* emmanuelle-s . tumblr. com *
Don't stop believin'
A tribute to Cory and all the people who never stop believing in love
It is bizarre.
Or maybe this scene is just unfamiliar to her eyes, but heart-warming in a way that makes her feel complete, like for the first time in her life she doesn't have to hide a part of herself to please people.
Because the people she tries to please, now they are the same kind of people.
They are a group now.
With all their differences, in popularity, image and all the shallow indices people seem to measure each other's value these days, the people in this room are the same kind now, working towards the same goal, with equally admirable willpower.
Even though their dancing is far from perfect, Brittany can't have enough of it.
She is watching them moving to the rhythm – all trying, but not all succeeding - and she doesn't think she's seen something more perfect in all its oddity.
There is just one flaw in the scene.
It isn't the fact that Sugar has to stop to blow her nose every other minute or that Rachel is wearing her hair in pigtails. No, unfortunately the problem is much harder to overcome than sickness or a missing sense of style.
The flaw is impossible to ignore for anyone who knows the basics of mathematics. Brittany's never been a fan of the science of numbers and figures, but she does know that seven girls and four boys equal eleven, and when the time comes to make pairs, the disappointed frowns in the room tells her one thing – they all see the flaw now.
It's just a question of time before someone voices it – saying it out loud even though nobody wants to ruin the mood as they stand silently deliberating how to solve the problem at hand. Of course, if she had to bet on who the person will be, she would put all the money in her cookie jar on Rachel Barbra Berry.
If Brittany is honest with herself, she is even a tiny bit happy that she doesn't have to take the role of the mood killer.
"Brittany, may I?" Rachel speaks up carefully, and Brittany nods, letting her say what has to be said. "I'm not sure you see – um," the girl shoots her a pained smile and Brittany feels her face heat up in humiliation. "But we can only make four pairs."
She states the obvious – which she apparently doesn't expect someone like Brittany to notice – and the silence in the room fills up with tension at her words.
Before Santana can defend her honor and lash out on Rachel with Spanish curses, Brittany pockets her pride and replies to Rachel.
"I may not be the brightest bulb on your pink Christmas tree," she says, her voice unable to hide the irritation and hurt she is feeling. "But I can count, and believe me I've been trying to think of a solution for twenty minutes now."
"I didn't mean to -" Rachel starts apologetically, but Brittany doesn't have time to waste on the matter now.
She knows Rachel – and most people – believes she is challenged in intelligence, but there is a more important problem to handle right now.
"It's fine," she cuts her off. "But it's obvious we need three more people."
"Three more boys to be exact," Blaine joins the discussion with a careworn expression. "We need to win over three more boys."
Gender matters now, it is one of those cases. Since everybody in the school seems to think Glee club is the gayest thing in the history of McKinley High, convincing boys to join will be incredibly hard.
Brittany doesn't want to think of the word impossible just yet.
"So how the hell do we do that?" Mercedes finally asks the question that proposes a huge challenge for the group. The first they have to overcome together.
"Well, I know the perfect way to win over boys."
"Sugar, no!" Quinn hisses, embarrassed to chastise her friend in front of the whole group.
"Why not?" Sugar shrugs. "It's not like it would be the first time."
"You won't whore yourself out to gain new members," Quinn shoots her down, leaving no room for argument. "Forget that idea!"
Sugar rolls her eyes, but doesn't anger Quinn further.
"Just to make it clear, what exactly were you talking about?" Sam asks.
His innocent question makes Sugar smirk.
Santana nudges Sam's arm and shoots him a meaningful look, and his eyes widen. "Oh…wow, no, you can't do that!" He looks bewildered and strangely hurt by the realization that Sugar is ready to sleep with boys to win them for Glee club.
Brittany has a wild guess why he takes it so personally and she can't hold back a soft smile at the realization.
"Calm your ass, she won't!" Mercedes shoots the blonde boy down, before letting out a calming sigh. "Guys, we gotta find out something real fast. Sectionals is next Saturday."
"Cedes is right," Santana says in a thoughtful tone. "And we can't just put up a paper on the bulletin board that we are looking for new members, like the last time…"
The meaningful silence in the room signals that something really bad happened the last time.
Sugar is seemingly unaffected by the dark cloud hanging above their heads. "What happened the last time?" She asks in her comically nasal tone, clueless to the answer.
Brittany wishes she hadn't, because she already knows the answer, much to her shame.
"Uh, you and –"
"We tore it down and put up a slightly different version," Quinn says, avoiding eye-contact with everybody in the room.
Slightly different version meant drawing a mustached version of Rachel Berry on paper and changing Glee club to 'Gay club'. Surprisingly, Rachel doesn't seem deeply affected by dragging up this sad and humiliating memory of the past, but others seem to dwell on it.
Brittany knows they can't allow themselves to get stuck on the past. They have to look forward. Luckily, she is not the only one who thinks so.
"Look, can we just put the past behind us now?" Kurt joins the discussion, his high voice in contrast of the low point they arrived to. "We are in need of a solution here, everyone."
"Kurt is right," Rachel nods up and down, the fierce glow in her eyes signaling she is determined to find a solution. "We have to come up with a plan."
"It better be a damn good plan, else…" Artie trails off, and there is only one way to interpret his words.
If they don't come up with a plan, the dream they share will fall apart. They can't let that happen. Brittany won't let that happen, but she also won't let them waste their time on something they can't solve at the moment.
"Guys, we will work something out," she tries to direct the attention away from the pressing issue, angered by her own inability to offer a solution. "But there's choreography to learn and practice, because frankly, we are just not good enough now. We gotta improve; else there is no point in finding three more boys to lose with us at Sectionals."
The blunt words that leave her mouth come as a surprise even for her. The whole group is dumbstruck as she makes them face with the harsh truth.
"Wow," Artie cuts off the nagging silence. "Yeah, Brittany is right people; it would be stupid to waste our time on this now. Let's just do some dancing and deal with it later!"
"Right," Rachel nods, shaking off her stupor to regain her ferocious demeanor. "Everybody, use your brains after you go home, and we will brainstorm about it later. Now...shall we get back to dancing?"
"Yes, let's do it!"
They are all on the same page now.
Brittany forms pairs, leaving Tina and Rachel to sit out this round alongside herself, so Quinn and Sugar can learn the choreography. With years of Cheerios training, it doesn't take much time for them to pick up the steps, and by the end of the session they dazzle everyone by their talent.
It makes Brittany feel proud, but the big question doesn't stop bothering her.
When they take off in Quinn's car to go home after class ends, she voices it to her best friend.
"Quinn, how the hell will we find three guys?" She asks hopelessly, staring out the window to watch Santana leaving. Santana sends her a shy wave, and she musters up a smile in return. When Santana disappears from sight, the smile freezes on her lips and she turns back to her best friend with a miserable expression. "Three girls sure, we could convince the Cheerios, but three guys?"
Her mind scattered and gloominess dragging her down, Brittany doesn't notice the mysterious smirk dancing around Quinn's lips until the girl turns to face her and winks playfully.
"I have the perfect idea."
It's incredibly hard to keep it secret.
When Santana calls her before going to sleep, she almost slips up. Her mind is dizzy by the adorably sleepy voice of Santana and the approaching date of their undefined afternoon program, which in her most secret fantasy will turn out to be a date.
Santana stubbornly refuses to cut the call, until she is rambling in a way that makes Brittany giggle as she has no chance to make out the words.
She wonders how Santana would talk when drunk, and puts this point on her imaginary list of life challenges – amongst inventing a time machine, and getting Lord Tubbington to give up smoking. Maybe she should make a whole new list for the things she wants to do with Santana. She has countless plans already.
But then again, she is reminded of the fact that they are not together.
In her hopes, just not yet.
"I can't wait for Thursday afternoon," she admits bashfully to a half-sleeping Santana on the other end of the line.
"Hmm…yeah, Britt," Santana mumbles in the raspy voice Brittany admires so much. It makes Brittany want to snuggle her under a warm blanket and whisper sweet nothings into each other's ear all night. "Me neither…"
"Sweet dreams, San," Brittany whispers, smiling.
"You wanna know a secret?"
"I'm already dreamin' about you, Brittany…"
"I'm dreaming about you too, Santana."
Maybe they don't mean it the same way now, but Brittany doesn't mind tonight.
In the land of her dreams, she is together with Santana.
As the morning rolls around, she returns to reality.
In the hopes of a morning text from the girl of her dreams, she rolls to her side and grabs her phone from the nightstand. Instead, a handful of texts and notifications welcome her, vibrating aggressively on the screen, screaming for attention.
She knows it means nothing good.
Unable to start the day just yet, she drops her phone and pulls the comforter over her head.
"I'm fucked," she groans grumpily, and curses the moment her alarm went off and she was cut out from her nighttime fantasy.
She wishes to return and soon, the wish of her heart is too strong for her body to deny.
She oversleeps, of course she does.
It just has to happen on the day that is already expected to be pretty hard to survive. She would rather stay in her warm bed all day than go to school to face everyone – the Cheerios, Sue Sylvester, Miss Pillsbury…
Just thinking about everything makes her nauseous. She wants to hide under the comforter all day, like it is a safe and warm nest, where she can indulge herself with day-dreaming.
She almost stays.
But she can't surrender to life's challenges.
She can't catch a break all day.
Her fellow Cheerios demand an answer, storming up to her between every period to bug her with their never-ending questions. She knows she owes them an explanation. It was in her plans to hold a team meeting today, but of course Sue Sylvester had to take revenge and screw it up.
Now that Sue's email, which was written in questionable tone, has been read by the whole team, Brittany can barely quench the fire.
She gets quite tired of it by her last period.
She tried to avert their questions all days, but she knows it would be much worse if the Cheerios got to know the truth from gossips.
That never ends well.
Mustering her courage to stand up and announce the news to the Cheerios, she calls for a team meeting first thing in the afternoon. She and her friends have to face thirteen more girls and tell them they joined the club they all hated from blind obedience, just days ago.
She would still rather face them, than her own self.
Standing in front of her teammates and watching the confusion turn into judgment on their faces, was still easier than sitting down in Miss Pillsbury's office to face the truths about herself.
She has to deal with her past to move on in the present...and she needs to do it to have a better future. She knows she has to dig deep, because just scratching the surface won't be enough now. She has to open up, and talk about the sensitive subjects, the scars that never truly healed and the issues nobody would ever think she is dealing with every day. She knows it deep inside why she is here right now in this office, sitting in the chair for minutes which seemed like hours, holding the cookie Miss Pillsbury gave her in her hand.
She knows it, but there is a block and it's pretty damn strong. She can't even answer the first question and it makes her feel dumb.
"I just…I'm sorry," she mumbles, her eyes set on the table that distances her from the woman. "I don't know what to say. I'm not sure why I am here."
"That's all right, Brittany. We are all confused sometimes," Mill Pillsbury says encouragingly. "What matters is that you realized you want to talk to someone. That's a great start, right?"
Brittany nods, and flips the cookie in her hand while sorting her thoughts.
"I guess I'm a bit confused," she says, deliberating out loud. "But that's not why I – um, I think I'm more overwhelmed maybe."
She glances up to make eye contact with Miss Pillsbury for the first time since she entered the room.
"I thought so," the woman replies delicately. "But I am here to help you. I hope I am not scaring you." She chuckles.
Brittany doesn't want to tell the woman that an innocent doe in the forest would scare her more than her. But Miss Pillsbury is right; she shouldn't act like she is scared shitless. She shouldn't succumb to this challenge in her life. She shouldn't chicken out.
Not now, when she has come so far, from sleeping with a different boy every weekend and letting the bullying going on in the school, all the way to the office of the woman who rescued her on the worst night of her life.
Miss Pillsbury is here for her and she does need someone to talk to.
She can't pass up on this chance.
"I just don't know where to start," she frowns thoughtfully, her mind racing through all the memories that seem important. "I'm not really good at this, um, I just -" she shakes her head a bit, trying to organize her thoughts. She feels like she has too many and she can't seem to find where to begin.
"Just take a bite from that cookie," Miss Pillsbury says with a smile. "And try to think about why you came to me on Monday, and why you haven't before."
Brittany snaps her eyes to the piece of chocolate chip cookie in her hand and tries to figure out the reason behind her actions. She glares at the cookie like it could answer all her questions, and she swears it does. When she is sure of the reason, she brings the cookie into her mouth and takes a bite.
It's delicious and so is the feeling of being closer to figure out everything.
