Disclaimer: I don't own Glee
NOTE: Flashbacks are in Italics.
Dianna sleeps soundly as I creep quietly from our bed early in the morning. I can't sleep anymore, so I take a shower, do a few push-ups and walk out to the patio to admire the view. Sagaponack is probably one of the most expensive places to live in. But it has been worth every cent. It's swank and most of all, it provides the much needed privacy that I've learned to yearn as each day passes . It was one of the reasons why we purchased the house after getting married. A lot of people put New York down, but I have a genuine love for it.
I gaze out at the sweeping view and think about Dianna. My wife is strong, intelligent, sensual and beautiful and I have been faithful to her for longer than I (and everyone) have ever thought possible. For years, I focused on being a good artist, and and a good spouse.
But in times like this, I wonder what might have been if I've only been a better spouse.
A year and a half ago
Normally, last minute invitations were ignored but since it's Wheezy's birthday bash, I made an exception. Kurt though, was adamant that I don't attend the party, and instead urged me to fly to France to visit Dianna on the set of her new movie, Malavita.
"I just got back from an impromptu vacation with her during her three-day break." I reasoned. "Btesides, I haven't seen Mercedes for like, a lot of years. And Di will be back home in a couple of weeks anyway."
"There's no such thing as being overly-together with your wife, Santana. She sure feels lonely there."
"Did you forget? I need to attend that gala in three days. So you want me to fly back to France, say hi to the Lady and hop back in a plane to New York?"
"Well, you can cancel your attendance at the gala."
"Seriously Hummel? What's wrong with you? You've spent years nagging at me about how I should be responsible enough not to cancel on anything and anyone I've already agreed to be in and with. What's up with the sudden change of tone? And I don't get the deal here. You always go to Mercedes' parties. I haven't seen her in years, Hummel! And I have an interview in LA the day after Cedes' party!"
"Nothing. I'm just saying that it will not hurt to pass on this one."
"You're a liar. Tell me what's happening here."
Kurt sighed before he relented. "Brittany might be there."
"Oh." I gulped, surprised at the sudden sound of that name. "So?"
"Really?" He challenged with a raised eyebrow.
"It's been years, Kurt. I think we'll be fine."
"I don't know, Santana. You two just have so much history together…" He trailed on, with a glint of hopefulness that I got what he meant.
"I'm married. I love Dianna. I'm happy with her. And she's with Artie, right?"
"We're both in good places in our lives. I think it's about time."
"I don't think it's a good idea."
"I'm not asking for your opinion. We're flying to LA for Mercedes' party because she's one of our bestfriends. I've alienated a lot of people, a lot of friends, when Brittany and I broke up. I miss them Kurt. I'm so tired of hiding out from our friends. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you talk me out of this."
Cedes' party was in an exclusive club on Sunset Boulevard. Kurt was a little surprised at the turnout. According to Mercedes, she was expecting about 50 guests. Kurt and I agreed that there were about a hundred and fifty people in the Bistro.
As we made our way towards the birthday girl, I felt the eyes of several people on me.
'Oh my God! It's Santana Lopez!' I heard someone say as we continued to walk towards Wheezy.
"Guuuuuuuurrrrrrrl!" Mercedes yelled as she met us halfway. "I can't believe you're here!"
"Wheezy." I smirked and hugged her tight. "God, I missed you." I sighed, relishing the feel of hugging my friend.
"We missed you too, Satan. Come on, everybody's here!" She led me towards a table where a bunch of people I've known in high school were sitting at. They immediately stopped talking as soon as we came into view. "Guy! Look who I've found!"
"H-Hey." I greeted them nervously.
They remained silent, and for a while, the atmosphere was tense. It wasn't until Puck got up from his seat to hug me that the awkwardness started to disappear.
"'Sup, Lopez? If it wasn't for TV or the internet, I'd be convinced that you're dead."
"Well, I live in New York. But I missed you too, Noah." I teased.
