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Of Dates And Misunderstandings

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Emma’s leg started jittering as she waited for her laptop to power on. She missed the comfort of her bed but with the wine she had already drank she was reluctant to get too relaxed, lest her mind wandered to less than innocent territories that she wasn’t ready for yet. She still believed that online dating sites were a farce, especially ones with the cliched names like - Happy Endings. But, drunk Emma made questionable decisions and signing up to an online dating site at Ruby’s prodding was one of them. She signed in and carefully made her visibility selective. She didn’t want the entire world to know she was online and having to fend off sleazy come-ons that would put her perps to shame.

No, Emma was interested in only one - therealkillianjones.

Emma was intimately aware of the nitty gritty of an online dating website, she had used them too many times to lure in her perps. Men were predictable that way. Act a little coy, laugh, or in this case, send a winky emoji on their crass pick up line and -boom- you had a date. She had fake profiles set up on many of these platforms but Ruby raved about the advantages of finding dates through them, gushing about the men and women she had met. So one day, Emma sat with her friend after sharing a bottle of wine between them and proceeded to set up her profile. Though drunk, they had created her profile including as much information as they could without revealing too much. It was fun while it lasted. Together they had vetted potential suitors and fended off some sleazy ones - a nice way to blow off some steam. So, she was surprised to get a direct message from someone named therealkillianjones.

 

therealkillianjones - Oh My God! I love that quote and the book. It’s one of my favorites.

 

Emma was tempted to ignore it. Many people used celebrity names or a mixture of random words not wanting to give away their privacy. Emma respected that but Killian Jones was an actor that she really didn’t like. He wasn’t bad looking, on the contrary, the man was sex on legs, but he was overhyped, and Emma hated overhyped things. Every street corner had vendors selling magazines with his face plastered and what’s the saying - too much of a good thing is bad for you? Killian Jones was that good thing for her. It didn’t help that all the movies that he did were trashy flicks with a manic pixie girl as their protagonist. Emma hated those movies with a passion. So, hatred for Killian Jones was an acquired trait for her and it would take a lot for her to change her mind.

But for the first time, someone had actually gone through her profile, rather than just see her profile picture and send a pick up line. So she figured it couldn’t hurt to reply back and it wasn’t like her username, theswanprincess, was highly original. She figured, if the guy got too clingy, she could just shut the conversation down.

 

theswanprincess - Me too. The Princess Bride is my all time favorite. And the movie adaptation does it justice.

therealkillianjones - Aye. I agree. I am partial to the book, for obvious reasons. But the movie has a permanent place in my collection. I’m Killian by the way.

 

Emma scoffed, this guy was taking the charade way too seriously. She had been scrolling through his profile. He seemed nice on paper at least. All the fields of the profile were carefully filled with all the proper grammatical conventions. The profile picture was that of a pirate, she waited for it to download. When it became clearer she didn’t know whether she wanted to laugh or cry. The picture was of Killian Jones, the actor, in the whole pirate regalia. She remembered seeing it on a magazine cover for his upcoming TV series or movie, she couldn’t remember. She was about to call him out on it when she saw the dots jumping, indicating he was typing.

 

therealkillianjones - Which house are you in? I was sorted into Gryffindor but in my heart I recognize myself as a Ravenclaw. My brother teases me that I am a Hufflepuff but he doesn’t realize that being sorted into Hufflepuff would be an honour, a fact the movies failed to capture.

 

All her thoughts to call him out on his choice of name and profile picture flew out the window as Emma launched into a full throttle response to his question .

 

theswanprincess - I feel you. Some of my friends are the same. Though I was sorted into Hufflepuff and I wear the badge with the honour. Tough luck!

 

Emma bit her lip resisting her temptation to add a wink at the end. She didn’t want to come on too strong but she was enjoying the conversation and prayed that he wasn’t a douchebag or something worse.

 

therealkillianjones - Touche, Swan! Rubbing my face in it. So tell me about yourself.

 

Emma was startled to see him address her with her last name. She hadn’t made her name public so she started working herself up about it, when it struck her that he was calling her by her chosen username. He did tell her that his name was Killian but she wasn’t sure whether it was his real name or not, so she decided an alternate way to find out.

 

theswanprincess - If you’re gonna call me by Swan, what should I call you? ;)

 

This time she let the wink remain to maintain the playful tone of the conversation. If he read too much into it, then what was the harm? She was here, after all, to date.

