Emma’s eyes move over the docks as she sips her coffee. Rogers called her first thing in the morning to tell her the perp they had been tailing for a month was hired under the table on a fishing boat. It was the first lead they had and she had to jump on it, so she took Henry to school and headed straight for the docks.
She’s tired, she spent most of the night crying and when she did fall asleep, her dreams were filled with nothing but his face. Her own reflection is something she’s learned to avoid since the break up because the sight of her exhaustion filled face is only a reminder of the pain she’s trying to forget.
When the harbor master unlocks the door to the factory, she puts her coffee down and gets out of her car. Riley should be showing up for work soon and it’s better if she surprises him outside so there isn’t a scene.
The older gentleman turns to her, he has a full beard and a bald head.
“Can I help you, miss?”
Emma reaches into her pack pocket and pulls out an old photo to hand it to him.
“Do you know this man?”
Mike takes the photo and examines it with a nod. “That’s Peter. I hired him about a week ago.”
“His real name is Riley Bears. He was arrested for robbery and jumped bail. I’m here to bring him in.”
Mike looks her over with a little smile and she rolls her eyes. If she had a dollar for every time someone looked at her with reluctance when they found out her profession, she would be a millionaire.
“Well, he’s in the back.”
Her eyes go wide. “He’s already here?”
Mike nods and motions for her to follow him.
“Peter… well, Riley, has always showed up earlier than his shift to get started. He’s a good worker, I’ll be sad to see him go.”
“Sad until he robs from you.”
The man lets out a chuckle and nods his head. They walk up to an empty work station and Emma watches as Mike looks around in confusion.
“Smith!” he calls out to another worker. “Did you see where Peter went?”
The worker points to the back and she curses when they see Riley running. He chances a look back before he shoves through the double doors.
Taking her gun out of her holster, she yells for him to stop but he keeps running, causing her to chase after him.
As soon as she makes it through the doors she holds up her gun and shouts again, but he only runs faster. The docks are filled with people and she growls because it means she can’t use the threat of shooting him if he doesn’t stop.
Riley knocks into someone and almost falls but he quickly rights himself and continues to run. A bead of sweat trickles down her neck as she pushes herself to move faster. She’s gaining on him quick, he’s older than her and out of shape, but just as she reaches out to grab the back of his shirt, her steps falter and she trips.
Her hands reach out in front of her to brace her fall and she hisses as they scrape across the wood. Letting out a grunt, she pushes herself up into her knees, but before she has a chance to look over her injuries, there’s a yell in the distance and her eyes snap up.
Riley has been tackled to the ground and is struggling to get free as she scrambles to her feet and rushes over. Her heart drops into her stomach when she sees him yanking Riley up from the ground, a firm hold on the back of Riley’s shirt so he can’t break free.
“What the fuck, man! Let me go!”
“I think not,” he growls.
Shivers run over her at the sound of his voice, but she quickly breaks herself out of her trance and grabs the handcuffs from her back pocket.
“Riley Bears, I’m here to take you in.”
“You bitch!” Riley hisses.
He snarls as he reaches up and yanks Riley’s head back by his hair. “Apologize to the lady!”
Riley keeps his lips sealed until he yanks harder. “Ah, okay, okay. I’m sorry!”
Shaking her head, she walks up to Riley with the handcuffs out, quickly slapping them on his wrists before she yanks him to her and forces him to sit on the ground. She can feel his eyes on her, but she refuses to look up. Her hands shake as she takes her phone out to call her contact at the police to pick Riley up and she’s not sure if it’s from the adrenaline coursing through her veins or because for the first time in weeks, he’s close enough to touch. The entire time she’s on the phone, he stands there, right hand gripping the collar of his shirt with his eyes on her.
Hanging up the phone, she clears her throat and attempts to make her voice steady. “The cops will be here any minute, you don’t have to wait.”
Her statement goes unanswered and they both just stand there in silence. She lets out a deep sigh and puts her phone in her back pocket.
