At promptly 7:00 Rachel Berry heard the doorbell ring. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, pleased by her date's promptness. She looked over her outfit with a critical eye and was immensely satisfied with her look. Her deep scarlet cardigan contrasted beautifully with her skin tone and lustrous brown hair. The fitted black, scoop-neck shirt she wore underneath was tucked into a matching plaid skirt that was just short enough to show off some of her magnificent legs. In deference to it being evening she had switched out black knee-high socks for her usual white ones and then finished it up with her shiny mary janes. She was positive that this was very similar to what she had been wearing the day in class when she had first become aware of Brittany's interest and she wondered if the other girl would recognize the effort and appreciate it as much as she had seemed to that day.
She moved over to her bedside table to turn off her iPod and ended up sitting on the edge of the bed, brows furrowed as she was awash once again in the slight apprehension she was having about what the night had in store. Despite Brittany's defense of her from Karofsky and the list she had given of reasons why they should be together, now that the actual date was upon her, Rachel was still a little doubtful as to their compatibility. Brittany was brave and on paper her reasoning sounded logical-if whimsical, but there was still the whole gender issue. While Rachel knew she found Brittany aesthetically pleasing, she was still wondering if that was going to translate into any actual chemistry. Not wanting to keep Brittany waiting, and realizing there was only one way to find out, she took a couple of deep, calming breaths, strode to the door and stepped out of her bedroom.
As she descended the stairs, she could see Brittany at the bottom in the foyer talking with her Dads. Sensing Rachel's presence, the blond broke off whatever she was saying to look up and smile at the singer. As Brittany's eyes looked her up and down, Rachel couldn't help but notice how her smile widened. Judging by the appreciative look in the blonde's eyes, she had chosen her outfit well.
Upon reaching the bottom they exchanged hellos, and Rachel was somewhat surprised that Brittany didn't try to wrap her up in one of her expansive hugs. It seemed for once the ebullient blonde was exercising restraint.
"Wow, Rachel, you look really-" Please don't let her say hot in front of my Dad's Rachel thought nervously. "Pretty," Brittany finished.
"Thank you Brittany. You look very lovely yourself." Aside from performance costumes, Rachel had rarely seen the blonde in just regular clothes. And truthfully, if she had, Rachel probably hadn't given whatever she was wearing a second thought. But tonight she did notice. Through the opening in Brittany's coat, she could see form-fitting jeans tucked into knee-high boots. A cerulean sweater tunic clung to her trim torso and emphasized her bright blue eyes, and her hair, let loose from it usual impeccably tight ponytail, was a flowing golden mane around Brittany's pretty face. She looked, in a word, gorgeous.
"Rachel," her Daddy-Michael said, "Brittany was just telling us about being a cheerleader." He raised his eyebrows at her with a big grin and a nudge of his shoulder to her Dad-Benji who was standing next to him.
Rachel rolled her eyes, but smiled as she walked past them to the hall closet to retrieve her coat. "Yes, I know she's a cheerleader. If you recall, we both attend the same school." She pulled her black pea coat out of the closet but before she could pull it on Brittany stepped up and took it gently from her.
"Here, let me help," she said holding it out for Rachel to put her arms through.
Rachel flushed and quickly looked over to her where her Fathers were standing. Her Dad-Benji was nodding his head in an impressed manner while Daddy Michael's grin got wider-if that was even possible.
Once it was on, she thanked Brittany and turned to her Dad. He had taken off his spectacles and was polishing them on his shirt. "So what are your big plans for the evening, ladies?"
"Well, first we're going to go to dinner and then I thought we could check out a movie, you know, if that's okay with you?" Brittany asked turning to look at Rachel.
Dinner and a movie...that's traditional if not exactly original, Rachel thought. "Yes, that sounds great," she said.
"Cool, okay then, I'll have you home by...?"
"Midnight," Rachel's fathers said in unison.
"Midnight," Brittany agreed, moving to open the door for Rachel. As Rachel stepped out she looked over her shoulder and had to stifle a giggle at seeing Daddy-Michael giving her two thumbs up while waggling his eyebrows.
As they got to the car, Brittany released the locks and opened the passenger door for Rachel; she waited until Rachel had swept her legs into the car before shutting it behind her and walking around to the other side.
