A/N: I am so obsessed with Santofsky friendship these days, especially with their interactions during the prom episode, so I just had to write this. Enjoy :)
Dave Karosfky drummed his fingers nervously on the steering wheel of his car as he stalled in the driveway of Santana Lopez's house. He had parked almost a full two minutes ago, and he knew he should be getting out of the car, but he couldn't quite work up the courage. All his life, he had avoided formal dances like these. In middle school it had been easy: most of his friends agreed that dances were stupid and they would rather spend the evening playing video games. But as they got older, most of the guys got girlfriends and Dave had found it increasingly necessary to make up excuses not to go. For the last two Winter Formals, he had been 'sick'. During Spring Fling, he had pretended to be visiting his grandma. Over the last few weeks, as the students at McKinley had gotten dates and booked limos and made dinner reservations for their Junior Prom, Dave had been making his own plans about the ultimate excuse that would get him out of such an important event. And then she showed up.
Going out with a girl was one thing; going on a date with Santana was quite another. Since their coffee shop date-turned-blackmail, he had only been alone with her twice. The first time had been to discuss the creation of the Bully Whips and the speech that he would give to the glee club, and the other had been to talk about bringing Kurt back. Dave was not entirely clear on Santana's motives in this whole situation, but he had been able to gather that being prom queen had something to do with it. So even though he had been annoyed, he hadn't exactly been surprised when she came up to him two days ago and informed her that he should pick her up at seven to take her to the prom.
Now he was here in her driveway, in his dad's old tux, feeling uncomfortable and out of place. He didn't feel comfortable with girls in the first place, and even though Santana had told him that they played for the same team, he knew that she had a lot of experience with boys. She wouldn't possibly treat this as a real date, but he couldn't help but worry that he would not live up to her expectations somehow. What if he was a crappy fake boyfriend and she decided to tell everyone that he was gay?
A rap on the window of his car startled Dave, and he looked up to see Santana peering in at him from the other side. Quickly, he straightened up in his seat and jabbed a finger onto the unlock button on the inside of his door. Santana climbed inside.
"I thought you might have died out here," she said, sitting down and running her hands across her dress to smooth out the kinks. "I see I wasn't so lucky." She looked up at his still startled face. "What? Did I mess up my makeup or something?"
"No," Dave said. "You look fine." He cleared his throat awkwardly. "I would have come inside to get you."
"I doubt that," Santana smirked, fastening her seatbelt. Dave watched her as the lights inside the car dimmed and then turned off. She definitely looked better than 'fine'. Her dress was red and sleek and hugged her body in all the right places. Her hair was pulled away from her face, enhancing the smoky look of her eyes. Dave wished he had been brave enough to tell her she looked beautiful. He also wished she wasn't such a scary bitch.
Santana looked at him curiously. "Are you planning to start driving anytime soon?"
"Eventually," Dave said, just to see how far he could push her. He was mad about this evening and he wanted her to know it. Santana rolled her eyes, but said nothing, and Dave turned the keys in the ignition after a beat. "Remind me again why we had to do the dinner thing?" he asked as he backed out of the driveway.
"So we look convincing. Prom dates are supposed to go to dinner together beforehand. Especially boyfriend-girlfriend prom dates."
"Oh yeah? How many proms have you been to?" Dave challenged. He knew she was right, but he was sick of her always running the show. It wasn't like she had any right to—if what she had said was true, he had the exact same dirt on her that she had on him.
"I've seen movies," Santana said with exasperation, turning to look out the window. Dave glanced over at her when he stopped at a red light. The light reflected in her eyes, and he noticed that she looked sad. Suddenly, he felt bad for making a big deal about dinner.
They were silent for several minutes. Dave turned on the radio and flipped through several stations, but each song annoyed him, so he gave up and turned it off. Santana still hadn't moved. Dave wondered if she had fallen asleep. He cleared his throat. "It could be fun."
"Hm?" Santana turned to look at him. So she was awake after all.
"The prom. Dinner. I don't know."
"It'll be fun when I have that crown," Santana muttered, turning back to the window.
"Why do you care so much about it anyway? I mean, I get why Quinn Fabray wants it, and maybe that Lauren chick, but it just doesn't seem like your thing."
"My thing? What's that supposed to mean?" Santana nearly growled at him.
