So don't you cry; it'll give you lines around your eyes.
You gotta try not to live so much of life alone.
And if I see you getting crazy by the bottom of the bottle,
Take you home. I'll take you home. I'll take you home.
~Take Me Home, Concrete Blonde
"We're getting drunk tonight."
"What?" Quinn responds automatically, having barely had time to identify the voice on the other end of the line. Santana hadn't even bothered to say hello.
"Pick a bar," Santana orders. "I really don't give a fuck which one, as long as it has tequila. Or rum. Or any fucking thing that will get me drunk fast."
There's something in Santana's gruff tone that sets off alarm bells in Quinn's head, and she closes the laptop in front of her with one hand before she sets it aside. "It's the middle of the week," she points out with a frown, adjusting her grip on her phone. It's also the middle of the afternoon, but she doesn't think that needs to be mentioned.
"So? You're working from home these days, and the little missus doesn't have a show tonight. I really need a fucking drink, and you're both coming with me."
Quinn sits back in her chair, her eyes darting over to her wife. Rachel has been sprawled across the sofa for the last hour, lazily reading a magazine while Quinn has been reviewing the final changes to her second novel before it goes to press, but now her attention is mostly on Quinn's conversation. "What happened?" Quinn asks gently, knowing Santana well enough by now to be certain that something is wrong. The heavy silence that follows only accentuates that certainty. "Santana?" she prompts again.
There's a shaky sigh in Quinn's ear before Santana finally answers, her voice low and pained. "I lost a patient."
Quinn feels an immediate stab of sympathy. "I'm sorry," she murmurs. It's not the first patient that hasn't made it since Santana started her residency, but every one of them is one too many, and Santana takes it personally every single time.
"She…she was sixteen, Q," Santana confesses brokenly. "Fuck! I just…I need this, okay? I need to forget about all the bad shit in this world for a while."
Quinn exhales roughly, running a hand through her hair. No wonder this one is hitting Santana extra hard. There's suddenly no question that she'll be meeting Santana for a few drinks. She briefly contemplates choosing a bar close to Santana's apartment, but she doesn't particularly want to spend the night on her pull out sofa bed—with or without Rachel—because she already knows that she won't be leaving Santana alone tonight. "Is Public okay?" she asks, settling on a place fairly close to the apartment that she shares with her wife. If Rachel agrees to come with them—and Quinn already knows that she will—they can probably manage to get Santana back here and into the spare bedroom if they need to.
"Fine," Santana barks in agreement. "Be there in an hour," she demands before hanging up.
Quinn glances down at her frayed shorts and stained t-shirt with a frown as she lays down her phone. Rachel isn't much more put together in her booty shorts and tank top, so she somehow doubts that they're both going to manage to get dressed in a presentable fashion and out of here in an hour.
"What's going on?" Rachel asks, abandoning her magazine completely. "Is Santana okay?"
"How do you feel about a girls' night out?" Quinn asks in lieu of an immediate answer.
It takes them sixty-seven minutes to get showered, dressed, and out the door, and another ten to get to Public. It's one of the nicer bars in the neighborhood, with a decent menu and two levels of tables and booths in addition to the long, wrap-around bar that runs the length of two walls. When they open the door, they're met with a pleasant blast of air-conditioning to cut through the blanket of late summer mugginess that's been wrapped around the city for the last several weeks. The place isn't overly crowded yet, but Quinn keeps a light grip on Rachel's hand as she gazes around the downstairs for a familiar dark head, finally catching sight of Santana sitting in a curved booth in the back.
Santana sees them as soon as they start walking, and she scowls at them, tapping her nails on the table impatiently. "Hey, bitches. You're late," she accuses when they reach the booth.
Quinn rolls her eyes. "Not even twenty minutes," she defends as she sits down and awkwardly slides over until she reaches the middle, giving Rachel room to slip in beside her.
"'Nuff time for a quickie," Santana points out with a smirk before knocking back the shot in front of her and slamming it back down on the table beside another empty glass.
"And apparently enough time for you to get a head start on the tequila," Quinn observes with a frown, choosing not to dignify Santana's comment with a response. Rachel hasn't had anything to drink yet, otherwise Quinn is fairly certain that she'd be mentioning their shared shower and the brief fooling around that accounted for at least ten of the twenty minutes they'd been late.
Santana shrugs. "I've got thirty-nine hours to sleep it off."
"Assuming you're still capable of getting home to your bed," Quinn counters.
"I thought we were planning to bring her back to our place," Rachel mentions uncertainly, glancing at Quinn.
Santana's dark eyes move back and forth between them, and she grins wickedly. "Am I finally getting that threesome?"
Quinn can't quite stifle her smile. "In your dreams."
"Occasionally," Santana admits with a wink.
"As tempting as that isn't," Rachel interjects with a fond smile of her own, "Quinn is merely concerned about your well-being."
"Aw, Quinnie-pooh," Santana coos affectedly as she dramatically presses a hand over her heart, "I'm touched."
"Don't call me that," Quinn mutters under her breath. Only her mother can get away with any variation of that nickname, and even then, it always embarrasses the hell out of her.
Santana drops her hand. "But I'm fine," she stubbornly insists. "I just want to get my drinks on."
"Obviously," Quinn says with a sigh, studying her friend closely. All the snark and smirks and sexual innuendos in the world can't disguise the exhaustion and sorrow simmering in Santana's eyes—the very things that she wants to attempt to drink into oblivion. "Which means that you're either going to turn into a sobbing mess and make a fool of yourself," she points out, ignoring Santana's annoyed glare, "or try to take home every straight girl in the bar and make a fool of yourself. And possibly get into a fight with someone's boyfriend," Quinn adds with a frown. She's already seen it happen on more than one occasion.
Santana scoffs, crossing her arms defensively. "I'll totally kick the ass of any guy in this place and take home his girlfriend."
"Actually, she's more worried that you'll pass out in a pool of your own vomit and asphyxiate," Rachel explains bluntly.
Quinn arches an eyebrow at her wife's tactlessness but grudgingly confesses, "And that."
