A/N: Hey there! This is my first fic. I know the concept is different but give it a chance. The chapter's will be pretty long but I encourage any and all feedback to anything! I would love to hear what you think, it's completely flattering and entirely motivating. Thanks so much for reading, reviewing, favoriting, following or just glancing! Means the world to me. Hope you enjoy!
VERY END OF MAY 2011
"My life is over." Santana grumbles over dramatically to herself as she parks her ostentatiously bright red BMW M3 and glances around the elaborately designed and structured animal housing/care center and complex she is currently surrounded by.
Immediately she snorts out a condescending laugh, to no one in particular, as she spots the not so subtle sign that hangs just above the doorway to what the Latina assumes is the complex's main entrance.
The sign, might as well be a freaking billboard Santana mumbles to herself, has the following phrase written upon it in elegant calligraphy letters: "Welcome to L.I.F.A.A." With the addition of "Entry way paid for by the generous donation of Dr. and Mrs. Lopez" in smaller block letters just below it.
Santana can't help but roll her eyes at the name: L.I.F.A.A, pronounced Lie-Fuh stands for 'Lima Is For All Animals'. It's really a sill name considering that the town of Lima, Ohio is actually a pretty big supporter of hunting and fishing, which would suggest that the town is in fact not so much for the animals now is it?
"So over." The girl breaths out again as she finally drags her reluctant and unmotivated self out of the car and kicks her foot back to shut the door as she turns and walks towards the entrance of her forthcoming punishment that was so dictated to her by her esteemed papi.
With a deep and resigned sigh, the petite and daunting Latina squints her dark chocolate brown eyes as she pushes her aviators up into her so dark brown it's almost black hair, currently strewn upon her head in a haphazard bun (what, it's not like she's going to be seeing anyone she a) knows or b) gives a flying flip about) and walks up to the entrance door.
Forget that if anyone was expecting her to dress up and glam up, this is surely the last place she wants to do that, let alone be in the first few weeks of the summer vacation before her Senior, and thank God, last year at the dreadful, uncivilized McKinley High in the middle of the isolated nowhere town of Lima freaking Ohio.
Seriously, forget that shit.
Quelling her inner monologue Santana grips the outside metal handle on the two-sided glass panned door and notices how the sunlight glints of her smooth skin.
She hasn't quite obtained the soft tanner skin tone that will appear later in summer but right now her skin has that healthy light caramel/olive glow to it that makes Santana moderately smug, no actually it makes her thoroughly smug, about herself. She is fine and she knows it.
Intent on walking in like she owns the complex, which funny that's mentioned, she tugs on the handle and swings open the door. As she strides in, Santana makes a beeline for what she deduces is the reception area; big rounded desk looking thing that hosts a middle aged woman with glasses answering a phone? Could be a lucky guess.
When Santana gets to the counter she is about to say something but the receptionist lady, see middle aged woman with an unruly mop of strawberry blonde curls and big rounded glasses from which her beady little eyes stare out, does the very worst possible thing she could do in the presence of the already severely pissed off and borderline raging seventeen year old Latina girl. She raises her finger, her damn pointer finger, in the universal sign for "Wait one moment".
Santana is livid, she does not, and this bears repeating: does not, get asked to "wait" in such a manner.
Deciding to channel that rage, Santana goes to lean across the counter, intent on pulling the plug on the receptionist's phone and giving her a very angry piece of her mind, when a voice suddenly cuts into her thoughts and halts her intended actions.
"Oh, look out!" Comes in the form of sweet and breezy, like you would imagine a field of daisies in the bright summer sun would sound like if plants could talk, or 'sound'. The voice also holds the lingering tone of concern and is laced with urgency as it resonates from Santana's right.
Before she has a chance to determine whom the voice comes from, a flash of black streaks her vision and in an instant two hands are shoving against Santana's chest and sending her falling backwards to the hard, unforgiving tile floor.
It's then that Santana realizes that the hands aren't hands at all, but instead paws, giant ones at that, which appear to belong to a now towering over her black and tan shepherd whose tongue is panting out of it's mouth and who wears a grin that stretches across it's canine face in such a manner that suggests the animal is completely aware of the mischief it has just created.
Completely aware of the mischief and exceptionally proud of it.
"What the fu-" Santana begins to say, still not quite registering the fact there is a giant slobbering dog standing above her. Once realization dawns on her that she should probably roll over or shove the dog off or something, a face appears almost instantaneously in her line of sight.
The face is a little too close for comfort and Santana jerks her head back just enough to knock it on the floor, again, receiving a giggle in return.
