Fic:Don't Know Why (Just Do)
Characters: Brittany S. Pierce, Santana Lopez, Sam Evans, Maribel Lopez, Rachel Berry, Kurt Hummel & Sugar Motta
Summary: Brittany doesn't really know a lot of things but she was so sure of that one.
It ends on a Monday.
Just any normal average Monday—
...Mondays aren't normal or average anymore.
They haven't been since that weird week in August when Santana left and it felt like Brittany's world cartwheeled upside down, making her dizzy and not entirely sure which way was up and which way was down.
(If Mondays aren't normal then, Brittany's not sure what they are now.
She doesn't really know the words to explain.)
She's there waiting for Brittany when she gets out of cheerios practice, pacing backwards and forwards in the parking lot, hooded sweatshirt too baggy over her Cards uniform.
There's a cigarette tucked between her fingers and that's how Brittany knows that something's wrong.
Something's really bad.
(Bad. That's the word. Mondays are bad.
Maybe worse than bad.
She's not sure.)
Still, Brittany hasn't seen her girlfriend in weeks and she can't ignore the fact that she's over-the-moon happy to see her.
Probably more than that.
Dancing-around-a-milky-way happy is definitely a better way to explain it.
They weren't supposed to be seeing each other for another couple of weeks, for their anniversary celebrations, but Santana's here right in front of her and she's not going to question that.
She wraps her arms around Santana and tugs her in closer, clutches her closely and presses her nose into dark hair. It smells just like it always does when Santana hasn't washed it yet, like day-old shampoo and sweat. She's so lost in that smell she doesn't realize that Santana's pushing her away...
...that she isn't smiling.
Instead, she tosses the cigarette to the floor, and doesn't stub it out, before she grabs Brittany by the wrist instead of the hand and drags her back into the school.
It's late enough that there's no one in the hallways and Brittany's sure that Santana has some magical song planned to sing to her when she drags her to the choir room.
But the lights are off and Santana only flicks the switches so that half the rooms lit up as she guides Brittany to the chairs and urges her to sit down. Then, she paces the floor again and toys with something in her pocket nervously. She shows Brittany all her tells that this is important, that this is big, but Brittany can't think of anything big enough to warrant her actions until—
The sobs leave Santana so abruptly that, at first, Brittany thinks she's sick and throwing up.
It isn't until she sees the thick and fast tears that it really registers. She says Santana's name as she rises from her chair but Santana's own words cut through it quickly.
"I slept with someone."
Confusing would be a good word.)
Something in Brittany jolts but she swallows it back, desperate to remain calm, collected, to not assume anything.
Jumping to conclusions is what gets you Fs on your math papers and teachers asking you why you don't listen.
"Oh. Okay," she says, trying not to let her voice shake. She tries to imagine sleepovers with fellow cheerleaders and Santana accidentally falling asleep in someone else's bed. It would be just like Santana to worry about something so silly. "No problem."
She shrugs as Santana looks up at her with wide eyes.
Santana scoffs in disbelief. "Brittany, are you listening to me?" she asks, her voice struggling. Brittany pauses but then she nods. Santana steps closer and shakes her head. "Britt, I had sex with someone else."
Brittany's face falls.
Yeah. That's it.
That's the word.)
"You... You..." Brittany shakes her head. "What?"
Santana's legs wobble a little as her hands go up to her face, shielding it from Brittany as she sobs wholeheartedly.
Brittany watches her curiously.
Shouldn't she be doing that?
Santana eventually looks up, tears coating her face and hanging off her nose. She straightens her back, stubborn and strong.
"I had sex with someone else," she chokes. "Her name was—was Cara. She's—she's in my business class. I met her at a party and I got drunk and we just—" Brittany flinches. Santana sees it and stops talking instantly. Her head shakes. "I'm so sorry."
Brittany looks down at her hands and notices that they're shaking. She laughs a little and then stops, her head shaking from side to side slowly because she doesn't get it.
She doesn't understand why she feels so stupid.
"I thought..." she whispers except she doesn't know what she thought.
She stands instead and her legs feel like she's been at practice all day instead of an hour or two. Santana steps towards her quickly and, for the first time since they met and fell in love, Brittany puts a hand out to stop her before she can touch her.
She shakes her head and feels the first of the lumps that grow in her throat.
"I can't do this," she admits quietly and it's weird when Santana nods.
It's the first time that Santana hasn't made her feel sure that she can do anything.
That must mean something.
It feels weird to be the one that walks away.
She calls Sam.
He comes over within ten minutes and he watches her curiously as she stays quiet, just follows her up to her room.
She likes that about Sam.
He never rushes her.
It takes her a little while but eventually she swallows and lets her eyes flutter closed.
"Santana had sex with somebody else," she whispers softly.
Sam's face falls and then his brow furrows. Brittany feels the lump in her throat growing so big that it feels like she can't breathe.
"She..." Sam starts softly and then she feels him move to sit closer to where she lies on her bed. He touches her hand softly. "She cheated on you?" he asks and it's almost like he can't believe it.
Brittany can't either. Now that it's been voiced, that it's been explained—Santana cheated on her—Brittany can't really believe it at all.
