"Right, so who do we have left?" Robin asked as the door slammed shut. David was already on his way to open up the windows of the loft, the last candidate for roommate seemingly not having showered in about a month.
"Um," Killian sighed as he picked up the list. "Well, the accountant cancelled on us so that leaves… E. Swan, apparently they work in bail bonds."
"E for?" Robin asked.
"No clue," Killian shrugged, "They emailed from their work address."
There was a knock on the door.
"Right on cue," David smiled as he went to open it.
Killian schooled his features into a neutral expression as he awaited meeting candidate number six. After five awful interviews, he wasn't overly hopeful. Besides the guy who stank, there was stoner who struggled to string together a sentence, an older guy who spent the whole 20 minutes talking about his divorce, an eBay entrepreneur who asked their thoughts on storing his stock in the loft and the pro-cyclist who explained he was on tour half the year so would only be willing to pay rent for the weeks he was there. Clearly all great prospects so far, he thought with a grimace.
Looking up, he watched David open the door and greet the visitor, then into the loft stepped… a woman.
Make that an incredibly beautiful woman.
She began to walk towards them as David closed the door.
He tossed Robin a quick glance. His friend shrugged his shoulders as both men stood.
"Hi I'm Emma," the woman greeted them with a tentative smile, reaching out her hand. There was an awkward pause as the men stared and Killian felt his heart begin to race.
Robin saved the day by taking her hand and shaking it, "I'm Robin and this rude fella here is Killian and you've already met Dave."
"Do I hear an accent?" she asked as she sat where David gestured.
"Aye, English," Roblin explain. "This one too-" he jerked a thumb in Killian's direction.
"I can speak for myself, mate," Killian warned, a scowl growing on his face.
"Could have fooled me."
"I've always wanted to go to England," Emma explained.
"And here we two are trying to escape the place," Killian joked, feeling pleased with himself when she laughed softly.
"Well, now that we have geopolitics out of the way, how about we talk about you?" David asked.
Emma placed her purse on the couch beside her and nodded, "Sure."
"So, the ad was for a male roommate, is there something we should know…?" Robin asked.
"No it wasn't," Emma insisted.
Killian pulled out his phone, "Yeah, I distinctly remember-" he began as he opened the Craigslist app and checked the listing. "Shit," he muttered.
"Problem?" Emma asked breezily.
Pushing the phone back in his jeans pocket, Killian replied, "Well it seems a small omission on my part is to blame. You see, this place is a guys place right now, so we were really looking for another bloke…"
Emma's shoulders sagged a little, "Is that a deal breaker? This is the only apartment in the area I can afford."
A shadow crossed over her face and Killian quickly felt a need to know what burden this woman was carrying that could mar such pretty features.
"Guys?" Robin asked his friends, looking between the two. David shrugged non committedly and Killian found himself frowning. "Well lass, how about you tell us a bit about yourself and then we can discuss the finer points at the end."
"Well, I'm Emma Swan, 30 year old non-smoker, gainfully employed with no annoying personal habits. I don't think."
"Sounds good so far," Robin smiled.
"I work in bail bonds, which is long anti-social hours so I guess we won't be fighting over the shower in the morning," she joked.
"That sounds exciting," Robin added.
"Sometimes… Most of the time it's sitting in a car with a lukewarm coffee until your butt freezes."
Killian cleared his throat and Emma looked at him, catching his eye for the first time and he saw hers were green. He smiled, feeling his cheeks flush a little as she tucked her hair behind her ears (he'd call it a self-conscious act, but that would be supposition-). He looked at the list of questions they had drawn up earlier that morning, forgetting for a moment what he was going to ask.
"Um," he mumbled as his eyes scanned the page, "Why are you looking to move?"
And that's when her face really fell. What had been a sunny expression quickly turned into one resembling a rainy day. "Full disclosure?" she asked, looking from face to face. "My boyfriend cheated on me. With a co-worker of his."
There was an awkward little silence.
"Actually," Emma sighed nibbling on her lip in a way that Killian tried not to find attractive given the circumstances (and failed) "Truth be told I caught them, in the act so so speak."
"Ouch," Robin hissed as David let out a low whistle.