Once Brittany had slipped into the car, they made small talk about school and Glee and before either of them realized it, Brittany was turning onto restaurant row and into the parking lot of their dining destination
Rachel looked out onto the neon orange sign with the green state of Texas in the middle of it and was, in a rare moment, at a loss for words. Unusual did not even begin to describe Brittany's restaurant choice. And to think, she had been thinking that Brittany was unoriginal.
She looked over at Brittany with raised eyebrows and a question in her eyes. Brittany seemed oblivious to Rachel's consternation and was instead beaming with pride. Rachel schooled her voice to sound nonchalant as she said, "The Texas Roadhouse. That's...different."
"Well, duh. I didn't want to take you just anywhere for our first date. I wanted it to be special," Brittany said as she opened the door to get out. Rachel watched her walk around the car to her door and thought that this was special alright, but possibly not in a good way.
Brittany opened her door and held a hand out to help Rachel out of the car. She held onto it as she shut the door and then motioned towards the sign with her other one, "Everything is supposed to be bigger and better in Texas, and I wanted this date to be that way for you. Bigger and better than any other ones you've had."
At Brittany's sincere words, Rachel felt bad for what she had just been thinking. Sure it was an odd choice of places to eat, but clearly Brittany had put some thought into it.
"Plus, it was voted best place to take a date. At least that what their website said," Brittany continued as they walked towards the entrance. "Quinn said since you were only half-Jewish she didn't know if you had any diet complaints, but they have all kinds of food here including salads, I checked. But if you do have any complaints, I bet if you tell the waitress they'll bring you something else," she finished with an encouraging smile.
Rachel couldn't help but smile at the thought of Quinn Fabray guiding Brittany on her date plans. Her former arch-nemesis turning Cupid-albeit a snarky one was still somewhat miraculous.
"I'm sure it will be fine, Brittany, I don't have many dietary constraints, but thank you for taking that into consideration," Rachel said.
They walked into the restaurant and were immediately assailed by the smell of grilling food, loud laughter, and country music. Brittany spoke to the hostess and moments later they were being taken to a wooden booth in a corner under a sign declaring it "Willie's Corner". There were pictures of a grizzled man with pigtails and red bandana adorning the two walls above the booth. Rachel was left to assume that this was the "Willie' of whose corner they were now sitting in.
Immediately a waitress in jeans and a black t-shirt made her way over to them. "Howdy ladies, what can I get for you?" She asked as she put a big silver bucket of peanuts on their table. They ordered their drinks and then Rachel took a moment to look around with wide eyes at the decor.
There were peanut shells littering the hardwood, and even as she looked, the couple at the next table took some from their bucket, cracked them open and then deposited the shells on the floor to add to the collection already there. There were pick-up parts nailed to the walls, along with pictures of what she supposed were famous Texans. She looked to her right and saw what looked like an entire deer's neck and head sticking out of the wall. Someone, either as a joke or a tasteless decoration choice had put a cowboy hat hanging from one of the poor thing's antlers. Cowboy boots and hats were arranged haphazardly around the restaurant, some sitting on shelves with the addition of lassoes. Every wall boasted at least one neon beer sign in the shape of Texas and over in the corner Rachel wasn't sure, but it looked like there was a saddle propped over something so that people could actually sit on it. She wasn't sure if things were bigger and better in Texas, but things were certainly more random.
She looked back at Brittany when she heard the blond girl laughing. "Look Rachel, that armadillo is drinking a beer!" Rachel looked over in the direction Brittany was pointing and indeed, there was what looked like a real armadillo, stuffed and lying on its back with a beer bottle glued between its paws. 'Random' got kicked up a notch to 'bizarre'.
"This place is kind of totally random, huh," Brittany said.
Rachel's nodded her head emphatically and agreed, "Yes! That's exactly what I was thinking!" She picked up her menu and began to browse through the selections.
Rachel decided on something called a Crispy Critter Salad and put down her menu. Across from her, Brittany was still looking at her own with furrowed brows and a frown. Sensing the brunette's eyes on her she lifted her eyes and smiled sheepishly, "I know I should get a salad but I'm really craving a cheeseburger. Coach would KILL me if she found out, though."
