A/N: Hello there everyone! I can't believe we almost hit 400 reviews on this... It's truly amazing. Keep sharing the love, it really feels good for the muse, who I can say, has made its return (of the Jedi). Alleluia! Anyway, this chapter will I think please many: it's almost entirely Mad Queen! :)
And keep asking questions, folks!
IGottaFindYou asked: "When you talked about "the smile Snow sent Regina on her wedding day", you were talking about Regina and King Leopold, right?"
Yeah, of course. Wasn't I clear enough? Ugh, one of the many default of not being a native, I sometimes keep writing as in French.
PS: I'm definitely in a good mood after last night's match England vs Italy. Finally beautiful football to behold! :D
26. Eighty-second sunset
As soon as she learnt the news, Regina hopped down Dr Whale's table – or, well, rather hurried off it not to bulge the baby too much – and got back to Snow's car in no time.
The Princess was ecstatic to learn it would be a girl, and with a smirk, sent her friend a 'told you so' and a 'all we need now is betrothe your daughter to my son'. Regina had cringed to the thought, but hopefully, Snow was joking.
Her next move was to call Henry. She knew he'd be at school this early in the morning, but fortunately, he had a free period. He got the call on the second tone.
"Mom? Is everything alright?"
Regina smiled at the worried tone of her son. Always worried, always caring for her. It warmed her heart. "Yes, honey. I just wanted to ask if you wanted to have diner with me tonight. If Emma agrees."
There was a pause on the line, and Snow took it as her cue to launch a 'Emma will agree!' towards the phone, making both Regina and Henry chuckle.
He sighed. "You've been to the hospital then."
Regina's smile faltered a little. "You knew I wanted to go alone." She paused. "Next time you can come."
"Promise. Now, do you want to know if it's a boy or a girl or what?"
Henry huffed. "'Course I wanna know!"
"Then diner tonight."
"Grace had invited me over for diner tonight..."
Regina rolled her eyes. Yes, Jefferson's girl was definitely having it for her son. But she didn't mind. One bit. "Tell her she and her father are invited too."
"Yes. Hurry now, before I change my mind."
"Thanks Mom! See you tonight!"
"See you, darling." She hung up and chuckled, directing her gaze towards her for-now chauffeur. "Grace has a massive crush on Henry. She had invited him over for diner."
Snow chuckled. "They're teenagers. Let them live their lives..."
"Oh I know, and I will, just...she keeps telling her father Henry's 'just a friend'."
Snow snorted, very unladylike. "Jefferson needs to go around women sometimes."
"My thoughts exactly."
For the occasion, Regina decided to cook Henry's favourite meal and dessert – her orange sauce chicken and apple pie. She was so happy to be expecting a daughter, sometimes she caught herself talking to her belly.
Things like 'what do you think, princess?' or 'I don't think you'd like a pink bedroom, would you?' and then smiling to herself for her naïve side coming back to the surface.
In secret, she had always wished for a daughter. Henry had been a blessing, but since she had been a lonely mother at that time, having a baby boy to have a 'man' at home had been quite an easy choice. But now she had that 'man' at home, she could have her baby princess, one she'd constantly spoil.
Yes, she could see herself with her daughter, raven-haired and sky-blue-eyed, walking hand in hand in Storybrooke, catching the eye of every inhabitant who would then offer the little girl anything she'd want.
And she'd be loved as her mother had never been...
Even if she wouldn't have a father...
That managed to make Regina's constant smile falter a bit.
Jefferson and Grace took care of bringing Henry, and the first thing the teenager did as her burst into the kitchen was embrace his mother so tight she couldn't breathe.
"It's a sister, isn't it?"
Regina smiled and embraced him back, her eyes closing at the feeling of a true perfect hug. "Yes, it is."
Henry squeezed her tighter, if possible, and when he pulled back, tears were glistening in his grey eyes. "Can I pick the name with you?"
"Of course you can. And you will!" She erased his tears and looked over his head at their guests. "Now go put Grace and Jefferson's coats in the hall."
He smiled brightly and pulled his friend with him in the corridor, leaving the two adults alone.
Jefferson walked towards her slowly and then put his arm in front of him. In the palm of his hand, Regina found a carved wooden rose.
Her eyes met the Hatter's with a curiosity she could not hide. "What is that for?"
He shrugged, smirking. "I thought I'd offer you something for the occasion, and I guessed right too. I knew it'd be a girl. You could only mother a girl." He chuckled.
She took the rose from him, then paused, pondering her next move.
She decided to thank him properly, and hugged him awkwardly before placing a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."
He nodded back with a genuine smile this time.
