Happiness

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

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5. Graham

Rumple died last year because he was an idiot and went hunting and some thief shot and killed him. That thief hung. Lili was one when he died and now she’s nearly two. Today is Snow’s wedding and she’s 18. I’m 34 and getting old. Snow’s wedding planning was crazy. Soon Victoria will be getting married. Next year she will. When I’m 35. Emily’s 15 and will be engaged to be married next year. When I’m 35. I was 19 when she was born. Victoria still hates Thomas but after a year of being engaged…he’s starting to grow on her. I’ve heard no news about Aurora at all. I did hear that the Queen had a son. I used to have a son...I had two sons.

The palace is abuzz with the sound of wedding preparations. My baby girl is getting married and I’m getting old. Seven-year-old Sophia dashes through the hall while I try to fix Liliana’s dress that she managed to get dirty.

“NO RUNNING! SOPHIA! DON’T RUN!”

“Yes Mommy!”

With Sophia and Liliana…sometimes I miss Aurora…I miss her every day. I wish she would come home but she’s in her own kingdom. I walk into Snow’s room with Liliana on my hip and can’t help but burst into tears…she’s so beautiful. The maids stop fixing her dress when Snow sees me and comes down off the platform. Lili runs and jumps into Victoria’s lap who’s getting her hair done. Sophia runs in and jumps into Zelena’s lap. Snow sees me crying and wraps her arms around me.

“Why are you crying Mom?”
“You’re so beautiful. If only your father were here to see you. So, beautiful, so grown up and next year Victoria and in three years Emily…” By that time, I was crying.

“Mom…it’s fine.”

“Oh Snow, if only your mother were here.”

“Then you wouldn’t be here and you are my mother…”

Snow wraps her arms around my neck and I cry some more. Five beautiful daughters...I am so blessed.

“Mom are you going to sing at the wedding?”

“Do you want me to?”

“Yes, please Mom?”

“Okay.”

I watch as my daughters walk down the aisle and then Snow slips her arm into mine. I squeeze her hand and stare into her beautiful green eyes. Before we walk I whisper.

“I hope to be a grandmother soon.”

“Mom…you’re only 34. You might be 36 before you get one. But my child will need a grandfather…”

“No Snow, I’m not getting married ever again.”

We walk down the aisle and I pass Snow off to David. She places her hand on my cheek and wipes away a tear before I go sit down. Liliana asks

“Why are you crying Mommy?”

“I’m happy…these are tears of joy.”

“Do you Snow White take David to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do”

“Do you David take Snow White to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
            “With all my heart and soul.”

“I pronounce you man and wife…you may kiss the bride.”

David kisses Snow and lets it linger. Finally, everyone joins together and says

“That’s enough.”

The happy couple breaks off laughing and they kiss again. They walk back up the aisle and I watch with a happy smile. At the wedding reception, Snow takes a glass of wine and gets up on dais and speaks.

“I would like to introduce my mother…she’s going to be singing a song.”

I gather up my skirts and get up and start singing. I nod for Victoria to begin playing, she’s an accomplished pianist.

“Today is your wedding day….

I can still remember your first birthday…

            You stared at me with your big green eyes

            Looked at me and by surprise

            You said Mama and caused a lot of drama

            But 17 years later hear we are…

            I remember when you turned 7

            We told you the truth…

            I remember you turning to me and saying

“Mama…you’re still my mama

From now until forever you’re my mama.”

            And now a decade later

            You’re still causing drama

            Today is your wedding day….

            Today is your wedding day…

            May you have peace and joy and happiness.”

            They all clap and Snow gets up. She kisses my cheek and whispers.

“I still love you Mama.”

“I love you too baby.”

“You may not be my mother by blood but you are my mama.”

“I love you Snow.”

“I love you Mom.”

            I’m surprised when Victoria begins to play again and Emily age 15 and Sophia age 7 get up onto the dais. I guess they both prepared a song for their sister…Snow laughs and I hope Sophia and Emily are well prepared…people do like to judge and I don’t like it when they judge my daughters.

“This song is for my sister

We’ll be together evermore

This song is for my best friend

Forever till the end” Emily stops singing and Sophia starts singing.

