For the Girl with the Bluest Eyes in Texas

July, 2007

It's a rainy summer night in Boston. Downstairs Santana can hear the screaming of voices and the banging of cabinets and drawers from her parents fighting. The divorce is not final, but her father is no longer living with them, but with a new girlfriend on the other side of town. They are fighting about the things that they always fight about; things in the house, things around the house and who it was exactly that broke their relationship. These are sounds that Santana has been getting used to; the yelling. It clouds her mind and makes the good memories foggy and fading.

Sometimes she hears her mother tell her soon to be ex-husband to keep his voice down because the 'kids' are upstairs or home or will hear him. The sometimes that she does say this, Mr. Lopez just leaves, letting his soon to be ex-wife deal with the repercussions and possible questions that arise from the 'kids'. But, Santana's given up on the questions because she's heard all of the answers she needs through the walls of the house since the end of last summer.

Whenever she tries to talk to her older brother about the happenings around the Lopez house, he just brushes her off with a comment about how she wouldn't understand because it's adult stuff. When he says things like that, Santana wishes that she never has to become an adult because it looks and sounds like it hurts too much. But, since she cannot fly to Neverland with Peter Pan and never grow up, Santana has decided that she will make the conscious choice of never falling in love. Falling in love, as it has proven to her, only causes destruction and chaos and pain.

She walks over to her stereo and turns it on full blast in the hopes of making the voices of her parents drown out into the music of a familiar tune. 'Landslide' plays through her room and it reminds her of a better time, a brighter time.

She opens her window and watches the rain hit the roof and slide off into the gutter. She sticks her hand out and hums the words of the song to herself. Santana smiles sadly as she recalls the last time she'd played in the rain. It was the last time she saw Brittany. They had snuck out of their rooms in the middle of the night and spun around. They smiled and laughed and made promises and swore on pinkies.

It was perfect.

But nothing's perfect. As she watches the rain hit her skin she thinks about how things that seem perfect are the things that only last for a little while. Rain, like perfection, it fades away.

It doesn't stop her from remembering though, those perfect summers. Because, even if perfection is like the rain and eventually fades away, it's still beautiful.


As You Turn My Way and Say

January/February, 2012

After dinner all Santana could think about was the almost kiss out by the shed. It was amazing that she even still had thoughts on it because it was all she thought about during dinner too. Aunt Linda tried to get some conversation out of her, but instead, all she received were some dreamy far off looks out of her niece.

Even now, in bed, Santana can't seem to find anything else to keep her mind occupied. She tries though. She pushes memories from back in Boston, but somehow or another, her mind traces its steps back to good old Knox City, Texas and focuses on a particular blonde from up or down the road. Santana even tries to get down to the bottom of whether it's up or down the road, but gives up, because all she can envision is Brittany.

Everything that Brittany says to her, all the things that she has said to her since she rolled back into town, echoes in her mind. They are sweet things and kind things and things that Santana most certainly isn't. Of course, she remembers loving the smell of summer rain. It's one of those things that just is. It was sweet and bitter at the same time, if that is even possible. But it was even more than that. Still, she does love that scent.

Santana loves the smell of summer rain because it reminds her of the summers that she spent in Knox City, Texas. It reminds her of her Aunt Linda's house and the way her Uncle Roger used to roll his motorcycle into the shed just before the rain came pouring down. It reminds her of being carefree as she jumped in puddles barefoot and laughed. She loves the smell of summer rain because no matter where she is, the scent always brings her back to Knox. It always brings her back to this place. And, she realizes, it always brings her back to Brittany.

A groan escapes her as she kicks at the covers at her feet and bunches her pillow under her head. Normally, Santana sleeps on her side or even on her stomach. But now, she seems to be set on lying on her back, which usually proves to be her best thinking position. Sometimes, she thinks herself so hard that she can fall asleep just like that. She takes the chance of closing her eyes, hoping that she will exhaust herself by thinking hard enough.

But then a sound catches her ear. It's a familiar sound and if she was back home, she would have jumped out of her bed already. But, oddly enough, the sound of someone slipping in through her bedroom room window in Knox City, Texas is comforting. Probably because she knows who the culprit is. She opens her eyes and lifts her head and watches as the girl next door walks on her tippy toes, quickly yet elegantly, towards in her bed.

"Brittany," Santana speaks in a hushed voice and sits up in bed, leaning on her hands. "What are you doin'?" Her whisper is rushed because she's nervous.

"I have somethin' I need to…" Brittany starts, but stops herself just as she reaches the bed and sits beside Santana so is facing her. "I need to say somethin' to you."

"Oh… 'kay." Santana stammers.

It's quiet for a few seconds and then Brittany shifts closer. She lifts her hands up to the sides of Santana's face to cup her cheeks. Santana's chest stutters and one of her hands come up to grip at Brittany's wrist, ready to pull it away, only she doesn't.

"I've been waitin' too." Brittany tells her in a low voice as she leans in. "I never forgot." Santana can just make out the small grin on her face. "Promises made on pinkies are forever." She whispers. "You're unforgettable Santana Lopez." Brittany breathes out onto Santana's lips. "Now's your chance." Her voice is barely audible at this point.

"Britt," Santana breathes out and slightly hangs her head. "I… I can't." She shakes her head and gently tugs at the wrist in her grip.

"Can't or won't?" Brittany asks.

"What's the difference?" Santana challenges, but Brittany doesn't budge making the other girl huff. "If I kiss you, it'll be because I haven't kissed anyone in a very long time." Santana explains. "And to be honest, I usually don't do a lot of kissing… at least not on the mouth." She adds with a roll of her eyes, which is really just a way to look away. "Is that what you want though?" She asks. "A meaningless kiss from a girl you haven't seen in years?" Brittany just stares back at her, letting her know she doesn't believe a word that she has just spoken.

"What are you so afraid of?" Brittany asks. The frustration in her voice is palpable but it's laced in a caring tone that is unmistakably genuine. Santana rolls her eyes, but out of Brittany's vision, and sucks in her lips. "You're not gonna hurt me." She assures her and rubs her thumbs gently against tanned skin. Santana raises her eyes, finding blues staring back at her, offering so much. Too much.

"Brittany," Santana sighs and lifts her other hand to grab at Brittany's other wrist. "I can't." She forces out once more, eyes downcast and hangs her head. Brittany remains quiet for a little longer, never letting her hands on Santana's cheeks shift. When Santana doesn't say anything for a long while, Brittany drops her hand and goes to move. "Wait." Santana begs in a whisper as she grabs Brittany's hand. "Stay." She repeats when Brittany looks up from their hands. "Stay, here. With me." It's not a question, but a plea. "Please."

Santana shuffles on her bed closer to the wall making a spot for Brittany beside her. She pulls her covers back so that her friend can slip under there with her. When Brittany takes the offered place, Santana pulls the blanket over the both of them and rests her head against the wall and sighs. Brittany looks around the dark room, her eyes have adjusted a while ago, but there are still shadows covering lots of the corners bits of wall. The way she can only see some of the room is how she feels she sees Santana in this moment, in bits and pieces. But she knows, deep down, she can see everything even if Santana is trying to hide it in the dark.

"Is it me?" Brittany wonders in a louder whisper. She wonders if maybe it's that Santana just doesn't want to kiss her.

"It's… there's just…" Santana stammers, unable to put words to her thoughts of jumbled confusion and what she actually feels. "I just know that I can't."

"Yes." Brittany presses. "You can." She tells her, turning her attention back on the girl beside her.

"A kiss is…" Santana begins but her voice fails.

"Just a kiss." Brittany finishes for her, only it's not what she was going to say at all.

"Only, it's not." Santana corrects turning her attention away from the wall and to Brittany.

"How's that? Why?" Brittany asks in confusion.

"Because, sometimes kissing isn't just kissing. Sometimes it's something else entirely. Like, the things we can't say 'cause we don't know what to say or how to say it. It's more than words though. Sometimes kissing… it's everything." Santana explains. "So, no. It's not that simple. A kiss is never just a kiss. It's anything but simple."

"Is that what you're afraid of?" Brittany wonders with a shake of her head, slightly amazed at how thoughtful Santana sounds in this moment.

"It's not just that." Santana replies. Brittany's brow furrows as she searches those dark brown eyes looking back at her with regret. It takes a few moments, but then, Brittany understands what she really means. She lets out a slow breath and nods once before shaking it from side to side and reaches up once more to place a hand on the other girl's cheek only to have her wrist grabbed by Santana's hand again.

"I am not going to hurt you, Santana." Brittany dips her head when Santana's focus sways, but she maintains eye contact. "This won't hurt." She tells her with such certainty. "I promise." Brittany lifts her other hand up and offers her pinky to Santana, who eyes it up carefully.

Santana's expression softens at her words and her grip on that wrist slackens a bit and lifts her other hand to wrap her pinky around Brittany's. Her eyes fall to her lap and then to Brittany's, then her arms until finally she is looking up at the girl's face who is still just inches away. Her hand slides from wrist, down a forearm and up to a shoulder where it stops and gently rests. Ever so slowly, Santana leans her head forward, tilts it to the side a bit and closes her eyes as her lips brush Brittany's.

It's just a peck at first, mouths slightly open for a little taste. Santana's breath catches in her throat when she feels a small puff of air from a sigh hit her tongue from Brittany. When she goes back in for more, she moves her hand from Brittany's shoulder to the back of her neck, deepening the kiss. Their mouths open wider, letting their tongues meet and Brittany's body shifts closer to Santana's on the bed.

"See," Brittany whispers as Santana breathes out unevenly. "Painless."

Brittany is cut off by Santana pressing her lips firmly against hers. It's soft, of course, but more certain than a few seconds ago. Their kisses are like cotton candy. It's gentle and fluffy the way it plays against her lips and melts on your tongue. All Brittany can see behind her closed eyes are bits of cotton candy floating around and all she can taste is the sweetness of Santana's tongue on her own. Kissing Santana is like dancing in a room of cotton candy. It's magical and delicious. It's perfect.

To Santana, well, kissing Brittany feels like summer rain. It's like those times she would spin around and around with her arms outstretched, her face towards the sky and her mouth open awaiting the droplets. Brittany's tongue dancing around her own is like summer rain in her mouth. It's cool but warm and it's refreshing and she's dizzy but… it's perfect.

When their heads hit the pillow, their kisses slow down until finally they pull apart for air. Brittany's fingers are playing with strands of dark hair while her chest heaves as she tries to steady her heart. Santana's hand rests at the back of Brittany's shoulder, toying with the fabric of her shirt where the sleeve has ridden up and she is touching skin.

"I'm not goin' anywhere." Brittany whispers before Santana can speak a word. She can read in those brown eyes a request that had not yet made its way to lips. Santana swallows and a small smile comes to her mouth as she nods once. "Ever." Brittany adds quietly before leaning in and pressing another kiss to Santana.

When Santana wakes up she feels wind hit her face. She's slightly startled at the cool breeze and her attention is brought to her open bedroom window. The curtains are moving about as the wind flies in and out of her room. But what catches her eye more is the empty spot beside her. She looks around her room and finds that Brittany is nowhere to be found. With a grunt and a sigh, she shifts into a sitting position and runs her fingers through her hair.

She wonders when Brittany left her. Did she leave after Santana fell asleep? Did she sleep beside her and then leave a little while ago? Did Santana just dream everything that happened last night? But, no. She didn't dream it. Her fingers come up to brush her lips and she can still feel them tingling which happens with so much kissing. It was good kissing too. Really good kissing.

Her eyes fall to her blanket, fingers still lightly touching her lips and she's suddenly not thinking of anything in particular. And with that clear mind, it goes completely unnoticed by her that she's smiling.

"Where have you been young lady?" Mrs. Pierce hollers, practically bounding down the front steps of the Pierce home. Brittany spares an awkward glance towards the direction she just came, the Lopez house, before looking back at her mother. "Your father and I have been worried sick all mornin'." She huffs, finally coming to a halt when she reaches her daughter and takes notice of her bare feet.

"Sorry Mom," Brittany says as she makes her way around her mother and walks into the house. "We were hangin' out and got to talkin' and," She shrugs and motions towards Linda Lopez's place, unable to hide the tiny smirk on her lips from her mother, though she thinks she pulls it off. "I was just next door. It's not like I was out on the town." She tries to make it sound so innocent, but Mrs. Pierce can tell by the tiny expressions her daughter is making that whatever it was that transpired over at the neighbor's house was anything but innocent. This idea only makes her madder.

"That is unacceptable." The older woman crosses her arms over her chest and shakes her head. "You can't just sneak out of the house and then come home the next mornin' without tellin' me. Do you know what the neighbors would think, seein' you strollin' in at seven in the mornin'?" She questions, keeping her voice at a whisper, an angry whisper. Brittany's brow furrows and she turns to her mother.

"What neighbors?" Brittany challenges with her arms spread out wide and she laughs. "We live on the South Service Road, miles away from town." She shakes her head and without meaning to, rolls her eyes as she turns to head to her bedroom down the hall. "We live in the middle of nowhere in the middle of nowhere." She mumbles but loud enough to be heard.

It's the first day back to school since Santana and Brittany slow danced to no music behind the shed in Aunt Linda's backyard. It's the first day back to school since they said things and more importantly, since they kissed. Thing was, they didn't really talk much this morning about what happened, or to be more precise, what didn't happen.

Like every school day, Brittany pulls up to the Lopez driveway and like always Santana is standing there, waiting on the porch with her books pulled against her chest. She waves goodbye to her aunt and descends the steps making her way into the unknown. She swallows hard before opening the door to the passenger side of Brittany's powder blue, beat up pickup truck and the door squeaks like it always does. It does nothing to ease the tension that is clearly going to be swimming around them inside the truck's cabin.

They smile at one another as Santana settles herself on her side of the bench seat. She rests her books on her lap and nods when Brittany asks her if she's ready like she does every morning on their way to school. It's silent for the most part, except for the beating in Santana's chest, her moving at an unbearable rapid pace and she is quite certain that Brittany can hear it.

The only thing that Brittany can hear though, besides the engine, is the beating of her own heart. Her hands twist over the steering wheel as she nervously fidgets in her seat. They hit the stop light by Main Street, much like they normally do and she takes her hands off of the wheel letting them come to rest on her lap. Her eyes flicker to the side to see Santana out of the corner of her eye and she can see her passenger is looking down at her books, lower lip between her teeth and her fingers are fiddling with the frayed corner of her textbook.

The sight makes Brittany smile and she momentarily feels relaxed. She sits back more comfortably in her seat and reaches one hand over to Santana and carefully, ever so slightly, brushes her tanned cheek with her finger, hooking some dark hair with it and tucks it behind her ear. It catches Santana off guard, the touch of Brittany's skin on her own and she turns her head in her direction.

"You're hair looks nice today." Brittany tells her softly. Santana stares for a few seconds and smiles when she feels Brittany's hand come to her cheek and her thumb caress the skin beneath it.

"Thanks." Santana can feel her cheeks grow hot and averts her eyes. She nods ahead of her. "Light's green." They quietly ride the rest of the way to school, every now and then stealing glances at the other.

Once at school, they do their usual routine with walking one another to their locker. They stop at Santana's first and Brittany giddily leans up against the one just beside it, staring openly at her friend. Santana can feel heat rise to her cheeks at the eyes locked on her and she awkwardly shifts as she moves her books to and from her locker.

Out of the sea of students brushing by them, chatting about who knows what, Santana becomes aware. This is small town Texas and Knox is the smallest of the small. This isn't some big city and some giant school where they can be in this little world of their own. It's different. She's different. Brittany's different.

Everyone that walks by, she senses them staring at Brittany, thinking things up in their mind about the two of them. They're the same things that she used to be afraid of and things that she never wants directed at someone as sweet and innocent as Brittany. She knows that regardless of what is screaming inside of her not to, she has to say something before this get out of hand, more than it already has. The idea of sacrificing Brittany to the gossips and the looks of the town for the sake of her own joy seems completely wrong.

"Brittany," Santana sighs as she closes her locker. "What happened… shouldn't have happened." She explains in a low voice. Brittany is thrown off by the sudden change of tone and seemingly out of nowhere reverse. She stands up straight against the lockers and studies Santana's face.

"But, you said…" Brittany tries to argue.

"I know what I said." Santana interrupts before she can be reminded of her words. "Sometimes we say things, but we mean something else." She explains, but Brittany's face is blank. "You're my friend." The blonde looks down, obviously troubled by this statement , but even though Santana's stomach drops at this sight, she can't stop. "My best friend." Santana clarifies and dips her head to find Brittany's eyes. "Like you said, a kiss is just a kiss." She shrugs her shoulders.

"You're really confusing me." Brittany tells her honestly. Santana studies her friend's face as she bites her lip.

"Yeah, well, that makes two of us." She mumbles and shakes her head at herself. "Look," She straightens up and tugs at the strap of her bag on her shoulder. "If we…" She starts in a small whisper, her eyes darting around to check for eavesdroppers. She tries to think of ways to express the possible reasons as to why she would even engage in any sort of tongue action with her longtime friend. "Things haven't changed between us and I don't wanna ruin what we already have. I mean."

"Oh, uh…" Brittany tightens her ponytail and nods, her eyes looking everywhere but at Santana. "Okay."

"It's just that," She huffs, feeling a bit regretful at putting that pout on Brittany's lips. "Britt, our friendship really means a lot to me, why complicate things?"

"Why does it have to be complicated?" Brittany wonders, not at all giving into defeat. Santana tilts her head and sighs, realizing that putting up a fight is going to be harder than she anticipated. Luckily for her though, the bell rings and she finds an out as she spots Quinn heading her way. She leans her back against her locker and offers Brittany an apologetic look as their conversation is being cut short.

"Let's just…" She starts but her words are cut off when she receives an ice cold slushie facial not once, but twice in a row. Santana drops her bag and her book to the floor as she shrieks at the feeling of the ice treat sliding down her face, chest and arms.

"Dyke." Karofsky says loudly as he drops the now empty slushie cup at her feet. Santana wipes her eyes and opens them, trying her hardest not to flinch at the stinging thanks to the syrup dripping into them.

"What did you just call me?" She yells back, taking a step towards the teenage boy who was walking away from her.

"Oh, I'm sorry." He turns around as he answers in an obnoxious tone. "You're one of those 'lipstick lesbos' right?" He mocks with a smirk on his face and playfully pushes his buddy, getting himself riled up. The other kids in the hallway fall quiet to watch and listen at the situation going on, but he just saunters away leaving a shocked and flustered Santana behind.

"See Britt." Santana mutters as she gathers up her books and her bag from the floor. She spares her a look before she turns to leave. "This is what I am. The dyke who gets a slushie facial." Brittany grabs her arm but she tugs it away. "Stop it!" She says through gritted teeth. "Just… go away." She huffs before storming away with slushied ice falling from her to the ground.

She's grateful for the empty locker room. In a way, it feels fitting for her life here in Knox City. She's alone, for the most part, just doing her time. That is, until the door leading into the locker room flies open and she hears the tell tale signs of quick moving feet of someone on a search. Yeah, she's alone, until she's not which is also fitting for her life here in Knox City. She changes her top just as Brittany turns the corner, finally spotting the very girl she marched in here to find.

