Brittany could get used to this.
She smiles as her fingers trail up and down Santana's back, their tips tiptoeing down her spine and around the back curve of her rib cage. Her skin is warm and damp with the reminder of what just happened and Brittany can't withhold the giggle she releases when Santana hums contently at her touch.
Santana nuzzles into the vibrations that shake up Brittany's neck and Brittany can feel her grinning there shyly.
"I'll get off you in a second," she whispers. "My legs just need a minute to remember how to work."
Brittany smiles and blushes proudly, even though she doesn't need to.
"You don't have to," she says, voice thick with her own content and relief. "But I am glad that that went well... I was worried for a second."
Santana looks up at her, eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?" she asks in a tiny voice.
Brittany had forgotten how beautiful she looks from this close and in this circumstance. She kisses Santana's nose, just because she can, and shrugs.
"It's just been a while," she says but when Santana still wears a worried frown, she laughs in embarrassment and looks up to avoid interested brown eyes. "I haven't... done that... for a while," she explains. "I thought that I might have... I don't know, forgotten how everything works or something."
She finishes with a lighthearted laugh but still feels embarrassed at her own admission.
Santana looks confused for a moment but then her eyes go wide with shock. "You mean, you haven't gone down on—"
If possible, Brittany blushes more than she ever knew she could. She laughs at herself and lifts her hands from Santana's body to cover her face. "Oh my god," she whispers before taking her hands away. "No, not—well—if we're talking that then... yeah..." she trails off and shakes her head. "I haven't had sex with anybody in... over three years," she admits but then stops. "Well, not until a couple minutes ago, anyway."
Santana's eyes widen comically before she looks away. "Oh," she mutters. "Wow..."
Brittany notices how quiet she goes after that and it's her turn to apologize, then. She can't imagine what Santana's thinking... except she can and she doesn't really want Santana to think that she was trying to make a point. She was just stating a fact.
"Sorry," she mumbles. "You didn't need to know that."
"No, it's okay," Santana shrugs. She shifts and Brittany can almost hear how loud she's thinking until Santana sheepishly looks up at her. "I mean, it doesn't matter anymore, right?"
Brittany shakes her head straight away, her smile widening at the reminder. "Not anymore."
Santana presses a kiss to the spot above her heart and sighs before cuddling into her. They lay like that for a while, basking in the feeling, before Santana leans up and presses her chin to Brittany's breast bone. Her smile is coy and sends something old and familiar shooting straight to Brittany's pelvis.
"Still," she whispers, stroking circles around one of Brittany's nipples with her thumb. It draws her attention straight away, as does the sultry look on Santana's face. She gulps. "It wouldn't hurt for you to get back into practice, right?"
Brittany's brow raises when Santana leans forward and presses a wet kiss to her neck but then she smirks.
"Somebody's changed their tune," she comments in amusement.
Santana pulls away and bites her bottom lip. "Are you complaining?" she asks.
Brittany grabs for her, pulling her closer and urging their mouths together, just at the sight.
She groans when Santana pauses just before they kiss.
"I'll take that as a no."
She wakes up with a smile on her face, her head buried in her pillow and her body aching in all the best places she'd forgotten she had. She lays there for a moment, ignoring the world around her and takes a second to soak everything up—her happiness, her slowly disappearing pain, her steadily growing hope, and her unbridled and unabashed excitement—before she does anything else.
Once she's managed to get that under control, she lets her eyes flutter open.
It makes her a little sad when her arm reaches across the bed and Santana's not beside her. She pouts and rears up onto her arms, arching and cracking her back as she looks around.
She softens instantly when she finds Santana sat by the window in her chair, staring back at her worriedly.
She sinks back down onto the bed, hugging the pillow to her chest as she looks at her with a smile. "What are you doing over there?" she asks, voice thick with sleep. "Come back over here."
Santana smiles and laughs nervously. She turns around a little and Brittany instantly notices the change in her demeanor, how tense she is. She looks around the room for signs of what's going on and her eyes stop dead when she sees that Santana's previously empty duffle is now almost full to the brim with her things.
Brittany lets fear and tears wash over her as she sits up. Instinct, kicks in and she shakes her head as her face falls.
"Don't leave me," she chokes out breathlessly as she continues adamantly shake her head in refusal. "You don't get to leave me. Don't you dare leave me."
Santana's frowns in confusion but then she's straddling her in a second, eyes wide and pained as she grabs at Brittany's cheeks and pulls her close. "I would never..." she trails off and her face falls with real hurt this time. "Britt Britt..." she sighs. "I'm not going anywhere."
Brittany takes deep breaths to steady herself and tries to avoid Santana's eyes. "Sorry," she chokes out. "Sorry."
Santana kisses her forehead and shakes her head. "It's okay, it's okay," she whispers. "I'm not going anywhere... not without you, anyway."
Brittany looks past her at the bag and sniffs at it for scaring her so badly. "You packed your bag, though," she whispers. "Do you have to leave soon?"
