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United Under The Same Sky

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“¡Esto es un desastre total!”

Emma’s head snapped up from her phone and she winced. “Is everything alright?” she discreetly glanced at the time. They were supposed to be at Art’s Delight in thirty minutes. Otherwise they would be late for exhibition. But obviously, she would never dream of rushing a pregnant woman. Nu-uh. And especially not now after she and Regina were starting to find back that good place they had been in before everything went to shit.

“Sí, everything is fine,” Regina glumly called back.

Emma wasn’t convinced and raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure? Is there something I can do to help?”

“Well, if you can make my breasts smaller you’ll definitely save my day,” Regina joked as she emerged from the in suite bathroom.

“Uhhh…” Emma suddenly had problems with talking. And thinking.

Regina was wearing a red dress. The most festive thing she had brought with her to New York, she claimed. The only thing that would fit the occasion.

And fitted it did. In more ways than one. The dress literally looked like it had been glued onto Regina’s body. In every place. It was impossible for Emma not to gawk at Regina’s breasts. They looked very, uhhh… nice in that dress.

“I’m spilling out of this thing,” Regina said and looked positively miserable as she fruitlessly began to pull the neckline up. “I can’t walk around like this! I look…” she clicked her tongue. “I should have tried this on yesterday to make sure it still fits. ¡Maldita sea! ¡Dios mío, I’m such an idiot!”

“You’re NOT an idiot,” Emma said firmly. “And for the record, I think you look great!”

“Of course you do. My breasts are practically staring back at you,” Regina grumbled and tugged at the neckline in her dress again. Did you by any chance bring a scarf?”

“I didn’t. I’m sorry,” Emma said. Even though she had nothing to apologize for, she didn’t like seeing Regina in distress. Especially not after everything.

“No hay problema. Solo usaré mi abrigo.”

“Inside the gallery too?” Emma lifted an eyebrow. “Don’t you think you’ll get too warm if you do that?”

Regina shrugged. “Rather warm than exposed.”

“Hey…” Emma rose from the edge of the bed. She walked over to Regina and put her hands on her shoulders. “You look amazing, okay? I mean that. And not because I’m a big perv who likes your… attributes.”

Regina let out a dry chuckle at that.

“You are beautiful,” Emma continued. “You look fucking stunning in this dress, okay? And I don’t want you to collapse due to heatstroke. If you feel uncomfortable, you can borrow my jacket, but please don’t insist on wearing your own coat the entire time. I know how warm you feel these days, and I don’t want you to get lightheaded or feel faint or anything.”

“You’re letting me borrow the red leather jacket?” Regina quipped and her eyebrows danced a little. “That’s a lot. I guess you must really love me, huh?”

“You know it,” Emma said firmly, leaning in and kissing Regina gently on the lips. Something she had done a lot the past week. And something she was extremely fucking grateful for being able to do yet again! The first time Regina had kissed her since their
fallout, Emma could have cried in sheer relief. Regina had first kissed her last week and Emma had done little else since. She kissed Regina first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed. She would never take that for granted again.

“Well, should we get going?” Regina asked and shifted a bit. “We better. Otherwise we’ll just end up being late. And it wouldn’t look too good since you are the photographer.”

“If anybody asks, I’ll just tell them that we took an extra nap,” Emma said and waggled an eyebrow suggestively.

“Ha,” Regina snorted as she grabbed her crutch. “Te deseo….”

“It’ll stop,” Emma soothed. “It has to.”

“It better.”

‘It’ was the pretty nasty Braxton hicks Regina had started to experience during intimacy. They had discovered that last week when they had tried to ‘reunite’ completely. It had been impossible. The moment Emma’s hand had drifted a bit further down, Regina’s belly had gone all tight and even though she hadn’t wanted to admit it, Emma easily had been able to see that she was in pain. They had stopped. And had tried again the following evening. The exact same thing had happened again. Regina’s belly had gone tight and the look in her eyes had been enough to make Emma stop even though Regina insisted that she was ‘fine’. She wasn’t. And there was no way that Emma was gonna continue when Regina was in pain.

