Chapter 24: The Date
It really spoke volumes to me that Sugar had spent the entire school day going out of her way to avoid me at all costs. Even at lunch, when the boys and I hung out at our usual spot under the bleachers to smoke, Sugar was nowhere to be seen. When Puck had told me that he quickly let Sugar know that I was ready to knock her out for running her mouth online, I supposed it made sense that she was keeping to herself.
Truth be told, I wasn't even all that mad at her. If the roles were reversed, and I thought that the person I was into was sleeping with someone else, I would have been even more furious than Sugar had been. Luckily for Sugar, no harm was really done by her childish outburst. Santana was understanding, and now I was just looking forward to school being over so I could spend time with her again.
I could deal with all the whispers and looks that the other students gave me when they thought I wasn't paying attention. This school really was the most boring place on the planet if Puck and I hooking up again was the hot gossip of the day. I just hoped that Santana didn't get too irritated by the chattering, though I wasn't sure her little group of nerds were all that interested in trivial high school drama.
"Did you really hook up with Noah?"
I rolled my eyes at the recognizable chime of a voice. I had actually expected Rachel to start stalking me earlier in the day, and when the final bell chimed to signal the end of the day, I had already started to count my lucky stars that she hadn't tried to stick her big nose into my business.
"Of course I didn't, creep," I whispered when she finally caught up enough to walk beside me.
"Good. You were so adamant about your feelings at the party,"
I rolled my eyes and fought against my urge to slam her with my shoulder.
"Don't talk about that," I spat, looking around to ensure that no one was getting interested in the fact that she was talking to me and wanted to listen in.
"But you did talk to her?"
"That's none of your damn business, Berry,"
"Oh that's definitely a yes. Or you would have tried to protest,"
That sing-song version of Rachel's annoying voice was probably the worst side of her. She was most definitely the most irritating human being on the planet. Even as my lip curled up into a snarl, she still proceeded to walk close to me. At this point, I couldn't be surprised if there would be a new rumor floating around that we were friends. Especially with the way that the once solid clique based groups of the school were crumbling. I could only thank Joe and Mercedes' disgusting budding romance for that one.
"Will you leave me alone now?"
Rachel paused for a moment, and sneaking a look at her out of the corner of my eye, I could see the way she was pondering. Head slightly tilted to the side, always overly dramatic in just about everything she did.
"Yes. But are you dating?"
I stopped in my tracks to turn to Rachel, my face deadpan from all emotion but the promise that I could easily throw a punch right into her nose and enjoy every second of that. Unfortunately, the possibility of an after school detention wasn't something I wanted to risk today.
She blinked once and took a step back, raising her hands in front of her as a mock surrender.
"Okay, fine. I'll leave you alone,"
"I think that's the smartest thing you've ever said,"
With a classic roll of her eyes, Rachel turned on her heel to walk away in the opposite direction and I could finally let out a breath. That girl had all the subtlety of a bulldozer and I probably should have thought things through a little more before I pulled her into my privacy at the party. Not that she really gave me much of a choice at the time.
It was only then, really, that noticed people starting to pay attention. I could thank Rachel's iconic hallway strut for that one. But at least that proved my point that no one was really paying looking at us beforehand. Part of me was starting to think that Rachel knew that would be the case, and she actually did care a little bit about keeping my , or the fear that I would literally try to murder her if she went against me.
With a slightly annoying huff, I continued on my route to the front of the school and my truck. I wanted to get home with enough time to get ready for the date.. Whatever that really meant. I would shower again and maybe pick up my apartment a little. Not that Santana would really care all that much either way, probably.
When my truck came into view as I moved across the parking lot, I caught sight of Puck and Sugar standing by it, looking as though they were in the middle of a heated discussion. Puck's eyebrows were pulled together in a scowl, Sugar's shrill voice could be heard blabbing above the crowds of students trying to get home.
Puck's eyes glanced over Sugar's shoulder momentarily to catch mine, a little spark of amusement brimming now that the annoying loudmouth wouldn't be able to actively avoid me. Closing the distance, I patted Sugar's shoulder and gripped, stopping any of the hope that she had to run away.
"You've been avoiding me, Sugs,"
I could feel the way her body jumped against my hand. I'm not entirely positive what she expected to happen when I caught up to her, but the shock in her eyes when she managed to turn around in my grasp was enough to let me know that it wasn't good. She had watched me beat up so many other people for doing far less to me than she had. She had probably already gone ahead and written her last will and testament.
"Keep my name out of your mouth next time. But just so you know.. I'm dating someone and it sure as hell ain't Puck,"
It was a little weird how easily I could say that part, and how it could roll off the tongue. Sugar was my friend after all, even with how much she could irritate me. I could see the wave of surprise wash over her and couldn't help the way the sides of my mouth curled up into a small smirk.
I let go of her shoulder, confident that I wouldn't have to start chasing her through the parking lot. She looked over at Puckerman, who was just as amused as I was to be able to see the same reaction that he had to the news first hand. I should have really been a little offended by how shocked everyone seemed to be that I had the ability to actually date, but I couldn't blame them. I had always been so against the idea.
