This prompt was given to me by my beautiful beta. Now it's time to share it with everyone. Reviews are appreciated, and you can always find me at Tumblr!
Brittany takes the subway every day. There are all kinds of people she likes to watch, whose lives she likes to wonder about. What are their families like? Their jobs, their secret passions, their personalities? The way that man in a suit bites his nails betrays his anxiety; the thinness of that old lady's coat shows her lower class status; the smile on that small girl sitting on her grandfather's lap displays how caring her grandpa is.
There's this woman Brittany always sees on her way to the record label she works at in the mornings. She has tanned skin and manicured nails, always in dark colors. Her hair is black, falling to her shoulders gracefully. She has an edge to her that Brittany can't quite explain. She's serious, pensive, always reading something or using her Blackberry.
Brittany wonders if she likes girls, but her gaydar has never been her strong suit.
The woman doesn't look obviously gay. She has perfectly done eyebrows and flawless long hair. She dresses too well, in earth colors, navy blue, white, some red, and lots, lots of black. Her shoes are obviously expensive, and her clothes fit her elegantly. Brittany would guess she's a lawyer.
Brittany is patient, so she waits a few more days until an obviously good looking blonde passes by. The woman stops typing on her Blackberry to, so very discreetly, check out the blonde's voluptuous ass. Brittany smiles. Apparently Ms. Lawyer does, indeed, like her women. Brittany wonders, then, if she has a girlfriend. She has never seen the other woman answer a call gently, softly, like one would talk to a lover, but that doesn't mean anything. Maybe another lawyer?
She feels like a detective, making all those assumptions. She used to read a lot of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie with her sister back in the day.
One day, Brittany is standing in the subway train and someone bumps into Ms. Lawyer and makes her trip. Brittany has good reflexes. It comes with the dancing. In a split second, Brittany holds the other woman up, one hand on her arm and the other on her waist, and pulls her close to steady her feet. The woman notices Brittany for the first time, looking into her eyes. Brittany notices her eyes are dark and her lips are too inviting.
"Thank you." The woman says, taking a step back and standing up properly.
"You're most welcome." Brittany answers, well aware of how the other woman's stare rested on Brittany's lips for a moment too long.
The woman leaves before saying her name.
They are fixing some of the trains, and as a result, the working ones are more crowded than usual. Brittany doesn't complain because, well, it actually makes things too easy. Ms. Lawyer has her suitcase and another briefcase to carry and, whether she wants it or not, she's too close for comfort. It must be hard to keep her balance wearing those heels, Brittany imagines.
She points to the briefcase with a half smile and the other woman, after a few seconds of consideration, hands it to Brittany and mumbles another thank you. Brittany nods. Being the gentleman she is, she's ignoring how the woman's body is brushing against hers, her breasts against Brittany's left arm.
"This is my stop." She says after some time, so Brittany returns her briefcase. Brittany focuses on not peeking into the woman's navy blue shirt and taking advantage of their height difference. "Thank you again…" There's an awkward pause, the type that generally means the person is waiting for an introduction.
"Brittany." Brittany answers with a smile, inclining her head politely. The train stops and the doors open. She wishes she had more time to say anything else, to ask questions, to strike up any conversation at all. "You are most welcome…"
"Santana." The other woman says, and with that she leaves.
Brittany is always tired. She works at a record label as an intern in the mornings, in a dance studio as an assistant choreographer in the afternoons, and as a dance teacher at night. That means she doesn't sleep as much as she should, doesn't eat as healthy as she should and doesn't have a social life as active as she'd like.
Sometimes when she's on the subway on her way to the record label, she can barely keep her eyes open. The weight of her worked hours feels heavy and her workout at the gym sinks into her muscles, and there is a tiredness that spreads through her entire body. She tells herself she will rest on the weekend, maybe go to the park and feed the ducks.
She considers it a victory of some kind when Ms Lawyer looks at her, rolling her eyes and sighing for a moment, and actually gets up from her seat and gestures for Brittany to sit. "C'mon", she says, looking half annoyed, and Brittany's heart beats faster as she nods and sits down.
