Disclaimer: Glee is owned by Ryan Murphy, FOX, and all the grand high mucky mucks. No copyright infringement is intended and no money was made from this little ficlit. Any similarity to any other story not my own is a coincidence.
Title: How I Plan to Spend My Summer Vacation
Rating: PG; rated general content
Genre: Glee, Emma/Will; Emma POV; romance; passing reference to Rachel/Finn
Timeline/Spoilers: Immediately after season 2 finale
Soooo... I heard that they cut a scene for Emma and Will that basically explained what the heck happened that made them get back together for season 3. Yeah, made no sense to me either, because him putting his arm around her shoulder for like two seconds didn't do it for me. *wry grin* Anyhoo, when I read that scene it forced me to torture y'all with this little plot-bunny. Here goes...
Oh, and a few more things: italics are meant to indicate either the letters, or Will singing in the end. The concept of bad love letters and good love letters is snurched from something I read somewhere, and the song will sings is "Come to Me, Love." It's one Matt himself sings, and I hope that I got the lyrics right. *wry grin*
"What's this?" I asked, raising an eyebrow and gingerly taking the proffered large, battered shoebox from Will's hands. My fingers tugged lightly at the uneven shoelace holding it closed, trying to surreptitiously straighten it a bit, and I caught Will smiling. I let the unconditional warmth of that smile calm me and felt my fingers still.
"Go on. Open it," he urged me.
"All right," I replied with a small smile, taking the box with me to my desk and sitting down to diligently work on the awkward knot holding it closed. I saw that Will was waiting as patiently as he could, but even so, I smiled when he couldn't help but rock back a bit on his heels. Finally, I had the lace undone and the lid off. I studied the contents of the shoebox curiously, titling my head just a little before looking back up at Will.
"For you... well, to you actually," he replied, taking a step closer. "It's just...you were... you were just so close, but still... it was as if you were out of sight. So..." Will gestured to the battered box.
He nodded and took yet another step closer. "And I thought about giving them to you so many times Emma. But the time never seemed right. But now... well... maybe..."
I nodded and reached into the box, noticing just how many there really were.
"A year's worth," Will said without a heartbeat's pause as he closed the final distance between us.
"That's... that's a lot of letters."
"It was a lot of time, Emma. It was a lot time not having what I wanted the most... what I needed the most."
I felt the blush burn my cheeks as I looked down again, my fingers hesitantly brushing over the uppermost envelope.
"They're all for you Emma, little pieces of my heart from this last year that I've been saving to give to you."
I looked up to meet his summer touched eyes, and for a moment I felt everything else slip away... the world, my issues, all of it. For moment, there was only myself and Will. It felt glorious.
Suddenly the last bell rang for classes, startling us both just a bit. I laughed a little nervously and Will gave me a lop-sided smile in reply.
"Well, I should get to class. Who knows, maybe there will even be a few kids there," he said with a chuckle, clearly anticipating that this close to the last day of school, and with finals over and done with, the chances were more than good that the classroom would be empty, or nearly so.
I nodded, feeling a small smile lingering on my lips and completely unprepared for the impulsive kiss Will brushed against them.
"Come find me when you're ready, okay?" He murmured. I nodded quietly in reply, still lost in the sensation of Will's lips brushing against mine. I felt his smile in response before he gave me one last kiss and dashed out into the hallways of McKinley. I raised my fingertips to my lips.
"How does he keep doing that?" I whispered against my fingers before shaking my head to clear it. I looked back down to the battered shoebox and its curious contents, noticing for the first time a small lavender post-it stuck incongruously between the cardboard and the topmost letter. I plucked it up. Will's neat little scrawl said simply, 'I put the three that I think you should read first on top.'
I took a deep breath and pulled out the first envelope, a white, nondescript rectangle. It seemed so innocuous, but my pulse thundered in my ears so loudly that even the sound of the teenagers outside of my office seemed dull in comparison. My hands trembled and I felt the paper crumple just a little under the pressure of my fingertips.
"Emma Pillsbury," I counseled myself. "You can do this. You will read this letter."
I nodded firmly to myself with a sense of confidence I did not feel. My fingers felt nerveless, and still the letter remained unopened.
"A letter that Will wrote to you.. during the longest, roughest year of our lives..." I said in a low voice. "A letter that..." I trailed off into silence.
I closed my eyes and concentrated on finding that still, small space inside of myself, like Doctor Shane had once suggested. Eyes still closed, I slowly freed the letter from the confines of the white envelope.
"Dear," I whispered, anticipating the appellation as I finally opened my eyes.
