Word count: 9280
Summary: Quinn wants to say I told you so because she’d pretty much predicted this the day Santana had dropped out of her freshman year of college in an effort to become a badass guitar-playing rockstar.
Notes: Written for Onomatopoetic. Title from Sara Bareilles’ song Gravity.
She hears the door open at around twelve the next day, and Santana walks in, dressed in her clothes from last night, her hair mussed. There’s a little smudged mascara on her cheek.
“Hey,” Quinn says, looking up from the sandwich she’s making. “How was it?”
Santana smirks at her.
“Good,” Quinn says. “Which guy did you go home with; the one feeling you up when I left, or that one you were ogling at the bar?”
“The guy at the bar,” Santana snorts, “but he was a total pussy. Got me home and then chickened out. So I fucked his roommate instead.” She pauses and then adds, “Turned out to be his brother.”
Quinn laughs despite herself. “I’m sure he was really pleased about that.”
“Actually,” Santana says, “he seemed to think it made me more awesome.” She grins.
“Good,” Quinn says again. She pauses, eyeing Santana. “You did use protection, right?”
Santana raises an eyebrow incredulously. “Well, no, I must have completely forgotten,” she drawls sarcastically. “That reminds me, Q, I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. He’s going to check out those twelve STD’s I seem to have picked up.”
“Ok, fine,” Quinn says quickly. “I only want to make sure you don’t end up infecting my neighbors or anything.”
“Whatever,” Santana snorts. “I’m going to bed.” She adds with a wink, “I didn’t get much sleep.”
Quinn rolls her eyes. “Sure,” she says.
She goes out grocery shopping while Santana’s sleeping, and she actually buys things like chips and beer, along with her usual healthy foods. Santana hasn’t stirred by the time she gets back, and apparently she sleeps like the dead because she doesn’t even twitch the whole time Quinn is putting stuff away, opening and closing cupboards and clanking jars and dishes.
When she finally wakes up, it’s already dark, and Quinn is in the middle of heating up frozen lasagna and frying mushrooms for them both. Santana walks into the kitchen behind her, wearing sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt. She puts her hands on Quinn’s waist, leaning over her to see what’s in the pan.
“Smells good,” she says.
“Thanks,” Quinn says. She leans back into Santana almost automatically, and then stands up again. “Do you like mushroom?”
There’s a pause. “I’ll eat it,” Santana says.
Quinn sighs. “Fine,” she huffs. “More for me.”
Santana chuckles, and perches on the bench next to her. “So,” she says. “Have you heard from anyone else lately?”
By ‘anyone else,’ Santana means anyone from high school, and more specifically, Glee Club. The question is casual, but Santana’s knuckles are white.
“Not very much,” Quinn says, kind of apologetically. “Finn and Rachel still live a couple of blocks from here, but I don’t see them that much. Puck moved to England around a year ago with that girl he met there. Uh…”
She closes her eyes, tries to remember all the kids who’d been in that room together. It shouldn’t be this hard. It’s only been seven years.
Rachel would have it in a flash, she knows, because even now, Rachel still talks incessantly about Glee Club, even though she’s given up her dream of being a Broadway star and is making a name for herself in the jazz piano scene instead. Rachel would remember all the songs they’d ever sung, and could probably perform all the choreography too.
For Quinn, the faces are all a blur, and the music has melded together into one song that sounds suspiciously like “Don’t Stop Believing”. And anyway, none of this matters, because there’s only one person Santana is desperate to hear about, and Quinn hasn’t heard from her in well over three years.
“That’s all I know,” she says carefully. She’s quick enough to catch the flash of disappointment in Santana’s eyes, and she studiously turns her attention back to the mushrooms.
“Have you?” she asks lightly. “Heard from anyone, I mean?”
“Nope,” Santana shrugs, kicking her feet against the cupboards. “Guess no one remembers me.”
Quinn pauses, and then, still staring hard into the pan, asks, “Not even Brittany?”
There’s a silence. Quinn holds her breath.
“No,” Santana says flatly. “Not in over a year.”
“Oh,” Quinn says carelessly. “Could you check the lasagna?”
Even now, she doesn’t know exactly what Santana and Brittany’s history is. They’d been so close in high school, but they’d never defined what they really were, and then after school was over they’d gone in completely different directions and, as far as she knew, stopped speaking to each other for some unknown reason.
Last she’d heard, Brittany was teaching at a dance studio in Boston and living with a boyfriend. She doesn’t think she should mention that last part to Santana.
They eat their food in silence, and then watch three straight hours of Grey’s Anatomy. When Quinn finally gets up to go to bed, worn out by all the crying she’s done, she pauses at her bedroom door.
“I’ll be at work tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Santana says. She’s already focused on the episode that’s just starting.
