Keep Me Where the Light Is (part 20)

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok

I just want to be ok today,

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok

I just want to be ok today…

I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today

I just want to feel something today,

I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today

I just want to feel something today…

Open me up and you will see

I'm a gallery of broken hearts

I'm beyond repair, let me be,

And give me back my broken parts…

I just want to know today, know today, know today

I just want to know something today,

I just want to know today, know today, know today

Know that maybe I will be ok...

Open me up and you will see

I'm a gallery of broken hearts

I'm beyond repair, let me be,

And give me back my broken parts…

Just give me back my pieces

Just give them back to me please

Just give me back my pieces,

And let me hold my broken parts…

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok

I just want to be ok today,

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok

I just want to be ok today…

I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today

I just want to feel something today

I just want to know today, know today, know today

Know that maybe I will be ok….

(Be OK ~ Ingrid Michaelson)

Monday, October 31, 2022
9:45 AM

Brittany Pierce felt a hand brush softly down the side of her face. She involuntarily yawned as her blue eyes fluttered open, taking a moment to adjust to the sunlit bedroom.

She smiled when the same hand continued down the length of her arm, lovingly lingering along the exposed skin under her short sleeve, caressing gently.

The blonde heard a familiar voice say, "Good morning, Britt. I made breakfast."

She took a deep breath, smelling a mixture of coffee and pancakes in the air. Her stomach rumbled, and when she swallowed, she could nearly taste maple syrup, asking, "Do I smell…bacon too?"

"Crispy, just how you like it," the voice purred with satisfaction.

Brittany turned further into another caress down her cheek, savoring the familiar touch. "I'm so hungry…especially after last night," the blonde dancer winked playfully as a memory of sex passed through her.

There was a small, knowing chuckle from the person sitting on the edge of the bed, "I bet so. Let me go make you a plate. Meet me in the kitchen?"

Brittany gave a sleepy nod and smiled again. Her smile was broader this time when she felt a solid kiss on her lips as the bed moved under her from the weight of the person standing to leave the room.

"Hey," Brittany called out, not ready for the intimacy to come to an end.

"Yeah?" the person turned around, a strand of dark hair falling enough to cover one eye.

The dark hair was as recognizable to Brittany as the dark brown eye it covered, causing a tug at her heart and a warm tear to appear. She swallowed before saying, "I love you, Santana."

"I love you too," Santana said sweetly before disappearing beyond the doorway.

A loud buzzing broke through Brittany's warm sensation, and she reached out an automatic hand to shut off her alarm. She rolled over onto her back and opened her eyes widely, seeing nothing but daylight and a blank, white ceiling.

Brittany let out a long breath and pulled the bed covers up over her, the room suddenly very cold. As she lay there, she could smell coffee and breakfast in the air, and her stomach rumbled.

Her dream had been so vivid, similar to the dozens of other dreams she had recently of her wife. This time was stronger though…it was as if Santana had truly been sitting next to her, touching her, kissing her. Brittany could still feel the Latina's presence in the room.

The blonde sat up, tears forming, and she bit at her bottom lip to keep them from escaping. She reached for her cell phone on the bedside table, cradling the phone in her palm and contemplating whether she should make a call to her wife.

"Santana," Brittany said aloud to nobody. She sighed and set the phone back on the nightstand.

After a quick trip to the bathroom which was located across from the guest room, Brittany walked the length of the hallway, following the pungent smells around the corner and into the spacious kitchen where she found Dominic Serra pouring a cup of coffee.

"Good morning," Brittany said softly, her arms wrapped around her torso in an attempt to privately comfort herself.

"Ahh, there you are!" Dominic responded cheerfully, setting the black coffee mug onto a tray, "I was just about to bring your breakfast to you."

"Dom, stop. You've done too much for me already," Brittany stated shyly, never a fan of doting...unless it was from Santana. She sat on one of the three bar stools and looked over at the tray, "Are those pumpkin pancakes?"

"Jack-O-Lanterns to be precise," the handsome Italian laughed, "Happy Halloween!"

Brittany seemed suspended in thought then said, "Oh right…Happy Halloween to you."

"Do you have your costume picked out?" he made conversation as he walked to the refrigerator and pulled out a carton of cream for the coffee.

