Author: Gorshenin PM
AU. They said she was just a pretty face, a model fed lines to sell a product. But if you squinted, there was more to Santana Lopez than they gave her credit for, and reporter Brittany Pierce was going to get to the bottom of it. Brittana/FaberryRated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Romance - Brittany P. & Santana L. - Chapters: 38 - Words: 209,311 - Reviews: 1,824 - Favs: 1,751 - Follows: 2,365 - Updated: 07-31-12 - Published: 12-11-11 - id: 7627238
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Here are a few copies for you and whoever you want to brag to. Congratulations, Brittany! You deserve it. – Rachel
ps — I hope you're ready to party!
Brittany set the note aside and sank into her office chair, wishing her cubical was a little more private. Her hands were nearly shaking as she reached out, the thick manila envelope opened easily and Brittany was able to slide out one of the advanced copies from inside.
Never, had Brittany been so proud to see Santana on the cover of a magazine. Her magazine.
Santana Lopez: Making Clockwork Tick Since 2010, by Brittany S. Pierce.
Written in the glossy shine, the words looked more important and official than anything Brittany could have hoped for. Her hand did shake as she traced the words on the page; first Santana's name, then her own. They had done it. They had made this happen. She took her time flipping through the magazine to get to the featured article, she skimmed the photos of Santana. They were all modest and organic to her work, there was even one of her winning at a college level robotics competition, Holly Holiday by her side and trophy in hand. Brittany hoped Santana didn't mind that she asked Holly for something from her school years.
Flipping through the pages Brittany skimmed the words, remembering what she had written, the edits she had made. Each paragraph gave her another memory of her time spent with the woman, getting to know her, learning about her experiences, working alongside her and seeing her world first hand. If she thought she missed working in Clockwork before, now it was worse, and so bitter sweet.
Brittany could feel the tears swell in her eyes even as she smiled, she took in a shaky breath. This was it. She was a journalist. She needed to go find Santana; she wanted nothing more than to share this with her. She started gathering her things, slipping the rest of the copies into her bag and shutting down her computer.
She looked up, meeting the smiling faces of a few of her friends, "Hey guys."
"Is that it? Let us see."
Brittany flushed, handing over the magazine to let her friends look it over. She knew it was probably normal to get nervous as her peers looked it over, even if they would never say a word against it.
"This is so cool, Brittany," Mandy, a reporter that started working here around the same time as Brittany, held the magazine so she and her friends could see the pages as they flipped through, "and I am so excited for tonight."
"Tonight?" Brittany asked, confused.
"Rachel's throwing you a party," she laughed, "didn't you check your email?"
"No," Brittany's heart sank, "where is it at?"
"Grillan, duh, we never go anywhere else."
"Right," Brittany could feel the wind falling from her sails. Rachel had been hankering to get back to her favorite restaurant for a while now, and Brittany wasn't surprised that she had organized a company celebration there, it really was their go to place. She just wished Santana didn't have a peanut allergy. "Of course. What time?"
Brittany got the minor details from her friends, making sure they didn't get the idea that she wasn't anything less than ecstatic about everything, and then excused herself to take care of some errands. Her first stop was the post office where she found three matching priority service envelopes. She slipped a copy of the magazine into each, addressing them with a neat and tidy scrip from the stored addresses on her phone.
She sent one to her mother, the second to a mother figure, and the last to a woman she's never spoken to in her life.
After that was accomplished, Brittany made the short trip to Clockwork to find the woman that made this all possible. This time she called as she entered the lobby, because she didn't want to waste any time trying to find Santana in the huge building, and the closer they got to the exhibition, the more Santana was on the move. Thankfully, she was in her office and Brittany was glad because at least then they would have a little privacy.
"Hey Brittany," Mike greeted her as she walked onto the floor. He was obviously getting ready to call it a day, packing his laptop into a bag with a few notebooks.
