Filled prompt left by a lovely follower on Tumblr: "Emma could be cleaning (at school or home or wherever) and passes out from the fumes. Maybe Will could find her?".
Just some cute fluff inspired on "I´ll never forget the first time I saw her" moment… (Actually it´s supposed to happen after that).
Hope you like it!
"Miss you have to get out", the man wasn´t as kind as she would have liked him to be while asking her to leave the office, "we need to go in there"
"Oh, but, uhm…", she stood right on the entrance, blocking them the way in, "I always clean my own office".
Decontaminate was one of Emma´s favorite days since she had started working in McKinley´s High; the other one had been her first day, when one of the most attractive man she had ever seen greeted her in the crowded hallway.
It wasn´t that she mistrusted the qualified people in charge of it, but she would take that chance to use the brand new products she had bought the previous day.
"Miss, I don´t think you have the necessary equipment or the training".
'Training'; her cleaning skills were as good as theirs. She had seen the old coffee stains around the coffee machine in the teacher´s lounge, the greasy edges of the fridge; she was as qualified as them; maybe even more. Ok, maybe she didn´t trust them that much.
"I have all that I need here", her voice was soft and slightly quivery, yet determinate, "You can talk to Principal Figgins… I always clean my own office…" the 'always' was rather amplified, but what did he know?
"Whatever suits you, Miss...", the man was tired; he just wanted to get home with his wife and kids.
"I wouldn´t leave the window closed. Just wear the mask when…"
She was already in, smiling with satisfaction. Cleaning helped her to relax, to forget; it was easier focusing on a horrendous blemish than thinking about the nervousness her new job awoke in her. The rubber gloves dressed her hands, her long bare fingers; no ring would get stucked in the colored plastic. She was single. She had been single for quite some time now.
Sometimes the nakedness of her hand got her thinking about marriage; if she would actually find happiness some day. Thirty-two years of loneliness wasn´t really a cheerful prospect, and she hadn´t met any interesting men since she arrived to Lima.
Maybe except for William. The Spanish teacher. Will. Who had nicely asked her to call him that instead; 'it´s less informal', he had said with a wink and a lovely smile. Appearances weren´t very important to her, but this man was the epitome of handsome. He had swept her feet and she wasn´t too fond with being mesmerized; it made her ramble and mumble. And rambling and mumbling made her look ridiculous. That was what she did, though, every time he was around.
She opened the bleach with usual care, trying not to sprinkle her light-green pencil skirt and rubbed the desk surface with enthusiasm. It´d shine clean after an hour.
"Hey, welcome to McKinley´s Mrs.…. Pillsbury", he had been cheery while greeting the newest staff member, as passing by her side.
A 'Thank you', had been said before she turned around to meet the kind voice and she had frozen. He was gorgeous. And she had smiled. A lingering smile was shared in the hallway, the light blush on her cheeks told of her embarrassment.
The strong odor of the chemic reached her nose and Emma pulled her head away, soaking the cleaning cloth with the substance to scrub on the synthetic wooden surface.
Her mind raced for a while. Why would it? Ok, she would be honest; occasionally she had thought about William. Will, as he had corrected. She had thought about him more than once a day. She shouldn´t, though. The ring on his annular finger told her he was married and she couldn´t help her heart to ache a bit. Maybe more than a bit. Ok, it ached. Emma liked William. Will. He seemed kind and nice; except she had no idea if that was true or just an impression. They hadn´t really talked much.
The nearly empty bleach bottle almost flew off her hands when she lifted it thinking it would be heavy. When did I use all of it? Time passed by inadvertently and Emma hardly noticed it while rubbing, polishing and rubbing again. When the desk needed no more attention, she moved towards the glass walls.
Last singles meeting had been a disaster; thinking again, she had no idea what groundless compulsion had got her there for a second time. William, Will, wouldn´t be there. And she had no interest in any other man what so ever. To keep wasting her Saturday´s cleaning was pointless, and if there was someone who deterred Emma to continue assisting, that would be Ken. Ken Tanaka. The football coach had been tracking her steps since the first day she had walked in McKinley. Emma didn´t like Ken. He looked greasy and sweaty all the time, and even though she never touched him she was certain he would be as sticky as a melted candy on the pavement.
