A/N: Hello everyone! Thanks for all the reviews ;) I hope I can help bring a smile your way! I haven't responded to the reviews at this time like I usually do, but please know I appreciate each and everyone of them and hope you like this final chapter!
- it may get confusing that I have two 'Mikes' in this story, Mike Chang and Michael Evans, but yeah... there are two Mikes. lol. HUGS for EVERYONE (even you, Killercereal, even you).
Disclaimer: Not intended for copyright infringement. Only amusement and creative output.
That Awkward Moment When
"Shit!" Santana grabs a drinkable yogurt from her fridge and shakes it vigourously as Brittany wanders into the kitchen with sleepy eyes and an equally sleepy yawn, much calmer (and sleepier).
"Morning," Brittany tells her anxious fiancée as she makes her way to the fancy cappuccino machine, "coffee? Chill pill?"
"I'm late! It's already nine HOW THE HELL DID I OVERSLEEP!" Santana panics loudly to her fiancée before politely declining (albeit freaked out), "no thanks. I better go – can't believe this I was supposed to be there half an hour ago I'll have to call Becky on the way WHY doesn't my phone have any BATTERY and how come the landline is MISSING?"
"Santana, before you go…" Brittany places a calming hand on her shoulder to get her attention, "we need to talk. About us and our relationship."
"Um…" Santana stops shaking her yogurt and raises her wristwatch imploring, "can it wait because I am very late-"
"No. This is really, really important. The Governor can wait for me, right?" Brittany narrows her eyes ever so and asks again, "coffee?"
"But Britt—Fine, okay…" Santana acquiesced hesitantly, biting her lip and thinking of excuses she'll have to use on standing up Governor Burt Hummel.
It was obvious that she was really torn between getting to work on time and listening to what Brittany had to say.
"Sit down," Brittany tells her before preparing them both cups of coffee.
She gets an irritated eyebrow raise, which causes her mouth to clamp shut. Santana's eyes also pop open at how Brittany suddenly looked very angry, and she realizes this could be very serious. So listen it was.
"Are you okay?" She questions as Brittany clunks some mugs around. "what's wrong?"
"This isn't working," Brittany eventually says as a mug is placed in front of her. "If you want to marry me, you're going to have to change Santana."
Santana opened her mouth to deny something - anything - about what was happening, but all that came out was air. She had not seen this coming and her heart started beating very fast as the words sunk in.
"What's not working?" She questions slowly, "I have to change?"
Brittany put a hand over hers and took a casual sip from her own mug, "shhh. No talking. But you can drink your coffee now."
Santana took a meek sip of her gifted coffee, expecting hot black bitterness but instead receiving super sweet and cold disgustingness.
Seriously, what kind of change?
"Ugh what's wrong with the coffeemaker?" She says angrily, still confused over what was happening.
"So you know how we're getting married?" Brittany says gravely, ignoring Santana's messed up coffee problem.
"Well, there are things I want us to do to prepare for that serious commitment which we should totally do next week because it's a good alignment of stars. I wrote down this list for you-" Brittany reached into what was most likely the waistband of her lacy white bikini-cut underwear to retrieve a crumpled paper and cleared her throat.
Before she could read it out loud though, she was cut off as Santana got impatient and finally caught on to what she had said.
"How about I take the list with me since I'm late and— DID YOU JUST SAY NEXT WEEK?!"
"Babe! This is urgent. Drink your coffee, calm down, get onboard with it and listen up and THEN give me your feedback, OKAY?"
Santana nodded before bracing herself for another sip of coffee and then deciding to just pretend to sip it and casually shove it far away.
Maybe she should bring up Brittany's sudden absurd and kind of rude behaviour. Tell her Santana would rather not get married next week but like, next year or something, and that this coffee was nasty shit.
But that might hurt Brittany's feelings, so she held her tongue and decided to do that later and listen first.
"Okay, go ahead," she waved at Brittany. Becky probably dealt with the Governor somehow. Hopefully. And Starbucks could still happen to cleanse her mouth of the sewage Brittany made.
"Number one: you need to cut your hair to just under your ears and get a perm. This is because your long hair suxks, wouldn't be able to pull off a flat top or buzz cut, and I think I'll enjoy hanging ornaments from your curls."
Santana's face contorted into insult and she consciously touched her long hair (that she couldn't ever picture cutting like that!).
"Number two which is more important than number one: you need to be more aggressive in the bedroom. Give me some slaps or like, rap some Pitbull to me. On that note, more singing in the shower the morning after. Your singing voice doesn't turn me on the way it used to anymore so I guess don't do it when you cook either."
Santana's mouth hung open in disbelief.
"Number three: you should get a boob job. That one doesn't need an explanation."
Santana cupped her C-size beauties, still totally and utterly dumbfounded until Brittany finished with, "Aaand number four: APRIL FOOLS!"
And it made sense.
"Why didn't you get me any coffee?" Becky glared at Santana as her boss came into the office at eight that morning. "And why are you here at eight? You don't have a meeting for another hour, dumbass. You always sleep in Thursdays."
"This is for you, I already had coffee," Santana placed the Starbucks cup down for her assistant and sighed loudly.
Brittany ended up making her real coffee after having her fun and then going back to bed once she explained Santana was not late for work because she messed with the clocks and phones, which gave Santana lots of time to prep for her meeting with the Governor.
"What? Tell me what has you speechless?" Becky demanded while handing Santana a copy of her day itinerary.
"I'm talking about April Fools. Can you see if little Pierce is here yet, I want to go over some notes with her in my office."
"You got pranked? It's not even April yet. Details."
"How about… NO."
"Fine don't tell me! See if I care! PS the Governor's assistant called me and said to change the meeting time to 9:15 instead of 9."
"Ugh. Okay. Hey, did you watch Couples Therapy last night?"
"Of course I did," Becky smirked, "how about you? Getting points for your future train-wreck of a relationship?"
"Ha. No, I just thought you and your boyfriend might want to get hooked up to deal with all of your issues. I know the producer's wife, just saying. I can give him your name."
"You're the one whose relationship is hot office gossip, bitch."
"Exactly. Hot. Didn't your boyfriend buy you a gift basket of smoked oysters for Valentines?"
"Fuck you I love smoked oysters! You're the whiny ho that gave up smoking your expensive cigars. Talk about whipped."
"I didn't give it up, I just do it less. You know, I pray for your boyfriend every night because he has to put up with you."
"Keep telling yourself that and fuck you. Shouldn't you be in your office prepping for the Governor?"
"I'm all prepped. Did you get a hold of Gracie?"
"I would if you let me do my job!"
"Woah it's like you summoned me," Gracie interrupted their banter, holding a stack of papers against her chest and sporting the most tired eyes Santana had ever seen.
"Okay, till next time bitch. Try not to fuck up the faxes this time," Santana says to Becky before opening her office door again.
"Fuck you! I so won."
Santana waved kindly for Gracie to take a seat as they walked into the office.
"How'd you know I was here?" Gracie asks as they close the door and sit down.
Santana sighs knowingly. Gracie was becoming a workaholic the same time Santana was learning to wean off.
"Ever since you started going to those sex-addicts-anonymous meetings because you found out there was a secret cult of your one-night stands stalking you-"
["Hi, my name is Gracie and um... I am a sex addict."
A chorus of "Hi Gracie" echoed.
"So the reason I am here is because I finally understand that my sexiness – I mean my addiction to sex – is dangerous. Recently my home was robbed of everything I um… touched or somehow reminded a group of men who stalked me of me. Like my toothbrush and my family's toothbrushes, even all the bedsheets. And stuff was even vandalized… it was all really scary and extreme. Anyways, they did it because they snorted cocaine and because, well… can I say the word 'fuck' in here?"
