The town in Maine was small. Quite. Right on the water, and exactly what Emma needed. The bus had dropped her in a larger town a while back, and she had hiked or hitch hiked her way to the small town. But she was tired, and hopefully she had zigged and zagged enough times to not leave a trail. She wouldn't be found here.
Tucking her hands into her hoodie pockets, she set down Main Street. The rumble in her stomach reminded her that she needed to eat. And in order to eat, she needed a job. A few people gave her cautious smiles as they passed her on the street. Friendly, but cautious. This was not a town that ever really had strangers. Too small and too far away for tourism…it was isolated and caught in time.
Passing the bakery, the smells wafted out and Emma groaned again. She was famished. Settling in her resolve, she kept walking. Passing a library, the mayor's office, a small diner…. these were all cute buildings, but she needed a job off the beaten path. Just in case. Turning down an alley and heading for the docks, she inhaled the salty air. Always having a love for the sea, she was glad to reacquaint herself with it.
Throwing her duffle on a bench, she plopped down, and let out a deep breath. You are safe here. You will be safe here. Her mantra was of little comfort this time, and she picked at the threads of her fingerless gloves, gazing out at the horizon. The sun was setting behind her, and the sky was turning dusty. Huffing out another sigh, she turned and took a look at the businesses that lined the docks. A small store with a simple wooden fish as a sign was on the corner of the little row of buildings, and Emma could see a "Help Wanted" sign in the window. Perfect.
Hauling her bag back over her shoulder, and straightening out her attire as best as you could when you're wearing a hoodie, she marched her booted feet over to the small fish market, and the bell above the door rang as she entered, announcing her.
There was no one in here. A few glass cases displayed neat rows of fish of all types, and small shelving on the opposite wall held a variety of seasonings, herbs, and tools, of the seafood variety. "Hello?" Emma called out hesitantly.
"I'll be just a minute lass!" said a voice from seemingly nowhere, and Emma looked around to see if there was anyone standing around.
"I'm just trying to fix this blasted case….just give me one….second…" rang the smooth English voice through gritted teeth. A few curses, and a couple of loud bangings and clatterings later, a mop of dark hair appeared over the top of the display case.
"Well hello there!" the man exclaimed, and Emma couldn't help but smile at him. "Welcome to Jones Fish House, what can I do for a lovely lady, such as yourself?" The man was charismatic, and Emma was taken aback by his piecing blue eyes. "I…uh…I saw you were hiring. Or I hope you still are?"
"What?" asked the man, with a confused look on his face.
Emma pointed to the sign in the corner window. "You have a Help Wanted sign on your window. "
The man's eyes saddened a bit, and he came from behind the counter to walk to the window to remove the sign. "That's a mistake actually love. Sorry about that."
Emma's heart dropped. Of course it wasn't that easy. "Wait please, I really need a job. I can clean, lift, work hard…whatever you need."
The man took pause, and turned around to look at her. His sad blue eyes locked with her hope filled green ones. "Please…" she asked softly. The man looked to the floor, and then back to her. "Bloody hell…" he mumbled, and Emma did a little tilt up onto the balls of her feet, trying to contain a smile. He cocked his eyebrow at her.
"Any experience with fish?" he asked.
"I saw Splash once. " she countered, smiling at him.
"Like the ocean?"
"Try love it."
"I can't pay you much."
"It'll be enough."
"It's harder work than it looks."
"Can you start tomorrow?"
"What time do you need me here?"
The man held out his hand. "Killian Jones," he introduced himself, "and you can be here at 6 a.m." Emma beamed at him, and locked hands with him in a firm handshake. "Emma Swan, and I'll be here at 5:55!"