It started on Quinn's 20th birthday. She was in New York visiting for the weekend so we could all go out and celebrate. It had been a rough couple of weeks for her since the break up. Puck had ended things over the phone after almost a year of dating. His reason was that he felt like he still wasn't good enough for her. She was doing well at Yale and had been selected for some kind of important internship. Puck wasn't doing nearly as well in the military. He was having some issues obeying orders when he felt the orders shouldn't apply to him. He'd lost his leave privileges several times and those were all times he was supposed to spend with Quinn. I could tell it was getting harder for the two of them recently and I could relate since I too had ended my relationship with Brittany a few months before.
I will always love that girl, but I felt like I needed some time to discover myself without her. After we got back together, she moved in immediately and then we found a place of our own. That didn't last long though. It was different when we were living with Rachel and Kurt. When it was just the two of us, it got harder and then we thought we just needed to live separately for a while and then I just told her that if it was meant to be for us, we'd find our way back because I could tell we were both unhappy. I honestly thought we'd break up for a while, but that we'd find each other again. Now though, I'm not so sure.
"I just feel like I need to get away for a while." Quinn told me before taking a drink of the wine I just poured her. The party we'd had for her had just ended and she was dangling her feet over the edge of the fire escape. I sat down next to her and took a drink directly from the bottle.
"Trust me, I'm right there with you."
"Have you talked to her since you ended it?"
"A few times, but it was more like small talk. She left a sweater at my place. That kind of thing."
"It sucks, huh?"
"I feel like we're back where we started, Q. Love is for saps. Remember?"
"Valentine's Day? Kind of memorable for me so yeah. And then we fell for it again."
"Thought we could have what everyone else talks about."
"And now we're alone." She stated the obvious.
"Well, we're still got each other." I took another long drink and then looked at her. "I do still have you, right? We're in the on phase of our friendship instead of the off, aren't we? I haven't slapped you in like over a year."
She laughed and finished her wine in one gulp. She set the glass down and leaned back on her hands.
"We've hardly seen each other since then so I wouldn't think of that as some big accomplishment, San, but yeah. We're good."
I passed her the bottle so she could take a drink if she wanted, but she shook her head no so I sat it down next to me.
"So, let's do it."
"Let's get away for a while." I paused. "Well, for like a week maybe. I do have to work and you have school, but you have a break coming up and I have money from my mom."
"I have money from my parents too."
"Let's just go somewhere. Take a vacation. You get away from New Haven and your failed relationship with Puckerman and I get away from the city and my failed relationship with Brittany."
"Just you and me?"
"Why not?" I squinted my eyes at her thinking she was maybe worried I'd try something with her. "I know you're not on team gay, Fabray. We'll get a room with two beds if that's what you're worried about."
She laughed that husky laugh of hers.
"No, I just meant that we've never really done stuff alone." I lifted my eyebrows at that. "Besides that, I mean." She reached over me and grabbed the wine bottle and set it in her lap. "We were the Unholy Trinity, not the Unholy Duo and whenever I'm in New York, we're always with the group. Rachel, Kurt, Blaine, Sam and everyone."
"Well, I don't want to go on a vacation with everyone. In fact, if everyone were there, it wouldn't be much of a vacation, would it?"
"No, I'd end up killing Rachel."
"I'd murder Kurt."
"Then, Blaine would try to murder you for murdering Kurt."
"He'd try, but there's no way he'd be successful. I'd smell that Aqua Velva from a mile away." I laughed at myself.
"Blaine does not wear Aqua Velva!" She laughed and took a long drink from the bottle before passing it back to me so I could take a drink too. "Besides, I wouldn't let him kill you anyway."
"Not that I would need your help, but thanks." I looked down at the hustle and bustle of the city below. This city once held so much promise for me. It was where my dreams were going to come true. Two years in and I was starting to worry that maybe this place wasn't the answer I thought it would be as a small town girl with big city dreams.
"Alright, let's do it!" She announced and kicked her feet out.
"Why not? Where should we go?"
"Somewhere that's not here or New Haven."
"Are you drunk or having a stroke because you're not speaking in complete sentences?" I questioned.
"We need rules. We both have to agree on the place."
"You make a suggestion and then I'll make a suggestion until we agree."
"And we can each have vetoes."
"How many?" I looked over at her.
"I don't know. One?"
"Fine." She put her hand out for me to shake, which I did. "You go."
"Veto." She replied immediately.
"I don't have to have a reason. Just veto."
"Fine. You're turn."
"Veto." I told her with conviction.
"Oh yeah, sorry."
I had gone to Hawaii with Brittany and wasn't really ready to make a return.
"What? Why do you want to go to Minnesota?" She asked me.
"Mall of America, Quinn. Imagine the shopping possibilities."
"Fine, but you're all out now." I called her on her own rule.
I thought about that for a second. I liked Chicago. We'd both been once before with the New Directions, but we didn't really get a chance to explore the place with all the last minute rehearsals since Mr. Schuester preferred giving us weekly lessons about disco and funk instead of actually preparing a set in advance for our competitions. It was a big enough city that we could find excitement, but it wasn't New York and there were beaches.
"I can get down with Chicago."
"Really?" She asked me.
"Yeah, let's do it."
She poured part of the remnants from the bottle into her glass and gave me the bottle.
"Chicago or bust?" She held up her glass.
"Chicago or bust." I repeated and we clanged the bottle and glass together.
And thus began our annual tradition. Chicago was first and when we didn't end up killing each other, we thought it might be cool to do it again the next year. By that time, we were both 21 and could ditch those fake IDs we'd been holding onto for years. We changed the rules on choosing the destination for the second trip. I visited Quinn's New Haven apartment and we pulled out an old map she'd borrowed from a professor.
