Title: Cold Coffee and Missed Trains
Summary: The first time she laid eyes on the blonde was six months, three weeks and two days ago. But it's not like she's counting or anything.
Notes: Had this posted on other sites but decided to put it on here, too.
She sees her every morning on the train.
The first time she laid eyes on the blonde was six months, three weeks and two days ago. But it's not like she's counting or anything.
Anyway, the first time she saw her, it was just by chance, or luck, or fate — whatever you want to call it.
The morning of 29th had been a rush and she'd overrun on everything. Her routine screwed up because her stupid alarm didn't go off when she wanted it to and she even tried to skip breakfast to match the time but somehow it just fucked it up even further and missed her usual train. So she'd headed back up from the subway to grab a cup of coffee and waited for the next train, which happened to be the one that changed her life.
By the time the train came, she'd already rang her assistant, Marley, to tell her that she was running late and could she push back her nine o'clock meeting because there was no way in hell she was going to be there by then, the cup of coffee in her hand was basically cold and she'd found out that the only bonus to being late was that she could actually sit down on the train.
So, yeah, she steps onto the train and finds a seat in the corner. It's one of those single seats and she's glad it's not a double because the cup of coffee was crap—it was definitely no Starbucks—and without her morning caffeine, Santana was definitely not one to get in the way of. The train started bumbling and skidding along the tracks, creating that high pitched tone that always makes Santana wince and she'd continued to sip on her coffee despite it tasting like utter crap, choosing to stare out into the blackness behind the window instead of creating awkward eye contact with a stranger.
Except that didn't last long because the door beside her swung open and then something sharp clipped her ears, making her reel away and snap her head around, eyes narrowing into a glare at the person who just disturbed her scowling.
Though, she really wasn't ready for the brightest pair of blue eyes staring back at her when she looked up. They were so bright and so beautiful that the breath actually caught in her throat and she almost whimpered—fucking whimpered-because this woman must be on the cover of a magazine somewhere. Not one of those trashy ones, either. One of those high class ones that sits next to Vogue in the stands.
But she had some game and so she bit her bottom lip, keeping the noise to the back of her throat as the blonde girl stared down at her and offered a smile with straight, white teeth and lifted a shoulder, slowly closing the door but never straying eye contact with Santana.
"Sorry," the girl whispered, squinting her eyes apologetically and tugging her bag closer to her body. That must have been what clipped her ear. "The door got stuck."
Santana, who was pretty sure her stomach had jumped into her throat, just shrugged and flashed a cheesy grin back. Shit. Maybe she didn't have any game. "That's fine. It happens to me sometimes."
The weird thing about her response though? It never happened to her. Like, ever. But for some reason this girl made her want to lie to make her feel better. What the fuck was going on?
"Well, sorry again," the blonde repeated and sucked on her bottom lip as she made her way through the car, taking a seat in the middle next to a sixty year old Rastafarian.
Santana just sat back and turned her attention to the blackness outside the window, again. Except this time, her mind was in somewhere that wasn't cold coffee and missed train.
Two months later and the same thing happened again.
Her damn alarm didn't go off and she was scrambling out of bed at 8am to try and catch her 8:15 train which, realistically, just wasn't going to happen.
But she was going to be damned if she didn't try.
She sprinted out her apartment building, hopping a few steps as she shoved her shoe on her foot and stumbled out the door as she poked her arm through the hole in her coat, flashing a smile at the doorman who looked at her like she'd just dropped from the sky. Then again, she supposed that whenever he usually saw her, she was composed with a business suit and a perfectly neat ponytail.
Her legs ached as she sprinted toward the subway and skipped every other stair, almost tumbling down the entire set to try and catch her train. A few people cursed at her as she elbowed them, and she even barged one guy out the way at the ticket station to jump ahead. Except as soon as she got to her platform, the train was already disappearing into the distance.
She'd thrown a little strop, waved her arms about angrily and cursed to the dirty ceiling of the subway, and scared off a few little children, but eventually just given up and marched upstairs to the vendor to grab a cup of coffee.
It wasn't until she stepped onto the train and took the single seat at the back that the memory hit her. This had happened before and as she brought the edge of the coffee cup to her lips and sipped, she made the exact same expression she had two months ago to this very day because this coffee really was awful. And shit, did it get cold quickly.
A minute and a half later, and she was about to recall that beautiful blonde that'd clipped her around the ear accidentally with her bag when something caught her eye. Something being that same blonde.