“This song is for my sister

Whom I love so much

May happiness and love

Follow you around

This song is for my sister

Wherever you may abound” Sophia has a good singing voice. I didn’t know she could sing as well as she does. Being only seven, she sings better than I do and I took years of training. I stare at Snow and she’s smiling. I expect Emily to start again but Victoria sings…I’ve never heard her sing

“This song is for my sister dear

Whom I’ve learned to bear

She gets on my nerves

But I love her so

I love her so

This song is for my blister

Who’s actually my sister

She’s the love of my life

I’ve always put up with all the strife

She was raised as my cousin

She’s a blessing from Heaven….” Finally, all three girls join in harmony and sing

“This song is for our sister on her wedding day

After years and years and years she finally gets her way

This song is for our sister whom we love so much

May you have happiness and love

Happiness and love

This song is for our blister…

Who’s actually our sister

This song is for our best friend

Until the end…”

            Snow gets up and hugs her sisters. Every one claps and I beam with happiness.

            With the wedding over I hope Snow returns home soon. I take a walk out in the gardens and run into the royal huntsman who was Rumple’s best friend, Leopold’s confidant and Jefferson’s advisor when Jefferson needed advice for me. I managed to run directly into Graham. It’s funny because I caught the bouquet, even though Victoria will most likely marry next. Graham helps me dust off and apologizes.

“My queen, my apologies…I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“How are you Graham?”

“Good and you?”

“I’m a queen, I have to be good.”

“But that’s not what your heart says?”
“I’m frustrated…upset…I have no husband, no one to turn too. My eldest just left the house. Next year Victoria will leave and then two years after that Emily will leave. How are you?”
“Dying…the doctor gave me two years to live.”

“How’s your family taking it?”

“Considering they’re dead...pretty well actually.”

“Oh Graham, I’m so sorry to hear that. If there’s anything I can do…I’m always in the palace with my two younger children that need constant supervision.”

“Have you heard about Aurora?”

“No…it’s been a year…what’s wrong with her?”
“She’s three now and deathly ill.”

            I lower my head in silence. Graham clears his throat. I look up, he’s so strong and so handsome. He has a busy beard and piercing blue eyes. He and I would make…Why am I even thinking like that? I just met him and I don’t want to rush into things.

“Graham…how about a glass of wine if you’re up for it?”
“Maybe later…I have work to do.”

“Okay.”

            I dust off my dress and walk back to the palace. I walk into the throne room and find Liliana playing with her toys. She’s such a smart and beautiful child. She stares up at me with her big brown eyes and gives me a coy grin. She reaches for me and says

“Mama.”

            I gracefully lower myself to the floor and arrange my dress to where it makes me look like a queen. I hold my back straight and straighten my crown. Liliana pushes herself up off the floor and plops down into my lap. It’s almost her bedtime, it’s been a long day and I can tell she’s tired. I stroke her brown locks and rock her back and forth. After a few moments, Victoria comes in with a look of fear on her face.

“What’s wrong Vic?”
“It’s Sophia…she was fine at the wedding. Emily and Mom are with her.”

            I look down and find Liliana sleeping in my arms. I hand her to Victoria and stand to my feet. I carry Liliana to her bedroom and quickly tuck her in. I take off running down the hall and Victoria slips her hand in mine. She hasn’t done that in a long time. I turn to her and whisper.

“I love you”

“I love you too Mom.”

            I push Sophia’s bedroom door open and fall to my knees when I get to her bed. Her thin frail body is covered with blankets. Just a few hours ago she was fine. She even sang at the wedding. Mother and Zelena pace while I stroke my daughter’s golden locks. She opens her brown eyes and stares at me.

“Mommy…I want Daddy.”

“Sophia…Daddy’s…”

“I want Daddy…I’m not going to get any better without Daddy. I want his medicine…”

            I beckon for Zelena to come closer and I fill the rest of my family end.

“Zelena…I want to go find Graham…he was Jefferson’s best friend and knows how to make the medicine.”

            A few hours later…Graham and I are outside the bedroom with Sophia sleeping easily and peacefully inside. Graham wipes the dirt of his hands and I lightly rest a hand on his shoulder.

“Thank you…I don’t know how I could ever repay you. Thank you for saving Sophia. She was fine at the wedding.”