“All day,” Quinn clarifies.
“Okay,” Santana says again.
“Will you be alright?” Quinn asks.
Santana finally turns her attention away from the TV to glare at her. “What do you think I am, Q, a fucking five year old? No, you do not need to put me in daycare.”
“Okay, fine,” Quinn shrugs. “Just – what will you do?”
“I’m sure I’ll find something,” Santana says. She turns back to the TV. “Night.”
Quinn stares at her for a moment, and then shrugs. “Night.”
They fall into a pattern over the next couple of weeks. Santana’s always asleep when Quinn goes to work, and when Quinn gets home at night, Santana’s waiting for her with boxes of take-out and whatever god-awful show she’s decided they’re watching that night. Quinn doesn’t know what Santana does every day, but apparently it’s enough to keep her amused, and the police haven’t shown up at her door yet, so she doesn’t care too much. Santana doesn’t talk about it.
On Friday night, she crashes early, like normal, and just as she’s going to bed, Santana comes into her room in a tiny red dress that shows off everything.
“No,” Quinn says as soon as she sees her. “I don’t care what you say, Santana, I’m in my pajamas already and I am going to bed.”
“Okay,” Santana shrugs. “Guess that saves me the trouble of inviting you.”
Quinn blinks. “What?”
“I’m going out with Sarah,” Santana says carelessly. “Can I borrow your eyeliner?”
Quinn narrows her eyes. “It’s on the dresser. Who the fuck is Sarah?”
“The bass player from three bands ago,” Santana says, as if it’s obvious. She finds the eyeliner and steps close to Quinn’s mirror as she puts it on. “She’s playing here with her new piece of shit band, so I’m going to see them fail, and then afterwards we’re hitting the town.”
“Oh,” Quinn says. She feels a little left out. “Fine. Have fun.”
Santana pauses. “You can come,” she offers. “I don’t know if you’ll like it that much.”
Quinn raises her eyebrows. “S, I’m in my pajamas, remember?”
“Okay,” Santana shrugs. “See you, Grandma.”
When Quinn gets up late the next morning, she’s surprised to find Santana in her sleeping bag on the couch, mouth open as she snores. Quinn sets about making pancakes for the both of them and, unsurprisingly given the smell that permeates the entire apartment, Santana appears just as they’re almost ready.
“You’re a freaking goddess, Q,” she groans, seeing what Quinn’s making.
“Sure,” Quinn laughs, swatting her away from the pan. “You only love me for the food.”
“I do not,” Santana protests. “I love you for the free accommodation.”
Quinn chuckles. “So how was your night?” she asks. “I thought you’d be out this morning.”
Santana snorts. “Sarah’s a fucking bitch,” she says. “Now I remember why I quit that band.”
Quinn raises an eyebrow, but Santana’s already inhaling a pancake. They don’t talk any more about it.
That night they go out again. It’s a different club this time, but apart from the venue, it’s practically the same as the first one. Some guy tries to pick both of them up at the same time, telling them they’d be awesome in a threesome. Santana looks at Quinn as though she’s considering, and then she knees the guy in the balls. She smirks as he gets kicked out.
This time, Santana goes home with a guy who has the bluest eyes Quinn’s ever seen.
Predictably, Quinn goes home alone.
She knows it’s her own choice, but as she watches Santana walk out with her new conquest, she feels a little jealous.
The next week passes by much the same as the last one did. Santana’s gotten really into American Idol, which seems to be on all the freaking time, so they watch it every night over dinner.
Quinn’s been living in an empty, silent apartment for two years. Now, she finds herself spending her days at work actually looking forward to going home.
On Saturday, Quinn takes Santana around the city. Santana kind of hates it, and tells Quinn so unequivocally, but Quinn drags her around anyway. They end up on Broadway, staring at the theatres, and neither of them says anything for a while. Quinn’s thinking about Glee Club, and how they all had secret dreams of one day starring here.
“It was Glee that made me drop out of college, you know,” Santana says suddenly, voice uncharacteristically soft. “I was so high off our success, and I thought I could make a life out of fucking music.” She laughs bitterly. “Look where that got me.”
Quinn blinks, surprised. “Santana -,” she starts, but Santana has turned away, and is already heading in the opposite direction. They don’t talk all the way home.
That evening, when Quinn asks where Santana wants to go that night, Santana eyes her for a minute.
“Are you planning on finally getting laid tonight?” she asks bluntly.
“Santana!” Quinn flushes. “I don’t know. Probably not.”
“Probably not, or actually not?” Santana presses.
“I don’t know,” Quinn says, shifting uncomfortably. “Actually not, I guess. Why do you care?”
“I’ve got the perfect place.”
