We're Collecting Dust (But Our Love's Enough)
You found out while you were at a photoshoot. You were waiting for the stylist to bring you a new outfit when you got a text from Dianna. It was a link to a gossip website you weren't familiar with and Dianna had added question marks after it.
You were confused too. Was it about you? Did the paparazzi get a picture of you doing something?
What you saw was to last thing you were expecting.
So much hits you all at once. You're shocked. Disappointed. Anxious.
Why aren't you happy? She used to be your best friend, you should be happy for her. Other than not being told sooner, there isn't anything preventing you from being happy for her.
You've always known she wanted kids. Early in your friendship, when you were getting to know each other, it came up a lot. She talked about how much she loved her nieces and nephews, her friend's kids, even random babies on the street.
Imagining her as a mother was both painful and magnificent.
And watching her interact with children was breathtaking. You captured as many moments as you could of her and the kids you've met over the past three years.
You still have some (all) of the pictures stored in a file on your computer you pretend doesn't exist.
It didn't surprise you how much Heather loved children- she's so much like a kid herself sometimes. You always teased her about how childish she was, how she wouldn't be able to be the "bad guy" parent if it was necessary, but she would just tell you "That's why I have you Nay!"
If only she knew that kind of teasing was the reason you always changed the subject.
You like kids too, in the oh-they're-so-cute-but-I'm-glad-I'm-not-responsibl e-for-them kind of way. You just don't think you'd make a good mom.
You remember how much your mom struggled raising you, so you don't feel confident if you were to have your own kid. How are you supposed to raise another human being when you had so much trouble yourself?
Heather always tried to convince you otherwise. She would tell you that you've grown up, that you've turned out so well. You always lied and told her you believed her.
(Maybe this is why you needed her in your life. Maybe you needed her to reassure you- to tell you that who you've become is something to be proud of.)
The day the set was full of your character's child doppelgangers, she could not have been more excited. You're pretty sure she got a picture with every single one of those children. Poor things. They probably didn't expect to have a 23 year old be so completely enamored with them. Seeing her so excited along with their confused little faces made you laugh until you were in tears.
You remember your laugh catching her attention because she turned and looked straight at you with the biggest grin. She called you down from the chair you were sitting on in the top row, trying to get you to come down there. You shook your head- you tried denying her.
That never actually works though.
She took so many pictures of you with the mini version of your character. She was smiling more than you were, and you were completely ok with that, but apparently she didn't agree. She kept trying to broaden your grin, she even told you "Naya, stop looking so mad! You're surrounded by adorable little people!" The only reason you cracked was because of her. Seeing her so happy always made you happy.
(You've seen a lot of beautiful things in your life, but her smile is the most.)
She kept telling you how cute you looked with them and all you could do was glare at her as subtly as possible. You knew what she was doing. Adorable kids and beautiful smiles weren't going to turn on some kind of motherly instinct inside you.
But then she said "Naya come on! Just imagine how adorable our kids would be?"
You were pretty sure she was talking about Brittany and Santana, but for a second you thought differently. You thought of reality. And then your breathing stopped for a few seconds.
She looked at you like she wanted you to imagine it with her- a world where mini versions of both of you existed. And you fell for it.
But at that point you think you had already fallen. For all of it.
There were nights when she would stay over and it was late and she was asleep right next to you, and you thought of things you knew were wrong. Things that you knew would never happen. But they flooded your head anyways, like a movie you couldn't stop.
When you were finally able to fall asleep, it was like the movie continued into your dreams.
It's a dream you had a lot whenever she slept over.
You would see a woman dancing and laughing with a little girl in a dark, empty room with bare walls and hardwood floors. You could only see their silhouettes, but you still watched as they twirled around the room. You could see the smile on both of their faces.
A few more moments would pass as you watched them, until the woman would stop and gently pick the girl up, kiss her on the cheek and hold her close to her chest while she walked away. But then the little girl would look up from where her head was resting, and stare right at you.
