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As you're driving your mom to Brittany's house, you warn her. "Be nice, Mom."

 

"I like Brittany," she says, fixing her lipstick in the mirror, "I'm nice to her."

 

"Just," you sigh, "She's already been through way more than her fair share of parental insanity on my part. I just want today to go really smoothly for her. She needs to relax."

 

"I promise that I'm not going to go crazy," your mom assures you as you pull to a stop in front of Brittany's house.

 

"Thank you," you say and get out of the car. You smile when you remember that you get to spend the entire evening to spend with Summer. You don't really have a plan of what you want to do with her, but you'll probably just let her decide.

You knock on the door with your mom behind you and Brittany opens it. She smiles and hugs you. Then she hugs your mom.

 

"Summer wanted me to tell you that you are going to play hide and seek and she is already hiding," Brittany jerks her head toward the couch where there is a noticeable lump under a blanket on the couch.

 

You smile and nod, "Awesome. I'll definitely try to find her."

 

Brittany turns to your mom, "Are you ready?"

 

"Of course," your mom grins.

 

Brittany kisses you goodbye and tells you to call if you need anything. Your mom does something similar and picks some lint off of your shirt before they leave.

 

When they're gone, you walk over to the couch and sit down next to the lump. You pretend to yawn loudly, "I'm tired. I think I'm going to take a nap." You lay your head on the lump and then hear her giggle.

 

"You're not supposed to nap. You're supposed to find me," Summer states, throwing the blanket off of herself.

 

You smile and tickle her. She squirms and giggles. When you're done, you ask, "Is your homework done?"

 

Summer frowns and that alone gives you the answer. You tell her that when she's done with her homework you can play. So as she's sitting at the kitchen table, doing her homework, you do the few dishes that are in the sink and clean the kitchen a little. It's not dirty; you're just doing daily maintenance type things. Sweeping and wiping down counters.

 

"I'm done," Summer tells you as she puts all of her papers in her folder and then puts that in her backpack.

 

"Alright," you pick her up as she hops over to you and sit her on the counter. "What are we going to do?"

 

"Let's dance," she cheers.

 

You smile at how her eyes light up when she says that. Just like Brittany's do when she dances. You can't help, but follow her to the studio and rock out with her for as long as you can stand.

 

Then you turn on a movie and make grilled cheeses for dinner as requested by the tiny blonde dancer. You sit with Summer, watching the movie as you eat. Then you enlist her help to wash the dishes you used for dinner. You just happen to find ice cream in the freezer and you and Summer dig into that like ravenous wolves.

 

When your mom and Brittany get back, Summer is already in bed and you're laying on the couch about to pass out. Brittany sets down a few bags and sits down next to you. "Did she wear you out?"

 

You nod and lean into her.

 

"I got you something," your mom says which always makes you pay attention. She looks through a boutique bag and extracts a very intricately painted kettle. It's all black and white, but the designs make up for the lack of color.

 

You take it from her, "It beautiful. Thank you."

 

She smiles, "I wish Summer was still awake. I got her some things to look at under her microscope." Your mom lifts a bag of assorted colorful and crystallized rocks from a different bag.

 

You look over at Brittany, "So you two had fun?"

 

"Definitely," Brittany smiles, her eyes flickering to your mom.

 

You look at your mom who is smiling back at Brittany. It means a lot to you that they get along.

 

Your mom tells Brittany she should probably get you home before you fall asleep. Brittany chuckles and you pout, which apparently doesn't help your case.

 

Brittany walks to you to the door and hugs your mom goodbye. As your mom walks to the car, you stand in front of Brittany in the doorway. "Thank you so much."

 

"I really had fun," Brittany tells you. "Your mom is so nice."

 

You glance back at your mom and see that she's out of ear shot, "Is she okay?"

 

Brittany takes one of your hands, "She’s sad which makes sense. She doesn't really know what she wants to do now, but she feels free. She just needs a little time to figure out what she wants to do."

 

That was fairly vague, but you accept that there are some things that Brittany and your mom talked about that they don't want to tell you. You kiss Brittany again, "Thank you."

 

"I really did have fun," she tells you with a smile.

 

"When do I get to take you shopping?" you ask her.

 

"Whenever you want," she steps outside and kisses you.

 

You smile into the kiss and know that you want to kiss her forever.

