“Guess what I got for you, kid?”
Emma had barely shrugged her coat off and stepped through the door before the words were tumbling out of her mouth, her enthusiasm unable to be contained long enough for her to actually get through the door from work. She messily ran one of her hands through her long, curly blonde hair, whilst the other gripped onto the new XBOX game she had hurriedly bought on the way home.
The Enchantress was the hottest game to hit 2019. It had launched in December and had managed to set a world record for the fastest selling video game in history. It sold a whopping 5.5 million units in a record-breaking 4 days and rapidly rose to become the best-selling video game of 2019.
And the hype hadn’t slowed down.
Which meant it had sold out nation-wide. Finding it had been like finding gold-dust.
“No way!” Henry leapt out of his seat, his smile wide as he eagerly grabbed for the disk, but Emma easily lifted it out of his reach.
“Nu uh, kid, dinner first.”
The disappointment on his face was immediate and the puppy-eyes he served her were hard to resist, but she held firm, despite her own excitement to crack open the factory seal and load the bad-boy up. She had to be a responsible adult… at least for the next hour.
They had dinner together, both shovelling food into their mouths with more gusto than usual, and once Emma was satisfied that she had fulfilled her responsibilities as a mother, she allowed herself to loosen up a little.
They grabbed their controllers and settled down on the sofa as the title screen loaded up. The Enchantress. Henry’s eyes were as wide as saucers and Emma smirked lightly, knowing he would be the in kid at school for playing the hottest new game whilst stores were struggling to keep it in stock. Luckily for Emma, she had contacts. Contacts meaning her best friend Ruby who seemed to know everyone in the city and had the special ability of wrapping people (both men and women alike) around her fingers.
The game was fun, interactive. She could see where the hype had come from. The controls were fluid and seamless, the world vast, and the story interesting. It was multi-player – a true breakthrough for first-player, open world roleplaying games – and each player could traverse the map separately and make separate choices. Those choices effected the overall world around them and impacted each other’s gameplay.
Henry, of course, chose to train as a Knight. He followed quests that tested his chivalry and moral standing. He saved villages and fought dragons, rebuilt orphanages and gave away his wealth to those less fortunate. His prestige built enough for NPCs to hail him as Emma’s character walked past and she rolled her eyes affectionately at her good-natured child.
Emma’s character, on the other hand, was nowhere near as chivalrous. She set the pathway of her character becoming an assassin and thief. She broke into houses, stole from innocent NPC civilians and ran her own crime ring organisation.
They played the game through the run-up to Christmas, both equally as addicted at setting up their stories and advancing their character’s skill trees. Christmas gave them a small break, family life coming first, but once the hype of the presents were over, things settled down once more and they picked the controllers back up again to continue their favourite shared pastime.
It had become clear that there was a main storyline running through The Enchantress: the woman the game was based around. She was the boss of the game, a fearless magical leader, and someone to align with or against.
And she was gorgeous… for a video game model. Sleek, curvy, dark hair and lips as red as blood. But what drew Emma in the most was her voice. It was husky, low, smooth, like liquid chocolate and sex. It sent goosebumps across Emma’s skin every time she spoke and she could hardly contain her reactions.
Women had never particularly interested Emma before. She’d had her experiences, of course, in her youth, but her preferences had always been men. Henry’s father – Neil, a petty criminal who had made a run for it as soon as she told him she was pregnant – had been her only serious relationship. Since then, she had only dated men on and off, and found that her preferences in people were at an all-time low.
Now, however, she was reconsidering her options. This character made her heart pound in ways that no man she met on a free dating app could ever hope to.
As the days rolled together and the hours of playtime increased, Henry noticed her obsession with the main character, and teased her relentlessly about it. It was to the point that he had started to tell Ruby that his mother had fallen in love with a video game character.
Emma didn’t agree, of course, even when Henry returned to school and Emma played the game solo, insistent on winning The Enchantress’ favour.
Even when she unlocked the rare achievement, The Enchantress’ consort, after playing the game so relentlessly that she unlocked the special ending which gave the option to become the woman’s romantic interest in the game, she still refused to admit that she was at least a little head-over-heels for a fictional character.
It was pure curiosity that eventually drove her to google the name. She had refrained for weeks, had been too engrossed in the game to think much of it, but those sultry tones were starting to disturb her sleep life as well as her daytime gaming.
