Santana slowly folded her clothes before placing them in her suitcase. Her flight back to New York was only a few hours away, but she found herself not wanting to board. The thought of having to go back to the apartment she shared with Kurt and Rachel, or the thought of going back to her waitressing job caused a lot of anxiety for the girl. She wanted to stay in Lima for as long as possible. She liked the freedom it brought.
She looked up from her suitcase and looked around the room, something she did many times during her stay. It felt weird to her though. The room looked exactly the same as it did when she left. Everything was in the exact same place as she left it. The only things that had been changed were her bed sheets that the maid changed every week when she cleaned. Everything looked the same, but it didn't feel the same. This was her home, this was her room, but it didn't feel like hers anymore. It felt like it belonged to someone else.
Santana stepped away from her suitcase and walked over to her shelves. She left her fingers run over the records that were there, her eyes scanning the titles. Her eyes then landed on the few picture frames that still remained there. Some photos of her with the glee club, when they first started and when they won nationals. There were some photos from cheer camp where she first met both Quinn and Brittany. They photo she picked up was a photo of her with both blondes. It was their freshman year of high school when they first joined Cheerios. They looked so happy then, so care free. Now all Santana felt was guilt when she looked at the photo.
A knocking at the front door startled Santana. Both of her parents were at work, their goodbyes were all said this morning, so she was unsure who could possibly be showing up at her childhood home. She wasn't expecting anyone, so she walked slowly down the stairs towards the door. When she finally got to the front door and opened it, she was met with a flash of blonde hair.
"Hi," she breathed out.
"Hey," the girl replied.
Brittany stood in front of her, her eyes bluer than Santana remembered and her face a little thinner. Her long blonde hair was pulled into a messy bun and she was wearing Cheerios sweats. Santana missed mornings where she woke up and Brittany would look just like this.
"I heard your flight leaves in a few hours and I wanted to talk with you and say my goodbyes before you left."
"Yeah, no of course. Come in," Santana smiled and stepped aside as Brittany walked into the large home.
Santana walked from the kitchen with two cups of tea and a small plate of cookies. Brittany wasn't one to drink coffee, but it was still quite early in the morning and Santana was sure the blonde could do with some caffeine.
"Chocolate chip, my favourite," Brittany smiled as she took a small bite.
The silence stretched between them. It wasn't necessarily awkward, it was just different. It was the kind of silence that said there was something you both wanted to talk about, but you were waiting to see who was going to bring it up first. Who was going to be the one to address the elephant in the room?
"So that was some wedding, huh?" Santana chuckled nervously.
"Yeah I'd say," Brittany said over the rim of her mug. "I missed you yesterday."
Santana ignored the way her heart fluttered at that statement. "Yeah, I meant to talk to you-"
"Why didn't you?"
"You...you looked busy with Sam and I didn't want to overstep my boundaries."
'San, we can still talk to each other. You're still my best friend."
"Yeah I know," Santana said a little defeated. The truth is she wanted to talk to Brittany yesterday, but it hurt too much to watch her with Sam. She could handle the idea of them being together, but actually seeing it made her stomach turn.
"You and Quinn looked like you were having fun," Brittany stated. She couldn't help but notice the sadness she found in Brittany's voice.
"Yeah we were both alone, so we decided to hang out...catch up."
Silence fell over them again as they sipped their teas and ate their cookies. They both knew that Santana had done more than 'catch up' with Quinn. Santana was trying to focus her eyes on anything but Brittany, and Brittany kept her gaze focused on her lap.
"I...I saw her leave your room yesterday. And if I didn't know any better, she looked like she'd just been..." Brittany let the sentence hang there, waiting for Santana to deny it.
But Santana didn't.
"So you two had-"
"-Yeah," Santana didn't want Brittany to finish that sentence.
"How many times?"
"I just...how many?"
This time the silence stretched out far longer than the other two times. Santana watched as the information sunk in with Brittany. She watched as the different emotions passed over her features; confusion, sadness, hurt. Santana wanted to look away so bad but she couldn't. She was stuck watching Brittany, the guilt only becoming worse.
"I...I'm angry but I understand."
"No please, let me get this all out," Santana nodded.
"It hurts, it really does, but I can't tell you what to do. It wouldn't be fair of me to say you couldn't be with Quinn while I'm with Sam," she paused. "It's just...when I told you to go to New York and find new people and a real girlfriend, I didn't mean Quinn."
"Quinn and I aren't-"
"-I know," Brittany gave a weak smile.
"It didn't mean anything, you know?"
"It didn't?" Brittany questioned.
