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roses are red, violets are blue. wait -- do you really want me, too?

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Oh. 

Emma stared for a moment, wide-eyed, and then a little laugh burst out of Regina. 

“Oh dear, you look like a deer in headlights. Did I break you?” She was regarding Emma with amusement twinkling in her eyes. She caught her lower lip between her teeth for a moment, though, and Emma could see the tiniest bit of apprehension leaking through. “...Too forward?” 

That broke Emma out of her trance. She blinked, and shook her head. “No, no. Not at all.” 

“No, that wasn’t too forward, or no, you don’t want to volunteer?” 

“The first one. Definitely, to the second. I mean, yes. Please.”

Regina laughed again at that, this time with relief. “Alright, then. Good.” She reached out, catching Emma’s free hand in her own. “In that case, come with me. I have something for you.” She took a step back, tugging Emma and making her wine slosh ever so slightly. “...Give that to me before you ruin your pretty dress.” Emboldened, she took it in her other hand without waiting for an answer, fingers slipping around the stem and brushing against Emma’s as she did so. She eyed it and then brought it to her lips, keeping eye contact as she took a sip.

And, oh, there was no doubt about it. Emma’s cheeks were red .

“Cabernet?” She asked, and Emma nodded. “Hm. Good choice.” With that she turned, hooking her fingers against Emma’s as she led her out of the gymnasium. 

The hallway outside was quiet, a stark contrast to the inside, where music and chatter echoed against the high ceilings. Out here there was a line for the women’s restroom, and not much else. Regina took her down the hall and around a corner, into one of the adjoining classrooms. The desks had been pushed to one side, much like the one that Emma had been provided with, and there were piles of personal belongings lining the walls. Regina set the wine glass down on one of the desks before bending down to pick something up. When she turned, it was with one hand held behind her back. She offered Emma a soft smile before she brought her hand forward. 

In her hands was a bouquet. 

It was nothing more than a tiny bundle of flowers, really – delicate white blooms that looked a lot like roses. Emma was fairly certain that they were something else, though – their petals were thinner, denser, neatly arranged in a spiral out from the center. It was interspersed with tiny purple blooms that Emma would now know anywhere.

“For you,” Regina said, unnecessarily. 

“Regina…” Emma took the gift, letting her fingers trail over the edges of the petals before she finally met the other woman’s eyes. “They’re beautiful. Thank you.” The dizzying heat she’d felt just minutes ago had settled, replaced now by a gentle warmth in her chest. “What do they mean?” She asked.

Regina raised a brow, a smile appearing. “You know, Emma, you’re going to have to start learning them if you’re going to keep working for Rory.” 

A little laugh bubbled out of Emma’s chest. “Teach me, then.” 

Regina only regarded her for a moment, that certainty slipping ever so slightly to reveal that same old nervousness that Emma had come to love. “Well, those are violets,” She began, and Emma shook her head. 

“We’ve been over that one.” Regina’s eyes rose to meet hers, an expression on her face that clearly said I know , and Emma grinned. “Do you know how hard you called me out with that first bouquet? I’m never going to forget how hard you had my heart racing the moment you said Sappho .” 

“Glad it had the intended effect,” Regina replied. She let her fingertips rise to trail over Emma’s wrist, and Emma’s heart rate was rising all over again. “The others are camellias,” She added finally. 

“And what do they mean?” Emma’s voice had dropped to a murmur, and Regina’s eyes flickered to her lips, just briefly. 

“They mean that I adore you.” 

And with that admission the fingers at her wrist stilled. Regina took the bouquet from her hands, setting it aside wordlessly so that she could close the gap between them. Her other hand rose from Emma’s wrist until their palms met, until she could lace their fingers together, and Emma’s breathing stilled as Regina’s lips ghosted over her own. 

It was nothing like the kiss in the car had been. Regina had made that move confidently, bolstered by the alcohol in her bloodstream, without fear of rejection. 

This was different. This was…tentative. Searching. 

She pressed their lips together softy, just once, and then pulled back a hair, giving Emma time to choose. Emma curled their fingers tighter and brought her other hand to Regina’s waist, drawing her closer. Regina let out a little hum at that, kissing her once more, this time with intention. She parted her lips against Emma’s, drew her tongue over the blonde’s lower lip, brought one hand up to cup Emma’s jaw. 

When they pulled away they were both a little breathless. Emma gave an elated little laugh and Regina echoed it, leaning their foreheads together as they recovered. After a moment she stepped back, their hands still interlocked as she reached for the bouquet again. 

“Did you get these from Aurora?” Emma asked, and Regina nodded. 

“Yes.” 

…Well. That explained some of her excitement when Emma had mentioned wanting to create an arrangement for Regina. 

Emma glanced back at Regina, fully stepping back and angling her body towards the door. “I brought something for you too, actually.” She motioned with her head for Regina to follow. 

“Yeah?”

The florist’s room wasn’t too far from the one that Regina had taken her to. Storybrooke high school wasn’t that big, after all, and it only took them a moment before Emma was tugging her into the classroom. 

Unlike Regina’s, the arrangement that she’d brought was sitting out in plain sight, right on top of one of the desks that had been pushed off to the side of the room. The bright reds of the petals were eye-catching, impossible to miss, and Regina gasped the moment she cleared the doorway. 

“Oh, Emma.” She breathed, fingers slipping from Emma’s as she stepped towards the gift. Emma hung back, watching as the other woman approached the flowers, fingers dancing at the edge of the vase much the same as Emma’s had. “They’re beautiful. How did you…” She trailed off, shaking her head. She tilted her head to the side as she glanced back at Emma, her eyes flickering from Emma’s down to the bouquet. “Am I going to have to tell you what these ones mean, too?” She asked, a bit mischievous, and Emma felt herself blush.

“No, I got the rundown from Aurora on that, thanks.” She  ducked her head a moment, tucking a few stray strands of hair behind her ear. “I know it’s a little…much,” She confessed, smiling as she met Regina’s eyes once more. “But I have it on good authority that those are your favorites.” 

Regina shot her a questioning glance. “Rory told you, I assume?” 

“Henry, actually.” Regina’s eyes widened at that, and Emma grinned. “When you left us alone in your office. He’s been pushing me to ask you out.” 

“Has he, now?” Regina shook her head, bewildered. “I’m going to have to have a chat with him.” 

