Finally, here's the other one-shot I've been working on for Shade Asylum for waaaay too long because writer's block is a total bitch! So, sorry again for the wait, as I've been saying about everything lately. :( I'm trying to force myself to write, but then I feel like everything sucks so I'm not sure which is better. But anyway, this prompt was for angst/smut with some type of argument and car sex, sooo...I took that and ran with it and this is what happened...
Btw, this is loosely edited so there's probably a few typos and it is NOT at all related to any of my other stories.
As Rachel Lopez sat at a seemingly never ending red light with both hands vice-like over the steering wheel of her new black Range Rover, there was no doubting that she was in a bad mood. No, it couldn't even be considered just a bad mood – a detestable, loathsome, hellacious mood was more accurate. And it had nothing (well, maybe a little) to do with the fact that she was still sporting her ex-wife's last name because she had been too busy to attend to all of the legal matters. Instead, it was completely due to the fact that, Ava Lopez, her thirteen-year-old daughter, had had a complete meltdown followed by sneaking out of their Manhattan townhouse at an ungodly hour of the night. The final touch had been the text message blackmail left on her phone, the entire reason as to why she had even bothered to entertain her daughter's antics.
Go get Mama and try to find me! I've run away, never to be seen again! Love, your thoroughly pissed off daughter. ~ Ava
Needless to say, Ava had picked up on Rachel's wordiness and dramatics and all of Santana's wicked conniving.
Once she got the green light, Rachel drove only half a block further before slamming on the brakes and pulling up to the sidewalk in the most obnoxious way possible. It took just seconds for her reckless driving to have the wanted effect. The passenger door opened and in came the one woman who she most secretly desired and outwardly despised, spewing sarcastically, "I can see you're taking good care of my baby."
"Certainly," Rachel matched with just as much disdain. She exaggeratedly ran her hands over the steering wheel that she had previously been squeezing. "It really is a great vehicle, I shouldn't have put up such a fuss when you wanted me to buy it for you."
Santana Lopez had been so ready to go at her ex-wife with as many insults as she could think up, but the reminder that she was unfortunately still living off of that same ex-wife's paychecks gave her second thoughts. "Whatever," she mumbled as she got into the SUV that she used to drive around town and pack full of shopping bags filled with designer items. "Just tell me what she did this time because it must be pretty fuckin' bad if you've willingly enlisted me…"
Rachel tossed her iPhone in Santana's lap barely before she had finished speaking, just wanting to shut her up quickly.
"What the hell, Rachel! Is she serious! Because if she is, I'll –" Santana began shouting, waving the cell phone in accordance with her would be threat.
"Calm down, she's not doing anything," Rachel said without a hint of worry, just continuing to drive. "She's our daughter, our daughter, meaning that she came from the two most dramatic people living on this island. She's fine, she's just trying to piss us off…which she is doing a fine job of…"
Santana placed the cell phone in the cup holder, turned toward the window to her right and no matter how much she wanted to, she just couldn't bite her tongue. "Or maybe, just maybe she's trying to get your attention…"
"What was that?" Rachel snapped back. Truly she hadn't heard what had been said and unbeknownst to her it was probably better that way.
Shaking her head a little, Santana stared out the window absentmindedly. She knew that her daughter was most likely safe as well, but she was just more soft and worrisome when it came to her only child than some would imagine. "It's nothing, just drive…"
They sat together in silence. Or as much silence as driving in downtown New York City could be with the occasional raving lunatic on the sidewalk and the incessantly blaring of car horns. There wasn't even radio or a soundtrack playing, which said a lot considering the driver and her highly musical background. But despite her own self instilled silence, it was really starting to frustrate Rachel even more that Santana was being so surprisingly quiet and cooperative. And then – even though she was telling herself not to do it – she began vomiting out nonsense just based on the fact that Santana was there and that she was able to.
"So…it was so nice of you to just roll out of bed for the occasion." After making the comment which sounded even stupider out loud than it had in her head, Rachel steeled herself and focused on looking straight ahead.
Unbothered, Santana looked down at her old workout Nikes, tight jeans and the black hoodie that she had pulled on after literally rolling out of bed like Rachel had suggested. "And your point is…"
"The point is, is that you should throw those stupid shoes away. You've had them since before we were married!" Rachel blurted out. Inwardly, she was berating herself. Even in her own thoughts it was hard to admit that she missed her ex-wife, especially since she had been the reason for their divorce, but when it came down to it – she did. She couldn't help but miss Santana and that even included missing having to move her disgusting, gaudy, chartreuse and purple gym shoes from the middle of their bedroom floor.
