Chapter 16

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The Enchanted Forest Many Years Ago

Gracie's long dress trailed behind her as she trudged through the forest. Questions had clouded her thoughts ever since the wedding. Snow and Charming's reactions had stunned her. They didn't look shocked like she thought. They looked upset, like their life had been crushed. Gracie saw that same look somewhere before, but she couldn't quite remember when she'd seen it.

Gracie struggled to believe her real parents or Regina. Snow told her everything was a lie, but Regina told her everything was true. As much as Gracie wanted to hate Snow there was a flicker of love deep inside her. That flicker was what was motivating Gracie to keep trekking forward.

Regina gave her a simple task. Get Snow's heart and return it to her. Gracie laughed at how easy this would be. But, as her thoughts clouded her mind she began forming her own plan. A plan that would hopefully reveal the truth to her.

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Charming's hand rested over Snow's. He tried comforting her, but he also needed the comforting.

"Regina did something to her," Snow's voice was barely audible, "I saw it in her eyes. A tiny glimmer of hope. But it was taken over by the hatred Regina put into our child."

"We have to get her back," Charming stood up, "she's a Charming. And we will always find each other."

"No need to go searching for me."

The sudden appearance made the couple jump. Both started to unsheathed their swords until they realized who it was.

"Gracie?" Snow muttered in shock, "Is it really you?"

"Well who else would I be?" Gracie rolled her eyes, "I don't have a secret twin do I?"

Snow and Charming didn't respond. They stared at their daughter who glared back with no emotion.

"Gracie, we need to talk," Snow said, taking a step towards her and taking her hand.

Gracie snatched her hand away and took a step back. Snow's face fell once again.

"We do have a lot to talk about," Gracie sat down in a seat, "I mean you've missed nine years of my life. I just don't understand how you could abandon your child like that."

"What do you mean?" Charming asked, his voice raising, "We never abandoned you! Regina stole you from us! She's been telling you lies since you were born!"

Gracie remained silent. Millions of thoughts ran through her mind. Could this possibly be true? Isn't this what she came for? To get the truth from them? Or maybe they could be the ones lying.

"Gracie, we loved you more than anything else," a tear fell down Snow's face, "please tell us what Regina told you."

"She said you didn't want me. I was an accident, but when you found out I had magic that was the last straw. You left me for dead. Regina found me and raised me ever since."

"Oh, Gracie," Snow cried, "you were indeed a surprise to us, however we were thrilled to have a little girl. You were the best thing that happened to us. We had everything planned out for you. And your magic? We could've cared less about that. We would've loved you the same even if you were an ogre!"

"Regina said you had the wedding because you moved on from me " Snow noticed tears building up in Gracie's eyes, "and that you wanted another baby to replace me. That I wasn't good enough. That you wanted to live you're life normally."

"Sweetie we had the wedding because we held it off for so long," Charming said, "we decided it was time to tie the knot. Our plan was to go get you after we married. We wanted our happy family back."

Gracie wanted to believe them, she tried forcing herself too. But that same nagging feeling pulled her back. She couldn't trust these people. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't. Gracie stood up from her seat and approached Snow. She put her hand on her daughters cheek, and now her tears were from happiness. Gracie smiled, but it was a genuine smile.

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

Her hand plunged into Snow's chest. Gracie pulled her hand back, Snow's heart beating in it. Gracie couldn't resist her dark urges. Snow looked from her heart up to Gracie, shocked at what just happened. Charming had the same shocked look on his face.

"I want to trust you," Gracie placed the heart in her pouch, "but I can't."

She disappeared into a cloud of blue smoke. Gracie left her parents horrified. They didn't know what was worse, losing Gracie once again or Gracie and Regina having Snow's heart.

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Gracie appeared before her Mother with a smile. She held out the heart proudly. Regina took the heart from Gracie's hand. She looked down at her daughter.

"I'm very proud of you Gracie," Regina bent down to her height and kissed her head, "you've grown into an amazing young girl. I couldn't be more happy to have you."

A warm feeling spread through Gracie. Nothing felt better than being loved by her Mother.

"I'm lucky to have you as my Mother," Gracie kissed Regina's cheek.

And now the warm feeling spread to Regina.

As much as Gracie wanted to believe her real parents, nothing could break the bond she had with Regina.

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