Author's Note: Just want to say that this fic will probably be about 8-10 chapters long, and that the first half will be mostly set-up for the heavier stuff that happens in the last half. I'd love to get a feel for how many are actually interested in seeing the rest (it's taking forever to write), so please review if you can.

Also, I'm kind of new to the fandom and haven't had a chance to read much Brittana fic yet, so if I've done something here that's already been done, I do apologize and promise it wasn't intentional! ;)

Chapter 1

She stared at the phone where it lay innocently on her black bedspread. For what felt like the fiftieth time, Santana picked it up, scrolled through to Brittany's number, and let her finger hover over send. Then she turned it off, put it back on the bedspread, and stared at it some more.

Seven hours. That was how long she'd been home from Puerto Rico. After nearly three months of raucous Spanish-speaking relatives and tropical warmth and the smell of food cooking almost twenty-four hours a day, her house felt and sounded like a crypt. Her parents still weren't home from wherever the hell they were jet-setting to this week (they declined to accompany her on her enforced bi-annual trips to the homeland, sending her alone in an effort to "remind her where she came from." What it really reminded her of was what douchey hypocrites they both were.) Because the cleaning lady didn't come in until tomorrow, the silence was near-total. And it was starting to get to her. She'd taken a shower, tried to sleep and failed, watched too much reality TV, and picked up her phone every ten minutes or so before changing her mind and carefully putting it back down again.

Ever since she'd stepped off the plane, she'd felt an almost physical need to call Brittany. She'd even taken the phone out at the airport before deciding to wait until she was alone. Then when she was alone, she kept making other excuses, things she should get out of the way first. Until eventually there was nothing left to do, and for some reason, she still couldn't seem to call. What the hell is wrong with me? They were best friends, it was practically instinct to call the minute she got home. They did it every year.

But this time was different. Everything was different now, and just the thought of Brittany's voice, even over the phone, caused her to feel something like butterflies in her stomach. And just the thought of that word, butterflies, made her pissed at herself. Oh God, butterflies, seriously? This whole being in love business was super annoying.

When another episode of Real Housewives ended, she muted the TV and picked up the phone again. Okay, this is ridiculous. Stop being a jackass and just call her.

But before she even had the chance to lose her nerve again, the phone rang, startling the hell out of her. She dropped it on the bed. Feeling stupid, she picked it up with a thudding heart and glanced at the number. A relieved smile lit up her face.


"Hey!" Brittany said brightly.

"Hey yourself." Santana couldn't keep the affection out of her voice, even if she'd wanted to. "I was just getting ready to call you."

"I thought you got home this morning. I was waiting all day. Then I thought I got Tuesday and Thursday mixed up again because they both start with T and it's just so confusing."

"I did get in this morning, but... I was sleeping," she lied.

"That's what I figured," Brittany said, probably seeing through the lie but choosing to let her get away with it all the same.

Santana closed her eyes for a second, grateful, trying to contain the ridiculous, embarrassing amount of devotion she felt toward this girl. Now, only now while hearing her voice, she felt like she was really home. After a brief silence to simply appreciate this, she continued the conversation in a casual tone. "Did you have fun at your grandparents'?"

"Totally. They're still convinced the world is ending in October, so we spent most of the time digging an underground shelter and stocking it with canned goods and prescription drugs. It was pretty amazing."

"Wow," was all Santana could think of to say to this.

"How was Puerto Rico?"

"Oh, you know," she said as she settled back against the pillows, kicking the remote out of the way. "Hot and loud. My relatives are all still insane. But nobody got murdered this year, so that was nice, I guess." She paused. "I got you something."

"Cool. I got you something too."

"From Cleveland?" Santana tried to keep the amusement out of her voice.

"Cleveland rocks," Brittany said, sounding mildly offended. "You don't know, you've never been there."

"You're right, I'm sorry." She smiled. "I can't wait to see what you got for me."

"Soo..." Brittany said, in a voice that indicated she was getting ready to change the subject. "I wanted to ask you something."

Feeling unaccountably nervous by this opening, though she had no idea why, Santana dragged her makeup case over toward her. Even though it was evening and she wasn't planning on going anywhere, it gave her something to do with her hands. "Okay."

"And just think about it, before you say no, all right?"

As if she could convince herself she was calm just by acting casual, she started rubbing in foundation with one hand. "Why are you being so weird?"

"I'm not being weird. I just really want you to say yes."

Blending the makeup around her hairline, Santana said in a tense voice, "Whatever it is, would you just ask it already?"

"Okay. So, this weekend is Labor Day."

"Yeah, and?"

