They arrived at the town line too quickly for her tastes. Emma’s yellow bug awaited to carry her and Henry out of their lives forever.
“Mom…” Henry called. Regina looked down and felt her once black heart cracking inside her chest, as she hugged her son.
“I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you too…” she said, as she reluctantly released him and watched him run to the Charmings. They were hugging Emma and Charming put his arm around the boy, pulling him into their family hug, even as tears streamed down his and Snow’s faces.
They looked positively broken and there was a time when Regina would have relished their suffering. She had caused most of it, after all.
“I just found you…” Emma cried into Snow’s shoulder.
“I know…” Snow sniffed, trying to keep her knees from buckling under the grief. She couldn’t fall apart...not now. She and Charming had to put on a brave front. The falling apart would come later in each other’s arms when they were alone. She knew they both would cry themselves to sleep tonight.
“You’ll be okay though...you are so strong,” Snow said, her voice cracking.
“Gramps…” Henry said softly. Charming knelt down and hugged him tightly, as Henry threw his arms around his neck. Regina felt her breath hitch in her throat.
Until Neal showed up, Charming had been the only positive male influence in Henry’s life and if she was honest, she much preferred the prince’s influence over his biological father’s. She knew Neal loved Henry, but if she was honest, she much preferred Charming as a role model for her son.
“Hey...it’s going to be okay…” he promised.
“I don’t want to forget you,” Henry whispered. Charming felt like he was going to choke from the lump that was forming in his throat. He swallowed thickly.
“I know, but even if you forget me and your Grams, we’ll always be here,” he said, pointing to the center of Henry’s chest.
“Not even a curse can take away true love and that’s what this family has,” he added.
“Will you and Grams be sad?” Henry asked.
“We will...we’ll miss you and your mom every day. But we’ll cherish our memories of every moment we’ve spent with you,” David replied.
Regina felt Henry’s grief consume her. She had ripped this family apart once and she couldn’t let it happen again. Part of her wanted to force Snow and David to share her misery with her...but she knew sending them with Emma and Henry was possible if she made it so.
“It’s coming...you have to go,” Charming urged, as his daughter threw her arms around him. He felt like he was breaking inside, as he was once again sending her away to save her.
“I love you Daddy,” she whispered. And the dam broke inside him, as tears streamed down his cheeks. He had waited to hear her call him daddy since the moment he knew she existed inside her mother. She had called him dad once and he had thought that was as good as it would get. And now, she would forget him.
They finally broke apart and he swiped the tears from her face. She slowly backed away from them, intending to get in the bug and drive away forever. But a voice stopped her.
“Wait…” Regina called.
“The curse is almost here, Regina,” Emma pleaded. As much as it hurt to leave her parents, she couldn’t let Henry end up alone.
“I know...they can go with you. I can make it happen,” Regina said.
“What?” Snow said, a sliver of hope in her voice.
“With my magic...it will take almost everything I have, but I can send you with them,” Regina replied.
“You’d...do that for us?” David asked in disbelief.
“I will do it for Henry,” she clarified.
“Will we...forget who we really are?” Snow asked.
“It’s a curse. I can make you remember any life,” she replied. They looked expectantly at her.
“You’ll remember coming through the wardrobe together and raising Emma in this land, just as you originally planned. You’ll have learned all about this world and adapted quite well. You built very good lives and Emma will remember an entire childhood being raised by you. And then she’ll have never had to give Henry up,” Regina explained.
“You...you can really do that?” Henry asked hopefully. A tear slipped down her cheek.
“I can and I will...for you,” she answered, as tendrils of her magic swept over Snow and Charming, releasing them from the bonds of the curse.
“Go...go now…” she urged.
“Thank you,” Snow said. Regina could only nod, not trusting her voice any longer. Quick hugs were exchanged with Ruby and Granny, as the dwarves also gathered around them to say goodbye.
“We’re happy you don’t have to be separated from your kid again, but who’s gonna lead us?” Leroy asked.
“Regina will,” Snow replied. The other woman looked startled by that.
“She is no longer the Evil Queen, but she is still Queen and she will lead in our absence,” Snow said with confidence. The dwarves looked a bit uncomfortable, but remained silent.