"I don't know, never mind, I just thought...I mean, you just seem like you wouldn't need to be..." Dave tried to backtrack, although he wasn't quite sure what he had said to offend her in the first place. Did girls want to be thought of as the type to fight amongst themselves over a piece of plastic?
"You mean because I'm a lesbian, I don't do girly things like prom queen."
"Huh? Oh..." Dave trailed off. That wasn't what he meant—was it? "Um..."
"Well I like it, okay? I want to be prom queen." Santana's voice became gentler. "I mean, you're gay but you still play football. And you don't dress like Kurt or sing show tunes. Not everyone is a stereotype."
Dave squeezed the steering wheel hard. "Okay can we please, like, not use that word? I mean it's great to accept yourself or whatever but I just don't know if I can...I mean I'm not sure that I'm even gay, alright?"
"Um, okay," Santana scoffed. "I mean, I'm pretty sure you're gay. But whatever. Do what you want."
"I will," Dave muttered. He began to feel uncomfortable as Santana continued to watch him, and he was glad when they reached the parking lot of Breadstix. Dave parked and Santana climbed out of the car. Dave hesitated a moment. He looked into the backseat at the small white box that he had brought with him.
"You're not pussying out on me, are you?" Santana called from outside.
"No, I'm coming," Dave said. He grabbed the tiny box and shoved his keys into his pocket, climbing out of the car. Once he was out, he straightened his tie while Santana looked at him approvingly.
"You clean up okay," she said with a small smile. "I'm surprised."
"Yeah, well, you don't look terrible either," Dave said. "Come on, let's go." He kept the box tucked into his side and began to shove his other hand into his pocket, but Santana grabbed it before he could.
"We need to look convincing," she explained, intertwining their fingers. Dave was about to protest, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw another couple from McKinley walking from the far end of the parking lot, and he could see other prom-goers inside the restaurant. Santana had no doubt chosen Breadstix on purpose. She wanted everyone to see how in love they were.
When they reached the door, Dave let go of Santana's hand to hold it open for her. Santana approached the hostess and gave their names. Dave noticed several students from McKinley had turned to look at them as they came in, and he tried to act as normal as possible. Santana took his hand again as they followed the hostess to their table, and at the last second he remembered to pull her chair out for her before she sat down.
"You're doing great," Santana whispered as they sat down. She sounded only half-sarcastic, and Dave supposed he should be happy that they were making progress.
"I, uh, brought something for you," he said, placing the white box he had brought on the table in front of him. "I've never really gone to a dance before. Sorry."
Santana gave Dave an odd look as she took the box from him and opened it. Inside was a corsage, a red rose framed by two small leaves that matched perfectly with her dress. She didn't put it on immediately, she just stared at it for a while with that same strange look. Dave suddenly wondered if anyone had ever gotten her anything before, even something as simple as a corsage. "I asked Kurt what you were wearing, I wanted to get the right thing...is it okay?"
"It's...it's great," Santana said, seeming to come back to her senses. "I just wasn't expecting it. You didn't have to get that."
Dave shrugged. "It wasn't a big deal." He reached into the box and pulled it out gingerly. Santana reached her hand forward and allowed him to place it over her wrist. A group of Dave's football friends and their dates were sitting at a booth behind them, and they watched the interaction with interest. But for once, Santana did not seem to be aware of their audience. She kept her eyes on Dave the whole time.
Dave placed her hand gently on the table. "It's weird," he said. "I get the feeling people are jealous of us. They keep looking."
Santana actually snorted with laughter. "Seriously? We have to have the worst fucking lives ever. What could they possible be jealous of?"
Dave shrugged. "I guess the act is working."
"Yeah, it better be," Santana said. The waitress brought a bowl of breadsticks to their table and Santana picked one up, nibbling on the end of it.
"Can I ask you a question?" Dave said after a minute.
"How do you...you know...how are you so comfortable saying it?"
Dave hoped that Santana would catch on to what he was saying, because he really didn't want to get any more specific. Luckily, she seemed to get it. She put the breadstick down and thought for a moment. "What makes you think I'm comfortable saying it?" she asked finally. "I haven't told anyone. Except you."
"But I mean, you say it out loud. Isn't that weird? Isn't it weird to describe yourself as that?" Dave had never shared this insecurity with anyone before, but now that he had started, he couldn't stop until he had said everything. He had to make her understand.
"It's just what I am," Santana said with a shrug. "I mean, I don't necessarily like it and I don't want everyone else to know about it but...it's a word. It's just a word to describe me. That's it."
