Santana didn't even realise she was being spoken to until she felt a sticky hand slip into hers. Her attention had completely fallen back onto the crayon drawing of herself and Brittany that she'd grown oblivious to the now awkward standing around that they were all doing, just inside her front door.
Santana's attention snapped to the warm hand holding hers and became distracted by the way their different skin tones looked so pretty next to each other. With a reassuring squeeze from Brittany's hand, Santana looked up into her sparkly eyes only to realise the little blonde was looking at her expectantly. It was only then that Santana realised she'd been asked- and completely missed- a question.
Jody's voice rung familiarly in her ears but try as she may she couldn't actually recall the words that had just been said to her.
"I can help," Brittany offered with all of her gummy adorableness.
Santana had no idea what Brittany was talking about and she quickly looked up at Jody for a clue. Jody was staring at her with a similar expectant look as she waited for an answer to her question… though she also projected more than a little perplexity over Brittany's selfless offer too.
"I don't think so Britt, Santana owns a lot of nice clothes… I don't want you getting distracted by all the colours and then trying to force her to put on a fashion show when I'm sure she only wants to get into some comfy jammies," Jody tried to maturely set her sister straight. "Besides I know which pjs are Santana's favourite so it would only take me a second to help her find them…"
Santana frantically tried to follow their somewhat territorial conversation. With rosy cheeks Santana wondered if they were really kind of fighting over who got to dress her… like she was some kind of doll or something.
"Wait. What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" Santana asked with a quizzical frown. She had gone to so much trouble to dress up for the occasion.
Brittany sent Jody another dangerous glare which definitely said she was close to stomping on the older girl's foot again.
"Nothing," Jody backtracked with a hesitant glance in Brittany's direction.
Just as quickly Brittany was smiling appreciatively back at Santana, nodding eagerly- wanting to wholeheartedly reassure her.
"Yeah you're so pretty," Brittany gushed again without a hint of bashfulness.
Santana's cheeks felt hot. She was used to grown-ups fawning over her, but no one had so openly complemented her in the way Brittany seemed to do so naturally.
"You're usually in your pjs by now is all," Jody shrugged in explanation. "I guess your mama just forgot to get you ready 'cause she was so excited to be going out tonight, huh?"
Santana was thankful that her embarrassment over being caught out entirely over-dressed could be chalked down to her usual shyness when Jody talked to her in her caring babysitter voice. Santana merely nodded meekly taking the easy way out as she was suddenly offered the opportunity to change into something a little more comfortable like the others. Jody would be none the wiser about Santana's failed plan to impress her…
Glancing at Brittany shyly she remembered dressing up hadn't been a total loss- Brittany had certainly seemed impressed by her after all. In fact Brittany was still looking at her like she was the best thing she'd ever laid eyes on. Santana didn't quite know how to take such open adoration.
"Fine, then I'll cook dinner," tiny Brittany announced knowingly as she took an aside to fill Santana in, "We're having pasghetti."
"Uh I don't think so," Jody rebuked haughtily with a mocking chuckle.
"But you promised!" Brittany argued back stubbornly.
Santana was once again left watching the exchange between the sisters with wide eyes. She'd never heard anyone talk back to Jody before- well she'd never considered talking back to Jody herself, and here stood gutsy little Brittany refusing to take 'no' for an answer.
"No, I mean you can't cook dinner. We can still have spaghetti but I'll be the one who's cooking," Jody settled the matter decisively.
"Oh," Brittany realised there was no longer anything to panic about and added a challenging, "Well you can't do both, Jody."
Jody raised a curious eyebrow.
"You can't cook dinner and help Santana get dressed," Brittany reminded winningly as she squeezed Santana's hand again. "So while you cook us dinner, I'll go help her find her jammies."
Santana wanted to point out that she was capable of finding her own clothes in her own bedroom but she decided it was kind of fun having people fight over her. She didn't even mind that Brittany seemed to be winning over Jody to spend some alone time with her- there had to be a good reason Brittany was being so adamant…
Brittany was already tugging her away down the hall, not bothering to listen to her sister's instructions tobehave.
When they were hidden away from Jody's watchful gaze Brittany dropped her hand and turned to face Santana, stuffing a hand into her pocket and pulling out a handful of candy which she offered to Santana eagerly.
Santana looked down at the secret stash Brittany had been hoarding. A few wrappers were missing explaining the stickiness of Brittany's hand earlier but even so Santana's eyes lit up- she was rarely allowed to eat sweets, usually having to rely on pigging out at other kids' birthday parties just to get her fair share.
