My life is pretty perfect. I'd say I'm lucky, but that's not really true. I worked hard for what I've got. Not just in my professional life, but in my personal one too. I'm almost 29 years old and I'm about to close on my first house, my dream house with the love of my life. I've got a great job that I actually love. After years of just kind of wandering around trying to find myself and what I wanted to do with my life, it's safe to say that it's finally all coming together.
When I say I worked hard in my personal life, I am of course referring to finally getting Quinn Fabray to realize we belong together after years of her trying to deny it. That girl is work sometimes. After college and some failed relationships, we both kind of just did our thing. She stayed in New Haven and took a job there as a financial analyst. I stayed in New York and taught dance classes while I waited tables and also waited for my big break.
It didn't take long for Quinn to get bored and want something else though and I couldn't blame her. I'd hate staring at numbers all day. Quinn had a tendency to doubt her talent and abilities. For some reason, she lived in a perpetual state of low self-esteem, which made no sense to me because she's gorgeous, smart, funny and can be kind when she chooses to be. I guess I always knew those things about her, but when she quit her job out of nowhere and moved in with Rachel Berry until she could find something else, I really started to notice.
Rachel had her own place in the city that she could afford thanks to her blossoming career on Broadway and when Quinn moved in, I suddenly started spending a lot more time there. Sure, we'd had our hook-up years prior, but I was with Dani and then Brittany after that and I wasn't thinking about Quinn in that way. She was with Puck for a while and we were long-distance friends who saw each other when we could. Since there were no trips via a magic teleportation device back to Lima to check in on the New New Directions for some inexplicable reason considering we all graduated and moved on with our lives, it got harder and harder to keep in touch with her.
But at 22, we were finally spending time together and most of the time it was just the two of us. Kurt called it pseudo-dating because neither of us had dated anyone since our breakups and besides the physical stuff in a relationship, we were basically doing everything else a couple would do. I realized that I wanted it to be more on Quinn's 23rd birthday. She brought a date and I wanted to knee him in the nuts. I'd wanted to do that with a lot of Quinn's exes. That Biff jack-off for one, but Puck took care of that one for me, but this guy was actually nice. He knew Quinn's story and was cool with it. He wanted to meet Beth someday and I could tell he really liked her. I still wanted to shove him off the fire escape outside of Quinn's apartment, but I determined that wasn't because he was a bad guy. She'd actually picked pretty well with this one. It was because I was falling in love with her.
"Quinn, can I talk to you?" I asked her after her birthday dinner was over and her date had gone home so he could get up for work early the next morning. I was helping her clean up from the small get together in the kitchen. She was washing and I was drying. Rachel went to bed so she could do an early morning interview the next day.
"What's up?" She replied nonchalantly while passing me a plate.
"Are you serious about him?" I asked, trying not to show my hand.
"This was only our 3rd date. I don't know. He's nice."
"What if someone else asked you out? Would you say yes?"
She looked at me with an expression of confusion.
"Depends on who's asking. We're not exclusive if that's what you're asking, but you know that because I would have told you if we were."
"What if it was me?" I paused and gulped while setting the plate I'd dried 3 times over on the rack. "What if I was asking?"
She stopped washing, but her hands remained in the sink submerged in the cloudy water.
"You're asking me out?"
"Yeah." That was not the most confident I'd ever been so I decided to get confident. "I want us to go out… on a date."
"Santana, where is this coming from?" She took her hands out of the water and wiped them with a towel.
"It's coming from the fact that I like you and I want to go out with you. Where else would it be coming from, Fabray?"
"I don't know. For a while now. It's really a simple question, Quinn."
"No, it's not and you know it."
"You told me it was a hook up that night so if that's still true and you know you're not into girls, then it's simple. It's no. If anything's changed for you though, then maybe it's a yes."
She set the towel down and stared at the counter.
That was it. No explanation. Just a no and I was left to believe that she wouldn't ever change her mind.
"Okay then. I'm heading home. I think you can finish up drying so I can save at least some of my dignity. Happy birthday, Quinn." I turned to walk toward the door.
"San, don't just go. Let's talk about it."
"It's fine. You said no. I get it. We'll still be friends, Quinn. I just need to go right now."
I left the apartment and it was then that it really hit me. I knew I liked Quinn and I wanted more than just friendship, but I had no idea how much I liked her until she said no. It hit me with an avalanche of emotions and they were all bad. I had to get through it before I could even speak to her again. It took time, but eventually I was able to let her back in. It wasn't her fault. You can't help who you have feelings for. I thought she had them for me, but she didn't and I had to just let it go.