“You need to go,” Regina urged again. She nodded, as Charming hurried them to the bug. Snow climbed in back with Henry, while Charming took the passenger seat in front with Emma. The yellow bug drove over the town line and they watched in the rear view mirror, as Regina used her magic to alter Pan’s curse, which would return everyone to the Enchanted Forest and give the Charmings a new life…
One Year Later
New York City
“And so, rather than to live on without his true love, Romeo drank the poison, believing that rather than condemnation, he would be reunited with his love in death. He would realize his fatal mistake moments later when he discovered Juliet only faked her death,” Mary lectured to her junior high students. One girl raised her hand.
“Yes Lisa?” she asked.
“I just don’t get why this play is considered such a great romance. I mean...dying for each other? Sounds a bit extreme,” she commented. Mary smiled and felt her heart flutter inside her chest. They would probably never know what it was like to be so utterly consumed by love that you felt you might die without the other. But Snow White knew...the real Snow White, not the damsel in distress cut out that this world knew as just a fairy tale. They didn’t know true love in this land...not like what she shared with her husband.
“It does seem that way. But they faced eternal separation in life and believed that death was the only way to be together. Sometimes, happy endings aren’t always what we think they will be, but they must always be fought for,” she answered, as the bell rang.
“Don’t forget your papers are due Friday,” she called, as her students filed out. She smiled at the man leaning against her door in his leather jacket. She was pretty sure no man had ever made leaning against a door look so good.
“Hey there handsome,” she greeted, as she pulled him into her classroom. His hand rested on her very pregnant belly.
It was true, happy endings weren’t always what one thought they would be. Almost thirty years ago, they had come to this land together and not even a day later, Emma had been born. They assumed Regina had cast her curse, but even as Emma reached her twenty-eighth birthday, they had yet to find their cursed friends. David kept searching though. He was good at finding people, after all, and had fallen into the bail bonds person business because of that talent. Emma had followed in her father’s footsteps and they had become a father-daughter team after Henry was born. They were extremely successful in finding bail jumpers. But they had come up empty on finding what they really wanted to find.
For David, it was their people. For Emma, it was Neal, who had abandoned her, if for no other reason than to punch him in the face.
Still, despite that, they were so happy and still irrevocably in love.
It was not lost on any of them, however, that Snow and Charming had not aged in twenty-eight years and now they suddenly were again, evident by the fact that Snow was able to get pregnant again. Neither of them knew why, but they assumed it had to do with the curse.
“How are you feeling?” he asked. She smiled at his concern.
“Good...a little back pain, but that’s to be expected,” she replied.
“You shouldn’t be on your feet so much. You’re getting close enough to start your leave,” he stressed.
“I’m fine. There’s only a few more days until spring vacation anyway. Then I’ll be putting my feet up until this little one decides to make an appearance,” she promised.
“Okay, let’s go home. Henry should be waiting out front for us,” he said. She smiled when thinking of their grandson.
“That reminds me. Emma asked if we could watch him tonight. She has a date,” Snow said, watching her husband’s mood sour immediately.
“With Walsh I assume?” he grumbled. She bit her lip to keep from giggling at him.
“You really don’t like him, do you?” she asked.
“There’s something off about him,” he insisted. She rolled her eyes
“There’s been something off about every man she’s ever dated,” she said.
“And I’ve been right. Neal is the prime example,” he replied.
“Yes, Neal broke our baby’s heart. But the result was Henry and none of us, especially Emma would change that,” she stressed.
“Of course not...I just can’t see our baby girl get hurt again by someone who isn’t worthy or deserving of her. And Walsh is definitely not worthy,” he said.
“I don’t want to see her get hurt either, but I want her to be happy,” she replied, clutching his arm.
“I want her to find her true love, like we did,” she added. He smiled at her.
“Me too. I’m just not sure Walsh is it,” he replied. She sighed and leaned into his embrace, as they met their grandson outside.
Of course, that was a family secret. Because Snow and David had not aged in twenty-eight years, they had been forced to use the ruse that Emma and David were siblings to people they had to interact with. So at school, Mary had to pretend Henry was her nephew as to not raise odd questions, because no one in this world would understand or believe that they were really Henry’s grandparents.
