The race was frantic. Emma tried to catch her breath with her hands resting on her knees as the frustration began to overwhelm her. The bastard had managed to escape when he was almost at hand. All the previous effort invested in that case, the reckless chase throughout the whole city, everything was in vain. “Shit!”
Emma clenched her fists, feeling an almost irresistible desire to hit something or someone. She took two deep breaths and managed to calm down enough to start thinking about an alternative solution. She had to call Leroy, needed to warn him since he had been waiting in front of the house of the criminal. Maybe the bastard had the idea of returning home after the chase.
She sought the phone in its usual pocket but didn't find it. The panic threatened to invade her while her hands moved frantically, touching all her pockets in search of the damn phone. She realized at that moment that she had probably lost it during the chase.
“No!” A cry of helplessness escaped her mouth without her noticing. The urge to hit something returned, she wanted to hit her head against the nearest wall again and again. Or sit on the ground with her head hidden in her arms and cry like a child. Stupid, stupid! Instead, she forced herself to behave like an adult. People walking around her began to look puzzled by her behavior, so she went into the nearest coffee shop to get a dose of caffeine. She needed a drink actually, but it was a bit too early for that.
The cafe was quite busy, so she went straight to the bar. Emma almost collapsed on the stool near the counter while waiting for her order, burying her head in her hands. She had worked so hard for that case... She lifted her head to look at the time on the clock hanging on the wall. Late, too late. She needed to alert Leroy and the rest of her contacts to start developing a new action plan.
It was at that moment when, from the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse something half-hidden under a newspaper forgotten on the counter. She reached her hand toward the object, and when she discovered what it was, could not suppress a laugh. "No way!" It was a mobile phone!
Emma was tempted to pick up the phone to make the call she needed, but tried to think reasonably. That was not right. His owner could appear at any moment. No, this definitely couldn’t happen, she was not going to borrow this phone. She tried to distract her mind thinking about something else, hoping that the coffee was ready soon. But her eyes were again and again attracted to the phone hidden. She sat on her hands in a desperate attempt to prevent them from reaching for the phone. A few minutes passed and no one came to recover the forgotten phone. Her determination was weakening gradually. Perhaps it was a sign, perhaps the gods had pity on me for once in my life, she was convincing herself.
Emma sighed. "It's just a call. Don't make a big deal out of it, it is nothing more than a phone." She said to herself. She looked back and forth to make sure no one was paying attention and, with a quick movement, grabbed the phone. Her heart beat quickly when the adrenaline started running through her veins. Old memories came to her mind, but she tried to ignore them. She bit her lower lip nervously. "It's just a call." She told herself again. Her finger slid across the screen, giving her access to the content. The phone owner had not locked it with a password, fortunately for her.
A few seconds later two events occurred that would decide her future. Just at the time when Leroy answered her call, the waitress handed her order. After picking up it and pay, her feet headed mechanically toward the exit, as she had done countless times before.
The second event took place when she had not left the room yet. Just at the moment when she reached the door, someone entered the cafe. They were about to collide, and she almost spilled the coffee on him, but she barely noticed it, too focused on the conversation with Leroy. Emma thought she heard a curse like "bloody hell" or similar, her eyes only managed to capture a kind of blur, black leather jacket and dark hair. Emma muttered hasty apologies and left the cafe while still giving instructions to Leroy.
She walked down the street as she talked to Leroy until she reached her yellow bug parked nearby. She entered the car, ending the call and tossing the phone unconsciously toward the passenger seat. Her head rested for a few seconds against the steering wheel. She hoped that Leroy got to capture the criminal. This case had taken too many hours of her life.
Emma sighed. An immense fatigue began to overwhelm her. The last hours had been like a whirlwind, keeping her constantly in tension. She needed to get home, take a relaxing bath, have a glass of wine, and lie on the couch keeping her mind busy with some stupid TV show. That plan seemed to her more and more tempting so she started the car and hurried to get home.
Killian was sitting in the airport, waiting for the departure of his flight as he cursed himself for his bad luck. He wondered how he could be so stupid as to lose his bloody phone. His mind recreated again and again all the events that had triggered this situation.
The day had started well. Killian had awakened that morning excited about his trip to Ireland. He should be accustomed to these trips, in fact he spent five months a year living in Dublin, but this time it was for a special reason, he would be meeting his new nephew.
Killian remembered stopping at a cafe near his home before continuing his way to the airport. He had sat near the bar and had watched his messages on the phone while waiting for his order. He had left the phone on the counter when the order arrived. He remembered having noticed the cover of a newspaper that someone had left abandoned. He had been reading the news as he finished his burger. The waitress had asked him something just as he was leaving the newspaper on the counter. He glanced at her, not realizing that the newspaper was partially covering his phone. He finished eating, paid, picked up his suitcase and left the cafe.