"Come on! Sit with us!" He dragged me to their table after motioning for Sam to move so I can sit beside Puck.
Only, the situation became all the more awkward when I realized that Brittany was right across the table from me.
"Hey." I greeted curtly.
"Hmm." Brittany just nodded in response.
"How are you, Santana? Where's the missus?" Tina asked with a forced smile.
"Good. Di's in France. Shooting."
"Here! Drink up! You need to catch up!" Puck handed me a glass of what seemed to be gin and tonic.
"Uh. Thanks, Noah."
"Santana doesn't drink anymore." Kurt stated and everyone at the table looked at him as if he had grown two heads. "What?"
"Since when?" Sam prodded.
"For about a year now. I'm sobering up."
"Wow." Mike smiled in awe. "That's good, Santana."
"So the countless rehabs paid off, aye?" Artie interjected in a condescending tone. Beside him, Tina and Brittany rolled their eyes.
"Thankfully." I answered, not at all affected by his words. I've heard worse, to be honest.
"That's good to hear, Santana." Tina smiles kindly. "Dianna must be proud."
"How long have you been married now? Three years?"
"Three years, two months."
"That's pretty impressive. Dianna must be a saint, huh? Staying with you despite all your, other adventures." Artie sniggered.
"She is." I shrugged. Artie has always been a douche – something that our friends failed to see back in the day. All they saw was this crippled kid, suffering from the injustice of such a life.
"So how many mistresses do you have right now?" He pushed.
"Zero." Artie chuckled dryly.
"Come on. No one in this joint believes that."
I shrugged nonchalantly. "People can believe what they want to believe."
"So you're saying, in the three years of your marriage, you never cheated on Dianna?"
"Nope." I smiled at him. It's true though. When I got married, I stopped sleeping around.
"I find that hard to believe. But if that's the case," he looked at Brittany disdainfully. "sucks for you, Britt. Turns out she only cheated on you."
"Shut up, Artie. No one's asking for your opinion." Sugar snapped at him.
"Hey, I'm just saying." He smirked.
"Well, it must always have sucked for you, bro. You've always been just a placeholder. That breakup was epic! What did you say to Artie again, Britt?" Puck sniggered, awfully drunk. "I can't keep lying to you, Artie. I'm not in love with you." Puck tried to mimic Brittany, failing big time. "Burn!" He laughed maniacally and as soon as the words left Puck's mouth, Artie looked like he was about to puke. Finishing his drink, he excused himself.
"Santana!" Cedes breathed out, visibly winded from entertaining her guests. "Come sing with me onstage!"
"Oh hells no! I won't take no for an answer! It's my birthday!"
"Fine. What do you have in mind?"
"I have no idea. The organizers placed song titles in the bowl. I'll pick one then we'll sing whatever song I drew."
"Just sing two or three songs with me. Come on!" I allowed Mercedes to drag me towards the makeshift stage at the center of the room. The guests hollered and cheered as soon as the emcees announced that one Santana Lopez is singing with the birthday girl.
The first song Mercedes drew was 'Dancing Queen' and soon enough, the guests were out of their seats, dancing at the open space as the two of us worked the stage. Our voices have always blended together and tonight, that has been proven once again. The second song was 'River Deep Mountain High' and it seemed as though we've rehearsed for the number. Mercedes has always been a great performer. I loved going onstage with her.
Until she shrieked and gave me a very excited look.
"Looky here! We're singing my favorite Santana duet ever!" She showed me the piece of paper and I gulped at the words.
Someone Like You
"Can I sing the first verse?" She asked hopefully.
"By all means, please do it." You can sing the whole song, Cedes.
"Yay!" Mercedes went on to talk to the band before belting out the first verse.
I heard that you're settled down
That you found a girl and you're married now
I heard that your dreams came true
Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you
She tapped my arm, urging me to take on the next lines.
Old friend, why are you so shy?
Ain't like you to hold back or hide from the light
I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvited
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it
I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded
That for me, it isn't over
We harmonized and boy was it good.
Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
Don't forget me, I begged, I remember you said
Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead
Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead
As if my eyes had a mind of their own, my gaze locked with Brittany's.
She was the first one to break the eye contact. With a clenched jaw, I saw her whisper something in Tina's ear before she left the table.
I was ready to call it a night because of an early appointment the next day but Mercedes wasn't having any of it.
"What the hell, Satan? It's my birthday! And I haven't seen you in such a long time. If I have to lock you up in here, I'll do it. No way you're leaving so soon." She muttered lowly, as we make our way back to our friends.
"I have an interview tomorrow, Wheezy. I'd like to stay, but I really have to leave in a while."
"I hate you." I sighed at her pouting face.
"One more hour. That's it."
"You're no fun anymore." I chuckled at her forlorn expression.
"Oh come on. I don't really go out anymore. I'm staying away from all the booze. I've done shitty things when intoxicated and I don't want to be that person anymore. I just really had to see you again."
"I guess." She shrugged.
"How about lunch tomorrow? I have an early morning interview, but my flight's tomorrow night. Game?"
"Of course! Consider it my post birthday gift." I laughed when she broke out in a happy dance.
"It's a date then. Anyway, go and hang out with the rest of the gang before you leave. They missed you."
"I missed them too."
"Look." She stopped walking, pulling me to a corner. "I know things are awkward between you and Brittany. But she's not your only friend, Santana. Puck missed you. Sugar and Rachel. Mike and yeah, even Tina. I'm not asking you to hang out with us all the time. We all know you have a different life now. But I hope you won't continue being a stranger. We don't judge. What happened between you two was your business. We may not always agree with your choices and actions, but we love you too, Santana. We never took sides."
"I..." I gulped, searching for the right words. "I'm sorry."
"It's cool. Brittany should be at the rooftop. Smoking. You know, to let off some steam." My eyes widened at the brand new information.
"Smoking? She smokes now? But she hated it..."
"People change. Circumstances change."She shrugged. "I hope you can talk to her. She's been, " Cedes paused to come up with the right description. "She's been different. She needs closure, perhaps? I'm not really sure. And I don't mean to intrude or impose but..." Mercedes rambled. "Just, just don't hurt her."
"I...D-Do you think it's not a bad idea to talk to her?"
"I think it's a bad idea if you continue not to address the issue."
"I don't really know what to say to her. I've hurt her. A lot."
"She offered a comforting pat on my back. "Just talk to her. I, on the other hand, will be chatting with Kurt. Take your time." She winked, and left.
Indeed, I found her at the rooftop, leaning against the railing.
"Hey." I breathed out, standing tentatively as I waited for any indication that my presence wasn't welcomed. "C-Can I?" I pushed, trying so hard not to chicken out.
When she just shrugged, I took my chance.
"You shouldn't be here. Your 'fans'must be wondering where you are." Brittany muttered coldly,
"I'm here for Mercedes, not them."
"Then why are you here?" She challenged.
"I was hoping I could talk to you."
She scoffed. "About what?"
"Don't. Don't call me that." She snapped, eyes icy and unkind.
"What are you doing here, Santana?" I winced at her aloofness.
"I want to apologize -."
"For what exactly?"
"For a lot of things. I'm so sorry for hurting you."
"Yeah? Exactly what are you sorry for?" She shook, visibly controlling her anger. As our eyes met, I grimaced. God, her eyes were so foreign. Gone was the spark in those baby blues. They're just, lifeless. Cold. Angry. "Are you sorry for cheating on me with that bimbo?"
"Are you sorry for not telling me about you and Dianna? Are you sorry that you chose to marry her despite the promise you made when we were five that you'll marry me 'someday'?"
"You broke up with me, Britt -."
"So what Santana?! It still hurt! I broke up with you because you chose your freaking career over me -."
"You shouldn't have made me choose!" I retorted, pissed that wouldn't let me explain. As soon as the words came out, I regretted them. I knew I was doomed. Brittany's face hardened even more.