“Hey kid,” David said, ruffling his hair.
“So Mom has a date with Walsh again?” he asked, as they walked to their car.
“Yeah, how do you feel about that?” David asked. He shrugged.
“Walsh is all right. He’s good to Mom,” Henry replied. Snow smiled.
“See...Henry thinks Walsh is okay,” she teased her husband.
“You’re supposed to take my side, you know,” he grumbled to his grandson. Henry laughed.
“Relax Gramps, it’s not like Mom’s gonna marry him or anything,” Henry said, making Snow laughed in delight.
“You know, I may not look my actual age, but I’m pretty sure that would give me a heart attack,” he griped. Snow kissed his cheek, as he opened the car door for her.
“She’ll always be our baby girl, my love. No matter what,” she reminded. He smiled and nodded, as he got in the driver’s seat and they started for home.
The Land Without Magic
October 22nd, 1983
The peaceful forests of Maine were suddenly interrupted by an explosion, in which a large tree trunk came apart, bark falling away. A man kicked away the tree and climbed out, revealing him to be tall, shockingly handsome, and dressed in garb that could only be described as something royalty in a time long passed might wear. He reached back into the tree and lifted a beautiful woman in a long white dress out, as he gently put her on her feet. The woman was heavily pregnant, with hair black as night, lips red as blood, and skin white as snow.
“Did we make it?” she asked, her breath visible in the cold night air.
“It would appear so,” he responded, as he huddled her close, quickly shedding his red cloak to wrap around her.
“What do we do now?” Snow asked. Blue had warned them that this land would be strange, the people, the customs, the clothing, everything and they would be completely out of their element. They had not come empty handed, for they had brought quite a large sum of gold with them in Charming’s satchel he had slung over his shoulder. But they had no idea if gold was even valued in this land like it was in theirs. He took her hand.
“We’ll figure it out, my darling. As long as we’re together,” he assured, as they began walking through the woods.
They came upon what appeared to be a road, but neither of them had ever seen a road so smooth. Suddenly there was a pair of lights and Snow gasped as a very strange looking carriage without horses zoomed passed them at what they were certain was an unsafe speed. Charming held her tightly, as they watched it with awe.
“I...I thought this was the Land Without Magic,” Snow said. Charming had no answers for her, but put on a brave front as he always did. He walked on the side closest to the road, keeping her tucked closely to his right side, as they continued on the shoulder of the road. It was only a few miles until they saw lights. They were suspended in the air by strange gray posts. Though it was like no village they had ever seen, it seemed like it was this realm’s version of one.
Ahead of them, there was an establishment of sorts. There were people inside and he gripped her hand tightly. It was time to learn more about this strange world by interacting with the people that lived here. Snow was eternally grateful that she hadn’t been forced to come through alone with Emma. She didn’t know what she would do in a strange place without her beloved beside her.
Sure, she had survived many hardships on her own when she was on the run from Regina, but that had been when it was only her she had to worry about.
Now she had their child depending on her and there had been discussion that if Emma had come early, she would have had to leave Charming behind.
Thankfully, that had not been the case and now they would face whatever came their way like they did with everything...together.
New York City
“Hey,” Walsh greeted, as Emma arrived at their table.
“Sorry I’m late,” she replied, as he stood up and hugged her, planting a kiss on her cheek, his eyes appreciating her attire, which consisted of a little black dress and stiletto heels.
“You look incredible,” Walsh said, as they sat down at the table.
“Thanks,” she said.
“I take it this means you and your brother caught the guy,” he mentioned. Emma was still caught off guard sometimes when David was referred to as her brother. To her, he had always been Dad, but since he hadn’t aged her entire life, they had to invent this ruse to explain their relation.
“So optimistic. I like it,” she covered.
“If you hadn’t, you’d have canceled,” he said knowingly. She shifted a little uncomfortably. She had not been good at opening up to men since Neal.
“You know me too well,” she mentioned. He smiled.
“Emma Swan always gets her man,” he said, as the waiter delivered two glasses of wine.
“And apparently my drink, thank you,” she replied.
“How did Henry’s volcano do at the science fair?” he asked.
