Santana drove until she was just plain tired of wasting gas, she stopped under a billboard and sat with her head slumped on the steering wheel. She couldn't believe what was happening, why was she being forced to deal with this? She had done nothing, but shun the woman's advances. On the other hand she now knew why other Santana had kept it up for so long, she probably got a look at all the crazy in her crackpot and was afraid of what Nutty McSchizo would do if she was told no. It didn't excuse it, but it did soften her to the other woman's plight. To be honest if someone had told her that the woman was a ticking time bomb she probably wouldn't have tested her either. She was becoming more and more angry with herself for ever caring in the first place. She had to get home, she had to get away from this feeling. Maybe if she was truly stuck in this world she could go to Boston and start again, the thought of all she would have to do to regain her status didn't thrill her, but going back to her house and facing Brittany thrilled her even less.
Dawn broke to find Santana still there under the same billboard, fresh off of not one single wink of sleep. She felt worse than she looked and she looked horrible, but she couldn't bring herself to care. She put the car in drive and went to work.
Luckily she had left her duffel bag so there was a change of clothes waiting for her in her office. She got dressed and threw herself into a day of nonstop work. She pushed the girls to the point of exhaustion even Jamie had to stop for a moment to keep from vomiting. She almost wished Selena would corner her again so she would have someone to physically take her aggression out on, unfortunately she had the good sense to stay far away from Santana.
At lunch she sat at her desk harshly marking essays titled, 'Why I Shouldn't Be Cut From the Team' when she received a text.
Took the day off of work and talked her down, told you I had your back. Now it's your turn to make it alright.
-Knuck if you Puck
She stared at the text feeling her mind race; Was this it? Was this the thing that could send her home? If she could straighten this out could it get her back in her penthouse? She stood and almost sprinted to the locker room to find Eric, he was in his office preening in a small mirror on his desk.
"I have to go, cover my classes okay!" she said and left before he could answer.
She was in her car and back home in record time, but the moment she got to the door she realized she had no idea what to say. For about five minutes she stood there trying to think about how to approach it and decided on innocence, she hadn't done anything. It was a partial truth and Brittany would believe mostly anything so with that settled she opened the door.
The house was dark and quiet, the only sounds were the quiet sniffs and sobs from Brittany who was sitting at the table in the dining room, her hands clenched in her lap and her head bowed as tears slid quietly down.
Santana took a seat next to her and was lost as to how to approach this all over again.
"Britt?" she said cautiously, it only made her cry harder, "Brittany, I… I know what that looked like when you were in my office, but…"
"Don't," she said, "I know I'm not that smart, but I know what I saw."
"She drugged me! I swear look she stuck a damn needle in my neck," Santana pleaded showing her the still visible mark.
"You were kissing her Santana."
"I thought she was you! I also thought I was floating on clouds with the Glee club, I was tripping big time on who knows what! That woman is certifiably insane!"
Brittany then looked at her with sad eyes, "Have you ever slept with her?"
The directness of the question took Santana aback, no she hadn't but then again if she had lived this life like other Santana she apparently would have. She remembered apologizing to Ella on behalf of the other her and she couldn't come up with any reason it wasn't warranted here as well. The idea of taking the fall for this appealed to her about as much as putting her hand down the garbage disposal, but maybe, just maybe this was the answer. Perhaps the only way out was to face this.
"Brittany I'm so sorry," she said surprised at how broken her voice was.
She turned her head away again, more tears fell, "Why? What did I do wrong?"
Santana wished more than anything that her heart would stop hurting so much every time it beat, she wanted her lungs to stop constricting, and she badly wanted the tears that were in her eyes not to fall, "You didn't do anything, I just failed you, I didn't live up to my promise to make you happy. I fucked up bad and I couldn't be more sorry."
"This really hurts Santana…it kind of makes me wish I didn't love you so much," she sobbed.
It was everything she had never wanted to hear from her, the tears fell even though she tried to will them away.
Distraught eyes lifted slightly, "Do you love her?"
"I don't even like her, and it's over, I promise."
"You break your promises."
Santana took her hand tenderly, "I wish I could take this back more than anything in the world, I know you have no reason to trust me, but I will make this up to you I swear."
Brittany moved to Santana's lap and hugged her crying in a hopeless way that made Santana feel even worse. She held her close and tried to exude love and comfort; there was nothing more for her to say now.
Once Brittany had calmed down she rested her head on Santana's shoulder and played idly with her hair, "What if she drugs you again?" she asked quietly.
"If she is foolish enough to show herself in front of me again she will be lucky not to get knocked out, but I'll be on my guard. If she gets out of hand I'll just switch schools."
"Really? You would leave the Cheerios?"
"For you? In a heartbeat."
Her arms wrapped around Santana's neck again and she held her tight, "I love you," and it was said more like she regretted it than as an actual declaration.
