A/N: I would like to apologize that it took this long for this update. I definitely didn't intend for that, but my beta and I were busy little bees this past month. Thank you Frogsrcool for helping flesh out this story and taking it further than I had ever imagined. And thank you, all of you for every kind message and review I've received. Thank you to those of you who have followed me on tumblr and messaged me. I enjoy talking to all of you. Also, I will be writing a new story. I already have the first three chapters done. So if you want more information on that or have any questions, message me on tumblr :)

Thank you again. This story has been a joy to write.


Chapter Fourteen - I am Hers and She is Mine

Brittany laid in bed, staring up at the few glow in the dark stars she had stuck to her ceiling. She remembered how a few fell off every summer when she would leave her window open because of the heat, giggling a little at the memory of Santana waking up one morning in seventh grade with a comet sticker on her forehead.

She tried to get comfortable. Turning on her side and bringing her knees to her chest as she hugged her pillow. It was a poor substitute for Santana's warm body that was currently sleeping on the couch in the living room.

Brittany huffed and grabbed her phone from the spot on the bed next to her. The screen lit up, casting her in a bright halo as she typed away at it. Within seconds, her phone vibrated in her hand.

Ya I'm awake

Brittany smiled, shifting until she was lying on her back again. I miss you.

I'm sorry I got us in trouble by keeping u past curfew

Brittany chuckled, shaking her head in the darkness of her room. She was most definitely not upset that they got in trouble. I'm not. 2nite was the best date EVER!

:) You're the best date ever.

The butterflies in Brittany's stomach fluttered and she felt her lips curling impossibly wide. She knew she was blushing and she needed Santana in her bed now. Come up here.

Hell no. Your mom banished me to the couch. I'm not getting into any more trouble.

Brittany pouted, turning back to her side. U can sneak back down b4 any1 gets up.

Britt.

Brittany could picture Santana whining, weighing the options of whether she should take the risk or not. Brittany knew she probably had her cute scrunchy face on and she really wanted to kiss her. Please. I can't get comfy.

If I get kicked out of ur house, I'm kicking ur ass.

Brittany giggled as she read over the last text before she heard soft footsteps outside her bedroom door. The door creaked open and Santana fell into her arms with tiny butterfly kisses before she even had time to put her phone away.

"Hey baby." Brittany squealed, pressing her lips against Santana's.

"Hi." Santana smiled, resting her head in the hollow of Brittany's neck. "This is so much more comfortable than your couch." She murmured, kissing the swallow that traveled down Brittany's throat.

"Sorry." Brittany whined, tightening her grip around Santana's shoulders. She breathed in the scent of her shampoo in Santana's hair, and listened to the soft puffs of Santana's breathing, her own pulse quickly matching it as her eyes started to slip closed. She found herself a lot more tired now that she was comfortable with Santana cuddled on top of her.

"My dad called while we were out. He left a voicemail." Santana breathed, startling Brittany a little after so much silence.

It took her a minute to come out of the sleep she had started drifting into, stretching her back to make herself more awake. "What'd he say?" she asked, her hand rubbing up and down Santana's back.

"He wants me to come to dinner tomorrow." Santana whispered, nuzzling her nose against Brittany's neck.

Brittany felt Santana's shoulders tense beneath her fingers, and she knew there was more to it than a simple dinner between her and her dad. But instead of prying, she waited for Santana to tell her.

Santana pushed her ear harder against Brittany's chest until all she could hear was the soft thud of Brittany's heart. "He wants me to have dinner with me and my mom." She breathed out, her voice a little more tense. Brittany's fingers faltered slightly before her movements continued down Santana's back. She felt Santana's warm breath on her skin as she continued to keep her breathing normal. Brittany tried her best to keep hers normal too. She was nervous and worried for Santana and her mom, the images of Santana crying on her front porch vivid in her mind, but she didn't want Santana to be the one comforting her right now. She needed to keep calm so Santana would keep calm.

"What are you going to do?" Brittany asked after a moment, her hands tickling through charcoal hair at the top of Santana's back.