"Jody doesn't know I have them," Brittany whispered furtively. "She wouldn't want us to ruin our dinner…"
And so it was Santana was faced with the dilemma of knowing she was intentionally about to do something that Jody would not approve of… but knew she couldn't help herself.
Without further hesitation, Santana grabbed a few random pieces of candy and stuffed them into her mouth chewing greedily. Brittany's face split into an ecstatic grin at Santana's enthusiastic acceptance of her offer.
"Where's your room? So we can hide the rest for later," Brittany suggested ingeniously.
Santana nodded still chewing her sugary mouthful and comfortably grabbed Brittany's other hand to lead her upstairs to her bedroom.
Santana ushered the blonde into her room and secretly closed her door behind them. Brittany's jaw dropped open as soon as she took in Santana's spacious bedroom. Santana smiled proudly at the girl's reaction, happy that she was impressed.
"Over here," Santana instructed as she pulled Brittany over to her big bed and lifted a pillow so Brittany could stuff the remaining sweets there for safekeeping. She placed the pillow neatly back in place to hide the evidence of their rule breaking and put the drawing Brittany had given her on top. Sharing Brittany's grin, Santana realised she rather enjoyed being naughty.
Skipping over to her dresser, Santana pulled a drawer open and started searching for some pyjamas to change in to. She didn't own anything like the matching patterned top and pants Brittany had on so she had to settle for a simple silken nightie which she pulled over her head as soon as she'd shrugged off her other outfit. She turned to show Brittany her choice and threw in a twirl for good measure enjoying the giggle and applause Brittany showered her with.
"But you still need socks, so your toes don't freeze and fall off," Brittany reminded her seriously.
Santana's face screwed up at Brittany's warning; she'd never heard of that happening to anyone before but it sounded terrible.
Santana hurriedly opened another drawer and started digging around for a new pair of socks which would impress Brittany. She hadn't realised the socks she owned were so plain and boring until she was faced with finding a pair that even came close to matching the coolness of either of Brittany's mismatched ones. The most interesting ones she could find were plain blue but like gloves- they divided into five little sections- one for each toe.
Santana pulled them on and wiggled her toes to show Brittany properly.
"Wow!" Brittany exclaimed as she crouched down at Santana's feet amazed by her socks. "They're the coolest socks I've ever seen! They're like regular socks but with mini socks for each toe! They must be super warm."
Santana blushed a little at Brittany's unbarred enthusiasm and wiggled her toes some more self-consciously. Then struck with a moment of genius she pulled one sock off and offered it to Brittany shyly.
"You can wear one if you like…" Santana murmured holding the sock out to the blonde.
Brittany bit her lip trying to contain her excitement and hurriedly pulled the rainbow sock from her own foot to offer it to Santana in a fair exchange.
When both girls' feet were suitably covered they stood in front of each other staring down at their mismatched socks and shared a giggle as they both wiggled their toes at each other.
"We look awesome," Brittany announced.
Santana smiled even wider; Brittany was so easy to please and a part of her wished she could keep Brittany happy and smiling forever because seeing that made Santana happy. It was like Brittany's good spirits were infectious.
Feeling the urge to share even more of herself with Brittany, Santana asked;
"Can you keep a secret?"
Brittany seemed to think long and hard about that question before nodding her assent. That was good enough for Santana who reached for Brittany's hand again and pulled at her sleeve until both girls were standing on the other side of Santana's bed. Santana dropped to her knees and started digging under her bed looking for the shoebox she'd hidden there earlier that day.
Brittany dropped to her hands and knees beside her as she waited patiently for Santana to proudly pull a box out in front of them, raising the lid and encouraging Brittany to look inside.
Brittany's eyes lit up as she took in the box's contents…
"Is that… is that a mud pie?" Brittany asked in amazement.
Santana was at a loss for words as she watched Brittany's reaction to her pride and joy. She had been far too pleased with her creation to just throw it away when her mother screamed and told her to do just that. Santana figured it had something to do with the worms squirming around on top. But Santana was just so happy that Brittany liked it.
"You should have said that you already made dinner!" Brittany admonished regretfully as though she was worried her insistence for spaghetti had offended Santana.
"We can't eat this," Santana giggled enjoying Brittany's joke. But Brittany's face remained deadly serious and Santana realised she wasn't kidding around.
"It's called a 'pie' for a reason. Of course you can eat it. That's the point," Brittany pointed out knowledgably.
Santana frowned; Brittany did make a good point. This Brittany girl was clever; she kept sprouting interesting information that kept Santana on her toes and kept making her re-think even the things she thought she knew.
Santana looked down at the misshapen mud pie that was haphazardly slopped into the box. It still looked far too much like plain old mud to be appetising.
