Happiness

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

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2. Leopold

Chapter 2: Leopold

 

            Snow White’s first birthday celebration comes to me with a heavy heart. Knowing that my mother made me give up everything just so I could be queen when I don’t want to be queen. Honestly, I want my daughter back. I don’t regret letting Zelena and Jackson adopt her but…Daniel’s child is my child. I can’t believe I gave Daniel and my child to his brother and my sister. Each day as I come down to breakfast and I hear her screaming I want to run up to her nursery, take her into my arms and tell her “It’s okay, Mommy’s here.” No, I watch my sister run into the nursery and say “It’s okay lil bean. Mummy’s here. Mummy has you.” As I make my way through the ballroom in my new red dress with the golden designs I pause in front of a beautiful portrait of the late Queen Ava. Mother rests a hand on my shoulder and startles me.

“Queen Ava is your relative Regina. Ava was you father’s cousin. Isabella was Seraphina’s sister and Seraphina was your father’s mother.”

“Mother why is this relavant?”

“Because, a queen knows everything about everyone. You miss your daughter don’t you?”

            I turn to Mother and stare her in the eye. She’s right. I do miss my daughter but I don’t know how she knows.

“How do you know?”

“I missed Zelena after I gave her away. I got her back…”

“Well it’s not like I can take Victoria Elise back…she’s their daughter now Mother.”

“Then pray for the Lord to ease your troubled soul.”

            Mother leaves me and I stop gazing at the queen’s portrait. I turn to see King Leopold holding Snow White on his lap. She looks perfect wearing her little white dress with her short black curls. She wraps her little hand around her father’s hand and throws her head back and laugh. Princesses and queen from around the kingdoms walk up to the dais to wish Snow White a happy birthday. I know they’re also wanting to marry the king, so they’re getting on Snow’s good side.  Mother comes up to me and hands me a box wrapped in silver paper. I don’t know what to do with it.

“Go give it to the princess. You look like Ava so Snow will think you’re her mother. Regina…you’re going to be queen.” I take the present and walk up to the throne. I turn back to see Mother with a huge grin on her face. This is what she wants…it’s not what I want but when did she care about any else’s happiness other than hers. I walk to the throne and curtsey. King Leopold smiles and when I raise my head Snow shouts.

“Mama” Snow reaches for me and the entire crowd gasps as Leopold gets up and walks towards me. He holds Snow out for me to hold. I gather her into my arms and stare into her green eyes. She smiles at me and reaches to touch my face.

“What is your name princess?”

“Regina…your majesty.” King Leopold takes my arm and pulls me up to the dais. I have no idea what’s going on. I just hold Snow in my arms. She coos and yawns. She falls asleep in my arms. Leopold clears his throat and whispers in mine ear.

“Regina…look at the crowd. They are your future subjects.” I run his words through my head and then he gets down on one knee.

“Regina…will you marry me?” I stare at Mother and she nods her head. I stare at Zelena with Victoria in her arms and realize…I can’t look back…my past is gone. My daughter is better off. I can only move forward but I won’t be happy.

“I just want to be happy.”

“I can make you happy. Will you marry me?”

            I stare at Snow in my arms…I see how happy she is. Am I going to marry Leopold just to make Snow and my mother happy? I nod as Leopold slips the ring onto my finger. Images of Daniel doing the same flash through my mind. Images of my daughter Victoria echo in my memory. I want my daughter back…I want my daughter back. Victoria is four months old and I want her back. I say a silent prayer as the kingdom celebrate my engagement and continue celebrating Snow’s first birthday. I wish I could back out of this. I don’t want to marry the king. I look down at Snow in my arms as a chair is pulled up for me to sit. Soon I’ll be sitting on the throne with a crown on my head. One day I’m going to be queen. Soon I’ll be 17 and soon I’ll be queen.

2 months later...

            Leopold and I take a stroll through the palace grounds as Snow is sleeping in her nursery and is being attended by nursemaids. Leopold’s been asking me questions about my life.

“Regina how old are you?”

“Seventeen your majesty.”

“You look so much like Ava.”

“Ava was my father’s cousin. Isabella was Seraphina’s sister and Seraphina was my father’s mother.”

“Victoria..”

“Yes, Victoria is she’s…” I don’t know what to say. Should I say that Victoria is actually my daughter.”

“Leopold I must confess something. Were you going to marry my mother?”

“Yes, and then I found out she was pregnant with your sister Zelena. I decided to then marry Ava. Ava is the same age as your father but we waited a long time to have a child. What did you want to confess?”

“I was engaged once to a man named Daniel. He died. We conceived a child…”

“Where is this child of yours now? You can bring the child to the palace…I don’t care. I want you to be happy. What is the name of your child?” I stare at the ground and whisper.