Santana stayed quiet, her arms looped around Brittany like a kid and her favorite teddy bear. "I don't know." She tightened her hold on Brittany just a little bit harder. "I don't know."


"Good morning ladies." Mrs. Pierce smiled as they walked into the kitchen. Santana returned the gesture as she walked toward the full coffee pot on the granite counter top.

"Morning mom." Brittany replied with a little more cheer than Santana could muster this early without the aid of caffeine.

"How'd you sleep on the couch Santana?" Mrs. Pierce smirked over the top of her own mug of coffee.

They all knew Santana had been caught. She had tried to wake up early to sneak back down to the couch but Brittany kept giving small lazy kisses that made her want to stay in bed. When she finally tiptoed down the hall towards the living room, Mrs. Pierce was walking out of her bedroom headed toward the kitchen. Santana tried to play it off as her going to the bathroom, but it wasn't until she was on the couch that she realized the bathroom was in the complete opposite direction. She chuckled and replied with a soft "good" anyways, hoping Mrs. Pierce wouldn't be too upset. Brittany's mom let out a little laugh and Santana was grateful she wasn't going to be kicked out for disobeying her.

Once Santana fixed her cup of coffee and Brittany had poured a glass of orange juice and made them both some toast, they sat down at the kitchen table with Brittany's mom. "School starts next week." Mrs. Pierce smiled, flipping a page of the newspaper in front of her. "Are you girls excited for your senior year?"

Brittany nodded with a huge grin around a mouthful of crunchy toast and strawberry jam. "It's going to be my favorite year. I can already tell." She winked in Santana's general direction, giggling at the faint blush that painted over Santana's cheeks. "We're gonna be in Glee Club and Cheerios again. And that means two national championships. And then there's senior prom and senior pictures. Senior skip day and senior dress up day." Brittany rambled, her smile never fading.

"Breathe baby." Santana chuckled as she took another sip from her mug. She was so wrapped up in Brittany's excitement and all the promising possibilities senior year had to offer that she completely forgot to be embarrassed by the term of endearment in front of Brittany's mom.

Mrs. Pierce laughed at them as she turned the newspaper page. They finished their breakfast in relative silence before Brittany's mom said something about taking Kenzie shopping for school supplies and excused herself from the table. She tossed the newspaper on the counter by the garage door and then left to go get Kenzie ready.

Brittany turned to face Santana, a bit of strawberry jam sticking to the corner of her mouth. Santana smiled and leaned forward, running her tongue over the spot with a satisfied hum. "Why have I never licked jam off of you before? It makes you taste so much sweeter." Santana licked her lips into a smirk before kissing the corner of Brittany's mouth.

"Because it's sticky." Brittany whined with a smile to her voice. "And I'm already sweet." She half-pouted, giggling when Santana tried to kiss it from her face.

"Damn right." Santana nodded, kissing the apple of Brittany's cheek before sitting back and reaching for her coffee. "You're the sweetest person I know."

Brittany's smile grew and a soft pink dusted over the freckles on her cheeks. Santana made her feel so special and she didn't understand how one person could make her feel so loved. She felt so lucky to have someone look at her the way Santana did, and happy because Santana always got her jokes and didn't make her feel stupid. She absolutely loved that Santana was staying with her because that meant they could cuddle every night, and she could kiss Santana right before she fell asleep and as soon as she woke up.

But then she remembered the reason why Santana was staying with her, and the phone call Santana had gotten last night. She wanted Santana to know that she was there for her, that she would support whatever decision Santana made.

Brittany's face pulled a little tighter, trying to be more serious as she reached over to squeeze a warm, tan thigh. "Have you decided what you're going to do today?"

Santana shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. Brittany could tell she was trying to act indifferent, but the softness and almost scared look in her eyes said differently. Brittany could tell she really wanted to go and see what her parents had to say, even though she was afraid to be let down again.

"It's okay to want to go." Brittany offered, her hand running up and down Santana's thigh in a comforting motion.