Somewhere deep down inside of her, she thought that all the hard stuff was over.
Well, the important hard stuff. Passing high school was just a bump in the road. It would be easy second time around and then they'd be together and then—
The tears overcome her just like they'd overcome Santana. They choke out of her and sound like she's throwing them up except she does throw up, her body throwing itself over the side of her bed until she can reach for the waste paper basket and empty her stomach into it.
Sam rubs her back and her mom comes to see if she's okay but the tears don't stop. She just keeps crying and crying and crying and it feels like there's something missing in her chest when she tries to think about it. She sobs and sobs until it hurts to but her body still cries. Sam holds her, his huge boy hands pressing to her aching stomach muscles as he spoons her from behind.
He feels so different to Santana that Brittany thinks that probably makes her feel worse
She wakes up in the middle of the night, her cheeks still wet and her stomach aching. Sam's still behind her, arms wrapped around her, but she pays no attention to him because all she can think about is Santana.
She's surprised she doesn't feel angry or upset about what she done.
She just feels sort of lost and her mind repeats the same thing over and over again:
We were supposed to be together.
Brittany doesn't really know a lot of things but she was so sure of that one.
She squashes her eyes closed and tries to push the words away but they won't leave her.
The scary thing is that she doesn't think they ever will.
The even scarier thing is that Santana hasn't tried to call her.
She goes to school the next day, Sam permanently attached to her side to make sure she's okay, and listens as he tells the others about Santana.
He doesn't say anything bad about her, just explains the situation. The others don't say anything bad either, they just look at her with worry, like they're not sure what to say, before asking if Santana's called her since.
She hasn't and, from the way Sam shifts awkwardly every time she shakes her head at the people who ask, she knows that's what she has most to worry about.
"What are you going to do?" Sam asks quietly, holding her on her bed again, stroking her hair from her cheeks wet from crying.
Brittany shrugs and takes a deep breath to try and talk before giving up. Her face screws up with tears instead but she pushes them away, determined to be strong.
It takes her a little while but, eventually—
"I love her," she whispers.
Sam sighs and tucks her closer to him. "She slept with someone else, Britt."
The response is automatic:
"Sex isn't dating."
Sam looks at her and pauses. "Britt," is all he says.
She closes her eyes and shakes her head, burying her face into his chest.
"I don't know," she breathes softly. "I don't know."
All she gets is a text a week or so later, in the end.
Be happy, Britt Britt x
It feels so sure, so final, that it terrifies Brittany.
When she calls Santana and it instantly goes to her voice mail is when she realizes that there was only ever one thing for her to do.
Especially when just the thought of losing Santana makes her feel like she's been dropped into a jungle in the dark. She feels lost and terrified and she tugs on Sam's arm and tells him he has to drive her car for her.
He nods and follows her direction when she tells him to take her to Santana's house.
Maribel opens the door and kind of slumps like a punctured balloon at the sight of Brittany stood there.
"She's not here," is the first thing she says before anything else.
Brittany nods. She didn't think she would be but she had to be sure. Her hand pulls on Sam's arm and she's telling them that they have to go to Louisville, that she has to call her mom and tell her she won't be home for dinner—and that Sam should probably call Mr. Hummel and do that too—when Maribel calls their names.
"Brittany," she says softly and they're almost at the car. Brittany debates just running but turns when Maribel calls her name again. There are tears in her eyes when she speaks.
"She's not there, either."
Mrs. Lopez explains that Santana called her a few days before and told her that she was dropping out of college. She tells Brittany that she tried to stop her, tried to get her to call her, but Santana was adamant that she'd ruined everything and she couldn't do it anymore. She couldn't be in the place that had ruined the best thing she ever had.
Brittany doesn't say anything and lets Sam doing all the talking for her. He asks Mrs. Lopez where Santana went and she tells them that Santana came home yesterday to put all her things back in her room and only stayed the night before leaving early that morning.
She tells them that she doesn't know where Santana was going but that she's sure she'll let her know that she's safe once she's settled.
Brittany doesn't listen to anymore, she just stands and walks quickly to Santana's room like they're lying, that Santana's still there and she's just hiding in her room, too ashamed and scared to talk to Brittany.
But she isn't and all that's left is boxes.
They're boxes full of memories and Brittany falls to her knees in front of them, pulling things from them and clutching them to her chest like they're all she'll ever have now.
Tears pour from her eyes and she can't breathe, she can't breathe, she can't breathe because Santana has her heart and her lungs don't know where it is so they can't work properly.
Neither Mrs. Lopez or Sam stop her. They just stand and watch until Brittany curls in on herself, face in her hands and forehead to the floor. It reminds her of praying and she closes her palms against each other and begs for Santana, begs quickly, and prays that she'll come back to her.
It's then that Sam wraps his arms around her and lifts her, kicking and screaming, into his arms. She doesn't stop kicking and screaming until he tucks her up in her bed and holds her still.
He has to hold her until she wears herself out and falls asleep in his arms.
She wakes up in the middle of the night and tries calling Santana.
She lets it go to voice mail and then begs Santana to come home, tells her that they need to talk, that she can't just leave her all alone, and then ends up sobbing down the line at her until it clicks off.
