So, so sorry for the delay, guys... an increased workload at the J-O-B (yay promotions! boo non-brittana related priorities), plus a crippling case of writers block lead to the perfect storm of procrastination. Moving forward, I'll be more realistic with my timing estimates for updates – so I would say to expect a new chapter every 1-2 weeks.
Oh, and I realized after posting the last chapter that I referred to "Burt's" as "Muggy's" throughout the entire karaoke scene. Yep, editing fail on my part - apologies if anyone was confused. :)
So, without further ado, here are the songs for this chapter. Thanks for sticking with me and enjoy!
[youtube].com/watch?v=n-5icYgiTfw (Albert Hammond Jr. – Scared)
[youtube].com/watch?v=4-IZbmRmM_s&feature=related (I Don't Trust Myself – Mike Posner)
It was Saturday and I was working the afternoon shift at Muggy's. Rachel had already left and I was scrubbing the same spot on the counter for the tenth time. There wasn't anyone in the café, and I was super bored - so I switched songs on the playlist I had made and started reorganizing the tea boxes. I really loved Albert Hammond Jr., but now I was realizing that this song reminded me of Santana. I wondered if maybe that's why I had chosen it, because - subconsciously – I was always trying to figure her out.
I hadn't heard from her since the morning after Karaoke Night, when Quinn and I had to carry her home. Her text had just said "Thanks", but I knew that that was a lot coming from Santana. I had wanted to text her back a million different things, like "Why were you so sad?", or "Are you mad?", and "Why were you so mean to Rory?"… but eventually I just settled for "Anytime," and that was that. Because even though I could see that Santana wasn't happy with Blaine, she was still with Blaine… and that meant she either wasn't ready or didn't want to be with me. It stung a little, to think about it like that, but I had only known Santana for a short amount of time… plus, I was really good at being friends with people. So, I would be friends with Santana. I nodded to myself as I made a mental note to try to release those butterflies that she had left somewhere around my heart.
Someone coughed behind me. "Albert Hammond Jr…. a solid choice. I'm impressed," spoke a deep voice with and English accent. I smiled and turned around to find Liam standing at the counter. "But this song is kind of depressing. The person he's singing to is obviously afraid of everyone else's opinion. They're a coward."
I shook my head. "They're not a coward… they just need someone to show them that it's okay to be loved." I challenged with a smirk.
Liam nodded his head slowly and then smiled. "You sound like you know what you're talking about. An ex, perhaps?"
"Nope." I pondered the question for a moment. "Just a friend." He smiled and I remembered that I should probably ask him if he wanted anything.
"So, what can I get you? We have tea? I know your people need that at like, a certain time of day or something."
He laughed and shook his head. "I actually came to see you. Remember, I said I would stop by?"
"That's right! … After you forgot where I worked." I teased.
Liam put his hands up in the air and smiled. "Touché, touché." He leaned forward on the counter. "I guess I was just hoping we could finish that fascinating conversation we were having about feline AIDS at Eric's Pictionary night last week."
"Really? Because I have so many ideas!" I said excitedly. "Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is the real problem… so obviously researchers need to start there when they're trying to develop a dual-subtype vaccine. Oh, and don't even get me started on the need for feline contraceptives, because there are soo many opt-"
"Brittany," Liam laughed. "I was joking." I frowned and I felt my shoulders slump slightly, Liam must have noticed because he raised his eyebrows and started to backtrack. "But, umm… I think it's amazing that you're so knowledgeable. Cats are umm… really smart?" He scratched the back of his head and looked like he didn't know what else to say.
I nodded in agreement. "They're 100% the smartest animals. Everyone thinks it's chimpanzees, or dolphins… but chimps are cheating off of humans. And dolphins haven't even figured out how to walk yet." Liam raised an eyebrow. "I know, right? SO embarrassing." I shook my head sadly. "But, they have overcome a lot of hate from the heteronormative shark community… so, I still respect them."
Liam was just chuckling and shaking his head. "You are too funny, Brittany. Seriously, where do you come up with this stuff?"
My brow furrowed and I tried to figure out which part of what I had said was a joke, but Liam waived it off and started to speak again.
