I've Imagined It All

Chapter 1

Eight year-old Santana's voice wailed to match little Michael Jackson's. "Just call my name. I'll be there..."

Brittany twirled around in front of her before Santana grabbed her hand and got to one knee. Throwing her head back she continued, "Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter. Togetherness is all I'm after. Whenever you need me, I'll be there..."

Brittany beamed at her theatricality before pulling her off her knees, taking both the singer's hands in her own and spinning her around the room. Santana's miniature microphone stand crashed to the floor. When she could catch her breath, Santana closed her eyes and belted the lyrics as loud as she could. And when the twirls became too much, she still mouthed every single lyric of her mother's favorite song.

"Girls, dinner's almost ready, go wash up," Santana's mother called from the kitchen.

"One more time, mom." Santana turned to Brittany. "Britts, this time, let me sing it to you."

Brittany's face fell. "But I wanna dance, San."

"Fine, but I need an audience. You can dance in the audience. Famous singers always have an audience."

"No! Famous dancers don't sit in the audience." Brittany crossed her arms and glared at Santana.

Santana knew she wouldn't get her way without a little compromise. "Fine. You dance in front of me and look at me. I'll sing to you."

Santana picked the microphone stand up off the floor. Brittany hit replay on the stereo before running back to face Santana.

... ... ... ... ...

As it turns out, famous singers really did always have an audience. Santana pushed her sunglasses up her nose and pulled the brim of her hat over her face. Flashes went off around her. Bodyguards jostled photographers on the left and right. "Santana!" "Ms. Lopez!" rang out in the airport terminal.

Santana had finally arrived in London after nearly seven hours in the air. Her legs were cramped. Her hair matted from her sleeping position. Her stomach growled. Just a week earlier, she'd left her home in LA to begin a brief East Coast and European solo tour. At least, according to her manager, three weeks was supposed to be brief. She'd spent one night in Miami, the next night in Atlanta, one night in DC, a day in Philly, two nights in New York, and two nights in Boston before flying back to JFK and catching a flight to Heathrow.

During that whirlwind tour, she'd played eight solo shows. Her favorite piano had somehow taken a tumble and been sent to some repair shop in Virginia. She went to twelve meet and greets with fans. She'd received ten proposals, more than fifteen dozen roses, and about forty phone numbers. In New York, she appeared on the Regis and Kelly show, where she'd had to give Regis a kiss on the lips. His Aqua Velva aftershave still burned her nostrils at the memory.

And she still had yet to speak to Brittany.

On a solo tour, Santana couldn't justify bringing Britts along. Sure, Brittany had choreographed some of her larger, "Beyonce" numbers, as she liked to call them. But this tour was more about showcasing her sultry, sexy lounge singer act, the act that had brought her the most recognition and praise. And therefore, there would be no dancing. No dancing meant no Brittany.

But no Brittany didn't mean no Brittany. Once in the comfort of her hotel room, she pulled out her phone.

"Hi, babe," came a soft voice on the other end. Santana checked the clock. It would be about six AM in Los Angeles.

"Hi," she said hoarsely between sips of tea. "Sorry I woke you up."

"S'ok. You can always wake me up. How was the flight?"

Santana closed her eyes and leaned up against the headboard of the bed, imagining herself sitting next to Brittany back in Los Angeles, lighting pushing its was through the crack in the curtains.

"I'm so tired. I can't wait to be back home."

"Oh, don't say that, Santana. You are living your dream right now. Live it up!"

Santana smiled. "I wish I could have brought you with me."

There was silence on the other end.

"Less than two weeks now. Then I'm back home."

"I can't wait. I'll have to show you some of the music video stuff I've been choreographing. I just got two more calls today about new videos."

"That's great babe," Santana opened her eyes and reached again for the tea. "Just remember to save your best stuff for me."

"Well if you keep doing this solo stuff, you won't need me," Brittany countered a little too quickly. The line fell silent. "San, I didn't mean to say..."

"No, you're right. You live it up, too, Britt...Hey, I need some rest. I'll call you after my show tonight, or tomorrow or something."

"Santana...You'll always have the best of me, okay?"

"Yeah, ok. I'm sorry I didn't bring you with me. Really." Her voice softened.

"Love you."

"Love you, too."