So I've decided to keep going with this story after a suggestion in the reviews. Not sure how long this story will be, but we'll see. All mistakes are my own :)
Santana wrung her hands nervously as she sat in the boarding lounge waiting for her flight. It had been a few months since she had been home and she was nervous to head back there for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that home didn't seem much like home anymore but more like a distant dream, a memory. She remembers the street names, the architecture, the smells, the sounds and the people, but she doesn't get the familiar feeling she used to get when she was in Lima. Lima was no longer her home. New York City was her home.
She had listened to Brittany and did her best to head home with her head held high and her mind open wide. It was harder to do than she had expected, but she did it anyways because Brittany wanted her to do that and she would do anything for the blonde. So despite what her heart was telling her, she boarded her flight back to New York many months ago and promised herself never to look back. Not until she at least accomplished all the things Brittany wanted her to accomplish while she was there.
She had managed to live with both Rachel and Kurt for the past few months without getting the need to smother either with a pillow. If she was honest with herself, she actually really loved living with them. But she would never admit that to anyone, especially Kurt and Rachel. She wouldn't want the praise going to their heads. That would be something she could not handle. However, she loved the feeling that she didn't have to be anyone but herself. She didn't have to live up to a standard or a title. Being herself was enough. Granted she was still snarky and made crude remarks, but they were all in good fun. Both Rachel and Kurt understood that.
She loved their Sunday movie nights, which may as well been renamed to "Funny Girl" night with the amount of times they watched that movie, but Santana let it go. She would never say out loud how it was her favourite musical. She wouldn't give Rachel that satisfaction. She also loved how each morning she was awoken by soft vocal warm ups, which were annoying at first but they soon became a source of comfort. Sometimes she even caught herself singing along on certain mornings when she had to be up early for work. She loved their shameless bickering, which happened daily. And she now considered both Kurt and Rachel good friends, which she never had many of growing up. Sure she was popular, but when you were popular your friends were not really friends but more numbers to measure status. Her only true friends growing up were Quinn and Brittany. She was really glad she found true friendship with Kurt and Rachel. She's not sure if she could have survived New York without them.
Her phone buzzing in her lap startled her from her thoughts. She swiped her finger across the screen and entered her password, unlocking the phone. A smile spread across her lips when she read the message.
I hope you have a good flight baby! I know you don't do too well with planes, but I want you to imagine me holding your hand the whole way there. Love you and can't wait 'til you get back3 ~ C
She responded with a quick 'I love you and can't wait to get back,' before putting her phone back in her lap, turning it off as she did. It is getting closer to boarding time anyways and she doesn't want to get into a conversation before she boards. She would Skype with Caroline later.
Caroline came to her in a time when she wasn't even looking, but she can't say she's upset with this fact. They met one night when Santana was helping out a friend by picking up his shift up at the pub she sometimes works at on weekends. She was reluctant at first, but she really needed the money to help pay for rent that month. The pub was having an opening mic night, which usually only happens once a month, but it was her favourite time to be working. She would serve drinks while still keeping an ear out for anyone who managed to stand apart from the regulars. But as the hours passed, it seemed like it was going to be a fairly boring night. No one had really wowed her, and she was even embarrassed that some of these people thought they could actually sing. She was about to tune out for the night before one voice caught her attention. That voice belonged to Caroline. Her sound was smooth and sultry. It was so different from the raspiness Santana had grown to love and mimic, but it didn't mean Santana didn't like it. She watched as the girl softly strummed her acoustic guitar and belted lyrics of her flawlessly put together original piece. Santana couldn't help but feel a little jealous.
Later that evening, Santana was left to close the bar and kick out the drunks who were still glued to their seats. She was surprise to see that Caroline was one of them. She couldn't help but take in the girl's beauty. Her hair was auburn and her green eyes were complimentary and piercing. It was nothing like the blonde hair and the blue eyes that she had known her entire like, but she didn't feel like it was fair to compare Brittany to anyone. No matter what, the girl would always be on another level.
But it didn't stop her from flirting with the girl at the bar, and it didn't stop her from getting her number. It didn't stop her from meeting the girl for coffee one evening, or stop her from holding her hand as they strode through Central Park. It didn't stop her from winding up in Caroline's bed a few weeks later, nor did it stop her from saying yes when Caroline asked her if she would be her girlfriend.
