Chapter 1: I
The sun had barely risen by the time the two men climbed out of their old, second hand pick-up truck. That rusted, scraped and barely working blue ford from 1975 had brought them a long way, that was for sure. It had been one of their first purchases after they moved to America; a move that had brought them both pain and success in various ways. The two men and brothers stood in front of their truck, staring up at the shop face, looking at what would be their foreseeable futures. Their dream restaurant by the port side, with the freshest fish and ingredients they could get their hands on. The Jones’ seafood and Italian restaurant. The elder Jones looked down to his darker haired, little brother, finally seeing a chance of them both being able to get rid of their demons of the past and start something new. The younger Jones without turning, simply said “You really think we can do this again Liam? That we can make this work this time?” To which Liam replied;
“Anything that our dreams can do, so can we, Killian.”
It had been only one year since Killian and I had last moved to a new town in this unfamiliar continent, and I was hoping that it was going to be the last we would have to do; for the moves were getting harder and harder to do logistically. We had moved from our home in Portsmouth, England to try and open restaurants here in America, to cook new and exotic foods from around the world in our own styles. Why we had chosen this small town called “Storybrooke” we had no idea. Killian reckons we got a map of the US and threw a dart at it (which most likely did happen considering that the map had a hole in it where Storybrooke was- but I would never admit that Killian was right) whereas I had suggested that we had gone through a list of towns whilst drunk, chosen a letter and picked one at random. Either way we had found our way into this picturesque seaside town in Maine, outside an abandoned restaurant awaiting for the man who was going to hand over the keys and rental agreement to us.
“Do you reckon that’s him over there?” Killian said, gesturing towards the small man, dressed in a sharp suit with a cane who was meandering towards them both.
“Which one of you would be William Jones?” The man called, clearly not wanting to get too close to us both.
“That would be me” I replied coolly, seriously regretting that I didn’t know what this Mr Gold character looked like, especially if it was the man standing in front of me. If it was, I was certainly not liking the way he was looking at my little brother.
“Mr Gold, Mr Jones. It’s good to meet you finally in person; there are very few people who I know of who would be willing to take on such a project with such little staff on hand” His voice was cold, clipped and completely unfriendly. Mr Gold was certainly not one who you wanted to cross apparently.
“My brother and I are more than sufficient; this isn’t our first rodeo, as you American’s like to put it. We hope to open within the month, and we shall be sure to tell you the moment we open our doors to the public. Good day Mr Gold.”
“I really don’t like him Li…”
“Me neither Kai. But he is giving us an exceptional deal on this place so I suggest we put up and shut up, alright?”
“Aye, Liam. I guess we will.”
“Any ideas on why he was giving you the death glare though? Do you know him?”
“Never seen him before in my life. I’m pretty sure I would remember a crocodile like him.” I couldn’t help but laugh at my brother’s statement; for it was true in hindsight, Mr Gold was rather similar to a crocodile.
“Well now that we have our keys we can begin to get our stuff into the flat and then start looking at a floor plan and plan of action”
Gold had given us a good deal; a large restaurant space (which with renovations and a lot of love would be perfect for our purposes), along with an office and a flat above the restaurant to call our base of operations.
The flat and office were openly planned, and with views of the sea from half of the windows (underneath one of them I had noticed my brother was already planning to place a desk). The kitchen was more of a kitchenette, with most of the amenities on a bench along with a fridge/ freezer and cooker on the wall- yet it would be more than big enough for trying out new recipes and general cooking. To the left of the kitchen led off to three enclosed rooms; two of which were bedrooms whilst the other was the shower room and toilet. The walls throughout were a pale shade of blue with hints of vibrant orange within their decorations (which were different between in each room), which went surprisingly well with the sandy coloured linoleum which covered the floors in the whole flat. Killian had already started putting up the few pictures that we did have of our family on the walls, with our favourite sitting above the sitting area. It was a special picture to us, for it was before our mother was diagnosed with cancer, before our father abandoned us. And now that memory was driving us to chase our dreams; which although had been slightly altered over time, were still mostly the same- Own their own restaurant together somewhere and create a future for themselves.
Because of how few items Killian and I actually owned, we were able to unpack everything within two hours; including going food shopping and learning the basic layout of the town. After that I put on my business “hat” whilst Killian put on his designer and travelling chef “hat” and decided what we wanted to do with the space below our feet, what we could afford, what we would need to do to be able to turn the abandoned space into a functioning restaurant. He argued that we should have circular tables so that everyone could see everyone else on the table, whilst I argued that we should have square tables so that it was more symmetrical in the restaurant. Killian won that particular battle, along with the specs and design of the Kitchen seeing as he would be spending more time in there than I, whilst I chose how the bar area and office would look as I would be spending my time in those areas, and by the time we went to sleep, we had the whole restaurant planned.
Despite the fact Liam and I had only just arrived the afternoon before, we had already unpacked our belongings and tools, planned out the restaurant and were even looking at local businesses from which we could get the necessary items to put together our restaurant. Even though this wasn’t our first restaurant which we had opened between ourselves, I was still suffering PTSD off how the first restaurant, after it had literally gone up in flames, killing half of the people inside… and taking away my left hand in the blast. Even though the culprit had been caught… I still had the constant fear that it would happen again, that this time I would lose Liam. Even throughout my worst time, of me pushing him away… he had stood by me… holding me when I couldn’t do it myself.
Even though we had moved to a new place, I knew that I hadn’t escaped the hands of the doctors and psychologists… I had seen the papers… My medical and psychological history being passed onto more people. More people to look at me like I was a broken wreck rather than a man. It was one of the reasons that Li and I were so close, because we had been through so much together, and seen all the shades of hell only to come back into a stormy world which didn’t recognise us.
We had always wanted our own restaurant, at first we had wanted one in New York, but after the blast our dreams changed to a small family restaurant, in a seaside town, where we were close to the seas that we loved so much, where we could escape the demons of our pasts. We had once travelled the world, tasting all the countries own food, creating our ideas, ready for the day where we could open our own restaurant and serve the meals we had found and made up ourselves. Despite the name of the restaurant, we would serve more than just seafood and Italian; it was just the name that sounded the best in comparison to the others.
I used to work as a waiter in our first restaurant, I saw first-hand how people reacted to our food, how they would all send “Their compliments to the chef”, and how they could all relax in the atmosphere we had created. After the blast I never waited a table again; people shied away from me in the street after seeing my prosthetic hand, and I didn’t want to see how they would react if they saw me bringing their food. It was something that I missed, but knew that I could never have again; for I would never be able to balance the plates on my arms with the hand as it couldn’t move or feel.
I had been cleaning out the kitchen area for the morning when I saw the flash of my brother’s dirty blonde hair and blue eyes standing in the doorway, checking up on me. Looking up from my jobs, I looked straight at the clean cut jawline and layer of scruff that my brother and I both sported, although his hair was ever changing between dirty blonde and light brown, depending on what light he was under. Even though he tried to keep it under control, his curly mop of hair always seemed to fall in a messy and uncontrollable style, instead of going like my sweeping style of darker, straighter hair.
“Everything under control in here little brother?”
“It’s younger brother Liam, you know this. And yes, as it turns out some of the mould is only on the surface so some of the cupboards and storage solutions can be salvaged, but the fridge and freezer have long since stopped working, so we now need to find out where we can get industrial sized freezers and fridges for the amount of food we are going to need.”
“Not to mention we need to find somewhere suitable to advertise this endeavour Killian otherwise nobody will find this place”
“How is the front looking?”
“As it was in here, the floor was only surface damage and so we only need the top layer to be replaced and the wood in the bar area is sound and only needs a little varnish and it will be as good as new. I found a good area where we could have another centrepiece though”
It had always been a tradition in any of the restaurants which they had had, that there must be a centrepiece which could be admired all across the restaurant; but nothing had been able to fill the shoes of the first centrepiece that they had had- a sculpture by Elsa Arendelle of a school of fish, swirling around in a globular shape. It was unfortunately where the blast had come from and so had been destroyed, but that hadn’t stopped them from getting new sculptures to fill the spaces.
Liam had been right though, for in the centre of the room, close to the back of the restaurant but wasn’t blocked by the supporting pillars (which would be decorated in rope for three feet from the bottom to go with the nautical theme they had going). They were hoping to find another sculpture like the first one they had in the first restaurant; or even better another work by Elsa Arendelle, but they would be willing to compromise over it.
We both went back to our retrospective jobs, and once we were done retreated to the the office area to get it ready; as the desk and all their other furniture had finally arrived, meaning that they could get things in order again.
“Do you want to see if you can put an ad in the local paper for a local artist to see if we could get a centrepiece Killian?”
“Sure, I’ll fire up the computer...”
“You have to go in person I already checked online” bloody hell. I was hoping not to have to go and have any social interaction just yet.
“Where do I need to go?”
“Here’s the address, should be somewhere just off of Main Street according to this”
“If I go missing you’re paying for the search party”
“Stop being so over dramatic Killian and see another human being that isn’t me”
Even though Killian hated social interaction now, I knew that forcing him out to get an ad in the paper would be good for him, for just as his previous psychologist had said, he needs to be around people more to help him get over his past experiences and disability. To be honest though I wasn’t lying about him having to go there in person to go put an ad in the paper; there wasn’t any website for them that had anything other than the address on the site.
We had both been surprised at how much was actually salvageable within the restaurant already, which did wonders for our savings, as it meant we would be able to look into local suppliers sooner than we had anticipated. But it also meant that I could look into the police department within Storybrooke, or the “Sheriff department” as it was called here. I had already arranged a meeting for me to see Sheriff Swan and discuss some…. safety measures which I wanted to have in place so that there would not be a repeat of New York again.
I would already be there if it weren’t for the fact that “The Sheriff was currently out doing some business around town and wouldn’t be back until two” as her deputy had so wonderfully put it, before hanging up on me. Seeing as I now had a couple of hours to pass, I decided that I should contact my prop and set design friends from New York to see how much they would be able to supply for the restaurant (which was quite a lot: the rope and anchors for the columns, the drift wood effect bar top and shelving unit) before getting in contact with a local carpenter who (was the best carpenter within a 30 mile radius according to the reviews online) would make the tables and chairs that we were wanting, as neither Killian or I ever liked have precisely matching furniture. He said he would come to the restaurant to come and talk to us about on tuesday; giving us two days to make the walls and floors look presentable. By the time I had wrapped up on the phone it was nearly two, meaning I could finally head over to the Sheriff station and talk about certain aspects for the restaurant.
The station itself was right in the centre of Main Street, with only two police cruisers and two spaces in front of the station. From travelling so much around I was used to seeing a police station with at least five cars, and officers milling about on their breaks. The glass doors showed an empty reception, and walking in, I could see that this was evidently a place that wasn’t used very much.
“You must be the guy who called earlier” A man called from the stairs. I hadn’t even seen him there, and seeing him in profile made me notice the badge he wore on his belt. “Deputy Nolan” The sandy haired man said “And who might you be?”
“Liam Jones, Mr Nolan. My brother and I are opening up a restaurant in the harbour, however I need to talk to the sheriff about a certain bit of extra security” I spoke to leave no argument, and despite his confusion the deputy took me upstairs to the office where the Sheriff was.
She was somewhere around 30 years old, with long blonde hair which cascaded down her back and shoulders. Once her deputy gained her attention, I saw her green eyes focus onto me, with a glare which felt like it was going through my soul itself, trying to learn my secrets.
“Sheriff Swan, Mr Jones.” She introduced herself, waving for me to sit down on the other side if the desk from her. “David tells me that you want to talk about extra security for your restaurant but I have to tell you that..”
“That I should take this to my insurance and security companies however they don’t usually have to deal with suicide bombers trying to blow up their clients businesses”
“My brother and I had come to America trying to open our own restaurants… however about a year after we open a man with a bomb strapped to his chest comes into our restaurant and… blew himself up. Right next to my brother… He was lucky to survive… let alone walk away with only an amputation. He wasn’t the first either, for five months later in that same restaurant it nearly happens again, however a police officer was on hand and stopped the bomb from detonating. So I guess now you can see why I would like some extra security for us.” Both the Sheriff and Deputy were shocked from my story, but she quickly started nodding, looking across her desk for something.
“I may not be able to have an officer there, as there is literally only my brother and I here on the station, but I can have someone we know and trust in your restaurant.. Perhaps you could pretend to hire him and then he will always be there on hand in case of emergency?”
“That sounds like a plan Mrs Swan”
“It’s Sheriff to you. Good day Mr Jones.”
By the time I had returned to the restaurant it was now three O’clock in the afternoon; meaning Killian had been out for over three hours and still not returned, sparking worry and fear in my chest from the last time that I hadn’t known where he was and that certainly not something which I wished never to repeat. I was about to run out to go and find him in the truck when he came back through the door, safe if not a little bit cold.
“Where the hell have you been Killian! I was worried about you!”
“I was waiting for you to come back as after I had finally found the Newspaper I went into a diner to get some tea and warm myself up. The old lady who ran it got talking to me, and I may have found someone who can make the plates and bowls and such on batch for us”
“That’s great I guess… but why didn’t you just come back here?”
“You haven’t gotten a second key made yet you idiot! I was locked out!” Well that would make sense; and my stupid brain had elected to ignore the fact that his absence was due to the fact only I had a set of keys to the flat or restaurant at the moment.
“Well to prevent that from happening again I should go out and get them copied. Did you see if the hardware store had a key cutter in it?”
“Oh, Yeah.. Few stores down from the diner, it has a key cutting sign outside of it, you can’t miss it” My brother had evidently been trying to remember where exactly he had seen the sign, as he was making wild hand gestures which to him and I would make sense but to others would make no sense at all.
I left him in the flat with a couple beers and his sketchbook whilst I went to go and get the keys cut, knowing that he would still be there when I returned.
Liam was seemingly forgetting what subtlety was when he forced me out of the door. I knew that my old psychologist had believed that it was necessary that I get “lots of human interaction along with his animal therapy”. Of course that didn’t exactly help me standing out here on the street in front of the restaurant. I knew that if I turned right I would be headed towards Main Street, and apparently Riverdell drive where the Newspaper building was situated somewhere off of that.
Walking along the sidewalk in the Autumn breeze was cooling to say the least, going through my clothes and seemingly burying itself deep within my bones, making me feel the shivers as more than skin deep. Looking at the path, I watched it turn from grey to orange and brown as leaves covered the path, most of which looked to have come from the garden area of the diner called “Granny’s”. I made a mental note to go there on my way back to get a tea and warm myself up a little before braving the wind again on the way back to the flat. As I continued walking along the path to where the GPS on my phone though Riverdell drive was, I was reminded of a time gone by, when there was a second set of boots next to mine as we walked through the leaves, her laugh airless and carefree, creating clouds with her breath. I was only broken from my reverie when I realised that I had wandered upon a turn off from Main Street which didn’t have a large road on it, and on closer inspection, I saw that it was indeed Riverdell drive.
The drive was lined with trees, their leaves in shades of gold and brown, swirling through the wind and dancing towards the floor where they meet the cold curb, trying to pick themselves up, back into the sky from where they came instead of being stuck on the ground as I was. I sometimes envied the birds and the leaves as they flew through the air, for the freedom that only they would know, of their feathers being ruffled in the wind as they flew, as it lifted them high into the sky to sights unknown and different currents. But I knew that even when I had two hands, I would never know that freedom of flight.
The path finally dwindled towards an old looking building, which had the sign “Storybrooke Mirror” on the wall in faded scripts of green and gold, a standing contrast to the dark red brick of the building. The wooden door creaked open at my touch, it’s dark green having seen better days, whilst the handle shone a bright gold against it.
The reception consisted of a rounded desk which went from wall to wall, closed around the receptionist who was organising various papers on the desk when I walked in. The walls were a gentle cream colour, and covered in old posters for events and fairs which had all been and gone, giving the feeling that this room was somehow stuck within time, constantly reliving the happier, busier days gone by. As I walked over to the receptionist, I tried to see if I could spot a form for which I could fill in so that I could place an advert for a local artist of if someone had an unwanted statue in peace and avoid having to talk, but unfortunately the receptionist had been watching me since I had walked in the door, waiting for me to come over.
“Hello and welcome to the Storybrooke Mirror, how can I help you sir?” She called happily over the counter, more or less forcing me to actually talk to her and engage in verbal interaction.
“Yes, I would like to put an advert in the paper please”
“How many days for sir?” her calling me sir was more irritating than I could ever have guessed and now I seriously wanted to put duct tape on her mouth to quieten her.
“It’s Mr Jones. And a week please.” the receptionist promptly handed over the form which she had been filling in, telling me where to write my advert and where to sign it. In the end it had costed me $17.50 just to place the ad in the paper; although I was happy with what I had written;
WANTED/ LOOKING FOR
Looking for local artists and unwanted sculptures.
We are wanting a sculpture to go into our new restaurant and are requiring a centrepiece.
If you are an artist or have a sculpture you would be willing to sell please call this number
- Jones: xxxxxxxxxxx
I was dreading the walk back into town, for whilst I had been indoors not only had I warmed up, but the wind had gotten stronger, meaning that it had taken even less time for me to feel the cold again. At least the wind was pushing me towards town this time rather than against my movements.
After about an hour I finally got back to the diner that I had seen earlier, and promptly went inside to get out of the wind. It was in every part the stereotypical American diner, complete with the red benches and checked linings everywhere. I walked towards the bar, pulling out a stool and motioning with my good hand for a waitress to come and serve me some tea.
I must have been sitting there for a good 20 minutes when an older lady came over to my table with inquisitive eyes and a smirk on her face
“You new to town young man?” She said in way that almost sounded like she was barking
“Yeah, my brother and I just moved here”
“Huh..” she said quietly, tilting her head back slightly, as if she was trying to figure out a puzzle instead of a man
“There something wrong with that” I asked challengingly and I immediately saw her face turn into something more amused than puzzled
“Nothin’ wrong with that at all. Just thinkin’ you would’a made a hell of a waiter” I could feel the blood drain from my face, because even though I knew it was a compliment, it felt just like another reminder of everything that had happened. I knew that only then had she seen my hand, laying on the countertop, and even though it had a glove on it, it’s stillness gave away that it was a fake.
“Maybe I was once” I relied sadly, trying to get the old woman off of me, but regrettably that didn’t work.
“So you and your brother, what you planning on doing here?”
“We’re opening a restaurant on the harbour side. Mostly seafood and italian, but there will be other options too, although I could use a little local knowledge”
“What do you want.” I could tell that she was going to be awkward about the whole thing now that she knew my brother and I were planning to open a restaurant which could rival her own.
“My brother and I prefer to have handmade items in our restaurants, so that locally made tables, chairs, plates and bowls and such. I know my brother was going to call a carpenter today but I wondered if you knew of any local potters perhaps?”
“Well there might be a few, although I only know of one who may be mad enough to consider doing this for you. His name’s Cyrus, and he’s the one you’ll want to get in contact with.”
“If I left my number here could you pass it on to him for me please?” The old woman never replied, but she still took the number from me and pinned it onto the board behind the counter for me. I looked down at my watch only to discover that I had nearly been away three hours from the restaurant. Liam had to have gotten back from wherever he was by now, and I wouldn’t have to risk being locked out.
I arrived just in the knick of time, for Liam thought that something may have happened to me for me to be out so long, although once I explained that I would have been locked out had I come back any earlier the tension seeped out of his skin like the beads of sweat on his forehead from the worry I had no doubt caused. I finally let the shivers of cold take shape, and Liam let me get a shower whilst he checked what food we had in, for even though he had only gone shopping last night, he wasn’t sure what to make of the items we had purchased.
As soon as I was in my sweats he handed me a beer and I took it towards the lounge area where I had left my notepad the night before. It was an old book, and every page had at least one drawing on each side, and for most there were multiple little sketches filling the page. Most of the time they were animals, occasionally landscapes, and even occasionally people. Maybe I would find something new to draw. Perhaps this small town could give me some more inspiration.
It had been just a regular day in the office when her adoptive cousin, Ana came bounding through the door; yelling something about a new guy in town that was cute and I really couldn’t be bothered to listen, because even though I loved her, it wasn’t even 8 O’clock in the morning. Thank god it was friday instead of Monday.
“Ana could you please keep the yelling and screaming until I have at least had three coffees. I seriously can’t keep up with you at the moment.”
“Funny you should say that because I bought you and extra large coffee from Granny’s!” Looked like she was going to give me no choice but to listen to her excited ramblings.
“Fine, you twisted my arm. What’s up?” I said as I took a sip from the coffee cup and THANK GOD Granny made up the coffee instead of Ana because it had just the right amount of milk and sugar in it.
“So these two super cute and super hot guys just moved to Storybrooke, and they’re like, really tall and handsome…”
“Ana, do you keep forgetting that you have a Fiancé or something?”
“I’m not meaning for me! I’m meaning for you and Elsa!” Typical Ana Arendelle. Always trying to find men for her sister and I. Legally we were cousins, seeing as their aunt adopted me when I was a teenager, but because we had spent so much time together we all saw each other as sisters.
“Ana we can both find men for ourselves. We just choose not to at the minute because we both have better things to do with our time. Like catching criminals and trying to track down lost art”
“Oh stop being so stuck up Emma! You should totally find them and try to get his number” I was glad to see that Ana was starting to make her move to get back to her fiancé who no doubt was already working hard in the woods. It seems everyone who had seen these two new guys were determined to get me to meet them, as Belle had told me about them yesterday, seeing as her Husband was the one they were renting their restaurant from, although she was wondering why they had gone for that one, because the area stunk like fish and the place was nowhere fit for standards of building a restaurant. Yet still they were trying to do the impossible.
I was already dreading the daily rounds for my patrol schedule, because some people just liked to call me to waste my time and stop others from being seen, but regrettably they were a necessary part of the job and I couldn’t let my brother do them all himself (it was weird to find out that I had a brother that had been separated from me whilst we were in the system). Leaving a note on the desk for him to find telling him of the forms I just needed him to fill in for me whilst I was on patrol.
D: A guy called for you. Told him you’d be back at 2. Was insistent that he talked to you. Be back on time.
David’s message was both a joy and a curse to receive; because on one hand I would get off patrolling earlier than usual, but on the other I had to have a meeting with yet another demanding citizen of Storybrooke who thought that they were above everyone else.
I stopped at Granny’s to pick myself up a coffee before I would have to deal with my brother and whoever it was who desperately needed to see me for something that was probably inconsequential. It wasn’t till I was leaving did I notice the dark haired and handsome stranger sitting at the bar, a cup of something in his right hand, apparently warming it up, but why not his left hand? I didn’t bother questioning it as I left for the station, ready to face whoever thought himself important now and it better not be Mr Gold again.
As it turned out it was not anybody who I had met in town before. He’s one of the new guys Ana was trying to set you up with my brain helpfully supplied; and it wasn’t wrong. This Mr Jones was handsome, with his curly brown hair and a face of a greek god. But he wasn’t really my type- I was more for the tall, dark, dangerous looking guys. Once he actually started talking in the lilted English accent, I could barely believe what I was hearing to comprehend how hot his accent alone was. A bomb? Extra security so they don’t get blown up?? Who the hell are these people? My brain went into autopilot attempting to find god knows what on the desk in front of me August’s number! Of course, I could get him to work there and act as waiter come bomb diffuser. Piece of cake.
Except if the way David was looking at me when Mr Jones left was anything to go by, it wasn’t going to be so simple as I had hoped.
“Do you really think this is a good idea letting that guy and his brother stay? I mean if there is a risk that they will attract more guys with bombs on their chests to Storybrooke then we should turn them away and protect the town”
“You don’t think I already thought of that David? But maybe the reason they came here is so that they could escape their demons? That maybe his brother didn’t want to relive the explosions anymore so them came to a place that was quiet and almost guarantees him better mental health? Wouldn’t you want that if it was your family” He quickly turned away from me, for I knew that he was still very touchy on the topic of family, because he was adopted when he was two whilst I was still in the system; so when it came to family issues I knew he would understand.
“Okay then. But who would willingly go into a restaurant where someone with a bomb may or may not try to target and work as a waiter and security man?”
“Last time I checked August was still looking for a job and this one would be good for him. A combination of his skills” David nodded and went over to the cork board where we kept contacts in case we couldn’t find them in the mess of the desks (like today) to call August and ask him to cut his time in his father’s carpentry shop so we could talk to him about the new job offer we could have for him.
It was close to half three when August actually strolled through the door, his tall, thin, tanned frame leant against the door waiting for me to get off the phone to Granny who was once again complaining about Leroy and his brothers (who we all called the seven dwarves) were making a commotion in the diner again and that someone had to come and sort it and no, she wanted the sheriff not the deputy and…
“Sounded like Granny was awfully angry there Emma, you sure you want to leave David to deal with her when she is like this?” August asked in his light Italian accent (his father, Marco was Italian and had moved to Storybrooke after his wife died, leaving he and August by themselves). August was one of the many odd characters we had in Storybrooke; for his resumée was a little… unusual you could say- with five years armed services as a bomb diffuser under his belt as well a lot of experience being a waiter.
“He’s known everyone the longest. He’ll be able to get everyone to calm down and apologise. Although I didn’t ask you to come because of the problems at Granny’s.” I could see August’s bright blue eyes sparkling with intrigue, and his dark scruff outlined a small smirk that only came from finding a purpose in life.
“Well I am listening intently Sheriff Swan”
“As you may or not have heard there are two new guys in town setting up a restaurant…”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Shut up and you’ll find out.” I said jokingly, however I turned serious when I passed on the rest of the information “One of the last restaurants they had was blown up by a suicide bomber killing half their staff and customers, as well as injuring one of the brothers who owns the restaurant badly. They want someone who could work for them as a waiter but also as an extra measure of security, and you were the first person that came to mind as you have both the skills they need” August’s face fell into one of darkness after I mentioned the bomb, one which I hadn’t seen since he had been relieved from service, and he proceeded to be deep in thought until I finished speaking.
“So you want me to go into a restaurant and pretend to be a waiter whilst waiting for a literal bomb to go off which may not even detonate?”
“No I need you to go and talk to them about becoming a waiter and every so often checking for bombs. You would have the job of a waiter, not security, August. And I know you wanted a job that lasted longer than a day.”
August was silent for about two minutes before he finally responded that he would think about it. He walked away with his brown leather coat swirling around him as he stormed out with his thoughts resembling a raging storm.
David walked in ten minutes later after dispersing the dispute at Granny’s and came with a hot chocolate with cinnamon on top for me, a coffee for himself and two bear claws making for an enjoyable mid-afternoon break.
“What was the problem at Granny’s this time? Ruby spill coffee again?” We both knew that that would never be the cause because of Ruby’s nearly superhuman reflexes, although it had happened once, when she happened to be kissing her boyfriend; Dr Whale.
“Nothing so entertaining. Some new guy in town had apparently stolen Leroy’s seat and he was being all possessive about it, and the dude had left literally as Leroy was arriving. He was making a fuss just for the fact someone else used to the stool that he usually sat on. Stupid Grumpy.”