 

therealkillianjones - As I said before love, Killian will do. ;)

**

Emma learned over the course of month that he was English but had moved to the States after the death of his parents when he was a teenager. Currently, he was in Ireland for some work and their conversations would be cut short due to the time difference. Emma loved the time when she was on a stakeout the entire night and he had no work the following day. They talked the entire night and she loved it. After a while, she found herself constantly smiling. Ruby had nudged her for that very reason but Emma had waved her teasing aside saying it was just nice days at work. Thankfully, Ruby had forgotten about the dating profile so all was smooth sailing.

She and her online date hadn’t gone beyond the medium of the website to communicate, but no topic other than the specifics about their professional life, remained untouched between them - from past troubles to lost loves, from emotional scars to physical injuries. They talked everything out, she found the anonymity of a dating website helped her open up. He didn’t press her for more, not even a photograph, the one she had used as her profile picture hid some part of her face so no one could outright recognize her. She never did call him out on his username choice, figuring that it could be his real name. It did have an English ring to it, too. So they remained in the bubble. She had almost forgotten about his actor namesake until she came across the trailer for his new show. It was a modern retelling of Peter Pan but with Captain Hook as the lead. The actor Killian Jones was playing it and he looked nice. She was just reeling in what she had seen when the message from her Killian popped up. She didn’t even notice her use of the possessive pronoun when thinking about him.

 

therealkillianjones - Hey Swan! How is it going there?

theswanprincess - The same old. Nothing exciting. I finally did see the trailer of this new show. I think so it’s called Neverlanders? Neveravengers?

therealkillianjones - The Neverland Rangers?

theswanprincess - Yeah… The show in which the actor you is acting.

therealkillianjones - Did you like it?

theswanprincess - Surprisingly, yeah.

therealkillianjones - Surprisingly?

theswanprincess - Yeah… I mean I see this face on every newspaper stand and I am just so done. It’s just so obvious that the acting choices have been made to cash in on the dashing looks nothing else. I am really glad that this time it was on content matter rather than just looks. I hate people like that, no offense.

therealkillianjones - None taken. Glad to know what you actually think. Swan…. They’re calling me. I’ll get back to you. I had to ask you something.

 

Emma looked at the clock, confused as to why he was leaving so early when she saw the time. It was almost two. It must be around seven in Ireland, she mentally calculated the time. She was about to close her laptop when another message popped up.

 

therealkillianjones - Goodbye love. xoxo.

 

Emma knew what it meant but she didn’t know what to make of it. They had spent the last month talking and never even once had they sent a parting greeting. That was surely crossing a line, right? It was too intimate. But they were on an online dating website so wasn’t that what was expected to come out of a conversation in the end? She went to bed thinking about it and sleep soon engulfed her and, for the first time, she dreamt about her Killian Jones.

The next day, she made conscious effort to not sign in wanting to distance herself and test the waters. She didn’t know what he wanted to ask her so her mind was conjuring weird scenarios. Would he ask her something personal? Or for a photograph? Did it matter? Weren’t they already more intimate than they could physically ever be? So what he could possibly ask her?

The following day proceeded the same way,albeit, Emma was calmer than before. A day away from him had helped her put things into perspective. She realized it didn’t matter what he asked of her. She knew if she said no he would take a step back immediately. He respected her and she him. Suddenly, she wanted to know him, wanted to have a face to go with his name and it didn’t scare her. So when she went back home, she switched on her laptop and logged in, certain a message would be waiting for her. She waited in anticipation but her excitement crashed down on her when there was none. Emma glanced at the time. It was five. Maybe he hadn’t logged in yesterday? So she waited for him. His last activity was in the morning so he had come online but she didn’t understand why he hadn’t sent a message. There hadn’t ever been a day when there wasn’t a message waiting for her. She sat there, browsing aimlessly on the net waiting for a message to come but it never did. She didn’t know when she had drifted off, waking in the morning to find her laptop’s battery had died. She was tempted to switch it back on but decided against it.

When Emma returned home that night, she delayed going online for as long as she could but she knew it was inevitable, it was too much of a habit. She watched some random video and went to check her profile only when she was ready to sleep, not wanting to get excited about nothing. There was one unread message and Emma couldn’t manage to contain her excitement. She opened it but there sat a message from someone named wizardofoz.

 

wizardofoz - so ur a princess? Want me to use my wand and hv sm wicked ways with you?

 

Emma scowled seeing the message. It wasn’t from whom she was expecting and it was the worst written message she’d ever seen. She blocked wizardofoz when another message popped up.

 

therealkillianjones - I don’t know when you’ll get this as the connection is a bit problematic here. I am going back to New York tomorrow and I would really like to meet you. Here’s my number. I am sure I’ll be jetlagged so I won’t be able to message you straight away. Sorry for that. I’m hoping you would like to meet me, too, or we could stay as strangers. Though, I’d rather go forward than backward. Hope you’ll call.

