I never really liked parties. Well, I guess I did at one point in time back when things were only about being with friends and dressing up. Back when I'd sit on the wooden stool in Santana's tiny bathroom and she'd run her fingers through my hair, curling and twirling the strands, while I stared through the mirror back at the deep concentration etched into her facial expressions. Back when she'd hum out random songs, her sultry voice echoing against the bathroom walls, while she tucked my bangs behind my ear smiling because she forgot the words to the song again. She always forgot the words to the songs when she looked at me like that, like she was trying to see through me or something, so I'd always have to hum along too to get her back on track.
Sometimes I just think she forgets the words on purpose just so she can hear my scratchy voice, she's sneaky like that.
I used to like parties back when she'd cradle my chin with the upmost care as she took the eyeliner to my eyelids and drew on the thick lines that she swore made my blue eyes pop. The touch alone sent my body buzzing, my blood rushing, and I never could understand why. The closeness always made me nervous for some reason. Physical contact with anyone made me feel smothered, but when it came from her, it just made me nervous. It was a good nervous though, I think. It bothered me how I felt that way, but I never put too much thought into it. When Santana would do my make up, I'd end up squinting or tapping my feet to distract myself and she would mess up and have to start all over. It would make her so mad when I'd get antsy like that too, so mad that she'd laugh because there's no such thing at being mad at me. Well, back then anyway.
I could never really decide whether I purposely acted that way just because there was a chance she'd have to hold me down or if it was just the anxiety of her possibly stabbing me in the eye with the pencil or accidently burning me with the curling iron. Either way, it was always hard for me to keep still.
I used to like parties back when San would actually hang out with me. Then again, sometimes she'd hang all over me and all our friends would look at us funny, so I'd have to push her away from me. It wasn't that I didn't like the closeness, for some reason it didn't bother me, but I just couldn't stand those looks. That's how she is with everyone though, she's flirty and affectionate, it's not anything special. I guess the looks were from me actually allowing someone to get so close because I don't let anyone that close. Rumors were already circulating that we were gay; she didn't care, obviously, but I couldn't have that because that's a lie and I don't want anyone spreading lies about me. So to put a stop to that, I pushed her away and tried keeping my distance.
I used to like parties back when we'd ride there together. It felt good having everyone know exactly who arrived with who, who we belonged to, because everyone wanted to belong back then, even if it was just to each other.
It was like a sense of accomplishment saying that I was here with Santana because everyone wanted to come with Santana and everyone wanted to leave with her too. Santana is the life of the party, the best dressed, the most charismatic, and one who everyone knows and wants to be friends with, but can't because she's picky about who she lets in her circle.
But she let me in and kept me close and that's something like a privilege.
But privileges can be revoked.
Like when she got her first real boyfriend and she started leaving the parties with them instead of me.
Our nearly two hours of getting each other dolled up for parties diminished to an hour and half of that was filled with the sounds of phone screen tapping and the rapid buzz of an incoming text then the giggles and, "Sorry, what were you saying?"
I don't say anything, ever. I don't say anything when she forgets to text me back. I don't say anything when she doesn't answer the phone. I don't say anything when she forgets we made plans, two weeks ago, for this weekend. I don't say anything when she forgets I exist. But I did say something when the guys she dated started getting older and older. I said something when there was a four year age difference. I said something when I didn't like that she spent the entire night talking to them rather than calling me back.
Because that's what I was angry about, her not calling me back. It wasn't because I was jealous. Why would I be jealous? She likes him and he likes her and me being her best friend, I'm supposed to be happy about that. Right? It's not like I feel threatened by them because I might actually have to share Santana now. That's definitely not it.
We're just best friend, it's normal to feel stuff like that.
But in return, I got the cold shoulder for three days, one of those days being our best friendaversary. I got to walk home from school alone, in the rain. I got the dirty looks of our friends that obviously chose a side, hers. I had to walk best friendless through the halls and to and from our lockers.
And as easily as we fell into those kinds of arguments, we make up. There's no talking about it though because we don't talk about those types of things: feelings, our fears, what we do to upset each other. It's supposed to be telepathic, like we just know, because talking about that stuff shows vulnerability and Santana hates that.
It's okay though, I hate it too, we hate a lot of the same things.
So I go back to saying nothing until the bottle inside of me is too full and I burst again; it's a cycle, our cycle.
Santana just goes back to being Santana.
But for every attention hogging boyfriend, there's a spiraling downfall of a break up.