"That's not it," Dave muttered, feeling distressed. He clenched his fists and stared towards the window.
"Have you ever told anyone before?" Santana asked gently. Dave shook his head. "Seriously? You've never said the words?"
"Never," Dave admitted.
Santana sighed. She reached across the table and took his hand. "When I first realized it, I was a mess," she confessed.
"Yeah. I remember going home and sitting in my room and just sobbing for hours. I kept thinking that nothing was ever going to be the same again. I mean, I had always known I was different. And I think that for the last year or so, I had suspected that I wasn't straight. But saying it out loud...I thought the world was going to fall apart or something."
"Yeah," Dave said, feeling stronger as he saw that she understood. "Yeah exactly. That's what it feels like."
"But," Santana pressed on. "Nothing changed. I went to school the next day and everything was exactly the same. I hadn't suddenly become someone I didn't want to be. Saying it to myself made no difference at all."
"So what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that you can speak the words, Dave. It's not going to kill you. No one is listening."
Dave breathed deeply, feeling some of his pain leave him as he did so. He wasn't sure what it was about Santana's words that had made him feel just a little bit better. Maybe it was the fact that she had called him 'Dave' for the first time. He wasn't sure. All he knew was that suddenly, he didn't feel so nervous about being out with her tonight. He felt like they were truly on the same side. "I'm hungry," he said abruptly.
"Same," Santana said, letting go of Dave's hand and grabbing another breadstick. "Where the fuck is that waiter?"
The food came and they ate for a while in silence, but it was more comfortable than the silence in the car. Dave thought about how ironic it was that the biggest bitch at McKinley also happened to be the person he trusted the most. But it was kind of nice at the same time.
"So, you're into Sam, right?" Santana said when she was half finished with her pasta. "How is that going? You know, we used to think he played for team gay."
"Uh, I'm not into Sam," Dave said, blushing.
"Sure. I saw you checking him out, remember?" Santana smirked at the memory. "It's okay, I get it. He's pretty cute. Even if he is a total dork."
"Yeah well I haven't thought about him that way," Dave insisted. Santana raised an eyebrow, unconvinced.
"Drop the act, remember?"
"It's not an act. I've never really thought about any guys like that. Like in a...dating sort of way. Or in any sort of way."
"Really?" Santana took a drink of water. "What do you fantasize about then?"
Santana looked at Dave pityingly. "Damn. No wonder you're so mad all the time. You need to stop being so repressed."
"It's hard!" Dave said. "To just...start fantasizing about a dude? That's weird."
"That's your life," Santana reminded him. "You better get over it."
"Do you fantasize about girls?" he asked uncertainly.
"Um, yes," Santana responded in a 'duh' sort of way. She didn't even blush. "Girls are hot. And fantasizing is good for you."
"Alright whatever, I'll try it. Can we change the subject please?"
"Okay fine. So, who do you think the hottest guys at McKinley are?" Santana looked at Dave eagerly. He groaned. He had no idea why she seemed to be so interested in talking about his sexuality.
"This isn't the subject change I had in mind. How come we never have to talk about you?"
"Because you're the one with the problem," Santana responded with finality. "I'm helping you."
"Oh yeah?" Dave countered. "If I'm the only one with the problem, how come you're the one who needed a beard?"
Santana thought for a moment. "Fair enough. We can talk about me. What do you want to know? And I'm not guaranteeing I'll answer."
Dave was taken aback. He hadn't expected her to actually open up, so he hadn't really thought of a question. "Alright...who do you think the hottest girls are?"
"Brittany," Santana said immediately.
"Isn't she your best friend?" Dave asked, surprised at how readily she had answered.
"Uh...yes," Santana said, suddenly looking uncomfortable. "She's not the only one...um...Quinn Fabray is pretty hot. Hell, even Berry is hot when she keeps her mouth shut."
"Rachel Berry?" Dave laughed. "No way."
Santana shrugged. "I could be persuaded."
"I must have slushied her, like, thirty times this year," Dave said, still shaking his head in disbelief. "I thought you would have higher standards than that."
"Yeah, yeah, alright, just drop it," Santana said, annoyed. "I mean, she's basically like a more masculine Kurt, so I don't know why you're throwing any stones."
"Yeah but Kurt is actually cute," Dave said without thinking.
"Berry has a good body though," Santana said, not noticing Dave's horror as he realized what he had just said. "Kurt, I mean...at that point, you might as well be dating a girl."