"What?" Brittany asked, confused.

"You mentioned going to a friend's costume party tonight," Dominic recalled.

"I said I may go to a friend's party," Brittany dropped a sugar cube into her coffee then poured a small amount of creamer, stirring while responding, "I don't think I'm going now."

"Are you afraid Santana will be there?" the choreographer asked with a hint of hesitation, remembering that Brittany mentioned it was a party the couple attended together each year.

Santana. The mention of her wife's name made the blonde shiver again.

"No," Brittany paused, "No, she won't be there." She had not heard any confirmation from Rachel, but she knew Santana well enough to know she would not be there. Not alone, and definitely not after what happened with Quinn at the dinner party.

Dominic pulled a plate out of his warming drawer, uncovering it to reveal a pile of crispy bacon, asking, "One slice or two?"

"Mmmm, I love bacon," Brittany smiled.

It was the first genuine smile the older choreographer could remember seeing on the young dancer's face in the entire time she had been staying with him. "So three slices?" he joked, adding a third slice to her breakfast plate and setting it in front of her.

She picked up a thick slice and took a bite. "Yum. This was very sweet of you, Dom," she said with an even bigger smile.

"You know, Brittany…you are even more beautiful when you smile," he stated candidly, "Your whole face lights up."

Brittany blushed at the compliment, and she lifted her mug to her mouth to shield herself, telling him, "Thank you."

Dominic Serra could not keep himself from staring at the attractive blonde in front of him, returning the smile, he added, "I wish you'd smile more often."

10:27 AM

Santana Lopez paused momentarily to look up at the street sign before hurrying across a busy intersection.

"Sorry," she said automatically when she squeezed between two pedestrians in front of her, switching her cell phone from her right hand to her left.

"It's 10:29. You should be walking in the building right now," her talent agent told her with exasperation.

"Adrian…relax ," she replied, sounding slightly out of breath, "I'm only half a block away."

"You're late!" he raised his voice.

"Well, maybe next time, you should give me more than forty-five minutes notice," she reminded.

"The other girl didn't show up. That's the only reason you're getting this audition," Adrian Locke stated bluntly.

"The only reason?" Santana frowned, pulling open the heavy door that led inside a run-down theatre in lower Manhattan.

Santana stopped long enough to show the name Ted Browning she had written on a piece of white paper to a uniformed security guard who stood in the theatre's lobby. He pointed toward a nearby elevator and told her, "Third floor, take a right, knock on the door at the end of the hallway."

The beautiful brunette moved quickly toward the ornate elevator which had seen its better days decades ago then pushed on the top button. The elevator opened immediately.

"Listen, I told them you're Latina, you can carry a tune, and you'd be there by 10:30. That's why they agreed to see you."

Santana retorted as she stepped inside the elevator, "Geez, Adrian, thanks for advocating on my behalf. I'll be sure to send you a fruitcake this Christmas."

"I'm Jewish," he replied flatly.

"Yeah well…shalom," Santana rolled her eyes as the elevator dinged its arrival on the upper floor, "Ok, gotta go."

"Oh, Santana!" Adrian yelled to catch her before she could hang up.

"Yeah?" the Latina responded, pausing in front of the last door.

"If they ask…," he instructed, "…you can juggle."

Santana grimaced, replying, "…but I can't."

Without hesitation, Adrian insisted, "You'll learn."

Santana turned off her phone and slid it down inside her over-sized shoulder bag. She straightened her pants and her jacket and took a deep breath before knocking on the closed wooden door.

A heavyset man opened it quickly. He was dressed in navy slacks, a striped dress shirt, and a necktie that was an awful color of pea green and tied so unevenly that the back section hung much lower than the front.

"You Adrian's girl?" he asked gruffly, wiping cream cheese from the corner of his mouth with a cloth handkerchief.

"Yes. Santana Lopez-Pierce," the young girl stated, trying to sound confident.

"Yeah yeah, come in," he said, turning and walking back to the table where an older man with thinning, white hair sat in a metal folding chair next to a middle-aged woman who wore enough makeup to cover the faces of an entire chorus line.

Santana stepped out of the doorway and inside the room, setting down her bag and taking off her jacket. She then moved toward the table and handed them a headshot, saying, "Hi…thank you very much for seeing me today."