And where there's a break up, there are tears. And where there are tears, there's me and it's as if I'm the only one she needs. Like I'm the only one who can fill her sudden void, like I'm irreplaceable.
And if there's one thing I love feeling when it comes to Santana, it's feeling like I'm irreplaceable. It's like that makes up for all the bad I've had to endure. It makes up for the lonely Friday nights, the third-wheeling, the abandonment. Just that feeling alone makes it all worth it, because in the end, I'm who she comes back to. I'm who can make her feel better, I'm the shoulder she cries on, I'm the one who puts her to bed when she's just too sad to move.
Because I'm her best friend. Best friends do that for each other. It's normal.
San makes a lot of things seem normal. It's normal to share beds and wear each other's clothes to sleep. It's normal to cuddle up to each other when we watch movies with our friends. It's normal to share our food, same plate even. It's normal to pass each other notes in class. It's even normal for her to sit on my lap when her boyfriend's is perfectly available.
But her need for a warm body, a boy, clouds her vision sometimes and soon it's on to the next.
That's another cycle; boys, break up, me, boys, break up, me.
So, like I said, I used to like parties but not anymore. I always end up being dragged along anyway because Santana thinks it's good for me to get out and socialize, and it's to the point where whatever Santana says kinda goes. It's not in fear of causing another fight, but rather the small chance that it could actually be a fun time with my best friend.
But instead, it never happens that way. It's not fun socializing when you have to watch your other half cuddled up in the corner with her boyfriend, glancing at you but giggling with them, and you have to survive the party, that you had no intention of attending, on your own.
I always found it so confusing, her glances, because I could never decide whether she was looking to make sure I was still there or if she was making sure I was watching every move she made.
I'm always watching though and I sort of hate that. I can't help that my eyes can find her in a crowd of hundreds on their own. If I could help it, I wouldn't watch at all. I'd carry on alone.
It's not that I can't find someone, I can, I just don't have the energy to do it.
At least that how I like to think of it. Unlike Santana, I don't need a boy in my life to keep me happy. I find my own ways to be happy and that's something she's always had a hard time doing.
That's another reason I think she hangs on so tightly to me, because when these boys don't give her what she's looking for, I do. I always come through for her; I'm reliable.
Santana loves reliable.
But when the tables turn and, for once, I'm not at Santana's every beck and call, things get confusing. Unlike Santana, I know how it feels to be the only single one in the group so I try to keep from making her feel that way; especially after yet another horrible breakup.
Although, sometimes I think she deserves a little taste of her own medicine.
So when another house party rolls around and she's still single, surprisingly, and I'm not, also surprising, I decide to test my luck.
"So, he's there already?" Santana asked from the passenger seat as we drove to the 'Start of Summer' house party. Rachel Berry was infamous for throwing house parties to commemorate random things and although Santana and her don't really get along, we always make an entrance. She got a new car? House party. She sang a song to the elderly? House party. The groundhog saw his shadow? House party. The ducks that always sit at the end of her driveway finally had baby ducks? House party.
I like the baby ducks party though, there was a theme!
"Who?" I asked as I took a left turn and started looking for the house with all the cars.
"Your boyfriend?" She chuckled as she flipped down the sun visor and started checking her makeup.
"Oh..yeah, he's there already." I answered trying my hardest to seem excited even though I really wasn't. I wasn't sure why I wasn't looking forward to seeing him, he's a nice guy and all and we don't really spend that much time together; I should be happy. It was my turn to be cuddled up in the corner, giggling and throwing glances San's way, while she struggled to be her own person. It was my turn to make her feel the way she was constantly making me feel. It's not like she'll struggle as much as I do though, she's outgoing, she'll do just fine so what's the point?
"Cool." She nodded and slapped the sun visor closed then poked at the window, "Looks like everyone's here."
"You know, San, we don't have to go..we can just-" The words were leaving my mouth faster than I could stop from thinking them. I had just parked the car and people were already waving to us as we sat there. She looked to me with brows furrowed, "We don't have to go if you're not feeling up to it." I wanted to kick myself for already foiling my own plans of making her feel left out and alone and plain crappy. I wanted to make her feel like she's made me feel. This is my only chance, who knows when the next one will come!
"Britt.." She sighed, her pout being replaced with a weak grin, "I was broken up with, not diagnosed with cancer. I'm fine, let's go have fun." She smiled brightly, her deep brown eyes shining as she nodded to the house. Getting a smile like that, I could definitely be swayed. Actually, getting anything from her, I can be swayed.