She swallows the bite and licks her lips. "I am here, because I want to change."
Her purpose couldn't be any simpler, and it couldn't be harder at the same time.
Miss Pillsbury nods, sensing she is not finished.
"I feel like I changed a lot since I -" she stops to contemplate how much she wants to put out there in the open. She decides it's silly to go half-way now and tries to trust her instincts. "Um, I got to know Santana."
For a split second, a smile passes on Miss Pillsbury's lips and Brittany is quite sure the woman knows about them. It makes her feel exposed, but that feeling is strongly attached to the process of opening up so she tries to not get hang up on it.
"She changed me," she continues, but realizes it sounds wrongs. "I mean, being with her changed me. I feel like I'm on the right track now, but I want to make sure I don't fall back…even if we -" she sighs, because saying this out loud is the greatest challenge and requires her strongest effort. "Even if we won't be together."
She struggles to stand Miss Pillsbury's stare, but she does, shooting a pained smile to the woman who's watching her closely. There's something in the big brown eyes of hers that makes Brittany feel like she said the right thing.
"That's very good that you want to change for yourself," she nods reassuringly after the silent moment. "It always has to be about you. Sometimes we want to change for our partners, get better for them, but it always has to come down to us."
Her words are wise, but they are not something one can learn from the books – or pamphlets for that matter. They sound like they come from Miss Pillsbury's heart, from real experience. The look in her eyes is enough proof of that.
"Have you ever tried to change for Mr. Schue?"
The second she utters the question, she damns the fact that in certain situations of her life she can't filter her thoughts. It is one of her flaws that makes her feel slightly embarrassed, but the expression appearing on Miss Pillsbury's face is worth it. Her doe eyes widen impossibly, lips hanging in shock, as the blush easily colors the fair skin of her cheeks.
Brittany has an urge to giggle, but it would be rude to make fun of the woman. She clears her throat awkwardly, breaking Miss Pillsbury's frozen demeanor and the woman lets out a flustered little chuckle.
"Um, sorry, Miss P," Brittany mutters. "I didn't mean to be rude. I just sometimes say stuff I don't really mean to."
Miss Pillsbury shakes her head. "No problem, Brittany," she says and smoothes her hair nervously.
"You don't have to answer of course."
"It's only fair, right?" She asks casually, but her voice can't hide her sense of discomfort. "I'm just not used to students taking an interest in my private life." She shoots a tight smile to Brittany.
Brittany doesn't want to enlighten her that they actually have bets about how long it will take Mr. Schue to ask the woman to marry him and invite everyone in McKinley to their wedding. She can't wait to give them a collection of toddler-sized vests as a wedding gift.
She is quite sure Miss P would die in humiliation if she got to know what kind of dirty gossiping is going on behind the teachers' backs in the school. Because if it got through to any of them, she is pretty sure an apocalypse would break out in the hallways and rooms of McKinley High.
"Yeah, well, it's just me being stupid," she says. "Sorry again."
"It's fine," Miss Pillsbury dismisses her apology and stares down into her lap. "Truth to be said, the answer is yes. I am trying, but I like to think Will just helped me realize that I need to get better for myself."
"The same thing happened to me."
"How did you change, Brittany?" Miss Pillsbury asks curiously, casting her gaze back on Brittany.
"It just happened, like naturally," Brittany replies with shrug. "I just started realizing that the way I lived my life was wrong and that I want to do things differently."
"Can you tell me how you lived your life before?"
The question was inevitable, she knew that, but it tackles her even so. Trying to ease her nerves, she eats the remains of the cookie before taking a deep breath to evoke the way she's led her life for all those years.
"I'm not sure I can explain, but I think I was just maybe…careless. I didn't really think about what I was doing."
"And what were you doing, Brittany?"
"Um, partying," she replies nervously, knowing she has to go into details soon. "Pretty hard I guess."
"Well, that doesn't come as a surprise," Miss Pillsbury says. "You really scared me and Will that night we found you on the street alone in the middle of the night. In that state…" she trails off, as she recalls the memory.
Brittany does the same, but her memory is much harder to live through again.
"I was so stupid, Miss P," she shakes her head. "I didn't care for anything, not even myself…I just went with stuff."
"Went with what kind of stuff?"
"Well that's not something any adult in your life would hear happily, but for teenagers like you, anything illegal is a temptation. Teenagers break rules, so they can feel grown up," Miss Pillsbury smiles tightly at her. "Can you describe one of those parties you used to visit?"
Brittany nods, trying to find the right balance between being honest and not making Miss P horrified.
"Um, I would go with my friends," she starts off. "We would go to one of the jocks. Everyone would be there, I mean…everyone that was cool enough."
"Who are cool enough?"
"The football team, the hockey team, the cheerleaders, um, people who go to college," she counts. "Well everyone except the nerds, and…Glee club."
"Oh, I see," Miss Pillsbury clears her throat, before a knowing smile creeps upon her lips. "But I have a feeling you don't think these people are exceptions now."
"Yeah," Brittany smiles subtly. "I've never really thought that…I just, I've never tried to stand up for them. I've always just gone with what people believed to be the right way."
"Good thing is that you realized you were wrong," Miss Pillsbury nods. "It means a lot to plenty of people I am sure."
"I guess, yeah," she replies, deep in thought. "I really think I can make a difference now. That's what I want to do."
"That's a very honorable goal, Brittany. Have you ever thought about going for senior class president?"
The question draws Brittany from her thoughts to a yet unfamiliar territory. To be honest, that possibility has never entered her mind. She is not good at public speaking and manipulations, so she isn't sure she would make an adequate candidate to be a politician.
"Um, no, I'm not sure it is for me," she mutters. "It is more for Quinn."
"Just think about it, all right?" Miss Pillsbury encourages her. "You still have some time. I happen to know from a source that shall not be named here, that there are only two candidates so far."
"Thanks, Miss P, I will see."
"Good," the woman's eyes light up. "Now, let's get back to those parties."
"What would happen when you arrived with your friends?"
"Well, we would go straight to the kitchen and um, make drinks. Or the boys would make us some. We would have shots, and sometimes we would even drink off of each other's-"
"Okay, um, I think I know enough of that now, thank you," Miss Pillsbury says with a grimace. "So you would drink; what else?"
"We would dance a lot. I love dancing," Brittany says fondly. "I always dance a lot. Nobody can really keep up though." She pouts.
"You are really talented," Miss Pillsbury says, before lowering her voice. "Will believes the Glee club has a really good shot at Sectionals with you."
"He does? That's awesome," Brittany replies. "I'm really happy I can help our chances a bit maybe."
"So you would dance a lot, right? Would you spend the whole party on the dance floor?"
Brittany gulps, hesitating to answer for a good reason.
"Um, not the whole party," she mumbles quietly, her face heating up as she takes a moment for herself in silence. "I would probably spend some time with a guy somewhere."
"With a boy?" Miss Pillsbury asks, almost fearfully. "Your boyfriend?"
"I've never had a boyfriend."
The silence following her statement is uncomfortable to say the least. There aren't many ways to interpret it, but Miss Pillsbury takes her time.
"I see," she smiles tightly, a faint blush appearing on her face. "Would it be the same boy though?"
"No. Yes - uh, sometimes," Brittany mumbles in shame. "But usually, no..."
"Why do you think that is? I am sure a lot of boys want to date you."
"Yeah, I've been on dates," Brittany sighs. "But I've never really felt anything with those guys. I've never felt this way before."
"How do you feel now?"
The tender eyes of the woman make Brittany utter the words smoothly, like honey melting into a cup of warm tea.
"I'm in love."
"That's amazing, Brittany," Miss Pillsbury says, her face lighting up in awe.
Brittany truly thinks it is more than amazing. It is better than anything else she's ever experienced.
"Yeah," she returns her smile. "I want to be together with her, but it's um, really complicated."
"Love always is."
There is eternal wisdom in these three simple words.
Love is complicated, because it is twisted. It is in every human's nature to fight the sense of solitude that comes with being an individual in this world and to seek company, to find their true mate and be together. But at the same time, the strongest instinct to defend one's self – one's heart – against the harm only a loved one can cause makes one harbor fears and doubts forever. To open their heart and let someone take it while it is at its most vulnerable state is the hardest thing to do in a human's life.
Therefore, being in love doesn't always mean that two people can be together. Love is complicated, but so is being in a relationship with the one our heart has chosen.
Love is about one's individual feelings – though it is selfishly craved to be reciprocated. But a relationship always takes two. It is about sharing, devoting, opening up and surrendering completely to the eternal force that is love. It is a choice two people make together, to be together. To stop fighting their own selves, stop the fears and doubts tainting the purest feelings and just give in.
Love is not a choice; it happens against one's will and conquers everything.
But a relationship takes will. It is a choice.
It takes effort, sweat and tears and blood. It takes two people giving up their pride, selfishness, cowardice – and giving in.
"So is a relationship, I guess."
"Yes," Miss Pillsbury nods thoughtfully with a kind, sincere smile on her face. "But the question is, are you willing to work on it?"
A relationship takes hard work, a tremendous effort on both sides. And it may seem to be a hard question, but the answer comes easily.
It rolls effortlessly from her tongue, like an intake of breath to keep one's heart going.
The session takes its toll on Brittany.
She feels tired but restless at the same time, shaken up by having to reveal so much about herself and the effort sucking the energy out of her. It is hard to cast off the mood she fell into after she left Miss Pillsbury's office, gloomy and unsettled as the deeply daunting sense of loneliness dwelled on her. It is the kind of loneliness that is not caused by the lack of fulfilling relationships in a person's life, but the state of being alone, alone with thoughts, feelings and problems only one can solve, even though many would be willing to help.
Driving in her car, she is wrapped up in the words that left her mouth and the particles of thoughts she wasn't ready to share yet. They died away even before she could contemplate uncovering their existence.
But she will get there.
If the two hours she spent trying was worth anything, it is the will in her heart that only got stronger.
Brittany knows she will get there. It is a long and hard way, but she will.
She has faith in herself.
But she still needs to stop for hot chocolate at the Lima Bean to feel like her true self again.
Maybe the most popular café in Lima is not the best choice though.
The place is crowded, but Brittany feels alienated from the people sitting at the round tables and chatting about their lives in a casual tone over a cup of coffee. These conversations are light and people are not worried to be overheard by strangers at the next table, not alike Brittany's thoughts that are meant to kept hidden somewhere deep inside, for only a few chosen to hear.
She tries to keep a low profile, minding her own business as she steps to the counter, ordering the biggest possible sized hot chocolate for takeaway. She is waiting in silence, trying to block out the noise around her but still being wary of people. When she receives her order, she is intent to quickly leave, without anyone noticing she ever made an appearance in the Lima Bean this afternoon.
What she doesn't expect though is to meet two familiar faces who won't let her get away in a hurry as she planned.
Oh boy, she was so close.
"Brittany," Kurt's cheery voice gets her attention as she is halfway out of the door.
She stops in her tracks, and inwardly rolls her eyes. She really doesn't want to be rude, but this is one of the rare times she wants to be alone, in the silence of her room, separated from the outside world. She could pretend that she didn't hear Kurt calling her name, but they are friends and he deserves better, after everything that he's helped her with.
She surrenders to the thought that she has to forget her plan about watching a sappy chick flick while drinking the finest hot chocolate in Lima, and has to actually act like a grown person who can handle herself.
She turns around to see Kurt emerging from his seat to hunt her down, with a slightly embarrassed Blaine remaining still at their table near the door.
They meet in the middle, and Kurt gives Brittany a peck on the cheek, which comes as a surprise but not displeasure at all.
"Why the rush, Britt?" He asks, while Brittany tries her best to act nonchalant. "Come join us!"
"I wouldn't wanna disturb you, Kurt," Brittany replies, catching a glance at Blaine. "You guys are obviously in the middle of something."
Kurt gets flustered at her words, but shakes it off quickly to argue.
"Blaine doesn't mind," he declares, shooting a look at the other boy who gives him an accepting smile. "Come join, just for a bit please! I heard the most delicious gossip about Coach Beiste. She was seen with a mysterious man at the local chicken wing eating contest. I smell romance!"
"How do you even know these things?" Brittany giggles at the absurdity, letting him lead the way to their table.
"Oh honey, I know everything."
Somewhere in the middle of their conversation, Brittany realizes how silly it was wishing to be alone and laughs at herself for even contemplating to ignore her friends who have a wonderful way to make her feel settled, and bright again.
Being alone is against her nature.