“Victoria.” Leopold sighs and takes me into his arms. I don’t like him touching me. I’d rather have Daniel touching me than the old man Leopold. Then I remember I’m doing this for Snow…she needs a mother.”

“Oh, I see…your sister is raising her as her own. Good, then we don’t have to worry about Victoria.”

            Later that day, Zelena and Jackson come to me. I’m sitting in the library reading a book to Snow who’s sitting on my lap. I can’t wait for her to become my stepdaughter. She’s truly the joy of my life. Zelena carries six- month- old Victoria on her hip. Snow is exactly eight months older than Victoria. That’s how I remember their ages. My daughter is eight months younger than my stepdaughter. Zelena has tears in her eyes but they’re tears of joy. I put Snow on the ground and she crawls away. She’s starting to walk but it’s not perfect. Zelena sits down and hands me Victoria. I haven’t held her in so long. She looks at me and reaches out her arms. I cry…

“Zelena why are you letting me hold her?”

“You’re her mother. She’s your daughter. Jackson and I’ve been talking. I’m pregnant Regina. Four months…you need your daughter. You take her…”

“Zelena…I gave her to you.”

            Zelena gets up and kisses my brow.

“I was never her mother. She doesn’t like me. She stares at me like I’m the vilest creature to exist. She’s your daughter…I’ve seen the way she looks at you.”

            I stare into Victoria’s blue eyes and see as they sparkle as she stares at me. I want to cry. I look back at Zelena and watch as Victoria’s eyes turn cloudy and her face is one of pain as Zelena holds her. She really is my daughter. After praying for months, I have my daughter back. I’m slowly gaining happiness.

“No Zelena…she’s your daughter. You adopted her…don’t do this…look at her. She’s happy when you hold her.”

            I put Victoria back into my sister’s arms and pick Snow off the floor. I had to put her down for a nap. She needs her sleep. My wedding is tomorrow after all. I leave the room and turn back to see my sister and Jackson holding Victoria like something’s wrong. I know I’ve done the right thing. I got pregnant with her when I was fifteen. I had her at sixteen and now at seventeen they’re trying to give her back to me. How dare they?

            The ceremony is beautiful and my wedding dress is truly exquisite. It’s 100 times more glamourous than my wedding dress for Daniel was going to be. It’s 100 times more glamourous than my sister’s. During the ceremony, I would stare at Zelena and I knew something terrible had happened. I hold Snow in my arms as the crowd parts for me to take my crown and my throne. Leopold holds Snow as the crown is placed on my head.

“Rise Regina…Long Live the Queen.” I stand up and face the crowd. Mother smiles and I want to cry. Have I made her happy. Is she happy that I’ve give up everything for her and for HER! I’ve done this for her! I want to be happy!

            I get off my throne and put Snow in her playpen. I give her the gold and silver-plated toys. I give her…the stuffed elephant that I got her for her birthday. It’s her favorite toy. She looks at the elephant and then smiles and looks up at me. I walk away and turn around when Snow shouts.

“MOMMY!” I turn around and rush to her. Her green eyes stare at me. I kiss her raven hair and stroke her back.

“Mommy’ll be right back. I just have to go talk to Auntie Zelena.”

“Okay.”

            I find Zelena over by the banquet table. She holds Victoria in her arms, Jackson comforts her and Zelena wipes away her tears. I stare into Victoria’s eyes and she smiles. When I leave her line of vision, her eyes grow cloudy. Zelena’s crying still and I know immediately what’s wrong. I’ve seen that face seven times before. I take Victoria out of Zelena’s arms and put her into the arms of her father. Jackson takes Victoria and takes her on a little stroll. Zelena leans against my shoulder and cries.

“Zelena, you’ve miscarried again haven’t you?”

“Yes…thank you for making me keep Victoria. You’re right she is my daughter…she’s been my daughter since the day I accepted her. You can’t just give gifts back. Thank you Regina…”

“I was tempted to take her yesterday but if I had…a few hours later you would’ve had nothing. I remembered yesterday that you need her more than I do. She might be my only connection to Daniel…but she’s better off.”

“I love you sis.”

“I love you too Zelena.”

 

 

 

Two years later…

I walk down the hallway with Snow holding my hand and my baby bump peeking out of my dress folds. Snow reaches for me and I try to bend over and pick her up but I can’t. As soon as I do, a searing pain rips through my abdomen. I place a hand on my naval and take a deep breath. I hope Leopold and his entourage hurry home soon. He’s been gone for six months. I hear horses and Snow jumps up to try to peek out the window but she’s too short. She runs over with her raven hair billowing out behind her, she gets her stool from my closet and pushes it up against the wall. She climbs and looks out the window. She turns to me with a big smile on her face and says.

“Mama…Papa’s home. Papa’s home.”

