We Can Love Again

Talk of an Adventure

Two months later...

When Regina went outside to go grocery shopping, she was greeted by an empty driveway. Confused, she glanced at it for a moment, as if thinking it could magically appear again. Then she turned around and walked back towards the front door, keys in and hand purse over her shoulder.

"Where's the car?" She asked Robin, who was occupied with the task of helping Roland with his breakfast while trying to feed Caroline.

"Oh, it needed an oil change, remember?" He replied over his shoulder.

Regina made a face. "No it doesn't. The oil light would be on if it needed a change," she argued, watching him balance their daughter in one arm with practiced skill.

To further her confusion, Robin let out a sly smile. "I think you're forgetting, dear. I told you it needed one last week."

Knowing arguing would get her nowhere, Regina simply sighed and placed her purse back on the table. "Well boys, it looks like we're not having pancakes for breakfast."

That resulted in two simultaneous groans from the boys as they swirled around the milk in their cereal bowls.

"Something to be ready for next time," Robin added encouragingly, just as Caroline began to fuss in his arms. "Now Roland, think you can make your sister happy?"

The five year old perked up when he heard his name. His father lowered the baby down to his level, where Roland stuck his tongue out at her, shaking his head side to side. He was used to doing this- it never failed to make his little sister laugh. And, after a few seconds, it did.

"You're a lifesaver, little man!" Robin exclaimed, making Roland beam with an unquenchable success.

"Such a good big brother," Regina chimed in, just as the doorbell rang.

She had no idea who could possibly want to visit any of them so early.

"Rumple... Uh, come in." She said, almost rendered speechless when she saw the dark one standing at her doorstep. He accepted the offer, and suddenly the Hood-Mills family breakfast had become awkwardly silent.

"My apologies for taking so long to get this finished," Rumple began, pulling out a small box from his pocket, "but here it is. I thought you'd want it sooner rather than later."

Regina's eyes widened slightly as he opened the box, revealing a pair of turquoise earrings, ones made for a tiny person.

"I thought she could use something that would be difficult to take off, so her magic stays non threatening to others. But if you don't want to get her ears pierced, I made one into a rattle and another into a soother."

All the two parents could do was stare back at him in awe. It was a lot of information to take in at once; Regina never expected her old mentor to put so much time and effort into the endeavor.

"We didn't discuss getting her ears priced, but..." She began, giving Robin a look. He simply shrugged back at her, giving all the permission to her.

"It wouldn't hurt her, right? Using magic?"

Rumple shook his head. "I'll be honest, I've never attempted anything like this before, let alone on an infant. But she really shouldn't feel anything except a little pinch."

Regina wasn't about to lie to herself; she was beyond nervous when Rumple closed his eyes and lifted his hands up towards their child. But, once the purple smoke cleared, she let out a breath of relief when she saw her daughter was perfectly fine, now with blue earrings on both of her itty bitty ears.

"It's that easy?" Robin asked, surprised that Caroline still seemed perfectly content in his arms. She simply stared up at the three of them, possibly wondering what they were all so worked up about

"Indeed- now she's completely unable to use her magic... Until you think it's right for her to begin lessons. I'll let you keep these two, just in case you need a backup."

Regina smiled down at her daughter for a moment, thinking about how relieved she felt to have that stress gone. "What do we owe you for this?"

"Well I don't really need your money, dearie, so an invitation to your infamous wedding would be enough to cover the cost."

Though she had her doubts in inviting him, she knew she and Robin would have to then.

"How could I not invite the mayor and her boyfriend?" She responded promisingly.

"Good, because Belle has been talking about it for weeks now," Rumple replied, in a surprisingly friendly way. "Boys, hope you have a good time at school."

Both of them nodded, waving a slight goodbye as their parents walked him back to the door.

"Thank you so much," Robin said, "it's a miracle nothing bad as happened with her and her magic."

Rumple couldn't help but release a small smile. "Yes it is. But you don't have to worry about that anymore."

