AN: hello readers! I apologize immensely for not updating in so long. I'm just going to say that life happened and because of not having the time, or not being in a good mental place to write, I haven't, but I'm here now and my updates should be steadier. This is the last one for this fic but my other fic, Art of Saving Lives, is just beginning and I will try to update that every week or two weeks (and will also be better written hopefully).
Disclaimer: Seriously I own nothing.
Over the summer the group spent as much time together as possible knowing that it would be harder to stay in touch and see each other once college began. The future was gaining on them and none of them wanted to admit how intimidating it was. Between spending time with each other and preparing for college their summers were busy. Brittany, Santana, Rachel and Quinn were spending one of the early days in August relaxing by Santana's pool while Santana's iPod played from the radio by the door.
Santana lay back on her lounge chair, watching as Brittany and Quinn battled it out over who could make the biggest splash. They often aimed their splashes at the other girl while Rachel sat on the edge and commented on their childish behavior, smiling as she said it. Santana would never admit it out loud, but she had never been more content then she was in that moment. She had the girl of her dreams and best friend, Quinn was happier than Santana had ever seen her and Rachel, well Santana had become quite close with the other girl and Rachel felt like a sister to her. Watching her with Quinn over the past few months Santana saw more and more just how good they were for each other.
Santana didn't know what she would do if she didn't have Rachel or any of her friends in her life. Even if she once took them for granted the thought that she would be leaving some of them behind when she went to college in the fall made her sad. She was glad that she would have Brittany, Rachel and Kurt with her in New York and that Quinn would only be an hour and a half away. Adjusting to college and starting a new stage of her life would be a bit easier with people she loved by her side. Not that Santana was worried about that, no, of course not. She was badass and would grab New York by its attitude-filled horns. At least that's what she kept telling herself. Brittany's voice from the pool pulled her out of her daydream.
"San, come swim with us!"
"Yeah, San, are you actually going to get wet at all today?" Taking a pause, Quinn realized what she had just said and scrunched up her nose. "Wait, don't answer that."
"Wanky", came the reply and Brittany giggled.
At that moment Santana realized what song had started playing, and so had the others, everyone knew it was their song. The sense of déjà vu rushed over her as she looked at Brittany in the pool and listened to how the songbird keeps singing, felt how she was with Brittany, and how she knew it was right.
Santana took off her sunglasses and entered the pool where she was immediately pulled into a hug by Brittany, who then gave her a peck on the lips. They continued standing there together almost as if they were preparing to slow dance as they stared into each other's eyes. It was quite a romantic moment until they were reminded of the other couple's presence by a purposeful fake cough from Rachel. Santana groaned.
"Hey! Don't get mad at her, there are other people here you know."
"Again, I say 'really?' Also, it's adorable how protective you are, Quinn."
"You say that as if you're not just as protective of me, San."
"A very valid point Brittany. Do you have a rebuttal, Santana?" Rachel interjected.
"I'm gonna send your 'butt-al' the way to Timbuktu in a second."
"That's the best you can come up with? Never thought I'd see the day…"
"Yeah that wasn't my best work was it?" Quinn vehemently shook her head and all four girls broke out into laughter. The laughter died down and Santana took a glance at Brittany, as she so often does, and noticed that Brittany's usually happy demeanor had seemingly gone away. Her bright smile had been replaced by a frown; and Rachel and Quinn noticed as well.
"I'm going to miss this." Brittany lamented in response to Santana's unspoken question. Santana tried to comfort her girlfriend. "We're still going to see each other when we go to college, Brit."
"I know but we'll all be busy with school and life and stuff. Quinn will be away at that college George Bush used his family to get into and it'll be different."
"I know, B. You're right, it will change, but I won't be far away and I know Rachel won't let me get away with not visiting everyone in New York."
"Absolutely not! I simply must take Quinn to see a Broadway play, and we all have to show her how to ride the subway and hail a cab like the true New Yorkers we will become."
"And eat hot dogs on Cony Island?" Brittany asked hopefully.
"Of course!" Rachel replied. "Well, I won't but it's a classic New York experience."
"And feed ducks in Central Park?"
"That sounds fun, Brit." Quinn answered this time, and Brittany's smile grew.
