Chapter One: For the First Time (Para la primera vez)


"Ay dios mío, cariña," Santana's mom exclaimed seeing her daughter's face.

Santana grins, sticky syrup smeared across her face. Maribel sighs and wipes her daughter's mouth with a wet rag.

"Mami," Santana whines pushing away her hands.

Maribel lifts her off the chair and sets her down.

"¿Su mochila?" she requests "Y sus zapatos".

Santana grabs a turquoise backpack and brand new patent leather shoes, "Si, mama," she agrees.

Her mom helps Santana into her backpack and makes sure her shoes are on the right feet.

"Vamos," she says ticking Santana.

She laughs in agreement and squirms away, heading toward the car.


On the drive, Santana sits in a booster seat, singing along to the cassette tape and smoothing down her dress, "Los pollitos dicen pio, pio, pio. Cuando tienen hambre. Cuando tienen frio".

Maribel winks at her in the mirror and joins in "La gallina busca el maíz y el trigo. Les da la comida y les presta abrigo".

They make it through 2 more songs before her mom parks the car.

When the door opens, Santana hops down eagerly.

Maribel straightens Santana's red and black plaid dress and adjusts the black flower in her half-up hair, "¿Listo?"

Santana nods, starting to lose her earlier bravery, "Si" grabbing her mom's hand.

They walk into the school and down the hallway to her classroom. A woman is standing outside the door smiling brightly but Santana can hear screaming and crying inside.

"Hi, I'm Mrs. Parks and I'll be your teacher this year," the woman proclaims kneeling to look Santana in the eyes.

She immediately backs away and moves to stand behind her mother. "Mami," she whispers.

"Esta bien, niña," she coos back, trying to coax the girl in front of her.

"She doesn't speak much English," Maribel tells the teacher, "The principal said that was okay".

Mrs. Parks nods, "I remember speaking to him. How much does she understand?"

"Like none?" her mother answers hesitantly.

Santana's parents had only lived here a few years and were still bettering their own English. It was difficult for them and involved a lot of thinking about the words. So at home the couple spoke in Spanish and that was all Santana really had ever heard, since all her other relatives spoke Spanish too.

Mrs. Parks nods, "Hola Santana," she says using the only Spanish word she knows.

Santana peeks to look at her.

"Hola," she replies softly still unsure, "¿Como estas?"

Mrs. Parks looks confused.

Santana thinks this whole thing is stupid, she doesn't get why she was forced to wear a dress today and come here.

"Quiero ir a casa," she whimpers winding her arms around Maribel's leg.

The teacher looks at the noisy classroom and gently peels her off of her mom.

"Mami!" Santana screams reaching for her.

Maribel looks conflicted, "Es su maestra Tana".

"It'll be okay," the teacher reassures her, "She isn't the only crier I've had today. Someday soon you'll drop her off and she won't realize you've left".

Mrs. Parks is talking quickly and Santana is sobbing now.

"Mami, por favor, mami. Quiero quedar contigo. No me gusta esto. Mami," she is screaming.

Maribel almost wants to grab Santana back and run. This isn't her little girl, Santana never cries, throws tantrums sure, but doesn't cry.

"Mami," she's begging reaching for her.

Mrs. Parks looks at the two of them and steps back into the classroom to calm the other kids down.

Maribel scoops Santana into a big hug, "Estas bien, carina. Shhh, mija". Santana's tear stained face is pressed into her shoulder.

Maribel draws back and sets her down, "Te quiero muchisimo. Hasta luego mi preciosa".

Santana is sniffling and wiping her eyes, "Te qu-qu-quiero mucho tambien," she manages to finally get out.

Maribel wants to take her home, feed her ice cream, and wait for Antonio to get home. She is justifying it to her husband in her head, one year, let's teach her some English first, let her grow some more, she's so tiny and short. Then she pushes Santana into the classroom and steps down the hall.