Unfortunately for me, alcohol exists and a little over a year later, I was drunk and Quinn was there. We were at a bachelorette party for a friend we had in common. One we actually made outside our high school circle. We were at a strip club, which meant I was uninterested in the stripping, but was very interested in the cheap drinks being passed around. After a few, I looked over at Quinn who was getting a lap dance. It was about the funniest thing I had ever seen. Her eyes were bugging out. Her arms were hanging over the sides of the chair and she look extremely uncomfortable. Someone handed her some singles and after the guy was done gyrating on her, she hesitated before sliding them into his barely there underwear and she closed her eyes as she did it. I was cracking up as the whole thing unfolded.
Once he walked or really danced away from her and moved onto another girl in the party, I downed another shot for some liquid courage. She hadn't yet moved from her spot in that chair and I made my way over to her. She looked up at me.
"What's up?" She asked and she looked so sexy in that moment that I couldn't resist. I lowered myself onto her lap. "San! What are you doing?"
I didn't answer her. I just starting moving my body against hers. My hips were pushing down and her face was level with my breasts. My hands went to the back of the chair so I could hold onto it and get more leverage to move myself against her even harder. I was making eye contact with her the whole time until she tried to look away and then I used my thumb and forefinger on her chin to reconnect our eyes. I felt her arms move from their dangling position to the small of my back and I smiled as I continued to stare into her eyes. They looked hungry. I could feel my breath moving faster and I could hear hers doing the same. If this place was empty, I would've already had her clothes torn off and tossed aside. I wanted to be even closer to her so I moved so my head was above her shoulder, which meant her mouth was now pressing against my collarbone. She wasn't kissing me or really even doing anything with her lips, but just having them on my skin felt amazing. I knew I was getting wet and I had a thin dress that was tight, but loose enough that I was able to still straddle her. I wondered if she could tell and wished I could tell if I was giving her the same reaction. The song ended and I halted my movements choosing to remain in that position with her lips on my skin, feeling her heart beating and listening to her rapid, shallow breaths. I finally pulled back to again meet her eye.
"Damn, that was hot you two!" One of the other drunk partygoers yelled over the next song that had started up. "Santana, you should consider a change in professions."
"Nah, only Quinn gets a performance like that." I told her before standing and straightening my dress. Quinn's eyes told me everything I needed to know. Her mouth was still slightly open and she was speechless. "I'll be right back." I told the group, but kept my eyes on Quinn. I walked toward the bathroom because I knew I needed to have a moment to myself. I didn't exactly plan on doing that and I had to get my thoughts together through the drunkenness. I stood over the sink and turned the water on without actually using it.
"What the hell was that?" She pushed open the door and rushed in toward me.
"I see someone finally remembered how to speak." I told her before turning around.
She moved until she was standing only inches away from me.
"You can't just do something like that, Santana."
"You didn't seem to have a problem with it a minute ago. You could've stopped me anytime, Quinn." I paused before taking her in. She still look disheveled. "You also seemed to enjoy the fact that I don't have the same no touching rule as the dancers at this place because your hands were all over me."
"Santana, I'm not-"
"What? Gay? Bi?" I interrupted. "I don't care what you call yourself to other people, Fabray, but you are definitely in to me. You can deny it all you want, but I know you want me."
She moved her lips right up next to mine. They were only millimeters apart. I could feel her breath on my mouth as I parted it slightly expecting the kiss to come.
"Even if I did, it doesn't mean anything's going to happen. I think it's time you moved on, Santana." She paused and looked at the floor. "I can't…"
She took a step back. Her tone wasn't mean or defiant. It was more of a friend telling another friend that it's not going to happen. I tried my best to still exude my confidence, but it was pretty hard considering the thoughts that had been running through my brain only moments earlier.
"Okay. I get it." I turned around and turned off the water that had been running behind me. I stayed facing that direction for a moment so I wouldn't have to look at her. "But Quinn, I can only put myself out there so many times. I've reached my limit. If you can't, you can't, but you're right. I will move on." I turned back to face her and she met my eye. "You broke my heart last time and you're doing it again now. There won't be a third time."
"San, you know I don't want to hurt-"
"I know. Doesn't change how it feels though." I walked toward the door, brushing up against her arm as I did and walked out. I was able to hold in my tears for the rest of the time at the strip club and when they all left to go to a different bar, I feigned exhaustion and went home to drown myself in pity and ice cream. The time honored tradition of heartbroken girls all over the world.
I meant what I said. After two years of pining over her, I had to move on. I recalled how long it took me to get Brittany and how much it hurt when I lost her. I thought that was the worst pain I'd ever have to deal with, but it was even harder with Quinn. After a few months of grieving, I finally started dating again. There were a couple of girls that lasted longer than a few dates. One even reached girlfriend status, but none of them made me feel how I felt when I was with Quinn. I felt like anyone I dated was coming in at a disadvantage because Quinn knew everything about me. I knew everything about her. We were both bitches most of the time and some of that time was toward each other. She'd been dating a guy from work, but he ended things after a few months and I ended things with my girlfriend around the same time. The two things weren't related. She'd gotten a job offer in Texas and I wasn't about to move to Texas and I wasn't a fan of the long-distance thing so I cut the cord.