"Look, the real reason why I wanted to stop by was because… well… I was wondering if you were free tonight?" He looked nervous all of a sudden as he started to fiddle with the napkins. "I was wondering if maybe you wanted to grab dinner? … And then maybe go to this club where a friend of mine is spinning? … Or just dinner, whatever you're up for… if you're free, that is. I mean, I know you're pretty busy with two jobs and everything, so it's probably a long sho-"
"Liam!" I finally interrupted and he put the napkins down. "That's really nice of you to ask, but I actually have plans."
"Oh, okay… no worries." He looked so deflated, but he immediately shifted his attention and started to stare intently at the menu.
"Oh! I almost forgot, you can come over tonight – if you want." I said suddenly. Liam's eyes bugged as he pulled his gaze away from the menu.
"But you just said…" He looked confused.
"Right. I can't do dinner because my roommates and I are having people over tonight!" I clarified. "But you're totally invited. Eric's going to be there." I felt bad that I hadn't thought to invite Liam before. Maybe it was because Rory was already coming, and I wanted him to feel special about his accent.
Liam smiled now. "Yeah, okay – sure. That sounds fun." He relaxed now and his voice seemed to get deeper. "Just, uh – text me the address or something. Or I'll just get it from Eric – or, whatever, I'll figure it out." He shook his head at himself and I laughed. Just then, another customer entered and walked up to the counter behind him.
"I'll see you later, Brittany." Liam said and I waived as he left the café.
I could hear the bass thumping dully from Puck's speakers as I looped my hair one final time around the curling iron and pulled it out in to a soft wave. The boys had been pre-gaming for the last hour, and I could tell that they were already tipsy, because Sam had just entered my room looking for his "Bieber sweatshirt".
"Oh come on! Just tell me where it is. I'll only put it on when a Justin Bieber song plays, I promise. It'll be hilarious!" He whined from behind me. I could see him checking out his hair in the mirror and trying to swoosh it all to one side.
"You told me to burn it after you did that routine to 'Baby' the last time we had people over." I reminded him. "I remember because it was really hard to burn. I had to get lighter fluid and stick it inside a metal trashcan behind the building… like a homeless person.'" I shuddered at the memory.
Sam's mouth dropped open dramatically. "You actually burned it?"
"Yes?" I said, hesitantly. "You also told me to never let you wear purple again. That's why your Lakers jersey is under my bed."
Sam smacked his hand to his forehead. I just shrugged and pushed past him out of the bathroom. "What? Is purple in again or something?" I asked.
Sam took a deep breath, then he gave me a tired smile. "Thanks for looking out for me, Britt… I'll take that Lakers jersey back, though."
I reached under the bed and threw it to him. He caught it and started inspecting the fabric. "So, umm… did you text Mercedes and Rachel about tonight?" He asked nonchalantly.
"Yep, they're going to try to stop by after they're both done with their plays – it probably won't be until later though… so maybe get all of your impressions – including the Biebs - out of the way early." I gave him a sly smile and he rolled his eyes.
Just then, we heard the door opening and voices filled the room. A few of the guys' friends from work had just walked in, and behind them were Mike and Tina. I smiled and made my way over to them. They were holding a six pack and Tina opened her arms for a hug.
"I'm so glad you guys could make it!" I said as I hugged them both and tried to stuff the beer in to the overflowing fridge.
"The place looks even better than the last time we were here!" Tina said as she looked around the apartment. "You're so much better than the last roommate these guys had." She nudged Mike playfully in the side.
Mike looked down at her adoringly. "Hey! Brittany hasn't seen our place yet… but I think she'll be able to figure out who the messy one is when she does!" They nudged each other back and forth and Mike laughed as he turned back toward me.
"Oh, Britt. I talked to Darius this afternoon and NBC finally agreed to pay us a cancellation fee for the 30 Rock fiasco. It's not much, but it's something." He shrugged. I tried to muster up a smile, but thinking about the dance studio and our money situation just made me sad. Things hadn't been getting much better in that department.
"Okay, no offense – but I've heard enough about this from Mike all week. Tonight should be enjoyable." Tina said kindly. "I say we all take a shot to get things started." She started looking around, probably for shot glasses – and Mike just laughed. I grabbed a few glasses from the cupboard and poured out some vodka. We were about to clink them together when someone yelled from behind me.
