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Keep Dreaming of Me

Chapter Text

“Hi.”

Santana Lopez looked up from her cup of coffee. A tall, blond woman was looking down at her, head titled to the right, with an expression Santana couldn’t quite place.

“Hi?” Santana was confused. She was pretty sure she didn’t know the woman standing before her. Not to mention she didn’t appreciate being towered over by people, and this particular person was hovering over her, a bit too close for comfort.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” The stranger pointed at the free chair across from Santana.

“Are you serious?” Incredulous, Santana looked around the Starbucks they were in. Out of all the tables inside the small coffee place, only two of them were occupied, hers included.

“Yeah. Do you mind?”

“Uh. I guess not. Go ahead.”

The woman smiled and sat down. Santana stared at the stranger, wondering how rude it would be if she moved to another table. She could also just exit the coffee place altogether, but what if the woman followed? Really, what were the odds she would do that?

“My name’s Brittany,” the woman said, startling Santana out of her thoughts.

“Oh,” Santana said.

The woman, Brittany, tilted her head to the right again, narrowing her eyes at Santana slightly. She took a sip out of the pink cold drink Santana didn’t noticed she was carrying.

“What’s your name?” Brittany finally asked.

“Why do you wanna know?” Santana countered a bit more aggressively than she’d planned.

She saw Brittany straighten and open her eyes slightly. She looked confused, and maybe a little hurt? Sunlight filtered from the window to the left of their table, shinning Brittany’s profile. Her eyes were a vivid, clear blue, with tiny golden streaks, Santana saw. She was wearing a tight bright red shirt, with sleeves that came down her arms and stopped at her elbows. She also took note as Brittany’s hair, a pure and unadulterated yellow, reflected the sunlight as if absorbing it right out of the air.

“Have we met before?”

“No, we haven’t.” Brittany answered. “Yet.” She shrugged and extended a hand to Santana. “I’m Brittany S. Pierce, and you are…”

“Santana.” Santana made no move to shake Brittany’s hand.

Brittany pursed her lips. Her blue eyes just about sparkled, its golden streaks more pronounced, and Santana suddenly understood what people meant when they said a person was smiling with their eyes.

“You need to shake my hand, Santana. That’s how people meet. Like, officially.”

Santana chuckled, quite not believing she was still participating in this bizarre conversation. She moved forward in her seat slightly and brought her hand up to meet Brittany’s as it hovered between them.

Brittany smiled, showing Santana her perfect white teeth. Santana shook her head at just how unreal the woman in front of her was. This total stranger just sat down in front of her and started a conversation. Who even does that anymore?

Santana felt Brittany squeeze her hand, and she tightened her own, before letting go and sitting back. Brittany placed her hand on the table, hunching her shoulders in a demure manner Santana found rather endearing, considering how forward the blonde’s been since she first approached the table.

“Nice to meet you, Brittany.”

Brittany looked down at her own drink, and Santana watched as her blinding smile slowly morphed into a shy grin.

“Now it’s official.”

 

###

 

“So are you two dating?”

Noah Puckerman, Puck, looked at Santana. They were sitting at their small dining room table having a late lunch, which consisted of frosted flakes, milk and cheese sticks. It’s been three weeks since Santana met Brittany, or “Starbucks” as Puck liked to call her. Santana shrugged but kept her eyes firmly planted on the Kellogg’s box in front of her.

“You’ve been…weird. Like, not evil. It’s creeping me out.” Puck continued, hoping to get a rise out of his friend and roommate. “I just need to know if you’re getting it on, ‘cause that would totally explain why you’re being a freak.”

Santana frowned, but otherwise made no move to acknowledge Puck’s words.

“You know, ‘cause sex is the only reason I’m ok with you not being a bitch anymore. The other day I found you watching TV with that redhead I brought home from Mike’s party. Do you know how many women you haven’t scared away in the past few weeks?” Puck nudged Santana’s foot under the table. “You’re not doing your part, Lopez. You’re totally cramping my style.”

Santana turned to stare Puck dead in the eyes, causing him to shiver a little.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

He grabbed his empty cereal bowl and took it into their kitchen, next to the small dining room of their apartment.

“I’m talking about you, waking up every morning and flippin’ your shit when you find hot girls standing in the middle of our kitchen in just their underwear hogging all our food. You always scare them away! And I don’t worry about waking up to find out they stuck around.” Puck walked back to the table and leaned on the chair he'd been sitting on. “It’s our system! I bang them, you scram them. How can you not know this?”

“Are you kidding me?” Santana pointed her spoon at Puck, flicking milk everywhere. “You’ve been bringing random skanks to our place and keeping me up night after night with your disgusting sex noises just so I kick them out the next morning? Are you serious right now?”

Puck stared at Santana with bulging eyes, doing his best not to burst out laughing at her incredulous look.

“I thought you knew!”

“Well, I didn’t fucking know!” Santana pushed her bowl away from her and dropped her head against the table. “God, I swear one of these days I’m gonna cut off your balls and play juggle with them until I’m tired, and then throw them in your face.”

Puck couldn’t help but wince as he clutched his crotch and moved until the chair was between Santana and his lower body.

“Ok then. I’ll just bang them at their place from now on.” Santana groaned. “Now that we’ve settled that,” he said, turning his chair and straddling it. “You and Starbucks. You hit that yet?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No.”

“Yeah, right.” Puck snorted. He brought his arms up and leaned his chin on them, tipping the chair forward until he was close enough to whisper in Santana’s ear. “Tell Puckerman the truth now Lopez.”

“Urgh.” Santana pushed his face away from her and stood up from the table. “I’m serious, it’s not like that.”

“What do you mean?” He watched as Santana dumped her bowl in the sink and proceeded to flop down on the two-person couch in the living room.

“We’re just friends, Noah.” She placed her arm over her eyes.

“Santana Lopez? Friends with a hot chick? Gimme a break.”

“How do you know she’s hot? You haven’t even met her.”

“No, but I’ve seen you two talking in front of the building through the window. I know she’s smokin’ –”

Santana’s phone started ringing and she recognized Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” as the ringtone. She reached inside her jeans pocket with her arm that wasn’t covering her eyes, throwing the phone at Puck without looking. She heard a panicked “Shit” and a muffled smack and smirked.

“It’s Quinn,” she called out.

Puck looked at the screen before answering.

“Hey Quinn. Yeah, you did call Santana. I just have her phone.”

Santana tuned out the conversation, letting her thoughts of Brittany consume her mind like they’ve been doing since the day they met. Puck was right. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t just friends with Brittany. At least, she didn’t want to be, she wanted so much more than friendship. She sighed. She just wished Brittany would give any sign at wanting something more too.

“Yo, Lopez,” Puck called out.

“Yeah?”

“Quinn wants to know what time we’re meeting her tonight.”

“Aw, crap. I forgot,” Santana pulled herself up. “Uh, like 8?”

She got up and moved to her bedroom, letting Puck finish talking to Quinn. She looked at the clock: 4:42 PM. She flopped face down on her bed, set on taking a nap, ready to dream about a bright-eyed blonde and her blinding smile.

Chapter Text

“Brittany, what on earth are you doing?”

“There’s a hole in our floor.”

“Yes, I can see that, you have your head in that hole right now. Get out of there!”

Brittany rolled her eyes, but obeyed Kurt all the same. She figured Mrs. Patti, their downstairs neighbor, would probably have a heart attack if she came home to find a floating head in the middle of her living room ceiling. Which was where Brittany had been looking into before Kurt had arrived. She stood up.

“Kurt, there’s a hole in the middle of our living room. A really big one.”

“How did this even happen? What did you do?” Kurt stood in front of Brittany with his arms spread open. He held tightly to a bundle of shopping bags in each hand.

“I didn’t do anything.”

“Brittany.”

Brittany held her roommate’s gaze for a few seconds before looking back at the hole.

“Ok, I might have done something.”

“You know what, I don’t even wanna know,” Kurt groaned. He walked past Brittany, giving the hole a wide berth. He peeked in their kitchen and sighed at the mess he found there. He kept walking down the hall towards his room.

“Are you mad?” Brittany followed him.

“Why on earth would I be mad, Brittany? I come home to find you crouched on the floor, with your head through the ground, and not only that, but our kitchen looks like monkeys had an orgy in there. I mean, Jesus, I was out for two hours!”

“Ok, so maybe you’re mad, but I can –”

Brittany stopped talking with a start at the sound of their front door bursting open abruptly.

“Brittany, my queen fashionista, you will not believe what just hap– AAHH!”

Brittany looked at Kurt.

“I think that was Rachel falling in the hole.”

###

“Anyways, yeah, I’m really sorry about the hole, Mrs. Patti.”

“Don’t worry, dear,” Mrs. Patti said. “You just figure out a way to cover that in the meantime.”

Brittany nodded, pleased at the lack of anger coming from the older woman. She could only take so much negativity in a day’s time. Between Kurt’s yelling and Rachel’s panic attack, Brittany felt like a kicked puppy. And really, the hole wasn’t totally her fault. So maybe she should have researched what cooking in a pit meant a bit better. She had just gotten so excited with her newest invention that she couldn’t help but want to make a pit right then and there. Who knew the floor was so thin?

“What were you trying to do exactly?” Brittany snapped out of her musings and looked down at Mrs. Patti. The older woman was quite short, barely reaching Brittany’s shoulder, and Brittany couldn’t help thinking how cute Mrs. Patti was.

“Oh, you know, just this experiment. I didn’t quite think it through.” Brittany shrugged, looking up at the hole.

“Hm,” Mrs. Patti said. Brittany was thankful she didn’t seem too interested in the details.

“I promise, though, I’ll take care of this.”

“Oh dear, I’m not worried. I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

“Brittany!” They heard Rachel calling from the upstairs apartment. With a last apologetic smile, Brittany made her way back upstairs.

“Hey.”

“Sincerely Brittany, what were you thinking? Look at my leg!” Rachel was sitting on Brittany’s favorite yellow armchair while Kurt fussed over her leg. Brittany could see a long thin cut slowly disappearing under strips of white gauze. “I could have died!”

“I didn’t know you were coming.” Brittany shrugged. She looked over at the hole. Maybe she could put some chairs around it or something.

“Regardless of the awful catastrophe we all narrowly avoided, I came over to tell you that,” Rachel shooed Kurt away and bounced in her seat, “I was on my way home when I got a call from that casting director I was telling you guys about last week, and I got an audition!”

Kurt squealed and clapped his hands before pouncing on Rachel. They fell back against the armchair, giggling like school girls. Brittany smiled at the sight.

“That’s really cool, Rachel,” she said.

Rachel got up and motioned for Brittany to come closer. She pulled Brittany into a hug.

“It was all because of you. Thank you so much for helping me dress for that meeting, I mean, I know I gave you a hard time since your choice was rather…eccentric, I mean, who wears leg warmers on their arms, but I can see now that it really made me stand out. Of course, I can rely on my natural talent and on how I am really the only and logical choice to play Fanny in their new Funny Girl production, but the first thing the director said was, 'shouldn’t those be on your legs?’ and it was directed at me, and he ignored everyone else, and from that moment on I just knew I had gotten that extra edge I needed…”

“Rachel! Breathe. I get the gist of it,” Brittany chuckled. “You’re welcome.”

“Well, now that we’ve gotten these pleasantries out of the way, I would like to make you a proposition. How would you like to –”

“No.”

Rachel stalled, stunned.

“But you don’t even know what I’m going to propose.”

“You’re going to ask me to dress you for the audition.”

“Oh. Yes, that’s exactly right. So why not?”

Brittany sighed, flopping down on the yellow armchair.

“Because if I do it, you’ll get the part. And if you get the part, you’ll keep asking me to dress you for things. You’ll never leave me alone, ever again.” Brittany looked up into Rachel’s astounded face. “I don’t like you enough for that.”

Kurt snickered. Rachel aimed him a dirty look before staring down at Brittany.

“Brittany, this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. You’ll be able to assist me with my day to day fashion choices, and help me stand out in the crowd. I’ll be famous one day, and I won’t forget all the people that helped me get there.” Brittany rolled her eyes. “I’d pay you, of course. Don’t you want some guarantees for later in life? You need to be thinking about your future, you don’t want to be a waitress forever. Really, being my advisor, maybe even my assistant –”

“Rachel, let me stop you right there. You can think whatever you want, the answer is no. Now, I’m late for work.” Brittany got up and left the living room, catching tendrils of Kurt scolding Rachel for being so obnoxious. She closed her bedroom door and tuned out the argument coming from the living room.

She sat on the bed, and checked her phone. She smiled at the missed call. She debated calling Santana back, but before she could do it, her phone vibrated with an incoming text message:

Called u a little while ago 2 let u know i’m coming to the restaurant 2nite. U workin?

Sure am! What time r u coming?

Like 8.

Cool! I’ll find u!

:) cya later Britt.

Brittany set her phone aside and laid down. She felt her eyes start to close, but she fought against the sudden drowsiness. She really needed to start getting ready for work. She let her mind turn to Santana. Such an interesting girl. Brittany remembered back to when they first met, laughing at Santana’s behavior that day. It was sort of a thing Brittany did, to approach people and start a conversation with them out of the blue. It was an interesting way to pass the time, and she so often got such fun reactions out of people. Santana’s reaction to her approach had definitely been one of the most pleasant.

She picked up her phone and opened her Messages, going through her and Santana’s text exchange. Brittany had to admit she was surprised they were still talking. She was a bit of an air head; she had no shame in owning up to that. Coupled with the fact that Brittany often got bored with people so easily, she really had a hard time building relationships that lasted. Kurt was her oldest friend; they’ve known each other for twenty years, since they were seven. They met Rachel in high school, and the only reason she and Rachel still talked was because Kurt had actually become really good friends with her, for whatever reason. Besides them, all the other people she had semi-constant contact with were the guys she worked with at the restaurant.

Santana. Santana was proving to be something completely new and unexpected. Ever since that day at Starbucks, they’ve met three times, and been texting almost constantly. Weirdly enough, Santana seemed to just get her. The fact that Brittany forgot how to talk whenever Santana smiled at her only made it easier to be in her company. She couldn’t help but feel a little thrill at the prospect of seeing her later. Maybe if she played her cards right, she could start to think of Santana as a friend.

Chapter Text

“Damn it.”

Santana paced in front of New Directions. She didn’t know whether she loved or hated the place. Before meeting Brittany, the exotic restaurant was just that: a restaurant that served weirdly amazing food but was a little too expensive. Santana had been inside twice before last night, both times when her dad and Quinn’s mom had come to Boston to visit. The restaurant was conveniently close to her apartment.

After she found out Brittany waitressed there, she would visit it at odd hours of the day. She would just stand in front of it and stare, letting her mind wander to the woman who so often occupied her dreams. She felt this pull towards Brittany, and being near the restaurant inexplicably made her feel closer to her. She’d been looking for an excuse to return to the extravagant restaurant during one of Brittany's shifts. She thought she had found it: she would take Puck and Quinn there on Beth’s birthday. She had it all planned out: she would distract her friends from thinking about the daughter they gave away by buying them an expensive dinner, and spend some time with Brittany at the same time.

Except last night couldn’t have gone worse. From the moment Brittany spotted the three of them and said a quick hello, she kept her distance. Santana tried catching a moment with her so many times throughout the night, she’s sure she came off a little stalkerish. Then Puck said something that made Quinn cry. A lot. Between trying to keep her friends calm and freaking out over how standoffish Brittany was being, Santana survived one of the most awkward nights of her life.

She now stood in front of the closed restaurant in broad daylight. Seeing it empty, stark against the brightness of the day, made her feel…something. She didn’t know why she felt such an affinity with the place. She had her phone clutched in her hand, debating whether she should call Brittany or not.

“Damn it!”

“Good thing we’re not open yet, or you’d be scaring away all the customers.”

Santana whipped around to find a grinning Brittany standing behind her. Santana quickly took in her short blue dress and flip-flops, before getting distracted by her long blond hair flowing in the light breeze.

“Brittany,” Santana breathed out, not really believing the woman stood right in front of her.

“Santana,” Brittany said, her grin slowly morphing into a smile.

“What are you doing here?”

Brittany raised a brow.

“I could ask you the same thing. You do know you’re cussing at my restaurant, right?”

Santana looked away from her, noticing how crazy she must look yelling at the dark building.

“Sorry, I, uh, come here sometimes,” Santana muttered.

“Really?” Brittany stepped closer to Santana. “Why?”

Santana pressed her lips together, torn between being embarrassed at admitting her secret and amused at Brittany’s confused expression. Brittany’s head tilt was quickly becoming Santana’s new favorite thing.

“Eh, you know,” Santana shrugged. “It reminds me of you.” Santana looked into Brittany’s eyes.

“Hm,” Brittany stared deeply into Santana’s eyes, like she was searching for something. Santana shivered. When did Brittany get so close?

“I was, uh, gonna call you.” Santana held the phone up between them. “See if you wanted to maybe hang out or something.”

“Hm,” Brittany tilted her head to the right. “Now?”

“Yes?” Santana smiled. Brittany widened her eyes, before smiling and nodding. “Awesome.”

###

“Really, Britt? Starbucks?”

Brittany shrugged.

“What? I haven’t been in one since that day. I’ve been craving a Strawberries and Crème Frap.”

Santana watched Brittany order, smiling at how she teased the young cashier until he was a blushing mess. She was so distracted, she didn’t notice Brittany had shifted her focus to Santana.

“Huh?”

Brittany giggled.

“I asked if you wanted anything.”

“Oh. No, I can get it after.”

“Ha, come on,” Brittany leaned to the side until she could bump shoulders with her. “Let me get you some coffee, San.”

Santana felt her breath hitch. San. Brittany had just given her a nickname. That was progress, right?

“Well, when you put it that way. I’ll get a Chai Tea Latte.”

Brittany rolled her eyes.

“That sounds boring.”

Santana frowned a little. She leaned into Brittany, feeling emboldened by her closeness.

“At least I ordered something different from last time,” Santana nodded at Brittany’s questioning look. “You are getting the same thing from that day.”

“Hm. You got me there,” Brittany shrugged. “I only order their Frappuccino.”

Santana filed away that piece of information. She wasn’t surprised by Brittany’s preference. She could definitely see how the woman would favor the sweet cold drinks.

They found a small corner table to settle down with their order, facing each other. Brittany met her eyes, then lowered them to her drink. She could see a slight smile playing at her lips. Funny how when they were facing each other like this, Brittany would suddenly act this shy.

“Britt?”

“Hm?”

Santana clicked her paper cup against Brittany's.

“What happened last night?”

Brittany raised her eyes, with a surprisingly somber look in her face.

“What are you talking about?”

“Brittany. I don’t know. I got this feeling you were avoiding me. I thought we were gonna try to hang out or something.”

“Well Santana, I was working. How was I supposed to hang out with you and do my job?”

Brittany tilted her head, still looking at her. Santana felt different under this intense gaze. Brittany had a vacant look on her face, as if she was being obtuse on purpose. What did she say to that? Brittany had a point. While they hadn’t made any concrete plans to actually sit down together at one point, Santana thought they had an understanding. Brittany had said she’d find her. What was Santana supposed to think?

“I don’t know,” Santana looked down. She shook her head. It had been a dumb idea anyway. “Just forget it.”

She stared out the window. The silence was getting uncomfortable. She should make up an excuse and leave with the little dignity she had left. She heard Brittany sigh.

“Hey,” Brittany clicked her cup against Santana’s. Santana couldn’t help grinning a little. “San.” Brittany lowered her head, trying to catch her eyes. Santana turned back to face her.

“Yeah, Britt?”

Brittany shrugged.

“I thought you were coming alone.” She looked down at her pink drink before looking into Santana’s eyes. “I didn’t want to intrude. You know, you were with your friends. I just didn’t know how I could be around you guys. And you know, I was actually working.”

Brittany laughed. Santana laughed too; Brittany’s eyes had lost that faraway look, back to the vibrant blue Santana loved looking into.

“You’re right, it wasn’t the best.”

“No, not really,” Brittany breathed out, eyes twinkling.

“So,” Santana took a sip of her coffee. “You weren’t avoiding me, then?”

“I was, but like, not just you. I was avoiding your friends.”

Santana nodded. She got what Brittany was saying, she too would have felt awkward approaching Brittany if she’d been hanging out with friends she’d never met. But Santana had a feeling Brittany meant something else, something more than what she was saying. She wasn't going to push though. She’d gotten a lot more out of Brittany today than any of the other times they’d met.

Brittany leaned down and motioned for Santana to do the same.

“Do you wanna hear something funny?” Brittany whispered. Santana nodded, a little breathless at how close their faces were. “There’s this huge hole in my living room. Like, right in the middle of the floor.”

Santana blinked.

“Oh. How do we feel about it?”

Brittany smirked. She looked so roguish and adorable, Santana couldn’t help but lean a little closer. She almost closed her eyes at the feel of Brittany breathing against her nose.

“Well,” Brittany pressed a finger against her lower lip, a slight blush on her cheeks. Her expression screamed ‘I’m trouble and I know it.’ Santana could feel herself smiling like a fool. “I guess I could do without the hole. But it was really fun. I mean, I was trying this thing out. It didn’t work. But I think I could make it work.”

“What thing?”

“It’s complicated. Maybe I could show you. Someday.” Brittany leaned further down until her chin was leaning against a closed fist. Her other hand was playing with the cup, dancing it around the table top. Santana folded both her arms on the table and copied Brittany’s position until they were eye to eye again.

“I’d really like that.”

Chapter Text

“I have to say Brittany, I am a little confused. Why do we need a pit exactly?”

Brittany took a sip of the Dr. Pepper she was holding, not looking away from the man in front of her. A big stainless steel table separated Brittany and Blaine Anderson. Blaine was a cook, and New Directions’ Chef. Brittany took another sip of her drink. Convincing Blaine to try new things was always so tiresome.

“Blaine Warbler, I’m telling you, that’s how it’s done. It’s like, a form of barbecue. We have to cook the meat in a pit.”

“First of all, stop calling me Warbler. For the millionth time, that’s not my name, that’s my old school,” Blaine huffed. “Second of all, I’ve researched it myself. Every self-respecting cook knows how the Brazilians barbecue meat. Trust me, you do not need a pit to do it right. And finally,” Blaine raised his voice. Brittany rolled her eyes, taking a long swallow of her soda. “Where would we even dig up a hole here? This,” Blaine stomped his foot against the restaurant’s floor. “Is made up of stone flex tiles. It’s, it’s crazy.”

“It’s not crazy.” Blaine crossed his arms, looking pointedly into Brittany’s eyes. “Ok, it’s a little crazy. But Blaine, it’s authentic. It’s artistic. It’s what we do here, we’re real.”

“Brittany…”

“Look, remember back when we met in that pretentious little café, all the way out in Paris? Remember Paris?” Brittany set the soda down and placed her hands against the table top, leaning her body forward. “You said you wanted a challenge. You said, you told me you wanted something different. Here we are, and man, it’s working.”

“But Brittany…”

“No, listen to me! You always say the same thing, you’re always trying to shoot me down. And you always lose. You always end up going with my crazy ideas and you bring them to life. You give them shape, and smell and taste, and they always turn out amazing!” Brittany slapped both hands against the steel surface before coming around the table. She gripped Blaine’s crossed arms. “So can we just, like, skip this whole negativity part, and go straight to the part where we do what I want?”

Blaine laughed at Brittany’s toothy grin.

“One condition,” he said, trying to be stern. Brittany nodded. “You are in charge of the pit. You get me a pit, and I’ll…roast things in it.”

“Yay,” Brittany clapped her hands. “I totally got this.”

“I don’t doubt you for a second,” Blaine sighed. “Now get out of here, and let me finish cooking for tonight.”

“Ok, ok. Want me to say hi to Kurt for you?” Brittany wiggled her eyebrows. She put her coat on, smoothing it down her sides. She loved her bright yellow blazer. There were patches of different tones of yellow up her arms and down her back that Kurt had to sow in to cover up holes of wear and tear.

“N-no, why would I want that?” Blaine became noticeably flustered, moving empty pans in no particular order.

“Come on, Blaine. You hang out at my place almost every week, and I know it’s not because of me. We can hardly go through a shift here without wanting to throw things at each other. Remember that food fight a couple of years ago? Epic.”

Blaine laughed. “So maybe I visit Kurt every once in a while.” Brittany snorted. “Whatever, Brittany. We’re friends. Besides, he’s so young. I don’t know, how would this age difference even work?”

“Hm,” Brittany moved closer to Blaine. “Age difference? Really? Wait, how old are you?” She raised both her eyebrows at his flushed cheeks. “Blaine?”

Brittany lowered her head at Blaine’s mumbled words. Did she hear him right?

“39? You’re 39?”

Blaine nodded.

“What the fuck?”

“Brittany, no need for that language.”

Brittany’s mouth hung open. She stared at Blaine’s compact body, smooth skin, and flawless gel-filled hair.

“No fucking way.”

“Jesus, Brittany.” Blaine straightened his shirt. “Well, now you know, so. It can’t happen.”

“Why? Kurt is 27, not 16.” Brittany pursed her lips. “You’re just being a pussy.”

Blaine gasped.

“You know what, you should really go before I throw marinara sauce on you.”

Brittany rolled her eyes. She turned and grabbed her purse.

“I’ll tell Kurt you said hi,” she yelled over her shoulder as she walked out of the kitchen.

###

Brittany stared up at the apartment complex in front of her. Santana’s building was a rundown Victorian style open house, with wooden stairs going up four levels. From what Brittany remembered, Santana lived on the top floor, facing the street. She tipped her head backwards to try and see inside, but the late afternoon sunlight glared off the apartment’s window. She looked down at her phone. Santana said she’d meet her in front of her building. That had been 10 minutes ago.

“No way, it’s Starbucks!” Brittany heard someone say to her left. She turned to see a tall guy with an overgrown Mohawk and a pretty blonde girl coming her way. She winced. Those were Santana’s friends from that night she went to see Brittany at the restaurant, almost a week ago.

“Starbucks,” the guy smirked at her. He extended his hand. “About damn time.”

Brittany looked at his hand. She made no move to shake it. She looked up, letting her eyes drift to the top of his head. She couldn’t help but be a little fascinated by the weird looking strip of hair.

“Why are you calling me that?” she asked. The guy dropped his hand.

“Uh, I think what my idiot friend is trying to say is that it’s very nice to meet you, Brittany,” the pretty girl pushed the guy aside to stand in front of Brittany. She raised her hand. “My name is Quinn, and this is Noah.”

“Puck. It’s Puck,” Mohawk guy was quick to speak up.

Brittany took Quinn’s hand, shaking it gently. She could never leave a pretty girl hanging.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Quinn. Noah,” Brittany said.

“Puck. Call me Puck,” Puck frowned. Quinn elbowed him in the stomach.

“Santana’s friend is going to call you whatever she wants, Noah,” Quinn hissed. Puck’s frown became a full scowl. Brittany's lips curved up a little, pleasantly surprised at being called Santana's friend.

“Damn fucking cat.” Brittany turned around to find Santana stepping closer to them, brows pulled together into a deep frown. She giggled. She found Santana’s marred face to be much cuter than Puck’s.

“Hi Britt, sorry I kept you waiting.” Brittany shrugged. Santana turned to Quinn. “Quinn, that fucking cat is getting on my nerves. I want it outta there.”

Brittany was surprised. She had never seen Santana this angry. Not that she was angry per say, but her whole demeanor was hostile. She was reminded of the Santana she first met, the girl who was completely taken aback by Brittany’s forwardness. The Santana she’s come to know is so different from that grumpy girl.

“Santana, I don’t know what to tell you. Charity loves you and Noah. I tried to get rid of her, but she keeps coming back.”

“Oh, bullshit. I know the thing’s been hiding out in Puck’s room,” Santana said. She flicked her hand behind her. “That furball is fucking evil. Without mentioning it’s huge. I had to wrestle with it for almost 20 minutes to get my coat. I’m serious, I want that bitch gone.”

“Don’t you mean pussy?” Brittany spoke up. The other three turned to her. Puck grinned, and at the same time she heard Santana whisper something that sounded like ‘wanky.’ Quinn looked torn, as if she wanted to laugh, but didn’t think it would be appropriate. “You know, because it’s a cat? Not a dog. So like, a pussy. Not really a bitch.”

Brittany pressed her lips together, embarrassed under their stare. Why did she have to go and open her mouth? She always made people feel awkward when she blurted things out like that. She looked at Santana, wondering what she was thinking.

She was about to laugh it off and apologize when Santana smiled. Brittany’s been noticing Santana’s smiles. Every single one made Brittany forget herself. It was like all of Brittany’s thoughts would just fly out of her head. She became mesmerized by Santana’s smiles. This particular one was becoming her favorite. Santana smiled so big she showed her teeth. Brittany had a minute to envy for perfect straight teeth before getting distracted by Santana’s two dimples and scrunched nose. Looking at Santana was so easy, she could do it for hours.

That thought startled Brittany. She never did that. She never thought about doing things for a long period of time. She never followed through on pretty much anything. Nothing has ever been able to keep her attention for long. The idea that being in Santana’s company indefinitely could be so pleasant and effortless was crazy.

“You’re right, Britt,” Santana said, so softly she almost didn’t catch it. Brittany could feel herself blush. Santana turned back to Quinn. “So Quinn, you go up there and you make sure to get that huge ass pussy the fuck out of my apartment.” She faced Puck. “And you. Aren’t you allergic to fur or some shit? Grow some balls and make sure she gets rid of that fucking cat!”

Brittany giggled. Puck and Quinn looked so intimidated, and yet she thought Santana was all kinds of adorable. Like a little puppy who wanted to sound tough, but looked too cute to pull it off.

“Come on, Britt. After going a few rounds with that beast, I’m ready for some food.” Santana started down the road.

“It was nice to meet you guys,” Brittany said to the two silent people before following Santana. She didn’t bother to wait for an answer. She fell into step with the other girl.

“Sorry about that,” Santana said. She looked at Brittany out the corner of her eye, with none of the hostility she had used on Quinn. “Those two just piss me off sometimes. Figures fucking Quinn would find a stray cat and house it where I live. Bitch is always dumping strays on me.”

“What else did she dump on you?”

“Puck, who else,” Santana laughed.

Brittany smiled at the carefree sound. She felt Santana’s hand brush her own. Before she could question herself, she reached out and held it. She felt Santana falter before she returned the grip. Yes, Santana made her think crazy things, crazy and scary things. But then again, no one knew crazy scary things better than Brittany. No one welcomed them more than Brittany did. She thrived on scary, and she lived for crazy. As far as she could tell, Santana was a perfect fit.

Chapter Text

“Slow down, San. Food’s not going anywhere.”

Santana looked up to find Brittany openly staring at her. She covered her mouth.