Santana takes a deep breath trying to stop herself from crying again. She looks around nervously. Most kids sitting in desks. There's a brunette girl with a sweater with a teddy bear on it, a plaid skirt, knee high socks, and a piercing voice. There's a boy wearing tight khaki pants and a light pink dress shirt with a white sweater on top. There's that woman again, su maestro, separating two boys. One has a dopey look on his face and is wearing jeans and a Superman t-shirt. The other, Santana cranes her neck, is Noah!

She actually knows one person in this whole class, kind of. Noah lives near her and they go to the same park. She really doesn't know much about him besides his name. They tried to teach each other a words but Santana only remembers a few. Primarily "Chase!" which is what they do. Run after each other screaming and laughing in a way that doesn't need words. Puck is led to one desk and the other boy to another.

"Stay put Noah and Finn," the teacher says before coming over towards her.

Santana bites her lip and looks over at the door. Mrs. Parks offers her hand. Santana reluctantly takes it and follows her to a group of four desks.

"You'll sit her with Noah and Brittany," the teacher says pointing to a name tag on the desk that says Santana.

"Hey Santana," Puck greets her.

"You know each other?" the teacher asks in surprise, "Do you speak Spanish, Noah?"

"Nah, we just know each other from the park," he answers.

Santana looks at him uncertainly and he flashes her a smile.

The teacher walks away to set up circle time.

"I'm Brittany," the blond says flashing a smile.

The little girl has her hair in pigtails and is wearing pink shirt with a unicorn on it and a white skirt.

Santana freezes.

"This is Santana," Puck fills in for her.

"Se llama Brittany," he stumbles through, messing up the pronunciation.

Santana's face floods with relief.

"Hola Brit," she says softly.

Brittany giggles, but in a nice way.

The teacher passes out worksheets and Santana carefully traces the "a"s and "A"s on the paper silently. Her heart in pounding still and she's focusing on this instead of her fear. Then afterward they get to draw things that start with A. Brittany uncaps her marker and starts scribbling. Santana peeks at Puck's paper, he's drawing a airplane in camo. She decides to make an airplane too. Avión starts with A, hers is purple though. Then she adds a glass of water, a tall person, a scribble of blue, a lunch box, a smiley face, a heart, a coat. Agua, alto, azul, almuerzo, alegre, amor, abrigo. She starts to add una ambulancia when the teacher tells the class to share their pictures with their group.

Puck goes first, he's talking about airplanes, fighter jets, the military…Santana quickly grows confused and bored, "Un avión," she says pointing to his drawing.

Puck looks at her, "Avión," he sounds out, "It's an airplane Santana". This is what they do, trade words that neither will remember tomorrow.

Brittany goes next. She has a unicorn biting a giant apple.

"An apple," she declares proudly.

"¿Un unicornio es un apple?" Santana asks confused, pointing to the unicorn.

Brittany shakes her head, her blond hair flying.

"Apple," she says pointing to the manzana.

"Y esto?" Santana asks pointing to the unicornio again.

"Unicorn," Brit giggles, "Like my shirt see? I guess it doesn't really start with an A but they're my favorite".

"Es un animal," Santana replies quickly.

"Animal, animal, animal, animal," Brittany sings switching back and forth between the pronunciations.

Santana pulls up her own drawing and starts pointing out things, saying their names in Spanish.

Puck and Brittany are answering in English when one little girl starts waving her raised hand violently. Santana pauses and watches her with interest, the other two following her gaze.

"Mrs. Parks, Mrs. Parks," the girl exclaims, "Some of the things on her sheet don't start with A".

With that she points to Santana. Santana sinks back nervously behind Puck as everyone's eyes are on her.

"They do in Spanish," Puck defends her, sitting up straighter.

Santana's lip is trembling and Brittany is looking at her worriedly.

"That's enough Rachel, eyes on your own work everyone," the teacher interjects.

Santana can't tell if she's in trouble and she doesn't know why she would be.

"But Mrs. Parks," the girl continues.

"Circle time," the teacher declares loudly.

Puck gets up and runs to sit by Finn.

"No running Noah, and if you two sit together, you need to keep your hands to yourselves," Mrs. Parks says.

Santana is still sitting in her desk, arms wrapped around herself trying not to cry.