“A new guy? Perhaps it was Mr Jones’ brother, he would probably have being going around Storybrooke earlier to familiarise himself with the place. And that would include one of the only places where you can buy a coffee.”
“Oh yeah, Mary Margaret called, and apparently she and Ana have been talking, as she now wants to go over to the Jones’ and welcome them to Storybrooke and size them up. I love her with all my heart, as I do you; I only wish you would try to date so that she will leave us both alone in the subject!” I chuckled to myself, knowing that he was not lying; my sister and law was practically a living Snow White, however she loved to meddle with everyone else’s business. And she loved all children, which reminded me….
“Isn’t it your day with Henry today Emma?” David said, realising what that today was my early day at the same time that I did.
“Yeah, do you..”
“Course not. Go pick Henry up from school and keep yourselves out of trouble. Or scheme some mischief. Just have a good time and remember that it’s dinner at ours on sunday.” David was always supportive and understanding whenever it came to Henry; because if it weren’t for that little kid I would never have met my brother.
The story of how Henry came to be was far from happy- his father had abandoned me and set me up to take his fall, and so Henry was given up for adoption…. whilst I was still in prison. I always looked back and regretted running away from Ingrid, who was my adoptive mother who had recently passed away. All the time I had spent away from my adoptive family reminded me how much I loved them and missed them. I could never have guessed that ten years later on birthday Henry would turn up on my doorstep, asking if I was Emma Swan; and two years later I was glad that Henry had found me, despite his adoptive mother’s insistence that he didn’t even speak to me when I first arrived. Although as soon as she found Robin and his son Rowland, she mellowed out and was more lenient on when I could see my son. Once everything was finally settled the Arendelle sisters then moved into Storybrooke so that we could be close together again.
Just thinking of his unruly mop of hair and thousand watt smile was enough to warm me from the insides, his smile never failed to brighten my mood, although he was certainly a Nolan (he may have gotten that from Mary Margaret as she was his teacher), for he enjoyed playing matchmaker and was the truest believer of true love. I had never told him about the father he took after so much, of his betrayal. Climbing into the yellow volkswagen bug which I had once stolen from Henry’s father (and hence meeting him) I drove to the local school where I knew that Henry would be waiting for me with Mary Margaret, ready to come back to my apartment (which I thankfully didn’t have to share with my brother and his wife anymore).
“Hey Mom! We were learning about astronomy and some of the stories and in biology we were learning about the stuff that was growing in the harbour and..”
“Wow, slow down kid. We still have the whole week ahead of us yet remember? It’s your week with me”
“I know, it’s just so cool some of the stuff we were learning about! It’s the kinda stuff that I bet Captain Hook would have known!” Ah. There it was, this week’s fictional idol. Why it had ended up being Captain Hook, I had no idea; for he was always the bad guy in the story. Although it probably had more to do with that strange book of fairy tales which Mary Margaret and David had given him for his birthday, because it had completely different versions of all the fairy tales I had grown up watching and reading in the many foster homes I worked my way through.
“Not sure why Captain Hook would’ve had to know the various sea life that was under his ship kid. But the astronomy part would make sense.” I swung my arm over his shoulders as we walked back to the bug, Henry happily chattering about everything he had learnt at school today, and what his various friends were doing that weekend, as well as some not so subtle hints that he fancied a take-out instead of home cooked food (all he ever ate with Regina was home made).
“Have you heard about the two new guys in town Mom?” He said with his mouth full of chinese, and of course he would know about outsiders who had just moved into the empty building. The outsiders who happened to be targets of terrorism, and had been bombed. Those guys.
“Had the pleasure of meeting one of the today. He wanted to quickly talk to me about security stuff.”
“Apparently one of them sat in Leroy’s seat at Granny’s and he kicked up about it.”
“Seriously kid, how do you know about all this stuff? You should been doing school work at the time it was going on”
“And I was! Mrs Nolan told me about it in after school club” Of course she would know. David told her practically everything that happened at the station, which reminded me, August never took Mr Jones’ number to able to call him, so I would have to check up on him and see what his response was after the weekend.
“Hurry up and eat your food kid or I’ll eat it myself”
The next few days flew past, from working hard on the shop to getting the new floors fitted and the walls had new panels fitted and were ready for painting, meaning that when Marco arrived on tuesday he was able to see a basic layout and would actually have a place to be able to put the tables. Surprisingly enough it only took the promise of fish and chips for dinner to convince Killian to actually help deliver the ideas to Marco (he was the one who truly understood the designs he wanted, but he nearly didn’t because of his hand.), and for once, there was no reaction to his prosthetic hand, and marco even asked Killian if he would like to help him in his shop with some of the specific detailing on each of the tables. And thankfully he actually said yes, meaning for the next two weeks he would get some more human contact and would possibly make a friend in Marco- something which would benefit Killian a lot. As would the animal therapy once the horse yard actually responded to Dr Hopper’ letter as we had enough to buy a horse if none of the horses were available for therapy purposes.
Killian was beginning to settle; something that made me happier than I could have known, as rather than trying to get impossibly drunk every night and using his medication to make him sleep, he was instead picking up a book, having a beer then going to sleep, letting the sound of the sea send him to sleep (although I had already caught him twice fast asleep with his lights still on and book still in his hands). Thanks to Killian’s hard work the restaurant was nearly ready for the kitchen to be furnished, as was the bar area, meaning that the props for the bar were ready to be measured and made, whilst we were able to start looking at cookers and freezers that we could have installed (unlike the other restaurants there wasn’t a walk in freezer for them to use, although I was rather happy about that considering what had happened in one of the last ones…) so he could get some practise in on using the equipment before we opened the restaurant.
Now that Kai had his own keys he would go out and explore some of Storybrooke, or would go out to get us some Granny’s, which seemed to be one of the only restaurants in Storybrooke other than a quaint, yet hidden Italian at the other end of Main Street to the docks, with Granny’s in the centre of Main Street, although he was starting to look at when he could go over to Marco’s to help decorate or even make the tables which would be used in the restaurant. To say I was happy with the developments he had made to the restaurant and in himself was an understatement.
But that wasn’t the only reason I was happy, because since we had put the advert in the local paper, we had had three offers of statues for the centrepiece, and even better still, an offer for a local artist who was interested in doing us a sculpture, and they had even agreed to meet us at the restaurant and to see what they might be able to do. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any idea as to who they might be as they had sent a text rather than calling me. But tomorrow I would know who they were. Tomorrow the restaurant would finally feel like it was ours.
The next couple of days went by without incident, and by the time the horse yard had responded, so had an artist. I had been relying on my animal therapy whilst we were in New York, and again once we were in Boston, although I had been forced to see people before I was allowed clearance to do my animal therapy at the horse yard, meaning I also had some time with Marco to use as meditation and physio for my arm.
As I drove through town towards the stables, a bright yellow volkswagen caught my attention in passing, a stark contrast to the grayscale world around it, but I had to get my eyes back on the road so that I didn’t cause an accident and that I didn’t get lost trying to find the stables- which, like every other place in town, was not sign posted. I followed the directions along Main Street and then left towards the forest, which led me down towards the remote and wonderfully quiet horse yard which lay at the top of the hill.
The stables were all of an American style, except for two which were hidden around the back, away from the prying eyes of the public. These two stables were traditional, English farmyard stables, complete with the wide wooden doors, and of a stone build. All the walls, inside and out were whitewashed, with the lower half of the stalls painted in black as not to show the dirt on the walls, with the back of the stable floor covered in rubber matting to put bedding upon, but leaving the forefront of the stable clear. Opposite the two stables was the muck heap, meaning I wouldn’t have to go far to muck out the stable. Out of the two stables, only one was set up to have a horse inside it, because its sister stable to the left was a tack room and storage room; as it had a couple of tack horses and bridle pegs on the wall next to the door, with the wall adjacent to that having feed bins and various buckets to the left hand side, while the right side of the wall was stacked up with wood shavings to make up the beds. Finally, on the wall opposite the door was all the tools necessary to look after a horse; the fork, shovel, wheelbarrow as well as a basic grooming kit. The stables were facing away from the rest of the yard as well as the whole of Storybrooke, but when a horse was actually in the stable it would be able to learn his head around the corner and be able to see me coming.
The stable manager who had come to meet me and show me round had introduced himself as Anton, and he was a beast of a man, standing at over seven feet above my five eleven frame. For some ironic reason he said everyone called him tiny, because before his brothers left to play basketball for league teams, he was the smallest of the giants as I found out as we were walking up towards where the horses were grazing in the field. I was glad that he hadn’t shied away from my hand, and told him so, to which he responded rather unusually;
“You ain’t the first one handed man who came here. Well at least to this yard that is. There used to be this old rider, a champion actually, who lost his hand in a car crash, yet he still continued to train and then won competitions, despite his injury. He was the man who taught me to ride, so I’m more used to someone having one hand then two although I can see how others may not react the same way. How much experience do you have around horses anyway?”
“Well I have had a couple of horses since the accident, although we couldn’t bring them with us. I’ve been riding since I was a boy though, so I can do walk through to gallop and jumps as well.”
“Finally someone who actually knows how to ride a horse. I was beginning to think that I would have to endure more lessons with someone who wouldn’t listen. And before you say you would listen, I can tell you wouldn’t because you are stubborn in allowing anyone to help you in any form. But instead of having you as a pupil, I may be able to use you as a hacking buddy instead; we don’t have many people who bother going on hacks, however Dr Hopper passed on that you were calmed by those sorts of things”
“Yes, I’d take an abandoned track amongst the trees over time in a square school any day. So which of these horses are we looking at?” We had finally reached the end of the track, to where three fields of horses were waiting. In the left field I could see a couple of cobs and Irish thoroughbreds beside the gate, whilst there were no horses by the gate opposite, I could see them further up the field, particularly an Arab which was right by the fence, nose to nose with the lone horse in the middle field. Even from a distance I could tell it was a friesian with its stocky but tall build. It’s mane and tail were longer than they should have been, and on its legs you could tell that it was recovering from being abandoned, as they were too skinny, just as the rest of him was.
Anton had been saying something about some of the mares in the left field, however when I mentioned that I was more interested in getting a gelding Anton only mentioned one available in the right field, a 5 year old appaloosa that was only for experienced riders really. Spot, as it was called had a docile temperament, but he wasn’t for me.
“What about the Friesian?”
“Trust me when I say you do not want to go near that horse. It’s trouble to all near it”
“Please, just let me get a little closer to it” I begged, and Anton looked like he was about to protest when he noticed that said horse was actually coming closer towards us, and I could finally see it in detail. The gelding was all black, apart from a small white diamond on his nose, his feathers were matted from the mud and the neglect. The distance had hidden the scars and wounds on the geldings body, something inflicted deliberately; just as my own wounds had been, but when I looked into its matching pair of wall eyes, I saw a reflection of my own soul within, something that had been harmed for reasons it would never know, to be alone when you needed help the most.
I could hear Anton trying to mutter some kind of warning to me, but I could not hear him; and didn’t until I saw the fear and anger be summoned within the creature's eyes when Anton tried to get it away from me.
“...Get back! He’s going to rear!” I briefly heard Anton call, just as the dark horse went back onto two legs, his legs holding him high in the air, kicking his front legs forward to get Anton away from him.
“Aton, step away from him!” I called, realising that the horse was afraid of him, and that was why he was rearing up; he was afraid of Anton and was fighting him instead of running away.
Anton looked at me skeptically before doing so, and as soon as he had moved far away enough, the horse calmed immediately, and it was almost like the horse was breathing a sigh of relief. I swiftly climbed over the fence, coming up to the horse’s side, staying where he could see me, and I saw those intelligent eyes lock onto me, choosing what to do. Once I was only a few horses strides away, I stopped, and put my hands (both real and not) in front of me, showing him that I meant no harm to him. After a couple of minutes, the gelding stepped cautiously towards me, until his nose was nudging my fake hand, investigating the strange object I had in place of a hand. Now that the being before me was no longer afraid, I was able to get a better look at him in profile- I could see he was 17.2hh, and that his mane was shorter where once he would have had a halter around his head. I could see that his feet were in desperate need of attention, as was the rest of him, but he was in fact rather playful, trying to play with the hand which by this point, he had probably figured wasn’t normal. He was the living definition of needing some TLC, and surprisingly, I felt the need to help this kindred spirit.
I hadn’t even realised that Anton had left or come back again until he was trying to grab my attention so that he could pass me a halter and lead for the gentle giant before me. I had only realised that Anton was coming closer to us when the gelding tensed beneath my hands, his body moving away slightly, although he stayed where he was when I comforted him, and after about 20 minutes of me seeing him for the first time, I was leading him back down the track to the stables where I would be allowed to keep him. When I tied him up to a ring on the wall, I watched the horses whole demeanor change, his ears were pricked up, investigating his new surroundings, looking at me whilst I was trying to pull a body brush from the grooming kit with only one hand. Anton had left a few minutes before saying he needed to make a call, and would be back soon. Which reminded me that I needed to come up with a name for the horse before me, for as we were leading him back down the track Anton had been telling me the geldings story; was in the hands of a dealer who had beaten him before putting him literally in a ditch, where animal services later found him, before bringing him to the yard to begin the recuperation process. If he ever had a name; it had been lost in time, leaving me the job of coming up with a good name for him.
Grabbing the brush and adjusting the prosthetic around the brush, I moved to the geldings left flank, brushing off the dirt as I talked to him. “You know, you may not be the first I have ever looked after, but you may be one of the more interesting ones. Because I believe you and I are quite similar, and that’s why we get along so well. But I really need something better to refer to you as than ‘the horse’ or ‘the gelding’. What about rocket then? Something speedy?” His ear had been trained onto me whilst I was talking, and once I suggested that name, he shook his head in response with a small noise which of what sounded a little like disagreement “Maybe not then” I chuckled to myself. Talking to a horse shouldn’t be so normal, yet somehow for me it was. “What about something greek, like Zeus?” I didn’t know why I was comparing the horse before me to the king of the greek gods, but after he once again disagreed, I had another similar but different thought. Something that reflected my life and my other passions. “What about Neptune? For the god of the sea…” the gelding whinnied in response, and turned to look at me with his ears in a happy position, letting me know that I had indeed, just found him the right name. “Neptune it is then.”
I continued to groom Neptune’s body until the dust was gone, leaving the difficult choice of what to do with his mane and tail. Both were matted beyond belief and too long to be considered good for him, so the options were either to cut all of the mane off and most of the tail and get it to regrow, or cut both so it gets to a good length and then try to groom out the matting. The first option was certainly seeming like the better option, and I was contemplating on if I should give Neptune’s feathers the same treatment when Anton finally came around the corner again.
“Well he scrubbed up well. Mostly at least” He gestured good naturedly at Neptune, who was happily munching on a hay net, his body looking clean but not quite shiny while his mane, tail and feathers were still a mess.
“Yeah he does. Although I was wondering if we would be able to clip off his feathers and mane and allow them to regrow over the winter to get rid of the matting, whilst taking quite a bit off the tail for the same reason?” Anton looked quickly over Neptune’s frame, picturing what would need to be done in each area likely, before agreeing and saying that they could get the clippers on him sometime later in the day, before he turned and asked the ultimate question of the day.
“So… have you come up with a name for him yet? We need to make up the tags and such for him, as well as a plate for the door” I could see that whilst Anton was mostly telling the truth, he was lying in the sense that he was more interested in the name out of curiosity rather than for the paper work which he would need to fill out afterwards.
“Neptune. I named him Neptune” I said thoughtfully, looking back to the horse who was slowly falling asleep where he stood, being able to finally relax, knowing that Anton wasn’t coming any closer.
“Like the planet?”
“Like the Roman god of the sea” Anton murmured in agreement, saying something about getting the paperwork done whilst I made up a bed in the stable.
I brought the wheel barrow close to where the bags of shaving were, quickly dragging one into barrow without having to lift the heavy bag with my real or fake hand thankfully, because these bags were bigger and heavier than the stables in Boston had. Wheeling the bag next door, I quickly pulled my keys so that I could open the bag and spread the shavings (which as per usual, went everywhere, including onto me). I followed this pattern four more times till I was happy with the bed, which was about four inches thick, with small walls of shavings at the edges. Neptune had taken to watching me whilst I made his bed, poking his head into the stable which was now his, and when I was close enough to him, he would occasionally give me a nudge. Next I had the job of filling up a water bucket and carrying it into the stable; a task that was difficult with two hands as it was, let alone with only one. In the end I decided to place the larger bucket in the stable with only a third of the water inside it, and using one of the feed buckets I filled it up the rest of the way.
Standing in the doorway, I took a moment to admire the surroundings of the small stable block which was in essence, mine. The path which went between the main blocks of stables and the fields were on the other side of the bank of trees, however the muck heap was right opposite the stables, with only a small, waist high wall separating the two. To the right I could see a direct way into the local woods, a small, little worn path leading on into the trees, just about tall enough if I wanted to take Neptune through the woods. The autumn leaves covered the ground in most places, and my breathes made small clouds of mist, floating away in the barely there breeze.
It had been nearly an hour since Anton left, and five minutes after I had finished the stable when a petite blonde came around the corner, evidently looking for someone, and once her eyes landed on me, I realised it was me who she was looking for.
“Mr Jones?” She called out in her scottish accent, her blue eyes questioning me as I leant against the door of the stable.
“Who’s asking?” I responded, and whilst I knew it was cold, I just felt that I could not trust new people, Anton bizarrely being an exception.
“Mary Bean. Anton’s wife. He’s still cooped up in his office doing the paperwork for your Neptune so he was suggesting that once you’ve done what you can in the stable and with Neptune, that you should head into town and get yourself some lunch before coming back to clip your ‘orse” Mary quickly walked back in the direction of the house I had passed on coming in, leaving me with cleaning out Neptune’s hooves and then trying to get some lunch somewhere (something told me that it was going to be Granny’s again).
Despite very little of his past being known, Neptune was in fact trained, at least for footwork, as he would happily let you pick up his hooves to pick them out, and would move over when asked and was good to lead. Anton had mentioned that he would call in the local saddler to get a saddle fitted for Neptune, because the local saddlery sold most of equipment you needed, up to and including bridles and other pieces of tack (numnahs, Girths, rugs, grooming kits, feed, bedding and other items), they just didn’t sell the saddles to go with them.
Leaving Neptune in his stable with the haynet, I went in search of some food in town before having to come back to clip Neptune’s mane and feathers off in the afternoon. The town was certainly busier than when I had last seen it earlier that morning, although that may have been because most people would have been at work, it was thursday after all. The diner was mostly empty, meaning I could get a take out pretty quickly (grilled cheese was quickly taking over as the food I was eating the most of recently) and high tail it back to the restaurant where Liam was. Or should have been should I say, for the restaurant was all locked up when I arrived, although he had the good sense to put a note saying that he had met the artist and was going with them to see some of their works, although he never actually mentioned who said artist was. I breathed a sigh of relief after I saw the note, as neither Li or I took to separation very well, and waking up alone in a hospital bed on more than one occasion had certainly not helped.
After I got back to the yard I saw Anton and Mary sitting outside the house, Mary looking through some paperwork whilst Anton was rummaging through the box in front of him. Despite the difference in size and stature, Mary and Anton seamlessly complemented each other, a perfect fit to each other’s smooth edges. Anton glanced over to me before picking up the box and saying something to Mary before coming with me to Neptune’s stable. Inside the box was the clippers, as well as what looked to be hairdressers equipment. On picking up the hairdressers equipment, Anton quickly told me how the hairdressers scissors and such were best for getting the most part of the hair off the horses so the clippers had to do less.
Neptune was uneasy in Anton’s presence still, even with me there comforting him, so Anton instead showed me how to position my hand and prosthetic so that I could cut the feathers and mane safely and efficiently. Once the most of the feathers were gone, he then showed me how to hold the clippers and finish off the job, leaving Neptune’s legs open to the air after god knows how long, and Neptune surprisingly allowed Anton to apply some antibacterial spray to kill any bugs that had been underneath the matting, and then we followed a similar process for his mane, and then his tail- by the end of the session you could barely tell it was the same horse, however the scars and too new wounds were still there to give it away.
It was close to four when I finally got around to Marco’s, and once again he was very understanding and immediately showed me to his workshop where he and his son were making the tables, some of which were ready for some decoration to be carved into them before they were painted and varnished. The workshop was small and getting towards the too small side of the scale with all the pieces of tables and chairs sitting around the various benches, and opposite where Marco asked me to sit was a younger, darker haired man, his piercing blue eyes judging me from the corner silently as I sat down. Seemed not all of Storybrooke was alright with invalids then.
“Killian, this is my son, August. August, this is the man who is making sure you have something to do so be nice” Marco was kind when referring to me, however for a reason that I would probably never find out, August was being very calculating around me. Something which was starting to cause me to panic and recede inside my own head.
“Stop staring at the man until he has a panic attack” Thank you Marco. August immediately got back to work with the chair leg in front of him. He was similar in a way, to myself, or at least in the way we looked, however he was more Italian whilst I was British in this foreign land. But the look in his eyes… they were haunted by something.... and something told me that it was my fault for dragging up that bag of cats. Marco swiftly brought a tabletop in front of me so that I could draw out the designs I had planned,but every so often I could feel August’s eyes staring at me, taking away any sense of ease I had.
It had been an hour when I finally snapped.
“Seriously, what is your problem with me? Even if you’ve never seen an invalid before you should know not to stare” I snarled, August and Marco jumping back in their seats simultaneously, Marco looked slightly afraid, but when he glanced over to where August was sitting he looked irritated with a hint of something that almost resembled disappointment.
“It’s not you I have the problem with, it’s with the people who blew you up” How the fuck did he know about that! Li had promised not to tell anyone else unless it was completely necessary. I could barely contain the anger the surged through me, and before Marco or August could react, I punched the younger man’s face with enough force to give him one hell of a mark, and left before I destroyed everything.
It was only once I started driving away that I realised I had nowhere to go. I couldn’t go back to the restaurant, Li would have my head for my behaviour, or send me back into the hospital and it’s white rooms and I knew I couldn’t go back there. I also couldn’t go to the docks as they would look for me there.
Then I had it. I knew where I could go. It was time for me to disappear.
Killian had been gone an hour when the mystery artist finally texted asking where they should come to meet me, but after I sent the address there was no response, and silence reigned for half an hour, before a woman knocked on the door, trying to peer in.
“Are you L Jones?” The blonde asked when I opened the door, and I could take in the work of art that stood before me. She was only slightly smaller than I was, and was probably a little smaller than Kai too. Her clothing was plain, light blue top and matching jeans, with white converse and her near white blonde hair in a braid which cascaded down her shoulder. She was a living definition of perfect sculpture, her body a work of art like she created. When I nodded she came straight in to look at the space, and the spot where we had marked for the centrepiece.
“I see you have spotted the area for the centrepiece, Miss…?”
“Arendelle. Elsa Arendelle. I must admit I wasn’t expecting….” I didn’t hear the rest of what she was saying, because really? The goddess in front of me was Kai and I’s favourite artist? How the hell did we get so lucky? Although I then realised I had spoken those last thoughts out loud.
“How exactly did you get lucky Mr Jones?” She smirked, her amusement written clearly on her face
“No… It’s just, about four years ago, when my brother and I opened our first restaurant, we had one of your sculptures. It was…”
“A school of fish swirling round in a spherical shape?” she finished my sentence for me, but as soon as soon as I agreed she turned and left the building. I quickly followed her out, locking the door before I left, knowing that Killian had his keys should he need to get in.
“Hey, Wait! Please, Elsa stop!” I just caught her as she was about to unlock her car, but when she turned to face me, she was nearly in tears. “Please tell me how I messed up so badly that I made you cry”
“It’s not you. At least… not directly. That sculpture was never meant to be sold, but the agent I had at the time said that it was good for my reputation to sell work instead of always having it in galleries. I have been searching for that sculpture for four years!” She was clearly upset over the sculpture, and now I could kind of see why. “Why do you need another one. Why not just use the one that was stolen from me!”
“I would have done had it not been for… for…” At first I was angry, but as soon as I thought to the blast, of seeing Killian lying limp on the floor…
I didn’t hear her asking what happened until she grabbed my arm, her blue eyes filled with fear, questioning what had gone wrong. I didn’t know whether or not I could actually tell her what had happened… I mean I had told the sheriff… But that was so we could have a way to protect each other from the past. But even then it had hurt, and I wasn’t quite ready to share without a good reason.
“It’s something from a long time ago… something very painful for both my brother and I…. and neither of us have really recovered after it. Because of that incident your statue was destroyed. I would understand if you didn’t want to offer another statue to us now. Good day, Miss Arendelle.” I quickly turned on my heels to head back to the restaurant in a hope that I may be able to hide the feelings swirling in my chest, threatening to consume me whole.
“I’m sorry!” my feet stopped of their own accord without my wishing; for I would have just kept on walking, but for some reason it was like my feet were frozen to the ground, like she had cast some spell over my body, taking control of me and my mind. “I didn’t mean to intrude on your evidently painful past. However I am still up for creating you a sculpture to place in your restaurant… So… would you like to come to my studio and see what we can come up with?” Her offer threw me off guard, especially when one considered the fact the she had just said she never wanted to sell her art, but once again I was trapped under her spell, my legs moving of their own accord into the open door of her car, following her blindly again once we had to walk into her studio/ apartment.
It was decorated in both a simple yet intricate design, the ice cold blues and silvers covered the walls, making the whole apartment seem like an ice palace, the silver swirling in the shapes of snowflakes and icy rivers. In the corner, I could see her work area, the clay resting in the corner, as well as the garden she had outside having a couple of different ovens of sorts to fire the sculptures. Elsa quickly grabbed a sketch book and asked me to sit on the sofa, and we sat and talked, sketching ideas for different sculptures, and without us realising it, the hours passed by without us.
It felt that it had only been half an hour when I got the call from Marco. Killian had punched his son and was now missing. I could feel the panic setting in, the fear that something had happened to him for this to happen. Once I got off the phone to Marco I called the sheriff station, begging them to come and look for my brother, because god knows what he could get up to, especially considering what had happened the last time he had gone missing after running away from the hospital.
“Please let me use your car, he had ours and I really need to find him before something happens to him again, please Elsa- Let me find my brother” I had been so wrapped up in my panic that I hadn’t seen that she had already grabbed the keys for her car and was getting both our coats.
“Where would he usually go to hide when this kind of thing happens, does he run to water or…?”
“That’s where he goes to calm down yes, but I know him, he’ll be trying to hide… So he’ll go somewhere where he thought we wouldn’t go looking for him…” I was stopped by my phone ringing, it was the sheriff-
“Have you found him?” I asked quickly, hoping against hope that he was there with him instead of…
“I’m sorry no… but my deputy just found a blue ford pickup truck abandoned on the side of the road… He had grabbed a couple of guys who work in the forest to help him look”
“Where was the truck found” Elsa called across the car into the phone
“The western forest. What are you doing there Elsa?”
“I’ll explain later Emma” she hung up, giving me back my phone before driving towards where the truck was abandoned.
