She asks to go west, so they can run away from the sun.
So they go.
At first the car is too warm, too bright—from the backseat she reaches out and plasters newspapers on the side windows until the light on her skin is streaked and creased with words, shadows of letters on her face that shift as they go, a never-ending moving story like a leitmotiv.
When Santana looks back she has to stop the car, brakes complaining aloud as she reaches up from the drivers’ seat to touch the other girl’s skin, fingertips trailing along the stories, the words, the travelling letters and when the kiss it tastes the way books smell, dusty and warm and like autumn even though it’s spring.
Seven kisses later they’re halfway across the state and when the sun sets ahead of them they don’t bother looking for a place to stay.
The backseat is large enough for their bodies crammed and tangled together and it never gets cold and never gets old.
For at least fifty miles there is nothing; a nothing that comes in the form of sun and red, bare land, sharp rocks on each side of the road and an occasional car that crosses them on the opposite side, rushing away from wherever they are going.
It should scare them but they keep going, keep going forward along the highway and then the deserted roads made of dirt and dust and rocks that squeak and grid under their tires and that don’t seem to lead anywhere.
They keep going anyway, and maybe not being led anywhere was what they were searching for.
It happens for the first time when they stop for the third time, and they don’t care for the windows that were left open or the now old newspaper sheets that fly away in the hot breeze, leaving them bare and unclad and exposed.
They crumble on the backseat, what has become their space and their home over the last few days, and something stirs and expands while they kiss, while their hands grow less cautious and they grip each other like a vice as the night folds upon them and traps them in.
There is no noise, no cry for help or relief or more, more, because it is enough and maybe too much for both of them, and even though they have been told countless times before that too much is never good, that they should settle for good or okay, too much feels like what they need and it doesn’t matter when pleasure turns to pain, too hot and too tight and too much.
The next morning Tina’s skin is marbled and mottled with sunburns that form the pattern of Santana’s hands and taste like kissing.
They’re not going anywhere, and even though they know that at some point they will have to stop, at some point they will have to either settle or start going back, at the moment they do nothing but move forward, farther and farther away.
The silence gets too much, so they turn the radio on to white noise and whisper over what becomes a tune, an underlying lullaby, whisper stories of girl meets girl and no savior being needed, overwhelming déjà-vus that sound like obsolescent fairytales, but they don’t care whether it was done before, they don’t care if they are a cliché, because every line sounds like poetry, sounds belonging and theirs.
It crawls under their skin and settles, like kissing if kissing could be soul to soul instead of body to body, mouth to mouth.
(Maybe it is.)
They don’t give it a name, don’t call it a thing, and do not address it at all.
This belongs in the car, between the four doors and the seats crammed with imperishable food and water too warm to be drunk, clothing seldom worn and seldom needed and their eyes, their skin fixed on each other’s.
This doesn’t have a name, and as long as they keep it that way it doesn’t need a motive.
They keep pretending it’s liberating, and maybe it could be, but Santana’s lungs constrict every time they avoid it, every time they smile around the words and swallow them instead of spitting them over swollen lips.
Their lips trace names and phrases on skin but they don’t speak of it and Santana guesses it’s enough, it’s already too much and more would be sour, would be caustic and bitter and taking until there is nothing left to give.
There’s the way her lips curl and her eyes slide shut from inside when her favourite song comes on the radio and her whispered singing along is more vibration than actual sound, the way her brown eyes lit up when she says something she believes in.
There’s the way she holds hands, not intertwining fingers but with her whole hand open like she’s helping her stand, helping her be, the way she strokes her thumb outwards and curls her fingers up and up until they rest on the steering wheel over Santana’s hands.
There’s the way she kisses and her lips curl up against hers (and Santana guesses they look repulsive but stupidly happy and somehow goes along with it), the way she breathes out and mewls, the way her hands spasm and her body heaves and slides against hers when she comes, Santana’s name on her breath but never more than the ghost of a word.
They don’t need to go back. They don’t need anything else.
She grows wings hovering like this above her life and her love, and when finally she says, they say it, they stop and make now become a wordless forever.