She wouldn´t call herself a superficial person, but it´d be a lie saying that first impression didn´t come in through the eyes. And it´d be a bigger lie saying the first thing she had notice in William, Will, wasn´t his looks.
Her reflection on the spotless crystal showed it couldn't be more sparkling. The bookcase didn´t need that much attention today; she had stayed late making sure it was perfectly clean the previous day, so she just buffed carefully the bottom angles, where dust was more prone to gather.
She shouldn´t get anxious by having a crush on a co-worker. It´s normal, it happens, she told herself, walking behind her desk to collect her purse and a bottle she hadn´t used yet. Is it? An inner voice asked her with characteristic doubt. She always doubted. Self-delusion wasn´t on her doing-stuff, but William, Will, arouse those strange feelings in her. He´s married for God´s Sake!
The white solution spread across the floor when the unopened bottle skidded off the wet rubber glove.
"Shoot", she fell onto her knees to dry it, when noticed horrified the ghastly dirt sticky mess on the desk´s legs and chair, "Oh, my goodness…" her nose wrinkled with apprehensive disgust and spared no bleach on the off-white tiles.
The smell was awfully concentrated, but she took pains over the grime… or dirt. She wasn´t even sure what is was, but it looked repulsive. It wasn't coming out and she rubbed harder. And then cough. What´s in this thing? Her nasal orifices itched and burned, her eyes stung. She coughed again, still oblivious about the predictable effect the mixture of the two products. Deep in thought, she hadn´t noticed the vapors emanating around her.
"Not possible…" kneeling as she was, she tried to read the label at the back of the bottle, but her sight failed miserably. How could you be so sloppy? Her head was spinning; she felt sick. No, no, no… Please no. When trying to get up, the sharp edge of the desk hit her forehead, just where her line hair began, and Emma whined. Her balance was worst than a drunk´s and she groped the border of the desk trying to get up. It wasn´t possible. She would empty her stomach if she moved. More coughs and her neck burned.
There was someone outside, but her blurry vision impeded her to distinguish who it was. The man waved his hand and after seconds that seemed hours, he walked towards the glassy door.
"Hey, Emma, wh-", he held himself on the door frame when sensing the stench of the chemises, "Emma, are you ok?" she certainly didn´t look ok, her eyelids dawdled semi-closed.
"Hi, William…" getting up was unsuccessful when she crumpled behind the desk.
He rushed to her, dropping his bag on the floor, to find her struggling to get on her feet, "Emma…" she coughed, the smell was unbearable. With haste, he slid his arms under her armpits to help her standing up, but her legs were jelly and the floor was covered in cleaning products. "Oh, geez…" his nose was irritated already and he hadn´t even been there a minute. How long has she been there? He faced her squatting and repeated the same movement. Blush crept up his cheeks when her skirt lifted up to reveal her slim white thighs. "Emma, help me out here", she was light as a feather, but her position couldn´t be more uncomfortable.
Her hands closed around his wooden vest and then curled her arms on his neck to help herself. "I´m-I´m sorry…" locking eyes with him was impossible; she couldn´t even see what was she fisting.
"Come", Will carried her small form out and dragged her to the sports field. Fresh air will make her react, he thought as she kept mumbling incoherencies. Disregarding how dangerous the whole situation could have been, he couldn´t help to find it sort of funny. She was somehow adorable while trying to explain what she was doing in her office. Not a word made sense, though; and for a brief moment he had stopped listening to look in to those gorgeous eyes she had. Mysterious and kind eyes, he had thought the first day they met. "Breathe, Emma… how long have you been breathing that foul air?"
"I don´t know…" the breeze helped her to purify her lungs, but her head was still spinning "Not much"
"You were lucky I was here… the people from the cleaning company were leaving…" For the briefest moment, when Emma´s eyes turned and span lost, trying to focus the images, Will dared to look at her; to actually look at her. It´d be a lie saying he hadn´t thought she was beautiful, with those gorgeous amber eyes and flamy hair. But he was married, had been married for five years, and had dated Terri for another ten. Never, ever, had Will had the need, the urge to look at other woman in any way. However, there he was, staring at the newest staff member. The guidance counselor. Emma. The closeness between their bodies let him realize the thin layer of foundation covering a freckled nose ('That´s why I haven´t seen those before') and the amazing resemblance between her hair and her eyes. Rare; extremely rare. She really was rather unique. A chuckle broke free when she began talking; she looked drunk, or high, or both. "Ok, Emma, why don´t you relax a little? Let the oxygen reach your brain", he smiled when she collapsed on the back of the bench.