“I know Snow.” I walk beside her and place a hand on her shoulder. I place another hand over my naval. Leopold said he would be home yesterday for my birthday and he wasn’t. I’m glad he’s home now because I’m going into labor. Snow watches as Leopold gets out of the carriage and looks up. He waves and blows us a kiss. He vanishes through the doors and Snow jumps down and runs to greet him. We get halfway down the hall and I stop to rest. Another contraction washes over me. Leopold lifts Snow into his arms and plants a kiss on her cheek. He looks past her and stares at me.

“Regina, my love. What’s wrong?”
            “I’m in labor.”

 

 

 

14 hours later…

Leopold squeezes my hand as I push. I know he hopes for a boy but honestly I want a little girl. If I have a little girl that means I would’ve brought two little beautiful angels into the world. I push one final push and lean back on the pillow when the pain subsides. Leopold kisses my brow and I rest when I hear the cry of a newborn child. They lift the baby up and cut the cord and wrap the child in a towel before putting the baby in my arms. I unwrap the towel and smile when I see I have a beautiful daughter. I stare into her big green eyes and stroke her black hair. She looks a bit like Snow.

“Regina, what is it?”

“A daughter…we have a daughter. I know you wanted a son…I’m sorry.”

“No Regina, finally little Snow has a friend to play with. A daughter is perfect.”

Nurses clean my daughter up and then put her in Leopold’s arms. He stares at his little princess and I feel something I haven’t felt since Victoria was born. I feel jealously…she’s my daughter…

“Regina…what’s her name?”

“Emily Rose…White.”

“Princess Emily Rose White it is…”

Leopold puts Emily back in my arms and I refuse to let her go. I remember when I first met Snow when she was a year old. I refused to let her go even then. Emily wraps her tiny hand around my finger and a feeling of peace washes over me. I gave birth to Emily and this time my daughter will be my daughter. I’m not going to lose Emily like I lost Victoria. I hold Emily in my arms and when they bring Snow in…she just stares at her little sister. Snow doesn’t say a word…she just stares at her sister. Eventually, Snow does speak.

“Who’s that?”

“Snow…this is your little sister.”

Snow stares at me and then back down at the baby.

“My sister?”

“Yes Snow, your sister.” Snow gets off the bed and walks out of the bedroom. She turns around and says…

“No…sister….no sister. I don’t want a sister.” Snow walks away and leaves me with a broken heart. I did this not to make me happy but to make Snow happy and this is how she repays me.

6 years later…

I watch as Emily and Snow play in the garden underneath the big apple tree. I smile as my two lovely daughters play. I smile as I watch my sister come down the palace steps with her newborn son in her arms and Victoria runs to me. When Victoria gets to me she jumps into my lap and I put my book down. She looks so much like me…she’s eight now. They told her the truth when she turned seven and now Zelena and Jackson bring her to visit every weekend. She wraps her arms around my neck and kisses my cheek. She used to call me aunt Regina now…she just calls me Mommy. She still calls Zelena ‘momma’. It’s awkward but it is what Zelena I both agreed on…when I let them adopt her.

“Mommy!”

“Victoria! Hi! How are you?”

“I’m good…I missed you Mommy.”

“I missed you too.”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”
“For giving me away to give me a better chance. You gave me a mommy and a daddy. Thank you.”

This is the first time Victoria’s mentioned her adoption. I kiss her cheek and smile. Snow and Emily run over when they spot their sister. They’re at that age when they understand the situation but they don’t understand completely. Victoria is their sister and they know at the same time she’s not. The girls run off to play and I walk up to greet my sister. I gather my blue dress into my hands and tuck my book under my arm. Zelena walks down on Jackson’s arm in her green dress with baby Alexander Daniel Colter in her arms. As soon as baby Alex sees me his eyes light up and he smiles. I take him into my arms and smile.

“Hi Alex! It’s been a while since I’ve held one of you. My youngest daughter’s six. My eldest is eight and my stepdaughter is nine. So, it’s been a while.” Alexander starts crying so I give him back to Zelena. I turn and watch the girls playing in the field of flowers. I smile and grin and then a messenger comes up to me, he bows and hands me a letter sealed with Leopold’s own seal. My husband is on his two-year travel journey throughout the Enchanted Forest. Before I open the letter, I say a silent prayer to God to make sure my husband is okay. I open the letter and read the first line, I nearly fall but Jackson catches me.

“Regina what’s wrong?”

“It’s Leopold…he’s dead.” A single tear falls down my cheek and Zelena snatches the letter from me.

“He was in a carriage accident on his way home. Have you told Snow?”

“Told Snow what?”

“That you’re her stepmother.”
“Yes we told Snow. We told her when she was seven just like Victoria was seven when you told her. Why?”

“Because it would’ve been hard to tell Snow the truth without having her only real parent alive.”

“Snow took it well…she was okay with it…she said that just because I was her stepmommy it didn’t change the fact that I was her mommy.”

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