"I love you too," Santana replied feeling the emotion and futilely trying to deny the truth of it at the same time.
They held each other silently until it was time to go pick up Ella and Violet. Santana was not sent back home that night despite having, a least in part, dealt with the affair. Watching Brittany, Ella, and Violet having a political discussion about the military effectiveness of the Power Rangers, she found she was involuntarily glad she was still around.
"She's still pretty torn up about the whole thing," said Quinn.
Santana sighed, they had been sitting in silence until now on a blanket, which was all that was left of their weekend picnic, watching Puck and Brittany play with the kids. It had been a week since the incident and she had felt confident that any mention of Selena or the affair would have been off the topic menu, clearly she had been wrong.
"I'm not surprised," her ire rising at the pain the memory brought up, "It plain sucks when someone you trust cheats on you, but hey at least I didn't get pregnant."
Quinn rolled her eyes, "Don't do that."
"That bullshit big bitch on campus thing, are you really going to bring up Finn as a comeback?"
Great now she felt heartbroken and childish, "Why are we even talking about this?" she snapped.
"Because your random ridiculous decisions put everyone in a shit spot Santana."
Now her blood was boiling, "Please Quinn, please tell me how my affair involving my family involves you."
Santana hadn't seen the 'You should know this' look in a while, "How…? You tell Noah a woman drugged and molested you in a plot to hurt Brittany, one that worked by the way, and you think he was just going to let that go? When we left your house that night the only reason he didn't go to that woman's house and break her legs was because he didn't know where she lived. It took hours to talk him out of breaking into the school so he could pull her file and find her and I'm not sure he still isn't planning something."
She looked over at Puck who was currently out in the grass spinning Ella and Caleb around as they hung on to his arms laughing hysterically. She suddenly felt a rush of affection for her friend, of course he had tried to do something ridiculous like that and she was thankful for him all over again.
"Well was I not supposed to tell him?"
"You could have gone to the police."
She snorted, "And tell them I was attacked for no reason? And then Selena turns herself in and everything is solved? Not going to happen, I rattle her cage and she will tell everyone exactly why she did what she did, she has already proven her willingness to blab. She will claim it was some sort of game or was consensual and it will be my word versus hers. Not that it would even matter because by then the school knows and then the town knows."
"Right, wouldn't want everyone to know you're a cheater best to keep it under wraps."
"Now who's not thinking broad enough? If that happens Brittany's publically humiliated and so are Ella and Violet, and even though everyone here has probably slipped up at one time or another because we're lesbians, with the added bonus of being in Ohio, the whole thing is going to be that much worse. I don't think they deserve that even in the slightest do you?"
"I can see your point."
"It plain sucks, but I have to handle this alone."
"No, I told Noah to keep away from an assault and battery charge, but he's been pulling double shifts at work so he can send his usual bar tenders to keep an eye on things. Like a muscle head secret service, well not so secret, they have been following her in plain sight for a while, but I hear she is getting the message."
Santana laughed, "And you let him?"
She gave a mischievous grin, "It was my idea."
"I'm surprised you would do that for me."
"It's not just for you, someone like that could hurt Brittany, Ella or Violet just because, but… I still would have done it if you were the only one in danger," she admitted grudgingly.
There was another long silence where they watched Puck pick up Brittany and spin her until she was too dizzy to walk. For some reason this appealed to the children as they all clamored to be next.
"Seriously you should talk to her," Quinn started again.
"I did!" she shouted and then immediately lowered her voice, "I did. We talked and, I mean she is obviously still upset, why wouldn't she be, but she just needs time."
''No, she needs you to do something."
"How would you even know?"
"She told me."
Santana was surprised by this at first then had to concede it made sense, they were both housewives and friends since high school, it would be weirder if they didn't talk, "Well what am I supposed to do? I told her how sorry I was and that's not much, but what else is there?"
"I don't know and she doesn't either."
A confused scowl came over her face, "Then why bring it up?"
"Weren't you guys planning on another baby?"
"Yes," She wasn't sure why, but admitting that out loud to Quinn made her a little bashful.
"Do you think she wants to now?"
She looked over at Brittany who was sitting in the grass trying to regain her balance while watching Puck spin Joseph and Abby around. She had a small smile on her face, one that flickered when Santana caught her eye, the feeling that rose up in her at that made her want to get up and just walk back to Boston.
"Then fix it."
"How? Seriously Quinn how do I fix it? I can't make anyone's pain go away I can barely manage mine," she said snatching some grass and shredding it in frustration.
"Like I said I have no idea, but since tomorrow is Sunday we can take Violet and Ella tonight and you can work it out."
"And what if nothing works?"
