A/N: This story is based off the song "The Way I Loved You" by Taylor Swift, so if you know the song you get the general idea of the plot. This was originally going to be a Artie/Brittany/Santana story but I refuse to write Barfie. Plus Pezberry seemed to be a perfect fit. Enjoy!
Ask anyone at McKinley High and this would be their response.
Finn and Rachel were the "It" couple. He was the star Quarterback while she excelled at the Arts. There was a time when someone like Rachel would receive daily slushie facials and be avoided like the plague. But since the Glee club started winning more trophies than the Cheerios, the Gleeks had moved up in the world.
It was homeroom, one of the many classes the couple had together, and the teacher was mindlessly marking attendance.
"You're still okay to come over for dinner with my Dads after school?" Rachel whispered in Finn's ear when Mr. Schuester wasn't looking.
"Of course babe." Finn affectionately placed a kiss on his girlfriend's head as she linked her arm through his and snuggled in closer. This was the norm for them, most of their fellow student were used to seeing the pair like this as well.
Kurt, Rachel's best friend, started making gagging noises from a few chairs away. She just threw a smirk at him and turned her attention to the front of the class in time to hear Mr. Schue read the daily school notices.
The bell rang a few minutes later, signify first period. Grabbing Finn's hand, Rachel led them to their English class. As they walked down the halls hand in hand, they received the usual greetings and smiles from their peers, they really were like celebrities at McKinley.
The morning was uneventful, double English and Math, two classes Rachel shared with Finn. She never felt challenged in the core curriculum subjects, being able to sleep through them if she wanted and still get straight A's. Rachel was an over achiever, she excelled at everything, keeping a steady 4.0 GPA since freshman year, but her interest lied within the Art subjects, such as Music and Drama.
Something about getting to be someone else, even for just a few minutes, or singing you heart and soul and not feeling self-conscious was liberating for Rachel. Under all the stress of being the Golden Girl, she could get out on stage and just let it all float away, she was in her element.
Finn had told her it was the same for him out on the football field. She was never a sports fan but being the devoted girlfriend she attended every game with Finn's mother, Carole.
Looking across the lunch table at her boyfriend, Rachel could see their future together. A big house, three kids, and a golden retriever, all of this of course after a successful Broadway career and after Finn had lived his dreams of being in the NFL.
She smiled thinking to herself how lucky she was in all she had. Thinking how easy it was to be with Finn; it was like breathing. They never fought over anything, they were so similar yet so different. They just worked.
She turned her attention to Kurt sitting next to her, who was toying with his salad and staring dreamily at the Jocks across the cafeteria.
"Earth to Kurt." Rachel waved her hand in front of the boy's face, causing him to jerk back out of his ravine.
"What'd I miss?"
The brunette just chuckled at her friend.
"I was about to say we should get to Drama, the bell's about to go."
Getting up from the lunch table, Rachel lent down and gave Finn a light peck on the lips, before leaving to get to her next class, Kurt in tow. They walked down the hall as it slowly filled up with students, chatting merrily to each other as they went.
They walked into fifth period Drama class just as the bell rang. She would usually despise any kind of curriculum that strayed from the State required teaching, but something about Ms. Holiday's methods always seemed inspired to Rachel rather than contrived. She always had a way of looking at things from the students' perspective. While it was important they learn the classics such as Shakespeare, Ms. Holiday was adamant that Wicked, Rent and Rocky Horror were just as important, if not more relevant to today's youth.
Rachel took her usual seat around the edge of the classroom. Holly preferred that the seating arrangement be a circle of chairs, no corners or rows, so that all students were equals, and she even joined the circle as she had no desk of her own.
When all the students had filed in and taken their seats, Ms. Holiday began the class.
"Okay guys, were gonna play a bit of a role playing exercise today, so break off into-"
"Sorry I'm late Holly," came a voice from behind Rachel. "Figgins got his panties in a bunch about my little field trip to Taco Bell." The brunette plunked herself down in the seat next to Rachel; just her luck that it was the only one left.
"So nice of you to join us, class this is Santana. She just transferred from my Spanish class."
She was met with timid waves and polite smiles, most of the class had heard of Santana. Rachel hadn't had a class with her in her three years of high school and she had wanted to keep it that way. She was everything the shorter brunette wasn't; impulsive, truant, and had no regard for the rules.
"So as I was saying pair up and let's get started."
People started to eye each other off, making silent agreements to pair up. There were only a few people left not yet with a partner, Rachel was about to approach Kurt when Holly piped up.
