Title: Empire State of Mind – Chapter 4: Tiptoe
Rating: generally 15 – R (may reach NC-17 in some chapters)
Word Count: 7000
Disclaimer: Glee is copyrighted and belongs to the creators and Fox. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Use of other personalities is not a reflection of their real lives and is completely fictional. Title taken from Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind, this fiction does not use any other material from the song.
Summary: AU Two very different young women find themselves in the big city of New York about to embark on the biggest career moves of their lives.
A/N Firstly I have to apologise for the delay, real life has played havoc with my writing schedule. Secondly, thank you so much for all the comments on this story, I can't begin to tell you just how much I appreciate it. I hope you enjoy this chapter :)
A special mention to lizzylizbian who has been very encouraging.
This is also for any Brittana fans affected by the riots in the UK, it's been a hard week for us, but we won't let them ruin our cities, our country or our spirit!
Previous Chapters: Prologue / Chapter 1: Sweat and Tears / Chapter 2: Hustle and Bustle / Chapter 3: Will and Hope
Tiptoeing was not something she was used to. She liked to get things done. She was precise and systematic and the idea of tiptoeing was a little frustrating. However, she found herself doing just that as she tried to avoid the shattered glass and spilt water on her bedroom floor. It was a delicate situation, she had to avoid being hurt, one false move and she could find herself pierced by a dangerous shard. Making it to the bathroom safely, she breathed with immense relief, quickly checking her soles for any damage. Her feet were fine.
She was used to breakages and spillages, it came with the territory in her line of work. Clearing up the mess came second nature, she was extremely methodical, it allowed her mind to wander as she did so. Thoughts drifted to a particular beautiful blonde. A blonde who was sweet, caring and ever so tactile. Santana wasn't used to such touchy feely people, in fact, in previous years, she would recoil almost instantly, her defences springing into action and protecting herself. She had not been shown much physical affection as a child, and as the only offspring of busy professionals, Santana found herself alone on many occasion. She was used to her own company and had grown accustomed to not share with others. Making friends was difficult, she was always the quiet girl in the corner that no one knew just quite what to say to. By the time she made it into high school, she had made what she would call two best friends. However when she fell in love with one of them, albeit unexpectedly, the two girls no longer wanted to be her friend. It was then the Latina threw herself into her passion, her cooking. She longed for the evenings her parents would entertain within their wealthy social circle, not for the opportunity to mingle with some of LA's elite social classes, but for the chance to hang out in the kitchen with the hired chef for the evening.
The two best friends; Lauren and Tasha. Santana had not meant to fall in love with Lauren, it just happened. The three were inseparable, in a bid to become popular, the three of them tried out for the cheer squad, Santana and Lauren had made it, reluctantly leaving an encouraging Tasha on the sidelines. It was during this time the two cheerleaders grew closer, until the moment Lauren stole away Santana's precious diary and was less than thrilled to read about the skeletons in the young Latina's closet. Santana instantly became a social outcast. Her armour toughened, she shut everybody out and vowed the best company she could and would keep was her own. It was more than she desired to think about right now, yet the incident had contributed to the woman she had become. Yet it was her profession that had taught her the importance of trust and team work, to believe that you could always be better and that pleasing people and making them happy was the most rewarding thing a human being could ever ask for. Until she met Brittany. The beautiful blonde dancer that confused, scared and excited her all at once. Brittany asked for nothing. She provided her time, her friendship and her humility without ever asking for anything in return. Santana felt no threat from the blonde, just the hand of genuine friendship and took a hold of it and was clinging on for dear life.
Brittany, although adorably uncomplicated and loving, was a mystery. Firstly, Santana was unsure if the dancer was offering anything else other than friendship, though there were signs of there possibly being more. Secondly, when she had shown any possible romantic interest in the brunette, she recoiled somewhat reluctantly. Yes, confusing was the word, yet it made Santana further intrigued and made her believe that if something more were ever offered, she would be willing to give it a try, for Santana Lopez was ultimately a decisive person and it had all happened on one day. She reached for her cell phone, swiping her finger over the screen of the device to reveal the photograph of herself and Brittany during a spectacular sunset. That was the day. That was the day she knew.
