A/N: This is an AU story. It takes place after the first season, so everything in the second season is completely disregarded. Additionally, there are changes to the first season: Brittany never went to McKinley and Quinn and Santana came out and started dating sometime in April of their sophomore year. Now it is the end of the summer...


"Santana!" Mrs. Lopez's voice carried easily up the stairs of the house and right through the closed door of Santana's room. Santana would never know how her mother managed to make herself so loud. "Santana!" the call came again. "I know you're up there! Come downstairs."

Santana groaned into the mouthpiece of her cell phone. "One second," she said. "My mom's calling me." She heaved herself off of her bed and padded over to the door. Opening it, she poked her head out and replied, "I'm on the phone!"

"I don't care!" came her mother's quick response.

Santana put her cell phone back to her ear. "I have to go," she said. "I don't know why. My mom sucks."

"That's okay," Quinn's voice came through the speaker. "Will I see you tonight?"

"Yeah, of course," Santana said with a smirk. "Leave your window open."

"'Kay," Quinn replied, and Santana could hear the excitement in her voice. "I love you."

"Love you too," Santana said before snapping her phone shut. She threw it on her bed and stormed downstairs, trying to make as much noise as she could. "What, Mom?" she snapped when she entered the kitchen.

"It's lovely to see you, too," her mom replied, arranging cookies on a plate. Santana reached for one, but her mom slapped her hand away. "You know, when you wake up in the morning, you could come down and say hi to your family," she said. "It's almost one o'clock and I haven't seen you all day."

"I was busy," Santana replied grumpily, walking over to the refrigerator and opening it. She scanned the shelves for something good to eat. "Talking to Quinn. Aren't you so proud of me for getting a girlfriend and coming out and all of that?"

Her mom walked over to the fridge and shut the door, narrowly missing Santana's hand. Then she placed a kiss on her only daughter's forehead. "Of course I'm proud of you, mija. But that doesn't mean that you need to talk to her every day. You see her enough as it is."

"Do you mind telling me why you keep stopping me from eating anything?" Santana asked in annoyance. She hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch, and she was starving.

"Santana, meals are served at regular intervals in this house," her mother said. "If you wanted to eat, you should have come downstairs. Besides, I need you to do something first." She put a cloth over the plate of cookies and handed them to Santana. "Take these next door."

"No," Santana said immediately, refusing to take the plate from her mother. 'Next door' meant the new family that had just moved in. Santana had seen the moving vans on the street from her bedroom window, but she had yet to catch a glimpse of the people who were becoming their new neighbors. And, quite frankly, she couldn't care less about them. "I hate meeting people and you know that."

"And that's exactly why I'm sending you," Mrs. Lopez said. "You need to learn to be friendly every once in a while. The Pierces have a daughter your age and she doesn't know anyone here. I think it would be really nice of you to reach out to her. And it would be great for her to have a few friends when she starts school next week."

"Mom, there are plenty of other people to be friends with her," Santana whined. "There are, like, three kids my age on this block alone. Why can't she be someone else's service project?"

"Because I said so," her mother said firmly, pressing the plate into Santana's hands. "It would be really nice for me to see you hanging out with someone else besides Quinn and that Noah Puckerman. I think you would really benefit from having some more female friends."

"Mom, no girl wants to be friends with a lesbian," Santana said, rolling her eyes. She begrudgingly took the plate and headed for the door.

"Smile!" her mother called out as Santana slammed the door.

"Yeah, right," Santana muttered, walking across her front lawn. She reached under the cloth and pulled out a cookie to stuff into her mouth. The moving van was gone, but the Pierces had not finished moving everything into their house. Santana weaved her way through several chairs and boxes on the lawn to get to the front door. It was wide open, but there was no one in sight. Sighing, she knocked on the door frame. "Hello?" she called out.

Santana waited in silence for almost a minute, but no one answered. "Hello?" she tried again. If someone didn't come to the door in the next ten seconds, she was going to turn around and go home. Well, first she would go around the side of the house and eat every cookie on the plate. Then she could tell her mom that she'd delivered the welcoming gift successfully. In fact, she was about to do just that, but as she turned around, she heard footsteps behind her. Turning back to the door, she found herself facing a tall blond girl.

"Who were you talking to?" the girl asked, looking around in confusion. This must be the girl that her mother had been talking about, because she looked like she was about Santana's age. She was wearing denim shorts and a gray t-shirt, and her blond hair fell over her shoulders in waves. With a sudden surge of self-consciousness that she rarely felt, Santana wished she had changed into something besides the sweats that she had been wearing since yesterday night. However, it was too late now.

"Uh, I was talking to you, I guess," Santana said, holding out the plate of cookies as an offering. "These are for you. They're, uh, from my mom. We live next door."

"Cool!" the girl said excitedly, taking the cookies. "I'm Brittany."

"Awesome" Santana replied, glancing around awkwardly. "Well, then, I guess I'll just..."

"Brittany, darling, is someone at the door?" came a woman's voice from out of sight. A moment later, a person who had to be Brittany's mother came around the corner. She glanced over at Santana and hurried to the doorway immediately, looking excited. "You must be Santana!" she exclaimed. "I met your mother yesterday! I've been so looking forward to Brittany having someone to hang out with before school starts...Brittany, why didn't you invite her in?"