"Yes you can."
"So yeah, I fucked them… SEPERATELY and they somehow met up and stalked me and did drugs together and became like, worshippers of my like… stuff they stole and wrecked from my house."
"That's some deep shit right there," a dude said sympathetically.
"Oh boo hoo! Some of us destroy relationships and have bad reputations, we don't need some slutty princess whining about being worshipped!" An angry, grandfatherly looking man barked.
Gracie was surprised with the variety of people in the room, mostly by him and how rude he was.
"Oh fuck you dickface! Not my fault you're ugly and probably have to work twice as hard as the rest of us to get laid for your addiction!" Gracie insulted him back.
"Oh snap she got you there Keith."]
"—you've been a workaholic. I get it. I mean, not the sex addiction but the way work helps deal with shit. How you holding up by the way? Brittany worries about you."
Gracie smiled at her.
"Don't be shy, admit you're worried about me too! And yeah, I'm pretty good. I've been celibate for four months now, and it turns out I'm twice as smart as I thought I was. I guess sex really did kill my brain cells… Plus it's cool. I mean, it's hard to sleep unless I masturbate but that's what helps."
That wasn't what Santana wanted to hear when she asked how Gracie was holding up, and it shows as much from her facial cringe.
"You know what, let's not ever discuss that stuff and keep it to basics okay? You're doing good and that's good. Keep up the good work… Good."
"Wow, I can feel your blush all the way over here. It's just a word: masturbate."
Santana leaned back with a stiff smirk, "let's get back to work, how about that G? So what's with all the papers?"
"I'm doing that slander case with Evans, lots of research."
"Competent Evans or Incompetent Evans?" Santana asked sympathetically. The name partner Michael Evans was a highly skilled and notoriously hyped lawyer, which his son never seemed to pick up.
"Both. But of course Sam doesn't offer to help at all so I'm doing all the grunt work."
"We've all been there, but at least in your case he has no excuse for a younger more talented girly girl showing him up to his Dad. The shit I used to overhear them say about women? Just ugh. I was hired because I didn't flirt which is means I didn't smile. They were that judgmental when they hired women. Like, a woman who smiles is flirting? No."
"Aww, you think I'm talented?" Is all Gracie seems to pick up on during Santana's attempt of sexism-awareness.
"So, guess what fun morning I had?" Santana deadpanned and changed the subject, "courtesy of my lovely lady."
"I had to help Brittany, okay, April Fools is a holy day!" Gracie defended quickly in a fast train of words with her hands up in surrender.
"You helped her?" Santana pointed in accusation. "She nearly gave me a heart attack!"
"You didn't expect it? Didn't she prank you last year?"
"No! Maybe! I mean, she didn't talk to me for a whole week once and there was someone who sounded a lot like her that called my office and asked me if my refrigerator was running now that I think about it… besides I was too busy trying to figure out if it was legit happening and she was going crazy, or if I accidentally took some kind of hallucinogen and made it up like a nightmare."
Gracie giggled, "come on! It's funny! She got you so bad!"
Santana shook her head but let out an amused smile because she had been 'had' pretty bad and valued the prank as a very good fools joke. If anyone but Brittany tried to pull that shit on her, she would probably not be able to laugh it off.
"Are there any other pranks coming my way today or is that it? Come on, you so owe me - I got you in the courtroom on trial, and I'm meeting the Governor today if you want in. I need to be prepared for this, maybe even counter-attack."
"Well how many has she done so far? She changed all your clocks by three hours and wrote you that hi-larious list, right? I came up with the perm."
"Yep. But she also cut the service off my home phone and served me cold sugary crap coffee while making me drink it and think I was late with my meeting, and that we were getting married next week! That's like ten right there."
"No, no, that's only two. One was making you think you were late and two was making you question your whole relationship. All that other stuff was props to set up the pranks."
"What do you mean only two?"
Santana's speaker-phone beeps before Gracie can answer, and Becky's smarmy voice filters through saying, "there's someone called Vagina calling for you and no I am not kidding."
Gracie starts giggling and Santana's eyes narrow as she hits on the line and says tersely, "this is Santana Lopez."
There was still a one percent chance someone was actually, unfortunately, named 'Vagina' and needed the best lawyer in town (yes that is her own opinion), at eight-thirty in the morning.
"Hi," a throaty voice came over. "This is Vagina-"
Santana glared at Gracie who was muffling her mouth with the palm of her hand.
"And how can I help you… Vag... uh, M'am."
"Um… ok, I'm nervous. You see Miss Lopez, Vagina is my stage name. I'm an escort. Can we meet tomorrow afternoon if you're available?"
Santana's wry smile dropped into a concentrated frown. This wasn't another Brittany prank. "I understand. Are you in danger?"
"I will be after I sue my bosses. I want to hire you, please, because I want to – that's right honey. I can make your wildest dreams come true… mhmm, that can be arranged."
Gracie raised both of her eyebrows, trying very hard not to laugh out loud as Santana explained, "she's probably calling near her boss. Shhh, wait it out."
"You can show me off to your boys and then you can do whatever you want to me."
"Don't be so immature," Santana whispered at a still snickering Gracie.
"Sorry about that," Vagina's voice came back to the seriousness of earlier instead of the seductive thrall. "I think some men are following me."
"Not at all. Listen carefully: Meet me in Central Mall at two pm tomorrow in the Victoria's Secret. What's your Starbucks poison?"
"Uh," the woman stuttered, "Vanilla Soy Latte."
"I'll get you a Grande and you get me an Americano. We'll swap in the store and chat at length there and talk consultation fees."
Santana hung up and then smirked in Gracie's direction, "you're staring."
"That was SO COOL," Gracie gushed, "I want to be like you when I grow up!"
Santana snapped her fingers at Gracie's face, "focus. You're already grown up and you should want to be better than me. So, where were we? What do you mean only two?"
"And Douglas Junior is such a star, always the best at everything he does like his father!"
Susan nodded along to Lydia Pearsons, her longtime friend and rival. The bitch was using her grandkids bragging rights already whilst Susan had nothing new to brag about – oh wait! She so did!
"Gracie has been really busy with work and Brittany just got engaged a few weeks ago," Susan said after the lull in their lunch conversation, making sure not to smile too hard into her fork.
"That's great news," Lydia eyes her a little with a faltering smile because the attention was taken off of her, "is that to, um, Santana you mentioned?"
"Mhmm," Susan smiled, "great girl, even better lawyer. She's ranked top three case records in America, few more years and if she continues how she's going she'll be the best."
That is best kind of bragging in her opinion, the kind where she just has to tell the truth and not exaggerate.
Lydia's smile got tight and Susan felt satisfied. Who was bragging now, bitch?
"Well, how do you feel about Brittany marrying a woman?" Lydia asks her, quite genuinely after accepting that Santana's lawyer track was a one-upper on Lydia's son-in-law 'Saint' Douglas the classy, handsome, sports agent married to her proper daughter Joanna. Joanna, the cheerleader prom queen valedictorian antithesis to all things Brittany, with an eight year old son who played violin and was great at sports.
"Well…" Susan shares openly with a smile, "it was a little shocking at first but… Brittany is happy and when I see them together it's quite adorable and I can't picture Brittany with anyone else. Santana is a keeper."
"Well that's very nice," Lydia lifted her wine glass up and smiled, "good for Brittany. The girl has always worried me there."
And just like that, Susan was back on the silent 'whose kid is better' war.
"Want to hear something sweet?"
"Sure," Lydia said, waiting.
Susan put on a sappy smile and cooed (bragged), "Santana proposed to her with a car! Talk about originality."