With that, he made his way out the front door and down the steps, his came clicking against the cement as he went.

"Well, that was convenient," Regina smiled, admiring how the earrings looked on her two month old daughter. "You look even more beautiful, Caroline Grace."

And that was the truth. Her hair had darkened somewhat on the top of her head, her eyes seeming brighter than ever with the turquoise earrings to accent them.

"Roland, we're going to be late for the bus!" Henry told him, grabbing his brother's backpack and handing it to him. They both scrambled to put their shoes on, and were soon ready to head out the door.

"Have a good day," Regina said, giving them both a hug and a kiss before letting them leave down the sidewalk towards the bus stop.

"And you," she said, turning so she was facing Robin, "have a wonderful day at work. I might be able to stop by Granny's around noon so we can have lunch together. In the meantime, Emma called me last night and said she had some wedding stuff she wanted to talk to me about."

Robin leaned forward and pressed a light kiss against her lips, pulling away with a smile. "You'll have to tell me how that goes."

He then left to head upstairs so he could shower, leaving Regina in the foyer, the confusion of her missing car still lingering in the back of her mind.

She had no idea why Emma sounded so urgent in wanting her to come over to talk about wedding stuff- wedding stuff was Ruby's thing. Emma was more the sit back and procrastinate type. But she had sent her a text saying it was important, so she walked over with Caroline as soon as she could to see what she was so pumped up about.

Of course David was at work, so only Emma and her mother were at the apartment when Regina arrived. The two of them were sitting side by side in front of a computer, browsing through Pintrest.

"Regina!" Snow exclaimed happily when she saw her, "you finally made it!"

Regina let out a sarcastic smile as she pulled off her shoes and joined them by the computer, with Caroline in her arms. "Sorry, getting two boys out the door and walking a two month old five minutes down the road is more complicated than it sounds. Apparently, my car is in the shop."

She sat down on the couch and eyed the computer warily as Snow began filing through wedding pictures and ideas, one after another. Emma seemed rather nonchalant next to her mother, but as soon as Regina came, she lightened up.

"Hey, since when does Caroline have her ears pierced?" She asked, moving away from her mother so she could sit next to Regina.

"Since this morning," she explained, "Rumple stopped by and gave us them to put an end to her free use of magic- for now, at least."

Snow had ditched Pintrest faster than anything when she began listening in on their conversation.

"She's absolutely precious!" She was excited in the fact that the infant was dressed in an outfit she had given Regina for her baby shower- light purple onesie with the words 'my little princess' written across the front.

"Do you want to hold her?" Regina proposed, knowing she would be up for it, "if you're not too busy with your Pintrest boards, that is."

Her stepdaughter simply shook her head and held out her arms. She loved to hold her, to feel her heartbeat so in sync with hers. Being with sweet little Caroline never failed to make her day brighter.

"I started looking at wedding dresses on there and I found it impossible to stop," Snow explained with a slight laugh, "the choices here are so much better than the ones in the Enchanted Forest. Emma and I have been on there all morning."

"I think you mean you were on there all morning, Mom," Emma corrected, "I sure hope you aren't thinking about planning a wedding for Killian and I, because I already told you-"

"I wouldn't do such a thing." Snow replied defensively, "Regina and Robin will have the wedding of the summer, and I want to help her find a dress- that's all."

Regina had to roll her eyes at Snow's stubbornness- she always was, and always would be. She never imagined their relationship ending up like this.

"Wait, Emma, if you aren't into any of this Pintrest stuff, then why did you text me to come over?"

The blonde put a crafty smile on her face. "Because while I sat there being bored out of my mind, I got an idea. Since there's hardly any choices for buying a dress here, why don't we... Go out of town to buy one?"

This made both Regina and Snow's eyes widen with surprise.

"You want to leave Storybrooke?" Snow asked, in such astonishment it startled the two of them.

The blonde sighed heavily, forgetting for a second about how dramatic her mother was.

"We'll talk about this later- this only concerns Regina and I." She said, quickly flicking her wrist to create a bubble around them.

