|Same time next week
Author: Laynemorgan PM
And in that last sentence Santana hears two things that are worse than yellow frosted cupcakes and lavender scented candles combined. She hears 'next week' and 'Santana.' Quinntana, a couple years in the future, semi AURated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Quinn F. & Santana L. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,488 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 33 - Follows: 74 - Updated: 05-17-12 - Published: 04-22-12 - id: 8048022
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By the time Santana gets back to her dorm it has been one of those days from the depths of hell that roll around every couple of weeks. 6 am cheerleading practice, three lectures, a women's studies meeting, and an exam in one of her most important criminal justice classes. An entire night spent up studying –She can never seem to study when she's supposed to if at all- proved less than successful and not even shoveling down dinner at the pizza place with some of the girls from the team buried the feeling of being disappointed with herself. Next time. She mutters under her breath as she drops her back just inside the doorway and kicks off her shoes directly beside it. Next time she'll actually focus. Or at least… she'll try not to let her mind wander. Next time she won't screw it up. Because if one more thing gets screwed up she just might lose it.
Slipping into sweatpants, She shuts the light off in her room without even doing anything else. It's only 8pm but she's exhausted and for once extremely grateful for having a single room. After her freshmen year roommate had said she was too loud and sometimes had fits of rage that scared her, Santana decided rooming alone was probably better. She climbs into bed and practically dozes off before her head even hits the pillow, falling into a light sleep that's only interrupted by a faint buzzing beneath her pillow.
Santana pulls her phone out and sees the little red symbol blink. A new voicemail. She normally doesn't even check them. It's always her abuela, or telemarketers leaving annoying, automated messages. She mumbles something that wouldn't sound like a word to any human being, and shoves her touch screen phone back under her pillow.
The voice comes from the phone underneath the pillow and for just a moment Santana is positive she's dreaming. It wouldn't be the first time that same, feathery sounding voice echoed in her dreams. But it sounds different coming through the speaker and Santana quickly pulls the phone back in time to clearly catch the rest of the message that she must have accidentally pressed to play.
"It's me. No—sorry. It's Quinn."
She scoffs, and almost laughs, shaking her head at the suggestion that she wouldn't have known who it was. And then, for a second, it hurts that Quinn would think she wouldn't know. Has it been that long?
"I know it's been a while and this is kind of out of the blue and I shouldn't—I just wanted to talk to you. How are you? How's…whatever you're doing now. God, it's weird that I don't know. Is it weird for you?"
It has been that long.
Santana pauses the voicemail because she has to inhale a deep enough breath not to tear up and she's afraid to miss a second of it. She didn't realize until taking that breath that she hadn't been breathing at all and it comes out choked sounding. The room feels temporarily lighter and Santana can breathe for a second. She realizes with a heavy heart that that's how her world has been working lately. Anytime she smells popcorn, or sees a yellow frosted cupcake, -hell if she sees any cupcake- spots the gray kitten that lives across the hall, or anything that references Romeo and Juliet, catches the smell of lavender, hot fudge, tequila, the pillows she had to replace to make the lingering essence of cherry blossom shampoo go away… she thinks of Quinn. And that choking feeling comes back and she has to stop to breathe again. Just like now.
But then without the tiny reminders, without the Yale t-shirt she still wears to bed, and the texts she still hasn't deleted, without the being able to listen to that damn mix tape, she would miss Quinn that much more. And so with another heavy sigh, after a minute or two or… seven, she presses the play button to listen to what's left of the recording of the familiar voice
"Is—I'm asking a lot of questions, and this is a voicemail so you can't even answer them. Actually, you're probably busy anyways. Santana Lopez doesn't usually miss something on her phone. Unless… I don't know—maybe there are things you do now that are more—or you probably just saw this number and didn't recognize it and so you'll get this voicemail in a few minutes in which case maybe I should—Sorry."
Santana shakes her head. Despite knowing exactly who it is, this voice isn't as familiar as she thought it was at all. That was why she had known it wasn't the Quinn in her dreams. This voice was sad. It was slow and hollow sounding. She rambled. It lacked confidence. Even her rambles were quiet and unsure, not the speedy, excited kind. Santana raked her lip through her teeth and stopped, remembering just how many times she had seen Quinn do it. It was probably a reaction she had picked up from her in the years they were together. But at the next words, Santana finds the faintest of smiles, just to know Quinn was thinking about her… even when she didn't want her to.
"I just wanted to see how you were and… and say hi." I'm kind of busy so I'll… try back again… same time next week. Goodnight, Santana."
And in that last sentence Santana hears two things that are worse than yellow frosted cupcakes and lavender scented candles combined. She hears 'next week' and 'Santana.'
Quinn waits outside the phone booth for five minutes. A part of her is desperately hoping that Santana will somehow call back. She doesn't even know if it's possible to call back a payphone and waiting can't hurt. But it can hurt. In the first minute it's just a dull ache, almost like something that lingers. Almost like that moment comes back for just a second when she saw—and then in the second and third minute it actually hurts. Hurts the way stubbing your toe does, or getting the 24 hour flu. The kind of hurt that makes you feel just for the time it lasts that you're actually going to die, that anything could be better. The last two minutes happen slowly. They're a progression from feeling like the biggest fool alive, to accepting that that phone, in that booth isn't going to just start ringing.
A drop of water pools by Quinn's nose and she promises herself it's the rain. She lifts her hand, only the smallest fraction of an inch, as if she's going to reach for something. Maybe the glass door, or maybe to reach to wave goodbye. But she doesn't want to say goodbye which was why she had said 'goodnight' in the first place. It's why she'll come back next week and try again. Maybe she was reaching for that phone, thinking that if she called back one more time, Santana would answer, having heard her message and now knowing the number.
But she doesn't do that. Quinn Fabray has at least an ounce of dignity left. Or she likes to think so. She can't just dump it all in one place… especially not if she's going to come back and call again same time next week. The Quinn that she was supposed to be by this point in her life would never call back someone who hurt them, not the same time next week, not after a year… not after five. But it's been the hardest year, and not because of New York, or the leak in her roof, or all night shifts at the diner. It's been the hardest year because it's empty. Some people would say that Quinn spent quite a few portions of her life alone, but none quite like this year. It's different to be alone by your own doing, and your own independence, than to be alone with a piece gone. It's different to be alone when there's supposed to be something there and it isn't, because while that piece is missing from where it's supposed to be… it's present everywhere else. And so the Quinn Fabray she is now, steals one last look at the payphone and walks away trying to avoid soaking her work shoes in each puddle as she rounds the two blocks from her payphone to the tall, grungy, red apartment building that she calls a place to live, trying to get the words of Santana's voicemail recording out of her head:
"You've obviously reached Santana's phone. And I'm obviously not here right now. Abuela, if it's you, I'm fine. Yes I ate lunch today. No Puck, you still can't come meet the cheerleading team. If you're selling shit, stop and don't even bother with your stupid ass voicemail. If it's anyone else, and you're still part of the era that thinks leaving voicemails is a thing, leave a message. If I remember to check it I'll call you back. And by the way… I'm still sorry."
A/n: I have two potential title ideas for this story: "By the way" and "This time next week" What are your thoughts? Or does anyone have any different title suggestions?