Title: Once Upon A Time (You Found Me) [2/?]
Rating: NC-17
Length: 8.8k

Notes: Loving your response to this guys! Thank you so much for showing such interest! Enjoy and please leave a review if you can!

/

They go to the mall to buy some new clothes, and Santiago finds out that it's pretty much exactly the same as it was six years ago, apart from the odd shop here and there. He shouldn't really be surprised, but he just thought there might be something different, but even the same employees are working at the shops there.

It does shock him, if he's truthful, because he knows what it was like to work at a dead end job, and he wonders whether he would still be working at Taco Bell if he hadn't had that strange epiphany and decided to kick his own ass into gear. But he supposes if they wanted something more they could've done the same as thing, so he pushes back the sympathy and focuses on having a good time with his friend.

Brittany makes him laugh, and he can't help but check her out a few times when she reaches up high to grab something off a tall clothing rack, revealing that small slither of skin between her shirt and jeans, or when she bends down to grab a pair of shoes from the ground. He's only human, and a guy at that, and the first time Brittany catches him, he goes all red, but by the third time they both laugh it off and Brittany points out that he sort of has Quinn so he can't be doing that.

The way she phrases it doesn't really process until they're leaving the mall and she says it for like, the sixth time. But then he does think about it, and after he drops her off, sees her in, then listens to her tell him he should go to the address she told him for seven o'clock and forces himself to not get giddy at how she lingers as she presses a kiss to his cheek because they're just friends, he thinks about how strange what she said was.

What does she mean? He doesn't really have Quinn so he can't check her out? And even if he did have Quinn, does that mean that if he didn't, the leering would be okay? Checking Brittany out would be okay because then he'd be officially single?

He doesn't know, but he thinks he's dwelling on it too much and rids it from his mind as he looks at the address Brittany scribbled onto a napkin whilst they were having lunch.

Why isn't he going to her house? After all, his mom did say Brittany still lived in the Pierce household.

He doesn't know, but he guesses in a few hours he'll find out.

/

Seven o'clock comes and he's standing outside the address Brittany gave him, staring up at a building, one of those rustic but attractive looking ones, and he's confused.

This is definitely the address, but it's just outside of Lima and resembles something you'd find in New York rather than Lima. It's clearly a block of apartments, but they're nice apartments, once again, like the ones you'd find back in the city, and he looks between the scribbles on the napkin and the building at least four times before deciding to head inside. He trusts Brittany and it's not like she's harbouring some six year hate for him and is now sending him to a soon-to-be-raided crack house or to a serial killer's pad, so whatever.

He taps his foot on the floor nervously as he steps into the elevator cart and presses the sixth floor button. It's the top floor and he wonders why it's not called a penthouse because it would be back in the Big Apple, but then again, this most definitely isn't NY and he pushes the thought aside.

His legs lead him down a small hallway to the only door on this level and he raps his knuckles on it four times, sticking one hand in his jeans pocket whilst the other thumbs across the hem of his Jack Daniels t-shirt. He didn't really think that this sort of thing required dressing up and so he didn't, but now he's standing here outside her door, he sort of wishes he had, even though he doesn't know why.

Locks click in front of him and the door swings open seconds later, but to reveal a completely different blonde to the one he was expecting.

"Evans?"

Sam shifts in the doorway, looking equally shocked that Santiago's standing on the other side of the door. "Lopez?" He squeaks, but then his eyes flicker down the length of Santiago's body and his expression turns from shock to disbelief. "Whoa. You lost weight."

He's never been the most articulated worded person so he has to give him credit, but that's not what catches his attention. Apparently Sam isn't as shocked by his presence as he is by his appearance. But wait; what does Brittany have to do with this?

Something cold drops in his stomach as he stares at Sam and thinks of the last time he heard of him. The last time he ever saw the guy was back when he was dating Brittany, and that cold thing in his stomach drops even further until it feels like his heart just sunk out his body as he comes to a conclusion. Maybe Sam and Brittany stayed together through college? Maybe they're still dating and his brows furrow, throat lodges and eyes drop as he imagines that.

Why he reacts like that he doesn't know.

"I'll just get Britt for you," Sam says, stepping aside and looking back into the apartment. "HEY BRITT! YOU GOT A VISITOR!"

Santiago winces at the sudden jump in volume but moves over the threshold, digging his hands into his jeans pockets and squaring his shoulders. His eyes roam around the apartment and he nods subtly, appreciating the appearance of the apartment. It doesn't look like Brittany's tried to clean up the apartment too much and he really like that. He likes that Brittany can be laid back with him and he begins to chuckle beneath his breath as he takes in the things that are just so Brittany.

Cups of half drunk coffees are spread across every horizontal surface. There are many gossip magazines scrunched up, their corners torn, and a few empty packets of Dots there too. It's not messy at all, just not particularly clean, and he likes that she can be herself with him, especially considering it seems she hasn't changed since high school at all.

He loves it.

