When her consciousness slowly came back into focus, Regina realized someone in the room was snoring. She knew it wasn't her. This made her eyes open out of pure curiosity, though she would have preferred to have slept in a bit more. When she did, she was greeted by her fiancé, who was fast asleep in the chair beside her, his neck bent back in a way that definitely could not have been comfortable. What proved to be amusing was the fact that their child was still in his arms, held securely up against his chest. Regina wished she had her phone handy so she could take a picture.
"Robin," she whispered, looking around for something she could wake him up with, since she was forbidden to get up- Doctor's orders. Being completely bedridden wasn't going to be easy for her.
"Robin," she tried again, slightly louder this time. She didn't want to wake up Caroline, and she certainly didn't want to accidentally hit her if she tried throwing something at him.
"Robin seriously, you have to get up." She raised her voice even more, getting tired of listening to him snore.
Snapping his head up, Robin glanced around the room, seeming fairly confused as to where he was. He was surprised to see Caroline was still fast asleep in his arms; that made the memories of what happened that night slowly begin to become clear in his mind.
"What the hell happened last night?" She asked, giving him an inquisitive look, "I was out as soon as Whale put me on that stuff again."
Robin sighed, gently repositioning his little baby in his arms. "Well, Will took the boys home as soon as we finished taking those pictures. He texted me and said that both Roland and Henry passed out in the back of his car. Then you were out cold, and I thought I could get some sleep in here because Caroline was still asleep. But then, she started crying, and I couldn't get her to stop. Whale told me she needed to be fed again, so I suggested waking you up. Then he said I should learn how to do it myself. He spent about a half hour trying to teach me how to make the formula, which I thought was useless, but he insisted I get it right. Even when I fed her, she just wouldn't go to sleep. I just... Held her until I passed out."
Regina cringed. "I'm sorry, really, I am. It was her first night, you can't expect her to sleep through it perfectly."
He was tempted to back a short comeback, but Robin knew she couldn't do anything about the sleeping issue. Just like her, he wished they all could simply go back home. They had survived a snowstorm, the birth of their child, and harassment from friends and family- going home sounded perfect.
"I have no idea if the roads are drivable or not," Robin said, laying Caroline back in her bassinet, "probably not. Hungry? I can go pick you up some orange juice from the diner."
Regina responded by giving him a mock smile, shaking her head slowly. "No thanks. Honestly, I don't know if I can eat there for a while- don't tell Granny that."
Giving her a light laugh, he bent down to place a light kiss on her cheek. "I think I saw a waffle maker in the poor excuse for a kitchen. Then I can call Will about bringing them back over here somehow, since school is cancelled."
Not very surprisingly, the hospital was just about dead at nine in the morning. Robin wondered just how boring it was for Whale, working there every day. He was just about to turn into the preparation room when a familiar face popped out of nowhere, almost hitting the man dead on. Taking a surprised step back, Robin noticed the woman had on a black pencil skirt and a navy blue blazer.
"Sorry, didn't see you there," he attempted, shaking his head in hope to rid some of the awkwardness that had risen between them.
Belle removed the flustered look off her face, gripping the wicker basket tighter with her hands. "Is, uh, Regina's room nearby? I thought I would stop by before work and give her some breakfast."
He noticed she had her makeup done in darker tones, giving her a more uptight look that seemed oddly familiar.
"She's right down this hall- room 34C. I'm sure she'll be happy to see you." He said kindly, giving her a slight nod before turning into the room, pulling out his phone and dialing up his brother. He couldn't be more thankful for Belle being kind enough to give her breakfast; even though she and Regina weren't the closest of friends, it meant he didn't have to mess with the waffle maker.
Regina glanced up in surprise when she heard a light knocking at her closed door. She knew it couldn't be Robin; he wouldn't have even bothered to knock.
"Come in," she said quickly, repositioning herself on the bed so she looked more presentable. Or, rather, as presentable as one could look on a hospital bed.
Out of everyone that could have shown up, she wasn't expecting Belle French. It nearly made her mouth widen to see her standing there in an old blazer of hers and three inch pumps that raised her height substantially.
"Oh hey, what are you doing here?" Regina asked, trying to keep a casual attitude going so the woman wouldn't feel too out of place.
"As mayor, I thought I should stop by and see how you were doing." She said, in her usual caring tone of voice. "Got you breakfast too."Regina smiled warmly at the basket, realizing then how hungry she was.
"I didn't think about how ironic this would be," Belle chuckled, setting the basket down on the edge of her bed, "remember when you were mayor, and you visited me while I was here in the hospital?"
Nodding, Regina's smile ebbed as she began remembering her days of being mayor. Even though she loved being a mom, the power of controlling an entire town was definitely something to be missed.
"I'm not here to give you fake memories, I promise." Belle quickly reassured, beginning to take food out of the basket. She brought bagels with cream cheese, sausage, and both apple and orange juice.
Regina watched in growing inner excitement as Belle carefully prepared a plate for her. She hadn't eaten a thing for an entire day.
"So, how's she doing?" Belle asked, handing her the plate of food and glancing towards the sleeping baby.
Regina smiled, taking absolutely no hesitation in digging into her breakfast.
"She's certainly tired; Robin was up with her almost all night. But she has all of her shots, perfectly healthy... It's just being stuck in this hospital that's dragging us down."
Picking up a cup with one hand and the jug of orange juice in the other, Belle began pouring the queen a glass before she stopped her abruptly.
"Apple juice would suit me better, if you please."