"I am so sorry. Are you all right? Cash didn't hurt you did he?" That same sweet, breezy and bubbly, Santana notes, voice from just a few seconds ago hums in Santana's ear, this time a bit more guilty sounding and what the Latina would surmise as apologetic.
Slowly opening her eyes, and praying the minor pinch in her head goes away, and quickly, Santana's gaze falls upon the same face as earlier. This time, however, at the proper distance she is more capable of focusing on it.
First, she notices the fair complexion of the girl's skin is littered with adorable freckles, spanning the length of her perfectly rounded cheekbones and the bridge of her very straight nose. Second, Santana realizes that the girl's blonde locks of hair are smoother and silkier then any she has ever seen as long bangs caress the girl's face, and loose tresses fall from her ponytail. Third, there is a perfectly straight and gleaming white smile that is peaking out through perfectly poised pink lips.
The very last thing Santana notices, but certainly not the least, are the intensely shimmering almost sapphire blue eyes the girl is currently still holding steady on her.
"I think it was the tile floor, more or less, that hurt me." Santana mumbles out as she sits up further and the dog, Cash she presumes, finally makes his way off of her. With a huff, the brunette girl pulls herself to her feet dusting off her arms and legs and grumbling inwardly to herself about how inconsiderate this other girl is for not even offering her a helping hand only to notice that the girl is preoccupied with holding Cash back from having another go at Santana. She feels momentarily guilty for having such a thought, but she is too terribly embarrassed about her recent misfortune to act upon it.
"You must be a new volunteer." The blonde haired girl calls from her wrestling match with the exceedingly large-like a bear, Santana notes-dog as she finally gets a grip on his collar and manages to hook the paw print leash that rests in her other hand onto the collar loop.
"You think?" Santana bites back, instantly regretting her tone, which in all honestly is only present because of the previously stated embarrassment of the ordeal she just went through and the fact her tailbone is feeling particularly sore at the moment. The elated look on the other girls face fades immediately upon hearing the brunette's harsh words and before Santana can rectify the situation a cold look covers the other girls face and she opens her mouth to say something.
"Brittany! We need your help in the puppy pen! Little guys are causing a ruckus." Some one calls from over the blonde girl's shoulder and down the other hallway.
The girl, Brittany, looks over her shoulder and acknowledges the plea.
"Okay Shelby, let me put Cash back in his suite and I'll be right there!" She calls before turning back around and looking imploringly at Santana.
"Sorry again about Cash knocking you down." Are the only words spoken from the girl, with such an edge to them that Santana considers the possibility the girl is not really so much sorry about it at all anymore.
As Brittany turns away from Santana, the Latina swears she hears the blonde mumble something along the lines of "Well she's incredibly rude and terribly stuck up", most of which she speculates is formulated to the dog.
Then, before she knows it, Santana is standing by herself in the middle of the lobby.
When the Latina turns her concentrated stare back to the woman at the receptionist desk, she is surprised to find the woman staring right back at her, almost a little too interested in the ethnically distinct olive-skinned girl, as if she recognizes Santana just by the color of her skin tone, or perhaps she is simply interested in the situation? Santana rolls her eyes subtly, it's not as if she isn't used to people staring at her, she just wishes this time it wasn't because of an embarrassing situation that involved her getting minorly injured.
Clearing her throat she walks back up to the desk and stares down at the woman.
"I'm…um…here to volunteer. I guess?" She says, not entirely sure of the protocol, despite her remote association with the complex, and also because she is entirely still not wanting to be here.
The receptionist gives her a blank stare for a few uncomfortable moments before blinking at her, but still not saying anything. Santana's left eyebrow cocks in question, she is becoming rather uncomfortable with the way things seem to run around here. Just as she's about to engage the woman again, the woman beats her to it by monotonously, and quite nasally, asking,
"Name and position you wish to volunteer at?" Averting her stare back to the computer monitor sitting on the dropped portion of the receptionist desk. Santana blinks in perplexity before she responds.
"Santana…Lopez and I don't know." She says and the woman begins typing in the information as she provides it only to pause at the disclosure of her surname. Santana flinches in anticipation of the woman's reaction. Sure enough there is the eye bulge, sharp intake of breath and stuttered words that never fail to follow the introduction of the only child to the wealthy and world renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Jorge Lopez and his socialite wife, Maribel.
"L-lopez…as in D-d-doctor Lopez?" The receptionist tumbles words from her gapping mouth at the sudden realization that she does recognize this girl.