A high pitched scream comes from somewhere in the apartment and Santiago jerks, moves into a high crouch and narrows his eyes. His heart's now pounding against his chest and he looks to Sam who looks equally as freaked out as him, but their eye contact doesn't stay for long because the lights overhead begin to flicker, the TV begins making a weird screeching noise and then everything electric dies, leaving them in complete darkness apart from the natural moonlight filtering in from the window.

Seconds later a figure, lit by the moonlight, appears in the archway and Santiago can make out that it's Brittany.

"Um, Sam?" She whispers and there's a few shuffles and a muffled "ouch" before Sam's next to Brittany, touching her arm. It makes something turn inside Santiago and he looks away purposely, but then quickly remembers he can't actually see a damn thing and ends up just looking back to them anyway.

"Are you okay? Are you hurt?"

"I'm fine," she mutters and as she turns her face, Santiago can make out the crease in her eyebrows. "But I think I killed the apartment..."

He doesn't know whether she's joking or not, but he still laughs and Brittany's head snaps around to him, seconds later, a laughter bursting from her lips and joining him. Apparently Sam finds it funny too, and soon enough they're all chuckling with each other.

"Well, sorry, B, but you gotta deal with this," Sam says and there's the sound of footsteps and keys clinking. "I'm going out with the boys."

It's a little insensitive, especially considering Sam's probably still Brittany's boyfriend, but before Santiago can even make a comment about that or stand up for Brittany, Sam's saying goodbye and sliding out the door, leaving them in darkness and silence.

A hand touches his arm seconds later and he jerks, unaware that Brittany had moved. A gasp catches in his throat and he breathes out shakily, feeling the fight-or-flight kick into his system.

"Jesus, Britt, you scared the crap outta me."

Brittany chuckles but keeps her hand on his arm. "Sorry," she says, honestly and he smiles. "And sorry for asking this but, is there any chance we could, um... Go to your place?" His eyebrows lift in surprise. "It's just my folks are at home and I know yours aren't at your home because they're with my parents and apparently," she draws off and he can make out her face turning as she looks around the apartment. "I've somehow managed to kill the electricity which means we can't watch the game." He can imagine the pout on her face and throws an arm over her shoulder, pulling her close to comfort her. "Is that okay?" She whispers and her breath is beating against the line of his jaw. "If it's not the that's totally cool but I'll just have to find some flashlights or something. Maybe a wind up radio so we can listen to the match too..."

He lets out a bark of laughter and Brittany joins in again, but it doesn't last as long as the last time, and he nods in the darkness, until he realises she can't see it and speaks up. "Of course, Britt. You need to grab anything?"

"I bought us some beers," she shrugs and Santiago takes out his phone, flicking on the video app and turning on the flash to provide some light.

"Do you wanna take them?"

"Yeah. Can you lead me, fair Sir?" Brittany asks, faking a British accent and he laughs again, putting some distance between their bodies but letting his hand drag down her arm until he can grab at her hand. The second their palms slide against each other, fingers finding and weaving against each other, Santiago's entire body flares with a scorch. The breath catches in his throat and his eyes widen, but he's suddenly grateful for the darkness because Brittany can't see his face, and the way his eyes are bulging and lips part in shock.

He manages to shake himself out of it and tugs Brittany, with the light leading their path, through to the kitchen. He drops her hand the moment she touches the fridge and his palm is instantly ice cold, but he doesn't know why. He supposes it is a pretty chilly evening and it makes sense that Brittany's hand would be warmer as she's been inside longer, and Santiago's just come in from outside.

"Do you wanna take the tortilla chips I bought us, too?"

His eyes flash to his friend through the darkness. "Yeah," he says, clearing his throat. "I'll grab them."

The packet of chips are by the sink and he picks it up, but his attention is drawn to the picture frame the strangely sits on the window ledge. It's a picture of Brittany and Sam, and they're laughing together, arms wrapped around each other, but it seems like a pretty recent photo judging by their age. He reaches for it, fingertips gingerly edging the corners of it as he takes in the image again.

"Ready to go?"

The sudden closeness of Brittany's voice makes him jerk and he spins around, clutching the chips to his chest and breathing hard. "You've gotta stop doing that," he half-pants. "Seriously. It's fucking creepy."

She giggles. "Come on, switch on your light and lead the way, San," she says and Santiago nods, grabbing his phone and flicking on the light until a patch on the floor's illuminated.

He begins walking but a hand wraps around his, fingers sliding through the gaps between his and he sucks in a quiet, shaky breath as he tries to push past this weird feeling of his stomach flipping. Maybe he ate something weird earlier and it's only just affecting him.

They get to the front door and grab Brittany's jacket before leaving, their hands never parting.

/

Santiago opens the passenger side door for Brittany and waits for her to climb in before rounding the car to get to the driver's door. He slips inside and turns on the ignition, the engine roaring to life before he peels away from the curb, cutting through the darkened streets of Lima.

"So what happened?" He asks, drumming his fingertips along the wheel.

Brittany turns, eyebrows pushed together in confusion. "When?"

"At the apartment," he elaborates. "When you killed it," he says through a smile, repeating her earlier words and she bats him playfully on the shoulder. He purposely swerves the car and grins when Brittany screams quietly. "See what happens when you hit me when I'm driving?" He teases, turning a corner.

