Summary: She applied for this job on a whim because she needed something, anything, after being laid off in the most recent recession. She figured she could teach an introductory women's studies class at her alma mater.
Word Count: 15,000 (total)
Disclaimer: Don't own.
She applied for this job on a whim because she needed something, anything, after being laid off in the most recent recession. It seriously, seriously sucks to go from making $50 thousand a year to making zero a year. She took a job in a bar just to pay rent, but that was not a long term solution.
She figured she could teach an introductory women's studies class at her alma mater. It was her major, after all, before she got her masters in business. She was more than a little shocked, though, when they actually called her - no one else was fucking calling her - and asked her to come in for an interview.
That was three weeks ago. Today is her first class.
She feels really, really fucking good to be wearing a suit and heels again. She doesn't exactly have to dress like this at the bar. (And yes, she's still working there, because she can handle the hours and she's learned to grab any money she can get.)
The class isn't huge. It's maybe forty kids, most of them women, and she knows they're mostly juniors, too, because this is an elective for them, or so says her schedule and syllabus. It probably means they don't give a fuck about this class, either, because it's just one of those lame credits they need to graduate. She felt that way about all her electives, and fuck you, it hasn't been that long since she was a student. She's not even 30.
Looking out at these students, she realizes she really has no fucking business being here, and she's not going to pretend like she does.
"Alright. I'm Santana Lopez, but you can call me Santana, or Ms. Lopez. None of this 'professor' crap, okay?" She sees a few smiles. Smiles are good. "And I know most of you probably don't care all that much about the subject matter, since this likely has nothing to do with your majors, but let's just try to put in some effort and do the coursework."
She leans back against the table in the front of the room and sees a couple guys who're sitting next to one another talking and looking her up and down. That's so fucking irritating. She knows she's hot, and she assumed some college kids would be into her, but yeah, these two? Barking up the wrong lesbian.
A girl in the front raises her hand before Santana can get into the lesson plan, and Santana points to her.
"May we ask what your background is?"
She knows what that means, so she's not going to play smartass and pretend it's about her genetics.
"Sure. I graduated NYU magna cum laude with a degree in women's studies and then earned my MBA at Stern. I was hired right out of university to work for the company where I did my internship, and two years ago, I was recruited to work for a Fortune 500 company. I was the PR manager there, and then the economy went down the tank. The PR department was completely wiped out, so I was out of a job."
"So you don't want to be here," one of the guy says.
Santana quirks her brow and steps behind her stupid podium thing, where her notes are. "Do you?" she asks. The class breaks into a kind of interesting muffled laughter that sounds different from the front of the room than it does when you're the one up there laughing. "They don't pay me to talk about myself, alright? Lecture time."
She watches as her students opened their books and got out their pens, lets herself scan the room to see them all.
One girl in the second row is staring back, smiling. Her books have been open since she first sat down. Santana doesn't want to look away first, which basically means she gets a really good look at the girl. Which basically means that she has time to notice how fucking cute she is. Long brown hair and big, round eyes and a black pashmina wrapped over her shoulders. It is cool in this room. The girl's got bangs across her forehead that are just a touch too long and kind of fall down over her eyes just the slightest bit, but they look good on her. And god, those lips.
The girl looks at the white board to Santana's right, almost like she's giving a reminder to start the fucking lesson, so Santana wakes up her laptop and starts in on an introduction to the course material.
She wasn't nervous, really, before. Now every time she looks up, the girl is staring straight at her, which she realizes is a stupid fucking thing to notice, since she's the teacher.
... ... ...
She's actually good at the teaching thing. Probably because she's only been out of school, really, a few years herself. She knows how to explain things in the way that people who know very little about the subject would understand. And a lot of this is history, which was always one of her favourite subjects and she considered minoring in it, before deciding to minor in marketing because it made more sense for her future career. You know, the one she was laid off from.
She shares an office with another part time professor. It's fine; she doesn't need her own office. It's kind of nice to just have someplace on campus where she can go to get some quiet and eat her lunch in peace, or hang out between classes. She has nothing to mark yet, not that she's looking forward to that, but she does like to be really prepared for her classes, because fuck, she always, always hated it when her professors were just flying blindly through a lecture. Santana doesn't want to be one of those profs who doesn't know the answer to a question when it's asked.