She smiled, noticing that most everyone else was doing the same thing it was probably later than she thought it was, but still early for him and Santana, who had been working late this week, "Hey Mike. Early night?"
He smiled with a bashfulness she had never seen before, "I have a date tonight."
Her smile turned into a grin, and she patted him on the shoulder as she passed, "Have fun."
When the door to Santana's office slid open and Brittany disappeared inside, Santana was already on her feet, walking towards her with an unrestrained grin, "I thought I was going to have to wait until tonight to see you."
Walking in bare feet, her heels forgotten under her desk, her blazer folded over the back of her chair, sleeves rolled up, and glasses perched on her nose, Brittany was sure Santana was the most beautiful woman she's ever met. The door closing behind her was the only cue Brittany needed to gather her up in her arms and kiss her. Santana popped up onto her toes to reciprocate, too lost in the moment to worry about the slim chance that Quinn or Kurt, might walk in.
"You're really tall in heels," Santana kissed the corner of Brittany's mouth as she pulled away, falling onto the flats of her feet. Brittany just smiled slyly, a playful glint coming into her eyes that made Santana's stomach flutter.
"Then let me even things up."
Without warning, Brittany shifted her arms, hoisting the smaller woman into the air with a surprised squeal, "Britt—"
"I got you," she laughed, carrying the woman to her desk bridal style, and Santana was quick to wrap her arms around Brittany's neck for balance. Conscious of the woman's skirt, Brittany set the brunette down carefully and then slipped out of her own heels, effectively leveling their faces, if not making Santana a hair taller. "There, now we match."
Santana, who's arms were still around her neck, pulled her closer to kiss her again. "I love you, but it makes me feel weird that you can pick me up and carry me around like a little girl."
"What?" Brittany teased, "Does it make you feel silly?"
"Yes," Santana admitted.
"Yeah—wha—no." Santana blushed deeply.
"I think it does," Brittany kissed her warm cheek. "I think, especially here at Clockwork, you like to feel powerful."
"How do you mean?" Santana's eyes narrowed curiously, unsure of Brittany's meaning.
"You always have so much to prove," Brittany reasoned softly, "I bet you sat behind this desk and stared down Jacob Ben Israel like you were the owner of this company."
Santana's eyes skated away in an embarrassed moment of honesty. She swallowed thickly, shifting her hips so she was sitting sideways, and Brittany could move a little closer, pressing her lower stomach against Santana's thighs. She tried to think of how Santana's subordinates felt when they reported to her here. She had only seen it once or twice in her time at Clockwork, but the effect was riveting. Behind this desk, Santana was commanding, and it was so attractive.
"You do it every time you hold one of those meetings on the floor. Sometimes I feel like you use your tablet as a shield against everyone around you, like you hold all the secret information. When you leave this place," Brittany continued, "it takes a bit before you can let that defensiveness go, and you start being yourself again."
"I'm always myself around you," Santana confessed under her breath, knowing Brittany could hear her just fine.
"I know," Brittany assured her with another kiss, a hand finding its way onto Santana's thigh. "You're soft, and kind, and sensitive in a way that you would never be able to be here."
"Not everyone deserves the real me," Santana smirked, trying to use some bravado to keep her from turning into a heap of mush under Brittany's fiery stare.
"So I must be special," Brittany grinned.
There was a seriousness to Santana's tone that made Brittany's heart pound in her chest, her grip on the edge of the desk and Santana's thigh tightening slightly.
"I have something for you," Brittany took a small breath to calm her nerves and reached into the bag still slung over her shoulder. She pulled out the magazine and dropped the bag at her feet next to her heels.
Santana's eyebrows lifted, "Is that..?"
"It is," Brittany whispered, holding it out for the woman.
Santana took the magazine and turned it in her hands so the cover was facing her, her thumb brushed over Brittany's name on the page, "Brittany, this is amazing."
"You haven't even read it yet," Brittany blushed and suddenly her nerves were coming back tenfold.