She tiptoed lightly across the polished floor, moving gracefully like a swan across water. Brittany danced serenely to the gentle beat emanating from the stereo. Not only was dancing her profession, it was her release, her way of letting out her pent up energy and emotions when she tried to fathom exactly what was going through her mind. It helped her cleanse and think clearly. It was like mind preparation before she was able to talk to someone about it. As the music dwindled down, so did the blonde, turning her lithe body slowly, she lowered herself until she was sat on the floor. The music had ceased, her thoughts had perished, all she could hear was her hoarse breath, penetrating her ears, her heartbeat as loud as a drum beat. She closed her eyes and gulped for air. Her chest rose with every breath, giving in, she lay backwards, her shoulders hitting the wood beneath her. She lay, thoughtless until her breathing evened out and she regained a steady heart beat. This morning the dancer had pushed herself to the extreme, giving herself a thorough physical and mental workout, having so much playing on her mind. Opening her eyes, her gaze settled on the water stained ceiling, scrunching her nose up at the unpleasant sight, her mind quickly focussed on the reason she had entered the old dance studio in the first place. Santana Lopez.
The chef baffled her. She intrigued her. If there was a word that Brittany would use to describe her attraction to the brunette it would be addiction. Santana offered so much yet so little and the dancer could not fathom where she stood with the other woman. However, one thing she was sure of, in Santana, Brittany had made a friend for life. They had instantly formed a connection with one another, found it incredibly easy to be in one another's company and had grown closer over the past few weeks. The day they had spent exploring the City together had been defining. Brittany knew for sure her attraction ran deeper than admiration and friendship and the more time spent with Santana since had cemented her romantic interest in the brunette. Whenever the blonde would show affection toward the brunette, she was often met with uncertainty. She knew Santana was gay, the brunette had inadvertently blurted as much and really did not seem to be guarded about her sexuality. What she did seem guarded about though, was her emotions. When Brittany had told Santana she could trust her, she meant it, never did the blonde say something she did not mean.
She sighed and clambered to her feet, briefly looking at her reflection in the floor to ceiling mirrors. Brittany saw an unusually tired self, the demands of the show were starting to take it's toll and she found herself willing for a break. While she would normally find herself surrounded by people when feeling so desolate, today Brittany welcomed the solitude the dancing studio afforded her. For once she could not drown herself in a sea of happy people. It all related back to Santana, the blonde's current state was indicative of her feelings for the brunette and subsequently went about dealing with her emotions in a way which would be welcomed by the woman at the forefront of her thoughts. As the dancer approached her belongings near the door, she grabbed her water bottle, took a quick swig and threw it back into her bag. She reached next for her cell phone, swiping her finger over the screen of the device to reveal the photograph of herself and Santana during a spectacular sunset. That was the day. That was the day she knew.
Tiptoeing around the large circular table, carefully laying out silverware, wine glasses and condiments, Kurt hummed merrily to himself. Giving the cutlery an extra polish as he went. Quinn stood the opposite side of the table, counting the places and ensuring the chairs were aligned, and napkins straight. Santana stood in the doorway of the kitchen observing the scene before her with mild amusement. Into the scene waltzed Rachel, laying several baskets of bread on the table for the impending guests. Catching an earful of the Matre D's tune, the brunette proceeded to sing at full pelt. Santana laughed as she watched the sudden shock hit Quinn, her body jolted, her eyes widened and her head shook a little upon the impact of the waitress' voice upon her eardrums. Kurt paused his humming, cocked his head to the side, his back straightened and a hand found his hip. "Rachel!" he blasted, less than enthused. The brunette smiled and continued to sing, now with more emphasis and began dancing in circles around her displeased colleague. The chef kept a safe distance, enjoying the scene that played out before her. "Rachel!" Kurt yelled again, this time with a sharp shrill. The girl in question lowered her tone and limped into a muted hum, keeping the tune flowing. "You always have to ruin my songs." he accused. The words halted the twirling girl who looked at the Matre D with a stern frown.
"I think you'll find the song does not belong to yourself and was in fact written by the very talented and esteemed Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber." Kurt rolled his eyes, Rachel Berry was always so pedantic. "Which makes it fair game." she smiled and continued to waltz away. Kurt looked up and saw Santana standing, watching them. He offered a pleading and frustrated looking, only to be met with a bemused raised single eyebrow with matching smirk. She glanced beyond her friend and caught the blonde manager gazing at her. The chef's expression remained the same, only faltering slightly with a questioning edge. Quinn shook herself from her thoughts and blushed slightly, embarrassed that Santana had caught her staring. Clearing her throat, she yelled across the restaurant.
