Authors Note: Aghhh I can't wait till March! The hiatus needs to be over sooner.

Chapter 20: I'm Here Now

Emma woke up to find a set of arms around her, hugging her close. She could feel the tickle of someone's breath against her cheek, and it took her a second to remember where she was and why she wasn't in her own bed at home.

Hook's place. Right. She blushed at the memory of everything they'd done the night before. She was surprised at the feeling of contentment and peace inside. For the first time, sex hadn't been a meaningless thing merely used to numb her emotions. And for the first time, she'd actually woken up happy.

Idly, she realized that she probably should've called to say that she wouldn't be home, since her parents were surely worried. Her phone was probably filled with messages and missed calls. Emma chuckled lightly to herself; here she was at 28 years old and her parents still worried when she didn't come home. But then again, there was nothing normal about her situation.

Well, too bad. This was her life and she didn't have to answer to her parents if she chose not to. In fact, she barely thought of them as parents. They were more like two overly caring roommates. As for Henry…a flare of anger rose inside as she realized that he had probably been too busy with Neal to even notice that his mother had been gone all night. After all, he was spending every waking moment with his father and that woman.

And there goes my happy morning. She thought bitterly.

Just then, as if he'd sensed her stiffen, Hook began to stir. "Morning love." He said lazily. Upon noticing her frown, his expression changed. "What's wrong?"

"Hmm? Nothing." She responded automatically, arranging her face into a happy expression.

He looked like he was about to say something, but thankfully let it drop. "Well, that was quite a night. I told you I was skilled."

"Oh yeah. You sure are." She rolled her eyes at his self centeredness. "Got a real ego there too."

"I seem to recall that you were quite satisfied with me, ego and all." He propped himself up on one elbow and turned to smirk at her. "You know, if this is the reward for watching that dastardly thing you call a movie, I'd gladly watch it any day."

Emma immediately blushed and turned away.

"So what do you want to do today?" Hook began tracing circles across her bare back, causing goosebumps to flare. "I'm perfectly content to just stay like this all day." He whispered.

"Well that's too bad. Some of us have responsibilities." She said, although all she wanted to do was to stay there. Facing everyone and putting on a happy face was the last thing she felt like doing. Although she knew Mary Margaret could sense her discomfort around Neal, there was no way in hell she was admitting to anyone that Neal's presence was bothering her.

"Blow them off. I'm willing to bet that I'm a whole lot more fun. Wanna see if I'm right?"

"I can't, Captain Innuendo."

"Captain Innuendo, huh?" He placed his hand over his chest in a mock offended way. "I take offense at that."

"I thought you might." She said wryly, pulling the blanket off and heading towards the shower.

Several hours later, Emma was starting to wish that she'd stayed with Hook, for she, her parents, Neal, Olivia, and Henry were currently at the park. Spending what had to be the most awkward day in the history of days together.

When she'd gotten home, she'd found a strange car parked in her spot much to her surprise. A car that turned out to be Olivia's; they were sitting at the kitchen table, exchanging awkward words. The next thing she knew, she, Mary Margaret, and David were being invited along to their day at the park. Seeing as it was a Saturday, she had no excuse.

Why Neal had insisted they come, she had no idea. Henry could get to know his father just fine without her. All she knew was that she'd rather be back in jail than spend another moment here in this hellhole. Sitting on this hard ass bench, sandwiched between Mary Margaret and Olivia, watching the guys play football, her jaw beginning to hurt from fake smiling nonstop for the past few hours.

"So. Storybrooke's a nice town." Olivia commented in an attempt to make conversation.

"Yeah." Emma grunted. She could feel the pity coming off of Mary Margaret in waves, and her mother shot her a look of commiseration. Unfortunately, pity was the last thing Emma wanted; in fact it was one of the things she hated most.

There was nothing she wanted more than to leave. Or maybe just die. Sink into a hole and never come out. She wished she was a guy, so at least go and play ball with them, since that did not require painful small talk. She was rather good with a football too.

Told ya you should've just stayed with me. She could practically hear Hook say in her mind. Oh, how she wished he was here. He'd know exactly what to say to make her feel better. After all, they were inherently the same. Thought the same way, acted the same way, and understood each other in ways words could not describe.

Seeing as Emma wasn't going to continue, Mary Margaret butted in. "What's New York like?"

Whew. That got the bitch talking. Emma could not be more grateful, but of course she wasn't going to let anyone know that.

Still, Olivia could only talk for so long, and pretty soon they were back to an awkward silence.

"This is really awkward for you, isn't it?" Olivia said suddenly.

Emma blinked. Well that was unexpected. "Ah, well. Not really, no." She lied.

"But I just want us to be friends." Olivia smiled widely. "I can tell that we're gonna be seeing a lot of each other!"

Oh, how nauseatingly disgusting. Emma could practically feel the niceness bubbling off of this woman. Just the type of person she hated most: the perky, bubbly, overly friendly, let's be best friends type. Yuck. The last thing she wanted was to be friends with this bitch. It would be like rubbing salt in her wounds.

