A/N Thank you guys for all your kind reviews! I'm glad you're interested and I'm hoping to keep up with the quick updates. Enjoy!
One thing Santana remembers about Lima and knows won't ever change is how much of a small town it really is and she can't risk being spotted because honestly she can't deal with the possibility of Rachel Berry ambushing her at the grocery store and busting out in song. She doesn't even know if Rachel's still living in Lima but if there's one thing she's certain about it's that she still can't stand the diva so it's better to be safe than sorry.
So instead she spends the next day helping Maribel out around the house and staying inside as much as possible.
It's not until Quinn surprisingly sends her a text early Saturday afternoon asking if she knew what she was wearing to the funeral that she considers leaving the safety of the house. Santana ultimately decides maybe it's time to venture out; besides, she doesn't really have anything to wear anyway and she's kind of curious as to why Quinn's suddenly speaking to her again. Not that there was some angsty falling out between the two that kept them from talking over the years, they literally just grew apart as soon as Quinn left for Yale, but Santana's still curious.
She wonders if Quinn's also been in contact with the third member of their little trio, but she tries to not worry too much about that as she sets off to get ready.
Quinn offers to pick her up which Santana's grateful for because her little Honda isn't what it used to be and she really should've sold it off years ago because she doesn't need a car in New York but she can't bring herself to do it. Too much sentimental value she guesses.
When Quinn texts her that she's about five minutes away, Santana's suddenly anxious. Quinn hadn't said it would be just the two of them; What if she's there? What if Quinn invited her without letting Santana know and now she's about to have the most uncomfortable car ride of her life?
She pulls herself together just as she hears Quinn pull into the driveway. She checks herself in the mirror one last time, steadying her nerves, and heads out the door.
She's relieved to see the passenger side is empty and Quinn's giving her a little wave. A little part of her deep, deep down is disappointed that it's just Quinn but she would never admit it.
When she gets in the car, Quinn lets out an uncharacteristic squeal of excitement and leans over for a hug. Santana's surprised by all the physical contact, she can't remember a time she and Quinn ever hugged when they were teens, but she doesn't point that out. She isn't the only one who has changed over the years apparently.
It's a twenty minute ride to the mall and they spend the time chatting away about what they've been doing with their lives since they left. It's no surprise that Quinn also hasn't been back to Lima in quite some time, three years to be exact, and they bond over how oddly similar the surroundings are and how weird it is that nothing's changed. Santana finds Quinn is easy to talk to now, easier than she was in high school but she guesses that's because the weight of maintaining their popularity statues and juggling Glee Club and Cheerios has been lifted.
They spend the next couple of hours browsing in different shops before they each find dresses they're happy with and choose to celebrate with a stop at Starbucks. Once they've ordered, they find a small table in the back corner and set their bags at their feet. As their names get called when their orders are ready, Santana thinks how she can't believe she's managed to go a whole afternoon without Quinn touching on a topic Santana has been hoping to avoid.
But of course, she's jinxed herself and as she takes the first sip of her coffee, Quinn finally asks the inevitable.
"So how long has it been since you spoke to Brittany?" Quinn asks and Santana kind of hates how her palms instantly heat up and her chest tightens at the name.
Santana finds herself reverting to her old ways of denial and shrugs, "What makes you think it's been awhile?"
Quinn purses her lips in true Quinn fashion but her words don't drip with disdain like they used to. Instead, she just smirks, "Well, judging by how clueless you were when we spoke the other day, I figured she hadn't told you about Sue which would mean you two aren't joined at the hip anymore. I mean, who do you think told me about the funeral?"
Santana's surprised and wonders if they've kept in contact over the years like she should've.
"We don't talk very often, maybe like once every few months but it's just texts or messages on Facebook." Quinn says as if she knew that's what Santana was thinking, "Until she called me about Sue. That was the first time I had actually spoken to her on the phone in years. I can't believe she didn't call you first."
Santana shakes her head, "I can."
"Not really, a lot has changed." Santana tells her and Quinn eyes her curiously.
Clearly, she and Brittany haven't talked about much if Quinn didn't know about them. She hesitates, wondering if she really wants to go down this road or if she should just change the subject but there's something about being back in Lima and sipping lattes with Quinn in a Starbucks that's so familiar and it makes Santana actually want to tell her what happened because Quinn wouldn't know anything. She was long gone before things between Santana and Brittany got complicated.
Well, even more complicated.
But it's been five years and she doesn't want to look pathetic still hung up on her high school sweetheart, so she opts to keep it simple.
"Long story short, we didn't work out." Santana finally says attempting to sound nonchalant.
"Well obviously," Quinn sighs with a roll of her eyes, "Or else she'd be here right now, right? What really happened because the last time I saw you both, you were inseparable. I thought the next time I'd see you it would be for a wedding, not a funeral. "
Santana nods, Quinn's words hit a soft spot for Santana, because she thought the same thing once upon a time but it's not an easy answer to give. Even she doesn't know quite what happened to her and Brittany. One thing led to another then to another; she sang that stupid song and broke Brittany's heart, then Brittany broke hers right back when she chose Sam Evans over her, and all the while it was obvious they were still in love with each other but they couldn't be together because timing or whatever. Santana screwed up and she didn't fight hard enough to get her back and she lost her.
How was she meant to explain that to Quinn? As if just thinking about her mistakes didn't break her heart all over again?
"Things just didn't work out, Quinn, let's leave it at that." Santana finally says and her tone makes Quinn soften and nod.
"Alright, I'll drop it." Quinn tells her and she quickly changes the subject to Sue and how there's a million rumors floating around about how she died because no one knows for sure and it's all very strange but so typical of Sue to cause that last bit of drama in her passing.
Once they finish their drinks, they head back to Santana's where Quinn offers to pick her up again tomorrow so they can ride together to the funeral, but Santana politely declines. She likes this new version of Quinn, but she doesn't want to overdo it. Quinn gets it and she gives her another hug goodbye before driving off.
When she gets inside, she's instantly met with the scent of fresh baked banana bread and Maribel calling out a greeting from the kitchen. Santana calls out to her but heads upstairs to hang her dress up first. She's a little exhausted from all the socializing and she sits at the edge of her bed for a moment, replaying the day in her mind and her talk with Quinn.
She glances at the picture frame on her desk, still faced down, and sighs. She feels like she's taken one step forward and two steps back by returning to Lima and she hasn't even seen Brittany yet.
But tomorrow will change that. Santana assumes Brittany will be at the funeral considering she's the one who told Quinn, but you never know. Maybe she's not even in Lima, maybe she was just passing along a message that someone else had told her? Nevertheless, Santana stays rooted at the edge of her bed for a little while longer, trying to mentally prepare for all possibilities.
She reminds herself that a lot has changed in five years and she has to be ready for whatever comes her way.
She tries to remind herself that she just has to stick it out for two more days and she can return to her life in New York where she can once again put this town and all the memories behind her.