It's already Thursday night. The same time next week that it was last week. Santana had spent half the week telling herself that she wouldn't answer when Quinn called again—if Quinn called again. The broken sounding blonde girl on the other end of that phone line had already suffered enough at her hand. Santana didn't want to answer that call and have to tell Quinn things she wouldn't want to hear. She didn't want to tell Quinn exactly the things she needed to tell her. That she still missed her every second, and that the Yale t-shirt she had given her was getting worn out and she needed a new one. That she was sorry, every single day. She needed to say those things but she couldn't. Quinn could never know how sorry she was, or how much Santana missed her or needed her. That had been the reason for all of this, and while Santana had closed her voicemail recording out with that quiet apology in hopes that that would make up for it, she knew that having Quinn back was something that would not happen. It was something she couldn't let happen.
Santana had spent half the week saying that she would watch that number light up on the screen, and press ignore. Maybe it would stop short ringing, and Quinn would know she had ignored it and stop trying. Maybe then Quinn would be hurt enough to quit. Obviously she wasn't hurt enough yet. Santana began to feel sick thinking about it. She could see the nervous lip bite, and the look of disappointment on Quinn's face without even being in that payphone booth with her. She could hear the shake in her breath, and the added break, another crack, in the rough exterior of Quinn Fabray, making Santana yet another pressure point to make that voice sound so hollow.
Pacing her room wasn't helping. If Quinn was going to call the same time this week as she had last week, Santana knew her phone would be rining any minute. Was it too cocky of Santana to thinking Quinn was calling because she wanted her back? She had hurt her already. Maybe thinking that she wouldn't be able to answer was wrong. She wouldn't have to hurt Quinn further. She already had. Maybe Quinn really was just calling to see how she was doing. That was a normal thing right? Exes did that, sure.
"Damnit!" Santana kicked her desk chair.
Exes did that. But not ones who had been burned like Santana had burned Quinn. She bent her body by her desk, letting her head fall into her arms as if she were too weak to hold her upper half up. She saw that look on Quinn's face she had pictured just a moment before. The hurt look in her eyes, that same lip bite, the shaky breath. It wasn't in the phone booth that she was picturing it. Santana knew that image. She knew that image from a year ago when it was standing right in front of her face.
"She has rehersal." Santana huffed, feeling a little bit impatient with how nervous Arianna seemed. "Aren't you supposed to know that? You're her roommate."
Arianna just shook her head, and went back to kissing Santana as she had been before.
The girl was nothing like who Santana would be kissing. Honestly she wasn't even sure if Arianna was into girls at all. But she hadn't seemed to object too much to Santana's come ons, however forward. Santana almost hated the girl for considering herself Quinn's friend. But she didn't have time to think about lessons in morality right now while she was beneath her girl friend's roommate in only a bra.
Arianna was a pretty girl. Long, light brown hair and a bit taller than Quinn. She was a cheerleader. She and Quinn actually got along fairly well most of the time.
It was funny that in a moment like that all Santana could think of was Quinn. But it didn't surprise her, not in the slightest. Everything she did was for Quinn, about Quinn, because of Quinn. Just like this. Just like tasting an unfamiliar person, feeling skin against her own that was rougher than Quinn's, not as pale or smooth, breathing in the scent of shampoo that smelled like coconuts and not cherry blossoms as darker hair fell on to her face. It almost made her sick and Santana almost thought of stopping. She could still stop it. She had a few more minutes.
Quinn wasn't at rehearsal. She was at a meeting with her counselor about switching her major. She would be back any minute.
It was just one small white lie to Arianna. It would look just like a mistake. And too Quinn it would just like—
Santana heard the door open but pretended to be enthralled in what she was doing with Arianna. Only when she heard her name did she look up with a blank expression. Arianna flew off of her at lightening speeds and pressed her back against the wall staring dumfounded at Quinn. Santana didn't know whether or not to fake shock but Arianna's expression probably did enough for both of them. She could see the look in Quinn's eyes. It was hurt, angry, broken almost instantly. Quinn raked her lip through her teeth, and instantly Santana wanted to say her name, apologize a hundred thousand times over. She wanted to spring from the bed and wrap her arms around the girl standing in the doorway looking like someone had shattered her entire world in front of her.
But she couldn't. There was a reason for all of this. And so without saying anything, and trying to choke down her own forming tears, Santana had leapt from the bed, threw a hooded sweatshirt over her unclothed top half, and flown out of the room, leaving that shocked looking face standing behind her.