It wakes Sam up in the end and he takes the phone from her and puts it in her dresser drawer.
He holds her and tells her everything will be okay but how can it be when Santana isn't here.
She asks Sam but he doesn't know.
She can see it in the way that Sam looks at her, curious and worried.
She gets quieter, buries her head in her studies and doesn't come back out until there's a scribbled red A in the top corner of all her papers.
People look at her like they want her to stop, like they want her go back to the way she was, but don't know that they can't tell her to stop doing things that are so obviously benefiting her.
It still doesn't stop them from being curious.
"What are you doing, Britt?" Sam asks softly.
She looks up from her Spanish home work, conjugations and grammar drowning out te amo, te amo, te amo, and shrugs.
"What I should have been doing a year ago," she whispers quietly.
Sam's shoulders slump and he doesn't ask her again.
The first she hears of Santana is through Rachel Berry.
Rachel Berry checked in at Veselka with Kurt Elizabeth Hummel and Santana Lopez
There's a picture too, but it's not the kind that Brittany wants to see. It's just a picture of the table top, covered in plates and drinks.
The only part of Santana you can see is her hand, nails painted their perpetual red, and part of her sleeve. There's a cell phone—a different cell phone to the one Santana had before she left—underneath her palm and Brittany takes that as a sign that her phone messages aren't being listened to, that her texts are being ignored.
But it's the first part of Santana that Brittany's seen in three months and it feels weird to have all these words to say to Santana and not be able say them to her, so she writes them down.
She spends all night writing pages and pages to Santana about what it feels like to know that she's okay, to know that she's safe and has a warm bed to sleep in, that she isn't alone. She can't stop and she just keeps writing until her mom has to wake her up the next morning, face pressed to her desk.
She writes while she's in class, once she's finished the problems assigned by her teacher, and while she's at lunch beside Sam. She writes while she's in Glee club and while Sam drives her home after school. She writes and she write so much that her mom finds her an empty trinket chest to put them in.
She wonders how long it will take her to fill it up.
It doesn't take long. A month or so.
Sam finds them all one day when he comes by and thumbs through them, brow furrowed.
"Why don't you send them?" he asks.
Brittany shrugs. "I don't have an address."
"We could find one," he says curiously. "I'm sure if we talked to Rachel or Kurt we could get an address or something. A phone number. Maybe her mom knows."
"She doesn't," Brittany says softly. Maribel calls her every time Santana gets into contact and, every time, Maribel tells her that Santana still won't tell them her address. Brittany knows that both of Santana's parents visited New York during the holidays and that Santana kept it a secret, even then. They stayed in a hotel and they said goodbye to her every night before she disappeared home on the subway.
"But we could find one," Sam says again. "If we tried really hard, we could."
Brittany knows that Sam misses Santana too.
She smiles and carries on writing. "We could," she agrees.
They both know they won't.
There's an entire drawer in her dresser full of enveloped and addressed letters to Santana by the end of senior year.
Sam buys her a brand new chest to put them in as a graduation present and she lets him pile the letters inside of it as she gets ready for the ceremony. It's so large that it doesn't look like there's many in there, really. There's a padlock on the front and Brittany watches in her mirror as Sam clicks it shut and and then slips the key onto a gold chain.
He attaches it around Brittany's neck when she isn't looking and then positions it carefully against the front of her dress.
"One day, Britt," he says and she's not sure what he means but she nods anyway. She doesn't think it matters when he's spinning her around and hugging her tightly. "I'm so proud of you," he whispers.
Brittany hugs back just as tightly. "Me too," she says, not talking about him but herself.
Considering that she failed high school last year, going to college isn't really something that anyone expected her to do.
It's not really something that she expected to do herself but she figures that being able to isn't an opportunity that she's going to waste. She knows that she'll be fine because Sam will be there with her. She feels kind of hopeful for the first time in forever when they both arrive at OSU, Brittany's parents in their car behind them, full to the brim with their things, just like Brittany's is.
They're on the same hall and it takes forever for them to move all their things into their separate dorms, but Brittany's glad for it.
It's days like these that she starts thinking about Santana and being busy is good for her. Meeting her new roommate is good for her and going out for dinner with her and Sam and his roommate is good for her. It's new and having fun makes it easier not to think about the fact that Santana isn't here, that college is what ruined them and made Santana leave. It beats laying on her bed and thinking about where Santana is like she would if Sam wasn't here. It's safe and she laughs easily.
Still, she comes back to her dorm and she stays up late writing a letter to Santana under her desk lamp light, telling her all about her first day at college and wondering where she is.
By her first winter of college, Brittany learns that Santana isn't in New York anymore.
She has a cold and she's sat in her dorm in her PJs, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders as she tries to study for one of her classes, when Mercedes updates her Twitter.
Her momma always told her that procrastination was bad.
Between bewildering messages from Rihanna, empowering thoughts from Britney Spears and general fierceness from Lady Gaga sits:
mercedesjonesmusic What a gr8 afternoon! Ran into an old friend from high school. santanalopez we'll have to do that again!
