It all started around a week ago when Mindy, their waitress of two years, stormed into the Diner. Santana wasn’t there to witness the event, but Kurt was, and the Latina knew that hearing the events from him was even better than actually being there. The mid-twenties redhead announced that she’d won a lottery and would be going on a trip to Europe. She then proceeded to throw her flashy red uniform on the floor and suddenly marched out, much like when she arrived. The Diner was dead silent for a second, before the startled patrons and staff burst into a cloud of loudly whispered discussions.
Gunther hushed them all and claimed that the Diner would be completely fine without Mindy, and no new arrangements were needed. However, after two shifts and the undeniable tension, especially when the head-waitress nearly made a well-known customer burst into tears, even he had to admit that it was time to hire a waitress to replace Mindy. And that was when Dani started working in the Diner.
If Mindy hadn’t scratched off the correct numbers in the lottery, or if it had been Linda, the petite blonde who worked in an opposite shift to the rest of them, Santana would’ve never met Dani and the story would’ve gone in an entirely different direction.
Santana hated how lame-ass she was when she first met Dani. She was the very definition of the word ‘starstruck’: all stutters and not-so-subtle stares. The Latina didn’t dare approach the girl more than it was necessary because she was certain that she would end up making a complete fool of herself.
From the first moment the Latina laid eyes on the girl, she started to doubt the simplest things. What if Dani wasn’t gay and Santana was imagining the exaggerated twirl in her step when the shorter girl walked towards her direction? Or the brush of hands and… okay, so maybe Santana hadn’t had that much of an interaction with the new girl. However, Santana knew that she wouldn’t be able to look her in the eyes ever again if this was all in her imagination. She was sure the awkwardness would probably force her to quit her job. And then Kurt and Rachel would kick her out of their apartment and Santana would starve on the streets and would be forced to sell her hair and teeth… like that lady in one of the plays Rachel always insisted they go watch. Or worse, she could be forced to go back to Lima. If that were to happen, her life would be over.
Santana had to admit that she’d still be lost if Rachel hadn’t come to her, ceaselessly talking in her usual way. After Santana missed nodding her head in time with Rachel’s complaints for the third time, the shorter girl finally noticed that Santana’s attention wasn’t to the Funny Girl show she was rambling about. With some prodding, Santana admitted her interest in the new girl. The dwarf supported her theory and stated that she got a gay-vibe from Dani too. Rachel went into a string of details to support her theory, from the way Dani wore high-heels, to the way she trimmed her nails and the way she smiled when a gay couple arrived holding hands.
Encouraged by Rachel’s pep talk, Santana made a move to actually talk to Dani by throwing a remark out about the ketchup bottles… of all things. It was beyond clumsy and so lame that it made Santana cringe internally. But, the worst was over. Santana had officially met Dani. She blushed to the shade of their uniform while they shook hands, taking a moment to marvel at the lingering touch.
Now, there was the matter of addressing the elephant in the room and see if Santana still had a chance to get a date. Biting the bullet, she asked if her parents had known she was lesbian. She wanted to disappear forever when Dani replied that she wasn’t a lesbian.
Santana started babbling about how Dani was wearing so much eyeliner that it had her confused. Dani eventually saved her from embarrassing herself further as she revealed that she loved lady parts. It did cost Santana mentioning Brittany as her ex, a rookie mistake. Luckily, except for a small frown on her face, Dani didn’t react much. When Dani started flirting with her, Santana felt so nervous she could feel her palms and the space between her boobs get all sweaty. She finally dragged herself back to the counter with another lame excuse and was bombarded by Rachel. Still shaky, the Latina shared her fears of approaching a more experienced girl. If Rachel so much as laughed at her awkwardness, she would pay the price. Dearly.
“I can’t do it, Rachel. I’ve only been with Brittany and some hookups with curious girls in my college. She’s… confident and perfect. How can I compete with that?” she rambled, grasping the counter to keep herself balanced.