Santana shakes her head and kisses her again. "I was looking for something."
Brittany pouts and lets Santana fuss over her. She cuddles her close and presses kisses in her hair. "Whatever it was, I hate it," she admits.
Santana tenses and pulls back a little to look at her. For the first time, Brittany realizes how overwhelmingly beautiful she looks, sat there in her thin white robe with her dark hair curling around her face. It softens her and makes her stop.
"I'm hoping you'll change your mind about that," Santana whispers, body slumping a little. Her cheeks pink and Brittany frowns when she gets up off of her.
"What do you mean?"
Santana paces for a moment and it's like a switch has been flipped as her face pales like she's going to throw up. Her hands worry themselves together for a second before she reaches over to the dresser to where she's folded Brittany's sleep shirt. She picks it up and hands it to her. Brittany takes it and looks down at her naked self in confusion. Santana sees that and swallows audibly.
"It's not..." she starts, but then gives up and gulps. "I just think that... when I do this, we should at least be a little bit dressed, you know?"
Brittany opens her mouth to ask what she's talking about but decides against it, choosing to slip the shirt on instead. She messily fastens the buttons and misses a few but it seems to satisfy Santana. She still looks worried, though. She keeps pacing and pacing, not looking at Brittany at all as she wears holes in the carpet. She plays with something in her pocket and, eventually, it starts to worry Brittany.
"You're scaring me," she whispers and tries to laugh it off.
Santana snaps around to her and then she's stood right in front of her.
"This is what I'm trying to find the words to say," she says quickly and she sounds a little pissed off. "I don't want to scare you anymore. You've been awake about five minutes now and I've already scared you twice." She groans and starts pacing again before Brittany can grab her and calm her down. "I want to protect you, Britt. I want you to look at me and know for sure that I'll be the one person you can be sure of forever. That's all I ever wanted, even before I fucked everything up."
"You didn't—" Brittany tries to say but Santana cuts her off by quickly stopping and turning back to her.
"I did," she nods. "Let's be real. I did. And before last Thursday I realize know how much." She shrugs her shoulders and smiles at Brittany, softening. "Six years ago, I had everything I could have ever wanted sat in front of me and what did I do? I fucked up and then I ran because I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought that I was doing the brave and honorable thing when, really, I should have been doing this..."
Brittany frowns but then Santana kneels in front of her. She presses her hands to Brittany's bare knees and looks at her for a moment before laughing in disbelief. Brittany can't do anything but look at her and hold her breath. Her back straightens in confusion as Santana opens her mouth to speak.
"You are perfect," she whispers. "You're perfect and I probably deserve you least out of everyone in the entire world but, for some reason, your beautiful heart was kind enough to pick me." Brittany feels her heart begin to race for reasons she can't understand yet. "And I will never be able to show you how grateful I am for that... but I would be honored if you would give me a chance to try." Her voice breaks a little and Brittany swallows against tears. "Because I have learned... through my endless stupidity, that I am nothing without you." She shakes her head. "Every minute I have ever been apart from you has been nothing but wasted time. And, even though it took me about twenty minutes after I ran away from you to realize how stupid I was to let you go, I made myself a promise long ago, that if I ever saw you again, and you took pity on me enough to ever give me a second chance, that I wouldn't waste it."
Brittany nods because she's still not sure she gets what's happening. All she knows is that Santana's having trouble breathing and speaking but she's never looked more confident. She still covers one of Santana's hands anyway.
"So, here's the thing..." Santana gulps, nodding. "I love you. I love you and I always have." Her voice cracks with tears and Brittany doesn't know why she wants to cry too. Santana shrugs. "My heart is wasted on trying to do anything other than loving you because I just can't do it. I can't do it. I'm sure it was made to do nothing else." She tries to smile before it falls away nervously. "You're my life, Britt Britt, and I took you for granted. But, I promise, if you're kind enough to agree to what I'm about to ask you, that I won't do that again. I promise, I won't. I'll love you and I'll protect you and I will never, ever—so help me, God—leave you ever as long as I walk this earth."
When Santana's hand disappears into the pocket of her robe, Brittany stops breathing entirely. She mouths Santana's name but no sound comes out, no air or words leave her until she sees Santana pull that little red box out of her pocket and pop open the lid. That's when she gasps.
"Marry me," Santana begs and that's the only thing to call it. She begs. "Marry me. Please, marry me."
In that second, an echo of words long forgotten registers in Brittany's head.
Please say you love me back. Please, she hears.
It makes a sob erupt from her throat.
Santana's face falls at the sound of it and she looks down at the floor as Brittany reaches for her in a panic.
"Okay, so don't marry me right now." She shakes her head quickly. "It's been, like, four days. What was I thinking?"
She tries to laugh at herself but it doesn't work. Her face grows serious again as she looks up deep into blue eyes.
"I know I don't deserve it," she whispers. "But I just wanted you know that, when you're ready—if you're ever ready—I'm here and I would like to marry you. I really want to, Britt, I prom—"
"Where did you get that?" Brittany asks all of a sudden. "Whose ring is that?"