“It was Pompeii all over again. Thanks for your help, by the way,” she replied.
“All I did was talk him out of using real lava,” he joked.
“Which his teachers appreciate. Mary is pretty glad she teaches English lit and not science,” she joked back.
“How is your sister-in-law? Isn’t she almost due?” he asked. Emma nodded.
“It might be any day now,” she mentioned.
“They must be so excited to start a family,” he said fondly. Emma shifted again. She hated fibbing to him, but smiled.
“They are. Let’s eat,” she deflected.
“Let’s do it,” he agreed, as they browsed their menus.
“Are you enjoying your meal?” he asked.
“Delicious,” she mentioned.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, as he got up. Emma took that time to check her phone and shook her head, as she read her mother’s text. Apparently, she had been craving ice cream and pickles again with cinnamon and informed her that her father and Henry were currently on a run to the store.
She then laughed at Henry’s text that he was totally grossed about Grams sprinkling cinnamon on her ice cream and then dipping the pickles in it. About that time, Walsh returned.
“Something funny?” he asked, as he sat back down.
“Henry’s just a little grossed out by Mary’s cravings,” she chuckled and he smiled.
“So I hope you’re still hungry,” he mentioned.
“Ugh, I couldn’t eat another bite,” she confessed.
“Remember our first date? You were being you,” he said with a chuckle.
“So I couldn’t swing a dinner and brought you here for lunch, which didn’t stop you from ordering an ice cream sundae, which wasn’t on the menu. I bribed the chef and they made one up,” he reminded.
“I remember, I was nervous. Now I’m full,” she replied.
“Will you at least look at it?,” he asked, as he turned the sundae, so Emma could see the engagement ring he had placed on the plate. She gasped.
“Emma, I don’t want to freak you out, but I can’t wait any longer. I love you. I love Henry. Mary is great and I think I can even learn to like David, even though he seems to hate my guts. I love our lives together and I wanna have a future together,” he confessed, as he got up and knelt before her, taking her hand.
“Emma Swan...will you marry me?” he asked. Emma’s mouth dropped open and she felt like the walls of the restaurant were suddenly closing in on her. Before she knew what was happening, she fled the restaurant.
Walsh hurried and caught up to her outside.
“I thought the worst thing that could happen is that you’d say no. I never thought you’d walk out on the bill,” he said.
“Walsh,” Emma started to say.
“I’m kidding...I was gonna pay,” he replied.
“I’m sorry, you just took me by surprise,” she said.
“Surprise was part of the plan and now I see it wasn’t a great plan,” he replied.
“Don’t you think it’s just a little fast? I mean, we’ve only been together eight months,” she stressed.
“I knew you were the one for me the moment you walked into my furniture shop,” he confessed.
“Why do you think you got your order two weeks early?” he asked.
“Your commitment to excellence?” she joked. He chuckled.
“Because I couldn’t wait to ask you out. That seemed the least creepiest way to speed things up,” he admitted.
“I do love that end table,” she admitted in return.
“That’s a start,” he encouraged.
“I do love you too, you know that, right?” she asked.
“Yeah, I do and I love you,” he replied.
“I’m just not good at fast,” she confessed.
“I know. I knew who I was proposing to. We don’t have to get married right away. Hell, we don’t have to get married at all. I just want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he confessed.
“Can I have some time to think?” she asked.
“Of course. Take all the time you need. I’ll be here,” he replied.
Misty Haven, Maine
October, 22 1983
Tessa Gray had seen a lot in her years on this crazy Earth. One might think that not to be the case since she ran a small diner in the smallish town in Maine known as Misty Haven. But this African American widow had seen much. In fact, her late husband used to chuckle at her and her ability to attract the odd ones and her insistence in taking in strays.
But Tessa was a rare person that had seen smidgens of magic in an otherwise magic less world. She had met people that were unique and some that she was convinced were not of this world. Not aliens or anything like that, mind you...at least not yet, she often mused.