Isolated, only her thoughts keeping her company; that is not how she wishes to be. It was her dark side commanding her, and its voice whispering to her to be alone, and it deceived her sense of what her true needs are.
She needs people around her that love her. She needs their help.
And she will take it.
When Kurt invites her over for sleepover at the Hummel residence, her hesitation only lasts until Blaine shoots her a warm, encouraging smile.
"The three of us?" she asks.
"Just me and you, honey," Kurt replies with a sigh. "Blaine has to make an appearance at a family dinner. Apparently everybody has to be there when his sister introduces her new boyfriend that she met, um, how long ago was it again Blaine?"
His irritated voice freezes the air around them, and Brittany is slightly confused about the sudden shift in the mood.
"Kurt, please," Blaine turns to him, his voice almost whining. "Just let it go. They don't matter."
"For me, they do," Kurt argues. "They are your family. And it is just not fair."
The hurt in Kurt's ever so perky voice and the resignation in Blaine's eyes tell of a sad tale Brittany feels is not meant for her ears, or anyone's here to hear. She feels uncomfortable witnessing the scene taking place in front of her, while it is a matter that deserves to be dealt with in privacy.
Blaine tries to melt him with a comforting smile, but Kurt is not inclined to look at him. When he touches the boy's hand though, Kurt's demeanor softens, and they share a look that is more telling than a thousand words of love. Brittany has to cast her gaze away, because she feels undeserving and wrong to invade their privacy.
The silent, heartfelt scene at their table is in contrast of the noisy crowd, and the sense of isolation is starting to overcome Brittany again. She starts to feel like she doesn't belong here, but suddenly, Blaine touches her arm and it's such a relief to be included again, her presence to be wanted while she started to feel like a burden just now.
"We are sorry for this, Britt," he says apologetically, working his charm on her.
"It's fine," Brittany shrugs. "Should I leave you two alone?"
"Oh, no, you stay here with Kurt, I have to go anyway."
Kurt shoots Brittany a smile that is laced with sorrow that easily breaks through his attempt to hide it. He is an honest person, unable to hide his true feelings.
"Are you sure?" Brittany turns to Kurt.
"Yes, I'm fine Britt," He chuckles, trying to shake off the tension. "How could I be, when the number one girl at McKinley will sleep at mine tonight? That's one big score for a gay guy."
They all laugh at the joke that works like magic.
Brittany knows her friends have a lot to deal with, but this is not the right time and place. She trusts them to work it out, because if looks could tell, she is pretty sure Kurt and Blaine are in love.
If two people are in love, what else is there?
She smiles at them, but her mind is elsewhere now.
She is thinking about Santana.
Packing up for the sleepover at home, she has the weird, but not so unusual sense that something is missing.
Maybe she forgot her panties again, or to feed Lord Tubbington. But that wouldn't be such a huge tragedy considering her cat's size. The habit of forgetting about stuff like this is not unbeknown to her; on the contrary, she masters it. She has a long list of things she likes to forget, some of them causing trouble for her, like Math homework or taking the pill.
And of course, forgetting her phone tops the list.
She has no idea how long ago she checked it last. It may have easily been hours, since her attention wandered from Miss Pillsbury's office and the reminiscence of her past to the Lima Bean and the person who in one symbolizes her present, Santana Lopez. In the storm of her thoughts it was easy to forget about the practical.
Digging deep into her bag, she fishes the phone out, unread messages and missed calls flood her.
She is guilty of making people worry all the time about her safety.
In the overwhelming chaos, her eyes get caught up on one name that always makes her heart beat faster and her cheeks to burn as excitement flushes her.
What Santana does to her is a true wonder.
Nobody else can make her feel like ascending into the bright blue sky to fly among clouds made from fluffy cotton candy. She is pretty sure if Santana was a superhero, she would bring happiness to everybody in this world.
But Santana is just her superhero now.
Her short message, sweet and heartfelt, is like a wave of the ocean hitting the coast, only it slams Brittany's heart in the middle and her blood carries the sizzling feeling to every cell in her body.
Santana is proud of her and that is worth every effort she made today and will make tomorrow to be a better person.
The Hummel residence, warm and unpretentious as its owner, quickly makes Brittany feel at ease and strangely fast, at home.
Being introduced to each other, Burt's jokes and his welcoming smile have an immediate effect on her. He is a charming man, and a great father to Kurt, that much Brittany is sure of.
But not every parent is as accepting as Burt Hummel.
"So can we talk about the elephant in the room, or should I just pretend it's not there?"
They are sitting on the floor in Kurt's room, surrounded by pillows, silky blankets and aromatic candles, drinking strictly virgin pink mojitos which all remind Brittany of her early teenage years, the innocence she lost in the first trials of adolescence.
Kurt's eyes are shining in the candle light, his face an attribute of never-fading youthful innocence that is so rare to find in this world.
His question surprises Brittany, because so far the night has been about fun, light chats and soap operas and it is turning serious all of a sudden.
"Um, I don't think an elephant would fit in here, Kurt," Brittany blurts out, trying to lighten the mood.
She makes Kurt smile, and his gratitude doesn't remain hidden. He can't hide anything from her, and it might be the bravest thing in the world that he doesn't even want to. They both know what he meant by the elephant in the room, of course, and it is a heavy topic and Brittany would hate to see him sad now.
"Are you sure you want to talk about it?" She asks quietly.
"Well at some point, we are gonna talk about you and Santana, so I am entitled to have my own dramatic moments too."
They chuckle, and Brittany sips from her cocktail before raising her eyes on her friend's face.
"So, what was that between you and Blaine earlier?"
"Oh, an unexpected question," he chuckles ironically. "I'm sorry you had to sit through that, Brittany. Blaine's dad is not exactly like mine, and honestly, I am just sick of his ignorance sometimes."
"Does he know about you two?"
"When Blaine came out, they didn't talk for an entire week," he says bitterly. "You go figure."
"So I guess not."
Kurt's miserable look is enough proof of her assumption.
"He is afraid, and I get it, I really do," he sighs. "But I'm done pretending. It's so hard to take it sometimes…You know, I've always dreamed of shared Hummel-Anderson family dinners, and discussing the latest issue of House & Garden with his mo hi m, or babysitting his little sister together, but obviously I am not welcome anywhere near his family."
"Maybe he will warm up," Brittany tries to comfort him. "Sometimes it just takes time."
It's a weak condolence to ease his sufferings.
"Yeah, maybe," he smiles painfully. "Until then, I am taking the role of the secret lover."
"That sounds so fancy," Brittany chuckles.
"I know, right?"
They share a warm smile and the mood lifts up considerably, much to Brittany's relief. The last thing she wanted was to ruin the night with her questions.
Kurt sips from his drink then slowly, a mischievous expression appears on his face. "So Miss Pierce, are you ready for a classic Hummel fashion house makeover?"
A second later the boy is already rushing behind a wall, where there is a secluded area in his room, only to appear with a gorgeous, sparkling gold dress, covered with thousands of rhinestones. It is truly breath-taking, and Brittany is amazed by the talent that can make something so wonderful that is, after all, just a piece of clothing.
"Totally," she whispers in awe, never taking her eyes off the dress.
There is no need to ask her opinion about the dress, her reaction is telling enough for Kurt.
"Brittany, you are like a living doll, all my clothes fit you perfectly," Kurt squeals in excitement, then a second later his eyes bulge out like he's been electroshocked. "Oh my god, genius idea…you have to be the face of my brand. This is perfect, gosh!"
Standing in front of the tall mirror, Brittany admires the golden dress on herself. Kurt is overreacting, which is not unusual for the boy, but Brittany has to admit, she feels pretty damn good in his creation. She hopes she really does look so amazing to be worthy of Kurt's gushing, because she just got an idea in mind.
Carefully, wary of a disappointing answer, she looks at the boy.
"Yes, sweetie?" He asks, his expression changing as she hesitates to continue. "Oh my God, you don't like it!" He yelps, mortified.
"No, Kurt, no!" Brittany stops him. "I just wanted to ask something."
"Oh, of course," he clears his throat in embarrassment. "Anything I can do for you?"
"I'd like to borrow this dress for tomorrow," Brittany says quietly.
Kurt's mouth open, confused by the request, but it only takes him a split second to realize what is going on. A smile tugs at his lips as he steps closer to Brittany, squeezing her hand as they stare at each other in mutual understanding.
"I thought you'd never ask."
Two hours, a delicious Hummel-Pierce dinner and an extensive beauty session later, the two friends are sitting Indian style on Kurt's king-size bed, laughing about each other's funniest stories, the most embarrassing Glee club moments and the greatest cheerleading catastrophes.
Each takes a turn in telling stories, one after the other, and soon enough Kurt ends up reminiscing about his first crush, and the moment he realized he was gay. Brittany feels she ought to tell him about her journey too, and minutes later, they leave the past behind to talk about the present.
"I should get honors for ignoring this topic as long as I could, but Britt honey, how is it going with Santana?"
She couldn't have avoided this question all night, she knows that, but it still catches Brittany off guard.
"I really don't know Kurt," she sighs, taking time to gather her thoughts. "Sometimes I just feel like we are so close and we can work it out," she confesses quietly, staring at a group picture on Kurt's nightstand where Santana's smile is the brightest of all. She drops her gaze as her voice turns weaker, her breaths shallow as she whispers, "then other times I just feel…" she shakes her head, "helpless, like I will never earn her trust back and - she will never believe we can be…something, together."
"Aw, sweetie," Kurt shakes his head, sliding closer to hug Brittany. "You can't lose hope just yet. Things are still so fresh, and she needs time. You two just need time, because it will happen…eventually." He smiles at her, with such infecting confidence and conviction that Brittany has to believe his words. "You two are meant to be together."
"Is that enough?" Brittany asks, knowing the answer already.
"No, it's not," Kurt says. "You still have to make it happen."
"And how do I do that again?" Brittany chuckles, not even truly meaning her words.
But if she is honest with herself, her wish is to be with Santana, whatever it takes. She promised herself she would settle for friendship too, because she just can't lose her, she can't lose Santana. She tries to believe it could be enough, and sometimes when she is down, and hope is shattered by her dark thoughts, she tries to get used to the idea that she will never be together with Santana; that she will never hold her hand and kiss her again, and make love to her for the first time.
Brittany is fighting against the idea however she can, feeding herself with false hope and maybe delusion too.
And she tries her hardest to find a way to make it happen, against all odds, to be together with the person she loves.
Even though she promised herself she would settle.
She promised Santana, too.
She promised patience and acceptance, everything Santana deserves. Brittany wants to give her everything, but what if she can't?
What if she just wants to give Santana love? What if love is all Brittany has for her to give?
They are in love with each other.
Isn't this feeling, stronger than everything in Brittany, worth a fight?
"There is just one thing I know for sure, Brittany," Kurt whispers into her ear, gently. "Nobody could deny you in that Kurt Hummel dress."
They both break into a fit of giggles, and somewhere along the way, Brittany finds the answer to her question.
She will try to get her love back, because Santana Lopez is worth it to put up a damn good fight.
Brittany sees her for the first time tomorrow in the hallway, in morning haste, her form sliding through the crowd distinguishable for Brittany even from far away.
Her long dark curls swaying after her, as she tries to rush, her steps determined but still bearing a nervous edge, like she is afraid to find herself facing an enemy all of a sudden.
She used to have a lot of enemies here, but Brittany hopes that chapter of Santana's life is over, for good.
As if life was following her thoughts all along, she notices Azimio ambling in the direction of Santana, whose body suddenly twitches at the sight of him, as if she had sensors in it. They are detecting danger. Her demeanor changes, all of a sudden she is not rushing, but stepping in line with the other students, slowly and nonchalantly, merging into the crowd as if she is not even there, as if she has never even existed.
Heart ramming in her ribcage, Brittany numbly follows the figures closing the distance between them, and she is waiting for the moment of the two worlds crashing.
It never comes.
They pass each other, Santana, as if meeting the devil in disguise, trying not to look into Azimio's eyes, who seemingly is more concerned with picking something out of his ear than picking on the girl who used to be his favorite target to bully in the morning, as a kind of sacred routine before the rest of the day comes.
It is too soon to tell, but maybe his routine has changed.
The surprise and relief on Santana's face pull on Brittany's heartstrings, and she wishes for the millionth time that she'd stepped up sooner for them, the nerds, the gleeks, the losers…whatever name they are called around here.
She wished she'd done a lot of things, and not done some things, but she can't change the past.
She is trying to change the present though, and the signs for a better future are in her favor.
