a/n: hello! Sorry for the hiatus, personal life and things! But I am back to writing and I will update regularly. AND I did go back through all the previous chapters and edit. Nothing major has changed, it's still the same exact story, with the same concepts and events, but there are a few things you might notice if you were to reread it. It's not necessary that you do reread, but it might help to get you back into the flow of the story. It definitely helped me :) Anyways, enjoy! And thank you for your patience.

Chapter 12 : The Sponge

My eyes were closed and my forehead was pressed against the window. It felt good. Each time Santana would drive over road bumps, it would feel like a brain massage. I wanted this road trip to last forever. I liked riding in the car and I especially liked it when she drove. It meant I was able to sit close to her and I didn't have to worry about which lane I needed to be in for future turning.

But listening to the road was making me more tired than I already was. I kept nodding off and having to snap my eyes open. I had spent the last few hours of work trying to figure out what Santana was planning for my birthday surprise and I wore myself out. Also it was exhausting to have conflicting emotions. After Santana's skyscraper song, I was glad Quinn had come out of the stall and given me a hug, but she never talked to Santana and she left work early.

Santana did say my surprise was something I would like. I liked lots of things, but there were only a few things that I really, really, liked. Santana was one of those things. "What if we just had sex the whole time?" I startled myself when I spoke. I snapped my eyes open and pulled my head away from the window.

"You can sleep if you want," Santana said. Even though the car was dark, I could see her smiling. She had bright teeth.

"That's okay." I yawned. I didn't want to sleep. Doing this was new. I never went places with people. I never went on vacation. And I have never had someone take me somewhere for my birthday. My family and I would eat cake and ice cream when I was younger, but that was always at home.

I pulled out my phone and started to look through it. At first it was helping, but then the glow started to make my eyes feel fuzzy. So I put my phone away. And then I grabbed Santana's phone. Hers was way nicer and I had games saved on it that I needed to finish. But then I started to fall asleep again, so I decided to talk.

I yawned before I started. "I'm tired."

"We're almost there," Santana responded. She should yell, not whisper. Maybe talking wouldn't help keep me awake, because her voice sounded extra soft.

The road noises probably made her voice sound extra soft. Just like how bubbles are particularly soothing when they're in a bath. Or like how bubbles on a car make it look particularly clean. Or how bubbles on Santana make-. Stop. I shook my head to wake myself up. I was falling asleep again.

"Did you talk to Quinn today?" I blurted a bit too loud and then wished I hadn't. Not that it was a bad question, or one that I didn't want to ask, because I did want to ask Santana about Quinn. "She left work early." I just didn't want to feel like I had felt earlier and I definitely didn't want to make Santana feel that way either.

"I didn't talk to her."

"She liked your song." I rested my head back on the window. Quinn wouldn't have cried if she hadn't liked the song. "Do you think she's still upset about what I said?" I mumbled the last part.

"What was that?" Santana's voice sung through the car.

I lifted my head off the window. Why couldn't I stay awake? I wanted to. "I'm awake, I promise."

She laughed. "I'll wake you up when we get close."

"We should stop at a gas station and get candy and energy drinks," I said and started to look for a road sign that meant a gas station exit was coming. But there weren't road signs, only trees. Lots and lots of trees. They looked like Christmas trees. "I bet you're taking me to the North Pole, because it's on my bucket list."

When I looked at Santana she smirked and shrugged.

I closed my eyes.

xxxXXx

It felt like my brain was having a heart attack. It started to pound and pound and pound. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter, but it wasn't helping.

"Britt, we're almost there," I heard Santana's voice.

I didn't want to open my eyes. Ouchie. I shouldn't have tried to sleep on a window. Sleeping in cars was hard even if it felt like it should be easy. Also, I don't think I ever fell asleep, just kept getting close to it.

"Hey." Santana's hand squeezed my knee. She was gentle about it, because she thought I was still asleep. "Britt."

"Okay," I said and lifted my head from the window. It felt like it weighed a million pounds. Pound, pound, pound. I opened my eyes. There were still trees. I think we were in the same spot as before. Trees and trees and trees.

My stomach turned and growled. Not because it was hungry, but because it was empty. Or maybe I was hungry. I held my breath and waited for it to growl again. It did, super loud this time. I knew Santana heard it so I smiled before she looked over at me.

