Take Me in Your Arms

Santana stared at her dad. "What are you doing here?"

"You're graduating. We're so proud of you."

"Clearly, seeing as you couldn't be bothered to even put on a clean pair of jeans, and Mom couldn't even be bothered to show up. Still the pride of parents is something a daughter usually cherishes—except for the fact that you made it perfectly clear that I'm not your daughter. You remember that, right? That whole, 'One girl would be bad enough, but you've gone and picked up two!' conversation."

"We wanted you to see the err of your ways. We never stopped loving you."

"Funny way of showing it."

"I heard about your new job. Ad man. Well…add woman. Well done."

"How did you know about that?"

"I have connections."

"What does that mean?"

"Means I know all the people you're going to know."

Santana sighed. "Are you saying you had something to do with—"

"No, no. You did that on your own. I only found out recently."

"Good. I don't want to owe you anything."

"Stubborn, aren't you?"

"I get it from my father."

"Half of the business world is who you know."

"And I'm sure you could introduce me to all the right people," Santana said. "And I'd rise through the ranks…but for what? I'd have to be on all the time, just like you. Always performing. Always making sure that I was not only in with the right people, but making those people happy. And I'd throw money at my wife, or rather, wives, and kids to make sure they just ignored the fact that I was never home. Well, I don't want it," she finished softly, smiling at his slightly astounded face. "My life isn't one that I can sweep under the rug. I won't be able to hide my family from the people it offends—and I won't try. I'm starting small, but I'm okay with staying that way. We'll figure it out. I don't need your connections. I'm not after a big name for myself. Thanks for coming."

She shouldered her way through the crowd, back to Tina and Rachel. "Let's get out of here," she said, taking off her graduation cap. "We've got some celebrating to do."

They had invited Mike, Brody and Kurt. Tina and Rachel's parents were there as well. Currently Brody and Leroy were beating Hiram and Rachel at a round of Mario Kart. Santana, Sophia, James and Tina were watching and running commentary. Tina was also explaining the finer points of her new job as assistant librarian at NYU.

Until Rachel's phone rang.

Brody was the quickest to pause the game.

Rachel was still up for Wendla (starting in June), but she was up for another part too. Fantine in Les Miserables. Her hands shook, and every eye was on her, as she answered the phone. "Hello?"

Tina took Santana's hand as Rachel paced around the silent room. After a few minutes of hushed conversation, she turned back to them.

"Well?" Santana asked.

"They gave Fantine to someone else," she said dejectedly.

"I'm sorry, babe," Tina said, hugging her. "It's—"

Rachel's phone rang again. She stared at it for a moment, then picked up. "Hello? Yes, hi Stuart. I did. Yeah, definitely. Are you sure? Okay…." She turned away from the group, silent as she listened to whatever Stuart was saying. After a few minutes, she turned back to them. Her face was impassive.

"Rach, honey, are you okay?" Santana asked.

"They offered me Wendla!" she said.

The room erupted into noise.

The three girls didn't leave each other's sides for the rest of the evening. They celebrated with their family, knowing they were moving forward together.