery scent.

Regina seemed to be playing with Emma’s hair, exactly like Emma had played with hers earlier this morning, and then the brunette pulled back. “See you tomorrow.”

“Yeah.”

“And you should consider posting that picture,” Regina added. Then she turned around and walked away. Emma heard her laugh.

The blonde remained rooted to the spot. She was watching Regina walk away, and that was not good either. Nor was the yearning sensation that seemed to be settling in her chest. She noted that she was still standing with her phone in her hands, and now she looked down at it to glance at the picture she had just taken. Regina was right. It was a VERY good picture. An alarmingly good picture. Maybe she should post it. It was a little too good to keep all to herself.

Emma shook her head and sighed deeply. “Damnit. You’re screwed, Swan. And you’re talking to yourself. First sign of insanity.”

She huffed as she turned around and walked back towards the hotel. And as she did so, her phone vibrated against her palm. It was Ruby who was texting her. She had done that a few times now. And called. Emma had spotted that earlier today when Regina was getting dressed. Ruby had actually called a few times. Because Emma had been supposed to call her last night like they had agreed on.

Woops. Emma wasn’t completely sure what to tell Ruby. She could try to lie, but Ruby would look right through her attempts like she always did. Maybe she would just have to tell the truth. That she had slept with Regina and was now rapidly developing feelings for her.

Yep. Definitely screwed.

 

 

To Be Continued.....

Chapter Text

After having said goodbye to Regina, Emma went back inside the hotel and up to her room where she found her phone. She supposed she might as well call Ruby now. Otherwise the redhead would call her again. And she probably wouldn’t be very happy about Emma’s lack of communication.

Emma perched herself on the edge of the bed, almost bracing herself as she swiped a finger over the screen on her phone to call Ruby. Then she brought the phone up to her ear. Waited for a minute until...

“Swan! Where the hell have you been?! I called you a million times last night!”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry,” Emma sheepishly apologized.

“Your mom has been over me because she can’t get a hold of you either!” Ruby complained.

“Shit, I’m sorry. I’ll call her as soon as we’re done talking, okay?”

“You better,” Ruby huffed. “Now spill it. What the hell have you been so busy doing since last night? Have you been completely drunk on sangria or something like that?”

“No, actually I had wine last night. But only one glass,” Emma said truthfully.

“Oh right, you saw Regina dance last night, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“And then what?” Ruby asked and snickered in the other end. “More kissing?”

“Yes, but actually...” Emma ran out of words when the memories of last night and earlier this morning attacked her. The way she had wrapped herself around Emma. The way she had cried out. Those Spanish exclamations falling from her lips...

“Actually, what?” Ruby demanded in the other end. “Swan, are you still there?”

“Yeah, I’m here,” Emma said quickly.

“Good. I thought the connection had flaked on us for a second there,” Ruby said briskly. “Now start talking. You were about to tell me about Regina.”

“I might have... I might have slept... with her,” Emma said halfheartedly.

“Might have?”

“I slept with her,” Emma said. “I asked her to come back to the hotel with me, and one thing led to another and-“

“Oh my fucking god!” Ruby screeched. “You slept with her?!”

“Yes, Ruby. I slept with her,” Emma said a bit stiffly and hoped that Ruby wasn’t at work right now. Otherwise she had just shouted Emma’s news out in a full diner.

“Why, you little....” Ruby laughed. “Now it makes more sense that you didn’t answer last night.”

“Shut up.”

“Is she still there?” Ruby asked teasingly.

“No, I said goodbye to her around ten minutes ago.”

“Are you gonna see her again?”

“Yeah, actually we’re going to meet up tomorrow morning and take a walk in some botanical garden. And I’m going to see her dance tomorrow night as well.”

“Oh,” Ruby said.

Emma rubbed a hand over her face. “Rubes, I think I’m in trouble.”

“Why? Em, so what if you slept with her? You’re allowed to have some fun. You sure as hell don’t owe Neal anything.”

“It’s not about Neal,” Emma said quietly, rubbing her face once more. “It’s about Regina.”

“Okay?”

“I... I like her too much,” the blonde mumbled.

“Oh,” Ruby said again.

“Which is absolutely ridiculous because she’s from Spain and I’m just here on holiday. I’m going home in two weeks, for fucks sake! We have completely different lives, and she’s so much younger than me,
and I shouldn’t be feeling all of this because it hasn’t been that long since Neal and I split up, so really it’s completely-“

“Feeling all of this?” Ruby echoed.

Emma swallowed when she realized what she had just said.

“Shit, Em, are you... Are you in love with her?” Ruby asked.

Emma swallowed something again. “I think.... I think I might be a little,” she admitted. “But of course that’s only because I’m crazy vulnerable after everything that’s happened with Neal, right?”

“Do you honestly believe that yourself?” Ruby asked gently.

“Not really,” Emma admitted. “I am so confused, Rubes. I shouldn’t like her this much. I’ve just met her. It doesn’t make sense.”

“The heart wants what it wants,” Ruby said wisely.

Emma didn’t appreciate her friend’s “wisdom”. “Shut up, it’s not funny. It’s a disaster! I can’t be in love with her, Rubes! She’s...”

“Not a day over twenty one?”

“Actually she’s nineteen,” Emma muttered halfheartedly, regretting the words as soon as they had left her mouth.

“Say what now?!”

“Never mind. That’s not what the most important is-“

“She’s nineteen?!”

Emma pinched the bridge of her nose. “Yes, Ruby. She’s nineteen. I was shocked too, okay?”

“Cradle robber.”

Emma’s jaw tightened. “Ha-ha-ha. I’m laughing to hard I can hardly keep holding the phone!”

“Sorry,” Ruby said. “I’m sorry, okay? I’ll stop teasing.”

“She’s not some kid or teenager!” Emma said heftily. “She’s actually very mature. Hence why I thought she was older in the first place!”

“You don’t have to defend yourself, Em. I was just teasing before.”

“And besides, she was the one who kissed me!” Emma continued testily. “She was the one who initiated....” she stopped talking when she realized what she was about to say.

“That you slept together?” Ruby nonchalantly continued.

“Mhmm.”

“And how was it then?” Ruby grinned in the other end.

Emma grimaced even though her friend couldn’t see it. “Are you serious right now?!”

“What, I haven’t gotten anything in a while!” Ruby defended. “At least let me live through you for a moment!”

“I am not gonna tell you about-“

“I don’t want any details!” Ruby defended. “I just want to know how it was!”

Emma sighed deeply once more. “It was good, okay?”

“Just good?”

Now Emma gnashed her teeth. “What do you want me to say? That is was incredible? Mind blowing? Fucking fantastic?”

“That good, huh?” Ruby said. “And now you think that you’re in love with her?”

“It’s not something I think, it’s something I know. And I already was before I slept with her.”

“Fuck,” Ruby said plainly.

“Yes, thank you! That’s the reaction I was looking for,” Emma gritted out. “Seriously, what should I do? What CAN I even do about this?”

“I don’t know, Em,” Ruby said gently. “This is a pretty difficult situation.”

“Yeah, you don’t say,” Emma grumbled. “I’m already dreading going home because the idea of not being able to hang out with her is fucking painful! How insane is that?! I barely know her.”

“You know enough to fall for her,” Ruby cleverly pointed out.

Emma groaned. “Only I would be dumb enough to fall for the local, exotic flamenco dancer.”

Ruby chuckled lightly. “Clearly, it’s dangerous to go to Spain.”

“Clearly it is, yes.” Emma agreed. Now she was chuckling too. She just couldn’t help it.

“Meeting someone was not one of your mom’s reasons for you to go on the honeymoon alone, was it?” Ruby snickered.

“Nope, definitely not,” Emma laughed. “God, this is ironic. I leave one mess behind and manage to create an even bigger one.” The blonde rubbed a hand over her face. “Fuck, this was only supposed to be
a holiday fling! I wasn’t supposed to actually fall for her!”

“Does Regina feel the same about you?” Ruby asked softly.

“No,” Emma said immediately.

“Are you sure about that?”

“I-“ Emma considered it for a moment. Thought of the soft smile Regina had flashed her this morning. Somehow, it had been more than just post-coital bliss. And the way Regina had kissed her cheek when they took that selfie. Emma was certain that hadn’t just been to “give that rotten ex something to talk about”. No, it had been... something more.

“Em?”

“I’m here,” Emma said automatically.

“So? Does Regina feel the same about you?” Ruby repeated.

“I don’t know,” Emma admitted quietly. “But even if she does.... it won’t lead to anything. I’m going home in two weeks!”

“Ever heard of long distance?” Ruby asked nonchalantly.

“No,” Emma said firmly. “Absolutely not! That would be completely unrealistic, Ruby!”

“Would it?”

“Yes. And can we please talk about something else now? Give me some gossip from Storybrooke.”

“I almost died in the shower last night,” Ruby casually informed her.

“Wait, what?” Emma blinked. “How, uhh... how did that happen?”

“There was a spider in the shower, and in my hurry to get the heck out of there, I fell and bumped my head,” Ruby laughed.

“Jesus, Ruby! You have to be more careful!”

“Believe me, careful was not an option at the time,” Ruby snickered.

“No, I suppose it wasn’t,” Emma said a bit absentmindedly as she once again thought about Regina. Being careful had not been an option there either. Unfortunately. Everything about Regina had made her
feel reckless and stupid.

“It’ll be okay, Em,” Ruby said softly.

They didn’t find the solution either. Of course they didn’t. For one single reason. There wasn’t a solution. At least not an obvious one. Falling to her knees and heartfully begging Regina to come back to Storybrooke like Ruby jokingly had suggested, was definitely not an option. So a little while later, Emma concluded the conversation without having found answers. Well, at least none apart from the fact that she was royally screwed. Royally. Regina’s stage name was La Reina. That was funny. Or maybe she just had a terrible sense of humor.

Emma grunted slightly as she unceremoniously let herself fall face first onto the bed. This was not what she had expected when she went to Madrid. She came to nurse a broken heart. Not to meet someone. And definitely not to seriously fall for someone.

“Hell,” the blonde muttered into her pillow. Was she making things up, or was the pillow smelling very faintly of apples? It could just be her imagination, but Emma chose to believe that she was in fact smelling correctly. Because that meant that her pillow was smelling like Regina and that apple scented perfume, she had worn last night. Emma practically mashed her face against the pillow and took a deep sniff. Yep, definitely apple. Definitely Regina. Mmm. Emma sniffed again. Fucking hell, it felt like Regina had taken an important part with her when she left this morning. An important part of Emma.

The blonde literally had no idea what she should do today. She had forgotten whether she had made plans or not. Maybe she would just lie here and let herself be consumed of the memories of last night and this morning. How they had touched each other. Kissed each other. Regina’s lazy smile when she woke up. The way she had laid in Emma’s arms.

“Crap,” Emma muttered earnestly. This WAS some crap. It wasn’t fair that she had fallen for someone. Not here in Madrid. Not when she was going home again in two weeks.

Emma grabbed the pillow and squashed it over her head. Maybe she could just focus on the here and now or something like that. Focus on having a nice time in Madrid like Regina had said. She chuckled bitterly. Yeah, right. Like that was possible. She could only focus on the fact that she was going home pretty soon. Damn ironic. There had been a point where she had been in doubt whether to go or not.
And now she didn’t want to leave at all.

She removed the pillow from her head and lifted her head from the mattress. She should go out and do something. She didn’t come to Madrid to lie face down on her bed, right?

And so Emma huffed as she pushed herself up from the bed. now she was going out in the streets of Madrid to do stuff. She just wasn’t sure what that “stuff” was yet. But anything that could distract her from thinking about Regina would be welcome. The blonde grabbed her camera bag and wallet and then left the honeymoon suite......

 

 

The next morning found Emma smoothening a hand over the black shorts she was gonna wear today. Black shorts and a red tanktop. And she looked pretty good in this outfit. Her legs were getting nicely tanned. Yep, she could definitely go to the park in this outfit.

Emma then smoothened a hand over the high ponytail she was donning today. It was simply too warm to have her hair down. It was another humid day in Madrid. Despite having taken a cold shower,
Emma already felt warm and sweaty. She quickly went into the bathroom and sprayed herself with a bit of deodorant. She didn’t actually think that she was smelling, but it was better to be safe than sorry, right? Next, she applied a bit more lip gloss. That pale pink cinnamon smelling one Regina had mentioned to like. Emma grinned a bit. She would lie if she claimed that she wasn’t hoping for more kisses today.

Emma then fussed over her hair, pulled it out of the ponytail, brushed through it and then tied it back in another and tighter ponytail. Where there was no little hairs sticking up. That damn humidity messed with her hair. And Emma couldn’t deal with having messy hair. Not today. Not when she was going to meet Regina. She huffed a bit, cursed slightly under her breath. She fluffed up her ponytail just a bit, and then she turned around and left the bathroom. She grabbed her phone from the nightstand and noted that Neal had tried calling her again. His calls had intensified since she had posted that picture, she had taken with Regina yesterday morning. The picture where Regina was kissing her cheek. Emma had gotten quite a few reactions on that picture. Not only from Neal, but also from Belle and Ella. And her mom. Mary Margaret had also seen the picture, and she was more than curious to know who the “mysterious young lady in the picture was” as she had put it. Emma had brushed it off. Said that Regina just was someone she was hanging out with while she was here in Madrid. She was pretty sure that Mary Margaret didn’t believe her, but oh well.

Emma didn’t call Neal back. He could rot in hell. She hadn’t even posted that picture of herself and Regina to get Neal’s attention. She had simply done it because she wanted to. She wanted to share how happy she and Regina looked in the picture. That was all, really.

Emma stuffed the phone into the pocket of her shorts, but just as she had done that, she felt it vibrate once more. She was willing to bet her camera that it was Neal again, and yes indeed, when she pulled her phone out of her pocket, it was Neal trying to reach her. Damn stalker. It was entirely possible that she would have to do something about that when she got back. Like telling him to fuck the hell off.

Emma snickered to herself. In some weird way, she was actually looking forward to giving Neal a verbal ass whooping. But now right now. No, right now it was time to head downstairs and meet Regina.

Emma couldn’t wait.

 

But when Emma came downstairs to the lobby, there was no sign of Regina. But then again, Emma was a few minutes early. And when she looked out of the window, she quickly spotted Regina. The younger woman was standing outside smoking a cigarette.

Rather than waiting until time was up, Emma crossed the lobby and went outside to greet Regina, but as soon as she made it outside, she realized that Regina was in fact on the phone with someone. And she didn’t sound particularly chuffed.

“Yes, mother. I hear you,” she said stiffly, taking another drag on the cigarette and then puffing out smoke. Obviously, Emma could only hear Regina’s side of the conversation, but she could definitely see that Regina was not impressed about whatever it was her mother was saying.

Emma was starting to wonder whether she should quietly slip back inside the lobby and wait until Regina had finished the conversation with her mother, but then Regina turned around, spotted Emma and flashed her a big smile.

“Madre, me tengo que ir ahora. Hablo contigo más tarde. Adiós,” she said hastily, ending the conversation and then slipping the phone back inside her purse. She muttered annoyed under her breath, but then she flashed Emma a big smile. “Hola,” she said.

“Hola,” Emma smiled. “You okay?”

“Si,” Regina nodded and looked quite cheerful as she continued: “Sometimes I speak Spanish when I talk to my mother. She hates when I do that.”

“Oh,” Emma said, chuckling a bit.

Regina snipped the cigarette into a nearby bin and reached within her purse, trading the cigarette for a piece of gum. “You look good,” she said to Emma, and the blonde could have sworn she saw Regina look her up and down.

“Thanks. So do you,” Emma said, stealing her own glance at Regina and the light and summery flower patterned sleeveless dress she was wearing. Despite the heat, her hair was hanging in soft curls down her back. If it hadn’t because Emma had seen Regina naked last night, she would say that Regina had never looked more beautiful than she did right now. And obviously, all Emma could think about now was how Regina looked naked. Shit. She felt a faint blush rise in her cheeks. At least Regina was staring rather unabashedly at Emma’s bare legs. That was a consolation.

“I’ve missed you,” Regina said simply and flashed Emma this big, genuine smile.

Oh fuck, that wasn’t fair. It really, really wasn’t. “I’ve missed you too,” Emma said.

Another smile. “Are you ready to leave?”

“Yeah,” Emma nodded.

“Did you bring your camera?”

Emma lightly patted her camera bag in response. “I sure did.”

“Good,” Regina smiled. “There are so many things to photograph in the botanical garden.”

“I think I’d rather photograph you,” Emma flirted.

Regina’s smile became a bit sassier. “Oh yes? Well, I’m sure I could pose for you.”

Emma’s mind immediately went places, and she started to imagine photographing Regina. In various positions. Fucking hell.

“Let’s get going then,” Regina said briskly, unapologetically grabbing Emma’s hand.

“Yes, lets,” Emma said and felt ridiculous for getting affected by the fact that Regina was holding her hand. Considering what she and Regina did last night, Emma really shouldn’t get affected just because
of a bit of handholding.

They walked down the street. Regina had told Emma that it wasn’t a very long walk, and during their short walk to the destination, Emma took the opportunity to ask: “so, did your mom actually stop by your place yesterday?”

“Dios mio, yes,” Regina said and rolled her dark eyes slightly. “That’s why she called me this morning. I blew her off and told her that I had work. And I suppose she could sense that I was lying, so now she’s dissatisfied with me. Again.” she rolled her eyes again. “She’s such a... difficult woman.”

Emma had a feeling that Regina had wanted to say something quite crasser but had toned it down for her sake. The relationship between Regina and her mother was clearly fragile at best, and Emma wondered exactly what had went down between them.

“So are you ready to dance tonight?” Emma asked, making causal small talk.

“Si, I think so,” Regina nodded. “Although, I still feel a bit fatigued after our night.” she turned her head and waggled an eyebrow at Emma.

Emma snickered lightly. “Oh yeah, I know what you mean. That was some night.”

“Si,” Regina said, and the way she said it made it sound more like “siiii” than anything else. It sounded exactly like the way she had said it that night, and Emma felt thoroughly distracted.

And Regina knew that. She laughed sweetly as she tugged at Emma’s hand. “Come on, Señorita Swan.”

“Alright, alright, I’m coming,” Emma said, laughing too. She just couldn’t help it. Regina’s laugh was so infectious.

As they walked the last bit of way to their distance, Emma was sure that she heard Regina’s phone vibrate in her purse. And she was also sure that Regina heard it too but chose to ignore it. She definitely muttered something that sounded like an exasperated “madre”, and then rolled her eyes again.

Emma wasn’t sure what to say, so she settled for giving Regina’s hand a soft squeeze.

It didn’t take long before she felt Regina squeeze back.

 

Soon they reached their destination, and Emma could look around in the very beautiful garden. Regina was right, there was indeed many photo opportunities, and Emma immediately went to work and began to take pictures of all the beautiful flowers.

“Is there any chance I can ask you to pose for me?” Emma asked as she lowered the camera. “Your dress sort of matches the scenery.”

“Yes. My dress. I’m sure that’s the reason why you’d want to take pictures of me,” Regina gently chided as she willingly put on a smile and posed for Emma.

“By the way, I posted that picture of us on my Instagram,” Emma said with faux nonchalance as she snapped a picture of Regina.

Regina carefully waited until Emma had taken the picture. Then she said: “oh? And what did your friends have to say about it?”

“Most of them wanted to know who the “exotic, beautiful jewel” is,” Emma laughed.

“Oh,” Regina laughed too, and Emma immediately took the opportunity to snap another picture of Regina.

“Emma! I wasn’t ready!” Regina protested.

“Oh stop it, you look beautiful!” Emma brushed her off. “I love your laugh.”

Regina “oh’ed” again, but this time the sound was different. More shy. She blushed adorably.

“Can I take another picture of you?” Emma asked softly. She would like to immortalize the look on Regina’s face.

Regina nodded, and Emma snapped another picture of her.

Then they walked around some more. Emma fully soaked up everything. The flowers, the clear blue sky. The sunshine. Regina’s soft, warm hand in her own. Holding Regina’s hand felt really, really good.

“Would you like to come and see where I live sometimes?” Regina asked as they admired the irises.

“Yeah,” Emma said with a smile. “That would be really great.”

“I mean, it’s not as nice as your hotel room, and it’s not very big, but-“

“I’d love to see where you live,” Emma interrupted and gave Regina’s hand a soft squeeze.

“Great,” Regina said and returned the smile. “How about tonight? After I’ve danced?”

“Yeah, that sounds great,” Emma said. She was looking forward to seeing Regina’s apartment.

“Then I better tidy up the place,” Regina quipped with a snicker.

Emma chuckled. “It can’t be that messy.”

“Believe me, it is,” Regina said gravely, prompting Emma to laugh even harder.

After having walked around for a while, and once Emma’s camera was almost overflowing with pictures of the flowers, they decided that a rest was appropriate. They sat down on the grass and Regina tugged up the skirt on her dress just a little so she could get some color on her legs. Not that she needed to. Her legs were already nicely tanned. That golden color was so beautiful. Emma couldn’t stop looking at the younger woman’s legs. And Regina quickly caught her staring and smirked slightly. Then she lightly brushed her fingertips over Emma’s bare arm.

That almost made Emma shiver. “This is nice,” she said.

“It is,” Regina nodded. “It’s a beautiful day.”

“Yeah, do you guys even have rain?” Emma quipped.

Regina chuckled lightly, but her amusement was quickly replaced with annoyance when her phone went off in her purse once more. “Maldición,” she muttered earnestly as she thrusted one hand inside her purse. First, she found her pack of cigarettes and then her phone. “She never gives up that one,” she said lightly as she rejected the call and slipped the phone back inside her purse.

“Was that your mom again?” Emma inquired.

“Oh yes,” Regina replied, and now she almost sounded amused. “My mother’s two favorite things are to be bitter and call me repeatedly. And mostly, I’m what she’s bitter about.” She laughed heartedly.

But Emma couldn’t really see the joke. “That’s not very nice,” she said softly.

Regina shrugged lightly. “I’m used to it. And she’s moving to New York, so pretty soon I’ll be rid of her.” another chuckle. She brushed her hand over Emma’s arm again. “Have I mentioned how good you look today?”

“You look good too,” Emma said with a soft chuckle and sighed a bit. This was really, really nice.

Until Regina’s cellphone went off again. Regina cursed a bit in Spanish and then declared that she would switch the device off entirely.

“I’m sorry about that,” the young brunette said lightly as she stuffed the phone back inside the purse after having switched it off.

“That’s completely fine,” Emma said. “I’m just sorry that she’s bothering you like that.”

Regina snickered. “I almost prefer Marian over this.”

Emma chuckled softly because that was clearly the response Regina was after, but Emma’s laughter wasn’t a hundredth percent genuine. She was honestly a bit concerned. Regina was smiling, but Emma could still see that little wrinkle between her eyes. Emma was starting to notice that that little wrinkle only appeared when her mother was mentioned, and the blonde was honestly curious as well as concerned now. Curious about the strained relationship between Regina and her mother. Exactly what had went down between them? Emma found it particularly horrible because she couldn’t imagine having such a relationship with her own mother. She and her mom had always gotten along. And she was honestly concerned about it because she didn’t like the idea of Regina’s home situation being bad in any way. “Can I ask you something... personal?”

Regina laughed heartedly once more. “I don’t think it can be anymore person after last night, Em-ma.”

“True that,” Emma acknowledged with a nod. “But I was actually wondering if I can ask about your mom?”

“Oh,” Regina said lightly. “Sure. You’ve told me about your situation. Seems only fair. Ask away.”

“You said you’re not her favorite person,” Emma recollected. “And I was just wondering why things are like that?”

“It’s a conflict that had lasted for a while,” Regina said and shifted a bit in the grass. “When I was sixteen, my mother got the idea that she wanted a maid. She claimed that we needed one. We lived but I
think she mostly wanted a maid because she wanted to brag about it to all her stuffy friends.” Another snicker. Regina reached within her purse and found the pack of cigarette. She looked like she was on the verge of pulling one out of the pack, but then she firmly shook her head, clearly telling herself no. “Anyway, my father, bless him, simply went along with it. He’s gotten the idea that that makes his life easier. I don’t particular agree with that, I would have preferred if he had stood up to her once in a while, but either way, we got a maid. Daniella Colinas. She was only about a year or so older than me, and she always seemed to be around whenever I was, and so we started to become friends. At least that was what it started out as.”

“Okay,” Emma said, already sensing where this was going.

“It didn’t take long before she and I fell for each other,” Regina said fondly. “She was actually the one who gave me my first kiss. We grew pretty close and started dating in secret. I knew that my mother wouldn’t exactly be delighted if she found out that I was seeing Daniella. She had some sort of idea that I should date someone “with the right connections”. Anyway, Daniella and I managed to keep things under wrap for a while. We had such plans about making things official and maybe even move in together when I turned eighteen. But obviously, things didn’t quite go as planned. It wasn’t that long after my seventeenth birthday when my mother found out. She was supposed to be out, but she came home unexpectedly and caught Daniella and I kissing each other.”

“Oh,” Emma said quietly.

“She went ballistic,” Regina said plainly. “Completely ballistic. She kicked Daniella out on the spot and forbade her to ever come back or contact me again. If she did, it would be the easiest thing in the world for my mother to call around and tell everybody “with influence” how Daniella had “taken advantage of her position and seduced me”. Which was una carga de basura because I was the one who had initiated things with Daniella in the first place. Anyway, Daniella didn’t dare contacting me again, and I fully understand that. My mother would somehow find out, I’m sure. I never saw Daniella again, and since then the relationship between me and my mother has been strained to say the least. I moved out on my eighteenth birthday. Much to my mother’s dismay.”

“Jesus,” Emma said. “I’m really sorry about that, Regina.”

Regina shrugged lightly. “It is what it is, Emma. Nothing I can do about it now.”

“No, but it was your first relationship,” Emma said softly and reached out and touched Regina’s hand. “And I’m sorry it ended like that.”

Regina shrugged lightly once more. “It’s fine. I’m over it. Now you know one of the reasons why my mother and I don’t get along.”

One of the reasons. The blonde immediately picked up on that. One of the reasons. Not the sole reason. She would have liked to ask about what other reasons there could possibly be, but she could sense that Regina didn’t particularly want to talk more about it. Emma squeezed her hand gently. “Do you want to talk about something else?”

“Yes, please,” Regina said and turned her head. “Like... how beautiful you look today.”

Emma snickered. “That sounds like a good conversation.”

Regina laughed as she wiggled closer. Emma could smell the apple scented shampoo Regina was so favoring, and she couldn’t resist to turn her head and plant a light kiss on Regina’s lips. Yep, they were exactly as soft and warm and wonderful like last night, and Emma cupped Regina’s cheek, deepened the kiss and tugged Regina closer. This was wonderful. Emma didn’t give a damn that they were outside. It didn’t matter. She just wanted to keep kissing Regina.

And Regina didn’t hesitate either. She kissed Emma back with all her might and even exhaled softly as Emma buried her fingers in the brunette’s hair.

Emma completely lost herself in the kiss. Those warm lips against hers made her completely dizzy. Regina was literally making her head spin, and Emma could have chuckled at that. She would have. At least until a slight movement from Regina made the blonde pull back and ask: “did you just swallow your gum?”

“I might have,” Regina said cheekily and laughed. And then her hands were on Emma’s cheeks.

“I can’t wait to see you dance tonight,” Emma said eagerly.

“I’m dancing for you, preciosa,” Regina quipped as she playfully brushed her nose against Emma’s.

“That’s a dangerous thing to say,” Emma said.

“And why is that?” Regina asked softly.

“Because I.... really like you,” Emma admitted before the courage completely deserted her. She immediately regretted it as soon as the words left her mouth, though. Maybe she shouldn’t have said that. Maybe that was the direct way to disaster.

Regina flashed her a soft little smile. “Tú también me gustas,” she said softly. “Tanto.”

“And what does that mean?” Emma asked quietly.

Regina didn’t answer that. Instead she leaned in and slotted their lips together in another kiss. An incredibly soft and wonderful kiss. One that seemed to completely melt Emma’s brain. She felt Regina’s arms wrap around her neck, she could smell the sweet, summery perfume Regina was wearing. The soft pressure of her lips against Emma’s. Regina made a soft little exhaling sound into Emma’s mouth.

And suddenly, Emma was even more screwed than she had been the night before.

 

To Be Continued...........

Chapter Text

That same evening, Emma was knocking on the door to Regina’s dressing room, asking. “Regina? Can I come in?”

“Si, but be quick to close the door when you come in,” Regina said behind the door.
Cryptic statement. Emma opened the door and slipped inside. And it didn’t take long for her to figure out why she had to be quick to close the door. Regina was standing in front of the full figure mirror, wearing only her underwear.

“Hey. Again,” Emma said with a slight grin and tried not to look at Regina’s breasts.

“Hola,” Regina said as she stepped into the extravagant flamenco dress. “You’re just in time, señorita Swan. Could you please lace me up?”

“Sure thing,” Emma said, stepping behind her and “attacking” the corset back. She tightened and tightened it until Regina’s breasts were almost spilling out of the top of the dress.

“Perfect,” Regina said. “Thank you. But I will be holding you personally responsible if the dress pops open while I’m dancing...”

Emma snickered. “Surely, that hasn’t happened before, right?”

“There’s a first time for everything,” Regina said airily as she smoothened a hand over her hair.

Emma openly ogled her. Regina looked quite different tonight with her hair slicked back in a tight bun. Her makeup wasn’t soft and light anymore, but dark and intense. Her eyes almost looked a bit dangerous. Her lips had been painted a dark shade of red. The color matched her flamenco dress exactly. And it matched the color of the rose in her hair.

“You look beautiful,” Emma said honestly.

Regina blushed sweetly. “Thank you, Emma. That is very sweet of you. You look beautiful too.”

“What, this old thing?” Emma quipped as she brushed a hand over her little black dress. “It’s nothing.”

“It’s everything,” Regina said firmly as her eyes roamed over Emma’s body. Her dark gaze rested a little too long on Emma’s legs. Emma didn’t mind that in the slightest.

“So, are you ready to dance tonight?” the blonde asked.

Regina shrugged. “As ready as I’ll be.”

“Great. I’m looking forward to seeing your place afterwards,” Emma smiled. She had indeed been thinking about that for most of the day.

Regina grimaced. “I haven’t had the chance to tidy up.”

“I don’t mind that,” Emma assured. “I’m pretty messy myself, so...”

“Maybe you’ll feel quite at home in my apartment then,” Regina quipped and laughed.

“I’m sure I will,” Emma nodded.

Regina smoothened a hand over the ruffled skirt on her dress and then squared her shoulders slightly.

“Are you nervous?” Emma asked and tilted her head slightly. If she didn’t know any better, she would say that it looked like Regina was nervous.

“A little bit,” Regina admitted and flashed Emma a little smile. “I always seem to get more nervous when you’re here. It feels like I’m dancing for you.”

Emma’s heart swelled. That was positively adorable. “Should I look the other way then?” she goofily asked.

Regina snickered amusedly. “I don’t think that would be ideal. If you’re looking the other way how will you take pictures of me?”

“Good point,” Emma said with a chuckle.

Regina reached for her lipstick and applied a bit more red to her lips, and Emma shamelessly stared at her while she did so. She still couldn’t get over how different Regina looked when she transformed into “La Reina”.

“Is the place full tonight?” Regina asked, smacking her lips slightly.

“You bet,” Emma said and tried not to get distracted by the sound. “Good thing you reserved a table for me. Otherwise I would have to stand up.”

Regina laughed sweetly at that. Then smoothened her dress slightly once more. Walked over to one of the plushy chairs and sat down. She grabbed her shoes and Emma noted that she was wincing slightly as she wiggled her feet into the high heeled dance shoes.

“Your feet hurts?” Emma asked slightly concerned.

“Just a smidge,” Regina said and then jokingly continued: “I might have to take a vacation.”

Emma snickered. “Maybe you should.”

“I can pretend I’m on holiday later when I hang out with you,” Regina said softly and flashed Emma a mischievous little smile.

Emma’s belly instantly began to flutter. She was looking forward to seeing Regina dance, but she was definitely also looking forward to some one-on-one time with Regina later. Now she felt that tingling anticipation low in her belly.

“Anyway, it’s almost time,” Emma said, trying to get her mind out of the gutter. “I should probably go back to my table.”

“Don’t I even get a kiss for luck?” Regina asked playfully as she stood from the chair.

“Do you need one?” Emma quipped.

“Yes,” Regina said with a snicker. “In case you haven’t noticed, I need plenty of kisses from you.”

“Well, in that case...” Emma walked over to the young brunette and pecked her lips. “How’s that?”

“I’m going to need more later,” Regina said smoothly, arms looping around Emma’s waist.

Emma immediately noted that Regina smelled amazing tonight. Her summery perfume had been traded for one that smelled a bit spicier. A bit darker.

“You almost look intimidating when you’re all dressed up,” Emma said.

Regina snickered and gave Emma’s waist a little squeeze. “It’s the eyes,” she told the blonde.

“Definitely,” Emma agreed. Regina’s eyes definitely looked darker than usual when she was wearing that heavy, dark makeup and her lashes were extra defined tonight.

“Now off you pop,” Regina joked, gave Emma’s waist one more squeeze and then gave her a slight nudge towards the door.

“Okay, okay,” Emma chuckled. “I’m going. Where do I meet you afterwards? Out front, or...?”

“No, how about you come back in here?” Regina suggested with a smirk. “I’m going to need help with getting the dress off.”

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” Emma grinned. “A very interesting deal.”

Regina flashed her a devilish seductive smile. “Now go. Before I ask you to mess up my lipstick.”

“I’ll do that afterwards,” Emma promised.

“I hope you’ll do more afterwards,” Regina said lowly, and Emma wondered how the heck it was possible to so sweet and innocent and so naughty at the same time.

“I’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures of you,” Emma promised.

“You better,” Regina smirked as she grabbed a thin, black shawl and then waved it in Emma’s face.

Emma felt equally amused and aroused as she left the dressing room. Regina was delightfully flirty, and Emma couldn’t wait to spend time with her in a more private setting. Something fluttered in
Emma’s belly again. Something she tried her best to ignore as she found her table and sat down. A waiter passed by and Emma ordered a sangria. Just one. She was not interested in getting drunk.

 

A few minutes passed and then the lights were dimmed and one of the waiters announced: “La Reina!”

Everyone clapped and applauded, and Emma immediately sat her drink down to join in. She even whooped, and she was pretty sure she saw Regina wink at her....

Seeing Regina dance tonight was terribly difficult for Emma. Because suddenly, every last dance move reminded Emma of another type of and a much more forbidden kind of dancing she had seen Regina doing quite recently.

Emma crossed her legs under the table. She might have laughed when Regina claimed that she was dancing for her, but Regina was most certainly dancing for her. Every time she spun around and faced her audience, she was actually facing Emma. She didn’t appear to notice her audience. Just Emma. And Emma cursed herself because she was completely nuts for this girl. She couldn’t help it.