'Emma, I miss you,' I read in a black, desperate scrawl of ink. Tear stains had blurred the edges of the words and made them almost painfully illegible. For a moment, I simply stared at the stark characters, overwhelmed by the fact that five little words could make me feel like my heart had fallen still and silent out of my chest. I looked down, almost expecting to see it shattered like glass all over my desk. It was a shock to see that that it wasn't the case. I pressed my free hand to my heartbeat, reassuring myself of its steady presence.
"I can't do this," I whispered. "I can't."
I folded up the letter neatly and set it on top of the others before pressing the lid of the shoebox back down firmly, shutting all of the letters out of sight. Then I was reaching for the shoelace tie when Will's words came back to me, 'little pieces of my heart that I've been saving to give to you.'
I brushed my hand flat over the shoebox lid instead.
"His broken heart," I whispered before lifting the lid open once more and setting it aside. I reached for the next letter.
'…I see now that every letter I've ever written to you has been a love letter. Even the ones that I've only ever written in the stillness of my heart, or in the notes of a song; each and everyone, a love letter to you. How could they have been anything else? But I can also see now that all of them, except this one, were bad love letters.
Bad love letters beg for love back. Good love letters ask for nothing. This, I am pleased to announce, is my first good love letter to you. Because there is nothing more for you to do. You've already done everything. I have enough of you in my head, in my heart, in my very bones, to last forever. You've given me everything, my dearest, and I'll never be able to tell you just how much that's meant to me. You saved me, Emma; given me a life, and a love, and a dream, that I never thought possible before you. I will always love you for that. Always.
I just wish that I could give you back everything in return. But I know now, that that's not possible. So all I can do is stand back and watch you soar; watch you fly away and be free. And I only hope that your life brings you a taste of the happiness that you have brought to me. I hope with every bit of my heart, that all of your best dreams come true. And most of all, I wish you love, Emma; a love that you truly deserve.
All my love, forever, Will...'
I carefully folded the letter back along precise lines and slid it into the waiting envelope. I felt the air leave my body as tears threatened to spill down my cheeks. I took a gasping breath, inhaling oxygen into my burning lungs as if I were suddenly drowning.
"Oh Will..." I whispered, uncertain I had the strength to continue.
A knock at my office door abruptly shook me from my personal struggle.
Finn stood there looking at me with some concern.
"Hey, Miss Pillsbury, are you okay?"
"Oh of course... of course," I assured him quickly, assuming my most professional demeanor. "What can I do for you, Finn?"
He held out a small slip of paper.
"Mr. Schuester asked me to give you this."
He stepped into my office and handed me the paper.
"Thank you, Finn."
The boy nodded and turned to go, only to pause thoughtfully in the doorway. "Miss Pillsbury, you're a girl," he said obviously. "What do girls want, in a relationship I mean? What makes 'em happy?"
Something in my expression must have prompted him to go on.
"That is... I mean... I asked Rachel Berry out for well... I guess like for forever... or 'til graduation at least. And Miss Pillsbury, I want to make Rachel happy more than just about anything in the world I guess. I screwed up before and I... I mean, I really want to get it right this time. So..."
"Well, Finn, why don't you ask her?"
He gave me a puzzled sort of look.
"Just ask her?"
I nodded and gave him a smile. "Tell Rachel how you feel and ask her what she wants out of the relationship. You two can figure it out together."
"Together," the boy echoed and smiled. "Yeah, I guess we could do that. Thanks Miss P," he said and stepped back out into the hall.
I smiled myself and watched Finn leave before reading the folded note from Will.
'I'll be in the choir room. Meet me there?'
I took a breath and looked at the last letter Will had asked me to read. I reached for it, and the first thing I noticed when I unfolded the torn notebook paper, was the date. Will had dated this letter... yesterday. I felt my heart skip what had to be several beats as I started to read the words that flew across the paper like little swallows, ecstatic and unbound by rule or line.
I love you! You don't know how long I've wanted to say that; my Emma. I've loved you for the longest time. And you have to know, you're the one. You always have been, since the first moment I ever saw your sweet, sweet face. I looked into your eyes, and I saw the end of all my journeys and every beginning. I saw love, and home, and beauty, and truth, all in your eyes. I saw everything, Emma. Everything I could ever want, or ever need from life or love. And all I ever wanted was to take the journey with you; to be with you.
Then I got lost along the way to finding you. I know that I stumbled and hurt you. But if you'll only let me, I promise that I'll learn from my mistakes. And I promise you, I'll spend a lifetime making sure that you know just how special and amazing I really think you are.
Because Emma, I want you to feel safe falling into my love; to know that you can spend the rest of your life in it. Because I will cherish you, always. And just know, Emma, that I love you with everything I am, and everything I hope to be.
Yours forever and always, Will.'
Unexpectedly feeling a lot like one of the teenage girls I counseled everyday, I pressed the notebook paper to my heart, giddy and a bit dizzy.