A few weeks into the semester, she's just settling into her office hours - which no one's even taken advantage of yet - and there's a knock at her door. Sometimes it'll be another professor in the department who sees Santana's name on the sign outside and introduces him or herself because they haven't yet. It's kind of nice, even if it does interrupt her work or like, newspaper reading or whatever.
So she calls for the person to come in and barely looks up from her laptop, until she sees that it's that girl from her class. The one who always sits near the front and always looks really fucking cute.
She scoffs. "It's Santana, but hi." God, she sounds like a bitch. "What can I help you with..."
Fuck. She doesn't even know the girl's name.
"Rachel Berry." Santana nods and gestures to the seat across from her desk. "I just wanted to let you know that I won't be in Wednesday's class. I'm in the musical and generally rehearsals are scheduled around students' classes, but it seems I'm the only one with a lecture at that time, and well..."
"It's okay," Santana laughs, just a little. "I can email you the lecture notes so you have them."
"Would you?" This chick is like, really hopeful, which only makes her even more...Fuck no. Santana doesn't think of women as adorable. Especially not in dresses as short as the one Rachel's wearing right now. "That would be fantastic!"
God. This is her student.
"Yeah, of course." Rachel isn't moving, even though this little conference is kind of done now. "Is there anything else?"
"Oh, well. This is kind of embarrassing, actually." Rachel bites her bottom lip, which, yeah, not helping. Santana just raises her brow. "I baked cookies last night and I brought you some. I know it's silly, but." Rachel shrugs and pulls a little Tupperware container out of her bag. "They're lemon lime twist cookies. From scratch, with whole wheat flour."
"No!" Rachel answers quickly, frantic, like she really wants Santana to believe this wasn't just a way of buttering her up over the missed class or whatever.
The girl's blushing. Santana grins as she takes the container and sets it in front of her. "Thanks."
Then Rachel looks at Santana from under her bangs, shrugs her shoulder just the tiniest bit, so subtle that Santana almost doesn't notice. "Aren't you going to try one?"
Santana tastes lemon for the rest of the fucking day, and can't get Rachel's fucking legs out of her mind, either.
... ... ...
Okay, so, truth? The reason she was hired on at the bar so quickly is because Puck's practically her best friend and he's the bar manager. He's worked here since he moved to the city, and he took a business class at a city college, and honestly, he's kind of made for this shit. She knows he either wants to take over the bar and buy it someday, or own a different establishment completely. She has to admit, though, he's good at what he does. His employees are happy and so are his patrons, and business in this place has easily doubled since he took over managing the bar. He's brought in better brands and, in turn, better clientele. She's kind of proud of him, actually.
"You're late!" he calls to her as she tires her stupid apron around her waist.
"I had a staff meeting, douche, and I texted you." One of the guys at the bar laughs and Santana gives him a winning smile. "What can I get you?"
It's not a glamourous Friday night, but she spends the next eight hours slinging drinks and laughing with Puck, and when he offers her a place to crash at his instead of traveling 20 blocks back to hers, she's so tired that she accepts.
The thing is, he's always known that she's definitely not interested in him, and it's never been a problem.
The problem comes when he offers her a double shot of whiskey as soon as they're through the door to his place. Actually, no. The real problem is after she drinks the second double shot of whiskey and he asks if there're any hot, willing college chicks in any of her classes.
"It's fucking women's studies, ass. It'd be so fucking wrong of me to tell you. And anyway, I don't know."
"Sure you don't."
"There's this girl."
God, it didn't even take anything for him to get that out of her. He should have had to prod more. She figures this probably just means she wants to talk about Rachel, which is a problem. She hasn't stopped thinking about the girl since Monday in her office.
And like, there's not exactly anything about it in the professor's handbook or whatever the fuck, but she's thinking there's probably something really fucking wrong with thinking about your student as you press your fingers inside yourself. She's just venturing a guess.