"We have a large party booking."
"I can see that." Santana replied, with an equal amount of volume. "What time?" she asked.
"Early. Noon." came the reply from Kurt, not bothering to look up from his duties. Quinn nodded in affirmation, a small smile remained on her delicate features.
"No problem." Santana replied, her eyes not wavering from the blonde before her. Feeling flustered under the scrutiny of her colleague, Quinn continued to busy herself with the table. The chef smirked, she loved having such affect on people and several months ago would have welcomed the attention and played ball, flirting was something she was good at, although anything beyond that had the brunette in a tizzy. She looked at Quinn with intrigue, however, this was not the blonde that in recent times had constantly hijacked her thoughts.
The last few weeks since their day out had been agonisingly slow, she had been longing for another whole day with Brittany, however, due to mismatched schedules it had not yet materialised. Santana sighed, her thoughts drifting back to that day once again, the intimacy and closeness the blonde had bestowed upon her. They had shared several brunch dates and the occasional drink after work, but not enough to propel their friendship further. Santana very much felt at a stalemate. She had convinced herself friendship was the only course of action prior to their sightseeing trip, however, that day had the brunette re-evaluating everything about Brittany and the relationship they shared. Tonight Santana was finally going to see Brittany in her show. She had heard just how good the blonde was and was excited to finally be able to see for herself. She was already in awe of the dancer and didn't think it would be possible for her to think any more highly of Brittany than she already did. She was simply happy to be sharing this part of Brittany's life. She smiled wistfully. It might be possible that the brunette's feelings for the dancer ran even deeper than she thought.
She could hear a commotion outside of her kitchen. So focused was she on the task at hand, preparing food for a large group of people, Santana simply could not look up. She was used to working in such an environment. Suddenly the doors burst open, a bright light was shining from the doorway and in her peripheral vision she could tell this was no ordinary scene. She was also aware of the lack of movement from her staff and barked accordingly.
"Food does not cook itself people." she yelled with purpose, smirking as she heard work resuming. She spared a glance at the door, frowning when she spotted Quinn talking to a tall gentleman in front of a television camera. 'What the hell?' the Chef internally voiced as she continued with her task at hand. Turning to check a pan on the stove she came face to face with said camera, wondering just how stealthy a camera man can move with such gargantuan equipment, either that or she was too blinkered on what she was doing.
"What the fuck are you doing in my kitchen?" she asked angrily, shaking the pan before replacing it on the stove.
"San, don't swear, you're on TV." Quinn urged with a hint of embarrassment.
"Is this thing live?" the annoyed Chef asked, looking curiously at her blonde colleague.
"No." the guy in the suit next to her urged. "We'll cut that bit out."
"So what the fuck?" Santana asked again, clearly irked by the camera's presence.
"Let me explain." Came a familiar voice from the back. Santana's eyebrows shot up in surprise, her gaze softening as the blonde emerged from the crowd. "Hey San."
"Brittany, what are you doing here, and what 's all this?" she asked, visibly calmer.
"It's Will's 40th birthday and his 20th anniversary on Broadway, the local news are doing a piece on him and how he is celebrating."
"When the producer found out they were coming here to celebrate, he wanted to feature the restaurant too as it's a popular hangout for Broadway stars." Quinn further explained.
"That still doesn't explain why you're all in my kitchen." she stated. She chanced a glance at Brittany, who was watching her with mild amusement, she could not help but smile a little in response. The blonde did funny things to her. But this was her domain, her kitchen, where she was boss and she could not let that facade drop.
"Britt, I appreciate why you're here, but could you like, leave?" she asked, wary of upsetting the blonde.
"San, they're paying us." Quinn said through gritted teeth, "And we're going to be on TV, it's great publicity." the restaurant manager said, all but begging her Chef to be on her best behaviour.
"I don't want to be on TV, I don't want any money. I just want to do my job. Please!" the brunette argued, "Is that too much to ask?"