Santana stops and frowns. She looks down at the box in her hands and swallows. "It's yours," she nods. "I bought it for you."
"When?" Brittany asks and she can't breathe.
Santana smiles sadly and shrugs. "About six years ago," she admits and Brittany feels sobs getting stuck in her throat. "It was supposed to be for our first anniversary. I was going to make you a promise, but..."
"You wanted to marry me?"
Santana reaches out for her and takes her hand. Brittany doesn't miss that it's the left one.
"I still do," she intones breathlessly. "And I did... every single day we were apart. There wasn't a day where I didn't realize that I'd probably lost the girl I wanted to marry."
Brittany pants for breath, and feels like she might black out, but somehow manages to speak. "Ask me again," she chokes.
Santana gasps and then takes the ring from it's cushion and poises it at Brittany's ring finger. She boldly pushes it to the first knuckle before she speaks.
"Marry me, Britt Britt..."
It isn't a question.
Questions are what you ask when you don't know the answer to something and Santana should know this. It feels like she should just know this inherently.
Because this is more obvious than anything else Brittany's ever known.
She nods. "Okay."
Santana's face lights up and tears fall down her cheeks like that's all they were waiting for until they could be set free.
Brittany nods and reaches for her, the ring pushing all the way down her finger in the process. She pulls Santana to her, cupping her cheeks as she kisses her desperately.
"Why are you always so silly?" she asks against Santana's mouth when she pulls back. "You're so silly," she whispers."So, so silly."
Santana laughs and kisses her, stroking her cheeks in disbelief. She looks at Brittany like she isn't real.
"The silliest," she agrees and then kisses her.
It feels like the best kiss either of them has ever had.
"This is the craziest thing," Santana mumbles into the space between them.
Brittany shifts closer and shakes her head. Their noses rub together not-so accidentally and blue eyes close at the feel. "No it's not."
Santana blinks. "No?"
Brittany shakes her head again and hums when Santana kisses her nose. "I was always going to marry you," she sighs happily.
Santana wraps an arm around her. "Tell me more."
Brittany lets her eyes flutter open and smiles sweetly. "There's no more to tell," she whispers. "That's just it. I was always going to marry you. It could have been back when we were at school, it could have been when we were ninety years old but I just knew I was always going to marry you someday."
Santana laughs and her hand slides up Brittany's back to tangle in the hairs at the back of her neck. "I'm glad one of us did," she says and then pauses carefully before speaking again. "But now that we are, what's the plan?"
Brittany sighs as fingers rub at her scalp. "What do you mean?"
"What's the plan?" Santana laughs and pokes her in the side with the other hand. "Where are we getting married? When? Who are we inviting? What are we wearing? Where are we going to live?"
"Too many questions at once," Brittany mumbles but leans forward to kiss her softly. "Ask me one at a time."
Their arms wrap around each other until they're pressed together at every available part of their bodies. Brittany's face rests in the crook of her neck and Santana nuzzles into her cheek. "Where are we getting married?" she whispers.
Brittany takes a moment to think.
"Okay," Santana nods and Brittany feels her smiling against her skin. "When?"
Santana pokes at her again and clicks her tongue. "Britt Britt," she says reproachfully. "Be serious. My mom's going to want to know all these things when I call her."
Brittany opens her eyes and pushes her face away from Santana's neck at the same time she wraps a leg around her waist. Her arms raise to wrap around Santana's shoulders and she strokes a hand through dark curly hair as she looks at her carefully. "I am being serious," she whispers, calmly.
The words make Santana begin to tremble.
She swallows thickly. "Tomorrow?" she repeats.
Brittany nods and kisses her to calm her before reburying her face in Santana's neck.
"Or as soon as legally possible," she shrugs. "I don't mind. As long as our parents and friends can be there. I mean, I don't want a big wedding..." she tells her. "I just want to marry you."
Santana doesn't speak for a little while and it starts to worry Brittany until arms tighten around her and a tear drips onto her cheek.
"Really?" she asks.
Brittany doesn't do anything other than nod and turn her head and kiss her neck, right there, where her pulse and her life beats beneath. Santana laughs a little in disbelief.
"Okay," she whispers but it sounds more like a sigh. "I'll make plans."
They don't get married tomorrow, or the day after.
There's just a lot of talking.
They call Maribel first and listen to her screaming down the phone for fifteen minutes before they can actually tell her anything. Sam's next and he threatens to drive all the way to Lima just to hug them until Santana tells him that they'll be coming to Columbus soon enough. Brittany's parents are confused but happy for them. Rachel cries and Kurt tries to talk them into having the gay wedding of the century. They call work and Brittany's boss is more concerned about her maybe move than about the fact that she's getting married. Brittany holds Santana as she calls her boss, knowing how worried she is about his reaction, and feels the tension ebb away from her the more excited her boss gets about everything.