“Go easy on the kid. He’s about the only reason I worked up the courage to make any move at all.” 

“If I remember correctly, Miss Swan, I made the first move.” Her eyes narrowed playfully and she turned her body towards Emma, back against the empty desk beside the arrangement. “In fact, I think I’ve made them all, so far. I think it’s your turn.” 

Oh. 

That was an invitation if Emma had ever heard one.

Emma strode forward obediently, both hands coming up to cup Regina’s jaw as she kissed her with determination – no hesitation this time, no doubt, no second thoughts – just her lips on Regina’s. Regina let out a surprised hum and then she sank into the kiss, arms coming up to hook around Emma’s neck. Regina’s lips parted against her own again, hands growing needy, slipping down to Emma’s waist and then her hips. Emboldened, Emma dropped her own, bringing them under the other woman’s thighs to lift her up onto the desk behind her. She let out a gasp, legs parting immediately to allow Emma to stand between them. Her dress proved restrictive, and so she gathered it up instead, drawing it up around her thighs. Emma’s hands roamed over bare skin as Regina hooked one leg around her hips. Her hand dropped to Emma’s ass, squeezing as she tugged her closer. Their bodies were flush against one another now, Regina’s jaw tipped up to kiss Emma. 

“Oh! I –” 

The voice startled them both and Emma jumped back, Regina pulling her hands back from Emma immediately. Emma looked back towards the door to see Belle standing in the entryway, pink rising in her cheeks as she took in the scene before her. 

“Hello, Belle,” Regina spoke up, voice sheepish but amused. 

“Sorry,” Belle replied, hand dropping from the doorway to gesture towards her bag. “I just…came for my keys. I didn’t mean to interrupt.” 

“You’re good,” Emma said, finally remembering her hands on Regina’s thighs. She pulled them back, reaching up to catch the hem of the other woman’s dress and pull it back down as inconspicuously as possible. Belle didn’t seem to notice, at least – or, if she did, she didn’t let it show. Regina shot her a grateful glance. Belle hurried forward, digging her keys out of her bag before slinging it over her shoulder. 

She turned towards Regina as she made to leave the room, expression timid as she said, “Thank you for inviting us. I’d apologize for leaving early, but…” She smiled, nodding as Regina gave a breathy laugh. 

“No offense taken,” Regina replied. “Have a great night, Belle. Thank you for coming.” 

Belle gave one last grateful nod, turning her gaze back on Emma as she added, “...I wouldn’t wait up for Ruby.” She flashed the keys. “I’m going to give her a ride, so.” 

“Good for you two,” Emma said, nodding. She was about to tell Belle to drive safe, but Regina cut her off.

“I don’t think Emma will be home tonight either, anyway.” 

Emma’s eyes snapped back to Regina, who was regarding Belle with a smirk. Belle laughed and Regina’s gaze slid back to meet her own, the smirk becoming a teasing smile. 

“Alright, then. Fair enough.” Belle nodded. “Oh, before I forget, Ruby said these were yours.” She tossed Emma the keys to the bug, and Emma caught them. 

“Thank you,” Emma said, tossing them onto the bag she’d brought. “Night, Belle. Take care of my roommate.” 

“You know I will,” Belle called back as she retreated to the hallway, closing the door pointedly behind her. 

With that Emma turned back to Regina. Her legs were still parted on the desk, Emma still halfway between them, and she stepped forward, hands finding the hem of the other woman’s dress and drawing it above her knees once more. “Not gonna be home tonight, huh?” 

Regina shrugged, a sheepish smile on her lips. “Not if I have my way.” 

She looped her hands back around Emma’s waist and pulled her back down for another kiss. She was just sinking into it, just running her fingertips back up Regina’s thighs when her stomach growled violently – traitorously – and Regina burst into laughter against her lips. She leaned back, peering at her with a teasing grin, and asked, “Hungry?” 

Emma stepped back with a wry smile, the mood effectively broken. “Maybe,” She said, and Regina raised a brow. “The salmon was a pretty small portion, okay? I haven’t eaten much today.” 

Regina grinned. “Well. I can’t fault you there.” She leaned back, hands braced against the desk, and then shot Emma a wicked look. “Want to get out of here? I’d kill for some fries right now.” 

Emma blinked. “Aren’t you, like, the host? Don’t you have to stay for the party?” 

Regina shrugged. “I’ve already snuck off to kiss you.” Emma felt her cheeks flush at the words, and Regina sat up, catching her jaw between her fingers. She pressed a quick, soft kiss to Emma’s lips, this time far more chaste. “I might as well leave,” She continued. “Besides, I already made my speech. That’s all these old men care about. Kat can close up house for me. She’s better with people than I am, anyway.” 

Emma raised a brow. “Isn’t being a people person kind of a requisite of running a business?”

“Less so than you’d think.” Regina grinned and dropped her hand back to Emma’s hip as she leaned back. “Alright. Better at tolerating self important gas bags who just want to hear the sound of their own voice than I am. How’s that?” 

“Overwhelmingly honest,” Emma replied, and Regina laughed. 

“But fair?” 

“But fair,” Emma echoed. “We could grab Henry, and –”

Regina cut her off, shaking her head. “Miss Swan, did you really just suggest that we take my son with us on a date?” 

Emma stared at her for a moment, dumbfounded and a little bit stuck on the word date . “But…If we leave, how will he get home?”

Regina eyed her. “He’s sixteen, Emma. He can drive. Anyways, he brought a friend with him tonight and they’re having a sleepover at his house tonight.” 

“That’s convenient.” She meant the comment to come out teasing, but she couldn’t quite hide the eagerness leaking through, or the sly smile that was creeping up on her lips. “A little too convenient.” 

Regina shrugged, matching the smile but not dignifying that with a comment. “...Fries, then?” She asked, peering at Emma through her lashes with eyes that were just a little widened in a pout and oh, jesus christ. 

“Fries,” Emma confirmed, rolling her eyes as the pout transformed into something triumphant. “You’re ridiculous.”

“Resourceful,” Regina corrected her as she slid herself forward off of the desk, bringing them face to face, flush against one another. Emma didn’t step back, and Regina didn’t make any effort to put space between them either. Her hand came back up to trail along Emma’s jaw, and she brought their lips fractions of an inch from one another. “I do know how to get what I want, Emma.” She murmured the words against Emma’s lips, let them brush, just barely – 

And then slipped away, quickly bending down to snag her purse before heading for the door. 