Santana sighed, seeming to dispel the weight of pretending she didn't care in the process. "I just…I don't…what if…" she sighed again and shook her head.

"It's okay." Brittany repeated, moving closer so she could pull Santana against her. She weaved her fingers through raven hair, combing through tiny knots as she felt Santana curl into her further.

"I just want them both to be okay with this." Santana breathed barely above a whisper. She felt the familiar sting of tears in the corners of her eyes, but she knew she wasn't going to cry. She didn't want to cry.

"I know." Brittany kissed against her temple. "But if it doesn't happen the way you want it to, that doesn't mean it's not going to be okay. Okay?" Brittany didn't want Santana setting herself up for failure. She didn't want her going to her house and expecting her mother to welcome her home with open arms. And she definitely didn't want to watch Santana deflate and curl back in on herself when that didn't happen.

Brittany wanted Santana to know that just because some people didn't agree with their relationship, didn't make it wrong. She wanted Santana to know that even if those people were family, it didn't mean Santana was doing anything wrong. She just wanted Santana to know that people still loved her, still cared about her, and that they could get through this, together.

Santana nodded her head against Brittany's chest, allowing the weight of Brittany's words to settle in her stomach like a big breakfast. She allowed the comfort and the unspoken promise that everything would be alright to wash through her and she nuzzled her nose into the warm skin of Brittany's neck, placing a soft kiss there before pulling back to her coffee.

Brittany watched her take a sip, content to just watch her the rest of the day to make sure she didn't break, but she knew that wasn't what Santana wanted or needed.

Brittany meant what she said earlier. Their senior year was going to be amazing, and it wasn't just because they were finally together. Although that was a big reason in Brittany's eyes. But what was making it so much better than any other year was the simple fact that Santana was accepting herself. She was finally learning to see everything that Brittany saw in her. Everything that made her special. And even if they still had to hide their relationship from the rest of the student body, Brittany was okay with that. Because Santana wasn't hiding from herself anymore.

"I think I'm going to go." Santana breathed over the steady steam of her coffee mug, cutting through Brittany's thoughts. Brittany nodded, understanding there was never another option for Santana, even if she pretended there to be. "I have to." Santana added, and Brittany nodded again, this time a promising smile snaking over face.

"Okay." Brittany commented, her voice low and caring, causing Santana to smile and nod in return. She sat next to Santana and watched her finish her breakfast, sneaking a hand to squeeze Santana's knee when she swallowed the last of her coffee.

Everything would be okay.


Brittany watched her get ready in silence. She watched as Santana put on clothes she hadn't seen her wear in months, as if she was trying to cover up her mistakes with fabric. She watched as Santana straightened each strand of her hair until Brittany's entire room smelled of burnt shampoo. She watched as Santana applied make up to her eyes and cheeks like she was going on a date, dark liner and fake lashes that fluttered against rosy cheeks.

It was weird and yet Brittany knew not to question it. If Santana needed to do it then Brittany was going to let her.

As Santana made to exit Brittany's room, Brittany finally stood from her bed and walked toward her, her hands instantly falling to Santana's waist to hold her in front of her.

Santana's eyes looked wide and scattered, like a frightened rabbit looking for the best possible place to hide. Brittany ran her thumb over a hip, trying to soothe the nerves away. "I love you." She smiled, running her thumb across the same place over and over again, like she was trying to seal her words into Santana's skin like a warm brandy. She wanted them to sink into Santana, wash through her and keep her warm and safe while she wasn't able to.

Santana nodded, her throat too dry to open her mouth and repeat the sentiment. She could tell by the soft and loving look in Brittany's eyes that Brittany understood, and for that she was more than grateful.

"I have something for you." Brittany smiled, squeezing Santana's hip before tearing herself away and walking back to her bed. Santana watched her as she picked up a white envelope. She felt guilty that she hadn't even realized it was sitting there, and she wondered how long she had blocked everything but getting ready out of her mind. Brittany's eyes remained bright as she handed it to Santana, her name written in Brittany's loopy cursive sprawled across the front.