He tells her not to worry, promises her that whatever she chooses will be an opportunity and not a hindrance. He gives her his congratulations and says his goodbyes but then a couple of hours later, he calls her back and asks her if she wants to open up a studio for him on the east coast.
Santana cries and promises to return to San Francisco as soon as she can to discuss details.
After Maribel has returned and they've driven to Columbus to see Sam and talk things over with him, is when they head there. Brittany's nervous but Santana drags her around the city and introduces her to the people she knows. Her boss looks at Brittany like she's the last piece of a puzzle and now he can finally figure out the whole picture. Brittany sits with them while they talk business and he admits that he was thinking of opening a satellite office for his record company in New York anyway. He charges Santana with searching for properties and, just like that, it's decided that they're moving to New York.
It doesn't feel real that everything's working out so well but Brittany doesn't question it. She just kisses Santana when she looks like she might stop to think and reaches for her computer to start looking for apartments.
They finally arrive in New York on a Thursday night and are greeted by Kurt and Rachel who squeal at the sight of them together and drag them to the exit. It's late but they go for dinner and drinks anyway. They don't stay out long and head back early. Kurt's disappointed but Brittany explains that they have appointments with realtors all day tomorrow. It's not until Santana mentions that she was thinking that they could go get their marriage license when they wake up that he stops arguing.
Brittany understands that because she finds herself unable to talk at the thought of it, breathless at the reality. She just grins like a lunatic all the way back to Rachel and Kurt's apartment and Santana ends up putting the sheets on their futon herself because Brittany's too bouncy to concentrate.
City hall opens at eight-thirty but they're there by eight.
Kurt and Rachel join them and wait with them. Santana looks nervous, like someone might come out and tell her that they're not allowed to get married, but Brittany holds her hands to calm her down. Santana begins to play with the engagement ring on Brittany's finger and Brittany rubs comforting patterns into her knuckles.
She doesn't relax until the little old lady steps out and calls their names. She hands them their license and Santana just stares at it a minute, like someone just gave her a check for a million dollars, before whispering her thanks and leaving before anyone can take it from her.
Kurt and Rachel head off to work but they get breakfast in a little deli. They check through their list of apartments even though they know which one they want. They just know that they'll be lucky to get it because it's too perfect.
They head to that one last, hoping that they'll have found another one they like more before they get to it, but it's even more perfect in person. The realtor lady is really nice and tells them that the apartment used to belong to an artist who died a year ago. She tells them that it's been on the market for a while because no one seems to want it. But Brittany looks at Santana and knows that they do.
There's not many places like this, with enough room for them to live and both have their separate work areas too. They make a call to Santana's boss and then give the realtor an offer straight away.
The previous owner's daughter accepts the offer on the spot.
It's almost dark by the time that they finally leave the realtor outside the apartment but Santana decides to take Brittany for a tour around the neighborhood. They walk around Brooklyn eating sandwiches before Santana stops and drags Brittany across the street to a small jeweler on the corner. She asks her quietly if she feels like buying their wedding rings and Brittany pushes her against the glass at the front of the store and kisses desperately before they even make it inside.
Once two gold bands are in their possession, Brittany lets Santana hold onto the box they both sit in, knowing that it'll help her feel just a little calmer about everything having more tangible proof. Kurt and Rachel are still at work when they get back to their apartment and Brittany doesn't say anything, just takes Santana to the couch and gives her more tangible proof before they get home.
They move into the new apartment a couple of days later and sit in the middle of the largest room, looking around. There's just some blank canvasses left littering the walls and white sheets covering the windows. Santana gets up and pulls them down, smiling when the sun shines through the stained glass, and then sits back down beside Brittany.
"We should probably get some furniture," she whispers around a laugh.
Brittany nods but then pushes Santana down onto the hardwood floor, of what will probably end up being her studio, and straddles her quickly. Santana doesn't do anything but smile and grip at Brittany's hips, swallowing the kisses she's given.
They make love, warmed only by each other and the winter sun coming through the window and Santana looks at her after and smiles like a fool.
"Welcome home," she whispers and the words, simple as they are, take Brittany's breath away.
They buy a mattress and have to carry it the fifteen blocks back to the apartment, laughing and joking all the way. That and the tea kettle that sits on their stove are the only things that they have, but they don't mind. Kurt and Rachel bring them take out when they finish work and the four of them spend the rest of the evening scribbling renovation plans onto a small notepad from Rachel's purse.
They do the same thing a couple of days later after Sam and Sugar have randomly arrived with Brittany's things in the back of their car. There's a few pieces of unassembled furniture littered around the room and the girls and Kurt paint some of the walls of the apartment while Sam puts them together.
They all go out for lunch and return in the afternoon all carrying random items of furniture after passing a flee market on the way home. Santana giggles as she sets her new record player on the kitchen counter and pulls the one record she bought out of it's sleeve before putting it on.
They all sing and dance around to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours while they paint but, when "Songbird" comes on, Brittany and Santana stop and reach for each other.