"You're so sexy right now." Brittany muttered close to the Chef. Santana did a double take at the blonde, disbelieving she heard the other woman correctly. The brunette lost all coherent thought as she was chopping through an onion, she yelped as pain shot straight through the nerves in her hand. Brown eyes widened in terror at the sudden realisation of what had happened. Daring to look down, the claret liquid oozed over her flesh and onto the chopping board beneath, she physically felt the colour drain from her face. The commotion around her was lost in the haze of the hysteria emanating from Santana. She instinctively wrapped her other hand fully around the wound to help stop the flow of blood. She felt hands on her back pushing her toward the sink. An arm reached across her and turned on the tap, shoving Santana's hands beneath the cold gushing water.
"Let me look." A concerned voice floated across her ear, a warm hand was rubbing her back soothingly. Santana closed her eyes, pulling her mind from the trance she found herself in and suddenly everything had sprung back into life. She could hear the hustle of the kitchen, orders being shouted, pans rattling, plates clashing, the sound of skin rubbing against fabric, her senses homed in on the hand still on her back, the steady breaths in her ear. Opening her eyes, Santana turned her head slightly to her right, bright blue eyes bore into her with heart rendering concern. "San." the voice spoke again, a little shaky with worry.
"Hurts." Santana hissed, unwilling to pull her hand away from the cut.
"It looks bad." Brittany replied. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean-"
"Please don't tell me you're apologising for what you said." The Latina joked with a smirk, making light of the situation. Brittany smiled warmly at her friend. She brought her hand up and gently wiped away a stray tear with her thumb. Santana blushed at the intimate gesture, enjoying the feel of the blonde's skin upon hers.
"I'm not sorry for that." The dancer confirmed coyly. "I'm just sorry you got hurt by me-"
"Don't." the Chef interrupted. "It's not your fault, I should have been paying attention." she explained carefully. "Besides," she continued, cocking her head to the side, "it's one of the perils of the job, comes with the territory."
"San," Quinn was now at her other side. 'Fabulous' thought the Chef, she now had two blonde's fawning over her. "I got the first aid box."
"I think you're gonna need more than Q, got any sutures in there?" Santana laughed, looking back at the pink water swirling down the plug.
"Don't joke. This is serious." The manager said. "Here," she grabbed a cloth and held it out. "Put it in this." the brunette reluctantly pulled her hands from the water. Hovering them over the towel, she let go of her injured hand, the hit of air stinging her once again. Three pairs of eyes looked at the injury, three pairs of eyes widened in horror. Santana grabbed at the cloth and tightened it around the cut as the blood began to gush following it's momentary pause.
"Was . . ." Quinn began with a gulp, "was that, err, bone?" she asked uneasily.
"I'm taking you to the ER." Brittany stated.
"It's fine, a band aid will do it."
"I don't think so Santana, you even said yourself you need sutures." Quinn offered.
"I was kidding." the Chef exclaimed with exasperation.
"No San, you may have damaged nerves or something, I'm taking you to the hospital." the dancer ordered.
"Don't you have like a TV show to record or something?" The blondes were ganging up on Santana and she felt uncomfortable and slightly cornered. She had cut herself before, sure, but they were usually little nicks, just enough to break the skin, she would put a band aid over it and carry on. This time it was different. It hurt like hell. She was also frustrated that she had allowed it to happen in the first place. The fact Brittany had distracted her so easily. This was why she never mixed business with pleasure. At Santana's harsh words, the blonde dancer recoiled, the Chef immediately regretted the tone she had used upon seeing the hurt in the blue orbs. "Britt, I'm sorry." she said immediately. "This was not supposed to happen." she explained with a frustrated sigh.
"It's not my show." Brittany stated, "I don't need to be here. I'm not due on stage for another," she paused and looked at her watch. She then extended her fingers as if counting, "seven hours." she concluded with a satisfied nod. "Now," she said, looping her arm through Santana's, "I'm taking you to the hospital and you're not going to argue." Santana smiled, ducked her head, catching her lip between her teeth. She leant toward the blonde and spoke quietly into her ear.
"Only because I'm a sucker for demanding blue eyed blondes." she smirked, earning a bashful grin from her friend.
Hospitals were not exactly her favourite place. She glanced around the waiting room nervously, the throb of her hand almost unbearable. Brittany sat beside her, filling in a form on behalf of the injured girl.
"You know my name." Santana replied.
"Right, Santana Lopez. Date of birth."
"9, 20, 84."
"Ooh September baby, cute." The blonde replied.
"Hurry up Britt, I'm about to pass out here." the brunette urged, feeling slightly woozy, she placed her head on the dancer's shoulder and closed her eyes.