So when quite possibly the most attractive couple she’d ever seen walked into her diner that night, dressed to the nines like royalty from the medieval times, she did not scoff at them like her patrons. She did not cover her mouth and point at them as if they might be freaks that had just attended a renaissance fair. She did, however, quickly approach them to cut off one of her idiot patrons, who had decided with prodding from his other drunk, idiot friends to approach the couple. The man garbed in the leather jerkin looked like he might snap any man who approached the woman, she assumed his wife, like a twig with the way he was holding her to him.
“Can I help you?” she asked simply. She watched the man and woman exchange a glance.
“We...my wife and I are looking for a place to stay. We...can pay in gold,” he whispered.
Gold? Oh yes, these two were definitely not from this century and it was then that she noticed the roundness of the raven haired beauty’s belly.
“How far along are you, honey?” she asked.
“Umm...nine months…” she stammered.
“Mmmhmm...ready to pop I’d say,” Tessa commented. Oh Lord, her beloved Reggie was watching her from beyond right about now and laughing merrily.
“Lucky for the pair of you dears, since you’re clearly not from around here, I own the sublet’s above this place. I live in one and the other is vacant,” she said, as she motioned them in back.
“How much do your require for your room?” the man asked.
“We can discuss all that later. For now, you can give me names, unless you prefer I just keep calling you dears,” she said, as they followed her up the stairs and she unlocked the door to the space.
It was a small apartment, modestly furnished and had remained just so since her estranged daughter had up and walked out of her life.
“My name is David and this is my wife…” he trailed off, as he looked at her.
“Mary…” the fair woman answered.
“David and Mary. Any last name you care to share?” she asked. David sounded like it could fit this man, but Mary didn’t seem quite right for the woman. Whatever last name they gave would probably be fake too, but if she had to forge papers for these two, they would need one. It wouldn’t be the first time she had done so for troubled people. She had helped many a runaway and these two were definitely escaping from something...or someone.
The couple looked at each other, a little lost, but she saw Mary glance briefly at the painting of a swan on the wall.
“Swan…” she answered quickly.
“David and Mary Swan,” she told her.
“Well, David and Mary Swan, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. I’ll call my friend in the morning, she’s a midwife and can help you through the birth of your little one when the time comes,” Tessa stated.
“You...you don’t even know us and you’re so willing to help?” David questioned. She looked at him. Despite his princely clothes, she could tell this one had known hardship in his life. He was probably not used to people doing things for others out of the goodness of their hearts.
“Honey…a lot of people in need have come my way. Where I come from, you help people when they’re running from something...or someone. The eyes are the window to the soul. Your eyes are kind...but they’ve seen evil,” she said knowingly. The couple look baffled at her intuitiveness. But she simply smiled and held up her hand, as David fished for some gold in the pouch.
“Gold is valuable in this world, but rarely used as common currency anymore. I have no need for it. What I do need, however, is help around this place. We can talk more in the morning. My residence is next door. You come get me immediately if she goes into labor,” she instructed. He nodded and with that, Tessa left her new tenants to acclimate to their new place.
New York City
Emma arrived home at her apartment that evening. Her parents were there with her son and she was eternally grateful that she had them so close, the apartment across the hall in fact.
“Hey kid,” Emma said.
“Hey Mom, I’m totally kicking Gramps’ butt,” Henry called, as her son and her father played video games on Henry’s Xbox.
“That’s not really that hard,” Emma mumbled.
“I heard that,” David retorted playfully.
“How was your date, honey?” Mary asked, as she stood at the stove, making hot chocolate. Emma smiled, as she saw her mother retrieve a fourth mug from the cupboard.
“It was...good,” she replied vaguely. Mary tilted her head to the side, as Emma kicked off her heels.
“Just good?” Mary prodded. She glanced at her mother.
“Unfortunately, not every woman gets completely swept off her feet every time she goes out with a guy,” Emma replied, looking pointedly at her mother.
She loved her parents to pieces, but they really had no idea how hard dating was. They had this amazing true love. They had fought very hard for it, but in a lot of different ways than ordinary people. There had been this instant spark between them and had always drawn them together since the day they had met.
But Emma was starting to think that she wasn’t going to find that person. She had felt something with Neal, but that had turned out to be quite one sided when he dumped her and set her up for a crime she didn’t commit.
