When Claire is still a young child living in the town of Port Bennett, her father abandons her and her family. Claire's mother raises her and her brother, Corbin, while working in a tavern. Corbin perishes fighting in the Ogre Wars, and after his burial, Claire's mother is given a ring that belonged to her son, which she, in turn, gifts to her daughter. As the ring is too big for her fingers, Claire takes to wearing the ring on a chain around her neck as a way to remain close to Corbin.
After Regina's mother Cora offers her an introduction to high society, Claire jumps at this chance, out of a desire to escape the lowlifes that torment her in Port Bennett and to make much-needed connections to ensure her mother won't have to slave away at the tavern anymore. In return, Cora requests that she befriend her daughter Regina and spy on her for her. Claire is arranged to live at the estate of the royal doctor, Giles, who is also her uncle, and then meets Regina for the first time in Cora's home. She tells Regina the story of how Cora found her in Port Bennett while making sure to omit the part about her and Cora's deal. Upon Cora receiving an invitation to King Leopold and Queen Eva's ball to celebrate the end of the Ogre Wars, Claire learns about Cora's past feud with Eva and how this led her to learn magic that secured an engagement to Regina's father. Claire speaks up in defense of Regina when Cora chides her daughter for vying for too many sweets, which leaves Regina in awe of Claire as she has never had anyone stick up for her before.
On another day, Claire finds Regina at the stables tending to her colt Rocinante and borrows another horse named Opal so she can join her on a ride. Regina gains her help to pick a lone apple that has ripened in the orchard, with Claire providing Regina with a boost to get up into the higher branches. After Regina picks the apple, she tosses it to Claire before attempting to get back down but overestimates the climb. Claire offers to catch her for the drop, but Regina jumps down unscathed. Claire then polishes the apple and gives it to Regina. Later, the girls head into the house, where Claire notices a family portrait was drawn by a man named Jasper B. Holding. Regina gushes about Jasper, who is her art teacher, leading Claire to speculate that she has a crush on him, which Regina denies.
In Regina's bedroom, Claire shares details about how her Uncle Giles became the royal doctor. She and Regina have a pillow fight before Rainy, one of the servants, comes in. Regina asks Rainy to pack a picnic for them, and Claire is lent some of Regina's riding clothes. During the ride, Claire has trouble controlling Opal, but Regina helps rein in the horse. The two girls arrive at a hill to enjoy the view of the Enchanted Forest as Claire spots King Leopold’s castle in the distance. Seeing Regina’s reluctance to talk about the Queen and King, she assures the brunette that she can tell her anything, to which Regina discloses her fears of Cora retaliating against the royal couple because of her mother’s history with them. As the two head to the royal gardens, they meet a blind woman, whom they offer a ride to and bring back to her Gingerbread cottage. Claire is enticed by the smells of the sweets and goes in, with Regina skeptically following her.
Once inside, Claire tries a meringue and offers to help the woman prepare hot cocoa, but the latter prevents her from coming into the kitchen. Regina persuades Claire that the woman is actually a witch who is up to no good just the witch returns with the cocoa, which both girls dump onto the firewood log. However, the witch becomes angered upon realizing what they did and snatches Claire’s ring before magically throwing them out. Claire, distraught over her ring, admits to Regina why it was so precious to her. As Regina accompanies Claire back to Giles’ estate, she confides in her about wanting to learn magic in order to have a measure of protection against her mother. Later, Claire tells Cora about what Regina disclosed to her. Cora, blaming Claire for putting the notion in her daughter’s head, threatens to send her back to Port Bennett. Not wanting to leave Regina, whom she has grown to like as a true friend, she begs Cora to let her stay. Cora agrees but strikes another deal with her as a precaution. Claire has no idea what she means, but days later, she shows up to find Regina so they can go riding. Cora instead invites her in to wait for Regina’s return and rips out her heart.
Hitching a ride in her Uncle Giles’ carriage, Claire picks up Regina to take her to the marketplace. The girls witness a street urchin being physically reprimanded by a baker for stealing bread, but before Regina can intervene, Claire feigns using magic to set the baker’s boots on fire. In truth, the fire is Cora’s doing, as she is nearby in the guise of a peasant. Regina, amazed over her friend’s feat, asks her to teach her magic. Claire agrees, telling her to come to her Uncle Giles’ home tomorrow. The following day in the attic, Claire instructs Regina to channel her anger to light up some candles, but nothing happens, prompting Claire to reassure her that they can try again in future lessons. After Claire gains Cora’s permission to have Regina help her write a birthday card for her mother, the girls steal away to a pond in the woods so Regina can practice magic again. Regina apparently manages to make a frog fall into the water, which she is unsure of until Claire congratulates her.