"Right sorry." she said, scribbling information down, Santana reeled off her address before the blonde had even asked for it.
"Right, Chef." Brittany stated. "Give a brief description of injury." the blonde smiled, "San was cutting up some onions in the kitchen and me and Quinn and some producer dude and a camera man were watching her because we were sort of filming this segment for Will's birthday. But San wasn't happy and she was sort of swearing and stuff and she just kept chopping faster and then Quinn said they had to do it and were getting paid, but San said she didn't care, she didn't want to be on TV, even though I think she would look hot on TV and totally rock it, she could be like the next Gordon Ramsey or something, but less male and less ugly, she could be like super sexy swearing Chef Lopez. Anyway, she didn't want the money either, she just wanted to do her job and she was totally hot, I mean like, super sexy and so I told her, but not so anyone else could hear and then the knife slipped and she cut her hand with it and there was blood like everywhere and Quinn ran off to get the first aid box. Santana went to the sink and put her hand under the water and I helped, I think I would be a good nurse because I like taking care of people, except you can't dance much in hospitals I heard it's like illegal or something. I said I would take her to the hospital and at first she didn't want to go but I said she had to, I think she thinks I'm hot too. San was crying, but you know what they say about onions."
"I can't believe you wrote that." Santana said lazily, tiredness creeping over her.
"There was more but I couldn't fit it in the box." the blonde shrugged. The Chef smiled and hugged Brittany's side.
"You're very cuddly, are you ok?"
"Tired. Hurts." Santana slurred.
"Miss Lopez?" a voice called from the far side of the room. Brittany looked at the Latina beside her making no effort to move.
"San, come on." Brittany said, pulling Santana to her feet as she stood. "The doctor wants to see us now.
Carefully, the tall, dark doctor pulled the cloth away from Santana's hand, concerned by the amount of blood that had poured from the wound.
"Miss Lopez?" The doctor asked. Santana raised her head wearily, her eyes half lidded. "Can you look at me?" she raised her eyes slowly. "Have you taken the pain meds the nurse gave you Miss Lopez?" She nodded her head to indicate a positive response. "Ok, you've lost quite a bit of blood, but nothing to be too concerned about. Are you squeamish?" he asked. She held up her good hand and used her thumb and forefinger to show that yes she was a little wary of blood. "The bleeding has stopped, you did the right thing holding it up and applying pressure." he said as he examined the wound. "Well, that's some gash you got there Miss Lopez, you must have an awesome knife."
"The best." she replied in a sing song like voice.
"So what about your knife skills?" he dared with a snigger to lighten the mood.
"I was distracted." she said, glancing at the blonde beside her. Brittany sat next to her on the bed, legs swinging back and forth, she had a comforting arm wrapped around the brunette as the doctor poked, prodded and looked at the injury. "I'm usually pretty good."
"She's an amazing Chef. You should go to the restaurant."
"Which restaurant do you work at?"
"Empire State of Mind, it's on-"
"I know exactly where it is, I took my wife there on Valentine's Day." Brittany squeezed the brunette subconsciously, remembering the evening they had spent there together. "It was superb."
"Santana's the Head Chef, she's the best." Brittany gushed once again.
"You're bias." Santana laughed lazily.
"How are those pain meds kicking in?" the doctor asked, looking up into brown eyes.
"Good, they're good." she replied with a grin.
"I'm going to give you a local anaesthetic to numb the area and I'm going to suture you up. It's a clean cut, no nerve damage, it doesn't look like you touched the bone either. You're lucky." the doctor paused before continuing with his advice. "You might have some mobility issues, but it shouldn't cause too much trouble. Keep it dry and the sutures can come out in ten days."
"It's ok, she's left handed." Brittany offered nonchalantly with a shrug. Santana's eyes shifted to the side and raised an eyebrow. The doctor's eyes widened, his mouth opened to speak, no words formed and subsequently he resembled a fish, his mouth opening and closing of its own accord. "You look like a fish." the blonde stated. "San does an amazing salmon dish. You should try it."
"I, I will." the doctor replied. "Thank you." taking a deep breath, he continued, "I suggest you rest your hand for a few days, perhaps a week and keep some pain meds nearby for when the anaesthesia wears off."