Maybe that's why that was the only face Santana could picture now when she thought of not answering the phone. That was the last time she had seen Quinn. She had run back to school, avoided the couple of confused texts, only answering one to tell Quinn that she was back at school and alive so she wouldn't worry, and slipped into a world without Quinn Fabray in it. And for a year, it had been almost okay. She had been able to at least function like a person who wasn't torn in half daily. Her other half walking around in Connecticut somewhere assuming that she wanted nothing to do with her. Maybe it was selfish. Maybe it was exactly what her plan with Arianna wasn't. But Santana couldn't not answer the phone when it rang. She couldn't even wait for the second ring.
"Quinn?" It was the least smooth approach ever and there was a hint of worried excitement to Santana's voice.
"You got my …message?" There was that same hesitation. The same quietness to Quinn's voice. It filled Santana with her own sadness, and her voice came out just as oddly not confident.
A long silence then filled the phone call. Quinn had a hundred thousand questions, and Santana had a hundred thousand concerns and neither of them knew what to say.
"I'm sorry I just—"
Santana cut Quinn off. "Don't."
The line went quiet again and Quinn didn't say anything.
"This is a payphone number." Santana finally sad bluntly.
Santana couldn't help but notice Quinn's voice seem to shrink to an even more quiet volume. "Q?" She didn't even think when she used the familiar nickname. There was a questioning tone in her voice, and a hint of concern. Santana tried to remind herself that she couldn't let Quinn think she was sorry. But of course that was what she wanted. She hadn't recorded it in her voice mail recording all those months ago so Quinn wouldn't hear it.
"Why are you calling me from a payphone?"
"It's outside of my apartment."
Santana could practically hear Quinn bite her lip. She assumed that was how it was when you knew a person like she knew Quinn. You could tell just by their voice what they were doing. Right now, Quinn's fingers were toying with something nervously. Maybe her sleeve, maybe the phone chord. And the corner of her lips was tucked into her teeth, while her eyes searched around as if they could find what to say in her surroundings. She didn't need to say anything. Santana knew by the tone that there were answers Quinn didn't want to give. It made her worry but she wouldn't push.
"How's school?" Santana finally asked, hoping to change the subject and not scare Quinn off with questions she obviously didn't want to answer.
"Good." Was all Quinn replied.
"Are you doing okay, Quinn?" Santana's voice dropped a little. It was more gentle. Quinn could hear in her tone that Santana was worried. The last thing she wanted was for Santana to worry about her, pity her. She swalloed, trying to think of an answer.
"Because you're really okay? Or because you're Quinn Fabray?"
Leave it to Santana to see right through most of Quinn's bullshit. "Both." It was an honest answer. One that she hoped Santana would take at face value. "Listen, San, I've got to go. I just wanted to.. check up."
"Will you call back?"
"Do you want me to?"
"Same time next week. Goodnight, Santana."
With that, Quinn put the pay phone back in it's cradle. She swallowed the nervous lump that had formed in her throat back down and stepped back outside.
She couldn't help but wonder what Santana was thinking. All week Quinn had played the words of Santana's voice recording in her head. "and by the way, I'm still sorry."
Part of Quinn didn't want to believe that apology was directed at her but a part of her prayed that it was. But it could be to anyone. Maybe to Arianna, or some other girl. Maybe Santana had found someone else and maybe she had—but she said 'still.' Still sorry. Quinn tossed the words around over and over and even more so now as she walked to the diner. Still sorry would mean she had been sorry before, and she didn't look sorry. Not when her body was intertwined with Quinn's roommate. Not when she flew out of the room without a word. She hadn't looked sorry the six times Quinn had called that day, or the three times the day after that.. She hadn't looked sorry when Quinn found her cheerleading competitions on the tv and watched them. But if she said still—
She had never said sorry before.
Shaking her head, Quinn stopped herself from thinking about it anymore. The small watch on her wrist displayed 10:00 pm just as she walked up to the diner. The four girls from the evening shift skipped out as she walked in. They only needed one person to work the late nights, so Quinn usually spent them alone, listening to the radio and cleaning whatever she could find in the place until the morning girl came in at 6am. Tonight, Quinn couldn't get her mind off Santana. Not that that was different from many other nights. But tonight she felt odd for being in the diner. Why had she told Santana school was okay. She wasn't even at school. When she asked, why couldn't Quinn have just had a real conversation, told her she was in New York now, working now. Maybe next time. Maybe if Quinn could find some of the courage she used to have, buried in self doubt, she could explain things better. She had promised to call back, same time next week, and if she couldn't tell Santana the truth, she almost didn't mind letting her believe the… not so truth.
Authors note: There are still pieces from their story missing. I just wanted to make sure that no one that they were lost. Their past, and their break up will come to light slowly as the weeks go on. The chapters will also probably get longer eventually as well.
I'd really love to hear all of your thoughts on the way it's working out before I keep going. Any input would be really appreciated.
Also, feel free to find me on tumblr. I post updates and things there as well: .