“Sowy,” she tried to say. Brittany giggled. Santana rolled her eyes and swallowed the bit of risotto in her mouth. “Sorry. This is just so good. You sure you don’t want some, Britt?”

“Uh, I think the first dish I had was enough,” Brittany said, looking pointedly down at Santana’s plate. Santana was just finishing her second order.

“I told you fighting that damn cat made me hungry.” Santana stuffed another forkful in her mouth. She chewed slowly, looking at the woman across from her. Brittany held her gaze with an unblinking stare of her own. “If you have to go to work or something, you know, I understand.”

Brittany tilted her head to the right, smiling.

“It’s my day off. No other plans.” Brittany looked down at the drink in her hand. “Just…hanging out with you.”

“Britt,” Santana breathed out. Brittany shrugged, raising her eyes. Santana placed her fork down, food forgotten. She watched Brittany play with the cup she was holding, mesmerized. She loved watching Brittany move. Everything she did, she made it look so fluid and effortless, sometimes Santana wondered if Brittany was even real. The way she cocked her head to the side, the way she would mouth words, the cute way she would lift her shoulders until they touched her ears and hold them there with this little grin every time she shrugged; everything about Brittany commanded Santana’s attention.

She had this sudden urge to just blurt everything out, all her thoughts and feelings. She really, really liked Brittany, and she wanted to tell her. She wanted to be able to show her. It would be a risk considering how guarded Brittany seemed to be sometimes, but Santana wasn’t afraid. She knew all about taking a chance and striking gold. Santana cleared her throat and was about to say something when their waiter appeared at their table.

“Would you guys like anything else? Maybe some desert?” He directed his questions to Santana, making it very obvious he thought she would say yes. Santana glared at him.

“We’d love to see the menu, if that’s ok,” Brittany answered, not taking her eyes away from Santana.

“Sure thing, I’ll be right back,” he said. Santana followed his retreat with narrowed eyes.

“You look very mean, San,” Brittany whispered.

“Come on, Britt,” Santana turned to her. “That guy was totally rude. I’ll eat whatever I want, it’s none of his business.”

Brittany laughed.

“Speaking of which,” the blonde said. “This is going to be a little pricey. You had two dishes, and you ordered food to go. Not that I mind paying, but you know. That’s a lot.”

Santana scraped the last bit of risotto left in her plate. She tipped her head backwards a bit and looked down at Brittany, chewing slowly.

“And who said you’d be paying?” she asked, pushing her plate away.

“Well, I invited you, didn’t I?”

“So? It’s not like this is a date, is it?” Santana held her breath.

“Hm,” Brittany took a sip of her drink. “I hadn’t intended for this to be a date, no.”

“So that settles it,” Santana picked up her water, full to the brim from the melted ice, and downed half of the cup. She knew this wasn’t a date, just like all the other times she’d hung out with Brittany hadn’t been dates. But damned if hearing Brittany deny it didn’t feel like getting punched in the stomach. “We’ll each pay for what we ate.”

“Did you think this was a date?”

Santana took another sip of water as she debated the question. Should she come right out and say it? She was surprised Brittany had even asked that to begin with. She remembered back to one of the other times they had met up, when she tried asking Brittany if she was single. She had ignored her, and since then, Santana had never broached the subject again.

“Honestly? No. But,” Santana took a deep breath. This was it. “I still hoped.”

The waiter returned with the desert menus. Santana took one and placed it on the table, not bothering to look. She watched as Brittany hid her face behind the one she held.

“I’ll just give you guys a minute to decide.”

“Wait, I want an espresso,” she told the waiter before he could leave. “And a shot of blackcurrant liqueur.”

Santana saw Brittany peek at her from behind her menu. She smirked, pleased Brittany took notice. The fact that she didn’t believe Santana could pay for her own meal stung more than she cared to admit.

“Can I see your I.D. please?” the waiter asked. Santana pulled her driver’s license from her purse, noticing how the waiter’s demeanor changed from snotty to a more subdued attitude. She snorted. Figures all she needed to do was order a fancy drink to get him to treat her like an adult.

“I’ll be right back with that for you,” the waiter said, giving Santana’s driver’s license back. Before she could put it away, she had it ripped out of her hand.

“Hey! Britt, give that back.”

“This is a cute picture, San,” Brittany chuckled. Santana felt her checks flush.

“I do not look good in that picture, Britt.”

“Yes, you do, you look super – what the damn hell?” Brittany whipped her head up, blues eyes wide with disbelief.

“What?”

“You’re 23? That’s it?”

“Yeah?” Santana sat back with a slight frown. “Why is that so surprising?”

“I-I thought you were, just, older I guess.” Brittany looked back down at the card she still held. “Man, I really suck at this.”

“I’m so confused right now,” Santana said, chuckling nervously. Brittany looked seriously disturbed by her age.

“I’m just not very good at guessing people’s age, it seems. Do you know how old I am?” Brittany asked. She handed Santana her I.D. back.

“Not really?” She shrugged. “I don’t care about that, honestly.”

They both leaned back as the waiter returned with the coffee and drink.

“I’ll just have some pistachio ice cream. And I think we’re ready for the check?” Brittany asked Santana.

“Separate checks,” Santana told the waiter.

Brittany frowned playfully at her. Santana narrowed her eyes and downed the liqueur shot.

“I really pissed you off with that, didn’t I?”

Santana laughed.

“I’ll get over it," she sighed. And she would. She would also let Brittany think she forgot where they left off with the whole date situation.

“Hm,” Brittany hummed. “Santana. Remember that thing I was trying out? That I said I might show you?” Santana nodded. “I’d like to do that, after this, if you were still up for it.”

“That depends. Am I gonna need another espresso?”

###

They walked back to Santana’s apartment. Santana left Brittany waiting by her car, which was parked further down the road, while she ran up to put her food away. She ran back down after a couple of minutes. Puck, Quinn and the cat were gone. She jogged the short distance towards Brittany.

“Ok, so this is what I used to make the hole in my apartment,” Brittany pointed to a machine in the back of her pickup truck. Santana didn’t even notice what Brittany was showing her, too distracted by the fact that Brittany drove a pickup truck. “It’s a ground drill, hole digger thingy. It’s pretty powerful, like, my floor was gone in seconds. I think we can make a pretty decent hole in the restaurant.” Santana finally took notice of the equipment.

“It looks powerful, alright. This thing is huge, Britt. Did you use this by yourself?”

“Yeah, it wasn’t that bad.” Brittany shrugged. Santana swallowed. Well, damn, she was going to look like a pussy next to Brittany trying to operate this thing.

“Let’s do it,” Santana said. Brittany smiled, bright eyes twinkling down at her. She hopped in place before hugging Santana.

“Thanks, San,” she felt Brittany breath against her ear. She returned the hug, squeezing Brittany’s midsection. She’d drill a thousand holes if it made Brittany this happy.

They drove to New Directions in Brittany’s pickup. Santana looked around the interior, taking in the little trinkets Brittany had on her dashboard. The bright yellow duck hanging from the review mirror made her smile. It was just so Brittany to drive a beat up truck, only to decorate the interior this bright and colorful.

They got to the restaurant, and Santana was surprised to see through the glass doors that there were already people waiting to be seated.

“I thought it didn’t open for another hour?”

“Yeah, sometimes when people can’t get a reservation, they just come in early and try to snag a table,” Brittany said, maneuvering the car into a reserved parking spot behind the restaurant. “Which sucks, cause the drill is too loud to use with customers around. Come on, let’s at least get this thing inside.”

They got out and walked around to the back of the truck. Brittany hopped behind the ground drill and pushed it to the edge. She jumped back down next to Santana.

“I managed to like, drag it last time, but that made a lot of noise. I was thinking we could try carrying it?”

Shit. Santana stared at the drill dubiously, wondering if she should point out the fact that the machine was almost as tall as she was. The spiral end was full of spikes, not unlike the drill hanging from an excavation truck. Actually, now that Santana thought about it, this looked exactly like it belonged at the end of those huge excavation vehicles in construction sites. She looked at Brittany, letting her eyes roam down her body. She was bigger than Santana, more muscular around the shoulders and thighs, and slightly taller. But still, she was pretty slender, and fairly delicate. How the hell did Brittany move this thing by herself?

“Brittany!” Santana turned to see a man walking towards them. He had shaggy blonde hair, and as he came closer, she got a good eyeful of his lips.

“Hey Sam,” Brittany said.

“Hey. I thought you were off tonight?” Sam asked. He walked right up to her and slung an arm around her shoulders. “Whatcha got here?”

Santana glared at him. He had basically shouldered her to the side to get to Brittany, not even acknowledging her presence. She was two seconds away from exploding him from existence when she saw Brittany shrug out from under his arm.

“Actually, we could use your help. Could you move this inside for us?” Brittany asked.

“You got it,” he shot her a wink. He dropped the backpack he was carrying in his hand, and pulled the drill towards him, careful to avoid the spikes. He let the pointy end touch the ground before gripping the two handle bars at the top and raising it off the ground. With a huff, he turned and carried it to the service entrance of the restaurant, letting it rest against a big dumpster next to the door.

“Fucking impressive,” she snarled under her breath. She could tell she and Fish Lips would not get along.

“San,” she heard Brittany say from next to her. She turned to find her grinning down at her. “He came in handy, right?”

“Whatever, Britts. We didn’t need him.”

Sam jogged back towards them.

“Where did you want me to put it?” he asked, still ignoring Santana. She huffed; what the hell was this dude’s problem?

Brittany didn't answer, looking between Sam and Santana instead. She wasn’t exactly frowning, but Santana had a feeling she was upset about something. Her eyes weren’t as bright anymore, and she could see a slight tightness to her brow.

“Sam, this is my good friend, Santana,” Brittany said, staring Sam dead in the eyes. They were almost the same height.

Santana saw Sam start, as if he was surprised by Brittany’s tone.

“Oh,” he turned to her. “Nice to meet you, Santana.”

“Can’t say I feel the same way, Fish Lips.” Santana pursed her lips, looking up at the sky. “No, that doesn’t sound right…Fish...Salmon…Tilapia?” She eyed him up and down, crossing her arms. Inwardly she smirked at his dumbfounded look. “Trout. Trouty Lips. No! Trouty Mouth. That’s it. I think that suits you.”

“What?” Sam stared at her. Brittany burst out laughing. “Brittany, that’s not funny,” he whined.

Brittany shrugged.

“Don’t be so rude next time.” She patted his shoulder. “If you could put the drill near the cold storage room in the back, that’d be great. Oh, and you’re late for your shift, don’t think I didn’t notice. Come on, San, I wanna show you around.”

With a last tight-lipped smile and a sarcastic wave, Santana followed Brittany, leaving Sam to stare after them. Up ahead, Brittany stood holding the door open for her.

“So I’m your good friend, huh?” She teased the blonde, walking past her. She felt Brittany come in right behind her, letting the door close. Santana felt something pull her backwards by her shirt. Her breath hitched. Her back was flush against Brittany’s front.

“You were jealous,” she whispered right against Santana’s right ear. Feeling bold, Santana pressed against Brittany a little bit harder, turning her head until she could see her. Their faces were so close together she could see gold little specks mixed in with the blue in Brittany’s eyes.

“What if I was?” she asked.

Brittany looked serious, but her eyes danced. They reminded Santana of the first time she was entranced by them, when she could have sworn they smiled. Before Brittany could say anything, she blurted out, “You have such pretty eyes, Britt.”

Brittany’s expression was one of surprise before it relaxed into a shy grin. She leaned forward and kissed Santana’s nose.

“You’re trouble, Ms. Lopez,” she said before stepping around her and walking further inside. A noise coming from behind the closed door jolted Santana out of her shock.

Did Brittany really just kiss her?

Chapter Text

“Why does she keep munching on pistachios? She’s on her third bag. That can’t be healthy,” Brittany heard Rachel say to Kurt from the other side of the living room. She rolled her eyes. Rachel just did not know how to be silent; she was loud even when she tried to whisper.

She looked over at the two figures sitting with their heads together, gossiping like school girls. She caught Kurt’s eye, and he gave her an apologetic look before turning back to his conversation. Brittany pouted. She had nothing against Rachel, she really didn’t. The singer/actress was annoying as all hell, but she was a nice and caring person, and she was a true friend to Kurt. It just sucked that whenever Rachel was around, it was almost like Brittany wasn’t even in the room. Kurt was Brittany’s friend first. So how come she always came second to Rachel Berry?

Granted, Brittany kind of deserved her isolation this time around. Because of her actions, now Kurt was death afraid of spending long stretches of time in their living room. He was convinced the whole floor was going to give out because of the hole. He divided the area between the two of them, and his was the far side to the left of the front door, directly next to their kitchen. Brittany’s side was next to the balcony, closest to the tarp-covered hole. She honestly didn’t mind; her side was where the TV and their couch were sitting. Who knew that her decision to make her fire pit near the balcony door (the smoke had to go out somehow) would result in complete control of their TV? She smirked, raising the volume of the cartoon she was watching. If only she could be this smart all the time.

She caught Rachel glaring her way, probably not happy at the disruption coming from the television. Brittany popped another pistachio in her mouth. Indeed, Rachel was not so bad. She was so fun to play with. And one of the things Brittany loved the most was messing with people.

Her thoughts turned to Santana, and the afternoon they spent together three days ago. Brittany loved messing with Santana. The girl was so responsive to everything she did, it was thrilling to watch. Even better, Santana didn’t just take it, but she dished it right back. Like what she did with Sam. Trouty Mouth was priceless. Not that Brittany would ever call him that; as obsessive as he could get, he was one of the strongest workers she had, and he really was useful around the restaurant. She could still enjoy watching Santana rip him a new one though.

Brittany sighed. Thinking about Santana made her realize she missed the girl. They haven’t spoken since that day, the longest they’ve been without contact since they met, and Brittany worried maybe she’d crossed a line. If she was honest with herself, she’d probably crossed many lines. She basically accused Santana of bumming off of her, and then after that, she grabbed the Latina from behind as if she was her own personal plaything. Had it been anyone else, Brittany would have just shrugged and let it go with a “oh well,” but she didn’t want to do that to Santana. She’d just have to man up and apologize.

She got up and moved to the kitchen to dump her empty pistachio bags. She turned to the sink to wash her hands and came face-to-face with Kurt.

“Brittany–”

“Talking to me now?” Brittany cut him off.

“Come on, Britt, don’t be like that,” Kurt sighed. Brittany raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. “I have every right to be mad here, ok? This is not an usual roommate spat. You did something seriously messed up. Out of all the things you’ve put me through, this is by far the most bizarre,” he lowered his voice. “So Rachel falling in the hole was maybe a little funny, but she could’ve gotten seriously hurt, Brittany.”

Brittany looked down at her feet.

“You’re right. It’s just, when are you going to stop being mad? You spend all this time with Rachel, and when you do talk to me, it’s always about the hole. Kurt, just get over it. I said I’ll fix it.”

“I know, Britt. I admit, I have been sort of a dick about this whole thing.”

“Yeah, you have,” Brittany said, grinning. “Besides, that is not the most bizarre thing I’ve put you through. What about that time we went to Peru to get that chicken?”

“Oh God, don’t even remind me. ‘If New Directions is going to serve Peruvian style chicken, we have to serve authentic Peruvian chicken!’” Kurt said in a high-pitched voice, using his hand to imitate someone talking.

“I do not sound like that,” Brittany laughed, pushing against his shoulder. Kurt chuckled but got out of the way so Brittany could wash her hands.

“Brittany, that really was way worse. My God, when that chicken got away, it came right at me! I still can’t work with feathers without shaking.” Kurt shuddered. “Do you know how hard it has been for me to design an outfit since then? You’d be surprised how many of them require feathers.”

“Coming from you? I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” Brittany said, laughing at his exaggerated eye-roll. “Where is Rachel by the way?” She just noticed the diva was absent.

“She left. She’s really dedicating herself to rehearsing for this audition. Which reminds me, Brittany, please you have to help her dress for it. Please, this is really important for her.”

Brittany dried her hands and leaned back against the sink, facing Kurt.

“I don’t understand why you don’t help her. That’s like, your job.” She crossed her arms. Kurt imitated her position, leaning against their small kitchen table.

“Well, she doesn’t want my help. I’ve been dressing her for years. She wants something fresh, and you’re it. As much as it pains me to admit it, she has a point.”

“Fine,” Brittany huffed. “Just remind me when we get closer to the day. Now if you’ll excuse me, I got somewhere to be.”

Kurt frowned, looking at his phone.

“Your shift at the restaurant starts in an hour. You always lounge around until the last minute. You never go out before work.” Kurt looked at her suspiciously. “Where are you going?”

“Just to see a friend,” Brittany shrugged, walking around him to her room. Kurt followed.

“Don’t give me that Brittany, I’m your only friend. Unless…you’re seeing someone?” Kurt gasped. “That’s it, isn’t it? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“God Kurt, it’s nothing like that. She’s just a friend.” Brittany took off her shirt, completely comfortable changing in front of Kurt.

“Oh, a woman,” he cooed. “You haven’t spent time with one in a long time.”

“That’s not true, I hang around Rachel all the time,” Brittany’s muffled reply came from somewhere inside her closet.

“Yes, but only because you’re forced to.”

Brittany came of out of her walk-in closet holding a pink shirt, white jeans and her faithful yellow blazer. She saw Kurt give her favorite piece of clothing a disgusted look. Brittany placed it on the armchair behind her, away from his judging eyes.

“Don’t look at it like that,” she told him.

“Ugh, that thing is so old and gross. You could have a hundred new ones made just like that. God knows you can afford it.”

“Well, I like this one, so leave it alone.”

“Whatever,” Kurt sat down on her bed. “So about this woman –”

“Kurt, drop it, ok?” Brittany’s told turned cold. She saw Kurt stiffen.

“Brittany, I’m sorry for teasing, but I worry about you. You have to admit this is a pretty big deal.”

“It’s just,” Brittany finished dressing and sat down next to him. “She’s weird.”

“How so?” Kurt pushed for more.

“She’s,” Brittany stalled. How could she even begin to describe Santana, when Brittany herself was just getting to know her? That was the beauty of their relationship; almost two months of spending time together, and it was still new. Brittany hasn’t lost interest, and Santana hasn’t turned obsessive and needy like most of the people Brittany meets. “I wanna say she’s kind of like me, and like, that’s not right. But also, it kind of is.”

“Huh?” Kurt looked perplexed. Brittany rolled her eyes and turned so she could sit facing him.

“Her name is Santana. She’s this girl I met at Starbucks. I just walked up to her and started talking,” Kurt mouthed ‘of course’ at that. “And she went with it. Except it was different. She was kind of grumpy and standoffish, but she treated me well. And we’re still talking, and it’s like, every time we talk on the phone or meet up, we become more attuned. She gets my humor.” Brittany rolled her eyes at his exaggerated gasp. She didn’t mind his interruption; she knew he understood that was a big deal.

“And I don’t know,” she continued. “I get her humor too. She’s this mean, sarcastic little bundle of aggression, but most of the time she doesn’t really mean it. It’s how she connects with people, I think. It’s different. I relate to that.” She shrugged. “And when she’s mean mean, the other person totally deserved it. You had to see what she did to Sam the other day. Epic.”

“Ugh, that guy totally needs to take it down a notch. Ok, you have a rock hard body, bulging muscles, and a six-pack. We get it,” Kurt ranted.

“Right,” Brittany laughed. She suddenly remembered something. “Kurt! Did you know Blaine is 39 years old?”

Kurt frowned, trying to keep up with the sudden change of topic.

“Uh, yes?”

“Geez, does everyone know?” Brittany wondered.

“How did you not know? You’ve known him for like, four years.”

“I don’t know. I must’ve missed it somehow. Anyways,” She patted his thigh. “I’m outta here.”

“Ok Britt, have a good day at work. I might stop by later.” Brittany gave him a thumbs up over her shoulder and left the room. “Say hi to Santana for me!” he yelled.

###

“San. San. San. Wake up. Santana.” Brittany poked the sleeping girl’s cheek. “Wake up, San.”

Brittany smiled at Santana’s sleepy mumble, but pouted when she realized Santana still wouldn’t wake up. She shook her gently, trying to rouse her without being abrupt. Nothing.

“You’re a heavy sleeper, San,” Brittany whispered.

“She really is, isn’t she? I don’t know how she does it.” Brittany turned to find Quinn leaning against Santana’s bedroom door. “Told you she wasn’t going to get up.”

“Yeah,” she breathed out, sad she wouldn’t get to talk to Santana before work. She couldn’t help but smile slightly at the vision though. Santana slept sprawled on her bed, belly down. She snored lightly, small breathing sounds that were more cute than gross. Her long dark hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail, and she could see small strands of loose hair at the nape of her neck. She let her eyes roam over the dark room one last time before getting up, taking in the black sheets and dark blue walls covered with photos and postcards. She followed Quinn out of the room, closing the bedroom door gently behind her. She noted three other closed doors as she made her way down the hall towards the living room.

“So you live here, too?” Brittany asked. She knew about Santana’s roommate, the Mohawk guy. But she didn’t remember if Santana ever mentioned a female roommate.

“I used to,” she heard Quinn say from the kitchen. Theirs was an open kitchen, with only a breakfast bar separating the cooking area from the living room area. Brittany was fairly impressed with the apartment. From the outside, it looked somewhat small. But from what she could see of the inside, the apartment was very spacious. For the first time, she wondered what it was that Santana did for a living. She was currently sleeping profoundly at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday, and she was only 23. She couldn’t be working with anything too profitable. Brittany didn’t know if she was even still in school. Family money, maybe?

Brittany shrugged. Not that it mattered.

“Here,” Quinn handed her a glass of water. “I moved out about a year ago. Living with Puck…wasn’t working out.” Brittany took a second to figure out Quinn was still answering her question from before.

“Hm,” she looked at the pretty girl in front of her. “Have you and Santana known each other long?”

“Oh yes, we’ve been friends since high school. We met in freshman year, I’d just moved to Ohio. We know Puck from high school too, but he was a year ahead of us.” Quinn paused to take a sip of water. “And of course, we all know how you and Santana met,” Quinn teased.

“Yeah, we all do,” Brittany said. She chewed on her bottom lip, wondering what she should do next. She felt weird talking about Santana with a stranger, learning things she should have asked the girl herself. She also felt a bit ashamed she had never bothered to ask Santana these kinds of questions. Brittany had just never been interested in getting to know details about a person’s life before, more interested in finding out different ways to be entertained. All the other times she’s met up with Santana, they’ve done fun superficial things; she’d used to girl to pass the time, nothing more.

And three days ago she had done the same exact thing. Santana had tried to talk to her over lunch, to connect in a more intimate way, and Brittany had pushed her away. She’d used the excuse of needing Santana’s help to man the ground drill, just so she could spend an easy time with someone she liked. She wanted to be near Santana, but she was careful about not letting her get too close.

The question was, did she want to change that?

Brittany looked at Quinn, suddenly realizing they’d been sitting in silence for a long time. She blushed, wondering what the other girl was thinking about her at that moment.

“Sorry,” Brittany cleared her throat. “I should go. I have to get to work. Thank you for letting me come up, I was worried since she wasn’t answering her phone.” Brittany quickly downed her water and handed Quinn back the empty glass.

“You’re welcome. Brittany,” Quinn called out before Brittany could get to the door. “I’ve been friends with Santana for a long time. She’s…difficult to deal with at times, but I learned that all she needs sometimes is for people to just give her some room and let her be, you know?” Brittany nodded. She knew exactly what Quinn meant.

“If she’s being difficult with you, just give her some time?” Quinn shrugged. “She really likes you.”

Brittany blinked. She knew Santana liked her. In her own careless way, Brittany cherished that.

“Thanks again, Quinn. Come by the restaurant again anytime, on the house.” With a last smile, Brittany was out the door. She had some thinking to do.

Chapter Text

“Jesus,” Santana grunted. She stumbled out of her room, disoriented. “I just had the weirdest dream.”

“Santana?” She heard someone (Quinn?) call out from somewhere further ahead, away from view. She bypassed the bathroom, going straight towards the voice.

Santana took a few heavy steps and felt them reverberate in her head. She covered her face and leaned against the wall. She felt like shit. She wondered what time it was. She straightened and resumed walking, trying the rub the sleep out of her face and the stiffness out of her neck.

“Quinn,” Santana opened her eyes. She stared at the vision in front of her. “No way.”

Yellow eyes blinked up at her. She couldn’t believe it. Blocking her way to the kitchen was a huge fat cat.

“How the – Who did? What the fu–Fabray!” Santana yelled, wide awake. Screw being tired, she had a scrawny white ass to chew. She moved, going around the feline creature, or Charity as Quinn called it. She could see into the kitchen from the living room, and she watched as Quinn seemed to be pouring coffee, her back facing Santana. She was about to storm into the kitchen when she felt a mass push against her calves. She lost her balance and fell forward.

“Ow, what,” she moaned in pain. The heavy weight moved up the back of her legs and thighs, until it parked on the small of her back. “What is happening? Fabray! God, this fucking cat is on top on me,” Santana howled, trying to shake off the weight. She couldn’t roll over and could barely drag her body forward. “Fuck, how the fuck is it so heavy?”

She heard a giggle. She saw slipper-covered feet come into view. She looked up to find Quinn smirking down at her.

“Aw, see, I told you Charity loves you.”

“Fabray, this beast is sitting right on my back,” Santana calmly stated. “On my spine. It’s going to break my spine in half, and I’ll become a paraplegic. I’ll turn into a bitter old woman, who’ll throw tea cups at your face. Do you want me to throw tea cups at your face?” She saw Quinn open her mouth when suddenly the weight was gone.

Santana gripped her back, and rolled over slowly. Behind her Puck had the cat in his arms, and he was currently cooing at the animal, scratching under its chin. Santana stared. Was this grown-ass man really talking to the cat as if it were a baby?

“Puck, what are you doing?” Santana hissed. She got up on her feet, glaring at Quinn before zeroing in on him. “Are you serious right now?  Are you really hugging that damn thing?”

Puck averted his eyes, hoisting Charity higher in his arms. He turned his body slightly, blocking the cat from the murderous look on Santana’s face.

“Santana, she’s cute. I swear to you, we were going to get rid of her, but we couldn’t do it. I mean look at her!” Puck brought the cat closer.

“I hate it,” Santana deadpanned. “And I want it gone. I swear to God, I’ll get rid of you if you don’t fucking get rid of this demon.”

“But San –”

“Ugh, why are we even arguing about this? Puck, you’re allergic. One! Two, this is my apartment. And three, I don’t want a cat in my apartment!”

Puck pouted sadly.

“Don’t give me that look,” Santana hissed. “It makes you look pathetic. Puck. Get this fucking cat out of my apartment.”

Santana turned on her heels, and glared at Quinn with everything she had. Quinn had the nerve to just shrug and take a sip out of the mug she was holding. Santana took the mug from her hand and made her way into the kitchen.

“Hey, that’s mine,” the blonde whined.

“Wrong, this is mine! And as long as you two go behind my back with this cat shit, you’re not allowed to use anything in here that’s mine. And news flash, everything in here is mine!”

Santana tuned out the two people behind her, sipping Quinn’s coffee. She looked around, trying to get her bearings. She found her own phone on the counter to her left. She picked it up.

“Damn,” she whispered. 9:38 AM. She’d been sleeping for almost 20 hours straight.

“You are extra bitchy this morning,” Quinn said, coming to stand next to her. “What gives?”

“Quinn, I slept almost a whole day away. That’s crazy.” She handed Quinn the mug back. “I feel awful. And I had the weirdest dream.”

Quinn patted her shoulder. She gripped Santana’s arm and led her around the breakfast counter. Santana was glad to see Puck and the cat were nowhere in sight. Quinn asked her to sit in one of the stools as she went to pour a new cup of coffee. She placed the new mug in front of Santana.

“Thanks,” Santana said.

“Want to share what’s bothering you?” Quinn sat on the stool next to her.

“So many things are bothering me,” Santana chuckled at Quinn’s sound of disbelief. “What, I’m a complicated person.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Shut up.” Santana took a long sip out of her mug. “I dreamed Brittany was here. Like, in this apartment, and in my room.”

“Oh?”

Santana ignored Quinn’s weird tone. She was honestly disturbed by her dream. She’d gotten used to dreaming about Brittany, it was a fairly common occurrence. But they were always set in places Santana’s never been, places she assumed her sub-conscious would create for the sake of the dream. Her favorite one was set on a beach. She and Brittany had been wearing long white dresses, and they twirled each other, skipping on the sand. The water lapped at their feet, and the wind blew their hair and their dresses wild. Santana, unlike her own parents, wasn’t overtly religious, but she believed that dream was the closest thing to a heaven on earth she’d ever find. That morning, she had woken up with a smile on her face.

But dreaming Brittany had been here, in her apartment? Seeing and touching her things? That scared Santana. She didn’t want to associate Brittany with her own turf. If she kept dreaming of Brittany as if she was a part of her life, she’d never have another moment of peace. She couldn’t let that happen, especially not after Brittany had made it clear they were nothing more than friends. Good friends.

Except Brittany had flirted with her. She had kissed her, sort of. What did that mean? Santana rested her forehead against the counter.

“Ugh, I’m so confused,” she mumbled.

“Fine,” Quinn sighed. “Brittany was here.”

Santana turned her head to look at Quinn, pressing her cheek against the white counter instead.

“What?”

“I wasn’t going to say anything, at least not yet. But since you’re so upset about this ‘dream,’” Quinn used both hands to make quotation marks in the air. “Don’t worry, it wasn’t a dream. She was actually here.”

Santana stared at her in disbelief.

“When? Here? When?”

“Yesterday. While you were sleeping.”

“Here?”

Quinn rolled her eyes.

“Yes, Santana, here. Let me finish.” Quinn ignored Santana’s baffled gasp. “I was going to meet up with Puck, but he was running late, so I came here to wait for him. Brittany was downstairs, trying to call you. She looked like she really needed to talk to you about something, so I let her come up. I checked your bedroom and you were sleeping, and she asked if she could wake you up.” Quinn looked down at her hands, fingers twitching. “I’m sorry, but she looked like she really needed to talk to you. I thought you’d be ok with it. But then you didn’t wake up, so she left for work.”

Santana stared dumbly, not quite processing the fact that Brittany had been in her apartment. In her room.

“Oh my God. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You’ve been asleep! You literally just woke up.”

“Oh my God.” Santana got up from the stool. “Wait, what did she want to talk to me about?”

“I don’t know.” Quinn raised her hands at Santana’s glare. “I swear, I don’t know. She tried to wake you up, you didn’t, and she left. I promise.”

Santana frowned. Brittany had come looking for her.

