A Month Later…

Santana adjusted the hem of her black dress before she rang the doorbell. She fidgeted with the sides of the dress as she waited. She wasn't really sure why she was so concerned with her dress but she wanted her dress to be perfect when Brittany saw it.

The door opened and Santana's mouth fell open. If someone else had been wearing the same dress Santana probably would have said that it was out of season, that the bright blue, pink, and yellow flowers that covered the fabric were meant for the middle of spring not the middle of winter, but, for Brittany, it was perfect. The touch of blue made her eyes glisten and the bright yellow somehow managed to make her streaks of golden blonde even more beautiful. Santana suddenly couldn't remember how to form words.

"Hey." Brittany cooed. She wrapped her hair around her fingers nervously.

Santana was finally able to look up from the dress. She smiled. "Hey. You ready to go?"

Brittany nodded and leaned in for a quick peck on the lips. "Happy Birthday." She whispered.

Santana smiled widely. "Thank you."

Santana led Brittany to the passenger side of the car and pulled open the door for her. She smiled at her as she lifted her feet into the car. Santana smiled back. Santana shut the door gently when Brittany was finally comfortable.

"I should be the one opening doors for the Birthday girl!" Brittany frowned as Santana sat down on the driver's side.

Santana shifted the car into reverse and backed out of the driveway. She looked over at Brittany. "You can get the next one." Brittany smiled and nodded, apparently pleased with this agreement. Santana shifted the car into drive and took Brittany's hand before pulling away from the Pierces house.

Santana and Brittany were unusually quiet as they listened to the radio and pulled onto the main road. Santana had to admit she was a little nervous but she couldn't really explain to herself why. Brittany had come to so many of Santana's birthday dinners that she had lost count but this was the first dinner where Brittany was her girlfriend and for some reason it was different, it was more important. It was almost like Santana was bringing Brittany to met the family for the first time and she was nervous if they'd like each other. Which was silly, Santana thought because her family had already known Brittany for a long time. Santana glanced over at Brittany and saw her tracing the outline of Santana's hand with her fingers, it was something Santana always did when she was nervous, Santana thought Brittany probably had picked up the habit from her. Santana could tell Brittany was staring out the window, lost in thought, Santana wondered if they were thinking the same things. Santana squeezed Brittany hand and she looked up and smiled weakly.

"My Abuela couldn't make it this year." Santana said as she turned her eyes back towards the road. "One of her friends had-" Santana tried to tell Brittany the same lie that her Abuela had told her hours ago, pretending like she had really believed it. "-had some kinda emergency." Her voice cracked and exposed her sadness.

Brittany rubbed the top of Santana's hand with her thumb. Santana felt a calmness run through her hand and radiate up towards the rest of her body. She exhaled. Did Brittany know that she had this magical ability to make Santana feel better without even speaking? Santana gently squeezed Brittany's hand to show her that she was thankful.

Brittany and Santana pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant. Santana had barely put her car in park before Brittany had push open her door and sprinted to the driver's side to open Santana's door for her. Santana let out a laugh as she grabbed the hand Brittany.

"You're a goof." She said. Brittany just smiled back.

They linked arms before walking to the entrance. They found Santana's mother and father already waiting. They greeted their daughter and her girlfriend before heading inside.

"Dr. Lopez." Santana's father announced to the hostess.

The hostess looked down at her book and smile. "Ah yes, table for five?" She questioned as she looked over the group.

"Oh, no. Only four this year." He corrected. He must not have had the time to change the reservation after her Abuela's last minute cancellation. The hostess nodded and put a menu back on the stand.

"Come with me." She said as she lead them though the dinning room and to a table in a secluded section of the restaurant. Santana's father always requested the quietest sections of the restaurant. Maybe it was because it made them feel important or maybe it was because he liked to pretend he was only with his family. Either way Santana liked it.

Santana pulled out Brittany's chair. Brittany furrowed her eyebrows before she sat down. Santana took her seat next to Brittany as the waitress came over and went over the specials. Brittany kicked Santana under the table.

"Birthday girl." She mouthed and Santana smirked.

"You can get the next one." She whispered.

