"I didn't get in." I stated while staring at the e-mail. My eyes went blurry. This was my backup school. If I didn't get in here, I'm not likely to get into my first choice school either. I was sitting on the sofa in Santana's apartment.
"Well, first of all, it's their loss for not accepting you. Secondly, it's only one rejection, Quinn. You applied to 3 grad schools. You're bound to get into one of the other two. Probably both of them. So, I wouldn't sweat it." Santana tried to be comforting, but I was still staring at the screen at a loss.
"I went to Yale."
"Yes, you did."
"How is NYU turning me down?"
"I don't know how it all works, Fabray, but like I said it's their loss. We can get drunk tonight if you want. Dull the pain."
I was visiting New York for the weekend. I only had two more weeks of school left and then I'd be a Yale graduate. I had planned to spend the summer here so I could start looking for an apartment since all the grad schools I had applied to were here. Santana was going to let me stay at her place until I found one of my own. She and Brittany used to share it, but when they broke up, Brittany moved out and Santana took this place. It's only a one bedroom, but the sofa is comfy and she's not making me pay rent since her parents are helping her out.
"What if I don't get into any of them, San?" I paused when I realized that wasn't even a thought months ago when I started applying. "My whole plan for the future is to go to grad school so I can be a teacher. If I don't get in, what the hell am I supposed to do?"
"You'll stay here a little longer then and we'll figure it out." She stood and walked toward her refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of water. She had just returned from a dance class she started taking recently when I was about the open the e-mail.
"This is my future, Santana. I can't just wander around New York if I don't have any plans for my life."
She sat back down after taking a drink and looked at me.
"What? You mean like me?"
"That's not what I meant and you know it."
"I'm not in school. I don't have any definitive plans for my life."
"It's different. What I want to do, I have to go to school for. You want to work in music."
Things got hard for Santana when she lost Brittany for the second time. Brittany moved to New York and started getting backup dance gigs right away while Santana still went to the NYADA extension classes and kept working on the side. Mercedes even used her connections to help her get a demo made and it had been sent to every record label in the known universe, but she hadn't gotten any positive responses. When Brittany went on a tour, it killed Santana. Not just because her girlfriend was gone for four months, but because she felt that should be her. She wanted that life and it just wasn't happening. Her jealousy reared its ugly head a few times, but they worked through it until she left for another tour and then another and it just wasn't working. About a year ago, they broke up for good and a few months after that, so Brittany could have time to find another place, Santana was heartbroken and living on her own. She hadn't really dated anyone since and I couldn't blame her because I hadn't dated anyone since Puck and I broke up around the same time.
He was gone a lot too. The military keeps people busy and even though I said I wanted to do hard with him over easy with anyone else, the reality of how hard it would be just didn't sink in until he was deployed for 13 months and home for another couple of months, but home was Lima because he didn't want to move to New Haven since I knew by then that I wasn't staying there permanently. Then, he went to training in California and after all that time together, we realized we'd only actually spent a small amount of it physically together. He ended it officially. He met a girl in San Diego that he liked. He called to tell me about it. Said he felt like he was getting more and more tempted to cheat since we're never actually together and I told him that he was right and we should end it. I figured maybe we'd find our way back to one another when he was done with his service and I was more settled, but that was less and less likely since he was still with her and I no longer thought I wanted to be with him.
"It's cool. I get it. I'm wasting my life away while everyone else around me grows up and moves on." She was joking, but there was definitely a seriousness there too. "Hey, do you remember how we used to do those potluck things weekly with everyone?"
"I remember how you guys used to do those potluck things. I've never been to one though." I told her and stole her water to take a drink.
"Let's get everyone who's in town together tonight. It'll take your mind off of not getting into NYU and we can have some fun. And since we're actually old enough now, this one can have alcohol and will therefore be more fun."
"I don't recall age being a limitation for us before, Rosario."
"But Emily, we had to buy because no one else could. This time, they can do all the work and we can have all the fun." She stood. "I'm hopping in the shower and then I'm calling Hummel. You call Berry so I don't have to. Tell her to invite Artie and I'll call Mercedes too."
"What about…" I faded, not knowing if I should say her name. They had an amicable break-up, but they hadn't talked in a while. They both needed time to adjust.
