Chapter 38

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The Enchanted Forest Many Years Ago

"Come meet your little sister, Gracie." The young girl heard her Mother call as she raced up the steps.

Gracie nearly stumbled over every obstacle in her way, excitement had over powered her usual graceful self. Her eyes automatically fell upon the little baby wrapped in a white blanket embroidered with her name. The tiny bundle squirmed as Gracie sat down beside her Mother on the bed. Snow placed the newborn in Gracie's arms. Charming couldn't help but smile at his two daughters, both of them with the same beautiful eyes that could make him melt.

"We're finally all together," Charming said as he kissed his oldest daughter on the head.

A sudden realization struck Gracie as she gasped, "The curse! The curse! It's coming! We have to get to the wardrobe."

Gracie took one last look at her baby sister before handing Emma to her Father. She unsheathed her sword, ready to defend Emma. This was her final job before the curse was enacted. Save her sister.

Gracie felt a sharp pain in her chest, her hands flying up to hold where her heart should be. The breath had been taken from her, and her chest felt like it was being ripped open. Charming rapidly placed Emma in Snow's arms in time to catch his older daughter as she fell back.

"Gracie?" He hollered, placing his hand over her heart, and shocked to feel no beat, "Gracie? What's happening?"

"It's too late," Gracie muttered.

Her necklace was keeping her alive, but she knew the deed had been done. Her heart had been crushed. The curse was enacted. She also knew that her necklace only had enough strength to keep her alive for another minute or two.

"Gracie, baby," Snow screamed from her bed, "You can't leave us too!"

Gracie was too weak to move as her Father's arms wrapped around her, holding her closer to him as she felt him cry. She saw tears in Snow's eyes. Emma's screams filled the room. The newborn didn't understand what was happening, but her cries accompanied her parents.

"Please, save her," Gracie coughed.

Her eyes slid shut. Charming picked her up as if he were carrying a baby. He sat next to his wife and newborn child with his oldest on his lap, lifeless.

And that's exactly how he felt while he held her. Lifeless.

"Call for Blue."

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Regina paced back and forth, a glowing heart in her hand. Not any heart, Gracie's heart. Her heart was bright red, unlike Regina's dark heart. Regina noticed the small black center of the heart, an obvious sign of the years Gracie had been under her care. Her innocence still shined through, even with the dark streak.

Regina placed the heart in a box, careful not to harm it. She walked out to her balcony and gripped onto the railing. Her knuckles turned white as she fell into deep thought. She had to choose between her happiness of destroying the charming family, or her happiness that was Gracie. If she chose Gracie she would never get her revenge, but if she chose her revenge she'd never get Gracie back. It was a decision that most could make in a split second, their child over anything else, but the darkness nagged at her; tormented her into wanting to chose revenge.

She'd already killed her Father. Her Mother didn't talk to her. Gracie was all she had left. Gracie was her whole life. Gracie was her daughter. The daughter that she would always wish for once she was gone, but her barren self would never be able to provide her with one. Gracie was the tiny bit of purity in her life. Gracie reminded her of the days when she ran off with stable boys and only worried about being caught. Gracie was all of these things and more, and now she was in the way of her happiness.

Oh the irony, Regina thought. Her happiness was in the way of her happiness. Destroying the happiness of those whole destroyed hers would also destroy the last bit of it she had. She repeated the word in her head until it lost its meaning.

Happiness. Happiness. Happiness.

The choice should be easy. It wasn't easy.

She walked back over to the box containing the heart. Every action seemed like a blur. She couldn't recall what she was doing. Her mind was clouded.

Happiness. Happiness. Happiness.

What was happiness, she thought. Had she ever truly felt this? Or has her life always been filled with hatred? No. Gracie was her happiness. Daniel was her happiness. Both were taken away from her. Both were taken away from her by the same person.

Snow White.

The memory of young Snow White pained her. Not only did Snow get her true love killed, Gracie had a striking resemblance to her. Young Snow White caused all of this. If Snow White never appeared she'd never had been hurt. But, she would have never taken Gracie. Gracie, her happiness.

All these thing ran through Regina's mind as she held the heart in her hand. Every memory of Gracie suddenly rushed through her mind. Gracie's first steps, her first magic lesson, every one of her big milestones. Regina couldn't help the tears rolling down her cheeks.

She should be happy in this moment. The moment she's been waiting for forever, and now she's having her doubts.

No, she decided. She cannot let her personal emotions get in the way of this. Everything Regina has done has led up to this moment. Regina had to destroy Snow White, even if Gracie went down with it.

Regina squeezed the heart, wiping away tears that fell. The heart turned to dust in her hands, and the sudden feeling of loss struck her. Yet, she felt empowered at the same time. The curse had been enacted. She smirked as she watched her curse begin to form, enveloping everything around her.

"I love you Gracie," Regina whispered to herself, "But it had to be done."

A/N

Okay so I decided to keep writing until I reach a point where I can end the book and be happy with the ending. Also, since I start lacrosse this week my updates may be sparse to bare with me. Thank you all for continuing to read my story and being patient while I work things out. Don't forget to vote and comment!

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