Emma blinked, shaking her head to clear away the fog which that had left her in. “It’s just fries,” She called after Regina, who laughed as she opened the classroom door and ducked out into the hallway. 

Nevermind the fact that Emma was pretty certain she’d give Regina the world if she only asked.

…Yeah. Gone. That was the word for it. Emma was gone

 

Emma followed the other woman through the halls, hurrying behind her as quickly as she could in her heels to catch up to her head start. Eventually Regina led them to an exit, and when they went through it Emma found that they’d let out directly into the parking lot. Emma peered around for the distinct yellow, wondering where Ruby had parked her car. 

Regina stopped dead in her tracks the moment that Emma’s car came into view. “You’re kidding.” 

“I’m not.” Regina’s eyes flickered between her and the bug, and Emma met her gaze with a grin on her face. 

“You didn’t actually order those for me, did you? Tell me you already had them.” 

“Nah. I told you, they’re not really my style.” 

“...But you ordered them, and drove here with them on your car anyway?” 

“Actually, Ruby did. I drove the company van.” Emma shrugged, adding, “Besides. I made you a promise, didn’t I?” 

“I thought you were joking.” Regina blinked, a little taken aback, and then she shook her head and reached out to take Emma’s hand in her own.  She strode over to stand in front of the bug, tugging Emma along behind her. She let out a little laugh, breathy and flustered, and when she turned back to meet Emma’s eyes there was a soft smile on her lips. “You’re something else, Emma Swan.” 

With that Emma unlocked the bug and Regina slipped into the passenger side. When Emma sat down and closed the door Regina peered over at her and smiled. 

“What?” Emma asked. 

Regina shrugged, the smile growing. “Nothing. It’s just…it looks different in here when I’m sober.” 

Emma laughed at that as she turned the key and the bug hummed to life. “Now you can appreciate her properly.” She shot her a sideways glance. “Are you going to hold my face and tell me how beautiful I am again?” 

Regina’s gaze snapped up. “I did what?” 

Emma nodded. “Right before you kissed me.” 

Regina stared at her for a moment with her jaw agape, and then shook her head, eyes turning back to the road. “I don’t remember that.” Embarrassment colored her words, and she reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear. “I remember kissing you, of course. But I don’t remember the other part.” She shot Emma a sheepish glance. “I didn’t manage to scare you off, so I suppose it worked out.” 

“Are you kidding?” Emma shook her head. “You made my entire week with that kiss. I was just worried because you ran away so quickly after.” 

Emma thought that she could see a slight flush coloring Regina’s cheeks, although it was hard to tell in the glow of the streetlights. 

“Yes, well. You weren’t exactly responding to my advances up until that night. I was pretty certain you didn’t want me, and that I’d overstepped a boundary.” 

“I flirted with you at the dinner, didn’t I?” 

“Sure, but I figured that you were just humoring me. Or just in it for the fun of it.”  She shrugged, and when Emma glanced over at her she found a content affection in the other woman’s gaze. “I’m glad that I was wrong.” 

At that point they’d pulled into the diner’s parking lot, and Emma only responded by way of a smile, hopping out of the bug to make her way around to the passenger side and open the door for Regina. 

“Chivalrous,” She laughed, adding, “Thank you, Emma.” She peered up at the building’s sign fondly. “I see you’ve been introduced to Granny’s? That means you’re officially a Storybrooke local, you know.” 

“My roommate works here,” Emma replied. “I’ve never actually been. Eaten plenty of the food that she brings home, though.” 

“Ruby, right?” Regina asked, and Emma nodded. “I knew her in passing, but Rory’s was the first time that I’ve ever really spent any time with her. She seems sweet. If a little…eager,” She added slyly, and Emma laughed. 

“You’re not wrong. You should have seen her face when I found your number in my phone.” Emma held the door for Regina, who thanked her again and stepped inside. 

They drew a fair bit of attention in their getups, from staff and guests alike. Regina nodded towards an older woman behind the counter, who offered her a smile, and strode directly over to a booth towards the back. 

“Henry and I get lunch here every Sunday,” Regina explained. “Granny’s been running this place as long as I can remember.” 

“So does everyone just call her Granny, then? I thought it was just Ruby at first because, you know, she’s her grandma. But everyone else seems to, too.” 

Regina shrugged, rearranging her dress as she slid into the booth. “Well, her first name is Eugenia, but she hates to be called that, especially by anyone younger than her.” She smiled. “Besides, she’s kind of taken on that role in the community, if that makes sense.” 

Granny strode over to them, a little pad of paper in her hand. “Regina, dear, what in the world are you wearing? Did the dress code for this place change without me knowing?” 

Regina laughed. “We just came from a fundraiser. It’s nice to see you, too.” 

Granny smiled, giving Emma a once-over instead. “You’re going to introduce me to your beautiful date, aren’t you?” 

“She is, isn’t she?” Regina replied, brushing her heel against Emma’s underneath the table. “Granny, this is Emma Swan. She’s new to Storybrooke.” 

Granny put her hands on her hips at that, eyeing Emma. “You’re the one who’s been living with my Ruby.” It was a statement, not a question, and so Emma just nodded. 

“That’s me.” 

Granny narrowed her eyes, and Emma found herself wanting to scoot back in her seat. The woman must have been at least in her sixties, but something about her was incredibly intimidating – Emma had the feeling Granny could hold her own in a fight. 

Not that she was about to start swinging in the diner, of course.

But then Granny laughed, shaking her head. “Do you have any idea how much she talks about the two of you lately? She’s been going on and on about how you need to get on with it and take her on a date.” She jabbed her pen in Regina’s direction. “It’s about time. Maybe now she’ll find something else to talk our ears off about. Congrats on finally getting your act together. This is a date, right?” 

Regina had one hand at the back of her neck, looking sheepish on her side of the booth as Emma only blinked and gaped at the older woman. “I…Uh, thanks? I think?” 

“Didn’t answer my question, kid.” 

“Yes, Granny, it’s a date. Thank you.” Regina finally spoke up, reaching to take a sip of her water to conceal the flush on her cheeks. “Do you think we could get a basket of fries?” 