"Tell me you didn't sleep with this one too." I joked with her bringing up her affair from before.
"Professor Cahill is a woman." She told me.
"So am I and I remember you being all about this for a couple of hours one night and I didn't have a map you needed."
"She's in her 60s, Santana. Gross."
She unrolled the map. It was her idea to make a whole show of it. I said we could easily do this on a computer, but she wanted it this way.
"Who goes first?"
"You can. I picked last year."
The plan was that we'd go to the first place we pointed to no matter where it was. We'd had such a good time last year that we'd decided to plan 3 years in advance. This year was Quinn's last year in school and I don't know. I guess I just worried that she'd move on after she graduated and leave me behind. If we planned for the next few years, I thought it would be more likely to happen.
I closed my eyes and my finger hovered over the map. I moved it around for a few seconds before putting it down on the map and opening my eyes.
"Um… veto." Quinn stated.
My finger had landed on Nigeria.
"Why'd you get a world map?"
"Just point again, Santana."
"Fine, but that's one of your vetoes, Fabray."
"So, if I don't veto, you want our next trip to be in Nigeria?"
I laughed and closed my eyes again. This girl had gotten good at calling my bluff.
"Boston? Not exactly far away."
I opened my eyes and my finger had indeed landed on Boston.
"We never said we had to go far away. We just said away. Are you using your last veto, Q?" I took my finger and wagged it in her face.
"No. Boston it is this year." She pushed me out of the way. "My turn for next year." She quickly closed her eyes and put her finger on the map.
"That's the Pacific Ocean, Quinn. Where are we staying? Atlantis?"
She rolled her eyes at me and stood upright.
"What about a cruise?"
"Yeah, we could do like a four-day thing to Mexico."
"Well, I do speak Spanish." I considered her idea. "Tourist trap towns only and you're not allowed to leave my side. Your dad does not have the skills to go all Liam Neeson Taken style on anyone if you get kidnapped and sold into white slavery and I just don't have the time to look all over Mexico for your ass."
She laughed and I took my place in front of the map for my turn.
"I remember one time when you specifically loved looking at my ass." She raised her eyebrows at me.
"Oh, I've always loved looking at your ass, Fabray. I just only told you one time and there's a difference between looking at and looking for. Doesn't that school you pay all that money to teach you prepositions?"
"I can't remember. Is it "I'm going to slap you on your face or in the face?" She smiled and I pointed.
"What? Because of the rain?" I asked her.
"Because Puck and I went there once when he was stationed-"
"Enough said and you can still have both of your vetoes." I closed my eyes and pointed once more. "The Pacific coast is calling our name, Q. What do you think?"
"San Diego? I can do San Diego."
"Me too, but San Diego the year after Mexico?"
'Using your veto?" She asked.
San Diego was beautiful from the pictures I'd seen and I worried that I might land on Podunk, Middle America next and then I'd be out of vetoes and who knows where I'd end up having to go.
"No, San Diego or bust."
"Not tonight though. Tonight, we sleep." She said and began rolling up the map to put it back in the tube it came in. It was nearing 2am and we'd been out at the Yale bars all night. We were both exhausted, but wanted to make our trip plans before turning in.
We shared her bed because I hated the futon in her living room and before I fell asleep, I rolled over to see if she was still awake.
"Hey Q, you still up?"
"No Santana, clearly I am asleep."
"God, you get even more difficult to deal with right before bed. Good to know."
She rolled over to face me.
"What do you want, San?"
"What happens if you change your mind or more likely, what happens if I get sick of you and change my mind about these trips?"
She rolled to be on her back and stared at her ceiling.
"Then, say you don't want to go. It doesn't have to be that complicated."
I slid so I was a little closer to her.
"Quinn, I'm serious."
She turned only her head and the light that she always left on in the bathroom hit her eyes and I could see the green through the darkness.
"Why don't you say what you really mean then?"
"I just want to make sure we go. This is our thing and I just want to make sure we do it. Pretty much everyone else I know is doing their own thing. Planning weddings or starring in Broadway shows or teaching dance classes. You're going to graduate from here and I don't know what you'll do after, but I just don't want to lose you too."
"When did you get so sentimental?" She asked and smiled.
"Forget it." I rolled away from her mocking.
"Okay. I'm sorry. Roll back over." She told me and I rolled my eyes before slowly rolling back to face her. "You're not going to lose me, Santana. It took us a long time to get here, but you're my best friend. As long as you don't do anything to screw it up, I don't see that changing anytime soon." She smirked at me.
"No promises, Fabray. Sometimes, you just bring it out in me."
"Bring what out?"
"The desire to argue about inane, asinine and frivolous things."
She laughed a shallow laugh.
"Your word of the day calendar is by your desk, loser." I had taken a look at it earlier and felt now a little humor would lighten up the situation.
"Go to sleep, Santana."
I rolled onto my side and closed my eyes, content in the fact that Quinn and I had plans for the next three years.
Our trip to Boston was fun, but mostly for Quinn. She wanted to check out the history of the city. I wanted to check out the bars. She wanted to see a show in the theatre district. I got enough of that in New York with Broadway Berry so I wanted to take the short drive down to Cape Cod and relax on a beach. We compromised and spent 3 days in the city and two days along the coast. One of Quinn's friends from school had a beach house they weren't using so we were able to stay there for free. They had a grill outside so we decided to cook out and make an evening of it.