It was different dating Caroline. Their date nights were Saturdays because Santana always found a reason to be busy on Fridays. She didn't understand why Santana always felt the need to feed the ducks in Central Park, but Santana would ignore her and do it anyways. When she would stay over, she would always take the spot closest to the window leaving Santana closer to door when possible intruders came in. Her favourite cookies were gingerbread, which Santana just found weird. She hates chick flicks like The Notebook and thinks musicals are a little overrated, which hurt Rachel more than it did Santana. This left them watching a lot of horror films whenever Caroline happened to join them for movie night. Her favourite animal is a giraffe and Santana told her that her favourite animal was a lizard. Caroline had thought it was odd, but then questioned why Santana always wore duck pyjamas if ducks weren't her favourite animal. Santana didn't have an answer for her.
And even though the girl seemed so different, it didn't mean that Santana didn't care for or love her. She loved how Caroline would bring her soup and green tea when she was sick. She loved when they would sing together as they made dinner or were just playing around. She loved sitting in on some of Caroline's classes, and loved that Caroline encouraged her to really pursue music. She loved making snowmen and having snowball fights, only to go home and sit by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. She loved taking walks through central park during the early spring when the weather was better, seeing all the bright colours that she had missed over the winter. She never liked dogs, or any animals for that matter, but Santana learned to grow a fondness for Caroline's dog Kaiser.
Santana was happy, really happy. But there was a reason Caroline wasn't sitting beside her now. The girl had offered but Santana politely declined. She made some excuse of how Lima would just be extremely boring and it wasn't worth the ticket, which was true, but not the reason why Santana didn't want her to go. She was heading home for Brittany's graduation and just wanted to be there on her own. She wanted to spend some time with her best friend.
"Flight to Lima now boarding," the voice came over PA.
Santana flinched at the voice but quickly gathered herself together and grabbed her carry on. She waited in the long queue before she finally handed over her ticket.
"Enjoy your flight ma'am," the young man at the desk said.
"Yeah, thanks," she smiled but was slightly offended at being called ma'am.
She passed the rows of seats before finding her own. She was thankful to be sitting next to the window with no one seated next to her. Then again, how many people were really eager to get back to Lima? If it wasn't for Brittany, Santana was pretty sure she wouldn't think of coming back much. She didn't miss Lima so much as the people in it.
An hour or so later her plane landed and she couldn't be more thankful. There was no worse feeling than being stuck on a plane with crying children and mediocre food for long periods of time. She gave credit to Mercedes for being able to fly back and forth between Lima and LA.
She finally managed to locate her bag before she heard screaming from the other side of the room.
"Mija, I'm so glad you're home," her mother screamed before engulfing the girl in a tight embrace.
"Hey mom," she laughed as she hugged her back. "Jeez, I was only gone for a few months. You'd think it's been years with the way you're crushing my bones.
"Can't a mother miss her daughter? Besides, I should be strangling you for dropping out of college and moving to New York without telling your poor old mother."
Santana cringed at the memory of her mother finding her plane ticket back to New York when she was supposed to be heading back to Louisville. Santana had tried to say she was just going to New York to catch up with Rachel and Quinn, but it was hard to convince the woman when she received a letter confirming Santana's drop out status.
"I'm still sorry about that by the way."
"Ah, nonsense. I always wanted you to go to school and get an education, but I know you have always wanted to be in New York. I know you'll find your way, but I really wished you at least had something to fall back on."
"Thank you for understanding. And I promise if this music thing doesn't work out for me that I will go back to school. I just want to see if I have a shot, you know? I want to know if I'm good or not."
"I understand mija. Now come on, let's get out of here," she smiled as she grabbed for Santana's bag and wheeled it out of the airport.
Standing in her room now, she got that feeling again. That home wasn't really home anymore. It felt even less like home as she looked at the state of her room. Her records had been retired to boxes. She had asked her parents if they could send them over to New York so she could listen to other music besides musicals. The photos that were there before had been packed away too, but this was Santana's doing. She had taken them in her suitcase the last time she was in Lima. She wanted a reminder of who she used to be, and a reminder of how far she's come since then. But with everything packed away, her room just became another room. There was nothing left that reminded her of her former self. And she didn't know if she liked that idea, the idea of having a clean slate, or if she secretly hated it.