"I think you secretly love these shoes, baby," Santana said with false sweetness, and then kicked her feet up on the dash and eased her seat back. She was looking and acting like she was in high school again. "You must for as much as you like to talk about them."
"Actually, what I'd love to do is pitch them at your head," Rachel answered back snidely. It was even more bothersome that her ridiculous remarks were practically see-through, but she just couldn't stop herself. "But whatever, I guess I should just be thankful that you're not drunk considering what I've been hearing around town…"
"Ohh, that…right…" Santana drawled, knowing full well that Rachel was bluffing. "That's actually scheduled from tomorrow, you know, can't break plans if they're on the schedule." It was a jab at Rachel's inability to break plans for anything that didn't involve her career. Parent/teacher conferences, Ava's hospital stay for a tonsillectomy, Santana's abuela's funeral in Lima; none of those events had mattered in the face of Rachel being a Broadway actress. "Tonight I was just fucking the hot, college freshman who lives down the hall from me. She has a great ass and her tongue moves in ways that you wouldn't believe."
For the first time since she had entered the vehicle she had managed to get a true reaction out of Rachel; wide eyes, a slack jaw and a subsequent death glare all at once. "Kidding," Santana laughed without finding any real humor in herself. She hoped that her former wife of all people would know that she wouldn't be some divorcee who would slut around with anyone she could seduce. "Unfortunately I haven't been laid in weeks. But since we're giving compliments, it was so nice of you to take the time to dress up for me while our daughter roams the streets."
Rachel's eyes narrowed and just as she was about to appraise what could be off about her outfit, she understood Santana's meaning and resisted the urge to look down at herself. Once again she knew that she was in the wrong and her tone was cool as she simply said, "You know I have an image to keep…"
So what if she insisted on acting like a bitch? She was having a hard enough time keeping herself from demanding a list of names and addresses of all the tramps who dared to even look at Santana, let alone actually sleep with her. Officially, they had been divorced for four months – separated for nearly seven – and still for some reason Rachel could feel the cold claws of jealously and possessiveness grabbing at her. Looking across the console, she tried to gauge Santana's reaction; it seemed as if she wanted to say something or maybe she was just hurt. Rachel couldn't really be sure and she was trying her damndest to act like she didn't care.
"I'm really not in the mood for this," Santana eventually sighed, supplementing her comment by taking her feet from the dash and curling more into herself. "I just want to find my daughter and go home…"
"At least she can't – " the slam of the driver's side door cut Santana off and she finished the sentence purely for herself since Rachel had already exited the vehicle, making it obvious that she was not one of her priorities any longer, "drive."
Throughout the past months she had spent plenty of time – probably too much – wondering how her marriage had gone so completely off course. She knew she couldn't lay Rachel with all the blame because she knew it took two to tango and everything like that, but she did feel that she could lay blame to her career. Ever since they had both fled from Lima, Ohio as high school sweethearts to begin their true lives in the city, a subtle shift had been taking place until soon enough they were both so different that along with barely recognizing her then wife, she could barely recognize herself. She couldn't pinpoint exactly when it had happened, but it had. Rachel became a certified celebrity, so much so that oftentimes their occasional evening dates had turned into Santana watching from the background as her wife enjoyed autographs, pictures and praise with her fans. She wasn't envious though, she had always been Rachel's greatest admirer. But that was the reason why it had hurt so much to be pushed to the background and kept their permanently. After her own Master's Degree in Business hadn't panned out as she had once imagined, Rachel was quick to assure her that she needn't bother with work and she had easily become the kept woman that she had never wanted to be.
One thing hadn't changed though and that was Santana's temper, it was actually quite possible that it had gotten worse. With paparazzi around every corner she had had to learn how to control her lashing out, but truly her anger was only thinly concealed. After bringing her knee up in a sharp motion and bashing it against the glove box, Santana put her head back against the seat and looked out the window to where Rachel was walking across the deserted parking garage in a tight, jerky gait. Looking the opposite way she noticed that in her haste Rachel had left the keys in the ignition and her cell phone in the cup holder.
