Have you ever had the impression that a simple object represents more than what it really is? A simple teddy bear can become a guardian during a stormy night, a simple plastic ring can represent a solid bond, or a song can become the push you need to change your life.
It seemed to Santana the wooden layer in front of her wasn't just a simple door, no. The door basically represented everything she had tried to avoid these past three years. She had taken all the pain, the sense of guilt and the frustration that had manifested itself in those two excruciating months, and she had stored them behind the proverbial door deep in her mind never to be opened again.
Santana should have been feeling particularly agitated, but no actually it was like a sense of peaceful resignation had invaded her. She knew she was in the right place, but she also knew that it wasn't the right time either. No, she was way too late, but she needed to do it, she needed to start fixing the pieces of her broken puzzle. She had absolutely no idea what was happening to her, but since she had stepped into Urban Ink she had felt like she was on the right track, leading to a happy life, a life she knew she deserved.
Images of the blonde suddenly appeared in her mind, yet all she was able to do was swallow thickly in an attempt to erase the thoughts of Brittany walking away and leaving her alone in the middle of the dance floor.
Why the hell had she been stupid enough to say something so inappropriate to a person that was practically working for her? She knew she had ruined everything and that was proved when the day after, the tattooist had cancelled their weekly appointment through a simple phone call, made by Puck.
So, once again, that amazing woman was the reason why she was here, standing in front of a door ready to turn her life upside down, again.
She was supposed to be at Urban Ink. She was meant to be talking and listening to Brittany, but thanks to her stupidity, the tattooist told her she couldn't make it for the session, postponing it until the following week. But Santana knew she was lying, and the ugly truth was that Brittany didn't want to see her after that night.
So that evening after she had left the office, during her journey back home, she panicked. The thought of spending another week without seeing Brittany had rapidly caused her breathing problems.
All of a sudden she had forgotten how to bring oxygen into her lungs and brain, , , and she felt the overwhelming urge to just drive to that place.
She had switched onto autopilot and twenty blocks later, she was already turning into the driveway.
Her heart had skipped a beat when she had realized where her subconscious had taken her.
Fuck, she knew that driveway, the porch and the house behind it used to be like her home.
She had spent most of her childhood playing in that garden and she could remember clear as day all the hours she had spent talking on the door steps about her first kiss and experiences with boys.
Unfortunately now this place wasn't anything more than just a random house in the county, it was just an anonymous place where her car had decided to stop.
Santana inhaled, trying in vain to make sense of all the shit from the past three years. She stood there, palms sweaty, chest pounding, and eventually reached for the doorbell. Her heart on impact immediately accelerated, but somehow, she still managed to keep a calm facade.
She was acutely aware of the fact that she had nothing to lose and that she had already screwed everything up and that was the only reasonable explanation as to why she wasn't afraid to try and fix it.
Ten or maybe fifteen interminable seconds passed before the door suddenly opened in front of her, jolting her out of her inner turmoil and wishing she could just run away, again.
The door opened slowly and Santana knew the person behind it was hesitant, her presence made visible from the peephole. When she had awoken that morning, she had absolutely no idea the day would have turned out this way.
Her heart exploded as the door slowly unveiled who was standing behind it.
She was exactly how she remembered her being. It was incredible, Quinn Fabray didn't seem to be affected by the years passed at all.
Santana hesitantly raised her eyes up and tried to ignore the heavy beats of her heart that were threatening to escape her rib cage.
She was fighting so hard against herself to hold the tears that were already approaching the edges of her eyes.
"H-hi." Quinn stuttered in a low trembling voice, the fear layered in her voice did not go unnoticed by Santana. She gave a quick look at the blonde's crutch that was helping her to stand, and, a sharp twinge of pain stabbed her, directly in her heart.
She internally cursed herself for the heaviness of the situation; it was such an unbearable situation she had to face. Quinn was the physical representation of all that was wrong in her life, that girl embodied all her fears and guilt. She felt like complete shit, but she knew that she couldn't simply stand there without saying anything. She was the one who had shown up at her house after all.
She looked for a second wanting to take in those beautiful eyes she thought she would never see again, but the only thing she could see was emptiness.
"I'm aware that I probably shouldn't be standing here," she started her voice barely above a whisper. The anxiety in her chest was indescribable and this was proving to be one of the hardest moments of her entire life.
"And I know that whatever I'm going to say won't change the past and what I did to you, but..." She quickly inhaled as much oxygen as she was able to and focused on trying not to faint while Quinn's sad, disgusted expression hadn't change at all.
"I realize that I never told you how sorry I am, and more importantly how sorry I am that I left you alone after...that day," she said.
Fuck, she wanted to cry so damn bad, but she knew better. She had no right, and as a sign of respect to Quinn, she held back.
She had rehearsed this speech a millions times, in the shower, when she was driving or cooking, even if she had never intended to use it. But no matter how many times she practiced, it would never have been enough to prepare her for this moment.
Each word that escaped her mouth seemed to be wrong and didn't reflect what she really wanted to say. She wasn't even sure which would be the best way to make Quinn understand what she had gone through, or the reasons why she had pushed her friend away after the accident.
Quinn's facial muscles didn't move at all, not a hint of a reaction.
Santana could clearly feel her blood pumping in the vein of her temples, and the sensation of anxiety was quickly taking control of her brain.
"Listen." she whispered trying to collect her thoughts, but her mind was already blurred. She knew exactly what was about to happen. She was about to lose it. She tried so hard to push back the river of words that was about to spill from her lips.
"…I know I'm a terrible person, I was a terrible friend to you but, I...after the accident I was so ashamed of what I'd done, and of the pain I caused you and our family that I closed myself off and I changed so much. I know this isn't any sort of justification for my actions, because I practically abandoned you, but I also abandoned myself, I became what my parents always wanted me to be, and…"
She stopped, lifting her gaze to meet Quinn's hazel eyes.
