It has been seven years since Emma rolled into Storybrooke, and she and Regina are finally in a friendship that doesn’t teeter on the precipice of hatred. When Regina’s pining over Henry, away for the summer at an astronomy programme in Tucson, Emma suggests a road trip to surprise him for his birthday.
The next morning is filled with tense silence, Emma ignoring Regina as she showers and changes, as she stuffs old clothes into her bag, as she loads the bug with their baggage… Regina doesn’t make any comments when Emma gets into the passenger seat of the bug; she simply takes the keys from her and starts up the car, driving more carefully than usual, as though worried that her usual quick speeds and road rage will set Emma off. Emma knows it’s not the most mature choice but she plugs her headphones into her iPod and finds her secret Terrible Pop Music playlist, turning the volume up so loudly that it drowns out all other sounds in the car.
She rests her head against the edge of her seat, closes her eyes and, halfway through ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’, she falls into a fitful doze, one where thoughts of Regina won’t leave her brain no matter how hard she tries.
She wakes to Regina shaking her shoulder. They’ve stopped momentarily and Regina hands her a large coffee and paper bag that she sees, upon looking inside, holds a very greasy pastry. Regina mouths something and Emma pulls the headphones out of her ears. “What?” she barks.
“We’re an hour away,” she says and she looks like she wants to say more but instead she stuffs the last bite of the sandwich she’s holding into her mouth and she’s driving again, eyes on the road and determinedly not on Emma.