It takes Brittany a moment to check but then she finds out that Mercedes is still in LA and that that probably means Santana is too. She's trying to figure out why Santana's in LA when Sam comes skidding up to her open dorm doorway, looking pretty much as terrible as she is and suffering from the same cold the entire floor has.
"Did you see—"
"Do you want me to—"
Brittany looks at him and pauses. She knows that he still talks to Mercedes, that they're pretty great friends after the whole are-they-aren't-they mess of her first senior year. She shrugs and he smiles but she doesn't think anything will come of it.
Nothing ever does.
Mercedes doesn't know anything and just as quickly as Santana was in LA she was gone again. The only real information Mercedes could give them is that Santana's time in California was cut short by work or something. Mercedes seemed to think that maybe Santana was a backing singer or something because she looked good and didn't have any time free in the evenings to go out for dinner.
Brittany could tell that Santana wasn't in New York because Rachel and Kurt hadn't said anything about her on Facebook in forever. Her mind buzzed with the probabilities that maybe Santana was touring with some famous band or singer, traveling the world, living her dreams and being happy.
It made her feel a little easier, it made her worry less. She still wrote letters but only when she could think of something to say—a memory or a question—and it felt like things were starting to get easier.
She convinces herself that she's okay until she comes home from work one fall night in sophomore year of college and everything changes.
She kinda hates her job at a movie theater, mostly because she hates scary movies—and that's mostly what plays when she does the late night shift—but she gets free popcorn, good pay, and she sees pretty much every movie ever released, so she can't complain.
Sam works there, too (but mostly when the kiddy movies are on), and they live together in a small apartment that they can both afford without having to go hungry. Pretty much everyone who knows them but doesn't really know them thinks that they're dating, except they're not and they have separate beds. Sure, they've walked in on each other getting changed or in the bathroom a few times but it doesn't matter. It works.
They're best friends.
Until Santana Lopez updates her Facebook for the first time in two years and Brittany just so happens to get home in time to see it.
Then they're not.
She should have listened to Sam when he told her to go to bed. Then, maybe, she wouldn't have seen it. Rachel would have backed up her timeline with novel-long statuses and Tina would have posted videos from random bands no one had ever heard of. Mike would be posting dorky pictures of him and his friends being dumb and her mom would have written a status that all her friends would have commented on a bajillion times.
She should have listened to Sam but, instead, she checks Facebook and the first thing she sees is the last thing she ever wants to see.
Santana Lopez is now friends with Amy Brody Adams
Santana Lopez is in a relationship.
Santana Lopez is in a relationship with Amy Brody Adams
Amy Brody Adams and Santana Lopez like this.
The first thing she does is cry.
Like, really cry, for the first time in forever. There's drool and snot bubbles and she's pretty sure she's coming down with a cold again, so she shivers and she feels sick and her head starts to hurt.
Sam watches her, knowing that she doesn't need hugs yet. He watches her for what feels like hours, just like he did the last time she saw Santana, and doesn't say anything as she wanders aimlessly around their apartment, not knowing what to do. He lets her clutch at old glee photos, lets her dig through her dresser and find the pictures of her and Santana she hides there for the bad days. He lets her listen to Songbird and Landslide on repeat until it's not a song anymore, just a noise.
And then he sits down beside her and strokes her back when she sits beside her desk and begins to write another letter.
She gets to "Dear Santana, I miss you. Come back to me" before she loses it. She gets angry for the first time in two years and Sam lets her at first. He watches as she brushes everything off her desk before she rips the letter into confetti. He only stops her when she begins to throw photo frames at the walls, as she kicks over furniture and almost hurts herself trying to upturn her desk.
He holds her underneath the shoulders, pinning her arms behind her back and allows her to slump in his arms from the weight of her sobs. He lets her slide to the floor and wraps his arms around her as she rocks backwards and forwards trying to lull herself into calm.
He clutches her close, closer and more intimately than anyone's done since Santana left and whispers into her hair, kisses against her hairline, her temple, the apple of her cheek where the tears run thick and fast. It's different and she needs different so she relaxes into it. She relaxes into it too much and, before she can realize what's happening, their noses are presses together and she can feel Sam's breath against her lips, his hand at the back of her neck, keeping her there. It almost makes her feel drunk and she closes the space between them without even thinking about it.
"Britt—" he protests but she can tell that he's curious, that two years of looking after someone he shouldn't have to has made him tired and lonely. She can tell he needs a release, that watching her wait has been almost as unbearable as waiting.
It's him that joins their mouths the second time and they kiss slowly until they kiss fast and reckless like all lost and confusing kisses are. All Brittany knows is that she wants this—him—right now, at this moment, when she just needs to remember what intimacy is. She climbs into his lap, locks her hips over his and wraps her arms around his neck, ignoring how different he feels to the tiny body she still feels used to.
She thinks about how weird it is as he lifts them both, tangling her legs wrapped around his waist, and pushes her against the nearest wall. She feels like she's forgotten this, like she's forgotten what it's like to want this. It's been so long since she had sex with anyone, since she had sex with a boy. She hasn't wanted to because her body still wants skinny hips and a perfect mouth. Her mind has to tell her things instead of acting on instinct and she's almost mechanical as she tugs at Sam's shirt, as she reaches between them and unbuttons her jeans. He lets her go, so that she can push them down her legs and kick them off, but then picks her up again. Their kisses are sloppy as she removes her shirt and she takes her time between dropping it to the floor and what comes next.