She giggles and pulls her hand back to her lap. "I wanted to straighten my hair, but all the plugs in my room were full so I went to the bathroom—"

"Were you never told that you shouldn't take electricals into the bathroom, Britt?"

"Shut up," she comments, poking her tongue out at him. "Anyway, I wanted to straighten my hair but the plug wasn't right and so I kind of... forced it in."

Santiago's eyes slide to her as they pull up to a red light. "First of all, wanky, and second of all, that's because it's probably a shaving socket. You can't put a plug into that socket."

"Well it looked like it would fit," Brittany defends, crossing her arms over her chest and huffing loudly.

"And obviously it did," he says sarcastically and blue eyes flash to him in a playful glare.

"I hate you," she murmurs and sinks further down into the seat. "But I'm going to like you for now because I don't want you to throw me out the car."

He throws his head back and lets out a throaty laugh. "I wouldn't throw you out the car, Britt," he manages to get out, letting his eyes slide to the right. "And you know you don't hate me."

Blue eyes narrow at him but then Brittany just ends up scoffing and playfully hitting him on the bicep again. "Whatever. Just shut up and drive."

/

A few minutes later and they're pulling up outside the Lopez household.

He jumps out the car, reaching into the backseat to grab the beer and chips and tucks them beneath his arm before heading to the passenger side. Brittany hasn't even climbed out by the time he gets there so he opens it for her, ducking into a bow and murmuring something about how she's a fair lady and she giggles at him, which makes his stomach flip.

They walk up the path to the house, Brittany standing behind Santiago as he finds the key and slides it into the lock, but the moment he steps inside and begins heading to the living room, he notices the lack of footsteps behind him and twists to find Brittany standing just shy of the front door, staring openly at the house like she's never been in here before.

He takes a step back to her. "Britt?"

She blinks, snapping out of whatever daze she was in and looks at him. "Huh? Yeah?"

"What are you looking at?" He asks through a smile, setting the beer and chips on the table. "Is there a ghost or something?"

"No," she says after letting out a small laugh. "I just haven't been here in so long."

His eyebrows scrunch together as he steps toward her, now able to see nostalgia flash across blue eyes.

"It's just weird how we used to spend so much time here together, and now I'm back," she continues, letting out a small exhale before shaking her head again and immediately brightening up. "So let's watch the game then," she suggests, grinning and skips past, throwing herself down on the sofa. "But first grab a bowl for the chips," she says with a wink.

Santiago chucks a pillow at her as he walks past and laughs, even though he's still a little suspicious.

Whatever, he's just thinking too much into it.

/

Despite the game playing on TV and both of them getting so into it that they ended up screaming, yelling and throwing chips at the screen whenever Bryant let the ball slip, there's been a question that's been tugging at Santiago's mind ever since he turned up at Brittany's apartment earlier. Or what he assumes to be her apartment, anyway.

The first quarter comes and goes, and Brittany actually gets up from the sofa, throws her arms into the air and curses at the TV when the commentator says something about how turnovers have arguably been the team's biggest weakness on offense this season and that it's 's so surprised that his friend knows so much about basketball that he forgets to ask the question, and instead just watches in amazement.

But then halftime comes. The Lakers are up by 47, the Warriors on 38, and he decides that now's a good time to ask seeing as Brittany's sitting comfortably beside him, leaning into him a little and munching on the crumbs of their once full chip packet. Although, he's a little hesitant because there's this pulling at the bottom of his stomach as the question forms in his head, and he wonders if he actually wants to know the answer.

There's something inside of him telling him he doesn't, even if he doesn't know why.

"So, Britt," he clears his throat, trying to be casual as he turns on the sofa, throwing one arm over the back behind Brittany's head. "I wanted to ask you something."

Brittany twists her torso, shoulder pressing into the back of the couch and knee curling over the top of Santiago's thigh. She grins. "Sure. What is it?"

He shifts a little, and wets his lips, avoiding looking at his friend. "You know back at your apartment?" He starts, knowing a build up is good. Gradual progression is good. "When I knocked on the door?"

An amused smile appears on Brittany's face. "Yeah, San. I know when you knocked on the door at my apartment. It was about two minutes before I killed the electricity," she jokes and the most adorable wrinkles form on her nose when Santiago shoots her a playful glare. "Sorry, yeah, you were saying?"

"Well, yeah," he scoots a little closer to her and sucks his lips into his mouth, figuring out how to say this. "I just..." He pauses and takes in a breath. "I wasn't exactly expecting... Sam... to be there," he finally lands on, dipping his head as he speaks. "If you know what I mean."

Brittany's eyes narrow into a squint and she nods slowly, sliding her hand from her lap onto Santiago's thigh to grab his attention when he glances away. "San... What are you trying to say?" She says, slowly, lifting both eyebrows a little. "Just ask me out straight. It's me," she shrugs and grins. "You know I'll answer you honestly."

It makes him feel a little better and he bobs his head, suddenly feeling something lodge in his throat. Why is this so damn difficult to ask? Is it because he doesn't want to know for some strange reason (that he's not going to think about because that'll open a whole new box of questions), or is it because he just doesn't like the idea that Brittany's still dating the same guy from high school? Someone who works as a lifeguard, someone who isn't good enough for her.