You swear that the girl's eyes were an all too familiar shade of blue.
The dream always ended there- with them walking away from you and disappearing.
Each time you woke up, it was frantic and instantaneous. You would be sitting upright, breathing heavy and sweaty all over. She always heard you, or felt you, and she would turn over until she was facing you and reach out to hold your hand.
Her touch would snap you out of your panic and instead you'd stare at where her hand and yours connected. It fascinated you how she knew, even when she was asleep, that you needed comforting.
When you get home, you go into your bedroom and text as many people you can think of who might know that this is actually real, that it's actually happening.
Vanessa replies back first saying Yeaaa! I can't wait! :)
You don't reply.
Telly texts you back saying he's known for a couple weeks. You're not surprised that he knew, it's his job to take care of the cast, but it was your job to take care of her first.
Kevin seems like the only one that notices your text doesn't sound as excited as it should because while you're lying on your bed staring at the ceiling waiting for his reply, you feel your phone vibrating instead.
You pick it up and see Kevin's contact photo and decide to answer it. You really need someone to talk to about this, seeing as you didn't really want to dump this all on your hair stylist while you were at the photoshoot.
"Hey Bee… So you heard, huh?"
You take a deep breath and release it before saying, "Yeah, Dianna texted me some article."
You hear him hum in response before asking you, "How are you feeling?"
His question catches you off guard. You haven't really decided how you feel, nothing definitive at least.
"I… I don't really know. I'm definitely surprised, but other then that… I haven't really figured it out."
"Well are you happy? Or excited?"
You take a moment to think about how you've felt since you heard the news before replying, "This is what she's always wanted, and as long as she's happy, then so am I."
It hurts, saying it out loud, because now it's real. Now the way you feel has been heard- by Kevin, by God, by yourself- and you can't go back.
Kevin asks if you're okay, and you tell him, "I don't know that either."
He tells you he loves you and that if you need anything to call him. You tell him you will and that you love him too before hanging up and putting your phone away.
You go back to staring at the ceiling and try to figure out how you feel.
You're sitting at your kitchen table later that night eating dinner thinking, but you still can't figure it out. Why didn't she tell you herself?
But you're never going to find out.
So you sit and push around your food, hearing nothing but the fork hitting the plate and your thoughts running through your head.
You give up on eating and pour yourself some wine instead. You make your way into the living room and collapse on your couch, trying to settle your thoughts- clear your head. It works.
When you wake up you see you slept for a few hours. You decide that it's time to actually go to bed, so you down the rest of your wine and put the glass in the sink.
You're walking up the first few sets of stairs when you hear your doorbell ring. You wonder if it's the alcohol making you imagine things, but then there's a knock.
You recognize that knock.
(You don't personally like getting surprised. You like to be prepared for things; you like to plan ahead. You don't like not knowing when something is going to happen or you're told something you weren't expecting. You just never know how you're going to react and your emotions might take over and you may say or do something you don't mean...)
"Heather- hi... Uhh, what are you doing here?"
You're shocked; she hasn't been to your house in months, and even then it was because you had a party. She's never been here by herself.
"Vanessa called me and told me you texted her and I just- wanted to talk to you."
Is she finally going to tell you herself?
You take a deep breath and push away your thoughts. You quickly tell her to come in and she makes her way over to the living room, sits down on the couch, and puts both her hands between her knees.
You watch her as she looks around your living room while you try and predict what she might say.
You walk over and ask her if she wants anything to drink, and she asks if she can have water.
Even her voice sounds scared. You wish it didn't, you don't want it to. You're scared too, but you can't tell her that.
You walk towards the kitchen and it gives you a few extra moments to calm yourself down. You can't talk to her about it. You can't ask her why she didn't tell you. You won't be able to hide how hurt you are. Maybe she had a good reason for not telling you.
Or maybe you're no longer important enough to her.
You take a deep breath and walk back in and set the glass on the coffee table and take a seat on the couch a few feet away from her.