"You think you're tough don't you?" Brittany asks in a controlled shout, somewhat surprised at the volume of her own voice. Santana's eyes widen, alarmed, but is quick to narrow her stare at the other girl.

"What?" She spits out and returns her attention to the contents of her locker.

"You think you're so tough because you push things away." Brittany practically yells at her. "That's not bein' strong. Not to me." She swallows hard and her eyes glisten with unshed tears. "Strength, real strength, it takin' a hold of somethin' with two hands and makin' it stay. 'Cause you're too afraid of how life'll be without it. Bein' tough is flippin' everyone else off and not givin' a damn. Bein' vulnerable," Her voice softens. "But proud. That's real strength. Pushin' things away," She shakes her head. "The good things, that's bein' a coward. Lettin' what people say about you or to you get you down, I don't accept that. I guess the question is whether or not you're brave. So… are you? What are ya gonna do? Push? Or…" Her words hang in the air in an unfinished question that is already understood by both.

Santana stares at her with her hand resting on her gym locker door tugs it open and closed a few times before finally slamming it shut. She stands there, fists bunched at her side and the tiniest of tears glistening in her eyes. Brittany, still standing her ground in front of her a few feet away in the locker room, her eyes focused.

"If you push me," Brittany starts again, her voice is soft and cracks a bit. "I'm pushin' right back."

"I..." Santana tries to speak, but only a squeak comes out.

So, instead of words that express the whys and other excuses that she can't seem to verbalize, her feet move forward. She doesn't stop, even when she reaches Brittany. Her hands fly up, fists opening, and she brings her hands to the sides of Brittany's face. Santana's lips crash into Brittany's with force. Their mouths sloppily meet, uneven from their different heights, which Santana fixes by moving to her tippy toes. Brittany's uncertain arms hang, but only for a moment, soon they are wrapping themselves around Santana's petite figure drawing their bodies closer.

Before the kiss can grow anymore and before things can escalate further, the door to the girl's locker room swings open and bangs against the tile walls of the room and voices bounce off of the walls. The sound of chit chat, laughter and the door cause them to pull away from their embrace. Santana watches the way Brittany steps away from her, smiles and wipes her mouth with her fingers.

Soon enough, the row of lockers they are standing in is infiltrated by a small group of girls who have the unfortunate first period gym class. A few of them say 'hi' to Brittany, who of course regards them in the same greeting and a pleasant smile. Santana makes her way back over towards her gym locker and opens it once more, still needing to finish changing from her slushie showdown.

"I'll see you at lunch." Brittany whispers in her ear and her lips graze her cheek as she pulls away. Santana feels a rush of goose bumps spread out across her skin at that sensation of Brittany's breath on her body. She gulps before she slaps on a smile and turns to look at Brittany who is already moving away from her, letting a finger linger on her arm as she makes to leave.

"Okay." Santana nods as her own fingers twists and turn the dial of the lock and watches Brittany walk away from her. When Brittany vanishes around the corner of the row of lockers, Santana's eyes make their way back to where her lock is and she notices a tiny glance from one of the girls with first period gym.

She's quick to avert her eyes, bringing her focus to the dial of her combination lock. But the curious glance from the girl sitting on the bench worries her, so she takes another look over. When she does, she catches that girl sharing little whispers with another girl and the two send a few not so subtle stares in Santana's direction.

Down on Charles Avenue, just off of Main Street, Terri Del Monaco rushes through the elevator doors as soon as they open. As she swiftly moves across the marble floor of the Knox City Town Hall building, she glances down at the tray of coffee she had been asked to retrieve by the mayor's secretary. Lucky for her and her job, she has been successful in her mission.

But, it's not just the coffee that Terri is itching to get to the mayor, it's the bits of information she has gathered for her. She's past caring about why she is being sent to keep an eye on the mayor's daughter as it's not exactly the first time she's been asked to do so. All she cares about is whether or not she has the right sort of information that her boss is looking for.

With the mayor's office door a few feet away, she takes a quick glance over at the secretary to gauge what kind of day it is going to be. She's thankful when she receives just a smile and a small nod, which tells her nothing apocalyptic, has happened. At least, not yet. She adjusts the coffee tray in her hand and tugs at her bag on her shoulder before she lightly taps her knuckles against the heavy wooden door.

"Come in." She hears the mayor respond and she carefully pushes the door open all the while keeping a firm grip on the coffee. "Ugh." Mayor Pierce groans when she sees that it's her assistant Terri at the door with her coffee. "I almost had to wait." She shakes her, completely disregarding the fact that she is being rude to her assistant, but Terri is used to it. For Terri, the mayor could honestly get her to do just about anything because being the assistant to the mayor of Knox City has proven to be a pretty good gig. "Close the door." She tells her with a motion of her hand as she slowly sips her coffee and sits back down behind her huge mahogany desk.

"Linda Lopez's niece has about zero friends." Terri starts as she goes to sit down in the seat across from the mayor. She stops mid air when she receives an unamused look from her boss. "Other than your daughter and the Fabray girl, she has no other friends." She clarifies, but this does nothing better.

"Can you tell me somethin' I don't know?" Mrs. Pierce wonders with irritation and goes about fixing the papers on her desk.

"Well, I haven't seen Brittany with her usual clique of cheerleaders." Terri comments as she recalls her recent mission of Brittany reconnaissance, but of course, this is a bit of information that Mrs. Pierce stumbled up on her own during a football game. "And it seems that Finn Hudson hasn't been hangin' around her much either. In fact, it sort of looked like he walked across the street when he saw her at Holly's the other day." This peaks her interest. Though it's something that she also was a bit in the know about, she is wondering if Terri has some insight or reason. "But, you know boys. They want somethin' one day and then the next day they're over it." Terri explains as she comfortably leans back in her chair and stirs her coffee, like she's at a café with her bestie. She thinks about her own words for a minute and then a troubled look falls over her features. "Or sometimes they're under it and by it I mean someone." She shrugs and as she goes to sip her coffee she glances up at the mayor who is staring at her with an arched eyebrow. "Not sayin' that Brittany is or was goin' to be under Finn Hudson, not even an option." She tries to back track, not wishing to insinuate that sex is the reason for the teenage boy's lack of interest in her boss's daughter.

"Terri," Mayor Pierce groans and rubs her temples with closed eyes. "I'm not at all interested in tryin' not to think about some boy tryin' to get my daughter in the back seat of his pickup." So much for trying to back track Terri thinks.

"Mayor, I have to say," Terri crosses her legs at the knee and leans forward. "I don't think there's anythin' to worry about. Brittany is still a Pantherette and still the most popular girl in school." She smiles happily as if those are the only things a parent should have to worry about. "Besides, it's not like the Lopez girl is here to stay. Didn't it say in her file 'until June'?"

The mayor shakes her head, nods a bit and falls back into her chair then sends Terri away so she can think in peace and quiet. Surely she should feel relieved at the fact that Santana would be leaving in a few short months. But she worries that damage could have already been done. People talk in a small town. Gossip runs fast around a small town like Knox City and she is concerned about the type of person the town will see Brittany as if she continues to keep certain kind of company.

Then, she thinks, perhaps she is right to take matters into her own hands. Maybe she could possibly start a chain of events from happening if she stops them from starting at the get go. Surely there are ways to avoid something catastrophic from going down, such as the dismantlement of her daughter's reputation, if she nips it in the bud.

So when her day comes to a close at the office and she gets the last few minutes on her ride home to think, she takes it upon herself to make matters right. Linda Lopez is a reasonable woman and would understand the plight of a mother wanting to not bear witness the collapse of her daughter's perfect life and the possible condemnation of her future.

Before heading into her own home, she takes the tiny trek down her driveway and around the bushes that separate her front yard from the Lopez front yard. She wonders for a moment, as she makes her way up Linda's dirt driveway, if Santana is home. But, truth be told, it wouldn't matter either way. She is going to confront the situation head on before it becomes a situation. And with a light tap to the front door, she waits for the conversation she has been preparing for all day.

"Annie?" Linda says, bewildered to find her usually evasive neighbor and town's mayor on her front porch. "What can I do ya for?" She asks politely as she steps out onto the porch to meet the other woman. Mayor Pierce regards her with a slight smile and a nod of her head as she steps back to give some space between them.

"We need to have a talk." Annie says.

"Oh?" Aunt Linda moves away from the doorway, letting the screen door bang shut behind her. "What about?" Annie Pierce tilts her head from side to side as she contemplates how to phrase what she wants to say.

"It's your niece." Annie tells her matter of factly and Linda sighs, letting the dish towel that's in her hand hit her thigh.

"Ugh, what has Santana done now?" She asks, almost too afraid to ask because these days she's the one who has to deal with anything and everything Santana.

"Well," The mayor starts, realizing that she hasn't actually caught the young girl doing anything particularly wrong and wonders if evidence of past indiscretions are going to have to be divulged. "I understand that Santana is a bit of a problem child, and please forgive me for being so forward," Linda's eyebrows shoot up at the sound of Annie Pierce offering up an apology before even doing anything. "I think it would be in the best interest for Santana to stop hangin' around Brittany." Linda jerks her head back before she turns it to glance inside for a moment and then reaches back to the door to pull the main door shut a little more, but without actually closing it. She then turns back to face Annie and crosses her arms over her chest, looking back at her neighbor confused and a bit offended.

"I'm…" Linda pauses for a moment and then shakes her head as though she were trying to come back to her senses. "I'm sorry, but, did somethin' happen?" She asks, wondering if there was a fall out of something between the two girls and that maybe Santana has upset Brittany somehow. "I'm sure whatever it was," Linda starts again after Annie doesn't respond right away. "It's all squared away now. Brittany must've snuck over sometime last night because I found them fast asleep this mornin' and they looked fine." She explains with a swing of her dishrag and a gentle smile. "They probably talked it all out last night." The relief she was expecting to see from the woman in front of her never comes, but instead, is replaced by a look of concern and annoyance. To Annie Pierce, the idea that Linda is so liberal and lets her niece with her ambiguous sexuality have girls sleep in her bed and not think anything of it mortifies her.

"Look, I know why she's here and not with her parents." Mayor Pierce reveals and Linda's eyes widen and crosses her arms over her chest. "I'm sure you don't see it, children like her seem to always pull the wool over everyone's eyes, but I know." She motions to herself. "I'm merely looking out for my own daughter here." Linda stares her down for a moment and shakes her head.

"Like the way you were lookin' out for her when you banished her from the Fabray girl." Linda counters.

"Your niece is a bad influence and I don't want her hangin' around Brittany." The mayor states firmly. "I don't want her fillin' my little girl's head with ideas of…" Her hands flail in the air as she can't pick a precise and respectful way to describe what she really thinks of Santana.

"Of what?" Aunt Linda chuckles. "Bein' a teenager?" She mocks her. "Santana has been anything but trouble since she got here." She stretches the truth a bit, but it's for good reason. "I don't really understand the big fuss. The girls are just bein' girls."

"Girls like Brittany are nothin' like girls like Santana." Mayor Pierce says through gritted teeth. Linda arches an eyebrow and studies the woman before her. She's cold and unaware and closed. She's narrow minded and it's in this moment that Linda fully understands exactly what Annie's concern is. But it's more than that one insignificant detail about Santana that worries Annie Pierce, it's all of the details that make up Santana Lopez and they are all so very significant to her.

"Well, maybe you're right." Aunt Linda uncrosses her arms and sets them on her hips and takes in the way the woman in front of her relaxes. "Maybe a girl like Brittany doesn't need a Santana in her life. But… Santana…" She steps to her neighbor. "A girl like Santana, she needs a Brittany. But, you don't see that. You're too busy seein' Santana the way the rest of the world would see if her if they got a glimpse at her file." Mrs. Pierce flinches at this. It's subtle, but Aunt Linda catches it. "Brittany gets Santana. I mean, I don't. But, your daughter sure does. And Santana lets her." Aunt Linda shakes her head and glances down at her porch as the realization of her own words hits her. "Either way, it doesn't matter much to me the why or the how. Honestly, I just thank my lucky stars that there is a girl like Brittany who sees whatever it is she sees in Santana. You should be proud of the young woman your daughter has become." She shakes her head again as she stares back at the mayor and steps back with her hand reaching backwards for her screen door. "It's a shame that she has you for a mother." She goes to turn around but before she does, she turns back to fully face Annie. "Oh yeah, and you may run this town but you don't run me or Santana and you sure as hell don't run your daughter. If you opened your eyes for a second you'd stop tryin' to control her because she's fine. But, instead you're hell bent on molding her into the very picture of everything you weren't at her age." Annie stares back at her in an almost state of shock, not as quick with the banter as Linda seems to be. And before she can gather up the words to come out of her mouth in response, Linda adds one more verbal punch. "See, you forget that we grew up together. This isn't high school anymore."

Before Mrs. Pierce can react to all of what has just been said to her with a valid argument Linda vanishes beyond her screen door and shuts the main house door in one swoop. When Aunt Linda spins around she finds Santana in the hallway, half hidden by the wall. Her eyes are downcast as her fingers grip loosely to the edge of the wall. When she glances up Linda is a bit surprised to find the hint of a smile on her niece's lips, so she just nods and points towards the kitchen.

"Help me with dinner."


After overhearing her aunt and the mayor have a showdown on the porch the other day, and how her aunt defended her without question, Santana makes the final decision on looking for some sort of job. She figures she owes something to her aunt for not only having her back but for putting up with her for the past few months. It's merely a suggestion that her aunt has made before and she's taking the initiative and doing something right for once.

So when school gets out, Santana makes her way into town to try her luck at reeling in a job. She opens the door to Holly's Daze just as an older couple is walking about. She moves out of their way and motions for them to exit before she enters. The old woman smiles at her and the old man tips his hat as they move past her.

"Bless you." The old man says as way of thanking her and she stutters out a 'you're welcome', unsure of how to respond to him.

When she walks in to the café she takes case of the place. It's empty, but she figures that it's just after three in the afternoon on a Thursday. She slowly makes her way up to the counter, wondering if she is supposed to call out for someone or wait.

"Little Lopez." Holly Holiday greets from the swinging door she's just walked through from the kitchen and sets down a tray of ketchup bottles on a table. "If you're lookin' for Q, she ain't here sweetie." She informs Santana and starts switching ketchup bottles on all the tables to the ones from the tray.

"Oh, uh, no. I'm not lookin' for Quinn." Santana says as she sits on one of the stools at the counter and glances over at the jukebox that's playing a familiar song.

"What can I do ya for? Burger? Shake? Cheese fries?" Holly asks as she continues with her chores.

"Actually, I was wonderin' if you were lookin' for anyone to work." Holly's eyebrows raise and she nods in understanding. "Since I'm stayin' with my aunt, she's been kinda payin' my way around here." Santana explains with a shrug. "I'd like my own cash flow, if ya know what I mean."

"You're hired." Holly tells her, setting the tray filled with nearly empty bottles of ketchup to the counter. Santana's head shakes in disbelief and she looks around the café wondering if she is being tricked.

"Umm," She goes to follow after Holly when she moves from the counter to get behind it. "Wait, just like that?" She asks in confusion and watches as the owner of the place makes her way to the other side of the main counter and sets her hands down to the table top.

"Just like that." Holly smiles at the young girl.

"Cool." Santana grins, she's proud of herself for getting a job not only without having to sit through some crazy interviewing process, but on the first try. "Thanks." She goes to turn around only to realize she doesn't know when this new job starts for her or the required uniform. "Oh, uh, when do I start?"

"How's tomorrow kid?" Holly suggests as she lifts a cardboard box filled with sugar packets. Santana runs the calendar through her mind, seeing if tomorrow fits her schedule, and she nods because basically every day is good for her. "Good." Holly slides another box across the counter and looks up to the door when the bell rings, signaling customers entering her establishments. "I got Mondays and Wednesdays open for ya after school. But, we'll start ya tomorrow to get trained."

"Umm, I sort of…" Santana stammers and averts her eyes. "Wednesdays I have a thing." She explains vaguely catching Holly's attention. "It's a thing I can't exactly blow off. But, it's only for an hour right after school and then I can come right here." She shifts in her spot, wondering if this will make Miss Holiday revoke her instant hiring and form into an instant firing. Holly just chuckles as she lifts two small cardboard boxed up from behind the counter and goes to carry them into the back.

"It's all good sweet cheeks," She tells Santana who lets out a small sigh of relief. "Just get here when you get here." She says as she leans her back against the swinging door that leads to the kitchen and pauses. "Oh, and we don't got much of a uniform here at Holly's Daze. Just a black shirt and whatever," She looks down at the rather short skirt Linda Lopez's niece has on and she smirks. "I guess whatever on the bottom. Just cover your nether bits little Lopez." She pushes the door and retreats into the kitchen. "See you tomorrow." Holly calls out from the kitchen leaving Santana and the new café's patrons in the dining room area.


Another Wednesday is just another afternoon spent over at the Knox HealthCare Building in the office of Emma Pillsbury. Santana wonders how her social worker will take the news of her recently acquired job. In a way, she is sort of excited to share the fact that she got herself a job all by herself over at one of the most popular and only café in Knox City. Her aunt sure was happy to hear that she took it upon herself to do something other than lie around the house when she isn't off with Brittany or Quinn.

"I ran into your aunt the other day here in town." Miss Pillsbury reveals as she sorts through some paper work on her desk in a very efficient sort of way. "She told me you got yourself a job over at Holly's." She looks up at Santana and smiles proudly. "I'm so glad to see that you're really motivated to… steerin' yourself in the right direction. "Perhaps it has somethin' to do with the company you've been keepin' here in Knox City." She comments as she jots down a few notes.

"Guess it's just hard to be a rebel in Mayberry." Santana jokes and by Miss Pillsbury's expression she isn't sure whether or not the woman gets her humor.

"No." The woman replies slowly. "I suppose there aren't many things here to knock you off course. Not a lot of options to make bad choices." She agrees and Santana wonders how much trouble a kid could even get into in this place considering she hasn't found any trouble. Well, none like the kind she easily found back home. "Have you looked at those college brochures? Because, if you're serious, we need to get the ball rollin'. There are essays to write and letters of recommendation to get." The last part throws Santana for a loop. She hadn't a clue about letters of recommendation and she isn't quite sure she has any suitable candidates to write a glowing letter on her behalf.

"Oh." Santana sighs and looks down at the pamphlets and brochures she'd stuck in her bag for the meeting. "Actually…" She slips her hand in her bag and tugs at one of the brochures. "I was thinkin' about this school." She hands the paper to Miss Pillsbury who eyes it up as she grabs it. Santana nervously sets her hands to her lap and watches Miss Pillsbury's eyes scan the brochure. "I know I'm probably aiming high and a lot of schools like this are all politics and who you know. But, my grades are good and…"

"Santana," Miss Pillsbury interrupts her ranting and sets the pamphlet down to her desk. "If you don't aim high, you're aimin' at nothin'." She tells the young girl and gives her a smile of encouragement. "So, I'll get all the information we're gonna need to get you through the application process. Until then, keep up the good work."


After Santana's first official shift at Holly's Daze, Brittany stops by, still in her jumpsuit from the garage. The bell on the door chimes as she walks in, letting her presence be known by the sound, and tugs on the strap of her cheerleading bag as she glances around. She smirks when she spots Santana wiping down an empty table and a tray full of half empty soda cups and baskets with half eaten burgers and fries. Santana looks over her shoulder when she hears the door close and she smiles when her eyes land on Brittany.