"Wait for meee!" It was Quinn. She appeared next to Tina and reached over to give us all hugs. "Sorry, sorry… Santana had a late shoot tonight and I told her I'd wait until she got home." She started reaching for a glass. "But, bring on the vodka!" I laughed and started pouring another shot when I noticed Santana approaching hesitantly behind Quinn. She looked awesome – like, hot with two t's awesome – in a tight, high-waisted blue skirt and striped tank top. Her arms were crossed over her chest and she kept eyeing the door like she might try to bolt at any moment… but I was trying not to stare, because I don't think friends usually stared at other friends' boobs like I wanted to stare at Santana's.
"Hi!" I said as I poured one final shot and handed the glasses to her and Quinn. She just nodded her head once and said "thanks" as Quinn raised her glass in the air.
"To the Hamptons!" She cheered gleefully. Everyone looked around at each other hesitantly and then slowly raised their glasses to meet hers.
"Oh, come on – don't tell me you haven't asked off from work!" She dropped her glass and eyed me and Tina incredulously before turning to Mike. "And Mike, I know it's Columbia's Spring Break next week… so, no excuses." She shook her finger at all of us. "This is a yearly tradition, guys! My parents have the summer home all ready for us… it's only for three days… so, you're all going. End of story."
Mike laughed and patted Quinn on the shoulder. "Of course we're going, Quinn. We wouldn't miss it." She nodded her head in approval and then turned to me. I just smiled and raised my glass to hers. "I've never seen the ocean in real life, so… count me in!" She smiled super wide and then we all downed our drinks. Tina made a sound of disgust and wiped the back of her hand against her mouth.
As we were putting our glasses back on the counter, the door opened again and Rory entered. I waived at him excitedly and he walked over to join us. He started saying hi to everyone, but paused slightly when he got to Santana. "Santana." He nodded and gulped awkwardly. "Glad to see you're feeling better."
"Why are you still here?" She asked disinterestedly, ignoring his outstretched hand and examining her fingernails. "Shouldn't you be returning to the motherland in preparation for your patron saint's holiday?"
Rory just laughed awkwardly and moved his hand over to shake Tina's instead, while Quinn shot Santana a disapproving look. I only had a few seconds to frown, because then I saw Eric and Liam walking through the door. I ran over and gave them both big hugs and walked them over the group.
"Guys! This is Eric and Liam. Eric and I dance together and Liam is a really good DJ." Eric and Liam waived to everyone and Mike stepped forward to shake their hands. He already knew Eric from the studio, but I don't think he had met Liam before – so he introduced himself and they started talking briefly. When Liam started speaking, Tina and Quinn both raised their eyebrows at his accent and I heard Santana mumble "What is this, the United Nations?" under her breath.
Eric took the opportunity to lean over to me and not-so-subtlety nod his head and waggle his eyebrows in Liam's direction. My eyes bugged momentarily before I pushed Eric lightly to make him stop. When I turned back to the group, both Santana and Rory were watching me with unreadable expressions. I swallowed hard and tried to change the subject. "So, who wants to take another shot with Liam, Eric and Rory?" I asked. Mike and Quinn raised their hands happily, but Santana just walked over to the living room and Tina quickly shook her head and grabbed a beer. I shrugged and started filling up the glasses again.
It was an hour later and everyone was sitting around the coffee table in the living room playing Kings. I had ended up squished on the loveseat between Rory and Liam, and Eric was sitting on the floor with his arm draped over my legs. He was super drunk and laughing hysterically because Tina landed on Nine – Bust a Rhyme, and had unfortunately chosen the word "Sang"… which Finn, Sam and Puck immediately followed up with "Bang", "Chang's", and "Wang." I couldn't help laughing too, because Tina was blushing so hard that it was actually visible on her cheeks.
I wasn't drunk, so I was aware that Liam had smoothly propped his arm up behind me on the couch … but I didn't want Santana or Rory to look at me like they had earlier, so I tried to lean forward and pretend like I didn't notice.
Finn was up next and he chose a Jack – Never Have I Ever, which immediately sent everyone in to a pre-teen state of squeals and awkward fidgeting. Finn scrunched his mouth to the side as he held up five fingers and tried to think of something to say.