Five minutes, it had taken five minutes to realize that he did not have his phone. He had not even have time to order a taxi. Killian hurried back to the cafe and when he opened the door was about to collide with a blonde woman who almost poured coffee over him. He remembered having thrown a curse as the blonde, who was on the phone, mumbled what seemed an apology and left the premises.
His phone had disappeared. He looked under the newspaper, which was still on the counter, reached into every corner. Even asked the waitress and other customers. It was all in vain, no one had noticed anything unusual, no one had found his phone.
He cursed himself for his stupidity. It certainly was not more than a phone, but for Killian it meant much more, many memories were saved in it. Memories of a past life.
Killian left the cafe. In other circumstances, he would have had more time to try to fix it, but he was about to catch a flight and if he did not hurry he would also lose it. He had to get a taxi and pray that the city traffic allowed him to reach the airport on time.
Once at the airport he did not allow himself to think over what had just happened. He went straight to an airport store and bought a prepaid phone. He needed to have a connection with the rest of the world until solving the issue with his telephone company.
And here he was, slumped in one of the uncomfortable seats in the waiting room with his new phone in hand, determined to call his own number. Hoping that someone heard his prayers, that someone answered on the other side of the line. He could not lose it, he needed it back.
Emma felt calm as she drove down the road. However, about half way through her drive home the notes of a song, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2 began rang in a deafening volume inside the vehicle. "What the hell?" Emma leaped in her seat startled, clinging tightly to the steering wheel. It was then that she noticed the phone that she had so carelessly thrown on the passenger seat.
Her eyes widened with surprise. She had stolen the damn phone. "Shit!" The phone ringing continued pounding her ears. She felt an uncontrollable urge to scream and hit the steering wheel or simply throw the phone out the window. But she didn’t, she would fix this somehow.
Emma parked on the roadside. She sighed as she reached for the phone. Unknown number. Whoever was calling was not registered in the contact list. Without waiting further, she pressed the answer button.
"Hello?" Emma tried to keep from sounding guilty, but failed miserably.
"Aha! At least you have the decency to answer." A male voice with some kind of accent answered at the other side of the line.
"Who are you?"
"Ha! Really? Who am I? Who the hell are you? I am the owner of the phone." The stranger with an accent sounded pretty pissed.
"Shit!" Emma covered her mouth instinctively, wondering if the word had come from her mouth or had only been a thought. She tried to find the right words, but neither her throat or her mind were working. She felt stupid, like a child who had been caught doing something naughty. She was sure that her cheeks had turned red.
"That's all you have to say, lass?" He seemed pretty upset but, from the sound of his voice, it also seemed he was having some fun with this absurd situation.
Emma cleared her throat trying to collect her thoughts. "It's not what it seems..." She cursed herself, her faltering tone implying the opposite.
"And why is it? Is there any logical reason for you to have stolen my phone?" The words seemed to come like darts and had the same effect on her, she immediately became defensive.
"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I lost my phone in a chase..."
The man did not let her finish. "Wait, are you a police officer? Or worse, are you a criminal? You've already committed a crime..." The sarcastic tone he used was exactly what she needed to leave behind her hesitation.
"What? Of course not! And I will not discuss my private life with a stranger. It was not intentional, ok? I went into a cafe, needed to make a call and your phone appeared before me, I just took the opportunity..."
Emma could not continue because the man stopped her again, she was starting to get irritated.
"Wait, tell me you're not the blonde with a red leather jacket that almost spilled her coffee all over me."
The image came to her head, black leather and dark hair. "Shit!" She definitely had a problem with that word, or maybe it was that guy, he was bothering her. Why had she gotten into this stupid situation? The urge to throw the phone out of her sight returned.
"Lass, I'm starting to appreciate your vast vocabulary, but I'm in a hurry and need an explanation."
A slight guilt appeared again. He had returned in search of his phone just as she was taking it without even realizing it. But that feeling soon disappeared before the impertinence the man was showing.
"Look, if you were not interrupting me all the time I could explain." The guy remained silent after letting out a sigh. “I was walking to reach my car while talking on the phone. I did not realize I still had your damn phone when I got the car. But I'll fix it, tell me where you are, I will meet you and I will give your phone back to you." Emma was starting to feel a huge headache. Too many emotions in one day.
Emma heard a loud sigh again. His voice was softer now, the anger had given way something different, resignation, perhaps. "Too late. I'm at the airport. My plane to Dublin leaves in less than half an hour."
Just then Emma realized that something was hitting the window. She turned to look, a police officer was waving her to roll down the window.