"Always forgetting something, aren't you?" Santana quietly said out loud while tears of both anger and nostalgia burned at the edges of her vision. Once upon a time she had been the one to chauffeur that precious cell phone to studios and theatres after it had been left on a nightstand or in a coat pocket, and it seemed that she would have one more chance to do it again. Although on this night it was not the cell phone that she would hold for safe keeping, it was the keys.
After snatching them up and doing her best to ignore the fact that her own red and white pom-pom keychain was still attached to the ring, she jammed them into her pocket with no intentions of giving them back until a few things had been sorted out. Next, she opened the door, hopped down to the pavement, hit the automatic lock button and then closed the door with a devious smirk on her face.
"Are you coming or what!"
The shout echoed in the open space and Santana found it fit to shout back, "Coming, darling!"
"You're not cute," Rachel stated as they eventually met to walk side by side. You're the cutest damn thing I've seen in months with your ugly shoes and your baggy hoodie and I want to kiss your lips off. "Has Ava texted you?"
Santana slipped her cell phone from the pocket of her jeans – the one opposite of the keys – and swept the touch screen open. "Nope…"
"Let me check mine again…"
Biting her lip, Santana turned her face away just as Rachel began patting the pockets of the black wool, trench-style coat she was wearing.
Right on schedule, she learned what Santana already knew. "Fuck! I forgot my cell phone!"
"What do you need yours for? I have mine."
"In case Ava tries to call me, duh!" Rachel sniped as it was the most obvious fact in the world. It may have been, but Santana was too amused by watching her ex-wife's ass jiggle as she tromped back to the SUV, more furious than she had been all night but not as furious as she was going to be.
Santana hung back some steps to let Rachel make the discovery on her own and when an array of elaborate curses filled the parking garage she knew her trickery had had the desired outcome. "What's your problem now?" she asked casually as she strolled up from behind.
"I left the fucking keys in the ignition along with my cell phone!" Rachel continued to yell, opening her arms and gesturing rapidly. "Now, in addition to my kid being a runaway, I'm stranded in a parking garage with you!"
A smile curled Santana's lips but she was sure it wouldn't give her away; the windows were tinted too darkly for her to be proven guilty. "You need to calm down." She took her cell phone from her pocket again and tapped at its screen nonchalantly. "This is New York, all we have to do is call someone to have it unlocked. And are you feeling stressed? You're quite vulgar these days."
Rachel turned on her with a fury that was more arousing than it was anything else and in the split second before she began to speak all Santana could think about was of how stunning she looked with her wicked sneer and clear, cutting gaze.
"Don't tell me to calm down!" Rachel demanded, irked even further by the appearance of a cell phone that wasn't her own. For all she knew Santana was probably checking e-mails, not Googling for roadside assistance. Her anger and frustration over the whole ordeal was becoming too much to control and with Santana practically acting as a target, she spouted without even thinking, "Why don't you try to pretend like you actually give a fuck!"
The comment hung between them as the two stared at one another, each of their eyes cold and aloof to belie any other emotions they might have been feeling. Rachel knew it had been a mistake to say something like that, Santana's commitment to their daughter couldn't be questioned. But mostly she knew it was a mistake because it was live ammunition that could easily be turned around onto her.
Slowly, Santana's free hand curled into a fist before she extended her index finger in accusation. She pointed at herself first. "I've been doing that all along." Then, with a jerk of her hand and a grit of her teeth she pointed at the person who was really to blame. "You're the one who never gives a fuck and you know what?"
"What?" Rachel volleyed back before she could even think it through.
"You're the reason why we're in this whole mess, you're the reason why we got divorced in the first place!"
Rachel's gaze was steely at first, but then dropped to the oil-stained pavement where they stood as she silently accepted the fact that she had lost the round. Santana was right and there was nothing left to do beside sit on the back bumper of the Range Rover and bury her face in her hands.
Santana bitterly hoped that Rachel was preparing to cry her a river just so that she could make fun of her for being so stupidly dramatic all the time, especially when things didn't go her way. But another part of her wanted to wrap the woman in her arms and apologize, even despite the fact that she had never received any apologies throughout their marriage and divorce. Being as selfish as Rachel had chosen to be for as long as she could remember, she went to the cement barrier that ran perpendicular to the white boundary lines and sat down against it instead. She probably could have been labeled careless for pulling such an immature stunt such as hiding her ex-wife's keys during a mini-crisis, but she was also almost certain that Ava was perfectly fine and tricking her mother just as badly as she was.
