Rachel looked up from the glass to smile at the man in the neat grey suit behind the counter. "It's perfect. I'll take it, but do you think you could engrave it with "forever"? It's an important gift after all."
"Certainly, miss. Our engraver's actually here at the moment, so if you'll come back in an hour, we can have it ready for you." The man smiled, taking the item back and slipping it into a box.
"Wonderful. I'll be back then." Rachel gave him another winning smile and picked up her purse, heading out of the store.
An hour later, she came back and collected the package, finalizing payment and slipping it into her pocket.
"Good luck, ma'am." The man in the suit nodded to her as she headed out.
She took a deep breath and gave him her brightest smile, "Thank you, but hopefully I won't need it."
A week later, Santana was sitting on the living room floor on a large sheet. The youngest three children all laying in their diapers and respective underoos watching a Disney movie as Santana worked on slathering their bodies with calamine lotion.
"Mama!" Arianna exclaimed as struggled to get away from the cool pink liquid. "No!"
"Come on, little one, just a little bit more." Santana cooed softly as she slathered the little girl.
Arianna had celebrated her first birthday just a few day's before Alex got sent home with a fever and chicken pox soon after Cale and Arianna contracted it. Beth and Kayla had been helpful, but they quickly grew annoyed at the sick kids and Beth suggested they go and see a movie. Santana quickly got up and grabbed three sets of mittens and slipped them on each of the children's hands before going and collapsing on the couch.
Rachel came in with a tray full of bowls of vegetable soup and fresh fruit, setting it carefully on the coffee table before turning and kissing Santana softly. "You're amazing," she whispered before turning back to pick up a bowl free of the two ice cubes floating in the other two to hand to her. "Want to try and eat while I help the children get a bit down?"
"Sure." She nodded as she moved to sit up and pick up the spoon. "Ari's not hungry, I think the itching is driving her crazy so she's super crabby with now." Santana sighed as she watched their baby wiggle around on the sheet.
"That's very likely. Boys, are you hungry?" She asked. Both boys shook their heads and looked generally unhappy and miserable. "Well, how about I set this fruit down here and you can nibble on it if you want it?" She set the plate of fruit closer so they could reach it and set small plates over the tops of the two bowls still on the tray. "And there's soup here for you if you want it okay?"
Cale nodded picking up a piece of watermelon carefully and sucking on it with a sad face. Alex squirmed and tried to scratch with the mittens. "Itchy, mama," he cried miserably.
"I know, baby boy." Rachel soothed, crouching down beside him and gently brushing his hair, "but if you scratch you'll hurt even more. I'll give you an oatmeal bath in a little while if the lotion doesn't help, okay?"
"Okay," he muttered, but kept rubbing at his arms and stomach.
Arianna whimpered and crawled over to Santana and raised her arms. Santana leaned down and picked up her baby and cuddled her into her chest. "You're okay, Arianna," she whispered as she rocked her back and forth.
"Baby, should we give them baby Benadryl so they can nap?" she asked, hating to see her children in pain.
Rachel resisted, not liking relying on medications to handle a common illness, but looking at the how miserable her youngest were, she relented. "Okay," she finally sighed, getting up to retrieve the bottle of cherry flavored liquid. Carefully measuring out the amounts for each child, she coaxed them into taking it, gently kissing each forehead after it was was swallowed.
Once the bottle was returned to its place in the top of the medicine cabinet, she sat beside her girlfriend and rested her head on her shoulder. "This was supposed to be our date night this month. I'm sorry it got messed up." She shook her head with a tired smile, "I still don't know how Quinn has managed to go this long without contracting the virus."
"She's genetically gifted," Santana smirked, "Or so she used to say. I think she had it when she was Arianna's age and just forgot." She said as she rubbed her daughter's back. "It breaks my heart seeing them feel this bad."
"I certainly hope she has," Rachel murmured worriedly as she snuggled close, "the virus is far more severe and can be fatal when contracted as an adult. I would hate for anything to happen to her now that she and Beth have started reconnecting." She stole a strawberry from the children's plate and held it up to Santana, "I still wish I could have taken you out tonight. I had a special night planned and everything."
"Would have been nice, but three kids under 10 with chicken pox win over romance." She smiled and watched as Arianna reached out her hand and clutched onto Rachel's shirt. "Aww, Ari wants her mommy." She stated as she slid the baby onto Rachel's lap.
"Hey, pretty girl," Rachel whispered, cuddling the baby close and brushing her lips over her head, gently rubbing at her back. "It'll be okay, Santana." She smiled softly over the baby's head, trying to reassure her girlfriend. "They're all healthy beyond this, all we have to do is manage the symptoms until they can beat it and they will."