"Q, I am so, so sorry, and if you just want me to leave, I will. You never have to see me again if you don't want to. Just know that no matter what, I understand and respect your decision."
She then forced herself to shut the fuck up and stand still, muscles stiff, ready to catch the blonde's reaction.
Santana clearly remembered that her friend had always been a rather shy person when it came to feelings, and that making her express her own problems had always been hard; but in that moment she really needed to hear Quinn's thoughts.
"Please say something." She desperately pleaded.
"Why are you here Santana?"
Because I desperately need a friend right now.
"Because-" but the blonde hadn't finished.
"I mean, I tried to call you for weeks after that day but you never answered, and now, after all this time, you come here and I really don't know what it is you're trying to achieve." Her words were pronounced slowly but calmly, completely void of any emotion.
"I don't know. I didn't come here with a plan." Santana replied trying to maintain calm. "And I don't know what I can say to try and change your mind, but." at that point the tears were already running down her cheeks but she couldn't do anything about that. "I feel like I'm going crazy and I really need a friend right now. Believe it or not, you're my only friend."
Santana couldn't be sure, but she swore she caught sight of the smallest hint of a smile reaching Quinn's lips.
"And did it take you three years to figure this out?" Quinn replied sarcastically.
Santana shook her head. "It took me a while, but someone kind of helped me realize how stupid I've been, and..."
"That isn't a word I'd use to describe you, Santana," Quinn said, and for a second Santana was brought back to when she was sixteen and she had to fight for her role as HBIC.
"Tell me, what is it you want from me?" Quinn asked, arms open in a sign of resignation.
"For you to hear me out and to forgive me. I really miss you and I really need my best friend. Mostly, I need you to need me too. I need to feel important to you again because you really are one of the only people I've ever cared about. I swear to God that I'll never forgive myself for the way I acted before, and unfortunately, I can't change it. But believe me, if I could, I would."
Quinn shrugged, and for a second, Santana's arrogance made her think she could actually succumb to her sweet words.
"Leave." Quinn finally whispered in return.
"Santana, please go." The girl repeated, and the Latina couldn't stop herself as more tears quickly began escaping her eyes.
"I don't want to see you ever again."
Santana was in shock; she had never thought words could hurt a person that much. What was that, some kind of revenge? She knew she had no right to claim anything but, deep down, she still had this lingering hope that Quinn would have been happy to see her. Obviously she was wrong.
She slowly lowered her gaze to try to hide her embarrassment.
"Okay. I won't bother you again," She replied her voice clearly full of disappointment, hoping to elicit any kind of reaction from Quinn that would be empathetic; yet, all she received in response was a simple eye roll one last time before fading away behind the door.
Santana stood still for a second, watching as the front door closed once and for all, and it's then a thought hit her hard. She couldn't help but start sobbing, heavy tears streamed down her face. The scary, unbearable truth was that she had no one left, no one apart from her boyfriend who was supposed to be the most important presence in her whole life. It made Santana acutely aware of the knot in her stomach that continuously tightens at the thought of going back to him.
Fuck. I'm completely alone.
11 am – Santana's place
Two days. Two fucking days, A.K.A 48 hours, 2880 minutes and 172.800 seconds had passed since she had skipped her first Urban Ink session, and that meant just one thing: she desperately felt the urge to call Brittany. Whether it is to just see her and talk to her.
Even watch her doing random stuff would have been enough for her in that moment, the only thing she couldn't bear anymore was not having any idea of what she was doing, how she was...and, especially, where they stood. She had never felt so alone. In theory, her life was exactly as it was three weeks before, but in that moment, Santana was vaguely aware of being on the edge of an emotional breakdown.
God, I miss her.
It was like the tenth time she had thought that since the day had started. It was 11 am.
She had woke up in a dark mood the same dark mood that had been constantly torturing her for the past few days, and the very idea of getting dressed and going to work had her body already aching with dread. She knew that it wasn't physical pain, but more an emotional consuming pain that caused her deep distress and made it almost impossible to concentrate on anything. So, she took it upon herself to call into work, telling her boss she wasn't feeling well
Luckily for her, Ray had left early that morning since he had to drive to San Diego to meet a possible investor, and that meant she would finally have a day completely to herself.
She didn't have any plans apart from relaxing and trying to forget that sassy blonde who had took permanent residency in her mind.
Without rushing her actions, Santana headed to the kitchen where she prepared a cup of iced tea, then to the studio where she carefully chose one of the many books she had bought with the intention of reading one day. She slowly made her way outside to the patio.
As soon as she stepped through the threshold, three things caught her attention: the far sound of a classic melody playing, the summer warm breeze pleasantly blowing in the air, and the silhouette of someone standing a few meters from the kitchen entrance.
Santana immediately wished it was Brittany's face, since the girl had surprised her with unexpected presence so many times before, but she was wrong, again.
The mysterious person made a step forward to get out of the shadow of the porch and Santana's mind blacked out.
She immediately recognized the thin crutch that was supporting the silhouette's delicate weight.
Quinn, not Brittany, was standing there, in the middle of her garden.
Santana immediately froze, scared to say or do anything that could scare Quinn away. If Quinn was there, it must have been for a specific reason, and Santana didn't want to push. She felt like one of those FBI agents trying to defuse a bomb, one wrong wire and everything could blow.
"Hi," she stuttered with a low voice, still remaining motionless while watching Quinn take another step in her direction.
Her former best friend didn't answer, and instead silently sat on the wrought iron sun-bed, rolling her beautiful eyes at her. Santana understood that the only thing she could do was sit and wait patiently.