Eventually – as was typical – Rachel couldn't stay quiet for long and soon she was softly asking, "Where would she go?"
Santana hesitated on purpose for her own sick satisfaction and then rolled her shoulders against her cold backrest, sighing, "I might have an idea…"
"Sure you do!" Rachel spat cynically, not even bothering to turn around and make eye contact.
"I'm not sure why you would ask me if you're not going to believe me…but in any case, I'm serious," Santana explained in an even voice without a hint of humor or sarcasm. "She goes to this place in the park sometimes when she's upset."
It was after that simple confession that Rachel finally decided to get up, take a few steps and face Santana with her hands shoved into her coat pockets. Her face was expressionless, but only to someone who didn't know how to read her. Truly, she was wounded and trying her best to act as if she could have known such a fact on her own. "And why don't I know about this?" she quizzed. "As her mother, don't you think I have a right to know when and why she's running around the park alone?"
"Maybe not," Santana said all too easily. She pushed herself up from the ground and mirrored Rachel's pose by resting her hands in the front pocket of her sweatshirt. "You were usually the reason why she was upset…meaning that you weren't exactly around for me to consult." Rachel's lips parted and she took a breath as if to speak, but when she didn't Santana finished for her. "Is that not the truth, Rachel?"
"That's…" Tossing her head in annoyance, Rachel slid a hand through her hair and then began shaking her head incredulously. "No! That's nonsense!" She rounded on Santana with her teeth practically bared; refuting what she was trying to insist was the truth. "That's not true, I've always had plenty of time for her!" And then completely losing control, she hissed evilly, "The truth is, is that I just don't understand how she can be so much like you when she's not even really – "
"She's not even what!" Santana interrupted, raising her voice out of anger for the first time. Her body was no longer relaxed. Her posture was rigid and her neck was arched back, making her vantage in height seem greater when it was really only a couple of inches.
"When she's not even truly yours," Rachel finished lowly.
Livid, Santana stalked forward and pointing her finger again, she began stabbing at the air in front of Rachel's face. "How could she not be like me when you were never around for her to know! The most time you spent with her was when you were pregnant and I'm beginning to think that that was only a publicity stunt!"
Rachel shoved at her shoulder almost instantly, screaming at her, "Take that back!"
Santana let the blow to her shoulder sink in and crossed her arms over her chest to keep herself from doing anything too damaging. She knew she shouldn't have wanted to bring the altercation to a physical level, but she did. She did so badly and Rachel was tempting her. "I'm not going to take back what I feel is the truth," she said calmly, turning her face to the side, possibly inviting a slap.
The slap never came but Rachel's hands did find the collar of her hoodie, beginning a pitiful struggle that included Santana dodging her efforts and ended with Rachel's back against the Range Rover.
"What's wrong with you?" Santana lashed out, slamming the knuckles of the hand trapped underneath her own into the tinted glass behind it. "Do you want to get arrested for actin' a fool in public? I'm sure that would go really well with your image!"
"Lemme go!" Rachel said as menacingly as she could, which wasn't very menacing at all when she was held in place. "You're not even worth fighting with, you're just a stupid bitch, Santana! You're not worth anything and that's why you ended up being nothing more than my fucking trophy wi – "
When Santana pulled back and then swiftly pushed forward, Rachel gasped in a way that went against all of her professional training. The collision between the door and her back had winded her and Santana used the opportunity to retrieve the keys and pop the locks.
"Get in before you make me do something I'll regret," Santana demanded as she flung open the back passenger door and gave her another shove.
Once they were both in the backseat, Santana locked the doors again and caught Rachel by the back of her dark wash designer jeans just as she was attempting to exit from the other side.
"This…is…ridiculous!" Rachel gritted out between attempts at tugging herself free. It was all in vain though, she could feel fingers wrapped securely around her belt and another hand pulling one of her legs out from under her. "Let go!"
"No! And stop squirming around like a fucking weasel!" With Rachel now flat on her stomach on the seat, Santana used the position to her advantage and ungracefully rolled her over, fending off knees and hands until she lied between her legs and finally pinned her down. And then suddenly, they weren't fighting anymore. They were lying close together, closer than they had been in months with their faces flushed and their breathing in sync. It was like the tickle fights they would have in bed, the wrestling matches on the living room floor while Ava rolled her eyes. It was the times they shared during the off chance that Rachel could be bothered to have a family. Santana couldn't hold back her half hearted smile and Rachel giggled, obviously catching herself off guard judging by the way she brought a hand over her face and went silent. The silence didn't last long though and soon she was crying into her hand. It was too much all at once.