Regina spun around and then threw the shawl. Straight at Emma. It actually pretty much landed directly in Emma’s face, and as Emma peeled the shawl away from her face, she could clearly see Regina laugh. Emma “traded” the shawl for her camera and was quick to snap a picture of Regina. One she had every intention of posting to her professional Instagram. It could be the highlight to her little “Lost in Madrid” cavalcade.

Regina lifted her ruffled skirt, teasingly showing off her legs to her audience, and Emma was immediately attacked by a million flashbacks. Regina’s legs wrapped around her waist. Regina’s legs draped over her shoulders as she took in Emma’s fingers deeper.

The tingling sensation between Emma’s thighs evolved into a dull, throbbing sensation. Emma pressed her legs together again. A bit firmer this time. Blood was rushing to her face, and yep she was definitely getting aroused in the middle of a bar. Damn it. She took another sip of her sangria only to choke slightly on it. Regina was currently facing away from her audience, and all Emma could focus on was that glorious ass of hers.

This was not the first time Emma considered to extend her stay in Spain with another week, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last time either.

Regina elegantly spun around once more, and to Emma’s surprise she elegantly hopped off the stage, danced over to the blonde’s table and then plucked the shawl out of her hands. She seductively waved the scarf in Emma’s face, and Emma felt genuinely upset that kissing her was not something Regina could incorporate into her dance routine.

Regina spun around, faster and faster she danced, and Emma silently wondered how it was possible to be anything but in love with her. Regina was the most beautiful creature Emma ever had seen, but it was more than that. Emma wasn’t just in love of her because of the way she looked. No, she was also in love with Regina because of the way she was. The way she was gentle yet badass at the same time. Wonderfully sarcastic without ever being mean.

However weird it sounded, it felt like Emma had known the brunette longer than she actually had.

Regina spun around again and winked at Emma, and Emma couldn’t help the big goofy smile that appeared on her lips. Regina was still dancing very close to her table, and Emma saw how she bit her lip slightly. That did things to Emma. Delicious things. Wicked things. Deliciously wicked things that really shouldn’t be happening in the middle of a bar. Emma shifted on her chair. Wiggled slightly in an attempt to relieve some of that pressure between her thighs. She was positively throbbing between her legs. Emma took another sip of her sangria and dared making eye contact with Regina. No doubt the young brunette knew exactly what she was doing. That little flirt. How could someone that tiny be so powerful? Emma almost chuckled as she took another sip of her drink.

Regina spun around and wiggled her hips in a seductive and a positively sinful manner. Emma discreetly brushed her sweaty palm against her thigh. She almost groaned out loud. She was rapidly going damp between her thighs. Maybe it would have been better to not come and see Regina dancing tonight. Apparently, that was dangerous. Very dangerous.

Emma caught her bottom lip between her teeth when she ended up staring entirely too long at Regina’s chest. The images of Regina naked kept popping up in her head in a most distracting manner, and the fact that she could see droplets of sweat on Regina’s neck didn’t exactly make things easier for Emma. She had the strongest urge to order another sangria. But she had promised herself she wouldn’t. She didn’t wanna risk ending up with a foggy mind. Not when she was going to “hang out” with Regina.

A somewhat elderly man sitting not too far from Emma was practically drinking in the image of Regina, and Emma caught herself feeling annoyed because someone was staring at Regina. The blonde immediately mentally backed the hell up and reminded herself that she had absolutely zero right to be annoyed or jealous.

Jealous? No-no, she wasn’t jealous. Definitely not. Of course not. That would be ridiculous.

Emma shifted slightly on her chair once more when Regina spun around and gave her a teasing glimpse of her ankles. Since when was ankles sexy? Since right now, apparently. There wasn’t a part of Regina Emma didn’t find to be almost absurdly sexy and desirable.

“¡Hermosa! ¡Tan hermosa!” the man sitting not too far from Emma loudly exclaimed.

Emma nodded in silent agreement. Regina was most definitely beautiful. So, so beautiful.

 

As soon as Regina had concluded tonight’s dance, Emma rose from her seat and slipped past the crowd and into the hallway. She winced slightly as she walked down the corridor. Damn, she was damp between her legs! She puffed out air and then knocked on the door to the dressing room once more.

“Who is it?” Regina asked behind the door.

“Me. Can I come in?”

“Sure, me. Come in,” Regina teased.

Emma snorted quietly as she pushed the door open and went inside. She found Regina standing in front of the mirror again. She was lightly dapping a damp cloth over her chest, and Emma could have swallowed her tongue right then and there.

“Hola,” Regina snickered as she dapped the sweat away from her chest. “Did you like my performance tonight, Emma?”

“It was brilliant,” Emma said truthfully.

Regina smiled at her in the mirror. “I couldn’t concentrate. You were distracting me.”

“Sorry?” Emma said without an ounce of apology in her voice.

“No, you’re not,” Regina said dully.

“You’re right. I’m not.”

Regina bursted out laughing. “You are messing with my head and with my concentration, señorita Swan.”

Emma snickered. “You were the one who kept winking at me.”

“Si. So I was,” Regina acknowledged, reaching behind and starting to tug at the knot in her flamenco dress.

“Need some help with that?” Emma asked and didn’t feel one bit gallant.

“That would be appreciated. Gracias,” Regina said and moved her hands away from the knot in the back of her dress.

Emma immediately went to work and attacked the knot in Regina’s dress. And while she worked on the knot in Regina’s dress, Regina made a slight shift, and then she was suddenly several inches shorter than before. Several inches shorter than Emma. The brunette had just elegantly wiggled out of her shoes, and Emma found that she loved the fact that Regina was that tiny.

The knot in Regina’s dress loosened, and Regina turned around, smiled and said: “Thank you.”

“No problem,” Emma smiled. “You looked amazing out there tonight.”

That comment earned her a soft kiss on the cheek. “Gracias,” Regina said earnestly. “I’m so happy you enjoyed it.” she walked over to the little plushy chair, reached underneath it and found a clear plastic bag that contained her everyday clothes. Without much further ado, she wiggled out of the flamenco dress. It fell to the floor, and Emma’s knees buckled slightly when she was confronted with a very topless Regina. Fuck. She swallowed something as she looked at those ridiculously small black panties Regina was wearing tonight. They barely covered anything. Emma could easily spot the crown tattoo on her hip.

Regina snickered slightly. “It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, Em-ma.”

“Maybe I just haven’t seen enough,” Emma said and congratulated herself with how much she sounded like one hell of a sly fox despite feeling the exact opposite.

Regina laughed again as she thrusted one hand inside the bag and found a black strapless bra that matched her panties. She put it on, and Emma immediately felt like she could breathe a bit easier.

“Have you had any dinner before coming here, or should I introduce you to my insanely delicious spaghetti?” Regina quipped as she reached within the bag again and found a purple crop top. She slipped it over her head and grunted slightly when the fabric caught on the rose in her hair.

“I had dinner before I left,” Emma said. “But I wouldn’t mind tasting your spaghetti some other time.”

“It’s a date,” Regina snickered and smoothened the purple top slightly. The next thing in the bag was a little black skirt she quickly stepped into, slipped up over her bottom and then zipped it in the back.

Date. That little word suddenly had sharp edges that cut Emma. If she had met Regina back in Storybrooke, she would definitely have dated her. Like actually dated her. And not just in this playful manner they did here because they both knew that Emma was going home. If only she wasn’t. If only she wasn’t going home so soon. Emma could have used three more weeks here. Or three extra months.

Regina reached within the bag for the fourth time and found a pair of ballerina shoes. She moaned a bit as she slipped them on. “My poor feet. I’m getting too old for this.”

Emma laughed at the absurdity in that. “If you’re old, I’m middle aged.”

“I FEEL middle aged,” Regina groaned and wiggled her feet slightly.

“You dancing tomorrow?” Emma inquired.

“No. I have a shift at the bar, but not until tomorrow night,” Regina replied, and her tongue peeked out in sheer concentration as she removed the rose from her hair. Or, tried to. It stuck slightly to her hair, and she bit her lip at that.

Emma sort of wanted to bite that lip. Like... a lot. She shifted a bit, gnashing her teeth at the dampness between her legs.

Regina managed to free the rose from her hair, and dark curls immediately tumbled free, spilling down her back. She shook her head a few times, sending the curls bouncing slightly.

Now Emma really struggled. Regina’s long tresses was another thing she found immensely sexy.

Regina spun around and walked directly over to her. Before Emma could even blink, Regina’s arms were wrapped around her neck, and the brunette’s mouth was covering hers.

Emma moaned in pure relief as she returned the kiss. This was pretty much everything she had wanted to do since she had come in here.

Regina’s fingers tangled into her hair, and Emma found herself being pushed backwards. Her back collided softly with the wall and Emma moaned again. Maybe Regina was tiny, but she was definitely taking charge. And it was most definitely sexy as hell! Emma wrapped her arms around Regina and tugged her closer. And Regina answered that by shoving a leg in between Emma’s. A gasp tumbled from Emma’s lips at that. Regina’s muscular thigh pressing against her damp panties definitely did things to her. Deliciously, wicked things! Good god, Emma was horny like she had never been before. First Regina seducing her by dancing and now this. It was almost too much for the blonde.

Regina pried her lips apart and slipped her tongue inside Emma’s mouth, causing the blonde to moan again. She squeezed Regina’s waist and caressed the brunette’s tongue with her own, then nibbled roughly on Regina’s bottom lip. This time, Regina was the one who moaned, and then Emma felt her shift, felt her hands travelling down and then rucking her dress up.

Emma swallowed something when her thighs were bared. Were they actually doing this? In a dressing room? Okay then. Emma had absolutely zero problems with that. Her skin began prickling as she felt that thrill of doing something like this in a public place. It was so deliciously adventurous and forbidden, and fucking hell, Emma absolutely loved it!”

Regina used one hand to cup Emma’s core while she moved her other hand to the blonde’s right breast, giving it a firm squeeze.

Emma pulled out of the kiss to throw her head back against the wall and hiss: “oh fucking hell, Regina!” she could feel how her nipples hardened, and she was sure as hell that Regina could feel it too. Emma’s dress was pretty thin. Didn’t give much cover.

Regina’s lips moved to her neck, and then she was scraping her teeth over Emma’s skin, pulling slightly and then sucking. Maybe she would even leave a mark. And maybe Emma didn’t mind if Regina left a mark. Maybe she would be completely fine with that.

“Oh, shit!” Emma cursed and mourned that she didn’t know any Spanish phrases. Cursing definitely sounded better in Spanish.

Regina’s mouth moved down to her collarbone, teeth lightly scraping over the protruding bone, and Emma felt her knees buckle because Regina’s hand were moving too. More specifically, it was crawling inside Emma’s panties, and Emma felt like her knees could give in at any moment. She had no idea how she managed to stay upright when Regina’s fingers found her clit and began rubbing it in quick, firm circles. Emma’s core twitched and she felt how more wetness dripped onto Regina’s fingers. Emma was already wet. Soaked. Had been since she helped Regina lace up her dress, and now it felt like Emma’s stomach had been turned to soup. Every part of her felt like it had been liquified. Or sat on fire. By Regina. Regina whose lips were coming up to cover hers and swallow every moan spilling from Emma’s lips.

Emma tugged at the brunette’s bottom lip, doing her best to make the younger woman feel just an iota of the things Emma was feeling right now. Hot, mind numbing arousal was coursing through Emma’s body and burning in her core, and fuck she was gonna fucking come from this! Right there, against this wall with Regina’s fingers inside her panties. Speaking of that, Regina’s fingers were moving again. One of them slipping lower and then pressing lightly against Emma’s entrance.

“Fuck yes!” Emma moaned, loudly giving her consent. “Yes, yes, yes!”

Regina’s finger entered her, and despite the rough enthusiasm she had been displaying until now, the movement was slow and tender. Controlled. She may have Emma pressed up against the wall, but she was still making a hundredth percent careful not to be too rough with the blonde. She began to wiggle her finger inside Emma, and Emma panted, automatically widening her stance to give Regina more room. And Regina answered that by twisting her hand so she could press the heel of it snugly against Emma’s clit. She gave the hardened bud a rub, making sure that no part of Emma was left unattended.

The sounds Emma were making were almost inhuman. Too loud. But she didn’t care how many people could hear her. The only thing mattering was Regina’s finger moving inside her and rubbing against her g-spot just so! she felt herself twitch and more wetness spilled from her. Spilled onto Regina’s hand. Fuck, Emma was still trying to fully grasp that this was actually happening. That she was having sex against a wall. That she was being FUCKED against a wall. That had definitely not happened since she was a teenager. It had been quite a while since Emma felt as adventurous as she did tonight.

Regina was doing something to her. And not just the obvious. No, she was bringing out a different side of Emma. A slightly wilder one that had been suppressed when Emma thought that she was about to “grow up” and get married and be responsible, but now... now that side of her was allowed to unravel, and Emma fucking loved it! She threw her head back and moaned loudly once more. “Oh, fuck, Regina!”

“Oh, eso espero. Más tarde,” Regina half-snickered, and oh sweet gods above! Emma wasn’t sure she could handle hearing Regina speak Spanish right now! It was too much! She moaned sharply again, teeth sinking into her bottom lip. She couldn’t help but to bite down harshly. Hard enough to draw blood. She didn’t care about that. Nothing had ever been of less interest to her. Right now, biting her lip was the only thing that prevented her from screaming the entire room down. Because she very well could have done that instead. That was what Regina was doing to her. That was what Regina was reducing her to. A screaming mess. But Emma had absolutely nothing against being reduced to a screaming mess.

“¿Vas a tener un orgasmo, Emma?” Regina purred in her ear, and even though Emma understood only one word in that sentence, it was still sexy as hell! Hearing Regina speak Spanish always made her feel positively delirious. Her core clenched around Regina’s finger.

“¿Si? ¿Usted está?” Regina purred seductively and kissed a spot just below her ear, and then scraping her teeth over the same spot. “Adelante entonces, hermosa!” to stress out her point she gave Emma’s clit a firm rub with the heel of her hand. Her finger wiggled, almost slipping out of Emma before re-entering her along with a second digit, and then she was stroking slowly, deep and tenderly within Emma. “Eres tan hermosa, Emma. ¡Muy muy hermosa! Me estás volviendo loco, ¿lo sabías?” the brunette breathed, and now she only sounded tender. Soft. As was the way her fingers were moving deeply within Emma. “Me encanta como te sientes.”

Her fingers and her words were driving Emma positively mad, and she wanted to ask Regina to say something more in Spanish, but unfortunately, she was pretty much tongue tied right now. She could feel herself race towards climax. Or maybe climax was racing towards her. Either way, Emma could feel that pressure building steadily within her, and she panted out a few breaths. That was pretty much the only sound she was capable of producing right now. Her fingers tangled into Regina’s hair once more. Her back arched, and she tethered slightly on her high heels. She should not have worn high heels tonight. It felt like she could fall over at any moment. Her core clenched again, more wetness spilled from her. Her inner thighs were going completely slick.

“Vamos preciosa,” Regina coaxed hoarsely in her ear. “¡Quiero oirte!” she hooked her fingers, rubbed them against Emma’s g-spot once more. Mouth moving away from Emma’s ear, she kissed the blonde again, deeply, tenderly, swallowing every moan spilling from Emma’s lips.

Emma had no idea what that meant either, but it didn’t matter. She felt herself arching forward as that pressure exploded and became red hot pleasure in her core. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut. Her hands flew to Regina’s shoulders, fingers digging into the soft flesh. Emma pulled out of the kiss to cry out sharply, too blissed out to worry about the risk of being heard.

Regina kept stroking her g-spot, kept rubbing her clit until Emma groaned and squirmed. Now she was oversensitive to the touch.

Regina chuckled lightly, dropped one last kiss on Emma’s collarbone and then said something in Spanish as she gently withdrew her fingers from within Emma.

Emma groaned again when she felt her dress being lowered and then smoothened slightly.

“There we are,” Regina said and sounded amused. “All nice and decent again.”

“D-decent?” Emma croaked. “You just fucked me against a wall!”

“Si. I did,” Regina said delighted. “And it was very, very nice.”

“It was,” Emma happily agreed as she opened her eyes. The image of Regina was a bit blurry at first, but after she had blinked a few times, Regina’s smiling face became crystal clear in her vision.

“Are you ready to head back to my place now?” Regina said almost nonchalantly.

“Been ready for a while,” Emma teased.

“Excellent,” Regina said, smoothing a hand over her skirt. “Then let’s get going, señorita Swan.” She stretched a hand out towards Emma.

“Yes, lets,” Emma said, happily accepting the hand being stretched out towards her.

 

Emma had looked forward to seeing where Regina lived, but truthfully, she didn’t end up seeing a lot of Regina’s apartment. Mostly her bedroom. And Emma didn’t even pick up on how Regina’s bedroom actually looked. There were things that were more important. Like the fact that Regina quickly ended up naked and gasping underneath her. The way her back arched was more than important.

Yes, Emma was more than happy to end her night like this. With Regina panting and gasping and yelling in Spanish. And those oh, so flexible legs of hers high in the air...

 

To Be Continued..........

Chapter Text

Emma felt so utterly content when she woke up the next morning. Blissed out. A few of her muscles felt a bit achy. She was sticky in certain places, but definitely very, very happy.

Without opening her eyes she reached out, blindly grabbing for Regina. But she found nothing but an empty space in the bed. Regina wasn’t next to her anymore.

Oh. Emma opened her eyes and sat up in bed. “Regina?”

No answer. Interesting.

Emma stumbled out of bed, pulling the duvet with her and wrapping it around her naked body. “Gina?” she immediately paused and questioned herself. ‘Gina’? where the hell did that come from?

She decided not to look further into that. It was much more important to look for REgina.

Emma went into the bathroom and did her morning toilette. Tried to make her hair a bit more presentable, and then “borrowed” some of Regina’s toothpaste. She applied a bit to the tip of her finger and then quickly swirled said finger around in her mouth. Impromptu tooth brushing, but she didn’t have much of choice. She hadn’t brought a toothbrush, and she didn’t want to have morning breath. That would be so disgusting! Then she once again tried to smoothen out her hair a bit. She didn’t want to have a bedhead either. She opened one of the cupboards and found a hairbrush. She ran the brush through her hair. Ahh. That was better. Now her bedhead didn’t look too bad.

Once that was done, the blonde went into the Regina’s tiny little living room. Empty. But Emma still looked around. This was an awfully cute living room. A bit vintage-y with that old tattered leather couch in the middle of the room. Emma hadn’t paid enormously attention to the living room last night, she had been far too focused on getting Regina to bed as fast as possible, but now the blonde really took the opportunity to look around. This was one very nice living room. With purple walls, Emma noted with a chuckle. Quirky.

Emma sniffed in. What was she smelling? Mmmm. That smelled good. Familiar. Wait a second, was that bacon? Emma sniffed again. Yep, definitely bacon. Interesting. Very interesting.

She continued her little “quest” into the kitchen. Where she found Regina. Wearing a long nightshirt. Her dark hair was tousled, and she was standing in front of the stove, flipping bacon like there was no tomorrow.

“Hey,” Emma said. “Whacha doing?”

Regina spun around with the spatula in her hand. “Failing miserably at making you breakfast in bed, it would seem.”

Emma chuckled. “There’s no need for that.”

“Maybe not, but I still would have liked to,” Regina said plainly as she moved over to the fridge. “Watch the bacon for me while I find the eggs?”

“Sure thing.” Emma grabbed the spatula so she could flip the bacon if it needed flipping. “No dancing this morning?” she teased when she saw how slowly Regina was moving.

“I danced yesterday. Twice,” Regina stated matter of factly as she grabbed the eggs and shut the fridge again.

“Twice?” Emma echoed and felt a bit distracted. Regina had done absolutely nothing about her bedhead. And not to mention that nightshirt she was wearing that didn’t cover much of her legs... Jesus
Christ. Emma began chewing at her bottom lip. Regina’s legs were very, very distracting.

“Si. One time for the audience, and then for you in private,” Regina chuckled.

“Well...” Emma trailed off slightly when the memory of how Regina’s body had twisted and arched last night when they were in bed. “I suppose that was a kind of dancing.”

“The kind that’s more exhausting than flamenco dancing,” Regina quipped as she cracked the eggs in a bowl and then stirred them.

Emma chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right about that. Dare I say “dirty dancing?” she immediately felt hilarious because of her “clever” joke.

“Last night was fun,” Regina said and smiled warmly. “Very fun.”

“It definitely was,” Emma agreed.

Regina snatched the spatula out of her hand and then poured the battered eggs onto the frying pan. “You like eggs and bacon, right?”

“Who doesn’t like eggs and bacon? But seriously, you don’t have to cook for me.”

“Not just for you. I’m hungry too,” Regina joked.

“You know what I mean,” Emma lightly scolded.

“No, I have no idea,” Regina teased. “Wanna explain to me why I cannot cook for you, Em-ma?”

Emma forced herself to laugh and then bit her cheek in order to not accidentally reveal that this kind of morning where Regina smiled like this, was one of the many, many reasons why she didn’t want to
leave Madrid again.

“I’m turning twenty next week,” Regina said and interrupted Emma’s train of thoughts.

“Yeah, so you said,” Emma remembered.

“Would you like to celebrate it with me?” Regina asked almost shyly and tugged a lock of hair behind her ear.

“Of course,” Emma said immediately. “But aren’t you gonna celebrate it with your family or something like that?”

“No,” Regina said shortly, giving no explanation as to why. “I’d like to celebrate it with you instead. If you want to, that is.”

“Of course I do,” Emma said warmly. “Absolutely.”

“Thank you,” Regina said, smiling warmly once more. “Now I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday.” She elegantly flipped the bacon.

“But you weren’t before?”

“Hmm?”

“You weren’t looking forward to celebrating your birthday before?” Emma gently clarified and frowned slightly.

“Not really,” Regina admitted. “Mother likes to take the opportunity to remind me of how little I’ve achieved and how she hopes that I’ll work harder next year. I have a distinct feeling that being in the
same room as her this year would be particularly nasty.”

“I’m sorry,” Emma said softly.

“Don’t be,” Regina said lightly. “It’s okay. She’s moving to the US pretty soon. There’s gonna be an ocean between us. That is gonna be a huge relief for me. And for my poor daddy. He’s been put through
the wringer by that woman long enough.”

“I’m sorry for what she did to you,” Emma said softly. “To you and Daniella.”

“Oh, that’s not all she’s done,” Regina said darkly as she flipped the bacon with a bit more force.

“Is it something you wanna talk about?” Emma asked gently, because she could sense that Regina was brimming with anger.

“Well, I suppose it can’t harm,” Regina said, stirring the eggs once more. She was quiet for a moment and then said: “she had an affair. That’s why she and my dad are divorcing.”

“Oh,” Emma said. “I’m sorry.”

“It nearly crushed my dad when he found out,” Regina said as she flipped the bacon one last time. “I think this is done. Do you mind grabbing a couple of plates for us? They’re in the top cabinet to the right.”

“Sure,” Emma said, opening the cabinet. And while she found the plates, Regina continued the tale:

“Of all the people in all the world, my mother chose to have an affair with one of her and my dad’s employees.”

“What does your parents do?” Emma asked as she sat the plates down on the table.

“They own a chain of restaurants,” Regina replied as she switched the stove off and brought the frying pan over to the table. She began loading bacon and eggs onto the plates. “Quite popular restaurants
actually. My dad has always been an amazing cook, and he started out as the chef when he and my mother opened their first restaurant. She was a waitress. But as they started to expand the business, my mother decided to hire a cook and new waiters. I think her idea was that she and my dad were gonna be the king and queen of their “emporium”. But obviously, that wasn’t good enough for her either. She had an affair with one of the waiters. My dad caught them in the act and was devasted. And so was the waiter’s wife when she found out.”

“Oh god,” Emma said. She was starting to understand why Regina disliked her mother.

“My mother doesn’t feel an ounce of guilt about it,” Regina said bitterly as she motioned for Emma to sit down so they could eat. “The only thing she’s sad about is the fact that she’ll lose the status she had when she was in charge over the restaurants.” She paused her story and crushed a piece of bacon between her teeth. “Oh god, this is good!”

Emma quickly scooped some eggs and bacon up on her fork, and a moment later she could wholeheartedly agree with Regina. This was exceptionally good eggs and bacon.

“Anyway, my mother tried to pin the blame on my dad,” Regina continued.

“No way!”

“Yes, way I’m afraid. She used the good ol’ “you were never around”-excuse, which is the filthiest lie because my father was deeply in love with my mother. He treated her like a queen. And this is how she repays him! Perra!”

Although Emma didn’t know exactly what that meant, she knew enough to understand that Regina had just called her mother something horrible.

“My dad was quite literally crying,” Regina said and speared another piece of bacon with force. “He lived with me for a while. Until my mother declared that she would live in “one side of the house, and he could live in the other”. She was actually assuming that my dad would carry on like nothing had happened. She called me and screamed at me when she found out that my dad had filed for a divorce. She claimed that I had put the idea into his head. I told her that she had “put the idea” into his head when she decided to screw somebody else. We had a mighty argument that night.”

“I’m sorry,” Emma said softly and reached out so she could pat Regina’s hand.

“And obviously, it doesn’t make it any easier that she found out about my... mistake,” Regina said, and now she sounded quieter and sadder.

“Mistake?” Emma echoed. “What mista- oh. You mean she knows about how Robin tricked you?”

“Si,” Regina said quietly and nodded. “My dad and I have a very close relationship, and a few days after it had happened, he could tell that I was upset, so I told him about how I had been tricked by a married man. I had no idea that mother was home when I told him. He was as always sweet and comforted me the best he could, while mother on the other hand called me afterwards and informed me that this should make me see things from her point of view. She claimed that she and I were alike. After all, I had done the exact same thing to Marian as my mother had done to my father.”

“She did not SAY that to you!” Emma exclaimed, feeling more and more angry with this faceless woman.

“She sure did,” Regina said quietly. “I told you. My mother is a complicated woman, Emma.”

“That is not being complicated,” Emma hissed. “That is just being plain mean!”

Regina chuckled wetly. “Yes, that’s one way of putting it.” exactly like that night in the bar, the young brunette looked like she was on the verge of tears, and once again, Emma wouldn’t have it. She gave Regina’s hand a soft squeeze. “You are not like your mom, Regina. She chose to do what she did. You were tricked.”

“I made myself easy to trick because I was drunk and stupid,” Regina said bitterly.

“You literally asked him if he was involved with anyone,” Emma reminded the young brunette. “He deliberately lied to you. He knew that you would have rejected him otherwise. He tricked you into sleeping with him.”

“I should have ignored his attempts in the first place.”

“You can’t blame yourself for this, Regina.” Emma said softly and squeezed Regina’s hand again. “It wasn’t your fault.”

“Takes two to tango as my mother so eloquently put it,” Regina said, barking out a bitter laugh. “Anyway....” she moved her hand away from Emma’s and dug into her breakfast once more. “I apologize for being such a downer. That was not how I had planned on starting our morning.”

“How did you plan on starting our morning then?” Emma asked. She could more than sense that Regina wanted to talk about something else now.

“Well, for starters I would have brought you breakfast in bed,” Regina said. “And then I would have asked you if you wanted to spend the day together.”

“Well, you did make me breakfast,” Emma pointed out. “Not in bed, but that wouldn’t be necessary either. What’s stopping you from asking me if I want to spend the day together?”

“I’m a downer?” Regina suggested with a faint chuckle. “And you’re on holiday and here to enjoy it. Not listening to my nonsense.”

“You’re not a downer. And I enjoy being with you,” Emma said plainly. “I enjoyed it last night-“ she flashed Regina a cheeky grin. “I REALLY enjoyed it last night. And I certainly enjoy it now as well.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really,” Emma said and flashed her a smile. “Despite this being a story about your mom being a....”

“Perra?” Regina suggested almost nonchalantly but with some genuine hopelessness.

“Something like that. Despite this being a story about that, I actually like getting to know more about you.”

Regina chuckled. “I like getting to know more about you too, Emma. Very, very much. And I’m alarmed by it.”

“Why is that?” Emma asked and tilted her head.

“Because I like you far too much,” Regina said plainly and laughed slightly. “Which is absolutely ridiculous all things considered, right?”

Emma nodded mutely.

“Oh well, at least we have two more weeks together before you leave,” Regina said lightly.

“Yeah,” Emma said and tried to ignore that sinking feeling in her stomach as she speared another piece of bacon. “This is really good!”

“I’m happy to hear that. Would you like some coffee as well?”

“Yeah, that sounds great.”

“Coming right up then,” Regina announced as she rose from her chair and walked over to the kitchen counter. She began to fiddle about to make coffee, and as she did so, a teeny tiny sigh escaped her.

Emma glanced at her. Saw the way Regina’s mouth twisted ever so slightly, and that little wrinkle she had between her eyes. Regina was clearly upset.

Emma wanted to say something to her, but before she got the chance, Regina’s cellphone began chiming. Regina picked the device up, sighed and then squared her shoulders slightly as she brought the phone up to her ear. “¡Déjame en paz!” she yelled into the phone and then almost slammed the phone down on the table again.

Emma cringed. And not because of the way Regina had slammed her phone onto the table. “Was that.... was that your mom?” she asked carefully.

“No. That was Marian,” Regina said shortly. “I don’t know why I sometimes answer her. I know ignoring the calls would be better, but sometimes I just get so angry and frustrated I have to say something to her.”

“I get it,” Emma said softly.

“Mmm,” Regina said a bit absentmindedly as she turned back around and glanced at her cellphone. "My mother, Marian... change gives life a bit of spice, doesn't it?" she was obviously trying to be funny. And failing miserably.
Emma had been on the verge of saying something to her, but now she noticed that Regina’s shoulders were slumped. Exactly like they had been that night when she had explained the Robin-Marian situation to Emma. Was she on the verge of tears? Was that why she had turned around so suddenly?

Hell no. Emma stood from her chair and walked over to her. She gently put a hand on the young brunette’s shoulder. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Regina was quick to parrote. “I’m sorry for ruining our morning.”

“You are not ruining anything.”

Regina ignored that. “And I’m sorry for dragging you into my drama. You don’t need that.”

“We’ve all got baggage, Regina,” Emma said softly. “It’s totally fine.”

Regina ignored that too. “I need a cigarette,” she said almost yearningly.

Emma chuckled softly. “How about a kiss instead?”

“That sounds nice too.”

Emma promptly lifted Regina’s thick curtain of dark hair so she could plant a soft kiss on the back of her neck.

“Oh,” Regina breathed. “Eso se siente bien.”

“What does that mean?” Emma murmured and tugged the collar on Regina’s nightshirt down slightly so she could plant a kiss on her bare shoulder.

“Mmm,” Regina just breathed in response.

“I found such a good spot last night,” Emma mumbled, tugging Regina’s shirt a bit further down. “I wonder if I can find it again?” she planted another kiss on Regina’s shoulder.

Regina shivered.

“Found it,” Emma chuckled lightly and felt tempted to brush her cheek against Regina’s bare shoulder. She was so soft.

Now Regina chuckled too as she turned around, so they were face to face. “Your breakfast is getting cold, Emma.”

“So is yours,” Emma shot back. She didn’t give a hoot about breakfast right now. There were more important things to think about. Such as Regina. She was very, very important.

“Mmm,” Regina acknowledged without looking too concerned about it. She clearly felt the same as Emma. Breakfast could wait.

“Breakfast is pretty delicious,” Emma said with a snicker as she cupped Regina’s cheek. “But I could think of something far yummier.”

“Smooth,” Regina snickered.

“I try my best,” Emma grinned, hands sliding down to cup Regina’s ass, and what she found instantly made the muscles between her legs twitch. Regina was not wearing panties underneath that nightshirt.
And coming to think of it, Emma probably should have noticed it sooner. It was pretty hard to miss how Regina’s nipples were hard against her shirt.

Breakfast was now entirely forgotten. Emma pulled Regina closer and kissed her fiercely. She mostly tasted of toothpaste. She too had clearly brushed her teeth this morning

Regina moaned into the kiss and thrusted her fingers into Emma’s hair. Emma was still shamelessly grabbing Regina’s perfect ass, and just knowing that Regina was not wearing panties underneath was driving Emma insane. She teased Regina’s mouth open with the tip of her tongue and then slipped her tongue inside. Regina moaned again, tugged slightly at Emma’s hair.

It soon became abundantly clear that kissing wasn’t enough. Emma was an addict and Regina was her drug. The blonde needed more. She broke the kiss and breathed: “How do you say “bed” in Spanish?”

Regina snickered breathlessly. “Let’s try “sofa” instead.”

“The couch?” Emma asked and gently tugged a lock of hair behind Regina’s ear.

“Mmm,” Regina drawled. “The bedroom is too far away.”

“Well, in that case...” Emma felt every bit like a sly bastard as she cupped underneath Regina’s ass and lifted her up.

And Regina’s reaction didn’t disappoint. She shrieked and laughed as she wrapped her strong legs around Emma’s waist. “Dios, estas loco!” she exclaimed.

“I have no idea what that mean, but sure,” Emma cackled as she carried Regina into the living room and sat her down on the couch.

Emma smirked as she tugged at the blanket, she had wrapped around herself a bit earlier. It fell to the floor and now Regina was the one who smirked when she looked at Emma’s naked body. Her gaze stopped and she licked her lips as she stared at Emma’s chest. Her eyes clouded over with arousal.

“Seeing something you like, señorita?” Emma teased.

“Why don’t you come here and find out?” Regina flirted, bopping her head slightly and sending her dark curls tumbling.

And so that was exactly what Emma did. But first she told Regina “arms up”, and Regina laughed sweetly as she obediently raised her arms. “Sí señorita Swan.” She singsong’ed.

Emma tugged the nightshirt off Regina and tossed it onto the floor. Her mouth dried as she looked at Regina. God, those legs... That damned tattoo on her hip... Those... breasts. Now it felt like Emma had entirely too much moisture in her mouth.

“Seeing something you like, señorita?” Regina parroted and for some reason it sounded so much better when she said it.

“Yes,” Emma said plainly.

“Yes?” Regina teasingly parroted. “Well, why don’t you come down here and do something about it?”

Challenge fucking accepted. Emma more or less pounced on Regina, causing her to fall back against the cushions. The brunette shrieked again and then laughed.

“Woops,” Emma said without feeling an ounce of guilt. Regina looked quite beautiful all splayed out on the couch.

“You don’t mean that,” Regina teased as she wrapped those long legs of hers around Emma’s waist.

“You’re right, I don’t,” Emma openly admitted.

“Glad we established that. Now kiss me again.”

And so Emma did. Their mouths met in a slow, deep kiss that had Regina moaning shamelessly, and Emma oh-so sore muscles were starting to wake up once more. She couldn’t even remember that she had been tired when she woke up earlier this morning.

“Oh si, esto es tan bueno!” Regina breathed, and Emma lost herself completely.......

 

************************

 

“Well, now I REALLY need a cigarette,” Regina said breathlessly sometime later when both of them were sweaty and panting slightly.

Emma laughed as she gave the brunette a slight squeeze. “Your hair is messed up.”

“So is yours. And the breakfast is cold,” Regina stated matter of factly.

“I’ll make the next round of bacon,” Emma promised with a snicker.