"Oh?" Lydia said coolly, therefore not bringing up the story of Douglas getting down on one knee for Joanna in a fancy restaurant (again).
"By the way, Saturday night we are having a surprise engagement party for them, so you should all come! Please."
Lydia promises to be there and Susan enjoys this new bragging right and the fact that Lydia doesn't bring up Douglas and Joanna again during lunch.
Elsewhere in the city that Thursday lunch hour, the unknown topic of Susan's bragging were enjoying a meal of their own.
"I like it when your nose crinkles, it's kind of like a baby sloth," Brittany told Santana after swallowing a mouthful of her club sandwich.
They had met up for lunch after Santana's long, slow morning. Meeting with Governor Hummel was anticlimactic, she had been hoping for some sort of scandal but instead he told her that his chief of staff was 'sketchy' and wanted to know how to legally proceed with investigating him.
Santana paused her own fevered chewing in brief confusion at the compliment given to her before smirking with, "trying to butter me with compliments cause you feel bad about this morning, huh?"
Brittany shrugged with a giggle, "My only regret is that I didn't record your 'is this real life?' face… Anyways, how was meeting Burt Hummel? I voted for him, I like his trucker hats."
When Santana yawned instead of answering, Brittany asked with worry, "you're not tired because I messed with your sleep are you? Do you want to nap?"
"No, no," Santana assured her, "you got me good. For a split second I forgot how much you love my hair and tits-"
"Don't talk dirty, the children might hear you."
"What children-oh." She realized Brittany's students had entered and could probably hear her if they wanted to, so she lowered her voice and said with disdain, "ugh."
"They don't bite," Brittany whispered back, scrutinizing the way Santana seemed to be deathly allergic to all things children because in her mind it was inevitable that they were going to be parents which made the comment worrisome.
"They are evil little sycophants and you can't convince me otherwise."
Pretty worrisome, actually.
"You're the one who has that-that intimidating look on your face," Brittany explains to her, "maybe if you smile at them they wouldn't avoid eye contact and think you're mean."
"Whatever." Taking a sip of water and unaware that her aversion to children was causing Brittany to worry, Santana looked regretfully at her wristwatch. "Why are they early? I want to eat my lunch in peace."
"Just ignore them," Brittany said. Santana usually left when as they arrived and since they arrived early they loitered.
She waved at the hesitant students warmly so they could enter the studio and start gossiping with each other, and giggle about weekend plans. Really loudly.
"Quinn and Mike want to do lunch Saturday."
"Yeah we can do that," Santana agrees easily.
Brittany makes a face, "Are you sure, because I feel like it's boring. My mom goes out for lunch all the time with people. And then her and my dad double date with the Evans, like I think they're doing that tonight. I think we're becoming my parents. Babe, I think we're becoming settled and couply."
"I'm more freaked out about this dinner your parents want me at Saturday than I am about being too boring with you. All the dinners we have with them tend to end up with me in some kind of pain, just saying."
Santana took an annoyed last bite of her food as some of the kids started to laugh shrilly, and then she stood up from the folded chair she had been sitting on and brushed her dress so it was free of crumbs.
"Leaving?" Brittany pouted, still calmly chewing the food Santana had brought over for her.
She knew she had a lot of work to do when it came to warming Santana up to the idea of children, but she also had plenty of time to do that. Right now she was enjoying their date and it usually lasted fifteen minutes longer.
"Well, your sister keeps blowing up my phone with panic attacks about this easy-as-fuck case so while I'd rather stay here with you…" she eyed the preteens distastefully, "I also got my number one bitch to fry: paperwork."
"Well… my class doesn't start yet. Want a cup of coffee in my office before you go?"
"Sure," Santana appeased her fiancée (glad they would have some privacy from the obnoxious things called kids, which meant a 'see you back home later' smooch was back on the table) and gathered their garbage to throw out while following Brittany out of the room.
"Warm-up guys, I'll be back in twenty minutes," Brittany told the kids that were busy discussing what they purchased at Forever 21 or whatever it was they did.
Santana dumped their wrappers in the bin and waited for her coffee, watching her blonde princess balance some Styrofoam cups and exchange pleasantries with another female teacher (whose name Santana perpetually forgot and tended to call 'hey').
"Are you in a rush?" Brittany asks her as they enter the very tiny, claustrophobic-type room that consisted of a green beanbag cushion, a few hooks on the chipped wall, and a coffee table with a laptop on it.
Santana kicked her heels off and laid down on the beanbag as Brittany closed the door with her hip and watched her.
"It's cool," she said, waiting for Brittany to join her in cuddles.
She intended to cuddle anyways, she hadn't meant to insinuate a quickie… so she was surprised when Brittany too her invitation of open arms as that of 'let's do it.'
Brittany looked at her in delight and said "awesome. This is a nice change from the supply closet," and then kissed her fervently like Santana was the most delicious thing alive.
(But at least that miscommunication turned out to be good for both of them.)
Just after she got back to work and sat down at her desk, Horton of all people greeted her and walked into her office.
"Afternoon Santana," he said with a smile.
This was new. Santana could count one hand the number of times her boss came into her office.
It was one.
She can't really respond to him (or comfortably look him in the eye) because his daughter had just been riding her fingers (hard and fast) half an hour ago during lunch break.
Considering the little incident where his wife had heard her make Brittany moan on voicemail that day Santana broke her nose a second time because a guy got chased out of the Pierce backyard for watching Gracie lotion herself, Santana had been feeling a little mortified around them.
In retrospect, it seems she'll have to work harder on being able to not get awkward around the guy. Maybe one day she'll have the nerve to thank him for teaching Brittany how to play a few tunes on her guitar because those long fingers were truly talented gems she just had under her dress.
She coughs her train of thought away and says, "afternoon."
"You already have lunch?" he asks her politely, clearing his throat and kind of rocking in place with his hands in his pockets.
"Yes," she says, looking away from him and pretending to look at some papers on her desk because her face felt hot since mentioning lunch made her think back to what she did during lunch and of Brittany talking dirty in appreciation of Santana's left handedness.
"How about we get some coffee?" He offered, unaware of her inner disturbed processing at this innocent suggestion because Brittany told Santana that she was a genius for coming up with 'coffee' as a code-word for afternoon delight fucks.
But, hey, technically she didn't get a chance to drink the coffee with Britt because it pretty much got cold after their beanbag quiver-fest. So…
"Sure." Why not.
This was the wankiest conversation she had ever had with her boss, including that time he had talked about how impressive it was that Brittany could do the splits, but thankfully he didn't catch on to the fact that she was fantasizing about his daughter then or now.
They get cups of the shit he bought bulk for the staff coffee-machine and take it into the main conference room since it was empty and no one would be able to hear them with the doors closed.
"So," he sips it contently (because apparently he is the only person who likes it) and leans back against the window. They're alone in the room, and Santana would feel more comfortable talking to him if people walking by didn't keep on pointing and talking at the sight of them in the big window.
Like, hello, she could see them raise their hand and point. Not subtle. Not subtle at all.
Apparently people in the office still weren't over her and the 'boss's daughter' thing. Becky even e-mailed her a list of every gossip tidbit she heard from Santana's skeevy mafia connections to their childhood sweetheart epic romance of true love.
None of these notions come close to the real thing in Santana's opinion because, sure they met based on tight gym clothing lust and expectations of a one-night stand, but they were so much more than some trashy romance novel. They were legit and she liked to personally (secretly) think they were meant to meet, be it the gym or through some other circumstance.
It occurs to her that Horton is trying to make a statement by showing that she and him can talk and it's nobody's business, but then it also occurs to her that she's the one facing the windows and he's oblivious to it all because his view consists of her and the bleach white wall behind her. Figures.