“It looks like what the Princess Aurora has… I could make a huge dose and give it out to your crew and family. It shouldn’t be too hard.”

“Thank you Graham…it’s late…care to join me for a glass of wine?”
“Don’t get me wrong I would love too but I’m so busy doing work. I need to gather all the ingredients and start up a big batch. I promise, one day we’ll have that wine.”

“How do I know you’ll keep your promise?”
“Regina I’ve known you since you were seventeen…I’ll keep my promise. And I’ll prove it.”

Out of nowhere Graham bends down and plants a kiss on my lips. The kiss lingers and I’m shocked. When he breaks he bows and apologizes.

“I’m sorry your majesty. That was out of line. I’m going to go now.”

“Graham you don’t have to apologize. It’s partly my fault…I’ve been alone for a year now…”

            Graham leans down and kisses me again. This time I run my hands through his hair. The kiss lingers and then he breaks the kiss leaving me alone. I stand in the hallway and let him go. Will I soon be adding Graham Wolf to my growing list of failed lovers? Or maybe Graham will be my happy ending. I turn around and walk up the steps to my bedroom. I change into my favorite nightgown and climb into the bed that has gone through everything with me. Maybe I need a new bed…I’ll get one ordered tomorrow. I close my eyes and sleep…A queen needs her sleep.

             

           

            After a year of Graham courting me, something truly wonderful happens. He and I were outside one day walking in the gardens. Liliana and Sophia run ahead of us. Emily, Victoria and Snow stay in the palace to prepare for Victoria’s wedding tomorrow. The chapel is all cleaned up and Zelena is putting the finishing touches on Victoria’s dress. Because we both share custody of Victoria…we both helped design and make her beautiful wedding dress. It’s a dress like no other dress. One more feminine than Snow’s…one plainer than my plainest…one simple and yet cheque. One that only Victoria could pull off and tomorrow the entire kingdom will see her in all her glory. I know her father Daniel will look down from above as her adopted father Jackson walks her down the aisle.

            Graham and I walk…we talk about the past year and we talk about how in eight short months my daughter Snow will give birth to my first grandchild. Snow’s barely even showing and David…he’s so happy. We also talk about my 35th birthday and how I’m so old. Even though my birthday was two days ago. We also chatter about Emily’s engagement. She’s recently engaged to a noble lord named Lord Augustus. His nickname is August and despite what you may think he’s a handsome gent that cares deeply for Emily and he’s a man that Leopold approved. Leopold chose nice men for both his daughters before his death. He chose a nice man for his wife as well.

“So, Regina, Emily’s engaged. Snow’s pregnant…and Victoria is to be married. What are your thoughts?”

“I’m thinking that I’m so blessed that Sophia and Liliana are still small children.”

“Sophia is eight…she’s already been promised to Lord Damien.”

“Another eight years with my daughter is all I need…at least Liliana is still small.”

“Lili is three Regina, she’s in school. She’s betrothed since birth to Lord Cornelius.”

“I can’t believe Rumple betrothed our daughter off to boy with the same name as his dead son…as our dead son. I don’t want any Arthur’s or Cornelius’ around my family. Let them stay in their graves.”

“Snow married David…Victoria is going to marry Thomas and soon Emily will marry August.”

“Life goes on…even when mine has come to standstill. I have eight children to my name. One is my stepchild, one was adopted, two are dead and four I birthed myself. Is this all I will amount to be…a mother…having children by different husbands because all mine seems to die. Never more…never again!”

            Graham’s face pales when I say the last thing. His face says it all and I feel guilty. We’ve become closer over the last year. He turns and stands in front of me and I blush. I take my hand in his and lowers himself down onto one knee.

“Regina, will you marry me?”
            He pulls a ring out of his pocket and shows it to me. After being proposed to four times, you would think I would get over my fear of proposals. After being married three times you would think I would get over the thought of being married. I nod and he slips the ring onto my finger. We’ll be married within a year and that makes me smile. The thought of married again…it’s been two years since Rumple’s death…two years. Graham slips the ring onto my finger and stands to his feet. He lifts me into his arms and kisses my lips. I laugh and smile. I’m getting married again.

“Graham…how I love you.”