Santana looked up with bright brown eyes, "So I'm allowed to read it?"
"I never said you weren't," Brittany rolled her eyes with a smile.
"If you didn't want me to, I won't," Santana told her honestly, but her thumb was working along the corners of the pages.
"I want you to, I do," Brittany bit her lip, worrying it between her teeth, "but I can't be in the room when you do, so take it home tonight and we'll talk about it tomorrow."
"Why don't you…" Santana scratched her nose, "let me take you out to celebrate tonight. We'll talk about it then."
Brittany's eyes fell to the floor, "I totally would, but my friends at The Lead are taking me out to that roadhouse Rachel likes."
"The one with all the peanuts," Santana's shoulders fell a little. Brittany opened her mouth to offer to cancel, but Santana beat her to it, with a small, genuine smile. "That's great, Brittany. You deserve to be recognized like that."
"I don't want to go if—"
Santana pressed a finger gently to Brittany's lips to quiet her, "Remember when we decided that it wasn't the most professional thing in the world to be shacking up with your feature subject?"
Against her finger, Santana felt Brittany's bottom lip twitch out into a pout.
"At least not so soon after publishing," Santana threw her hair behind her shoulder in a flirty manner, "I mean, I know that I'm Maxim worthy..."
Brittany's pulled away from Santana's hand laughing, "You put those girls to shame, Santana."
Santana's bravado faltered at the praise, "Still... I think it's best you go out with your friends and have a good time. You've worked so hard for this, you deserve a night that's all about you."
"But this isn't all about me," Brittany muttered, "you're as much a part of this as I am."
Santana glanced back to the magazine in her hand, her face on the cover. "Britt, all I did was answer some questions. You're the one that got me to open up, that put up with all my walls and baggage, and found some way to put that into something worth reading. This is your moment. You gotta go celebrate that, and be proud of yourself, because I sure am."
Brittany didn't think replying with a simple thank you would suffice, not when Santana made her feel like she was the best writer in the world. Instead she reached up, slipping her hand behind Santana's neck to draw her into a kiss, hoping that Santana would understand all of the things she was trying to say without words. When she felt the smile in Santana's kiss, Brittany was sure that they were on the same page.
The reporting staff had commandeered a room in the back of the roadhouse, filled with music, writers, food, and drinks. Brittany's celebration was a warm welcome back into the fold. They congratulated her and made it known that she was missed in the office. Santana had been right, this was a great feeling, and totally worth it, she just wished she could have shared it with the brunette. She picked a peanut out of one of the large complimentary buckets, studying it for a moment and wondering why it had to be so mean. She threw it at one of her friends across the table and was proud that she hit him in the forehead.
Missing Santana was a given, but Brittany found herself laughing along with her friends, telling them the best and worst parts of working at Clockwork without giving too much away about her relationship or Santana herself. There were of course, plenty of times when she wished Santana were there to tell the stories in the way only Santana could, like about how Sam tripped over an extension cord at the last convention and sent a monitor crashing to the ground. She could imagine the look on Santana's face as she relived that happy moment in her life.
Mandy, who was sitting next to her, leaned over to stage whisper, "Don't look now, but your boyfriend finally decided to show himself."
Brittany choked on her beer, wiping her chin and looking up in time to see Artie rolling himself through the doors of the private room. Rachel sent her a concerned glance, "I didn't invite him."
Mandy frowned curiously, "What, are you two fighting?"
"We're over," Brittany set her drink down, she could feel herself fuming.
"Shit, I wish I had known that when I invited him," she sent Brittany an apologetic look, "why would he show up if you guys had broken up?"
"I have no idea," Brittany shook her head slowly, for the life of her she didn't know the answer to that question. He must know that Santana would have told her the truth about everything by now, and even if she hadn't, Brittany had made it pretty clear that she wanted him to leave them both alone.
Rachel was already getting out of the seat next to her, "I'll take care of this."
