Summary: Killian hasn’t been to the beach in the three years since the accident that took his hand. What happens when he forgets the right sunscreen and enlists a beautiful, but guarded, stranger’s help?
Killian trudged across the hot sand, a disgruntled set to his mouth, eyes scanning the beach for a spot where he wouldn’t be surrounded by teenagers blaring music or obnoxiously affectionate couples. His therapist, Archie, kept harassing him about getting out of the house, and so he’d come to the only place he could think to be on a hot summer day: the beach. In hindsight, he should have just gone to the cinema or something. After all, no one noticed you only had one hand when you were in a dark theater.
Even now, he could feel people’s eyes on him, and he almost felt like turning around and hopping on the next train back to Manhattan. Something stopped him though, maybe what little pride he had left, and he decided to set up camp near a cheery yellow buttercup umbrella.
He lay out his beach blanket as best he could and rewarded himself with a sip of rum from his flask. What was that saying? It was 5 o’clock somewhere, wasn’t it? The burn of the rum felt good down his throat, effectively calming him down. He pulled off his t-shirt, reached into his bag for his suncream, and froze immediately.
He’d bought the wrong kind.
He’d meant to pick up the easy spray kind, the one where you just hold the button down with your finger, but instead, he’d grabbed the lotion, and usually for the lotion you needed, well, two working hands.
He looked around helplessly. The sun was beating down on him, not a cloud in sight, and with his damned English skin, he would be burnt to a crisp in an hour. He’d bought SPF 50 for Christ’s sake. Killian stifled a groan of frustration. What was he even doing here? What the point of doing anything anymore? He would never be what he was again, so why did he even try? He glanced down at his stump, feeling the phantom clenching of his fist, self loathing curling poisonously in his stomach.
He could still feel the heat on his face as the bomb exploded, could hear the screaming and crying from the people around them, could taste the blood in his mouth from where he’d bit his tongue. The bomb had taken both Liam and his hand in one excruciating instant, and he remembered every second of it.
It’d been three years since: three years of moving restlessly from one place to another (from London to Dublin to Paris to New York City); three years of therapists telling him it wasn’t his fault; three years of trying to put his life back together, and some days it seemed to him that he was no closer now than he was then.
He took another swig of rum, trying to calm himself down. Don’t think about it. Just don’t think about it. This didn’t have to ruin his day. He didn’t have to let it. He’d just need a little help. Killian closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath of sea air. When he felt like he was ready, he let his eyes flutter open to survey the other beach goers around him.
That’s when he saw her.
She was the owner of the buttercup beach umbrella and how he hadn’t seen her right away was a mystery to him as she was easily the most gorgeous woman he’d ever seen. Long, wavy blonde hair, pale, flawless skin, and legs for days, she wore a modest, red bikini that complemented her gorgeous curves.
She was sitting upright on her beach blanket, eyes scanning the water alertly, and Killian glanced out at the swimmers, trying to gauge who she was watching. Probably her boyfriend, he figured, somewhat bitterly. He glanced down at the suncream in his hand and over at her contemplatively. It’s not like he had many options, right? He didn’t need much convincing and hesitantly crossed the distance between their two spots.
Emma was exhausted. She was still at work, having lost all track of time due to the case she was currently fully emerged in. She was a homicide detective, and loved her job, despite having to witness death almost every day. She glanced up at the two photo frames that decorated her desk. One was of her husband, Neal, and the other was of both of them with their three children. She’d met Neal as a teenager and fallen hopelessly in love with him. They were typical kids, with one difference, neither of them had a family to speak of. Which is why when Emma found out she was going to be a teen parent, both her and Neal were scared but thrilled to have a baby. Since having Henry, Emma and Neal had worked their asses off to establish a better life for their son. Hannah and Hope followed not long after Henry, and soon Neal had found himself to be quite a successful painter, while Emma had worked her way up through Police school and into working as a detective.
She let out a sigh and stood up, she really should get home. Emma ran a hand through her hair and groaned internally, thinking about how far she was from catching the killer still. Her partner grinned at her from his desk and gave her a curious look. “Off home already?” He teased, looking at the clock. Emma followed his eye line and actually groaned when she saw the time. It was way past the kids bedtime, again.
“One day, i might actually make it home in time to kiss my children goodnight.” She said, grabbing her stuff and heading to the precinct door. “I’ve got a twenty minute car ride to think of a good enough excuse for my husband as to why i didn’t come home for dinner, again.” She called back to her partner as she finally left work.
When she got home, she shut the front door quietly and tried to be as quiet as possible, just in case she woke the kids up. “Neal?” She called out softly, wondering where her husband was.