"But I don't want you to open it till after your dinner, okay?" Santana nodded. "No matter what happens or what is said, I want you to find a place by yourself and open this and read it. And then if you need me to come get you, you call me." Brittany instructed, her sweet voice almost too much for Santana to bear with the amount of nerves fluttering through her.

"Okay," Santana nodded again.

"Okay." Brittany repeated before pulling Santana into her, looping her arms around her and into a tight hug. "I love you." Brittany echoed before pulling back and kissing Santana, soft and full.

Santana nodded, too many words and feelings swimming around in her head for her to get out an appropriate response.

But Brittany knew, and Santana allowed that comfort to hold her as she left. She turned the ignition of her car and as she pulled out of Brittany's driveway, the place that she had called a second home for almost ten years, and turned in the direction of her house, she had never felt more like she was leaving behind her family than she did as she watched Brittany's retreating face in the living room window.

Santana decided to tuck that feeling in the corner of her heart to process later. Even though she was pretty sure she already knew what it meant.

She wanted to listen to music to distract her frantic mind, but every song felt too loud and invading. She briefly wondered if she should call Brittany and ask her to tell her a story about Lord Tubbington just to keep her mind from exploding. But as she took her time to weigh her options, she realized she was already in her neighborhood, her body driving home as if on autopilot.

Her dad was waiting for her when she pulled up, and she swallowed hard at whether or not that was a good thing or a bad one.

"Hi peanut." He greeted, wrapping her in a hug when she got out of her car. He smelled like aftershave and coffee, and she welcomed the familiarity of bedtime stories and tuck-ins when she was little wash over her.

"Hi papi." She smiled despite herself, holding on to the hope that her dad, who obviously loved her so much and wouldn't want to hurt her on purpose, would not invite her to dinner if something bad were going to happen. She had so many questions she wanted to ask him about tonight, but she decided to just trust him and follow his lead.

Her mother wasn't in the kitchen when he offered her a drink. She wasn't in the living room when the two of them sat down. Santana tried to keep the negative thoughts threatening to bubble out of her mind at bay, choosing to focus on the way her dad was trying to make her as comfortable as possible.

"How have you been mija?" He asked with a jovial smile, sipping at the lemonade he had poured himself. She took a sip of her own glass, a satisfied happiness settling in her stomach at the familiar and yummy taste. Her father made the best lemonade, and she never realized how much she missed it until now.

"Good. Really good." She answered automatically as she thought about Brittany, but quickly regretted it when she saw her father's face fall just a little. "I mean it's been nice being with Brittany." She amended, offering a small smile, hoping he would get the underlying meaning of how she still missed home though.

He nodded, crossing his legs in his chair. "You look good."

She blushed under his words, nodding her head in thanks. She looked around the room as if the answers to all her questions would be hidden along the walls or among the expensive art decorating them. She felt more nervous now that she was in her house and talking to her dad, knowing that her mom was in the same place and yet still refused to be in the same room as her daughter. Santana felt like it was the calm before a storm, the way the air cools and the winds change, and everything's peaceful until the sky opens up and wages war with rain and thunder and strikes of lightening.

Her father noticed her flickering eyes and set his drink down on the coffee table. "Mija," he began, his voice soft as if he didn't want to startle Santana. When she turned back to face him, he smiled at her reassuringly. "I'm sure you have a lot of questions as to why I invited you here today. And where your mother is." She nodded and he smiled again. "Remember when I told you that I would talk to her after I left you at Brittany's?"

She nodded, rolling the glass of her lemonade between her hands to keep them busy. "Yeah," she said with hesitancy.

"And remember how I said she grew up differently than me?" She nodded again. "I need you to do me a favor mija." His voice grew softer if that were even possible. She leaned forward in her seat, straining to hear every word he spoke. "I need you to give her a chance to explain herself. I need you to sit here and listen to what she has to say. I need you to try and forgive her and talk to her like the adult I know you are." He smiled very small and hesitant, his eyes big and soft as he watched the changing emotions flicker over his daughter's face.

