A/N: So sorry for the delay. I hope this chapter makes up for it. This story should be completed in about three or four more chapters. I'm hoping to conclude it by the end of the summer, as well as my Quinntana fic, TCSMH.
At the end of this summer, I'll officially be a high school senior, so these two stories might be my last. I really want to concentrate on my studies this year, and fanfiction is kind of distracting, so. I might upload a one-shot every now and then, but for now, this will be my last story.
Thanks again for reading and reviewing ;) Your feedback is much appreciated!
The car ride to Queens is mostly quiet other than the radio playing low in the background. Brittany doesn't recognize the song, so she remains quiet, tapping her thumb on the steering wheel every now and then to the beat.
Every time a song comes on that Santana knows, she unabashedly rocks out to it. Bobbing her head up and down, and pounding her fist against the roof of the car, Santana brings out her air-guitar and shreds on the imaginary strings.
Brittany knows what Santana's doing; she's trying to break the heavy tension that's been floating around for more than a few days now, and Brittany really appreciates it. No matter where they are in their relationship, something tense always seems to permeate around them.
(And it's kind of annoying.)
One minute, it's like they just get each other; everything's grand; they're eye to eye; on the same page. Then the next, everything falls apart; a commercial about engagement rings come on while they're cuddling on the couch; a cute couple walks by, holding hands, softly whispering how much they love one another into each other's ear.
Brittany wants to say those three words so badly. Most of the time, they're right on the tip of her tongue. But before she can say them, she and Santana have to have that talk. Brittany doesn't even know how to start it. Honestly, she doesn't want to start it at all. There's this very irritating nagging in the back of her mind that keeps telling her that their talk will indicate the beginning of the end.
They don't talk much as Brittany drives. For the last half hour, only slow love songs have been playing on the radio, so it seems Santana's done rocking out for now. They don't talk, because, well...there's not much to discuss. With her bare feet kicked up on the dashboard, Santana mentions something about her classes, and in response, Brittany talks a bit about work and how annoying Rachel has been as of late, and then complete silence.
They hit a fuckload of traffic on the Verrazano Bridge; the sound of beeping cars and enraged drivers masks the heaviness of their silence. Santana rolls down her window and sticks her head out to see what's causing all of the traffic, and Brittany swallows thickly and tosses on a pair of shades, unable to face the awkward silences.
All she can think about is their conversation the other day; how Santana accused her of cheating; how she doesn't want to get married; how they're going to have to talk about all of this when they get home.
It's completely messing with her head, and if she doesn't solve this problem soon, it's going to seriously start affecting her work.
Things between them have never felt this awkward before. Over the last three days, they've barely even talked. Brittany can't even blame it on their busy schedules anymore. There's this blatantly obvious wall stuck between them, and while Santana wants to climb over the wall, all Brittany wants to do is grab a jackhammer and destroy the damn thing.
(More than anything, Brittany hates talks.)
Talks mean vulnerability. Talks mean feelings. Talks mean opening up and releasing all of your inner thoughts, and ironically, Brittany doesn't like talking about her feelings and emotions, or what she's thinking every second of the day.
Santana's a pro at putting all of her insecurities about their relationship out there, always prepared to get hurt. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and that's one of the things Brittany loves about the college student, but Brittany isn't like that.
(Not even close.)
There has to be a reason why she's so closed off, so unable to show how much she cares. Brittany tries to look at the facts; she had a nice childhood; no one ever touched her inappropriately; her professional career is going swell; she has a fairly good relationship with her parents; her sister has always been there for her.
So, it seems, Brittany has no excuse for being so heartless. Maybe she's just more vulnerable or susceptible to getting her heart broken. She's never trusted anyone with her heart like this before, and honestly, it's a really scary thing to contemplate the thought that someone so wonderful and beautiful and kind actually loves her.
It's taken her awhile, but Brittany can now tell the difference between what she wants and what she needs. It's that yearning, that longing she feels, pulling her thumping heart in any direction Santana goes.
After awhile, their fingers naturally interlace like vines in a jungle over the center console. Santana's hands are warm and moist, like always. Most people would think it's gross, but Brittany finds comfort in this touch.
(She finds hope and love and strength in this touch.)
Their age gap keeps nagging her in the back of her mind, but when she really things about it, long and hard, Brittany recalls the words Santana said when they first started dating; something about being more into older women, meaning Santana could've definitely been with women well in their forties before, which, of course, makes her feel a little jealous, but there's also a pinch of relief in that mixture of emotions as well.
"The funniest thing happened the other night at Mike's house party," Santana speaks up after a whole half hour of silence.
It takes Brittany a moment to remember who Mike is. Santana has a lot more friends than Brittany, and sometimes it takes some thinking to recall who's who. Finally, it comes to her; Mike is Tina's boyfriend from dance class, or something like that.
Glancing out the side of her eye, Brittany smiles weakly before looking back at the road. "Yeah?" she says.
