Chapter 22: Too Far
Hate has always been a very strong word for Brittany. She didn't hate anybody. It was physically impossible for her to do so. So throughout her life she had to find another way to define people. She had come up with two ways of categorizing people:
People she liked and just other random people she didn't have anything to do with.
Someone, whom she didn't have anything to do with, wasn't essential to her. It was as if those people weren't there so she only paid attention to the ones she liked and loved.
After Stacey had come running down the driveway and forced her up from the snow so she wouldn't die of hypothermia, she realized that she still couldn't hate anyone. She just didn't have the guts to. Hating people was a waste of time and unnecessary spending of energy.
The other thing she realized after she collapsed on the couch wrapped up in a fluffy blanket and in Stacey's embrace was the utter disappointment in Santana. And this disappointment was so strong that for a moment she thought that she had lost all her belief and faith in human beings. And that again made her feel even more disappointed in Santana.
The only thing she could hate were actions and she absolutely hated the fact that all Santana had done was burst out into a curse of never ending accusations that Brittany never had the chance to explain or defend herself. So all she had been able to do was listen to Santana and try to process everything that was coming out of her -now former- girlfriend, which she still couldn't believe was true.
Another thing she just couldn't wrap her mind around was that Santana obviously had so little trust in her that for a moment she didn't understand how the relationship was able to work for that long when obviously she was the only one having trust in Santana but Santana not in Brittany.
So when another sob ripped through her, she had only two wishes:
One: She wanted her eyes to stop hurting because they had turned dry from all the crying and to be honest she didn't even want to look at herself after the countless hours of bawling.
And two: She wanted to fall asleep as fast and as long as possible.
The only thing she was glad about was that her parents were missing which gave her enough time to compose herself.
"Where are you going?"
Was Stacey's quiet question to Brittany untangling herself from her sister and getting up from the couch. With a shaky breath and standing on wobbly legs Brittany looked down at Stacey with her puffy, red eyes and gestured to the stairs. Stacey nodded and watched Brittany wrapping the blanket tighter around her body while she walked up the stairs to her room.
Brittany wasn't the only one who was disappointed in Santana. It was also Stacey who couldn't believe that her idol, the person she looked up to the most, besides her parents, was able to cause such harm to her sister. But contrary to Brittany, Stacey was mad beyond belief. And without thinking much about it she marched up the stairs as well with such a determination that matched the one of a child that tried to stand up again after failing to take the first steps.
Up in her room she grabbed the trash can from where it was placed next to her desk and started ripping off all the posters of Santana. She grabbed every CD, every DVD, every shirt and everything else she had spent money on things that expressed her adoration for Santana.
She was done with all that crap! And she hoped that Brittany was too, because if Santana was so stupid to accuse Brittany of those things then Santana didn't deserve her.
With a loud huff she looked around her room in order to make sure that everything Santana related really was gone so that she wouldn't have to be angry again and Brittany wouldn't have to feel that devastated anymore.
For a moment she thought about kicking Santana's ass but Brittany was more important to her so she decided against starting a riot that would hurt Brittany even more. Stacey glanced around her room which now looked much emptier with the bare walls before she switched off the lights and closing the door.
She walked the few steps to Brittany's room and halted in front of the door, a sad look covering her face. Loud sniffling could be heard from behind Brittany's door and it made Stacey even sadder. She sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and lifted her hand slowly to the handle.
Doubts overcame her and suddenly she wasn't sure if she should walk into Brittany's room or not. But when another sob came through the door, Stacey threw her worries and doubts out of the window and walked into the room where she crawled into Brittany's bed and held her until her sister fell asleep.
She hadn't done much since the article. Speaking hadn't been a necessity anymore. She only talked when it was absolutely necessary and even then she only gave short answers, preferably one worded that she hoped were enough to satisfy her family. Sometimes there was a nod or a shaking of her head but other than that she didn't communicate much with her family.