Santana closes her eyes and breaths through her nose, a technique her therapist told her to use when she felt like going to that place of rage she so often resorts to.
"Yes, he's my father." She affirms and then hastily continues, "Look I don't really want to be here but since my father has big connections and he didn't want to see me in juvy he told me I had to volunteer here, twice a week for the remainder of my very last high school Summer vacation. So can you tell me what I need to know so I can get this over with?"
The receptionist blinks again, still wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Santana raises her eyebrows at the woman, enticing her to move things along.
"Oh dear, right, yes…um…Miss Lopez, let me retrieve a guide for you to show you around the complex and explain the different volunteer positions you will have the opportunity of choosing from." The woman finally says before awkwardly looking around her desk and then suddenly snatching the phone receiver in her hand and bringing it to her ear. She pauses again and glances up at Santana, as if to check if the girl is still watching her, which she is and getting rather impatient while doing so at that. The woman fumbles some more before clumsily pressing some buttons on her phone.
There is the connection click and then static buzz that preludes all PA systems before a voice is heard over the speakers in the L.I.F.A.A. complex.
"Rachel Berry to the front desk. Harmonizer Rachel Berry to the front desk, please." Sounds over and around Santana and she realizes two things, one being that she has a feeling she is going to be getting the same reaction that this woman supplied her more than once, and two, Rachel 'Thinks She's A Frickin' Golden Star' Berry volunteers here.
If there's one thing Santana can absolutely not stand, besides the vulgar and often disgusting antics of most of the football and hockey jocks at McKinley, it is the man-handed Berry she male.
Santana groans out in displeasure as the way too perky, and dwarf sized-seriously the girl is smaller then her own slim self, Rachel steps through the door to her left. Judging by the sharp in take of breath, that sounds more fearful then anything else, the Latina assumes that the bird beak for a nose girl is not pleased to see her, similar to the way Santana feels about seeing her as well.
Rachel composes herself gracefully and walks, albeit very cautiously, over to Santana.
"Hello, Santana." She greets formally, with a hint of kindness that Santana does not fully understand. Why on Earth would this midget ever try to be nice to her, like it helps?
"Berry." Santana deadpans, stepping towards the girl and smirking at the fact she's a good three or four inches taller then her. Rachel swallows what Santana assumes is a giant lump of terror in her throat and then averts her eyes from the intimidating Lopez girl who rolls her eyes at the gesture and begins tapping her foot on the tile.
"Any day now dwarf." Santana mumbles a few seconds later and misses the look of hurt flash across the other girl's face and lingers in her russet brown eyes. Instead, the Latina glances out the glass doors and checks to make sure her Beamer is still catching a sun glare off its shiny paint job, which it is much to Santana's satisfaction.
She loves that car, especially the fire engine red color.
The sound of a shoe scuffing the tile floor brings Santana's attention back to the still awkwardly silent reception area. She observes Polly Pocket toeing the floor with her absurdly not librarian chic, no really, a librarian wouldn't be caught dead in these shoes, flats that extend from the horrifying knee high yellow and brown argyle socks that this desperate, desperate cry for a fashion intervention girl is wearing.
Santana also notes, this Berry chick has paired her ugly socks with an equally repulsive brown tweed skirt and a sweater that, so help her God, actually legitimately has a knitted owl on it. An owl? Could this girl be any more painfully obvious that she has no normal or respectable form of a social life?
Santana can't help but shudder at the thought, it is exhausting to look at her. The movement from the taller brunette inevitably causes the other girl to glance in her direction.
"Oh, yes. Well let's get started then. If you would be so kind as to follow me." The shorter brunette finally utters a coherent sentence, even if Santana truly neglects to listen too much more then 'Let's get started'.
Reluctantly, the Latina takes one last longing glance towards her parked and waiting car, her one true escape to freedom, and sighs knowing that escape, much less freedom, is not going to happen any time soon.
Santana begrudgingly follows behind, not too closely, the fashion wreck Berry.
For some reason, unbeknownst to Santana, the tiny sized Berry decides to take her through the cat section of the complex first. Does she look like a freaking cat person?
Hell no, just no, uh-uh, not gonna happen.
Deciding to actually occupy her time with something useful, Santana removes her nail filer from her gigantic black Stella McCartney bag, while actively not registering a word that comes out of the shorter girls rapidly flapping lips.
"Are you even listening to me?" Does somehow translate in Santana's brain and she looks up from her very important nail filing task, she was on the last finger of her left hand, so important, to glare at the other girl.