"Uh," She stands up straight and blows some stray strands of hair from her face while she shoves the dish rag into her apron. "What are ya doin' here?" She asks and Brittany simply grins wider.

"It's your first day on the job." Brittany points out with a tilt of her head. "I thought we should celebrate." She smiles sweetly and Santana can't help but return the expression, though she does try and fight it. Before Santana replies, she gives Brittany and her outfit a once over with a quirked eyebrow.

"Nice outfit." Santana jokes and when she meets those blue eyes, Brittany is regarding her with the same look.

"I was about to say the same to you." Brittany says and motions with her finger towards Santana's Holly's Daze ensemble. Santana looks down at her outfit which consists of a low cut shirt, surely to bring in tips, her black apron which basically makes her look like she isn't wearing the extremely short cut off shorts she and Aunt Linda picked up when they went to the department store. "Do you have pants on?"

"I don't do pants sweetie." Santana informs her as she pulls the dish rag out of her apron again and turns to wipe down another table. "Got me some daisy dukes though." She tosses a not so innocent smirk over her shoulder as she bends over to get to the far side of the table she's wiping. Brittany clears her throat and tears her eyes from a bent over Santana and points to the back of the shop.

"I'm just gonna," She coughs into her hand and tugs at her bag with the other hand before motioning towards the back of the cafe. "I'm gonna change."

"Well, I'll put in some food for us before Holly shuts off the grill." Santana calls out to her fleeing friend, watching the blonde disappear into the bathroom curiously and a little smug.

"Havin' an afterhours date there little Lopez?" Holly asks when Santana comes to the counter to scroll an order for her and Brittany down to her notepad. Her pen jumps on the page and she jerks her head back.

"Since when is two friends havin' burgers a date?" Santana fires back as she scribbles the rest of their order and slides it across the counter to Holly who lets out an unamused laugh.

"If you say so kid." She placates the girl and spins to slap the ticket on the kitchens counter for the cook. "Last order!" Holly shouts back to the guy who grabs the slip quickly. "Finish up twelve," She nods towards the foursome of adults by the front. "Then you can start cleanin' up." She adds and tosses a dish rag across the counter to Santana who catches it at the last second.

Twenty minutes later, the café is empty of guests and taken up by Brittany and Santana sitting at a two top by the counter. They're nearly done with their burgers and laughing over the old yearbooks Brittany brought along with her to show Santana. Of course Santana comments on how corny it is that Knox City High School has a yearbook that holds every single class from freshman to senior. She tells Brittany that at her school, only the seniors get yearbooks which sort of makes them a little bit more sentimental. But, she adds, that it's kind of cool to have all of the memories from high school accounted for and documented.

"Hold up." Santana blurts out as they turn the page together from the yearbook of Brittany's junior year. She leans forward, bringing her eyes closer to the book to get a better look. "Is that Quinn in the background?" Brittany moves in her chair to get a look at the picture that Santana is talking about and she squints her eyes.

"Yeah." She drawls out with a chuckle. She points at the picture of Quinn, sitting on the bleachers behind a group of kids at a football game in all her pink haired glory. "She kind of went… a little out of sorts junior year." Brittany explains in the nicest way possible. Santana nods, because from the looks of junior year Quinn's choppy bright pink locks, she's sure 'crazy' is the term Brittany is avoiding. "She dyed her hair pink."

"I see." Santana's eyes widen at how vivid the pink is in contrast to the dull colors of the Knox City fans wearing the colors of the Panthers.

"And she was hangin' out with this group of girls who, like, graduated a few years ago. Or, at least, they were supposed to graduate a few years ago." Brittany clarifies with a shrug. "They used to hang out under the bleachers with those stoner kids. Called themselves the skunks or the skanks." She makes a face at Santana letting her know she doesn't know the name but that either way it was something very peculiar. Santana laughs because the whole idea of Quinn having gone through some kind of a rebellious streak totally makes sense. It's just something she wouldn't have pictured considering the girl she appears to be now. After taking one more look at the pink haired Quinn, just to make sure she won't ever forget it, she glances up at Brittany who seems to be thinking. "I wonder sometimes if… like, if my mom never… or if I just didn't listen to her if Quinn would have still gone bat shit crazy." Santana's smile fades and she twists her lips as she contemplates the possibilities of this scenario.

"Well, there's no use in wonderin' about things that have already happened." Santana reasons and Brittany gives her a nod, still in some kind of thinking haze. "Besides, you're friends now. Right?" Brittany smiles with a tilt of her head and looks over at Santana. Just then, Holly walks over to their table and they realize they're the only ones left in the café. She hands Santana a set of keys, placing them on the table top.

"Lock up when you both decide to take this date elsewhere." Holly tells her and winks.

"What?" Brittany breathes out and she can feel the heat of embarrassment creep up in her cheeks.

"Please." Holly scoffs with a wave of her hand and heads back through the kitchen doors to leave out the back entrance. When the big metal door that leads out to the back parking lot stops echoing, Santana turns to Brittany who is bashfully trying to hide her smile by sucking in her lips.

"You done?" Santana asks with a nod towards the bit of burger and random fries sitting in the basket in front of Brittany.

"Oh," Brittany glances down. "Yeah." She smiles and picks it up, handing it the waiting hand across from her. "Thanks." She watches from her seat as Santana carries the burger baskets to the back, the kitchen door swinging a few times until she emerges back into the dining room of the café.

"So, what do ya wanna do now?" Santana's walking back towards the table, wiping her hands on a clean rag and looks around the room. Her attention turns to Brittany when she hears rustling coming from the table she was just sitting at.

"I mean, it's no theater." Brittany comments as she pulls out her laptop from her bag. "Or drive-in." She smiles over at Santana who grins back when she sees her hold up a DVD. "But, it can work." She gets up and moves to one of the booths against the wall, shuffles in and pats the spot beside her for Santana to sit. "You've seen this, right?" She quirks an eyebrow as she opens the DVD case and grabs the disc.

"Britt," Santana chuckles. "We used to watch this all the time." She reminds her friend and Brittany nods and grins.

"Just seein' if you remember." Brittany sing songs cutely and slides the movie into the computer.

They sit there comfortably beside one another while the opening of Mean Girls starts. Every few minutes their arms brush up against each other and they shift or cough, neither sure if the other did it on purpose. When Santana laughs at a scene, she can suddenly feel eyes on her and she looks over at Brittany just in time to catch her looking at her chest. At first she decides to look back at the movie and ignore it, but, within a second she vetoes that option, turns back to Brittany whose cheeks are a bit flushed and focus desperate to be on the movie.

"You were totally just checkin' out my tits." Santana spits out matter of factly. She smirks at the way Brittany's eyes flicker across the lap top's screen, to her lap, to Santana and then back to the screen, a smile bashful grin on her lips the entire time. She giggles and grabs at Brittany's hand when she tries to hide her face. "It's fine. They are kinda awesome." She says with open arms, an offer for Brittany to take this moment to ogle her goodies. Brittany laughs and shakes her head at her friend's straightforwardness, but not quite giving in to the suggestion.

The silence from Brittany falls over the both of them and Santana gives up on trying to coax her friend to check out her rack. Instead, they each try to get sucked back into the movie. Santana sighs and crosses her arms comfortably over her chest and tilts her head as she watches the characters on screen talk about how on Wednesdays they wear pink. Out of the corner of her eye she watches Brittany's hands twisting and turning on her lap and she smiles softly to herself.

She reaches over and places her hand over Brittany's, letting her fingers tickle the blonde's thigh. Brittany lets out a shaky breath, trying not to pay too much attention to the skin on skin contact. Santana smirks at the effect she's having on Brittany's body and she shuffles a little closer until she is close enough to turn and press her lips to a bare shoulder.

Brittany grins over at her and her eyes flicker down to her lips. Santana bites her bottom lip and leans forward, tilting her head to the side before pressing a kiss to Brittany who pushes into it. The movie becomes background noise as their lips dance against each other and tongue tastes tongue. Santana's hands become adventurous and as her body turns towards Brittany's she sets her hand on her leg.

Her hand moves up Brittany's bare leg, letting her fingers tickle the inside as she gently touches her. When she reaches the hem of those very short cut offs, the blonde's legs seem to be in a war with the feeling and her brain. It's when Santana moves her hand to the button of her shorts that Brittany's hand comes down to stop her.

"Wait." Brittany says breathlessly. "Just…" Santana's lips still against Brittany's neck and she opens her eyes.

"Brittany." Santana whispers against her skin and slides her hand from the bottom of the shorts to up and just under Brittany's shirt, causing the blonde to jump in her seat and grab at her wrist, stilling her.

"Santana," Brittany says firmly and pulls back from the girl kissing at her neck. "I'm not…" Santana sighs and drops her hand to Brittany's grip and leans away to look up at her. "I like you." She tells her with a soft smile.

"Yeah." Santana nods and goes to move her hand to Brittany's body again, but she is stopped.

"No." Brittany dodges Santana's lips. "I don't wanna… um…" She looks at her fingers that are playing with a lock of Santana's hair and clears her throat. "I'm not goin' to have sex with you." She says straightforwardly and Santana's face slowly falls and her hand slides from Brittany's leg to her own lap.

"Britt, I…" Santana goes to speak but Brittany continues.

"I just…" She pauses and drops the locks of hair she'd been toying with. "I'm not havin' sex with you here in a café, in a booth." Her eyes nervously look to the two brown ones staring curiously back at her. She isn't sure if she is supposed to go back to kissing Santana because that part was nice or if she is supposed to turn back to watch the movie.

Setting, time, place. Those things have never exactly been an issue for Santana when it came to sex. It was a here and now sort of deal back home. If she felt it, she did it. But as she smiles in understanding and nods, she wonders if she was really just about to try and have sex with Brittany. She wonders if Brittany didn't stop them, if she would have actually had sex with Brittany in a booth at Holly's Daze after hours.

Instead of pondering the possibilities any longer, she decides to get lost in the movie she's seen about a million times since she was ten. Maybe getting sucked into the world of imagination is okay every once in a while because the real world can be so damn confusing and unpredictable.


It's Monday, which means Holly and her band, the New Directions, comes to practice for the monthly open mic night at the café. It's kind of awkward because one of the band members is actually her Spanish teacher and apparently her social worker's fiancé and he told Santana it's cool if she calls him Will when he's 'jammin''. The other two, besides Holly, are pretty okay she figures. The drummer guy kind of reminds her of Uncle Jesse from Full House, so he's not bad to look at and the chick who sings and wave around a tambourine turns out to be April, the owner that gay bar just outside of town.

After an hour of playing, the live music festival comes to a close and the band starts packing up. Santana hears them talk about the open mic night and how they should try and get a gig playing at one of the many Knox City Annual fairs always going on. Holly locks the door after Will, April and the drummer step out, leaving her little shop quiet. She makes her way over to where they'd been practicing and grabs her guitar. She sits down on a stool and starts strumming away, nothing in particular but it still sounds nice.

Santana, having been cleaning up in the kitchen, comes back out and begins to wipe down the tables and sets the chairs up on top of them. She works while Holly plays, not even realizing she's humming along to a familiar tune.

"You got a good voice on ya kid." Holly points out after she stops playing. Santana shrugs and hits one of the tables with the wet rag in her hand. "But, you already know that." She answers after a beat when the young girl doesn't respond, just shrugs and rolls her eyes as she moves to the counter to give it a good wipe down. "You used to sing though, right? Must've stopped for a reason." She continues as she sets her guitar down beside her to study her newest employee. "Good reason?" Santana's lips twist in thought.

"I just..." She sighs and turns to give her boss a quick look. "I used to sing with my uncle all the time when I was..." She stops herself from saying 'kid' because she knows Holly is just going to make a stink about how she's still a kid. "Even after... I, uh, I was actually in my school's glee club back home." She waves her hand as if it's not much to share.

"Must've been pretty good to be in the glee club." Holly says and pushes herself up from her stool to walk over to the counter. Santana shrugs as she moves sugar caddies and ketchups to clean properly. "So, why'd you stop?"

"I guess I felt like it didn't work anymore." Santana replies quietly. When Holly doesn't respond, she continues. "My uncle always said that music helps everything and anything. That, even if someone has nothing they could have almost everything if they had music in their hearts." She moves along the counter with the rag as she speaks. "He once told me that music helped him 'get' love. I was really young so I never really understood what he meant." She quirks an eyebrow at herself and shoves the dishrag into her apron. "And I never got the chance to ask." She jams her hands into her back pockets and walks away from the counter and to the door to draw the shades. Holly studies her newest employee and contemplates the idea of how music mixes with love.

"Music can open your eyes." Holly breaks their silence after a few seconds and it catches Santana's off guard. "One song can remind you of a feeling you once had, but maybe you forgot. A song can even bring on feelings you never even knew you had." She grins to herself as she truly listens to herself, agreeing with each of her own words. "The trick to 'gettin'' love from music is listenin' to a song and havin' that one person come to your mind. All those songs about love and that feelin' in your gut makes this person pop into your brain every time." Santana remains quiet. "And when you really 'get' it, is when you listen to one of those songs with that person. Then, suddenly," She quirks an eyebrow and nods. "You 'get' it. That, sweet cheeks, is what your uncle meant."

"That sounds exhausting." Santana huffs, but Holly can tell that she is simply acting disinterested.

"My daddy used to tell me that love should be like breathin' air; easy and always there. But, it's not like that." Holly admits with a shrug of her shoulders. "I guess in a way, that's kind of what makes it so amazing. Love is like bein' underwater when you need to breathe. You're swimmin' to the surface, and you can see it but it feels like you're never gonna get there. But when you do, you take this big gulp of air and it hurts and your coughin' or chokin', sometimes both. Most of all though, it feels so good. That first breath is so friggin' good and each one after is better and better. That's love." She finishes and nods her head towards the door that lets out a chime before Santana can even turn around to see who it is, but she's already smiling.

Like at the end of most of her shifts at Holly's Daze, Santana is greeted by the company of one Brittany Pierce. Also like usual, Holly makes herself scarce and heads to the back office to do some paper work for the next day. Santana stands behind the counter fixing sugar caddies and restocking ketchup packets for to go orders while Brittany leans over from the other side of the counter. They send one another a glance here and there, letting their eyes linger on lips and bashful smirks.

"Wanna split a shake?" Brittany asks, leaning even further over the counter so that she can reach out and tug affectionately at a stray strand of dark hair.

Santana playfully bats her hand away and flicks her hair from her face before leaning forward and giving Brittany a quick peck on the lips. When she pulls back, she notices Brittany's eyes flicker towards the door Holly randomly swings through every now and again.

"Oh, umm." Santana clears her throat realizing she'd nearly forgotten to pull down the shades and that they aren't in the comfort or privacy of either of their rooms. Anyone is bound to walk by and see them through the huge open windows of Holly's Daze. But, her doubt fades when she finds Brittany smiling back at her, still leaning towards her on the counter top. "I just spent the past half hour cleanin' the blenders without injuring myself." She holds up her fingers, free of cuts, proudly. "No dice." She chuckles.

"So, how 'bout I get Carmel's?" Brittany suggests with an arched eyebrow.

"That sounds delicious." Santana hums in approval and rests her forearms to the counter leaving a small amount of space between them.

"Oh?" Brittany reaches out and pokes Santana's side. "Does it?" She continues to wriggle her finger into Santana's side, even though it's being swatted at, and doesn't give up until she gets a giggle.

"Britt!" Santana yelps finally having to jump back away from the counter top to get away from the tickling.

And when Brittany goes to get shakes a few moments later the door opens again and of course Santana thinks its Brittany.

"Britt," Santana laughs. "You're seriously so gonna get it…" But, is stopped in her tracks and her words and her smile slowly fades as she sees it is Mrs. Pierce at the door.

Mrs. Pierce looks around the café and shakes her head. Slowly, she walks in further, closer towards Santana.

"We're closed." Santana tells her. Mrs. Pierce's eyes land on her and she smirks.

"You know why I'm here." She says. "And it's not for some latte or greasy burger. I'm here about my daughter." Her voice is threatening. "I don't know what your aim really is, but whatever it is, I know I don't like it."

"What?"

"Don't play dumb Santana, you and I both know you can't pull that off." She gives the place a once over, unimpressed and tugs on the strap of her bag. "I know that whatever I say to Brittany, she's just going to keep doin' what she's been doin'. But, I am telling you that if you don't stop there will be consequences."

"I think you've got the wrong…"

"Don't test me little girl. I'll have you sent away somewhere far worse than Knox City, Texas before you can snap your fingers. You're goin' to stay away from Brittany."

"Doesn't mean she'll stay away from me."

"You'll make sure she does. You're a clever girl, you'll think of somethin'."

"If you think I got sent here by doin' what I was told, you're very mistaken Mrs. Mayor."

"I don't know who you think you are, but 'round here children respect their elders."

"Well, I'm not from around here." Santana reminds her as she crosses her arms over her chest and cocks out a hip. "Where I come from, respect is earned when it's reciprocated."

"Let me put it in terms you'll understand then." Mrs. Pierce steps towards her. "You're nothin'. You're a child; selfish and irresponsible." She raises her head as though too noble to look down at Santana's level. "Careless and reckless."

"You don't know anything." Santana defends, but even she is let down by her own lack of aggression.

"I know you're not good enough to be around my daughter." The mayor spits back.

"We're friends." Mrs. Pierce laughs.

"You and Brittany aren't anythin' and you'll never be anythin'." She sneers at the young girl before her. "Wanna know why?" She smirks. "Your own parents tossed you away because they couldn't even deal with you. You're common trash. A girl like you comes with baggage, the kind of baggage I don't want Brittany to have to carry for you. And baggage that I don't ever want her to have to carry for herself." A door swinging on a hinge catches both of their attention and the turn to find Holly Holiday standing in the doorway at the kitchen.

"Annie." Holly greets, though, her tone is far from happy or even truly polite. "Kitchen's closed." She explains with a quick motion of her hand to the room behind her before she crosses her arms over her chest.

"I just came to have a little chat with Santana." The mayor tells her with a curt smile.

"I see." Holly nods and moves forward, all the while inspecting the tension in the air between the neighbors. "Well, I need Santana in the back for inventory." She shares and hands a folded piece of paper she pulls from her pocket over to Santana.

"We can finish this later." Mrs. Pierce says, moving her stare back to the teenager.

"I think you're finished now." Holly steps in to block the mayor's line of vision to Santana. "You should go."

"Very well." Annie turns on her heels and leaves, head held up high.

Holly has the door closed and locked almost before the mayor is even fully out onto the sidewalk. She closes the shades and lets out a sigh before turning around. Santana is staring at the paper, no unfolded, and then looks up at Holly.

"This is a photocopy of the crossword puzzle from today's paper." Santana informs her boss as she shakes the paper at her. Holly smirks and grabs the paper as she brushes by her young employee.

"Well, I can't get thirty-seven down." She explains in a light tone. "What's a five letter word for hollow?" At first Santana thinks for the answer, but then goes back to what just transpired. Holly stops at the kitchen door when she realizes there are no tiny footsteps behind her. "Hey, little Lopez." She calls out to Santana. "Pay no mind to that Annie Pierce. She's a bad egg."