She hopes Santana will be able to believe it too.
They talk for the first time at lunch, when Brittany stands up from the Cheerios table, her teammates barely recovering from the news of yesterday, narrowing their eyes at her move, and crosses the cafeteria to get a word with Santana, who is sitting in the circle of her friends.
"Hey guys," she greets them all, before focusing on the girl whose shampoo she can smell from this close distance. "San," she says quietly, her mind dulled by the coconut scent which is so distinctively Santana for her that she indulges in the whiff whenever she can.
"Britt, hi," Santana smiles, looking up at Brittany from behind her long lashes, that shield away those magical brown eyes. "What's up?"
"Can I have a sec with you?" Brittany asks; her question stirring confusion in Santana.
Santana stands up from her seat, the others trying to get on with the conversation out of respect for them. They take a few steps, to stand near the corner where their words are protected from the unwarranted ears.
A few silent, slightly awkward seconds later, Brittany can't find the reason in herself why she even walked up to Santana, only to place them in the center of attention.
"I saw you this morning," she blurts out, desperately wanting to say something, and coming up with a meaningless, irrelevant fact of today.
Santana is trying to show interest even now, and Brittany finds that endearing.
"Yeah, sorry, that was random," she chuckles finding it hard to believe she is making a fool out of herself in front of half the school.
"No, it's fine," Santana says, and skips a few seconds until she asks in a slightly weaker, alerted voice. "So, is there something you want to tell me?"
Horrified by the realization that Santana might think she wants to blow off their plan, Brittany loses against her better judgment, saying "I'm still in for our date." From the corner of her eye, she catches quite many people showing interest in their conversation, and tries to lower her voice. "I mean our non-date date thing, sorry."
"Uh, Brittany, can't we talk about this somewhere else?" Santana asks bashfully, her hands fidgeting in front of herself, easily showing off how uncomfortable she is.
"Yeah, just one thing," Brittany rushes to say, touching Santana's hands to get her full attention. "Thank you, for your words yesterday. It meant so much."
"Of course," Santana says shortly, but her eyes speak of her emotions, deep and clear in the ocean of brown.
Brittany can see how Santana is trying to be present in this conversation, her eyes never leaving Brittany's blue ones, still she is concerned with a hundred different things, a hundred little, maybe miniscule things that others wouldn't trouble themselves over, thinking they are not even worth caring for.
These hundred things are a hundred persons, each with their own judgment and opinion about Santana.
These people in the cafeteria, they are there with them in their privacy, never leaving Santana alone.
But she shouldn't care about them, Brittany thinks so.
As if trying to prove herself that she is right, she leans in to hug Santana, the move so surprising and to Brittany's heartbreak, so unwelcomed here that the girl stiffens in her arms and Brittany can almost hear Santana counting inwardly before it's over.
When they part, Brittany can see the relief washing over Santana, the same relief she must have felt when Azimio passed her this morning without as much as a nasty look.
"Was this okay?" Brittany asks when there is no point in asking anymore.
She is trying to validate her own move, even though it is no use to mend the mistake.
"Yeah," Santana whispers and it can't be a bigger lie.
The hug was meant as much to prove Santana that things have changed as to say thank you to her, and it tainted the sincerity of Brittany's display of affection.
Before she could say something, anything to rescue the situation, Santana gives her a forced smile. "Is it okay if I get back now?"
Brittany nods without a word, disappointed in herself more than anything.
"See you at Glee club," Santana says, before leaving her in humiliation.
She is humiliated by her own stupidity to try to force Santana into believing something that she doesn't quite believe herself yet. She pushed her into a situation that was uncomfortable for her, and just made it a whole lot worse by the hug.
Returning to her table, Brittany hops down beside Quinn.
"That seemed a bit, awkward?" she whispers, while the other girls don't even put a pause to the conversation.
"Yeah," Brittany mutters dejectedly. "Quinn, what is wrong with me?"
"What do you mean?" Quinn's hazel eyes catch hers.
"I'm screwing this up, I can feel it."
"Sweetie, you are not," she says, with such determination Brittany almost believes it.
"I just made a complete fool out of myself," Brittany argues, flushing at the fresh memory. "And gosh, that hug? Why the hell did I have to do that?"
"She seemed to like it," Quinn tries to console her, but a look in the eye later, she settles, "Maybe not."
"She was stiff like a virgin first seeing the-"
"Okay, I get it," Quinn clears her throat, her cheeks slightly blushing. "Why did you even go there, Britt?"
Her question is the same as the one Brittany is trying to answer since her body rose from this seat, mere moments before.
"I don't really know now," she murmurs, watching Santana from the distance. "I guess I'm trying to prove things. I'm trying to make things happen."
It's a friendly condolence from Quinn, but fragile as a leaf in the fall storm.
Maybe trying to make things happen is not such a good idea as Brittany thought so.
Glee club takes her mind off the forthcoming evening which she is set to spend with Santana.
Strangely, the program she so eagerly awaited before is now making her anxious, so she desperately tries to stay in the present, where Mercedes is dazzling the group by belting out an Aretha solo with such groove as if she was brushing her teeth in the morning.
Undoubtedly, the girl is filled with exuberant talent, and they need this natural, earth-shattering energy she can bring to their set to make up for their dancing skills.
Not only Mercedes is gifted with such enormous talent here, though to call it gift may sound unfair to their owners, since talent is not a privilege they were born with. It takes hard work and the will to do so, more than anything, to master their talent.
They share the same passion in Glee club, the same will, to improve, and to contribute with everything they have to offer. This is a group they are part of now, and Brittany couldn't possibly be more proud as they give a standing ovation to Mercedes, who bashfully receives the compliments they shower her with.
She looks at Quinn, who is smiling with childish joy and her hazel eyes, clouded with a cavalcade of emotions, showing everyone how happy she is to be here. As unsure and reluctant as she was before about the idea of joining this club, she is as much as a proud member now as Brittany. It is truly heart-warming, and exactly what Brittany needs to see, and feel right now.
Her eyes leave Quinn's face, gravitating to the front, where Santana is sitting.
Their gazes meet, and Santana's smiling softly, knowingly, as if she is seeing right through Brittany, like nobody else ever could. She nods, up and down, the smile spreading on her face until it conquers her, and she is beaming at Brittany, who giggles out loud, charmed completely by those lips, those eyes, everything that is Santana.
The moment they share helps Brittany fight off the demons, and they leave her be for now.
When Mr. Schuester puts an end to the class, her insides grow narrow again.
"Hey, Britt, I have to talk to Mr. Schuester. I will call later, okay?" Quinn dashes off, leaving her side in haste to stride up to Mr. Schue in the front to catch a word. He is surprised, but not unpleasantly.
They walk out of the room, and others follow them, after saying goodbye to their friends.
Brittany picks up her bag, and takes a deep breath before walking down the stairs to approach Santana.
Kurt catches her elbow gently. "Good luck, sweetie," he says, before leaning in to whisper into her ear. "But I know you won't need it." He lets her go with a wink.
"Thanks, Kurt," Brittany smiles at him.
"Call me with the details?"
"Sure," she chuckles, before leaving him with Blaine.
Santana is fussing with her bag as Brittany comes to a stop beside her and the girl quickly finishes up, looking up at her.
"Hey, San," Brittany shoots her a smile. "Just wanted to talk about the plan for today."
"Hi, yeah, what is it?"
"Is it okay if I go home to change, then we meet up?"
"Uh, of course," Santana says with a nod. "I will pick you up at 6, okay?"
"Perfect," Brittany replies, then driven by her instincts, she leans closer to Santana and catches her wrist. "I can't wait," she whispers, leisurely giving her skin a soft stroke.
"Yeah," Santana whispers, her voice shallow as she is completely succumbed to Brittany's effect on her.
Brittany is pleased to see that she still owns that.
"See you, San," she says, pulling back her hand so that it trails a path down to Santana's fingertips before departing from her skin.
She leaves goose bumps, and a star-struck Santana behind, knowing well that the girl's eyes follow her steps as she strides out of the class room, with working just the right amount of sway in her hips.
"Sugar!" Brittany yelps in surprise, as entering her room she is welcomed by her sick friend hogging her bed. "What are you doing here? And how did you-"
"Don't question my brilliance, Britts! This girl has got the moves," Sugar says, dropping the latest issue of Teen Vogue on the sheets. "Now close your pretty little mouth, and let's get to it!"
"Please, why do you think I'm here?" She asks exasperatedly, before she is seized with a fit of coughing. "Sorry, this stupid sickness is so not fancy. Anyways, as my sources told me, Hummel boy did his part, so now it's on me to finish this fine piece of work."
"You mean, me?"
"Duh," Sugar rolls her eyes then scoots to the edge of the bed. "You will look so hot, S won't be able to keep it in her pants."
Sugar's hint makes Brittany blush but there's no denying that it would be the dream scenario if they ended up in one of their bedrooms. It's too soon to even wish for that to happen, but Brittany has to admit, she wants Santana the same way, if not more than before.
She misses her, her smell, her taste, her bare skin, her noises of pleasure, her fingers inside Brittany and the weight of her body on hers – they all left a vast space behind, and Brittany can't wait to fill that void with fresh memories, maybe tonight.
Is it too much to wish for? Maybe, but oh, a girl can dream.
Her resolve to cajole Santana and conquer her yet again is stronger than ever.
"We don't have much time," she says at last. "Let's do it!"
"Now that's my girl," Sugar smirks, before picking up her tool bag and ushering Brittany into the bathroom.
"God, you look perfect," Sugar sighs, watching her work of art standing in front of the mirror.
Brittany is impressed, beyond question, but she can't turn the sound in her head off, saying this is too much.
"Isn't this too much?" she voices her doubt to her friend.
"No, Britt-Britt, listen to me," Sugar says patiently, taking a step closer to wrap an arm around Brittany's waist. "You are pretty, and she will appreciate it. Your look doesn't scream 'I wanna get laid in the back seat', but that you made an effort to look gorgeous for her. She will love it."
Staring at her reflection, Brittany wonders why it is that everyone seems to be sure about the future of her and Santana, apart from the two persons involved. But she brushes her worries off, taking in the picture, her curled locks fitting the golden dress, her make-up, and the bracelet on her wrist Quinn sent her for luck.
This should be the big night, everything says so.
And she looks the part.
She will play the part, too.
"Thank you, for all this," she tells Sugar, squeezing her hand as the tender moment overcomes her. "You shouldn't have."
"Hush, sweetie, just go and rock that girl's socks!"
"I totally will," she smirks, bumping Sugar's hip with hers before they break into giggles.
It's one of those rare occurrences she is not running late.
Maybe it's due to the nerves, or Sugar's punctually executed make-over plan, but she is ready before time and waiting for Santana in the kitchen. The window offers a great view to the street, so she can see every car passing, her heart flipping when she hears another getting close, and dropping when they finally get in sight and Santana is nowhere to be seen in them.
She checks her phone, over and over again, to see what time it is. It feels like the minutes are rolling so slowly the time almost seems to stand still.
She is on the verge of losing her patience and opening her father's whiskey to take a shot, when she hears a horn being blown close by. Her stomach flips, heart thudding louder and louder as she walks back to the window and stares out, only to see Santana's car parked in the front.
"Pull it together, Jesus," she hisses to herself, before taking a deep breath.
She stays motionless for a few seconds, closing her eyes, and repeats the same words in her head again and again.
Tonight is gonna be perfect.
"Wow," Santana whispers, giving Brittany a respectful, but obvious once-over when she enters her car.
Brittany lets her take her time, dark eyes lingering on milky thighs, bare shoulders, and a decent cleavage until they meet blue ones, pupils dilated and lips parted in a rush of arousal. It's good to see Brittany is not the only one missing this.
"Good evening to you, too," she smiles at Santana, more than pleased with her reaction.
"Right," Santana licks her upper lip, before clearing her throat. "Should I go back and change?" she asks half-jokingly, and it's obvious she is slightly embarrassed to be underdressed, at least compared to Brittany.
"No, silly," Brittany brushes her question off. "You're perfect like this."
Brittany truly thinks she is perfect in her red top and black jeans, but Santana doesn't seem to believe her.
"So…here we are," the girl mumbles after a few seconds.
"Yes, here we are…" Brittany chuckles at her awkwardness, which she finds adorable. "Where are you taking me?"
"I was thinking the movies," Santana says, unsurely, "If you are up for it."
"Only if you buy me popcorn and we will sit in the back row."
"Why the back row?"