“Where’s my phone?” She looked back to the kitchen and found it where she’d left it. She picked it up and checked her call log. Three missed calls from Brittany, all before 3 PM yesterday.

“What time did you say she came over?”

“Uh,” Quinn narrowed her eyes in thought. “I don’t remember, sometime in the afternoon. I’d just gotten off the phone with Puck when I ran into her downstairs, let me check.” She picked up her phone. “Just before 3.”

“I gotta go see her,” Santana said under her breath.

“Uh, Santana –”

“Don’t even try and stop me, Fabray.” Santana ran to the front door.

“Santana!” Quinn barreled into Santana and they both fell hard against the wall.

“Ow! What the hell!” Santana struggled; Quinn had her in a strong arm lock from behind. “Quinn, let go!”

“Santana, think! You just woke up, you,” Santana elbowed Quinn’s stomach. “Ouch, you bitch! Listen to me, you just woke up, you’re wearing yesterday’s clothes, and you stink. You can’t go see her like this, calm down!”

Santana stopped struggling, letting her body sag. They slid down the wall until they were a messy heap on the ground.

“Shit,” Quinn sighed.

Santana nodded, a little out of breath. Shit was right.

“What the hell is going on out there?” Santana looked up to see Puck had poked his head out of his room and was glaring at them from the end of the hall. “Charity and I are trying to relax over here.”

Santana rolled her eyes. When had Puck turned into such a pussy?

“Shut up, Puck.”

###

Two hours later, Santana found herself standing in front of New Directions. For the past hour, she’d been debating whether she should call Brittany. Her frenzied need to see her was gone. Not only she didn’t know where Brittany lived, but she realized she had no idea what she would say once she saw her. They hadn’t spoken for 4 miserable days. Santana hadn’t reached out to the blonde during that time because she was just so confused. Brittany acted like she liked Santana, like she enjoyed spending time with her, and yet, Santana couldn’t shake off this feeling that Brittany could just be using her.

Which was totally crazy. Right? Brittany would never to that. Not the cute and sweet Brittany she was getting to know; that Brittany would never do that to Santana.

So why hadn’t she called? Santana knew why she’d kept her distance for the past 4 days, but why didn’t Brittany get in touch with her? And why the apparent urgency to see Santana yesterday?

Santana closed her eyes. She was exhausted. She didn’t know why she was here, waiting around in front of a closed restaurant. She should be out doing something useful. She should be back home making sure Quinn and Puck got rid of the cat. She wanted to be in bed, sleeping. Instead, she was staring at dark glass doors, trying to work up to the courage to call Brittany.

That’s all she did these days, apparently.

“We really need to stop meeting like this,” a voice said close to her ear, startling her. She turned around. Brittany.

“Britt,” Santana said, looking into her eyes. Brittany wore another dress, a short red dress with white polka-dots, and again flip-flops. Santana was wearing tight jeans, a loose black shirt, and high-heeled sandals. They were the same height.

“Aren’t you cold?” Santana asked. The October weather was warm enough to justify Brittany’s choice of wear, but today was really windy.

“Not really,” Brittany shrugged. “I live near here, so it was fine.”

“You do?” Santana was surprised. Whenever she and Brittany would meet by her building, Brittany had been driving. She’d just assumed Brittany lived far enough that she’d need a car to get to Santana’s place.

“Yep,” Brittany turned to the side and pointed behind her. “That’s my building right there.”

“Oh,” Santana widened her eyes. That wasn’t even a 20-minute walk from her own apartment.

“I guess you didn’t know?” Santana shook her head. Brittany dropped her eyes, shuffling her feet. “Oh. I was kind of hoping you were coming to see me.”

“Really?”

Brittany nodded.

“I-I was, I mean, I was, I am,” Santana stuttered. “I am here to see you. I just, you know, the restaurant…”

“Hm, yeah, that’s right. You come here sometimes because it reminds you of me.” Brittany smiled. “Awesome.”

Santana gave her a half-hearted smile, lapsing into silence. Brittany looked right at her, eyes dancing across her face. Santana felt her cheeks flush under her gaze.

“You look really tired, San,” Brittany whispered. Her hand came up slowly, and she used her thumb to gently caress under Santana’s left eye. She stopped breathing, afraid to do something that would scare the phantom touch away. Brittany let her hand fall back down. She sighed in disappointment at the loss.

“I was heading inside, do you want to come with?” Brittany asked over her shoulder as she started walking around the building, towards the back entrance. Santana followed.

“Are you sure it’s ok? I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

Brittany laughed, “Trust me, it’s fine San.”

Santana watched as Brittany fished out a set of keys from a bag and unlocked the door. Brittany held the door open for Santana, watching the Latina expectantly.

“Britt, why do you have the keys to the restaurant?” Santana asked, suddenly feeling like she was missing something important.

Brittany tilted her head to side, eyes calculating. She was sizing Santana up, and her eyes were that opaque vacant blue that made Santana so uncomfortable. Unlike the other time Brittany looked at her like that, however, Santana stood her ground, looking straight into her eyes.

“Well, I’d hope I’d have the keys to my own restaurant. Right?”

“You, you own New Directions? This is your restaurant?”

Brittany nodded, chewing on her bottom lip. Santana stared at her dumbfounded.

“Are you coming in or not, Santana?”

Chapter Text

“Here,” Brittany said, placing a steaming plate in front of Santana.

“Thanks,” Santana looked up at her, smiling slightly. She was sitting down at one of the booths towards the back of the restaurant, nearest the entrance to the kitchen. Brittany had insisted she got them something to eat when Santana revealed coffee was all she’d had this morning.

“Don’t mention it.” Brittany sat down across from Santana with her own plate.

“Did you cook this?” Santana hummed appreciatively as she tasted the rice and chicken in front of her. “This tastes amazing.”

“You sound surprised,” Brittany chuckled. Santana eyed her guiltily before focusing back on her food. “You’d be right actually. I’m not the greatest at cooking. Blaine, my chef, he left this behind from last night.”

“Well, I say it again, this is amazing.”

Brittany took a bite of her chicken, watching Santana dig into her food with gusto. She smiled at the cute sight, but she couldn’t help the stab of worry that hit her every time she glanced into Santana’s tired eyes. In fact, the girl in front of her looked just plain exhausted. She ran her eyes across her slumped shoulders, noticing how she ate with her left hand and supported her body with her right arm leaning against the table. Brittany wondered if Santana was left-handed.

“It was my idea,” Brittany said under her breath, half-hoping Santana hadn’t heard her speak.

“Hm?” Santana raised her brow, chewing her food. Brittany cleared her throat.

“Blaine cooks, but, it’s me. I come up with the dishes. I create the menu.”

Brittany held her breath, food forgotten. She waited for the laughter, the disbelieving scoff, the eye roll that always followed when she tried to tell anybody that she was responsible for coming up with New Directions’ intricate dishes.

“That actually makes a lot of sense,” Santana said.

Brittany blinked. What?

“What?”

“Britt,” Santana put her fork down. “You asked for my help to dig up a cooking pit in the middle of your restaurant. That’s not the kind of decision a waitress would have the authority for.” Santana shrugged. “I just couldn’t make sense of how that fit in with your role here, since I can’t imagine you cooking anything. No offense, I just can’t see you rocking a stove.”

Brittany stared, fascinated. The fact that Santana had spent so much time thinking about her made her incredibly warm.

“Without mentioning, now that I think about it,” Santana continued. “This is the second time I’ve seen you here when the place is closed. Honestly, after that first time I figured maybe you were related to the chef, or even the owner.” Brittany stiffened at the mention of her possible parentage. “I just…Britt, I never thought in a million years you owned this place. I mean, that’s amazing. How, what’s the story?”

“You really want to know?”

“I really wanna know, Britt.”

Brittany took a deep breath.

“There isn’t much to tell. I’ve never been good at school. I barely graduated high school, and when it came time for college, I just didn’t apply. I had to make a decision about what to do for a living. I knew the owner of my favorite restaurant back in Chicago, and she gave me a job, took me under her wing.”

Brittany played with her food, debating how much she should share. She wasn’t exactly surprised at how easy it was to talk to Santana about her life, but she was still cautious.

“I don’t really like following recipes. I don’t have the patience for it. But, I can be really creative. I’d have these crazy ideas about different kinds of dishes, and my mentor would encourage me to write it all down. She signed me up for this essay contest, and she helped me write it. Next thing I know, I won a scholarship for an apprenticeship in Paris.”

“No way! You’ve been to Paris?” Santana asked, eyes wide.

“Mhm, I lived there for a year.” Brittany chuckled, thinking back to those days. She had been a naïve 23-year-old girl who’d been looking for a happy place in a sad world. She’d been nothing like the confident Latina who sat across from her at that moment. “I didn’t do so well, I was an awful apprentice. I quit the program and found a job at a café. That’s where I met Blaine. He and I, we got along really well. He seemed really intrigued by my ideas, so I asked if he’d try to make them work. It all just came together from there.”

“So you came back and bought this place?” Santana leaned her chin against an open palm.

“Yeah, I had some money saved up. We chose Boston because that’s where Blaine’s from. We found this place, it was totally run down, abandoned.” Brittany shrugged. “We were like, let’s just do it. I bought it, he and I renovated it. Slowly we built a reputation. Never the same menu for more than three months. I would cook up dishes in my head, and he would cook them for real.”

Santana laughed at her corny joke. Brittany grinned.

“Two years ago we got featured on Boston Magazine. After that, people just kept coming. It’s been, like, a dream.”

Brittany felt almost giddy; Santana looked genuinely happy for her.

“But if you’re the owner, then why do you still waitress here?”

“I get bored,” Brittany shrugged. “All I have to do is manage the finances. Blaine does everything else, really. When I’m not busy designing the menu, I take up a few shifts. I love interacting with our guests, meeting different people. It never gets old.”

Santana beamed, staring dreamily at her. She felt her cheeks flush under the adoring gaze.

“So, New Directions’ been running for what, 3 years?”

“Hm, more or less.”

“I moved here two years ago,” Santana said. Brittany nodded, encouraging her to continue. “Quinn got a job with a publishing agency, and I followed. Maybe three months later, we found the apartment I live in now. You know what we did the first night we moved in?”

“What?”

“We brought our parents here for dinner.”

“Really?” Brittany gasped. “That long ago?”

“Yep,” Santana looked down at her plate. “There was that time, and then one night about 6 months ago when they came to visit. They really love your restaurant, Britt.”

Brittany smiled so big her cheeks hurt. Santana smiled back, scrunching her nose. Brittany felt an irrational need to kiss her dimples.

“I can’t believe we didn’t run into each other before.”

“Maybe we just weren’t ready,” Santana said. She was looking down at her food, stuffing fork after fork of rice in her mouth. Brittany swore she saw her blush.

“San,” Brittany pushed her plate away. She reached out to still Santana’s hand, gripping her wrist. “I’m sorry. About not talking to you before. About me.”

“It’s fine, Britt.”

“It’s not fine,” Brittany said, harsher than she intended. “You tried to get me to talk, to get close, and I didn’t let you. And I didn’t even try to get to know you. That’s not fair. It’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to me because I…”

Brittany shut her eyes, breathing heavily. She liked the other woman, and she wanted to tell her. Why couldn’t she just say it? She registered Santana move out of her seat to sit down next to her. Brittany turned her head away, keeping her eyes closed. She felt Santana touch her hair, slow and hesitant. She shivered at the light touch of her fingers whispering against her shoulders.

“Britt, I like you. I really like you. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been really confused lately, but I like us. I like that you want to spend time with me, however way you want it. It’s just, sometimes I can’t help but want more, you know? I never meant to push –”

Brittany whipped her head around, crushing her lips against Santana’s. She remained still, motionless, waiting for Santana to react. She fought the urge to open her eyes, terrified at what she might find if she were to look at Santana in that moment.

Santana leaned back slightly, detaching their lips but staying close. Brittany felt her breathe against her cheek, and she knew Santana was looking at her. The hand that had been caressing her hair laid splayed open against her back, between her shoulder blades. She was about to cave in and open her eyes when she felt Santana pull her closer. She closed the small distance, smiling into the kiss. She pressed her lips against Santana’s more firmly, massaging them slightly. Santana’s hand moved up until she cradled the back of her neck, and she tilted her head, deepening the kiss. Brittany gripped Santana’s other hand that was resting against her thigh.

Brittany felt light headed, not quite believing she was kissing Santana. They barely broke apart to take in air, not moving away from each other. After a few minutes, they both leaned back, a little out of breath. Brittany felt her neck heat up, and she absently noted she was probably sporting a furious blush. She watched Santana watch her, taking her in, breathing in this moment. She’d kissed Santana. And God help her, she wanted to kiss her again.

“San, you look so tired,” Brittany whispered. This close to her, she could see the dark bags under her eyes, the tight press of her brow. She raised her hand, using her fingers to lightly trace Santana’s cheek, and was rewarded with a beautiful smile. She felt more secure about touching the other woman now.

“Yeah. Sometimes I don’t sleep. It comes and goes.” Brittany frowned slightly, wanting to pry further. “I’ll tell you about it some other time.”

“Ok,” Brittany looked down, loving the feeling of Santana scratching the back of her neck, pulling lightly at the fine hair there. She noticed their hands. “San, look.” Their pinkies were intertwined, and she tightened hers to bring both their hands up for the Latina to see. Santana wiggled her pinky playfully. They laughed.

“I forgot what I came here for,” Brittany said, looking around her restaurant. She felt lazy and content, and if she wasn’t so overwhelmed by how the day turned out, she would have rested her head against Santana’s shoulder.

“Oh, and here I thought you came to see me.” Santana teased, mirroring Brittany’s earlier words.

“I was going to, after finishing here. I wanted to apologize.”

“For what, Britt?”

“You know,” Brittany sighed. “Everything.”

“You didn’t have to,” Santana pursed her lips at her disbelieving look. “I’m serious, Britt-Britt, I get it. Not knowing how to open up, being afraid to let this,” she pointed between the two of them. “Grow the wrong way. There’s still a lot of things we need to learn about each other, and I can wait. We’ll go slow, see how far we get.”

“What did you just call me?” Brittany squinted playfully.

“No-nothing.”

“Santana.”

Santana looked embarrassed, shifting her eyes away from Brittany.

“It’s this nickname. I called you that once, in a dream. I don’t know, I thought it suited you.”

“I like it,” Brittany decided, filling away that Santana just confessed she dreamt about her.

“Really?”

“Really.” Britt-Britt. She thought it had a nice ring to it.

###

Brittany let herself into her apartment. She couldn’t stop smiling, happy with where she and Santana left off. She’d walked Brittany to her building, and before she could invite her up, Santana had said good-bye with a quick kiss. Brittany would have worried if it weren’t for the little wink Santana left her with before walking away. She had a feeling Santana understood they could probably use a little space to process what happened between them. She pushed the door closed behind her, lost in her little world.

“Brittany!”

She stopped dead in her tracks, eyes wide. She looked around to find Kurt and Blaine sitting on the couch, looking alarmed.

“What’s wrong?”

“Brittany!” Kurt exclaimed. “You were about to step in the hole!”

She looked down to see the tarp covered hole right in front of her.

“Oops,” she walked around, dumping her bag on the floor and throwing herself on her armchair in one move. “Today is awesome.”

“Great, you found the book,” Blaine said, leaning forward in his seat. “Can I see it?”

“Oh,” Brittany looked at him guilty. Now she remembered; she’d gone to the restaurant to look for their very first cook book, the one they’d started when they still lived in Paris. “Sorry Blaine, I forgot to look for it.”

“Are you kidding me? How could you forget that?”

“I ran into Santana,” she shrugged, thinking that was explanation enough. “Oh, and we ate most of the leftovers from yesterday. In case you were planning on using any tonight.”

Blaine stared at the blond girl, mouth agape.

“You were inside the actual restaurant, but didn’t bother to look for the book, and you ate all the food?” He turned to Kurt, who was chuckling quietly next to him. “And you’re laughing?”

“Sorry, but I told you not to send her. She always gets distracted. I’m actually surprised she’s back already.”

Brittany checked out of the conversation, letting her mind turn back to Santana. She wondered if the girl had made it home already. She wanted to text her, but she didn’t want to come off as clingy either. Maybe she could text her something silly, and if she answered, Brittany could then ask if she got to her apartment ok.

“Britt!”

“Stop yelling at me,” Brittany frowned at Kurt, annoyed at the interruption. He crossed his arms at her tone.

“Then pay attention, we’re talking to you. What are you smiling about over there?”

“Nothing.”

“How’s Santana?” Kurt asked cheekily.

“She’s good. We kissed,” she laughed at Kurt’s bug-eyed look.

“Who’s Santana?” Blaine looked back and forth between them.

“What do you mean, you kissed?” Kurt ignored Blaine, scooching closer to Brittany.

“We talked, and I don’t know, it felt right. I went for it.”

“Whoa, hold on, you kissed her?” Kurt shot up from his seat, visibly agitated. “What the hell, Brittany!”

“Ok, what is wrong with you today?” She straightened from her slouched position, gripping the arms of the chair.

“Not me, what’s wrong with you? Brittany, I’m not going to let you hurt this girl.”

She stared up at Kurt, thoroughly confused.

“I’m not going to hurt Santana.”

“Not on purpose, but yes, you will. You’re scared, Brittany, to let her be your friend. You’re scared to let her in, so you’re reverting to something easy. You’re going to let sex get in the way, you’re going to make her fall in love with you, and then you’re going to cut her off because,” Kurt waved his hands around his head. “She’s getting too serious, too intense, whatever new excuse you come up with.”

“Kurt –”

“That’s what you do, Brittany. I know you. Whenever someone shows a little interest in you, you distract them with sex. That way you can claim they fell for you first, and you can make a clean break.” Kurt took a deep breath.

Brittany glared at him. She got up slowly from her chair, stepping right in front of Kurt. Brittany was slightly taller than him, but with the anger coursing through her, she towered over him. She saw Kurt flinch, looking a little sorry.

“You have no right to say these things to me,” she said quietly; her calm voice betrayed the storm brewing in her dark blue eyes.

“I’m your family Brittany. If anyone has the right to worry about you, it’s me.”

“Kurt,” Blaine faltered, halfway out of his seat. Brittany’s look froze Blaine in his place. He sat back down, reaching up and pulling Kurt away from the stare off. “Kurt, come here.” He pulled until Kurt fell back down on the couch.

Brittany turned and stooped to pick up her bag. She stormed out of the living room without another word. She thought she heard Kurt say, “I’m sorry,” before she slammed her door, locking herself in her room. Blaine would just have to make do without her at the restaurant tonight.

Chapter Text

1st time w/ a girl?

Santana winced as she read Brittany's text. They had agreed to play a version of 20 questions through text messages so they could start getting to know each other. To keep things interesting, they were allowed to ask only one question per conversation each. Things have been super busy for Brittany over at the restaurant, so they haven't been able to properly talk since they last met by chance in front of New Directions, almost a week ago. Santana had tried stopping by the restaurant once for dinner, but Brittany had been too busy to really spend any quality time with her. And for the few moments together they managed to fit in that night, their mouths had been occupied with something else besides talking.

Santana blushed, thinking about her and Brittany's quick make out session in the cold storage room behind the restaurant's kitchen. She'd been hesitant to give in to the sexual tension brewing between them before they had a chance to really talk, but the moment Brittany had pressed her against the cold wall and attacked her lips, Santana's reasoning had flown out the window. She could still feel how the contrast between the room's low temperature and Brittany's hot body had made her shiver in excitement. If only Blaine hadn't interrupted them…

Santana's musings halted as her phone signaled a new message. She ignored it in favor for answering Brittany's earlier text.

We should prbbly talk about this face2face Britt…

San… :-(

This was the second question Brittany had asked that Santana had trouble answering. The first had been whether she was still in school. Santana had been about to answer with a simple 'no' when she had decided to be a bit more forthcoming. She'd confessed to Brittany that she dropped out of college about two years ago, and Brittany had asked why. Santana's answer had been the same; that she would explain everything once they could talk in person. Brittany had understood then, but Santana knew she could get away with that excuse only so many times.

I can tell u who she is, but I wanna explain in person.

K.

Santana took a deep breath, before she typed:

Quinn.

She waited for Brittany's reply with trepidation. Not that she thought Brittany would get mad or anything. But, she knew by experience girls often didn't understand when she tried to explain she and Quinn had a one night stand a long time ago, but had managed to remain friends. She wanted the opportunity to tell Brittany all about it, leaving no room for misunderstanding.

Her phone vibrated.

Oh.

Before Santana could think of something to say to appease Brittany's apparent turmoil, her cell signaled another incoming text.

I dated my roommate 4 like a week freshman yr of HS.

What in the world? Santana stared at the phone, 5 seconds away from freaking the hell out. Was Brittany currently living with an ex?

He's super gay btw.

Santana breathed a sigh of relief, laughing at herself.

I was about 2 flip my shit lol

I know ;-) g2g but talk 2 u soon?

U bet. Bye Britt.

Bye San!

Santana was about to set her phone aside when another text came through. She opened the application again, remembering to also check the text she had ignored a little while ago. They were both from the same person:

Are you on your way?

Come on, Santana! I need you. It's about to start!

She rolled her eyes, but got up from her bed, where she'd been lounging on. In one move she picked up her purse and a black coat that had been hanging off of her closet's doorknob, rushing out of her room. She needed to hurry if she was going to make it in time.

Fifteen minutes later, Santana was pushing open heavy wooden double doors that led down a long corridor. At the end of the hall, a security guard stood in front of another set of double doors. She approached him, and he let her through after he found her name on the list he was carrying. She looked left and right, until she found who she was looking for amidst the confusion.

"I'm here, Berry."

Santana stepped back as the short brunette whirled around to face her. She raised an unimpressed brow at the finger that was currently being waved in her face.

"Santana, you barely made it on time. How could you do this to me, you know this is a special occasion. The casting director for Funny Girl is in attendance, and he needs to see me at my absolute best!" Rachel finished with a dramatic flick of her wrist.

"And you think having me up on stage singing with you is going to make you look good? Unless," Santana raised a hand, palm facing outward as if signaling for Rachel to step back. "You want me to look bad next to you. Is that it? What do you want, for me to mess up the lyrics or something? Because I refuse to get up there only to look like a fool."

"No Santana, sincerely, it hurts me that you think I'd stoop to such unethical measures only to win a part!" Santana rolled her eyes. If there was anyone out there who would stab someone in the back in order to be a Broadway star, their name would be Rachel Berry. "No, what I need is for you to be exceptional, astoundingly talented, so that the director can see I can hold my own against a voice as powerful as yours, and be completely impressed with me instead."

Santana frowned in confusion. She didn't know whether she should be flattered by Rachel's praise or offended Rachel thought she sounded better than her. She felt Rachel grip her arm, and let the shorter girl drag her towards a seat facing a mirror. They were currently backstage at Berklee Performance Center, which was buzzing with activity. Expectant singers and actors / actresses walked up and down the floors, getting ready for the big show. From what Santana understood of tonight's event, the school of music had put together a performance competition for its alumni, and tonight was the final stage.

"Ok, so you just sit right here, and I'll go find my friend Kurt so he can get you ready."

"Rachel," Santana held onto the other woman's arm before she could run off to find her friend. "Are you sure it's ok for me to be up there with you? Didn't you say this was an alumni only kinda thing?"

"Santana, for the last time, it is perfectly fine, I checked with the judging committee myself. All the finalists have already proven their solo talent by getting this far into the competition; they want to see something completely new, a true performance. And for that, they assured me it was not only allowed, but highly encouraged to seek outside help."

"Then why me?" Santana tightened her hold, letting her deep buried panic surface. She loved singing, and she loved performing. As far as she was concerned, the bigger the audience, the more people she could dazzle, but only as long as it was all done in good fun. This was big, bigger than her usual casual venue. This could make or break Rachel's career. "Rachel, maybe you should rethink this, or find more people. Who are we kidding, just the two of us won't be enough to impress anybody."

"Santana," Rachel gripped her face between her hands, looking deep into Santana's eyes. "You are one of the most talented singers I know. If there's anyone who can measure up to my standards, it's you. Now, I need you to pull yourself together, and tell me you're ready to kick some ass. Or I'll…I'll tell Quinn you were too chicken to get up on stage!"

"Like hell I am," Santana scowled. "Let's kick this motherfucking competition in the balls," she hissed.

"Yes, well, that's a little more crudely put than I originally intended, but that's the spirit. I'll be right back with Kurt."

Santana watched her leave. She turned to face herself in the mirror, not at all surprised Rachel resorted to blackmail to get Santana to do her bidding. She closed her eyes, inhaling air deep into her lungs. She could do this. Just because this singing gig turned out to be a lot more serious than she thought, didn't mean she was going to fail at it. Rachel was counting on her, and she was going to pull through for the other girl. Not to mention she would rather die than to have Quinn hear about her near anxiety attack.

"You must be Rachel's secret weapon. Oh my, but you are just gorgeous!" She heard someone exclaim from behind her. Santana opened her eyes to find a white guy, with spiky hair and playful brown eyes looking at her through the mirror. He was sporting a big smile, and Santana forgot her reservations, taking a moment to appreciate how the man standing behind her looked like a toothless adult baby.

"Right," she said, trying hard to control her first instinct of insulting the bejesus out of that smile. No point in alienating the person who was supposedly responsible for getting her ready for her stage appearance. "You must be…Kurt?"

"Yes, that's me!" Kurt skipped from his place behind her to her right side, turning her chair so she could face him. "I know exactly how I'm going to dress you, but I might need to rethink the make-up. Rachel mentioned you had dark skin, but I was expecting dark dark, not your gorgeous mocha tan."

Santana leaned back in her chair, surprised. If Kurt didn't look like rainbows would spew out of his mouth at any moment, she would've have sworn that was a come on. A racist one at that, but still. She turned her head a little to the side, enough so she could watch her profile from the mirror. She tried to see what was so great about her skin, but all she saw was skin she was already used to. She didn't think it was as wonderfully exotic as Kurt apparently did, but then again, she would probably think differently if she was as pasty white as the man in front of her. Not that white skin was bad, because Brittany's skin was certainly a huge turn-on for Santana…

"God, stop thinking about her," she mumbled under her breath, trying to shake Brittany from her mind. As if dreaming of the blonde wasn't enough, did she have to daydream about her too?

"I'm sorry, did you say something?" Kurt asked distractedly, preoccupied with the makeup bag he was currently rummaging through.

"No, no I didn't say anything."

"Ok then, let's get you looking fabulous…uh, I'm sorry I don't think I caught your name," Kurt said, holding a small dark pencil in the air.

"Santana. Santana Lopez."

She saw Kurt's mouth drop open.

"What?" He didn't answer. "Kurt?"

She waived a hand in front of his face, but he didn't even blink. She looked around, trying to see if anyone else could see what was happening. The man had gone into complete shock out of the blue, and she was now stuck with a petrified Kurt, who had a sharp pointy thing way too close to her eye.

"Kurt, are you finished with her?" Rachel suddenly appeared behind the still frozen man, wearing a long golden dress that seemed to sparkle different hues of gold depending on the angle of the overhead lights. "Oh Santana, you look wonderful!"

"But he hasn't done anything yet," Santana tried to say, but Rachel wasn't paying attention.

"Now, where's the dress he set aside for you…oh there it is!" Rachel walked off before Santana could stop her, leaving the Latina staring after her with a hand raised as if to bring the brunette back. She turned back to Kurt; his hovering arm had lowered a bit, and he now looked down to the ground with a deep frown rather than at Santana's face with a look of utter shock. She slowly got off her chair, trying not to startle him. He was probably bat shit crazy; there was no other explanation.

She went around him, just as Rachel came hurrying back to them.

"Rachel, there's something wrong with –"

"Here, go put this on, and hurry, because we're next up!" She pushed her towards a dressing cabin, pulling the curtain closed once Santana was fully inside.

"What the fuck is going on?" Santana wondered aloud once she was alone. She changed, appreciating how the deep wine colored dress hugged her body in all the right places. She looked into the full body mirror. She indeed looked good, surprisingly enough. Her hair was straight on top, coming down in waves past her shoulders. Her eyes looked dark, not in an ugly way, but rather in a smoky mysterious way. Finally, the dress accentuated her natural curves, and as she turned she noticed a slit that started mid-thigh, showing off her leg.

"Damn, I look smoking hot," she said to herself, before whipping the curtain aside and striding towards the stage. Show time.

###

"Brittany, you need to come to Rachel's performance right now," Kurt whispered fervently into the phone. Brittany took the phone away from her ear, stretching her arm away from body as far as it would go, letting out a deep sigh. She could hear Kurt calling out to her from the small device. She brought it back towards her.

"Hang on," she said, and stuck it into her pocket without ending the call, not bothering to wait and see if Kurt had heard her. She turned to Ryder as he passed right by her carrying a tray full of steaming dishes. "Hey, cover my tables for just a second ok?"

"Sure, but don't take long, we're getting swamped out here," he grunted as he stabilizing the big tray over his shoulder and made his way to one of the occupied tables.

Brittany walked to the back, noting with satisfaction how everything seemed to be running smoothly. Blaine was truly in his domain, a captain commandeering his army with quick and sure efficiency. The kitchen was buzzing with activity; a good kind of nervous energy in the air. Everyone knew the only reason they were so overwhelmed with orders was because New Directions was doing so well, and Brittany was absolutely sure every one of them would continue to work their hardest for her restaurant.

Once she found a relatively quiet spot she picked up her phone again. Kurt had been calling out to her the whole time it seemed.

"Britt! Britt! Britt! Britt!"

"Ok, Kurt. I'm not in the mood," Brittany said. "This better be good."

"I'm telling you, you need to get down here right now!"

"Kurt, are you fucking with me? I can't leave in the middle of my shift, on a Friday night. It's crazy over here. Especially not because of Rachel."

"It's not Rachel, Britt, you need to come here, right this minute. I can't say it over the phone –"

"Ok, then I'm hanging up.

"No! Wait, God, ok it's Santana, ok? She's here, so you need to come right now!"

"Santana? What's Santana doing at Rachel's performance?" Brittany mumbled more to herself than to Kurt.

"Brittany, please just trust me. I can't explain, you really need to see what's about to happen. If you run, you'll make it in time, so hop in a cab and get your behind over here!"

"I'm so confused. What, now you're ok with me and Santana? And you're in no position to ask me for anything, I'm still mad at you."

"Brittany, I know, but please, trust me on this. You need, you need, to see this with your own eyes," Kurt pleaded, voice laced with urgency.

Brittany looked down, biting her bottom lip unsurely. She couldn't leave her restaurant, not with the way things were out there. She had every waiter who worked for her on duty tonight, her included, and they were still almost not enough to handle all the customers. She couldn't afford to leave right in the middle of their busiest night yet.