Their friends don't question it when they stand in the middle of the room dancing to it, just move around them and allow them to get lost in happiness.
When Maribel arrives on Friday morning with a suitcase and her credit card, Santana and Brittany don't argue when she takes them out and buys them a new bed and a couple of couches.
She calls it a wedding present and, later, when they're snuggled up on one of them, Brittany turns to Santana and rests her chin on her shoulder.
Santana narrows her eyes at the goofy grin on Brittany's face but smiles back anyway. "What?" she asks.
Brittany shrugs and buries her face in Santana's shoulder until Santana pokes at her sides and forces her to look up. Brittany kisses her long and slow, just because she can, before she pulls back and rests their foreheads together.
"Do you wanna get married?" she asks softly.
Santana laughs and kisses her again. "I thought that was the plan already," she says.
Brittany shakes her head and holds her breath. "I meant, like, now."
Santana's eyes widen a little. "Now?" she repeats.
"Your mom is here, our friends are here... everyone's leaving on Wednesday and we don't know when they're going to be able to come back... and our marriage license only lasts thirty days, so..." Brittany reels off. "I just figured... why not get married now?"
Santana contemplates her words before she nods and takes her hand. "Well, I think City Hall is closed for the weekend, but we can call them on Monday..."
Brittany grins and kisses her, satisfied with that answer.
They get their dresses on Saturday afternoon between buying more paint and finding a toaster. Maribel and Kurt take Santana, and Sam and Sugar take Brittany, while Rachel whines that she has to work. Brittany finds a ivory-colored dress and jacket from 1959 at a thrift store in Greenwich Village and knows that she wants to get married in it the minute she sees it.
Santana doesn't have a dress when she returns but Kurt tells her that he's keeping it safe. Brittany decides to hide hers in the closet that's going to end up being her dark room and only lets Santana see the stockings she bought, just to tease her.
She catches Santana hovering around the closet when she comes out of the bathroom after brushing her teeth at bedtime and gives her an amused but unimpressed look.
"It's bad luck," she whispers as she guides Santana backwards towards their bedroom.
Santana shakes her head and kisses her. "We don't need luck," she reminds her.
Brittany's parents arrive on Sunday afternoon with Mr. Lopez and Santana's boss. He comes straight to the apartment to check out the space that'll be the studio and Maribel plies him with the same food she's been plying Sam with all week as he works to finish decorating the apartment.
Santana's boss makes a quick call once she's seen the apartment and then tells Santana that people will be there to get the recording studio ready within the next two weeks. Brittany watches as he pulls Santana aside and asks her something. She shoves at him and nods towards Brittany but then, a second later, he's stepping over to her and asking if Brittany's free to do a shoot for one of his artists next month. She laughs and nods, telling him that's fine before walking away to say goodbye to her parents before they go off exploring the city.
Santana's awake at five am on Monday, ready to call City Hall.
Brittany rolls over and kisses her hello before noticing how nervous she is, only she isn't nervous: she's excited.
"This time tomorrow..." she whispers before Brittany can even ask what's wrong. "...you could be my wife." She shakes her head. "How amazing is that?"
Brittany wraps herself around her and buries her nose into Santana's hair.
"It's about time," she whispers. "That's what it is."
Five hours later, they get married.
There was a last minute cancellation and it was a rush but until a few weeks ago, they hadn't realized that they'd wasted six years.
Santana disappears to Kurt and Rachel's with her mom and Sam and Sugar appear to help Brittany get ready. She slips on her dress and Sugar helps her to curl her hair. She leaves a little while later to go help Brittany's parents put up the decorations downstairs and leaves her with Sam. He pulls on his suit as she puts on her make up on and she catches him in the mirror, staring at her with a smile on his face.
She can't help but grin back. "What?" she laughs.
He steps up behind her and wraps her into a backwards bear hug, kissing her cheek. He holds her after and just stares at her in the mirror, grinning.
"Told you so," he mutters and Brittany's never been more happy to be wrong.
Considering how big a moment it is, it happens rather quickly.
They meet on the steps outside City Hall and Brittany's worried at how quickly she gets overwhelmed. Santana stands there, dressed in a white dress detailed with lace and pearl buttons. Her hair is wrapped up into a lose bun at the back of her head and she keeps warm in a red coat and a fur scarf. She wears red lipstick and her nails are their usual red too. She smiles and takes Brittany's hand before leading her into a waiting room. They stand there for a couple of minutes before a woman steps out and welcomes them inside.
There's just a desk and a couple of chairs. Their friends have to stand behind them and the woman stands in front of a desk where a book and a couple of pieces of paper sit. She doesn't pause, she just asks them if they're ready before beginning.
It's a rush and Brittany just stares at Santana as the woman speaks. She stares until she sees the woman turn to Santana.
"Santana, will you take this woman to be your wife?" she asks and Brittany didn't think it would be this quick to get to the good parts. "Will you love her, honor her and keep her, in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her, as long as you both shall live?"