Clutching the letter in my hand, I went in search of Will and found him in the choir room packing away things for the summer. Just the sight of him made my heart beat a little faster. It was so loud now that I found myself surprised that Will couldn't hear it. I imagined him hearing it and turning to find me and then... My mind went blank, because, then what? What did I expect would happen? What did I want to happen? I was so lost in these thoughts that I missed the moment Will actually did turn.
I found myself frozen, Will's letter still gripped in my hand. His gaze went to it.
"You read my letter," he said quietly.
I nodded mutely.
"And..." he ventured hesitantly.
I opened my mouth to reply, but somehow I had no voice. I tried again, and still, nothing. Shaken, I felt myself tense.
Unexpectedly, Will smiled his lop-sided smile, his eyes warm and inviting.
"I'll blow a kiss to where my loved one is..." he sang, his voice every bit as warm and inviting as his gaze. "Where ever in the world she may be hiding... the love I seek, may be seeking me too...it's the clues that I should be providing..."
He turned and held out his hand.
"Love, come to me, Love...in the calm of a rainbow... Love, come to me, Love... let me get caught in the undertow..."
He offered his hand patiently, steady as he waited for me. And still he sang in a slow, soft voice, drawing me to him. I followed his voice and took his offered hand. Then, with his free hand, Will took the paper from my grip and set it atop the piano before pulling me close. And now as he sang, I could feel his breath against my ear and it made me shiver.
"Love is a word that's seldom heard... from these lips, I shout them on high... I'll find you, I'll try..."
The last time we had danced like this together had been so long ago. I pressed myself closer, wanting to be enveloped his warmth. He brushed his lips against my temple and continued to sing.
"Across an ocean, or maybe next door... I hear your voice as clear as night...and my hand is longing for your warmth... please, Love, come to me... Love, come to me, Love...in the calm of a rainbow... Love, come to me, Love... let me get caught in the undertow..."
Our dance had slowed to a barely perceptible sway. Will slid his hands from mine and let them settle on my waist, holding me to him. I was grateful for their solid weight, because I felt so light that I was certain I would float away at any moment. I slid my own hands up to his shoulders, steadying myself in Will's gravity.
Will whispered the last verse against my ear, "Love is a word that's seldom heard... from these lips I shout them on high... I'll find you, I'll try..."
"Emma... Emma, I know what I want. But what do you want?" Will asked, his voice still soft in my ear.
"You," I replied simply.
Will chuckled and I realized that I had spoken out loud.
I buried my burning face against his chest. I waited for Will to say something, and when he didn't, I murmured into his vest, "What do you want?"
"You," he echoed, with a smile in his voice. "Okay?"
"Okay," I replied, smiling to myself.
For a moment we were content enough to simply hold each other in a soft sort of silence. Then Will asked quietly, "Emma?"
"Mmm?" I answered just as quietly.
"Will you move in with me?"
Startled, I looked up to meet his serious eyes. I took a step back out of his arms.
"I want you, Emma," he interrupted. "I want you all the time; every day, and every night. I want your face to be the first thing I see every morning and I want to kiss your lips goodnight every night, knowing that you're going to be in the bed right there beside me. I want to see your toothbrush next mine on the sink, and your blouses next to my vests in the closet. I want to make you breakfast in the mornings and have dinner in the candlelight with you.
And I want to spend as much time as I possibly can on making this right between us. Because I wasted a year of my life without you Emma. I don't want to waste any more time.
What do you say?"
He stood there, waiting for my answer and I suddenly felt as if I were balancing on the edge, caught somewhere between a heady desire and a rushing sort of panic.
"Will, I'm getting better, I am, but what about... what about my..." I took a breath and plunged forward. "What about my OCD? Some days are great, but some days are still... not so great."
"We'll get through it together, I promise," he assured me confidently, and it felt so good to hear it from him. But...
"And I'm still not ready for..."
I hesitated, caught up in a moment of embarrassment and shame.
"I'm still not ready for... for..." I could feel my cheeks burning.
Will stepped forward and brushed back my hair gently.
"I know," he said softly. "It's okay. I look forward to the day you're ready to share that part of yourself with me, but really Emma, I just want to be with you."
He cradled my face in his hands.
"Okay," I replied.
"Okay?" He confirmed with a bright smile that I found myself naturally answering with one of my own.
"Okay, I move in with you."
Will laughed with excitement and kissed me, bright and fierce before sweeping me up and spinning us both until I was giddy and dizzy and laughing myself.
"Oh Emma..." He sighed.
"You are everything bright... and beautiful... and perfect in my world..." Will said, punctuating his words with kisses. "And I plan on showing you every day just how much you mean to me."
I smiled. "I think that this is going to be the best summer break ever," I teased.
Will grinned back. "Me too, Em; me too..."