Except Santana can do anything but pay no mind to Annie Pierce. The woman basically told her everything that she already knows and everything that has been plaguing her mind she decided to let go and give in to this… whatever this is.

By the time Brittany gets back to Holly's Daze, large milkshake in hand, she finds Santana leaning against the brick wall of the building obviously waiting on her. She parks her truck and hops out, smiling as she walks around the front of the vehicle and towards Santana. The sound of feet scuff across pavement is what draws Santana's attention to her. Brittany slows down when she notices a shimmer in the other girl's eyes.

"I got strawberry." Brittany announces, lifting the cup in her hand and tries not to let her smile waver. Santana looks down as she pushes herself from the wall of the building and clears her throat. When she glances back up at Brittany, the blonde is certain that that shimmer she noticed is in fact tears. Only, she has no idea why they are there. "What's wrong?" She hesitantly asks because she has an inkling she's not going to like the answer very much.

"I don't wanna do this anymore." Santana tells her in a calm and soft voice. Brittany's face falls and her hand holding the shake falls to her side.

"Do what?" Brittany's feet shift against the pavement, but she can't hear the noise is makes over the beating of her heart as she nervously awaits a response. Santana sighs and half rolls her eyes so that she is looking up at the sky and shakes her head subtly.

"Like, kissing you is fun." She starts and crosses her arms over her chest. "But…" She kicks at the ground and clears her throat. "I mean, it's not like I'm makin' out with you 'cause I'm in love with you." She spits out, finally lifting her eyes up to Brittany who is staring at her in disbelief and pain.

"Wait," Brittany runs her hand over her face and sets the strawberry shake down on the cement window sill. "What happened? What's goin' on?" She asks, her brain too frazzled from this sudden turn of events. Santana jams her hands into her zip up hoodie and bites on the insides of her cheeks, preparing herself for the things she is about to say.

"Brittany," She says her name in a condescending way which causes Brittany's head to jerk back. "Did you really think that there was somethin' goin' on here?" She motions with her hand in her pocket between the two of them to emphasize her point and smirks in an apologetic way when Brittany's lips part.

"You're…" Brittany breathes out and shakes her head. "If this is you tryin' to push me away to protect me, please stop." She begs and takes a step towards Santana, but Santana steps away.

"You're being ridiculous." Santana laughs only Brittany can't find the humor in this moment. "Actually, no. You're ridiculous."

"That's just mean." Brittany says, her voice shaky and saddened by this confrontation. "Why are you doin' this?" She sniffles as the beginnings of tears form in the back of her eyes. "Is this because of the… the other night. 'Cause we didn't…"

"You don't get it." Santana tells her with force. "I… I don't wanna be with you." She says in exasperation. "I'm leaving at the end of the school year anyway, so what the hell would be the point even if I did?" She challenges an obvious question to the situation, if there were a situation of course.

"What's wrong with livin' in the now?" Brittany counters as she wipes a single tear that's sliding down her cheek. "I know you're leavin'." She looks down at the ground because looking at Santana hurts too much right now. "Doesn't mean it can't..."

"I don't want it to." Santana shouts and raises her hands in the air as if the gesture will get her point across. Brittany stumbles back a step at the volume of the voice being used towards her and glances up at Santana with wide eyes. "You think everything is sunshine and rainbows. Life sucks." She spits out and takes a challenging step towards Brittany. "The world, it's horrible. All you know is this stupid town and the ten people who live in it. You act like you're all knowing. Well, you know nothing." Brittany pouts at her, lower lip quivering and her eyes filled to the brim with tears.

"Why do you have to make everythin' sound so sad?" She whimpers and sniffles some more, wiping her eyes quickly not wanting to give Santana the satisfaction of getting tears. Santana shoves her hands back into the pockets of her hoodie and steps that last step to Brittany so they are barely a breath apart.

"The saddest thing you know is losing a championship." Santana tells her in a softer but still intimidating tone. "That in itself is sad." And with that, Santana feels a warm sting on her cheek.

Her eyes widen and her jaw drops. Brittany has just slapped her. When she looks up at her, she finds it hard not to notice the way her blue eyes glisten fiercely under the moonlight. Even more so, she can see clearly that Brittany is not regretful of her action. The blonde's chin quivers as she stares back at Santana, hurt written all over her face.

"Maybe you're right." Brittany speaks, finally breaking the silence that has fallen after the echo of skin slapping skin has faded.

Santana has to tear her eyes from Brittany's face, unable to see the way her lower lip twitches and chin flutters as she tries to control her emotions. By looking to the ground, she watches Brittany's feet shuffle away from her and then turn in the other direction. When she looks back up, Brittany is no longer in front of her but walking around the front of her car.

"Enjoy the shake." Is the last thing that Brittany calls out before the roar of her truck takes over the silence around them and drives off into the darkness.

Santana stands there and stares down Main Street until the backlights of Brittany's powder blue truck vanish around a corner. She presses her lips together, trying to will away the quiver in her chin but it's of no use. She sighs out a tiny whimper as she opens her eyes wide and wipes a tear before it trails down her face. Clearing her throat, she steps over to the strawberry milkshake that is melting away on the cement window sill of Holly's Daze and tosses it into the garbage can on the curb.

With a stuttering breath, she pulls her cell phone from her bag and flips it open. There aren't many people for her to call for help seeing as her contacts only run about four names long. Two of them she can't call and one of them is the police who she most definitely doesn't need. With only one person left, she scrolls down to the name and tentatively presses the call button.

"Umm," She hums into the phone, trying to close her throat so she doesn't cry into it. "Do you think you could pick me up from work?"

Fifteen minutes later, Quinn's dirty brown pickup truck pulls up in front of Holly's Daze. Santana adjusts her bag on her shoulder as she walks on over to the passenger side door, happy for those fifteen minutes she had to herself to sort things out. Quinn smiles kindly to her when she hops into the seat and doesn't ask her what's going on. Well, at least not at first.

The first five minutes or so, maybe less, are relatively quiet. Quinn hums along with the radio that is at a very low volume, while Santana stares out the window at the rustic, desert like scenery passing her by. She wonders what Brittany was thinking on her drive home. She wonders if Brittany thought about coming back to pick her up, knowing that she was her ride home. She wonders if Brittany could see right through her and that she didn't mean anything she had said to her. She wonders if this pain in her chest from making Brittany cry will ever go away.

"So?" Quinn finally interrupts their silence which Santana had simply been waiting for. She turns towards her friend who is keeping an eye on the road. "I thought Brittany was bringin' you home." Santana's eyes flicker away from Quinn when those inquisitive hazel ones veer from the road and in her direction.

"Oh." Santana lets out which is just a ploy to give herself a few more seconds to come up with a believable response. "Umm, she uh, had somethin'." She waves her hand, hoping it will also wave away the topic of conversation, but she knows it won't.

"Oh, okay." Quinn nods as she reaches for the knob on the radio and flicks it all the way to the left until it clicks, leaving the cabin of the truck silent. "Now, how 'bout you tell me what really happened." She says and sends Santana that knowing look.

Santana sighs loudly and her shoulders slump. For a few moments, she just watches the way her fingers twirl the string of her hoodie around and around, wondering if the quiet in the truck will erase the conversation. It's probably a conversation with Quinn that is long overdue, especially taking into consideration all of the things her friend had said to her before New Years. As she thinks of how to explain recent happenings to Quinn she nibbles on the end of the string to the hood of her zip up.

"Brittany and I have been," Santana pauses for a moment, trying to decipher in her mind exactly what it is that she and Brittany have even been doing. "We've been… kissing." She decides on, because truth of the matter is, that's pretty much the extent of the physical that they have been participating in. She opts to leave out anything further than that, which would be anything that falls into the 'emotional' category. "A lot of kissing." She adds and Quinn's smile falters which she is sure has somewhat to do with the tone she is using.

"But?" Quinn drawls out as she pulls onto the South Service Road and Santana sighs.

"But," She starts. "I don't know." She huffs and shakes her head as she drops the draw string of her sweatshirt. "I know she wants things… and I… I can't give 'em to her." She mutters and leans her elbow on the door against the closed window.

"Why can't you?" Quinn asks, not at all understanding why her friend sounds so defeated with something that seems so obvious to her.

"Because," Santana rests her head against the window and closes her eyes. "She's too good for me." Quinn laughs at this causing Santana to lift her head from the window.

"You're just afraid." Quinn informs her as though it's a simple fix to all the world's problems. Santana stares at her with a furrowed brow.

"I am not." She defends, but it's hardly believable.

"Yes. You are." Quinn replies with a firm nod. "I think you're just afraid to admit that Miss Brittany Pierce is exactly what you need. She's not 'too good' for you." She tells her friend in a soft voice and sends her a quick glance. "You're scared she's perfect for you." She adds as she pulls into the Lopez driveway and throws the truck into park.

"Why do you even care?" Santana challenges.

"What?" Quinn's brow furrows and tilts her head to the side.

"Why do you care so much about this? About me? I mean, what's in it for you?" She asks and Quinn studies her for a moment until she realizes that Santana is serious. She shifts herself in the driver's seat so she can face Santana and give her a good hard look.

"I… I didn't know I needed a reason to help a friend." Quinn sighs as she watches her words affect Santana. "I just… I want you to be happy and…" She shakes her head and runs her fingers through her hair.

"So, that's it? You want me to be happy?" Santana questions because she finds this reason to be farfetched. Quinn shrugs her shoulders and nods.

"Yeah, sometimes people do things for each other without wantin' somethin' in return. It's the beauty of friendship." She explains with ease but Santana is still staring at her bewildered. "You're lucky." Quinn blurts out when Santana doesn't respond. "She loves you, Brittany loves you. So, stop being such a pussy and love her back, because…" Santana's eyes widen a bit while Quinn clenches and unclenches her fists in frustration at feeling at a loss for words. "'Cause, you already do. You've loved her for years and you probably didn't even know it." Quinn points out in a gentle way a mother would explain something to their scared little child.

"She… no, I don't." She huffs with a roll of her eyes and tries to find something else to peak her interest on the side of her aunt's driveway. Quinn chuckles and shakes her head from side to side as she glances over at Santana who is scowling back at her. "I do not." She reiterates.

"Ya know, for someone who's so bad ass, you're all kinds of fucked up when it comes to relationships. You say you don't care, but you definitely do. I just don't know why exactly." Quinn begins in what Santana can only assume is going to be a rant. "I mean, your parents splittin' up seriously did some damage on your emotional psyche. But, I find it hard to believe that's all there is to it. I think some girl royally ripped your heart out or there is some tremendous love story that didn't have a happy ending somewhere in your life." She continues while Santana looks away as she does when her parents used to berate her when she started acting out. "You weren't always like this. I know we're not kids anymore and whatever." She waves her hand and sighs in frustration. "Someone had to have gotten in there before you closed up shop and threw away the key." She turns her attention from her hands resting on her steering wheel and looks over at Santana who appears to have been listening as she seems in thought. "So what is it? Why can't you just admit that you have feelins' for Britt and acknowledge her feelins' for you? What's the problem?"

Santana ponders this idea. She wonders how long she has been locked away behind this set of metaphorical iron doors. Has she seriously hidden herself away from any and every form of human relationship that spirals further than friendship?

"You're right ya know." Santana breaks the silence. "There was a girl once." Her eyes are trained on everything else but those eyes staring back at her in question and curiosity. "I had always though she was the prettiest girl I had ever laid eyes on." She half smiles and eyes fall to her lap. "I was always tryin' to impress her." A light chuckle leaves her lips and she shakes her head at herself.

"So… what happened?" Quinn asks with intrigue and leans her forearms to the steering wheel, afraid to hear not anything that her friend might whisper out. Santana sucks her lips in, sits up straight and looks out the windshield.

"It was the typical story." She chances a glance over at her friend. Just a quick flicker of her eyes, as though to make sure she still had an audience of one. "She was the girl from the picture perfect place, family and I was just the girl from The Heights. We weren't exactly in close proximity which also makes it hard." She lets go of the few rocks and pebbles she'd been playing with, wipes her hand on her jeans and then tucks a lock of hair behind her ear. "I honestly didn't even know if she felt anything like that towards me to be honest. I was sure it was all a big story I had made up in my mind." Santana clears her throat and laughs at herself, trying to free the air around them of tension and sadness. She shrugs and after a few moments of silence, she turns her head to look at Quinn.

"Do you still talk to this girl?" Her head tilts to the side, but there is something in the way her eyes shimmer under the nearly setting sun that makes Santana feel that she doesn't even have to continue with this tale of 'once upon a time'. Santana chuckles and rubs her hands together.

"We do." Santana smiles one of those few but very genuine smiles.

"Okay, so, then tell her." Quinn leans over and nudges her shoulder into Santana's, but her friend just gives a deflated look.

"Yeah, I don't think so." She states flatly.

"Well, why not?" Quinn questions, her brow furrows with a desperate need for this story to take another direction. "I mean, do you think she's still the prettiest girl?" She asks and Santana shrugs while she nods. "Do you still try and impress her?" Santana laughs. It's one of those hearty laughs where people throw their head back.

"Sometimes." She admits quietly after her amusement subsides.

"So," Quinn shakes her head in confusion. "Then what's the problem?" Santana takes a deep breath, clenches her jaw and lets it out through her nose. Her lips twist and then she turns her attention back out to the scenery in front of them.

"She's… the girl next door." Santana admits and glances in the direction of the Pierce house. Quinn stares at her friend looking longingly out the window and rolls her eyes. Sometimes, she thinks, Santana can be plain stupid.

"You really have no clue, do you?" Quinn throws a slap to Santana's shoulder, catching her attention as she fully turns towards her.

"Umm, ouch." Santana reaches up and rubs where Quinn's just hit her.

"She's been buildin' this world of amazin' all these years and it wasn't until you showed up that I realized who she was buildin' it for. It's like, she set up this awesome fort and has been waitin' for you to come inside and check it out." Santana quirks an eyebrow and fights a smirk while Quinn shakes her head at herself realizing how her words just came out. "Okay, maybe that sounded a lot dirtier than I had intended, but, I think you get what I'm sayin' here. She's been waitin' for you and I know it sounds silly, but on account of this bein' Brittany we're talkin' about, it makes perfect sense. It's like she's been stuck in this tower, makin' the best with what she has 'cause it's all she's ever known, but hoped… no, knew there was always somethin' better. You're what she has been waitin' for." She watches the way Santana's head hangs and her chin hovers over her chest. "The only question left is, are you ready?" She lets the questions hang in the air until Santana finally looks up at her. "Ready to catch the girl who has been fallin' in love with you over and over again since you rode into town. Probably even before that."

"It's so much more complicated than that, Quinn." Santana tells her after a minute passes over them. "Mrs. Pierce came in to Holly's tonight." She starts and Quinn's fire dims a bit at this bit of information. "And, she's right. I'm not… I'm not the kind of person who should be in her daughter's life. She would know Brittany better than anyone."

"Pshh." Quinn spits out and leans back into her seat. "Please. She doesn't know Brittany at all. You know who knows Brittany the best?" She asks, giving a second for Santana to hear the question. "Brittany. Brittany knows Brittany better than anyone. And it seems to me she knows exactly what she wants and what she needs." Santana looks away and Quinn can tell that all of this talking is not going to bring them anywhere. So, with a sigh she shakes her head. "You're gonna do what you're gonna do though, right?"


Santana was pretty surprised when Brittany picked her up for school the day after that night at Holly's. She was sure she was going to have to ask Aunt Linda for a ride and then be forced to either make something up or actually tell her aunt what had happened between her and the girl next door. Luckily, she didn't have to do either.

What she has had to do is survive the uncomfortable silence that plagued the cabin of the powder blue pickup truck every day since that dreadful night of melted milkshakes and an ambush slap. Sure, she figures, the slap was pretty warranted all things considered. All she has been doing these past two months is push and pull Brittany in different directions until she walks away leaving them both dizzy and confused. At least today Brittany regarded her with a 'good mornin' rather than just turn on the radio and ignore her for the entire trip to school.

What has been sort of interesting about this turn of events is that it seems Brittany has fallen back into her routine from before Santana arrived. The entire week when they get to school, Brittany hops out of the truck almost before she even shuts it off and makes her way towards the jocks and the cheerleaders hanging out over by the bike rack that no one uses. She meshes in well with them because, well, she's a cheerleader, and there's something about Brittany Pierce that everyone loves. Even the stoners from under the bleachers and the nerds from the AV club love Brittany.

Santana doesn't need to be a genius to understand why this little town has such big Brittany supporters and fans. The girl is the nicest person in Knox City High School. She's kind and thoughtful and friendly and she's super popular. She understands the want to be around a girl like Brittany, because she also has that want. For her though, it's more of a need that over rides her want and it's strange and she doesn't know what that means.

So, instead of trying to figure out the inner workings of her emotional capacity and the definitions behind each feelings, she jumps out of the powder blue pickup truck and makes her way to the front doors of Knox City High School. The hallways are crowded as usual, with teachers talking amongst themselves outside of the office and by their classrooms. Kids are goofing around talking about taking the state title next year, which seems odd considering this year isn't even over.

"Hey." Quinn's voice comes from out of nowhere and Santana looks to her right when she feels the familiar bump of a shoulder next to her.

"Hey." Santana forces a tight lipped, but friendly, smile as they make their way through the halls.

"Have you gotten anywhere?" Quinn asks and then gives a freshman her trusty cheerleader scowl which instantly makes him move out of their way. She may not be HBIC, but she still has some clout while wearing that uniform.

"I got a 'good mornin'' today." Santana replies as she adjusts the books in her arms and furrows her brow when she notices a crowd of people up ahead.

"I wonder what's goin' on over there." Quinn wonders and motions towards the throng of students who seem to be grouped around a set of lockers. Upon further inspection, Santana realizes that her locker is among the ten that are being surrounded and she groans.

"Figures." She mutters to herself. She's not a big fan of having to force through a bunch of annoying teenagers to get to her locker. Back at her old school no one ever got in her way when she was going to her locker. Then again, she only went to her locker to retrieve a flask or a bottle or something that was most definitely not on her back to school list.

"Come on." Quinn pulls on her arm and leads the way towards the small party of students.

Quinn pushes through two jocks with Santana tugged tightly to her side as she gets through a gap. Santana stumbles into her when she stops abruptly and turns to face her, an undecipherable expression on her face. Her eyes flicker between Santana's, her face flushed and her lips parted. A few of the kids standing around the lockers turn to them, some hide their smirks while others openly stare with grins plastered on their faces.

When she looks past Quinn she sees it. It's there in all its glory in solid red. Her brow furrows and she steps forward, slipping from her friend's loose grasp on her arm. She doesn't stop until she is fully removed from the pack of teens standing around the lockers, or her locker to be more precise. She steps a bit closer until she can reach out her hand and run her finger over the writing and rubs the substance between her fingers.

"Lipstick." She mumbles to herself and subtly shakes her head.

If she wasn't so angry, she'd have the time to actually be impressed with the doer of this deed. Though, she is pretty sure she knows who exactly is behind this graffiti of her locker. Only two people come to mind as she looks back up and reads the red lipstick written 'lesbo' down her locker door. She can hear the whispers and the out in the open discussions and questions the kids behind her are tossing back and forth.

