This is something new I've been working on from time to time. It won't update as regularly as Read All About It, but I do have a few more written for it.
"Remind me again why I let you talk me into this?" Ruby asked, as they shuffled forward slightly in the queue.
"It's a weekend away. Why wouldn't you wanna come?"
"Um, let me think?" Ruby replied sarcastically. "It couldn't be because you forgot to mention the long ass queues we'd be standing around in all weekend or how little time we'd actually have to do anything together?"
"I'm sorry Ruby. I just didn't want to do this alone." Emma hung her head a little, worried that she'd upset her friend.
Ruby pulled her into a side hug, squeezing her gently.
"It's okay, Ems. I know how much this weekend means to you. Ignore me. I turn into a right bitch when I've had no sleep, and am then forced to queue for hours on end."
Emma didn't feel much better but Ruby did lighten up on her after that. She even made polite conversation with the people around her. They were a little surprised to hear that she had never seen the show before, but they quickly moved on to topics that Ruby was familiar with. Fashion being one of them.
By the time they had collected their lanyards and wristbands, Ruby was in much higher spirits and tugged Emma along behind her in the direction of the bar.
"So, what happens now?" she asked, once she had a vodka and cola sat in front of her.
"According to the schedule they put out, nothing happens until karaoke tonight. But I'm tempted to skip it. I want a good night's sleep before tomorrow."
Ruby rolled her eyes at Emma, but didn't push her. She knew exactly why her best friend wanted as much beauty sleep as she could manage. If Ruby had any interest in what was happening that weekend, she'd have felt the same way. But she was there for Emma and that was it.
"So, you sure Neal doesn't know where we are?" she finally asked, breaking Emma's thought away from the schedule she had flattened out in front of her.
"No. He doesn't have a clue. He thinks we're shopping for a wedding dress." Emma hated lying to him, she really did. But she also knew there was no way Neal would have let her come for the weekend if she'd told him the truth.
"I wouldn't feel bad about lying to him Emma. You earn all the money in that relationship. If you wanna blow some on a weekend away then you should. God knows he spends plenty on that beloved car of his."
Ruby knew she was treading a thin line. She'd always made her dislike for Neal well known but Emma seemed to be blinded by her love for the man. She could never see his faults, no matter how many times they were pointed out to her.
"Don't be like that, Ruby. You know he struggles to find work," Emma defended.
"Yeah, because he knows everyone else will take care of him. If you're not paying his way, mommy and daddy are. He's lazy Ems. Face it."
Emma scowled down at her drink, suddenly wishing she'd come alone for the weekend.
"Can we not talk about Neal any more, please? I came here to get away from all of that, not to be lectured on my choice of partner."
Ruby at least had the decency to look contrite. The last thing she wanted to do that weekend was fall out with her best friend.
Thankfully, they were spared sitting in awkward silence by the arrival of some of the girls Ruby had befriended in line. They asked if Ruby and Emma wanted to join them for some drinks and Emma found herself happily agreeing. She had come for a weekend of fun, so she was going to make sure she left without any regrets.
Regina and Belle turned out to be wonderful people and Emma had a lot of fun with the girls, discussing everything from the show to the cities they had flown in from. Getting to be around new people, who didn't know her well, was refreshing. Storybrooke was such a small town that she'd grown up knowing everyone and with everyone knowing her.
"We're headed to karaoke now, are you going?" Belle asked, standing up from her seat.
Emma hesitated. She wanted to join her new friends, but she also wanted to call Neal and check in with him before she got a good night of sleep. She could tell that Ruby really wanted to go too. Karaoke was not Emma's thing, but it was definitely Ruby's.
"You guys go. I have a few things I need to do tonight for work." Emma could tell by the look on Ruby's face that she knew Emma was bluffing, but she didn't call her friend out on it.
"I'll come back to the room with you," Ruby offered, standing up from her own seat.
"No, go to karaoke… Have fun. I'll be okay on my own." Emma didn't want to ruin Ruby's night. Especially after she'd dragged her away to a convention she had no interest in to begin with.
"Are you sure?" Ruby looked torn. Emma could tell that one part of her wanted to accompany her friend back to the hotel, but another part was giddy at the thought of being able to attend the karaoke with Regina and Belle.
"I'm sure. Go and have some fun. Take lots of pictures for me."
Ruby didn't need any more coercing. With a quick kiss to Emma's forehead, and a promise that Emma would text when she got back to the hotel room, she left arm in arm with Regina.
Emma was beginning to curse herself for not booking the convention hotel as she made the walk back to her own. She'd booked late for the convention, only having found out about them when he tweeted about it, and all of the cheaper rate rooms had already been sold out.
When she finally made it back to her hotel, night had already set in and she knew Ruby would be worrying about her. She pulled out her phone as she hurried into the nearest elevator. While she tapped out a message to her best friend, Emma asked, "Could you hit the button for the forth floor for me, please?"
"Of course," came the reply, and Emma froze before her thumb could hit send.
She wasn't really sure what to do in that moment. A part of her wanted to lift her head fully to see if that voice belonged to the person she thought it did. But another part of her brain was screaming that it would be rude for her to stare.
"Are you okay? You look like you're having a panic attack." The voice beside her was closer now and Emma cursed herself as his hand came out to lightly grasp her elbow.