"Did you not eat at work?" She asked. And she looked upset.

"I wasn't hungry."

She nodded to herself. I could see her re-planning her plan. Each scrunch on her forehead counted for one point of stress and she had a million. I would have helped if it wasn't a secret from me.

"There's a store right up the road. We can stop there. Or there's some food at the cabin." She paused. She sounded anxious. "We can make something at the cabin. I have a lot of food there." She stopped. "Or the store? Whatever you want to do. Maybe the store would be better."

"Cabin?" I smiled. Wait…"Santana! You bought me a cabin?" I yelled so loud. She better not have bought me a cabin. That was way too big of a present.

"No," she laughed. "I didn't buy you a cabin. If I were to splurge and buy a cabin, it would also be mine." Her face fell. "I mean, that-," she glanced at me and then back at the road, "-just that it's expensive. Not that-." She swallowed the second half of her sentence and went back to driving.

She was definitely nervous about something. But it didn't last too much longer. Santana was good at knowing the parts of her she was showing people. She shook away her nerves and rolled her eyes. "I mean, yes. We live together now so sharing a cabin wouldn't be much different. In fact, it would put a healthy distance between Rachel-can't-help-but-stick-her-large-nose-in-everything Berry and me."

I smiled to myself. That would be way too long of a name. "I bet she has a hard time signing checks."

"Maybe she was right." Santana was talking to herself. "No. No." Santana rolled her eyes again. Now instead of looking anxious, she looked stressed.

"So you bought us a cabin?" I teased. I was trying to make her less worried and at the same time figure out what she was worried about.

She didn't hear me. And I didn't know I was pouting until she glanced at me and made the same exact face I was making. Only for a second though. "What was that? Sorry, Sweetie." She flicked her eyes back to the road and then back to me.

I liked when she called me names like that. It made me feel sweet. I think the only way to feel sweet was if someone told you to feel like that. One time she called me Honey and I kept imagining I was the honey inside of a beehive someone didn't remember was there, because when they saw the beehive they were too busy worrying about where the bees were at.

The car slowed down and the road got brighter. We were pulling into a parking lot. There was only one other car and lots of gas pumps. It would look creepy if it weren't for the giant cartoon donut stickers all over the store windows.

After Santana parked, she made a weird face at the donut stickers, but didn't comment on them. She shut the car off and turned to me. "We can pick up some things here."

I nodded and she shoved her keys in her purse. When I got out of the car, my legs felt sleepy. They didn't want to walk. They wanted to lie in a comfy bed and not move for a long time.

"Oomph," I grunted as I pushed the store's door open. It was heavy. Probably so people trying to rob had a hard time running away.

I had no clue what to get. I walked around with Santana for a few minutes looking at things with her and then I got distracted by the sodas. She got ice and I got a huge bag full of tasty treats. I wasn't sure what I was hungry for and I had more than enough tip money from tonight.

Santana said the cabin was only a couple of minutes away so I waited to open my food. The road to it was gravel, then dirt, and then there was a gate where Santana had to get out and put in a code. It opened and she drove towards a cute little house. It wasn't a cabin.

"Is that it?" I asked. It was way nicer than a cabin. It was way nicer than my house. I mean my dad's house.

"It's my father's cabin. We used to come out here for family reunions. Now it's been empty for months. He hires someone to come out here and tend to it every other weekend."

I wished I could see better, but it was so dark. The only light was from our car's headlights and the porch light hanging above the front door. And then the headlights turned off and the inside of the car lit up.

"This is cool," I picked up my bag of food from the floor. "Can we look around?" This was the last thing I had expected. Before she said cabin, I kept thinking my surprise was something crazy from my bucket list. The other day I had caught her looking at it. But after she said cabin, I thought we were going to a cabin. Not a house with a gate and other house parts.

From the look on Santana's face, she thought that was a horrible idea. "It's dark." She glanced around. "We can if you want, but we won't be able to see anything." She was trying to play it cool. It was cute.

"Your phone has a flashlight thing, right?" I asked. But now that I was thinking about it, she was right. It was dark. I did want to see her be brave though...

"Oh, uh-," she looked at her purse, "yeah. It does have a light."

"Then we should look around!" I smiled and at the same time tried to hide a teasing-smile. "It'd be fun."