"Wow. I appreciate that you have so much faith in me," Santana drawls sarcastically.
A waiter chooses that moment to come over to their table, smiling politely at them as he asks, "What are you ladies drinking?"
Rachel licks her lips thoughtfully, eyes quickly darting over to Quinn before she places her order. "I'll have your house white sangria, please."
Quinn doesn't expect Rachel to abstain from drinking tonight, but before they'd left the apartment, she had asked her to try for a little moderation so that Santana doesn't manage to get her reciting a(nother) detailed description of intimate interactions that Quinn would prefer to keep private.
"Just water for me," she tells the waiter, accepting her role as the responsible one tonight.
Santana holds up a finger, indicating that he should wait as she stares incredulously at Quinn. "What? Did Shorty here knock you up already?"
It's a ridiculous question—obviously—but that doesn't stop the little flutter of excitement in her stomach at the possibility of starting a family with Rachel someday soon. Quinn never expected to want another baby so much after everything that she'd gone through—still goes through—with Beth, but she's finding herself thinking about it more and more. Her eyes unconsciously move to Rachel, hoping to see the same secret wish reflected back at her, but Rachel is only shaking her head at Santana with an odd frown on her lips. Quinn experiences a strange moment of disappointment that makes almost no sense to her—they've only been married for a few months, after all—so she pushes it aside and reminds Santana that, "Someone has to stay sober. I've seen what the two of you can get like when you're drunk."
"Fuck that," Santana dismisses, turning to their waiter. "She'll have a glass of chardonnay. The Greystone. Put them both on my tab along with another for me," she instructs, tapping her fingers against her empty shot glass. "In fact, just bring me the whole bottle."
"Santana," Quinn warns.
"The faster you bring them, the bigger your tip," she promises, sending the waiter scurrying away to get their drinks.
Quinn leans back against the booth, crossing her own arms. "You shouldn't have done that."
Santana waves away her concern. "Please, like that isn't your drink of choice. One glass won't put you under the table. Your wife is another story," she acknowledges, pointing to Rachel.
Rachel huffs in protest. "I'm much better at holding my liquor these days, thank you very much."
The smirk is back on Santana's face. "Yeah, holding it in your hand without spilling it, maybe. Although, I did appreciate hearing all about the skinny dipping you two got up to on your honeymoon. Who knew Quinn had it in her?"
"Rachel!" Quinn squeaks, feeling her cheeks heat at the revelation. "Seriously?"
Rachel slides down lower in the booth, her face flushing with guilt. "It just…slipped out during our Independence Day party," she admits contritely.
Quinn closes her eyes, taking a few calming breaths to drown out Santana's snickers. She knew that she should have made sure that party was alcohol free.
"The way she tells it, there were a lot of things slipping out. And in. And out," Santana teases with a snicker.
"Shut up," Quinn hisses, glaring at Santana. "This is why you two can't be trusted alone with alcohol."
Santana holds her hands up in surrender. "Hey, talk to your wife. She's the one exposing all your naughty tidbits. Well, technically I guess you exposed them first," she needles.
"It was a private pool," Quinn defends weakly, certain that her face is an attractive shade of crimson by now.
"And Quinn has a fantastic body," Rachel adds unabashedly.
"I don't think that needed to be said," Quinn chastises mildly, even if it is true.
Rachel smiles apologetically and reaches over to rub her fingers over Quinn's biceps. "Sorry, baby."
Quinn sighs and uncoils her arms, chasing Rachel's hand with her own in order to link their fingers together. She's not really mad at her wife. She's mostly gotten used to Rachel's tendency to overshare, and her own tolerance level for these potentially mortifying conversations has actually increased over the years. Apparently, that's a thing that happens as you get older.
Their waiter reappears with a tray full of drinks, carefully placing the glasses down on their table. To Quinn's chagrin, he does, in fact, bring Santana the entire bottle of tequila, complete with a little bowl of lime wedges and a full shaker of salt. Santana rarely bothers with those accouterments unless she's doing body shots off some willing woman, preferring to enjoy her tequila neat.
"Would you like to place a food order?" the waiter asks, his wary gaze landing on Santana, who's already pouring herself another shot. "Or are you just drinking tonight?"
"We'll take the parma flatbread," Santana responds with narrowed eyes. He jots down the request and stands over them with pen still poised to write until Santana snaps, "That's it. You can go." She turns her attention back to her drink as the waiter walks away, shaking his head.
Quinn supposes they can always order something more substantial later. She takes a sip of her wine as she watches Santana slam down another shot with eyes tightly closed, swallowing the liquid before she exhales sharply and sets the glass back on the table. When she opens her eyes, she ignores Quinn's concerned gaze and looks at Rachel instead, who's sipping at her own drink.
"How's the sangria?" she asks with a small grin.
Rachel hums her approval as she sets down the glass. "Very good."
"Not the best in Manhattan though?" Santana verifies with a teasing smile.
Rachel chuckles, shaking her head. "No. Teresa did have a particularly tasty recipe."
Quinn turns to her wife, arching an eyebrow at the familiar name. "Did she now?" she challenges playfully, long past any jealousy of the woman who'd once given Rachel her phone number.
"I only meant the drink, baby," Rachel assures her. "You know that."
"She had a really great ass," Santana chimes in with a lopsided smile. "Nice eyes too, but her ass was fucking perfect."
"What ever happened to her anyway?" Quinn wonders. It had been more than two years since Santana's favorite, hard-to-get bartender had disappeared from Ten Degrees, and as far as she knows, Santana never did figure out where she'd ended up.
"Dunno. Probably pursuing her art or something," Santana mutters with a dismissive shrug as she pours out another shot. "Whatever. Not like it really matters. I've got you bitches to keep me entertained." She lifts her glass to them and flashes a grin. "Salud."
Quinn catches Rachel's eyes, frowning at Santana's current rate of alcohol consumption. Rachel shrugs helplessly, slowly raising her own glass in support of their friend. "L'chayim."
Santana takes a drink, although she doesn't down the entire shot in one go this time, for which Quinn is grateful. Rachel takes another generous sip of her sangria, and Quinn sighs as she lifts her wine. "To our health."
