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shedding feathers under fluorescent lights

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The paparazzi photos are damning for a woman who has built her reputation on being unattainable and, in Santana's secret and entirely subjective opinion, obnoxiously gorgeous. They're also, as far as Santana can tell, one hundred percent false.

"We need to get her on the show," Puck says, whistling low at the collection of pictures on ONTD.

"I don't want to have her on," Santana insists. "She's a fucking nutcase."

Puck rolls his eyes. "You'll have to interact with her for all of ten minutes live on air. I think you'll be okay."

It's a little-known fact that Santana Lopez, star host of Snix at Night!, was in class with Rachel Berry for the hot second that Rachel was in college before she got her big break. Santana didn't get much exposure to the girl – she was auditioning right and left during her free time – but there were a few run-ins that Santana would honestly prefer not to remember.

But that's neither here nor there. "Whatever," Santana says. "I don't care."

Puck sighs, pushes a hand through his hair. He has that stupid mohawk again, but their demographic seems to not hate it, the few times he's actually on-camera, so Santana isn't going to tell him to get rid of it again. "Think of the ratings," he says.

"Fuck the ratings," Santana says, but Puck has a point. Still, she's not sure she wants to have the girl who, among other things, criticized her entire report on the politicization of musical theatre at the turn of the 20th century and who, on a separate occasion, made out with Santana's ex at a party, come on the show. It's not like Santana is stuck on this after all those years. She doesn't even think about it all that much. But when Rachel is particularly prominent in the media for whatever reason, giving interview after annoying interview, or she is nominated for another award (but never, ever winning them), or Santana finds herself crossing her legs against a surge of admittedly conflicted arousal during one of Rachel's sexier scenes on her tv show – yeah. Santana flashes back to college.

"Think about it," Puck says, navigating off the page. He flips the cover back over his iPad and stands up. "I gotta go get some stuff ironed out with One Direction's management, someone mentioned that Niall wants to try out this new pseudo-grungecore song on the show."

"Ew," Santana says. She raps her fingernails – long; she's in between girlfriends – on the windowsill, looking out onto the street below, the glare of sun against windshields sticking in her eyes.

She knows she should jump at the chance. She knows she has to act now.

She sighs.


So it's like, actually happening. One of the print media conglomerates gets an interview with her before she goes on the show, but Rachel Berry's first appearance on Snix at Night! will also be her first time talking on air about all of the rumors circulating that she’s now dating her co-star.

Santana is wearing her favorite shirt. She doesn’t really have a good reason to do so, and Puck ribs her for it - which is what you get for befriending the people who work for you - but the cut and color of it just looks really fucking good on her.

She is focusing so much on trying not to build up any expectations, good or bad, about how this interview will go, that she builds up at least six different, yet equally unlikely, fantasies about how it will turn out.

It isn’t that Santana is star struck, not in the least. She had Jesse St. James in for an interview two months ago, about how he’s inches away from being the youngest person to ever EGOT, and managed to keep it together. Ditto for telenovela star David Martinez, who she would have probably been in love with as a child if it weren’t for the whole raging lesbian thing. Rachel Berry, who does admittedly have an impressive Broadway resume and who is starring in the hot new show of the season, doesn’t come close to reaching that kind of level.

It’s just that she hasn’t really talked to anyone (besides her mother) who knew her, even in the vaguest way, before she moved past her awkward, perpetually-angry phase and constructed a public identity from scratch at the end of college, since she stopped trying to do stand-up in nightclubs and started pursuing bigger things.


In the end, it doesn’t really matter that Rachel knew Santana for all of a month ten years ago. Santana goes to Rachel's dressing room before the show for one last run-through of the questions and then, almost before she knows it, Rachel is sitting on the couch across from Santana, dressed to kill in this gorgeous form-fitting dress and Santana is telling her about how great it is to have her on the show.

The interview goes really well for about two minutes, but then Santana goes off-book. The segue is just too great: Rachel has established how she's not actually dating her co-star, Sam, that he is the sweetest guy but not exactly what she looks for in a partner (Santana is pretty sure that the fact that the ex of hers that Rachel made out with at that one college party was a woman, albeit one with a pretty androgynous name, outlines pretty well exactly how Sam isn't what Rachel is looking for, but she would never say as much on the air).