"How does it feel?" I asked her while turning over a chicken breast on the grill. Quinn was setting the table out on the deck overlooking the backdrop of the sun setting over the ocean.
"How does what feel?"
"Being a Yale graduate. I haven't asked you yet and you really haven't talked about it. We postponed our trip this year so you could focus on finishing school and now you've finished school, it's summertime and you've got nothing tying you to New Haven. So, I guess I'm curious. How does it feel to be done with college and have your whole perfect, cookie cutter life now in the foreseeable future?"
"I don't know. It feels good. It feels like I accomplished something."
I turned the other piece of chicken over and then took a drink of the wine coolers we had picked out at the grocery store earlier. It tasted like a carbonated pina colada.
"That's it? Four years of your life and it just feels good? I think you should ask them for your money back, Q."
"It's hard to explain. Maybe it will feel different when I actually see the diploma. I should have that in a few weeks."
"And then what?"
"Then, I frame it and hang it on the wall, I guess." She sat at the table and watched me finish up with the chicken.
"Where are you hanging it? Are you staying in New Haven? You've been kind of non-specific about your future plans, Quinn. It was always about Yale and graduating. Now what?"
"You sound like my mom."
I turned and pointed the barbeque fork at her.
"Never compare me with that woman."
She smiled at me and walked over to the grill to stand next to me while I pulled the chicken off. She held the plate so I could place them on it.
"Why are you so curious all the sudden?"
"Because I'd kind of like to know where you'll be living and what you'll be doing with yourself."
I turned off the grill and closed the lid before grabbing my wine cooler and sitting across from her at the table. Quinn had made the sides in the kitchen so we started putting things on our plate while listening to the sounds of the waves crashing behind us.
"What if I said I was thinking about New York?"
I smiled, but only on the inside. I didn't want her to know that I loved the idea of us living in the same city.
"The Big Apple, huh? Any particular reason?"
"I feel like I've been living there part-time for the past few years and I like it. Plus, and don't get a big head about this, but you're there."
"Just admit it. It's all about me, Fabray."
"I had an interview last week. It was a phone interview, but their office is in Brooklyn. If it works out, I could be moving there in a few weeks."
"Quinn Fabray, living in Brooklyn. I did not see that coming."
"What about you?" She took a bite of her salad.
"What about me?"
"Are you just going to keep waiting tables and bartending or are you going to do something with your life?"
"Wow! Damn, Quinn. What are you even doing hanging out with me? I'm just a lowly bartender wasting her life? Maybe you should call that Biff guy back and see if he'll start helping you plan the perfect New England wedding."
"You're too talented to do what you're doing forever, San. You love music. I just think you should start doing something with it other than singing at the diner night after night."
I finished my wine cooler, wishing I'd gone for the hard liquor at the store earlier since this thing wasn't going to get me drunk and I hadn't been prepared for tough questions on our last night of vacation.
"If you get this job in Brooklyn, we should just get a place together. I'd say you could just move into my place, but it's a one bedroom."
"And I don't really want to see you with all those girls you claim to bring home." She took a bite of her chicken and I watched her reaction to see if she liked it. She took another bite immediately so I considered my cooking a success.
"Auntie Snix doesn't make false claims, Fabray. What about you? You haven't had a new man in a while."
"You haven't had a new girl in a while." She paused and looked at me. "I'm not counting one-night stands. I mean a real girlfriend."
"No one's struck my fancy. You gotta be all that to get up in all this."
She laughed and I watched her sit back in her chair and look past me out to the water. Her eyes flicked in my direction.
"What?" She questioned when she realized I was staring.
"You never hold back what you're thinking. Spill." She ordered.
"You won't like it."
She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table and reaching one hand to her water glass. She began toying with the napkin she'd placed beneath it earlier.
"I don't like half the things you say so just say it."
I leaned forward to match her posture and watched her fingers continue to play with the napkin.
"Sometimes I forget how amazing you are." I confessed. Her eyes met mine.
"Why would I hate that?"
"Two reasons that I can think of. One, you are terrible with compliments." I paused and took a breath.
"Because it's me saying it."
She stopped playing with the napkin and looked back out toward the water as if trying to avoid my glance.
"Why does that make a difference?" She asked, already knowing the answer.
"Because I don't give compliments often, especially to you. So, you know that I mean it and that I'm right. You are amazing, Quinn."
Her eyes told me that she knew where I was going with this and that it was making her feel weird.
"Is this… I mean, are you…"
"Hitting on you? Please! Been there and done that, Fabray. Got the T-shirt even." I lied. Not about the shirt. I did technically borrow her shirt the morning after since I'd stayed the night in her room and only had my dress, but I lied about hitting on her. If I actually thought she was interested, I'd be all over Quinn Fabray, but she's not and that's probably a good thing. The last time I was with a best friend, we broke up and now we barely speak. I don't want that to happen with Quinn. I want annual vacations and nights like this.
"I want that shirt back, by the way. You've had it for years."
"You can't wear it anymore. I've stretched it out with my much larger breasts." I smiled at her.
"Well, at least mine didn't come from a plastic surgeon."
"Says Lucy Caboosey over there."
She rolled her eyes and started eating again. I just listened to the water behind me and hoped I wasn't falling for my best friend.
"Santana Lopez, you may think you're hot shit, but they're not going to hold the damn boat for you!" Quinn yelled at me from the living room of our shared apartment in Brooklyn.
"We're going on a cruise to Mexico, Quinn. I kind of need my passport and if you wouldn't have been moving my crap around last night, I would have found it by now." I told her from my bedroom as I searched through another drawer trying to find it.
"I didn't touch your passport, Santana." She was standing in the doorway of my room. "Maybe that girl you had over last night stole it."