She nodded. "Okay." She opened her door. "We can do that." She reached for the bag of ice in the back seat and climbed out of the car. "Hurry up inside though. I'm not sure if the neighbors tied up their dogs."

Dogs? "Hurry? Are they mean?" I asked the second I had climbed out of the car. I shut my door. She was already walking, fast, towards the house. I didn't like dogs. They were cute, but they also had sharp teeth. I guess cats had sharp teeth too, but dogs were bigger. "Santana?" I don't think she had heard me. "Why would he let them walk around without leashes?"

"He doesn't know we're here." She didn't turn to look at me.

"Can you call him about it?" I asked. She was already unlocking the front door as I ran up the porch steps. "That's really dangerous." Dogs bit and got hit by cars when they ran free. Especially the dogs in my old neighborhood. They used to get mad when I would walk by their house.

The door opened and she let me go in first. There was a lamp on a small table by the door, so I turned it on. The house was cute and so clean. It was like a miniature version of her parent's house. There was a fireplace, little couches, and TV stands with flower pots on top of them.

She shut the door. "The bedroom is this way."

I followed her. The room was tiny. Cozy. There was just a bed, a window, an old dresser and that was it. The walls were made of wood, so I guess it was kind of like a cabin. Santana flicked the light switch on and it turned on a lamp.

I sat on the bed and set my bag of food next to me. Sitting reminded me that I was tired. I hope Santana didn't think I was serious about looking around. I would much rather snuggle in bed. Besides, we couldn't look around anyways if there were stray dogs roaming.

Santana looked more tired than I did. She probably shouldn't have driven.

She started to leave. "Wait, where are you going?" I was half worried she was going outside and half worried she was going to sleep in a different room.

"Putting the ice in the fridge." She held up the bag and then turned and left.

I laid back on the bed and closed my eyes. It was soft. The sheets were red, which made me feel like I was lying on a bean bag, because Hailey used to have one that color. When we were little she would bring it in my room and sleep on it next to my bed.

My stomach rumbled so I blindly reached for my bag. I dug through it until I found the donut I bought and then I started to eat it. But then I had to lie on my side and eat it, because lying on your back and trying to swallow food was the best way to choke.

xxXXXxxx

I woke up. It was dark and I had to use the bathroom. But I didn't know where the light was. I wasn't even in my room. Where was I? No. I knew where I was. Where was Santana? "Santana…" I whispered her name.

I reached around for her. She was close and so I rested my hand her back.

"Hmm." She shifted, but didn't wake up.

I scooted as close to her as I could. Maybe having to pee would go away.

She was warm and definitely still sleeping. I started to play with her hair. She always slept with her hair down. I liked when she would braid my hair or let me braid hers at night.

I still had to pee. "Santana," I whispered again.

She wasn't going to wake up, but I could find the bathroom. It wouldn't be hard. I didn't need to wake her up. So I scooted away from her. Careful not to move the bed too much. And I moved extra slow, because I wasn't sure where things were. The only way I was able to find the door was because there was light coming in from the living room.

I squeezed out the door and clicked it shut behind me. The lamp was on and it was still dark outside. The cabin was one huge open room. The living room, the kitchen, and a few doors around the living room. My bag of food was sitting on the kitchen table and other than that, it was spotless.

The first door I tried was the bathroom. I switched the light on. There was donut frosting all over my cheek. I washed it off and then brushed my teeth with my toothbrush. Santana must have unpacked our stuff from the car.

When I left the bathroom I saw a present on the couch. It was a pink box. Seeing it made my heart flip, because I wanted to know what it was. Right now. But I also wanted to wait for Santana to give it to me. I peeked at it one more time and then I snuck back into the room and snuggled up to her.

XXxxxx

"I can't do it." Santana pulled her foot out from the boat and then walked a few steps away. But she returned. "I can't."

"Yes you can." I reached my hand out. "I promise it's easy."

She started to reach for my hand, rethought what that would mean, and then snapped her hand away and shook her head. "No. I can't. What if it tips over?" She looked so pained as she said that.

"It won't." I kept my hand out for her. "And even if it does we're in the shallow part and nothing will happen."

She wasn't convinced.

"What if I got out and let you get in first? I could hold the boat for you?"

She was almost convinced.

So I got out of the boat. My shoes were soaked, but that was okay because they were old tennis shoes. My feet sunk into the mud, but it was easy to pull them out. I dragged the boat closer for her and then held my hand out once more.