But this was Santana. Kurt was right, she needed to go see for herself what was going on with the girl. Her girl.

"I'm on my way."

Chapter Text

Santana was breathless. She was once again backstage, having just left the center stage. Rachel was still under the spotlight, soaking in the thunderous applause from the audience. They had just performed A Boy Like That / I Have a Love from the Broadway musical West Side Story, and Santana had to admit they had been pretty damn good out there. No, they had nailed the number. Santana’s heart soared. She had performed the part. People had seen her, and people had loved her.

“Santana!” A body hit her from behind, and Santana laughed as Rachel squeezed her as hard as she could, not minding the physical proximity.

“We were amazing!” She heard Rachel’s muffled voice against her back. “Thank you so much for doing this with me, there’s no way he didn’t notice me. I’m going to get this part, I’m going to be Fanny, I can feel it!”

Santana turned around, and after a moment of hesitation, she took Rachel in her arms, hugging her so hard she almost lifted her clean off her feet.

“I have to say Berry, we make a pretty damn good team,” Santana said. They both leaned back and smiled, arms still around each other.

“Santana,” she heard someone call her from somewhere to her left. She turned her head towards the voice, distracted. She still couldn’t believe how well their show had turned out; tonight couldn’t get any better than this.

The view that greeted her stole whatever air was still left in her lungs.

“Brittany!” She let go of Rachel, stepping away from the embrace she didn’t even notice looked extremely intimate to an outsider. “Oh my God, Britt. What are you doing here?”

“Kurt called me,” Brittany said, staring into Santana’s eyes, right into her soul. She shivered under the heated stare. Brittany’s eyes looked the darkest she’s ever seen them look before; they were so big and blue they were all Santana could see. They kept Santana hostage.

“Brittany, I had no idea you were coming! Even though I am terribly surprised, I must say it is so good to see you. You must tell me what you thought of our performance. We were terrific out there, weren’t we?” Rachel laced her arm with Santana’s, gazing up at the darker girl.

Santana watched as Brittany looked down at their intertwined arms with a frown. She looked from Rachel to Brittany, registering what the shorter girl had just said.

“Wait, do you guys know each other?” Brittany focused once again on her face. “Britt?”

“Why yes, Santana, we know each other very well. How do you know Brittany?”

“Rachel, it’s such a long story,” Kurt said, coming out from behind the blonde. Santana saw him shoot Brittany an odd look before he turned to her. “Santana, that was truly outstanding. It was by far the best performance of the night so far.” He then smiled at Rachel, stepping forward to hug the woman. Santana noticed he whispered something in the brunette’s ear before he pulled her a short distance away.

Santana watched Brittany carefully now that they were relatively alone, unsure of herself. Brittany had yet to look away from her; she pierced Santana with her intense stare, dissecting Santana with calculating eyes. Santana opened her mouth to break the heavy silence that hung between them, but before she could say anything, Brittany moved forward.

“Britt, what –”

Brittany took her lips, silencing whatever question Santana had been about to voice. She tried to keep up with Brittany’s passionate kiss, but every time she thought she had a bearing on what she was doing, Brittany would change the angle, and Santana was left passive, not being able to do much but enjoy the assault.

She moaned when she felt the blonde pull her closer, trapping her around her arms, encasing her in a warm hug. Brittany broke apart from the kiss to catch her breath, only to crush their lips together again, only this time deeper. Santana opened her mouth, and Brittany wasted no time invading the warm cave with her tongue, swirling it around until Santana had to grip Brittany’s hips to keep herself upright.

Nature intervened, and they had no choice but to forgo the kiss for oxygen. Santana inhaled deeply, trying to give air to her starved lungs. She planted her feet when she felt Brittany all but collapse on her, her forehead leaning against her brow.

“I want you so much right now,” she heard the taller woman whisper against her ear. She gasped, suddenly remembering where they were. She looked around, noticing they had attracted quite a few stares from the people around them. Including Rachel’s and Kurt’s.

“Britt-Britt,” Santana breathed against her jaw. “I hate what I’m about to say, but we’re not alone. We need to, you know…”

“I know.” With a last squeeze, Brittany stepped back. Santana licked her lips, uncharacteristically shy. She looked away from the woman who was making her swoon, turning to Rachel and Kurt.

“I guess we have a lot to talk about, huh?” The two bystanders stepped closer to them, and as a group they found a quiet corner where they could stand.

“So you know Rachel?” Brittany asked her. “Are you guys, like, friends? Because I’m not sure how I feel about that.”

“Brittany!” Kurt massaged his temples. “Ok, from the start. I’m Kurt,” he extended his hand to Santana, waiting until she gripped it before he could resume talking. “We were never properly introduced. I’m Brittany’s roommate and best friend. This is Rachel, whom you already know. The three of us have known each other since high school. I, of course, know who you are already.” He looked expectantly between Rachel and Santana.

“I guess, Rachel and I are, friend…ly? Sorta.” Santana avoided Brittany’s eyes; she could feel how hard she was frowning at Santana.

“Yes, indeed, we are friends. We’ve known each other for how long now, Santana? Almost a year?” Santana nodded; that sounded about right. “Unlike you Brittany, Santana is almost always there when I need her. Granted, there are some things she absolutely refuses to help me with, like that time I auditioned for a lesbian part and I needed help with being able to convincingly kiss another woman –”

“Ok, Rachel!” Santana laughed nervously, risking a peek towards Brittany. The murderous look she found in the usually playful twinkling eyes shook her bones. “We should get ourselves cleaned up, let’s go.” She gripped Rachel’s arm, leading her away in haste. She thought she heard Brittany say, “I mean, of all people” before they got lost in the crowd.

“Oh God,” she whispered.

“That was really strange,” Rachel said. “I didn’t even know you were dating anyone.”

“I’m not. I mean, technically, I’m not. Fuck,” she whirled on Rachel. “Rachel, what the hell was that? You know Brittany from high school? What the fuck did you do to her? She seriously doesn’t like you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Santana. As you just learned, Brittany and I, and Kurt, go way back. We’re friends, all of us.”

“Listen up, Berry, I do not have the time, nor the sanity, to deal with your gnome tricks right now. Ok? I have a serious problem here. Brittany apparently cannot stand you, not that I can exactly blame her. But it so happens that I am somewhat fond of you. And Brittany,” Santana stalled. She wanted to say Brittany was quickly becoming everything that mattered. She wanted Brittany; she wanted Brittany to be her girlfriend, with everything she had. “Let’s just say I’m not about to be giving up on her anytime soon. So, how do we resolve this?”

“Honestly Santana, I don’t know why Brittany dislikes me so much,” Rachel sat down on a chair, the same one Santana herself had been sitting on before the show. She recognized Kurt’s make-up bag nearby. “We weren’t terribly close when we were younger, and truth be told, we probably wouldn’t even be in each other’s lives today if it weren’t for Kurt.”

Santana reached into the bag, looking for something to distract herself with. She had no qualms about going through someone else's belongings. She remained silent, waiting for Rachel to keep talking. She found a small pouch full of gentle cleansing wipes. She leaned against the small stand underneath the mirror station, signaling for Rachel to pull her chair closer. She started cleaning off Rachel’s make-up, holding onto her chin as she worked.

“After high school, I think Brittany was seriously lonely,” Rachel continued with a pensive look. “Kurt and I applied to NYADA in New York and we got in. Brittany tried living with us for a while, but she ended up going back home.” Santana filed away that puzzling piece of information, vowing to ask Brittany about that period of her life. “Then she kind of just dropped off the map. Next thing Kurt and I know, she’d been living in Paris and was relocating to Boston. Suffice it to say, we were completely shocked when we heard Brittany had tried to become a cook! I mean, that’s just laughable,” Rachel snorted. “We all thought she maybe left the country to pursue dancing.”

Santana gripped Rachel’s chin harder, forcing her to look into Santana’s brown eyes. She leaned closer, until their noses were almost touching.

“Berry, if I ever hear you laughing at Brittany ever again, I will ends you. If I ever so much as dream that you’re making fun of Brittany for whatever reason, trust me, there’s no hole on the face of this planet big enough for you to hide in. I will find you, and I will go all Lima Heights on your hobbit ass.” She brought Rachel’s face even closer. “¿Me comprendes?”

That was how Brittany found them. Santana heard a pained gasp, and both she and Rachel turned slightly, seeking the source of the sound. Santana found Brittany holding her stomach as if in pain.

“Ugh San, you’re killing me,” Brittany said. Santana’s heart dropped at the look on her face. Before she could call out to the blonde, Brittany was already running away.

###

"Britt, wait! Brittany! Wait a second!” Brittany heard Santana call out to her, and that only made her run faster. She knew she was acting completely childish, but she just had to get away. The hurt she was feeling was way too familiar, no matter how irrational, and she needed a moment to collect herself.

She exited the building, barely taking a moment to orient herself. She saw a taxi across the street, and with no regard to her safety, she ran towards it. She opened the backseat door but before she could get in, a body collapsed against the door, shutting it violently.

“Brittany! Please, just hold on!” Santana’s panicked face came into focus.

“Santana, I need to go, I need to go back to the restaurant, please just let me leave,” Brittany begged her in one breathless rant. She tried opening the door to the cab again, but Santana didn’t budge.

“But why? Britt, what you saw, it’s not what you think. If you’d just let me –”

“Santana! Fuck! I need to go back to work. Step the hell away!” Brittany yelled. She winced at Santana’s stricken look, but she didn’t falter. She just needed a minute to think, alone.

“Ok Britt. Whatever you want.” Santana stepped back, letting her get in the cab. Brittany didn’t know if she should cry in gratitude or despair. She told the address to the confused taxi driver, closing the door on Santana without another word.

For the ten minutes it took to reach the restaurant, Brittany’s mind reeled with emotions. From the awe she felt watching Santana up on that stage, to the burning lust, to the sick dread she felt seeing Santana and Rachel together, she was completely overwhelmed. She had been unfair to Santana, running off like that. But she needed some space away from the Latina. She needed to think, and she couldn’t do that when she was near the younger woman.

Once back, she buried herself in work. She was like a mindless drone, attending tables, helping manage the crowd at the bar, giving a hand in the kitchen; she moved like a well-oiled machine, recognizing where she was needed before the need arose. To the customers, she was her usual sunny charismatic self. To her employees, she was cold and unrelenting, but never unkind. They pushed themselves harder because they saw how steadfast their fearless leader worked. In short, New Directions’ busiest night ended up being a total success.

A few hours later, Brittany instructed Artie Abrams, her host, to stop seating people. She looked around at the slowly emptying interior, letting wisps of exhaustion grip the edges of her mind. She was about to walk back to the kitchen to check-in with Blaine when she saw her.

Santana was sitting at the bar, nursing a vodka tonic. She saw her signal Jake, her bartender, for another one. She took a deep breath before making her way to the bar. She sat down next to her.

“Hi,” she said quietly. She caught Jake’s eye and he nodded, letting her know he would prepare her usual Strawberry Daiquiri.

Santana turned to look at her. She shot Brittany a wink before sporting a questioning look.

“Hi?”

Brittany caught on right away, and happily played along. She racked her mind, remembering the words they exchanged the very first time Brittany approached Santana at a Starbucks.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

“Are you serious?” Santana shot her a mock frown.

“Yes. Do you mind?” She pursed her lips, trying not to laugh. Her attempt at keeping a straight face was in vain as Santana started giggling. “San, you messed up.”

“Sorry Britt. It’s just funny, cause you’re already sitting.”

“Hm, I guess it is,” Brittany chuckled.

Santana nodded, a small gentle smile gracing her lips. Brittany felt her mind ease for the first time that night. She said a quick thank you to Jake as he placed their drinks in front of them.

“You weren’t kidding when you said you were busy,” Santana broke their easy silence. “It might not be my place to say this, but…I’m really proud of you Britt. You created something really amazing here.”

Brittany smiled, looking down at the counter, feeling heat rush up her neck and infuse her cheeks.

“Thank you,” she whispered. She took a long drink out of her red cocktail, before taking Santana’s hand in her own. “Come home with me tonight?”

Santana was about to sip her own drink, but froze with the glass halfway up to her lips.

“What do you mean?” She fixed Brittany with a searching look.

“Santana. I’m really tired. I want us to talk, but I can’t tonight. So, I’m asking you to come home with me. And I can cook you breakfast in the morning. And we can talk, first thing tomorrow. Please?”

Brittany waited with baited breath. She watched as Santana slowly lowered her glass. She took it out of her hand and took a sip, wincing at the bitter taste.

“Ew.”

“Ok.”

“Really?”

“On one condition.”

Brittany looked at her expectantly.

I’ll cook breakfast,” Santana dead-panned. Brittany laughed.

“Deal. Come on, let’s check in with Blaine. We can go out the back.”

She got up from the bar stool, pulling Santana off hers by the hand she still held. They made their way to the kitchen, stopping every so often so Brittany could say good-night and thank you to some of the regular customers she recognized.

“Blaine, I’m going to take off. How are you holding up back here?”

“We’re good. We’re just finishing up with some orders, then we’ll do some light cleaning. I’m going to leave the brunt of it for tomorrow,” he said. “I think we all deserve a little break.”

“That’s fine with me,” Brittany squeezed Santana’s hand, suddenly realizing they probably hadn’t eaten anything all night. “Can I take some scrap off your hands?” she cheekily asked. Blaine laughed.

“Marley will set you up.” He smiled knowingly at them. “Dinner for two, I’m assuming?”

Brittany rolled her eyes.

“I could say the same to you, Blaine Warbler. I wonder where Kurt is staying over tonight? I know he’s not coming home…”

“Wha-You-No,” Blaine stuttered, blushing furiously. “Just get out of here. And it’s Blaine Anderson!”

Brittany winked at Santana, laughing. She saw Santana looking over her shoulder, staring at Blaine with a thoughtful look on her face.

“What’s wrong, San?”

“Nothing, I’m just thinking you’re right. He does look like a warbler. A perching bird,” she explained once she saw Brittany was giving her a strange look. “Isn’t that what you just called him?”

“Yes,” Brittany gave her a brilliant smile. “That’s exactly what I just called him. You’re just, like, the first person to ever get it.” She stepped closer to Santana, giving her a quick but firm kiss.

They walked back to Brittany’s apartment. They shared an amused laugh once Santana noticed the hole. Brittany bid her to sit at the table, and she set out their dinner. She wanted to pamper Santana as a way to apologize for her behavior earlier in the night, and from the other woman’s amused smile, she could see Santana knew exactly what she was doing.

They exchanged flirty glances and small touches throughout dinner. Santana insisted she do the dishes, so Brittany took the opportunity to shower and get ready for bed. She was tired and about ready to drop, but she was also thrumming with nervous anticipation. Tonight had been illuminating in many ways, and Brittany couldn’t wait to share some her feelings with the girl in the other room.

Once she was dressed, Brittany got everything ready for Santana in the bathroom, including some of her own clothes for her to change into. She waited, sitting up on her bed, for the Latina to finish.

“Britt.” She snapped her head up to find Santana leaning against the doorway of her bedroom. Her breath caught at the sight. Santana was wearing one of her tight tank tops and tiny shorts. Brittany had always been attracted to her; who wouldn’t? Santana was truly a beautiful woman. But her attraction had never soared as high as it did now. What was before simple lust transformed into an inexplicable craving. Brittany drank her with her eyes; this amazing woman was going to share her bed tonight, and that made her the luckiest woman in the world.

“Come here.” She watched as Santana took hesitant steps into the room.

“Are you sure?”

“I just want to sleep next to you,” Brittany shrugged. She could feel herself blush so hard, even the tip of her ears burned.

Santana got under the covers next to her. Brittany turned off the light before she did the same. She searched for Santana’s hand, and brought it up to her mouth once she found it. She kissed her palm, before linking their pinkies. She could feel Santana smiling in the darkness.

“Good night, Britt-Britt.”

“See you tomorrow, San.”

Chapter Text

Brittany snapped her eyes open. She was sleeping on her side, right at the edge on the right side of her bed. Her first thought of the day was just one name: Santana. She turned around to find the spot next to her empty, but still warm. She raised herself slightly, until she was supporting her upper body with her elbows. She strained to hear, finally breathing easy once she realized there were sounds coming from the kitchen.

She stood up and stretched, before doing a triple pirouette in place. She was that excited, and the day hadn’t even truly begun yet.

She padded barefoot into her kitchen, smiling at the sight that greeted her. Santana was currently on her tip-toes, trying to reach for something on a shelf above her. She decided against lending a hand in favor of appreciating the smaller girl’s backside. Santana still wore Brittany’s clothes, the same ones she went to bed with the night before. She couldn’t decide which view she preferred, Santana’s front or back.

“I can feel you staring at me,” Santana disrupted Brittany’s very pleasurable thoughts. “Mind giving me a hand here?”

Brittany rolled her eyes playfully, before making her way to her. She saw Santana was pointing to a plastic container she didn’t even know she owned. She reached up and easily acquired the item for her.

“Did you really feel me staring at you?” Brittany asked, more out of a desire to fill in the silence rather than a desire to know the answer.

“Educated guess. I could hear you breathing, and when you didn’t say anything, I figured you were probably checking out my ass.”

“A little too confident, aren’t we?”

“Hey, I know I got myself some hot assets. Don’t tell me you disagree?” Santana looked pointedly at her. She laughed, raising her hands in surrender. She definitely couldn’t argue with that.

“Thought so,” Santana said with a smirk. Brittany took a moment to admire another one of her favorite Santana expressions. Once again, she felt the urge to kiss her cute defined dimple. This time, she didn’t hold back. She leaned down and placed a small peck right where she wanted. She felt Santana’s breathing falter.

“Britt,” she breathed out. “You’re distracting me. Go sit down, breakfast is almost ready.”

“Can I help with anything?”

“No way, I got this. That was our deal.”

“Ok.” Brittany moved to the table in the living room, pouting when she realized she couldn’t see Santana anymore. She thought back to Santana’s own kitchen, and her breakfast style counter that allowed for a completely open view of the interior. If Santana cooking for her was going to become a regular thing, she might have to seriously consider investing in some redecorating.

“San, do you mind eating on the couch?” she called out.

“We can eat wherever you want.” 

Brittany slid open the doors to the balcony, shivering slightly at the morning chill. She sat down on her couch and leaned her head back, trying to catch a few glimpses of Santana through the open kitchen door. After a few minutes, Santana came out carrying two steaming cups. Brittany jumped up to relieve her, and watched as she turned back only to come out holding three full plates.

“Geez San, that’s a lot. How long have you been up?”

“Like, half an hour. You have some sick appliances in there, Britt.”

“Yeah, it’s all Blaine. He pretty much stocked my whole kitchen with a bunch of state of the art crap I don’t use.”

“Well, if you ever want to get rid of any of them, you let me know,” Santana laughed a little awkwardly. Brittany smiled at her apparent nervousness. She was actually surprised at how calm and collected she felt; normally, this would be the time when she would be itching to run away and hide.

“I missed you when I woke up this morning,” she said, loving how flustered Santana was getting. When she almost dropped the plate she was holding, Brittany decided not to tease the girl anymore.

Santana sat quietly next to her, and they both ate in silence. Brittany asked if she should turn on the TV, and Santana shook her head no. When she saw the Latina was mostly playing with her food, she took her plate and set it along with her own on the coffee table in front of them.

“Is this too much?” Brittany looked at her in concern.

“No, no Britt. I’m just,” Santana wiped both her hands on her thighs. “Really nervous for some reason.”

“Hm,” Brittany considered her next move. She knew Santana liked her; she had even said so herself right before they first kissed. The least she could do was return the favor.

“Britt?” Santana said before Brittany could formulate any words. “I-I like you. A lot. I like how easy it is to be around you. I love our friendship, I do. But, we’ve been…growing closer these past few days, and I just need to know. Is friendship all you want? Do you see us being something more, one day?”

“San, look at me.” She waited until Santana looked away from her hands, now clutching her thighs for dear life, and into her eyes. “I like you too. And in case you didn’t notice, I can’t seem to be around you without wanting to kiss you at least once. So, yeah, I definitely want us to be more than friends.”

Santana let out the big perfect smile she loved, and Brittany almost swooned at how adorably sexy she looked.

“Which is why,” she cleared her throat. Damn her inability to talk whenever Santana smiled at her like that. “I really wanted us to talk first thing today. I don’t know where to begin. I guess I should apologize for yesterday. What I did –”

“No, Britt, no apologies necessary. I mean it,” Santana cut her off. Brittany nodded, thinking how she should proceed now.

“Oh, I know. How about you ask me something? Anything you want to know.”

Santana narrowed her eyes in thought.

“Why do you hate Rachel?”

Of course she had to ask that, Brittany thought.

“I don’t hate Rachel.”

“Brittany, come on. At one point yesterday, I actually feared for her safety.”

Brittany rolled her eyes.

“I don’t hate her. I just, I get so angry when she’s around. She’s always taking everything away from me.”

Brittany instantly regretted her harsh tone at seeing Santana’s bulging eyes. She rubbed her forehead, wondering how she could explain everything in a way that made sense. She was never the greatest with words.

“Ok, let me start over?” Santana nodded for her to continue. “Kurt and I, we’ve know each other since we were kids. Kurt’s dad and my father are buddies; Kurt’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. We became best friends, we did everything together. He’s,” Brittany softened. “He’s my unicorn.”

“Then high school happened. I got into the cheerleading team, the step team, you name it. I was popular. Kurt, he met Rachel Berry, and joined glee club. He was at the bottom of the food chain. You know?”

“Oh, I know.”

Brittany grimly nodded at Santana’s comment. Everyone knew what a vindictive place high school could be to some people.

“I didn’t care about how ‘uncool’ he was. I refused to stop hanging out with him. I even pretended to date him for a while, but everyone knew he was gay, so that didn’t really work. I joined glee club. I sat down with him at lunch. I tried, I really did. But, it still happened. We grew apart.”

Brittany took a sip of her lukewarm coffee.

“And in the meantime, he and Rachel became closer. They did everything together. He found someone more like him. He never had time for me. When we did things together, she was always there. Then his step-brother started dating her, and after that, it was like we lived in two different worlds.”

Brittany made sure she still had her attention before she continued. Santana’s eyes were riveted on her.

“I hated him for that. For a long time. I don’t really get along with my parents, and my sister is so much younger than me, she and I never really bonded. Even though I was so popular, I had a really hard time making friends. They all made fun of how bad I was in school. I was the stupid slutty dancer. Kurt was all I had, and then I didn’t have him anymore.”

“How old is your sister?” Santana asked while Brittany paused to gather her thoughts together.

“She just turned 18, actually. She graduated this year. Top of her class,” Brittany let out a mirthless laugh. “Little Ashley, my parents’ pride and joy.” She closed her eyes. She wouldn’t let that old anger consume her, not ever again. “Like I said, my parents and I don’t get along. Unfortunately, resenting my sister is pretty much a given, even though she doesn’t really deserve it.”

She waited to see if Santana would jump on that piece of information, but she remained silent. Inwardly, Brittany was thankful. She wasn’t quite ready to open that can of worms just yet.

“So, back to Kurt. By junior year, we were barely talking. That summer, Rachel was away doing whatever, so Kurt and I had a chance to reconnect. We talked, a lot. Put a lot of things out on the table. I told him everything I felt, he said a lot of things too. How he felt like my charity case, and how he was holding me back, all this stuff I thought back then was a bunch of horseshit.” She grinned at Santana’s surprised laugh.

“But, we promised that senior year would be different. And it was. Until one day, he tells me he and Rachel were moving to New York. And just like that, it felt like he was leaving me behind, all over again,” Brittany continued. “I found a dancing gig out that way, so I went with them. Worst time of my life. Not even three months in, I packed everything and went back to Chicago. We lost touch. Then Paris happened, and it was easy to just, disappear. The rest you know.”

“But, how did Kurt end up here, in Boston?” Santana wondered. “I know Rachel came to study at Berklee after NYADA.”

“He decided performing wasn’t his thing. When Rachel moved here, Kurt came with her. His dad helped him open his own boutique. He’d interned with Vogue magazine in New York, he had the contacts, and the talent. Today, he’s super successful.” Brittany sipped her coffee again, now almost cold, to relieve her dry throat. “By the time Blaine and I moved here, Rachel was graduating from her master’s program, and Kurt was getting his store off the ground. I was at a better stage in my life, so when Kurt tried reaching out, I reached back. I helped him with the store. I may not be book smart, but I’m good with numbers,” Brittany shrugged self-consciously. “He helped me get started with the restaurant. He knew who to contact, what permits I would need, he set me up with a lawyer, everything. If it hadn’t been for his help, I might still be struggling my way through.”

Brittany observed Santana as she processed everything she’d learned. She looked deep in thought, and Brittany wondered what she was thinking.

“So, that’s the long answer. I don’t hate Rachel. I just blame her for everything.” They laughed. “No, seriously though. I don’t hate her. Like, I’m actually really grateful to her. She took care of Kurt when I couldn’t. But, I just got my best friend back. Thinking back on it all, it still hurts. But I don’t want to ruin our friendship again. Rachel’s my outlet. I mean, bitch is always around. Even you know her,” Brittany accusingly pointed at Santana, smiling slightly to show she was teasing. “It’s so annoying.”

“I can see that,” Santana said. “What happened to dancing?”

Brittany winced.

“That’s, that’s another long story. Is it ok if we leave that for another time? Can’t be giving away all my secrets all at once,” she tried to laugh it off. Santana shot her this knowing look, and Brittany knew she didn’t fool her.

“Of course, Britt.”

###

“It’s your turn San. I think you owe me a couple of ‘in person’ explanations,” Brittany chuckled.

“Right, yes I do. Uh, I guess I should start with me and Quinn?”

“Actually, I’d rather hear about why you dropped out of college.”

Santana hesitated. She wanted to tell Brittany, but she knew telling this story would cause her to break down. Was she ready to be that vulnerable in front of the other woman?

She watched Brittany gaze calmly back at her. She felt anchored by the deep blue eyes, infused with a sudden peace. Brittany had shared so much of herself with Santana. Yes, she could do the same. She could be vulnerable in front of her; she could break apart, because she knew Brittany would be there to keep her together.

“I lost my mom 3 years ago. Cancer.” Brittany’s eyes got big and sad, but she didn’t interrupt. “I found out about it a couple of months before she died. She told me that she and my dad decided they wouldn’t tell me early on, because they didn’t want to interrupt my life. As if anything I could ever do would ever be more important than help take care of her,” Santana forced herself to laugh; she felt like she could fall into a pit of sadness at any moment. “She was so proud when Quinn and I got into Yale. Even more than my dad, the surgeon. She told me she would never forgive herself if she got in the way.”

She smiled when Brittany took her hand and brought it to her lap. Santana squeezed it to show she appreciated the contact.

“When they finally told me, Quinn and I dropped everything and went back home. God Britt, she was so sick. I could barely recognize her. It happened so fast. Even though I still had almost two months with her, it felt like nothing. I blinked, and she was gone. I didn’t understand. I didn’t, couldn’t, accept it. After she died, I felt like something inside me broke. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. School, date, eat, sleep,” Santana breathed out a shuddering breath. “So I dropped out. I did what my mom was so afraid of. I can’t imagine how disappointed she would be if she knew.”

Santana startled when she felt Brittany touch her cheek, gently wiping away tears she didn’t even know were falling.

“Oh San,” she said, eyes watering.

“It’s not so bad now,” Santana let out a wet chuckle at Brittany’s unbelieving look. “Honest. I mean, it’s still hard. Some days, something happens that reminds me of her, and I can’t sleep. I get stuck in this dark place. I feel like, if I can’t dedicate every moment to remembering her, I’m going to forget her. So I try to stay awake, and I think of her, for as long as I can.” Santana shook her head, trying to dispel the despair clawing at her insides. “She was my best friend. It kills me that I can’t be who she wanted me to be. I don’t know how to make her be proud of me. I’ve been so lost without her.”

Santana felt like a dam broke inside of her. She started crying. She’d never uttered those words, her biggest fears and regrets, out loud before. She covered her mouth, trying to control herself. When she felt Brittany pull her close and envelop her in a hug, she sobbed harder.

She started to calm down after a while. Santana didn’t know how long it had been since she started crying, but Brittany had held her the entire time. Santana took a deep breath, burrowing her nose in the blonde’s neck and inhaling her sweet vanilla scent.

“I get it, you know?” she heard Brittany say. “I’d be angry too.”

Santana pulled back, frowning in confusion.

“What makes you think I’m angry?”

Brittany shrugged.

“You never got to say good-bye. Not really. Your dad, he had all this time with your mom. I’m sure it was super hard for him, to watch his wife go through this horrible disease. But he was there, by her side, every step of the way. They took that from you. You didn’t get the good-bye you might have wanted. I’d be angry too.”

Santana stilled, feeling like a huge chunk of her life had snapped back into place. Was that it? Was she angry? This overwhelming grief she still felt, this inability to live, was that all anger? Sure, she’d raged when she found out about her mom’s sickness, and how her parents had kept it all from her. But then her mom had gotten so much worse, she’d had to push it all to the back of her mind. She never realized that, little by little, all that buried anger had been crippling her.

“I guess you’re right, Britt. I have been angry. So angry. How are you so smart?” Santana tried to joke, but Brittany just looked at her. Santana felt her chest expand with this sudden epiphany. “She kept it all from me, and she convinced my dad not to say anything. She didn’t let me be there for her. I’m so mad at her for that.”

All at once, Santana sagged against the couch. As it always happened, whenever she would think of her mom, the sadness and the grief overpowered all other emotion, and she became stuck, withdrawn. She was about to let the memories she had of her mom flood her mind when she felt Brittany tighten the hold she had on her hand into a painful grip.

“Hey, where’d go?”

“Huh?” Why was Brittany looking at her like that?

“Santana!” Brittany scooched closer until she had Santana pressed against the arm of the couch. The feeling of Brittany almost on top of her, all around her, snapped her back to reality. “Hey, you with me?”

“Yeah, Britt, I’m with you.”

“Ok. You scared me, San.” She would have laughed at Brittany’s adorable pout if she didn’t look so worried.

“I’m sorry, Britt-Britt,” Santana stalled, at a loss. She didn’t know what else she could say, without sounding like a complete lunatic. She’d basically gotten lost inside herself, and Brittany had witnessed the whole thing.

“Does that happen a lot?” she asked quietly. Santana nodded. “Have you tried talking to someone about it?”

“Yeah. Yeah, of course. Quinn and I have been there for each other. And believe it or not, Rachel helped me a lot too.” Brittany tilted her head, looking uncertain. “I’m serious. She kinda knows all about absent mothers.”

“Hm, I guess you’re right. But, I meant like…”

“Like a therapist?” Santana frowned.