Rachel leaned over the table and motioned for Brittany to do the same. She made a show of looking around then whispered, "I promise, your secret is safe with me."
Brittany whispered back at her, "Well okay, if you promise not to narc." And then louder gave a small cheer, "Yay! Cheeseburger!"
They gave their orders to the waitress when she returned and then sat there a moment in a somewhat awkward silence before both began to speak at the same time.
"I'm really gla-"
They laughed a little nervously, and then Rachel gestured for Brittany to go ahead and speak first.
"Um, I'm really glad you decided to give me a chance, Rachel. I know you said you didn't think we had much in common, but I do think we like a lot of the same things, just in different ways. Like on my list, you know?"
"I do and I have to say Brittany, I was quite impressed with your reasoning. Even though, for obvious reasons my focus is naturally skewed towards singing, I can't deny that dance is an integral part of the performing arts. Your innate ability really is a complement to my vocal gifts." Rachel couldn't help but notice that while she was speaking Brittany's brows were rising higher and higher in confusion, "What I mean to say is, you're right, dancing and singing DO go together like peanut butter and jelly."
"Oh, yeah," Brittany agreed but she still had a slight frown on her face. "I'm sorry I don't know all the big words you do," she began earnestly. "But, I promise I'm not stupid or anything. It's weird, because school stuff can be so hard but I'm always the first to pick up our new cheer routines and I can watch a music video a couple of times and just get the dance down easy. I guess it's a good thing my parents can afford tutors or I could be in big trouble when I get to Hofstra in a couple of years."
"Hofstra?" Rachel asked leaning forward. "Hofstra University? The private college on Long Island?"
"Yeah! You know it?" Brittany asked.
"Yes, I do. Although, of course I know I'm going to Julliard when I graduate, my dad's made me look into other colleges in the New York area. 'Just in case'," she said using air quotes. "It's not a very well-known school though, how do you know about it?"
"Duh Rachel, they have like, one of the best Cheer squads in the nation! They go to Nationals every year. I mean, the Southern schools place higher, and then of course the Cal State schools are higher ranked in dance cheer, but since I want to go to school near New York, Hofstra it is!"
"Why New York?" Rachel asked.
"Well, I love cheerleading and it's awesome and all, but my dream is to dance so I want to be in the area so I can network and stuff." She gave a big sigh, "I really love dancing."
"Wow, Brittany. I mean, I guess I never realized the depth of your dedication before. It's very impressive and a very attractive quality," Rachel said.
Brittany beamed from the other girls praise. "Well, that's why we're going out, to learn about each other, right?"
Rachel smiled back, "Right."
The waitress brought their food to their table, so as they ate they took turns asking questions of each other.
"Did you really keep a bird in your locker?
"Oh god, everyone made such a big deal about that. I mean I do love birds but I'm not like a freak about it. It had a broken wing and was in my yard when I was leaving for school and I was afraid my neighbor's cat would get it."
"Can you really read minds?"
"No, but I do have a highly developed sixth sense."
"So you can't tell what I'm thinking right now?"
"Judging from where your eyes are focused on my body, I can take a lucky guess."
"Have you really been tasered?"
"Once, on accident. My Dad got my Mom one for protection and I thought it was a flashlight."
"What do you mean? I don't understand how-"
"It was Halloween and I put it under my chin to make a scary face."
"So which one of your Dads is the girl?"
"Brittany, that's ridiculous! Just because a couple is comprised of two members of the same gender doesn't mean that they then align into proscribed gender roles. Look at us, we're both girls, is one of us the boy?"
"Yeah. Me, duh."
"Well, I'm more sporty. And I'm taller, plus I asked YOU out."
"Brittany, you're a CHEERLEADER"
"I'm just sayin', I'm still way butcher than you."
Their question-answer session was interrupted as their waitress stepped up to the table.
Before she could say a word though, another employee came up behind her, "Hey Janice, we got a birthday at table six."
Their waitress, Janice, groaned. "Hold that thought ladies, I have to go make a fool of myself and then I'll be right back." Rachel and Brittany's eyes followed her curiously.
Janice went to gather along with a large group of the other wait staff next to a table with a young girl in a birthday hat. The music was turned down as they all started clapping in unison and began to sing the Texas Roadhouse birthday song to the now obviously embarrassed youngster.
