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Approximately 525 600 Minutes

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Chapter One: Predicaments and Pancakes

She smiled gently at the figure in front of her, I want to know what that would be like, to live a year without having to fight for our lives; to be a family.

The sun’s rays broke through the clouds, pouring a steady wave of warmth on her face as she began to stir. She loved the days where she could wake up naturally with the birds on weekends, instead of that infernal alarm clock every other day of the week. Slowly her eyes fluttered open and she began to mentally list her tasks for the day: First, she would make a lovely breakfast for Henry when he woke up, who in his newfound pre-teen years, has been waking up closer to lunch than breakfast. Second, she would go for a run, probably take the scenic route this time, across the toll bridge, or troll bridge, whatever. Third, she would work on the new real estate developments she had initiated to create homes for the new members of Storybrooke since Zelena and the last curse. With the challenges the new Enchanted Forest citizens in town have brought, they have also been a bit of a blessing; one of which was the fact that Goldilocks was an outstanding architect and perfectionist (in her words things had to be ‘juuuuussst riiiight’).

Still mentally organizing her thoughts, she sat up in bed, lazily moving her joints to stretch. She swung her feet over the side of the bed and walked into her en suite. Stripping off her ‘sexy but sensible’ silk night gown, she stepped into her shower relishing the feeling of hot water cascading on her skin. Her mind couldn’t stop the barrage of thoughts that filled her days since the Zelena incident. It has been six months since the defeat of her sister. It had also been around six months since she and Robin had ended things due to Emma’s incompetence in the most basic of time travelling rules.

She was hurt more at the prospect of losing someone she may have grown to love, but she quickly realized that she shouldn't put so much weight on some fairy dust to decide her destiny. She spent her entire life being part of someone else’s plan that she never had a chance to create her own. After months of kind words and sincere remorse from the reinstated sheriff, she finally accepted Emma’s apology. Regina reasoned with herself that being involved with Robin was somewhat of a toxic relationship, as she was neglecting her son to spend time with Robin, even after Henry recovered his memories. Why did I give my heart to someone who could have been working with Zelena? She mused to herself, because of a tattoo and a lonely broken heart. That’s why.

Squeezing a blob of shampoo unto her palm she began to massage it into her hair. It was longer now, past her shoulders which began to resemble her hair when she was younger. She rinsed out the shampoo and began to lather herself with the luffa dragging it slowly across her skin when she brushed a few sensitive areas. Her breath hitched for a moment. Well, I guess it has been awhile. She began to caress her body, knowing every curve, dip and trigger. She began at her chest, pinching and kneading herself slowly until her nipples became erect with need. Satisfied with her work, she moved her right hand down to her abdomen slid her hand down into the apex of her sex, through her folds keeping her left hand kneading her breasts. She moved across her clit with purpose, pinching and rubbing in calculated motions, eventually releasing her left hand from her breast to steady her body against the shower wall in front of her as she came. After recovering, she slowly opened her eyes when a glint of light reflected off her left hand against the wall.

Is that…an engagement and wedding ring?

Panic began to set in when she realized the date was Friday June 13th 2014.

Why do I have a set of rings on my hand?!

Thinking the worst, Regina quickly jumped out of the shower and stood in front of the mirror, she furiously wiped the fog from her reflection and immediately sighed in relief when she saw herself staring back at her. At least I haven’t been involved in some ridiculous Friday the 13th hex. It is probably some misunderstanding or perhaps I had conjured them subconsciously in response to the dream I had last night. Satisfied with her reasoning, she placed her right index and thumb around the bands but quickly found that they resisted with a bluish white glow. She furrowed her brow in confusion. Surely if she had conjured them onto her hands, she should have been able to remove it.

Her thoughts were broken by the sound of KRS-One’s, "Sound Of Da Police". She would never leave her phone unattended when Emma Swan was around again. She swiped at the phone ignoring the selfie that Emma had apparently added of the blonde stuffing a McDonald’s apple pie in her face. Truth be told, the two have settled into a comfortable friendship that was forged when they had to thaw Storybrooke out of an eternal winter. She moved the phone to her ear and spoke,

“Miss Swan, might I remind you that tampering with my phone and hacking my multiple passwords is an invasion of privacy,” she spoke while mildly impressed that Emma was always able to break through her encryptions.

“Um, as much as I would like to talk about invasion of privacy with you, I need your help with something,” Emma responded, with a touch of urgency in her voice.