"You sure?" I asked, but she was already opening up the door and swinging her tanned, toned legs out. I grinned at seeing the sudden happiness in her, much appreciated after seeing her so heartbroken for the past few days. She needed this, to be around people, how could I just ruin it all for her by rubbing something she doesn't have anymore in her face? I couldn't, that wouldn't be very best friend-like of me.
"Yeah, come on," She called impatiently as she waved her hand for me to hurry to her. As I walked the few steps to her, I kept trying to remember the plan: treat her like she treated you, make her feel the abandonment she made you feel, make it hurt. But with each step closer to her, I just couldn't. "Britt, Ryder is waiting!" She teased and I instantly wanted to scowl. Her saying his name, her even mentioning him, just sounded so..wrong. I shook off the sudden disinterest in seeing my boyfriend and sidled up next to her.
"Alright, let's go have fun!" I winked and followed her up the steps inside the house. As soon as we got in, Ryder sprang up out of nowhere, latching on to my hand, and tugging me away from Santana.
"Hey babe, you look nice!" He complimented as he pulled me into a rough hug that I tried hard not to shudder from then handed me a drink, "I got you a drink, your favorite."
I accepted the drink with a smile and thanked him. He was always remembering my favorites, one day someone is going to love that about him. He remembers the small things.
My eyes made their ways back to Santana out of habit, but she was already chatting with Quinn who must've just walked in too. Almost as if they both felt me staring, they turned to me and waved like they were encouraging me to be with Ryder. Sighing because, though I was initially planning on making San feel alone, I actually wanted to be the one to keep her company.
But, giving a quick wave back, I turned to Ryder and smiled at how he was looking at me, like he was some obedient dog waiting for his command.
I wonder if that's what people see when I'm with Santana, some poor innocent soul trapped under her power.
I shook the thought from my head and pulled him with me outside where a few more of our friends were trying to start up the outdoor fireplace before it got too dark. Once it finally got going, I was pulled gently towards Ryder's lap while everyone started to gather around the fire. His arms circled around my waist, steadying me on his lap while we looked out at the pit.
"You want a s'more?" He asked when one of our friends walked out of the house with arms full of marshmallow bags, chocolate bars, and graham cracker boxes. I shook my head though, still consumed by the way the flames flickered and that little voice in the back of my head begging me to get off his lap and find Santana. As I looked up pass the flames, my eyes fell on the kitchen window at the exact same time Quinn must have told Santana a really funny joke. I watched the way San glowed, how she tossed her head back and laughed, and though I was outside separated by walls, I could almost hear the way she sounded. She looked so happy just then, there's no way I could carry out the plan with her looking like that. I let out a sigh, something Ryder confused for contentment as he tightened his hold around me. It wasn't that I didn't like spending time with my boyfriend, it was that I knew I was needed elsewhere and he was just tying me down and keeping me from going.
And the longer he kept me there, the more he began to annoy me. All the cute little things he would try to do, the compliments, the touches, all made me want to gag. It was getting harder and harder for me to mask my sudden dislike that I had to finally separate myself from him and head to the card table where some girls were busy gossiping and dealing out hands.
After just fifteen minutes of being away, attempting to gain back my sanity, I felt heavy hands land on my shoulders.
"Hey, you want me to get you another drink?" Ryder asked, nudging at my half empty cup.
"No, I'm fine." I answered without taking my eyes off my cards, trying to keep from shuddering away from his rough hands.
"Oh, okay. Well, I'll be over here with the guys if you need me." I nodded and muttered out a 'kay' before I felt his hands fall away. I really didn't care where he went as long as it was far away from me.
After a couple more lost games, I never was a great card player, I felt softer hands land on my shoulders then squeeze before slowly sliding around my neck as they hunched over, making me gulp at the sudden closeness.
It was scary that I knew exactly who it was without even turning around to check.
"How many rounds have you won?" Santana asked quietly as she kept her arm wrapped around my shoulders and she ducked down to look at my cards.
"None.." I sighed and motioned for the girl next to me to go, "I suck at this game, I don't even know what we're playing."
"Huh," San nodded then stood up fully before speaking out, "Any of you guys got something to beat a full house because you might as well fold now. Brittz don't play around." I went to jab her thigh with my elbow but before I could, I watched as all the other players set their cards down, folding. I looked up at the smug grin on her face and shook my head as I showed the table my hand that was the complete opposite of a full house. San laughed at the girls as they muttered our their curses then turned to me, "There, now you've won a game, let's go."