“But I think the coffee might be done now,” Regina continued and ran a hand through her tangled hair.

“More than done I’d say,” Emma laughed.

“Mmm, why can’t all my mornings start like this?” Regina joked as she stretched comfortably. “With a beautiful woman who carries me over to my own couch and... makes me forget everything for a while.”

“I like this kind of morning too,” Emma said softly and traced a finger along Regina’s cheekbone.

“Nada dura para siempre,” Regina said quietly and almost sounded a bit sad.

“And what does that mean?” Emma inquired as she now traced her finger along Regina’s plump bottom lip.

“Never mind,” Regina said and surprised Emma by nipping her finger slightly.

“Ow!” Emma joked. “Vampira!”

“Speaking Spanish now, are you?” Regina drawled.

“Maybe I’ll end up doing so if I spend enough time with you,” Emma suggested.

Regina barked out a laugh. “You would have to spend lots of time with me then, Emma Swan.”

“That sounds perfectly reasonable to me,” Emma said softly and quietly as she moved her hand so she could cup Regina’s cheek again.

The smile Regina flashed her was quite melancholic and so beautiful Emma couldn’t stand it. She dipped down and kissed Regina’s lips again.

Regina “mm’ed” into the kiss and then she was clasping her hands in Emma’s hair.

And Emma wondered how one could stop the time. Just for a little while. Just for a week or two. She had already acknowledged and accepted that she was hopelessly, incorrigible in love with Regina, but fucking hell that didn’t really change the fact that Regina lived in Spain while Emma herself in the us. There was 4.713 miles between them. An ocean as Regina had said a bit earlier.

“Oh, Emma, las cosas que me haces,” Regina breathed, and Emma had no idea what that meant either, but she knew that she needed to hear more. She mouthed her way down to Regina’s neck, scraped her teeth over the soft flesh and then swirled her tongue over it.

And her wish came true. The chorus of Spanish phrases began anew, and Emma wondered how she was supposed to do without it. She hadn’t known Regina for very long, but that hadn’t prevented Emma from falling hard for her, and now she struggled to imagine how the hell she was supposed to travel back to Storybrooke and let Regina become “a distant memory”.

It didn’t seem like that was a possibility anymore.

 

To Be Continued............

Chapter Text

Emma adjusted and shifted a bit on the plushy chair. She was sitting in the hotel lobby and waiting for Regina. They were going to have dinner together in the restaurant. Tonight was a special night. It was Regina’s twentieth birthday. And to celebrate that, Emma had invited the young woman to dinner.

Emma brushed a hand over her blue dress and stretched her neck slightly so she could peer through the window and spot when Regina came through the door. Emma was so looking forward to seeing her again. She was looking forward to celebrating Regina’s birthday with her, and she plain refused to think about how she only had a week left here in Madrid. It was too painful to think about.

The blonde tapped her foot up and down in tact with the music coming from outside the hotel. Emma wasn’t completely aware what was happening, but people were dancing. Maybe it was some sort of mini carnival or spontaneous dance party. Either way, Emma found it pretty awesome. They should have more spontaneous dance parties back in Storybrooke. Maybe she could talk to Snow about it when she got home. Emma chuckled as she rose from her chair and went over to the window so she could “spy” on the dancing crowd while waiting for Regina. She should be here soon. They had agreed on six o’clock. And obviously, Emma was already pretty hungry. And not only after food. She was pretty “hungry” to see Regina too. Which was silly because she and Regina had seen quite a lot of each other for the past week. Emma had attended every last flamenco show Regina gave. And then afterwards, the two women had slipped away. A few times to Emma’s hotel, but mostly to Regina’s apartment where clothes had been shed and everything else had been forgotten in favor of other things......

Emma shifted impatiently in front of the window. Regina should be here now. Patience was not one of Emma’s strong suits and especially not when it came to seeing Regina. Right now, the blonde was desperately clinging to the last week she had left here in Madrid. The last chances to see and be with Regina. God, Emma’s stomach was tying in knots just thinking about it. She didn’t want to leave Regina, and she didn’t want to go back to Storybrooke where she knew that Neal was awaiting her with his lame excuses and braindead attempts at winning her back. Emma huffed. He had already called her one time today. From a number Emma hadn’t recognized. That’s why she had picked up in the first place. But as soon as she figured out it was him, she had hung up and then blocked the number. There was a good chance she would have to change her number if he kept this ridiculousness up. For now, she had called her father and asked him to “have a little chat with Neal”. David had grimly promised that talking to Neal was at the top of his list, and Emma had never been more grateful for having a father in the law enforcement.

Emma brushed a hand through her hair. Where was Regina? Why was she running late tonight? Emma hoped that it wasn’t because Regina had had a run in with her mother or something like that. She knew that Regina had spent the last week trying to avoid her mother as she called it. Why Emma wasn’t completely sure of, but Regina had assured her that it was nothing. Just general unwillingness to see her mother. That was all.

Emma peered out of the window once more, and that was when she spotted someone in the dancing crowd. Someone wearing a flowy, purple dress. Someone who had long, flowing dark locks and purple flowers in it. Someone who couldn’t pass by an opportunity to dance....

Emma chuckled as she pushed the door open and went outside in the balmy Spanish air. Quite right, Regina was indeed dancing and mingling with the crowd. She was smiling as she swayed her hips. One of her hands came up and pushed her dark hair away from her face as she danced.

One of the men dancing suddenly paused, turned to his friend and said: “¿No es esa la Reina?”

Emma knew enough Spanish to understand what he was saying, and she couldn’t blame him for being in doubt. Regina definitely looked very different with her hair down and without the heavy makeup.

Emma tilted her head slightly as she saw the man dance closer to Regina and say: “Disculpe, ¿no eres la Reina?”

“Si,” Regina confirmed through the music from the street orchestra, and Emma felt unreasonably annoyed when the guy basically fawned over Regina and poured compliments over her.

But Regina didn’t seem all that interested. She happened to glance towards the door to the hotel, and then a beaming smile blossomed on her lips when she spotted Emma.

“Hi!” Emma half-yelled through the music and waved at her.

“Emma, preciosa!” Regina said happily as she waved the blonde over. “¡Ven aquí y baila conmigo!”

“I haven’t got the faintest idea what that means,” Emma chuckled as she slinked through the dancing crowd. When she reached Regina, she put her hands on the younger woman’s hips. “Hey, birthday girl.”

Regina giggled (yep, giggled!) at that and then demanded: “dance with me!”

Emma chuckled. “You never pass on the opportunity to dance, do you?”

“No,” Regina said plainly and clasped her hands behind Emma’s neck as she began moving to the music again.

Emma pretty much had no option to refuse now. And she didn’t want to either. She wrapped her arms a little more firmly around Regina’s waist and then she began moving to the music as well. Soon they were blending in with the other dancing pairs. Regina spun around, her dark hair billowing in the air, and Emma thought to herself that Regina never had looked more beautiful than she did tonight. It was heartbreaking, really. Tonight, everything was a constant reminder of what little time they had left together.

And the big, beaming smile Regina was flashing her didn’t help either. Nor did the way she slotted their lips together in an eager kiss.

Emma automatically put a hand on Regina’s lower back to support her. She caught a whiff of Regina’s summery perfume, and that scent would forever be imprinted in Emma’s mind. She would never be able to smell summer flowers without thinking about Regina.

Regina broke the kiss and laughed beautifully as she grasped Emma’s hand and spun the blonde around.

Emma shrieked a bit and laughed. “Careful! I am not as good at dancing as you are!”

“Eres perfecto,” Regina brushed her off and flashed the blonde a grin.

Emma silently thought to herself that if anyone was perfect, it was Regina.

Regina who now had her hands on Emma’s hips so she could tug the blonde just a little bit closer as they danced. Emma’s breath hitched at that, and she briefly forgot that they actually had made plans about having dinner together. As far as Emma was concerned, they could dance and dance the night away.

“La Reina, La Reina!” the guy who had approached Regina earlier almost chanted, and Emma didn’t like the look he gave her one bit. He was definitely forty plus while Regina was not even twenty one.... honestly, the look he gave her, gave Emma the creeps. And it had nothing to do with jealousy. She was well aware that she had no right to be jealous.

“It would appear that I have been recognized,” Regina quipped. “Perhaps it’s time to head inside?”

“That sounds like a plan,” Emma nodded and took Regina’s hand. “Come on, dancing queen. Let’s go and celebrate your birthday.”

“Dancing queen?” Regina repeated with a chuckle as she willingly followed Emma away from the dancing crowd and towards the hotel.

“Yep. Because that’s what you are,” Emma laughed and gave Regina’s soft little hand a squeeze. God, that hand fitted perfectly in Emma’s. The way Regina’s fingers intertwined with her own was absolutely perfect.

Regina laughed sweetly at Emma’s nonsense as they headed inside the hotel. They passed Lucía in the lobby, and then Emma lead Regina into the restaurant where the blonde had booked a table for them.

“Feliz cumpleaños,” Emma said as they sat down.

“Gracias,” Regina smiled and folded her hands. “Your Spanish is getting better.”

“Thank you,” Emma chuckled. “If I stayed for another few weeks, I would probably speak the language fluently.”

“If only,” Regina said simply, and a million butterflies started to flicker around in Emma’s belly.

A waiter stopped by and asked them what they wanted to drink. Emma and Regina ordered a glass of wine each, and Emma had to remind herself that it was actually very legal for Regina to drink here. The rules weren’t the same as in the us.

“Thank god for that,” Regina interjected with a laugh as the waiter came back with their wine.

“Salud,” Emma smiled as she lifted her glass and clinked it with Regina’s.

“Salud,” Regina chuckled, and her eyes flickered in the soft light from the candles on the table.

“Can I take a picture of you?” Emma asked spontaneously.

“Right now?” Regina asked and raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah. Right now.”

Regina chuckled again. “Si. Go ahead.”

Emma was quick to wrestle her camera out of the bag and then she was holding it up so she could snap a picture of Regina. She didn’t even have to ask Regina to smile. The young woman did that automatically, and soon Emma had another memory of the Spanish beauty. After having taken not one but three pictures of Regina (just in case), Emma lowered the camera, slipped it back inside the bag and reached across the table so she could put her hand over Regina’s. “So? How does it feel to have reached the mature age of twenty, señorita Mills?”

“I feel so much older and mature now,” Regina quipped and lifted the wine glass with her free hand. She took a sip, licked her lips and then continued: “not much different from being nineteen, to be honest.”

Emma snickered and then couldn’t resist to gently prod: “have you talked to your parents today?”

“My dad dropped by my place early this morning and gave me a gift,” Regina said, lightly touching the little tree pendant she was wearing in a chain around her neck. “And my mother called me and gave me such a lovely monologue about how she “Hoped that I would be attending school this time next year”.”

“Oh,” Emma winced. “Not very subtle, is she?”

Regina laughed unbridled. “My mother is many things, but subtle is not one of them.”

The young brunette took another sip of her wine. “But she probably have a point. I need to have some sort of backup plan. Making a living for myself by dancing would be wonderful, but I have to be realistic too. Suppose something happens that’ll make me unable to dance? I would really be screwed then.”

“So what’s the plan?” Emma asked interested. “College?”

“Looks like it,” Regina nodded. “The deadline for applying is in a couple of months.”

“What are you gonna study, then?” Emma asked. “Business? For taking over your parents’ restaurants at some point?”

Regina sighed. “I suppose it would make everyone happy if I chose to do that, but...”

“That’s not what you want,” Emma softly finished the sentence.

“No,” Regina admitted, tapping uneasily on the side of her wineglass. “It isn’t.”

“What do you want then?” Emma asked gently.

“I don’t know,” Regina said and flushed unexpectedly.

Emma tilted her head. “I don’t think that’s true.”

“It is,” Regina insisted. “I don’t know what I want.” But her dark eyes flickered.

“Yes, you do,” Emma said gently. “Why wont you tell me?”

Regina made a face. “You’ll laugh at me. Or you’ll think I sound like I have my head in the clouds.”

“No way,” Emma insisted and patted Regina’s hand. “I would never think that.”

Regina just huffed a bit in response.

“Come on?” Emma sweetly coaxed. “Tell me. Please?”

“If you laugh, I’m out of here,” Regina mock warned.

“I won’t laugh. I promise,” Emma vowed sincerely.

“Acting,” Regina said so quickly the word came out a bit slurred. “I’ve always been interested in acting,” she admitted shamefully. She was clearly embarrassed about it.

“And what’s so bad about that?” Emma asked gently.

“I’ve already rebelled by taking a year away from school and dancing instead, and now I’m on the brink of throwing all my mother’s grand plans for me aside for some “silly acting dream”. Oh yes, it’s bad,”
Regina said and laughed without any real amusement in her voice.

Emma patted her hand lightly. “I could totally see you on the big screen.”

Regina laughed again but sounded happier this time.

“You will remember me when you rise to fame, right?” Emma chuckled softly.

Regina shook her head slightly. “I’ll remember you either way, Emma.”

“Yeah,” Emma said and grew serious again. “I’ll remember you too.” she doubted that she would be capable of ever forgetting Regina.

“Anyway,” Regina said, voice going brisk and light. “It’s my birthday. Let’s not talk about such serious things for the rest of the night.”

“That sounds reasonable to me,” Emma said and grabbed her wine glass again. “Cheers!”

“Cheers,” Regina smiled as she clinked her glass with Emma’s.

The waiter came over with their starter. Emma had decided to treat Regina to a full “birthday dinner”. Three courses. First their starter with was a delicious Caesar salad with bread croutons. After that, the main course would follow. A spicy paella. And then lastly dessert. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and churros with....more chocolate sauce.

Regina already looked pretty happy when she was munching her way through her Caesar salad and crunching bread croutons between her teeth, but her eyes was definitely bulging when her empty plate was replaced with paella. “Dios mio, Emma,” she gently chided. “You shouldn’t have done this.”

“Why not? You only turn twenty once,” Emma said lightly. “And this is so much better than buying useless crap for myself.”

Regina laughed. “This is some very delicious food. Thank you, Emma.”

“You’re welcome, birthday girl,” Emma chuckled, reaching for her glass of wine again. “Salud!”

“Salud,” Regina smiled, clinking her glass with Emma’s. “Thank you for making my birthday this great.”

“Anything for you,” Emma said before she could stop herself. She quickly debated it. Maybe she should feel awkward for having said that, but she actually didn’t. The smile Regina flashed her was entirely worth it.

Sometime during the dinner Regina’s cellphone chimed in the pocket of her dress, and the brunette quickly checked her phone, briefly frowned and then stuffed the phone away again.

“Something important?” Emma asked and tried to sound nonchalant. She had seen that tiny wrinkle appearing between Regina’s eyes.

“Someone we don’t want to talk about tonight,” Regina said just as nonchalant. “I am celebrating my birthday with you right now. She can wait.”

‘She’. So either Marian or Regina’s mother. Emma wasn’t sure which one, and she didn’t want to think about it either. As Regina said, they were celebrating her birthday.

Still, Regina sighed. “Sometimes I wish I could fast forward my life so I could see where I am in two years.”

“I get it,” Emma said softly.

Regina squared her shoulders and put on a smile. “Anyway.... This is some amazing food.”

“It definitely is,” Emma wholeheartedly agreed. “Best paella ever!”

Both of them were fairly quick to eat said delicious paella, and then it was time for dessert.

“¡Oh Dios mío!” Regina said and shook her head as the bowl of ice cream and the plate of churros with gooey, hot chocolate sauce was served.

Emma laughed. “Don’t eat too much of those churros, birthday girl. I might have a teeny tiny surprise for you.”

“¿Una sorpresa?” Regina asked and tilted her head. “What is it?”

“Not telling,” Emma said and tapped the side of her nose secretively. “But seriously, don’t eat too much ice cream and churros.”

“Noted,” Regina said with a chuckle.

Watching Regina eat churros with dripping chocolate sauce was one hell of a struggle for Emma. The way Regina licked the chocolate sauce off the churro or off her finger when it dripped was.... pretty damn difficult! Emma had to swallow several times. Or seek solace in the champagne she had insisted that they had with the dessert. It was Regina’s birthday after wall. NOT having champagne would be more inappropriate than having it.

Emma looked at Regina again, and this time not because she was “lurking” while Regina was enjoying the churros with chocolate sauce. But because Regina simply looked beautiful tonight. So, so beautiful. That purple dress with the flowing skirt and the tight bodice hugged her body perfectly. The way her hair was flowing freely in soft curls down her back. Those purple flowers she had clipped into her hair. Emma had no idea exactly how Regina had managed to do so, but it looked fantastic.

“You look great,” Emma said spontaneously and earnestly.

Regina’s face lit up in a smile as she looked up. “Y eres tan hermosa, preciosa,” she said softly.

Emma smiled too. Preciosa. That was something Regina had jokingly started to call her, but as the time passed, the endearment had started to sound more and more genuine. Heartbreakingly genuine.

Emma shook her head. She had hoped that this trip to Spain would be an excellent chance to “recuperate” and nurse her broken heart. She hadn’t anticipated that leaving Spain would leave her with another type of broken heart. One that oddly enough seemed more severe than when Neal had announced that he had been screwing Tamara all the time.

“Are you alright?” Regina asked softly.

Oh. She had been zoning out. Emma quickly looked up once more. “Yeah. I’m fine,” she was quick to assure and flashed Regina a smile. “I’m just really happy to be here with you tonight.”

“Oh,” another smile. “I’m having a wonderful time,” Regina said. “I seem to be having that a lot when I’m with you.”

“Strange isn’t it?” Emma joked lightly.

“Si. Very,” Regina laughed. Her tongue peeked out to lick a tiny splatter of chocolate away from her index finger, and now Emma was distracted for entirely different reasons. She coughed and tried to clear her throat as quietly as possible, but Regina still heard her. The young brunette looked up, raised an eyebrow.

Emma leaned forward, confessed quietly: “watching you eat chocolate is pretty distracting.”

“HOW distracting?” Regina teased sweetly.

“Very,” Emma said plainly and swiftly changed the subject: “anyway, I think that it’s time for your surprise.”

“¡Oh si!” Regina said exictedly and clapped her hands together. “What have you been planning, Em-ma?”

“Just you wait and see,” Emma teased. Regina’s excitement about her surprise was positively endearing. And that way she always said Emma’s name was positively sexy. All dragged out and drawlingly.
Emma was one very weak woman when Regina said her name.

The blonde signalized to Luís the waiter, and the tall dark-haired man smiled and nodded. He disappeared through the door and into the kitchen. Now Emma felt a bit nervous, to be honest. Maybe her surprise for Regina was more silly than sweet, really.

After a few minutes, Luís the waiter came back. He walked over to their table with a plate covered by a dome in his hands. Exactly like he and Emma had agreed.

Regina looked quite confused as she glanced up at Luís. “¿Que esta pasando?” she asked him and raised an eyebrow.

“Buenas noches, señorita Mills. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!” he just smiled in response as he sat the dome covered plate down in front of her.

Regina now glanced at Emma. “What is this?”

Emma just smiled at her and then nodded to Luís. And by her cue, he removed the dome with a bit of an extragavent movement and a heavily accented: “voilà!”

Regina’s mouth completely dropped when she looked down at the little cupcake with white frosting and a single birthday candle standing proudly on top of the cupcake.

Luís chuckled as he found a lighter in his pocket and lit the little birthday candle. Then he left them again.

“¡Dios mio!” Regina exclaimed as soon as she had found her voice again.

“'Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Regina, happy birthday to you,'” Emma mock sang and chuckled. She hoped Regina would appreciate the little gesture and not find it too idiotic.

And Regina didn’t find it idiotic. Quite the reverse. Her chair tipped back and almost fell backwards onto the floor when she quickly stood from it. In a heartbeat, she had walked around the table and then she was kissing Emma’s cheek again and again. “Oh Emma! ¡Gracias! ¡Gracias! ¡Esto es maravilloso! ¡No puedo creer que hayas hecho esto por mí!” she exclaimed as she kissed Emma’s cheek again.

Emma laughed. “I only understood half of that, but I’m guessing you like the surprise?”

“Si!” Regina said warmly. “Si, si, si!”

“Well, go on then,” Emma laughed. “Get over there and make a wish, birthday girl.”

And so Regina did. She walked back around the table to her own chair. Sat down and then “hmm’ed” for a moment before smiling as she closed her eyes and then pursed her lips to blow out the birthday candle. The little flame flickered for a moment before turning into smoke.

“There we go,” Emma smiled. “What did you wish for, birthday girl?”

“Can’t tell you,” Regina chuckled. “Then it won’t come true, will it?”

“Good point,” Emma noted. “I really hope that cupcake tastes as good as it looks.”

“Only one way to find out,” Regina quipped as she drew her spoon into the cupcake and scooped the first spoonful up. The look on her face at the first bite was worth a million bucks.

“That good, huh?” Emma drawled.

“Mhmmm!” Regina moaned, and Emma felt distracted again. That was an unabashedly sexy sound. No doubt about it.

“You HAVE to taste this!” Regina insisted and scooped up another piece of cake. She extended the spoon out towards Emma, and Emma immediately got the hint and opened her mouth. Yes, she had officially just let Regina spoon-feed her cake. And was she ashamed about it? No fucking way. And that cupcake really was fucking delicious. All gooey and yummy and chocolate-y. “Mmmm!” the blonde said earnestly, mirroring the sound Regina had just made.

“I know, right?” Regina chuckled. “You should have ordered one for yourself.”

“No-no. It’s your birthday. Not mine,” Emma smiled.

“When is it your birthday?” Regina asked curiously.

“October 22th,” Emma told her and failed utterly at not wrinkling her nose.

“What?” Regina asked and tilted her head.

“I’m turning twenty nine,” the blonde sneered. “That’s just one more year away from thirty!”

“And so what?” Regina half-chuckled as she scooped up another bite of cake.

“That’s bad,” Emma clarified.

Regina swallowed the piece of cake and laughed heartedly. “I don’t see why. Sorry.”

“That’s because you’re twenty,” Emma said plainly.

Regina laughed even harder at that. “Isn’t age just a number, Em-ma?”

“I’ve heard some folks say that,” Emma admitted, laughing too.

“And I hope you agree with it,” Regina said softly.

“Very much so,” Emma smiled.

“Good,” Regina said simply, and then she went back to eating her cupcake. The very good cupcake. Her brown eyes sparkled with each bite, and Emma felt utterly tempted to ask if she could take another picture of Regina, but taking pictures of her while she was eating? She could already see the reaction Regina would have to that suggestion. Not good. Definitely not good.

As Regina ate the rest of her cupcake, the pair chatted pleasantly about everything and nothing. Regina mentioned that she was dancing tomorrow, and Emma was silently appalled over the younger woman’s packed program.

“Sadist,” she told Regina.

“You’ve never seen me be a sadist yet,” Regina almost purred.

Emma laughed and tried not to show how fucking arousing THAT was. “Do you want more to eat?”

“God, no,” Regina said and sounded mock horrified now. “No, I couldn’t possibly.”

“Okay,” Emma chuckled. “Do you wanna get out of here then?”

“And go where?” Regina drawled innocently.

“Up to my room?” Emma replied just as innocently.

“You know what....” Regina flashed her a toothy grin. “That sounds like a very good way to end my birthday.”

Emma snickered. Regina clearly had certain expectations about what was going to happen when they got back to the room. And Emma would lie if she claimed that she didn’t share those expectations.

“Let’s get out of here then,” the blonde said briskly as she rose from her chair and extended her hand out towards Regina. “Come on, birthday girl.”

“Si, señorita Swan,” Regina smirked as she too stood from her chair and accepted the hand being outstretched towards her. Their fingers interlaced, and once again Emma marveled at how good Regina’s hand fitted in her own. She gave Regina’s hand a little squeeze. “Your hands are always so warm.”

“Special talent of mine,” Regina joked.

“Yeah, I’m sure it is,” Emma cackled, delighted over how Regina’s words could be misinterpreted. “I’m absolutely certain.”

“Tú eres una niña mala,” Regina said lowly, and something about it made Emma shiver and then inquire: “and what does that mean?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Regina smirked as they left the restaurant and walked towards the elevator.

“Stop using your Spanish as a weapon!” Emma complained sullenly.

Regina just laughed. “You like when I speak Spanish,” she said, and her voice was honeysweet now. “¿No es así, señorita Swan?”

Emma tried not to shiver as Regina’s voice dropped an octave. Yes, she definitely liked when Regina spoke Spanish. She more than liked it. She couldn’t exactly run from that.

Regina laughed again, and Emma felt very, very tempted to do very, very dirty things to Regina right here in this elevator. She could press the emergency button and she and Regina could end up stuck here for a few hours. A few hours was exactly what Emma needed......

The blonde snorted quietly. Yeah, right. Knowing Lucía’s level of efficiency, there wasn’t the shadow of a chance to being stuck here for a few hours. A few minutes at most.

“What’s the joke?” Regina asked lightly and raised an eyebrow.

“Nothing,” Emma said quickly. “Absolutely nothing.”

Regina shot her a look that suggested she thought Emma was a bit ridiculous.

 

They reached Emma’s ridiculously large honeymoon suite, and Emma still found that amusing. She would never forget her honeymoon-turned-single-holiday in the honeymoon suite.

Emma closed the door and when she turned around, she spotted that Regina was dancing. Again. The blonde chuckled. The window was cracked open and the music from whatever was going on outside was still playing. But not particularly loud, though. Not loud enough to actually dance to.

“Should we head outside so you can dance some more?” Emma quipped.

“Not necessary,” Regina chuckled.

Emma raised an eyebrow. “There isn’t exactly much music in here.”

“I don’t need music to dance,” Regina smirked. “Just a rhythm.”

Emma considered that for a moment and then reached the conclusion: “but there isn’t anything to create a rhythm either.”

“There will be in a minute,” Regina chuckled. “Snap your fingers for me, Em-ma.”

“Uhh? Okay?” Emma said as she began snapping her fingers. “Like this?”

“Yes, exactly like that,” Regina said. “Now keep that rhythm up, okay?”

“Okay.” And so she did. Kept snapping her fingers in the same rhythm, and Regina began dancing. She stomped her feet and swished her skirt exactly like she would have if this had been another one of her flamenco nights. And she was right. She didn’t need music in order to dance. Emma’s fingers snapping out a steady rhythm was enough.

It became pretty hard for Emma to keep up the rhythm when Regina began to sway her hips in that particular way. That ridiculously seductive way. She spun around and her dark locks danced around her face. She turned her head, smirked at Emma over her shoulder. Emma’s fingers faltered just a second. Damn, Regina was testing her right now!

And she knew it. Regina laughed as she spun around again and stomped her feet. “Are you convinced yet, Em-ma?”

“Yeah.” Convinced that she was pretty fucking head over heels in love with Regina.

“You’re very lucky,” Regina laughed. “Not many gets a free show with La Reina.”

“I suppose I must be special or something,” Emma joked.

Regina stopped dancing and bridged the distance between them when she came over to Emma. “Si. Eres muy especial.”

Emma cupped her cheek softly. “You are pretty especial too.”

Regina laughed quietly and then she leaned in and kissed Emma. Much to the blonde’s delight. Regina tasted of chocolate now. Emma took the opportunity to get a good whiff of that summery perfume Regina was wearing tonight.

Regina moaned a bit into the kiss, and that soft little moan was enough for Emma to want more immediately! Her instincts completely took over as she lifted Regina.

And Regina didn’t mind that at all. The only things happening where her light ballerina shoes falling to the floor, and her legs wrapping around Emma’s waist. She groaned again when Emma first cupped her ass and then squeezed it just a bit.

There was something special about holding Regina in her arms, and Emma’s enthusiastic kiss more than reflected that. She only stopped when her lungs where burning and her lips were tingling slightly.

“Llevame a la cama, Emma,” Regina breathed into her ear.

That send shivers down Emma’s spine and her voice was less than controlled when she asked: “what does that mean?”

“It means....” Regina squeezed her legs a little tighter around Emma. “Take me to bed, Emma.”

“Oh,” Emma breathed. Fuck. “I can definitely do that.” And in a heartbeat, she carried Regina over to the bed, sat her down gently and then pawed at the zipper in Regina’s dress.

Regina chuckled mischievously as she batted Emma’s hands away and then unzipped the dress herself. But she willingly let Emma “assist” her with rucking the dress up and tugging it over her head.

Emma gulped at the sight of Regina sitting on the bed in only a thin pair of lace panties. No bra tonight. Fucking hell. And that darned tattoo on her hip... That tattoo was still effectively doing things to Emma’s blood pressure.

“Quítate la ropa, querida,” Regina drawled.

“Huh?”

“Take your clothes off,” Regina grinningly translated.

“Oh,” Emma chuckled as she elegantly stripped out of the green dress she was wearing tonight.”

“Ven aca,” Regina said as she wagged a finger in Emma’s direction. “Come here.”

Emma was one bit grin as she came closer and climbed up on the bed. Soon she was sitting on her knees opposite Regina.

“You are still wearing a bit too much clothes,” Regina murmured as she reached out and began playing with the clasp on Emma’s grey bra.

Emma closed her eyes and tried to breathe normally as she felt two warm hands lightly caress her back. She could feel how the tiny little hooks in her bra came apart, and when she opened her eyes,
Regina was gently peeling the bra off of her. Emma groaned when she felt how her nipples puckered in the air and then her breasts were caressed by those two soft, warm hands.

“Hermosa,” Regina breathed as she lightly tweaked Emma’s nipples. “Tan, tan hermosa.”

Emma lunged. She had no idea what came over her, but she did. One minute she was sitting and enjoying the delicious attention Regina was bestowing upon her, and the next she was lunging forward and kissing Regina fiercely.

Regina moaned a bit in surprise then giggled into the kiss, and even more so when Emma’s level of intensity landed her on her back with the blonde on top of her. “Well... ¡Feliz cumpleaños para mi!” she said gleefully.

Emma had a vague idea what it meant, but right now she was far too busy laughing at it. She slipped a hand lower and gasped when she cupped Regina’s core and felt how wet the thin lacy fabric was.

“Jesus,” the blonde moaned. “How long have you been this wet?”

“Oh,” Regina laughed cheerfully again and licked her lips. “Since we danced.”

“All night,” Emma dully observed.

“Si. Toda la noche,” Regina breathed. “¡Dios mío, no dejes de tocarme!”

Emma happened to know what “tocarme” meant. Regina had taught her that one particular long and delicious afternoon when they were in bed. She gave Regina another rub through her panties, and more Spanish exclamations fell from Regina’s lips along with....

“God, I need a cigarette!” Regina spontaneously huffed.

Emma laughed at that. “You can have one later,” she said as she hooked her fingers in the waistband of Regina’s panties. “Lift.”

Regina immediately lifted her hips so Emma could slide the panties down over her ass. “Later?” the young brunette inquired a bit breathlessly.

“Mhmmm,” Emma said and carefully threw the panties over her shoulder. “Tomorrow afternoon. Or tomorrow night.”

Regina chuckled-still breathlessly- “that’s how long you’re planning on keeping me here?”

“Si,” Emma teased and lifted Regina’s foot so she could kiss her shapely ankle. “Got a problem with that?”

“Absolutely not,” Regina said and squirmed a bit. “¡Eso da cosquillas!”

“Sorry? I don’t know what that means,” Emma teased. Because she actually did know what that meant.

“¡Sádica!” Regina huffed.

Emma knew what that meant too. She chuckled as she came up to peck Regina’s lips. “Maybe occasionally,” she said, agreeing with the younger woman’s statement. “But not tonight. Not on your birthday.”

“Prove it,” Regina challenged.

And so that was exactly what Emma did as she slipped her hand lower again, but this time with purpose. She circled Regina’s clit a couple of times and reveled in the way Regina moaned and hissed: “¡Mierda!”.

“I love when you swear in Spanish,” Emma breathed in her ear before gently nipping at her earlobe.

“I k-know you do,” Regina moaned. “¡Joder, joder! Por favor follame!”

Emma kinda-sort-of-almost knew what that meant. She knew the essential anyway, and she immediately responded by circling Regina’s sensitive clit again.

Regina answered by cursing some more in Spanish and then she was kissing Emma. Fiercely, messily and a bit desperately, all teeth and tongue and Emma fucking loved it! Couldn’t get enough of it. She fluttered her fingers over Regina’s clit again, earned herself a slight bite to her lower lip.

“¡Oh Dios mío!” Regina hissed into Emma’s mouth and then her hands were sliding up and cupping Emma’s breasts as best as she could given the way they pretty much were sandwiched together. Her feet rubbed against Emma’s calfs as they made out, and the image of Regina with her long and flexible legs high in the air immediately popped into Emma’s mind, and she vowed to herself to make that happen before the night was over. But for right now........

She gently ran her fingers through Regina’s sopping folds and then positioned two digits right by her entrance. Regina moaned and nodded underneath her. Emma broke the kiss so she could revel in the look on Regina’s face when she slowly sank two fingers into her tight wet heat. And there it was. That look. Regina’s jaw dropped, her eyes widened, her legs immediately came up to rest on Emma’s shoulders, and the blonde swore that Regina was the sexiest creature she would ever come across.

“Happy birthday,” Emma said with an impish laugh as she wiggled her fingers and reveled in how soft Regina’s velvety walls felt around her digits.

“Emma, preciosa!” Regina moaned high pitched in response, and suddenly, Emma felt like it was her birthday too......

 

To Be Continued...........

Chapter Text

Emma woke to a clear blue sky and beaming sunshine. For the last time. She woke to finding her legs tangled in the sheets. For the last time. She woke to Regina laying cuddled in her arms. For the last time.

An invisible fist wrapped around Emma’s heart and gave it a good squeeze. She couldn’t believe it. She actually couldn’t believe that she was going home today. She was leaving Madrid. And she didn’t want to. She really didn’t want to. She wanted to stay right here. In this bed. With this beautiful young woman in her arms. But she didn’t want to. She really, really didn’t.

But she knew she couldn’t. As much as she wanted to extend her stay with a few days- or a few weeks- she couldn’t. She had to get back to Storybrooke and take care of “stuff”. Mainly Neal’s “stalker tendencies”. She had to put a very solid stop to that. And she had to find a place to live. She couldn’t afford living in her old apartment alone. It was too expensive. Right now, her current “address” was her old room at her parent’s place. And as much as Emma liked her old room, she couldn’t exactly hang out there forever. She had to find her own place. Emma sighed a bit. There were so many things she had to do when she got back to Storybrooke. And so many people she had to face. Robert and Milah Gold. Neal’s parents. The blonde puffed out a breath. She was not looking forward to that. Neal was one thing. Neal she could handle. But Neal’s parents were in a league of their own. They didn’t like her. They liked WHAT she was, not WHO she was. They liked the fact that she was the mayor’s daughter.
They liked that she was from a wealthy family, and they liked the status it would give them if Neal married her. But now that Emma so “ruthlessly” had dumped their precious son, they probably wouldn’t be very satisfied with her. Emma could only imagine what kind of comments they would have for her when she got back to Storybrooke. God, Emma had mixed emotions about going home!