Two hours, the entire flatbread, and a bottle of tequila later, Quinn is beginning to think it might be time to plot out an exit strategy. She's only had two glasses of wine, but she's definitely feeling a tiny bit buzzed. Rachel had switched to a white zinfandel after her first drink, but she's currently sipping her second one of those, and while she isn't horribly intoxicated, she's tipsy enough to have slid all the way over in the booth so that she can cuddle up to Quinn, and her inside voice (which is never exactly quiet anyway) has been turned all the way up to her outside voice for the last hour.
Quinn has also had to remove Rachel's hand from under her shirt at least seven times. She's just grateful that the most embarrassing thing that Rachel has said so far was when she'd confessed that they'd gotten a head start on celebrating her first Tony win in the limo on the way to the after party at the Plaza. Santana was actually mildly impressed by that, considering how short the car ride was. Of course, then Rachel had admitted that she'd also asked the driver to circle the block twice more, and Santana had laughed for five minutes straight.
She isn't laughing now.
"You're really beautiful, ya know?" she says, leaning forward as far as she can. Her breasts are practically spilling out of her scoop-necked t-shirt where they press against the table, and one hand is flung out in their direction while the other cradles her half-empty shot glass. "Both of you. Like…you're beautiful," she repeats, pointing at Quinn. "And you're beautiful," she echoes with a drunken smile, pointing at Rachel. "And together you're just," she trails off, wagging her finger back and forth between them.
"Beautiful?" Quinn supplies with an amused smirk while Rachel giggles and slips her fingertips under Quinn's shirt again.
"Yeah," Santana agrees, snapping her fingers—or trying to. "You make me happy. Just…just seeing you…happy. Like…like it makes all the bad shit make sense, you know?" she asks despondently, eyes tearing up slightly. Quinn holds her breath, waiting for the uncontrollable sobbing to begin, but Santana only sniffles once before she shakes herself out of it, pushing against the table until she's mostly sitting up.
"Like…you're such a fucking bitch, Q," she brazenly points out. "You called the hobbit here all kinds of shitty names. Manhands, Treasure Trail, RuPaul," she lists off. Quinn feels nauseous just hearing them spit back at her like they're nothing, and Rachel's touch disappears from her skin even as she burrows closer into Quinn's side with a quiet whimper of protest—whether it's because of the bad memories that Santana is dredging up or because she's upset on Quinn's behalf, Quinn can't be certain.
"You were so freaking repressed. But she forgave you for all of that shit. And you," Santana barks, pointing at Rachel. "You fucked her over good…stole her boyfriend while she was preggers and then got her to follow you like a puppy every time you snapped your fingers." Santana tries to snap again, but her fingers don't quite connect, and it mostly looks like she grabbing at thin air.
"Santana, that's enough," Quinn cautions, rubbing Rachel's leg reassuringly beneath the table. They'd already talked through all of these things years ago, and they'd forgiven one another for their past stupidity, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like hell to be reminded of it. Santana, of course, doesn't seem to register that, continuing on despite Quinn's warning.
"She watched you date pathetic, loser guys for years. Years," Santana stresses. "But she…she wanted you anyway. And now you're this perfect, fucking, happy, coupley…couple. I mean…you're married. To each other," she clarifies unnecessarily, leaning forward once again with raised eyebrows. "Did you know that?"
Rachel snorts into Quinn's shoulder, her body suddenly shaking with silent laughter. "Yeah, we know," Quinn manages through her own giggles. Santana nods once, satisfied that they're aware of this important information.
"I was supposed to marry Brittany," she announces unceremoniously. "Did'ja know that?" And Quinn didn't—not really—so her amusement immediately disappears, and Rachel grows still and quiet beside her, working her fingers in between Quinn's where her hand still rests on Rachel's thigh. "We talked about it when we were kids," Santana continues. "All the fucking time. She wanted to get married in the park...with the ducks and the squirrels...like Cinder-fucking-ella." Her voice catches on the last few words, and she shakes her head in self-derision before she takes another drink.
"Oh, Santana," Quinn breathes out in empathy. In all honestly, she's not surprised that the conversation is taking this turn. Brittany had been at their wedding, after all, and Quinn had seen the two of them dancing and talking with their heads close together. Quinn had actually thought that they might be rekindling their romance, and while she'd worried about how that would work out with Santana here and Brittany in Los Angeles, she can't deny that a part of her—that secret romantic part of her that finally believes in second chances and epic love stories—had hoped they might work it out. But Brittany had been gone again the next day, and Santana had been unusually quiet about the whole thing except to say that nothing had really happened, and they weren't getting back together.
"No. No…okay?" Santana demands with a frown, composing herself quickly. "Don't get all sappy and poor Santana on me. I'm over her. I didn't think I was. For a long time, I didn't think I was," she admits quietly, her unfocused gaze locking onto the wall. "She…she gutted me, you know? I let her inside. Trusted her. With all…all the stuff I don't trust anyone with. My heart. My dreams," she confesses sadly. "And…and then it was like I was speaking Spanish…and she was speaking Brittany…and it just…didn't connect anymore," she explains, sloppily waving her hands through the air in an attempt to demonstrate what she's saying. "And then she was gone. Poof." She turns her hands over at the word, spreading her empty fingers apart, before she drags her gaze back to Quinn with unmasked emotion swirling in her eyes.
"And I let her go, but I didn't really, you know? I held on to all that bad, painful stuff because I didn't wanna feel that way again with anyone. 'Cause it…it s-sucks to let people in and…and then l-lose them," she rasps, slowly dissolving into tears in front of them. "Like…like that girl…that fucking girl," she cries, dropping her head into her hands and giving into the sobs that are suddenly wracking her body.
Quinn feels her heart lurch at the sight of Santana's distress, and she instinctively shuffles over to her. "Hey…come here," she urges, reaching for Santana, who falls against Quinn's side and begins to cry onto her shoulder. Quinn closes her arms around her best friend in an awkward side-hug, stroking her hair. "It's okay," she whispers, knowing that it really isn't, but it is perfectly okay to cry about it, despite what Santana would claim when she's sober.
