Thanks so much for the reviews!
For this one I wanted to add some depth into the friendships, mainly Santana's friendships with Brittany and Quinn. But I have it set up so that if I continue it, the next chapter will probably be a lot of Santana/Rachel time.
Let me know what you think :)
Santana's stomach grumbled for the second time in the last five minutes. The smell of bacon, eggs, and pancakes in the air was only making the situation worse. She was at IHOP with Brittany and Quinn. It had been a tradition of theirs since freshman year. No matter what else was going on in their lives, they would come for brunch on the first Sunday of every month. Even after major fights, after they hadn't talk to each other for weeks. They always showed.
It was their time to load up on pancakes, bitch about unimportant problems, and every now and then, discuss things that really mattered. Well, Santana and Quinn bitched. Brittany was almost incapable of complaining about life. She brought the positive attitude that kept their group balanced.
"How long does it take to make a damn pancake?" The Latina looked around the restaurant for their waitress as she impatiently tapped her nails against the white countertop.
"I don't think one pancake will be enough for all of us," Brittany said, her blond eyebrows furrowed.
"You're right Britt." Santana said from across the table.
Quinn snorted from her spot next to the blonde, before getting up from her seat by the aisle. "I gotta pee." The head cheerleader headed to the bathroom at the back of the restaurant.
"That's the second time since we got here." Santana raised her eyebrows. "She must be prego again."
Brittany solemnly nodded her head in agreement. "Like the spaghetti sauce."
"So are you going to tell me where you were last night? You didn't answer any of my texts."
Santana began playing with the saltshaker, making it dance across the counter. "Sorry, I never got a chance to check my phone. I guess I was distracted."
"By Rachel?" Brittany asked, with a sly grin.
Santana had now grabbed the peppershaker too. She took turns sliding the two glass dispensers across the counter, as she diligently avoided making any eye contact. "Maybe," she admitted. "We watched The Wizard of Oz," she added, ducking her head down, so her bangs covered her face. "I made us a picnic."
"You like her."
Santana could feel her cheeks growing warm. Before spending time with Rachel, the experience would have been completely foreign to her. Now, to be blushing was commonplace. "I don't know. She always wants to talk. Like about feelings and stuff. It's annoying."
"What's annoying?" Quinn was back.
"Rachel," Brittany stated brightly.
Quinn snorted. "Oh, Treasure Trail. Duh. She's always annoying."
The Latina narrowed her eyes. "Watch it, Q."
"Santana likes her."
The head cheerleader didn't look at all shocked by this information, like the Latina was expecting. "Once again, duh."
"I know, right?" Brittany smiled at Santana like she was a child asking about the Tooth Fairy.
"What?" Santana asked, looking between the two blonds incredulously.
"So that's where you were last night."
"How did you guys know?" Both girls rolled their eyes at their friend's question.
"You're not as sneaky about what you're feeling as you think you are," Quinn answered.
"I've seen the way you look at her," supplied Brittany. "Like she's your favorite flavor of ice cream or something." Santana had thought her cheeks couldn't get any redder. She had been wrong.
The waitress appeared, balancing three plates on a tray. "Oh, thank god." She had never been so happy to see a huge pile of pancakes in her life and not because of the war waging in her stomach. The grumbling had taken a backseat to her current embarrassment.
"Anyway." Quinn had already begun to shovel pancakes into her mouth. "If you like Rachel, I like Rach-" The girl's head did a spasm to the side and it looked like she was about to throw up the bite of pancake she had just swallowed. "Nope. Can't even get through that sentence. If you like her, I can put up with Berry. I'd totally be ok if you dropped her for another girl though." She paused her eating and looked at Santana thoughtfully. "Actually, I like that option better."
"Well I like Rachel," Brittany said with a huge smile.
"It's just her, you know." Santana's face held a mixture of vulnerability and fear. "Not all girls."
