Summer finally arrives and Santana can't be any happier about it. She's just so tired of living with Kurt and Rachel; not that she doesn't like them, but sometimes they're just too much and she misses her space. So when her parents ask her to go with them to Pennsylvania for the summer, she doesn't even think before accepting the offer.
They inform her they'll be staying in Rosewood, a small town about twenty miles outside of Philadelphia. She searches the place on Google and concludes, from all the photos, that it does seem like a good place to spend vacations – better than Ohio and definitely much better than her crowded apartment in New York.
She picks up her bag from the place where she left it the previous night – she hadn't unpacked it, knowing she'd have to do it all over again the following day – and makes her way downstairs, where her parents are waiting for her at the door. Her father scoops the bag from her hand and they head outside, locking the door behind them.
He places the bag on the car's trunk while Santana and her mother settle in their seats. Even though they could easily drive to Pennsylvania, the girl's parents decide that it's faster if they just take the train there. So when her father parks the car at the train station they all rush outside, taking their bags again and making their way to the train.
As soon as she gets inside the train and occupies her seat, she reaches for her iPod and puts her ear buds to her ears, turning on some music; wanting to disconnect herself from the world for a while. Once the train finally starts moving, she looks out the window, watching as everything moves quickly outside the window, before falling asleep.
She only wakes up a few hours later, when they're almost arriving at their destination. Music keeps playing quietly on her ears and she fumbles for her phone, lost in the depths of her purse. The brunette finally finds it and sees that she has a few missed calls and texts from Rachel. She sighs heavily and just ignores them, shoving her phone back inside her purse and changing the song that just came on shuffle. Can't she just have a day to herself?
When the train ultimately pulls off at their station, she takes her off ear buds and follows her parents outside the train. While they wait for a cab, Santana can't help but taking in the beauty and serenity of the rail station. She reads on an information board by the ticket office that the white and brown building was built in the nineteenth century, but went through renovations in the eighties. It's surrounded by red maples, though the foliage is green instead of red due to the season. Chickadees chirp happily, not too quietly but no so loud that it'll annoy her; and the air is fresh, clean and smells of summer.
The cab takes them on a trip through town and the brunette couldn't be any more in love. The driver passes slowly through the main street, so they can take a good look at all the renewed restaurants and local stores. Santana spots a pizzeria, an art gallery, an antiques store and a movie theater. She can read that there's going to be a screening of "I Walked With A Zombie", that very night.
As they get to the residential area, she can't help but noticing that all the huge Victorian houses have perfectly trimmed grass and bushes, as well as beautiful flower beds. It seems like everyone's in a competition to see who has the best house and Santana swears that this is the kind of place you see on television shows – only even prettier.
And apparently, the residents of Rosewood don't stray from the town's overall beauty. As they drive through Serenity Lane, she notices a couple of pretty girls about her age jogging on the sidewalk. One of them, a blonde girl, struggles with keeping up with the other girl's – a brunette – pace and ends up being a few steps behind her. Once her friend notices it though, she slows down so she can catch up.
They finally reach Bridgewater Terrace, where the house they're staying at is located. White oak grows in abundance, shielding the street from the hot summer sun. By the number of trees and their diversity, Santana guesses that here's where the woods start, and makes a mental note of taking one day to explore them. Despite the density of the foliage, she can spot the house: yet another renovated Victorian residence, painted a greyish blue, with its very own mailbox.
Once the driver parks the cab, the brunette rushes out of it, making her way to the trunk to get their bags out. It seems like her parents decided to bring the whole house with them and it doesn't take long until they're joining her to unload the car. They put everything on the front porch and wait as Santana's father pays for the cab. The man finally takes off and Mr. Lopez joins his wife and daughter at the door.
He knocks on the door and they all take a step back, waiting. She can hear footsteps approaching the door before it's opened. A tall man with white hair stands at the door with a welcoming smile on his face.