"You're not holding the boat." She didn't move.

I inched further into the water, until it went up to my knees. I grabbed the boat with one hand and reached for her with the other. "It won't move, I promise."

She took tiny, tiny, steps. She grabbed my hand before she stepped into the water. "Do I stand by you when I get in? Or get in at the shallow part?" She looked so torn.

I smiled to comfort her. "Wherever you want."

"Which is better?"

"If you don't want to get in the boat we don't have to." I squeezed her hand. "We can do something else."

She shook her head. "But you want to?"

I shrugged. "Not if you think it's scary."

She took a moment to decide. "It's safe, right?"

"It should be. As long as there aren't any alligators." I grinned.

She wasn't amused. I squeezed her hand. "It will be fine. You'll like it."

Finally she was convinced. She scooted her feet through the mud until she was standing next to me. At first she let go of my hand and then grabbed my arm. And then she let go of my arm and then grabbed the boat. And then she grabbed my arm again.

It was hard not to smile at her. It wasn't often she was like this. Usually she tried to be in control of her nerves, like last night, but now she was okay with being scared.

The boat didn't even move when she climbed in. I think she was a bit disappointed at it not being as dramatic as she thought it would be. She sat down and squeezed the boat-bench with her hands and waited for me.

I pulled and started to move the boat out to the deeper water.

"Brittany! No. Wait. What are you doing?" She was yelling.

I stopped. "I have to move it off the shore or we won't float."

She was shaking her head, no. "You have to get in first."

"Okay." I stopped moving the boat and then climbed in. She didn't like it. It rocked, a lot. She held her breath and her knuckles were white from squeezing. But then it stopped rocking and she let out her breath. "Are you okay?" I asked after I had settled.

She nodded.

"Are you sure you want to be on the boat?" I sat up. I was going to get back out.

She stopped me. "It's okay. We can. Just, don't let it tip over."

"Okay."

I used the little oar to move us into the middle of the lake. This had been her idea. She showed me the boat and then asked if I wanted to try it out. Of course I did. I had never been on a boat. So we dragged it all the way from the shed and then put it in the water. That's when she had started second guessing.

We made it to the middle of the lake, safely. I put the oar by my feet and then rested back on my elbows. It wasn't comfortable. But I didn't want to move the boat too much and scare her. "Ow." I eventually picked up my elbow and sat up.

"This isn't too bad," Santana said. She reached into the water and touched it with her fingertips. "Do you think there are fish in here?"

I had no clue. "Maybe." I mimicked her and reached into the water too. It was cold. The water near the shore hadn't been nearly this chilly. No wonder she was so worried about falling in.

She pulled her hand from the water and that's when I felt little tiny stings of water hit my face. "Santana!" I gasped and stiffened.

I was so tempted to splash a big wave at her, but the water was icky. I didn't want to get her dress dirty. So instead I bounced and made the boat move.

She screamed.

I stopped.

But then she laughed.

"Sorry," I still apologized. I hadn't meant to make her scream.

She was trying to look angry, but kept smiling.

We sat for a few minutes. She was making sure the boat wasn't going to move anymore and I was waiting for her to remember we were safe from the water.

"You can sit over here," I offered. The little bench I was sitting on was too small for the both of us though. I looked around, trying to figure out how she could fit next to me.

She must have figured it out, because she started to move towards me. And right away I could tell she wanted to go back to her bench. She was careful and the boat hardly moved, but her knees were shaking. Not that the boat would move much if she were to jump around, because she was small. Most people probably didn't notice how small she was, because they didn't get the chance to hold her hand or curl up next to her in a bed or have to lean down to kiss her.

One more step, she turned, and sat on the floor of the boat with her back to me. I lifted my feet to rest on the bench she had just been sitting on and she nestled further between my legs.

"Cute," I said it out loud. It was either cute or yay you made it and boat cuddling was way too cute not to say something.

With her so close I could smell her shampoo. And I could braid her hair like I had wanted to do last night. But her hair was so pretty and curled. I bet that was also why she was scared of falling in. She had spent forever getting extra pretty this morning. Besides old tennis shoes, she wasn't wearing adventure-through-the-woods friendly clothing.

I was about to start massaging her shoulders when she rested even further back into me.