Her appetite was gone. Instead of her need to assimilate food there was only a hollow feeling inside of her. And it hurt her so much. It felt like a huge part had been taken away from her and she was left behind hurt and broken. Whenever Holly placed a plate with food in front of her she would shake her head and push it aside. Even if it was her favorite meal. She just couldn't eat because she was feeling too depressed to do so.
She either lounged in the living room or in one of the guest rooms, staring up at the ceiling hoping for the answers to just come up. She still hadn't entered her room. Too high was the risk of breaking down which she wasn't ready for. Thoughts of Brittany she had tried to ignore and push to the back of her head all the time would come up and Holly gathering her up in a mess once was enough.
She always sent either Holly or Sam into her closet to get her some clothes but she didn't dare to even look at her door. Sometimes she thought that if she touched the handle it would burn her and then she would be swallowed up by her room, she would be a prisoner in her own thoughts and her feelings wouldn't let her leave.
For the first time, though, pushing her thoughts aside was harder than she had ever imagined it to be. And when she thought that she had become a pro at it, it only proved her wrong. It only proved her that she was weak and that made her angry. She hadn't touched her piano or her guitar. She was too afraid of the tunes that would come out of her. The break up and heartbreak ballads. Of her voice that would crack slightly when there was a part of love in her song and then the burning feeling behind her eyelids that would indicate her that soon tears would start flowing.
Instead she just kept concentrating on her heart beat. It kept calming her and by concentrating on something so simple prevented her mind from wandering off- but of course with her luck she wasn't successful. Her heart, though, didn't seem to beat right anymore since she had seen tear filled, blue eyes looking confused and hurt back at her.
For a moment she was afraid of turning into a zombie because that's how she was starting to feel and it hadn't been that long since that day. Insignificant things that didn't seem to matter now did. She missed the barely there scent of Brittany's perfume and her golden hair that always smelled like shampoo. Or the clicking of her tongue she did every time Santana spaced out because she was too occupied with watching Brittany just being Brittany. But most importantly she just missed the giggles and the intimacy they shared because Brittany was able to get Santana in levels no one else ever managed to catch her. She doubted that she would ever find someone who will manage to catch her attention like Brittany had done.
For the first time in her life Santana had no idea what she was doing with herself and that was scary because she was the one being in charge of everything and losing control just freaked her out.
Santana hadn't touched her phone since the article had come out. She was too afraid to open up Twitter or browse through the internet and look what everyone wrote about her. They would sure as hell hate her. She was sure of it.
But then again she had to think of other gay celebrities she had met in all of her years of being a singer and famous herself. Everyone loved them and they were awesome people- at least most of them. Santana loved listening to their stories about coming out of the closet and how they realized that they were attracted to the same gender.
She always believed that those stories were interesting but now that she was living it herself she didn't think like that anymore. Plus all those teenagers that haven't had the luck she had with Holly and the rest of her open minded family and friends must go through worse than she did and still that- even knowing that outside of her world there were people who were killed because of their sexual orientation- didn't make her feel any better. In the contrary, it made her feel worse.
And there was it again. The constant looking for excuses because she was too afraid to face the truth. Trying to find excuses was one of the few things she had done since she was single. Single.
It was weird to call herself that again. She had been single for a long while before Brittany but since she had experienced how it was to be in such a relationship it was all the more painful to be single again. The word just didn't fit her well. For the first time she had been the one needing someone.
Santana furrowed her brows and exhaled deeply, hoping that at the same time her breath came out of her the sorrows and pain would, too. But of course it didn't and that increased the heavy feeling upon her shoulders. She took her feet off Holly's desk and swirled the desk chair around until she couldn't anymore. Until the heavy feeling was replaced by nausea and dizziness. But like most of the things not even that lasted for eternity.
She was sitting at Holly's desk in her office at home. The thick leather seat was comfortable; it didn't help Santana to be a little more relaxed though. Fidgety and silent, that's what she had been since she came back from Brittany's home. Her phone was placed neatly in front of her onto the desk and she was looking at it, waiting for the courage to hit her so that she could open up all the messages.
