Throughout my life I haven't really seen my birthday as something to be celebrated. When I was younger it was one less year of being in the foster system, but once I was out of the system I would just buy myself a cupcake or cookie and then act as if it was a normal day. Since I have broken the curse, found my family and made some friends I have been so busy saving the town I almost didn't realize when I woke up this morning that it was my birthday. It's not like I'm expecting anything, you could never expect anything because that's how you get let down. I just assumed that my parents or someone would at least say happy birthday to me and that is the thought in my head when I start my day.
After I shower and get dressed I leave my house and go to Granny's for breakfast with my parents like I do every Sunday. As I enter the little bell above me signals and everyone's eyes on me for a split second to see who entered.
"Hey Emma," Ruby called from behind the counter "do you want your usual?"
"Yeah thanks rubes!" I called as I headed to the back booth where my parents are sitting.
"Emma! Hey we were just talking about you," said David.
"All good things I hope," I say joking with them. Maybe they were talking about what today is.
"Your dad was just talking about taking me out on a date tonight, so that we could be alone for a little bit." Snow said as her usual cheerful self.
It's not a big deal Emma. No one has ever really wished you a happy birthday before why should it start mattering now. "That's awesome," I start but then I realize "wait what does that have to do with me?" I say with my eyebrows furrowed.
"Yeah see the thing is, that I have night shift tonight." He said giving me an uncertain look "So I was wondering if you would take the shift for me tonight since you don't have any plans- Oh unless you do have plans?" Charming David finished in a panic.
I might as well take it I don't really have anything else to do. I can always buy a cupcake on break and eat it later at the station. When I looked up both my parents were staring at me.
"I don't see why not." I say as Ruby shows up with my hot cocoa, bacon and French toast.
"OH good! Thank you so much" snow said with the brightest face on.
"It's really not that big of a deal. Thanks rubes!" I called out to Ruby at the last second because she seemed to leave really fast. Weird. As we eat we go through too many topics to be considered normal. I like to enjoy my food, relish in it really, which I apparently didn't get from my mother. So I just nod and people watch while eating as they talk back and forth. That's when Henry comes bursting through the door almost shattering the poor little bell.
"Henry! Slow down! We are just getting food." Regina scolds and then notices the charming family that her son was in such a hurry to see. "aah this actually makes more since" she says with a little smirk.
Seeing Henry always puts a smile on my face "Hey kid! Hi Regina."
"Hello Emma, henry calm down you act like you haven't seen her in like a year it's been two days dear." she said confused and I just smile at her because it's true it's only been two days I had gotten really into my work and just wanted to sleep when I got home so henry has been staying at Regina's.
"I know mom but I don't know it feels like forever and I just felt like she needed a hug." He said as if he was talking about a school fieldtrip. I mean everyone seems to have forgotten the day I was born but other than that I'm peachy, not that big of a deal. I look up at Regina and she looks at me in concern or confusion so I look away and talk to henry.
"Hey kid, I mean I love the hugs but I'm fine I promise," I say with a smile and I ruffle his hair, "well I should probably head to the station now." That sentence caused two furrowed brows and spoiler alert it wasn't my parents.
"Station?" started henry.
"I thought you didn't work on Sundays? Isn't that your day off?" Regina finished Henrys question.
"Oh yeah, but my parents here," I look and point at my parents in the booth that I just stood out of, "are going on a lovely little date and my dad asked me to take his shift. Didn't see why I couldn't, so here we are. It's all fine" I said with a falsely happy voice that seemed to be caught by Regina because she raised her eyebrows.
"Yup that's what I said, I gotta go though," I kiss Henry on the head and then slide pass Regina. "Hey kid tomorrow after work we can play video games if it's okay with your mom that I come over," I say looking between Henry and Regina. Henry is distracted by the food he ordered but says he would love to, but Regina is still looking at me like I sprouted a second head but nods her acceptance. "Okay great, bye mom dad! You owe me. Bye kid, jeez! Breathe, you have as long as you need to eat." I pause by the door laughing silently at how much Henry eats like me. "Bye Regina, see you tomorrow! Bye Rubes, you need to come by later and tell me why you are acting weird." And with that I exited the diner and headed to work on my birthday which apparently no one knew was today except me.
