"As you know, this is our introductory session so I can assess a few things and then we can go from there, okay?"

"Yeah, I know. I've done therapy before."

"Have you?"

"When my parents split up."

"When was that?"

"Uh, the summer between sophomore and junior year. My dad cheated on my mom."

"Do you feel that impacted you in any way?"

"Not really. I wasn't living at home when it happened."

"Are you close with your parents?"

"My mom. I mean, I guess I was closer to my dad when I was a kid, but that stopped."

"Why do you think that is?"

"A lot of reasons."

"Any of them stand out more than the others?"

"He kicked me out of the house when I was sixteen. But we weren't really close for a while before that."

"What was his reasoning?"

"He couldn't stand to look at his knocked up little girl, I guess."

"So, you were pregnant."

"Yes."

"How long had you been sexually active before the pregnancy?"

"I wasn't. Other than when I got pregnant."

"That was your first sexual experience."

"Yeah?"

"You don't sound entirely positive."

"My two best friends and I used to... do stuff. But not sex or anything."

"But it was enough to make you consider it a sexual experience?"

"We just made out sometimes. I didn't really do that much, because I wasn't as into it as they were."

"Were they involved with each other?"

"Kind of. They were weird about it."

"In what way?"

"They never actually dated, but San was really into Britt for a long time."

"I see. Did you feel you were excluded from anything?"

"Why, because they were all over each other all the time?"

"That's an interesting way to put it."

"Yeah, it sucked watching them be all in love with each other, sometimes. And I had my own boyfriend, but I couldn't really get it on with him at a girl's night sleepover."

"Were they sexually active in front of you?"

"Sometimes, but it was always when they thought I was asleep."

"But you were awake."

"Yeah."

"And aware of the situation."

"The sounds Santana makes, it's kind of hard to miss."

"But you let them believe you were unaware."

"I guess."

"Why?"

"I couldn't really tell my friends to stop doing it. They would have been mad at me."

"Did it make you uncomfortable?"

"Yes... at first. Then I just got used to it."

"Tell me about the encounter that let to your pregnancy."

"I was stupid and feeling lonely and worthless, so I slept with my boyfriend's best friend."

"And how did you feel afterward?"

"Like crap. I just wanted to forget about it. Everything about it just seemed stupid."

"Given the reason why you're here, am I correct to assume that your opinion on sex has changed?"

"Yeah, but it has nothing to do with Puck."

"At this point in your life, what is it about sex that appeals to you?"

"I'm in control, I know how to get off, and it makes me forget about all of life's bullshit while I'm doing it."

"Do you think the pregnancy was a result of loss of control?"

"The pregnancy was the result of believing a dumbass guy when he told me to trust him."

"Do you sleep with men or women?"

"Both."

"Do you want relationships with any of them?"

"Sometimes."

"When was your last relationship?"

"I fucked up the best one I've ever had a few weeks ago."

"And that's why you're here?"

"Yeah. It's exactly why I'm here."


They're just shy of sloppy drunk, though they're sloppy enough to not be shy about much of anything. Which is standard for Santana, but not so much for Quinn.

It's been almost a year since Nationals in New York and they've been so good at being friends, it's ridiculous. Okay, they weren't trading lockets or getting BFF tattoos or anything, but they were closer than ever.

"You," Santana says, digging her index finger into Quinn's chest. "Are a lightweight."

"No. No, I'm not. I had so many of those Jello shots." She slaps the hand away, but grabs Santana's arm.

The party was at Puck's and they've made the eight block trek back to Santana's house, on foot, in heels. Well, Santana's in heels, Quinn's technically in wedges. Whatever the case, it's a small miracle.

"Hold on, I need my keys." Santana fumbles with her purse, then pulls out a huge wad of key rings.

Something within the collection begins to make a mooing sound, which strikes Quinn as absolutely hilarious. "What is that?" she giggles.

"It's a fucking cow, you pre-school drop-out." There's another moo and a jangling of the assortment before the door's actually unlocked.

"I graduated from pre-school, asshole."

"Then you should know your farm animals."

The door shuts and shoes come off before the girls amble upstairs to Santana's bedroom. Quinn already has her overnight bag stashed in the corner because they knew getting wasted was on the agenda. She sheds her dress before even unzipping the duffel.

"Damn, Q."

"What?"

"I knew volleyball set you up with some nice guns, but the rest of you's looking damn good."

Quinn glances over her shoulder. "Are you hitting on me?"

"Maybe." Santana's stretched out on her bed, blouse off, skirt still on. "We should try it, again."

"You really think that's a good idea?" But she's already thinking about it.

"Last time wasn't bad. You were just new."

Last time had been after Finn's St. Patrick's Day party. They'd been just about as drunk (if not more) and determined that making out would be a fantastic idea. That then led to a round of awkward inebriated sex and it took three days for Quinn to even talk to Santana, again.

The duffel bag is abandoned as Quinn turns all the way around and kneels next to the bed. "Why are you so hot for me?"

"Shut up, you want some of this."

"Admit you want to tap this and I'll consider it."

"Fuck you."

"Okay, I'll take that as an admission."

It takes another round of banter, but Santana's comes off and Quinn ends up with a pair of very tan, very strong legs wrapped around her head. She barely has time to feel accomplished at completely undoing her best friend, because she ends up on her back with Santana's mouth all over her and two very dexterous fingers making her feel things she's never felt before. The last time they did this, she'd been "pretty sure" she'd gotten off. This time, there's no mistaking it.

"Jesus, did you black out or what?"

