Usually when William arrived at his Wednesday night theatre class, the first thing he would hear was Emily singing. The building that their class was held in had a large old elevator shaft. The sound carried from the tenth floor reached all the way down to the lobby, making it sound as if Emily were standing right there beside him.
Sometimes William would stand in the lobby listening to Emily singing for a few moments before pressing the button to call the elevator. As soon as she heard the elevator moving, she would stop singing, knowing that she was no longer alone in the building.
William thought she had a beautiful singing voice and wished that once she wouldn't stop singing when he called the elevator. He wanted her to sing for him but figured it might be a bit awkward for her if he came out and asked her to sing. For someone who loved acting as much as Emily did, she was also quite shy.
This time when he stepped into the lobby, he didn't hear her singing. He wondered to himself if he had the right day as he called the elevator.
When William stepped out of the elevator he saw Emily sitting on the window sill, gazing out the window. When she turned around to look at him, she smiled but William could tell that it was not her usual perky smile.
"What's wrong?" William asked.
Emily Sighed. "Nothing."
William helped her down from the window sill. "Emily - I can tell something's bothering you, what is it?"
"I just had a rough day at school." Emily sat down on the bench underneath the window.
“Ah the usual high school angst?” William often forgot Emily was still in high school. When they talked she seemed so mature in comparison to his female friends who went to college with him.
Thinking about Emily still being in High School made William think back to his own days in high school which he preferred not to think about. He had been a bit of a loner and never felt as if he had blended in.
William took a seat beside Emily. "So what happened?"
Emily looked at him for a moment and then blushed furiously. "No I can't - It's too embarrassing!"
William put his arm around Emily's shoulder. "Come on. I'm sure it's not that bad."
“Let's make a deal. I'll tell you the most embarrasing thing that ahppened to me in High School and then you tell me yours.”
Emily smiled and shook William's hand. “All right.”
William told her the most embarrassing thing that had ever happened to him. It felt good to get it off his chest. Even thoguh he had graduated from high school four years earlier, the impact of it had reverberated. He was glad that Emily was the one he was sharing his pain with.
Emily stared at him. “Seriously? Thats it?”
“What do you mean that's it?”
“That's the most embarrasing thing that has ever happened to you? I'm not sure if I should tell you mine now.”
“We shook on it remember?”
“Yes but that's before I found out you had lead a relatively embarrasment free life.”
“I have not! Come on how bad could it be?”
“For a second today I actually thought that I might die from embarrasment.”
“Technically that's not possible. Come on, it made me feel better when I told you my story.”
Emily smiled. “It did?” William nodded. Emily looked down. “At school. There is this girl Carrie who for some reason likes to pick on me and my friends Mercy, Holly, Jessica and Sam. She hates me most of all. She saw me talking to her ex boyfriend and freaked out saying that I was tryign to steal him away from her. He was actually asking me about Sam. I didn't tell her that though. Sam gets it bad enough as it is without me unleashing hell on her. Anyway, Carrie started these rumours about me.” Emily glanced up at William. “I don't want to go into any details but it inviolved the football team – and me.”
“So she wants people to think your'e a slut?” Emily nodded. "Well are you?”
"No." Emily blushed furiously.
"Then you have nothing to worry about. Its just a rumour, right? That s nothing to be embarrassed about."
"That's actually not the embarrassing part. You promise you won't laugh if I tell you?"
"Cross my heart."
"My friend Mercy started telling her off for spreading those rumours." Emily stopped, almost at the verge of tears.
"What happened?" William asked.
"Mercy said," Emily threw her face into the hollow of William's neck. "She said, 'How can Emily be a slut? She hasn't even had sex yet.' She outed me as a virgin to the entire school."
William's first reaction was to try not to laugh but it was hard for him. That was actually the cutest thing he had ever heard but didn't think Emily would want to hear that. He was trying to think of something comforting to say but everything he was thinking he could possibly sounded funnier and funnier in his head.
"You promised you wouldn't laugh." Emily said, trying to sound stern, while starting to laugh herself.
"I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you." William said, smiling. "Besides you won't be a - virgin - forever.”
As soon as he said it, he wished that he had kept his mouth shut. Now all he could think of was Emily in varying degrees of nakedness. He tried to think of something to keep his mind off of that topic before his body started reacting. Now that would be an embarrasing story.
William looked into her blue eyes as she gazed up at him. He had the sudden urge to hold her tightly and kiss her. His arm was already around her shoulder. All he would have to do is lean in and kiss her. He started to lean in towards her when the elevator doors opened. Emily stood up suddenly and grabbed her book bag off the floor, leaving William sitting on the bench.
"I hope you two haven't been waiting too long." The instructor said as he unlocked the door.
Emily entered into the studio, William let out a breath as he rose from the bench.
William had never thought that Emily would be interested in someone like him but the way she had looked into his eyes just now suggested to him that maybe she felt the same way about him as he felt about her.
“There's always next week,” William thought to himself as he entered into the studio. Next week before class, when he and Emily were alone together, William would tell Emily how he felt about her. He hoped that she would feel the same but in any case he wanted to get it off his chest and put it out there.