Happiness

Will Regina Mills finally get the happiness she deserves? Will she stop having to do things for others?

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4. Rumple

My 29th birthday comes with Snow’s 13th, Victoria’s 12th, Emily’s 10th, and Sophia’s 2nd. Snow’s 13th birthday ball is a lavish occasion and it’s a time that the subjects have managed to celebrate even with an ogre attack progressing. We call them ogres…they’re just foul-smelling peasants who live in the swamp lands and want better conditions but can’t have better conditions because of an agreement they signed 400 years ago. Now, they’re attacking. The ogre army is growing every day. It’s also been two years since Jefferson’s death and I’ve still sworn off marriage.

            Snow dances with various suitors and Emily just watches. Victoria dances with Jackson and Zelena dances with Alexander. Sophia Grace sits on my lap and watches with her intense gaze. I stroke her golden locks and she turns around and stares at me with her big brown eyes. Every time I stare into her eyes…I see Jefferson. I see him dying…I see his funeral and I see our wedding. I see how I hated him at first and now I miss him.

“Mama!”

“Yes Sophie.”

“Do you miss Papa?”

“Yes, I do…I miss him very much. But he’s in a better place now.”

            Sophia goes back to watching everyone dance. For two she’s quite smart. I watch my children and subjects dance. A man in a suit of golden armor comes up to me and bows. He lifts his face and flashes a cold grin. He steps up the steps towards me and I put up my hand for him to stop walking. He stops and smiles.

“Speak.”

“I was coming to inquire if you would like to dance your majesty.”

“Dance…I don’t dance.”

“I also have a proposal for you. My queen.” He bows again and I’m intrigued.

“What is your proposal?”
“A dance?”

            I hand Sophia off to Snow who’s come up to the thrones to rest from all her dancing. I kiss Snow’s head and say goodbye to Sophia. I gather my red skirt into my hand and take the knight’s hand. I have no clue who he is. I spot Mother smiling out of the corner of my eye and realize she’s probably set me up. She’s been setting me up for nearly 15 years.

“What is your name?”
“My name is Rumpelstiltskin Gold. You have a reputation.”

“I do?”

“Every man that marries you dies. I’m not afraid of you killing me though.”

“Why do you think I would marry you?”
“Because your children. They need a father.”

“My children are fine.”

“Say that to Victoria whom you abandoned.”

“I gave her to my sister. It was my choice and Daniel’s. I prayed about it for months.”

“I have a proposal. Your army is small and the ogre army is growing daily. I have 100,000 soldiers. Combined with your 50,000 we should defeat the ogres in days.”
“What do you want in return?”
“Your hand in marriage. The engagement will be over this time next year. You’ll be 30 and nearing your prime.”

“If you want a son from me…you’ll have to look elsewhere. I bear no sons.”

“I don’t want a son…I want you.”

            Gold places a hand on my cheek and I walk away. I sit on my throne and hold Sophia on my lap. I can’t believe I agreed to marry a monster. A hideous beast and for what? Not for my happiness, to save my kingdom. Why must I sacrifice my happiness for the happiness and safety of others? Can’t I just be happy?

The following year…

            Snow’s 14th birthday ball isn’t as lavish as last year because a wedding is in the process of being planned. This year I allow Snow and Emily to take Sophia dancing with them. Her blonde hair is tied back with a pretty- blue bow and she wears a pretty-blue dress with layers of lace. This year I allow Snow to wear her late mother’s favorite tiara that Leopold gave to me on the eve before our wedding. It’s hard to imagine that in a few days I’ll be marrying for the third time. I pray that this marriage doesn’t fail or end due to death. I pray that my next marriage is a marriage that last longer than my marriage to Leopold. Our marriage was cut short…I wish now that I had been given more time with Leopold but the past is in the past.

            Emily finds a handsome young lord to dance with and at the sight of my eleven-year-old dancing with a boy that’s obviously thirteen hurts my heart. I have no clue who the boy is and I’m sure I should. I spot Snow dancing with the young Prince David…a match that was made when Snow was born. I’m glad she has a special bond with Prince David at such a young age because he’s her betrothed. I smile at the sight of the two dancing.

            Victoria is off in the corner…she’s wearing one of Zelena’s favorite dresses and her long black tresses are braided. Tonight, I let her borrow one of my favorite hair adornments and it looks lovely in her long black hair. Her piercing blue eyes seem to pierce the souls of all the subjects present at the ball. Standing the way, she’s standing, I can’t help but think of Daniel and how he used to stand like that. My fiancée Rumple makes his way to my throne. He wears his blue and gold uniform and a smile on his face. He’s anxious for our wedding…he wants the throne. I want his army…nothing more, nothing less. Too bad he won’t get the throne. He might be a count with his army and I might be his future countess but I am a queen and he’ll never be king.