"What?" She bites, knowing full well that if she approaches this situation in complete bitch mode then the other girl will simply back down and not attempt to bother her anymore. Maybe she can get through this torture without actually having to be tortured by pint-size's, akin to a screech, voice.
The bite seems to work, and Santana watches Berry's eyes go wide and beg of forgiveness.
"I-I was w-wondering if y-you wanted to s-see anymore of t-the c-cat s-side." The sad excuse for a teenage girl stutters out and Santana only rolls her eyes like, a lot.
"Do I look like a cat person?" She voices and the shorter girl seems to genuinely consider the obviously rhetorical question before she catches Santana's death glare and immediately shakes her head in the negative. "Get on with it then." Santana then commands and is marginally fine with, she won't say happy, the fact that she is finally led away from the furry balls of evil fluff and into a veterinary looking clinic.
"This is the clinic part of the complex. It is L.I.F.A.A.'s policy to spay and neuter all of the animals that are brought here. It really is the best practice. This is also where you would take any of the animals that are sick or in need of medical attention. One of the jobs you could volunteer at is a vet tech. As a vet tech, you would be required to assist the vet doctors with prep and procedures as well as cleaning out the animal's pens when they leave. That of course means you would probably be dealing with fece-" the annoying girl's rambling is quickly cut off by a very straight forward,
"Next!" From the Latina, who has yet to raise her eyes from the task of filing the fingers on her right hand.
"Oh okay, right. This way." Berry mumbles out and takes Santana through the clinic's exit so they are on the outside of the building now.
"Over there you will find the off-leash areas where you can let the dogs of L.I.F.A.A. run free and play with toys. You are also welcome to bring your own dog, but it is against policy for your dog to associate with dogs here as they may-" the rambling happens again as the short brunette points off towards two generously proportioned fenced off areas that are littered with what appear to be doggie play items: fire hydrant, bench, tree, tennis balls and chew toys.
None of which the Latina is even vaguely paying attention to as she cuts off the ramble again.
"Don't care!" Are the words that leave Santana's mouth this time around. She is quickly running out of what little patience she already had. Gold star Sally holds her tongue at the remark and piece of mind she would love to give this rude and inconsiderate girl.
If she notices the anger slowly radiating off the other girl, Santana cares not.
With another huff, Berry turns away from the taller brunette and walks along the paved area of the complex, which to the right provides a small circular parking area around a tree and grass area and to the left the sprawling complex and rest of the L.I.F.A.A. center.
"You probably don't care that the laundry, Exo-pen, crate, food and toy storage area is over there. We call it the garage." Berry explains half-heartedly as she points to a large building off to the right, essentially behind the parking area and between the off-leash areas and the complex itself. Santana glances moderately towards the area the other girl is pointing at and decides that yes it looks like a garage and also yes, she does not care.
With a shrug Santana returns to filing, now in detail and getting into the buffing part, leading Berry to continue her hopeless task of showing the disregarding Latina around.
After a terribly wearisome presentation of the complex's volunteer/staff parking area (a section sanctioned off by gravel, like Santana couldn't figure that out on her own), the trash and recycle area (Santana is so not ever going to come within twenty feet of those things), and the entrance to the scenic half-mile dog walking trail (still doesn't care), Rachel moves on to what she considers the more important parts of the complex, except Santana forgot to really care about any of it.
The dwarf is pointing to a huge structure in the back lot, which she refers to as the immaculate, state of the art training complex and while adding "I even heard that Cesar Millan trained dogs there once, but that was before my time…" thinking it will do her any good as she continues to ramble. At this point Santana has, not surprisingly, turned her attention away from the annoying persistent brunette and is currently being mesmerized by a whole different type of sight.
Off to Santana's right, about thirty or so feet away in front of the structure she thinks Berry said was the garage, is the blonde, Brittany, from earlier. She is, however, in no ordinary situation.
Dressed in short jean cut offs and an extremely tight white tank top, hair a sexy mess atop her head, Brittany is currently hosing off, true story, a few travel crates that rest on the concrete in front of the garage door. The only thing is that, and this is what so fervently captures the Latina's attention, Brittany is completely and totally missing the crates and instead is successfully spraying herself with the water.
How does that even happen? For real, is that even possible? Apparently, but how totally escapes Santana, not like she really cares about the particulars, not when something this unbelievable is happening right before her eyes.
Santana really doesn't know why she is so mesmerized. She wants to look away, but she can't. She knows she's supposed to ignore it, but she doesn't want to. She knows she shouldn't be staring, her mami always said that was rude, but she can't stop.