"Ma." Arianna whimpered as she clung to Rachel and sucked her thumb.
As she sighed deeply and just snuggled in, Santana watching with a sad smile. "Is it bad I love when she's this cuddly even though she's sick?" she whispered as she looked down at Alex who had already fallen asleep and Cale who was struggling to stay awake too.
"No," Rachel murmured, gently stroking the baby's hair, "you don't love that she's sick after all." She leaned over and kissed her softly as Cale crawled over and laid his head in Santana's lap. "I love you, you know. I'm glad you're here to help me with this."
Santana ran her fingers through Cale's hair. "Feeling bad, buddy?" She asked as he nodded, "Go to sleep. Mommy and I will put you in your bed okay? Just sleep."
"Love you, Santa," he whispered, drifting off cuddled up next to her with his head in her lap.
Rachel chuckled softly, leaning over to rest her head on Santana's shoulder as Ari fell asleep in her arms. "I think you stole my boys' hearts," she whispered, nodding at Alex's little hand wrapped around one of Santana's ankles. She reached out and twined her fingers with Santana's with a yawn, teasing, "Just like you stole mine, thief."
"Damn right." She smiled and kissed Rachel's head. "Shall we put these hellions to bed and then we can order take out?" She asked as she tried to figure out how to get out from under the boys without bothering them too much.
"Sure," Rachel murmured, getting up with Ari, "Just stay there while I lay our girl down and I'll come back for Alex if you can handle Cale. In the mood for Thai? Did Beth and Kayla say they were going to get dinner while they were out?"
"I think there was talk of sushi." She smiled at Kayla's desire to try new things. "Kayla loves hanging out with Beth." She said as she scooted Cale into her lap more and hugged him.
"She's her aunt and they're close in age. It's good that she has someone like her to look up to." Rachel headed off with Ari to put her down in her bed in the nursery before coming back and carefully lifting the limp weight of her youngest son. "Sometimes I think a major earthquake could happen around these boys and they'd sleep through it. Do you need help with the little man?"
"Nah. I got him," Santana reassured her as she scooped the boy up and cradled him in her arms as she carried him to the boys' bedroom. She shuffled him onto his bed and tucked him in with a kiss to the head. "Sweet dreams, buddy." She smiled then moved to kiss Alex.
She checked on Arianna in her nursery one last time before coming out and cleaning up the living room. Rachel glanced in from where she was looking through the folder of menus in the kitchen and smiled, shaking her head to see how casually domestic the once arrogant and aggressive woman was. She patted her pocket with the small box from the jewelers, sighing once again that they'd had to cancel their dinner plans when they found out Quinn had never contracted the illness and couldn't help Beth watch the children.
"What would you like me to order for you, Santana?" she called, coming out and leaning on the door frame to watch as her girlfriend rolled up the sheet to set it aside for the next dosing of lotion. She held up the menu to the family's favorite Thai delivery place and smiled. "And I'm paying, no arguments."
"Sure, yeah. Can you get something crazy spicy? My sinus are like wicked annoying today." she groused from the other room as she cleaned up and brought the bowls of soup back into the kitchen. She made quick work of putting them into containers for late, slipping them into the fridge before then throwing the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher and working on making a pot of tea.
"Spicy I can do." Rachel looked through the menu before glancing up, "How about the chicken pad woonsen? I can request it extra-spicy if you'd like," she teased, knowing that the restaurant tended to make things spicier than the children could handle unless specifically requested to make it very mild. As she spoke, she tried to remember where the candles and nice place settings were. Maybe she could still salvage this date night.
"Get it veggie and we have a deal." She smiled as she moved to get the coloring books off the table. "We need to get cale a new notebook for school he's almost out of paper." She stated as she kept doing the domestic things she had become used too.
"Are you sure?" Rachel chuckled softly, watching her clean up, "You know I don't mind you having meat on our date nights. But of course, if you don't actually desire meat, I won't complain."
"Not in the mood tonight." She shrugged, "Plus it's better for my weight," she said as she moved to go put stuff in the laundry room. "I'm gonna change okay?"
"Okay, but just for the record, you're absolutely gorgeous the way you are and don't need to lose any weight at all." Rachel smirked, looking her girlfriend over and trying to be as flirtatious as possible given how tired they both were taking care of their sick children, "In fact, you look entirely edible as far as I'm concerned."
"Why don't you come into the bedroom and tell me that." She called down the hallway as she walked into the room and started to strip off her calamine covered clothing.
