Mr. Schue is probably good at a lot of things, like buying discounted sweater vests off the Ralph Lauren website and keeping his apartment clean for Ms. Pillsbury and making sure he's there every single time one of the glee kids gets sent to the principal's office—even if they don't have to go there for any reason to do with glee or Spanish class and even though Puck gets sent to the principal's office a lot—but Mr. Schue is not good at math.
"I just don't see why Santana and I can't dance together, if there's ten, then that's two and two and two and two and two—"
If Mr. Schue let Brittany and Santana dance together, then Kurt and Blaine could dance together, too, and everything would still work out just fine. There would still be ten people dancing the partnered part of the dance, which is enough to make five couples, just like Mr. Schue wants.
(Plus, the dance would look pretty amazing, because people who have chemistry look better dancing together than just random friends dancing together do. Duh.)
"Brittany," Mr. Schue says, pinching the bridge of his nose between two fingers. He looks at her like she's a puzzle that's too hard to solve and sighs. "I'm sorry, but you two can't dance together every time. We have to make everything even for this arrangement. We want to highlight our best dancers. Regionals is coming up soon and we don't have time to argue about this."
He talks in the low, silky voice that means he's almost out of patience—like there's just a few drops left at the bottom of his carton.
(Brittany hears that voice from him a lot.)
Brittany scrunches up her face because what Mr. Schue says doesn't even make sense.
First of all, she and Santana haven't danced together "every time"—they actually haven't danced together at all in the New Directions, just with the Troubletones, and, even then, they only danced together that one time for Sectionals.
Second, the arrangement won't ever be "even" because there are fifteen members in glee club and that's an odd number; they've already left five people out of the partnered part of the dance just to make it work.
Third, if they really wanted to highlight the best dancers for this number, Mr. Schue would make Artie dance with Quinn instead of Puck because Puck just sort of mumbles his feet through the choreography, but Artie actually knows how to shake it, even though he can't walk.
This is one of those times when everybody thinks that Brittany doesn't understand what they're saying, but really they don't understand what she's saying, and what she's saying actually makes a whole lot of sense. It feels like she's drifting down one side of the moving aisle at the airport and everybody else is drifting down the other side of it, so they all just pass each other by. Most of the other kids glare at Brittany for holding up the rehearsal; she wishes she could find the right words to explain what she means, but without drawing the choreography out on the whiteboard, she doesn't think she can—and Mr. Schue would probably yell at Brittany if she tried to touch the markers right now, she thinks.
"Britt," says Kurt, cutting into the conversation. "Just drop it. It's okay."
Santana shuffles in her seat beside Brittany; she shoots Kurt a death glare and reaches up to start drawing little circles on Brittany's back.
Brittany would say more if she could think of a better way to explain how everything could work, but she knows she doesn't have time. Everyone is either looking at her with tight mouths and squinty eyes or looking away from her like she's that guy outside the movie theater who tries to hand out Jesus flyers to anyone who meets his eye.
(Everybody already feels super frustrated because Rachel complained for like ten minutes straight about how none of Mr. Schue's song selections for Regionals require the use of her head voice; Brittany doesn't want to make things worse.)
She just looks at Santana and shrugs.
Santana nods and tucks her lips in her mouth. She gives Brittany a small, sweet smile and Brittany can feel Santana's fingernails press through the fabric of her Cheerios jacket. Even if nobody else understands, Santana gets what Brittany means.
"All right, guys!" says Mr. Schue, motioning for them to come down from their chairs onto the floor.
Brittany and Santana are the last to stand up. Santana moves her hand to the small of Brittany's back as they walk down the big steps to go join the partners Mr. Schue assigned them—Brittany with Mike and Santana with Sam.
"Okay, from the top!"
It isn't bad at all, dancing with Mike. His body moves like elastic bands softened from sitting on a windowsill in the sun, full of snap when he needs it, but also smooth and languid in places. With Brittany in flats, his hips set just above hers, which will make it really easy to do the rocking motion that Mr. Schue choreographed over the bridge. He smiles shyly at Brittany in a way that makes Brittany think she can imagine exactly what Mike must have looked like in kindergarten, and shuffles his feet a little, glancing back at Tina—really not bad at all.
Brittany can hear Santana laughing and looks over to see Sam doing the Dougie in front of Santana while he mouths the words "Go, Trouty! Go, Trouty!" to himself under his breath. Santana draws a hand up to her face to cover her smile and gives him an epic eye roll. When she catches Brittany looking at her, she nods at Sam and rolls her eyes again. She mouths the word dork and waits for Brittany to agree with her assessment. Brittany just shakes her head a little and puts her hands on Mike's shoulders while Mr. Schue cues up the song.
Even though Santana and Brittany don't get to dance with each other, they do get to dance across from each other, with Sam and Santana on the left side of the room and Mike and Brittany parallel to them on the right, and that means that that they actually spend a lot of the routine with their eyes locked.
