Disclaimer: I only borrowed these characters from the Fox show Glee. I obviously do not own them, because if I did then Santana Lopez would be able to freely kiss and serenade her girlfriend girlfriend anywhere she wanted and Brittany S. Pierce would speak candidly and often (except on the many occasions when her mouth was busy singing duets with or lip-locking with her girlfriend who is not a bad person or when she's eating shrimp Santana buys for her on their dates that are not held within the bathtub).
Further, I do not own the songs or their lyrics that are referenced within this story…therefore, no copyright infringement was intended. There are also references to both fictional and non-fictional locations, theatres, restaurants, and Broadway musicals as the backdrop for this story. Any references are filtered through my creative brain and memory and set forward several years into the future so please do not slaughter me if I alter something you know well.
Additionally, I make some medical references within this story. I do not profess to be any kind of expert on the topic. I only reference them as I remember from my own personal experience. If you desire more details then you can research these topics.
The rest of this story is mine so please do not use any part of it without my written permission. I've marked this for a mature audience, because it contains topics that mature adults encounter, including gratuitous sex and strong language. I hope you enjoy what I've written. I would really appreciate your constructive feedback. Thanks! Kim (mamatots)
Keep Me Where the Light Is (part 1)
Oh twice as much ain't twice as good
And can't sustain like one half could
It's wanting more
That's gonna send me to my knees…
(Gravity ~ John Mayer)
Friday, June 10, 2022
Brittany sprinted down the back corridor of the Gershwin Theatre, narrowly avoiding a collision with a garment rack full of colorful costumes being rolled along the low-lit passageway by a burly stagehand.
"Oh sorry!" she shouted over her shoulder to him as she rushed toward the exit door.
She pushed hard on the long metal handle, opening the heavy door and stepping out into bright sunlight.
The blonde chorus dancer heard her name shouted just as the door slammed shut behind her, leaving her no way to reopen it.
"Shit," she cursed, shifting her messenger bag and the large duffle bag she held from one hand to the other, searching the pockets of her knit dance pants for her phone.
She patted her hips without finding it then she squatted to rummage through her bag when the large door opened with a clang.
A slender guy in his late twenties with light brown hair said, "Your phone."
"Thanks, Austin," she reached up to take the cell phone from him, "I'm sooo late."
"You'll make it," Austin Royle said with faked-assurance but a supportive smile, "You've got twenty-six minutes."
"Twenty-six minutes to go seven blocks…crosstown," Brittany specified with skepticism, standing back up.
"You'll make it," Austin repeated, pulling her by her elbow as he ran the two of them up the sidewalk to the corner of 51st Street and 8thAvenue, "You just need a well-timed cab."
"There's no cab in Midtown that's going to stop at five o'clock on a Friday," Brittany groused, checking her watch to see that it was now 5:08 pm.
"They will if you do this," Austin assured her, stepping off the curb into the turn lane and jumping up and down, flailing his arms wildly.
"Austin…you look like a crazy person," Brittany shouted at her long-time friend.
"Then I fit right in with the rest of Manhattan," he joked as he was almost hit by a fast-rolling yellow cab which whizzed past the duo, "Damn cab drivers!"
Austin Royle as an adult was nothing like the timid, insecure high school boy Brittany met eleven years earlier at summer dance camp. This Austin Royle was confident and determined to get her to her 5:30 appointment.
"You're going to get yourself killed, and I don't have time for that," she said, pulling him back onto the curb by the sleeve of his lightweight cardigan, "Santana is already going to be so pissed at me."
He waived frantically at the next cab that was passing, shocked when its driver pulled over to the curb, stopping six feet ahead of them. "Aahh, it worked! Go go go," he screamed, pushing Brittany toward it as a tall man in a business suit came running from the other direction, "Oh no you don't…this cab's ours!"
"Fucking faggot," the young businessman grumbled as his path was assiduously cut off by Austin's faster reach for the passenger door handle, turning around in a huff.