 

And sure enough there was a New York number attached. If Emma let out a squeal seeing the number, no one would ever know. She really wanted to meet him. Emma glanced at the time. It was around eleven. Would he still be sleeping? She wanted to wait but she couldn’t contain her excitement. Double checking the number, she saved it and opened whatsapp to message him.

The contact list updated and she let out a snort seeing his display picture. Yet again, it was that of the actor Killian Jones but it was only his face with his hook resting near his chin. She had to admit he was kind of cute but she was sure he wouldn’t hold a candle against her Killian. Emma bit her lip, smiling like a schoolgirl with crush, she typed a simple greeting.

 

“Hey… Swan here.” - E

 

Emma wasn’t expecting a response. Sure there were double ticks but there weren’t blue ticks so he probably hadn’t seen it and forgotten to switch off his net. She was about to switch to another conversation, when his status changed to online and blue ticks appeared. Before she could process what was happening, her phone started ringing.

“Hello…”

“Hey… love…” came his husky voice and Emma lost her breath for just a moment. He was really English, his accent heavy in his voice. Emma bit her lips but then realized, hitting her forehead against her phone, she was behaving like a teenager.

“Hey… love you there?” His voice came again and Emma realized she still hadn’t replied.

“So you’re really English, huh?” Emma mentally berated herself. Smooth Emma. Real Smooth.

He let out a booming laugh and Emma decided that she really liked his laugh.

“Aye… love. I told you, didn’t I?”

“Yeah… yeah you… did.”

“I can’t believe that we’re really talking.”

“Yeah me too.” She whispered. They remained quiet, words failing them in the moment. Emma didn’t know what to say. They knew each other so well but she didn’t know how to talk to him like this. Suddenly, he was real and not just some stranger on the net. She wanted to say something but he beat her to the punch.

“So… I was wondering… I mean… shit I’m not normally this bad with words. I don’t even know your first name….”

“It’s Emma.”

“Emma….” It seemed he was testing it and Emma really liked hearing it from his mouth.

“Emma… Emma Swan… It’s…. It’s a beautiful name.”

“Thank you.” She whispered back and the silence returned. She wanted to see him. She wanted to meet him but she didn’t know how to broach the subject.

“Uh… Emma… Swan… I was wondering… would you like to go on a date with me? I mean… like not a date… but like would you like to… uh… meet me. I would love to put a complete face to your name.”

“I would too.” Emma answered. She wanted to know what he really looked like.

“Huh?”

“I mean… I would love to go out with you.”

“Ohh.. great. Tomorrow at 7 at the Eleven Madison Park?”

“Yeah… sure… text me the address.”

“Yeah… sure. Bloody hell. I can’t believe this is happening.” He laughed nervously. He was adorable.

“Can’t wait to meet you.”

“Aye… me too, love.”

**

Killian had texted her the address as soon as they said their farewell. Emma was excited to finally meet him and put a face to his name. Seeing his profile picture for so long, she had started imagining him as the actor Killian Jones and it unsettled her because this Killian was a real person and she didn’t want to give him someone else’s face. When she had looked up the address she was surprised to see the grandeur of restaurant. She started thinking of the dresses that would match the place. Emma really wanted to call Ruby, knowing her friend had dress for literally every occasion but this thing with Killian was so fragile and she really wanted to keep it to herself for the time being.

In the end she went shopping for a new dress. She had her eye on a black and bronze number for so long but couldn’t muster enough strength to buy it - because there was no one she wanted to wear it for and she really didn’t want to wear it for a fake date with a perp. The dress was too beautiful for that. It was a one shoulder dress with a black upper bodice and minimal embellishments. The lower portion of the dress was in complete contrast, it had a flowing bronze skirt, finishing just above her knees with delicate embroidery that caught the light depending on the angle. Emma had paired it with black pumps that made her legs look shapely. She had gone with minimal makeup but had carefully curled her hair in perfect ringlets that weren’t too tight and flowed freely. She had forgone jewellery save for a set of diamond drop earrings that she had bought on her last birthday. She looked and felt beautiful.

When she reached the restaurant, she was, yet again, taken with the beauty of the place. It was elegantly lit with artificial candles that looked like diamonds floating in the sky.

When she reached the reception, she was guided to a more private dining area. It was intimate, with tables kept far away to offer privacy to the patrons, quite a contrast to the outer seating area of the restaurant. It was currently empty and she was glad there wasn’t anyone to witness their first meeting. She saw the fire crackling in the fireplace and got lost in the movements of the flame when she heard her someone speak.

“You’re way more beautiful in person.”