Brittany doesn't mean to stare, but she really, really can't help it.
Santana does everything prettily, from Cheerios stunts to drinking out of the water fountain to brushing her hair away from her face after she stands up from tying her shoes, but she especially dances pretty.
She doesn't think she's awesome at dancing because she doesn't take lessons at the studio like Brittany does and she's kind of a perfectionist, so she thinks that "untaught" means "not good," but Brittany likes the way Santana moves, with just a little bit of pop in her shoulders and just a little bit of jazz in her hips. When Santana dances with boys, she always acts sort of careful in a way that makes Brittany want to scoop Santana up and keep her like a secret wish.
(Brittany can't wait for prom this year, when Santana can dance safe and dance slow and she and Brittany can make all the wishes together that they want.)
Santana stares back at Brittany, too, her eyes dark and deep as the coffee at the bottom of a cup. She has to stand on her tiptoes a little bit to see over Sam's shoulder. When she realizes that Brittany's looking at her the same way she's looking at Brittany, she smiles, like somebody just offered her a gift for no reason at all.
Hi, Brittany mouths.
Hi, Santana mouths back.
Mike shakes his head a little because he knows what Brittany's doing. Brittany chuckles when he spins her because he makes sure to end the spin when she's exactly facing Santana again.
(Sometimes Brittany thinks that Mike is one of the best people ever born, maybe.)
The song isn't fast and it isn't slow, so there's a lot of rocking and a couple of spins. Mr. Schue spends a bunch of time coaching Puck through the footwork; Quinn glares and glares, like this whole routine is the most obnoxious thing to ever happen to her.
Brittany sends a smile to Quinn across the room: Sorry.
(If Mr. Schue had listened to Brittany, then Quinn could have danced with Sam and nobody would have had to dance with Puck.)
Quinn laughs a little through her nose and makes the gag-me gesture while Mr. Schue is busy trying to teach Puck to wag his hips.
They run through the partnered dance probably six times before Mr. Schue says they can go get a drink of water and each time it feels like Brittany and Santana dance with each other, even though they don't touch. Brittany starts thinking a lot about the winter formal and a lot about Sadie Hawkins and a lot about prom and other things, even farther away. When Santana finally breaks from Sam and Brittany breaks from Mike, Brittany bounds over to Santana and links their elbows together.
"Will you go to prom with me?" she blurts, out of breath, one, because they just finished dancing and it gets stuffy in the choir room when a lot of people move in there, and, two, because she just feels so excited that her breath can hardly keep up with her words.
Santana looks confused. "Uh, okay," she says. "But isn't that still a few months away, baby?"
"It is," Brittany shrugs. "I just wanted to make sure that nobody else asked you first."
Santana laughs and looks at Brittany like Brittany is the bee's knees. "Yes, I will go to prom with you," Santana says and the last word sounds like a kiss, with a little pop at the end.
"Awesome," says Brittany, leading Santana out of the choir room after Mike and Blaine as they head towards the water fountain. "I'll ask you again later and it'll be really cute. Like maybe I'll print out a fake parking ticket that says 'Your fine for being too fine? Come with me to prom' and leave it on your windshield for after Cheerios practice… oh, except I probably won't do that one now because I just told you it and I want to surprise you."
Santana's whole face lights up when Brittany says that and she checks quickly over her shoulder to see where Mike and Blaine are.
"Come on," Santana says, reaching for Brittany's hand and tugging her down the hallway away from the water fountain, quick like they have someplace to be. She pulls Brittany around a corner, and, after she looks twice to make sure that no one's around, she stands up on her tiptoes and kisses Brittany, her one hand still holding Brittany's, her other hand jammed in the pocket of her jacket.
It's a dizzy kind of kiss.
"Hey, now," says Brittany when Santana nips at her bottom lip.
"Hey," Santana laughs, peeling away from Brittany and leaning back against the wall alongside her. She looks a little punch drunk; Brittany feels the way that Santana looks. Santana licks her lips and stuffs both hands in her pockets. "Will you go to prom with me, Britty?"
"I'd love to," Brittany says, breathless. It felt really nice when Brittany asked Santana to prom and Santana said yes, but it feels amazing to have Santana ask her to prom and to be able to say yes back. Brittany feels so happy; she rolls up onto the balls of her feet, bouncing a little where she stands.
Santana sighs and seems so content, like she could just fall asleep right where they stand or like she always wants to stay in this private little stretch of hallway between the stairway and the bulletin board. She laughs a little, "I'll probably issue you a citation that just says 'For stealing my heart.'"
Brittany smiles. Suddenly, she feels really, really excited for May to come. "I think I'll like that," she says.
They both just grin at each other.
"They're probably waiting for us," says Santana, after a minute.
Brittany nods, "Yeah, they probably are."