Regina had been frustrated. Emma had been understanding and had assured her girlfriend that the Braxton hicks would go away. She had her own theories as to why Regina was experiencing pain. Stress. Regina had been under a lot of pressure for the past weeks and that was bound to make it hard for her to relax. And perhaps there was some small part of her that still struggled to trust Emma fully.

Emma didn’t know a lot about psychology, but she suspected that could be part of the reason why Regina was experiencing pain during intimacy. Perhaps her body thought that it needed to protect itself or something.

“Emma?”

Emma blinked and got a move on when she realized that Regina was standing by the door. “Sorry. Coming!”

Regina chuckled and opened the door with one hand while holding on to her crutch with the other. She had recently switched to using one crutch only. And she had also started to very carefully walk on her foot again. The cast was coming off next week, and
Emma knew how impatient Regina was for that to happen. She was sick of using crutches and not being able to use her foot.

They walked down the hallway and Emma heard her cellphone vibrate in her pocket.

“¿Esa es tu mamá de nuevo?“

”Probably,” Emma chuckled. Her mom had been more or less swamping her phone with messages. Most of them had been distraught apologies because she and Emma’s dad weren’t able to be in New York for the exhibition. Emma had of course done everything in her power to assure her mom that it was alright. That she wasn’t mad at her parents for not being here. And she really wasn’t. She hadn’t expected Patricia to want to show off her pictures so quickly, so of course she didn’t expect her parents to just drop everything and come to New York.

There would be other exhibitions. Hopefully.

But Lily was coming. And so was Cora and Malaina. Cora had phoned Regina a couple of days ago and had asked if she and Malaina could come to the exhibition. Regina had asked Emma what she thought of that, and Emma had said that if Regina felt okay with that, she did too. Regina had said yes. Emma was very proud of her girlfriend. She was really trying to give Cora a second chance, and Emma couldn’t even begin to imagine how difficult that had to be.

“Good evening!” the overly bright receptionist chirped when they reached the lobby.

“Good evening,” Emma and Regina said in union, and Regina looked like she was trying hard not to laugh. They had joked a bit about the receptionist during their stay in New York.

“Have a wonderful night!” the receptionist called after them as they left the lobby.

“Gracías,” Regina said over her shoulder and then murmured: “I wonder if she’s always this happy?”

“Maybe,” Emma said with a chuckle.

Despite the grey weather, Emma was in a great mood. She was on her way to her very own exhibition. Regina was by her side. What could possibly be better?

“I hope Cora and Malaina are ready to go,” Regina muttered. “And I hope that Cora can handle seeing the photo of my hip. Perhaps she’ll think that it’s too scandalous.”

Emma scoffed. “If she thinks that it’s her problem, not yours. It is a great picture. And I’m not just saying that because I’m the one who took the picture.”

“It is a beautiful picture, querida,” Regina said warmly. “I can’t wait to see it on the wall.” She snickered. “I suppose this is a good way to let Cora know that I have a tattoo on my hip…”

Emma winced. “She doesn’t know?”

“Nope,” Regina said cheerfully. “That’ll be fun.”

Emma winced again, not sure whether to apologize or not. She ended up not doing it. Regina was an adult. If she had a tattoo on her hip, it wasn’t Cora’s problem.

“Ohh, taxi,” Regina exclaimed and lifted a hand at the yellow taxi approaching.

It stopped right in front of them, and Emma and Regina piled into the backseat. Regina gave the driver Cora’s address and off they went. Then she leaned back in her seat and rubbed her belly.

“How is Blue?” Emma asked immediately.

“Kicking.” Regina laughed as she unzipped her coat to show off her belly. “Wanna feel?”

There was only one answer to that question. And that was…

“Yes!” Emma immediately put a hand on Regina’s belly and grinned when she felt their baby kick. But it didn’t take long before the smile turned into a wince instead. “Ouch,” she commented and furrowed her brows. “That hurt, didn’t it?”