The Enchantress video game model.
The search result brought up thousands of articles. Frowning, Emma immediately clicked on the images link, and was bombarded with the face she had come to recognise so well… but in a real person.
And God, she was gorgeous.
Emma paused, merely staring at the screen as she drunk in the face of the character that had consumed her every waking thought for the best part of three weeks. They used a model for the character and followed every detail of her exactly, down to the minute scar running down by the top of her lip, and the beauty mark by the corner of her mouth. It was a little eerie how they even manage to capture the glint in her dark eyes.
And to top it all off… she was the voice actress too.
Heart pounding and hands shaking, she was barely able to concentrate long enough to scroll through the pictures. This woman – Regina Mills – was absolutely breath-taking. Mid to late thirties, by the look of her, with dark hair, brown eyes and full lips. She was every bit the femme fatale and Emma was already, embarrassingly, head-over-heels. Her traitorous heart was all but jumping out of her chest as she scrolled through picture after picture after picture.
After shamefully spending just over an hour scrolling through her multiple Instagram pictures, Emma closed the browser and returned back to her google picture search.
Regina Mills opens up about sexuality. With a mouth drier than the Sahara Desert, she clicked the link, her greedy gaze gulping down every word.
Actress Regina Mills opens up about her sexuality in this exclusive GAMESTOP interview. Regina, 35, has been seen attending events with a woman on her arm.
“Love is unique and special, and mine isn’t set to a gender.” Mills explains to us on the red carpet of the premier launch of The Enchantress: Ultimate Edition. Fans are seen swarming the red carpet, both men and women alike. Regina Mills will have no shortage of suitors.
Swallowing, she clicked off the article and returned back to the image page. So what if Regina liked women? It wasn’t as though Emma had any chance with her anyway, so it hardly mattered what the actress’ preferences were in bed. It wasn’t as though it invited new images to plague Emma’s dreams or anything…
There, she squinted at the caption of the picture she had clicked on.
The Enchantress’ Regina Mills to host signing event to raise money for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
She scrolled through the article, greedily consuming all the information she could. New York?! Where?! This woman would be in the city soon and Emma couldn’t let the opportunity pass, not without meeting her, not without getting the game signed. Henry would be thrilled, would become something of a celebrity himself, having bragging rights that he met the hottest new actress to hit the charts that year.
Saturday. She’d be there.
The queue was huge and it was immediately obvious that this Regina Mills wasn’t going to get through the whole line. They had arrived an hour and a half early, but they were still at the back of the queue, miles behind everyone else.
“We should’ve got here earlier, mum!” Henry protested, his face screwed up in irritation and impatience, the twelve-year-old hardly able to stay on his feet after waiting for so long.
They had already left at 7:30am ready for the 9am signing. The thought of getting up out of bed any earlier was enough to make Emma feel a little bit queasy, in all honesty.
Regina Mills was exciting and gorgeous and wonderful… but Emma’s bed always won out. She loved her sleep more than anything else in the world (except, perhaps, Henry… and grilled cheese).
“People were camping outside all night, kid. I don’t think us getting up any earlier would’ve made a difference.” She smiled apologetically at him and ruffled his hair, only smirking more when he wriggled to try to get away from her. He was growing up too fast.
They both stilled at the sudden cheering. They were too far back to see anything, behind hundreds of eager people who had been waiting outside for days, but it was immediately obvious that Regina Mills had entered the room and moved to her signing booth given the sudden crazy reaction of people and the nervous energy in the room.
It took three hours. Three hours. Regina was scheduled to sign for two, but it had overrun, people continuing to pile in and join the queue even though the actress couldn’t realistically keep up with the demand. But she stayed, greeted everyone professionally and got through her autographs, and by the time Emma and Henry made it to the front, she looked exhausted.
Facially, she didn’t. Her makeup was thick and covered any imperfections. But Emma could tell, could tell after working her job for one too many years, could tell from reading Foster parents faces when they were about to send her back home, or social workers when they knew something wasn’t going to work out. Regina Mills was exhausted but here she was, powering on, because the autographs she was signing were going to a charity that she believed in and she wished to do her part.
A charity that was near and dear to Emma’s heart, considering she had been the face of it for some time now.