Santana wasn't sure what she was expecting him to say, but it definitely wasn't that. She felt surprised and hurt and angry and relieved all at once. She felt too much and confused and just stared back at him, allowing the words he spoke to repeat in her mind until she understood them.

Her mother wanted to speak with her. Her mother wanted to explain. Her father believed that whatever she had to say was a good thing, and Santana's heart fluttered with little hope as she allowed that possibility to settle low in her gut. The thought that maybe her mother would apologize caused fresh tears to pool in her eyes.

"Okay," she nodded, even though a corner of her mind was screaming at her to not get her hopes up. To not believe that her mother had anything nice to say to her. That her mother had slapped her and called her a disgrace.

Santana chose to ignore that part and focus on her father's smiling face. On his nodding and the way he hurried out of his chair and towards her. The way he kissed the top of her head, mumbling a soft thank you before exiting the room.

She sat there unsure of what she was supposed to do, but figured her father was probably getting her mother from wherever she had been waiting. She sipped down the rest of her drink and set it on the coffee table next to her father's glass, and waited patiently for whatever was about to happen next.

It didn't take long for her father to return, her mother following closely behind. She briefly wondered if he was going to stay with her, but he smiled at the both of them before leaving the room again. Santana wasn't sure if she was glad or scared that he had left, but decided to focus on her mother as she sat down where her father had been sitting a few minutes ago.

"Mija." She breathed, and Santana could have sworn she heard a bit of regret and sadness in the simple word. But she fought hard to not let her hope get the better of her. Her mother had a lot to say before Santana forgave her for what she did.

"Mami." Santana echoed, crossing her legs as she settled back into the couch and waited. She watched as her mother's eyes scanned her body, taking in her attire and the way she sat half guarded. Her eyes roamed over her mother and took in the way her cheeks seemed sunken in and the way her eyes didn't have as much fire in them as she remembered. She had never seen her mother look so small and not put together.

Santana felt fear take over again as she let her eyes settle on her mother's.

Her mother's mouth opened and closed and Santana waited. Even though she felt nervous and grew more scared at every passing second of silence, she waited. Because it was obvious her mother had something to say. And Santana promised her father that she would act like an adult and give her mother her time to say what she had to say.

"I'm sorry."

Santana whipped her eyes back to her mother's from where they had wandered to the carpet when she couldn't take looking at her mother in silence any longer. She briefly wondered if maybe she had imagined the words, but the almost pained look on her mother's face was proof enough that she had said them.

Santana barely nodded before her mother repeated them.

"I'm so so sorry." Her voice was laced with so much hurt and pain that the tears in Santana's eyes threatened to break free and roll down her cheeks. She blinked them back and set her lips in a thin line, waiting for her mother to continue because sorry just wasn't enough, even if it was the last thing she expected her to say.

Her mother shifted, eyes darting to the floor for a second before settling back on Santana, glassy and full of her own tears.

Santana swallowed at the sight.

When her mother didn't continue, Santana couldn't take the silence any longer. She wanted answers. "Then why?" She breathed, her voice hitching with the sudden sadness and anger that mixed together as she spoke.

Her mother shook her head, her chin quivering so slightly that if Santana hadn't been studying her face she would have missed it. "Mija, you don't understand."

"Then make me understand." Santana spoke louder than she had intended. "Because you're right. I don't understand. I don't understand how a mother could hit her daughter and kick her out just because she didn't like something about her." Santana spat, flinching at the way her mother recoiled from the harshness of her voice.

"I know." Her mother nodded. "I know." She repeated, her voice so broken that Santana was sure this wasn't her mother. This wasn't the same woman who had done those things. It wasn't the same woman who made her feel bad about herself with just the look of her eyes. It wasn't the same woman who had pushed Santana for years to be someone she didn't even want to be.

"Explain." Santana said again, arms crossing across her chest as she waited.

