Chapter notes: The future arrives at Book's Pass.



eight months later…

"We're gonna be a state! We're gonna be a state!" People whooped and hollered; youngsters danced and some not so young tossed their hats high in jubilation. They all converged on a home where the boards wore a fresh coat of white paint, baby blue trimmed the doors and blue gingham curtains hung in the windows.

Dressed in dungarees and a plaid green shirt not quite buttoned to the top, Emma Swan emerged from the home's front door, shielding her green eyes from the midday sun. "What's going on?" she asked, tying back her long unruly blonde curls.

Ruby leaped onto the porch and swung around the beam. "State man coming. We're gonna be a state!"

Emma reentered the house, emerging a moment later leading Regina Mills wearing a simple shirtwaist blue dress. Normally perfectly coiffed hair was askew in its pins. Fisting her right hand on her hip, she spoke sharply to another face in the crowd, "And this couldn't wait for the town meeting after school Monday?"

"We need a government," Eugenia said, "a real one, elected by the people."

"It'll be cattlemen against the farmers," someone else shouted.

Eugenia turned her dark eyes on him fisting her hands on her ample frame. "So we get a mayor who ain't neither. Businessman, looking to grow this town for all of us."

"You?" He snorted.

"Not me," Eugenia said. "I nominate Regina Mills as the first mayor of Book's Pass."

Regina leaned on the roof beam. "Me?"

"You are always looking out for our best interest. Getting your girls to teach a local school...Running your business fair and equitable. You even doing negotiating with the train companies to get a trailhead here, to turn this place into a market so's we don't have to go all the way to Abilene…"

Emma whispered in Regina's ear, "Go you," and Regina blushed.

"But it would be just like Jameson running us if we don't have an actual election. Let the majority decide. Who else will run for mayor?"

There was a commotion. In the end a cattleman announced he would also run.

"We need to elect a sheriff, too," Ruby shouted. "Gotta have good law 'round here. Someone fair. Impartial." She looked up at Emma and pointed. "You can run for Sheriff, Emma!"

There's less consternation about Emma's nomination going unopposed. Everyone had been present at the trial over Jameson's death and heard his own ranch hand tell the circuit judge how Jameson was aimin' to shoot Swan in the back when Miss Regina jumped out and Emma turned, firing her weapon at Jameson's position. Miss Regina had been hit by the bullet meant for Swan, and Jameson, the Lord's justice served up, died from Emma's dead-on shot to his chest.

Over the last eight months, Emma had become a fixture in the town. Literally. She could be found most mornings, fixing up this, that, and other things for farmer or merchant alike. She needed money, she said, and she was honest enough to work for it.

About two months later, while Regina was still facing the loss of use of her left arm, Emma turned over the money to Regina and told her to open a school. Everyone heard about it at church that Sunday. Vivian was going to be the primary teacher, with several of the other girls working with smaller groups of the townspeople's children, educating them without having to send them to the next county for schooling.

When Arizona became a state years later, the celebration at Book's Pass was opened with a speech from Mayor Regina Mills, and the safety of everyone in attendance was assured by Sheriff Emma Swan.

The End.