Granny nodded. “The usual sauces?” 

“Yes, thank you. Emma? Any requests?”

Emma shrugged. “Ketchup is fine.” 

“Boring,” Regina teased, bumping her foot under the table once more, and Emma flashed her a grin. 

They ordered their drinks – Regina a water and Emma a coke – and Granny disappeared. They made small talk over the table until she arrived with their fries, and Emma marveled at the array of sauces that she brought with them. 

Emma blinked as Regina dipped a fry into a ramekin of what looked like honey mustard. “Wow. Now I see why you called my ketchup boring.” 

Regina shrugged. “I like variety.” She popped the fry into her mouth, and went for mayo next. 

“That’s gross,” Emma said, and a look of what Emma could only describe as betrayal crossed Regina’s features as she chewed. 

“You’re kidding. You don’t like mayonnaise?” She was regarding Emma with wide eyes, brows furrowed, and her nose doing this scrunchy thing that was quite frankly just adorable . Emma couldn’t help but smile. 

“Not a fan, sorry.” 

Regina shook her head, coating another fry in even more mayo than before. “I think we’re going to have to cut this date short then, Miss Swan. I won’t stand for that.” Emma laughed, and Regina responded with a grin, adding, “Sometimes I mix it with ketchup, too.” 

“No, you don’t!” Emma wrinkled her nose. “I’m sorry, but that’s horrifying.” 

“Is not,” Regina shot back, teeth briefly catching her lower lip. “It’s the perfect balance of savory and sweet.” 

“Who would’ve thought the Regina Mills would have terrible taste in condiments?” 

Regina snorted, replying, “I’ll have to have that added to my job title, thanks. Regina Mills, CEO, Mayonnaise Enthusiast.” 

Emma dissolved into a fit of laughter after that, Regina grinning across the table at her, and oh, making out in that classroom had been one thing, but this – 

Emma could spend the rest of her life like this. 

Was that insane to think about a person she’d only met two weeks ago?

But Regina was regarding her with equal affection in her eyes, cheeks rosy, chin balanced in her palm. Maybe, just maybe. 

“Aren’t you going to eat anything?” 

Regina’s voice broke her out of her thoughts, and when she glanced up, the other woman was holding out a fry that was dipped in – only – ketchup. There was a shy smile on her lips, and Emma wanted nothing more than to kiss her. 

But they were in a diner filled with other people, and that would mean leaning across the table and the absurd amount of sauces that Regina had ordered, and so she took the fry instead. Regina gave an approving smile when she popped it into her mouth. 

They managed to polish off the basket between the two of them. Regina left the ketchup for her – which was both sweet, and also probably due to the fact that she had a million other choices in front of her. Emma dug around in her bag for a piece of gum afterwards, sending a silent prayer of thanks when she saw that she had some. She offered Regina a piece as well, and she took it gratefully. 

“Trying to kiss me again before the night is through?” Regina teased, and Emma flushed. 

“Trying to do a lot more than that, if you’ll let me.” Emma breathed, immediately feeling self-conscious about her forwardness. But Regina’s brow shot up, and then her eyes shifted from surprised to something a hell of a lot darker , and Emma felt her heartbeat skyrocket with just that one look. A slow, predatory smile crept over Regina’s lips. 

“Careful what you wish for, Miss Swan. You might get more than you can handle.”

Emma opened her mouth to reply, but then a figure appeared at the edge of their table. Emma jumped as Granny dropped the check halfway between them, a wry look on her face as she shot them both sidelong glances.

“Take the flirting somewhere else, would you?” With that she walked away, leaving the two of them to look sheepish in peace.

Emma snagged the check before Regina could. Regina only rolled her eyes as Emma tucked a twenty into the fold and placed it back on the table.

“Chivalrous,” She said, echoing her earlier comment. “Thank you.” 

Emma stood and held a hand out to help Regina from her seat, earning a laugh as Regina shook her head at her. She took the extended offer anyway, and when she was up, she didn’t let go until they reached the bug. When they did, she swung their hands back and forth for a moment, and then turned to peer off into the distance. 

“Ever been to the pier?” She finally asked, and Emma shook her head. “Neither of us are dressed for it tonight. It can get pretty windy. But it’s nice. Sometimes I just like to sit and watch the ocean.” She shot Emma a sheepish glance. “You should take me sometime.” 

Emma grinned. “Is this your way of asking me on a second date?” 

Regina just shot her a sly smile and climbed into the passenger side of the bug. 

 

Emma pulled up to the mansion a short time later. She barely had time to speak before Regina opened her door, calling a “You coming?” before closing it behind her. With a startled blink Emma followed her up the walkway to the door. 

“So,” She began as Regina pulled her keys from her bag, “I guess this is where I kiss you goodnight?” 

Regina paused her digging, meeting Emma’s eyes with a raised brow. “Emma.” She stepped forward, bringing them face to face, and reached one hand out to settle on Emma’s hips. Emma’s breath hitched as they made contact. “I won’t say no to that kiss,” She continued, bringing her other hand up to tilt Emma’s jaw towards hers. She brushed their lips together lightly, teasing, before she cupped the hand on Emma’s jaw around the back of her neck and kissed her properly. She melded their bodies together, parting her lips against Emma’s and slipping her tongue into Emma’s mouth. Emma responded in kind, wrapping an arm around the other woman’s waist as she sank into the kiss. After a moment Regina broke away, meeting Emma’s eyes as she added, “But you and I both know that I’m not asking you to leave.” 

With that she stepped back and unlocked the door, leaving a breathless Emma and an open door in her wake.

 Emma followed her inside, of course. She swung the door closed behind her, following Regina into her home. It was just as big – if not bigger – as it appeared from the outside, and Emma couldn’t help but peer around, taking in the huge foyer with wide eyes. Regina strode directly into the kitchen, calling over her shoulder to let Emma know she could take her shoes off and leave her bag by the door. When Emma finally made it to the kitchen Regina was pulling down a couple of wine glasses. She set them down on the island next to an open bottle and began to pour, gesturing to the trash can as she did so. 

“You can spit your gum out there.” 

Emma nodded gratefully, thankful that she hadn’t had to ask. Regina slid the glass over to her – a cabernet, like her choice earlier. 