"Mhm," Santana confirms, rocking her head back and forth to the low music playing from the speakers. "This girl was like flirting with me like all night, and then at the end of the night she asked me out on like a date."
Each like that comes out of Santana's mouth stretches Brittany's smile wider and wider. It's no secret that the younger woman only ever talks this way when she's nervous or embarrassed about something, so sue Brittany for finding it a tad adorable.
"Is that so?" Brittany asks, playing along.
"Yeah," Santana nods, unconsciously fiddling with each one of Brittany's fingers. "And I told her no, of course, but then she wanted a reason."
"What did you tell her?"
"Well, she was like, do you have a girlfriend or something?" Santana says, mimicking the other woman's voice. "And I was like, not exactly, but, yeah, kinda. And she was like, so, that's a no? And I was like, it's a maybe."
The way Santana tells stories is kind of funny, and Brittany really wants to laugh at the awkward occurrence, but she does feel a little bad for causing Santana so much confusion on where they stand in their relationship.
"So," Brittany glances sideways and gently drags her thumb over the back of Santana's hand. "What ended up happening?"
Lolling her head sideways, Santana snorts in laughter, clearly amused, and says, "I guess she got annoyed with all of my avoidance techniques and went off to look for someone else to take home."
And this is where Brittany feels the worse. Yeah, she loves Santana, and of course it would totally hurt to see her with somebody else, but who is Brittany to keep Santana from enjoying her life, living her life with someone who could actually love her back and outwardly admit that she loves her back?
Brittany would say it; she wants to say it so bad, but she doesn't want to risk getting Santana's hopes up, just to crush them.
The only way Brittany could ever jump into an official relationship with Santana is if she knew the young woman was interested in getting married and/or raising a family with her, but those dreams are just totally absurd considering Santana's only twenty-one. Truthfully, their age gap wouldn't even be so much of a problem if Santana was just a few years older.
(So, here's big question; is Brittany willing to wait, even if she's really waiting for nothing?)
"I'm sorry for calling your sister a blonde whore," Santana mumbles against the glass of the window. "Please don't tell her I said that."
(Santana tells her everything, admits everything, and apologizes for everything. Why can't Brittany be more like her?)
"It's okay, San," Brittany reassures her, then teasingly adds, "And too late, I already told her."
Santana whips her head around, an expression of complete horror etched across her features. "Oh my God, why?" she whines, punching Brittany in the shoulder when the older woman starts laughing. "It's not funny, you loser. Now she'll hate me."
"She won't hate you," Brittany tells her, punching Santana back. "Jessie actually thought it was pretty funny."
The college student scoffs, unamused. "Ha ha, funny?" she asks, anxiously tapping her fingers on the center console. "Or murderous, rampage Joker, funny?"
Smiling sweetly, Brittany covers Santana's hand with her own and squeezes reassuringly. "Ha ha, funny," she claims, nodding insistently. "Definitely ha ha, funny."
Santana sighs in relief, resting her head back against the headrest.
"But you never know," Brittany continues teasingly, interlacing their fingers once again. "Jessie can be quite cynical at times. She's probably plotting out ways to execute you Joker style right this second."
Punching Brittany in the shoulder again, Santana rolls her eyes and says, "I'm in love with such a bitch," she sighs, shaking her head sadly. "I swear to God, how did this happen?"
If Brittany knew, they wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, so instead of an answer, she just pecks Santana on the cheek before the traffic starts moving again.
As crazy as it sounds, Brittany's never been to a high school football game before; not even when she was in high school. It's not that she was a loser or anything. It's just, her football team sucked. Every season, their team would only win about three or four games tops.
(No offence, but Brittany had better things to do with her time.)
She can't believe it.
She's actually about to meet Santana's family. Brittany's never met the parents of the people she's dated in the past, and apparently this is all new to Santana as well, considering the way the younger woman lets out a breath so long, Brittany's surprised she doesn't pass out.
As soon as she pulls into the parking lot near the football field, Brittany kills the engine, lets out an equally long breath of air, and stares forward.
"Okay," Santana sighs, slowly unbuckling her seatbelt, as if to delay the inevitable. "Here goes everything."
Brittany doesn't say anything. If she opened her mouth, she just might vomit. After checking her makeup one more time in the rearview mirror, Brittany nods to herself before reaching for the door.
"Before you get out," Santana speaks up suddenly. "Let me tell you about my family to avoid a reenactment of when you met Rudy."
Releasing the door handle, Brittany shifts in her seat and says, "Okay."
She has to admit, she was pretty blindsided the other day when she met Rudy. Not that he's a bad person, though. Far from it. Sure, his personality could use a little work. And okay, he could also use a filter, but Brittany supposes his quirks and flaws are what make him Rudy in the first place.
"Let's start with Rudy," Santana mumbles, nervously curling her fingers around each other on top of her lap. "You've already met him. Maybe if he stays far enough away you won't have to meet him again." She peers through the window and points straight ahead. "That's his best friend, Vanessa. The one with the black hair standing in line at the concession stand?"