"And Britt." Quinn gave the Latina a sad smile. "Well, whoever it ends up being, it doesn't matter. We love you Santana. We want you to be happy."
"It's true." Brittany nodded her agreement. "We do."
"I…" Santana coughed to cover up the fact that she was getting choked up. "Thanks guys." Then her she let out a mumbled, "I love you too," and began to rake up her pancakes with a fork.
Brittany watched the Latina in amusement, before deciding to put the girl out of her misery. For the time being anyway. "So Quinn, what's going on with you and Finn now?"
"Urgh, don't even get me started. I'm so over him. Is it just me or is Sam looking way hotter lately?" And just like that, they were gossiping about high school and boys, just like any other Sunday brunch. Santana felt a rush of affection for the two blondes across the table. She didn't know if it was possible to love anyone more than she loved them, right at that moment. They may fight about petty things sometimes, but they were there when it really counted.
"I don't know about Sam. Sometimes when he talks, it's like he's not even speaking English."
"That's the Na'vi, Britt."
Rachel ran her hand through a rack of clothing at one of the stores in the mall. She probably wouldn't be buying anything today. Kurt and Mercedes never approved of any of the clothing she liked. But she was happy to spend the day with her two friends. She had a brief panic when she found out that Tina would be meeting them there though. They normally got along great, but she was nervous after last night. It was difficult to predict Santana's actions. She was worried that the girl might have said something hurtful to Tina.
"Tina's here." Mercedes was looking down at her phone to read the text. "She said to meet her in the food court."
"Hold on." Kurt held up a pair of black and silver pants to the girls. Mercedes shook her head at them. "Fine," he let out in a dramatic sigh. "Let's go. I need a smoothie."
"I could go for a smoothie. I'm quite parched."
"Let's do this thing." They began their trek across the mall. "Hey girl." Mercedes was the first to catch site of Tina.
"Hey guys. What's up?"
"Just about to get out Jamba on. Care to join?"
"Of course," Tina answered Kurt, and he led the way through the maze of tables, across the food court. Rachel grabbed Tina's arm, letting Kurt and Mercedes get a few feet ahead.
"Sorry about this," She said, when she thought the other two were out of the hearing range. "I was just wondering what you and Santana talked about last night. I apologize if she said something offensive. She gets extremely defensive when there is a chance someone might do something to upset her."
"Well hello to you too."
The diva smiled sheepishly. She had never been good at small talk. "Sorry. Hey Tina."
Tina chuckled at the girl. "Last night was nothing. Santana was uncharacteristically tame."
The girls slowly started walking again as Rachel sighed in relief. "Oh, good. I was worried she would threaten you or something. I guess I was just being silly."
"Ah, yeah. Well I guess she did do that." Tina laughed, then quickly added, "But she took it back right away."
Rachel shook her head lightly, smiling to herself. "Of course she did."
"You know Rach, you can talk about it if you want. I get the feeling that no one really knows that there's anything going on with you two." Tina was smiling reassuringly at her, but the diva looked uncertain.
"What did she tell you? I just don't want to betray her trust. She doesn't give it out very willingly."
"Why does that not surprise me?" The Asian girl asked dryly, getting a small laugh from the diva. "Well if it counts for anything, you guys are really cute together."
"Really?" Rachel couldn't hold back her grin.
"Totally. But don't tell her I said that. I think she would shank someone if they ever called her cute." Both girls laughed at the truth in that statement.
But then the diva was frowning. "I just can't ever tell what's going on in her head," she blurted out. She couldn't help it. She needed to talk to someone about the Latina. She had never been good at reading other people. Tina already knew anyway, so she wasn't really betraying any trust. "Sometimes I think she really likes me, but then other times it's like she just wants to be as far from me as possible."
Tina bit her lip as she thought about her answer. "I don't really know her that well, Rach. When she was talking to me though, she just seemed scared."
"Are you guys coming or what?" Rachel jumped at Mercedes' interruption. The other girl already had a smoothie in her hand.