The 'I didn't know she was gay' and the 'why are all the hot chicks dykes'. They are giggling and she hears a girl say that she probably just hooks up with girls to get guys attention and she rolls her eyes. Then there are the few that make her blood run hot and cold, these are the ones that have Brittany's name in them and these are the comments and questions that makes her turn on her heels and face her fellow students.

She opens her mouth to say something, anything. Santana desperately searches for something in her vicious vicious word thesaurus only nothing comes out. It's only when a flash of blonde sweeps in front of her that the group of teenagers looking at her averts to the girl standing between her and them. She steps back as Brittany takes a stand in front of her and crosses her arms.

"Show's over." Brittany tells the crowd whose stares flit from her to Santana and the defaced locker behind her. "Get out of here." She demands in a louder than usual Brittany tone, something a lot fiercer than anyone is used to hearing and it causes the student body cluttered around the lockers to disperse and then the bell rings.

Santana looks down at the ground when Brittany turns towards her. She sees Quinn's feet shuffle closer to them until she is standing beside Brittany and Santana looks over her shoulder back at her locker before turning back to face them. Quinn looks apologetically at her while Brittany sadly hangs her head and goes to walk away. Santana goes to say something, anything. Only nothing comes out.

Her eyes follow the retreating figure of the blonde cheerleading girl next door down the hall. When Brittany vanishes around a corner, Santana finds a group of jocks leaning against a set of lockers down the hall staring back at her with smirks and grins on their faces. Finn Hudson sends her a knowing look and holds his hand out for David Karofsky who gives him a low high five before they make their way to class.

"Well," Quinn sighs when Santana turns back to her 'lesbo' locker. "At least you know Brittany still cares about you." Quinn reasons and sadly smiles as she watches her friend put in her locker combination.

The morning's events carry on through the day with whispers during classes and notes being passed around her with giggles and notes being thrown at her with harsh words of disapproval. She thinks back to the conversation she'd had with the mayor that night at Holly's and the baggage Brittany's mother was referring to. Santana didn't quite understand exactly what she meant by that, at least not until this morning.

It wasn't the baggage of her juvenile police records. It wasn't even the fact that she has experimented with legal and illegal substances. The baggage that Mayor Pierce was talking about was more of a label and the baggage that comes with that. Regardless of the details of their sordid relationship or whatever it was that was going on between her and Brittany, Annie Pierce is fearful of the guilty by association aspect of it all.

Brittany being friends with Santana, a teenage lesbian, would prove to come with the effects of having such an acquaintance. The talk of the town, whether or not true, would muddy the pristine reputation of the high school's captain of the cheerleading squad with vandalized lockers and whispers and bullying. Things that Annie Pierce was not about to let happen to her daughter and things that Santana was desperate to protect her friend from as well.

When lunch time comes, it's only Quinn that comes to her locker to meet up. She had wondered throughout the first couple of classes if because of what happened in the morning would get Brittany to pull the wall of silence down and be there for her. But, she didn't really expect much considering the horrible things she had said to Brittany the other night and how mean she was. It's not unforgivable, but she knows the need for space and time as much as anyone. She's still taking that space and time with her brother, mother and father since she got into town.

"Hey Br…" Tina's call out to Brittany gets cut off by herself when she notices Brittany bypass their table and head towards the group of jocks and cheerleaders. She looks to Kurt who is sitting across from her with a furrowed brow. He shrugs, rolls his eyes in a way of saying 'whatever' and sets his bag beside him. "All week." She mutters to herself before returning back to her lunch.

"You know," Quinn starts as she and Santana make their way to the bench table Tina and Kurt are sitting at. "You're bein' an idiot." She tells her friend flat out getting a huff in response.

"You don't understand." Santana vaguely explains and is a bit startled when Quinn spins around to come face to face with her.

"You're Santana Lopez." Quinn states and jabs her finger to her friend's shoulder. Santana glances down at the offending digit, but holds her ground when it pokes her again. "You're kind of a bad ass, but you're also inexplicably protective over two important things." She holds her two fingers up and locks eyes with Santana. "The first is your heart." She motions towards Santana's chest and then glances over her shoulder for a quick second. "And I think you already know what the second one is." Santana looks over Quinn's shoulder to where that second thing is, but is quick to avert her eyes to knowing hazel ones.

"Maybe when we were kids." Santana defends but Quinn simply laughs at her.

"You would never have done what you're doin' now when we were kids." Quinn reminds her. "And since when do you do what people tell you to do?" She arches an eyebrow. "If little you met," Quinn pauses and looks her friend up and down. "Less little you. Little you would kick your now ass to back then for listenin' to anyone tellin' you how to live." She explains and gets an amused by perplexed look from Santana.

"You're tellin' me what to do." Santana points out.

"Well, I'm tryin' to tell ya to listen to yourself." Quinn explains softly. "You're only hurtin' her."

"That's what I'm tryin' not to do." Santana tells her and sends a quick glance over in Brittany's direction. "You were there with me this morning, Quinn. My locker." She reminds the blonde. "Can you imagine if Brittany's locker was defaced like that? That'd kill her." Quinn stares long and hard at Santana before she decides to weigh in.

"If Brittany gave a rat's ass about what people said or thought about her, she wouldn't be Brittany." Quinn says with a small hint of a smile. "You know that sayin', 'dance like nobody's watchin'?" Santana furrows her brow but nods, because she has heard this before. "That's how she lives. She doesn't care about the talks or the whispers." She shrugs her shoulders and turns so she is standing shoulder to shoulder with Santana and looks ahead where Brittany is sitting with the group of cheerleaders across the way.

"Maybe I am." Santana admits in a low voice which garners a look from Quinn. "I don't want her life to be hell here."

"Sometimes Lopez, you just gotta turn up the music and drown all that other stuff out. Just shut up and dance." Quinn tells her as she hooks her arm through Santana's and leads them over to the bench where Kurt and Tina are sitting.

When night time comes, Santana can't seem to find sleep. She tosses one way only to turn to the other, kicks her feet out from under her covers, only to tuck her legs up to her chest, once again hiding them under the blanket. She grunts, groans and moans out in displeasure before sighing and glancing over at the clock. It's only been a few hours since she'd last seen Brittany since she'd dropped her off after school. It's been days since she brushed her off and confused the hell out of the both of them.

She thought that she was doing right by Brittany, listening to Mrs. Pierce and her brain, by distancing herself. Surely, there's nothing good that Santana could bring to Brittany's life. Of course, Mrs. Pierce is not privy to the extent of the friendship she and Brittany had been carrying out for a few weeks, but those are just details. Case and point is Santana is still Santana, the girl who got shipped off to live with her aunt in Texas because she's had one too many run ins with the law.

But, for all the reasons her brain gives her as to why this distance is a good thing, her heart tells her something entirely different. The tug in her gut tells her that this is stupid and that she is being stupid. The tightness in her chest makes her wish she'd never even been sent here, because then she wouldn't be feeling all of these feelings. Yet, here she is, in Knox City feeling frustrated, confused and mad.

She's mad at herself mostly. Definitely mad at Mrs. Pierce. But, really at herself. Quinn is right. Santana's never been one to listen to authority or anyone for that matter. So why should this be any different? She thinks back to the confrontation between Aunt Linda and the mayor and how her aunt had said that a girl like Brittany is good for a girl like Santana. Still, it doesn't mean the same the other way around.

Sitting up in bed, she leans on her hands and looks out her window giving her a perfect view of the one just beyond the chain link fence. There's a flickering of light, so she can only assume Brittany is watching television. Her heart aches or is beating extra fast and she isn't aware she's moved from her bed until she notices she's opening her bedroom window and climbing out of it.

It's not a long walk from her window to the chain link fence that separates Aunt Linda's yard from the Pierce's. It only hurts a little bit, climbing over the fence bare foot, but the night time dew on the grass soothes it quickly.

She doesn't consider that the window may be locked, why should it be? It should be unlocked for spontaneous moments such as this. Brittany's head slowly turns to her as she hoists herself into the bedroom, not alarmed as though half expecting this very thing to happen. She doesn't move from her spot on her bed with her back against the head board and legs stretched out in front of her.

Santana stands there for a moment, not completely still, but almost. She stares at Brittany, taking her in, letting herself take it all in. Then, with a deep breath and a nod of encouragement, she moves from the window and carefully takes a spot on the bed beside the Brittany.

She looks straight ahead at the television, then after a beat, moves her hand to rest on the top of Brittany's. She doesn't flinch from the touch and they sit there in silence for a few more minutes, until Santana speaks.

"I'm sorry." Santana tells her. Brittany doesn't move or say anything. "I know you're confused. I am too." She admits quietly and looks down at her hand on Brittany's. "For a long time, people have sorta tossed me aside. Not givin' me much of an afterthought 'cause I'm such a screw up." She shrugs as she tries to dig deep into why she's done some of the things she has done, especially the ones that she has done to the girl sitting next to her. "When I'm with you, I don't feel like such a shitty person. I don't know if it's who I am, the me around you, or if it's who I want to be for you." She sucks in her lips and looks to the window. "And then your mom, she uh, she sort of told me to get lost 'cause you'd be better off without me in your life." Santana explains slowly and delicately as possible. "Sometimes it's hard to think you're a good person, or at least turnin' into a better version of yourself when the rest of the world keeps tellin' your crap and unworthy of the nice things." She half smiles to herself and turns back so she is staring ahead of them at the flickering television. "I'm not the type of person people like you go for." She whispers. "Or end up with." She adds and her voice soft and sad. Brittany's eyes land on their hands and she nods, but only slightly, to show she hears her.

These words linger around the room for a while, before they fade away into silence. Then, ever so carefully, Brittany turns her hand around, laces her fingers through Santana's, watching how they go together seemingly perfect.

"Maybe that's because people like me aren't ever lucky enough to find a person like you," Brittany finally speaks up and she looks up at Santana who stares back. "And actually do somethin' about it." Santana's eyebrows knit together and her eyes search Brittany's in an almost disbelief.

"But, it's true, I'm no good for you, Brittany." Santana tells her and her voice sounds so tired.

"Why not?" Brittany challenges.

"Because," She huffs, lifting her eyes up to meet Brittany's. "You have a life here, one that was here before me and people know you, the way you've been and, this, this is going to make people talk and say things." Santana tries to firmly explain but the exasperation in her voice is ever present. "They're gonna say mean things, maybe things that aren't true but most of them are gonna be. And your mom..." She shakes her head and closes her eyes as she can only imagine the wrath of Mama Pierce. "It sucks and it hurts and it's gonna be too hard to…"

"You think that's the hard part?" Brittany yells out in a half contained whisper, throwing her hands in the air in frustration. "You think that's what scares me? Really, because I don't care about that." She says as she tries to calm herself down. "Do you wanna know what I'm afraid of?" She asks barely above a whisper and her eyes glance down briefly before slowly lifting them back up to meet Santana's. "You." Santana is taken aback and her eyebrows knit together.

"Wha…?"

"You've made me… It's just," She shrugs as she stammers. "I don't care that you're a girl or have a record or that… you're Hispanic." Santana breathes out a chuckle. "You're beautiful. You're like, the rain; refreshing, fun and more than I ever expected." She shifts closer. "You're a good person, you're too proud and vulnerable, especially when you're with me. You're kind."

"I'm none of those things." Santana breaks eye contact and shakes her head.

"Except that you are." Brittany says softly, taking another step closer. "And for some reason, you let me see them in you." Santana slowly lifts her head, finding herself falling deep into those ocean blue eyes.

Without saying anything, Brittany pushes herself up from the bed and tugs Santana along with her. She reaches over and presses a button on the remote to shut off the television, leaving them in the dark except for the moonlight shining in through the window. In an understanding request for a dance, she pulls Santana's hand up to her shoulder and sets her own on Santana's hip. They sway side to side in silence and Santana snuggly sets her chin to rest on Brittany's shoulder and Brittany leans her head against Santana's.

"Ya know, dancin' used to mean somethin'." Brittany tells her, her lips brush against Santana's ear. "It used to be an expression of commitment. You didn't dance with just anyone and everyone. If you danced with someone, like really danced with them, it meant that you were theirs and they were yours." Her hand moves from Santana's hip to the small of her back and she pulls her tightly against her. "The soft and slow sort of dancin'. The kind of dancin' where you don't know where you end and they begin." Brittany holds out their hands that are clasped and she gently untangles their fingers, running the tips of her own across the palm of Santana's hand. "The type of dancin' that you don't have to think about. That's what it used to mean." Santana gulps at the gentle way Brittany runs her fingertips on her, ghosting over her skin.

"Do you think it can still mean that?" Santana asks in a small voice and she shivers when she feels Brittany turn to her and set her lips to her ear again.

"I hope so." She whispers. "Because…" They are startled by the sound of a knock at Brittany's bedroom door and a familiar voice.

"Brittany?" Mr. Pierce calls from the other side of the door. "Are you awake? I thought I heard something?" He knocks again gently. Brittany turns back to Santana who is still in her arms.

"Probably wouldn't be ideal for me to be caught in your room." Santana points out as she lets her hands fall from Brittany's body.

"Probably not." Brittany reluctantly agrees, also letting her grip on Santana slacken until she is no longer in her grasp.

"Well," Santana makes her way to the window and gets herself ready hop out. "Sweet dreams blondie." She grins and she's gone after Brittany gives her a little wave.


Santana is sitting on the porch with her head in her hands wondering where today is going to take her. Aunt Linda apparently has some plans with a man friend or something equally disturbing, so she is going to be out on a 'day trip' as she referred to it. She had left about an hour ago leaving her niece alone for the first time since she's gotten to Knox City. At first she was a little hesitant, but Santana assured her she is not going to burn down the house or have an all day rager, especially not with Mrs. Pierce constantly 'passing by' the house whenever she has a free moment from her mayoral obligation.

The woman is actually starting to irritate her. If it wasn't for her daughter, Santana would have no qualms about speaking her mind to the lady. Obviously with these thoughts floating through her head another thought sweeps through her mind, one that she has been thinking about ever since it happened.

The day Brittany first kissed her.

Like, leaned in, pressed her lips to Santana's lips kind of kissed her. Her soft, very soft lips at that. Not only did she kiss her, but she told her she was going to do it too.

That one kiss has spiraled into a slew of kisses and now everything is sort of out of whack. And even though she kind of likes it, it's all kind of annoying really. Santana was supposed to come here and 'rehabilitate' herself, but now things are starting to get in her way and they are all in the form of the bubbly girl from up the road. Then there's Quinn who's making her stare at all this stuff dead on. It's like staring into the sun, but she can't not look.

She shakes her head, hoping the motion will rid her mind of the thoughts clouded with sunny smiles and blue eyes. Realizing it's clearly a lost cause, she takes a deep breath and pushes herself up from the porch and makes her way back inside. Slowly, she scrolls through her three person phonebook and presses send when she lands on a specific name. Regardless of where her mind leads her or not, the fact is, there is nothing she can do about it.

"Hey." She smiles into her greeting when she hears the voice on the other end pick up. "I was wonderin' if you… wanted to do somethin'." For some reason or another she's nervous that she is sounding desperate. But she calms down when the girl from up the road is elated to hang out and wants to take her somewhere.

A few minutes later, Brittany is pulling into the Lopez driveway finding Santana on the porch steps waiting for her like she said she would. Santana quickly hops into the truck and tells Brittany to take her away somewhere, the blonde giggles and tells her to strap in and get ready. Santana notices the road they are taking, it's by the lake that they had went to for that party and she figures that Brittany is bringing her to her 'special' spot again.

"Ready?" Brittany asks after she kills the engine.

"Yeah, let's do this." Santana grins and they both jump out of the truck and Brittany leads the way through the trees to her secret hiding spot that has its own little lake. "Thank you for letting me hang out in your special place." She inwardly groans realizing how unintentionally dirty she sounded just now.

"Of course." Brittany smiles.

It's hot for early February in Texas, but they are obviously well prepared for such a day. They quickly make their way into the water, splashing around, giggling and basically just gossiping about school and the kids in their grade. After a deep conversation about the plus side to living in Capeside in Dawson's Creek, Brittany comments on how her dad used to have to explain to her that the settings in television shows were mostly fictitious places. Santana smirks, remembering her dreams of moving to the Creek, thinking it was just an hour or so away from her home back in Boston.

"Isn't it funny how when we're kids we ask our parents about everything?" Santana muses as she watches her fingers dance along the surface of the water. "I mean, when I was, like, seven, I was sure that my parents knew absolutely everything about anything." She chuckles at herself and the beliefs of her younger self. "I once asked my father if he had a pet dinosaur when he was a kid." Brittany laughs into the water creating a few bubbles and ripples to float by Santana. "What?" She asks with amusement. "When you're young you think anyone older than you is ancient." This only makes Brittany laugh more.

"When I was younger, sometimes now, I wondered a lot about love." Brittany admits as she spins around in the water. Santana averts her eyes, keeping Brittany's twirling body in her peripheral vision. "Like, how come we can't see it?" Brittany continues, unaware of her friend's awkwardness. "I asked my dad that a few times. He said you can see it, you just have to look carefully. That seemed really difficult, because isn't love just a feeling? How do you see a feeling? I feel the wind, but I can't see that either. I just didn't understand where all this love that everyone has for all these different things went. With the wind, it comes and goes, but isn't love a forever kind of thing? Isn't it something that's always around?" She turns around towards Santana who is staring down at the water that moves to and from Brittany's body. Concerned that she is distracting Santana with her water aerobics, Brittany stops. "I mean, there are a bunch of different emotions." She continues, in the hopes that her stillness will get Santana's attention. "But, you're not always sad because eventually you cry all of that out. You're not always mad either, because you'd get too tired to mad all the time. I guess you can be happy all the time, but that means you don't get sad or mad or anything and that doesn't make much sense because then you'd just sort of be a happy robot." Brittany smiles when she finally gets a reaction out of Santana.

It's a bit quiet between them for a few moments, Brittany letting the small giggle from Santana linger in the air just a bit longer before she continues.

"So, anyway, I just kept wonderin' where does it all go?" Brittany continues and steps towards Santana. "Ya know, love. When you feel so much of it that it almost feels like too much and you feel as though you may explode or implode or completely disintegrate from it. When you can feel it in your fingers, toes, chest and taste it in your mouth. Where does it go?" Her voice falls into a softer tone as her feet move across the mushy lake bottom, bringing her closer to Santana who listens on intently and quietly. "Then you happened," Brittany tells her in just above a whisper. "And the answer seemed fairly obvious, so, instead of thinking about it any further I kissed you and just hoped that you could feel it. That you could feel what I was feeling. Taste it on your tongue and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I kissed you and you let me, and then finally, you kissed me back."

"Brittany." Santana breathes out, willing her focus away from the girl standing just a few feet in front of her.

"I've never wanted to kiss anyone like that before. Until… well," She smiles as she shakes her head and shrugs a shoulder. "I'd never kissed anyone like that before either. And… I don't wanna kiss anyone else like that." Brittany admits finally getting Santana to look back at her in slight confusion and slight intrigue. Santana doesn't say anything back to her after a couple of long seconds so Brittany half smiles and looks down at the water where her hand skimming the surface. "You know what else I wonder?" Santana swallows hard, unsure if she wants to know. Brittany's half smile turns into a grin as she pulls her arm back and swings it forward, sending a wave of water in Santana's direction prompting a loud shriek from the shorter girl. "If I'm still faster than you." She yells out as she takes off running through the lake and towards the small shoreline.

