We Can Love Again

The New You

"Alright Roland, you be on your best behavior," Regina told the boy, "Emma's going to be here any moment."

She hastily slipped his t shirt over his small head as he wiggled around blindly. She was making a habit of waking up late; it wasn't a good thing at all.

"Why do you always have to go?" Roland asked his mother with troubled eyes.

Regina sensed the pain in his voice, and suddenly felt extremely sorrowful for him. "Roland, these couple days have just been really busy. I have to finish changing up you and Henry's room, help Belle out with work stuff, and now I have to worry about this baby." She started fiddling with his hair to try and make him look presentable. "I promise we'll have lots of time to be a family soon. But right now mommy's going to the store to get some new clothes."

Roland still seemed down, but he nodded and let her help him with his Velcro shoes.

"So no more being mayor, mom?" Henry asked, coming down the flight of stairs, a toothbrush in his hand, "no more stuck up clothes?"

Regina rolled her eyes. "Don't say that just yet, I could be back in office by the time the baby is born."

Before he could say anything in return, a car honked outside. Henry raced for the door, leaving his toothbrush on the kitchen counter.

"Come on Roland, we gotta go!" He shouted from halfway down the walkway, "Emma's waiting!"

The boy looked at Regina with big brown eyes and threw his arms around her neck. "Bye mommy!"

She hugged him back, finding it hard to keep a smile off her face. "Bye Roland- you be good."

With that, he bounded off towards the door where Emma's yellow bug sat in front of her house. Regina followed him, staying inside the doorway and waving at the blonde, watching her buckle her four year old son into the new car seat in the back- something she had convinced her to get when she bought one for her Mercedes. Just as the yellow bug drove off, a red corvette came slamming to a stop outside her house. Ruby emerged from the small vehicle and waved a friendly hello to her, gesturing for her to get in.

Regina sighed- she knew she was going to have to remain positive about the ordeal no matter what happened. It was going to be one interesting afternoon.

Quickly grabbing her purse, Regina made it across her front lawn and into the passenger side of her car. "You ready to do some intense shopping?" Ruby asked, rather excitedly.

Regina managed a quick smile. "Guess so, where are we going?"

"Oh just a few of my favorite stores here, the only real fashion stores here in Storybrooke." She said, switching her gearshift into drive and pressing her foot down on the gas pedal. Regina clutched her purse tightly to her chest as the red car drove along the street.

"It's a residential area," Regina told her nervously, "Miss Swan is still somewhere around here- probably be best to slow down, don't you think?"

Ruby rolled her eyes. "Relax Regina, I know what I'm doing. I can drive."

She then preceded to pull out a tube of red lipstick from the mess beside her and apply it to her lips. The queen glanced at her little glass wolf figurine that hung from her rearview mirror as it swung anxiously back and forth. Three minutes into her adventure and Regina was already beyond done.

"So... How have you been?" Regina asked, trying desperately to keep her composure in the crowded car. There was a strange music playing through her radio- Taylor Swift, Britney Spears? Regina never really bothered to pay attention to music on the radio.

"Good, working at the diner has been fine, though I have to use most my paycheck to pay for renovations to the apartment."

Regina hardly knew anything about Ruby or her grandmother. She found it hard to come up with further questions for the girl.

"So what's with getting this new kid? I saw you with him a couple days ago."

Regina shifted in her seat, debating on how to play this conversation out. "He's- uh, my son. Henry and I stayed in the Enchanted Forest for the last couple months because I... Met someone." She swore inwardly as soon as the words left her mouth.

"Oh! A guy? You found a boyfriend?!" Ruby almost shouted, giving her a surprised sideways glance.

"Eyes on the road!" Regina yelled back nervously, watching the cars on the opposite side of the road fly by.

"Tell me about him! I wanna meet this guy! Is he cute?"

Her patience was already wearing thin. She was a queen, not one of her rowdy friends she went to bars with.

"You ask a lot of questions," she said, hoping the change the subject.

"I'm going to take that as a yes," Ruby continued, "oh man, this is too good to be true! Not that I never thought you'd find someone, but I'm so shocked!"

Regina rolled her eyes. "Gee, thanks Ruby."

That's now the next five minutes went for the both of them. Ruby was soon going off on all of her previous boyfriends, and Regina was pretending to listen. She was more than relieved when they pulled up to Storybrooke's poor excuse for a mall. Regina never thought she would be happy to be at a clothing store- she absolutely hated shopping.

"I know the perfect store for you!" Ruby smiled, grabbing her hand and taking off into the mall.

The place was crowded with people. Regina didn't want to be caught dead in a venue like that. Soon, they entered a store that was stuffed full of clothes.

Ruby had completely shifted into a different mood upon entering the world of fashion. She seemed to know exactly where everything was. Regina had a hard time keeping up with her as they traveled along the store; the younger woman was pulling clothes off the racks left and right. Her arms were completely full in no time flat, so she started blindly tossing articles of clothing to Regina.