The truck was just as the sheriff had described, and when I looked into check what Killian might have with him, I noticed that his phone was left on the seat, as were his keys, and pretty much everything that he had in the car (apart from a coat and jumper, they were missing from the back seat). I grabbed the torch and my coat before thanking Elsa and running into the woods, thinking of places where Killian could be hiding within the sea of trees. I could feel my heart beating against the cage in my chest, a staccato rhythm pushing me along in the shape of fear as I searched for my brother. My first thought was to get to lower ground, for most people would assume uphill would be better to get away from others- but Kai wasn’t on the run. He was hiding. And there are usually more places to hide on lower ground.
I had been looking for an hour when I heard voices, saying something about ropes, and through the trees, I saw a group of men, looking over what looked to be a ravine. Looking more closely at the group I spotted the deputy, running over to them, he saw me and got one of the other men to take his place on the rope.
“What’s going on here? Have you found my brother?” I could see the regret and sadness in his eyes, and when he didn’t speak, only turning to look at the ravine, the fear I felt turned into terror, and I couldn’t stop the scream that tore from my throat as I saw the men getting the stretcher onto the ropes, my brother lying motionless on the board, coming slowly towards the top of the cliff. I felt the arms wrap around me as I collapsed next to Kai when them had to disconnect the lines, pulling me away from the stretcher, away from my brother.
I could see through my tears that he certainly had a broken leg, as well as his bad arm being broken. he was covered in bruises as far as I could see (and probably covered the rest of his body), and then there was the gash on his head, the injury that probably knocked him unconscious. I tried to follow him into the ambulance, but neither the paramedics or the deputy would let me, holding me back, forced to watch as they drove away with him, unknowing of the full extent to his injuries. Taking matters into my own hands, I punched the deputy and elbowed the other man holding me, making a break to where I knew the truck would still be, to follow that ambulance, I was determined to be there when Kai woke up, never again would he wake up alone in a place like that.
Thankfully the staff of the hospital were more helpful, telling me where he was, and where I could wait until they found out exactly what all his injuries. An hour later, a blonde man introduced himself as Dr Whale, and had been the one patching up my brother. He had the sense to walk to where Kai was and to give me a chair before he started rattling off all the injuries which my brother had sustained in his fall.
“I’m glad to say whatever family you both come from, you have incredibly strong bones, as your brother’s injuries could have been much worse. He sustained a break in his right leg, as well a two fractures on his left arm, once of which is right on the stump of his wrist. He has two broken ribs and two fractures to his collarbone. There is the obvious matter of the head injury he sustained, which I am glad to say will probably only be a small concussion at worst, and the cut will heal over quickly as it wasn’t very big to begin with. All of these injuries can be associated with the fall your brother took, however…”
“What about the piece of his arm which is missing!?” I said, pointing to where there was a bloodied bandage covering the midsection of his arm.
“Well… that is what I wanted to talk to you about, because this was not caused by the fall.”
“What? How… when... If that wasn’t caused by the fall... then what did?” I was confused and scared for my little brother now, who was still unconscious on the hospital bed in front of me
“This injury was caused by a bullet Mr Jones. Someone was trying to kill your Brother.”
Someone was trying to kill your brother. The Dr’s words kept spinning around my head until long after he had gone, as had the questioning deputy and sheriff. We were all now awaiting Kai’s awakening so that we could ask exactly what happened in the woods, and whether or not that was the reason he went down/ fell off the cliff- because it would make sense if he were chased through the woods, he may never have seen the ravine.
It had been nearly fourteen hours since I had last seen my brother awake, and seven since he had been found at the bottom of the cliff when Kai finally woke up, his eyes squinting against the bright lights within the hospital room, before he finally turned his head to where I was sitting.
“Kai! Thank god you’re awake. How do you feel?”
“Like someone pushed me in front of a car and dragged sandpaper down my throat. How did you get here? I thought you were with the artist...”
“I was with the artist until we got a worried call off Marco saying that you had disappeared, she then drove me to the woods where I came to find you at the bottom of a ravine. Do you remember how did you get there exactly?” I questioned, and Kai looked down, trying to remember the events which had led up to him landing himself in a ravine.
“I remember… Getting out of the truck and running into the forest for a little way, going a little way down hill before stopping to sit on a fallen tree trunk. I… I don’t know how long I was there for, but not long after I got there I felt like someone was watching me, and when I turned around, I saw someone… a man… and he was aiming a gun at me… so I ran… after that I… I… Li… I can’t…. I can’t…” I could see he was starting to panic, the loss of his memories causing him to panic, so I took him into my arms, but I was more concerned with the fact that he wasn’t shot by accident… Someone had been deliberately aiming at and hunting my brother. As I held Killian’s shaking form, as his tears wet my shirt, all I could think of was trying to find out who was consistently attacking my brother, what had he ever done that someone would want to kill him for.
Unless… it couldn’t have something to do with her… could it? She had been long gone, disappearing when Kai had needed her the most… but it was possible... was someone trying to kill my brother because of Milah?
Milah had been the love of Killian’s life before the explosion, and he was even going to propose to her… however on the night that he was going to propose, a man with a bomb strapped to his chest came and blew everything to hell… both figuratively and literally when you thought of all the people that had died in the restaurant. Quite a few of them had been regulars, some were staff members and friends. All dead because of the blast. But if that blast had been planned… and this guy who was also trying to kill my brother worked for the same people… was it all because of her? the woman who was given more love than she sometimes deserved, who, in hindsight, was no more than a ghost. She had never mentioned her family, or where she came from, or even if she had been in those sorts of activities before. All I really knew about her now that I thought about it was that she was a vet who worked in an animal hospital… and a far bigger paycheck than what should have been right for a vet.
Once the doctor had come back into the room to give Kai a check up, I was ordered to leave so that he could rest, and that I could come back at eight tomorrow, and that even though I was allowed to come in out of hours, my brother needed to sleep more than he needed me there. And so I went back to the apartment above the restaurant, but I didn’t go to sleep. I instead called a PI who was friends with Kai and I back in Boston, one who dealt with the darker side of society. Who dealt with assassins.
Knowing that he was a couple time zones behind us on the west coast, I called, praying that he wasn’t on a date or looking at a dead body- for those were two calls I never wanted to relive if I had a choice in the matter.
“PI Mark Scott, who is this and how did you get this number” Mark greeted in his usual style, as he still forgot to save any numbers, meaning that he never knew who was calling him.
“It’s Liam, Mark. I may have something that will interest you, and I really need to get some answers on it” I could hear Mark getting his laptop ready in the background and pulling up a chair before he finally responded, a little more friendly than before.
“Ah! Liam! How are you and your brother doing?”
“He’s… he’s been better. Someone chased him through the woods and shot him, before finally chasing him into a ravine”
“Wait a second… Someone is targeting Killian?”
“I think so. And I think someone is paying them to target him; because this is the fourth time someone or a group of people have targeted him.”
“You think someone may have used the dark web to put a kill order on your brother? Man that is insane. I swear sometimes you Jones boys have more extreme and dangerous lifestyles then I do, and you own a restaurant! Nonetheless, give me the address of where you guys are now. I’m going to come over there ASAP.”
As soon as I said the address of the restaurant and said Storybrooke Mark hung up, evidently planning the fastest route to get to us. Mark was more or less an adopted brother to Kai and I, both before and after the explosion, and after I saved his life he owed me one. Or in this case, that ‘one’ was solving the mystery on who was wanting my brother dead. I knew that Killian would be happy once Mark was here- for they would both go and get drinks together when I was caught up doing paperwork in the office, then would proceed to bring me back some drinks, meaning we would all be slightly drunk by the time we crashed on various beds and surfaces, and sleep would be void of dreams.
Dr Whale allowed me into the hospital early see Kai, who was surprisingly still asleep when I arrived; because the man always woke before the sun, even in summer when that was at five in the morning- so seeing him asleep at eight O’clock of a morning was a rare sight. Even rarer seeing as he was my own personal alarm clock usually. In sleep his face was more boyish than it had been in years- all the worry lines drifting away in his sleep.
After Dr Whale had finished checking on his bandages and casts, he went off to retrieve the release papers for as long as I made sure he did next to nothing (which would be incredibly difficult seeing as the man was near unstoppable at times)- however for the moment, he was asleep and still, which was great for the doctor, but not for me. Not for Killian. Not for the boy who was only still near death. Not the man who had woken in white rooms by himself far too many times.
Fortunately, the manager of the horse yard had agreed that he and his wife would look after Neptune (I’m guessing that Neptune was the horse he had chosen) as much as they could whilst Kai would not be able to come down and look after him himself, although they would still call him and ask for certain details which I had no idea about because all the words that came from Anton’s mouth sounded more like gibberish to me, but I knew that they would mean something to Killian when he finally woke up. Which finally happened about an hour after I arrived, and once again, he was disorientated, but not as badly as before. It gave me hope that he may still yet remember what had happened to him whilst he had been in the woods, but that would be for another day.
Just a few days had passed since Mr Jones had come in with the strange request for extra security when I received a panicked phone call from him again, except this time his brother was missing. He had obviously been getting into a car at the time, but he gave me a brief description of the car before he hung up, trying to get on with finding his brother, but as soon as his call disconnected David called me, saying Robin had found an abandoned blue ford beside the road and he was going to investigate it.
“David, I know, it belongs to the Jones brothers who just moved into town, I need you and Robin to get his men and scout the forest, the other Jones who we haven’t met yet has gone missing. His brother described him as slightly smaller than him, near black hair, has a scar on his right cheek, with blue eyes, wearing simple dark jeans and black coat. Think you’ll be able to recognise him now?”
“Yeah, think so. Robin has just called for Will to get as many men as he can to scour the forest for him. I’ll call you if there are any developments.” I was grateful that I had David as a deputy, for he understood the meaning of missing family, and if the way the older Jones had been talking, he was more than scared. It then occurred to me that I should at least call Jones and tell him that the car was found by the road in the forest, and after only two rings he picked up.
“Have you found him?” he asked quickly, the fear in his voice was even worse than it had been five minutes ago.
“I’m sorry no… but my deputy just found a blue ford pickup truck abandoned on the side of the road… He had grabbed a couple of guys who work in the forest to help him look”
“Where was the truck found” Elsa? what the hell are you doing there? but the tone of her voice suggested that I shouldn’t argue with her and just answer her question.
“The western forest. What are you doing there Elsa?”
“I’ll explain later Emma” The phone went dead as Elsa probably passed the phone back to Liam.
As sheriff, I should have been patrolling by now, but instead I had to go over to Marco’s to see what had happened, because when I had called Marco earlier to talk to August he had said that on Killian Jones would be sitting in with them and August would be there to help him, however something told me that something hadn’t quite gone to plan. This was the kind of situation I tried to avoid as much as possible and then ended up asking Mary-Margaret to question families as she was more used to that kind of thing- but I needed to know what had driven Jones into the woods and why he didn’t want to be found.
Pulling up outside the log cabin which belonged to Marco, I could see that the doors to the shop had been opened, but neither August or Marco were there. Walking through the panes and pieces of wood, I entered the house via it’s side entrance, knowing that there would be a greater chance of me finding them out the back of the house rather than the front. The side door in the shop led into the kitchen area, complete with the loud creaking, wooden floorboards which worked better to alert you of intruders than any guard dog I had ever heard of. Glancing over to the dining table, I saw Marco bending over, with the medical kit by his side. He barely even glanced over his shoulder when I came in, only telling me that he’d be there in a second, before promptly going back into Italian and telling off August for whatever he had done this time.
And whatever had happened that afternoon, it was bad. For when Marco finally stepped away from August, I could see that his face was already beginning to swell up, and he would have on hell of a bruise by the end of the day- it was already starting to change colour in places.
August attempted to smile weakly at me, but all he got in return was a stern look to put him back in his place. I looked over to Marco to ask him for his account on the afternoon’s events first, knowing he was more likely to give me the truth, then I could ask August to tell me what had been going on through his head to cause him to do whatever it was that he had done.
“I had welcomed Killian into the workshop so he could start to draw on the designs for later, August had never said a word to him, but he kept giving him this stare and before you ask, yes, I did ask him to stop before he gave the man a panic attack. He had eventually just snapped and demanded August to say what his problem with him was with him, August said that it was about the people who blew him up, so Mr Jones stood up, punched him hard and stormed out. I then called his brother and told him what happened. Now please Sheriff- please tell me what my son has done now?”
“He caused Killian Jones to go missing. We have a search party in the woods already, and his brother is worried out of mind. Whatever you look you were giving him obviously set something off in his head and we are just trying to understand what is going on.
“It wasn’t intentional Emma…” August finally said, looking down and I finally understood his silence. I had known him long enough that he couldn’t tell his father about his time in the military because he could barely face it himself; so much so that he had only told me when he was nearly pass out drunk in the cells in the station. And it seems that Jones had brought out some bad memories for him considering how his best friend was blown up by an IED in Afghanistan, something he was still seeing his army psychologist for. I turned to Marco and said that I would ask August what was going on when we got back to the station and that Marco should just get back to work.
We were halfway to the station when August’s tall frame bent over in the car trying to pick something up off the floor which I quickly realised was my phone, and it was also being called by David.
“Hey David you guys had any luck?”
“Sorta yes. We found the guy but... “ the breath that david was heard easily, as he prepared himself to tell the news “We found him at the bottom of the ravine though. He is unconscious and the paramedics have taken him to the hospital and Liam, despite me and Robin trying to hold him back followed his brother to the hospital. Both are in a bad way, however that isn’t what concerns me Emma.”
“What do you mean? The guy fell off of a cliff and that’s not where your concerns are at the moment? That’s exactly where they should be David!...” I was practically screaming at him by the time I was standing in the Station, but when he told me the reason I froze on the spot.
“We found bullet shells from a silenced rifle a 30 metres from where Jones had gone off the cliff, and it matches wound on his arm which even in passing I could tell you that it wasn’t caused by the fall like the rest of his wounds. Someone was chasing him Emma, as for the why, I have no idea. But I need you to get down here please, I’ll take over at the station… Emma?” I hadn’t realised I had zoned out in shock until David was calling me back to reality, and I told him that I would get over there as soon as I could and that he should get back to the station so it was manned at least.
“August I’ll see you tomorrow and deal with whatever happened this afternoon tomorrow after I go look at the scene. I presume you will be gone by the time David gets back so get some peas on that face of yours and we’ll see how much of it isn’t completely bruised and swollen.”
“I’m sorry Emma, I didn’t want…”
“Save it August. I’ll see you tomorrow after all this” I could see the resignation on his face when I left, the guilt of what had happened to Killian resting on his shoulders. Perhaps he would get lucky and the other Jones wouldn’t come and beat him within an inch of his life for what had happened to his sibling. I knew that if it were David in Liam’s place August would end up in the hospital before the night was over; although thankfully Liam was more occupied in waiting by his brother’s bedside.
On getting to the scene I could see David rubbing his jaw with Robin beside him whilst they were talking about something or other.
“Emma! Thanks for getting here so quickly”
“It’s my job Robin. Mind telling me why my brother has been punched in the jaw and by who?”
“That would have been the older Jones. We were trying to make him leave his brothers side as the paramedics had said he couldn’t ride with them but he wasn’t listening, only concentrating on his brother on the stretcher. Thankfully his prosthetic hand hadn’t gone very far after his fall so he’ll have that ready for when he wakes up. The shells we found were just over here” Robin was explaining as we were walking around the site where the younger Jones had fallen over the cliff, before finally standing over where the bullet shells were found. I was about to ask a question before Robin spoke again. “Before you ask, I already have my men searching the forest for the shooter, however I don’t think that we will find anything of consequence. Someone of that good a shot would have been able to disappear after taking the shot.”
“I would suggest we talk to Liam and ask if his brother had ever gotten involved in gangland violence because this kind of thing has happened far too often for it not to be connected” David suggested, and I told him to call Mr Jones into the station tomorrow and ask if there was anyone with a serious grudge against his brother, whilst I would continue looking and try to figure out what I could.
The forensics team had already taken most of the items from the scene to see if they could get any DNA signatures, leaving the bare minimum at the scene still to be cleared. After deciding that I wasn’t going to get any more clues as to what had happened here from the site I told Robin and his men to clear the woods up so it would look normal again when people (like ruby and victor) came for their morning jogs in the woods. Looking back into the woods I wondered if we would actually be able to solve this case, for it seemed like all the evidence was all gone with the wind.
It was two days of questioning and pointless puzzle pieces which clearly didn’t fit when someone wandered into the station who I hadn’t seen in years.
“Well hello Miss Swan. How lovely to see you again.”
“Mark Scott. For what do I have the displeasure.”
“Your words wound me Emma. As for why I’m here, why don’t I tell you a little story…”
Hi guys, sorry for the late update: I have been really busy today. Also, would it kill any of you to tell me what you think of this story? I am seriously thinking of stopping writing it because nobody seems to like it or at least nobody says so
As if fate hadn’t wanted to screw her over more for the past week of unfortunate events, it had now thrown a rather annoying part of her past back up to haunt her. And it’s name was Mark Scott. He was a private investigator who worked for the FBI and the likes, tracing down drug rings, smugglers and assassins. Of course he would somehow get wind of what was going on with the Jones brothers. And now he was about to try and explain why he was here.
“I got a call from an old friend of mine saying my line of work had just arrived in the small town that he’d just moved into, and before you ask, you have indeed met him. And after a little talking I found a couple interesting sources about was going on potentially so as soon as he said it was my adoptive little brother in the firing line again, well I just knew I had to come. I’m sure you of all people can understand the pull of family Emma, especially seeing as you now know what it feels like.”
“So what, one of your old contacts knows someone in Storybrooke and you just decide to uproot and find your so called adoptive brother and help him out of the good of your non-existent heart?”
“No I decided to help my good friends Liam and Killian Jones after they saved me. They are my family and they are in danger from a threat which we thought was long gone. So I need all the information you have on the chase which landed Killian at the bottom of a cliff as well as anything else that has been strange since they arrived. And I mean everything Emma, because even the smallest detail can be the difference between catching the guy and watching him cross the closest country border. So are you going to hand over the evidence willingly or will I have to get out the FBI card on you?” I nearly felt my heart stop from the sheer amount of emotion that there was in Mark’ voice, which was saying something because he always sounded more like a robot than a person from the lack of emotion he usually spoke with, but as soon as he was talking about the Jones brothers the emotion was raging and raw, focused and consuming.
I quickly went about gathering all the notes and evidence to hand over to the detective, and wondered quickly what he had meant by the Jones’ saving him, and being his family when I knew for a fact he was an orphan- but that was a simple question, somehow they had all met each other and the Jones boys probably adopted him by force. That was the most likely scenario. Although with the way he left straight after I had given him the details he needed, you might have thought it was a personal problem with me he had.
Kai had been out of the hospital for two days when Mark knocked on the door, giving Kai the best surprise in a abysmal week of mental terror. Thank god that Mark had the foresight that he shouldn’t bring any alcohol with him, because we both knew that Killian would try and steal it which was a bad idea with his medication (as we found out after the accident the first time around), but the adoptive Jones brother still had another surprise up his sleeve. He had hired a car with disability access which could hold Killian in the wheelchair the hospital had given him, meaning he would be able to go and see his therapy horse which was sorely needed around now.
Kai ad just gone to sleep again when Mark started to get down to business.
“When you said about him getting chased and shot, I thought I would be prepared to see him this way, like it was the first time… but seeing him this way after everything he’s been through… it almost feels like I was the one going down the cliff instead of him. How can you do it? See him everyday and not feel his pain?”
“I do feel his pain Mark. And it’s exactly why I called you, because if we can catch whoever is doing this and then I can rest safe knowing he can heal in peace.”
“I guess that would make sense. I looked into the data from the bombing and found something that the police and your previous detective chose to ignore” Missed? The other guy was supposed have been the best this side of the US, how could he have missed something that Mark had found within a couple of hours of searching? “The first bomber had been called Jacob Wilson, no criminal record in all his life, but a week before the incident he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and four days later, over a million dollars was paid into his wife’s account, three days after that he blows up Killian and the restaurant sky high. One of the guys in Boston was digging through the archives for me to find out if Wilson had made contact with his wife that day, or a few days before concerning what was happening, if it is we may have to go into the deep web and look for assassination hires or bounties and see what we can find. Mind telling me where the Police department are around here so that I will be able to collect all of the evidence so I have something to go off”
“Main street. It’s dead ahead when driving from here in the port back onto main street. You can’t miss it.”
“Thanks for that Liam. Hope you don’t care about this couch because until I find out who is behind all of this I am having you couch and you can’t tell me otherwise.”
“Well it’s just as well that it’s a pull out bed as well as a couch so it works out well in your favour. I’ll see you after you go to the station” Mark nodded as he walked back out of the apartment quietly, as not to wake Kai from his much needed rest, and before I too left the apartment I wrote a note telling Killian that I would just be in the office making some calls, and if I wasn’t there I would be downstairs doing some cleaning ready for the appliances to arrive for the Kitchen tomorrow (Even with Kai injured badly this whole operation was still going on, although it did make it more difficult when he wasn’t there as he knew exactly how he wanted his kitchen and his idea would be ship shape and portsmouth fashion by the time he was finished with it)
I had been cleaning an hour when Mark finally came back with all the evidence, as well as a new notebook which already looked half way full, and an unmistakeable blonde trailing behind him, holding a sketchbook which I recognised as the one where we had drawn out our ideas. Mark, in his usual fashion, just gave a sly smile and a small nod in greeting, suggesting that he had just gotten some good information on the case, whilst Elsa seemed almost shy, standing in the entrance, silently asking if she could come in. Beckoning her in, I pulled up on of the cheap folding chairs which Kai and I used for ourselves while there were no other chairs in the room (they were all still with marco, who had completed all the chairs, and just needed to finish off the tables before they could be delivered) and offered her a seat next to a matching folding table.
“What bring you here today Elsa? Not that I mind your company of course, but do you not have, I don’t know… an exhibition to do or something?”
“Not quite Mr Jones…”
“Please call me Liam”
“Well, Liam; I have been doing some more sketches on what kind of a centrepiece you would like, and I have made up five different final drafts so choose which one you want please so I can make the right one” I couldn’t help but notice the clinical detachment in her melodious voice, and even though I had only talked to her for a few hours before, I could already tell that something was wrong with her. Now that I thought about it, her body language was all different too, and the thought that I had done something wrong only increased.
“Of course.” I decided to play the same game as her, speaking in clinical detachment, and watching her face as she realised that I had been mimicking the way she had been talking to me, whilst simultaneously handing me the book, however seeing as both of our attention spans were on the other person’s eyes (eye diamond blues shaded with streams of silver and sapphire which I hadn’t noticed before), neither of us realising that as we went to pass the book from her to me, our hands had reached out for each other, and we jumped apart as our hands touched, only then realising how much closer we had gotten from our subconscious minds deciding ignore our mental barriers, and act without thought to bring forth feelings and thoughts neither of us were quite ready for.
We both laughed at the awkwardness of what had just happened, and quickly passed the book between us without realising that there were two faces watching us secretly from the doorway, brown and blue eyes sparkling with mischief as the looked to each other before turning away to go back upstairs from the flat.
I ended up going upstairs to the flat to consult Killian on the two final designs (a ship on top of a swirling sphere of sea or a column of glass which would have fish figurines inside of it and floating on the side of the sculpture which looked as though it was a section from the ocean frozen in time and solidified) , although I had left in the other ideas regardless incase he liked one of those instead (a pile of shipwrecks which together formed the shape of one giant shipwreck which formed the flying dutchman, another column of fish which had a sunken galleon as the base and a ships wheel beside it or a ship’s wheel which was within a sphere of glass and fish figurines) or saw that it would fit in better with his designs and such, but when I opened the door, I saw both black and brown heads leaning over something and speaking in conspiratorial whispers, and I had a feeling that they were planning something together which would end up undoubtedly end up with something (probably bad) happening to me. I was about to knock and make my presence known when I had realised that they already knew I was here, considering that they were both texting me saying stop standing in the doorway and were obviously laughing about something they were doing on Mark’s laptop. Something which I remembered horrifically had photoshop on it. Oh god what were they doing this time?
“What is it that drags you away from the beautiful blonde downstairs and into the man cave?” Mark said jokingly, and it took me a moment to realise that they were talking about Elsa. And Mark had already seen her. Well, there went any privacy with Elsa I might have had thrown out of the window.
“Well I did want Killian to look at the choices for the centrepiece but now I just may not bother”
“Pass it here Liam. We both know that I’m the only Jones with a sense of style”
“What about me!” Mark responded jokingly, a wide grin on his face
“I said Jones, not honourary Jones- although you would win that one hands down” none of us could stop ourselves from laughing, which considering the situation, was a very good thing. Killian was always the braver one in these situations, always staying strong when Mark and I felt like we were crumbling to our knees.
Kai began flicking through the sketches, his artist's eye shining under the yellow lights in the room (it was too cloudy for sunlight today so the old light bulbs that we kept forgetting to change were keeping things bright on this gloomy day), carefully scanning each design, considering every aspect and viewpoint, deciding which would be the best design (and knowing him, it probably would be either if the ones which I chose) and after five minutes of silently looking through the designs whilst Mark started to write up more in his casebook notebook, Kai finally looked up with his chosen design.
“Do you mind if I break up you and your girlfriend to talk to her about one of the designs?” he asked seriously, despite the fact he had just taken an obvious jab at me for something (perhaps it was because he thought I was leaving him behind) and I couldn’t do anything other than nod when he used that almost hypnotising gaze with even bluer eyes than my own.
Helping him downstairs was a bit of a challenge to say the least, although thankfully it wasn’t the first time we had done it so we each knew which steps to take to make it down safely.
After helping him over to the table and seats where I had previously left Elsa waiting, who’s eyes went as big as saucers when she saw my brother from the damage that had been dealt from when we had last seen each other. Immediately I saw Kai activate his best artist voice, asking questions which half the time I couldn’t even understand myself, but Elsa accepted the answers with the politeness and grace of a queen and a kind smile which like every other smile, shone light starlight on a dark night, a beautiful and entrancing sight to behold.
I ended up leaving Kai and Elsa together to discuss the centrepiece and promptly went to find out what information had gotten Mark into such a good mood when he had come in. As if he could sense that I was going to ask what he had found, he brought out his notebook and nodded for me to sit on the sofa next to him, gathering the information that he had already found.
“Whilst I was out gathering the evidence from Miss Swan I got an interesting call from the FBI office in Boston, including an unusual surge in dark web activity, and the call logs for the man who blew up your brother. They actually emailed me the transcript for a voice mail that he had left to his wife, although it was the only call to her he had made during that last week of his life. Now where is it…. nope that was the last case I was on…” Mark began talking to himself as he went to find the transcript for the call, something which he had developed after being around Kai and I for so long “Aha! Here we are” Mark said as he turned around the screen towards me so that I could read it for myself.