“Listen, Dani seems to be a smart girl. And if she’s smart, then she’s not going to miss out on an opportunity to go out with someone as amazing as you,” Rachel tried to encourage her.
Who would’ve thought she’d be getting dating advice from Rachel Berry?
The flirting went on, back and forth, for a few days. Santana had gotten so used to the daily interaction that she was comfortable to the point that she could actually focus on the task at hand and not reminding herself to breathe. Whenever she was doing some mindless task and thinking about what she’d been doing after work, Dani would somehow crawl her way into her daydreams. That was when the musings evolved into a completely different direction. Even if she somehow managed to keep the girl from her thoughts, it was Rachel or sometimes Kurt dropping obvious hints that she hadn’t still asked Dani out that brought her mind right back to the beautiful girl. It was beyond annoying.
It was at the end of the one shift they all shared together, Dani included, that Rachel made a point of leaving ten minutes early before Santana could really protest. It was a plot to let Santana and Dani finish alone together. Santana didn’t know how to feel about the dwarf playing matchmaker, she would decide on that later. The sun had risen by now and she caught a glimpse of Dani, staring out of the window. Santana took a moment to appreciate the sunlight shining on Dani’s now dirty blonde hair before deciding to approach the girl.
Before Santana could open her mouth to say something clever, Dani surprised her yet again by talking about the sunrise and how beautiful it was. Then, producing a guitar, seemingly out of nowhere, she began to sing. With some encouragement from Dani and a gentle smile, Santana followed with a shaky voice.
Santana walked Dani home and stayed by the doorstep for a little while, taking her time. The Latina waited as Dani typed her phone number into her cell phone. Dani made the first move, moving in for a kiss. Santana felt her eyes flutter closed as she responded.
The Latina was trying to leave, she really was. But Dani’s eyes and her captivating smile stopped her in her tracks and she dipped in for the second kiss, then the third. And then they climbed two long flights of stairs to Dani’s place, holding hands… among other things. Their arms were touching and Santana could swear she felt the other girl’s sweet breath on her shoulder. The contact between the two girls only broke for a minute or two it took for Dani to unlock the door and then they headed straight to the bedroom.
“Hey, what’s the matter? You’ve been staring at me since we got here,” Dani said, frowning at Santana’s expression.
“Nothing. I’m fine,” Santana shrugged.
“You sure you’re okay? You look green,” the other girl observed.
“Yeah. Let’s do this,” Santana replied enthusiastically, leaning in for a reassuring, chaste kiss.
“I don’t know. Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked, reaching back and trying to pull the diner uniform off using one hand, the other secured over Santana’s.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean…don’t you feel it? How weird this is?” Dani asked, her voice muffled by her shirt.
“What’s weird?” Santana asked, dumbfounded.
“This…” Dani pointed at their intertwined hands, clasped tightly, “after only one day of meeting each other?”
“Well, technically, you started working at the diner last week.” She smirked.
“You know what I mean,” the other girl replied, rolling her eyes.
“Trust me, it’s not weird for people to sleep together when they barely know each other.”
“But, I want this to mean something.”
“Oh.” It was all Santana could say. She was caught off guard with how… nice Dani seemed to be. And the way she looked at Santana, it seemed that Dani actually care what she thought.
“Let’s not do this now. We should go on a proper date, alright?” Dani requested, her eyes softening.
“So, what do you mean? You’re not up for getting off?” she asked, unable to mask the hurt she felt. Santana wasn’t used to being rejected and to her embarrassment, tears began filling her eyes. Dani scooted closer.
“You know I am. But, doing it this way, is better…for our future, for our relationship. I don’t want to just have a fling with you.”
“Okay then,” Santana tried to brush it off with a laugh so fake, she cringed to the sound of it herself. But, she couldn’t ignore how her heart warmed at the positive way Dani felt about this… relationship. Even though the word seemed scary, it actually wasn’t as bad as she’d thought it would be.