Rachel set the phone and menu down without ordering, smiling to herself at the playful tone in her lover's voice as she made her way down the hall. Once she reached the bedroom, she leaned against the frame, her eyes roving over partially unclothed body as she licked her lips. "Mmm, I was obviously correct in my assessment." She crossed the bedroom to trail her fingers across bare skin, her voice lowering as her lips brushed Santana's shoulder, "I could positively devour you. In fact, you really should give me a reason why I shouldn't."
Santana bit her lip in thought as she looked at her girlfriend. "I mean, I could think of one." She smirked, "How about that I shouldn't sleep with people on my payroll?" she said as she undressed totally.
"I could quit," Rachel suggested, trailing the tips of her fingers down Santana's skin feather light, "I'm not entirely sure how happy that would make Marketing or Artist Relations, but I have always said you and the children are my first priority. If you want I can tender my resignation immediately, but that does mean no more special office visits. Anything else?"
"Mmm I do like those visits," she smiled, shivering at her lover's touch. "Maybe I should keep you around," She suggested as she reached out to tug on the hem of Rachel's top.
"Maybe," Rachel breathed, her fingers reaching up to pop open the top few buttons on her top. "Can you think of any other reasons why I shouldn't push you down on the bed and feast upon your body, love?"
"I think you should take me," Santana replied with a husk to her voice. "I think you should take me right now."
"Do you?" Rachel teased, letting her fingers lightly brush all over her lover's body, refamiliarizing herself with the touch of the beautiful woman's skin. "And just how would you like me to do that?" she asked curiously, gently pushing Santana back towards the bed as she finished unfastening her top and let it slide off her arms to pool on the ground.
"However you'd like," she groaned as her body hit the bed and she sat back against it. "I just want you to touch me."
Rachel laughed softly, unfastening her skirt and letting it slide down her hips before she moved to straddle her lover in just her underwear and knee socks. "You're perfect, you know," she whispered, her hands gently stroking Santana's arms and shoulders, "I love you so much." She leaned down to brush her lips over Santana's, kissing soft and caressingly.
"I love you too," Santana whispered as she brought her hands up to rest on the woman's slim hips. "I love you more every day I think."
Rachel let her hands trail to Santana's hips then dragged them slowly up her body until her full breasts rested in the palms of her hands. Squeezing gently, she leaned down and kissed the upper swell of first one then the other, letting her thumbs brush over the tightening peaks. "You never have to worry about your weight or diet," she whispered, "because you are always amazingly beautiful to me."
She kissed her again, leaning into her and encouraging her to lie back on the bed. "I want to make love to you, Santana. I want to show you how much you mean to me through the touch of my lips," she brushed soft kisses along the corner of her jaw and down her neck, "my teeth," she gently bit at the delicate skin covering the woman's collarbone, "my tongue," her tongue swirled around a nipple before she sucked it into her mouth of a moment, "and my hands." Her hands swept down along the taller woman's sides, delicately caressing the crease of her hips.
"F-fuck," Santana whispered as she arched up and sought out Rachel's mouth and hands. "I want.. fuck... I want us together, Rachel." She sat up and pulled Rachel's lips to hers and kissed her demandingly as she worked on pushing Rachel's panties down and to her ankles, "I want you to come with me and for me."
"Always," Rachel whispered, reaching back and undoing her bra as she kicked off her panties. She always responded to Santana when she pushed for more and now wasn't any exception. "You're the only one who can bring me to climax, Santana." She laced her fingers in Santana's hair and kissed her hard, nipping at her lower lip and tracing her lips with her tongue.
Santana smiled and wrapped her arm around her lover's thighs then moved to cup one of her breasts. She teased the woman's nipple slightly and tugged at the tight peak before pulling away with a smile. She slid her hand down and ran her thumb over Rachel's stomach and down to her clit and brushed over it slightly. "I want to do something we haven't done before," she whispered.
Rachel's breath caught in her throat with a soft gasp. "Anything," she murmured, her heartbeat picking up, "I trust you completely."
Santana flipped them so Rachel's back was against their bed. Santana kissed down the woman's body for a moment, placing teasing licks to her most intimate place. When Rachel started to writhe, she pulled away and and smirked before sliding up her body and hooking one of her legs under one of Rachel's and wrapping her other around her own hips. Their cores met directly and she moaned softly.
Rachel caught her lip between her teeth, rolling her hips experimentally and groaning softly at the feeling of her lover's core grinding into hers. "O-oh," she breathed, her back arching at the sensation, pushing her chest closer to Santana almost by accident, "why have we never done this?"