You don't know if you're ready for whatever she wants to say.
"So, what did you wanna talk to me about?"
She doesn't answer right away and you're so interested to know what she's thinking.
You do that a lot- wonder what she's thinking. You wish she would just tell you.
"I um- I got an ultrasound today."
So Vanessa told her. She knows you know.
You're still surprised at what just came out of her mouth. You don't know why, out of all the words she could've said, she chooses to say that.
"That's great... How was it? Is everything ok?"
Those seemed like safe enough questions. They don't show how much you care.
How much you wish you could care.
"Yea, yea everything's fine. It was just really surreal, you know?"
She looks up at you suddenly, like she realized what she said. You just look back at her and smile as genuinely as you can because she knows you'll never know.
You won't know what it would be like to see a baby inside you because you don't want kids. A few years ago maybe you would've changed your mind, but the circumstances changed before you could.
"It must've been amazing Heather. I'm happy for you two."
It felt so much like you were reading from a script. You're character is happy. Don't look away. Keep eye contact. Don't cry.
"I actually uh- have it with me... Do you- do you wanna see it?"
She sounds so unsure of herself, and maybe of you too. How you'll react. How you'll feel.
Sound excited. Smile- like you mean it. Think of whatever you can that makes you happy...
You end up thinking about a day when the show first began. You had made plans earlier in the day to go out to lunch with Dianna, but she ended up having to shoot another scene. So you had decided a little alone time would be good and you could go walk around the lot, maybe watch another show being filmed or see a few celebrities. But as you were making your way towards the replicated streets of New York City, she called your name.
You were shocked- you hadn't seen her around the area you were walking through, so for all you knew she could've popped out of a bush.
When she had finally caught up with you, you noticed she was wearing workout clothes and glistening with sweat.
You could hear her breathing heavily, which made you wonder how far the girl actually ran to get to you. You asked her "why are you all sweaty Heather?"
She laughed a little because she must've known what she looked like and said, "I was just finishing up a routine in the Tin Shed and I saw you walking by so I thought I'd join you! I hope that's ok?"
The two of you were still in the early stages of building a friendship, but even then, you couldn't deny her.
You told her, "Yea absolutely! I'm just wandering around."
She had looked at you with the brightest smile and then loudly said, "Lets go on an adventure!"
You laughed at her excitement, and she joined in a few seconds later. You loved it when she laughed.
So the two of you went on an adventure. You ran through fake alleys and watched people walk around in all kinds of costumes. You saw different shows being filmed and even watched a stunt double fall out of a window onto what looked like a giant pillow. You even got caught by a few security guards, but she would just flash them a sweet smile and an apology, then pull you by your hand as you both ran off laughing.
You think she became your best friend that day.
You were in so much trouble with Ryan when you had finally made it back to set. But it was worth it. You don't think you've ever laughed that hard or smiled so much since then.
(You've been told that memories made from strong emotions last the longest. If that's the case, then that day will be in your head forever.)
You're pulled out of your thoughts when she takes out the picture. She looks at it for a few seconds before slowly handing it to you.
You can feel her staring at you as you take if from her. When you look at it, it takes you a moment to figure out what's what, but when you finally do, it's overwhelming.
You can tell it's a baby, but it doesn't have very defining features. It kind of...
"... looks like a peanut..."
"Oh- um, th-the baby, it's just- reminds me of a... never mind- sorry..."
You are such an idiot. Why did you just insult her baby? It's barely a person and you're already making fun of it.
But then you hear her giggle.
"I guess it sorta does, huh? That's kinda cute actually."
You look up at her and see her looking at the picture in your hands with a blissful smile on her face and you know she's doing it again- imagining herself as a mother. And now it's actually real. You've got the proof.
She's going to be an amazing mom.
Her phone dings a few times and as she checks it, you look at the ultrasound again. You wonder what this little person is going to be like. Is it going to be a boy or a girl? Will it be blonde with blue eyes? Will it dance like her or play baseball like him?