She does, of course, accidentally brush her body against Santana's as she approaches the seat. The woman smells too good for a subway train. "Thank you." Brittany says, looking into her eyes. "I can carry your briefcase, if you want." She smiles her best smile, the one that makes puppies and toddlers fall in love with her, and she almost, almost gets a smile back.
"No, it's okay." Santana looks the other way and falls silent again, shooting sneaky glances in Brittany's direction every now and then.
There's a mother and a small girl on the seat next to hers. As expected, the girl falls in love with Brittany the moment she sets eyes on her and shows her a toy, saying "iraff" or something Brittany decides to interpret as "giraffe", taking into account that her toy was a bright yellow giraffe sticking out its tongue.
Brittany smiles and shows the girl her key chain, a small duck. The girl claps and giggles as the mother tries to apologize, but Brittany says it's nothing, really, and plays with the girl for a bit until she and her mother leave.
The girl waves at her and she waves back. It doesn't escape her how Santana looks at her, and how when their eyes meet she looked away and coughs, embarrassed.
Santana wears a dark grey pleated skirt and a sleeveless shirt of the same color, and she looks like a vision. She nods in Brittany's direction, and Brittany sees it as progress and waves. It starts a habit that goes on for many weeks. She knows Santana's name, they acknowledge each other's existence… It's something.
Brittany spends the next few weeks thinking of how to start a conversation with a stranger on the subway. Specially a stranger that, on top of everything, doesn't seem like the type to interact in any way with people at a subway station. She wonders what that even means. Maybe she should have more friends, pick up a hobby of some sort. She's thinking too much about a woman she knows too little about.
Brittany is taking the last train back home after another long day. She had worked her three jobs and gone to the gym next to the dance studio, so she was sweaty, dressed in her gym clothes, and utterly exhausted. She could barely wait for the moment she would get home, take a nice long bath, and make herself some tea.
It is a pleasant surprise when Santana enters the train, beautiful and impeccably dressed, as always, in a black dress. Maybe she had gone to a company party of some kind, or a very important case had demanded extra hours in the office. It couldn't have been a date, because what type of person lets his or her date take the subway back home unaccompanied, at such late hours?
Brittany smiles at her and waves shyly, gesturing to the seat next to her. She hopes Santana takes the hint and sits close, ignoring all the dozens of empty seats. If Santana sits close to her, she is going to strike up a conversation. Maybe she'll even ask for Santana's phone number and say they could grab a cup of coffee someday.
Santana walks in her direction and Brittany can swear she's holding back a smile. "Hi, Santana." Brittany says, feeling a bit self-conscious for sitting on the seat's back rest, feet resting on the seat, so she awkwardly lowers herself down to the seat and sits properly.
"Didn't your mother teach you not to talk to strangers?" Santana asks, sitting by Brittany and placing her purse on the other seat. Brittany decides to interpret her tone as an amused one, instead of passive aggressive. After all, if Santana didn't want to engage in a conversation, why would she sit next to Brittany?
"I do know your name. So we're not strangers anymore." Brittany answers, and her logic is so perfect that Santana just nods and looks at her warmly before looking away. Brittany can still smell the faint traces of Santana's perfume. "Good evening to you, too."
"Good evening, Brittany." Santana answers. Brittany specially likes the way her name rolls off Santana's tongue. "How are you?" Santana crosses her legs, and it does take some effort not to stare. Brittany wonders how a lawyer is allowed to have a body like that and legs like that and skin like that.
"Tired after a long day and a long workout". Brittany licks her lips, but she doesn't realize it. She hopes she doesn't look like the most disgusting person on Earth, exuding some weird sweat smell or something. "You?"
"Long day." Santana answers, sighing. Her shoulders are a bit slumped, she has well-disguised but noticeable bags under her eyes, and she does look worn out. Brittany thinks she's still breathtakingly beautiful. "Working too much."
"Yeah." Brittany nods, trying to appear cool and not focus on the fact their thighs had just touched. "Being a lawyer must be hard."