"Why are you crying?" Santana asked, her own voice sounding strained. She was trying her best not to use her fingertips to wipe away the tears running down Rachel's temples; old habits died hard and she felt bad for being the cause.
"Because I hate you," Rachel whispered from behind her hand. "You piss me off…"
"Why do I piss you off so much? Huh?" A lot of hurtful words had been exchanged during the course of their divorce, but Santana had never been told anything that intense and it got to her, no matter how much she wished that it didn't. "Why do you hate me?" she questioned again, viciously running her knuckle under her right eye and clearing her throat. "Is it because I don't care how many people know you're fucking name or your voice or your face? Is that it? Is it because I knew you before all of that? You're my fucking wife, I – "
Santana stopped herself midsentence and it finally dawned on her – she no longer had a wife. She had an ex-wife and she was still struggling just as badly to get her attention as she had when they were married. "I'm sorry," she said suddenly, beginning to get up. "I shouldn't have said that…"
Rachel brought both hands to her face and covered it completely, while Santana sat back with legs on either side of her waist. "This is why you make me so angry," the smaller brunette said shakily, content to lie back. "You're so goddamn good to me and I don't deserve it! I don't deserve you or your patience or anything…"
As the woman practically underneath her was reduced to silent sobs, Santana was left nonplussed. She couldn't believe that it had been that easy to get Rachel to crack and for the first time in a long time she thought that maybe she didn't give Rachel enough credit. She was still a human even if she worked like a machine and Santana should have been the first one to remember that.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Santana asked slowly. The gears in her head may have been turning but she still had feelings to protect, especially when they had been shredded plenty of times before. But she did offer some consolation by laying a hand on the knee beside her.
"What else could it mean?" Rachel said mostly to herself, raising a hand from her face to wave it in the air, a sure sign that a rant was coming. "You grew up and I didn't. I let all of it go to my head and then I lost you and now I'm losing my daughter…I love you and I hate you all at once, but I love you…"
She was blubbering by that point and Santana was full on smiling, not spitefully though. "You're not making any sense," she said through a watery laugh.
Rachel gasped a few breaths, trying to settle herself but failing miserably. "I'm not your wife anymore, but I wish I was…I wish I hadn't messed everything up."
Santana sighed and even though she knew it would bring even more complications she knew how to fix the present situation. Lying down over Rachel again, she pulled her hands away and held their faces just inches apart. "Hey, take a breath," she gently advised. Rachel nodded wordlessly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and into her hair.
"You know, I was lying earlier," Santana went on, speaking softly and listening to the uneven hiccups next to her ear. Out of habit, she lowered her head and lightly brushed their cheeks together, wondering if she was wrong to keep going. "I can't remember exactly when it was, but I know the last time I had sex was with you…I haven't been with anyone else…"
"But you love sex…"
"I figured that would get you talking. But the truth is, is that I only love having sex with you," Santana smiled. She lifted her head and met Rachel's glossy eyes, which seemed to accurately reflect both of their misery.
"Why are you telling me this?" Rachel asked quietly, shaking her head just the slightest.
"Because I'm on top of you and I can feel your boobs through your coat and you're still the sexiest woman I know." Santana gave a devilish grin and Rachel only hardened her gaze in response. "Fine, I'll tell the truth," she said, giving in and preparing to spill her guts to the one person who had hurt her the most. "I…I'm telling you this…because I wish you were still my wife too and because I've been waiting so long for you to just admit that you made a mistake, so we can get the fuck over this and just be together again…"
"You still want to be with me?"
"I just admitted to not having sex for like half of a year, what did you think I was waiting for?"
"For someone who would treat you better than I have…"
The whole thing about Rachel still being the sexiest woman she knew was the truth as well and even though she should have been concentrating on something else, Santana couldn't help that she was only thinking about bringing their bodies closer together. "Can we just forget about that for a second?" she said, speaking mostly to Rachel's lips than actually to her.
"That's not a goo –" The press of their mouths cut Rachel off and for a split second she had to evaluate her choices in life. Was she really going to let Santana fuck her in a backseat in a parking lot? Yes, she was. And she already considered herself to be a loathe worthy person, so she supposed no more harm could be done.