Recipient: Ellie Wilson
Hey Ellie (.) It’s just me (1) I’m sorry I never called you back after the appointment (2) You deserve to know what I was told (.) even though we aren’t together anymore *sniffles* (.) I found out that the ‘urting in my lungs was (.) was (1) it was cancer (.) Not only that though (2) It was terminal (.) I need you to tell the kids that I’m sorry (.) especially little Amy (.) because I’m not going to live to see her sixth birthday like I promised (.) God knows how sorry I am Ellie (1) I wish I knew what I ‘ad done to push you away but know that I miss you so much (.) so so much (2) I know you may not agree with everything I do (.) especially now (.) but I found a way that I can look after you all after my death (.) You’ll probably see me on the news for it (.) you should ‘ave noticed by now that there has been the first of three deposits into your bank account (.) I um (.) I made a deal with this guy (.) He promised me that you would all be kept out of it and would be safe (.) I can’t tell you what it is though (.) Just know that I love you all (.) and I ‘ope one day you’ll all understand (.) I love you Ellie (1) I always ‘ave and probably always will (.) Goodbye Ellie
END OF TRANSCRIPT
The transcript was something else to read, and even though we didn’t have the tape of the voicemail, you could tell that he was crying or at least emotional, but this confirmed the idea that someone was indeed targeting Kai, and whoever was doing it certainly had a lot of money.
“So we know that whoever is wanting Kai dead is powerful, influential and on the dark web. Although I was wondering, has there been anyone in town who may not like Killian for any reason?” I thought back immediately to Mr Gold, or the crocodile as Kai had so wonderfully put it, because even though neither of us had ever seen him before, he had immediately looked at Kai like he wanted him gone which was unsettling, and when you thought about him as a suspect for being the reason Kai and I had suffered so much, it was even more unsettling. I told Mark this and he added Mr Gold to a list of names who must have been major suspects. Most of the names on the list were usernames, probably from the dark web the Mark was going to look into.
We had just finished going through the potential suspects when we heard a knock on the door, revealing Elsa standing there, waiting patiently whilst we had been talking, her book in her hand and a small smile on her face. Mark only gave me a sly smile which I knew that would mean trouble for me later.
“Hello Elsa. I guess you and my brother managed to work out which centrepiece should be built?”
“Yes, although he specifically told me not to tell you under any condition which one he chose and what changes were made to it”
“Really? So it’s just going to be a surprise now instead of something we have both chosen?”
“Yes, in essence it is just that. I’ll contact your brother once I have completed the piece so he can come and look at it. Although I think you should possibly take him off house arrest, he looks like he might try to break out” and with that confusing statement, Elsa turned and left the building, leaving me in wonder, and Mark in stitches.
“She does have a point about Kai Liam. I think he needs to see his therapy horse, and seeing as I have a disability access car, you get his stuff and I’ll load him up and we shall take him to his mighty steed Neptune”
“He told you it’s name?”
“Yeah. He has been hinting at it since I arrived here that he wants to go see Neptune, so let’s go make his day and take him to see it” Mark didn’t leave it up for discussion as he walked away without me being able to tell him no, leaving me no other choice but to gather Killian’s horse kit and meet them at the car.
After Liam left Elsa and I alone, we continued to talk about the centrepiece, but when we were finished as Elsa started to get up to leave, I grabbed her hand and requested that she sit down again.
“Elsa, before you go I would like to talk to you about something else- non-art related anyway” I was pleased when she nodded and went to sit back down again, allowing me to continue talking “I don’t know if you or Liam is aware yet but he likes you. I believe earlier when you were handing him the book was more than enough proof of that…”
“You saw that?”
“My friend was going to sneak me out of the flat for a couple of hours and break the house arrest Liam has needlessly placed me under and instead we witnessed that. I must saw neither of us have seen him smitten for quite some time, and so I must ask. Can you stand to be in his presence in return?” I knew that I was just making more jests at the expense of my brother, but if the way Miss Arendelle was blushing and avoiding eye contact, I would have said that she had some kind of attraction to my oaf of a brother.
“Well…. I guess he is kind of handsome” I could see she was trying to hide her smile, and I knew in that moment that Mark and I definitely had to set the two up on a date sometime in the near future; but it would have to be after the restaurant was opened as not only was Liam doing all his work, he was also doing mine because of my stupid injuries which I still couldn’t recall how I got them exactly, and I couldn’t think what was worse. The fact I couldn’t walk because I couldn’t use the crutches, or the disappointment I saw in everyone’s eyes when I said I couldn’t remember what had happened. The only one who had a different expression was the Sheriff Swan, her blonde halo of hair framing gentle pity, something which I couldn’t usually stand, but from her… It felt like she understood what was happening to me instead of someone who thought they knew.
“Well I know he is in good hands then. Just do yourselves both a favour and ask each other out before other people do it for you” Elsa looked confused as she walked upstairs to say goodbye and tell my arse of a brother that I wanted to get out. Preferably with some dignity and without having to do a jail break, although when I had previously mentioned this to her she simply laughed and said that was what she kept telling her sister whenever she had to look after her.
Lo and behold, the blonde beauty who had caught the apple of Liam’s eye did manage to convince Liam and Mark to take me back up to see Neptune, who I had missed greatly in the six days since I had last seen him, although Anton had been kind enough to keep me in the loop and kept sending me pictures of him; and the change was miraculous. Neptune didn’t look quite as skinny as he had done nearly a week before hand, and with his feathers, mane and tail clipped and trimmed, he looked quite smart. But most of all, his wall eyes shone brighter than they had done, and Mary had been telling me that he was becoming rather cheeky in pulling things out of people’s pockets and just standing there with whichever item he had stolen this time in his mouth (I had about five pictures of him standing there with different items in his mouth sent over the course of the week, although my favourite was when he was holding a dogs lead with the dog lying at his feet).
Anton and Mary were in the farmhouse as we came around the back in the car that Mark had hired especially for me whilst I was in the chair, and greeted us with kind smiles, and before I knew it, Mary pulled an evasive maneuver to distract Liam and Mark whilst Anton picked me up out of the chair and ran towards where Neptune’s stable was, and I couldn’t say anything because I was too busy laughing as Anton rounded the corner to the semi-hidden stables at the back. Placing me down carefully, Anton finally spoke.
“It’s nice to see you again Jones, especially considering what happened after you left the yard”
“How do you know about that?” I snapped, before quickly bringing my anger and other emotions under control and saying sorry
“No need to apologize Jones. And You forget you now live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone else and nothing happens without everyone knowing within a day of it happening. Partly why if a criminal activity happens they can be found within 24 hours of it happening. And I must say I am sorry what happened to you, however you now have an entire town at your back you will help you when you need it. Mary was going to… Drop it Neptune!” I couldn’t hold in the laugh as Neptune had stolen Anton’s phone which was in his back pocket, but now hung from Neptune’s relaxed mouth, his ears pointed forward in his own happy expression, looking over to me, I could see his own version of recognition, and as soon as he dropped the phone in Anton’s expectant hand, he nickered softly in greeting, and I used my prosthetic to stroke his face gently while he nudged the cast in which my other hand and arm, as if he could tell that I was hurt.
I had been stroking him with Anton surprised me with a question I had not expected to hear
“Do you want to ride him today?”
“What! Well… Of course I do… but how…?”
“The saddler was able to come out the day after you were here last and two days after that the saddle arrived. I asked your doctor and as long as someone rides with you and uses a lead, you’d be able to go on a hack through the woods, hence why Mary is abducting your brother and friend for as long as we can whilst we get tacked up and leave before they can stop it!”
“Skip the saddle, I’ll ride bareback, I won’t be balanced otherwise. Get your own horse and we can go!” Anton simply smiled as he quickly got his own horse, who was rather conveniently already tacked up, and brought him back to where I was getting Neptune’s new bridle on.
Anton picked me up once again but this time deposited me on Neptune’s strong but bony back, allowing me to feel all the muscles moving beneath me as Neptune Followed Ursula (Anton’s mare) without any leading needed, and our getaway was just in the nick of time, for as soon as we were going into the thicker part of the track I saw Liam and Mark run round to the stable where Neptune should have been standing, but instead found an empty stable, and Anton and I were nowhere to be seen.
The trail was covered in golden leaves, shining from the previous night's rain and they squelched under the hooves of our two large horses who were more interested in each other than being out of their stables (which was surprising considering we didn’t know when the last time Neptune had been ridden was, although Anton had obviously done the weight test to see if he was broken to ride) allowing me to enjoy the sensation of the wind passing through my hair and gentle motion of Neptune’s walk beneath me, a simple joy I couldn’t express how much I had missed it. Anton would occasionally look over at me with a gentle smile and the occasional joke or jest about various people in town or incidents which had happened around the yard whilst I was gone.
It had been an hour since we set off from the stables when we returned to a rather bemused Mark and annoyed Liam, but there was no heat in his annoyance, only relief when Anton and I finally appeared. But as soon as he saw my smile, I could see all the tension leave his body, and Mary chose that exact moment to come around the corner with tea’s for everyone, knowing exactly when Anton and I would come back so she would be there to diffuse any situations (which thankfully there weren’t) and I finally was able to introduce Neptune to Liam and Mark, who made sure to carry some horse treats to encourage Neptune to like them, however I could tell that Neptune did like them both as he didn’t startle away at all like he still did with some people, and I was finally able to relax and allow all the stress from the past week to simply melt away, allowing me to fall into a more settled sleep than I had in weeks.
Thank you to everyone who commented on the last chapter, because now I know that people are enjoying this story. Anyone who read this story on tumblr will see on the corresponding chapter over there that this story will now only be available on here and on fanfiction.net. Please enjoy and don't be strangers!
We had settled Killian back into wheelchair after he had escaped with Anton to ride Neptune, and I realised that maybe keeping him in the flat continuously wasn’t the best idea- although it kept him safe physically, mentally it had drained him of his personality, seeing him after his ride, his eyes once again shining in the dying light of the day, although as soon as he finished his tea, his body relaxed completely as sleep laid its warm cloak over him, and Mark and I wheeled him back into the car, careful not to wake him: for I knew how badly he had been sleeping after the latest attack.
Mark carefully kept Killian upright during the journey, making sure that he stayed comfortable whilst he slept for the best time in over a week, a gentle smile taking over his face like a wave covered the sand on the beach. He glanced up at me, telling me with his eyes that the pain he was feeling for our little brother was dissipating, and I smiled in return, feeling the very same way.
Miraculously we managed to get Killian out of the car, up the stairs into the flat and all the way into Killian’s room without so much as a mumble from Killian, and we both then went into the front room to carry on with our various tasks to do with the restaurant for me while Mark was checking his emails and such for more information as to what he could find out about a potential hit mark being placed on Killian, specifically within the past three weeks and then again for four years ago; Mark was insistent that he did it again because apparently the guy who had done it for us at the time hadn’t been good and that was why Mark had been called in and henceforth met us both and was forcibly adopted against his will. Not that he minded of course, because usually it meant having two good drinking partners and good food whenever they met up. Either way it was a win win.
Mark and I took Killian to the yard everyday for a week after that, and each day his eyes were brighter and the demons were losing their hold on his mind- not completely but there was definitely some improvements.
We also had the kitchen fitted out with all the cookers, fridges and freezers that we would need and could afford, although the movers (seven brothers, who reminded me deeply of the seven dwarves, and all of them even had the permanent emotions to match) were not to happy that they were getting bossed about by someone in a wheelchair; however they all shut up when Killian took to throwing things at them when they straight out ignored him about the placement of all the appliances- but all his directions paid out because every single appliance fitted perfectly and was in a good position for when the other cooks and Killian would eventually be when cooking meals for the restaurant. And wasn’t that a great thought to be having? That sometime soon in the future Kai and I would be back in our element, cooking and serving in our own restaurant.
Of course we knew that it would take a while for anything to come out of the restaurant- because popularity often only come a month or two after opening as people would spread word about the new restaurant they had been to and everywhere else we had been had had that trend. Although all those occasions had been in cities rather than small towns, and as we had already found out the gossip mill here was stronger than diamonds at times; something would happen one day and by the next morning everyone else would know about it- Killian’s accident had been a great example of that.
Thinking back to the accident, I realised just how well Kai had been either coping with what was going on or was getting better at hiding how he really was. I let my mind drift as I sorted out some paperwork for the orders on the food and drink which would be arriving soon, as would potential employees now we had put out the advertisement and the posters on the outside of the building; now that was something I couldn’t wait to see because Killian was always the one in charge of the interview process and seeing whether or not the people we were hiring were up to scratch, and he had been adamant that even though he was going to be in the wheelchair for a while longer, he would still be the one to put the “newbie’s” under his scrutiny and to watch them squirm. I chuckled at the picture of the scenario, before putting down final orders on the drinks that were needed for the bar and delivery dates and such, but as I walked through into the flat, I saw Kai, once again, sleeping off his medication, however this time he had fallen asleep with his sketchbook on his chest.
I had always been curious as to what he drew in that book, but until this this moment he had hidden it from view as soon as he was done. I had a feeling I knew what would be in that book, but I couldn’t help but pick up the book and flick through its worn pages, each filled with the familiar charcoal and ink with which my brother always used- even on canvas. I was not surprised when I landed on a page with her face on it. He had fallen hard and fast for that witch in disguise Milah, with her hair like molten chocolate and eyes the colour of an oncoming storm. He had done a good job at capturing her beauty, however in hindsight, that beauty had only ever brushed the surface of her skin, the sharp edges of her cheekbones reflecting her harsh personality which was a surprise considering that she was a veterinarian. I remembered after the explosion, that she had been underneath him in his attempt to save her, and yet she had never been found in the restaurant or even in the hospital where everyone else had been sent, and in her wake, she left Kai broken. As if just losing your hand and sustaining heavy burns as well as other injuries she had just abandoned him like it was nothing. Like it wasn’t the worst possible thing in the world to leave your beau when he was struggling to stay alive and stay sane.
I was thinking about all the hatred I had towards the demon that was Milah when my phone went off in the office, so placing the book back down I walked over only to see none other than Elsa Arendelle’s number gracing my screen.
“Hello Elsa, how is the statue going?”
“The statue is coming along nicely, however if that is a sly way of getting me to tell you what your brother and I have planned well it is not going to happen. I was wanting to talk to your brother actually about something that isn’t to do with the statue although I would rather not be having his call at all my sister is standing right next to me demanding that we talk to him.” The way Elsa rambled on was like nothing else I had ever heard, and it made me chuckle after her nearly saying she was interested in Kai when I was falling for her, and I was going to lie and say he wasn’t in but I knew not only she would detect the lie but that Killian would smack me around the head for even thinking of lying to her.
“I would pass you over but currently my brother is sleeping off his medication although he should be awake again in around an hour?”
“That would be great- thank…. Anna! Give me back the phone!” I could hear the giggling and what was presumably her sister skidding across the floor in a bid to escape Elsa and talk to either Kai or I. Needless to say I was almost nervous for what she would say, but just as she was about to say something the phone went dead, and I could only laugh at their antics as I knew Kai and I had done that on more than one occasion growing up together in the various homes we had been in.
Mark had gone out to go and chat with the Mayor and the sheriff department about his case before he was leaving tomorrow to pick up some more evidence from his dark web research as one of the other investigators he knew up in Boston was chasing the same lead after seeing an unprecedented surge in a section of the dark web were Mark had thought the order to kill Killian was placed. Even though Kai never showed it, I knew he was upset that Mark was leaving so soon, because he and Mark were almost as close I was with Kai- Mark was the only one who understood us, and he was going but only after re-assuring us that he would be back soon, and hopefully with good news.
It had not gone past either Kai and I’s attention that Mark had been looking at apartments in the Storybrooke Mirror, and we both hoped that it wasn’t just for show and that he would actually move into Storybrooke with us. Because we all knew that it wasn’t just us who needed a place to call home, but knowing Mark he wouldn’t want to talk about it in case his plans didn’t work out and it came to nothing. Looking at the places which Mark had tagged, I noticed they were all close to us but were also closer towards Main Street meaning he would have been able to be close to us in case something happened but also close enough to town to possibly get a job or whatever other reason he was planning. Thanks to Mark I had barely any sleep the night before as he had wanted to go over all the details with me as it helped him to think, and I barely noticed when I fell asleep with my head on the desk, my mind falling blank into the depths of rest.
It had been a few weeks since the last major incident at the station, that terrible deal with the Jones brothers and since we found the bullets at the scene, we had had no progress on any of the leads that we had thought we had had come up to nothing- it was far too clean. Whoever had done this they weren’t gangland; they were worse than that. These were assassins that had come to Storybrooke to get rid of Killian Jones. It made sense, why else would Mark Scott have been attracted to her quiet little town? This was his area of expertise- except it had never taken him this long to track a case.
Then there were the matter of the Jones’. Ever since I got a first look at the younger Jones Brother I knew he would be trouble. Artfully stubbled, dark hair and stunning blue eyes which I could have sworn had some kind of superpower like Iron man or the Vision (She blamed all her comic book knowledge on her son. Completely his fault…) as he stared right through me and knew nearly everything that I was going to say before I could say it. Of course thinking back to him reminded me of that shiner he gave to August
No less than three days later and Mary-Margaret, David’s wife, was already trying to encourage me to get with the guy. Over three weeks later and she was still pestering me to ask the man on a date. Yesterday she came strolling into the station saying that the guy would be getting out of his casts before friday, eyes alight with mischief. I really love her but she can be almost as in your face as Ana, except Ana probably learnt it to degree level whilst my sister-in-law was at more of a college level of being in your face.
I knew that Mary-Margaret had volunteered to help the Jones brothers find some waiters and assistant cooks for their restaurant as well as acting as a sort of free publicist. I say sort of free because I know that she had asked the elder Jones for a favour of some sort but she refused to tell me what she had in mind and all she had said to Liam was that she would cash it in sometime in the near future.
In the past week or so Liam had been joining Mark down to the station to keep him company, however he was quickly becoming a friend to me too- bringing me coffee and bear claws from Granny’s (only after I yelled at him for getting tea and a muffin when I was sleep deprived). I quickly learned that while the brothers held their family as more important than anything in the rest of the world- they sure couldn’t be left in a room together unattended for more than 30 seconds. I only found that out when Mark had left and Liam started trying to find out what his friend and brother had been doing sometime a couple weeks ago when he was with Elsa; and so we both worked together to find the creations of the adoptive Jones and younger Jones brothers. And to say the least we were not disappointed. Whichever one of them had had the mouse was evidently talented with photoshop as they had made multiple photoshops of Liam and Elsa kissing, and then a surprisingly realistic creation of them getting married.
Liam had of course been mortified, whilst I just began laughing and downloading the pictures to send to Elsa. What neither of us had noticed at the time was that Mark had in fact been watching us and questioned us like we were naughty children being caught doing something we shouldn’t have been doing. Of course once I explained I just wanted the photos to send onto Elsa he let me off the hook, making Liam even more horrified. Of course his actual brother had impeccable timing and chose that moment to call and demand some food. It felt good to be able to laugh at something so stupid whilst trying to figure out what was actually going on with this case, that was probably why Mark left his laptop unattended in the first place.
Sitting alone in the station, I quietly laughed at the memory, which in turn lead my thoughts onto a very different memory: when I actually met the younger Jones brother. It had been in the hospital after he had gone off the cliff, which wasn’t the best place for a first meeting, especially for people like him and I. Hospitals were bad places where we would only go if there was no other option, and I could see that in his startling and startled blue eyes. His brother had left him alone for a few minutes so that I could question him on what had happened in the forest.
Even if I had just seen him in the corner of my eye he would have caught my eye- the man was unfairly attractive with his dark hair and almost ginger scruff, and not even his bruises or injuries did anything to lessen that. If anything it just made him more attractive in some ways (not that I would ever tell anyone about that- especially not Mary-Margaret!). It was not hard to see why after I started asking question Killian had started to panic, because he was trying so hard to be able to remember but no matter how hard he had tried he could not recall anything past being chased by a man in dark clothing with a gun. I certainly knew how that had felt, with something not being your fault but you still suffer the consequences.
Glancing up at the clock I realised that it was long since past when David was supposed to have arrived for his morning shift as I had been on the night shift, but just as I was about to call him to ask him where the hell he was, a rather unexpected guest walked into the station. I had only seen him a couple of times since he had had his face smashed in however all the bruising and other marring features had long since disappeared from August’s face. Of course it had all taken a couple of days for the bruising to come through properly, and once it had only a small portion of his face wasn’t black and blue. That didn’t put Liam off from trying to throw another one at August for causing this whole dilemma in the first place, because if he hadn’t riled up the younger Jones he would never have been in the forest meaning he would never have been chased to his near death experience at the bottom of a cliff. August’s face was one more befitting a man walking to the gallows, and I was slightly worried as to what he was going to say.
“Hello Emma...” August glanced down to his feet, a sure sign that he was nervous about something or other
“Are you still mad at me for that? I said sorry to them both!” I raised my eyebrow in response and he got the message that, yes, I was still angry at him for that “Okay I get it, I just need a little advice.”
“Okay what is it this time? Because if it’s relationship problems you need sorting you should have gone to Snow white and her Prince Charming. I love them both to pieces but seriously those guys are just sickening at times.”
“No, it’s not anything like that… I was thinking…. just maybe….”
“Get on with it August I have had no sleep and am still awaiting my deputy to arrive so I can get out of here”
“I’m thinking of actually getting a job with the Jones brothers despite what I did as a waiter. I think… because Killian knows what it’s like to be caught in conflict it might help me get over some of my demons. I already talked to my psychologist and he agreed it would be good…It’s just…”
“You feel guilty still about what happened to him and feel that he might blame you for the entire ordeal. Well you’re lucky that I happen to get along well with the older Jones and Killian doesn’t blame you. Although apparently he is the one putting all you new recruits through your paces before they hire you, so you better get back up to scratch” I finished with a smile, knowing that Liam and Killian understood August’s situation and were fully prepared to deal with him. I knew I had promised to not tell anyone about August’s past, but seeing as I had told August about the Jones’ demons I thought it was only fair.
A small, depreciating smile broke out over August’s features before he said his thanks and left. The tension leaving his body in waves as he walked out of the door- and under the clock, making me realise that by now it was half seven. David was due well over half an hour ago. And now he wasn’t answering his phone. Next I tried Robin’s phone, to see if he knew where my brother had gone off to.
“Hey Robin, have you seen or heard from David today?”
“Uhh, no, I haven’t. Why, has something happened Emma, do you need help at the station?” I was touched by Robin’s immediate thought to help me out, even though I hadn’t known the man that long, he was always there when I needed him. And it was a two way thing because of the awkward situation of Regina’s (Robin’s wife and the mayor of Storybrooke) psychotic sister drugging up Robin and sleeping with him deliberately that she would get pregnant. Hence why he was in a bad place for more than a year. But between him and Regina they had managed to work out their problems and were now proud parents of Ray Mills (Robin and his children had taken Regina’s name in the marriage).
“No, nothing terrible has happened other than he has forgotten to come and relieve me from my night shift. I have been here since 10 and he was supposed to have come in just before seven and he is not answering his phone at all at the moment. Do you reckon he has forgotten or perhaps it is something neither of us need to know about?” Robin simply laughed at that and said he would attempt contact with my brother for me and that he would be here in ten minutes to allow me to go home and get some sleep before picking up Henry for the week. He also made sure that if anything was blackmail material against him he would be sure to pass on the relevant information to me so whenever I needed something he would have no option but to do what I said. Hanging up the phone, I made myself somewhat comfortable on the old office chair which had been in the station for god knows how long and waited for one of the men to arrive so I could get on with my life.
Hello again! Thank you to everyone who is reviewing and reading this story, you guys are really making me happy, as this is my favourite story to write (not to mention the one I am most proud of) and it's somewhat reassuring that people at least are intrigued by it
After weeks of being confined to be sitting down in one way or another- I was almost giddy with excitement to get to the hospital (which was strange to say considering my past with them) to get my casts removed. The doctors had been pleased and surprised by the strength of my bones and how quickly I had healed, and today Dr Whale and said I would be allowed to have my casts taken off as long as I was careful as to what I was doing and made sure I didn’t over do anything.
The long white linoleum hallways beckoned Li and I onto a freedom we both knew we needed, and before long I was finally able to see my own body again, free from all the obnoxious casts.
“Now, Mr Jones, I will remind you that you still need to rest your leg, although you will be able to go through gentle, non-strenuous activities. Other Mr Jones, I trust you will make your brother listen to me and follow my instructions so that we can avoid an unnecessary trip back here. Are we clear Mr Jones?” Dr Whale said, a smile on his face when both Liam and I nodded in agreement to his previous statement before taking us through all the paperwork which was (unfortunately) required before we left the hospital for hopefully longer than two weeks (forever if I could manage it).
Trying to walk properly was a novelty, as quite a bit of the muscle had deteriorated due to being left stagnant in a cast for so long, so I ended up limping out of the hospital and into the truck which I hadn’t been in since before Mark arrived as getting in and out was a pain and on top the wheelchair was a hassle to get in and out of the backseat, hence why Mark had rented the wheelchair friendly monstrosity whilst we still needed it.
“Fancy going anywhere now you have your freedom back?” Liam joked, knowing that we were going to the yard straight from the hospital so I could go for a ride and startup on the gentle physiotherapy as well as a few of the chores (both on the yard and in the paperwork)
“Yes, I think we shall go to Neptune because I know that horse will be able to tell if he wasn’t the first one I visited with my newfound freedom. After that we need to go to Elsa’s studio, she said you knew where it was” the look of shock on Liam’s face was one I wanted to treasure for as long as I could, for he seemed to think I was developing an interest in the Lady Arendelle. Ha! Little did he know between me and a couple others we were going to set them both up on a date.
“Why do we need to go Elsa’s exactly?”
“She wants to see me about the centrepiece. Should be just a check to make sure it’s perfect or to add the finishing touches. Should only be an hour or so” I smirked as Liam tried to school his face into a neutral position before he started the engine drove towards yard.
It had been roughly just over a month since I had arrived in Storybrooke, and all the autumn leaves were making way for the bareness winter, the wind blew gently, rustling the twigs and the trees, and casting shadows over the yard. The lights were on inside Neptune’s stable and the storage stable, but he was nowhere to be found- instead I found Anton doing the bedding and Mary hanging up a new haynet, both oblivious to the fact that Li and I were standing in the doorway. Taking a quick glance towards Liam, I could see what he was planning and had to keep myself quiet or else it would ruin the effect.
“You know I’m pretty sure it’s this one’s job to so all this” Liam said loudly, causing Mary and Anton to jump backwards and swear in surprise, and I couldn’t stop the laughter this time.
“Could you try not to scare the living daylights out of us? And that goes to you as well Killian, your horse gives us enough surprises as it is” I was worried as to what Anton might be hinting at, because usually if a horse was giving you surprises they were all of a bad nature.
“What do you mean surprises? Did the vet not give him a clean bill of health or something?”
“No, no, no. What my husband was trying to say was that he has surprised us in the fact that since the vet has been able to get a better look at him he has been able to be taken off most of the medications he was on for his injuries, he has gained weight quite quickly even though we have been able to get food into him properly for a few weeks, and then of course there’s the matter on how friendly he’s becoming, as long as Anton and I are there he is…. reasonably good with new people. Not as good as he would be with you mind but he is getting better slowly.”