Brittany watched her walk over to Artie and, more likely than not, politely tell him he wasn't welcome here. They were arguing, voices low, muffled in the buzzing air and drunken conversation. She looked at him as if she was seeing the man for the first time, images of him and Santana flashing though her mind and it made her grip on her beer tighten.
She wanted him to leave, she wanted him to leave and never see him again. More than that, she wanted him to hurt the way he's made Santana hurt. She wanted him to feel that pain and live with those scars. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind
In retrospect, Brittany will blame the alcohol.
She was on her feet and moving towards them before she could think better of it. Artie noticed her approach and tried to wheel himself around Rachel.
"What are you doing here?" Brittany asked callously.
"I need to talk to you," Artie sent Rachel a look that suggested he would rather be alone when they talked.
Brittany wasn't sure of a lot of things, but she was sure she'd rather have this conversation private just in case he decided to mention something that could be unflattering to Santana. She turned to Rachel, "Give us a second."
"Brittany, you're drunk, I'm not leaving you with him," Rachel took her arm and tried to pull her away.
Brittany shrugged her off, "I'm fine. I'm staying here."
Rachel looked between them warily. Finally she pegged Artie with a hard glare, "Alright, but I'm going to keeping an eye on you."
She walked away until she was just out of earshot, shooing everyone's curious eyes away from the former couple.
"What do you want, because the only thing I have to say to you is how much you disgust me," Brittany pointed an accusing finger in his face. "You disgust me."
"I came to apologize," Artie could barely keep her eyes, and skillfully ignored the finger in his face.
"You think I want to hear your apology?" Brittany laughed harshly. "You think that means anything to me? I saw those photos, I saw what you did to that woman."
"I wanted you to tell you that I'm sorry for doing that," Artie admitted, "I shouldn't have sent those photos—I was so angry at the convention, and by the time you came to talk to me at my apartment, I had already given them to be delivered—"
"What you did wasn't something that you do when you're angry," Brittany wasn't accepting his excuse. "What you did was malicious, and hateful, and fucking evil, Artie, you're evil."
"I kept my promise," he argued softly, "I've stayed away and your feature is getting published, obviously."
"This," she waved a hand over her shoulder, gesturing to the group of people celebrating her success, "isn't thanks to you, it's in spite of you."
"Look, I miss you Brittany, I—you meant a lot to me and I wish you would let me explain. There's so much about it you don't understand because you've only heard her side—"
"Her side is the only side that matters to me."
"You really are drunk," Artie started getting defensive as it became obvious that she wasn't going to do anything that even remotely resembled forgiving him.
"And you really are an asshole. If you even so much as give Santana a dirty look a this exhibition," Brittany leaned forward, placing one hand on each of Artie's forearms, pinning them to the armrests of his wheelchair. She saw him swallow thickly, leaning as far away from her penetrating stare as possible. "I'll make sure you regret it."
While Brittany was out celebrating her success, Santana wanted to tie up a loose end on one of her greatest failures.
She stood anxiously in front of a door. It was a nice door and, in all reality, nothing to be intimidated by. She had seen it before. She's used it on a decent number of occasions, and she might even have a spare key to it... somewhere.
Taking a deep breath, Santana and knocked loudly. Probably too loudly than necessary, but hey, she was nervous.
A muffled reply answered her knock and Santana put her hand back in the pocket of her jacket. She took another breath, for luck.
"Sorry, I needed to find my—" Tina paused when the person on her doorstep was not who she expected. "Santana."
Santana eyed her clutch, the men's dress shirt she was wearing that barely covered the tops of her bare legs, "Are you… do you have company over?"
Tina blushed under Santana's nearly impressed smirk, "Yes, actually."
"I didn't know you were seeing anyone," Santana eyed the shirt again, there was something about it that seemed familiar.
"It's kind of, very, new," Tina blushed harder. "First date actually."
"Nice," Santana chuckled, without judgment. "If I had known I would have called first or whatever, I'll get out of your way—"
"Hey, wait," she laughed, glancing inside for a moment before opening the door wider, "come in and tell me what's wrong."