"She's not here. She's in Dublin." She looked at me. "Facebook." She explained. "Oh, and I'm not stalking her. It's just she posts a lot of pictures of Lord Tubbington on tour with her and they're always tagged with locations."
I smiled as she walked into the bathroom. I picked up the phone and searched for Rachel's number to give her a call. We were going to get the old gang back together and hopefully that combined with alcohol would be enough to distract me from the worry going through my brain right now. If grad school doesn't work out, I don't have a backup plan and my parents won't help support me if I'm not in school so I'd be totally on my own for the first time. I just need to stop thinking about this.
"Hey Rachel, you busy tonight?"
It was about 6 when people started showing up. Artie was first, followed by Rachel who had the night off from her show since Broadway was dark on Mondays. Mercedes and Sam were next followed by Blaine and Kurt. The evening started off with hugs and all of us trying to catch up. Mercedes and Sam had just gotten engaged and were in the process of planning the wedding. Artie was about to premiere one his short films at a festival in the city. Kurt and Blaine had just gotten back from their spring break vacation they went on and had pictures for all of us to see.
"Stop boring Quinn with your vacation pics, Hummel. They're all probably the same. You wearing miss-matching floral patterns while sipping an umbrella drink." Santana sat next to me at the makeshift long table we'd put together with a borrowed card table and her actual table.
"I, for one, like looking at Kurt's pictures." Rachel said and took a drink of her wine.
"That's because you haven't been on a vacation in like 3 years, Berry. You're living vicariously through those two."
"So Quinn," Rachel ignored Santana. "How are you? I didn't even know you were in town."
"I got here on Friday. I leave tomorrow. I don't have any Monday classes and my only class on Tuesday is at night so I figured I'd stay the extra day."
"Are you ready to make the move here for good soon?" Mercedes asked while scooping some kind of casserole Blaine had made from a dish.
"Um… yeah." I hesitated because my plans seemed so uncertain at the moment and I didn't want to bring it up.
"Any luck in the dating department or are you just waiting until you move her to look for Mr. Right?" Blaine and Kurt had been engaged for years now, but they were waiting until they were both done at NYADA before actually tying the knot, which I applauded considering I thought they were getting married at 18 and would have been divorced by now had that been the case.
"Haven't really been worried about that lately. Kind of focused on just finishing school and the move." I lied. I had been focusing on that a lot lately, but not in the way the people at this table think and this wasn't really the right time or place to bring it up.
"Sam and I were kind of thinking about maybe setting a date for the wedding. We were thinking about doing it in Lima just because our families are there. Would you guys be up for heading back home next spring?" Mercedes asked.
"I'm really not up for heading back to Lima ever, but for you two, I guess I can make an exception." Santana told them with a wink and a smile before taking a drink of the screwdriver she made for me, but has been periodically taking drinks from since we sat down instead of her rum and coke.
"Good. Cause I'd like for you and Rachel to be bridesmaids. You too Quinn." She announced.
"Mercedes, I'd be honored." Rachel told her while holding her hands together and giving a little fake bow.
"I'm not wearing a tacky bridesmaid's dress, Cedes so you better make sure it looks good on me." Santana expressed.
"I thought you could make anything look good." I mocked while elbowing her.
"Doesn't mean I should have to though." She retorted with a lift of her eyebrows and I laughed silently. "Q, you wanna be my date to this shindig? We'll both be standing up there anyway. Might as well go together."
I was a little taken aback by that question.
"Please Santana, you'll probably have gone through like 2 girlfriends by then and have the 3rd with you." Kurt offered and took a bite of the casserole he seemed to like, but no one else was really touching.
"Fabray, you gonna leave me hanging here or what?" She asked me while ignoring Kurt's comment.
"Sure. If neither of us has anyone by then, we'll go together." That's not exactly what I wanted to say, but the wedding was over a year away and knowing Santana, a lot can change in a year.
She gave me a look of uncertainty and I took a long drink of my screwdriver and thankfully Sam changed the topic of conversation to the bachelor party.
3 drinks later for me and several more for the rest of them, we were all sitting around Santana's living room talking and laughing about old times. Rachel brought up how hard it was to get slushy out of your hair and Santana brought up how hard it must have been to get the Ryan Seacrest tattoo of mine removed. I was sitting next to Santana on the sofa and Rachel was on my other side while Mercedes and Sam were sharing the oversized comfy chair and the rest of them were sprawled on the floor.