The kissing was messy and Santana wasn't using any of the finesse that they both knew she possessed as she licked and nipped at Rachel's lips. Rachel reciprocated but her reservations were right on the tip of her tongue, threatening to force them apart again until Santana sucked them into her mouth and swallowed them away, like she wanted to take in as much of her as she could, even the things that she hated.
"I know this…isn't a good idea," Santana admitted with a certain choppiness in her voice. She was undoing Rachel's belt and tearing her shirt from underneath the waistband, now after something else entirely. "But I can't help it."
Speechlessness had taken over for Rachel and she knew it was for the best and also out of her control. This was the only time when Santana held the dominance in their relationship and it was so easy to let that liquid smooth voice lull her into submission. And it seemed like she was watching from afar as she looked down her body to where Santana was peeling her jeans off and eyeing her like a predator.
"Open your mouth…"
Rachel did as she was told, already knowing exactly what she needed to do. Licking Santana's fingers brought back memories, memories of happier times when they would sneak in quickies between rehearsals in backstage dressing rooms. But the current situation made everything taste bittersweet.
When Santana pulled Rachel's panties aside and shoved her first two fingers in, she felt her own satisfaction in the form of Rachel throwing her head back and her legs jumping at the suddenness. She didn't mean to hurt her and she didn't want to, but it felt good to catch her off guard all the same.
"Feel good?" she asked roughly, assuming from the tightness around her fingers that it must have been a mix of both pleasure and pain. Good, now you know how our whole marriage felt.
In an attack that she wasn't expecting, Rachel raked a hand into her hair and used it to guide her into another sloppy kiss. "That's for hiding my keys," Rachel informed after biting into her tongue in a way that was anything but playful.
Santana wrenched her head away and returned the favor, sinking her teeth into Rachel's neck until she squirmed beneath her and then eventually went still and surrendered. "That's for driving like a crazy bitch."
"Fine, we're even." Rachel gave a breathless laugh when really she wanted to cry as Santana soothed her tongue over the tracks of her teeth and thrust into her with abandon. They were dancing around the real issue like they had always done before. That's for being an absent wife. That's for putting my fame before my family. "Harder," she challenged, just because she couldn't stand the fact that she was still coherent enough to think about all her faults. She wanted Santana to make them go away even when in the end she knew that it would never work.
Being the game player that she was Santana did just the opposite of what was pled, slowing her pace until Rachel was breathing deeply and doing a pitiful job of trying to hold back her moans. "You'll get it how I decide to give it to you," she said, the sentence starting off in a hiss and finishing broken. "Seem familiar?" she asked as she brought their foreheads together.
"Don't do this to me," Rachel said while squeezing her eyes shut and trying to toss her head away.
"Why?" Santana sniffed hard, now doing a pitiful job of trying to hold back her own whimpering. "You don't like being teased? Give a little, get a little?" she taunted. "Or maybe just give your whole fucking life and get nothing in return?"
"Fine! We'll do it your way!" Santana sneered, sitting up again, redoubling her efforts and making Rachel cry out as her fingernails caught on soft flesh. "Just…like…always!" If she was being too rough – which she already knew she was – Rachel wasn't stopping to tell her. She made up for it by circling her thumb over Rachel's clit, using it as both a distraction for Rachel and a way for her to take out her aggression. Even if it was just a tiny bit, she wanted it to be known that she had some control.
"San…San…" Rachel panted the pet name like she always did before she came and reached out to Santana's shoulder for support. "Kiss me…"
Santana shook her head and turned her face away while at the same time placing her free hand on Rachel's cheek and using the other to feel the reaction she had caused. She couldn't watch Rachel come undone underneath her, it would be too beautiful and it would make her forget everything from the past.
The crying started soon after Rachel calmed down but Santana still couldn't stand to look at her. They both had been correct. It wasn't a good idea to have sex in place of talking to each other and now the situation had come full circle to exactly where it had been before.
"Santana," Rachel whispered tearfully, massaging her hand into her shoulder and attempting to turn her head.
"What?" After withdrawing her fingers, Santana took one of them into her mouth and let the taste spread over her tongue. She felt hot, as if she might get sick. Pulling on her sweatshirt, she shrugged it off over her head and dropped it down.