"I don't think I need this many clothes-" Regina started, before she got cut off buy a pair of jeans that pegged her right in the face.

"I know what I'm doing Regina! I've been doing this my whole life. We just have to pick colors for you that make you less intimidating."

Regina made a face. "I like being intimidating- people do whatever I say that way."

"No no, you need a new approach!" Ruby said, turning her around and pushing her towards the dressing room. "You have two kids now and one on the way, you need to let people know you're one of them."

Regina couldn't really do anything to stop Ruby from shoving her into a small dressing room and closing the door behind her.

"Now let's try this one first," she said, grabbing a purple top and reaching for the hem of the shirt she was wearing. Regina automatically raised her hand to use magic to push her away. But as soon as she did so, a pain shot through her body, making her wince slightly in surprise.

"What is it, the baby?" Ruby asked, giving get a confused look. Regina shook her head slightly as the pain quickly subsided.

"Nothing, I'm fine." She said confidently, "can you, uh, give me some space?"

"Right- yeah. Try all those on." She stuttered, turning around and slipping out of the room.

Regina came out of the dressing room wearing a flowing purple shirt and a pair of regular blue jeans. As soon as Ruby saw her, she clasped her hands together and threw her a huge smile.

"You look amazing!"

"These jeans are way to tight," Regina said, "how am I supposed to take these off, I can barely move!"

"Doesn't matter, they look great on you!" She said, gesturing for her to spin around. "I wish I could fit into those small of jeans," she said smugly, noting how different the former mayor looked with them on. "You're so skinny- it isn't fair." She pouted, "but everyone will love this new you. Promise."

After trying on at least fifty different outfits, Regina finally got Ruby to proceed to the checkout. They had bought so many clothes; Ruby was just glad Regina could pay for it all, considering the fact that she had next to no money.

"Have you even owned a pair of jeans before today?" The girl asked, definitely not one to hold anything back.

Regina gave her a look. "Yes... A pair."

Ruby rolled her eyes. "Well this boyfriend of yours is really gonna love seeing you in them, you're absolutely gorgeous."

She really didn't understand the concept of boundaries.

"Oh yes, I'm sure he'll find me and my pregnant self 'absolutely gorgeous'." Regina said sarcastically, following Ruby out of the store and back into the mall. She didn't dare ask where they were going; she found it easier to just keep things to herself so she didn't have to listen to Ruby rant about everything.

"I know you're only barely pregnant, but we have to look at the cute baby things!"

She exclaimed as they entered what looked like a huge baby store. Regina hadn't been in there since she had to shop for Henry's arrival.

Ruby was just about to die of excitement as they began looking through the baby clothes.

"I still can't believe you're having a baby! Do you think it'll be a boy or a girl?"

Regina was only paying attention to about half of what she was saying, she was so distracted by all the tiny little outfits.

"Uh, it really doesn't matter, I'll love it the same either way." She said, knowing it sounded lame. But it was the truth, she didn't have a preference- not yet, anyways.

"Well whatever gender it is, that baby of yours will be undeniably attractive." Ruby smiled, showing her a bright pink onesie that made Regina smile back. "I'm still trying to picture this man of yours in my head- is he tall, fit- is he British?"

Regina couldn't help but laugh at that one. "I... Don't know, it's hard to describe him."

"How come? Aren't you supposed to say you know him like the back of your hand or something? I mean, come on Regina give me something, you're having a baby with this guy!"

Regina sighed. Ruby needed more lessons on personal space.

"Um, well..." What she said was true; she did know him like the back of her hand. However, every time she thought about him, her heart clenched with an invisible pain. But she knew she had to start moving on at some point, she couldn't keep living on nightmares and memories. She knew it was time to try.

"He has this smile- one that totally gets me off guard every time. And he has nice, brown eyes, ones that are always kind and welcoming. He has kind of a sandy brownish hair. I always get onto him about shaving, because I hate feeling stubble when he kisses me. I like that he's really tall- I always have to look up at him when I talk to him. He's really strong, too. When I'm least expecting it, he'll come up behind me and pick me up." Regina let out a small laugh, remembering all their sweet moments together as a family. "His name is Robin."

Despite her emotions raging inside of her, Regina felt like a weight was lifted off her chest. Ruby simply states back at her, overcome with what she had just heard- she looked as though she was on the verge of tears.

"You really love him." She said, immediately reaching her arms out to give her a hug.

"Very much." Regina replied, trying not to start crying.

"Well you know what Snow and Charming always say- if you love someone, they will always find you. He'll come back."

Regina was done with pushing everyone away. She buried her head in her shoulder and held Ruby tightly, suddenly extremely grateful she had dragged her out to the mall. She was new to the concept of having friends. But the more she got into it, the more she realized that she rather enjoyed having them there for her.

"Thank you for giving me a chance- for being my friend."

Ruby smiled, never thinking this day would come. "You're so very welcome. Now, let's get you home."

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