She shrugged off the idea and began to pull her things out of her suitcase. She only planned to stay for the weekend, but she kind wished she could stay longer. Whenever she was home, it got harder to leave. She missed her parents and her mother's cooking. She missed the crappy coffee that they served at the Lima Bean and she missed being able to walk the streets aimlessly without running into another soul. She missed the quiet and the solitude.
But she had a life in New York now, and it's not something she would simply throw away because she enjoys her alone time. She has a job, she has a girl and she has her music. And right now those things are all she needs. She is content, for now at least. She's learned to take it one day at a time for now and that is how it is going to be until she find exactly what she wants from this life.
Her fingers ran over the dress that she had brought for Brittany's graduation. She felt a smile tug at her lips at the memory of Brittany calling her and telling her she had graduated. Brittany was so happy and excited. She was so joyous when she told Santana she had gotten the highest mark on her SATs. Santana was always confident in the fact Brittany was smart it just took the rest of the world a little longer to realize her genius.
Her dress was red because the colour was her favourite and because it was just kind of her and Brittany's thing. Caroline tried to get her to try and get a different colour, but Santana brushed her off. Caroline asked why and Santana couldn't give her an answer. That was just how some things were between them. Caroline would have questions that Santana just couldn't answer. Not because she didn't know them, just because it didn't feel right to share them with Caroline.
"Hurry up or were going to be late. Stop staring at the dress and work on putting it on," Maria called from the hall as she passed Santana's door.
"Yeah sorry, I'll be down soon."
She slipped her dress on and smoothed out the small creases. She let her curled hair fall over her shoulders and she fixed the few fly away pieces. She quickly touched up her makeup and quickly made her way downstairs to greet her impatient parents. At the rate they were pacing about, you'd think they were more excited to see Brittany than Santana was.
"Finally, you take forever. I thought we were going to miss the whole ceremony."
"Relax Papi, I'm here now."
"Stop arguing you two and get in the car so we can try and get a good seat," her mother yelled over her shoulder as she quickly walked towards the car.
"Yeah we're coming," her dad said as they both joined her.
Her parents talked between each other on the drive over. She was sure they were talking to her as well, but she had stopped paying attention ages ago. Her eyes were fixed on the passing scenery on the other side of the window. She was trying to take everything in, burn it to memory before she had to leave it yet again.
It wasn't long before they pulled into the McKinley parking lot. It took ages to find an open spot but they finally got one. Santana looked around and saw a few straggling students running to the auditorium in their red gowns. She remembered having to do the same when Brittany was giving her one of her graduation presents in the back of her car. She smiled at the memory of trying to wash off Brittany's lipstick from her neck and cheeks.
"Taking a stroll down memory lane, mija?" her father questioned.
"Yeah I guess you could say that," she smiled.
"She is probably remembering her and Brittany in the back seat of her car and her almost being late to her own ceremony. Don't think I didn't know mija. You had sex hair."
"Oh god, please stop talking."
She watched as her mother walked away with a smug look on her face and her father with his cheeks being bright red. She was slightly mortified but it didn't stop her from chuckling a little. She had come a long way from being the scared girl who was too afraid to admit her feelings, to reliving memories of her ex girlfriend. And not only were they reliving memories, they were about to watch her graduate.
Despite being worried about not having a good seat, they had seats reserved next to the Pierces. Both of Brittany's parents and her little sister engulfed Santana in a group hug. She would never be prepared for a Pierce group hug, but she had to say she missed getting them. They all sat as Mrs. Pierce asked all about New York, and Mr. Pierce would chime in every now and then. She really missed having them around. They were like second parents to her. And she never had any siblings, but she always considered Haley an honorary little sister.
After chatting for a few minutes the auditorium lights dimmed a little and the ceremony began. It wasn't the train wreck that their ceremony was last year. Mr. Figgins gave an opening speech congratulating the graduates on their success. There were a few guest speakers and then they began calling the names of the students. She watched as a few dozen students crossed the stage and accepted their certificates. Some even received scholarships and other awards. To be honest Santana was quite bored until the P's came up.
"May I call Brittany Pierce to the stage, who is also the recipient of a $500 scholarship for earning the highest recorded grade on her SATs."
Santana stood and watched Brittany cross the stage. She was standing on her seat and cheering as loud as she possibly could, even though she wasn't supposed to. It was worth it when Brittany turned her head and beamed towards Santana. It never failed to give the girl butterflies.