Rachel caught its hood in her hands as it fell into her lap and worried its soft seams between her fingers. She didn't exactly know what she wanted to say, so she said nothing at all.
Santana stayed still, aimlessly looking over the backseat until the chiming of a cell phone sounded in the quiet space. "It's yours," she said, stating the obvious.
"Answer it," Rachel replied plainly. "It's you that she wants anyway."
With no enthusiasm, Santana climbed over the center console and picked up the phone, finding that Rachel had been right in her assumption that the call would be from Ava. "Hello?" she said into it after clearing her throat. Under different circumstances she probably would have lit into her daughter for her antics, but she didn't have the energy and she couldn't see how she had been any better that night.
Rachel sat up during the pause and used the sweatshirt to keep herself covered. Her jeans had been tossed on the floor and in the low lighting she couldn't be sure of where they were. She could hear Ava's voice as a low murmur but it was nothing that she could make out as she watched Santana's brows pinch and her eyes flicker back and forth.
"So, you're telling me that you snuck past the doorman and then walked around the block just long enough for your mother to leave and drive around the city looking for you? What the hell was the point?"
Rachel closed her eyes and sighed, and then placed her hand on Santana's thigh. Sometimes she wondered if the world would be able to handle a teenager born of the two of them, but so far they were the only people who couldn't handle it.
"Ava Lopez, I don't want to hear it! You're thirteen! Do you know what kind of trouble a girl can get into in the middle of the night in a huge city, let alone a thirteen-year-old girl? You better hope that the lock on your door still works after you slamming it so many times, because when I see you I'm –"
"Ava, you're grounded. We'll talk about this when I get home," Rachel stated after prying the phone from her ex-wife.
"You're grounded for a hundred years!" Santana continued to yell, finishing after the phone had already been hung up. Once she realized that her daughter could no longer hear her she slumped back against the seat, groaned and scowled at nothing in particular.
After finding her jeans and slipping them back on, Rachel flipped the automatic locks and quietly exited the vehicle. "I'll drive you back home," she said before shutting the back door and opening the front.
Santana tossed the keys into the driver's seat, choosing to remain in the back seat and then for the second time that night they were driving through the city with tense silence between them.
"Did I do something wrong?" Santana suddenly asked, sounding young and self-conscious like when they had first started dating. "Was it something I did that made you not want to be around?"
"It wasn't anything you did," Rachel blandly assured her while she focused on the road. "It was me…"
"So…" Santana began, trying to keep herself gathered. "The divorce was easier for you than changing to be with me and our daughter?"
"I guess it was…"
"Why haven't you changed your name back?"
"I've been busy…"
The last remaining piece of Santana's broken heart shattered into another set of infinitesimal pieces. They had married young – before the fame and the headlines – and the implications of Rachel taking her last name had meant the world to her. She couldn't help but ask, "Is that the truth?"
"No, it's not," Rachel admitted just as easily as she had lied the first time. "Actually, I haven't changed it because it connects me to Ava…and to you."
Santana felt a glimmer of hope from that comment, although she wasn't sure how to interpret it. "Then why didn't you just say that?"
"I don't know, Santana," Rachel huffed. She wished that she did know, she wished most of all that she had the answers for how to properly apologize for years of mistreatment.
When they pulled up to a curb a while later, it took Santana just seconds to realize where they were. "Why are we here?"
Taking the keys from the ignition this time, Rachel chose to ignore the valet in favor of turning around to Santana. She had never been as annoyed with the around the clock courtesy as she was now. It was just another testament to the fact that finding any privacy was nearly impossible with her lifestyle. "Come up with me. Simply, I miss you and I want you to come home," she said, shrugging one shoulder and rolling her bottom lip into her mouth. "You said you wanted to be together again and I do too. Please trust me, Santana, even though you have every reason not to…"
"Rachel, I can't do that," Santana answered, shaking her head as she tried to avoid deep, dark eyes.
"Please!" Rachel lowered herself to begging and suddenly it didn't even matter, because Santana was that one person who was supposed to see her vulnerabilities. "I wanted you to come back, I did! I just didn't know how to tell you because I thought you would laugh in my face, at least that's what I thought you should do."
"I wouldn't have laughed at you…"
"Then come up with me!" She knew that didn't exactly make sense as a response but she was past the point of caring. "We've already had sex and we already know it's going to be complicated, so why can't we sleep in our bed together before we have to figure out all of our fuck-ups?"
