So I was too inspired by this idea for a Brittana AU fic to wait until I'd finished Avalanche, so I decided to write the prologue and post it and see what reaction it gets!
People always say write what you know. And I know boarding school. So even if this has already been done- I'm doing it again!
Let me know what you think and if you guys like it I think I'll keep it going- at least to tide me over till the Glee Hiatus is done so I can start Avalanche Two.
By the end of summer, Santana Lopez began to despise the fact that her bedroom window had a front row seat to the morning sun. It beat through her curtains, turning her room into a sweat box- so she woke up with the sheets damp and her skin clogged.
One week. One more week left of it and then she'd be back to her shoe box of a room at Alexandra Academy- where hopefully, they'd fixed the air con over the break.
Santana leant back in her desk chair, and edged away from her computer into the slither of shade that remained near her desk. She almost needed her freaking sun glasses to see through the glare to her computer screen.
She would go and flop on her bed away from the heat but her laptop cord didn't reach that far and she needed to be present in the social networking world at this moment in time because there was some serious breaking news coming in through Facebook chat.
There had been stirrings about it before the school year had even ended- when everyone already knew Olivia's fate. They'd need a replacement. There were ten boarders in each grade. Forty girls total to fill forty rooms in the boarding complex. Olivia leaving meant that tenth grade, Santana's grade, had an open spot.
The rumours of the new girl began on Facebook, and were finally confirmed this morning by Tina Cohen-Chang, whose sister was a senior and had gone back early to help orientate the new batch of ninth graders and the one or two new students from the other grades into the boarding house.
Quinn had told Santana over Facebook chat that Tina's sister said the new girl was nice. Dumb, but nice. Santana rolled her eyes and typed back:
"You already fill our dumb blonde quota. We don't need another one."
"Haha. Fuck you," Quinn typed back.
Santana moved her chair out of the hot beam of sun coming through her window and went offline without saying goodbye. Quinn wouldn't care- it was how they'd done things all summer long- just kept up an endless flow of conversation that was fractured, days apart- but never had a greeting or a goodbye.
Santana was about to click out of her Facebook window and carry on online shopping for clothes to lord over the others when they all were back at Alexandra, but she caught sight of an offline message bubble appearing beside her notifications icon.
It was probably Quinn, messaging a more well-thought out retort, Santana guessed, but she clicked anyway, leaving the mouse while it loaded and stretching her arms above her head, cracking her knuckles.
After a moment the screen showed up a new message from Tina, not Quinn. It was addressed to all the girls in the 10th grade boarding house- Amy, Mercedes, Lauren, Sugar, Quinn, Rachel, Emma, Becky and Santana- as well as a few of their friends from down the road at their brother school, Andrews Academy of Boys'- Kurt, Puck, Finn, Sam, Artie and Mike.
The subject title was 'NEW GIRL'. Santana clicked on the message and saw it contained a short line of type and a link.
"My sis just added her as a friend and I stalked her profile"
Santana clicked on the link and tapped her fingers against the buttons of her mouse lightly so that the springs beneath them quivered. She was equal parts curious and nervous to see what the new girl was like and she hoped to God they weren't getting another Rachel Berry. Or worse, their very own gumpish girl version of Finn Hudson.
The screen loaded and Santana took note of the profile picture first. It was two girls wearing matching sunglasses, posing with their lips pouted. One was blonde, the other was brown haired- but that was about all the photo gave away. The glasses were those huge ridiculous ones you got at party stores and they covered almost their entire faces. Santana tried to click through the other profile pictures to figure out which one was the new girl and what she looked like, but the privacy settings wouldn't let her.
Santana resorted instead to scrolling through the general information listed under her profile. The new girl had some place called McKinley High listed as her High School- she obviously hadn't gotten around to changing it. Her birthday was listed as the 17th of July, 1994.
Under the section 'Religious Views', she had written: "I can't see any from where I'm sitting."
Santana paused at that, snorting derisively. She opened up a new tab in her browser and clicked open her Facebook messages, accessing the NEW GIRL message thread again. Quinn had already commented, her message beginning with a section that had obviously been copied and pasted from the new girls profile.
"Favourite Author: Judy Blume. Oh. My. God. This chick would have gotten on so well with my seven year old self."
Another message had just popped up beneath Quinn's. It was from Puck, Santana's boyfriend.
"Scroll down. It gets better."
Santana clicked the tab back into new girl's profile and followed Puck's advice to Quinn.
Under her 'Favourite Quotations', the girl had listed the lyrics to Barney the Dinosaur's 'I Love You, You Love Me' song.
"Jesus christ," Santana breathed, scrolling further still.
The music section was a mess. One look at it told Santana that this girl obviously didn't have a clue about the first rule of social networking. Sure, you could share with the world that you liked deadmau5 or Rihanna. Even 'Smelly Cat' by Phoebe Buffay was a good one to list for a laugh. But S Club 7? Westlife? The Wiggles? Normal people tended to keep that to themselves.
Santana shook her head, already picturing the look on Rachel's face when she laid eyes on this sad excuse for musical taste. She dragged the mouse across the screen, highlighting a few of the more horrendous artists listed and copy and pasted them into the message line in the other tab. Beneath it she typed- "I'm already nominating her to DJ at our next formal"- and hit send.
The message flashed up an instant later below the ones that Quinn, Tina and Puck had added since she'd last checked.
In reply to Puck's "Scroll down, it gets better" message, Tina had written:
Santana frowned, confused, as she saw Puck's reply:
"I know right?"
And then Quinn's:
"OMFG is this chick serious? "
Santana hurriedly clicked back into the new girls profile and flicked her finger down the scroll button, scanning for anything that could top the fact that this chick liked The Wiggles.
Interested In: Men and Women.
