Quinn sat alone on the sand, long gone cold, listening to the waves crashing down on the beach which proved rather challenging with the bass-filled music coming from the beach house behind her where at that exact moment half of McKinley was dancing their butts off.
The blonde knew she should be inside with them, mingling to earn sympathy and votes from prom but at that moment she couldn't care less.
Those people didn't know her, the real her.. ; She had pushed away the only person who ever had for selfish reasons, the love of her family, and there was no going back.
She rubbed furiously at the tears rolling down her cheeks, she had told herself, commanded herself, begged herself not to cry.
"I thought I might find you here," someone behind her said and immediately Quinn knew it was the last person she wanted to see her like this, a complete emotional mess.
"What are you doing here, Santana?" the blonde asked, her tone harsher than intended.
Santana seemed unfazed by the hostility as she sat down besides the girl, careful to leave at least half a meter in-between them before extending her hand which was holding a red plastic cup: "I thought you might want something to drink."
"I don't drink alcohol, you should know that," Quinn accused, looking at the cup as if it was filled with poison.
"I do know," Santana said, smiling softly: "It's water because I couldn't find anything else.."
"I'm not thirsty," Quinn deadpanned, turning her head away from the brunette, pulling her knees up to her chest before hugging them tightly.
"Alright," Santana shrugged, throwing the cup away and staring at the black sea before her in silence.
Quinn became rapidly unnerved by this situation, why was Santana just sitting there, doing nothing? Why wasn't she barking insults at Quinn, why wasn't she mad?
"Why are you still here?" she finally snapped at the brunette who didn't even flinch at the sudden crack in the silence.
"Because you looked lonely out here by yourself," Santana answered casually, still looking ahead of her which only seemed to infuriate Quinn even more.
"Why would you care?" she asked rhetorically, desperately trying to shoo the other girl away in a subtle way because she was on the verge of crying.
"I just do.."
Quinn rolled her eyes at the weakness of that statement: "That's not even a real answer."
"What are you saying?" Santana retorted, for the first time actually looking straight in Quinn's eyes: "I can't care about you anymore because you broke up with me?"
Something in her gut twisted unpleasantly and Quinn averted her eyes, not wanting Santana to see the shame in them: "You shouldn't care about me anymore.. I don't deserve it.."
The air around them suddenly became very heavy and it seemed like the nature itself was holding its breath, waiting for what was to come.
A sudden breeze tore over the shore, making Quinn tremble involuntarily (Her jacket was inside but she didn't want to go back yet).
Santana noticed the goose-bumps on her ex-girlfriend's exposed arms and instinctively she took off her blazer before draping it over the blonde's shoulders.
Quinn grabbed the piece of clothing and wrapped in tightly around herself, basking in Santana's smell which embraced her.
"Why are you so nice to me?" the blonde asked, her voice trembling: "After what I did to you.." Slowly tears started surfacing and gliding down her cheek.
Santana frowned deeply, she absolutely hated it when Quinn cried because it didn't happen very often.
"Is it too late?" Quinn asked so softly, Santana had to strain her ears and still she did not understand: "For us," the blonde clarified, lifting her eyes to meet Santana's: "You don't love me anymore, do you?"
"Quinn, I-" Santana started, turning more towards her ex, feeling the need to hold her because she know that the girl was breaking down inside.
"I don't blame you, I've done horrible things to you, to myself.. to everyone; I didn't want to but I- I-"
Tears were now flowing freely down the rosy cheeks and sobs rippled through her body: "I'm so sorry…" she choked out, burying her face in her hands.
Quinn felt so lonely, so disgusted by herself and for the slightest moment she thought about death, how peaceful and easy it seemed, but those thoughts flew out the window as strong arms wrapped around her.
"You shouldn't be so negative," Santana said sternly, pulling Quinn closer between her legs until the blonde's back was against her front and she was able to place her chin on Quinn's shoulder: "I heard that being negative is bad for the skin.."
Quinn couldn't help the laugh bubbling up within her and so she let it out.
"See, that's better," the Latina behind her grinned, rocking them both softly from side to side until the blonde relaxed in her arms.
"Why are you so perfect.." Quinn sighed absentmindedly.
"As much as it pains me to say this, we both know I'm not perfect," Santana answered and she knew that Quinn was smiling.
"Then why don't you hate me?"
"I tried, believe me," the brunette said softly: "But eventually I couldn't because contrary to what you think, little Miss Fabray, I do, in fact, still love you."
Quinn's heart skipped a beat at hearing those words she never thought she'd hear again, rolling so easily from Santana's lips and she slowly turned around in the embrace, eyes wide open in awe: "You do?"
"I do, Q," Santana said in that tone of voice like it was the most obvious fact in the world: "You forgive your first love everything.."
"But I was horrible to you.." the blonde breathed out.
"Yes, you were," the Latina agreed, softly nodding her head at the memory: "But I understand why though, because unlike everyone else in McKinley, I actually know about the 'Fabray-politics'."
Quinn snorted amused: "The Fabray-politics? What's that? If it doesn't suite the happy-family-image, you don't talk about it?"
"Exactly," Santana beamed: "Easy to remember, hard to enforce, though I thought you would be able to handle the pressure, knowing I was there to support you but apparently you couldn't.."
A pang of guilt shot through Quinn's heart and she guided her hand to Santana's cheek, gently rubbing her thumb against soft skin: "I made a mistake."
The brunette smiled, placing her hand upon Quinn's: "We both made mistakes."
"Yes but mine were graver.." the blonde mumbled.
"Can't argue with that one," Santana said playfully, leaning forward and pressing her forehead against Quinn's before closing her eyes.
Quinn did the same, just enjoying the closeness between them more than ever before: "I missed this.. you.. us.."
"Me too," the Latina sighed deeply before opening her eyes and gazing into those piercing hazel orbs.
Her breath got stuck in her throat as Quinn's eyes dropped to her lips a few times repeatedly before she slowly started to lean forward, lips slightly parted.
Just as those lips were to touch hers, she mustered all her will and pulled away, averting her eyes: "I can't.."
Quinn's heart dropped and an icy cold feeling crept along her skin, freezing her insides in the progress: "I don't understand, you said you still loved me," she said in the tiniest voice.
"I did, I do!" Santana took a deep breath before rising her head and looking Quinn in the eyes: "But I can't..- How do I know you won't leave me again? How am I sure that you will not break my heart again?..."
Quinn just sat there in silence for a few moments, letting the words sink in and making tears well up to her eyes: "I don't know…" she sobbed, the shame and devastation washing over her as she gripped the cold sand beneath her tightly in her palms.
Santana looked almost apologetic: "I can't go through that again, Quinn… I love you so very much, too much but I just can't.."
The blonde was shaking with sobs by now, her eyes trained on hands gone white as her mind tried to find a solution, a way out.
Until it found one that scared the shit out of her.
"What if I introduce you as my girlfriend?" she asked hopefully, lifting her red-rimmed eyes to meet Santana's: "To my parents and family next Sunday?"
The Latina gasped at the proposition: "You would do that?"
"I would try, for you.."
"Are you sure?" Santana asked cautiously.
"No, I'm not, you'll have to help me, hold my hand tightly but I'm willing to try," Quinn said truthfully, inching closer to the brunette who was by now smiling.
"Okay," Santana simply answered before she closed the gap between them.
Lips met lips in the most gentle touch they both had felt in a very long time and Quinn couldn't help the quiet moans escaping her as Santana's tongue gently entered her mouth like it was exploring new territory.