Brittany gets up and stands beside her, setting one small hand on her shoulder, "Het is oke, Santana," she says soothingly.

Santana looks up at her wide-eyed at the change in accent. Brittany giggles again and Santana can't help but smile back.

"Sorry, that was Dutch," Brittany says, "It's what we speak at home, well my mom and I. Not my dad. I meant to say it's okay. But I guess you wouldn't know that either".

Santana just looks up at her.

"Girls," Mrs. Parks calls, "we're starting circle time, come sit down".

Brittany grabs Santana's hand and tugs her up and over to the carpet. As they walk Santana's hand slips out of hers, but Brittany manages to snag her pinkie.

When they sit down side by side, pinkies still linked Brittany whispers in her ear, "It's gonna be okay San. I promise. We'll be best friends, forever. And I'll help you. Kay?"

Santana can't understand a word, but Brittany's breath come hot on her face, smelling like cotton candy. So she nods along anyway.

Kurt is putting a sun on the board to show the weather outside. Rachel's babbling about how a sun is a giant star and one day she'll be just like it. Brit keeps their pinkies linked and leans her head on Santana's shoulder. Puck and Finn are bumping shoulders, minutes away from all out wrestling.


All day long Brittany leads her around, pinkies linked. She talks and talks about everything in English. But it's not uppity like Rachel. Puck makes sure everyone knows not to mess with her and then spends the rest of his time running around, pushing, stealing cookies.

When it's time to go, Brit shows her a hot pink Lisa Frank backpack with a unicorn on it and a rainbow mane. Santana reveals a turquoise Lisa Frank one with a leopard cub on it.

"Mami," Santana yells when her mom comes to the door.

This time she does the leading, tugging Brittany along with her.

"Mami, esta es mi amiga. Se llama Brittany. Ella le gustan unicornios y rosado. Estaba con ella todo el día. Noah esta en este clase también," Santana rambles.

Brittany thinks it's the most she's heard San talk all day. She waves at the woman who looks so much like the little girl she spent all day with.

"Hola," Brittany says nervously, it's the only Spanish she's picked up today.

"Hi Brittany," the woman responds, "I'm Santana's mom, Mrs. Lopez. How was yours and Tana's first day?"

Brittany looks astonished, "How come you speak English?"

"Britt," her mom calls.

Brittany goes up on tippy toes trying to spot her mom. The blond woman makes her way over and introduces herself.

"I'm Whitney," she says giving Brittany a hug.

"Maribel," Santana's mom answers.

"This is my mom," Brittany says to San.

"Ella es su mama," Maribel translates.

They walk out to the parking lot together. The moms are chatting animatedly before they separate.

"Bye Santana!" Brittany yells across the parking lot.

"Adios Brittany," Santana yells back.

Brittany climbs into the car and lowers the window, waving wildly she yells "See you tomorrow San".

"Hasta mañana Britt Britt," Santana yells back with a grin.


"Hey San," Brittany says in a soft voice.

Her chin dropping onto Santana's shoulder, her arms encircling the girl's waist.

Santana looks up at her, "Hey Britt Britt," she answers.

"Whatcha thinking about?" Brittany asks, running one hand though Santana's dark hair.

Santana gives her a smile, one that's sweet and soft all at the same time and a little sad, "Us".

"Don't be a sad panda, be happy," Brittany coos nestling her face into Santana's neck and kissing it lightly, repeatedly.

Santana sighs and gently untangles them, "Go back to bed B, okay?"

Brittany wants to do what Santana wants her to, but her voice says go and her eyes say stay.

"I'll be there soon," Santana assures stepping closer to the window.

Brittany wants to grab her and hug her tight but something tells her San wouldn't respond to that right now. So she settles for catching her pinky, linking the for a minute, squeezing, releasing, and slipping back into bed.

Santana skims the windowsill with her fingers, remembering.


A/N: So this is chapter one. Please let me know what you thought. Especially about the Spanish (ie could you understand what was going on, would translations be helpful after every line or all at the end). Some confusion is okay because it lets you know how Santana is feeling...There will be some but not as much Spanish in the following chapters since Santana will know more English. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!