"You are seriously going to get it." Santana warns but is thrown off when she wipes her eyes and spots Brittany close to the shore. "Yeah," She shouts as she swings her arms under the water to move herself fast through it. "You better run."

It starts to rain, completely out of nowhere, even with the sun still out and the girls give each other a look of bewilderment and giggle at the predictability of the unpredictable weather as of late. Santana gives up on trying to dry herself off, seeing as her towel is just as wet by now as the rest of her and tosses it to the side taking a seat by it. Brittany laughs at her friend's antics and throws her towel beside Santana's and plops next to her, their shoulders brush against each other in the process

Brittany lifts her hands up, palms facing the sky and she turns her face up as well letting the rain kiss her eyelids, opening her mouth and tasting it on her tongue. Santana watches on as she is simply enjoying herself in the randomness that rain provides and she smiles at the sight. Brittany is a beautiful girl, there's no way around that, it's a fact but, in this moment Santana can't help but notice just how beautiful she is. Even with her hair drenched and sticking to her neck and cheeks, even with grass clinging to her calves and a little bit of dirt by her ankle, Brittany is the most amazing thing Santana has ever laid eyes on.

Loud laughter erupts from the blonde and she turns her head towards Santana, catching the other girl staring at her. Brittany closes her mouth, swallowing the little bit of rain that she has collected and brings her hands to rest on her knees. Santana's eyes can't help it, they have a mind of their own and they rake down the length of Brittany's body before finally coming back up to meet those blue eyes and Santana sports a soft, tentative smile.

"What?" Brittany breathes out, her cheeks turn a light shade of pink, suddenly feeling self conscious in front of the other girl. Santana smirks, shakes her head in disbelief and chuckles a little to herself.

"Nothing." She says, her head finally stops shaking and she maintains eye contact with Brittany. "It's just…" She looks over the features of her friend's face briefly and she can feel it, right in her gut, exactly what she is looking for, she can feel what she finally sees. "I see it." Santana chooses to say and Brittany tilts her head in confusion, her lips tug up at the corners in a smile of hesitation.

"What do you see?" Brittany whispers, swallowing hard at the small lump that has formed deep in her throat and she can feel it slowly but surely sinking down into her stomach. Santana straightens out one of her legs, the one closest to Brittany and rests her arm on the other knee that is still bent turning her body slightly in friend's direction.

"What you were talkin' about." Santana explains vaguely and Brittany's eyes search hers for more. "The beauty you were tellin' me about, that time in the field by your dad's barn." Her voice grows softer, gentler and her eyes flicker down to Brittany's lips. "I think I see it now." Brittany straightens her head, watches the way Santana licks her lips and unconsciously she does the same.

Out of the corner of her eye Brittany sees Santana's arm, the one resting on her knee, fidget like she is going to move it. When she does, it's slow and careful and it doesn't stop moving until her fingers are touching Brittany's cheek. Brittany gasps, it's low and barely audible but they can both hear it, even over the pounding of the rain. Her eyes go over Brittany's face, looking at her cheeks, forehead and her hair and watches her fingers brush some of that hair away from her eyes until letting her hand rest fully on the girl's cheek.

"Why…?" Santana's words fall short as she stares at Brittany. It's quiet between them for a few seconds.

"Sometimes there's a reason for everything. Other times there's no reason at all. People think too much. They over analyze everything and need to know all sorts of details." Brittany explains in a gentle voice. "I don't get that. Where's the surprise? What's with the spoilers?" She shrugs her shoulders and smiles. "I try not to think too much. If that makes people think I'm dumb, whatever. I don't care." She half smiles at Santana. "I just want that moment."

"What moment's that?" Santana asks quietly while she leans in ever so slightly. Brittany shakes her head, nods and licks her lips, also leaning in slowly.

"The moment that takes my breath away." Brittany tells her, her own voice cracking at the end, but it's full of certainty and hope.

Their lips are inches, if that, apart and their breath mixes in the stale, rainy air. Their eyes flicker from eyes to lips and Brittany's hand comes up and her fingers wrap around Santana's wrist, not too tight but just right.

"I want to kiss you." Santana whispers onto Brittany's slightly parted lips that close and swallow quickly and then she licks them realizing they are dry. Santana tilts her head, carefully thinking out her plan and not thinking all at the same time and a small sound escapes the back of the blonde's throat as she waits anxiously. "Do… do you want me to kiss you?" It's more than a question, well, the question is more than what is spoken. This kiss wouldn't be just any kind of kiss, it would be a real kiss and very different from the small peck that Brittany had placed on her lips not too long ago.

Santana pulls back, just a little, but enough to look into Brittany's eyes. Those blues are staring back at her, they are glazed over with something Santana has never seen in them before and glassy which is probably due to the answer she has yet to give. They weren't just going to kiss, if they did anyway, and they both knew this. Brittany breaks eye contact to look down at the ground, her fingers still wrapped around Santana's wrist and she nods. Santana's hand slides down Brittany's cheek, her fingers tracing the contours of her jaw line until coming down to her chin and she slowly lifts the blonde's face back up to meet hers.

"Don't worry." Santana assures her offering a small smile, leaning forward to rest her forehead to the other girl's. "I've got you." She whispers and then tilts her head to the side and presses her lips to Brittany's softly.

For a few seconds Brittany lets herself be kissed by Santana, small pecks being placed onto her lips by the shorter girl. When Brittany starts to respond she moves her other hand from her knee and leans it on the ground turning her body more towards Santana's. Santana brings her hand back up to cup Brittany's cheek, her thumb caresses the skin there wiping away the little rain drops falling on them from the tree they are under.

A small moan creeps from Santana when she feels Brittany's tongue slide across her bottom lip, clearly asking for access. At first it's them exploring, learning each other's lips and tongue and how they move, but it doesn't take long for them to get a rhythm going. Santana can't help but think how perfectly their mouths mold together and she can only imagine how incredible their bodies would fit.

Brittany's hand moves from Santana's wrist to her neck, grips it around the back and pulls Santana closer into a harder kiss. And they sit there kissing each other with a passion neither one of them knew that they had in them, especially for one another. After a few minutes of nonstop kissing they pull apart for the need of oxygen. Brittany's fingers play with the wet hair sticking to Santana's neck, while Santana tucks some blonde hair behind Brittany's ear. They breathe heavily, staring at each other and smiling out little laughs of how amazing this feels.

With her eyes locked into browns, Brittany takes Santana's hand on her cheek with both of hers, holding it as though it were fragile and leans into it, her eyes flutter closed at the feeling. She turns her lips into the palm of Santana's hand and places small kisses into it, opening her eyes once again to watch Santana as she does so. When she's done paying more than enough attention to that particular body part, she swallows hard and brings Santana's hand into her lap and nods. Santana gulps, unsure if she understands this subtle look and motion of Brittany's head.

"Nobody ever comes here." Brittany shares as she gives their surroundings a quick once over.

Santana's natural nervous instinct is to spit out an instant and crude reply of 'not yet anyway' to Brittany's comment. But, she is quick to swallow that quip before it comes tumbling out and ruins whatever type of moment this is. She reaches behind her and grabs the towels they had discarded and even though they are wet, neither girl really cares.

Santana kisses the back of Brittany's hand before moving away, standing up and laying out the towel for them. It's not really that big but that's not really important, the other one she folds up a few times as a makeshift pillow and places it down at the top of the towel. When she's done setting up she kneels on the side of it and offers her hand to the blonde who gladly accepts it taking the same position as Santana on the opposite side of the towel.

They sit on the heels of their feet, holding hands and staring at each other, small bashful smiles dancing on their lips. It's Santana who moves first, shuffling to the center of the towel on her knees and tugs on Brittany's hands for her to do the same. She does and they meet in the middle, kneeling up on their knees and their hands fall from the others and onto parts of bare skin. Brittany's hands moves onto the front of Santana's shoulders while Santana's find the blonde's hips, her thumbs rubbing the skin just above her bathing suit bottoms.

It's Brittany who leans in first this time crashing their lips together, not even bothering for sweet little pecks and immediately opens her mouth to take in Santana's bottom lip, sucking on it before moving in again to take the shorter girl's tongue in her mouth. Her hands slide from Santana's shoulders to meet around her neck pulling her further in to her, wanting to taste more of her. Heaving for air, Santana pulls away and moves her lips down the blonde's cheek to her jaw then to her neck where she places small, open mouthed kisses leaving trails on her skin where the rain meets to mixes with her lips.

Brittany's head flies back and tilts to the side giving Santana better access to the skin she is ravishing. The kisses grow softer and less frantic and she feels Santana's hands splay across her back, running them up and down the expanse of her skin every now and again fumbling over the knot of her bathing suit top. Her lips move to the small part of skin just below her ear and Brittany lets out a tiny moan that is nearly drowned out by the rain. With one hand flat across the small of Brittany's back and her lips pressing sweet kisses across her neck and shoulders, Santana's other hand comes up, her fingers finding the string to blonde's top and gently tugs on it.

It loosens quickly after two or three tugs and as she pulls on it more, slowly undoing the knot, Santana pulls her lips away from the soft skin and looks to Brittany to make sure the pace of everything is good. Brittany's eyes are still closed as she begins to move her head back down, her lower lip tucked under her teeth making Santana's breath get caught in her throat. With the string undone she brings her lips back to Brittany's and she runs her hands up and down her bare back while the strings dangle down at her sides carelessly untied. She can't tell if she loves the feeling of Santana's hands on her naked back or if the feeling in her stomach is the anxiety for when those hands slip to the front of her body but she quickly decides that it's both when she feels Santana's fingers lightly tickle up and down her sides.

"Yes." Brittany mumbles between kisses, nodding her head gently as to not dislodge their lips. She smiles when she feels Santana do so into their kiss and when she feels those fingers grazing across the front of her body.

She's hesitant not only because she's nervous but she wants this burned into her memory. Santana's never done something like this before, she's never taken her time, and she's never wanted to before. But with Brittany, she can't help but take everything in at a glacial pace, she wants every second to be etched into her mind.

So ever so slowly, she trails the back of her fingers up from Brittany's toned stomach to the bottom of her bathing suit top that is still tied at her neck. Her fingers stop there, briefly, so she can press the palm of her hand to the skin below it and carefully slips them under the loose garment. When her fingertips reach the curve of Brittany's breast the blonde squeaks and gasps and grips Santana's neck tighter.

Not trying to draw out the torturous motion any longer, Santana moves her hand fully under the top and cups Brittany's breast squeezing it automatically and rubs her thumb across her hardened nipple. Brittany's body arches forward towards Santana, moving her body into her touch. Santana grins to herself when the blonde pulls their lips apart and moves her head to the side of Santana's pressing her lips to her neck and breathing heavy. Santana shuffles on her knees, bringing their bodies flush against each other both of them groaning at the feeling of their skin touching.

With her other hand, formerly at the small of Brittany's back, Santana reaches up behind the blonde's neck and unties the rest of the bathing suit top pulling her head back to watch it fall from her body. She gulps when she finally sees the girl in front of her topless and her own hand still firmly attached to one of her breasts.

"Wow." Santana breathes out, her eyes widening at the sight and her jaw slightly dropping. Brittany blushes and nervously starts to play with Santana's hair, her eyes fixed on Santana who is not embarrassed about staring. Her eyes travel up from the girl's legs until finally settling on those blues and she smiles. "You're sex… Brittany, you're very pretty." She whispers, suddenly conscious of the fact that she had been staring like a dog at a bone. Brittany bites her lip, trying to contain her grin and she nods.

"Thanks." She says quietly and she eventually looks up when her fingers stop fiddling with dark locks and come to find a string twirled around them.

She grips it between her thumb and index finger and pulls it forward, a bright red string coming between them as Brittany unties Santana's top. Santana reaches behind her and helps the blonde out and unties the string around her middle and she watches Brittany's eyes follow the falling garment. Brittany smiles at how open Santana is with her nudity, letting her hands fall back to the blonde's waist and she allows those blue eyes to get a good look. With a little bit of confidence, Brittany reaches out to touch Santana's bare chest, her fingers rounding the curve at the side until finally grasping her whole hand over it. Santana's eyes shut and her head leans back slightly, a small moan escaping her lips.

Brittany watches her hand fondle Santana's breast, testing it out, running her fingers over the erect nipple before moving to the next one with her other hand.

"Fuck." Santana mutters, her eyes opening and bringing her hand up to cup Brittany's cheek again pulling her into a kiss. They both wince at the feeling of their breasts pressed up against each other, Brittany's hands come to Santana's back pulling her closer.

Brittany grunts when she feels Santana's fingers gently running up and down the inside of her thigh, every now and again hitting that spot between her legs. She squeezes the blonde's hip before letting her fingers travel down to her thighs again, teasing her with slight brushes of her fingers over her sensitive area.

Brittany pulls from the kiss and pushes her forehead to Santana's when she feels a hand finally cups her core. She rubs her through the fabric of her bathing suit bottoms, up and down and then in small circles around the area she estimates is where Brittany's most sensitive spot is. She seems to be right in her guess considering the reactions she is getting.

"Oh my God." Brittany moans out in a whisper into Santana's mouth, their lips brush against each other as Santana moves her fingers over the fabric. She smiles at Brittany's enthusiasm, pressing her fingers harder to where she knows it feels good and the blonde digs her nails into Santana's back in response, her hips jerking forward for more contact.

"Does this feel good?" It's a stupid question, obviously it feels good she's not an idiot but she wants to make sure that Brittany is still comfortable with everything is going on. Brittany's eyes pop open, lock into Santana's and she nods, panting and licking her lips.

"Y-yes." She replies with a small smile and sighs out from all of the amazing feelings going on through her body. Santana grins in return and nods, leaning in quick to peck Brittany on the lips before moving her mouth down to her shoulder and kissing the front of her chest bringing her lips around her nipple and sucking lightly. "Oh!" Her hand flies to the back of Santana's head pushing her into her chest more.

"Lie down." Santana tells her gently when she pulls away from her breast, getting a small whine from the blonde but her fingers are still moving against her core.

Her eyes flicker to the top of the towel for Brittany to do as she says and after a few seconds of a questioning stare, Brittany does as requested not happy about the feeling of Santana's hand moving away from between her legs. She watches as the blonde slowly shifts in her spot and lowers her head down onto the towel that Santana had created into a pillow for the time being. Santana moves to face her, still on her knees and with shaky hands she reaches for the top of the bathing suit bottoms Brittany is still currently wearing.

She hooks her fingers into the fabric but looks to Brittany before doing anything, waiting for some sort of answer to an unasked question. But the blonde doesn't verbally respond and she doesn't even nod her head. Instead, she lifts her hips up a little giving Santana the signal to continue. She slides the bottoms over the blonde's hips, past her thighs, over her knees until finally slipping them past her feet and tosses them to the side where their tops are strewn around the ground.

After watching it land she brings her focus back to Brittany who is staring back up at her intently. Santana licks her lips, leaning forward and placing her hands down onto the towel by the sides of Brittany's hips. Her eyes move from blue eyes, down to her bare chest making sure to give each breast her undivided attention, then down her toned stomach until finally resting on that place she had been dreaming of for probably a lot longer than she has realized. Looking back up to meet Brittany's stare she crawls up a little on her knees.

"I wanna…" She chokes out suddenly forgetting how to speak. "I'm…" Santana knows what she is trying to say, she's said it before when she's hooked up with people, girls, but this… this is different and she can feel it everywhere. And in this moment, instead of saying 'I'm gonna fuck you till you can't walk' she wants to say something else. She gulps, finding it hard to speak under Brittany's gaze. "I mean, I wanna…" Brittany nods, seeming to understand everything that Santana can't quite say and then she leans up on her elbow and reaches her hand out to grip Santana's neck pulling her down on top of her carefully.

"Me too." She whispers onto Santana's lips before kissing her sweetly, receiving a whimper in her mouth as a response.

Their hands search each other's bodies, gripping at new skin and Brittany's thumbs hook into the bottoms of Santana's bathing suit. Getting the hint, Santana sits up and unties the sides of the bottoms and taking them off without even having to stand up.

"Impressive." Brittany pants out and quickly reaches out for Santana to return to lying on top of her which she does with a little giggle.

"I try." She smirks smugly bringing her lips to meet Brittany's.

They continue to kiss, heatedly and run their hands and fingers across new skin, arching their bodies further into each other for more. Santana slips a leg between Brittany's, leaning over her on her forearms pulling back to gauge the blonde's reaction when she pushes her thigh down into her center. They both moan and gasp at the feeling of Brittany's wetness slipping against Santana's skin. They smile at one another, Brittany giggles as she reaches up to move Santana's hair from her face.

"I've never done this before." The blonde admits, tearing her eyes from Santana's for a moment biting her lip nervously. "So I don't really know… what to like, to do… to you." She clarifies, glancing back up at the girl hovering over her. Santana nods, bringing her hand up to move some stray hairs from Brittany's forehead.

"It doesn't matter Britt, it's okay." Santana tells her, shrugging her shoulders. "Don't worry about it." She goes to lean down and capture the blonde's lips but Brittany dodges her kiss.

"I care." Brittany exclaims her hand pressing against Santana's chest to push her back so she will look at her. "I want…" She rolls her eyes at herself and how she can be so comfortable usually and now being so blunt is so embarrassing. "I want to touch you. I want to make you feel good." She admits in a hushed tone and Santana smiles down at her.

"You… you always make me feel good." Santana admits honestly. Her eyes focus deeply into Brittany's and her brow furrows, as though it's just hitting her. "When you look at me… I…" She looks down at Brittany chest and slowly brings her hand up and places her palm over her heart. Brittany's eyes furrow slightly, her lips part and her eyes water slightly as she studies the girl above her.

"You shouldn't say things like that to me." Brittany finally speaks up and Santana's head snaps up her eyes finding those blues staring right into her. She can't help but smirk at Brittany saying her words back to her. "Because then you say things and then I do things… and… and I can't take those things back." She shakes her head, her hand moving down to grip the one that belongs to Santana's on her chest lacing their fingers together when she finds it. "And I don't want to either." She lets out leaning up and finally bringing their lips together again. "Show me." She whispers between kisses while leading their intertwined hands lower and lower.

Santana nods, taking the cue from the blonde who is leading them to where they both want to be. She unlocks her fingers from Brittany's placing her hand over the back of the other girls and guiding her towards her own center. She can feel Brittany's hand shaking in her own but the blonde doesn't hesitate or even make a motion to stop. Santana's fingers gently press against Brittany's knuckles to push her fingers forward, towards her entrance.

Santana groans at the feeling of Brittany's fingers slipping through her folds with her assistance. Her forehead rests against the blonde's shoulder and she turns to face her cheek her breath hitting the skin there.

"Is this…?" Brittany quietly asks as her fingers explore the most intimate spot on her best friend.