It was almost laughable, and she smiled to herself as her eyes did a slow trail of the other girl's body. Not checking her out but just... appreciating.
Although the moment her eyes reached the blonde's neck, she noticed that blue eyes were staring right back at her, and she twisted her head away, a blush covering her cheeks because she'd just been freaking caught. How embarrassing. She almost slapped her head and cursed to herself when someone sidled up to the seat in front of hers and she glanced up to find the blonde sitting right in front of her, eyes bright and grin wide.
Santana almost forgot how to breathe.
"Hey, stranger," the girl greeted.
Santana let out a chuckle and sucked in her lower lip before replying. "Hello to you, too," she said, lowering her coffee cup. "Not hitting anyone with your bag this morning?"
The blonde girl sensed the joke lacing her tone and threw her head back, laughing a little. "Nope, not today. But it's only 9am, so I've still got time."
"Santana," Santana blurted out, flinching at herself as her hand rose into the air, offering out.
Brittany eyed her hand but then bit her bottom lip and smiled through it, sliding her palm into a tanned one. "Brittany. Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you, too."
Somehow they fell into easy conversation as the train went through the stops. It turned out that Brittany lived two blocks away from Santana and had a cat called Lord Tubbington. She was taking an advanced course at NYU for video editing and producing, and didn't really like it all that much because she was twenty five—conveniently the same age as Santana—and everyone else were like, just twenty.
There was something just so interesting about Brittany. Something so young and refreshing and it was like Santana didn't feel any ounce of shit when she was talking to the girl. It was a stupid thought because this was the second time she'd ever seen the girl, but she already knew there was a connection between them. A connection she'd never made with anyone else.
But all good things come to an end and soon enough, Santana's stop was here.
"Maybe I'll see you again," Brittany offered as Santana stood from her chair, smoothing down the back of her skirt. "If you wake up late, that is."
The train pulled to a stop and Santana reached for the pole to steady herself. "Maybe I'll just set my alarm for a few minutes later," she said and Brittany began grinning.
"Maybe that'd be nice."
"Then maybe it'll happen."
They both stared at each other for a long moment before Santana realized these trains only stopped for like, twenty seconds and just made it out the door, turning around to watch the train—and Brittany—disappear into the tunnel when she reached the platform.
She couldn't' seem to get Brittany off her mind, even this long after their last meeting.
Sure, she'd said to Brittany that maybe she could set her alarm a few minutes later and be a little late for work just so they could talk, but it just so happened that when she'd got to work that morning, her boss had called her in and told her work was really picking up and she not only needed to be here earlier, but she also needed to stay a little later every night.
Work was tough, but she got paid a lot and made some of her best friends there, so she wasn't going to put it into risk.
So, unfortunately, that meant that she didn't get to see Brittany for another two months until one morning, fate stepped in and her boss told her she didn't have to be in until 10.
(Technically, that meant that she could sleep in for another hour, but she wanted to catch up to Brittany, okay?)
For the third time in four months, she picked up her cup of the world's worst coffee and headed down into the subway, waiting for the train to come along. Her fingers tapped along the cup and she had to admit, she was a little nervous for this but it was a nervous, excited, you know? It was like her heart was jumping but there were butterflies bumping against the side of her stomach, and it made her foot tap against the cold concrete beneath her foot.
A few minutes later, and the train came alone. She stood inside, deciding to play it cool and not look around as she headed for the single seat in the back. She drained half the cup of cold coffee before she finally trusted herself enough to look around. But much to her disappointment, there was no Brittany. There was no bright blue eyes or sun kissed hair. There was no toothpaste advert smile or soft chuckle, and as the train stops came and went, she realized that there wasn't going to be.
Early February 2021
It was late after work, around 10pm and Santana really didn't feel that easy with being on the Subway at this time of night. Sure, she could totally kick some ass if any danger was to arise, but she still didn'twant there to be danger. She's not suicidal or anything, and she's lived in New York long enough to know people don't carry around pencils in their pockets anymore. They're either knives or full on guns.
But still, it's the only way home without having to wait thirty minutes for a cab or stand in a bus with a bunch of drunk idiots, so subway it was, even if it wasn't really the better choice.
Luckily enough, there was a vendor at the subway station a few blocks down from her work and she grabbed a cup of coffee and took it down into the station with her, yawning as she stuck her ticket in the machine and pushed through the barriers. Unluckily, though, it seemed the vendor for this subway station and the vendor for the subway station near her house were like, partners, which meant this coffee tasted just as horrible, if not worse.