"It's better with feelings, right?" Santana gave a weak smile and Brittany did her best to return it.
"It's just...I want you to meet someone Santana, and that someone not be Quinn. I want you to go to New York and fall in love with some girl you met while waitressing, or maybe during an audition. I want you to have inside jokes and little traditions. Maybe you have Friday movie nights, or have dates every Tuesday," she paused, tears welling up in her eyes. "Most of all, I want you to be happy Santana. You deserve to be happy. But if you want to be happy, you have to let me and Lima go."
"What if I don't want to let you go Britt? I can't let you go," tears were beginning to stream down her cheeks.
"It's not forever. Just for a little while. You need to be free and live up to all the awesomeness that you are. I want that for you."
"What's going to happen to us then? What does the future hold for us?"
"You back to New York and I stay here in Lima and go back to McKinley. You work, or audition, or find a school and I will graduate in a few months. And depending on how it all works out, we will see what happens from there."
"Then why don't I just stay here with you? It's only for a few months, and I don't know if I can survive living with Rachel and Kurt that long," she let out a watery chuckle.
Brittany smiled and reached for Santana's hand, her thumb brushing over tanned knuckles. "Someone once told me that if you love something, you have to set it free. I have to let you go Santana. It wouldn't be fair to close my hand and trap you here. You're meant to fly."
"I can stay on the ground for a little while. Then in a few months, we can fly together," Santana smiled.
"It doesn't work like that, honey," Santana felt her stomach flutter at the old term of endearment. "If I closed my hand now, you might grow to resent it one day and I can't let that happen."
"So, okay, you let me go and I fall in love and meet new people. What happens then?"
"Well, the second part to that saying is 'if it is meant to be, they'll come back to you.' And I believe one day you'll come back to me, no matter what happens."
Tears were streaming down both of their cheek, creating thin tracks. Santana had to let go, and Brittany had to let her go in hopes that they would find each other again when the time was right. It didn't make it hurt any less though.
"You know I'll always love you the most, right?" Santana's voice was shaky.
"I love you too," Brittany returned, a small smile on her lips from hearing those words again. Hearing those words of hope that said 'no matter what, they would always love each other.'
Brittany reached up, her hand cupping Santana's cheek. She let her thumb brush away some of the tears, breaking the running track. She didn't ignore the way Santana leant into her touch. She smiled at Santana, and Santana smiled back.
"I'll miss you, Brit Brit."
"I'll miss you too, San."
They stayed like that for a moment before Brittany leaned forward, her lips inches from Santana's waiting for the girl to close the distance. When she did, Brittany's breath hitched at the contact. It wasn't a fight or a battle. It wasn't angry or sad. The kiss was a promise. A firm pressing of lips to let them know that they would find each other again someday, and they would be better versions of themselves when they did.
Santana pulled back when the need for air became too much. She rested her forehead against Brittany's, just breathing each other in. When Santana looked up, she saw ocean blue eyes staring back at her, a smile wide on Brittany's face.
"What are you smiling at?"
"So I guess you have a thing for blondes, huh?" she laughed.
"Shut up," Santana joined her.
"Seriously though, I am pretty sure one of Emma's bridesmaid's was checking you out. You should've gone for her."
"Ugh please, so not a fan of redheads," she smiled
"It's okay, blondes have more fun anyways," Brittany winked.
They stayed like that for a bit, casually joking around while they finished the rest of the cookies and another cup of tea each. They sat there as the hours ticked away until it was time for Santana to finish packing.
"I should really finish packing. My flight back to the mad house is in a couple of hours."
"I should get going soon too. I promised I'd meet Sam and the rest of the glee kids for a movie tonight."
Santana force a smile at the mention of Sam, but was glad Brittany had people to take care of her and keep her company while she was in New York.
They both got up and started heading towards the door, both moving slowly like they didn't want the day to end; just hanging on to the seconds before they had to say goodbye.
Brittany turned to look at Santana, her eyes running over her features as if she was trying to remember every detail. Santana did the same, memorizing every freckle. Brittany silently cupped her face and placed a one more chaste kiss to Santana's lips.
"I'll be seeing ya," Brittany said with a smile from quoting The Notebook. She promised to never tell anyone that it was Santana's favourite movie.
"Yeah, I'll be seeing ya," she returned the smile.
And with that Brittany walked out the door and down the driveway, throwing a wave over her shoulder. Santana waved back and watched as the girl disappeared. They were letting each other go, now both flying free. But deep down, no matter what, Santana knew she would find Brittany again. She knew Brittany was the girl she was going to marry.