It's almost 5 o'clock when Ruby walks in looking a little worried or confused about something. I look up from my paper work, "Hey rubes." She looks up in shock like she didn't notice I was in here. "You do know you are in the sheriff's office right?" I say with a little giggle. When she doesn't laugh back and is just looking off into space I decide it's time to stop tiptoeing around the subject.
"Okay, what the hell rubes, what is your problem? You are acting like I killed someone and you don't know how to approach me, it's kinda creepin me out, so would you stop?" I feel a little better for saying what I needed to say, but I felt a little worst also because ruby looks like I just took away her favorite toy. "Look I'm sorry, it's just you are usually so happy and cheerful and I miss it. What's going on?"
"Honestly Ems? I don't know, I feel like today is something important but the more I think about it the harder it is to remember. It has been bugging me all day! Did someone die today? Like come on why can't I remember!" ruby said in frustration as she turned and walked to one of the desks by the cell and hopped up on it to sit.
Hmm. Maybe it's my birthday she remembers, no shut up Emma she said something important.
"Okay, first of all rubes, it's sad that the first thing you think of is death," I said raising my eyebrows. "Second of all, just stop trying so hard to remember. I'm sure it will come to you eventually, it's okay." I rested my hand on her arm reassuringly and then walked back to my office to start work again.
"Thanks Ems, but I just can't let this go. I need to know. Obviously I think it's important, so what if when I remember it is too late?" Ruby talks as she followed me into the sheriff's office.
"I'm sure the person will forgive you, you're way to nice to have someone hate you." I say with a shrug.
That got a small smile out of Ruby, but it seemed that whatever she didn't remember she was going to keep trying until she did. "Maybe it's someone's birthday, ugh I don't know, I have to get back to the diner though, I took my break to come talk to you. Bye Ems! Come by tomorrow for lunch!" she said as she skipped out of the station not realizing Emma froze her writing and her entire body stiffened.
"Yeah bye." I said at the last minute. There is no way she was talking about my birthday. Its not that big of a deal, plus if I said anything now it would be weird, the day is almost over. I don't want people to give me weird looks for not mentioning it at breakfast. Even though, you know, I shouldn't have to mention it to my own parents. Regina and Henry not knowing stings a little bit, with the whole showing up on my birthday and mentioning it to them that day when I first got here. Whatever, it's okay. I'll just go get my cupcake in an hour or two and then live life normally.
1 hour later-
"I got so much paper work done." I say to myself proudly as I get up to stretch.
This seems like a perfect time to go get my cupcake.
I leave the station and head to one of the grocery stores a couple blocks over. I wanted to enjoy the air, so I didn't take my bug. As I was walking I went passed Archie taking Pongo for a walk.
"Hey Emma! What a beautiful day it has been today. Wonderful walking weather. How is your day off?"
"Hey Archie, yeah it is beautiful, but I'm sad to say this is my first time outside since this morning. I took my dad's shift because he wanted to take my mom on a date." I say with a forced smile.
Archie looks concerned, "Are you okay, Emma?"
Kind of getting sick of being looked at like a kicked puppy but other than that YES I AM FINE.
"Yeah, fine. Why wouldn't I be? I'm just going for a walk to stretch my legs before I head back to work. Is that okay with you?" I snap. I don't know where that came from but Archie didn't deserve that. "Archie I am so sorry! I didn't mean that. It's just been a long day." I say in defeat.
"It's not a problem," he says with a small smile, "you know I am here if you need to talk, right?"
"Yeah. I know." I say emotionless. "But I don't need a shrink. I just need sleep. I'm just going to finish my walk. Bye Archie." I say the last part in a defeated whisper.
Archie watches as Emma walks away from him. "Have a great rest of your day Emma."
"yeah." I say with a wave over my shoulder and continue onto the store.
