Lieutenant Killian Jones looked up to the sky taking in a breath of air, thick with salt. it was almost daybreak but there were remnants of the night’s constellations still shining, a wonderful day to start a voyage. he stepped onto the gangway and made his way onto the deck, seeing the silhouette of his brother Liam (this was his maiden voyage as captain) he felt pride not just in his brother but in himself, this was after all, his first voyage as an officer.
Killian joined the crew, diligently going about their business preparing the ship for departure within the hour, ensuring everything was in order. Despite his anxieties about his first official mission, any insecurities were trumped by the excitement and anticipation of adventure on the high seas.
It had been two days since Jewel of the Realm had set sail and while things aboard were always bustling, Killian found the boredom had set in rather quickly once the day’s duties were complete. He resorted to filling his spare time with studying his Brother’s books and maps and when that was not possible he would sit and sketch whatever caught his eye.
The third day aboard had been terribly uneventful, however the constant racket and hustle of the deck was driving him to insanity; so he had gone to find some semblance of a quiet place.
He was just about to begin a new book, something on astronomy; when a high pitched scream pierced through the general babble of the crew. springing to his feet, not out of fear, but concern; he was quick to reach the deck to see what the commotion was and began to wade through the tightly packed crew. Getting through would be a struggle and in his haste he may have elbowed one or two of them a little too hard.
When he broke through, the crew went silent. it took him a moment to comprehend the scene before him; two of the larger and rather more intimidating members of the crew, Wolfe and Grey, were backed against the port side rail, both coiled back defensively, Grey’s hands were covering his face in an attempt to staunch the flow of blood gushing from his apparently broken nose. Killian was stunned by the sight, he wouldn't have liked to fight this particular fellow on his best day, and yet someone had mustered the courage. If he weren’t an officer he likely would have congratulated the fellow who managed it.
Still processing the sight of the cowering and bloodied crew men, Killian shifted his focus to look for the culprit when he noticed the mass of long, gentle gold curls in stark contrast to the crew. he cleared his throat and the girl spun, fists raised to face him with such ferocity he had to step back to avoid her. raising his hands to show he meant no harm the girl ceased her attack
That was when he met her wary gaze, she had incredibly green eyes, sparkling like gems, he could have lost himself in the future they held. Snapping quickly back to reality and reluctant to leave the fantasy world he created, he realised he had to say something… anything! **Don't be a such a fucking codfish** he thought to himself.
“My name is Lieutenant Killian jones, pleased to meet you milady.”
**Was that the best you could bloody do!!! ** he chastised himself and hoped his awkwardness didn't show
Despite this, the girl’s expression softened a little realising the man before her really meant no harm.
“Pleased to meet you, sir,” she replied politely “I’m pri… Emma,” she stammered.
Killian savoured the sound of her name echoing in his head not paying attention to much else. But he knew now was not the time for any of that nonsense and he put on a sterner expression, hoping to hide how awestruck he was.
He quickly ordered the crew to disperse and they scurried away back to their duties. Turning his attention back to Emma, “please, come with me” he gestured in the direction of his quarters (he knew Liam was terribly preoccupied and decided it was best not to bother him yet)
As they walked he prodded her for information on what had just occurred, trying to stay as calm as possible.
“Well then, Emma; now that we have gone through introductions, what in Neptune’s name are you doing aboard this ship? How did you manage to one up Mr Grey, and lastly why was there a need to?”
They reached his quarters and he opened the door allowing her to step inside following her in, he offered her a seat and she began to tell her story;
“Before I tell you, I must thank you for being so kind… I don't think I could have fought off your entire crew, I got rather lucky with the big fellow and while I am terribly sorry about his nose, I am not sorry I did it in the least.”
Killian stared in disbelief, she was terribly refreshing, not weak and swooning like most refined ladies he knew and good humoured as well, here she was apologising for breaking the nose of a man even he was admittedly intimidated by.
“There is nothing to apologise for lass, they should have defended themselves better… though I am rather impressed you would have attempted to wreak havoc on the rest of the bloody crew.”
She giggled at his remark, and the sound of it was the sweetest thing he had ever heard, a cliché to call it musical but closest to describing her laughter. **all these sappy thoughts… how ridiculous! I need to snap out of it, it’s not as if I'm a boy who can’t control his feelings** he couldn’t help but feel like he was an idiot for falling so fast under her enchantment, it hadn’t been ten minutes!
composing herself a moment later she continued her explanation.
“As for what I'm doing here…”
She looked down at her hands ashamedly her cheeks flushing a lovely shade of rose, her voice shaking a little. Was it Anger? Fear? Maybe he was picking up both?
“…I ran away…there was something I was supposed to do but I just couldn’t, I couldn't bring myself to go through with it…so I packed a few things and went to the docks looking for a ship, I saw this one preparing to leave so I slipped into the hold while the captain was making his speech… he went on a bit so it was a very convenient distraction” despite her babbling pace he could tell how carefully her words were being selected, keeping her deeper secrets shrouded from him, though he decided he would not pry.
“I really am sorry to have caused so much trouble” she continued meekly
“I knew I’d be found out eventually but I had no other choice, any other way I would have been discovered… when one of the crew happened upon my hiding place, the superstitious fool started raving about how ‘a woman aboard is terrible bad luck and would doom everyone to the briny depths’…a few followed along.” Her impression of Grey was hilariously accurate and she smiled when he couldn’t hold back a chuckle
“This ‘Mr. Grey’ was trying to throw me overboard, a few of the other men tried to stop him so while he was momentarily distracted I struck him. Grey dropped me when I punched him and I tried to get away but Wolfe, as everyone called him; grabbed hold of me and I hit him as well; that was when you showed up… and I guess that’s it…”
She trailed off, and Killian took the moment of silence to quickly prepare what to say.
“Emma you really shouldn't have stowed away” he began, feeling awkward lecturing a girl clearly very close to his age and it didn’t help he was so attracted to her already.
“Most Captains would not be lenient regarding that particular offence and despite being in the navy, those men could have killed you had they succeeded in throwing you overboard. what you did was incredibly irresponsible…”
As he spoke, Emma reached down and his lecture was cut off with the abrupt clatter of a coin purse landing on his desk.
“I’m happy to pay for my mistake Sir, as long as I end up as far away from Misthaven as possible.”
He loved her sassy attitude and couldn't help but wonder what this wonderful lass possibly had to run from. She was a puzzle he just had to solve with her sky high walls and closely guarded secrets