"Then you are rightly screwed," seeing the look of panic on Santana's face she elaborated, "I don't think that will happen if you sit down with her and talk this over. Remember from her point of view you guys were just starting to work things out; you and Ella were getting along, you revived your sex life," Santana tried not to die of embarrassment, What DOESN'T she tell Quinn? "you had finally agreed to another baby and next thing she knows there is this other woman who somehow stole you away. She has no idea when this started or for how long it went on so she can't even pin down where it was that she started to lose you."
"She never lost me! I told her that."
"Clearly at some point she did Santana."
She sat scowling on the blanket, the only person she wanted to punch in the face more than Selena was the other Santana.
Santana wanted badly to go home, to her far away home where there was none of this drama to face. Even if there was drama there she could hop on a plane to anywhere in the world anytime she wanted and just leave it all behind. Instead she was following Brittany into their house that they shared in Lima, where they were left alone to work out their issues and there was nowhere to run to, they really couldn't afford plane tickets to anywhere since almost all of their extra cash was saved away for the girls' college fund. Thinking about that caused her to pinch the bridge of her nose, thoughts like that just pressed upon her how far away her old life really was.
Before Brittany could disappear somewhere, as she had taken to doing lately when they found themselves alone, Santana caught her wrist, "Britt wait."
She turned, reluctantly, "Yeah?" she asked looking more at the floor than Santana.
She took a deep breath, "Can we talk?"
"I don't really want to."
Boy do I know the feeling! "Do you still want to have a baby?"
"I don't think now would be a good time," she said looking away completely.
Thought so, "What can I say to make you change your mind?"
"Why would you want to? Since you never even wanted the ones we have."
The ice in her tone made Santana let her go, "I… I never-"
"I just wanted us to have a family and I'm sorry I made you. I won't bother you with it anymore."
"Don't shut me out like that! How can we possibly get past this if you do that?"
"Santana I don't even know what we're getting past! I have no idea what this affair was even about!"
"I was being an idiot I told you that!"
"But why? You never told me why you did it. Did you really just see her and decide you wanted to sleep with her or were you mad at me and she was nearby? What was it?"
Given what Selena had said to her it was probably a combination of the two, "I was feeling boxed in and frustrated with life and I did something stupid and hurtful. I wasn't thinking clearly obviously because if I had been I would never have done this to you."
"What's to keep you from feeling boxed in again?"
"It won't happen again. Period."
Brittany clearly wanted to believe everything she said, but her face was still filled with the pain of betrayal and Santana felt the uncomfortable wiggle in her stomach that came with telling the truth. Truths she had gone to lengths to try and bury.
"I know you have no reason to take my word for anything, all I can do is hope our time together has given you the ability to know when I am really trying to reach you. I love you, more than anything and just because I forgot that at some point doesn't mean it stopped being true. I don't want to lose you Britt, I have no idea why I did what I did, but it wasn't about you it was about me, because I'm selfish, I always have been, and you know that. I thought I needed more than I had because I'm an idiot who doesn't deserve you. There is no amount of sorry that I can be that will make this okay, I can't erase this, but I want to try. I want to keep my promise to make you happy. I love Ella and Violet, and yes I was reluctant to be a parent at first, but they are a part of me I wouldn't want to live without. I want to have another baby with you, I want everything that being with you means," she had meant every word of it and suspected, despite their differences, what she had said was also true for other Santana.
There was silence as her words settled in the room, Brittany moved closer and took Santana's hands in her own, "I want that too."
She knew she was pushing her luck but she pulled Brittany into a hug, "You have always been everything I needed, I'm sorry I ever gave you a reason to cry."
"Let's move past being sorry," she said kissing her eagerly, a kiss that soon led to Santana's shirt being on the floor.
Santana couldn't pretend not to be interested in where this could lead, but she backed off anyway, "Um, are you sure you don't want some time before…"
Brittany gave her a look that was almost challenging, "You don't want to?"
"If you are sure you want to I'm definitely game I just feel like you might be forcing yourself."
"I might be a little bit," she said as she guided Santana to the couch and shoved her down with a force that shocked the other woman, "But honestly it bothers me more that she was the last person to touch you."
Santana momentarily considered pointing out that Selena hadn't gotten that far the last time, however as Brittany straddled her waist and pinned her hands above her head she felt that the information should be classified 'Irrelevant'.
Soon Nationals were upon them and Santana had her squad working harder than ever, Jamie had shown her the ropes and now she had the reins. She felt she had fully integrated with other Santana, and she found that despite her earlier relapses in and out of wanting to flee she was really happy. For the first time she realized that the pain she was so determined to avoid came with the flipside of joy, the bumpy parts of her relationships were dwarfed by what she felt for her family and friends. Time had healed the wounds that Santana had been sure would never go away, Brittany's ability to truly put the past behind her was baffling, as was how much she still trusted her. A trust Santana was now doggedly determined to never even appear to betray. Especially now that Brittany was making regular doctors visits, having once again decided that she was ready for another child. Of course this news had come with an off the cuff offer to help from Puck and that had come with a slap to the back of the head from Quinn.