"Huh? No, I just..." she barely has any energy to talk. "Gimme a sec."

"I didn't even know you knew half those words, Jesus Freak."

"Why, what did I say?" she remembers swearing a little, but not really the specifics.

"Don't you worry your pretty little head." Santana rubs a hand over Quinn's already mussed hair. "Now move, I'm not sleeping in the wet spot."

Lying there with Santana at her back, Quinn feels something she hasn't felt, like, ever. She's sated, she's content, she's wanted. Even if it's just for a moment.

A moment she spends the next three years trying to recapture.


"I'd like to talk more about your parents."

"They didn't do stuff to me, if that's what you want to know."

"So, you never felt there was any inappropriate contact from either of them?"

"Nope."

"Care to expand on anything?"

"Not really."

"All right. Is there any history of addiction in your family?"

"Drinking. My parents were always drinking."

"Do you mean socially or consistently within the home?"

"Both."

"Have either of them received treatment?"

"You mean other than the mighty power of prayer?"

"I mean professionally."

"I don't think so. Mom hasn't. I don't really speak to my father."

"Since the divorce, correct?"

"Since he kicked me out."

"You've had no contact with him since that day?"

"I've seen him around town. And I had to go a custody hearing. But that's really it."

"What was the result of the hearing?"

"I was already seventeen and he didn't want anything to do with me, so Mom was pretty much uncontested."

"Then you lived with your mother through the duration of high school?"

"Yes."

"What was that like?"

"A lot like life before my dad moved out, except I didn't have to listen to his bullshit all the time."

"Meaning?"

"He wasn't really around a lot in the first place."

"But you were close when you were younger."

"As a kid, yeah. But that changed after middle school."

"Is there anything about that time period that you think attributed to that?"

"Plenty."

"Any examples?"

"Uh, I got a nose job-"

"-I'm sorry, this was in middle school?"

"Yeah."

"Please, continue."

"I was this gross kid nobody liked, so I took control and asked him for the nose job."

"And he complied?"

"Yeah."

"What do you feel you gained by getting the surgery?"

"Confidence. It wasn't just the nose job. I learned to eat better and got into sports and dance and stuff."

"Do you feel you could have made the same accomplishments without the nose job?"

"No. I mean, maybe I guess."

"How much value do you place on your physical appearance?"

"It gets me whatever I want. So... a lot."

"In what way?"

"All ways. Like, in high school, I wouldn't have made head cheerleader if I was the same awkward kid I was in middle school."

"But you also said you found an interest in sports around that time, too. Don't you think that also contributed?"

"Yeah, but it's all part of the same thing to me."

"Do you equate your early social success with appearance?"

"Uh, yeah."


"Tell me, again."

"You're so hot, babe."

She's on top of him in the bed of Puck's beast of a truck, out in the middle of nowhere. It's sometime between one and two in the morning and this is the result of a text messaging conversation that took an unexpected turn.

It's August and she leaves for OSU in two days. They had one previous tryst earlier in the summer when they were both depressed about Beth and traded handjobs in the cab of the truck while parked behind the 7-11. That was all the contact she allowed because she definitely didn't want a repeat of the last time they hooked up. Now, though, she's on the pill (Santana drove her to Planned Parenthood herself and said it was a prerequisite before heading off to college) and she even watched Puck open a brand new box of LifeStyles before assisting him with the application of the condom.

The best thing about sex with Puck, she decides, is that he always tells her exactly what she wants to hear.

"My name... use my name."

"Quinn. You're fucking hot."

He's also not afraid to let her have control, which is why she's working the cowgirl position to her full advantage. Her hands brace against his chest as she comes and he's right behind her, grunting as his strong grip on her hips holds her tightly against him.

She collapses on top of him, letting his arms wrap around her. He smells a little bit like cigarettes and a lot like Old Spice body wash. His pants are down around his ankles and his shirt's somewhere, hers is still on but otherwise she's undressed.

"Coulda been doing that for a long time, Q."

"Yeah, your girlfriend would have loved that."

"You know what I mean."

"Wouldn't have worked."

"I guess."

"Would you just shut up and hold me for a minute?"

He does. For the whole twelve minutes they lie there under the stars, she feels invincible.

"You what?"

"Slept with Puck."

"That is so insane. Fuck, Q. Like, why?"

Santana's laughing at her. Quinn just shrugs. "We were talking. I'm leaving. It just seemed like a good idea."

"Yeah, well, I hope you didn't make another kid."

"You're such a bitch."

"You're a slut."

"I've had sex with two people. I hardly qualify. Unlike others I know."

They haven't hooked up since that night after the party. Even though the morning after was significantly less awkward, they both decided it was fun, but not worth their friendship.

"Yeah, but... Puck?"

"Shut up. You've been there so many times."

"Yeah, and then I realized I was such a homo."

"Whatever. He's always been a good guy to me. And he tells me I'm pretty."

"Telling a girl she's 'totally fuckable' isn't the same."

"That's not what he says to me."

"Oh, ew. Are you in love?"

"No! God, no."

"Good, because it's one thing to get off with the guy, but you're so beyond him. Have you seen his credit score?"

"Is that what it takes to get close to you?"

"Yeah. Plus a great rack and a rockin' bod. Too bad you're only two for three."

"I'm beside myself."

"Hey, Q? Can I ask you something?"

Santana rarely ever asks permission for anything. "Uh, yeah."

"Do you think you're, like, bi or whatever?"

She doesn't answer right away, because she's not really sure. What she hasn't told Santana is that she definitely had a crush on Rachel through just about all of high school. But she figured that was just some weird repressed Christian shit. In light of the question, it was starting to make sense. "I... maybe?"