“I love you too Regina. I must tell you something though. The reason why I’m asking you to marry me so soon. I want to give you happiness Regina…I want to make you happy. I want to give you joy before…”

“Graham tell me. It’s okay. There is nothing I can’t handle.”

“Before I die.”

“What’s wrong Graham?”
“I have cancer Regina.”

            Victoria’s wedding is a wedding that the kingdom surely won’t forget. I watch as Liliana walks, followed by Sophia, followed by Emily and finally Snow as the matron of honor. Then, my beautiful Victoria. Zelena takes my hand as we both try to bite back the tears. We’re planning to sing a special song for our daughter at her wedding reception. Victoria’s blue eyes match perfectly with her black hair…and her features contrast beautifully with her long white dress. It was last night when Graham and I announced our engagement…but today is Victoria’s day. Today is her day.

            Victoria and Thomas join hands. It’s hard to imagine that two years ago, they hated each other. Planning a wedding and planning a future together, made them come close. It made them learn to love each other. I remember when Victoria found out she was promised to Thomas. She was furious, she blamed me, and Zelena and Jackson and her dead father whom she doesn’t know for days. She was so mad…now at her wedding she has a smile on her face and a song singing in her heart.

“Do you Victoria take Thomas to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I do.”
“Do you Thomas take Victoria to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do”

“Be the power invested in me by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…I pronounce you husband and wife.”

            I smile as they share a quick kiss and grin as they sheepishly walk back down the aisle towards the reception hall in the palace. A nice carriage ride to the palace, followed by a beautiful reception seems perfect. A song sung by a family member follows their reception and reminds me much like Snow’s wedding. Victoria and Thomas are the guests of honor and because of the celebration Snow and I agreed to let the bride and groom sit in my throne, Snow’s future throne and the late King Leo’s throne. Bride and groom get to play king and queen for a few hours. I stand and take my glass, I clink on it with my glass and smile.

“Toast to Princess Victoria…and her new husband Lord Thomas. May happiness and love follow you all the days of your life. As many as you may know Victoria, Emily and Sophia sang a song for Snow’s wedding. Today…we’ll have more songs to serenade this beautiful bride. Liliana will be singing…she was too small to sing at Snow’s but will sing at Victoria’s.”

            Emily takes to the piano and begins to softly hit at the keys. Sophia who’s now eight and a master at violin begins to stroke the strings. The hall is full of beautiful song and then Snow stands to her feet and join Emily at the piano. By now Victoria is sitting at the edge of her seat. Her sister’s joining in song much like she joined for Snow. Liliana with her beautiful brown eyes and gorgeous brown hair walks over and sits down on Victoria’s lap. She kisses her sister and the court laughs. The music keeps playing and Liliana stands. Snow starts singing first and her voice blesses the crowd.

“Vic…Victo…Victoria…a darling sister…to us all…

A darling sister from another…mister…

I may be small…and you may be tall…you have touched us all…

Raised…as…a…cousin…

Loving you was nothin….

You…are…our…sister…”  Snow keeps playing and Emily starts singing…

“I remember all those years ago

You and I didn’t really get along…

We used to fight well into the night…and I remember one thing…

I remember…the love you bring…

You are my sister…a blessing from above…

A child of the King…good fortune you bring….

Love unbounding…love…unsounding…love…

A love so pure and true…”    Victoria’s now moved to tears and the song isn’t yet over…I’m crying and I remember crying at Snow’s wedding

Sophia is the next to sing and her voice is so angelic.

“Sing! Oh…sing

Serenade the princess…from the skies

A princess in disguise…a child a child...they once despised

A child born to a queen…a child born to a princess…

A child…a child…that blesses all who know her

My sister…oh my sister…she isn’t a blister…my sister

Oh! my sister…she really isn’t a blister

Today she’s got a mister…today she’s got a man

Today she’s becomes a missus and that is quite grand.”

            Liliana is the last to sing and good things she does bring. Her soft voice is angelic and she uses words I can’t fathom her to know

“Victoria! Oh Victoria…oh my Victoria!

I’m the baby…yes it’s true

I’m the youngest oh boo!

I wouldn’t be here...if it wasn’t for you.