“Hi!” Henry spoke before either of the adults as they finally got to the table, his enthusiasm basically pouring from him as he bounced on the spot, placing the video game down in front of the brunette. “I’m Henry!”
He sounded a lot younger than a twelve-year-old and acted it too in the face of one of his new idols. But that was half the charm of him. He didn’t have many friends, and was by all intents and purposes a loner, but he was a special kid. He was intuitive in ways other children weren’t and was incredibly bright. He had a natural draw about him that adults seemed to love, and judging by the brunette’s expression, the same applied here.
“Hello, Henry. It’s very nice to meet you.” When Regina spoke… Emma nearly swooned. Her voice was so much better in real life than through the video game. It was low and silky, smooth, and Emma felt like she could listen to it on repeat on a tape. She should really do voice work, should read storybooks because Emma would listen to them all day.
But that didn’t compare to the sight of her. She was in casual clothes, yes, with a ridiculous blue Tigers sweatshirt hiding the curves of her body. For some reason, Emma expected to see her in a formal pantsuit like most of the photos she’d seen on Google showed her in, but that didn’t seem the case here. Perhaps there was a ban on pantsuits at this venue.
Perhaps they knew that fans would be fainting at the sign of the Enchantress dressed to kill. Emma would, ashamedly, be on that list.
“I really like the game! The stories are so diverse and even the NPCs have backgrounds and personalities. Did you know that it took two years to fully programme the mechanics and movements of the animals in the game?” Henry started to ramble, leaning over the desk in his enthusiasm. Regina, to her credit, only looked interested in what he was saying.
“A lot of hard work went into making the game, and I’m very glad that you’re enjoying it. Who’s your favourite character?”
“I like Ser Lancelot. I’m a Knight!” Henry proclaimed proudly, puffing out his chest as though he somehow was a Knight in real life, and expected to be praised for such an extraordinary feat. “I don’t like the Enchantress though, she’s mean. I banished her in my ending!”
Regina, to her credit, merely chuckled and leaned over the table herself as though they were conspiring a grand scheme together. She hadn’t even looked up at Emma once and the blonde wasn’t sure if she was grateful for that or not. Would she even survive seeing those eyes up close? Probably not.
And if Regina wasn’t looking at her, she wouldn’t notice the blonde gawping like a gay mess.
“Let me tell you a little secret… I think she’s mean too. But maybe, just maybe, a warrior Knight would be able to teach her a few things. Maybe someone good – someone with a strong heart, a kind heart, a heart of a true believer – would be able to melt away her walls. Maybe, they would be able to make her good again, make her believe that life is worth living and it’s not nice to hurt other people.”
The words that left Regina’s red lips were so soft, so genuine, that Emma was left taken back. It was as though the actress had delved deep into her character and was relating to her on a personal level, which was… interesting. Very interesting.
Henry absorbed her words with rapt attention, his mouth in a perfect ‘o’. Then, he nodded eagerly, as though he had suddenly decided on another playthrough merely to explore the possibility that the evil Enchantress was, indeed, redeemable. He had always seen the good in other people (not a trait he’d gotten from either of his biological parents, in Emma’s opinion) so it was hardly surprising that he clung onto the line Regina had just fed him and ran with it.
“My mum didn’t choose to banish you though!” He exclaimed loudly, and Emma’s stomach suddenly dropped. Oh no, no no no, this was going to be humiliating. She reached out a hand to her son to stop his words before they could progress any further and suddenly—
Her eyes connected with warm chocolate. Emma was gone, speechless, her heart stopping in her chest and words dying on her tongue at those eyes. Looking into them felt like sinking into a bath of hot chocolate. They were soothing, comforting, but also… playful? Amused? It was when she blinked that reality started to bleed in and she realised what her son was saying to make the actress so entertained.
--The Enchantress is her favourite. She’s played the game twice and married her both times! All she ever talks about is the character! And she’s spent the last week panicking about coming to this signing. I think she’s in love with—
“The character!” Emma exclaimed immediately, clapping her hand over her son’s mouth to shut him up before he could humiliate her even more, and she bit back her grimace when he immediately licked the palm of her hand. Little shit—
“The character.” She said again, steadier this time, sounding less like a raving lunatic and more like a mature adult that definitely wasn’t in love with some fictional video game character. Because that would be weird, and the actress would definitely think she was some crazy, lunatic stalker fan, which she wasn’t.