"To where?" I asked as I was already leaving my seat to follow.
"Quinn and I were going to walk down to the gas station, I think I need some air."
"But you're outside.."
"More air then," she shrugged, "Do you want to go or not?" I turned to look at the card table I just left then over at Ryder poking at the fire with a couple of the guys.
"I'll go." I answered and started to lead the way back inside.
"Aren't you going to tell him you're going somewhere?" San asked as my hand landed on the door knob.
"Why? I don't need permission." I scoffed but San just laughed.
"I wasn't saying you did, I was just saying. You invited him, you can't just leave him by himself like that." The nerve she had to tell me what I shouldn't do when she's the queen of it herself! I wanted to call her out, tell her she's done that to more times than I can count, but I didn't want to push her away when I wanted her near the most.
"He'll live, let's go find Quinn." I shrugged and continued to lead the way inside to find Quinn.
We were about halfway down the street with Quinn, laughing and having a good time, when I heard my name being called.
"No way.." I grumbled and turned out just in time for Ryder to jog up and hunch over trying to catch his breath.
"Where. Are. You. Going." He breathed out raggedly.
"Just to the gas station, I'll be back soon." I replied and turned to walk away when he grabbed for me. I froze at the contact but he quickly let go and straightened up.
"Are you mad at me or something?" He asked, eyes flickering between mine.
"No, I'm not..I'm just hanging out with the girls for a little bit." I replied, feeling frustration boiling up in me but hiding it behind a tight lipped smile. "Do you have a problem with that?"
"What? No, of course not." He answered quickly, "It just would've been nice to know where my girlfriend was going before she went so I wouldn't get worried or anything."
"Right," I nodded, "Well, you've found me now you can go back and I'll meet you when I'm done."
"Brittany, why are you being like that?" He sighed, "Have I done something wrong?"
"No, Ryder, you haven't.." I answered feeling the need to roll my eyes, "Just go back to the party, I'll-"
"Don't tell me what to do, I'm not some dog, I'm your boyfriend." He snapped and for the first time I saw anger behind his kind eyes. I instantly felt bad for him because I know what that feels like, being commanded.
"I'm sorry, you're right." I muttered sadly, "You don't deserve that." He stared at me, a weak smile pulling at his lips, "I'm going to go with them and I'll meet you at the party, okay?"
He nodded, "Do you want me to go with you guys? It's kind of dark and I don't want any jerks thinking that they can-"
"Ryder, we'll be fine," I smiled, "I think Quinn's a black belt, or maybe she's wearing a black belt, and San's got enough rage to take on a whole gang." Ryder chuckled at that, casting a glance behind me to San and Quinn, "Thank you though."
"Yeah, sure." He nodded again, "Just be careful, I'll meet you back." He bent down to kiss my cheek before walking towards the party. I let out a heavy sigh once he was out of hearing distance and kicked at the ground. I always hated being scolded and that's pretty much what he just did.
"You guys alright?" San asked once I rejoined their group.
"Yeah, we're cool." I answered shortly, "Let's get going, I have a sudden craving for Sour Patch Kids."
Another ten minutes, we were approaching the convenience store. The bright lights made our eyes sting a little as we entered and went straight for the candy aisle while Quinn went to the soda fountain. I watched as San's eyes seemed to darken as she stared at all the candy bars, that same vacant look like when she's thinking about something really hard but not wanting everyone to see that.
"What are you gunna get?" I asked trying to get her to think of something else. She blinked rapidly before looking to me.
"Uhm, nothing. I didn't bring any money, I was just in it for the walk." She shrugged then nodded to my Sour Patch Kids, "I see you got what you came for." I smiled down at my hand and wiggled the package.
"We can share if you want, you know I can never finish the whole bag," I offered to which she smiled back and mumbled 'cool' before looking back at the shelves. I watched how she seemed to wall herself up again but I wasn't exactly sure what was making her do that. She seemed fine on the walk here, she seemed fine at the party, she seemed fine in general.
I guess that was the hint; Santana's never fine.
"You want to talk about it?" I asked hesitantly but San just shook her head.
"You guys ready?" Quinn asked as she walked down the aisle with a 24oz soda cup in her hand.
"Yeah, I'm good." San answered then looked to me, "You?"
"Mhm, good." I smiled and waited for her to turn before grabbing another candy bar. Quinn paid for her drink then San followed behind her as the cashier rang me up next.