Brittany was watching her tentatively; as impressed as she seemed by Santana's creation she didn't appear particularly inspired to taste it either, despite her words…
"Maybe we should save it for later… in case we're still hungry after spaghetti," Santana suggested and breathed a sigh of relief when Brittany nodded her agreement.
"Yeah… and after our lollies," Brittany cleverly threw in, making the need to prove that one could actually eat a mud pie seem far less likely to happen.
'Girls, what are you doing up there? Come back down here.'
Jody's voice calling from downstairs startled the two girls and Santana hurriedly shoved the lid back on the shoebox and shoved it back under her bed out of sight.
"Coming!" Brittany called back loudly, trying her best to sound as though they were up to nothing suspicious.
The girls scrambled to their feet and raced downstairs laughing for no apparent reason. They raced into the kitchen and scrambled up the tall stools to sit at the kitchen counter where Jody had set out some paper and crayons to keep them entertained while she finished preparing dinner.
Seeing Brittany pick up a crayon and begin to draw straight away, Santana rushed to do the same, peeking over at the blonde's paper often to see what she was drawing. It was mostly a lot of nonsense shapes and colours but then Brittany started drawing very particular lines which Santana realised were in fact letters…
"You can spell already?" Santana asked in astonishment as she leaned over the girl's work.
"It's my name, see," Brittany slid her paper closer to Santana so she could see. "It says 'Brittany'."
Santana looked closely at the lines trying to understand how they made sense but realised she had to take Brittany's word for it. It didn't matter that Brittany's 'R' was facing around the wrong way; Santana didn't know any better.
"Sometimes I get my 'T's' around the wrong way," Brittany admitted humbly with a shrug not realising how thoroughly impressed Santana was by her.
"Can you write my name?" Santana entreated eagerly as she slid Brittany's paper back under her.
Brittany picked up a crayon and held it over the paper as she stuck her tongue out to the side in concentration. She tensed as the tip of the crayon met the paper and then dropped it suddenly, shaking her head and meeting Santana's eyes shyly.
"I only know my name," Brittany admitted, clearly disappointed with herself.
"It's okay," Santana said with a shrug. She was a little sad she couldn't see what her name looked like but it wasn't Brittany's fault.
"Hey Jody," Brittany enquired suddenly as she slid a new piece of paper across the counter towards her sister. "Can you write mine and Santana's name for us?"
Santana's eyes lit up as she realised she'd completely overlooked this possibility- of course Jody would know how to spell- she went to big school.
Jody looked up from her phone where she's been texting as she absently stirred the bolognaise sauce cooking away on the stove top. She hadn't even been following the girls' conversation but at Brittany's insistence she picked up a crayon and carefully spelled out all three of their names- mildly amused at the amazement showing on their little faces over something so simple. She then slid the paper back over to the girls who hunched over it curiously.
"Oh, oh that's me!" Brittany exclaimed excitedly as she recognised her name and pointed at it.
Santana smiled, feeding off her excitement and looked down at the word written underneath.
"Is that me?" Santana asked unsurely. It kind of looked familiar but she wasn't certain.
Brittany peered closely at the letters, testing out a few sounds that she knew the letters stood for and decided that it did in fact say 'Santana'.
"Yep," Brittany informed her.
Santana smiled as she looked over her name, glancing up at Brittany's name written above and immediately recognised the similar shapes in their names.
"Look some of our names are the same," Santana exclaimed excitedly. She pointed out the 'TAN' in both of their names.
"That's so cool!" Brittany squealed.
"Brittany," Jody scolded without looking up from her phone, "Inside voice."
Santana frowned over at Jody not understanding why the older girl was being so mean; Brittany was just excited that clearly their names were almost the same. Santana slipped her hand into Brittany's with a gentle smile before looking down at the next word.
Santana assumed this was Jody's name even though neither of the girls had asked her to write it. She noted immediately that Jody and she had no parts of their names in common.
Santana was about to comment as much just to cheer Brittany up again but then Jody was placing a bowl of spaghetti under each of their noses and Santana realised the spaghetti had done her job for her; Brittany was beaming again.
Santana had always liked spaghetti but she had never realised how fun it could be to eat it until she was eating it beside Brittany. Brittany was slurping the long noodles making Santana erupt in to a fit of giggles whenever the end flicked sauce all over her face.
Jody voiced a few half-hearted objections to Brittany's behaviour but was obviously more distracted with her phone.
Santana kept on giggling away to Brittany's antics- not being able to stop when Brittany smiled at her, slurping a string of spaghetti through the gap where her front teeth should be. Santana thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen and ended up snorting accidentally making Brittany giggle back.
When Brittany accidentally knocked over her cup of milk it was the last straw for Jody who jumped out of chair and rushed to mop up the spill.