"Hmm… Never Have I Ever…." His eyes scanned the room and then finally he landed on Puck and smiled. "Been arrested."
Puck dropped a finger and took a swig of his beer, smiling proudly. Quinn rolled her eyes. Next to me, Liam dropped a finger as well and drank. Eric turned to face him, looking surprised.
Liam just shrugged. "I was 18 and completely sloshed at a Coldplay concert back home… tried to get on stage and ended up hitting a cop by accident."
"Well aren't you just a modern day Sid Vicious…" Santana murmured sarcastically. She was sitting in a chair across from us, sipping idly on her beer.
Puck was up next and he immediately smirked. "Never Have I Ever… hooked up with a dude." He high-fived Finn and then looked around at all of the girls. My eyes darted over to Santana, who casually took a sip of her drink and put a finger down. Eric dramatically put one of his fingers down and then stood up to high five each of the girls as, one by one, we all drank.
Quinn, who was sitting on the floor in front of Puck, looked up toward the ceiling and tapped her lips as she tried to think of something to say for her turn. She looked over at Santana and then smiled. "Never Have I Ever broken up with someone… after a week." She said and waited with a sly smile as Santana scowled and put down another finger. Tina looked from Santana to Quinn, and then back to Santana. "Wait, did you break up with Blaine - already?" She asked, confused. I held my breath as I waited for her response.
Santana started playing with the ends of her hair. "Yeeeep." She drawled out. "Sorry we can't all be Asian mail order brides like you, Girl-Chang."
Mike's mouth dropped open. "Santana, that's extremely offensive." He said as he put an arm around Tina to comfort her. Santana just shrugged. I felt my ears getting hot as I watched everyone silently judging her with their glares.
Sam swooped in to break up the tension. "Oookay," he started. "Never Have I Ever… been in love." I could tell that he thought this was just a throw-away question, but everyone started to look around the room at each other with genuine interest. Tina and Mike put their fingers down at the same time and then leaned in to give each other a sweet peck. Quinn hesitated, but finally dropped a finger after several long seconds… and behind her on the couch, Puck tried to hide the finger that he had put down as well. I smiled at their cuteness, and then looked over at Santana. She still had three fingers raised, and I noticed when she stole a quick glance to look at mine. I still only had one finger down from Puck's question about boys.
Rory went next, and everyone but Liam put their fingers down when he said "Never Have I ever been born in America." Boring.
Now it was my turn and I had no idea what to choose. Just then, Mike Posner's version of "I Don't Trust Myself" started to play over the speakers. I pulled my bottom lip under my teeth and my eyebrows knitted together in concentration. I wanted to think of something awesome to say. The room was quiet as everyone waited for me to continue, and now I could hear the music clearly.
…And if my past is any sign of your future, then I should warn you before I let you inside.
Hold on to whatever you find baby, hold on to whatever helps you through.
Hold on to whatever you find baby, I don't trust myself with loving you.
Without thinking, my eyes automatically flicked up to Santana. She was staring down at the ground, but then her eyes slowly slid up to meet mine. She held my gaze.
I do my best to act like she doesn't phase me, as if I pull girls just like her all the time.
I even waited seven days before I called her, but she can play this game much better than I.
Santana smirked and then averted her eyes back to the ground. I knew we had to be thinking about the same thing, which drove me crazy because it only confirmed that she was purposefully shutting me out.
"Never Have I Ever lied." I said abruptly. Eric turned around to look at me like I was crazy, and everyone else looked around at each other, obviously thinking that this was a joke. Santana continued to stare at the floor.
Sam chuckled and then looked around at everyone. "Believe it or not, that's true. I've known Brittany since we were six, and she's never lied." I smiled triumphantly and watched as everyone around me put their fingers down. Suddenly I felt a little lame, was it weird that I had never lied to anyone?
She deserves better, bet-better, better… better than me. Better than me.
Santana took a long swig of her drink, until it was completely empty… and then stood up from her chair. I watched as she made her way to the kitchen and filled up a glass with tap water. She paused for a moment in front of the sink, closed her eyes, and then rubbed her temples like she had a headache. She obviously didn't think anyone was paying attention to her.