Her main concerns now were spies from Sue's school that would come slinking around occasionally and the ever growing nervousness about facing said woman at the competition. This win would tie her with Sue's record and although she had told herself for the longest that she didn't care if they won or not she really, really wanted to win.
During one of many practices after school Puck showed up, he looked quite out of place as he sat on the bleachers and watched the routine they were perfecting. For a brief crazy moment she thought he might have been enlisted as a spy, but then got a grip. She walked over to where he sat and viewed her squad from there.
"I thought you were into older women."
He chuckled, "I'm into all types of women, but I'm not trying to get arrested."
"So what brings you here if not the schools supply of jail bait?"
"Oh my mom popped by for a visit, I saw her car in front of the house so I just kept going."
"And you left Quinn there with the kids?"
"Whatever she did the same thing to me last month," he sniggered.
She lifted her megaphone and yelled, "I guess if you aren't doing anything you think you could show me how a real Salchow looks?"
"You really are back in fighting form."
"Took a while, but I got there."
"So scale of one to ten how confident are you about winning?"
Negative four, "Eleven."
"That's my girl!"
Just then a random question came to mind, "Puck, how was Slayers?"
He gave her a sideways look, "Absolute waste of life, even Brittany hated it and you know how she loves stupid movies with tons of blood, but this…it was devastatingly bad."
"Thought so," she lifted her megaphone again, "I really am waiting to be wowed ladies and gentlemen!"
"Cut them some slack they look awesome out there."
"And the minute they think that they get lazy, but you're right I think Lorenzo's ear is bleeding. Okay that's all for today!"
There was a collective sigh of relief as the members of the Cheerios helped each other off the football field like they were collecting the survivors of a civil war.
Puck stood and joined her as she grabbed her things from the bleachers, "You and Brittany are getting on ok right?"
"Yeah we're good."
"No trouble from the mayor of Crazy Town?"
She smiled at him, "She's been keeping her distance, that has a lot to do with you I assume."
He looked surprised, "You knew?"
"Quinn told me you were having her followed."
"Oh, yeah, that was just to make sure she didn't try and jump you after work. I would have done it myself, but I have to watch the little ones most days so I just got the guys at work to take the task, in return I worked their shifts and paid them their regular wages to watch her after hours. I am a little proud of my time management skills."
"It's good to know you didn't do anything too extreme," she snorted, walking at his side to her car.
A shifty look crossed his face, "I also put cement mix in her gas tank so she's been taking the bus to work."
"Are you serious?" she laughed.
"I couldn't just let her off scot free after the shit she pulled."
"Good to know you're on my side."
They arrived at her vehicle and gave him a brief hug goodbye, "Heading home to face the music?"
"Naw not for a while, I'll probably stop by the pool hall or something. Quinn'll be fine, she is a much stronger person than my mom thinks she is."
He waved as he headed back to his car, and Santana marveled at the genuine affection that had been in his eyes when had spoken of Quinn. It made her think of her Puck back in Boston, she wished very much that he could find someone who made him look that way.
Santana drove home with the competition on her mind so when she opened the door she didn't expect to be bowled over by an overexcited Brittany.
Her face was alight with excitement "I'm pregnant!"
"Are you sure?" she asked not knowing if, despite the fact that they had two children already, she really knew how to tell.
"I'm positive I went to the doctor today."
"So you really are pregnant?" she said slowly trying to let it soak in.
"Yes! I had to hold it in all day I wanted you to be the first to know!"
"I'm gonna be a double big sister," said Violet joining them from the living room having heard her mother's exclamation.
Ella followed, "Great I hear nothing, but good things about middle children," she said sarcastically.
"Don't be like that Ella," Brittany pleaded.
Santana just stood frozen, trying to figure out why this was such a shock, not only did she already know they were trying to have a baby, but they had two kids already what was the big deal? She had no idea, but the thought of a baby thrilled and terrified her.
"But you're excited right?" Brittany suddenly asked her, nervous anticipation on her face.
She scooped her up in a hug, "Of course!" a 100% half true answer.
In a weeks time not only did all of their family and friends know, they had already planned a baby shower at the Pierce's. Like the Christmas party she had been to before it was full of people she knew little about, but this time she didn't have to fumble her way through it, she recalled some names, but wasn't nervous about those she didn't. She mingled and accepted the congratulations of the guests for a few hours, but after a while Santana escaped to the basement as Puck had taught her. In the seclusion of the small room she sat watching television; only in the sense that her eyes were facing the set, she was taking none of it in. One the one hand she was genuinely ecstatic about this development and on the other she was still scared silly. She had balanced the budget for another child, but what if she got hurt again and couldn't work? Or what if Violet or Ella got sick? Then she relaxed remembering that Puck, Quinn, her mother and the Pierce's were a part of her family as well. She, for the first time ever, knew that no matter what happened she wouldn't be left alone to struggle. It would all be okay, it would all work out. Commercials flashed all kinds of products she wasn't interested in as she stared ahead, one after the other, so it wasn't an image that snapped her out of her thoughts it was a voice.