He exhales heavily, resisting the urge to clench his eyes shut and curse beneath his breath and looks back to his friend.

"Are you still dating Sam?" He blurts out, and he watches Brittany jerk her head back, her brows pulling together. Panic sets in and he can't even stop the word vomit as it flows from his mouth. "I mean, I know it's none of my business but it just seems you could do a little better." Brittany's eyebrows shoot up and brow eyes widen. Fuck. He didn't mean to say that. "Shit, no," he scoots forward and rests his hand over hers, his palm instantly warming up. "I didn't mean it like that. I just meant that if you are then you've been dating him for years now," his eyebrows furrow further as he rethinks his words. "Or if you had a break or whatever, then you've still been on and off since high school, and I don't want you to just settle for him because he's here and you are too."

Brittany coughs, her mouth open a little as she shifts in front of him. "Um, San—"

"I'm saying this all wrong," he cuts her off, shaking his head. "I just mean that back at the apartment he just abandoned you when the electricity was out and he's not an ass, he's a nice a guy actually, but that was kind of a douchey thing to do and I think you deserve better than him." Brittany looks at him, taking in everything with a slightly shocked expression on her face. "I'm just asking because obviously you two live together and now I'm thinking about it, you probably are dating him which means I just insulted your boyfriend a lot and I really didn't mean to." He hangs his head a little, shaking it to himself. "Shit. I'm sorry, Britt, I didn't mean—"

A hand snaps out, cupping over his mouth and he whips his head up, eyes wide as they lock onto his friend. Brittany's gazing at him with bright, blue, amazed eyes and he smiles against her palm, loving the way her skin feels against his—

"Would you shut up a second?" Bursts from Brittany's mouth a second before a grin breaks out.

Santiago nods and she slowly lowers her hand, but doesn't take it away from him, instead moving it to lay over the one he has over her other hand. Their fingers slip a little but he shifts, letting hers fall into the gaps between his a little.

(He ignores the butterflies that flutter inside him.)

"Okay, right," Brittany sits up a little straighter and wiggles again, subtly moving further into him. "First of all, I'm not dating Sam," she begins and he literally feel the pressure lift from his chest. Weird. "Second of all, we just live together because we wanted to get away from our houses. Neither of us have great paying jobs and our siblings were annoying the crap out of us, so since we stayed in touch after high school, despite the break up, we thought we could just move in together."

Something washes over Santiago, something he thinks to be relief. But he's so confused as to why he would be relieved by that information that he forces himself not to react.

"Thirdly, he's admitted he's still interested in me and would like to see where things go again—" Santiago's head snaps up, eyes wide. Brittany looks back with the same expression but quickly corrects herself "—but I don't really see that happening, and last but not least, I'm not even sleeping with him, haven't done so since Senior year and have no plans in doing so either." She pats his hand gently and lowers her head, looking up through thick lashes. "Okay?"

He nods but then realizes how possessive he sounded. Shit, how did he go from asking whether or not she lived with Sam to whether she's sleeping with him? Why would he even care? He doesn't, but it might seem like that now. Crap. He needs to correct that.

"Yeah, that's fine," he grumbles and tosses his head back slightly, scooting away from Brittany and propping his feet upon the table. "I don't care, anyway. I was just wondering." He shrugs and leans forward to pick up his beer. "You know how it is."

At that moment, half-time ends and the game starts again, capturing Santiago's full attention, which means he misses the way Brittany's face falls at his words.

/

"Shit!"

Santiago jerks, his beer nearly tipping onto his parents couch as his head snaps around, eyes flashing to Brittany who's holding a bowl of cheese dip in the air, cheese dripping off the edges and onto the carpet, and then to her white shirt, now covered in a sticky, yellow substance. The air reeks of fake nacho cheese flavoring and he watches as she blinks down at her shirt with wide eyes, then up at him like she doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Luckily, he finds it nothing but amusing, especially when he sees the packet of Doritos spilled across the carpet next to the few splodges of cheese. His mom is not going to be happy with that, but knowing it was Brittany and not him that did it, she'll probably forgive the blonde immediately.

He rolls his eyes and smiles at the thought.

"Um, San..." Brittany trails off and he looks back to her as she sets the pot of dip onto the coffee table where cheese dribbles across the top. She picks at her top, nose wrinkling because honestly, that dip's kind of vile without it being all over you. He dreads to think how it must feel seeping through her top. "I spilt some dip."

His chest and shoulders begin heaving up and down rapidly as laughter spills from his mouth. He reaches forward, face contorting with disgust as he pokes at the clean spot on her shirt but she swats him away, shouting, "San, don't! It's gross! It'll go on the sofa!"

With the image of his mom yelling at him for ruining her couch with gross cheese dip, he chooses to stop teasing Brittany and sits back instead, staring at her with a lopsided grin. That shit would probably take at least four or five washes and even then the stench would probably still linger, so he's gonna save himself an unnecessary scalding and just watch his friend in amusement.