It was strange how this too had become some kind of a routine, these four people diners at Regina's. She herself had been invited twice at Jefferson's place, and had even had to cook the first time since the Hatter sucked in a kitchen and had managed to burn the pasta. Burn pasta. Really.
So this felt normal, almost ordinary, to her, and felt good too.
Jefferson was the only one with Elsa and Rumpel who had known her before she turned into that bitter person the Evil Queen was, and even if she had betrayed his trust by leaving him behind in Wonderland, he held no grudge, and she held none either.
So their conversation was easy, flowing naturally.
With Grace, it was a bit different.
She was kind of shy around Regina, even if Henry told her time and time again that his mother was nothing like the one who had cursed her all those years prior.
The young girl was still a bit weary.
But somehow, a secret pregnancy had brought a smile to her lips, and for once, she answered Regina's questions without turning the volume down.
"So...who's your favourite teacher at school?"
Grace and Henry shared a look of connivance before she answered. "Naveen is the coolest. He knows a lot of things and tells many stories in class. His lessons are always the best.
Henry nodded. "Yeah, he truly is a great teacher. But I like Merida too."
"Merida? Isn't she the girl with the hair like a raging fire?"
Henry chuckled. "Yeah, well, during the curse it was cut short. But she tries to make it grow back longer. And she likes to..." he laughed to himself, soon joined by Grace, "she impersonates the historical figures. It really is funny."
Regina looked at the children with loving eyes. If she could have known high-school, she was certain that it wouldn't have been as recreative...
Jefferson caught her eye and smirked. "Well, we were taught by people less cool, weren't we Regina?"
She nodded, smiling bitterly. "My lessons were not as agreeable as yours, I can tell you..."
Henry's brow furrowed. "Grand-dad was that bad?"
Jefferson sighed. "You have no idea."
Regina huffed. "Oh come on! You struck quite the deal with him! You got out of that rich!"
"Yes, well, for how long?"
"You've got no one else to blame than yourself for that."
"Yeah, well, let's change the subject, shall we?"
Henry raised his hands. "No, let's not! I want to know! Mom, you knew Jefferson when you were learning magic?"
"Yes darling..." she smiled a little. "He tried to 'help' me revive Daniel by bringing me a scientist from another land. Dr Viktor Frankenstein."
Henry's eyes widened. "Dr Whale?" Regina nodded. "Awesome!"
Grace pushed her empty plate aside and put her head on her hands. "And what happened?"
Jefferson rolled his eyes. "And there we go. We won't be able to get out of this before telling the whole story!"
Regina chuckled. "Good thing we know it by heart, then, isn't it?"
The story wasn't a happy one to tell, but with Jefferson's banter and playful additions to Regina's tale, soon, all four were laughing at the table.
When she was done, Regina stood and gathered the dishes, only to be stopped by her son.
"Leave it, Mom, Grace and I are going to wash it. It's your evening."
She smiled softly and kissed the top of his head as he quietly pushed her to the side, and then walked towards the living-room to sit down.
She let out a sigh of pleasure when her back hit the soft pillows of the cough, and Jefferson chuckled as he sat across from her in the armchair.
She made a face. "What?"
He shrugged. "No much. Only that pregnancy suits you."
"You're the second person to tell me that today."
"Let me guess who's the first...Snow?"
She smirked. "Bullseye."
He chuckled again, then fell silent.
A question that burnt her lips then escaped Regina. "Have you seen Elsa recently?"
Jefferson frowned, then shook his head. "Not in over a week. You?"
Regina sat straighter, and shook her head. "Not in...yeah, close to a week." Her brow furrowed. "Something must have happened."
"Yes, but what?"
Regina was about to stand, to call someone, whatever she could, but fell back into the cough with a sigh. "Let's worry about that tomorrow. I'm exhausted."
Jefferson looked over at the clock on the mantelpiece and his eyes widened playfully. "At eight in the evening! I'm impressed!"
She had half a mind to stuck him her tongue, but thought against it. She was not an eighteen-year-old anymore.
She was on the verge to stand to go prepare the dessert when the doorbell rang.
Jefferson met her eyes. "You want me to get it?"
She nodded. "Please do. I'm going to the kitchen."
Little did she know that her visitors were not the ones she had guessed, and that Jefferson opening her door might seem...too domestic for some...
A/N2: Okay, so, the moment is of importance folks. Some of you have started proposing names for the baby girl. I must say the idea of having one beginning with "R" appeals to me a lot. So, keep giving me names, I'll write them all down, and when Princess R- is born, you'll all know which one I've chosen! :D