Not as it Seems

37

The day was dreadfully here. Regina needed to leave Emma in the idiots's care.

The morning went about as usual, she woke up, got dressed, woke Emma up, made sure Emma's clothes were facing the right way, and packed Emma's backpack with a few snacks and her coloring book.

On the drive to the school Emma looked at Regina with a curious face, "Mommy? How come I not go with you?"

Regina stopped at the red light and turned around, "Remember I have all of those boring meetings today and Jack is going to need to be with me, so no one is going to be able to watch you. Or color with you if you go with me to work. So I am taking you to stay with MM for the day. She is going to show you your new school."

Emma shrugged and said, "OK."

Regina smiled, and headed towards the school.

When Regina pulled up MM was standing outside with David waiting for Regina and Emma to arrive.

Regina put the car in park and turned and looked at Emma, "Baby, listen to me ok. If anything happens and you want to see me you tell MM or David, and they will bring you to me. If they don't let you you, go to Granny's ok. You remember how I showed you, right. Emergencies only."

Emma nodded and said, "Yes Mommy. Emegiancies only. Look for the taaaallll clock and go straight. Then go to Granny's!"

Regina nodded and smiled, "Ok. Let's get going so we aren't late."

Emma nodded and waited for Regina to help unbuckle her.

Regina got Emma out of the car and grabbed her backpack. Emma grabbed Regina's hand. Regina gave Emma's hand a comforting squeeze and lead her to where MM and David were standing.

MM knelt down on the ground to talk with Emma, "Hello Emma. You ready to meet everyone and have some fun?"

Emma nodded. MM reached out her hand for Emma to take, but Emma hesitated. She turned into Regina and hugged her legs.

Regina lifted Emma and gave her a tight hug, "What's the matter? I thought you were happy?"

Emma nodded against Regina neck and mumbled, "But I gonna miss you"

Regina smiled and kissed Emma on the head, "Hey, I will miss you too. But I will see you later today. I promise. And we will even go to Granny's to celebrate you going to school." Regina knew it wasn't really her first day of school but it sure did feel like it.

Emma leaned back and said, "Promise?"

Regina nodded and said, "Promise. But I need to go sit in my boring meetings and you need to learn somethings with MM. David will take you to lunch. And then before you know it I will be here to pick you up."

Emma kissed Regina on the cheek and said, "Ok mommy. Love you."

Regina kissed Emma's temple and said, "Love you too baby."

Regina put Emma back down and handed MM, Emma's backpack. Emma walked to MM and took her hand.

Regina cleared her throat and looked directly at MM and David, "I am giving you one opportunity to be with Emma without my presence. Be grateful, and don't mess up because this is the only opportunity I am going to be giving you. I will be in meetings all day but if Emma wants to see me just call my office, all calls are being rerouted to my cell. I will be here to pick her up when school is over. And do remember I have eyes and ears all over this town, don't do anything idiotic." With that Regina gave Emma one last wave and walked back to her car.

MM and David both nodded. Emma waved bye to Regina as she walked back to her car and drove off.

David bent down to Emma's height and said, "Alright Emma, I need to get to the shelter but I will see you for lunch. I made us some PB&J sandwiches and some cookies. How about we go to the park and see if Pongo and Archie are there?."

Emma smiled and nodded, "OK!"

David smiled and ruffled Emma's hair.

David stood up and gave MM a quick kiss on the check.

MM looked down at Emma and asked, "You ready to head in?"

Emma took a breath and nodded her head.

MM and Emma entered the school. The principal greeted them, "Hi Mary-Margaret. Oh, and who is this?"

Emma lowered her head and took a step backwards. MM looked at Mal and said, "Sorry she is shy when meeting new people. This is my... this is Regina's foster daughter Emma."

Mal looked down at Emma and smiled, "Well hello Emma. My name is but you can call me . Are you going to be spending the day with ?"

Emma looked up and nodded, "I's gonna get a-a tawr of the sckhool"

Mal chuckled and said, "Well I think you are going to have a great day. I will see you later ok Emma." Mal gave Emma and MM one last smile before walking to the end of the hall and into the teachers lounge.

Emma looked up and said, "She's nice."

MM smiled and nodded, "Almost everyone here is really nice. How about we go to my classroom and get you settled, the students will be arriving soon."

Emma nodded and let MM lead her to her classroom.