"Fuck you." She huffed. "Fuck you, Santana." She muttered through gritted teeth before she pushed herself up from the steps.
"Britt, wait!" I hurriedly mirrored her action and scurried to grab her by the wrist.
"Let go of me Santana!"
"Just listen to me. Please." I cried. "Britt. Britt, not a day passed that I never regretted hurting you. I'm so, so sorry. I know this doesn't change anything. But I'm so sorry for not trying harder. I'm so sorry for being so weak -."
"You lied." She dug her pointer finger on my chest and I winced at her broken expression. "You lied to me. Over and over again. You said you'll always love me the most. You said you'll always be mine. You lied. You lied and I was so fucking stupid to believe you!"
"Is it worth it? Was letting go of everything that we had worth it? I hope it is. I hope you're happy because if you're not? Then I feel so sorry for you." Without a second glance, Brittany stormed out.
As soon as I got to my hotel room that night, I phoned Dianna.
"I saw her tonight at Cedes' party."
"Oh." Di breathed out nervously. "Okay. What happened?"
"I talked to her. I apologized…" I plopped down on the divan, brought my feet up on the center table, as I nursed glass of melon juice.
"For hurting her." Di was silent; the only sound I could hear was her steady breathing. "Di?"
"Yeah. That's great. I guess…"
"I just want you to know."
"I – uh… Thank you for telling me San."
"H-How did she take it?"
"Bad. She wouldn't let me speak." I sighed, taking a sip of my juice.
"That's understandable. You know, with your history and all."
"You're not mad, are you?"
"No. No, of course not. I'm glad that you've told me." For a while, we were both silent, letting the events of that night sink in. "Y-You're not – I mean, did you feel anything when you saw her again?" Di asked insecurely.
"I don't know what I felt. It – it was… I don't know Di." I closed my eyes as my words reached my ears. My relationship with Dianna will always be weird for anyone observing from the outside. I can tell her anything, and she could do the same. It's like being married to your confidant. She lets me do anything, provided I tell her about it. It's like, her 'leash' is so loose so as not to 'choke' me. She keeps a safe distance, as if she's too afraid that imposing something or nagging will push me away.
"Do you still have feelings for her?" She asked softly, sounding so cautious.
"I don't know Di." I answered honestly. "But -."
"Do you want to get back with her?"
"No, of course not." I quipped rather too quickly.
"Then we're fine. Hey, I've watched your interview. Charming." Di changed the topic and I knew that we're dropping the Brittany conversation.
I didn't see Brittany until Burt's funeral two months later.
I flew to Lima with Kurt during Burt's last few days. When he succumbed to cancer, I took care of everything - from wake and funeral preparations to telling our friends as Kurt was too devastated to function.
Dianna flew to Lima for the funeral. She didn't stay for long, immediately going back to New York for a couple of prior commitments before flying to Australia to promote her new movie as she advised me to stay with Kurt and make sure that he's comfortable. She planned a short vacation for the three of us two weeks after the funeral just so Kurt could unwind a little.
After Burt's interment, Kurt insisted that we gather at their old house for a get-together-slash-send off party for his beloved Dad. It was one of Burt's final wishes: no tears, just laughter.
So the group drank (with the exception of yours truly) Burt's favorite alcohol, sang his favorite songs and danced and played around like kids. It was a great night. For a moment, we all forgot our respective troubles and just felt like 17 again.
Hours later, everybody's passed out in the living room. Being the only sober one, I started to clean up. I was in the kitchen, bottles in hand as I carefully placed them on the counter, when I felt someone watching me. Turning around, I was met by a disheveled looking Brittany.
"Hey. Do you need anything? I just -." I was cut off from my musing when Britt's face paled, her body bending as she hurled the contents of her stomach in front of me.
"Just stay there." I rambled, rushing towards the nearest bathroom. I grabbed a towel from one of the cabinets, ran it under the faucet and wrung forcefully.