"Thanks Doc." Santana replied sincerely. "She's right you know." the brunette began, the doctor frowned, unsure which of Brittany's statements the Chef was referring to. "About the salmon, stop by the restaurant with your wife and have a meal on me."
"I'd eat off you." Brittany muttered, out of the doctor's earshot, however, it didn't go unnoticed by the Latina who paused, her mouth agape, again trying to comprehend if what she was hearing was real. Her head was heavy, her mind was swimming and she could barely keep her eyes open, let alone think coherently. It was a mix of the pain medication taking over and the light headedness caused by blood loss. She shook her head, trying to think straight, forgetting already why she was attempting to concentrate on getting her thought process back on track.
"Miss Lopez. Are you ok?" the doctor asked with concern.
"Huh?" Santana cocked her head to the side, spared a glance at Brittany before replying. "Err, yeah. What were we talking about?"
"You said the Doc could come to the restaurant." the blonde recapped. Santana nodded. "So what do you say Doc?" Brittany asked on the Chef's behalf.
"Thank you, I really appreciate that." The doctor replied with a smile. He stood, discarding his gloves, he bid the girls farewell, leaving them alone in the single room. Santana sighed, the day had been eventful, she laughed at the whole situation, shaking her head in disbelief. Brittany raised her hand and stroked it down the Latina's back.
"What's so funny?"
"This." Santana said, waving her good hand around mid air. "This whole thing. I'm sitting here with stitches in my hand and huge bandage, I can't work for a few days, all because of you." Brittany's face dropped, her hand fell from the Chef's back, her shoulders hunched and her gaze zoned in on her feet. "Britt," Santana said quickly, "I didn't mean . . ." she paused, her hand rested gently on the blonde's thigh, squeezing it with reassurance, urging the dancer to look at her. The blonde succumbed to the touch, she risked a glance at the brunette, brown eyes shone with both sincerity and warmth. "I mean," Santana continued, "that because you caught me off guard, you said I was sexy, I wasn't expecting it." Santana closed her eyes for a moment and swayed gently.
"Hey." Brittany said, wrapping her arms around the Latina to steady her. "Do you need to lie down?" the blonde asked, her voice coated with concern. Santana nodded her head once again. Keeping the brunette in her arms, she turned, bringing her legs up onto the bed, encouraging Santana to do the same. The brunette complied, following Brittany, laying down on the bed, hugging the blonde before drifting into a light sleep, snuggling into the warmth of Brittany, the girl who had inadvertently caused her injury. The dancer stroked her fingers through the brunette locks, her eyes trained on the ceiling above her, a sense of deja vu washing over her having been in a similar position already that day. Only this time, the ceiling tiles were bright, clean and less dank than that of the dance studio. Training her thoughts to stay focused on the current situation, she could not help but feel an overriding sense of guilt. She decided she needed to voice her thoughts, whether Santana could hear them or not. She needed to say them now before they became lost in a melee of randomness.
"I'm sorry that you got hurt because of me." Brittany began with a whisper, she continued to run her fingers through Santana's hair, "But I'm not sorry of what I said because you were, you are. Sexy I mean. You're like totally hot. But you're more than that, I really like you Santana, when I saw you hurt, I couldn't bare it, I wanted to make it all better." she stated honestly. She smiled broadly, it felt liberating to finally admit her feelings to the brunette, despite the other woman in a state of slumber, for so long they had tiptoed around one another. Regardless, Brittany was happy it was out there, it lifted a weight she had been carrying around with her. It had corrected a dance she had lost the choreography for. She only hoped Santana felt the same way. Becoming sleepy herself, the last thing the blonde thought before she drifted off was the decision that she would repeat the words to Santana when she was in a more coherent state, when she could look into those beautiful big brown eyes and watch them react to her words. Having Santana in her arms while they slept was simply too good a feeling to let go.
Brittany had made it to the theatre amid a panicked rush, having woken up from a deep sleep to Santana gently shaking her awake. The brunette had been concerned the dancer had a performance that night. She too was worried about making it, Brittany had gone out of her way to get tickets for herself and Kurt for that very showing and despite injury, the Chef was determined not to miss it. Having slept for an hour, power napping her way to recharging her batteries, Santana awoke with Brittany's arms wrapped tightly and protectively around her. Gone was the pain in her hand, gone was the uneasiness and worry she had felt for the girl over the past several months, here she felt safe, at home and knew exactly this is what she wanted. She had needed someone in her life that she could rely on, trust and call her own. She had gone years pretending she didn't need it, or trying and failing miserably and now she understood. It was Brittany, a best friend, a potential lover, she was willing to test those waters, to put her friendship at risk, though, she had a nagging feeling it would all be worth it.