Brittany doesn't see her at first. Ducking her head, she has to squint her eyes through the glare of the sun. Finally, she spots the woman exactly where Santana said. From this distance, all Brittany can really see is her short black hair and thin figure.
"Rudy's always had a thing for her. Since like high school, I think," Santana shrugs. "But she doesn't like him back, so he sleeps with the whole town in order to fill the void."
A blonde eyebrow quirks in curiosity. "Why?"
"Don't ask me," Santana chuckles, shrugging a shoulder. "Maybe he wants to catch an STD or something. He's always been sick like that."
"No," Brittany laughs, shaking her head. "I mean, why doesn't she like him back?"
"Because she's smart?"
Santana lifts her eyebrows, as if it's a known fact no one could ever love Rudy. It makes Brittany kind of sad. She silently hopes Santana doesn't think that way about herself.
"So, Ricky," Santana continues, glancing out the window. "He's not the type of gay man you'll go shopping with, or get fashion advice from, or who listens to Cher."
(Vanessa, Rudy, Ricky. Got it.)
"He loves sports, eats like a barbarian, and releases gas like it's his occupation," Santana continues without missing a beat. "The closest thing to gay he's ever done is get a manicure. But that was because of a bet." She pauses to smirk. "I won."
Suddenly, Santana hops out of the car. Pulling her eyes out of the ignition, Brittany's quick to follow her through the parking lot and towards the front gate. Once she's paid for their tickets, Santana leads them to the railing near the football field, where there's a perfect view of the teams warming up.
"And that's Christian, my favorite," Santana says proudly, pointing him out. Number 5, it seems. Brittany can't see his face, but for sixteen, he's a pretty tall dude. "He's like the total opposite of Rudy. The sweetest teenager you'll ever meet. Except when we're playing Call of Duty. There's no room for sweets during war times."
Grabbing her hand, Santana leads her away from the bleachers. They walk in silence for awhile, and Brittany takes her time to look around at all of the teenagers dressed in their black and red school colors. The Red Devils mascot runs around somewhere the track in circles as a group of shirtless boys follow behind him with the letters D-E-V-I-L painted across their bare stomachs.
"And that's my mom on the bleachers," Santana says, breaking Brittany out of her sightseeing. "She'll probably just tell you to call her Lisa. And if she says you're really skinny, it's not a compliment. Just eat whatever she puts on your plate and everything should work out fine."
She meets Ricky first. There's a huge hotdog shoved in his mouth as they're approaching him, and curse mental images.
(She's going to be suffering from that one for awhile.)
He's exactly like Santana described him; outgoing, jovial, funny. If Rudy and Ricky didn't look alike, she'd never even suspect they were related because they're so freaking different.
Rudy is annoying and loud and offensive, while Ricky is just plain awesome. He even gives her a fist bump before walking off to find his friends, and it's the most awesome fist bump she's ever received.
(Other than the one's Santana has given her, of course.)
She meets Lisa second, an exact carbon copy of Santana, which is kind of weird, because is it normal to find your lover's mother attractive? Brittany doesn't think so, so instead of blurting it out to the world, Brittany decides to keep this tidbit of information to herself.
Lisa has a really strong handshake for such a tiny woman in her fifties. And if that isn't intimidating, her probing questions sure are; How long have you been seeing my daughter? You didn't take her virginity, did you? Are you on any drugs or prescribed painkillers? How important is money to you? Are you afraid of ghosts? Have you ever been on the wrong side of the law? Do you read newspapers? Have you ever undergone therapy of any sort?
Most of the questions don't even make sense or pertain to her in any way, but Santana and her mom seem to be enjoying the interrogation based on the identical smirks stretched across their faces, so Brittany just tries to play along, laughing and smiling at all the appropriate moments.
(The moments seem appropriate to Brittany, at least.)
Santana's mother seems to ask her every question in the book instead of the one Brittany's been expecting, which is, "How old are you?" No one has asked her that. At all. Sure, Santana could've warned them beforehand, giving her family enough time to let it digest before meeting her, but Brittany doesn't think so.
It's the way they look at her, all accepting and whatnot. It makes Brittany believe they're just naturally understanding people.
(After all, you'd have to be an understanding person with two gay children.)
She meets Rudy third, which is mostly unnecessary, considering she's already met him. He's just as Rudy as he was before. His first and only comment is, "My sister's fucking a super model," which, ironically, was his first comment the last time they met.
This time, at least, he's not yelling it out to an entire restaurant, just to his high school pal, Josh or John, or something. With wide eyes, Josh or John stares at her, this weird look etched across his face, and Brittany kind of feels uncomfortable until Santana intertwines their fingers and starts pulling her in the opposite direction towards the concession stand.
Brittany meets Vanessa next. She's tall and thin and pretty with smooth skin and freckles, but Brittany immediately dislikes her, which is weird, because Brittany's not the type to judge someone before she even really knows them. It's just, Vanessa looks at Santana like she's some juicy steak, and it totally rubs Brittany the wrong way.