"Actually Rachel, since you're the star of the class I figured you could show Santana the ropes." Kurt had spotted Mercedes and moved on.
"I am not pairing up with her Ms. Holiday," Rachel said in a hushed tone.
She chanced a glance at Santana, who was currently filing her nails in a rather bored manner, not paying any attention to the exchange.
"She clearly doesn't care about this class, and I'm not going to let her drag down my GPA just so she can feel welcome."
"It's just one exercise, Rachel," Holly tried to reason.
Rachel heaved a sigh, clearly not enthusiastic about the idea, but it was her respect for her teacher that made her reluctantly agree to the request.
"As usual you can wander the school, find a place you and your partner can brainstorm. Guidelines for this exercise are by the door on your way out," Holly instructed the class.
"And no going into the girls locker room," she chastised. "I'm looking at you Puck."
The teacher left the room, Rachel's guess was to go watch Animal Hoarders in the teachers' lounge.
The class slowly followed suit leaving the two brunettes still seated next to each other in an empty classroom. Rachel began to read the worksheet in front of her. It seemed the exercise was to create a two-minute dialogue piece, where you would each impersonate the other.
Rachel could feel eyes on her, as she turned around sure enough Santana was peering over her shoulder, way too close for comfort. She had her lips pursed in a tight line but by the glint in her eye, Rachel could tell she was enjoying making the shorter girl uncomfortable. Santana speed-read the guidelines to the day's assignment, still in the other girl's personal space.
Rachel didn't like being in such close proximity to her, so she scooted her chair away, causing it to screech across the linoleum floor.
"I'm sorry if me being in your general vicinity repulses you but there is no need to be rude," Santana said out of nowhere.
Rachel stared at her incredulously, slightly taken aback by the girl's abruptness, wondering if maybe her partner was bi-polar. The corner of Santana's mouth started to quirk up, and realisation hit Rachel.
"Are you making fun of me?"
"Impersonating," Santana corrected, motioning towards the worksheet.
"I don't talk like that," the diva said, furrowing her brow.
"Tut tut Berry, stay in character," Santana remarked with faux authority. "And yes you do."
Rachel composed herself before replying. "Whatever, not that I care but we should probably think of a situation to go with this."
"Wow, that was uncanny, it's like looking in a mirror," Santana mocked still in Rachel mode, not paying any attention to the question. "My impeccable talent is just shining through in that performance."
"I'm pretty sure the reason for this lesson wasn't to mock your partner."
"No, that's just an added bonus." Santana had a huge smirk on her face, clearly enjoying this. Rachel looked pointedly at the brunette in an effort to get her to take the task seriously but failed miserably. Santana just continued to sit there un-phased by her attempt at intimidation.
"Can we please just get on with it?"
"Okay, why don't we play this out as an integration, it's the perfect situation for the assignment."
Rachel agreed with this idea as they were already well into the class, and she didn't want to waste anymore time.
"You're like pretty talented, does it just come naturally to you?" Rachel started, also trying to talk herself up to the other girl at the same time.
"Well when I asked God for a complex he decided to give me a few other useful gems," Santana quipped.
"Wait hold up, I don't think I'm better than anyone else," Rachel argued.
"You are so straight edge," Santana stated simply, breaking out of character.
"I am not!"
The taller girl snorted. "Okay Berry, Exhibit A, Holly-"
"That right there is Exhibit B, but A, Holly let's us go anywhere in the school to rehearse and you chose to stay in the classroom." Santana looked at her waiting for a rebuttal.
Rachel was getting very agitated by this girl's self-righteous attitude. She'd heard Santana was opinionated and had no qualms about voicing them, but she'd never met such a judgmental girl in her life.
"All the costumes and props are here, what reason do I have to leave. Besides you'd just find some way to blow the lesson off if we were to venture outside the room."
Santana seemed to ponder this for a moment, probably thinking of all the ways she could indeed get out of doing the assignment, instead she turned serious.
"Is that all you care about? Getting your perfect score and getting out of here?"
Rachel looked at the girl as if this was the most obvious thing in the world. Santana laughed at this, but not out of amusement; she clearly disagreed with Rachel's mind set and priorities. Instead of arguing with her further, Rachel decided to humor her.
"Okay Miss 'I-Don't-Have-A-Goal-In-Life', where would you have gone?"
"We can't Santana, it's raining incase you hadn't noticed." Rachel was getting further irritated with the girl's lack of logic and work ethic.
"Uh huh." At this point it was only an echo from down the empty hall. Santana had already made her way out of the classroom and was nearing the front doors.