            Rumple bows and offers his hand to me. I stand up from my throne, gather my royal blue and cream skirt into my hand and take his hand. He kisses it and leads me to the dance floor. He places a hand on my waist and I place a hand on his shoulder. We begin to waltz and weave our way amongst the crowd. I spot Snow in her light pink dress and David in his red and gold uniform. Snow’s just staring into his eyes. Rumple makes a comment.

“Young love…I remember when I was young and in love once.” His face turns to one of sadness. I’m intrigued so I inquire.

“What happened to her?”

“She died in childbirth with my child. The child died and her husband…he came after me. He didn’t find me until five years later and by that time I was married and had another tot on the way. I was out…he burned down my house so I made a little accident. I heard he was engaged…he died. His fiancée later went on to marry a noble man. Only God knows what happened to her.”
“My fiancée died and I later married a noble man.”

“You married the king…you became a queen. This man’s name was Isaac…his fiancée’s name was Marian. The nobleman she married is not noble anymore. And they don’t have any children.”

“Your love died…what was her name?”
“Milah…her husband was the Sheriff of Nottingham. Rumors say his fiancée Marian didn’t really love him. She would’ve rather married Robin Hood anyway.”

“Robin Hood? I’ve heard stories about him.”

“Well my dear, they’re all true.”

            The wedding takes place three days after Snow’s 14th birthday ball. This time for a wedding dress I opt for a simple white dress with a crown instead of a veil. The white dress reaches the floor and has very little décor except the dark blue ribbon adorning the edges. The crown chosen is one of my favorite. Diamonds and sapphires all embedded into a small silver circle with six points. This time I have all my bridesmaids and flower girls wearing the same dress. A color they all look good in.

            Zelena is my matron of honor as she’s been since Daniel…too bad I didn’t marry Daniel. Zelena’s dress is a different style from the others but is baby blue. Snow wears her baby blue dress with her black hair down and adorned with white snowbells. Her piercing green eyes gleam as she sees me. She wraps her arms around my neck and kisses my cheek.

“Momma, you look beautiful. But you’re not happy.”

“I’ll learn to be happy.”
“You weren’t happy with Papa, you weren’t happy with Jefferson…and you aren’t happy now. Why are you doing this?”
“I married your father to become queen like my mother wanted me too, I married Jefferson because it was your father’s dying wish and I’m marrying Gold because…he has an army that can defeat those vile swamp peasants that we call ‘ogres’. I am happy…”

“You aren’t happy and I know that.”

“Snow, let’s go get me married. Don’t worry about it.”

            Zelena takes the lead, then comes Snow, next is Victoria with her blue dress matching the same blue in her eyes. Her black hair is braided and tied up with blue ribbons. Emily comes next as a flower girl…she insists that she’s too old but I tell her…’you’re still a child to me.’ She has the flower basket and her black hair in loose curls around her face. A single blue ribbon keeps her bangs from her face. Bringing up the rear is Sophia. She’s the only one of my children that doesn’t have black hair and she has blue eyes. She’s my special little baby. Her long hair is tied back into two braids and her flower girl dress is covered in lace. Soon she won’t be wearing lacey dresses and pretty bows because she’ll be too old.

            I don’t want to get married…I don’t want to get married. Rumple wraps his hands around my wrists and whispers for me to smile. I smile and take a deep breath. I take his hands in mine and take another deep breath. We face the pastor in the chapel and I turn to watch my four daughters smiling with all their hearts. My sister, my mother, my sister’s husband and my sister’s son smile too. I stare at my people; they’re full of fear and anxiety. They’re anxiously waiting for me to say ‘I do’ because the minute I say ‘I do’. Rumple’s army will join forces with my army and they’ll march towards the enemy.

“Do you Queen Regina take Count Rumplestiltskin to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I do”

“Do you Count Rumplestiltskin take Queen Regina to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do”

“Then by the power invested in me by the father, the son and the holy spirt I pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

            Before the kiss, I have about two maybe three seconds to decide how I want this marriage to turn out. Will I fight like I fought with my previous two marriages or will I allow Rumple into my heart. He is my husband, regardless of the reason why I just married him. He takes my arm and leads me out of the chapel. He helps me into a carriage and doesn’t even allow me to say goodbye to my children.

“My army is joining forces with yours as we speak.”

“Thank you Gold…”

“You are my wife now. Countess Regina.”
“Queen…I’m a queen. Didn’t you know Regina is Latin for queen?”
“So your mother named you Regina because…”

“Because she said one day I would be queen and look at me now.”

“Regina is also Italian for queen. It’s also Maltese and Romanian.”

“Thank you for your history lesson. I’m really not interested.”

            I turn and stare out the window. I try to ignore Gold as much as possible and all I want to do is to get this stupid honeymoon over. I didn’t want to marry Gold even if it meant saving my kingdom. Two hours after marrying him, I wish I hadn’t. We get to the honeymoon palace and I soon realize it’s Gold’s castle. All his servants are waiting for their new countess. I ask a question just before we enter.