Everything Santana does, Vanessa reacts to it. If Santana tells a joke, she laughs like a hyena on steroids. If Santana bites into a hotdog, Vanessa just stares as if she's watching the sun explode. If Santana trips over her shoelaces, which surprisingly happens a lot, Vanessa is seemingly always there to catch her.
(And it's Brittany's job to catch Santana, not Vanessa's.)
"Where's your dad?" Brittany asks her, looking around a crowd of people standing near the concession stand. "He couldn't make it?"
Santana never gets the chance to answer, because suddenly a tall man with salt and pepper hair sneaks up behind her with a loud, "BOO!" Santana doesn't even flinch, just softly punches the man in his gut with a wide grin before introducing him to Brittany.
"This is my, my..." Santana stutters, trails off, pauses, then says, "This is Brittany."
The blonde tries not to cringe as she holds out her hand. "Hi, Mr. Lopez," she greets politely. "It's nice to finally meet you."
Completely ignoring her offered hand, the man grabs her arm and pulls her into the longest bear hug she's ever received in her entire life. "Please, call me Jeffrey," he says, withdrawing slightly with a cheeky grin. "Mr. Lopez was my father."
It's weird to Brittany; calling older people by their first names, but Santana does it, so Brittany figures it can't be too hard. She's only ever called her parents mom and dad, never Harriet and Joe. Her parents would have probably killed her if she tried to call them by their first names. Even now, being almost thirty years old, her parents would still totally kill her.
Once the game is about to start, they're both cuddled together on the bleachers to fight the slight chill in the air, and Brittany finally gets a chance to whisper, "I think Vanessa's into you."
Apparently this statement is incredibly hilarious by the way Santana throws her head back and snorts in amusement.
Cocking her head sideways, Brittany narrows her eyes and says, "I'm serious. She's totally into you."
"Brittany," Santana sighs in the way that makes Brittany feel like she's being silly, "Vanessa's been my brother's best friend forever. She does not like me. She and I are practically cousins. That's like incest or something."
"Except it's not, because she's technically not your cousin."
Instead of a response, all Brittany receives is a super loud, "That's my brother!" screamed into her ear. Santana's up on her feet, clapping and shouting as the football teams run out onto the field.
Deciding to worry about it later, Brittany focuses her eyes on the game, and maybe she should have gone to at least one football game in high school, because she literally has no idea what's happening.
A bunch of boys run back and forth, throw and catch this pointy, brown ball every now and then, and sometimes people even cheer when a scrawny player kicks the pointy, brown ball through these tall, yellow poles. Santana moderates the whole game, so thankfully Brittany doesn't really need to know what's happening anyway.
"My grandma can throw farther than that!"Santana hollers at her own brother.
Incredulous, Brittany laughs at how red Santana's face is from yelling. Everyone seems to be staring at them, even Santana's mother who is sitting a few seats in front of them beside Vanessa. When Brittany catches her eye, she mouths, Help me, though Lisa's only response is, a mouthed, No way.
"Step on his face! Step on his face!" Santana yells, whenever the opposing quarterback gets sacked, which happens a lot throughout the game. Also, she shouts, "Hey, ref, get off your knees, you're blowing the game," every time the men in those black and white pinstripes blows their whistle or throw out a yellow flag.
Although Brittany doesn't really understand what any of these phrases mean, her favorite has to be the chants where Santana sings, loud and proud, "Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, goodbye..." near the end of the game.
Sure, Brittany might have a slight migraine in the back of her head as she's descending the bleachers after the game has finally ended, but she's with Santana, looking at Santana, smiling at Santana, holding Santana's hand as the younger woman goes on and on about how, "That Larson kid needs to fucking block his man a'fores I ends him," but it's the most adorable New York accent Brittany's ever heard, so.
(Whatcha gonna do?)
Hours later, when they're all back at the house Santana grew up in, Brittany's still expecting somebody to comment on their very obvious age difference, but everyone just acts like it's normal and watches the football game in the living room.
(Yes. Another football game.)
She's sitting in between Christian and Rudy. They both kind of smell. Christian, Brittany thinks, has an excuse for smelling like he just rolled around in sweat and dirt for three hours, because, well, he did. But Rudy smells like that too, and Brittany's pretty sure all he's done today is unknowingly offend a group of strangers rooting for the opposing team.
She can feel herself sinking deeper and deeper into the couch every time Christian shifts forward, reaching for the bowl of nachos on the coffee table. Yelling and hollering comes from all directions as they watch another football game on the tube.
Most of the yelling and hollering is directed at Ricky, who insists on standing right in front of the television. Brittany doesn't really mind, considering she doesn't understand the game of football anyway, but every time Ricky mistakenly drifts back to his spot in front of the flatscreen, Santana pelts him with a throw pillow, yelling, "Your mother wasn't a glassmaker."
For some reason, Christian seems to love that joke, because every time Santana yells it, which is a lot, he starts laughing so hard, nacho chips fly out of his mouth and into his lap. Narrowing her eyes, Brittany can't help but laugh, especially when Christian blushes in embarrassment.