He doesn't seem too bothered. He just kisses her and palms at her ass where he holds her by it. His fingers tease beneath her underwear and she bucks into him with the movements until she can feel the strangely familiar but not feel of his arousal against her. He whispers an apology but all she feels is lust and not much else as she reaches between them and pushes down his pajama pants and boxers in one go. She looks down at him and after that it's easy, easier. It's physical. All she has to do is use one hand to wrap around him and another to push her underwear to the side before guiding him into her.
He sighs and it's different. He kisses her neck and thrusts into her. She toys with the hair at the back of his neck and lapses into the feeling throbbing between her legs until Sam stutters back and tries to pull back.
"C-condom..." he stutters.
It's a weird thing to have to worry about after so long. She blinks and she isn't even sure if they have any. She definitely doesn't. She doesn't remember seeing any in the bathroom or in Sam's wallet when she stole ten bucks for milk either.
She decides she doesn't really care and tugs him back to her. "Just pull out," she whispers and kisses him before he can protest.
He moves into her slowly and she doesn't like it. She nudges her nose against him and mouths "faster" against his lips. He stutters but then he does as he's told, moving until she can't see, until she's tightening too quickly around him and falling apart. He moves until he pulls back abruptly and she ignores the warmth against her stomach and his guttural moan of thanks.
She ignores it all and just basks in the carefree feeling for as long as she can.
He avoids her for a few days and tells her he has extra shifts and classes even though their schedules are tacked to the fridge.
By Wednesday night—their mutual night off—he has no choice but to come home.
She's sat there waiting for him with an I'm-sorry takeout, beer and a pile of dorky movies so high there's a possibility he might pee himself with excitement.
He looks at her as he walks in from his last class and then reaches for something inside of his backpack to put beside it all.
Brittany stares from him to the box of condoms in confusion.
"I don't care about doing that for you, Britt," he says softly. "You're not exactly hard on the eye and I know... I know that you're lonely." She looks away from him. "I know that you miss her and I know that you miss being close to her and I can be a substitute for that. I can be that person for you, because I know you're not ready." She stares at her feet. He moves to sit beside her and reaches for her hand until she looks at him. "But we have to be safe..." He pauses. "We have to be safe because one day that idiot is going to realize how much she loves you and come back here and I made her a promise. I made her a promise to look after you and I'm going to do that in anyway I can."
She's touched but she fights back the tears by teasing him. "And, what? You're scared she'll kick your ass if you knock me up?"
Sam doesn't smile and Brittany's smile falls because of it.
"No," he says softly. "No. Because one day you're going to start a family with her and I don't want to get in the way of that. I can't."
Brittany looks at him, really looks at him, and wonders why she couldn't fall in love with Sam Evans first.
She guesses this is what having sex with your best friend feels like when he's just your best friend.
There's no romance.
There's no foreplay.
She's still half dressed and Sam's only got his pants unbuttons and his shirt pushed up around his abs.
Brittany's pretty sure Sam's watching Princess Leia in her gold bikini over her shoulder and, the weirdest thing is, she wishes she was watching her too.
And the whole best friends thing is why she doesn't feel weird when she stops and tells him this isn't working. He just stands up and then lets her guide him around the couch, doesn't need direction when she kicks her sweats off the whole way and parts her legs, bending over the couch. He just grips at her hips and carries on.
Eight months or so later, there's no mention of Amy Brody Adams on Santana's Facebook. She's single again and has been a while but Brittany's still having sex with Sam.
Not as much but kinda still often.
It's kind of different now, too. There's no more asking if the other wants to have sex. It's less mechanical. It's kind of more like sex how normal people do it. Like, one time, Sam came home from work and Brittany was naked in his bed and, another time, it was Sam proving that he could get someone off in less than a minute with his mouth and then Brittany trying to beat him.
Fights for the remote end up with slow and sweaty sex on the couch in the middle of the afternoon.
It feels like they're together and, to be honest, Brittany isn't sure if they are or they aren't anymore.
Especially not when nights out with their friends end up with Sam fucking her in an alley or touching her in the back of a cab.
It kind of scares her.
Their friends think they're together and it feels like they're together. She lays beside a naked Sam one Sunday morning in nothing but a t-shirt and narrows her eyes.
"Are you in love with me?" she asks.
Sam turns to her and eyes her worriedly. "Why? Are you in love with me?"
Brittany laughs. "No."
Sam breathes out in relief. "Good. Me either. You're my best friend, Britt."
Brittany bites her tongue. "Do you treat all your best friends this way, Samuel?"
"No," he says as he swats at her ass. She jerks away from him before rolling to lay atop him. "But I like what we have. I feel like... I don't know. Are you ready to be with someone? Is that what you're saying?" Brittany adamantly shakes her head. "Then I'm fine. I'm happy."