Regina stirred a bit in her arms, and all negative thoughts was immediately wiped from Emma’s mind. The blonde lowered her head and sniffed Regina’s hair. She didn’t care whether it was creepy or not. She was willing to take whatever dose of Regina she could get. Mmm!” Regina smelled so, so good. Of milk and honey and a little bit of apples. So, so good! Emma would never get enough of that scent.

She couldn’t help but smile as she glanced down at the young woman sleeping in her arms. Her dark hair was a mess of tangled curls, and she was as delightfully naked as Emma was. That obviously gave Emma some ideas. Perhaps she should give Regina a very, very good morning.

Emma started out slowly. By peppering kisses on Regina’s bare shoulder while she smoothened her hand over the crown tattoo on Regina’s hip.

“Mmmm,” Regina breathed.

“Morning, beautiful girl,” Emma murmured.

“Buenos días, querida,” Regina said hoarsley.

“You are pretty warm to sleep with,” Emma snickered into the younger woman’s shoulder. “Did you know that?”

“Si,” Regina chuckled. “So I’ve been told.”

“Oh yeah? By who?” Emma inquired and gave Regina’s shoulder a slight nip with her teeth.

Regina made a moan/hiss sound and teased: “wouldn’t you like to know.”

“I am jealous of each and every one,” Emma snickered.

Regina laughed too, but then she deflated upon realizing: “you are going home today.”

“Shh,” Emma said. “Don’t rain on my parade. And I’m not going home until tonight. We have the whole day together.”

“That’s true,” Regina conceded, but she still looked a bit sad.

“Now hush and lemme get back to waking you up,” Emma teased.

Regina chuckled richly. “Fair enough. Go ahead.”

And that was exactly what Emma did. She kissed every inch of Regina’s gorgeous body until the young brunette was squirming and moaning and begging for more. And more was exactly what Emma gave her. Very willingly. And repeatedly. She was determined to extend their morning in bed for as long as she could. Regina cried out in Spanish underneath her, yelling to the god and praising Emma. Her back arched and her lips fell open. And Emma thought to herself that Regina was the most beautiful creature she would ever come across. She could try, but she would never find anything or anyone who could measure up to Regina.

Eventually, she was tugged onto her back, and her vision was filled by dark, gleaming eyes and messy brown curls. A soft, eager mouth kissing every inch of her body made her forget all about the fact that she was leaving today. Equally eager, yet soft fingers gently stroking between her thighs made her brain turn into mush and her hips snapping out a rhythm she and Regina had practiced and polished a lot during Emma’s stay in Madrid.

And then pleasure. Hot, unbridled pleasure coursing through her veins and flooding her body. Regina became the anchor Emma was clinging to as the orgasm ripped through her and threatened to knock her out completely. One would think that Emma had had enough after last night, but it was quite the reverse. Emma wanted more. She would always want more. More Regina.

She clutched at Regina’s shoulder again, fingers digging into the soft flesh and almost puncturing it completely.

Once they were both breathless and sweaty and tangled up with one another, Emma once again remembered what she had asked Regina to forget a little while ago. That she was going home today. That she and Regina were parting ways tonight. The blonde wrapped her arms a little tighter around the beautiful girl in her arms.

“Can I drive you?” Regina asked as she came back to bed after a quick trip to the bathroom, voice thick and heated from their previous activities.

“Huh?” Emma said and blinked a bit.

“To the airport tonight,” Regina clarified as she shifted and propped herself up on one elbow. She traced her fingers down Emma’s bare chest. “I really want to take you to the airport and say goodbye. And
it’s free of charge. You don’t have to pay for a cab.”

Emma chuckled. Mainly because Regina clearly wanted her to. The blonde didn’t care about what was too soon and what wasn’t anymore. She knew her feelings for Regina were genuine. She knew how in love she was with Regina despite how little time they had known each other. And she knew that she would love if Regina took her to the airport.

“I’d like that,” Emma said softly and traced a finger over Regina’s cheek. “But it’s not a goodbye. I’ll come back to Madrid.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Em-ma,” Regina said with a soft drawl.

“Hey, I’ve fallen in love with this place. And one of its residences,” Emma said gently as she playfully booped Regina’s pretty nose. “Why shouldn’t I come back?”

“Because that’s not how a summer fling works,” Regina teased.

“You...” Emma cupped her cheek. “Are more than just a summer fling.”

“Long distance hardly ever works,” Regina said thoughtfully.

“Then let us be one of those lucky pairs who defies the odds,” Emma said lightly. Perhaps she was crazy, but she knew with a thousand percent that what she and Regina was special. And she wanted to
pursue that thing between them. In any way she could. Phone calls. Emails. Text messages. It didn’t matter. As long as the contact with Regina didn’t fizzle out and she became someone Emma spent a few blissful weeks with.

“I’ve always wanted to visit Madrid in the winter,” Emma mused. “See what that’s like.”

“Well, I’d be happy to be your guide, señorita Swan,” Regina chuckled.

“Good. That was kinda the answer I had hoped for,” Emma smirked as she teasingly fluttered her fingers over the crown tattoo on Regina’s hip. “Can’t promise we’ll have the honeymoon suite the next time, but...”

“Don’t worry about hotels,” Regina said, cupping a hand over her mouth as she yawned. “You can stay in my apartment.” She clearly didn’t care what was too soon and what wasn’t either.

“I’d like that very much,” Emma said softly. “Your apartment is nice.”

“And all mine,” Regina quipped. “Might have to change the locks so my dear mother can’t come in, but apart from that...”

Emma chuckled heartedly, the sound sticking slightly in her throat as she admired Regina. The casual way she was laying with the covers pulled up, so it only just covered her ass. The way her messy, dark curls spilled down her back.

“Can I take a picture of you?” Emma asked.

“Si, certainly,” Regina said and squirmed to get out of bed, grapping for her clothes with had been ended up on the floor sometimes last night. “Just let me freshen up a bit.”

“No-no-no,” Emma said, putting a hand on the younger woman’s arm. “I wanna take a picture of you like you are right now.”

“Oh,” Regina said and then cackled. “You want to take a picture of me while I’m desnuda. Tsk, tsk. Is that the kind of pictures you normally take?”

“No,” Emma assured with a chuckle. “You’ll be my first.”

“Well, in that case,” Regina said with faux innocence. “It’ll be my honor. Tell me how you want me, Em-ma.”

Emma grabbed her camera and instructed Regina to stay exactly like she was. Then the blonde brought the camera up and snapped a picture of Regina. Then another one. Regina playfully rolled onto her
back and pulled the sheets up to her nose. She looked both adorable and sexy.

“Perfect,” Emma grinned after having snapped the picture.

Regina chuckled richly again." Un recuerdo. Perhaps you shouldn’t show these to anyone?”

“Fuck no!” Emma straight up huffed. “Nu-uh.”

“Seriously, don’t ever show these to anyone,” Regina smirked as she pushed the covers down entirely and bared her body to the camera. And to Emma. She nonchalantly crossed her ankles and folded her hands behind her head. “Take your pictures, Em-ma.”

And Emma had never been a more enthusiastic photographer than she was right now as she photographed Regina in various positions. Sprawled onto her back, laying on her side with the sheets tugged up to her hips. On her back again with an arm draped over her breasts and the sheet tugged up so the apex of her thighs were covered. “Fucking hell, you’re so beautiful!”

“Am I your favorite motive?” Regina teased.

“Yes. Absolutely,” Emma said without showing any hesitation.

“And do you know what I also am?” Regina continued.

“No. What?”

“Awfully hungry,” the younger woman snickered.

“Oh.” Emma lowered the camera again and smirked at Regina. “Well, then I suppose we better get some food in you, huh? How do you feel about room service and pancakes in bed?”

“That...” Regina tugged Emma right back in bed. “Sounds like my kind of morning.”

“Good,” Emma laughed and traded her camera for the old fashioned phone standing on the bedside table. “Help me out?”

“Absolutely,” Regina chuckled as she took the phone from Emma, dialed the number to the downstairs reception. After a few moments where Emma teasingly ran her fingers up and down her naked back, the young brunette briskly said: “Buenos días. Nos gustaría pedir un servicio de habitaciones. Si. Nos gustaría panqueques con chispas de chocolate, dos cafés y dos jugos. Perfecto. Gracias.” She hung up and then turned to Emma. “Breakfast will be here in five minutes.”

“Great,” Emma said. “I almost understood all of that.”

“Oh yes? Then why didn’t you order?” Regina teased with a chuckle.

“Because it sounds so much sexier when you speak Spanish,” Emma said, shamelessly trailing her hand down to Regina’s ass and giving it a firm squeeze.

“Tú eres travieso,” Regina chided as she rose from bed and slipped on Emma’s discarded robe. “I’ll just have a cigarette before breakfast.” she elegantly swanned over to her bag, grabbed her pack of
cigarettes and then disappeared out on the balcony to smoke. For someone who was trying to quit, she didn’t do a very good job.

But in her defense, she only smoked one cigarette. It didn’t take long before she came back from the balcony. Emma emerged from the bed and shrugged on her robe. Just in time. There was a knock on the door, and Emma quickly crossed the room and opened the door.

“Buenos días,” the waiter smiled as he rolled in the little table.

“Buenos días,” Emma said, returning the smile and then licking her lips. Those pancakes seriously looked amazing!

“Disfrutar,” the waiter said politely and smiled as Emma tipped him handsomely.

“Thank you,” Emma said, accidentally switching to English because she was hungry and didn’t care about speaking Spanish. But the waiter seemed to understand anyway, and he smiled as he left the honeymoon suite.

“¡Dios mío, eso se ve increíble!” Regina said eagerly as she perched herself on the edge of Emma’s bed.

“Are you hungry?” Emma teased, sitting down herself.

“Si. With all that exercise we did last night, how can I be anything but?” Regina drawled.

“True that,” Emma said and got a warm, pleasant feeling low in her stomach when she thought back to all the “exercise” she and Regina had done last night. That had been one hell of an epic marathon
exercise session. One that had left Emma both boneless and a just a little bit sore. In the best way possible.

Regina dug into her portion of pancakes, and those little moans of delights she released was enough to make Emma focus on anything but eating.

After having eaten the first out of three thick, golden pancakes, Regina took a sip of her cup of coffee and then inquired: “what do you want to do today?”

Emma carefully swallowed before answering. “I don’t know. Maybe we could head over to that little park we found yesterday? I could take some more pictures of you.”

Regina laughed chocolate-y. “Do you even have pictures of anything but me?”

“A few,” Emma said innocently, reaching over so she could brush a hand over Regina’s shoulder. “But you are the prettiest motive.”

“Eres ridículo,” Regina said with a chuckle.

“And you’re rude,” Emma observed, giving Regina a light shove.

“You’ll make me spill coffee all over your bed!” Regina warned.

Emma laughed and gave Regina another slight shove.

“Emma!” Regina protested with a slight whine. “Stop it!”

“Never,” Emma said and gave Regina’s foot a little nudge with her own. Regina was wearing red nail polish. Deep red nail polish. The color really suited her golden skin tone.

“This is SO good,” Regina said. Clearly, she was not done gushing about the pancakes.

Emma chuckled, agreed: “it is. I’m going to miss these pancakes.”

“What was that place called again?” Regina asked. “That restaurant back in your town?”

“’Granny’s Diner,” Emma reminded her with a smile.

“Oh yes, that’s the one,” Regina said, taking another mouthful of coffee. She carefully swallowed before continuing: “and you claim that it has the best burgers ever?”

“Oh yeah,” Emma said firmly. “The best burgers you’ll ever taste. Granny is the best cook ever.”

“I’m not sure my dad will agree with that statement,” Regina chuckled and then prompted: “tell me more about your friends and family. And Storybrooke. It sounds like a really nice place.”

“And it is,” Emma said and laughed at how she pronounced Storybrooke. “Storry-broooke”. It sounded so cute. The blonde quickly began telling Regina all about her town and friends and parents....

 

After having finished their breakfast and showered (which had let to quite a bit of fun) they got dressed and headed outside in the beautiful Spanish sunshine. The last day of sunshine. Emma had heard from her mom that the weather in Storybrooke was grey and chilly. Thanks mom. That really was a great motivator to make Emma yearn after going home. Not.

“You’re falling behind,” Regina teased over her shoulder and stopped entirely so Emma could get the chance to catch up.

“Just admiring the view, querida,” Emma drawled. And that wasn’t a lie. Regina looked quite stunning in her light, flowing red dress. It had this incredible swish ever time she turned around. Her long dark hair was hanging loose in curls down her back, and she had inserted red flowers that matched the dress into her hair. Emma had no idea how she managed to look so stunning all the time. Whether she was disheveled and naked in bed, or fully dressed with her hair sorted out, she looked stunning no matter what.

“Can I take a picture of you?” Emma asked with a grin.

“We haven’t even reached the park yet.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

And so Regina willingly smiled “for the dicky bird” as Emma took a couple of pictures of her. Afterwards, she came over and demanded to see the result, and Emma was just as eager to show her.

“Those are really good,” Regina said appreciatingly and chuckled.

“How about a selfie?” Emma goofily suggested.

“Ciertamente,” Regina said willingly and moved closer to Emma. She sweetly rested her head against Emma’s shoulder, and as the blonde held up the camera and smiled, she felt her heart break just a little bit. Of all the places in all the world, why did she have to meet Regina in Madrid? It wasn’t fair. If only Regina had lived in Storybrooke. Or maybe even in New York. Why did there have to be such a large distance between them? An ocean. Literally. The thought of going back to Storybrooke and leave Regina here in Madrid was just.... awful. Plain awful.

They were still goofing around with the camera and laughing when Regina suddenly exclaimed “¡Mierda!“

“What’s going on?” Emma asked confused.

Regina didn’t answer. Instead she grabbed Emma’s hand and urged: “come on! ¡Prisa!”

And before Emma could get the chance to ask further, Regina had grabbed her hand and half-dragged her into a slight alley between two buildings.

Emma blinked. “Why are we hiding in an alley?”

“Shh,” Regina said softly, putting a hand on the blonde’s lips.

Emma shut up then and waited. She bided her time with nipping playfully at the finger Regina still had pressed against her lips. The young brunette chuckled lowly at that, and after a moment, she moved
her finger away from Emma’s lips.

“The hell was that about?” Emma chuckled.

“That was about Anastasia.”

“Huh? Anastasia who?” Emma asked confused.

“Employed at my parent’s restaurant, and my mother’s little confidante,” Regina said and looked both annoyed and amused at the same time. “Chummy with my mother and known for notoriously doing her errands.”

“Which would be?” Emma asked.

“Looking for me,” Regina said lightly as she peered around the corner. “And especially when I don’t want to be found.”

“Oh,” Emma said. She had learned quite a bit about Regina’s mother during the previous week, but sometimes she still couldn’t quite believe how controlling and possessing Cora was.

“I think she’s gone,” Regina chuckled as though the whole thing was hilarious. “Come on. Let’s get to the park.”

Emma followed her out of the alleyway. She took the young brunette’s hand and suddenly remembered something. “You got a call this morning. Was...that your mom?”

“No, that was Marian delivering the usual monologue about how I am a dirty so and so,” Regina said and now her laughter was a bit more strained.

“I’m sorry,” Emma said gently, squeezing the younger woman’s hand.

“It’s okay. She’ll get tired of it sooner or later, right? Or at the very least she’s going to realize that I’m not canoodling with her husband. Ese gilipollas.”

Emma spluttered against her will. She knew what that meant. But despite her laughter, she still felt sorry for Regina. And admittedly, a bit worried about her. It seemed like she was being pressured from all sides. Her mom banging on about how she had to go to university, and Marian and her ridiculous accusation. Why did the scorned wives always blame the woman for their husbands dickishness? It wasn’t fair.

“Where’d you go?” Regina teased and gave Emma’s hand a squeeze. “Come back.”

“I’m right here,” Emma promised. “I was just getting distracted by your dress.”

“Is that so?” Regina teased. “It’s nothing special.”

“You’re wearing it. That’s special,” Emma said plainly.

Regina laughed sweetly and gave Emma’s hand a slight squeeze again. Emma squeezed back, satisfied with her smooth save. And it wasn’t a complete lie. Regina’s dress really WAS quite distracting...

 

They stayed in the park for quite a while. Settled down on a blanket under a large tree and did nothing but talk and laugh. And kiss. They did that too. Whenever there was nobody around. Emma had joked that she was planning on giving Regina a thousand kisses before she left. And Regina had dryly stated that Emma would be busy then. She was probably right, but Emma still opted for doing exactly what she had planned on doing.

They were actually in the middle of quite the heated makeout session when Emma’s phone chimed. The blonde grumbled in annoyance as she found the device and checked what the chiming sound had been about. It turned out to be Ruby. She wanted to know how Emma was spending the last little time she had left in Madrid.

“Tell her you’re busy,” Regina chuckle and as Emma jokingly pretended to do so, she squealed in protest: “no! Don’t tell her that!”

“Alright, alright,” Emma chuckled and settled for telling Ruby that she was “hanging out with Regina”.

The reply came quickly, and Emma groaned out loud. The only type of response Ruby had sent her, was the link to a song. “Señorita” by Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello.

“I swear to god, someday I’m going to murder her,” Emma said morbidly through gritted teeth.

“I doubt murder is the answer,” Regina hiccupped once she was done laughing at Ruby’s joke. “She sounds really fun.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure you and her would get along splendidly,” Emma said truthfully. She just knew that Ruby immediately would like Regina. So would everyone. Especially Emma’s parents. The blonde could vividly imagine how taken her mom would be with Regina’s sweet and gentle way of being. Maybe Emma could one day introduce Regina to her parents....

Emma almost snorted out loud. What was she even thinking? She had to quit being so ridiculous.

Regina smiled at her as she lied back down on the blanket and closed her eyes against the sun. “Mmm, this is nice.”

“It is,” Emma agreed as she followed Regina’s example and lied down on the blanket. She brushed her hand lightly over Regina’s arm and earned herself a slight wiggle.

“You’re tickling me,” Regina warned.

“What a tragedy,” Emma said mock sadly and continued to brush her fingertips up and down Regina’s arm. She was obsessed with Regina’s skin. How it looked. How it felt. How it TASTED. Following a devilish impulse, Emma bowed her head and smoothened a soft kiss over Regina’s arm.

Now Regina really was squirming. “That really tickles.”

“Sorry not sorry,” Emma chuckled.

“Keep that up and I might suggest that we head back to my apartment,” Regina teased.

“I’ve heard of worse suggestions,” Emma drawled.

“Yeah?” Regina said and now her voice was honeysweet. “You wanna head back to my place after we’ve had lunch?”

“I’d love to,” Emma said and grinned like an idiot.

“You’ve got yourself a deal then,” Regina said as she closed her eyes again. Her feet wiggled slightly in those light sandals she was wearing today.

“Are you dancing tomorrow?” Emma asked, still busying herself with stroking Regina’s arms lightly.

“Mmm, I am,” Regina confirmed and thoughtfully added: “it’s going to be weird not seeing you and your camera there.”

“I’m going to miss seeing you dance,” Emma said softly.

“Perhaps I can get the bartender to record it and then send the recording to you,” Regina half-chuckled.

“You should. You have my email,” Emma reminded her.

“That I do.” Regina said and shifted so she could prop herself up on one elbow. She used her free hand to cup Emma’s cheek and then teased: “are you gonna miss me?”

“Mmm,” Emma said, putting her hand over Regina’s. “So fucking much.”

“Quite the pickle we’ve gotten ourselves in,” Regina softly observed.

“Yeah, you can say that again,” Emma said with a dry laugh as she leaned in and pecked Regina’s lips.

Regina returned the gesture, and it was a bit silly, really. Because they weren’t really kissing. Just giving each other ridiculous little pecks on the mouth.

Eventually, Regina pulled back with a chuckle and lied back down. She closed her eyes again and then mock complained over how tired she was.

“Impossible,” Emma claimed. “You’re young and fit.”

“So are you, and yet you’re still tired,” Regina drawled.

“I’m not as young and fit as you are,” Emma said stubbornly.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Regina snorted. “You’re only twenty eight.”

“Mmm. Eight years older than you.”

Now Regina was laughing. “You really need to get over that, Em-ma.”

“Noted. Are you falling asleep on me?” Emma wanted to know as she wrapped a lock of Regina’s hair around her finger.

“I could,” Regina quipped. “Wake me in an hour.”

Emma laughed heartedly and called Regina silly.

But Regina actually did end up falling asleep right there on the blanket. And even though Emma didn’t, she didn’t have the heart to wake her. She let Regina sleep and spend the time with texting Ruby.
She didn’t lie to her friend. She told Ruby exactly how awful she felt about leaving Madrid and Regina tonight. She almost couldn’t bear it. It was too goddamn painful!

Ruby expressed her sympathy and asked Emma how things were gonna go from here. And Emma texted that she had every intention of keeping in touch with Regina as much as she could. Emails. Texting. Phone calls. And possibly even visiting Regina at some point. She refused to let Regina go. She couldn’t. Not now.

Emma looked up from her phone and glanced at the sleeping young woman. God, she looked so beautiful. A dark-haired sleeping beauty. Now it could be really tempting to wake her with a kiss, but Emma quickly decided that that would be a damn shame. Regina looked so adorable like that.

Emma lowered her head and closed her eyes. Maybe she should try and get some sleep too.

“Eso se siente bien,” Regina murmured, and Emma immediately opened her eyes again. Was Regina talking in her sleep? Interesting.

But unfortunately, Regina didn’t say anything else. She just continued to sleep. Emma wished she could do the same, but her thoughts were spiraling. Tomorrow night Regina would be dancing again.

Tomorrow night, Emma wouldn’t be here to see her dance. She wouldn’t be there to hang out in the hallway afterwards and then slip inside Regina’s dressing room to congratulate Regina with tonight’s performance. Tomorrow night, Emma would be in a different country. And Regina would be right here. God, it was so fucking unfair! This wasn’t what Emma had expected from a “quick summer fling”. She had expected to spend a fun couple of weeks, but that was it. She hadn’t expected to fall head over heels in love with Regina. And she hadn’t expected that leaving would be this hard. But here she was, feeling how her stomach tied in knots.

Regina “mmm’ed” in her sleep as though to stress out Emma’s thoughts. They had basically been together this entire week. Often time, Regina hadn’t gone home. She had spent the day with Emma in the blonde’s hotel room.

“You’ve really got me good,” Emma told the sleeping girl.

Obviously, Regina didn’t answer that. She just kept on sleeping. Oblivious to Emma’s inner turmoil and sadness.

The blonde sighed. Rolled on to her back and stared up at the clear blue sky. She had been heartbroken when she arrived in Madrid. And now, as her departure was nearing, she was feeling heartbroken all over again. But for very different reasons.

She couldn’t win, could she?

Emma wasn’t aware how long she lied and stared up at the sky, but at some point, Regina woke up. And apologized profusely for having fallen asleep.

“I didn’t plan on falling asleep,” she said sheepishly, tugging a lock of dark hair behind her ear. “I don’t know what happened.”

“It’s okay,” Emma chuckled. “You probably needed it.”

“I’ve been so tired lately,” Regina said and clicked her tongue in dismay. “It’s ridiculous.”

“You’re dancing too much,” Emma lightly scolded.

“Yes, probably,” Regina agreed with a chuckle. “But there’s really nothing I can do about that.”

“No, I suppose there isn’t,” Emma laughed.

Regina elegantly rose from the blanket. “How about some lunch?” she suggested.

“Sounds good,” Emma said, cringing slightly as she unfolded her legs and then stood from the blanket. She quickly wrapped said blanket and tugged it under her arm.

“But I was thinking....” Regina said and her voice dropped an octave or two.

“Yeah?” Emma said and quirked an eyebrow at the younger woman.

“How about we headed back to my place and had lunch instead?” Regina suggested. “I like that suggestion,” Emma drawled as she slipped her free arm around Regina’s waist. “I like that suggestion a lot.”

“Then lets get going,” Regina said and gently tugged a lock of hair behind Emma’s hair. “Every second counts, does it?”

“It really does,” Emma murmured.

They left the park. Emma didn’t let go of Regina as they went. That gnawing sensation in her stomach was getting worse. And it had nothing to do with hunger. At least not the hunger that could be helped by eating something.

Regina too seemed painfully aware that they were running out of time. Now and then she turned her head and flashed Emma a sad little smile. One that nearly drove Emma to kiss the breath out of Regina right then and there. But she told herself to wait. Told herself to be patient until they made it back to Regina’s place.

“What do you want for lunch?” Regina asked.

The attempt at making small talk was so pathetic, all Emma could do was laugh. And it didn’t take long before Regina was too. She shook her head a little.

“I’m good with tapas,” Emma assured with a chuckle. “I still haven’t had enough.”

“Tapas is it then,” Regina said lightly.

“Sounds good.”

They crossed the street, and Regina seemed to look around after something or someone, but it didn’t take long before her face loosened up in a smile. She didn’t say anything about what she was looking at.

 

And then they reached the block of apartments where Regina lived. They headed inside, up the stairs, all the way up to the fourth floor (the elevator was out of order) and the moment she stepped inside Regina’s apartment, Emma immediately felt at home. Painfully at home. God damnit. She shouldn’t feel so much at home here. It would only make things so much more difficult.

They helped each other making the tapas, and once they were seated at the table and actually started eating, Emma could feel how hungry she really was.

“This is really good,” she told the younger brunette.

“Good,” Regina smiled. “I’m happy to hear that.”

“But then again, your father is a chef. Makes perfect sense,” Emma continued, joking a bit now.

“I make a mean chicken,” Regina said with a chuckle.

“Really? I’d like to taste that sometimes,” Emma said before she could stop herself.

“Maybe that could be arranged sometimes,” Regina said thoughtfully. “Are you sure you don’t want wine?”

“Water’s fine,” Emma said and winked at her. “I don’t want to be drunk.”

“And why is that?” Regina replied ever so innocently and tapped her glass lightly.

“I want a clear head,” Emma said, taking a sip of her water.

Regina chuckled. “Oh yes? What for?”

“Well, you never know what happens,” Emma said airily and flashed the younger woman a toothy grin.

“Indeed you don’t,” Regina agreed. Voice coated with perfect innocence, but her eyes told a very different story. One where it was abundantly clear that she knew what would happen once they were done eating.

That made the blonde’s heart beat a little faster in her chest. She had to clear her throat. Emma took an extra big gulp of her water. Right now, she could just about forget that she was going home. Right now, the world had shrunk and only consisted of Regina’s apartment. And Regina herself. Regina who was smiling at her. Regina who was tugging strands of hair behind her ear. Regina whose golden cheeks had tinted pink in the prettiest way possible. Emma swallowed something. Licked her lips slightly. What was it about Regina that made her so fucking irresistible? Why did it feel like those dark eyes could penetrate Emma’s very soul?

Emma found no answers. She just silently acknowledged the fact that as the minutes passed, she fell more and more in love with Regina. Which was both awful and fucking wonderful.

Damn shame she had to travel all the way to Madrid to find everything she had been searching for. Emma sighed a bit. Now she could suddenly remember that she was going home today. Why did she keep remembering that? It was so fucking annoying.

Regina met her eyes and flashed her a little smile. She tugged a strand of dark hair behind her ear again.

“What are you thinking about?” Emma asked and tilted her head like a curious dog.

“Tú,” Regina said lowly. “Would you like more tapas?”

“No, I think I’m all good,” Emma said. “Want my help with cleaning up?”

“Yes, that’s the least you can do, Em-ma,” Regina quipped as she rose from her seat and started to gather their plates.

Emma chuckled as she followed Regina into her little kitchen. They helped each other with rinsing the plates and everything else they had used as well. Emma gathered a handful of the soapy foam and blew it straight at Regina.

Regina giggled. “Do I look like I need cleaning up?”

“Define ‘cleaning up’,” Emma laughed.

Regina didn’t. Instead she just cackled.

Emma abandoned all thought of cleaning up. Instead she wrapped her arms around the brunette and began to plant kisses all over the side of her neck. Regina exhaled softly and mmm’ed. “I suppose cleaning up can wait a little.”

“I was thinking the same,” Emma murmured against her neck.

Regina turned around and kissed her square on the mouth. So much for cleaning up.

Emma decided that she couldn’t wait anymore. She cupped underneath Regina’s ass and lifted her up.

And exactly like the other times Emma had done this, Regina shrieked and exclaimed: “Emma! ¡¿Qué estás haciendo?!”

“I am taking you to bed,” Emma replied with a chuckle. “Got a problem with that?”

“No. But I think you find it awfully romantic to carry me to bed,” Regina softly accused as her long legs wrapped around Emma’s waist and her fingers weaved through Emma’s hair.

“You got me,” Emma chuckled. “I find that to be extremely romantic actually.”

Regina kissed her then, and Emma stumbled more than she walked to make it to Regina’s bedroom. And by the time she reached the destination, she was so lightheaded and distracted that she ended up dropping Regina on the bed. The young brunette went down like a sack of potatoes and laughed heartedly while Emma apologized profusely. “Oh my god! I am so sorry about that! Are you okay?!”

“Oh shut up, will you?” Regina laughed as she tugged Emma down on top of her. She kissed the blonde again, and that was indeed a very effective way to make Emma shut up.

Clothes were pawed at and tugged off entirely, and it didn’t take long before everything else was forgotten in favor of wet mouths, wandering hands and skin against skin. And a few well-chosen Spanish curse words...

 

 

Emma couldn’t believe this. She couldn’t believe that she was standing in this airport. She couldn’t believe that she was about to take this plane home. It didn’t make sense. And it definitely wasn’t fair.

The blonde exhaled. Her journey had seriously just come to an end. And she could not believe it. Refused to believe it. That this was the end of her time in Spain.

Regina was standing next to her. Shifting slightly on her feet and constantly tugging her hair behind her ear. As the time for Emma’s departure had inched closer, the young brunette had grown more and more serious. Somber, almost. Gone was her playful mood from earlier. And the memories they had made in her bed earlier this afternoon. Neither of them could get enough of the other. Neither of them had wanted to stop. At least not until exhaustion had forced them to. Regina had slept in Emma’s arms. Ever the cuddler in bed.

Emma glanced at the large clock in the airport. It couldn’t be long before she had to walk through security.

“Well...” Regina said, and her voice sounded so small.

“Yeah,” Emma said half-heartedly. Now it was her turn to shift on her feet. “I don’t.... I don’t know what to say,” she admitted.

“No, this is harder than I anticipated,” Regina said, barking out a meek laugh.

“These past two weeks has been-“

“I know,” Regina softly interrupted and took Emma’s hand. “I know.”

“I don’t want to go home,” Emma openly admitted. “I want to stay.”

Regina chuckled. “It’s been fun.”

“More than that. Thank you for making my honeymoon amazing,” Emma said, doing her best to joke.

Regina tried too. “It was my pleasure. Happy to help.”

Emma gave her hand a slight squeeze.

“Take care of yourself,” Regina continued. “And... and have a safe journey home.”

Emma didn’t like the sound of that. “This isn’t over,” she said firmly. “I’ll call you.”

“Right,” Regina said. Her voice was dripping with something that could only be described as polite disbelief.

“I will!” Emma said even more firmly.

“Emma....” Regina stepped forward and kissed her cheek lightly. “Don’t make promises you cannot keep. I don’t doubt that you mean it right now, but life happens, right? I won’t be upset if you don’t-“

“Well, I WILL,” Emma interrupted.

Regina laughed a bit. “The last person who said they’d call me was Roberto Suarez in seventh grade...”

“I can assure you, I am no Roberto Suarez,” Emma chuckled. “Seriously, I’m not. I’ll call you, Regina. Or text you. Or email you. Anything. I’m not about to lose contact with you.”

Regina flashed her a little smile, but Emma could still see some uncertainty in her eyes, so she stepped forward and kissed Regina. She didn’t care how many people could see them. She just....she didn’t care.

Regina was quick to return the kiss. Her lips pressing softly against Emma’s and making the blonde’s skin sing with longing. She missed Regina. She already missed her so, so much. Emma took both Regina’s hands between her own. Those soft, small hands. She was going to miss those hands too. A million memories flickered past her inner eyes. Seeing Regina dance for the first time. Stumbling into her dressing room. Their afternoon in that beautiful garden Regina had told her about. Their dinner at the hotel. Their first kiss in the swimming pool. Their first night together. Long legs wrapping around her waist. Soft, soft fingers in her hair, warm hands on her body. Perfect, full lips against her own. Regina’s sweet, sweet laughter filling her ears. Spanish curse words. Their first morning together. Regina cuddling in her arms with her hair being a mess of dark curls splaying out on the pillow. That little tattoo on her hip. That lazy smile she had flashed Emma when she woke up. Their extended morning in the shower. Regina’s birthday. How they had danced. Regina gushing over the tiny cupcake and smiling and closing her eyes right before blowing the birthday candle out. Regina’s mysterious smile when Emma asked what she had wished for (what HAD she wished for, Emma still wanted to know that)

Emma tried to pour every single emotion into this kiss. Every last little thing she wanted to say to Regina but couldn’t because it was too damn hard. She cupped Regina’s cheeks as she kissed and kissed and kissed her. Emma didn’t care that she was running out of oxygen. She didn’t care that this was an airport, and everybody could see them. It didn’t matter to her at all. The only thing mattering was that this was her and Regina’s last chance to kiss, and Emma was damn well going to make it worthwhile! A kiss to remember. Literally.
Regina released a teeny tiny sound that almost-barely-but-not-quite could have been a moan. Or perhaps it was a sob.

Oh fuck. Not a sob. Anything but that. Regina couldn’t be crying. Emma wouldn’t accept it. She rubbed her thumbs over Regina’s cheeks. She was trying to soothe both of them. Naively hoping that this little caress somehow could make her departure easier for both of them.

She was an idiot.

How was Emma supposed to just go home and continue her life? She couldn’t. She fucking couldn’t.

Their moment of bliss wasn’t allowed to last for long either. Emma heard that dreaded announcement over the speakers. ‘All passengers travelling to Boston, please go to gate this-and-that’. Fuck.

“Oh no,” Emma muttered as she wrapped her arms around Regina’s neck and brought her even closer.

“You’ll miss your flight,” Regina whispered. Her voice was thick with emotion. She wasn’t...? Fuck, she wasn’t crying, was she?

Emma pulled back so she could look Regina in the eyes. The young brunette wasn’t straight up crying, but she definitely looked like she was on the verge of tears. Fuck no!

“I’m coming back,” Emma said croakily.

Regina chuckled wetly.

“I am.”

“You’ll miss your flight. You better get going,” Regina said.

“I don’t want to.”

“I know.”

“One more hug?”

“Sounds good.”

And so Emma hugged Regina one last time. Hugged the beautiful young girl she had fallen head over heels in love with. The beautiful girl whom she was about to leave here in Madrid.

“No me olvides,” Regina murmured into the fabric of Emma’s denim jacket.

“And what does that mean?” Emma asked softly.

“It means... don’t forget me.” Regina was clearly attempting to laugh, but the sound came out more choked than anything else.

“Hey,” Emma said gently as she cupped Regina’s cheek and looked into those big, brown eyes. “That is not going to happen. Ever.”

Regina flashed a little smile, and then Emma’s flight once again was announced over the speakers.