Once I finally got to the front entrance of the building I walked up to the automatic doors and was about to walk in, until I saw Regina in one of the aisles. I panicked and froze right where the doors open and close. When I finally gained the ability to move I left. I don't really need a cupcake, it's not a problem I'll just go back to the station and do more work. Maybe I'll get it all done and then tomorrow will be an easier day for me. Why couldn't I just go into the stupid store? Regina probably wouldn't have even seen me go in, and she would be gone by the time I was done.
What Emma didn't realize is just as she turned to run out of the door, Regina looked up and was about to call her name to say hi and ask her why she was there. Regina was so confused by the actions of the savior that she decided that after she dropped off all the groceries she bought from the store, she will go over to the station and see what is going on with her.
Once I got back to the station I sat down at my desk in a huff. Now I don't even get to have a cupcake, great, made my day SO much better. Hey, I thought sarcastically, At least I know that my parents won't give me an extra beating for my "special day". I turned on some music and continued my paper work from earlier.
An hour and a half passed before an unexpected visitor decided to grace me with her presence. I'm just really not in the mood for visitors. It was supposed to be a simple day. Go to work and be alone, but no it turned out to be, go to work try to celebrate my own birthday by myself, fail, come back to the station to be alone, and fail. Shocker, this day sucks.
I lean back in my chair with a pen still in my hand, "Heeey Gina."
"Emma." She said acknowledging me while she sat in the chair on the opposite side of my desk. Once she sat down she put her arms on the armrests and just looked at me like she was trying to gauge out my mood. I'm not in a mood she needs to mind her own business and lea- okay so maybe I'm in a mood, so what. Ugh, just go home.
I squint my eyes at her. "Can I help you with something in particular or did you just come here to stare at me?" I was rewarded with eyebrows sky rocketing on her forehead.
"Well that answers one question. Someone is definitely in a mood. My other question would have to be why, dear." Regina started off in her amused voice and ended in wonderment.
"I'm not in a 'mood', as you say. It has just been a really long day, I wasn't expecting to work." I shrugged off her question and sat forward in my chair to continue writing.
"Emma, something seems to be really bothering you-"Regina started to say but was cut off.
"Regina. I'm fine, nothing is bothering me. I am just trying to do the work you pay me to do. Is there something wrong with that? Why does everyone keep asking me these stupid questions? Just leave me alone." I snap knowing that Regina honestly didn't deserve that. She is just trying to be nice.
The whole time Emma was going off on her rant, Regina was a little annoyed that she was interrupted but mostly she was just concerned about why Emma was snapping. Emma was always able to control her emotions.
"Okay, just to let you know," she started off calmly, "I don't appreciate you interrupting me, much less you interrupting me to yell at me. What the hell is going on with you?" Regina ended on the end of her seat.
I know she didn't deserve it, but I'm just so angry. I have a stupid reason to be but I am.
"I know, I'm sorry." I say as I scoot my chair in closer to the desk with me in it, "can you just, go please, I have a lot of work to do and I already had my break." I couldn't make eye contact with her because I might have broken.
"Speaking of your break, I saw you at the store. You didn't even come in." she stated confused.
"I decided not to get something. That's all there is to it. Anything else you want to question me on? Maybe when I went to the bathroom or if I purposely spilt my coffee this morning for a break?" I was doing it again I know but the later it got in the day the more hurt I was becoming. I guess I'm not as important as I thought I was to any of these people. Just here to save the day.
"Emma?" Regina asked in an offended voice that also sounded a little bit hurt. I didn't mean to hurt her, I just want her to go away so I won't say something worse.
"Regina, just go. Please. I have a lot of work to do. I'm sure Henry is waiting for you at your house." I said in defeat.
Regina just sat there stunned for a second until she finally got up to leave. "Fine, I'll go, since you are obviously too stubborn to just talk to a friend about why you are so mad or upset. Just so you know though, I will find out why." She said as she walked out the door.
"Doubt it." I whispered and relaxed back into my chair.