According to Santana, every time the Giants play the Eagles, Jeffrey throws on his favorite Eli Manning football jersey, and apparently today is no exception. Every time the Giants score a homerun, or slam dunk, or whatever it's called, Jeffrey chest bumps every single person in the living room, women included.
And Jeffrey's a pretty big man, so whenever it's Brittany's turn for a chest bump, she quickly stands up, sucks in a deep breath, and clenches her eyes shut, praying it's not as hard as the last one.
Santana likes the chest bumps the most out of everyone. As soon as a Giants' touchdown is scored, Santana's out of her seat and in front of Jeffrey, yelling and hollering,
a) "We're destroying their asses!"
b) "Let's make the Eagles cry!"
c) "Bunch of pussies!"
d) "Blaine's gonna owe me fifty bucks!"
e) All of the above
The couch bounces up and down, up and down, as Christian and Rudy cheer and high-five and chest bump, and why is she sitting here of all places? The kitchen seems like a much safer place, so that's where Brittany goes.
(Besides, it may be a good idea to start chatting up Santana's mom.)
Except her plan backfires, because right when she enters the kitchen, Vanessa's dark, dark browns find Brittany's light, light blues and stare, long and hard. Unaware of the obvious tension between the two young women, Lisa invites Brittany into the kitchen to help finish cooking dinner.
Vanessa doesn't say too much as Brittany joins in, just follows Lisa's instructions on how to season the chicken. Once she puts the tray into the oven, Vanessa stalks out of the kitchen with this dark stare, and Brittany shivers with the feeling a demon is amongst them.
Throughout the day, Vanessa's been blatantly checking Santana out, leaving fleeting touches on her shoulder, and making sly remarks that no one seems to notice but Brittany.
(And no, this isn't just all in her head.)
She's not blind. Brittany knows flirting when she sees it. Earlier in the day, she even confronted Santana about it, but the young woman had just laughed it off, the thought of Vanessa being gay totally out of the realm of possibilities.
Now that it's just her and Santana's mother in the kitchen, Brittany thinks they're about to have the talk, because this would just be the perfect opportunity, but instead Lisa talks about something else; something deep and heartbreaking and kind of enlightening.
Lowering her voice, Lisa peeks outside the kitchen door before whispering, "Santana was really closed off in high school after her father left."
Something unnerving lodges itself into Brittany's throat as she tries to swallow this idea; the idea of Santana as a little girl having to hear her parents fight and argue while she cries at the top of the steps. The idea of Santana as a little girl, waking up in the middle of the night with the sound of a car driving off, never to return. The idea of Santana, the only girl in the family, having to suck up her pride and act strong in front of her brothers.
"I'm glad Santana found you," Lisa continues, resting her hand on Brittany's shoulder with a comforting squeeze. "Now she can just be herself and learn how to love again."
Now it all makes sense; why Santana's so anti-marriage, why she seems so against the idea of making promises. Biting her lower lip, Brittany tries to remember everything Santana's ever said, trying to look for a specific sign that could've prepared her for this realization.
"Her Uncle Jeffrey helped me raise them for awhile, but I can tell her father's absence still affects her," Lisa expresses, shaking her head with a sad smile. "Santana doesn't like to talk about it very much. She's always been-"
"Are you insane? Should have thrown it, you moron. Sacks are for penises, not Giants!"
"-a little eccentric," Lisa settles on, raising her eyebrows. "But don't let her easygoing nature fool you. She was always good at hiding how she felt with an easy smile. She'd have bad days when something would remind her of her father. Highs and lows, we called them. I'm just happy she has you, sweetie."
Wiping her sticky fingers on a hand towel, Brittany peers up at Lisa's warm eyes and smiles the best she can. "I'm happy to have her, too," she says, and absolutely means it.
If watching the Giants football game is World War I, then dinner is totally World War Z. All of the food is set out in bowls on the table, and after a quick prayer where everyone holds hands around the table to bless the food, chaos ensues. Growing up with only one other sibling in the house and two lackluster parents, dinnertime was never really an interesting occurrence.
But here in the Lopez house, it's every man for themselves. Once everybody mutters Amen all hell breaks loose as the men at the table race to grab the nearest serving spoon. Sitting beside her, Santana fights to retrieve the biggest chicken wing she can find, and Brittany watches, fearful for Santana's fingers.
Unable to control her blushing, Brittany totally turns pink when the younger woman sets the chicken wing on her plate instead of her own.
It's the small things that make a difference. It's the small things that make Brittany swoon like a lovesick child, and when Santana shoots her that shy grin before digging into a bowl of macaroni, Brittany is surer than ever that she's in love with his girl.
(Who would've thought, right?)
The only people who aren't going crazy over the food like a bunch of starved wildebeest is Vanessa, Lisa, and, of course, Brittany. After awhile, the craziness of war dies down, and that's when the Ask Brittany whatever you want portion of the night takes place. She doesn't really mind much. It feels kind of nice to get all this positive attention from Santana's family/envious glares from Vanessa.