"Me too," Brittany says, glad that she almost means it. "But you shouldn't put your life on hold because of me." She pauses and a lump rises up her throat, thick and sad as she tries to speak. "I could be waiting forever... It doesn't seem right that both of our lives might end up being wasted."
Sam clutches her closer and tugs the covers closer up around them even though it's hot outside. He kisses her temple and she breathes hard against him, desperate not to cry. It doesn't work very well—it never does—but Sam doesn't say anything. He lets her cry and strokes her hair until she calms down.
"I don't like the idea of you thinking that you're wasting your life, Britt" he whispers softly. "If that's what you think is going on then I don't want to do this anymore. Do you really think that?"
Brittany breathes out and thinks.
Is she wasting her life? Maybe. But there's still some deep part of her that stops and nudges her, reminding her that Santana's still out there in the world, that she's alive and that there's still a chance that they might do all the things they were supposed to... that they might end up growing old together someday.
She doesn't see how any time spent waiting for that could ever be a waste.
"No," she chokes. "No, I don't."
She doubts she ever will.
Santana Lopez is now friends with Marta Kristaberg
Santana Lopez is now friends with Joanne Cleary
Santana Lopez is now friends with Carey Rose
Santana Lopez is now friends with Duncan Fitzpatrick and Stacey Ann Berger
The worse thing about time going on is that, slowly, Santana starts to become more and more active online again.
Brittany feels creepy stalking her Facebook and monitoring all these friends, but it's the only thing she has left of Santana now. It's her only way of knowing who she is now and she doesn't care if it's creepy if she still has this small, miniscule part of Santana to keep.
Only on bad days do the thoughts, of all these women maybe being the one who ruins all her hopes and dreams, get to her. The rest of the time she just looks on fondly and thanks god that Santana isn't alone, glad that she's surrounded by people who care about her.
She doesn't really know much, just that Santana travels a lot, but she's glad for that.
Only once does it really get to her on a good day, when one woman—Julia Bennett—leaves a message that doesn't really leave much to the wandering mind.
Thanks for last night, her message says complete with smiley face. We'll definitely have to do it again some time.
It's signed off with a winky face and about fourteen kisses. It's accompanied by a comment from someone else mentioning how they wondered where Santana had got to last night and it must say something that the first thing Brittany does isn't to fall into bed with Sam.
Instead, she makes him take her out drinking, now that they're old enough, and doesn't let him take her home until she can't walk and the bartender has to tell him to get her out of there.
Even still, she doesn't sleep with him then, or the morning after, or for a long time after that, really. She just sleeps in the whole of the next day and misses classes for the next week.
Sam doesn't say anything, just leaves for work without a word.
She still writes letters.
Most of them are still about memories or asking questions but, lately, all she's been writing about is how she wishes she knew what Santana looked like now.
Santana's profile pictures are still the same ones from high school, any pictures uploaded by her friends left untagged, and Brittany wants to know silly things.
She wants to know if Santana's hair is still long, if it's got lighter (because there was no way it could get any darker) or if her eyes are older. She wants to know if she lets her hair go curly after showers, in the way Brittany used to love, or if she wears her glasses in public. She wants to know if she got more beautiful or if her body continued to fill out like it had done so quickly during those last couple of years at high school.
Most of the time, she just ends up laying back on her bed thinking about her, imagining.
Most of the time, she falls asleep, her dreams filled with a million different images of Santana, each one more perfect than the next.
Sam tells her he's dating someone the same day that Santana sets her relationship status to it's complicated.
It's a double blow but she gets over it quickly, even though Sam tells her to forget he ever said anything once he finds out.
She shoves at him and tells him to stop being an idiot. They haven't had sex in months, shared a bed in almost as long and she was wondering why he was spending so much time at work.
It's harder to know what's going on with him now that she's got her new job at the newspaper but it's kinda what she needs if she's going to be a journalist—a photojournalist—her boss tells her.
Apparently she's gifted.
No one but Santana had ever really told her that before.
For all the complaining that Santana did because no one saw how great Brittany was and how sad it made both of them, having other people tell her how awesome she is doesn't make Brittany feel anywhere near as proud as when Santana had.
It kind of feels almost as good when Sam tells her. He's the second person who ever got it.
He's the second person whoever got her and that's what makes it so hard when she tries to convince him that she's fine because he knows she isn't.
And it's hard because it's been four years now. Nearly five whole years without Santana and Santana broke her heart but it still feels like something's missing.
"Tell me all about her, Sam..." she says softly.
He looks at her. "Britt."
She gives him a look and he shuts up. "Tell me, Sam. I want to know."
It still takes him a second but then he shrugs and a goofy smile befalls his lips.
"You're going to think I'm crazy, Britt," he says softly but the fact that he's smiling tells her she'll do no such thing.
So, Sam's madly in love with Sugar Motta.
Brittany doesn't swear much but it's fuckin' weird, yo.
Not because it's Sugar but because Sugar's so different to that dappy rich girl they knew in high school.
Apparently bankruptcy has the ability to bring people crashing back down to earth.
Sugar's a lot cooler than she was in high school.
She's still absolutely crazy, but she's awesome and she loves Sam more than enough for Brittany to let her date her best friend.
