This is my first SQ story and I'm both nervous & excited! Feedback is definitely welcome :)

Context: the timeline of this story is based on Emma and Regina's relationship starting a few months after Emma came to Storybrooke. The title is from the Hozier song "Like Real People Do." Enjoy!


"Anabelle! Come back here!"

Regina chuckled from her beach chair as she watched Emma chase their 3-year-old daughter down the beach towards the glimmering waves. She pushed her sunglasses up onto her head and slid a bookmark into the crime novel she had been reading.

Emma finally caught the toddler and swung her up into her arms, carrying the giggling girl back to the family's spot in the sand. Regina admired her wife's long legs and flat stomach. Emma's red bikini fit her athletic body perfectly, and the black baseball cap that sat atop her blonde curls that read "sheriff" made her even sexier.

"You can't get in the water without your floaties, you goof," Emma said to Anabelle, placing her in Regina's lap. Regina kissed the toddler's hair and winked at Emma, who returned it and blew a kiss.

"I'm a mermaid, mommy!," Anabelle insisted, wiggling around to face Regina. "Tell 'er, momma."

Regina shook her head and gave Anabelle's nose a soft pinch. "Uh uh, kiddo. Mommy's right; you can't swim without your water wings."

Emma bent down and dug them out of the beach bag.

"Here we go," she said, kneeling in front of Regina's beach chair and slipping the floaties onto Anabelle's arms. The little girl clapped and tried to slide off Regina's lap, but she tightened her grasp around her daughter and shook her head.

"Not so fast," she said with a smile. "Wait until Henry gets back from the snack shack so he can go with you."

"Okaayyyy," Anabelle sighed. She was a spitting image of Emma, from the attitude right down to the blonde curls. She turned to Emma.

"Mommy, can I work on my sandcastle?"

"Yes, but don't try to run off again," Emma said, getting up again to retrieve her daughter's tiny plastic pail and shovel. Anabelle got to work on the pile on the wet pile of sand a few feet away that she had been working on when she had tried to make her great escape ten minutes before.

Emma sat down in the sand and placed her hand on Regina's thigh.

"How's your book?," she asked Regina, her green eyes glittering in the sun. Regina smiled.

"Mediocre. Perfect beach reading, though."

Emma laughed. "I'm really glad we decided to do this," she said, taking Regina's hand and weaving her fingers through her wife's.

"Me too," Regina said. "Henry starts his junior year of high school in a couple weeks and Anabelle will be in preschool. This summer flew by faster than one of my sister's disgusting flying monkeys."

Emma guffawed. "Nice simile."

Regina grinned. "I was eavesdropping on Henry and Belle's tutoring session last night. You know, I'm actually quite impressed by how dedicated he's been to all that AP English summer homework."

"Yeah, he's really growing up," Emma said. Regina murmured in agreement, and the two of them watched their daughter work on her sandcastle.

"Hey guys," Henry said, walking up to them and handing them each a plastic-covered ice cream sandwich.

"Thanks, kid," Emma said, squeezing his arm. Henry grinned and placed two more ice cream sandwiches in the little cooler the Swan-Mills family had brought to the beach.

"I figured you guys wouldn't let Anabelle eat hers until after dinner," he said. Emma tapped her nose.

"Smart," she said, smiling at him. "Speaking of your sister, would you mind taking her down to the water? She really wants to flex her fins but I'm exhausted from chasing her around."

Henry nodded and kissed Emma's cheek, then Regina's, before walking over to his sister. Regina beamed with pride as Henry pulled Anabelle on his back for a piggyback ride down to the waves.

"He really adores her," Emma said, leaning against Regina's chair and resting her head in Regina's lap.

"Indeed he does," Regina said. She pulled Emma's baseball cap off her head and ran her fingers through Emma's curls.

"Let's never go home, " Regina murmured. Emma sighed.

"Gladly."

"Maybe we should buy a house down here," Regina mused. "It's so relaxing. It makes me forget about all the complications of Storybrooke."

"Mhhm, it does," Emma said. She turned to face Regina. "Sometimes I pretend that my life is normal again. I sit in the backyard and watch Anabelle play in her little castle and pretend that we live in an average suburban town with our kids, and that my parents aren't royalty, and that my wife can't go from room to room in a puff of purple smoke."

"What's that like?," Regina asked, genuine curious. "What is life like for real people?"

"Sometimes it's tough, but it's also very lovely. Very simple," Emma admitted. "Never as exciting as our lives are though," she said with a smile. Regina smiled back.

"Well, at least we have a few more hours down here. When the sun goes down, we can get dinner before we make the 2 hour drive back," Regina said. Emma detected a tiny bit of sadness in her voice.

She knew that Regina still struggled with living in this world. Her life was a lot less glamorous here, and while she had long ago gained the respect and friendship of most of Storybrooke's residents, Emma could tell sometimes she missed being feared. She missed her power. Life in Storybrooke had become mundane for her, and Emma needed to spark the magic again.

Emma got up and pulled Regina up with her, looping her arms around Regina's neck.

"I love you so much, and I love our unconventional life. I love when I wake up and realize how surreal my life is. I never had hope for a fairytale and a happy ending until I met you, Regina. I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Regina smiled and leaned in to give her wife a tender kiss.

"And you look super hot in that black bikini," Emma whispered in Regina's ear. Regina laughed and tucked Emma's hair behind her ear before leaning in to nip on her earlobe.

"I can run in it too," Regina whispered sexily. "Care for a chase, sheriff?"

"Oh, you're on," Emma whispered. Regina took off down the sand and Emma pulled her cap onto her head before chasing after her wife.

Not every day was normal and easy, but every once and a while, they got chance to act like regular people. But that was ok, because Emma Swan was learning that having a magical life was so much better.