Brittany holds her breath and feels the first sign of tears when Santana gives a little nod before she speaks.
She breathes out at the words and feels nervous when the lady turns to her and smiles.
"Brittany, will you take this woman to be your wife? Will you love her, honor her and keep her, in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her, as long as you both shall live?"
Brittany nods and it takes a moment before she giggles. "Of course, I will."
Santana laughs and so do their friends and parents. The lady smiles and softens towards them for a moment before she looks at them seriously.
"Are their any vows you wish to exchange?" she asks softly. Brittany looks at Santana and they both nod timidly. The lady nods. "Santana, if you would like to face Brittany and go first."
Brittany automatically straightens her back when Santana turns to her and takes her hands.
"Brittany," Santana says and she's only talking to Brittany when she speaks. "You are the most beautiful person I know. You are the most beautiful person I will ever know. Today I'm here to promise you that I will love you and protect you and be faithful to you forever. I'm here to promise that I will never give you reason to doubt me, only trust me, and that I'll remind you every day of how precious you are." Brittany feels a tear drip down her cheek, even as her smile grows as big as the sun. Santana laughs. "You are my best friend, my lover, my soulmate and I'm honored that you've chosen me to call your wife. I love you," she whispers. "And I promise to do so for as long as I live."
There's a moment of silence and Brittany has to do everything within her power not to lean forward and smother Santana in kisses. Santana stares back at her until the officiator clears her throat. They both turn to her and she smiles.
"Brittany..." she prompts.
Brittany turns back and smiles. She stares at Santana for a moment and Brittany's never been more sure of anything than at this moment.
"Santana," she begins and it's hard to speak through her smile. "Today, I give you my heart. Today, I choose you, above all others, to be my wife. I promise that my love for you will never waver, will never fade and that, with each new day, I will love you more than the last. I promise to be gentle and true, to cherish and adore you just as you deserve to be." She smiles with unbridled joy. "I want to be with you always, just as you are, and I will until the day I die."
Behind them, Brittany thinks that she can hear the tell-tale signs of Maribel, Kurt and Rachel crying. She ignores them, too happy to care about them, and looks at Santana because she's the only one that matters. Their fingers tangle in the space between them, even though Brittany's sure they're not really supposed to yet.
"Do we have rings?"
Neither of them move as Sam fumbles to take the ring box from his pocket. He hands them to the officiator and she smiles at him before looking at the rings.
"Santana?" she says and Santana struggles to tear her eyes away from Brittany to get her ring. She takes it from the woman and Brittany lifts her hand so that she can poise it at the end of her finger. "Repeat after me: with this ring, I thee wed."
Santana slips the ring down Brittany's finger. Behind them, what feels like a million cameras flash.
"With this ring..." she whispers. "...I thee wed."
Brittany smiles and then turns to take her ring unprompted. The officiator smiles and Brittany feels her breath catch as she slips the ring down to Santana's first knuckle.
"With this ring..." she says as she gently pushes it further down Santana's finger. "...I thee wed."
Santana's smiles grows, even as tears stream down her faces. She takes Brittany's hand before she can pull it away and tangles it back in with own. They both look at the officiator at the same time and find her grinning at them. She gives them both a look that asks them if they're both ready and they both nod before she puts aside the paper she's reading from and clasps her hands together.
"Well," she says. "Now that Brittany and Santana have declared themselves to each other through the exchanging of vows and the giving of rings, there leaves me only one thing left to say and that's this..." she pauses and smiles. "By the power vested in me by the state of New York, I now pronounce that you're wife and wife... You may now kiss your bride."
As their friends and family scream in excitement, Brittany doesn't need to be told twice. Her smile softens as she reaches up to cup Santana's cheek while the other hand wraps around her waist to bring her closer. Santana's eyes flutter as their lips meet and they kiss as long as they can until the beginning of their new life pulls them forward together.
They wrap themselves around each other as Maribel forces them to pose for photos outside of City Hall. Brittany wraps her arms around Santana's waist as they smile for the cameras and shields her from the cold. Brittany smiles her biggest smile without even trying but, when she turns to Santana she finds that she isn't looking at the camera or smiling at all.
Instead, she's just staring at Brittany in wonderment.
Brittany reaches up and cups the back of her neck, tilts her head up until she can see her face better.
"What?" she whispers.
Santana reaches up too and swipes her thumb over Brittany's cheek.
"You're my wife," she whispers.
Brittany grins, slow and lazy and overwhelmed. She leans in until their noses touch.
"And you're mine," she whispers, loving the way Santana's breath hitches at the reminder.
The apartment still smells like paint and freshly cut wood, but they don't care as they pile into it with their family and friends. The room is covered in balloons and store-bought banners. Someone has ripped up an old bed sheet and used some of the leftover paint to write "CONGRATULATIONS SANTANA AND BRITTANY" across it, and it hangs on the main wall where everyone can see.
Santana's boss wanders in with a box of the best champagne and they drink it from coffee mugs and red solo cups like teenagers.