"So you two are actually going to live together this summer until Quinn finds a place?" Kurt asked. "I'm taking bets on who kills whom. I've got Quinn taking Santana out by week 2. Anybody else?"
"Please, Santana is going to murder her by like day 2. As soon as Quinn touches her favorite boots."
"We're not even the same shoe size, Mercedes." I told her.
"I think she was just making a general point there, Q." Santana explained to my semi-intoxicated brain and then used her index finger to move the hair I had just cut short again behind my ear. She'd been doing things like that a lot lately and she'd always done things like that in the past, but recently given how I've been feeling, I've noticed it more and more. I could feel the familiar flush on my face from the alcohol, but I knew it was also there because of that touch.
I had to just come to terms with it. I liked Santana. Not just as a friend. I really liked her. I've been fighting it for a long time now. When we both became single again, we started spending a lot more time together. She took trips to Yale and I took trips to the city. It started as a once a month thing that turned into seeing each other almost every weekend. We basically spent most of last summer together since I made the choice to go to a school in NYC. We'd gotten very close and the past few months, I've been feeling like maybe I could be with her. Like really with her. The problem is that I already told her no. I told her it was a one-time thing. And now, now she's been hurt by Brittany and she hasn't dated since and what if I tell her and she says no way and it gets awkward and screws everything up?
"Earth to Q. You with us, Fabray?" She asked me when she noticed I'd zoned out. "I think I'm cutting you off. Water for you, girl." She took my half-finished drink and downed it herself.
"Santana, I wasn't done with that and it's not like I'm driving anywhere."
"Fine. I'll make you another one." She stood and as she did, my phone beeped and I pulled it out of my pocket. It was an e-mail.
"It's from Columbia Admissions." I announced to the room.
"What?" Santana sat back down next to me. "Open it, Quinn."
"I can't. What if they say no?" I looked at her.
"Then they're stupid too. They can go screw themselves just like NYU."
"Wait? What happened with NYU?" Rachel asked, but Santana and I were not paying attention.
"Quinn, no matter what happens, it's going to be fine. You've figured out everything else in your life and you've made it this far. There's still one more school anyway. So, just open it."
Yeah, I could definitely be with this girl.
"Okay." I opened the e-mail and stared down at my phone as I scrolled through it.
"Fabray? Yes or no?" She prodded impatiently. She was sitting cross-legged now facing toward me.
"Dear Miss Fabray, Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have been-" She reached out and hugged me before I could finish and I heard the others clapping in the background.
"You did it, Quinn." She said in my ear. "I knew you would." She pulled back and looked at me. "First choice school, you overachiever."
I wasn't sure if it was the good news or the alcohol or the fact that I'd been holding it in for so long, but I leaned forward and wrapped my hand around her head and pulled her toward me. I didn't wait for her to resist or question it. I just kissed her and after a few seconds, she started kissing me back. I think I heard the others gasp in surprise, but I didn't really want to pay attention because I'd wanted to kiss her for months and the fact that she was kissing me back made me think she'd wanted to do this too. I moved her so that I could climb on top of her on the sofa and her arms went around my neck.
"Um… hello?" I heard Kurt wonder. "We're still here."
"This is new." Mercedes announced.
"This is hot!" Sam stated and was promptly smacked on the shoulder by his fiancé.
"I second that." Artie testified.
I stopped myself when I realized there were people watching us and leaned back.
"Sorry." I told her.
She leaned up and I returned to my previous sitting position.
"Um… Q, can I talk to you for a sec? Privately?" She asked me.
"Are you two together?" Kurt asked.
"Lady Hummel, zip it." She fired at Kurt. "Quinn, bedroom?" That was a little more on the gentle side and I followed her in the bedroom.
"If you two are just going to have sex, I'm going home." Kurt continued.
"Kurt…" Rachel stopped him.
I closed the door behind me and turned around to find her standing right in front of me.
"Was that just an impulsive, in the moment kind of thing out there?" She asked me while fiddling with the hem of my shirt.
"No." I had gotten brave with my acceptance. "I've wanted to do that for a while now."
She looked up and smiled at me.
"Yeah, I've been thinking about it a lot lately."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I told you it was only one time after-"
"We hooked up at Schuester's wedding? Quinn, that was like 3 years ago. You can change your mind in three years. We're women. We can change our mind whenever we want. Hell, I have."