“You know,” Riley calls out from the ground. “You could let me go and I could give you money.”
Emma rolls her eyes and shoves at his shoulder.
“If I were you, I’d keep my mouth shut. Unless you want to add bribery to the list of felonies you’re looking at.”
Riley grumbles and hangs his head. From the corner of her eye she sees him lean against a park bench as he crosses his arms over his chest. He has on his running sneakers, a pair of black basketball shorts and a long sleeved, white, cotton shirt. Even though everything in her screams to look at him, she busies herself with checking out her hand.
It’s got some scratches and is a little bloodied, but nothing too serious.
“Your hand,” his voice mumbles. “It’s hurt.”
She drops it to her side and shakes her head as she mumbles, “It’s fine.”
A slight gasp leaves her mouth as he grabs her wrist to lift her left hand back up. She didn’t even know he moved and the feel of his touch causes her to burst on the inside.
“No, it’s not.”
He turns her hand over and she finally chances a look up at him. A lump forms in her throat when she sees his face, there are dark circles under his eyes and his skin looks pale, his beard is longer than she has ever seen, which makes the tinge of red in it even more visible and his hair messier than normal.
Her brow goes together when she notices his lip is split and there’s a slight bruise on his cheekbone. She wants to ask him what happened, but bites her tongue to stop herself.
It’s none of her business... not anymore.
Tears threaten to cloud her eyes as he places her hand on his prosthetic before he pulls what looks like a flask from his pocket. She ignores the way her insides heat up as she watches him open it with his teeth before he spills it over her hand.
“Gah!” she hisses out in pain. “What the hell is that?”
“It’s rum,” he states like it’s the most normal thing in the world. “A bloody waste of it.”
“You drink rum on your runs now?”
His eyes finally connect with hers and her mouth drops open. They are darker than she remembers and they look haunted. She swallows and they continue to stare at each other before he tosses the flask on the ground and pulls out a small towel. He begins to pat her hand dry before she pulls away to do it herself. They feel of him touching her is too much and she can’t handle it.
He’s so close, when he speaks, she can feel his breath on her face, and his voice is so hollow, it causes her chest to ache. “Can we talk?”
“Yes,” Riley calls out, effectively breaking the spell they are under. “why don’t you two go talk? I’ll just go for a walk to give you some privacy.’”
He tries to stand and they both reach out at the same time to shove him back down.
“You’re not going anywhere,” she hisses and Riley lets out a sigh.
The sound of a car door being shut causes her to look up and her shoulders sag with relief when she sees the officers walk up. It gives her the excuse to ignore his request of talking and gives her the distraction she needs. The policemen take Riley into the back of their car and she gives her statement. Her body goes stiff as they turn to him and ask his name.
She hasn’t heard his name in over two weeks because she was afraid it would make what happened real, and she was right, hearing it starts a panic in her and she starts to breathe heavy unconsciously. The officer starts to ask him more questions when she finally steps forward.
“Joe, can you do me a favor and leave him out… say it was an unknown citizen that left before you guys arrived or something like that?”
Joe looks at Killian than back at her before he gives a nod and puts his note pad away. “Sure thing, Emma. I’ll call you when the reports done.”
She gives him a slight nod and the officers get in their car and pull away. It’s then she realizes they are left alone and she starts to panic again.
Clearing her throat while she fiddles with the towel in her hands, she motions with her head and says, “Thanks for that.”
Killian just gives her a nod before he reaches down to pick up his flask and put it back in his pocket. She wants to ask him why he has a flask with him at nine thirty in the morning but something in her tells her she really doesn’t want to know the answer.
The back of her hand wipes across her forehead as she struggles with what to say to him. It’s always been so easy to speak to each other, but now everything is so tense, she’s finding it hard to even breathe.
“How did you even know who he was?”
He lets out a sigh and scratches his ear. “I recognized him from the stake out we did a couple weeks ago.”