"What did you want to talk about?" she asks him.
"Nothing really," he responds vaguely, "well… I suppose I should just admit that um, I was hoping we could talk sometimes. Get to know each other if you're going to marry Brittany…"
Santana was not expecting that.
"Your nose looks good," he says after a while of more ticking silence.
"Er yeah," Santana lifts a hand briefly to touch it. It had only recently stopped hurting which was probably why Brittany was so keen to make out with her, actually. She ended up having it straightened because of the way it healed crooked which became an annoyingly repetitive story amongst every fucking client she met.
Horton looks down into his coffee so Santana takes it as her turn to say something generic and weather-day like.
"Gracie is really picking up things fast," she compliments his other daughter, because she's pretty sure any compliments she says of Brittany won't really be things he wants to hear about. Like how gorgeous her spine looks in the morning light, or how pretty her blue eyes were when they fought to stay open during-
"Yeah," he nods along to her, "I think that stalker really frightened… her… she's thrown all her energy into work."
"How's that going? The charges. On the, uh, cult."
Horton finds this question slightly amusing since Santana dealt with most of it for them, to ensure a solid punishment and lessen their headache.
Santana knows he and Susan are still unaware that Gracie has a sex addiction because Gracie refuses to tell them, but they do know that Gracie had 'been with' the men sexually, who then contacted each other through Facebook and were also responsible for the ambitious robbery of his house.
To hear that five men took turns photographing his daughter and hitting on her, and then memorizing her schedule was something he didn't think he'd ever be able to get over. That was his little girl.
"Well, they confessed to the robbery. They're blaming the extremeness of it on cocaine they snorted."
"Let me know if you need help with anything," Santana offered him gently.
Horton looked up from his coffee and smiled at her, saying sincerely "thank you."
He wants to add that she's done more than enough but wonders if that will make things weird.
She returns his smile, feeling pretty damn good about this edition in their dynamic.
"So…" he finishes his coffee, "better get back to work. I'll see you around and I'm glad you'll be joining us Saturday for dinner."
Santana hadn't really touched her coffee during that random exchange of 'whatsup furture daughter-in-law' and ended up dumping it down the sink, but yeah. That was nice and cordial.
Horton stared at his chin in the mirror after calling it a night at work, and then hit the electronic razor on so he could get rid of his bludgeoning shadow in his private bathroom.
"Oi! Horton!" he heard his partner in letterhead, Michael Evans, call out.
"In here," he turned his razor off after finishing and exited his private bathroom to re-enter his office and greet his friend.
Michael went straight for the scotch tray Horton kept on the side, "how about a cap before dinner?"
"Double it up," he grinned, taking off his tie and then hanging his blazer in the closet.
They were going to have dinner with their wives tonight, which was always a nice time. Michael's wife wasn't a lawyer like Susan and sometimes didn't grasp all their lawyer jokes, but she was lively and funny so their nights usually always ended with laughter.
"Few more years and then retirement," Michael cheered and sat next to him on the sofa. "Sam should be ready for my practice I think, he'll get there eventually."
Horton had a brief fleeting thought based on this casual sentence, so brief yet shocking it felt like his heart skipped a beat and he choked on his scotch and worse yet it almost snuck up his nose.
He gasped as it burned and patted his chest down.
"You alright?" Michael said in concern, "you've stressed out of your mind lately. You got my sympathies man, Brittany and Lopez engaged… didn't see that one coming. And I heard about Gracie's stalkers, good to know they won't get away with it."
Horton shakes his head and doesn't laugh with his friend. He feels shaken with the thought he just had.
Michael talking about leaving his practice to his son after retirement?
Horton's mind thinking of leaving his with Santana if he ever retired?
Where the fuck did that come from.
There were other major partners he could consider, and Gracie especially – that was his legacy. Santana wasn't… they didn't have that kind of… plus, would she even want it?
"I was joking," Michael affirms, "but I'm telling you that woman is a snake. She just crept up our ladder like it was nothing and she's got all the judges on fucking speed dial with the way she wins everything."
"She's just damn good is all," Horton says brusquely, swallowing the rest of his scotch down and ignoring the startled look Michael got on his face. "Shall we? Don't want to keep the ladies waiting."
Michael stared at him with a squint and then finished off his glass too before leading the way out.
They didn't talk on the way down the elevators, or on the walk across the street to the restaurant.
Their wives were busy giggling with their cocktails to notice the tension when they arrived. They talked about films, about their President, and then about Gracie's stalkers in more detail with that bubbling tension.
It wasn't until the main course was brought out and Michael's wife Sally said Sam had 'made the paper last week for his case regarding music fraud' that the tension snapped, because then Susan innocently mentioned that Pierce&Evans was making great media these days with the kinds of cases it was doing and listed three more examples.
Two of which Santana had taken on and only one (Sue Sylvester) that Michael and Horton had handled which coincidentally Santana had technically taken charge of as well.
"We've had bigger triumphs in the past though," Michael brushed it off, "we've just been lucky."
"It's not really luck," Horton said tersely. "It's hard work and determination."
Sally and Susan look on in worry at the sudden bickering.
All pretenses of who they were discussing leave as Michael revealed the pronoun, "She's just on a lucky streak, law isn't as intense as it used to be! Remember when we were pulling forty-eight hour caffeine shifts just so we could get a moment to shine? She's just snapping her fingers at people and winning – she schemes."
Susan and Sally both looked in shock at each other as their husbands started feuding, something that had only happened during baseball season and never with this type of animosity (except maybe in the World Series 2005).
"How does she scheme, Mike? Santana Lopez-" hearing who was the topic of discussion caused Susan to lean back and drop her jaw in even more surprise—"is the best damn lawyer I've ever seen. You've witnessed her in court and in depositions, hell just the other day we were in a meeting and she was the only one who knew-"
"So she can talk, how come judges are sending her flowers, huh? If she was a man that would be questioned! Textbook bribes!" He tapped the table with his finger.
"One judge sent her flowers and that was because she helped him get his car touched up!" Horton explained.
"She's so goddamn righteous," Mike raises his voice, "and you're blind because she's got your daughter Brittany in her grasp I mean who buys someone a car after a year? I think she probably went after Brittany so she could go after us! Our firm!"
"You're making this up," Horton shook his head, "you're not this close-minded, Mike! What's this really about?"
"What is this about? How about my son! Lopez sabotages his business everyday, noticeably condescends him, and has the whole damn office flaunting her relationship with Brittany in his face and you don't even see it?"
"Sam is sabotaging his own business and don't you blame your son's inadequacies on my daughter!"
Michael shook his head and tossed his napkin down, "Sally let's go."
Horton, however, cut him off with a much more reproachful, "you honestly think a lawyer that has a solid practice and thought of leaving our firm with it is using my daughter to get benefits from it? She'll probably make more money than either of us this year and you think she's got some kind of vendetta? What would she even GAIN?"
"Calm down you two," Sally begged them so they both would realize they were making a scene in public.
"How about this?" Michael gestured between them, "Breaking up our partnership so she can get her name next to yours? Why I see it now! Pierce&Lopez no, actually it would be Lopez first wouldn't it?"
"Michael," Susan said sternly, "I really think you're reaching here. I know Santana and she is very hard-working, we've all been there at the bottom she just managed to strike big fast is all."
"She's a liar, Susan. Did he tell you how when we hired her she failed to mention her anger management problems and the fact that she's..." he gestured with a red flush on his face, "queer."
"We didn't look into her anger management-" Horton said, blaming himself and Michael, "she did mention it and it just went over our heads because she was the first woman qualified! And you know it's against hiring policy to ask sexual orientation-"
"But she didn't tell. What do you even know about her, huh? She got you arrested because of drug suspicions, and now she's going to marry your daughter! If people think she's connected to the mafia? That is dangerous."