Quinn and I hadn't hung out a lot since that night. We'd talked and texted here and there and hung out in groups, but hadn't spent a lot of time alone. I longed to have my friend back, but I just didn't think it could happen. I still cared way too much for her and as long as that was there, things would always be awkward.
Quinn had gotten it into her head that we all needed to do something outside that didn't involve just walking around New York City on our way to and from work. She invited some of our friends to take a weekend, get a cabin somewhere and go hiking. There were three bedrooms in this cabin she rented and paid for with some of her trust fund money that came along with her 25th birthday. Kurt and Blaine were in one room, Mercedes and Sam were in the other, and Quinn got the master. She'd invited Brittany, but didn't think she'd be able to come. Brit finally RSVP'd the day before claiming Lord Tubbington hacked her e-mails and moved Quinn's invite to her spam folder. I'm still surprised that damn cat is still alive. It got awkward when I realized I'd either have to share the master bedroom with Quinn or the pull out couch with Brit until Quinn suggested she and Brittany take the room. I was fine with that and put up no argument, which I guess surprised Brittany because she didn't think it was like me to just take the couch.
"Santana." I heard a whisper and it brought me out of my slumber. I opened my eyes to see Brittany sitting on the edge of the sofa bed.
"Brit? What's going on?" I asked her and sat up a little and wiped my eyes.
"She's saying your name in her sleep."
"What? Who is?"
"Quinn. She woke me up. She's said your name a few times."
"Okay. Why are you telling me?"
"Because you're in love with her."
My eyes shot open. Brit and I had gone our separate ways and had come back together as girlfriends and then as friends over the years. I had never discussed my feelings for Quinn with her though. I thought it might be awkward. Kind of like this moment.
"What? I'm not in love with Quinn, Brittany."
"San, I've seen how you look at her. You look like a dog that lost the kitten it adopted when it found it abandoned in a box on the side of the road and it took it home to take care of it and loved it and then the family didn't want a kitten. They only wanted a dog so they give the kitten away and the dog is sad lying on its bed with paws over its eyes trying to make the pain go away."
I had to laugh at her. It'd been a while since I'd heard a Brittany monologue.
"I tried, but she's not interested."
"She's saying your name in her sleep, Santana."
"It doesn't mean anything. Trust me, I told her how I felt and she turned me down. She told me to move on so I am." I paused. "Isn't this weird for you? Me and Quinn?"
"Not really. You and I haven't been together in a while. Plus, Kurt told me you'd been trying to get her to realize her feelings for you for a long time so it's not really new to me."
"Lady Hummel needs to mind his own business." I paused again. "Wait. Her feelings for me?"
"You know how I said I've noticed you looking at her?" She stood and pulled back the blanket. "She's been looking at you the same way." She slid into the bed.
"Are you sleeping out here now?"
"Yeah and you're sleeping in there."
"Brit, don't you think Quinn's going to find it weird that she went to bed next to you and woke up next to me?"
"No, I told her."
"Told her what?"
"I woke her up and told her she was kicking in her sleep and that I was going to sleep out here."
"That doesn't mean I have to sleep-"
"Santana!" She whispered and yelled at the same time. "Just tell her I was sleep talking and you needed to sleep in there. I swear. Sometimes, I think I'm the only person with a brain that's actually connected to my heart."
I thought about asking her to describe what she think the human anatomy looks like, but decided against it. I stood and walked quietly into Quinn's room. I closed the door behind me.
"Q?" I whispered. She didn't respond. I slid underneath the comforter and waited a moment to see if she'd notice before I settled in. We were sharing a room for the first time in a long time and I found myself looking over at her while she slept. I couldn't help but think that it wasn't just me feeling this. There had to be a reason we'd both failed in all of our attempted relationships and kept coming back to each other. During the night, she had draped her body over mine and there was a part of me that wanted to pull her off because it hurt to have her this close, but not close enough. There was a much bigger part though that loved how it felt getting to hold her.
The next day, the rest of our group decided to take a short hike by a lake, but Quinn wanted to do one that would take us up a small waterfall. I'm really not much of an outdoors lover. I had to buy hiking boots just for the trip, but she smiled when she saw it in the brochure for cabin rentals and I am a sucker for that girls' smile, which I will never tell her because she would use her powers for evil and not good.
We made it to the top and she almost slipped. I caught her by the waist and pulled her back. After a moment, I realized I was still hanging on. My hands were on her hips and she wasn't pulling away. She was staring out over the falls and into the skyline of the trees surrounding us. My heart was still pounding from her almost fall. I wrapped my arms around her.
