“Sorry I'm late.” She walks into the building with all the grace of royalty.
“It's the Queen! Run!” somebody from the crowd says, and the guests immediately make way for the Queen, nothing but hate and fear in their looks.
The Queen looks up in time to see Snow White draw her soon-to-be-husband's sword.
“She's not a queen anymore! She's nothing more than an evil witch!” the woman shouts as she points the sword directly at the Queen.
“No, no, no, don't stoop to her level, there's no need,” Prince Charming says as he lowers the sword,” You're wasting your time, you've already lost. And I will not let you ruin this wedding.”
“Oh, I haven't come here to ruin anything. On the contrary, dear, I've come to give you a gift.” The Queen smirks at them.
"We want nothing from you.”
“But you shall have it," the Queen says as she paces in front of them, “My gift to you is this happy, happy day. For tomorrow, my real work begins. You've made your vows, now I make mine. Soon, everything you love, everything all of you love, will be taken from you. Forever. And out of your suffering will rise my victory.”
The Queen then smirks as she finishes, “I shall destroy your happiness, if it is the last thing I do.”
“Hey!” Prince Charming exclaims.
The Queen turns and sees the sword flying through the air, aimed directly at her.
Regina wakes with a start. For weeks that same scene had been plaguing her dreams, along with castles, magic, and curses. Each time she dreams of that mysterious faraway land she wakes feeling more tired than when she went to sleep and it was really starting to take a toll on her.
Looking over at the nightstand she sees it's still early and she could try to sleep at least another hour but she knows it’d be pointless to even try, sleep won’t come. She groans as she slowly rises out of bed.
She walks over to the balcony, admiring the view as the sun rises. Watching the sunrise has always been one of the few things that could calm her. She stands there for a bit, appreciating the way the apple tree in the middle of the backyard looked. The apples seem ready to be picked and that alone gives her enough motivation to make it through the day.
She doesn't have much planned for today, besides her self-appointed task of picking the apple tree. Looking through her wardrobe she settles for a casual look. A pair of dark blue jeans, a white button up long sleeve shirt, and some brown leather boots. Looking in the mirror she carefully applies some light make-up, and is just about to put on lipstick when she sees her nurse.
“Good morning,” the nurse says, knocking on Regina’s door before entering the room.
“Good morning. Is it already time for my medicine?” Regina questions.
“Yes, it is, but before we go. How do you feel about going on a walk around the house today?” The nurse asks with a small, hopeful smile.
Regina takes a second to think about it. On the one hand, she really doesn’t have anything better planned for today, but she also doesn’t feel like she would be the best of company.
“I’m not sure I’m feeling up for it today, I’m sorry” Regina answers and then finishes applying her lipstick.
The nurse then turns around and starts speaking to a blonde woman who Regina hadn’t seen standing there.
“I’m sorry, maybe try again tomorrow?” the nurse tells the blonde woman.
“Who are you?” Regina asks before she could stop herself.
“Oh, uhm, hi. I’m Bella.” The blonde woman says as she walks up to Regina and offers her hand in greeting.
Regina takes the woman’s hand as she looks her over. She has striking blue-green eyes hidden behind a thick pair of black glasses, beautiful blonde hair tied into a ponytail, accentuating sharp cheekbones, and a heartwarming smile that makes Regina's heart flutter in a way that it hasn’t in as long as she could remember. Regina is temporarily left breathless by this woman’s beauty.
Bella is still holding Regina’s hand as Regina takes her time admiring her, neither woman realizing how long their handshake is, until the nurse clears her throat.
“Regina. Regina Mills” she introduces herself when she finally finds her voice.
“I’ll just leave your medicine here,” the nurse smirks as she leaves a tray on Regina’s nightstand and walks out of the room.
Regina and Bella keep looking at each other, both too nervous to say anything.
Finally, Bella speaks up, “So …. Uhm, are you really not feeling up for a walk today? You may not remember this but I promised you that we would keep reading this amazing story.”
Regina has no recollection of ever meeting Bella, but Bella obviously knows that. Normally she wouldn’t trust a stranger so easily but there's something about Bella that is drawing Regina in.
“I’d love to hear more of the story,” Regina says, shocking even herself.
“Great!” Bella exclaims as she claps her hands together, “I’ll be back in just a sec, don’t go anywhere!”
“Wouldn’t plan on it, dear” Regina replies with a small smile. She walks over to her nightstand and takes her pills. Her day seems a lot brighter now.
A few minutes later Bella returns with a thick, brown book in her arms. She makes her way to Regina and offers her arm. “Shall we?”
Regina smiles and takes her arm, letting Bella lead the way. They walk outside and make their way over to a bench that is right in front of the apple tree that Regina loves.
Bella sits next to Regina and turns to her. “Ok, so this story is the best story you will ever read, or have read to you. It is a story of family, love, and finding home. It also happens to have the most epic love story ever.”
“What’s the name of the book?” Regina questions, very intrigued by Bella’s description.
“Once Upon A Time,” Bella answers, giving Regina a smile that makes her heart flutter again.
Bella opens the book, quickly finding the page they were at, “Ah, here we go. October 23, 2011, the first time they met and the night that everything changed.”