''Things have been going really well. I've been working with these young women. Pregnant at sixteen sucks but...being pregnant sucks in general, but at sixteen sucks. It's when it happens.''
''When what happens?''
Quinn sat across from Mercedes in a warm but quiet little restaurant. The two had been chatting away, or more precisely Quinn, aloof and rigid, had been chatting away while Mercedes, beautiful and at ease, tried her best to interject. Quinn however had long mastered the art of somehow making every conversation and comment about herself.
They had been friends since high school.
Quinn, Mercedes, Santana and Brittany had together been known as The B Faces. The bitch clique who did what they wanted, who they wanted, when they wanted. They didn't really rule the school or terrorize the rest of the student body, that wasn't what they were about. All they really cared about was making it out together and taking care of each other. Yeah, there were occasional dust ups between them but nothing could ever truly break them apart for good.
Except, perhaps, for time.
After they graduated Santana and Brittany had both made their way to Los Angeles. The two of them had been ridiculously, seriously passionately in love as far as Quinn knew until about a month after their big move that she got word that they had broken up. Neither of them had ever offered her a reason why. Santana always managed to shrug off any and all questions with nonchalance and Brittany, well, any time she had broached the subject with Brittany, the other blonde just got really sad and really quiet and as cold as Quinn could be, she didn't have the heart to push.
Still, Santana and Brittany had apparently somehow managed to salvage their friendship, even as Santana, who had found a steady gig as a bartender, began bedding every hot girl in her zipcode. Brittany who had once dreamed of designing her own line of clothes herself had been languishing in retail hell. Unlike her ex Brittany had never taken to bed-hopping but had floundered through a series of casual relationships that never lasted for a couple of months at a time. The two of them had found a way to see, or at least pretend to see past all of their own past baggage to continue to be a part of each other's lives.
Because even when they weren't together, they were together, thought Quinn.
She and Mercedes had taken a different route. The two of them had found their way to New York after high school. Quinn made her way through college and med school to become a pediatrician while Mercedes found her calling in the fashion world and now worked for Vogue.
While Santana and Brittany were on the other side of the country, Quinn and Mercedes had tried to make due with each other, but their get togethers were always a little stilted and odd. Without the two other b faces the dynamics were thrown way off.
Mercedes was just too polite and too sweet to call Quinn out on her behavior. She always let Quinn dominate the conversation because it was just easier.
And even though Quinn knew she was kind of an asshole for always doing it, she could never really stop herself for whatever reason.
''Are you ladies ready to order?'' a waiter approached their table, interrupting their conversation.
Quinn opened her menu and skimmed her eyes over it. ''Oh I'll get the cobb salad with no chicken, no bacon, no cheese and no avocado.''
Mercedes smiled at her friend who constantly denied herself the simple things in life. She turned to her waiter and began, ''I'll get the burger with fries, with maybe her bacon and her cheese and do not even bring me a dessert menu I already know I want the cheesecake. The brownie cheesecake.''
''I'm so glad you're not on that stupid diet anymore,'' Quinn remarked stuffily once the waiter had gone.
''Yeah me too it was making me a miserable person,'' Mercedes said nodding in agreement. Her face flashing with a hint of sympathy for the other woman. ''So! The reason I asked you to meet me is I have some news and it's really important. It's about Sam. I haven't really told anyone and-''
''Wait,'' Quinn interjected and held a hand to her heart, as if wounded. ''Can I say something, I think I know where this is going and I only say this because you're my friend and I really care about you. Guys like Sam - born wealthy guys - they hate going public and if he doesn't want to be with you it's because he's an asshole, not because you're…'' Quinn trailed off and made a general wave towards Mercedes and her body. ''It's just that we've been friends since we were little girls and I want you to be with someone who shouts it from the rooftop.''
''I know and that's why I can't really keep it a secret anymore,'' Mercedes tried to start again. This time however she didn't fight the giant, breathtaking smile that bloomed across her face. ''Sam asked me to marry him.''
Somewhere in Los Angeles in a messy cluttered bedroom a naked Santana was startled awake by her cell phone which was buzzing wildly on the side table. She swiped at the screen to accept the call and was greeted with Quinn's nasally voice.
''Shit fuck what?!''
''What are you doing right now?'' Quinn demanded to know, foregoing all pleasantries.
Santana wiped the sleep from her eyes and turned and saw an equally naked girl sleeping at her side. Her body was half concealed with a sheet. The previous evening's activities came rushing back to her and she winced. She had totally hooked up with some random ass last night.
''Just like your typical sunday morning ,'' Santana drawled lazily to Quinn before locating her pack of smokes and lighting one up. She immediately took a long relaxing drag.
''It's monday and it's like noon in L.A.!''