"Well, if you get to college and decide you're going to get in there with the ladies, just don't expect them all to blow your mind like I did. I'm really good at what I do."

"Whatever. What makes you even think my mind was blown?"

"Uh, I don't know. You screaming my name, repeatedly?"

"There was no screaming."

"There was totally screaming."


"Tell me about college."

"Okay, uh... just... like, all of it?"

"Start at the beginning."

"I got into OSU on partial academic scholarship. I pledged and was initiated to Tri Delta, which made my mom really happy."

"Was she part of the same sorority?"

"No. She was Kappa Kappa Gamma. Or she still is, maybe. They have reunions."

"How did you enjoy Greek Life?"

"I loved it. Parties, events, being important on campus."

'So, again, the focus was on your social status."

"Of course."

"Are you still a member?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"It was... suggested I not return after the fall semester of sophomore year."

"Suggested?"

"They didn't want to publicly kick me out."

"Why did they want to remove you?"

"Well... so there's this joke around campus that suggests the Tri Delta girls will try anything..."

"Were you involved with one of your sorority sisters?"

"A few, yeah. But it wasn't just me."

"This was a common practice within the house?"

"Kind of. Like, at parties and stuff. Usually just to get attention from the guys. It wasn't a big deal."

"Then what led to your ejection from the sorority?"


"You what?"

"I had a threesome with Kari and her boyfriend."

"Isn't she like the... queen or whatever?"

"The chapter president, yeah."

Santana shakes her head as she jabs at her salad with her fork. "You've got balls, Q."

"Actually, I think it was the lack of them that got me wrangled into it."

They do lunch a three times a week between classes and it's the only consistent contact they have. Sometimes they end up at the same parties, but they run in such different circles that it's rare. They tried harder during freshman year, but it all ended up feeling like more like an obligation rather than just hanging out. This year, though, their Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes aligned just right for a decent window of time for girl talk and catching up.

"What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" Quinn asks, picking the bacon off her BLT and eating it before abandoning the rest of the sandwich.

"Nothing. My parents are going to Bermuda."

"Come to my house. You know my mom's making a killer turkey."

"Can I just marry Judy?"

"Stop."

"Oh, shut up. You can sleep with your entire sorority house and half the brother fraternity, but I can't fantasize about an older woman who know how to handle her meats?"

Santana has a point. Since Quinn's started college, she's upped her number of sexual partners from two, to twenty-two. Whatever, though. That's less than two per month and she knows guys who manage four times that.

"Are you really lecturing me about sex?"

"No, I was just stating a fact." Santana drops the plastic fork into the bowl and pushes it aside. "You are, like, being safe and stuff, right?"

"Really? Is this a conversation we're having?"

"I just worry about you, Q."

"I'm fine."

They sit in silence until Santana sighs and says, "My roommate's totally obsessed with watching Dateline or whatever and there was this one about date rape drugs and Greek Life and I just don't want my best friend to be some stupid headline story."

"San. I'm careful, okay? I don't even really drink that much. I just like people."

"And sex."

"And sex."

"Whatever, okay. I can respect that."

"Come to Thanksgiving. I'll even let you hit on my mom, as long as I'm not in the room."

"Careful, Fabray. I've been single for a while, I might be in the market for a Sugar Mama."

Thanksgiving dinner actually manages to pass without any major embarrassments, though Quinn does notice that Santana's repeatedly compliments Judy's cooking. After dinner, dessert, and dishes, her sister and husband head home, and the two friends are left with a bottle of Merlot that was uncorked during dinner (but everyone seemed to favor the Chardonnay).

"If I drink any more, I won't be able to get home." Santana's on one end of the couch, somewhat crumpled in to the corner by the arm.

"You're staying here," Quinn answers as she pours a glass and passes it to Santana.

"Is your mom making breakfast?"

"Probably."

"Sweet."

They work their way through the bottle and by the time it's empty, they're upstairs in Quinn's room, sprawled on the floor and flipping though a stack of outdated Teen Vogue magazines they found in the closet.

"Ew. Okay, Quinn Fabray. Tell me, right now, why you have this outfit circled." Santana holds up the page, even though Quinn's right next to her.

"I don't know, I liked it."

"It looks like something Berry would we- Wait. Fuck, no. Tell me you weren't into that."

"What, knee socks and flats?"

"Rachel."

"Maybe I was."

"Gross."

"You know what? She was kind of hot, in a weird, librarian kind of way."

"You so wanted to dive right into that."

"And what, you wouldn't have?"

"I wouldn't admit it."

"Only you kind of just totally did."

Santana slams the magazine shut and tosses it aside. "Okay, I totally walked in on her doing vocal warm ups on time and she was doing all this crazy shit with her mouth and her tongue and... yeah. I've thought about it."

Quinn smirks and reaches for her phone. "You think she's in town? Maybe we can call her."

"I know you just recently discovered the beauty of the threesome, Q, but it's not really appropriate for all occasions."

"I don't even think I have her number, anyway. Too bad. Guess we're stuck with the traditional twosome."

"Are you suggesting you want to fuck, Fabray?" Santana's up on one arm, eyeing her friend.

"Are you saying you don't want to?" Quinn's bottom lip tucks between her teeth.

They don't even bother to try for the bed. Quinn ends up with rug burn on both elbows while Santana's awarded a patch of the stuff on her back.

"That's gonna suck tomorrow," Santana says, wincing as she climbs under the covers.