Regina was sitting in her meeting fidgeting. Jack noticed Regina's nervous behavior the moment she walked in the door.

When he asked where Emma was she snippily said, "With . That reminds me, if she or David Nolan call or txt at any point throughout today I am to be told immediately."

Jack nodded and made the note.

Jack and Regina were only an hour into their day of meetings, when Regina's cell phone vibrated. Regina heard the device and immediately looked over to Jack.

Jack smiled and discreetly handed Regina the phone. It was a picture message of Emma sitting on the floor with the other kids doing a puzzle and another with Emma's head reaching to peek over one of the big kid desks. Regina smiled at the pictures and calmed (only slightly) saving the pictures and passing the phone back to Jack; before turning her attention back to meeting.


Emma was sitting on the floor coloring when her stomach growled. Emma stood up and walked over to MM, who was sitting at her desk grading papers, while the other students read silently.

Emma tapped MM and said, "MM I hungry."

MM looked at the clock and said, "Well there is still a few more minutes until lunch, so how about I txt David and tell him to come a little early and we can clean up and put your coloring book back into your bag. Then when we are done David should be here to take you to lunch at the park."

Emma nodded and walked back to where she was coloring. MM sent David a txt, 'Need you to take Emma. She is hungry. Take her to the park, ask her if she would want to live with us instead of Regina. This could be our opportunity."

David responded with a quick, "Ok. Are you sure about this?"

MM replied quickly, "Yes!"

David grabbed the lunchbox that he had packed this morning with the sandwiches, cookies, and juice, and headed to the school.

When David entered the school the bell for lunch had just rung. Students were filing out of classrooms and to their lockers to grab their lunches.

David squeezed his way through the crowded hallway and into MM's room. Emma looked up and smiled and MM introduced her class to David.

Emma walked over to David and said, "You remember samiches? I'm hungry."

David smiled and nodded, "You ready to go to the park Emma?"

Emma nodded and grabbed David's hand. MM and her students said bye to Emma and gave her a wave.

MM took and sent a picture of Emma and David leaving to Regina, letting her know that Emma was still ok and she was going to lunch.

The hallways were clear as David and Emma walked down the halls.

David and Emma walked and chatted as they made their way to the old park closer to the school. Not many went to it anymore since it was close to the old mines, and there was a newer park on the other side of town.

David had asked Archie to accompany him and Emma on their lunch so if something went wrong Archie could be there.

David and Emma sat at one of the park picnic tables and began eating their sandwiches.

Emma finished her sandwich and noticed Pongo approaching.

Emma stood and pointed, "Look David, it's Pongo and Arckie!"

David smiled and said, "Yup, I asked them to come"

Emma smiled and waited for Pongo and Archie to come over.

Once Pongo's leash was released he went straight to Emma, licking her hand and cheek.

Emma giggled and petted Pongo's head.

David looked from Archie to Emma and waited for Archie to nod his head.

Archie didn't know what David wanted to talk with Emma about but figured it must be big if he wanted him present.

David cleared his throat and turned so he was straddling the bench and facing Emma. "Emma. I umm. I wanted to talk with you about something."

Emma continued to play with Pongo and then looked at David, "What?"

David cleared his throat again and blurted it out, "MM and I want you to come live with us so we can be a family. MM wants to be your mommy, and I would really like to be your daddy."

Emma and Archie both looked shocked. Archie knew that was the wrong way to go about asking Emma to live with them. He doesn't know their whole story but from what David has told him Emma is the daughter that he and MM gave up, who is now being fostered and taken care of by Regina.

Emma's eyes began to tear, "No, Gina is my mommy."

David shook his head, "MM is your really mommy. You lived in her tummy, not Regina's"

Archie tried to calm the situation down but was unable to, "David I think..."

Emma jumped down from the bench and stomped her foot and placed her hands on her hips, looking like a mini Regina, and said "NO! Gina is my MOMMY! She promised, she don't break promises!"

Emma turned and ran. She didn't know where she was going, since she had never been to this park before, but she ran.

David went to follow her but Archie stopped him, "No, David I think you have done enough. Call Regina, let her know what is going on. We might need her."

Archie jogged off in the direction that Emma had run. Archie could see Emma running towards the mines, "Emma, EMMA NO!" Archie commanded Pongo to stay back, but he kept running towards Emma. Pongo whined but sat at the top of the hill.