“It’s not that bad,” Regina shrugged lightly. “You get used to it.”

“Really?” Emma rubbed her belly and wondered if that really was the case. Could you really get used to feeling a tiny person kick you from the inside?

“Are you excited about the exhibition?” Regina asked and unzipped her coat completely. Clearly feeling warm as usually.

“I am,” Emma nodded. “But I’m also a little nervous. I hope there’ll be a good turnup.”

“Why wouldn’t there?” Regina shrugged. “You are a brilliant photographer, mi amor.”

“Thanks, beautiful girl. I hope other’s think so too.”

“If they don’t, I’ll come for them,” Regina said darkly. “All of them.”

Emma laughed. And thought to herself that Regina was quite sexy when she made death threats on her behalf.

“Are you looking forward to going back to Spain?” Emma asked softly. “We’ve been here for a pretty long time.”

“Mmm. I’m looking forward to seeing my dad again, but at the same time I’m dreading it. I’m lying to him about Cora. And I don’t like that. I’ll have to talk to her about it again. I’m done being in the middle of things. I just want to kick back and relax and enjoy the third trimester. Get ready for baby’s arrival and all that.”

“Yeah, I get it,” Emma said softly. “Totally.”

“I have enough stuff going on,” Regina continued and sucked in a breath. “I have to start looking for baby equipment, create a birth plan, find a good pediatrician, schedule my 30-week appointment and work in between. Now that I’m about to get the cast off my ankle, I can start earning some money again. And in between THAT I also have to plan our move to California. I have enough things to keep myself busy so honestly, I don’t have time for drama.”

Emma felt a stab of guilt and winced. “I’m sorry,” she murmured and took Regina’s hand. “The time here was supposed to be a break for you. But it has been anything but, and that’s my fault. I’m really sorry, honey.”

“Querida, I don’t blame you. Not anymore,” Regina reminded her. “You don’t have to apologize. All I’m saying is that can’t handle being Cora’s keeper on top of everything else.”

“Are you gonna talk to her today?”

“Maybe. If I can get the chance. I won’t lie to my father. I lied to him about the pregnancy and even though he hasn’t been upset about it, I know that he deep down is wondering why I felt that it was necessary. Secrets SUCKS!”

“Yeah,” Emma easily agreed with her. “They really do.”

“But I’m done letting secrets ruin things,” Regina continued and leaned her head against Emma’s shoulder. “Never again.”

“Never again,” Emma echoed and kissed the top of Regina’s head gently. She was still so very relieved that she and Regina had found back to the place they had been in before Emma fucked up. Regina still loved her. They were still having a baby together. And
they were still moving to California together. The future looked bright again. Thank god. There had been some very dark moments in which Emma had feared that her stupidity had cost her her entire future with Regina. But luckily, that hadn’t happened.

“Oh, dios…”

“What is it? Is something wrong?”

“No. I just need to borrow Cora and Malaina’s bathroom before we head to the gallery,” Regina said plainly and winced.

“Oh. Little dude still using your bladder as a squeeze toy?”

“Feels like it. I wish he would start doing something else. Anything. I even preferred when he kicked me in the ribs…”

“That doesn’t sound very nice,” Emma commented and frowned.

“Maybe not. But it is better than the constant need to pee.”

“True that,” Emma said a bit thoughtfully. She had never been pregnant so she had no idea what she was talking about, but still, she was fairly certain she would prefer needing the bathroom rather than being kicked in the ribs all the time..

 

They reached Cora and Malaina’s apartment complex in fine style. Once they were in the elevator, Regina carefully put weight on her weak foot.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to do that yet,” Emma gently scolded.

“I know,” Regina sighed. “But I’m just so tired of hopping around on one foot!”

“Next week you’re getting that stupid cast off,” Emma did her best to soothe. “And then you can start to put weight on your foot again. If the doctor thinks that it is okay, obviously.”

“But my leg will be all weak,” Regina complained. “And I still won’t be able to dance.”