"Yeah, we're coming." She gave Tina a small smile in thanks, before they stepped up to order their own drinks.
Santana grunted, wishing she had worn looser pants. Damn her love for pancakes. The two blondes across from her looked equally uncomfortable.
"Urgh," Quinn groaned. "Why do I never learn?"
"I think there's an alien in my belly, like that movie. What if it bursts out?"
"I think it was just a carb overload Britt." The blonde didn't look convinced by Santana's words, but didn't argue. "Pedicure time?"
"I don't know. My mom is probably wondering where-"
My treat," The Latina interrupted the head cheerleader, waving her credit card in the air. "Well my dad's treat, but her won't notice the charge."
"Oh. Then yeah, definitely." Quinn smiled sweetly at Santana, who rolled her eyes.
The three cheerleaders paid for their meals before heading to the mall to continue their girl's day. When they got there they used the main entrance, which led right into the food court.
"Urgh, no more food." The smell of Taco Bell was upsetting the Latina's too full stomach. They walked hurriedly through the place.
"Is that Rachel?"
"Shouldn't Berry be allergic to malls or something? There's no other excuse for her wardrobe."
"Where?" Santana ignored Quinn's dig as she looked around. She saw the diva standing with her back to the Latina, laughing with a group of her friends. "Oh no, I don't think I can handle her friends today." She really just didn't want to have to deal with her own friends teasing her. She had trouble talking to the diva alone, an audience would kill what little game she had left.
"Let's just sneak by them." Santana sighed with relief at Quinn's suggestion and happily agreed. When they were just about to pass Rachel and her friends, the head cheerleader turned to Santana with a wicked grin. "It's for your own good." Before the Latina could say anything in protest, she was roughly shoved into Rachel. "This should be good," she heard Quinn whispering to Brittany and the two giggled behind her.
"Oomph." The short diva almost fell at the contact, but Santana grabbed her to keep her steady.
"Sorry, Rach. Quinn thinks she's funny." Santana took a step back, giving the diva some space to breath. "Hey." She smiled nervously. "Chang." She nodded at Tina, but ignored the rest of the diva's friends. Tina gave her a small wave.
"Santana." Rachel seemed shocked by the girl's sudden appearance, but returned the smile.
"I don't think anything. I know it. Hey Manhands." Santana sent the cheerleader a glare. "Fine. Berry."
"Hey Rachel!" Brittany stepped forward. Rachel was still eyeing Quinn suspiciously. She never used the diva's real name, even if it was just her surname.
"Um, what is happening?" Mercedes and Kurt watched the exchange, confusion apparent on their faces.
"You called her Rach," Kurt accused the Latina.
Santana panicked. "No, uh, I said Roach. Like the disgusting bug." Rachel looked liked she'd been slapped and Brittany jabbed the Latina with her elbow. "No, uh, I did say Rach. Sorry Rachel." Kurt and Mercedes looked at each other, even more confused now. "We're friends, got a problem with that Lady Lips?"
Kurt was offended. "No. I can't pretend I'm not shocked though."
"You guys should come to the nail place with us," Brittany invited them excitedly.
"I don't know." Mercedes glance around the group unsurely.
"It'll be fun, Cedes." Quinn smiled softly at the girl. Santana rolled her eyes. Quinn had been friends with the other girl since her pregnancy. Mercedes looked to Kurt for an answer and he gave a small nod.
"Ok…" Quinn grabbed Mercedes arm, who then linked her arm to Kurt's. The three chatted amicably as they headed in the direction of the salon. They walked about twenty feet and turned right.
"You coming Chang?" Santana asked Tina. "Someone has to translate what the Asians who work there are saying. I know they talk shit about me."
Tina rolled her eyes, but gave a small laugh. "I grew up in Lima. The only language I speak is English." Santana grinned. At least one of Rachel's friends appreciated her brand of bitch.