Sally gasped and added in support of her husband, "I heard about that, Sam said everyone was scared for you."
"I feel like we're arguing about nothing," Horton told his longtime friend, trying to stop him from carrying on with his nonsense. "The police made a mistake for Christ's sake!"
"God you're delusional," Michael laughed at him, shaking his head, "months ago you were suspicious of her and then you find out she's been screwing your daughter and you want to save face and suddenly champion her! It was only yesterday you wanted Sam to get between them and now you're ringing the fucking bell, Horton! I don't think you know what you're doing and you need a reality check."
"This is getting it out of hand," Susan stood up and grabbed Horton's hand, "we're leaving and you two need to cool off."
Horton followed Susan's cue (glaring at Michael) as his wife furiously threw cash on the table, muttering under her breath about how they have probably been drinking too much (probably because she scotch he choked is wafting off of his shirt).
They left two of their longest friends there in the restaurant and hailed a cab, both feeling insulted and oddly enough… worried.
Michael wasn't stupid, maybe he was somehow right about Santana?
"No he's wrong," Horton said out loud to dismiss that brief doubt for himself. "Like I said, Santana doesn't seem to care for her name on our firm, she'd rather have her own firm I think… and she's capable of doing that."
"How dare he!" Susan fumed next to him in the cab, "his boy has no drive – you can't blame someone for that! He's always been a little sore about women in the workplace, I think."
He agreed with her there even though in the past he had defended that. It incensed him all over again and he was furious with this stupid, pointless, bullshit argument that suddenly mattered so much to him.
They sat silently for a while longer and then Susan's Santana-tune changed because maybe it was their lawyer-habit but being thorough (and worried parents) meant they still did not trust Santana implicitly with their daughter's heart.
"They are kind of rushing the marriage thing, don't you think?" She said, even though they were the ones supportably going to throw a surprise party that Saturday.
"Well, Brittany's going to be thirty soon," Horton countered, thinking it was a nice time for her to marry in general before admitting "but we've only just gotten to know Santana and this relationship ends up mixing business with our family, making it get too personal – I don't think Brittany has really thought about that."
And sure, Brittany didn't work at his firm and only ever used to go there when she needed a ride home from school which was nearby so she would walk over, but he hoped Brittany thought about him and Gracie and how their working relationship with Santana would undergo as a result. Hell, clearly his working relationship with Michael was already strained due to the fact.
Gracie looked up to Santana because she was an able female lawyer helping Gracie get experience, but what if that ever changed? What if they disagreed or fought?
"Michael was way out of line," Susan said. "And Sally just sat there with that scandalized look on her face – I bet she's already on the phone telling everyone she knows about this!"
He grunted in distaste of that likely happening. He'd have to speak to Michael at some point but he wasn't looking forward to it and he was pissed off.
Friday at two in the afternoon found Santana clutching a few of Victoria's Secret's latest items in her hands, all for herself. She never went to the mall anymore, preferring to shop online and have things delivered, but damn it she liked what was on display and the anger she used to feel in busy malls (and literally everywhere public years ago) wasn't inside of her anymore.
She was currently looking at some lovely white bridal pieces that had her mind immediately going to Brittany (and the fact that they were engaged and some lucky night in the future she might get her own blonde bridal-lingerie-hottie).
"Hi," a woman in a blonde wig and large sunglasses says to her, holding up a Starbucks cup with a smile.
Santana exchanged cups with her discreetly and then took a sip of her Americano, nodding at the woman she knew of as 'Vagina.'
"Can I just say… Vagina is the worst escort name I have ever heard. It makes me cringe."
Getting that out there made her feel a bit better.
Vagina chuckled, "my clientele tend to like dirty talk. You'd be surprised how much money I make under that pseudonym. You can call me Patrice."
Informative and gross.
"Right. So, tell me what you need legal counsel on," Santana encourages her to get to the point.
With a shaky breath, Vagina confided, "this is some serious shit, okay? I heard my boss with one of her guys talking about driving a bus. I'm part of a pretty big variety of workers, there's someone for everyone is what I hear down the grapevine... But this? This is not right. I think there's some child trafficking going on."
At that, Santana was all ears.
She listens to Patrice go on about how she knew what she knew and then decides to falsely 'hire' her because they had much more ground to cover.
"I'm free for the night," Patrice tells her.
It's short-notice and not very cool on her part considering she told Brittany she'd work less at the end of weeks, but this was child-trafficking and action needed to be taken.
She phones Brittany after Patrice leaves the store, and Brittany picks up with the sounds of the dull bass at the dance studio thumping.
"Hey chocolate rice krispie muffin pie," Brittany greets her.
Santana fights the smile on her face and glances back at the bridal lingerie, "hey. I have bad news."
"Noooo don't tell me."
"I'm sorry," Santana apologizes.
"How late are you going to be?" Brittany asks.
"Real late. Might not even make it home all night, I got this emergency client and it will take hours."
Brittany is quiet for a while and then says, "who's going to feed me, though?"
"Shut up," Santana laughs. "I promise I'll make it up to you."
"You don't have to," Brittany's voice goes soft. "Just um, be safe and make sure you eat something more nutritional than a salad."
"Okay," Santana made sure no one could hear her, "I think this will go through tomorrow too."
"You said you were taking Saturdays off," Brittany reminded Santana, not angry, but still annoyed.
"I know, I'm sorry, but this thing is huge." Santana said in a rush. "But I'll definitely be at our lunch date."
"I get it," Brittany said calmly because she really did get it – clearly something urgent was going on.
"You do? So you're cool with me telling you I won't be home most of tomorrow too and I'm sorry but I'm sure you'll have fun without me because we were just going to hang around anyways, right?"
"I was going to prank you again," Brittany revealed in disappointment, "but that can wait. As long as you're not ditching me for nothing it's cool. And you're not cancelling on my parents right? They were excited."
"No, of course not. I'm just following a lead on, uh, child trafficking," Santana said quietly, screeching their flirtation to a halt with that frightening crime. "I'll be meeting with the police while they interview my client which is going to be hard to figure out. She's got evidence of the operation so once they get their info and warrants I have a feeling they'll take immediate action and shut things down."
"That's…" Brittany trails off with obvious disgust.
"Is Gracie helping you with this too?"
"Uh not exactly," Santana made her way to the till for her purchases. "Just me at the moment to keep it on the down-low, when charges are officially pressed and the evidence follows through, then I'll involve other people because this is some really horrible shit going on."
"So this is a secret?" Brittany asks her, "did you just break attorney-client privilege with me?"
"Kind of." Santana chuckled, "don't get used to it, I just…"
Brittany saves her from saying something too sappy with, "let me know if you can't make lunch, no big deal."
Michael Evans had decided to go into work Saturday morning, still feeling upset from his dinner with his friend who hadn't talked to him since their fight, and trying to think of ways to apologize while keeping his pride at the same time.
He was surprised to see Becky at her desk as he headed to his office and he paused in suspicion.
According to his secretary, Deb, Becky had been ecstatic at the last secretary party (a crazy drunkfest potluck that occurred amongst all secretaries every month at someone's house in alteration) because she no longer had to work Saturdays since Santana was officially taking them off.
What was so important about this Saturday? And why was a guy (with a packed gun under his coat poking out) waiting outside of Santana's office? And why had Santana closed the blinds (something no one did unless requested by a client).
His first thought was that perhaps Santana was in there with someone famous, and that had him intrigued because she seemed to be a magnet for famous people.