"This is why I hate Rachel's parties, she always runs out of diet drinks." I heard Quinn grumble before taking a sip of her drink while San stood beside her, smiling and shaking her head at the floor. I pulled out my bag of Sour Patch Kids and held it between my teeth as I felt around in the plastic bag for my other candy. Finally feeling the square bar, I tugged it out the bag and handed it to San.
"Err uo," I mumbled between clenched teeth. San beamed at the Kit Kat bar and accepted it happily.
"Thanks B, I love Kit Kats!" I bit the corner piece of the Sour Patch Kids bag off and nodded.
"I know, that's why I got it." I smirked and bumped her with my hip as the three of us made the walk back.
After twenty minutes of being goofy with the girls, I was back with Ryder trying my hardest to get things back to normal. I didn't get why I was so against being with him, he wasn't doing anything wrong. It made me feel so horrible that I was fine with treating him like crap just because I could and I wanted to change that.
It felt just like before I left though: forced, annoying, and smothering. Again, I found myself sneaking off to go talk with different people instead of standing one more minute with him. I don't know what he was doing, if he was even doing anything, but the longer I stayed near the more frustrated I felt. I knew I should probably separate myself from him before my mouth got the better of me and I start saying things I don't mean.
It wasn't until I was standing in the front of Rachel's house waving goodbye to one of the girls I had been talking to when Ryder found me again. I braced myself for another lecture, but instead he brushed pass me coldly.
"Hey!" I called after him, "Where are you going?"
"Home." He answered shortly, anger bubbling behind his voice.
"You rode here with Matt though," I replied as I watched him fidget.
"What?" I gasped wide eyed, "You live far away, that's ridiculous."
"Like you care what I do," He snapped, shaking his head, "You've pretty much ignored me the whole party."
"What are you talking about? I was with you for a whole hour and a half." I argued, "Just because I don't always drape myself over you or hang on your hand the whole night doesn't mean I'm ignoring you."
"Well, you could've fooled me." He bit back angrily, shrugging his broad shoulders as he crossed his arms. "I'm leaving, bye."
"Ryder, wait." I reached for his arm, "Don't walk, just-can you just wait for Matt." He looked to me, his jaw set but his eyes still softened, "Please, don't walk home."
He was just about to answer when I heard my name being called from the porch. We both looked in the direction and saw Quinn jogging down the brick steps towards us.
"Hey Britt, Santana's looking for you." She said, eyes flickering between me and Ryder, clearly sensing the tension between us. "She's-uhm-she's crying.."
"What?" I asked worriedly, "Why? What happened?" I was already rushing through a million scenarios when Ryder cleared his throat.
"We were kind of in the middle of talking, Quinn." He cut in politely earning a quirked brow from Quinn. I looked back at him and glared for some reason. "What? We were."
"Give me a sec, Q, I'll be there." I told the shorter blonde before turning back to Ryder. "I'm going to go see what's going on, okay? Please just wait for Matt."
"Britt, Santana can wait. She makes you wait and she treats you like shit all the time, she can handle being alone for just five more minutes." He replied and took a step towards me, "She's probably just trying to get attention again because for once it's not all on her." I stared at him, shocked that he would even say those things to me. I felt my skin getting hotter as he went on about staying with him and talking about our problems rather than going to check on Santana.
"Look Ryder, Santana is my best friend. She comes first and I'm sorry if you can't accept that, but that's how it is. She's my top priority and if she's in there crying, I'm going to drop what I'm doing and I'm going to see what's wrong." I answered sternly, choosing not to argue about his opinions on me and San's friendship. "We can continue talking later, but right now Santana needs me." With that, I left him standing in the darkness of the driveway not even giving him a chance to argue back and rushed inside. I followed the grouping of girls crowding the entrance to the living room, assuming that's where Santana and Quinn were. Pushing my way past, I caught a glimpse of San with her face buried in her hands as she hunched over the arm of the couch and Quinn sitting next to her. Once I knew where they were, I turned to the crowd and started shoeing them away. No one likes to get caught crying at a party, especially Santana. She hates when people talk, when people are judging her.
Slowly, I walked over to Santana and dropped to my knees. I looked to Quinn who left a small gap between her and Santana then back to the nest of dark brown hair hiding away my best friend's face. "Hey..what's going on?" I whispered but I knew better than to think she'd actually tell me.