Santana's eyes narrowed at the screen. It wasn't often that she saw people posting their 'Interested In'. Only guys like Puck and Finn did it- trying to add as much game to their page as possible so that any female who came within three clicks of their page would be fully aware that they were heterosexual, red blooded American males.
"So this girl's Bi?" Quinn had typed into the message thread.
"Looks like it," Tina replied.
"Don't get too excited Quinn," Puck typed.
"Question," Mercedes name popped up. "Do tenth graders get locks on our doors?"
"After reading this girl's 'Interested In', I sincerely hope so," Quinn typed back.
Santana sat back and watched this interaction with an amused smile. She didn't type anything, too caught up with wondering whether or not this girl was as crazy as the others thought she was, or just had a helluva lot more balls than the rest of them.
Absently, Santana navigated back to the girls profile picture and brought it up to fill the screen. She switched her eyes back and forth slowly between the two girls, more and more intrigued as to which one she was; which face belonged to Brittany Pierce.
"Please let this be the last one," Santana's cousin Gareth puffed, his arm muscles all tensed and veiny as he lugged the huge canvas bag full of Santana's clothes down the narrow hallway of the tenth grade dorm- towards Santana's allocated room. She was walking behind him, struggling with an awkwardly shape box that jutted painfully into her hips.
"Last one...I promise," she gasped. It was their eighth trip into the boarding house from the car.
With a grunt Gareth heaved the bag up onto the bed and leant against the doors of her closet, struggling to rein in his breath.
With both of them in the room together and all of Santana's stuff, there was barely any room to move. The room was slightly larger than her ninth grade room, but even then it still only had a thin strip of floor space between a slim bed- built off one wall- and a desk and wardrobe built off the other. The whole room- even the fabric covered corkboard walls was the same shade of light blue. The door was a sliding one- but it did, Santana noticed, have a lock.
The tenth Graders were lucky enough to be housed in the second story of the more modern part of the boarding house, with the ninth graders below them and the eleventh graders in the older block opposite them. The twelfth graders got the most spacious block at the back of the property- with their own common room and kitchen while the rest of the house had to share the large communal dining area and a TV room, nicknamed by some long forgotten tradition 'the Fruit Room'.
Santana hadn't been lucky enough to get a window on the left side of the block- which would have left her with a pretty sweet view of the tops of the trees and the surrounding streets. Instead, she was on the right side- which overlooked back into the large square of grass in the middle of the boarding house. Any sunlight that her room got would have to be coaxed through the gaps in the massive, towering tree that had been planted smack bang in the middle of the grass, and had gotten so prolific that it's roots broke through the bricked pathways between the blocks and it's biggest branches had to be anchored to it's trunk by thick ropes.
Hidden somewhere below it's branches, Santana could hear a shrill reunion between some girls- who seemed to communicate almost entirely in giggles. Beside Santana, Gareth winced.
"I'm too old for this place," he said, rubbing the back of his neck.
It was the first time he'd been to Santana's boarding school. Her parents had bribed him last minute to make the trip with her because they both had their schedules jammed full at work.
There had been both positives and negatives to Gareth taking Santana. The positives included his sweet car- which was a tricked out, lowered BMW, and his great taste in music, which all college students just seemed to inherit. During the two hour car ride Santana had made up a note on her phone to look up on YouTube several underground hip-hop and trance artists that he'd played for her. And he'd leant her a mix CD to load onto her iTunes.
The negative was that Gareth's summer job- as a "Pizza Toppings Artist" at a restaurant in their home town, meant that he'd had to drop her off super early in the day so that he could get home in time for his shift. They'd arrived at 11 a.m- far earlier than any respectable tenth, eleventh or twelfth grader should arrive.
"Do you, uh, need help unpacking?" Gareth asked, shoving a hand through his hair and shooting the mound of boxes and bags a weary look.
"No, I'll be fine. Thanks though. For the ride and help and stuff."
There was pause and then Santana felt herself being pulled into a gruff hug.
"You take care of yourself. And remember, if you get pregnant Abuela's going to…"
"...beat me with a chair. Yeah, I know I know," Santana laughed.
Gareth nodded, satisfied and then picked his way past her bags and out into the hall.
"Enjoy the mix CD too. That's real music primita!"
Santana let her laughter trail after him down the hallway and then turned back to her room, taking in the three hours of unpacking that lay ahead of her. It got easier each year she she went through the process, but it never made it less daunting.
It seemed an especially big deal now seeing as it was sweltering inside the small room- whose windows only allowed a small gap before the latches on them caught and held. Santana was sweating from the bag shifting ordeal and felt a lightness wafting through her head. She managed to squeeze into the small space her bags had left at the end of the mattress and angle herself around them to reach her handbag at the other end. Out of it she pulled the coke bottle that Gareth had brought her when they stopped half way for gas. It was luke warm and flat but it was liquid so Santana swallowed the last third of it gratefully and dropped the empty bottle out into the hallway to begin her rubbish pile that she'd eventually lug to one of the buns sitting at either end of the corridor.
Setting up her laptop, she decided, would be the first order of business- because it meant she'd be able to upload Gareth's CD and jam while she unpacked. She spider-climbed her way over her stuff to the other side of the room- where she remembered her laptop bag had been placed somewhere amongst the crap crowded on top of it. After some rearranging, she managed to unearth the computer and the power cord and clear a small space to sit it on her desk.
The Mac had only powered down and gone to sleep since Santana had used it for her morning Facebook ritual before she and Gareth had left- which meant that when she swiped her finger over the mouse pad, the screen sprung to life bearing the remnants of the last Facebook profile she'd checked out. She scrolled down the page one last time and was halfway through sweeping her cursor up to close the window when an unfamiliar voice came from behind her.
"Hey! That's my Facebook profile!"