“You have to go,” Regina said. “Otherwise the plane will take off without you.”

“Good.”

Regina laughed hoarsely. “You don’t mean that, Emma.”

“Right now I do,” Emma murmured. She kissed Regina again. Pecked her lips over and over again, desperately hoping that she could pour all her promises into that kiss. The promises about coming back to Spain. The promises that this wasn’t the end. That she wasn’t gonna let Regina go. That she wanted her. Really, truly wanted her. This was more than a summer fling. This was anything but a summer fling.

After too short time, Emma had no choice but to pull back. She did her best to flash Regina a smile. “We’ll see each other again.”

Regina smiled softly and sadly at that. “Si.”

Emma adjusted her shoulder bag and then walked backwards towards the door that would lead her to the gate. The door that would lead her away from Regina.

“Goodbye, miss Swan,” Regina said quietly.

Emma so desperately wanted to run back to her. Take the brunette in her arms and kiss her and assure her that this only was a temporary goodbye. A goodbye for now. They WOULD see each other again.

But she couldn’t. She had to stay put in the line that was forming. A line that moved quickly. Too quickly. Emma kept turning her head and looking back at Regina. And she kept stumbling into the passengers behind her. The guy standing behind her was pretty annoyed by that, but Emma was completely blind to his annoyance. She didn’t notice it. The only thing she paid attention to was the fact that the distance between her and Regina was growing and growing. Until there would be an ocean between them. Emma’s stomach hurt. Badly. It didn’t take long before Emma was lead through the door.

Now she officially couldn’t go back. No matter how badly she wanted to.

The blonde lingered by the large glass window. Almost pressed her nose against it. She could see Regina. She was standing right where Emma had left her. She was biting her lip and looked like she was trying very hard not to cry. The sight almost broke Emma’s heart right then and there. She knew she wasn’t allowed to knock on the window, but she had to do something to catch Regina’s attention. She flailed her arms awkwardly, catching the attention of every other passenger too, but it worked as intended. She and Regina made eye contact, and Regina flashed her a brave smile. Emma offered a silly wave, and Regina lifted her hand. At first Emma thought she was going to wave back, but she didn’t. Instead Regina blew her a kiss.

Emma laughed wetly at that. Now she was on the verge of crying too. Damnit.

But she couldn’t linger here by the window. The world was cruel like that. She had to turn her back on Regina and follow the other passengers through the hallway that lead her to the plane. Emma’s vision was completely blinded by hot tears and she fumbled as she showed the flight attendants her boarding pass. They asked her if she was okay, and no, she wasn’t, but she didn’t tell them that. Instead she just smiled and nodded. Croaked out a hoarse “si”.

She was shown to her seat, and she more or less fell into it. She promptly turned her head, so she was looking out of the window instead of at the passenger sitting next to her.

As the other passengers squabbled and struggled to find their seats, Emma finally allowed the tears to flow freely. It felt like she had just left a piece of her heart in the airport. With Regina.

 

 

 

To Be Continued........

 

(Spanish Translations:

Buenos días, querida= Good morning, dear.

Un recuerdo= A memory.

Tú eres travieso= You are naughty.

¡Dios mío, eso se ve increíble= Oh my god, that looks amazing!

¡Prisa!= Hurry!

Emma! ¡¿Qué estás haciendo?!= Emma! What are you doing?!

Chapter Text

Seven hours and three minutes later a very ruffled and bleary eyed Emma stepped out of the plane. She felt like she was in some sort of daze as she stood and waited for her suitcase. It took too long before her luggage appeared. Emma was dazed and confused and not really here. Well, perhaps she was here physically, but mentally she was still in Madrid. In Regina’s apartment. In Regina’s bed. With Regina in her arms. God, how Emma missed her. The image of Regina was burned into her memories. The look in Regina’s eyes. The way her chin had trembled as she fought back tears. The way she had blown Emma a kiss before Emma disappeared out in the hallway.

Fuck, Emma was getting emotional all over again. She had been crying during the plane ride. Not openly. Behind her book. But oh yes, she had cried! Maybe not bawled her eyes out, but her eyes were still stinging painfully.

But the stinging sensation in her eyes could not be compared to the tight sensation she was feeling in her chest area. It felt like an invisible fist had wrapped around her heart and now was squeezing repeatedly. Shit, she missed Regina! So fucking much. Right now, Emma really struggled to see how she was supposed to resume her old life. How could she, when she had left a piece of herself in Madrid? A piece of her heart.

Emma tried not to sniffle, pulled herself together. She had just spotted her grey suitcase. She quickly lunged and grabbed it. Now she wanted to go home.

No, she didn’t. Actually, she wanted to go back to Madrid, but she couldn’t do that.

Emma chortled humorlessly to herself. This was ironic, really. When she stepped on the plane to Madrid, she was sure that she would never feel as unhappy as she did then. And here she was, feeling even worse than she did when she left. Apparently, parting ways with Regina was worse than being abandoned by Neal before her wedding. Imagine that.

Emma pushed her way through the blundering crowd and headed towards the arrival hall. She knew for a fact that her parents would be here to welcome her home. Emma had tried to tell her mom that that wasn’t necessary, but as always, there had been no stopping mayor Blanchard-Swan. She had been hellbent on coming to collect Emma, and Emma had been lenient enough to give her that one. She had been gone for three weeks. She knew how much her parents had missed her. And she knew how worried her mom had been about her after her spontaneous “honeymoon for one” decision.

“Excuse me,” Emma said when a child raced out in front of her, and then she chuckled tiredly. She almost said that in Spanish instead of English.

But she didn’t have to speak Spanish anymore. Because she wasn’t in Spain anymore. She was in Boston. 3.397 miles away from Madrid. And Regina. There was that knot in her stomach again. Now it was Emma’s turn to bite the inside of her cheek not to cry.

Emma heard her mom before she actually saw her. It was pretty difficult to miss that excited: “Emma, honey! Over here, over here!” and then David’s slight chuckle as he assured his wife that Emma had seen them. She hadn’t, but she had as soon as he had said that. She offered them a slight wave and did her best to muster up a smile. They looked so happy to see her. Emma was relieved that they hadn’t actually brought that sign Mary Margaret had “threatened” to bring.

The line thinned, and as soon as the last guy had stepped away, Emma could walk towards her parents. “Hey guys,” she said and tried to sound like her usual self.

“Honey!” her mom exclaimed as she immediately rushed forward and engulfed Emma in the tightest of hugs.

“We’ve missed you,” David smiled.

“I’ve missed you too,” Emma croaked as she breathed in the scent of her mom’s usual, safe strawberry perfume. That scent reminded her of safety. Childhood. Her mom’s comforting and reassuring smile.

But unfortunately, it also reminded her of something else. Different scents.

Apples. Milk and honey. Spicy flowers. Regina.

A choked little sob slipped past Emma’s lips, and Mary Margaret was immediately worried. Stepping out of the embrace, she cupped Emma’s cheeks and her green eyes radiated concern as she asked:

“Emma, honey! Are you crying? What happened?!”

“I’m sorry,” Emma croaked. “I just had to say goodbye to someone in Madrid and now I miss her very much.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Mary Margaret murmured as she hugged Emma again. “Honey, I’m so sorry about that!”

“Yeah, you and me both,” Emma tried to joke. But she was doing a miserable job. And she was a little embarrassed. She wasn’t normally this prone to breaking down in her mother’s arms.

“You don’t have to call her ‘somebody’,” Mary Margaret murmured softly. “We know her name is Regina. And we know how much she ended up meaning to you, Emma.”

“And how can you know that?” Emma said, once again trying to joke. “I haven’t even said any-“

“We’ve seen your pictures, sweetie,” Mary Margaret said patiently. “And she looks like a very, very sweet girl.”

“She really is, mom. She’s....not like anyone I’ve met before,” Emma croaked and tried to swallow that hideous lump in her throat.

“We would love to hear all about her while we drive home,” David said briskly and grabbed Emma’s suitcase. “Here, let me take that.”

“You must be tired after that long flight,” her mother fussed, and Emma chuckled a bit.

“Yeah. I suppose I am a bit tired,” she agreed.

“Then let’s get going,” Mary Margaret said, linking her arm with Emma’s. “Come on.”

They left the airport, and Emma thought to herself that that was good. If her parents hadn’t been here, there was a fair chance that Emma would have turned around and bought the first plane ticket to Madrid.

But instead she could now slink into the backseat of her mother’s mayoral Mercedes. David climbed onto the passenger’s seat, and Emma felt like a kid all over again as she buckled her seatbelt and leaned back in the leather seat. Her head was pounding. She needed a shower and then a solid nap. A few days of sleep wouldn’t be so bad.

“So, would you like to tell us a bit about the mysterious Regina?” Mary Margaret inquired from the driver’s seat as they drove out of the parking lot.

“Honey. Emma might be tired,” David lightly chided.

But Emma chuckled. “No, it’s okay. I’m fine. And Regina is not mysterious, mom. Not at all. She’s....she’s a flamenco dancer.” She could see how Mary Margaret’s green eyes widened a bit in the mirror.

“Really? How exotic!”

“Mom.”

“What, it is!” Mary Margaret defended. “It’s not an occupation everyone has. That’s what I meant.”

“She’s amazing at dancing,” Emma gushed. “Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone dance like her.”

“I liked the dresses she was wearing,” Mary Margaret smiled. “Especially the red one. The one you posted a picture of a couple of days.”

“Oh yeah,” Emma said. She had posted a few “backstage” pictures of Regina before she was going on stage.

“What else does she do?” Mary Margaret curiously asked.

“She’s a waitress,” Emma said.

“Oh?”

“And I think she’s planning on starting at university next year,” Emma hastily added, because she knew that was what her mom really had been fishing after.

“University? How old is she?” David asked.

“She’s twenty,” Emma said and already felt a little bit defensive.

But she didn’t have to. “Okay,” David said simply. “She looks like she’s very fond of you, sweetheart.”

“She is,” Emma said, thinking back to the way Regina had been fighting back tears in the airport. “And I’m fond of her. Very much so. So this is pretty tough.”

“Are you planning on staying in contact with her?” Mary Margaret inquired.

“Absolutely!” Emma said firmly. “We’ve exchanged numbers and email addresses. And if everything goes according to plan, I’m going to Madrid sometimes this autumn. I have to see her again.”

“And of course she’s welcome to come over for dinner if she ever comes to Storybrooke,” Mary Margaret said with a smile. “What does her parents do?”

“They own a chain of restaurants, and stop dissecting her, mom,” Emma lightly scolded with a chuckle. “I’ve just met her, it’s not like I’m going to marry-“ she stopped talking and her jaw snapped shut with a click as the memory of Neal forced its way into her mind. Fuck him. Fucking Neal and his fucking fake promises of love and marriage. To hell with him.

David cleared his throat and then delicately said: “I have to tell you that Neal tried to convince us to let him come along to the airport to pick you up.”

Emma spluttered. “Are you fucking kidding me?!”

“Emma. Language,” her mother lightly scolded.

“But seriously...” Emma shook her head. “What the hell is he expecting?!”

“That is a very good question,” David said. He didn’t look less angry. “I told him to go fly a kite.”

Now Emma laughed. “Good job, dad. Any chance you arrested him and threw him behind bars too?”

“No, unfortunately there’s no penalty for being an idiot,” David deadpanned.

Emma laughed again but then set her jaw again. “I might have to file for a restraining order, though. He’s been calling and texting me so many times, it’s beginning to feel a bit like harassment to be honest.”

David immediately grew serious. “If that continues you have to take it up with Graham, honey. Neal is not allowed to harass you.”

“I know,” Emma said, stretching her legs lightly. “Have you guys heard more from Milah and Robert?”

“A bit,” Mary Margaret said airily. “Milah’s been to see me twice. Both times she tried to talk me into convincing you to forgive Neal. And both times I asked her to get out of my office.”

“Great job, mom,” Emma praised with a slight chuckle.

“And Belle might know of an apartment for you,” David told her. “But we can talk more about that once we’re home.”

And you’ve had something to eat. And some sleep,” Mary Margaret hastily added.

“Some sleep is exactly what I need right now,” Emma said and suppressed a yawn.

“Well, good thing we’re almost home then!” Mary Margaret chirped.

“Yeah,” Emma chuckled, leaning back in her seat and closing her eyes. Maybe she could even get a little bit of a snooze right here. Maybe she could dream her way back to Madrid. To Regina’s apartment.
To her bedroom. God, Emma could almost smell the young brunette’s perfume. It was ridiculous, really.

Mary Margaret yelled when a car cut them off, and Emma’s dreams about a nap was shattered. She opened her eyes and looked out of the window. It was dark, but Emma could sense that it was bloody cold. Not a sign of that clear blue sky and sunshine she had been enjoying in Spain. Straight back to reality, it would seem. Madrid already felt like a dream. A wonderful dream.

Emma quelled a slight sigh. How was it possible to miss someone that much? What was Regina doing right now? It was the middle of the night here. And Madrid was six hours ahead. Which meant that it was morning in Madrid, right? Honestly, Emma wasn’t sure right now. She was too tired to figure it out.

But she did know that she had every intention of calling Regina as soon as she had gotten some sleep. She was going to proof Regina wrong. She was no Roberto Suarez from seventh grade. Regina doubted that Emma would call her. Emma wasn’t completely sure why. Perhaps Regina had had more experiences with ghosting than just Roberto Suarez from seventh grade, but Emma was gonna proof to her that the ghosting days were over. She was gonna call Regina. Every. Single. Day.

Emma suppressed a yawn. Man, she was really tired. She was gonna crash as soon as she got home. No doubt about that. She wasn’t even gonna unpack first. Or shower. She was just gonna crash. She closed her eyes again.

“Where does Regina live?” Mary Margaret curiously chirped from the driver’s seat.

Emma opened one eye. “Puerta del Sol.”

“Emma,” Mary Margaret lightly chided. “That doesn’t exactly make me any the wiser.”

“I’m sorry. I’m tired,” Emma amended. “She lives very centrally. Pretty much slapped down right at the square. Third floor. The view of the square from her apartment is pretty great.” Emma had enjoyed many a sunrise from Regina’s tiny balcony. And the had enjoyed the way the sun shone through the window and made Regina’s golden skin glow...

“That sounds very nice,” Mary Margaret said.

“It was.” Emma cringed. “Uhh... I mean, it is. It is a very nice apartment. Yeah. Definitely.” She stopped rambling and leaned her head back, closing her eyes once more. She was definitely overtired.

 

 

 

She actually managed to get a little bit of sleep. Which made her feel even more groggy when the car pulled up in front of her parent’s large house and Mary Margaret announced that they were home.

Emma exited the car as soon as her mom had parked it. She grinningly “argued” with her dad for a few moments before surrendering. If he was so hellbent on carrying her suitcase, then so be it. Emma settled for hoisting her shoulder bag up. The gravel crunched slightly under her shoes, and the blonde silently took a moment to acknowledge that she really was home now. Back in chilly Maine. Back to no sunshine whatsoever. Back to the mess she left behind. Back to not having an apartment. Back to living in her old room. At least for a while. Back to dealing with the shit she ran away from.

Speaking of dealing with shit. Emma froze as she reached the door. “Somebody” had left a ridiculously oversized bouquet of roses on the porch. She groaned out loud. “Seriously?!”

“What’s wrong hon- oh.” Mary Margaret cut herself off midsentence and her mouth became a thin line as she eyed the bouquet.

“He’s going too far now,” David growled. “Do you want me to have another chat with him, Em? One where I jangle my handcuffs in his miserable face?”

Emma barked out a laugh. “No, that’s okay. I’ll do that myself. When I have the energy. Not today. I’m too tired to deal with his shit right now. I think I’ll just throw out his stupid bouquet for now.” she stomped over to the porch, grabbed the bouquet and felt tempted to laugh again when she found a little card amongst the roses. That bastard had actually gone through the trouble of writing her a freaking card. The first and only card she ever had gotten from him. She squinted as she unfolded and read the card:

‘Em,

Welcome home. Please call me or stop by. I know I’ve been an idiot, but I don’t want to loose you. I love you. I’ll always love you.

Neal.’

 

“Well, fuck you, buddy,” Emma said as she unceremoniously crumpled the card in her hand. With the bouquet in hand, she stomped over to their garbage bin. She opened the lid and first threw the card in there. Then she looked left and right. She kinda hoped Neal was around to see this. She felt particularly nasty as she threw the bouquet in the dumpster and slammed the lid shut.

She walked back to the porch where her parents were waiting and almost gleefully announced: “and that is how you deal with that.”
Mary Margaret and David chuckled a bit at that, but deep down Emma knew that it wasn’t over and done with just because she had thrown his lame ass bouquet in the dumpster. At some point in the very near future, she would have to deal with Neal Cassidy once and for all. And she would have to use very strong language.

David unlocked the door and all three of them stepped inside the house. Emma “stole back” her suitcase and announced that she would head upstairs to get some sleep. Her mom offered her a snack before she went, but Emma smilingly rejected that. She really needed to lie down and relax.

And so she dragged her suitcase upstairs. Opened the door to her room and stepped inside. Everything looked like it always did, she thought to herself as she closed the door behind her. Her mom had even washed her favorite flannel pajamas and left it ready on Emma’s pillow. The blonde grinned. Mary Margaret couldn’t help herself. She never could.

Emma quickly stripped out of her clothes and stepped into the checkered flannel pajama bottoms and the comfortable pajama shirt with the sturdy buttons. Wow. Now she really was home. Which she had so many mixed feelings about. Of course she had missed her parents and her friends. She knew that Belle and Ruby were dying to hear all about the trip, but right now, Emma’s mind was a hundredth percent fixated on what she had left in Madrid. Regina. Something heavy seemed to have taken permanent hold in Emma’s chest. What was Regina doing right now? It was the middle of the night here. Which meant it was morning in Madrid. Emma’s belly fluttered. Was Regina doing something special on this morning? For the life of her, Emma couldn’t remember. She had a feeling that Regina didn’t have any plans this morning, and if that was the case, she was probably asleep. Regina wasn’t an early riser. Not unless she had to be. Emma roamed through her bag and found her phone and camera.
She left both things on her nightstand and slipped under the covers. If she closed her eyes, she could see Regina sleeping. All curled up. Regina loved cuddling in bed. She had admitted to that and grinned sheepishly. Now she was sleeping alone. With no one to cuddle with in bed. Emma’s heart broke a little bit. She had gotten the impression that Regina actually was a little bit lonely. She didn’t connect all that well with other people. And now she was all alone.

Fuck, Emma had to talk to her. Right now. She couldn’t wait any longer. She was literally missing Regina so much it hurt.

The blonde scrabbled for her phone, but her plan about calling Regina was quickly burned to ashes. Her phone was dead. She needed to charge it.

“God damnit!” she cursed as she stumbled out of bed, grasped her shoulder bag, found her charger and then hastily plugged it in and connected it to her phone. She felt frustrated upon discovering that she couldn’t call Regina right now. And a little bit panicky too. For some reason, she had gotten the idea that if she didn’t contact Regina as soon as she got home, Regina would think that Emma was planning on keeping her promise about calling. Which was ridiculous, but Emma was overtired. Right now, just about anything made sense to her.

Emma tiredly stumbled back to bed. She was out cold before her head hit the pillow.

 

*******************************

 

Sleeping had been a bad idea. Emma was even more disorientated now than when she stumbled out of the plane. For a solid minute she had no idea where she was. Who she was. What time it was. Though she did have an inkling that she hadn’t slept for long enough. She wouldn’t be this tired had she gotten the sleep she needed, right? Her head was pounding like a bitch. She was hungry. She desperately needed to pee. But there was something she needed to do first. She almost knocked her camera to the ground in her eagerness as she grabbed her phone, unlocked it and then hastily found Regina’s number. She smothered a yawn as she brought it up to her ear and then waited.

First there was nothing but silence.

Then a bit of scrambling in the other end. Noise. And then an almost timid: “hola?”

“Hola, beautiful girl,” Emma said warmly. She couldn’t decide whether hearing Regina’s voice was salt to her wound or a soothing balm.

“Emma! ¿Cómo estás?” Regina said, and now she definitely sounded much more perky. “How was your flight home?”

“It was okay,” Emma said truthfully. “I’m okay. How are you?”

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure,” Emma pressed. “You sounded a bit... I dunno...”

“I miss you,” Regina said softly. “A lot.”

“I miss you too. So much.”

“And Marian called me again. I was dumb enough to take the call this time. She was calling me from a number I didn’t recognize,” Regina said. “I keep blocking every number she calls me from, but I might have to change my number entirely. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Yes, please. I am going to need your new number,” Emma said firmly, and then worried: “are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay,” Regina said, and Emma’s ears perked up when she heard someone shout in the background. It sounded a bit like: ‘Roni! ¡Darse prisa!”

“¡Dame un momento!” Regina shouted back, and then more softly: “culo.”

Emma chuckled because she knew what that meant. “I already miss Madrid.”

“And me?” Regina asked sweetly. “Do you miss me too?”

“More than you know,” Emma said earnestly. “I’m guessing you’re at work right now?”

“Si. That’s correct,” Regina confirmed.

“Then I’m totally interrupting you while you’re busy.”

“No you’re not. I’m on my break. Even though my boss doesn’t seem to think so.”

Emma chuckled lightly. “What are you doing later? Dancing?”

“Si,” Regina said.

“Oh man,” Emma groaned. “I wish I could be there to photograph you!”

“I could send you a selfie,” Regina offered.

“I’d love that! Please, please do!”

Now Regina was the one to chuckle. “What about you? What are you gonna do later?”

“I’m gonna sleep. And sleep. And then possibly sleep,” Emma laughed. “And once I’ve done that, I’m going to update my website and post some pictures from my trip to Madrid.”

“Are you gonna post some of me, too?” Regina asked curiously.

“Yeah. If you give me your blessing to do so. You were the most beautiful thing in all of Madrid,” Emma said truthfully.

Regina chuckled warmly. “Go ahead. Though don’t post the pictures of me en una situación delicada.”

Emma bursted out laughing. “I’d never do that. No. Nu-uh. Those pictures are just for me. And I’m planning on looking at them a lot.”

“When?” Regina asked silkily. “When you’re in your bed?”

“Are you coming on to me?” Emma chuckled.

“Si, I’m definitely trying my best to seduce you. All the way from Spain,” Regina said softly and yearningly.

“I really miss you,” Emma said, hearing the same yearning in her own voice.

“También te extraño, querida. Tanto,” Regina said, and those Spanish words almost made Emma shiver slightly. It reminded her of extended mornings in bed....

“Roni! ¡Ahora!” someone shouted in the background, and Emma cringed.

“I better go. Before I get fired,” Regina lightly quipped.

“I haven’t just gotten you in trouble, have I?” Emma asked concerned.

“No-no-no, Pablo is all talk,” Regina assured with a chuckle. “I’m his best waitress. He can’t afford to fire me.”

“Okay then. Text me later?”

“Si. Por supuesto,” Regina assured. “It was really nice to hear your voice again, Em-ma.”

“I told you I wasn’t like Roberto Suarez from seventh grade,” Emma joked, hoping that she would make Regina laugh.

She succeeded. Regina laughed heartedly in the other end. “You are nothing like Roberto Suarez. You’ve never kissed me while smelling of onion.”

“Oh, that’s disgusting!” Emma exclaimed, half-appalled, half laughing.

“Si. Good thing he never called me again. I don’t think I could have coped with more onion kisses,” Regina sweetly chuckled in the other end.

Emma laughed. “I feel sorry for your thirteen year old self. That cannot have been pleasant.”

“It wasn’t. But it was definitely a memorable first kiss,” Regina mused in the other end.

“Shit, that was your first kiss?! Now I REALLY feel sorry for you!”

“What’s done is done, and I’ve experienced a lot of great kisses lately. Curtsey to you,” Regina said, and Emma was sure the young brunette was smirking in the other end.

Emma would have loved to keep talking to Regina for a couple of hours, but Pablo Grumpy Boss shouted for her again, and Emma really didn’t want Regina to get fired because of it, so she said: “alright, beautiful girl. Talk to you later?”

“Si!”

“Have a good shift. Bye,” Emma said softly.

“Adios, querida!” Regina singsong’ed in the other end. There was a little click in the other end, and then she was gone.

Emma sighed heavily as she put the phone down on the nightstand again. Now she missed Regina even more. She had sounded pretty happy, but still being yelled at by Marian wasn’t nice. Emma so wished she could have been there to comfort Regina. And possibly yell at Marian. The blonde sighed again. She really had to pee. And she really had to get something to eat. She shuffled into a sitting position, swung one leg out of bed, but before she could get the chance to actually stand up, her phone chimed again, and Emma curiously grabbed the device to see what that was about. The next second she smiled like an idiot. It was a picture. Of Regina. The young woman was flashing Emma her prettiest smile. Arm stretched out to take the picture. Emma saw a glimpse of Regina’s feather tattoo. She was wearing a purple halter neck dress, and her long dark hair was arranged in a loose braid that tumbled over one shoulder. Emma promptly saved the picture. She was willing to fill her phone with every last picture of Regina she could get. Another precious memory.

No, not a memory. This was a promise. They WERE going to see each other again. Emma chuckled softly as she stared herself blind at the picture. She had to get her butt to Spain very, very soon.

 

To Be Continued.........

Chapter Text

Emma slept on and off for a while. Emerged from bed to have breakfast. Took a powernap. Emerged from bed to have some lunch. Took another powernap. Updated her website. Uploaded her pictures from Madrid and felt her belly flutter when Regina in full flamenco attire appeared on the laptop screen.

When evening came, Emma felt a bit more like herself and declared that she wanted to go to Granny’s to have dinner. She hadn’t even seen Ruby yet. Both Mary Margaret and David offered to go with her, but Emma smilingly declined and said that there was no need for that. She would just go and grab a quick bite to eat and say hi to Ruby. And that would be it.

Emma took a quick shower to wake up, and then she got dressed. Not in a light sundress or a skirt or shorts. But in a pair of jeans and a red sweater. The blonde pouted a bit as she smoothened a hand over the sweater. She already missed the hot, balmy air she had left behind in Madrid. Exactly like she missed certain other things she had left behind in Madrid. Once again, Emma thought about Regina. It was quite late in Madrid right now. Regina was probably asleep. All cuddled up in bed. Emma suffocated a groan. Why wasn’t she there to cuddle with Regina? It wasn’t fair!

After her shower, and after having done her hair and makeup, Emma padded downstairs where she found her parents. Her mother was sitting by the kitchen table with her laptop placed on the table and a pair of glasses perched on her nose. She was squinting slightly. Being the mayor was a tough drop. She never really had a day off. David was sitting by the kitchen table as well. He appeared to be reading the newspaper, but Emma knew that it was more likely that he was keeping her mom company. She liked when he did that, and Emma almost chuckled. They really belonged together, her parents. Like two peas in a pod.

“Are you off now, sweetheart?” her mom asked when she looked up from her laptop.

“Yep,” Emma confirmed and tried to suffocate a yawn.

“If you’re up for it, we could head out and take a look at that apartment tomorrow?” David suggested.

“Yeah, that sounds great,” Emma smiled. She had nothing against crashing at her parents’ place for a while, but it would be great to have her own place to live as well.

Mary Margaret shot Emma a look of concern. “You may run into certain people at Granny’s. Are you okay with that?”

Emma chuckled. She knew that with “certain people” her mom actually meant Neal. “Yeah, I’m okay with that,” she nodded. “I actually think it’s time he and I have it out. I’ve got nothing against taking the confrontation at Granny’s if that’s what he prefers. See you later.”

“Bye, honey,” both her mom and dad called after her as she left.

 

Emma made it to Granny’s Diner where she found her usual table in the corner. She looked around in the diner and thought to herself that it felt damn weird being home again. It was like she had returned from some sort of fantasy land. Madrid already felt like a dream. Emma wiggled her phone out of her pocket. She knew for a fact that Regina had sent her something earlier, but Emma had been too tired and jetlagged to check what it was. Time to rectify that. The blonde straight up grinned when she saw what Regina had sent her. The first thing was a selfie of Regina in full flamenco attire. Red dress with a full, ruffled skirt. Hair slicked back and pulled into a tight bun. Lips painted red to match the rose in her hair, and her eyes even darker because of the heavy makeup. She would actually have looked quite intimidating if it hadn’t been for the fact that she was smiling widely. Smiling widely at Emma.

The next thing Regina had sent her turned out to be a video. Someone was filming the inside of a pretty fancy looking bar, and the someone was easily identified when Emma heard a familiar male voice offscreen greet: “Hola, Emma!”. She knew it was Alejandro then. Alejandro was one of the guys who played guitar while Regina danced. Emma had met him a few times during her time in Madrid, and she liked both him and his guitar-playing twin, Pablo. Both of them were really nice guys.

Emma watched the video intensely as the bar began applauding and whooping. A second later, Regina appeared on stage, and Emma felt that flutter of excitement in her belly. She stupidly thought about how she would congratulate Regina afterwards until she remembered that she wasn’t actually there. She was on the wrong side of an ocean while Regina was in Spain. On the video, Regina began dancing, and she looked exactly as seductive and beautiful as always. Not remotely tired like she had claimed to be. She moved her body, twisted it, turned it, picked up her skirt and looked every bit like a goddess. She always did that. But what she didn’t do this time, was dancing around anyone’s table that evening. She stuck to dancing on stage. She had no new favorite she wanted to dance around. Emma straight up sighed as she watched Regina arch her back and stomp her feet with vigor. Damn, Emma missed her so much. She missed seeing her dance live. She missed being able to whoop and cheer for Regina. And she missed having Regina dance around her in that seductive, playful manner. This video was both wonderful and torturous.

Emma felt herself flood with yearning as she watched Regina dance and dance and dance, and by the time Regina concluded her dance with a confident: “olé!” Emma was on the verge of jumping on the next plane to Madrid.

She had expected the video to end with the dance, but it didn’t. Instead the video continued as Alejandro followed in Regina’s footsteps down the little hallway and then knocked on the door to what Emma assumed was the dressing room. It was. The door was opened, and Regina’s smiling face appeared in the door opening.

“Ella es toda tuya,” Alejandro said with a chuckle, and the image of the dressing room shook a little as the phone switched hands.

“Gracias,” Regina said, and then she closed the door. The front camera was switched on, and Regina’s pretty face appeared in the video again. “Hola, Emma, querida” she greeted and smiled. “Did you like tonight’s dance? I really hope you do. I’m guessing you’re asleep right now because of the jetlag and all,” she chuckled slightly. “Anyway, I should change out of this dress. I would love to keep you around for that, but I’m afraid I need both my hands to take the dress off.” Another chuckle. Regina shook her head a bit. “Te extraño. I’m not sure you know what that means, but I have a feeling you might. And this video has already been long enough, hasn’t it? I hope we’ll talk more tomorrow, I really hate that we didn’t get a chance to talk because I was working. Maybe we could Skype tomorrow? That’s almost as good as you being here!”

Emma grinned and grabbed the pencil lying abandoned on the table as she wrote the email address Regina told her on the video, on the back of her hand.

“Anyway, bye, querida!” Regina continued in the video. She smiled as she used her free hand to blow Emma a kiss, and then the video froze.

Emma sighed heavily. She couldn’t even begin to explain how much seeing that video had intensified her feelings. Fuck, she missed Regina so fucking much! This was literally so unbearable.

“The lost daughter returns home!”

Emma put the phone down and smiled as she rose from her seat to greet her best friend. “Hi, Ruby! It’s really good to see you!” she hugged the waitress tightly.

“I’ve missed you so much!” Ruby said as she squeezed Emma tightly. “You have no idea how much!”

“Actually, I think I do,” Emma croaked and wheezed upon feeling the air being squeezed out of her. “Rubes! You’re choking me!”

“I don’t care,” Ruby laughed as she gave Emma another squeeze. “Three weeks is too long!”

“Actually, three weeks isn’t long enough.” Emma muttered as she thought of Regina.

“So?” Ruby asked eagerly as she finally released her hold on Emma. “How is everything going?”

“Pretty good,” Emma told her.

“Yeah? And how about.... ‘Blue spanish eyes, teardrops are falling from your spanish eyes, please, please don't cry! This is just adios and not goodbye, Soon I'll return; bringing you all the love your heart can hold, please say si si! Say you and your spanish eyes will wait for me!’” Ruby crooned and adopted a rather low, husky singing voice. Exactly who she was trying to imitate remained unclear, though.

“Shut up!” Emma half-laughed as she whapped the waitress’ arm. “She doesn’t even have blue eyes, you nutjob!”

“Ow!” Ruby cried as she rubbed her arm. She laughed and shook her head. “But in all seriousness though, how are you doing after saying goodbye to her?”

“It was not a goodbye. It was a ‘see you later’,” Emma said firmly.

“Yeah? So you’re going back to see her?”

“Absolutely,” Emma said even firmer. “No way I’m gonna let someone like her go!”

“Wow,” Ruby commented as both women sat down at the table. “She must be something really special, Em.”

“She is,” Emma nodded and immediately felt completely gooey upon talking about Regina. “She’s really amazing, Ruby. I’ve never met anyone like her before.”

“Have you heard from her after you came home?” Ruby asked.

“Yes,” Emma said proudly. She felt very good about being able to proof to her friend that this wasn’t a summer fling. “She already called me once, and later on I received a video and a picture from her.”

“Oh. Can I see the picture? Unless it’s naughty,” Ruby said and cackled.

“Shut up, it is not!” Emma huffed as she grabbed her phone and found the picture of Regina. “There you go.”

“Wow,” Ruby commented as she looked at the picture of Regina in full flamenco attire. “She’s....Well, she’s a beauty for sure!”

“She is, but I can assure you, she’s a hell of a lot more than that too,” Emma said. “She’s so smart and funny and kind and brave, and I just-“

“Okay, okay, I get it,” Ruby laughed and interrupted Emma’s gushing. “You’re completely gone for ‘er.”

“Yeah, I am.” Emma openly admitted. “And I have every intention of going back to Madrid this autumn.” She had quickly decided that she couldn’t possibly wait until winter. It just wouldn’t do.

“You’re really serious about her, aren’t you?” Ruby asked and smiled.

“Damn right I am. I’m in love with her.” another admission, but one that Emma wasn’t afraid to make. Why should she be? “she’s not just some rebound thing,” the blonde continued. “I’m really in love with her.”

“That’s awesome, Em,” Ruby smiled. “I’m really happy for you. I was so worried after... well, you know.”

“After my fiancée chickened out the day before our wedding,” Emma translated. “It’s okay, Rubes. You can say it out loud. It’s not taboo. It’s just sad. For him.”

“He’s a jerk,” Ruby said, and her gaze flickered a bit towards the door. Lowering her voice, she continued: “and he’s coming in.”

“Let him,” Emma said nonchalantly. “I have a few things I wanna tell him!”

“He’s seen you,” Ruby reported.

“Good,” Emma said darkly as she glanced at her ex-fiancé. “Is there any chance you can find me a grilled cheese sandwich and some cocoa with cinnamon? I have a feeling that this conversation will require sustenance.”