“Thank you,” She responded. Regina watched her with dark eyes as she sipped, and Emma’s heartbeat quickened under that gaze. 

“You’re welcome,” Regina murmured, eyes drifting from Emma’s down over her body. “I’ve had a wonderful time tonight. The most interesting fundraiser I’ve thrown by far.”

Emma chuckled. “You mean they don’t usually end with you making out with a vendor?” 

“Not usually, no,” Regina replied, amused. 

“Glad I could be the exception,” Emma replied, and Regina’s smile only grew. 

“As am I.” Regina took a long sip of her wine, and then tilted her head to the side. “You know that I was setting you up to ask me out when I gave you the invitation for tonight, right?”

Emma blinked, a little blindsided. “I mean. It took me a bit.” 

Regina raised a brow. “I was dropping hints pretty hard there.” 

“Yeah, well. I’ve never been the best at reading those kinds of signs. I kinda thought you’d be embarrassed to have somebody like me on your arm for the night.” 

“Somebody like you?” Regina echoed, and when Emma glanced over she was regarding her with disbelief. “Emma, you’re…” She shook her head. “You’re gorgeous. And funny, and kind , and brave enough to stand up to Gold . What part of that did you think I’d be embarrassed about?” Regina narrowed her eyes. “I guess I am doing it again after all, huh? I’m not going to hold your face this time, though.” 

Emma was silent for a moment, stunned. “You really think that about me?” She finally responded, and Regina replied with an exasperated, “Of course.” 

Emma shook her head. “I don’t know, I guess I just thought…I’m just the flower girl. The delivery girl, at that. You’re the CEO of a fancy company.” 

“You really think I care about that?” The words were almost hurt, and Emma shook her head fervently, afraid she’d accidentally just called the other woman shallow. 

“Not at all! Just – old insecurities, I guess. I’ve never really been…wanted before.” Emma fought the urge to run, to close back up, hide the vulnerabilities that she was exposing with her whole chest. But Regina’s eyes had softened, her gaze understanding in a way that didn’t feel like pity, and Emma felt herself relax, even if it was only a little. Still, though she felt the need to deflect, and so she added: “Henry set me straight, though.” 

That caught Regina’s attention. “Henry did what?” 

Emma sipped at her wine. “Oh, you know. Spilled everything the moment you walked out the door. On both occasions,” She added, much to Regina’s dismay. “The first time he just told me you liked me. Nearly told me about the blonde with the biceps nickname you gave me. Thanks, by the way. I work out.” She shot Regina a wink, and the other woman scoffed good-naturedly. “Then the day you gave me the invite, he called me an idiot and told me you wanted me to be your date. I would’ve asked you then if Gold hadn’t followed you back up.” 

Regina barked out a disbelieving laugh. “That little shit.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe he did that.” 

Emma grinned. “Don’t be too hard on the kid. He’s probably the only reason I’ve made it this far.” 

“Yes, well. He still shouldn’t be eavesdropping, let alone relaying my conversations.” Regina shook her head. “I’ll have to have a talk with him. Although, I suppose I can’t complain, if it got us here. I could certainly get used to you putting me on desks and kissing me.” There was a glint in her eyes as she turned them back on Emma, and Emma felt her mouth run dry. She sipped at her wine, attempting to recover. Regina seemed to notice the reaction, and she continued, “Although, I do have to say, I’d prefer it be my desk in my office, and not the high school.” She tilted her head to the side, adding, “And while I’m amending things, I’d prefer to have you on your knees, instead.” 

Emma nearly choked on her wine at that, and Regina only laughed, sipping at her own. 

Not even fair. 

It didn’t take long before Regina circled the island counter and backed Emma up against it. She took the glass of wine from Emma’s hands, much as she’d done earlier, and set it aside with a smirk. When she met Emma’s eyes again they were dark with lust, and she braced her palms on the countertop behind Emma. 

“Is this alright?” She asked. Her voice had dropped in volume – it was low and sultry and suggestive and it set Emma’s skin alight.

“Yes.” Emma choked out the word, reaching out to slip her hands around Regina’s waist and draw her closer. “Yeah, this is very okay.” 

“Good,” Regina breathed.

When she kissed her this time, it was heady, languid, weighted with the promise of more . Emma let out a whimper – an actual whimper , and fuck , that was embarrassing – as Regina pressed up against her, her hands falling from the counter to Emma’s hips as she drew her closer. Emma let her own drift across the other woman’s body, landing on her lower back and then her waist. 

Regina drew her hands back, catching Emma’s instead. She broke the kiss as she did so, meeting her eyes as she pulled Emma’s hands from her waist and drew them up her ribcage to skim over her breasts. 

“You can touch me,” She breathed. “I want you to touch me.” 

Oh, fuck

The words alone sent a shiver through Emma’s spine, sent heat pooling beneath her thighs – she caught the other woman’s lips in another kiss, this time dropping all pretense of propriety. She was only too happy to obey, to oblige Regina’s request, and she palmed her breasts without hesitation. Regina arched into the touch. Her own hands had dropped from Emma’s wrists and found her ass instead, and she squeezed, pulling Emma against herself as she did so.

Regina tugged her forward after a minute, murmuring “bedroom,” against her lips, and Emma nodded. 

“Yes. Please,” Emma breathed in reply, and Regina pressed one last kiss to her lips before breaking away, catching Emma’s hand in her own as she led her through the house. They barely made it up the stairs before Regina was on her again, backing her against the wall with one hand in her hair and the other at Emma’s breastbone. “Bed,” She reminded her after a moment, and Regina let out a breathy laugh before dropping her lips to Emma’s jaw, fisiting her hand through the blonde’s curls to tilt her head back and grant her better access. 

“Eager,” She taunted between kisses. She peppered them down Emma’s throat until she reached her pulse point, at which point she trailed her tongue over Emma’s skin instead. 

Emma replied with only a hum, more or less confirming the accusation, and Regina sucked at the tender flesh instead. The hum devolved into a moan, and Emma curled her fingers against Regina’s hips. Regina seemed to appreciate that, because she leaned back, releasing Emma’s hair with a slight nod. Her tongue darted out to wet her lips as she surveyed her work – Emma had the feeling there was a light bruise where she’d been, but she couldn’t bring herself to care right now. 

“Bed,” Regina agreed, and backed down the hall. 