I watched as her body shuddered as she muffled a sob. I knew what she needed but I just couldn't give it to her, not with people around, well Quinn around, because just like Santana I have a reputation to uphold too. I wanted so bad to reach out and touch her: brush her hair from her face, squeeze her knee, pat her back, something! But that would be out of character for me because I don't do those kinds of things; I'm not a physical person. I don't even give hugs when my friends leave, how could I break all that because of Santana?
She whimpered again and suddenly my reputation didn't matter, or at least, it didn't matter because it was only Quinn in the room.
I wiggled into the space Quinn made and, hesitantly, draped my arm around San's shoulders. It was a jerky movement, but luckily the power behind San's cries masked it. Taking my free hand and cradling her head, I pulled her to my chest and rested my chin atop her head and let her lean her weight on me.
"It's okay, San, you're okay." I whispered and started to rock her a little like I've seen people do in movies. "You're fine." I stayed like that, fighting the nagging feeling in the back of my head because of Quinn still being there and girls aren't supposed to hold other girls like this but San's my best friend and that's what makes it okay I think. When she finally quieted down, she picked her head up and looked to me.
"Can we go home now?" She asked with her eyes bright red and her voice thick and raspy.
"Sure, yeah, we can go." I nodded and started to stand.
"I'll walk you guys out," Quinn added and handed San some tissues which she accepted gratefully. I was careful where I placed my hands while Quinn walked with us, paranoid that their placements could be misinterpreted. I knew Quinn wouldn't care either way, but everyone else around, they'd care. They'd see it and they'd think differently of it.
I dug my hands in my pockets instead, at least in there, they're safe from wandering.
It wasn't until we were half way home when San finally started talking.
"You know what the biggest lie ever is?" She asked quietly.
"That doesn't make you look fat?" I questioned, hoping that my joking around would lighten the mood. She smirked and shook her head.
"If you're happy, I'm happy. That's complete bullshit." She grumbled. Before I could ask why she said that, she was already swiping away her tears, "I hate when people say that because you know damn well you're not happy, it's just the nice way of saying it." We pulled up to a red light and I glanced over at her trying so hard not to cry.
"It was Rachel." She muttered as she stared out the window. I wouldn't have heard her if the radio wasn't turned down so low.
"What'd she do?" I asked, chancing another glance over to her.
"Stuck her big ass nose in my business like she always does," San scoffed, anger dripping from her words. I can tell whatever Rachel said really hurt her; she gets mean when she feels that way.
"I don't know, she's just-just a bitch like that. She started talking about me and Dave and how she was surprised that I didn't bring anyone with me tonight because I move on quickly or whatever bullshit she was spewing," San grumbled and looked to me for a split second, "Why do people suck so much?"
"Dunno, they just do I guess." I shrugged, "There's good people in the world though, they're not all sucky." I continued to keep my eyes on the road, making sure I didn't miss the turn into her neighborhood, but I could still feel her gaze on me. It made me feel nervous though, being stared at like that. "Why you didn't come find me? We could've left early.."
"I-I didn't want to interrupt you and Ryder," She mumbled, "You guys don't spend much time together since he lives so far, I just thought you'd want to spend time with him."
"San.." I sighed, "You know you come first, always. Besides, he was annoying me anyway."
"He's a good guy, Britt," She laughed.
"I know," I responded quietly. He should run while he still can, run far away from me.
"You're a good person, Britt." She replied simply. I didn't believe her though, not after tonight, not after all the hurt I caused Ryder, not after I treated him just like Santana has treated me in the past. I knew exactly what I was doing and I couldn't even control myself!
So I shook my head before glancing over at her, "Only to you."
"Aren't I lucky then," She joked and turned the dial up on the radio, "Shush now, this is my song!" I laughed at how she tried to sing along with the radio, but yet again she was forgetting the words.
"You are a hot mess," I chuckled as she started to make up her own words. She just shrugged and continued to sing.
After three days of ignoring phone calls and not responding to his texts, I broke it off with Ryder.
After two weeks of Santana and I getting back to being close again, she found yet another warm body to cling to and I was long forgotten.
Then the cycle repeats.
Two years later, October;
"A crush?!" San gasped then shuffled to her knees making the bed bounce, "Since when?"
I just shrugged, feeling my cheeks flush at my best friend's sudden interest in my love life.
"Damnit, Britt, I wantz the details and I want them now." She clapped, "You never have a crush, you never like anyone!"
"That is not true." I objected and pointed to her, "There was that one guy in my Bio class and the other one from my work.." San just shook her head, waving them off.
