A/N: I don't own Glee nor the characters within. This is a writing exercise. I stumbled upon a post on tumblr about romantic prompts for the first 25 days of December, and my aim is to do all of them. Hopefully upon the day (yes this means I'm going to have to churn out #1-6 as well to catch up), and hopefully wrapping up Christmas Day. Each chapter will be titled the day they are, and the prompt will be supplied as well.
This first prompt was written while waiting for an appointment, and I'm trying this new thing where I don't edit the hell out of what I write, so what you see is pretty much exactly what I first put down. Let's see how that works out, yeah? (I'm going to do this for all the chapters. Yeesh! Wish me luck!)
Here we go~
Day 7: Character A can't wrap gifts to save their life. Character B is their neighbor and can help.
"Oh Christmas bells!"
That being the seventh creative expletive coming muffled through the wall in the past forty five minutes, Santana set her reading glasses down, pushed back from her desk, and knocked where the majority of the noise was coming from. "You okay in there?"
"I said, you okay in there?" Pausing when no further response came back, Santana rolled her eyes and knocked again. "Hey. It's really rude to stop talking to someone. Especially when you've been gracing me with the strangest Christmas themed swears for the past hour. I'm left wondering if Santa or his elves have stormed your apartment and taken you hostage."
Her neighbor, a cute brunette named Rachel who was normally a pretty good person to live next to (unless she was singing her latest Broadway craze at two frickin' AM – that, Santana drew a line at), suddenly thumped back, much closer than before. "I'm very sorry," the woman raised her voice to be overly clear, "It was not my intention to cause a fuss. Or, well, be heard, to be honest."
"I bet." Murmuring to herself, Santana repeated it louder when she got another, "What?" "Look, just, can you keep it down a bit? While it's amusing, and I certainly got a chuckle out of 'Blessed reindeer antlers', I am trying to finish up a report that's due tomorrow. And honestly? Yuletide utterances aren't very conducive to focusing."
Embarrassed silence filtered in, and then Rachel's disembodied voice practically oozed apology, "I shall do my best. No more outbursts from me."
"Thanks." Waiting a second more in case her neighbor was going to add anything, Santana walked back over to her work desk. She hadn't been lying. She had one more report for work due the next day that, once turned in meant she was home free for the next two weeks to finally get the vacation time she'd been promised for the past two years. She was looking forward to sleeping in and drinking spiked eggnog and shopping for the kids she was very happy not to have born for her mother, thank you very much. It was too bad she wasn't going to make it physically home for the holidays, but she'd told herself that the price of airplane tickets wasn't worth taking out of her future travel account.
Thankfully, quickly getting lost in numbers and the utter idiocy of her coworkers she still had to correct no matter how many times she'd told them they were completely wrong, the wall she shared with Rachel's apartment stayed quiet. That is, until she'd taken a break and was just about to take her first sip of her third coffee of the afternoon, when a loud huff and thonk and, "Chestnuts and dreidels!" sounded quite clearly.
It didn't surprise Santana in the least that a Hanukkah term was used. She was just impressed it had taken that long.
Pausing with her lips almost touching the rim of her mug, the slightly spicy scent of her expensive coffee met her nose. Still, glancing at her 75% done report, then back at the wall, Santana sighed, lowering it. Rummaging through her cabinets for the rainbow thermos her friends had given her as a gag gift when she'd come out, Santana gingerly poured her coffee into it. Once that was completed, and lightly sucking on her thumb when the hot liquid splashed out, she set the thermos next to the coffee maker, grabbed a mint from her kitchen drawer, and plucked out the bottle of cheap, white wine one of her coworkers had given her two Secret Santas ago.
When she stopped in front of Rachel's door, wine in hand and knocking firmly, Santana blamed the Christmas spirit and how cute Rachel had looked the weekend before.
A couple of seconds passed, and then the door was yanked open. Rachel, long dark hair pulled back in a ponytail that had partially come out in strands curling around her ears, wearing a dark green sweater with what looked to be a Christmas wreath that had actual LED lights blinking on and off with the sleeves pushed up to her elbows, and black skin-tight yoga pants, blinked up at her. A small hand flew up to her mouth. "I'm so sorry!" she stammered, "I know I promised to keep it down, but – "
Santana raised her free hand, stopping the woman. "Chill. I'm not here to yell at you."