When Santana hesitated, Tina pulled her over the threshold. Santana's eyes glanced around for any signs of Tina's new man, "Why would you think something is wrong?"
"Why else would you show up on my doorstep?" Tina shrugged, "I don't exactly live down the street, Santana."
She pulled Santana out of the doorway and into a hug. The embrace was familiar and always something that would comfort her. Tina... had been her first real, serious relationship. Tina had been there for her before and after Artie. She had been the first to forgive her, the one to help pick up the pieces, and Tina had been hurt the most when Santana cut everyone off and fled to Berkeley. Even then, Tina had been there for her. She wished Tina knew how much it meant to her, and she hoped she would be willing to help her out again now.
"You're right," Santana flushed, a little embarrassed, but not at all surprised that Tina had seen through her, "I do have a more... ulterior motive."
"What's wrong?" Tina asked, taking her hand and pulling her further into the house.
"Hold up," Santana held back, glancing around again. "I appreciate you taking time away from your booty call to talk to me, but I don't really want to do this with someone else in the house."
Tina's grip on her wrist tightened, instantly understanding why Santana might be here. She licked her lips, "He's in the shower… we probably have about ten minutes. What's up, Santana?"
"I um..." her dark eyes skated around the apartment, just in case Tina's company was around, her voice quiet when she said, "I need that video, T."
Tina felt her stomach twist awkwardly, she released Santana's wrist to run her hands through her hair, in a mumble she asked, "What video?"
"Brittany told you," Tina bit her lip, knowing that it had always been a possibility. It had only been a matter of time. A part of her wondered if she had told Brittany as an easy way to come clean to Santana.
"I was awake for that whole conversation between you two that morning in the basement," Santana admitted.
Tina let out a quiet laugh, to break her nerves more than anything, "You always would just lay in bed."
"Yeah," Santana shoved her hands into her jacket pockets, watching Tina's toes curl into the carpet anxiously.
"Why would I still have it?"
The dark eyes that slid to hers were conflicted, as if she didn't know if she should be disappointed or relieved, "You don't?"
"Why would you want it, Santana?" Tina felt her heart breaking again. "What good will it do?"
"So you do have it," Santana decided.
Santana started walking further into the apartment anxiously, because she needed to do something. Walking, even if it was just around Tina's living room, felt like she was moving closer—closer to something... she still didn't know what she was looking for in all of this. Irrationally, her eyes scanned over the room, like she would be able to pick out the hiding place. Would Tina have it on a disk? External hard drive? A thumb drive? An old laptop?
"Where is it Tina?"
"Santana," Tina followed her cautiously, taking a seat on the edge of the couch and putting a throw pillow in her lap to fidget with, "sit down and talk to me about this."
"I don't want to sit," Santana huffed, "I want that video."
"Why would I keep something like that around?"
"Why wouldn't you?" Santana threw her hands up. "It could be proof that he took advantage of me."
"Don't even pretend that you would have ever pressed charges against him."
Santana deflated, knowing she was right and hating it.
"Please, what's the point in dwelling on this anymore?" Tina tried to reason with the woman but she could already see the gears turning. She knew Santana's stubborn behavior when she saw it.
"I'm allowed to dwell on whatever the fuck I want," Santana crossed her arms, planting herself on the opposite side of the coffee table and turning towards the woman.
"Don't give me that look, Santana," Tina drew her legs under herself, hugging the pillow.
"What look?" Santana threw her eyes to the ceiling, because she was giving Tina that look.
"The one you give people when you don't understand why they're not agreeing with you," Tina frowned a little.
"What I don't understand is how you could keep this from me?" Santana was working at keeping herself calm. She was bordering on getting angry that Tina had kept this from her for so long, and breaking into tears because she's so sorry that the woman had to carry this burden herself.