Santana scoffed. This bitch. ''How do you know that you don't even fuckin' live here.''
''You don't even know my day right now, okay, listen, I was having lunch with Mercedes…''
Santana tumbled out of bed and did a couple of spins in place in an attempt to locate some clothes. She quickly pulled on a shirt that was not her own, only to holler ''FUCKER!''
''Hey! I haven't even started the story yet!''
''I wasn't talking to you Fabray.'' Santana looked down at the article of clothing she was sporting that belonged to her one night stand. It was a Justin fucking Beiber concert tee. ''Ugh, I just realized the chick I slept with last night suuuuuuucks.''
''Will you stop thinking about yourself and your weird little life for one second and listen to me Santana.''
''Stop-stop-stop-stop,'' Santana groaned rapidly. ''I gotta conference in Brittany.''
''For fuck's sake just tell her later.''
''No, this conversation is so fucking long already I'm not gonna remember anything, so just hold on.'' Santana pulled the phone away from her face and started randomly smashing her pointer finger at the screen. She was way too tired for this, she was way too hungover for this.
Across town in Los Angeles Brittany stood bright eyed and bushy-tailed, sporting a ridiculously large floppy hat as she greeted customers walking into the upscale clothing boutique she worked at with her friend Kurt.
He had really done her a solid and put in a good word for her despite the fact that her resume and references had been less than stellar. Being a shop girl wasn't her dream job but it would have to do for the time being. Besides she really did love that feeling she got when she helped a person find their style and confidence with an outfit. It was all about expressing yourself, she thought.
One day her dream was to go back to school and finish what she had started, what she had come to Los Angeles to do, to create, to style, to design. It had always been the plan but life kind of happened, or rather heartbreak kind of happened. Maybe it was dumb, maybe she was dumb, she thought, but after she and Santana had broken up something had left her. A certain spark. A certain desire. When they fell apart and it all went down she found herself unable to create. It was like the colors had seemed to fade.
Things had never been the same after that.
Still, no one could ever take the place in her heart that belonged to her best friend which was why when her phone screen lit up with Santana's face Brittany immediately smiled and answered it.
''Britt,'' Santana said in greeting. ''Got a minute?''
''For you? Always.'' Brittany turned to Kurt and whispered with urgency, as if it were a life and death matter. ''I have to take this, it's work.''
He shook his head at her. ''You're at work.''
Brittany waved him off and abandoned the busy work of folding shirts to begin wandering around the store through the aisles and racks, touching and admiring the clothing as Santana continued to speak silkily into her ear. ''I have Quinn on the line, she has something major to tell us.''
''Oooo, spill,'' Brittany urged with girlish intrigue.
Through the phone Quinn meanwhile grumbled at her two friends who couldn't quite tell that she was on the verge of collapse. ''So as I was saying I was at lunch with Mercedes when she dropped a motherfucking bomb in my motherfucking lap. Are you bitches listening? Her boyfriend Sam proposed. Mercedes is getting married. Married.''
Santana made an indifferent, dismissive grunt while Brittany's speech devolved into happy squeaks and dolphin noises.
''So neither of you are going to back me up here?'' Quinn asked in a huff. ''I mean I was supposed to be the first to get married, right? That was going to be me, obviously.''
''You know I googled that Sam guy a couple months back,'' Santana said, mumbling just slightly as she spoke with a cigarette dangling from between her lips. ''Aside from the guppy lips which FYI are fucking alarming, he's pretty cute.''
''Yeah,'' Brittany chirped. ''And he's supposed to be worth loads. He inherited his father's company and now he's like some super vegetarian guy or whatever.''
''I think you mean humanitarian, babe,'' Santana corrected her gently with a soft chuckle.
''What's that again?'' Brittany asked, confused. ''If a vegetarian only eats vegetables, does a humanitarian only eat...humans?''
''Huh, not quite,'' Santana snickered. ''It just means he likes to help people a lot, B.''
''Ohhhhh, okaaaaay. Well good, because I would not approve of Mercedes marrying a cannibal.''
''Not that I would entirely rule him out as one,'' Santana continued. ''For serious, the dude has a totally giant ass trout mouth situation going on. Disturbing.''
''OH MY GOD YOU TWO!'' Quinn shouted down at them, breaking into their playful back and forth. ''You both know we're all going to have to be in this wedding now.''
''Silver lining,'' sang Brittany. ''We're gonna get to throw a bachelorette party and dress up and be cool, it's gonna be just like high school-''
''Hopefully not just like high school.'' Quinn made a weird silly unpleasant throw uppy noise into the phone. ''Every time we went anywhere back then you two abandoned me so you could go screw each other like bunnies.''
''Whatever. High school was ages ago and Britt and I are like totally in a different place. Plus we're not even together anymore.''