Quinn shrugs. "Worth it." She kisses Santana's shoulder and carefully relaxes against her back, aware of the area of skin that's rubbed raw. This kind of stuff doesn't usually happen with her encounters at school. Even in the sorority house, it's a bad idea to linger in each other's beds (if they're even near one in the first place).

Of course, after Winter Break, that won't even be an issue, because she'll be caught fucking Kari Johnson's boyfriend in the second floor bathroom during the annual Non-Denominational Holiday party and that will be the end of her sorority career.


"Tell me about Santana."

"Santana is... the most offensive person I know. Which says a lot because I also know Puck."

"Offensive in what way?"

"Just, in what she says. Because she doesn't care what people think."

"Does that bother you?"

"God, no. I love it. I give her a hard time about it, but for a long time I really felt like I never said exactly what I meant and she always did and it kind of helped me get over myself."

"You two have known each other for a while?"

"Since the summer before freshman year of high school, yeah."

"Where did you meet?"

"Cheer camp. She and Brittany were the first two real friends I made after... I transferred and stuff."

"You're referring to the personal changeover you made after the nose job?"

"And the exercise and everything, yes."

"How close were you in high school?"

"Super close, then not so close. It depended on the day and the drama. By senior year we kind of had it sorted out."

"And in college?"

"Still close."

"How close?"


It's Spring Break and they're at some crappy motel in Key West. Santana has her hand shoved into Quinn's bikini bottoms, but the angle's not quite working for her so she yanks the material down and Quinn kicks them off.

"Fuck, San."

Santana doesn't answer, she just resumes her initial plan of action and pushes two fingers into Quinn and proceeds to leave at least three substantial hickeys on her neck.

They're drunk on tequila and could probably be doing this with any of the friends they made in the bar that night, especially because it's Friday and they're heading back to Ohio tomorrow. But instead, they're here with each other, writhing and panting and just plain fucking.

In the morning, Santana wakes up to her right hand tied to the headboard with Quinn's bikini top. Meanwhile, Quinn can hardly walk straight and keeps flexing her left wrist like it's really stiff, but she also can't stop smiling (nor can Santana stop smirking). When they get back to Columbus, they both change their Facebook statuses to "In a Relationship" and they stay that way for the remaining six weeks of the semester.

Quinn doesn't even think about sleeping with anyone else, because Santana's sex drive is comparable to hers, plus she has a single this semester so there's always a place to go when they aren't feeling super adventurous and don't want to fuck in the bathrooms or behind the stairwell in the Fine Arts building.

It's Santana who breaks it off the first time. She's staying in Columbus for the summer while Quinn goes back to Lima and it doesn't make sense for them to stay together.

"Doesn't mean I love you any less, Q."

They've been casually trading the L word since high school, and this usage is the same as it's always been. They're friends, they're occasional fuck buddies, and now they're ex-girlfriends.

"I know."

They agree that they'll try again next semester. They're getting an apartment together, anyway, so it's kind of inevitable.

That summer, Quinn hooks up with Puck five times. And has twice as many one night stands with other people.

Life in the apartment doesn't start out the way they plan. Santana met some girl named Jessa during the break and they're kind of a thing. Quinn's disappointed, but she doesn't let it show, and anyway, she has a handful of regular suitors to turn to for attention. Given the amount she's dished out, she thinks her contact list should actually be longer, but it's not.

By Thanksgiving, Jessa's been history since Halloween and it's time to head back to Ohio for another holiday featuring Judy's greatest hits. Quinn doesn't even have to ask Santana, because she invites herself with the statement, "Fair warning, Fabray, your mom's totally my rebound this year."

Only, when they're alone in Quinn's room with half a bottle of sauv blanc, their hands linked together as they lie on the bed, and watch the Twilight Zone, Santana leans over and kisses her cheek, almost sweetly.

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"The summer thing. It was stupid."

"It was fine, San."

"No, it was a d-bag thing to do. We have fun and..." Santana rotates her hand in Quinn's so their fingers brush back and forth. "I think we should try it, seriously."

Having Santana Lopez solicit a relationship is a little unheard of, at least if you're not Brittany Pierce, but then the girl's come a long way since high school.

"Okay," Quinn says as she taps their wine glasses together with a clink. "Let's try it."

It's the best holiday season of her life. As soon as they get back to Columbus, they deck out the apartment with an insane amount of Christmas lights (to the point where they don't even bother turning on the regular lights at night) and an artificial tree (because really neither one of them can handle the responsibility of the care and clean up of an actual tree).

Santana gives her a classy and somewhat expensive monogrammed stationary set (just the Q and the F, since the L's a little controversial) because she's, "Always handwriting stuff like it's the 1800's." She's always been accused of living out of sync with time, but this is the first time someone's really embraced and encouraged it, at least in recent memory.

She gives Santana a new iPod dock, because her old one broke last semester and it only plays the radio, so all Quinn ever hears is her bitching about how there's nothing ever on. She also steals her friend's iPod and loads just about every cliched cheerleading song onto it and labels the playlist iHi Ho Cheerio, Motherfucker/i.

They both chip it to give themselves a brand new Keurig coffee maker because Santana likes French Roast and Quinn's all about Extra Bold and now they can stop arguing.

Things are really, really good. For about a month.

Until Quinn cheats.

"Fuck. I'm sorry, San. It was a mistake. I was drunk and everything just... Jesus, I'm so sorry."

"It's... Shit, Quinn. This sucks."