She can feel tears trying to form in her eyes so she looks to the ground. They were out on a date when Colin called and asked her to trail Riley for him because he was busy with another perp. Killian insisted on coming, he said he was curious about her work, but she suspected it was because he was worried about her. He knows she can take care of herself, but he’s always been a little over protective. They spent three hours in her car together, he had her laughing to the point of tears and was able to pick things out she missed herself because she was distracted by his presence.
“I saw him running, then saw you… figured I could help,” he finishes with a motion of his hand.
She presses her lips together and hands him his towel. “Well, thanks.”
He gives her a nod and they stand there in an awkward silence for a few moments, neither knowing what to say. Emotions start to overcome her and she’s struck with the strong urge to run, so she turns to walk away, but she’s stopped when he takes hold of her arm.
Shocks run through her at the feel of his touch and she has to hide her gasp, it’s too much, she pulls her arm away and looks over his shoulder, refusing to even look him in the eye.
“Emma,” she turns to look out at the water at the sound of her name because it’s also something she can’t handle. “Can we talk?”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
He snorts and shakes his head. “We spend months together and all of a sudden you decide you don’t want to be with me anymore?”
“That’s usually what happens in a break up.”
Her eyes stay on the waterfront as he continues to speak.
“Then why can’t you look at me?” She presses her lips together but keeps her eyes away. “I think it’s because you and I both know what you said was complete rubbish. I’m not buying it for one second.”
“That’s not my problem.”
He takes a step forward and she feels her body start to shake. “Ah, but it is. So tell me, what is it?”
Her jaw clenches and she forces herself not to cry.
His voice gets low and it catches just at the end, “I think it’s because you can see a future… a happy one, with your boy… and with me.”
Flashes of that happy future she craves go through her mind. Them smiling every day, whispered words of love, all three of them being a family…
But she knows it’s only a fantasy. People don’t love her, they only leave her.
When she doesn’t speak, Killian lets out a huff and takes a step back.
“When are you going to stop running from things that make you happy?”
Her eyes turn hard before she snaps her head over toward him, his face is filled with so much anguish, it almost makes her stop, but she doesn’t.
Voice dripping with malice, she takes a step forward. “Who says I am? Just because you think you made me happy doesn’t mean it was true.”
It truly pains her to act this way, she wanted a clean break, she didn’t want to be mean. But he isn’t making it easy like he should have been, he’s trying to understand things and she doesn’t know how to deal with it.
His jaw clenches as he stares at her for a good second before he shakes his head and runs his hand down his face.
“Keep telling yourself that, love,” he mumbles.
Keeping her face blank, she brushes past him before she does or says something stupid. She’s a couple steps away when he calls out to her again.
Her body goes stiff and her steps falter as her breathing starts to exhilarate. She was in such a rush to get out that morning that she didn’t bother changing, just threw on a pair of shorts and left. She completely forgot the shirt she fell asleep in, the same shirt she’s slept in for the past three nights…
His gray Henley.
Killian takes another pull from his bottle of rum as he stares out into the night sky. It’s been almost three weeks since Emma ended things between them and it’s still as fresh as it was the day that it happened. He doesn’t know why he comes up to the roof every night, it always pains him when he remembers their first date, but he can’t seem to stay away.
It’s the one place he feels close to her… the one place that’s theirs.
She told him she never wanted to be with him and for a long time, he believed that. He spent countless hours lying awake at night wondering how he could have misread a situation so badly, he thought they were happy. When he still couldn’t figure it out, he started to drink again. The rum always numbed him, but eventually that didn’t work, either. He tried to go back to his old ways, when he lost Milah, it was easy to take a woman to bed, because he would lose himself in the pleasure.
But this time is different.
The first time a women flirted with him after the breakup, it felt wrong, but he pushed through it, thinking it was because he had been rusty. Then she touched his stomach when he walked by and it made him physically ill. He had to actually run to the bathroom because he was so sick, he threw up all the contents in his stomach.