"The sound is better and nobody is looking," Brittany says suggestively, but it takes a second for the meaning to dawn on Santana.
"Oh, sure, we can sit anywhere you want," she says carelessly, but her behavior is easy to decipher.
She is nervous, but Brittany can only hope that will ease up once they are sitting in the back row in the dark theater, where nobody is looking.
After long and careful consideration, they decide to watch 'Spring breakers', though Santana claims the critics have torn the film apart.
Brittany doesn't care and as per usual, Santana is easy to win over.
After buying a huge bowl of popcorn to share and one coke for each, they enter the room and take their seats in the last row. Santana, holding the popcorn in her lap is expressing her dislike for the commercials shown before movies. Brittany is too busy staring at her lips to really care about what's on the screen.
"Britt?" She is thrown out of her reverie by Santana raising her voice. "The film is starting…"
"Oh, thanks," Brittany smiles bashfully, before making use of the situation. "Though I'd rather watch you all night," she whispers into Santana's ear.
Leaning back into her seat, she notices Santana clutching the popcorn like she's hanging onto dear life.
She reaches out to grab a piece and puts it into her mouth, swallowing before she says, "Yum." She slowly licks the salt off her lips, the purpose of her staged move so obvious, it is almost desperate. But Santana seems to like it, judging from her expression. "Want one, you?"
"No, I'm fine," Santana clears her throat, and reaches for her coke to sip from it but it doesn't seem to be enough to ease the dryness in her throat.
Brittany winks at her, before turning to the screen. From the corner of her eye, she follows Santana's gaze traveling down her body and she adjusts her legs in a careful move to show off more of her naked thighs. The result goes as expected; Santana's eyes linger on her bare skin, before returning to her face, trying to figure Brittany out in silence.
But it's one of those rare occurrences when maybe she just can't.
Halfway through the film, Brittany decides it's time for some fun and lets Santana in on her plan.
"This is crazy, Britt," Santana whispers, and it's clear she's always been a good kid. "What if they notice it's us?"
"They won't!" Brittany replies confidently, patting Santana's knee to assure her. "Just remember to duck until the air's clear!"
"Okay, fine…" Santana gives in reluctantly, a bashful smile spreading on her face as Brittany's hand lingers on her jeans.
Brittany gives her another squeeze, before letting go. "I like the sound of that answer," she smiles at Santana. "Now, on the count of three…"
They both grab a handful of popcorn and keep steady until Brittany counts to three. Tossing the popcorn as far as they can to the front, they duck their heads to hide behind the other row's seats and break into a fit of giggles.
"Just imagine their faces, San!" Brittany whispers to Santana, their faces so close she is drawn to the girl completely.
"They must be pissed off…." Santana shakes her head, another soft giggle escaping her lips.
"Wanna do it again?"
"Maybe…okay, yeah, definitely."
"At three, now aim at the annoying old couple at the right!" Brittany instructs her, doing her best not to speak and laugh too loudly.
When she gives the signal, they do their best to send the package of popcorn to the old couple and dive again, this time Brittany falling onto Santana's shoulder and giggling into her warm neck.
"Sorry," she whispers pulling away, when she can take a breather again.
Santana doesn't reply, just stares into her eyes, the same, confused look on her face as before the film started. Brittany stares back at her, almost daring her to ask, but Santana remains silent and still.
She only moves when Brittany's eyes drop to her lips.
Her gaze turns away, shunning Brittany, and it is crystal clear she doesn't even want to leave any room for consideration. She blows Brittany off, the first time Brittany could take this night further, crossing the border of friendship to explore more dangerous territories.
Though it hurts, Brittany quickly recovers.
"Wanna get out of here?" she asks, driven by a sudden idea.
Brittany offers Santana her pinkie, and they quickly escape the room, searching for a new adventure.
"So I guess it's safe to say I took your popcorn attack virginity?"
They're walking down the street, ice cream cups in hand, when Brittany blurts out the question. She enjoys the way it makes Santana flush.
"Yeah," the girl on her side admits with a shrug. "I've always been too much of a coward to do these things."
"Boring," Brittany whispers teasingly.
"No!" Santana huffs, "…okay, maybe I'm a bit."
"I was kidding, silly," Brittany shakes her head, taking a bite from her coconut ice cream. "You're awesome, and nah, don't even try to argue, cause I'm a genius."
"True, that you are."
"Duh," Brittany's smile spreads until a chuckle erupts from her. Staring at a beaming Santana, she takes a chance again tonight. "Hey, San, wanna hang out at mine?"
"No pressure, just…my parents are not home, and I was thinking," she pauses, asking herself what she really was thinking. But she doesn't want to backtrack now, so she settles for repeating herself. "We could just hang out, for a bit."
She doesn't dare to look into Santana's eyes while she is desperately waiting for an answer, preferably a yes. But as seconds pass in silence, she gets used to the idea that she will spend her night alone, with the taste of failure on her lips, instead of Santana's.
When the answer finally comes, she doesn't believe her ears.
"Okay, yeah," Santana shrugs, trying to downplay the importance of her answer and acting casually.
"Yeah, why not?" she smiles at Brittany, and her question is a poetic one, not meant to be answered by anyone.
But life does it anyway.
It's funny, how quickly heaven can turn into hell.
How quickly things can fall apart.
How long things – or feelings - can build up, without the people involved even noticing; only to reach a point where they burst out, crashing down on them, and all of it happening so quickly, so unexpectedly that there is no way to prepare for them. In the course of a split second, one wrong decision is made, and it sets an avalanche in motion. It is so bitterly funny, so pitiable that one has the urge to laugh out of their minds, and cry hysterically at the same time. To not even see it coming, it is truly a mortifying feeling. Because if one could know the consequences, they would never decide that way…right? They would never make that mistake that torn apart everything, maybe for good…would they?
One can rarely play safe with the matters of the heart and Brittany Pierce refuses to. If only she had seen it coming, they would say. But even if she did, she would take her chance.
She would make this mistake, over and over again, because she is a fool in love.
"We shouldn't," Santana utters in a shaky whisper, so faint that it barely came to existence.
They are sitting so close, Brittany can feel the warmth radiating off Santana's skin, the familiar scent oozing from her pores, every shallow breath leaving her mouth. They were laughing a few seconds earlier, carelessly, and now Santana's lips are so close to Brittany she can almost taste them. She couldn't even conjure up how it happened. It just did, and it feels like coming to this point was inevitable.
It was meant to happen, Brittany almost believed it.
Almost, until Santana pulled back, in the last second from their kiss and said the words that Brittany wishes to have never heard. Not quite accepting the truth in these hurtful words, she searches, desperately for a reason to go on.
"But you want to-"
"We shouldn't, Brittany," Santana repeats, louder with a hint of anger and tries to strangle Brittany's effort in its awakening.
In the moment of panic that Santana's rejection caused, the reason dawns on Brittany, and she feels silly for not realizing sooner. All Santana needs is reassurance.
"San, people can't see us here. They don't care anymore," she says with great empathy in her voice. "You don't have to be afraid."
All Santana needs to do is closing her lips, and Brittany knows something snapped in her. Her words triggered it, but she has to wait brutally long seconds to find out what.
"I'm not afraid of them," Santana says at last, and its implication would be inextricable for Brittany, if it wasn't paired with a look that rips the remains of hope out of her heart.
"What?" She asks, because she has to. It's the instinct to save herself from heartache setting into motion.
"I'm afraid of you, Brittany," Santana clarifies, and the sinking feeling in Brittany's heart can't be mistaken at her words. "I'm so afraid you will break my heart again."
"Santana, please," Brittany begs, trying to regain the closeness but Santana distances herself again.
"No, no, Brittany, you can't promise me, can you? You can't promise you will never hurt me again."
"I can't," Brittany whispers weakly, settling for the truth and unable to fight it. "You gotta take that risk for love."
Santana's dark eyes narrow and the person emerging in front of her is yet unbeknown to Brittany. This is a different side of the girl she is in love with. This is an intensely dark and deeply hurt side of her that Brittany's refused to notice before, love blinding her from the shaded corners of the picture.
"That's so easy for you to say," Santana mutters bitterly, snapping away her gaze.
She makes Brittany confused, burning another bridge between them by refusing to look at her. Her eyes are the entrance to her soul, and she took the key away from Brittany.
"What do you mean?"
Santana shakes her head, slowly as if she wouldn't want to believe her own thoughts.
"You could have anyone, Brittany, anyone, if we don't make it. You are the American dream girl," she says, her voice shallow but bearing an edge that glides right through Brittany's chest to tackle her heart. "…but what about me?" She snaps her eyes to Brittany, with anger rising radically in her voice. "There is no one out there who'd want me. I am a Latina, and a lesbian. And on top of that, I have a fucking penis. I'm the definition of minority in this stupid world."
The last syllables still echoing in the silence, Brittany needs time for the initial shock to evaporate. Like waiting for a splash of ice cold water in the face to dry up, she needs the stabbing pain to ease, so she can breathe again without her lungs collapsing.
"So you think this is all easy for me?" She asks in a broken whisper, horrified by the course this conversation has taken. "You think I could never understand someone like you?"
"Maybe you really can't," Santana replies, and it feels like as if behind the mask of anger, hurt and self-loath, she felt truly sorry for giving upon Brittany and in a sense, on them as a couple too.
But it's not the time to give up now, and so Brittany refuses to.
"I am trying my best," she says, close to begging as her tears break through the barriers. "I do want you Santana, and I'm here."
"And you broke my heart," Santana erupts, with such force it makes the teardrops quiver on Brittany's cheeks.
"Why are you doing this, Santana?" Brittany asks in a shaky whimper, and Santana's look, though clouded by tears as her own, could stand as punishment for all her sins.
"Why am I doing this?" She asks in a storm of indignation. "I'm not the one trying to turn time back, wearing this dress and flirting and acting like this is some kind of a stupid first date. We've been there, remember? And see how that turned out."
Her vengeful tone is demolishing for Brittany, who can barely find the strength in herself to stop crying, just to say "I just wanted to be pretty for you."
"That's not true and you know it," Santana shoots her down. "You promised me, Brittany. You promised to be patient with me, and all you keep doing is forcing me. I thought we were on the same page."
"I was just trying to-"
"What? Un-break my heart?"
"I thought we were over this," Brittany cries out, all the frustration exploding from her at once only to be followed by sobs, heart-ripping desperate sobs from deep down inside her.
"Over this? How could I ever be over this?" Santana shouts, jumping from her seat to stand as Brittany looks up at her, seeing a stranger staring back at her. "This feeling that the only person I've ever loved never would have even talked to me, if it hadn't been for a stupid bet. Nobody's ever hurt me like you have, and that's fucking saying something. So no, I'm so not over this, Brittany."
"What about my hurt, Santana?" Brittany stands up, influenced by a force that is so strong and erratic, it is scaring her. "Huh? What about my heartbreak?" She shouts, stepping closer to Santana.
"Don't act like you have any idea how I feel!" Santana shouts back hysterically, pointing her finger at Brittany with vehemence, so closely she is almost touching her. "You are not the victim here, Brittany. I am! You lied to me, you betrayed me, and now you are trying to make me forget the past and act like we've never been on a first date, and like you've never made love to me in your bed after, only to break my fucking heart the next day!"
The words are louder, the feelings are rawer, but it's still about the same damn thing. It all comes down to the one thing that made them find each other in this world, two lost souls uniting and then set them apart, so apart they can barely recognize the person they are in love with now, even though that person is standing right in front of them.
The truth out in the open, there is no condolence for Brittany, no hope whatsoever that could have survived these last hell of minutes in her life. With the flames in her heart dying, she is succumbed by the vast, consuming feeling of losing a loved one.
"You'll never forgive me, will you?" She whispers, feeling numb as she tastes the defeat on her tongue for the first time.
"Have you ever thought that maybe I'm not ready?"
"But you said…" She shakes her head, unable to finish her sentence as her last effort to not let Santana slip from her fingertips fails.
"I said, I said - but I didn't feel it," Santana murmurs, held back and tormented by her own inability to forgive and move on for once and for all. "I'm not ready."
Two people in love, both wounded by the other and their scars bleeding, they stand silently like soldiers after a battle, trying to stomach the harm they've caused. Once feeling connected even by as much as a look in the eye, now they can't even bear to stand each other's sight.
It hurts too much.
Everything hurts too much, the ground crumbling beneath their feet as their world is changing, so rapidly and shockingly that it almost collapses completely.