Still holding Caroline, Snow gave her daughter a baffled look as she tried to break the magic surrounding them. Being soundproof, Regina and Emma only got the image of an angry Snow White banging on a magical force field.

"That wasn't very nice, Emma." Regina chuckled, finding it hard not to watch Snow.

"I'll tell her later," she muttered, "now back to what I was saying. It would be so much fun to get out for a while and just let loose, relax and stuff. While shopping for a dress of course."

Regina thought about it for a moment. "Why can't we just order one online? It would be a lot easier."

Rolling her eyes, Emma shook her head. "Where's the fun in that? Come on, where's your sense of adventure? Don't you want to get out of this town just for a few days?"

"No, this is where my family is." The former queen persisted, "I think you just really want to get away- does this have anything to do with Killian wanting you to move in with him?"

Instantly, Emma's defense was right back up again. "What, can you blame a girl for wanting a vacation? I'm perfectly okay with him asking that, thank you very much, I just have to... Make up my mind."

"You can't run away from your problems, Emma."

She could tell Emma was getting more and more worked up about it, but she felt the need to say it. The savior had always had doubts on where her real home was.

"This is about you, not me," Emma said, "and we could have a lot of fun if you stop worrying yourself about things. I can leave Storybrooke, you can leave Storybrooke, easy as that."

The idea soon became tempting to her- Regina had only been out of Storybrooke a couple times before, and the last time was years ago.

"Where would we go?"

Emma sensed her warming up to the proposition. "Why, the greatest city of all- New York City. Last time I went I didn't really get to vacation."

Regina narrowed her eyes. "It's way too crowded there. I've seen that city used for a backdrop for tons of movies- people everywhere."

"It'll be fun!" The blonde persisted further, "we could have our own bachelorette party while we're there, which will only be a couple of days. I seriously thought the evil queen of the Enchanted Forest would be more open to trying new things."

A groan escaped her mouth- Emma wasn't about to guilt trip her into going.

"Okay, well what about Ruby, Tink, and your mother? I'd think they would be upset about not being able to go. I mean, they could all have talismans like Rumple used, but that's a lot of work."

Emma gave her a look. "Look, I love them all, but if we invite them, then we get a heaping load of drama. All the stuff between Tink and Neal, Ruby and Will, don't even get me started on Mary Margret. They'll just have to deal with it- besides, what would happen to this town if all the cool people just up and left?"

Regina sighed, knowing where she was coming from. Still, she felt somewhat bad about it.

"I just... I don't know if I can leave my family for that long," she began hesitantly, "especially Caroline. I've never not been by her side since...Forever."

"See, that's exactly why you need a break! You have a huge family that will gladly take good care of her and the boys while we're gone- see my mom over there? I think she loves that baby more than she loves me. You're in good shape."

That was true. There were still doubts swirling around in her mind, but the sense of adventure was far too great to pass up.

"Fine. I'll do it. But we better find one amazing wedding dress for me- I didn't do all that exercising for nothing."

Emma beamed back at her, feeling quite successful at the moment. "Yes! We'll leave sometime next week. I can book the hotel rooms and everything, don't you worry."

With their conversation over with, the savior tapped the force field around them with her finger, causing it to evaporate into thin air, now leaving nothing between them and the irritated woman they had left out.

"Emma Ruth Swan, you better tell me what you're up to." Snow said firmly, the detest in her voice making Regina feel suddenly uncomfortable.

"Relax. Regina and I are just going on a little trip, that's all."

"Without telling me? You are going to be so grounded when your father hears about this!"

Emma's cellphone then went off on the table next to her, and she quickly checked it- it was from Robin. In response to it, the blonde grabbed Regina's hand and led her to the door, grabbing her keys while doing so.

"I'm almost thirty-one Mom, you can't ground me. Now come on, we need to go on a quick drive."

"What?" Regina asked, fully confused, "where to?"