Her eyes shift over to Rachel, who's sniffling and wiping at her own tears, and she offers a reassuring smile to her wife. Rachel sniffles again, nodding with a sad smile of her own. This is what they're here for—because Santana needs them.
"I tried to save her," Santana eventually chokes out against Quinn's collar, clutching at her shirt. "I really did."
"I know you did. You're a good doctor, Santana," Quinn assures her. It's the strangest thing—ten years ago, Santana Lopez would have been the last person that Quinn would have ever picked to go into the medical profession. She'd have guessed Santana would go for the fastest path to money and fame, but she would have been wrong. Quinn can't deny that she occasionally has her doubts about Santana's bedside manner, but she has absolute faith in the depth of her commitment to her patients.
"N-no. I'm not," Santana denies, shaking her head and sniffling wetly. Quinn doesn't even want to know what her shirt looks like right about now. "I should…I should be better. If I was better, I wouldn't keep l-losing people."
"Oh, honey, no," Quinn denies. "You know that isn't true." She leans back and shrugs her shoulder slightly, hoping to get Santana to look at her again. Santana grudgingly does, revealing wet cheeks and red eyes with very unattractive black mascara smudges beneath them. Quinn doesn't mention that. Instead, she meets those eyes and carefully reminds Santana that, "You can't save everyone."
Santana huffs, sitting up a little and rubbing the back of her hand over her cheeks. Rachel is somehow right there with a handful of tissues to offer her, and Quinn turns to smile in gratitude at her always prepared wife, who at some point inched closer to them. They probably look a little ridiculous by now—all of them seated just off center of the curved booth and leaving one side completely empty.
"Life is too fucking short," Santana mutters as she reaches out and snags the tissues, dabbing at her eyes before she shamelessly blows her nose. She crumples the used tissue up and tosses it on the table, and then she pours herself another drink that she really doesn't need.
"You…you're lucky," she finally says, pointing between them with her glass in her hand. "You have each other." She downs the shot, wiping her mouth as she slams the empty glass on the table. "An' I have you. I love you so fucking much," she tells them, looking just a little teary-eyed again. "You're the sisters I never wanted."
"We feel the same way about you, Santana," Rachel coos, leaning against Quinn, who hums her agreement. Santana can be a pain in the ass, but Quinn would choose her over Frannie every single time.
Santana takes a deep breath as she stares at them, and then she smiles. "C'mere, Midget," she commands, but it's Santana that lurches forward and attempts to crawl over Quinn's lap to get to Rachel, knocking into the table with her hip and making the glasses rattle in the process.
"Hey! What the hell?" Quinn grunts in surprise, getting a knee very close to her private parts while she pushes at Santana's ass—which is suddenly in her face. Santana determinedly falls forward instead of back, managing to successfully wedge herself sideways in between Rachel and Quinn as she tosses her arms around a laughing Rachel and hugs her. Quinn shakes her head in irritation, moving over on the booth to give them room. "Unbelievable."
"You're like a little Teddy Bear," Santana muses drunkenly, squeezing Rachel tighter. "A Teddy Berry," she amends.
Rachel snorts again, patting Santana's back. "You are so very drunk," she points out needlessly.
Quinn sighs, bracing her elbow on the table top and dropping her chin into her hand as she gazes at them with a fond smile. "You're really going to hate yourself for this in the morning," she tells Santana.
Rachel shoots a playful glare over Santana's shoulder. "Shh…I like her better this way."
"I want this," Santana mumbles wistfully before she sits back with a thoughtful frown, half-dragging Rachel with her because she still has her arms around her shoulders. "I mean, not you," she clarifies, looking at Rachel. "I don't want you. I just…I want this…someone to hold me like this…who isn't you…or you," she adds as she turns to Quinn and finally lets go of Rachel.
"Seeing Britt at the wedding…it was like…like freedom, you know? All that bad stuff…it was just gone," Santana announces, spreading her arms and nearly punching Quinn in the nose. Luckily, she ducks her head in time, but a little yelp comes from Santana's other side.
"Hey, watch it," Rachel mutters in annoyance, and Quinn leans forward, peering around Santana to see her wife rubbing at her chin.
"You okay, Rach?"
"At least it wasn't my nose."
"I like her nose. S'cute," Santana confesses, and then turns to Quinn. "Don't tell her I said that."
Quinn chuckles, winking at a beaming Rachel. "Don't worry. I won't."
Santana nods in approval. "I didn't even sleep with her, and I could've."
Quinn frowns at that, sitting up straighter. "Who are we talking about?" she asks warily.
Santana's eyebrows furrow in confusion. "Brit-tan-y," she over-enunciates. "Pay attention," she demands, actually managing to snap her fingers this time. "She wanted to. 'Cause I'm fucking hot. But…it's not about her anymore. It's about me. And what the hell am I waiting for? A goddamned neon sign over Broadway?" she bellows, causing more than one person in the bar to turn and look in their direction. Quinn figures that they'll be asked to leave any minute now. Their waiter has been avoiding their table for the last forty-five minutes.
"Like…like I so could've had someone hot…and suc-successful…who'd stay for breakfast…and…and forever," she stammers on a shaky breath. "Like…like Josie…but your fucking, boring, corn-starched ex has bigger cojones than I do," she spits at Quinn in disgust.
Rachel breathes out a worried, "Oh, no."
"Santana, if you're thinking of trying something with Josie now," Quinn warns with narrowed eyes—not that she thinks Josie would be at all interested. She's pretty committed to Sarah these days.
Santana waves dismissively, rolling her eyes. "Oh, don't go all growly-Quinn on me. I'm not in love with her. But I could've been. I wanna be. Not with her," she assures them, "but with someone, you know? Like you." Santana stops for a moment, frowning and shaking her head again. "Not me with you," she corrects, pointing between herself and Quinn, "but you with you," and she points from Quinn to Rachel.
Rachel snorts again, trying and failing to choke back her laughter at the eloquence of Santana's speech, and Quinn finds herself having the same problem.