Emma wrapped an arm around Regina in an attempt to comfort her. She knew how much Regina missed dancing. She had been doing so ever since she was a little girl and it had to feel so strange and empty not to be able to.

“If it hadn’t been for that stupid foot, I would have danced until my due date!” Regina grumbled.

“I know you would have, honey. I know you would have. And you would have looked fucking fabulous!” Emma could easily picture a pregnant Regina in that red flamenco dress. God, she would have looked magnificent!

“I suppose the dancing will have to wait a little,” Regina mused. “There won’t be much time for dancing once el bebe arrives. I’ll be much too busy looking after a tiny human.”

“Me, too,” Emma said warmly. “Tell you what, I can watch the baby while you dance.”

“Good deal, but I don’t think that’s possible,” Regina chuckled. “And besides, I doubt you’ll be able to drag me away from him. I’m so excited to meet him! Or her.”

“Yeah, me too!”

“Do you think we’ll ever come up with a name for him?”

“Maybe. Otherwise we can just keep calling him ‘Blue’,” Emma said goofily.

Regina snorted. “The more I think about it, the better ‘Blue’ sounds.”

“Blue Mills,” Emma joked.

“Swan-Mills,” Regina corrected. “Don’t forget that, querida.”

“Sorry. Blue Swan-Mills. I don’t know, I think it has a nice ring to it.”

They both bursted out laughing because there truly was no way that they would ever name their son ‘Blue’. But the perfect name was yet to appear to them. For some reason, it was so much easier for them to come up with girls’ names. Because neither of them truly believed that they were having a girl. Emma kept thinking of the baby as a boy, and Regina always referred to the child as ‘he’ or ‘him’. Had done so for ages.

Emma would be very surprised if they ended up having a girl. But she would be happy too, of course. It didn’t matter to her as long as the baby was healthy.

The elevator came to a stop on the right floor and when the doors opened, Emma and Regina stepped out. There was pretty quiet, and Regina was quick to wonder about that. “Cora is the most punctual creature in existence,” she said and only sounded like she was partially joking.

“Well, maybe they’re busy or something,” Emma suggested.

“Sí, maybe. But still, this is unlike Cora. Whenever we were going somewhere when I was a kid, she would always be ready thirty minutes before we were leaving.” Regina rolled her eyes. “Very stressful.”

“Yeah, I can imagine so,” Emma said and gave Regina a little squeeze.

Things with Cora was…. Not rosy red and perfect. Regina was polite to both Cora and Malaina, but that was it. Her relationship with Cora was by no means warm and loving. There was no ‘mom’ or even ‘mother’. Cora was still simply ‘Cora’.

But Emma was still impressed with Regina for trying. That was admirable. Emma wasn’t sure she would have been able to maintain a relationship with her mother if she had been the one in Regina’s position.

They reached the door with ‘Malaina Drake’ on it and Regina raised an eyebrow in confusion and slight concern.

Emma understood why. The apartment door was slightly ajar. Weird. Perhaps Cora and Malaina had been about to leave and then they had forgotten something in the apartment or something.

Regina didn’t call out to them. Perhaps she didn’t feel like yelling and disturbing the other residents in the apartment complex, or perhaps the short walk had made her feel winded. She often felt winded these days.

Or perhaps she simply needed the bathroom a lot. That was possibly too. Either way, Regina nudged the door fully open and stepped inside the apartment with Emma trailing right behind her.

A moment later it became abundantly clear what it was that had delayed Cora and Malaina. And it was NOT the search for a pair of lost keys like Emma had assumed. The pair was standing in the hallway. Not engaged in conversation. Definitely not. Malaina had her arms wrapped around Cora’s waist in a tight embrace. Cora’s hands were buried in Malaina’s blonde hair, and the couple was kissing. Quite… intensely. That much was obvious judging by the, uhh… sounds. And the way the couple was breathing. Clearly, none of them had noticed that they weren't alone anymore.