 

You eventually go to your car and let your mom drive you home. You fall down on the couch with a content smile on your face.

 

"You look like you're happy," your mom says and locks the door.

 

"I am," you smile into your pillow and enjoy the feeling. Brittany’s perfect. Everything about her is perfect.

 

You find yourself at work, twirling a pen in your fingers. Today has mostly been about kids with the sniffles. It's about that time of the year that kids are going to start getting sick and colds are going to go around. You suppose you should start drafting the letter that you're going to have to send home with all the kids about washing their hands and make sure that they get a lot of vitamin C.

 

You get a call around two fifteen. It's Brittany so you immediately answer. She usually doesn't call you during the day so you almost jump on your phone, "Hey beautiful."

 

Her voice isn't what you expect though. It's on edge, "Hey babe. Um, can you pick up Summer?"

 

"Of course," you frown, "What's wrong?"

 

"I'm not sure, but my bedroom is flooded," Brittany says, "I went and got Dave and my parents are on their way over."

 

She sounds like she's really upset and you want to run over there as fast as you can, but you know that she needs you to go get Summer, "Do you want me to bring her over or do you want her to hang out with me? I can drop her off with my mom and be right over."

 

"You can bring her over," Brittany says, quietly as if the gravity of what was going on in her house just sank in. "I just - I don't know what I'm going to do."

 

"We'll figure it out okay?" you say. You gather your things and make your way out to your car, "I'll be over there as soon as I can."

 

"Thank you," she says. She tells you that she has to go and hangs up as you hear voices rise in the background.

 

Summer smiles as soon as she sees you. "Hey!" She hugs you and you hug her back. "What are you doing here?"

 

"I'm here to pick you up," you tell her. "Your mom is taking care of a problem with your house."

 

"What kind of problem?" Summer asks, taking your hand as you both make your way out to your car.

 

You're not sure how much to tell her. You don't want to scare her, but you don't want to lie to her. You figure that she's going to end up seeing it so you say, "There's a water leak in her room."

 

"Oh," Summer says, like she's relieved. You don’t know what she thought it was.

 

When you get to the house, you see the front door is open. You close the door behind you and bring Summer with you to the kitchen. You sit her down at the kitchen table and start her to doing her homework. You can hear talking in Brittany's bedroom, but you can't really make out what they're saying.

 

Finally when you make it down the short hallway to Brittany's room, you can hear Dave talking. "The water is off, but I'm not sure where it's coming from."

 

You step into the room and hear the soft pat of your sneakers landing in a thin layer of water. It's a lot worse than you thought it was. You were expecting a small puddle coming out of the bathroom, but the water has coated most of the bedroom floor.

 

"Son of a bitch," you whisper to yourself and keep moving across the wet wooden floor to the group of adults standing by the bed. You have to step over a wall of soaked towels that are keeping the water in the bedroom and not letting it move into the hallway.

 

Brittany is the first one to see you. She looks distraught, but determined to save face. You step up next to her and snake your arm around her waist. "Summer's doing her homework at the table. What do you want me to do?"

 

Brittany shrugs and rests her head on your shoulder. You rub her back and try to figure out what you need to do so that you can take some of the strain off of Brittany.

 

You look around and try to figure out what to do. You've never really had to deal with something like this. You've never had a house. You've lived in apartments, lofts, and townhouses your whole life. Your parents opted for the city life and left the suburban life to everyone else. Your first instinct has always been to call the maintenance staff.

 

"It's going to get cold in here with the electricity off," Brittany's mom mentions.

 

You look behind yourself, "Can we just turn the electricity off in here? Then maybe put something over the door to keep it from getting cold in the rest of the house?" You're not too sure of yourself and look to Brittany's mom for the verdict.

 

She nods, "That's a good idea."

 

"I think I have some plastic tarps in my garage," Dave says and walks toward the door. "I'll go check."

 

Brittany's dad walks into the bedroom from the bathroom. "I think the pipe is shut off. I'm still not too sure where the water is coming from though. I might have to get under the house."

 

"I'll go," Brittany stands up straight and volunteers, "Your back just got better."

 

"She's right," Brittany's mom says. "Just tell her where to go."

 

Brittany's dad nods and he and Brittany go outside.

 

Brittany's mom runs a hand through her hair. "Why don't we start moving the furniture into the living room? We need to get to water off the floor to, hopefully, keep it from warping."