She eventually sat back down and waited for the rest of the names to be called. The ceremony was concluded with a speech from the valedictorian, who looked a lot like a mini Rachel, and a group performance by the glee club. Santana kept her eyes on Brittany the whole time.
The ceremony had ended ages ago and Santana found herself walking through the empty halls. It was a little nostalgic to see everything again, but really be able to absorb it all this time. It seemed like tired practice when she found herself in front of her and Brittany's old lockers. A lot had happened in these hallways, and Santana wouldn't have changed those memories for anything. Those memories lead to the happiest days of her life.
"I thought I missed you for some reason. I didn't see you leave the aud."
Santana was startled by Brittany's voice, but a smile quickly replaced her look of shock. She closed the small distance between them and wrapped her arms around Brittany.
"I'm so proud of you Britt Britt. See, I always told you that you were a genius."
Santana could feel Brittany smile against her cheek as she buried her face closer to Santana's neck. The movement warmed her heart and she didn't realize how much she missed the girl until this moment.
"I couldn't have done it without you helping me with studying. Skype really became a life saver, huh?" she said as she pulled away from the embrace, a smile on her face.
"Nah, you didn't need me. Though I would have never missed an opportunity to see your gorgeous face on my computer screen," Santana said as Brittany's cheeks tinged pink.
"Do you want to sit for a minute? I feel like it's been so long. I though since we're alone now we could catch up."
"I'd love that," Santana smiled.
They both made their way over to the lockers and slid down 'til they were sitting side by side on the hallway floor. They sat in silence for a moment, waiting for the other to speak. It was a nice silence though, just enjoying each other's presence.
"So how's New York been?"
"Well I haven't been charged for murdering Kurt and Rachel yet, so I assume that's a plus," they both laughed before they fell into silence again.
"But really, what's been going on in your life these past few months? I've missed my best friend," Brittany asked with a smile.
"I missed you too, Brit," Santana returned the smile. "But really not a whole lot has happened. I'm still working at the coffee shop down the street. I've started picking up a few shifts at a pub a few blocks away though."
"How's that been?"
"It's good. I'm technically not supposed to be serving, but they kind of wave it in my case. Kind of helps when I look like I'm 25 I guess."
"I've always kind of seen you as the bartender type. Maybe not forever, but at some point in your life I guess."
"Yeah, and the best part is their open mic nights every months. I've even started singing at a few of them."
"That's really great, San. Though I am glad you're working, I'm glad you have something out there that is completely yours, you know? Whether it was going back to school or losing yourself in music, it would have been unfair to have to give it up. I'm glad you stuck with it."
Santana was glad she found music again as well. She had stopped performing in Louisville because she never had the time and she thought it would screw up her status she was trying to build there. But now that she didn't have school to fall back on, she was glad she had found her love for music once again. She had really missed it.
"Yeah, me too."
"So have you met anyone?" Brittany questioned and Santana went a little rigid. "Sorry I didn't mean to spring that one on you, I just wanted to know. It was part of the deal right? You were supposed to go back and meet new people and find someone to share your awesomeness with."
"Yeah I know. And yes I did find someone."
"Ooo, tell me about her," Brittany said as she placed her head on Santana's shoulder.
She took a moment for herself to collect her thoughts. The idea of talking about your current girlfriend with your ex girlfriend seemed a little weird to the girl. But she had to remember that Brittany was her best friend first and her ex girlfriend second. Her curiosity was not sparked out of jealously but out of general interest.
"Well, I met her at one of the open mic nights. She was singing and was probably one of the only people who could that night."
"A singer, that's hot," Brittany smiled against her shoulder.
"Yeah, she has auburn hair and these amazing green eyes."
"She sounds super pretty."
"Yeah she is, but she's not as pretty as you."
Santana felt guilty for saying it but it didn't make it any less true. She felt Brittany tense for a moment, shocked by the honest statement, but she soon relaxed against Santana.
"Tell me about her."
"Her name is Caroline. She sings and plays guitar. She goes to NYU and sometimes I sit in on her classes. She loves horror movies and her favourite cookies are gingerbread. She loves the snow and hates the ocean because she got stung by a jellyfish one time. She orders her coffee with extra whip cream because it masks the actual taste of coffee. She gets along with Kurt and Rachel, and I get along with her friends in return. Her dog Kaiser is adorable and I may or may not have tried to steal him on many occasions."