Once the singing was over they let out a loud "yee-haw" and then lined up to one side of her table as the music resumed. A few beats into the song and the line of wait staff began doing a line dance along to the music.
Rachel jumped slightly as Brittany let out a loud squeal and began clapping her hands excitedly. "I know this one! Be right back." And before Rachel could say a word, Brittany had rushed over, latched on to waiter at the end of the line and began to follow along with the line.
The employees along with the diners gave a loud whoop as she joined them and Rachel couldn't help but laugh and clap along with the crowd as she watched Brittany effortlessly perform the complicated steps with the rest of the dancers. Her blonde hair whipped around her face, her hips shimmying as she dipped and spun and heeled-to-toe. Rachel admired how the cheerleader's innate friendliness allowed her to laugh and joke with the other dancers so easily. It crossed her mind for the second time that evening that Brittany really was gorgeous, and when the blonde looked over at her with her big smile and bright blue eyes, Rachel could feel her stomach flutter with butterflies.
Soon enough the song ended and Brittany made her way back to the table and slid into the booth slightly out of breath but still laughing. "That was so fun!" She said, eyes twinkling as she looked at Rachel.
Janice was hot on her heels as she came back to the table to check up on them. "Check you out, blondie," she said. "You looking for a part-time job or something?"
Brittany shook her head, grinning. "Nope, but if I did, I'd totally work here if you got to line dance all the time. That's so cool."
The waitress snorted, "Cool, huh? I guess there's just different strokes for different folks, eh." She said, giving a wink in Rachel's direction. "So where were we? Oh yeah, how's your meal and is there anything else you need?"
Both girls shook their heads and she moved off after assuring them she'd be back to check on them in a bit. After she left, the girls resumed eating and talking. Rachel was pleasantly surprised to find that while she did have to tone down her stellar vocabulary, she was still able to hold an interesting conversation with Brittany.
And true to her word, Brittany was a good listener. The blonde listened intently while Rachel explained in detail her plans to ensure that New Directions was more than adequately prepared for Regional's. Not once did her eyes glaze over like Finn's or her lips purse in annoyance like Puck's when she would talk to them about her idea's and plans. In fact, the other girl even offered some ideas of her own regarding interesting things they could try with choreography. The only thing that brought the conversation to a semi-halt was when they broached the subject of how to improve Finn's dancing. They both stared blankly at each other for a moment, and then in unison shook their heads and said, "He's hopeless," before breaking up into shared laughter.
Janice made her way back over, and after their decline of dessert, took their plates and moved off to get their check.
"So, do you have any idea of a movie you'd want to watch?" Brittany asked.
"Have you seen 500 Days of Summer yet? I've really wanted to see that, if that's okay?" Rachel said.
"That's totally cool, I love summer. It's my favorite season," Brittany said as she pulled out her phone to check movie times. While she was checking, Rachel looked around the restaurant and noticed the birthday girl being led over to the saddle in the corner. Her waiter and her family were coaxing her onto the prop and it looked as though she was about to get her picture taken.
Brittany looked up, "There's a showing at 9:45 so we have plenty of time..." Her voice trailed off as she turned to look at what had captured Rachel's attention. Her eyes got big with excitement. "Rachel, we should get a picture taken on the saddle, too!"
Rachel gave a small laugh, "I think it's just for birthday celebrants."
Janice chose that moment to arrive at their table with the check and Brittany wasted no time asking, "Janice, could we take a picture on the saddle too? You can just use my phone and not the fancy camera."
The waitress looked over at it. "Well blondie, it's usually just for the birthday boy or girl but...I guess we could make an exception for you since you practically work here." Brittany clapped her hands in delight, and then slid out of the booth, stretching out a hand to pull Rachel up with her. She led the brunette through the tables with Janice following and chuckling behind them.
They got to the saddle and Rachel gestured for Brittany to climb on, "Go ahead, I'll take your picture first."
Brittany handed her phone to Janice and shook her head, "No silly, we're both going to get on it and get a picture together." She then helped Rachel to climb on, ensuring that the singer didn't flash the other diners in her short skirt. Once she was situated, Brittany climbed up behind her and wrapped her arms around the other girl's waist. Rachel blushed slightly but then relaxed back into the cheerleader's embrace as Janice moved around front to snap the picture.