Brittany doesn't feel like a teenager so much.
She's a wife now.
She has a wife now.
It makes her a little breathless, overwhelmed and excited at the responsibility.
There will be no more worry... she knows it. Now is when all the hard stuff is definitely over. All the bumps in their road will be superfluous. This is it. She knows it. She can feel it and that's what makes her feel grown up.
Getting old has never felt more wonderful than when she knows she won't be doing it alone.
As always, the drink goes straight to Santana's head. Brittany smiles at her fondly as her cheeks begin to pink and her eyes go glassy. She wraps her arm tighter around her waist and looks around them before leading her out onto the balcony.
She presses her against the rail and presses up behind her, wrapping her arms around her to keep her warm. She relaxes instantly and, for a moment, Brittany can't stop thinking about how they'll never be cold or alone again ever. She can't stop thinking about how she's always going to be the thing that makes Santana warm.
"I love you," Santana whispers as she rests her body back into her. Her cheek presses against Brittany's jaw.
Brittany leans into her ear. "You sure that's not just the champagne talking?"
"Nope," Santana shakes her head and covers Brittany's arms around her waist with her own. "It's true. I do."
"Well, that's good because I love you, too," Brittany mumbles back to her, tightening her arms around her. Santana smiles but it doesn't seem entirely full on her face. It feels like Santana's not really there, lost in her head, so Brittany turns and kisses her temple. "Stop thinking."
It jars Santana back into the moment and she smiles nervously before turning her head. "Sorry," she whispers as Brittany kisses her quickly.
Brittany shakes it off but Santana still looks a little concerned. "What's happening in that head, huh?"
Santana shrugs but Brittany doesn't pay any attention and spins Santana in her arms. She presses her back against the railing and takes a moment to wrap her coat around both of them as Santana shivers.
"This is real, right?" Santana asks softly. Brittany just smiles and kisses her slowly until she feels Santana's fingertips digging into her shoulder, pulling her close.
She breaks away from her and relishes Santana's whimper when they part.
"Does it feel real?" she asks. Santana nods slowly and Brittany chuckles. "Then that's good enough for me."
Maribel and Mr. Lopez present them with tickets to Paris just as the sun's setting. Santana suddenly perks up from where she was half falling asleep on Brittany's shoulder to hug them quickly. She sees her parents whispering something to her in quiet Spanish before Mr. Lopez hugs her so tight he's practically lifting her from the floor.
Brittany follows and is concerned by how hard Santana's crying into her father's jacket when she reaches them. Except, they don't look like happy tears; they look like overwhelmed, relieved tears.
They look like the tears of someone who is finally, truly happy.
"What..." Brittany moves to ask but Maribel reaches out to holds her close, kissing her on the forehead.
"They're from Abuela," she whispers in Brittany's ear. "There was a letter... in her things... she wanted you to..." is all she manages to explain before she laughs softly. "Apparently being too stubborn to ask for forgiveness runs in the family."
Brittany clutches Maribel closer, even as she reaches out to touch Santana's arm.
"God, I hope it skips a generation," she whispers and Maribel laughs before she's tugged away harshly and replaced by a Santana that clutches at her desperately, breathless at her words.
Their flights leave a few hours later and it's a good thing that they're still partially packed anyway. They have to rush to get everything together and switch around their schedules for the next week. Santana's boss offers to stick around and watch over the guys that are fixing up the apartment, tells them to disappear to Europe for ten days and come back to something they can actually live in.
Sam drives them to the airport and Maribel follows them with a smile on her face. They make promises to take pictures of all the sights and not to worry about anything. They promise Maribel that they'll come visit, that she'll see them more often. She kisses them on the cheek and they almost miss their check-in because she won't let them go.
They're still wearing their wedding dresses and the lady at the desk looks at them with a smile before taking their economy seats and switching them for first class.
"We should get married more often," Santana jokes.
Brittany kisses her as they head towards the gate, holding their hand luggage with one hand as the other holds Santana to her.
She doesn't know how to tell Santana that she'd marry her again tomorrow, and every day after that, if it meant she felt as perfectly loved as she did today.
They don't take any pictures... at least not any that they'd be able to show Maribel. Brittany takes a few of Santana that she can't wait to look over when they get home.
Instead, they spend eleven days cooped up in a Parisian hotel room, ordering room service, and making wild, desperate love to each other.
The only time they ever actually step out onto the streets of Paris is on their last day. Santana wakes up in the late morning and forces Brittany to wake up and dress. They shower together before Santana drags her along a street of expensive looking stores to buy their friends and family souvenirs. They go to a perfumery and spend an hour testing all the different ones on offer. Brittany spends most of their time there with her nose buried in Santana's neck, trying to work out if it would be possible to bottle the scent of Santana's skin so that she could take it with her everywhere.
After that, they go back to the hotel and get changed before Santana takes Brittany to dinner. She buys her a rose from a street vendor and hold the door for her. Brittany's pretty sure that Santana would get her chair if it weren't for the fact that the two young waiters do it for them. They hold hands over the table and stay there eating until it's dark.