“Gold…what happens to the palace if anything happens to me?”
“My lands become part of the kingdom’s lands. My kingdom is joined with yours. I have everything set up for you should anything happen to me.”

“Like Leopold did? Are you going to force me to marry someone from beyond the grave?”
“I don’t know yet. We only just got married.”

            Gold carries me bridal style across the threshold. Leopold and Jefferson never did that…maybe that’s why they died. He carries me across the threshold and upstairs to his chambers. He lays me gently down on the bed and says with a smug grin.

“You must be well practiced at wedding nights. I’ve never had a wedding night…”

“I have a bastard child too.” Rumple sits on the bed and rolls over to me. I rest my elbows on his chest and laugh. He pulls my chin down and kisses me. I’m skeptical because I’m afraid to fall in love ever again. I don’t want to lose love like I lost Daniel…I’ve managed to fall in love with every husband and they always die.

“What troubles you my dear countess?”
“If I fall in love with you I’m afraid you’ll die.”

“Is that what you think happened to your previous lovers?”

“Yes, I loved Daniel and he died, I loved Leopold and he died, I loved Jefferson and he’s dead. I continue to fall in love and fall for the ones that make others happy. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy. I learn to be joyful doing God’s work of making…” Rumple cuts my rant off with a soft kiss. Being married to him means I’ll never find my own happiness but it doesn’t mean I can’t find happiness in him.

            Shortly thereafter…

            I open my eyes in my palace…in my home and smile as I roll over and see Rumple sleeping peacefully beside me and soon I realize today is my 31st birthday. 15 years ago, my world came crashing down for the first time now I’m on husband number three, lover number four. Sacrificing my happiness for the welfare of others every day of my life. Snow’s already turned 15 and she and David are inseparable. They plan to marry when Snow turns 18. Victoria is 14 and already has a vast array of suitors. I’m glad she has her uncle/adopted dad Jackson to ward off any unwanted men. With each passing day Snow and Victoria both become more beautiful. They aren’t biological sisters but you can barely tell them apart. The only difference is that Snow has green eyes and Victoria has blue ones. Emily is 12 and her preteen days haven’t been the easiest. She’s always complaining and always in such a bad mood. She threatened to cut off her long black hair and gouge out her green eyes because she believes she’s hideous. Rumple tells her every day that she’s beautiful. Thank the Lord, that Sophia’s only 4, she’s already started school work and her long blonde hair is always tangled. When she wants something, she walks into the throne room and stares at me with her dark brown eyes.

            Today I sit up in bed and Rumple rolls over to kiss me. He plants a soft kiss on my lips and holds me tight. I think it’s safe to say that after a year of marriage, we’ve become accustomed to each other quite well. I love him so much that I want to give him a son. I love Rumple more than I loved Daniel and that says a lot. He’s still a hideous beast but I love him. I want to give him a child. He gets out of bed and gets dressed. He kisses me goodbye and leaves to train his army…his army and my army combined. He’s the Count…he needs to exercise his troops. At least he’s not king.

            A few moments after Rumple leaves a knock at my door, I glance up from my books and say “Come in”. The door creaks open and a long procession of my daughter’s come in. Zelena comes in first with a breakfast tray. She puts the tray on my bed. Then Snow comes in carrying my favorite chocolate chip waffles. Victoria brings in a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Emily brings syrup and finally Sophia comes in bearing a bouquet of flowers. My maid Esmerelda comes in bearing a brand-new blue dress for today. My maid Sheila comes in carrying a brand-new silver and sapphire ball gown for tonight. Finally, Rumple’s royal advisor comes in with a box. I open the box and read the inscription “To my beautiful wife, in honor of her 31st birthday.” I open the box and pull out a beautiful sapphire tiara. I smile. Rumple Gold knows how to please his wife.

            My children line up behind their aunt and begin wishing me birthday wishes. Zelena begins and exits. Each child exits after wishing me well.

“Happy birthday lil sis.” Zelena leaves. Snow comes next “Happy Birthday Momma.” Victoria comes next “Happy Birthday Aunt Regina slash Momma.” Emily wishes me happy birthday next “Happy Birthday Mama.” Finally, Sophia climbs up into my lap and kisses my cheek. She whispers “Happy Birthday Mommy” in my ear. I’m so blessed to have been given four beautiful daughters who love me so much. I’m so blessed to have been given an older sister.

            I finish my breakfast and another knock at my door. My mother opens the door and walks in. Without words, she comes over to the bed, bends down and wraps her arms around me. A tear rolls down my cheek. My mother hasn’t hugged me like this for more years than I can count. Mother kisses my cheek and sits at the edge of my bed. She takes my hand in hers. My mother, Princess Cora; crying. She kisses my cheek and whispers.

“Regina…I’m so sorry. I’ve put you through hell for the last 15 years. I’ve put you through hell since you were born and I’m so sorry.”

“Mother, why are you doing this now?”