He knew then this heartbreak was unlike all his others.
It wasn’t until he started a few fights when he was out that he started to feel something again. Emma never wanted him so he took his rage out on unsuspecting patrons of the pub. But then he got to actually speak to her that day on the docks and see her up close, not from afar. She looked like she lost some weight, her eyes were sunken into her head from what he assumes was exhaustion, and she was wearing one of his shirts.
The reason she broke up with him wasn’t because she didn’t want to be with him, it was because of something else, but she refused to tell him the truth.
He’s not sure if that revelation makes things easier or worse. The thought of her going through the same pain he is…
Killian shakes his head and takes another tug from the bottle.
He’s in love with her. He doesn’t know exactly when it happened, it might have been since the moment he saw her, but he knows that he does love her. He’s known for a while but never told her, so he would say it without really saying it. All those texts, the confessions of what he was really thinking, how he couldn’t stop kissing her, he told her without ever actually saying it because he didn’t want to frighten her away…
But in the end it didn’t matter.
When he takes another sip of the rum, his lip stings slightly but he ignores it, the pain is nothing compared to the emptiness he’s feeling on the inside.
Letting out a sigh, he runs his hand through his hair. The only good thing in all of this is that Emma hasn’t taken Henry away from him. He still gets to spend time with the lad even if his mother refuses to speak to him. At first it was painful, spending time with Henry only reminded him of what he lost, but then he tried to picture a life without Emma or Henry and it almost made him collapse.
He’s grown quite fond of the lad and could see himself wanting the him as his son, something that used to make him happy, until Emma threw in his face the cold reminder that he wasn’t his father. Henry isn’t his and that hurt him just as much as her leaving.
She’s so stubborn.
He’s known that for a long time, but he never understood exactly how stubborn she could be until all of this. He wants to fight for her, every day he wants to bang on her door and try to talk logic into her. But deep down, he knows that will only make it worse.
She’ll close herself off even more and he’ll lose any chance at ever being with her again. If she would only just tell him the truth, he will do everything in his power to fix it…
The scrape of the door being opened knocks him out of his thoughts and he looks back in confusion because he’s never known anyone else to come up to the roof since he discovered it.
Killian’s mouth pops open when he sees Emma walking through. She doesn’t see him at first, she’s too busy looking around, but when her eyes finally land on his, she stops walking.
He turns to face her and watches her eyes go wide before she swallows.
“Um,” she starts. “Sorry. I was… I was just looking for Henry. Have you seen him?”
His shoulders sag, of course she isn’t up there to see him, before he turns to look back over the ledge and leans against it. “Haven’t seen him.”
He takes another pull of his rum and waits for the sounds of her walking away, but they never come. Instead, he nearly jumps out of his skin when she speaks again, because he doesn’t realize she’s moved closer.
“Why are you up here?”
She walks up to stand next to him and he hates how badly he wants to pull her into his arms.
With a big smirk, he motions to the night and answers with a sarcastic tone, “Why to take in the lovely scenery, of course.”
When she doesn’t say anything, he rests his elbows on the ledge and waits for her to leave. But she doesn’t, she just stands there next to him in silence and it just about kills him. To ease the tension, he offers her the bottle.
She stares at it for a few seconds before she looks up at him. “Is rum your solution to everything?”
He cracks what he hopes is another sarcastic grin, but something tells him it’s more broken. “Well, it certainly does help.”
When he offers her the bottle again, she takes it and he has to look away as her throat muscles move, because he remembers exactly how those muscles feel when they are around him. Emma puts the bottle back on the ledge and lets out a sigh. Silence falls over them again and he wonders why she hasn’t left yet, because that day on the docks she was anything but willing to stand there and chat with him. He tries to stomp down the flicker of hope that rises in him that this time may be different.
“What happened to your face?”
His nails pick at the bottle and his jaw clenches. He wants to ignore her, wants to tell her it’s none of her business, but he can’t.