"Happy Friday to you too!" Austin shouted undeterred, adding with a wave of his hand and a sarcastic grin, "Tell your boyfriend I said 'hi'…and 'you're welcome'."
The guy flipped them off but kept walking, never hanging up his cell phone call, and Brittany rolled her big blue eyes at her wonderfully-snarky friend.
"What? He looked familiar," Austin winked as he opened the back door for Brittany to slide in, handing her duffle bag to her, saying before he slammed the door shut, "Good luck to you guys…this time it's going to work!"
Brittany smiled and gave him a thumbs-up through the window as she said to the cab driver, "58th and Lexington…please hurry!"
She pulled out her phone as she watched them race past theatres and restaurants and tall office buildings, heading across Midtown Manhattan toward on Lexington Avenue. She checked her texts, finding a recent one from Santana that said: where are you?
Brittany glanced again at her watch.5:19 pm. Damn, she thought as she dialed Santana's phone.
The Latina answered after the first ring. "Please tell me you are on your way," she said dryly.
"I am on my way," Brittany responded as requested, trying to sound convincing as the cab driver made a left turn at the intersection of 54th and Madison. She took a big gulp of air, sending up a mental prayer to the God of Green Lights.
"Good…cause otherwise…I look pretty damn silly sitting here in this paper gown," Santana stated.
"I will be there…don't start without me," Brittany joked.
"I've gotta go…the doctor just walked in," Santana informed her, adding in an emphasized whisper, "Hurry!"
Brittany hung up the phone as their cab came to a screeching halt at Madison and 58th. Her driver honked at the stacked cars in front of them, none of them moving through the green light. Brittany craned her long neck, trying to see if there was any way their cab could make its turn onto 58th Street to get around whatever the problem was up ahead, before she looked back down at her watch.
"Can you go around them? Please? I've got six minutes to get there," she pleaded with her driver who was cursing at the traffic in a language she did not recognize.
The older man turned toward her and stated the obvious, "I can't go until they move."
The blonde nervously pulled her cash out of her messenger bag, ready to give it to the driver the moment they arrived at her destination. As more horns started honking in response and the traffic light turned red, Brittany tossed the money to the driver, saying, "Here…keep the change!"
She jumped out of the cab, throwing her bag over her head and moving it around to her back, and darted between two other stopped cars to reach the sidewalk on the other side of 58th Street, making a mad dash the rest of the way up the street until she reached a posh office building just past Lexington. Out of breath and breaking a sweat in the June heat, she opened the large glass door and moved quickly past a uniformed guard who sat behind an oval desk.
"Good afternoon," the young man said pleasantly to her as she passed him and walked toward the set of elevators along the lobby wall.
Brittany responded with a smile, stepping into the elevator that opened for her almost immediately and pushing a button for the fourth floor. She watched the floors light up above her head as she breathed heavily.
Swallowing hard, she caught her breath just as the door dinged and opened across from a door made of frosted glass. Etched on the door was DR. DEREK Q. LE, MD, HCLD
Brittany pulled open the door and walked up to the receptionist. The young Asian girl looked up and smiled in recognition, "She's in room three…to the left."
"Thanks," Brittany returned the smile and made her way to the exam rooms, stopping at the third door and knocking lightly.
The door opened, and a middle-aged Asian man told her with his accented-dialect, "Oh good…we're about to start."
Brittany walked into the brightly lit exam room, seeing Santana sitting on a beige, padded exam table dressed in a blue paper gown, her lower half covered in a blue paper drape.
The blonde smiled at the brunette who rolled her brown eyes at her. Brittany set her two bags near Santana's bag which was behind the chair that sat next to the exam table, attempting another smile toward Santana as she sat down and took her right hand into her own.
"Ok, Santana…timing looks right this month…try to relax, and I'll be right back," Dr. Le advised, adding in his awkwardly-comical fashion, "Don't go anywhere."
As soon as the door closed, Santana grumbled, "Good thing that joke never gets old."