"Just in case you try that again, klutz." I told her.
"Please, you just want an excuse to hold me."
"What if I do?" I questioned with a little falseness behind my bravado.
She didn't say anything, but her hands went over my hands and stayed there. I am a little shorter than her so I rested my head kind of against her shoulder.
"Ask me again, Santana."
I raised my head at that.
"Ask you what?"
She turned around and put her arms instead around my neck. Mine just hung there at my sides while my brown eyes stared into her green ones.
"Are you being stubborn are do you really not know what I'm talking about?"
I smiled at her and put my arms around her waist.
"I asked you. You turned me down. I brought it back up. You said no again and told me to move on. What makes you think I'm still interested in you?"
"Look where your arms are right now, Lopez."
"If this is some elaborate setup to turn me down again, Q, I will leave you on this damn waterfall."
"You took me by surprise when you asked me. I wasn't ready. I still didn't think I would end up with a girl… a woman, technically. I guess recently though I've just realized that you're always here. Through everything, you've been there for me. When I needed a place to crash after Rachel moved in with her new boyfriend, you gave me your couch. When I didn't know what I was going do with my life after I quit my job, you were there helping me look for jobs online and proofreading my resume. When I got the flu, you stayed at my place and called your mom to get your abuela's recipe for chicken noodle soup and made it for me and made sure I took my medicine. You've always been my best friend, San. I was afraid if we tried and we messed it up, then that might change. That's why I told you to move on. I thought it would be better for you. I'm not good at this stuff. You know that, but I've missed you and I woke up this morning next to you and it just felt right. It felt like what we should have been doing all along."
"I'm always going to be here for you, Quinn. Whether we're dating or we're just friends. You have to know that by now."
"I do. That's why I'm telling you to ask me again."
"You're ready now? I mean, to be with a girl cause we were drunk then and at the strip club you seemed like you wanted to, but then you-"
"Last night, when you got out of the shower, you were just wearing that towel around my room while you looked for clothes to change into, I saw you from the living room and I was tempted to tear it off you and I thought about how that would play out as I fell asleep. So, you tell me."
I laughed at her as I tightened my grip around her waist. I leaned in to try to kiss her, but she pulled away.
"Well, you sure are unpredictable there, Fabray."
"You have to ask first, San. I don't just go around kissing people."
"Quinn Fabray, will you go out with me?"
It was then that I was finally granted the kiss I'd been after for years. People were walking up and down the falls and all around us and I'm sure they were staring and maybe even making comments, but I couldn't hear anything other than the sound of the water crashing beneath us and the sound of my heart beating in my chest so loudly I could swear she could hear it even over the sound of the water.
We got back to the cabin a few hours later and realized it was empty. Brittany had left a note. "I'm taking them to dinner. I'll text when we're on our way back." There was a winky smiley face at the end. That girl is just full of surprises.
"Okay Fabray, let's talk about this first date thing. When we get back home, I think we should make a reservation at that Mexican place you like."
She sat on the edge of the bed, removing her shoes while I plugged my phone into the charger on the end table.
"I kind of thought this was our first date." She told me. "I mean we did kiss on top of a waterfall."
I turned to look over at her.
"Yeah, that is pretty much the cover of every romance novel, huh? I wasn't really thinking about it like that."
I sat down on the bed next to her.
"This is awkward now, isn't it?"
"All the movies end at the big kiss. None of them go into what happens after that and you have to get in the car and drive back to your everyday life."
"I'm not ready to have sex yet." She blurted out.
I looked at her with shock and surprise.
"Who says I'm ready to have sex with you, Fabray?"
"Please, you're ready to have sex all the time."
"I think you just called me a slut, which is not great behavior for a first date." I joked and leaned back on my hands. "Look, it's no surprise that I've been trying to get in your pants since that time I did actually get in your pants, but you know it's not about that, right?"
She leaned back too.
"Yeah, I know. I just… we're in a cabin alone for the next few hours and I just didn't know if you were expecting…"
"I wasn't expecting your little waterfall confession. I wasn't expecting any of this."
"Neither was I. I was talking to Rachel the other day after her show and she caught me looking at a picture of us from the wedding and I guess I smiled and she figured it out and then she called Brittany who then suddenly responded to my email about this weekend."
"I didn't even know she had her number."
"Neither did I."
"So, we do have this place for a few hours. What do you want to do, Fabray?"
She rested her head on my shoulder.
"Well, we could talk for like three hours about what this all means and life and-"
"Or we could make out."
"That works too."