Dave just shrugged. "He's not bad," he mumbled. He couldn't believe that he was actually discussing his taste in guys with Santana, and he was even more surprised that she seemed to think it was totally normal. Gathering his courage, he asked her, "What is it like to...you know...fool around with a guy?"
Santana thought for a moment. "Sort of rough. Sweaty. They usually don't smell very good. Except for Sam, he always wore too much cologne. Finn smelled like Tide." She shrugged. "I didn't really like it. With girls, it's like...clean. And gentle. And hot as fuck."
Dave couldn't understand how anything described as 'sweaty' and 'rough' could be bad, but he decided not to push it. Besides, she had said something that surprised him. "You dated Sam?"
"For a second," Santana said nonchalantly. Then she narrowed her eyes suddenly. "Why? Jealous?"
"No," Dave insisted, but Santana continued to stare him down. "What? What do you want me to say? Fine, he's a good-looking guy, is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Yes," Santana said. "Seriously, I need you to loosen up a little bit, or this prom is going to suck."
"Ugh," Dave massaged his forehead. "You're seriously annoying. Now I know why you don't have a girlfriend."
"Excuse me?" Santana snapped. "I could have a girlfriend if I wanted to."
"Well do you want to?"
Santana glanced to the side. "Maybe."
"Then why don't you?" Dave goaded.
"Because." Santana turned back to face him. "I have my reasons. Let's talk about you and you're little Sam problem, shall we?"
"Look, I don't want to date Sam. I just think he's hot. Okay?"
"Yeah, I guess that's probably good," Santana conceded. "I mean, he dated Quinn. You have to really like girls to date Quinn Fabray."
"Yeah." Dave played absentmindedly with his fork. "So what was kissing Sam like?"
"Not too bad," Santana admitted. "I had thought that his big mouth would majorly get in the way, but he used it well."
Dave was quiet for a moment, lost in thought. He wondered what it would be like to kiss Sam. Or any guy besides Kurt, for that matter. "How many girls have you kissed?" he asked Santana.
"Just one," she said. Her voice was suddenly quieter, and Dave thought back to her sadness in the car, her inexplicable desire to be prom queen, and her sudden response to his question about the hottest girls in the school.
"Do you like someone?" he asked her quietly. Santana swallowed hard and nodded. She didn't look him in the eyes. "Brittany?" he asked, and she nodded again.
"I love her," she said in barely more than a whisper.
"And is that...why you wanted me to be your beard? To make her jealous?" It was all starting to make sense now. Dave had spent most of the evening feeling bad for himself, but he suddenly realized that he wasn't the only one hurting. Santana groaned and put her head in her hands.
"I fucked up," she said in a muffled voice. "I did everything I could to get her except actually be with her." She looked up at Dave, and he saw wetness in her eyes. "I could have been with her right now. She could have been the one taking me to prom. But I couldn't do it."
"Well," Dave began. He wasn't quite sure what to say to make her feel better, but he knew he had to say something. "You're scared," he stated simply.
"She's not going to be with me unless I can be braver," Santana said hoarsely. "I just can't do it." She wiped her eyes. "Maybe we should just go home."
Dave sighed. "Okay, listen to me. Everyone at our school is terrified of you. And now here you are, telling me you're not brave enough to go to your own prom? Bullshit." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, placing two twenties on the table. "Let's go," he said.
Santana looked at him in surprise. She shook her head. "I'm not going to come out or dance with her or anything. I'm not ready for that yet."
"Forget about that, we're just going to have fun," Dave said firmly. "Besides, we need to be there for our coronation." Santana continued to look hesitant. "I'll dance with you," he tried again. "I know you like dancing, you were a cheerleader." Santana smiled sadly, and Dave reached out his hand. She took it. As he led her to the door, he let go of her hand and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. She leaned into him and put her own arm around his waist. For the first time in a while, Dave felt like he was not alone.
They reached the car and Santana went over to the passenger side. "Wait," he said, wheeling her around. "I need to tell you something." He placed a hand on each of her shoulders and looked deep into her confused eyes. Then he took a deep breath. "Santana, I'm gay."
Santana face broke into a smile, the most genuine smile he had seen from her all night. Dave felt like a weight that he hadn't even realized he had been carrying had been lifted from him. Smiling back, he dropped his hands from her shoulders and she took them and squeezed them proudly. "Me too, David," she said. "Me too."