Crap coffee was still coffee though, and she really needed a pick-me-up so it would do for the time being.
Little did she know though, she was about to find another pick-me-up which was like, a million times better than that stupid, disgusting cup of cheap ass coffee.
Stepping onto the train, she walked toward that single back seat only to find it occupied by a teenager in a beanie and large headphones hooked over his head. Her instant reaction was to grab him by the collar and throw him out the seat because she'd become accustomed to it over the past five months. No-one disturbed her there and like she'd said before, it was a single seat which meant no smelly old man would sit next to her and make her gag with every breath she took.
But she figured doing that at 10pm at night wouldn't be the most productive thing and so she looked around for a seat, but was stopped when a soft voice called her name.
She didn't turn around for a few moments, just blinked at the wall of the train and processed whether or not she was actually hearing her name being called.
That time, she knew for definite it had and she spun around on her heel, finding Brittany sitting there in a double seat, with the one beside her free. She was patting it and grinning and Santana's heart skipped a beat as she walked toward the seat and cautiously sat down, trying not to sigh as Brittany's scent hit her. It was vanilla, and honeycomb, and images of waking up in the morning and pressed a kiss to hair that smelt exactly like that shot through her mind. But whoa, that was thinking a little too far. She didn't even know if Brittany was interested in her like that. Brittany could just be friendly.
"Fancy seeing you here," Brittany chirped, running her tongue along her teeth.
Santana, momentarily dazed by a pink tongue, had to blink herself out of it and stared blankly at the grinning blonde before finding the ability to speak. "Yep. Shouldn't alone on the subway at this time of night, though. You know that right?"
"Well, you are," the girl fired back, wagging an eyebrow. "So I think I'm okay."
"Yeah, I guess so."
From there on they began talking about little things, finding out more details about it each other and discussing what they did for fun. It was only a matter of time before one of them was to bring up boyfriends and girlfriends and Santana almost didn't tell Brittany that she was gay, fearing that it might scare the blonde off. Even if nothing came of them romantically, she knew she wanted to be friends with Brittany. Best of friends, even.
"So, have you got a boyfriend?" Brittany asked, and Santana was surprised that she went for it first.
"Erm... No. Definitely not. No boyfriend." Santana shook her head between each sentence, finding herself way more nervous than she should've been. "You?"
Blue eyes narrowed but there was still a smile on her face. "No boyfriend. Or girlfriend," she chimed in. "What about you?"
Santana almost said "you already asked that" but as soon as her mouth dropped open, she found Brittany staring back at her expectantly, lips sucked into her mouth and brows raised like she was conveying a completely different question. It made a tiny surge of panic spark in Santana, but there was something so trusting and open about Brittany that she just found herself spilling the truth.
"No girlfriend, either. But... It would only be—um—" she coughed. "—A girlfriend."
Brittany nodded and nudged her shoulder playfully. "You don't have to be ashamed. I'm kind of like you."
"Kind of? What d'you mean?" Santana asked, almost snapping the questions as her head whipped around.
"I like everyone," Brittany elaborated, the smile dying from her face and eyes getting a little more serious. "And I know I like you."
Despite her heart fluttering so hard she's sure it was about to fly out her chest, Santana sucked in her lower lip and kept eye contact with Brittany as she said, "I like you, too."
Brittany just grinned.
Throughout February and March 2020
It started becoming a weird, unplanned routine.
Every weekday night, Santana would stay at work until 9:50 and then get the 10:04 train back to the subway station by her apartment. Every single time Brittany was there, tapping the seat and Santana would smile, duck her chin to her chest and try to ignore that a stranger was having such an effect on her. But then she'd sit next to Brittany and they'd talk and flirt, and it seemed the conversation would never end because they would always find something to talk about. But not in an uncomfortable way. They just could talk and talk for hours.
The same thing happened for weeks on end, and Santana actually found that it was the best part of her day, getting the train home. It wasn't getting through her apartment door and stroking Alfie's—her chocolate Labrador—head. It wasn't taking that first pull of ice cold beer after a long day, nor was it finally getting into bed. It was seeing Brittany's smile and Brittany's hand pat the seat that was clearly reserved for Santana, no matter how crowded the train was.
The strange thing, though? She never knew where Brittany got on the train and when she got off. They traveled the majority of the stops together, so it must've be one before Santana's station, but it's not like she could ask that. She would've sounded like such a stalker. Well, in her mind she would have anyway.
