Chapter 18: Decision
I was pissed off.
If grinding my teeth and seething under my skin wasn't enough of a give-away to everyone at Mercedes' house party, storming off and smashing a beer bottle definitely was. I had always been aware of the red hot anger - the lion that lived inside of me that would rear its ugly head and attack when it got to that boiling point. Usually it was a fight, or someone running their mouth and taunting me. As of late, it seemed that the most trivial of things caused my switch to flip.
I wasn't stupid. I didn't do well at school, and that wasn't exactly a secret. But I wasn't a total dumbass. I wouldn't have been able to fend for myself as long as I had if I was. I was intelligent enough to know that I had been feeling things that I had never experienced before. The idea of romance was something that I believed wasn't in the cards for me. I wasn't a sweet person, nor did I have the need to hold hands and whisper sweet nothings into the ear of another human being. I always thought that romance was for suckers.
I absolutely did not expect that I would feel those kinds of things for another girl.
Santana forced her way into my life in one way or another, and now I could barely go an hour without thinking about her. Being around her, I felt as though I was someone special. I felt proud to be the woman that I was, even though the rest of the world called me every terrible name under the sun. As long as Santana didn't think those things about me, I was happy. She made me smile more than anyone else ever had - and those smiles were real. They were a break in my composure that I just couldn't hold back.
I liked her. I liked her plain clothes and thick rimmed glasses. I liked her hair that was usually contained in a tight pony, and I liked it when she would let it hang and frame her face. I liked the buttery softness of her voice and the sweet smile that accompanied it. I liked the way she rambled on and on when she got nervous, and how being around me was enough to make her blush like a fool. I liked the warmth she left on my skin when we touched, and I never wanted that to end.
I liked Santana, and I was totally fucked.
Watching her kiss other people, even if it was only a stupid game, was awful, I don't think I really knew until t hat point how much I didn't want to see her with anyone else. I wanted her to be with me. I wanted to feel what it was like to kiss those lips when I wasn't drunk. I wanted her to be mine, so we could figure out what weird thing was going on between us.
It seemed utterly ridiculous that I had pushed her away so badly when I assured her that I wasn't remotely into her in a gay way. I hurt her so badly and had only just managed to salvage a friendship, but now I could see that it was an attraction after all.
Karma was a bitch.
I pressed my palms into my eye sockets, seeing white spots as I grunted in an attempt to clear my head. Curling my hands into fists when they dropped, I kept my eyes closed and let the moving speckles behind my eyelids comfort me.
It was quieter in the kitchen, which allowed me the space to think. The music was still thumping away in other parts of the house and gave me comfort that the party hadn't stopped because I had stormed off in a rage.
I reached into my jacket pocket to find my carton of cigarettes. Slipping one between my lips, I was quick to light it up and let the nicotine calm my still buzzing tension.
"I don't think Mercedes would want you smoking in her kitchen,"
Through the cloud of smoke, my eyes narrowed when I pinpointed the source of the interruption to my thoughts.
"What do you want, Berry?"
Out of everyone in the house that night, it had to be Rachel Berry who went out of her way to find me. That or this was just some hellish coincidence that we both walked out on a game of spin the bottle and found our way to the same room.
"To see if you were okay,"
I scoffed in response. We were possibly the best known rivals in the school. Her clique hated my clique, and we both hated everything about the other. At least, that was the way it had been before things recently.. Blended. She was an intolerable plastic snob, and reeked of privilege. There wasn't a single person that annoyed me as much as Rachel did. Not only that, but she thought she was entitled to everyone at the school loving her just because of some stupid status.
"Good one," I rolled my eyes as I took another drag from my cigarette, turning away from Rachel's intrusion.
"Get over yourself, Pierce," Rachel sighed dramatically, walking further into the room to rest her back against the opposite counter that I was resting on. She was right in front of me, so I didn't have anywhere to turn away from her, no matter how much I wanted to.
"Don't make me punch you," I grumbled back to her, my eyes fixed on the floor. Though it was a harsh threat, there was no power behind my voice. I knew that Rachel would pick up on that faster than most, given as she had been at the brunt of my violence for years.
"Quit the bullshit. What the hell happened out there?"
"Why do you care?" I snapped before turning back to smoking, still not attempting to make the eye contact that Rachel was apparently desperately seeking.
I was skeptical of what her intentions were. It had been years since Rachel had even asked me how I was, so it didn't make sense as to why she was asking now. Part of me thought that it was because it seemed like the start of some juicy drama she could get in the middle of and feel as though she was involved somehow. She was just that kind of person. Attention seeking.
"Because.." Rachel trailed off, void of her usually obnoxious tone. "I know you better than anyone in there,"
I hated to admit that she had a point. A very valid one at that.
We went back a lot further than anyone at school even realized. Though I never liked to look back at when things were different, I thought about it every time I looked at her. Back in elementary school, Rachel had been my first friend. The two of us were inseparable before things started to change for me, and perhaps that was why I disliked her so much. Rachel got everything she ever wanted from that point on, and I lost it all.
Rachel knew more than me than Puck did, and he was the only person I ever let close. Rachel had known me pre… Me. Back when I was a wide-eyed, daydreaming bubbly child. The kid that got bullied for seeing the best in everything and thinking that unicorns were real. Rachel was the only person who never said anything mean to me.
Until I punched her in the face.
"Britt?" Rachel verbally prodded me out of my trip down memory lane. "What's going on?"
At this point, I felt as though I was going to explode if I didn't say anything. Maybe that was just the alcohol talking, but holding everything in was starting to become almost painful. I never needed anyone in my life before, but I had never been this confused before. Things were so much easier when I just didn't care about anyone else. Santana really ruined my whole persona when she stumbled into my life.
