Emma Swan was mindlessly doing some cleaning in her apartment at New York City when a song came on that she didn’t even realize had gotten on her ipod; “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s. She shrugged, it must have been a song Henry had put on there. She continues to listen to the song for her hands are busy cleaning and it doesn’t seem like a bad song anyway. While scrubbing the kitchen counter top a funny feeling starts to rise inside her, something unexpected. A sadness and a longing while listening to a song that was meant to be cute and kind of sweet. She wasn’t sure why this song was causing such effect on her, yet her heart was aching. She dropped the sponge and took off the cleaning gloves and quickly changed the song. She didn’t like the way it made her feel with no explanation. The song was about someone longing for another who lived in New York City, but no one longed for her. Everyone left or gave up on her. The ipod changed to a nice Metallica song and she quickly forgot what had happened.
A few days later Emma was out on her daily morning run on the busy sidewalks of the city when the song came on again. As soon as she heard the drum of the guitar the feeling seemed to crawl out of some hidden dark spot in her mind, along with a voice.
It sounded like barely above a whisper. Like someone breathed her name in a moment of clarity or need. Emma had to stop and lean against a wall to hold herself up as tears started running down her cheeks. What was happening to her? She took the ipod off of her arm and stopped the music. She was breathing heavy, and not just because she was working on her second mile, the tears were mixing with the sweat on her face and the bitter salty taste of both were dancing on her tongue as an uncomfortable reminder that something was wrong, Emma Swan didn’t like things being wrong. She worked so hard all her life to make stop making things go wrong. Was she having a break down? She couldn’t afford a break down, not now, not ever. She had to be strong, always.
She put her head between her legs and took a few deep breaths before walking back to the apartment where she was going to take a long hot shower.
Emma didn’t pick up her ipod for several weeks. She had thought of just deleting the stupid song on more than one occasion but every time she would walk over to the damn thing that sat tangled in her headphones she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She didn’t really want to listen to the damn thing yet it was constantly nagging at her during every waking moment. One night, while alone in the apartment when Henry was at a friend’s house spending the night, she decided to finally listen to the entire song. You know, try to see if she could figure out what was causing her to react this way to such a damn silly, stupid song.
As Emma picked it up and put her headphones on, she could feel her heart panicking in her chest. It was practically screaming at her not to do this. Yet she continued. Emma laid down in her bed and looked up the song. Right as she clicked play the feelings started; heartache, lost, longing, pain, sadness, all overwhelming and apparently for no reason. She wanted to turn it off and throw the damn thing out the window but she shut her eyes attempting to ignore that want and concentrate on what she was feeling. By the time the song was over Emma was on her side crying her eyes out and holding onto a pillow. The feeling still didn’t make any sense to her but it seemed like she was trying to get through a type of…loss? It wasn’t until the song ended did she hear the voice again.
Emma’s crying quieted, the voice seemed so familiar and it was clearly feminine. Emma sat up and took the headphones off. There was no face with this voice but even though the heartache, lost, longing, and so one were still there she couldn’t help but smile a little. Whoever that voice belonged to it was clear that voice cared about her deeper than anyone ever has. Emma wiped away her tears and got out of bed.
Though the song brought up painful feelings Emma couldn’t help but listen to the song more and more, each time hearing that woman’s voice breathe her name. It was while Emma was listening to the song at the park while she read the newest New York Time’s Best Seller did an image flash through her mind. It wasn’t clear but it snapped Emma out of the book quickly. She blinked a few times waiting for the image to come back, hoping it would be a clearer but it never came.
Later that night Emma sat in the bath listening to it again planning on seeing that image again in this relaxed state. She concentrated on the lyrics:
“Hey there Delilah don’t you worry about the distances I’m right there if you get lonely give this song another listen closer y our eyes”
Emma closed her eyes as the lyrics seemed to wash over and fill her.
“listen to my voice it’s my disguise…I’m by your side…
And there it was. The image appeared and it staid this time as Emma continued to concentrate on the lyrics but it was still blurry.
“Oh it’s what you do to me oh it’s what you do to me oh it’s what you do to me oh it’s what you do to me what you do to me”
The image began to clear and a woman’s voice appeared. She was so breathtakingly beautiful. Her hair was shoulder length and nearly as dark as her eyes with a smile so sweet and warm Emma couldn’t help but suddenly fall in love with this woman whom she never met or has ever seen. For all Emma new this woman wasn’t even real, and yet she was madly in love. The woman’s dark eyes twinkled at her as if to say “I love you too.” Emma listened to the rest of the song making sure not to miss one syllable of the lyrics being sung. When the song ended the image faded away and no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t bring the image back. After playing the song on repeat a few times she realized that the image could only be seen while playing and listening to the lyrics. It wasn’t until Henry came knocking on the door asking if she was okay did she decide that that was enough for now.
Emma listened to the song every chance she got. The feeling she got from seeing this woman’s smiling face was like nothing Emma Swan had ever experienced. Was she gay? No. She couldn’t be…could she? No that’s ridiculous. She had been with men all her life. She had a freaking kid from sleeping with a man for goodness sakes! Hell she was in a relationship with a really sweet man right now…and yet…this woman was causing her to experience such deep emotions. Perhaps it didn’t have anything to do with being gay or straight. Perhaps sometimes love just happens…No that’s silly. There’s no such thing as true love or soul mates. This isn’t a fairytale after all.
When a strange, and somewhat smelly, man appeared at her front door yelling nonsense Emma took it as just another crazy person who lived in the city of Manhattan. You run into them…or they run into you. It happens. Yet the man appeared again and again talking about magic and saving people. Again she blew him off, she even got the creeper arrested, it wasn’t until she got home, instinctively put on “Hey There Delilah”, and the image of the woman began to swim in her mind she start to wonder, was this telling the truth? Could magic be real? She was having a lot of trouble explaining to herself why the only time she could see this woman’s face was while she was listening to the lyrics of this song. Maybe the woman was real too then? Emma took off her headphones and sighed as the image melted away from her mind. She shook her head in frustration and disbelief as she stood up and headed to the police station to give this man a shot.
When Emma downed the potion she was handed her memories coursed through her and then the image appeared of the dark haired woman smiling brightly with a twinkle in her eye.
Regina. The woman’s name was Regina.