I stood up and glared at her.
"Why the hell would she steal my passport?"
"I don't know, but you did invite her to come along with us last night."
"I was drunk. It slipped out. She knew I was kidding. She left, remember? I don't even remember her name."
"She slept with her, but you don't know her name? Classy, San."
"You know what? Maybe we just need to cancel our trip. You've had a bug up your ass all week, Fabray." I slammed the last drawer in my dresser closed. "And for the record, we met at the bar and yes, I was drunk, but we didn't hook up. She brought me back here where we ran into your stuck-up, prudish ass and then she put me in my bed. She left after that. We barely even made out."
I looked at her as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Do you even want to go, Quinn? You've been on my case 24/7 lately. Maybe us living together and taking trips together isn't such a good idea."
"We already bought the tickets, Santana. They're non-refundable." She told me.
"Well, that is damn convincing. It's obvious you want to spend the next 5 days trapped out at sea with me." I replied sarcastically.
She sighed deeply and walked into the room.
"I'll help you find it and then we'll go."
I watched her as she walked over to my closet where I had some shelves to check to see if it was there. Something had been off with her lately and I couldn't diagnose it. Her job was going well. We'd been pretty successful as roommates so far and were about to re-sign our lease. I'd done a pretty good job at hiding the fact that I wanted her and not just as a friend and roommate. We'd both dated a few different people since moving in together, but nothing had panned out. I had been looking forward to our vacation until she apparently flipped her bitch switch on me.
"Found it." She emerged from the closet. "It was in the pocket of your red coat.
"Oh right, I put it in there because I was going to wear that one to the airport."
I took the passport from her and she walked toward the door.
"I already put your black one in my carry-on along with that hoodie you wanted to bring." She didn't even turn around. She just walked toward the luggage in the living room. "Let's go. Flight is in 2 hours and if we miss it, we miss the ship."
We arrived to the door of our cabin and I used the key to enter. I motioned for Quinn to go in first hoping that maybe this act of kindness would get her to start talking to me about whatever was going on with her.
"Are you sure this is our room?" She asked after she took a look around.
"Yeah, why?" I asked as I set the key and my purse on the table nearest the door.
"It's huge, Santana. We just booked a standard room."
It was true. The room was actually a suite. It had a full living room balcony and bedroom.
"I wanted to surprise you. My parents are frequent flyers or frequent cruisers I guess. They've been platinum level world travelers since I moved out at 18 and they let me use some of their points to upgrade." I slid her suitcase over against the wall while she walked into the bedroom.
"There's only one bed."
"Yeah, a king. They didn't have a suite with two available. Honestly Quinn, I was kind of hoping for a different reaction here. Like one of gratitude for example."
I followed her into the room and took a look around. I made a mental note to thank my parents later and then stared at Quinn who was looking out at the water and the city by the dock we would soon be leaving behind.
"I'm sorry." She paused and then looked at me. "Thank you. This is great. I just wasn't expecting it."
"You got a promotion. I thought this could be my way of saying congratulations."
"It really is great, Santana. Thank you." She was saying the words, but I could tell by her tone that she didn't mean them or she did mean them, but there was something else going on in her mind.
I sat on the edge of the bed and stared at her as she went to get her bag to begin unpacking.
"Quinn, will you tell me what's going on?" I was genuinely concerned and trying not to appear annoyed with her strange attitude.
"What do you mean?" She lifted her bag onto the luggage rack next to the bed.
"Fabray, stop it. I know something's up with you. You've been acting weird all week and it's really starting to piss me off. I did this nice thing for us and you don't even seem to care."
She stopped messing with her bag and turned to look at me.
"Now's not the time. We're basically trapped together on this boat and if we end up- Look, let's just enjoy our vacation. I'll lose the attitude and we'll talk when we get back."
I stood and walked toward her.
"You can't just say something like that and expect me to wait a week to talk about it, Quinn."
There was a knock on the door to the suite.
"Who's that?" She asked.
"I'll get it. Just start unpacking." I told her in an exasperated tone and left the room to walk to the front door. I opened it. "Yeah?"
"Miss Lopez?" The guy dressed like he worked on the ship greeted.
"My name is Steve and I am your steward for your trip. I wanted to bring you this complimentary bottle of champagne to welcome you on board and let you know that we'll begin the emergency evacuation drill in about 10 minutes. Your life jackets are located in that cabinet." He motioned with the bottle and walked in at the same time.
"Come on in." I offered after the fact.
"You'll want to bring those with you and you're at muster station 13 for the duration of your trip. There are signs posted to direct you and the captain will make an announcement in a few minutes, but if you'd like an escort-"
Quinn had emerged from the bedroom to listen to Steve talk.
"Nah, we're good. This one went to Yale so she's Ivy League smart and I've been on a cruise before so I know my way around a ship. Thanks though, Steve."
"Of course. Would you like me to open this for you?" He asked, referring to the bottle that he sat on the coffee table inside the ice bucket.
I looked over at Quinn and she just turned to walk back into the bedroom.
"Why don't you leave it there? I don't think we're in a mood to celebrate right now." I had a $5 in my pocket and handed it to him. He thanked me and left. I walked back into the room and saw her sitting on the edge of the bed. I sat next to her and we both stared at the TV that was turned on to the info station and listed the channels and movies available. "Well, at least we have good porn options." I joked, trying to lighten the mood.
She laughed and looked over at me.
"I'm moving out, San." Her eyes returned to the floor.
"You're what?" I wasn't angry. I was confused. We were re-signing our lease when we got back from the trip.
