A/N: Here's the next chapter! Hopefully it clears some things up and gives a few of you something that you asked for. I really hope you enjoy this chapter; it's my heart and soul poured into a few thousand words, so please be kind. I'm sorry for any mistakes, and please leave a review so I know what you think.
I don't own these characters or anything related to Glee.
Two days. Two days. Two days.
Those are the only words that repeat over and over in your head like a never-ending chant, leaving you jittering as you sit cross-legged on the coffee table in your living room. You've been drinking caffeine nonstop since you got back to your apartment this evening, the sixth mug of scalding hot coffee resting between the palms of your hands. You can't even fathom the idea of sleep because your head is running miles every second and the thought of dreaming is way too daunting and intimidating now.
Two days. Two days. Two days.
The words scare you shitless, and all you can wonder is: what if you don't have enough time?
What if you're too late?
You stare at the clock hanging on the wall, wishing and praying that you could somehow reverse the inevitable. If you try hard enough and want it enough, maybe—just maybe, you can turn back the time. And then you wouldn't be in this position in the first place. You wouldn't have to be thinking up ways to stop a wedding.
You've been going over the possibilities for hours now.
You know that you're going to have to tell Brittany the truth about what happened five years ago. You're going to have to tell her that you lied and fucked up. You have to make it absolutely clear that you were wrong, and that you didn't mean a single thing that you said.
But even that won't be enough to make her come running back into your arms. Brittany's stubborn and thoughtful and you're going to have to fucking fight if you want her to choose you. You've both changed so much, and you can't forget that she fell in love with someone else. That she loved him enough to share her home and agree to marry him.
You're going to have to remind her of why there is no choice in the first place. You have to remind her of an entire childhood together, of hot summers and long winters filled with curiosity and changes that left you breathless and stunned, and years upon years of incredible desire and deep, endless, once-in-a-lifetime love.
And then she'll know. She'll finally know, because she'll remember how much she loved you and how much she never stopped.
You're four years old when you first meet Brittany in kindergarten.
She's the most beautiful girl you've ever seen, with her big blue eyes and blonde-white hair, and as soon as your eyes find each other from across the small room, you know that you want to be her best friend.
She catches you a little off-guard at first, though, because she can't sit still and her breath smells like jolly ranchers and all she does is ramble on and on about some stupid cat with a ridiculous name that makes you laugh. She smiles a lot, though, which you secretly love.
She shares her crayons with you when you forget them every now and then, and she offers to carry your backpack for you most days because you're really small and she's practically a giant hovering over you.
She sings a lot too and says things that confuse you, but she has a heart that's too easy to love, and she's the nicest person you've ever met.
She doesn't ask about the color of your skin, and why you look so different from all the other people in Lima, Ohio. She sticks up for you when the other boys pick on you because of how young you are, and she gives you piggyback rides around the courtyard when she feels like showing off her strength.
But the one thing that you love more than anything else about her is the way she dances.
She shows you one afternoon after school when you come over to her house for the first time.
She flips on the radio in her room and turns around to give you a giant, bright smile, and she says, "watch this."
And you do.
When you go home that night, you try and dance like Brittany in front of the floor-length mirror on your door, but you can't. Because she's incredible and talented in ways that you aren't. And you decide then and there that you want to be exactly like her.
You're eight when she finally finds our about your extra "addition." You're actually surprised that you made it that long, considering how much time the two of you spend together on a weekly basis.
It's the summer after third grade and Brittany invites you over to her house for the fifth time that week to swim in their backyard pool.
You're still in your swim trunks and bathing suit when you enter her bedroom to change into your pajamas for the night. Brittany had been downstairs talking to her mom while you went upstairs, so you were pretty sure that you were clear to undress.
But once your bottoms come off, and you're standing stark naked in the middle of her bedroom, Brittany just so happens to swing the door wide open and see you in all your glory.