What the fuck has gotten into her?
"Yeah?" Puck asks.
Santana grabs the pillow and blanket she usually uses when she stays, and Puck tosses another one at her, which is good, because it's fucking cold in here right now.
"She's hot as fuck and she made me cookies."
Puck laughs loudly and leans down, kisses her forehead. "Sounds like your type. Night, Lo."
So yeah, fuck him for making her think about that for so long.
... ... ...
Honestly, she just doesn't feel like wearing a suit today. She's seen a ton of other professors wearing little more professional than jeans and a decent shirt, so Santana pulls on a pair of $300 jeans she bought pre-layoff, a nice sweater from fucking Banana Republic, of all places, and she pulls on a camel-coloured blazer. She pulls her hair up into a ponytail because it looks neat, sweeps her bangs to the side a bit, and she's fastening her earrings as she walks out of her apartment to head to work.
When she walks into the lecture hall, she sees that Rachel's there already, sitting in the seat she usually picks. Santana hasn't seen her in over a week. That seems really wrong.
Also wrong? Rachel in leggings, boots, and a knit sweater that just barely covers her ass. How does Santana know that? Rachel stood up when she heard someone walking in.
"You startled me," Rachel says, and Santana walks right past her and heads to the front of the room.
"Yeah? Not expecting anyone else to show up for this class today?" Fuck, she loves making this girl blush. Rachel sits back down and twirls her pen between her fingers. "How's the musical going?"
Rachel looks surprised to be asked. "It's going well, thank you."
"What show is it?" Santana asks, trying to sound indifferent as she sets up her laptop and her notes for the class.
"Meet Me In St. Louis. It's about..."
"No, I've seen it," Santana says, and god, does this girl just think she's like, uncultured or something?
"Oh." Rachel looks pleased. She smiles and relaxes a bit in her seat. "I'm not the lead or anything, but there are a ton of songs and I am showcased a bit. Plus the...I'm sorry. I ramble."
"It's okay," Santana laughs. "So you're majoring in..."
"It's what I love."
Santana leans back against the table and crosses her arms. If she's not mistaken, Rachel looks her up and down. She cannot allow herself to think about that.
"Why're you here so early?" she asks, because the class still doesn't start for another 15 minutes and she figures Rachel's been here for a bit already.
"I was staying with a friend close by and overestimated how long it would take me to get here."
A friend. This girl is not single. How the hell could she be? Look at her. She may be small or whatever, but she's fucking gorgeous, too, and just...
"I'm going to grab a coffee," Santana says abruptly. She can't handle just sitting here in this room with Rachel for 15 minutes, talking and learning more things that make the girl interesting. "Do you want anything?"
Rachel looks surprised to be asked. "No, thank you. I'm okay. I'll watch your things, though."
She is in so much trouble.
... ... ...
"No, dude, you don't understand." She and Puck are doing inventory at the bar, because he asked her last night if she'd do it and she couldn't really say no.
He asked about 'that student' about an hour into the work, and Santana said she's got a problem. Puck doesn't get that Santana cannot act on this.
Puck does get that Santana can't not act on it, though, because it's just not in her to stay away from someone she wants so bad.
"Whatever. Just do it up and make sure she knows no one can find out. Problem solved."
"First of all, she's like, 21."
"Legal." Puck rolls an empty keg to the other side of the room. Santana rolls her eyes.
"She's a student. It's wrong. Besides, I think she's got a boyfriend or something," Santana tells him, and pretends that doesn't bother her.
"God, I always thought that'd suck." She looks at him like he's an idiot. "I mean, I'm just saying. It's gotta be so hard to pick out who's a lesbian and who's not. Makes dating more of a pain in the ass, right?"
Santana rolls her eyes again. Sometimes it's really difficult to talk to him about this kind of stuff. He may think he's being sensitive, but he's really not. And like, that's not really how it works anyway.
"That doesn't make sense, you jackass. How do you know a girl's straight just by looking at her?"
Puck smirks. "She's usually fucking me with her eyes."