"God Brittany, I can't take you anywhere!" Jody exclaimed in frustration. "If you keep teaching Santana these bad habits- you won't be able to see her again."
Brittany froze at Jody's words and looked like she was about to cry. Santana wanted to point out that Jody's threat was only an attempt to try and get Brittany to behave but she took too long forming the right words and sure enough tears began to fall from Brittany's sparkly eyes.
Brittany slid from her seat and ran out of the kitchen sniffling back her tears.
Santana frowned, once again disappointed in Jody and made a show of letting her know it this time. She snatched up hers and Brittany's drawings before they could be ruined by spilt milk and stormed out of the kitchen glaring back at Jody until she couldn't see her any more. Then she took off in search of Brittany. It was like a game of hide and seek- except the circumstances seemed far more serious because Santana knew that every second that she wasn't there to make Brittany happy, the little blonde would be left alone feeling sad.
Eventually Santana found Brittany curled up on her bed clutching the picture she'd drawn of them to her chest.
Santana didn't know what to do to make the girl stop crying but she knew that when she was upset she liked it when her mother cuddled her and stroked her hair. So Santana put the handful of drawings aside and climbed up on the bed beside Brittany to gently pull the piece of paper from her hands. Brittany resisted at first looking at Santana with big frightened eyes.
"I don't wanna never see you again," Brittany admitted in a small scared voice as she clutched at the drawing.
"Don't listen to Jody," Santana said comfortingly as she loosened Brittany's grip and placed the drawing on the top of pile at the foot of her bed. "She doesn't get to choose who my friends are or yours either."
Brittany sniffled again and wrapped her arms around Santana in a fierce embrace as she buried her face in Santana's neck. Santana felt like crying too- seeing Brittany so sad but she held back her tears feeling the need to stay strong and rubbed circles on Brittany's back until the girl stopped shuddering.
"I want you. I only want you forever," Brittany whispered into her neck.
A knock at Santana's bedroom door made Brittany tense and Santana squeezed her tight before easing out of her arms and putting on a brave face. She knew what she had to do; the time had come for her to make a choice.
Jody or Brittany?
Santana took a deep breath and shuffled through the pieces of paper on her bed as Brittany watched from her perch among the pillows. Santana found the piece of paper she was looking for and walked it over to her desk where she found a pencil. The knocking on her door was getting more insistent and she knew she had to act quickly. She hurriedly scribbled on the paper and then ran across her room to the door where she slid it underneath and out to Jody.
Santana didn't go to school yet so she didn't know how to write but she hoped Jody got the message she intended from her note. She'd slipped her the piece of paper with all three of their names written on it except Santana had made a point of scribbling out Jody's name.
"This room is for Brittany and Santana only," Santana called through the door using her best big grown-up voice again. "No Jody allowed."
Santana heard Jody sigh with annoyance through the door but she didn't ignore Santana's wishes.
"Fine," Jody conceded smartly, "But you don't get any dessert as long as you stay hidden away in there."
Brittany started snickering as she lifted a pillow revealing their stash of candy but quickly clapped a hand over her mouth not wanting to provoke Jody to enter the room and be mean again.
Santana stood by the door listening until she heard Jody walk away and back downstairs. Then she returned to the bed climbing back up next to Brittany who threw an arm around her.
"I like you, Santana," Brittany admitted.
Santana blushed and bumped Brittany's shoulder.
"I like you too, Brittany," she returned.
"Does that mean we're friends?" Brittany enquired.
Santana shrugged; Apart from her family she didn't really have any friends yet. She always thought Jody was her friend but now she wasn't so sure.
"I think so," Santana answered with a nod; "Yeah."
"I knew it! We're gonna be friends forever," Brittany said with a wistful sigh.
Santana started to giggle but then Brittany surprised her with a soft kiss pressed directly to her lips startling her to silence. Santana's eyes went wide as she stared at Brittany who pulled away and opened her eyes to grin at Santana.
Santana's face felt hot.
Her parents kissed her on the cheek and sometimes on the forehead but no one had ever kissed her on the lips before. She'd seen her parents kiss on the lips before though so Santana knew it was a special kind of kiss meant for people who loved each other very much.
That Brittany had just kissed her like that without making a big deal about it made Santana indescribably happy. She realised she was returning Brittany's grin.
It was strange to think that at the start of the evening Brittany had seemed like an unwanted guest especially now that Jody of all people was forgotten somewhere downstairs while Santana and Brittany lay cuddling on her bed and sharing sweets.
When she met her babysitter for the first time, Santana knew her life had changed for the better… but it wasn't until she met her babysitter's baby sister that she knew why.