During one of Regina’s art lessons with Jasper, Claire comes to visit her. Jasper fetches Claire from her carriage to bring her to Regina, and as the two walk, she praises Jasper for his portraits that he painted for Cora’s family. Upon reaching Regina, Claire jokes about her never mentioning how handsome he is, to which a jealous Regina mockingly excuses her friend’s bluntness since she comes from a port town. Only when Claire apologizes for her speaking out of turn, Regina is remorseful for being cruel, however, she still asks Claire to wait for her in the library as she and Jasper finish their lesson. Following Jasper’s dismissal after Cora seemingly catches him being improper with her daughter, Claire retrieves Regina’s apple orchard painting and goes to enter the drawing room, where she witnesses Cora using magic to tie up Regina. She frees Regina and the girls talk in private, with Claire apologizing for not knowing she likes Jasper and Regina apologizing for her meanness. Regina tells her about having asked Jasper to meet with her at the upcoming ball and requests her help in keeping Cora in the dark about it, which Claire agrees to do.
The night of the ball, Claire goes to the castle’s bridge, where Jasper is supposed to meet Regina. She finds the apple Regina gifted him and a note, in which Jasper admits he cannot reciprocate Regina’s feelings for him since he already loves another. Knowing that Cora put a sleeping curse on the apple intended for Jasper, Claire collects the note and discards the fruit into the river. Afterwards, she finds Regina, who is obligated into a dance with an unwanted suitor, Prince Benjamin. She cuts in to request for Benjamin’s permission for a dance, which the prince consents to. In actuality, she was asking his permission to dance with Regina, and then promptly sweeps her friend away for a twirl on the ballroom floor. Claire and Regina then sneak into the kitchen pantry to drink cider before heading off to explore the castle but catch the attention of some guards. They manage to hide in a bedroom that belongs to the King and Queen’s daughter, Snow White, whom they befriend by telling her a fantastical bedtime story. Shortly after leaving Snow, Regina departs to meet Jasper while Claire stays behind to keep an eye on Cora. By the night’s end, the girls are back in the pantry, getting drunk on cider as Regina glumly reveals Jasper never showed up. They attempt to leave in Giles’ carriage, but Cora intercepts them, prompting Regina to go home with her mother.
Later that night, Claire is convinced by Regina to sneak out with her to the witch’s gingerbread house so they can regain the stolen ring. On the way there, Regina spots an apple floating downstream and recognizes it as the one she gifted Jasper. Claire is troubled by Regina’s speculation that Jasper might’ve put the apple in the river as proof of his feelings for her, but she remains quiet on the issue and does not refute or agree with Regina's suspicions. In the gingerbread house, Claire goes through a green door to search for her ring and finds it. She regroups with Regina in the kitchen, where they both see skulls belonging to humans, causing Regina to scream in horror. This alerts the witch, who threatens to kill them if they stole from her, however, Claire passes the ring to Regina without the witch noticing. Regina tosses the ring into a cage to lure the witch into it and then hits her with her apple, which allows Claire to grab the ring. Claire is prompted by Regina to use magic, but she cannot as she has no magic, a fact Regina is still unaware of. The witch forces Regina into the cage, though she soon kicks out both girls from her house when Regina tricks her into believing there are succulent children outside.
The next day, Claire remains in bed exhausted from the previous night when Regina drops by to return to the ring to her. Unable to handle the strain of her secret any longer, she confesses that she has no magic and, while she originally got close to Regina on Cora’s orders, she truly came to like her as a friend. Even with Claire’s revelation that Cora possesses her heart and is controlling her with it, Regina is too hurt by her supposed friend’s betrayal to ever trust her again. On Regina’s way out, she spots Jasper’s note and takes it with her. Claire follows her out to plead for her to stay, but by this point, Regina has read the note and confronts her about her meddling. She explains wanting to ensure Regina didn’t get her heart broken because she knew her kiss wouldn't wake Jasper from the sleeping curse, however, Regina realizes the person Jasper actually loves is Claire.
With her friendship with Regina broken, Claire is moping in her uncle’s attic when Cora compels her to come to her. Regina, wanting nothing more to do with her former friend, makes a deal with her mother to ensure Claire gets what she deserves. While Claire is given her heart back, she also receives a note from Cora that Regina wanted her to have. In it, Regina tells her she is to wed Prince Benjamin, who believes Claire to be his fiancée because Regina drugged him with a memory potion
and fed him information about his beloved bride-to-be.