"Hello," he says, reaching out his hand which Santana's father shakes. "I'm Kenneth DiLaurentis. Nice to finally meet you. I've been waiting for you."
The brunette figures he must be the owner of the house. Her parents trade a few more sentences with Kenneth, who takes the family on a visit through the house. He warns them about some issue with the handle of the kitchen sink and promises to send someone to fix it soon, before handing them the keys to the house and leaving. Her father takes a ride with the man back to town, saying he has to rent a car for them.
She goes to the room that will be hers for the next two months. It has a king sized bed with two bedside tables, one at each side. The walls seem to have been recently painted in earthly tones. There's also desk and a wooden chair, a dresser and a closet big enough to fit everything she brought and still leave space for more. A large round frameless mirror hangs on the wall. A window is open and a small breeze comes in through it. The room smells of organic strawberries.
Santana takes about thirty minutes to put all her clothing in the drawers and closet. Everything's in place and she has the rest of the afternoon to herself, so she decides that she wants to take a walk to get to know the place. She goes downstairs and walks to the kitchen, where her mother is going through the cabinets, getting used to where everything is.
"Mom, I'm going out, okay?" she says, placing a gentle hand on her mother's back.
The woman turns around slowly. "Okay, but be back for dinner." she warns before hugging her daughter and kissing her good-bye.
The brunette smiles and makes her way to the front door. She picks the keys from the key holder and puts them in her pocket, opening the door with her other hand. Her head's low and she only notices the girl standing right in front of her when she's one step away from bumping into her. She loses her balance when she tries to stop and the other girl uses her free arm to catch her.
"I'm so sorry!" she says while regaining her balance. "I didn't see you there."
"It's okay." the other girl replies with a little shrug and a smile. It's only then that Santana really sees her. She's a little bit taller than her. Her hair is about as long and dark as Santana's, though it's caught up in a pony tail. She has dark brown eyes and wears an outfit that Santana recognizes from earlier that day. So she's the brunette she saw jogging...
She only notices the welcome basket the girl has in her hand when she reaches out with her other one to shake Santana's and introduces herself. "I'm Emily." she says, the smile never leaving her face. "Emily Fields; also known as Rosewood's welcome wagon."
"Santana Lopez." she replies, taking the cupcake-filled basket Emily's handing her. "Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too." she says excitingly and the brunette can't help but smiling back at her; her energy and good mood are just so contagious, like she's actually happy that she's there. She also can't ignore how pretty the girl is.
"So, you just moved in?" she continues, breaking Santana from her thoughts.
The brunette nods. "Just for the summer, though."
"Oh..." Emily replies and Santana can feel the disappointment in her voice. The girl quickly shakes it away when Mrs. Lopez appears at the door and stands right behind her daughter.
"Hello." the woman says with a smile, taking in the girl in front of her. Santana hands her the basket and watches as her mom gives Emily a hug, introducing herself and thanking her for the kind gesture.
Just as her mom is turning away to get back inside, Emily interrupts her. "My mom and I wanted to invite you for a welcome dinner at her house." she says shyly. "Is that okay?"
"Oh, we don't want to bother..." Mrs. Lopez says.
"You won't." the girl adds quickly. "Please? We insist. My mom doesn't take no for an answer."
Santana's mother takes a moment to think about it, suddenly remembering that the fridge is in need of stocking. "Well, if we really aren't bothering, sure!"
Emily smiles from ear to ear. "Great!" she says happily, little hints of excitement showing in her tone. "We live at 43 Serenity Lane. Could you be there at seven thirty?"
"Of course, sweetheart." the woman replies with a warm smile.
"I'll see you later." the brunette says politely. Her eyes meet Santana's before she turns away and leaves, jogging down the street.
Santana's mom goes back inside the house. The brunette smirks, watching as the girl runs quickly through the sidewalk. Her plans for the evening are ruined, but she has a feeling that this is going to be much better than taking a walk around town.