Rachel rushed out of the room just in time to catch the Latina escaping through the double doors into the downpour beyond. She made her way to the exit, spotting her lying on her back, star fished on the footpath.
"Santana get back in here," Rachel staged whispered for the protection of the awning surrounding the main building.
"No." She had her eyes closed against the droplets of water, breathing in heavily, loving the smell of the rain. She was already drenched, her plain black singlet clinging to her chest and her fringe sticking messily to her forehead.
"How do you suppose were going to get any work done then?"
"Are you insane?" Rachel seemed to realise who she was talking to. "Who am I kidding of course you are."
This caused Santana to chuckle, and as annoying as the girl was, Rachel had to admit she had never heard anything so beautiful and carefree. This didn't change the fact that they were losing time with this non-sense and Rachel had never failed to complete class work in her life, and she'd be damned if Santana was going to ruin her perfect record.
"Please Santana," Rachel reasoned. "Can we just go back inside and finish this. We don't have to go back to the classroom, just somewhere preferably dry."
Santana sat up, bring her knees up and brushing her wet hair back.
"I'll make you a deal. You stay under the awning, I'll stay in my puddle, and I promise I will do the exercise with you."
This seemed like the best Rachel could hope for, so she conceded and sunk down into a crossed legged position on the footpath. Santana scooted along the wet ground so that she was now sitting face to face with the other girl, only a few feet separating them.
"Okay, do you want to stick to the integration idea?" Rachel asked getting straight to the point.
"No, I like this one."
Rachel cocked an eyebrow confused, which wasn't something that usually happened, but leave it up to Santana to be the one to do it.
"Me, out in the rain and you, dry and safe under your shelter." Rachel caught the double meaning to Santana's words, instead of ignoring it she decided to go with it. Two could play at this game.
"I don't give a fuck about my future."
"Well, I have a ten year plan. I have a perfect life and a perfect boyfriend, I'll marry him and he'll be my forever."
"But Lopez, wouldn't you rather live each day and not give a shit, it's so rewarding?"
"But without a man, how would I validate myself, and without my Tony Awards how would I know if my life was a success or worth living."
"Who needs awards when you have the benefit?"
Santana stiffened immediately, she'd definitely hit a nerve. Rachel knew she went too far, Santana's situation wasn't exactly a secret at McKinley. She was from a single income home on the poorer side of Lima, where as Rachel lived on the other side of town with Finn and all the other popular kids. As much as this seemed to hurt Santana she didn't retaliate.
"I think the bell's going to ring soon, we should probably head back." And with that Santana got up and headed toward the double doors. Rachel followed Santana back inside listening to her Converse's squeak on the polished linoleum. She knew she shouldn't have said it, no one deserved to be shot down like that, having their circumstances shoved in their face.
Feeling a pang of guilt she reached out and gently grabbed Santana's wrist, slick with rainwater. The Latina didn't flinch from Rachel's grasp but simply turned around and faced her with a dejected expression.
"I'm sorry about what I said," Rachel apologized, remorseful.
"Why be sorry, you were just being me."
She retracted her arm and walked into the classroom where Ms. Holiday was on her Blackberry.
"So how did the assignment go and also why are you wet?" Holly queried with an amused expression.
"It went fine," Santana responded and shocked Rachel by adding, "Therapeutic actually."
"Turns out I didn't need to show her anything, she took the reigns on this one, no pun intended."
"That's great, told you Drama was better than Spanish, that class is such a drag."
The girls took their seats, Santana deciding to sit next to Holly, the furthest chair away from Rachel. For some reason this made her chest constrict slightly, which confused her. I mean why should she care, she doesn't even like her. She's judgmental and rude, she doesn't care about anybody but herself. But no matter how hard Rachel tried to convince herself, the tightness wouldn't go away.
The rest of the students started to wander back into the room, all chatting amongst themselves. A few glanced at Santana with quizzical looks, probably wondering why she was dripping water all over the floor, but most seemed to shrug it off as Santana being Santana. Kurt sat down next to Rachel, with a friendly smile on his face.
"So how'd it go with Satan?" Kurt asked light heartedly. "I expect she tore you a new one."
Rachel hadn't taken her eyes off the Latina since she re-entered the classroom, she put the feeling down to pity, and nothing more.
"I actually held my own, I am Rachel Barbra Berry after all," she joked back, earning a chuckle from her best friend. She didn't see it necessary to add that for the first time ever she wasn't proud of it.
Please review and let me know what you think, if I should continue or not, it will be a little bit angsty. I've got a few ideas in my head at the moment but nothing past a few more chapters so updates might be a bit sporadic at times.