"I was about to," Brittany said. "But she was talking to someone invisible or something, so I was going to let her finish."

Santana raised an eyebrow, but Brittany's mother did not seem to notice anything odd about the situation. "Well, you should really come in, Santana. I just finished making some grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese. There's lots of extra food if you want some."

"Thanks, but I should get going," Santana began apologetically. "It was nice to meet..." she trailed off as a sudden breeze blew the smell of chicken towards the front door. Santana's stomach growled and her mouth began to water. "I guess I could come in for a second."

"Yay!" Brittany said, handing the plate of cookies to her mother and grabbing Santana's hand. "Come on," she said, dragging a bewildered Santana into the house. "I'll show you around."

So that was how Santana found herself, ten minutes later, sitting down at the kitchen table—the one piece of furniture in the house that had been assembled—to eat lunch with the Pierces. Brittany had taken her around their entire house, which had been relatively uninteresting considering that it consisted of several empty rooms and lots of piles of boxes. Then they had gone into the kitchen, where she'd met Brittany's dad and her younger sister Emily. Though Emily was only thirteen and looked it, it was hard to tell from personality that she was the younger one. She had greeted Santana calmly and had been distracted by her cell phone ever since. Brittany acted like an overexcited five-year-old. Which Santana found fascinating, in a weird sort of way.

"Santana," Mr. Pierce began. He was an official-looking man who reminded Santana of her own father and was nothing like the ditzy Mrs. Pierce. "I hear that you have two brothers?"

Santana swallowed a mouthful of chicken and nodded. "Yeah, there's three of us," she said. "Christian is nineteen and Marco is ten."

"Is Christian away at college?" Mrs. Pierce asked.

"Um, no," Santana said, feeling uncomfortable as she always did when she thought about her unambitious brother. "He still lives with us, actually. He fixes cars and he also works some nights at Olive Garden."

"That's really cool," Brittany said, gazing at Santana as though she were the most interesting person in the world. "I love olives."

Brittany had said several such things in the brief time that Santana had known her, so Santana was no longer taken aback by the blond's strange comments. "I like them, too," she said with a nod.

"And you, you're going to be a junior like Brittany, right?" Mrs. Pierce asked.

"Yep," Santana replied, not really knowing what else to say.

"Well, that's just lovely," Mrs. Pierce said with a satisfied smile. "Brittany can't wait to start school."

Santana could not imagine anyone not being able to wait for school to start. She glanced over at Brittany and saw the other girl roll her eyes. Biting back a smile, Santana said, "The only thing I'm excited for is cheerleading."

"Wait," Emily said, looking up from her phone for the first time since the meal had started. "You're a cheerleader?"

"Yeah," Santana replied, suddenly worried that she had said something wrong. She had refrained from telling them that she was in Glee Club—she didn't want them to think she was a loser—but should she have gone that route instead? The Pierce family was looking at her with something resembling shock. "Why, what is it?" she asked nervously.

"I love cheerleading!" Brittany exclaimed, and Santana breathed a sigh of relief. The other girl was practically bouncing up and down in her seat. "I was a cheerleader at my old school and I was worried that they didn't have a team here and I was so sad and then my mom told me that maybe-"

"Britt's been dancing since she was five," Mr. Pierce interrupted. "It's the only thing I can get her to focus on. Personally, I wish she would spend more time on her studies, but..." He shrugged. "It's her passion."

"Well, you should definitely try out," Santana said, taking another forkful of macaroni. "Coach Sylvester can be pretty tough, but you'll probably make the J.V. team."

"I hope so," Brittany said, looking euphoric. "Dancing is the best."

They finished lunch with more pleasant conversation. The Pierces asked Santana more questions about her family and about school, and she answered as best she could. In the back of her mind, she realized that this was probably the first time she had ever met someone's family before. Judy Fabray was only just beginning to accept her daughter's sexuality and so Santana and Quinn had not yet told her about their relationship. And Santana would never, ever, allow Quinn to come out to her father. She didn't mind that she had to tread carefully around Quinn's parents, or that she hadn't been invited to meet Puck's family during their brief, unsatisfying relationship, but it was sort of nice to have someone else's parents show an interest in her the way that Brittany's parents were doing now.

When the meal ended, Emily announced that it was Brittany's turn to wash the dishes, and in a move that Mrs. Lopez would have loved, Santana offered to help. The two girls gathered all of the plates and went into the kitchen. "I'll wash, you dry?" Santana suggested when they reached the sink.

"Okay," Brittany replied happily, going over to one of the boxes in the kitchen and removing a dishtowel. Santana didn't think she had seen the girl stop smiling once. "After we're done, do you want to go do something? I don't know where anything is in this town."

"I can't, I have to help my mom," Santana said. The lie came easily and almost automatically. Internally, she sighed. Brittany seemed like a really nice girl, even if she was really weird. She was also pretty and very outgoing, and Santana knew she would make lots of friends at McKinley without even trying. So she didn't feel that guilty blowing Brittany off. Especially since Brittany seemed so nice; she and Santana wouldn't make good friends anyway.

