"All the small things
True care, truth brings
I'll take one lift
Your ride, best trip"
Emma Swan ran, hand trying desperately to hold her baseball cap down to cover her eyes and face as much as possible. She looked both ways when she reached the Taxi Stop, noticing there was only one cab left. Granted, it was three a.m., so there was little to no activity since it was a weekday, but the look of only one way out of here made her pick up the pace, trying not to be too conspicuous.
As she rushed to the taxi cab, head down to avoid anyone noticing her, she failed to see the taxi already had one person inside. She opened the cab and went inside the car, only taking off her baseball cap once she was inside and the door was closed.
"To The Plaza Hotel, please," she said out of breath. The humidity so typical from the summer breeze made the hairs on her forehead stick to her skin, and she was again reminded that she should have declined that invitation for a drink Lily had suggested and simply went back to the hotel with the rest of her friends.
"Excuse me," a voice to her left made her jump in her seat. She turned around to see a woman in her thirties staring back at her with an unamused look. She was brunette, and the hair barely reached her shoulders; she had a beautiful face that was momentarily ruined by the mascara that was running down her cheeks. She was dressed in a fancy, well-fitting dress in the same colour of her red lips.
"Um, hey," Emma said, after a minute of just staring at her. "Do you want an autograph or something?"
"Why would I want an autograph from someone I don't know?" the woman barely held back the need to raise her voice. She crossed her arms around her chest, the cold temperature coming from the A.C. in the car making her cold. "Get out, this is my cab."
The blonde looked outside. A small crowd had already gathered around the street. She shook her head, knowing if she left the car she wouldn't make it to her hotel until the morning.
"I'll pay you," Emma said, getting out her wallet. She got a couple of one hundred bills out and put them in the seat between them, indicating to the woman she should take it.
"What?" the brunette sniffled, trying to remove the ruined make-up from her face. "Did you rob a bank or something?"
Emma looked at her wallet, then at the bills she had put out for the woman, and finally at the taxi driver, who was looking at her from the rear view with a shocked expression. "No. I just happen to have a lot of money."
"Um, like I would care," she said, grabbing the bills and setting them on Emma's lap. "Go pick another cab, this one is clearly occupied."
"There are no other cabs," Emma said, starting to get frustrated. She had heard New Yorkers were self-indulgent assholes, but she had never had the pleasure to meet one until that moment. "This is the last one."
"Sucks for you," she said, looking out of the window, making it clear the conversation was over.
"I can take the both of you without a problem," the taxi driver said, much too eager.
Emma smiled when she saw the brunette turn around so quickly she might have gotten whiplashed. "See? No problem."
"That's outrageous!" the woman said.
"Hey, his car, his rules," Emma smiled, crossing her arms around her chest and setting her head against the headrest. Man, was she tired. "Take her to her destination first, if it's not much of a bother," she said, looking at the driver.
"I can't believe this," the woman said, moving her hair out of her face.
"What happened?" Emma asked.
"Why do you even care?" the woman closed her eyes, but Emma wasn't sure if it was to hold back tears or an anger outlet.
"I don't," said the blonde. "But we might as well have a conversation, since the GPS says it'll take at least twenty minutes to get to your destination."
"Oh, look, you can read. How surprising."
"I'm Emma. Emma Swan," she spreaded out her hand so she could shake it, but after a few minutes she dropped. "Okay. You don't have to be such a bitch."
"Well, I'll let you know I'm not a bitch, I just got broken up by my boyfriend of three years when I thought she was going to propose to me."
"Holy shit," Emma said. "That fucking sucks. I'm sorry. I take it back that you're a bitch."
"It's whatever," the woman said. "I'm Regina Mills."
"Emma Swan," the blonde repeated.
"I know," Regina smirked. "You just said it."
"Oh," her cheeks began to turn red.
"So, what made you jump into my cab like a scared cat?"
"I'd like to think it was destiny who brought me here," Emma blinked an eye at her. "But in reality I was… running away from some people."
Regina's eyebrows furrowed in concern. "Is everything okay? Do you have a safe place to stay?"
"What? Oh, yeah. Definitely. It was nothing like that, though I appreciate the worry."
"So you really rob a bank after all," she teased.
"Guess you'll never know," she smiled.
"I was so excited for the date," Regina began, thinking it was better to just get it off of her chest. Might as well do it with a nice stranger, and maybe she was a little bit drunk. "Henry, my son, was going to his first concert tonight with my sister. And Robin suggested we go out since we were alone, and he made a reservation in this very fancy restaurant and I thought… I was being stupid."
"No, you weren't," Emma put a hand on top of Regina's, trying to provide some comfort. "There's nothing stupid in having hope for the future."
"Well, to me it looks like it is now," Regina shook her head. "Silly me. No one would want to compromise themselves with a single mom who has a crazy schedule."
"Did he say that?"
"In between line four and fifteen of his long-ass speech, yes."
"Then he's fucking stupid," Emma said, squeezing her hand.