Quinn had tried to call her. So had Blaine a few times but she hadn't had the courage to pick up. Either she was afraid or she just wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone but slowly she was running out of excuses to not answer the phone.
The only one who she would want to talk to was Brittany but after everything, she knew that neither she nor Brittany would call each other. Not during those painful circumstances.
Sometimes she thought about how the conversation with Brittany would have gone if she had let Brittany talk to her. 'Yes, the article was true.' was one of the things she didn't want to hear, was not ready to hear. She didn't want to know what it would have done to her if this sentence left Brittany's mouth. Hiding her real self in a shell had always been easy but now that she had been able to reveal some of it she wasn't sure if she wanted to go back into that shell. She refused to go back to how she used to be.
So she shook her head and took her iPhone from the desk. It was ridiculous to be afraid of a device that could do absolutely nothing to her. Her fear was irrational and she knew it but she somehow had to overcome this obstacle, after all she was Santana Lopez. She wasn't afraid of people's opinion. This was her life and she always had the habit of ignoring everyone if they had nothing nice to say.
For a moment she looked at her screen wallpaper. She hadn't changed it. There was still the picture Brittany had taken after they got together. And as much as she didn't want to, she still loved Brittany so much. She didn't want to change it just yet even if it hurt. She tried to ignore the aching in her chest and the prickling behind her eyelids that were caused by a simple picture. She just wasn't ready.
Santana took a deep breath and without exhaling she unlocked her phone and opened up Twitter. With one eye closed she scrolled through her feed with all of her fans' messages. Her heart was beating louder every passing second because for the first time she would receive an immediate answer to her sexuality.
"Santana we still love you."
"It's okay to be gay Santana. We love you."
"We support you Santana."
Those were just a few messages and Santana almost didn't believe it. 'GayIsOkay' and 'WeSupportSantanaLopez' were trending, causing her to gasp out loud in surprise causing her to almost drop her phone.
Of course not everything was positive. Some tweets were about kicking Brittany in the ass, some fans asked if there was some truth behind the article and some were not so nice about Santana's sexuality but the more she read the more she was convinced that she had been paranoid about this whole coming out of the closet thing.
She still didn't know what to answer or tweet though. There was still her hurt side because she had been humiliated. Some girl came and played with her heart. She didn't know what to say to that other than 'yes, I'm gay and if you have a problem go fuck yourself.' But posting that would be a new low for her.
A knock pulled her out of her thoughts. Startled she locked the screen of her phone and looked up to the door just in time to see Rachel entering Holly's office. She was unsure. Santana could see it by the way Rachel was hesitating, poking her head into the office and hiding the rest of her body behind the door. She decided to let her of the hook.
"Hello, Santana. How are you?"
Rachel walked up to the desk after she made sure that it was safe to enter and sat at one of the chairs in front of it. She crossed her legs and folded her hands onto her knees. Santana tilted her head amused at Rachel's behavior, a hint of a smile graced her features as she leaned back to be able to watch Rachel more carefully.
"Is that a question you want an answer to?" She asked slowly. She was sure that Rachel had already heard something about this thing with Brittany so Santana didn't bother to hide it. Her comment hadn't been sarcastic or rude, it had sounded like a serious question to which Rachel knew the answer immediately.
"Right, sorry. I'm sorry."
For the first time Santana saw Rachel at a loss for words. Gone was the loud and obnoxious diva that always had to say something. A part of her was thankful and glad that she didn't have to deal with that on top of everything that was going on in her life but on the other side she was mad that everyone was walking around her on eggshells. And because it was Rachel who was the one doing that she was even madder. Rachel wasn't supposed to do that. She had nothing to do with this whole fiasco. Although it was inevitable for her to not find out when it was all over the media.
"Did you come here to apologize?" Santana asked raising one of her perfectly shaped eyebrows. This time sounding a bit angrier and ruder than before.