"Are you laughing at me, bitches? Because this isn't funny," Santana insists with an incredulous scowl. "I'm a sexy, fucking doctor…and I'm single. I hate being single," she hisses with a pout, dropping her head onto Rachel's shoulder. "I want a Teddy Berry of my own to snuggle up to at night," she mumbles. "But…taller." She picks her head up again and gives Rachel a once over. "Who can cook."
Rachel sticks her tongue out at Santana. "I'm much better than I used to be."
"That's what Quinn says," Santana snickers.
Rachel gasps in sudden inspiration, bouncing in her seat, and Quinn can see the unholy gleam of excitement in her eyes even before she says, "We could set you up with someone!"
"Rachel, no," Quinn immediately argues.
"No," Quinn repeats more firmly.
Rachel gives her the eyes—those awful, puppy-dog eyes that Quinn absolutely hates because they always make her agree to things that she (usually) ends up regretting later on. "Quinn, baby," Rachel cajoles, batting her lashes.
Quinn shakes her head. "It's a bad idea."
"Hey," Santana interrupts, sharply knocking on the table between them to get their attention back to her. "Do you want me to be alone forever?" she asks Quinn seriously, swaying in her direction. "She's got hot, actress friends. Not as hot as your friends," she concedes, "but yours are all gross and coupley. Like you two." She turns back to Rachel, dropping an arm over her shoulder again and tugging her closer. "Now…that actress…Gabriella what's-her-name…the one Gay Steven brought to your wedding…"
Rachel shushes her dramatically. "You need to stop calling him that," she warns in a stage whisper. "You're not supposed to know he's gay."
Santana rolls her eyes. "Pfft. My gaydar is still awesome, thank you very much. And Stevie's beard is as un-straight as he is." She grins wickedly—or the tequila soaked version of wickedly, anyway. "Bet she'd totally go for a doctor. Plus…have you seen her tits?"
"All of America has seen her tits," Quinn drawls flatly. "Her show is almost pornographic."
Santana stops and stares at Quinn with a calculating look. "How are you still such a prude?" she finally asks.
"I'm not a prude," Quinn defends.
"She's not," Rachel agrees with a nod, reaching for what's left of her wine. "Trust me. She's really, really not."
Quinn blushes—because she's really not. Still, "I think you've hit your limit, sweetie."
"See…prude," Santana repeats triumphantly. "And what are you doing with my tequila?" she asks with a frown, reaching across the table (where she was sitting before she crawled over Quinn's lap) and sliding the glass and bottle away from Quinn. "Get your own."
"You don't want Gabriella," Rachel tells Santana decisively after finishing her zinfandel. "She and Steven are a match made in the Hollywood closet, and they're not coming out anytime soon. But I could set you up with Stacy.
"Who the hell's Stacy?" Santana asks distractedly while she pours herself another shot.
"She's Evelyn's new personal assistant, and she has a crush on Rachel," Quinn explains.
"No, she doesn't. She's understandably a fan of my incredible talent, but she very clearly has a crush on you," Rachel informs her. Quinn rolls her eyes, because Rachel still sucks at figuring out when women are flirting with her, but she doesn't point that out. Needless to say, she knows which of them Stacy would probably choose if given the chance. But Rachel insists, "She can't stop staring at you with hearts in her eyes whenever she sees you. It would be extremely annoying if she wasn't so sweet."
"The exact opposite of Evelyn," Quinn quips with a sardonic grin. Rachel's agent is still a bitch—even more so since Rachel refused to even consider publicly hiding her relationship with Quinn and proposed to her instead—but the woman did get Rachel her dream role and swears that she can get an album deal and some television spots too, so Rachel doesn't want to fire her just yet.
"In any case, she's very good at gracefully dealing with abrasive women and outrageous egos," Rachel informs Santana with a wide smile. "She'll be absolutely perfect for you."
Quinn snickers at Rachel's phrasing and hopes that Santana is too drunk to pick up on it. Unfortunately, she's not. She turns to Quinn and very seriously announces, "I'm gonna punch your wife, Q."
"What?" Rachel questions anxiously.
Quinn smiles knowingly at Santana. "No, you're not."
"No, I'm not," Santana huffs, slouching in defeat. "'Cause I love her. An' I love you. So fucking much," she tells them, tearing up again as she throws her arms around Quinn. "I'm so happy we're friends," she swears, letting go of Quinn, only to turn and hug Rachel. "An' I got your backs. And your fronts," she promises, letting go of Rachel with a crooked grin. "Siempre. Los quiero, hermanas."
Quinn chuckles, patting Santana's shoulder as she slides toward the end of the booth. "Okay, you've really had enough to drink. I think we need to get you home so you can sleep it off."
"Can I sleep with you?" Santana asks earnestly, leaning heavily against Rachel, who doesn't seem to mind very much.
Quinn pauses, eyebrow inching up in surprise. "Excuse me?"
"'Cause your cat is the devil, and I don't wanna be alone with him in the other bedroom," Santana reveals.
Quinn laughs, catching Rachel's eyes as they share a look of mirth. "We'll move his litterbox to the bathroom for the night. You'll be fine."
"He hates me," Santana continues with a frown. "I dunno why. I'm very loveable. And cuddly."
"Cuddly like a cactus," Quinn jokes.
"Damn right," Santana approves with a nod. "Wait…did you just insult me?"
Santana nods again, grinning. "Right. 'Cause you love me."
"Absolutely," Quinn placates, reaching for Santana's hand. "Now come on. We're going."
"Okay," Santana agrees, sitting up and clumsily sliding around the booth—pausing to take one last drink on the way.
Quinn shakes her head and stands. "Rach, can you help me?"
"Of course," Rachel responds with a nod, shuffling out of the booth from the other side and standing up. She sways a little as she does so, stumbling into the table with a giggly, "Whoops," before she regains her balance.
"You know, I really can't carry the both of you," Quinn warns her with a concerned frown.