After the waitress finished the specials she took their drink orders and skipped off towards the kitchen. They made small talk. Santana's dad asked about Cherrios and they got into a long conversation about how much they missed Quinn not being on the squad. Santana rolled her eyes when her dad asked about Lord Tubbington, she couldn't understand his fascination with that ridiculous creature. Santana was thankful for the secluded table when her father laughed way too hard at the conclusion of the story about the time Lord Tubbington got stuck upside down in the trashcan.

The waitress came by with their drinks and asked if they were ready to order. Santana's father had been way too caught up in the stories to look at the menu and asked for a few more minutes. The waitress smiled and bounced away. Santana watched her walk, wondering if the bounce was attempt at extra tips or how she really walked.

Santana turned her attention towards Brittany when she felt her bare foot running up and down her leg. Brittany smirked from behind her menu. Santana buried her face in her menu to hide her smile.

"Oh Santana!" Her mother called. Santana jumped. "Your Abuela asked me to give you this card."

Her mother pulled a plain white envelope out of her purse and handed it to Santana. Santana looked up at her mother who nodded, indicating that she should open it.

Santana gently pulled apart the envelope with her fingers. She tried her best to hide her eagerness to see what was inside. Her Abuela has long since given up on buying presents for Santana as soon as Santana's taste in clothes changed to low-cut shirts and short dresses. She had always given checks but it wasn't the checks that Santana really enjoyed. It was the card. Santana had saved every single one her Abuela had ever given her. She locked them away in the bottom of her dresser drawer. Sometime when she was having a bad say she would pull them out and read them, sometimes she didn't even need to read them, just remember the things her Abuela had written. Her Abuela always wrote long messages the filled the entire inside of her card in her small cursive. She would write about how proud she was of Santana and how much she reminded Santana of her mother or herself. She would write all the things she could never speak, and with those Santana would be reminded every year that even though she couldn't say those things, it didn't mean she never thought them.

Santana pulled open the card. She read the front "Happy Birthday" it said in dark blue font on cloud background. It was simple, then again they probably were all this simple, Santana never really paid much attention to any parts that were in her Abuela's cursive. Santana opened the card so fast that the check inside it flew to the floor, but she didn't care. Brittany bent down to pick it up for her. Santana felt her heart sink to the pit of her stomach. The card was completely empty, the generic message sat centered on a plain of white nothingness. Santana stared down at the ugly blue printed words and felt them taunting her. May the best of your past be the worst of your future. Her Abuela didn't even bother to sign either of their names. Brittany placed the check next to Santana and gripped Santana's arm.

Santana placed the check back in the card, making sure to cover up the ugly blue words. She closed the card and placed it in her purse.

Her mother eyed Santana and frowned, it seemed like the card had the opposite effect she thought it would. Her mother opened her mouth to speak but the waitress came back around to take their orders and broke her from her thoughts.

The Dr. and Mrs. Lopez were already taking off their jackets when Brittany and Santana followed them through the front door.

"Thank you for dinner." Santana said. Her dad placed his jacket on a hanger in the closet and turned to embrace his daughter.

"Of course!" He said. They separated. "Well I better go to bed. I have the morning shift tomorrow." He kissed his daughter on the forehead and did the same to Brittany. "You're going to bring by Lord Tubbington next time you visit?" He asked. He pointed his index finger at Brittany like a gun.

"Definitely!" Brittany said. She smirked at Santana who dramatically rolled her eyes.

He kissed his wife before disappearing up the stairs.

Santana turned to her mother. "Do you mind if Brittany stayed for a little while?"

"Of course not!" Santana's mom glanced down at her watch. "But she has to be home by 11:00. Its a school night." Her mother turned towards the kitchen. Santana grabbed Brittany's hand and led her upstairs.

"Be good." Santana heard her mother call before the disappeared. Santana saw Brittany's cheeks blush.

Santana closed the door as Brittany slipped into the room. She flicked on her light, chucked her purse on the bed, and threw her heels in the closet all out of habit. Brittany stood still by the door rubbing her arm.

"Cold?" She asked.

"No." Brittany lied.

Santana grabbed a pair of her old Cherrios sweatpants and a t-shirt. She chucked it out Brittany who caught it easily. Brittany smiled.

Santana picked out her own pair of sweatpants and t-shirt and the girls changed. Brittany sat on the edge of the bed and watched Santana as she hung their dresses up in the closet. Santana grabbed her purse off the bed and removed the birthday card. She placed the check on her desk and pulled open the drawer.