"Anyone who can't see how amazing you are is stupid. And if your kid is anything like you, then he's awesome as well. Maybe he couldn't take too much awesomeness because he was too boring."
"Oh, he was," Regina said, the weight on her chest lifting a little. "A lawyer."
"Ug, I hate lawyers."
"So do I, now."
Emma tilted her head back and laughed. Regina stared at her for a few seconds before she too was laughing. They kept doing so until the cab came to a sudden stop.
"We're here," the man said.
"Wow, you live here?" Emma said, looking at the fancy row of apartments that occupied most of the street.
"No, my sister does," Regina said, looking for her purse. "We came here for the concert. We actually live in a small town a few hours from here."
"Damn, your sister's got money," Emma laughed. She put the stack of bills in front of Regina's face. "The trip is on me, for letting me use your cab."
"That won't be necessary-"
"You had a shitty day," she got a pen out her back pocket and wrote down her name on a piece of paper. "Let someone do something nice for you. Here, you can call me if you want to keep saying shit about that Robin."
"Thank you," Regina said genuinely. "I'll keep that in mind."
Regina left the cab. As she watched the car leave, a gust of hot air moved around the street, and the little piece of paper she had shoved in her purse disappeared with it.
"Always, I know
You'll be at my show"
"Mom! Mom!" Henry called from upstairs. "Neverland!"
"You want to watch Peter Pan?" Regina asked, turning around from the kitchen counter where she was making breakfast.
"No! Neverland, the band I like!" he shoved the iPad down her nose. "Look! They're coming back to New York! We have to go, mom. We have to!"
"Okay, Henry," she said, pushing the tablet away from her face when she heard her phone ringing. "Yes? Oh, hey, Zelena- yeah, okay. Henry! Your aunt wants to talk to you!"
"Zelena!" the boy said cheerfully.
"Hey, munchkin," a voice sounded from the phone Regina had put on speakers. "Did you see their tweet? They're coming back to New York!"
Henry smiled, nodding even though he was aware his aunt couldn't see him. "Yes, I did! I was just telling mom about it!"
"Well, guess what?" the woman on the phone said, with over exaggerated mystery that made Regina roll her eyes. "I might or might have not gotten us Meet and Greet tickets for the show."
"Already?" Regina asked. Even though she didn't understand much of concerts and the music industry in general, she knew tickets were put on sale a few days after the dates were announced, not the same day.
"Maybe I had a conversation yesterday with that guy who works at Madison Square Garden I- I met a few weeks ago and he let me know the Meet and Greet tickets would be out today as a surprise, and I may have woken up pretty early to get them."
"You're the best, Lena!" Henry said, jumping onto the counter to be closer to the phone.
"I know I am, Henry. Please, never cease to tell me that, even when I'm old."
"I won't!" Henry said, smiling.
"But, there's always a downside, Regina," the brunette rolled her eyes. Here we go. "Meet and Greet requires the presence of at least one parent or guardian if they're younger than fifteen."
"What?" Regina almost dropped the pancake she had been flipping around in the pan. "Why can't you go with Henry?"
"'Cause I didn't push him out of my vagina!"
Henry laughed loudly as Regina stood there, looking unamused. "When is it, then?"
"You'll go, mom?" Henry asked, looking hopeful. There was no point in him thinking she wouldn't go, as she would do anything to make him happy, even if it involves going to a place full of sweaty teenagers congregated in the same small place.
"Of course I will," she said, smiling. She pushed away the thought of how unpleasant it would be, and instead focused on Henry's smile.
"Cool!" he jumped to the ground. "I'm going to tell Grace!"
"Come back down for breakfast!" Regina said. "Okay, send me the date and tell me how long it will take," she looked at the phone, a mixture of gratitude and resent for her sister growing inside of her.
"It'll be in a few months. February or something. I don't know, I can't remember."
"It doesn't matter," Regina said, putting more of the pancake mixture into the pan. "Thank you so much for this. You know how much Henry loves that band."
"Oh, believe me, it wasn't just for him," Zelena said. "Have you seen them? They're all super hot. With some luck, I might charm one of them."
"Yeah, in your dreams."
"Oh, I've had a few of those, alright."
"Jesus, Zelena, don't be so direct."
"And you don't be so prude."
"Whatever, I'll call you back later," she said. "Henry! Go say goodbye to your aunt!"
"Bye, Zelena," the boy said, running down the stairs.
Time passed by. Christmas came and went, and soon enough Regina was standing in front of a small queue, wrapped up in a thick coat and wrapping her scarf around Henry's neck. Zelena, as tall and gorgeous as ever, was standing by their side, perfectly still as if the cold February breeze didn't bother her at all.
"Leave the poor kid alone, Gina, you're going to suffocate him," the redhead said. Just like Regina and Henry, she was wearing a thick, green coat that reached a little over her knees, and a black scarf elegantly wrapped around her neck and down her shoulders.