"So I see you have finally come to understand yourself," said a man on the television in a slow deliberate voice.
She looked up to see what she knew, and feared, would be there; a strong face, striking pale green eyes and snowy white hair.
"No," she said a cold terror taking over.
The man looked amused, "It took you longer than I thought, but you got there. You fought for your lies to yourself to the bitter end, felt good to let 'em go didn't it?"
"I'm afraid it's time to go home."
She jumped off the recliner and knelt in front of the TV trying to ascertain if the man could hear her, "Don't do this, please don't send me back! There is nothing for me there!"
"You had what you wanted, don't want it anymore? Get what you want."
"You can't do this! You can't just put me here and make me work like a dog for a life I can't have!" she shouted feeling light headed with despair.
"You have until tonight," he said with a smile and the television went dark.
She clutched the screen as if he had merely retreated out of frame and she could somehow still reach him. "You can't send me back! I have to be here for Brittany and the baby! I have to be here for Violet and Ella! I can't just leave!" she screamed.
Silence followed and she sank to the floor all happiness drained. She had no idea how long she had been there when the door above opened and someone came down as stood next to her slumped form, it was Ella.
Seeing the look of hopelessness on Santana's face made her understand that her worst fear come true, "You have to go don't you?"
Santana nodded, her body feeling like it belonged to someone else, which was fitting since her life did.
The girl knelt down and leaned against her, "I don't want you to go," her voice betraying that she was crying even though she was wiping the tears away furiously.
"I don't want me to either," she replied numbly.
"My Santana doesn't like me." Ella whimpered.
Santana put an arm around her, "Don't worry, I already told her secret so she has no reason to be mean to you."
"I still like you better."
"Thanks," she said and stood, "Come on lets go be with everyone else."
Ella rubbed her face dry with her shirt and followed Santana up the stairs, Quinn was in the kitchen reading a text on her phone when she saw them emerge.
"So that's where you got to, I should have known. Brittany is looking for you, she's out back with your mom," the blonde said and she nodded turning to go meet to the back porch when Quinn stopped her, "Santana are you okay?"
"Yes," she said in a tone that said No.
Quinn watched her leave and went immediately to find Puck.
Outside she saw Brittany talking with Carla and Violet about the baby, Santana sat next to Brittany and focused on trying not to look dead. Ella sat as close as she could, holding onto Santana's arm as if to keep her there in their world. Puck came out with his guitar, the boys, Abby and Quinn and they sang for a while, after a bit Brittany's parents joined them and it was picturesque in a way Santana found heartbreaking.
When it got late and the last of the guest left, Quinn herded the kids into their car and Brittany put a sleeping Violet and a reluctant Ella in hers. Santana was loading the shower gifts into the trunk when Puck pulled her to the side.
"Quinn told me you were acting kind of down, now I know you know that I'm here to talk to you whenever you need it, but I swore I would say something to you so, this is me doing as I was told because she can be scary. On a serious note I think you look a little worn out cause of this baby thing, just go home, sleep on it and call me in the morning if you still feel bumed," he said and returned to his car.
Santana watched him go and wished that she could tell him what was bothering her, but he wouldn't understand. She turned to see Ella watching her like she might run away, she gave her a weak half smile, returned to the car and drove them home.
While Brittany prepared for bed Santana tucked an already sleeping Violet in and sat next to Ella's bed.
"Will you ever come back?" she asked, her voice low and shaky.
"I don't think so," she said feeling the weight of what that meant.
"I'm scared. What if it wasn't what I saw? What if she just hates me?" her voice sounded downright stricken.
Santana rubbed her arm comfortingly, "We are the same person really. Just look for me in her okay? I'm there, I have a heart and you are a great kid, I can't help but like you."
"Okay," she said her voice much more steady.
Santana stayed by her side, holding her hand in silence until Ella drifted off to sleep. Afterwards she rose, gave the girls a gentle kiss goodbye, and left their room, for what she knew would be the last time.
Brittany was in her night clothes looking at herself in the full length mirror by the bed, examining her still trim waistline, "I can't wait until I get to meet her…or him."
Santana grabbed her arm and pulled her down onto the bed where she just held her silently, leaving Brittany a little alarmed.
"San are you okay?"
"I want to stay here with you forever," her sorrow made her words difficult to say.
Brittany sat up and looked down at her, "I'm not going anywhere," she said consolingly.
