A/N: This is my first Glee fanfic, so be kind.. though I welcome constructive criticism. I'll be the first to admit writing in the first person is a challenge for me, but I decided to try it with this piece. Please let me know if I sound like I'm staying true to character (for both Santana and Quinn) or if there's anything you think I could do to improve.
Also, I'm not a Spanish speaker, so please don't hate my lame attempts to include Spanish phrases.
This is set post-season one, and A/U junior year.
I hope you enjoy!
I sat with my face pressed against the glass of the bus, staring at the gray expanse of farmlands that seemed to stretch on for miles. It was an overcast day, with only a hint of autumn in the air and on the leaves. I noticed the random milk cow or group of horses, and the idyllic little white houses that dotted the horizon. Which summed up Ohio perfectly: bucolic, quaint, but boring. The lack of sun seemed to paint the distance neutrally, everything feeling washed out, muted.
My fingers dug into the leather strap of the purse sitting in my lap. I could feel the tension in my knuckles from holding on so tightly. Part of me still felt disconnected, unhinged from the reality of the situation. I was in disbelief. This just didn't feel real – this wasn't my life. I wasn't on a four hour long bus ride to an even smaller, shit bucket little town in the outskirts of Ohio, just days before the start of my junior year.
Don't get me wrong – Lima was everything I wanted away from. I hate that place with a passion. But it was still mine; and I had planned to spend at least the next two years running it. I knew who I was in Lima. I had no idea what to expect out of this new town, this new school – and I was utterly alone.
I replayed the last discussion I had with my father before he shoved me on this bus to nowhere. My brows knitted, furrowing, lips pressing tight against the wall of anger that built in my chest. I never did learn how to communicate with my papa. He and I were too much alike – at least that's what my mother said. We both exploded at the slightest provocation, spitting words with venom and borderline hate. Since when did I hate my dad? I guess I don't. But right now, it was hard to convince myself of that. He had made this decision without my input, and would brook no argument against it. His word was law, and until I turned eighteen, there was no fighting him about it.
It sounds cliché, but he was – well, is – shipping me off to boarding school. I didn't 'preform to his expectations' at McKinley. I spent too much time chasing boys, singing and dancing in glee club, or cheerleading to care too much about my grades. I usually rolled my eyes and scoffed at that; what did he know about what was important in high school? Well, I always passed my classes. I never had to take summer courses or hire a tutor. But my grades were just okay, average really. Not that I'm not smart enough to make As. I'm just too busy with other things.
See, mi papa really wants me to follow in his footsteps as a doctor. I think once he realized I would be his only child he decided I would just have to do, even though I'm a girl. Yeah, yeah – I'm not trying to paint a poor-pitiful-me picture. It's just how it is. He wanted a son to help him with his private practice he has set up, to carry on the family tradition, yadda-yadda-yadda. I never had any interest in anything about his career except for the endless amount of cash he left on my debit card. Like clockwork, the numbers would go up every month in my account on the same day. Cha-ching. Being an only child does have its perks, after all.
Well, he got it into his head that I would excel in a smaller private school. A boarding school. An all-girl's boarding school. Kill me!
"You are so spoiled, Santana," My father said, his voice sullen and face reddening by the minute. "You value nothing. You think you deserve all these pretty things? You didn't earn any of it."
I huffed, returning his glare, but kept silent. What was I supposed to say? If I'm spoiled, it's his fault.
"This is for your own good. You need an education so that you can make something of yourself."
"Papa, I am getting an education! I'm going to apply for a cheerleading scholarship next year. I'll go to college and do something useful. Just don't send me to that podunk little village, I'll die there!"
If he wasn't so mad, I think he might have laughed. "Santana, there will be no argument. I have already paid the tuition. Mija, try to look on the bright side. It's a fresh start."
My face wrinkled with too many emotions to name. I hated this, hated it. What was I going to do? I can't move. I can't spend all school year miles away from my friends. Crazy thoughts darted through my mind – I could run away. That was just pure panic setting in, though. I know I couldn't run away.
"It'll do you good to get away from that Brittany girl," he mumbled, as we stood there, staring at each other. His eyes flashed darkly, daring me to refute him.
That Brittany girl. Aiie. My face flushed with the memory of him walking in so unexpectedly – finding me in that position. I could see his face getting an even darker shade of crimson, if that was possible. He was just as embarrassed as I was.
"Dad, she's my friend." I tried to talk softly, but he flinched as if I had slapped him. I grimaced in response. We had never talked about – it. I kept hoping he would ignore it and act like it hadn't happened. Apparently, he hadn't, and this was his solution: ship me off to some quiet corner where I couldn't shame him with my bizarre behavior.