She lifted her head quickly and we spent the bulk of those alone hours moving from between passionate kissing and laughing as I tickled her followed by her holding me and then us making a quick meal together of some sandwiches and chips before starting a movie. When everyone else returned, they joined in and made popcorn. Brittany stared at us for a minute before I nodded at her and she smiled. Quinn reached for my hand beneath the blanket I had covering us both and I was the happiest I'd ever been.
Quinn and I had been together for two years before we finally got an apartment together. It was small, but affordable with our salaries. Quinn wanted to keep her trust fund for an actual purchase. We had this vision of a house somewhere outside the city that we'd buy together one day. What was left of her trust fund would be our down payment and help with the mortgage payments. It's funny how that all happens. One day you're thinking about your best friend naked at a wedding and then you actually get her naked and years later, you're a couple talking about buying a house and how you'll pay for it.
With Rachel on Broadway and Shelby acting as her manager and us being friends with Rachel, it kind of made it an awkward situation with Shelby being the mother of Quinn's first born, but eventually we all settled into a schedule. Quinn saw Beth once a month on Saturdays. They'd go to the park or the zoo or hang out at Shelby's place. I never asked Quinn what Shelby knew about us. She knew we shared an apartment, but I wasn't sure if she knew we had a one bedroom. It's not like we'd had her own for dinner and given her the tour of our room with the drawer filled with sex toys and the pictures of us kissing that rest on our joint dresser. I figured maybe Berry filled her in since that girl's mouth was bigger than even Trouty Mouth's. It was when we first started looking for our dream house that I actually got up the courage to ask Quinn what Shelby knew, but even more importantly, what Beth knew.
"Babe," I greeted as she stared at a listing I'd bookmarked on my computer earlier.
"Yeah?" Her hair was short again. She knew I liked it like that and I ran my hand through it. She closed her eyes and smiled before opening them again and scrolling down. "It has a nice backyard, San."
"And 4 bedrooms." I explained.
"You could make one a recording studio and I could have an office."
"And then a nursery?" I queried with a hopeful tone.
She turned to look at me and then rested her head on my shoulder.
"What if one room is a nursery?" I paused when she raised her head. We'd talked about kids many times before, but she said she wanted to be married first and settled into the house before we started trying. "Someday." I clarified. "But one if one room is for Beth? She's never stayed the night before and she's getting older now. What if she stayed with us every now and then?" I ran my hand back through her hair.
"San, I don't know."
"Why not? You see her all the time and I don't really get to go and that's fine. I get it. She's your kid, Q, but we're in this thing together. We're buying a house and… It's just that I'd like to get to know her. She's a part of you and I love you. I've only really seen her in passing and you guys are always at Shelby's. What if we get into the new house, give her a bedroom and then have them over for dinner?"
"She doesn't know about us, Santana."
And there was my answer.
"Shelby or Beth?" I asked.
"I think Shelby knows or at least suspects, but I've never confirmed."
"I'm sorry. I just don't know how to tell her."
"Are you afraid of telling her?"
"San, I did some stupid stuff in high school. You know that. I tried to take Beth away from her and she's let me back into her life and I get to see her and-"
"You're afraid you'll lose her if Shelby knows you're gay?"
She hesitated before answering. She took a deep breath and looked at me, placing her hand on my cheek.
"I'm afraid I'll lose her if she knows I'm in love with you."
That, I didn't expect.
"Well, that cuts like a knife there, Q." I pulled back on the sofa and watched as she moved the laptop to our coffee table and tried to take my hands into her own.
"It's not like that, baby. I love you. You know that."
"You just don't want your daughter or Shelby to know that? That you love me? That I've seen you naked? That we share a bed and sleep together? That we take showers together? That we're planning a life together?"
"Shelby knew both of us back in high school, Santana. I wasn't great back then, but neither were you. We were both dealing with a lot and we acted out and she remembers."
"Has she said something to you about me?"
"She asked me about you, yeah. When we first started talking about me spending time with Beth."
"And what did you say?" I was getting upset. I didn't realize they'd had conversations about me like this.
"I told her you and I were best friends. I told her how amazing you are and how successful you're going to be once you get your label up and running." Quinn used some of that trust fund money to help with my little start-up record label. It was enough to get me a tiny studio space and pay for Mercedes' advance on her next album since she was my first official artist other than myself. "I told her you're not the same Santana from McKinley. That we've both grown up."
"And she said?"
"She understood. People change a lot in the twenties. She hasn't brought it up since."
"Quinn, I love you, but I don't love this. Yeah, I was a little screwed up back then. We both were, but we're not kids anymore. We're talking about having kids now. What would you do if we bought this house and got married? Is Shelby not invited to the wedding? Beth's not going to be a flower girl? Are you going to wear the ring I bought you when they're around?"
"Wait. The ring you bought? As in you have it already?"
"No sidestepping my questions, Fabray. I'm trying real hard not to go Lima Heights Adjacent here."