"I mean," Rachel is saying, flashing another one of her fucking brilliant trademark smiles at the cameraman crouching behind Santana. "Sam is just – he's helping me get back to my roots. I think it's safe to say that I'm an incredibly ambitious and task-oriented person, which is a great thing to be, but there are a few times, here and there – well. Sometimes I get just a little bit too focused on work. I'll concede that Sam is great in that he reminds me of where I came from, how hard I've had to work to get where I am, how I still have so far that I can go, you know. And it's always right when I need a reality check. But dating? No. I could never date Sam. He's like a brother to me; it would just be --" She pauses, then smiles. "Sometimes, you just get so close to a person that dating would ruin it. That's my relationship with Sam. He humbles me."

In the pictures, Rachel is holding Sam's hand tight and kissing his cheek, whispering something to him, so close that her lips brush his ear, and there's one of a peck on the lips. That doesn't mean anything, though. Santana kisses friends goodbye all the time. Well. Hot friends.

"So, getting back to your roots," she says, raising an eyebrow at the camera. And then she goes off-book. "It's a good thing you came on Snix at Night! then."

At that moment, the interview goes to complete shit. Maybe not to most of the viewers, not if she's being entirely objective about it, but Santana just feels like she's lost the brief connection she's managed to establish with Rachel, despite their brief but strained history.

Rachel looks blank at Santana's comment.

Santana clarifies, just to nudge Rachel's memory. "I mean, considering we took a class together at NYU before your big break."

"Oh, right, of course" Rachel says, shooting a grin at the camera again. "Yes, it's very nice to see you again after so long, Santana."

The thing is, Santana is ten thousand fucking percent positive that Rachel doesn't remember her at all.

So she ends up doing the rest of the interview on autopilot, though at least she does manage to get through the whole thing like the goddamn pro she is. She even jokes about how Rachel will have to return to Snix at Night! as a music act sometime soon.

Rachel hugs her goodbye, rather than the hello handshake she got, and since Santana is only human, she closes her eyes briefly as Rachel tugs her close, and lets herself feel all of Rachel's tiny and perfectly-proportioned body pressed against her front. But just for a beat.

And then Rachel is waving and leaving and after they wrap the last segment of the show, Santana stalks down to her office and pours herself a healthy dose of her favorite sipping tequila.


Three days later, her office phone rings during lunch. Picking it up without glancing at the caller ID – the only people who call her office phone during lunch are her therapist (because Santana refuses to let the woman have her personal cell phone number), her mother, and her physical trainer - Santana says "Go for Lopez."

"Hi, Santana?" The voice on the other end is perky and unfamiliar. "It's Rachel Berry."

Oh. "Hey, Rachel."

"Listen, I just wanted to apologize about Tuesday." Rachel is talking even faster than she did on the show, which is honestly impressive.

"Apologize for what?"

"Oh, you know," Rachel says. "I remember who you are now. You did that misguided and incomplete presentation on the socio-political ramifications of musical theatre in-"

"This doesn't sound like an apology," Santana interrupts. She knew it. She knew Rachel didn't remember her.

Whatever. It's not like she ever made a point of getting close to Rachel Berry at school. There's no reason Rachel should remember her. Still, it is a little ego-bruising.

A deep breath. "I apologize," Rachel says. "I have a history of getting carried away when it comes to things I’m quite passionate about."

"Yeah, I work in the business; I've heard the stories," Santana says, and maybe she says it a little peevishly, but whatever. Rachel just gets under her skin, in more ways than one.

Rachel is quiet for a little while, and Santana is just about to hang up on her, when she speaks again. "Look, I do feel bad that I didn't remember being in class with you-"

"-and making out with my ex," Santana mutters.

"-and – what?"

Rachel wasn't supposed to hear that. "Nothing."

"No, you said something about your… ex? Santana, I think I would remember if you and I had dated. I mean, I certainly didn't stay at NYU for very long but it's not like I make a habit of blocking out my memories of people in my life, and-"

"That's not what I said," Santana says, sighing. She's glad that Rachel got cast in a time-consuming role and had to drop out of school before they got started on the group project they'd been assigned to do for their class final. That would just… that would have been a really damn unfortunate situation. She would have ended up either killing Rachel, or fucking her.

"Well, what? I'd really like to know what else I did that made you so upset so that I can apologize for it properly."

"It's nothing," Santana says. "Really. It's ancient history."

"But you mentioned it, so it's not nothing."

Damn, but this woman is persistent. "It's seriously nothing," she says again. "You hooked up with my ex at a party but it was ten years ago and it doesn't matter."

"I-" Rachel falls quiet for a beat. "Do you mean Quinn? I can't remember her last name, unfortunately, but – was it Quinn?"