"Santana," I admitted, shaking my head and looking down at the ground.
"Oh.. So you're in love with her. Interesting." Rachel stated, the smirk on her face evident from the tone of her voice. I made an expression of disgust, wrinkling my nose as I looked up at her. I was giving her a silent warning. After all, I wouldn't have gone that far.
"I'm not in love with her. Don't be gross.." I grunted in response, but as soon as I did, I could see that she was making a joke. It wasn't funny in the slightest.. But this was arguably the best interaction that she and I had experienced in quite a few years. I hated to admit it, but having someone to talk to about all the things that had been almost destroying me from the inside out was kind of a relief.
"So…?" Rachel prompted, signaling me with her hand to continue.
"So.. We've kinda been hanging out of whatever. She's,, Sweet to me. Makes me feel like I don't gotta be the big bad wolf all the time," I admitted, turning on the stop and lightly tapping my fingers on the counter top.
"That day you came for me was because of Santana wasn't it?" Rachel asked.
"Yup. You made her cry and that really made me angry," I couldn't help but smirk, and the queen bee herself followed suit. I wasn't an idiot, and I knew that I said some pretty hurtful things to her, but it was nice to know that she didn't totally hate me for that. Maybe that was the thing about having your enemy also being the person who knew you the best. Rachel knew just as much about me.. And maybe even more so now we had this talk.
We may have used that knowledge on each other over the years, but it never went beyond that.
"You must really like her, huh?" Rachel asked, shaking her head as though she couldn't quite believe that someone had actually snared me after all this time.
"Yeah," I admitted with a light breath, a small smile lingering on my lips. "Yeah I do,"
There was a pause for a moment, as Rachel closed the distance between us. I wasn't sure if she was going to try and hug me? Or maybe she was just getting a little closer to see if I was actually smiling about someone. There was a first thing for everything, after all.
When the palm of her hand struck the side of my head with a small wack, it took me by surprise.
"Ow!" I barked, my eyes snapping up to meet the brunette's in disbelief.
"Go tell her then, moron. You just made yourself look like a complete ass and now the girl probably thinks she did something wrong by just having fun in front of you - her presumably straight, asshole, hypocritical friend," Rachel ordered me while I was still nursing my new head wound.
"Fine, okay… Jesus Christ," I agreed, brushing my hands together to ready myself. I wasn't good with my words, and that was something basically everyone knew about me. I was a person of action - and all of that action usually involved hurting someone. This wasn't something I could punch through, and it was something I had to… talk my feelings through. That was more terrifying than any motocross race or reckless thing I had ever done.
Clearing my throat, I passed Rachel, tapping her on the shoulder briefly to show my appreciation of her. That thought in itself was horrifying, but I did owe her one.
"Don't eff it up," Rachel called out after me, and I held up my middle finger as I marched away through the extravagant house.
The music was still thumping through the house, and it was more than obvious that the teenagers from McKinley High had already had a few too many drinks. They were yelling, laughing and dancing.. And if I had ulterior motives that evening, it would have been the perfect time to peddle a few bags of weed for some extra cash. But not tonight. I had to find Santana.
Finding the living room after sticking my head into a few different areas, I still saw no sign of Santana. I knew she was kind of shocked by my sudden outburst, but I did nope that it didn't cause her to go home. The party had just started, and the last thing I wanted to do was ruin her night. I wanted to make her happy.. And that was why I needed to find her.
I started to feel as though I was chasing a lost cause. She wasn't even with her nerdy friends, who looked as though they were having a great time nattering between one another in the corner of the room. I did think for just a moment that she might have snuck off with Sugar and that filled me with a slight rage. All of that was lost when I found Puck and Sugar practically eating each other's faces off on the couch.. Which was repulsive, but still not what I was looking for.
"So gross.." I sneered, my nose wrinkling. But I was happy for him.. Even though she was one of the most annoying humans on the planet. It wasn't as though he was getting anything from me. And I'm sure he would deny this little make out session ever happened, so I did have a thought to pull my phone out and take a picture to use against him later on.
"It's been going on for a while…"
The soft voice snapped me out of my malicious thoughts. I knew it all too well, and only once voice in this sin filled house would make that calmness wash over me in that way.
Snapping around on my heels, my eyes were wide, finding Santana stood in front of me. Not drunk. Not.. Upset. Just the Santana I was getting used to hanging around.
"Shit. I was looking for you," I blurted out, suddenly feeling a little awkward. My jaw clenched and unclenched, trying to figure out what I was going to say next.
"Okay…" Santana replied quietly, arms crossing in front of her chest awkwardly, hugging herself. She knew that something was wrong, and had been since I stormed out on the game. But this time was going to be different. I was going to… Talk from my heart. Something I had never done before. It was terrifying.
"I need to talk to you. Do you… Wanna come back to my place?" I asked, tucking my hair behind my ear and meeting her eyes. I wanted her to be able to feel as though I was serious, but it was nothing to be scared about. I had done enough scaring in my time with her.
With a small nod from Santana, I led her out of the house. Going into the fresh air was a relief to be out of the mess of drunk and sweaty teenagers. I only had one thing on my mind for the rest of that night, and that was getting my thoughts together.. And finally admitting to Santana how I felt.
We got into my trunk, which albeit was a lot easier for me than Santana given her height, but we were on our way to my apartment. The other girl kept glancing at me, the air between us quiet with apprehension. With a small smile to drown out my nervousness, I did my best to give Santana some sort of comfort.
She smiled back at me before turning to look out the window, watching the street lights zoom past and lighting up her gentle face with occasional flashes. She really was beautiful, and without doubt - the best thing I had in my life at that moment.
I wasn't about to fuck that up again.