Santana quirks an eyebrow. "I never told you what I did for work." All blood disappears from Brittany's face and she gasps. If she hadn't gained creepy person status before, this would surely cut the deal. Brittany coughs, as flustered as ever, and Santana runs a hand up and down her back, looking amused.
"I…. guessed?" She answers when air is back in her lungs, raising her eyebrows and making an apologetic face. "You… dress nicely?" Very eloquent, she tells herself, wishing she could just get up and save herself the shame. Santana has a hint of a smile, so at least she doesn't think Brittany is a serial killer. It doesn't stop the embarrassment. She rambles on, "Not that I know what lawyers wear, see, I work in the music business and what do dancers understand about law and laywers?" Brittany's face feels warm and she knows she must be as red as a tomato, but Santana's smile grows with every word she says. "But I used to watch TV shows with my mom and you wore that Calvin Klein suit the other day and I knew you could be a lawyer, and your briefcases too, they're very…" Brittany feels ridiculous and hides her face in her hands. "I should just stop talking."
Santana laughs, a type of unrestrained laugh that moves her entire body as she throws her head back. Brittany peeks through her fingers before hiding her face again, wishing she could die in a corner. "No, please, continue." Santana says, resting her head on her hand, hair falling and exposing neck.
"I don't know? I just wondered." Brittany answers, not sure of what she could say. She had made a fool of herself quite well already. "You have a Blackberry, too. That's another thing. And lots of files. You're always going through a stack of papers?" Santana nods, encouragingly. "Not books, not those printed versions of books. So you probably don't work as a publisher." Brittany sighs in defeat. "You can go now and never talk to me again."
Santana falls silent for a few seconds, sizing Brittany up from head to toe and making Brittany increasingly nervous. "Don't worry. See you around, Brittany the dancer." She says, smiling, and with that, she leaves the train.
The next time Brittany sees Santana, she blushes furiously and Santana smiles. The pattern repeats itself three times before Santana goes to her and asks if the cat got her tongue. Brittany shakes her head but says nothing. Santana grins and sits next to her. "So, have you found out if I'm single or not?"
Brittany's eyes widen. "I'm not… I mean, you're not—" She stops to gather her thoughts. "Are you?"
"Am I what?" Santana answers, picking at the hem of her own white shirt. She leans in, until she's invading Brittany's personal space, and Brittany swallows dryly. "Single? Gay? A lawyer?" She pauses, staring into Brittany's eyes. "You tell me, Sherlock."
The train stops and Santana leaves. Brittany watches her go, hypnotized.
Brittany is not a coward. She left her hometown to begin a new life in New York when she was barely 17; she works three jobs; she has been a dancer in Beyoncé's world tour. She can definitely ask a random woman out. She's 26, for the love of God. Santana is standing near the door, typing something on her Blackberry, gorgeous as always in white and navy blue.
"Let's go out for coffee." She says, and Santana lifts an eyebrow and stops typing. "You, me, coffee. You can tell me what you do and I can tell you what I do." Her heart is beating so fast she could pass out at any time. Santana puts her phone in her purse. "You might even stop thinking I'm a crazy stalker."
Santana seems to think for a few moments. "Today, five o'clock. You choose where we're going. " She gives Brittany her card. "Don't disappoint." Brittany smiles.
If she had thought Santana to be pretty inside a subway train, at normal daylight she was simply stunning. Brittany took her time just looking at her, navy blue skirt and white shirt, dark hair falling over her shoulders in soft waves. She was sitting on an armchair, reading some paper, brow furrowed in concentration, as the sunlight seeped into the coffee shop's large windows and reached her skin.
"Hi." Brittany says, taking a seat in front of Santana.
"Hello, stranger." Santana answered with a smile, putting her papers aside. "I took the liberty of ordering an espresso, if you don't mind." The small cup rested on top of her files, empty. Brittany looked at her and shook her head, biting her lower lip.
A small, nervous silence falls as Brittany searches for something, anything to say. She isn't very good at first dates, especially with people she doesn't know, and her former confidence seems to be disappearing by the second.
Santana looks anything if amused. She touches Brittany's knee and runs a thumb over it. It tickles. "You could start by telling me all about yourself."