"Fine, point made. Can you tell me who it is now?"
"Uhm..well.." I drawled out feeling the anxiousness growing within me, "There's kind of three.."
"Holy hell, really?" San gasped, "And you've kept this from me? What kind of best friend are you!" She teased and slapped at my arm.
"Hey, watch it or else I won't give you any hints." I threatened playfully.
"Hints?" She scoffed, "Puh-lease, I got this." She stared at me, head tilted to the left, analyzing.
I stared back, batting my lashes and grinning dopily, but when she caught me directly in the eyes, I crossed mine. She laughed and I was spared the eye contact. I don't do eye contact.
"Ryder is one, of course." She stated but before I could try and protest, she explained, "He's the one that got away, you'll always have a sweet spot for him. Don't try and lie about it."
"I guess," I rolled my eyes playfully, "Two to go."
"I'm going with Blake from prom, he was pretty cute and he walked us to your car afterwards." San shrugged then tapped at her chin for the third person. "I have no idea for the last one.."
"You'll never guess it." I smiled triumphantly. She huffed and went on naming practically every guy I ever talked to that she knew of in our four years of being friends, even adding a few of my coworkers which I didn't think she'd remember their names to her long list.
"Okay, I have no fucking clue." San sighed and lay back against the pillows with her hand covering her eyes. I felt my nerves rattling in me again at the thought of my next hint. My hands joined together anxiously picking at the bedspread as I averted my eyes from her. I was working my way up to tell her and though I know I can tell San anything, this is one of those things that really make me second guess myself. It's like once it's said, it can't be taken back. What's done is done and I can only hope for the best.
Taking a deep breath in attempt to steady my nerves I licked my lips and replied, "The last one is a girl." I waited for the gasp and wide eyed reaction, but instead San just nodded and went back to thinking as if I only narrowed the list by saying the person's name began with a certain letter.
"Hmm..it's not Quinn is it?" She asked, her nose scrunching at the possibility.
"No, not Quinnn." I answered, shaking my head and fighting the grin though I was still feeling really nervous. I'm telling her that I have a crush on a girl, girls don't have crushes on other girls, and I'm not talking about a friendly kind of crush, this is like a real deal crush. I closed my eyes and tried calming down my racing heart as she continued to hum for a name.
"Me?" She asked confidently. My heart stopped, the sweat collecting at the back of my neck and along my forehead turned cold, and my eyes widened. If I was drinking water, I would've spit it out. If I was eating, I probably would've choked. I couldn't understand why I froze up so bad like that when she wasn't even right.
"N-No, it's not you." I finally replied once I got back the use of my voice that I had lost for some reason.
"I know, I was just joking," She laughed and swatted at my arm again before returning to guessing. I tried to laugh along with her too but it ended up sounding really forced and I could already feel my cheeks flushing. I guess I was just shocked that she'd even consider herself an option; she's my best friend, she's kind of off limits because of that. Not that I'd ever think of her in that way or anything, she's just- we're friends.
"I know that," I shrugged her off coolly, thankful that I had finally gained some type of control and thankful that she hadn't noticed my mini panic attack.
"It's gotta be that girl from class, right?" She asked seeming extremely confident in her answer yet again, "The one with the cute face?" I felt my cheeks burn at the accusation but nodded anyway.
"Yeah, she's just. I don't know, I've never talked to her in my life but I'm just so damn attracted." I replied with a shrug, "She just looks so cool, you know? And I thought I probably just really really wanted to be her friend or something, but when I started taking the long way to class because she usually came in late or brought extra pens because she might need one I thought that maybe it wasn't just because I wanted to be friends. Maybe I wanted more?" San sat quietly, nodding along with whatever I said. "Lately, I've just been feeling different and it's scary San..b-but I can't help it."
"Yeah, that shit is kinda scary.." She replied softly. I nodded, smiling weakly because I know Santana isn't good with talking about things that scare us, but at least she was trying.
"Those guys on my list," I whimpered feeling slightly ashamed, "They don't really count, I was just adding them to lighten it up."
"I know, Britt." She smiled genuinely, "You don't have to explain anymore if you don't want to, I can connect the rest of the dots."
I shook my head though; I needed to explain this thing to at least one person. I've kept everything all bottled up for so long now and it actually felt good to talk about it. I know it breaks all our rules, but I'm sure she can let this slide.