"Want a massage?" I asked. I liked touching her and I knew she liked being touched. Sometimes at night time she would put her hand on my stomach and I would massage it. Or if we were sitting by each other at home she would cross her legs over my lap. And she always let me play with her rings, while they were still on her hands.

"Sure," she answered, but rested even further into me.

So I ran my hands over her chest.

I think I surprised her, because her breathing hitched. But she didn't move away. When I leaned over her, I saw her eyes were closed. Closed eyes were a good thing.

I put my hands back on her boobs and started to massage. It wasn't just her boobs though. I rubbed around her collarbone, her arms. I even leaned and reached for her hips a few times.

At first I was gentle, but now her body was warmed up and so I rubbed harder.

We weren't saying anything. I was too busy touching. I hadn't ever touched her boobs for this long.

My favorite part was when I would have to lean into her to reach for her hips or her thighs. Because then I was extra close when I went back to touching her chest.

"Can you take your jacket off?" I whispered into her hair. I didn't need to whisper. We were the only ones out here. But I did anyway.

She took it off and leaned back between my legs. I slid my hands down the top of her dress.

Her boobs fell out of her bra and her dress rolled down. My palms rolled over her nipples.

Whoa, I mouthed to myself. My thighs wanted to pinch together, but she was in between them. So they squeezed her instead.

I moved my hands so I could feel her nipples again. They weren't even close to being as soft as the rest of her skin.

I squeezed and massaged her chest. Hard. I could tell she liked it, because her hands kept hovering over her lap. And when they did rest on her lap they kept fidgeting. When she liked something she never knew where to put her hands and when I liked something I always wanted to put my hands in between my legs.

"Slow down Britt," she hummed after I had rocked into her back. I liked the way it made me feel down there and I had pushed longer and harder than I had meant to.

"Okay." I clenched between my legs and stopped grinding into her. Did I need to slow down completely? I should stop. I pulled my hands away and left her chest naked. I didn't want to do that, so I quickly moved my hand back to help her into her bra. It was a strapless one so it was easy. She pulled her dress back up and I helped her into her jacket.

My heart was racing. I was still turned on. But I had forgotten private things like this were for private.

Santana scooted back over to her side of the boat. She looked ruffled and she kept looking around. I looked around too, but nobody was here.

"Does the neighbor live over here? The one with the dogs?"

She was confused. What neighbor? Her face said it all. "Oh." She smiled and then relaxed. "No, no." She reached for my hand and I gave it to her. "We can finish this later. I just don't want any alligators creepin' on us."

I laughed. She didn't look as freaked out anymore so I relaxed along with her. I really had forgotten other people could see us. And I knew that was a crazy thing to forget, especially with what had happened yesterday.

"Do you know what time it is?" She asked.

I checked my phone. She had left her phone in the cabin since she had no pockets.

"It's almost five." That surprised me. We had been outside for a long time.

"We should go back and make dinner," she said.

She was cooking this time. I would help her stir things if she asked though. I picked up the little oar and started to move us back towards land.

"There's no neighbor, is there?" I narrowed my eyes at her. "And no dogs."

She held in her reaction and shook her head, no.

"Cheating," I mumbled.

"I'm sorry." She really did look sorry. But she didn't need to be. The pretend neighbor was something I should have realized way sooner. "I'll make it up to you." She ran her eyes over me, and then glanced at her boobs. "I'll let you play with my boobs as long as you want."

My cheeks instantly heated up. They got so hot. It was almost too hot to be called blushing. "You have to play with mine." I pouted and tried to push away some of the heat from my face, but it didn't work as well as I hoped.

She looked surprised I had suggested that. Now I knew for sure that she knew I liked to touch her the most. "After I give you your birthday present. Before." She paused to think. "During." She stopped talking.

When we got to the shore I climbed out first and pulled her and the boat closer. The cold water felt good and that's when I decided the real meaning behind people saying they needed a cold shower. It was hard to think about anything when water was so cold.

I helped her out. She wrapped her arms over my shoulders and hugged me until she was safe on the ground. We pulled the boat out of the water, but then Santana said to leave it for now. She grabbed my hand and we started to walk back to the cabin.

The entire way there Santana was quiet and walked fast. I kept an eye out for people who might have seen me touching her boobs, but there was nobody. There was only her car in the driveway, the gate was shut and no matter how much I looked I couldn't find another house. Not even cars drove by. So then I just figured she would feel better inside, because there were walls in between her boobs and other people's potential eyes.