Having been discharged and sent on her way, the two shared a taxi to Santana's home, the dancer determined to see the patient home safely. Reluctantly, Brittany said her goodbyes and headed to the theatre, feeling anxious that Santana would be in the audience that night, despite her attempts to persuade the Latina to stay at home and rest. Stubborn was not the word. Silently she was elated Santana was willing to sit through the performance whilst harbouring pain. The girl surely was something special.
Brittany was sitting in her dressing room, applying the last bit of blusher to her cheeks. A sudden knock and burst of energy clattered through the doors, startling the blonde. Standing, she turned to see Mike Chang, her friend and one of the dancers of the show.
"Hey." He offered with a big grin.
"Hi." Brittany replied with an air of suspicion, her eyes wondered around the room before landing back on the tall dark dancer.
"Guess what?" he asked. Brittany stood blankly, she cringed when people would say that, there were just too many possibilities and thinking about it made her brain hurt. She folded her arms across her chest, frowned and shrugged in defeat. Taking the hint she wasn't going to guess, Mike continued. "I got offered a tour with Usher."
"No freaking way!" exclaimed Brittany.
"Way!" Mike replied with excitement.
"Congratulations." Brittany said, wrapping her arms around the muscle machine. "You've always wanted this, I'm so happy for you."
"Come with me on tour." Mike offered excitedly. Brittany's face depicted confusion, unsure if she had just heard the words from her friend's mouth correctly.
"I have another month here, I can't." she shrugged. Aside from the fact she didn't want to, she did not want to hurt her friend's feelings so bluntly.
"When you finish, come with me. Please." he all but begged. The blonde stood thoughtfully, taking the words in. It was a tour, with one of the biggest stars on the planet. Thoughts however quickly dissipated realising she was making a name for herself in the theatre world, going on tour as a back up dancer would more than definitely be a step backwards.
"I don't know Mike, I mean, it's a great opportunity . . ." she trailed off 'for you' she thought, the idea never really penetrating her mind.
"You're the best dancer I've ever worked with." he assured, his eyes lighting up in awe as he spoke.
"Well when you put it like that." she joked, playfully smacking his upper arm. Mike's eyes lingered on the spot she had just touched before looking back up into the blonde's eyes.
"You'll come?" he asked hopefully.
"I didn't say that." she chastised.
"Britt, please come with me." he started with a deep breath, "I, I love you. I'm in love with you." the dancer leaned in, catching the blonde off guard, he captured her lips before bright blue eyes widened with surprise.
"Brittany?" a strangled voice interrupted. Instinctively two heads spun toward the open door, the blonde's eyes widened again with shock at the whole, impossible situation. Her hands reached up, her palms lay flat against Mike's taut chest and she pushed him away with force.
"Santana." the blonde called after the retreating brunette, making an attempt to chase after her. Only the tall Asian had other ideas, grabbing a hold of her wrists, preventing her from moving. "No, no, no, you can't." she said, slightly flustered. "You can't love me."
"I do, I love you, don't you feel it?" he asked with a glimmer of hope.
"No, I . . . Santana and I, we're . . ." Brittany began, her weight shifted from one foot to the other uncomfortably, under the gaze of her friend. Her eyes drifted to the clock on the wall. Ten minutes till curtain up, she had no time to reach Santana to explain.
"What?" Mike asked impatiently.
"I don't know . . . I . . . We . . . I really, really like her." she gushed, Mike let go of the blonde's wrists, freeing her from the confines of his big strong hands. Instinctively, Brittany rubbed her wrists, easing the soreness.
"And she feels the same way?" he asked suspiciously.
"I'm not sure. I think so." the dancer shrugged.
"What about me?" he pleaded.
"I like you Mike, but only as a friend." Brittany explained honestly. She could not ever remember thinking he would or could be anything more. "I'm sorry if I ever gave you the impression of anything more. But I like Santana, I have done since the day I met her." she admitted with a goofy smile adorning her features. Mike smiled with her, only with sadness at his own disappointment and realisation that the blonde didn't feel the same way as he.