Her mother nodded, breathing in deep as she tried to compose herself. "Your father and I chose to raise you semi out of the church. Yes we still went and yes we still believe, but we didn't want you growing up in the church." Her mother began, and it was the last thing Santana expected her mother to begin with. But everything about her mother tonight was not what Santana expected so she listened and took in everything that was being told to her.

"That's how your father was brought up, and he convinced me that that would be best for you. But," her mother inhaled loudly, and Santana could hear the slight quiver in her voice. "But that was not how I was raised. I was brought up in the church. I spent more time there than I did school, some weeks more than my own house. My parents were very strict in what I was taught about religion and what I believed, and made sure that I knew the different between right and wrong in God's eyes."

Santana nodded, understanding a little what her mother was talking about. It reminded her of Quinn and her relationship with her parents.

"And although we brought you up differently, it's hard to just forget everything I was taught. It was hard. And your grandparents weren't exactly thrilled with our decision. Over time I got angry. I got angry because even when I listened and obeyed every rule I was given growing up, I still somehow managed to disappoint my parents. I still managed to do something wrong." Her mother hiccupped back a small sob, and Santana's heart broke at the sound and sight of it. For the first time in her life she felt bad for her mother, and she had to pinch her arms in order to keep herself sitting to hear the rest because the sudden urge to give her mother a long and tight hug overwhelmed her.

"I took my anger out on you mija. I tried to make you perfect and…and be the daughter that would be acceptable. That would be the daughter everyone would be proud of. Because I thought that even though you weren't raised in the church, I could mold you into this person that people would still love and admire and look up to. I wanted people to be jealous of you. I wanted people to respect you. And most of all I wanted people to fear you." Her mother's voice dropped off after that, a shaky hand coming up to swipe at her eyes.

"Why?" Santana gasped, unable to hold it in any longer. Why would her mother want all of this for her? She understood now that she had been raised differently, but why do all of this to her?

"Because I knew." Her mother sighed, locking eyes with Santana.

Santana shivered at the contact, confusion flashing over her face. "Knew what?"

"About you and Brittany." Her mother answered, and Santana gasped out a broken cry at the revelation. "God I knew. I knew for so long and I just wanted…I just wanted…I wanted better for you." Santana's face flashed with anger at that and her mom quickly continued. "I wanted better for you in the sense that I knew how people would react because I was brought up to hate it. I was told that it was a sin. That…that if you were…if you were…"

"Gay mami." Santana offered, her voice barely above a whisper.

Her mother nodded. "If you were gay…then you would be hated by people for no reason. That people would treat you differently and disrespect you, and I didn't want that. So I tried to make you this person that didn't care about people. That thought you were better than them. That was better than them." Her mother explained, her chest deflating with the words she had been holding on to for too long. "I just wanted you to be someone special. And I never stopped to realize that you already were." Her mother nearly cried, and Santana's heart and stomach dropped with the weight of her words.

But still too many things didn't make sense. If her mother knew all along, why react the way she did? Why make Santana feel like such a disappointment?

Santana swallowed her tears and anger to ask. "Why then? Why keep being so…so cold to me? Why make me feel like I wasn't loved by you? Why make me feel like such a disgrace when you supposedly knew for so long?"

Her mother shook her head like she didn't want to say. As if the words she had to say weren't good enough, or she literally didn't have a reason at all. "I do love you mija. I do. I just wanted…wanted better for you. And I went about it the wrong way."

Santana stared in disbelief. It really wasn't an answer, but it was as good of an answer as she was going to get. She knew that.

"So what now?" Santana asked, because she knew her mother was way out of her comfort zone by talking like this. And she knew her mother was probably only doing this because of her father. And as much as she still wanted to be mad at her mother for what she did, Santana found that she didn't want her mother to continue doing something she didn't like to do.

Santana knew all about that, and she knew how bad it hurt and sucked.

Mrs. Lopez looked back up at her daughter and sighed, rolling her shoulders like she didn't have a clue. "I don't know." She answered, shrugging her shoulders again. "I honestly don't know."