Santana paces the whole length of the living room. Quinn's in the chair in the corner, watching her. She's just recounted the events of the previous evening where she ended up in bed with some guy named Jeff after a rousing round of beer pong. The weird thing is, Santana doesn't seem as angry as she imagined she'd be.

"I understand if you..."

"If I what?"

"Want to break up."

"Over this? I mean, yeah, you banged some stupid frat guy and I'm not happy about it but... it was just sex, right?"

"I... yeah." It definitely was.

"Okay, so. I already did a lot of my stupid shit in high school. You didn't. And now you're done, right?"

"Yeah. Yes."

"Okay. I mean, I'm pissed at you, but... whatever. I'll get over it, because I love you."

"You mean that?"

Santana nods and perches on the arm of the chair as she looks down at Quinn. "Yeah, I mean it."

Santana forgives the same mistake two more times in just as many months.

And then she's done.


"Other than her ability to speak her mind, what else can you tell me about Santana?"

"She's book smart, but she kind of keeps that to herself because she doesn't want to seem like a nerd. She also likes to consider herself a bitch, but she has a really good heart under all the layers she puts up."

"Sounds like you know her well."

"I'd like to think so. Like I said, she's been my best friend since we were fourteen."

"Tell me about your relationship with her. The latest incarnation."

"As girlfriends?"

"Yes."

"We... started out really strong. We already know the weird crap about each other, we'd already had sex so we didn't have to work up to it... it was just really good."

"Did you ever fight?"

"Yeah, sure. San and I kind of argue all the time. Like, about little stuff. Are the Kardashians legit bitches or total sluts? Who's supposed to buy more coffee? Is making the bed worth it if you're just going to sleep in it, again?"

"What about larger arguments?"

"Other than the obvious?"

"Meaning?"

"Other than why I'm here?"

"Okay, yes, other than that."

"Not really. Like I said, we've known each other for year, we've had our big blowouts. I guess, if we had one again, that wasn't... about this... we'd work it out."

"Do you think you'll work this out?"

"I... want to."


This time Santana doesn't pace. Instead, she sits on the couch and stares at the television, but the volumes too low to actually hear anything. Quinn's in the same spot she was the first time they had this conversation.

Except this one is going to be very different.

This is offense number four. Penny, some art student bohemian who likes absinthe and free love.

"San, I'm s-"

Santana doesn't even look at her. "No, fuck you. I'm not doing this. I'm done." She snatches up the remote and shuts off the television.

"Wait, no. San, don't. I'll fix it, okay?" Quinn can hear her the fragility in her own voice and knows she's desperately clinging to something that's already gone. "I'll stop. I was just a mistake."

"Yeah, it's always a mistake." Santana rises from the couch and Quinn stands, ready to move after her, but she spins around and they're face to face. "You know what the worst part is? For some reason, I let myself get so pathetic that I'd put up with this shit from you." She practically spits the words at her.

The only words Quinn can think of are: "I'm sorry."

Santana just sneers at her, something she hasn't seen directed at her since eleventh grade, not like this. "Sorry won't cut it, Quinn. Not this time." She turns and grabs her jacket off the back of the couch. Just two days ago they'd had an argument about how furniture wasn't a coat rack or a dresser and they'd ended up having sex in the kitchen and breaking the salt shaker by knocking it into the sink.

She needs Santana not to leave, she needs her to stay. Because if she stays, this isn't just like everything else in her life. If she stays, Quinn's still loveable, likeable, at least tolerable. If Santana goes, she's nothing.

"Don't go. Please."

"And stay for what, Quinn? You're obviously not checked into this relationship."

"It won't happen ever again, I promise. I swear. Just please don't leave me."

Santana just shakes her head. It's like she wants to be furious, but she's just sad. "Don't write checks your ass can't cash, Q."

"I need you."

"Not more than you need to fuck some random hipster bitch. And... fuck, I was telling myself that if this had been another stupid frat jock, just some dumb guy you bumped into during a game of Flip Cup, that'd I'd be okay with it. You know? That it would hurt less. But, it doesn't, Quinn. It hurts every fucking time."

"I'm sorry."

But Santana's already out the door.

They still have to share the apartment for the time being, because neither one can afford to move out before the end of the semester. The common areas go unused when they're both home, unless it's to grab food from the fridge.

When they do cross paths, it's silent and awkward.

The worst part is, not even a week after the break up, Quinn finds herself in bed with some girl she met at a coffee shop acoustic show. In the morning, when she leaves, she doesn't even remember her name.

She tries to regulate it, to distract herself with homework, music, movies, stupid teen soap operas, but it doesn't work. She can't focus, she feels alone.

She knows Santana's lonely, too, because there's one night, maybe three weeks before the semester's over, when she stumbles through the front door, totally drunk and Quinn literally catches her when she trips over her own shoes.

Santana tries to shove her off, but Quinn says, "Let me just help you to your room." There's no reply, but the struggle stops.

Once they're in the bedroom and she has her ex-girlfriend seated on the bed, Quinn turns to leave, but Santana grabs her arm and pulls her back. They tumble against the mattress and they kiss this needy, wanting, desperate kiss before she's shoved backward. She's pretty sure if Santana weren't so drunk and had better aim in the moment, she would have been slapped.

"I love you, but you fucked it up. Get out." The words are slurred but incredibly clear.

She goes home to Lima for the summer, even though their original plan had been to take a road trip together. Instead, she gets a job in the mall at a kiosk that sells sunglasses and watches the high school crowd play all the same social games she practically invented.

Judy suggests they go to church together. Quinn's not opposed and figures praying about stuff isn't the worst possible thing she could do.