"I hate you," Quinn began in her classic aggressive way, but Santana couldn't help but feel relieved at hearing the sound of her friend's voice again.
Santana's only response was to furrow her brow and tilt her head slightly in confusion.
"Santana, you have no idea how pissed I am with myself right now." Quinn continued with her cryptic speech.
"What do you mean?"
"I swear I meant it."
She remembered her to be crazy but, not that crazy.
"Meant what exactly?"
"That I didn't want to see you ever again."
"Ok." Santana replied nodding. "But..?"
"But I-I can't and I blame you for that." The blonde explained snorting at her.
Santana wanted so badly to answer with a joke about her being perfect, but she pushed the words back down her throat. It was definitely way too soon to start treating Quinn as she used to.
"Quinn, I don't know what to answer," Santana replied her voice still trembling with nerves. She didn't want to fool herself, but the fact that Quinn had driven to her house just to insult her was something to appreciate if the other person was Quinn bitch Fabray.
"Tell me what's going on." Quinn ordered, the tone still cold and impersonal.
"You told me you needed a friend that you're freaking out about something…" Santana was still staring at her completely confused.
"Yeah, but it didn't mean I need you to fix it for me."
Of course she needed her, talking to Quinn probably could have been a way of easing the tension; but she also knew that if they wanted to try to work out their friendship, they had to start from the beginning, not just skip to personal problems.
"Maybe if I help you, I can move on and let this go so we can get on with our lives."
What the hell was she talking about?
"Q, you don't have to help me, you don't owe me anything." Santana replied being as honest as she could.
"I know. It's just that...since you came the other day, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you and you're fucking problems."
"Can I tell you what I think?" Santana asked hinting a shy smile, but Quinn glared at her immediately, like she wanted to make it clear that she had absolutely no intentions of giving in.
"I think one of the reasons you're so pissed right now is cause' a part of you wants to forgive me. Deep down, you probably miss me too, and I don't want to seem arrogant, but the kind of friendship we had was real. You know, just because I was a jerk doesn't change that, even if I was stupid..."
"Santana, you left me! I was in the middle of a really hard time, and you just left!" Quinn almost screamed leaning forward to prove her point.
"I know!" she replied raising her tone as well. "But I can't go back and change it. This is why I'm telling you to give me another chance. I swear I'll make it up to you for everything. I swear I'll never do something like that again, and I'm so sorry..."
Quinn's facial muscles stilled, in a grimace of disappointment.
"Slap me!" Santana exclaimed as if she had just had a great idea. Two-seconds later, she realized how ridiculous and desperate her request was.
"What?" Quinn exclaimed both visibly surprised and shocked by that suggestion.
Santana simply shrugged and didn't lower her gaze this time.
"I remember you being a genius slapper. So go ahead, I know I deserve it."
"I don't want to slap you, Santana."
"Coward the Quinn I knew wouldn't have to be told twice."
"You abandoned the Quinn you knew!" Quinn spat back.
"How many times do I have to tell you how much I regret that?"
"I don't know Santana, and honestly I don't care, because nothing is going to change between us."
"Oh, come off it, Q! That's bullshit. You came here for a reason, and you know it's because you still care about me."
"Do me a favor and stop staying bullshit, please."
"Or what are you going to go back to your stupid empty life?"
And in that moment Quinn did it; she leaned forward and slapped her exactly how Santana remembered. She didn't apply too much effort, making sure not to hurt her, but Santana's face was quickly forced to the left. Her skin immediately started tingling from the sudden contact.
They both froze for a moment, unable to say or do anything other than stare at ground.
Santana slowly turned her head towards the blonde, her mouth a little bit opened in what was a grimace of dismay.
Quinn quickly rolled her eyes at her and Santana swore she noticed what seemed to be a tinge of concern painted on her face.
The worried expression, however, soon turned into an amused grin, and then naturally it turned into a spontaneous, blasting laugh.
Santana suddenly realized the irony of the situation and couldn't help herself as well.
Sometimes, a simple gesture or a meaningless, silly interaction can be more effective than a thousand words. Santana felt like all the pain, the stress and the guilt of the last three years was suddenly being washed away by that genuine smile, as if they were rebuilding all that was lost.
Still crying with tears of laughter, Quinn managed to say, "I'm sorry."
Santana smiled back and shook her head. "Don't be. I know I deserved it."
Silence befell them again, but Santana wasn't afraid. Not anymore. She knew that somehow, someway, that slap had reconnected them, and there was still hope.
"I've missed this."
"Me slapping you?"
"No, just us."
Quinn couldn't hold her gaze, and she quickly lowered her eyes down to the floor.
"I've missed you, too." She whispered. "But this doesn't mean I've forgiven you."
"I can wait, as long as you promise that you'll try."
"I will," she replied, and those simple two words allowed a sense of peace to spread throughout Santana's body.
Quinn looked around as if she had suddenly realized she was in a place she had never been before.
"Wow, this house..." She smirked. "…you really always were the best gold-digger."
Santana replied with a glaring gaze, followed by another big smile. "Ha-ha."
"Are you happy?"
Wow. Quinn didn't waste much time.
"I am, I-I…it's complicated."
Quinn slowly placed her crutch on the floor and lay down on the sun bed.
"Come on, make me a coffee and spit everything out." Santana stood up but before she could say anything else the blonde added. "Make a lot. This will probably take a while."
We are back
It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought, it figures
Santana stopped for a second, allowing her lungs to bring in much needed air. It was so fucking amazing running and listening to music, somehow it was liberating and refreshing at the same time.
Two hours earlier on that Sunday morning, she had woken up incredibly late for her routine, but mostly, she woke without any real desire to get out of bed.