As always, she looked like a supermodel minutes before walking the catwalk, and Regina was starting to consider if maybe the joke that she could get one of the ridiculous band members interested in her was more than just a stupid joke.
"Well, I don't want him to catch the flu and neither do you, Zelena ," she said, letting go of the scarf to put her hands on her hips. "Or should I remind you that we're staying with you for the weekend?"
"I don't see how that concerns me," Zelena said, the British accent she had picked up on from studying abroad in University of Oxford rolling down her tongue like it had always been there.
"Well, we'll be living in the same space for forty-eight hours, and you hate being sick."
After a moment of silence, Zelena smiled. "Do you want my scarf as well, Henry?"
"Nah, I'm good- look! We're finally moving!"
"I still don't understand how they let us wait outside in the middle of winter," Regina, as always, couldn't stop herself from complaining.
"'Cause this is aimed for young people, not the elderly like you."
"Excuse me?" the brunette gave her sister a long look. "You're older than me."
"I might be, but I don't look like it," she smiled, spinning around and grabbing Henry's hand to do the same. "You look much older than me," she smiled, shoving the CDs Henry had bought with him so they could sign them into Regina's arm. "Before you murder me, I'm going to get us some coffee and hot chocolate for my favourite boy."
After a little bit of an hour, and two trips to the cafeteria nearby, they finally entered the avenue through one of the back doors. There, security told them to throw away the coffee cups that were luckily empty and, after checking their tickets and IDs, they were guided to a big room with curtains around it. Through the cracks, Regina could make up light coming from some flashlights that all pointed to the same place.
A group with four people, standing together as they talked with the two teenagers that were in front of them at the queue. They were both crying, but Regina decided not to comment on it because she knew Henry and probably Zelena would cry as well.
After another five long minutes, the two girls left with printed photos of the small photo shoot they had taken with the band had left through another door that probably led to the dance floor of the stadium.
Henry gasped and Zelena made a noise Regina couldn't quite place, but all the air left her lungs when she saw a blonde head in between three other people.
The band, Neverland, was composed by Killian "Hook" Jones, the drummer; Lily Page, the bass player; August Booth, the guitarist, and Emma Swan, vocalist and second guitarist.
And Regina would have known that if only she had turned around one of the CDs still in her hands to see the band. But of course, as much as loved Henry, she completely turned him off whenever he talked about the band.
Oh, great. Great . Just great.
"Holy shit," Emma said, eyes on the woman. "Regina?"
Zelena, who had raised Henry in her arms so he could hug all the band members, quickly turned around.
"You guys know each other?" after a moment of tense silence where Emma kept looking at Regina with her mouth open and the other woman tried to look away and hide her blush, Zelena gasped, shoving Henry into Lily's arms unceremoniously. "You fucked the Swan and you didn't even tell me? How dare you, Regina!"
"Is there a problem?" one of the security members asked, stepping between the two women and the band.
"No," Emma said quickly, shaking her head. "Just an old friend. Okay, where is that cute little guy I saw earlier?" she looked around and saw Henry all but running up to her, waving his arms. He tugged on Regina's coat.
"Mom, the CDs!" he said, sounding offended that she was making him waste time from talking to his hero. "Look, I got them all!" he raised them. The band, completely forgetting the previous incident, gathered around the cute little boy, pouring all their attention into him.
They talked with Henry and Zelena for a while, and signed all his CDs. Regina stood aside, because she didn't understand much of what they were talking about (she really should have paid more attention to Henry instead of zooming out) and because she felt way too awkward about the whole scene she had caused with Emma, the woman she met months ago who was apparently a rock star.
Her life was like a poorly written fanfiction.
"Alright, time for the photo," the man who was standing on one of the sides, a cane in hand, said.
"Alright. The little guy has to be in the middle," Emma said. "Is it okay if I grab him and put him on my shoulders?" for the first time since their meeting, Emma talked to her.
"Yes. Sure," Regina nodded, and watched with a small smile as Henry laughed in delight at being treated with such warmth by his number one idol.
They posed for the photo, Zelena standing way too close to August. Regina stood by the other side, smiling at the camera and wishing she could simply disappear from that place.
"Alright, here is your picture!" the cheerful photographer said, handing over three copies. Henry kept staring at it, and Regina knew he would have it framed as soon as they were home.
"Yo, Big Rob!" Emma called, and one of the security guys once they started to walk away to the door. The security guy turned around and nodded, indicating she had his attention. "Take them backstage, won't you?"
"Say it ain't so, I will not go
Turn the lights off, carry me home"
"I can't believe you knew the lead singer of your son's favourite band and you never mentioned it," Zelena said, in a low voice so as to not get caught by Henry. They were following Big Rob as he guided them down corridors.
"I didn't know, all right?" Regina looked ahead of her to make sure Henry was far away so he wouldn't hear the conversation, and also to ensure he was safe and hadn't gotten lost somehow. "She got into my cab the night Robin broke up with me, and we talked, but I totally forgot about it until today."
"Oh, so she got into your cab? Is that what they call it nowadays?"