“Regina…I’ve already told your sister…the physicians say I have cancer. I’m not going to die until you’ve received happiness. I refuse to go before I let you be happy. You gave up your only reminder of Daniel to your sister, you gave up happiness to make me happy by becoming queen. Leopold forced you to marry Jefferson and now you’ve married Gold because his army can fight the war. I’m sorry Regina.”

            A sinking feeling in my heart brings me to tears. My mother; dying from cancer. Now, I must make her happy by honoring her last dying wish but I think I can do that. At least Mother finally understands that I do deserve to be happy. I just want to be happy…I don’t want to earn happiness…I guess I’m more or so a bit obsessive in ‘love at first sight’ or the whole idea of my ‘soulmate’ or ‘one true love’. So far, I haven’t found the one true love that will sweep me off my feet like I deserve…especially as queen. I wrap my arms around my mother and cry. She’s giving me bad news on my birthday.

“I love you Regina.”

“I love you too Mom.” Mother pushes away from me and I can see the tears in her eyes. It’s been a long time since I called her Mom. I kiss her cheek and she leaves me alone to get dressed. My maid helps me slip out of my nightdress and into my brand-new blue dress. It has sleeves that hang off my shoulder and it’s covered with a silky white overlay. My other maid curls my hair and places it perfectly into a nice ponytail that comes over my left shoulder. Zelena walks in carrying a silver chain and hanging from the chain is a medium sized tear shaped diamond surrounded by mini sapphires. She must have gotten it for me from the royal jewelry safe. I haven’t worn this necklace since a few months after Leopold and I married. Zelena fastens it around my neck and kisses my cheek.

“Last birthday you were too busy with wedding plans.”

“Next birthday I plan to be carrying Rumple’s son.”

“How do you know you’ll have a son?”
“I’m praying for a son.” Zelena kisses my cheek again and leaves. I stare into the mirror and just stare at my reflection. My maid Angelina comes back in with my makeup pallet and begins to do my face. She washes, she exfoliates, then she applies my toner. She moisturizes my face, she sprays on rose water…finally she applies my primer. After all of this, she leaves for a few minutes to allow my face to breathe. She puts on my foundation and blends it in perfectly. Then she applies my concealer. I wish she would let me do my makeup because I do know how. She applies highlighter and contours. She curls my lashes and applies mascara. She does perfect eyeliner and then adds a perfect smoky eye. She puts on my blush and then puts on red and nude lipstick. She rubs the lipstick into my lips with her middle finger.

            When she’s done, I stare at my reflection. Angelina managed to do a flawless job with my makeup every time she does it. I don’t allow her to do it often but today is my 31st birthday. She kisses my cheek and leaves the room. I continue to stare at my reflection before deciding that I should head down and start my day. My daughters will all want to play and spend time with their mother. I straighten my dress and open the door to my bedroom. I walk down the hall and enter the throne room. My throne is empty and my children are all waiting for me. The court stands as I enter. I take my throne and the court goes about to their business.

            Snow sits at my right-hand side, next to Snow sits Victoria. On my left is Gold and Emily and then Sophia. Next to Victoria sits Zelena and next to Zelena sits my mother when she’s present at court. Right now, she’s off somewhere living her final days. It’s sad to even think that my mother has cancer and is dying.

            Court is in session and peasants…I mean loyal subjects who have broken the law are brought before me in shackles and flanked by guards. It might be my birthday but a queen never takes a day off. When I do take a day off, my royal advisor is there to advise and come up with final decision until I am in better health. The first matter today is the case and ruling of a young girl who is still so young.

            The child enters the room, carrying a bundle of whatever. She’s not in shackles so I know she hasn’t broken the law. Her face is dirty and her dress torn and her eyes look like she hasn’t eaten. Whatever her plea may be, I plan to send her for help. When Leopold was alive, he set up stations throughout the kingdom. These stations supplied food, clothes and treated anyone that Leo sent like the person was royalty. Gave them a house and a job and if they had children…these houses would care for their young whilst their parents worked. Most of the nobles in my kingdom work or rule over these ‘safe’ houses.

            The young girl curtseys like a real lady and smiles. Her golden locks are tangled and she has tears in her eyes. She gets down on her knees and stares up at me. I want to walk down and gather her into my arms but I can’t. She starts to cough and I plan to get her medical attention. She starts coughing up blood and one of my maids take care of her before she speaks. The little bundle starts to move and starts to cry. I realize it’s a baby. The girl comforts her child and then directs her eyes to me. Her voice is a hoarse whisper.

“Your majesty, Queen Regina…you must help me. Help me…”

            Snow runs off to comfort the crying mother. Snow’s always had a tender heart; that’s why it’s going to be so hard for her when she becomes queen. Snow comforts the mother and the mother directs her eyes back to me.