I turned back to the group, where Eric was holding up his fingers in front of me. "Never Have I Ever…" He said in a sing-song voice and then his smile turned devious. "Diddled a woman's skittle." Puck laughed and put a finger down, along with Finn, Mike, Sam, and Liam. Rory shifted uncomfortably and took a sip of his beer, but didn't put a finger down. I stared at my fingers, confused – because I loved skittles, but I didn't know what "diddling" meant… or why the boys were the only ones doing it. I looked up and Sam caught my eye. He mouthed "girl sex" and my eyes bulged in response. I stared down at my fingers again, still confused – what qualified as sex between two girls? I started to put down one of my fingers, but then yanked it back up before it could be counted as official… I was almost positive that what had happened at cheer camp with Courtney didn't count as sex. When I looked up Santana had returned to her seat and she was watching me… her eyes were narrowed and she seemed slightly confused. She hadn't put a finger down either and she was chewing distractedly on her bottom lip.
Liam rubbed his chin as he tried to think of something for his turn and repositioned himself on the couch so that his arm was now resting lightly around my waist. I guess I didn't mind it, but I hadn't really had time to think about whether I was interested in Liam or not – and all of this was kind of confusing. Especially now that I knew Santana had broken up with Blaine.
Crap. Santana. I looked up and caught her glaring at Liam's hand that was curled around my side. I shifted awkwardly and then stood up from the couch. Liam was looking up at me worriedly, so I patted his shoulder reassuringly and asked if he wanted anything to drink. He smiled and shook his head no. Thankfully he didn't seem bothered by the fact that I was being a little awkward, because he just went back to playing the game.
"Never Have I Ever stolen something." I heard him ask as I made my way to the kitchen.
"Dammit!" Puck yelled and everyone started laughing… that had been his last finger. I poured myself a glass of water and watched from behind the counter as the laughter lulled and everyone waited for Santana to pick a card. She looked around at them, rolled her eyes, and then reached to pull one from the circle.
I could see half of the group tense up as the card was flipped over. Tina and Quinn exchanged looks and Puck rubbed his hands together in delight. "Hot Seat." He sneered, then he turned to Rory. "In America that means we get to ask Santana any question we want and she has to answer it." He explained slowly. "No matter what."
"I know what 'Hot Seat' means." Rory huffed, slightly offended.
"I'm picking a different card." Santana said coolly. I could tell she was trying to keep her voice even as she reached to put the card back.
"Santana, you can't do that." Sam said cautiously. "Everyone else has been playing by the rules."
"Oh calm down, leach lips. It's a fucking drinking game, not the Olympics." She waived her hand in the air. "Besides, it's not like you have anything to worry about… everyone already knows that you get your collagen injections from the same unlicensed "doctor" as Heidi Montag and Jocelyn Wildenstein."
Sam's lips pressed together in to a tight line. I could tell that he was trying to keep calm, but Santana was staring him down. Finn spoke through the tension before either could break.
"You're one to talk, Santana." He challenged. "I heard you got all kinds of plastic surgery when you were trying to 'make it big' in Hollywood."
Santana let out an icy laugh and then started walking toward Finn, who was now standing up from the couch to tower over her. Everyone else was looking back and forth between them like they were watching a tennis match.
"Oh, is that so?" Santana tilted her head to the side and poked Finn in the chest. "The only one who needs plastic surgery in this room is you, Stay Puft. Hell, I'll pay for your liposuction myself if it spares everyone from looking at your bouncing, braless man tits one more time." Finn's eyes narrowed and his jaw tightened. "I mean, really…" Santana continued. "If I had gotten plastic surgery, don't you think I would have at least asked for bigger boobs than yours?" Everyone held their breath as Finn's hands balled in to fists by his sides and he opened his mouth to speak.
"Stop the violence!" I yelled from the kitchen. The words had escaped before I could catch them, and now I was holding my hands over my mouth in case anything else tried to slip out. Everyone turned to face me and I could feel my face getting hot.
Before I could say anything else though, the front door opened behind me and Rachel and Mercedes walked in.
"The guests of honor have ariiii-iiiived!" Rachel sung and threw her arms up in the air dramatically, waving a bottle of wine. The room remained silent, still looking from Finn, to Santana, and then back to me.
