27 | What Happened to Frankie?

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A KNOCK ON THE front door grasped Anna James' attention. Hopping off the couch in the living room, she shuffled toward the door and swung it open. A surprised expression appeared on her face when she saw Mr. Gold standing there. "Oh! Mr. Gold, hi," Anna greeted. "Uh, if you're here to collect the rent, I think Regina's still at her office."

Mr. Gold furrowed his eyebrows together. "Why does everyone ask me that?" he wondered.

"Well, because you—never mind," Anna stammered. "How can I help you? Do you want to come in?"

He shook his head. "I'd rather talk to you outside," he declared. Nodding her head slowly, Anna closed the door and walked outside onto the porch. The dim light that came from the moon shined down on them.

Once he began to explain what his troubles are, Anna raised her eyebrows and said, "A son? I, uh, didn't realize you had a-a son. How old is he? What do you mean you think you've found him?"

Mr. Gold sighed. "Let's just say there's someone acting the way I would expect him to act."

"So you—what, you recognize him?" Anna wondered. "Wouldn't he recognize you?"

"Maybe," Mr. Gold answered, "or perhaps I'm just seeing what I want to see. I don't know. There was conflict when we parted. I'm not sure he's ready for a tear-soaked reunion."

"So he went through all the trouble to find you, but now he's hanging back?" Anna asked. "Maybe he's, um... waiting for a welcoming or... I don't know... maybe a sign that all is forgiven."

"No, no, no. He's not—He's not the one that needs to be..." Mr. Gold trailed off. He paused. "I think he might still be very angry."

Anna leaned against the wall of the house as she responded with, "Mr. Gold, anger is a very normal thing. It's part of what makes us human."

"I think he might be here to kill me."

Eyes widening, Anna began to stutter. "Oh, right. Well, th-that's not, um, wow—okay, uh..."

"I let him go," Mr. Gold continued. "I've spent my entire life since trying to fix it, and now he's finally here, and I just don't know what to do."

Anna paused, thinking for a moment. "Well, I guess you should just... be honest," she advised. "Just tell him what you told me. I'm sure he'll understand... and you know, maybe not want to kill you. Ask for forgiveness. When you're face-to-face, you'll know exactly what to say. It's a lot easier than planning it out."

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