"Do you have something prepared?" the woman asked, turning the picture over and skimming Santana's resume.

"Do you want me to sing something?" the Latina asked, looking around the room but not seeing a piano, adding, "Or would you prefer a monologue?"

"We want to see you dance," the older man prompted.

"Dance?" Santana swallowed hard. She did not typically audition for chorus work, because she was not a trained dancer like Brittany.

"Yeah, dance," the overweight man repeated, chewing a large bite of bagel, crumbs falling from his mouth as he spoke, "Didn't Adrian tell you that?"

"No. He didn't tell me much about your production at all," Santana confessed.

The Latina took a deep breath, her nerves threatening to take over. Work is work, Lopez…she told herself, and this sure beats waiting tables at Caliente. "But I can dance if that's what you want," she assured the aged trio.

"Do you have music?" the larger man asked in the same gruff tone.

"Not with me," she answered, accustomed to auditions with an accompanist in the room.

Santana's gaze followed the older man as he reached to a side table and pushed play on an old-style Boombox. She had not seen one like it since she was in the third grade.

As the portable stereo started playing, it sounded like it had not been used since around the time she was in the third grade, taking a minute for the music to become audible.

The room finally filled with a slower tune that sounded way less chorus line and much more burlesque.

"Umm…exactly what sort of dance are you looking for?" she asked, unconsciously grimacing.

"Just do…you know, whatever feels right," the older man waived his hand toward her.

"Like…freestyle?" she tried to clarify.

The response from the three seated at the table was silence as they turned their heads toward each other with confused looks on their faces.

The heavyset man cleared his throat and expounded, "Like…sexy."

"Sexy?" Santana's nose wrinkled.

"Yes, sexy," the older man emphasized.

"Okay. Well…," Santana looked around the room again. The entire situation suddenly felt very creepy, "…it might help to know more about the character."

"Character?" the woman repeated, "Just be you, sweetheart…we want to see your natural instincts."

The old man interrupted, adding matter-of-factly, "…but don't take too long to cut to the chase. All the audience really wants is tits."

10:58 AM

"Santana, stop screaming!" Adrian Locke shouted into his desk phone, holding it out and away from his ear, yelling into the mouth-piece, "…or at least speak English."

The Latina kept up her brisk stride as she turned the corner to continue down a busy side street. She took a deep breath in an effort to calm herself, restating in English but with the same amount of abhorrence, "They wanted me to do a striptease, Adrian! To strip. Naked!"

"What?" Adrian was looking back through the notes he jotted down from his earlier conversation with the show's producer, Ted Browning, "They never mentioned nudity this morning."

"What exactly did they mention, Adrian? Because, I couldn't really see much point to this little production of theirs."

"Ted described it as…," he read off his notepad, "…a reinterpretation of an old-style variety show. He called it 'Cabaret meets Moulin Rouge'."

"Uhh, your pal Ted may want to take a jaunt downtown and check on his director's vision, because it was more like The Producers meets Showgirls," Santana ran her fingers through the top of her dark hair as she yelled at her longtime agent, shivering when her mind flashed back to the audition room.

She did not even take a breath before she continued. "In fact, I think I'd rather star in Springtime for Hitler at this point," she referenced the iconic flop manufactured by the main characters in the musical The Producers, "Maybe even juggle while riding one of those little unicycles, yeah?"

"I know you're angry, Santana," Adrian tried to calm her, "but just think, this will make a funny dinner party story when you're old and famous."

"They actually used the word 'tits', Adrian!"

Adrian Locke burst into laughter.

"It's not funny," Santana bellowed.

"It is slightly funny…no?" his laughter weakened, but he still had a huge grin on his face.

"I'm not laughing. I was the lead in a critically-acclaimed off-Broadway musical, for fuck's sake!" the Latina beauty reminded her agent, challenging him, "Find me some quality auditions, Adrian!"

Santana Lopez hung up her cell phone without waiting for Adrian's response then stepped down a staircase toward the subway tunnel.

8:26 PM

Quinn Fabray pulled the arm of the tall, yellow chicken behind her, "Come on, honey."

"I've changed my mind," Cate Boyd frowned, fidgeting with the fake fur that kept getting stuck in her mouth, "I can't go in there looking like this."
"You look wonderful!" Quinn snickered under her breath.