Emma had entered the mines and only stopped when Archie caught up to her. Archie panted and looked at Emma, she had tears running down her cheeks.

Archie sighed and said, "Emma, no one is taking you from Regina."

Emma sobbed and said, "They said that last time, and then I had to leave."

Archie gently asked, "Who? Who said that?"

Emma wiped her nose on her sleeve and said, "Mr. Taylor, my socal worker. He said no one is gonna take you from but then they did. And I never sees her again. I don't wanna never sees Gina. She's my mommy."

Archie sighed and realized that David's offer for Emma to live with him and MM must have made Emma think that they were taking her away from Regina and that she would never see Regina again.

Archie bent down and said, "Emma no one is going to take you from Regina. Regina loves you so so so much. I have known Regina a long time and I have never seen her this happy. And I think it's because she has you in her life."

Emma looked at Archie and softly asked, "You promise?"

Archie smiled and said, "I promise."

Emma ran to Archie and gave him a hug. Archie hugged Emma back and said, "Hey what do you say we get out of here?"

Emma smiled and nodded. Archie took Emma's hand and headed towards the mine exit, but before they could get out, the mines started to shake and rocks began falling.

Archie could see Pongo barking and David running towards the mines, he knew he would never make it. Archie grabbed Emma and pulled her back just as one final rock fell causing more to fall blocking their exit.


David ignored Archie's suggestion to call Regina and called MM instead.

David was on the phone with MM, explaining what happened, when he heard Pongo start barking. He walked towards Pongo and noticed Emma and Archie beginning to make their way out of the mines.

He then noticed the rocks beginning to fall and the puff of smoke begin to rise.

David quickly hung up with MM and began running towards the mines to try and get to them fast enough so that he could maybe pull them to safety.

He wasn't fast enough. A rock fell and more and more fell, blocking off the mine entrance and exit. David skidded to a stop and looked in shock.

It wasn't until he felt Pongo jump on him did he move.

David quickly called 911 and told them what happened and that there was a little girl and a man trapped in the mines.

David sent MM a 'SOS' text and paced back and forth waiting for the emergency crews to arrive.


Regina was almost through with her meetings when she received a phone call. Jack looked at the phone and shook his head telling Regina that it wasn't MM or David. Regina directed her attention back to the meeting.

On the 4th call Regina sighed and apologized to the board members, stepped out of the meeting, and answered the phone. "WHAT?"

This time it was Kathryn on the phone, "Re-Regina."

Regina blanked and softened her tone, "Kathryn? What is it? Is something wrong?"

Kathryn sobbed into the phone and barely got out, "Em-Emma."

Regina paled and frantically asked, "Emma what? What is wrong with Emma?! KATHRYN!"

Ruby then got on the phone and said, "Regina."

Regina was pacing and trying to keep her tears at bay, "Ruby. What is going on? What is wrong with Emma? She is at lunch with David."

Ruby sobbed as well but was able to get out a shaky response, "Regina, Emma is trapped in the mines with Archie."

Before Ruby could continue Jack rushed out of the meeting and quickly told Regina, "Regina sorry to interrupt but this is urgent. The old mines collapsed and there are two people trapped inside. The fire marshals just called... Regina."

Regina dropped the phone and let out a gut wrenching sob, "EMMA!"

Jack quickly put two and two together and pulled Regina into his arms, "Listen, according to the marshal there is a chance they are both alive. You need to get down there and talk with him. I am calling Ruby to pick you up."

On the ground a voice was heard, "No need, I'm on my way now."

Jack wiped Regina's tears and said, "Listen that girl is a fighter and a survivor. OK. She will be fine. She isn't alone. She will be ok."

Regina took calming breaths and grabbed her phone, placing it into her pocket. She turned to Jack and said, "Tell the board members that I am sorry but I need to end this meeting and it needs to be rescheduled."

Jack nodded and said, "Don't worry, I got this. You help bring Emma home."

Regina nodded, turned and ran out of the building. When she reached the bottom step Ruby's red Camaro was screeching to a halt. Regina quickly got in and Ruby sped off.

As they dove to the mines Regina was thinking.

First she is going to get her daughter and make sure she is ok. Then, then she is going to make it so MM and David never so much as breathe the same air as Emma.




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