"A little help would be good," Brittany comments but Santiago just smirks. "Seriously, San! Your mom's going to kill me."

There's the most adorable pout playing at Brittany's bottom lip but he's still laughing, inwardly thinking about how cute that is, but still laughing none-the-less. He leans forward and swipes a bit of cheese of her shirt, smearing it over the fabric in the process, and pulls his finger into his mouth, scrunching up his nose at the taste. That shit definitely doesn't taste any better. Not that he thought it would've done on Brittany's shirt, but yeah.

"Stop eating it!" The blonde half-yells but there's an underlying tone of affection. "And it's not funny! Get me a top or a cloth or something!"

Santiago chuckles but pushes up from the sofa, making his way through the living room to the kitchen, stopping by the washing basket on top of the machine. They used to have a laundry room here, but then his dad decided he needed an office inside the house and so, despite the lack of size, they had to move everything elsewhere. It's not that Santiago really cares, he doesn't even live here, but he's still concerned for his mother. His dad's a bit of a dick.

"Yo, Britt!" He asks, rummaging through the washing basket. "Do you mind wearing something of mine?"

"No! Just give me anything that's not covered in cheese dip!"

He smiles to himself and finally lands on an item of clothing that makes the smile grow. Since they're watching a Lakers match, a Lakers jersey should be cool, right? Tugging it from the bottom of the washing basket, he searches around the kitchen for a cloth and finds one, throwing it over his shoulder as he walks back to the living room.

Brittany's still sitting on the sofa with her nose scrunched up, and he can see the cheese dip slowly running down the front of her shirt, threatening to spill onto her jeans. He knows he wouldn't have a pair of jeans to fit her and he doesn't think Brittany would feel too comfortable walking around her house with no pants on. Not that he'd have a problem with it, because he's got eyes, he's a man and he knows how hot the girl is, but they've got boundaries. They're friends, remember?

"Here, put this on," he says, chucking the jersey to the space next to him.

She eyes it for a moments then looks to him. "A Lakers jersey, San? Really?"

He drops down onto the sofa and shrugs. "You'd look hot in it."

"I'd look hot in anything."

Brown eyes roll and lock onto the TV screen where the Lakers are now up by 65 and the Warriors only 46. "So modest," he sighs, reaching forward to grab the neck of his beer bottle. He sits back and tips it against his lips, taking a long pull. "You can go change in the—"

Well, he was going to suggest that Brittany could go change in the kitchen or even upstairs, but it seems she doesn't have the same idea as him because she stands, lets her fingers travel down to the edge of her own shirt and tugs it over her head in one swift motion, letting her blonde hair tumble in loose curls over her shoulders afterward.

And Santiago all about dies.

His eyes travel over Brittany's body, over tight abs, smooth skin and his throat thickens as arousal punches through him. He knew Brittany was hot but fuck, he really wasn't expecting this. Throughout their teenage years, Brittany always used to change in front of him. He'd never change in front of her since he was conscious of his body back then, but damn, how he wishes he had spilled some cheese dip so he could change in front of her now.

Shit. He really shouldn't be fucking thinking that.

He gulps loudly and forces himself to look away from her. The grip around his beer bottle tightens and he stares at the TV screen even though his mind is paying absolutely zero attention to it.

"Hey, San?"

He doesn't look at her. "Yeah?"

"I think this is a little big on me..."

This time he does look and his jaw immediately goes slack, eyes widening considerably so. Never in his entire life did he think that Brittany wearing his Lakers jersey could be this hot but damn, he was most definitely wrong. The arousal within him doubles and he sits up straight, subtly holding the bottle above his crotch and pressing down hard with the butt of it to try and cause pain instead of pleasure. It works a little as the zipper digs into him, but Brittany's still standing there, holding the bottom of the jersey from where it stops mid-thigh. The arm holes are a little big too so Santiago can see her purple lacy bra and holy shit, this so isn't good.

He tells himself repeatedly to think unsexy thoughts.

"Yep," he croaks out. "A little big but it looks good."

Beside him, Brittany slumps down on the sofa after shrugging, throwing her legs over his lap and he really thinks someone up in the sky must have it out for him. Yet he does nothing about it and holds his breath as he sits there, eyes focused on the screen but mind not taking in anything going on, and Brittany goes on without noticing a single thing.

This is going to be a long night.

/

The Lakers beat 101 to the Warriors 77.

Though he didn't actually get to see any of how Bryant led all scorers with 27 points, or how Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol both scored in double-figures, because he was too damn focused on something else. Something like how Brittany felt pressed up against him, how his bare skin tingled where hers was brushing over his, or how his body was feeling too warm whenever she lent over him, brushing his lap with her chest to reach the Doritos that he took away from her as a joke.

So now they're still lounging around on the sofa, but Santiago has his head in Brittany's lap and her fingers are running through his short dark hair. He's not entirely sure how they got into this position, but all he knows is that he's more relaxed and content with this than he has been with anything in... Well, for as long as he can remember.