"But I haven't seen-.. Who is he?" Sugar continued after her initial failure to communicate, looking around wildly behind me to see if anyone was trailing in my shadow.
Puck and I exchanged a look, silently conversing over how much, if anything, I should be telling Sugar. Though she was a big nosed blabbermouth with next to no filter, she was usually a nicer person that we were. She didn't hang out with our clique because she was an asshole or enjoyed throwing people into dumpsters. She just wanted to fit in somewhere.
"She. It's a she."
Sugar's mouth fell open in a silent gasp of surprise. Upon the realization that she could not have been more wrong thinking that Puck and I had revisited our nights together. Though my heart was pounding in my chest over the fact that I had told another living person about something I was keeping close, I was pleased to see that Sugar only looked shocked. Not disgusted. Not angry. Not repulsed by me.
If anything, I could have sworn that Sugar's interest was even more peaked.
"Who is she?"
I let out a low chuckle, the tightness in my chest completely relaxing. Shaking my head, I looked down at my ripped jeans, throwing my hand in my pocket to pull out the keys for my truck.
"Maybe I'll tell you if the weekend goes alright. But.. I've got a date so I gotta run,"
Puck threw his arm over Sugar's shoulder, stopping any need that she may have had to keep asking questions. She paused for a moment and let her hand find Puck's that was draped over her. I feel as though she needed to hear it from me to truly believe that he wasn't lying to her about the rumors. Either way, as long as she was off my case, I didn't care.
"Have fun, B," Puck added with a suggestive wiggle of his brow.
I rolled my eyes, moving to unlock my truck to get the hell out of McKinley High School. Jumping in, I rolled the window down to shoot Sugar an icy glare.
"You better keep your mouth shut about all of this. I mean it.. Or I will flatten you with my motorcycle,"
Two hours later, I was finally redressed after my shower. I was trying not to over think what to wear, deciding to go with some simple black skinny jeans and a baggy band shirt. The more I tried to dress up in something fancier, the more stupid I started to feel. This was just Santana coming over and eating some dinner. It wasn't anything to freak out about.
Even so, I don't think I could remember my apartment being this tidy before. All of the clothes were picked up off the floor, the kitchen counters cleared of mess and I even made sure that the fat cat was going to be locked out for the night. It gave me something to do while I waited, instead of smoking through a whole packet of cigarettes.
The knock on the door came quickly after keeping myself busy. The butterflies started working up a frenzy in my stomach and for just a second, I could sympathize with what it was like for Santana having to deal with this kind of anxiety on a daily basis. I let out a slow, steady breath and headed over to the door to swing it open.
Santana was quite the picture. She was wearing a soft purple dress that clung to her body in all the right places, falling down to just above her knees, her hair was down and flowed over one shoulder with a gentle curl. I let my eyes travel over her for a moment, my lips curling into a soft smile.
"You look… Amazing," I breathed.
She looked down, smiling shyly in response to my compliment, her cheeks flushing a shade darker.
"Thank you… My mom helped me get ready,"
Stepping aside to let Santana in, I took the cooler and backpack from her hands and followed her back into my living room, kicking the door shut behind me. I stood there for just a moment, weighing the bags in my hand only to have Santana offer me a soft smile at my momentary lapse in movement.
"I can take the cooler and get started on dinner. The backpack has my overnight things. You can put that in… your bedroom," Santana finished quietly, taking the cooler from me and rushing into the kitchen.
As I did what I was told, I felt myself starting to buzz with giddy excitement. We were going to end up sleeping next to one another in the bed I had put her backpack aside, and that seemed like a world away from where we started talking to one another. Tonight, she was going to be sleeping in my bed. Yet another thing that I hate more than anything, that Santana could make very appealing.
Something about this was very domestic. Santana was cooking for a date night at home with just the two of us. It was certainly the sweetest thing that had ever happened in my apartment since the times that she had come over to look after me when I was injured. Truly, all the best moments of my life now revolved around my girlfriend. My apartment finally felt as though it were a home, and I felt like a normal teenager. I hadn't felt that way since I had been on my own.
I walked back out of my bedroom and into the kitchen, my heart softening at the image of Santana busying herself. The countertops were covered in ingredients and she was already working with pots and utensils I wasn't sure I had even ever used. Walking up behind her, I slipped my arms around her waist, holding her gently while looking over her shoulder at the meat she was browning in a pan.
"What'cha doing?" I asked, resting my chin gently against her shoulder.
"Making the bolognaise sauce. We're having spaghetti,"
I let out a low noise of content, tightening my grip around her waist and nuzzling my face into her neck. Santana giggled lightly, trying to move away from my hot breath.