Brittany leaned over and kissed Santana on the lips, "This is so exciting, honey."
"I'm just glad you made it," Santana emphasized, shifting uncomfortably on the table.
"Not even a late rehearsal and a traffic jam could keep me away…," Brittany joked good-naturedly, "…though it's not like I have much of a role here."
Santana frowned, "Well, you should at least be in the same room when we make a baby…don't you think?"
Brittany realized her humor was lost on her wife at this point in their fertility efforts. The couple had been jumping through all the necessary medical hoops for the past fifteen months with Santana taking all the prescribed medication and with them coming to all the required appointments just to get to the point of insemination today. Brittany knew the previous three attempts that were unsuccessful were probably the only thing in Santana's mind today.
"Hey…," Brittany put her arms around the brunette and squeezed her tightly, "…I've got an awesome feeling about this cycle."
"Yeah?" Santana looked up at Brittany, searching for reassurance that this time their effort and their emotional and monetary investment would pay off.
"Absolutely!" Brittany smiled brightly which instantly made Santana feel better.
There was a hard rap on the door right before it opened, and Dr. Le walked back in followed by his female assistant.
The assistant handed a clear vial to Santana, asking her, "Ms. Lopez-Pierce, if you'll confirm the information on this vial is yours."
Santana looked it over, checking that it had her name, birth date, and social security number typed on it before she handed it back to the older woman.
"All good?" the doctor asked for confirmation as he took it from his nurse.
"Yes," Santana replied, assuring that the vial of sperm from their anonymous donor was correctly matched to her medical information.
"Then Brittany…if you will hold on to this and keep it warm for us," Dr. Le handed her the vial as he always did as part of his gesture of participation.
Brittany held up the vial, looking at it curiously. It was still amazing to her that she and Santana paid $400 to a sperm bank in the Pacific Northwest for each vial of sperm. The blonde's nose wrinkled when she added up that this was their fourth vial used in the last fifteen months, totaling $1600 just in sperm alone. She was unsure how much of that amount actually went to the anonymous donor for his contribution, but she chuckled slightly at the thought that they now paid dearly for the same stuff that she and Santana used to throw out in condoms.
"What's funny?" Santana asked, looking over at her amused wife with a grimace.
Brittany cleared her throat, responding more seriously, "Nothing…sorry."
"Santana…move down to the end of the table please," Dr. Le requested as he lowered the top part of the exam table by a button on an attached remote, lowering Santana's head so she was flat. He then motioned for her to put her feet up into the examination stirrups.
Santana always hated this part of the procedure, grimacing toward Brittany as the doctor inserted a metal specula. Brittany squeezed Santana's hand and smiled sweetly, knowing the medical instrument was painful for her wife.
Once the doctor had her prepped and ready, he said, "Brittany…I'll take that from you."
The tall blonde leaned toward him and handed him the vial of sperm she'd been warming in her hand, sitting back down in the chair beside Santana and taking her hand again.
The couple watched Dr. Le as he walked over to the counter and opened the vial to extract the sperm with a long syringe then came back over to the exam table and slowly inserted it inside Santana to distribute its contents in the necessary location.
The whole procedure was over in minutes, and the doctor removed the specula before wheeling back on his little rolling stool and removing his latex gloves, tossing them into the silver trashcan near him.
"That should do it…now we wait," he said matter-of-factly, "Go home and try to recline as much as possible for the next few hours."
Santana and Brittany had heard this part before. They knew the next thing Dr. Le would say too.
"You can take an over-the-counter pregnancy test after fourteen days," he informed them for the fourth time.
The girls looked at each other, and Brittany smiled encouragingly though in the back of her mind she had the same doubts she saw on Santana's face. This IUI procedure had not resulted in pregnancy the previous three times, but they both remained hopeful that this time everything would align perfectly.
"So just hang out in here for the next thirty minutes then you can get dressed and head home," Dr. Le said with an enthusiastic smile then left the room with his assistant.