"She's a bad influence! You need to forget about her! Go pack your bags, Santana. We're leaving tomorrow morning!" He slammed his hands down on the table in front of him decisively, then turned and stormed out of the living room.
I squeezed my eyes against the memory, fighting back hot tears. I had cried that whole night on the phone to Brittany, who didn't seem to understand. She kept asking me to repeat it over and over again, and it made me cry harder. With me gone, who is going to help Britt understand things? She's so innocent and helpless. I had promised her way back in seventh grade to help her graduate. What was I going to do now?
Still, I'm smart. I knew that no matter how much begging or raging I did, my father wouldn't relent. My mother tiptoed around the house like a ghost, afraid of setting either one of us off. What killed me the most was that I didn't even get the chance to say goodbye to Brittany, or Puck, or any of those other goons. I would have even liked to say goodbye to Rachel, depart with one last remark about her resembling an Israeli hobbit.
"I'll see you at Thanksgiving, Britt," I had told her once the snuffles and sobs had died down. She just sat there quietly, breathing into the phone. Even across the digital space I could feel her confusion. She still didn't understand. "I'll write you letters, and text you every day. I'll call you, too. It'll be okay, Brittany." I was trying desperately to comfort her, even though I felt small and angry.
"You'll write me?" Her tone perked up at that. "Like, we'll be pen pals?"
I smiled quietly into the phone, letting go of a ragged breath. "Yeah, just like pen pals. And I'll send you pictures and stuff, to put on your wall. It'll be okay. It's just for a few weeks, then we'll get to see each other again." My heart tied itself into a tight knot, thinking about Brittany. I still couldn't handle the emotions that swamped me every time I heard her voice, or saw her smile, or felt her kiss. I love Brittany – she's been my best friend since preschool. But love, love? Maybe. Could be. Who knows?
"All right, San. If you say so." Her tone was so trusting. I could tell she was still upset, but if I said it was going to be okay, she believed me. I had to squeeze my eyes so tight, forcing the tears to stay there.
I was jarred out of the memory by the bus's sudden halt. I snapped my gaze around at the other passengers, noting that most of them were waking up out of light dozes. A quick glance out my window revealed that we had arrived at the station. How had I missed that? Craning my neck, I looked back the way we came, and saw nothing of any kind of town – just green pastures, and the long snaky line of the asphalt that brought me here. I groaned inwardly. This place was so small, its bus station didn't even have a proper town. Were there even enough people here to qualify as a community?
I gathered my duffle bags and my purse, sliding my sunglasses on to cover my eyes before I even left the bus. I knew there would be some kind of welcoming committee from the school here to collect me, and any other girls. I scanned the slow shuffle of bodies as they made their way towards the front, trying to see if any of the girls looked about my age. There was one blonde girl towards the front of the bus, and a redhead only five bodies in front of me. Great, at least a couple from my neck of the woods. Probably not Lima, but maybe we knew each other from parties or mutual friends.
I was nearly the last one off the bus, and I stepped onto the cement dock, blinking behind my shades. There was a cold gray building with ticket selling windows a few yards behind it, and a small mass of people moving around. I sighed, searching for anything with the telltale Atherton emblem etched on it. My father told me there would be an escort waiting.
There – I finally noticed her, an older girl, about eighteen, holding up a very glitzy looking laminated sign that read simply: Atherton Academy. She had long, straight honey colored hair and a heart-shaped face with pink lips and perfect blue eyes. I tried to swallow the bile that rose in my throat at just how cheeky and simpering she looked. I bet her voice was annoying, like Berry's. I had to grit my teeth against the slurry of insults that jostled behind them, begging to be set free. I stomped over to her and laid my bags down near her feet without a word.
"Oh, hello!" She piped, and my jaw clenched. "I'm Rosemary. Are you Beverly?"
I raised an eyebrow at her. "My name is Santana."
Her eyebrows shot up, and she consulted a tiny notepad I hadn't noticed she'd been holding. "Oh, yes, I see! Well, it's nice to meet you." Her grin was huge, revealing giant pearly teeth. She extended a hand for a handshake, which I only grudgingly returned. I pinched my face into a mask of bitchy indifference: my signature look. It usually kept me safe in situations like this – people tended to leave me alone.
"We're just waiting for Madison and Beverly, and then we'll be ready to head on out." She jiggled on the balls of her feet as she said it, clicking a pen idly. I rolled my eyes and suppressed a sigh. I really, really hope not all of the people who go to this school are so… annoying.
The two girls I spotted on the bus made their way over to us, each one of them wearing that doe-eyed expression I associated with freshmen. Perfect, just perfect. In my world, freshmen equated with completely useless. Even if we knew people in the same circles back in Lima, I would never associate with them. I bit back a groan. This was going to be so much torture.
A/N: I know it's short, but the next few chapters will be much longer, I promise.