"If you want any food at all, you should probably stop distracting me,"
I watched as she worked, just happy to be sharing the space together. She was pretty skilled in the kitchen, cooking our meal as though she had done it a hundred times before. I learned that she cooked with her parents whenever she had the time outside of her school work and extracurriculars. Her mother taught her the dishes that her mother taught her and she had promised to invite me over the next time they made arroz con gandules with the secret family recipe.
With the sauce searing and the spaghetti softening, Santana sent me to set up my small dining table. Given that I usually ate on the couch watching TV, i wasn't sure that I had ever used the table for anything more than rolling joints. I had to admit, with placemats, drinks and cutlery set up, it did look pretty good.
"Okay," Santana voice called out, followed with her walking out of the kitchen with two plates of food, "Dinner is served,"
I smiled as I sat down, reaching across the table when Santana followed suit and gently took her hand in my own. "Thank you. This looks awesome,"
"I think you need a home cooked meal every now and again,"
"Are you sure? I think I get all my muscles from the Chinese food," I smiled coyly with a raise of my brow. Santana let out a low laugh, shaking her head in amusement.
Starting to eat, I couldn't help but marvel at the woman in front of me. She was definitely as good of a cook as she looked to be. This was better than anything I had ever had from a restaurant.. And that included the Italian restaurant in town that was everyone's goto date spot.
"Did you know… That the Italians originally didn't use spaghetti for this?"
I looked up at Santana mid mouthful, knowing this was going to be a start for one of her little rambles of knowledge.
"No? What did they use? Pizza?"
"Close," Santana replies with a smile and a shake of her head while twirling pasta around her fork. "Tagliatelle. In World War 2, American soldiers passed through the city of Bologna and fell in love with the ragù sauce the locals made. They tried to recreate it back home and named the sauce after the city and used the pasta that looked the most similar to the homemade tagliatelle used by the Italians,"
After a light quiz about European countries and their foods that I failed terribly at, both our plates were cleared and our bellies full. I took it upon myself to clear up, insisting that Santana could go and relax on the couch until I was done. I heard the dull sound of the TV while I finished up, and was not surprised in the slightest that she was engrossed in some kind of documentaries about big cats on the nature channel.
"I didn't even know I had that channel," I commented, plopping down beside her.
WIth a sigh, Santana naturally curled into my side, tucking herself under my arm. It wasn't the first time we had spent time together at my place, nor the first time she had even spent the night, but it felt that way. There were no injuries this time, and no drunken escapades. She was here because she wanted to be - and I wanted her there just as much.
"Did you ever think we would get here?" I asked, breaking the comfortable silence that fell over us while watching the lioness with her cubs.
"I…. Hoped so," Santana quietly replied, placing her hand against my thigh and picking at the jean fabric absentmindedly.
"Since we first kissed?"
"Before then," She whispered, pulling back enough to look at my face with a soft expression. "I know it's weird, but I always had this little crush on you. When you returned my notebook that day and saw the picture I had drawn, I was… Mortified. But I died a little inside that you returned it instead of throwing me in a dumpster. Even if the teacher made you do it,"
I cringed a little on the inside, as I always did when I was forced to think about all the awful things I had done to her through our time at school. I had truly changed since getting to know her, and that had leaked out into the way I treated everyone else. Apparently my reputation alone was enough to make people keep their distance from me, and I hadn't even needed to resort to any violence. It felt.. Nice.
"You really liked me, even when I was a jerk?" I asked with a quirk of my brow.
"Yes. I could see something good in you. Even when I would never have imagined you would ever feel the same way about me,"
"Yeah… I didn't see that part coming either,"
Chuckling together lightly, Santana reached over to cup my face in her warm hand. Her thumb traced the curve of my cheek and I leaned into the touch. Her smile was soft and as warm as her palm.
"It took us a little while to get here, but I'm glad we did," Santana whispered, her voice dripping with the sincerity that she was always filled to the brim with. My chest ached with how many emotions I could feel in just one moment. I had been slowly getting used to my feelings and getting more comfortable not being such an ice queen. My life had truly changed for the better.
"Yeah. Me too," I agreed, letting my own hand cover Santana's. She sighed softly and leaned in to kiss me, the television completely forgotten. My eyes fluttered shut, leaning into her soft lips.
Whether it was from the sweet reminiscence or the giddiness of having enjoyed a good meal, Santana was very eager to make the kiss more vigorous. She moved quickly, moving from her space on the couch and into mine, she straddled my lap. I squeezed at her hips, keeping up the pace with her lips and letting my tongue dip out to swipe against her lower lip.
It felt different this time. We didn't have anywhere else to be and there was no fear of anyone walking in on us. I didn't want to get ahead of myself, but I couldn't help but wonder if Santana was thinking about the same things as I was.
The way her teeth scraped against my lip and a sweet vibration of a moan vibrating into my mouth, I started to think that perhaps she was.
"Britt," She hummed, pulling away from my mouth and pushing her hips down against my thighs. "Should we… Take this to your room?"
I paused for a moment, my lips still parted as I tried to collect myself. Santana waited for a response with a slight quirk of her head, her dark chocolate eyes drinking me in.