Brittany leaned over and kissed Santana sweetly on the lips, reminding her, "I love you."
Santana sighed heavily.
"Stop worrying," Brittany told her.
"I'm not…I'm optimistic," Santana tried to cover, forcing a smile but failing miserably, "See, this is my optimistic face."
Brittany laughed, "Uhuh…you look like you ate some bad curry."
Santana's face fell, losing all pretenses. "I just want this so much."
"I know, honey…I want it too," she assured her wife, "Just remember…anything worth having is worth waiting for."
"You sound like your dad."
"He would also tell you not to borrow worry," Brittany winked, "Forget about the times that haven't worked, and let's enjoy the hope that this time will work, ok?"
Santana took a deep breath, seeing enough hope in Brittany's blue eyes for the both of them. "Okay," she agreed with a less-forced smile.
The city streets were still full of activity when Brittany and Santana left Dr. Le's office at six thirty. They were grateful for the doctor's car service he provided for patients who had procedures done, though Santana could not help but feel rather silly when Brittany insisted she lay flat in the backseat on the ride home.
The driver sped quickly through the Midtown streets as he drove them down toward the lower part of Manhattan, merging and making turns, fighting the Friday night traffic. After being bounced around in the backseat for half the trip home, Santana tried to sit up.
"This is making me carsick," she said as she lowered her feet to the floor of the car and sat up.
Brittany instantly pulled her back down into her lap. "Honey, you heard the doctor," she insisted.
"Brittany…I'm going to throw up all over you and the back of this car."
The driver turned around to look at the girls as he came to a stop at a red light, a fearful look on his aged face.
"She's fine…no worries," Brittany smiled at the older, Middle Eastern man.
"No, I'm not," Santana pulled up again and buzzed down the passenger window, thankful for the night breeze.
Brittany sighed heavily and reached across the backseat of the spacious Town Car, rubbing the lower part of Santana's back. The rest of the car ride was silent until the driver pulled in front of a gray-bricked building on a relatively subdued side street off Bleeker in the West Village. Brittany reached over the front seat to tip the driver before pushing out of the car behind Santana.
The girls stepped up the four steps to the stoop of their apartment building, entering a code to unlock the front door then proceeding up six flights of stairs.
"Ugh," Santana complained as she reached the hallway in front of their apartment door, rubbing at the uncomfortable sensation in her pelvic area.
"Wait until you have to do those nine months pregnant," Brittany joked with a wink, pulling out her house key to unlock the door.
"I wish," she replied with a mope to her voice.
Brittany shut and locked both deadbolts on the inside of their door before setting down her bags and pulling Santana toward her, "Come here…hug me."
Santana put both arms around Brittany's waist, hugging her tightly. "I'm sorry…I'm know I'm being difficult."
Brittany laughed and hugged her back, "Oh sweetie, you are always difficult."
Santana gave her wife a playful frown, knowing Brittany was correct yet dismissing the notion, and asked, "Ok, what do you want for dinner?"
"No…you go lie down on the couch and put your feet up." Brittany turned the Latina around and patted her firmly on her backside. "Doctor's orders."
Santana huffed but walked away as instructed, stepping first toward their bedroom to change clothes. To say her and Brittany's bedroom was tiny would be an understatement. It would also incorrectly imply that it was an actual room rather than a double-sized bed wedged into a corner of their one-room apartment, barricaded only by a large, decorative drape. The lightweight throw, accented by colorful beadwork around its edges added the bohemian vibe Brittany loved so much, hung on a long white packing string that the girls secured on one wall to the one across from it.
The brunette kicked off her sneakers and opened the top drawer on an ornate chest-of-drawers near the foot of the bed that not only served as most of the storage for their clothing but also as the stand for their television. They had strategically placed the chest so they could watch TV from the bed or, after a quick turn of the set on top of the chest, they could view it from the living area as well.
Santana pulled out of the drawer a clean pair of cotton pants and a t-shirt then she quietly changed while Brittany busied herself along the far wall in a kitchenette with a small stove.