Santana reached up and pulled her down into a deep kiss, Brittany returned it easily. She let her hands roam Brittany's body in the hopes of memorizing the feel of it, she tried to hold onto the memory of the sounds she made, the feel of her most intimate parts, the sounds of them moving together, of her climax. Santana wanted to keep all of it with her.
Afterwards Brittany almost immediately drifted off to sleep, but Santana stayed awake in the dark, her head resting on Brittany's chest, hand placed on her stomach. She'd had less than a week to get used to the idea of the baby, yet it seemed like years ago that she was told. She pressed her palm gently on the firm skin of Brittany's belly wishing she too could meet the child that was growing there. Through the darkness she could see her bracelet laying softly on her wrist, her name written in white stood out at her in the dark. For some reason this made her eyes water and the tears flowed onto Brittany as she felt the pull of unnatural sleep.
"I don't want to go," she cried weakly in a tone barely above a whisper.
Her eyes closed and she slept better than she ever had in her entire life.
Santana awoke with a start, she jumped up, tripped over her own feet and landed on a soft couch… in her penthouse. She looked around and saw everything as she left it. She stood again, this time with sure footing, and dashed to the DVD player; there was nothing in it. She searched all over for the case and came up with nothing, in anger she threw pillows and couch cushions and only succeeded in finding five dollars. The mysterious case was nowhere to be found, there wasn't even a gap from where it had been on the shelf. From out of the window Santana saw the Christmas decorations still up. It was Christmas Day? Hadn't she been gone for the better part of a year?
She turned on the television to find that she had indeed only slept through the past few hours.
Had she dreamed it all? Well the more she thought about it the more sense that made. Her mother being okay with her being married to a woman, Puck and Quinn, her being Sue Sylvester Mach II…but it had felt so real…
She shoved a cushion back on the couch and sat on it trying to understand when she felt a light tug on her wrist. She looked and there, as real as anything in her apartment, was a bracelet made out of sky blue beads that spelled out her name.
Her hand flew over her mouth; it had been real, every moment of it.
Again she rocketed out of her seat and ran for her phone, she found herself searching her call list for Knuck if you Puck, but eventually found his name. She danced in impatience as the phone rang and after about four rings his chipper voice answered.
"Merry Christmas," he said in the way of a greeting.
"Puck! I'm leaving Miles. I'm sorry I won't be able to get you that role, but trust me it's for the best it's going to be a disaster!"
"What? Wait hold it, what are you talking about?"
She was far to wired to slow down, "Listen to me carefully, I know back when we were in school you gave up on Quinn, but you need to try again. She's a lawyer in New York, you need to get down there ASAP cause you are one lonely bastard without her."
"Santana how high are you? I thought you were gonna relax holistically I see you went chemical."
"I am not high Puck! I'm serious, find Quinn make it priority number one. You guys are great together."
"Uh-huh, I thought you hated her…"
"I do. Right now, but I think you could mellow her out."
"And while I'm charming Miss Fabray what will you be up to?"
"I have to find Brittany."
He was silent for a moment, "You serious?"
"As a heart attack. I'm going to find her and I am going to make us right. I have to make us right and I have to do it now, I'm already ten years late."
"What the hell happened to you last night?"
"A lifetime," she said staring at her bracelet.
Pop n' Lock was a small dance studio in Miami, it was run by Mike Chang, who took a lot of pride in it. In addition to offering dance lessons they regularly put on performances for the community which, to his surprise, turned out to be quite profitable. There were a wealth of dancers who passed through, but one person stayed and helped boost the reputation of the small studio; Brittany Pierce.
She danced like few had ever seen and though she regularly received job offers from bigger studios and dance companies she never left. Mike often felt that he was keeping her back, but she would never listen when he suggested she work elsewhere.
Fresh off the high that was winter break Brittany was walking down the busy street that ran right in front of studio eager to start work again, she arrived to find Mike waiting for her at the door.
"Hey Mike! What's up?"
He looked at her seriously, "We have a potential investor."
She frowned, "That's good right? Investors are a good thing I thought."
"How much are they putting in?"
"A whole lot, far more than I could hope to make on a good year, but the thing is she has a condition."
"To see us dance?" she said hopeful, "Because if that's the case it's in the bag."
"No she wants to talk. To you. Just you."
Brittany felt uneasy, talking usually gave people a bad impression of her, "About what?"
"Anything I guess. I was told you don't have to do anything or even be polite, just meet with her."
She smiled, "That sounds easy."
"She's in there now."
Her smile faded, "But I'm not dressed for a big investor meeting."
"I'm actually sure she doesn't care, look I should warn you… the investor is Santana."
Her smile left entirely.