Emma turned around startled at his sudden entry.

“Fuck… you scared me….” her hand went to her chest trying to calm her breathing. She looked up but her eyes widened as she saw him. “Holy shit you’re Killian Jones.” The face that had haunted her for the last week was standing in front of her and she didn’t know what to make of it. He just looked confused as if she was being absurd.

“Yeah… and you’re Emma Swan. Are you okay, love?”

“Are you… are you insane? You’re Killian Jones. THE freaking Killian Jones. Star of Neverengers.”

“Neverland Rangers.”

“Yeah… The same. I am sorry. I think the maitre’d misdirected me. I was about to meet someone who, oddly, is also called Killian Jones. I think they mixed it up. I’ll just leave.” As she started walking, he came behind her catching her arm.

“They didn’t mix it up Swan. You’re here to meet Killian Jones. And I am Killian Jones.”

“You’re not my Killian.” Emma spoke exasperated that the actor couldn’t see reason. Was he just a pretty face? How could he be so dumb?

“Your Killian…” His eyebrows waggled hearing her call him that.

“Yeah… Now if you would please…”

“Swan… Wait…” he took her hand again, “I really am your Killian. You’ve seen my picture on my profile.”

“No I saw your picture…” she spoke pointing at him, it was getting exhausting, she really had to leave lest her Killian believed she had ditched him, “on my Killian’s profile who is a fan of yours.”

“What are you talking about? That was me. Why would anyone use someone else’s picture on a dating website? That’s insane.”

“Yeah exactly… This is insane. I am leaving.” For the third time that night, she was stopped from leaving.

“Swan… would you just wait? Who did you think I was? You really had no idea that it was me?”

“I mean… yeah obviously I had no idea. I mean why would you need a online dating profile? This just doesn’t make sense.”

“You love cinnamon on hot chocolate. It always warms you up and makes you feel secure and happy. ‘Your Killian’ has a ship named Jolly Roger that he wanted to take and sail towards the horizon. ‘Killian Jones the actor’ aka me should make better career choices and not rely on my good looks. Though, I was flattered to know that you find me dashing.”

“Yeah… well I’m not blind,” but Emma realised she was getting carried away. She also realized that she had criticized his career choices to his face.

“Shit… I called your career choices rubbish.” Emma covered her mouth in horror and Killian guffawed seeing her like that. She threw a venomous look towards him but that didn’t perturb him.

“Yeah… admittedly that was a little strange but then you said things I felt myself so I let it slide. Love… no one finds my career choices more rubbish than myself. But I needed to find my footing in the industry before taking riskier projects.” His voice then took a softer note, “you really didn’t know it was me? I thought you knew.”

“I swear I didn’t know it was you. I thought you were a fan and then you started talking about books and it was long forgotten. And why on earth would you need a online dating profile?” Emma asked wondering what he was doing on the portal in the first place.

“Too much drinking leads to questionable things in life. And the sort of anonymity that it provides… I don’t find that much in real life. Why do you have a dating profile? I can’t believe a lady like you needs to resort to these means.” Emma blushed under his appreciating gaze and Killian smirked seeing his effect on her. They were standing closer than before and he could smell her perfume and it was the sweetest thing.

“Well… When you go on too many fake dates to apprehend people who skip their bail, your dating pool gets kind of shallow.”

“So you’re a bail bonds person? That’s hot, no offense.” Killian spoke making Emma smirk. They slipped into silence, neither knowing what to do. Now that Killian knew she had no idea it was him who she was talking to, he couldn’t help wonder whether she wanted to go out with him or not. When they had started talking he had been happy because he had been connecting with a person who knew who he was but had chosen to talk to him for who he really was. But now things were different and he didn’t know what to do with the information.

“Uhh… well you’re welcome to join me for dinner. I mean you were expecting someone else and I mean I will understand if you want to go home,” he spoke hurriedly.

It took sometime for his words to register with Emma and she was touched that he was giving her the option to back out . She hadn’t imagined that she would be meeting a celebrity with the intention of going on a date with him. If she was to date him, her life wouldn’t remain the same. But she had been his friend for more than a month and it had been amazing. If he had been just Killian, she would have jumped on the chance to date him. Did it change if he wasn’t just Killian rather The Killian Jones? There was only one way to find out.

“Yeah… let’s have dinner,” she said, a grin covering her face and the smile she got in return rivalled the sun.

**

In the end, she didn’t just decide to stay for the date, she also kissed him and went on a second date with him. He had joked during the dinner that she should help him in vetting new scripts and few weeks later, she was doing just that, in his shirt, on his bed with him bringing her her hot chocolate and spooning her as they read one of the scenes together.