"My promotion came with a raise. I can afford to live on my own now and I'm working in Manhattan now so it just makes sense for me to live there instead of commuting."
"When did you decide this?"
"When they told me I got the job, but definitively I guess about a week ago." She paused and looked at me. "I was going to tell you then, but I didn't want to ruin our trip and then you kept pestering about what was going on with me so that's what's going on."
"Well, mission unfuckingaccomplished Fabray. You've ruined the trip." I stood and walked toward the balcony door, which I opened. I suddenly felt like I needed some fresh sea air. I stood on the balcony and stared out at the water. I could hear her as she followed me and then stood next to me also looking at the water. "Take a damn hint, Quinn. I came out here to get away from you."
"I need to be on my own, Santana. I've never really been on my own before. At Yale, I had my own place, but it was just off campus and my parents were footing the bill. I just need to know that I can live on my own and take care of myself." She paused and looked at me. "You should really take this as a compliment, Santana."
I looked over at her with wrinkled eyebrows.
"You ditching me? I should take that as a compliment?"
"You've done such a good job taking care of me." She admitted and then looked back at the water, unable to meet my eye. I took in a deep breath to try to calm myself because the anger I was beginning to feel had faded with those words. "You basically taught me how to live in this city. You showed me around. Places to go, places to avoid. Stores to buy food and stores to never buy food at if I wanted to live." I laughed and she continued. "You hooked up the cable. You even taught me the subway lines and escorted me to work that first day just to make sure I didn't end up getting lost."
"You can't get lost in this city, Quinn. These people smell weakness and attack."
"I just need to hook up my own cable and pick out my own furniture and find my own way. Can you get that?"
I thought about it and she was right. I did that when I first arrived. Berry and Hummel weren't here that long before I moved into the loft so the three of us had to figure out the city together and on our own at the same time. I guess in my desire to get Quinn to love this place, I deprived her of that same experience.
"I get it, but Quinn you're not exactly giving me much notice here."
"I know and I'm sorry. I've been going back and forth about it and I don't want to put you in this position, but I know I don't want to sign another one year lease there either."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now begin our emergency evacuation drill. Please refer to the card located…" The message drowned on and on until it was finally over. Quinn and I just stared silently at one another until the captain was finished.
"I'll figure something out. Maybe I'll find another roommate, but if they try to boil my rabbit or dye their hair like mine and start wearing my clothes, you have to tell my parents why I was murdered." I walked off the balcony trying to hide my disappointment that Quinn and I would no longer be roommates. I understood what she needed and I didn't want to hold her back, but it would be tough. I'd grown accustomed to having her around and even though it hurt sometimes when she brought a guy home, it was still better than not having her around at all. As we made our way to the deck, it dawned on me that we would undoubtedly grow apart with her not living in the apartment. It just happens. We plan to see each other once a week and then once a week becomes once a month and once a month becomes when there are special occasions. It's already happened with everyone else and I tried to hold back my tears at the thought of it happening with Quinn.
It was the last day of our cruise and things had gotten harder and harder. Santana had taken to hitting on any girl she thought was hot. There was one night she just didn't even return to our cabin. I got a message saying not to worry about her and she showed up the following morning in time to shower and change so we could go get breakfast. We'd had fun and had gone on an excursion or two, but seeing her with another girl at the bar or on the beach killed me every time. I was telling the truth about why I wanted to move out, but I wasn't telling the whole truth.
The whole truth was something I wasn't prepared to deal with yet so I needed my space to figure things out and Santana was pretty much always in my space at home. The promotion gave me the excuse I needed to move out on my own. We had packed all our stuff and we were sitting on the small sofa in the living room waiting for the ship to dock.
"So, this is kind of it, huh?" She asked.
"Yeah, vacation over."
"No, I mean with us." She looked at me and then turned to face me. "You're moving out and it just won't be the same."
"Maybe not the same, but I'm not moving far. I'm still closer than I was when I was in school."
"I'm a lot closer than I was-"
"Physically maybe, but not in the ways that really matter, Quinn. You're like a million years ahead of me in life. You always have been. At least when you were in school, I knew you'd be staying put for a few years. Now, you'll move on and probably be like a VP of whatever within a year and then start traveling the world performing hostile takeovers or something and have lovers on every continent except for maybe Antarctica because I know how you hate the cold."
I laughed at the thought of the hostile takeovers.
"Santana, what is it exactly that you think I do?"
"We're going to lose it, Quinn." There were very few people in the world Santana talked to like this and I was one of them. It wasn't all the time, but when it happened, I liked it. I liked that I was someone she could trust enough to be honest with.
"We're not going to lose anything, San. We'll still be us. We just won't be roommates. We still have our vacations to plan."
"We only have one left."
"One left that we've planned, but we can pull out the map again anytime and plan another one or three more."
"You'd be up for that?"
I need a break first is what I wanted to say. I needed to try to not have feelings for her and then we can pull out a map and go somewhere.
"Okay. Let's do that. You get settled wherever and don't even think about asking me to help you move. You're making the big money now. You can afford the help. Once you're good and I'm good, we'll talk about it."
"You're totally helping me move. It's not like I got that big of a raise and then, yes. We can talk about it."
She looked at the TV that was still on that info channel.
"We never did watch a porn. You in?" She shrugged her shoulders and I laughed. I knew we'd be okay.