"Wow." Mike replied, taking in his friend's words. He shrugged in defeat. "Then you need to go get your girl." he said, wanting his friend to be happy.
"Except the curtain goes up in five minutes. I don't even know if she will still be here." she replied sadly.
She didn't care. Trampling over feet and knocking knees with other patrons as she made her way down the row to her seat, Santana's scowl was firmly etched onto her face. It was a scowl of old, one she had perfected as a petulant child when she didn't get her own way. Slumping down into her seat, she huffed loudly with displeasure. "Hello sunshine." Her companion teased. "Did you find her?" asked Kurt.
"Oh yeah, I found her." the Chef replied bitterly, the threatening tears long gone, replaced with an eerie calm anger.
"What's up?" Kurt asked, studying his friend's face. "You don't wear that scowl well, it clashes with your dress." he said waving his hand in front of the Latina. Santana frowned incredulously, disbelieving the words she was hearing. Shaking her head, she turned and focused back on the matter at hand.
"I found her alright?" she replied. "Sucking face with some tall, dark, handsome loser." Santana got to her feet abruptly, her intention was clear, yet Kurt asked anyway.
"What are you doing now?"
"Leaving." she seethed with venom. The brunette snarled as she felt a hand firmly wrapped around her wrist, yanking her back into her seat. "Hey, watch the hand!" she threatened.
"Sit. Down." Kurt ordered. Santana merely glared at her companion. "She likes you a lot Santana, I've seen the way she looks at you, there has to be some sort of explanation." he offered sweetly. She leaned her head back in the seat and closed her eyes, her thoughts drifted back to the afternoon, how Brittany had looked after her in the hospital, held her in arms as they both slept. Then she saw her with him, his lips on hers.
"Oh did I not mention she's leaving?" She spat, her eyes springing open.
"What?" Kurt asked perplexed by the whole situation.
"Yeah, she and Asian are leaving to go on some mother fucking tour." spat the Chef.
"Stop right there Santana Lopez." Kurt ordered, his hand in front of her face. "Exactly how much of this was spoken directly to your face?" The brunette shrugged, her eyes shifting around the theatre, avoiding Kurt's gaze. "Hmm exactly what I thought." he said smugly. "And did you actually hear Brittany say she was leaving?" Santana pondered the conversation she had overheard, and huffed in realisation that Kurt was again right. The Matre D's smirk grew impossibly wider.
"He said he loved her and he kissed her." she huffed, throwing her arms across her chest.
"You are so unattractive right now." Kurt stated.
"I should never be attractive to you sweet cheeks." Santana replied with a raised eyebrow. Ignoring her comment, Kurt continued.
"Listen to what you are saying Santana, he told her, he kissed her, I'm guessing you didn't hang around long enough to see how Brittany responded." when Santana could not look Kurt in the eye again, the guy smiled triumphantly. "I so need a TV show."
"Talk to her." Kurt cut off the Latina. "Tell her how you feel before there are any more misunderstandings."
"She didn't even bother to come after me." the Chef huffed.
"And you think I'm a drama queen!" Kurt gasped. The brunette shot him a disparaging look, "Santana, the curtain is about to go up, she wouldn't have been able to even if she wanted to, which I'm more than certain she did." Kurt explained, he ran a hand through his hair before returning it atop his crossed legs. "I can't be doing with all this dyke drama, it's bad for my complexion." he finally coaxed a smile out of the brunette, albeit a small one. "This is the plan. We're going to sit here, watch this show, be blown away by the Broadway Goddess Brittany is. You're going to fall even more for her, forget about what just happened and live happily ever after. You think you can manage that?" he asked.
"Let's just start with the sitting and we'll see how it goes from there." Santana offered, suddenly feeling a pang of pain shoot through her injured hand. She winced, took a sharp intake of breath and cradled her hand close to her body.
"Are you ok?" he asked with obvious concern.
"Fine, just sore." she said with bravado, ever the stubborn hero. The lights in the theatre dimmed, the chitter chatter died, Santana leaned across the armrest and whispered, "Let's just get through this." Her eyes travelled to the stage where a spotlight appeared, beneath it was the most beautiful person Santana had ever laid eyes upon. Her breath hitched as the performer began to move, hypnotising Santana into a trance. Getting through this wouldn't be a problem for the brunette, it's the words she would be forced to formulate afterward that would cause her trouble.