“I don’t really like beer, Santana.”
“That’s because Puckerman gave you a can that had been open in his room for three days,” Santana says, tugging a Bud Lite Lime out of its box. “My cousin says this is a light, inexpensive summer beer, whatever the fuck that means. It’s summer. Drink.”
“Graduation has made you no less terrifying,” Rachel says, and then stares at the bottle in her hand in consternation.
Santana rolls her eyes. “Oh my God, Berry, you’re killing me. Give me that.” She snatches the bottle back and pops the top off with her bottle opener, then gives another bottle the same treatment. If Rachel has managed to con her way into pulling Heartbreak Patrol duty with the rest of glee club, she can damn well learn a thing or two while she’s at it.
They’re sitting by the pool, feet dangling in the water. Santana’s parents have fucked off to God knows where again, leaving her to encourage underage drinking. Rachel makes a face when she tastes her first swig, but she keeps drinking. Good, maybe she’ll be able to make it through a college party without losing her shit. Santana remembers Rachel’s spectacular foray into mixed drinks on her worst hangover days. She’s been remembering it a lot lately.
“I mean, it isn’t fucking fair,” Santana starts, voice cracking. Christ, she’s not even drunk enough to get weepy, she’s just naturally in a state of meltdown all the goddamn time. Quinn’s been bearing the worst of it, with Mercedes a close second. “Why the fuck do you and the Great Nipples of Giza get your chance to make a long distance relationship work? Me and Britt go back for way longer and she keeps going on about how we both have dreams and they’re taking us to the opposite sides of the country. Love can reach long distance but it can’t always grow up with you, my fine fucking ass.” She sniffles and chugs half her beer. Might as well get the crying over with early.
Rachel gives her such a tentative pat on the shoulder that it’s more of a tap, like the first few drops of rain. Her fingertips are cool. “It… appears that Finn and I won’t be making the attempt. Just Kurt and Blaine and Mike and Tina. Sam and Mercedes don’t really count, since he’s following her to LA. Finn and I, well, we had some doubts, and discussing them sort of… didn’t work.”
What a fucking sorry pair they make. “And now I’m your latest project, because if I can survive, so can you,” Santana says without any real rancor, kicking a little splash of water over Rachel’s ankles. The tears are still a hot pressure behind her eyes and in the back of her throat, but she’s cried over this so many times that she doesn’t have the energy for more right now. This is a different kind of ache than junior year, and she can’t tell whether it’s better or worse. She has friends (weird fucking friends) to help her this time, but also the knowledge that Britt loves her more than anyone else. Loves her enough to let her go, which. “I’ve never let go of a damn thing in my life,” she says aloud.
“I believe you are well acquainted with my tenacity,” Rachel says, clinking her beer against Santana’s. “This will all make sense a few years from now, unless we’re in a Nicholas Sparks novel. I thought that Mandy Moore’s performance in A Walk to Remember was bland but enjoyable.”
“You and Quinn and your chick flicks,” Santana says, shuddering. “True love conquers all is a terrible thing to teach high schoolers.”
“Because you believe it or because you don’t?” Rachel asks, and finishes her beer.
They polish off a beer and a half more apiece in about an hour once they start up a drinking game to distract themselves from love and exes. Rachel protests that “drink every time I am a hot bitch” is an unclear rule, but seems mollified when Santana adds, “And I’ll drink every time I accidentally check you out.” High maintenance chicks are so easy to appease: just go straight for the ego. It’s what got Santana through several years under Quinn Fabray’s thumb.
“And then I thanked Mr. Schue for handling my teenage crush on him in such a way that I will inevitably never sleep with any of my directors!” Rachel says happily, concluding a long, rambling story about her future career. She’s flushed from the alcohol and sort of swaying in time to whatever soundtrack she must have going in her crazy head.
Santana tilts her bottle back, suddenly all too aware of the beer sliding down her throat. “Your crushes are so vanilla.”
“You’re drinking a lot,” Rachel burbles, swaying until her shoulder is pressed against Santana’s. “You think I’m pretty.”
“Or that I’m hot shit,” Santana says, then curses to herself when Rachel’s face falls. “Fine, whatever. It’s my certified lesbian opinion that you’re easy on the eyes when you’re not horrifying everyone with your sweaters.”
Rachel takes a drink, eyes locked on Santana’s the whole time, and damn, that shouldn’t be hot. She doesn’t have a dick, but she can think of a few other things for her to wrap her mouth around—
Dear sweet baby Jesus, she’s so sex deprived that Rachel Berry is making her horny. Santana takes another drink.
“My crushes aren’t always vanilla,” Rachel says, blushing and actually shooting her a look through lowered lashes. “I am of course open to the possibility of—”
“Yeah, stick with the obvious pick-up lines,” Santana says with a grin, setting down her beer. She’s warm all over from the sun and the beer, and there’s a girl sitting next to her flirting, even if it’s not the right girl. This is something she can do; this is something she’s good at. “If you want some sweet lady action between friends, all you have to do is ask.”
“Between friends,” Rachel says, and licks her goddamn lips.
Santana gives up any pretense of indifference and leans in, cupping Rachel’s jaw in one hand. Rachel draws in a breath and leans the rest of the way, kissing with more confidence than Santana would have expected. She’s all soft mouth save for the firm pressure of teeth against Santana’s lower lip, quick little bites that are over as soon as they’re registered. Damn. Puckerman was right.
She trails her fingers down Rachel’s neck, smiling into the kiss when she feels the flutter of Rachel’s pulse. She could go for the boobs next, and Rachel does have an excellent rack, but she has the feeling that won’t fly, not now, at least. Might as well go for the tease. Santana strokes Rachel’s arm lightly, tracing her initials on the inside of Rachel’s wrist.
When Rachel groans, Santana puts a hand on her knee.
“Mean,” Rachel chokes out. She tugs on a strand of Santana’s hair, then tucks it behind her ear. “Before we go any further—”
“Lots of necking, over the bra action, I get it,” Santana says, once she manages to process the idea of going further. She wants to get laid so badly that she aches, but sex makes her think of Brittany, the million times she’s closed her eyes and imagined it’s Brittany touching her. Rachel kisses differently, probably does everything differently, but there’s only so much different Santana can handle.
“It’s not that I don’t want to,” Rachel says, her voice going higher as her face gets redder. “I would simply prefer to discuss it sober.”
“Great,” Santana says, gently pushing Rachel on her back against the concrete. She gets down next to her, rolling over on her side. “I’m gonna make out with you now. Talk later.”
“Great,” Rachel echoes, putting an arm around her waist. “This will get uncomfortable. The flooring, I mean.”
“I have a couch,” Santana says, rolling her eyes. “Shut up, Berry.”
She kisses Rachel until her lips are heavy with it, until the shadows in her yard deepen with sunset. Things aren’t great, won’t be for a long time, but this is good. This is what she needs, a girl that tastes like summer instead of goodbye.