It had been six months since our cruise and Santana and I were still trying to get the schedule down. You know you're an adult when you find yourself scheduling your friendships around work. I liked my new apartment that I was able to sublet from someone while they were away for a year. We tried to see each other once a week. I'd stop by the bar when she was working or she'd try to grab me for a lunch break. She worked most weekends so it was challenging to find a long stretch of time where we could actually just sit and talk without interruption. I hadn't seen her in about a month when I get a text at work that said she needed to talk to me in person. It was urgent. I could tell. I was supposed to go to a work dinner that night, but I canceled because she needed me.
The separation had been a good thing for me. I was able to get some perspective on my life. It took me a while, but I got my feelings for her in check and I even started dating a guy I met at my coffee shop. Well, we've been on two dates. I haven't even told Santana about him yet. He's sweet and he's got a great job. I don't know if it's going anywhere yet, but I like him.
I showed up to Santana's apartment. It had been our apartment, but she shared it with someone she met at work who also needed a place at the time I was moving out. They hardly saw each other because they worked different shifts. Santana said she liked that because it was basically like living alone, but having someone to share the cleaning and the expenses.
"Hey, long time." I greeted when she opened the door.
"You think I have time for small talk, Fabray? Get your ass in here." She pulled me through the door and closed it behind me. I looked at the coffee table.
"Did you get us Chinese from-"
"Of course I did. I figured you hadn't had it in a while."
"Since I moved out." I walked quickly over to the sofa and sat down, making myself comfortable and grabbing the first carton I saw. We used to do this every Thursday night. She had that night off work and we'd order in and just watch movies and talk. It was actually during one of those nights that I realized I might be falling for her. I had gone to the store earlier that day and bought a nice bottle of wine and there was this cheese that I knew she liked so I got that. I set it all up and there were candles and when she got back from wherever she was, she noticed it looked a little different than our normal setup. She said it looked like we were on a date. I shrugged it off at the time, but later that night as we were sharing Chinese and she was telling me about her day, I realized that she was right. I'd set this place up like a date. I'd gotten used to her coming home and us talking all night. I'd also gotten used to making breakfast with her some mornings and watching her attempt to flip pancakes in the pan without spatulas and laughing when she inevitably failed. I had basically stopped dating seriously and the reason was because I was already in a relationship.
The physical part of a relationship was missing obviously and every day, I was thinking about how much I wanted to kiss her. The feeling grew until I wasn't just thinking about kissing her. I'd see her leave for work in a short, revealing dress and I'd got to sleep thinking about tearing it off her like I'd done years prior.
"Something's been going on and I wanted to talk to you about it." She told me and I came out of my daydream to listen and grab the chop sticks.
"Okay. What's up?"
"Brittany kind of said she wanted us to get back together."
I almost choked on my chicken.
"What?!" As far as I knew, Brittany had moved to LA a year or so ago for work. They'd talked here and there and were still friends, but I had no idea they were talking about getting back together.
"She's been back for about a month. She called when she moved back. She's staying with someone from the tour she was on and we started talking and hanging out and she came over last night."
"Did you guys-" The chicken was still caught in my throat.
"No! Just because we've done it a million times before doesn't mean I'm just going to jump back into bed with her, Quinn."
"Okay. I don't need a visual."
"We just talked. She tried to kiss me, but I pulled away. Then, we talked some more. She said she's willing to move here or that if I wanted to, I could move to LA."
"You're moving to LA!?" I was probably yelling, but this whole conversation came out of nowhere.
"Quinn, relax. I don't know what I'm doing. That's why I asked you to come over. We used to talk about this stuff all the time and we just haven't talked in a while." She paused and toyed with the rice in her carton. "I just need you to tell me what to do."
"Santana, I can't just tell you what to do. It doesn't work like that and it's not like you listen to anything I say anyway."
"I will this time." She set her carton down and took mine from my hands and my chop sticks just kind of hung in the air before I set them down on the table too. "Quinn, you know Brit and me better than anyone. You know us together and apart. I need your advice here."
"Yes, honestly. Just tell me, Quinn. Yes or no."
"I can't answer that one for you, Santana. It's your decision. Do you love her?"
"A part of me will always love her."
"That's not what I mean." I paused and turned toward her. "Do you love her because she was your first love so she'll always have a place in your heart like Puck will for me or do you think about sharing a life with her? Do you think about her when you wake up in the morning or when you fall asleep? When she told you she wanted to be with you, did you just run into her arms and thank God that she came back to you?"
She seemed to be considering everything I'd said and I was considering my own feelings about this. Whatever I was feeling about Santana was still there. It had gone dormant, but now sitting in front of her looking at her in her adorable off the shoulder Flashdance style shirt and short shorts was making feelings become less dormant. None of that mattered though if she still wanted her. Maybe they were just this couple that was always going to get back together. Maybe they just needed to break up a couple of times and now they'll finally make it work.
"No what?" I asked.
"She's not that person anymore."
Is it wrong that I'm happy at her revelation?
"No. I do love her, but I don't think about her everyday like I used to."
Maybe now is my chance.
"San, I was thinking-"
"Maybe I'm not supposed to though." She interjected.
"Not supposed to what?"
"I mean, we've been a part for a long time. She's different now and so am I. Maybe we owe it to each other to try again. One more time, ya know? Maybe we should go out on a date. Like a new first date. All over again and see what happens." She was smiling.
"Maybe." I stated without emotion.
"You don't think so?"
"I just want you to be happy, Santana. If you think you should try again because that will make you happy, then go for it."
"What if it doesn't work out this time too?"
"Then I guess you'll have your answer." I told her. I had my answer too.
After dinner, I went home and took a very long shower. I realized I'd let her back in and it's not her fault that I feel this way, but it's not easy to be around her either. Before going to bed, I sent a text to Justin, the guy I'd been on a couple of dates with to see if he'd want to go on another one. It was time I moved on if she was moving on too.