"Fu-fuck if I know." She moaned as she leaned back slightly so their clits were pulsating against each other. "Oh my god," She moaned deeply as she rolled her hips slightly feeling the wet essence from both of them coating each other and helping them glide.
She reached up, wrapping her hands around Santana's hips and pulling her closer as she rocked into her. She was panting, her heart racing as the feelings built in the pit of her stomach. One hand slid up from Santana's hips, nails scratching along her side as she moved her hand to grasp on of the woman's breasts, kneading almost painfully hard as she fought to keep control, fingers pinching and tugging at the nipple.
Santana's lips quickly found the crook of Rachel's neck as they moved, her body thrusting and stroking her lover. She kissed up to the other woman's earlobe and sucked it between her lips and sucked softly as she thrust herself against Rachel.
"C-close," Rachel hissed, rocking faster, her nails digging into Santana's hip as she drew her closer. She rolled her head out of the way, letting Santana have more access as her free hand slid around to her lover's back and pushed their chests together, moaning softly at the feeling of their breasts sliding against each other as they moved.
"M-me too," she groaned, "I love you." She whispered as she moved with her lover, "God, I love you so much." She gasped as she moved quicker her orgasm hitting her hard and causing her to shake and convulse.
"F-fuck," Rachel hissed as she felt her muscles clenching as she surged into her climax. For a moment it felt like she couldn't breath, couldn't even think. Everything just felt like she was being completely overwhelmed and her nails bit into Santana's skin as she clung to her out of sheer reflex. "L-love," she gasped when she could finally breathe again, "love you too."
They clutched together for awhile, just catching their breaths when Santana mumbled softly into Rachel's neck, "You should marry me."
Rachel felt like her heart stopped for a moment with those words. "You're kidding me," she mumbled barely resisting bursting into almost hysterical laughter, feeling like the world was conspiring against her attempt at a romantic proposal of her girlfriend. "Is it impossible for one thing to go as planned in our lives?"
"Well, that's what every girl wants to hear." Santana pouted and rolled over away from Rachel, thinking that she was getting turned down.
"No. No, wait. I'm frustrated... just," she struggled with explaining, "just wait." Rolling over and leaning off the edge of the the edge of the bed she dug around in their clothes until she found the small black box she'd been carrying around in her skirt pocket for the last week. Smiling at it for a second, she closed her fist around it and rolled back over to face Santana's back.
Reaching out she gently tugged on her lover's shoulder, "I was hoping to take you out to a nice dinner before I did this. I wanted to do this right, Santana. Candles and... and music and just romance the way you deserve. But," she smirked wryly, "things never go as planned with us, do they?" The box creaked slightly as she opened it, "So, Santana Lopez, since everything in our life is crazy and I doubt I'll get to carry out my grand scheme to lead up to this question properly... will you please do me the great honor of agreeing to be my wife?"
Santana beamed and looked up, "Really? You were gonna ask me?" She smiled and leaned over to the night side able and pulled out a small jade colored box. "I was gonna ask you too, I've had this... well since my daddy mailed it to me before Arianna was born." She opened up the box to show the antique diamond encrusted wedding set. "It was my abuela's," she admitted softly as she leaned forward to kiss Rachel. "And yes, by the way."
Rachel slumped slightly, "You always get the better of me. I don't have anything like this to give you. I didn't even have a mom, let alone a grandmother to pass on her rings." She looked down at the box in her hand and the simple rose gold and diamond band inside and smiled weakly, "This doesn't seem to compare at all..."
"God, no... Baby, I love it!" she exclaimed as she took it out of the box. "Put it on me?" she smiled as she extended her hand. "I love it because it's from you. You picked it out. You asked me to marry you."
"I know," Rachel whispered sliding it on Santana's finger then raising her hand to kiss it, "I just wish I had something as important to give you. I wish I had a family with enough history to even have something like your grandmother's wedding set." She smiled wanly, "I feel like I don't have any real heritage sometimes, but I'm glad you love me and want to marry me anyway."
"Always." Santana whispered and slipped the ring on the other woman's hand.
"Santana?" Rachel asked, snuggling in close and looking at the ring on her finger in mild awe, "If you've had the ring this long, why not just ask me? I would have said yes."
"I was nervous... then Arianna was born, then the shit with Shelby happened..." she sighed and kissed the crook of her neck, "Plus I didn't know if you wanted to be married again. Like I overheard you and Cale talking forever ago... But, like, you still wore Jesse's ring so I thought maybe you didn't want to be married..."
Rachel shrugged, "I wore Jesse's ring because I didn't enjoy the attention I received when I didn't wear it and because I miss him and it made me remember how things were before he was sick when I had it close. You could have asked me why i still wore it, I didn't know it bothered you."
