WHO: Will and Holly WHAT: Friendly dinner WHEN: [Backdated]Thursday, Dec. 30th, 2010 WHERE: Breadstix RATING: SFW
Will glanced at his phone for the time as he took his seat in a booth at Breadstix. It was nice to be away from his parents and his empty apartment for a bit. Now that he was divorced, the holidays were an especially hard time for him. He was glad to be going out with Holly and just relax. And if anyone could get Will Schuester to pull the proverbial stick out of his ass, it would be Holly Holliday.
Having literally just dropped off her things at her apartment, Holly could still feel the dampness of her hood brushing against snow-chilled skin, and boy was it a horrific combination. It didn’t occur to her to change into something new and wondrously dry, because she had plans. That was the thing about the internet; it was so quick that she made plans before her mind could grasp what she was doing.
"Okay... Breadstix. Yep, this is the right place." She poked her head in before walking in, the warmth hitting her like an oven. Holly took her gloves off first. She eyed the booths for one Mr. Will Schuester and thanked the waiter for escorting her over. "Hey! Didn't wait too long did you? I can't tell because, you know, timezones." Blame everything on the jetlag.
Will looked up suddenly when he heard Holly’s voice behind him. He jumped up with a smile as he waited for her to take a seat. If there was one lesson his mother had deeply ingrained on him growing up it was dinner table etiquette. “Not too long at all,” he lied. He’d been there for a good fifteen minutes, but he tended to run early anyway.
Once she was seated, he sat back down as well and within moments, a waiter was over with a basket of breadsticks. “So you just got in, then? Where were you again?” He couldn’t remember if she’d mentioned it in her journal or not.
If Will said he hadn't been there for too long then Holly was inclined to believe him. She smiled in relief.
"I was over in Tahoe, but the flight was really early. I'm still on Pacific time so everything feels a little strange; I'm sure some food will do me some good." Eying the basket laid before them, Holly gestured for Will to begin. "How about you? Get anything you wanted?"
Will shrugged before taking a breadstick and munching on it. “My family was never really big on gift giving. We’ve always been more, ‘here is some money or a gift card. Get what you like’ kinda people. Every now and then my mother will get me kitchen supplies... even though she knows I’m a terrible cook,” Will said with a laugh.
“What about you? If I had to guess, I’d say you probably have a big family. With crazy Christmas’ and lots of presents. Am I close?”
Holly took a sip from her water and rubbed her chin, pretending to mull it over. “Is that the first thing that comes to mind when I flee?” She laughed and set her glass back down. “More or less. I found a lot of presents left on my porch. You know, I wouldn’t have been upset if someone snatched one while I was gone. They probably need it more than I do.” There was this distance between herself and her family, an unspoken wall if you will. Then again, that’s how most of her relationships with people were.
“You just seem so... lively, I imagined your family to be the same way,” Will said, as he fiddled with the breadstick in his hand. It was kind of sad to think of Holly’s clearly distant relationship with her family. Will was really close with his. Even though he hardly saw them, whenever they all got together again it was like no time had passed at all. “So, do you not see them often?” he asked. “I mean, I know it’s none of my business, but...” Maybe because he was a teacher he was just used to people unloading on him. And he found he really didn’t mind at all.
Holly thought of a witty comeback for that first remark, but she refrained from sharing, if only because it could be misconstrued as flirting. Truly, though, she was touched by Will’s concern. There was always the possibility of her writing to her folks for his sake - or rather, it’d be something prompted by him. “Not really. I mean, if they need an extra babysitter, I’m the first person to get the call. I’m good with the kids. --having something to bring every time is getting tricky, though.” Money was tight, yet here she was indulging in a winter getaway when it would’ve been much cheaper to just eat for free at her mom’s.
She waved it off and went on, “I’m used to having a little liquid courage before tackling this stuff. Let’s see... Mom always wanted to be an actress. Broadway, Hollywood, you name it. Guess who’s her Plan B.”
“Well, first, let’s do something about that liquid courage,” he said, catching the eye of their waiter and beckoning him over. He considered ordering a wine before realizing they weren’t on a date. They were just two friends having dinner. “I’ll just have a Miller Light, and Holly...” he asked, waiting for her to order before turning his attention back to her.
“I’m guessing you were Plan B,” Will continued with a small frown. As much as he had dreamed of making it to Broadway himself, but starting a family was always at the top of his list. He wanted the best of both worlds. But he loved being a teacher now and he still hoped for a family... maybe one day. But it wouldn’t do him any good to ponder on that too much right now. “That’s rough. My father is a great man, and a great dad, but he wasn’t around much when I was a kid. Always concentrating more on his work.”
“Same thing,” she told the waiter, “I still have to drive home.”
Holly stared at the table, smiled a little smile, and glanced back up. “Yeah. Pretty much.” It wasn’t something to hide so much as it hurt talking about it. But she was a big girl now, and the past was far behind her. The pain would dull on its own. “Putting bread on the table? Well, I can’t hold it against him if that’s the case.” Knowing this, she envied Will.
Her eyes flickered to the menu even though she already knew what she wanted. “We’re civil towards each other which is more than what some people can say. So I try to be positive about it. Let them lead their lives and I deal with mine, a true independent woman.” She chuckled at her own words, trying to find something in them to believe.