Ray was already gone, probably to play golf, and she knew it would give her the majority of the day to herself.
So, was there really any point of getting up?
She could have spent the entire day wearing her silk pajamas, eating candy and watching noir movies. She could have simply stayed in, relaxing and trying to finally figure out where the hell her life was going.
Her talk with Quinn a few days ago had come at quite a providential time, and once they had finished talking about the last three years of their lives, she realized just how much she needed a friend.
The relationship with Quinn was still in the early days, but she was confident that both of them would have sorted their problems out eventually.
That blonde had always been the only person Santana really trusted besides her family, and really, the only one to know everything about her (even when she was skipping classes to go and smoke weed under the steps of the football field). All along, it's always been Quinn right there with her.
But as she was snuggled up in bed with her pillow, a very simple but effective thought had hit her. She needed to stop procrastinating. She needed to figure what she wanted from her life. She fucking needed to take action.
And she was readily willing to concede to the consequences, just as long as she was doing something.
It was a thought that prompted her to rise, and she quickly donned a pair of tight black leggings and a sporty tank top. She grabbed her IPod from the dresser, letting her finger scroll through random music she had recently downloaded.
Moments later, there she was, running, a free spirit while carefully listening to each word and musical note, allowing them to keep her company during her Sunday workout.
She was starting to feel exhausted, but reminded herself that was the price to pay to feel alive. Even though she was alone, she was willing to run an entire marathon.
She had never thought that music and physical training could be so therapeutic.
She let the thought of a certain blonde suddenly cross her mind. Surely she was the most recently therapeutic distraction in Santana's life, but the fact that she hadn't heard from her in what seemed to be ages wasn't really helping with her mood.
Brittany was the most important yet fragile topic she needed to face.
Not seeing her, not talking to her, not inhaling her scent had put her in a place where she had to face facts. She didn't miss the girl because she simply enjoyed her presence; she was finally starting to consider that she might have another kind of feeling for her.
Was Brittany the physical representation of something more in her life, or was she simply a distraction to help her forget her miserable life. It was a thought that crossed her mind more often than not as of late, and Santana was still mulling over this when a faded shadow diverted her attention.
Santana subtly noticed the dark shadow of a car speeding right next to the sidewalk where she was running.
What the hell...
With one eye she managed to see that the vehicle was a black Mustang. It was classically powerful with two sleek white stripes on the hood, tinted windows and wide rims. The heavy noise coming from under the hood, informed her that the engine wasn't a hundred percent constructed of legal components.
Santana was still running with Alanis Morissette screaming in her ears about all the ironic aspects of life, when she suddenly felt all her muscles stiffen.
The black Mustang had just stopped mere meters away from her.
Santana instinctively frowned. Really? She was so not in the mood for this shit.
She momentarily stood there, hesitant, but the car didn't seem to be going anywhere. The fuck? Finally she began closing the distance between her and the Mustang, more than ready to tell this dude to go fuck himself. She's not some piece of ass he can just holler at from the side of the road…
Santana immediately froze.
She knew that voice. It took her barely a second to recognize the sweet, well-known nuance in that voice.
Oh my god.
Santana briefly admired the way blonde hair was pulled loosely into a sloppy bun, and a pair of vintage ray-bands gave Brittany the perfect casual Sunday look. She was absolutely stunning as always.
The tattooist smiled widely as she saw Santana's face popping into the car window.
"H-hi." Santana shyly said in response. She was struck with the need to talk to her, to tell her how sorry she was for the other night, and to beg her to bring their friendship back to the way it was ten days ago.
"Brittany, listen, I really want to-"
"So, I heard you wanna feel something." Brittany interrupted. She was clearly quoting the words that had come out of Santana's mouth when the two of them were practically grinding each other on the dance floor.
Santana's jaw dropped and unconsciously she started torturing her lower lip, biting it to ease the tension. She looked into those eyes and immediately felt her legs become weak. The car became her crutch, the solid metal never letting her collapse.
Yet, Santana had to smile, because apparently nothing had changed in their relationship.
She didn't know how to answer to Brittany's provocation, and each passing second, she was feeling all the blood in her body running up to her cheeks, making her skin burn of embarrassment.
"Am I wrong?" Brittany insisted on giving her a classic Brittany Pierce grin, Santana had grown to love.
"Why are you asking me this?" The Latina replied, and for a second, she was proud of not having fallen into the tattooist's game.
"Cause I want to take you somewhere, but I need to make sure I'm not wrong."
The request didn't make any sense to Santana, not even a little. Is it bad that she didn't care? She just wanted to find out what Brittany had in mind. If answering a condescending yes meant a day with the blonde, Santana was willing to pronounce that simple word a thousand times.
"Yes, I do want to feel something."
"That's what I thought." Brittany replied, nodding satisfied.
She flushed with embarrassment, discomforted by the lack of control she had. Brittany was a master at whatever dangerous game they were playing, and nothing was easy with her.
"Come on, get in. "Brittany ordered firmly, yet kept an inviting tone, and as usual, Santana preferred not to fight.
"I need to change first."
"Nah, you look perfect."
"But I'm all sweaty." Santana questioned.
"Trust me, you look just fine." Brittany ignored her, switching the engine on. A loud roar of the 8 valve engine accompanied, Brittany's giggle, and they started moving.
"I've never seen this car before." Santana said carefully, studying the leather interior.
"This hottie is brand new." Brittany explained while caressing the top of the steering wheel. "I won it in a poker match last week."
She turned her face to lay her eyes on those amazing lips that were assuming the shape of a smile.
"What?" Brittany asked, noticing her entertained gaze.
"Nothing." God, had she missed her, and now that they were together, she couldn't stop smiling. Funny how just a few minutes ago, Santana was trying to get used to the idea of missing her even more.