"Zelena!" she whispered-shout. "Not now. We talked in the cab and then she gave me her number."
"Oh my god, she gave you her number," she said, her voice sounding like one of those short videos Henry usually showed her. "Can it be more cliché? She's super famous but you don't know her, she invited you backstage when you see each other after months of yearning-"
"You're getting way ahead," Regina said, but her cheeks turned red nonetheless. "She was just a kind woman who cheered me up when I needed it, nothing more."
"But she gave you her number."
"Because she's kind."
Zelena slapped her in the back of the head. "She's not kind, she wants to eat your-"
"We're here," Big Rob said. Regina looked around. They were in a big corridor, white marble floors and walls decorated with pictures upon pictures of all the different artists that had performed there over the years the place had been open.
On one of the sides, in a stand, two guitars and a bass guitar were resting against it. A man next to them who had clearly been the one to tune them and plug them in into the venue's sound system gave them a quick look before sharing another one with Big Rob.
"They're with the band," the security member said.
"Look, mom!" Henry said for the twelfth time that day, pointing at the place where the younger man was. "Those are their guitars! Can I touch them?"
"Of course you can, kid," Emma said, behind Regina's back.
The brunette turned around as Zelena said, in a way-too-loud voice. "Hey, hottie! How is it going?"
Regina closed her eyes and counted to ten. She felt a little brush against her shoulder, and turned around to see Emma putting her guitar, completely black with white details all over it, in front of Henry. She was standing behind the boy, kneeling down, and gently guided his hands over the guitar, teaching him a few choruses.
Henry's smile could illuminate the entire stadium with no need of led lights, Regina was sure of it.
"How did you get here so soon?" she found herself asking.
Emma raised her head, connecting her stare with Regina's. "You three were almost the last ones. And Big Rob made you take the long way, since you're not VIP," she winked at the big man, who stood still, his face not showing any emotion.
"That's a first for me," Zelena said, putting her phone back in her coat pocket. She had been taking photos of Emma and Henry, and Regina was secretly thankful for it because she had never seen something as cute as those two together.
Emma laughed. "Damn, we have a little rock star in the room today," she complimented, smiling. Henry giggled, turning his neck to look at Emma with adoration.
"Oh yes, already stealing hearts left and right," Zelena said, kneeling down to take even more pictures of her nephew and the blonde. "Oi, you've already won over the son and sister."
Regina's eyes popped open, but Emma simply laughed. "Good to know," she blinked at the redhead. "Are you two actual sisters? Your accents are so different."
"Oh, we are," Zelena said. "I went to college in the U.K. and the accent stuck."
"The door will open in twenty minutes," a boy with headphones and microphone said. He had a tablet in his hand, and he barely paid them any attention.
"I'll go look for the others," Big Rob said, walking away.
"Can I have it back, kid?" Emma asked, pointing at the guitar.
"Yes!" the boy nodded, trying to hand it over. He failed to notice that Emma had been holding it the whole time, aware he wouldn't be able to stand the entire weight of it.
"Thanks, buddy," she stood up, passing the guitar strap over her shoulders. "Well, where are you guys going to watch the show?"
"I got us tickets in the nosebleed, since this one over here is too small for other seats," Zelena pointed at Henry, who was scrolling through his aunt's phone and looking at the photos.
"Well, you can have VIP seats if you want. They're empty anyways," for measurement, she gave the tune guy (as Regina had decided to call him) a look, to make sure what she had just said was true. The boy nodded, getting out another tablet to start typing on it.
"Fantastic!" Zelena said, at the same time Regina said "That won't be necessary."
"Please, it'd be a waste not to. We normally let fans into the VIP section when it's empty or only has the media over to cover the concert."
"Well, in that case-"
"Great," Emma nodded at the tune guy. "He'll take you there."
"Late night, come home
Work sucks, I know"
"Thanks again for this," Regina said, leaning against the wall outside the entrance to the apartment complex. Luckily, Henry had been taken home by Zelena, who had been able to see between the lines and notice they wanted some time alone. "I've never seen Henry as happy as he had been today. Really, it means a lot."
"And did you have fun?"
Regina was suddenly touched by the question. Sure, it was casual, and most wouldn't have even picked up on it, but the brunette noticed. It was nice, to have someone concerned about her just because; no ulterior motives, no blood link connecting the two of them, no the sense of loyalty that came from a relationship… No, Emma was simply a person - a good person - and she cared for her. And that meant the world to her.
"I did, actually," she found herself saying.
"I'm glad to hear it," Emma smiled, shoving her hands in her back pockets since she didn't know what to do with them. "Listen… Can I call you? I know you never actually did, and I don't want to push into something that you don't want, but I kind of like you and… yeah."
"Sure," Regina said. "I- I didn't not call you," she began, grabbing a notepad from her purse (yes, she still carried those around even though she had a phone, sue her) as well as a pen, and scribbled down her phone number. "I just- the paper you gave me, it got lost."
"Hey, you don't owe me any explanation."