She felt something with Walsh too and she did love him, she wasn’t lying about that. But she had always thought that falling in love meant feeling like half of her was missing when they weren’t together. And she didn’t feel that way with Walsh.
“I’m sorry honey...so you’re not going to see him anymore?” Mary asked. She sighed.
“Uh, no we’re still seeing each other…” Emma said, looking at her father and son briefly to make sure they were occupied.
“Walsh sort of...proposed,” she whispered.
“What?” Mary exclaimed, but Emma waved her hand to quiet her. Fortunately, her father and her son were still preoccupied with Henry declaring victory and her father now tickling him mercilessly.
“He proposed?” Mary whispered.
“Yeah…” Emma said.
“What did you say?” her mother asked.
“I told him I needed to think about it,” Emma replied. Mary felt her heart break. She so wanted her daughter to find someone she loved passionately, like she loved David.
“What should I do?” Emma asked.
“Do you love him?” Mary questioned.
“I think so. He’s good to me...and he’s great with Henry. He owns his own business…” Emma started listing, but Mary put her hand on top of her daughter’s.
“Honey, you know your father and I will support you, no matter what. We want you to be happy. But don’t marry someone because you feel obligated,” she advised. Emma sighed.
“Do you love him?” Mary repeated.
“I do...but I know that every time Dad looks at you, you still get butterflies. And I just don’t get that with Walsh,” Emma admitted. Mary squeezed her hand.
“Then don’t feel like you have to do anything until you are certain of how you feel,” Mary advised. Emma smiled.
“Thanks Mom,” she replied.
Misty Haven, Maine
October, 23rd 1983
It was the very next night when Emma decided to make her debut. It was a night Tessa would never forget. Despite the forecast of clear skies, it seemed dark clouds had rolled in the moment the young, raven haired beauty’s water broke. The wind howled, almost in concert with the young woman’s screams and rain pelted the window, while the lights flickered wildly.
The sudden storm had delayed her friend’s arrival and it was quickly apparent that they were going to have deliver this baby themselves. She had assisted in enough of these though that she didn’t foresee any problem.
She was instantly amazed by the young man that held his wife tightly through the pain. She had seen many a lesser man drop unconscious to the floor at the sight of a woman giving birth. But David was not fazed even a little. He simply remained steadfast, holding his beloved, and mopping her forehead with a cool cloth, while whispering words of love and comfort to her. Tessa was quite sure she had never quite seen such love and devotion in a pair before.
“All right honey...the head is crowning. We’re close now. Just a couple more really big pushes,” Tessa instructed. She screamed and did as Tessa instructed. Soon, an infant’s cry pierced the air, lights still flickering, as the woman cradled the newborn.
The looks on the couple’s faces were awestruck, as Tessa cleaned the baby off and wrapped her in the blanket the couple had with them when they came to her. A beautiful knitted white blanket, embroidered with the little girl’s name in purple, complete with a purple ribbon. They had planned for her and somehow, Tessa knew that the blanket was the only thing they had been able to bring for their baby from their former life.
Somehow, she imagined this perfect little nursery somewhere, filled with toys and a handmade crib with maybe a mobile hanging above it.
Tessa placed the baby in the young woman’s and stepped back to give the new parents a moment. But she couldn’t help but hear their words.
“Look at her...oh, she’s so beautiful, Snow,” he whispered in awe. Tears streamed down Snow’s face, as she kissed her baby on the head and then looked up at Charming. He lowered his lips to hers, kissing her passionately, before kissing their baby’s head. And seemingly, like someone had just flipped a switch, the storm that raged outside passed like nothing.
Since they had come to her, only a day ago, she had sensed Mary wasn’t the woman’s real name, but now hearing him unguarded and calling her Snow confirmed it.
Tessa wasn’t sure what to make of that. Some might think the couple to be mentally unstable and perhaps pretending to be fairy tale characters. But Tessa saw no pretending here and she had seen enough to know that such unbelievable things could be real. Her own grandmother had told her many stories of her own experiences as well, for she had been much like Tessa and raised her mostly in her native state of Louisiana. The bayou where she had grown up was well known for many strange occurrences and unusual people, so Tessa took it in stride as she did most things.
“Congratulations to you both. I’d ask her name, but I think that’s already been answered,” Tessa said, pointing to the blanket.