"I´m dizzy", her voice was weak.
"I bet you are. How long have you been there?" he asked again.
"I… uhm, I got here at 9"
"Emma, it´s 4… Can´t believe you didn´t pass out before"
"I was cleaning…" she tried to explain, straightening on the seat; although it was hard, her mind was foggy.
She coughed one more time, slightly swaying on the wooden bench, and her eyelids threaten to close, "Hey, hey… don´t close your eyes", gently he cupped her chin to lift her face, and she blinked, "breathe…" he asked sweetly as inhaled and released the air slowly. It was weird. It was the first time he touched a woman´s skin that wasn´t Terri´s. Retreat or remaining like that were both valid options. He was married, he should retreat; but it was also new, foreign. It was just an innocent touch, just touching another person, an unfamiliar body. And God, she was so soft. Maybe he should take his hand away…
Emma mirrored his actions; suddenly realizing it was William, Will´s hand on her skin. Slowly, the images became clearer, more defined and she noticed it was his hand supporting her chin. She had never let anyone touch her like that and a blush spread across her cheeks. A deep red blush. "Thank you, William", the smile on his face was enough for Emma to amend her statement, "Will…"
"That´s better", her gaze fell to the floor with coyness and a grin, "Ok, let´s go", his palm flew to his knee when realizing he was still resting under her halter and coughed. "Do you want some water?"
"No, it´s ok… Maybe, maybe I should go home..." she got up, but staggered when starting to pace towards the parking lot.
"Miss, you can´t drive in that condition", one more time, he was rushing to her and snaking his arm around her waist. She´s so tiny. "Walk with me", he asked sweetly, directing her to her vehicle.
"I´ll drive you home"
"What about your car?"
"I can take a cab to pick it up"
"William…. Will", she corrected herself again and he sniggered, "You don´t have to…"
"I want to"; their gazed lingered locked for a couple of seconds while he held her tightly against him.
"Thank you, really… You´ve been so nice"
"No prob. Jump in". The drive was quiet; she still had problems to put a thought and a line together, so it was him doing all the talking. "Here we are", he opened the companion door and offered his hand to help her getting out.
Second time he touches you, second time you don´t freak out. "Thank you", she said for the fourth time that day.
"Can you get up the stairs alone?"
"Yes", she brushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Ok… then, I guess I'll see you tomorrow"
"Join me for lunch!" he was already walking away backwards.
"I´d love to."
"Bye, Will", he grinned widely at her, with those perfect white teeth and breathtaking eyes he had. And she stood there, watching him leave until he turned around the corner.
Maybe I should have asked him to come in. Oh, sure that´s a great idea; why would you do that? He´s married! You never let a man in your house. I´ve never let anyone come this close to me. Why do you keep doing that? I want him to be close to me. He´s married. Maybe not forever.
Jogging steps snatched her out her inner debate. "Emma!" he called her name and approached her breathing unevenly, "I forgot to return these..."
Her car keys.
The warm of his fingers found her hand to place them. What´s wrong with you? She lifted her gape to find him smiling and she smiled back. Her skin was smooth and slightly cold. Why do you keep doing this? Stuck on her? With leisure, he let her hand go.
"Thank you", her voice was dulcet, her Bambi eyes shined.
That´s right, she had Bambi eyes; that´s why she´s so cute. "Ok, I´ll go now", she giggled. Make her laugh again.
"Ok, bye Will"
Another giggled and the smiled on his lips widened. "See you tomorrow!" he winked and she sighed.
"U-hu. Bye! And thank you!"
Any time. She could do that next decontamination day. Ok, that´s just ridiculous. But love was ridiculous and that was when she knew she could easily fall in love with him.