So she set the orange juice down and picked up the other jug secretly amused Regina Mills of all people was so uptight about what she drank.
"Here you go," Belle said with a smile, handing it to her and turning her attention to Caroline. "Ruby was ranting about your baby for at least twenty minutes last night. She was right though, she is adorable."
Regina smiled to herself, knowing she received at least some of that credit. She couldn't help but notice how much Belle had changed in the last couple of months- Regina had always seen her as a pretentious bookworm who couldn't stand on her own two feet without Rumple. But now, she had completely come of her shell, becoming a strong leader for the people of Storybrooke.
"She certainly will be good for us, that's for sure." Regina replied softly, remembering the words of the fortune teller she was fortunate to have run into that day in the villages.
"By the way, how did you get here? Is the snow melting at all?"
The idea of being both kept there by Doctor Whale and horrible weather made her anxious.
"I drove, but I probably shouldn't have. I almost ran into a telephone pole on the way here- Rumple wanted to take me, but I told him I could do it myself."
Regina glanced back down at her plate, noticing she had eaten most of it in such little time- she was still starving.
"The blazer gives you power, doesn't it?" She asked, a sly smile on her lips. "Makes you feel superior."
Belle laughed, taking a sip of her juice and smiling sheepishly. "Yeah, it does! I feel like I can talk to anyone about anything now- it's nice."
For a second, Regina wished she could be back in that blazer. Funny thing was, she had believed the theory that people respected her more when she was mayor.
Contrary to this belief, she realized then that she had become far more social when she gave up the blazer; everyone seemed to still respect her for the most part, but in a friendly way, where they were willing to get to know her better. It felt nice to know that she had gained their respect by being herself, and not because she sat on a throne and barked orders at them.
"So. You like being mayor?" Regina had to ask; the question was killing her inside.
Belle was rather hesitant to answer; she didn't know how much Regina missed not being in office. She certainly didn't want to rub it in, or make her dislike her more than she already presumed she did. The small scene they had caused during Thanksgiving dinner still ran clear in her mind- obviously she and Rumple were still at an unease with one another. And she could respect that, considering the distasteful past they had. Belle loved Rumple; she knew he had changed from the man who once abandoned his son. She and Regina didn't have to be the closest of friends, but she wanted to let her know what she was there for her.
"It's nice," Belle replied, rather vaguely, "I really enjoy the office and all of the staff workers. I think I finally got the hang of writing propositions and file reports."
Regina had noticed she had stopped sending her desperate emails asking for her help. She hated to admit it, but Regina really did miss helping her out.
"That's good," she said, sending her a slight smile, "and how's Rumple doing?"
Out of all the questions she could have asked, Belle was surprised she chose to ask that one. Naturally, a twinge of awkwardness came about, though Belle played if off as best as she could.
"He's doing good, the shop has been busier than ever lately," she began, "but then again, I'm there less and less to help him run it. That's the price of being mayor, I suppose."
Regina nodded, finishing off her apple juice, setting the empty paper cup and plate on the table beside her. She enjoyed the fact that Belle was finally warming up to her, though she couldn't phase the idea that Belle was jealous of her and Ruby's growing friendship over the past few months. The two of them used to be practically joined at the hip before Regina had returned back to Storybrooke.
"Well, you must have a busy day ahead of you," Regina said, just as her daughter began to fuss.
Belle smoothed out her skirt with her hands, picking the basket back up and sending her a smile. "I do- this town can't run by itself. You know you can always call or talk to me if you need anything, right?"
Regina nodded. "Of course. Thank you so much for bringing me breakfast. I think Robin was relieved he didn't have to try and make me anything himself."
Chuckling, Belle gave her one last smile as she opened the door. "That baby is so lucky to have you and Robin as parents," she said, before slipping back into the hallway.Regina let out a heavy sigh, leaning over to get a stronger hold on Caroline as she began to cry in her bassinet. She gathered the baby in her arms, rocking her gently.
Belle was off to her job as mayor while she was attending to her job as a mother.
"Where do you think your daddy went off to?" She asked the infant, hoping nobody was listening on their conversation.
She continued to cradle her in her arms as she cried, remembering how Henry used to cry constantly about every little thing. Babies were completely helpless; they had to depend solely on their mother.
"Your two brothers are so excited that you're finally here. They don't have school today because of the snow. I suppose being born in the middle of a snowstorm makes you tough, which is good, because being tough is something you need in a world like this."
Hearing her mother's calming words finally got Caroline to stop her crying. She looked up at her with watery brown eyes as Regina began wiping away her tears with the tip of her forefinger.
"See, you have nothing to be sad about," Regina smiled, "in fact, you're probably the happiest baby girl in this entire town."
She remembered the words of wisdom Granny had shared with her, years ago when she had just adopted Henry. She told her to tell the child stories, swearing that it worked every time when trying to calm them down. At first, Regina didn't understand why it was so important to do such a thing; babies couldn't possibly comprehend what people say to them. But now, she realized then that it was all based on connecting with one another, gaining trust, and getting the baby used to her voice. Regina couldn't think of a better way to accomplish all these things by not just telling her any story out of the book, but the best story of all- the story of a little princess that was born into the best family in the entire world.
"Snow was going to have a baby, but her baby didn't make it. I know you two would have been really great friends, but that isn't how fate turned out. You already have so many friends and family though, people that love you more than anything. I know that one day, you'll become an amazing young woman; you'll be able to chase any sort of dream you want- that's the one thing I want most for you- for Henry and Roland too- because a happy ending is all anyone can ever ask for."
Regina believed those words, with all her heart.