Feeling the need to bring order to the chaos again, Brittany cuts into the ice cold silence.
"So what now?" she asks in the faintest of whispers, mustering a last effort to cast her gaze at Santana.
What she sees, a broken, lost person staring back at her, with eyes so empty as if death has implanted itself inside them, is like a last stab in the heart.
"I honestly don't know," Santana replies, unable to offer any assurance that there is a future to this, them, and that's what hurts Brittany the most.
The thought that maybe, this is the end.
She can't take that, not tonight. Not the night her world fell apart into miniscule parts. No, she can't accept that there might be no way to glue them together ever again.
"Maybe it'd be best if you leave now," she says, before any of them has a chance to say any more words that would take their relationship beyond repairable.
Santana nods, as a sign she processed Brittany's words but she doesn't move, not for seconds. Her eyes bore into Brittany's and they connect again, both of them frightened by the impact this fateful night will have on their relationship. They search for condolence in each other, through all the heartache the other's caused them.
The most fragile piece of hope is brought to life as Santana's lips open, and Brittany is praying she won't say the death sentence, but instead mend all this, somehow. Her foolish heart hopes, until Santana's lips close and the light in her eyes disappear, yet again.
"I'm out of here," she says simply at last, and then she is rushing out of the room, as fast as her weakling legs can take her.
Brittany can barely process what is happening, until Santana reaches the doorway and the instinct of fighting for her only love kicks in again.
"Santana," she calls her name, and Santana freezes in motion.
Their heartbeats reverberate from the walls in the silence, as Santana slowly tilts her head, her teardrops glistening in the dim light.
"I've never lied to you about how I felt for you," Brittany says, her voice cracking from the weight her words carry. "Do you understand? Never…"
"Me neither," Santana sighs, so softly as if life is slipping right out of her with every syllable. "Good bye, Brittany."
And then she is out of the door, running down the stairs and Brittany has no idea where she gathers the strength from, but she is running after her, out into the dark night.
"You have to forgive me once, Santana," she yells after her from the porch, as Santana's broken figure crosses the yard, twitching with every sob that erupts from her body. "Do you hear me? You have to forgive me. Forgive me, please forgive me! Please forgive me!"
Brittany begs, and begs for seconds until Santana's car is finally brought to life and the engine roars, shutting out her voice,
but never quite silencing the voice in her heart that keeps on begging.
"Please forgive me!"
Minutes after Santana's departure, she is still begging, until her knees give in.
And then there is nothing, only blackness.
All there is,
A hysterical scream awakens her and she feels like the life that's been sucked out of her is now returning into her body. The pain is sweeping through her dulled senses, sharp needles stabbing her everywhere and soon her mother's face appears as she opens her eyelids.
Where she is, and what is happening to her, she has no idea.
"Brittany, oh my God, what happened to you?" Her mother yelps, disturbed and her eyes wide with terror. "Robert!" She screams, and her shrill voice makes Brittany wince. "My darling, my darling Brittany," she kneels down and they are eye level with Brittany, whose mind can barely register the panic on her mother's face.
She is elsewhere now, but not too far though.
Her mind is in the living room, where she is sitting on the couch with Santana and their lips are so close, Santana's breathing life into her body. She stays in that moment for a while, before it all turns rapid and her mind is spinning with the memories of the night.
It all comes back, at once.
All the words, the fight…and the heartache, sending her back into reality.
"Mom," she whimpers, before breaking down completely, her mother's arms wrapping tightly around her to hold the pieces together.
"Brittany, darling, I'm here, I'm here…" her mother whispers into her temple, and cradles her, the rhythm perfect to slow Brittany's heartbreak and bring a sense of peace into the chaos. Closing her eyes again, it is blackness everywhere, and she doesn't have to see her father to feel him there, too.
"Sunshine," he says, his voice laced with a hint of dread. "Let's take you inside."
For a split second, Brittany is depraved of the warmth of them, but soon enough she finds herself in her dad's strong arms, being carried into the house.
Once laid down on the couch, she can smell Santana's scent that lingered in the air.
She gets sick.
Later in her room, they are staring at her, monitoring her closely as if she was to empty her stomach any second, or break out crying again.
Neither would be a surprise, so she can't blame them for expecting the moment.
But she knows it won't happen.
She doesn't have enough strength left in her body to vomit or cry. No strength for speaking either, but she has no choice than to say a few words.
"I'm sorry," she speaks up finally, alarming her parents who sit on the edge of her bed. "I'm sorry for scaring you and ruining your night."
They share a glance, as if silently conversing, before her mother shakes her head. "All that matters is that you are all right, sweetheart."
Brittany doesn't want to argue that she is not. There is no need, because they know it anyway.
"You just rest now, Brittany," her father says with a worn smile. "We will talk tomorrow."
Oh, tomorrow, she wishes it would never come.
"Okay," she whispers plainly, before sleep overcomes her.
She doesn't know whether she is dreaming already when a kiss is planted on her forehead.
The morning comes too soon.
More disorganized than ever, she has troubles getting ready for school. Doing the most trivial morning activities, she is disturbed by the fresh memories of last night.
They words echo in her mind and Santana's looks, as if they've been burnt into her memory, haunt her in this early time of the day. Maybe they will fade, she is yet to know.
But today, it will be harder than anything.
When she appears downstairs, fully dressed and carrying her bag, Brittany hears her mother conversing with someone, and it doesn't take much time to find out whom.
"Quinn," she whispers to herself, before peeking into the kitchen to confirm her assumption.
As Brittany makes some noise with her sneakers on the tiles, her mother and her best friend stop talking and turn to look at her.
"Britt," Quinn trails her eyes all over her, before shooting her a smile.
Brittany knows she is measuring up the damage.
"Hi," Brittany says, stepping further into the kitchen, embarrassed by the thought that her mother and her best friend talked about her behind her back.
"Here, sweetie, have a seat," her mother says, standing up from her stool. "We have coffee, chocolate croissants or whatever else you want."
"I want Lucky Charms," Brittany blurts out, and after all the drama, it's such a release to be able to laugh again.
The three of them chuckle at her wish and Brittany hopes today will be bearable after all.
"That's so grown-up of you," Quinn teases her and Brittany is grateful her best friend is not walking on eggshells with her.
"I know, right?"
She hops down onto a stool beside Quinn and her mother puts a bowl of Lucky Charms in front of her.
"Thanks, mom," she looks up at her. "For all of this."
Her mother smiles tightly, knowing exactly what her daughter means. The support of her best friend, the person who knows her and gets her the most is what Brittany needs now.
"Of course, sweetie," her mom says. "Have a nice day at school, all right? I will go pick up some papers from the office now."
"Okay," Brittany says, returning her smile. "Love you, mom."
"Love you, too, darling," her mom replies and kisses her temple, before exiting the room.
Brittany looks at Quinn, who is waiting patiently for her to say something. When she doesn't, Quinn gets it.
"So, can I get some too?" she asks half-jokingly, and Brittany pushes the box towards her. "Well, why not?"
So the two best friends eat in silent understanding, until a familiar ringtone starts playing in the room. Quinn quickly digs her phone out of her bag.
"It's Sugar," she says, before putting the call on speakers. "Hey, Sugar!"
"Guess what happened!" Sugar huffs in her nasal tone, still not recovered from her sickness. "My mother had the nerve to not tell me Britt's mom called, because she thought I was too sick to go over. Did you talk to her? What's going on?"
Quinn glances at Brittany, who is way too entertained by her friend's dramatic approach to calm her down. Subtly rolling her eyes, Quinn tries to explain the situation.
"How bad is it, Quinn?" Sugar asks darkly, cutting her friend off. "And don't bullshit me, else I will kick your fine ass, you can bet on my mother's Chanel!"
"I think she will live," Brittany says, biting her lip to keep herself from laughing.
"Brittany Susan Pierce!" Sugar yelps, shocked. "How dare you, bitches?!"
A giggle breaks out of Brittany, and Quinn can't contain herself either.
"Sorry, Sugar," Brittany says at last. "It's just…my date didn't turn out so well."
The mood shifts at her words and she knows the questions will come now. She owes them an explanation, but she already feels tired before starting to talk.
"Honestly, I don't know," Brittany says quietly and Quinn strokes her hand. "We were almost kissing, and then…it all just fell apart. We had a fight and then she left," she shakes her head, pained by having to recall the events. "I kinda begged her, but…I think it's over between us."
"Oh no, Britts," Sugar sighs, disappointed by the news.
"It was awful."
"We are sorry, honey," Quinn furrows her brows, smiling sympathetically. "Maybe it was too soon."
"Yeah, I pushed her," Brittany nods, regret overcoming her. "Until things just…exploded, I guess."
"This can't be the end, Britts," Sugar speaks up, forever the optimist. "You two are meant to be together, like Chair, Merder or Brangelina! You are cutest puppies in love Sugar Momma's ever seen."
"I know," Brittany sighs. "But I guess, sometimes love is just not enough."
"Bullcrap," Sugar argues and Brittany knows she won't let her give up the fight so easily.
She doesn't want to either, but what is the point anymore? Last night, they reached a new low with Santana, a point, from where coming back and repairing their relationship seems simply impossible.
They can't go back to who they were after this.
It is impossible.
"Sugar, leave it for now, please," Quinn tames their friend on the phone, and Brittany is grateful for the intervention.
"I'm sorry, Britts," Sugar sighs. "What if you guys ditch school and come be awesome with me at my house?"
"We won't, Sugar, we have Cheerios practice too," Quinn rolls her eyes. "And you are sick, last time I checked."
"Fine, then we'll meet at Berry's party…I can't wait to get 'em all drunk," she laughs before breaking into a fit of coughs. "We will have a blast!"
"Shit, the party…" Brittany whispers dejectedly. "I can't go there. I just can't…"
"Honey, you don't have to come," Quinn tries to soothe her. "But I'm sure there will be room for both of you there. And you will have us at your side."
"Quinnie's right," Sugar agrees. "This sucks ass, Britt, but we should get our party on with the Glee kids. It will be fun, promise!"
"Yeah, I think, maybe I should ask Rachel?" Brittany shrugs nervously. "It's her party after all…"
"It will be fine, Britts," Sugar says. "I gotta go take my meds girls…call me later?"
"We will," Brittany replies with a faint smile. "Thanks for calling, Sugar!"
"Hush, just survive school today, and we'll meet soon. Love you, chicas!"
"Bye, Sugar," Quinn says with a chuckle before the call cuts off and she turns to Brittany. "Hey, are you okay?"
"Silly question, I know," Quinn smiles bashfully. "We should get going though. Are you ready?"
"Yeah, I guess…"
Brittany is ready, at least as much as she can be, to face the day…and Santana again.
She wonders if Santana will look like differently after last night. She wonders if she'll ever recognize her love again, or…
if she'll just see a beautiful stranger with a black backpack and wide brown eyes, like on that fateful morning in the hallway, where their story sprang into life.
She does see Santana, first in the morning.
They are standing at her locker with Quinn, when Brittany notices her approaching in the hallway with Mercedes and Artie, on the way to class. Her heartbeat speeding up rapidly, she turns to her locker and feels like an idiot for praying they won't notice her.
"Britt…" Quinn whispers, while Brittany pretends to be searching for something in her locker. "It's gonna be all right."
Brittany shakes her head, her stomach churning from the nerves.
Soon, the familiar figures reach them and she can see from the corner of her eye as Quinn musters up a perfect smile to welcome them.
"Hey guys," Quinn says and it's noticeable for Brittany, even in her frenzied state, how her best friend doesn't even have to pretend too much to be kind now.
"Morning, ladies," Artie says brightly and Brittany is surprised by his tone.
She dares a glance at them and her eyes find Santana's instantly.
There is a kind of regret in them, reflecting back at her, like she's never encountered before. It makes her swallow hard.
"Hi," Mercedes says too, and it all turns awkward as they dwell into silence in the loud, buzzing hallway.
Artie subtly nudges Santana's leg and shoots a wide smile at Brittany. "Um, Santana here would like to say something to you, Britt…"
All the eyes focusing on Santana, the girl is shaking like a thin leaf in the wind. Knowing how she hates the attention, Brittany can't help but feel sorry for her.
"Yeah," she mumbles at last, looking at Brittany. "If you don't mind?"
Brittany nods and after the usual rounds, their friends leave them alone.
Santana shakes her head, for seconds, with a grimace on her face that tells of the disdain she feels inside.
"I shouldn't have left you like that last night," she says at last, her voice trembling. "In that state…I couldn't stop thinking about it all night. I'm sorry, Brittany."