"Okay ladies, on the count of three say 'Texas'. One...two...three."
"TEXAS," they shouted as Janice snapped the picture and then came around to show them, "Whadaya think?" She asked.
They agreed that it was good. Rachel admired how their different hair colors really did blend together in a picturesque way, and then Brittany was helping Rachel to climb off and leading her back to their table. Once there, Brittany looked at the check, dropped some cash on the table and told Janice to keep the change. The girls then shrugged into their coats were off to the movie.
At the theater, Rachel had been relieved to find out that Brittany was not one of those annoying people who talked through previews. It was one of her pet peeves, and in and of itself might have been a deal breaker had she discovered that Brittany wanted to talk during such an essential part of a successful movie experience.
She had also been afraid that the blonde might have to ask a lot of questions but even though the movie wasn't linear, Brittany seemed to have no problem following along and for that, Rachel was also grateful.
During the song and dance number, Brittany had looked over with wide eyes and a big smile and then grabbed Rachel's hand from where it lay on her armrest and squeezed. She had then held onto it for the rest of the movie, continuously stroking her long, slender fingers over and around Rachel's smaller hand, which while not annoying, was definitely distracting.
A couple of times when Brittany's thumb had stroked, slow sensual circles around her palm, Rachel had darted her eyes over to see if Brittany was being purposeful in her actions, but the other girl had been engrossed in the movie and seemingly oblivious to what she was doing or how it was affecting Rachel. The singer had found herself squirming in her seat but did nothing to remove her hand as she determinedly brought her focus back to the movie.
After it was over, Brittany had reached for her hand again as they walked to the car.
"Did you like the movie?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah, it was really good. But I thought it was kind of sad that he didn't end up with Summer." She came to a sudden stop, jerking Rachel the tiniest bit. "Hey! I just got it! 500 Days of Summer and the girl's name was Summer. That's so awesome."
Rachel chuckled and agreed with the other girl as Brittany unlocked and once again opened the car door for her. Once Brittany had settled in her seat and started the car Rachel said, "I don't know, I thought it was interesting that the relationship with the person he thought he should be with was in reality more of a learning experience for him in preparation for another, more suitable option."
The blonde started the car and then sat there for moment, seemingly deep in thought before looking over at Rachel, "So like, he thought he wanted to be with the Summer girl, because he really loved her and all, but then really there was someone even better for him out there who would treat him better and love him back."
"Exactly," Rachel agreed.
Brittany's blue eyes looked searchingly into Rachel's brown ones and then she gave a crooked, sweet smile, "Yeah, I guess that is pretty awesome." The brunette smiled back and then ducked her head, suddenly feeling shy at the intent look in Brittany's eyes.
As the blonde drove them home, Rachel's mind was abuzz with the thought of their (possibly) impending goodnight kiss. Obviously she wasn't going to NOT kiss Brittany.
She had never been shy about expressing physical affection and to that end she'd already kissed three other people. While her very first kiss with Jacob Ben Israel in 4th grade was a mistake she was still reaping the repercussion from, her others with Finn and Puck had been more than pleasant (if somewhat sloppy in Finn's case), and she was curious as to how different kissing a girl would prove to be. She was reasonably certain that she would enjoy it, still, the idea of something could be vastly different from the reality and so she while she was open-minded about it, she was also slightly nervous, too.
They pulled up to the front of the Berry house and Brittany immediately exited the car to come around and open the door for Rachel. She offered Rachel her hand as she stepped out of the car and then kept a hold of it as she walked the brunette up to her front porch. "I had a great time tonight, Rach. It was the best date ever." The blonde reached out to grasp the singer's other hand as they reached the front step, pulling her around until they were facing each other.
Rachel looked up at the taller girl and smiled, "I had a wonderful time, too, Brittany. Granted, this was actually my first official date, but I think I can honestly say that had I others to compare it to, it still would have been very special."