"I want to give it to you anyway," Regina said, handing over the piece of paper and grabbing onto Emma's arms. God, she had good arms. Probably as good as her heart. "I seriously, genuinely lost it on my way upstairs. I couldn't see properly so I shoved it in my purse and- the next morning I searched for it and I couldn't find it, and I didn't know how else to reach you, so I kind of forgot about it."
"It's okay," said Emma, her voice low due to the proximity. "Maybe destiny wanted us to meet again before we could exchange numbers."
Regina laughed, eyes shining with happiness. "Maybe."
"And who are we to go against destiny," Emma stepped even closer, pushing Regina a little against the white wall.
"Yep," the brunette whispered. She closed her eyes and let the other woman close the distance, their lips touching and sending chills down her spine.
"Holy shit," the blonde said after they broke the kiss. Her cheeks were red, and Regina didn't know if it was because of the cold, or her.
"How eloquent," Regina whispered, taking her hands from Emma's neck to wipe out the lipstick stain she had left on the blonde's mouth. "I hope you call."
"I will," she said, maybe a little too soon. "I will. I wouldn't want to anger destiny and all that, y'know."
"Yes, I know," Regina laughed, feeling like a teenager after such a long, long time of being a responsible adult. But Emma brought out that side of her, and she had discovered she didn't mind it quite as much as she had first thought.
"Fuck, I have to go back," Emma said. "The band- we leave in the morning, so we will be sleeping in the tour bus-"
Regina put a finger on her mouth, on those sweet lips she had just kissed. "Don't worry. I get it."
"Work sucks," Emma said against her finger, leaning in for another kiss.
"I know," the brunette husked, closing the distance between the two of them.
"Wake up, celebrity," Zelena said the next morning, shaking her sister slightly from side to side to make her get up.
"What did you call me?" Regina asked, sitting in the bed of one of Zelena's guest rooms.
"What you are now," she said jokingly, throwing her phone into her bed.
"What- oh, shit."
On the screen was an article on a famous celebrity's web.
Emma Swan, finally taken?
Behind that headline, a few photos of Emma and Regina kissing the night before were shown.
We've known and loved Swan, from the hit-maker band "Neverland" for quite a while. Despite her coming out as bisexual a few years prior during pride month, she had never been romantically involved with anyone, until yesterday.
In the steamy photos, you can see Emma passionately kissing a woman we had yet to identify.
Is this the blossom of a new relationship, or a one night stand caught by a lucky paparazzo? Is Emma Swan sadly out of the market?
"Oh no indeed," Zelena said. She was leaning against the doorframe, and was smiling way too much. "Look at you, all grown up making out with girls."
"Shut up," she said, rubbing her forehead. Her phone rang. An unknown number popped up, but she picked it anyway.
"Hey," a timid voice said. "It's me, Emma. Emma Swan. The girl you- uh, Emma. Hey. Regina?"
"Oh, hey Emma," the woman said, looking up to see Zelena had thankfully left the room.
"Did you see it?" she asked, in a small voice.
"I think everyone saw it."
"Yep. Rumors spread fast," Emma cleared her voice. "Listen, I'm so sorry you had your privacy violated like that."
"So did you."
"Yeah, but I'm famous."
Regina furrowed her eyebrows. "You're still a human."
There was silence at the other end of the line for so long Regina put it off her ear to see if she had hung up.
"Wow. Even sometimes I forget about it," she joked with no humour in her voice. "So, you don't mind?"
"Not at all."
"And you're not mad?"
"Not at you. It wasn't your fault."
"Cool. Cool. Super cool," after another moment of silence, the blonde spoke. "So, how is Henry?"
"Still over the moon. Zelena is taking him out today so they can print out all the photos they took yesterday."
"They took quite a few of 'em," she joked, finally sounding cheerful.
"I think they're making a photo album."
Emma laughed, and the sound was so beautiful and calm Regina felt her heart twist at the thought.
"She left me roses by the stairs
Surprises let me know she cares"
Four months later, Neverland finally ended their European tour leg and were heading back home. Emma, who had an apartment in New York and was where she spent most of her time outside the band since it had a studio in it, took a plane to New York as her friends teased her about her secret lover she was going to reunite with.
Of course, they knew about Regina. In fact, anyone who interacted with Emma knew the brunette. Regina said… Regina is the mayor of this small town… Regina's kid told me… Hold on, Regina is calling me. All that, constantly, like a broken record. However, no matter how annoying she was, it made August, Lily and Hook happy to see her so excited over someone. They always seemed to comment on how for some reason, the media still had not figured out Emma Swan's secret girlfriend. (Emma had paid a really good lawyer to come to an agreement that Regina would be left alone no matter the circumstances. But no one knew that apart from the people involved. The rest of the band knew, but she didn't know that they knew).
Once the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, she gathered her baggage from tour, her guitar suitcase, and followed the driver who her manager, Mr. Gold (or Rumplestiltskin, as the band called him for his way of getting out of trouble by making deals), had gotten for her.