There are beads of water running down the blonde's toned arms and incredibly long legs, creating a shimmer on her glowing skin that reflects the sun in mystifying beams. Santana can see water slowly creeping down Brittany's neck, disappearing beneath the ever-alluring v-neck line of her tank top and the Latina is helpless to do anything more than stand there gapping. She doesn't even register the way her brain is screaming that this girl is so damn sexy right now it should be illegal.
Why isn't that illegal?
Perhaps it's because then she wouldn't get to watch such a magical occurrence.
"Santana?" Berry's voice cuts into the taller brunette's thoughts, ones the girl herself is not even quite sure how, or why (no scratch that, she knows why) they are there.
Santana pries her eyes off of the now moderately soaked Brittany (wanky), who seems to not notice that her chest is drenched in water and appears to not be wearing a bra, and looks wide-eyed into the small Jewish girls eyes. She's not sure what type of look is covering her face right now but she has a feeling that it is something between appreciative and horrified. Both of which she's thoroughly confused about.
If the reaction that Berry gives isn't any confirmation, the words that leave her mouth sure as hell are.
"Oh my god, I didn't know you were g-" Rachel begins to say and Santana immediately lunges forward and slaps her hand, palm first, over the other girls mouth, effectively cutting off the escape of the rest of that frightful word.
"Not another word RuPaul. I am not whatever you were about to say so you had better forget whatever your peebrain was considering because it is flat out bullshit. I don't want to be here, you don't really want me here, so let's get this tour over with so that I can go home and enjoy the comforts of my king size bed and personal spa room." Santana spits venomously as she stares down at the other girl who smartly nods in understanding and is eventually allowed to breath through her mouth.
Swallowing thickly, Rachel does not utter another word, instead turning on her heel and walking off towards a relatively good sized brick structure assuming that the Latina will follow behind her.
Santana takes a moment to compose herself, taking immense precaution to not turn around in the direction of Brittany, fearful the blonde may have seen, or worse heard, any part of the conversation that just occurred. Taking a deep breath, Santana makes her way after the midget she so despises, though she is, at the moment, internally grateful for the silence Berry provided a short time ago.
Santana enters a building that is labeled "POD" and notices that Berry is waiting for her in the corner of what she now realizes is a building with six separate dog suites.
Each suite is a relatively good size, with a door, giant viewing window, dog bed, and outside fenced area for each dog (or more as the case is with some). She avoids eye contact and makes not a sound as she steps up next to the other girl and folds her arms across her chest waiting to not really listen to the words that are going to no doubt come from the dwarf's mouth.
A few seconds go by and nothing happens though so it forces Santana to glance to her side and she is shocked to see a look of sadness and sympathy on the other girl's face. Before she can question, or get angry about it, Berry speaks.
"This is the POD, I'm not really sure if that stands for anything." The brunette says, whispering that last part and Santana is kind of grateful the girl is letting the earlier thing, that she refuses to acknowledge happened, go. "Anyway, this is usually where we put the dogs that are loud and don't get along with others. Or the big ones who need big buddies. Or the groups of puppies that are waiting to be fostered and a lot of times we put the dogs that have yet to be processed and chipped in here." Rachel then explains and Santana glances up curiously.
"Chipped?" She inquires, surprising herself foremost that she was actually listening but furthermore that she made the conscious decision to speak out loud to someone she loathes.
"Oh," Berry starts with a similar look of surprise crossing her face, "Yes, all of the animals that come into L.I.F.A.A are micro chipped so that when they go to their new home the owner has an easy way of keeping track of them and their health." She then clarifies and Santana merely nods her head in understanding, not quite ready to completely drop the bitch façade and make civil conversation.
They spend a few moments admiring the different dogs in each suite, from the outside of course, and before she knows what's happening Santana has the inkling of a smile on her face.
"I'll show you the last few places and then leave it up to you about what volunteer position you want to try. That will most likely conclude your time spent here for the day." Rachel says and Santana glances up from her spot, now crouched low to the ground in a kind of squat stance, where she was looking at an adorable curly haired mutt of a dog and nods to the other girl.
She stands and motions for Rachel to lead the way.
A few minutes later, after taking a detour through the volunteer kitchen in the back of the complex, the two girls arrive in the dog suite section of L.I.F.A.A. Down a long hallway there are twelve ten foot by ten foot sectioned rooms, each adjourned with four by four outside concrete layered and fenced areas, for all the dogs that are brought into the center to be cared for until they can be properly adopted and taken home to a loving family.
The shorter girl is saying something, what, however, Santana does not really know nor does she really bother to know. At the moment she is too focused watching a fluffy faced white dog sit on its little elevated doggie bed and gnaw away at it's peanut butter filled chewy looking tube. Santana is suddenly struck with an idea.