"No, you look wonderful," Cate responded, "You get to be Little Bo Peep and look all adorable and charming."

"Technically, I'm Mary…not Bo Peep," the pregnant blonde corrected the taller girl.

"Point is, you look cute. I look like…a giant marshmallow peep!" Cate retorted with exasperation.

"Well…true," Quinn coughed on her laughter, "but, it's really not my fault that the costume shop reserved the chicken instead of the lamb…AND you know I checked all over town for a suitable replacement."

"This doesn't even make sense now, Quinn. Mary had a little lamb," Cate crossed her arms and scowled, "not a fucking chicken."

The beautiful blonde stared across the hallway at the love of her life and watched while Cate Boyd leaned against the wall and looked down at her black, high-top converse sneakers.

"Since when do chickens wear high-tops?" Quinn smiled and shook her head.

That made Cate giggle slightly, and she said, "Since they started masquerading as lambs?"

Quinn put her arms around Cate and stretched to kiss the taller girl's cheek, "I love you for even putting on that ridiculous costume, and if you want to take it off right this second then I totally understand."

Cate rolled her eyes and smirked. It was hard for the older girl to say no to Quinn Fabray when she looked up at her with those green eyes of hers and that million-dollar smile. "I'm over it now, I guess. I just wanted the validation."

"Well, I tell you what, my stay at the party for one hour," Quinn squeezed the brunette tighter and kissed her a few more times, wherever she could find skin that was not covered by yellow fur, telling Cate in her sexiest voice, "and I'll take you home and validate you the rest of the night."

That suggestive comment made Cate grin ear to ear. "Promise?"

"Promise," Quinn confirmed.

Cate moved to the front door and knocked loudly, leaning over to kiss Quinn just as the door opened.

"Happy Hallo-," Kurt stopped mid-greeting, "Oh my. You two look sooo…."

"Festive!" Blaine completed the sentence before his husband could insult the duo, "Happy Halloween. Come on in."

"Thanks," Cate grumbled as she moved past the hosts who were dressed in high-end costumes.

"You both look fabulous as always. Blaine, you make a terrific Zorro," Quinn complimented, tilting her head so Blaine then Kurt could greet her with a kiss on the cheek, "And Kurt…who are you exactly?"

Kurt paused, clearly frustrated, "I am aghast that not one person realizes I am Jay Gatsby."

"The Great Gatsby, of course," Quinn forced recognition with a big smile.

"Yeah ok, I get it. Forget trying to be creative! Next year I'll just wear fangs and some fake blood and go as The Vampire Lestat," Kurt stomped off dramtically.

Quinn looked at Blaine, both breaking into laughter. Kurt Hummel would never be mainstream in his entire life.

"I'm glad you guys could come," the short brunette told Quinn.

"Me too," Quinn responded, holding her pregnant stomach and joking further, "I wasn't sure I'd find a costume to fit that wasn't a giant whale."

"It's adorable. Bo Peep?" Blaine presumed by her blonde curls, white apron, and shepherd's crook.

"Mary," Quinn shrugged.

"Ahhh, yes," Blaine nodded, pausing in confusion, motioning toward the living room where Cate stood talking to Rachel and Grayson, "But what's with the chicken?"

"Long story," she shook her head and walked off toward the group.

9:14 PM

Kurt made his way through the growing crowd of party-goers who danced about to a club-mix of Thriller, waving at some of them as he passed and stopping to offer hors devours from a tray to others.

When he circled near the entrance of his apartment, he heard a knock on the door, answering it with a booming, "Happy Halloween!"

His enthusiasm startled the brunette standing there in a form-fitted black cat suit, causing her to visibly jump.

"Santana!" Kurt was equally surprised, and he pulled her inside with his free hand, hugging her.

"Hi," she beamed at the warm reception, "I hope it's ok that I came."

"It's great," he assured her, pulling her further into the apartment, "Come say hello to everyone."

The dark beauty waved as she walked up to her sister, "Hey there, Rach."

"Oh my god…you actually showed up!" Rachel exclaimed, hugging her tightly, "You look amazing."

"Hey, Grayson," Santana hugged the handsome blond, still very grateful to him for his watchful eye when she was at her worst.

"We're so glad to see you, Santana," Grayson told his neighbor.