"I don't know, Santana! I just love you and I love my daughter and I don't want to screw any of it up."
"You have to tell Shelby, Quinn." I took her left hand. "Once I put a ring there, it better never come off." I stood up and walked into our bedroom. It was time for a solo shower and probably some tears that I hoped the water would drown out.
That night, I slept on the couch. The next morning, I woke up and Quinn was gone already. I got ready and made my way over to the studio to record with Mercedes. We took a break around mid-day and had lunch in the small office. If her album didn't get finished soon and then sell well, we'd lose the space.
"I love this song, Santana. It's powerful. There's a lot of raw emotion there." Mercedes told me between bites of her salad. "You've been writing a lot of really good stuff lately."
"Thanks." I took the compliment and pushed my fork around my plate.
"Um… I just gave Santana Lopez a compliment about her music. I was expecting something like 'I know. I'm amazing.'"
"Not really feeling it today, sorry. You'll have to get your sass elsewhere today."
"What's going on, Santana? You seem distracted. You told me take 3 sounded great and I said 'you' instead of 'too' in the chorus. Twice."
"Then, it seems like you're the one who's distracted."
"Woman, I've known you far too long for you to try to lie to me."
"I figured. You've got that Quinn face you get sometimes."
"I do not have a Quinn face."
"Please girl, you've had a Quinn face since high school. That girl's always pushed your buttons. That's why I was shocked when you two got together, but it works. You guys seem happy. What's going on?"
"You know I've got the ring and we're trying to find a house. I have the proposal all worked out."
"Yeah, I know all that."
"Shelby doesn't know we're big ole lesbians who love each other and Quinn doesn't want to tell her."
"Why not? Shelby's surrounded by gays. She works on Broadway."
"Oh, that's the best part. It's not because of the gay thing. It's because of me. Shelby's got a problem with me."
"Does she even know you?"
"She knows the me from high school, but Quinn's really kept her away from me. I love that girl. More than anything and I will do almost anything for her, but I lied about myself before and I hated it."
"Doesn't Shelby know you're gay? Has she really not put it together?"
"Not with Quinn telling her were friends forever and probably showing her our matching BFF bracelets and telling Shelby about her preppy boyfriend or my girlfriend."
"She's not lying about stuff like that, is she?"
"I don't know. Probably not. I just know it bothers me. Beth is so important to her and I want to get to know her and I was kind of hoping our kid would be like a little brother or sister to her in whatever new normal, modern family kinda deal we all work out."
"That sounds nice, Santana. Have you told her that?"
"Yes, I tell her everything. Look, I'll figure it out. Let's just get back to work. We've gotta get this song finished by tomorrow if we're going to stay on track for your album."
We continued to record take after take. Mercedes sounded good on every one, but it's about finding the right mix for me.
"She sounds great, baby." I turned around to see Quinn standing there.
I turned back to the board as Mercedes continued her verse.
"I wrote it for you. It's about finally getting the one you love to realize you're meant to be." I turned back around to see that Shelby had followed her through the door. "I mean, it's about someone realizing-"
"It's okay. I told her. I love you and I don't want you sleeping on the couch again, okay?"
"Santana, I'm sorry if I gave you two the impression I'd have a problem with this. When I told Quinn my concerns about you, it was taken out of context. I'm happy you two are together."
"You are?" I asked and then stood because I felt like I should.
"Yes, if you two are happy together, then I'm happy for you. You know, I have two daughters technically. Rachel's told me how you two have been such great friends to her and Santana, Quinn's told me about your studio and now there's a house you two are going to buy."
"And Rachel never told you about us?"
"No. I had my suspicions though, but I thought you two would fill me in when you were ready if I was right."
Quinn walked over and stood next to me, taking my hand.
"I told her how you wanted a room for Beth."
"Well, I just thought it would be nice to have her stay over sometimes maybe. Only if you're okay with it."
"She's still to young to understand this whole thing so if you two are okay with it, I'd like to keep her in the dark on it until she's older and we can sit her down and explain it."
"San?" Quinn asked me.
"Yeah, that makes sense."
"You're really okay with that?" She asked.
"Yeah, I'm good."
"Um… is anyone actually listening to me?" I heard Mercedes through the glass. I guess I stopped paying attention to the song. She laughed and walked into the room.
"Santana, this is a nice setup you've got here. How many artists do you have so far?" Shelby asked and Mercedes took a drink of her water.
"Just three. Mercedes, Blaine and I. We're recording one at a time right now though. So, it's a slow process. Cedes here left a big label to join and Blaine is working full-time until we can get to him."
"If you're interested in some help, I could volunteer my time. I do have a little experience in the music world and I'd like to get to know you a little more."
I squinted my eyes in suspicion.