Will nodded. His dad had definitely pulled through as a provider for their household. But it had taken years before Will really felt like he knew the man at all and even longer before he was able to really understand him. But when he finally did, they became quite close. “That’s a decent attitude to have about it, but you know, people change. And sometimes our parents will surprise us. Maybe you should try reconnecting with her. Sometimes I think it takes a while for people to see their parents as people too. With flaws. I think as kids, we expect them to be perfect. And it’s not until we’re adults, and have made a few mistakes of our own, when we can let go of whatever crap they might have done to us as kids.”
Will hadn’t meant to get preachy on her, but he had a tendency to do that. “Uh, sorry,” he said, laughing nervously. “Didn’t mean to make a speech.”
All the while, Holly listened intently. She even ignored her beer. (Of course, she sent the waiter off with a quick ‘Thanks’.) It was nice playing the listener for once. No expectations aside from lending an ear. Heck, she could do this all day, listening to his voice-- And he makes good points. It wasn’t until Will was done that Holly let her mind wander back to her first encounter with his (ex, right?)-wife. She still wasn’t quite sure how she felt about that. Best not to dredge up bad memories.
“No, no. Feel free to go on! Whatever plans I might’ve made today probably can’t best monopolizing a table at Breadstix.” Honest to good, Holly wouldn’t budge until Will said the word or the staff kicked them out.
Will laughed again as he sipped his own beer. “Not much can best that,” he agreed, holding up his glass to clink against hers. “That was all I had though. I just thought... you seemed upset about the distance between you and your mother. But if she won’t make the first move, then you gotta be willing to do it. And if it all works out well, you won’t regret it.” He gave her what he hoped was an encouraging smile. “Or you could do what I did and wait for fate to throw you together. Like it did with Terri and I.” He was getting used to seeing her on a near weekly basis at their cooking classes even though it was still incredibly awkward. “But I wouldn’t suggest it.”
Faced with a crazy possibility like that, Holly began to scrutinize her choices. Between her pushy mother and a clingy future-ex-husband, she rather take her chances with Mom. She took a sip and let the liquid slide down her throat. Before that, she didn’t even know how parched she was. “How is--” Holly gestured awkwardly with one hand. “You’re already on a roll. Might as well keep going.”
Will shifted awkwardly in his seat. But if Holly was willing to dish the dirt on her situation with her mother, Will could do the same with Terri. “She’s... alright. We haven’t really talked much since the incident at my apartment.” He still couldn’t believe he’d slept with her again. It seemed like any hope he had that they could be just friends was ruined after that.
Holly caught wind of the discomfort her question had caused and left it off at that. “You have a really nice place. You have a place.” She laughed and shut herself up with another sip from her glass, just in case the humor was lost on Will. Oh, wait, alcohol would only further loosen her tongue. It’d be worse to let it go to waste after ordering it.
New topic: “How are the kids?” Because everyone was taking his Spanish class, and she missed them dearly.
“Uh, thanks,” Will said, with a laugh. “I can just barely afford it on my own, without dipping into my savings.” He wasn’t even sure why he still had that savings account. He’d started it after finding out that Terri was pregnant... Except she never was. But he had yet to blow the money on anything. Maybe he’d treat himself to a getaway like Holly had.
Ah, talking about school usually put him in a good mood. “They’re pretty great. All the kids from Glee even stopped by on Christmas Eve to keep me company for a bit. It was really sweet.” Even though they could drive him a little crazy sometimes, he really cared about them all very much. It was nice to know that, at least some of the time, the feeling was mutual.
Home, bad; students, good. Holly filed away the topic do’s and don’ts. She was glad to hear that the Glee kids were doing well; it meant that everyone had worked out their differences, and that there were no hard feelings between any of them. “Those kids, they really are sweet. It makes me wonder why I couldn’t have got them for my first teaching job.” That had been gruesome.
When the waiter came back to take their order, Holly pointed at one of the poultry items on the menu. “Maybe all this was meant to be. Subbing for Ms. Alexander and then landing the job when she took off. Her kids aren’t too rowdy, most of them genuinely want to learn.” She hoped that they’d come to accept her as more than their substitute.
“They are,” Will agreed quickly. But it wasn’t like they were perfect, or didn’t give him quite a hassle at times. And they were way better now than when they’d first joined. Considering that way he had to blackmail Finn into joining and the fact that three of his members had been spying and attempting to sabotage the club. “Though they know how to cause some... damage. And these days, it seems like someone is always mad at someone else. And it’s usually because of something romantically related,” he added, leaned in and lowering his voice as if it was some kinda secret that if teenagers were gonna fight about anything, of course it would involve dating. “But they really are all good kids.”
Will simply ordered the Pasta Primavera before taking another sip of his beer. “Maybe... sometimes I wonder if it’s fate or just happenstance. I used to think that I was meant to teach these kids and only me, but these days... well, I wonder.”
Hormones, blame it all on those. Holly nodded along to show that she was following. She knew what it was like to be in their position. Even after all these years, she still went through the same ups and downs. Of course, she knew when to back out of something; but that wasn’t even a redeeming quality. “They’ll grow out of it, Will. Have a little more faith.”
She gave an odd quirk of a smile. “Well, if it’s fate, there’s nothing you can do about it. Take responsibility and at least there’s some hope.”
Will gave her a small smile. She was probably right. And it was nice to hear anyway, regardless. He decided right then and there that he was going to make more of an effort to be friends with Holly. Her direct attitude was something he could probably use in a friend right now. Nodding, he raised his glass to clink against here.