Her grip on the box faltered momentarily before her fingers reaffirmed their grasp on the edges, hefting it up more firmly against her chest.
"Unff," she grunted heavily as she managed to make her way up the final step and into the open doorway, dropping the box unceremoniously next to its family of boxes and bags and containers of various shapes and sizes. Santana wiped at the sheen of sweat that was coating her forehead before running her fingers through her shiny, meticulously straightened black hair.
It felt good to have hair to drag her fingers through again. She pulled a rubberband from around her wrist and hastily pulled her hair up into a high ponytail so that it was no longer residing against the warmth of her neck.
Santana heard the squeak from the doorway and turned on her toes to sprint over and help Rachel before she became a Berry Pancake under the heavy load she was attempting to bring inside.
"I got you," Santana said with a chuckle in her throat as she took two of the three boxes Rachel had been (stubbornly) carrying.
"Thank you," Rachel gasped out as she carefully set her box down in the expanse of the living room.
The movers had brought their furniture inside earlier that morning, so the couch that Rachel had fallen in love with from Santana's old apartment was there – ready and waiting – for her to plop down on in a dramatic display of exhaustion.
Santana watched her girlfriend sigh and exaggeratedly throw the back of her hand over her eyes.
With her hands on her hips and a bright smile on her face, Santana couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with love for the other woman.
"It's been years since I've dealt with the hassle of moving," Rachel said. "I'm not entirely sure if it's worth it, my love!"
Santana laughed. "Well, our new bed is already upstairs in the master bedroom. But if you want, I can send it back and –"
"No!" Rachel yelled, immediately sitting up. "I-I love that bed." Santana smirked and her eyes twinkled with mirth. Of course she wasn't going to send the bed back. They needed a place to sleep. And do other things.
Rachel crooked in her finger enticingly in Santana's direction. Santana jokingly looked to her left and then to her right before pointing at herself and mouthing, 'Who, me?' Rachel grinned and nodded her head, biting her lip playfully between her teeth. Santana laughed before moving forward quickly and jumping onto the couch next to the other girl.
Without wasting a beat, Rachel leaned forward and began placing warm, soft kisses against Santana's cheek and neck and nose and lips. "You know," Santana said between kisses, "I wasn't really going to send the bed back. You don't have to convince me otherwise."
Rachel dropped her head down and giggled against Santana's chest as Santana wrapped her arms around the smaller girl, leaning back against the arm of the couch and pulling her girlfriend fully into her lap and her embrace.
There were some moments of silence as the girls sat there on the couch – Rachel with her eyes closed peacefully and Santana with her eyes looking around at their new apartment, their new beginning. But sometimes silence was good. Sometimes, in the silence, all of the important things that oftentimes went unsaid came to the surface and left lips in quiet understanding, surrounded by peace and tranquility.
"Are you ready to start over?" Rachel questioned.
Santana's hand never faltered in its path through Rachel's soft tresses of hair as she contemplated her answer.
Starting over didn't necessarily mean leaving her past behind her – because her past, Brittany, would never be any less a part of who she was – but it did mean moving forward as this new person she had become. She had beat cancer when her previous love had lost, and she had fallen in love again in the process. Santana used to think that there were wounds that could never fully be healed, but the part of her heart that was left over after Brittany's death – the part that Brittany had urged her to use to love someone again – had opened up and wrapped itself around Rachel.
And Santana knew that she could be happy again – because she already was.
She leaned over and kissed Rachel's forehead. "I'm ready," she said softly, with love. "And I'm confident that our life is going to be amazing."
A/N: Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this story, 750 words at a time. And for anyone who is curious (or looking for new music to listen to), every chapter title is a song from the band 'The Dangerous Summer'.