Regina’s eyes widened so dramatically it could almost have been comically. Her jaw dropped and for a moment it looked like she had no idea how to react to what she was seeing. She looked partially shocked and partially embarrassed. And perhaps a bit like she wanted to bleach her brain and erase the extremely visual evidence of Cora’s relationship forever.

Honestly, Emma couldn’t blame her. No kid, no matter how old was ever interested in seeing a parent in the middle of a passionate kiss.

After another second of looking utterly shellshocked, Regina pulled herself together grabbed Emma’s arm and vaguely nodded towards the open door behind them. ‘Out’ she mouthed.

Emma immediately caught the hint and as quietly as she could, she moved backwards in an attempt to get out of the apartment. She imagined that they would knock on the half-open door and pretend that they hadn’t seen anything.

But unfortunately, that plan fell through when one of them (Emma wasn’t sure who of them it was) stepped on a floorboard that creaked.

Cora and Malaina broke apart and turned their heads almost simultaneously. Now Cora was the one to look shell-shocked. “Regina,” she said in a voice that was slightly more high pitched than usually. Her cheeks tinted pink.

Emma was fascinated. Was Cora Mills really trying to blush?

“Hello,” Regina said a tad stiffly but clearly prepared to pretend that she hadn’t just caught Cora in the midst of a makeout session with her girlfriend. “Do you mind if I borrow your bathroom before we leave?”

“Sure,” Malaina said. She too looked slightly out of it, but wasn’t blushing as much as Cora was. “Go right ahead.”

“Gracias.” Regina said and quickly hobbled past Emma. She disappeared into the bathroom.

Cora and Malaina looked at each other for a second. “Woops.” Malaina said and fixed her slightly frizzy hair. “Perhaps we should have shut the door.”

“Yes,” Cora said tightly. “Perhaps we should.”

Emma cleared her throat softly. Just to remind the ladies of her presence.

“Emma,” Cora said, now clearly struggling to maintain a cool façade. “Good evening.”

“Good evening,” Emma greeted and almost felt a teensy bit sorry for Cora. No parent wanted to be caught in a makeout session by their kid. The embarrassment went both ways.

“All ready for tonight?” Malaina asked. She was slightly better at sounding unbothered.

“Yeah, I think so,” Emma said lightly. “I mean, I hope so.”

“I’m sure everything will go well. Patricia wouldn’t have exhibited your pictures if she didn’t think you’re talented,” Malaina assured and smiled at her. “Trust me. I’ve worked with her for years. She’s one of the very best.”

Honestly, that did make Emma feel slightly less nervous about the whole thing. She flashed Malaina a smile and a “thanks.”

There was a bit of rattling and then Regina came back from the bathroom. She avoided eye contact with both Cora and Malaina as she said: “are we ready to go, or..?”

“We’re ready,” Cora said quickly.

“Lily is meeting us there,” Malaina added.

“Great. Excelente. Then let’s…” Regina didn’t finish the sentence. Just hobbled out of the apartment as fast as her legs (and crutch) could carry her.

Emma left the two ladies in the hallway and hastily followed Regina. She was standing by the elevator and still looked like she was trying to banish the memory from her mind.

“Are you okay?” Emma asked softly.

“Mhmm. Sí. But that-“ she vaguely nodded towards the door. “-Is definitely going on the list over ‘things I didn’t expect to see’.”

Emma chuckled gently. “I didn’t know you had such a list, beautiful girl.”

“I do now,” Regina did her best to quip.

“You know, I think they’re just as embarrassed as you are.”

“Good,” Regina said. But it was clear that she didn’t mean it so harshly. “Amor joven,” she half-joked. “Good for them. But if I see it again, it’ll be too soon. From now on I’m gonna announce myself loudly before coming into a room.”

“Good plan,” Emma chuckled and wrapped an arm around Regina. She pulled her closer, gave her a little squeeze and then kissed the top of her head. “You look so nice tonight. But promise me that you’ll leave your coat in the wardrobe once we get there, okay?
I really, really don’t want you to get overheated or something.”

“How can I possibly get anything but when you’re around?” Regina joked and smirked at Emma. “You too look very nice tonight, querida.”