"I've got this, Quinn. Don't worry," Rachel assures her, coming to stand next to her and immediately wrapping an arm around Quinn's waist with a palm landing unerringly on her ass. "I'm only slightly tipsy. Not nearly enough to impede my dexterity or stamina should we choose to see how quiet we can be tonight once Santana passes out."
"Rachel!" Quinn chastises.
Santana falls backward in the booth, laughing. "Wanky," she gasps out. "Think I'll stay awake for that."
"I somehow doubt it," Quinn observes, noting her already drooping eyes.
"Doubt your wifey can manage to be quiet 'nuff for me to sleep," Santana argues, pushing herself back up.
"You'd be surprised," Quinn admits with a secretive smile.
"Quinn is often far more vocal in bed than I am," Rachel reveals.
Quinn sighs, shaking her head. "I give up."
"I love you guys," Santana repeats happily, hoisting herself out of the booth and immediately falling into Quinn, who staggers under the unexpected weight. She's grateful when Rachel is there to help steady the both of them.
Thankfully, Santana opened a tab with her debit card when she first got there, so after a quick stop at the bar to settle their bill—Santana manages to sign her name on the receipt, although it's sloppy and crooked across the paper—they make their way out into the fresh (for New York City) evening air.
They have to pause just outside the door because Santana isn't exactly walking straight, and Quinn studies her dubiously. "Can you make it back to our place? Or do we need to get a taxi?"
Santana shakes her head. "M'fine. Just...give me a minute," she slurs, shaking off Quinn's supportive hands and slumping back against the wall while she takes several deep breaths.
Rachel slips an arm back around Quinn, leaning into her while they watch Santana. "Maybe the taxi would be best," she suggests, nodding at their friend, whose eyes are currently closed. Quinn wonders if someone can pass out standing up.
"Well, she is wearing sensible shoes," Quinn observes with a wry smile, "but I'm not sure she'll stay on her feet for six blocks."
"I hear you," Santana mumbles, stubbornly pushing off the wall and staring Quinn down with bleary eyes. "I'm good. Let's do this thing."
Quinn glances at Rachel with a questioning look, and Rachel shrugs. "We can always leave her on the sidewalk if she falls over."
"Fuck you, bitches. Just take me home."
Sighing, Rachel lets go of Quinn and moves to Santana's left side, leaving Quinn to stand on her right, and they somehow manage to get Santana all the way to their building—though it takes twice as long as it normally would—without her passing out or throwing up. They aren't quite so lucky getting her into the building. Quinn's just glad that Santana manages to miss everything but Rachel's left shoe.
"You're buying me a new pair," Rachel grumbles with a disgusted expression.
"I'll buy you three if you can get the door open before she pukes again," Quinn promises, grunting under Santana's weight as the woman hangs off of her shoulder while she moans and clutches at her stomach.
"Not doin' that again," Santana swears, slowly standing up straight despite the fact that she's still looking a little green.
"I hope not," Rachel mumbles, opening the door to the building and holding it while Quinn maneuvers Santana inside.
Luckily, the elevator is working this week and already on the ground floor, because getting Santana up six flights of steps would not have been pretty. Quinn is starting to regret that she hadn't just taken Santana back to her own place, but she knows that she'll feel better being able to check in on her a few times tonight to make sure she's still breathing. They stumble out of the elevator when it reaches their floor, and Santana falls into the nearby wall, laughing loudly. Quinn attempts to quiet her, but Santana tells her that she's, "Such a prude. Your name shoulda been Prudy McPrudence."
Rachel giggles as she as opens their apartment door. "Alcohol really does dull the wit, doesn't it?"
"When has she ever been witty?" Quinn asks with a grin, guiding Santana inside as Rachel kicks off her ruined shoes.
"Shu'up. You…blonde…blondie," Santana sputters, leaning heavily against the wall and inhaling deeply.
"Are you going to be sick again?" Rachel asks worriedly, eyeing the hallway to the bathroom as if she's contemplating how quickly they can get her in there.
Santana shakes her head. "Don't think so. Just…really wanna lay down 'til the room stops spinning."
"As tempting as it is to let you just slide down the wall and sleep on the floor, it's only about twenty steps to the bedroom," Quinn says, touching her arm lightly.
"'Kay," Santana agrees, pushing off the wall and starting down the hallway. Oliver chooses that moment to poke his head out of the master bedroom, hissing at the sight of Santana. She sneers at him and hisses back, sending him scurrying back inside the room.
"And you wonder why he doesn't like you," Rachel chastises her.
"He started it," Santana whines petulantly.
Once they're inside the guest room, Santana immediately flops face-down across the bed, even before Quinn has flipped the light on. Quinn sighs and glances at Rachel. "Should we just leave her like that?"
Rachel tilts her head, staring at Santana thoughtfully. "She won't be very comfortable. We should at least take off her shoes…and probably her pants too."
Quinn tugs Rachel a little closer, ducking her head and whispering, "I'd rather take off yours."
Rachel grins, promising, "Later."
"Can still hear you," Santana grunts, pulling their attention back to her as she inelegantly rolls over and immediately groans, pressing a hand to her head. "Fuck."
Quinn shakes her head, letting go of Rachel and moving to stand at Santana's feet where she bends to pull off her shoes. "Come on, lush. Let's get you undressed."
"Knew you wanted me naked," Santana teases, twisting her fingers into the button of her skin-tight jeans and working it open.
"Wait," Rachel orders, holding up a hand, and Quinn stills her movements, turning to look at her wife in concern. "Before we go any further, are you wearing underwear?" she asks Santana.
"Come an' find out," Santana dares her, dragging down her zipper and starting to push at the denim. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."
"Not happening," Quinn mutters, standing over Santana and slapping her hands away. "Rach, can you help me get her pants off?"
"Hey…hey…hey," Santana complains, attempting to lean up on her elbows. "Ask a girl before you try and get in her pants."
"You just offered to show us yours," Rachel reminds her, standing next to Quinn.
Santana frowns. "Huh," she grunts as she considers this. "Yeah. You got me." She drops back down and tosses her arms open across the mattress. "Be gentle. S'our first time."
"We really should be recording this," Rachel jokes, bumping Quinn's shoulder with a sly grin.