She put everything in the boot of the car with the help of the driver and got inside, sitting in the backseat. She got her phone out, opening the messages app and clicking on Regina's contact.
just got off the airport. omw to my aprtmnt and then to Storybook
And I can't wait to see you
I have a surprise for you ;)
a bear claw??? :P
Almost a day later, Emma got off of her yellow beetle after crossing the Storybrooke town line. Everyone always made fun of her car, but she was quite fond of it as it was her foster mother's car back when she was in college. She must have spent enough money fixing it to buy a brand new car, but she loved the old piece of crap too much to do it. That had its disadvantages, of course, the main one being that she was easily recognised when she was driving it through a busy city.
She closed the car door and stood in front of Mifflin Street. In front of her was a house big enough to be considered a mansion. Its entirety was white, and it screamed elegance and money everywhere she looked.
Just like Regina.
She swallowed down her nerves and opened the gates, walking inside the little front garden and onto the front door, where she stood up in front of for a few minutes. After gathering her courage, she knocked on the door, grabbing the small suitcase she had brought with her.
Regina seemed to be taking her time, so much Emma was about to grab her phone to ask the brunette her address again, just in case she had got it wrong, but was stopped by the door swinging open.
The mayor of Storybrooke was standing inside, wearing a silk dressing gown in the richest red colour she had ever seen. Her legs were bare, and the only visible make-up was the one on her red lips.
"Holy shit," Emma said finally. "Do you usually dress like that when you're home? 'Cause I might just move in-"
Regina hushed her down with a strong kiss, almost having to stand on her tiptoes to do so since she wasn't wearing any heels. "No, I don't. This is a special occasion."
"And what's the occasion?" Emma asked, eyes unfocused.
"You, silly," Regina bopped her nose. "Come inside, you deserve a good welcome home," she put the suitcase by the door after closing it, and dragged Emma upstairs. The blonde followed, her mind numb as she tried to understand what was going on.
"Wait, are we going to-"
"Yep," they made it upstairs, where Regina opened the door to the master bedroom. The inside was illuminated by candles. As Emma was pushed inside and Regina moved to close the door, Emma finally looked at the bed, where there were petal roses laying on top of the covers.
"I did," Regina said, stepping back into Emma's personal space. Not that she minded. "Do you like it?" she sounded shy all of the sudden, and the blonde turned around to look at her. Noticing her hesitation, she grabbed her cheeks and kissed her hard on the mouth.
"I love it," she whispered against her mouth. "But, are you sure? I don't want us to rush into things, I want to take things slow."
"We've been in a long-distance relationship for almost five months. I don't think there is a way of taking things slower."
"With some friends," Regina said, trailing kisses down the younger woman's neck.
"Great," she whispered, pushing Regina onto the bed as they both giggled.
"Just say it ain't so, I will not go
Turn the lights off, carry me home"
"This is the only school in town," Regina said, pointing at a big building on one side of the road. "It's close since it's summer break, but there's not much to see of it. The inside is plain and boring."
"Just like I remember school," Emma smiled. Regina pushed her lightly with her hip, resting her hand on the blonde's inner elbow.
"Don't say that around Henry or he might try to marry you," Regina half joked.
"He already loves me," Emma said, puffing off her chest dramatically. "Where is he, by the way?"
"With some friends. I already told you."
"Yeah, well, you were half naked when you shared that information so excuse me for not paying much attention."
"Idiot," Regina giggled and pressed a kiss on her cheek. She guided them down a street. "And this is Granny’s. The best diner in town, but only because there is no other diner in town."
"I heard you, Mills," said an old woman behind them, who was sweeping out the floor. Every now and then she would stop to wipe sweat off her forehead.
"Hey, ma'am, do you need help with that?" Emma asked, noticing the woman looked tired.
"Oh, no, I wouldn't want you to work."
"It's no bother, really. Here, let me, please."
"Well, if you don't mind…" Granny handed over the broom, giving Regina a nod. The brunette knew exactly what it meant; you finally picked a good one.
"Just getting off the leaves, right?" Emma asked, already moving the broom around. She grabbed the dustpan that was resting against the wall and began throwing away the leaves into the trash as she moved around the property.
"Yes. Oh, dear, it's so nice of you," Granny said, sitting down on one of the outside chairs. She rested her elbows on the table, looking at the woman with a grateful smile.
Emma turned around to look at Regina. "Get inside. It's hot out here," she said. "Order something for me. I'll be there in just a sec'."
Hesitantly, Regina stepped inside, walking to a booth that had an outside view of where the blonde was, so she could enjoy the vision that was Emma in a white tank top working under the sun.
"The same as always, Gina?" Ruby asked, startling Regina.
"Hey, yes. Add a coke to the list."
"Is Henry coming?" Ruby asked with a smile. The little kid was just too adorable for his own good.
"No, someone else. Look, there she is," Regina pointed with her chin at the entrance, where Emma and Granny were entering the diner.