 

You nod in agreement and you start moving things. You both manage to get most of the furniture into the living room without problem. You've been keeping it all together so it'll take up as little room as possible, but eventually, you and Brittany's mom are standing, staring at the bed.

 

"We're going to have to take it apart," you say, although it's obvious. Brittany's mom goes to get some tools and you try to figure out how to get it apart as it starts to get chilly in the room.

 

Summer comes in to watch and even helps move the pillows and linens to the couch. As you're moving the footboard into the living room, Dave walks in the front door with a folded up tarp under his arm. "I got the electricity to the bedroom cut off. It's back on in here." He walks to the thermostat and turns on the heater.

 

You turn on some of the lights and check the refrigerator to make sure it's back on. You and Dave carry the mattress into the living room and then the box spring while Brittany's mom hammers up the tarp over the doorway to the bedroom. You and Dave order some pizzas because no one is going to want to cook or go out to eat.

 

As you're pulling Brittany's shoes out of the closet, you hear her and her father enter the house. You walk into the kitchen to make sure that she's okay. Her hair is up in a messy bun and she's sweaty and dirty, a large wet spot streaking across her t-shirt. She has an especially pronounced dirt streak right under her left eye. It's so hot.

 

Brittany smiles as her dad says, "She fixed it. We'll have to get another pipe tomorrow, but she found the leak and taped it so it won't leak anymore tonight."

 

When Brittany looks at you, you smile right back at her. She steps up to you and kisses you. "Thank you for helping."

 

"No problem," you smile.

 

"Pizza's here," Dave says and walks in with the food you ordered.

 

Everyone, but you and Dave sit down. He needs help checking on something and you volunteer. When he shines a flashlight across the floor you can see it already starting to warp. "Damn," he says.

 

You look across the rest of the floor. It's all becoming the same way. As you're looking, you feel two hands rest on your hips from behind. You turn your head to see Brittany with a half eaten piece of pizza in her hand. You rarely hear Brittany curse, but she does when she sees the warping.

 

You feel bad that her small victory of fixing the pipe is overshadowed by her ruined floor. "We'll fix it," you assure her.

 

She takes a deep breath. Dave hesitantly interrupts and suggests that you all open the windows so it doesn't mold. You help him and once you're done, he exits the room through the tarp.

 

It's hard to see her in the room because only the light is coming from outside. You reach forward and take her hand. Her hand is cold so you pull her to you. She sighs, defeated with her head coming to rest on your shoulder.

 

"It'll be okay," you whisper and try to hold her in a way that would make her feel better.

 

She takes a deep breath and shakes her head, "I have to pull up this floor and buy a new one and fix the pipe and lay down the new floor. It's a lot."

 

"Well, I will help," you assure her. "I may not be as handy as my mom, but I am really great at picking out floors."

 

Brittany chuckles and softly kisses your neck. "Thank you so much Santana."

 

"Let's go eat okay?" you suggest. "We can talk it out with everyone."

 

She agrees and you go join everyone else in eating. You pull out Brittany's chair and refill Summer's water before sitting down. Talking it out seems to help Brittany. Tomorrow, Brittany's parents are going to come over start pulling up the floor. Dave is going to drop by after work and you are coming during your lunch break to see if you can help. When Brittany gets off, you're taking Brittany and Summer to see if you can find a floor that they like.

 

After dinner, Dave goes home and Brittany's parents aren’t far behind. You hang out with Summer while Brittany takes a shower in the bathroom by Summer's room.

 

When she gets out, you help her make the couch and put Summer to bed. Brittany seems exhausted. You sit on the coffee table as she lays on the couch. "Are you sure that you don't want to go stay in a hotel or something? I can kick my mom into a hotel and you can stay with me."

 

Brittany laughs, "No. I'm fine. I promise." She takes your hand and pulls you to her so that she can kiss you.

 

"Well I'm going to be on a couch a few miles away," you smile and kiss her again.

 

Brittany chuckles, "You should totally just move in with me."

 

Your force a small laugh so that she doesn't know that you actually want to, but she seems to notice and her smile fades. She bites her lip and looks at you. You quickly avert your eyes and lick your lips, "I think-"

 

Your phone's shrill ringing jerks you away. It's mostly because you picked a horrific ring tone for when the hospital calls. You pick it up and answer. "Hey girl," Mercedes says, "It's you and me tonight. We have a skull to put back together."