It's Brittany who suggests therapy. They run into each other in the mall and end up having lunch together.

Quinn feels like Brittany's probably the only person on the entire planet who won't judge her for any of her current life experiences, so she explains her situation and waits for a slew of bizarre, non sequitur advice.

The only question Brittany asks is: "Do you still love her?"

"I... yeah."

"But you can't stop having sex?"

"Right."

"When I couldn't stop lighting things on fire, my parents made me see a therapist."

"You really think that'll work?"

"I stopped wanting to burn down Barbie's dream house. It was too late for her motorhome, though. It smelled really bad when it melted."

Quinn's never been so terrified and thankful for someone as she's always been for Brittany.


"At this point, what is that you'd like to get out of this program?"

"I need to stop doing... this. It's not good for me and it's not going to get me anywhere."

"So, you feel your behavior is damaging to yourself?"

"... Yeah."

"What's your ultimate goal for yourself, when you're discharged?"

"You mean other than to get my girlfriend to take me back?"

"If that's your target goal, there's likely a lot that needs to be discussed these next few weeks."

"I know it's... like... you're not supposed to jump into anything after rehab. I just... what if I take too long and she finds someone else?"

"Is that a concern of yours?"

"Obviously. I just said it."

"Would you wait for her if the roles were reversed?"

"If I wasn't so fucked up? Definitely."

"Is that how you view yourself?"

"I'm in therapy and about to do twenty-eight days of sex rehab. I think it's an accurate perspective to have."


Sex rehab's a lot like a fucked up hybrid of Celibacy Club and summer camp. There are group meetings and activities, but no one's allowed to touch each other beyond a handshake and that's only if both parties feel comfortable with it. Other rules include no drugs, no sex toys, no promiscuous dress. She can handle all those, because she's never had a problem with any of them. The no masturbation policy is going to be rough, though.

On top of the group stuff, there are also daily one-on-one sessions with her assigned therapist. It's all basically a deeper inspection of everything she discussed in the introductory interview. She talks a lot about Beth and her dad and her obsession with tiaras. Santana comes up less than Quinn thought she would, but as she progresses, she realizes this is definitely a lot less about her ex-girlfriend and much more about herself. Which, she knew. But now she really sees it.

She learns that her compulsion is more about a need for attention and acceptance than the actual sex. Yeah, she likes sex, she likes the way it makes her feel, she likes the control, but apparently she hasn't even been in control for most of it. At least, not in the way she thought she was.

Comparatively, there are people in the program who will have a much more difficult recovery period, but hers won't be so breezy, either. She does, however, have the benefit of abstinence training under her belt and she starts to rely on her old virginal standbys to make it through the day: Handwriting letters, watching old performances of The Supremes on You Tube, Jane Austen novels, movies based on Jane Austen novels... There's a Wii in the rec lounge and they're all encouraged to interact together, so she schools everyone in Wii Tennis and gets her ass kicked at kayaking by a guy named Kevin who's slept with over 3000 women.

Even though her personal numbers aren't even ten percent of that (she's calculated that it's somewhere around seventy-five), she's terrified to get the results of her physical exam. Fortunately, because she's paranoid about pregnancy and due to the fact that there was rarely any oral contact in her encounters (she's actually still never performed a blowjob and going down on girls was something she generally reserved for her more steady moments in life and/or Santana), she's managed to dodge the STD bullet. However, it's very likely that she may have been responsible for the mono outbreak on campus during fall semester.

She's been ridiculously lucky and she sees that, now.

She graduates the program at the end of the summer, just in time for fall classes. She's had an apartment lined up and she's made sure her financial aid won't cover her entire rent, because part of her plan is to actually need a job. She wants to stay so busy that she doesn't even think about sex because she's too exhausted. The swing shift position she picks up at the diner just off campus is the perfect solution. She makes it known that she's always available to fill in and, before she knows it, she's either in class, sleeping, or slinging coffee.

While she was in rehab, she wrote two letters to Santana. The first one was written on day one, explaining where she was and what she was doing. The second was written during her final week, highlighting her plans for the next semester. She tells herself she doesn't even expect an answer.

It still sucks when she doesn't get one.

In mid-October, Santana comes into the diner with a study group. It's late, so Quinn's the only server on the floor because Marcie's taking her break (which translates to calling her boyfriend while chain smoking no less than three cigarettes).

She's been expecting this, because it's kind of inevitable. Santana gives her a polite smile and orders a cheeseburger and Quinn doesn't even need to hear the rest because she already knows: Cheddar, extra pickle, light onion, and curly fries instead of regular ones. When she glances back at her, she realizes she was talking aloud as she wrote it all down and it's obvious it means something to both of them, but it doesn't necessarily mean enough to mean anything at all.

They don't talk that night. But she doesn't get stiffed on the tip, either.

Two weeks later, Santana comes back in, alone. All she orders is a cup of coffee but Quinn lets her stay in the booth for three hours, because it's slow (and it's Santana).

"I got your letters," she finally says while Quinn refills the cup.

"Oh. Good. I was wondering."

"Seems like you're doing better."

She nods. "Yeah. I'm just trying to stay busy."

"Roommate?"

"No. Just me."

"Fucking anyone?"

It's harsh, but it's also Santana's way of asking if she's clean and Quinn knows that. "Nobody."

Santana doesn't really look convinced, but she nods as she picks up her coffee and goes back to her notes. "Good for you."

That's the end of the conversation until Santana pays her bill and Quinn works up the nerve to ask about the upcoming November holiday.

"I know it's... weird. But Mom asked if you were coming."