Always have to be a gentleman, you git.
With his eyes still on the bottle, he mumbles, “Got into a fight.”
“Was it worth it?”
He remembers when the fist connected with his face that the pain it caused let him forget about the pain of losing her for half a second.
“Aye,” he whispers. “It was worth it.”
She lets out another sigh and he sees from the corner of his eye her brush her hands through her hair.
“Killian, I’m sorry,” his body goes stiff. “I never meant to hurt you.”
With a dry chuckle, he shakes his head. “Could have fooled me.”
“I’m being honest.”
His head snaps over to glare at her. The anger that courses through him is unwavering.
“Oh, now we’re being honest.” Her mouth drops open before she looks out into the night sky but he grabs her arm. “No, look at me. Look me in the eye and tell me what you said was true, that you never wanted to be with me.”
He can see her struggling to find the words and steps forward.
“Tell me what to do, Emma,” he begs in a whisper. “Please. I can’t do this anymore.”
Tears make her eyes glisten but she shakes her head and pulls her arm away. He lets out a dejected sigh and runs his hand through his hair.
“You really don’t care about me at all do you?”
Her eyes go hard. “Of course I care!”
Killian shakes his head. “No you don’t. If you did, you would tell me the truth. But you continue to lie to me and pretend that this isn’t killing you as much as it’s killing me.”
“Whatever,” she huffs and shakes her head. “I was trying to be nice, but clearly, that’s not an option so just forget it.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t really pay much to pleasantries when a person is lying straight to my face.” He motions back to the door. ”You can go now.”
He turns back to the ledge and clenches his jaw.
“Did you seriously just order me away?”
“Shouldn’t be too hard for you, love. It’s not like you haven’t spent the last few weeks doing your best to avoid me.” She stutters and he quickly turns back to her. “Why are you really here, Swan? Was it just to hurt me some more? You hate me that much?”
A flash of hurt crosses her face before it morphs back into anger and her jaw locks. “I told you. I was looking for Henry.”
“He’s not here,” he snaps, louder than he expected. “Your boy doesn’t ever come up here.”
Her brow goes together. “But he sent me… wait. Does Henry know you come up here?”
They stare at each other for a couple seconds before their eyes go wide. Both of their heads whip over to the entrance just in time to see Henry push the grate away and pull the door shut.
Emma and Killian run over to the door but it’s too late, by the time they get to it, it’s locked tight and no matter how hard they try to pull on the handle, it doesn’t budge.
“Henry!” Emma yells as she bangs on the door. “Open this door right now!”
“No!” his muffled voice calls from the other side.
“Lad, listen to your mother. Open the door!”
“You two need to talk, I’m tired of this! You miss each other and it’s making you both miserable.”
With a growl, she steps forward. “Henry Daniel Swan, open this door or you’re grounded for a month!”
“Fine,” his voice calls out from the other side of the door. “I’ll be grounded as long as you two go back to normal!”
She starts to immediately search her pockets and as if he can see what he’s going, Henry speaks again, “You left your phone in the apartment. You can’t call anyone to come get you which makes me the only person that knows you two are up here.”
Emma looks at him with wide eyes, he curses under his breath because he knows his own phone is down in his flat, he’s made a habit of not bringing it with him when he comes to the roof for fear he might do something stupid like call her while he’s drunk.
Banging on the door himself, he hollers out, “Lad, listen to me. This isn’t the way to do this… remember what I told you the other night? That’s not going to change.” He can feel Emma’s eyes on him but he ignores her. “Now, just let us out.”
“No. I’m going back down stairs. I’ll be up in a couple hours to check on you.”
They can hear him walk down the steps and try one last time to call out for him, but when the sound of the door to the stairwell closing rings out, they know he’s not coming back. Emma lets out a groan and slides to the ground while Killian stomps back over to the ledge. He snatches up his bottle of rum and takes a large gulp.
It’s going to be one hell of a night.