Santana looked around the small yet somehow cozy studio her heart slamming around in her chest. It had been easy to find Brittany, it had been shockingly easy to leave her penthouse and everything in it, even the car. She had broken up with Miles over the phone, he had hardly seemed surprised and he certainly hadn't cared, she was pretty sure she heard him talking to her possible replacement before she hung up. She had more money than she ever needed since she hadn't spent a dime in ages so moving to Florida and buying a new everything was beyond simple. Standing here in this studio and waiting to face Brittany, her Brittany, the one whose heart she had shattered into a million pieces, that was hard. She didn't understand why she had to take care of both of these issues, shouldn't other Santana have to deal with this?
The sound of footsteps prompted her to turn around and see the person she had waited for, and when she saw her she immediately understood how Ella knew she was an impostor. The other Brittany had soft, trusting eyes full of hope and innocence, her Brittany's eyes were apprehensive and guarded.
"Hi," she said as a lame opener.
"Why do you want to talk to me Santana?"
"I wanted to apologize for starters."
She shrugged, "For me, for how I acted."
"That was forever ago and now you want to come and say you're sorry?"
She stared unblinking for a moment clearly trying to work out the angle in all this, "So you want to invest in the studio?"
"I do. You and Mike are amazing dancers, it's a good buy."
"Are you sure you want to associate with an outright lesbian like me?" she asked, her eyes narrowed.
"Definitely since I'm an outright lesbian myself."
That took her by surprise, "What?"
"I made a huge mistake when I rejected you, and I only recently understood how big it was. I need you, you are everything I'm not and should be. Honestly the best part of me has always been you and I was such a chicken I tried to hide that from everyone, even myself. It feels like it's my destiny to hurt others when I'm insecure. I am also fully aware that showing up out of nowhere and coming into your life after what I did isn't going to make you love me or even like me, but I would like for you to give me another chance."
Brittany's face was unreadable, "You think Miles will be happy with you using his money to come after me?"
Her mouth fell open, "How did you know about Miles?"
"Just because you stopped caring doesn't mean I did."
She grinned at her, this Brittany wasn't that different after all, "I broke up with Miles and I moved out here. To find you."
"And what if I turn you down? Will you take back the offer?"
"No, I only asked that you talk to me and you've done that. If you turn me down I guess I'll be single in Florida pining after you, but don't expect to be rid of me that easily."
"Santana I have always loved you, but I can't go through something like that again. We already did this, where you say you want to be with me then you don't, and I never know when you are going to change your mind. It hurts to love someone who doesn't want anyone to know they love you back. At prom…I don't think I have ever been so hurt in my life, not even when I got hit by a car at lacrosse camp. I do want to be with you, but it's really terrifying the way you can be sometimes. You didn't even look back you just broke my heart and left for good."
This was harder to face than anything else she'd had to deal with, more than Ella or dealing with the whole Selena debacle, this was her mistake made by stupid decisions she had made, knowing she had purposefully caused this was difficult to swallow, "I know I did, but I am not that person. She was scared of you, of us and everything that had to do with it, I am not as a matter of fact I look forward to it."
She was at a loss, "How?"
Brittany moved across the room determinedly and grabbed Santana's hand leading her through the studio and out the front doors where Mike was still standing, now startled by the sound of Brittany bursting through them. He looked back and forth between the women trying to get a read on the situation, but between Brittany's defiant stare and Santana's confused look he was totally lost.
The blonde towed her confused companion into the middle of the sidewalk with her, deliberately in the way of people traveling both ways and looked at Santana with a bold stare, "If you are so different then kiss me, here, now in front of everyone."
Clearly she had expected Santana to shy away from such a public display, to mutter excuses and back off. Instead she found herself pulled into a deep passionate kiss that left no doubt in her mind that everything Santana had said she meant. Unprepared for what happened or how it made every part of her weak Brittany returned the kiss with interest.
Mike slid next to them clearing his throat gently, "So uh, glad to see you two made up, but erm you are drawing a bit of a crowd," he said softly.
Brittany was the first to come up for air and noticed that he was right and thoroughly didn't care, Santana was staring at her with an intensity she had never seen in her before. The fear that she would leave again seemed silly under her gaze, there standing in the middle of the sidewalk surrounded by strangers she felt the most loved she had ever been.
Santana wrapped her arms around the woman she knew she never wanted to let go of and said the words she wished she had said ten years ago, "I can't promise to be everything you deserve, but I will try harder than I have ever tried at anything to make you happy."
Tears of joy filled Brittany's eyes as she kissed Santana again feeling somehow whole for the first time in a long time.
Mike cleared his throat again, "Ummm… that guy just hit a fire hydrant, maybe you could take this inside?"