"What's the thing that you do?" She interrupts, yet again, another long winded, when is it not, ramble from the peewee man-hands about the volunteer position of dog suite specialist (which is really just a fancy word for 'technician').
Berry blinks at the interruption, you would think she'd be used to it by now but it appears that the notion still shocks her.
"Me?" She asks as if Santana would, or could, considering no one else is around, be addressing anyone else.
The Latina sighs heavily and does a full, slow motion (for the added effect) eye roll before she huffs out a pointed,
"Yes Berry, you. What is it that your insignificant self does around here besides be pestering and absurdly annoying?" Santana asks, edge lacing her tone and patience slipping fast.
"I'm what is referred to as a Harmonizer. What that consists of is the general interaction with the dogs, understanding their needs, fears, and personalities so that when the time comes for a human individual who is looking to adopt a loyal companion, I can place the correct dog with the best person and vice versa. In a way I am kind of like a match maker, it's funny really, I-" again the girl just goes on and on.
"Yeah whatever Pippi Longstocking, I want to do that, just better." Santana cuts in finding it a difficult task to not strangle the other girl for her exasperating banter.
Does she not even realize how incessant and incredibly droning she is?
As Santana is contemplating this, Berry's eyes go to the normally associated look, when it comes to her interactions with the Latina, of wide-eyed.
"You want to be a harmonizer? But you would, you…you have to interact with dogs and people." Rachel sputters out, still completely thrown off by Santana's just stated revelation.
Santana, to her credit, maintains a cool collective but glares with intended, and successful, intimidation at the small small girl.
"What are you trying to say My Little Pony? My interaction skills are exceptional," Santana begins to say and seeing the further gapping of Berry's mouth she adds, "When the person constitutes my attention and deserves my interaction." Before she folds her arms across her chest as if solidifying the truth and seriousness of her words.
Rachel doesn't say anything for a good few minutes, instead she attempts to process the words just spoken to her, which, even though a good majority were insulting and downright rude, are still in some sense a whole new notion to her. Never in her seventeen years of living and growing up in Lima, seven of which she has been privy to the awareness of the Latina and her wealthy family, has she ever seen or heard anything like this. Santana Lopez is, always has been and most likely always will be, a bitch.
It's common knowledge, something Santana herself is quite proud of, and has been ever since the feisty hot-blooded girl established the knowledge when she kicked Finn Hudson in the groin in the sixth grade because he asked her if she enjoyed the weather in Lima more than her native land of Mexico.
Big mistake, seeing as how the Lopez's had moved to Lima from New York City.
And okay so yeah, Santana isn't exactly being nice, or even remotely pleasant Rachel considers, but the way the Latina is implying it's actually possible for her to be nice (or remotely pleasant) combined with the knowledge of the look Rachel observed the other girl had fashioned on Brittany earlier, stuns the future Broadway star (Dream Big!) to silence, which is a giant conundrum in itself.
"Did I lose you to some perverted fantasy consisting of you and your giant baby faced puffy nipples boy?" Santana's voice cuts into Rachel's thoughts and despite the jab at her boyfriend, one Finn Hudson (the same), the shorter girl ignores it and instead attempts to rectify the slippery slope Santana has quickly presented her. The Latina cannot be a Harmonizer, Rachel thinks, it would disrupt the entire space-time continuum or something.
"You can't be a Harmonizer!" The aspiring diva suddenly blurts out a little louder then she intended and Santana reels back a little after what Rachel thinks is a tiny hint of hurt flashes across her face which is quickly be replaced by her coveted HBIC glare, a look that instantly, and literally, has the miniature brunette quaking in her ballerina flats.
"What did you just say dwarf?" Santana demands stepping into the other girl's comfort zone, nostrils flaring.
It isn't the first time Rachel Barbra Berry has feared for her life but it is certainly one of the most riveting times.
After Santana spits a few Spanish words, that sound vaguely like curses, a little bit of estupido or possibly loco and some that start with kieta and end with elephante or something along those lines, Rachel realizes she had better explain her previous blunder before the other girl goes defcon one postal on her.
"I'm sorry." Rachel has the decency to say sheepishly, despite the fact that the sentiment will not be returned by Santana, and backtracks her statements in an effort to better explain herself. "I mean you can't just be a Harmonizer." The shorter girl insists and receives a blank stare from the intimidating girl in return.
