No sex in this one, so no warnings necessary! This scene takes place three months prior to chapter one.


3 Months Earlier

What had she been thinking? How stupid could she have been?

Well, in my defense, everything seemed like it had been going well.

He had taken her to a lovely restaurant. He had been a perfect gentleman, as usual, all evening long. He had been completely normal. Everything seemed to be going well as usual.

And when he had taken her hand, leaned forward, and smiled gently at her, her breath caught in her throat.

For a quick moment, she thought…maybe…perhaps he was going to…

But he didn't. And she reminds herself of that harshly as she takes a large gulp from her glass.

He had actually done the opposite of propose.

"This isn't working, Regina."

She takes another gulp.

"I'm just not happy anymore."

And another.

"Honestly, you're a little…boring…monotonous, you know?"

She finishes the half-full glass.

And it stings but not as much as his cold words from just hours before.

So what if their relationship was a little boring? So what if things were monotonous? Wasn't that what relationships were supposed to be? Boring? Monotonous? Consistent?

She liked going to the same restaurant and Movie Theater every week. She liked things that were familiar. She was a simple person. She didn't need fancy outings or spontaneous adventures.

She had been happy with her life. She had been happy with him.

But I guess that just makes one of us.

She raises her hand for another drink, but then thinks better of it. One more drink and she'll have to take a cab home. Right now, where she is, she could walk the few blocks. She's buzzed for sure, but not drunk and she supposes she should keep it that way.

"I'll close my tab and take the check now, please," she practically yells to the bartender.

As she begins to dig in her purse for her wallet, she is startled by a hand on her back.

She looks up immediately into the most beautiful blue eyes and she swears the entire bar goes silent. As she stares up at this woman, she can't help but feel like her heart is beating a mile a minute. She wants to say something. She should say something. But the mysterious blonde beats her to it.

"Please tell me you weren't leaving? I've been working up the courage to talk to you for the last ten minutes and now that I have, it would be a shame to see you leave now."

Goodness gracious, that voice. It's husky. It's confident. It's…

So damn sexy, she almost says aloud.

The truth is that she was definitely leaving. She is tired, tipsy, and has to be up at 5 a.m. for work.

But at the same time, this woman is hands down the loveliest creature she has ever laid eyes on.

So pretty in fact that Regina has no idea why she would be nervous about approaching her.

Not that Regina herself isn't pretty. She has been told that she was very attractive by her suitors, which were plenty. But somehow this woman talking to her feels like she is so far out of her league that the very thought of her contemplating nervously for ten minutes whether she should approach her or not seems absurd. And she's not sure if she buys it completely, but she is flattered.

"Uh, no. Well…I was just closing my tab. So…yeah," She laughs nervously as she finally manages to look away and continues to search for her wallet.

"Oh," is the only response she gets accompanied with a sigh.

When the bartender returns with her check, she grabs it frantically, then places her bag on the bar top to try to get some better lighting.

Eventually, the blonde must see her stress because she gently takes the book from her hands.

"Please, for being a coward and not approaching you sooner, allow me."

Regina looks up to find her pulling her wallet from her breast pocket of her jacket. And for the first time, Regina gets a good look at her outfit.

Tight black pants, gripping her thighs as if their lives depended on it and at least 4 inch heels. She has a white button up tucked in, a thin black tie with a clip to hold it in place and a jacket on to complete an outfit that looks like it would cost more than her annual salary.

She wants to protest. Instinctively, she almost responds in her usual way, telling her that it's a very sweet offer but that she's seeing someone and wouldn't want to send the wrong message.

But she isn't seeing anyone.

Not anymore.

And really, it is a sweet gesture. And apparently much needed because she cannot find her damn wallet anywhere.

She looks over to see blonde put two twenties with the check, nearly double the amount of the bill, and can't help but smile at her kindness.

He had always paid. For everything. But she suspects it was always out of obligation and pity more than a genuine desire to be sweet.

"Thank you so much. I swear, this isn't a trick or anything. I really have no clue where my wallet disappeared to."

The blonde smiles broadly, exposing sparkling, perfectly aligned teeth.

"I'm happy to take care of it. Of course, it's not without ulterior motives that I do so."

Her smile falters. This is why she doesn't let anyone buy her drinks. She's found that in the past, men always expect something in return. What starts out as a seemingly innocent gestures always turns into a tit for a tat.

When the bartender comes to collect the check, she tells him to keep the change then turns back to Regina.

"So, now that that's taken care of, what's your name?"

She is hesitant. She's not exactly familiar with the bar scene, not having been in one since college. But she does remember, years ago, being warned about predatory men at bars.

But she's not a man…that has to count for something right?