"Shit, shit, shit." She addressed the man on the phone, speaking in a hurry. "Don't hang up, I have to fix something." She dropped the phone on the passenger seat without waiting for an answer and turned to the officer.
She had parked in a prohibited area. As much as she tried to convince the officer she could not get a fine, he hadn’t cared. Her day could not get any worse.
When the police officer left, she rested her forehead on the steering wheel trying to clear her thoughts. After a sigh, she picked up the phone again.
"I'm here again."
"Is everything alright, lass? I seemed to hear voices."
"Everything is fine, perfect, it's the best day of my life, in fact." Her voice was sarcastic, but she did not really care. "I just got a fine for parking in a prohibited area."
"What?" The bastard laughed. "Mmmm, I guess we're even, I'll take it as a kind of punishment for possession of other people's phones."
"Look, buddy ..." Her anger grew. "Remember that I have your phone, I can just throw it out the window and forget about it. You'd better not push your luck. I'm the one who has the advantage here."
"Touché. You have a fairly convincing speech. You're a tough girl, aren't you? I like that. Lass, I have to hang up, but I wanted to ask you something..." His voice was soft. In other circumstances, she would have loved that voice, a melodious, deep, seductive voice…
Emma, get a grip. "Shoot."
"The phone is not just a phone, I keep... I keep information that I want to save at all costs."
She interrupted him, two could play this game. "Mmm, that mysterious tone... are you a spy or something?... don't tell me, I have in my hand confidential information of some sort."
The other end of the line was silent for a few seconds. "A spy? Or maybe I am a pirate and I'm keeping the treasure map."
Emma laughed as she rolled her eyes. "Really?" Her mind suddenly started to sprint. She should take advantage of this situation, even if getting some fun along the way. "Maybe I should ransom it, what do you think?" She suggested with a playful voice.
"A ransom? For my phone? Hmm, maybe I would be willing to pay, depending on the price."
Emma blushed, this unknown guy was flirting with her and his seductive voice was doing things inside her. "I'll think about it then..."
"Meanwhile, I wanted to ask you a favor. I'll be out of the country for three weeks. I'll make the necessary arrangements with my phone company and will notify my contacts. But while I fix it could you inform me of the calls and messages I get?"
"Do you mean acting as your personal secretary?" Emma bit her lower lip. Her voice was more seductive than she had intended. She wondered what was happening with her. She never acted that way. Perhaps the accumulation of feelings she had suffered throughout the day had altered her brain.
"I could not have described it better. I lost a mobile, but I won a personal secretary, I'm lucky." Although his words were innocent his voice made it seem dirty. Dirty and exciting.
"Hey, I have to leave, I do not want to risk getting another ticket."
"Yes, my flight leaves soon. I will contact you later when I get to my destination. Ah! I'm Killian, Killian Jones."
Killian Jones? Emma liked the name immediately, it sounded like adventure. "Emma Swan. Have a good trip, Killian."
Killian did not wait long to board after finishing his call with Emma. Finally, he could rest in the aircraft seat, though his mind was a whirlwind of emotions. He needed to order his thoughts. He had started the call almost desperate for someone to answer and he ended up totally intrigued by this enigmatic woman known as Emma Swan.
He had also noticed a change in her. When the call began her voice sounded guilty. He also noted the anger in her voice and a hint of a strong personality as the conversation progressed. She finished using a playful and seductive tone that had almost made him mad. He had not felt that strain in the stomach for a long time, he felt the need to hear that voice again.
Killian pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to squeeze his brain for any additional memory of their fleeting meeting. But it was in vain, his mind had only retained the image of a long blond hair and a red jacket.
A sense of vulnerability washed over him. This strange woman had the opportunity to discover his little secrets. She would have access to his music, his applications, his favorite sites, his myriad of photos. And his memories, the memories of another life.
His brother's voice sounded in his head, over and over again. He always said it was not safe to keep all those memories in only one device. But Killian had never heard him. A few years ago, he had removed all the photos and memories of his past life, unable to bear seeing those images any longer. It was too painful. But he retained some memories in his phone, saved on a memory card that had kept all these years.
His thoughts were still playing with him in his head. Still, he could not help feeling some relief that his mobile was in a safe place. In a few weeks, it would back in his possession.
He needed a drink. And his music. He could not relax if he couldn’t listen to his music. Instinctively he went to get the phone in its usual pocket, but what he found was his new and empty mobile. Bloody hell.
It would be a very long trip. Killian ran a hand through his hair, trying to calm down. The mixture of emotions he felt whenever he flew to Ireland was beginning to appear. On the one hand, he always felt the need to reunite with his family. The months that they spent apart were always quite hard. On the other hand, returning to Ireland meant returning to memories, to the reasons why he left one day and did not to look back. He knew that, as the flight progressed, the desire to see his family would be higher. But in a little corner of his heart, he still had that pain. The pain never went away.