At first she just sort of stares, and then she starts giggling and furrowing her eyebrows at you in confusion.
"Santana, why do you have boy parts down there?" she doesn't sound shocked or disgusted; she just seems honestly intrigued.
And you blush and dress faster than ever while you try and figure out how to answer her. Because there really isn't any sort of explanation that you can give her that will make sense. You don't even understand why you are the way you are.
You settle for, "I was just born different," and warn her about how your condition has to stay a secret. You beg her not to tell her parents because you don't want them to keep the two of you apart.
"I promise, Santana," she says and nods her head.
You exhale loudly in complete relief and smile back at her as she slowly crosses the room to meet you at the center.
"Best friends always keep each other's secrets."
And she wraps her long arms around you in a hug that is somehow more comforting than any other you've ever been given.
When you first feel it, you're not exactly sure what to think.
Brittany's always been your best friend—practically a sister to you. But when you catch her kissing Brandon Miles behind the gym one afternoon in eighth grade, something changes.
You feel butterflies in your stomach as you watch her move against him; there's not a timid bone in her body, and her confidence barrels through you like a train at full speed. You feel your heart beat faster and your hands turn clammy as her lips touch his. But most shockingly, you feel all the blood rush to a certain part between your legs, and it suddenly aches with desire.
It's the first time it happens, and you're so freaked out by it that you almost pass out.
Because your best friend made it happen. Her long, toned legs and curvy hips. Her soft breasts and strong arms are suddenly turning you on for the first time, and it scares the living hell out of you.
Because Brittany—the girl who you've shared a bed with hundreds of times and seen naked more times than you can count—is suddenly the most attractive person you've ever seen. And you want her to be kissing you instead of some other boy.
And as eighth grade reaches its end and ninth grade starts, and those feelings have only gotten stronger, you're suddenly one hundred percent sure that you're in love with your best friend.
So you decide to tell her one night.
You're sitting on her bed studying chemistry while she reads through some trashy Cosmo magazine, when you realize that you can't take it any more. She's completely distracting you from everything you attempt to do now, and you want her so much that it hurts.
"Hey, Britt?" your voice is weak and nervous. You're practically shaking as she looks up at you.
"I think I'm in love with you," you sound unsure, but you most definitely aren't. What you really meant to say was, "I know I'm in love with you," but you're a bit of a coward.
Brittany surprises you once again, though. Because she just smiles brightly and hops over to sit right in front of you, her legs folded awkwardly beneath her.
"Well, duh," and she leans forward to kiss you for the first time.
It's quick and innocent, but it leaves you reeling and dizzy. Your lips sting from the electricity as she leans back to search your face for approval. She can read you better than anyone by now.
So she does it again. And again. And again for the next two hours.
Brittany's the first girl that you ever kiss, and after that night, you're sure that you never want to kiss anyone else.
You've been feeling really down lately, and Brittany's been trying hard to make you feel better with silly love notes and sweet kisses by your lockers after school, but even your girlfriend can't fix this.
Because somehow a rumor about your condition got out, and now half of the tenth grade thinks that you're a freak.
You know that you shouldn't care what other people think, but it's high school, so of course you do.
"Come on, Santana," Brittany whines as she tugs on your sleeve. "You have to get up."
You've spent the last two days in bed, practically petrified to get up and leave to face the harsh realities lying outside of your room.
"Noooo," you moan and turn over to bury your face into your pillow. "I can't."
You feel Brittany shift to lie down on top of you, her front against your back as she leans forward to breathe at your ear.
"Why are you so sad?" she sounds innocent in every sense of the word as she starts playing with your hair, twisting the strands around her long, pale fingers into dark ringlets at your cheeks.
"You know why," you huff out into the fabric and then turn your head to the side to breathe the sharp, clean air of your room again.
Brittany's face is right there, inches from yours with the most beautiful eyes, piercing your soul until you're bleeding out never-ending streams of affection.