"No actually, not. I came here because Sam called me. He knows something about me that you probably don't. I want to show you something but you have to get dressed and come with me. I promise it won't be bad."
Rachel seemed surprised by Santana's answer. The widened eyes and the surprised O- shape her lips made were proof for that.
"What?" Santana asked.
"Sam told me that I might have to do some begging and that you won't be as willing as you seem to be right now. I even prepared a speech in case you said no which is what we all assumed."
Santana didn't know who Rachel meant with 'we' but she had a feeling that 'we' meant Sam, Holly and Rachel.
"Well then thank god I said yes, right? I don't think I can handle one of your speeches right now." Rachel gasped, faking to be offended and Santana just smiled in surprise even if it didn't reach her eyes. "Good then. I'm going to get dressed."
"So are you going to tell me where we're going?" Santana asked when they were seated in Rachel's car. It was neatly cleaned and Santana wasn't surprised when she found several Broadway soundtracks in the glove compartment. After Rachel asking her why she was going through everything she had just answered that this was a thing she did. And honestly she really did go through people's things. There were a lot of things she could tell about people just by things they owned. From dirty secrets to funny facts.
Rachel just continued driving carefully and by the pace of the car Santana wasn't sure if they would arrive before tomorrow. She leaned sideways against the door so that she could have a better look at Rachel who didn't seem to break her concentration on the road.
"I told you I want to show you something." Rachel replied without averting her eyes of the road. Santana shrugged and continued going through Rachel's CD collection, hoping that she would find something else that didn't involve Broadway and musicals or Barbra Streisand for that matter.
Minutes later Rachel halted the car in front of her house. To Santana it looked on the small side as she was used to much bigger villas. But who was she to complain about something as unimportant as the size of a house? When Rachel turned off the engine she turned towards Santana.
"Before we go inside I want to tell you that no matter what happens in there, it stays there. I want you to feel comfortable and free to be yourself. In there, there's no one judging you, labeling you or pressuring you to talk about something you don't want to. It is a safe place and I really hope that you can feel comfortable. I promise you it will be okay and if you don't feel comfortable you can tell me and I'll drive you right back home, okay?"
Rachel's speech was unsettling Santana. What Rachel said meant that she would find something in there that would make her uncomfortable if Rachel found it necessary to prepare her, didn't it? Santana furrowed her brows but nodded nonetheless. She was determined to show Rachel that she would be okay. She needed at least that after everything and if she was being honest she was curious what Rachel was making such a mystery out of. Rachel nodded and smiled satisfied before getting out of the car and waiting for Santana to join her.
Rachel was the one following Santana when they walked up the driveway. It felt as if she was making sure that Santana wouldn't run away. She gave Santana an encouraging nod when she hesitated to ring the bell. The door opened revealing two men dressed way too nicely for a lazy day in the house. Suddenly Santana was glad that she didn't opt to wear sweat pants and an old shirt. But they were smiling and looking really friendly.
"Ah Santana Lopez. It's such a pleasure to meet you." One of the men extended his hand and Santana shook it. "My name is Hiram Berry but you can just call me Hiram. I don't want to feel older than I am. And this is LeRoy." Santana shook LeRoy's hand as well when they both welcomed her into their home.
Santana was confused as to why Rachel had brought her there but when she greeted them both with dad and daddy she understood.
Those were Rachel's dads. Rachel Berry had two dads. Two gay dads. Rachel Berry was the daughter of two men. Two men in a relationship. They were gay.
Santana didn't even realize what was going on in her head. Everything was a whirlwind. Her thoughts kept mixing up and they were messing up her head. It was like one of those moments when you realize something. In movies those parts are in slow motion and that's how Santana felt when she saw the Berry family standing in front of her, smiling at her welcome.
"Don't keep standing there, Santana. Come inside."