He hums lightly as her nails graze gently over his scalp and his eyes close as he twists onto his back, staring up at her. She's smiling and laughing at whatever's on television, and right now she looks more beautiful than ever. Her eyes are bright and sparkly, her skin is smooth and glowing and he just wants to reach out to touch it.

But he acknowledges how creepy that would be and bites back the urge, instead focusing on the lame reality show until it finishes minutes later.

Then his pillow—Brittany's lap—begins to shift and he glances back at her to see her hands raised in the air, her toned arms flexing as she stretches it out. Her lips part, face breaking into a yawn and he finds himself just staring at her, utterly fascinated by who she is and how she works. Which, actually, is sort of ridiculous because they've known each other since they were Freshman. They've been best of friends and it's only now that he's realizing how wonderful she really is.

For a friend, though, not in any other way.

"I think I'm gonna go home," she says, finishing off her yawn and dropping her hands back to his head, one begins toying with his hair again whilst the other rests gently on his neck, her thumb brushing over the stubble covering his chin.

He feels his lip begin to pout and sucks it in, instead frowning at her words. "You can stay here, Britt," he offers, knowing full well his parents wouldn't have a problem with it. Speaking of which, he doesn't know when they're coming home. "My mom wouldn't mind."

"Oh no, it's fine," she smiles softly down at him, lips curling at the side and a small ounce of white shining through from her teeth and he finds himself a little dazed. "I'm gonna stay at my parents house anyway seeing as my electricity's out," she continues, eyes darting around guiltily but a smile playing upon her lips.

He lets out a short laugh and reluctantly sits up, stretching his arms above his head until his shoulders and elbows click. He turns on the spot to face the blonde, offering her a soft smile,, but her eyes are a little dazed and she's blinking a lot more than usually does. Cocking a brow, he leans forward slightly and gets closer to her face, dipping his head a little and staring into her eyes.

"Excuse me, is Brittany in?"

Brittany shakes out of it immediately and jerks back at the closeness of their faces. "Uh... Yeah. Sorry." She blinks purposely again and looks away. "I was going," she repeats and stands, but looks down at her (borrowed) jersey and glances back up at him apologetically. "You're not gonna make me walk home topless are you?"

"Tempting," he admits with a grin and balls his fists, pressing them into the sofa cushions to help as he gets up, towering over her slightly. "But no. You'd get a little chilly. Plus there might be some pervs out and I'm not having anyone staring at you."

He turns away, face dropping immediately at his words. Why did he just say that? Why does he care if anyone's staring at her?

"Why?"

Well, fuck.

He feels the heat of Brittany behind him and turns, gazing down at her. "What?"

"Why wouldn't you want anyone staring?" She asks and she doesn't look like she's genuinely asking. She seems as if she's digging for something deeper and he gulps, knowing there is something deeper to his words but not knowing what that is.

"I just... I don't want anyone looking at you like... You're a piece of meat," he finally lands on, throwing in a shrug. "You should be respected. You... You deserve better than being perved on, that's all."

It seems it wasn't the answer she was looking for, but it's the only one he can give and she sucks in her lips and nods slowly, fingers knotting into the fabric of the jersey she's wearing. She begins heading over to the front door and he can only kick himself in the head mentally as he walks over there.

What else was he supposed to say though? That he finds her attractive? Well yeah, he has eyes. Or maybe he was supposed to say that he's suddenly come back from the big city and fallen madly in love with her in the time they've spent together since fucking yesterday? No. That's stupid and unrealistic. That kind of shit only happens in novels, or films, or even fucking songs, but it doesn't happen in real life.

It's not like he couldn't fall in love with her, because he definitely could. He actually probably would if he lived in Lima, but it's just not realistic. The distance between them is too much and shit, he lives in New York and works as the top sports anchor on ESPN. She's a teacher in Lima and sometimes lives at home when she's not blowing up her shared apartment's fuse. Their lives are totally different. They just wouldn't fit with each other.

And, you know, they're just friends. They've always been friends and it's worked for them. Maybe the six year gap doesn't exactly prove that but that's just a minor fault. Now that they've regained contact he's sure they'll keep it, no matter what. It's the same for Quinn too, which reminds him, he went out on a freaking date yesterday with another woman.

Damn, Santiago doesn't have feelings for Brittany, he has feelings for Quinn, the girl of his high school dreams and the girl he went on a freaking date with.

Why the hell is he even thinking about this? Like he said, he probably could fall in love with Brittany, but he isn't at this current moment.

Wait... He could fall in love with Brittany? Did he really just think all that?

"So, I guess I'll see you tomorrow," Brittany whispers as she reaches for the front door handle. "At the reunion?"

Santiago tugs his hands out his jeans pockets and steps up to her, a lot closer than he should and gazes down at her. Could he really fall in love with her? Would he fall in love with her if he were here for more than a weekend? Is that even possible?

"San?" Brittany calls, her brows slowly scrunching together. "Are you okay?"

His breathing picks up as their eyes lock and he wets his lips. He and Brittany have been friends for so long. That's what they are; friends. But he's having a hard time seeing that right now because all he can see is a girl that he could fall madly in love with. Everything about Brittany is perfect and as he backtracks over the time they've spent together this weekend, he can't seem to think of a time when he's been so relaxed, but had so much fun at the same time.