To say I was relieved was an understatement, and I could understand their sentiments- Neptune had been gaining his weight again and was generally being a bit nicer to the people he did know, although he wouldn’t allow them to do that much to him as he still didn’t trust him, so he was in need of a proper grooming once I brought him back in from the field where he was munching on the remaining grass in his field, not even flinching as the other horses called to him or if the other owners called when they came with food for the horses.
I had left Liam to sit down with Anton and Mary to go over Neptune’s passport as well as god knows what else they needed to talk about and so I was going to see Neptune in the field, but I saw something I didn’t expect. Neptune wasn’t alone in his field, a piebald Welsh Section D was in the field with him, both grazing happily. Neptune raised his head after I had been standing at the gate for a few minutes and came trotting over in his bright red heavy weight rug, and lo and behold, his companion came trotting up behind him, wanting to stay with his new friend.
“Hello again Neptune, who’s your new friend huh? You decided to play nice with the other ponies now?” I said whilst rubbing his face, his nose gently nuzzling my prosthetic and my pockets, knowing that somewhere on my person I would have treats. The pony came closer to Neptune, curious as to who I was.
The piebald was around 14 hands high, with neatly trimmed feathers and tail, whilst the parts of his mane that wasn’t covered up by his rug showed it to be a medium length. It had inquisitive eyes and a soft pink nose which was currently trying to see if it could fit it within my pocket (thankfully it was failing), and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the ponies antics. I had a feeling this pony probably belonged to a child, and was well loved- a far cry from how I had found Neptune. Glancing behind me, I spotted someone walking up towards me, probably to collect their horse from one of the fields on the side, the horses which were all kept away from Neptune… and his new companion apparently.
“I hadn’t expected to see you on your feet so quick, Jones” I heard a familiar voice call out from behind me, however I couldn’t remember who the voice belonged to until he was standing beside me: it was deputy Nolan- David I briefly recalled from Liam when he and Mark went down to the station. I was surprised to see him here, just as he was surprised to see me.
“Ah yes, we Jones’ are hard to break and quick to fix. A mystery to doctors around the world. I’m surprised to see you here David. Do you have a horse?”
“Not personally anymore- I’m just looking after Patch here for a while whilst my nephew focuses a little more on his studies for a while” David gestured towards the piebald pony who was currently trying to nibble the buckles on Neptune’s rug.
“I didn’t know that you had a nephew”
“Yeah, Henry. He’s Emma’s son, surely you’ve met him?” I thought back on the name Emma, realising quickly that that was the name of the blonde goddess who had come to question me in the hospital, she was the sheriff who saw me as a regular human being whilst I was stuck in the hospital. I hadn’t realised she had a son, or a significant other for that matter, for there was no ring on her finger.
“No, I can’t say I have. I didn’t know Emma had a son, or a partner for that matter. How old is he? Your nephew I mean” I turned back to horses whilst talking to David, gently rubbing Neptune’s muzzle whilst he and Patch were falling asleep at the gate.
I found out that Henry was nearly thirteen, and had an unrivalled love for superheroes and fiction. I also found out that Emma was in fact a single parent, something which I suddenly felt very relieved about, a feeling which I hadn’t been expecting at all. We continued chatting for a while until Anton came up to bring in the horses, where we helped him bring in the horse's back into the yard where they were all put into their stables so they wouldn’t have to deal with the oncoming cold front; the weather was due to take a turn for the worse in the next couple of days, so they were making preparations for the horses to all be stabled- even the ones who were supposed to be on full turn out still.
I was just putting up Neptune’s haynet when Liam finally appeared. He had a particular expression on his face, one which only came from looking at paperwork continuously for a few hours, and it was obvious that he was hungry, so before he could open his mouth and complain about getting an early dinner I suggested we take our leave and get back to the restaurant; after all I did need to christen the kitchen. I let Liam drive back to the restaurant, for I was feeling more and more tired after not doing much other than sit in a wheelchair for a few weeks.
It was just like the old times when we got back, with me cooking in the kitchen, with Liam trying to cook but inevitably just making a mess on the counters, however this time Liam actually was doing something productive for all the plates, bowls and tables had finally been finished and delivered to the restaurant, so Liam was putting the plates and bowls away whilst I got to work creating some English fish and chips, a recipe which had taken quite a while to perfect, but it was completely worth the hassle; for you couldn’t get fish and chips quite like it anywhere else in the world, no matter how hard other countries and restaurants tried. We were looking forward to start the recruitment process that would start the next day, as it would allow us to get to know some more people in Storybrooke, but it was something I enjoyed, putting these strangers through their paces, making them uncomfortable before allowing them in front of people in the restaurant.
Liam was going through the list of people that would be here tomorrow to be put through their paces, we would have two cooks and four potential waiters each day, and we had two days of this. A name from the second day did surprise me however;
“August Booth? Wasn’t that the one I socked not too long ago?”
“Yes, and he has said sorry profusely to me, however I do give you permission to put him under even more scrutiny than usual. Make him uncomfortable: if you don’t then I will because you have been rubbing off on me and I now find it all rather amusing. He should arrive at around ten with the first of the cooks. You good with that?” Liam asked, his eyebrow raised in a way only we could manage.
“Yes, you realise you will get first dibs on making him uncomfortable as I will be busy with the chef, meaning you will be testing him on bar skills and such.” Liam simply nodded as he brought over the plates, ready for the food to be loaded up from the fryers, before placing them on the only table which we had set up in the restaurant with the beers which he had pulled out of the fridge when I wasn’t looking.
We spent the rest of the night planning what we were going to do with the cooks and waiters to make sure we were testing them equally as well as how we could make them uncomfortable and stressed, at which point Mark called to see how we were doing, and then proceeded to provide more ways with which we could make our potential employees squirm on their interviews tomorrow. Despite it still being early, I was wiped out and exhausted, meaning I left Liam and Mark to continue talking about the investigation and various other topics, however I could have sworn I heard Mark jest about Elsa and Liam needing to go on a date before I fell into the void of dreamless sleep, looking forward to the day ahead.
Kai had taken an early night, his pain meds still making him a little more tired than usual, leaving Mark to talk to me alone about the investigation. Or at least I thought it was going to be about the investigation.
“So, have you asked that Elsa girl out yet? Or should I be asking Killian to find some more co-conspirators and set the two of you up on a date?” Of course he would go back to this. Why couldn’t he have just continued talking about the investigation!?
“Seriously Mark? You get a chance to make some real connections and links on the case and you’re thinking about my love life rather than protecting Killian’s actual life?”
“No reason I can’t multi-task; also we have narrowed down that the guy who sent out the assassination warrant against Kai is somewhere either in Maine, New York or Vermont. We are getting mixed signals but we know whoever this person is they are in one of those states. Something that is quite concerning considering you and Killian now live in Maine. Although it won’t stop me from talking about your love life considering all available computers are currently running through multiple servers and such to try and find this guy meaning I have nothing better to do”
“I’m sure you could”
“Well, yes but that wouldn’t be any where near as fun as this” I rolled my eyes at his response, it was childish really, but then again, with a job as serious as his, he found happiness wherever and whenever he could. Although I would have preferred it if it wasn’t directed at me.
“Seeing as you’re not going to drop this, I have not asked Elsa out, nor will anybody else on my behalf- She is an exceptionally beautiful lady but I have to concentrate on getting my brother and this business back on their feet. If you or Killian try to set me and Elsa up I will kill you both personally”
“Ooh, such harsh words liam, you wound me!” I could practically hear Mark placing his hand over his heart in mock hurt (the man had certainly spent too much time around Kai and I) “You may say those things but you realise that neither of us will stop trying to set you up with people considering the fact you never do it for yourself?”
“Right if this is all you are going to talk about I am going to hang up and get on with finishing stocking the bar ready for interviews tomorrow. Good night Mark”
“Such a grump Liam. Talk to you tomorrow.” The line went dead, leaving me alone in the silent apartment, for Killian had already gone to bed to try and sleep off his medications, and I wasn’t yet ready to go to sleep, so I kept to what I had said and finished putting away all the necessary alcohol, ready for the waiters tomorrow, despite the fact there was more than enough time to do that tomorrow I decided to keep myself busy and out of my own thoughts. If only I could keep that peace for more than a moment.
I awoke the next morning to find Killian already in the kitchen, his blue eyes shining and his cooking overalls a crisp white. He made idle chatter whilst he finished cooking breakfast (a traditional English cooked breakfast of course), discussing his chosen dishes with which to test the cooks on and checking what I would be looking for myself (ability to pour a drink, use of a cash register and basic manners), and how we would get the others in in case we were still in an interview with the person before. Kai had a very particular talent in that he was able to do nearly everything important in his life whilst cooking. Or singing. Or sailing for that matter; he truly was a man who could multi-task, seeing him only doing one thing at a time was always a worry because that usually meant he was planning something devious. And would usually involve me in some way or another (and not in a co-conspirator way, more I was going to be the victim way).
We finished setting up the restaurant a long time before any of the candidates arrived, meaning we could then fire up the kitchen and make the bar look like it was in the middle of a shift. It was our favourite way to test the potential employees, for it was an excellent way to make them uncomfortable, and when we started shouting at each other as we would in an actual shift we would see how they would react under the induced stress, making it easy to rule out the worst candidates.
The first person to arrive was one of the waiters, and I took him over to the bar whilst Kai awaited for the first cook to arrive, and we were both happy with the way the cook responded to the shouting, immediately working faster before shouting straight back at us, whilst the waiter jumped out of his skin from the surprise. To say the least we didn’t allow him an interview after seeing how he would conduct himself in the workplace. The next few sets of people went well, and by the end of the day we had three potential cooks, and four potential waiters.
We were cleaning and tidying the restaurant when we heard a knock on the door, and when Kai opened it, I saw none other than Elsa behind it, her smile distracting me from the box which was behind her.
“Miss Arendelle, how lovely it is to see you again” Kai began, a mischievous glint in his eye sparking in the cobalt spheres which were currently trained on Elsa. This couldn’t mean anything good.
“It’s good to see you again too Mr Jones, but please call me Elsa, I have told you this more than once now” She looked over to me briefly, and in her eyes I saw a similar glint, however it was more in excitement than the mischief which Kai had.
“Now Liam, be a good brother and piss off for a while so me and Elsa can set this up” he said, gesturing to the box by his side, before looking over to where the podium for the centre piece was resting in the corner, ready for whatever was in this box. I swiftly left the two to their artistic devices, but I couldn’t help but feel jealous of Kai for spending time with Elsa, it made me feel….
No… I wouldn’t go there. I went upstairs to the office to go finish up the paperwork from the cooks and waiters, looking in particular at their previous employments, and Cyrus who coincidently made all the plates and crockery for the restaurant, was looking to be our best option for a potential head waiter or some such. I didn’t realise how long I had been in the office until Kai appeared in the doorway, saying I could stop sulking in my office and could come see the centre piece for the first time, and to say the least, it made my jaw drop from amazement...
I am so sorry that this is so late. I have had literally -3459734985 time to write my stories recently, so if you've been waiting on this; I'm sorry. Also, I will be aiming for once every two weeks, more if I can to compensate the bigger workload I've just been given. I hope you all understand.
The centre piece was magnificent- a column of swirling and twisting glass which had a school of fish swimming through it, and in some places they were even sticking out of the edges of the glass like one of the designs which I had picked, with an old fashioned ships wheel secured to the side to look like it was leaning against the solid glass, and on the top was a ship in a storm, with triple masts and two decks of cannons- in short the statue was nothing short of incredible, and perfectly reflected our history. It showed the fight to stay alive and stay together with the ship in the stormy seas, then the peace and technicoloured fish represented our travels around the world when we were looking into world cuisine, and the ships wheel to represent our new control and heading in this new town and life.
Turning to Kai and Elsa, I was sure that my eyes were at least glassy, and the smile on Killian’s face told me that he understood. Limping over, he gave me a tight hug, whispering “Thank you for understanding” before burying his head into my shoulder. It was in these moments that I occasionally saw the little boy he had once been, when he would only allow himself to feel the pain of abandonment and loss when his head was buried into my shoulder. I held him tightly, completely forgetting that Elsa was in the room whilst we embraced, allowing the feelings which we had left buried for so long to resurface, to let it all out.
After a few minutes, I went back to realising that Elsa was indeed, still in the room, and was probably uncomfortable with the display between my brother and I, and so I pushed Kai away with a glance to Elsa, letting him know what I was thinking of, only seeing out of the corner of my eye the predatory grin which spread across my little brother’s face.
“I must say Miss Arendelle, this is a most spectacular statue” I said walking back over to where Elsa had gotten herself a drink from the various cans next to the bar which were to be stocked up, a smirk plastered across my face as I saw how well Elsa fitted into the scenery of the restaurant, my mind drifting to places it really shouldn’t be.
“Well it was nice to see such a reaction, you know I was beginning to wonder what it would take you to react to my works of art” Elsa had moved behind the counter and was now leaning over it, and I was finding myself enjoying this more flirty side of Elsa, whilst quietly begging that no one had put her up to it. I looked down to quickly think of what I should do in the next few moments, before looking up and seeing a pair of ice blue eyes staring back at me, and I made my choice.
Reaching out to hold Elsa’s face in one hand, I pulled us both even closer to the bar, trying to eliminate as much space as we could from between us whilst our mouths fought for possession over the other, her mouth burning hot against mine. When I was kissing her, I realised that there was nothing else in the entire world that I would rather do for the rest of my life, with the faint taste of chocolate and strawberries making me fall even harder than before for this woman who had turned my life around in just a kiss. the longer we spent lip locked the less coherent thought I began to have, until she pulled back gently, the need for air becoming too great.
She rested her forehead gently against mine before pulling back, looking as wrecked and stunned as I felt. She didn’t say goodbye before she left, only sparing Killian a brief as she was going out of the door. Looking over to where my brother was, I spotted him leaning against one of the support beams as though it were the mast of a ship, an expression on his face which only suggested trouble on the horizon. His ever present smirk carried him away to the kitchen to give me a few minutes to recover from such a kiss, and also to no doubt inform Mark of the development- he would certainly get a kick out of it (although he would be annoyed that he wasn’t there to witness it)
Once she had left and I had recovered, Killian and I started to discuss the people we had seen today, as well as the centrepiece and the inspirations for it. We ended up also talking to Mark, who thankfully, had managed to find enough data to be able to analyse, and to hopefully bring the man who had been sending out the kill orders on Killian down to his knees. Not to mention he was looking forward to being able to make fun of me for kissing Elsa. But then again, that’s what brothers are for.
We passed the night away in a similar fashion to how we had when we had first arrived, before the attack…
“Where’d you go to put such a look on your face Li?” Kai called as he brought me back to the present, the plates balanced on his arm like he used to in the restaurant, placing down a plate of scampi and chips in front of me which he had bought from a local fisherman that morning after he had found out that they could catch it here.
“Nowhere in particular little brother. Just thinking.”
“It’s younger brother Liam. And if you would stop staring at me and perhaps ate your food before it went cold, that would be great” Chuckling at my brothers antics, I dug into the deep fried scampi which just melted in your mouth, just as they had used to serve them when we were back in England, when we would all go as a family to the local beach with food from our local chippy, and sit on the shore, watching the stars while eating our meals. It was a memory which both Kai and I held dear to my heart, for it was a time before our mother had died, and before our father had abandoned us, a time when we were all happy.
I was almost nervous for tomorrow morning, because tomorrow we would be interviewing August- the same man who had caused Killian to run into the forest that day, and I had been angry at him for that, although once he had explained why he had done what he had done, about his past in the military, I found myself almost forgiving the man. The key word in that statement being almost. There was no way that I wasn’t going to allow Killian to put the man down and make him as uncomfortable as he could, to let use if he could handle working with us on a nearly daily basis.
As it turned out, August was the only person to even be considered by Kai and I to possibly hire on the second day, which would leave us a waiter short if I was going to stay in the office, so we decided to open the restaurant with four waiters and three cooks to go along with Killian, and that day was just a week away. Needless to say I couldn’t wait for that day to finally arrive.
The second day of Interviews came and in comparison to the people from the day before, it was terrible. Most of the applicants either couldn’t perform the simple tasks we asked of them or they didn’t do well under stress. Thankfully there was one good candidate from the day: August. It was surprising enough that he even applied considering I gave him quite the shiner not too long ago, and even though Liam had discovered what had set the man off, he flat out refused to tell me, and then would proceed to tell me to ask the man myself. Either way he was going to be coming to work with us when the restaurant opened in a week’s time, meaning that I had a week to make sure all the necessary ingredients were supplied and in the correct places, along with the cutlery behind the bar and the crockery in the cupboards.
I had been looking forward to opening the restaurant, a happiness which I hadn’t felt since the first restaurant, but now I was feeling the nerves that I had had since I had lost my hand. I was nervous for some people refused to eat the food or accept it knowing that it was made by an invalid, which was bad enough as a cook, but when I tried working as a waiter again after the accident, it was even worse. I lay awake, thinking of all that could happen once the restaurant was opened and I pictured, all the reactions which people might have about it. It was only after I pictured a smiling blonde angel that I finally fell asleep, only to be awoken seemingly moments later by my brother saying that I had overslept. Not that he minded of course, because I was always the one waking him up with a sauce pan and a wooden spoon every time he put his alarm on to snooze, but he was also glad because my sleep patterns vary from little to none at all depending on the day, so me sleeping in was something close to a miracle.
Today marked the countdown to the opening of the restaurant. Today would have the first of the fish deliveries which would go into the freezer, ready to be used, and we would also be talking with the fresh producer company which would be delivering the produce on Friday, ready for the opening on Saturday, as well as the timings of the deliveries for the rest of the week (there would be two a week, one on a Monday to last us the week and a smaller one on Friday’s for the weekend supply, and all would be at six in the morning so that the delivery truck wouldn’t be blocking any of the other businesses with their deliveries, and the truck would be gone before anyone else was on the road. Or at least before many people were on the road). All those meetings went smoothly, however just as I was leaving to go to spend some quality time with Neptune, August was knocking on the door of the restaurant.
“You realise that we’ll be sending out the confirmation on whether or not you have got the job right? you don’t have to come find us to get it” I said, with as much humour as I could manage for my mood- being stuck indoors talking to people for too long set me on edge after that night, it was partly the reason the my first therapist had suggested that I did theraputic horsemanship, to get me outdoors and doing a physical activity- sailing was suggested but because my brother and I already did that on our own accord it was taken back.
“I wasn’t here about the job. I was here to ask something of you actually” August replied, a little hesitation suggested his nerves, a quality that not many veterans had, for the military taught you not to show fear for the most part, especially the American forces anyway, it was a little more accepted in the British Navy and forces. I tilted my head in curiosity, glancing towards the door suggesting that he followed me outside, a signal which made August stand up straight before following me out the door to my truck, placing the kit I had been holding into the back seat before turning to face the Italian version of myself.
“What do you want August” I said curtly, not wanting to wait around too much as I had somewhere to be and a demon to outrun. Not to mention he and I hadn’t exactly gotten off on the right foot.
“I wanted a friend. And I know that the first time we met we hadn’t exactly gotten off on the right foot” he couldn’t have been more true in that statement, but he surprised me when he said “I’d like to get us on the same page”. He had a point in saying that we had been through some similar experiences through our times in our retrospectives armed forces, and something else which he was refusing to mention in public.
I invited him along to see Neptune with me, wondering what his secret could be, and the conversation began to be a little easier, talking about our family and friends that we knew, people that August knew in town who were planning to come to the restaurant on the opening night, all staying away from the subjects of our pasts. “What made you choose this kind of therapy? I would have pegged you more as a seaman, no offence but I can’t see why you would be drawn to horses when you seem so in touch with the sea” I stopped the car immediately when he asked the question, for this man was practically a stranger and yet he was asking me a very difficult question. I had to stop the panic from stealing by breath from me, to make sure that I didn’t hyperventilate and make it worse, although from the corner of my eye I spotted that August had grabbed a bag left on the backseat in case I needed it.
It took a few minutes before my breathing and thoughts were back to normal, and about five minutes of just sitting there calming down before I finally answered him. “Well…. However much I loved the sea, and how much I enjoyed sailing…. It just wasn’t helping me to heal, I could still feel the explosion, hear the screams, feel the pain as though it was still happening, that I was still bleeding out. But once I got back on the horses after not riding since childhood I started to improve. The episodes were getting fewer and slightly better, but it was after the second explosion that my therapist told us that we should move away from New York. Ever since we’ve been moving every year trying to find somewhere that helped to alleviate some of the attacks, where it wouldn’t be such an issue. We’ll just have to see if Storybrooke can help me in any way, and in a way I’m already hoping that it will.” I glanced over sheepishly to where August was sitting, scared of what his response would be to my minor breakdown, yet his eyes only held sympathy and understanding.
“You’re more than deserving of having a few mental breakdowns. Just wouldn’t recommend them more than once a day, plays havoc with the sleep schedule” I could tell that August was speaking from personal experience on that front, but I knew not to push the limits- the man had just seen me have a breakdown, there was no chance that he was going to tell me his secret.
I simply nodded before starting the car again, driving the last part of the way into the yard where Anton was waiting in the courtyard, a worried expression on his face which was no doubt caused by me not being there when I had agreed to be. August stepped forward and explained what happened before I could even get to Anton, and the giant simply nodded in response, telling August to grab a horse and to meet us around the back in ten minutes, allowing me some time to get Neptune ready, as well as my mind.
Walking around to the stable on shaky legs, I saw a large black nose looking around the corner, a gentle nicker welcoming me back to my safe haven. Neptune’s mane, tail and feathers were starting to regrow nicely, and there was no doubt in how shiny his coat had become. He kept nudging my pocket whilst I put his saddle and numnah on his back, knowing that it was where I kept his treats, his antics bringing a small smile to my face as I finished tacking him up.
Leading him towards the mounting block, I saw Anton on Ursula coming around the corner, his left leg in front of the saddle ready for him to adjust Ursula’s girth. He didn’t speak until I was securely in the saddle, asking simply which route I would like to go on, and how much time I had to spare (I wanted to go to the beach trail which he had kept mentioning, and I had plenty of free time as Liam was sorting things out in the restaurant).
“Nice to see you both waited for me. Makes a change” August called as he lead a liver chestnut gelding with a bright white blaze and pink nose towards the mounting block which I had used.
“It was one time August, why can’t you drop it?” Anton retorted, smiling at some inside joke between the other two men.
“Because I enjoy seeing your reaction to it each time. When I first started my physiotherapy here Anton decided that I was taking too long to get ready and just started to trot off quite happily on his own, pretending that I was right behind him when I was only just getting on. Considering I hadn’t been riding for long I think you can tell I wasn’t too happy about it” August said, and I was glad that I was being allowed in on their private joke, and it made me a little less nervous about being in public after nearly having a panic attack.
Anton called that it was time to go, and so August and I followed behind him, making small talk and avoiding any topics that could set me off again, the horse's content just to follow behind Ursula as she lead them towards the small beach that Anton knew of that was fairly hidden from the prying eyes of Storybrooke. August was still being secretive and avoiding the elephant in the room, but there were a few details which I had picked up on and was beginning to think it was what he was trying to hide.
For instance the man tried to avoid using his shoulders too much, and when he walked he had a slight limp on his right leg, something which transferred onto his riding as well, for I could see when I held back to allow him through a smaller gap in the track that his right leg was very stiff in the lower leg, and his foot was seemingly not responsive to anything that he was doing. There were few leaves left on the trees as the Autumn was beginning to give way to winter, the bare branches providing an archway to the blue horizon where the white horses lapped gently on the tide. I could feel Neptune begin to get excited underneath me and gently slowed him down, his head was up as he took in the new and foreign smell of the sea, a place he had not been to before; and a place I would be bringing him back to again soon most likely.
The beach was small, but deserted; with rocks lining the top of the beach where the trees stopped, and sand led down into the sea. Even though the beach wasn’t very long, it was still long enough to be able to get a good canter going along the shore. I held Neptune back as we stepped onto the beach, watching Ursula going down to paddle in the water whilst August’s gelding was trying to run along the beach, getting over excited about being on a different surface. Nudging Neptune on, I got him trotting through the shoreline, allowing his feet to get wet (after allowing him to try and smell the sea, followed by him trying to drink it)(I didn’t allow him to do that, pushing him into the water) whilst also allowing myself to get lost in the feel of the horse beneath me, the wind that was gently bringing the small of the sea to me, the sound of splashing hooves and lapping waves, allowing my senses to take over my mind and push all semblance of thought from my mind.
We spent the next hour trotting, cantering and just enjoying the escapism that only a beach ride could provide. I was becoming exhausted towards the tail end of the ride, from both riding for two hours and from the near panic attack I had had beforehand. Anton and August went ahead, but not before August asked if I had figured him out yet, which in a state of near exhaustion I simply said I would try and tell him once we got back to the yard, but it did get me thinking again. I thought of all my observations, and thought back to the way August was very careful about his shoulders, more so than that limp on his leg, and I figured that he must have been injured in his shoulders, seeing as even Anton wouldn’t touch them, and once I caught up with August and we were both dismounted I told him what I thought his secret was.
“Well when you put it that way I guess it would make sense for you to think that, although that wasn’t quite what I was getting at” August tied up the gelding to a tie on the wall, before leaning forward, one hand on the wall, the other lifting up his jean leg. I guess in hindsight I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was when he revealed a prosthetic leg instead of a real one, but I couldn’t help the small gasp that left me, for this man that I (unfairly) beat up had gone through exactly what I had been through, and was probably still going through it the same as I was. I could feel another wave of emotion begin to build up in my throat, constricting my chest and making me forget how to breathe, and the next thing I knew, I was back there .
At first, all I could hear was ringing. The pale restaurant walls ablaze with fire and blood where people had been thrown in the blast. I tried to lift myself up- falling down, screaming in pain as I landed on the stump, only then feeling the agonising pain of all my nerve ends being blown apart, the blood quickly draining from my arm, taking my life away with it. I heard the fire roaring, screaming as people tried to leave, and Liam calling for me… Killian…. Jones….. That voice wasn’t Li’s….
“...llian! Can you hear me? God, Anton get Mary round here already! Fuck where’s a bag when you need one” The haze began to retreat, and I placed the voice…. August ….
I had collapsed, and August was holding my head up, calling out for help, and I thought I heard Liam’s voice when the darkness took me back into its void.
I was only supposed to take the statue to the restaurant to show Liam the final product, and help to get it into the correct position, but no matter what scenario I had conjured up had definitely not included this.
After Killian and I had moved the statue in position, he had gone up to the office where he had sent Liam so we could get everything set up without ruining the surprise of our creation. In the short time that I had known Killian I had learnt much about his creative flair…. and his brother. He had told me a little about their beginnings as he had wanted it to be shown in the sculpture in a way that his brother would be able to understand.