The girls grinned at each other and then the blonde was stepping closer and saying, "I'm going to kiss you now, okay?" Rachel swallowed and began nodding her assent but then warm hands were cupping her face holding it still and the press of Brittany's soft lips were upon her own. As the Cheerio's lips moved slowly but firmly over her own, Rachel reached through the opening of the black puffy coat and rested her hands on the taller girl's waist. The results were twofold, first Brittany made a soft noise in the back of her throat and then the hands on Rachel's face were fisting into the front of her coat and pulling her closer.
The tip of Brittany's tongue traced the seam of Rachel's lips and Rachel responded by parting them and allowing the kiss to deepen. She felt Brittany's tongue sliding against her own, bringing with it the sweet taste of cherry lip gloss. As the blonde thoroughly and expertly explored her mouth, Rachel's hands tightened on the blond, her stomach fluttering and her body flushing with warmth. Brittany continued to make little sounds as they kissed and any and all doubts Rachel may have had about whether she was attracted to Brittany or if they had enough in common were thrown out the window as the shorter girl took a more aggressive role and pulled the other girl's body closer until it was flush with her own. Then it was her own tongue exploring Brittany's mouth and the fluttering in her stomach was settling much lower and becoming something else altogether.
Finally the need for oxygen forced them to break apart and all could Rachel could say was, "Wow," as she looked into Brittany's eyes with a whole new level of appreciation for the blonde.
"Yeah, wow," Brittany agreed with a slightly dazed smile and a flush of color in her cheeks.
"We should definitely do this again," Rachel said.
"The date, or the kiss?" Brittany asked, licking her lips and fiddling with the lapels of Rachel's coat.
"Both, but let's start with the kiss." She leaned forward to recapture cherry-flavored lips but was distracted by the flickering of the porch light. She groaned and rested her head against Brittany's chest instead.
"Busted," Brittany said gigging as she brought her arms up to tighten and hold the smaller girl against her.
"That must be my Dad. Subtle isn't he?" Rachel said with a rueful laugh. She pulled away and took a step back so she could look at Brittany without craning her neck.
"Seriously though, I would like to see you again, romantically, I mean. I know that I'll see you in school on Monday."
Brittany gave a big smile as she tugged on Rachel's coat, pulling her back into her personal space, "All you have to do is ask and tell me when."
"If I do, does that mean I'll be the boy?" Rachel said with a wide, teasing smile.
Brittany laughed, "No way, I'm still taller."
Rachel laughed too and then the lights flickered again. She reached up and gave Brittany a quick kiss, murmuring "goodnight" against her lips, and then she turned around and skipped into the warmth of the house.
Her Dad was standing in the foyer with his arms crossed and a mock stern expression on his face. "It's about time," he said looking pointedly at his watch.
Rachel shoved at him playfully, "Oh Dad, I was on the property-so technically I was home well within the hour of my curfew."
"Hmmph," he grumbled, trying to hold back a smile as he turned and walked back into the living room, Rachel following behind him.
"Oh leave her alone, Benji, it was her first date," her Daddy Michael said from his place on the couch. "How'd it go, sweetie?" He asked, looking up at her.
Rachel gave a big smile and then lifted her hands and gave two thumbs up. Both her fathers laughed and she laughed along with, them. She felt her phone buzz in her pocket and when she pulled it out; there was a new image text in her inbox. It was from Brittany and upon opening it she saw it was the picture of the two of them on the saddle. In the text box, the blonde had put 'See-just like Xena & Gabrielle'. She blushed and ignoring the curious looks on the faces of her Fathers, kissed them each on the cheek and told them goodnight.
After hanging up her coat, she made her way up to her bedroom where she flopped down onto her back on the bed and allowed herself to run through the date in her mind; from Brittany's thoughtful choice for dinner, to the pleased surprise she had felt upon learning that Brittany did have goals and aspirations after college that were similar to her own.
She thought about the line dancing and how it wasn't just adorable, but also how it demonstrated Brittany's confidence in front of a crowd. Finally she remembered how first with her touch in the theater, and then with the knee-weakening kiss out front, Brittany had proven herself attractive to Rachel in the most fundamental of ways, the physical.
No, Brittany wasn't the sensitive quarterback with the leading man's voice, nor a studly, guitar-playing badass, but in addition to all her various other stellar qualities, she was a hot, popular cheerleader who could dance like sin and kiss like heaven, and Rachel had never in her life been happier to be a plucky underdog.