LeRoy smiled at her and she nodded still trying to catch up with her thoughts. He took her coat of revealing her long sleeved dress that was hugging her in all the right places. She heard a gasp and seconds later Hiram was by her side gushing about the dress and the designer. Santana had to laugh and in an instant she felt more comfortable. The mess in her head all of a sudden gone.
"Give her some space, Hiram." LeRoy scolded playfully and shoved his partner into the kitchen leaving Rachel and Santana in the living room.
"You want the grand tour through our house?" Rachel asked after her dads disappeared. She didn't even wait for Santana to give her an answer; she just started walking leaving Santana with no other choice than having to follow her.
Rachel's house was impressive. Not because of its size or anything nearly close to that. It was because every room was filled with memories. In every room was at least one picture of Rachel and her dads. Everything was neatly arranged into shelves and drawers. Books and photo albums that had been collected since Hiram's and LeRoy's youth. Even if you were for the first time in that house- like Santana was- you could tell whom it belonged to.
Rachel never explained what happened in those memories from the pictures and Santana was glad for that. She wasn't in the mood to listen to anyone rant about things she didn't really want to hear. Rachel seemed to notice- even if it was for the first time- that this was a case where she shouldn't push too much. And although the feeling of having to know what is going on was eating her up she didn't comment on Santana's behavior. Even if she had wanted to- she had promised Sam to not do anything that would make Santana uncomfortable. Especially in that moment where Santana halted in front of a picture of Hiram and LeRoy hugging each other lovingly while going through a shelf of books in the living room.
Rachel didn't comment on anything Santana did. She just watched her standing in front of that picture, eyeing it as if she could see her own life flashing through her head and in a way that's how Santana felt. Despite the nauseating feeling she started feeling when she spotted this picture; she looked at it and just didn't want to see the things that were so obvious as she watched the younger version of Rachel's dads. They looked so happy and careless.
Santana folded her arms in front of her chest in an attempt to protect herself from this joy and love in one picture. She hoped that as long as she kept her arms around herself, they would shield her from any emotion she didn't want to feel. And regret was one of those things because she wasn't as happy anymore as she used to be.
Rachel continued standing there watching Santana curiously. A part of her was trying to understand and the other part knew about Santana's sadness- even if she was good at hiding it- Rachel still knew and she chose to remain quiet. There were times where you just had to be quiet and let everything take its turn and Rachel declared that moment for one of those.
Santana swallowed trying to moisten her throat and mouth that had suddenly gone dry. She bit her bottom lip and for a brief moment her gaze drifted to her designer boots. After all this time she was still having trouble with her sexuality. Trouble with being completely honest about it to people who had nothing to do with it- which included everyone but Brittany who made her realize that she was gay. She tried to take a deep breath without having to expand her chest too visibly because that would show Rachel that she was having an inner battle with herself. She failed though and when she exhaled everyone who would be present in this room would have noticed the shaking of her breath.
Visions of Brittany danced across her eyelids and she could do nothing against it except pressing the palms of her hands against her eyes in order to try to clear her thoughts. She pressed them against her eyes until she saw stars behind them. Rachel must have thought that she was ridiculous and it was the only thing Santana managed to get into her mind after trying to calm down. She glanced back to Rachel who looked at her as if she understood what was going on in her head. She hoped though that Rachel didn't and that everything going on in her mind would stay there: hidden and kept a secret forever.
Santana opened her mouth trying to say something but nothing came out and her eyes started searching for anything in the room that could distract her from herself because Rachel watching her was increasing her inner battle and that pressure that was somehow pressing down on her chest, making her body feel heavy.
"Rachel…" She started, finally focusing her eyes not exactly on Rachel but on the shelf behind her. "I ca-"
Just when Santana was about to give up, tell Rachel some story that was believable enough so that she could leave. Maybe fake a call, anything that would get her out of that situation because she was more than uncomfortable right now. Just when she was about to quit -because that's what she was feeling like doing- Rachel's dads walked in, calling them for food and Santana didn't have the chance to say anything but nod and plaster an hopefully believable smile on her face and follow everyone into the dining room.
