Twenty-Seven years and Eleven months – Early October 2011
Jefferson swung the telescope around trying to locate his daughter during her lunch break at school. He noticed Henry Mills sitting off by himself eating alone, as he searched the school yard for Grace. Finally he found her hanging out around the swings with those troublesome siblings; Ava and Nicholas. Over the last twenty-seven years they had been responsible for his daughter breaking her arm and daring her to break in his front gate and ringing the doorbell on the manor.
And who knows what else that I don't know about? He thought to himself. "Once I get you back Grace we are going to have a talk about these two friends of yours." He commented to himself as he took a bit of lunch. As silly as it all was Jefferson had come to eating his lunch while watching his daughter on her lunch break. It help him feel like they were still together, even though there were miles between them, and the horrible fact that that as long as the curse remained intact she didn't remember him at all. But he would always remember their meals together.
"Papa, why aren't you eating?" Grace asked looking up from her bowl of soup.
He looked across the table at his little girl and forced a smile. "I had some while I was making it, before you came in for dinner, so you eat as much of it as your want. Seconds, thirds, the whole thing, don't worry about your Papa."
He reached out for the loaf of bread thinking to himself as he cut it. As she is getting older it is becoming harder and harder to hide the fact that no matter what I do there just are some days where I fall short of being able to supply both of us with enough food.
You could always steal something, a voice from his past reminded him. You were always so good at being the thief. You can count how many times you were truly caught on one hand.
He shook his head as if to shake away these evil thoughts, before handing a piece of bread to Grace. "Here by the time I made it to the shop the baker only had day old bread left, but if you dip it in the broth it will make it taste better."
Another lie, the old bread was all he could afford, and one day soon his little girl was going to realize that.
Grace smiled taking the bread thinking nothing of it. "Thank you Papa."
Her smile brought a real smile to his face as he took a bite of the dry old bread. I need to find a new way to provide for her, but stealing isn't the answer. I hung my hat on that way of live after Alice died. If I get caught, or worse, what would happen to her? I am all she has left, I have to find another way to get the things she needs.
"I can provide for you now, here in Storybrooke Grace. Once this curse ends and you remember; you will have everything you want and could possible dream up. I will finally be able to get you whatever you desire, as soon as you want it."
He watched as Ava jumped off the swing and Grace followed close behind. They ran towards the school building and that is when he noticed Snow White was now sitting with Henry Mills. He paused a moment on the two of them sitting there talking. The boy didn't look happy but then again who would if they had to live with the Evil Queen their whole life.
Thinking nothing of the two talking he looked back around for Grace seeing her and Ava now playing hopscotch together. While he watched something kept bugging him about Snow and Henry together.
"How many years has it been since Regina brought that boy into Storybrooke?" He asked out loud.
"Ten years." He heard his father's voice from behind him answer.
"It has almost been twenty-eight years stuck here with the ghosts of my past to keep me company and every time I see it is your ghost's turn to talk to me I suddenly enjoy the thought of being alone forever." He huffed not caring to stop looking through the telescope to face his father.
"You can ignore me all you want." Hook told him. "But you know you shouldn't ignore the boy and Snow White. You have been waiting for the boy to start to doubt life here in Storybrooke. That look on his face was the same look I saw on yours for decades in Neverland; before Rumple stole you away. So ask yourself did he look like a boy who is content with his current surrounds and life?"
Jefferson hated to admit it but his father's ghost was speaking words of wisdom. He turned to say something to him but when he did there was nothing there. He was just alone in the workroom with his lunch and telescope.
With a frown he turned back to the telescope and once again found Henry and Snow. Whatever Snow was telling him wasn't cheering him up. He watched as she reached into her bag and pulled out a book.
"No!" He whispered to himself shocked to see the fairy tale book that Victor and he had created during his stay in the Storybrooke Hospital's Psych Ward. "Victor you old dog you! You finished it off and gave it to her just like I suggested." Hmm he thought to himself. I wonder if it actually helped you get a date with her, and is it possible we have both now bedded royalty?
He watched as Henry opened it and started to flip through the pages, while they continued to talk. Jefferson couldn't help but smile himself when he saw Snow finally got the boy to crack a smile.
"Oh yes, Snow good job. I have no idea what it is you are actually saying to him but if he is at all bright he will be able to put it all together now that he has the book!"
Jefferson sat back a moment breaking into a laugh. "Oh Snow you don't know it yet, but you may have just ruined Regina's happy ending for a second time."
He clapped his hands the sound echoing off the walls. He leaned back to see what was happening now and he watched as Snow walked away leaving the book with Henry. He watched him flip the page and look up; the boy's face completely change from the start of the lunch break. Henry's face was now filled with hope, and Jefferson could tell by the wide grin on his own face he was also hopeful for whatever was coming.