Even when the Latina moved inside their small bathroom that barely fit two people at once, she could hear the clanking of pans on the metal stove top as Brittany cooked.
As she exited, Santana saw Brittany slide a grilled cheese sandwich onto a plate, looking up to ask her, "Milk or juice?"
"Milk, I guess," Santana answered, walking over to the couch, leaning over it to raise their one window in order to let some of the summer heat escape from inside the small space.
Brittany poured a cup of white liquid, looking up to see Santana's efforts with pushing up on the window that always got stuck halfway up.
"Here, hon…let me get that…," Brittany walked over to her and set down the plate and cup on their small wooden coffee table, "…sit down, okay?"
Santana stretched out on the lumpy brown couch, feeling Brittany's body lean over her to push the window the rest of the way.
"There you go," the blonde handed her the sandwich, placing a kiss sweetly on her lips, pushing the coffee table a bit closer toward Santana so she could easily reach her cup.
"Thank you," Santana grabbed at Brittany's long arm before she stepped away, pulling her back down for another kiss.
The two of them had known each other their entire lives and dated since they were seventeen, but Brittany nevertheless marveled sometimes at how truly beautiful Santana was with her long, nearly-black hair and her dark, mysterious eyes. If eleven years and many life struggles had passed since they first declared themselves a couple, it certainly didn't show it on Santana's still-youthful face.
Brittany looked at a nearby clock to see that it was 7:16 pm. "Do you need anything else before I go?"
"You're working tonight?" Santana tried to clarify, unintentionally frowning.
"Yeah, remember? Frap needed someone to tend bar tonight."
"You don't work there anymore, Britt."
"I know hon…but tips are always good on the weekends there," the tall dancer said cautiously, knowing Santana wanted her to make a final break away from waiting tables and focus on her craft, "Making money is a good way to spend an evening, right?"
Brittany changed into her uniform as they spoke, raising her voice slightly when she went into the bathroom, brushing and pulling her long blonde hair up into a neat ponytail.
"So is cuddling on the couch and watching a movie," Santana said, taking a bite of her sandwich.
Brittany finished buttoning the last button on her red, cotton shirt then tucked it neatly into her tight, black shorts. She grabbed her black apron off the coat rack nailed to the wall then walked back over to the couch, sitting on its arm behind Santana.
"Your sandwich good?" she asked the brunette, hoping the topic of her tending bar that evening had faded.
"Yes…you still make awesome grilled cheese," Santana answered.
"How do you feel?" the blonde ran her hand gently down the back of Santana long, soft locks.
The Latina shrugged. "I'm fine, I guess."
Brittany took a deep breath, hearing a harsh edge to Santana voice. "I won't go if you need me to stay," Brittany assured her lovingly, leaning over to kiss the top of her wife's head.
"Just go…Frap needs you…and we need the money," Santana conceded, her voice softening, admittedly thankful that Brittany's former boss adored the blonde enough to squeeze her in anywhere that would fit with her rehearsal schedule for the new musical she was recently cast.
"I love you, Santana Lopez-Pierce," Brittany pulled the brunette back by her shoulders so she could lean over and kiss her tenderly.
Santana smiled up at her wife of nearly five years. Hearing those words still made her heart flutter. "I love you too, Brittany Lopez-Pierce."
Brittany kissed her once more before she stood, saying over her shoulder as she reached the door, "Don't wait up."
By the time Brittany walked four blocks north and through the front door of the Caliente Cab Co., it was 7:38 pm on Friday night.
As she walked, she wrapped the long strings of her black apron around her waist several times before tying them in front of her, passing through the front dining room toward the cantina set in the back of the restaurant. She waved to a dark-skinned girl she knew as Renee who was taking an order at a large table of NYU students.
"I said seven thirty!" a gruff voice said to her from behind the bar as Brittany approached it.
"I'm doing you a favor, Frap," Brittany said calmly, lifting a portion of the counter to walk under it and behind the cramped bar.
