still quite naive (1/?)


Emma Swan, Composure magazine’s resident How-To girl, can teach you anything. Even how to lose a guy. She’s got ten days and her career on the line, but little does she know, she’s picked Killian Jones and he will do just about anything to win her heart.

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A/N: So captainswanouat was talking about how she loved How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days the other night, and the muse spoke to me, and now here we are, in the land of love ferns and bullshit and Carly Simon’s greatest hits.


Emma Swan can’t believe she’s here, at a bar on the Lower East Side, scouting out men like a cougar on the prowl. She never thought, after the countless hours of sweat, tears and blood she shed in graduate school, that she’d become this.

And by this she means Composure magazine’s resident How-To girl, offering women with low self-esteem tips on how to function in life by getting out of tickets, and rearranging furniture, and buying the best bikini for your body type.

This wasn’t what she had in mind when she left graduate school, diploma in hand, ready to take on the world of politics and religion and foreign affairs. This wasn’t what she dreamed of when she sat in that foster home in Brooklyn, ready to break free and fly. This wasn’t what she aspired to when she was released from juvie, eighteen and alone with a criminal record to her name.

But now, as she scans the bar for her victim, she feels a sense of relief because this article could give her the boost she needs to release Composure magazine from its prison of fluffy nonsense and give her the outlet to write what her hearts wants and needs to write.

“Anyone good?” her friend Mary Margaret asks as Emma continues to scan the room. And if she weren’t such a good friend to her co-worker, she wouldn’t even be in this predicament, because her friend, while a lovely person and a devoted confidant, is absolute shit when it comes to guys.

Mary Margaret is what one would call a “repeat offender.” She’s the type that manages to check off everything on the list of stereotypical “don’ts” in each relationship she’s managed to find herself in and eventually becomes the clingy week-long girlfriend only to get brutally dumped in the process. And Emma elected to prove something to herself, to her friend and to their boss that those mistakes, while common in the world of dating, can cause any guy to run, even from someone like her (because she has walls and a complicated past and an ability to never be enough for anyone).

(Besides, she wasn’t going to let Tamara take her friend’s sorry excuse of a love life and turn it into a story that’s really dark but sort of upbeat.)

“How about that one?” Emma says as she points to a frumpy man in a blue polo shirt, sipping on a Miller Lite at the bar, his toupee obviously placed backwards on his head.

“Ew, no,” Elsa, her other co-worker and cohort in this very immature operation, chimes in and shakes her head in disgust. “How about the one next to him?”

Emma cocks her head to the side and studies him. He looks halfway decent, brown hair, nice face, clean suit covering his torso. He appears normal, easy to crack. So she nods, sips on her martini before stepping forward to do exactly what she set out to do tonight: lose a guy in ten days.

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