"Yeah," Santana says. She's about to add say something else, something about how Rachel should seriously drop it because she's beginning to feel completely ridiculous, rehashing the drama that went down at a party ten fucking years after it happened, but Rachel interrupts.

"You've known me for ten years, including the very private fact that I've been with women, and you haven't revealed either of those bits of information. Well, outside of mentioning knowing me during an interview with me, of course, but that hardly counts."

"I may host a talk show," Santana says, irritably. "That doesn't mean I make a point of spreading celebrity gossip, outside of what people are willing to admit about themselves."

"I - of course," Rachel says. She's quiet for another moment, and then she says, "Anyway, my point is, I want to make it up to you."

"You – what?"

"Have lunch with me," Rachel says. "My treat. I want to apologize properly."

"Rachel, you don't have to-"

"Please," Rachel interrupts. "It would make me feel so much better about everything."

It won't make Santana feel so much better about everything, that's for damn sure. She just wants to say no, but like… she doesn’t make a habit of disregarding people's feelings, not anymore, not since she's had to build up her persona and establish connections with people in her world to ensure the success of her show. Not since she lost a lot of the insecurities she held for most of her young life and went through that transition at the end of school.

Also – and to be honest, more importantly – she feels like Rachel won't shut up until she says yes.

"Fine," she says. "Whatever."


The tabloids the day after she has lunch with Rachel – in a popular vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Hollywood, no less – are astonishingly quiet, considering Santana's not exactly closeted (for the first two months of Snix at Night!, she even made a point of exclusively interviewing queer celebrities) and Rachel is experiencing a meteoric rise in fame. JustJared puts up some pictures, and ONTD posts about a college reunion, but overall, it's quiet.

Which is what Santana wants.

Lunch went okay. Rachel wasn't completely offensive, and the food was pretty good. For the rest of the day after Rachel springs a goodbye hug on her, Santana tries to remember anything they talked about – anything at all – but she can't.

Really, the obnoxious thing is that Rachel is so much hotter than anyone should be allowed to be. Santana has always known this. Watching Rachel kiss Quinn three days after Santana and Quinn broke up was humbling. Devastating, even, for the hour or two Santana allowed the situation to devastate her.

Part of that, though, was the way that she felt uncomfortably aroused at the sight of Rachel and Quinn, locked in a drunken embrace.

Santana isn't particularly into Broadway, so the only show she saw Rachel in was one Jesse was guest-starring in, three weeks before he came on Snix at Night!. She's watched her show avidly, though. Mostly it's because Mercedes, who plays the antagonist with aplomb and who is one of Santana's oldest friends in the business, also stars on the show, but still. She's seen every episode.

But she can't lie to herself. Rachel's physical appearance is the icing on the cake. Santana has always gone for relatively small-chested women with fantastic legs who are, with the exception of her most recent ex, all shorter than her, and Rachel certainly fits the bill.

Now that they've had lunch, though, Santana feels awkward about the whole thing. It's one thing to be simultaneously uncomfortably attracted to, and annoyed by, an up-and-coming star who she doesn't interact with at all. It's another thing entirely to be establishing a professional connection with Rachel, since every so often, a mental image of ripping off Rachel's clothes and getting tangled up in Rachel's legs and hair hits Santana hard.

Santana ends her relationship with Rachel then and there. She doesn't tell Rachel about that decision, of course, because she doesn't expect to hear from her again anytime soon, but like... Santana's not going to be doing any initiating of future conversations here.


It even works, in theory, but then, two weeks later, Santana runs into Rachel at Whole Foods, of all places.

"Santana, hi," Rachel says, pushing her cart up next to Santana's. Santana feels suddenly embarrassed by the pork belly and steaks in her cart. She surreptitiously takes a box of cereal off the shelf and puts it right on top of the meat.

"Hey, Rachel," she says, pushing her cart forward.

"How are you doing today? I hope you've had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather."

"Yeah," Santana says. She runs outside every morning. Makeup gets so pissed when she tans unevenly, but they can go fuck themselves. She's not giving up her sunshine. "It's pretty."

Rachel is glancing at Santana's cart, Santana realizes, and she considers being embarrassed again when Rachel asks, "Are you buying for a party?" because she's got about four party platters at the bottom of her cart.

"No," she confesses. "I'm just really lazy about cutting stuff up most nights, but I don't like going to restaurants very often." It's a throwback to her childhood – Her dad ended up filthy rich, but when he was still in med school, cheap restaurants were only for the most special of special occasions. She still feels guilt even for getting In-n-Out before Buckeyes games, even though she is also filthy rich now. "This makes it easy."