"No." Lifting the wine bottle, Santana arched an eyebrow. "I figured you might want some. You're obviously doing something that's frustrating you – those are obviously not sex noises. I would know. I've heard you. Mad props to whoever's making you scream like that – and there's nothing better than cheap alcohol and Auntie 'Tana to make you relax." When Rachel looked unconvinced, Santana rolled her eyes. She cocked her hip. "I don't know if you know this, but you're highly distracting. If I want any hope to get my crap done, I'mma have to calm you myself."
A large sigh left the small woman's body, and Rachel finally nodded, stepping back. "Thank you. That sounds heavenly. I was about to head to the liquor store myself."
"That doesn't surprise me at all."
"Right?" Rachel lightly laughed, splitting off to the kitchen to grab wineglasses and a corkscrew, Santana neutrally taking in the décor that screamed New York cheap chic. In the middle of the open space that served as both a living and dining room, boxes and bags were strewn around rolls of wrapping paper, various tape dispensers and scissors dumped unceremoniously around a half-finished attempt, a plush SpongeBob staring up at her under crumpled Frozen paper. Coming back and gesturing for Santana to take a seat on the couch, Rachel set the glasses down onto the glass coffee table. "I have to say it'll be nice to take a break. Would you do the honors?"
Shrugging, Santana accepted the corkscrew and was quickly pouring a goodly amount in both glasses. Holding up hers to tap it against Rachel's, smiling when the woman stated, "To wine and neighbors and making noise loud enough to be heard through the walls, I'm so sorry," Santana waved it off, planning on replying after taking her first sip. Only, as the sour taste met her taste buds, she made a face, managing a laugh when Rachel echoed the reaction. "Oh god. This is too cheap. Thank god I didn't spend money on this. Turns out Burns is as much a terrible wine connoisseur as he is a coworker." Still, she took another sip; it was better than nothing.
"I was going to say you had terrible taste in wine, so it's good to hear you didn't pick this out." Rachel mimicked her, taking another sip of her own. She cleared her throat, dark eyes twinkling, "I'm glad I didn't pay for this either."
"Hey, I can make fun of it all I want – it's mine. You, however, should be grateful and extolling its virtues. You want me to take it back?"
A faux look of panic crossed Rachel's face. "Oh no. Please don't. Whatever would I do without horrible free wine?"
"It's good you know what you'd be missing."
The two woman looked at each other, then chuckled. "Okay, no," Santana shook her head, sitting back and crossing her legs, her wineglass playing in her fingers, "How 'bout this: we finish off this poor excuse of wine then get the kid across the hall to go on a proper alcohol run."
Rachel tilted her head. She set her chin against the back of her fingers. "He's 21?"
Santana grinned. "With his fake I.D. he is. It's cool. He owes me a favor for letting him crash at my place one night when he was shitfaced so he wouldn't get in trouble with his parents."
"I… don't know how I feel, aiding and abetting the corruption of a minor."
"Lame. Still," Santana wagged her finger at her, "Let's see how you feel with half this bottle in you."
Snorting, Rachel shook her head, a smile under her knuckles. "If we get that far."
"Hey! What I say about making fun of my free wine?"
Rachel's response was lost in the wineglass, a slightly bigger sip than the ones before muffling it even more.
Enjoying her neighbor's spunk, and unashamedly watching the expressions that easily and quickly flickered across her pretty face, Santana settled further into the couch. She looked around. "Nice apartment."
Rachel nodded, reaching for the wine bottle to top up her glass. "It's stereotypical, isn't it?"
"I'd say more like almost trying too hard." Santana smirked at the look that got her. "I said almost." Uncrossing her legs and crossing them again, her smirk deepened as she caught Rachel's gaze following the motion. She threw back the rest of her wine, thanking her high school days for making her practically immune to the worst of alcohols, before reaching for the wine bottle as well; she jerked her chin in the direction of the wrapping station. "You gonna tell me about that pile of holiday vomit? It's like one of Santa's elves got drunk and splattered Christmas cheer all over your floor. Oh, and your sweater too. Cute."