Santana tried to calm her breathing pattern that seemed to become faster and faster with every passing second. She didn't want to but she was pretty sure she was going to have a panic attack and she didn't know the reason for it. Rachel's dad's seemed oblivious to everything but Santana had learned that parents knew most of the time more than they were showing and if they had noticed Santana's nervous behavior- which was likely- they didn't comment on it. Hiram pushed a glass of water towards Santana as soon she sat down along with an encouraging nod to drink it up.
It was quiet during dinner. Mostly because the majority of the spent time sitting at the table was wasted on watching Santana push her food around the plate and occasionally taking small bites that reminded everyone of a model with an eating disorder. Sometimes they made an attempt to make some small talk which Santana answered only with the most necessary answers which were kept as short as possible and although Santana didn't want to seem rude she didn't have the strength to try to be a bit more upbeat.
The Berrys had been kind enough to let her into their house and she was feeling stupid for acting the way she did, mostly because it meant to Sam a lot that she was there, spending time with a family consisting of two dads and a daughter. She was dying of curiosity, she wanted to know about their lives but she was too afraid to ask. Rachel's dads were kind enough and understanding to not ask anything. They were hoping that Santana would talk when she was ready and when she had brought her thoughts into an order.
Santana was hating that. The walking on egg shells around her, the constant understanding people were bringing up for her. She didn't want that. At the beginning it was really nice not being forced to talk about something but sometimes she needed to get things off her chest. She wasn't stupid and she wasn't that fragile. She had her limits of tolerance of weird behavior towards her and slowly she felt like everyone was exaggerating. So she set her fork aside and after wiping the corner of her mouth with a tissue she looked up to Rachel's dads.
"Your dads are nice, you know?" Santana said, trying to sound as casually as possible as she looked around Rachel's room. The countless colors and the bright yellow walls were something she would have never expected from a seventeen year old girl. And to her surprise there weren't any pictures or posters that had to do with Broadway. But maybe she was just having too many prejudices.
"I didn't know you had two of them." She added, brushing her finger over Rachel's stuff.
Rachel sat on her bed and smiled up at Santana.
"Thank you, I appreciate it. So does that mean that you had fun?"
Santana turned around and glanced at Rachel. A smirk spread across her face.
"Yeah and if this is ever going to come out I swear to god I will buy you a fur coat. Sam told me you're vegan."
Rachel laughed, thinking for a minute that it was a joke but when she didn't see Santana laughing as well, she stopped and coughed uneasily.
When Santana said that she had fun, she head meant every word of it. Rachel's dads had been very nice and without knowing how and why, they ended up discussing the giant elephant in the room that was homosexuality. And to Santana's surprise it was really nice being able to talk about it to someone who was able to understand it in a way that most people didn't. And that again didn't mean that Santana had to tell them about her and Brittany's relationship.
"But I mean it when I say that I'm thankful. So yeah thanks." Santana said awkwardly while walking over to Rachel and taking a seat next to her new friend who had a big smile on her face.
"You're welcome, Santana. Oh and one thing before it'll catch you completely off guard, I want to warn you. I'm going to hug you now."
And before Santana was able to answer Rachel threw her arms around her and hugged her. Shocked at the sudden contact Santana looked around Rachel's room before slowly lifting her hands to her friend's back, patting it awkwardly. And although she ended it before Rachel had a chance to say anything else, Santana had to admit that this was the first time the knot in her chest hadn't been as tight as it was when she was alone at home. And that even though she would never admit it, it was nice to have been able to relieve some of the stress with Rachel.
A/N First of all: Happy new year (even if it's too late for that)
I am really, really sorry for letting you wait that long. I had some difficulties with TT and I hope that the next chapters won't take me as long as this one did.
Also I changed my tumblr link and I haven't had the chance to update the previous chapters yet. It's only a small change though.
kissinglipss. tumblr. com
So let me know what you think either here or on my tumblr :)