Emma must've looked like she was about to say just that, because the next thing she knew, Mary Margaret was tugging on her arm. "Come on. I forgot something in the car."

She was about to open her mouth to tell her mother that she could go get it herself, but she recognized an opportunity when it presented itself, and she stood up gratefully.

"We'll be right back." She shot Olivia a tight smile.

"I'll be here!" The woman responded.

"Jesus." Emma muttered as soon as she was sure they were out of earshot. "Does she ever stop smiling?"

"She is a bit perky." Mary Margaret admitted. "And that's coming from Snow White." She chuckled.

"You didn't really need something from the car, did you?"

"That obvious, huh? I thought you could use a break." Her mother leaned against the yellow Bug. "How are you holding up?" She asked, concern written all over her face.

"Me? I'm fine."

"You sure? You don't look fine. You can tell me, you know. I get that this has got to be awkward for you."

Oh, she had no idea. It wasn't just awkward, but incredibly painful. Emma could literally feel tears brimming in her eyes that she had been holding back all day. Watching Neal and Olivia be all sweet and cuddly with each other was her worst nightmare. It wasn't even that she was jealous, but it hurt.

Even so, there was no way she was admitting this to anyone, because that would be admitting weakness. And she had been conditioned long ago not to admit any signs of weaknesses to anybody.

"It's not." Emma forced a smile, knowing full well that her mother didn't believe her. "Look, I'm fine, alright? Let's just go back before she wonders what we're doing." With that, Emma swept past her mother and back towards her own personal hell.

Hook was seated on the couch, fiddling with the rectangular object Emma called a cell phone, when there was a harsh knock on the door. At first, his heart started to pound with dread, thinking that it was Cora. But then his rational side kicked in, reminding himself that Cora didn't need to knock on the door. She could just poof herself in. Which meant, thankfully, that it was only Emma.

"Lose your key, Swan?" He teased, pulling the thick wooden door open. But instead of being greeted by a creative comeback as expected, she stepped up right towards him and urgently pressed her lips against his.

Moments later, Hook stepped back, stunned, his hand on his lips. "Not to say I'm complaining, love, but what was that for?"

Emma didn't answer, instead making a move towards him again. Knowing that she was only doing so as a distraction so she wouldn't have to talk (mostly because he was the same way), he sidestepped her.

"Bad day, I see." He commented.

Emma only groaned in response as she walked over and flopped down on the couch. "You have no idea."

"Care to enlighten me?" He asked, sitting down next to her.

"No." She snapped. "I just wanna get super drunk and forget all about it. Where's the rum?" She stood up and looked around, as if the rum was just going to appear.

"Not so fast." He responded. "First of all, that's not gonna make you feel better, and you know it. And I finished the last of it." He muttered.

"Ugh." She sat back down and crossed her arms in frustration.

"Come on, lass. Tell your amazingly dashing pirate all about it."

"Amazingly dashing huh?" She glared at him. "So self centered."

"Come on." He prodded.

"She's so damn perky!" Emma blurted loudly. "All freaking day!" Her voice took on a higher pitch. "Oh, I just want to be friends! Let's have a girl's night out! It'll be fun!"

"Huh?" Hook was confused, but Emma didn't stop to explain.

"All I wanted to do was stick a fork in my eye because that would be better than listening to her yak."

"I take it you're talking about Neal's fiancée?" He surmised.

"Who else?" Emma grumbled. "Stupid bitch. Inviting us to the park like she was a damn saint or something. Like I didn't have plans of my own."

"Did you?"

"Not the point here." She growled. "And I had to say yes or else I would've looked like a bitch. Oh, come with us! It'll be fun! A family day! We can all get to know each other! Gag me."

Hook chuckled quietly to himself; an angry Emma was quite entertaining. "She wouldn't stop smiling. It was just weird. I had to just sit here and nod at everything she said and not act like I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. It was so awkward."

"I'm sorry. But like I said before, you could've just stayed with me. I would've guaranteed that would be fun." He raised an eyebrow.

"I knew that was coming." She shot him a half smile. "But yeah, you're right. Anything but a 'fun family day at the park'. And that's not even the worst part. All day, I could just feel Mary Margaret and David watching me. Like they were expecting me to burst into tears right then and there. Exchanging all those concerned glances, like they didn't think I could see. Treating me like a fragile doll."

"Well, they are your parents." Hook pointed out.

"Doesn't matter. I don't need anyone's pity." She fired back.

"But they're your parents." He argued. "They're just trying to help."

"Well, I don't need help." She said stubbornly. "I'm perfectly capable of dealing with my ex and his overly peppy fiancée."

"I know." He sighed, knowing that he was getting nowhere. "All right, look. You're here now. I can make you forget all about your day."

"Ha. Not in the mood." But she did snuggle up to him, lying her head on his chest, settling herself in his lap.

They sat like that for a while, in a comfortable silence, while he slowly toyed with her hair.

"You know what the worst part was?"

"That I wasn't there?" He teased.

"Actually, yeah." She turned to look at him. "I just kept thinking that you would've found a way to distract me, to make me feel better."

"Well, I'm here now, and that's all that matters. And I will never leave."