“Thank you...thank you for your help. We’re in your debt and you must let me repay that debt in any way possible,” David said.
“Now, now, dear, you can repay me right now by staying with these two beauties. Eventually, you both can help me around this place. I’ve already enrolled you both in program the town has for those in need with children. For very little, they’ll help us with things you’ll need for the baby and I’ll be here for you every step of the way,” she said. Snow looked at her with teary eyes.
“You are so kind and we are nothing more than strangers to you. I don’t know what to say,” Snow said, on the verge of sobbing.
“Shh...don’t cry honey. I come from a long line of people that have helped those that have been ostracized by society or hunted by those with jealous hearts. You’re safe here and someday...if you should want to tell me your story, I’ll be all ears and no judgment,” Tessa promised. And with that, she left the young couple be with their baby.
New York City
The next morning, Emma rushed around to get ready. She had never been a morning person. Thankfully, her father always seemed to rise with the sun and was perfectly content to let himself in to make breakfast for them. Henry was already eating pancakes and her father placed another plate in front of her mother with a kiss to her cheek. Her mother beamed at him and dug in, resting her free hand on the swell of her pregnant stomach. It was strange that she would soon have a baby sibling, thirty years her junior, but she was so happy for her parents. They had unanswered questions, like how it was they did not age for twenty-eight years or why it was only now they could get pregnant, but she knew how much they had always wanted more children.
When she was growing up, they had tried to have more children for a long time with no success. Still, they had never made her feel like she wasn’t enough for them. She had amazing memories of growing up with them.
Emma sat down next to her mother, just as her father put a plate in front of her.
“Thanks Dad,” she said, as she took a bite, while he sat down next to Snow.
“You good for that math test today, kid?” she asked.
“Piece of cake,” Henry replied, making them all smile, just as there was a knock at the door. Emma took a sip of her juice and hurried to get the door, finding a good looking man, dressed in a lot of leather, behind it.
“Swan…” he said with a smile.
“Can I help you?” she asked suspiciously.
“You don’t remember…” he said.
“Should I? Cause we’ve never met,” she replied.
“We have...you just don’t remember. But I think I can fix that,” he said, as he leaned in and kissed her. Her eyes widened in disbelief and she shoved him off.
“Swan…” he said, but it was the last thing he uttered, before her fist connected with his face and he knew nothing but blackness.
Misty Haven, Maine
Two years passed quickly and they slowly acclimated to this new world under the guises of David and Mary Swan quite well. Though they often marveled at this world’s magic, or what was called technology, they were fast learners and no one was any the wiser that they had once been a prince and a princess from a far off land where magic and castles were the norm.
David proved that years on the farm made him quite the handyman. He had repaired the siding and roof on Tessa’s rundown diner, making it more attractive and actually drew more business for Tessa now. And once he learned how the modern appliances worked, he took to repairing what he could for her when needed and even helped cook when it was needed, for his mother had taught him how growing up.
But recently, he had caught the eye of the local Sheriff when he stopped a convenience store robbery that he happened to be passing by when it happened. David had tackled the guy and single handedly subdued the man, despite the fact the man had been armed.
Mary had fussed endlessly about how he could have been killed, but she knew helping people and fighting for what was right was simply in her husband’s blood. So when the Sheriff wanted to hire him as a junior deputy, both Mary and Tessa agreed that it was an opportunity he shouldn’t turn down.
It definitely wasn’t glamorous, as he mostly started out doing things like parking duty and security, but it came with weapons training and a decent salary with benefits for his family.
Mary was content for the moment to waitress for Tessa at the diner, as it allowed her to spend most of her time with Emma, since Tessa had no problems with Mary having Emma close all the time.
A short time after Emma was born, she had decided to cut her unruly locks into a pixie cut. She couldn’t remember exactly what had even possessed her to do so, but she found the new hairstyle both attractive and easy to take care of with her busy life as a mom and a waitress. It was an added bonus that David found her pixie cut to be just as sexy as her long hair, as he was fond of telling her.