She was just… a little bit enamoured with her voice and her hair and her beautiful dark eyes that held more meaning than any words could ever express.
Regina Mills, though, was only looking more amused, one eyebrow lifted now and a smirk over her delicious looking lips. Great. Thanks for humiliating me, kid.
“The character is great, and I’m a sucker for a good villain. She’s well written and has a good story. You did a great job with the voice acting.” She hoped she came across as somewhat normal and not some weird stalker fan.
She had only been on Regina’s Instagram ten times over the last few days. Maybe fifteen. But that wasn’t bad, right? She just appreciated fine art and Regina was very beautiful.
“I see.” Regina’s smirk was still firmly fixed in place and Emma hoped that her cheeks weren’t as red as they felt, but the way the woman’s smirk continued to grow, she assumed they were flaming. Fuck fuck fuck. Henry was in big trouble when they got home.
After standing there, floundering for almost a full minute, Regina cocked her eyebrow again and pursed her lips. Emma was immediately distracted by the movement.
“And who am I addressing this to?” She asked, and Emma blinked again, somewhat in a haze.
“Huh? Oh—yeah, shit, sorry—” Great, now she was swearing, what an idiot – “Swan. Emma Swan.”
The amusement never left the brunettes face. Of course this woman would take pleasure in other people’s misery… she had portrayed a thoroughly dark character, hadn’t she?
“You decided to try to romance The Enchantress? That’s brave.” Regina said conversationally as she looked down at the generic poster. She had signed many of them that day already: Emma had seen dozens in the queue.
“I can’t see why people would be put off trying.” Emma admitted with a shrug, knowing it wasn’t a popular choice from the forums she had been reading online. Everyone loved The Enchantress, but many couldn’t crack the romance. In fact… Emma didn’t know anyone who had been able to, except her. The game was still fresh enough that there were no tutorials on it for an easy ride to get the secret achievement and the Enchantress was picky enough that one off conversation locked her out as a romance option entirely.
Regina looked up from the poster, intrigued, as Henry yawned in boredom.
“I mean—she’s a complicated character, but I don’t think she’s as evil as she thinks she is.” Emma blurted out, her word vomit coming in, fuelled by her nerves. “She’s a hardass, yes, and she’s emotionally closed off, but… she has a lot to give. Under her walls, under her cold exterior, there’s a person in there who hasn’t received any attention their whole life. A woman who’s been used and abused, neglected and forgotten about, and that— that sucks. I don’t think it’s too late for her. She deserves a chance at a happy ending, a chance at love, at having a family. A relationship with her is… unique. Or, maybe even special.”
Emma bit her lip to silence her flustered rambling and looked up to find Regina’s eyes trained intently on her. Her expression had softened slightly and she held a look in her eyes that Emma couldn’t quite place, and it was… unnerving. But what she could see from Regina’s expression was surprise.
Surprise, maybe, that somebody wanted to romance the awful villain that everyone seemed to love. Or surprise, perhaps, that Emma had used a quote only used in the game when unlocking the special ending.
If that makes us unique… or maybe even special…
“I’m pleased that somebody has been able to see that side of the character. I hoped to portray it as best I could with the material I was given.” She smiled tightly and dropped her gaze to the poster once more, getting to work signing it.
“Well, Swan, Emma Swan.” Regina clucked her tongue and signed the poster Emma had hastily printed to bring with her, her hand flicking with the intricate handwriting before she slid it back to the other adult. “It was a pleasure meeting you. Both of you.”
Her eyes met Henry’s again and she smiled, a smile so genuine and beautiful that it stole Emma’s breath away. Now that wasn’t something from the Enchantress. That expression, soft and beautiful and open, was all Regina, and Emma was captivated by it.
“Thank you. It was great meeting you too.” Emma replied, and Henry nodded with a grin as they stepped away from the table.
It was only when they were walking away that Emma noticed what Regina had written on her poster.
“To Swan, Emma Swan.
Love is weakness… but maybe I need you.
Emma’s heart sped up in her chest at the words written on the poster, the words the Enchantress finally spoke at the start of a successful romance, when she put aside her barriers and allowed someone into her heart.