Sensing her hesitance, the woman reaches forward with her right hand.

"Emma."

"Regina," she relents, reaching out to shake the impossibly soft hand.

"Lovely to meet you, Regina."

Regina's eyelids flutter as she hears her name on Emma's lips for the very first time ever.

She can't honestly say that she's never felt an attraction to women before, but she knows it's never felt like this. She's not sure if it's the suit or the confidence or just the sheer undeniable beauty, but she finds herself wanting to put her hands on this woman.

On Emma.

"Since you're leaving, I won't hold you up. However, I can walk you to your car. If that's okay?"

The words are spoken softly, as if to assure her that she is of no threat. That she means her no harm.

She seems gentle and sweet and so, though her father would be turning in his grave, she nods her head and grabs her purse.

Emma's grin lights up the room and once again, her hand finds its way to her back as she is guided through the small bar and out into the cool, smokeless air.

Regina breathes in the fresh air deeply as, unbeknownst to her, Emma watches, absolutely enthralled.

Realizing that she's staring, she clears her throat and looks around. "Where are you parked?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot I actually didn't drive. I…I was just at a restaurant a block away, so…"

Emma nods understandingly, reaching into her pocket. "Not a problem, I can take you home."

Regina's eyes immediately widen. A walk to her car was one thing, but a stranger knowing where she lived was out of the question.

"That's really alright, I can walk. It's only a few blocks over."

"Oh, okay. We can do that then. Lead the way."

Regina clutches her purse a little closer, growing nervous at Emma's assertion that she would be joining.

"Oh, you don't need to walk with me. It's not far, I'll be fine. I know this neighborhood well."

Emma pulls up her sleeve to expose a sleek black watch.

"It's almost 10 p.m. I don't at all feel comfortable letting you walk home alone," she looks up skeptically at Regina.

She blushes at the sincerity in her voice, but refuses to give in. For all she knows, this could be some sort of act. She's not willing to take her chances.

"Really, it's fine. I've lived here for years, it's very safe."

Emma laughs at that. "That's what everyone says until something happens and I refuse to let you become a statistic."

"Emma, seriously. It's okay. I can walk."

"I can too. We're a match made in heaven. We should walk together."

Regina sighs.

She's not sure if she should be creeped out by Emma's insistence or flattered.

She must see the nervousness because Emma steps back a little and puts her hands up in surrender.

"I promise, I'm not trying to hurt you, stalk you, or scare you. I just want to see that you get home safely. I totally understand if you don't want a complete stranger walking you home, but at least let me hail you a cab. For just you." Emma adds with a smirk.

Regina sighs again.

It is rather late. And though Regina is certain that the neighborhood is safe, that mainly only applies to the daytime. She's never been out this late without him by her side. So the offer to take a cab is actually much appreciated.

"Okay, that's…really nice of you."

Emma grins triumphantly and she finds herself staring for a long moment. This girl really is beautiful.

She moves to the sidewalk and holds out her arm for just a minute before a cab speeds up towards the curb. She leans down to speak to the driver quickly before opening the back door for her.

As Regina approaches, she smiles appreciatively before lowering herself into the car.

Emma closes the door behind her and leans down to talk through the window.

"Well, Regina, I have to say, I have really enjoyed spending time with you. Highlight of my day, for sure."

Regina lets out her own laugh, for the first time since she left him at that table.

"We've only known each other for five minutes."

"And yet…" She lets the unspoken words linger in the air for a moment as Regina fiddles with her dress for no good reason before looking back into a sea of blue.

"Goodnight Emma."

Emma says nothing. She only smiles and steps away from the car, hands in her pockets.

The driver immediately pulls away and inputs her address into the GPS, before silently driving her home.

When they arrive at the brownstone, she leans forward.

"I seem to have lost my wallet, but if you'll give me just a moment, I can go grab some cash. You can even keep the meter running."

Already reaching for the handle, she misses the driver shaking his head, but hears him speak.

"The woman, she paid already. Gave me a nice tip too. Told me to take you wherever you wanted to go. Oh…" he reaches into the passenger seat for something and then turns back towards her.

"She told me to give you this too."

Regina can't help but smile as she reaches forward to find Emma's name and number scribbled on a bar napkin. When she had the time to write it, between the bar and the cab, Regina will never know, but she takes it anyway.

She thanks the driver and he waits until she is safely in her home before pulling away. She can't help but to think Emma had something to do with that.

She also falls asleep with a smile on her face.

But she refuses to admit that Emma had something to do with that.

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I know it was short, but it was necessary to set up the following chapter which is substantially longer and contains what we're all looking forward to. ;) Please keep reviewing, favoriting, and following! You guys are really making our day! :D