“Maybe. It’s not as bad as it sounds.”

“Do you…” Santana didn’t know how to phrase the question without sounding judgmental.

“I used to, kind of. There’s this guidance counselor at my high school. Her name’s Emma. She took an interest in me, she saw early on I wasn’t doing good at school. She helped me study, kept me focused. I talked to her about things. We still talk.” Brittany looked a bit embarrassed at the admission. “She’s the closest thing I have to a parent figure.”

“I’m glad you have someone like that in your life, Britt,” Santana said. She didn’t want Brittany to feel embarrassed about sharing herself with her.

“Me too. She taught me a lot. I’m not good with putting things into words, but she showed me how to analyze my rambling thoughts, and weed out the things that matter. Knowing myself that intimately, it really helps.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, San. After high school, I was so angry. I used to think no one saw me, and that only made me angrier. Everybody around me was happy, moving on with their lives, and that pissed me off. I would feel this need to make everyone around me as mad as I was, and that scared me. I think it was recognizing that part of me that helped me control it. Now I just have to remind myself that I’d rather be happy than angry.”

“And that works?” Santana asked, fascinated by her words. Brittany was uncannily describing almost everything she felt right at that moment. The helplessness, the need to lash out; it was all painfully familiar.

“Hm, I take it day by day,” Brittany shrugged. “It got a lot easier after I opened the restaurant. You know, I used to think I was the only angry person in the world, but now I don’t think that. Because now I don’t have to remind myself that there are other angry people out there. They come into my restaurant almost every day, and I see them, I know they exist.” Brittany looked down, watching as she played with Santana’s fingers. “And not just that, but I see the happy people too. Like, once, this guy proposed to his girlfriend after dinner, and she said yes. They were so happy, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘this is going to be their place.’ Like, maybe in a year, I’ll see them again when they come back to celebrate their anniversary. Or maybe in two years she’ll choose my restaurant to tell him she’s pregnant or something.”

“And that makes me happy,” Brittany looked into Santana’s eyes. “Life is made of memories. And my restaurant, something I build, is going to be a part of those people’s memories forever. Good memories. That’s what I wanted to do, with dancing. I wanted to be memorable. I found another way to be just that.”

“You still need to tell me about that,” Santana whispered. Who was this amazing woman, and how lucky was she that Brittany chose to approach her in that Starbucks?

“And you still need to tell me about how you know Rachel,” Brittany also whispered. Santana realized they were so close, there was almost no room for air to pass between their bodies. “And about Quinn. It sounds like you guys are really close. She really loves you.”

“I know. You’re not jealous, are you?”

“San,” Brittany rolled her eyes. “Do you want me to be jealous?”

“Maybe,” Santana breathed against Brittany’s approaching lips.

“Maybe I am. A little.”

“Ok.”

“Ok?”

“Mhm,” Santana was about to close the miniscule gap when Brittany’s front door burst open.

“I’m home!” Kurt exclaimed, waltzing inside the apartment. He closed the door with a flourish before approaching them. “Oohh, did I interrupt somethi–AAHH!”

Santana and Brittany gasped in unison. They watched helplessly as Kurt’s leg fell straight through the tarp-covered hole.

“Damn it! Ow, my balls,” Kurt tried to pull himself up, but his legs were almost completely splayed open and he couldn’t find a grip. Brittany snorted. “What are you two looking at, come help me!”

Brittany turned her face into Santana's neck, laughing uncontrollably. She couldn’t do anything else but join her. Santana covered her mouth, trying to hide her mirth from Kurt.

“Bitch, get me out of here!”

“Ok, ok,” Brittany jumped up and gripped Kurt under his arms, pulling him up and out of the hole. Santana watched as he dropped to the floor next to the coffee table, hands clenching between his legs.

“Is everything alright up there, dear?”

Santana looked on, astonished, as Brittany stuck her head down the hole.

“Everything is fine, Mrs. Patti. I’m so sorry Kurt’s leg fell through your ceiling.”

“Fuck you, Brittany, this is all your fault. Oh, it hurts so much,” Kurt moaned in pain.

Brittany stood up.

“Why are you so sensitive down there, anyway? Have fun with Blaine last night?” she tossed over her shoulder as she left the room.

Santana’s laughter died down in the face of Kurt’s dark scowl. Who knew she’d be having this much jovial fun after the soul stirring morning she just experienced? So many things had been cleared, and so many things had yet to come out into the open. But one thing she knew for sure: as long as she stayed with Brittany, she’d never live another dull moment ever again.

Chapter Text

“Warbler, I’d like a word with you.”

Santana entered the kitchen as if she owned the place. She’d been visiting Brittany at work every night for the past week, and she was starting to feel comfortable roaming New Directions as if it were her own. Ever since she and Brittany had had that talk in the blonde’s apartment, things had picked up at the restaurant to astronomical proportions. Brittany’s entire staff had worked every night this week, and to Santana’s dissatisfaction, it looked like the onslaught of customers would not slow down until after Halloween.

“Oh, not you too,” Blaine grimaced. “What did Brittany tell you? I went to an all-boys school and I’m gay, it’s not that big of a deal.”

“What, no. Why would I care about that? You know what, don’t answer that. I’m not here to talk about you. I need your help.” Santana pulled a metal chair up to where Blaine sat on a similar one, and started helping him remove the ends and strings of green beans. “Brittany hasn’t had a night off all week.”

“I know that, we’ve all been really busy,” Blaine said, eyeing Santana warily.

But you’re not the one I want to take out on a date , Santana thought, snapping the vegetables a little too aggressively.

“I know she’s under a lot of stress, but it’s like every time we make plans you all call her in for some dumb emergency. She’s not made of steel, Blaine. She needs a break.”

“Right,” Blaine stretched out the word mockingly. “No ulterior motives here besides her well-being. It’s not like you’re trying to get into her pants or something?”

“Hey, don’t talk like that about my –” Santana stalled, uncertain of what to call Brittany. Was she just her friend? Her girlfriend? Her lady-loving partner? “About her. It’s not like that. I mean, sure, I’m starving for some Brittz time, but I’m honestly worried about her.”

“I get it, Santana, but there’s not much I can do. It’s been crazy here. We’ve all had to come in every night. Look around you,” Santana crossed her arms and eyed her surroundings, noting how everybody was bustling around in frenzy. “The kitchen has been running since this morning, and we don’t open for another 4 hours. We’re all about to snap. Trust me, I’ve seen Brittany run herself ragged unnecessarily. This isn’t that.”

“There has to be something you can do,” Santana raised her hands in frustration. “The restaurant has been doing so well. Can’t you guys hire more help?”

“We’ve been trying, but Brittany is very...” Blaine lowered is eyes, suddenly extremely focused on his task. “Selective when it comes to hiring someone new.”

Santana frowned at his shifty tone.

“What does that mean?”

“It’s not really my place to say.”

Santana leaned against the table, hovering over her abandoned pile of green beans.

“Listen to me, Blaine I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-your-name-is. You’re going to open your mouth, and you’re going to tell me what is going through your head right now, or I swear I’ll break into your house, and switch out all your hair gel for cat shit.” She lowered her voice, smirking when she saw she had Blaine ensnared. “And you don’t want to take me up on that. Trust me, I have easy access to tons of cat shit.”

Two heartbeats later, she had Blaine singing like some kind of weird cross between a warbler and a canary.

“Brittany only hires men. I don’t know why. She only ever likes the male candidates, which is seriously wrong since it is all kinds of illegal to discriminate by gender. But even with the men, she only likes a few. The only exception is Marley, and only because I put my foot down. She’s a good cook, I don’t care that she’s a woman and Brittany can stuff whatever weird prejudice she has against women in the work force, I have a right to choose who I put in my own kitchen, damn it!”

Blaine took a deep breath, composing himself. Santana stared wide-eyed throughout his rant, watching as he calmly straightened his bow tie and daintily rubbed his forehead.

“You have issues, dude,” was all Santana could offer.

“I couldn’t agree more,” a voice said from behind her. She watched Blaine close his eyes in despair, mouthing a silent fuck. She turned around.

“Hi Britt,” she said happily. She’d be lying if she didn’t say she was totally turned on watching Brittany’s mere presence elicit that kind of reaction from the man in front of her.

Brittany shot her a small smile and a wink, squeezing her shoulder. She leaned down until she was level with Blaine, and waited until he opened his eyes to speak.

“So I’m a chauvinist now? I discriminate against women? Really?” Brittany titled her head to the right, narrowing her eyes. “If I didn’t know any better, Blaine Warbler, I’d think you were talking shit behind my back. And we both know how I feel about that, don’t we?”

Santana clenched her thighs. God, Brittany was so hot.

“Now Brittany, it-it’s not what you think,” Blaine was actually sweating. “You caught that out of context.”

“Hm, I’ll take your word for it. Oh, and by the way?” She straightened to her full height, and Santana thought she looked like an avenger out of an epic fairy tale. “I changed my mind. I’m not going to wait until after Halloween to dig my pit. So you’ll just have to work around the noise.”

“But,”

Brittany turned to Santana abruptly, cutting Blaine off before he could protest.

“I’m not a woman-hater, San,” she pouted. Santana melted.

“I know that, Britt-Britt.” She took the hand still on her shoulder and kissed it lightly, earning a small grin from the blonde. With a last cute glare towards Blaine, she pulled Santana towards the back, past the cold storage room, until they reached a small break room.

“Huh, I didn’t know this was back here,” Santana tried to dispel the awkward silence.

“Why was he telling you those things?” Brittany ignored her, sitting down at a small round table. She put a leg up on the table top and leaned back, staring intently at her. Santana sighed. How was she going to explain?

“Britt, I…I mean, we were talking and…And then I asked why you don’t just hire more people, and he was just trying to explain…Ugh,” Santana shook her head in defeat.

“Hm, maybe he’s just stressed,” Brittany scratched the back of her neck. “To be fair, he’s not exactly wrong. I have been only hiring men lately.”

“Oh?” Santana was a bit surprised at the admission.

Brittany shrugged.

“I only ever hang out with Kurt, sometimes Rachel, and the people here. Sometimes I’d end up getting involved with someone here. With women, it was a real problem. They got really clingy, really fast. Not the guys, they were always cool with me breaking it off,” Brittany paused. “Except Sam. Guy doesn’t know how to take a hint.”

Santana sat on the chair across from her, a little stunned. She was definitely not expecting that, of all things.

“Britt, you could get sued for sexual harassment in the work place. You can’t have a sexual relationship with your employees.”

Brittany dismissed her warning with a shrug.

“We’re all consenting adults here. Besides, I work side-by-side with all of them. It’s not like I’m some sleazy old manager jerking off in a little office.”

Santana winced at the crude imagery. She eyed Brittany’s slumped form on the chair. Her hair was slightly wavy, falling down past her shoulders. A grey scarf was wrapped around her neck, on top of a dark blue long-sleeved shirt. Grey jeans tucked into high-heeled black boots topped off her attire. She was like a lady-killer, complete with the sexy smirk and charismatic eyes. Santana sighed, part in adoration, part in exasperation. Brittany was just too good-looking for her own good.

“Santana, contrary to what Blaine told you, I’m very selective of whom I hire because I screen people very carefully. I’m trying to build a family here. The reason why it takes so long to find help is because I’m looking for people who really want to be a part of New Directions. That’s hard enough to find as it is. When it comes down to it, I’ve found men are more likely to commit to waitressing long-term.”

Santana nodded. She could see that.

“When I do find someone, it’s pretty special. We have a connection. I trust my people wholeheartedly, and they trust me. What can I say, I like my guys. They bend over backwards to do things right for my restaurant. I appreciate them,” Brittany said with a wicked smile.

“So, you’ve slept with everyone here?” Santana asked in a huff. She wasn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect.

“Almost, yeah. Not Finn, because he’s Rachel’s ex, and I don’t even want to go there. And Blaine, for obvious reasons. And Marley. She’s in this love triangle with Jake and Ryder, and it’s all dramatic and gross.”

The door to the break room opened and a blue-eyed, slender brunette with a painfully innocent look about her entered.

“Speak of the devil. Santana, this is Marley, Blaine’s sous-chef.”

“Oh, Santana, I’ve heard a lot about you. It’s nice to finally meet you,” Marley said, placing her purse on the table where they sat. Santana nodded to the too-pleasant girl, before eyeing the bag suspiciously. “Brittany, I’m just going to go change and help Blaine out there.”

As soon as Marley had made her way out of the room, Santana pulled the forgotten purse towards her and started rummaging through it. She found a lot of girly crap inside, and scowled. Why did women carry so much shit around with them all the time?

“What are you doing, San?” Brittany dragged her chair closer, and was peering curiously inside the bag.

“I’m going through her things. It’s this thing I do.”

Santana hummed once she finally found something interesting: a little brown notebook.

“What is this, a corny diary or something?” she wondered.

“That could be a cook book. Blaine carries one around, and jots down notes on it and so on,” Brittany mused. Santana nodded, debating whether she should open it. She had no qualms about being nosy, she was just made that way. But even she had her limits.

She opened the book to the last entry, figuring that wasn’t too invasive. After quickly perusing the page, she shut the book with a snap, torn between being impressed or utterly disturbed by what she’d just read.

“What?” Brittany asked.

“Uh, huh, well,” Santana dropped the little book as if it was on fire, zipping the purse closed and pushing it away from her. “Let’s just say little Ms. Girl Next Door isn’t so wholesome after all.”

Brittany leaned in closer.

“What did you read?” she breathed against Santana’s cheek, making her shiver in excitement. That made her pause for a moment. She hoped to God it was Brittany’s proximity that was turning her on, and not what she had just read from the little brown book.

“Britt, she uh,” Santana turned around, coming face to face with Brittany. “She gets a little turned on by food, that’s all.”

Brittany leaned back, both eyebrows raised. Santana watched her eye the bag with a strange look, and she knew exactly what was coming. Brittany lunged for the purse. At the same time, Santana semi-tackled her from the side, landing on top of the blonde and immobilizing her arms.

“San, I want to see!”

“No, Britt, it’s not right!”

“But you got to do it,” Brittany struggled against the hold. She planted both feet on the ground and stood up taking Santana with her. The Latina quickly put her arms around Brittany’s neck, at the same time as both her legs went around the taller woman’s waist.

“Brittany! Oh, you’re really strong,” all at once, Santana’s tone changed from startled to breathless. She saw Brittany’s eyes darken into two pools of smoldering blue. Next thing she knew, she laid on top of the table with Brittany settled on top of her between her legs.

Santana pulled Brittany down into a fervent kiss, wasting no time in invading her mouth with her tongue. She ripped the gray scarf away, throwing it over her head. She heard a thump and she distantly registered the movement had probably thrown Marley’s bag to the floor. She moaned when she felt Brittany’s hands grip her thighs, forcing them to open wider. Brittany then pulled Santana’s center against her hard stomach, causing Santana to pull away from the kiss in surprise. She threw her head back in ecstasy, and Brittany moved her lips down to her now exposed neck. She was about to beg Brittany to touch her where she needed her the most, when a strangled gasp interrupted their heavy make-out session.

“Oh, God, oh, I’m so sorry!”

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” Santana heard Brittany utter against her neck, her deep guttural voice vibrating against the sensitive skin. She seconded the sentiment. She was so wet. All she wanted at that moment was Brittany’s fingers inside her.

“I forgot my purse,” Marley meekly whispered. She bent down to retrieve it from its place on the floor. “I’ll just, get out of your way now. Do you guys want the door closed or…”

“Get out!” they both yelled. The door slammed shut.

“Is it wrong I kinda want to keep going?” Santana tried asking. Brittany snorted.

“I really want to fuck you right now,” Santana’s center throbbed at Brittany’s words. “But Marley is a fucking blabbermouth. We should probably not stay in here.”

Santana relented. Brittany stood up, and after a minute of trying to catch her breath, she followed suit. She saw Brittany looking around as if disoriented, and she smiled at the cute sight. She bent down to get the discarded grey scarf.

“Here.” She wrapped it around Brittany’s neck gently, caressing it after she was done. Brittany leaned down and they shared a languid kiss that set her blood on fire at the same time it helped settle down her erratic heartbeat.

They exited the break room holding hands. Santana gathered Brittany’s team was too respectful to snigger at them, but she still bristled at the knowing looks everybody kept shooting their way.

“They’re just happy for us, San,” Brittany whispered against her ear.

They reached Blaine, who still looked slightly panicked every time he caught Brittany’s eye.

“Blaine, I’m sending you home today. Listen,” she raised her hand before he could say anything. “I’m just giving you a night off. I want to see how Marley handles herself without you around.”

Santana could practically see the gears turning in the blonde’s head. She was curious to know what Brittany had up her sleeve.

“Listen up everybody,” Brittany called out. The entire kitchen staff stopped to listen. “Tonight is Blaine’s night off. Marley is in charge. You are not to bother him tonight for any reason. Ok?” They all signaled they understood. Off in a corner by a huge sink, she could see Marley’s disbelieving stare. Santana wondered if the girl was up for the monumental task Brittany was entrusting to her.

“I’m not really doing this for you,” Brittany was saying once she tuned back to the conversation. “Kurt’s been in a bitchy mood ever since he fell in the hole. It’s been a pain to live with him. I’m hoping you’ll do something about that.”

Blaine smiled knowingly.

“Alright Brittany, on one condition,” he said. Santana thought she saw him look her way. “I’ll take tonight off, but only if you take tomorrow night off. It’s your turn to listen,” Blaine spoke up before Brittany could wedge a word in. “I agree with you that Marley should get a chance to man the kitchen. If tonight goes well, then tomorrow we’ll try again. That way, I’ll be free to take your place.”

“But you hate waitressing,” Brittany cocked a hip to the side, not giving up.

“So? I figure I can’t hide back here all the time.”

“And if Marley messes up tonight?”

“We both know you’ll just call me back in if anything goes wrong. So that’s the deal. Either we both take a night off, or neither of us takes one.”

Brittany stared blankly at him. Santana held her breath, ready to beg for Brittany to say yes. The blonde finally smiled.

“Deal.”

Everyone around them cheered. Santana was humbled by this amazing group of people Brittany and Blaine had managed to put together. Where else would the staff be this overjoyed to hear their bosses were going to take a break from work? She leaned up so Brittany could hear her over the noise.

“That was really nice of you, Britt.”

Brittany shrugged self-consciously, blushing slightly.

“I guess this means truce?” Blaine inserted himself in their private little bubble.

“For now,” Brittany said trying to keep a stern face. Santana giggled at how adorable she looked. Unless she was truly angry, Brittany’s frowning had the exact opposite effect.

“Oh no!” Brittany suddenly exclaimed. Santana and Blaine looked at her with wide eyes.

“What’s wrong, Britt?”

“I forgot my pistachios, San,” Brittany said sadly.

“Oh, Brittany, you scared me. I thought it was something serious,” Blaine said, pressing a hand against his chest.

“This is serious. How am I going to get through the night?”

“Brittany, they’re just seeds. You can do one night without them, it’s not going to kill you.”

Santana glared at Blaine. He raised his hands, palms facing upwards.

“She’s always eating them, what’s a few hours without them?”

Brittany looked seriously crestfallen. Her lips were pulled down and she stared straight ahead, eyes wet and big.

“Doesn’t Rory keep a stash around somewhere just for you?” Blaine wondered.

That’s not creepy at all , Santana thought.

“Yeah, but I caught him fishing the empty packets out of the trash the other day. That freaked me out.”

Seriously? Was Brittany running some sort of man harem she didn’t know about? What was up with these creeps pervying on her girl?

“Britt-Britt, don’t worry. I’ll go get you some right now.”

“You’d do that?” Brittany turned those big blue eyes on her. How could she say no to them?

“Of course.”

Brittany pulled her into a hug, twirling her around.

“Thanks, San. You’re the best girlfriend ever,” she said against her hair.

Everything inside of her stilled. Had Brittany just said what she thought she heard her say? Santana was euphoric, so much so that she couldn’t even feel when Brittany set her down on the ground. She felt like she was floating in place.

“Ok, I have to help clean up out front, but I’ll leave the back door unlocked for you,” she thought she heard Brittany say before she left Santana with a kiss on her cheek.

“Ok,” she said, dreamily staring after the retreating woman.

“You’re hopeless,” Blaine said somewhere to her left.

“Shut up. I didn’t think we were official yet. Brittany’s my girlfriend,” she couldn’t help adding the last part, loving how calling Brittany her girlfriend made her feel.

“I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s just a word,” Blaine said, fixing his bow tie.

“So Kurt is not your boyfriend?”

“He is. I just don’t need to say it.”

Santana laughed. Gay or straight, boys will be boys.

“Trust me, you need to say it.”

“No, Kurt is not like that.”

“Oh, Blaine.” She looked at him from the corner of her eye. “Because of what you did for Brittany, I’m going to help you out this one time. Kurt needs you to tell him he’s your boyfriend.” She turned to face him. “Don’t argue with me. Just go with Auntie Tana on this one,” she was satisfied to see him nod. “Good. And Blaine? Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Just make sure she has fun tomorrow.”

“Oh, I will.”

Chapter Text

“So, how come I’m the one picking you up, if you’re the one taking me out?”

Brittany waited for it, and it happened. Santana smiled the smile. She leaned against her pick-up truck, watching as the Latina came closer.

“You have the car, Britt. What was I supposed to do? It’s a ways to go to where we’re headed.”

Santana walked straight into Brittany’s arms, leaning up to give her a quick peck. Brittany tightened her hold around her hips when she felt her girlfriend start to pull away. She followed the retreating lips she so craved.

“Where are you going?”

“We should get going, Britt.” She shivered as Santana’s breath ghosted over her face.

“Not yet,” Brittany whispered. She kissed Santana, smirking when she felt hands in her hair. Santana pulled her closer, and she opened her mouth to allow the shorter girl access. Brittany caressed down her back, letting her hands roam closer to Santana’s ass. She dimly registered a nice buzz, and she wondered if her hands were going numb. She squeezed, and Santana moaned in her mouth. Yet, Brittany could barely enjoy the sensation, as she realized something was actually vibrating against her hands.

“Vibrator?” she said against Santana’s mouth.

“What?”

“Your butt is vibrating.”

“Oh,” Santana reached behind her with one hand. She pulled out her phone.

“Hello? I know, we’re leaving now. We’re on our way! Geez, don’t get your panties in a bunch.”

“Who was that?”

“You’ll see. Come on, we really gotta go.” Brittany pouted as Santana disentangled herself. “Don’t look at me like that, Britt, I promise it’ll be worth it.”

Brittany spent the next 40 minutes driving out of the city, begging Santana for clues to their destination. She knew she was being a little annoying, but she always got way too eager when it came to surprises. She took peeks at Santana to make sure she wasn’t pushing it too hard, and the small grin constantly present on her face assuaged Brittany’s fears.

“Ok, turn here,” Santana pointed to the corner ahead.

Brittany frowned as a small construction site came into view. Santana told her to pull up in front of a metal gate. She was just about to ask if they were even allowed to be here when Santana jumped out of the car.

“Where are you going?” she called out.

Santana shot her a reassuring smile. Brittany watched as she unlocked a big padlock and slid the metal gate open. She waved for Brittany to drive through the opening, sliding the gate closed and locking it behind them.

“Ok, now drive down to where that car is parked right up there,” she said once she was back inside.

Brittany silently drove and parked her pick-up truck next to a grey Mazda that looked like it had seen better days.

“Ugh, I keep telling him to be careful with my car. It looks like shit.”

“That’s your car?” Brittany asked. Santana nodded. “I thought you said you didn't have one? I’m so confused.”

“I never said I didn't own a car. I just don't have use for one. Come on, ready?” Santana was already out of the truck, walking towards a little portable cubicle style stall to their right.

“I guess,” Brittany said under her breath, watching as Santana waited for her by the stall. She followed suit, letting the girl take her hand and pull her inside.

The interior of the stall was grimy and smelled like mold. Brittany grimaced. Discarded cans of beer lined the floor, some open and some closed. A pizza box laid open on a small round table littered with papers. She finally took notice of the other person in the room, besides herself and Santana. A man leaned against a dirty desk tucked into a corner, with his head on top of his folded arms. She would have recognized that ugly strip of hair anywhere.

“Yo, Puckerwoman!” Santana kicked the desk, startling the man awake.

“Whoa, what?” He looked around disoriented before focusing on them.

“Are you for real? You call and bitch at me to hurry up and you’re in this shit hole taking a nap? Get up!”

“The fuck, calm down. You took too long,” Puck grunted, rubbing his eyes. Brittany leaned closer to Santana.

“This is your idea of a first date? With him?”

“I know this doesn’t look very promising, but trust me,” Santana tried to whisper but her voice traveled in the enclosed space the three of them were crammed in.

“Yeah, Starbucks, have a little faith.”

Brittany pursed her lips in anger. She really didn’t like it when Santana’s roommate called her that.

“I hate it when you call me that.”

“Yeah, well I hate it when you call me Noah.” Puck got up from the chair and came around the desk to stand in front of them.

“But that’s your name,” Brittany said under her breath, looking down at the filthy floor. She also kind of hated talking to him, and she really didn’t appreciate having to do so now.

“Cut it out, Puck,” Santana hissed.

“Sorry,” he sighed. He pushed his body between them, making his way towards the door. “Are we doing this or not?”

Brittany saw Santana scowl after the retreating man.

“Santana, I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I don’t like it.”

“Brittany,” Santana rubbed her forehead, face screwed in thought. “We can leave if you want. But, if you just bear with me a little while longer. He’s…I don’t know what his problem is. But you’ll like what’s out there, I promise.”

Brittany took hold of her raised hand, bringing it away from her head. She kissed the back of it, urging Santana to look her at.

“Ok, San.”

They walked outside, still holding each other. Santana led them to the middle of the empty barren field, where Puck waited for them with a ground drill.

Wait, what?

“Santana, is that…”

“Yes, it is! Come on!” She felt Santana quicken her steps, pulling her along.

“Ok, ladies,” Puck said once they were in hearing range. “Let’s get started. So as you can see, this a 52 cc ground drill, earth auger, HL 400 series.”

Brittany stared at him with a blank look on her face.

“Are we supposed to know what that means?” Santana asked.

“I don’t know about you, but from the picture you showed me, this should be the same as the one Starbucks has. Right?”

“Oh,” Brittany actually vaguely recognized the machinery. “I don’t think it is, but close enough.”

“Really? I was so sure I had the right one.”

“Goddamn it, Puckerman,” Santana snarled.

“I thought this was the one!”

“You thought shit–”

“Guys!” Brittany interrupted the brewing argument. “Stop the violence.”

“Sorry Britt,” Santana squeezed the hand she still held, face apologetic. “Will it still work?” she asked the man across from them.

“It should work, the concept is the same. Santana told me you can’t drill through the tiles of your restaurant.” He turned to Brittany.

“Yeah, I think the drill isn’t powerful enough,” Brittany confirmed, deciding to go through with this bizarre meeting for now.

“I don’t think so. Santana sent me some pictures,” Puck bent down to pick a folder Brittany hadn’t noticed was there off the ground. He pulled out a pile of blown up pictures of tiles and what Brittany recognized were parts of her drill. “And from what I can see from them, the problem isn’t the drill. I looked at your property’s construction papers. You have stone flex tiles, reinforced by cement. Very strong, and very hard to make a clean cut.”

Puck scratched his neck.

“At first I thought we could just remove the tiles, and then make a hole on the ground, but that’d be tricky, because of the cement underneath. It wouldn’t be very smart to mess with that. Are you set on having the hole inside the restaurant? Because drilling outside would be a lot easier.”

“Outside?” Brittany asked confused.

“Yeah, Britt,” Santana spoke up. “The sidewalk. I researched that street. The sidewalk in front of the restaurant is public. But behind it, that alley is yours. You can do whatever you want to it.”

“Well, almost. You’d need a permit before you could do any digging. And that’s where I come in,” Puck grinned for the first time. “If you want, Puckerman and Porter, that’s my construction company in case you didn’t guess, can get you that permit. We can check for gas lines and water pipes and so on, and find a clean spot to dig your hole.”

Brittany was almost thrumming with excitement. This past week had been hell. She’d been trying so hard to find a balance between the ever-increasing demands of her restaurant and her free-spirited creativity. She was itching to start building a new menu for the upcoming winter months, and the cooking pit had seemed like the perfect addition to New Directions’ history of eccentric, but still popular, dishes.

Except no matter how much she tried, she couldn’t find the time to dedicate herself to creating the pit. The few chances she got to try, she’d found the task to be a lot more daunting than she’d imagined. She tried to man the ground drill by herself, and she just couldn’t do it. Her restaurant grounds were a lot sturdier than her apartment floor. She’d been so discouraged; she had been so close to giving up.

“Britt, did you hear what he said?” Santana shook the hand she held.

“What?” She snapped out of her thoughts to find both Santana and Puck staring at her oddly.

“I said, if you want we can also dig it for you,” Puck said.

“No!” she exclaimed suddenly, causing the other two people to jump in fright.

“Britt?” Santana let go of her hand to caress her arm.

“I mean,” she shot the other girl a quick grin. “I’d love your help. If you’re being serious. But, I want to do it, I want to dig it myself.”

To her surprise, Puck smirked.

“Santana said that’s what you’d want.”

Brittany turned to Santana in amazement. The Latina looked back at her, smiling shyly. They held each other’s eyes, and Brittany’s breath caught at the energy flowing between them. She felt her body sway lightly, as if it was begging Brittany to get closer to the other girl.

“When you guys are done eye-fucking, let me know. I guess I could teach you another day.”

That caught Brittany’s attention.

“What?”

“That’s why we’re here, Britt,” Santana said. “I asked Puck if he could show you how to work the drill properly. Since this is like, the only day you have free…” She shrugged lightly.

“San,” Brittany whispered. She hugged the other girl tightly, bouncing in place. She couldn’t believe Santana had actually arranged this for her, forgoing their date for this lesson. Anyone else, she knew, would have thought this was a waste of time. To know her girlfriend understood how important this was to her was an indescribable feeling. Brittany was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, Santana was her person.

“You always just get it,” Brittany said against her hair. “Thank you.”

“Anytime, Britt-Britt.”

“Are we ready to do this or what? I ain’t got all day.”

“Shut up, Fuckerman.”

Brittany laughed. She turned back to face Puck, being careful not to step too close to the machine that separated them. She held Santana around the shoulders, tucked against her side.

“We’re ready. Noah,” Brittany grinned sweetly at him.

“Ugh, cut that Noah shit, already.”

“You cut with the Starbucks shit, and I will.” She shrugged.

“Whatever. Let’s get started.”

###

“Santana, that was amazing. I can’t believe you did that.”

“I take it you’re enjoying our first date so far?”