"Me too. That's so crazy. Let's go." Brittany grabbed Tina and pulled her after the other three. Before they got too far, the blonde turned and winked at Rachel and Santana.
"Jeez, Superstar. You know how to clear a room." They were now the only two of their small group left standing at the edge of the food court.
"I believe they left after your arrival Santana," Rachel pointed out.
"Pssh. Minor details."
"And why did Brittany just wink at us?" Rachel asked, watching their friends walk away, in confusion.
"Oh, um, about that." Santana looked around the mall. On one side of her was the food court, half filled with all kinds of different people. She didn't see anyone she recognized though. The other side was the small hallway that led to the bathrooms and a few stores. Lima was so small, the mall never got very busy. "They may think I like you," She let in a quiet mumble.
"They? As is Brittany and Quinn? Quinn's going to torture me. Even more than she does now." Rachel was breathing in shallow breaths.
"No," Santana said quickly. "She called you Berry. She likes you." Rachel shook her head, clearly not believing the Latina. "Fine, but she likes me. We're best friends. If I like you, she'll be ok with you."
"How exactly do they think you like me? Like me as in friends?"
"Friends yeah, maybe more than that." Santana didn't know what to say. She didn't want to put too much on the diva too soon.
Rachel was playing with the hem of her shirt, not making eye contact with the taller girl. "Are they right?"
The Latina tried to read the diva's facial expression. She would want them to be right, right? That meant the Latina liked her. She wanted the Santana to like her, right? "Yeah, I think they are. Is that good?" She mentally kicked herself for sounding so lame. She was only confident in the physical aspects of a relationship. Emotions were her kryptonite.
Rachel lit up like Brittany when she sees ducks. "Yeah." She shyly kicked her foot against the grey tile beneath them. "It is."
"I really want to kiss you right now." The diva blushed at Santana's quiet admission. "Why do we always have to be surrounded by people?" The Latina glared at a family of five as they walked by, like they were the only reason she couldn't kiss the diva. Rachel giggled and pushed her shoulder to get her to quit.
"My dads are going to be out of town next weekend. You could stop by or something."
"Stop by, stay the night, your decision," the diva said nonchalantly. But being Rachel, she couldn't keep her cool for too long. "Not like stay the night." The way she emphasized stay the night made it clear she was referring to sex. "But like kissing and stuff." The diva couldn't control the blush spreading across her cheeks, or apparently the words coming out of her mouth. "Over the clothes. I'm not ready for sex," she whispered.
"Oh my god, Rachel." Santana's face was equally red. She quickly scanned the vicinity to make sure no one could hear their conversation. Even she didn't want to be able to hear the conversation at this point. "This is worse than the puberty talk in sixth grade." She was shaking her head back and forth, like it would somehow clear the last minute of the conversation from her head. "I'm not a total slut, you know? I just wanted to spend time with you."
"No no no no no," the diva said quickly. "That's not what I meant. I was just nervous. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not very good at this."
"At what?" Santana still looked mortified. "Talking like a normal person?"
"I guess that too," Rachel admitted. "But I was referring to relationships."
"Woah I think you're getting ahead of yourself with the r-word. Santana Lopez doesn't get tied down."
"I just- I didn't- I don't-"
"I guess I was right about the whole you not being very good at talking thing. Which I don't understand because you've had more than enough practice." Santana teased. "Anyway I was kidding. I'd like to come over next weekend."
"Of course. Nothing gets this girl more excited than the promise of some over the sweater groping." Santana winked at the diva, whose cheeks were warming up again.
"Oh, gosh. Hearing someone else say it… What is wrong with me?"
"So many things," the Latina said brightly, reaching out to pinch the girl's cheek.
Rachel swatted the other girl's hand away from her face. "Should we go find everyone else?" Santana ignored her and walked down the momentarily deserted hallway to the bathrooms. When she got to the door to the bathroom, she turned and beckoned for Rachel to follow her.
