Jake returned the smile automatically, a little surprised that her son wasn’t there already. "Where’s he at right now? I’d have thought he’d be home for dinner at least." The boy probably had friends though, like most his age. The rest of her warning was noted but he didn’t ask her to elaborate further upon seeing the way the subject seemed to affect her. "I’ll keep it in mind."
Smile grew at her laugh, liking the sound of it. It was one he’d have to try harder to make sure was heard again. "Well I try to pretend I’m a normal guy for the most part, sometimes it’s easy to forget I’m not." Of course he could find it but that would be cheating in his mind. Just like reading her thoughts would be an invasion of privacy and therefore impolite. Eyes drifted over her in open appreciation then lowered to his task, fully aware she’d done it on purpose.
“Probably with his biological mother,” Regina sighed. “She came to town not long before you. And is just loving disrupting my son’s life.” Looked away, because she knew her face revealed too much.
She could feel his eyes on her, and grinned to herself. “So let’s not talk about her anymore, hmm? I have a lasagna here, and something tells me you’re a big boy who needs lots of food.” Dishing up a plate, she offered it. “Shall we?”
Jade eyes flicked black for only a second before changing back to their normal color, a warning for the other woman not to try her patience.
❝Your town.❞ Oh that was rich. Her reply was low and hissed, corner of her lips lifting into a sinister smile. ❝A town you’ve brainwashed everyone into forgetting who they are. Bravo, Regina, I’ve very impressed.❞
Regina sneered. “Those are dangerous words to throw around, dear,” she warned. “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I won’t have vicious rumours in my city. Leave. It’s for your own good, isn’t it? You’re a free spirit, you’ll just get bored here.”
She was not in the greatest of moods. A foul one to be specific that if anyone who crossed her path was smart, they’d keep going. Clearly not as the one who’d approached didn’t continue walking. Not a wise choice.
❝Whatever it is, I don’t care.
Regina arched a brow at the other woman. ”I think you’ll find this is my town, dear,” she said calmly, stopping by the bench. ”If anyone is leaving, it would be you.”
Personal experience perhaps? He had to wonder how well her son listened to her and found that he was actually hoping to meet the lad soon. It was unavoidable with him living on her property after all and being the new visitor in town. "Well I’m still a bit of a rogue but for the most part I was raised to respect women." Every part of them from their mind, spirit, and bodies.
His smile was filled with mischief, eyes glinting with humor and playfulness. The surprise on her face was priceless, so much that he planned to put it there as often as possible because of the slow smile that it changed into. "No apology necessary, I’ve already forgiven you." A nod before he followed her into the kitchen, looking around for the wine cork. "One problem with that—I have no idea where anything is in your kitchen."
Regina smiled at him. “I think Henry would like you. If he doesn’t try to convince you I’m an evil queen from a fairy tale land. Of course, if he likes you, he’d try to convince you of that. So be prepared.” Why didn’t Henry understand that he was the only person she loved? She wasn’t perfect, she had never claimed to be, but she was trying for him.
“Thank you for that,” she murmured, then laughed, low in her throat. “Something tells me you could ferret it out easily,” she said, then handed it to him, then pulled the lasagna out of the oven. And if she bent over right in front of him, knowing her dress tightened around her ass…well. No one had to know that but her.
It was almost funny the fact that he’d missed her through the day. His focus kept shifting back to her and the town itself as he’d been unpacking and putting things how he liked. She was a distraction, though not one he really minded. The time flying by was only a small sign of that.
All he’d done was smile at the teasing question of being a knight but honestly he’d wanted one last contact of her skin on his; a dangerous game but fun nonetheless. "I could have," he agreed easily as he stepped inside, "but that would have been rude and my mother taught me better manners than that."
His empty hand was holding a bouquet a second later, smile in place and one that was genuine and not practised. "My thanks again for dinner and the place to stay, madam mayor. The kindness won’t be forgotten." He never forgot any kindness shown to him since it was so rare. "Is there anything I can help with?"
“At least there’s that,” Regina said. “So rarely do sons listen to their mothers.” Was it silly to say she rather wished they had spent the afternoon together? Of course it was. Still…he didn’t look at her like the Evil Queen. She kept coming back to that. Here was someone who had no idea who she was, and didn’t seem to care.
It was more than she had ever expected.
Turning at the pulse of magic, she stared at the bouquet. What was he? “You are most welcome, Mr. Kingston. I did owe you an apology for that background check, hmm?” Smiled at the honesty in his voice. She felt the same about kindness. And even the kindness she had received…it had simply been to manipulate her. “Would you mind opening the wine?”
He took longer than necessary just to admire her smile before returning it. She really did have a nice smile when she chose to show it and when it wasn’t one just for pretense. Regina faked smiles too often, he could tell that already. Everyone seemed to regard her a certain way that she’d settled into that image, maybe even embraced it. If everyone thought of you as a villain, why bother acting any differently?
"I might at that. My cooking’s not the best and it’d be nice to have company while enjoying a meal." Pocketing the key, he caught her wrist quickly, raising her hand to kiss the knuckles. "Have a good afternoon yourself Ms Mills." He smiled again, releasing her hand again after the chivalrous moment had passed.
A few hours later he left the room and his unpacking to head to the main house, glancing at the driveway to be sure she was home. Once he’d reached the front door, he knocked, careful to show manners to his host as was customary regardless of the fact that he was staying on her property.
He was so gorgeous, with those stubbled cheeks and that beautiful smile that split his mouth. Regina needed to leave before she could do something really stupid.
“Well. In that case, I’ll see you tonight.” Laughed despite herself as he gently caught her hand, his warm lips pressed against her knuckles. “Are you sure you’re not really a knight from the Round Table?” She had heard of them, and apparently Snow had dealt with Lancelot. Or something.
The rest of the afternoon was a wash, so she left early. She might as well make lasagna. She had gotten very good at it. The doorbell rang, and she arched a brow then went to let Jake in. “You could have come in the back,” she smiled, and held the door for him. “Good evening.”
This blog is on semi-hiatus. All current threads will continue, and hopefully I’ll be back.
Jake smiled to himself at her reply. He would be on his best—or at least better than normal—behavior until he figured out more about the town. Something odd was going on with the residents and he had a suspicion that Regina was right at the heart of it. Hopefully those suspicions weren’t completely true because he legitimately liked her but his curiosity needed to be satisfied and staying provided the opportunity to answer his questions and keep an eye on her. Keen eyes took in every detail, taking the key after careful study. It would do for the purposes of his visit and was private enough for his taste. Of course if he chose to stay longer he’d prefer something bigger and his own, not someone else’s. He’d gone too long with nothing not to have that need for independence fulfilled. “It’ll work. Thank you again.”
“You’re welcome,” Regina said easily, and smiled at him. She had been, once upon a time, the fairest of them all. “I’ve got some business to attend to, and then I’ll be home to cook dinner, if you’d like to join me. I’m not half-bad.” She had had lots of practice.
And it would be nice to have the company. Henry wouldn’t be coming home, not if he could help it. Clearing her throat, she gave him another smile. ”Have a good afternoon, Mr. Kingston.”