"So, how have you been?"
Brittany shrugged and downshifted at the same time, prompting the necessary power to pass the truck in front of them.
"Busy." She said, cryptic as usual. "But I've thought a lot about you."
Santana's heart nearly exploded in her chest.
"I've thought a lot about you, too." Her voice trembled. Everything was spinning. Her legs were weak, her mind blurry. Thank God she was sitting.
"Why did you cancel our last session?" The Latina asked. She didn't know where she had found the courage, but it felt like the right time to ask, even if getting a sensible explanation from Brittany was almost impossible.
"We'll talk about that later." She replied.
Santana couldn't help but give an entertained smile.
"I so hate you." She wanted to underline how frustrating it was dealing with her.
"Oh, you so don't." Brittany replied, turning left heading to the highway.
Where the hell was she taking her?
Brittany drove exactly how Santana had envisioned. Her maneuvers were quick and firm at the same time, and there was not even a second of hesitation in her movements.
"Where are we going?" Santana asked, but she already knew that she wasn't going to get a sensible answer.
"Be patient, you'll find out soon." Santana nodded and tried to relax herself in the leather seat, thankful to at least be spending time with Brittany.
30 minutes later.
"Um, if you're planning on killing me and hiding me in the desert, just tell me now." Brittany had been driving them down some dirt road for the last half hour that seemed to be taking them to the middle of nowhere.
"Nah, brutal murder isn't my style. I'm more a kidnap and ransom kind of girl."
"Oh, I see." Santana replied with a laugh. "Seriously though, where are we going?"
"Two more minutes," Brittany responded.
Santana turned towards the girl and glared at her.
"I hope you're enjoying this."
"What?" the blonde asked, pretending not to know what she was referring to.
"Torturing me like this."
"Yeah kinda." Brittany nodded, her smirk satisfied.
Santana's heart swelled, somehow, fighting with Brittany was kind of like being in heaven. Maybe it's because they were trapped alone together in a car, but something seemed to have conquered a special place in her soul, making everything feel just right.
The car was just about to reach the top of a small hill, high enough to block the sight to Santana. She was literally dying to know where they were going.
A few more meters and she would finally see the mysterious location.
The vehicle slowed and Brittany was intentionally trying to make the waiting last a just little bit longer. She approached the top of the hill and Santana couldn't help but impatiently lean forward, trying to identify the designated spot; but shockingly, all she could see was an infinite expanse of desert.
"You took me to the middle of nowhere." She blatantly ignored tactfulness, knowing that Brittany could hear her loud and clear.
The tattooist didn't say anything and kept on driving along that path (it was impossible to call it a road) down a little hill. After a couple of seconds of silence, something caught Santana's attention. It had been just a quick gleam, an almost imperceptible twinkle, but it was enough for Santana to turn her head completely to her left and notice what seemed to be a sheet-metal hangar standing right next to a long, straight asphalt road .
What the fuck?
"Is that...?" but Santana couldn't finish her sentence. Her heart was already beating so damn fast against her ribcage. She knew what the place was, and according to Brittany's madness, it wasn't anything ordinary and it certainly wasn't safe.
"Santana, are you okay?"
"Um, I'll be fine once you tell me what the fuck is going on. Why the hell are we going to the airport?"
A hint of a smile appeared on the blonde's face.
"Brittany, I swear, if you say you'll see one more time, I'm going to kill you."
For a second Santana thought she had misunderstood, that maybe her brain short-circuited and needed to be rebooted; but when she met Brittany's eyes, checking for her reaction, the words came spilling out of her.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" she shouted. "There's no fucking way I'm jumping out of a plane…" but her rambling, agitated words were blocked by Brittany suddenly pulling the handbrake and making the car skid before stopping abruptly.
Santana's breath was heavy, both for the shock of the revelation and for what the girl had just done.
"Are you out of your mind?" she insisted but again her furious expression was immediately mitigated by the girl's gaze, that, as usual, was penetrating right through to her very centre.
"Shut the hell up, Santana." Brittany said. The tone voice was calm but firm at the same time. Santana couldn't help but stare frozenly at the girl. She opened her mouth however nothing would come out, not a single syllable.
"I know this might sound crazy and scary, but I'm not listening to it. And I'm not buying the I'm a scared little girl bit anymore, either."
"N-no, not really..But..."
"But nothing. You want to feel? Show me you want it. Stop bitching, stop whining. Be who you are and fucking own it! Show me the strong, capable woman I know you can be." The silence fell among them. Brittany narrowed her eyes, trying to catch any signs of a reaction, but Santana was kind of speechless.
The tattooist didn't need any other sign. She switched the engine on again and started leading them to their destination.
10,000 ft. higher.
Santana closed her eyes for just a second, enough time to try to reconnect her brain to her own body. The whole situation was surreal. She just couldn't believe that for Brittany, a girl she barely knew, she was willing to risk her life. She didn't even have time to call her parents to say a hypothetical goodbye. Everything had happened so fast, and she had been so completely overcome with shock and emotions that she had no time to process anything. Realization was now hitting her that she was about to jump out of a plane flying ten thousand feet above the ground.
She was already picturing the newspaper's title the following day, describing the tragic accident in which two young girls had lost their life trying to feel a rush of adrenaline.
Everything she was feeling in that moment was hard to process; from the fear and the fluster of doing something so dangerous, to the excitement and the frustration of being sat almost on the tattooist's knees. Yes, because another thing she wasn't expecting was that blonde had a skydiving license and so, whether she liked it or not, she was completely in the girl's hands.
A shiver ran down her spine when the blonde whispered in her ear, "Hey, are you ok?" A gentle hand squeezed her forearm.