They were back in Brittany’s pick-up truck, on their way to the city. The late afternoon sun painted the sky a bright happy red, which reflected Brittany’s mood down to a T. She watched from the corner of her eye as Santana attempted to fix her make-up. They were both dirty from their activities at the construction site, Brittany even more so. To her though, it had been totally worth it, and she was surprised at how much fun it had been to spend almost the whole day in Puck’s presence. She’d learned so much today, she couldn’t even keep her thoughts straight. She felt like she could take on the world.

And she owed it all to the girl sitting beside her.

“Are you kidding? That was awesome. So awesome.” She tapped an uneven rhythm against the steering wheel, wiggling in her seat. She couldn’t sit still, she was so happy.

“And Puck is not so bad, right?”

“I guess not,” she chuckled. “I just don’t get what Quinn sees in him.”

Santana snorted.

“You and me both. I can only imagine what their daughter will grow up to be like.”

“Wait. Quinn’s pregnant?”

“No,” Santana said slowly, dragging out the word. “Wait, how do you even know about Quinn and Puck?”

“I just figured they were together.”

“No, not anymore. They were like, a thing back in high school.”

“Hm,” Brittany hummed in thought. From the way Quinn spoke about living with Puck the day she went to see Santana at her apartment, she’d gotten the impression Quinn was in love with him. She had been wrong, then. It wasn’t like she’d been paying that much attention.

“They had Beth, their daughter, but they had to give her up for adoption,” Santana continued. “It’s a long story.”

“I see,” Brittany smiled. “So, where to next?”

“I’m thinking…burgers and milkshakes.”

Brittany laughed in delight.

“A girl after my own heart.”

She directed them to South Street Diner, one of her favorite spots. Brittany had never been a big fan of dining in fancy restaurants. She favored the more casual atmosphere of family establishments, and she worked hard to make sure New Directions retained that quality despite the high-end Bostonian clientele her restaurant often catered to.

By the time they reached the diner, Brittany was starving. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had this much fun. Contrary to the somewhat awkward drive they shared earlier in the day, the way back was filled with silly dancing and singing along with the radio.

Once they were out of the car, Brittany took Santana’s hand on the way to the diner, now second nature to her. She was getting used to constantly needing to be touching some part of Santana whenever she was around. She held the door open for the short girl to walk in ahead of her.

“Hi Mrs. Patti,” Brittany called out from behind Santana once they got to the host’s stand.

“Brittany, my dear,” the kind elder woman looked up from the stack of menus she’d been wiping. “I was just thinking it’s been a long time since you’ve visited us, and here you are!”

“I know, it’s been a while. Things over at the restaurant are crazy busy. You haven’t been around either, now that you mention it.”

“Oh, well, I know how busy you’ve been. I didn’t want to be a bother.”

“Mrs. Patti, you’re never a bother. You are always welcome there, you know that, right?” Brittany looked pointedly at her. “I’ll save you a table tomorrow night, ok?”

Mrs. Patti giggled, and Brittany felt assured she would see her downstairs neighbor tomorrow. Still, she thought about what the older woman said. She was a little sad to hear Mrs. Patti hadn’t come by the restaurant because she thought she would trouble her. Was Brittany really letting herself be so consumed by work that she was keeping away the few people she cared about?

Did Santana feel like that?

“Would you girls like to sit at a booth?” Brittany heard Mrs. Patti ask.

“Yes, that would be amazing. But first, let me introduce you to my girlfriend. Mrs. Patti, this is Santana. San, this is my friend, Patricia. She’s also my downstairs neighbor.”

Santana stepped up and offered the older woman her free hand.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Mrs. Patricia. Brittany told me how cool you’ve been about the hole in your ceiling.”

“Oh dear, trust me, this young lady has put me through a lot worse. And you can call me Mrs. Patti, just as everyone else. Now, follow me this way.”

Brittany rolled her eyes and pulled Santana along. They thanked the older woman once they were seated.

“So,” Brittany began saying after a small silence. “You kind of just officially met one of the most important people in my life right now.”

“Really?” Santana looked over her shoulder to where Mrs. Patti sat, back to her stack of menus.

“Yep. She was really good to me when I first moved to my apartment. Kurt didn’t move in until a few months later, and footing the bills on my own at the beginning was really hard. There were a lot of nights when it was just me, Mrs. Patti and takeout from this diner that kept me going.”

Santana shook her head slightly.

“I have this image in my head of you getting to Boston and going straight to work. I can’t imagine how hard it was to get your restaurant up and running.”

“It could have been a lot harder. I had a lot of support. From Kurt and Blaine. Mrs. Patti. Rachel, I guess.” Brittany tried to sound casual, trying to gloss over the lack of involvement from her parents.

They were interrupted by their waiter, and Brittany smiled in recognition.

“Hey Tina.”

“Brittany! Haven’t seen you around lately.” She saw Tina shoot Santana a curious look.

“Yeah, it’s been really busy over at the restaurant. I could actually use your help again, if Will doesn’t mind. I’ll need more hands on deck real soon.”

“Yeah, whenever you need, just let me know. Can I get you the usual?”

“Actually, we’ll have two cheeseburgers, with the works. And two… What flavor milkshake, San?”

Santana shrugged.

“You can choose.”

“Two strawberry milkshakes.”

“Alright, I’ll have those right up for you.”

“She seems nice,” Santana said once Tina had walked away.

“She’s a little intense, but fun to be around. She helps me out with the restaurant every once in a while. Will, he’s Mrs. Patti’s son, is cool with me borrowing his people whenever I need.” Brittany took Santana’s right hand in her own, turning it over until her palm faced upward. She traced senseless lines there, letting the tips of her fingers travel all the way down to her wrist. She saw her hand twitch every time she caressed the sensitive skin she discovered there, and she wondered what Santana would do if she were to suck that spot.

“I want to know everything about you,” Brittany said.

“You make it sound like that’s not a good thing?” Santana looked unsure of herself.

“It’s just different,” Brittany focused on the hand she so lovingly handled. “I’ve never wanted that before.”

Tina returned with their milkshakes and made as if she wanted to stick around, but one look from Brittany had her scurrying away. Santana’s quiet laughter brought her eyes back to the girl in front of her.

“What?” she asked. She giggled slightly, infected by Santana’s light mirth.

“Nothing. I mean,” Santana paused to catch her breath. “I have this reputation for being a total bitch, which is totally true. But when you put your mind to it, you can get plenty bitchy too.”

“Does that bother you?” Brittany cocked her head to the side in curiosity.

“Oh no, just the opposite. It’s a total turn-on.”

Brittany didn’t even acknowledge Tina when she brought their food. She just held Santana’s eyes, wondering, hoping, she was reading her correctly.

“I think we should take these to go,” she suggested. She was graced by the smile.

“Finally. Mine or yours?”

“I think Kurt’s home.”

“Mine then.”

They got everything boxed, and after a quick good-bye to Mrs. Patti, they were under way to Santana’s apartment. Brittany drove at record speed, narrowly avoiding cars parked along the curb. Santana’s lips that were currently attached to her neck weren’t really helping Brittany focus.

“San, I’m going to get us killed,” she mumbled at the same time she craned her head to give her mouth better access.

“But what a way to go,” Santana breathed against her ear, before sucking the skin behind it. Brittany moaned, and she fought to keep her eyes open. She almost wept in relief when Santana’s building came into view.

She didn’t even bother with looking for a place to park, settling for the sidewalk in front of the Victorian-style complex. She jumped out of the car, and beside her, Santana did the same.

“Brittany, you can’t leave your car like this!”

She looked back at the sidewalk. Her truck was parked completely on top of the sidewalk, blocking the way for pedestrians.

“Santana, I don’t give a flying fuck about the car. We need to get upstairs, right now.”

She smirked as Santana nodded quickly. Brittany extended a hand for her to take, and they ran up the steps to the fourth floor.

“Ugh, why the fuck do I live on the top floor?” she heard Santana mutter.

They reached the top landing, both women out of breath. Brittany attacked the back of Santana’s neck with her mouth, pulling her shirt up at the same time as the shorter girl fought to unlock her door.

“Stupid motherfu–”

The door suddenly opened and they stumbled forward. Brittany held Santana upright by the back of her shirt, slightly disoriented.

“Hey, you guys ok?”

“Puckerman! What the hell are you doing here?” Santana straightened her clothes. “Weren’t you supposed to be with Quinn?”

Puck closed the door, and Brittany frowned at his troubled look.

“I’m so glad you’re back, Lopez, I need your help.”

“Oh fuck no. You see this gorgeous woman behind me? She and I are going to have sex. So you’re going to pretend you never saw us. We don’t exist, we were never born! Let’s go, Britts.”

“Wait, wait!” he shouted, blocking the way to the hall leading to the bedrooms. “This is serious, Santana. Please. Brittany, please.”

Brittany took in his disgruntled look. Like them, he still wore this morning’s clothes, dirty with dust and grit from their digging lesson. She felt a prickle of pity for the man who had done so much for her today. It wouldn’t hurt to give him a few minutes of their time. Right?

“Maybe we should hear him out, San.”

Chapter Text

“Quit looking at me like that.”

Santana raised an unimpressed eyebrow at Puck’s pathetic request. He sat across from her at their dining room table, and beside her was Brittany. They’d been sitting around for almost 10 minutes, waiting for Puck to say whatever it was he needed her help with. She could feel her girlfriend’s leg bouncing up and down in quick jerky movements. She placed a hand on the twitchy member, squeezing reassuringly. She shared Brittany’s impatience.

“Do you remember the first thing you said to me after you moved in?” she asked Puck. Her tone was quiet, deadly. She almost smirked when she saw his left eye twitch. Almost. “Do you?”

Puck mumbled something unintelligible under his breath. She heard Brittany grumble, and her stretched-thin patience finally snapped.

“You told me to never cockblock you, and news flash, I never have. Not only that, apparently I’ve been serving as your own private bimbo-cleaning service or some shit, and you pull this on me?” Santana slapped the table repeatedly. “Just spill it out already!”

“It’s not that easy!” Puck yelled.

“Then good luck dealing with your shit on your own. Let’s go Britt.”

Brittany shot up to her feet, and Santana was about to stand up herself when Puck grabbed her wrist and held her in place.

“No! Please, just, just give me a minute. I need your help,” he pleaded.

“Jesus!” Brittany called out to the ceiling. “I’m going down to the truck to get our takeout. If we’re going to just sit around, I need some food.”

Santana stared after the blonde in longing. She could feel a tide of anger overtake her; she was seriously close to losing it. She tried to suppress the urge to fly across the table and throw herself at Puck. She saw herself clawing his face off, and the image…

…suddenly had her thinking about her nails. She furtively passed the pad of her thumb over the top of her other fingers. Maybe she should take a minute to file them before she and Brittany resumed their previous activities.

“Santana?” Puck shaking her brought her out of her nail-filing musings.

“What, are you gonna grow some balls, finally?”

“Yeah. Yes, I am,” he sighed. Santana crossed her arms and looked at him in confusion.

“Ok, seriously, what the hell is the matter with you?”

Puck took a deep breath and held it in his lungs for a few seconds, before closing his eyes and exhaling noisily. He then stuck his hand inside his front pocked and pulled out a small velvet jewelry box. Santana didn’t truly register what was happening until he got up from the chair and got down on one knee in front of her. He opened the little velvet box.

“If this is you proposing to me, I’m gonna laugh,” Santana deadpanned.

Puck opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, the front door opened and Brittany walked in carrying two Styrofoam takeout boxes and a paper tray that held two cups of melted strawberry milkshakes. She stopped dead on her tracks when she noticed the scene unfolding in the dining room.

Santana was at a loss. She didn’t know who she should focus on, her gobsmacked roommate or her wide-eyed girlfriend. Her answer became clear when Brittany unceremoniously let everything she was holding fall to the floor before marching over to where Puck still knelt. She ripped the box holding the engagement ring out of his hand and threw it across the room.

“Brittany!” Santana gasped at the same time Puck got back on his feet.

“What the fuck, crazy! What did you do that for?” he exclaimed.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, proposing to my girlfriend?” Brittany got right into his face, and Santana was actually surprised to see Puck cower back slightly. “Are you out of your mind?”

“I wasn’t going to propose to Santana.” Puck tried to go around Brittany, but she quickly side-stepped to block his way.

“Do you think I’m stupid? I know what I saw.” Santana felt her breath catch, thinking how weird it was that she really wanted to fuck Brittany at that particular moment. Or really, she just wanted to lie there and let Brittany have her way with her, whatever way she wanted.

“I wasn’t proposing to her, I’m going to propose to Quinn!”

Santana felt her jaw drop, any sexy thoughts brewing in her mind coming to a halting stop.

“What!”

“Oh,” Brittany said. She smiled apologetically, letting Puck walk past her. “In that case…sorry.”

Puck scoffed. He sprinted over to the far side of the spacious living room, head downcast, looking around for his ring. Meanwhile Brittany came over to sit back down beside Santana.

“Sorry, San. I ruined our food,” she said.

“Don’t worry about that, Britt,” Santana reassured her distractedly. She was troubled over what Puck was planning to do. He couldn’t be serious about proposing to Quinn, he just couldn’t.

“I’m still really hungry,” the other woman whispered.

“There are pistachios in my purse.” Santana chewed on her bottom lip, narrowed eyes following Puck as he still searched for his ring. She heard munching near her ear just before lips kissed her cheek lovingly. She turned to find happy blue orbs looking back at her. “He can’t be serious about proposing to Quinn, right? That’s just retarded.”

Brittany’s expectant eyes glazed over into an annoyed cobalt.

“Who cares about that?” the blonde whined. “Now that we know what he wanted, let’s get out of here while he isn’t looking.”

“Are you kidding? We can’t leave! We have to talk him out of it,” Santana hissed.

“You’re not talking me out of anything.” Santana whipped her head around to find Puck had returned to his previous seat. “I’m going to propose to Quinn.”

Santana stared at him, and after a few beats, she burst out laughing. When Puck pouted sadly, Santana laughed harder.

“Geez, Santana.”

“Puck, you can’t propose to Quinn!”

“Why not?”

“Uh, one, she hates your guts. Two, and not to play the blame card here, but you got her pregnant, didn’t support her when she wanted to give up the baby, and you slept with the woman who adopted your daughter.” Brittany muttered Yikes from her left. “And three, she hates your fucking guts,” Santana continued, looking pointedly at him. “Don’t tell me you’re in love with her. You’ve been banging women left and right ever since we moved here.”

Puck shrugged, running a palm over his mohawk.

“I’ve been in pain. Everything went to shit after Beth. Quinn wouldn’t even look at me some days. We both needed a little space.” Puck leaned both of his elbows against the table, clutching the now closed velvet box in one hand. “Santana, the time you guys were at Yale was the hardest years of my life. Why do you think I followed you two here?”

“That makes sense,” Brittany said, still munching away on her green seeds. “What doesn’t make sense is why you were down on one knee in front of my girlfriend.”

“Nothing makes sense at all!” Santana shook her head lightly. “This is coming out of nowhere.”

“Chill out, Lopez.” Puck turned to Brittany. “I was just going to practice in front of her. I want to make sure I sound ok.”

“Puck,” Santana took his hand, holding it between both of hers. “You cannot ask Quinn to marry you. She’s going to say no.”

“You don’t know that,” Puck said, brows set in a stubborn frown.

“Yes, I do, she’s not gonna say yes, because that would be insane. You haven’t even been together in, what, 5, 6 years?”

Puck was about to say something when a strangled noise coming from the front door interrupted them. Santana looked towards the sound, and couldn’t believe Quinn was standing right there. Her eyes moved from the discarded food on the floor, to where she and Brittany sat, to Puck, not stopping on any of them for more than a few seconds.

How much had Quinn heard?

“What’s going on, guys?” she asked, closing the door Brittany had left open behind her slowly.

Puck stuck the hand that held the ring behind him and stood up abruptly. Santana held her breath, watching the scene before her with wide eyes. Surely he wasn’t…

“Quinn, thanks for coming over. I need to talk to you about something. Can you sit here?”

“Oh shit, he’s going to propose right now,” Santana heard Brittany whisper in her ear.

Oh shit, he really is.

Puck steered Quinn to the living room, bidding her to sit on the couch.

“Quinn, uh, you-you’re the one. You’re the woman I love. I want to spend the-the rest of my life with you.”

Santana looked at Quinn, and found her looking up at Puck, shell-shocked. Santana winced. This wasn’t going to end too well for Puck.

“Lame start,” Brittany whispered to her again. Santana turned to her girlfriend and saw she was riveted on the two unsuspecting people, popping pistachios in her mouth one right after the other, as someone would do with popcorn when completely engrossed in a movie.

“I’m not the brightest guy. I’m not going to do something great one day,” she heard Puck continue. She realized he had started pacing. “Except with you by my side. We made Beth, and she’s this perfect little girl. She’s going to be an amazing woman one day. And we did that, Quinn, you and me. And I know as long as we’re together, we can do anything.”

Santana covered her face, peaking out through her fingers. She couldn’t bear to watch, but she couldn’t not look either.

“Quinn, I love you.” Puck got down on one knee in front of Quinn, opening the box to present her the ring. “Will you marry me?”

“Oh my God, I can’t even watch this,” Santana said, openly staring at what was happening right in front of her. Her hands cradled her cheeks, mouth wide open in an uncanny mirror image of Munch’s The Scream paintings. Quinn looked as lost and terrified as Santana, if not more.

“Puck, I-I don’t know what to say. I,” Quinn rubbed her forehead, eyes locked on the ring. “Puck, we’ve been through so much. No matter what happens, you’ll always be a part of my life.” Quinn looked up into his eyes. “Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you.”

“What?!” Santana watched, utterly stupefied, as Quinn and Puck came together in a hungry kiss.

“Hm, I guess I was right about her,” she distantly heard Brittany say. She couldn’t believe she was seeing what she was seeing. Puck and Quinn were engaged? Nothing in life made sense anymore.

The new couple ignored the two women seated at the dining room table, mouths still firmly attached. They started moving, stumbling towards the hall leading to the bedrooms. She watched in disgust as Puck kneaded Quinn’s ass, causing her to moan loudly. They disappeared down the hallway, away from her sight.

“What the fuck just happened?” She turned to Brittany, face slack in shock. “Did that really just happen?”

“I guess he figured that was as good of a time as any,” the blonde answered.

“Bu-but she said yes?”

Loud moaning erupted throughout the apartment.

“At least someone’s getting some,” Brittany tilted her head to the right, face serious. She threw the empty pistachio bag over her shoulder. “Can we go have sex now?”

“Oh, Noah!”

“Ugh, I forgot how loud Quinn gets,” Santana said.

“Ew, San.”

“Come on, Britt, let’s get the hell outta here.”

She pulled her girlfriend out of her seat and towards the front door in a hurry. She stepped over the mess on the floor, figuring it was only fair to leave that for Puck to clean after what he had just put her through.

“Fucking Puckerman.”

They sprinted down the stairs, and once back on the street, Santana made a beeline for the truck. She needed to sit down; her legs felt like they were made of lead, and her steps were choppy and robotic. She breathed out in relief once she was safely on the passenger’s seat. She watched Brittany as she approached the car and leaned over the hood to remove a parking ticket Santana hadn’t noticed was there. She then got behind the wheel, ripped the ticked in two, and moved to face the woman watching her.

“Where to now?”

Santana shrugged, turning until she was staring straight ahead. She felt Brittany’s eyes on her.

“We could drive around for a while?” she asked. Santana just nodded, letting Brittany’s question go unanswered.

They drove around the city, and Santana lost track of how much time had passed. Brittany tried to engage her in conversation, but she barely registered someone was talking to her; her head was still back in the apartment, trying to make sense of the bizarre turn of events. She couldn’t compute what had just taken place in her living room. Quinn and Puck? Puck and Quinn? What?

“Santana,” Brittany tried again. “Where should we go? Or, did you like, want me to drop you off somewhere?”

“Drop me off?” Santana frowned, thinking she had heard it wrong.

“Yeah, if you want to be alone, or something,” Brittany said, and her small hesitant voice just about melted Santana to a puddle. She still felt wrong and out of sorts, but this was her girlfriend trying to capture her attention, and this was their first official date. And it wasn’t over yet.

“I’m sorry, Britt-Britt. I just can’t stop thinking about Puck and Quinn.” She took a deep breath and turned to the woman beside her. She took in Brittany’s relaxed stance behind the steering wheel, driving at a leisure speed. Her right foot manned the pedal and brake, while her left one was tucked underneath her right thigh. She had her left leg folded, and her knee leaned against the door on her side of the car. Santana wanted to laugh at the mischievous and carefree pose; it was just so Brittany. She vowed to never forget this picture, in this beat up pick-up truck, with this woman who kept her anchored when she felt like just floating away.

“I don’t care where we go,” she continued. “We could stay in here all night, and I’d happy to just look at you.”

Brittany’s cheeks flared with color. She scratched her rosy nose, a small grin playing at her lips. Santana loved when her confident girlfriend acted all adorable and shy because of something she said. The fact that Santana meant every little love-sick comment made these moments that much more perfect.

“Not that I wouldn’t enjoy that, but I’d prefer to save the gas.”

Santana chuckled.

“Ah, ok. Well, did you wanna get a hotel room or something?” she wrinkled her nose in distaste even as she suggested that option. She wasn’t very fond of the idea of spending their first night together in some impersonal hotel. “Or did you have some other place in mind?”

“I’m still hungry,” Brittany shot her a side glance, and Santana perked up at the furtive movement.

“What are you thinking, Britt?”

“We could go to the restaurant…”

“Brittany, we’re not going to your work on our first date.”

“Not inside,” she extended her hand, and smiled when Santana accepted it, lacing their fingers together. “There’s a small apartment above the restaurant. Blaine and I sometimes crash there when we’re too tired to go home. He lives kind of far, so he uses it more than me. I can just check with Kurt, make sure he takes Blaine tonight. We’ll have the place to ourselves.”

“The free access to great food doesn’t hurt,” Santana pursed her lips. “You promise you won’t work?”

Brittany looked a little hurt by her question.

“Promise,” she answered, turning to stare into Santana’s eyes once they stopped at a red light. “I’d rather be with you.”

Santana kissed the back of the hand she held.

“That sounds good then. How are you and Kurt doing? He still mad over the hole incident?”

Brittany shrugged.

“He likes to hold grudges. He’ll get over it.” Brittany nudged her with her elbow. “He really likes you.”

“Really?” Santana was doubtful. She and Kurt had barely had any time to talk, and the last time she saw the fashion guru, he’d had his balls stuck in a hole and she’d been laughing at his ass. She couldn’t imagine she had made a good impression so far.

“He does. And Rachel is your friend, and that’s like always a plus for him, so,” Brittany trailed off.

“I’m glad,” Santana smiled.

“Me too. It’s really important to me, that you guys get along.”

“I’ll make it a point to get to know him better. You could also try spending some time with Quinn,” she suggested carefully.

“Ok.”

“I know you sort of get along with Puck now, and you two will probably be working together soon, but Quinn…I know this is gonna sound strange, but she’s like a sister to me.”

“Ok?”

“It's a long story. But, yeah. Like, maybe the four of us could even get together for lunch or something, you, me, Kurt and Quinn.”

“Yeah, ok.”

“Can you say something else besides ‘ok’?” Santana huffed a little annoyed.

“Sorry,” Brittany shot her a sideways glance. “I guess I’m a little nervous.”

“About what?” she asked, a little worried. Maybe this was a little too much, too soon?

“I guess this is, like, brand new territory. I’ve never really gotten to this stage in a relationship before.”

“It doesn’t have to be soon,” Santana tried to comfort her. “I just meant, maybe when things slow down at the restaurant, we could all spend a weekend together or something. Or you could come over, hang out with Quinn and I one of these days. I basically do nothing all day, and Quinn can work from home whenever, so it’d be easy to make it happen. But not now, just whenever you’re ready. Not that I’m ready to hang out with Kurt just yet, I’m just saying since we’re talking about it, I just thought –”

“Santana,” Brittany giggled. “You’re rambling.”

“Sorry,” she laughed at herself. She didn’t even realize how fast she’d started talking. “I just want to make sure you know, there’s no pressure. At all.”

“I know, San.” Brittany smiled lovingly at her. They were passing Santana’s apartment again, which meant they were almost at the restaurant. She breathed a little easier, knowing they’d be soon out of the confinement of the vehicle. She was now sure staying in the truck all night was a really bad idea. The sooner she got Brittany some food, the faster they’d be moving to more horizontal activities.

They parked a small distance away from New Directions, and she questioned why they didn’t use Brittany’s usual parking spot behind the building.

“If someone sees my car, they’ll know I’m around,” she said.

Santana nodded, satisfied. She tried to exit the truck, but the hold on her hand didn’t loosen. She looked behind her to find Brittany holding her back, a deep frown marring her face.

“Britt?”

“What did you mean, you basically do nothing all day?” she blurted out. Santana blinked, dumbfounded.

“Uh. Well, I don’t have a job, I don’t go to school…I don’t really do much with my day,” Santana answered her question, chuckling nervously. The frown on the blonde’s face didn’t go away. “Does that bother you?”

“No. No, I’m just,” Brittany visibly struggled with her words. Santana sat back, now willing to stay inside the truck for as long she needed. “I’m a little upset I never knew that. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You never asked. And, it never came up. I wasn’t trying to hide it from you.”

Brittany shook her head.

“Santana, can you promise me something?”

“Anything,” she answered without hesitation.

“If you ever feel I’m ignoring you, not paying attention to you because of work or whatever, please tell me.”

“Brittany, where is this coming from?”

“I’m not good at this,” Brittany closed her eyes, and Santana would’ve smiled at her cute pensive expression if she didn’t look so troubled. “I’ve never been somebody’s girlfriend. Not really. I don’t want to mess this up because I didn’t know any better. I don’t want you to ever feel like you’re bothering me.”

“Britt–”

“Wait, let me finish,” she cut Santana off. “You’re my girlfriend, and I want to know things. I want to know everything about you, even the little things that don’t come up in conversation. I don’t want you to stay away. You’ll never bother me, no matter how consumed with work I might look.”

“So promise me, promise you’ll tell me if I mess up,” Brittany finished, and her eyes bore into Santana, full of fearful pleading.

“Brittany, you’re not the only one who’s scared,” Santana began. “I, after my mom, it’s like I stopped living. Ever since I met you, things are interesting again. It doesn’t hurt to breathe anymore. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Brittany shook her head ‘no’ slowly, and Santana just had to kiss her. She leaned forward, a breath’s away from Brittany’s lips. They stared into each other’s eyes, and she got so lost in sparkling blues that she was caught by surprise when lips pressed gently against her own. They held their position, breathless, for several seconds, eyes open and staring. Santana shook from the intensity of the kiss once they pulled away slightly.

“I get scared, Brittany. Because when I’m with you, I get hungry. I get hungry for you, I get hungry for life. I don’t wanna lose that. I’m so scared I’ll lose that. Because I know how easy it is to lose things. People you think are going to be there forever are suddenly gone.” Santana blinked back tears. She really didn’t want to cry.

“And what I know is, people who are supposed to be there for you, never are,” Brittany whispered.

“Then we both know better, Britt. I can promise you that. We know too much to mess up.”

The sat like that, staring into each other’s eyes. Santana took shallow breaths, feeling Brittany’s scent surround her. She was torn between feeling overwhelmed by their conversation and centered by Brittany’s closeness. Brittany hadn’t pulled away, seemingly content with their proximity. Santana let the moment hang suspended, giving them both time to absorb the declarations still hanging between them.

She was about to close the small gap and rest her forehead against Brittany’s when a loud growl resounded throughout the enclosed space. After a small beat, they looked down at Brittany’s stomach, laughing at nature’s way of reminding them they still needed to see about dinner.

“Can we go up now?”

“Hm, I am still really hungry.”

They smiled at each other. Santana couldn't wait for what the night had in store for them.

Chapter Text

“Do you want more?”

Brittany pointed at the serving bowl between them. She nodded when Santana said she was full, and stood up to store their leftovers in the mini-fridge. They were finally inside the small apartment above New Directions. Half an hour ago she’d gone downstairs to the restaurant and asked Marley to prepare them a simple meal. Spaghetti with meatballs was one of her favorite dishes, and judging from their empty plates, Santana had enjoyed it as well.

“Do you need any help?”

“No, I’m just going to put these in the sink,” Brittany said, retrieving the dishes from the two-person table where they had their dinner.

She was glad to see Santana stayed put. She had tried to engage her all throughout the meal, without much success. After their moment in her truck, Santana had retreated into herself, and Brittany was a little worried. She wanted to know what was troubling her girlfriend, but she wasn’t sure how to ask.

“I didn’t think to ask Marley for desert. Did you want any?” Brittany asked once she was back at the table.

“I’m good, Britt. This was delicious,” Santana said, clearly distracted. Her eyes were downcast, and a small scowl resided on her brow.

“San, what’s the matter?”

“What do you mean?”

Brittany sighed; her girlfriend had yet to look at her.

“Something’s upsetting you. Talk to me,” she tried prying a little further, close to pleading.

Santana let out a self-deprecating laugh.

“I just can’t believe Quinn and Puck are together right now. It’s so damn weird.”

“Why does it bother you so much?” Brittany was honestly confused. She couldn’t imagine why seeing her best friend getting engaged would be such a bad thing. Sure, in her opinion, Noah Puckerman was not the best choice in a life-partner. But she wouldn't judge; to each their own.

“It’s just so unexpected. I guess Puck shouldn’t surprise me, but Quinn? I didn’t see that coming, like at all.”

“Really? First time I met her, I got the feeling she was in love with him,” Brittany commented off-handedly.

Santana looked up at her, eyes narrowed in question.

“Whatever gave you that idea?”

“She said she moved out because she couldn’t live with him anymore,” Brittany racked her brain, thinking back to that day. She hadn’t exactly been paying attention to Santana’s friend that first time she visited her girlfriend’s apartment, but she remembered Quinn had said something to that effect.

“Right, she moved out because he was being a complete pig. He brought chicks over all the time. Hell, wanted to move out at one point.”

Brittany shrugged.

“I don’t know, San. The way she said it, she looked sad. I just figured that was the reason.”

Santana stood up abruptly, causing Brittany to jump a little on her seat.

“Were they seeing each other or something? Why didn’t she tell me?”

Brittany watched the other girl pace around the tiny kitchen. It was so tiny, in fact, that it took her only four large steps to go from one wall to another. She chewed on her bottom lip, wondering if she should worry about Santana’s behavior. Maybe the reason why she was so upset over the engagement was because she had feelings for her hazel-eyed friend. If that was the case, she needed to know.

“You’re not, like, jealous. Right?” she asked meekly. Santana slowed her frantic pacing, but didn’t stop walking around the tight space.