"Is this a test?"
"No, it's just an offer. Feel free to turn me down."
"I'll think about it."
"Santana!" Quinn squeezed my arm.
"What? She wants to get to know the real me, Q. This is the real me."
Shelby laughed again and I looked at Quinn, smiling at her smile and moving her hair behind her ear.
"Can I listen to my song now?"
"Mercedes?" I asked.
"Let's do it."
Later that night, we were at one of Rachel's shows. It was a new one so I wasn't already tired of seeing it like I was the others she'd be in. The show had just ended and there was a curtain call and everyone was standing and applauding. I could feel Quinn turn and stare at me for at least a minute before I acknowledged it.
"Yeeesssss…" I turned and looked at her.
"Shelby knows now and we're going to buy a house once we find one we both agree on."
"Which could be years. It took us months just to pick out our apartment and the landlord didn't ask for a 20% down payment that will basically tap us out unless this label thing takes off."
She smiled at me and leaned in to kiss me.
"Santana, you have the ring and I have one for you. Everyone who knows us knows we're going to do it eventually."
I was about to flip my shit in the middle of a Broadway curtain call.
"Is this your half assed version of a proposal, Quinn?"
"We've talked about it for a while now. Why don't we just-"
"You are just about the least romantic person I've met. This is not how you propose to someone. You don't just say 'we'll do it eventually so why not now' and take a ring covered in lint out of your pocket and hand it to me."
"I guess you're right. I really didn't put much thought into it… or did I?" She smiled and pointed at the stage.
"This is something we do not usually do. We're not supposed to break the fourth wall while we're still in costume, but this is sort of a special occasion for some friends of mine." Rachel started and I looked back to see that Quinn was already at the end of the aisle and she was holding out her hand for me to take. I walked over and took it.
"What's going on, Fabray?"
She pulled me from our second row seats and up the steps to the stage. My heart was pounding louder than that day at the waterfall.
"These are two of my best friends in the world and one of them asked if she could borrow the stage just this once. I hope you'll all be okay with it." Rachel nodded to Quinn just as we were a few feet away from her on the stage. I looked around at the entire cast standing in a row behind us and out through the heavy lights, I could just make out some shadows of people watching us in the crowd.
"Santana Lopez," Quinn began and I could hear the floor microphones picking up her voice and projecting it around the theatre. "I love you so much." She held my hands in hers for a second before pulling one away and reaching into the pocket of her dress. "I know you had planned to do this, but I hope you'll forgive me for doing it instead because I made you wait so long before finally just giving into the fact that you and I are meant to be." I could hear people in the crowd gasp and cheer lightly as they listened in. "I've had this for a while now. I think I got it before you bought mine and I would really like to put it on your finger now so that the whole world knows you're taken." She paused and I could feel her hand shaking against mine. "Santana, will-"
"Yes!" I blurted out and the room filled with laughter and then applause. She laughed and opened the box to reveal a perfect ring that she then slid nervously on my finger and I pulled her in to kiss her hard because I couldn't believe this was happening.
"You didn't let me finish." She stated after pulling apart from the kiss and hugging me.
"You know how impatient I am. You're lucky I even let you do the whole speech." I pulled back and kissed her again.
Rachel ran over and hugged us both. I waved at the crowd and pulled Quinn off the stage so I could kiss her again.
"I love you and I'm sorry if I ruined your proposal plans."
"You know I don't care about that. Quinn, I've loved you for nearly a decade and it was always me making the move. I asked you out. I gave you the lap dance. You even made me ask you again that day on the waterfall instead of asking me and I didn't have a problem with that, but I felt like I was always pushing you like last night with the whole Shelby and Beth thing."
"I'm stubborn. You know that, but I've been planning this for a while. I asked Rachel for her help and I was going to tell Shelby about us today. That's why I left early this morning. I was meeting her for coffee to fill her in. I didn't want to say anything last night because it would have given this away and I wanted to surprise you. You brought up the ring you already had and I was worried that if I didn't do this tonight, you'd end up being the one proposing and I thought it was finally time I let you know that you don't push me against my will. You're just more impulsive than I am. That's one of the reasons we work so well together. You leap and I pull you back to make you think about it and you make sure I actually take leaps."
People started running off the stage now that the curtain call was completely over. They said "congratulations" and things like that as they passed by.
"Guys! That was amazing! I'm so happy for you!" Rachel told us and hugged us each again. "I've got to go change, but then we're going out to celebrate! Callbacks? Like old times. I can call everyone."
"We'll meet you there. We've gotta run by the apartment first." I told her.
"We do?" Quinn asked.
"Yeah, I want to get your ring. I want people to know you're taken too."
She smiled and we walked off the stage hand in hand to the back entrance Rachel was ushering us toward.
