Will loosened his collar, a habit he was becoming more and more accustomed to as the months wore on. It was as though his collar was tightening itself day by day, strangling him, blocking his voice. A personal noose.
Laying down his sheets, his took a long look at the Glee kids before him. They were a tough bunch – he had always known that – but lately they seemed to have lost the luster that once made them so special, especially since Santana quit a few weeks ago. They were becoming restless, bitchy, snappy, and plain uninterested. As he studied each face, he was met by pretty much the same expression – bored defeat.
"So, Rachel," Will prompted, hoping to kick up some sort of discussion, or anything to get the kids' passion pumping, "Any ideas for Regionals? I was thinking of a few Paris Hilton numbers." If that wouldn't get them shouting out, he didn't know what would.
However he was simply met with a few dismal shrugs and 'whatever's.
Shaking his head in exasperation, Will sunk down into his seat, letting the mindless chatter of the club take over.
Things had to change. And fast.
The rain hadn't let up all day, so Will was left with no choice but to sprint halfway across the car park to his new hatchback. As if this day couldn't get any worse.
Climbing inside, he somehow couldn't find the strength to put the key in the ignition. What was the point of it all anymore? None of the kids seemed to care about the club – and if he didn't get sorted fast, many more would follow Santana's example and just quit.
He raised his head up from where it was resting against the wheel.
It was about time he got home to Emma – she'd probably have the dinner table set and sterilized by now.
Will's windscreen had been struggling through the dense rainfall for around fifteen minutes or so when he noticed a familiar figure making her way along the roadside.
He was shocked to see her in only her skimpy Cheerios uniform and no jacket, arms clasped around herself.
"Santana!" he called, rolling down the window.
She looked up, but quickly averted her gaze. Something wasn't right.
Will pulled over and approached where she was standing around, shifting her weight from one foot to the next while the rain gushed down, drenching her to her skin.
"What the hell are you doing out here? You'll catch your death! Hop in and I'll give you a ride."
"Mr Shue, no offense, but I wouldn't be caught dead in that Ford Focus if you paid me with Finn's moob milk." She continued on her way, more attitude in her step now.
"Stop kidding around, Santana. Your parents will freak if you arrive home with pneumonia!" he reasoned.
She sighed, and leaned back against the wall, accepting defeat. "Fine."
"Alright, where you heading?"
"Back to school. I've got extra Cheerios practice with Sue."
Will climbed back into the car and signaled for her to do the same, and she reluctantly followed.
The radio was playing some insufferable rubbish, but it made the awkward silence slightly more tolerable. For a girl who could spit some loudmouthed remarks, Santana could be more than quiet when she felt like it.
They continued on their way, and as they passed onto the school grounds, a sudden though occurred to Will.
The brake screeched, and Santana was thrown forward slightly.
"Jesus Christ, Mr Shue!"
"I'm going to ask you one time only – why are you going to the school?" His voice was raised now, more urgent.
"I already frickin' told you – Cheerio practice!"
"There's never been Cheerio practice on a Friday evening, Santana."
"Well, there is today. Happy?" Santana grabbed hold of the door handle but Will reached forward and stopped her.
"Let's cut the crap here. I know you – you should be out with your friends or family on a Friday night, not hanging around Lima in the lashing rain!"
She turned her body sharply around to him, suddenly looking more threatening than ever before. "Mr Shue, you don't know the first thing about me!"
He sighed heavily, sinking down low in his seat as he thought to himself. "Why school, Santana?"
This time she didn't put up a front, or come up with some witty remark, or even another lie. She was too tired to keep on fighting.
Avoiding his heavy gaze, she stared at the falling raindrop on her window. When she eventually spoke, her voice was quiet, defeated. "Because...it's warm."
Will tried to cover up his sharp intake of breath, and shuffled uncomfortably in his seat. "Do you have any place to stay tonight?" he asked, as causally as he could manage.
Santana remained silent, looking down at her hands.
Will didn't have the option to think twice in this case. He restarted the car, and made a sharp U-turn, heading home.