Meeting Regina had been one of the best moments of her life.
Several long, uneventful months rolled by, summer passing with ease and falling into autumn. The game continued on with success, but as the weather brightened, Emma and Henry found themselves engaging in more outdoorsy activities, such as hiking and camping and sports.
The game was still there, in the background, something one of them picked up of an evening to continue their story… but they had exhausted the storylines they wanted to explore, had completed all of the quests to the point where they were predictable, and… there wasn’t much left.
Like any other crush, with time, it faded, and thoughts of the brunette goddess in a game faded from Emma’s mind.
So it didn’t occur to her that they would bump into each other once again.
“Miss Swan, isn’t it?”
She looked up sharply from where she had been staring forlornly at her drink. She was at a charity function, a high-end one judging by the stuck-up men with their posh suits and miserable faces, and the only aim was to pull on their heartstrings and get them to part with some cold, hard cash, so the wonderful organisation could be funded enough to help more children in need.
Foster children with nobody else to go to. Children with nobody who cared for them in the world. The charity, the organisation, gave support to lonely foster kids and provided them with clubs and activities, and a place to go if they needed somewhere.
The charity provided them with someone who would listen and that--- meant everything.
It also meant that they’d needed a speaker, and she had been roped into it after the desperation was laid on a little too thick. They needed a confident speaker, a woman – to appeal to a man’s chivalry, apparently – and someone who was able to speak about such past trauma without completely breaking down.
Emma wasn’t sure if she was flattered or insulted by that.
She had been on the stage, giving her big, heart-wrenching speak only five minutes before, and then had promptly retreated to the bar to consume a drink that would help to blur the edges and dull the thundering in her heart.
That had, of course, been before a woman approached her. A woman who Emma’s traitorous mind recognised far too quickly.
By her professional expression, Emma assumed that the brunette didn’t remember her. Why would she, anyway? There had been thousands at that signing and—honestly—Emma was glad that she was a face easily forgotten. The interaction had been completely humiliating and she had been so caught up with Henry and her own childish crush that she had tripped over her words in such a way that she had come out of the ordeal beet red and with a sinking feeling of humiliation.
It would be nice for a clean introduction without her hormones or her child butting in.
Miss Swan, isn’t it?
“Hi.” She smiled professionally, easily passing off as not-too-eager by taking another sip of her drink.
“May I sit?” The woman asked, and Emma nodded.
It was only then that she was able to appreciate what Regina was wearing. Where the room was in suits – men and women alike – Regina was in a dress. It was deep red, the exact shade of her lipstick, and it clung to her every curve. It skipped across her collarbones and ended respectfully just above her knee. It was mouth-watering, but Emma kept her eyes averted and mind focused on the drink.
This looked more like the Regina Mills from the photos. She had deep makeup, flawless skin, and hair that seemed glossy and healthy. It was a completely different version of the woman who had been signing autographs with a soft smile, gentle expression, casual clothes and muted makeup.
Don’t make a dick of yourself. Not again. Last time was humiliating enough. Clean slate, remember?
“Regina Mills.” The brunette beauty introduced herself, holding her hand out, and Emma took it immediately to shake. Of course I know who you are. It’s not like I didn’t dream of you for two months straight. She was amazed at how soft her skin was, how smooth the tips of her fingertips were as their hands carefully slid apart. “I’m a sponsor at this charity.”
A sponsor? Her acting gig must have landed her a good wage, then. But, by looking at her attire and the way she held herself, Emma assumed that she had known wealth long before starting her career. Rich parents? Almost certainly. She was the sort of person that Emma had loathed when she had been a young, wild-haired child, with nothing to her name than the clothes on her body.
Now, however, she barely found it in herself to care. She was grateful for what she had and she’d worked for it her whole life.
“Nice to meet you, Regina. How are you enjoying the function?” Be professional, Swan. Even though she’s staring at you.
Even not directly looking at the brunette, Emma could feel her dark, calculating eyes on her. It was unnerving, and it took everything in her not to wriggle under the scrutiny. What exactly was this woman looking for in other people? She seemed to stare into other peoples souls. It had been the same at the singing, and it was the same here.
It made Emma uncomfortable… she just wasn’t sure if it was a good sort of uncomfortable or not.