“And blood pressure medicine,” Ruby joked as she stood from her chair. “Got it. I’ll make you a grilled cheese sandwich. And be ready to throw his ass out if he gets too much.”

Emma laughed. “Thanks, Rubes.”

The waitress disappeared back into the kitchen just as Neal Cassidy-Gold came over to Emma’s table.

Emma looked up at him, measured him from head to toe. He looked...well, he looked like shit. He had bags under his eyes, and his hair was completely ruffled. Which served him right.

“Hey, Em,” he said and that bastard was cheeky enough to fucking smile at her.

“What do you want?” Emma asked plainly.

“To talk to you,” he pleaded. “Can I sit?”

“Yes, DO go ahead,” Emma said sweetly. She was just in the mood for roasting his ass.

Neal sat down, and before he got too cozy, Emma grabbed a very firm hold of the conversation and asked: “tell me, is it mummy or daddy who have asked you to do this?”

“What?” Neal asked and frowned.

“I know your mom has been harassing my mom in an attempt to convince her to ask me to take you back,” Emma said dully. “So, now I’m curious to know whether you’re here because Milah can’t deal with not getting the mayors daughter as her daughter-in-law?”

“What? Emma, no, that isn’t-“

“So it was daddy then?” Emma interrupted and glared at Neal.

“No!” Neal said. “I’m not here because of my parents, damnit!”

“No? So why are you here?”

“I’m here because I wanna apologize-“

“And what do you expect will happen when you apologized?” Emma interrupted with a sneer. “That I’ll forgive you and welcome you back into my life with open arms?”

“Em, no! That is not what I’m expecting, I wanna earn your forgive-“

“Afraid you can’t earn that.” Emma said flatly. “You banged our wedding planner and chose to wait until the day BEFORE our wedding to tell me. There’s literally no coming back from that.”

“Emma, please. I know I screwed up, okay?”

“In the most literal way, yeah,” Emma laughed and thought she was pretty funny.

“She didn’t mean anything!”

Emma snorted. “Right. I’m sure she’ll be delighted to hear that.”

“I’m not seeing her anymore!”

“No? Did she get tired of your bullshit too?” Emma asked sweetly. “How surprising.”

“I was an idiot!” Neal bellowed and finally said something they could agree on. “I fucked up, but I promise you, Emma, it will never happen again! I don’t want to loose you! I love you, Emma.”

“Oh, don’t give me that crap,” Emma sneered. “Do you think I’m stupid?”

“No! Of course I don’t-“

“Then give me one good reason why you think I should possibly forgive you for this?”

Neal looked a bit blindsided, but then he said: “we’ve known each other since we were sixteen, Emma. It’s always been you and me, we’ve always made plans for the future-“

“And you wrecked those when you decided to fuck Tamara,” Emma tiredly interrupted.

“Emma,” Neal pleaded as he unsuccessfully reached out and tried to take her hand. “Look, I know I fucked up, okay? I don’t even know why I did it! It just sort of happened.”

“And then it kept happening over and over again, or what?” Emma said sarcastically.

“You’re the one I love,” Neal pleaded. “You always have been, and you always will be, and I’ll do whatever it takes to win back your trust and your love.”

“No, you won’t,” Emma said firmly and looked Neal straight in the eye. “Here’s how things are gonna go, buddy. You are going to leave me alone. You’re going to tell your mother to stop fucking harass my mom. If you fail to do so, I’ll have that talk with Milah myself, and I can assure you, it won’t be pretty. You’re going to stop bothering my father on his rounds. You’re going to stop sending me flowers, you’ll stop calling me or texting me or trying to contact me in any other way. I don’t wanna see you, I don’t wanna hear from you. I don’t want to know you. If you fail to do any of the things I’ve just listed, I’ll file for a restraining order against you and your parents. Do you understand me?”

Emma-“

“Do. You. Understand. Me?” Emma asked very, very slowly.

But Neal clearly didn’t. He changed tactic: “who is she?”

“Who is who, Neal?” Emma asked sweetly.

“That....that girl I’ve seen you with on your Instagram,” he muttered and his gaze flickered down to the back of Emma’s hand and the email address she had written down.

“She....is none of your concern,” Emma hissed. “But she has made me happier for the past three weeks than you ever did for YEARS. How’s that?”

Neal abruptly stood from his hair and flung himself out of the door.

“Chew on that, buddy!” Emma yelled after him.

“I don’t think he liked that,” Ruby joked as she came down to Emma’s table with one grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of hot cocoa with cinnamon. “That was some serious ass-roasting you performed there, Swan. Good for you!”

“Yeah, but I have a nasty feeling that it isn’t over,” Emma said grimly. She had a hunch that Neal would make several attempts at “winning her back”.

“If he starts acting up, I’ll ask Granny to come at him with her crossbow, yeah?” Ruby said.

“Thanks, but I don’t think violence is the answer here,” Emma laughed as she took the first bite of her grilled cheese sandwich. “Mmmm! This is exactly as good as I remember it to be.”

“Better than Spanish tapas?” Ruby joked.

“Almost,” Emma teased. “But don’t tell your Granny I said that, okay?”

That was when Belle came into the diner. The young librarian’s face lit up in a smile when she spotted Emma, but the blonde could see that something was bothering her, so she quickly waved Belle over to her table, and once she was seated and they had been through the “oh my god I’ve missed you so much!”-thing, Emma was quick to ask: “what’s going on?”

Belle exchanged a look with Ruby. “I actually haven’t told you this because I didn’t want to worry you while you were in Spain, but Mr. Gold has started to do this really creepy thing where he shows up in the library. He never loans any books or anything, he just hangs around me. It’s making me really uncomfortable!”

“Have you talked to my dad about it?” Emma frowned.

“No,” Belle said quietly. “I can’t just tell him that Mr. Gold has started coming to the library regularly-“

“Sure you can,” Emma interrupted and patted Belle’s hand. “Explain what’s going on to my dad, and he’ll have a chat with Gold.”

Belle mumbled something about not wanting to cause a scene, and Ruby looked completely murderous as she grinded her teeth.

“Bull,” Emma said firmly. “He’s making you uncomfortable, and he’s not getting away with that! Please promise me that you’ll talk to my dad about this, Belle.”

“Okay,” Belle surrendered and smiled a little. “I’ll stop by the station tomorrow morning and have a chat with him.”

“I’ll be there when you talk to him,” Emma promised.

“Thanks,” Belle smiled. “Now... what is that I see on Instagram? You’ve fallen in love with a Spanish girl!”

“That’s right, I am,” Emma laughed. “Her name’s Regina.”

“Yeah. I know that,” Belle chuckled. “She’s featured in around half of your pictures, Emma.”

“Yeah. I guess she is,” Emma said innocently.

“So, are you and she trying the whole long distance thing now?” Belle asked curiously.

“Yeah, I guess we are,” Emma nodded.

“She’s already heard from her twice,” Ruby told Belle and grinned.

“You have?” Belle smiled. “That’s wonderful, Emma. I’m so happy for you. You’ve fallen in love with someone. The rest of us have to settle for reading about love in books.”

It didn’t necessarily have to be that way, though. Emma had seen the way Ruby often looked at Belle when the librarian looked away, and she knew that Ruby had in fact fallen in love with their friend.

Emma had encouraged Ruby to come forward and tell Belle how she felt, but Ruby was terrified of being rejected. She was scared shitless that if she told Belle how she really felt, it would ruin their friendship for good. Emma understood her friends’ concern, but she also quietly thought that there actually could be something there. The way Belle smiled at Ruby was just a tad different from the way she smiled at Emma. Belle could sometimes be a little hard to read, but Emma was certain the young librarian actually had a soft spot for their mutual friend, and the blonde so wished that Ruby would take the plunge and tell Belle how she felt. This had been going on for the past six months, and in Emma’s opinion, Ruby and Belle would make a terrific couple. They would really compliment each other wonderfully, and seriously, how could Belle not pick up on the way Ruby was glancing at her? The way the waitress always, always, always read the books Belle had recommended so they could discuss them together. Emma silently chuckled. Her friends were oblivious idiots, and it was quite cute, really.

“Em?”

“Huh?” Emma looked up when Ruby spoke.

“You were far away,” the waitress commented. “You okay?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“Are you worried about Neal?”

“Nah,” Emma said and shook her head. “I would take pleasure in giving him another roasting.”

Ruby chuckled. “Thinking about Regina then?”

“Yep,” Emma lied.

“Aww,” Ruby cooed. “Our Emma’s in wooooove!”

Emma threw a napkin at her but couldn’t be bothered to deny Ruby’s statement. She was definitely “in wooooove” with Regina..........

 

 

She was up extremely early the next morning. Criminally early. And had it for any other reason, Emma would have cursed the whole house down. But she wasn’t cursing this morning. Even though it was only five am, and the rest of the house was asleep. Emma was a woman on a mission this morning. It was five am in Maine. That meant it was eleven o’clock in Madrid. She could say good morning to Regina. Emma quietly moved through the house and into the bathroom as she brushed her hair out and made sure it didn’t look bushy. She felt a bit silly as she applied a little bit of makeup to her face.

Regina had seen her without makeup before. This technically wasn’t necessary, but Emma firmly ignored common sense and applied a bit of pale pink lipstick as well. Just to look her best. Looking her best on this ridiculously early morning was important to her. Because she and Regina had a “date”. A Skype date. They would be talking face to face for the first time since Emma had left Madrid, and Emma was beyond excited for that. She couldn’t wait to talk to Regina.

She quietly tiptoed back down the hallway, up the stairs and into her own bedroom. She hoped that her mom’s tendency to being a slight sleeper wouldn’t be a problem. Mary Margaret had a tendency to wake up at the slightest sound, and it would be a shame if she woke up this early because she heard Emma talking. Emma chose to believe that her mom would keep sleeping. At least her and David’s bedroom was downstairs and not upstairs like it had originally been. But then David had broken his leg after a fall down the stairs, and Mary Margaret had been concerned that it could happen again, so she had decided to move their bedroom downstairs. Much safer.

Emma settled down in bed with her laptop propped up on a pillow. She quickly checked her emails and was delighted to discover that she had been hired for a photo job next Monday. That was excellent. Emma could use the money. She had just been on holiday for three weeks, she had plans of moving into a new apartment, and she had to buy furniture’s. Most of her furniture’s were things she and Neal had bought together, and A: Emma was not about to fight with him over the furniture’s, and B: she actually didn’t really want those damn furniture’s and what they represented. She didn’t want to sit on her old couch and being reminded of the time where she had sat and held hands with Neal on that couch. It was better to just buy new (and cheap!) things. The rest of the money would carefully be saved up. For a trip to Madrid in the autumn.

Emma accepted the photo job right away and felt very pleased. She would earn quite a bit of money, and she hoped that she would continue to be hired a lot the next few months. She needed the money.
She needed to get her butt back to Madrid as soon as possible!

Once she had accepted the job, it was time to log into Skype. Emma smiled as she tapped in her password. She was quick to scroll through her contacts and find the newest added one. Regina. She clicked on the icon and waited as the familiar Skype dialing tone filled the room. It didn’t take long before her request for a video call was accepted, and the image of Regina appeared on the computer screen. She was very clearly lying in bed with the covers pulled up to her chest. Her dark hair was a bit messy, but she sounded every bit alert when she said: “hola, querida!”

“Buenos días, beautiful girl,” Emma said warmly and smiled ridiculously.

“You look great,” Regina said, returning the smile tenfold.

“Thanks,” Emma chuckled. “But you know I don’t usually look like this in the morning.”

“Si, I do know that,” Regina snickered. “And I think you look beautiful no matter what.”

“You’re still in bed,” Emma mock chided and tried not to blush over the sweet compliment Regina had just given her. “It’s eleven o’clock in Madrid, and you’re still in bed!”

“I know,” Regina moaned and stretched a little bit. “My shift doesn’t start until one, I’m a bit tired from dancing, so I figured I would have a bit of a lazy morning in bed.”

“Urgh, I wish I could be there with you!” Emma exclaimed. “I’m so jealous!”

“Can’t you just climb in through the computer screen?” Regina joked.

“Do I look like that chick from The Grudge to you?” Emma shot back.

“She climbed out through screens. Not in,” Regina pointed out.

“Right.” Emma laughed.

Regina shared her amusement and shifted a bit. The covers slipped ever so slightly, and Emma immediately wondered what Regina was wearing. If she didn’t know any better, she would say that Regina was wearing absolutely......

“What?” Regina asked and interrupted Emma’s train of thoughts. “Are you okay, querida?”

“Yeah,” Emma nodded. “I’m fine, I’m just....” she licked her lips and squinted slightly, trying to convince herself that she actually had laser vision and was capable of looking right through the covers.

“¿Qué?” Regina encouraged and raised an eyebrow slightly.

“I’m wondering what’s going on under that cover,” Emma blurted.

Regina looked confused for a split second, but then she smirked. “And what makes you think anything is going on, Em-ma?”

“I can see your shoulders. And a little bit of your collarbones,” Emma observed. “So unless you’re wearing some kind of bra or strapless thing to bed, I’d say-“

Regina interrupted her by laughing heartedly. “Let’s just say... there’s nothing underneath these covers you haven’t seen before.”

Emma clenched her fist tightly. She had never been more frustrated with the distance between them. “I’m booking a ticket on the first plane to Madrid.”

Regina laughed again. “No, you’re not.” She pulled the covers down ever so slightly and flashed Emma a look of pure innocence.

“Fucking hell, Regina!” Emma hissed. “You’ll give me a goddamn heart attack.”

“Should I stop then?” Regina asked sweetly.

Emma licked her lips. “No...”

Regina laughed again and then she tugged the covers down a nudge. “Seeing something you like so far, señorita Swan?”

“Uhm, yeah, definitely,” Emma said. “I’m just sad that there’s a screen between us right now.”

“I know,” Regina said softly. “But you’ll come back to me, si?”

“Definitely!” Emma said firmly. “As soon as I can. You know that, right?”

“Si, I know. I already miss you,” Regina sighed. “Isn’t that ridiculous?”

“It’s not,” Emma said and flashed the beautiful girl on the computer screen a smile. “It’s sweet.”

Regina flushed a little. “Did you like the video I sent you yesterday?”

“Yeah, I really did!” Emma assured. “It was like being there and seeing you dance.”

“Should I keep asking Alejandro to keep filming then?” Regina asked. “To make sure you don’t miss out on any of my dances?”

“I’d love that,” Emma said warmly. “Realmente te extraño.”

“Someone’s been reading up on Spanish,” Regina joked. “Realmente también te extraño, querida.”

“Something tells me that I’ll have to get up at five in the morning every day now,” Emma grinned.

“You don’t have-“

“I want to. I wanna say good morning to you!”

Regina chuckled. “A goodnight would suffice too, you know.”

“Or maybe just both,” Emma said. “Yeah. Both is good. Very good.”

Regina chuckled again and ran a finger through her hair. “Do you have any plans today?”

“I’m going out to check out an apartment with my dad,” Emma told her.

“That sounds good,” Regina smiled.

“I met my ex yesterday,” Emma said.

“Oh?” Regina looked a bit worried now.

“And I’m sad you weren’t there to hear the roasting I gave him,” the blonde laughed, eager to calm Regina’s irrational fears. Regina had absolutely nothing to fear when it came to Neal. Emma couldn’t BE more done with that asshole. “Seriously, it felt awesome!”

“I bet it did,” Regina said with a grin. “Maybe I should give Marian a similar roasting the next time she calls.”

“Have you heard from her today?” Emma asked worriedly.

“Si, she called me earlier. From a new number. But don’t worry, I’ve blocked that number too. I’m sure she’ll get tired of this soon.”

“Let’s hope so,” Emma said firmly and felt a wave of tenderness when Regina pushed a lock of hair away from her face. “I really miss you.”

Regina smiled beamingly at her. She looked so beautiful in the morning. It looked like her skin was glowing, and Emma wanted nothing more than to be back in Madrid and cuddle with her.

 

To Be Continued........

Chapter Text

It was grey and rainy when Emma came home after having seen the apartment. It was definitely a nice apartment. Very light and open. An enormous bedroom, a decent kitchen with a large kitchen island and lots of countertops. Emma wasn’t the worlds greatest cook, but she did appreciate space in the kitchen. The bathroom had a good size too, and there even was a guestroom. Finding a good apartment with a decent guestroom was pretty difficult, so this was definitely a plus. She could have a friend staying over if that was what she wanted.

Still, Emma hesitated. Moving into a new apartment straight after coming home from a three week long holiday was a lot. She would need a couple of days to think about it. The owner of the apartment understood that, and he assured that he would “hold the place” while Emma thought about it. And that was exactly what irritated Emma. That he would hold the place. That she was getting special treatment because she was the mayor’s daughter. She didn’t want or need special treatment. She rather wanted to fend for herself, and that was the main reason why she hadn’t said yes to the apartment right away. Because maybe she could find an apartment. On her own. Not one her parents had found for her. Perhaps she would even feel happier in a teeny tiny little apartment because she knew it was one, she had acquired on her own.

Perhaps it was ridiculous to feel so strongly about this, but she couldn’t help it.

Emma shrugged off her leather jacket and ran two fingers through her wet hair. Next, she wrestled off her boots and shuffled into the kitchen on sock clad feet. It made her feel like a kid again. Squatting in her parent’s house made her feel like a kid again. Perhaps it was foolish of her to not say yes to the apartment right away. Perhaps her pride was actually stupid when it really came to it.

Emma padded through the empty kitchen. Her mom was at work, and her dad had headed out on his last round once he and Emma were done looking at the apartment. Emma was home alone. The question was now, what should she do now that she was home alone? Of course she could always make herself some food. Or maybe head over to Granny’s. But she wasn’t really in the mood for Granny’s tonight. To be completely honest, she felt a bit down in the dumps today. The weather was grey and rainy, and it felt like they were getting closer to autumn with each minute. Why wasn’t she in Spain? Why wasn’t she waking up to eternal sunshine? Why wasn’t she waking up in Regina’s apartment to feel Regina’s body curl against her own? It wasn’t fair.

Emma headed into the living room where her laptop was still standing where she had left it. An idea formed in her mind as she grabbed her phone from her pocket to check what time it was. Five o’clock.
Then it was ten o’clock in Madrid. Was that too late for a Skype call? Nah. She knew that Regina wasn’t one for going to bed early, and if she wasn’t around, she simply wouldn’t answer the call. Simple as that. She settled down in front of the laptop and switched it on. It only took a few seconds before she could type in her password. Then she patiently waited while it started up. She considered whether she should do something with her hair while she waited. Brush it a bit. Add a bit of styling product. Or maybe she could freshen up her makeup.

She scoffed. Or maybe she could remind herself that Regina liked her exactly as she was. That would be good. She didn’t have to put on a show or intensify her makeup just because of a Skype call. That was ridiculous. Regina had literally seen how she looked in the morning. And she hadn’t run away screaming. Emma chuckled a bit to herself as she clicked on the Skype icon. ‘ReginaMills’ appeared to be online, so Emma didn’t hesitate to suggest a video call. The familiar Skype dialing tone echoed through the room, and Emma waited impatiently and hoped that Regina would answer the call. The blonde really needed to see her pretty face. Right now, that was pretty much the only thing that could brighten her otherwise bleak day.

It didn’t take long before Regina appeared on screen. Her long dark hair had been slicked back in a tight bun. She was wearing Bordeaux lipstick, her eyelashes had been coated in several layers of mascara and combined with intense dark eyeshadow, she could have looked hella intimidating if it hadn’t been for the way she was smiling.

“Hola, querida,” she warmly greeted.

“Hola, beautiful girl,” Emma smiled. “You look stunning!”

“Thank you,” Regina chuckled and brushed a hand over the red flamenco dress she was wearing. “My show ended twenty minutes ago.”

“That’s pretty late,” Emma said and frowned a bit as she studied Regina’s pretty face a bit more carefully. The young brunette undoubtedly looked stunning, but she also looked pretty tired. There were dark circles underneath her eyes, but it wasn’t just that. Her entire posture was a bit slumped. Like a balloon that had been popped.

“You okay?” Emma asked and tilted her head slightly.

“Si. I’m fine.”

Emma didn’t buy that. But she wisely waited until Regina willingly opened up. “How did the show go tonight?”

“It went very well,” Regina replied. “It was a pretty big crowd tonight. But there was one person too many in that crowd.”

“Meaning what?” Emma asked.

“Meaning that Marian was there,” Regina sighed.

“Seriously?” Emma growled. “Did she say something to you? Are you alright?”

“No, she didn’t say anything to me,” Regina answered and sighed again. “She just sat there and....looked at me. The whole time. It was unnerving! For a moment I thought she was planning on following me home and confronting me or something like that.”

“But she didn’t!” Emma rather said than asked.

“No, she did not,” Regina confirmed. “And I don’t know why her presence unnerved me so much tonight, I mean, it’s not like she hasn’t done something similar before. I don’t know, I’m probably just oversensitive because I’m tired.”

“I’m sorry,” Emma said gently and wished she could reach through the screen and give Regina a hug.

Regina mustered a chuckle. “It’s pretty hard to put the whole fiasco behind me when she keeps popping up everywhere.”

“Yeah, I can imagine so.”

“Have you seen your ex since yesterday?”

“Nope,” Emma said. “He’s been keeping away, but I don’t think it’s going to last, you know? I have a feeling that he’s cooking up some big plan to win me back. I really hope I’m just being paranoid, but I can’t shake the feeling.”

“Men and their mistakes,” Regina said and clicked her tongue.

Emma chuckled. “I dunno, I’m personally pretty glad he dumped me. If he hadn’t, I would never have met you, would I?”

“Eso es verdad,” Regina agreed. “Anyway, tell me about el apartamento! What was it like? Do you think it’s something you like?”

“It could be,” Emma nodded. “I just...”

“What?”

“It’s probably stupid,” Emma half-chuckled.

“I doubt it,” Regina said sweetly. “Try me.”

And so Emma did. “I would just really like to live in a place my parents hasn’t helped me find. I wanna live somewhere where the landlord doesn’t hold the place while I consider because my mother is the mayor. I wanna....I wanna be independent.”

“That doesn’t sound stupid at all, Emma,” Regina smiled. “Fending for yourself and not having your parents nudging you along. I can relate to that.”

“So I’m not being terribly ungrateful?” Emma asked.

“No, I don’t think you are,” Regina said and reached back and began fiddling with her hair. Emma saw how she elegantly pulled the bobby pins out of her hair one by one. Her dark hair gradually loosened and spilled down her shoulders in fat ringlets.

“Mmm. That’s better,” Regina said.

“You look nice,” Emma smiled. “You looked nice before, but you look nice now too.”

“Gracias, querida,” Regina smiled. “I was spying on your website today. I saw the pictures of me. They’re very good.”

“Yeah? You think so?” Emma said silkily.

“I really do,” Regina smirked. “You made me look so beautiful.”

“Oh get out of here,” Emma scoffed. “I didn’t make you look beautiful. You just... do.”

Regina smiled prettily at her, and Emma was pleased to discover the younger woman was blushing a little.

“What are you gonna do now?” Emma asked and leaned back in the couch.

“Have some dinner, probably,” Regina said nonchalantly.

Emma’s eyebrow rose. “You haven’t had dinner yet? It’s ten o’clock!”

“I know,” Regina sighed. “I’ve just been so busy with working at the bar and dancing.”

“Are you working tomorrow?” Emma queried with a frown.

“No. And I’m not dancing either,” Regina replied. “So I think tomorrow will be a bit of a lazy day for me.”

“That’s good,” the blonde said and felt a bit worried. Regina really did look tired. Like she could benefit from a lazy morning in bed.

“I so wish you could be here,” Regina said longingly. “There’s this little mini festival going on where there’s full of food stalls street orchestras every evening. I think you’d enjoy that very much.”

“Damn,” Emma said just as longingly. “Yeah, I really wish I could be there for that. But really, I just wanna be with you.”

“I wanna be with you too,” Regina said softly. “I’ve actually asked my boss to put me on double shift so I can begin to save up for a trip to America.”

“Please don’t work yourself to death on my account,” Emma begged. “I’ll come to you.”

Regina chuckled and teased: “Are you saying you don’t want me to come and visit you, Em-ma?”

“You know that’s not what I meant,” Emma said firmly. “I just.... I worry about you. I worry about you, okay? It seems like you never have a moment to rest, and you said you were tired yesterday-“

“I am perfectly fine. And I’m resting right now,” Regina pointed out and chuckled. “I think you’re worrying too much, Em-ma.”

“Yeah. You are probably right about that. Sorry about the rambling,” Emma laughed and shook her head.

“Está bien, querida,” Regina smiled. “You’re very sweet.”

“And you look pretty hot in that dress,” Emma said bluntly. Seriously, it looked like Regina’s breasts were spilling out of that damn dress!

Regina laughed again. “Gracias. I’m glad you approve. I could have used your help to unzip me later, though.”

Emma groaned. “Regina, you can’t talk about unzipping when you’re 3,252 miles from me, it’s not fair!”

Another chuckle. “Lo siento. Perhaps I could make it up to you?”

Emma was immediately intrigued. “How so?”

“I could take my dress off on camera,” Regina said, and now her voice was honeysweet and coated with innocence.

“You could,” Emma said and wetted her lips. Man, even with an ocean between them, Regina still managed to make her blood boil!

“Should I?” Regina asked sweetly. “Would you like that, Em-ma?”

“You little minx,” Emma said and felt a wave of warmth hit her in all the right ways.

“Te gusta cuando soy travieso,” Regina chuckled mischievously.

“And what does that mean?”

“No te lo diré,” Regina teased as she playfully tugged a lock of hair behind her ear.

“I swear to god, I’m going to...!”

Knock-knock-knock. “Em? You home?”

Emma’s head whipped up at the sound of Ruby’s voice. She quickly glanced towards the hallway and then back to Regina. “That’s my friend Ruby,” she told the young brunette. “She’s probably coming to hear about the apartment.”

“Oh,” Regina said. “Perhaps we should cut things short then?”

“Unless you’d like to meet her?” Emma asked hopefully. “I mean, in the ideal world you would be meeting her in real life, but-“

“I’d like that,” Regina interrupted and smiled. “You always speak so highly of her. Saying hello to her would be fun.”

“Great! Hang on two seconds, okay? I’ll be right back. And don’t take off your clothes.”

Regina laughed heartedly at that. “I’ll try not to.”

Emma cackled as she rose from the couch and headed out in the hall where she opened the door for her best friend. “Hey Rubes.”

“Hey, Em,” the brunette greeted. “You busy?”

“I’m hanging with Regina,” Emma said with a slight grin.

“Hanging with- oooh!” Ruby quickly put two and two together and she immediately looked curious. “Should I make myself scarce then?”

“Nah. You should come in and say hi instead,” Emma chuckled.

“I’d love that!” Ruby grinned. “You have no idea how badly I wanna meet this girl.”

Emma laughed and shook her head as she showed her friend inside. Together they walked inside the living room, and Emma only just beat Ruby with a few seconds as she made it over to the couch first.

Ruby plopped down on the couch next to Emma, and the waitress as she looked at the laptop screen.

“Ruby, this is Regina, Regina, this is my friend Ruby,” Emma quickly introduced and felt a bit silly. She was introducing Regina to Ruby via Skype. That was a bit dumb.

“Hola,” Regina smiled. “It’s very nice to meet you, Ruby.”

“My gosh, you are exactly as beautiful as you are in the pictures!” Ruby blurted out.

Regina laughed, and Emma gave Ruby an elbow between the ribs. A reminder to be polite, damnit!

Ruby quickly sobered up. “Sorry. Hey. I’m Ruby. Emma’s friend. It’s really, really nice to finally meet the girl Emma here won’t shut up about.”

“Ruby,” Emma said sternly.

Regina laughed again. “You are exactly like Emma described you.”

Ruby turned to Emma and playfully narrowed her eyes. “And how would that be, Swan?”

“In the nicest way possible,” Emma smirked.

Ruby gave her a look that suggested she didn’t believe the blonde one bit, but then she turned her attention back to Regina. “That’s your flamenco dress?”

“Si,” Regina confirmed. “I had a late show tonight, and I haven’t had the time to change out of it yet.”

“Or eat,” Emma added before she could stop herself.

“Lo siento,” Regina chuckled. “I’ll eat something in a minute, okay?”

“You better,” Emma joked.

“You work in a bar, yeah?” Ruby asked, effectively interrupting their playful banter.

“Si. I’m trying to make enough money to go to America,” Regina said sweetly.

“I’m coming back to Madrid as soon as possible,” Emma said firmly. She felt like she was practically jumping to get out of the door and hop on a plane.

“Aww,” Ruby cooed. “You two are so adorable.”

“You’re an idiot,” Emma blatantly told her friend and then turned to Regina: “how do you say ‘adorable’ in Spanish?”

“In the same way as you say it in English,” Regina snickered.

“Oh.”

“You need to brush up on your Spanish, Swan,” Ruby scolded with a grin.

“Si. Realmente tengo que,” Emma said. “Did I nail the pronunciation?”

“Si, that was very good, Em-ma,” Regina praised, and Ruby’s head whipped around so she could look at Emma. It was obvious that she too found the way Regina pronounced Emma’s name to be positively endearing.

“What’s the weather like in Madrid right now?” Ruby asked. “Extremely hot?”

“40 degrees Celsius earlier,” Regina almost groaned. “It was ridiculously warm inside the bar. If it hadn’t been for my bottle of water, I would probably have fainted.”

“40 degrees...” Ruby said longingly. “Imagine that.”

“Yeah, it did get pretty hot there,” Emma recalled.

Ruby spluttered. “I bet it did, Em. I bet it did.”

Emma glared at the woman she normally would call her best friend. God, sometimes Ruby had absolutely no filter! And Ruby did look a little sheepish now.

But Regina just proved her excellent sense of humor and laughed. “¡Muy divertido!”

“No-no, that wasn’t divertido at all,” Emma said and glared at her friend. “You’re an idiot.”

“Noted,” Ruby said, still sheepish looking.

“Don’t be so hard on your friend, Em-ma,” Regina scolded and smiled warmly at Ruby. “I’m very happy to have met you.”

“Back at you,” Ruby said with a grin. “Obviously, you’ve been the cause of some speculation.”

“I can understand that,” Regina chuckled.

“And now that I’ve met you, I can really see what-“ Ruby was interrupted by a ringing cellphone off screen. Regina whipped around and excused herself. She disappeared off screen for a moment, but
Emma could clearly hear her sigh. And after a bit of shuffling around, Regina came back on screen. She was frowning slightly as she said: “I’m sorry, but I have to take care of this.”

“That’s totally fine,” Emma said. “Is everything okay?”

“Mi madre,” Regina said simply, and Emma immediately understood.

“Oh. Message me later?” that was basically just a fancy way to ask Regina to check in and let Emma know if she was okay.

“Por supuesto,” Regina assured and smiled at Ruby. “Bye, Ruby. It was very nice to meet you.”

“Likewise, Regina,” Ruby smiled. “Thank you for making sure Emma didn’t get lost in Madrid.”

“You’re dead,” Emma muttered under her breath.

“Emma is without a doubt the sweetest tourist I’ve ever encountered,” Regina said and winked at Emma. “Adiós, querida. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Bye, beautiful girl,” Emma said. Regina jokingly blew her a kiss, and then the connection between them was cut short. Emma couldn’t quite hold back a sigh as she looked at the laptop screen. She really hoped that Regina’s mother wasn’t making life hard for Regina right now. It seemed like Regina had more than enough on her plate right now, with double shifts in the bar and dancing. Emma hoped that Regina wasn’t pushing herself too hard. She had looked kinda tired tonight. Like one would look when they were working too much.

“-think she’s really amazing!”

Emma blinked and suddenly became aware that Ruby was talking to her. “Huh?”

“I said she’s amazing. I can understand why you like her so much, Em.”

“Oh. Yeah.”

Ruby gave her a nudge. “You okay, Em?”

Emma pulled herself together. “Yeah. I’m fine. I just hope everything’s okay with Regina. From what I know, her mom tends to be a hard ass.”

“Oh.” Ruby said. “You really worry about her, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I suppose I do,” Emma nodded. “Probably more than I should given how little time we’ve actually known each other-“

“Em. Stop. You’re in love with her. Which is perfectly fine,” Ruby interrupted. “Actually, it’s more than fine. It’s fucking fantastic. You deserve some goodness in your life, and from what I, the excellent judge of character can see, Regina is as good as gold.”

“She is,” Emma laughed. “She really is.” the last sentence was said yearningly, and Emma deflated slightly as she admitted: “I really miss her, Rubes.”

“Of course you do,” Ruby said and gave Emma’s arm a comforting squeeze. “Maybe we should start a fundraising so you can get back to your little esposa.”

Emma was torn between feeling horrified and amused. She ended up guffawing though, and then inquiring: “Ruby....do you even know what that means?”

“Not really.”

“I figured. Because you’ve just called Regina my little wife.”

“Oh. Woops.”

“You’re an idiot,” Emma said and laughed.

“And you’re mean,” Ruby stated matter of factly.

“No I’m not. I just call things like I see ‘em.” Emma smirked.

“Speaking of seeing...” Ruby stretched her neck like a giraffe as she looked out of the window. “I spy with my little eye.... an ex on the loose.”

Emma became a giraffe as well as she too stretched her neck and looked out of the window. Ruby was right. Neal was indeed walking past the Blanchard-house. Emma growled warningly as she muttered.
“Oh, he better just be walking past by coincidence, or I swear to god, I’ll rip off his balls and stuff them down his-“

“Emma!” came her mother’s shocked voice from the hallway. “What kind of language is that?!”

Emma cringed. Woops. “Hey, mom. How was work?”

“Queen of smooth, she aint,” Ruby muttered under her breath and earned herself another solid jab in the ribs.

Emma’s mother came into the living room, scowling slightly as she looked at her daughter, and just like that, Emma was reduced to a teenager. She smiled meekly up at her mom.

“Now look, I’m not saying that you aren’t right,” Mary Margaret said, and despite the sternness in her voice, Emma could see a twinkle of amusement in her eyes. “But I don’t think there’s any need for such language, sweetie.”

“Right. Sorry,” Emma chuckled.

Mary Margaret turned her attention to Ruby. “Will you be staying for dinner, Ruby?”

“Nah, not tonight. I have a shift that starts in.... oh. That started two minutes ago, actually. So I better dash. See you, Emma. See you, MM!”

“See ya,” Emma said and rolled her eyes a bit. Ruby was the only one who had called her mother “MM”. And gotten away with it.

“Have you been talking to Regina?” Mary Margaret asked and glanced at the laptop on the table. “How is she doing?”

“She’s doing okay,” Emma said. At least she hoped so! She knew how difficult Regina’s mother was, and she so hoped that madre Mills wasn’t making life tough for Regina.

“That wasn’t very genuine, sweetie,” her mom informed her and looked at Emma with her observant green eyes. “Is Regina not okay?”

“No-no, she is,” Emma quickly assured. “She’s just working too hard, I think.”

“Oh. That poor dear,” her mom said sympathetically. “It can’t be easy, juggling everything on your own when you’re only twenty years old.”