God, she wasn't even allowed to die like a normal person. No. She was to suffer symptoms of sexual frustration until her very last breath.
Santana slowly nodded, tilting her head back to try to catch the blonde's gaze, but laid her eyes on Brittany's lips instead.
Oh no, not again.
The sudden urge to lean forward and kiss the girl immediately settled in her mind and refused to go away.
"I'm fine..." she stuttered trying to direct her attention away from those inviting lips. "...well, as fine as can be for a person who's about to die." Brittany giggled deliciously behind her.
Oh Sweet, sweet torture.
"At least you won't die alone." Brittany replied teasing her while resting her jaw on Santana's shoulder.
"Brittany, I swear to God. If we die, I'm going to kill you."
"Isn't that a little complicated?"
"Huh?" Santana asked back.
"You can't kill me if we're already dead," she replied, and Santana couldn't help but hint a smile. Even in such a weird, scary situation, Brittany was still able to make her somehow feel safe.
"How is it possible you are not scared right now?"
"Because I've done it a hundred times." Brittany explained while checking that their harnesses were correctly fixed and tightened.
Somehow, Brittany being so fucking calm was kind of reassuring, and Santana surprisingly realized that despite being completely terrified, she wasn't scared to be there with her.
"If I throw up, please don't judge me." Her eyes noticed the other instructor approaching the door of the airplane.
Oh god. Here we are.
In that moment, around her, everything started happening like they were being fast-forwarded yet she felt motionless among it.
Suddenly the plane's door opened and she felt the wind rush through the holding area. Her blood froze in her veins.
Then the slow motion started again, because Brittany was practically hugging her with one arm, and with the other helping their two attached bodies to stand up together.
"Come on, girl. Step after step." She said quietly in her ear.
Santana's legs were weaker than ever and, if Brittany wasn't there to support her, she would have easily collapsed. Two more steps and they were there, on the edge of a fucking plane, ready to jump into the void. With a quick glance she was able to look down and she immediately regretted that decision.
The landscape was breathtaking and she was able to see the LA hills, the infinite ocean.
They were so high that the air was cool and crisp, although it was summer, and the horizon in the distance began to curve, suggesting the classic spherical shape of the earth.
Fuck, they were really high.
Brittany took both her hands, placing her arms adherent to her chest, forming an x.
"I don't think I can do it." Santana yelled, trying to resist the tattooist's body which was slowly pushing her forward.
"It's a little too late to change your mind, don't you think?" Before Santana could say anything else the blonde shouted, "Jump!" And then she pushed forward one last time before they rolled out of the plane, leaving their bodies to free-fall.
Santana instinctively opened her mouth to shout, but the cold air filled it immediately.
She could feel her heart hammering like crazy in her chest as they were quickly falling down, towards the land below.
She felt Brittany strongly wrapping her fingers around her wrists and forcing herself to spread her arms outward, their legs spread properly apart and bent upwards at the knees.
She suddenly realized that they weren't falling anymore they were gliding. Almost like flying through the open sky like a bird. Her thoughts were of eagles and hawks. Was this what they saw when looking down? Did the freezing breeze feel like this hitting their face?
It was incredible, so fucking incredible.
After the first confused seconds, during which she wasn't even capable of saying her name, things began to come into view more clearly with each passing moment, and Santana started enjoying the landscape surrounding her.
She had never felt so alive in her entire life. It was like pure adrenaline rushing through her veins, like a rush of heroin. She wanted to scream, she wanted to start crying but all she could do was stiffen all her muscles and try to resist the gravity.
She blindly moved her right hand back, looking for another hand, and found Brittany's. She didn't care if she was crossing a dangerous threshold, she was just relishing in the feeling of holding Brittany's hand while they were doing the craziest thing she had ever experienced.
Brittany squeezed her fingers tightly.
The earth beneath was quickly getting closer and with each passing second they emerged closer to the ground. Soon it was no longer gliding, but rather, actual falling.
"Ready?" Santana heard Brittany's loud voice, but the tattooist didn't wait for an answer her hands reached for Santana's shoulder, grasping the ring of the parachute with her index finger and clamping it tight. Without hesitation, she pulled.
Santana had never screamed so loud in her life
She wasn't expecting the quick and incredible force with which she was pulled upwards.
It took Brittany a few seconds to wait for the parachute to be completely open, playing with both of the maneuvering rings in order to regain stability.
Santana still wasn't able to speak, all too amazed by what was happening around her: the blue sky, the desert below, the ocean in the distance. It was all too surreal.
A big smile crossed her face, and for the first time in what seemed like years, she experienced true, genuine happiness.
"Two more minutes and you'll be safe." Brittany smiled.
She had absolutely no hurry to hit the ground. Staying up there, floating like a bird in the open sky was giving her a feeling of intoxicating freedom; but, like all good and memorable things, it came to an end.
Brittany masterfully led the parachute to the ground, making sweeping and circular movements so that Santana could enjoy the journey without fear. The landing was soft and delicate, something Santana was sure the tattooist has mastered over time.
Once both of their bodies were safe on the ground, Brittany freed Santana from the harness and she stood up, still electrified from what she had just done.
"Oh my god. Oh my god! That was fucking amazing! Holy shit." She brought both her hands to the forehead in disbelief. "This was insane! Oh fuck! I feel…I...I can't believe I did that."
She rapidly turned around to meet Brittany's eyes. "We did it!" she yelled again. She simply couldn't hold herself still, jumping and laughing to ease all the tension that had built up inside her. It had seemingly given her perspective, hope; all the things she hated before suddenly never seemed that bad.
Brittany stood up as well and smiled at her, and Santana couldn't help but jump at her, hugging her spontaneously.