It was 9 o'clock when Regina left the station, and I have to be here until 12 am when David will finally be back. I continue doing my work and listening to music. One of my favorite songs come on and it brightens my mood a little bit. At around 11:30, I get a call from David. I assume that it was him calling me to tell me that he will be a little early or that he was just calling to make sure I knew he would be there. Boy was I wrong, he called me to tell me that he wasn't going to be able to make it by 12, and that he lost track of time and they are really far away from the station. Of course I put on a fake happy voice and told him not to worry about it, that I would just stay at the station, and for him not to worry about it. As he was saying goodbye and sorry again I had enough and I just ended the call. I don't even know how long I will have to be here until someone shows up tomorrow. I honestly don't know why I am so upset no one remembered, I have never had a happy birthday yet and why should it start now. I need to go get blankets and a pillow so I can sleep in the cell.
After I got the blankets and stuff I put them in the cell and then went back to my desk to continue doing paper work until I can't keep my eyes open.
~across town at the mansion 9:05pm~ *Regina's point of view*
I walk into my house thinking of things that could be wrong with Emma.
"HENRY! I'M HOME!" I yell. Maybe Henry will know.
I hear footsteps racing down the stairs. "Hey mom, I thought I heard you come in earlier with the groceries, but when I came down to help you weren't here. Did I just imagine that?" he asked confused.
"Oh, no henry I was home for a minute but I went back out." I answered and started walking to the kitchen to put the non-perishables away since she didn't do that earlier.
Henry assumed she was going to elaborate on it but when she didn't,
"So where did you go?" he questioned
"To the station." I answered while putting a box of oatmeal away.
"Why? Did something happen?"
"No." I replied shortly.
"Okay? Then why did you go?" he asked as if it was the most obvious thing.
"To see if Emma was okay." I said as I turned to look at him and lean on the counter.
"Why wouldn't Emma be okay?" he asked with a little concern.
"She was acting strange at the diner and then I saw her at the store when I was there." I say as I picture the scene as if it was happening again.
"So what if she went to the store.?" He said confused.
"She didn't go in. She was standing at the door and then she just left. It was weird."
"That is weird. Maybe she just decided she didn't want to buy something."
I gave Henry an amused look, "That's exactly what she said."
"Maybe it was the truth?" henry said as he got up to get a light snack.
"I don't think so, she is hiding something. She seems like she is hurt by something." I say as I stand up straighter. That got Henry's attention.
"What could she be hurt by?" he asked walking towards the counter. "She agreed to work for grandpa, if she didn't want to she could have said no."
"Yeah I don't think that would make her to upset, unless they had plans for today and they forgot, but she didn't?" I question.
"I hadn't heard of any plans. It has been pretty quiet lately."
"This is going to bother me until I find out." I say putting my head in my hands.
"You know how Emma is, mom. It'll take time for her to tell."
"I just have this gut feeling that I need to find out tonight." I say while my eyes are closed.
"Well I finished all my homework, we can stay up to figure it out. I'm sure we can do it."
"Thank you henry, but you have to be in bed by midnight no later." I added sternly. Usually his bed time is 10 but this is really bothering me and Henry is really good at this kind of stuff.
"Deal." He said with a big grin on his face. "Okay so what happened when you went to go see Ma?"
When Regina was done telling the tale of what happened at the station and a couple of ideas of what her problem might have been, it was already 11:45.
I was growing frustrated that I couldn't think of anything that could have happened to make Emma act the way she was acting. I could tell that Henry was getting tired, and just when I was about to tell him to go upstairs and go to sleep he said something from his position lying down on the couch.
"You know what would suck," he said quietly as if he was about to fall asleep, "if it was her birthday or something."
"Yeah tha-" I started to say and then it hit me. It was her birthday. My eyes widened and I stiffened it took Henry a minute longer to realize what he had actually said, but when he did he shot up sitting straight on the couch, his eyes just as wide as mine and we just stared at each other frozen.
"SHIT." I say not even caring that Henry is in the room. How did everyone in this town forget the person who has saved them multiple times birthday? "Oh. My. Gosh. Henry the charming's went on a date, on their only daughter's birthday and stuck her at work." I said as I stood up panicking.