"Quinn, this is like the 5th message I've left. Call me back. I'm not above dropping by your fancy job unannounced."
It was Santana's voice and I deleted the message like I'd deleted the others. She'd sent texts too. I kept those, but other than just replying with short answers that I'm busy or I'm tired, I hadn't really responded at all. It had been a couple of months since I'd seen her. I knew she was worried and that she was serious. She would show up at my office and make a scene just because she was Santana. I really was busy though. I was working 60 hours a week to get big projects done and Justin and I were officially a couple now so we had dates and he wanted me to meet his friends so we were spending our weekends making the rounds. I was exhausted and I knew if something was really going on, she'd let me know. I was happy with Justin though and I guess I was partly worried that even though I was able to get over Santana a little faster knowing she was with Brittany and against her, I didn't stand a chance, if I saw her, I might have the same reaction I did last time.
"That's it, Fabray. Friendship over." I looked up from my desk and saw Santana standing there. "I just watched you screen my call, listen to my message and then delete it. If you don't want to talk to me, you could at least do me the fucking courtesy of telling me in a text message or you know, to my face like an adult."
"Santana, keep your voice down." I jumped up and closed the door behind her. "It's not like that. I've just been busy. I was going to call you later."
She sat in the chair opposite my desk.
"Yeah, like you've said every other damn time." She was upset and I could tell it was a mix of anger and disappointment. "Quinn, just tell me what's up."
"San, I've got like 3 major projects going on. I practically never leave this place unless it's to go to Justin's or home to sleep." Oops.
"Justin? Who's Justin?" She sat up in the chair.
"He's my boyfriend. I'm sorry I haven't told you about him. I really have been busy." And I don't really want to see you and Brittany all in love and happy right now.
"Boyfriend? For how long?"
"A couple of months. We started dating before you and I talked that night and make it official later."
She hung her head.
"You know why I've been calling you, right?"
"No, I just thought it was normal stuff. What's going on?"
"Our vacation. We're supposed to be going to San Diego in like 4 months."
"You forgot? Nice, Quinn. The one thing we still do and you spaced"
"It's not that I forgot. Well, I sort of did. I only have two weeks of vacation and I already spent one visiting back home and Justin asked me to take a trip with him next month. We've already booked it."
"Two months in. That boy moves fast."
"What if he came with us? He and I could just change our tickets-"
She stood and stared me down.
"You want your boyfriend to come on our vacation?"
"You can bring Brittany too. It can be a couples thing. It was bound to happen eventually San. You find someone and I find someone and-"
"I'm not with Brit, Quinn. If you would have returned my phone calls, you'd know that."
I stood and walked around my desk to stand next to her as she leaned against the chair.
"What? What happened?"
"After you left that night, I thought about what you said and you were right. I called her the next day and told her it was over. We both needed to move on."
"Why? I thought you-"
"You haven't been there, Quinn. You said you'd always be there, but you're not and now you're with this guy and you're planning vacations with him. So, just go wherever you want with him and forget about it. I'm over trying to schedule time with you or find time to plan a trip you promised we'd take."
She walked toward the door with a defeated look and turned to look at me.
"It's what? Over?"
"Santana, we'll never be over. You're my best friend. We-"
"You know, there was a time when I thought it would be you and me."
"I tried to tell you when we were in Boston, but I couldn't get it out. Then, we moved in together and I told myself it couldn't happen because we were roommates and if I screwed it up… I thought that maybe the cruise was a good time to bring it up. We were away and about to re-sign the lease. I thought we could re-sign it as a couple. Pretty stupid of me, huh? You made it clear that night it was just that night and then we went our separate ways and I loved Brit and you loved Puck, but then we were back. Quinn and Santana. We were taking trips together and I was helping you with job searches and I wasn't bored. I've never gotten bored with you, Fabray."
"I get it. You and I are friends and you're with this new guy." She paused. "He doesn't deserve you. I don't care how nice he is. No one does." She opened the door. "I hope he makes you happy, Quinn."
She walked out and I didn't stop her. I didn't know what to say.
"Quinn, are you paying attention?" Justin asked me as I sat in the window seat next to him on our flight back to New York.
"What? Oh, yeah. Sorry." I replied with a fake smile. We had spent a few days in Charleston. His family owned property down there. It was beautiful. It was peaceful and out of the way. I turned my cell phone off and stopped checking my e-mail and just enjoyed relaxing for the first time in a long time. It only took me about a day to get bored. Justin was great, but he was dull and just wanted to watch golf on the big screen TV the entire time telling me it was some big tournament. Golf is not something you watch on TV. I made dinner and we ate so silently that I could actually hear him chewing. I hadn't spoken to Santana since her confession. The truth was that I'd always been a coward when it came to love. I chose the wrong guy over and over again and then I thought Puck was the right one, but that was wrong and I lost my chance to be with the one person that has never bored me, always keeps me on my toes, makes me smile and laugh and think about things I'd never think of on my own.
The reason Justin was asking if I was paying attention is because I wasn't. I was thinking about that night in the hotel. I was thinking about what it felt like to kiss her and how it wasn't awkward after at all even when I told her I knew it was only one night. We just understood each other.
"On the way back to your place, I was thinking we could stop and get some Chinese. I'm starving." He suggested.
I smiled as I looked out the window. I thought of my nights with Santana snacking on Chinese and my legs over her lap. The wheels of the plane touched the ground. I turned to look at him.
"I think we should break up."
"I'm coming. Hold on." She opened the door. "Quinn?"