Killian reached over and laid his hand over hers where it lay on the couch. She flinched a little in surprise, before looking up with a sad expression. "A bastard like that doesn't deserve a woman like you."
"Like me?" she asked, tilting her head as she almost smiled.
Pulling back Killian jostled his shoulders a little as he tried to look natural. "I mean you seem very nice, that is."
"Okay," she nodded with a small laugh, "Well, anyway, as you can see I need to move asap and I work like ten minutes from here but it's enough neighbourhoods away that I don't have to bump into him at the grocery store or whatever," She shook her head, "I'm crashing at my friend's studio right now but I really need my own space."
"Well our room is available now," Robin pointed out.
"Wait a minute - guys can I speak to you? In the kitchen?" David jerked his head towards the it.
The three men reconvened behind the shiny laminate cabinets.
"A girl, really?" he asked as he folded his arms.
"I'd say she's more of a woman," Robin quipped.
"Not helpful," David warned, "I just don't know how Mary Margaret will take this."
"You know she won't care mate, she'll probably be inviting the poor lass to that damned book club of hers and roping her into that infernal knitting circle that she somehow talked you into letting her host here!" Killian exclaimed. Because it wasn't like he didn't like Mary Margaret (in fact it would be impossible not to) but she did have the police officer wrapped around her little finger pretty tight.
"Actually now I think about it, I'm not sure Regina would be overly keen. She does have a bit of a jealous streak."
Killian stared at the other two. "Are you really going to let your girlfriends make a decision like this for you?"
"What - are you saying you want to offer her the room?" Robin retorted.
And Killian stopped for a second to think about the situation. How would guys nights go with a woman in the house? Would Monday Night Football be replaced by Shonda Rhimes's latest drama on the tv? Would she start trying to make the place more 'feminine'?
"Yeah, Killian, I mean you know she'd be off limits - that goes without saying - but how do you think she would react to the parade of one night stands you trawl through this place?"
Rolling his eyes Killian did briefly consider her reaction to his usual method of scratching a sexual itch. "Look, I can keep it in my pants as far as she is concerned and it's not like I can't handle the the shit you guys give me already. And she seems normal and clean and has a job." He tapped his foot a few times before adding his final reason, "And I feel sorry for her."
All three men looked at each other again.
"We could offer her a month's trial?" Robin suggested. Killian nodded and the two men looked at David. "Get the girls around to meet her, suss everything out. It could work Dave."
"It's either her or nothing at the minute I guess… Okay, fine, she's in," David nodded and Killian had to resist the urge to break out into a huge grin.
Back in the living room area Emma was scrolling through her phone when the men returned.
"Okay, so we've discussed things-" Killian began.
"And we'd like to offer you the room, on a trial basis of course," Robin quickly added.
"Really?" Emma beamed, springing up from the couch and giving Robin an unexpected hug. "This is amazing, great, thank you so much." She turned and hugged David next - the poor officer looking like he wasn't quite sure what to do with his hands - before it was Killian's turn.
He was half-ready but also not when her arms flung around his neck and he was wrapped in the smell of her perfume and her warmth and the softness of her sweater against his skin and a million other sensations that all assaulted him in the space of a two second embrace.
"So that's a yes then," David laughed.
"Hell yes!" she cried, grinning hard, "Can I move in tomorrow? I know it's quick but-"
"Tomorrow's fine," Killian insisted, "I'll be here all day so you can come by whenever you want."
"Great then, tomorrow it is."
Emma shook each of their hands again before she left. Killian walked her to the door this time, offering a final goodbye as he watched her walk down the corridor to the elevators. There was a little light feeling in his chest that he couldn't quite explain.
He closed the door to find Robin staring at him. "Killian, hands off."
"I have no idea what you mean," he replied, shaking his head.
"Mate, this isn't going to work if you do your usual shag and leave nonsense. There are plenty other women in the city who have yet to fall for your questionable charms - leave this one alone."
Robin walked back off towards his room as Killian stood and contemplated the turn of events.
Sure she was beautiful and interesting and clearly intelligent… but he could keep it in his pants.
Maybe, though, that would be the least of his problems.