Will you ever meet this somebody to find out?...
Her voice startles you when she says, "I actually have to go, Taylor wants me back home."
You don't mean to sound so disappointed, you just have a lot left to ask. She must notice your struggle because she looks at you, waiting for you to say something. Anything.
So you take the risk and...
"Why didn't you tell me?"
You heart is pounding and- did you leave the heat on? Because your hands are starting to sweat.
She looks stunned at your question, you are too.
It's a question you didn't mean to ask. It was meant to stay in your head forever and be a mystery because you're too afraid of the answer, but now it's out there and all you can do is wait.
She inhales and when she exhales, you can hear how her throat shakes as she prepares herself to say what you both want and don't want.
"I-I didn't think you would... wanna know, I guess..."
So this is what the two of you have come to?
"Oh... yea! No I totally understand."
"I'm sorry Nay... I was going to but-"
The guilt on her face is there and it's bothering you because you don't want her to make excuses, it'll just make it worse, so you shake your head and stop whatever she's about to say.
"Heather it's fine. Really. You don't need to explain yourself."
Her eyes are begging with you and her head is tilted like she's waiting for you to give her a chance, but you can't. It would hurt too much.
You look at her and shrug your shoulders because you don't know what else to say.
"Are you sure?"
She's searching. She wants something more from you, but you have nothing left to give her.
You feel like she already has everything.
You put your hand up a little and shake it back and forth, brushing off her question, and tell her as confidently as you can-
"Yea Heather, I promise."
("Never make promises you can't keep..." That's what she told you when you promised to be her friend forever. But you weren't the only one who broke that promise- you both did.)
It works because the way her body slumps tells you that she's given up.
"Ok... Well, I'm sorry for barging in like this."
She makes it sound like she's not welcome in your home. Even if you two are no longer best friends, she's always been welcome. And she always will be.
"It's ok Heather. I'm here for you anytime."
She gives you a small smile and you return it. She starts to get up and you follow but then her shirt shifts slightly and-
You're probably being intrusive and a little creepy, but you can't help it. It stuns you to see her like this.
She lets you stare for a few seconds longer before she fixes her shirt.
Now she thinks you're weird. Great.
You look down in shame and shake your head when she says-
"I really am sorry I didn't tell you."
(She's said that before.)
You remember that day in far too much detail too...
The two of you were eating breakfast in her kitchen and she had been acting a little strange all morning. You asked her if anything was wrong and she had looked away from you too fast and that's when you started to get nervous.
You had whispered "Hemo..." and then you saw how her eyes were shining and red around the edges. You were afraid of whatever she was going to say.
You barely heard her mutter "Taylor's in town."
You hoped she hadn't really said that, but then she turned her head and looked you right at you.
Her eyes had gotten even redder and she looked like she was seconds away from bursting into tears. All you could do was furrow your eyebrows. You were just so confused...
The two of you had been so great. You were just... Together. However you wanted to be, whenever you wanted. You went on little trips and slept in each other's beds and went out to dinner and bought each other things; it was easy. You made each other happy. You thought that was enough.
You didn't want to lose that. Just imagining your life without her right beside you-
Your breathing had started to get faster and the knot in your throat had hurt so much but you had to ask what she meant so you whispered "Heather..."
You will never forget the look on her face.
Her face furrowed and she started to shake her head back and forth and her eyes were so desperate- like she was trying to tell you that she didn't want to say whatever she was thinking.
But you needed to hear whatever she had locked inside her head, so you said her name again with more force, and she finally gave in.
"H-he said that he was moving here. For good. He said he wanted to try again. S-so I let him... I let him and I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I'm so sorry Naya."
Her tears started to fall and sobs quickly followed. You could see how painful they were, but it was too late. As of that moment, she was no longer yours to fix.
Whatever the two of you had ended before you even finished your cup of coffee.