“Order up,” Miles, Tessa’s cook, called. Mary collected the orders on her tray and started toward the booth where four of the regulars sat almost everyday for lunch. They were a bit rowdy, but generally meant no harm. Two worked construction, one was with the city works department, and one was a janitor at the elementary school.
While three of them were married and meant no harm, Hank the janitor, creeped Mary out usually. He insisted on flirting with her daily and usually stared at her, unless David was around. He had been on the receiving end of many of her husband’s glares.
“Here we are,” Mary said, as she set their plates down in front of them. Hank eyed her appreciatively, his eyes scanning down her shapely legs and up along her curves. She had almost stopped wearing skirts because of him, but whether she liked it or not, she got better tips on the days she wore her scoop neck cardigans and skirts.
“Thanks doll face,” Hank leered. Oh, she hated that nickname too, but she tried to be polite to all her customers. She simply nodded and retreated from their table, but not before subtly flashing the ring on her finger to him, as she always did.
“Man Hank, I swear you have some kinda death wish. Her husband is a cop,” Andy, one of the construction workers reminded.
“Yeah, she’d never go for your old, ugly butt anyway,” Mike, the other construction worker joked.
“Still can’t blame a guy for lookin’. Just can’t help myself with that one. She’s as fine as I’ve ever seen,” he said, as he stared at her, as she took an order from another table.
“She is fine...I’ll give you that. But way outta your league, even if she wasn’t married with a baby,” Kevin, the city works guy, mentioned. But Hank’s eyes didn’t stray from her and it was bothersome to Tessa, who had been watching the creep’s eyes follow Mary since the day she started waitressing. She didn’t like it. Mary, David, and sweet little Emma had become her family. She’d be keeping an eye on Hank for sure and wouldn’t bat an eye if David took care of the problem as he had promised to do so if he persisted.
As the day went on, it was business as usual in Misty Haven. Tessa’s diner wasn’t in the best part of town, but not the worst either. The late crowd, which consisted of the four regulars and a few others were rowdy as usual, but Mary handled it all in stride.
Tessa had long thought that someone like Mary was meant for much more than waitressing, but the young beauty seemed content with her life, mostly because she had a wonderfully charming husband and the sweetest little girl. And Mary simply insisted that she loved helping Tessa run the diner.
Tessa couldn’t have known two years ago when David and Mary walked into her diner that they would be a Godsend. She wasn’t a young woman anymore and everyday things were getting harder for her to do on her own. She longed for her own estranged daughter at times, but Mary had truly become like a second daughter and David like a son. It was only a natural progression when Emma started calling her Nana, which none of them bothered to correct her since it was a title most fitting.
Together, as they did every night, they closed up after finally convincing their half drunk customers to leave and go to one of the bars if they wanted to keep drinking. David came home around that time from his patrol and was greeted warmly first by his little girl toddling excitedly to him and then his wife, whom kissed him eagerly. Tessa smiled at the little family. Mary had already fed Emma, but as usual, she opted wait for her husband to eat. The small family bid Tessa goodnight, as they took their meal upstairs to their apartment to enjoy a little family time before they would all have to retire. Tessa locked up and glanced at the pictures on her wall. One of a family gone, a husband she buried years ago and a daughter that left her behind. Then one of a new family created that she had somehow been gracious enough to become a part of.
New York City
Walsh took a deep breath and stood before the mirror. He gently touched it and it rippled, before becoming clear again with his green skinned mistress staring back at him.
“I hope you have some good news for me,” the witch said.
“She didn’t say yes to my proposal...but she also didn’t say no,” he reported. Zelena clenched her teeth, her green eyes burning with fury.
“Then you better work harder. Emma Swan must be...distracted,” Zelena replied. He nodded.
“I thought I had her...but her parents and their true love constantly get in the way! I was sure I had convinced her that marrying me was the best thing for her and her brat...but the princess goes on and on about true love to her all time,” Walsh complained.
“Yes...but Snow White is very important to the success of my plan, at least until she gives birth. I’ll send reinforcements. You must isolate Emma Swan, while my minions isolate Snow White and her prince. I need them brought to me,” she hissed.
“Yes your wickedness...she’s asked to see me tonight,” he boasted.
“Then make sure she can’t interfere,” Zelena hissed, as the mirror went blank.
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