"It doesn't bother me, Rae." Santana tried to explain, "He's your husband and he'd still be here if God hadn't decided it was his time." She ran her fingers over Rachel's left ring finger. "I think you should wear it, I think you're still married to him no matter if he died or not. So maybe you still wear it."
"I will," Rachel watched Santana playing with her hand, "on a chain around my neck," she leaned up and kissed her fiancé?, "when you replace it with yours. Because then I won't need to rely on Jesse's protection to ward off unwanted suitors. I'll have yours."
"This is true." She smiled, her lips sliding against Rachel's softly. "We should get decent because that medication wont keep those itchy kids asleep forever." She whispered before offering Rachel her hand and leading her to the bathroom.
Rachel laughed but followed along. "I'm not entirely sure how showering with you would make me decent, Santana." Once they were in the bathroom though, she moved to pull out a set of towels for them. "Do you think Kayla and Beth will forgive us for not involving them in the proposal if we allow them to help plan the ceremony?"
Santana just rolled her eyes and started the water. "I think they'll be more than excited. I kinda don't want a big thing though... if you're okay with that." She asked as she slipped into the water and stood in the stream. "I had a big wedding the first time around and I really don't want to do that again."
"That's fine," Rachel agreed with a smile as she joined Santana in the shower, sliding along her body with a smirk, "as long as the children and our parents are involved, I'm happy. Believe it or not, but I've never had a big wedding and small ceremonies just seem more," she ran a finger up along Santana's inner thigh with a wicked smirk, "intimate. Don't you think?"
Santana shuddered, "Baby..." she whimpered, "We don't have time to do that again." she said as she turned around to kiss Rachel then start running shampoo through the girl's hair. "But yeah, small with our dads and maybe Quinn and Puck if you want."
"Noah's my friend," Rachel began, reaching around to pick up the scrubber and soap, soaping up the nylon and beginning to wash her fiancée's body, "but I think he'd make both Quinn and Beth uncomfortable by being there and I don't want that. We can schedule it for after he heads to LA and that recording session I managed to set up for him."
"I can't believe you actually got him an agreement with a studio. He's not that good so I'm honestly not sure why someone actually is letting him record." Santana sighed as she rested into Rachel's body. "But yeah. I want Beth and Quinn to be happy and I know she doesn't want to meet him."
"He's not good enough for Avalon, no, but he's not terrible in the singer-songwriter genre and as a niche artist, he could do well, besides," she smirked, "I'm just that good at what I do. Isn't that why I stopped being just your assistant and started being more active in the company?"
"Sadly I'm aware of this, now I have Jayden..." She sighed as she helped Rachel rinse her hair. "But I'm really proud of my hot ass wife to be." She washed her hair quickly and got out and wrapped a towel around herself and held one open for Rachel. "Ugh. I hear Ari crying." She whispered, "Kid has some serious lungs."
Rachel quickly dried off and pulled on her robe. "I'll take care of her and you see about dinner since I'm not allowed to eat you apparently." She kissed her fiancée with a teasing smile, "And I trained Jayden myself, but I will cheerfully override him if something's off, so just let me know."
"Alright. Go get the little princess and I'll order dinner." She said as she pulled on sweatpants and a T-shirt. She winked at Rachel before she left the room and headed into the kitchen. She quickly picked up the forgotten menu and looked through the contents and called the Thai restaurant. She hopped up on the counter and spoke on the phone.
Rachel moved to the nursery and picked up the crying baby. "Alright, pretty girl, what's wrong?" She cradled her against her chest and bounced slightly as she paced around, calming her down. "You're alright, Ari. I've got you. Mommy's here. I'm sorry it itches, baby girl. Shh, now."
Once the little girl soothed to a restless sleep against her, she headed into the kitchen. "She's quiet now, but she'll probably wake up again if I put her down again right now."
"I love seeing you hold her." Santana whispered as she looked at her fiancee and smiled. "You are so beautiful baby. Holding our daughter. I can't wait to marry you."
It wasn't perfect or romantic and like always, nothing had gone as planned, but it was them and in that moment, smiling at her fiancee while holding their daughter, Rachel St. James wouldn't have wanted it any other way. "I love you too, Santana," she whispered, leaning in and kissing the taller woman over their daughter's head.
The End (for real)
A/N: Thank you all for reading and reviewing this fic. It was Sio and I's first story together, and it wont be our last. Thank you all for the support and love and we hope you enjoy the end to this fic!
Love- Maura and Sio