Wrinkling her nose at the image before smiling lightly at the small compliment, Rachel sighed, "If you're wondering what caused my… frustration, it's that. As much as I pride myself on being a perfectionist in most things, unfortunately wrapping presents is not one of them."
Santana raised her eyebrows. All those utterances had been because of wrapping presents? "You serious?"
A small pout turned Rachel's lips down. "Yes. Not only am I behind on sending my gifts this year, I foolishly decided to wait and wrap them until today. I'm hoping…" She sighed. "I was hoping to finish in time to catch the last delivery hour at the post office."
Surveying the mess, Santana hummed. "I don't think you're going to make it."
Rachel groaned. "Tell me something I don't know."
"Okay." Tossing back the second largest gulp in ten minutes, Santana almost slammed her wineglass down onto the coffee table. "One, not only am I the goddess at wrapping presents – four years of community service, baby. Even won awards for that shit – but two, out of the goodness of my heart – and for the sake of my ears and work tomorrow – I'mma help you out."
Rachel stared at her. Her mouth was slightly open, the tight expression of warning at Santana's violent actions easing in her shock. "W-what?"
Rolling her eyes, Santana stood up. Stretching her arms before leaning down to pull Rachel up, plucking her glass out of her hand so it didn't spill, she let her wrist go once the other woman was up and balanced. "Pretty sure your own voice doesn't deafen yourself, and I know mine doesn't, so you heard me. C'mon. Before my offer expires." She crooked her finger at the other brunette, skimming around the coffee table to the cleanest corner of the setup, settling down into a cross legged position. "Oh, and bring the wine with you."
She picked up the half-finished SpongeBob. "What's this?" Pulling the plush out of the wrapping paper Rachel had evidently given up on, she unceremoniously crumpled the used paper into a ball, tossing it at the wastepaper basket a few feet away that was practically half full already.
"Hey!" Coming up beside Santana, leaning down to set the wine on the hard floor well away from their legs, Rachel frowned at her, taking a seat as well. "We could have used that. Recycled the paper, at least."
"Yeah, no." Santana pointed at herself. "The expert, remember? That was beyond all hope. Okay!" she clapped her hands together, "You sort the presents into box shapes or loose. Including the sad few I see you tried to do. Speaking of, got any extra boxes? Gonna make the wrapping easier." Slipping a hair tie from the pocket of her sweatpants, Santana tied her hair up. Then, seeing Rachel looking at her, she frowned. "What?"
Rachel blinked. "Nothing. Sorry. Just… Thank you."
"Yeah, yeah, thank me when we're done by buying the real alcohol."
A bright smile split Rachel's lips, and she nodded. "Okay." Shuffling over to her pile of presents, Rachel paused with her fingers skimming along the first bag. "What happens when I'm done sorting?"
"Then you'll sit pretty, handing me tape or scissors or wine – you know, whatever – when I ask for them," Santana responded slowly, already reaching for the roll of cartoon reindeer wrapping paper; stopping as her shoulder started to feel the strain, she snapped her fingers, pointing at it.
"I was already using Frozen wrapping paper."
"No. This is for a kid, I'm assuming?" At Rachel's nod, Santana tucked a stray strand of her ponytail behind her ear, "Good. Else that'd be weird. Anyway, you give a kid Frozen wrapping paper and they're gonna think they're getting something Frozen related. I've seen the disappointment with my own eyes. So, reindeer."
Rachel furrowed her eyebrows, aimlessly keeping a hold on the roll. "You sure?"
"You sure you're wanting to get this done before five?"
Rachel sighed. "Good point. Here." She handed her the roll.
"Thanks. While we're doing this, go ahead and speak up if you had other plans. I'm sure I won't veto all of them." Smirking, she pointed at the wine and, sighing through a smile, Rachel passed her her glass, picking her own up afterwards. Taking a sip, Santana shook off the sourness, gave it back to Rachel, and turned back to the SpongeBob plush. "Alright, dude," she picked it up, looking it over, "Gonna start with you."
Next to her, alternating smiling down at what she was doing and at Santana, Rachel did, Santana couldn't help thinking, glancing back at her as she quickly began her measuring and cutting, teasing all the way, sit pretty. Creative holiday expletives and all.