“Yeah,” Emma said. Great. Now she was even more worried about Regina. The idea that Regina’s mother was dumping shit on her while Emma was on the wrong side of the ocean.... Curse long distance! Just....curse it!

“Sweetie? You alright.”

“Yep,” Emma quickly looked up. “I’m fine. What’s for dinner?”

Her mom scowled. “I don’t know. Why don’t you make it for a change?”

“Sure,” Emma snickered. “It looks like you’ve had quite the day at work, mom. Maybe Regina isn’t the only one who works too much.”

Her mother smiled at her.

 

It was well after dinner before Emma finally was able to talk to Regina again. It was late in Madrid now, but Emma hoped that Regina hadn’t gone to bed as she tapped lightly on the facetime icon. And she was lucky. She didn’t have to wait long before her request for a facetime call was accepted. Regina’s pretty face appeared on the phone screen. The brunette looked more like “herself” now. Her hair had clearly been washed and was hanging in wet curls around her face. She had traded the flamenco dress for a light blue nightie. “Hola, querida.”

“Hi. Again. You look awesome!”

“Thank you,” Regina said, but once again she looked a bit tired.

“You okay?” Emma asked immediately. "Did you have something to eat yet?"

"Si," Regina assured. "I've had dinner, Em-ma. No need to worry."

But Emma wasn't done worrying. "And are you okay?"

“Yeah. My mom just decided to give me a verbal slapping. And there wasn’t even a reason for it tonight. Well, at least not a good one.”

“I’m really sorry,” Emma said softly.

“It’s okay. It’s all better now that I’m seeing you,” Regina quipped. “Seriously, don’t worry about it, Emma. I’m used to her. I can handle her. And her days in Madrid are numbered now. That’s a good thing. For all of us. Perhaps I can actually see my father when she leaves.”

“Yes,” Emma said tightly and had to bite her lip not to growl. It was fucking scandalous that Regina had to visit her father when her mother wasn’t home.

“Anyway,” Regina said lightly. “Have you been well in the few hours we didn’t talk?” she chuckled richly.

“Yeah,” Emma said and adjusted a bit on the bed. Now she was getting distracted again. Distracted by how gorgeous Regina was. She couldn’t stop looking at Regina. Well, maybe ogling was a more appropriate word, really. God, Regina looked so fucking good in that nightgown. The way it clung to her body in all the right places. The amount of golden skin that was on display for Emma.... The blonde was currently a very weak woman!

Regina obviously noticed Emma’s wandering eyes and chuckled.

“Sorry,” Emma said sheepishly. “You just look....really nice.”

“You think so?” Regina asked innocently. “I’m not too sure about the color. Maybe I should just take it off?”

“Well, I wouldn’t complain if you did,” Emma chuckled but then grew serious. “Seriously, though, are you sure you’re okay?”

“I am,” Regina confirmed. “Though, I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to having a day off tomorrow.”

“Yeah? What are you gonna do?” Emma inquired.

“Probably spend the entire day in bed,” Regina admitted with a laugh and shook her head slightly.

“Sounds like my kind of day. Should I jump on a place real quick?”

“Mmm,” Regina hummed. “That would be fantastic, señorita Swan.”

Emma goofed around and pretended that she was looking for something. “Where the hell is that magical button that will send me right back to Madrid?”

“I don’t know,” Regina said with faux concern as she played along. “It should be right there, shouldn’t it?”

“Well, it definitely ought to!” Emma said firmly.

“Perhaps I’ll see you in my dreams,” Regina quipped and adjusted a bit in the bed, so she was lying on her front resting her head in her hands. She looked extremely delicious like that.

“Speaking of dreams....” Emma said and tried to distract herself from the way Regina was laying. She was basically giving Emma an eyeful. “It’s late in Spain,” she continued. “Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”

“I should, but I can’t,” Regina said with a light shrug.

“How about I hang out with you until you fall asleep then?” Emma suggested.

Regina smiled beamingly as she wrapped a strand of hair around her finger. “I would really like that, Emma. That way it almost feels like you’re here.

“Yeah,” Emma smiled. “Almost.”

Right now, almost was better than nothing at all...........

 

To Be Continued.........

Chapter Text

Emma felt every bit happy as she hung up and put the phone down. Another successful conversation with Regina. True, the blonde’s phone bill might have suffered a bit under it, but she didn’t care about that. Talking to Regina was far more important. She quickly glanced at the clock radio in her temporary bedroom. It was six in the evening here in Maine Which meant that it was midnight in Madrid. That was why she had called Regina. To say goodnight. Here, exactly one week after Emma’s homecoming from Madrid, that was a little tradition the two women had established.

Emma sighed a bit as she rose from the bed. She missed Regina. Talking to the brunette didn’t lessen that. Not even in the slightest.

“Emma, sweetie, dinner is on the table!” her mom called, and Emma quelled a smile. That was one of the perks of living at home. She didn’t have to cook. It felt like she wasn’t allowed to cook, to be completely honest. Either her mom or her dad insisted that Emma should “rest after the trip” and leave the cooking to them. Emma could honestly say that cooking wasn’t one of her favorite activities, but this couldn’t and shouldn’t last. She had to get out of her old room and into a place of her own. She had to fend for herself. She was twenty eight. She had to get a place to say. And she had already started. Without her parents’ knowledge, the blonde had discreetly enlisted both Ruby and Belle and August to help her with finding a place to live. A place she had found on her own. A place where she didn’t receive special treatment because she was the mayor’s daughter.

“Emma! Dinner!” her mom called again, and Emma quickly stopped daydreaming and headed out in the kitchen. Yep, dinner was indeed on the table. Lambchops and mashed potatoes and gravy. The Blanchard special, and one of the few dishes Emma actually mastered to perfection.

“There you are,” her mom greeted. “Good. Then we can eat.”

Emma sat down, and immediately, her mom began to load food onto her plate. Emma had to gently, but firmly stop her before she gave her too much.

“You’re not eating enough, sweetie,” her mom complained. “You’re getting too thin.”

“I’m fine, mom.”

“I know how hard it is that Regina is in Spain while you’re here, but you have to eat something,” her mom continued, completely ignoring Emma’s statement. “Surely, she won’t like if you stop eating, will she?”

Emma laughed. “You make us sound like we’re Romeo and Juliet or something.”

“I do not.” Mary Margaret protested. “Romina and Juliet perhaps. But not Romeo and Juliet. That wouldn’t be right.”

“Real creative, mom,” Emma laughed and shook her head. Romina and Juliet. That was funny. She would have to remember to tell Regina that when they spoke tomorrow. Emma already wanted to talk to her again. They had talked for almost two hours tonight. About everything. Regina had told Emma about her work at the bar, and in return, Emma had told the brunette about the photographer job she had been enlisted for tomorrow. That job was hella important. It was a wedding, so it would pay off very well. And Emma needed the money. She was currently saving up for a trip. To Spain. And Regina was saving up for a trip to the us. The two women had a playful little competition going on. See who could save up enough first. Well, at first it had been fun, but now Emma was starting to doubt it. She knew that Regina was working double shifts at the bar and taking on as many opportunities to dance as she possibly could. Dancing was one thing. Emma knew how much Regina loved to dance, so that wasn’t what bothered her. No, what bothered her was the fact that Regina often was the last one to leave the bar at night. She often stuck around to close up. It paid extra, but Emma didn’t like it. She didn’t like that Regina was alone in the bar at night. The area Regina worked in wasn’t the nicest, and Regina was a young woman. She was vulnerable at night when she was walking home alone. Emma mostly tried not to think about it, but when the thought found way into her mind anyway, she almost felt sick.

“Sweetie?”

Emma quickly looked up. “Mm?”

“Your lambchops are getting cold,” David said kindly.

“Oh.” Emma immediately grabbed her cutlery, but honest to god, she didn’t really feel hungry. She wasn’t concerned at the moment, she knew that Regina was safe and sound in her bed, but fuck, she missed Regina so much. It had been a week since she saw her, and it already felt like a lifetime.

“How was Regina doing tonight?” her mom asked as on cue. She always did.

“She was doing pretty good,” Emma replied. “Tired from dancing and working too much, but good.”

“That’s good,” Mary Margaret said. “Is she having a day off tomorrow?”

“Nope, she has a long shift where she’s closing up late.”

“Oh,” Mary Margaret frowned. She wasn’t a fan of that either.

“Yeah,” Emma said meekly and poked at her lambchop rather than eating it.

“You’ll see her again soon, sweetie,” her dad said kindly and gave his daughters arm a soft pat.

“Not soon enough,” Emma mumbled to the lambchop. “Why does she have to live so far away?”

David patted her arm again. “It could have been worse, honey.”

“Explain to me how?” Emma frowned.

“Well...she could have been living in Australia.”

“For goodness sake, David!” Mary Margaret chided and scowled at her husband.

But Emma busted out laughing. “Thanks, dad. That really helps a lot!”

“Trust your dear old dad to always say the right thing,” David chuckled. “Now eat your lambchop. It’s not the food’s fault.”

That was true, and Emma quickly came to the conclusion that not eating would be ridiculous. She dug into her food and complimented her mother’s cooking. And felt every bit relieved when her mom began talking about the plans, she had for renovating the library. Emma felt as though they had talked enough about Regina tonight. Talking about the brunette, only made Emma miss her even more. So yeah, it was nice to talk about something else.

“Belle’s gonna be thrilled,” Emma said and took a sip of her milk. Another Blanchard-Swan tradition. Drinking milk for dinner. Emma had gently tried to reinforce new habits, but her mom had looked appalled, shaken her head and then given Emma a longer lecture on the many (many, many, many!) benefits there was from drinking milk. Emma had given up.

“Yes, I believe she will be,” Mary Margaret nodded.

“Have you told her yet?” Emma inquired and speared another piece of the lambchop on her fork.

“No, I’m supposed to discuss it with the board tomorrow afternoon, so you can’t tell her either. Not until it’s official.”

“I won’t,” Emma promised and smiled. She could already imagine how excited Belle would be when she found out that the library was going to be renovated. That was something she had been sighing for
in months. And now it was finally going to happen. If the board agreed. But they always did. They were devoted to their mayor. Everyone was, and Emma fully understood why. Her mom was a dedicated and hardworking mayor. She never took anything or anyone for granted. She always listened to the people coming to her. This was her third term as Mayor. There had been no challengers this time. Last time, Sidney Glass had been an official candidate for the position as Mayor, but he hadn’t been elected. Only fifteen percent of the votes had gone to him while the rest of the votes had gone to Mary Margaret Blanchard-Swan. She had been the supreme winner. Sidney had been very bitter for a long time afterwards, and even today, he had a hard time greeting them when they met him on the street.

Emma finished her dinner and excused herself. She had some work she needed to take care of in the basement, which now worked as a dark chamber. She reckoned she would be busy there for the rest of the night and then head to bed.

 

The next morning, Emma woke up to a quiet house. Her father had seemingly already headed out on his early morning round in the squad car, and her mother had clearly popped round to her office.

Emma was home alone. She too had somewhere to be. She had a photo job in a couple of hours. Another wedding. She snorted quietly to herself. It was a bit ironic that she, who mainly specialized in wedding photography had been abandoned right before her own wedding.

Ironic, but not bad. Oh no, Emma was beyond happy to be rid of Neal. And for good, she hoped. She grinned a bit as she reached for her phone. The knowledge that there would be a sweet good morning from Regina waiting for her, made her feel all warm and bubbly.

But there was no sweet good morning waiting for her today. No text messages, nothing on Skype, and no silly good morning video of Regina with bushy hair and bright eyes. Those good morning videos was something Regina had started doing a few days ago, and the blonde had thoroughly enjoyed it and found it adorable. And just a bit sexy. Regina had an awesome “morning voice”. But today there was nothing. Not a peep. Emma frowned a bit in confusion. It was seven here. Meaning that it was twelve in Madrid. Morning was well over. Weird. Maybe Regina had had a busy morning. Maybe something with her mom. She tended to pop up now and then. There was probably a completely rational explanation for Regina’s absence, and yet Emma couldn’t help but feeling a tiny bit disappointed. Those good morning videos always provided her with such a boost of energy. Oh well. Regina was probably in the middle of something. She would check in when she could. Emma shoved the covers aside and hopped out of bed. She headed over to the closet and grabbed a fresh set of underwear, a pair of black skinny jeans, a camisole and one of her “nicer” blouses to wear over it. She was after all going to a wedding, and even though she was jus the photographer, she didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. She headed into the bathroom and quickly hopped into the shower. She was a bit busy on this particular morning. She had to do her makeup, sort out her hair, have breakfast and make sure that her photo equipment’s were as they should be.

Emma quickly soaped herself up and massaged the shampoo into her hair. Normally, she had to wait around three minutes before rinsing, but she didn’t have time for that today. She would just have to tie her hair back in a braid and pray that it wouldn’t look too messy. She rinsed the soap off her body and then applied the conditioner to her hair. And as she did so, the memory of herself showering with
Regina popped into her mind. The memory of herself gently being pushed up against the slippery tiles as Regina’s fingers found the place where she was warm and wet-

Emma coughed and spluttered slightly when she accidentally inhaled a mouthful of water. Served her right. Less thinking, more showering, Swan.

Emma concluded her shower, quenched water out of her hair and quickly toweled herself off. She super quickly used the hairdryer to tame her hair just a little, and then she just as quickly got dressed. Her now just barely damp hair was tied back in a French braid. Makeup was applied to her eyes to make her seem awake, and lipstick was carefully distributed onto her lips to make them seem just a little bit fuller than they actually were. Emma smoothed a hand over the purple satin blouse she was wearing today. She looked pretty sharp. With her high heeled boots on she would look like some hotshot lawyer. The blonde chuckled a bit and considered whether she should snap a quick picture of herself and send it to Regina. Exactly like Regina had snapped a picture of herself and send it to Emma yesterday morning. It had been a pretty hot picture. One where Regina hadn’t been dressed but had had the covers wrapped around her body and smiling cheekily at the camera. Emma would cherish that selfie forever.

Regina. Emma headed back into her room and grabbed her phone from the nightstand. But there was still no new messages. Emma felt another pang of disappointment, but she told herself to be patient.

Regina was just busy at the moment. She would reach out when she could. Emma was certain of that. The blonde unzipped her camera bag and checked that everything was there, and once certain of that, she grabbed the bag, slung it over her shoulder and slipped her phone into the side pocket. She headed downstairs to the empty kitchen where she found a sweet note from her mother, telling her that there was eggs and bacon in the fridge. Emma didn’t have time for eggs and bacon this morning. Scrambled eggs wouldn’t have been so bad, but she couldn’t be delayed today. She decided on some oatmeal and a large cup of black coffee. She was a bit sleepy this morning. A bit lightheaded. She’d had the most wonderful dream about Regina last night. A dream that had involved slippery skin, entangled limbs and Spanish exclamations falling from Regina’s perfect, plump lips. It had been one hell of a dream, and Emma had been ridiculously enraged when her alarm started blaring and had ripped the dream away from her.

Emma quickly chewed her way through a portion of oatmeal and gobbled down her coffee. Without spilling on her neat satin blouse. For once. Emma was prone to spilling. And especially when she was in a bit of a hurry like she was right now. She squared her shoulders in an attempt to convince herself that she was incredibly pumped for this. But actually, she wasn’t. Not really. It was ridiculous, but she felt a little less motivated because Regina hadn’t send a good morning video today. Which was idiotic. Emma told herself to stop acting like such a little fool and get on with it. She had a job to do. If she didn’t do her job, she couldn’t save up money. And if she didn’t save up money, she couldn’t go back to Spain for a longer period and see Regina. She downed the rest of her coffee and left the house.

 

“That’s great! Hold that pose! And big smile!” Emma said ridiculously cheerfully.

The bride- Lara- and the groom- Thomas- offered a big smile, and Emma took the picture. Perfect shot. Perfect couple. The woman had a body like a ballerina and long copper red hair that was styled in perfect waves. Her wedding dress fitted her like a glove and was a delicate champagne color. The groom, Thomas looked picture perfect as well and quite handsome in his well-fitted suit and black tie. His dark hair had been slicked back for the occasion, and he had his arms around his young bride. Their love for one another radiated through every picture Emma took, and she thought to herself that they couldn’t have picked a prettier location for the shoot. This lake made for a perfect backdrop.

“Awesome,” she said and smiled as she lowered the camera. “That’s perfect.”

“Thank you, miss Swan,” the bride beamed. “Thank you for making our special day so memorable.”

“It’s my pleasure,” Emma smiled. “One more picture? I think I have just the idea for a pose.”

Lara and Thomas willingly agreed to that, and Emma made them stand so they were facing each other. She asked Thomas to bow his head and kiss Lara on the forehead, and Lara looked like she was going to melt on the spot. Yep, Emma had definitely chosen the right pose for the picture. She said words of encouragements, asked them to hold that pose, and then she took a series of pictures. This could definitely qualify as a successful day on the job, but honest to god, it was a little weird to be back in the game as a wedding photographer after her own busted wedding. And then she had to bite back a chuckle in order to not accidentally shake the camera when she suddenly realized something. She had forgotten to book a wedding photographer to her and Neal’s wedding. However ridiculous it sounded, that was the only thing she had forgotten. Which in hindsight was pretty hilarious.

“Perfect!” Emma said. “A few more shots?”

Both Lara and Thomas were in on that, and Emma took some rather adorable pictures of the couple. Lara standing in front of Thomas, leaned back against him, and Thomas had his arms around his beautiful young bride. To imagine that could have been her and Neal. Emma fought the urge to shake her head. She really dodged a bullet there. Suppose Neal hadn’t told her and had continued to carry on with Tamara whilst being married to Emma? She would have felt like a complete laughing stock in the town.

Another pose. One where Lara and Thomas had their arms wrapped around each other and smiling lovingly at one another. Those two were positively adorable. A perfect couple indeed.

“Awesome,” Emma said. “This is great!”

 

After having taken pictures of the happy couple, it was time for the “big picture”, as Emma liked to call the pictures she took of the family and friends. Everyone gathered together with the bride and groom being the center of attention of course. Emma instructed everyone to smile which was a bit difficult because some of the children seemed more interested in teasing each other and looking in every other direction except for the one they actually were supposed to look in, but eventually, everyone looked at the camera, and the result was pretty awesome if Emma had to say so herself. Once the “big picture” was taken care of, it was time for the slightly more difficult pictures. Meaning it was time for the bride to pose with her little nieces and nephews. Now that was a challenge. Never work with kids and animals. Emma felt patient as ever as she tried to get the three year old who seemed more interested in wiping his sticky fingers on the bride’s dress, to pose. In the end, Lara had to lift him up. And that worked perfectly.

“Brilliant,” Emma said as she snapped the picture of Lara and her little nephew.

The nephew responded by trying grab his aunt’s veil.

Emma quickly suffocated a grin.

Taking pictures with the newlywed’s dogs was also a bit of a tricky business. Three large and rather uncooperative rottweilers. That certainly lead to some interesting situations. The largest of the dogs- a friendly best called Thor- seemed more interested in rolling around on the lawn and constantly presenting his belly, hoping for scratches rather than posing for the pictures. He had to be bribed with plenty of treats, and eventually, the dog finally sat up and “participated”. Lara, the bride, got the idea that she and her husband crouched down next to him, so he was sitting between them. That was a fun idea. And it became even “funnier” when Thor spontaneously turned his head and licked Lara’s cheek. The result was a rather hilarious picture where Lara made the funniest face ever. Emma was pretty sure it was the best picture she had taken today, actually. She was incredibly satisfied and judging by the way Thor stuck out his tongue and “smiled” in the pictures, the blonde would say that so was he.

She laughed. “Good boy, Thor!”

“Ruff!” Thor said, and then he was joined by his brothers. Hulk and Loki. Emma could only approve of the names. That was brilliant. “Family picture?” she suggested and grinned at the three “brothers”.

Lara and Thomas found that that was a brilliant idea, and so the three enormous brothers were posed and instructed until they were sitting like they were supposed to. Emma chuckled. For god’s sake, the three dogs were even wearing bowties for the occasion. That was adorable. Actually, these dogs were basically just overgrown children.

“Perfect,” Emma grinned. “You three are super posers!”

 

The best thing about being the wedding photographer was that she always was invited to stick around and enjoy a drink afterwards. Emma always smilingly declined because she never drank on the job, but this was a very nice party, the wedding guests were nice, the bride and groom were positively adorable, and the three rottweiler brothers were the icing on the cake, so Emma was pretty happy. She had been told to just help herself to the buffet, and that was an offer she couldn’t possibly say no to.

But once the blonde treated herself to a few canapés, and the last few pictures had been taken, Emma took the opportunity to find her phone in her bag and switch it back on. She always had her phone switched off whenever she was at work, but now that her job was done, she felt as though it was appropriate to switch it back on and check if there was any....

There wasn’t. No new messages. No missed phone calls. No missed Facetime requests. No videos. Absolutely nothing. Emma checked the time. It was two in the afternoon now. Which meant that it was eight o’clock in Madrid. And still nothing. Emma told herself to calm down. Regina was at work right now. Just like Emma had been. Of course she couldn’t be on the phone when she was at work. It made perfect sense. But in spite of the clever explanation, Emma still couldn’t quell that niggling feeling in the back of her mind. She knew that there was a reasonable explanation why Regina hadn’t called, but still she wondered and worried. This was out of character for Regina, and despite having talked to her yesterday, Emma missed her. And she missed the sweet good morning she normally received every morning. Emma tried not to mope as she slid the phone back into the side pocket on her bag. Technically, she was still on the clock, but it looked like there wasn’t need for a photographer anymore.

Which sort of suited Emma just fine. She had some errands to run. For instance, she had arranged a meeting with Lorraine, the woman who had been Tamara’s boss. She had requested a meeting with Emma so she could deliver an apology face to face. Emma had tried to decline. Had said that an apology wasn’t necessary, but Lorraine insisted. She was the one who had hired Tamara. Who had given Tamara the job of being Emma and Neal’s wedding planner. She felt responsible, and she wanted to see Emma personally. And so Emma finally had agreed. It wasn’t Lorraine’s fault that Tamara was a little vulture and Neal an arrogant prick, but if it made Lorraine feel any better, then yes, by all means, Emma would happily meet with her.

Emma decided that now was the time to take off. She gathered her things and found the bride and groom to let them know that she would be leaving now. Lara and Thomas thanked her and told her how much they looked forward to seeing the pictures. Emma promised that she would have them ready as soon as possible.

 

 

She felt absolutely beat by the time she left Lorraine’s place. The woman had been full of apologies and wouldn’t listen when Emma tried to tell her that she wasn’t responsible for Tamara’s actions.

Lorraine had harrumphed and assured Emma that she had told “every wedding planner within a 50 miles radius” about Tamara’s behavior.

Was it petty? Yes, absolutely. Was Emma happy about Tamara’s misfortune? Yep. She was.

And now she was positively drained. The visit at Lorraine’s had dragged out. For hours. Emma was relieved that that had been resolved. That she had made things easier for Lorraine. And she was even more relieved to climb back into her beloved Bug and take the short drive back to Storybrooke and Granny’s Diner. It was five o’clock. She might as well have some early dinner. She could always buy a bear claw for later if that was what she was in the mood for.

She parked the Bug by the diner and then slung her camera bag over her shoulder as she stepped out of the car. No way she was going to leave the camera in the car. She didn’t dare that. Not even when the car was locked.

The little bell above the door chimed as she stepped inside the diner, and it didn’t take long before she was spotted by her favorite waitress and best friend.

“Oooh, fancy,” Ruby commented as she looked at Emma. “Been out on a job?”

“Yup. I now pronounce them Lara and Thomas. They’ll be married for fifty years, I’m sure,” Emma said, only partially joking. “Seriously, Rubes, they were picture perfect, those two.”

“And are you okay?” Ruby asked and tilted her head slightly.

“Yeah, sure. Why wouldn’t I be?” Emma inquired as she sat down on one of the tall barstools near the desk.

“You know, first wedding since you came home. I’m being a good friend and checking in,” Ruby explained and smiled a little.

So did Emma. “That’s really sweet of you, Rubes. But I’m fine. Really, I am. It’s good to be back in the game. And it’s good money.”

“It sure is,” Ruby agreed. “What can I get for you today?”

“Mac’n’cheese,” Emma said firmly. She was really in the mood for something cheesy and greasy. Mac’n’cheese seemed like a good choice.

“I’ll ask my sweet, sweet grandmother to make that for you then,” Ruby joked as she disappeared through the door. Emma heard her almost bark the order to her grandmother, and the blonde chuckled. Ruby and Granny had this amazingly, snarky relationship with each other. It was very entertaining to listen to. Emma rolled her head from side to side. She was a bit tired. Today had been longer than she had intended.

Emma took the opportunity to find her phone. It had been switched off while she was at Lorraine’s, but now she switched it back on. And was immediately hit with a wave of disappointment and concern.

Still no messages or missed calls from Regina. What was going on? Why didn’t Regina reach out? It felt like a stone settled in the pit of Emma’s stomach. She sighed deeply and rubbed a hand over her face.

“Food should be right here,” Ruby announced as she came back to Emma’s table.

“Cool,” Emma said without taking her eyes off the phone. Maybe she could force it to ring if she tried real hard.

“So?” Ruby asked as she leaned forward and rested her arms on the counter. “Give me the latest gossip. How is tu pequeña belleza española?”

“I don’t know,” Emma replied and tried not to sigh. “I haven’t heard anything from her today, and I’m actually getting a bit worried.”

“Oh,” Ruby said and frowned slightly. “Have you tried calling her?”

“No,” Emma admitted. “I know she’s working tonight, so...”

“Oh. Okay,” Ruby said, and Emma could see it in her eyes. The pity. The “oh well, a summer fling is a summer fling”-look. And Emma silently panicked. That couldn’t be what was happening, right? Surely, Regina wasn’t....No. She wasn’t ghosting her. Regina wouldn’t do that. She just had a busy day. That was all.

“I think I’ll try sending her a message,” Emma said with feigned briskness.

“Good idea. I’ll fetch your food then.”

“Thanks, Rubes.”

The waitress disappeared out back, and Emma lifted her phone and send Regina a quick message: ‘hey, beautiful girl, busy night at the bar? 😊’. Completely casual. Nothing about her being worried or anything. Just a nonchalant text. Nothing more.

Ruby came back with her food, and Emma slipped the phone back inside the side pocket of her bag and threw herself into eating her dinner. She tried to push everything else aside. She tried to drown the stone in her stomach with food. And small talk with Ruby. “Have you talked to Belle today?” she asked casually.

“No,” Ruby said, blushing at the mention of the librarian’s name. “But I think she had that book club thing going on at the library tonight.”

Emma suffocated a grin. If she asked, Ruby would probably be able to tell her exactly what time Belle had her “book club thing”. And she would most likely also be able to tell Emma exactly which book Belle was reading this month. Ruby always paid careful attention to what Belle was reading. Which was positively adorable.

“Well, you know what I’m going to say,” Emma said more to the mac’n’ cheese than Ruby.

“Em....” Ruby groaned. “Stop it.”

“Rubes, I’m not trying to get on your nerves, but aren’t you just the littlest bit curious to know what she would say?”

“She’ll hate me,” Ruby said firmly.

Emma practically scoffed. “Rubes, that’s ridicu-“

“She’ll end up hating me and I’ll loose her friendship,” Ruby interrupted.

“What makes you so sure about that?”

“Because I am,” the waitress said firmly. “She doesn’t like me that way, Em. This is just... a stupid, one sided crush. It’ll go away on its own.”

Emma seriously doubted that. Ruby’s “stupid one sided crush” had already lasted six months, and Emma knew that this was more than “a crush”. Ruby was completely, hopelessly in love with their friend, and it broke Emma’s heart to watch her pine for Belle like this. She hoped that Ruby at some point would find the courage to tell Belle about her true feelings. Not that Emma saw Ruby as someone who wasn’t brave, god no. Ruby was incredibly brave. This was a tricky situation, and Emma knew how terrified Ruby was to lose Belle’s friendship.

Emma smiled at her friend. She felt sorry for Ruby and hoped that Belle by some miracle would realize what was going on and would announce that she felt the same for Ruby. How great would that be?
They would be such a cute couple.

“Is the food not good?” Ruby asked almost accusingly.

“Wha’?” Emma said and blinked a bit disorientated. “Oh, no. I mean, the food is great. I was just thinking.”

“About Regina?” Ruby wrongly deduced. “You worried because you haven’t heard from her all day?”

Emma felt that gnawing concern again. “Yeah, I guess I am. This isn’t like her.”

“I’m sure there’s a completely rational explanation,” Ruby soothed. “She’s probably just busy.”

Yeah, doing what? Emma thought before she could stop herself. What if Regina had met some idiot in the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone? Emma licked her lips and felt tempted to check her phone even though she knew that there was no new messages. Damn. This was frustrating.

“Em.” Ruby gently put a hand on her arm. “She’ll call you. She always does.”

“Yeah,” Emma said, quickly putting on a smile. “I know.” She just had to believe that Regina would call her when her shift at the bar was over. Emma resumed eating her food and ordered a bear claw “to go”. She was planning on watching Netflix when she got home, and she wanted to treat herself to a bear claw while doing so. Ruby chuckled a bit as she found a bear claw for Emma and stuffed it inside a white plastic bag. “You’ll have to buy Regina one of those when she comes to visit.”

“Definitely,” Emma said, once again putting on a smile....

 

 

But as the night gradually progressed, it became harder and harder for Emma to keep smiling. After having enjoyed an early dinner, Emma headed back home and spend a few hours in the dark chamber where she processed all the pictures, she had taken that day. It was important to take care of that as soon as possible, so Lara and Thomas could get their pictures of the big day as quickly as possible.

She didn’t stop until she heard her parents come home and call out for her. Emma went upstairs to greet her parents. And to check her phone. Still nothing. Regina hadn’t answered her text. Or even read it. Emma couldn’t lie, now she was getting really worried. What the hell was going on? Why didn’t Regina answer her?

“Hi, honey,” Mary Margaret greeted as David gallantly took her coat. “Did you have a nice day at work?”

“Yeah,” Emma nodded. “The wedding was real nice, and the bride and groom were sweet as could be.”

“Oh, it was a wedding today?” her mom said and looked a bit concerned.

“Yep,” Emma said. “But it was fine, really, it was.”

“That’s good,” Mary Margaret and smiled at her husband as he came into the kitchen. “Are you hungry, or did you eat at Granny’s?”

“I did,” Emma confirmed.

“Oh. Then David and I will just have something later,” her mom said.

“You guys totally ate at Granny’s too before coming home,” Emma accused with a chuckle. She knew what it meant when her parents came home later than normally.

“We did,” David admitted without looking very guilty.

“And it was very good,” Mary Margaret added and chuckled lightly. “But tomorrow we’ll have a family dinner here.”

“Sounds good,” Emma smiled.

“How are things going?” David asked and rubbed his hands together. “What time is it in Madrid right now?”

“One at night,” Emma said and felt that uneasiness in her belly again. She knew that despite the late hour, Regina was still awake. She didn’t go to bed until after two o’clock. What was she doing? What was going on?

“And how is Regina doing today?” David continued.

“I have no idea. I haven’t heard anything from her today,” Emma blurted out and cringed at how bitter she sounded.

“Oh,” David said, and Emma could see the same look in his eyes as she had seen in Ruby’s eyes. The look that suggested that Regina had changed her mind about the long distance relationship. The look that suggested that Regina was ghosting her. Emma’s stomach tightened. Regina was NOT ghosting her! She WASN’T! She wouldn’t. Emma plain refused to believe that.

Maybe she was being obsessive and overthinking a perfectly normal situation, but Emma couldn’t shake the feeling. She retired to her bedroom with her phone and felt a bit frantic as she dialed Regina’s phone number. She brought the phone up to her ear and almost held her breath as she waited.

No answer. Just Regina’s cheerful voice welcoming her in Spanish to her voicemail. At least that was what Emma assumed she said, because there was a beep once Regina was done talking. Emma took a deep breath and left a message: “hey, beautiful girl, it’s me, I haven’t heard from you all day, and I’m starting to wonder what’s going on? Are you okay? Did something happen? I really hope you’re okay.
Anyway, I hope you’ll call me tomorrow. Yeah. That’s basically it. Bye.”

Emma nearly regretted it as soon as she had left the message. Maybe she really was obsessing over this. Maybe there was a perfectly rational explanation for this. Maybe Regina had forgotten her phone somewhere. Maybe her phone was broken. There could be a million different reasons why she hadn’t called today, and as usual, Emma was jumping the conclusion. Of course Regina wasn’t deliberately ghosting her. She wouldn’t. Not after all the kisses and caresses they’d shared. Not after everything they had promised each other.

Emma changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt and settled down in bed with her laptop and headphones. And her bear claw. Her intention was to watch some Friends on Netflix, but she wasn’t doing a very good job at keeping her attention on the laptop screen. To be completely honest, she was glancing at her phone every fifth second. She couldn’t quell the anxiety that made her stomach churn every so often.

What the hell was going on in Madrid?

 

 

To Be Continued........

Chapter Text

Emma woke up early the next morning. Bleary eyed but hopeful she sat up in bed and reached for her phone. To discover absolutely nothing. No missed phone calls, no missed facetime calls. No messages. No nothing. Emma had even more questions now that she had yesterday. Emma checked the time. Seven in the morning. One o’clock in Madrid. Regina wasn’t usually doing anything at one o’clock. Emma quickly dialed Regina’s number and brought the phone up to her ear. It didn’t even take a minute before she was greeted by Regina’s cheerful voice greeting her on the voicemail. Emma pursed her lips as she waited for the beep, then she quietly cleared her throat and said: “hey, it’s me again. Now I’m actually a bit worried. I haven’t heard from you in what, two days? What’s going on, Regina? I know you’d never ghost me. Something is going on, isn’t there? Anyway, please call me as soon as you hear this. Bye.”

She sighed and rubbed her face. Not knowing what was going on with Regina was terrible. What if she was in some sort of way? What if....Emma’s stomach tightened with concern. What if Marian had done something to Regina? What if she had gone beyond that slap in the face Emma had seen her give Regina? That had been bad enough. Emma could feel the anger burn in her stomach.

She dragged her unwilling body out of bed and took a quick shower. Then got dressed in her usual jeans and sweatshirt. She then brushed her hair incredibly slowly, as though she was hoping her phone would start ringing before she was done. But unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Her phone remained silent as ever. She suffocated a groan and felt a muscle in her jaw twitch slightly. She felt utterly tempted to call Regina dozen of times, but she refrained from doing so. Told herself that Regina would call her. Of course she would. She HAD to!

Concluding that there wasn’t anymore she could do in her room, Emma turned her back on her treacherous phone and left her room. Maybe she was stomping a little more than usually as she walked down the hallway.

In the kitchen, she found her parents. They were sitting by the kitchen table, having their morning coffee and smiling at one another. Emma admired them. Thirty years of marriage, and they were still as in love as they had been on their wedding day. The blonde wondered how they were doing it. Was what the recipe for a long and happy marriage? Her parents literally had the picture perfect marriage.
They went out to have dinner in a restaurant once every week. They went for walks in the wood every Sunday whether it was raining or snowing. Sometimes they even brought a picnic basket with them.