He had also warned me that I should probably stay to the side as he may try to crush me in a bear hug. Something that the elder Jones did quite a lot of apparently. I had the feeling that Killian was trying to encourage his brother and I together, and seeing as he already knew what my sentiments on the subject were (or at least, some of them. Some of them were decidedly not something that you would tell to the brother of the man you dreamt of). Before he went upstairs to retrieve his brother, he directed me over to the bar where there were a lot of cans and told me to get a drink to “replenish myself” as he put it. When I asked what century he came from he simply laughed, heading up the stairs to get the man who was stealing a heart which had been so cold for so long, taking it in his hands and giving it warmth in his smile, and the love I would swear I could see in his eyes.
As it turned out, Killian had been correct about the ‘bear hugging’ thing, as he held his brother close for a good few minutes, seeing all the things that Killian had wanted him to see again. As a piece, I felt it was almost as good as the swirling fish sculpture, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the Jones’ to have plenty of stories and experiences which had sparked my ideas back off, and I had two more full sketch books which could testify for that. Taking a sip out of one of the first cans I had found, I looked up to see Liam beginning to walk over to me, and before I could take the words back, I was flirting with him, enjoying the simple joy it gave me, and then it became a match, who could make the other cave first; would it be he or I?
For a while I thought I was winning, but then he ran his tongue over his teeth and mouth in a way which could only be described as sinful, and I couldn’t help but sway closer to him (despite the fact that there was a bar in between us), and when we both finally gave in, I was lost in the sensual assault of his lips on mine, claiming my own, devouring any air or coherent thought that I may have had, matching me blow for blow as I did the same to him. When I leant my forehead against his, for just a moment, I thought I heard our two hearts beat in time, an endless swirl of water and ice, together as one, and it was then that I knew; I was never going to hear the end of this from Ana.
I was beginning to wonder if my brother had just been cursed to a life of bad luck when August called saying he was having a really bad panic attack and had collapsed onto the yard. My heart felt like it had stopped, and only once I felt my brothers pulse beneath my fingers did I feel it beat, and with each breath he took, I took one too. He was barely conscious when I had arrived, and then passed out soon after. With the help of Anton and August we placed him into the back of the truck, before climbing in and taking him back to the flat, August calling someone called Victor and asking him to do a house call to the restaurant, but all I could see was the dark haired prone form in the backseat.
I told August to wait downstairs for his friend to turn up whilst I carried Killian upstairs into the flat and onto the sofa. I wished that Mark could hurry up and come back here so I wouldn’t be alone with my crippling thoughts and fears. I couldn’t say how long it had been when I heard August knock on the door, with none other than Dr Whale behind him, his cold grey stare immediately drawn to my brother who lay unconscious on the sofa.
“What happened and how long ago was this” Whale started, a worried expression settling on his features.
“About 20 minutes ago. We had been at the horse yard, and we had been talking about some aspects of our pasts and once I revealed my leg to him, he kind of just… stopped breathing and completely zoned out of it, and Anton and I tried making him wake up but nothing was working.” I was wondering what was so weird about his leg, for I knew that he had been in the army and had an honorable discharge, but I chose to tune back into the conversation, placing those thoughts into the back of my mind for later.
“Okay, he’ll be slightly disorientated at first and very tired from having such a serious panic attack, I was concerned about him collapsing but there wasn’t any pressure or impacts on his previous injuries which means although he may be sore he will be fine. Might be a good idea to keep him from doing much tomorrow once he wakes up though” the doctor said as he was standing up, lightly patting my shoulder as he went.
I nodded as he left, only sparing he and August a glance as they left, my attention returning solely to my brother who lay sleeping on the sofa. I knew I should leave him alone to rest but it was beginning to feel like everything was only happening to him because I wasn’t there with him; for he had been blown up when I had been sorting deliveries in the back, he had been shot when he had gone to help Marco with the designs on the tables (which had turned out beautifully) while I had been with Elsa and now he had had a panic attack in the middle of the yard while I was at the restaurant. I was wondering whether or not I should just keep him with me at all times until the bastard who was sending out the kill order was taken down, but I knew deep down that that wouldn’t be fair to Killian- for in order for him to stay sane he had to keep moving, especially after an episode like this.
We were going to be opening the restaurant in just a matter of days time, and we both needed to be at our bests for that, and Mark would be arriving on Thursday to carry on with the case giving us one last night of freedom before we would be in the restaurant everyday and night(or until we could find some bar staff and more cooks that was). I quickly called Mark to see how he was doing, and to take my mind of what had happened today; you would have thought that nearly four years worth of panic attacks would have me better prepared for this, but still every time I saw him like this I felt my heart break and I would worry as though it was his first time having one all over again. Mark teased me for being a bit of a mother hen when it came to situations like this, but I couldn’t correct him because he was right; I was overbearing and protective of my brother since I had to raise him myself practically. Although it was understandable for me to do it to Killian, Mark was never too impressed when I turned it onto him when he needed looking after. Kai would always laugh and say it was karma for laughing at him when I did it for my little brother.
I walked into Kai’s bedroom to fetch his duvet and pillows so that I could leave him undisturbed, however as I pulled it off from his bed, I spotted a piece of paper caught amongst the sheets. I knew that I realistically knew that I shouldn’t look- but I was worried about him and cursed with the Jones’s curiosity which probably killed more than a few cats. Lifting the page up, I realised that it had once been in Kai’s sketchbook from before his accident, because the book he used to scribble in had this weird cross in the corner from a logo of who knows what, but staring back at me I saw a drawing of he, Milah and I from when we had taken her out on the water for the first time, and her friend had taken the picture of us two laughing whilst she was screaming in surprise.
The paper was watermarked in places, the smears on the page there from so many nights of crying over the past, over the woman who left when she was needed the most.
I placed the page back into the his sketch book, dragging the duvet and one of his pillows through to the lounge, moving him so he wouldn’t have a crick in his neck in the morning, and wrapped the duvet around him as though he was a child. I knew this total unconsciousness was unexpected but seeing as the doctor wasn’t worried I made myself calm down, and began to get ready for bed.
Three days later and Kai and I were standing in front of the restaurant, all the waiters and cooks already inside and awaiting for the first customers to come in to be served. We were waiting for Mr Gold and his Wife to arrive- for as they were the ones who were leasing us the restaurant we had agreed that they would be the first ones in, much to the dismay of the queue that had formed beside us at the doors. Killian was making small talk with me and a few of the customers in the queue whilst he was waiting to finally go back indoors and to the kitchen
It had been a week since I had last seen August, since he had started working at the Jones Seafood and Italian restaurant at the docks which had opened just a few days before. He had told me that after his interview he had gone back to the restaurant to work things out with the younger Jones after their first meeting had gone so badly. Apparently it must have worked because he had been hanging out with him for two days prior to the opening, meaning that Henry was asking where his ‘Uncle’ was (I had met August once when I was a child, and then later he found me just as Henry had, suggesting that I move to Storybrooke to be closer to him).
Tonight I would be collecting Henry from the new restaurant after his meal with Regina and Robin, meaning I could try to catch up with August then if he wasn’t busy (although I knew he would be; nearly everyone in town was either going, or had been to the restaurant and all were raving about how nice the food was and how it was still healthy and value for money on top of everything else. It was practically every mother’s dream restaurant. And students. And everyone else really now that I was thinking about it, except from maybe Gold, but then again he rarely even ate out of his house where his servant had cooked it (yes, the man really did have a servant, and yes, said servant on more than one occasion has wanted to quit and run away from him).
Turning back to the paperwork I was supposed to be filling in, I was glad to see that it was only Leroy’s weekly drunken offence and a few parking violations which I needed to fill out before the end of my shift, which thankfully wouldn’t be too long considering David was supposed to be here any minute to take over for the evening shift before Robin would come for the night shift.
“That looks entertaining” David called as he entered the office part of the station, a couple of detention cells at the back for short stays, throwing his jacket haphazardly onto the coat stand in the corner, ending up with his jacket over the top of it rather than over a peg.
“I see you finally hit the stand, so maybe next time you could aim for a peg?” I said nodding to where he had thrown his jacket, a gentle jest for the fact I could and have on multiple occasions, throw my jacket onto one of the pegs on the coat stand without even looking. An ability given with practise and knowing the exact location of where everything was in the office, something which I relished in from knowing that I was here to stay and allowing myself to learn the environment.
“Ha ha, very funny Emma. When are you going to go and pick up Henry exactly? Mary-Margaret wants to know”
“Why exactly does your wife want to know when I am picking up my son? She’s not going to try and kidnap him is she because both Regina and I may just have to kill her for that”
“She refused to tell me why no matter how many times I tried or how many ice cream cartons I bought for her. She’s been craving cookie dough ice cream and carrots for three days now” It was nice having a brother to talk to, and even better was that he always made an effort to include me into his and his wife’s lives; something which currently involved Mary-Margaret’s pregnancy. David made a face at what his beloved had been eating, suggesting that he might have been forced to eat it more than one occasion since his wife loved to share everything. And I mean literally everything. There are more than a few things which I would like to burn from my memory from that particular trait of my sister-in-law.
“Yeah well, I don’t have to go through that so please keep MM’s current weird eating habits from gaining detail because some of us would actually like to be able to eat normal things without the taste of that on our tongues forever”
My brother simply laughed before telling me that I could go early ready to go pick up Henry later once I had had some time to myself, quickly busying himself with filing the reports I had made that morning.
It wasn’t often that I had days off of work (other than the weekends when I had Henry) so I always made sure that I did the chores and did not fall prey to procrastination of any kind (I always lost. Netflix was always to good a temptation), but first I got into the comfiest clothes I owned (a big baggy t-shirt and joggers) and put on some Queen, singing along when I knew the lyrics and taking my mind off the monotony that was doing the laundry. And cleaning up from girls night with Ruby and Belle. Belle may look like a sheltered and innocent librarian to most people but seriously, that woman could drink anybody under the table and still walk away sober.
Once I finished the chores I finally let myself fall into the blankets and pillows which I had piled into the couch and to catch up on all the shows I had missed that week. I was halfway through my binge watching session when I got a call from Robin, Regina’s husband.
“Robin this better not be a law enforced complaint David said he was going to tell you I’m not in today” I grumbled, unhappy with the disturbance of my peace.
“Don’t worry about that Emma, it’s just to ask if you could pick up Henry a bit earlier- we were supposed to go and have the meal at the new restaurant as you know however Rowland isn’t feeling too well so I can’t leave the house and Regina has another meeting with the builders who are trying to rebuild the bridge in the forest after it broke in that storm. The owner himself said he would keep an eye on Henry and that he could have his tea as long as you went to go and pick him up afterwards”
“So you are saying that you are leaving my son alone, in a restaurant where he could literally do anything and none of us would be there to stop him?” Henry was a great kid, but he had a seriously huge imagination- one that had been talking to my sister-in-law recently and was now trying to match me up with one of the brothers Jones; hopefully not the one that Elsa kissed a few days back.
She had called me right after it had happened and explained the situation; for she, like me, was useless with emotions at the best of times so when either of us needed to vent we were there. So she explained how she had developed feelings for the older jones brother when she had been making the statue, something his younger brother had been very encouraging about, even saying if his brother didn’t ask her out himself- then he and Mark would set the two on a date. None of this would usually have phased Elsa but on this occasion it did- because for once she actually wanted them to do it and that confused the hell out of her. To be honest it would have confused the hell out of me too.
“I know you have you restraints about this kind of thing but Mr Jones assured me himself that the meal would go on our tab so you won’t have to pay, and if he tries anything… Well I think we will just wait and see. I’m sorry for springing this on you Emma”
“No it’s fine Robin. I hope Rowland feels better soon”
“Something wrong with the in-laws?” David called as he walked into my apartment for his lunch break- calling his joke of Regina and Robin’s relationship with me, for they were legally Henry’s parents, but a court case later after Henry said he was the one to find me. After that (and a relationship with my long lost brother later) David had taken to calling Regina and Robin my in-laws. It had made the court case a whole lot more fun to think of them that way.
“Rowland is sick so Robin is back at theirs and Regina’s meeting’s have dragged on so Henry is going to be eating dinner alone at the restaurant under the supervision of the owner.I have also been instructed to not get there before him so he has to be left alone because Regina and Robin have already paid for him but you know the kind of things he can come out with” I pointed looked at my brother on the last few words to make him know that it is his and his wife’ fault for making Henry say some of the things that he did (including his new found passion for match making me and Elsa with different men).
It was nearing six when I finally left to pick my son up, and I knew that Henry would have likely finished all three courses of the meal he had likely had at the restaurant and was probably talking to the owner if I was really unlucky. On pulling up to the dockside restaurant, I saw that there was nearly no free spaces in which I could park, which shouldn’t have been surprising considering the reviews I had heard from other people. It did make parking up difficult mind. On getting out of the car I was pleasantly surprised to find that the smell of good food overwhelmed the smell of fish from the cannery.
The restaurant inside was completely nautical themed, up to and including the sculpture which Elsa had made for them (for a very pretty sum too). Every pillar was wrapped in rope coils, and condiments and share dishes were on tiny ships wheels which span around for everyone to access them. I eventually spotted my son sitting on a small two man table at the back of the room, closest to the kitchen, where I spotted a familiar dark haired man sitting with him, talking to him. I recognised him as the younger Jones who not too long ago had been attacked and in hospital. I spotted the Owner nodding at me from behind the bar as he served drinks with August, in such a place that he could see nearly the whole restaurant without moving, but his brother and my son were directly in his line of sight which put me at ease. I still wasn’t sure about Henry being left alone with Killian though considering that the latter knew that Anna and my sister in law were currently trying to set me up with him- who knew what had been said between the two of them already.
“...and then Uncle David knocked out the attacker with the hilt of a sword! Like a real one!” I walked in to hear Henry regaling the older man with the story of how my brother and I had to do a raid, and David had picked up a literal sword to protect himself with whilst I grabbed a baseball bat (that was one weird raid- the house even had a room dedicated to top hats).
“Your Uncle is a pretty special man. And very good at his job, as is your mother. Speaking of which she should be here by now…”
“Yes and “ she ” is standing right behind you” I couldn’t help but wedge myself into their conversation, a habit from childhood after being bullied and gossiped about too much by the other children at the schools I went to. On hearing my voice Killian jumped up from his seat into a defensive stance, from the surprise of being crept up on quickly fading into embarrassment and something that resembled… happy? Or perhaps it was relieved I wasn’t too sure.
“Miss Swan, a pleasure to see you again. Thankfully it’s not for work related purposes this time” his laugh was small and self-depreciating, looking down to the floor and scratching behind his ear with his good hand.
“I will agree to that. It’s good to see you up and about again. I hope Henry wasn’t too much of a bother for you because I knew you and your brother are working at the moment…”
“Henry wasn’t a problem at all Miss Swan. In fact he was perfectly well behaved, if not a tad imaginative” Oh no. Please say he hasn’t told this stranger his fairytale theory “ say Lad, you should try to write up that story you were spinning, you never know it could become the new standard for fairytales” Crap. I was afraid that Henry might say something about that- it had been over two years since I walked into his life again, and back then everything was fairytales with him, and although he had gotten better with it, it still came up sometimes. Like tonight for example.
“Will do Killian! Hey do you think I could come riding with you and Anton tomorrow?”
“That is not up to me Henry- you will have to ask both your mothers as well as Anton before you can do that, so maybe next weekend you can join us” I had never heard someone both say no and yes all in one sentence, both letting down the teenager in front of him and building him up at the same time. And it seemed to work because while I could see Henry was a bit miffed from not being allowed to ride with them tomorrow he was excited for the idea that he could rise with them the following weekend.
“Miss Swan… I was wondering if when Henry came down to the yard you might like to come along with him, and perhaps we could get to know each other? I mean I know nearly every other person in this town including the illusive Elsa Arendelle and Jefferson” He smirked at the last name, and I wondered how the hell Killian had gotten into contact with Jefferson, for not only was the man hardly ever in town, but he also tried to avoid human contact of anyone who wasn’t his daughter. I agreed that I would meet him again sometime soon without thinking, and even if I had thought about it the smile that lit up his face would have taken them away. He quickly said goodbye and see you later to Henry and I before getting his uniform jacket buttoned up again.
Killian got up to take his leave towards the kitchen when Liam whistled at him, beckoning him over to the counter where Liam was dealing with a customer (It was Ashley and her husband out on a date), so I collected all of Henry’s things and led him out of the restaurant, and he was talking at one mile a minute to try and say everything that happened that week at school, and what his friends were doing, as well as his surprise encounter with Mr Jones at the horse yard the day before when David had taken him to see his horse Patch.
“He had taken his horse into the arena and his horse was practically dancing! Anton called it dressage, but it was so cool! It’s legs were crossing as it went sideways and never faltered, even when it was doing it round the corners!
“That’s pretty cool kid, although I’m not sure how either of the Joneses would react if they found out that you had been watching him have a private lesson in the enclosed arena”
“He said it was fine, he came up to me after his lesson and asked what I had thought of it” I hummed in agreement as we got to the door of my apartment, Henry quickly running into the lounge so that he could play on his playstation and play some Skyrim whilst I made up some drinks and checked his bag for letters from school (the kid was great at remembering homework and anything else from school, but as soon as it was a letter for parents he conveniently forgot that it existed and was in his bag for over a week).
Looking over at the mop of hair which was currently sitting on the couch with his legs crossed as he tried to battle a dragon, I couldn’t help but smile at the young man who had crashed into my life again after eleven years of not being there. It was this trail of thoughts that took me back to his interaction with Killian Jones, and subsequently my own.
He had openly admitted that he wanted to get to know me, whether that was a friend or something more I wasn’t entirely sure- but I knew for sure If I fell for this man there would be no coming back from it. Henry already loved him and so did pretty much everyone else who met him.
“What are you over-thinking about Mom?” I realised that Henry was looking at me from the couch, his head tilted like Robin did when he was confused.
“Nothing Henry. I’ll go get my controller” I replied, desperate to get my mind off of the tracks they had started on.
I was confused when I opened my eyes to the ceiling of Liam and I’s living room, as the last thing I remembered was being at the yard with Anton and August, and August was showing me his leg…. The memory of the afternoon came back almost instantly, the post panic attack headache coming in with the force of a sea storm. I had barely moved when Liam came back in with a pot of tea in one hand and croissants in the other.
“Nice to see you awake again Kai. Thought you wouldn’t surface till at least midday”
“Urgh don’t tempt me I feel like I could fall asleep and sleep till then. I hate being so lethargic”
“It’s not your fault so don’t beat yourself up about it. You just need to sleep until it clears over- until then I shall be in the office sorting out a few last minute details as well as putting in reservations. Can you believe that we are getting reservations before we open the doors to the public?” I simply shrugged while I tried burying my head into the sofa in a vain attempt to get rid of the headache which was raging behind my eyes. I must have fallen asleep again because the next thing I knew was that Mark had arrived and was talking to someone on the phone, rolling over I got caught in the blanket which I was confident I had thrown off before I had fallen asleep.
Mark must have seen my confusion because he mouthed “I put it there” while he was listening to whoever was on the phone. Slowly pulling myself upright, I noticed that somewhere along the line of me passing out yesterday and now my prosthetic had been taken off, I didn’t know if that had only just happened or was done when I was brought back to the apartment, for I didn’t move my left arm at all earlier. Looking around the room I searched for my hand, which for some reason was in the middle of the table posed around a shot glass. No doubt that was done by Mark- Liam didn’t have enough of a sense of humour to do that.
“I see you found a new drinking buddy then” I called as Mark got off the phone, gesturing towards where he had posed my hand around the glass.
“Ahh yes, you’d be surprised how good he was, kept his drink all night while Liam and I drank ourselves into oblivion. Or at least I did. I nearly crashed on top of you until I realised you were there, so Li directed me into your room instead seeing as you had stolen mine.” I simply laughed as I reattached my hand to my stump before removing the shot glass and positioning it so that it could still be useful. I went to get a shower and thought to myself of what I actually had to do today. Liam had taken all the calls and made the arrangements which I needed to do, and I had finished everything in the kitchen apart from writing down a couple of recipes for the other cooks to use. I also realised I had a lesson with Anton for dressage that afternoon so I should get to the yard sort of soon to get some work done and get some time on with Neptune before I was taken back to the restaurant to rest and catch up with Mark properly over a drink.
I quickly got into some jeans for yard work and left, calling out to Mark that I would bring back lunch with me providing he wasn’t as hung over as he was when I left. The winter morning was crisp and cool, leaving a cloud of breath behind me as I walked to the truck, dreading having to warm up the truck with its ancient air conditioning which would probably need repairing before the month was out. Front street was alive with people walking their dogs and on their way to work. I debated going to get a coffee from Granny’s but decided against it- I would stay there too long and get no work done at the yard.
Neptune nickered when he saw me, his head around the corner watching for anyone coming past for him to play with. His eyes no longer held fear of humans, although certain types of people he really didn’t like; Mr Gold was one of these people. Apparently the man had seen him in the field and asked how much he was not realising that he was a therapy horse. Neptune made it so Gold would never consider buying him before Anton could tell Gold otherwise but either way it wasn’t a problem anymore. But it was fun to remember and picture Gold’s face as Neptune galloped over, reared and bucked in front of him, then relieved himself as he cantered off. Was sad I missed it but then again I had been busy trying to open a restaurant.
“Hello Neptune. Have you missed me?” He nudged into my hand, his ears relaxed and his temperament happy. “I certainly missed you, although it’s been longer for you as I have not been awake for a lot of it. But now it’s time to muck out your stable and put you out for the day. May as well make what you can with there being no rain or snow about.” The gelding nodded his head, his forelock flying up and down as he did so before it was flicked to the side as I walked to get his headcollar and outdoor rug.
Neptune trotted up to his field, happy to see that his field mate was already out and standing beside the gate for him. Patch was already muddy up to his knees, and his head and rug were too from obviously rolling in the mini mud pool beside the right field. I laughed as I watched Neptune go straight for the pool once I closed the gate to do as his friend had done, both completely muddy but I couldn’t find it in me to care. He was having fun, and so I should be too. Except that wasn’t truly in the cards for me with a mucky stable, bags of shavings and one hand. I was done nearly an hour later, with the exception of the hay net because the hay wasn’t being delivered to the afternoon and both Mary and Anton were busy teaching lessons and taking out hacks.
As the wind blew into the stable, I was glad that I had opted to put Neptune in his heavier rug for he wouldn’t get cold, but it did leave me in the cold without too much to do. So I opted to do a task which would take a while and allow me to stay in the cold; taking cleaning and polishing. Thanks to Anton, all the kit was brand new, but it was still a little stiff in places and dirty from where it had been used on hacks. The mindless activity allowed my mind to empty as I took off each piece of dirt away, leaving the leather shining and supple beneath my hand. I had lost track of time and before I knew it my alarm was going off saying that I needed to go back to the restaurant with Granny’s to make mark feel more human. Because I knew there was no way he wouldn’t still be hungover by the time I got back.
Granny’s was surprisingly busy considering it was a work day, but then again I had it figured that everyone in this small town ate pretty much all their meals there anyway.
“Three grilled cheese and fries please to take away please” I asked the waitress behind the counter before turning around to look at who was in the restaurant for their lunch. I saw the towns psychologist who more often dealt with families and children, Dr Hopper over in the corner with his umbrella, there was Ruby on her lunch break with Dr Whale (or Victor as he had demanded I called him when I had been out for drinks a couple of nights ago) sitting in a secluded booth towards the back, but I was also surprised to see the Town sheriff also having her lunch,her back turned to me while she ate, a copy of the local paper in hand. I was about to go over and say hello when my order was passed over the counter for me to take away.
It had been perfect timing because Liam had texted demanding food. I wasn’t sure if it was really just Mark using my brothers phone but I knew it would be a bad idea if I left either of them hungry for long. They were both grouchy assholes otherwise.
“Took you bloody long enough. We’ve been here wasting away while you dawdled your way here” Mark complained as I came in the door, and he had most likely have been watching the window for me to pull up too.
“Well if you wanted it so badly you could have just walked over there and got the food yourself instead of being so lazy. It is just a five minute walk away” I argued, mark and Liam already picking out their meals from the bag.
“Yes but that would require effort. Plus I was working on getting this restaurant open. And you were going past it at the time so it made more sense. So let me eat my food!” Li ranted, and I was tempted just to lock away his food so that he could smell it but couldn’t reach it. But that would have been a waste of my time and money had I have done that so I just let him inhale the sandwich like it was nothing, Making sure to eat my own before either of the two men could eat my share. It was mindless talk which we all enjoyed, nothing had to have a purpose, none of us had to be anywhere for a while and we could just catch up. Of course that eventually led onto the topic of relationships which meant I could land Liam in it with Mark.
“Shame you missed it Mark, he was practically a love sick puppy over Elsa and she wasn’t much better!” I cut in, watching Liam shake his head before giving me a death glare.
“Oh come off it you two”
“No please carry on Killian I’m liking the sound of this” Mark’s expression was cheerful, the mischievous glint returning to his eye as his thoughts aligned to mine- to set up them both on a date.
“Oh yes she was just here to deliver the statue and they practically pounced on each other!”
“I will murder you both in your sleep if neither of you are careful” Mark and I shared a glance before shutting up, chuckling under our breath as our attention returned to whatever food was remaining in front of us. We continued chatting until I needed to return back to the yard for my lesson with Anton, so I left Mark and Liam in front of the formers laptop as they went over things that he had found while he was back up in New York and Boston.
It was nice to be able to just concentrate on my riding and nothing to do about the attack or the restaurant, and was so deep in my thoughts I nearly didn’t notice the small boy beside officer Nolan who were sitting at the top of the enclosed ring, where there was a small ring of seats. I only just heard Anton telling me to bring Neptune into a canter to do some figure of eights and to work on bending him around the corners- something that he was fine with on walking and trotting but when he was cantering he wasn’t as good at it.
We were close to the end of the lesson and Anton was just allowing me to do as I pleased before the cool down, so I was cantering around the arena, just to feel Neptune rocking beneath me and listen to his feet hitting the sand, watching his ears twitch forward and back, listening to me and to his surroundings. We had both worked up a bit of a sweat in the session and I was looking forward to the cool down and to groom Neptune afterwards.
“That was a good session today Jones, I keep forgetting that you have one hand, you’re better at dressage than most with two!” Anton called cheerfully as he came up to me as I was leaving the arena, as he had been talking to Nolan and his nephew who owned the horse who shared the field with Neptune, probably to organise a lesson.
“Yeah, I’ll be glad to get out of this gear, you worked us both hard and ran us so ragged we couldn’t think. In other words it was a good session and I can’t wait to do some jumping. I like doing dressage do not get me wrong, but I also love showjumping and would appreciate it if we could do that soon” Mary called out to us both before Anton could reply, and I could only laugh at the antics between the married couple.
“I believe that that can be arranged. Now if you don’t mind Killian I need to steal my husband back so he can do some work for a change and stops avoiding his chores” Mary poked Anton in his side in jest and I was jealous of the relationship which they had with each other, remembering how similar it once was to my own relationship with Milah.