"We all had breakfast with her." Henry said in horror. "None of us remembered. We are all horrible. WHY DIDN'T SHE TELL US?"
"Henry, she shouldn't have had to tell us! Did anyone tell her when it was your birthday or hell, even mine? I don't even know how she knew my birthday I never told her! She threw Snow a surprise party and made her dad a cake! She even decorated Ruby's apartment without her knowing!" I was feeling worse every minute.
"What are we going to do it's already basically midnight. At least it will be when we get to her house." He said in a sad voice.
"Is she even at her house? When was she supposed to get off work?"
"Grandpa always gets off at midnight on Sundays. She will be heading home now."
We both just stare at each other for a second and then we both rush in different directions to get the things they need to leave the house. I make it to the door first
"Come on henry!" I say.
"I'm coming!" he said running down the stairs to the front door only to skid to a stop right in front of me.
We drove all the way to Emma's house on the edge of town which took about 20 minutes. Only to find out that she wasn't home.
"Where is she? I don't see her yellow slug," I ask mostly to myself, but henry heard and decided to answer.
"It's a bug, mom. Not slug." He said giving her the side eye.
"Oh same difference." I waved him off. "We probably should have tried the station first, dear. You know how caught up in work she gets."
"I totally forgot, because we were talking about when grandpa works Sundays. I just assumed they act the same, but grandpa rushes out and Ma stays and makes sure things are done."
With raised eyebrows I say, "Really? Are you trying to make your mom look good?"
"Yeah," he giggles, "she actually is really good at her job though. Aren't we supposed to be headed to the station? Not talking about how awesome Ma is."
"Oh, right let's go!" I say and then head back to the car with henry right beside me.
I couldn't write properly after 12:05am, it has been way too long of a day to even try. I shut my folder and organize my desk a little bit before shutting down my computer and heading over to the cot it the cell. Not the first time I have slept in a cell on my birthday. I can't believe that my parents forgot. They have had 28 years of not having to worry about presents or loving me and then the one time they can, they go on a date. I finally let a couple tears escape after I laid down on the cot facing the wall. It's officially not my birthday, there is no reason for me to be sad anymore. When I wake up tomorrow I can just act like it's a normal day.
"Happy Birthday Emma," I whisper to myself as I fall to sleep.
We get to the station around 12:30am, I know henry has school tomorrow but this is important. It's his mom's birthday. We park the car and all but sprint into the station. I almost assume that no one is here either.
"Where is she?" henry whispers.
"I don't know henry, I just got here too." I sass.
We do straight to her office space and see how clean is, it's so much better compared to the mess it was earlier that day. There was a sticky note on the computer screen and it confused them both.
Wake me up when you get here if I'm not already awake. -Emma
"Did David not show?" I ask in a distasteful voice.
"That's what it looks like," said Henry in not a much nicer voice.
After we stare at the note for a minute, I realize it says to wake her up when he gets here. Meaning that she is asleep somewhere. Oh please don't be in the cell Emma.
"She's in the cell," says henry.
We walk over to her not knowing what to say or if we should wake her, even though it's passed her birthday. Henry and I have just been kind of frozen staring at her not knowing what to do. That's when Emma turns to face us in her sleep. All I know is whatever I was expecting of today, I wasn't expecting to end the day having Emma turn towards us with tear streaks down her face, fast asleep.
"What did we do." I say in pure agony
"We all suck so bad." Henry said with tears and the saddest voice possible.
After a while we decided to go home and not have the sheriff wake up to having two people staring down at her pitifully. On the way home we talked about what would do about it tomorrow.
"We will tell her how sorry we are and then I will leave to go yell at those incessantly annoying parents of hers to give them a piece of my mind."
"Mom you do realize we all forgot not just them." He said looking at me
"Yes but they are her parents." I took a glance at henry then we continued the ride in silence.
Unless you want me to write more? Tell me if you do! Or if you want any other fics! I will try!