Brittany was at the same spot I left her, looking absentmindedly at the pool of mess she just made. Squatting beside her, I pressed the towel against her face, gently cleaning her up.
"Nah. It's okay, Britt. You just had too much to drink." I chuckled. "Kurt prepared the guest rooms. I think you should use one. The floor's pretty uncomfortable."
"Are you going back to New York soon?" Britt mumbled, still tipsy.
"I'm staying with Kurt for a while. Wherever he goes, I'll probably be by his side." I shrugged.
"You're a good friend."
"He's been there for me even if he had every reason not to. I'm just trying to be there for him, you know?"
"You're a loyal friend."
"You're a good person, Santana. But sometimes, sometimes I wonder what could have happened if you were a better one." I froze at her statement - the last few words digging a hole in my heart.
I've asked myself that question for years. Countless nights were spent mulling over 'What if's' and 'If Only's'.
If only I was a better person.
I looked back at her in time to see her walking away.
I sigh as I take on my surroundings. This place has held so much promise when we first saw it. How something so beautiful turn into a broken nest, I could not explain coherently.
If you ask Dianna, she'll say, without batting an eyelash, that it was Brittany's fault.
But it wasn't. At least, it wasn't just Brittany.
After that night in Lima, I started to miss get-together parties or lunches or dinner arranged by the group. Something stirred deep within me and I knew that I had to stay away if I want to remain faithful. Seeing her again can spell disaster for my marriage. If Kurt knew something, he hid it well. He never asked me why, nor brought it up.
I spent more time with Dianna, flying to whatever country or location she was in. When I wasn't with her, I was at the studio, working on new songs.
But it couldn't work. Not when Dianna obviously knew and felt that something was off, but decided to brush it off.
"I think we should see a counselor, Di." I suggested one night, when she arrived late for the tenth time in the last two weeks.
"What for?" She huffed, visibly annoyed as she wiped her makeup away.
"What for? Are you serious? We went from talking all the time, to you not even acknowledging me -."
"We're fine, Santana."
"No, we're not!"
"Shut up! We're fine. We're not seeing a counselor or a therapist or anyone. It's no one else's business but ours. The press can get wind of this, no matter how many non-disclosure forms we provide."
"Fuck the press, Dianna! Look at us!"
"We're fine. And we'll be even better if you can only stop nursing whatever stupid feelings you still have for your ex." I looked at her disbelievingly.
"You know that's not true. I'm trying here, Di."
"Well try harder." She spat as she walked away.
And tried harder, I did. I made sure that she would never have any reason to doubt me.
For a while, it worked. We were back to our old selves - considerate, thoughtful and loving.
That is, until Dianna and her team decided that our marriage needed some 'fine tuning'.
"Dad said we should do a movie together." She announced over dinner.
"I don't think that's a good idea, hon. You know I can't act."
"We'll put you in workshops. It should be easy." Dianna mutters indifferently.
"What if I don't want to?"
"You don't have much choice, hon, I'm afraid. Dad already talked to Mendez. It's going to be big."
"They'll just laugh at me, Di! Can't you see that? I'm bad at it. I'm sorry but I won't do it."
"Tough luck, babe. Try convincing Dad."
"Why can't you?"
"I want to do it." She shrugged. "It's going to be great for us. It'll shoot down all those pesky rumors about our marriage being on the rocks. Besides, you'll be doing the songs for the movie. And they're planning on releasing a separate DVD containing exclusive behind the scene bits. It's gonna be epic, babe."
"Why won't you listen to me, Di?" I smiled sadly at her, trying to shoot down the familiar feeling of being voiceless in this 'family'.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't want to do a movie. I'm a singer, not an actress."
"Well, you could be a little bit grateful, don't you think? Dad's giving you a chance."
"Well tell 'Daddy' thank you very much, but no, I'm not doing it." I grabbed my plate and ate inside our room - something that Dianna hated so much.