"I told Brittany why," Tina shrugged, and Santana bit her lip at the fragile way she was hugging her pillow. Some of her anger slipping away. "Please don't make me explain it again."
Santana shuffled her feet, she would give Tina that small favor, "Alright, so you feel guilty because you said something stupid to Artie and he used it as an invitation. That's all he was looking for Tina, an excuse."
"That doesn't change the fact that I gave it to him," she picked at the fabric of the throw pillow, taking a shaky breath.
"You don't get to do that."
Tina looked up because she didn't understand what she was talking about. She found Santana pinching the bridge of her nose, her eyes squeezed shut tight.
"You don't get to feel guilty about saying some offhanded comment to an asshole that was telling you that you weren't good enough for me, and then turn around and tell me I can't feel guilty when I actually did something substantial, Tina, I cheated on you."
"I don't know what I did," Santana cut her off, "all I have to go off of is the pictures, which apparently are really screen shots of a video. So please, let me enlighten myself. Let me see how giving Artie Abrams a blow job, isn't cheating on you."
"I wish you wouldn't say it like that," Tina stomach twisted at the image in her head.
"That's what happened," Santana threw her arms up again. She said things like that because she was still trying to get over it and maybe if she treated it like it was a simple fact it would be easier to let go. Maybe it she could convince herself to be indifferent to it.
"Because it's mine, Tina," Santana spoke from between her teeth. It was her torment, and no one had the right to keep this from her. "This is mine, and if anyone has any right to have a hard copy, it's me."
"I still don't think it would be a good idea—"
"What did Quinn say? You know she'll agree with me—"
Tina looked up, her heart clenching at the soft pleading in Santana's eyes.
Tina opened and closed her mouth a few times before saying, "I don't have the video."
Santana's arms fell back to her sides, still as conflicted as ever about if she should be relived or not.
"But... you remember how I used to live on the third floor, right?"
"Yeah, what's that got to do with it?"
"After he emailed it to me... about half the way into the video, when you—" Tina cut herself off, a tear rolling down her cheek, "I threw my laptop out the window. Just ripped it out of the wall and chucked it out the window. Almost hit my own car in the parking lot."
Santana stared at her for a moment before bursting into a short fit of laughter. She ran a hand through her hair, exhaling slowly, "There was a reason I loved you."
She smiled, even through her tears, because Santana was right. They had been happy together back then. But now it was a different time, and Santana needed her help to close an old wound.
"I still have the laptop," Tina stood from the couch. "I never threw it out because I'm not sure what people can still get out of it, even if the screen is all busted up and stuff. You're welcome to try... if you want."
She gave her friend a small nod, "Thank you."
Santana watched her walk out of the living room and down the hall towards her bedroom. Santana shuffled her feet along the hardwood floor before heading into the kitchen. She had her mind on a glass of water, maybe one of Tina's endless supply of ice teas, she didn't expect to run headlong into Tina's company.
"Shit, what the—" Santana rubbed her forehead where it had collided with a firm chin. She glanced up to his face and her stomach turned to ice.
Mike Chang, in boxers and an undershirt, stood with one hand still opening the fridge. Santana's mind reeled. How much had he heard? How long had he been standing here, just feet from the living room? The way he couldn't hold her eyes for more than a second at a time, told her he just might have heard everything.
Her hand fell from her head and clenched into a fist at her side. "How much of that did you—"
"All of it," Mike shut the refrigerator, taking a step away from the Latina.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
"I—Tina invited me over."
"And you thought you'd fuck her?"
Her defensive instinct, fused with a protective intuition towards Tina, made her lash out harshly. She knew there was nothing about Tina's behavior that hinted that their relations weren't just as much Tina's idea as it was Mike's, but she didn't care, she was too scared about what he was going to think of her if she gave him the time to. She needed to keep him on the defensive, remind him that she was in charge, she was his boss, she was still intimidating even if a cripple managed to take advantage of her.
"Real classy, Chang."