I waved them off as I took Neptune back to his stable, spotting the young lad from earlier outside the arena waiting for something. I decided to call out to him and ask what he had thought of the lesson.
“It was awesome! I have never seen a horse dance like that before” I chuckled to myself at the boys answer, for in a way dressage I guess could have been classed as dancing to someone who didn’t know much about it.
“That dancing was called Dressage as Anton no doubt told you before. And as for how well it was, well let’s just say I’m not the best at it but Neptune seems to have a natural affinity for it, just needs to work and bending around corners when he is cantering.” I stroked Neptunes mane, his nose nudging my back pocket in the hopes to find something to steal; thankfully I had left everything in my other coat so I wouldn’t have to pry my phone away from him. I noticed that Neptune was starting to cool down so I excused myself from the boy and took Neptune back to his stable so I could groom him and put him to bed; I figured he wouldn’t have much time if he went out so it would just be easier just to give him some early tea and leave to get my own.
The following days were a blur as we opened the restaurant, and I met the boy once again, Henry, he said his name was- his mother was the Mayor and for some reason couldn’t come but still sent Henry to come for a meal before his other mother, Miss Swan would come to pick him up. He graced me with stories which he had created in his mind that everyone in town was a storybook character, and had even found a way in which he could include my brother and I; according to Henry I was Captain Hook and Liam was my first mate (thankfully he wasn’t the bumbling idiot Smee in the boy’s imagination but rather was a hardworking man who was good with a sword. Of course I had to stop myself from laughing as I thought about Elsa and my brother being good with it.)
It was when Miss Swan came to collect Henry that I realised that it was the first time we had talked for something that didn’t involve her job as the sheriff. And then I did something stupid. I asked to get to know her better. And practically invited Henry to a private hack between me and Anton. I had a feeling that if Mark and Liam found out I had actually initiated a conversation with a member of the fairer sex I would never hear the end of it. So what could I do? Prepare a date for my brother and the woman of his affections, that would be a good distraction for Mark and Liam...
It had been a week since I had picked up Henry from the Jones’ restaurant, and six days since I had taken Henry to the yard so that he could go for a ride with he and Anton. Regina had only just deemed it safe for Henry to do the ride, and so had I until I realised that a horse had been brought around for me as well. I hadn’t ridden a horse since I had been in my teen’s and in the system- Killian seemed to understand my apprehension and helped me up and distracted me the whole ride, just simply talking whilst Anton and Henry led the way ahead. He had arranged a friendly looking chestnut mare for me to ride,with four white socks and a white star on her forehead which matched her soft pink nose which she was intent on getting me to rub and stroke. She was a little bit smaller than Killian’s horse, Neptune I believe he was called, and the two horses were more interested in nickering to each other, with Neptune occasionally trying to nudge her neck.
Over the course of the ride I learned that Killian and his brother were ex-navy, and that he had quit after his brother had been injured in a fight and had to be discharged. They had always loved the idea of travelling and loved cooking (although it had been more of a necessity since their father had walked away and abandoned them after their mother had died) and had decided after leaving the navy they would learn how to cook some of their favourite local meals from all the places which they had been during their tours, leading him to get his qualifications to be a chef. When he talked about his cooking I could see his face light up instead of becoming sullen when he talked about the Navy- and I could understand his enthusiasm because he could watch people’s reactions to what he had made for them. He did however let on that his personal favourite meal was fish or scampi with chips and peas as it reminded him of home but also tasted really good too and I told him that if I went to the restaurant I would be sure to order them.
He also made sure that I didn’t fall off which was a close call a couple of times seeing as I had been concentrating on other things (namely his voice and my son who kept disappearing with Anton) but he had allowed me simply to enjoy a little bit of time to myself which didn’t happen too often seeing as I was the sheriff and had a teenager to look after. The ride had ended up taking us around most of the eastern forest, and the trail was a nice way to see how the world was going from autumn to winter, and it was closer to the latter than the former, a chill in the air that wasn’t there the week before but I found myself enjoying the winter which was unusual because I usually hated the cold.
I smiled at the memory as I sat in the sheriff’s station finishing up the paperwork from the week (a couple of drunk and disorderly, a break in and a case of trespassing at the edge of the town), and then that smile became bigger as I remembered that Elsa and I were going to the Jones’ restaurant tonight to have a catch up and gossip about all that had happened in the small town we called home. I grabbed my scarf and coat before locking up for the night and heading home, watching as some of the shops close early seeing as it was a friday, and many dog walkers out coming back from the forest where we had ridden close to a week ago.
It was no secret between Elsa and I the she and Liam were somewhere between friends and just a bit more, having already kissed a couple of times but never actually going on a date together so it almost always coming up in conversation. I had known that Liam had admired Elsa, even before he had met her from her art, when she admitted that she felt something for the older brother I knew it was a lot for her to deal with. Of course whenever I asked Elsa about her situation with Liam she would also ask the counter question of how I was getting on with Killian. Even the two of us had barely talked or spent any real time together I couldn’t deny that I was attracted to him. Anyone who had seen him would have said the same about him from his looks but it wasn’t just that that I liked and admired about him- he was a fighter, something I had seen when I had gone to question him in the hospital, because even though he was stuck in a hospital bed he wanted to help, both his brother and in my investigation. But then there was also how good he was with Henry, and he had talked to him about horses and other things before he even realised that Henry was my son, so I knew that that wasn’t the reason why he had befriended Henry.
But I knew Killian wouldn’t stoop low like that if he wanted to get a woman’s affections- he was too shy for that because children could be very judging when it came to disability, especially if they hadn’t seen it before. I knew that the explosion that had taken his hand had also taken either his fiancée or to be fiancée from him that night and that he hadn’t really gone on any dates since and becoming a bit of a recluse from society because of how people looked at him in public. It was why he stayed in the back of the restaurant in the kitchen, because he could make people happy without them having to see his disability.
Elsa was to meet me at the restaurant since she was working late on her latest pottery experiment on trying to get some kind of special effect to come onto the clay. I didn’t really know what it was she was trying to do and she didn’t understand all that I had to do in my job so we generally avoided the specifics on work beyond stuff breaking and annoying forms to fill in. Elsa was consistently getting dragged into Ana’s wedding planning parties and night in preparation for her wedding to Kristoff- and after seeing all the trouble she was going through trying to get her wedding to be perfect Elsa and I were almost glad that we were single. But even with all the planning for the wedding going on, somehow the younger Arendelle had managed to find out about her kiss with Liam and was always pestering her about it, and unfortunately she didn’t have the same amount of filtering as I did and would talk until your ears fell off.
I was looking forward to going to the restaurant tonight, because we had been given the same table that Henry had been given at the back of the room, next to the kitchen meaning Killian or even Liam might join us should they have a lull or a break to come sit with us. I had dressed in a dressy red top which Elsa had bought me a few years ago on one of her art trips from some small designer shop that she had found that went perfectly with some brown boots and a brown leather jacket which she knew I would have, along with a pair of blue skinny jeans which hugged my figure in all the right places. Without even thinking about it I had gone over the top to what I would have usually done in getting ready for one of these nights; but I realised that Elsa would have probably done the same because she was guaranteed to see Liam while she was there. I could only hope the same about Killian.
Once again the car park to the restaurant was way too full by Storybrooke standards, as there was only one or two spaces left, which couldn’t mean anything good for Granny’s diner (although she did cover the morning and most of the lunch time rush, so she wasn’t going out of business completely which made me think the Jones’ had done that on purpose as not to anger anyone with their presence, to make themselves noticed but not to be a problem, something I could relate to all too well from being in the system until Ingrid adopted me. Elsa greeted me at the doors, and, just as I had predicted, she too was dressed up in a dressy yet casual style not too different from my own.
August was the one who showed us to our tables and served us when we first arrived, but we could feel the eyes of his boss burning into him and our table from behind the bar where he was working on a cocktail drink of some sort. Elsa described the pain of being her sister’s maid of honour whilst I explained the newest cases of drunk and disorderly committed by Will Scarlett which always led to something entertaining- a bonus for having to work nights occasionally. Elsa described how her sister had made her taste so many different chocolates and chocolate cakes that she might be going off her favourite treat forever because of having so much in such a short amount of time.
“So, how was that ride Henry made you do last week? Wasn’t Killian there too?” Elsa enquired, stirring her drink to mix it before she took a sip. We had already had our starters and were awaiting for the main course to come, but unlike other restaurants I had been to, it didn’t make me feel as though I had to just eat the food and leave as fast as possible, but the atmosphere just made you want to stay longer, to enjoy the food more and enjoy the company you were in. It was probably why it was taking so long our main courses to finally arrive (which were both scampi and chips upon Killian’s recommendation), although that could have just been my imagination. Either way it had to be one of the nicest restaurants I had been in for a very long time and I was glad Storybrooke now had such a place.
“Yeah, it was good. I didn’t realise I was doing the ride till Anton put a horse in front of me and told me to get on. Henry loved it as he prefers riding out than in the school. And as for Killian…. Well he’s not what I expected at all. He is very sweet and charming but knows when not to push boundaries… he has a knack for reading people like I have never seen and I wish I had his eyes when i’m working at the police station, it would make so many things easier” We both laughed at that, and I saw the blue flash of Liam’s eyes from the bar, immediately zoning in on Elsa’s laugh. He quickly spotted me staring and turned back to whatever he was doing, and it wasn’t too long till Elsa followed my eyes.
“Does he keep doing that?” she asked, a smirk on her face as her thoughts aligned with mine
“Oh yes, he simply can’t keep his eyes off of us” we both laughed at our inside joke which we had made at her first exhibition where something similar had happened.
“So Killian… is he going to be your prince charming in shining armour?”
“Well I think Henry is edging it more towards him being my dashing and fearless pirate Captain Hook with Liam as his badass first mate. No idea where he gets it from; neither Regina or I, or even his own father were or are very imaginative and yet he can come up with all of these stories”
“Perhaps he’s just pulling the slack for both families” Elsa jested, but we both knew there was some underlying truth there. We only really talked about Neal when we were drunk or comparing Henry against him, saying how much better the son was to the father.
“You know… I was wondering if you and Liam were actually going to go official sometime soon, I mean you see each other every other day and he’s always texting you when he should be working. I think that you two should hurry it up or you know what will happen in this town, and that’s not including his brother and friend”
“Please don’t start on this Emma, I already have Ana and your sister-in-law pestering me about it nearly everyday and you know how I respond to pressure- I will only disregard it and throw it away. And I don’t want to do that to Liam, he deserves better than that so we are taking it slowly”
“You call him practically eating your face off everytime he kisses you taking it slowly?” Elsa had the good sense to blush and look away, but apparently she was doing it for something else seeing as not a few seconds later I felt a familiar hand land on my shoulder and jumped out of my skin as Killian had snuck up behind me and whispered “Hello Love” in my ear. I laughed about it and beckoned him to join us, and he waved over to his brother for a drink whilst he was on his break and quickly got past the pleasantries to complain about everything that had happened at the restaurant (one of the cooks had nearly set fire to the kitchen because he was sneezing and then one of the waiters had to rush home because of a family emergency and Liam had to come down and cover the bar whilst August went out on the tables. Elsa shared how she was fighting with her agent over going to a particular gallery because the last piece of work she had there it was put under someone else’s name and then they got all the money from the exhibition. I tried to explain a break in which had happened a couple days to Mr Gold’s cabin in the woods when I saw Killian’s face darken at something.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
“You said in the break in on the door there was evidence that the door had not been forced open yet the lock was completely broken on the inside once you had a closer look. Did it by chance look like the lock mechanism had been blown apart without any sign of damage on the outside? Without any fingerprints on the door or lock?”
“Yeah, wait, how did you get all that from me saying that Gold had a break in without forceful entry?”
“I will tell you later- but you need to tell that to Mark, he will explain everything but for now I have to get back to work. You should also tell Liam and make sure that you have at least two locks or security measures in place on your houses and work shops.”
“Killian…” I called after him, but he had already disappeared. Elsa and I just looked to each other before silently vowing not to say anything more whilst we were in public. We quickly moved back on to the topics of Elsa’s latest creations, her imagination starting up again after she had met Liam and his younger brother.
It was not long till our meals had arrived and had been devoured and we were both anxious to get out of the restaurant to check on our houses and make calls. If it was anything like the fear that haunted Killian’s eyes we knew we would have to be very careful to keep what we had been discussing a secret. I made it back to my house in good time, checking all my doors and windows for anything suspicious, and after confirming that everything was indeed OK in the building before picking up the phone and calling a number I never thought I would need.
“Mark Scott. Who is this.” I rolled my eyes at Mark’s answer, because while the man was a PI he never seemed to save numbers, which was annoying at times but it didn’t stop him from being very good at his job.
“Emma Swan. I need to talk to you about something that happened at the station earlier; I didn’t realise that it could be something important until Killian brought it to my attention earlier...”
“I will come to your house, and I will use my normal knock, do not let anyone else in during that time and do not pick up the phone unless you know for certain who it is who is calling” The phone went quiet as I started to take stock of the situation; I was trying to do my job by looking after the people of Storybrooke and yet here I was having to get help from a PI who I hadn’t seen for years but worked with the Jones’ on their case. A case which could now endanger the town which I had sworn to protect.
It was nearly half an hour when Mark finally knocked at the door, and behind him was Liam, but no Killian which suggested he was still at the restaurant working. I let them in and guided them through to the second floor where I had a study, knowing that it was near impossible to hear anything through the ridiculously thick walls which the apartment had come with.
“Okay. Let’s start from the beginning Miss Swan. There was a break in. Tell us where this was and some information about it”
“The break in was in a small cabin in the woods, just north of the ravine where your brother was injured and shot Mr Jones. The Cabin belongs to Mr Gold, a wealthy business man in town who owns half of the properties in town and is known for being horrible to everyone except for his wife. He is not well liked by anyone so we had just assumed that it was someone in town doing it to spite him, however it was brought to my attention that what happened to the lock was something I needed to tell you”
“Was the inside of the lock blown apart without any inside damage?” Liam asked, his eyes not moving from his hands which were in his lap. He jumped up and started pacing when I said yes, before finally stopping beside the window. He glanced over his shoulder, nodding to Mark.
“The last time we saw this happen Miss Swan was when Killian had been attacked the first time, and it was to the house of his lover, Dr Milah Arkansa. She was a veterinary nurse but there were a few things that had bothered Liam about her, for instance she had a lot more money than your average vet, and apparently when she first met the Joneses she was covered in bruises. What you have just described to us about that lock is what we had seen on her apartment door, and the place had been overturned, but nothing was taken. As it turns out Milah’s ex husband was none other than Mr Gold, however when questioned he claimed that he didn’t even know where she lived now, as they hadn’t had any contact since their divorce two years earlier. Neither Liam or I never believed it and they are forcing themselves to be civil seeing as he is their landlord now. Nobody could have made the connection before they met before, and even then neither of the Jones’ had known that it was the same Mr Gold, or what he looked like until he met them to give them the keys for the restaurant. I believe that Mr Gold may not be as innocent in the situation as people think, because that cabin which you have mentioned was in pictures of Milah’s apartment, so for the fact there was a break in suggests that she might have gone there to seek refuge. And if that is the case then the other case will have to be reopened as she is presumed dead, her body having never been found in either incident. We want you to tell us if anything more of this nature happens in town, so that we can stop an attack before it may happen. I thank you for this information and your time Miss Swan.”
“If you need anything Emma, anything at all, both Killian and I will be at your aid should you call. Providing we are not up to our necks in dishes that is” Liam said, his joke sounding self deprecating as he turned to leave, thanking me for my time and an apology for scaring me earlier, that it was necessary for the danger that could be involved but it should now come to nothing. Both men left the house laughing, as though we hadn’t just talked about potential murders and attacks which could come to Storybrooke. I feared for what may come from that talk for my town, but it made me realise how much I didn’t know about Killian Jones, and I felt that I now wanted to learn it all.
It had been a pleasant evening so far, albeit a very busy one, conversations flowing and laughter rolling around the room. Or at least it had seemed that way until I saw my brother come out of the kitchen for his break only to turn pale, and for him to look at me with a glance which I knew too well and hated to see. A look of fear and apprehension, the very face he had made when a second attempt on his life had been made. I nodded to him before he left to go back into the kitchen, a sign that I was going to get Mark to talk to Emma seeing as she would know all the details. I could only imagine what would be going through my brothers head right now, and I briefly wondered if it was something to do with Milah, because I knew how much it had affected him at the time and knew that he still missed her even if he was beginning to develop feelings for a certain blonde sheriff (although I was not certain that he did know that they were developing).
It was five minutes until business let up enough for me to go into the kitchen and ask Killian what had just transpired. And I wish that my guess had been further from the truth, because a break in Emma had described had been very close to how Milah’s apartment had been found after the first explosion. I went upstairs to where Mark was supposed to be working on the case but was instead listening to music quietly.
“Mark, something has come up and we now need to make a house call.” He jumped up, about to ask if Killian was alright when I put my hand up to stop him from panicking. “Emma came to the restaurant tonight for a meal, but it turns out that she and David had a break in at a small cabin in the woods, however the circumstances showed that it was exactly like Milah’s apartment after the explosion when she went missing. Killian told her to call you when she got home, so when she calls, come find me and we shall go. For the minute she is sitting downstairs and enjoying her meal with Elsa, so don’t expect it for a while, and if Killian comes up please try not to say anything to set him off, I really don’t want him to go into another violent episode like he did the last time he heard someone say something close with what happened to Milah”
“Yeah, I’ll make sure not to. At least he doesn’t get set off anymore by people proposing, otherwise the rest of us we would be screwed. Oh, wait, none of us have been able to keep a relationship for a more than a month so I think we are all fine in that respect.” Mark joked as he sent me back downstairs to finish my shift, or at least until the crowd below had thinned out a bit and so I wouldn’t be needed desperately.
My mind was spinning from all of the possible things that Emma might say when we would finally go and see her, and that made the time go faster to the point I hadn’t realised that two hours had passed and Mark was standing in front of me with a pointed look and a warning to look at my phone a little more often when things like this came around.
It took twenty minutes to find Emma’s house on a different path to the fastest, knowing that if Emma had been speaking about it in public someone could have heard her and scouted out the usual route to her house to see if we went there after her. While I thought it unnecessary in such a small town I said nothing, because I knew that Mark had dealt with situations like this before, only they usually went away after one attack, instead of the multiple on Killian which had happened. The car’s engine was the only thing I could hear, for all life around the town seemed to be dead, just like how I felt knowing that the bastards who had the gall to attack my family could be back again, and I just hoped that my brother wouldn’t be another murder victim in the paper because I hadn’t managed to protect him.
But for now, all I needed to do was talk to the sheriff and learn what had happened so that Mark could get to the bottom of this and to save my brother the pain.
I am so sorry that this has been so long since I have last updated! Life has been rather hectic and then my muse seemingly flew out the window. Fortunately it is now back so I will keep on writing! Please remember that leaving comments helps to inspire me and create chapters faster!
Killian barely moved the day after the revelation from Emma, only getting up when he had a lesson with Anton and even then it seemed begrudgingly. Mark had gone back out of town to talk to various detective agencies and organisations including the CIA about the latest findings from this section of dark web cases, and god knows what or who he would come back with after all his meetings- especially considering he said he would be away for a week doing it.
I dreaded this week and even contemplated shutting the restaurant, but thankfully one of the other cooks had said he would take on the extra hours while Killian took the time he needed from work, leaving the restaurant covered. I too had decided that I should take the time off work so that I could be there for Killian, or just a phone call away should I be in a meeting or on a date with Elsa.
She and I had agreed that we should take things slowly in our relationship, but I did wonder if it would become non-existent now that she had had a glimpse as to how dangerous our lives had become. Little did I know that in the next few days more than a few skeletons hidden in our closets would be shaken and fall into the light of the small seaside town we wanted to make our home.
Emma, just as she had promised, told us when anything resembling the case came up at the station, but I had not expected it to be quite so blunt in its message.
“Are you sure that this was not done by someone in town, playing a dumb trick?”
“I am certain of it. It was done in the cabin where the break in was last week, so whoever did it I believe must have connections in Storybrooke and has found out that you and Killian will get whatever message that they want to send”
“How do you know that it is aimed at Killian and I?”
“There were… artifacts about the two of you in the cabin... covered in blood.”
“Could I see the picture and message please Miss Swan” The sheriff and her deputy both looked to each other, debating whether or not I should see it, but both acquiesced and the envelope was handed over. I had made sure to tell Mark about everything that was found, although when I opened the envelope, I had to remember to simply just breathe.
Inside was a picture of the interior of the cabin which had been taken by the forensic team, and what I saw could only be described as blood curdling.
The floor beneath the wall was covered in blood, whose I didn’t know, but it was what was on the wall that made my blood stop, and understand why Emma and David had asked me to come without Killian. The message on the wall was written in the blood from the floor, a heavy warning it brought with it.
“The next blood spilled will be yours”
The message was clearly meant for Killian despite the fact it was left for the police to find, and all it showed was that whoever it was who had attacked Killian was possibly still in town somewhere or perhaps that he had an associate who was helping him. Why any of this was happening in the first place was a mystery and whoever it was who had ordered my brothers murder attempts was clearly very rich.
I put the photo back into the envelope before handing it back to Emma and David, compartmentalising the shock away for later and making a list of what needed to happen. I needed to tell Mark about what had happened. I needed him to get some more FBI agents to help with the case if they weren’t already. I needed to find a way to keep Kai safe until this was all over, without it ending in his death. I was halfway out of the office when I heard Emma calling after me.
“Liam I know this is really bad timing for you and bad circumstances but my brother and I agree that it might be an idea for you and Killian to go out of town for a few days, stay with Mark or someone else who will help you from that sector if you know them and see what happens. We need to know if they are watching you individually and following you or if it’s a matter of them being in the right place right time and deciding to attack”
“I understand what you are saying Miss Swan but we have already tried that strategy before and no-one came. And I am not using my baby brother as a lure you hear me?! He has had enough happen to him recently as it is”
I noticed the phone in my hand began to ring, so I dismissed myself from the sheriff station to pick it up, noticing that it was Mark on the line.
“Hey Mark, what have you found on your travels?”
“Something interesting. Fancy meeting somewhere we can talk about it?” Code; this line has been hacked and it’s not safe to talk
“Sure, the usual space?”
“See you there” Hurry.
I knew whatever he had to say it was important- otherwise he would have just said it plainly. And the added fact that he used our code for the line had been hacked was pretty big, in both good ways and bad. Because whoever it was had to have been close to get the connection, meaning they were nearby, but it also meant that Killian could be at danger should they decide to take action. I walked quickly back to the restaurant, nodding to a couple of the guys who were getting ready to open for lunch and thought again about the nature of the call. Mark was supposed to be away. And yet he was asking to meet up, so perhaps the people he was going to meet had met him on his way out and they would be coming here to meet us. Either way this wasn’t going like it had been planned so I was anxious to know what had happened to come to this result.
I prepared the small flat for the on coming arrival of Mark and whoever else he had brought with him, and once that was done I shot Anton a text asking him to keep Killian at the yard until the metaphorical storm had passed. I didn’t have to wait long till I heard a knock on the door, but it wasn’t Mark who greeted me. There were a group of men dressed smartly and gun holsters, and the one in front of me showed a CIA badge before he and his men strolled into the apartment, with men going to the windows and checking almost every part of the apartment, and I was about to question what was going on when Mark appeared and told me what was going on.
“My friends here just lost something, they won’t be a second” he handed me a piece of paper which was folded up tightly, and he nodded for me to open it.
Whoever it is who has been terrorising Killian knows everything we had discussed in here. They are trying to find any microphones or cameras. Give me your phone.
I did as the note had said, and watched as one of the men took the phone from Mark and filled the sink, placing the phone in and leaving it there whilst they continued to search the apartment. It wasn’t long till one of the men had discovered a small microphone unit hidden under the coffee table, and after that they were popping up everywhere. Under the settee. In a lamp or two. On top of a cupboard. Even a few in the bedrooms.
I thought in abject horror of how without even realising it Killian’s tormentors had always been here. Always listening. Never giving him the peace he deserved. As if he could sense my thoughts, Mark patted me on the shoulder, a knowing look of understanding as he too cared about Kai and wanted to keep him safe, even if he had only met us through business.
It was half an hour later before they finally all stopped searching, confirming the room was now clear and Mark guided me to sit down with him and one of the men in the room.
“I am sorry but something happened bringing us all here instead of in Boston. This is Detective James Quill, he has been on a team investigating attacks from the dark web and found our case along with some new information”
Quill nodded at Mark before turning to me, a grim expression on his tanned face turning my blood cold and my spine straighten. I remembered this man’s name because he was supposed to save my brother and I from whoever was attacking us after the first attack but that failed as we were attacked again. I listened to what he said and was glad that Kai wasn’t here- because then he wouldn’t have heard that the man who chased him off the cliff and shot him had shot himself after being paid $500,000. Apparently he too had been paid by the same unknown user that has paid the bomber from the first attack and had paid it to an offshore account that was under a false name that wasn’t even registered to anyone.
They were waiting to see if the forensics had found Milah’s blood at the crime scene because then they would be able to tell if it was something personal to Killian or something he had done (although he had never done anything).
I barely listened to the rest of what they had to say, instead I paced around the room, thinking about what had been said by Mark and what Emma and David had told me in the morning. I knew that it was going to be a tough few weeks ahead but I couldn’t tell Killian. Not yet. He needed some time to recover first, and considering how close to home it was I decided to let him be. This could be discussed later after these men were out of our apartment and restaurant.
From there I only picked up small pieces of information, that Mr Gold’s lodge didn’t have all its locks done up which made it easier to be broken into, the lodge hadn’t been used in over a year but there was no dust suggesting that there had been more than one person had been there doing something. It was their last point that made me listen properly.
“During their divorce Milah was placed into witness protection with a new last name and given work at a veterinary hospital after she had been beaten up by Gold supposedly. He had won the court cases about domestic violence but it didn’t mean that she was safe. She was attacked in her new home, leading us to the dark web where an order for her attack was found but it was to another man- he said his name was Neal Cassidy although he denied it he still lost the case and still serves time for it, however at the time it was also discovered that he had sent his previous girlfriend to prison for his crime so her record was cleared of the offences. Not long after the Neal Cassidy had been sentenced the divorce was finally processed and we were finally able to move Milah to Boston where she met you and your brother. Because of this history we are considering Mr Gold as one of the main suspects because he has the most motives but we suspect there will be others helping him which is throwing our search because it is not one person as we had thought it was”
“There’s more than one? How was this not found earlier?”
“The dark web changes the ID addresses of the computers which are used so it takes extra time for the correct computers to be found but it is possible. We have found addresses on internet cafe’s but the names were not taken at the time. We do believe however that the other people who were attacking your brother do not know of his new location and so we have some more time until anything drastic happens”
“You had better do your research then because I am not letting my brother pay for your mistakes. Now get out and leave us alone.”
The team followed their leader out and went to their cars but not without double checking that the perimeter was now secure from bugs.