“Queen Regina you must help me.” I don’t know what to do. I look to Rumple for advice and he shrugs his shoulders. His excuse is ‘counts don’t deal with these things. Counts are well counts.’ The mother stares at me…I stare at Zelena and she shrugs her shoulders. I smile…my older sister has a slight baby bump. Soon Victoria and Alexander will have a baby sibling. I’m hoping it’s a girl. Zelena wants to name her daughter Evangeline and another son would be John.

“Child…you are but a child. May I ask you a few questions?”

“Queen Regina, I beg you help us.”

“What’s the matter child? How old are you and is that baby your baby?”
“This is my daughter…I just gave birth to her a few hours ago. They said I would die from loss of blood. I was sold when I was 13 so that my father could keep his farm. My husband abused me and when I was 14 got me pregnant. I’m 15 now. I’m dying and I don’t want my daughter being raised by him.”

“Did he rape you?”

“Yes, before my father sold me…he worked for my father and raped me on multiple accounts.”

“What do you want from us?”
“Justice and a place for my daughter.”

“You want us to raise your daughter.”

“Yes, Queen Regina.”

            The girl has tears in her eyes. Snow catches my attention and nods. I turn to Zelena and she nods in approval. Victoria nods, Emily nods and then I stare down the row at Sophia she nods. I stare into Rumple’s eyes and he closes them before gladly agreeing. He takes my hand and squeezes. My royal advisor whispers in my ear.

“Regina, you are the queen. Doing something like this will make the people love you. If you refuse this girl can go and tell her friends that the Queen refused to help.”

            I push myself up off my throne and walk down to the girl and her child. I help the child to her feet and smile. I stroke her face and wipe away her tears. I take the baby from her arms and hand the little girl off to one of my numerous nursemaids. Snow returns to her throne and I open my arms and embrace the sick child.

“What’s your name dear? Who are your parents?”
“My parents are farmers. There is a rumor in my family on my mother’s side that my mother’s mother Emma was the daughter of Princess Aurora’s daughter…Emma was Aurora’s granddaughter. The story says that Emma was kidnapped by farmers and raised as a farmer.”

“You certainly have the purple eyes and the hair. So, you’re 15…I was your age when I got pregnant with my child. I had her at 16.”

“Where is she now?” I point to Victoria.

“You’re my stepdaughter Snow’s age. She’s 15.”

“You will take good care of my daughter won’t you?”
“We promise.”

“Then I should go.”

“NO don’t go. Stay here…spend time with your child.”

“My mother says that you adopted Princess Snow…did you ever tell her?”
“Yes, we did. It made it easier considering I’m her mother’s cousin. What’s your name darling?”
“Aurora Rose.”

“Come along darling…let’s get you washed up and then my daughters will be happy to give you company.”

            Maids take Aurora away and I tell them to put her up in a pretty dress like her great-great grandmother. My daughters all follow and I’m left alone with my darling husband. He takes my hand and kisses it. Just having him in the same room gives me peace.

“So, what’s her name?”

“Aurora Rose.”

“Our new daughter…”

“No, her mother. The child is so young. There’s a rumor in her family. That her mother’s mother Emma was the granddaughter of Aurora and Phillip.”

“Emma…that’s not in the books. Which Aurora and Phillip…Aurora had a daughter named Aurora and Aurora’s daughter Rosa had Emma and Rosie who’s Aurora. Emma was kidnapped. Rosie married Phillip and they had Aurora nicknamed Rosella. So, is Rosella Emma’s cousin?”

“Yes…I guess. No way of proving it besides Aurora having the eyes. Emma had Aurora’s mother…So we’re on Aurora five and Phillip five. Should we tell them that we found Aurora’s cousin Aurora?”

“No…like you said Regina…no way of proving it.”

“The eyes, the hair, the name…the sweet personality.”

“No…Regina…we have a daughter though. What are we going to name her?”
“Aurora Rose…one day she might be queen…she fits the description.”

“Too many Auroras.” I laugh at his joke and how he shakes his head. Maybe now I can give him a son. He leans over and plants a kiss on my lips. I like it so much I refuse to let him go. He smiles when the kiss breaks and whispers.

“Can I give the queen her birthday present early?”
“Maybe…if courts dismissed.” I dismiss court and Rumple carries me upstairs into the bedroom.

            The cries of a newborn baby fill the halls. I wait and pace as a messenger leaves my sister’s room. Jackson stops pacing and Alexander looks up from his books. Victoria stops talking…she has a new baby sibling…that’s the joy when you’re adopted and reunited with your birth mother. You get siblings and cousins all at the same time. I’m happy…I want to know if I have a nephew or a niece. I put Aurora on my hip and wait patiently for news. Sophia takes my hand and waits too. We all wait for the messenger to spit it out.

“It’s a girl…Princess Zelena has named her Evangeline.”

            We all breathe a sigh of relief. Aurora starts crying and I stare into her beautiful purple eyes. I stroke her soft blonde hair and comfort her. Rumple and I were truly blessed the day Aurora came into our lives. I can’t believe that my oldest is almost 16 and my youngest is almost one. I let Snow take the younger ones away for bed and I go visit my big sister. I walk into her room and Jackson is holding a beautiful baby girl in his arms. I say hi to Zelena and then hold my niece.