Santana can't help but laugh, because god, it's annoying that it's at least a little true. "Whatever. I'm not like, pursuing this. I kind of need this job, if you hadn't noticed."
"Yeah, I know." He tosses her a bottle of water and she looks at him questioningly when he grins. "But you need sex, too."
Fuck him for being right.
... ... ...
Finding a petite brunette with brown eyes is really fucking easy, to be honest. They're kind of everywhere. This woman has bigger tits than Rachel does, and she doesn't have bangs, but you know what?
She's not Santana's fucking student. So, it's a win.
She isn't totally sure what kind of a name Harlene is, but she's not exactly worried about the fucking symbolism or whatever. The woman is hot, willing, and just buzzed enough, like Santana is, to think a one night stand is a really fucking good idea.
It's decent. Santana's had better - hell, she's had better in the last few months - but it scratches her itch and satisfies her need for now. She can tell, though, that this woman would be the type who'd spend the night and not leave in the morning, so she's really glad she had the presence of mind to come over here, to Harlene's place in Murray Hill.
Fuck, it's gonna take her forever to get home.
"Come here," Harlene says, just as Santana's coming out of the bathroom. She's really wanting to get her clothes back on and bail. "Breakup?"
"What?" She sits down because the woman's naked and, well, her body's kind of really fucking hot.
"This is a rebound thing, right?"
And honestly, anything that'll keep this chick from like, being all clingy and shit is good in Santana's book. "Yeah. How'd you know?"
The woman laughs and lies back in her bed. "You called me Rachel."
Santana feels her stomach drop. She fucking did not. "Seriously?" Harlene nods and shrugs her shoulder. "Fuck. I'm sorry."
God, she'd be so fucking pissed if someone did that to her.
"I could help you get over it."
"Um." No, she needs to leave.
But then Harlene spreads her legs and Santana's like...well, leaving is less of a priority.
There's a hand and fingers and Santana's already naked anyway, so she figures it can't hurt.
And yeah, this time she hears herself say Rachel's name when Harlene's head is between Santana's legs, and honestly?
All she can think is that it sounds really fucking good.
... ... ...
She sees Rachel on campus, walking with some guy with dark hair and eyebrows that could use a little maintenance, if Santana's being real. He's good looking, though, and Santana figures this is probably Rachel's boyfriend or something. They look good together, too, and not just physically, though that too. They look happy, and Rachel's laughing at something, and this guy takes Rachel's hand in both of his and says something so earnestly, but exaggeratedly so, so it's probably all a joke or something.
Santana can't seem to make herself look away, which is really fucking annoying.
This shit was supposed to end after what she did the other night. She's supposed to have this out of her system. That's the whole point of fucking someone who looks like who you really want; it's supposed to trick your mind into getting over it. She's done it before.
She's grabbing a coffee in the cafeteria before her freshman class and she hears, "Hi, Professor Lopez!"
She turns and sees Rachel standing there looking all cute and like, sexy or whatever, in a vintage dress with a belt cinched around her tiny waist. "Rachel. Call me Santana, please."
"Sorry. I'm not used to being so casual with instructors. Well, save for my private vocal coach, but really, that's because we spend so much time together, and..." Santana just raises her brow and pours milk into her coffee. "Do you drink a lot of coffee?"
Random, but she can work with it. "Some. Why?"
"I'm waiting for Blaine. He's practically addicted to caffeine. It's really not good for him, and I keep telling him that, but he's up to four cups of coffee a day."
Blaine. The boyfriend's name is Blaine.
"Yeah, I think I'm safe at two," Santana chuckles. She sees how hard Rachel's twisting the strap of her bag in her grip. She wonders if the girl's always this nervous around her profs.
"Perfectly acceptable," Rachel says happily. Blaine walks over and touches Rachel's back, and she smiles at him. "Blaine, this is Santana Lopez, my women's studies professor. She's the one I told you about."
Blaine chuckles. "The cookies."
Santana smiles to herself when Rachel blushes and hisses out his name. "They were great cookies," she says, giving Rachel a smile. Fuck. She needs to leave. She's got class in 15 minutes and she has to go for so many reasons. "I have to get to class, but I'll see you on Wednesday, Rachel."