Snow seemed to know what her daughter was talking about, because she wasn't asking any questions.

"You'll see," she responded quickly, following Emma out the door with Caroline still cradled in her arms. The three of them crammed into the yellow beetle.

"It's really unsafe for her to be in here without her carseat," Regina said, her typical motherly tone breaking through as she expressed her concern.

"Oh please, I'm a fantastic driver," Emma countered, "nothing will happen in the two minutes it takes to get to your house."

"Wait, shouldn't you be at work right now? I didn't elect you to be the sheriff if all you're going to do is sit around all day and look through Pintrest with your Mom."

Emma gave her a look through the rearview mirror. "I'm always on the job. I just didn't feel like checking into the office today, Madame Mayor. You know, I tried calling Belle that a couple weeks ago, but it didn't sound right at all."

Holding her hand up to her chest, Regina threw her a mock swoon. "I'm so touched. Are you expecting your father to take over the station while we're gone?"

The blonde smiled as she turned a corner; they were almost to her house.

"He always is. Now Regina, you're going to have to close your eyes until I say you can open them."

Regina threw her a distasteful look. "Why? You know how much I hate surprises."

"Just do it! We're not going to shoot you down or anything. Just following Roland and Henry's orders."

Knowing there was no sense in fighting it, she closed her eyes and less than patiently waited for them to pull up to her house.

"Keep them closed, no matter what." Emma ordered when she stopped the car, getting out and helping her out of the passenger seat. Regina didn't know it yet, but Robin, Henry, and Roland were all standing in the driveway, the boys just barely out of school for the day.

"Seriously, what is going on?" Regina asked again, soon freezing in place when she felt a pair of familiar feeling hands grip her shoulders.

"Open your eyes," Robin said softly, almost in a whisper as he spoke to her. So she did- and as soon as she saw what they were all hiding from her, her mouth gaped open in astonishment.

Sitting in her driveway was a shining new Mercedes M-Class SUV.

"Oh my goodness! What- Robin! You lied to me about the oil change! I knew it!"

The man smiled provokingly back at her. "I couldn't have you catching onto anything."

"What about my Benz? Where'd it go? Who payed for this?"

"You'd be surprised how much a vintage Mercedes will sell for these days," Emma said, finding it amusing to watch the woman stare at the vehicle as if it were the greatest possession in the world.

Regina tentatively ran her fingers down the sleek black frame. "This is honestly the sexiest SUV I've ever seen. Is this really for us?"

"Well, you know how impossible it was to fit three kids in that small car," Robin explained, "so we just had to upgrade. Now they can all be comfortable back there."

He then gestured for the boys to come towards him as he opened one of the back doors.

"Child number one goes here, child number two goes in his carseat here, and child number three..." Robin quickly went over to Snow and reclaimed Caroline, setting her into her baby carrier in the far left. "Goes right here. Are we all comfortable back there?"

"Yes!" Both Henry and Roland announced, taking in the new car smell for all it was worth.

"And, best of all, the wife goes right here," Robin grinned, opening op the drivers seat and watching her climb in excitedly.

"The wife- I like it," she smiled, putting on a pair of sunglasses that were on the dashboard for her taking as Robin climbed in the other side.

"She assumes her rightful place on the throne," he remarked, finding her irresistibly cute in such a large vehicle.

"While the husband still remains the most amazing man on earth," Regina finished, finding herself leaning in to the space between them; Robin met her in the middle for a quick but tender kiss.

"Gross! Think of the children!" Henry exclaimed, covering Roland's eyes with his hands until they broke away from one another.

"For real though, you're going to scar these poor kids!" Emma said through the window, "at least I don't kiss Killian around you two."

Henry gave her a look. "Yes you do! You all do. This family doesn't know how to keep their emotions down."

Emma stuck her tongue out at him as he rolled up the window.

"Enjoy your new car!" Snow shouted as Regina slowly backed out of the driveway, putting her arm around her daughter. The family was off towards Granny's, about to celebrate their one step closer towards being a real family.

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