"No fucking way," Ruby said, almost dropping her notepad that she hardly used but always carried around when attending clients. "That's Emma Swan."
"You know her?" Regina asked, surprised. Ruby's jaw was almost touching the floor.
"Of course I know her," she said in a hushed tone. "Everybody knows her. She's Emma Swan ."
"Hey," Emma smiled, walking up to her booth. Ruby stood still, mouth still open. "Um- hello?"
"Emma Swan," Ruby said, throwing her arm into the air and then around the blonde. "I'm a huge, huge fan. Can you sign my boob?"
"Ruby!" Regina and Granny said at the same time.
"Sorry. Here, sign this, please," she showed the blonde the notepad and a pen, and the blonde took it with a smile.
"What's your name, love?" Emma asked.
"Ruby. Ruby Lucas."
"There you go," she handed them back when she was done writing.
"Ruby! Work!" Granny screamed from the kitchen.
"Right, sorry," she smiled. "Thank you for this."
"You're welcome," Emma said, sitting opposite Regina. She smiled at the brunette, clearly not at all faced by the younger brunette.
"Wow, that was something," Regina said, not used to seeing the confident young girl so out of her element.
"What, Ruby?" Emma asked, genuinely curious. "Not at all. You see them sometimes. There was this woman who saw me at a Meet and Greet and just stopped moving. She looked so shocked."
Regina rolled her eyes, wishing they second first meeting could be erased from their minds. "Maybe she was just surprised to see you."
"Nah, I think she had a crush on me," Emma blinked.
"There you go," Ruby said, having already returned. She set both beverages down on the table, each of them in front of the other.
"So," said the girl, sitting down beside Emma. "Is it true that you and Hook are a thing?"
Regina, after hearing that, raised an eyebrow at the blonde.
"Nope. We're just friends."
"Dang it," Ruby said. "Goodbye to my Captain Swan dreams."
"Besides," Emma smiled, taking a sip of her drink. "I have my eyes on someone else."
Ruby looked between the two of them, and it seemed she finally put the pieces together. "Oh, I see. You lucky bastard," she told Regina.
"What's a Captain Swan?" Regina asked after she had cleared her throat, wanting to change the conversation's topic.
"Yeah. Like, when you like two people together and want them to date."
"Oh," Regina said. "So where does the name come from?"
"Well, you see," Ruby began as Emma chuckled against her glass. "Killian's nickname is Hook, like Captain Hook from Peter Pan. That's where the name of the band came from," the blonde nodded along. "So he's Captain, and she's the Swan."
"How… creative ."
"His nickname," continued Ruby. "Is because everyone always told him he had a mean left hook."
"You're like a walking Wikipedia," Emma laughed.
"Oh, well, y'know," Ruby blushed. "It's mostly from hearing Henry talk about Neverland, really."
"Well, Miss Lucas, I would suggest you get back to work before Granny sees you're not attending that couple over there."
"Shit," Ruby raised from her seat.
"That was mean. Everyone is already served," Emma laughed.
"Oh, really?" Regina had the decency to look coy. "Must have slipped my mind."
"Say it ain't so, I will not go
Turn the lights off, carry me home
Keep your head still, I'll be your thrill
The night will go on, my little windmill"
Emma had been residing in the Mills Household for less than a week, yet it still felt natural for the three of them. Henry was legited when he heard Emma was staying with them for a while. In fact, the blonde had been teaching her how to play guitar.
Thank god they didn't have neighbours around.
It was a quiet, warm night, the air conditioner making the entire house comfortable and homey. Emma was sitting on the couch, with Regina pressed against her side. They were sharing a bottle of red wine after putting Henry to sleep.
"Damn, I could get used to this," Emma said, putting her feet up on the table.
"Me too," Regina said, head resting on Emma's chest. She grabbed her wrist, turning it around to stare at the tattoo that had already caught her attention a couple of times. "What does it mean?"
"Wha- oh. It's about my mom," Emma said, looking at it with a smile on her face.
"I thought you told me you were an orphan."
"Legally speaking I am. Found as baby in the middle of the woods by another foster boy."
"August," Regina whispered.
"Exactly," Emma smiled. "We became instant friends. I think he's my brother. He ended up getting adopted into this nice house. It was a single mother, her name was Ingrid, and when August told her about me, she asked to adopt me as well."
"Yep. She adopted me when I was twelve and August was sixteen. With the blonde hair and the blue eyes, we genuinely looked like we were related."
"I can imagine," Regina smiled, picturing a young Emma alongside August and Ingrid.
"The tattoo is her name in Norwegian," she continued. "And a Swan underneath it. Quite explanatory."
"Indeed," said Regina. "I'd like to meet her."
"She keeps telling me that every time we talk on the phone."
"I can't wait to meet her."
"And I can't wait to introduce you to every single person I know."
"Say it ain't so, I will not go
Turn the lights off, carry me home"
"Emma! Mom!" Henry screamed from his swing. "Look!"