Emma followed her without hesitation. She was already breathing hard, her legs already shaky, and she was thankful that she’d taken her heels off when she’d first entered the other woman’s home. She wasn’t sure how she’d fare in them now. 

Regina’s bedroom was just as spacious as the rest of the home, though Emma didn’t get much of a chance to look around – Regina grasped at her shoulders immediately, guiding her over to the perfectly made bed and directing her to lay back against the pillows. As Emma watched she reached behind herself and unzipped her dress. She kept her eyes locked on Emma’s as she did so, lips parted, curling up into a smirk as the fabric pooled around her feet. 

Emma couldn’t keep eye contact for long. 

Her eyes dropped to drink in Regina’s exposed skin. She was wearing a matching set – a plain, black bra, perfect for wearing under such a tight and silky dress, and panties to match. It was hardly elaborate, but oh, was it hot

Nevermind the fact that Emma would probably find anything incredibly alluring on Regina. 

She climbed onto the bed, shifting so that she was laid down next to her on her side. It left her hand free to roam, and Regina found the slit in her dress almost immediately, slipping her hand beneath it to slide up Emma’s thigh with a sigh as she kissed her. “Love this,” She murmured against Emma’s lips. “I’ve been staring at your legs all night.” 

“Yeah?” Emma asked. She wasn’t too big to admit that she was basking in the attention, just a little. 

“Yes,” Regina smiled against her lips, one hand sliding up to grip at her hips. “I can’t wait to have them wrapped around me.” 

Emma hummed at that, her own hands coming up to drift across the other woman’s skin. After a moment she pressed a hand at Regina’s shoulder, pushing her back down to the bed so that she could sit up. 

“I’m taking this off,” She said by way of explanation, reaching for her own zipper. “I’ve been in this damn thing for too long.” 

“You’ll get no objections from me,” Regina replied. Her voice had dropped to a husk, and Emma swallowed, acutely aware of the fact that Regina’s eyes were on her. 

Emma pushed off the bed, standing to make it easier to strip off the gown. It put them in a mirror of their earlier position, but this time, there was no holding of gazes, no pretense of teasing. Regina didn’t bother trying to conceal her appraisal, head tilted to the side as her eyes roamed up and down Emma’s body. Emma dropped the fabric, and Regina let out a slow breath. 

“You’re just as beautiful as I imagined.”

Emma’s heart thudded, the thought of Regina thinking about her body, imagining her, what she might look like under her clothes – 

It was intoxicating. 

“All of it,” Regina instructed – demanded – and Emma shivered. “I want to see you,” Regina continued. “Take the rest off.” 

Emma obeyed, slowly, reaching behind herself again to undo the clasp of her bra. It was strapless, and Regina inhaled as it fell away, leaving her chest bare. She drew her hair back behind her shoulders, affording the other woman a clear view. Regina’s breathing was coming heavy as she drank her in. Emma watched as she parted her legs, wondering whether or not it was a conscious movement. 

Regina sat up then, shifting so that she was sitting over the edge of the bed. “Come here,” She rasped, and Emma stepped forward. Regina’s hands found her hips immediately, drawing her in. She pressed a kiss to Emma’s abdomen, just at the base of her breastbone, and her hands drifted up to skim Emma’s nipples instead. Emma drew in a shaky breath as she tweaked them between her fingers, drifted her thumbs over them, letting out a satisfied hum as Emma leaned into the touch. 

“You’re exquisite, Emma.” Her hands dropped as she breathed the words, and she hooked her fingertips into the sides of Emma’s panties. “Fucking beautiful.” She tugged the fabric down, not completely, just an inch or so – and then her eyes snapped up to meet Emma’s. The ghost of a smile – wicked, one that spoke of dark intentions, desire – appeared at her lips, and she sank forward off of the bed and dropped to her knees.

Oh. 

That was a sight Emma could get used to.

Regina was waiting, watching Emma for some kind of approval, Emma realized, and she nodded, threading her fingers through the other woman’s hair and pushing it back from her face. 

“I didn’t peg you as the one who’d be on their knees,” Emma said. Her words came out breathy, and Regina let out a low laugh. She drew the skin of Emma’s thigh between her teeth, biting down until Emma gave a little wince at the sharp feeling. It wasn’t painful, not exactly – but, fuck, was it thrilling

“I’m still in charge here, Miss Swan. Don’t forget it,” Regina chastised, but there was a playfulness to her tone. 

“So sorry,” Emma laughed, and Regina smiled. She pressed a light kiss over the spot she’d nipped at, swiping her tongue over the skin instead.

She tugged at the fabric of Emma’s panties once more as she did so. Her fingers hadn’t moved, and Emma’s heart raced as she pulled the scrap of fabric down her legs. She felt embarrassed, only briefly, at how wet she was, how soaked the fabric must be – but Regina didn’t seem to care. In fact, she let out a sigh, laughter forgotten, and pressed another kiss to Emma’s thigh. It brought her lips closer to Emma’s core, and Emma’s breath hitched as their skin made contact.

“Fucking beautiful,” Regina repeated. 

Emma stepped out of the fabric and kicked it aside. Regina brought her hands up around the back of Emma’s thighs, and Emma’s grip on her hair tightened as she pulled Emma forward, coaxed her to part her legs and tilt her hips forward just enough to grant Regina access. 

“Don’t be shy,” Regina murmured. “I want this. Do you?” Emma nodded, and Regina ran her hands up around her thighs and back down once more. “Then relax,” She added, “And let me do the work.” 

Emma swallowed, reaching out to brace her weight against the bed frame. Regina pressed a few more kisses to her thighs, each one closer, gentle, before she finally tasted her. 

She pressed her lips to Emma’s clit, sucking gently. Emma let out a gasp and Regina hummed in response, tongue darting out to stroke the sensitive flesh. Emma rocked her hips, helping to establish a rhythm that sent warmth blooming through her abdomen. Her grip tightened on the wooden frame as Regina’s fingers pressed into her thighs. 

After a minute Regina pulled back, and Emma let out a little noise of disappointment. But then she stood, spun Emma around, guided her back to the bed and instructed her to lay back. She followed her onto the bed before drawing Emma’s thighs apart once more and settling between them.

“Oh, okay,” Emma breathed. “This is good.” 