When they enter the bar that night, Quinn looks around curiously, before raising her eyebrows. She follows Santana over to the bar, eyeing the patrons.
“Hey, S,” she mutters under her breath. “You do know we’re at a lesbian bar, right?”
Santana gives her a well duh look. “Yeah,” she says.
Quinn blinks. “Okay,” she shrugs. She accepts the drink Santana hands her. “Cool.”
They sit down in a booth, sipping at their drinks. Santana’s on the outside edge, and it doesn’t take long before a pretty brunette girl is asking her to dance. Santana turns her down.
“Why’d you say no?” Quinn asks when the girl has gone back to her friends. “She was pretty.”
Santana shrugs. “I didn’t like her nose,” she says.
Quinn rolls her eyes.
Only moments later, however, Santana is dancing with another girl. This girl is blonde, and Quinn’s first thought when she sees them together is that Santana’s trying to pretend that she’s Brittany. She’s chosen badly, because the girl is shorter than Brittany, but they’re kissing on the dance floor, and Quinn shrugs and looks away.
A couple of girls come by to talk to her, and Quinn actually dances with one of them. When the girl kisses her, she kisses back, but she draws away before the girl has a chance to get any more serious.
“Having fun, Q?” Santana asks when Quinn’s retreated back to the booth.
Quinn shoots her a look.
“Anyway,” Santana says. “I’m leaving with Becca.” She motions to the blonde girl. “You okay?”
“Sure,” Quinn says and gives Santana her best smile. “Have fun.”
She watches them walk out of the bar, and instead of going straight home, she nurses her drink for another half hour, watching people around her. She can’t get the image of Santana walking off with that girl out of her head. She doesn’t know why, but all of a sudden, she’s pissed off.
Santana doesn’t come home at all the next day. She shows up late on Monday night, wearing clothes that aren’t hers.
“Where have you been?” Quinn asks, lips pursed.
Santana winks. “Becca has amazing stamina,” she drawls.
“Oh,” Quinn says icily. “Right.”
Santana frowns. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing!” Quinn says emphatically. “Nothing’s wrong.”
Santana takes a step closer. “Well, something’s eating you,” she points out. “What did I do?”
“Well, I just -,” Quinn pauses. “You know, it’s just common courtesy to tell someone if you’re not coming home for a while. I didn’t know where you were! I ordered take-out for you last night!”
Santana doesn’t say anything for a moment. “Well, I’m sorry,” she says. “But you ate it, right?”
“Yes!” Quinn shouts. “And it was a burger, so I ruined my eating plan and I couldn’t go to the gym because I don’t have a fucking membership because I’m stuck in this fucking city with no real friends and a fucking useless job!”
She pauses for breath. She feels a little dizzy.
“Whoa,” Santana says, stepping back. “That’s some serious angst you’ve got going on there.”
“What’s wrong with you!” Quinn demands. “You just drift around and use other people! You’re so fucking scared of what a real life could be like you don’t even try to have one! Where’s the band you’re going to join? Where’s Brittany? You don’t know, do you? You don’t fucking know!”
There’s a silence for a moment after that, and then Santana’s face hardens. “Fuck you, Fabray,” she says quietly. “You don’t get it at all.”
Quinn shakes her head, hands balled into fists. “I’m going to bed,” she spits, and storms into her bedroom.
The anger cools off after a while, leaving her feeling empty. She doesn’t even know why it sprung up in the first place. She falls asleep, exhausted, around midnight.
In the morning, Santana is there as always, sprawled out on the couch. Quinn makes extra noise as she gets breakfast, but Santana doesn’t move.
Their basic routine is the same as always, but they don’t talk for a few days. Santana still has food waiting when she gets home, and they watch American Idol and whatever happens to be after that until Quinn goes to bed. They’re not angry at each other anymore, but it’s easier just to ignore the other’s presence.
On Thursday, Quinn fakes a headache and leaves work early. When she gets home, she pauses outside of her door, because there’s music coming from inside that Quinn doesn’t recognize. For one horrible moment, she’s worried that Santana’s got someone in there, and she’s hearing mood music, but it’s actually an acoustic guitar, and she can hear humming, and she recognizes Santana’s voice.
When she opens the door, Santana looks up as if she’s been caught doing something dirty.
“Q,” she says, and scrambles off the couch. “I didn’t think you be home so early.”
Quinn takes in the scene. The guitar case, which has been standing untouched in the corner since Santana got here, is open on the floor, and Santana’s holding the guitar by the neck as she stands there in front of Quinn, looking awkward.
“Keep playing,” Quinn says softly. “It sounded nice.”
Santana looks surprised, but she sits down again, resting the guitar on her knee, and strums a few chords.