"I don't know if it's a good idea."

"Yeah. Just, uh, think about it?"

"Whatever. Okay. I'll think about it."

Thanksgiving Day comes and goes and Santana never shows up. Quinn wasn't really expecting her to, anyway.

Except, at about three o'clock the next morning, she gets a text.

Hey loser, if you're up, meet me at the mall at four. I need to buy a five dollar microwave and I can't run interference by myself.

They spend that Black Friday morning trash talking all the women in Mom Jeans and it's a lot like when they were fifteen. Any talk of their relationship is avoided, at least until they're in the food court celebrating their discount purchases with Cinnabons and Santana asks if she's actually been sex-free since she's been out of rehab.

"Yeah. I've had a couple almost slip ups, but I caught myself. I don't want to, like, end up where I was before."

"How long has it been?"

"Three months, twenty-six days." Quinn rattles it off quickly, because she knows in the same way she knows Beth is five and a half.

"Jesus, that's a long time."

"Yeah, I know." Quinn wants to ask how long it's been for Santana, but it's not really any of her business.

But Santana can read her, just like she always has. "Last month. And it sucked."

Quinn's hit with a combined feeling of jealousy and satisfaction. "That's... unfortunate."

"Do you want to go bowling?"

That's the least likely question to ever come out of Santana Lopez's mouth and Quinn just stares at her for thirty seconds. "Bowling?"

"I miss you, okay? You were my best friend before any of this and I'm probably setting myself up to get fucked over, but..."

"Bowling?" Quinn repeats.

"Shut the fuck up."

They go bowling. It's a good choice because it's the least sexy thing they've ever done together. Though, that's counteracted by the fact that it's a competition and they both thrive on it. In the end, Quinn wins by four points and Santana insists she was robbed in her last frame due to "uneven planks in the lane" that caused her to throw a gutter ball.

"Is that bowling talk for how much you suck?"

"You barely won, Fabray."

"Yeah, but I still won."

She walks Santana to her car and they hesitate, not sure what to do when they get there, but then she throws caution to the wind and initiates a hug. They embrace for a period of time that would be awkward if they were anyone else, but they haven't even touched each other since that night at the apartment. Quinn finally pulls back, but not very far. There's so much familiarity in the moment, she can smell Santana's shampoo plus a hint of Ralph Lauren's Romance.

Before she can really weigh the consequences of kissing, she's already being kissed. It's not really that aggressive, but it's not totally chaste. Santana's back on a smoking kick, Quinn can tell because she faintly tastes it under the hint of Doublemint gum. That explains why it took her so long to come back from requesting that Ke$ha song from the makeshift DJ at the rental counter.

She allows herself ten seconds, then she breaks away.

"I..."

"That's wasn't supposed to..."

"I'm supposed to take things slow."

Santana nods. "Okay."

She doesn't want Santana to think she's rejecting her. Because she isn't. "Like, friendly public dates. No sex. At least not for a while. If... you feel like this is something you can do, again. I get it if you don't."

"I meant it when I said I missed you. But... You really fucked me up, Q."

"I know."

They both lean against Santana's car, arms touching, but no other contact. "Is mini golf public and friendly enough?"

"If you won't be humiliated when I beat you, again."

"Really should let me win with all you put me through."

"Please, you'd rather lose a good game than accept a pity victory."

"I'll call you. Night, Q."

"Night, S."

They hug, again, but briefly and without any follow up lip contact. As Quinn walks toward her car, she feels like there's a promise of something, even if that something is just regaining her best friend.

She wants to be loved. She really does. And the biggest gain she's made from all this, from the therapy, from the rehab, is that before anyone else can love Quinn Fabray, Quinn Fabray has to love herself first.

And for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, she feels like she does.


EPILOGUE

As much as Quinn's the one with the certified addiction, Santana isn't having the easiest time.

She's hot and she knows it, she has known it since, forever. She also knows she's really good at sex.

Despite this and the more flexible ideas she had about relationships when she was seventeen, she's faithful to Quinn, even though she hasn't gotten any since that October night she slept with the barista from the campus cafe. Self love doesn't count, because she's only human, not some kind of superhuman who can activate an abstinence force field like Quinn apparently can. (Santana knows it's not that easy for her, but Quinn's ability to tune something out is worthy of the X-Men.)

But she loves Quinn and they've been doing this dating slash courtship thing that belongs in old movies or to that weird family with the twenty-five kids or whatever. They've done a little bit of physical stuff, but it's fairly limited. It's a lot like dating High School Quinn, except this one swears more and knows the difference between standard and Asian cowgirl. (And fuck, she really needs to stop thinking about sex positions.)

Before now, there was a good stretch of time where she tried to convince herself she was done, over it. But the naked truth is, she still loves her. And she wants this to work.

It's late April and Quinn's birthday is tomorrow. They're supposed to go to dinner with Greg and Kody, their OSU version of Kurt and Blaine, but apparently Kody's sick so they reschedule for later in the week.

"Whatever, we can go without them."

Quinn shrugs. "We can stay in and watch a movie or something." She's already taking off her heels.

"It's your birthday, Q. We should do something."

"Um, no. My birthday is tomorrow. That's when you're supposed to wow me. This was just preliminary."

"Your birthday is one day, not a whole damn week." Santana's fully aware that Quinn celebrates the occasion by milking it for as many days as possible.

Quinn just tosses her shoes aside and leans against the arm of the sofa. It's different than the one they had in their old apartment. Everything in here is straight out of IKEA, which Santana teases her about at least once a week. They haven't shared a living space since they broke up the second time.