“Good morning, sweetie,” her mother greeted in her usual cheerful manner.

Emma was not feeling particularly cheerful. “Good morning.”

“Have you slept well?” her mother continued.

“Yeah,” Emma said and grabbed the pot of coffee. She had a feeling that she would needs lots and lots of coffee.

Her father gave her a second glance. “What’s with the long face?”

“I do not have a long face,” Emma denied and tried not to sound too snippy. It was hardly her parents’ fault that she hadn’t heard anything from Regina. Emma clenched her jaw as she reached out and grabbed the bread, almost knocking over the coffee cup.

David gently put a hand on her arm to stall her aggressive movement. “What’s wrong, Emma?”

“Nothing,” Emma said and silently cursed herself for sounding like a whiny sixteen year old whose crush hadn’t answered her text.

David was an excellent detective. “Is it something with Regina?”

“Yeah,” Emma admitted and focused on the cup of coffee in front of her. “I still haven’t heard anything from her, and I don’t understand why.”

“I’m sorry about that, sweetie,” he said sympathetically, and Emma saw that look in his eyes. That look that made her insist: “she’s not ghosting me. Regina would never do that. She wouldn’t!”

“I’ve never said that,” David soothed.

“There has to be a reason,” Emma firmly continued. “There must be something wrong, and it’s driving me crazy not knowing what it is.”

Her mother reached out and patted her daughter’s hand. “I’m sure Regina will call you very soon, sweetie.”

Emma bit the inside of her cheek. “I’m obsessing, aren’t I?”

“Of course you’re not,” Mary Margaret said firmly. “You care about her, and you’re worried about her. There’s nothing obsessive about that, sweetie.”

Emma smiled a little. That was her mom, alright. Always so reasonable and supporting and understanding.

“I do hope that everything is okay,” Mary Margaret continued with a slight frown. “It can’t be easy, what she’s doing, working double shifts and not having her mother’s support at all,” she huffed slightly, and Emma knew that her mother was appalled at Regina’s family situation. Or by her mother, to be accurate. Emma had told her mom a little about Regina’s non-existent relationship with her mother. Nothing overly detailed, but enough to leave Mary Margaret steaming slightly with anger. She found it unacceptable that Regina’s mother wasn’t supporting her daughter like she was supposed to.

Emma took a sip of her coffee and tried to calm down. She had another photo job later this afternoon, and she couldn’t be distracted. She had to do well and earn money. She bit the inside of her cheek again. Make money for what, exactly? Maybe a trip to Spain wasn’t pressing anymore. Maybe it never would be pressing again. Damnit. Now she was obsessing. Emma busied herself with buttering a slice of toast. There was a natural explanation for this. One that would make sense the moment Regina told her about it. One that would make Emma go “ohh!” and then laugh because she had been obsessing over nothing.

But deep down, Emma was starting to doubt that. Not hearing from Regina for a couple of hours because of the time difference was normal, but two days? Nope. That was definitely not normal.

“Have you thought more about whether you want to rent that apartment?” her mom asked with briskness that sounded just a tad too forced. It was painfully obvious that she was merely trying to make
Emma think of something else.

“Not really.” since the whole “where’s Regina?”-thing, the apartment had been one of the last things on Emma’s mind.

“Don’t you think it’s time you did then?” her mom gently suggested with a light pad to Emma’s hand.

Emma took another sip of her coffee before answering. “I don’t know, I think maybe the apartment is a bit too big for me, mom. I’m just one person. I don’t need that much room.”

“But honey-“

“I think it’s better if the apartment went to someone who really needs it,” Emma gently interrupted. “Like, a couple or something like that.”

Her mom clearly took what she was saying in. After a few seconds, she nodded. “Of course. You’re right.”

“But don’t fret,” Emma chuckled. “I’ll find something that’s more suitable for me. I’ll be out of your hair soon enough.”

Her mom scowled. “Sweetie, you know I didn’t mean it like that. You are always welcome to stay here for as long as you like. Your father and I enjoy having you home. We missed you when you were away
for three whole weeks. That was a long time.”

“Yeah, it was,” Emma agreed. Her gut twisted as she thought about how there was a good chance that she wouldn’t be going to Madrid again. If Regina really had decided to dump her in the harshest way possible, Emma couldn’t see herself going to Spain anytime soon. She took a bite of her toast despite having lost her appetite and having a stomach that felt like it was full of ice. She couldn’t fully bring herself to believe that Regina had dumped her. She wouldn’t. Not like this.

 

After having had breakfast with her parents, Emma headed down to Granny’s Diner to hang with Ruby. The two friends liked doing that before the early morning rush of hungry customers. Granny had scowled over it, but now she didn’t bother protesting against it. She tolerated it, but sometimes quipped that Ruby hardly was being paid to chitchat with Emma.

Emma plopped down on one of the tall barstools close to the counter. It didn’t take long before Ruby appeared, and Emma ordered her usual morning cup of hot chocolate. She could very well have that at home, but she never did. Emma always took her cocoa at Granny’s.

“Coming right up,” Ruby said briskly. “You want a bear claw with it too?”

“No thanks. Not today,” Emma said after having quickly considering it. She wasn’t very hungry today.

It didn’t take Ruby long to make one cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon. The waitress looked quite proud as she placed the cup in front of Emma. “That gotta be some sort of record.”

“Well done, Rubes,” Emma quipped.

“So...” Ruby leaned forward and rested her arms against the counter. “What’s with the grumpy face?”

“Seriously?” Emma groaned. “Not you too. I do not have a grumpy face.”

“No, not usually,” Ruby agreed. “But today you totally do, so what’s going on? Tell it to aunt Ruby.”

“You are nobodies aunt,” Emma muttered.

Ruby brushed that aside. “What is it, Em?”

Emma took a sip of her cocoa and licked the whipped cream off of her upper lip. Then she admitted: “it’s Regina.”

“Oh,” Ruby said and frowned deeply. “She still hasn’t been in touch?”

“Nope, and now I’m getting worried,” Emma sighed.

Ruby growled and sounded a bit like a wolf. “I’m not. I’m getting pissed! If she’s screwing with you, I’m going to murder her!”

“She’s not,” Emma said quickly. “She wouldn’t.”

“Em-“

“No, Rubes. Trust me. She wouldn’t,” Emma said firmly. “She’s not like that at all. When we said goodbye to each other, we promised that we would stay in touch until I could come back to Spain and see her again.”

Ruby’s smile became a bit sad now. “She’s not... she’s not that old, Em. Maybe she realized that the whole waiting game isn’t her thing anyway.”

But Emma refused to believe that. She shook her head. “Rubes, her age has nothing to do with it. She was crying when we said goodbye in the airport. She wouldn’t have been crying like that if she knew that this wouldn’t last. I refuse to believe that.”

Ruby sighed. “Sometimes your oversized heart has me worried, Em.”

Emma laughed. “I know. But trust me on this one. Regina isn’t the type to do something like that.”

Ruby sighed again. “I have to be an asshole for a minute.”

“Go ahead,” Emma encouraged.

“Is it possible that you don’t know her that well?” the waitress asked and cringed over “having to be an asshole”.

But Emma didn’t see her as an asshole. She saw her as realistic. “I know it sounds naïve,” the blonde agreed. “And I know that I can’t possibly know all about her after just three weeks together, but it feels
like I do. It feels like I’ve known her for a very long time, and my gut feeling tells me that she wouldn’t do something like this.”

“Okay,” Ruby said simply. “What do you think is going on then?”

“I don’t know,” Emma said and clasped her hands together. “And that’s what’s driving me crazy. I know that something is going on, I just don’t know what it is.”

“You told me that she’s been stalked by the angry wife of an asshole?” Ruby said.

“Yeah, that’s right. Marian. She was the one who slapped Regina that night,” Emma said and felt a wave of concern rise.

“You don’t think that she has done something, do you?” Ruby asked. Now she was frowning too and seemed more concerned than pissed off at Regina.

“God, I hope not!” Emma said sincerely and her gut twisted. The thought alone was terrible.

“I hope there’s a natural explanation,” Ruby said. “Like... she’s been robbed and having her phone and laptop stolen.”

“Ruby!” Emma shrieked, protesting as she suddenly imagined Regina being held at gunpoint and threatened. “That’s hardly a natural explanation! God!”

“I’m not talking armed robbery, I’m talking someone who broke into her place while she wasn’t home,” Ruby huffed.

“Okay, but you are like the worst at coming up with explanations!” Emma huffed.

“Sorry,” Ruby said sheepishly.

“At least you’re better at making cocoa,” Emma grumbled as she brought the cup of to her lips and took a sip of her cocoa.

“Granny will be happy to hear that.”

Emma shook her head and chuckled slightly.

“I hope she’ll be in touch, but if not, I’ll personally go to Madrid and kick her ass,” Ruby threatened.

Emma laughed croakily. “I’m sure that won’t be necessary, Rubes.”

“Hmm,” Ruby said. Clearly not convinced.

But Emma plain refused to believe that this was the end of her thing with Regina. She refused to believe that Regina was ghosting her. That simply couldn’t be what was happening, could it? All the moments they had spent together in either Emma’s ridiculously small hotel bed, or Regina’s too narrow little bed in her apartment. All the soft caresses and deep kisses they’d shared. The way Regina had cried in the airport when they said goodbye. That had meant something, right? Regina couldn’t...She WOULDN’T do something like this. Emma had to take an extra large gulp of her cocoa. It felt like she had a massive lump in her throat now.

“Oh, Em,” Ruby said and leaned forward so she could brush a hand over Emma’s arm. “I’m sure she’ll call you.”

“I don’t want it to be over, Rubes,” Emma murmured and cringed. She could easily hear how pathetic she sounded. “I’ve fallen for her.”

“She’ll call you,” Ruby said firmly. “Trust aunty Ruby.”

Despite feeling utterly sad, Emma laughed. “I told you, it’s creepy when you call yourself that.”

“And I told you, I don’t care,” Ruby teased with a snicker and then stretched her neck a little extra when Belle came into the diner.

“Good morning, Ruby, Emma,” the librarian smiled.

“’Morning, Belle,” Emma greeted and returned the smile.

“What can the diner tempt you with today, Isabelle?” Ruby asked, and Emma had the strongest urge to facepalm. Usually, Ruby’s dating game was pretty much on point, but it was clearly completely haywire when it came to Belle.

“’Isabelle’, huh?” Belle teased. “What’s with the formality, Lucas?”

“Just trying something new,” Ruby said lightly, and Emma buried her groan in her cup of cocoa, because oh my god, Ruby was literally the un-smoothest person ever!

But fortunately for Ruby, Belle laughed and affectionately called Ruby an idiot, and despite the offend, Ruby looked as happy as ever she served Belle one cup of coffee to go and then send her on her way.

As soon as she was gone, Emma asked: “the hell was what?”

“Fuck if I know,” Ruby groaned. “That’s what she does to me, Em. She turns me into a fucking idiot.”

“Okay, you have to tell her how you feel!” Emma insisted.

Ruby mumbled something.

“Are you freaking blind? Didn’t you see the way she smiled at you?” Emma pointed out. “I mean, come on, it’s obvious she feels the same!”

“Belle’s not gay,” Ruby said stubbornly.

“No,” Emma agreed. “But she could be gloriously bisexual, and you wouldn’t be any the wiser because you’re too much of a chicken to find out!”

“I am not a chicken!” Ruby protested.

Emma responded by flapping her arms and clucking like a chicken. She did so until Granny emerged from the kitchen and asked who had “let a bloody chicken” inside the diner.

Emma and Ruby laughed heartedly at that. “But in all seriousness though, Rubes,” Emma said when she was done laughing. “I can see the way she looks at you. She was basically flirting with you while she ordered her coffee.”

“She...she was?”

There was that urge to smash her face against something hard again. “Yes, you idiot!” the blonde groaned.

“So you think I should try and ask her out?” the waitress asked.

“Y-e-s!” Emma hissed. “How can it be that you’re incapable of getting this through your thick skull?!”

Ruby huffed. “You’re rude.”

“But honest,” Emma added, voice softer as she continued: “Belle is so sweet, and you two would make an awesome couple!”

“We would, wouldn’t we...” Ruby said softly. Then she shook her head slightly. “It’s crazy, Em. I’ve been friends with her for years, and suddenly there’s just all these...feelings I can’t explain. Do you
remember the Christmas party we had here?”

“Of course I do,” Emma said. She vividly remembered that. Because Neal had refused to kiss her under the mistletoe. He claimed it was “tacky”. Asshole.

“It was the moment she walked through the door...” Ruby said dreamily and glanced towards the door. “Her hair was down, and she was wearing that red dress...” the waitress shook her head. “I swear to god, the moment I saw her walk through that door, it felt like everything just....shifted.”

“You are so tacky,” Emma said fondly. “I’ve never heard you talk like that about any other girl.”

“Belle’s special,” Ruby said simply.

“Which is why you have to talk to her,” Emma said gently. “You have to tell her how you feel, Rubes.”

“I know,” Ruby acknowledged and looked nervous. “And I will. It’s just... I could lose her for good, Em.”

“Or you could be delighted to discover that she feels the same,” Emma pointed out and smiled encouragingly at her friend. She really hoped that Ruby would tell Belle the truth soon. She had seen the way Belle looked at Ruby. They were idiots in love.

The blonde sighed a bit. She was in love too. Painfully so....

 

 

The rest of Emma’s morning passed as it always did. She finished her morning cocoa and headed back to her parents’ place. The house was empty, her parents were at work, and Emma took “advantage” of that and listened to music without headphones while she worked on her website. She was currently reorganizing things. And deleting the pictures she had taken of Neal. She had completely forgotten about that while she was in Madrid, but obviously, that asshat was not worthy to be featured on her professional website. Even if it was a good portrait. Maybe that was what she should do instead of dashing out on jobs all the time. Settle down as a portrait photographer. She could open her own studio. Or maybe she should explore what other options photographing had to offer. Emma pursed her lips as she considered.

Deleting pictures was pretty much something she could do on autopilot, and so Emma’s mind wasn’t completely in it. Her thoughts were wandering to Spain and Madrid and Regina. The blonde felt her gut twist as she looked at one of the many pictures she had snapped of Regina. Emma’s chest tightened. Would she have to delete those pictures too? She bit her lip as she looked at the picture of Regina in full flamenco costume. The picture was taken mid-twirl, and Regina looked absolutely stunning. The blonde sighed and grabbed her phone and found the more private pictures she had taken of Regina.

Her gut twisted again as she looked at the selfie she and Regina had taken. It was the one where Regina was kissing her cheek, and Emma had this dopey, surprised smile going on. Emma swallowed something. She looked so fucking happy in that picture. All glowing cheeks and eyes that sparkled. Happy and healthy. And in love. And she hadn’t even known she was in love when that picture was taken. But oh, how she’d learned. Emma had to swallow something again when she came across that silly video, she had taken of Regina sometime during their last week together. Emma knew it was torture, but she still tapped lightly on the play button. The frozen image of Regina came alive. The video was taken in Regina’s apartment. She was standing with her back to the camera. She was wearing a bathrobe and was in front of the mirror and trying to sort out her hair. Emma’s gut twisted again when she heard her own cheerful voice say: ‘hey, beautiful girl?’

Regina whirled around in the video, and her dark hair danced around her beautiful face. ‘What are you doing?’ she asked with a laugh. ‘Are you filming me?’

Emma heard herself laugh off screen and then reply: ‘maybeeee!’

‘Mmmm, sneaky you!’ Regina laughed and then she was crossing the floor, crawling up in the bed, and Emma heard herself squeal in delight. The screen went black, and Emma knew exactly what had happened after that. Regina had shoved the phone out of her hand. Kissed her hard. Then stripped her of her nightgown. Emma remembered it like it was yesterday. Another gut twist. Emma bit her lip and weighted the phone in her hand. She had to mentally yell at herself to not call Regina again.

 

Emma did what she was supposed to do that day. She headed out on another photo job. This time she had been hired for a birthday party. A kid’s birthday party. Yup. First animals. Now kids. Emma had preferred working with the large dog brothers. Getting a kid to look in the right direction and smile when he wanted to pout was mighty difficult. The birthday boy wasn’t exactly in a birthday mood. He looked sour, and it didn’t take Emma long to work out that the little tyke was upset because he hadn’t gotten the present he wanted. An Xbox. That was what he had wanted, Emma learned.

“Micky, please smile!” his mother tried.

“No!” the little tyke said stubbornly.

“Aww, come on, kid,” Emma coaxed. “You’ll never ever turn eight years old again. Do you really wanna look sour in the pictures?”

Micky huffed.

Okay then. New tactic. “Hey, kid? Where do cows go when they wanna have fun?”

Micky looked at her like she had grown an extra head. “Uhh...I dunno?”

“To the moooh-vies,” Emma said and felt pretty hilarious.

Micky seemed to think the same. The boy giggled, and Emma was quick as a ninja as she took the picture. Micky’s little mouth opened wide in protest, and Emma felt like a genius. This was better than the usual “smile for the dicky bird”-routine.

“See? Now you can look back at your eight year birthday party and remember how funny the photographer was,” Emma said with a chuckle.

“That wasn’t fair!” Micky protested.

No, perhaps not. But it worked, and that was the main thing. Now Emma had the picture of a very happy, smiling birthday boy.

“You’re cheating,” Micky said, and the freckles on his nose wrinkled together as he smiled.

“I sure did,” Emma said with a grin. “Do you wanna take another one?”

“Do you know anymore jokes?” he asked.

“I sure do,” Emma boasted. “Why can’t you give Elsa a balloon?”

Micky’s forehead crinkled now. “Uhh... I don’t know?”

“Because she will.... let it go,” Emma said and felt tempted to roll her eyes because she officially just used the cheesiest joke ever. But it worked as intended. Micky laughed, and once again Emma took a
picture of him.

That was pretty much how the photo session went, really. Emma cracked jokes like there was no tomorrow, and the birthday boy laughed heartedly at them. The pictures turned out awesome, and Emma was pleased. Taking a picture of someone who was genuinely laughing was pretty much her favorite part of being a photographer. And the fact that Micky laughed at all her jokes made it so much easier.

 

Even though working with children could be a bit difficult from time to time, Emma liked being hired for a children’s birthday party. Because it meant that she was invited to stay for a piece of birthday cake afterwards. And if there was something Emma loved, it was birthday cake. Especially this one. All sweet and tasting of cotton candy. Yum!

“That was very impressive,” Micky’s mom said with a smile.

Emma offered a modest shrug and a smile. “Just doing my best, Mrs. Pritchard.”

“Sarah,” the woman corrected. “And you were a natural. Micky can sometimes be... a bit difficult when there’s something he doesn’t want to participate in.”

Emma chuckled slightly. “Well, thank you. I’m glad we got pictures of a smiling birthday boy and not a grouchy one.”

“You were a natural,” Sarah repeated with a smile. “I’m fully aware that photographing a child isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Do you have children yourself?”

“No...” Emma said slowly and was surprised to discover that the innocent question touched a nerve. She and Neal had talked about children on a few occasions. Most of them had been Neal coming up with twenty good reasons why he wasn’t ready. At first, Emma had agreed with him, they weren’t ready, but as the years had passed, and especially after they had become engaged, Emma had felt a certain shift within her and realized that she actually was ready. She had brushed the subject with Neal, but he had just laughed and coaxed her away from the subjects with promises of trips to foreign countries.
There were so many places they needed to see, he had said. So many hotels they had to visit, so many sunsets to be photographed. Emma had to bite her tongue not to scoff. That fucking liar!

“Well, I’m very grateful,” Sarah said, interrupting Emma’s train of thoughts.

“I’m glad Micky thought my jokes were funny,” the blonde quipped, trying her best to snap out of her sudden melancholia.

Sarah chuckled. “Please help yourself to another piece of birthday cake, miss Swan. I’m afraid I’ll have to eat it for the rest of the week otherwise.”

“It’s delicious,” Emma grinned. “I’ll do my best to make room for a second piece.

“Excellent,” Sarah smiled, and then the excited shout from children effectively cut through their conversation. Sarah excused herself and said that she better go and check to see what that shout was about.

Emma was left to her own company. Left to checking her phone. Which she had been refraining from doing all afternoon. But now she simply couldn’t wait another minute. And disappointment hit her hard when she was confronted with the harsh realities: no new messages. No missed facetime calls. No missed phone calls. No nothing. She slipped the phone back in her pocket and sighed as she pinched the bride of her nose.

 

 

The rest of that day passed like this: Emma wrapped up the birthday photographing and left with a belly full of birthday cake. And Micky’s plead for just “one more joke, please, miss Swan!”

She drove back home in her little yellow Bug and parked it in front of her parents’ place. She found said parents inside the house where her mom was in the middle of cooking chicken. Emma feigned excitement and told nothing about the fact that she had been stuffing her face with birthday cake like she was one of the kids attending the party and not the oh, so professional photographer. After having being informed of when dinner would be ready, the blonde retired to the darkroom. Without her phone. She stubbornly left that on the kitchen table. No way she was gonna distract herself by staring at it every fifth minute. She threw herself into the photo process and noted that she was being a bit harder on the pictures than normally, and she had to check with herself. Was she getting angry with Regina? Was that what was happening to her? Emma knew that venturing too deep into that question could be dangerous, but she still did, and she discovered that yes, she actually was a bit angry with Regina now. She didn’t want to, but she couldn’t help it. They had agreed to keep in touch. They had agreed to see each other again, and suddenly, bam, nothing but radio silence from Regina. Emma still so wanted there to be a natural explanation for this, but to be perfectly honest, she was running out of options. Running out of excuses. Had Regina really just ditched her? Just like that? The little voice in the back of Emma’s head kept chanting: ‘no, she wouldn’t, she wouldn’t, she wouldn’t,’ but Emma’s anger was starting to overshadow that little voice.

“Looks like I’m about to have my heart broken all over again,” Emma said to the quiet darkroom. She grinded her teeth. There was that fucking lump in her throat again. That lump that made it difficult to swallow. That lump that for some reason made her eyes prickle. Emma almost ended up laughing. She had been angry and yelling when Neal dumped her, but Regina made her cry. Fucking perfect.

She had to stop what she was doing for a moment to rub a hand over her face. Her head was throbbing. She knew exactly what she would do after dinner. She would hawk the bathroom and treat herself to a very long bath. She would dress in her fluffiest pajamas, and then she would go to bed early. Maybe everything would be better tomorrow. Maybe everything would somehow make sense tomorrow.

Emma released a deep and heavy sigh. Somehow, she doubted it. Somehow, she had a terrible feeling that tomorrow would be exactly as bleak as today had been. God damnit. Why was she so unlucky when it came to love? Sometimes it felt like she had some sort of curse hanging above her head. Or a fucked up version of Amor constantly saying “nope” whenever she was unfortunate enough to fall in love with someone.

Emma was extremely relieved when she heard her mom’s gentle voice call: “Emma! Dinner’s ready!” the blonde quickly ceased all activity and headed upstairs. Being in a dark little room clearly didn’t do anything good for her mood.

But she wasn’t hungry either. There was chicken with crispy skin on the menu, and Emma wasn’t hungry. If that wasn’t a tragedy, Emma didn’t know what was. And it didn’t take long before it was noticed.

“You’re not eating anything, honey,” her dad said kindly and patted her hand once.

“I’m not really hungry,” Emma admitted.

“Do you feel sick?” her mom immediately asked and frowned as she reached out to Emma.

“No, I’m just not hungry,” Emma said as she narrowly escaped her mom’s hand. If she hadn’t moved her head, her mother would probably have attempted to feel her forehead like she did when Emma was a little girl. Emma smiled overbearingly. Perhaps it was time for a gentle reminder that she was a full grown woman and not a little girl.

“But it’s chicken!” David said and sounded completely baffled over Emma’s lack of enthusiasm.

“I know,” Emma mock-whined. “And I feel absolutely terrible about it.”

David chuckled a bit, but Mary Margaret’s eyes were kind and concerned as she looked at Emma. “Is it something you want to talk about, sweetie?”

“Nah, it’s okay,” Emma assured and put on a smile. She didn’t want to sing the same old song. That she was sad because Regina hadn’t called, and still pathetically hoped that she would call. That she refused to fully believe that Regina was ghosting her.

“Are you sure?” her mother prodded. Now she was frowning.

“Yeah, absolutely.”

“Alright,” Mary Margaret said, and her frown deepened as she looked at Emma’s plate. “But I don’t like that you’re not eating anything, sweetie.”

“I had three pieces of birthday cake at the photo thing,” Emma said nonchalantly.

“That’s not real food! You have to-“

“Mom.” Emma said sternly and flashed her mom a rare glare.

Mary Margaret instantly backed down. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I’m just worried about you.”

“I know,” Emma said, voice softer now. “But I’m okay. It has just been a bit hard to come back and everything. But I’ll find my feet again, okay? I always do.”

“That you do,” her dad agreed and patted her hand again.

“Now tell me...” Emma said, insisting on finding a lighter tone. “Did you arrest Leroy tonight?”

Her father laughed as he confirmed that he did.

 

The bath didn’t quite have the effect Emma had hoped for. Even surrounded by bubbles, she wasn’t capable of relaxing, and she had ended up cutting the bath short. She had toweled off, braided her hair and then changed into her fluffiest, warmest pajamas. She had said goodnight to her parents who both seemed mildly concerned that she was going to bed that early.

She had naively hoped that she would fall asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, but unfortunately, that was not how things were gonna go tonight. Eventually, she had gotten frustrated with how many times she had twisted and turned and then she had sat up and grabbed her laptop and headphones. Like so many times before, she had logged into Netflix in the hopes of finding something that could either suck her in until she felt tired or bore her so much, she would fall asleep.

But nothing was working tonight. Not even “The Blue Planet”, her go-to show for sleepless nights. Emma was left frustrated and angry with herself. And definitely not-very-sleepy. She huffed and grinded her teeth as she for the millionth time rolled onto her other side. She didn’t know how long she lied curled up in a tight ball like that, but at some point, she heard the familiar creak on the staircase and then exaggerated tiptoe down the hallway. Her mom was whisperingly scolding her dad for making too much noise, and Emma suffocated a chuckle. She heard some pottering around in the bathroom, the floorboards in the hallway creaked slightly. A light switch was flipped. Murmuring voices. Then nothing. Emma huffed in the silence. If only she’d inherited her mother’s ability to fall asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. That would have come in handy tonight. She should have accepted Ruby’s invitation to the Rabbit Hole. She would probably have slept better if she was a little drunk. But then again, coming back to her parents’ place while being a little drunk? No, thank you.

She really needed to find her own place. Soon. Maybe she should say yes to that apartment. Maybe it was dumb of her to say no just because she was proud and wanted to do things on her own. Maybe moving into that apartment would be the best thing she could do for herself. And her parents. They claimed otherwise, but surely, they missed their privacy. Emma had seen them give each other the googly eyes at least once, and as much as it grossed her out, she was happy to see that they were as in love as ever. Thirty years of marriage and still going strong. The blonde wondered how that felt. Spending thirty years with the same person in blissful marriage. This wasn’t the first time Emma was a bit envious of her parents, and it probably wouldn’t be the last time either.

A yawn slipped past her lips, and Emma felt very satisfied upon realizing that she was actually getting tired. Finally. About time too. She wanted to feel like a functioning human being tomorrow morning. Emma could feel how her body was starting to feel heavier and heavier against the mattress, and she finally surrendered to sleep....

 

A sharp noise cut through Emma’s silly dream about cotton candy. The blonde woke with a start and felt utterly disorientated. Her heart was pounding in her chest because of the rude awakening. She blinked as she sat up in bed and grappled for her phone. Because that was the source of her rude awakening. The phone. She had forgotten to mute it when she went to bed. Emma finally managed to grab the phone and she had to blink at the brightness on her screen. Then the breath hitched in her throat. ‘Regina calling’, it said loud and clearly on the screen. It also said that it was three in the morning, but that didn’t matter. Nothing mattered right now. Emma was quick to swipe a finger over the screen. She brought the phone up to her ear, and relief seeped through her voice when she said:

“Regina! Thank god!”

“Hola,” came Regina’s voice in the other end, and Emma completely forgot all about being angry at her. “I am sorry for calling now,” she continued. “I know it’s late in Storybrooke.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Emma said quickly.

Regina clearly ignored that. “And I’m also so, so, so sorry for not calling you yesterday. I feel absolutely terrible about it.”

“It’s okay,” Emma said quickly. “That doesn’t matter either.”

“It does,” Regina insisted. “It was not okay, and I want to apologize for that.” Her voice sounded very tired and hoarse. Exactly like it had sounded that evening in the bar when she had been crying as she explained why Marian hated her, and Emma instantly felt worried. “Are you okay?” she asked and sat up more properly in bed.

“No, not really,” Regina said and then quietly added: “¡Todo es un desastre!”

“What’s wrong?” Emma asked and quickly added: “are you sick?” there was that natural explanation she had been looking for. Regina had been ill and therefore not able to call or text or Skype.

“It’s worse,” Regina said. Her voice quivered slightly, and she was sniffling.

“Why? What’s going on?” Emma asked. Now she was getting really alarmed.

“Estoy embarazada,” Regina said, and Emma had no clue what she was saying. Both because she didn’t understand, and because Regina’s voice broke mid through the sentence.

“What?” Emma said. “Regina, I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

For a moment, Regina didn’t say anything at all. She just sniffled in the other end, and Emma was getting more worried by the second. “Beautiful girl...” she said affectionately. “I don’t understand.”

A bit more sniffling, and then....

“I’m pregnant,” Regina whispered.

Emma’s mouth fell open with a pop. Wait, what?! Pregnant?! She struggled to form a coherent sentence while Regina quietly broke down in the other end.

“I...what?” Emma said finally, knowing full well that it wasn’t the smartest thing to say, but it was pretty much the only thing she could think of right now. “You’re...pregnant?”

“S-si,” Regina whispered, and her voice trembled with emotion. “I found out yesterday morning. I’ve been feeling sick all week, but I thought it was just a stomach flu. The pregnancy test was just a p-precaution, but it came back p-positive.”

“My god...” Emma said and struggled to close her mouth.

“I don’t know what to do,” Regina whispered. “I’m too scared to tell my parents because I know what they’re going to say, or at least what my mother will say. She’ll be so disappointed in me, and how am I supposed to support a b-baby? I can’t dance if I’m pregnant, and I can’t work at the bar either. And college? I can't do that either! Siento que me estoy ahogando! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, and it’s probably not right of me to come to you with all of this because-“

“Woah, woah, woah!” Emma interrupted Regina’s frantic ramble. “Slow down, beautiful girl. Breathe.”

Regina took a shaky breath.

“That’s better,” Emma said gently. “Have you only taken that test?”

“S-Si,” Regina croaked.

“It could be a false positive,” Emma said. She knew for a fact that Belle once had had one of those, and she had been exactly as scared as Regina was right now.

“A...false positive?” Regina whispered.

“Yeah,” Emma said. “It’s rare, but it can happen.”

Regina took another shaky breath.

“Try and take another test, sweetheart,” Emma said gently.

“I can’t,” Regina said hoarsely. “I’m too scared!”

It felt like Emma’s heart was breaking as Regina started sobbing in the other end. Desperate as she was to say something that could soothe the young brunette, Emma ended up saying the worst thing she possibly could: “it’s going to be alright.”

“No,” Regina sobbed. “It won’t. ¡Todo se está cayendo a pedazos!” she sniffled again and clearly tried to compose herself. “B-but I realize that I woke you, and I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry about that. And I’m so sorry for dumping all of this on you. I shouldn’t have done that either. I’ll... I’ll let you go back to sleep again.”

“You will not!” Emma barked. “Don’t you dare hanging up, Regina! If you do, I’ll keep calling you until you pick up, because there’s no way in hell I’m letting you go when you’re this upset!”

Regina chuckled wetly. “It’s really n-nice to hear your voice, Em-ma.”

“It’s nice to hear your voice too, beautiful girl,” Emma said gently.

“I’m in so much trouble,” Regina said, clearly trying to put a humorous spin on the conversation and failing miserably. “¡Mierda!”

“You might not be,” Emma gently reminded her. “You don’t know that for sure.”

Regina sniffled again. “I’ve been throwing up all week, and the test was positive, Emma. I don’t like the odds.”

“You still have to be absolutely sure,” Emma said softly.

“I can’t take a second test,” Regina croaked. “It’ll come back positive and I’ll lose it completely. Well, more than I’m losing it right now. What am I going to say to my mother?” the young brunette chuckled wetly again. “That she was right, that I am the screw up she always claimed me to be?”

“You are NOT a screwup!” Emma said firmly. “Don’t say that!”

“But it’s true. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been drunk and s-stupid,” Regina said. Now she was crying again, and Emma’s heart broke all over again. Regina was alone with all of this. She was scared and she had no one to go to. There wasn’t long from thought to action in Emma’s mind.

“Regina, I’m coming to Madrid,” she said firmly.

“¿Q-Qué?” Regina stuttered.

“You heard me,” Emma said, already grabbing after her laptop so she could book a ticket. “I’ll try and find the first flight out of here, okay?”

“Oh no, Emma, I can’t possibly ask you to-“

“You didn’t,” Emma interrupted. “I offered. And nothing you say can change my mind, okay? I’m not letting you be alone with all this. I’m coming to Madrid and I’ll be there when you take that second test.
And no matter what it shows...” she wanted to say that she was going to be there no matter what, but she was interrupted by Regina.

“You shouldn’t,” she said quietly. “Emma, this is... this is my mess. I have to deal with it on my own.”

“I care about you,” Emma said softly. “You know that. And I’m pretty stubborn.”

“I don’t want to drag you into all of this,” Regina said quickly. “I shouldn’t have called you, that was wrong of me. Adiós.” Click.

“Regina?”

But there was no reply. Regina had hung up on her. Emma cursed quietly under her breath as she called Regina back.

No answer. Straight to voicemail.

But it didn’t really change anything for Emma. She was going to come to Madrid whether Regina liked it or not. Regina was scared and alone and most likely pregnant, and there was no fucking way Emma was going to let that stand.

Sleep was the last thing on Emma’s mind as she scoured the website for plane tickets to Madrid. It didn’t take long before she found one. The plane would take off from Boston Airport at eight in the morning. Emma glanced at the clock radio. She could actually make that. She quickly clicked “book ticket”, and in the blink of an eye, she had paid for the ticket and received a confirmation email on her phone. With that sorted out she hastily hopped out of bed and hauled her suitcase out from underneath it. She staggered over to it and began shoving random articles of clothing inside it. She didn’t care if it all turned out to be winter clothes. The only thing she was focused on, was getting her ass to Madrid as fast as possible. Adrenaline was pumping through Emma’s system as she found her passport and hauled out one of her larger handbags. The sooner she could get to Regina and take her in her arms the better. Maybe this was a rash decision, but what other alternatives were there? To stay home and let Regina deal with this alone? No way. She couldn’t do that. She just couldn’t.

“I’m on my way, Regina,” Emma muttered to the dark and empty room. “I’m not letting you go through this alone!”

 

The End.... For Now!