Standing right here, and hearing her apology that comes right inside her heart, is answering Brittany's question. After all that happened last night…all that ended between them, this is still Santana, the person she is in love with. Something changed forever last night…but not them. It will change them, define them…but they are still Brittany and Santana, in love.
"I forgive you," Brittany tells her and it doesn't quite require an effort. "But…Santana, I know it all started because I pushed you, and for that I'm really, really sorry, too. I'm sorry for everything…just, everything."
Everything from the moment she said yes to the bet, to the moment she tried to kiss her last night, Brittany is truly sorry, but she is done begging for forgiveness.
Santana nods, accepting her apology. She can't say that she forgives Brittany, of course, that would be the lie and there is no point in denying the truth anymore. Time needs to mend their heartbreak now.
"Uh, about the party tonight," she mutters, subtly shrugging her shoulders. "You should go, and I will stay away if you want. It's your first Glee club party, so…you should be there."
Brittany sighs and a soft smile creeps upon her lips.
"Don't be silly," she says quietly. "We should both be there…if that's okay with you, of course."
The relief in Santana's eyes is obvious, and so is the change in her posture.
"Yeah," she returns Brittany's smile. Though it's weak and tired, it's still so beautiful that it lights up a flame again in Brittany's heart that died down last night.
"Thank you," Brittany tells her. "It means a lot…"
"Of course," Santana says shortly, and her eyes bore into Brittany in the short silence. They've never been so dark and mysterious, so full of feelings, intense and raw emotions that she can barely contain in her big heart. "See you then, Brittany!"
"Yeah, see you too!"
They depart, but the light keeps on burning in Brittany's heart.
Last night ended something…but it's the first time she thinks it might have started something too. Something that is maybe more real and honest than anything she's ever had in her life.
It's much easier to breathe, to exist after their talk.
The afternoon hours roll around and she finds herself in the Cheerios locker room, getting ready for training with her teammates.
"So, who's going to the party at Jackson's tonight?" One of the girls throws in the question.
It's a usual topic before and after every practice, but this time, the weight of this question presses down on Brittany's shoulders because she knows the answer she'll give won't satisfy. She shares a meaningful glance with Quinn, but truthfully, they share much more. They share the concerns, the doubts about their decision to join Glee club and how life will be after this. They just joined, and have yet to grasp entirely what a big challenge it will be.
Questions like this remind them it will never be easy.
The majority of girls say yes, obviously, and with the more of them answering, Brittany's silence bears a heavier meaning.
She is waiting on edge for the moment she'll be directed with a question, and have to choose between honesty and a petty lie.
Quinn doesn't wait around to be interrogated though, with cool and perfectly collected demeanor, she turns to the girls and grabs their attention immediately.
"Girls, sad news is," she sighs, and even Brittany can barely see through the façade of disappointment on her face. "We have to sit this out with Brittany…sleepover at Sugar's. You all know how important loyalty is for the team, right?"
It's funny, and brilliant how after a few wisely chosen words, she is the one questioning them now.
They all surrender, and life goes on.
"Thank you," Brittany whispers carefully to her friend later when no one's listening.
"Nah," Quinn brushes it off. "Just make sure there won't be photos of us all over the internet."
"Oh, that's a shame," Brittany sighs, the downside of Quinn's lie just dawning on her. "People should see how much fun we'll have with the glee kids."
"Yeah, right…" Quinn snorts, skeptically. "Like Berry has any idea of throwing a decent party."
"It'll be fun anyway," Brittany says with a shrug.
"Yeah, maybe…but we need to get her drunk," Quinn smirks, her head seemingly full of ideas on how to achieve that.
"Duh," Brittany deadpans, her mouth slowly turning into an evil smirk, matching her friend's.
Rachel Berry's party will be indeed fun.
They will make sure of that.
As they run the last lap after Coach Sue's straining practice, Brittany recalls her hectic week.
There's something she's been meaning to tell Quinn, ever since Miss Pillsbury planted the idea in her head.
"Hey," she says, raising Quinn's attention. "Have you ever thought about going for senior class president?"
Quinn lifts her eyebrows, considering her question.
"Not really," she says at last, slightly panting. "Why?"
"I could see you as president," Brittany tells her. "I'd totally support you."
"Uh, okay, maybe I thought about it once or twice…" Quinn confesses bashfully, and it's such a rare moment to see her unsure of herself. "Do you really think I'd be good?"
"Of course," Brittany declares without any hesitation.
"Thanks Britt," Quinn shoots her a smile. "I'll think about it."
"Cool," Brittany nods. "There are two candidates so far, Miss P told me."
"Any idea who they are?"
"No, but I'm kinda curious…maybe Kurt would know," Brittany's eyes light up.
"Would be fun to make bets on it," Quinn wonders with a smirk.
For a few seconds, they both dwell into silence, until Brittany turns back to Quinn.
"My bet's on Rachel," she says in a serious voice, and they stare at each other for a long second, before bursting into a fit of harsh giggles in the middle of the track.
Soon at home, Brittany's mom is far from being joyous when hearing about her daughter's plans.
Brittany tries to explain that this is a different kind of party, so she shouldn't be worried. Of course, in the heat of the conversation Brittany's mother lays down her strongest card.
"Brittany, you haven't said one word about what happened to you last night," she says, her voice heated by irritation, and deeply rooted worry for her daughter. "Not one! You can't expect me to just let it go without any explanation, and stand aside when you go out for the night, just one day after you scared me and your father to death again!"
Chastised by her mother's words, Brittany yields.
"I'm sorry, mom," she sighs. "It's just…it's so hard to talk about it."
Melted by her daughter's words, Brittany's mom steps closer to her, touching her arm gently.
"I know honey," she says with a pained smile. "Just trust me, please!"
It's a request she can't refuse, and soon the words come, easier than she's ever expected them to.
Her heart is lighter after the talk and a motherly hug.
It was just what she needed and didn't know she did. She's horribly late though, and welcomes her mom's help in getting ready. Her dad arrives home just as she is about to leave.
"Sweetheart, wow," he says, blown away by looking at her daughter. "You are the prettiest girl in the world."
"Dad, don't be silly," Brittany says bashfully as her dad leans in to give her a peck on the forehead.
"So…going out for the night, I see," he says, while a question is apparent in his tone.
"Yeah, mom said yes," Brittany rushes to say, as if her mother's approval is enough justification.
"Oh, right," he smiles. "I sense you two had a talk, didn't you?"
"Yeah," Brittany smiles back at him. "Is it okay if I go now? I'm kinda late already…"
"Sure," his dad nods. "Just call me, if you need me to pick you up later, all right?"
"Thanks, daddy," Brittany says gratefully, giving him a hug.
"Have fun, sunshine!"
"Will do!" she says, before stepping out the door.
The familiar car is waiting for her already and tonight's adventure officially begins when Sugar's head appears out of the roof window.
"Get your pretty ass in here, Britts," she shouts. "Sugar Momma's champagne's getting warm!"
And so the fun begins.
"Brittany, Quinn, Sugar," Rachel squeals, when opening the door she is faced with the three Cheerios. "You girls made it! Come in!"
Quinn glances at Brittany and they both have trouble containing their giggles. It's amusing how tipsy Rachel appears to be already.
"Rach, I must say, for once in the four years we've been all victims of your hideous style choices, you actually don't look like a fetish girl from one of the hard core sections of adult baby porn websites."
The air freezes for a split second, when Sugar's words register in Rachel's head and Brittany secretly expects her to throw them out before they even stepped into her home.
But, maybe tonight will surpass all her expectations.
"Why, thank you!" Rachel finally says with the widest smile, before clutching Sugar's arm to drag her into the house.
"Oh my God, this is gonna be embarrassing…" Quinn whines, before reluctantly following them.
"Totally," Brittany nods, with a smirk ghosting her lips.
She steps into Rachel Berry's house, closing the door to the outside world, and marvels at how among all people, she, Brittany Pierce, head Cheerio, the most popular girl in McKinley High and her two best friends ended up in here on a Friday night.
And why there's no place else where she'd want to be more.
The glee kids are all tipsy smiles and rosy cheeks as they welcome them to the party.
Sam fixing them drinks in the kitchen, they soon start feeling at home.
Artie's serving as the DJ, and soon enough, Brittany finds herself in the living room, dancing with Kurt and Blaine, while her eyes remain intact on Santana, who's chatting with Tina and Mercedes on the couch near the dance floor. They're watching each other, brown eyes connected to blue ones, boldly and intensely as the alcohol makes its way into their blood flows.
They create a bubble, shielded away by the outside world as they can't fight the force that pulls them together.
As the beats make her heart pump the blood faster, every cell buzzing in her body, nothing else exist for Brittany, only Santana's dark eyes, and she is dancing for her, for her pleasure.
"Get your ass over there," Kurt pants into her ear, always so observant to what's happening around him. "What are you waiting for? Just go, talk to her!"
"And what am I supposed to say?" Brittany whispers, clutching his silky shirt.
"Just compliment her looks or anything for God's sake!"
"I'm not sure this is a good idea…"
"Brittany, don't make me –"
"I'm going…shit," she hisses, because apparently, in the five seconds her eyes left Santana, the girl managed to disappear. "Where is she?"
"Try the kitchen," Blaine dives in, with a knowing smile on his lips.
"Oh, my wonderguy!" Kurt squeals, grabbing Blaine by his belt to bring him closer.
"Thanks, Blaine!" Brittany says gratefully, before leaving them dance together, not making a secret of their relationship at all.
She swears she doesn't do it intentionally.
But she just overhears Sam mentioning her name as she is about to step into the kitchen, and then she has no choice than to linger in the doorway, heart thudding louder than the beats sweeping in from the dance floor.
"I just don't know what to do," Santana whines to Sam. "She's doing this thing to me, and I just…what is wrong with me?"
"She's doing what?" The boy asks, clueless.
"Just," Santana lets out a strained sigh. "Making sure I know she still wants me, I guess…"
"And how do you feel about that?"
Brittany bites down on her bottom lip, incredibly nervous about the answer.
"I fucking love her, Sam," Santana says, the words so powerful they make Brittany's head spin as her heart flips in her ribcage. "I want her, nothing seems to change that."
"Not even last night?"
"No, not even last night."
Brittany closes her eyes, stopping the tears before they have a chance to escape and the relief, the utter relief she feels is not comparable to anything.
"She hurt you pretty badly, though," Sam brings up, as any true friend would but Brittany is still hung up on Santana's words, the three words that she's never been more eager to hear.
"I hurt her back just the same, believe me…it was unfair."
"Well, she broke your heart. It was pretty rough what she did to you, Santana, with that bet and everything."
The silence following Sam's words is killing Brittany, who can feel it in her veins how much Santana's reply will matter. She is waiting, numbed by the stakes in this conversation that is all too real, and grown-up and honest to be taken place at a high school party.
"It's not her," Santana says at last, in a hollow voice. "She thinks it's all her now, but it's not. It's never been…just about her."
It's never been just about Brittany and Santana. It's never been just about them.
It's never been personal.
There's always been more to this. With all the judgment, the hate, the blind rage in this world people who are different has to fight against every day, what Brittany did to Santana has never been personal; it's always been more, something bigger, something more meaningful…it's been about all those people who hurt Santana, and Brittany became just one of them.
"What is it then?" Sam asks quietly, and Brittany feels like her eyes are opening up for the first time, to a different world, the world of Santana Lopez and a life-long battle against all the judgment, hate and blind rage that exists in it.
"I can't forgive this world, Sam," Santana says, with all the weight in this world carried by her weak voice. And that same weight is crashing down on Brittany as she is standing here, in the moment of truth. "I can't forgive all those people who let me down, who bullied me, who made my life hell. I can't forgive God that he made me born this way."
"Don't say that, please!" Sam pleads with her, and Brittany whispers the same words silently into the air.
"You know," Santana lets out a chuckle, so dry like the sand's in the desert. "She is the only person I've ever believed when she told me I'm perfect like this. Isn't that fucking ironic? She is the only person, and yet there I was, last night, blaming her for everything. Everything in my life…"
It always hurts the most when the people we love let us down.
It's never been personal, but Santana made it to be last night in their fight, because it was Brittany hurting her. The one person she's only ever loved was hurting her, and it felt like the whole world against Santana Lopez. So she took all the blame, all the hurt in her beautiful, big heart…and made it about Brittany.