So she didn't, and instead she just treasured and enjoyed the time she spent with Brittany.
And for then, that would be enough.
Mid April 2021
So now it's April, and it's been six months, three weeks and two days ago since she first laid eyes on Brittany, and she's standing on the platform waiting for the train to come along. Her fingers tap along the side of the awful coffee that she's become strangely accustomed to, and she looks down into the blackness to see the two lights of the training approaching the platform. Today she bought two coffees, and even though they're disgusting, she's planning on giving it to Brittany and hoping that it might be like, a gesture or a silent push toward asking the girl on a date. Stupid, she knows, but she's been waiting for this for more than half a year.
With a smile growing on her face, and her heart rate picking up, she steps back and waits for the subway car to pull up before hopping inside and rocking onto the balls of her feet to scan the area for a familiar blonde. It's pretty crowded today, but there's still no fail. Brittany's sitting there in the double seat, hand resting upon the free one and eyes bright as they meet brown ones. The blonde grins instantly and waves Santana over, who's powerless to resist. She takes her seat and suddenly feels incredibly nervous to give Brittany the coffee. What if Brittany isn't even interested in her?
"Thirsty or just a really crappy nights sleep?" Brittany asks, a smile in her voice.
Santana chuckles lightly and mentally notes that crappy isn't a word that should come out of the other girls mouth. "Actually... One's for you."
The excitement almost shocks Santana but she holds back the urge to punch her fist into the air and nods, handing Brittany the coffee she hasn't sipped.
"It tastes pretty awful, but I mean, it's become routine for me now."
Brittany raises the cup to her lips and looks up through her lashes. "Routine, huh? So you'd miss it if it disappeared?"
Santana squints. She's got a funny feeling that they're not quite talking about coffee right now. "Terribly so," she says, feigning a British accent.
Brittany giggles and it makes Santana's heart flutter, but then the easy conversation comes and she doesn't feel nervous anymore.
Two stops before hers, Santana feels pressure building on her. It's a Friday, which means she's got to wait another two days until she sees Brittany so if she doesn't kick her ass into gear and ask Brittany out, she'll most probably start panicking and freaking out and Monday morning, she probably will have backed out.
Basically, it's now or never.
Blue eyes slide to her. "Yeah, San?"
Santana chews on her bottom lip and just stares into those eyes for a long moment. "Where's your stop?"
Clearly that wasn't a question Brittany was expecting, but she's not caught off guard by it. Instead she gazes right back, her face splitting into a grin and teeth showing. "I don't actually need to get the train," she says, quietly. "My classes are within walking distance of my home."
Santana blinks. "What?"
"I don't actually need to get the train," the blonde repeats, breaking eye contact to peer down at her empty coffee cup.
"Then why do you-oh."
The realization smacks her in the face, but it's the good type of smack and suddenly she's grinning. Santana feels her heart double in size inside her chest and glances away bashfully, trying not to start doing a weird little celebratory dance because Brittany only gets the train for her. Brittany gets it to see her, and no other reason.
But wait... Why did she get it on the day they first met? And at night?
"How come you were on here, then? And get it at night?"
White teeth nibble on a pink lip, nervously. "The first day I got it, I was visiting someone and saw you," she admits then lifts a shoulder. "And at night, I was coming back from a late dance class and you happened to be there, too, and I—" Brittany shakes her head and lets out a nervous, breathy chuckle, ducking her eyesight back down again. "I don't know, it was stupid—"
"It wasn't stupid," Santana cuts in, hand snapping out to cover a pale one. Warmth spikes through her palm and she tenses at the touch, momentarily distracted by their skin touching for the first time. She doesn't notice that blue eyes are now locked on her face, staring at her and taking in her features and reactions, but when she does, all the blood rushes to her face and she begins blushing. Maybe she's not the only one who felt it.
Brittany grins, knowing this is how she started the earlier conversation. "Yeah, San?"
This is it. This is the beginning of something special and Santana can feel it deep within her bones as she takes in a deep breath and wets her lips.
"You wanna go out with me?"
There's not a moments hesitation before Brittany's nodding, biting down on her bottom lip and manipulating their hands so their fingers slide together. She squeezes gently and Santana feels her body alight and breath hitch as Brittany stands, twirls and says, "Come on then," just as the train comes to Santana's stop.
And Santana? She just melts.