"I'm just excited to celebrate life."

"Please. You want so many presents and free dinners."

"Then why am I the one trying to convince you to stay in for frozen pizza and iJennifer's Body/i?"

Santana finally gives in to the fact that they aren't going anywhere and sets her purse back down on the small table by the front door. "Fine. But I spent ten fucking minutes trying to get these boots on." She slips behind Quinn and collapses onto the couch so she can undo the zipper on the back of the footwear.

"And you've looked totally hot for the whole fifteen minutes you've worn them." Quinn pivots and slides down the arm so she's sitting next to Santana.

"You saying I wasn't hot before?"

"You were still hot, they just elevated your levels."

"Smooth, Fabray."

"I was going to say Scorchingly Fuckable, but I don't think one of those is a word."

Santana has one boot off and is midway through the removal of the second when she looks back over at Quinn. She really wants to have sex, but she also needs Quinn to be ready for it. "Still a good compliment," she says, taking in the look on Quinn's face.

"The secret is, it's true without the boots, too. I just didn't want to over inflate your ego." Quinn wets her lips before she speaks again, it's a habit Santana can't remember ever not noticing about her. "San..."

She knows what's about to be asked. Quinn's been in weekly therapy ever since she finished rehab and they've been going to a couple's counselor twice a month since February (it seemed like a weird Valentine's proposal at the time, but it's been good for them). The topic of sex has come up more than once and Santana knows she's more than willing (though it took her some time to get there, because there are some definite trust issues, but she also feels like actually having sex is a part of that process), she's just been waiting on Quinn.

"Yeah?"

"Do you... want to... try... sex?" It sounds clumsily virginal and kind of like Quinn's a robot, yet still manages to makes Santana want this even more.

Boot number two drops to the floor. "Are you sure?"

"If you don't think it's a good idea, yet, that's okay."

"Quinn, I haven't had sex since before Halloween. And I know it's been even longer than that for you."

"So... you're saying you're hot for me?"

"I'm hot for my right hand if you and I don't get it on, tonight."

They've never been overly romantic in any of the varied stages of their relationship, so when Quinn reaches over and grabs her hand, then looks at her like she's about to recite a fucking sonnet, Santana just stares back at her.

"I don't want anyone else. I just want you. I need you to know that."

The words are definite deja vu from a time long since passed but Santana still remembers exactly what it took to say them. "I know."

It's incredibly unceremonious, the way they walk together into Quinn's bedroom. It's not explosive and no one's slammed against the wall or the door or up against the dresser in some kind of feat of passion.

Instead, it's a slow, steady exploration and redefining of boundaries. Before, things had been a mess, uncertain, even under the guise of monogamy. This time there's a legitimate promise on the line.

However, going half a year or more without sex is new to both of them and once the temporary shyness of being naked together fades, Santana decides she needs to reassure Quinn that's she'll never need anyone else.

Before anything, though, she asks, "You're sure?"

Quinn furiously nods, "Please, San." There's a pained expression on her face that dictates just how much she needs to be touched and it surfaces that part of Santana that expected there were some residual issues to resolve in this process.

She teases, but only briefly because she wants this just as badly.

Her fingers push and pull the tension, the stress, and all the bullshit further and further away. As she watches Quinn writhe and flex against the sheets, she realizes they rarely ever did it like this, in bed at night with the door closed, and it's kind of super vanilla, but it's also kind of comforting. They can be a little bit boring and they'll still work.

When Quinn comes, she has tears in her eyes and pulls Santana so tightly against her she can hardly breathe.

The grip loosens and they lie there, Quinn sated and Santana just about out of her mind with how much she fucking needs to get off. Fortunately, Quinn's eager to please and doesn't need a lengthy recovery period, so it's only about another ninety seconds before Santana has a beautiful blonde leaning over her, likely contemplating the best place to leave a hickey.

Instead of leaving marks in visible places, Quinn's mouth is put to use saying, "I love you." Santana's instinct is to reply, but there's apparently more. "And I mean it, I don't want anyone else."

"I know, Quinn. I know."

"Good."

Santana Lopez doesn't fucking cry during sex. That's the kind of stupid shit people make up for Lifetime Original movies and bad romance novels (which are basically Lifetime movies for people who read). Still, somehow, her eyes are wet as Quinn touches her in such a focused, gradual way that it can't even be called fucking.

There's a presence in her partner that she hasn't seen in a very long time, and even then, it was different. This woman here, right now, has the same determination as that ex-cheerleader turned failed prom queen, but there's also an added confidence to her.

When Santana comes, it's not with the usual string of obscenities. Instead, she's surprisingly non-verbal through her orgasm and just shudders against Quinn's shoulder.

If Quinn notices she's been crying, she doesn't comment. For that, Santana's grateful. She wipes at her eyes and kisses Quinn's cheek.

"I love you, too." She lets the moment linger for another beat, but even with all the progress and the therapy, there's only so much sap she can handle. "But you're still only getting one birthday present."

Quinn chuckles and rolls away to get comfortable on a pillow. "We'll see."

"I mean it."

"I'm sure you do."

Things won't be perfect, there will be rough patches, and God knows they'll piss each other off plenty. But they can do this, they can make it work.

Because Quinn's always made things work for her, overcome the crap, and found her way back to the top, even if she has to start back at the bottom. Quinn doesn't fucking give up, she doesn't stop trying, and when she's set on something, she gives her all.

These reasons are exactly why Santana loves her, even if it takes another sixteen months and a princess cut diamond for her to actually say so.