“It’s enjoyable.” She said diplomatically, but it didn’t seem as though she was very interested in what was going on around the room. If she was, why was she at the bar, at the back of the room, almost completely hidden away from everyone else?
“You were very brave, Emma.” She said outright, and the blonde finally sucked up the courage to look at her. She was startled to meet brown eyes head-on and she swallowed back the impulse to gasp. She didn’t want to let the other woman know that she had been caught off-guard.
“I wouldn’t call it brave but—”
“To face your demons is a journey into itself.” Regina continued, steamrolling over Emma’s words with practiced ease, as though she did it as a job. It was clear she liked to be in charge. “But to face those demons, survive it, come out the other side and then share your experiences to help other people is— incredible.”
She fidgeted awkwardly, not used to praise. She was the bad kid, the delinquent, the girl who had gotten into trouble and then had a baby too young. She didn’t deserve praise… not said so freely or so passionately, anyway.
“Oh, uhh, thanks.” She rubbed the back of her neck and offered a smile, willing her cheeks to stop flaming for at least a second. But her body seemed intent on betraying her.
Couldn’t she get through a meeting with Regina Mills without making a dick of herself?
“Perhaps you’d be willing to join me for a drink sometime?” Regina suggested, and Emma was sure that her jaw hit the floor. What? But the brunette looked deadly serious, her expression locked in place, and it was hard to get a good read on her.
What was this? Was this a business proposal? Or was she—asking her out?
She felt more than saw Regina’s obvious impatience. She was the sort of woman that got what she wanted when she wanted it, Emma assumed.
“Sure.” She shrugged lightly, playing it off as casually as she could, and it seemed to work. Regina nodded curtly and slid over a business card with a number on it. A fucking business card. What was this woman? A robot?
“We’ll arrange a date and a time. I’m looking forward to it.”
She was gone by the time Emma looked up from the card she had been handed. Had she just pulled Regina fucking Mills?
The Pavillion. Eight-thirty sharp. Don’t be late.
Emma was late. When wasn’t she late? She had spent the entire day stressing about what to dress and once the sitter was at the door, she still wasn’t ready.
In the end, she had thrown on a skin-tight red dress, applied light makeup, and allowed her hair to remain naturally curly around her shoulders. It was about as girly as she was going to get.
After reminding Henry that bedtime was at nine, and he wasn’t to stay up late watching cartoons or reading his comic books, she finally set out.
She rocked up at eight thirty-five. Five minutes late. But five minutes late wasn’t really late, was it?
“You’re late.” Apparently it was considering Regina’s sour expression and unimpressed eyes.
“If you told me to meet at eight-twenty, I would have been on time.” Emma responded with a smirk and a shrug of her shoulders as she took her seat at the table. It was a small bar, not quite as upscale as Emma had been expecting from the brunette, and it was… a nice surprise.
From her vantage point across the table, she wasn’t able to get a good look at the other woman. She seemed to be wearing a black-and-white dress, but her lips were painted the same deep red shade they had been last time, a shade that reminded her very much of The Enchantress. She forced herself to tamper down those thoughts before they could bloom into anything else.
She really didn’t want to make a fool out of herself when they were sharing drinks. She had done that enough already.
Regina merely rolled her eyes, but her lips were curling in amusement, and Emma took that as a small victory. Smooth, Swan. You’re winning her over. Keep it up.
The conversation flowed… surprisingly well. It started off strictly professional, of course, and Emma wasn’t overly surprised. The high-flying actress clearly had a vested interest in the welfare of children and she wanted to do her bit to support children as best she could, and what way to do that than to speak to a woman who had been through the system herself?
Once that conversation was done, the clock was already nearing ten, and Emma couldn’t believe how quickly time had flied. When she was talking to Regina, it was like no time at all had passed, and it was as though they had known each other their whole lives.
Yes, she was clearly from a wealthy background. She spoke with an air of confidence and her words were clear and concise. She could come across cold, detached, but Emma learned very quickly that her expressions came almost solely from her eyes. Those brown hues told the blonde more about what Regina was thinking or feeling than her words or expression.
When that conversation was finished, they moved onto more mundane topics, like interests, work and hobby. She found out that Regina liked to cook, and that she wasn’t a big eater herself, but enjoyed cooking for other people.