 

You can't help, but smile. You love hanging out with Mercedes, "Alright. I'll be there in thirty."

 

"Don’t worry about music," Mercedes says, "I got it this time."

 

You laugh and tell her that you'll see her soon. When you hang up, you look down at Brittany who is looking at you. "I have to go."

 

"I know," she takes your hand and runs her thumb over your knuckles.

 

You lean back down and pause before pressing your lips to her, "You were so hot after you fixed the leak."

 

She giggles, "All sweaty and gross?"

 

"Yeah," you finally close the gap and kiss her.

 

"I guess I'll have to go roll around under the house some time soon," she says and sits up.

 

"What are you doing?" you ask her.

 

"C'mon," she takes your hand and holds it all the way into the kitchen. She opens a drawer that looks like a junk drawer and pulls out a key on an empty keychain. "Here."

 

You take it from her and look it over. You think you know what it is. "Is this to... your house?"

 

She nods, waiting to gauge your reaction.

 

You surge forward and kiss her. You feel her body bump the counter behind her, but you keep pressing into her. Brittany's fingers curl over the top of your pants and pull you harder against her. You want so much to show her exactly how much this means to you, but you can't.

 

Brittany seems to realize that too. She pulls away, but allows her fingers to stroke the skin right above your pants. "You have to go."

 

You nod and tug her shirt so that she'll kiss you again. She mumbles against your lips, "I love you."

 

"Love you too," you manage to get out as you keep kissing her.

 

She smiles and pushes her hands up under your shirt and onto your back. "Babe, you really need to go or I'm going to make you stay."

 

You know exactly how she feels. You sigh and nod.

 

She walks you to the door and you shiver as soon as the door opens. Since you've been working in a heated house, you haven't been cold and when you came over you forgot everything else.

 

"Hold on," Brittany runs off and comes trotting back with a red hoodie in her hands. "Here."

 

You thank her and put it on. You look down at it and smile, "Look I'm cereal." You point to the word Cheerio on the hoodie.

 

Brittany swats your ass, "Shut up."

 

You make sure that the key to her house is still in your hand as you give her one last kiss goodbye.

 

On the way to the hospital after calling your mom to tell her that you have a surgery, you have to grab some coffee so you stop by a gas station. You yawn as you're pouring the coffee and as you walk to the counter, you grab a sketchy looking banana. You watch the price of your coffee and the banana ring up and then the total price is discounted by half. You frown and ask the cashier. He points to your hoodie and says, "Cheerio discount."

 

You pretty much enjoy this town, but there are some things that you don't get at all. You pull out some cash and hand it over. As you're waiting for your change, you look outside. You make a face and decide that you need to wash your car. As you're looking, you see another car that was there when you got here. Over the top of it, your eyes lock with a pair of hazel eyes.

 

"Ma'am," the cashier says.

 

You look back at him and take your change, dropping it into your wallet. Then you grab your things and hurry to the door. But when you open it, no one is there. Your car is the only one under the bright lights of the gas station. You narrow your eyes at where you were just looking. You swear to god you just saw Quinn.

 

You narrow your eyes at the spot where you’re sure the car was and take a sip of your coffee. You look around and see a few cars driving by. You shake your head as you walk to your car.

 

As always, surgery with Mercedes is fun. You sing along to her playlist whenever you know the words and you're sure that your patient is going to wake up with Alicia Keys playing in his head.

 

You close up a few minutes after midnight and you're sure that your patient will be satisfied with the metal plate you fitted to his head. You stop by the doctor's lounge and take a little rest before heading to check on your patient and then go home to sleep.

 

"Brittany been keeping you up late at night?" Mercedes asks.

 

You open your eyes and sit up straight on the couch. "I wish."

 

Mercedes sits down next to you on the couch. "Do you need a ride home?"

 

You shake your head, "Nah. I just needed to sit down. Brittany's bedroom flooded so I've been moving furniture. I need to start working out because I'm beat."

 

Mercedes laughs.

 

You chat a little bit about Brittany and Lima until you feel you need to go home or you won't make it.

 

When you do get home, you find your mom reading on the couch. "What are you doing still awake?"