But when the door to Santana's office opened and a woman he recognized personally left with a flirty smile and ruffled hair, he had never felt so shocked and self-righteous at the same time and he had seen a lot of shit during his law tenure.
That was a fucking prostitute. Santana Lopez had just been fucking a prostitute. He knew this because he remembered her from seven years ago, birth name Patrice-Something (Barnes, maybe?). She had been hired by his client the multimillionaire Francois Frances The Third, and had testified against him in court at the time with pillow-talk Frances shared.
The man with the gun started walking with Patrice in his direction, and when Michael made eye contact he was surprised Patrice's eyes flew over him without recognition. Didn't she recognize him as the guy who verbally attacked her on the stand? Then again, he wore glasses now and his hair was disappearing… He headed towards his office slowly, listening intently to try and catch whatever Santana was telling her secretary after her rendezvous.
"—did she charge?" Becky teased Santana as he walked by.
He heard a disdained, "would you believe three thousand for an hour?"
Michael himself thought that was a sneaky rate but didn't change his facial expression until he got into his office, closed the door, and then said, "holy shit!"
He dialed Horton's number immediately to continue ranting when Horton picked up.
"She's hiring a prostitute and hiring them in her damn office!" Michael said in way of greeting. "And her secretary is in on it!"
"It could be a client," Horton reasoned with him sarcastically, "Jesus, Mike! You're still on this?"
"I saw it with my own eyes! If she's a client, why the bodyguard? Why the-the transaction? It definitely looked like that woman walked out with shame!"
"This. Is. Going. Too. Far."
"Okay, I realized I was being unnecessarily severe last night but I recognize this escort personally. She was a witness in that Frances trial."
"Are you sure?" Horton said in exasperation, "I mean, maybe she is a prostitute but I just don't think anyone is stupid enough to hire a hooker through their secretary and get it on in the office."
"Must be part of her kink," Michael walked over to his office window and peered out to Santana's direction again, this time surprised to see her talking to three-people he recognized as cops from their badges and stature. "Now she's got three cops and she's leading them to the conference room. Maybe she took Saturdays off so her unofficial business isn't official?"
Horton's interest peeked at this tidbit. Considering how recently Santana had dealt with cops via false arrest and again because of Gracie's stalker-group, he wondered if it might concern him.
The idea that she was still dealing with that without telling him was a little disconcerting, not the idea that she was hiring hookers and talking to cops. In his opinion, that sounded like it actually had a reasonable explanation.
"Mike I'll be there in fifteen minutes," Horton told his friend grumpily, "Spying on her is not going to get you anywhere, how about you man up and confront her about it to clear the air? There's obviously an explanation."
"Fine. I'll wait til' you get here," Michael said before hanging up.
Michael knew he was reaching at first, but then he saw a hooker leave Santana's office with tell-tale signs of a hook-up and overheard her telling a cop he "owed her."
Now he was more convinced of his previous conclusion: Santana Lopez might possibly be a bribing kind of gal who tricked favours with people to get ahead in the game.
She wouldn't be the first, he had seen it before.
"So where are the police?" Horton asked upon arrival, not seeing anyone in the office space except for Becky at her desk, playing Minesweeper with a bowl of skittles next to her.
"Conference room," Michael pointed to it, where Santana was indeed discussing something with three people. "I saw their badges, they're cops."
As they got closer, Horton recognized those three cops (ugly mullet, brute chick, and smarmy dick – the three involved with their arrest).
He knocked on the glass door of the conference room, aware that Santana's reaction was very telling.
She didn't look like she was caught doing something illegal, she just looked surprised to see them there in their slacks and polos like they were going to invite her out for a golfing game, and she also looked like she hadn't slept all night.
She stood up and opened the door saying smugly to Horton and pointing behind her, "look who I got to help me out with a case."
He couldn't help but smile, waving at the three cops who apparently still had not lived down their false accusations. They waved timidly back when they recognized him and then went back to looking through folders in front of them. Santana stepped out of the room and closed the door behind her.
"Need something?" she asked.
"Why was an escort hired by you in your office?" Michael cut straight to the point, bluntly raising his eyebrow at her.
Santana looked taken back for a brief second before her politeness dropped and she simply stated a very reasonable explanation of, "she's a client who is trying to pretend I'm her client so her boss doesn't catch on and kill her for talking shop."
Michael's mouth opened and then closed before he quietly said, "oh. Right."
That was unsurprising, Horton thought, and very obvious.
"We'll let you get back to it," he said to Santana, rolling his eyes at Michael, "just thought I'd say hi. See you tonight."
She nodded and went back into the conference room, leaving Horton to turn judging eyes to his friend.
"But the cops-"
"Do owe her. Trust me, because they owe me too."
Michael tugged on his balding grey hair and groaned, "goddamn it Horton!" She struggled with his pride before his shoulder sagged and he said, "I'm sorry."
"Me too," Horton said as they headed back to Michael's office, "for what I said about Sam…" being incompetent was left hanging.
Michael nodded, not wanting to admit that his greatest fear was that his legacy would disappear because his only son wasn't passionate about law the same way he was.
And it wasn't really about his son, actually. It was about him.
Seeing someone new make a name for herself in his city-turf made him feel like he was the starting quarterback being replaced. He felt threatened as the name Lopez got hotter and wealthier like his name did once upon a time.
He was going to back off now that he realized he was being unreasonable and had only made a fool of himself. He was grateful Horton seemed to understand and not demand he apologize further.
Brittany couldn't keep her eyes off of her phone, Santana hadn't cancelled so she should be here soon. Mike was sitting with her, drumming his fingers to the diner music.
"You want to go out tonight?" Brittany asked him, "I should be done dinner with my parents by nine and Fly-Lounge is having 90's night. Plus I think Santana is going to pass out because she hasn't slept in a while and then I'll be bored."
"I'm down," he says with a smile, not giving away that he's been invited to the Pierces via Gracie for a surprise engagement party.
The two have met up for lunch, and Santana and Quinn are supposed to show up sometime soon as well. Sometime like, fifteen minutes ago.
"Hey guys!" Quinn slips into the booth and kisses Mike's cheek, "sorry I'm late. I couldn't find my purse."
Mike smiles at her. They've been an official couple recently, which Brittany totally approves of because she takes credit for setting them up.
"Where's Santana?" Quinn asks. "I need to bitch at her for calling one of my co-workers an 'no-talent whining virgin' after she stole his client. In public."
"Holy shit," Brittany says in surprise, not sure how she should respond to hearing her wife say that about someone. Then again, she knows that "he must be a no-talent whining virgin then."
"Well he's running his mouth about her," Quinn shakes her head, "so he is definitely whining."
Mike shook his head, "is this Roger? That guy's a dick."
"Roger Wilson," Quinn names him. "We lost Matt Rutherford to her, NFL superstar who's divorcing his wife."
"Santana told me about that, she was approached by him for an opinion on the case and then some loser lawyer got cranky and called her a lot of things in front of Matt so Matt dropped him because he didn't like him and then hired Santana. She didn't steal."
Quinn looks happy to hear that, "thank God! I will thoroughly enjoy spreading that word because Roger tried to grope me at one of our company dinners and he won't shut up about Santana being out to get him."
"Total dick," Mike said, "he did it right next to me and tried to pass it off as reaching for his drink."
"Hey sexy lady!" A drunk guy in the lounge hollers at a woman who just entered (and of course ends up being Santana in a short, metallic grey skirt suit).
"Sup ugly fuck," Santana gave him a serious nod of acknowledgment loudly, causing many people in the lounge to start laughing at the guy whose face fell.
A second later, she slides into the booth next to Brittany, looking around at the place with condescension.