“You’re extremely hot, Santana and I’m not even thinking about rejecting you. But, I want this to be right, you know?”
“Yeah, I got the message,” she shrugged.
“Maybe we can meet this weekend?” the shorter girl suggested.
And with that, Santana left the building. She couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed, and insecure, when Dani asked her to leave her place. Well, who was she kidding? She was close to bawling her eyes out. Dani had only given Santana one small peck on the lips before leaving. The Latina tried to console herself with the promise of the weekend. The thought of the date they were planning to have sent butterflies to her stomach. She had never felt like this in the past year. Not even once. And it was a welcome change.
Dani was right: it wouldn’t mean anything if they just had a one night stand. She wasn’t going to get anywhere by hooking up. And Santana was willing to try, if not for Dani, then for her own sake. She remembered her mother’s words. She’d given up her savings so Santana could have a future. So, Santana made a promise to herself right then and there. She was going to do this properly.
The weekend finally arrived and Dani had planned to pick her up in exactly half an hour. Santana had sent Kurt and Rachel out early in the morning, anxious that they would somehow embarrass her in front of her date.
She heard the sound of footsteps by the door and sprinted towards it, her heart beating loudly. The Latina opened the door, finding Dani just about to knock. The girl looked breathtaking. Santana took a moment to appreciate all the curves and the tanned skin the diner’s silly uniform had managed to hide.
“Hi,” she managed to gasp out, mentally kicking herself that she was Santana Lopez and she did not do ‘shy’.
“Hey,” the other girl replied with a small smile.
Then there was a pause, when they awkwardly stood, wondering if they should shake hands, hug… kiss? Dani made the first move and handed Santana three purple, yellow, and red tulips, wrapped neatly with a purple bow. Somehow, lost in daze, Santana had missed the small bouquet.
“Sorry I’m late. I was trying to guess what your favorite flowers are,” she said, coughing lightly to hide the lingering awkwardness.
“That so sweet. I love tulips,” the Latina enthused.
Well, Santana didn’t exactly love tulips. But, it was the first time someone had bought her flowers and damn it if she was going to ignore the gesture. She carefully received the small bouquet and smelled it. The taller girl motioned for her guest to step inside, trying to remember where the small vase was. Her best bet was searching the top shelves in the kitchen, so she motioned for Dani to sit down as she placed the bouquet on the table, stood on her tiptoes and blindly reached for the shelf nearest to the fridge. There was something there that felt like the vase and Santana pushed herself higher to properly hold it.
Suddenly, there was a ripping sound and Santana instinctively caught her skirt before it fell off in pieces. She glanced back at Dani, noting she was trying hard not to laugh.
Maybe it was only fair for this to happen, since she’d ‘borrowed’ the mini-skirt from Rachel’s admittedly horrible wardrobe.
“I got it,” Dani tried to comfort, taking pity on her crestfallen expression. She pushed forward a chair and gracefully put down the vase. Santana made her way towards her room, already deciding on her backup outfit as she stripped.
She was so busy trying to not get tangled up in her new pair of jeans that she completely missed the first round of knocking on the door. The second round, however, which took place exactly fifteen seconds later, was met with a loud groan from her. Could this day get any worse?
“Dani, would you mind getting the door?” she asked loudly, glancing at the mirror and wanted to kick herself right then and there. The jeans were inside out.
It took less than a minute to fix her stupid mistake and Santana sprinted towards the main room, alarmed to find the door open and the room empty. She took cautious steps towards the door and stopped when she noticed Dani crouching down there, her hands reluctantly ghosting over the small carrier placed there.
When she opened the door tentatively, there was no one there. Santana heard a quiet sound and paid more attention. Inside the carrier there was bundle wrapped in a bright blue blanket. The sound was unmistakably coming from it. She kneeled down and inspected the bundle and was met with the brightest, most innocent green eyes she’d ever seen.