Rachel bit her lip as she watched the bathroom door swing shut. On one hand, she and Santana really needed to stop being so intimate in public places. While Santana's friends may kind of know her secret, the rest of the world didn't and the diva knew that the Latina wasn't ready for them to. Rachel herself wasn't sure about it. She really liked Santana, but she had liked Finn too and had been very attracted to Noah at one point. She wasn't scared of liking girls; she had two very supportive fathers. But she wasn't ready for the label that would surely come, if it didn't even fit her.
On the other hand, Santana Lopez had just sexily beckoned for Rachel to join her in the bathroom. Does one really need to waste time weighing pros and cons after that? The diva looked around to make sure no one else was in the hallway, before opening the door. When she got in there, Santana was nowhere to be seen. The other girl had gone into a stall. Maybe she actually just needed to use the restroom. The diva decided to tease the Latina anyway.
Rachel turned and put her hands on the sink, waiting for the stall door to open. When she heard a toilet flush, she got into position. She bent down with her legs straight and reached until she was almost touching her toes. When she heard the door opening, she turned around with her eyes wide and innocent. "I think I've been a bad g-" Santana wasn't in front of her. Instead, an old lady was, wearing a Sunday church type of dress. "Opps," the diva squeaked out, standing up immediately. She had gone from a wide-eyed doe look, to a deer in headlights look, in less than a second.
"In all my years," the woman was holding her hand over her heart and looking outraged. "Young lady, I don't know what you think you were doing, but this is a public place. Your behavior is inexcusable."
"No, I was just trying to find something I dropped." The diva looked on the ground wildly to find a way out of this horrifying situation. Her eyes caught sight of something shiny and she reached out for it. Halfway there she realized it was a still wrapped condom and jumped back with a loud gasp. "Not that!"
The lady's eyes narrowed in on what the diva had been reaching for. "Despicable," she yelled. "Why am I not surprised?" The diva had no answer. She just stared in horror, shaking her head slowly. That's when Rachel heard giggling coming from a stall near the back of the room. Both heads snapped to the stall door. The diva glared, but the woman just looked confused. She shot Rachel one last look of disgust before leaving the bathroom. The diva heard her mutter, "this generation…" as the door shut.
"Smooth going, Superstar. Bathroom Nookie 101: check under all the stall doors for feet."
Rachel narrowed her eyes at Santana as she stepped out of the stall, trying to hold back her laughter. "I'm glad someone is amused."
"I totally am. Priceless moment."
The diva huffed and turned away from her. "This is why I shouldn't try to be amusing. It never works out."
"It did work out. That was high-larious." Santana walked towards the Rachel's back. "And it's not like your going to see Denture Debby ever again."
"I don't know," Rachel said, lightening up a bit. "I wouldn't put it past her to come back in with a bible and some holy water to pour on me."
"You're gonna be the subject of her next Sunday school lesson." Santana adopted an annoyingly accurate impersonation of the lady. "Kids, don't do drugs. It leads to unprotected sex and bathroom shenanigans. Despicable!" Rachel's loud laugh created an echo in the bathroom. Every time she talked to the Latina, she was surprised by how many layers the girl had. She used to be the bitchy girl that helped make her life hell, but now the diva was finding out that she was actually quite playful and fun, and also incredibly caring.
"Should we go find the others now? The bathroom in the mall probably isn't the best place to hang out. Anybody could walk in."
Santana frowned, but nodded at the diva's suggestion. "I guess. I did promise Britt and Q that I'd cover the pedicures." When Rachel made a move for the door, Santana jumped in front of her.
"One second." She reached for the shorter girl's hand and intertwined their fingers. "I just know I won't be able to hold your hand for a while after this."
Rachel watched in amazement as Santana studied the linked hands. "I need to kiss you now." The Latina's chocolate eyes jumped back to meet Rachel's stare, before dropping down to the diva's lips.
Santana unconsciously licked her lips. "Ok," she said softly. Then once again, Rachel had the Latina pushed up against a door as she kissed her.