“Sing me something?” Quinn asks. Santana hesitates a second, and then complies, and Quinn moves around the apartment, stripping off her outer layers and grabbing a glass of juice as she listens. Santana’s singing You and Me by Lifehouse, and by the time she’s finished, Quinn’s sitting on the arm of the couch, leaning her head against the back. Santana’s voice is sweeter than she remembers.
There’s a silence after Santana finishes playing, and then she says quietly, “I was thinking of giving up the band thing. I mean, it’s getting me fucking nowhere, and I thought, you know. I might actually try to have a normal life or something.”
Quinn stares. “You?” she asks. “Normal?”
“Fuck off, Fabray,” Santana says, but she’s smiling a little. “I could find a real job where I don’t have to travel around all the time. And, you know. Settle down.”
“Oh,” Quinn says. “Ok.” She’s a little weirded out by the conversation, because she and Santana have never been the sort of friends who have D&M’s, and yet here they are. “Well that’s… good. That’s good, right?”
“Yeah,” Santana says. She doesn’t look at Quinn as she adds, “I’m not hung up on Brittany, you know.”
“Oh,” Quinn says again. “Well, no. Of course you aren’t. Anyone can see that.”
“Shut up, I mean it!” Santana says. “We were – me and Britt were a long time ago. It doesn’t matter now.”
Quinn nods carefully. “Okay,” she says.
“Yeah,” Santana says. “So, wanna see if George has been kicked off American Idol yet?”
On Saturday morning, Quinn is woken up obscenely early by her phone ringing. When she answers, groggily, she’s not at all surprised to find that it’s Rachel on the other end.
Because she’s half asleep, she blurts out the fact that Santana is living with her, and then nods along to whatever Rachel says, desperate to do anything that will get Rachel off the phone and allow her to go back to sleep. She ends up agreeing to dinner with Rachel and Finn that night, and to bring Santana along, of course. She doesn’t realize what she’s done until she wakes up several hours later.
Santana is not pleased when Quinn tells her what they’re doing that night, but Quinn gives her the option of either going or calling Rachel herself to cancel. Santana glares at her, but she finally agrees. Then she dresses herself in the most revealing outfit she can find.
“Santana!” Quinn gasps when she sees it. “You can’t wear that! We’re going to a fancy restaurant, and you look like a hooker!”
“Good,” Santana smirks. “Maybe Rachel will be so embarrassed she’ll go straight home.”
Quinn takes a deep, steadying breath, and then summons all of her Head Bitch In Charge persona to make Santana change into something more appropriate. It works, but they end up being fifteen minutes late.
When they finally get there, they spot Rachel and Finn immediately. They’re sitting at a table in the window, and Rachel is looking at her watch impatiently. When she sees them, her face lights up.
She hugs them both, which Santana thankfully bears without saying anything. She does most of the talking, but Quinn doesn’t really pay attention to what she’s saying. Rachel’s got a diamond ring on her finger which she’d shown them almost the second they walked in, and throughout the meal, she’s in constant physical contact with Finn. They hold hands until the meals come, and then they feed each other playfully, leaning in to kiss one another almost every thirty seconds. Finn throws her looks of adoration at every opportunity, and doesn’t say much to either Quinn or Santana. Quinn watches the exchange with disgust, and then she notices Santana watching it too. Interestingly, she doesn’t look nauseated all the time. At points, she just looks sad.
When the dinner is finally over, Rachel and Finn depart in a taxi, leaving Quinn and Santana standing outside the restaurant.
“Oh my god,” Santana says as soon as the taxi drives away. “I need to shoot myself in the fucking face.”
“I told you,” Quinn says, even though she didn’t. “They’re disgusting.”
Santana sighs determinedly. “Come on, Q,” she says. “We need some goddamned alcohol.”
They end up in the closest bar, and do shots of tequila. It makes Quinn gag, which makes Santana laugh, and they both get drunk pretty quickly.
“They’re just so – I don’t know,” Santana slurs after her sixth or seventh shot. “So happy.” She picks at her sleeve. “Why don’t I have that?”
“We’re freaking failures,” Quinn agrees, and sways on her seat as the world spins around her. “I’m alone.”
Santana nods and signals to the bartender to line up another shot. “Here’s to singledom,” she says, and tosses it back.
“May we have hundreds of cats,” Quinn says, and copies her.
The rest of the night is kind of a blur, but for the next few days, every time she thinks about salt, she has the weirdest sense of déjà vu.
In the morning, she wakes up with her head pounding. She and Santana are both sprawled on the top of her bed, still in their outfits from last night. Santana even still has her shoes on.
Quinn takes some panadol, and then leaves two pills and a glass of water next to Santana’s side of the bed. She passes out again for several more hours.