"Want to tell me exactly what you mean because I obviously don't speak your lame pint-sized language." Santana instructs her arms remaining crossed menacingly over her chest. When she begins to tap her foot in waning impatience, Rachel chooses to elaborate her previously made vague statement in hopes it will save her life.
"I mean, Harmonizer's are required to volunteer as Dog Suite Specialists or Paw Walkers for at least three months before they are able to step into the much more oriented volunteer position." The hideously dressed girl says and waits at Santana's obvious deliberation of her words.
"Three months? That's as long as I'm supposed to be relegated to volunteering at this forsaken place. Why in the hell would I stay longer?" She poses and upon seeing the other girl attempt to answer something Santana had not intended to be answered, she holds her hand up in the 'stop' motion and speaks.
"That was rhetorical Medusa. Listen, I refuse to clean extensively, I am not messing with the devil fur balls you people call cats, and I am sure as shit not picking up any dog crap. So I want to do the interaction thing, make it happen or I will find someone who can." The Latina's demand leaves Berry gapping and at a loss, shockingly, of how to react. She knows she herself does not have the ability to just allow Santana, a newbie, to simply start in a higher regarded position on her first day, but perhaps Rachel knows someone who does-and this person might also be the solution to calming the ever present rage within the Latina.
"I can't promise anything, but I can talk to the director and some other people and see if they can possibly work something out for you. That way you won't have to start out cleaning suites and what not. Although, it truly is not that bad of a process, and you actually get used to the sme-" Berry begins.
"Still don't care. Just, stop talking to me and go talk to whoever it is you have to talk to so I can get the hell out of here." Santana cuts in, albeit in a much less bitchy manner than she is normally prone to (but one nonetheless), and Rachel nods her understanding before she turns and heads off to talk to the person she needs to talk to.
As Santana waits for Berry, as if she has any other choice in the matter, a boy about her age, and who looks to be a volunteer, walks through the dog side entrance, sees her and proceeds to immediately rush up to her.
"Oh praise baby Jesus!" he exclaims in a huff that suggests he is out of breath, and Santana quirks an eyebrow at his words before the boy continues, "I have to go back outside and help Stan catch his dog. Can you watch Lucky for me while I do that?" The scrawny but lanky light brown haired, blue eyed boy then asks of Santana in a voice that carries a hint of some type of European accent, an Irish brogue Santana thinks, despite not fully understanding any word that comes out of the kids mouth.
Before she has the chance to reply or say anything in general, a leash is being thrust into her hands and the boy is turning on his heel and sprinting back the way he came in.
When Santana glances down to find the creature attached to the other side of the leash, that hangs limply in her hand, she is meet with deep soul bearing blue eyes from the face of a strikingly marked white and grey Husky. Santana swallows thickly, she's never really been good with dogs, not so great with kids either, since she considers them so fragile and would prefer not to hold the life of such a thing in her hands.
But, she finds it hard not becoming just a little attached to the blue-eyed dog; its eyes are just that mesmerizing.
"Good dog." Santana whispers to the beast and then watches in amazement as he wags his tail and his tongue flops out of his smiling mouth. Feeling brave, the Latina reaches down with a shaky hand and pats the top of the animals solid head before squeaking in alarm as the dog suddenly jumps up and falls into her knocking her backwards and onto, thankfully, a bench resting along the wall.
Just as she thinks her life is over and the beast is going to rip her throat out, she feels a sloppy wet tongue swipe across her chin and cheek. Santana's previously clenched shut eyes fly open in awe at the sensation she is experiencing. At first she expects to be revolted by the occurrence but she quickly finds herself laughing and petting the dogs head as he continues to shower her with doggie affection.
"Someone looks like they're getting along well." A familiar sounding voice cuts into the Latina's giggles and she wrenches her neck towards the voice, her eyes bulging when her suspicions are confirmed on whom the voice belongs to; Brittany, looking a lot dryer than earlier (a fact Santana is slightly disappointed in).
The blonde girls focus appears to be on the dog at the moment allowing the smile that graces her face to be unabashedly admired by Santana.
Unfortunately, the look does not remain on Brittany's face for long as she lifts her bright eyes to survey the receiver of the dog's affection and is instantly met with the sight of (admittedly) incredible brown eyes. Once her brain processes just who those eyes belong to, however, Brittany's face drops in recognition. Something stings and tugs at Santana's heart with how swiftly the blonde's giddy bubbly personality fades at the mere sight of her.
Sure, she's used to getting those looks but they've never made her feel this horrible or guilty before, and usually she does a lot of insulting before the looks fall upon her.