Santana appreciated the honesty, even if it didn't help the gnawing feeling in her gut. She half expected her mother to suddenly be okay with everything after her apology and the way she explained herself. But Santana realized that wasn't how it was. Just because her mother was sorry didn't mean she fully accepted her daughter. And it definitely did give either of them answers as to how to move forward.

"Do you…will you ever be okay with me being who I am? With me being in love with Brittany?" Santana whispered, afraid of the answer as her heart clenched in her chest.

Again her mother sighed and shrugged her shoulders. "I'd like to think so, but I don't know."

Again Santana appreciated the honesty, even if it wasn't the answer she was hoping for.

"Okay." Santana breathed, refusing to let the tears in her eyes fall. "Okay." She repeated, trying to think through and process everything.

"But I'd like to have dinner with my family tonight, if that's still okay with you." Her mother added, her lips curling into a small smile. Santana looked into her eyes and saw the sincerity within them. She saw as the fear and sadness slowly began to seep away, replaced once more with the fire that usually lived there. But it wasn't a mean fire like Santana was used to. It seemed smaller and less threatening, but still heated nonetheless.

Santana nodded. She could do dinner.

"I'm going to continue to stay with Brittany." Santana watched as her mother's face flashed with relief, and Santana knew it was the right decision. Even if her mother looked like she was going to protest that decision. "If her parents allow it. It's what's best for right now. Maybe when you're okay with it, or when I don't feel like you hate me because of it, I'll come back. But right now I feel safe and loved there."

Her mother nodded and that was that.

It may not have been what Santana wanted. It may not have been the most promising conversation. But Santana felt better than she had since her mother had kicked her out.

She felt sad that her mother had to grow up the way she did. She felt angry that her mother had forced so many things on her out of fear. She felt annoyed that her mother couldn't just accept everything.

But most of all she felt hopeful. That her mother would one day not hate her or think of her as a disappointment. That one day her mother would forego what she had been taught about right and wrong and just love her daughter no matter what. That one day she would be allowed to come home again, and proudly show off Brittany as her girlfriend to both of her parents.

She followed her mother out of the living room and noticed for the first time the familiar smell of her father's enchiladas wafting from the kitchen. She helped her mother set the dining room table, and sat down in her usual seat. She bowed her head and closed her eyes when her mother began to pray, and she ate her meal without a fuss. They talked about insignificant things and smiled like it was a normal night in the Lopez household. And Santana had never felt more at home and uncomfortable at the same time.


After dinner Santana excused herself to her room to go to the bathroom, and instantly regretted the choice not to use the one downstairs. Her room remained how she had last seen it, the bits of paper still scattered on the floor by her closet. It felt like someone was holding her heart and squeezing as hard as they could. All of Brittany's letters. All her beautiful words and time felt like they had been taken for granted as they littered her floor. She knew the letters were safe in a box in the back of her closet, but it still hurt to see the reasons ripped to shreds.

Then she remembered the letter Brittany had given her before she left tonight. She sat down on her bed and pulled it from her back pocket, opening it up as quickly as possible.

Santana,

Summer's almost over and that means this is my last letter. I started writing them to show you how much I love you, hoping that one day you would see it and understand just how amazing you are. But you have. And what's even better is you love me too. And although I could write a million letters describing all the things I love about you, I'd rather show you now. I'd rather take you to the places I fell in love with you. I'd rather hold your hand and whisper in your ear all the things you do to me. I'd rather share this journey with you now, instead of just telling you about it.

I don't know what's going to happen with your parents, but I do know that you will always have a home to come home to. Because your home is with me. Of that I'm absolutely sure. I may not know what senior year has in store for us, or how people will react when you tell them about us, whenever you're ready, but I do know that everything will be okay because I have you and you have me.

When summer started I made you a promise. I promised that with these words I would show you the passion behind our touches, the desire behind our kisses, and the intensity behind our love.