"Yes, dear, we see," Regina said. "Don't go that far up."
"He's something else, that kid," Emma laughed, watching him begin to slow his velocity.
"So, I've been thinking," the blonde sneaked her hand around Regina's, who interlocked them happily.
"That's quite strange."
"Shut up," Emma rolled her eyes. "I've been thinking about… I don't know, staying here for a while. For the rest of the summer, maybe even until after Christmas. I might rent a place at Granny's to stay."
"I'm sure you'd get a good discount," Regina smiled. "But there is no need. You can stay with us."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course. Do you know how much I'm saving on guitar lessons?" she smiled, eyes quickly going to Henry to make sure he was fine before looking back at the blonde. "You can stay as long as you want."
"What if I want to stay forever?" Emma whispered.
"Then tomorrow is a good day to start," Regina replied, kissing the blonde softly.
"Keep your head still, I'll be your thrill
The night will go on, the night will go on, my little windmill"
Emma did stay in Storybrooke. For Christmas, and then for Valentine's day, and the months turned into years. She went away for a couple of months on time due to touring and doing promo, but usually was seen in her and Regina's bedroom facetiming her band as they worked on new music. They were already planning on installing a home studio in one of the guest rooms. (Henry was way too excited over it, so much that Regina feared he might decide not to go to college to start his own band.)
At the moment, they were on their way to a fancy restaurant to celebrate their fourth year anniversary.
"I can't believe this thing still works," Regina said, tapping the car.
"Hey, she's strong like her mom," Emma smiled, caressing the steering wheel with love.
"You know you do have a son that is not a car, right?" Regina raised her eyebrows.
"What? Oh, yeah, definitely." Regina laughed, and the noise was so beautiful Emma almost missed her turn. After a few more minutes, the car stopped. "We're here," Emma quickly got out of the car, rushing to Regina's side to open her door. The brunette looked at the restaurant.
"How fancy. I'm surprised, coming from someone like you," Regina teased.
"Well, I'll let you know I'm quite the fancy girl when I want to."
"Oh, are you?" Regina wrapped her arms around Emma's neck. "That's brand new information for me."
Emma kissed her softly, eyes travelling down. She was wearing a red dress with black heels, and she looked as beautiful as ever. She couldn’t take her eyes away from her.
"Well, let's go eat, shall we?"
"What about your car?" Regina asked when they left the restaurant after a nice meal together. Within the happiness of the night, it hadn't really crossed her mind that Emma had drunk wine, no matter how little, and was supposed to drive them home.
"I'll call someone to drive it to Storybrooke tomorrow," she said, wrapping her arms around Regina's waist. She guided them to a taxi cab, opening the door for her.
"Sometimes I forget you're famous or whatever."
"Or whatever?" the blonde asked, entering the car after Regina.
"Where to?" asked the man, looking at them through the rear view.
"To the rest of our days," Emma said, smiling.
Regina frowned her eyebrows. "Emma, are you drunk?"
"No, I'm perfectly fine," she smiled. "In fact, I'm more than great. I'm happy," she said, grabbing her hand and kissing the back of it.
"So am I, dear."
"Don't you recognise this place?"
"What place? New York?"
"No, this taxi cab."
"Wha- no, I don't."
"This is where we met."
"We met in a taxi cab, but not in this one."
"Actually, we did," Emma said, pointing with her chin at the man driving. "And he took you to your sister's apartment, and then took me to my hotel."
"Emma, what are you talking about?"
"I might have contacted the taxi company and asked about the night we met. And I might have paid him to take us on another trip."
"How is that even possible?"
"Money. I had to pay him a lot of money 'cause he is retired."
"Not tonight," said the man with a smile.
"But why would you go through all that trouble?"
"Because I wanted to ask you properly," Emma said, hand in the pocket of her jacket.
Emma got the small velvet box out and opened it, revealing a fancy ring with diamonds all around it.
"Regina Mills, meeting you that night was the best thing that has ever happened to me," she smiled. "You've changed my life for the better, and I want to stay in yours for as long as I'm allowed. Will you marry me?"
"Yes," Regina nodded, moving over to kiss Emma. She couldn’t believe she was yet again crying in a taxi cab, but for a completely different reason.
"She said yes, David!" Emma screamed. The man laughed in delight, sounding the honk a couple of times. "Wow. You said yes."
"Of course I did, idiot."
"But I'm your idiot," she got the ring out of the box and slided into Regina's ring finger. "A perfect fit. Like us."
"Don't tell me this is what you were whispering about Henry and you a few days ago."
"Of course it was," Emma said, sounding offended. "I needed to have his blessings. Otherwise I wouldn't have proposed."
Emma shook her head. "I love that kid to death. I wouldn't do anything that would bother him or make him uncomfortable."
"How sweet," Regina whispered, caressing the blonde's cheek. She kissed her again, just because she could.
"Hope the wind doesn't take this ring with it, eh?" Emma whispered against Regina's lips.
"It won't. I promise."
And Emma believed her.