"I suppose it would," Rachel says, glancing at Santana's cart again. Santana looks at Rachel's more closely. Root vegetables and mycoprotein, mostly, and a little bag of the most beautiful tamarillos Santana's ever seen. "Santana, I was thinking-"

"You don't have to keep being nice to me, you know," Santana says – and then blinks at herself, because she'd pretty much eradicated the part of herself that lashes out at people trying to get close to her back when she was still dating Brittany. She's already spoken, though, so she might as well go with it. "You already made up for forgetting me, so like… you don't have to keep trying. If you don't want to."

Rachel stops in her tracks and stares at Santana "I can go, if you want," she says, pushing the cart back and forth by about an inch or two both ways. "But I rather enjoyed the conversation we had at lunch several weeks ago, and I - I thought that we hit it off rather well, and even though I didn't exactly remember you at first, it's nice to know someone who knew me back when I was just getting started in New York around here; LA is a very different city, obviously, and –"

"Are you trying to become the white, modern Motormouth Maybelle?" Santana asks, interestedly. She knows the name and the role, if not the context, but it sounds appropriate.

Rachel gapes at her. "I tend to talk a lot when I'm nervous," she says, and Santana blinks again. Nervous? What reason does Rachel have to be nervous?

She asks Rachel, who rolls her eyes. "Never mind," she says. "It was a dumb thought. You obviously don't want to spend more time with me."

Now Santana feels bad. "No, Rachel," she says, and sighs. She'd like to think that this whole navigating conversation and spending time together thing would be easier if bitch were still consistently her primary language, but that would so not be true. Rachel is far too hot for interacting with her to be easy, ever. "That's not what I meant."

"Well, what did you mean, then?"

Santana is silent for a long moment, trying to sort through her feelings. She still feels like she doesn't particularly want much to do with Rachel, but after actually spending time with the woman outside of her awkward memories of being a college freshman, she's no longer certain what is motivating those feelings. Finally, she says, "I guess I get a little bit bitchy when I'm nervous."

Apparently that's the right thing to say, because Rachel smiles brilliantly at her. "What are you doing tomorrow?"

Well. That was unexpected. She's busy all day, honestly, but - "Why?" Santana asks.

"So we can have lunch again, obviously," Rachel says. “I find that getting to know people better is a good way to allay potential making-new-friends anxiety. Or new old friends, I suppose, in this case.”

"We were never particularly friends," Santana points out. Which – okay, she needs to stop doing that. Rachel's making an effort, and like, that's got to be worth something.

Even if her eyes do keep drifting to Rachel's legs, because Rachel is wearing a skirt that really emphasizes how fucking great they are.

Santana glances up at Rachel's face again. She's beginning to frown, so Santana hastens to add, "But maybe we can be?"


So that's how Santana ends up at Rachel's house on the following Saturday, since "for an admittedly B-list celebrity destined to be incredibly famous, I am an astonishingly good cook."

She's not sure what she should bring, since she's not entirely sure what this is, outside of a lunch so late that it's practically dinner, but she settles on a bottle of wine – white, because Rachel is vegan, so it will probably be a better pairing for whatever they have.

It's incredibly awkward for the first fifteen minutes, but then Rachel invites Santana into the kitchen while she finishes cooking and gets wine glasses out and they each have a glass and it gets easier.

Santana is still not sure why she's there, exactly. She's also not sure whether she'd rather throttle Rachel or kiss her senseless, but she's trying not to think about it too closely.

The food is actually delicious, but the kicker is the cookies Rachel has apparently baked for dessert. "I should have given you some the last time we had lunch," she says. "They're my signature 'I'm Sorry' cookies." A tiny smirk plays around her lips. "I'm pretty much always forgiven whenever I include them in my apologies."

"I can see why," Santana says, mouth full, spraying crumbs as she speaks. "Oops. My bad."

Rachel hands her a napkin, making a bit of a face.

They've moved on from rehashing the past and talking shop by the time they finish dinner. The bottle of wine isn't quite done yet, though, and the conversation is taking a turn for the more personal, so when Rachel suggests they move into the living room, Santana hardly even wonders what it is they're doing.

There's still the little nagging question in the back of her mind, though, of why was Rachel nervous? Why did she care enough to keep pursuing a friendship with Santana? Not that she shouldn't; Santana is a pretty fucking great person to be friends with, in her own honest opinion.

Still. It can't just be because they had class together for a month ten years ago.