"What are you doing here?" She was dressed as if she was about to go out. A black dress with red heels and her hair was perfect.
"Are you going out?"
"Um… yeah. I'm running late actually."
"Are you going out with someone?"
"Just a group of girls from work. What are you doing here?" She repeated. "I haven't talked to you since-"
"I got you something." I held out an envelope.
"This isn't creepy at all." She gave me an inquisitive look and took it from me before opening it. "Tickets to San Diego?"
"For our trip."
"No, just listen for a second."
"Okay." She motioned for me to walk in. I did and she closed the door. When she turned around, I was standing there. I put out my hand for her to take.
"I have two vacation days left and two floating holidays. The tickets are for the week of Labor Day, which means we can leave Friday night and I don't have go back to work that week. We'd basically have 9 days."
"It doesn't work that way, Quinn. We can't just go on a trip together after what I told you. I still can't believe I just blurted that out. I claim temporary insanity. I don't know what I was thinking. It was like word vomit I couldn't hold back after all that time."
"I've been holding out my hand for a while now. You gonna take it or what?"
"We can't just go back to how it was, Quinn."
"I don't want to go back, Santana. I want to go forward. Do you remember how I was acting when we got on the ship?"
"Like a total bitch? Yeah, I remember?"
"Take my hand and I'll tell you the real reason why."
She looked suspicious, but finally put her hand in mine and I pulled her toward me quickly before she could pull away.
"I love you."
I looked into her eyes as I gulped audibly.
"I had to move out because I wanted to be with you and you didn't want to be with me and then I thought you wanted to be with Brittany. I thought you two were back together so I had to move on and then I met Justin."
"Quinn, I don't need our history spelled out to me. I lived it. I just need you to say what you said again." She smiled at me and moved her arms around my waist. "Oh, I guess I do need to know about that Justin guy. Is he-"
"And you want-"
"Us to be together."
She smiled again and I put my arms around her neck.
"You know when we were in Boston and I was staring at you across that table, all I could think about what how perfect you were for me. You're such a pain in my ass, but in the right way and you don't put up with my bullshit like others seem to do."
"Jesus, Santana! Just say it. It's been years since I've kissed you. I'd like to get this show on the road already."
She laughed and rested her head against my shoulder temporarily before raising it again to look at me.
"I love you and I have for a long ass time, so you need to get some damn patience, Fabray."
"Looks like we'll be taking a couples vacation this year after all."
"There's still time for you to mess it up." She smiled and crinkled her nose.
I took in her brown eyes and swept her hair behind her neck.
"I'm not messing this up."
She leaned in and kissed me. It felt even better than the last time we'd kissed when it was rushed. I put my hands on her face to try to pull her even closer. Our tongues met and the kissing sped up. She started backing me up until I was leaning back against the sofa. She sat me up on the back of it and spread my legs so she could stand between them. Her lips moved to my neck and then her tongue licked up my jaw and she reconnected our lips. I'm sure there are people that would say we should wait. We've been friends and roommates, but things change when you start dating. We should probably wait until we're both ready to take this step.
"Santana, bedroom." Yeah, I didn't want to wait. I'd wanted her for years and now I could actually have her.
"Yes, dear." She replied in jest, but pulled me off the sofa and reconnected our lips as we stumbled backwards toward her room.
"You look so hot in that dress, San."
"I look even hotter without it."
I reached to the side and pulled down the zipper. I had flashes of the last time I'd taken a dress off her. I pulled at the straps until they were off her shoulder and she slid it the rest of the way down her body and kicked it off along with her heels. She wasn't wearing a bra.
She practically leapt at me and we were kissing passionately again as I laid her on the bed and then stood to pull off my shirt. She sat up to unbutton my jeans and attached her mouth to my stomach as she tried to pull them down. I stepped out of them and tore my bra off before sliding on top of her.
"You're so damn beautiful, Quinn."
I leaned down and kissed her again and we did the dance of sliding all the way up the bed until we were at the headboard.
"I think I've messed up your going out look, San." I joked, referring to her now messy hair and the dress that probably already had wrinkles in it on the floor.
She looked up at me and slid her fingers from my neck to between my breasts to down my stomach and kept going until she stopped at the waistband of my underwear.
"I'm not going anywhere tonight."
"It's been a while since I've done this." I confessed, feeling nervous that she was the only girl I'd been with and that was years ago.
She rolled us over so that she was on top. I again moved her hair behind her neck so I could see her entire face. She leaned down to kiss me briefly.
"Why don't we take it slow tonight?"
"I don't want slow." I objected while wrapping my arms around her body and trying to pull her closer. "I want you."
She smiled and moved her lips to my neck. She reached down and started pulling my underwear down. I lifted up off the mattress so she could get them off and I kicked them somewhere on the bed while she shifted up to remove hers. She slid back on top of me and moved her hips down onto mine. I gasped.
"I know that. When I said slow, I didn't mean we'd stop. It took me this long to get you naked again. I'm not wasting an opportunity. I just mean that we should take the whole night slow. The only time we've done this was fast and kind of a blur." I lifted my eyebrow. "A good blur." She corrected herself. "I want to take my time tonight."
I smiled at her and pulled her in for another kiss.
"So, where do you want to go next year?" I asked her after pulling back. She rested her forehead against mine. "I'd suggest D.C. because I've never been and would like to check it out, but you'd just use one of your vetoes." I smiled and pecked her lips.
She pulled her head up to meet our eyes. She gave me a look that at first seemed like she was annoyed that I wanted to talk about this right now, but then I realized it was more of a "you're being ridiculous" look.
"Yeah, I don't need those anymore. I'd go anywhere with you."