"The food is good," Brittany said knowingly, "and you must be starving."
"Mhmmm," Santana slid even closer to Brittany before nodding at the googly-eyed-puppy-lovers Mike and Quinn politely, "how are you guys?"
"Amazing," Quinn said shyly, making eye-contact with Mike when she said this, causing him to melt and kiss her forehead gently.
"Ugh. Barf," Santana commented, cringing at how sappy they were. She decided to turn her attention to Brittany and let the lovebirds blush instead of figuring out what to order. "What do you think of my suit? Hot or divine?"
"It looks amazing on you," Brittany gushed, reaching forward to fix the white blouse collar that didn't even need fixing. "Why'd you change out of your other thing?"
"I didn't come home last night, remember?" Santana reminded her gently and quietly so the other two wouldn't hear her discuss a client, "I stayed at a hotel with Patrice to talk more in depth and came home this morning to grab new clothes when you were sleeping. Can you believe a full night with her costs fifteen grand?"
"Wow, I didn't even notice," Brittany said slowly, "you're not offended are you?"
"You mean you forgot that I, your fiancée, wasn't going to be home last night? Yes I am offended."
"I was really into the Planet Earth DVD. Well… you really do look hot. Is that the tailored suit you were on about? Take off the blazer I want to see the vest."
Santana pouted at the change of subject and took off her tight blazer, smirking when her tasteful cleavage and tight vest-over-blouse were enough to cause Brittany to bite her lip ever so and slip a hand onto her thigh.
"I'm definitely getting more made," Santana nodded proudly from that reaction.
"Sorry what was that?" Quinn said with a smile, breaking eye contact with Mike and tuning back into her friends.
"Let's order!" Brittany told them because their waiter just happened to approach the table at that time to get their order.
Santana copied Brittany's order of a burger, which coincidentally Mike and Quinn copied too.
"Check it out, I'm on the news again," Santana jerked her head to the TV where sure enough a clip of her saying something inaudible into the microphone was being showed before her face was dropped and Matt Rutherford was seen talking into the camera.
Brittany caught Quinn roll her eyes as Santana's ego slipped out, which brought a private smile to her face because Santana was always so adorable when she gave herself a drum roll like that.
Brittany actually found Santana's ego hot, it had always been a huge attraction from the moment she first started eye-fucking Santana at the gym. The only time it wasn't particularly attractive was when they had started sleeping together and Santana would presume Brittany had an amazing orgasm with a triumphant smirk.
That disappeared pretty quickly though, because she noticed Santana start to be shyer around her and more tentative instead of presumptuous because she was falling for her which was super flattering and butterfly-in-her-stomach inducing, because she too had started really liking Santana's real qualities which started to show and was glad when hooking up seamlessly became dating, friendship, and love.
"So what's up with the case?" Quinn gave in and asked.
"He did cheat on his wife but as it turns out she lied about his baby being his. It was some real Steve Wilkos shit. By the way Quinn, I should let you now that Governor Hummel met with me the other day."
"You've got The Governor as a client?" Quinn says, "but he's with my firm! I cleared his vote fraud charges! Me."
"He just wanted an opinion," Santana rolled her eyes at Quinn, "but if you must know, yes, I will probably have him as a client within the week for a small thing. He just wants something hush done, and then I'm sure he'll back to kiss your blonde ass."
Quinn looks grumpy, but their food arrives and they all dig in.
"Is his son Kurt the guy you hit it off with?" Brittany asks in interest.
"Yeah," Santana's eyes lit up with excitement, "he's cool."
Brittany is pleased with this because Santana has no friends. It's a fact. She was pretty much Santana's only friend, and while Quinn and Mike got along with her and Gracie looked up to her (and Becky had a productive yet odd working relationship with her), Santana didn't have a home-dog to just chat to or call for a movie or drinks. Apparently in Kurt she had at least found a kindred musical theatre weirdo who wanted to go see a musical with her (Brittany preferred movie theatres).
"You should invite him to our wedding," Brittany says.
That upgrades Santana's guest list to like, one. Which is cool.
When she mentions the wedding, Santana pauses chewing her burger and looks at her with wide eyes.
Predictable. Brittany removes her hands from Santana's thigh and gives her meal her attention.
"We have to plan it eventually," Brittany defends before taking a large bite of her food and letting Santana's brain forget about clients and work to focus on the big question in their relationship.
When, exactly, were they going to go through with it?
"Yeah. I know," Santana quickly shook off her wide-eyed panic, "I just um… I figured you wouldn't bring it up for like, at least another three years."
Brittany shrugs because yes, The Her before-engagement didn't want to get married and would have put it off. But then she agreed to get married so The Her after-engagement was surprisingly eager to get it over with.
"What are you guys whispering about?" Quinn poked Brittany's shoulder playfully, "I think I heard the word 'wedding' in there."
Smacking Quinn's hand away, Brittany giggles with a blush on her cheeks, "you know any wedding planners? We aren't getting anywhere!"
"What the hell do you want now?" Officer smokes-a-lot with the ugly mullet says to Santana, "another thank you for your intel? Because… no."
"Oh fuck off," Santana takes a seat across from his desk, "I'm not that kind of selfish. And if you were a real public servant you'd do everybody a favour and get a haircut already."
He frowns but leans forward anyways, "what can I do for you then Miss Lopez?"
"I just want an update on the arrests and victims."
"Why? There will be news coverage tonight at six."
"Oh I don't know, because I'm a fucking lawyer – not a drug-money whore, mind you - and they might need one?" She snaps at him, getting angry.
He searches the papers on his desk and ends up finding a file, flipping through it.
"Anybody tell you that you should cool your temper?"
"Sure." Santana says casually, thinking briefly of all (five) anger management counselors she's had the pleasure of meeting, "But that has nothing to do with you asking dumb questions that irritate me."
He sighs but says, "there's one kid who might need help. Sepp Lexikon, name implies he's German. He's eight years old and he's the only kid that we haven't been able to trace. Don't know what will happen to him yet."
Santana takes the file and stares at it in thought, "you mean all the other kids have been helped out?"
"I know, I'm as surprised as you! Thirteen of them turned out to be US citizens, mostly from the foster system so the state took immediate action, and eight Mexicans were sent back to Mexico a few hours ago to reunite with their families. That Sepp kid won't talk to anyone so we're having trouble."
"How'd you get his name then?"
"The number they tattooed onto him corresponds with one of the lists, and since he responds to it it's probably his real name."
"Hm. Well," Santana stood up and put Sepp's file in her leather satchel, "take care-"
"-Of your mullet."
She looks down at her watch and feels the day's accomplishments kick in. She hasn't slept for thirty hours, she spent the night with Patrice and videoconference in a hotel with cops, then this morning she met Patrice again because the woman decided to be a fucking hero and take photo-evidence herself of the facility after spotting a kid being carried, then the detectives showed up for a deal to give Patrice witness protection and her bosses had that weird moment concerning her hiring an escort in the office before disappearing, then she had lunch with Mike and Quinn's obnoxious couply behaviour, then she made out with Brittany for a bit before Brittany told her she had to go see a movie with Tina since she made plans thinking Santana wouldn't be done so soon, and then she came here to inquire about the kids.
She had time to meet Sepp before her dinner tonight, so why not get ahead of it. Brittany would bet home near seven so she had three hours to kill.
"Are they still keeping him at a hotel?" She asks Officer Mullet.
Santana knocks on the hotel room door and is greeted by Sepp's current guardian officer.
"Pleasure to meet you Miss Lopez," the female said, gesturing her in, "its very kind of you to help Sepp here."
Santana didn't say anything, but took a seat on the uncomfortable hotel couch next to Sepp.