"Mhmm." Santana forces out, her head nodding furiously against the blonde's body. She sucks in air when she feels Brittany's finger slip inside of her experimentally, her own hips bucking down into the other girl's hand. "Shit." Her hand releases the blonde's confident she is understanding the mechanics of it all and with as much strength as she's got, what with Brittany touching her like this, she brings her fingers to dance up the blonde's thigh.

Santana pecks Brittany's cheek when she feels the heat from the blonde hitting her hand and Brittany's legs spread expectantly. Her fingers stretch out to graze the soaked skin that has nothing to do with the rain and Brittany moans out canting her hips up into Santana's touch.

"Please." Brittany begs, turning her head towards Santana's that is very much still pressed against her cheek. Santana nods and pushes herself back up onto her arm and looks into Brittany's eyes, trying to keep herself steady as the blonde's fingers still continue to touch her teasingly.

With their faces inches away Santana watches Brittany's jaw drop as she slips a finger inside of her. She lets out a breath that seems to get caught in her throat as Santana starts to move in and out of her. Taking notes, Brittany follows suit and dips a finger into Santana's soaking wet entrance getting the same reaction.

"Jesus, Brittany." Santana hisses, clenching her eyes shut briefly trying to control her hips from moving frantically on the other girl's hand.

They slowly thrust in and out of each other, creating a little rhythm that they lose and regain a few times. After a while Santana adds a second finger in Brittany and brushes her thumb across the sensitive bundle of nerves just above as she pushes in. Brittany's hips grind up into her hand, needing more and more friction. Brittany lifts her head up for a kiss and with her free hand cups Santana's breast, squeezing it and twisting her nipple between her fingers.

Santana breaks from the kiss to bring her mouth to Brittany's chest, kissing between them and taking turns licking and sucking each one equally. She begins thrusting harder, only a little bit, deeper and quicker all the while trying to rub tiny circles over Brittany's clit as she works. Santana can feel by the way the hips beneath her are moving and the way the muscles around her fingers are tightening that Brittany is close to going over the edge.

"Oh my…" Brittany yells out and if it weren't for the rain hitting the water behind them Santana is sure her voice would have echoed off of the trees and all the way back in to town. She grins at how vocal Brittany is and pumps even faster, pulling her fingers out and rubbing the wetness over her clit. "Uh, Santana." Brittany moans quietly, pulls Santana's face back up to her with her free hand and leans up for a kiss. It's a little misplaced and sloppy but neither girl cares.

"Rub… right…." Santana starts but then just moves to get a better angle when she realizes that she is nowhere near as close as Brittany. She doesn't want her to feel bad about not getting her off, but there is no way she is going to fake it. Although she is pretty certain that watching Brittany orgasm will instantaneously make her come.

"Sorry." Brittany breathes out as she moves her fingers from inside Santana to where she is being verbally directed.

"Oh, uh." Santana shakes her head, licks her lips and kisses Brittany's forehead. "No, it's… oh it's so good." And Brittany smiles through her panting, letting her free hand come to the side of Santana's face keeping her there. Santana grins back turning her face slightly in Brittany's hand and kisses her palm quickly.

Santana's theory is right after all. Brittany's breathing and hips are erratic as she grows closer and closer to climaxing. The hand between Santana's legs fumbles and stills until eventually, Brittany's body isn't able to control itself and her fingers slide from inside of the girl above her. She moans out a stuttered apology as her hand, soaked in Santana's arousal, grabs at the back of Santana's neck. But, Santana doesn't mind, in fact, she's smiling. She watches the way Brittany's face contorts in pleasure as she touches her. Santana is enjoying the sight of driving Brittany completely wild with just a touch of her hand.

Adjusting her position, Santana manages to aid her thrusts by grinding her hip into the back of her hand and presses her centre against Brittany's thigh providing her own friction. After a few more jerks of her hips, Brittany's eyes nearly roll back and her head falls to the makeshift pillow arching up. Her mouth creates a perfect 'o' shape and sucks in a gasp of air, only managing to push out a squeak as she tumbles into her orgasm. Santana keeps her fingers deep inside of Brittany and continues to rub herself along the blonde's thigh, working double time for herself because the sight of Brittany coming makes Santana fall apart a few seconds after.

Their breathing is heavy, their chests rise up and down at intense speeds while their hearts beat rapidly. Small airy groans and moans slip from the back of their throat and into the misty air and they giggle out smiles as they finally come down from their highs. They move their hands from between each other's legs, slowly bringing them back to another part of the other's body. Brittany reaches her hands around Santana's neck, moving those dark locks to one side while Santana, whose given up on leaning on her forearms and is now fully lying on top of the blonde, tickles Brittany's sides with her fingers.

Still trying to catch her breath, Santana stares deeply into Brittany's eyes and smiles before leaning down to place a chaste kiss to her lips and then shuffles down a little to rest her head against the blonde's chest. Brittany grins at the feeling of Santana's breath hitting her moist skin and the feel of the other girl lying on top of her. She brings her arms around Santana, letting them rest on her back and squeezing her closer. She kisses the top of Santana's head and then turns her own to rest her cheek against dark locks.

As Santana lies there, with her cheek pressed to Brittany's chest not only does she try to even her breathing but she can't help but wonder what is happening to her. Everything with Brittany is different, even the most mundane things but most importantly moments like this are different. Before this moment she had come to terms with the fact that she finds comfort in the presence of the blonde and now she understands it's more than that. There's that comfort in the contact as well, she feels safe and needed and most of all wanted. But before she can even put more thought into this a beeping sound comes from behind her.

"Ugh, I think that's my phone." Brittany groans, reaching to her side carefully as to not shift Santana off of her. Santana looks up and gently rests her chin in her hand that's placed over Brittany's chest and watches her flip her phone open. "It's my mom." She rolls her eyes and tosses her phone back down.

"I guess we gotta go." Santana's voice is raspy and disappointed. Brittany tosses her phone to the grass and nods regretfully. It's at this point that the girl's remember that they are still very much naked and even though they had literally stared each other down practically drooling they are all too well aware of the exposed skin now. "Umm, here's… here's your top." Santana picks up the yellow bikini top and hangs it from her finger. "Let me, here… let me help you." She moves to kneel behind Brittany and ties the top tie for the blonde who holds her hair up so Santana doesn't get her hair stuck. After tying it she lets her fingers linger a little longer than necessary on the blonde's skin.

They continue to dress themselves in silence, bashfully sneaking peeks at one another every now and again until they are fully covered. Brittany gathers their damp towels and slips her flip flops on, turning her head to wait for Santana to finish getting her shoes on. When she does the blonde smiles at her and extends her hand for the other girl to take and when she does, she grins a little wider.

Once they get back to the truck Santana takes the wet towels from Brittany and tosses them in the back of the truck before quickly jogging to the driver's side door and opening it up for the blonde. Brittany looks at her curiously, a small smirk playing on her lips while Santana nervously shifts her feet under Brittany's stare. The blonde nods and slips into the truck's driver's side and watches Santana shut the door for her and make her way around the back to the passenger side.

The drive back home is pretty quiet. No radio, not much conversation the only noise that can be heard is the wind sweeping in from the open windows and their heartbeats in their ears. Every few seconds they look to one another with shy smiles, biting lips and pink tinted cheeks.

Brittany drives past her house and pulls into the Lopez driveway, driving all the way up to the back of Aunt Linda's truck. She puts the truck in park, looks at her hands as they slide down from the steering wheel and she glances over to Santana through her eyelashes. Santana's leaning her elbow on the window, her cheek in her palm and she stares openly at Brittany with a smirk on her face.

"So…" Brittany drawls out, rolling her eyes playfully as she breaks the silence. "I had a really good time." She stammers over her words as she shifts in her seat sliding a little closer towards her friend. Santana swallows hard and brings her hands to her lap fidgeting with her fingers.

"Me too." She replies, her voice scratchy and low. Her smirk fades and is replaced with a thoughtful smile and she turns her head in Brittany's direction. She opens her mouth to say something, but closes it, because she can't quite seem to figure out how to put the words. Brittany shakes her head softly at her and reaches to cover the back of her hand with her own.

"It's okay." Brittany tells her and rubs her thumb over the back of Santana's knuckles. Their intimate moment is once again interrupted by the sound of an annoying beep. Brittany looks down at her phone that's between her and Santana and she sighs when she sees it's her mother again.

"You should get goin'." Santana begrudgingly suggests. "Besides," She points to Aunt Linda's truck ahead of them. "Aunt Lee's getting' dinner started." She says with a sigh. "And she's been makin' me be her little helper in the kitchen these days." Brittany laughs, thankful for Santana for easing the air between them with humor even if it is truth.

From the bay window, Aunt Linda spots Brittany and Santana sitting in the powder blue pickup that's parked right behind her own truck. With dinner almost ready, she figures she'll go out and see if Brittany wants to join the Lopez women for some supper. She throws the dish rag from her hand to over her shoulder and heads to the front door, pulling it open. The hand that lifts to push the screen door open stills and her feet stutter to a stop against the wood floor of the open foyer in her house.

She takes a step back and pulls the main door slightly closed, giving her just enough space to see through. Out of the tiny crack of the opened from door, she spots her niece kissing the girl next door. Her hand comes up so that her fingers are just covering her mouth that is slightly agape while the hand on the door knob fights between closing it and keeping it open.

The kiss is over before it even starts, but Aunt Linda saw enough to know that it was more than just a stolen kiss. It wasn't even a stolen kiss. It was given, by both parties. She gently closes the door, not wanting Santana to have an idea that she may have seen what had happened. As she makes her way back into the kitchen her mind is a whirlwind. She shouldn't be surprised at this. In fact, it's something Linda thinks she should have seen coming. It's also something that she thinks has more to do with why Annie Pierce has such a problem with Santana. She had an inkling that it had to do with her niece's sexuality, but now, she realizes that it has more to do with Brittany's.

Her shoulders stiffen when she hears the front door open and close followed by the tell tale signs of Santana coming home, if she weren't already privy. She takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, preparing herself to come face to face with Santana. She hears the kicking of shoes hit the wall, a yawn and then the shuffling of bare feet walking across wood floor.

"Mmm." Santana hums as she enters the kitchen. "Smells good in here." She comments. "What's for dinner?" Aunt Linda tugs the dish towel from her shoulder, sets her hands on the counter and then spins to face her niece. When she does, she can't help but take instant notice to the small smile playing on Santana's lips.

Santana is smiling this angelic and innocent smile and there is this little gleam in her eye that makes Aunt Linda forget words for a moment. This girl before her resembles someone she once knew. Santana quirks an eyebrow at her silence and shifts under her stare.

"What?" Santana asks and looks down at herself self consciously. Aunt Linda shakes her head when she realizes that, not only has she been staring dumbly but, she hasn't said a word in a long while.

"Turkey bolognaise." Aunt Linda finally says and motions towards the stove where the food is finishing up. Santana side eyes her aunt as she steps further into the kitchen to inspect their dinner.

"Well, I'm excited." Santana beams and brushes by her aunt to head down the hall. "I'm ravenous." She calls out over her shoulder, leaving her aunt alone in the kitchen while she changes.

Aunt Linda wonders when this happened; she wonders where she's been this entire time. She's only ever seen Santana this happy was when she was a little girl playing out in her backyard and swinging on that darn tire swing across the way. She was sure when Santana was dropped off on her doorstep only a few months ago that the same brooding teenager was going to be picked up from her doorstep.

Then she realizes. Aunt Linda knows that look in Santana's eyes.

It's funny how the thought process runs its course and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the simplest answer turns out to be the most obvious of answers. Somehow, Aunt Linda thinks with a smile, Brittany has gotten Santana to take down her walls and open up. But more importantly, she's gotten her to fall in love. And Aunt Linda can't help but think how good that looks on Santana.


For the past couple of nights, well every other night, Santana and Brittany have been sneaking into one another's bedrooms. They wait until it's late enough so that their families are fast asleep and slip into the other's bed where they spend the night whispering about anything and everything. This particular night, Santana is in Brittany's bed, trying to stifle her giggles as the girl beside her does her best impression of a British accent. When the laughter between them subsides, they take in the silence smoothly and comfortably, neither batting an eyelash when Brittany reaches over and laces her fingers through Santana's.

"I thought about what you were sayin'." Brittany says. "About doin' what I love." She clarifies a bit and Santana turns her head on the pillow to face her. "There's this college in Illinois, they have this auto technician program. It's hands on experience." She explains in an airy voice and Santana can see a hint of a smile on her lips with the help of the moonlight trickling into the Brittany's bedroom. "I'd be able to do things I've never gotten to do at the shop." Santana can't help but smile in hearing how excited the possibility of this sounds to Brittany.

"Britt," She breathes out and squeezes Brittany's hand tighter. "That's awesome."

"Yeah." Brittany lets out and nods. "I just have to get my parents on board." She sighs.

"If your parents really want you to be happy, there's no way they couldn't be with you on this." Santana explains, somewhere wishing these words were somewhat true in her own relationship with her parents.

It's quiet again and Brittany can tell that Santana is using this silence for thinking. She wonders if Santana thinks about her parents considering how far they are from one another. Not just literally but emotionally as well and if she does, how often and what does she think about.

"What happened with your parents?" Brittany finally asks after some more thought. "I mean, I know they got divorced, but why?" She wonders aloud, hoping she has posed this question delicately enough for Santana to open up about it.

"Umm, well," Santana shifts in her spot, moving closer to Brittany and rests her head to her shoulder. "Ya know, when they first explained it to me and my brother they made it seem like they both fell out of love." She begins. "I still don't understand how that can happen. I mean, 'cause then that means you can fall out of love with anything, anyone." She pauses and adjusts her grip on Brittany's hand, pulling it closer to her own body. "But, as I got older, I came to realize that it was my father who 'fell out' of love with my mother. That it wasn't actually about not loving her, but that he loved himself more. Apparently he had been cheating on her for years, according to my brother anyway." She presses her lips gently to Brittany's bare arm and continues to speak with them brushing over her skin. "Sometimes I wonder if he does still love her though. Like, maybe he just got scared when he realized that he was living this family life or whatever and he wasn't ready. I could understand that, I guess. Maybe he just got stuck between something good and a mistake." Santana shakes her head lightly, leaving her lips to Brittany's arm. "I guess I'll never really know."

"Did you ever ask him?" Brittany asks after a beat. She can feel Santana's lips purse on her skin as she contemplates.

"Once." Santana replies. "It was right after he moved out, I asked him why and if he was ever coming back. He'd just picked me up for his weekend with me. I remember watching him drive and how uninterested he was in havin' me around." She moves her head so her cheek rests on Brittany's arm instead of her lips. "He said 'why don't you ask your mother'." She says in a deep voice. "And that was when she became my mother and not mommy."

"Did you ask her?" Brittany inquires, reaching her free hand across her body to lightly tickle up and down Santana's arm.

"I couldn't." Santana shakes her head against Brittany. "I didn't want to have her have to tell me. I don't know if it was 'cause I didn't want to upset her or 'cause I didn't want to hear it."

"Maybe it was both." Brittany suggests as she turns her head to press a kiss to the top of Santana's head.

"Hmm?" She hums out, closing her eyes a bit as sleep slowly falls over her.

"That maybe you didn't want to hear it because you didn't want to upset her." Brittany explains in a vague sort of way. "Like, maybe it's not one reason or another but all of them bunched together. Ya know?" She pulls her head back when she feels Santana shift beside her until she is looking at her. "What?" Brittany chuckles, wondering why she's being looked at like this.

"Things I thought I knew, I…" Santana tries to explain, but has to pause to regain her control her thoughts and what she's going to mean with what she says. "You show me to look at them differently. And I kinda hate you for that." She says in an amused tone, though she tries to come off serious. "Only," She brings their clasped hands up so she can press her thumb into Brittany's chin affectionately. "I don't hate you, Brittany. Not even a little bit." She shakes her head and carefully moves to bring her lips up to meet Brittany's for a soft kiss. When their lips part Brittany covers her mouth as she yawns causing a yawn and a giggle from Santana. "Hmm, maybe we should sleep." She suggests as her yawn comes to a close.

They cuddle together with arms draped over stomachs with fingers brushing against skin while legs intertwine underneath covers. Eventually, they fall asleep with the cool breeze of the February, Texas air sweeping into the silent bedroom. When morning comes, they go through their usual routine which consists of little pecks on lips cheeks and chins until eventually one of them finds the strength to slip out of bed and head over to their own house.

Santana hesitantly slides her body from the bed and picks up her sweatshirt from the desk chair. As she slips it on, she looks up and catches Brittany watching her. She smiles as Santana readies herself to climb out the window, shoes in hand and one leg out already. Santana looks to the ground preparing herself to jump, but before she does turns back and grins at the blonde still sitting in bed.

"I have to tell you somethin'." Brittany says in a loud whisper before she can fully make an exit. Santana's smile falters for a moment, nervous because conversations that start out like this usually never end well. Brittany licks her lips as her smile grows gentle and she glances down to her lap while Santana steadies herself on the window sill.

"Britt," She says and gets Brittany to look up at her. "You can tell me anything." This makes Brittany smile and let out a long breath of relief and she nods to herself.

"You know what the best feelin' in the world is?" Brittany asks and Santana tilts her head to the side sending the blonde a curious stare. She goes to respond but Brittany is quick to cut her off. "And don't interrupt me with a silly or snappy comeback, like, Christmas mornin' or the way even the most dysfunctional of families somehow come together durin' a round of 'happy birthday' or even the way the stranger sittin' next to you could wind up bein' your best friend." Santana chuckles at the rant and Brittany rolls her eyes at herself for it before she takes a breath and continues. "I mean, those things are so totally awesome, but, it's so much more than that. You know… that feelin'. The one that's deep down in your stomach." She explains, bringing her hands down one on her stomach and one over her chest. "You feel it flutter and you're not sure what's goin' on in there because you've heard people talk about butterflies and you're seriously startin' to question the possibility of pretty little creatures floatin' around inside of you. It's the same feelin' that makes your toes go numb and there's that tinglin' sensation runnin' through your whole body. Once you feel it you never forget it, that's for sure. But even that particular feelin' isn't the best part. Not even close."

Brittany shakes her head as she thinks about what it is that she is saying, not only to herself, but to Santana. She bites on her top lip, taking it with her bottom teeth and she drops her hands to her lap once again.

"The best part and the most incredible feelin' that has ever been felt in the entire world, universe even, is getting' it over and over again. It's tastin' somethin' sweet and smilin' 'cause the sweetness reminds you of a kiss." Brittany places her finger tips to her lips for emphasis as she feels the feeling she is describing. "It's feelin' somethin' warm and soft against you and feelin' the safest you've ever felt because before this warmth you've only ever dreamed of this, this certainty. It's breathin' the scent of the air right before it rains and bein' able to see that smile, even if only in your mind."

Brittany pushes herself up from the bed and slowly walks over to where Santana is, still perched on the window sill half in half out, and stops right in front of her. She moves from the balls of her feet to her heels, not quite sure where to put her hands so she plays with them in front of her stomach, and she looks to the floor before she can look to Santana to continue. When she lifts her gaze, Santana is staring right back at her with adoration and wonder.