One year later…
Santana hated carnivals, literally everything about them irritated her, however the look of elation that would overcome Brittany at even the mention of one was how she found herself on the boardwalk waiting patiently by a stall covered in ludicrously happy stuffed animals. Her chest was twisted into a million knots as she looked around for the tall blonde and fiddling with the engagement ring in her pocket. She already knew that Brittany loved her, and she had even lived as her wife for a while yet she still felt like her guts were wriggling every time the thought of how to propose came up. Sick of the stuffed animals she wandered to another nearby stall that was selling picture frames all filled with various people at the carnival in various stages of merriment. Santana looked them over to waste time and was about to move on when she saw one that didn't fit, the setting wasn't on the boardwalk, it wasn't even in Florida. The people in it were in a park having a celebration of some kind. The picture seemed to have been taken at a distance and most of the people were blurry or out of the shot, there were several forms she could make out and at first she couldn't believe her eyes. It was Ella and she was laughing happily holding onto a woman she thought she would never see; the other Santana was there smiling genuinely back at her daughter. The other Brittany was there as well sitting with Violet watching them lovingly holding an infant. Shocked she looked to the stall's vendor to see a man with a strong face, striking pale green eyes, and snowy white hair.
It was him, he was here.
She stared at him for a moment not knowing what to say, "How…Wait where did…"
He smiled at her and gave her a sly wink.
Startled she turned to see Brittany racing towards her, followed by Quinn and Puck, quickly she turned back to the stall to find she was standing next to nothing, the stall, the vendor, even the picture she had been holding were gone.
Brittany finally reached her, her joyous mood dampened when she saw the confusion on Santana's face, "Are you ok?"
"Yeah I…" she pointed to the empty space not knowing how to explain herself, "I saw someone I knew."
"Oh do I know them too?" she asked looking off into the distance to try and spot the person.
"I hope you will," she said, thinking of the children in the picture.
Brittany clearly didn't get it, but smiled anyway, "Just so you know Puck is like crazy nervous about this date."
She cast a glance at her friend to see him in the midst of chatting anxiously to Quinn, she could tell by his posture that he was indeed incredibly nervous, for her part Quinn looked amused and charmed. He had needed further prodding to look her up, but eventually did and though it seemed like his movie star attitude would ruin everything for a while they eventually hit it off. Santana had gone out of her way to be nice to Quinn so when she invited them to stay with her and Brittany for a much needed vacation there would be no rejecting it. The two of them had only been on about two official dates before this day and it was almost adorable the way he was around her. Seeing them this way she felt like the life she left suddenly wasn't that far away. She gave a fleeting glance to the area where the stall had been and couldn't help but feel thankful that she had gotten the chance to see that it had all worked out for her one time family, especially Ella.
Santana glanced down at the blue bracelet she wore even now, despite the fact Puck liked to tease her for it, and remembered all she had been through. It had given her courage through every step of her relationship, from telling her mother about her and Brittany to buying the ring that was currently burning a hole in her pocket. It reminded her of all the things that could be… no should be. Now she needed to draw the strength to ask the question she felt pretty sure she knew the answer to.
"What are you thinking about?" Brittany asked holding onto her arm and pulling her close.
"About us… having a long future together. If, you know… that's something you would want."
Brittany laughed in a way that made Santana's heart flutter, "Of course," she said kissing her gently on the shoulder, "All you have to do is ask."
The End (sorta)
A/N: Thanks to everyone for staying till the end! I seriously appreciate all of your support! One of may delays with this chapter came from a FFN pal and a real life friend who looked over my demi final draft, I mentioned I might end the story right where Santana gets pulled home. She promised that if I did that she would set my face on fire... so there was more to write and proofread... In any case please let me know what you think of the final chapter or the story as a whole. Now to answer some questions I have been pm'ed or asked in Reviews.
1) Yes the movie this is based off of is 'The Family Man' with Nicholas Cage. I am surprised so many ppl remember it XD
2) Who was the guy who flipped Santana's life? I dunno I mean for the sake of the story I never felt it was relevant, Christmas Magic Man I guess. For the purposes of this story he is a mystery. Privately I like to think of him as a Time Lord that lived before the The Last Great Time War cause I'm a Dr. Who nerd...
3) Where was the other Santana? THE TARDIS! No seriously I don't know ask Christmas Magic Man.
4) Knuck if you Puck? There is a rap song called Knuck if you Buck... it seemed logical to me...
5) This isn't a question just some things I want to clarify. I gave the other Santana a lot of thought before I wrote the other one into her life, however these notes wouldn't fit with the flow of the story, it's not relevant its just FYI. The other Santana never disliked Ella it was more like when she was around her she felt intense shame and when Ella would push her it came out as aggression, she stopped sleeping with Brittany for the same reason she was ashamed of what she was doing and didn't think she deserved to be with her. She did cheat on Brittany once of her own volition, but after that Selena began to unveil her crazy and began a long unwanted relationship that had Santana breaking down, especially since she couldn't share it with Puck because it was too embarrassed though he clearly could tell something was going on.
6) This story is actually one part of three, Random Glimpses and the RG: Side Stories continue the tale (check my author's page for 'em if you're interested)
Thanks again for reading!