"You've changed your mind?"
"Have you not noticed that I pretty much spend every waking hour with you, Fabray?" She paused and put her hand under my chin to get me to meet her eye. "Do you think I went to New Haven a thousand times because I liked the cramped quarters of a Yale University dorm room?"
I smiled at her.
"After Brit and I ended things and you and Puck ended things and we started hanging out, I thought about it, but I didn't think you'd be into it."
"I'm not sure I was then, but I am now. You've really been there for me, San and I think I was worried about school earlier in part because if I didn't get in anywhere here, I'd have to leave New York. I can't afford this city without my parents helping and they won't help if I'm not in school and if I left, I'd be leaving you and-"
She kissed me this time and pulled me closer. My arms were around her neck and she was pulling at the back of my shirt, not trying to take it off. It was as if she just needed to grab a hold of something.
"I love your brain sometimes, Quinn, but other times, I just want it to shut the hell up." She told me before leaning back in and kissing me again, this time sliding her tongue in to meet mine.
There was a knock at the door.
"Guys, do you want us to go? Cause I'm afraid if we don't, we'll have to hear whatever sounds you to make when you start going at it." It was Kurt again.
We pulled back and laughed at him and I reached back to open the door.
"We're not having sex, Kurt. We're having a conversation." I told him and turned to open the door the rest of the way. I felt Santana take my hand as we walked back out to the living room.
"Quinn Fabray, I never knew you had it in you to actually go for it." Rachel was standing in the kitchen putting glasses in the sink.
"I'm full of surprises, I guess." I told her, not really thinking about what she was saying.
"So, are you two like… I mean… are you like girlfriends now? I'm trying to be PC about it. Is that how you ask about this kind of thing?" Sam asked the group, but the last part was to Mercedes who just nodded at him.
"I think we've got some talking to do before we go changing Facebook relationship statuses or anything, right Q?" She looked at me and squeezed my hand.
"No, I'm good." I told her. "Be my girlfriend, San." I turned back to look at her and I heard the rest of them gasp as they were waiting on her reply as was I. I was a little more nervous than they were, I'm sure because I sort of just stated it instead of asked and it's not like we've talked about this.
"Demanding all the sudden, aren't you? That's really not going to work for me. I don't do demanding girlfriends." She smiled.
"So, I'm your girlfriend?"
"You're demanding." She took my other hand. "And I guess since we've both felt this way for a while now and we've known each other for years and you're an amazing kisser and I kind of like looking at you, you can be my girlfriend."
"I gotta tell ya, I did not see this one coming." Mercedes divulged.
"I did." Rachel admitted.
"You did?" I asked and then turned to look at her. She made her way back toward the living room.
"Yeah, a few months ago, Santana told me how she felt about you."
"Berry!" Santana was clearly embarrassed.
"What? It doesn't matter now. You guys are together." She paused and then looked at me. Santana's head went to my shoulder with her head facing the floor so no one could see her face. "She said she had a dream about you and that you guys were together and…" She faded out.
"Oh my God!" Kurt exclaimed. "You had a wet dream about Quinn?"
"Hummel, I will axe murder you!" She looked up while everyone laughed. "It wasn't like that. I mean we did stuff in the dream, but it wasn't all dirty like that. It was… nice." She looked at me. "We were just like together." She looked at Rachel. "Snitches get stiches, Berry. Snitches get stitches."
"I've been watching you two ever since and I knew Quinn felt the same way. I wasn't sure she'd actually go for it, but I tried to get her to tell you."
"No you didn't." I argued.
"Yes, I did. We were watching Pretty in Pink at my place and Santana went to the bathroom and I asked you what it would be like to Ducky, the best friend in love with Molly Ringwald, but he's not able to say anything. Remember? You said it must suck."
"That's why you brought that up? Rachel, I wasn't really listening to anything you were saying that night. You'd already spent an hour talking about how much you loved The Breakfast Club and the symbolism and the characters and John Hughes and then you somehow segued into how you wished we would've performed more a cappella numbers in glee club like the Warblers because it would have really shown off our range. By the time you got to talking about Molly Ringwald, I was about three seconds away from strangling you just to get you to shut up."
Santana just looked at me and smiled while shaking her head.