Obviously thrown off by the lack of enthusiasm, Rachel lowered her arms and she and Mercedes both raised one eyebrow in confusion. Abruptly, Quinn jumped up from her spot on the floor.
"Mercedes! Rachel! Let me help you uncork that wine. We were just finishing a card game," she shot Santana a look. "So you have perfect timing!" She nudged Puck and motioned for him to turn up the music, and then she walked over to Mercedes and Rachel and started pulling them toward the group.
Rachel looked over at me, slightly confused. I quickly shook myself out of my daze and walked over to her.
"Here, let me take your coat." I offered and began to pull it off of her shoulders before she could respond.
"Oh! Okay?" She finally slipped out of her jacket and I folded it over my arm. "Thanks!" She called after me as I hurriedly made my way to my room. I had every intention of just laying the coat on my bed and returning to the living room, but my neck felt hot and clammy and my heart was still racing. I hated confrontation – especially when it involved my friends – and it usually left me feeling nervous and on edge. I walked to my bathroom and shut the door. I needed a moment to collect myself.
As everyone's voices muffled away, I placed my hands on the sink, closed my eyes, and counted to ten. When I opened them again I was looking at myself in the mirror, trying desperately to make sense of it all. How had I let Santana affect me this way, I wondered. She was the only person I had ever met who could make my knees week and my blood boil at the same time. My body had never reacted this way to anything, and I didn't know what that meant. I shook my head and turned on the faucet just as someone knocked lightly on the door.
"Just a minute!" I called as I dabbed my fingers to the cool water and then ran them slowly over the back of my neck. The knock sounded again and I wondered if they could hear me over the music. I turned off the faucet and reached for the door handle.
The only thing I saw before I felt Santana push me back in to the bathroom was the terrified look on her face. Like she knew she was about to do something that would change everything.
Her hands pushed hard against my hips and my butt hit the sink behind me. I heard myself take in a sharp breath as her lips crashed against mine and our mouths began to search each other's frantically. I had spent so much time daydreaming about what her lips would feel like, but tasting them now – as they pressed and sucked hard against my own – was so much better than any fantasy I could have created.
I smiled and wrapped my arms around her, I wanted to pull her as close to me as possible and show her that this was more than okay. She sighed in to my lips and I could tell that she was smiling too. My heart was pounding with the confirmation of how badly I wanted her. Of how much I had needed this.
She pushed so hard against me and I tried to take in air through my nose so that I didn't have to break apart to breathe. I was sucking on her top lip, then moving apart and coming back to lightly nip on her lower, then I was licking my tongue against the opening of her mouth. I felt like I wanted to try everything at once, just in case I never got the chance to do this again.
She opened her mouth so quickly that I almost forgot what I was doing – but then our tongues were tangling and Santana was letting out a small moan in response. Her arms were now on either side of me, grabbing on to the sink and pinning me in to place. My hands were on her cheeks, trying desperately to pull her closer. I needed her closer. I felt like if I didn't rub against her somehow, I might explode… so I pushed off the sink and we went crashing in to the wall behind her.
She moaned again as our lips reconnected, and I started pressing against her leg to ease the tension I was feeling. This was so hot and I still couldn't believe that it was actually happening. She started kissing down my jaw and then I felt her open her mouth and press her tongue against my neck. She sucked on my pulse point and my neck automatically craned to the side to grant her better access. I was using my hands to push her hips hard against the wall and suddenly I realized that I had been grinding down on her thigh. I tried to put some distance between us, because I didn't want to move too fast – but Santana grabbed my ass and pulled me back down hard against her leg. We both moaned at the contact and I felt her hands start to travel up my sides. She moved her lips back to mine and hovered there for a moment. I could feel the ragged puffs of air that were coming out of her mouth, and I stopped breathing momentarily as I waited for her next move. Her hands had stopped on my ribcage and her thumbs were sweeping slowly over the sides of my chest. I could tell that she didn't know what to do next, so I nudged her nose gently with mine and smiled.
"It took you long enough." I hushed against her lips. Her eyes were closed and I could feel her trembling slightly. Then she let out a shaky breath and nodded slowly.
"You have no idea." She whispered back.