What she wasn't expecting was Brittany to hug her back tightly.
"Hey! I told you it was going to be amazing." She replied whilst still holding her in a sweet embrace.
"I had no idea." Santana replied, and her heart immediately accelerated when she realized how close the two of them were. Her lips were right there, and it would've been the perfect moment for a kiss, but past experiences lingered in the back of her mind. She didn't want to screw everything up, again.
The fact that she was finally accepting how truly attracted she was to Brittany, that she wanted her, just exaggerated how messy her life was. She knew that she needed to face it, and figure out where her relationships were going.
"Thank you." Santana said in a whisper, and the softness in her words prompted the tattooist to let her go.
They stared at each other for just a second, as they were both waiting for the other one to say something.
"A-anything to see that smile." Brittany lowered her gaze. Santana's heart skipped a beat, still one hundred percent sure she heard her incorrectly. Had Brittany Pierce just stuttered some sweet and cheesy words to her? Was that really happening?
"Wait, did you really just say that?" Santana asked teasingly. Brittany shyly nodded in response, hinting an entertained smile.
"I know, I know it was way too cheesy."
It was perfect.
"Yeah, I wasn't expecting...that. But now I can tell everyone your dirty secret, badass Brittany S. Pierce is a total softy."
Brittany scoffed with a smirk. "Do you want me to kill you now or later?" It was followed with a grin Santana had learned to love.
"Nah, you'd miss me too much."
"True." Brittany agreed. "But just because I wouldn't have anyone else to torture." She said before smiling widely at her.
Some good moments later.
Brittany's car sat idly in her driveway, and admittedly, Santana slowed her movements because she didn't want to leave. She didn't want to end their amazing day.
Perhaps because something had changed between them? Time with Brittany was usually amazing, but now she was beginning to love the way they were together; like in those moments, she could be the person she had always wanted to be thoughtless, happy and carefree.
Santana smiled widely when Brittany wasted little time getting out of the car, obviously with the intention of walking her to her door. She sighed both excited and worried at the same time, but she simply got out of the car and followed the blonde up the doorsteps.
"I really had a great time today." Santana said playing with her keys. She suddenly remembered a cheesy romance movie she watched a while ago, where when the chick jingled her keys because she wanted a goodnight kiss. Did she?
She raised her eyes up to the blonde to look for an answer but her emotions were still so confused.
"Glad to hear that." Brittany smiled, but then her face darkened. "Listen..."
"…I think we should talk about the other night." Brittany said.
"I know." Santana bit her lip nervously. "And I'm sorry." It was that a topic she wanted to be over with so things could go back to the way they were two weeks before.
Brittany quickly shook her head. "No, no, you don't have to be sorry. I kind of like the way you dance." she said teasingly, but Santana wasn't in the mood, not anymore.
"Enough that you had to cancel our session, the day after?"
"I was confused. I needed some time to think." She admitted, and Santana suddenly felt very guilty.
"Santana...I understand that attraction can be strong and impulsive, and that it's obvious we have something here." Her eyes look away. "But you're in a serious relationship. We have to have boundaries, and I don't want to overstep them."
Those words were like a cold shower for her very harsh and an unpleasant shock to her system. Santana looked at those blue eyes for a second, trying to catch any sign that would suggest playfulness, but Brittany's expression was firm and serious. She wasn't kidding.
It left Santana feeling shitty. Had she just been insulted and accused of superficiality? How dare she? Who did she think she was? Her shrink, her friend or her mother?
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Her outburst caught the blonde's attention. "You talk about me overstepping, what about you? All you do is fuck with me. How dare you." Her tone was still calm but a little higher. She had absolutely no intention of backing down, not this time. Even if Brittany was right, (which she was, she had overstepped that night) it wasn't her place to say. She's a grown woman, aware of the weight and meaning of a relationship. It doesn't include dirty-dancing with another girl, even if it makes every inch of her body want to kiss her; but it had happened only once. She also partially blamed Brittany, always playing the teaser, always putting her in a difficult position by hitting on her.
Brittany didn't answer, so Santana felt free to keep talking.
"Who do you think you are? You are just an arrogant, immature, playgirl. What do you know about responsibilities? You sit here, preaching about how I need to live my life, but the truth, you don't even know how to live yours." Santana almost screamed. The palms of her hands were visibly sweaty and all she could feel in that moment was her heart, how the veins in her neck were pulsating with anger.
Brittany wasn't moved by her. No, the only thing Santana was getting in return was a quizzical grin.
"So, you're calling bullshit." She stated.
"Ugh," Santana replied. "You're ridiculous." For just a second, she actually thought she had won that little battle, but all her certainties wavered when the blonde made a step towards her, closing the distance between them.
"So, you're not attracted to me then, right?"
She hates that sly smirk so much.
Santana gritted her teeth, holding the blonde's intense gaze. She was not about to let her prevail, even if it meant lying.
And then, suddenly, Brittany made the last step in her direction. With a sharp, quick movement she placed her grip on Santana's waist and then, she pushed her, not hard enough to hurt her, but with enough strength to force her back. Santana had no time to resist the pressure, only registering what was actually happening when her body was pinned against the door.
She wanted to scream but the way Brittany was looking at her was literally destroying her, making her completely mute.
Her heart accelerated as she felt the pressure of Brittany's hand on her hips, and that firm body pressing tightly against her own.
Oh my fucking God.
Brittany's gaze darkened even more and Santana was feeling heady. It wasn't the first time Brittany looked at her like that.
"So you mean to tell me, all this time, you've never once thought about kissing me?" The tattooist's gaze dropped to her lips, and Santana didn't know what to do. Brittany was fucking with her, maybe her emotions as well. But for what, was this just some competitive game she was playing?
