She Promised Me Love

The Day of the Ball

Emma woke up happy. She smiled at the bright morning that promised to become a nice day for Killian’s birthday - with a hopefully enchanting evening at the ball. Emma was planning on it, she was going to sweep her lady off her feet, make it all real - the possibility of true love’s kiss would become a promise tonight, a reality. Emma whistled while she dressed and she took some dancing steps to a melody only she could hear as she walked down the hall to get some things done before breakfast.

As she walked by Henry’s room, though, his door opened and he stepped out. He didn’t look nearly as cheerful as she felt and she laid an arm around his shoulders. “Hey, what’s wrong? You don’t look like a young man who’s going to his first ball tonight,” she said.

Henry sighed. “When are you going to talk to mom?”

She looked at him surprised. “I actually have another plan, you know? The whole princess-thing at the ball – I’m gonna be her prince tonight. She’s not gonna be able to resist me,” Emma told him with a confident grin.

Henry didn’t seem convinced by the plan, though. He frowned. “I don’t think that’ll work for her,” he said.

“Why do you say that? Did you talk to her?”

Henry blushed, but before Emma could admonish him he held up his hand, “She started it, okay? She started talking about love and how it’s dangerous and that you’re both happy with the way it is,” he explained quickly.

“Wait, she said that?”

Henry nodded. “I think you have some talking to do before she’ll let you be her prince, ma.”

Emma looked over at the door to Regina’s room, her face now serious and just a little doubtful.

“Are you gonna talk to her? Now?” Henry asked and there was a note of pleading in his voice.

Emma looked at him and tried an encouraging smile. “Yes, I’ll talk to her. Don’t worry, kid. I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna convince her to give us a chance. After all, it’s true love, right?” She had wanted to sound upbeat but her voice faltered a little on the last word.

“Do you want some help?” he asked.

“No, that’s all right. I can do this, I have to,” she answered and gave him a more convincing smile this time.

They walked the few steps to Regina’s door together, then Emma kissed Henry on the cheek and send him on his way to breakfast.

“Come in,” Regina called from her place on a chaise longue by the open window. She had already eaten her breakfast which had been brought up for her and she had been contemplating if she should go downstairs and take a walk. The day was looking like it would be beautiful and a stroll in the garden would probably lift her spirits. Her back also felt decidedly better today.

The door opened and Emma’s head appeared around it, looking at her questioningly

“Hey, how’re you this morning?” Emma asked smiling shyly.

“I’m a lot better, thank you. Was there something you wanted, Emma?” Regina stiffened, just like she’d done so often at the beginning of their very complicated relationship. It had been something she had thought would never change, but then it had, so gradually that she hadn’t even noticed it. But it seemed her defenses were back up and while she scolded herself to be so frightened of something that could make her happy, she also couldn’t help herself.

“I wanted to talk to you,” Emma said.

“I actually wanted to... get ready for the ball,” Regina said and then rolled her eyes at the stupid excuse. “There’s always so much to do,” she added lamely

“I won’t be long, I promise,” Emma said as she fully stepped into the room.

Regina watched her for a moment, then steered her eyes toward the window. She looked out as Emma came closer and finally sat down on the chaise longue, next to Regina’s legs.

“You know, we have to talk about this sometime,” Emma said.

Slowly, Regina turned her head back to her. “I thought you would wait until we were back in Storybrooke,” Regina said in very much the same soft tone as Emma. There were no pretenses and no reproach in her voice, she sounded frail, however.

“I would have, but Henry thought we needed to clear some things up.”

“Henry has become quite pushy, I blame your part of the family,” Regina joked but only half-heartedly. “And I thought this was about you and I, not Henry?”

“Did he tell you that I said that?”

Regina nodded, wringing her hands nervously.

“Well, it’s... some things, I think, they should be just about us.”

“There is no us, Emma. There is you and there is me, we’re both Henry’s moms, but... well, we have grown close, but not that close.”

“So, you’re denying that you love me?” Emma asked.

Her look into Regina’s eyes was open and vulnerable. Regina opened her mouth to say something, to give a quick answer, probably a lie, but then she closed it again without any answer at all.

“I hoped you wouldn’t.” Emma smiled softly.

Regina felt her resolve against Emma thaw. How could she look into those eyes and deny what had been going on for a good long while now? It wasn’t even about True Love’s Kiss, it was about the time they spent together, the feelings she’d pushed aside, because she’d thought they were madness.

“I love you, Regina,” Emma said, scooting a little closer on the chaise but refraining from touching her.

“Why?” Regina asked as tears filled her eyes.

“Why? Because you’re an amazing woman, caring, strong, intelligent. And you can cook. And you’re beautiful and courageous and...”

“Okay, that’s enough, Emma. You have to stop this,” Regina told her but her voice lacked her accustomed sharpness. Heat flushed her cheeks at the happiness she felt at Emma’s words.

“I have to stop loving you?” Emma asked. “Why?”

“Because we will never work. You must know that.” The words came out automatically, while her whole body yearned to touch Emma.

“Relationships don’t just work if you don’t work on them, Regina. I know I’m not an expert. The only real relationship I ever had was with Neal and I was barely more than a kid then, but I guess I learned a lot from watching the relationships around me.”