“I’m sorry Liam.” Mark said solemnly, looking at his shuffling feet as he made his confession. “I did not know that there was more than one assailant”
“From the way they said it neither did they until recently. Although I still class Quill as an imbecile I am glad that he found what he has. Because now we know to be ready for anything. Even if it hurts us in the end.”
Thinking back on it I really shouldn’t have done it. I didn’t usually listen to peer pressure and especially considering what Liam was going through at the minute. But he had said yes.
And now I was going on a date with Liam Jones to a bar in the next town over. And I had less than a week to mentally prepare myself for it.
“I can’t believe it!” Ana screeched loudly, with even her husband going to cover his ears lightly “You’re finally going on a date! Oh my god we are going to need to get you a new dress, some heels, something that screams you whilst being a little but sexy…” Ana rambled on and at this point Kristoff and I let her continue whilst we had a conversation through post it notes.
You know the place? Kristoff wrote behind his Fiancée’s back, not that she noticed, still in her own world planning my date.
Mostly. Been awhile since I went last I held up in my weird handwriting, and Kris just nodded before trying to get Ana off planet date and back onto planet wedding seeing as it was only a month away and she still had stuff to sort out and get.
When our little post it note tradition had started Kris had laughed at my writing, comparing it to nordic runes rather than english, although he was one to talk considering his looked like a spider had tried dancing and had a seizure on the page. And since we had met at college when he had met Ana I had seen it at its worst, when it was barely legible and a teacher handed it back to him saying it was unreadable and he had to hand in all future assignments typed up. Thankfully his handwriting improved allowing us to plan surprises for Ana behind her back through the obnoxiously coloured squares of paper. Such as planning their engagement.
Turning back to Ana I saw that he was finally starting to dwindle down into her calm state (there was never a time when Ana was calm. She is always a tornado of excitement.) and was finally talking about her wedding instead of my date. I heard my text tone go off, and couldn’t resist the smile when I saw it was from Liam, and once I opened the attached picture I couldn’t stop laughing. It was obviously taken by Killian, and it was Liam and Mark trying to get a phone out of a horse’s mouth, and the horse was deliberately trying to keep his head up to keep it out of their reach. I replied asking if that was intentional, and he only replied it was for Killian.
I enjoyed little texts like this, because it made the Jones’s more like normal people instead those who were being hunted by assassins and unknown men wanting the younger Jones dead. But despite all the complications they still made time for me, and that meant more than I could ever say.
I texted Emma to ask if she was free to go shopping later, and I put my phone down thinking that she would get back to me on her lunch break in a couple of hours, but as soon I had walked away from the table she had replied, saying that she wasn’t feeling great and would appreciate some company to binge watch some films. Thanking the norse gods above for an excuse to get away from the wedding planning for a while I called out saying that I was going to look after an ill Emma and left before I got an answer. I may love my sister but there was only so much wedding stuff I could listen to before I lost my mind to it all.
Thankfully the drive to Emma’s was short and the sight that greeted me was almost exactly what I expected. Emma was bundled up in her duvet in the couch like a burrito with a bazillion tissues around her, and what looked to be an empty tub of ben and jerry’s ice cream underneath her head, and her sniffles were so loud they could be heard from her front door.
Typical flu induced Emma. She never dealt with illness well, even after my aunt adopted her because she was so used to doing everything alone but now that she knew she had people who would look after her when she was being grouchy and dramatic she wouldn’t hesitate to ask for someone to come over. Although looking at her now she looked like she was barely with it.
“Elsa?” she croaked out in confusion. She was definitely out of it. “What are you doin’ ‘ere?”
“You asked me to come over after I had invited you out to go shopping. Seriously Emma you are burning up like a furnace, how long have you been like this? I only saw you two days ago and you were fine!”
The burrito before me seemed to move before Emma made to bury herself even further underneath duvet, a murmur of response to my question before she fell asleep again. I knew that Emma wouldn’t want to move to get any but she was going to need food soon, and as to what she would want was no guess. Granny’s chicken soup with fresh bread followed up by lots of ice cream. Although I did recall Liam saying something about Killian making a brilliant chicken soup whenever Liam was ill.
E: Are you on your break yet?
L: No, this is Killian’s break at the minute as all his cooks are in for a change whilst have my waiters are off ill. What is it?
E: Emma is ill and I recall you saying your brother made an excellent chicken soup
L: That he does. Are you going to come and pick it up? :D
E: I don’t know if I should leave Emma alone that long, because trust me last thing you want to see is a grouchy ill Emma. Perhaps if Killian is on his break he could bring it over?
L: I’ll talk to him.
I put the phone down and prepared to clean up the room a bit before Killian arrived, and with tissues and empty tissue boxes covering the floor it took a while just to find them all. Once they were cleared I found all the other rubbish and dishes hidden underneath them and threw them away. Despite all the noise I was making Emma was not stirring, and for Emma that would mean she would awake very suddenly, and would be very hungry and grouchy. I was about to try and see what medicines Emma had when there was a knock on the door.
Upon opening it I saw Killian standing there in his usual attire instead of his work clothes, and his hand was full of various foods and medicines.
“I heard Emma was ill?”
“Yes although I didn’t expect you to bring half your restaurant and the town pharmacy with you” I joked as I let him into Emma’s house. “How did you know to bring medicine? I only just found out that Emma didn’t have anything in”
“She had mentioned the lad had been quite ill with her and she had gone through most of her supplies, and I bought some because I didn’t think she had had time to go and get some more herself” I thought back and Killian was right, just before Henry went back to Regina’s for the week he had come down with a really bad fever, just like what Emma had now and Emma was saying that she was doing everything she could but he was still pretty deep in the fever.
I nodded in response when he asked if he could put the bits on her table, and out of the bag was a flask of chicken soup, a couple of boxes marked “Emma” but also a couple of boxes labelled “Elsa”. As I opened the ones with my name on them I found Scampi and Chips along with a salted caramel and chocolate tart, I looked in Killian’s direction to see he was checking up on Emma before I spotted a folded note at the bottom of the white bag.
Enjoy lunch. Killian will keep you company- I gave him the afternoon off seeing as all the cooks are here. Enjoy lunch.
I smiled at Liam’s note for the fact that he thought of me even when didn’t ask or think of it myself. I knew it was fast, what was happening between Liam and I but despite my early scepticism of it I knew that this was not going to be a passing thing. I was still afraid that they might have to move away but I had to make it work. Adults could do long distance relationships, right?
“She’s running quite the fever, do you know where she keeps some hand towels or tea towels?” Killian brought me out of my thoughts with a crash, and I realised that I had been staring at him accidentally for a few minutes whilst I was thinking.
“Yeah I can go and get them. Seeing as you brought Emma and I food I hope you brought some for yourself”
“I did the are in the car still but I can go and get them now that I have a free hand again” he joked, and I was amazed that this man who had seen and experienced more than even his brother could still have such a sense of humour. I went into the bathroom to find Emma’s favourite hand towel, this obscenely fluffy one that my aunt had bought her when she first moved into her own apartment in Boston.
I came back into the main room and wet the cloth in cold water, before leaving it in the sink whilst I tried to get Emma’s head of her cocoon long enough for me to put the cloth on her forehead.
“Finally waking up swan princess? Food is on the table and I have a cold fluffy hand towel for you so sit up”
“I want Granny’s chicken soup”
“You’ve got mine instead I’m afraid. Although I would listen to Elsa and sit up because this is very hot” Killian interjected, bringing over her soup in a bowl he must of found in her cupboard as well as some toasted bread from the restaurant. Emma was somewhere between shock, disbelief and anger that Killian was here when she hadn’t said it or allowed it. Or she was annoyed that it wasn’t Granny’s, although by the smell of it the soup was going to be at least good, if not better than Granny’s. He handed her the bowl on a tray along with the toast and a drink of gatorade. “You’ll feel better if you have some of that. I was going to give you lucozade but alas, they don’t sell it in the town shop. I put your lunch on a plate too Elsa so If you could come and pick it up that would be great”
The rest of the afternoon passed pretty quickly after lunch as Emma was starting to wake up a bit more after her lunch (where she gave in and said it was the best chicken soup that she had ever tasted) and then she decided to put on a dvd, forgetting that Henry had left the pirates of the caribbean omnibus in the machine so the afternoon was spent watching the movies in between Killian doing stupid pirate impressions to make Emma and I laugh. Somewhere after the third movie began Emma fell asleep again with her feet resting on Killian’s lap when he decided that it would be a good idea for him to go and leave us to our own devices whilst he went to spend some more time with his horse for a change whilst I looked after Emma once she woke up.
What I couldn’t deny was how Killian kept looking at Emma, looking after her when they barely knew each other with a look that resembled love in his eyes. A look that was barely concealed as he left the house, turning back to look at Emma and see her resting before he left. I knew at some point I should tell Liam but for now, I had an Emma to look after and tell about her knight in shining armour.
I AM SO SORRY THIS TOOK SO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyone who had been reading my other stories probably saw the notes about why this is- but put simply imploding laptop destroyed the middle third of this story which I had been saving for a spam upload towards the end of the year when I was aiming to have this story finished and that sent around 55K words down the drain and I am sorry.
But hey- I finally have a semblance of a muse again so whenever I am not working, doing uni work or passed out from exhaustion I will be trying to upload more chapters to both my works.
The weeks passed quickly after Killian had visited Emma whilst she was ill, for each had heavier workloads as Autumn turned into Winter.
For Emma there were more cases of dangerous driving and drunk and disorderly complaints as people were starting to get ready for Thanksgiving and furthermore Christmas after that. For Killian and Liam the business in the restaurant was booming, very rarely was there any free tables on even their quieter nights; the busier nights had to be booked in for at least a week beforehand as people from neighboring towns were also coming to see and have food from the new restaurant that was taking the local area by storm.
Emma and Killian agreed after a couple more rides between them that Henry should come along too (Provided he looked after himself and made sure he followed all the safety precautions that Anton set out for them) which of course the boy was overjoyed at.
But the weeks were not as happy for all it seemed; the investigations had drawn to a halt, even after it seemed the attackers had been progressing to make another move making Mark and Liam anxious.
All of this lead to the current day, which had started off so well somehow landed its way here, making everyone question how they had not seen it coming.
Killian had been at the yard as per usual, getting in his time with Neptune before heading off to face the day (nightmares had once again been waking him up in screaming terror- no matter how many times his psychiatrist had told him they would go away eventually) when he heard Anton and Mary in deep discussion as they came around to one of the spare barns to get some more hay for the horses.
"-Lasted a long time before snapping, poor girl must have been at breaking points for weeks"
"Well we can't speculate can we? it's not like we know the situation, and plus it's Mr Gold we are talking about, he's an ass of the biggest kind and if he catches wind of everyone talking about him like this god knows how he'll make us all pay for it"
"I don't think we need to speculate; Belle was certainly clear enough screaming at him this morning. Oh hey there Killian, You're here early" Anton and Mary finally noticed Killian Neptune's door, blatantly ignoring how he was currently trying to get into my pocket to see if there was any treats he could steal.
"Yeah, I uh, I couldn't sleep so I figured I'd come and see Neptune"
"Those nightmares are getting more frequent for you, has something happened that we don't know about?"
"Uh? No. Nothing has happened, I guess as i am getting more settled here I am getting more on edge; this is one of the longest periods of calm I have had in a long time and I just don't know how to handle it all. What were you saying about Mr Gold and his wife by the way? It sounds like it must have been pretty big to get even you two talking about it"
"Mr Gold's Wife, Belle, I'm sure you know the one, small petite woman with a grand love of books who also runs the local library?" Kai nodded in response, she had often come in for lunches to meet her husband, for while his disdain at the restaurant was obvious for not having any kind of credence or michelin stars she had loved all the different foods on the menu, every time ordering something new just to see what it was like.
"Well she and Gold have obviously been fighting because late last night she was screaming at him in the middle of the street, throwing all sorts of accusations at him-"'
"- A lot of which would definitely not be considered even remotely legal"
"Before she was seen storming off in the opposite direction, apparently she had gone to stay at a friends for a night before going back this morning only to gather some clothes for work"
Killian mulled over what his friends were saying. It was true that the relationship between the couple had been a bit strained over the past 2 weeks, he could see that from the times they had been to lunch at the restaurant, but he had thought it was nothing more than a little hiccup, or something in business hadn't gone to plan and it was a silent 'I told you so' (Killian had certainly received a few of those over his time from Liam, the first of which was suggesting that they both enroll in cooking school as soon as Liam was out of the military hospital).
He helped the pair get the horses ready for the days rides and lessons while thinking on what they had said about Gold raising prices out of spite if people talked badly about him behind his back, because while the rent on the restaurant was by no means extortionately expensive it certainly wasn't cheap either. He figured that if they came into the restaurant today he would give the man a drink of their finest brandy (a tip from Belle a month prior as a way to get the man to like the restaurant more) as a consolation gift, because when women left like that it hurt, badly. He knew all too well from Milah and didn't wish it upon anyone, no matter if they were your landlord who you and your brother thought secretly worked with satan with how cruel and meticulous his contracts were.
And true to form, the couple came into the restaurant for their usual lunch, and as soon as they entered everyone took a second to stare at them (not that it lasted much longer as between Liam and I glaring at the customers they all got the message) before going back to their lunches (Killian caught Mr Gold giving the brothers a strange look, one his wife seemed to miss entirely as she was staring at and poking at her calamari). Of course from the kitchen the younger Jones brother could not see what happened after that, only hearing the commotion of an argument, a scraping of a chair and a loud proclamation of her wanting her order to be delivered to the library.
The older Jones however noticed how as soon as Belle rasied her voice everyone nearby ducked their heads and did their best not to listen in, for as Elsa had put it, anyone who angered the normally quiet and sweet librarian had to have done something pretty awful to get themselves there and they would prefer being in jail to what she could supposedly do as the story of what had apparently happened to a teenager who had stolen and burnt some library books as a joke had been so terrified of the librarian he had willingly handed himself over to the police and begged to be taken away.
Obviously Liam had been informed by Killian what he had heard this morning and as soon as Belle left the restaurant he took over a tumbler of the Brandy that they had stocked specifically for Mr Gold (Good god was it expensive one look at the price almost made them not get it, but after a nudging from their girlfriends they acknowledged that in this case it was probably a wise idea to get Mr Gold on their side, or at least liking them a little more), as a peace offering and a gift from the restaurant for his troubles. The man simply stared at Liam, downed the shot and left, but not without a glance to the kitchen where Killian had been directing the usual lunchtime rush.
It wasn't for another two days that the town started to be affected by Mr Gold's anger it seemed, for all of a sudden certain people were getting letters sent to them saying that their rent was going up or they all of a sudden had a hidden charge or two that they had to pay, and wouldn't you know it it was all sent to the people who spoke about the marital dispute about the Golds the loudest. Fortunately Liam and Killian's idea of giving the man a peace offering had worked and they hadn't been affected by a raise in price (although they had clearly done something right because when they next got the rent letter from Gold's company it said the price on the restaurant had gone down and so they wouldn't have to pay as much rent) leaving them to be able to carry on with their business as usual and pretend that nothing had happened.
That was the way of course until Mark arrived after going for a trip to one of the local FBI and CIA locations to Maine with a face of despair and grim determination. One look told the brothers all they needed to know about his trip, and with a glance decided as soon as the restaurant was shut they would cancel any previous plans for the night and see what had put Mark in such a somber mood.
Killian and I had known something was wrong with Mark the second he came through the back exit on his way up to the flat. If he ever learned something he was always the picture of nonchalance and swagger, not allowing anything to slip in case anyone was watching him to try and figure out if he had learnt something of their plans. With that in mind Kai and I had only seen him like this once, and that was when whoever had planned the first attack had deliberately scrambled the computers and servers that were working to find him with a virus that had destroyed the direct links they had and corrupted many of the files that the investigation was using to find the culprit, leaving them only with the paper copies which would take weeks or months to re-enter into the system.
Coming up after the restaurant had closed Kai and I found Mark slouched over a glass of rum, looking as though he was trying to bring the liquid to his lips via telekinesis (aquakinesis?).
"Did the meeting go that badly or did that rum personally insult you?"
"The rum insulted me by burning my throat instead of calming me down when I needed it to!" the glass was slammed down on the table throwing what was left of its contents over the coffee table and the surrounding papers that neither brother had bothered to tidy up yet from when they were doing some admin.
"Well. Seeing as you just wasted some bloody good rum I suggest that you switch back onto something weaker and tell us what got you redders" Killian only spoke jackspeak nowadays when it was needed to cheer up Mark, almost purely because he couldn't understand it and would laugh while muttering "dumb annoying brits" under his breath just loud enough to be heard by us.
"Well what has me 'redders' as you like to call it is the original user that targeted the attack four years ago has come back on to the dark web. First known connection was approximately 18 days ago, and has returned online every day since on a different connection and with different VPN's making him incredibly difficult to trace. No signs of attempting to hire anymore hitmen or even if you are the intended target. But the fact that he has come back to the dark web after all this time says that something has happened to cause it and no-one can figure out what!" Mark was wearing holes into the floor with his pacing around, something I didn't believe would bode well on our rent price if he continued but it was clear he needed to get it all out of his system before anything truly got broken. Glancing at Killian I saw he was taking this news spectacularly well, considering that it was not too long ago that we got the distressing pictures and news of what was inside Gold's cabin in the forest. I wanted to scream and shout about how unfair it was that we still weren't free although it made sense that something would still be going on in the background surrounding the attack.
We let Mark calm down with some dinner that we had brought up for him as we tidied the apartment so it was once again in a good enough shape to have three men living in it again (despite Mark saying that it was fine as it was with all the papers strewn about everywhere) we might still actually get some rest this evening. I stayed up for a while with Mark, letting Kai get as much sleep as possible since I had known the past few nights he had been having nightmares from the original attack as well as the one from the forest, although those ones were more like night terrors from their descriptions as he said he could feel the wound in his arm but he was infinitely falling, never a ground to see beneath him and the woman he used to love just watching him plummet to his death. I was certainly no expert on dreams or psychology but even I could tell that it probably wasn't good thoughts of Killian's that were causing these dreams to occur.
The next few days calmed down again, everybody avoiding the elephant in the room whenever they saw or spoke to the Gold's, at least until it turned out someone had tried to kill both of the Gold's by cutting the brake cable and sending them both straight into the emergency room. Immediately Mr Gold was discounted as a suspect seeing as he was also involved in the accident, but some still had their doubts about his innocence.
Mark had been trying to talk to Belle ever since he returned from his travels, wanting to know exactly what she had been accusing her husband of seeing as neither Killian or I knew what was actually said and anyone who had happened to be in the vicinity tried their best not to listen in for fear of the wrath of Mr Gold. But of course he hadn't been able to get to her before that accident/ attempted murder and she was still comatose, meanwhile her husband had woken up and just said that they had been arguing on the road and when they had were getting close to their house the brakes weren't working, so he tried to send them into the field next to their house but the cars ancient axel must have broken because the car eventually ended up wrapped around a tree in the middle of the field (It certainly explained the strage tire marks that lead up to the scene).
It was also a topic of conversation amongst the nurses and doctors that came to the restaurant how he complained about everything in the hospital and often turned down the meals they brought him because they weren't to his delicate taste. That was when Killian and I decided to take him a meal into the hospital, something we were hoping would result in a slightly less grumpy landlord, and stop the nurses from going insane for at least a few hours when they were forced to deal with him. He drew the short straw on that one so when he was off the following day he took Mr Gold's standard order up to the hospital in the hopes that he would be slightly less abusive and aggressive the people who were trying to help him.
Kai didn't say much about the trip but I gathered it was not pleasant because he decided he would rather tackle the mountain of paperwork in the office (a job he vehemently hated) than stay there to give the lonely man some company. It almost made me feel bad for Gold. Almost.
Fortunately not long after Killian returned a certain Miss Swan came along to whisk him away for another one of their hacking dates which they apparently taking Henry along for again because my brother felt guilty from taking Emma away from Henry on the few occasions that she did have him, leading to the compromise of the group hacks that sometimes happened when they were both off of work and Henry had come out of school for the day. I was happy to see Killian go and get some outdoor time considering the past few days had had him stuck doing ridiculously long shifts as two of the other cooks could not come into work leaving him and the remaining two cooks on overtime to keep up with how busy it was. I was jealous of my brother for being able to leave so early to see the woman he was developing feelings for (Well.... Loved but neither was ready to say the words yet, hurt by previous relationships leaving painful scars in their wake. I wished that both of them could just admit how they felt to themselves and they would save the rest of us the hassle of getting them together, and the money that had been bet on them getting together was also another factor- I was betting on sometime in January, Elsa was betting for Killian to come out with it in December with Emma not being able to say it until February), and just thinking of Elsa left me grinning. She had tracked down some more of her missing masterpieces and was finally ready to just relax and take in the calm time she had before her next show which was in March. We were finally going to have a date in which we would go to a remote spot with a load of blankets and I would show her the constellations that we could see.
I knew Anna, Elsa's little sister and largest source of encouragement and annoyance was very happy to see her sister going out on another date after such a long time after the last one. And tonight I wouldn't have to wait as long because tonight was one of our quieter nights, even by the recent trends where we had been almost full every night, tonight we were barely even half full, I was going to be able to leave the restaurant in the capable hands of August Booth, for whilst we had hired him as a waiter and sort of bouncer for the restaurant, he was also good at some of the management aspects meaning that Killian and I could actually afford to have the odd night off.
I mentally planned what I was going to do tonight, starting by telling mark to not leave his shit in front of the doors so that they jammed in the middle of the night whilst Killian or I were trying to get back in, getting showered and changing into some new clothes that David had helped me buy (I had managed to create somewhat of a friendship with the man, considering that my brother was currently dating his little sister it gave us each someone to talk to about it all) before picking up Elsa at her studio where she had apparently been working late on one of her latest creations. She had promised me that I would be able to see them this time, both the ones that were finished and the ones that were still a work in progress. We would wait there for about half an hour or until I had convinced Elsa that she was fine as she was, covered most likely in paint and clay before finally heading out to the location through the woods that David had shown me last week.
Once I finally left the restaurant to get ready I was ready to begin my plan for the night when I overheard Mark and Killian talking quietly on the other side of the door.
"He's losing too much sleep over me Mark, can you please talk to him about it? I know him he is going to be as stubborn as a brick wall about it"
"Well of course he is he is your brother for heaven’s sake Killian, he spends most of his waking hours worrying about him because you two only really have each other, especially after what your dick of a father did"
"Look, he is going to be up any minute to get ready for his date with Elsa or he may even be waiting on the other side of the door listening into what we are saying, just quickly talk with him now or wait until he gets back I don't care which. He just needs to talk to you about it." his footsteps slowly walked away, and I heard Mark coming towards the door, so I steeled myself for the inevitable disappointment that I hadn't just walked in instead of leaving him to deal with what sounded like a very stubborn, very one sided conversation.
"How much did you hear you annoying git" Mark sighed as he opened the door, barely looking at me as he returned to his workstation to continue the search on the attacks, for after the Gold's had been wrapped around the tree in a murder attempt from an unknown suspect Mark had been working with Quill and his other friends to look into the three people they had suspected of the attacks. The current unstable theory he had been thinking was perhaps Gold had been working with the other two people, and one of them had lashed out to him in kind as something had not gone to plan.
"Enough to know that Killian is being daft again and thinks that I'll listen to either on you on whether or not I should be worrying about Kai. Now that brother of mine better not have gone in the shower room I need to get ready for my date with Elsa." Mark bit back some sort of a laugh at the fact I was finally going on a date with Elsa before actually turning to do some work with whatever had been sent to him earlier that day via a messenger.
Thankfully, Killian had retreated to his room and not gone to have a shower yet for it meant I was ready in 15 minutes to be at Elsa's slightly before the agreed time.
And what a good time that turned out to be, for the divine woman in question was busy stressing with her sister over the date (she had been surprised when I put the bar date on hold, and was hesitant about our new destination being a surprise but was still coming with me so that had to mean something good), meaning her to-be Brother-In-Law, Kristoff met me at the door and all but carried his Fiancée away leaving Elsa and I alone for a minute to say hi and just maybe escape a little earlier than planned.
"Well... that worked well. Tell me did you and Kris arrange that to happen before you came over or something that just happened spontaneously?"
"That was all him. I think he was trying to help you in giving you some space to prepare yourself mentally"
"Well it's all well and good being ready mentally but I am not even physically ready yet! I look disgusting and..."
"You look beautiful Elsa. Now you don't need to dress up at all- in fact what you are wearing is perfect for comfort is the most important thing and I know for a fact you only work in you most comfortable clothes. Now, how about we go and climb into the truck and head to our location before the light show starts and I can truly show you what the night sky looks like."
Grabbing Elsa's hand I started to pull her towards the door, knowing that if she were really unhappy with the situation she would tell me and/or use physical force to stop me and considering that I hadn't heard anything more than a light laugh as she came along with me I would have said that she was fine with our new plans for the evening, even with the last minute changes that changed the whole feeling for the date.
It had been David you suggested something so wonderful yet cheesy change if direction for the date; seeing as he had known the Arendelle's far longer than I have thought something beautiful that would be a slower pace than a date in a bar could ever turn out to be.
Or, as it was in his words; "She will far prefer a date which can inspire her art instead of a tasteless night of one sided drinking in the town over". Fortunately she hadn't argued too much over the change of plans and had the self restraint to not question the sheer amount of blankets I had supplied in the back of the truck, or the clear tarp that was in the back seat of the car.
That being said however as soon as we reached our destination, when she finally climbed into the nest I had build in the back of the truck she did ask if all of them were necessary seeing as we both did also have thick winter coats to deal with the wintery Maine weather typical of early Winter. Also in consideration to this she laughed at my reason (Just because in the Navy I had gotten used to having to just deal with cold temperatures without enough blankets or warm supplies didn't mean for a second that I would continue that while I was not in the forces anymore) and after her following quip of "The cold never bothered me anyway" I proceeded to drag her into the puddle of fluffy fleeces and pillows and showed her as many star constellations as I could through the tarp above us (just incase the weather turned bad. Which it ended up doing.) and when the weather decided our night should end we climbed through the hatch into the now far colder cab of the truck to drive back to Elsa's studio.
A quick goodbye seemed like an anticlimactic way to end such a perfect night, but I wouldn't have had it any other way, not when I could see Elsa's expressions when she could see so many stars despite being so close to the town, her laugh when I explained why I had brought so many blankets and the kiss she bestowed on me when we climbed back into the cab. Looking into the rear view mirror I could see her watching me pull away from the warmth of the indoors before no doubt being screamed at by Ana to tell her darling little sister all the details of our date.
I would've smiled but then I realised I had Mark to deal with and he was far worse when it came to this kind of thing. The pestering would go on for hours. And because the man was almost nocturnal he would not care if my need for sleep came before my need to tell him all the details and would keep me up until I told him (Or until Kai told him off for being too noisy, then he would keep me up at a noise level that would not disturb my little brother). Oh well time to deal with an irritating private detective and meddling little brother.