"Did you honestly think I'd propose to you by saying we're going to do it eventually so why not?"
"You've always been unpredictable, Fabray. You zig just when I think you're about to zag."
"I like to keep things interesting." She replied sarcastically as we exited the building.
"Somehow, I don't think that's going to be something we have to worry about."
It took a long time, but we finally found the house of our dreams. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a yard for the dog Quinn always wanted, but we could never have in the city. The wedding we'd been planning for a long time was about to happen. We'd delayed since the label started to take off with the success of Mercedes' album. Blaine's took off shortly after and Shelby's help really paid off when I went to record my own album. I was able to just be an artist when we brought her on full-time to run things. I worried that might be weird since technically I'm her boss, but it never really was an issue.
We signed a million pieces of paper and closed on our new home. They handed us the keys and we went there straight from the realtor's office. We sat on the floor of our new kitchen and ate pizza. We planned what furniture we needed to buy and where we'd hang what pictures. I couldn't believe I was marrying this girl.
"San, I talked to Shelby the other day."
"I talk to her all the time." I paused. "Oh, I thought we were just competing about who talks to Shelby more." I smirked at her.
"Smart ass. I mean I talked to her about Beth." She tossed the crust of her pizza in the box. "She said Beth's been asking her questions about us."
"Well, she's a smart girl, Quinn so that's not really surprising."
"She wants us to talk to her. She's noticed my ring a few times and I just told her it's just a ring, but it's not just a ring."
"No, it's a symbol of our undying love and eternal devotion, obviously." I leaned over toward her and took her hand. "Are you ready for her to know?"
"Yeah, I don't exactly know how the conversation is going to go, but I want her to know about all of me. The good, the bad, the ugly." She kissed me lightly. "You are the good by the way."
"I better not be the ugly." I kissed her again.
"I was thinking that after we get all our stuff in we can go get the stuff for her room and put it together for her and then tell her."
"If that's what you want, then that's what we'll do."
So, we spent the next couple of weeks moving and organizing and getting several rooms in order before we went to the furniture store and got the stuff for Beth's room. We invited Shelby over for dinner and Quinn cooked for the four of us. I could tell she was nervous and I wasn't going to push her if she changed her mind. I went to the kitchen to make coffee to go with the chocolate cake she'd made, which was Beth's favorite. When I came back out, I gave Quinn a wink and a smile to let her know that whatever she decided I was fine with.
"So, are you two like getting married to each other?" Beth asked after she set her cell phone down on the table.
My eyes went big as did Quinn's.
"Beth!" Shelby gasped.
"What? I'm not stupid. They live in the same house. They have rings on."
"Beth, Santana and I… are a couple and-"
"I knew it!"
I hid my laughter as I took a sip of my coffee that was still way too hot to try to drink.
"Honey, let Quinn talk."
"We've been together for a long time now and we're getting married later this year. Your mom and I decided to wait until you were old enough to understand before we told you." It sounded rehearsed, which is just like Quinn.
Beth looked over at me and then back to Quinn and lastly, over to Shelby.
"So you guys are gay then?"
"Yes." Quinn stated bluntly. "And we wanted to show you something tonight if you're up for it."
"What is it?"
"Your room." She paused and looked over at me. I smiled at her and decided to take it from here.
"Quinn and I'd like to know if you'd like to spend the night sometime. We got you a bed and a dresser and a TV and we thought maybe we could go to the store one Saturday and pick out some stuff you like and it would be your room when you're here."
She looked at Shelby.
"It's okay, honey."
"Can I pick out whatever I want?"
"Within reason, kid. Don't push it." I told her.
She laughed and the tension in the dining room was released.
"Okay?" Quinn checked.
"Yeah, Santana's cool. She treats me like a grown up and Quinn's cool. Not all the time though. I have slumber parties and stuff for school."
Shelby laughed at her daughter. I looked at Beth, who looked more and more like Quinn every time I saw her.
"Whenever you want and if you don't want to, that's fine too."
"Cool. Can I have my cake now?"
"Sure, honey." Shelby told her and she dove in with her fork.
"Hey, are you two gonna have any kids? She asked us after taking her first bite.
I looked at Quinn and turned my head to the side.
"Yes, the other room will be a nursery. After the wedding, San and I are going to start trying to have a baby."
"I always wanted a brother or sister." She took another bite.
I smiled because I'd been the one telling Quinn for years I wanted us to have kids and she wanted to wait. Looks like we're done waiting.
"You can help us change diapers." I told her.
"Ewe… gross. I don't want to do that." She explained and took another bite while the three of us laughed around her. "Wait. How does it work? You're both girls. How do you have babies?"
"Beth, how about you finish your cake and then we show you your room?" Quinn diverted nervously and I laughed because that was a conversation for a later time.