Regina sighed, “and what would that be, Miss Swan?”

“I need you to magically remove something that seems to be stuck to my body.”

“Emma, if this is anything like the last time where you accidentally gave yourself a pe—“

“No. No, no, no, no, no, no nothing like that! And you promised we would never, ever, speak of that again…” Emma continued with her voice cracking with embarrassment, “Listen it’s just… it’s weird”.

 “As ‘weird’ does not translate to your imminent death, I will see you after I have made breakfast for my-“

“Our. Our son, Regina,”

“Yes, I will see you after I have made breakfast for our son, Miss Swan.”

“Regina?”

“Yes?”

“Um…have a pleasant morning, I’ll see you soon.”

Regina sighed, and tapped the ‘end call’ button on her phone. She dressed casually in blue relaxed fit jeans and a white short sleeve v-neck top, and began to descend the stairs. Weekends were the days she enjoyed dressing casually, as much as she loved to wear her haute couture power suits, she had no need to intimidate others on weekends anymore and flats were a welcome change from stilettos.

When she reached the kitchen she immediately busied herself with cooking, trying not to think about the bands of metal around her finger. She ladled some batter onto the griddle and with a sizzle, she waited for the pancakes to cook.

A moment later, she heard the heavy footfalls of her pre-teen son running down the stairs, she smiled to herself, I will never get tired of hearing that. When she heard Henry enter the kitchen, with her eyes still on the griddle she began to tease, “I know you inherited some Charming genes, but that doesn’t mean you need to stomp down the stairs as if you were…” she turned to face him, “HENRY?!”

Henry flinched at the sudden change in decibels, staring at his brunette mother with a confused look on his face, “I kinda have to stomp down the stairs as if I was Henry, since you know, I am Henry?”

His voice was deeper, probably in the same tone as David and the height and build to rival it. She guessed that Henry was around 5’10”, 5’11”, and he practically was towering over her. She gained her composure, “Henry, could you please set the table? Breakfast is almost ready, dear”. He nodded, gave her a quick kiss to her temple (which he had to bend down to meet) and walked towards the dining room. After he left the kitchen, Regina grabbed the spatula and flipped the pancakes over, gripping the handle just to make sure it was actually there. What happened to the time? Henry looked like he was 16 or 17, not the 12 year old she saw last night. She knew she had to study what was happening, but until then, she didn’t want to risk Henry’s well being, especially if this was a time-loop. She gathered the pancakes and apple juice and walked towards the dining room, as she entered she noticed that Henry had set three place settings; not their usual two.

“Henry dear, are we expecting someone?” Regina asked, trying to be as nonchalant as possible.

Henry cocked an eyebrow then looked down at his plate almost guiltily looking, “Ma said she’d be home early from her training retreat to celebrate! It was gonna be a surprise, but I kinda forgot.”

Regina looked at her son, who was now eating a stack of seven pancakes, and asked quietly, “what exactly are we celebrating, Henry?”

Nearly choking on a pancake, Henry made a fist and began to rap it against his chest dislodging the food he half swallowed as a result of her question.

“Oh. My. God! DID YOU FORGET?”

“Forget what, Henry?”

“It’s yours and Ma’s one year wedding anniversary! She’s gonna never let you live this one down if you forgot!” He chuckled with the baritone sound of his voice.

Regina’s eyes went wide, she quickly excused herself from the table, rushed up the stairs to her room, picked up her phone and quickly called the Sherriff.

“Hey Regina, what’s up? That was a pretty quick breakfast…”

“Miss Swan,” Regina was short but kept her tone even, “What exactly was ‘stuck to your body’?”

“I…uh…woke up with wedding rings on, and for some reason every time I try to take them off there is this weird purple-y white light thing that keeps it from moving. I am this close to getting Whale to cut off my fingers. Seriously. You should see how close my fingers are. THIS. CLOSE.”

Regina pictured the blonde holding her fingers at eye level with her index and thumb hovering millimetres apart to make her point. Regina began to massage her temples, finally piecing together the situation. She took a deep breath in before speaking, “I understand the sentiment.”

“You do?” Emma blurted out, “Seriously Regina, either I’m having trouble separating sarcasm from sincerity or you actually care about my issue.”

“Miss Swan, I understand the sentiment because” she paused for a moment in disbelief, “I seem to have the same issue.”