Surprisingly, Santana answers half of the questions for her anyway, which really kind of turns her on, knowing Santana actually listens to her during their pillow talks, actually listens to her when they chat on the phone at all hours of the night.
By the time dinner is over, Brittany is so stuffed, she can barely stand. Santana half carries, half drags her to the couch before disappearing to go use the restroom. Rudy must hate her, because once she's sitting comfortably on the couch, he turns on another football game.
Christian is seated beside her as soon as he learns the Ravens are playing, followed by Ricky with a bag of chips; sour cream and onion, as well as Doritos. Brittany's so stuffed, she doesn't even want to smell the snack, but she ends of getting a whiff of it anyway when Christian starts yelling at the television in Spanish.
(Bad breath is death.)
Shooting up from the couch, Brittany leaves the living room in search for Santana. There has to be a better place than the living room.
(There has to be.)
Just as she's rounding a corner to find this better place, Brittany spots Santana heading down the hallway in her direction, her face totally flushed and pale, looking as if she's going to be sick.
"San?" Brittany murmurs, concerned, taking the younger woman's hands in hers. "You look like you saw a ghost."
"You were right," is all Santana says, rolling her eyes in frustration. "Fuck, you were right."
"You're gonna have to narrow it down a bit. I'm usually right about most things, so..." Brittany tries to joke, tugging Santana further down the hallway so they can get some privacy in the kitchen.
Despite herself, Santana cracks a smile as she leans against the kitchen counter. "You were right about Vanessa."
Narrowing her eyes, Brittany shakes her head and whispers, "What d'you mean?"
(Though she already has a clue as to what Santana's referring to.)
"She does like me," Santana admits, darting her eyes around the kitchen, as if someone's eavesdropping on their conversation. "She likes me...like that. She totally came on to me." Stressing her point, Santana wiggles her eyebrows, and Brittany's not sure if she wants to laugh or punch that damn broad in the face.
More than anything, Brittany wants to shout, I told you so, I told you so, but instead, what comes out is a rushed, "How do you...wait, what happened?"
"I was walking down the hallway on my way to the bathroom when she just popped out of nowhere and wouldn't let me pass," Santana begins to explain, running a hand through her hair. "I really had to pee, so when I tried to squeeze through, she rested her hand on my shoulder and said, 'those jeans look so hot on you'."
"Then what happened?" Brittany asks, furrowing her eyebrows in irritation.
"Then she walked off." Santana shakes her head in disbelief. "And she totally compliments me on my clothes all of the time, but today it just felt so, I don't know...flirtatious?"
Narrowing her eyes in anger, all Brittany can do is stare forward at nothing in particular and search for the right words. "That..." she trails off.
(Bitch? Cunt? Homewrecker?)
She can't decide. She can't fucking decide.
"It's just...weird," Santana continues, plopping down at the kitchen table. "I guess I feel kinda guilty."
"Babe, I'm not mad at you," Brittany reassures her. "I know you didn't do anything."
Furrowing her eyebrows, Santana gives Brittany a strange look. "I was talking about Rudy," she clarifies, to which Brittany nods dumbly. "He's loved Vanessa his whole life. She's my brother's best friend. I just...I don't know."
Confused, Brittany slowly takes a seat in the chair beside Santana. "Wait, you're not actually considering being with her, are you?"
"If I was, would you be mad?" Santana asks, and it's really hard to tell if she's joking right now. "I mean, we're technically not dating."
Something in her chest hurts; Brittany's not really sure what it is, but the feeling makes her upset. "Yes, I would be mad," she exasperates, arching a brow. "Very, very mad."
Amused, Santana snorts. "Your honesty and possessiveness stimulates me."
There's a short pause, where all Brittany can do is stare. Santana stares back, with this dorky, lopsided smile, and Brittany can't help but laugh.
"That strange comment aside..." Brittany eyes the quirk of Santana's lips and hesitantly asks, "You don't really like her, do you?"
"Like I've said a million times, I love you," Santana says earnestly, picking up their joining hands to plant a soft kiss over Brittany's smooth knuckles. "Only you. I'm just...worried about my brother."
It doesn't feel good to have somebody else's eyes on the person you love. Brittany knows this feeling better than anyone. With the attention span of a gnat, Santana's seemed to have forgotten all about what happened in the hallway as she plays Call of Duty with her brothers.
(But Brittany hasn't.)
Vanessa, sipping from a beer on the porch, casts longing glances into the living room every now and then, right at Santana. After awhile, Brittany just can't take it anymore. She's hidden this little green monster for way too long, and she's not going to hold it in anymore.
When Brittany steps out onto the back porch, she immediately remembers what she forgot. A jacket. It's still pretty early in the fall, but it's cold nonetheless. The leaves on the trees have already started falling, so she guesses that's enough validation for the weather to get cold now.
The only light illuminating the porch is the light hanging from the awning, and it kind of sucks how pretty Vanessa's features look in the shadows of the night.