"And... it's the annual Pierce Family Lake Hope Camping Trip Extravaganza." She added, "Copyright 1996. My dad always makes me say that last part."

Now Santana finally realized where this was going, and that there was no reason to be anxious. Wary and unenthusiastic, maybe, but not anxious. "Uh-huh," she said in a non-committal way, screwing the cap back on the foundation and reaching for the eyebrow pencil. Might as well finish her makeup now that she'd started. She could order a pizza or something and flirt with the delivery boy. It was always fun to watch them go back to the car using the carrying pouch to shield an erection.

"And I wanted you to come with me," Brittany went on. "So we can spend some time together before school starts." She seemed to be trying to sound as innocent and disarming as possible. Why did she have to make this so hard?

"That's so sweet," Santana told her. "And I wish I could go camping with you, but I can't this weekend. I'm sorry."

"Why not?"

Santana cast her eyes around the room, looking for something to help her out with an idea, some kind of excuse. On TV, a muted Tampax commercial was playing. "I've got my period."

On the other end of the line, there was a mysterious sound like papers rustling. Then, "No you don't."

"What? How do you know?"

"Because I have a special calendar for that."

"Brittany, that's just creepy. You don't even keep track of your own."

"That's because I like surprises." She continued, "But it wasn't my idea... the other girls in Glee club asked me to do it. They thought it would be safer for all of us if we knew when you were PMSing."

Santana rolled her eyes, not even knowing how to respond to this. Probably best not to respond at all. She thought she had a pretty good idea of who was behind that brilliant plan. "Okay, I made that up, you're right. Still not going though."

"But, Santana, this could be our last chance to do something like this before we graduate," Brittany pleaded. "It's like in The Goonies when they're in that wishing well, and they can either go up the bucket, or go down those awesome cave waterslides to the pirate ship."

Santana paused in her lip gloss application, making a confused face as she thought about this. "What?"

"Never mind. I've been watching a lot of movies this week, it's really hot outside."

"It's not that I don't want to spend time with you, okay? I do, more than anything. It's know I hate that place, Brit," she whined. "Remember that time the raccoon chased me?"

There was a strange muffled sound on the other end of the line.

Santana listened for a second, then demanded, "Are you laughing?"

"No," came the guilty response. "I was just thinking about how unimpressed he was when you yelled at him in Spanish."

"And you told me that it was because raccoons don't speak Spanish."

"It's true, they don't. They speak Ojibwe."

Santana shook her head a little, but didn't pursue it. With Brittany, you had to pick your battles. "Whatever. But I'm not going."

"Fine," Brittany said, all casual resignation. "I didn't really think you would. Maybe I'll ask Tina instead." Silence. Then, as if she were dropping a delicately precisioned stealth bomb, "Or Quinn."

Santana immediately stopped applying mascara. She waited a beat. "Quinn's not gonna go camping with you. She hates that stuff as much as I do."

"No, she doesn't. Her family used to go every year on the Fourth of July, before her parents split up, remember? And when I talked to her last week she said she was bored out of her mind. I bet she'll go."

Santana was quiet, staring at herself in the mirror. She could feel Brittany waiting patiently. Very, very patiently.

Finally, she sighed as loud as she could, defeated. "Fine. All right? I'll go." She slammed her makeup case closed. "You win."

Brittany's self-satisfied smile was almost audible through the freaking phone line. "You don't have to."

"No, I want to. I want to go with you. Don't ask anybody else."

"Okay. Good."

"But I'm not swimming in that funky lake," she added.

"That's okay. You're a terrible swimmer... I don't want you to drown."

"And I'm not eating those S'mores things you always try to get me to eat. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get marshmallow out of extensions?"

"That's fine," Brittany said, as if now that she'd gotten her way she could afford to be magnanimous. "More for me."

There was a horrible angry-sounding yowl in the background.

"What the hell was that?" Santana asked, disturbed.

"I have to go, it's time for Lord Tubbington's yoga." Brittany switched to a low voice, as if hoping not to be overheard. "He is in such a mood this week. I think he's still jetlagged from Cleveland."

"But Cleveland's in the same..." she stopped herself. "Forget it."

"I'm so glad you're coming with me. We're gonna have so much fun, I promise. I'll see you tomorrow, okay? We'll pick you up at seven... be ready!" And then she quickly hung up, before Santana could protest. Which she almost certainly would have, because... did she just say seven, as in seven o'clock in the morning?

Feeling petulant and like she'd just had her strings pulled by an expert puppet master, she switched her phone off and tossed it into a chair near her bed, shaking her head over what she'd just agreed to. Out loud, she said, "Being in love sucks."