"Yeah, uhm some Irish kid handed me uhh Lucky's leash and took off to help someone named Stan before I could tell him I wasn't actually a volunteer here yet or anything. Then uhh he just started licking my face and stuff." Santana blurts out and flushes at the both insinuation of her words and the horribly embarrassing rambling she just concluded.
"The kid or the dog?" Brittany asks back her head tilted in slight amusement, a smile desperately trying to be held back. Santana flushes even more at the blonde's words; she doesn't know why or how this girl has her so flustered.
"The dog." She mumbles and drops her eyes from the intense gaze Brittany is directing her way. It's not two seconds later that she feels the leash gently being taken from her hand and suddenly Brittany is much closer to her than before. Santana's breath hitches, she hopes it isn't as audible as it sounded to her, and her palms immediately begin to become clammy.
"I figured," Brittany says while actively not looking at Santana and instead patting the top of the dog's head. "I'm surprised you didn't belittle Rory or show your ungratefulness to him." She then speaks to Santana as she takes a step back from her and the dog loyally follows.
The jab leaves a bitter feeling in Santana's stomach and she frowns. Before she can even reply to the blonde, however, the other girl is leading the dog away with a sweet "Come on pretty girl" and Santana is left standing in front of the bench by herself to contemplate the actions that just occurred. One last glance towards the retreating blonde gives her hope though as she catches both Brittany and Lucky glancing back at her.
Even though the girl quickly averts her focus, Santana catches the look nonetheless.
Perhaps there is hope left for her to resolve this unsettling feeling in her gut caused by her guilt of making Brittany unhappy. She just doesn't like not seeing that bubbly smile on the girl's pretty face.
Just thinking about it makes the Latina's heart flutter a bit and feel just a little lighter.
Lost in her thoughts, the return of Rachel and her akin to a screech voice startles her just that little bit.
"My apologies for taking so long. I hope you were not terribly bored." Rachel says as she walks over to the now complacent Santana, not missing the hint of a smile that still tugs at her lips. The taller brunette shrugs as an answer, still flying high at the reaction to Brittany's glance back. She is feeling strangely good, so much so that she finds she does not even want to waste any of this new good energy on insulting the dwarf, at least not out loud.
Rachel stares at Santana suspiciously for a few seconds before deciding it's probably best to give the girl the information she has obtained so she can be on her way, before say, that hatred and rage returns.
"Whenever you're ready you can talk to Joanne the receptionist. She has your volunteer schedule worked out and will tell you what to expect and what you can do from here." Rachel informs the Latina cautiously, hoping she doesn't get thrown standard insults for that alone.
To her surprise, Santana merely nods her understanding and begins to walk down the hall that will take her by the rest of the dog suites and to the front entrance and reception area of the complex.
Although the Latina offers no thank yous to Rachel, she feels not getting a verbal lashing is accomplishment enough so she smiles and skips on her way to get back to her duties, humming a Barbra tune all the way.
When Santana arrives at the front desk she waits for Joanne, the receptionist, to complete her call before she steps up and speaks.
"I was told to talk to you about my schedule here or whatever." Santana supplies, feigning disinterest but acting oddly less of a bitch than normal. Joanne gives the young Latina a long, concentrated look before nodding and setting a packet of papers on the counter area for her.
"Yes, here is your duty packet. You will have to read through it and sign the back before you come in next time so that you can be certified to work with the dogs." The older lady explains and Santana nods in understanding. "When you come back on Tuesday, you will be shadowing one of the very best Harmonizer's and exceptional volunteers L.I.F.A.A has ever seen." The woman then continues to say and again Santana does nothing but nod her acceptance as she takes the packet from the counter and flips through it a little.
"Is that all then? I can go now?" She finally asks after a few awkward moments of silence. Joanne nods.
"Yes, just come back on Tuesday and meet up with Brittany so she can show you the ropes." The receptionist says and Santana does not immediately correlate the name with the person. When she finally does though, her head snaps up so quickly the action is bound to have given her whiplash.
"Brittany?!" she squeaks in obvious surprise, she was not expecting that.
"Yes, you will be shadowing her for the remainder of your time volunteering here." Joanne explains as if the notion is the most obvious and well known. Santana gulps but nods nonetheless; taking her packet she turns wordlessly and exits the complex.
Not until she reaches her shinny red car and climbs inside does she drop her head against the steering column with a pained, and overly dramatic, groan before she shakes her head at herself. She has to shadow Brittany, the stunning and entirely distracting blonde who probably hates her guts. Great.
Santana has a feeling this is going to be a long summer.
It's funny though how some things just work out sometimes.
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