The officer stood opposite them and introduced her to him, "Sepp this is Santana, she's here to help you."
"So Sepp," she spoke out loud, eyeing the kid who simply blinked at her once before playing with the action figure in his hands.
"He doesn't speak to anyone," the officer informed Santana of what she already knew, "maybe he doesn't speak at all."
Ignoring her, Santana snapped her fingers at Sepp's face until he looked at her again.
They stared at each other, and while she had been trying to help the kid she hadn't expected to relate to the emptiness in his eyes – she had after all been in a situation like his where she had no family to be there for her, where she felt all alone an pointless.
She leaned back and then took out a plastic bag from her purse which had some cream soda and chocolate in it that she purchased form the lobby. She figured he would like it and placed it in front of him with what she hoped was a 'nice' smile.
(Brittany said smile and be approachable.)
"Here, I got you this. So Sepp here is officially a ward of the state," Santana spoke to the officer, "how eligible is he for adoption? I hear there's already been progress in the last hour."
"We finally matched him to deceased parents," the officer coughed uncomfortably and looked at Sepp like she was afraid he'd burst into tears, "father was Olexandr Lexikon and mother was Rita. They were immigrants from Germany but he was born here in America, the hospital faxed his records over."
"But he's not in the foster system?" Santana confirmed.
"Not yet," she said, just as Sepp curiously but eagerly started eating the treats she gave him, reminding Santana of how much a meal used to mean to her when she was homeless.
"Well, I haven't done this before," she referred to being a child's lawyer, "but I am going to be Sepp's lawyer, so we'll find him a home. Sepp?"
He looked up at her timidly so she pushed the cream soda can further towards him.
"You will call me Santana," she ordered him, "and you will come to my office every Friday for lunch at twelve. Okay?"
He looked a little afraid of her but to Santana's (and the cop's) utter surprise he very quietly said, "kay."
"How cool is that?" Santana said to Brittany as the blonde enjoyed driving her Audi the long way to her parent's house. "Everyone is all 'the kid doesn't speak' and he spoke to me. He must have loved that Kit-Kat."
"You would make a great mother," Brittany takes this opportunity to tell Santana. "I can picture it now!"
She makes a right turn and then stops at the red light, twirling some of her blonde hair around her finger in serious concentration.
"I'm not falling for anymore of your pranks babe," Santana cuts her off after a moment of silence.
"But I'm being serious," Brittany told her. "If you're some kind of child whisperer you need to have at least five kids, and if that's the case then we need to start right now so the fifth kid is born before we're forty."
Santana still thinks Brittany is full of shit, but some doubt starts to cloud her face. Like, what if Brittany wanted five kids? Starting now?
"Ha. See? You fell for it," Brittany reaches over and smacks her out of her mental nightmare with a nudge before the light turns green and she can speed up again.
Santana huffs, crossing her arms and slinking back into the seat. She knew Brittany was trolling her but she still fell for it. Not fair.
"Gracie dropped her lipgloss down there the other day, do you see it anywhere?" Brittany asks her.
"Down where?" Santana glances around lazily. "Hold up – do you actually want kids?"
Brittany's body freezes from Santana's voice, "of course I do. You don't?"
"Hell no," Santana says in full panic, "not EVER. I fucking hate them."
The Audi pulls up onto the Pierce's driveway, and Brittany slowly turns off the engine.
She attempts to reason, "you're just uncomfortable around them, you don't hate them-"
"I do. I can barely put up with your cat, hell no am I going to ever put up with your kids."
When Brittany's jaw drops open in horror, Santana smirks evilly.
"April Fools Britt-Britt."
"Wh-you—Santana! That is not funny!"
"I see why you do it now, your face was priceless."
"Oh was it?" Brittany smiled back now before the smile dropped from her face. "No kisses."
Santana sulked at this threat, which she found to be "totally unfair! I gave you a dose of your own medicine you can't torture me for equality treatment!"
"So not getting a kiss for one day is torture?" Brittany teased before she made to get out of the car. "Aw, you're so clingy!"
Santana followed her lead and trailed behind her to the front door with a laugh.
"Shut up!" She reached forward to grab Brittany's wrist and stop her front going up the front steps to the door.
"What?" Brittany tilted her head in question, smiling gently.
"You're playing right? Because if not I ain't going in there unless you kiss me."
Brittany steps in close and leans forward as if to place a kiss on Santana's mouth but only brushes their lips flirtatiously together so she can whisper, "of course I'm playing… I knew you didn't really mean it, what you said just now in the car."
"Oh?" Santana whispered back, her hands gently circling the low of Brittany's back to press closer still. "Are you sure? Because I think I got you and you just don't want to admit it."
"Santana… don't take this the wrong way, but I can read you like a graphic novel. I know you."
Santana jerked back from Brittany's lips, "does that mean you think I'm boring and predictable?"
But Brittany grabbed her face and pulled her in to cut off her on-the-clock insecurity, kissing her quiet for a minute as sensually as she could muster before murmuring, "you are definitely not boring. I might know you but I never know what you're going to toss my way. Like one minute you're fucking me in a hotel room like I'm your dirty one night stand, and the next minute you're begging me to go out with you."
"I didn't beg-" a finger is placed against her lips.
"Wait, I like this game. One minute you're a sexy mystery lawyer who comes to my studio for booty calls in the closet, the next minute you're another douche lawyer working for my dad-"
"That's cold Brittz."
"—who buys me lunch and brings it me in the open. One minute you you're yelling at some guy who accidentally bumps into me at the club, and the next you're bawling your eyes out because you drank too much and I'm 'too beautiful for your eyes to take in'. Haha!"
She laughs as Santana cracks a smile in embarrassment for her cry-drinking vice. She raises a hand to poke Santana's cheek and continue with, "I got another one! One minute you're beneath me-"
"Britt!" Santana says in shock, like someone might overhear them (Santana immediately thinks of Susan and how the woman would probably beat the shit out of her with a wooden spoon if she ever got another hint regarding their sex life).
"And the next you're giving it to me like-"
"Okay! Let's go inside." Santana says in good humour, with one of her hands covering Brittany's smirking mouth.
Her attention is taken in another sweet kiss after she drops her hand. Brittany's playfulness leaves her and is replaced with a shy and sweet candor as she looks down from Santana's eyes and plays with Santana's necklace.
"One minute you're meeting my parents, the next minute you're buying me a car and asking me to marry you."
"…" Santana swallows her dry throat after her breath escapes her, "That's because I love you," she explains to Brittany. She knows she doesn't say it much but she has to say it right then.
"See? You're not boring. You totally keep me on my toes without even trying," Brittany presses her face quickly into Santana's neck to hide her burning cheeks before shaking her head at their cheesy romance and giggling.
Santana sighs contently, letting the embrace end as Brittany stands tall again.
Brittany kisses her cheek with a quick smack and wink to extinguish the embarrassing tenderness of their moment, and then turns around to enter the house. The front door is open in anticipation of their arrival, and Santana struggles to get over her own blush before moving her feet.
(She's pretty sure they're going to revisit that tonight.)
She hears a yell of "SURPRISE!" and that snaps her from her daze to go inside just as Susan's voice says to Brittany, "where's Santana?"
When she enters, there are a few more cheers and a lot of people Santana doesn't know but also a banner that gives it away saying 'congratulations!'
Brittany starts thanking and greeting people almost immediately, and Santana is awkwardly introduced to people invited by the Pierce's for this surprise engagement party.
The smile that has found its way to her face that day is different from most. She's not smiling because of her pride, she's not smiling because of one singular triumph: she's smiling because she's never been so generically happy in her life or ever felt so welcome.
A/N: Yes, I can definitely see a sequel.