We Can Love Again

First Day

ONE MONTH LATER

Smiles were exchanged as he played with her hands, fiddling with the small ring on her finger. In fact, she couldn't keep a smile off her face as he leaned in to kiss her; his soft, tender lips on hers, hands securely holding her body, never to let go. The warm summer breeze, droplets of water rolling down her skin... The green fields, the sparking blue lake...

"Mom! Mom get up! We're going to be late!"

Regina was greeted by a blaring, almost siren like sound emitting from her alarm clock. Henry was inches from her face, looking desperate as she rubbed her eyes.

"I can't be late on the first day!"

"School. Right." Regina muttered, reaching out to shut up the alarm clock, wondering how on earth she was able to sleep though it.

"Did you get breakfast for you and Roland?"

Henry nodded. He was already dressed and ready to go, backpack and everything. Her little prince was going to attend his first day of middle school.

"I'll be a few minutes, make sure Roland has everything he needs and meet me in the car." Regina told him, getting up and frantically shuffling around her room. She couldn't believe this was happening- today was the day she was sending both of her children off to school.

Being a mother made getting ready in the mornings a quick and easy. She did lessen the amount of makeup she applied, but somehow she managed to uphold her prestigious appearance. On her way out the door, Regina grabbed one of Roland's shoes he had left in the hallway and threw it into Will's bedroom. She could hear his swearing and griping all the way down the stairs.

"Mommy, do I have to go?" Roland asked, struggling with zipping up his jacket.

She pulled him to his feet and finished zipping it for him. "Yes you have to go," she told him, fixing his hair. "It'll be fun. You need to meet more boys and girls your age."

His face scrunched up into a (quite adorable) repulsive expression. "Girls are yucky," he muttered, making Regina laugh.

"For now- but we gotta get going if we want to get you and Henry tree on time."

Eventually, she rounded up her boys into her black Mercedes, equipped with matching marvel lunch boxes and converse shoes.

"I told you we would be late!" Henry groaned, anxiously peering outside the window.

"We won't be!" His mother reassured, though the clock clearly read 7:56. Thankfully, the school wasn't far at all. Regina just couldn't believe summer was over already.

"Just make sure to be nice to all your teachers, pay attention and please, please don't fall asleep anymore in class-"

"Mom, I'll be fine!" He reassured, just as they pulled up to the front entryway. Regina parked the car, taking no time in turning around to give him a smile.

"I can't believe my baby is going to middle school!"

Henry rolled his eyes. "No- don't do that..." But she did anyways. Regina pulled her son into a suffocating hug, refusing to let go.

"Emma will pick you up at three, then you can tell us all about it."

Wiping off her smeared kisses, Henry said his last goodbyes and got out of the car.

"Wish your brother luck on his first day of preschool!" Regina shouted after him, making the boy swivel back around halfway across the schoolyard. He looked irritated at first, because other kids were staring. But as soon as he saw Roland's little head pop out the window, his face softened into a smile.

"You'll do great Roland!" He yelled back, giving him a thumbs up before turning back for the front door. Regina's eyes followed her son until he vanished into the bustling hallway.

Turning around once again, Regina raised her eyebrows. "You ready for me to take you in?"

The four year old didn't respond. His smile faded as he lay his head back on his carseat. She got out of the car and unfastened the buckles keeping him constrained.

Roland was stone silent on the way into the school. He clutched his mother's hand and followed her down the busy hallway. Since Storybrooke was so small, all the grade levels were practically squashed into one building. The preschool was just as crowded, packed to the brim with little children all about Roland's height. Regina bit her lip- she knew this was it.

"Alright Roland, are you feeling okay?"

She knew they only had about two minutes left before class started. The boy's face looked around the classroom with round, nervous eyes. Regina caught sight of Ashley- or rather, Cinderella- with her blonde haired little girl, who seemed to be excited about the new atmosphere.

"I'm going to have to go now, you be good-"

"No!" He cried out, finally breaking and surrendering to his terror. "I don't wanna go!"

Regina's face fell slightly as he hugged her tightly, grabbing handfuls of her shirt and letting out small sobs.

The room was so loud, it wasn't too much of a big deal. Still, Regina knew she had to act fast if Roland was going to pull off four hours of school.

She knelt down onto her knees, which was getting harder now, and tilted her son's chin up so his eyes were on hers.

"Remember when you met Ms. Carson? She's very nice; you'll have fun with her and the other girls and boys."

She gently brushed away his tears and managed a comforting smile.

"Why can't you be here?" Roland sniffed.

"Because school is meant for kids only," she told him, suddenly getting a strange recollection of Neverland.

"Can you be brave for me Roland? Again?"

He didn't respond, but Regina knew she was breaking though somewhat because he had stopped crying.

"I promise I'll be here right on time to pick you up."

Just then, his teacher, a young, tall woman, came up to them and tapped the boy on the shoulder.

"Are you ready for class to start Roland?" She asked, her voice very kind and sweet.

He was still gripping his mother's hand as if his life depended on it, but he nodded slowly.

"Did you know it's Alexandra's first day too?" She got the attention of the petite blonde haired girl, who came over towards them with a shy smile.

Roland didn't know what to do, so he simply waved towards the girl. Regina watched the two in utter surprise.

Girls are yucky.

"See, now you have a friend." The teacher said, slowly guiding Roland away from Regina.

"Have fun," she told him, giving him one last smile before standing up.

Roland turned back towards her and waved a goodbye, instantly seizing her heart and making her practically melt in that little classroom. It suddenly dawned on her that her little boy was leaving her for the first time. She was letting him go; just as she did with Henry. He was growing up.

The bell overhead rang a loudly a couple times, and all the other parents slowly emptied the room- every single one of them a pair, husband and wife, giving their children anxious looks before exiting.

She was completely alone as she made her way back down the dimly lit hallway.

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