Rachel is telling her this story about getting lost when she first got to LA, something Santana's pretty sure that she heard on Access Hollywood Live, but she's making these cute little hand gestures as she speaks, leaning forward animatedly and grinning at Santana as she talks about how it was her third day in the city and she was trying to find her way to the gym but she got onto the wrong road and ended up halfway across town, looking for her exit, before she realized she was in the wrong place.

Santana is mostly listening, laughing along with her in all the right places, but she's more focused on the shapes Rachel's hands are making in the air, the way her fingers curl against her palm for a moment, then burst out quick and strong for emphasis, dancing in and out around her face and torso as she speaks. And then there's the way her lips curve into a smile briefly and her eyes get all wide as she leans forward and –

Santana tears her eyes away from Rachel and forces herself to glance around the room, because there is no way this train of thought will end well.


She ends up staying for three hours, and when she gets up to leave, she has Rachel's number programmed in her phone.

"This was – actually fun," Santana says, pausing at Rachel's front door and looking back at her.

Rachel frowns. "Did you really expect it to be that painful?"

Santana takes a deep breath and looks Rachel straight in the eyes. "I don’t know what I expected, when it came to seeing you again," she says, seriously. "I didn't want you on the show at first, when my assistant mentioned it, because all I had to go on was tabloid gossip and our few run-ins at NYU, but I didn't know what to expect."

"And now?" Rachel asks. To her credit, she's looking straight back at Santana, not even flinching away at Santana's words.

"Even though you didn't remember me at first," Santana says, smiling slightly to show Rachel that it's forgiven, "I don't really have anyone in my life now who knew me back at the start of college. I was – going through a lot then, and like… I don't know. I wasn't the nicest – well, I just don’t expect many people that I knew then to want to spend much time with me now." She tosses her hair. "Obviously I didn't burn that many bridges, at least not with truly important people. I mean, look where I am now. But still." She pauses. She's forgotten where she was going with this little speech of hers. "So yeah. You weren't what I expected, or remembered, and you haven't pulled out anything I may have forgotten about our brief history against me, so…"

"I enjoy spending time with you now," Rachel says, eyes moving, searching Santana's face for – what?

"I'm beginning to feel the same way," Santana says, because, well. It's true.

"So I think we should continue," Rachel continues, earnestly. "Spending time together."

And, okay, so there is that one little thing Santana hasn't mentioned to Rachel. The whole attraction thing; the part where she just wants to slip her hand up the front of Rachel's sexy-cute skirt and try and figure out how wet she can make her, and like – if she's going to be getting to know Rachel better, this attraction could easily turn into a crush. She's still debating whether or not she should tell Rachel about it or not when Rachel speaks again.

"So maybe – dinner next time? Next week? I would say this week, but we're going to be filming in Napa for the show; there's a vacation plot. But I'd like to have dinner with you, if you would."

"Yeah, that sounds great," Santana says. She takes a deep breath – it's better to get this over with now than to develop some weird, complicated unrequited feelings thing later. "Full disclosure, though. Um, I don't want you getting the wrong idea."

Rachel's face – does it fall? "What do you mean?" she asks. "Santana-"

And then Santana is leaning forward and kissing her. Just a peck, really, a brush of lips on lips, and then she pulls back and stares at Rachel, who is blushing. She doesn't apologize. She's not sorry, not right now. Maybe if Rachel gets upset, but like... she doesn't regret taking the initiative.

"Well," Rachel says, finally. "It seems that we're on the same page, then."

Santana is honestly surprised – she knew Rachel liked women, and she knows that she, herself, is hot as hell, but she just hadn't let herself entertain this possibility in any great detail. Then again, she doesn't generally meet women through work, and she's held back from the whole dating scene ever since she and Brittany ended things, so... being surprised is maybe a little bit justified.

Rachel just smirks at her. "So – Tuesday? Is that a good night for you?"


The next time Rachel comes onto Snix at Night!, she's wearing the earrings Santana got her for her birthday.

Santana meets up with her in the dressing room before the show starts filming. Before Rachel can even say hi, Santana is pressing her against the wall, kissing her soundly.

There isn't enough time for them to both go through makeup before the show, so Santana can't do what she really wants to do, which involves hiking Rachel's dress up around her waist and watching her come undone under her fingers, but they do kiss for a while before Santana has to pull back and get her lipstick re-applied.

On the air, forty minutes later, Santana hugs Rachel hello. "Thanks for coming back, Rachel."