"Correction, dearie…I'm doing you a favor."
Bennett "Frap" Frappier sounded all business on most days, but the older man who owned Caliente was as whimsical as his long, snow-white ponytail and the red and yellow Taco Taxi he drove around Manhattan. Born into a wealthy southern family, Frap took the money he earned as a riverboat casino financer in Shreveport, Louisiana and made the move to New York City twelve years earlier, buying a failing West Village Mexican restaurant that was housed in an old, converted taxi company building.
Frap favored three things in life: good manners, abstract art, and younger men. The first thing he did when he reached the City was use his life savings to buy a SoHo art gallery and the renovated loft that sat above it. The second thing he did was go with a group of friends to the Caliente Cab Co., a lively restaurant and bar as eccentric as Frap that sat at the intersection of Bleeker and Seventh Street and for years had been popular with the locals and area college students. He instantly fell in love with the vibe of the place, and he did not leave Caliente that night until he negotiated a great deal from the owner who was more than glad to get out of the restaurant-owning business before his bad management skills ran it into the ground.
Frap gutted the place and turned it into the loud, neon world where Brittany worked on and off for the past eight years in between gigs as a chorus dancer in several Broadway musicals.
"Ok, take over then…," Frap told her, setting three short, clear glasses in front of her and handing her a silver drink shaker, "Three margaritas for table ten…two with salt, one without."
He passed behind her to exit from the bar.
Brittany finished mixing and shaking the green liquid that she poured over fresh ice in the glasses, moving them over to the side counter of the bar for pick up.
Renee walked up with a brown tray, saying loudly over the festive Mexican music in the background, "Hey, girl!"
"Hey," Brittany returned the greeting with a smile, practically yelling to be heard, "I thought you quit?"
"I thought you did too?" Renee laughed loudly with her signature bellow, setting two of the drinks onto her tray.
"Yeah well," Brittany shared in her laugh, setting the third one on the tray for her friend.
"I heard you got cast in a new show," Renee inquired with interest, being a dancer herself.
"The revival of Funny Girl," Brittany confirmed, elated that the show needed a last-minute replacement for an injured chorus member, "It opens at the Gershwin in two weeks."
"Good for you!" Renee encouraged, adding, "Isn't your wife's sister the lead in that?"
"Her 'dream role' she says," Brittany answered dramatically with a broad hand gesture in an affectionate imitation of Rachel Berry.
Renee laughed loudly again, having met Rachel when they both attended NYADA.
"Enough chit chat, ladies…," Frap instructed as he walked up to the counter with another drink order, "Get those over to table ten, Renee…before the ice melts…people aren't willing to pay fourteen dollars for water unless Jesus himself has walked across it."
"Yes, Frap," Renee winked good-naturedly at Brittany who smirked in return.
Frap was as hands-on as he was no-nonsense. Anytime Caliente got crazy busy like this night, Frap walked around the two, large dining rooms, getting a jumpstart on drink orders. His motto was always: the quicker with the liquor, the more bills in the till.
"Five frozen, Britt…two lime, two raspberry, one swirl…table eight," he read off the ticket in his hand, stepping back behind the bar to help pour the frozen drinks from the colorful margarita machines.
"Smile, Frap…it's a fantastic Friday!" Brittany playfully reminded him with a gentle nudge to the ribs.
Stopping to affectionately squeeze her shoulders, he grumbled in his lovely effeminate, southern drawl, "Uhuh…and just what makes this Friday any better than the rest?"
Brittany turned to smile ecstatically at him, answering, "Cause I'm pretty sure I got my wife pregnant today."
Author's note: I hope you guys enjoyed the inaugural chapter of the sequel to Her Smile Heals Me! This is going to be a wild ride so sit down, buckle up, and keep your hands inside the car at all times. ;)
PLEASE leave a review and let me know what you think. Those who reviewed HSHM know that they influenced the direction of that story so if you have thoughts, let me know them. I appreciate each one of you. Kim