"Okay. Have a good day. Enjoy your coffee." This girl is so awkward and it should not be so fucking cute on her, but it is.
"I will," Santana chuckles.
It takes her five minutes to get herself back into a teaching mentality. She hates that she's so fucking strung out on this girl.
... ... ...
She's trying to make her point about the subject matter during her lesson on Wednesday, and what she actually does is make a complete ass of herself.
She goes, "Rachel, how long have you been with your boyfriend?" and it's relevant to the lesson, she promises.
But Rachel freezes and just stares. "I don't have a boyfriend," Rachel says slowly.
Santana takes a deep breath - fuck, she's an idiot - as her students stare at her. Okay, she can work with this. She can...
"Okay, well, allow me to make an example of myself." Some people snicker, which is good. "So, I saw Rachel the other day with a guy and just assumed. I mean, he was introduced by his first name, which I thought nothing of. So was it right of me to assume that just because Rachel didn't introduce him as her boyfriend, Blaine, that he was, in fact, her boyfriend? And conversely, is it really necessary to introduce someone as your significant other even if they are?"
It opens up a whole conversation, which is great, but she can tell that Rachel is uncomfortable and Santana actually really feels bad. She wants to ask her to stay after, or to come by during Santana's office hours, but that'd be awkward, too.
After class, she checks her registration information and finds Rachel's contact information, sends off an email requesting Rachel come by the office whenever she's got time and Santana's around.
She doesn't get a response. She feels like such a jerk.
But then she goes home, and as she's making dinner, she wants to believe that Rachel knows it was an honest mistake. It pretty much goes against what she's trying to teach in her class, but other than that, it doesn't have to be a big deal.
So why does she feel like shit?
... ... ...
She's had her first student complaint, and it's not from Rachel or anyone in that class at all. One of the students in her freshman class has accused her of not marking fairly, and considering the only thing she's marked for them as of yet has been a 2,000 word essay, she really doesn't think he has much of a case. She knows the kid who complained and his essay was the biggest piece of crap of everyone's. If she failed him it's because he obviously wrote the thing the night before and his grammar skills make her question how he got into NYU in the first place.
Anyway, she just got out of a meeting with her supervisor, who basically told her that if there's only one complaint, it's likely bogus, but that if any more come in they'll have to take a closer look.
She's having a shitty day.
But then there's Rachel standing in the door to her office and knocking on the glass. "Santana?"
First name. Maybe this isn't as bad as Santana's been working it up to be in her head for the past day and a half.
"Come in. Close the door." Rachel nods, but she looks nervous again as she sits down. She presses her hands down on her thighs as she sits there. "I owe you an apology. I jumped to conclusions and I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable in class."
God, it's so fucking hard for her to say those words.
"It's okay. It was an honest mistake." She sounds so fucking sincere that it makes Santana feel even worse. "But, um..." Santana almost glares when she sees the little smirk on Rachel's lips, almost a smile, really. "It was really inventive how you incorporated it into the lesson."
Santana laughs. "I had to save my ass somehow."
"I really wasn't offended. Blaine laughed, too. Considering he's gay, it was..."
"Oh, Jesus," Santana groans. "Now I owe him an apology, too."
Rachel just giggles. "It's really okay. And honestly, it's not the first time anyone's ever assumed he and I are together. We've been best friends since we were 16."
"Really?" Rachel shrugs her shoulder. "That's kind of awesome."
"It is." There are a few beats of silence and then Rachel looks up from her lap. "Blaine isn't my type."
Their eyes meet and Santana's trying way too hard to read into that what she wants. But then, if the look on Rachel's face is anything to go by, she's totally fucking flirting.
Rachel shakes her head. Then something makes her skittish again, somehow, even though they're just two people sitting in an office, and she goes back into that shell. "I have a rehearsal, so..."
"Yeah, of course. I'm glad we cleared the air."
Rachel smiles and slips her bag over her shoulder. "All cleared."
Santana watches Rachel's ass as she gets up to leave.
Rachel totally catches her when she looks over her shoulder before walking out the door.