He can't think about anything except Brittany's reaction to him talking to Quinn in the Lima Bean, or how he'd find himself staring at her when they were shopping, only to be caught but instead of teased, been smiled bashfully at. He can't seem to think anything but how Brittany's touch has made his skin flare, made his stomach flutter, or how his skin tingled when she kissed him on the cheek and suddenly he wonders if the missing piece of his puzzle has actually been right in front of him this whole time.

He's got the butterflies, his skin's flared up, and now he just needs those fireworks.

Then a question pops into his head and everything else disappears, just this question repeating over and over in his mind: would he get those fireworks if he kissed her?

His hands find her hips before his mind even makes the decision, and he hears the breath hitch in his throat as he steps forward until she's having to tilt her head back to look up at him.

"San..." She breathes, but her entire body relaxes into his touch and their eyes never break as he clutches her closer and closer. "What are you..."

"I just wanna try something," he whispers and waits, needing to see if she backs out or not.

Right now he wants nothing more than to kiss her, this overwhelming urge is burning inside of him, and he's never known something so strong, but if she doesn't want to then he'll back away. He'll back off and go without knowing. He can be just friends if she wants them to be, even if he's feeling something he never has before.

"Okay."

It's the green light but he hesitates for a moment. Is he really about to kiss Brittany? Is he really about to cross that barrier?

He doesn't even have a chance to answer them before a hand is sliding up his chest, over his collarbone, around his neck and threading through his hair, pulling him down. She wants it. He can feel it in the way her breath is brushing against his lips, how her heart is hammering against her chest, pressed up against his, and he sucks in a shaky breath as their noses press together. He wants this, too but he can't seem to do it. Fuck. He should be able to, but he can't.

He's frozen.

"Kiss me," she pants and his eyes open, unaware of when they shut and immediately lock with blue. "Just kiss me, please."

It gives him the confidence he needs, and without a second thought he's closing the gap between them, tilting his head down and joining their mouths. Their lips fit against each other perfectly, his pressing over hers, and the second his eyes flutter shut again, he sees it. Bright, sparkling colors explode behind his eyelids, erupting and bursting, filling his entire body and creating this low buzz in his veins. He feels the kiss flow through him, down his arms and legs and spreading throughout his chest. He feels it all and he inhales sharply through his nose as their kiss breaks, their faces only pulling back enough to look into each other's eyes again.

She's staring straight back at him with the same expression, and suddenly all coherent thoughts go flying straight out the window as his hands slide around to her lower back, pulling her into him once more, their lips coming back together in a harder kiss.

Her hands slide up to his face, raking through the hair by his temples before grabbing a hold of some at the back of his skull. He groans into her mouth when her lips shift and suck in his bottom one, and he swears the fireworks get so bright he's going to be seeing those flashes for weeks. But that's not the main thought on his mind right now because he's kissing Brittany. He's kissing her and she's kissing him back, and his hands are grasping at the jersey covering her body, pulling her tighter against him. He can feel her breasts push against his chest and suddenly he needs more. His hips jerk forward without conscious thought, and for a split second he's scared he's gone too far but then he feels her pushing back into him and gasping into the kiss.

She pulls back, eyes dark and lips swollen and stares up at him. Her chest is heaving hard, and Santiago stares down at her, gulping, wetting his lips and holding back the moan he wants to release at the taste of her.

Words aren't exchanged, just long, hard looks, and he can't think of anything he's more thankful for right now than their friendship because they don't need to speak to understand each other. That's something they've developed over the course of their friendship and he looks into her eyes and sees the want, the arousal, the need for him. He sees it and know it's reflected back in his own eyes.

They're kissing again before he knows it, her tongue flicking at his lips, her arms wrapping around his neck and he opens his mouth, allowing her tongue to slide in and stroke over his own. It feels so different to what he's accustomed to, and he can't stop but thinking about how it's amazing different. They kiss faster and faster, but somehow it's just as soft and Santiago finds his hands traveling down Brittany's thighs without his mind telling them to, but she shows no signs of wanting to stop and it spurs him on.

He crouches down, breaking the kiss momentarily and hooks his hands beneath her thighs, near the bend in her knees, and pulls up until legs wrap around his waist. Brittany's ankles hook together at the small of his back and he turns, kicking the front door shut as their mouths come back together, tongues pushing past lips and sliding over each other. They trade soft, lazy kisses as he walks them up the stairs and down the dark hallway, his hands keeping her steady as he finds his way to his old bedroom without the aid of any lights.

They manage to make it there, her hands gripping at his hair, twisting his head and manipulating the kiss and he kicks his door open, making sure to skip in before it hits them on the back swing, moving further into the room. When he gets to the bed, he drops her, letting her spread out across the comforter, but doesn't stand back, just keeps himself hovering above her as they continue to kiss. She moans when he nips at her lower lip and he smiles against her mouth, feeling himself heat up when her hands make a path down his chest and grip the hem of his shirt.