“Thank you, beautiful girl.” Emma was wearing black dress pants, a white button down and a blazer that matched the pants. Normally, she wouldn’t dress up this much, but this was a special night. It was the night of the exhibition of her photos. That craved something a little extra.

Regina’s eyes had widened when she saw Emma’s outfit, and she had said a lot of things in Spanish. Most of them had been too hushed for Emma to understand, but one of the words she had been able to understand very well. Córnea. She hadn’t been in doubt of what THAT meant.

Emma managed to press exactly two kisses to the top of Regina’s head before Cora and Malaina emerged from the apartment. Cora’s cheeks were less pink and Malaina’s hair wasn’t sticking up anymore….

 

Reaching Art’s Delight, Emma was greeted by a smiling Patricia who immediately pressed a glass of champagne into her hand. Regina was offered a glass too and before she could get the chance to say no, Patricia said: “it’s alcohol free, dear. You can celebrate without worrying about anything.”

“Gracias,” Regina smiled. “That is very thoughtful of you.”

“But of course. It wouldn’t be right if you were the only one who aren’t drinking champagne tonight.”

“Can I take your coat, beautiful girl?” Emma asked Regina and mouthed: ‘please?’ Regina let out a little puff of air that sounded like surrendering. Then she unbuttoned her coat and handed it to Emma.

“Thank you,” Emma said and let Regina’s coat dangle from one arm as they headed into the wardrobe. In there, she carefully hung up Regina’s coat and then her own. Regina tugged at the neckline in her dress again. Winced. Then glanced towards her coat on the hanger.

It was already something that felt like a thousand degrees in the gallery. And it would get even warmer once people (hopefully) started arriving. There was no way Regina could walk around wearing her coat all night. She would get ridiculously overheated. And she didn’t need the coat either. She looked fucking stunning!

“Look. At. You.” Emma said plainly, walking closer to Regina in the not too big wardrobe.

Regina lifted an eyebrow. “Are you trying to seduce me or scare me, querida?”

"Seducirte," Emma joked. “Definitely seducirte.” Now she was standing right in front of Regina and nearly pressing her against the wall.

“Mmm, say that again,” Regina half-demanded with sparkling eyes.

“’Seducirte’? Is that what you wanted me to say?”

“Sí. Say it again.”

“Seducirte.” Emma pecked Regina’s lips.

“Again.”

“Seducirte.” Messing up Regina’s perfect red lipstick would almost be a deadly sin tonight, so Emma had to be creative. Very creative. She lowered her mouth to Regina’s neck and kissed the soft, exposed skin. “Seducirte. Seducirte. Se-du-cir-te.”

“Oh, dios, stop it,” Regina half-joked, half-groaned. “You’ll make me feel things I shouldn’t be feeling in a wardrobe.” She gave Emma a playful shove and wiggled away from the wall. “Come on, querida. Let’s go and see your photos!”

“And find Lily,” Emma reminded her girlfriend.

“Sí. That too.” Regina smoothened her hair. “How do I look?”

“Fucking gorgeous!”

“Sounds a little biased but I’ll take it.”

Seeing her own photos blared up on the wall was quite the special experience. Emma stood completely awestruck and stared at the photo’s that hers. Her creation. The fruit of HER hard work. God, they looked great on that wall. She wished she’d had eight pair of eyes so she could have looked at all of the pictures at once.

‘When She Dances’, Patricia had named the series of pictures, and Emma thought to herself that that was the best name ever. All of the pictures were of Regina. Of course. There was the infamous picture of Regina’s hand with her red nails against golden skin and the black crown tattoo. Cora looked at the picture and then looked at Regina who just shrugged lightly in return.