... ... ...
"Yo, being a lesbian seems so fucking difficult." Santana laughs a little and looks over at Puck so se can see where he's going with this. "Seriously. Like, dealing with one chick's emotions and fucking mood swings is bad enough. Put two together and it's like..."
"Don't be a dick. All I did was get caught checking out her ass."
"And she's your student and apparently like, all shy and shit. If she is gay, you've scared the fuck out of her, and if not, she's gonna be all uncomfortable. Pretty sure that's not how you wanted that apology to go. And all because you can't keep it in your pants."
Santana rolls her eyes. He's such a dick, honestly. "You don't even understand how hot she is. You'd have done the same."
"Just bang her."
Admittedly, expecting him to act as her conscience or something is a bad move. His endgame is probably always going to be pretty similar to hers.
The thing she's not telling him is that every time she learns even something small about Rachel - like that she's a singer, or bakes, or has had the same best friend since she was a teenager - she wants something more. It's like a little trail of bread crumbs or something and she wants to follow it all the way to the girl or whatever.
God, she needs to stop this.
"I know you, Lo. You're gonna sweat this girl until you get her naked."
She wants to say it's not like that, but fuck, if she says that out loud, it means it's probably really true. She can't let it be really true.
... ... ...
An auditor comes to sit in on one of her classes because of the whole complaint thing. She knows she's not sucking at this whole teaching thing, and the dean of the department has already checked up on her and the essay and the student in question. She knows she's safe and it's not like she's getting fired, but auditing after a complaint like this one is apparently school policy or something, and that's fine. She can handle that.
It just happens to be Rachel's class the auditor is sitting in on, and Santana's got to ignore the girl for the entire class, which she can tell - she's not making it up - bothers Rachel.
The girl gathers her things and leaves class almost before anyone else, and Santana curses in her head. Fuck, she really doesn't want Rachel to think things are different after that conversation they had last week. That's totally what it must look like to Rachel, who doesn't know about the auditor.
Santana can't do anything about it, and fuck, she shouldn't want to. The thing is, no matter how many times she says she can't go there, she still wants Rachel. Badly. Like, pretty much all the time. She can't get the woman out of her head, and god, she's just thinking that if she wasn't a teacher at this school, it'd be no big deal. If she met Rachel at a bar or on the fucking sidewalk, she could do whatever she wanted. Just because she's getting a paycheck from this institution, she can't pursue someone she normally would.
It's a slow night at the bar and she's kind of just hanging out, really. There are no games in any sport on, which is weird and interesting, so it's pretty much just regulars in the bar, and Puck and Santana chilling and sipping glasses of water between customers. Puck keeps the place clean so there's not a ton to do anyway.
"Oh, fuck," she gasps, and Puck gives her a weird look.
Rachel just walked in with a few people who must be her friends.
God, her life just really sucks right now. It's one thing seeing Rachel at school, but it's another seeing her here, at the bar. Is the girl even 21? Christ.
Rachel spots her right away and comes over to the bar. "Hi!" Yeah, she's been drinking. "What are you...You work here?"
Santana shrugs. Puck's looking a little less like a surprised asshole and more like a guy who's piecing together some kind of puzzle. He's a shit disturber, too, so there's no way he's not going to at least try to do something to stir the pot here.
"Don't tell anyone I moonlight as a bartender, alright?" she says, because yeah, she's a bitch, but also, she doesn't need her students knowing this shit. And seriously? Of all the bars in New York, one of them has to come in here?
"Your secret's safe with me." Rachel licks her lips and Santana swears she almost dies. "Can I get a gin and tonic?"
"Can I see ID?"
Rachel just stares for a second. "Seriously?" Santana raises her brow.
Honestly, she doesn't know if Rachel's of age or not, and she's not fucking around. All their asses are on the line if someone's served underage. Rachel hands over her license - from Ohio, but still valid - and Santana takes a look at it. Rachel'll be 22 in December. Now she's wondering why it is that Rachel's only ordering herself a drink and not one for everyone in her group.
Santana hands over the drink and Rachel thanks her and walks back to her group of friends.
