New Tales from the Old Forest
So this OS+sequel is officially it’s own separate verse now.
First, thank you all so much for the enthusiasm. Second, thanks so so much to @katie-dub for keeping me motivated and for the gorgeous banner below. And, third, have a Valentine’s Days installment.
It’s not that she’s not used to being alone on this day. She has been alone on every single February 14th for the last ten years. And the one before that, on which she wasn’t, she doesn’t like to think about. Not about the stolen bracelet that was probably a present for someone, a gesture of love and affection, meaningful in ways it wasn’t in her hands. She doesn’t like to think about the fancy restaurant in which her palms kept itching and she felt like she was sitting too straight the whole time. One of the last bills they’d ran out on but not the first by far. One of the first charity shop skirts she’d torn but not the last by far.
Emma doesn’t like to think about any of that. And she doesn’t like to think about Valentine’s Day all that much either. She doesn’t hate it – not because of missed opportunities or past sullied experiences. She doesn’t even mind the hearts and the pink and all that over-the-top jazz. What frustrates her is the unnecessary hassle – the longer queues in her favourite coffee shop, the multiple questions of whether she’d like the red velvet Valentine’s cupcake instead, of whether she’d like their 2for1, 2forLove promotion, of whether she wants her bear claw in a heart shaped box. No, no and what even?
She wouldn’t mind the day one bit, if only it would mind itself. And keep out of her face for a good, old-fashioned, grey, just-that-bit-too-chilly-to-be-bareable February day.
So no, it’s not that she’s not used to being alone and it’s not that she hates the holiday. It’s just that it’s kinda hard to completely ignore a holiday that’s all about love and romance when you’ve found yourself in a sort of… budding romance. When you can actually picture a hand holding one of the numerous roses sold on the corner before Granny’s. When you can see yourself taking out two glasses instead of just the bottle and the corkscrew. When you can just imagine putting on something cheesy and as over-the-top as everything else and tucking your feet under someone’s thigh.
When you can close your eyes and conjure up that particular shade of blue that-
For a bail bonds person, the way she jumps out of her skin is an embarrassment and then some.
“Jesus fuc- Kid! Easy on the eardrums, would you?”
Henry gives her that patent look every kid knows how to give an old(er) person. That inimitable ‘are you serious? is old age getting to you?’ look. It’s not her favourite one, to be honest.
“I’ve been knocking on the window for a solid minute,” he deadpans.
Emma opens her mouth to reply but realizes the reason she was so out of it and decides to save herself any additional embarrassment. Instead she reaches over and opens the passenger door so Henry can finally get in.
“I’ll make it up to you by letting you choose dinner.”
“Can I save that for future usage?”
“Miss Blanchard is throwing a Valentine’s party for all her students.”
“A Valentine’s party. For 10-year-olds,” Emma gives him her own ‘are you serious?’ look.
“It’s not so much Valentine’s as it’s fairytales and lots of Disney.”
He says it with his most mature tone, no doubt in an attempt to convince her of Miss Blanchard’s sanity but Emma can see his eyes sparkling. A fairytales party, for God’s sake.
“And I may or may not have promised to bring my book.”
She doesn’t even have to ask which book.
“Killian said it’s fine!”