“Jealous…of Quinn? Britt, I’m gay. In case you didn’t know,” Santana chuckled. “Besides, Puck is gross. I wouldn’t come near him even if he promised to boil his penis in vinegar.”

Brittany laughed, despite the serious turn their conversation had taken. Her mirth slowly dissipated into quiet contentment as she felt Santana get behind her and envelop her shoulders in a tight hug.

“Quinn is my best friend. I have zero romantic feelings for her. I’m just really worried. She’s been through a lot, and Puck wasn’t there for a lot of it. I never thought, in a million years, she’d ever go there again.”

She gripped the arms holding her close, urging Santana to keep talking. She felt her sigh against her hair.

“I was there for it all. When Quinn found out about the baby, her parents kicked her out. My parents took her in, and she came to live with us. I helped her through morning sickness, swollen feet, I was in the delivery room. Puck was around, but he was just a stupid boy. And Quinn was so angry at him. He did try to be there for her in his own way, but she didn’t want him anywhere near her.”

Brittany dragged her chair back, and guided Santana around. She bid her to sit on her lap, smiling when the smaller girl complied with little urging. She kissed a tan cheek, offering silent support.

“I can’t imagine how hard that was for you guys,” she semi-whispered.

“It was so hard for her. When Quinn decided to give the baby up, she cried for days. Puck was completely against it, but Quinn did the right thing. We were just 16, what was she supposed to do?” Santana grinned, eyes far away. Brittany could tell her mind had travelled back to the past as she relived the story.

“She was this tiny thing, Britt. This little cute baby. I swear, she looked just like Quinn. It was impossible not to love her right away. When that little girl left our lives, everything fucking sucked, for a long time.”

And it suddenly dawned on Brittany, why Santana had been acting this way.

“Santana,” she hugged the woman on her lap tightly. “Quinn isn’t leaving you, sweetheart.”

“I know. I’m just sad she didn’t tell me. If you’re right, if she’s been in love with him all this time, why didn’t she just tell me?” she sniffled. “I’m being stupid.”

“You’re not. Maybe she never told you because you saw everything. You know? Maybe she’s embarrassed she still loves him after all.”

“Maybe. Yeah, I bet that’s it.” Santana looked down into her eyes, and Brittany felt her cheeks burn under the heated gaze. “You’re a genius, Britt-Britt.”

“I know,” Brittany shrugged playfully. She half-expected Santana to laugh, but she just kept looking at her, eyes a deep brown. She never noticed how pretty they were, a dark chocolate color that she found mesmerizing. “Santana–“

“I need to shower. Then I need to make love to you.” She paused. “Unless you have other plans for tonight?”

Brittany swallowed, mouth gone dry.

“No, no other plans.”

###

Brittany let the warm water beat down on her shoulders, feeling calmer under the spray from the shower head. Santana was somewhere out there, fresh and clean, waiting for her to come out and join her. She was thankful for the little time alone; she needed to get herself together before going out there. She was nervous, more nervous than she’d ever been before, with anyone.

She took a deep breath, before shutting the water off. She stood there, feeling a little chilled now that her wet naked skin met with nothing but air. She punished her bottom lip with her teeth, beyond worried. Maybe she and Santana should wait a bit more. Her girlfriend was emotionally vulnerable, and if she was being completely honest with herself, she was feeling vulnerable too. She’d never shared so much of herself with anyone else besides Kurt and sometimes Blaine; she’d never wanted to, especially not with someone she was going to be physically intimate with. Friends and lovers didn’t mix in her world. She thought she could never be attracted to her friends, and she never tried being friends with her past lovers.

Now she found someone who was about to become both, and the prospect scared her. She wanted Santana, so much. But she also loved the friendship Santana offered. She couldn’t have both without the risk of losing it all. And she feared at this point, losing Santana as a friend would do some serious damage. Did she want that? Did she want Santana to become even more important to her than she already was? Could she handle her growing feelings for the young woman? Could she trust her girlfriend to not take it all away one day?

“Britt? Do you have a nail file?”

Brittany looked at the closed door. She visualized Santana standing there, expectantly waiting for an answer. She grabbed a towel from a small cabinet under the sink, and wrapped it around herself. She pulled the door open.

“Why do you need a nail file?”

She watched as Santana’s jaw fell open. Where she was only wearing the towel, skin still damp, Santana was wearing spare shorts and a loose T-shirt that Brittany found in the apartment. She smirked, pleased at the reaction. Despite her still present hesitation, she couldn’t help but feel proud of the effect she was having on the shorter woman.

“Uh, nails are kind long. Just wanted to, you know,” she motioned with her hands how she intended to file her nails.

“Oh.” Once the reasoning sank in, Brittany laughed, hard. She doubled over, snorting a little. Santana laughed with her, but she could tell she was confused. “Santana, you’re my favorite person.”

She enveloped her girlfriend in a tight hug, and after a moment of hesitation, Santana returned the embrace. In her arms, Brittany felt silly for the doubts that were consuming her seconds ago. Who was she kidding? She wanted this. She wanted the friendship, she wanted the intimacy, and she wanted the risk. They both wanted it all, and Brittany felt centered by that fact. She knew she wasn’t alone in this journey; she and Santana wanted the same things, and what was about to take place tonight was definitely one of them.

“Brittany, you’re naked under this,” Santana whispered against her collarbone.

“I am,” she said. She leaned her head back, and waited for some sort of cue from the woman in front of her. When Santana just stood there, seemingly halted by the idea that Brittany wore nothing more than a piece of cloth, she took the first step. She stepped out of her arms and let the towel fall to the floor.

“Oh shit,” Santana squeaked out. In that moment, facing her visible nervousness, Brittany felt the last of her anxiety slip away. She was ready to rock their world.

“I’ll see you in the bedroom,” she looked pointedly at her before walking away, confident Santana was watching her every step.

She entered the little bedroom next to the small bathroom, and turned to find Santana staring at her from the doorway. She moved backwards towards the bed, keeping their eyes locked. She felt the back of her knees hit the mattress and she climbed, scooching further back until she was in the middle of the queen sized bed. She breathed in, breathed out…and let her legs fall open.

“Brittany,” Santana gasped. From across the room, Brittany saw her pupils dilate.

“Come here, San.”

In the same breath, she advanced into the room, reaching Brittany in three strides. She stopped, eyes riveted on the place between her thighs. She instinctually knew Santana was waiting for instructions from her.

“Take off your shirt.” She smiled inwardly as the frozen girl hastened to pull the shirt up and off, throwing it behind her blindly. She took a moment to drink the sight of Santana’s breasts; they bounced tantalizing, in time with her rapid breathing.

“Now your shorts,” she said next. She watched as Santana slowly lowered the last piece of clothing left, leaving her bare. She took a moment to appreciate her flat and defined stomach, letting her eyes travel down to the tiny dark triangle between her legs.

She thought she saw Santana's inner thighs glisten, and Brittany hoped that was a sign of her arousal. She took a final step closer to the blonde, and her chocolate eyes never once wavered away from her pussy. Brittany could feel how wet she was just from Santana looking at her.

“I really need to kiss you, Britt.”

“Then kiss me.”

Brittany sucked in a startled breath at the feel of lips on her. She was a little surprised, and pleased, that Santana bypassed her mouth and went straight for gold. She threw her head back, but fought to hold her torso up using her elbows. Santana moved fully onto the bed, forcing Brittany’s legs further apart. She felt hands grip her thighs, locking them in place, and she lost the battle to hold herself up. She collapsed on the bed, gripped the sheets with both hands with everything she had, and let Santana have her fill.

Santana licked her slowly, driving Brittany insane. She felt her tongue travel down, circle her entrance, before going up to play with her clit. She barely touched the bundle of nerves before she was kissing down again, sucking her inner lips gently. Brittany could feel sweat trickle down her temple and down her belly. She wanted to scream for Santana to suck her harder, to put something in her, but she also wanted her to go even slower, and drag this out until forever.

She did scream when she felt her tongue enter her, in and out in small quick jerks. Santana then pulled away slightly and blew on her hot pussy. Brittany tried to close her legs at the feeling, needing some kind of friction, but the hands on her thighs held her in check.

“Oh God, Santana. Please, please.”

Brittany moaned deep from within her chest when she gave her one last lick before taking her clit between her lips and sucking. She alternated between suction and pressure, flicking the tip of her tongue on the nub repeatedly. Brittany didn’t even realize that she had one of her hands in Santana’s hair, clutching for dear life.

Santana let go of her thighs and slipped both her arms under them, raising them until Brittany’s legs fell down her back. She held the blonde down on the bed with one hand splayed on her stomach, while the other traveled up to knead her small breasts. Brittany moaned again when Santana squeezed her nipple, and without thinking she took the hand away and brought the tanned fingers to her mouth. She licked each one, lubricating them with her saliva, and placed them back on her boobs. Her eyes rolled back with the feel of Santana’s wet fingers playing with her nipples.

Santana dragged the hand that was keeping Brittany still against the bed, down until her thumb was against her clit. She alternated between pressing down slightly and circling it, while her tongue was back inside Brittany. She could feel a low throbbing pressure on her lower stomach rearing down, and she knew she was close. She tried to warn her lover, but with the new angle Santana’s tongue drove deeper, and before she could see it coming, Brittany exploded in her mouth.

She shook uncontrollably, one hand still clutching at dark hair, and the other gripping the hand on her breast. Santana was relentlessly drinking all Brittany had to offer, licking her clean to the last drop. After a few minutes, she untangled her fingers from dark hair and moved them down until she could weakly push Santana’s face away from her sensitive skin. There was a pleasurable dull pulsing coming from deep inside her, and she shivered at the sensation.

“Come here, San,” she urged her to come up, voice hoarse. She moaned in delight as Santana’s naked body slithered her way up Brittany’s damp torso, and they both sighed at the feel of their naked breasts pressed together. She pulled Santana down into a hungry kiss, feeling her mind reel at the reality that she could taste herself on her lover’s lips.

They kissed for a long time, going from hungry despair to lazy leisure. Brittany let her mouth drop open, falling out of synch and losing contact, and Santana took the opportunity to place open mouthed kisses down her jaw to her neck.

“You didn’t find me a nail file, so I had to improvise,” she heard Santana whisper from just under her chin. Brittany giggled, delirious and happy.

“Hm, you don't hear me complaining."

"I used to always carry one around. I was so mad when I didn't find it tonight."

"I can't wait to see what you can do after we get rid of that little problem. But in the meantime,” Brittany hugged Santana close before flipping them over. She now hovered over the smaller girl, and she smiled at the surprised eyes staring up at her. “My fingers are in perfect working condition.”

She felt Santana’s breath hitch once she started trailing her hand down. She let the pad of her fingers caress tanned skin on their downward path, loving that she was making Santana shiver in her arms. Their breasts were still pressed against each other, and her free arm helped support her position, with her forearm against the bed next to Santana’s head. She used her knees to open her lover’s legs and in the next second, fingers explored wet heat.

She leaned down and swallowed Santana’s guttural moan. She was dripping wet, and Brittany’s fingers danced. She wished she could see what she was doing, but she couldn’t deny her current position had its perks. She kept kissing Santana, sucking her tongue inside her own mouth, just as her fingers circled her entrance. Without warning, she entered her with one finger, using her own hips to drive the digit inside as far as it would go.

“Oh, oh,” Santana jerked away in search for breath, whimpering brokenly at the welcome intrusion. Brittany began to drive in and out of her, and before she let her get used to the rhythm, she added another finger to the dance.

“Fuck!” Santana grabbed Brittany’s bare back, and she hissed at the feel of nails digging into her skin. “Fas-faster, Britt, faster.”

She used her hips to aid her fingers in moving faster and deeper, until she had Santana keening under her. She felt her scratch down her back until hands were gripping her ass, urging her on. Santana raised her hips slightly, and Brittany let her hand rest fully on her pussy. Each time she used her body to slam against the back of her hand, fingers went deep inside Santana and the heel of her palm bumped against her clit.

“Oh fuck-fuck, don’t stop,” Santana gasped before going silent. Her mouth dropped open and she clutched Brittany even closer to her, so close that it halted her movements. She held her position, deep inside Santana, marveling at the feel of her inner walls squeezing her fingers, so tightly it was almost painful. She felt her lover’s vagina pulse in time with her heartbeat, and in that moment, she was so connected to Santana, she felt as if they were one.

Brittany let her ride out her orgasm, not moving. It wasn’t until Santana’s hold around her loosened that she let herself breath again. She kissed her cheeks, then her lips, and slowly removed her fingers from inside her. Brittany looked at the digits, coated with Santana’s wetness. She was dying to taste her.

She brought her hand up and dragged her wet fingers across Santana’s nipples. Her girlfriend shivered at the touch, and without further ado, Brittany leaned down and proceeded to lick clean the now damp nipples.

“God, Brittany,” Santana pulled the blonde closer, harder against her breast. She didn’t let her move too much, giving her enough wiggle room to only move from one tit to the other. Brittany pressed one muscled thigh between her legs, and Santana wasted no time in riding it, rubbing against the strong soft surface wantonly until a second orgasm washed over her. All the while, Brittany sucked and nibbled on her nipples as her hands played with Santana’s mounds, squeezing repeatedly.

“Britt, Brittany,” Santana called out huskily. The blonde released a nipple with a wet pop, and looked down into her glazed-over eyes. Hands cradled her face and brought her down into a sweet languid kiss. Brittany released her breasts and removed her thigh, moving until she was half on top of Santana, half on the bed. They faced each other, noses touching, blue eyes boring into brown.

“Ok?” Brittany asked, a little breathless.

“Fuck yeah,” Santana said with a lazy smile plastered on her face. Brittany smiled. She watched as a hand came into view and pushed a tendril of sweaty blonde hair away from her eyes. That same hand then traveled from her shoulder blades down to her lower back, until she gripped the thigh that was thrown over Santana’s legs.

“We should get under the covers soon,” Brittany whispered, fighting to stay awake.

“In a minute,” Santana answered. Her eyes were closed halfway, lids dropping by the second.

“You’re falling asleep, San.”

“Am not.”

“You so are,” Brittany chuckled. “I am too.”

They fell into an easy silence. Just as she was about to succumb to sleep, she felt Santana pull away.

“Where are you going?” she whined, hugging Santana’s arm that was closest to her.

“I’m gonna get us some water. Then we’ll get under the covers, ok?” she whispered.

“And cuddle?” Brittany was so far gone, she didn’t even have the presence of mind to be embarrassed by her sleepy request.

“And cuddle until morning.”

“Good. Hey, San?”

“Yeah?”

“Best date ever.”

“I totally agree.”

Chapter Text

"What was your first time like?" Santana smirked, thinking how she should answer the question.

As expected, Brittany had returned to the frantic work hours her restaurant demanded. They hadn't been together since the night of their first date, only managing to meet for a few hours after a couple of Brittany's shifts. Those stolen moments consisted of Brittany stumbling into Santana's room around 3 AM and collapsing on her bed, asleep before she hit the mattress. Yet, her girlfriend had been very conscious about making sure she and Santana spent some quality time together every day. Even if it was over the phone, like they were doing now.

"Britt, you always go there," Santana said, putting the call on speaker. She needed her hands free to get ready; she was due to meet Quinn in less than an hour. She walked into her bedroom and let her phone rest on her bed while she changed.

"I can't help it, I get curious."

"There isn't really much to tell. I was 15, I was a cheerleader. He was a jock. For a first time, it was as clichéd as it gets." Santana took her shirt off, leaving her clad in a black sports bra and red gym shorts. "Yours?"

"Cheerleading camp. He came into my tent. Like, Alien invasion."

Santana stilled her movements, shorts halfway down her legs. She stared at the phone, letting Brittany's words sink in properly. Did she hear her right?

"What?"

"What?"

"Oh my God, Brittany. What are you saying, were you…did he force you?" She held her breath, fearing the worst.

"Oh, no. He was my boyfriend, we were in cheerleading together. His name was Alien. He was really cute, and I always had this big crush on him."

"Ok, God. You scared me for a minute, the way you put it…" She heard Brittany laugh quietly.

"Sorry, that was a long-running joke. Everyone made fun of his name, so whenever he would be around, we would all scream, 'Alien invasion!'"

Santana didn't say anything. She was a little woozy with relief, and she couldn't say she found the joke particularly funny.

"I guess it's not that funny now. You had to be there."

"I guess," Santana said, voice somewhat muffled as she put on a long-sleeved shirt. "We were both cheerleaders though, how cool is that?"

"It's pretty neat. If we'd gone to high school together, do you think we would've been friends?"

"The best of friends, Britt." She hopped around the room on one foot, trying to stick the other inside a brown boot.

"What are you doing right now? You sound like, out of breath?" Santana heard a gasping sound come through the speaker. "San, are you touching yourself?"

"No! I'm getting dressed."

"Oh. Lame. Get undressed instead. We can have phone sex."

Santana shook her head at the naughty suggestion. Of course Brittany would bring up something like that at the most inconvenient time, and leave her wanting something she couldn't have.

"Britt-Britt, I would love that, but I'm almost out the door."

"Saaan, come on. I miss you."

Santana rolled her eyes; she could practically see her girlfriend pouting in her mind. She found out early on in their budding relationship that she couldn't resist her big blue eyes and sad pout, and Brittany totally took advantage of that weakness. Still, she couldn't deny that she loved hearing that her girlfriend missed her.

"Don't do that, baby. I'm heading over to Quinn's place, and I'm already late."

"Oh. I was actually going to stop by."

"You were? Wait, aren't you working today?" Santana dropped the purse she had just picked up, letting it fall next the phone on her bed. Even though this was the first time she would get to properly talk to Quinn ever since the engagement, she would gladly postpone it for the rare opportunity to spend some time with her busy girlfriend during actual daylight hours, when both of them were awake and conscious.

"I'm at the restaurant right now. It's just…something came up. I need to get out of here for a few hours, or I think I'll have a fucking meltdown."

"Oh," Santana plopped down on the bed, genuinely worried. "Come over, then. I'll wait for you."

"No San, you've been avoiding Quinn for almost a week now. You need to go talk to her."

"But what about you?"

"I'll figure something out."

"No, Britt, don't do that. Let me help."

"Santana."

She knew she needed to go see Quinn, but she also really wanted to be there for Brittany. She was actually a little amazed the blonde was being so forthcoming as to confess she had an issue at work. They had been growing closer and closer each passing day, but Brittany was still very much a private person. If something troubled her, Santana usually didn't hear about it until after the problem had been fixed. Like the time Finn, one of her waiters, lost his balance and let tomato soup fall on the back of a customer's head. Brittany recently disclosed she'd been worried sick for the past two weeks, because that same customer had come very close to suing the restaurant.

Thank the baby Jesus on a pedestal, it had been cold soup.

"This isn't me avoiding Quinn." Santana huffed at the disbelieving scoff from the other side of the call. "I mean it. I wanna help you. Quinn will understand, and I'll have plenty of chances to talk to her."

She waited patiently for Brittany to say something.

"Hm, tell you what. I'm not leaving here right this minute. Go see Quinn, and I'll meet you there."

Santana widened her eyes in surprise. Was she serious? Did Brittany just volunteer to meet Santana at Quinn's place? She picked up her phone, took it off speaker, and raised it to her ear.

"Really?"

"Yes."

Santana blew out her breath noisily, mind gone blank with the realization that Brittany was ready to take such a big step. Almost a week ago, they'd only been talking about hanging out with one another's friends. Now, she seemed almost…flippant in regards to meeting Santana where her best friend lived.

"Alright. I'll text you her address."

"See you in a bit."

###

"Come on, Santana, just talk to me!" Quinn was exasperated to say the least.

"What do you want me to say, Quinn?"

"Anything! You haven't said a word since you got here."

"You've been seeing Puck behind my back. Why?" she sighed. She couldn't get past the one small fact that her best friend felt like she needed to hide something so important about her life.

"I-I didn't know how to tell you," Quinn said, gripping the sides of her temple with both hands. "If it makes you feel any better, it's recent. We've only started a couple of weeks ago."

"That doesn't make me feel any fucking better." Santana crossed her arms. They both sat on opposite ends of a bright yellow chaise lounge that was long enough for two people to comfortably lie down. Quinn faced Santana, while she looked straight ahead, away from the hazel-eyed stare.

"Quinn," Santana continued. "I only care about you being happy. I'm not gonna ask if you're sure about this, but you promise you thought this through?"

"I promise. I need to know if we can work. He loves me, I love him. I need to try."

"Then, that's all that matters."

"You're still mad," Quinn whispered. Santana saw her wipe away a tear from the corner of her eye.

"I'm not mad, Quinn. I'm just sad that you felt like you couldn't trust me. Why didn't you just tell me?"

"It was still so new. Santana, it had nothing to do with you. I was just enjoying being with him again, and not telling you kept me from thinking about it. I guess if I told you, I was afraid I was going to realize I was making a mistake. I wanted to just enjoy it. I was going to tell you in due time."

Quinn got up and sat right next to her before she continued.

"When he asked, he was so earnest. You and I probably know him best, and you know, you know he's never that honest. Everything's a big joke to him. I said yes, because I believe in his feelings, and I believe in mine. We're engaged, that's all. It's not like we'll marry anytime soon. Trust me, he has a lot of wooing to do before I walk down that aisle."

They laughed. After a few moments immersed in a comfortable silence, Santana sighed.

"Being your maid-of-honor is going to be a bitch."

"Actually, Puck called dibs on you. He wants you as his best man. Or best woman, I guess."

Santana frowned.

"No fucking way. Do you have any idea how much effort putting a bachelor party for Noah Puckerman would take?"

"I don't want to even think about that," Quinn said dryly. She scooched even closer and side-hugged Santana.

"I love you."

"I love you too, Fabray. I am really happy for you."

They smiled at each other, but the moment was shattered by the doorbell.

"That's probably Brittany."

Santana stood up, but Quinn's roommate beat her to the door.

"Wait, don't–" Santana tried to stop the door from opening, but she was too late. Brittany came into view, with a small grin playing at her lips. She watched as her cute happy expression morphed into one of complete disbelief.

"No. No, no. What the hell are you doing here?" Brittany asked the woman who answered the door.

"You didn't tell her Rachel's my roommate?" Quinn asked from somewhere behind her.

"It never came up? I figured she would have recognized the address?" Santana's tone was so squeaky and nervous, her replies sounded more like questions.

"Brittany! What a lovely surprise! Please, do come in. Santana and Quinn didn't mention you would be stopping by, I would have been better prepared for your visit. This is such a monumental moment; you're finally in my home. I can't wait to show you my room!" Rachel all but squealed. Santana saw Brittany's eyebrow twitch, and she quickly stepped up to avoid any bloodshed.

She wasn't exactly surprised to hear Brittany had somehow managed to not only avoid visiting, but even knowing where Rachel lived. Fucking Rachel Berry. Why did she have to be friends with one of the few people Brittany could not stand?

"Berry, why don't you go back to rehearsing your scene? Brittany is here to see me, not you."

"Oh well, I guess if you two have plans, I will get out of your hair. I do need to go over my piece one more time. Practice does make perfect! Don't forget, Santana, that you promised to help me later! I have the perfect scene in mind, and I believe once I have it refined in a couple of places, it will be perfect for my audition. And Brittany, I do ask that you reconsider helping me choose an attire for the day, I would be enormously –"

"We get it, Berry!" Santana wedged in, hoping Rachel would take the hint and just disappear already.

"I thought the casting director got to choose the scene in auditions," Brittany said, stepping inside the apartment. "That wasn't a question. I actually don't care," she spoke up when Rachel opened her mouth, probably about to clarify the circumstances of her casting call.

Brittany leaned in to give Santana a quick peck.

"Really? Quinn lives with Rachel?" she asked quietly, breathing against her full lips.

"Quinn was looking for a place, Rachel was looking for a roommate..." Santana offered her a small shrug, face twisted into an apologetic grimace.

The tall blonde rolled her eyes, making her way inside the living room, heading straight for the long chaise lounge. With a heavy sigh, she dropped down on the flat surface, covering her eyes with her left arm, and letting her right arm and leg fall over the side of the lounge. Her hair made a messy golden halo over her head; Brittany was the optimal picture of frustrated fatigue.

"Britt-Britt," Santana walked over to her side, crouching next to her head. She promptly forgot about the other two women in the room. "What's wrong?"

"I'm so screwed, San," Brittany bemoaned. "Jake's dad is in the hospital. He asked for some time off."

"Who's Jake, baby?"

"My bartender. How am I going to replace him? He can run the bar almost by himself, on a busy night too. It would take at least two people to take his place, but then I'll be short two waiters." She let the arm on her eyes fall down to the lounge, over her head. She stared up at the ceiling, looking dazed and lost. "His dad is such a sweet man, too. Poor Jake."

Santana chewed the inside of her cheek, thinking hard. She racked her brain for a quick solution that would help her girlfriend's tricky situation. Brittany, unaware of her thoughts, continued to vent.

"I guess I could call on Will's people, from Mrs. Patti's diner. But I don't have the time to work out the schedule for this weekend. It's already Thursday. What am I going to do, San?"

"Uh, Brittany?" Quinn called out. "I couldn't help but overhear, and I think we can help."

Santana looked behind her to find her friend had stepped closer to them. Beyond Quinn stood Rachel, looking a little uncertain.

"What do you mean, Quinn?" Brittany asked, but Santana already knew the answer. She could see it in the earnest hazel eyes, and she couldn't believe she hadn't thought of that herself.

"Britt! She's right, we can help! Quinn and I, we used to work in a bar back in college. It was this shithole sports bar, but we rocked it."

"Totally," Quinn said. "We owned the place. We really knew how to work a big crowd."

"We would have to adapt to New Directions' setting, probably learn how to make a few of the fancier cocktails, but we can mix, we can pour," Santana let her voice rise in excitement. "We're fast, and we're smoking hot. We can lend a hand, at least until Jake comes back."

Brittany looked back and forth between Santana and Quinn.

"Are you guys serious?"

"Quinn?" Santana looked over her shoulder, left eyebrow raised in question.

"Let's do this. It'll be fun."

"I truly appreciate it, but I couldn't ask that of you." Brittany turned her head, letting her cheek rest against the yellow chaise. She pinned Quinn with a tentative look. "You have a full time job…I don't know."

"Brittany, I wouldn't offer if I couldn't handle it. I probably won't be able to bartend every night, but I can do it on your busiest nights. Like the weekends?"

"I can handle the other nights. I have nothing but free time. Britt, this is perfect, you wouldn't have to hire someone new, or take your waiters off the main floor."

"But, San. How would I even pay you? Wouldn't that be weird?"

"Pay Santana? Brittany, she's filthy rich! Her taking your money would be beyond unfair."

All three women turned to stare at Rachel. Santana's look, in particular, could have incinerated the small brunette where she stood.

"Berry," she growled, ready to chase the diva out of the room.

"Come on, Rachel, let's go do that thing we had to do way back there," Quinn said, hastily dragging her roommate towards their bedrooms in the back of the apartment.

"You're filthy rich?" Brittany asked as soon as they were alone.

"Well, I mean, sorta. Filthy is a bit of an exaggeration…"

"Hm," Brittany raised herself until she was half-sitting, leaning back on her elbows. She looked at her, and Santana could tell she was waiting for her to elaborate. She rubbed her sweaty hands against her jeans; this was it. She was about to reveal something that had the potential to make or break them.

"I have some money from my college fund I never got to use. My mom's life insurance policy was pretty hefty too. I don't really touch that money though, my dad, he handles all of that. But, after I dropped out," Santana sighed. "I was in a bad place. I drank a lot. When I moved here with Quinn, I tried to get the drinking under control. One night, I couldn't sleep, so I just wandered around, and I ended up inside a 7-Eleven by this random gas station."

Brittany took her hand, and Santana smiled at the gesture. She lowered herself until she was sitting on the floor, making herself comfortable. Brittany got off the chaise lounge and sat next to her, pulling at her legs until they were splayed on her lap. She stroked them while she waited for her to finish the story.

"There was this guy buying a bunch of lottery tickets. He kept repeating, 'tonight is the night, tonight is the night.' And I thought, 'oh, what the hell?' So I spent a shit ton of money on lottery tickets and shared them with the guy. We were in there for hours, choosing random numbers, scratching those green and red scratchers. It was actually really fun. He didn't leave my side for a minute, obviously, and I was just thankful for the distraction. He kept most of my tickets, but I took some with me. I got home, went to bed and slept almost the day away. The next morning, I found out I won $12 million."

"Holy shit," Brittany's mouth formed an 'o' shape.

"I know. It was one of those jackpot deals. Fucking crazy," Santana chuckled. She'd come to grips with the fact that she was a millionaire at the age of 23. She liked to think she did some good with her money. She donated to charity. She helped Puck get his construction business off the ground. She and Quinn were stock holders for Quinn's publishing company. She helped her dad perform pro-bono surgeries all the time. She was always buying things for other people.

But she was also human. She had her own apartment. She owned a car, even though she never used it. She had nice clothes, and nice things, and lots of bling. She didn't want for anything in this life, which was part of the problem. Simply put, Santana was bored, bored out of her mind. She had no interest in finishing college. She had no plans in investing on a long-term career. When she wasn't moping around the streets during one of her bouts of insomnia or catching up on sleep, she was either hanging out with Quinn, trolling the internet, or waving a hammer around in one of Puck's construction sites.

And now she had Brittany. It figured that she would fall for someone who never seemed to have any free time. Still, she didn't begrudge her schedule; she just wished she could think of ways to be near Brittany without hindering her work. Which was why she was so excited at the prospect of working at New Directions, even if temporarily. She could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins with just the thought of being a part of her girlfriend's life that she so rarely got to witness.

"Britt, just think about it. It really is the perfect solution. I honestly don't want your money. And trust me, Quinn is pretty well-off herself. We could help you out with the bar, you wouldn't spend a cent, and you wouldn't have to cripple your staff. And," Santana removed her legs from their resting place on the blonde's lap and got on her knees, moving over until she was straddling her girlfriend. Brittany's hands landed on her hips. "We could spend more time together. I'd be right there, working with you."

She looked down, frowning at Brittany's troubled look. Was the idea of working with her really that unappealing?

"I have the time. I assure you, that is not a problem. And you'd be doing me a favor, really, giving me something to do. Just think about it. And you can totally say no. No hard feelings," Santana said.

"How does Rachel know about you? Being rich?" Brittany blurted out. Santana blinked, not expecting the sudden change in topic.

"She didn't understand how I always had so much time to practice and perform with her. So I just told her. She even offered to compensate me for my time at one point. Which was kinda ridiculous, considering she's an unemployed actress."

"Hm, did she really?"

"She did, Britt," Santana leaned down to nuzzle a rosy cheek with her nose. "She really is a good person."

