"I can't do that!" Will said with a scandalized laugh.
"Why not? Sonny is over 21," EJ shrugged, pouring another finger of scotch.
Will shook his head frenetically, pacing past the chess set toward the French doors and back. The afternoon sun attempted to shine in through the glass panes of the DiMera living room, but was obstructed by the ostentatious foliage of the back garden.
"It's not about being legal drinking age, EJ," he argued. "Sonny is my friend. I'm not gonna spike his coffee to try to get him into bed!"
"You told me yourself, William, that you have received signals from him, yes?"
Will watched EJ take a smooth, confident sip from his glass, then stared uncomfortably at the floor.
"Well, I think they're signals..."
"Oh, God Almighty, you little twit," EJ admonished. "When are you going to learn to trust your instincts? You've twice now had a close physical encounter with the boy."
"We got carried away," Will justified. "Sonny's just a nice guy. He would be there for any struggling friend. I'm not special."
"How many gay men are living in Salem right now, do you think?" EJ posed.
Will shrugged his shoulders and shook his head with a baffled smile. "How should I know?"
"No, really," EJ pressed. "Take a guess."
"Well..." Will considered. "There's me and Sonny. And at least three or four gay guys Sonny has introduced me to. And then that guy that I..." Will hesitated.
"Snogged," EJ offered.
"Kissed," Will corrected with a grossed-out smirk on his face. "Snog makes it sound like I picked his boogers or something."
EJ put his hand over his eyes, shaking his head. "Americans," he said.
"Brits," Will countered childishly.
"You didn't answer me. How many homosexuals do you suppose live around here?"
Will honestly pondered the question.
"Only a handful. That I know of," he responded.
"And of all of those young men, has your friend Sonny shown interest in any of them?"
"One," Will answered.
"He went out with one of them. And then he said that he was hoping to go out with him again."
"Indeed?" EJ asked.
"Indeed," Will mocked with a roll of his eyes.
"William, did it ever occur to you that kind young Sonny was trying to get your goat?"
"He wants you!" EJ burst, launching several drops of his liquor onto the carpet.
Will laughed stupidly. "What?" he asked with another shake of his head. "That's just... Sonny could have any... Shut up."
"'Shut up,'" EJ repeated with annoyance. "Brilliant. The boy is trying to make you jealous."
"Nah," Will disagreed. "Sonny is too..."
"That's not what I was going to say."
"It's what you were thinking," EJ posited, pouring another generous helping of liquor.
"No!" Will rebutted. "I'm not saying he's pure, I'm just saying he's..."
"Ew, no!" Will proclaimed.
"Kind?" EJ asked.
Will thought about it. "Well, of course he's kind."
"Of course he's kind," EJ repeated sultrily.
"Stop it," Will laughed.
"Stop it, yourself. What exactly do you mean by kind?"
Will's silly smile was followed by an embarrassed eye-roll which preceded a stilted laugh, punctuated by a stroll over to the grand piano where he took a seat at the bench and folded his arms tightly.
"Are you going to sing about him?" EJ asked eagerly.
Will ran a finger over the pristinely polished piano, thoughtful. "Sonny's amazing," he said quietly. "What the hell would he want with me?"
EJ was silent for many moments. Then he turned to the bar, topped off his own glass of scotch and poured a second glass for Will. He sauntered over to the piano bench.
"Slide," he commanded.
Will scooted himself to the left to make room for EJ to sit on the bench next to him.
"Here," EJ said, offering the scotch.
"You makin' a move on me?" Will quirked an eyebrow.
"Don't you wish," EJ scoffed.
Will gave EJ a strange sideways glance and accepted the glass, trying diligently not to pull a face as the bitter liquid hit his tongue.
"I think the real question," EJ said gently, "is what wouldn't Sonny want with you?"
"What does that mean?" Will asked uneasily.
"My, my, your mother has really done a number on your self-esteem hasn't she?"
"My self-esteem is fine," was Will's ornery reply.
"And yet you believe you're not good enough for Sonny Kiriakis."
"I'm not!" Will snapped. "Sonny has it all! He has a million friends, he has his own business at the age of 21, he has a perfect relationship with both of his parents..." Will paused to take another drink before listing more attributes. "He likes himself, he's funny, he's fun to be around, he's interesting—"
"—he's talented and smart, he's—"
"—so freaking handsome," Will sputtered, making a noise in his throat that was halfway between laughing and choking.
"And you mean to tell me that you are none of those things?" EJ inquired.
"I know I'm not those things," Will stated. "I'm a hot mess!"
He took another large gulp of scotch, the dark, spicy flavor causing a full body shudder. EJ tried and failed to stifle a chuckle.
"You see?" Will demanded. "I don't even drink right!"
"It's fine scotch, William, it's not meant to be guzzled."
"Well, thank you for the lesson in propriety," Will raved in a bad English accent. "Maybe you should go after Sonny. You two have a lot in common, being perfect at absolutely everything, and all."
"You know? You're right." EJ nodded. "I'll just keep Sonny all for myself."
He bumped his shoulder companionably against Will's, smiling. The tension finally broke and Will gave an embarrassed laugh.
"Sorry," he muttered.
"Nothing to be sorry for. Love makes us all a little mad."
"I'm not in love."
"But you are mad, you know," EJ said. "You have to be. How else could you possibly deny what a kind, decent, sensitive, and handsome young man you are?"
Will looked straight into EJ's eyes, too shocked to respond.
"And normally I wouldn't be so bold as to say so, but you clearly need some sense knocked into you. Come here."
EJ stood up and tugged at Will's arm, forcing him to stand.
"Just come with me."
