Author's Note: I started writing this before Special Education aired, so any spoilers only go through Furt.
There was some sort of jinx on her having a relationship - one beyond their loaded conversations and interactions, that is - with Will Schuester. There was no other explanation. Their timing was impeccably terrible. Nothing ever worked out between them, but once they tried to settle back into what they had - a comfortable friendship, where they could talk to each other about personal things, not just Sue's latest antics - the familiar sinking in her stomach would settle in, and her thoughts would wander, and then she would have to find a quick diversion.
It was impossible to be "just friends" with him, no matter how much she would like to think she could do exactly that.
She drew her coat around her one afternoon as she walked out of the school one afternoon shortly after school came back into session. The forecast called for six to eight inches of snow, expected for some time that evening; she wanted to get home, put her feet up with a warm mug of hot cocoa and read one of the books she had purchased the weekend before while watching the snow drift down outside her window. With any luck, she could have a quiet evening to herself.
"Emma!" a voice called out from somewhere behind her. She turned to face the source of the voice, only to see Will jogging down the hallway toward her. In a flash, she remembered the last time he ran down a McKinley hallway to meet with her, over a year before. So much had happened since then, it was almost as though it had happened in a different lifetime, to a different person; she'd never forget it, though. It was one of those things she'd never forget, like her college graduation or the day of the dairy farm incident: it changed her life, albeit, not in the way she would have anticipated or liked for it to.
He stopped short of her, facing her, with a wide grin plastered on his face. "I wanted to ask you for a favor."
"Depends what it is."
"I got two books of classic sheet music in the mail yesterday and I was wondering if you'd help me pick songs for the kids to do at our next assembly."
"How classic are you talking?"
"The music of the '70s! Barry Manilow, Cat Stevens, Elton John -"
"As much as I like 'Hard Headed Woman' and 'Your Song,' Will, that's not what you've told me they like to sing," Emma interjected. "They're more comfortable with things from their own lifetimes."
"If we have another disaster on the scale of Toxic, Figgins won't let us perform anymore."
Emma let out an exasperated sigh. "I'll help, but you have to agree to throw out any sheet music involving the words 'Mandy' or 'copacabana.'"
"Deal. My place at seven?"
"It's a deal."
If nothing else, Emma was known for her punctuality, she thought as she stood at his door and pressed the doorbell just as the hour hand on her watch ticked over to the new hour. Seven on the nose.
Will opened the door and grinned. "You're right on time," he said, ushering her in. She could hear a faint voice coming from his stereo, and smelled something cooking. "Hope you're hungry," he continued, "I'm making spaghetti, and I think there's enough for two."
"Will, we need to talk."
"Sure." He sat down on the couch, and motioned for her to sit next to him. She chose to sit on a kitchen chair instead. "What's going on?"
"This feels like a date."
"Then why is there music playing on the stereo and you're cooking us dinner and it's a snowy night and this is too soon, Will, I can't."
She folded her hands in her lap. "Carl and I broke up a couple of weeks ago, right after the holidays. I can't - I just - you know what I mean, don't you?"
"You and Carl -" his voice sounded almost ~excited for a moment before evening out. "Oh. Oh. What happened?"
"It wasn't working anymore," she said, "and it was mutual. But this - it feels like a date, Will, and I don't want to think about dating."
"It was never a date."
"Then your spaghetti smells fantastic. Let's eat."
The six-to-eight inches of snow started coming down as they sat on his couch together a short time later, paging through sheet music. "Don't you think we should sing 'Ohio' for Regionals?" Will asked, putting a blue post-it - for possibility - on it. "It'd be perfect. State pride and all."
"Only if you want to remind everyone of Kent State," Emma said, swapping the blue post-it for a green one - for "no way." "'Four dead in Ohio'?"
"That's what that song was about?"
"Yeah. It is."
"I never knew that."
As the night wore on, the green post-it pile grew higher and higher, while the blue post-it pile remained empty. Emma glanced out the window. "If I'm going to leave, I should do it now, before the snow gets worse." She gathered up her coat and put on her gloves and scarf. "It's been fun."
"Be safe out there."
There was no way she could make it home. She'd figured that much out after fifteen or twenty minutes of cautiously creeping down Will's street, attempting to make it to the nearby intersection, but instead measuring her progress in inches. Parking her car along the side of the road, she decided to make a run for it back to his place. She could come back to get her car in the morning.
The snow blinded her, and she silently cursed the meteorologist as she ran, snowflakes peppering her. There was no way this was only six or eight inches.
When she reached his door, she slid her gloved hand down the doorbell and caught her breath. "Emma?" Will asked, opening the door. "Is everything okay?"
"I couldn't make it to the stoplight," she said, hesitating for a moment before continuing, "can I stay tonight? Just on your couch."
"Sure. Absolutely. Sure," he said, "Come in."
Will handed her two warm blankets and an extra pillow. "Is there anything else you need?" he asked.
Emma thought for a moment. "Do you have a t-shirt I could borrow?"
"Give me a minute." He ran into his bedroom, and in less than two minutes, he had an array of five or six t-shirts for her to choose from. "Any of these work for you?"
"I'll take that one." She took it from his hands and carefully examined it. "Bicycle Indiana 2005?"
"There was a time when Terri loved to bicycle and would sign us up for these day-long bicycle rides to give us something to do together," he said, almost as though he was drifting back in time to that time. "She was in love with the road and I was in love with her."
"She - she took a turn too sharp and collided with a rock."
"Was she okay?"
"Yeah. She broke her arm in the fall though. When the cast came off, she decided that she would stick to indoor endeavors from now on. Crocheting, shopping, lying about pregnancies, that kind of thing," he said, a faraway look in his eyes. Snapping back to the conversation, he continued, "so, do you need anything else?"
"Nah. This will more than do, thanks, Will. Good night," she said, hugging him and giving him a slight peck on the cheek, before walking into the bathroom to change out of her wet and snowy clothing before going to bed.
-to be continued-