Santana rang the Pierce residence doorbell and waited for the tell-tale sound of scurrying feet rushing to be the first one to open the front door for her. More often than not it would just be Brittany greeting her with her unfailing enthusiasm but on those rare occasions when Brittany's little sister, Ashley gave her big sister the slip, Ashley would come tearing out the front door first to seal Santana's welcome with a tackling embrace.
Tonight was one of those times…
"Santana!" Ashley squealed excitedly as the door swung open and the young blonde girl leapt winningly into Santana's waiting arms for a warm hug.
"Okay," Brittany harrumphed over sensitively as she sidled into view only seconds later and helped her younger sister down from Santana's arms, "My turn."
Santana chuckled knowingly as Brittany stepped closer and wrapped her arms around her in a possessive embrace.
"You're here all the time, I don't see why she insists on hugging you every damn time," Brittany complained quietly into Santana's ear.
"Like you can talk," Santana jested playfully as she breathed Brittany in, returning her hug just as fiercely.
Santana pulled back from the embrace when she felt that it was just beginning to border on lasting too long to be played off as innocent in front of the youngster. She glanced at Ashley hesitantly and caught the end of the girl's eye-roll at the teenagers' graphic show of affection. The insight into Ashley's understanding made Santana grin and want to hug the little girl all over again; Ashley was obviously growing more aware of Brittany and Santana's closeness and was clearly not as oblivious as Brittany believed her to still be…
"Besides Aly is just happy to see me, aren't you Munchkin?" Santana commented with an affectionate ruffle to the little blonde's locks.
Ashley giggled at Santana's playful attention, half-heartedly swatting her hand away.
"And I'm not?" Brittany challenged with an obvious frown at their interaction.
"Maybe she just likes me more?" Ashley suggested simply with a shrug.
Brittany squawked a noise of outrage and grabbed at one of Santana's hands to hold on tight to her best friend, probably searching for reassurance against her sister's words.
Santana watched Ashley closely and noted the mischief in the girl's blue eyes. Ashley looked very pleased with herself and Santana recognised immediately that the youngster was purposely pushing her sister's buttons.
"Aww don't make me choose," Santana complained in a sing-song voice. "I love you both the same."
Santana sent Brittany a gentle smile as she gave the older blonde's hand a pointed squeeze hoping the gesture would subdue her insecurity for now. Santana flushed shyly with the emotional admission- still not completely used to sharing her raw feelings so openly even though she meant her words completely.
Brittany's cheeks turned pink and she started toeing her sock-covered foot on the floor and moved to bump her shoulder against Santana's knowingly. Unable to stop herself, she pressed a quick peck to Santana's warm cheek making Santana flush all the more.
Brittany sent Ashley a victorious smirk.
Ashley merely locked eyes with Brittany in challenge as she nuzzled up to Santana's hip taking her other hand in both of her smaller ones.
Santana couldn't contain her laughter at the Pierce girls' over the top show of tug-o-war over her and wrestled free of their affectionate touching to scamper away into the safety of the house.
It was the silliest thing; whenever the three of them spent any time together the Pierce sisters would inevitably end up fighting over Santana. Brittany had it stuck in her head that Ashley had developed a huge crush on Santana… and so whenever Santana humoured the younger girl it tended to make Brittany insanely jealous and in turn incredibly insecure that Santana actually preferred her sister's company over her own. Of course the idea was absurd since Ashley was as much a baby sister to Santana as she was to Brittany- since she could vividly remember the day the girl was born and had watched her grow up into the spunky ten year old she was today. And then of course there was the simple truth that Santana was already head over heels in love with Brittany…
But Santana would be lying if she said she didn't enjoy all the attention which the sisterly rivalry inspired.
Ashley was adorable as she worshipped the ground Santana walked on...
And Brittany would become even more doting than usual… sometimes even growing possessive as she tried to stake her claim on the brunette. Santana loved seeing that side of Brittany as it would often send chills through her entire being, reminding her that Brittany wanted her just as much as she did even though they weren't really official or anything yet.
Though lately it was becoming clearer to Santana that whatever power she once held over Ashley was beginning to fade only to be exchanged for genuine sisterly affection. It was a relief that she wouldn't have to break one Pierce heart in order to claim the other. Yet Ashley continued to taunt her big sister, playing into Brittany's insecurities and exaggerating the bond which she shared with Santana just to get a rise out of Brittany.
And so far it worked every time.
Santana decided to enjoy the game while it lasted; she especially enjoyed the one on one time she and Brittany often shared afterwards, when she got the chance to vehemently assert where her true affections lied.
It was usually a win-win outcome for her after all; Brittany would either become incredibly sulky and could only be comforted by the sweetest of lady kisses… or Brittany would heatedly take Santana and remind her how well they fit together.
There was only that one time where the game completely backfired and resulted in Brittany kicking Santana out of bed and leaving her to sleep on the cold, hard floor with permission for Santana to marry her sister already, complete with well wishes for their long and happy future together…
Santana had learned from that night never to get too carried away enjoying the sibling rivalry and to keep a watchful eye on Brittany's limits so that she never reached such a boiling point of hopelessness again. Even Ashley had expressed genuine concern when it took Santana a whole day of silent treatment before she managed to coax Brittany around… of course it didn't stop Ashley from going at it again the very next day.
As her babysitter and role-model, Santana could really only blame herself for instilling such a competitive nature in the little blonde.