We took our shoes off on the porch. Santana tried to get the mud off from around her ankles, but I had way too much mud all over my legs to even begin trying. I waited for her and when she finished I followed her inside.

My heart leapt out of my chest. There were people in here. At first I thought they were the neighbors, but then they yelled surprise and I saw Mercedes. I saw everyone. Also I screamed. It was a shocked scream that ended with being excited. Not the type of scream Santana did in the boat when she thought I was going to tip us over.

There were balloons, party hats, things hanging from the ceiling. People had those plastic mouth things that you blew in to and they unrolled like a tongue and made birthday-noises. Puck had two hats that looked like horns. Sam was holding a hat that he put onto my head after he walked over.

"Happy birthday little sugar bee!" He picked me up into a huge hug and spun me once. I kept waiting for him to sting me, but he never did.

Rachel gave me a hug next and then Mercedes. Puck gave me a beer. It wasn't opened yet so I held onto it.

I said hi to so many people. Even Mike, Tina's boyfriend, was here.

There was food on the kitchen table, beer and alcohol bottles spread on the counter, presents on the floor underneath the table. But I think my favorite thing was the streamers hanging from the ceiling. They made it look like it was raining pink.

Rachel was talking to me now. Santana was in the kitchen with the guys. I hadn't hugged her yet and I was excited to do that.

"You should try one of the hors d'oeuvres I brought. They're amazing. I spent all morning preparing them. My dads gave me the recipe after one of their business trips to Italy. You like dates, right? Of course you do."

Dates? As in raisins?

She kept explaining. "They're easy to make." I felt my eyes widen as she started to explain. Sometimes she talked too fast and maybe if my eyes were wider I would be able to catch more of what she was saying. "-the dates have to be cooked on a low heat-." I nodded. Over her shoulder I could see Finn peeking at us. "You will not believe what they are charging for pine nuts!" She yelled that part.

"What are pine nuts?" I asked.

But I spoke under her, because she was still talking. She kept explaining the food. I was lost and I was too distracted by everything and everyone.

"Finn is here," I said. I was quick so she could hear in between her sentences. "Did you talk to him yet?"

Her lack of response meant no.

"You should go say hi!" I encouraged her. And then I lowered my voice. "He keeps looking over here."

She shook her head. It was sophisticated. "I'm here for you, for your birthday, to celebrate, to have a good time. None of those things will happen if I spend even a second of my time speaking with him."

"Why not?"

She didn't have an answer.

"You should say hi to him, if you want to."

She looked over her shoulder, at the kitchen, and then back to me. "Did you open any presents yet?"

I shook my head.

"There you are!" Tina walked over and nudged me. I had already given her a hug and she had already said happy birthday, but that was okay. I liked Tina. I liked everyone here. She turned to Rachel. "Mercedes is asking for you in the kitchen."

"Is she mixing the punch?" Rachel panicked. "I specifically told her I would help her when she was ready." And the she darted off.

Rachel was particular about cooking things. She should be a chef.

"Here." Tina handed me two tickets.

I took them. Tickets for what?

She talked while I was reading them.

"Quinn asked me to give these to you. She couldn't make it," Tina explained.

They were tickets for Cedar Point, the dinosaur park. Why would she want to give them to me now? I was going to see her tomorrow at the house and later in the week at work. "Is she here?"

I knew she wasn't here. Tina wouldn't be giving these to me if Quinn was here.

Tina only gave me an apologetic smile.

"I'll be right back," I said and pulled my phone out of my pocket.

I went outside and I called her. But she wasn't answering. Her voicemail picked up and I hung up. I wasn't prepared to leave a voicemail. Hey, where are you? I could say that. I could just tell her to come out to the cabin. I dialed her number one more time.

But she picked up.

It startled me.

"Hello," she said.

"Hi," I responded. Now what? I was prepared for talking to a voicemail not her. "Where are you?" I said the only thing I knew to say.

"Home." She seemed fine. But some people were good at talking on the phone, because they couldn't be seen.

"Can you come to my party?" I wanted her to come. I didn't want her to be home alone. She would have fun here.

She didn't answer for the longest time. "-Okay."