"Of course! I love appearing on Snix at Night! There's such a pleasant atmosphere here. I mean, almost everyone is incredibly kind during interviews and the like, but I can't say that I've been anywhere else that has a bouquet of my favorite gorgeous flowers sitting in the dressing room just for me."

They sit down. Santana smirks.

This is going to be good.

"So, your movie adaptation of Wicked is going to be premiering in theaters next week," she says. "And in conjunction with that, you've been spearheading a go-green initiative."

"Yes, I thought it was appropriate, given my skin tone throughout the entire film," Rachel says, smiling wide. She's smiling at the camera again, this time around, but she's also smiling at Santana.

"How long did it take to get that makeup on and off?" Santana asks, crossing her legs at the knee.

"Oh, two hours for application, about twenty minutes for removal," Rachel says. She's tossing her hair a little bit, tucking it behind her ear ever so often. She's nervous.

"I don't know that I could sit still that long," Santana says. Her smirk widens. "Or that I would be able to accessorize with green skin at all." She pauses, glances out at the audience before turning back to Rachel. "Speaking of accessories, by the way, you have the most lovely earrings today." She pauses long enough for the camera guy to zoom in on Rachel's earrings briefly – pity the audience can't see them that well. "Can I ask where you got them?"

"Oh, er, well," Rachel says. "Someone very special got them for me."

Santana raises an eyebrow. She's relying exclusively on her public persona now, because yeah, she and Rachel have gone over this at least five times, and Rachel has assured her twice that many times that yes, she's really ready to do this. That it was her idea, even. That doesn't mean she's not nervous on Rachel's behalf. She has to hide her anxiety, though, so she pastes on an even cockier expression and sinks deeper into her Snix character. "Can it be true? Perennial single woman Rachel Barbra Berry is not so single anymore?"

"It can be," Rachel says. She takes a deep breath, exhales. Santana can practically feel how Rachel relaxes at that. "And it is."

A gasp from somewhere in the audience. It takes everything Santana has not to turn her head and look – that definitely wasn't planned, but it's a great addition. Rachel continues. "Someone from my past came back into my life pretty recently, and as it turns out, we have a lot more in common than I'd thought. This person –" She takes a deep breath. "This woman just kind of lodged herself in my awareness." She laughs, raises her eyebrows at the camera, completely ignoring the fact that, up until now, any interest that she had in women was left to the speculation of the public. Quinn never told anyone. No one at that party at NYU did. "I couldn't stop thinking about her! It was a very uncomfortable few weeks at first, since I'm fairly certain that she was trying to avoid me, but." Rachel shrugs. Santana barely manages not to roll her eyes, since she's on the air and everything. "Turns out she was just trying to avoid her deep and unavoidable attraction to me."

Rachel is certainly hamming it up, but it's pretty cute. True, too, if Santana is going to be completely honest with herself. As Rachel continues telling the story, Santana reflects for a moment. Rachel isn't the first person to officially come out on Snix at Night!; Zac Efron holds that distinction. Still, Santana is pretty sure that she'll have to hide Rachel in her house for a couple of days after this. Rachel's publicist has been kept more or less in the dark about all of her plans for this interview. There's no way he'll be happy about any of it.

But Rachel is looking at her expectantly, which means it's probably her cue. "So, Rachel," says Santana, scooting to the edge of her seat, biting her tongue against calling Rachel 'babe' on camera – yet. "Are you willing to tell us the name of this lucky lady?"

She had props put out a loveseat instead of her customary armchair for this interview. They had planned for Rachel to get up and move over once she reveals to the audience – and America – that her 'lucky lady' is Santana.

Rachel goes off-book (later, she will call it improvising). "Come closer," she says. "I'll whisper it in your ear."

And because Rachel has this wicked, though tiny, little grin on her face that is simultaneously cute and sexy as hell, Santana scoots forward, leaning over to meet Rachel in the gap between Rachel's chair and Santana's loveseat.

Rachel tugs on Santana's arm, makes as if to whisper something to Santana, and then, at the last minute, darts over and kisses Santana full on the lips.

It's not a short kiss, though it probably should be, considering that it's almost time to throw to a commercial break. Rachel keeps pulling her in, kissing her soft and sweet and, towards the very end, slipping her a little tongue, like the wicked and obnoxiously sexy (still) woman she truly is.

By the time Santana pulls back, she's breathless. "What-?"

"I'm sorry, baby," Rachel says. "I simply couldn't wait any longer." She reaches forward and laces her fingers with Santana's.

Santana makes a mental note to send Puck a fruit basket for insisting they get Rachel on the show that first time.