Was there a moment of stasis where Regina had everyone in a sort of limbo while she assigned positions, names, relationships etc. One of the clues that lead me to this “Regina’s real life doll house” is when she just sort of pulled Kathryn out of her hat with a whole relationship and everything for David. It’s just a thought though.
This has been on my mind as well, but the convo between Regina and Gold suggests that physical intervention takes place, not mystical. Regina states to Gold that she thought he took care of her (meaning Kathryn). I’m starting to think no one just up and disappears into thin air if they try to leave SB, but something/someone prevents them from leaving.
I do believe Regina found David on the side of the road as that has been the story since ‘Snow Falls’. The curse took PC & SW’s happy ending away and made it to where PC/David & Abi/Kat were married instead. Regina probably knew of this became a friend in passing to Kathryn and only became a closer friend when MM got close to David.
Expect the unexpected, Accepted the unaccepted.