''Yeah, we're like grown ups now Quinn,'' Brittany said as she turned a corner in an attempt to hide from her manager.
Santana looked down at her borrowed Justin Bieber shirt. ''We're totally adults.''
Six months later.
Santana stood on the sidewalk sporting shades and sipping from her coffee as she waited for Brittany to come down from her apartment.
She had her bags packed and had managed to funnel her coke stash into an empty travel bottle of baby powder because Mercedes and Sam's big day was finally near and she and Brittany were flying out together for the festivities together and she honestly wasn't sure she'd be able to make it through the weekend sober.
Santana was not looking forward to this wedding. Not really.
Unlike Quinn, she had actually found it it easier to be happy for Mercedes. She was a great chick and of course she deserved all the happiness in the world. It had been years since they had all been together but she loved the B-faces like family and she knew that would never change, it's just that she happened to still be in love with one particular B-face.
She and Brittany were still as close as they were all those years ago, except maybe minus all the nudity and orgasms but, they still spent most of their down time together. Seeing Brittany wouldn't be anything remotely new, no, but she feared that in a room with all of her old friends where drinks were running freely and everyone was filled with nostalgia she might say or do something and make a total idiot out of herself over the blonde again. And that? That was out of the fucking question.
Not after how it all ended, not after everything.
They had found a way to pull this friends thing off and the last thing she wanted to do was risk that.
Of course there were moments where she wanted to say fuck risk and fuck her heart, like now, when Brittany was walking towards her in a ridiculously revealing black strapless dress with her rolling suitcase dragging behind her.
''You look hot,'' Santana said with a playful twinkle in her eye.
Brittany leaned forward to peck her cheek in greeting. She placed her lips against the dimple in one of her tan cheeks. ''You're just saying that so I can forgive you for being late.''
''Late, I'm not late,'' Santana half chuckled, half scoffed.
''You said you'd be here an hour ago.''
Santana opened her mouth as if to combat that but then in defeat she simply sank her shoulders. ''Alright I'm late but it couldn't be helped, something came up.''
''Something came up or someone came up?'' Brittany asked with a raised eyebrow.
After they split Santana had developed the habit of hooking up with random snatch and it wasn't out of the ordinary for her to lose track of time or become preoccupied with a conquest for a couple of hours only to be forgotten by the next day.
''Let's just say I was running on time until I stopped for coffee and the female barista asked me if I wanted to see where they kept all of that whip cream in the back and-''
''Do I wanna know the rest of this story?''
''Probably not but on the plus side,'' Santana paused briefly to hold up a small white paper bag which she wiggled in front of Brittany's face, ''she hooked me up with a couple of free scones after we were done. You wannnnnt?''
Amused, Brittany's shoulders shook with laughter. ''No, I do not want your weird sex scones.''
''Hey my sex scones are delicious! I had one on the way here.''
''Whatever, you're carrying my bag.'' Brittany pushed the handle of her luggage into Santana's hand.
Santana grinned and obliged, tickled with their teasing back and forth. She loaded Brittany's bag into the back of her vehicle and then like a gentlewoman opened and held the passenger door for the blonde.
''You're ridiculous,'' Brittany said at Santana's adorable gesture.
''Yeah, I am.''
A couple of hours later they were in the air, having a laugh as they slouched in their seats. Santana had given Brittany the window seat, because she always gave Brittany the window seat. Her favorite thing to do when they were flying together was watch Brittany as Brittany watched the clouds.
A female flight attendant interrupted Brittany's cloud watching and Santana's Brittany watching when she stopped to deliver their second round of drinks. The woman smiled a little too long and a little too appreciatively at Santana who just smiled back but sent the woman off with a simple thank you.
Brittany tried to pretend she didn't care or notice that unspoken but flirtatious exchange. She was just thankful that Santana turned her attention back to her and their conversation which had become increasingly giggly as they started down memory lane...
''Oh my god,'' Santana cackled a half hour later, her eyes were crinkled up in laughter. ''Do you remember junior prom when you and I totally walked in on Quinn and that teacup chihuahua Rachel Berry making out in the bathroom?''
''And she made us promise to never tell anyone?''
''Yeah I told like five people that night.''
''Yes. Those two always had some weirdly intense sexual tension thing going on.''
''You know she's going to be at the wedding. Rachel I mean. Her and a whole bunch of people from high school.''
''Ugh. See we're smart.'' Santana raised her clear plastic cup and swirled it around lightly. ''We're getting a head start cause you know everyone's going to need to be inebriated to make it through tonight's rehearsal dinner. I pity the fool who walks into that dining hall sober. God. A room full of assholes from high school.''