She ran her hand over the box of cards and thought about all the messages contained in each. She picked a card off the top of the pile. She opened it secretly just wanting to see her Abuela's perfect handwriting. She had expected to find the same emptiness she found when she opened the new one, like the words disappeared along with their meaning. She started to read but then decided it was too hard and closed the card before placing the new and old card on top of the pile. She used both hands to pushed them down on the pile for a minute, like she was afraid they'd jump out and run away if she didn't hold them in place. When she was convinced they'd stay put, she closed the drawer and looked over to see Brittany lying on the bed resting up on her elbows and watching her closely.

"I know how important those birthday cards are to you." Brittany said.

"Its no big deal." Santana lied. She lied down next to Brittany on the bed.

"No one gives cards to people they don't like." Brittany said.

Santana smiled at her. "I don't know what I'd do without you." Santana leaned in and connected her lips with Brittany's.

She looped her arm around Brittany's lower back and guided her gently as she felt back against the bed. Brittany placed her hands on Santana's hips as Santana climbed on top of her and straddled her between her legs.

"Birthday girl." Brittany protested as Santana kissed her neck.

"You can get the next one." Santana breathed into her.

Brittany turned her head giving Santana more of her neck to work with. She felt Brittany shudder as she kissed her just under her ear, Brittany's favorite spot. She kissed her harder now moving up and down her neck. She felt a moan escape from Brittany. Its was so soft, she probably wouldn't have heard it if her ear hadn't been so close to her mouth. Santana felt her hands for the edge of Brittany's shirt, she found it and shifted her weight as she moved her hands up her bare stomach and towards her chest. Brittany pushed Santana's face away from hers.

"Wait, Santana!" Brittany pulled Santana's hand along with her shirt back down. Santana leaned up from Brittany's neck and looked down at her.

"Your mom said to be good." Brittany explained.

Santana scoffed. "That never stopped us before." She said before lowering herself for another kiss. Brittany grabbed her shoulders to stop her.

"Yeah, But its different now." Brittany said.

Santana sighed in defeat and fell to the bed next to Brittany. She had to admit that she was right. This was different now that they weren't sneaking around. It wasn't a bad different though. Well in situations like this it was a bad different but all the other times it was better.

Brittany dug her head into Santana's shoulder. "Let's nap instead." She muttered into Santana's shirt.

She took a deep breath and looked away. "Didn't sleep well last night?" Santana asked. She hoped the small talk would help wind her down.

"No. couldn't. nervous." Brittany said. She dropped her arm lazily across Santana's stomach and burrowed deeper into Santana's shoulder.

Santana closed her eyes and let her body relax. It didn't take long until she felt Brittany's breath steady and she knew she was asleep. Santana realized that she didn't sleep well last night either. She listened to Brittany's steady breaths as she drifted off to sleep.

Santana felt a gentle nudge on her shoulder. "Santana." Her mother whispered.

Santana opened her eyes slowly. "What time is it?" She said groggily.

"Its almost 1:00." Her mother said.

"What?" Santana said. She shot straight up and glanced over at Brittany who must have shifted in her sleep. She was now laying on her side with her back to Santana.

"I noticed." Her mother said with a smile.. "I called Mrs. Pierce and told her that Brittany was just going to stay the night."

"Are you sure your okay with that?" Santana started, she tried to read the expression on her mother's face.

Brittany mumbled something in her sleep and turned back over to Santana, she placed her hand on Santana's stomach and burrowed back into her back into her shoulder shoulder. Santana eyed her mother, not sure how she was going to react but was relieved to see that she was smiling.

She kissed her daughter on the forehead before adjusting the blanket on the two of them. "Of course I am." She whispered. Her mother flicked off the light before She turned towards the door and slowly crept open the door careful not to wake Brittany. The light from the hallway crept into the room and Santana squinted her eyes.

"I love you." Her mother called as she stepped into the hallway.

"I love you, too." Santana whispered back.

"I mhhmm hmmou." Brittany mumbled into Santana's shoulder.

Santana's mother let out a low laugh before holding a finger to her lips, shushing herself. She closed the door and the room was dark again. Santana laid her head back on the pillow and drifted back to sleep.