That's when Santana notices the short, tight as fuck dress Rachel's got on. It's got long sleeves, but that's almost all that's conservative about it, and one of the guys, this tall, goofy one, slides his hand over Rachel's ass as she gets back to the table. Rachel swats it away and says something to him, but still. What the fuck is that about?
"So." Santana nearly jumps out of her skin. Puck's right behind her. "Who's that?"
"She's sexy. I'd fuck her six ways from..." Santana elbows him - hard - in the ribs before he can finish that sentence. "Rachel, then?"
"Shut up, Puck, okay? Just...Can you like, for once in your life not be a dick?"
He just stares at her for a few seconds, then sighs and shakes his head at her. "You're lucky I love you, babe." She smiles at him. Sometimes she thinks they're soulmates or something, which is messed up, she knows, but whatever. It works. They work. "I'll cover that table."
"I owe you."
"I want details if you nail her," he says, and she just laughs, because they both know that's not going to happen.
Santana tries not to pay too much attention as he walks over to the table and takes their orders, because if she does, she knows, somehow, that she'll see Rachel wondering why Santana's not serving them. As if it's not embarrassing enough to have to serve one of her students, or whatever. She's not about to serve her students' friends.
They're a low maintenance table - the guys are all drinking beer, so it was a pitcher (and then two) - and they don't need much attention. Puck's got a tab going for them and it's nearing last call when Santana finally takes a bathroom break and heads to the womens' washroom. She half expects Rachel to be like, waiting by the sink or something when she comes out of the stall. She hates that there's a little part of her that's disappointed when she manages to wash her hands uninterrupted and head back behind the bar.
Rachel's had a couple drinks, plus whatever she had before coming here. She's still not hammered or anything, so that's good, but when she walks up to the bar and sits herself down right in front of Santana...
It's distracting. It's almost 2:00 and Santana's got things to do if she wants to get out of here at a decent time. And it's hard to give a fuck when this hot girl is sitting in front of her.
"Are you avoiding me?" Rachel asks, head tilted to the side and a little smile on her face.
Santana rolls her eyes. "You're drunk."
"I'm not that drunk. I'm not too drunk to know you're avoiding me."
"I'm working." Santana watches as Rachel looks around the bar. She's one of about 10 other people in here right now, and like half the rest of them are with her, so yeah. Santana's caught in her little act of trying to be busy.
"Is that your boyfriend?" Rachel asks, gesturing to Puck.
So it's not Santana's fault if she fucking loses it. Honestly, they get this all the time, and okay, fine, sometimes they make out and fuck with people, or save each other from getting hit on by ugly people or clingy bitches. Kissing's practically nothing when you've done the kind of shit she and Puck have. Not with each other, obviously, but...Kissing him has never been a big deal. It's not about attraction or whatever, not that he's a bad kisser. They both know it's just how their friendship works and it's not like they're making out behind closed doors or anything, either.
Anyway, she has no idea where Rachel got that idea.
"Fuck no," she says, and then cringes. They may be in a bar, but this is still her student. "Sorry."
"It's okay. You don't have a boyfriend?"
"Why're you so surprised by that?" And yes, at any time, she could point out that, you know, she's not interested in dick, but she likes this conversation as is right now.
Rachel shrugs her shoulder. Her friends are watching. Well, at least Blaine is. She's thinking Rachel's had more to drink than she's letting on. "I'm a little surprised. I mean, you're successful and nice and...and really attractive."
"Um. I'm not that nice, and I'm really not all that successful."
"Shut up! You're a professor at one of the best schools in the country." Santana grins and leans her elbow on the bar. She likes being complimented, okay? "So you admit you're attractive?"
Santana scoffs. "Please. Look at me. Of course I admit it." Rachel giggles a bit and Puck clears his throat from the other end of the bar, which is pretty much the universal signal for 'quit fucking around and get back to work'. He can fuck himself. It'll take Rachel walking away for this conversation to end. "Who're you with tonight?"
"They're all dudes."