"Tempting, but no. I think I want to burn this whole experience from my memory."
Rachel giggles again, moving to Santana's feet and tugging at her pant legs while Quinn carefully works the denim over her hips, careful to leave her barely-there panties in place, until the material finally loosens enough to be pulled away completely.
"You suck at this," Santana grumbles with her eyes closed. "Coulda had you both naked by now." She moves her hands to the bottom of her shirt and yanks it up, clumsily pulling it over her head while she's still on her back. Thank God she's wearing a bra.
"Okay. I think that's our cue to leave," Quinn announces, grabbing Rachel's hand and turning for the door before Santana loses her bra too.
Rachel stops her. "Just let me do one thing," she trails off, letting go of Quinn and moving around the bed.
"Am I gettin' a Teddy Berry?" Santana asks sleepily.
"Sorry. She's all mine," Quinn informs her sweetly, watching her wife pick up the little trash can from under the desk in the corner and bring it over to the bed.
"Greedy bitch," Santana mumbles.
"Lucky bitch, actually," Rachel corrects proudly, flashing an impish smile at Quinn, who isn't about to disagree with her, before she holds up the trash can for Santana to see and taps it sharply. "Please aim for this if you feel the need to vomit again and can't make the bathroom." Santana groans and lifts a limp hand to wave her away.
Rachel sighs, placing the can on the floor next to the bed before she's back at Quinn's side, slipping an arm around her waist and leaning into her. "We should probably get her some water and aspirin."
"I'll take care of it," Quinn promises, turning so she can loop both arms around her wife. "Thanks for helping me with her."
Rachel nods. "I believe that taking care of drunken best friends is one of my wifely duties. Although not nearly as much fun as some of my other wifely duties," she murmurs suggestively as she sneaks one hand underneath Quinn's shirt.
"Still hear you," Santana grunts from the bed.
Quinn groans lowly, turning off the lights and firmly closing the door as she tugs Rachel out of the room and into the privacy of their own. And when Rachel kisses her and offers to help her out of her pants, she makes a mental note to check in on Santana later. Much, much later.
Santana finally emerges from the guest bedroom late the next morning, wearing her t-shirt but no pants (and it looks like no bra) with her hair a tangled mess. Quinn is still happily enjoying her coffee as she reads her newspaper. She still prefers the actual paper kind to the online version, even though Rachel thinks it's just wasting paper. Quinn always reminds her that she likes it well enough when she's cutting out her latest glowing review for her scrapbook.
"Good morning, Santana," Rachel greets cheerfully.
Santana scowls at her. "Ay, dios! Stop yelling at me."
Rachel chuckles. "That's what you get for drinking an entire bottle of tequila all by yourself."
"Quinn, make your wife stop talking," Santana demands grumpily as she falls into an empty chair at the table.
"I haven't figured out how to do that in ten years," Quinn reminds her with a cheeky grin, "what makes you think I'd be able to now?"
"Very funny," Rachel grumbles, tossing a grape at her. It sails wide right and bounces across the floor, and Quinn can hear the skitter of Oliver's paws as he gives chase and begins to bat his new toy around the kitchen.
Santana drops her head into her hands, pressing her fingers into her temples and rubbing. "I feel like Sue Sylvester shot me out of a cannon, ran over me with a tank, and got your demon cat to puke up a hairball in my mouth."
Rachel blanches, pushing away what's left of her yogurt and fruit plate. "Well, there goes my appetite."
"And the mattress in that bedroom is uncomfortable as fuck," Santana complains, lifting her head. "You need to get a new one if you expect me to keep staying here."
"We don't," Quinn reminds her. "That's why you have your own apartment."
"Can I get some coffee here or what?" Santana demands.
Quinn rolls her eyes, sighing as she stands up and heads for the cabinet to get a clean mug while Rachel tells Santana, "You really should have some juice instead. It will flush out the toxins and rehydrate your body."
"My body just wants some freaking caffeine and your mouth on mute," Santana mutters.
Rachel sends her a withering look before she takes a sip of her own coffee, and Quinn sets a full mug in front of Santana. "Here. And you're welcome," she drawls when Santana dives right in without even uttering a thank you.
Santana swallows a sizable amount before she sets the mug down and wrinkles her nose, staring at the coffee suspiciously. "This is only slightly less disgusting than the stuff at the hospital."
"It's gourmet," Quinn informs her.
Quinn frowns. "It was a gift from my mother."
"And thankfully, it's almost gone," Rachel mumbles under her breath.
Quinn looks at her wife in surprise. Rachel has been drinking the coffee without complaint for two weeks, and, "You loved the tea she gave us."
"Because the tea was actually good," Rachel explains, sighing when she notices the irked expression on Quinn's face. "The coffee isn't terrible," she concedes in a placating tone.
"Yeah, it is," Santana disputes.
Rachel sends her a glare before she continues. "But it's certainly not my preference. Although I do appreciate that Judy thought to send us a gift from her trip to Seattle, which is why I didn't say anything sooner."
"You've turned into such a coffee snob," Quinn muses with a shake of her head.
"I'm simply selective with my caffeinated beverages," Rachel clarifies with a grin.
"Enough with the Folgers commercial," Santana interrupts. "Your wedded abyss is making my hangover worse."
"You thought we were beautiful last night," Quinn reminds her with a smirk.
"Yeah, right," Santana scoffs, shaking her head as she sits back in her chair. "A beautiful disaster, maybe."
"Seeing us happy makes you happy," Rachel recites with a teasing grin.
Santana's eyes seem to flash with something close to awareness, but it's replaced by confusion so quickly that Quinn wonders if she was imagining it, and then Santana barks out an incredulous laugh. "Okay, you should have some more of this shitty coffee, because you're obviously still drunk," she tells Rachel, tapping her fingernail against her mug.
"Oh, Santana, you don't have to be embarrassed," Rachel assures her, reaching across the table to pat her hand. "You were very sweet, calling us your sisters."
Santana jerks her hand away, glaring at both of them. "Scissor sisters, maybe. Seriously, Quinn, how much did your child bride have to drink last night?"