She also knows about the weird Santana situation which helps because it's nice to have someone who doesn't think her and Sam are practically married. It's nice to have a friend who doesn't ask her why she's single or set her up with other people. Brittany thinks that maybe Sam's told her some stuff but they're kinda close. They've ended up talking until Sam gets home from midnight superhero movie showings more than a couple of times and Sugar doesn't really beat around the bush still. It's nice.
"So, you're just waiting?" she asks one night, hands wrapped around a hot cocoa, both of them in their jammies and wrapped in blankets.
Brittany blows steam away from her mug and shrugs. "I don't know what I'm doing," she admits.
"But you'd take her back?" Sugar asks, confused. "I mean... she cheated on you."
"Once... when she was drunk," Brittany reminds her quickly. "And, I don't know. I just miss her."
It happens all out of order.
Or maybe it's in order.
Brittany's given up attempting to predict the cosmic order of events or fate and all that bullshit.
A woman at work sees some of her own private photography one day and asks her if she's available for hire because her friend needs a wedding photographer and she'd be perfect.
Brittany's ready to tell the truth—that she can't because she's going to be a photojournalist—when her boss jumps in and tells the woman that she can. He gives the woman Brittany's number and within a day the woman's friend is offering to pay her two thousand dollars for a day of taking her wedding pictures.
By the time she leaves the wedding, she's given out her number more than twenty times to potential clients who all want to hire her services for weddings and christenings and corporate stuff.
She spends the rest of the week after that with Sam, building her a website and making business cards.
Within six weeks, she's graduated from college and she's working full time.
Within six months, she has her own studio in Downtown Columbus and there's a woman who wants to put her pictures up in a gallery and hold an exhibition.
She also wants to take Brittany out to dinner.
What's weird is that Brittany accepts.
It's only a business dinner, but the fact that Brittany actually accepted without know that is a big step.
Especially when it gets her on the books of a photographic agency meaning that she has more work coming in, meaning that she gets to travel a lot more.
She loves it. It's frantic but freeing at the same time.
Within a year, she's jetting around the country and she's done a couple of Nylon cover shoots and actually been in the magazine in an article about the best up-and-coming creatives under twenty-fives.
It's not what she expected five years ago when she was failing high school.
But, if there's one thing Brittany's learned, it's that nothing ever goes how you expect it to.
Brittany goes to New York some time in early September to shoot another Nylon cover for young fashion designer, Kurt Hummel.
She's nervous all the way to the loft Kurt works out of, but it disappears the minute he has her wrapped up in a hug so tight it almost strangles her. Then there's Rachel Berry yanking her from him and crying as she holds Brittany close.
What's weird, is that Brittany cries too.
They barely get any work done and spend the whole day talking instead.
It's like it hasn't been six years since they were last in each other's company, like high school never stopped.
Except it did and they're older and their entire worlds have changed around them.
They go for dinner, after, to Veselka, and, even though Brittany's never been here with Santana, the whole place reminds Brittany of her.
"Santana always has the meat plate," Rachel says, like she can tell what Brittany was thinking. Brittany looks away from the walls and stares at her. "She thinks it's funny to fill the table with meat considering I'm vegan."
Brittany doesn't know what to say so she just nods politely before staring down at her plate.
It takes a moment for a hand to cover hers. "She's not here, you know?" Rachel says and of course Brittany doesn't know. She looks up a little. "Last we heard, she was in..."
"San Francisco," Kurt supplies softly.
Rachel nods. "She's a record producer. Well... sort of. She got an internship with some big name producer and then he took her on as his assistant when he found out how good her ear was. Here..."
Brittany looks away and then, a few seconds later, there's a phone being thrust at her. She looks down at the screen and all breath empties from her. Blood rushes through her ears and she just stares at the picture of Santana. Her head of slightly shorter, messier curls, sit tied atop her head haphazardly. Her glasses are askew on her nose as she slings her arm around a person Brittany pays no mind to notice. All she takes in is the same, beautiful smile and the familiarity of a Santana who isn't dressed to the nines. A striped t-shirt and baggy jeans have never looked more wonderful on anyone.
"God..." Kurt breathes but it still doesn't drag her eyes away. Rachel's hand rests on her wrist and she taps the screen of her phone for Brittany when it threatens to go dark, her eyes knowing and calm. "You're still in love with her."
She doesn't deny it. She just looks.
"I knew she was being ridiculous," he goes on. "She arrived here that fall and she was talking like you hated her and that you'd promised to never forgive her or speak to her again. She slept on our couch and sobbed for a month straight before Rachel made her go get a job."
Brittany's breath shakes from her at the thought of a crying Santana and even more of a Santana that thought she hated her. After all, she's still the first thing Brittany thinks of in those weird in between moments when she wakes up. She's still what Brittany reaches for in the middle of the night when her dreams scare her.
"I didn't..." is all she can manage to explain to them for a moment. And then, when she remembers what happened, her face falls and crinkles. "She left me."
It silences them and then the conversation drops for a little while. Brittany gets up to got to the bathroom and when she comes back there's a little notification on her phone saying "files received from Rachel Berry". They offer to walk her back to her hotel and promise to meet her for breakfast before she leaves.
