A/N: Those who predicted I wasn't done with this story were correct. Yes, I have a plan for this story. Just allow me time to get it out. :D
Rachel couldn't stop staring at Dani through the glass case. She was humming to herself, lower lip gently pulled between her teeth as she rapped her fingers on the counter, leaning up on her toes to peer into the back. "You think we should continue waiting?" she asked suddenly, making Rachel flinch in surprise.
Rachel sighed, crossing her arms over her chest before uncrossing them to push a stray bang behind her ear and tug at the scarf wrapped around her neck. "You promised Santana ice cream."
"Yeah, but only if anyone actually shows up to sell me that ice cream." Making a face, Dani turned, resting her lower back against the counter. She tilted her head, studying Rachel through the wave of her brown-blonde bangs that slipped down with the motion. "You want some?"
"Me?" Rachel shook her head. "Oh, no, I'm vegan, if you remember, and you really needn't bother."
Dani pursed her lips. "But do you want some?" Looking next to her, at the ice cream in the case, she nodded, "They have vegan options." Trailing off, she looked back up at Rachel through her bangs, smiling cajolingly.
Staring at her, Rachel felt her feelings from earlier come surging back. It still made her uncomfortable, and, giving Dani a quick smile and shake of her head, she excused herself to the far side of the parlor. Standing in front of the designer ice cream scoops and bowls for sale, she threw all of her body language into appearing interested in looking for something new to add to their kitchen.
Her mind, though, was still stuck on a loop of what had happened an hour earlier. Though Dani had given her enough time to clean her face and brush her hair and get sufficiently settled, Rachel still hadn't fully digested everything that had happened. Because how could she? She didn't know what she was doing there.
No, that wasn't true. She knew what she was doing there. She just didn't know what she was doing there.
The facts: Santana was in love with Dani. Dani was in love with Santana. And Rachel… She wanted Santana.
What Dani thought: Rachel was in love with Santana. Santana was in love with Rachel. The three of them, Dani, Santana, and Rachel, could work something out.
Work something out… Rachel closed her eyes, drawing in a hard, deep breath. Did that really mean what she thought it meant? Dani kissing her certainly indicated it did.
Sneaking a look over her shoulder, Rachel watched Dani talk to the finally appeared ice cream attendant. She was bright and confident, nodding and saying something while pointing into the case. How was she, this self-assured, nice, smart girl okay with what she was suggesting? Rachel was the interloper. Rachel wasn't one of the already involved!
Rachel turned back to the merchandise before she was caught looking. Aside from that, and not wanting to even attempt thinking about Santana's opinion, she picked up one of the ice cream scoopers, pretending to look it over, what did… She shifted uncomfortably. What did she, herself, think about it?
The ice cream scooper compressed under her fingers. She dropped her chin. How could she even begin to think about it?
"Hey," Dani's soft voice curled up from behind her into her ears. Smiling gently at her, a crisp white paper bag tucked under her arm with her other hand pushed into the pocket of her jacket, she dropped her gaze. "You gonna get that?"
Blinking, Rachel quickly shook her head; at the sight of her, all thoughts about pretending to be interested fled. "No. Not really." Pushing it down, back onto the display, she gestured weakly at the bag in lieu of anything else to do, "I see you were successful."
"Yeah, finally." Rolling her eyes, Dani's smile turned into a grin, "I thought for a second there I'd have to set a fire or streak through the back or something to get someone's attention." Her shoulders shrugged up.
"Oh my goodness," Rachel burst out, "Dani."
"Kidding." Shifting the bag more securely in her grip, the mirth on the other girl's face and in her body dripped away. Seeing it, tension squeezed Rachel's stomach again, and her breath instantly died. "So…" she barely trailed off, "I've got the ice cream now."
Rachel nodded tightly. "So you do," she feigned casualness. When Dani didn't make a move, seemingly drawing in an endless breath, trying to find what to say, Rachel found herself jerking her hand around. There were so many things she could say, but instead, "…Go?" was what slipped from her mouth. Her palm wavered in the air.
Go? How dramatic. A perfect word to sum up just what Rachel was agreeing to.
…If that was really what Rachel was agreeing to.
Ugh. Rachel gritted her teeth. Her brain was starting to hurt with too many thoughts and emotions and confusions and being out of her elements. With… Her head throbbed, possibilities. Abruptly realizing her hand was still hovering in the air, she drew it back into her body, turning her attention back onto Dani, who seemed to have been in much the same deep thought.
Blinking, Dani's lips twitched, and then she was smiling again. "Right," she nodded, "You're coming with. Good. So." Walking forward to open the door, bracing it against the cool wind, she turned back to Rachel, bangs slipping in front of her eyes again, something Rachel was starting to understand, a little uncomfortably, that she perhaps found pleasing on her, "Let's go."
Pausing, feeling like she was tilting back and forth on her feet without actually doing so, Rachel searched Dani's eyes, bit her lip, looked down, sagged, and, finding nothing inside loud enough to make her go back home instead, nodded and joined her.
Maybe she shouldn't have been surprised when, five minutes into their walk, having grabbed her arm with her free hand to pull her around a man who didn't bother looking where he was going, Dani didn't immediately let her go. Instead, their jackets crinkling together, arms pressed against each other's bodies, Rachel glanced at Dani, Dani glanced at her, and, explicitly ignoring that it could be anything more than just for sake of warmth, they averted their eyes and continued on.
In some ways, maybe, it meant they were in this together.
Whatever this, Rachel sighed, pulling her scarf tighter around her neck, was.