He breaks apart then, staring down at her and she bites her bottom lip, her calves skimming up the back of his thighs as they silently debate whether they're going to do this. But they're already too far gone not to, they both want it too much not to, so he pushes himself back to his feet and pull his shirt over his head, watching as blue eyes trail over his body.

And fuck, he's never been more pleased to have lost this weight than right now, with Brittany looking over him with complete awe.

Leaning back down, he brings their lips back together and lets his hand run down the left side of her body, sliding beneath fabric to touch hot, smooth skin. The muscles quiver and tighten beneath his touch and he parts her mouth instantly, letting his tongue delve inside and flick against the roof of it until he hears the moan that makes his spine shiver with arousal.

His hand grazes over her breast as he grabs the shirt from the inside and urges her to lean up as he whips it off in one smooth motion. Then she's lying there, staring up at him with wide, dark blue eyes and shit, if he thought that glimpse he caught earlier whilst she was changing her top was good, he was fucking wrong. This, with blonde hair littered over the mattress, surrounding Brittany's head like a halo, stomach flat, abs taught and glowing, and slender fingers dancing up his forearms, over his biceps and sliding toward his neck, is so much better.

The breath he takes in is shaky and unsteady as his palms brush down Brittany's collarbones, between the valley of her breasts, along the dip in her stomach and then stop at the waistband of her jeans. He spares a glance up, meeting those trusting eyes and licks his lips as he pops open the button of her jeans, slowly sliding down the zipper and then tugging the denim free from her long legs. She doesn't flinch, just presses a hand to her breastbone and peers down her body at him, breathing hard and heavy, nodding even though he hasn't asked her anything.

They're actually doing this.

Jesus.

He can't think of anything better.

He lowers his body on to hers, pressing their bare chests together, pressing the bulge in his jeans directly against her heated center and lets his lips drift across her collarbones, up the slope of her neck and along her jawline until hands grasp at his head, tugging him back to her mouth. Their kiss is sloppy, but so, so deep and he grinds down on her, feeling himself harden even further as she bucks into him, begging for more, but he won't give it to her, he wants this moment to last longer, he wants Brittany to know just how much he wants this.

But apparently she doesn't have the same idea as her hips fit beneath his, her legs wrapping around his thighs and flipping until he's flat on his back, Brittany straddling his laps. It's beyond one of the hottest things he's ever seen and his hands slide around as he kisses her again, palming her ass and pulling her into him until they're rocking together.

"San..." She pants into his mouth and he shudders at the sound of her voice. He can basically hear the arousal dripping from it. "San, I need—"

"What?" The word comes out through a breath, his lips brushing hers as he speaks. "What do you need?"

Brittany sits up, her hands drifting out his hair and trailing down to his abs where they stay. He mirrors the movement, needing the closeness between them and begins pressing open mouthed kisses up the long slope of her neck, letting his tongue poke out and smooth over the spots he sucks. She tilts her head to the side, nails digging into his skin where they now rest on his shoulders and it's only a few moments of stuttered, undecipherable words before Brittany grinds down purposefully, rolling her hips into him as one of his hands wraps around her back, the other lowering at a glacial pace until he's thumbing at the edge of her panties and pushing up into her, trying to release some of the pressure built up in his boxers.

It's strange, because he should be shaking. He should be nervous because this is pushing their relationship to another level; this is potentially putting their friendship at risk, but he can't find it in him to care. Every time their lips meet, every time she pushes into him, or one of her hands scratches down his bicep, he sees the fireworks. He feels the butterflies and something within him is saying that if they do go over the line, if they do cross this threshold between them, that it'll be for the best.

So with that thought, he reaches between them and nudges his hand beneath the waistband of her panties, dipping into hot, wet flesh and circling Brittany's clit until she's jerking into him, tugging at his face until she can kiss him again as she rocks into his hand.

Brittany's hand reaches between them two, making quick work of the button of his jeans and slipping beneath them to grab at him over his boxers. He groans into her mouth, jerking into her hand as she cups him and begins stroking languidly, pinching at the base and circling the tip. She knows what she's doing and he almost comes at the thought of being inside her.

But then again, he can't imagine anything more perfect than this because it just feels so right. Nothing could be more perfect because Brittany's above him, moaning into him, rolling into his hand and licking her way into his mouth. Brittany's above him, grasping at him and rubbing him in just the right way, breaking the kiss to stroke over his face, look into his eyes and nod as they both trade a conversation silently.

And the best part about this? Nothing's going to ruin it. Nothing's going to ruin this momen—

The bedroom door swings open, the light from the hallway filtering into the room and they both stiffen, breath hitching in both their throats. Santiago's hand stills against Brittany's clit and their kiss breaks as they glance around to find his mom standing in the doorway, eyes wide and mouth even wider.

"Honey, we're ho—oh. Sorry, I—I didn't realize you two were—" Faded, brown eyes flicker between them, taking in their very compromising position. "Tiago, I just—Sorry."

The older woman doesn't say anything more, or doesn't stutter anything more, just slams the door shut as she exits and Santiago turns to Brittany at the same Brittany turns to him.

And at that moment, reality comes crashing down upon both of them and just like that, the moment's over.