A/N: As promised, the next chapter. Another slow one, I'm afraid, but I wanted to write this scene between Emma and Ruby. Hopefully, if you're still with me through all this build up, I'll get to the more fast-paced stuff soon.

Chapter 5: Take Me Out


Emma's eyes went wide, sweeping upwards from her plate of food to where Ruby -all dark make-up and red-streaked hair- stood before her, grinning like a mad woman, her exclamation loud enough to startle the entire population of the small diner. People paused in their own hushed, sombre conversations, turned to glance at where the young woman had slammed down her serving tray (showering the bar top in food and drink heedlessly) and was now leaning forwards, towards Emma over the separating counter.

Some looked on disapprovingly, others shocked by her vocal outburst.

And Ruby's grandmother? Positively horrified!

"What…?" Emma mumbled, swallowing the mouthful of pumpkin pie that she had paused in chewing, her own voice thick with the food and muffled. She took a sip of her cocoa to wash it down, scalding her tongue in the process, eyebrows knotting into a frown as she winced.

Ruby was still staring at her by the time she'd finished, glancing back up at her again and so Emma repeated her question. "What? Did I do something wrong? Do I have cream on my face?" a quick flicker of fingertips up over her lips told her not. "What?"

And Ruby ignored her, bright red lips pulled wide in that grin that was really not fitting for a wake. Her teeth flashed white from between the carefully painted on scarlet and instead of an explanation she placed her palms flat upon the countertop, supporting her own weight, and leaned further across towards Emma (flashing a suddenly very interested Dr. Whale a view of her very, very short shorts that matched exactly the shade of her lipstick. His eyes took on a wolfish gleam, but he glanced swiftly away when he felt Emma's disapproving stare fall upon him).

"Oh my ACTUAL God!" the younger woman reached out a hand towards Emma, snatched something from the top left pocket of her leather jacket, before she settled herself back upon her feet on the linoleum, rocking back on her heels (for once she was wearing flats, a pair of white sneakers that she'd taken a liking to ever since watching that episode of 'True Blood'). And Emma glanced down at the little black card cradled in Ruby's hands like it was made of gold.

In truth she'd almost forgotten that she'd had it after her arrival at Granny's. There had been that many people wanting to clasp her hand in theirs, telling her that they were 'sorry for her loss' (had her feelings for him really been that obvious?) she'd not had time to ponder over it, nor her graveyard conversation. It had all but disappeared from the forefront of her mind…

"I can't believe you actually got this! Seriously!" Ruby was shaking her head in almost awe, twisting the card over to study the golden rose emblem on its rear. "You know that book? The one about the chocolate factory?" she asked suddenly, and Emma blinked at the abrupt turn of conversation. It was only when Ruby looked back up at her expectantly that she realised that she was required to give her an answer.

"Errr…Willy Wonka…?"

"That one, yeah. Well this…" she flicked the card with a scarlet nail and then waved it in Emma's direction. "…this little piece of black magic is just like that golden ticket!" she squealed in delight, staring down at it again intently, leaning a hip against the bar top. "The Briar Rose is only the best, most exclusive restaurant in town. The whole of Maine even! No one gets reservations there -I know, I've tried everything- it's been booked up for forever. Its booked up for forever after too! Tell me, tell me you got a table there?"

Emma had to smother a smile at Ruby's expense, feigning nonchalance, a shrug winding its way down her arms from her shoulders as she leaned forwards, elbows propping her up.

"I got a table there," she teased, hastily following that admission with a correction upon seeing the unbridled glee lighting the other woman's face. "Well, technically I got an invitation for a table there. I'm not really sure its my thing though…"

"NO!" Ruby's volume levels were right back up nearing ear-splitting decibels again and this time as she leaned back across the counter, she seized Emma's hand (the one that had been lifting another bite of that pumpkin pie to her mouth) sending fork and food flying. She clenched it tightly in hers. "No no no no no no noooo! You have to go! You have to take that table for all of those people who've been trying to get one for years."

"Ruby, I-"


Emma opened her mouth one final time but Ruby looked severe and pointed at her with Philip's business card in her ungrasping hand.


"Okay, okay, alright! Chill out, seriously…" Emma agreed with a hiss, holding her palms up in surrender and sending a wary glance back over her shoulder at the other towns folk gathered there in the diner. "I'll go to the damn restaurant." Her agreement was more to keep the girl's voice down.

"It'll be good for you," Ruby continued earnestly, handing the hard back. She watched Emma tuck it back into the pocket of her leather jacket, lingering even as she tossed a tea-towel over her shoulder and picked her serving tray back up.

"Yeah, yeah, alright. I've agreed, no need to keep persuading me." Grey-green eyes narrowed suspiciously at the young brunette, and Ruby feigned innocence, a shrug of one shoulder.

"You could take Mary Margaret," she suggested, gesturing over to where the other brunette was talking quietly with Archie, trying not to send too many glances over in the direction of a certain Mr and Mrs Nolan. "To help get her mind off things…?"

"Maybe." Emma sighed, pushing away the remains of her pumpkin pie that she was obviously destined never to finish and settled back in her seat. She knew exactly what Ruby was fishing for, knew exactly what the girl was hoping (and desperately so) that Emma would say next.

And so she chuckled, relinquished her teasing like she had her food.

"And maybe I could take you along too. Seems you know a lot about this place, I'll need you along to tell me which fork to eat with first." She'd never really had friends, especially not female friends at that. She'd never stayed in a place long enough for anyone to stick with her. But here, these people? Something made her want to get to know them. Something made her want to have them as her friends, just as she had wanted Graham to be something more (privately and no matter how hard she told herself that she didn't). She'd never had that before…

And she wasn't going to lie. She needed a damn good drink to take her own mind of certain afore mentioned things.

"What the hell." She raised a hand only to let it slap back down onto the granite surface. "Lets make a night of it. Invite your friend Ashley too. God knows she'll want some 'me time' after nights of a screaming new born."

If Ruby's previous noises had been loud before, then this was verging on positively shrill. It set Emma's teeth on edge, made one eye squint closed in a wince, but she couldn't help smiling, laughing a little, as yet again Ruby stretched her lithe self over the counter between them, this time to hook an arm around Emma's neck and pull her forwards in her seat into a half-hug, half-strangle-hold.


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