When I was three years old…

I couldn’t swim that well

I stumbled into the lake and almost drowned

My sister here today…is the bride

She saved me from a watery grave

I almost drowned and Mommy frowned

Victoria…swam to me and saved me.”

            The girls all stood and curtseyed and gave their sister well wishes. Finally, it was my turn and Zelena’s. We both sat at the piano and begin to play. I’m the first to sing…

“There was once a stable boy and a princess…

Their love was strong…their love was grand…

The princess and her stable boy…till the very end…” Zelena sings next

“What happens next is tragic

It’s a terrible end…

The princess…she was pregnant…and her stable boy was no more.” I sing

“The stable boy; he died…in an accident…what happens next is grand and sad too.

The princess had her child…a little baby girl…and that child is you…” Zelena sings now

“I couldn’t have children…we tried and tried…your mother brought us you

We adopted you…we raised you…we love you still. And now you’re grown…and married child and we couldn’t be prouder” Zelena and I both sing now.

“Victoria…a queen

A blessing from above

A child torn between two mothers

A child loved and loved

A child loved and loved

Today is your wedding day

Our child loved and loved

We pass you now on…to sweet Thomas dear

We pass you now on to sweet Thomas dear

We love you our child…

We love you…

And we know your father watches from above…”

4 months before my wedding to Graham…

            The palace seems to be abuzz…not for a wedding but for a birth. No, I’m not pregnant…I’m not even married yet. My daughter Snow…is about to deliver my first grandchild and I can’t be happier. She’s just turned 20. Victoria’s back from her honeymoon and can’t wait to be an auntie. None of the girl can wait to see their niece or nephew. I’m hoping for a granddaughter. I still remember Snow once told me that if she had a girl…she would name her daughter Emma.

            A baby’s cry fills the hall and everyone gathered in the courtroom let out a sigh. A messenger comes and I expect them to ask for David but I’m stunned when the messenger says.

“Your Majesty, the princess has asked for your presence.”

            As I get up to leave. David asks.

“Can I know the gender of my child? Did I have a son or am I a father to a daughter?”
“Princess Snow wishes that no one expect her mother know the gender. No one enters or leaves this courtroom except on Princess Snow’s orders.”

            I follow the messenger down the hall and into a quiet little room. Snow beams as she stares up from me. A sleeping bundle sleeps in her arms and I smile. The little bundle squirms and rolls around…I smile and say.

“Hi! Snow.”

“Hi! Momma. Would you like to meet your granddaughter?”

“Granddaughter. I have a granddaughter.” Snow nods and the little newborn is placed into my arms. I’m astonished at the full head of blonde hair and the piercing green eyes staring up at me. I smile and laugh…”
“She’s perfect…what’s her name?”
“You know Mom…I always said I was going to name my daughter…what did I say. It doesn’t matter…I want you to name her.”

“Me? Name her? Why doesn’t her father? Why don’t you?”
“Mom…name your grandchild.”

“It’s not my place. I’m not your real mother.”

“You raised me…and in my book you’re my mother and you’re her grandmother.”
“What is she going to call me?”
“Nana or Memom…or whatever. Name her Mom.”

            I stare into my granddaughter’s piercing green eyes and stroke her blonde locks. Maybe one day she’ll call me Gina. I can imagine her running into the courtroom calling me Gina. I’m only 35…I’m too young to be a grandmother.

“Snow…I’m too young to be a grandmother. I was almost 16 when you were born. I’m too young…”
“Mom…what’s her name?”
            I stare at my beautiful daughter, weak from labor and remember all my efforts in labor. I gave birth six times…I can imagine my dear naïve Snow…as a mother…in labor. I can remember her running up to me and saying ‘Mommy, guess what I’m going to name my first baby girl?’ ‘What are you going to name her?’ ‘Emma, my daughter’s name will be Emma.’

“Snow…I remember what you said you wanted your first daughter’s name to be. Emma…this little girl in your arms is Emma. I’m naming her Emma.”

“That’s beautiful and you remembered. Go tell the others Mother.”

            I walk into the throne room or courtroom…whatever it is. Their eyes all stare at me and I grip my dress as I speak softly…I speak so softly they barely understand me but they do.

“David…you have a daughter. It’s a girl…I have a granddaughter. Her name is Emma.”

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