“Hi Evangeline. I’m your auntie Regina. Hi lil one. You have a big sister and a big brother outside waiting for you. Then you have five cousins…one cousin is also your sister. We’ll explain it when you’re older.”

“Regina, isn’t she so tiny?”

“It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these.”

“You have Aurora.”

“I meant since I was pregnant. I was blessed with five daughters and three pregnancies.”

            I give Evangeline back to my sister and kiss her head.

“Regina, how’s Mom?”
“In her chambers…trying to hold on. She knows she has a new granddaughter.”

“That’s good.”

“See you when your all rested up Z.”

“Bye Regina.”

            I walk out and into Rumple’s waiting arms. I lean my head against his chest and take a deep breath. I’m glad my strong husband is holding me because right now I feel so sick to my stomach and I want to throw up so badly. Rumple helps me to bed and cares for me. He kisses me and plays with my hair. He kisses me again and this time lets his lips linger. I push him away to do my devotion though and tell him that I’m feeling good enough to play.

“Regina, should I be worried?”

“No, you shouldn’t…I’m fine. I’m perfectly fine. Rumple I have five children. I have five daughters…one that I share with my sister. I have five children all by different fathers. All half siblings.”

“Regina…your daughters look like siblings. They all look like you.”

“Snow I can understand I mean I look like her mother and her mother looks like my mother. Victoria looks like her father and I and it helps that she favors Snow. Emily looks like the older two. Sophia is the only different and then Aurora…I wonder what our baby would look like if we were to have one.”
“He or she would probably look like his or her beautiful mother.” Rumple leans down and kisses me. He wraps his arms around me and I fall asleep.

            A few days later…I’m sitting in the meadow feeling awful and wanting to die. My purple dress looks beautiful paired with my raven black hair and I’m reading a book. I laugh as Rumple chases Emily and Sophia around the meadow. Zelena and Jackson recline under a tree with baby Evangeline in Zelena’s lap. Alexander and Victoria engage in a friendly conversation. He’s probably getting advice from his ‘older sister’. Snow and David are within eyes view. I’m just worried because Victoria has started courting. Emily has gotten a few catcalls…with ended with the boy being sent from the palace for a week. One man spent a week in the dungeon for catcalling my daughter.

            I put my book down and try to stand because a feeling of utter sickness rises in my throat and I try not to throw up. My maid tries to help me up and my golden crown manages to fall off. Angelina puts it back on my head and secures it in place. I feel faint and thank goodness Esmerelda caught me. By that time my loving family had gathered around to help as much as they could. I’m glad Aurora is taking a nap…I’m not glad she’s sick but I’m glad she’s asleep…she gets frightened quite easily like Queen Aurora her supposed ‘cousin’. Rumple takes over and asks what’s wrong.

“I’m feeling a bit under the weather. Just a little sickness.”

“Regina, you’ve been like this for a few days. I hope you’re not sick like your mother.”

“No…I’m not…never…and Mother is doing excellent. Her health is returning.”

“You should get checked…you’re nearly 32…most don’t…”

“Rumple be quiet…I’m not dying…I’m just sick. Help me to our room please.”

            Rumple gets me in bed and kisses my cheek. He sets the basin beside me just in case I do throw up. I fall asleep and later wake up with noises. Rumple’s called the doctor. The doctor examines me and then gives us his diagnosis.

“Your majesty, Queen Regina…I have a bit of good news. You’re expecting.”

            Rumple squeezes my hand and I want to cry. I’m pregnant…that’s wonderful news.

“When am I due?”

“Your due a few weeks after your birthday. I’ll check up as much as possible. But…I want you to take it easy. It’s your fourth pregnancy…it could end…given your older…”

“I understand. Thank you.”

            The Doctor takes a bow and leaves the room. Rumple lifts me up out of the bed and kisses my cheek. I can tell he’s happy. I’m pregnant again and I pray that this time it’s a boy.

            My 32nd birthday is full of tears and laughter. The doctor put me on bedrest…he’s afraid that the baby will come early so bedrest it is. At least I don’t have to dress up for a lavish ball today. I even missed Snow’s 16th birthday ball and Victoria’s 15th. Emily turned 13 and I was stuck in bed. Sophia turned 5 and I was stuck in bed.  I’ve been on bedrest my entire pregnancy and it’s awful. Rumple can’t even sleep in the same room as me because he’s afraid of accidentally hurting me or the baby and I’m in extreme pain all the time. My worst fear is that this is my last pregnancy. If I have a girl…I’m going to feel like a complete failure. If this isn’t my last pregnancy…it means I can keep trying for a boy.

            My huge belly is noticeable underneath my nightgown that almost doesn’t fit. My black hair is tied back in a braid and I wear a silver circlet in my hair. My nightgown is baby blue and almost too pretty to sleep in. I push myself up into sitting position and wait for my birthday to officially begin. I bet it’ll be completely different from last time. Rumple comes in and puts his fingers over my eyes.

“What are you doing?”

“Shush it’s a surprise.”

            I hear footsteps enter the bedroom and then Rumple keeps my eyes shut and runs into position.

“Open them.” I open my eyes and find my entire family crowded around with a huge birthday cake in the center. Aurora smiles and I realize it’s her birthday too. She reaches for me and I reach for her. Snow brings her over and whisper.

“Happy birthday princess. Happy birthday Ro.”

“Mama.”

“Yes baby.”

            She’s contented in my lap and I look around the room. Zelena holding my birthday cake. Jackson holding Evangeline. Alexander with Victoria. Rumple with a hand on Emily’s shoulder. Sophia in Victoria’s arms. I hold my baby girl in my arms. Mother steps out of the crowd and I smile. She hasn’t been out of bed in ages. The doctor says she still has cancer but she’s doing better…she says she’s going to die once I get my happiness.

“Happy Birthday to you.

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday dear Regina and Aurora

Happy birthday to you.”

“Thank you. I love you all so very much.”

            I open my birthday presents and help my little munchkin open hers. It’s sad that her birth mother isn’t here. Aurora’s mother Aurora ran away after staying in the palace for two hours. I went to retrieve her for the ball and to see her daughter and she was gone. If she’s still alive I hope she comes back to get her baby one day.

            A few hours later while I’m playing with Aurora and Sophia is doing her lesson with me Snow comes in. Her face is so lit up and I’m so confused. She extends her finger and I remember.

“Mom…I’m engaged. David proposed.”

“That’s wonderful. A two -year engagement is better to me than a year. “

“David is so wonderful…”

“David was promised to you when you were a year old. It was in the cards all along for him to propose shortly after you turned 16. He even asked to marry you a few days ago. He asked your stepfather and then me.”

“Mom…he’s wonderful.”

            Snow sits down and daydreams about David…then Victoria walks in. She’s due to be engaged next year. I’m dreading the day Emily gets engaged. Emily gets engaged in three years. Sophia still has eleven years to go. I’m glad Snow loves David but Victoria doesn’t really like the man Jackson, Zelena and I all agreed on. His name is Thomas and Victoria loathes him. He’s quite handsome and he’s kind and smart and funny but she hates him. She comes in a huff and a puff wearing a dress Zelena obviously picked out.

“MOM. Mom’s making me go out with Thomas and I don’t want too.”

“Victoria…listen to your mother…I can’t interfere…it’s what Zelena and I agreed on when you were adopted. I don’t interfere in her ways and she doesn’t in mine. It’s proven quite effective.”

            Zelena comes in with a hairbrush in one hand and a tiara in the other. She starts brushing Victoria wild curly black hair. Sometimes I think that Victoria should’ve been born with red hair because she has a fiery red temper…like Zelena.

“Well that makes five people in my room is anyone else coming?”

“Yes Mom, Emily was on her way up. She’s 13 and needs her mom’s help.”

“Oh no.”

            Emily pops right in and starts talking my ear off. Then my husband decides to join us. He’s bearing news and his face looks somber and afraid. Everyone goes silent, even Aurora stops gurgling.

“Regina, I bear bad news. You remember Aurora, the girl who brought us our daughter?”

“Yes, I do…not a day goes by…”

“Apparently she went to King Phillip and Queen Aurora and was proven to be a direct descendent of Queen Aurora the first. A descendent of Emma no less. Emma was the crown heir. So, Queen Aurora stated that the girl Aurora was heir but sadly our dear friend died and told the King that she did have a child. Queen Aurora and King Phillip have no children and are coming for Aurora.”

            My heart sinks and I bite back my tears.

“When are they coming?”

“In a few days.”

“No…”

“I’m sorry Regina…”

“Everyone get out!”

            Everyone leaves and I give Aurora to Zelena. Rumple leaves too and I’m left with me, the baby and God. I pray that they won’t take her because she’s my baby…I raised her from the day she was born…I don’t care if she is my real child or not. They must understand they can’t just take her away. But she is Queen Aurora’s family and potentially could be the crown heir. A searing pain rips through my abdomen and I scream “NOOOOO!” before blacking out. I hear voices of cries and a voice cry “IT’S THE QUEEN!” before I completely black out.

            I flutter my eyes open and see nurses and the doctor running about the medical chambers. The delivery chambers. Rumple kisses my brow but nothing registers. I manage to whisper.

“What day is it?”

“You were out for two days. The King and Queen are two days away. I can send them away until you’re better.”

“No…that’s not necessary. I’ll be fine in a few hours.”

“Regina you’re in labor…you aren’t fine.”