 

Your mom looks at her watch, "I didn't realize it was so late. How was surgery?"

 

"Great," you drop your purse and collapse on the couch.

 

"How's Brittany?" your mom asks, placing her book on the coffee table and stroking your hair.

 

"She'll be okay," you yawn, "I'm taking her floor shopping tomorrow."

 

Your mom smiles, "She doesn't know what she's in for."

 

You chuckle and then sit up to look at your mom, "She gave me a key to her house."

 

"Wow, that's big," your mom grins.

 

"I know," you take a deep breath. "Is it too much that I already feel like I want to live with her?"

 

Your mom thinks about it. "I don't think so. I think you're such a huge part of each other's lives that it just seems natural."

 

"I don't want to ask her though," you admit. "It's her house and she has Summer to think about."

 

"Maybe you should introduce the idea," your mom offers, "Maybe she hasn't asked you because she doesn't know how you feel about it."

 

"She jokingly said that I should move in with her," you sigh, "And I got weird. I don't know."

 

"You've never been this serious about anyone," your mom tells you, "It's scary."

 

You've never really thought about that before. You don't think about any of your exes. You certainly don't compare any of them to Brittany. There's no comparison. There's them and there's Brittany. You also don't really consider yourself to be serious about anything. You just know that Brittany and Summer are in your life and you want them to be in your life forever. But now that you think about it, your mom is right. You've never been serious about anyone. And this is a whole new level of serious for you. For Brittany you have to redraw your serious scale.

 

"You're right," you say softly.

 

"It’s beautiful how invested you are," she says, "And Brittany is such a wonderful person. I used to worry about who you would end up with and now that you're with Brittany, I don't worry. We talked a lot about you when we went shopping. She put to rest any concerns I may have had." She kisses your head and tells you that she loves you before retreating to the bedroom.

 

You stay up for at least another hour thinking about Brittany and moving in with her. How that would change things and how it would be everything you've ever wanted.

 

You're startled awake when you get a text at a few minutes after midnight and it's enough to have you running out to your car in your sweats. The simple I need you from Brittany was enough for you to forget your fatigue from the day and brave the cold of the night.

 

You use your key to open the front door of the house and quietly close it behind you. When you step out of the small entryway you see her. She's laying on the couch, blanket pulled up to her chin with a few tears on her face sparkling in the firelight.

 

You walk quickly over to her and kneel down in front of her. "What's wrong?"

 

She shakes her head, "Everything."

 

You kiss her forehead and rub her shoulder, "Can I lay down with you?"

 

She nods and scoots back against the cushions on the couch. You kick off your shoes and slip under the blanket that Brittany is holding up for you.

 

"Tell me what's wrong," you wrap your arms around her.

 

"I just..." she sighs heavily against your chest, "Everything.... the leak that turned into a broken pipe, that ruined my floor. Now I have to get a whole new floor and that's... a lot. My parents offered to pay for it, but they were going to use that money to go on vacation. I don't want to take it from them."

 

You hesitate to offer what money that you have. You feel like your dad ruined that for both of you. You hope that every time you buy Brittany something now you won't hesitate or feel bad about it. You close your eyes, knowing that she needs a bedroom floor.

 

Before you can offer you hear a small sniffle then Brittany whispers, "I'm not good enough."

 

"Good enough for what?" you ask her, your heart hurting seeing and hearing her like this.

 

She looks away and mumbles, "Good enough for you."

 

"What are you talking about?" you frown, "You're more than good enough."

 

"I can't do anything myself," she sniffles, "I failed my senior year of high school once. I went to college in Lima. I'm not... smart."

 

You're a little shocked by her sudden confession, but it doesn't matter to you at all. "Brittany," you wait until you have eye contact with her, "I don't care if you didn't graduate at all. You are everything I've ever wanted and a few things I didn't even know I wanted. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are all the best parts of my days."

 

She scoots closer to you and buries her face in your neck. "I'm not a doctor."

 

"You're a teacher," you answer, "You're making future doctors. Without you there wouldn't be doctors because none of them would know how to read a medical chart."

 

She begrudgingly smiles and looks up at you. She's about to say something, but you interrupt her with a kiss. "Let's go to sleep, okay?"

 

She burrows farther into you and nods. "I love you."

 

"I love you too," you let your eyes slip closed, content to have Brittany in your arms.