Really? My entire body bounced with excitement. "Okay! Everyone is here. Even people I don't know. I think they're friends with Puck. But there is tons of food and beer. And there are spare bedrooms. You can have one if you want? Rachel made these pine raisins and she's making punch right now. It should only take you an hour to get out here, right? I'm not sure. I fell asleep on the way. Do you know where it is or should I ask Santana for directions?"

"I know where it is."

"Okay!" I yelled. The front door opened behind me and I turned to see who it was. Puck walked out on the porch. "I'll save you food. Everyone just got here so you have plenty of time to show up."

"Who's that?" Puck nodded at my phone. He lit a cigarette.

"Quinn," I answered.

"Tell her to park down the road after that stop sign. She'll see our cars." He inhaled smoke and then breathed it out away from me.

I went back to talking to Quinn. "Puck said to park after the stop sign by everyone else."

"Okay."

"See you soon!"

"Bye."

I hung up the phone. Puck held his cigarette out to me.

"Oh, no thank you." I waved at it. "I don't smoke."

He pulled the cigarette back to his lips, inhaled more, and then shook his head. "Nah, it's not a cigarette." He breathed the smoke towards me. That's when I smelled weed. "I was running low on cash so I mixed the rest of my weed with the tobacco in my cigarettes. It makes both last twice as long."

I eyed the cigarette. He held it out to me again.

"I'm not sure I want to get high." It hadn't been bad last time, but I kept thinking about when Quinn had called him immature for getting me high. If she was coming, I didn't want her to think anything bad. I wanted her to have fun.

"Pfft." He held it even further towards me. "Half of its tobacco. You won't get high. Buzzed. Maybe not even that. Besides it's your birthday. Live it up!"

I took it. Being buzzed was fine. And I wanted to do it. It was fun.

Music turned on from inside the cabin. Soft at first and then louder. Good. I liked music. I was going to suggest it earlier but I kept forgetting and hugging people instead.

"Do you want me to open that?" Puck asked and reached for the beer in my hand. I had forgotten about it. He took it, opened it, and then handed it back.

Instead of drinking, I smoked. I hadn't decided about drinking yet. Drinking felt weird, but I think it was just because I was thinking about it, not because it was bad.

I handed Puck the cigarette so he could take a turn smoking. Also it was harder to smoke that. Tobacco plus weed tasted weird.

"Thanks," he said and took it. He put it in his mouth. "So, what's going on with you and Santana?"

Oh my God. Did he see us on the lake? I didn't answer. I took a drink of my beer. "Hm?" I asked with a full mouth of warm beer. Gross. It was hard to swallow and impossible not to gag.

"It is what it is. I'm just curious." He shrugged one shoulder and took the cigarette out of his mouth. "I was snooping through the rooms earlier, because Santana sometimes has these expensive cigars and I was wanting to mix them with the weed 'cause I figured, hell," he let out a breath of smoke, "those expensive ass cigars and my cheap ass weed. That'd be way better than these," he nodded to the cigarette in his hand and handed it to me.

I nodded with him and drank more beer. And then I smoked the weed-cigarette.

"So I was snooping and I found a present she was going to give you. It was unwrapped though and hidden in her bag and the card was crumpled up and stuff." He took the cigarette back from me. I felt like I shouldn't be hearing this. She hadn't given me the present yet. "But whatever, I think it's hot."

"The present is hot?" I shouldn't have said anything. I wanted to take what I asked back. I had meant to change the subject, not continue it.

He nodded because his mouth was full of weed-cigarette smoke. "That too. But no. You and her. Together."

I looked at the front door. I wished there was a window in it so I could see inside. I wanted Santana to be out here too. I wanted to know what she thought about this and how she would react to him knowing stuff, because I wasn't sure. I knew what he had said. I just wasn't able to make a decision.

"But like I said, it is what it is. I'm just curious." He dropped the butt of the cigarette and stomped on it with his foot.

He was going to leave it, so I picked it up. I wasn't sure if her dad would come here some time and see it before a bird picked it up and used it as a chimney in its nest. I smiled to myself. And then I glared at Puck because he said I would only get buzzed.

"Okay," I answered him. It was okay? Of course it was okay. He thought it was okay. So, okay. "Cool."

He slung his arm over my shoulders and pulled me inside with him.

XxxxxXxxXxXX

There are three kinds of givers - the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness.