Twenty-Four Years Part One
"Why did mama do that?"
"My, my, my, you are tired Grace; the Princess isn't your mama."
"Really?" She asked yawning and looking up at him. "Are you sure you are not the thief and mama wasn't the Princess?"
He stopped a moment not sure how to explain his complicated past to his young but smart daughter. "Do I look as rich as the thief in the stories is?"
"No but your clothes are always nicer than the other villagers"
"Yes, your papa likes to look the best he can, but the thief in the stories wouldn't be caught dead in my old rags."
"Do I know magic? Or have a magic hat?"
"No, but you are good at knowing what plants to use to make me feel better if I get sick. And I remember something about a hat from when I was younger before mama died." Her eyes grew wide as she rushed on. "Does its disappearance have something to do with why Uncle Victor doesn't visit anymore?"
"I have read you one too many stories, you are confusing what is real with make-believe. Uncle Victor doesn't visit because he is far too busy with his work and lives too far away to make the trip now. Besides do you really think I could be a thief? I mean when is the last time you have known me to steal anything, let alone dangerous magical items for The Dark One, Evil Queen or the highest bidder?"
"No buts I am not a thief and your mother wasn't a princess. Sometimes a story is just a story and what little girl doesn't like adventure stories with Princesses? We can read one about your mother and me tomorrow night. Now it's late get some sleep." He closed the book and stood up.
"But Papa the story isn't over yet."
"Grace please…" He took a deep breath before continuing suddenly very tired of the whole conversation about his horrible past. "We are both tired. It is late and you have heard all the stories in this book at least a hundred times you know the ending. Now please get some sleep. We have a long day carrying everything into the village to sell at market tomorrow."
"Yes papa, I am sorry to upset you." She stated sadly before pulling the covers up and rolling over.
He looked down at his little girl and sat back down on the bed. "Grace I miss your mother too. And even though she wasn't a princess, you will always be my little princess. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you. I love you more than you can ever know." He leaned over giving her a kiss on the top of her head. "Is that alright with you?"
"Yes papa." She rolled over to smile up at him. "I love you."
"Still asleep?" Doctor Whale's voice woke him as entered the room.
"Yes I guess I over slept today." Jefferson muttered as he came too taking in his padded cell.
"Most likely because you are relaxed. Today is the day you get to go home." Doctor Whale paused a moment. "That is as soon as Doctor Hopper can get the paper work back from Regina. But I assure you that will happen today at some point, most definitely. While we are waiting while don't you get cleaned up and meet me in the meeting room for some breakfast. I ordered in from Granny's to celebrate your release."
Jefferson stood in the hallway watching Victor through the window of the meeting room. Victor was talking to Ruby. He was too far away to hear what was being said but he could tell his friends was failing at the conversation. Oh Vic you always had problems talking to the women you actually really cared for. You are so awkward I really don't know how Elizabeth found you attractive at all. He thought to himself as he watched Ruby walk away.
He waited a moment watching Victor who looked like a man who wished he could just go back and unsay whatever it was he had just said to Ruby. He walked over to the doorway and entering the room asked. "Are you sure you didn't order from Granny's just to get a chance to talk to Ruby?"
Victor looked up startled from the food on the table. "I assure you Jefferson I don't have any idea what you are implying."
"Sure you don't Doc. The same way you had no idea Ruby would be the one to deliver the food."
"Well… I..." Doctor Whale stumble a moment before trying to clear up his intent. "I do know Granny makes Ruby work in the mornings, to keep her from staying out too late, so there was a good chance it would be her. But it could have just as easily been Granny herself."
"How disappointed would you have been if it would have been Granny?" Jefferson asked taking a bite out of his breakfast sandwich.
"Extremely." Doctor Whale sighed.
"Thought so Doc. You like her."
"Well you saw her. She is by far the best looking woman in town."
"Well her outfit certainly are eye catching, but they don't leave much to the imagination."
"I am surprised a man with your imagination would say such a thing."
Jefferson smiled at the comment. "I would be careful about that one if I were you, that women is a man eater."
"Oh Jeff you don't still think she is a werewolf do you? I mean I have to admit she is a bit of a fox but I hardy think she turns into a werewolf each month."
I am so close to going back to the mansion and seeing my Grace again, I have to be careful of what I say. Jefferson thought as he took the lid off of his cup of tea to let it cool. "No of course not Doc, remember we both agreed it was her obsession with the color red that made me think she was Little Red Riding Hood."
"Yes your mind was beyond creative on that story; I mean a Little Red Riding Hood who is also the Big Bad Wolf. Though I have to say she does look mighty fine in red."
You always did have a thing for the color red Doc. Jefferson keep his comment to himself as he took a careful sip of his tea.
"Well a man can look, even if he knows the woman is out of his league." Doctor Whale laughed sitting down across from Jefferson opening up his breakfast. "I mean in what world would a woman like that what anything to do with me? I think I will just stick to someone who will talk to me outside of work, like Mary-Margret."
"I don't know Doc, it is has been my finding that love hits you when you least expect it and your heart just won't settle for anything less."
"Love isn't really so romantic when you think of it logically. It is a simple chemical reaction in our brains, not our hearts. It tricks us into thinking things will always be amazing, but the chemical reactions don't last forever."
Jefferson lowered his eyes to what was left of his breakfast sandwich. He had heard his friend talk like this before. It was shortly after Victor had introduced him to Elizabeth for the first time. Victor had tried to down play how much he liked her in front of Jefferson but anyone could see that Victor was as in love with Elizabeth as she was with him.
"Why didn't you tell me you had a special girl back here?" He questioned his friend as they entered the laboratory. "I never would have pressed you about hooking up with Glenda if I had known you were already taken."
"Already taken?" Victor asked. "Whatever are you talking about?"
"You and Lizzie?" He asked picking up one of the weird looking pieces of lab equipment.
"She told you not to call her that. It's Elizabeth not Lizzie." Victor took the piece of equipment off of him. "And me and her what?" He demanded.
"Well she loves you. You know that right? I mean you pick up on all this scientific things so quick you have to see she is heads over heels in love with you."
"Head over heels is such a stupid expression. I mean one's head is normally always over one's heels."
"Not if you are doing things right in the bedroom." Jefferson smirked.
"Her feelings for me are not important." Victor ignored his friend's comment. "I have work that comes first. I have to finish medical school and there is a war brewing. My life is too full to deal with a silly fleeting emotion."
"So in your world Love is just a silly fleeting emotion?"
"Love is just a chemical reaction, it's not real. I need to just focus on my science which is real."
"Victor do you ever listen to yourself?"
"Of course I listen to myself, whatever are you trying to get at Jefferson?"
"What you just said about love is a bunch of shit and you know it. You are just scared to act on your feelings, because with love unlike your experiments, you can't even come close to guessing what would actually happen next if you accepted and returned Elizabeth's love."
"Scared of Love? Of Elizabeth? I assure you my young clueless friend you are wrong."
"Science like Magic can't answer everything Victor. You have to live, learn, and cope. Lots of things in life can't be research and completely understood but that doesn't make them any less important or not worth trying." He looked around the lab. "You don't want to spend all your time playing with your potion bottles down here and miss out on living."
"If I can succeed at my experiments then I may just be able to live forever."
"Living forever doesn't mean much if you have no one to love and be loved in returned. We both know Rumple is a perfect example of that."
"Jefferson did you hear me?" Doctor Whale asked.
"No sorry, what did you say?"
"I asked what you are going to do first, once you are back home?"
Check on my daughter. Jefferson thought but out loud he said. "I am not sure. Take a walk around and check all the rooms. It has been over two and half years since I have been there last. It will be good to be able to move about freely." He gripped the cup tighter knowing he still wouldn't have free reign of the town, but his house was a lot bigger than the Storybrooke Hospital Psych Ward.
"Sounds like a plan." Doctor Whale checked his watch. "Let's head over to my office to see if Doctor Hopper brought over those papers yet.