Santana laughed a little and ran a hand through her hair, then pointed to Rachel and tried to be as stern as she could. "Promise me that we're going to talk this out first thing tomorrow morning!"
"I promise!" Rachel practically shouted, her eyes aglitter with genuine excitement and the glow from their early romp.
"Then give that damn valet the keys, we have a daughter to punish first…"
"Do you think she's really asleep?"
Rachel stood over their daughter at the end of the couch and then gently tucked some strands of her dark hair behind her ear, receiving no response. "As much as it surprises, yes, I think she really is." Turning to Santana she smiled softly and then linked their hands together. "She misses you so much, I feel like if she was awake she would already be stuck to you…kind of like I want to be…"
"Shouldn't have divorced me," Santana stated matter-of-factly. It was a jest mixed with a low blow, but in the end she returned the smile and pulled Rachel into her, whispering in her ear, "I'm a fun person to be stuck to…and if you take me upstairs I'll show you."
"Carry me!" Tipping her head up, Rachel batted her eyelashes like a little girl and pouted her lips.
"Carry you? You should be – oh my God, Rachel! I'm gonna drop you, let go!"
Over the arm of the couch, Ava rolled her eyes as she watched her moms clumsily make their way towards the stairs. They were giggling like two kids when they finally disappeared from focus, making her smirk to herself; Ava Lopez always got what she wanted.
It was early morning when Santana rolled over onto her back, just before the sun was about to rise. It took a few moments for her to orient herself, and the feel of the sheets on her bare skin and a nose pressed to her neck soon had her remembering where she was – home. It was bittersweet like the taste of Rachel on her lips. The hardest part was yet to come, but she had faith that it could only get sweeter from there.
"Mmm…" Santana moaned her relaxation and contentment. "Yeah, I am."
"I guess it's time to talk then," Rachel said softly, while twirling a tendril of black hair through her fingers as she lay on her stomach. "But I have something I need you to hear before the actual conversation starts, before the yelling and the crying and everything else…"
Santana turned onto her side and placed her hand over Rachel's spine, tracing the bumps and grooves. "Go on…"
"I love you, truly I do –"
"I know that, I love you too," Santana whispered.
Rachel grinned and shuffled closer, snaking her hand beneath Santana's neck and pushing her onto her back again. "I know you know, but there's more," she said, laying her other hand on her chest.
"Oh," Santana said with a sheepish smile. "Okay…"
"Now, I don't want this to sound like an excuse, but everything I've done…I've done it for you and Ava." She hesitated and glanced away, her eyes gathering with moisture. "I threw myself into my work so that I could give you everything I knew you wanted in life, I just…I kind of messed up along the way. After I found my own dreams I wanted to give you yours. Am I making any sense?"
All along Santana had been regarding Rachel as some type of monster who had no consideration for her feelings. She wished now that she could have known better than that and that they could have waded through their problems before they became completely unmanageable. "You didn't have to do that though…"
"But I'm…or rather, I was your wife. Isn't that what I was supposed to do?" Rachel questioned, her tone uncertain. "I felt so bad about your career not taking off that I felt like I had to do something. I guess I was wrong."
"Listen to me," Santana tenderly demanded, taking Rachel's face in her hands. "I can't just forgive and forget some of the things that you did to me, but that doesn't mean I won't eventually. I think I understand what you're trying to tell me, but it's time to move on from that…it's time to try something new. Maybe like just being with me instead of trying to please me with everything you've accomplished."
Rachel moved to speak, but Santana interrupted with a quick after thought. "But I am proud of you for all your accomplishments, don't get me wrong. I'm so proud."
"Thanks, that kind of feels underserved though now." She bowed her head and the tears that had been threatening to spill rolled over her lashes.
"Hey, you said no yelling or crying yet," Santana teased.
"I can't help it…"
Placing a hand on the back of Rachel's head, Santana guided her cheek to her shoulder. "Shh," she murmured, calming her down like she had the night before. "This kind of sucks for both of us, huh?"
Rachel sniffled and nodded; she couldn't have agreed more. "I take back what I said about Ava not being yours. She is yours, frighteningly so."
"And I take back what I said about your publicity stunt pregnancy…"
"That was just stupid," Rachel pointed out.
"That wasn't stupid, you're stupid…"
"No, you are!"
"I can see this is getting off to a great start already…"