Rachel laughs again. "It's Finn's birthday. He's the tall one. The little one is Kurt, and they're step-brothers. Kurt and Blaine used to date, back in high school, but they broke up and now it's really difficult to get them in the same place at the same time. Pretty much only for birthdays."
"That sucks," Santana says, because it's true. She and Quinn might still be friends if Puck and Quinn hadn't fucked up that relationship so badly. Santana didn't pick sides, really, but she was living with Puck at the time, and, well, he's her person, so whatever.
"It does, but tonight was fun. We were at this party near here at one of Finn's friend's places or something. It wasn't very good, so we left."
"So what's with Finn touching your ass?" Whatever. Rachel's drunk and this conversation is just between two people, not a professor and her student.
Rachel blushes and ducks her head, lets her hair fall in her face. "We used to date, too, a long time ago." Straight. Fuck. "He's a little handsy when he's drunk, but he's harmless. And um...We both know that's not going to happen again."
This strange look passes across Rachel's face, and she shakes her head. "No."
"Lopez!" Puck barks. Fuck. That's his 'I actually need your fucking help' voice. "Could you maybe, I don't know, do something?"
Rachel bites her lip and looks at Puck. "Sorry. I was tying her up."
Santana sees the fucking dirty scenario playing out in Puck's mind. Which really just makes it play out in her mind, too. Shit.
"Get home safe, okay?" Santana says, and she means that sincerely. Sometimes this city freaks her out late at night, still.
"I will. You too. I'll see you Wednesday?" Santana nods and Rachel hops off her stool.
She doesn't realize Puck's right next to her until she stops staring at Rachel's legs and turns around. He goes, "So. That girl's not totally straight."
Santana really wants to ask where the fuck he got that idea from, but it really doesn't matter. She's quiet when they're cleaning up after close, because she's a little busy trying to figure out if he's right.
... ... ...
Rachel was flirting with her. Rachel was flirting with her. Like, she's played it out in her head a few times, and honestly, if it were any other woman who'd done that shit, come over to the bar and talked to her like that, Santana wouldn't have given it a second thought. She would have figured it was flirting and told the girl to stick around after close. She can't totally figure out why she's talking herself out of believing even a little bit that Rachel's into women.
Except, okay, the fact that if Rachel is into women, Santana will be out yet another excuse. Because she's already kind of told herself that, hey, the semester's over in December and after that, Rachel's not her student anymore. So they could keep it under wraps and no one'd have to know. Santana's not stupid enough to let a relationship cloud her judgment on grading papers or whatever, either.
But hold on. Relationship?
She doesn't even know Rachel. She knows the girl better than she knows any of her other students, simply because they've talked more. But like, who says it'd be anything other than great sex? (Please. She knows what she's doing, even if Rachel doesn't. It would be great sex.)
It's not like she can mark Rachel's answers right on an exam if they're wrong. And from what she's seen of Rachel, the girl probably gets amazing marks all on her own.
Anyway, this is all going on the assumption that Rachel would sleep with a woman, and furthermore, a woman who was her teacher. Maybe Santana's willing to bend the rules and Rachel wouldn't. It's totally possible. Santana's got swag, okay? She's not hopeless when it comes to talking to women - or seducing women - but maybe Rachel's moral code is a little more strict or something.
Whatever. Santana spends Sunday afternoon thinking about Rachel, about what it'd be like to get her naked, to kiss her and press against her and taste her. She ends up with her hands between her legs on her bed while she thinks about it, comes with Rachel's name on her lips, and the whole guilty conscience thing she's felt every time she's done this before? That doesn't set in. At all.
She could lose her job over this. If anything happened and anyone found out, Santana would be fucked. She'd be fired and, god, she doesn't know what else they'd do after that.
The thing is, losing her job doesn't even seem all that scary anymore, which is a fucking dangerous thing. It's just that once you've been laid off and you go through that - make it through that - you realize that you could do it again and it wouldn't kill you. There are other jobs. Not a lot of them, but they're out there. And she still has the bar, too. She could go back to working full time there and keep making rent, which is pretty fucking important.
So now she's willing to lose her job for sex? What the fuck is it about Rachel Berry? She really, really wants to know.