They complete their honeymoon by spending the night walking along the River Seine before kissing under the looming shadow of Notre Dame until the sky begins to turn blue again.
They fail to regret it when they get home to New York that Sunday afternoon. They barely take notice of their fully furnished and decorated apartment, just succumb to the jet lag quickly,
undressing slowly, and falling into bed, glad to be home.
Brittany's awoken on Monday by Santana tripping over the suitcase she warned her not to leave in the middle of the room as she grabs her robe and runs to open the front door.
She listens to her mumble out a sleepy thank you to whatever person is on the other side of the door before it closes again. There's a pile of mail in her hands when comes back in and a package tucked under her arm. She squints to see the names on the front of everything but gives up and tosses it all onto the dresser when she realizes she doesn't have her glasses on.
Brittany rolls onto her side to look at her as she wanders back to the bed and admires Santana as she divulges herself of her robe and slips back into bed behind her.
"It's fucking cold," Santana grumbles as an arm wraps around Brittany's waist and pulls closer.
She smirks and rolls over until Santana can bury her face in her neck and use her body like a blanket over Brittany's body. Brittany pulls the covers up around her shoulders and tucks her in so she doesn't get cold without prompt. As she quietly stares up at their ceiling and around their room. She notices that their walls are painted blue, that their sheets are striped and someone has found them comfy looking gray blankets to give them some extra warmth in the cold. She likes it.
Being in this room should feel strange but it doesn't. It just gives Brittany an all-consuming feeling that she's finally home, that this apartment and this woman—her wife—are her home.
After six years of feeling so lost, she finally knows that this is where she's supposed to be.
She chuckles as things she didn't realize she still didn't know click into place.
"What?" Santana hums into her neck. "I'll get off you in a minute... once I've got warmer."
"Don't," Brittany says quickly, her hands reaching up to wrap tighter around her. She tangles her fingers in Santana's hair and kisses her cheek quickly. "It feels nice."
Santana hums in agreement. "Do you have anything planned today?" she asks after a few moments of just laying there.
Brittany shakes her head. "We have to go grocery shopping but that can wait until later, if you want. Or I can go if you have work to do."
Santana shakes her head. "No, we'll go later," she says. "I just wanna snuggle my wife a little first."
Brittany's heart still soars at being called that. She thinks that, if she could, she'd change her name to that. She presses her open smile to Santana's cheek as she strokes at her hair. She's pretty sure that she can feel Santana slowly starting to fall back to sleep against her the more she does it.
Brittany just lays there and relishes the feel of everything around her, of the sunlight that seeps in through their bedroom window and the warmth of her wife's body. She falls in love with the safety that surrounds her, of the normalcy she doesn't struggle to feel as she lays there.
She knows that, later, they'll go to the market down the street and they'll get their groceries, that they'll fight over the type of milk they buy and worry over how few vegetables they buy in favor of fruit. She knows that Santana will roll her eyes as she slips a box of Pop Tarts and a bag of Cheetos into the cart but will still definitely slip a carton of vanilla and chocolate ice cream in when Brittany isn't looking. She knows that they'll come home and Santana will find a record for them to dance around to while they make lunch together. She thinks that she'll make cinnamon apple pie later, just because she knows that Santana will want something warm and tasty to go with the vanilla ice cream in this cold weather. She knows that they'll spend the afternoon on their couch snuggling and listening to music under the guise of Santana doing her work until it's time to make dinner.
She knows that they'll probably do the same thing next Monday. And the Monday after that. And the Monday after that.
She'll make sure of it.
She thinks back to this time six years ago when she was struggling to find normalcy in days that weren't anymore when she didn't have Santana.
She chuckles because she knows what Mondays are now that she has Santana back and that isn't normal or average.
They never were.
Nothing with Santana could ever be normal or average.
"What are you laughing at now?" Santana mumbles before she leans up on her elbow to look down at her. Her dark hair is curly around her face, softening her features and making her brown eyes look sleepier. She narrows them curiously but Brittany can see the fondness there.
She shakes her head and bites her lip. "Nothing." Santana gives her a look of disbelief. "It's nothing," she repeats around a laugh and then shrugs. "I'm just happy, is all."
Santana softens and leans down to kiss her gently. She pulls back a little, but not far. She strokes their noses against each other before giving Brittany a smile that matches her own.
"You're a goof, Mrs. Lopez," she whispers with a knowing chuckle.
Brittany's hand in her hair tightens and she arches her body up off the bed to get closer. Santana smiles just a little bit wider at her reaction and giggles into her mouth. Brittany's hand clutches gently her cheek and falls just a little bit more in love with her wife.
Santana leans in to kiss her but pulls back just before their mouths meet.
"But, just to be clear," she whispers. "I'm happy, too."
As Santana finally closes the space between them, Brittany smiles and thinks yes.
That's exactly what Mondays are.
Monday's are beautiful.