That’s what got them onto date number two, as Emma liked to call it in her head.
“You should teach me.” She suggested boldly, giving the brunette a wonky smile to try to glaze over her bold suggestion a little. “Come on… wouldn’t you love the opportunity to try to teach the worst chef alive? You know, I once burned pasta so badly that it got stuck to the pan, and then I had to throw the whole lot away. I could really use some tips.”
Regina had been silent for a moment, her expression twisted into light disapproval, before finally agreeing with a nod and an eyeroll that suggested that she regretted her decision to offer assistance already.
“Very well, Miss Swan, but if you ruin my pans, I’ll be sending you the bill for replacements.”
It had been almost a week and Emma was more nervous now than she had been at the restaurant. When they finally had parted from each other, well past midnight, it had been with easy flirtation fuelled by the alcohol they had consumed.
This time… there was no alcohol. There were no pretty dresses to hide behind, or makeup to cover up her face.
This time, Emma was dressed in simple jeans, a white tank top, and her trusty red leather jacket.
She fidgeted nervously as she knocked on the front door of 108 Mifflin Street. Of course Regina lived in a mansion… why had she expected any different from the put-together, and obviously wealthy, woman?
“Miss Swan.” A familiar voice greeted her and she lifted her gaze to smile awkwardly at Regina as she answered the door. The brunette was dressed in a fitted pantsuit (of course), something that suited her far too much for Emma’s liking, and she just hoped that she would be able to focus on the cooking instead of the way the top button strained as though it was about to pop open at any given moment.
She was right. She was unable to focus on even the most basic of instructions. She spilt the milk, dropped half a bag of pasta on the floor, and managed to over-boil the sauce until it spat at her in the face. And when she tried in vain to save the dish, she burned herself on the boiling pan.
“You really are an awful cook.” Regina teased as she sat Emma down carefully at the island after running the burn under cold water. Emma watched helplessly as she salvaged the dish and presented it to Emma on a plate.
Despite its appearance, it tasted divine, but that definitely wasn’t down to anything Emma had done. Regina had talked her through every step and then had managed to save the food from certain death just before Emma could completely destroy it. How? She had no idea. She merely surmised that this woman was some sort of God and had powers beyond her recognition.
“How’s your hand?” Regina asked once the food was finished with, the both of them pleasantly full. Emma shrugged and looked down at her palm, noting the red-raw line running down the side of her hand, leaving a line from her pinky finger to her wrist.
“I’ll live. You should have seen the other guy…” She smirked playfully and Regina answered her amusement with a smirk of her own and an affectionate eye-roll that suggested she wanted to be annoyed, but couldn’t quite manage it. Nice, Swan. That’s progress.
“Let me see.”
She took Emma’s hand in her own, her touch surprisingly gentle and almost motherly as she carefully rotated her wrist to inspect the wound. It wasn’t that bad, and didn’t require so much close attention, but the blonde certainly wasn’t going to complain. Not when Regina was close enough that Emma could smell the perfume rolling off her in delicious waves and all but feel the heat radiating from her skin.
Not to mention that she was closer to that tantalising straining button at the top of her blouse.
“Keep it cool and clean. You shouldn’t scar.” Emma expected her to move, but she didn’t. Instead, Regina dropped her head to press her lips to the wound gently, the touch feather-light and barely there.
Emma’s heart all but stopped in her chest.
“There you go… all better.” Regina cooed, her eyes sparkling, and Emma immediately became aware of one thing: she was being seduced. Regina Mills was seducing her, and had been doing so the entire time. There Emma was, the bumbling idiot, hoping to make a few flirtatious passes at the actress, but—she had missed that ship entirely.
Regina was already captaining it.
Emma couldn’t resist, couldn’t stop herself, from lifting her hand to cup Regina’s cheek to pull their lips together. The answering smile she felt on the other woman’s plump lips was all the information she needed: Regina had wanted this, had planned it, and was getting exactly the reaction she wanted.
But Emma didn’t care.
Kissing Regina felt like home. Her body rushed, her heart pounded, her skin sung and she all but melted into the surprising softness of the other woman. She hadn’t felt anything like this in a very, very long time, and she was greedy for it, greedy for the taste of the other woman’s lips, for the swipe of her tongue when Emma’s lips parted and God, she could lose herself in this forever—
But all too soon, Regina had pulled away, the self-satisfying smirk on her lips enough for Emma to want to wipe it off again. And she would have, if it wasn’t for the other woman’s hand on her sternum, holding her back as though she knew exactly what the blonde was planning on doing.