Regina smiled up at her. “Better angle,” She said by way of explanation, and then her thumb was at Emma’s clit, and other thoughts sank out of Emma’s mind as she melted against the pillows.

Emma whimpered as Regina’s mouth replaced her thumb. Her tongue felt hot against her core, and the pressure was already building within her abdomen once more. Regina traced her fingers along her outer labia, applying light pressure before slipping two fingers inside of her, curling them forward just right – 

Regina’s name spilled over her lips as she came, hands fisting in the bedspread as she rocked her hips against the other woman’s mouth. Regina let her ride it out, waiting until her movements had sputtered out before sitting up and wiping her mouth on the back of her hand. She climbed up and settled beside Emma as she let her recover. Stray curls had fallen into her face, and Regina reached up to push them back, letting her fingers trail down across Emma’s jaw. She tilted it so that Emma was facing her, locking her gaze onto the blonde’s. 

“I could get used to doing that,” She murmured. “Seeing you come undone like that.” 

And there, within that phrase, was the hope for more , for again , and oh, Emma would like that. She’d really like that. She only nodded, unsure how to communicate that kind of need . But Regina seemed to understand, the ghost of a smirk – self-satisfied, damn her – at her lips, and Emma left it at that. 

Emma’s eyes dropped to her swollen lips, to the glimmer across Regina’s chin that she’d missed, and fuck

Regina was beautiful, anyone could see that. Stunning, even. Gorgeous. 

But in that moment, with her hair tousled from Emma’s fingers, eyelids heavy with lust – nothing could compare, Emma thought. Nobody could compare to this woman whose life she’d stumbled into on accident, who was so entirely, wholly above her in every way, who could gather the stars in a row and Emma would still only have eyes for her.

Emma didn’t know how to put any of that into words – thought maybe, just maybe, that was a little much for a first date – and so she kissed her, instead. 

She tasted herself on Regina’s lips. Salty sweet, bitter all at once – she traced her tongue over Regina’s bottom lip, savoring the way the brunette sighed against her, parting them in response and allowing Emma to slip her tongue against her own instead. 

Regina shifted, swinging her leg over Emma’s thighs so that she was on top of her, bracing her weight on her arms at either side of Emma’s head. Emma hummed her satisfaction at the move, hands skimming over Regina’s hips to palm her ass. After a moment she dropped one, propping herself up against the pillows so that she was sitting back against them. She used the hand still wrapped around Regina’s hips to bring her with, so that was Regina now more in her lap than hovering over her. 

“Your turn,” Emma murmured, pulling back from the kiss to trail her lips down the other woman’s throat. “You’re wearing too much. Take it off.” 

Regina chuckled, but it was breathy, less taunting than she’d probably been aiming for. “Demanding,” She said, and Emma bit down at the skin below her jaw. She inhaled sharply, adding, “I didn’t say I was complaining.” 

Emma hummed against her skin, and Regina complied with the command, meeting Emma’s fingers behind her back just as Emma undid the clasp. 

“If you were going to do it on your own, why did you ask?” Regina laughed, and Emma’s fingers came back around between her breasts. She hooked them around the gore and tugged it forward, leaving Regina to fumble with getting the straps off her arms as Emma pulled at it impatiently. “Hang on!” She smiled against Emma’s lips, breathy little laughs escaping between kisses. “I’m taking it off! So impatient,” She mumbled, pressing another long kiss to Emma’s lips, looping her arms around the other woman’s neck and bringing their bare chests flush against one another. 

When they finally broke the kiss, they were both breathing hard. 

“You were taking too long,” Emma teased, and Regina huffed. “Besides,” she continued, “I remembered. I have to unwrap my present.” 

Regina rolled her eyes, but it was good-natured, and she rose up onto her knees. “Unwrap me, then.” 

Emma was only too happy to do just that. She tugged Regina’s panties down just low enough to expose her, a sigh escaping her lips as she did so. She let her eyes roam over the other woman’s body, taking in her bare breasts and the wetness between her thighs. Emma dipped a hand into the gap above the fabric, savoring the visible shudder that passed through Regina as her fingers made contact with her skin. Regina’s lips parted as she bore down against Emma’s hand, seeking friction. 

“Take them off,” Emma breathed, “So we can do this for real.” 

Regina gave a distracted nod, though she rolled her hips a few more times. The panties pinned her legs together, though, and she was already straining against the fabric as she attempted to straddle Emma’s legs. 

Emma shifted up to press a light kiss to Regina’s throat. “I need more room to move my hand,” She added, and Regina nodded again. 

“Alright, alright,” She conceded, turning to catch Emma’s lips with her own. Emma gave a few more strokes of her fingers and then retracted her hand. Regina shifted back immediately and tugged the panties down her legs, tossing them haphazardly across the room and returning to her previous position immediately. 

“Now who’s impatient?” Emma teased, and Regina cut her off with a kiss, catching Emma’s hand and bringing it back between her thighs. 

“I am,” She replied, smiling into the kiss. “Don’t stop now, Emma. Make me come.” Her words were low, demanding, and Emma’s mouth ran dry, heat flashing through her chest. 

“Oh, fuck, yes,” Emma murmured. The thought of Regina coming undone on top of her, the thought of her name on Regina’s lips – 

She pressed her fingers back to Regina’s clit, and Regina responded immeidately, a breathy fuck escaping her lips as Emma made proper contact. She finally established a real rhythm, stroking her fingertips back and forth to the pace that Regina set with her hips. Emma wrapped her free hand around Regina’s thigh but she caught it instead, bringing it up to splay over her breast instead. She held it there as Emma squeezed, fingers wrapped tightly around Emma’s wrist. She whimpered when Emma took her nipple between her fingers, bearing her hips down harder into Emma’s touch. After a moment she replaced her fingers with the pad of her thumb, slipping her fingers down to the other woman’s entrance. 

“Yes,” Regina breathed her encouragement. “Please.” 

Emma pressed two fingers inside of her, curling her fingers forward and rocking them to the pace of the other woman’s grinding. 

Regina’s pace grew more erratic as they went, and Emma tried her best to maintain the rhythm they’d set against the jerkiness of her movements. Her breathing grew ragged, little moans escaping her lips as she rode Emma’s fingers, and fuck , Emma had never seen anything so hot as Regina rocking above her as her wetness dripped down to her palm. 