Will tripped over his own feet as EJ practically dragged him back to the bar and stood Will in front of the mirror. EJ stood behind him, both of them looking at their reflections.
"What do you see?" EJ asked.
"A couple of drunk assholes," Will answered.
"Oh, stop it. Really. What do you see here?"
Will shrugged, unable to come up with a response.
"I'll tell you what I see," EJ said. "I see a brave young man who, not so long ago, was lying to himself and to everyone he loved about who he really was."
"That's not brave, EJ. That's cowardly."
"It's not cowardly to have a secret, William, it's human. Everyone has secrets. Everyone has fear."
Will studied his own face in the mirror, his eyes becoming red with emotion as the only too familiar feeling of self-loathing began to overtake him again.
"But how many people can say they really faced their fear and told the truth?" EJ pressed on. "How many people do you know who are courageous enough to be honest, even at the risk of losing everyone and everything that matters to them? You did that, Will. You did that. Look at yourself."
Will looked at himself, EJ's words finally beginning to sink in.
"Look at how far you've come in such a short time," EJ said. "Do you know there are people who live their entire lives in secret? Who are too afraid to ever be who they are?"
Will nodded. He did know that.
"Sonny would be lucky to have someone like you, William. And don't you dare think otherwise."
A small smile began to form on Will's lips, his feelings of dread and self-criticism beginning to shift.
"You really think Sonny likes me?" he asked quietly.
EJ rolled his eyes again, knocking Will on the back of the head. "Have you heard nothing I've said?"
EJ killed the rest of his drink and poured another.
"No, I mean... Yeah, I heard you," Will agreed quickly, turning to look at his employer.
No. His friend.
"So what should I do?" Will implored earnestly.
"I've already told you what to do," EJ answered matter-of-factly. "Pour a little vodka into his coffee and make your move."
"I'm not doing that!" Will shouted, but he couldn't help laughing at the idea.
"Fine, take the high road if you must. But I think my suggestion is more creative."
"Yeah, well, you're a criminal," Will teased.
"Allegedly," EJ corrected, holding up a finger.
"Allegedly," Will repeated, shaking his head.
"The point is, William, that you must do something. I think you'll be amazed at how needlessly difficult you're making this. One only has to look at Sonny to see how infatuated he is with you. I'd wager if you called him right now and told him how you feel, you'd be holding his hand by the end of the night."
Will's eyes went wide, his hand brushing over the phone in his pocket. His heart began to beat quickly and his breathing became shallow.
"I can't do that," he whispered giddily.
"You want him, don't you?"
"Then get him."
Will stared at EJ, dumbfounded.
"Get him," EJ slowly repeated. "Take what's yours."
Before he knew what he was doing, Will pulled his phone out of his pocket. He could hardly believe he was about to make a move so bold, but he suddenly knew it was the right thing. He would do it. He would call Sonny and tell him how he felt. His hand shook as he prepared to dial.
But before he could begin, the phone buzzed in his hand loudly, causing even EJ to jump.
"It's him!" Will squealed.
"What?" EJ hissed back, genuinely excited.
"What do I do?"
"Answer, stupid! Answer!" EJ replied with another rap to the side of Will's head.
Will answered. "Will's phone, Will speaking," he babbled.
EJ slapped a hand to his forehead. "Lord," he cringed.
Will's face broke out into a bright smile. "Oh, hey, Sonny. Oh, nothing, I'm just finishing up some work with EJ."
He was quiet for a few moments as Sonny spoke, and EJ fingered the rim of his glass anxiously.
"I'm not doing anything tonight," Will said with a meaningful look at EJ. "Why, what's up?"
Another pause and then, "A movie? Yeah, that sounds great. Who else will be there?"
EJ leaned in, as eager as Will to hear the answer.
"Oh, just you and me?" Will said innocently.
Yes! EJ mouthed, pumping his fist excitedly. He grabbed a tiny bottle of vodka from the bar and pushed it into Will's chest. "Pour this into his soda!" he whispered obnoxiously.
"Stop it!" Will whispered back, batting EJ's hand away. "No, Sonny, not you. You know, I'm actually in the middle of something right now, but I would love to hang out tonight. Can we meet at Horton Square around 7? Okay, perfect. See you then."
He hung up, slamming his phone down onto the table and downing the remaining scotch from his glass. He shuddered violently and his eyes watered profusely, but he didn't care. He raised his hands into the air in triumph. "I am king!" he trumpeted.
"Or queen..." EJ suggested with a wink.
"Screw you," Will laughed, punching EJ in the chest. "It's a date! I'm going on a date with Sonny freaking Kiriakis!"
"And it's all thanks to me," EJ boasted, raising his glass before taking another sip.
"Oh, get over yourself, jerk. I would have asked him out eventually."
"I would have!"
"If you say so."
"I gotta go!" Will slurred, turning once more to the mirror. "I need to figure out what to wear! My hair totally sucks! I need to..." He exhaled into his hand and then sniffed. "I need a damn mint!"
"I have mint schnapps..." EJ began.
"No, EJ! No more booze! I gotta go right now. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
Will rushed out of the room, not stopping until he was standing in the foyer with his hand on the doorknob. He turned around and made eye contact with EJ, unsure of how to express his gratitude.
"EJ, I..." He shook his head. "I'm really glad that we..."
"Get out of here," EJ said softly. "Go get yourself a boyfriend."
Will smiled and nodded. "Yes, sir," he responded, his smile remaining even as he practically skipped out the door.
EJ poured himself one more glass of scotch, chuckling.
"Children," he muttered.
He spilled several more drops as Will burst back into the foyer loudly.
"EJ? I think you've had enough to drink today."
"GET. OUT." EJ commanded.
"Yes, boss!" Will grinned, hopping out the door again.