Before they get back into their cab, Rachel bundles Brittany into her arms and holds her tight, rubs her back gently and sighs.
"It probably won't make any difference," she whispers. "but I don't think she wanted to—leave you, that is—" Brittany slumps against her. "If I'm honest," Rachel breathes softly. "I think she'd come back to you tomorrow if you even gave her the slightest inclination that you wanted her to. I think that she'd follow you around the world if you so much as wondered where she was out loud."
The words break something in Brittany and she clutches Rachel close and remembers the hours and hours she still spends in the middle of the night, looking at pictures of them together, asking the universe where she is and what she has to do to get her back.
"I already do," she admits quietly and feels Rachel stiffen.
She manages to make it back to Columbus before she looks at what she received from Rachel knowing full well what it is.
Her plane gets in late and Sam's at Sugar's and she falls into bed and stares at the picture of Santana, finger tracing the outline of her, trying to teach herself the new and different lines of her.
It's been almost six years since she last saw Santana and that scares her. Each year that number gets bigger and each year she worries that it'll soon stop being a number and just a wasted blip of her universe when she never sees Santana again.
It's been six years and she still doesn't know why Santana never spoke to her.
She doesn't know why Santana just got up and left her waiting, why she never ended it.
It never ended and maybe that's why she hasn't moved on.
She's waiting for closure. She's waiting for Santana to look at her dead in the eye and say, "Britt Britt, we're done" but she doesn't think that's ever going to happen.
Santana told her to be happy but she can't do that.
She can't do that when Santana's still out there. It doesn't make sense that Santana's the one that's out there somewhere and she's the one that feels lost.
After a few hours, she can't get to sleep, so she gets up and sits at her desk to write a letter.
She writes pages about Santana's face and her body, how proud she is and how, even after she's seen that she's safe, Brittany still wonders.
She will always wonder.
And that's her curse.
Sam and Sugar introduce her to David in late September.
Brittany gets angry at first and storms away from them once David's left to restaurant. Sam follows her and stops her from getting into a cab. She spins on her heels and rounds on him the minute he touches her.
"You had no right," she says lowly. "You had no right, Sam... I don't want this. I don't want this."
Sam clutches at her shoulders and shakes her a little.
"It's been nearly six years, Brittany," he reminds her and the use of her whole name makes her tense. "It's been six years and you've grown up and you've got better and Santana probably has too. She hasn't come back, Britt," he whispers and his voice breaks. "She hasn't come back and I know you say you're not wasting your life but you're not living it. You're missing out on the love of someone who could treat you how you should be treated. You're missing out on starting a life. You're missing out on the joy of loving someone who deserves to be loved by you."
She shrugs out of his grasp and shakes her head at him.
"I don't have any love to give anyone, Sam," she reminds him lowly. "I don't want to love someone else."
He looks at her and tries to speak but he isn't quick enough.
Brittany gets in the cab.
They somehow manage to talk her into going on a double date with them and David.
Brittany sits beside him, back straight and body tense as he does all the things that charming men do when they're trying to impress someone. She chuckles but she doesn't laugh. She smiles but she doesn't grin. She eats quietly and doesn't really talk. Sam and Sugar look at each other and Brittany can tell that they know they've stepped out of line when she spends more time looking around the restaurant than at the man beside her.
She shrugs her shoulders at them when David's in the bathroom and Sam asks her to try, to just try to like him but he isn't what Brittany wants.
She'd rather be alone than deliberately unhappy.
She excuses herself early and leaves without dessert.
She gets more joy from climbing into bed and staring at the picture of Santana that Rachel sent her all those weeks ago.
It's just another normal day.
She's at a shoot in Nashville, shooting pictures of some up-and-coming new indie band, when her personal phone goes off.
She ignores it like she always does when she's at work. She doesn't mind if clients hear her getting calls verifying appointments but, when they hear her having to tell Sam where the emergency stash of toilet paper is, she doesn't think it's professional.
But when it goes off again ten minutes later and then again another fifteen minutes after that, and another twenty after that and another five after that, she thinks that maybe it's more important than toilet paper.
When she sees that it's Maribel Lopez calling her...
She doesn't know what to think.
She sends everyone for lunch and steps outside to return the call.
"Brittany?" a rushed and worried voice calls down the phone.
Brittany gulps. "Maribel? Is something wrong? Is it..."
"My mother had a stroke," Maribel tells her quickly, her voice almost emotionless. "It's bad. It's really bad."
"I'm sorr—" Brittany starts but she's cut off just as quickly.
"She's coming home, Brittany," Maribel says softly. "Santana's coming home. She's finally coming home." Brittany's heart stops. She's sure of it. "I just thought that you should know before she gets here."
The shock registers quickly. Words refuse to form and leave her mouth. She just stands there with her phone to her ear wondering why now as Maribel breathes down the phone.
"I just thought you deserved to know," Maribel repeats and then Brittany hears more voices. "I have to go, Brittany. I hope you're well."
The line clicks off and five minutes later, Brittany's still stood there with the phone to her ear.
Fifteen minutes later, she's apologizing to the person in charge of the shoot and heading to the airport.