Regina came with a gasp, falling forward with one hand against the headboard as her motions stilled. She stuttered out the first syllable of Emma’s name, just a breathless Em –, the second half lost in ragged breaths. 

When her breathing finally slowed, Emma retracted her fingers, wiping them on her thigh. Regina started to shift off of her, began to slide off to the side, but Emma caught her instead, drawing her forward by the thighs. 

“What –” She asked, voice hoarse after her panting – “What are you doing?” 

“I’m not done with you,” Emma replied, bringing her hands up to Regina’s hips. She tugged her up once more, coaxing, “Come here.” 

Regina obeyed without another comment, only an oh when it clicked. Emma had slid down as she’d drawn the other woman forward, bringing her hips directly over her face. 

Oh ,” Regina echoed, allowing herself to be pulled down towards Emma. “Okay.” 

Emma slid her tongue over the other woman’s clit, mimicking the motions she’d established with her fingers earlier. A moan escaped Regina’s throat, and she began to rock her hips much the same as she’d done before. Emma gave a self-satisfied laugh, more a vibration in her throat than anything, but Regina picked up on it. 

“Shut up,” She said, but it was breathy, and it devolved into a gasp as Emma’s fingers joined her mouth. She slid her fingers inside once more, and Regina moaned above her, a string of curses falling from her lips. Emma kept her free hand wrapped around Regina’s hips, holding her in place as she rode out her pleasure, body eventually sputtering in the same way as it had the first time. Emma had learned from that, rocked Regina’s hips with her hand as she maintained her pace, drawing the orgasm out until she had Regina clutching at her fingers and panting, “Okay, okay. That’s – enough. That’s enough.” 

Regina rolled off of her, collapsing onto the bedspread beside her with a contented sigh. After a moment of catching her breath she rolled over, catching Emma’s jaw in her hand and bringing her in for a kiss. Emma sank into it, savoring the way Regina shifted closer, seeming to melt into her. When Regina pulled back there was affection shining in her eyes, plain as day, and Emma’s heart fluttered. 

“Where have you been all this time, Emma Swan?” Her voice was barely a whisper, reverence on her lips as she spoke her name. Emma’s heart rate jumped, and all the feelings that had rushed to her only hours before came flooding back.

  But it was far too early for all that, and so instead she replied: “Boston?” 

Regina laughed outright, squeezing Emma’s hand before she rolled out of the bed. “I need water,” She announced, padding over to the dresser and pulling out a couple of tank tops and some silky pajama bottoms. She tossed one pair over to Emma, who just barely managed to catch the top but missed the pants entirely. They landed directly over her face, and she actually heard Regina snort . When she pulled them down Regina had her hand over her mouth, still laughing but looking embarrassed

Emma was unable to help her grin. “Oh my god,” She said, and Regina shook her head as a flush rose in her cheeks. “You know, maybe I should look into a bouquet of those camellias. If either of us is the adorable one, it’s totally you.” 

“I am not ,” Regina protested, mock-offended. Emma only raised a brow, and she added, “If you tell anyone, I’ll have to kill you. I have a reputation to maintain.” 

Emma laughed, sliding out of the bed and tugging the clothing on. “Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me, Your Majesty.” 

Regina shook her head again as she dressed. She caught Emma’s hand as she passed her, lacing their fingers together and tugging Emma out of the bedroom and back down the stairs to the kitchen. She let Emma go when she got there, bringing down two glasses and filling them with water. She passed one off to Emma, who polished it off in one go. Regina took it back and refilled it with wide eyes, and Emma sipped the second one more slowly. Regina led her silently to the living room, where she deposited Emma on the couch before lighting the fireplace. Once it was roaring she curled up at Emma’s side. She tugged a blanket down over them, and Emma pulled her closer, warmth blooming through her chest as Regina leaned her head against her chest. 

They sat there in silence for several minutes, Emma just stroking her thumb over Regina’s arm. Regina was fighting to stay awake, and Emma watched her eyes drift closed with a fond amusement. 

“I could get used to this,” Emma finally murmured, her voice barely a whisper, not wanting to wake the other woman but feeling the need to voice the words aloud. Regina’s eyes fluttered open at the sound of her voice, lids heavy as she peered up at Emma through a sleepy haze. 

“Me too,” She confessed. She shifted up to press a chaste kiss to Emma’s lips, and then she settled back against her chest with a sigh. Her body grew heavy again, and Emma laughed softly. 

“Am I going to have to carry you up to bed?” She asked, and Regina smiled. 

“I’m just resting my eyes,” She insisted, voice heavy with sleep. Emma laughed, and she grunted, adding, “I am.” A moment later, and then, barely a mumble: "Maybe." 

Emma only smiled, wrapping her arms tighter around Regina and shifting them both back against the arm rest. Thankfully, Regina’s couch was oversized, and they could lay comfortably side by side. Regina hummed, curling up against Emma’s side with one leg hooked over Emma’s. 

Emma did end up carrying her upstairs, after all. 

They’d both drifted off, Emma herself after watching Regina sink into sleep, cataloging every little twitch of her nose, the way her hair fell forward over her cheek when she shifted. She’d awoken to the clock reading well after three a.m.

She shifted off the couch and slid one arm beneath Regina’s back, another at her knees. 

Regina didn’t come to until they were at the top of the stairs. “You’re strong,” She murmured, a smile tugging at her lips, though she never opened her eyes. “I was kidding. About carrying me.” 

Emma laughed, though she was a bit out of breath. “I work out,” She answered, and Regina’s smile grew into a sleepy grin. Regina only nuzzled her face into Emma’s neck. 

“I like you,” She murmured. 

“I like you too, Regina,” Emma replied, fighting to keep the amusement from her voice. “You’re half asleep.” 

“I am,” Regina acknowledged. “I mean it.” 

“I know,” Emma agreed as they reached Regina’s bedroom. She deposited the other woman in the bed. The covers were still tousled from earlier, and she pulled them up around Regina before skirting around to the other side. Like her own personal magnet, Regina snuggled into her as soon as she slid beneath the covers. She wasn’t complaining, though: she felt something melt inside of her as Regina tucked her chin against her shoulder. Emma wrapped her hand around Regina’s waist, pulling her close. 

Yeah. This was good. And for once, it was something that she felt like she could keep