At the end of summer I'm making you a new promise. I promise that I will continue to show you the passion behind our touches by making sure you know how beautiful you are every single day. By promising that I will never take my hands off of you, unless we're in like school or cheering and stuff where it'd be kind of hard to touch you all the time. But you will know that you are so beautiful and sexy and that I will want to touch you all day every day, and that my touches aren't just lustful gropes, but loving caresses.

I also promise that I will continue to show you the desire behind our kisses by kissing you good night and good morning and every other good minute in between. I promise to give you quick and sweet kisses between classes when you're ready. And to give you heated and passionate ones in the back seat of your car. I promise to tease you with lazy kisses and ones that make you moan and giggle for more. To kiss not just your lips, but every inch of you. To show you that every part of you deserves my kisses.

I also promise that I will continue to show you the intensity behind our love by treating you like you should be treated, like a princess. By taking you out on dates and reminding you how special you are. By supporting every decision you make, and even if I don't like them or agree with them, still being there for you because I love you. I promise to share my dreams with you and to try my hardest to make yours come true. To help you cross off everything that's on your secret bucket list that I know about :) To make sure you never go a day without knowing how loved you truly are.

Santana I may not always be good at knowing smart things like you. And I may not always know the right things to say and do like you. But I know people, and more importantly I know you. I know how you feel even when you try and hide it. I know what you want and what you don't like. I know when you're scared and sad even when you try and act like nothing bothers you. And I promise to use this knowledge to make sure you live the happiest life you could ever live. To make you so happy you can't stand it sometimes.

I know we'll argue sometimes. I'm not promising that it will always be easy and that we'll always agree on everything. I'm not naïve. That's unrealistic. But I am promising that I will still love you in our disagreements. That we will work through them together. That as long I love you, which will be forever, and as long as you love me, which I hope will be forever, then we'll be happy.

I think I've loved you since the day you defended me in second grade. Santana you are the most interesting person I've ever met. I want to know everything about you. I could listen to you talk about anything and even if it was something I didn't quite understand, I would still find it interesting because I could listen to you talk all the time. I could lay in your lap, your hands in my hair and you talking about the freaking stock market and I would be more than happy.

I don't know what was said tonight at your house or how you're doing right now reading this. I don't know what happened with your mother or what you're going to do. I don't know if you're crying reading this because of something she said or did, or smiling because something good happened. I have no idea.

But I hope that after reading this you won't worry so much. You won't let other people control your feelings anymore. That you'll learn to let go of things you can't control. That you'll just understand that you'll continue to be okay, and that's all that matters.

You can't control if people will still love you when they find out you love me. You can't control what people at school will say and do when they find out about us. You can't. And you shouldn't worry about it.

Yes sometimes people do mean and cruel things. I understand that. But I'm not scared, and you shouldn't be either.

Because what other people say and do will not affect or change how I feel about you. And I think you finally realize it's not going to change how you feel either. It's not going to change who you are.

I love you. I love you so so much. And although this summer hasn't been the most relaxing or drama free, I wouldn't change it for the world. Because you're mine.

And because I'm yours.

And I can't tell you how long I've waited for that to happen. And all I can do is stick with the promises I made you and love you until I have no more love to give. (which will never happen because I'm the most loveable person ever!)

Don't ever forget that you are loved. Don't ever forget that you are beautiful. Don't ever forget that you are special and awesome and smart and sexy. Don't ever forget any of it.

And if you do, I'll be there every day to remind you.

Sincerely yours,

Brittany S. Pierce

Santana smiled, folded up the letter and tucked it back in her pocket. She didn't think it was possible to love Brittany more than she did. But then Brittany had to write words like that and Santana's heart couldn't stop beating against her ribs like a freaking drum.

Santana wasn't sure what her senior year was going to be like. She wasn't sure if she was ready to tell everyone about herself and about Brittany. She wasn't sure how long it would take for her mom to come around so she could live at home again. She wasn't sure what she wanted to do after high school or even what she was going to do tomorrow.

But there was one thing Santana Lopez was sure of.

She loved Brittany S. Pierce more than anything in the damn world.

And she would continue to love her.

Until she couldn't love anymore.