"I've been thinking about it for awhile now, why I couldn't hold onto a guy for longer than a couple weeks, why I always lost interest, why it all felt so..forced. It all makes so much sense now," I rambled then stopped to try and calm my nerves again, "I didn't want to prove anyone right though."
"What do you mean?" San asked softly. We continued not to make eye contact.
"You know everyone called this, me being.." I couldn't even say the word without shivering, "I could never understand why, I mean, you're the one that goes around grabbing everyone's ass and being all touchy. I can't even hug someone goodbye without feeling paranoid," San just nodded knowingly and shrugged, "They didn't even say anything about you, they just assumed that I was. I don't understand that, I never gave them any reason to think differently of me.."
"Britt, no one assumed anything." San sighed.
Sucking in a deep breath, I just shrugged, "I didn't want to be this, I didn't want to be wrong."
"Wrong? You're not wrong." San replied, tilting her head to the side.
"Girls aren't supposed to like girls, San," I said sternly.
She just stayed quiet, fingers tapping on her knee.
"It's not wrong, Britt, you have to believe that. If that's what you are, you can't change it." San replied sternly. I nodded, trying to keep the tears from sliding down my cheeks. She was right but it's so much easier just to nod to her when it's still hard for me to believe her a hundred percent. Deep down, I knew I wasn't wrong, that this feeling, who I am, it's not wrong. It's convincing everyone else that's the problem and it's scary to think about all the people that need convincing. "Come on, let's go eat. I'm hungry."
In ten minutes, we were downstairs in her kitchen; I, standing at the stove stirring a pot of noodles, and her, sitting on the counter filing her nails. It was almost as if our conversation never happened; she treated me the same, laughed at my jokes, and praised my awesome noodle cooking skills. Seeing how she reacted to me telling my deepest secret almost made it seem like it wasn't so bad to tell, like it wasn't really a big deal. That eased me because the last thing I wanted was for my best friend in the entire world to think of me differently.
Everything about me is the exact same: my sense of humor, my likes, my dislikes, my taste in music, everything! There's no need for her to think differently because who I am, my sexuality, that doesn't define me, it's not all that there is to me, and that's what I hope everyone can understand.
For now though, I'm fine with just her knowing the truth.
"Are you listening?" San laughed, nudging my hip with her foot. I stared up at her blankly and gave a sympathetic smile.
"Whoops.." I shrugged innocently.
"I was saying that I got Sam's number, well, he got mine." She replied. I instantly wanted to groan. Her and her last boyfriend just broke up, officially, not even two weeks ago! They were together for almost a year and she was already on the prowl? "I know what you're thinking, Britt, but he's a nice guy. We're just friends."
I kept my mouth shut, eyes focused intently on the pot of steaming noodles instead.
"He's going shopping with me tomorrow, it'll be our first time hanging out alone." She shrugged. I tilted my head slightly and found her staring at her feet.
"He was your ex's friend, don't you think that's a little weird?" I asked hesitantly. I tried making it sound like a joke because as soon as she picks up on the scolding tone in my voice she walls herself up quickly.
She stared back and shrugged, "I'm not dating him, Britt, we're just friends. I can have friends that are guys."
"I know you can, it's just.." I sighed already sensing her getting defense, "He likes you already, you know that. How are you doing to be friends with someone you already know likes-"
"I don't need a lecture from you," I watched as her jaw clenched tight and she hopped off the kitchen counter and took a seat at the table behind us instead. I exhaled through my nostrils and closed my eyes tightly; I can never keep my mouth shut.
"I'm not trying to lecture you..it's just, I wish you could just spend a little time focusing on yourself. You just got out of a relationship, San, I think you still need time to be your own person."
"Just be happy for me, B."
I killed the heat on the stove and moved the pot off the burner before turning around. She was staring at her phone, chin resting in her hand as she kept her eyes down. I remembered her sleepless nights caused by the arguing her and her ex had done, the let downs, the break-ups, the make-ups, the threats, the apologies, the sounds of her sobbing, then the sounds of her laughing, the smiles she made for him and the frowns he caused. I remember how broken she looked the day he broke it off with her permanently; how quiet she was and the despair she felt. How she begged for me to stay the night and how I caught her sobbing in the bathroom.
"Does he make you happy?" I asked softly, setting our bowls down on the table and taking a seat next to her.
"I think so," She replied, taking the bowl and pulling it towards her.
I nodded, lips pursing until they formed a tight lipped smile.
"Well, if you're happy then..then I'm happy too."
A/N Let me know if you're interested so I can keep going. Thanks for coming back!