Quinn frowns at her friend. "Not as much as you did." She can't quite figure out if Santana is just being her typical defensive self because she's embarrassed that she let them see her that vulnerable or if she legitimately blacked out and forgot everything that she said.
"Please, bitch. I can handle my alcohol," Santana dismisses.
"So you don't remember crawling across the booth and cuddling in Rachel's lap?" Quinn asks slowly.
"Oh, fuck off. That didn't happen," Santana denies heatedly, crossing her arms.
Rachel looks at Quinn pointedly. "I knew we should have been recording her."
Quinn shakes her head at her wife before telling Santana, "You really should stay away from the tequila for a while."
"You two are so full of it," Santana tells them with scowl. "Some parts of last night might be a little fuzzy, but I remember enough of it to know that you were getting your freak on as soon as you dumped me in the bed."
"You would remember that part."
"I'm just telling it like it is," Santana says with a grin, pushing herself up from her chair. "Now I'm gonna go take a shower while you make me some real coffee. And some bacon and eggs wouldn't hurt either," she adds, looking directly at Quinn as she turns.
"This isn't a bed and breakfast," Quinn protests to her retreating back.
"Good thing, because the service sucks," Santana calls out over her shoulder, already stripping her shirt off as she heads for the bathroom.
"I can't believe she doesn't remember," Rachel comments, standing up to carry the remnants of her breakfast over to the sink.
Quinn shrugs. "I don't think she wants to remember. Santana doesn't like to let anyone to see her real emotions."
"We're not just anyone, Quinn. We're her family."
"Yeah, but that doesn't make it any easier for her," she reiterates, picking up her own coffee (which she happens to like very much) and turning to look at her wife, whose phone has magically appeared in her hand in the space of thirty seconds. "Who are you texting?" she asks suspiciously.
"Hmm?" Rachel hums distractedly before she shrugs. "Oh...just Stacy."
"Rachel, no," Quinn warns, closing the distance between them.
Rachel dances away, smiling innocently. "What? I'm only asking her if Evelyn has heard of any new opportunities that might fit with my current schedule."
"No, you're not. You're asking her if she wants to meet Santana."
"You don't know that," Rachel argues.
Quinn sets her cup down on the counter and leans against it as she gazes meaningfully at her wife. "I know you."
Rachel grins sheepishly. "You heard Santana last night. She wants to meet a nice woman and settle down."
Quinn remembers, but, "She was drunk."
"In vino veritas," Rachel quotes resolutely.
"She was drinking tequila," Quinn reminds her.
"You know what I mean, Quinn," Rachel challenges with a pout. "Alcohol or not, I think she's finally ready to be in a serious, committed relationship again. Which means that we can finally start introducing her to our nice, female-inclined friends without worrying that she only wants a temporary bed-warmer. Well…worrying less, anyway," she amends with a thoughtful frown.
"You know Santana is never going to agree to this sober," Quinn points out, regardless of the fact that Santana had actually encouraged this crazy notion last night. Quinn knows Santana well enough to be certain that she meant what she said about not wanting to be single anymore, but she also knows that Santana will never agree to be set up on a blind date, especially by Rachel, without another bottle of tequila in her system.
"That's why we're not going to tell her," Rachel informs her, laying her phone aside as she steps into Quinn's personal space.
"And how is that going to work?"
"You just leave the details to me," Rachel insists, looping her arms around Quinn's neck. "Mission: Sweetheart for Santana is a go."
Quinn sighs in exasperation as she rests her hands on her wife's hips. "Rach…I love you. And I love that you're such a hopeful romantic, and I know that you just want all of our friends to be as happy as we are, but I really think this is a bad idea," she feels compelled to say, watching Rachel's smile droop at the words. "Santana has never had a problem meeting women. It's letting them get too close that's always been the issue. And she definitely won't be happy when she figures out that you're playing matchmaker."
Rachel nods in understanding, biting into her lip, and Quinn thinks that she's finally made her idealistic wife see reason. Unfortunately, at that moment, Santana's voice rises over the running water in the bathroom as she belts out, "somebody, somebody…can anybody find me...somebody to love," and Quinn groans as she watches that familiar spark of maniacal single-mindedness reignite in Rachel's eyes right before she flashes a wide smile. "Your concerns are duly noted, but if that isn't a sign from above, I don't know what is."
"It's not a sign," Quinn argues, even though she knows it's pointless. "It's a weird high school flashback caused by too much tequila and no coffee."
"Oh, hush you." Rachel smiles sweetly and leans into Quinn, kissing her lovingly. "I promise I won't go overboard," she vows when they part. "I'm merely planning to facilitate a chance meeting or two. The rest will be up to Santana."
"A chance meeting?" Quinn repeats skeptically.
"It doesn't hurt to give Fate a little nudge from time to time," Rachel declares with a grin. "Trust me, baby. By this time next year, Santana will be happily singing in someone else's shower." Her smile slips a little as her brows furrow. "By the way, you're cleaning the bathroom after she's done."
Quinn rolls her eyes, because of course she is. Rachel only cleans the bathroom when she's bored out of her mind and has absolutely nothing else to do—which is rarely ever. That doesn't stop Quinn from making a counteroffer. "I will if you wash the sheets."
Rachel tilts her head, appearing to think it over before she brushes a chaste kiss over Quinn's smiling lips. "Deal."
Rachel spins away with a smile, humming along to Santana's unfortunate song choice as she grabs her phone again and goes back to texting poor Stacy. Quinn shakes her head and pushes off the counter, turning to pour herself another cup of coffee before she sets about making breakfast for Santana. It's the least she can do when her wife is plotting to set her up on a blind date with a stranger. She only hopes that Santana will remember that she actually does love them when she finds out that she inadvertently purchased a matchmaker along with her tequila last night. And really, there are worse drunken mistakes to make. Quinn can certainly attest to that. Her eyes seek out Rachel, and she smiles, because sometimes even the worst mistake can eventually lead a person to the most beautiful reward—and being drunk on love is the best kind of buzz. With any luck, it won't be long before Santana will be saying the same.