"I love you," she whispers as she leans the last inch forward to place her soft lips to yours briefly. You melt into her embrace; it's effortless and easy. Everything with Brittany has always been so simple.
You roll over a couple of seconds later, surprising Brittany as she falls onto your chest in a fit of giggles.
And then you watch as something clicks in her head and she quickly turns serious in her expression. Her eyes are dark with something that you haven't seen before. And when her mouth returns to yours quicker than ever, you forget how to breathe. She consumes you in the best way possible. Everything about her calms you down and makes your blood rush all at the same time.
Because when you're like this—with Brittany pretty much curled up inside of you with her forceful and gorgeous mouth practically swallowing yours, you can feel how much she loves you. With every stroke of her tongue against yours and every sexy bite to your lips, you can't help but groan out loudly with desire.
And then Brittany's doing something that she's never done before, and you freeze.
Because her fingers are tugging at your pants and she's rocking against you in a way that is anything but innocent.
And she's suddenly whispering into your ear that she's ready, and you're suddenly harder than you've ever been in your entire life.
But you feel unsure because you don't want Brittany to be giving this to you just to make you feel better, so you quickly push her away. Her arms come to the sides of your head as she looks down at you, her blonde hair falling into a curtain around your head.
"Britt, I don't…" you're nervous and cautious, but then Brittany is attacking your lips again, even more certain and aggressive in her actions, and you know that there isn't a single hesitant cell in her body anymore. You can feel how much she wants this—how much she's ready to share this with you.
How much she's ready to show you that you are anything but a freak.
So she does.
And when you move inside of her for the first time, the world stops around you, and all you smell, see and feel is Brittany. Everything else just disappears.
She's more beautiful than anything you've ever seen, with her neck stretched out, her face contorted in pure pleasure, and her arms wrapped securely around your back like you're now a part of her… because you are.
Soft whimpers and moans escape her lips as you make love to every part of her body that you can. Your hands are everywhere—at her breasts and hips and legs and back and hot, slick heat. Your lips never leave her skin, imprinting your marks over every inch of white flesh.
And you fall in love with her over and over again with every thrust and pull of hips. With every breathless kiss and heated, sweaty touch. You want to be doing this forever and never stop, because it's the most amazing feeling in the world—being this close to Brittany.
You whisper sweet nothings into her ear, which only make her moan louder and hold you closer and tighter. And soon she's a quivering mess beneath you as she's coming undone once and then twice and then all over again.
Because you can't stop.
You need to feel this for as long as possible. You need her to know how special she is, and how she is the only person who can wipe away all of your insecurities with just a touch and a few simple words.
And after what seems like hours of pure and utter bliss, you feel yourself reach a peak so tall that you're almost too scared to fall over.
But Brittany's there, holding you and loving you, and you feel safe to make the plunge.
And when you do, it's like peering into the heavens and being blind from the beauty of it all. When you let go and finally release everything that you've been holding onto for the past twelve years, you have no strength left. And you collapse onto Brittany in a mess of limbs and shaking pieces, and you just try to breathe again.
It's silent except for your hurried breaths and soft hums of contentment as you two lie in the aftermath of perfection. And then Brittany stirs beneath you and her hands begin rubbing the smooth skin at your back. You nestle into the crook at her neck and sigh.
Brittany laughs into your ear as she groans, "My God, Santana."
And you smile bigger than ever as you slowly lift yourself up and onto your arms to look down into her purely satiated eyes.
You lay a soft kiss to her cheek and grin.
"I love you, too."
When you graduate from high school, you've never been more excited and ready to leave Ohio. Brittany's by your side as you make the trip to New York to start school; the two of you enroll at NYU and begin classes in the fall.
You know you want to sing.
Ever since glee club and nationals, you've realized that singing is for you, what dancing is for Brittany. It's your passion and way of expressing the parts of yourself that you've never been good at showing to the world.