Bobby was pissed when I declined to be in the movie and he never let me forget it. And boy, was Dianna annoyed too. And instead of talking it out, she retaliated by announcing two months after our 4th anniversary that she was doing a risque movie with Alex Stan, a rumored ex.
I knew she was hoping for a reaction.
And I gave her one.
"You know this isn't working anymore, Di. I've tried, but you always brushed me off."
"And you think a trial separation will solve that?"
"Well, it's better than divorce, right?" I reasoned.
"Daddy will -."
"Your Daddy's not a part of this marriage! Believe me, Dianna, this is for the best. We need to separate while I still have some love for you."
"Some love?" She scoffed. "Did you ever love me? Like, for real? Tell me, without the contract, did you ever love me?"
"You know I did." I whispered hoarsely. No matter what, this wasn't easy. Dianna has always been a great friend.
But then again, maybe that's the problem. If you ask Di and I to best describe each other - that's it, we're great friends more than anything. In essence, the partnership has been defined by companionship, rather than passion.
But is that still enough?
"I can't believe you."
"I care deeply for you, Di. And I certainly don't want to hurt you. But you know it's not working."
"I thought we had a happy relationship?"
"Di, we did. We just -."
"I know we're not perfect, but who can claim that? Don't you love me anymore?"
"Why?" She looked at me with pleading eyes.
"I d-don't know."
"You don't know?"
"I just - there's just so much pressure to be everything to each other. Do you get me? To share friends and even tastes. I'm not myself. I couldn't be. I feel so trapped by what other people expect of me, of us."
"What do you mean by you're not yourself? Yes, you're different, but it's a good kind of different! Are you telling me you wanted that same old life you've had?"
"Oh my God! It's her, isn't it?" Her face hardened at the realization. "It's Brittany!" She laughed bitterly. "You still have feelings for that woman!"
"No, it's not about her! My God Dianna! This is between us!"
"Then let's fix this -."
"That's what I've been begging for in the past months!"
"We'll be fine." She stated, eyes filled with determination. "This is just a rough patch that we can overcome. Come on, San. We've already gone so far. Four years. Why waste it? Don't you love me anymore?" She repeated, starting to get incoherent.
"I do. But I'm so unhappy, Di." I cried. "I'm so sorry."
"But we promised to make it work." She whispered brokenly.
"I'm so sorry." Di slumped on the edge of the bed, looking devastated.
"Well I'm sorry too, Santana." She said softly. "But you do realize that there's no way out of this marriage, right? Have you seriously read the stipulations in the contract?"
"I did -."
"No you didn't. Five years, Santana. That's the shortest amount of time we should be married. And I'm sorry, but you know that I'm someone who does not break promises. So yeah, you can't leave. At least not until the contract expires." She said through clenched jaw.
"I'll pay up when it comes to that point. We -."
"There's no provision for that!"
I sighed. "Listen Dianna, we need space. Who knows? Maybe that's what's going to fix this."
"Don't bullshit me, Santana. I know what trial separation really means. It's just a prelude to divorce. You want space? Fine. I'll give you space. My next movie will be shot in Ontario. I won't go home for three months. That should give you time to think." Her voice broke, face softening. "We need to try, Santana. Please. Just stay here. Then if you really want a divorce, then we'll talk about it when I come back."
"Don't do this to me, please. Just stay. I'll give you the space that you need. But don't leave the house. Please, Santana."
"I don't know Dianna. It doesn't seem right."
"Please, San." She broke down and my heart broke at the sight. "P-Please."
Dropping my bag, I walked towards her. "D-Di."
"P-Please. I love you..." She shook, tugged the bottom of my shirt as she leaned her head against my abdomen.
I leave the patio and move indoors to the kitchen where I fix myself a cup of tea and a dish of cereal.
As I stir my bowl, my thoughts drift to another blonde over two thousand miles away.
I've got two options.
Hell, I already arrived at a decision.
I just have to stand my ground.
I've cut Santana's POV into two parts before we change into someone else's view. We shall see how and when the 'affair' started in the next chapter.
All mistakes are mine.