It is incredibly hard to grasp and stomach all this, and Brittany wasn't prepared at all. It's too much and she suddenly feels the need to escape.
She can't bear to hear more.
But her legs don't answer her orders, staying glued to the ground until someone finds her there, bending forward and clutching her stomach.
"Brittany," the figure calls out to her worriedly, and she can't mistake Rachel Berry's voice even in this state. "Is everything okay?"
Fear rising in her throat that Santana finds out she's been standing there all along, Brittany's legs start moving.
She is rushing out of the hallway, trying to pass Rachel but her knees give in and she falls into the girl's arms.
"I need air," she pants, short of breath. "Please, Rachel!"
"I got you," Rachel whispers into her hair, before guiding her out to the backyard through a secret door.
Nobody sees them and Brittany is incredibly grateful for that. As the chilly air hits her skin, she inhales and exhales deeply, soothed by Rachel's small hand gently stroking her back. She doesn't feel sick anymore, after a few minutes. She feels overwhelmed though, and it makes her act on instinct as she turns to Rachel and wraps her arms around her, awkwardly at first, then melting into hug.
"Thank you, Rachel" she whispers quietly to the girl. "You are a good person."
"I know we've had our differences, so to say, but I think the same of you, Brittany," Rachel says with a kind smile as they pull away. "Are you ready to go back, or-?"
"Can we stay…just for a little while?"
"Of course," Rachel nods and sits down at the edge of the steps leading to the garden. "Come, sit!"
Brittany sits down beside her, and neither feels the need to talk for now. They just stare into the star-lit sky and enjoy the magical sight.
"You know, my dads always said to me," Rachel speaks up with surprising softness a bit later. "Never give up on love. Never give up on finding love, and fighting for love. Just never give up," she shrugs her shoulders. "So I won't…and neither should you, Brittany." She turns to her with a smile.
"I won't either," Brittany says in a whisper, before she looks at Rachel. "But I need a drink first."
"What are we waiting for then?" Rachel laughs, before jumping to her feet.
Brittany follows her, and they sneak back into the house, hand in hand.
When they emerge from the kitchen a while later, Brittany can barely believe her eyes.
Artie is spinning in the middle of the dance floor, Sugar sitting in his lap and she's dashing her drink all over the carpet. Tina and Mercedes are making good use of Rachel's karaoke machine, blasting a drunken version of Rihanna's 'We found love' in the house while Sam is stripping to no one in particular. Kurt and Blaine are vehemently making out on the couch, and it all just makes Brittany wonder how much time passed since she left this room.
Rachel quickly joins the girls as they pick the next song to sing.
It leaves Brittany alone, drink in hand and she decides it's time for having fun. Though she has the weird sense that something's missing, she gulps down her drink, a strong mix of vodka and cranberry juice and walks up to Sam.
"Britt," he welcomes her with a huge, drunken smile, and smells of beer. "Where've you been?"
He can barely stand on his legs but he keeps on dancing relentlessly.
"Hi, you know…just been around," Brittany says, before grabbing the hem of her top and pulling the item over her head.
It leaves her in a pink bra, and denim shorts that doesn't cover much of her thighs.
Sam stops in his tracks, though it takes incredible self-control. "Wow," he mutters, staring at Brittany. "You look hot, Britt…"
"But you like a different blonde, right?" Brittany smirks knowingly.
"Sure I do," Sam chuckles. "Wanna dance?"
"Hell yeah," Brittany lets out a giggle as he pulls her in for the funniest, dorkiest dance she's ever had with a guy.
A while, exactly three shots, and a beer later, they are dancing like crazy in the living room.
Kurt and Blaine are dancing closely, both shirtless, while the only remaining clothing item on Sam's body is his superhero boxers as he is dancing with a giggling Mercedes. Artie is rapping into the microphone, while Brittany and Sugar are jumping around him in their bras. Rachel is weeping nearby on the couch, clutching a worn picture of Finn Hudson to her chest while Tina is stroking her hair.
Artie screws something up with the karaoke machine and the next song that comes up is Don't stop believin' from Journey. They stop dancing, the laughter dying down and only Rachel's weeps can be heard over the music.
"Sorry, guys," Artie mumbles, bashfully. "This thing is stuck, damn."
Brittany stares at Sam and he shrugs his shoulders. She feels the impact of the song already, and the vast empty feeling appears in her chest again.
"So why not sing it?" An unmistakable raspy voice speaks up, and all the heads in the room turn towards its owner.
It's Santana, standing in the doorway with Quinn by her side, and it's a moment Brittany will never forget in her life.
"Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin' anywhere"
Santana sings, her powerful, heartfelt voice filling up the room and Brittany feels her heart growing double its size in her chest. She can barely contain it, when the girls slowly step into the room and to her great surprise, Quinn follows Santana's lead.
"Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin' anywhere"
She sings, in her sweet voice, all bashful smiles as Sam wraps an arm around her shoulder. Santana comes to stand beside Brittany, staring into her eyes as Brittany's tears escape, sliding down to her lips. Santana catches them, with her fingertips and Brittany doesn't let go of her, clutching her hand tightly to her bare stomach.
"A singer in a smokey room"
Blaine belts out, holding Kurt's hand, strongly and proudly and his love follows him singing.
"A smell of wine and cheap perfume"
Artie, Sugar, Sam, Tina and Mercedes all sing at the same time.
"For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on"
Brittany whispers too with them, as Santana smiles at her, proudly through her tears.
"Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night."
The whole group sings loudly, and it's the first time Brittany truly feels like being a part of them.
"Working hard to get my fill,
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin' anything to roll the dice,
Just one more time"
Artie and Sugar sing together, before Sam and Quinn follow, their voices perfectly complimenting each other's as they become one whole.
"Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on"
The others join in again for the chorus, their voices uniting into such a powerful force that it's shaking Brittany right to her core.
"Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night."
While they sing, something happens in the room that is changing them forever. Tonight is changing them forever, in so many ways. Brittany feels that by looking at all these amazing people around her, and she feels that with all her heart when her eyes return to Santana.
"Don't stop believin'
Hold on to the feelin'
"Don't stop believin'
Hold on to the feelin'
Santana sings to her, only her and her eyes are boring into Brittany's soul.
They all shout at the end.
Brittany and Santana only whisper to each other, but their voices bear more weight than anything.
The others hugging, they just stand there, hands clutched together as if never letting go. For them, no one else exists right now, only each other.
"I never truly stopped believing," Brittany tells Santana, her voice cracking with every syllable.
Santana's lips turn into the softest smile, before she rasps, "I was just starting to believe again."
The moment they share ends as the others enwrap them in a group hug. But it just means that another moment begins, one of the greatest in Brittany S. Pierce's life.
"Welcome to Glee club!" Santana whispers into her ear while they're squashed together in the hug, and Brittany truly feels like belonging to other people is the biggest pleasure anyone can have in this world.
A few of them say goodbye soon, and the party is officially over.
A few of them stay, and even though Brittany could easily walk home, the thought doesn't really cross her mind. She wants to stay, lingering in the moment, with these people that make her feel so safe and comfortable in her skin like no one else.
Most of all, she wants to stay because Santana hasn't let go of her hand yet.
She only does, when Rachel appears in the living room again and makes room arrangements.
Blaine and Kurt leave to sleep in the master bedroom, while Rachel gives the honor of sleeping in her bed to Brittany and Quinn. It leaves her and Santana sleeping in the guestroom downstairs.
"We'll talk in the morning, Britt," Santana says, shooting Brittany a tender smile. "Good night!"
"Okay," Brittany returns her smile, though she can't hide the disappointment lacing into her voice. "Sweet dreams, San!"
She watches Santana leaving with Rachel, and it stirs up a surreal feeling inside her, jealousy.
"Come on, Britt!" Quinn touches her back. "Let's go to bed!"
Brittany follows her best friend, but her soul remains there, watching Santana leave.
Just as she did last night.
Once in Rachel's bed, she can't stop thinking about what is happening in the other room.
There's pressing, aching feeling inside her chest knowing that Santana is falling asleep beside another person, while she is up here, feeling lonely and miserable. She can feel the warmth of Quinn's body and her scent, but it doesn't really compare.
Not even close, to be honest.
In the silence, she can hear every breath Quinn takes and it doesn't even out. It seems like Brittany is not the only one thinking hard in this room.
"I'll go grab some water," she declares after a few minutes, knowing well Brittany is still awake. "Do you need something?"
"No," Brittany whispers and the ceiling almost crashes down, her lie is so big.
"I'll be right back," Quinn says, before crawling out of bed and leaving the room.
The next time the door opens, slowly as if Quinn's afraid to wake her up, Brittany's first tears have dried on her cheeks already.
She couldn't help it.
The door closes, and the silence is almost unbearable.
Brittany is on her side, body pulled together as she is crying softly.
The comforter is lifted, and she can feel the bed dip. She is not alone now, so why does she feel like the loneliest person in the world?
Not even the warmth of Quinn's body can make her feel otherwise, but the scent…this scent; could it be that she is dreaming already? She must be, because she could never mistake this scent in her life.
The person behind her pulls closer, and suddenly, Brittany can feel a hand on her shoulder.
"Quinn?" she asks in a whisper.
The answer doesn't come, but the hand moves onto Brittany's back, slowly stroking a path until it rests on her waist. The touch is gentle, and the intimacy it brings makes her shiver. The soft hand makes its way to her stomach, and grabs her shirt, tightly.
Her breath hitches when she can feel the whole body pressing into her.
"Santana," she utters in a hushed whisper, before jerking back her head to see her, finally.
"Shh…" Santana whispers, bringing her fingers to Brittany's lips.
Brittany stares at her with wide eyes, the tears stopping from the shock as Santana leans in to kiss her neck, so gently it makes her tremble. Another kiss follows and she closes her eyes, savoring the feeling of Santana's soft lips on her burning skin.
"Santana," she lets out the softest moan when Santana kisses her shoulder.
Santana's hand slowly moves under Brittany's shirt and touches her skin, making Brittany shiver again as her fingertips caress her ribcage.
She is so close, and still so far from where Brittany wants her the most.
As Santana continues laying tender kisses all over her neck and shoulder, she presses into her, searching for more and moans into the air, when she feels it. Santana moves into her, bringing incredible heat as their centers meet, and a jolt of arousal, right there.
"Baby," Brittany moans delicately, searching for Santana's hand until she finds it and brings it up over her heart. "I love you."
"I love you too," Santana whispers into her ear, before in one sudden move, she turns Brittany around to face her.
She stares into her eyes, for a long moment, a moment that seems to stop the whole world from moving, before she kisses Brittany on the lips. First tenderly, then powerfully, tongue finding tongue to begin the most perfect dance, and two people tasting love on each other's lips.
Arms wrapped tightly around each other's bodies, touching, appreciating and savoring, they are breathing life into the other's mouths…and so they are becoming lovers again.
It's what Brittany's wished for, for so long, and it feels right.
But she is too afraid to trust her instincts now.
She can't lose Santana, never again.
So she pulls away, panting into her lover's face and opening her eyes to stare into browns ones, filled with the purest love and desire.
"Don't you want me anymore?" Santana asks in the faintest whisper.
"Not like this," Brittany replies, her breath hitching. "I want…I want us to be perfect. I want to take you out on dates, and buy you-"
"I don't want to start again, Brittany," Santana cuts her off.
"I don't want to go back in time, and pretend nothing's ever happened," Santana explains. "All this happened, and I'm ready to let it go…so we can be something, together."
"But we're already something, aren't we?"
"Yeah, we are," Santana smiles, eyes sparkling from the joy. "And I wouldn't change a damn thing."
"I love you so much, Santana," Brittany says in a whimper, before pushing her face into the warmest and safest spot in the world, where Santana's shoulder meets her neck.
"I love you too, Brittany," Santana whispers into her hair, pulling her even closer. "But…"
"But?" Brittany snaps her eyes open, her heart ramming against Santana's chest.
"I need to ask you something," Santana says seriously.
"Will you be my girlfriend?"
The question barely registers in her mind, she is kissing the silly smile off Santana's lips and rolls on top of her, planting a million kisses all over her face.
"Yes," she whispers against her mouth, before kissing her again. "Yes, Santana Lopez, I am your girlfriend."
And she kisses her again, and again, and again…until Santana's giggles fade and her breathing evens out, her heart beating slowly like a perfect lullaby, and somewhere along the way, Brittany falls asleep on top of her,
only to enter the land of dreams together,
and feeling like…they are still awake and the real world couldn't be a better place.
1982 - 2013