"I didn't—" he shook his head, trying to figure it all out.
"Why are you here?" Santana asked again for her own sanity. Why was he here listening to the things she was so ashamed about? She couldn't believe this. She couldn't believe this was happening.
The idea that she could lose his respect like this, after an overheard conversation, hurt more than she realized it could have. She would rather him mean nothing to her at all than risk feeling that disappointment.
He said the first thing that came to his mind, "You dated her?"
Santana could feel an angry heat spreading over her face, "Yeah, I did, and I can assure you that I respected her more than to sleep with her on the first date."
"God damn it, Mike, why are you here!"
Santana pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes. Why was the one person that respected her here listening to all of the things that she was so embarrassed about? Everything that made her feel like the most disgraced person in the entire world, made her feel dirty, and used, and weak in the worst possible way. It was bad enough that Brittany had found out about this, now she would have to worry about his judgment at work.
What if he told someone?
"We are not talking about this," Santana held up her hand to stop him, her eyes going clod. "This never happened. Don't even think about—"
Santana fell silent when Tina's voice caught their ears.
"This computer won't even turn on anymore," Tina started as she walked into the living room again, "but you can probably work your magic on it somehow… Santana?"
"I'm over here," Santana stepped out from behind the wall dividing them, "with the guy that's been eavesdropping on us this whole fucking time. The guy that I work with, Tina. I am his boss! You should have told me he was here."
Tina clutched the old laptop to her chest, "Santana, I—"
"Should have told me," Santana finished for her, stepping forward and taking the computer before Tina could change her mind. Gruffly she tossed over her shoulder, "see you at work, Chang."
"Santana, wait," Tina chased after her as she barreled towards the front door, she caught up with the woman as her hand fell on the handle, and Tina threw her forearm against it to keep it closed, "Come on, San, don't run out like this. Please, let me—"
"You know I work with him, Tina," Santana didn't face her, keeping her eyes resoundingly on the doorknob, "you know what it's like for me, how hard I've worked to get these people to respect me."
"He does, he respects you so much," Tina was quick to make Santana understand that. "We went out after the photo shoot and all we talked about was you, and how hard you work, and how much we wished people saw you like we did."
Santana could feel a small prickle of tears threaten and she yanked on the door handle trying to let Tina know that she wanted out, now. The last thing she needed was for Mike to see her cry.
"Please, don't leave like this," Tina was almost begging. "Let's try to figure it out."
Santana knew Tina didn't want her to leave while she was angry. She had always been so determined to make sure they never walked away from each other during a fight. Because if she walked away angry she would shut down, and Tina hated that. She sighed slowly through her nose, some of the tension in her shoulders dissipating at the desperate tone in her voice.
"He's a really good guy," Santana's eyes shifted sideways to the woman next to her, "I hope I didn't mess this up for you."
"That's a huge compliment," Tina was honestly surprised, "coming from you."
"Which is another reason I'm so upset," Santana scoffed at herself, "because somehow… I've started caring about his opinion of me more than the rest of them."
"He wouldn't think any less—"
"You don't know that," Santana spoke over her. "I don't know that and I've worked with him for over a year. All I know is that I have to hope that he's not going to spread that shit around the office."
Santana really didn't think Mike would do that, but she hadn't been exactly pleasant just now, so maybe she had ruined any chance she had of getting him to be discreet about it.
"I'll talk to him," Tina moved away from the door, feeling a little better about letting Santana leave now that she wasn't yelling or so angry.
"Don't tell him anything you don't have to," Santana asked as a kindness.
"I won't," Tina teetered on her toes, wringing her hands together.
Santana snorted because she still knew what the woman wanted by her body language after all this time, "Come here."
Tina smiled in relief, and was quick to hug the brunette tightly, "I am so sorry."
"Don't worry about it," she shrugged in Tina's arms, "seriously, I guess it was an honest mistake, and I'm glad that you two met."
She was blushing when she pulled away, "Me too."