“Save it for next time, dear.” She purred, standing smoothly, and it took everything in Emma not to reach out and pull the other woman back down to her to seal their lips together once more.
Next time? There was a next time?
If there was a next time then Regina planned for this to be more than simple sex. That thought made Emma’s heart hammer relentlessly in her chest.
“Not another cooking lesson.” She all but pleaded with a grumble as she stood to help Regina clear up. Although she thought it would be a good idea when she had first suggested it, it had quickly become obvious that even Regina’s masterful skills were unable to save her from total failure, and she had nearly burned down the actress’ expensive-looking kitchen with a simple pasta dish.
She wasn’t hoping to repeat the experience.
“No.” Regina responded with a shake of her head and a gentle laugh. “It has become clear to me that you’re a lost cause on that front, Emma. Perhaps we could go to the park?”
The park? That was an odd request but Emma merely nodded slowly. What would Regina want to do in a park?
“Uhh… Sure? You got a secret dog around here that you want to take for a walk or something?” She asked, squinting at the immaculate house. There were definitely no animals here… she couldn’t imagine that Regina was the sort of woman that would be able to tolerate the fur everywhere.
Or the pleading, incessant dribbling of a creature who was completely enamoured with her.
“No.” Regina didn’t laugh like Emma expected. Instead… she looked almost nervous, her muscles stiff, her words a little closed off. Suddenly, she looked away, and Emma’s brows creased in confusion at her sudden reaction. It was curious indeed.
What was she nervous of? It didn’t fit the image of the perfectly composed Regina Mills, but it seemed as though she didn’t know very much about her at all. And she wanted to. Oh, she desperately wanted to learn every single detail about this woman.
“I was hoping that you would perhaps want to bring Henry.” She said gently, washing one of the plates slowly, with a deliberation that was clearly simply to keep her hands occupied, and Emma completely froze.
Henry? She hadn’t mentioned her son. How did Regina know? Oh—
“You remember.” She pointed out dumbly, stood frozen still in her own humiliation, and Regina merely smirked at her, her confidence coming back quickly when Emma lost her footing in the topic of conversation.
The signing. The humiliation that her son put her through. The exact same shitty smirk she saw on Regina’s lips right now.
“Of course I remember. Swan, Emma Swan.” The teasing tone made the blonde’s cheeks flame and she swallowed back her embarrassment. Well, great.
Still, despite Emma’s reaction, Regina powered on, undeterred as she gained confidence the more she spoke. This woman clearly fed off Emma’s discomfort and used it as a shield to protect herself.
“I certainly couldn’t forget that hideous red leather jacket. It was just a shame that the woman wearing it was too much of a coward to ask me out. I was half tempted to give you my number on my signature, and when I met you the second time, I knew that I needed to take matters into my own hands or I’d never get the chance to have a drink with you.”
Emma flushed darker and she rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly. She wasn’t much of a flirt, not really, but she didn’t need to say that to Regina. The other woman clearly knew.
“Henry would love to meet you… again.” Emma said instead, trying to bury the memory of their first encounter as best as she could, but she already knew that Regina wasn’t going to let it go so easily. Henry would be thrilled. He had idolised Regina, and he likely wouldn’t hesitate before boasting to his peers that he was friends with the Enchantress. He would become the most popular boy in his school virtually overnight.
That and he had seemed to really love Regina when he met her. He hadn’t been able to stop talking about her days after the signing, and Emma wasn’t sure which one of the two of them had actually supposedly been the lovestruck one.
But one thing was for sure: Henry would absolutely love to meet Regina Mills again.
Regina nodded, expression softening once more as she began to speak:
“I would like to explore whatever this is between us. I believe that it’s… unique. Or maybe even special.”
The familiar words from the game made Emma’s heart race and she nodded slowly, reaching out to take Regina’s hand, carefully linking their fingers together in a sign of unity.
“It is.” She agreed softly, before leaning down to catch those red lips in hers once more.
Legendary achievement unlocked: successfully romanced The Enchantress.