"You are my feelin'. You are the butterfly in my stomach, flutterin' around. You are my warmth. Yours is the smile I see before the rain." Brittany sighs, not in frustration, but in exhaustion from all of these feelings. "I know that you don't believe in…" They both know what she cuts herself off from saying and Santana gulps at the pause. The word skipped; love. "But, I want to prove you wrong. You think I have no idea, that I have never seen what somethin' like this can wind up becomin' or what it can turn people into but, I do. I know that you say you're not, but you're afraid and…" Santana opens her mouth to speak, but Brittany's hand flies up to keep her from interrupting. "Stop, before you jump in to deny it just… just listen 'cause I'm not done. You think that I'm naïve or… I don't know, too innocent to know the consequences of all of this. Maybe I am, but, like… isn't that the point?"

She drops her hand to her side and shakes her head, looking around the room as if all the answers for this conversation and rhetorical questions are written on her walls. She laughs for a moment and Santana isn't sure if she should be concerned or continue to shut up and listen to the rest of what Brittany has to say to her.

"You're not supposed to over think this stuff." Brittany clarifies and Santana sits there, in the window sill. "You're not supposed to analyze, sit down and write a pros and cons list of the possible outcomes. Because, you never really know how things are gonna end up. You've just got to kind of take a deep breath and a leap and hope that when you finally reach the ground you don't fall flat on your face. You hope that instead of windin' up with a bunch of bruises and a broken heart you're caught before it comes to that." Brittany steps that one step closer so that they are only a foot away from one another and she clasps her hands in front of her as she looks deeply into Santana's eyes. "You hope that because of the butterflies and the sweetest tastin' kisses and the smiles before the rain that you're caught. That they are there to keep you safe, hold you close and tell you that everythin' you feel, well, that they feel it too." Her voice is soft and she smiles sweetly as she speaks. "That they can't imagine a sunrise or a sunset without seein' it through your eyes and that their days begin and end with your smile and the way you breathe so softly in your sleep. That they know how you breathe so gently, like a newborn baby, because they've taken the time to watch you as you're dreamin'. And that they'd never let you fall without bein' there to catch you because they need you to catch them too."

Brittany finally makes that last move and reaches a hand out to grab Santana, pulling her from the window sill until she is standing in front of her. Carefully, she slides her hand down her arm and grabs both of her hands with her own. Santana is only staring back at her, but she is at least listening to everything that she has to say to her.

"I know that you're afraid, but I will catch you. I promise I will be there to catch you because I need you to be there to catch me. I am so scared, so freakin' scared. I've never been here before, I've never felt this or anythin' like this but I know that I want it…" Brittany squeezes Santana's hands with her own and leans her forward so their heads are pressed together. "I want you." She whispers before pulling her head back. "I'm scared, but not because I think you'll turn around after I'm finished spillin' my guts to you. I know you are gonna do just that. But honestly, I don't think anything you do can make me stop lovin' you." Her eyes flicker between the two dark orbs searching her own. "What I am afraid of is that you will never understand just how much I mean it when I say that I love you. Because, I do. It's as simple as that. Words are words and they can only be said so many times before they become old and over used. But I do, love you." She finally says the words, those words that people say when it's really all there's left to say because the feeling is almost too much. "And I want to tell you all the time 'cause I think you're amazin'. 'Cause I think you are the most beautiful person that I have ever met in my entire life. Because, it's like, real life didn't exist until you came back into it." Santana's eyes flicker between those big blue eyes staring back at her, unable to breathe let alone speak. "'Cause I remember you then and know who you are now and it does matter who you were in between, it's only more of why I love you."

Brittany rubs her thumbs over the back of Santana's hands, running them over her knuckles and squeezing her fingers gently with her own. She tilts her head to the side and takes a few breathes before continuing. Santana's lips move to speak, only, nothing seems to come out except a short spurt of air.

"I don't wanna play games because it's not every day that you find someone, the person who, just by looking into their eyes you can see exactly how they see you. I don't wanna hide it or keep it a secret because if you… I… you make me great. I wanna make promises so that I can show you that promises are not like rules, only made to be broken. I wanna show you that promises are made to be kept." Brittany lets go of one of Santana's hands and brings it up to cup her cheek making the other girls eyes flutter closed for a second. "So, yeah, that's it. That's my big speech. The one where I put myself out there, heart on the line and all. And I guess this is the part where I ask you to love me back." Santana closes her mouth and swallows hard. "To trust me even if everyone you've ever trusted before has only let you down. Trust me because you know, deep down, that I am so deeply in love with you and that you can't even imagine me lettin' you down or breakin' a promise I make to you." She releases Santana's other hand so that now, she is cupping her other cheek, holding her face in her hands. "Tell me you love me back, because, just 'cause you do and 'cause I'm your butterfly and 'cause I'm your smile before the rain."

When Brittany blinks away the blur of unshed tears, she finally sees Santana's glistening back at her. The girl before her looks surprised and unsteady but beautiful. Slowly, Santana's hands come up and grab at her wrists, letting her thumbs rub into her hands. Santana closes her eyes and a lone tear trickles down her cheek, trailing down to her lips until it finally descends down her quivering chin.

Then, with a whisper of a breath, Santana pulls those hands on cheeks away and steps back. She opens her eyes and watches Brittany's arms fall to her side at an almost slow motion pace while she reaches the window. They don't say anything, but both know that Santana is telling her with her eyes that she is sorry, not just for leaving in this moment, but for not being able to say anything. But with all the greatness in her, Brittany musters up a smile and nods. She mouths 'it's okay' because the words just won't come out and she looks on sadly as Santana climbs out of her bedroom window leaving her in silence and alone with her declaration of love.

Santana barely has time to process anything that has just happened because Aunt Linda comes knocking on her door asking her to run an errand in town for her. She is sort of grateful for the distraction because maybe it will take her mind off of the fact that she… Brittany said 'I love you' and she just left. She didn't say anything. Nothing.

But, she didn't know what to say. What's the proper response to a speech about why and how someone is in love with you? Is there one? Everything over the past few months has been heavy. Her heart is heavy her brain hurts and there never seems to be a right decision to make. Just a bunch of decisions and choices and consequences and as she drives into town down the South Service Road, she thinks about how Aunt Linda told her 'damn the consequences'.

She wonders how much of that is true. She wonders how many people have weighed the good verse the bad and said 'screw aftermath of it all'. After everything she's been through and done, it's sort of strange that she would be so worried about the sequence of events that might happen should she just go with the slow Texas flow that Brittany has been leading her into. And she knows it. It's been there all along just like Quinn said. Brittany has been holding her hand out to her and asking her to dance like nobody is watching, except she's been too afraid to deal with the destruction that might come their way after all the 'I love you's' are said and done.

She is afraid.

As she heads down Charles Avenue she glances to her right and spots the Knox City Town Hall building and spots that fire engine red Mustang convertible parked perfectly in the mayor's spot. And she realizes why she just left Brittany's bedroom this morning. It's because people like Annie Pierce make Santana feel less than worthy. People like Annie Pierce remind her of her father and make her believe that the world will always see her as a disappointment and that she can't give anything to anybody. People like Annie Pierce take things that matter to Santana away and tell her she doesn't deserve them.

She left Brittany alone with her love because she's afraid that Mayor Pierce is right and that one day, Brittany will open her eyes and see that she is nothing. That just like her parents, the love will fade away like the rain. That Brittany will eventually step out of her magical world and see that there are better things out there than Santana Lopez.

Only, Santana thinks, these thoughts are just thoughts. Not even that. These thoughts are false truths created by the insecurity of being left behind. The reason she would be left behind would be her own fault. By walking out of Brittany's bedroom this morning and not saying anything not even a 'thank you for loving me', she left a better part of her in that room, the part of her that Brittany brings out and the part of her that is the best side of her that has ever been.

Pulling Aunt Linda's truck to the curb, she comes to the conclusion that, although Brittany was pleading with her to love her back she mostly begging her to let her love her. It's strange, this feeling in Santana's gut. The one that tells her that, in some way, Brittany would be happy if Santana just let her love her. Is it really that easy though, to accept love without understanding or even knowing your own feelings? What she does understand is that, however or whatever her feelings towards Brittany, she doesn't want the feeling of knowing someone loves her to go away.

She's stalking up the steps of the Knox City Hall Building before she realizes what she's doing. Her eyes quickly scan the directory on the main floor until an elevator door opening on the other side catches her attention. She spots that woman that always seems to be following the mayor around like a puppy. She's seen her around at a few places and has caught her staring a bunch of times. So, before she slips into the elevator, she makes sure that this woman doesn't spot her. When the elevator doors open on the desired floor, Santana makes her way to the Mayor's office. It's empty, which she figures is suitable for what is about to go down.

She doesn't knock on the door and doesn't announce herself. When she pushes the large wooden door open Mrs. Pierce glances up, obviously expecting someone else and she does her best to conceal her surprise upon seeing Santana.

"Are you lost?" Mayor Peirce asks with some bite. "Doesn't smell like a garage in here, so I'm sad to say Brittany isn't here." She sends her a patronizing smile.

"Actually, I came here to talk to you." Santana tells the older woman.

"Oh? What about then?" She feigns interest and goes back to the paper work on her desk. Santana looks on as the woman pays no mind to her presence and shifts her feet at how little the mayor could care that the girl she despises is standing in her office.

"Well, before you say anything about what I'm about to say..." She starts, trying to figure out the best way to begin. "Just don't interrupt me." This catches the mayor's attention and her head snaps up from her files and she sends an annoyed quirked eyebrow in the teenage girl's direction.

"Do you usually go around to people's offices and boss them around? Look little girl, I have work to do here..."

"Just shut up and listen okay? It's about Brittany." Santana snaps, instantly making Mayor Pierce's eyebrow's furrow and mouth to clamp shut. "She's... truth is, your daughter is the most beautiful person I have ever met. Not just on the outside. Her heart is so big and so open. And even though some people say you shouldn't lead with your heart because that's how you get hurt, that's exactly how she lives; heart forward and it's inspiring." She explains inspiringly and then she huffs in frustration at the way Mrs. Pierce simply stares back at her with a blank expression. "You're so blind and the worse part about that is that it's towards your own daughter." She points at the woman behind the desk forcefully. "I look at Brittany and I'm reminded of all the things worth smiling about. When she laughs I laugh because even if I don't get why she has that sparkle in her eye at that moment I want to know. I need to know. "I get that your life might not be the way you imagined it to be, I don't think it ever is. Or maybe it's exactly what you thought it'd be. Either way... you're wasting the best part of your life away. Brittany is an amazing person and I for one am a better person for knowing that about her." Santana explains with exhaustion but such sincerity that it makes her heart nearly ache. "She makes me want to be a better person than I have been. I can say from experience that, that's a feat in itself. I don't think there are a lot of people we'd willingly change ourselves for. Not a lot of people make you want to change."

She shrugs her shoulders and can only stare back as Mrs. Pierce slowly leans back in her chair, clearly paying deep attention to the girl who has intruded her office. It's quiet between them for a few moments and Santana is wondering if it's because she told the mayor not to interrupt her and that she is being judged on, not only what she is saying, but how she is saying it.

"Now maybe I'm just some kid who's a strike away from juvie to you. Maybe everyone just sees me as this screw up and maybe I am. But, Brittany doesn't see those things. If she does, it's not the only thing she sees about me and I don't want that to go away. She's my best friend and I can't lose her. I just can't. So, you can do whatever you want to me. You can threaten me and go through my files, try to intimidate me but it's not gonna make me go away. I'm not goin' away."

Before Mayor Pierce can even bat an eyelash, Santana spins on her heels and quickly makes her way as far as possible from the Knox City Town Hall building. She can't believe she's just done what she's done. But, she figures, if someone was going to do it, she's glad it was her.


Santana had noticed when Brittany was home from the shop. She saw the lights in her bedroom go on and off a bunch of times. But each time she thought about going over to apologize for leaving without saying anything, she realized that didn't know what to say. Words, they just don't feel like enough to explain herself and why she does the things she does. She doesn't know how to explain to Brittany why there are some things she can't say and that she may never be able to say them.

She doesn't know that feeling. Santana doesn't understand that feeling that everyone talks about when they talk about love. She wonders if it's an obvious feeling. Is it something that she should know by now and is it something that she would have recognized when Brittany told her she loved her. She's afraid that she's broken and that she is unable to comprehend or incapable of feeling anything more than this fear that is coursing through her veins. As she goes over her downfalls, she wonders if… if everything she is looking to understand is right there on the surface.

Carefully, she slips from her bed and tip toes to her window. When she lifts it open she is greeted by droplets of rain coming from the sky. She reaches her hand out and catches some in her palm, letting her fingers rub the wetness into her skin. She smiles, the rain is warm and it reminds her of the summer. She maneuvers herself from her bedroom window and over the metal fence between the two yards until she is standing there on the side of the Pierce's house.

It's then that she realizes, with the raindrops falling softly around her and the clouds pushing against one another. Both Quinn and Brittany are right. She can see it sometimes, even though she denies it to no end. She can even feel it. No matter how long it's been, the years and the miles, that little girl resides somewhere inside of her.

Maybe she hides somewhere beneath the rubble and debris of broken hearts and promises. But, her sparkling brown eyes still light up magically and her smile as radiant as ever. Maybe it hurts to let go sometimes, but she's beginning to understand that it's much more painful to hold on. Crying hearts of her shattered family is no reason for her to push everything else away. It's no use carrying around the baggage that people hand her in form of judgments based on not only her pasts, but truths about her that she cannot change. The obstacle in her way wasn't her family or Mrs. Pierce or the people of Knox whispering or anyone else in the world. It's been her all along. Santana has been standing in her own way. She's been too busy to notice something that's been in front of her the entire time.

Brittany lies awake in her bed. It's well past two in the morning, but instead of sleep all her body can seem to do is replay the day she had with Santana. Intense. That's the word to describe it. It had gone from innocent laughter, touches and looks to not so innocent looks and touches, among other things. Her thoughts are disturbed by the sound of something other than rain hitting her bedroom window. She gets up to investigate, flipping the light switch on her way to the window.

There, standing just outside is Santana Lopez, in the rain looking at her through her bedroom window. She doesn't need to be told to come outside, she doesn't need a wave or a motion to direct her, her body moves of its own accord. Silently yet quickly pulls her window all the way up and climbs out, her feet squish against the wet ground. When she gets her balance, she stands straight up and comes face to face with Santana.

Santana is soaked from head to toe, arms at her side and her feet shoulder width apart. They don't say anything, they don't have to, their eyes are having the conversation for them. Brown eyes look softly into blues with intrigue and complete understanding. Santana's lips part slightly as though she is going to speak but she doesn't, she merely sucks in some air.

Then, as if they have said everything they needed to, Brittany smiles. It's small, perhaps just a hint of a smile, but it's there and Santana nods once making the water cascade down her cheeks and over her eyelashes. She extends her hand and patiently waits for Brittany's decision, but, there is no hesitation in grabbing Santana's hand.

"I thought that I was supposed to… I never do the right thing." Santana huffs in frustration through the rain. "Like, ever. I do what I want and that usually ends up hurting people. And it's funny because," She pauses and looks down at the hand she's holding. "I feel like if I do what I want, then you're gonna get hurt. If I push you away or stay away from you, then, whatever. But… it's weird." She closes her eyes and shakes her head. "'Cause, like, it's actually the opposite. I want you close to me, and if it's the wrong thing then I don't wanna be right. Wow." She shakes her head again at herself and chuckles deeply. "And now I sound like some horrible country song. But, I guess it's fitting. I feel like wanting you to stay is selfish because it makes me…" She looks back up at Brittany. "You make me a better me. I don't know how you do it, but you do it and flawlessly. Did you know that? And I laugh more. Actually, I think you're the only person besides me that can make me find humor in the world. Of course your humor is a bit kinder and gentler and reminds me that I'm just a kid. And… regardless…" She pauses, smiles and Brittany looks on quietly. "You're beautiful, you know that? Like, you're really beautiful. I feel like you're that kind of beautiful that people try to write. But, it's impossible because words can't do a beauty like you justice. Words are… obsolete. They don't mean anything compared to someone as… you… and then here I am again. Stumbling over things to say to you because nothing feels good enough and nothing makes sense. And then I don't know what to do." She shrugs her shoulders and the rain continues to pour down on them.

"You could kiss me." Brittany finally speaks up in a small voice that Santana can just hear over the rain.

Santana lifts her head and opens her eyes. She knows the tears shimmering in Brittany's eyes are mirroring her own and she smiles sadly. They continue to sway from side to side, hands clasped and set between their chests. Her thumb grazes the back of Brittany's and she tilts her head, trying to avert her eyes from glancing down at the way her chin quivers.

"Why do you do that?" Santana asks in a giggle as she shifts under her stare, not uncomfortably but uncertainly.

"So that you know that I like it… this feeling you make me feel." Brittany says. "And so maybe we can stop pretending that the kisses and all those almost kisses in between and that the other day didn't happen." Brittany walks closer. "And so that we can just be kissing again."

"But, your mom…"

"Who cares about my mom?" Brittany interrupts and shakes her head as she steps towards Santana. "You once told me that you thought I could do anything." She places her hands at Santana's waist.

"I also once told you that you could make the jump from the shed to the kiddy pool. Remember what happened?" Santana reminds her and they both chuckle, but its short lived as soon as Brittany's lips press to hers. It's a chaste kiss; short and sweet. When Brittany pulls back, she's smiling because Santana's eyes are still closed and her expression is relaxed but seemingly troubled.

"Say somethin'." Brittany breathes out. Santana's eyes open and she stares back at the other girl, letting the quiet of the rain drown into their moment, taking over the conversation.

"This is why." Santana breaks their silence and Brittany's brow furrows in confusion. Santana lets out a nervous laugh and shakes her head. "Why I kept you at arm's length." She explains in still a vague manner. "I knew that once I let you in," She takes a deep breath and tries to blink away the blur from her eyes. "I'd never wanna let you go." Brittany smiles. It's sad and happy all at the same time. The twinkle in her blue eyes tells Santana that Brittany's known this all along.

"So, don't." Brittany tells her lacing her fingers through Santana's and lifts their joined hands a bit higher, until she can press her thumb affectionately into Santana's chin.

"Is it really that simple?" Santana challenges.

"I love you, Santana." Brittany lets out in a breath, and she shakes her head as though trying to be sure all her words are in order. "More than I've ever loved anyone else in this world. Because of that," She shrugs her shoulders. "I think anything is possible." Santana's smile grows and her eyes search Brittany's in utter amazement.

"When did you get so smart?" She asks as she taps the tip of Brittany's nose.

Brittany lets out an airy laugh and looks down at their bodies, pressed close to one another, swaying along as if to faint music playing from the clouds in the form of rain drops. Without another word, Santana moves to the tip of her toes and wraps her arm around Brittany's neck, pulling her into a tighter embrace and rests her chin to her shoulder.

"You're my best friend." Santana admits quietly, as though she's only just realized this fact and the weight to it. Brittany smiles, closes her eyes, relieved.

"Yeah. Me too." She holds Santana tighter to her body.

As they stand there holding one another, Santana realizes something that she has been too scared to accept. Brittany loves her and she loves Brittany back. It's been here all along. That feeling. The person. It's like the Texas night sky she was reacquainted with. The stars were there the whole time, she was just too busy to notice something standing right in front of her. Her eyes are open now and she sees it. She sees it all. More importantly, she feels it all.

And this is the moment that takes her breath away.