Then there was a picture of her Regina standing with her back to the camera. She was wearing one of the flowy dresses she had donned during Emma’s first visit to Madrid. Her hair was flowing freely, and Emma loved the effect. Loved the backdrop which was the beautiful garden she and Regina had visited in Spain. She loved Regina’s dress. The whole thing was screaming fairy tale. And it also was the only picture of Regina in an outside setting. All the other pictures were taken in the various bars Regina had preformed in. Each picture focused on a particular detail. The scarf Regina had used as a prop. Her ruffled skirt. The rose in her hair. The feather tattoo on her wrist.

Emma’s favorite picture had to be the one that showed Regina in full figure. She was dancing and her arms were in a graceful position above her head. Her dramatic, ruffled skirt was flowing as though she had been spinning when Emma took the picture. You could see her graceful neck, her hair, and the large red rose. But her face was partially disguised by the dry ice that had been pumping from the machine on that particular night.

“That is a stunning picture,” Malaina complimented. “You are a true artist, Emma.”

“Thank you,” Emma said and felt herself grin like an idiot.

“And Regina you look absolutely wonderful,” Malaina continued and smiled at Regina.

“Gracias. You caught my good angle, querida,” Regina quipped and stroked Emma’s arm.

“Oh, come on,” Emma scoffed. “You don’t have any bad angles. You’re fucking beautiful!”

“You’re flirting with me,” Regina accused without skipping a beat and clearly not caring that Malaina was there.

“Damn right I am. My muse. Though I’m a little sad there isn’t any pictures of your face. There should have been!”

“You know what, I actually like that you can’t see my face in any of the pictures,” Regina said thoughtfully as her gaze roamed over the photos. “Gives it an air of mystery, don’t you think?”

“It does, but… what about your beautiful face?”

Regina laughed. “I guess you can keep that all to yourself.”

“I’m so fucking lucky,” Emma said simply, tugging Regina closer and giving her a little squeeze.

“I really love all the pictures, mi amor. And I’m so proud of you!”

“I literally never could have done it without you.”

“You would have found something else to take pictures of, I’m sure.”

“Maybe. But nothing that is as beautiful as you.”

“You’re flirting again, querida.”

“Ooops.”

“These are very impressive pictures.”

Emma turned her head and looked at Cora who had come up to them. “Thank you.”

“Regina, you look beautiful,” Cora said simply.

“Thanks,” Regina glanced at the pictures again. “Looks like dancing does pay off after all.”

Cora sucked in her cheeks.

“Sorry,” Regina sighed. “I wasn’t trying to-“

“It is me who should apologize,” Cora gently interrupted. “I have said… a lot of things about your dancing career, and not many of them have been very nice. I apologize for that.”

“Apology accepted,” Regina said lightly. “What do you think of the dress that I am wearing?”

“It looks very nice.”

“Gracias.”

“Hi, new sister,” a familiar voice grinned behind them.

Both Emma and Regina turned around and Regina smiled when spotting Lily. She too had dressed up tonight and was wearing a little black dress.

“Hi, Lily,” Emma and Regina greeted in unison.

Lily grinned at Emma. “Congrats on tonight. This is really awesome!” then she turned to Regina. “Does my eyes deceive me, or have you gotten bigger since last week?”

“I….” Regina looked huffy for a moment. Then she deflated. “…Have probably gotten bigger since the last week, yeah. I think Blueberry has reached some kind of growth spurt. It’s quite ridiculous.”

“You look great,” Lily said warmly. “And you look great in those pictures too. Like seriously, that is one hell of a costume!”

“Thank you,” Regina straightened her back a little and looked rather proud.

“So…” Lily glanced around for a moment before her gaze settled on her mom and Cora who were walking around by themselves. “Any particular reason why Cora and my mom are skulking around like a pair of old villains?”

Emma couldn’t help but sniggering.

“Uhhh.. We might have walked in on them kissing. A lot,” Regina said vaguely and winced. “It was very traumatizing for all of us. Muy traumatizante.”

“Oh, shit, I’m sorry you had to see that,” Lily laughed. “Been there myself. They’re not very subtle.”

“Right,” Regina said, wincing again. “Thanks for the heads up. I’ll make sure to always knock from now on.”

“You know, sometimes not even that is enough,” Lily chuckled.