Vanessa knows Brittany's standing beside her. She can tell by the way Vanessa sips from her beer faster, by the way her posture stiffens, by the way she tucks her left hand into her pocket, warming it up just in case some slapping needs to take place.
"So, you're into Santana."
The best way to approach these kind of things is to just blurt it out. There's no point in dancing around the subject, because that's how people get confused and angry and frustrated.
Vanessa just laughs, continuing to drain her bottle of beer for the sole purpose of escaping conversation. Rolling her eyes, because what a stupid avoidance tactic, Brittany leans against the railing on the porch so that they're now face to face.
"Why now? You've known her for how long and you wait until I come along to hit on her?" Brittany wonders aloud, narrowing her eyes, because it just doesn't make any sense to her.
Again, Vanessa laughs under her breath, and Brittany briefly wonders if this chick is drunk or something. "Oh, don't be so conceited. I've been flirting with Santana for years," Vanessa reveals, shrugging a careless shoulder. "I guess she just didn't notice until someone blatantly pointed it out to her."
Unprepared for such an honest response, Brittany kind of just stares at Vanessa's sharp features, stares at her dark, dark eyes. "Well, stay away from her," Brittany warns, narrowing her eyes threateningly "She's mine." The warm blood that floods through her veins when she says these words are addicting.
(She almost repeats them, just to get that feeling again.)
Scoffing, Vanessa folds her arms over her chest. "She's yours? So, now you're conceited and possessive. Not very attractive traits there."
"At least I'm not a cowardice girlfriend stealer," Brittany bites back.
"Girlfriend?" Vanessa chuckles, shaking her head. "Tsk, tsk, tsk. You're not her girlfriend. You both made it very clear numerous times that you're nothing but friends with benefits."
(Okay, that kind of stings.)
"We're not friends with benefits," Brittany states, her voice rising a little louder than it should. Clearing her throat, she quickly composes herself to say, "We're dating, and Santana loves me."
"Yeah, of course she does," Vanessa responds in that yeah, sure tone. "But since you're not official, I saw no reason why a little harmless flirting should be bad."
"Well, it is bad," Brittany says, trying to stay calm. "Apparently Rudy loves you or something. Isn't he supposed to be your best friend?"
Vanessa doesn't respond at first. Brittany watches and waits as the other woman flares her nostrils and lets out a breath of air. "Rudy's going nowhere in life. Hell, I'm pretty sure he has a few illegitimate kids running around this town," she says, shrugging a shoulder.
Brittany can't understand how anyone can talk about their best friend in that way. She'd never in a million years say anything like that about Quinn. Just the thought of speaking ugly behind someone's back makes her sick to her stomach.
(Vanessa makes her sick to her stomach.)
"But Santana's a catch, anyone can see that. Law school student, extremely smart and sexy, on her way to bigger and better things-" she gives Brittany a look "-and will probably be rich as hell once she graduates." Running a hand through her short, brown locks, Vanessa looks at Brittany as if she shouldn't have to tell her how great Santana is. "If you're not smart enough to realize that, you don't deserve her."
Out of everything, those words hit the hardest. Brittany opens her mouth to rebuttal, though all that escapes her lips is warm air. Pinching her lips together, Vanessa just shakes her head before ducking back into the house, leaving Brittany to rethink everything she thought she's always known.
It's pitch black outside by the time they get back on the road to drive home. It was an exhausting day full of football games and understanding and food and Call of Duty.
Just like the ride to Queens, it's mostly quiet between them on the way back to Manhattan. Since Brittany drove up, Santana's driving them back, eyes glued tightly to the road. Before they left, Santana's mom insisted her daughter have a full cup of coffee.
Just by looking at Santana's blown pupils, Brittany already knows the younger woman's going to be up all night long.
Driving at night has always been so settling to Brittany's nerves and anxiety, but not tonight. She can't stop looking at Santana every few minutes. Not to check up on her or anything, because of course she's still there if the car is still on the road, but sometimes Brittany just likes to look at her.
(And she's not being creepy or anything. She's just simply admiring.)
Looking out her window, time seems to stop as cars zoom back and forth past them on both sides of the roads; red lights on the left, white lights on the right. The lights are so beautiful, just like Santana; just like her smile, her eyes, her nose, her ears, her lips.
Everything about Santana is beauty and love and hope, and sure, she's unconventional, some may even say weird, but in this moment, all Brittany wants is to tell Santana how much she loves all of these things about her, so she does.
"Mhm," she answers, darting her eyes in Brittany's direction before focusing them back on the road.
Staring forward, Brittany twiddles her thumbs around and around in her lap. "I, um..." she murmurs, clearing her dry throat.
"Don't tell me you have to use the bathroom, Britt," Santana chuckles, glancing out the side of her eye. "I told you to go before we left."
"No, no, I don't have to pee. I just..." she trails off, knocking her knuckles against the window. "I need to tell you something."