You had gotten up, gathered your stuff, and left her house as fast as you could. You ignored how broken her voice was as she called your name all the way down the driveway. Your only goal was to not let her see you cry. You couldn't let her see your heart break.
"It's fine Heather."
You don't give her the opportunity to study how you're really feeling. Instead you turn and walk towards the front door.
You open it and lean your head against the edge, waiting for her to walk out. She slowly makes her way to the door and seeing her so down hurts.
You didn't want this. You didn't want to cause both of you this pain.
When she finally gets to the door, she stops. Her head is down and she's staring at the floor, waiting. She's so close you can smell her perfume and see the freckles on her face and all the piercings in her ear.
Her perfume was always your favorite.
You loved those freckles.
You wonder if she still has the earrings you gave her.
You miss her so much. You thought you stopped needing her, but maybe you were wrong...
But it doesn't matter because you have somebody new, and she has somebody old and someone new on the way but-
You think you'll always wait for her.
"I miss you so much Nay..."
You always found it fascinating when two people who loved each other so much just- stopped. Or at least stopped showing it.
You never thought that it would happen to you.
"Me too Heather."
She turns her head to the side until she's facing you and just stares. And you stare right back. You see how much she means it, and you hope that she see's that you mean it too.
But the two of you did this to each other and you can't go back.
You know you're incomplete and with her you felt whole.
You can only pick up whatever pieces you have left and try and put them back together.
But there are some pieces you can't get back because they belong to the girl standing in front of you. And you have some of hers. You know you do.
But the two of you have forgotten and now the parts are lost.
She gives you a parting smile and you have to smile back. You hope it worked. You hoped it looked convincing.
You watch as she walks out of your house, down the pathway and to her car.
You sigh and close the door quietly, resting the back of your head against it. You look up at the ceiling to stop the tears from falling.
You head into the living room to grab her glass on the coffee table, but then you see something next to it that twists your inside.
You grab the ultrasound and put it in your sweatshirt pocket then place her glass in the sink. The walk upstairs is too long and takes too much energy, and when you finally make it to your room, your bed might as well be a gift from God himself.
You fall onto it and close your eyes, trying to quiet all the thoughts in your head. Stop your heart racing. Stop all your feelings.
You remember the ultrasound in your pocket and pull it out. It's dark in your room, but you've already memorized the baby's shape.
You look at the picture a little longer before you lean over and put it in the drawer in your nightstand. You call Lucy over to you and she jumps on the bed and lies down against your hip.
You don't want to think about the black and white photo that's three feet away from you so you pet your dog until you feel your eyes getting heavier and heavier...
That's the last thing you remember.
You're back on set the next day for the first time in almost a week to film scenes with Chris and Lea. You're all getting a quick break so you go back to the choir room set and immediately feel out of place. There are so many new faces, so many people you don't really know, but you also see those you've known for years.
You miss them.
The memories in this room are endless. Running around and getting scolded by the director, dancing together next to all of your best friends, sitting in the top row of seats talking quietly while your new best friend played with your fingers...
You're standing in the doorway looking into the room when you spot Heather off to the side drinking some water and talking to Brad. You wonder if she's feeling ok- if she's tired from last night or feeling nauseous or lightheaded.
You don't know why you even bother; you have no right to worry.
(You wonder if you're ever going to stop being worried about her.)
You're about to walk in and say hi to them (her), but your phone vibrates just before you can move any closer. It's a text from Lea telling you to come back to the other set.
When you glance up at the choir room, you see Heather turning and walking back towards the seats, but then someone calls her name and she looks around at several places until her eyes suddenly pass by the doorway and stop.
What are the chances…
Your eyes stay locked with hers long enough for your breathing to become louder and louder and you swear you can feelyour heartbeat in your cheeks.
Someone yelling 'we're ready!' breaks whatever trance you two were under. You can feel yourself trembling while you watch her jump slightly and turn her head, looking somewhere behind her, and that gives you enough time to walk away.
You were right. Her eyes are the same color as the little girl's in your dream.