Regina raised an eyebrow. “Seriously? They’re that bad?”

“Well, what can I say?” Lily shrugged. “They’re a couple of crazy kids in love. Not unlike tonight’s photographer…” she looked back at the picture of Regina dancing. “I reckon that’s how you guys met, huh? Regina was the mysterious dancer and Emma was the photographer who couldn’t stop taking pictures? That is hella romantic.”

“Actually, it’s a bit more gnarly than that,” Emma interjected. “I met Regina on what was supposed to be my honeymoon.”

“Seriously?” Lily’s eyes widened.

“Yep,” Emma draped an arm around Regina’s shoulder again. “The guy I was supposed to marry told me he had been cheating on me with our wedding planner the DAY before our wedding, so I called the whole thing off and went to Spain. Alone. Where I met
Regina.”

“That’s right. Te seduje ...”

“What’s that? Sorry, my Spanish isn’t that good.”

But Emma completely understood what Regina had just said and she chuckled. Because it was absolutely right. Regina had indeed seduced her. Right from the first kiss. And thank god for that. Otherwise Emma probably never would have dared making the first move. She would have been too busy convincing herself that it was a bad idea.

“Miss Swan? There are a couple of people who wants to meet the photographer,” Patricia called from the doorway.

Emma excused herself, gave Regina a quick kiss and joined Patricia by the door. Her jaw immediately dropped, and she felt like a not very intelligent fish as she stood and stared.

A couple of people, Patricia had said. A couple of people.

Ha!

That was definitely to put it lightly.

There wasn’t just a couple of people by the door. There was a whole fucking line. A whole line of people who had come to see HER pictures. How amazing was that?!

Patricia opened the door and welcomed everyone with a sweet, professional smile and gradually, as everyone looked at her pictures, Emma was swarmed, congratulated, and complimented. Her hand was shook over and over again. Questions were asked. About the model. Her inspiration.

Emma answered the questions as best as she could, and it didn’t take long before Regina was surrounded by people too. People who wanted to meet the model. So much for being a secret muse.

“Boo!”

Emma yelped when her shoulder was tapped suddenly and when she whirled around her jaw nearly dropped for the second time.

Standing behind her was Ruby and Belle. In New York! They were right here, and Emma couldn’t believe it.

“Ruby!” she squealed. “Belle!” she hugged them both tightly. “What the hell?! How are you even here? I mean, I’m so fucking happy to see you, but I don’t understand how-“

“Ever heard of planes?” Ruby interrupted and laughed. “They move through the air and allows you to cross oceans…”

“We wanted to be here on your big night,” Belle said and flashed Emma a beaming smile. “There was no way we could miss out on that.”

“You guys!” Emma hugged them again. “This is so fucking amazing! And clever! I had no idea you were coming! You’ve really managed to keep me in the dark…”

“And we weren’t the only ones who did that,” Ruby chuckled and glanced at something over Emma’s shoulder.

Emma quickly followed her gaze and spotted Regina who was walking around with her glass of non-alcoholic champagne in hand. She looked like a star, but was clearly as cunning as a detective.

“Regina knew?” Emma quickly deduced.

“Yep, sure did. Who do you think suggested it in the first place? We would have come anyway, but Regina contacted us a few days ago and asked us if there was anyway that we could be here tonight. She knew that your parents wouldn’t be able to make it and she wanted someone from back home to be here and celebrate tonight with you.”

“Oh my god…” Emma had to swallow a massive lump in her throat. “I can’t believe that she did that!”

“I can,” Belle said softly. “That is one good girlfriend you have, Emma.”

“Yeah,” Emma whispered. “It sure is.” She glanced in Regina’s direction again and this time she made eye contact with her girlfriend.

Regina smiled at her and lifted her glass of ‘fake-champagne’ to her lips in greeting. Took a small sip and then mouthed: ‘te amo’.

Had the room not been full of people wanting to talk to her, Emma surely would have gone right over to Regina and kissed the breath out of her!

 

To Be Continued……….