Brittany nodded and wrinkled her nose up at the thought. She tended to get along with people easier than Santana but it still didn't sound like her idea of a good time. The majority of her high school classmates thought she was stupid. ''But at least all the B-faces will be together. We'll have each other. You, me, Quinn and Mercedes.''
''Yeah, yeah, seeing Mercedes again will be awesome but between you and me, I'm not looking forward to hanging out with Q this weekend.''
''What are you talking about?''
''It's just all this marriage shit has Quinn all twisted up about her own junk and she's been irrationally pissed off lately.''
''Yeah but Quinn's always irrationally pissed off.''
''True. But this time it's different. Back in high school Quinn always tied up all of her self worth in being able to pull of this charade of being some picture fucking perfect waspy chastity queen? She was all about being perfect, having the perfect life. And now,'' Santana laughed and tossed back the last sip of her alcohol. ''She's going to have to watch one of her oldest friend's walk down the aisle first.''
''But Mercedes deserves to be happy.''
''Wuh of course she does, we know that and deep down Quinn knows that, but let's be real Q is not over all of her stupid ass teenage stuff and that's bound to leak out somehow.''
Brittany shrugged. She could understand that, sorta. ''You never know though, maybe she is over it. Maybe she's turned a new leaf. Like us.'' She bumped into Santana's shoulder affectionately. ''We're in a totally different place than we were when we were all sixteen and I think for the most part me and you are over our high school stuff. Right?''
Santana didn't answer.
''Maybe Quinn's gotten over hers too,'' Brittany suggested.
''I doubt it. God we were all such messes,'' Santana sighed, smiling wistfully. They were total mess, but also, totally hot messes.
''We were,'' Brittany said fondly as she recalled her own wonderfully ridiculous memories to mind. ''Except Mercedes. We were all total messes but Mercedes...looking back now I think she had it all together, like as much as any teenage girl can.''
''She kept us afloat, that's for sure. I don't even know if the B-faces would have been a thing if she hadn't held us together which is exactly why we gotta make sure no one, including Quinn, shits on her big day.''
Brittany held up her pinky and Santana linked her own into it.
''God I really can't believe this is happening. Like. One of the B-faces is taking the plunge. It's just...I mean…'' Brittany hiccuped. ''Did you ever think Mercedes would be the first one of us to get married?''
Santana turned away and became preoccupied with the back of the seat in front of her. ''Um…..''
The truth was Santana never once thought Mercedes would be the first of them to marry, hell, she didn't even think Quinn would be the first. Once upon a time way back when, when she was still someone who dared to dream about a future she had a very specific image of who she always imagined to be the first of their group to walk down the aisle.
She always thought it would be Brittany and she had always thought she'd be the one to walk down and stand with the blonde at the alter. It was always going to be them, she had once thought, had once dreamed. But.
''No...no, I didn't,'' Santana answered with a mouth that was suddenly dry. She shook herself out of her fog and started to stand in the aisle. ''I think I'm gonna go find that flight attendant-''
Brittany widened her eyes as if to say really?
''Not for that,'' Santana explained with a playful roll of her eyes. ''I just want to stretch my legs and get us a couple more drinks. Besides I'm already a member of the mile high club...if you recall you actually inducted me into it.''
Brittany squinted her eyes as if in deep thought and brought a finger up to her lips which she tapped gently as trying to recall an ancient memory. ''Hmmmmm, now that you mention it yes, I do seem to remember you and I encountered a little bit or turbulence in a stall together once.''
Santana remembered that Brittany-induced turbulence fondly. It was a couple of weeks after high school graduation, they had packed their bags as well as all of their hopes and dreams, hopped a plane and never looked back. They had been starting their life together, or so Santana had thought. And when Brittany had kissed her cheek and whispered for her to wait five minutes and then meet her at the last bathroom stall in the rear of the plane, well Santana had never been more sure.
This was it, she had once thought. Brittany was the one, the only one. And she knew what that meant. She knew what she had to do.
Thousands of feet in the air, they had kissed madly, seriously, passionately and fumbled with each other's clothing. It hadn't been the best sex they had ever had, but in the moment it really hadn't seemed to matter to each of them, because it was never about being perfect, it was about the adventure. As they laughed and pushed against each other, banging elbows and knees in the tiny, cramped compartment Santana knew Brittany was the only person in this world she would ever want to go on this adventure with.
How fucking pathetic and foolish she had felt when after only a month in Los Angeles together they fell apart.
No, Santana now mused inwardly as she started off towards the back of the plane in search of liquor, she was not looking forward to this fucking weekend of giggles and nostalgia.
''Fuck my life,'' she muttered to herself as she found an unguarded cart full of tiny liquor bottles and immediately popped one open, downing the entire thing in a single gulp.