Emma could feel her usual loneliness when she came to her apartment. Sometimes it was more bearable. Other times, however, she felt that the apartment was like a kind of prison, her anxiety grew to feel trapped within its walls. Emma had lived in this apartment for two years, but it had never felt like home.
She always tried to convince herself. It's your choice, people hurts you, it is better to be alone. But sometimes it was so hard. No one to talk to about her day, no one to share jokes or a meal, no one on the other side of the bed.
This time she tried not to think about it, too many emotions throughout the day. The urge to collapse on the couch grew, but she forced herself to move to the bathroom. She needed a bubble bath to relax her muscles and clear her mind.
Getting into the tub, she realized that something was missing, her music. She always took a bath listening to relaxing music through her phone. The phone that she had left forgotten in some dark alley.
She had bought a new phone on the way home. The first thing she did was try to call her own number. The luck, as usual, was not on her side. Her phone was off or there was no signal.
Then she remembered that he still had Killian's phone. She wondered if she could take a look at his playlists, if that could be considered an invasion of his privacy. She only would seek his music. No way she was thinking about opening his photo galleries. She had no special interest in putting a face (and a body) to that sexy voice. No, zero interest.
She moaned, the temptation was too great, especially because the only thing she remembered from their encounter was the black jacket. But she convinced herself it was okay to borrow some of his songs.
She picked up the phone and, with narrowed eyes, she fumbled for the music player. Once she was on safe ground, reached into his playlists, discovering that there were many of them. It seemed clear that Killian Jones liked music.
Emma decided on a list that had the name of rock ballads. Surely the guy had good taste. She left the phone on a shelf and went to the tub while the first notes enveloped the room.
Her muscles began to relax at the same time that her skin came into contact with the warm water. She was lost in the sensations of her body and the music that surrounded her.
Unfortunately, the tranquility did not last long. When she was feeling more relaxed, the music suddenly changed, the U2 song rang again. She was slow to react at first but then realized that this was the ringing of the phone.
"Really?" She considered for a moment the possibility to ignore the call, but whoever it was calling it was persistent. With a grunt, she came out of the tub and carelessly wrapped in a towel.
When she reached the phone, the screen showed the image of an attractive guy. Liam Jones. She wondered if he would be Killian's brother. She pushed the button and, before she could answer, a man with the same accent that Killian began to speak.
"Hey, little brother. I hope the reason you're answering the phone is because the flight left late and not because you missed the plane."
Emma cleared her throat. "Killian is not here." Seriously? That's the smartest thing you can say?
The other end of the phone was silent for a few seconds. When Liam spoke, his tone was serious but there was something else she could not identify. "Who are you and what have you done with my brother?"
Emma hesitated. She had no idea of the relationship that existed between the two brothers. But it couldn’t hurt to tell him that his brother was okay, right? "Killian's flight left half an hour ago."
"Lass, that does not answer my question, why is Killian traveling without his cell phone? And why do you have it?"
She countered. "And for what reason are you calling if you knew that he was flying? It’s not like he could have answered the phone on the plane."
Emma heard a sigh. "Because I forgot what time the flight left. I called because maybe Killian was still on the ground. Now it's your turn, I'm waiting."
"Killian forgot his phone in a cafe and asked me to keep it until he returned." She quickly dropped the words hoping that Liam did not ask more questions.
"Killian did what?" Liam looked totally surprised, almost shouting. "That's impossible. His phone is too valuable for him."
"Oh yes, I've noticed that." She bit her tongue, her words escaped out of her mouth without her noticing. The word that began with S threatened again. But she covered her mouth.
"This situation is so weird. My brother left his phone in the cafe, somehow you got it and you're keeping it until he returns?" From his tone, he did not seem to believe the story for a moment. But that was the reality, in broad terms.
"And you are?"
"It's strange, my brother has not told me about you ..."
The conversation was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Although she was able to detect lies miles away, she was actually a very bad liar. She swallowed. "I met him today in the cafe. When he left I noticed that he had left forgotten his mobile. He called me, he was quite relieved because I found his mobile." She sounded pretty convincing, had only subtly altered the course of events.
Again silence on the other end of the line. Liam was probably deciding whether he believed the story or not. Finally, he spoke in a flat tone. "Okay, just try to keep it safe, please. I should get some rest, I need to get up in a few hours. I have to be at the airport to pick up Killian. It was nice talking to you, Emma."
When the call ended, she let out a breath she did not know she had been holding. A slight smile crossed her face. Something told her she would be living through some very interesting moments thanks to the Jones brothers. For the first time since she’d moved in, she did not feel so lonely in her apartment.