A/N: Hey here with chapter 2, so I didn't fit as much into this chapter as planned, it sort of went a different direction but not a bad one necessarily. Hope you like it. As usual, I own nothing but my plot.
Chapter Two: The Want Ad
"Neal, come on, come on! Mom's getting new ones today!" As usual I could barely keep up with my little brother's whirlwind energy as he ran down the blocks to the library when I picked him up from school. He was nine years old, and didn't seem to process that I was an adult and not a fellow third grader. It was collection day at the library where Belle, my stepmother, worked. My father and Belle had married after a long engagement when I graduated college with a teaching degree, and had had Gideon soon after. Unfortunately, Dad had taken ill last year. It was half the reason I came back here, turned down a teaching job in Dayton to help run his store. Even after he entered remission six months ago, leaving just didn't seem right.
"You know they won't disappear Giddy," I half shouted as I ran after him. "Belle never shelves them the first day."
Gideon stopped, scowled at me. "I don't like that name."
"You don't seem to mind when Belle uses it." I replied with a smirk.
"Course not, she's mom. She's got a pass. Speaking of names, how come you don't call Mom Mom?" Gideon asked, toeing the sidewalk before he begins walking again, loose and goofy like he was on a tightrope..
"I...don't know…" I realized I didn't. I suppose it could be related to the fact that I had already been sixteen when they began seeing each other, and still saw my mom every other holiday in New York despite the divorce being messy and a hard custody fight that dad had tried hard to win fully, the fact that Belle had never pressured me. But if I was honest, I wondered why I hadn't developed the habit. Belle was more of a mother to me even before their marriage than my own mother had ever been.
Gideon pulled open the large door. I reached over to give him a hand, and received another scowl even as he ducked under my arm to go in.
Belle smiled as soon as she saw us. "There are my handsome heroes,"
Gideon as usual, smiled wide and ran over to the large desk, pulling up the portion that allowed the library workers and volunteers...us on Fridays and Saturdays, to get behind the desk. And I, as usual, was right behind him to catch the partition before it slammed lowering it down the rest of the way. "Mom!"
She pulled Gideon into a tight hug releasing him a few minutes later.
"Did the new ones come today?" Gideon asked.
"They did," She confirmed.
"Can I see them?"
"Sure," Belle said. "They're in the back, no running."
Gideon stopped because that's exactly what he had been doing and walked deliberately to the back room.
"Oh Neal, can you make a few copies of this for me? Do you have time?" Belle held out a piece of paper.
"Sure," I took the paper from her and glanced over it. I frowned slightly as I realized what Belle was up to.
It was a job notice. The Storybrooke Free Public Library helped the neighborhood out by posting them in the library itself and around the neighborhood. This was Gideon's volunteer job. He delivered several to the elementary school for Mary Margaret Nolan and Principal Mills to post before hopping his bike and riding to all of the local spots that he could and asking if they would please post them as well.
And I could tell as soon as I read it over what Belle was meaning to tell me. I went over to the copy machine before she could determine that I had read it, and placed it in. "How many do you want?"
"21 should do it." Belle said.
"21?" I raised an eyebrow, now knowing exactly what she was up to and that my hunch was correct. "You sure that's not too many?"
"Well, you could take the extra," She pointed out. "Scratch paper. Or maybe...this one might actually be worth looking into."
"Can't," I said. "Dad's been by himself since Will decided to take that trip."
"Didn't Will also tell your father he's been planning to study abroad for the past six months with that fiancée of his?" Belle came over to me. "We both know Renly, Neal he prepares. It's about time you did too." Belle placed a hand on my shoulder. It took everything not to toss it off.
About time I prepared, but for what? I'd spent enough time trying to do my own thing. A rebellious phase that had lasted far too long. It hadn't worked out. "Okay, you've got a point." I said, but we both knew it was strictly to appease her.
I made the copies not even bothering to read it a second or third time, but only cursory glancing to be sure they turned out readable. I made a point of taking one of the copies in full view so she could see.
Once that was done, I set the rest on the circulation desk. "I'll see you later,"
"Neal," But I didn't turn back around.
"I'll see you guys later," I placed down the last of the dishes from the table I had just bussed. I had to get Henry from school.
"Later Em," Ruby said.
"Oh actually Emma…" I turned around as I heard Granny. "I'd really hate to ask, but could you possibly stay on today? There's trouble at the inn and I can't manage both."
"Trouble, Granny…" Ruby sighed. "Can't you just use that witch and her pet demon's name like a normal person instead of a euphemism?"
"That's enough out of you girl." Granny turned to Ruby shooting a look that was liable to make anyone but Ruby Lucas back down.
"You're talking about the Blanchards aren't you?" Ruby said. "It's two syllables, Main Street won't explode."
"You don't have to be polite." I said softly. I knew my grandparents well enough. They basically owned this town, but they didn't live here except for the one week out of the month they had to collect rent: heaven forbid they have to acknowledge the fact that my mother actually married my father.
"She does and she will. You don't need to hear that about your family Emma."
"It's the truth," I said. And if I was honest, hearing that well it wasn't the worst I had ever heard by a long shot. "I can stay, but can I take my break now? I have to pick up Henry." I asked.
"Of course, go on, don't worry about it." Granny replied. "I'll have his cocoa ready for him."
"Thank you," I sighed in relief as I left to go to the school.
A/N: So, we had our first introduction to both Neal and Emma's viewpoints this chapter. Neal is dealing with his family's insistence that he break away, and Emma is dealing with unexpected extra hours at work and the impending arrival of her grandparents who do not make good impressions by the sound of things.
Next chapter, we hear more from the Nolan-Matthews mother and son and get a glimpse into just what it is Henry mentioned in his school paper. And the previously promised reveal of Mr. Giovanni.