"Yeah, you two are perfect for each other and we're gonna go." Kurt announced and took Blaine's hand to help him up off the floor. "I have an early class tomorrow. It's been… eventful. We should all do this again. Like old times."
"We should go too. I think you two could use some time alone anyway and I have songs to write and a wedding to plan." Mercedes stood.
"But if you two want to make out again in front of us before we go, I mean, I know I'd be okay with it." Sam shared after he stood up next to her.
Mercedes laughed and linked their arms.
"I can stay… if you guys are gonna…" Artie offered and Mercedes used her other arm to start pushing his wheelchair in the direction of the door.
"Good night, guys." She said while continuing to laugh and walking her fiancé toward the door with a little bit of force.
Kurt and Blaine followed them out and Rachel grabbed her purse that had been hanging on a chair in the kitchen.
"I like to think that even though you may not admit it, that I played a little part in you two getting together."
"Oh my God, Berry! Take the damn hint. Quinn and I want to be alone." Santana ushered her toward the door and Rachel just kept smiling as she was practically shoved into the hallway and had the door slammed in her face.
Santana turned around and looked at me. The sofa and about 10 feet separated us. We just stood there awkwardly, each of us awaiting the other's words to ease the tension.
"Sooooooo, this is not the way I thought this evening would go." She finally offered and took a hesitant step toward me.
"How did you see it going?"
"I don't know. I figured I'd get you drunk and you'd forget about not getting into NYU for a couple of hours and then I'd kick everyone out and I'd put you to bed in my room so you could sleep it off and I'd take the couch tonight because I'm a good friend like that and then tomorrow, we'd figure out what to do."
"What to do?" I smiled, wondering what she meant by that last part, but liking the first part.
"Yeah, with your life? You know that whole identity crisis thing you were having earlier? I thought maybe we could talk about it and I could help you figure out what you'd do if you didn't get in. I mean, I knew you would. Total confidence that you'd get in, but just in case all three turned you down, I wanted to try to pitch you staying in the city anyway."
"And why is that?" I asked, knowing the answer. She walked around the sofa, but leaned against the back of it, crossing her arms over her chest.
"You know why. Don't make me say it."
I smiled and walked toward her. I reached out for her arms and uncrossed them for her.
She rolled her eyes and put her hands on my hips.
"I like ya, Q. Okay? I wasn't going to say anything because I didn't think you'd be playing for team girl and I thought I'd just feel crappy for a while and eventually I'd have to get over it, but then you jumped my bones in front of a crowd so I think it's safe to say that we're feeling the same way about each other."
"Well, you did have that wet dream about me." I joked with her and put my arms around her neck.
"It wasn't a wet dream and Berry's understudy is about to get her big break because I'm going to kill Rachel. Kurt too. Blaine will find another queen to marry eventually."
"I know earlier I kind of threw you under the bus with the whole girlfriend thing. I blame my over confidence on the alcohol, but I'm okay with whatever you want. This is new for me in a lot of ways and I know it's weird because we're friends and-"
"Don't go backing out on me now, Quinn. You got me to be your girlfriend already. Do you have any idea how lucky you are?" She pulled me into her and kissed me deeply.
A few minutes later, we were putting the dishes in the sink and turning the lights off. She used the bathroom to get ready for bed while I e-mailed my parents and some other close friends from Yale about my acceptance since it was too late to call everyone. When she was done, I changed and did my nightly routine. I turned off all the lights and locked the door as I always do when I stay over and I grabbed my blanket and pillow from the closet and laid them on the sofa. As I was about to lie down, I heard her clearing her throat. I looked up to see her standing in the doorway of the bedroom.
"You're not sleeping out here anymore."
I laughed and shook my head sideways.
"Oh yeah, sorry. Habit." I explained and walked toward the bedroom toward my girlfriend. I knew I'd never be sleeping on that sofa again.
"So forgetful, Quinn. I can't believe they let you into Columbia." She took my hand as I approached the door.
"You should tell me more about this wet dream you had about me." I leaned in and my lips hovered over hers.
"Oh yeah?" She asked in a wicked tone while trying to connect our lips.
"Yeah, since you made fun of me, that's probably the closest you'll be getting to reality for a while."
I moved away and walked into the bedroom, knowing she was smiling behind me and that despite what I had just said, her dream was definitely about to meet reality.