Over her words, Santana honks the horn when an SUV cuts her off. "What the hell, you fucking moron." She mumbles something under her breath and rolls her eyes. "Sorry about that. Uh-huh, go ahead."
"I..." Brittany winces at her inability to speak proper English. It's the only language she knows; you'd think she could at least speak it correctly. "I had a really good time today."
Santana smiles at her, all endearing and cute, before looking back at the road. "Yeah, me too."
"And I love you."
It kind of comes out like a hiccup. Brittany screws her face up into a grimace, because what the hell? It wasn't supposed to sound like that.
Continuing to stare forward, Santana slowly arches a brow and whispers, "Whoa, that was weird."
Brittany looks at Santana out of the corner of her eye. "What's weird?"
"I think..." she begins, slamming the palm of her hand against her right ear over and over again. "I think I'm starting to hear things."
Brittany cracks a smile. "Babe, you're not hearing things," she tells her, shifting sideways in her seat. "I said it."
Silence follows, and Brittany holds her breath. It feels like her whole life has lead up to this moment. Santana's grip on the steering wheel tightens. "You said...it?" she asks quietly, her question just barely audible.
But Brittany hears it. She hears it loud and clear. "I said it," she repeats, smiling from ear to ear, because who knew it'd feel so much better to say those three words than it is to hear them? "And I really, really mean it."
Santana just continues to stare forward as she merges lanes, parks on the shoulder, and turns on her hazards. "You love me?" she asks, sounding kind of surprised and urgent all at the same time. "Like, real love?"
Nodding furiously, Brittany smiles and whispers, "Yeah, like, real love."
(Here goes nothing.)
"I'm in love with you, San," she says, and it feels like a huge balloon popping in her chest. For months, it's felt like she couldn't breathe correctly, and every time Santana would say the words I love you, breathing would just get harder and harder. Now, finally, she can breathe again, and it feels even better than when she first stopped.
There's a pause where Santana just stares at her in skeptical shock. Brittany can breathe again, sure, but it looks like Santana's stopped inhaling all together. There are tears in her big brown eyes, and Brittany tries to smile the best she can, to reassure Santana that this is real; that everything Brittany's feeling in this moment is real love.
To ease the heavy tension, Brittany holds Santana's hands in a tight grasp and whispers, "I've never been in love before. You, like, took my falling in love virginity or something."
Santana chuckles through her tears, and Brittany can't help kiss each one of Santana's knuckles individually, her blue eyes never wavering from Santana's deep browns.
"I love the way you blink your eyes. I love the way you fall asleep; slow and then all at once. I love the way you snore and mumble in your sleep," Brittany rambles, ducking her head shyly when Santana smiles at her like she's the best thing that's ever happened to her. "I love your offensive jokes. I love your kind heart. I just love you."
"You love me..."
(Santana says it almost like she doesn't believe it.)
Brittany wants her to believe it so much she leans forward and kisses her, once and hard, pressing their lips together, exhaling through her nose, because this is how it feels to breathe.
Against Santana's plump lips, Brittany mumbles, "I think I've been in love with you this whole time, I just." She pauses, she constructs the right words, and finally she concludes, "I was scared. And I guess I'm still scared, but the fear isn't a bad thing. It's kind of exciting, actually. Just, the unknown and everything. You know the feeling?"
Santana nods frantically, excitement written all over her features. "Yeah, yeah, I know," she rushes to say, planting kiss after kiss against Brittany lips as she slyly crawls over the center console. "It's amazing, right?"
"Totally," Brittany agrees, leaning back in her seat as Santana settles into her lap. Smooth hands tickle up her neck and into her hair. Placing hungry lips against Santana's skin, she kisses up and down her neck until Santana's shivering against her, and grinding, and undulating against her.
Running her hands up Brittany's shirt, Santana moans deep in her throat, and Brittany whimpers against her pulse as soon as warm fingers find her bra, cupping her breasts in appreciation. "Say it again," she whispers against Brittany's swollen lips.
"No..." she giggles and shifts in Brittany's lap. "You know what I mean."
Brittany smirks, burying her face deep into Santana's lovely locks, and she inhales, because Santana smells so good. "I love you," she repeats, tickling her fingers up and down, up and down Santana's jean-clad thighs, and now Brittany's wondering to herself, why is Santana still wearing her jeans?
"I love you too." Santana smiles giddily, and life definitely would have been a lot easier if Brittany just got everything off her chest in the first place. Resting her forehead against Brittany's shoulder, Santana giggles maniacally and whispers, "Fuck, I love adding that too at the end. I want to say it forever."
"Mhm," Brittany hums in content, placing soft kisses against Santana's lips, because they're so soft, like a pillow, like clouds, like puppies, like marshmallows, like anything soft, really.
It's dark, and the only thing surrounding them is the red and white lights of the cars zooming past, back and forth, back and forth, and somehow it's magical.
Brittany's always believed in fate and love at first sight and destiny, so she might as well add magic to that long list as well, because kissing the girl she loves, at night, in a car, on the highway, has to be nothing else but magic.
(It has to be.)