“You parents’ relationship, Emma? That’s not how it is in the real world. That’s not how it is for normal people,” Regina argued.

“Like we are normal,” Emma gave back. “We’re not. And I don’t mean because we’re two women but because of the things we’ve gone through together, against each other, too. But despite all that we... we’ve fallen in love. And I think we’ll be able to go from here, work on it, learn together how it can be between two people. I’m ready to try, Regina.” Emma took one of her hands squeezed it.

Regina looked at their hands, caressing each other. It was almost like she watched it without being part of it, but she could feel Emma’s hand. It was soft, it was tender, it made love to her.

“I’m not sure I am, Emma. I’m not sure I’m even able to... love,” she said honestly and a tear fell from her lashes onto her cheek.

Emma reached up and brushed it away. “You’re so full of love, Regina. I can see it every time you look at Henry.”

“That’s a different kind of love and he was patient with me.”

“I can be patient, too,” Emma promised.

Regina closed her eyes. Her hand was holding onto Emma’s, her shoulders weren’t lifted in an attempt to defend herself. She sat for a few minutes with her eyes closed, letting the emotions roll over her without fighting them, without drowning in them, either.

She opened her eyes. “I’ll need time.”

“All right. As I said, I can be patient,” Emma said.

“This is crazy, Emma. We should just--”

“Admit defeat and not even try? No, Regina. I won’t let you just give up on something good. You deserve to be loved, we both do. And I have an inkling that we’ll be actually really good at loving each other,” Emma said and grinned.

Heat flooded Regina’s body, and she knew she was blushing.

“Wherever did your mind just go, Regina?”

“We don’t know each other well enough for me to tell you that, savior,” Regina teased and smiled.

“Oh, you’re gonna make me work for it, won’t you?” Emma teased back.

“Whatever did I do to deserve this?” Regina sighed overly dramatic.

“You’ve been good,” Emma told her and the teasing had gone completely from her voice.

Regina looked at her surprised, but not quite believing. “Not for long,” she said.

“But for the rest of your life,” Emma stated.

“That’s the plan, at least.”

Emma looked at Regina proudly. “I guess that’s good enough for whoever hands out happy endings around here.”

“Don’t talk of endings, Emma, especially not happy ones. That’s not a very reliable concept and... well, if anything, this is a beginning.”

Emma smiled. “Good, a hopeful beginning, I take that. And...,” she stated with a great dramatic flourish. “I hope you will agree to let me sit next to you at dinner tonight?”

“I thought Henry would be my dining partner.”

“He’s on his own for tonight, and I don’t think he will mind.” Emma said with an adorable puppy-eyed look. “Please?”

“Do you think that’s a good idea? Your parents will be there, too, you know?”

“Yes, I know. And they also know... about... us,” Emma stammered.

Regina could hardly believe her ears. Did Emma just say that Snow and Charming knew about whatever was happening between them? Damn, those Charmings were like one of those annoying TV-families from the Eighties. “They know about... the kiss?”

Emma nodded.

“But wait a minute.” Regina eyed her breakfast tray suspiciously. “I don’t feel like I’ve been cursed or anything, but when did you tell them?”

“They’ll not gonna try and murder you, Regina.”

“If you think your mother will take this lying down, you’ll have another thing coming. She hates me, we hate each other,” Regina argued.

“Is that really how you feel?”

“That’s how she feels. She’ll never forgive me and maybe rightly so, but she’ll never let me love her daughter.”

Emma gave a laugh, it seemed to bubble out of her. “It’s nice to hear you say that.”

“Focus, Emma.”

“She’ll be all right, I promise you. She told Henry that she wouldn’t mess with true love. That does make sense, don’t you think?”

“She talked to Henry about us?”

“Long story, but listen, my parents are not gonna be a problem. They won’t interfere with us,” Emma said. She leaned forward and caressed Regina’s cheek.

And Regina let her, leaning into the soft touch of Emma’s hand. But just for a moment, then she took Emma’s hand in her own.

“There’s no us as of yet,” she said, but she wasn’t really determined that it should stay that way.

Emma pulled their combined hands toward her and kissed Regina’s. “There will be,” she vowed.

“You’re awfully confident about all this. And you promised me that you wouldn’t be long and now you’ve been here over half an hour,” Regina said to regain some sense of control over the conversation. The mushy part was over; Regina needed time to think. Maybe they could have time for more mushyness later.

“I apologize. One thing, though: what color are you gonna wear tonight?”

“My dress?”

Emma nodded.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Regina teased. In truth, she was curious why Emma wanted to know.

“Please tell me.”


“That’s red, right?” Emma grinned. “It’s your color.”

“I know.”

They smiled at each other.

“All right, I leave you. I’m looking forward to tonight.”

“It’s just your little brother’s birthday, Emma.”

“It’s a ball,” Emma disagreed. “It’s going to be magical,” she added and grinned. She seemed giddy as she walked to the door. Then she turned and bowed deeply. “I’ll see you tonight, Regina.”

Regina inclined her head in a regal manner, but felt unable not to smile. Emma was adorable, besides annoying and completely off her rocker.

Emma left her.

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