“No…is the baby okay…”

“Lots of bleeding.” Another pain shoots through my abdomen and I let out a bloodcurdling scream. Rumple comforts me and I’m a mess of tears and sobs and I’m so upset that I can’t seem to catch words. They order to push and I push and when the news comes I cry.

“A son your majesty…he’s stillborn.” I turn to Rumple and whisper.

“I’m sorry…I’ve failed…”

“I’m just glad you’re okay. We can try again…”

“No, there’s one more your majesty…maybe two…how did I not catch this?”

“I don’t know…it hurts…I can’t do this…”

            Another cry and I smile…Rumple smiles.

“It’s a boy your majesty…he might not make it.”

“NNNNNOOOOOOOOO‼‼”

“Queen Regina, there’s one more. PUSH‼‼”

“NOOOO!”

            Rumple keeps me from going into hysteria as I deliver one final push. I have a dead son and another son almost dead. The maid proudly holds up another baby.

“It’s a girl Queen Regina.”

“Give me my children.”

            They first hand me my stillborn son, then they give me my other son and finally my newborn daughter. I want to scream and shout and cry. Rumple holds back tears. Our dead son…our son and our daughter. Our daughter is healthy and thriving. I name my three newborns. The stillborn also gets a name.

“Arthur Baelfire…a brave soldier died today. Cornelius Duncan…a fighter who survives and Liliana Coraline…may you daughter live a happy healthy life.”

            They take Arthur away for him to be buried. I hold my children for a few more hours and then realize that…

“NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO! NNNNNOOOOOOO!! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!”

“Regina what’s wrong?”

“Cornelius is dead…”

            The funeral for my dead sons is the worst thing I’m ever having to go through. My sister miscarried so many times and now I realize her pain. I have eight children and two are dead. I’m beside myself but as least my two precious children are in Heaven. I want to scream so badly and cry and wail and moan and yet I still have a kingdom to run. The king and queen are still coming. They’ll be here tomorrow. I’d rather not grieve but work instead.

            I dress in a black dress with teal blue trimming. Angelina brushes my hair out and ties it up and secures it in place with a tiara. My entire family gathers in the throne room and we wait for the king and queen to arrive. I hold Aurora on my lap and watch carefully as Liliana sleeps in the corner in her cradle.

            Queen Aurora is dressed like her ancestor and King Phillip is dressed like Aurora’s ancestor. Something about Aurora’s just make the kingdom tick. Too bad Emma was going to be queen before she was kidnapped and maybe we would have Queen Emma’s floating around. Queen Aurora wears a pink dress, her purple eyes and perfectly curled yellow hair. Like she stepped out a book. She curtseys and smiles when she spots Aurora on my lap. Aurora buries her face into my chest and starts crying. I comfort her best I can.

“Queen Regina, my condolences on the loss of your dearly beloved sons…congragulations upon the birth of Princess Liliana.”

“Queen Aurora, lovely to see you. May I ask what you came to visit for? I’ve been informed, I want to hear it from you.”

“That lovely girl was one of my cousins…she died…I’ve come to collect her daughter. Alas, Phillip and I have no children…Aurora Rose…will make the perfect queen one day. We’ve come to collect our new daughter.”

“You’ll have to take it up with the church. Under the church, we adopted her…those terms can’t be washed away. Both Aurora’s mother is dead…her father is incarcerated.”

“Our kingdom won’t have an heir without the child on your lap.”

“You lie Aurora…a child grows in your womb unless you’re just getting fat.”

“Regina, we don’t want any trouble…we want that child!”

“Are you pregnant Aurora?”

“That child will be Aurora the 6th. We already have a prince named Phillip to marry her.”

“Aurora are you pregnant?”
“Yes but in my kingdom only daughters who fit the description…”

“She’s your cousin’s daughter…Emma was your mother’s sister was she not?”

“I do believe so.”
“Do you really want your throne being taken away and if you do have a daughter…your daughter won’t be on the throne. Emma’s line will and according to history only Aurora’s have sat on that throne. Aurora had Aurora and then Emma had Aurora the farmer and she had Aurora the child and she had Aurora the princess. Aurora the 2nd also had Aurora the 3rd and then the 4th and then you. Do you want to expose your family history?”
“No, Regina…I want Aurora…please?”

            My little girl stares up into my eyes and I want to cry. My royal advisor whispers in my ear.

“What will they think of you Regina? Denying a kingdom, it’s long lost rightful heir. When this gets out…”

“I know…she’s my daughter…”

“She also can be queen…Regina…denying a child to be queen that makes two of your children on the throne.”

            I kiss my baby girl goodbye and put her into her cousin’s arms. Queen Aurora and King Phillip thank me before leaving. I leave the throne room and retire to my secret room that only Snow and Zelena know about. Mother knows about it too but that doesn’t matter. I lock the door and pace back and forth, up and down crying. I look out the window and see the carriage with baby Ro driving away. I watch it vanish into the forest. I see my children playing in the meadow below. I can’t do this anymore…I’m not happy.

 
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