"Yeah," Brittany took a deep breath. "I should make more of an effort, shouldn't I?"

Santana shrugged. She did think Brittany was unreasonably hard on Rachel at times, but she wasn't about to voice that and run the risk of sounding like she was taking the diva's side over her girlfriend's.

"Is the money...going to be a problem?" she asked with bated breath. She honestly didn't believe Brittany would have an issue with her undeserved wealth, but she still prepared herself. People's true nature often reared their ugly head during situations like this.

"Of course not. Why would it be?" She chuckled at Brittany's confused look, relieved.

"I don't know. I just wanted to make sure."

Brittany pulled Santana closer by her long-sleeved shirt, hugging her until the smaller woman was draped over her, head tucked into her neck. They both breathed in and out slowly, perfectly content with their position and comfortable in each other's presence.

"What's the real reason you don't want us working at the restaurant?" Santana asked, breaking the easy silence. She knew something else was making Brittany hesitate, and she wanted to get to the bottom of the issue.

"Honestly, San? I would love it if you were working there. I can already imagine, how amazing it would be to look up and see your face there, every night. But, I don't want you working for me."

Santana leaned a little back, until she could look into uneasy blue eyes.

"Why?"

"Because, you're different." Brittany paused, clearly struggling with her words. Santana's learned to wait it out, and give her the room she needs to organize her thoughts into sentences. "You're not one of the people I just hook-up with. I'm worried having you work there would feel too much like that. I don't want to blur those lines."

"Brittany, I'm your girlfriend. Right?" She was satisfied with her small nod. "As long as that doesn't change, it won't be the same."

"And you'd be ok working there? Really?"

"Yeah. I can't promise I won't throw that skinny white guy in the trash can if I ever see him sifting around for empty pistachio baggies. Or that I won't sneak in Blaine's kitchen and steel a hot plate so I can fry Trouty Mouth for dinner if I catch him ogling you." She smiled when Brittany burst out laughing. "Brittany, seriously though. I told you, I love your restaurant. I'm so proud of the place you built. I'd be honored if I could help you with it, anyway you need."

Brittany graced her with a beautifully shy smile.

"I'll think about it," she said. She was ok with that answer, now that she could see Brittany no longer looked as if something was bothering her. Santana would support whatever decision she made.

"When is Jake leaving?"

"Day after tomorrow. So we have a little time."

"Is everything ok over there, besides that?"

"Yep, everything is good. Puck is working on getting an excavation permit for the sidewalk. I need to get a petition going, and get permission from the neighboring stores. And I need to find time to build the new menu. Now that it looks like I'll finally get my pit, I can get started on putting together some dishes."

"I can't wait to see you do that," Santana whispered huskily, lightly caressing around her pale collarbone, under her buttoned-down shirt's collar. Something about hearing Brittany when she discussed her restaurant, all focused and assertive, got her incredibly turned on.

"Do you have to go back to work right this minute?" she asked.

"No. Not until tonight actually. Did you have something in mind?"

"I thought of something we could occupy our time with." Santana sneaked her hand inside Brittany's shirt, caressing up her stomach towards her breasts, tortuously slow.

"Hm, what?" She clenched her thighs at hearing Brittany's sexy moan, squeezing the body beneath her with her legs.

"We could have sex on Rachel's bed."

"Ha, yes!" Brittany laughed in pure delight. "You're so good to me."

"I try."

Chapter Text

“How are they holding up?”

Blaine walked up behind Brittany, using her body to hide himself and his chef uniform from their patrons. Whenever he was spotted out on the restaurant floor, he was sequestered for a long time, obligated to speak to all the customers who wanted a word with the one directly responsible for their amazing meal for the night. While he usually enjoyed such interaction with his happy patrons, tonight was just too busy and he couldn’t afford to stay away from his kitchen for more than a few minutes.

Brittany knew all he wanted at that moment was a sneak peak at the two new additions to the New Directions’ staff; a chance to see for himself what everyone was probably gossiping to each other about.

“They’re a hit,” she said quietly over her shoulder.

She was honestly surprised. After conferring with Blaine for most of the day yesterday, she decided to take a chance and let Quinn and Santana work at the bar for the time when Jake would be away. Blaine had been thrilled by the idea, and like Santana, he thought it was the perfect solution to an impossible dilemma. Brittany, however, still had her reservations about having her girlfriend working for her.

Her only condition to agreeing to this situation was rested upon Santana having to unconditionally accept if Brittany decided it just wasn’t working out. She had been fine with that condition, so Brittany had no choice but to cave and let the chips fall where they may. She had to admit she’d been kind of hoping the two young women didn’t adapt to working at her restaurant; that perhaps they didn’t enjoy working the bar after all.

Except it was clear the two women were having fun. They were both naturals, and after a quick training session in the afternoon and a slow start to the busy evening, they fell into an easy rhythm, completely in sync with each other. They prepared the drinks and served the customers crowding the bar like two classy professionals. Brittany knew when to bow out and admit defeat. It was like she said: Santana and Quinn were a hit.

“I can see that,” Blaine said, startling Brittany out of her thoughts. “I better get back. I just wanted to see it for myself.”

She nodded distractedly, eyes firmly planted on the two figures at the bar lounge. Or, if she was being completely honest with herself, she had eyes for just the one. Santana was tending the left corner of the bar, expertly preparing what looked like a couple of Apple Martinis while engaging two older women in lively conversation. Brittany automatically smiled at the sound of their laughter, while at the same time critically analyzing Santana’s body language and bartending technique. She had to admit she was beyond impressed with her quick efficient movements and her easy charisma.

She turned away from the scene, deciding to leave the two new bartenders to do their thing. She spotted Finn leaning against the host stand chatting with Artie. She walked over to the two guys, catching a little of their whispered banter.

“I’m just saying, the blonde one is super fine,” Finn was saying.

“I don’t know, she looks too, wholesome. The other one, though, she’s bangin’. What’s her name again? I’m thinking about asking her out.” Artie elbowed the tall man from his wheelchair, and they shared an easy laugh. Brittany fumed; were these douches for real?

“How hilarious would it be for you to ask my girlfriend out?” Brittany laughed mockingly near Finn’s ear. “That would be so fucking funny. Hahahaha.”

“Jesus, Brittany,” Finn clutched at the shirt over his chest. “Wait, the Mexican is your girlfriend? Yeah, right,” he said, chuckling to himself. He turned to Artie, probably hoping his friend would join him, but no such luck. The other man stared straight ahead towards the glass doors, doing his best to avoid Brittany’s glare. From what she could see of his face, he sported a pained grimace, and she smirked. At least one of them knew exactly the shit hole they were in.

“I’m sorry, do I look like I’m joking?” Brittany looked up right into Finn’s confused eyes. “The ‘Mexican,’ as you have so grossly classified the beautiful woman who is currently saving all of our asses, is my girlfriend. I won’t allow either of you talking about her that way. And I won’t allow you talking to her about anything that’s not concerning work. And if you ever need to address either her or ‘the blond one’ in any way, shape, or form, you will do so in a professional capacity by using their names. Which is Santana and Quinn.” She stepped up closer to Finn, forcing him to back away a step and bump against the host stand. From her peripheral she saw Artie wheel himself away, putting a little distance between him and his boss. “Am I understood?”

“Brittany, who are you kidding here? If you’re calling dibbs on them, just say so,” Finn said, sporting a dopey half-grin.

“Oh no, you didn’t,” Artie whispered from somewhere to their right.

Brittany felt her insides freeze, and her face turn to stone. Finn Hudson, she knew, was nothing more than a dumb bully, and if there was something Brittany fucking hated, were dumb boys trying to be bullies.

“Finn, listen to me carefully. I’m not going to repeat myself. Those two women at the bar are Quinn and Santana. They are very dear to me, and you are to treat them with respect. Santana is my girlfriend. I catch you talking about them like they are some piece of meat you can claim again, I will fire you. I don’t care whose brother you are.” She turned to the man on the wheelchair. “Same goes to you, Artie. I don’t want this kind of talk near my host stand again. You are my customers’ front experience, their first contact with my restaurant. This kind of talk is unacceptable.”

“I understand. I’m really sorry, Brittany.”

With a last glare to Finn, she made her way to the bar. She looked over her shoulder and saw Artie furiously whispering to Finn before shooing him away. The tall awkward man looked thoroughly chastised, never quite losing the perplexed expression he seemed to always be sporting with his blinky eyes and twisted mouth.

“That looked like an intense conversation you were having just now,” Quinn called out to her before Brittany could slide into the only empty seat by the spot where the hazel-eyed blonde was mixing drinks.

“Just chewing some asses out. A day in the life of Brittany S. Pierce,” she caught Santana’s eye from the other end of the bar. She grinned at the quick wink her girl shot her way.

“I see,” Quinn laughed quietly. “So, Ms. Pierce, how are we doing so far? Santana and I? We’re pretty good, right?”

“No complaints,” Brittany pursed her lips, shrugging slightly with her right shoulder.

Quinn rolled her eyes.

“We rock, and you know it.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Brittany took a sip of the Strawberry Daiquiri Quinn placed in front of her. She had a sneaking suspicion Santana told her best friend about her preference for the sweet cocktail.

“I just wanted to say, Brittany,” Quinn started before sneaking a glance over her shoulder towards the woman working at the other end of the bar. “Thank you for letting Santana and I do this. I know it means a lot to her that you’re letting her help you, and it means a lot to me that you’re trusting her, us, like this.”

“Our deal still stands though,” Brittany appreciated what she said, but she felt compelled to remind her of the terms. “The moment things get a little weird, we stop, ok? And if you two won’t let me pay you, then you’ll just have to be ok with dining here for free from now on. I mean it, you don’t get to pay a cent, not even for a scoop of ice cream.”

“We got this, Britts. Don’t worry,” Santana said from behind Quinn. She stooped to grab a bottle of Jack Daniels before going back to her side, waving the bottle playfully and making two men in suits laugh at her antics.

“Santana is right Brittany, we have it under control. Honestly, I’m surprised at how easy this turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong,” Quinn hastened to add in case she offended her sort-of-employer. “You weren’t kidding, it can get pretty busy. But having worked at a rowdy sports bar, let’s just say this is a big improvement. I’ll take the smell of lagostini risotto over greasy onion rings any day.”

Brittany took a healthy sip of her drink, a little amused at Quinn’s wistful look at the older man sitting right next to Brittany as he enjoyed his risotto dish oblivious to their conversation.

“I never thought you guys couldn’t handle it. I just don’t want this to be awkward, you know?” She sought out Santana again, smiling at how effortlessly she engaged with the customers. If she was bothered by the constant chatter, she didn’t show it. Jake would sometimes complain about how much chit-chat he had to sustain throughout the night. Brittany wanted to make sure both of them knew they could take breaks from the costumers if they felt like they needed a breather.

“Can I get you anything else?” She looked up at the question and saw Quinn eyeing her almost empty drink.

“No, thanks. I should get back. You guys are doing ok, then?”

“Absolutely.”

“Ok. Because you know, if either of you needs a break –”

“Brittany, for the tenth time, we are totally fine. Like Santana said, don’t worry.”

Hearing her name, she stepped up next to Quinn and leveled a questioning look at Brittany.

“You look worried. Are we doing something wrong?”

“No, no, God, you guys are wonderful,” Brittany stood up to lean over the bar. “I just wanted to check in, that’s all.” She smiled at them, realizing she was starting to make them nervous with her hovering. “Just, you know, take breaks if you feel like you need it. And whenever you get hungry, just come on back. Blaine will fix you a plate. Anything you want.”

She barely noticed Quinn obviously eyeing the food next to her again, focusing instead on Santana’s blinding smile. She grinned at her one last time before finally stepping away to resume attending tables.

She heard Quinn asking Santana to man the bar for a little bit so she could get the dish she was craving. She couldn’t help chuckling under her breath when Santana asked, “What the hell is a lagostini?”

Chapter Text

Brittany had warned them; December was the worst month.

If Santana was being honest with herself, she hadn’t taken Brittany’s warning to heart. Boston was, at its core, a college city. Around the holidays, when all the students left to visit their families and hometowns, the city slowed down. Mellowed. Santana would go as far as to say that the city’s buzz died off, only to be replaced with the feel generally associated with small towns and the suburbs.

She knew she wasn’t wrong. She’d been living in Boston long enough to get a sense for the place, for how it worked, and for what made it tick. But she’d been wrong to underestimate Brittany. She’d been wrong to underestimate Brittany’s restaurant.

Christmas was just around the corner, and Santana was exhausted. She hadn’t been prepared for how hard it would be to keep up with the restaurant’s demand around the holiday season. She knew Quinn felt the same; in fact, she’d had to convince her (meaning she’d had to threated to shave her bald while she slept) not to quit a few times in the past couple of weeks.

It didn’t help that Brittany hadn’t planned well either. She’d been counting on Jake being back by this time, but his dad was still in critical condition, having had to undergo a couple of risky surgeries. She’d also been counting on borrowing a few helpers from Mrs. Patti’s staff at the diner for the holiday rush, but that also fell through. No one besides Tina had been available.

Not that Tina was a huge help. All the sullen bitch did was skulk around the kitchen, sniffing around Blaine. Quinn thought she didn’t know Blaine was gay. Santana was pretty sure the woman was just crazy and delusional.

Delusional and utterly useless, she thought bitterly as she removed half-empty glasses and dirty plates from a recently vacated table. Tina’s questionable work ethics was the reason why she now found herself moving around tables, refilling drinks, and cleaning up messes. Her cool, sexy bartender gig had turned into a servant’s gig from waitressing hell.

“Excuse me, miss. Excuse me, por favor!”

Santana turned away from the table she was currently clearing, towards the loud, obnoxious old lady who had been calling her.

“Yes?”

“Could. You. Please. Get me. Some more. Water!”

The woman, who was so grossly addressing Santana as if she was a demented half-wit, sat primly in her chair dressed all in gold (hair, jacket, shirt, and what could be seen of her pants – her whole get-up was bright gold) holding what looked like an overgrown rat on her lap. Santana could do nothing but stare. She was absolutely, honest to God, stunned speechless.

“Hello, honey! Do you. Understand me. At all?”

“I do,” was her deadpan answer. Was this old hag, with the very obviously fake blonde hair, for real? And what the hell was the freaky creature on her lap staring at her for?

“Ok, because I’m very. Caliente. So I’d like some water. Por favor!”

“I’m from Ohio, you racis−”

“Hi there, is everything alright here?”

Santana shut her mouth, mortified. Brittany had suddenly materialized from somewhere behind her and while her eyes were turned to the obnoxiously retro, rude lady who had been borderline yelling, she’d clearly meant the question for Santana. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to say anything; she stood petrified. From Brittany’s tense, rigid posture, Santana was sure she’d heard what she’d been about to call one of her customers.

And fuck, the rat-like dog was still staring at her. His big black eyes were so large, they took up almost half of his entire face. Santana had never seen an animal this physically unappealing.

“Oh Brittany, my dear. I was just asking this young lady here for some water, but I’m afraid she didn’t understand me. Does she even speak English?”

Santana snapped her mouth shut so hard, she could hear the back of her teeth grinding together. Brittany threw a semi-apologetic look her way before turning her back, leaning down to say something to gold get-some-fashion-sense lady that was too low for her to pick-up. The lady threw her fake ass blonde head of hair back as she loudly laughed, and Santana had enough. She roughly finished removing the dirty dishes from the table and carried the full tray to the kitchen, leaving the two women behind without a second glance.

On her way back she stopped by the bar. She needed a fucking break. Tina was, again, in the kitchen harassing Blaine instead of being out on the floor doing her job. A quick look around showed Brittany was still at that same table, standing just a tad too close to the woman who stood out like a neon sign in her trashy gold outfit.

“Ugh.”

“You can’t possibly be jealous.”

Santana turned away from glaring at her girlfriend practically fawning over that gross woman to glare at Quinn.

“I’m definitely not jealous.”

“Good. Because that woman looks like someone from those God-awful music videos from the 80s. Whatever was she thinking, leaving her house dressed like that?”

Despite her foul mood, she couldn’t help but smile at Quinn’s jibe. Leave it to her home girl to say just the right thing to make her feel better. She came around the counter so they could talk without risking one of the people sitting at the bar listening in.

“Tell me about it. And that fucking dog. I thought pets weren’t allowed in here.”

“It is snowing pretty hard,” Quinn mused, turning to look out of one of the big windows to the left of the bar. “It probably would’ve frozen to death if it’d stayed outside.”

“Not a huge loss, if you ask me.”

“Hey,” they turned around and came face to face with Brittany leaning over the bar counter, and Santana wanted to die. Why did she keep showing up right when Santana was shit-talking that customer?

“What’s up, Brittany?” Quinn asked when it was clear Santana wasn’t going to say anything. Brittany looked at her briefly before shifting her attention to the other blonde.

“Can you make me a dry martini real quick? Three olives.”

“Sure thing.” Quinn set out to make the drink, and in the two minutes it took, Brittany wouldn’t meet Santana’s eyes. She murmured a “thanks” when Quinn handed her the finished drink and went back to fugly in gold and her lapdog.

“Please tell me you put some rat poison in that old bitch’s drink.”

“She’s not that old.”

She stared at her best friend; surely she must have gone insane.

“Are you kidding me? That washed out hag? She looks like she’s 70. Not even Puck would go near her with a 10-foot pole.”

“Hey! What is that supposed to mean?”

She rolled her eyes.

“Come on, Quinn. Just because you’re now engaged to the guy doesn’t mean you get to forget he’s gross. What about all those ‘MILFS’ he kept bragging about banging back in high school?”

“Oh, please. You honestly believed that? That was all talk.”

“I believe it. No way were those women paying for just pool cleaning. He was cleaning out all their pipes, if you know what I mean.”

“God, spare me, Santana.”

Their laughter was cut short by Finn approaching the bar. They waited for him to put in what they assumed was an order he had from one of his tables, but he just stood there and stared at Quinn. Santana scoffed. Could this day get any shittier?

“What do you want, Finn?” she finally asked. Quinn only raised a finely sculpted eyebrow, staring him down.

“A beer,” he answered distractedly. Santana didn’t move from the spot, unsure if he’d meant it for himself, or if it was indeed an order for a table.

“I’m still engaged, Finn.” Quinn’s sweet, melodic voice managed to carry a frosty disgust that would have sent any sane man scurrying away. Finn still stood there, the ever present vaguely confused, dopey expression firmly etched on his face.

“And you’re still dating our friend, Rachel,” Santana couldn’t help but add, beyond angry by that point.

At least that got a reaction out of him. He blinked in rapid succession, as if waking up from a daydream. He reached into his apron’s pocket and retrieved his notepad. Without another word, he pushed it towards them, turned around, and headed for the kitchen. The two women watched him go, a little bewildered by the whole thing.

“What the fuck?”

Quinn shook her head, disgust apparent on her face.

“I can’t believe Rachel is dating him. What does she see in him?”

“Beats the hell out me. I don’t think even she knows. There’s a reason why she never introduced him to us. Maybe that’s why she threw such a fit when she saw we were serious about working here.”

Quinn made a non-committal sound as she filled out the order on Finn’s abandoned notepad.

“Apparently he’s Kurt’s step-brother, whom by the way I also never met until a few weeks ago. I’m thinking the little troll kept us from meeting her other friends on purpose.”

“Maybe. It is strange that she never brought them around our apartment, at least not since I started living there. Speaking of Rachel, she wants to get together before she leaves to visit her dads. Should we just do drinks at our place sometime tomorrow?”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Santana said, eyeing the clock. Another 15 minutes and they could start handing out checks. “Almost time to go.”

“It’s really coming down,” Quinn said, looking outside again. “Can you cover me for a few? I’m just going to call Puck and tell him not to pick us up.”

“Are you sure? I was planning on staying with Brittany tonight.”

“Oh,” she chewed on her bottom lip. “I don’t want him driving in this snow though.”

“Just tell him to walk over. My apartment is literally right down the street.” Quinn nodded.

“I’ll be right back.”

###

It took over an hour for all customers to finally leave the restaurant, and then another hour and a half until it was just her and Brittany cleaning the main floor while Marley and Ryder finished up in the kitchen.

“Babe, I got this. Go home.”

“No, no, I want to help.”

Brittany chuckled, apparently giving up on getting Santana to leave the rest of the clean-up for her.

“I just don’t understand why you have to do this,” she uttered under her breath, half-hoping Brittany wouldn’t hear her.

“The restaurant needs to be clean for the next day, Santana. Kind of simple, really,” her girlfriend replied, sarcasm dripping off her fake-cheerful tone. So she heard. And got a little pissed.

“Britt, I know that. I mean, why do you have to do it? You’re the boss, can’t you have one of the guys do it?”

“Santana, I told you already. We have a rotating schedule. The closers clean-up. I’m closing tonight, so I’m cleaning-up. Like I said, simple.”

Maybe she was more than just a little pissed. Santana sighed. Was she being unreasonable, not wanting her over-worked girlfriend to tire herself out even more by doing things that were technically beneath her paygrade? What was the point of owning a successful business and having a staff if you were stuck mopping up shit at the end of the day?

Like, literally. Brittany was literally mopping up dog shit off the floor at that moment, from that little yappy fucking alien dog, no less. Winter had finally set in over Boston with a vengeance, so she understood that her sweet Brittany just didn’t have the heart to make her customers leave their pets outside.

But like they say, no good deed goes unpunished. How did that overgrown rat repay her kindness? By shitting on her floor. And that snotty gold infused bitch didn’t even pretend to make an effort to clean it up. She just hopelessly stared up at Brittany with her big doe eyes, her plastic boobs, and that old plastic face, and was all like “ooops, I’m so sorry, Brittany, my little poochy is just nervous.” And Brittany ate it all up, tending to the customer and even smiling at the slut’s shameless flirting. Santana had been this close to accidently tipping over a drink on top of her fake blonde head when the woman and her stupid pocket-sized dog finally left the restaurant.

“Stupid bimbo,” Santana growled, sweeping at the ground so aggressively the dirt was dispersing everywhere.

“Did you say something?” Brittany asked from further away, around the main entrance.

“Nope!”

“Ok,” she saw Brittany look her way, but she quickly diverted her eyes, staring down instead. So, Quinn was right. She was a little jealous. Or like, way jealous. Infuriatingly jealous. And a little mad at Brittany, who hadn’t looked at her once while she started flirting with that disgusting woman, even after she saw how she’d treated Santana. So what? No big fucking deal.

“Hey, what’s the matter?” Brittany’s voice sounded right at her ear. She gave a start, startled by her how close the taller woman was all of a sudden.

“Nothing.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep. Just, finishing up here.”

“Hm. Cause you sweep any harder, you’re going to break the broom in half.”

“Sorry.”

“San,” she heard Brittany sigh. She felt her lightly grasp her elbow. She was about to turn into the touch when they were interrupted by Ryder poking his head out of the kitchen’s door that was propped open.

“Hey, Britt. Marley and I are about done here. Do you guys need any help?”

“No, it’s ok. You guys go, we’re almost done too.”

“Ok, good night you two.”

They called out their good nights and waited in silence until they heard the back door slam closed, signaling the other two had left. Santana then saw Brittany turn to her, but she lowered her head and continued sweeping, albeit less aggressively. She saw Brittany hesitate from the corner of her eye, but after a few moments she also returned to cleaning.

After they finished, they moved in unison to the back of the restaurant toward the little stairway that took them to the apartment upstairs. They’d spent the night there a couple more times since their first date, on days like today when Brittany had to close the restaurant and Santana stayed to help.

But tonight felt off, unlike the other times when they would stumble in the small apartment and move effortlessly around each other, crumbling on top of the bed too exhausted to do anything else besides cuddle close.

Tonight their movements were terse and awkward. They tried climbing the narrow stairs at the same time and ended up pushing the other against the wall. After Santana let Brittany go first, they barely looked at each other as they reached the upper floor and made their way further into the apartment. Santana moved to grab a bottle of water from the fridge and bumped against Brittany’s shoulder from behind, who was in the process of removing her shirt. Momentarily blinded and disoriented, she hit her bare foot against one of the chairs in the small kitchen and yelped in pain. She yanked the shirt the rest of the way off and locked herself in the bathroom before Santana could even try to apologize.

She was frankly fuming at the cold shoulder. Why was Brittany even acting like this? Santana was the one who had a bad day, not her. Even though things had been great with Santana helping out at the restaurant so far, today had been a crappy experience, plain and simple. She thought that after her shift from hell was finally over, she would get to relax and enjoy some alone time with her girlfriend. But apparently not.

She sat on the bed waiting for Brittany to come out. She waited so long, in fact, that she was no longer in the mood for anything. All she wanted was to brush her teeth, relieve herself, wash her face, fall into bed, and forget this day. She briefly wondered if she should leave, and was surprised to realize that she was so irritated she was actually considering staying away from her girlfriend for the night.

When Brittany finally emerged from the bathroom, Santana passed by without a word, closing the door behind her. She took a few moments longer than necessary to get ready, spending a few minutes leaning over the sink and orienting herself. She didn’t know what was going on with them today, and she was upset that she didn’t know how to turn things around. She couldn’t even pinpoint when in the day they had started to go wrong.

Brittany was already in bed when she finally came out. She turned off the light and moved to the other side, sliding under the covers next to a body that was too tense to be asleep. They laid there, tired but still unable to rest. Santana felt inexplicably uncomfortable. Every time she switched positions on the narrow bed, she could practically feel annoyance radiating off the woman by her side.

After a misplaced elbow hit her spine, Brittany finally rolled over until she was facing her restless self.

“What?” she eventually asked when the odd, silent staring started to unnerve her.

“Wanna have sex?”

She started in surprised, and a quick look into her girlfriend’s eyes confirmed she was actually serious. She panicked. She really wasn’t in the mood. Should she tell Brittany the truth, or get over it? Maybe that’s exactly what they needed; sex to relieve this weird tension that had developed between them.

She must have taken too long to answer because Brittany sighed and rolled onto her back. They both laid there for a few minutes, staring at the plain grey ceiling. Santana peeked after another painfully silent moment and saw Brittany was still wide awake. She would have given anything at that moment to know what the other woman was thinking.

“Sorry, Britt,” she said in a small, weary voice. “I’m just not feeling it. I’m kind of wiped out.”

“It’s fine.”

When tears prickled at the corner of her eyes, she realized she couldn’t do this. She couldn’t stay there, in that bed, next to Brittany in that suffocating silence. She stood up in one fluid motion.

“What are you doing?”

“I think I should go.” She didn’t look back at the bed. She looked around until she located her folded clothes on top of a small dresser in the corner of the room.

“But why?”

“Because, Brittany, this is weird. And I don’t know, I think I just need to go home and sleep this day off.”

She started getting dressed, still refusing to face Brittany. She was afraid of what she would see. Would she find the blonde about to ask her to stay, with her big blue eyes all sad and pleading, or would she find one of Brittany’s stoic expressions that she used to mask faked obliviousness and indifference? Which one would hurt more?

“But it’s snowing. The streets are full and it’s freezing.”

“I live close, it’s not a big deal.”

“Santana—”

“Just,” Santana stood up straight, so close to a breaking point she was about to pull her hair. She had to get out of there. “Don’t worry, ok? Get some rest and I’ll call you tomorrow.”

She stooped to pick up her purse from floor near the door. She was about to step out when she heard a broken whisper from the back of the apartment.

“Please don’t leave.”

She ceased all movement, hand wrapped around the door knob in a vice-grip. She was almost out the door. She could pretend she didn’t hear Brittany’s plea and keep going.

But damn it. Why did she have to sound so sad?

She let her purse fall back on the floor before turning around and slowly making her way back to the bed. The big shimmering eyes and dejected pout waiting for her almost brought her down to her knees. A sad Brittany should be a crime; it felt so wrong, it physically pained her to see it.

“Britt-Britt,” Santana couldn’t help but go all soft at the sight of the blonde sitting up, hugging her knees against her chest and looking so small. “I’m in a mean, bitchy mood. I’m just not good company right now.”

“Santana. I don’t want to be around you only when you’re good company.” She got off the bed and came closer until she was standing directly in front of her. “I’m your girlfriend, right? That means I want to be around you all the time, even when you are grumpy and full of your vicious words. I want to take care of you,” she finished with a sweet smile.

To Santana’s dismay, she felt herself blush. She was sure she was smiling a huge, dorky smile, and when she couldn’t make it go away she ducked her head to try and hide it. She felt fingers under her chin, and she didn’t resist when Brittany brought her up until they were facing each other again.

“I love it when you smile. This one is like, my favorite. I can’t think when you smile like that.”

“Britt,” she sighed, shaking her head to try and get some semblance of control over her emotions. Where was badass, Lima Heights Adjacent Snix? If only Quinn could see her now. She would probably never let Santana live this down.

“Will you stay? Please?”

“Yeah,” she answered the quiet begging with a gentle whisper of her own. Her breath hitched at Brittany’s blinding smile. But when hands moved to her chest and grabbed the open front of her coat, she freaked out a little. Was Brittany still expecting to…?

“Shhh.” Her panic must have shown on her face. Brittany continued to try and calm her as she removed her coat and let it fall behind her. “Just let me take care of you.”

Brittany waited for her to nod before she moved to raise her shirt, leaving Santana clad in the tank top she had changed into to sleep in. She then knelt in front of her so she could ease her out of the thick wool pants. She leaned forward and kissed her stomach, and Santana was incapable of stopping the soft moan that slipped out.

“Come on, let’s go back to bed.” Brittany pulled her along and pushed her gently until she was under the covers. She then slipped in herself, and moved Santana until she had her back pressed to Brittany’s front. They both relaxed at the easy, comfortable fit. A sudden bout of exhaustion crept over Santana then, and she was about to give in to the pull when she heard Brittany say something right in her ear.

“Do you want to talk about what was bothering you?” she repeated at Santana’s questioning noise.

“Hm,” she fought the heaviness in her eyes to answer. “Just a bad day.”

“Are you sure? Are you still happy with working at the restaurant?”

“Britt,” she pulled the arm holding her around the waist tighter against her body. Brittany answered her silent request by coming even closer, until Santana could feel every inch of her long, lean body pressed to her back. “I love it. It was just an off day. Ok?”

“Ok. Just promise you’ll tell me if—”

“I promise.”

“Ok.”

“You need to fire Tina, though,” Santana couldn’t help but add. Her pissy mood was all that bitch’s fault, come to think of it. “She gots to go.”

“Can I tell you a secret?” Brittany asked, sounding like she was holding back laughter.

“What?”

“She actually really scares me. I’m serious,” she continued at Santana’s disbelieving laugh. “I think she’s a little crazy.”

“Go to sleep, Britt,” she said after their chuckles died down.

“Sweet dreams, San.”

“With you, they always are.”