"College is going to be awesome!"
It was the beginning of August and Santana, Brittany and her mom were in Ikea shopping for Santana's dorm room. Santana had been overwhelmed the second she walked in the massive store but her mom dragged her this way and that grabbing things and occasionally asking Santana which color or style she preferred.
"Mami! I don't need these! I don't even know what these are!"
"They're bed risers, Santana. They go under the legs of your bed to give you space to store stuff underneath."
"You do have lots of shoes, babe."
Maria just nodded her head in agreement with Brittany as she placed the bed risers into their fairly full cart.
Santana threw her head back and huffed in annoyance as she was dragged off to another section of the store. Santana really didn't know why she needed a new blanket; she could just take the one she was using now. Her mother had reminded her that her comforter now was a queen and would be far too large for the XL Twin she would have in her dorm. She looked at the cart again and examined the plastic package that was made of foamed and called an egg crate something-or-other. Her mother had assured her it would make her bed more comfortable so she hadn't said anything else about it. She had no idea how her mother had even found anything in that massive place. There was a shower caddy and a beanbag chair that Brittany had excitedly called her over to. Santana sat in it and immediately reaffirmed her belief that Brittany was a genius. It was all getting very real; she was going away to college, in New York. Knowing that Brittany would be in the same city eased her nerves.
"Hey," Brittany said sweetly, but with concern, "you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm good, Brit. Really good."
Maria saw the exchange and was once again amazed by how easily Brittany could calm her daughter. Whether it was out of a rage or a panic, Brittany was always able to bring Santana out of it. She was so proud of her daughter for getting into NYU, and so proud of Brittany for getting into such a prestigious dance academy. Her girls were starting the rest of their lives in one of the most bustling and current cities in the world. She'd been distracting herself from the fact that Santana was actually leaving with the shopping and packing but it was beginning to hit her now. She started tearing up thinking about her baby leaving but stopped and composed herself when she saw the girls glancing her way.
Santana asked if she was okay even though she knew what was making her mother tear up. Maria assured her that it was nothing and that she was fine.
"You know I think I'm hungry, what about you girls?" They both nodded their heads. "What do you say we head to the food court and get some lunch?"
Brittany seemed pleased. "Yay! I love their Swedish meatballs. I can never pronounce the name of the red stuff they serve with them though."
She furrowed her brow in frustration at the illusive Lingonberry title while Santana's eyes grew wide at this new information.
"Hold up – they serve food here?"
Quinn stepped into Rachel's room and was immediately awed by the medium sized pile of neatly marked boxes and plastic storage containers. Each box was labeled and one could only assume they were also very neatly packed. Quinn could hear Rachel on the other side of the pile as well as Missy Higgins playing while Rachel packed.
"I'm glad you like my music recommendations."
Rachel turned around at the sound of the familiar voice. "I appreciate her music very much."
"Well, I'm glad. I guess my method of quelling my gay panic by researching anything and everything queer paid off. When I gifted you her CD it was supposed to be a hint you know."
"Well in hindsight that does become clearer."
Quinn helped Rachel pack for he rest of the evening. Mostly Quinn tried to help her but Rachel had a system going that was not to be tampered with. They ate dinner with Rachel's fathers and afterward lay in Rachel's bed, the boxes of Rachel's things looming over them.
"This will work right? We'll make it work?" It was a sign of their relationship that Quinn knew immediately what Rachel was asking. She wanted to know whether they could make their relationship work living apart from one another. One and a half hours by train may not seem like much, but since they hadn't spent much time apart since they started dating, the separation seemed daunting. Quinn turned and faced Rachel so she was looking into Rachel's eyes.
"I have every bit of faith in what we have. I've never felt connected to someone like I feel with you. Of course we will make this work. There might be moments where we struggle and we might argue but I know I'm in this thing for good, Rach. I love you too much to let us fall apart because we can't see each other as often as we'd like."
"I love you." Rachel replied before she pulled Quinn in for a kiss.
Quinn stayed the night and the next day Rachel, Brittany and Santana left for New York. Quinn left Lima a few days later and headed to New York first to meet up with everyone before heading to Yale. Their futures were just beginning.