Chapter 3: The Best Part of Waking Up

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It was happening again. They’d met up at Granny’s for their daily lunch date and she ordered her usual-grilled cheese, fries, water and coffee. And Killian was staring at her again.

“Is there something wrong?”

His eyebrows jerked up. “No. Is something troubling you, love?”

Emma sighed, not wanting to make a big deal out of nothing. “It’s just-we’ve been together for about a month. And every single time we have lunch, you stare at me like I’m a puzzle.”

His face flushed as his eyes darted away from hers. “Uh-I’m not…it’s not you, Swan. I’m-intrigued….by this realm’s culinary offerings.”

She blinked. Then recalled his order-the same order he gave every single day.

Toast with butter. Bacon. Water. Fruit Salad.

She also recalled one day last week when he’d been perplexed to find a new fruit in his fruit salad. She’d had to explain the orange squares were cantaloupe and that yes, they were perfectly edible. He’d been delighted as juice spurted down his chin, raving about the sweetness on his tongue.

“Oh! Well, why don’t you try some of mine then? That way you can try new things without worrying about whether you’ll waste it or not,” she smiled at him, reaching for his good hand and giving it a squeeze. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even think of that.”

“I’ve liked almost everything I’ve tried,” he grinned sheepishly. “Especially that thing your mother makes-the one with the noodles and the cheese and the sauce-”

“Lasagna,” she broke in helpfully.

“Yes, lasagna. That was delicious. I’m just a wee bit reticent to venture out of my own accord,” he leaned back as Ruby placed their orders down with a smile.

Emma grinned as she picked up half of her grilled cheese, offering it to him for a bite. He glanced warily at the sandwich before leaning forward and nibbling at the corner.

“It’s buttered bread, with cheese in the middle. Then they throw it on the griddle and toast it,” she explained as she watched his eyes light up.

“That is quite delicious, love. I think I’m going to like this new venture of ours!”

x . x . x . x . x

So far, he’d tried grilled cheese, cheeseburgers, every kind of potato creation Granny could think of and everything on the breakfast menu. Oatmeal was not something he was fond of, but otherwise he’d enjoyed nearly everything.

So she was perplexed one day when she caught him eyeing her again.

“What now? You’ve tried everything I’ve got today,” she pointed out exasperatedly.

“Uh-this beverage you always drink…coffee…is it any good?”

She blinked. He’d never had coffee? Huh-she couldn’t live without her coffee and she couldn’t fathom not having a cup or two per day.

“It’s…well, it’s caffeinated. So it helps wake you up in the morning or gives you more energy during the afternoon,” she explained, offering her cup to him.

He gazed at it warily, taking the handle from her. He sniffed at the hot liquid, wrinkling his nose in a way that made Emma’s heart stutter…really, no one should be THAT attractive.

He put his lips to the rim and Emma marveled at the perfect pink arches as he tipped the mug up. And then she gasped as the hot, brown liquid was spewed right back at her.

“Ugh! Oh good lord, Swan! Is that poison?!” he wiped his mouth hurriedly as he almost tossed the mug back at her.

Her eyes were huge and round as she slowly tilted her head to survey the damage. Her new shirt-so white and pristine and pretty-yeah it was now speckled brown and was decidedly not so pretty. She wiped the spatter from her face, grimacing when she ran her hand through her blonde hair and noticing the damp patches.

His spastic movements stopped, his eyes lifting to hers in a moment of horrified clarity.

“Oh Gods! Swan-I’m so…fuck! I’m sorry! I’m just-” he leaped up, grabbing at the pile of napkins Ruby’d delivered. He rounded the table quickly, dropping to his knees and patting at her shirt. He swiped at her chest, trying to get the stubborn stains out as she took a deep breath-and began giggling.

“Killian-” she tried to get his attention, but he steadfastly refused to look up at her. He focused rigidly on his task, darting his tongue out to wet the napkin before bringing it back to her chest.

“Killian!”

He froze, eyes rising slowly to meet hers.

“My shirt’s fine. I’ll go home and change…but we’re kinda giving everyone a show…” she motioned around the diner.

Everyone’s eyes were on them. Granny wore her trademark scowl of disapproval while Ruby just smirked. Leroy and the dwarves looked as if they weren’t quite sure whether to laugh or not. Regina just rolled her eyes and went back to her salad. But the icing on the proverbial cake were the wide round eyes of her parents.

Mary Margaret had her hand over her mouth, clearly trying to stifle the laughter that threatened to bubble out. But David’s face was a storm cloud of anger-clearly having his daughter’s breasts pawed at in the middle of a public setting was not on his bucket list.

Killian’s face flushed scarlet as he leaped to his feet, yanking himself back and onto the opposite bench. Emma tried to stifle her laughter, but failed miserably. He shot her a dirty look as he slouched down and buried his face in his good hand.

“Just great, love. Perhaps you could be good enough to warn me the next time you try to poison me.”

Emma bent over, putting her head on the table, her stomach aching from her laughter.

“Oh, my pirate! What would be the fun in that?!?”

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