Brittany stands by your side faithfully for four years as you finish your musical studies at NYU. She applies to Juilliard after sophomore year, and by your graduation, she's officially transferred and enrolled full-time at one of the most prestigious art schools in the world.
You've never been more proud of her.
And it seems like everything is going perfectly. It seems like all your dreams are finally coming true.
You're happy and Brittany's happy and there isn't anything else you would wish for.
But sometimes things are too easy. Sometimes, when you think luck is actually on your side for once, it just ends up biting you in the ass.
And unfortunately for you, that's exactly what happens.
When you first lose your voice, you just assume that you've overworked yourself, so you tell your manager that you need to take it easy for a few days.
But then you realize rather quickly that something isn't right, so you set up an appointment with your voice doctor. And when he utters the words "vocal surgery," you stiffen and cringe inwardly because nothing good can ever come from those two words.
You're truly scared out of your mind as they cart you away for your procedure a month later. Brittany holds your hand tightly in hers for as long as she can. You're so grateful that she could take off school to be here with you, because you would be lost without her by your side.
"It's going to be okay, babe," she whispers into your ear, and you want to believe her. You really do.
But the surgery doesn't go well. Even after months of recovery, everything about your voice is different. The label doesn't really end up liking those differences; it's not like you can blame them, though. You know that you won't ever sing like you used to be able to. And admitting that to yourself practically kills you.
When Brittany comes home from school one night to find you sobbing yourself into oblivion on the couch, you watch her heart break with yours.
And for the next year, Brittany has to cradle you to sleep each and every night.
You don't think things can get any worse for you—you're working two miserable jobs just to try and pay rent so Brittany can continue with school—but it does.
You get the call while you're at work one night. It's not really all that busy at the bar, so you've been sitting at an empty table and playing with your phone while a few people filter in and out every few hours.
At first you think it's some kind of joke because your uncle is a pretty funny guy and he likes to kid around a lot. But when he keeps weeping into the phone about some sort of "freak car accident", you start to cry.
You and Brittany take the trip back to Lima for the funeral. It's only the second time that you've been back since you left almost five years ago, but everything feels completely different this time.
Because now you're watching as your parents' coffins are being lowered into the ground, and you can barely breathe as Brittany holds you tightly from behind.
"I'm so, so sorry," she cries into your shoulder as the two of you leave the church and ride back to her house.
Her parents and the rest of your family are kind and understanding for the next few months as you grieve, but for some reason, their sympathy only makes you mad.
And as the months go on, that anger turns you into someone who you don't recognize one tiny bit. And that you hate with a passion.
You've been drinking a lot for the past few nights. It's the only thing that can distract you from the fucking mess that is now your life.
It's so bad that even Brittany can't make it right.
Because the damage to your pride is now irreparable. You can deal with the bills and the terrible jobs. You can even deal with your parents' death now, after months of grieving. But the one thing that you can't cope with is how utterly pathetic you feel. Like you don't deserve a single fucking thing.
And you know that it's breaking Brittany's heart each and every day to watch you break down right in front of her.
You see how her eyes turn sad every time you stumble through the apartment door at two o'clock in the morning, hammered and completely and utterly lifeless.
She asks you where you go, but you can't even look at her to respond. You don't want to look at her face to see the disappointment that will surely be etched there.
So you mutter unintelligible slurs and collapse onto the couch—you haven't shared a bed with Brittany for at least two months now—and listen as she runs off to cry herself to sleep.
She's so kind and wonderful and good, and you just... aren't.
You aren't worthy of anything good. And so you most definitely aren't worthy of Brittany.
And that's what you tell yourself that night in January, when your head is actually clear for the first time in a week. You know that you have to be sober for this. For Brittany.
When you walk through the door at six, Brittany looks absolutely stunned to see you. And once she realizes that you aren't drunk, she actually looks relieved. It's like a sting to your heart, though, because you know that relief will only last minutes once you start.