Of course she was having a fucking panic attack right now. Stuck in an elevator. With him.
"Try taking some nice deep breaths for me. In… and out, that's right," he encouraged, his grip on her elbow tightening ever so slightly as she mimicked his breathing pattern. "If it makes you feel any better, me Mam goes through the same thing every time she steps foot in an elevator. She'll take the stairs if they have them, no matter how many flights she has to climb."
It really wasn't helping her in that moment, but she let out a shrill bark of laughter at the thought of it.
Just as Emma felt like she finally had herself back under control the elevator came to a stop, a ding signalling their arrival on her floor.
""Thanks for… that." She cringed at how stupid she sounded.
Was that the best she could manage?
"No worries. I'd hate to see a beautiful woman suffer alone through that. Elevators don't do it for me but I've had my fair share of panic attacks before. You sure you're doing okay now?"
Emma wanted to reply. She really did. But, instead, her mind was stuck on the word 'beautiful.' He'd called her beautiful.
She was startled out of her internal swooning by the sound of the elevator doors closing again and the jolt of movement.
"Shit. That was my floor."
Could nothing go right for her now?
"It's okay," he assured her. "They go down as well as up, you know?" his gentle teasing had Emma cracking her first genuine smile of the evening. "That's better. I knew there was a beautiful smile to go with that pretty face."
Emma's face flamed bright red as she lifted her eyes slightly, turning to get her first full look at him since she'd stepped on the elevator.
And that was her biggest mistake of the evening.
"Holy fuck you're really pretty." The words left her mouth without her permission and she clamped her hand over it to stop any more verbal diarrhoea from leaking out.
He didn't seem to mind though, laughing at Emma's words and gently pulling her hand away from her face.
"Thank you. Although, I think if we're being truly honest here, you're the prettiest one on this elevator." He winked for effect and Emma's knees buckled. "Woah, are you sure you're okay?" he asked, his hand shooting out to stop her from face planting on the floor.
"Just a little shaken," Emma answered truthfully. He didn't need to know he was the reason she was so shaken.
He was just about to open his mouth once more when the elevator shuddered to a halt and the bing once again announced their arrival, this time on his floor.
He hesitated for only a moment before finally asking, "My room's just down the hall. Do you wanna come in and sit down for a moment? I can have them send up some juice, see if we can get some colour back into you?"
Emma's brain was scream NO at her. Big capital letters flashing in neon lights. But what came out of her mouth was instead a hesitant, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, come with me."
He placed a gentle hand on her lower back as he guided her out of the elevator and down the hall to his room. Emma hadn't been paying much attention to what floor they were on, but she knew that it was one of the top ones when he opened his door and ushered her in. He wasn't staying in a room like Ruby and Emma were, he was staying in a suite.
"Wow, this place is bigger than my apartment," Emma gaped, taking in the plush sofas and wide widows.
"Yeah, it's a little ostentatious," he mumbled, scratching behind his right ear. "I don't know why they keep booking such huge suites for me. It's just me."
"No girlfriend?" The words slipped out once again without Emma's permission.
"No, no girlfriend," he chuckled, setting his luggage into the corner of the room before he took a seat on the couch and patted the space next to him.
Emma made her way over cautiously, perching on the very edge of the seat. She didn't want to make herself comfortable because, apparently, being comfortable around him meant blurting out whatever was on her mind.
"How are you feeling now?" he asked, concern etched into every line of his face. "Do you want some juice? I can check and see what I have here if you want, or call down to the bar for something in particular?"
"Water would be good, thanks." Emma hadn't realised how dry her throat was until she asked for it.
He stood up gracefully, making his way over to the kitchen area of the suite before returning with two bottles of cold water.
"So, what brings you to Boston?" he asked conversationally, fiddling with the label on his bottle.
Emma panicked for a moment. She didn't want to flat out lie to him. But she also had a feeling that telling him the truth wouldn't help much either. In the end, her mouth made the decision for her and she blurted out, "I'm here for the convention."
"Oh." This time, he was the one who froze in shock. "So, um… you know who I am?" he asked, his hands wringing the neck of the water bottle.
Emma couldn't speak so she simply nodded her head.
For the longest moment, neither of them said anything. Emma fidgeted with the cuff of her jacket before finally, she couldn't take the silence any more.
"I'm gonna go… and sell my photo ops and autos with you for tomorrow. I'm so sorry." Her voice had started pretty loud but trailed off the longer she spoke and the closer she got to the door.
"Wait." The feel of his hand once again catching her elbow had Emma stopping dead in her tracks. "You don't have to do that."
"Sell my photo ops with you or go?" she asked, genuinely curious as she turned back to look at him.
"Both?" He sounded as unsure as she felt and it relaxed Emma a little.
"I should go, I've imposed on you enough tonight." Emma inched back towards the door as he reluctantly nodded his head in agreement.
"I'll see you tomorrow?" he asked, just as Emma's hand landed on the doorknob.
"Yeah. You will." She had just stepped over threshold when he stopped her one final time.
"Hey, I didn't get your name?" he called out.
"Emma. My name is Emma."
"It's nice to have met you Emma." He extended his hand and Emma took it to shake.
"You too, Mr. Jones."
"Killian. Call me Killian."
Thanks for reading.