The Latina seemed to relax a bit after a quick hug from Blaine and a few others she recognized, feeling like she made the right decision to step back out into the real world.

Rachel took a sip of her drink, watching her sister look around the room, craning her neck to check throughout the crowd of people. She reached up and took Santana by the hand, informing her, "She didn't come tonight, sweetheart."

Santana was unaware her search for Brittany was so obvious, but her disappointment was definitely evident as soon as Rachel confirmed the blonde's absence. "Oh…ok," Santana mumbled.

"I tried, I really did," Rachel frowned, heartbroken for the couple, willing to do anything to assist them in repairing their relationship. The petite brunette squeezed her sister's hand, suggesting, "Just give her time, Santana. She'll come around. I just know it."

"Yeah," Santana nodded halfheartedly, "I hope so."

Blaine passed the small group with a freshly-opened bottle of wine, asking, "Refill?"

"Yes, please," Grayson responded quickly, lowering his empty wine glass.

"Rachel?" Blaine turned to the Broadway starlet.

"I was drinking one of Kurt's blood orange martinis," she pointed to the nearby wet bar in the corner of the living room.

Blaine took her martini glass, saying, "He just made a fresh batch." Before he walked away, he turned to the taller brunette, "Santana – martini?"

"Umm…none for me," she answered confidently, adding, "I'm sticking with water these days."

Rachel smiled up at Grayson, relieved to hear that affirmation directly from Santana's mouth.

"Sounds good," Blaine winked, "There are some bottles of water in the kitchen. Help yourself."

Santana snaked her way around several people, heading toward the kitchen. She had her head in the refrigerator when she was bumped from behind, hearing someone say, "Oh, I'm so sorry."

"That's ok," she said as she stood up, coming face to face with her best friend, Quinn Fabray.

"Santana," Quinn said with a hint of shock, "I didn't expect to see you here tonight."

"Didn't expect to…or hoped you wouldn't?" the Latina attempted a joke.

Quinn did not answer immediately, examining the face of her old friend. It never ceased to amaze Quinn how gorgeous Santana Lopez was and how youthful she continued to look even though they were all quickly approaching thirty. She was especially pleased tonight to see how clear-eyed the Latina appeared.

"I've missed you, Santana," Quinn finally responded, "You look incredible tonight."

"Thank you, Quinn," the brunette grinned, completely relieved, "I've missed you too. And…I'm very sorry for my previous behavior."

"I know," Quinn returned the smile, leaning in to hug her.

Santana noted the space had widened between the best friends, and she looked down at Quinn's belly. "You are getting bigger," she said with genuine excitement.

"Yep…and I feel even bigger than this," the attractive blonde joked with her hands propped on her protruding mid-section.

"Is that an engagement ring?" Santana asked, her eye catching the small glimmer of a diamond on Quinn's left ring finger.

Quinn held up her hand for Santana to see. "It is. I'm getting married…finally," she confirmed animatedly, turning to point to the girl in the furry, yellow costume who was sitting in a chair, playing a game on her phone, "To that chicken over there!"

Both girls hugged again and laughed.

"Congratulations, Quinn," Santana said, "I knew you two were meant to be together forever."

"Well, I owe you a lifetime of gratitude, my friend." Quinn kissed Santana's cheek, "That's for playing matchmaker…twice."

"Fate always finds a way…right?" Santana responded philosophically, her statement meant as a reminder to herself as much as to Quinn.

"Always," Quinn gave a supportive squeeze to Santana's elbow before walking away.

Santana took a deep breath and a sip of her water, trying to inwardly soothe herself.

She turned her head to see Rachel and Grayson dressed in their coordinating, 1920s mobster and flapper girl costumes, cuddling together as they slow-danced. She then watched Quinn walk over and sit down in Cate's lap, taking her phone from her, kissing her sweetly and whispering something in her ear that made the older girl smirk. Even Kurt and Blaine had their arms around each other as they laughed and chatted with their friends which only highlighted the void in the Latina's life.

All she wanted was a chance…one chance to show Brittany she was sorry and wanted to start fresh to save their marriage.

Suddenly feeling completely alone, Santana pushed quietly through the crowd and out the front door.

Author's Note: Yes, I am writing an update! Promise :)