Brittany laughed against her shoulder and Santana couldn't help but join in. It felt good to talk about Caroline, really good. She loved her, she really did. And though she may never love her with the intensity that she loved Brittany, she loved her none the less. And that would always be enough.
"She sounds really great, Santana. I'm really happy for you."
"Yeah, yeah she really is," Santana paused, a smile pulled on her lips. "So what about you? What have I missed in the life of Brittany S. Pierce?"
Brittany sat up and glance at Santana, a smile on her lips. There was a certain sparkle in her eyes that Santana didn't notice the last time she saw her. It seemed more freckles had dotted her nose and cheeks with the warmer weather rolling in. She looked really good. Really happy.
"Well I finally graduated," she laughed as she waved her diploma around. "I got a few offers for some schools who want me for their dance programs.
"Britt, that's amazing," Santana beamed and pulled Brittany into a tight hug.
"Yeah, I just need to figure out which program I want to go into."
"Where have offers come from?"
"LA, Chicago and New York..."
The last place hung in the air for a moment and Santana now realized why Brittany was waiting to accept an offer.
"So where are you leaning towards?"
"I was thinking LA maybe. I could share an apartment with Mercedes and her other roommate. It was one of my first offers, and I've always kind of wanted to live out there. You know how much I love the sun."
"I know," she gave a weak smile. "Why not New York? We don't have to live together or anything, but it would mean that you would be closer."
"I'm not going to lie, I thought about it. But I realize now that you got your chance to grow, but now I need mine. You got your college experience and your New York experience, so now it's my turn. And I know I would love to have you by my side, but I think I need to do this on my own, you know? Just for a little bit."
"You're beginning to sound a little bit like a broken record, Brit."
"I might be, but like I told you last time 'if we're meant to be, we'll find our way back to each other.' Plus if I am in LA with Mercedes we can have a Troubletones reunion."
"I'd like that," Santana chuckled. "I kind of miss Wheezy."
"Santana," Brittany scolded.
"What, it is a term of endearment," she laughed. "So what does Sam think about all this?"
"I don't know, though I don't really care. We broke up about a month ago."
"We were both going to different places in life and we realized we made better best friends than boyfriend and girlfriend. He's like a little brother to me."
"That's a little creepy Britt that you dated someone you think of as a little brother."
"I guess I always thought of him that way, I was just a little confused for awhile. I think I confused him being there as romantic love rather than friend love."
"How'd he take it?"
"I think it was a little hard for him at first, but I think he is good now. He actually met a girl at a comic book convention. They're really cute together."
Santana had to smile at that. Despite the anger she felt towards the boy while he was dating Brittany, she always loved the boy as a friend. He may have made some bad choices this year after losing Mercedes, but he has always been a good guy. She just thinks he lost sight of that for a little while. So knowing he had someone just like him made Santana happy.
"I'm glad he's happy, and I'm glad you're happy too. I would have kicked his ass if he hurt you."
"I know you would have. I've seen you go all Lima Heights," she chuckled. "I'm glad you're happy too Santana. You deserve it."
"Thanks," she smiled.
They sat there for a moment in silence once again. Brittany laid her head back on Santana's shoulder and Santana laid her head on top of Brittany's. They sat there in the silence of the hall and listened to the sound each other breathing. They sat with the knowledge that they were both happy, but soon they were going to have to say goodbye once again.
"So what happens now?" Santana whispered.
"You go back to New York and I go to LA and if it's meant to be, we'll find each other again."
"We seem to be finding each other again a lot, but it never seems to be the right time."
"One day it will be, and you'll be thankful for these times when we let each other go to live and grow."
"It doesn't make it any easier."
"I never said it was going to be easy."
They sat for another silent moment before Brittany's phone buzzing startled them.
"My parents want to me to go back to my house for family dinner with some extended family."
"No, yeah you should go."
They both stood up from the ground before pulling each other into a tight embrace. They stood there in the hallway for a few minutes and held each other, almost afraid to let go.
"I'll be seeing you," Brittany whispered.
"I'll be seeing you," Santana whispered back.
Brittany pulled back and placed a chaste kiss on Santana's lips before making her way down the hall. Santana watched silently as the girl walked away and waited until she turned the corner before she let the tears fall.
Let me know if you have ideas for other chapters because I really don't have anything planned out (though I never usually do lol).
Thanks for reading :)