"No, never." Santana lied, her heavy breathing betraying her words.
Brittany hinted a smile and lifted a hand, the one that wasn't keeping her firmly against that door, and slightly reached to caress her jaw. Santana's skin burned at the contact. Slender finger lightly scratched Santana's jaw line until her hitting her lips, making her whimper. Her legs felt embarrassingly weak, and as much as she wanted to push Brittany away, she couldn't.
Santana instinctively rolled her eyes down, trying to avoid the blonde's heavy gaze.
She couldn't last long without doing anything, all she had to do was inch a fraction forward to finally taste how soft those lips were.
With a very slow and delicate movement, Brittany's finger brushed her lower lip making Santana gasp for air.
"Liar." She whispered. They were so close that Brittany's breath hit the side of her neck, immediately causing goose bumps to rise all over her skin.
"I hate you." Santana mumbled.
"It's okay you think I'm hot...' Brittany smirked, ignoring Santana's previous statement.
"It isn't when I'm with somebody." Santana let those words escape from her mouth but, as soon the last syllable had come out, she immediately regretted them. Because she just fucking admitted that Brittany was right.
"Attraction is just attraction. Sex is sex. It doesn't have to mean anything." Brittany added while her fingers trailed down her neck.
Santana couldn't do it anymore. She looked up and with a desperate plea in her eyes, she silently asked Brittany to do something. They stared at each other for just a second their bodies pressed together, breaths heavy.
"Brittany..." Santana whispered, surrendering herself to Brittany.
After what felt like an eternity Brittany leaned forward, and in that moment, Santana's mind stopped working.
She had spent the last few weeks fantasizing, trying to figure out exactly how her lips would feel, what Brittany would taste like, but now that she's this close, Santana doesn't think she's quite ready.
At first Brittany gently kissed her, an act of barely brushed lips, soft and lingering, causing Santana to immediately whimper at the touch.
Slow, simple and sweet was the best way to define it, and as a natural consequence, Santana's mind went blurry. Those lips, the ones pressing against her were the ones she had been waiting for.
And she'd been waiting a long, long time.
Yet, she had an inkling Brittany had barely even started.
Perfect lips parted for just a second to taste the moment and check her reaction, and Santana couldn't do anything but press more firmly against her.
What the hell was she doing?
Brittany gave her no time to process that thought though and kissed her again, this time sharply grasping her hands to the Latina's hips and pushing her vigorously against the door. Santana's head slammed back and Brittany just followed her lips, kissing sharply, like she had no intention of letting her go.
It was incredible.
Anything she had ever tasted, anything she had ever experienced, paled in comparison. All the cells of her body were literally screaming with excitement, and, for a second, her mind wasn't connected to her body. She simply tasted the joy in that moment without having to think it over.
She cupped Brittany's face with both of her hands and pressed her lips harder against the blonde's. She had no idea what she was doing she was just letting her instinct drive her.
The tattooist's hand slowly trailed up her back, pleasantly scratching, and then with a firm movement she let her long fingers slid into Santana's hair, pulling her closer.
At that action Santana couldn't help but let escape a suffocated moan.
"Hmpff..." But Brittany didn't stop, she pushed further, letting her tongue pass thought her parted lips. In that moment, Santana was sure she had just died. With both of her arms, she tightly wrapped herself around Brittany's neck, gripping fiercely needing the extra support.
Both their breaths became quicker, and as Brittany slightly bit her lower lip, she felt her stomach flutter and a burning wave rapidly overtake her body.
Was it even possible that a kiss could make her feel this way? It seemed like such a simple, easy thing to do...
She could feel Brittany's smile against her lips, causing a tingling sensation that quickly reached her lower regions, and decided, yes.
For a second she wished she could go on like this forever, just like this, but unfortunately, her body reconnected to her mind and she instinctively opened her eyes.
Oh no, what am I doing?
It was like a sudden wave of anxiety and panic took possession of her body. Slowly the little voice that was telling her that what she was doing was just wrong became a loud chorus, and she simply stopped.
With the little strength she had left, Santana pushed Brittany away, placing both of her hands on the girl's shoulders trying to put some real distance between them.
"I can't..." She whispered between soft pants. She was so fucking afraid of lifting her gaze because she knew that once she had laid her eyes back on Brittany, all those feelings she had moments ago would come rushing back.
She'd be so completely lost.
Brittany hesitated for a second and didn't say anything. She simply stood still, probably trying to find the right thing to say.
She was almost shaking, shocked by what she had just done, but even more so because wanted to do it again...
And then some.
She needed to say something, but converting her thoughts into words seemed to be an impossible task.
Shyly, she looked up. It was like Brittany was forcing her to do so, and immediately when she got caught in those blue gems, she was almost able to see herself reflected.
"I..I.." She stuttered but was suddenly blocked by a noise behind her.
What the fuck?
"Santana, honey, is that you?"
Santana's brain was harshly brought back to reality as she recognized her dad's voice. Brittany stiffened as well and speedily made a step back before Mr. Lopez made his appearance.
"Hi Dad!" Santana's voice was clearly too high-pitched.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was just looking for you..." Her father looked at her his face expressionless, and just turned himself to face Brittany. "...And you."
Hello guys! I know that I'm am always starting my ANs with my apologies for updating so late, but i can't help it!
Don't hate me for this, I know I'm slow (very very slow) but i prefer to take my time and do everything fine :)
Anyway, thank you so much for the feedbacks, you all are so nice:) I tried to answer to most of them;)
I really love u all!
I want to thank the naturally talented Ruby-may89 and Get-higher (her fic Never Touch the Ground is pure gold, so read it!) for helping me and being so patient with me.
I hope u like the chapter.
Have fun! xxx