You've prepared what you're going to say to her because Brittany will put up a good fight, and you have to be ready for everything. After all, she loves you more than anything else in this world, and she won't ever want to give up on you.
But she has to, and it's going to hurt you to break her. It's going to kill you to destroy her like this, but you know that you have to let her go. You need time alone to fix yourself and find the pieces of your soul that you lost along the way. And you can't do that with Brittany by your side.
You just can't.
You look her straight in the eye, probably for the first time in months, as you stand in front of the door and watch her.
Your face is still and sad, your eyes in contemplative remembrance as pictures of your past flash before you.
Memories of mornings by the pool and summers under the stars. Winter evenings curled up by a warm fire and afternoons tangled across beds while you made love like it was your only life source and you would die if you didn't.
You know that you're saying goodbye to all of it… at least for now. And it's so hard to hold back the tears of farewell that want to come flooding out.
But you have to.
"I'm having an affair, Brittany." The words come rushing out before you're ready, but you guess timing really doesn't matter at this point.
A lie is a lie no matter how or when you tell it.
Brittany just blinks a few times and then drops her gaze to the ground.
"No, you're not," she quickly retorts.
You step forward and move your hand to lift her chin up to meet your fixed gaze. Your expression is nothing but serious as you continue to spout the lies you've prepared.
"Yes, I am. I have been for months now."
Brittany just looks confused and bewildered at your statement, but you can't tell if she believes you or not yet, so you continue.
"I thought that I could deal with it, but I can't anymore. I can't keep pretending that…" you stop to swallow and take a deep breath, because this is going to hurt more than anything you've ever done.
Brittany's eyes are huge and filled to the brim with tears, and it takes every bit of strength to keep your gaze on her and not let it wander away. You can't seem weak right now.
"I don't love you anymore, Brittany. I'm not happy with us; in fact, I've never been more miserable."
The tears come pouring out after that. Her whimpers quake her entire body as her head shakes back and forth, unwilling to believe you.
"I hate this apartment. I hate this goddamn city. And I hate…"
She cringes as you struggle to finish, quickly stepping forward to grab your face within the palms of her hands to stare you right in the eyes as she waits for you to say the words. Like if you actually say it while she's peering right into your very soul, then you truly mean it.
"I hate you," you whisper and watch as she rapidly falls apart in front of you, shattering into a million pieces across the tile of your foyer.
"Why are you d-doing th-this?" she stutters and mumbles through the thick tears.
Her eyes are so wrecked that you actually let a single teardrop slip. You quickly wipe it away before Brittany can see it.
"Because I don't want this anymore, Brittany. I don't want an 'us' anymore. There's a 'you' and there's a 'me' now," you motion between the two of you. "And it's the only way that works."
Brittany bites her lip before furrowing her eyebrows at you in sudden frustration and anger.
"So you slept with some whore, to what? Make a point? To rub it in? I know things haven't been going so well, but I didn't run off and fuck some random just to spite you," she practically yells at you, pure unadulterated fury seeping from her words as the tears continue to pour.
She surprises you with her anger, but you won't answer her question. Even if your response is a total lie.
That's the one thing you won't take away from her. Because you could never pretend that making love with Brittany was anything but earth-shatteringly special and perfect in every single way. You won't allow yourself to go that far, not ever. No matter what.
"You're such a fucking coward, Santana."
You stand there together in silence for about ten minutes after that, Brittany sniffling as she wipes away the last remaining tears. She looks so heartbroken and all you want is to hold her and kiss her and never let her go, but all you can do is just stand there and pretend like you aren't in love with the love of your life.
And it's exactly as hard as it sounds.
"I think you should go," Brittany finally decides, and you quickly nod in agreement. You've already made arrangements to stay the night at Quinn's.
All you get on the way out is a solemn, "good luck, Santana," and the image of a closed black door stained to your vision.
"Bye, Britt," and you let the tears finally fall from your inconsolable eyes.