"Oh," Brittany replied, and her face fell slightly. "How about tomorrow?"

She was persistent. Santana frowned. If she wasn't careful, she might end up actually having to be friends with this girl. Then she remembered what she had told her mom earlier about deterring female friends. "I'm gay," she announced abruptly, watching carefully for Brittany's reaction.

Brittany just stared at her blankly. ""I don't understand," she said.

"Like, I'm a lesbian. I like girls." Santana wasn't sure what was so hard to understand about that, but then again, this Brittany girl was full of surprises.

"I like girls, too," Brittany said with a smile. "Girls are cool."

"No, I mean, I like like girls. Instead of boys. Like, I don't date boys."

"Oh," Brittany said, nodding. It seemed she had finally caught on. "Okay. Cool. Is that why you're busy tomorrow? Because you're gay?"

"No..." Santana said slowly. Somehow, she had lost track of this conversation.

"Oh good!" Brittany squealed. "So you can show me around the town, right?" Her face was so hopeful that Santana couldn't bring herself to say no.

"I guess so, sure," Santana said.

"Awesome," Brittany said. Then she stood up and threw her arms around Santana, pulling her into an awkward hug. "I can already tell we're going to be best friends," she said when she pulled away.

In spite of herself, Santana started to smile. "Alright, good," she said in response.

()()()

Santana rolled off of Quinn onto the other side of the bed, trying to catch her breath. Beside her, Quinn was panting. "You're damn good at that, San," she said breathlessly.

Santana smirked at the ceiling. "I know," she said. "I just hope your mom didn't hear anything."

"When she's watching the Real Housewives, she's basically oblivious to life," Quinn said, disapproval evident in her voice. "It's good you came through the window, though, anyway. Today she informed me that we need to observe an open door policy when you're here."

"Seriously?" Santana groaned. In her own household, she and Quinn had to keep all the doors open and Quinn was not allowed to spend the night. If the Fabray household adopted the same policy... "We're going to need to find a motel," she pointed out.

"Nah, it'll be fine, she doesn't suspect a thing," Quinn said, moving over on the bed until she was cuddled up against Santana's side. Santana lifted her arm and threaded her fingers through Quinn's hair. "It mostly applies to Rachel, who my mom is convinced I'm dating. She still thinks I hate you."

"Well that doesn't make sense, she knows I'm gay and Rachel is straight," Santana pointed out. Then she paused. "Wait. Rachel?"

Quinn stopped breathing for a moment—Santana could feel that her chest had stopped moving up and down. But after a beat, her breathing started up again. "We've just been hanging out occasionally," Quinn informed her calmly. "It's not weird."

"Um, it's pretty weird," Santana said. "I thought you hated Man-Hands, anyway. Why would you want her to come over?"

Quinn sighed. "She wanted to run a few things by me for when glee club starts up again. And then she wanted to help me practice, and, I don't know, we just started hanging out. She's really not that bad."

Santana scoffed. "Not that bad, my ass. She makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs so that I don't have to look at her."

"I wish you would give her a chance," Quinn said, sounding angrier than she intended. Santana did not miss the tone in her voice.

"What's going on with you?" she asked suspiciously.

"Nothing," Quinn said. There was silence for a few minutes. Santana stroked Quinn's hair absentmindedly. She loved Quinn, but the girl's incessant need to keep her feelings hidden would forever drive Santana insane. However, she herself was not much better. They were an odd pair that way. "You know, Rachel's dads are gay," Quinn said finally.

"Yeah, I know," Santana said. She had heard that before, but she hadn't really thought about it very much. Now that she did, though, she realized that she didn't know that many gay couples besides Rachel's dads who were living in Lima. Rachel was as much a part of the small gay community as Santana and Quinn were. Santana wondered why she hadn't thought about that before.

"They heard about us coming out at the end of last year," Quinn continued. "They were very proud of us."

"As they damn well should be," Santana said. "I mean, when you consider that we came out to everyone and managed to stay top bitches at McKinley, it's pretty impressive."

"Yeah," Quinn said. Her thoughts seemed to be far away.

"Do you want to come with me to hang out with my new neighbor tomorrow? I promised her I would show her around," Santana said, eager to change the subject.

"What exactly do you show someone in Lima?" Quinn wondered aloud. Santana laughed.

"I don't know," she admitted. "I think she just wants someone to hang out with. She was very...enthusiastic. She's going to be in our grade at school."

"Okay," Quinn said. "Sure. Will it be weird for her to hang out with us? Or are we going to play the hetero game again?"

"Nah," Santana said. "I already told her."

"Oh." Quinn sounded surprised. "How did she take it?"

"She didn't care," Santana said. Like Quinn, she was also surprised at how the whole thing had gone down. "It, like, didn't even seem to matter to her. She just wanted to know if I was free tomorrow. Oh, and she wants to be a cheerleader."

"Hm," was all Quinn said in response. "Well, I guess that could be fun. What's her name?"

For reasons that she couldn't quite interpret, Santana began to smile. "It's Brittany," she said.