“What did you say to her?” Santana jumped off the stage and stood in front of Finn and Rachel.
Finn looked at her with that confused look he always wears.
“I told her you were really good.”
Santana could feel the emotions of today boiling over, she yelled back and before she could stop herself, she slapped Finn across the face. Everyone was frozen in place, various levels of shock written across the glee clubbers faces.
“What the hell!” Finn yelled standing up and getting in Santana’s face.
“Everyone knows now. Not just the school, everyone!” She could no longer stop the tears that were threatening to fall.
“Everyone already knew. I don’t get what the big deal is.”
“Seriously Finnept! I know I am a bitch but what you did…” she choked on a sob and looked down at her feet, trying to regain her composure. She took a deep breath and looked back up.
“I wasn’t ready. You outed me before I was ready. Now I have to go home and tell my parents and my abuela, and-” She started to cry again. She couldn’t hold it back anymore, everything that happened, what could happen, it was all catching up to her.
“Santana?” Rachel stood up and placed her hand on Santana’s arm.
Santana resisted the urge to jerk away and just looked up, her watery chocolate eyes meeting concerned mocha ones.
“Santana, what happened?”
“You mean you don’t know?” Santana found it hard to believe that Rachel didn’t know everything that went on with Finn.
Rachel just shook her head and rubbed her hand soothingly along Santana's arm.
“Finn, he, uh, outed me. He yelled it in the hallway where everyone could hear. Apparently some politican’s niece heard and now he is airing a campaign ad that outs me as a lesbian.” Santana took a deep steadying breath.
Rachel looked at her with a mixture of concern and support.
“Santana, I am so sorry. I couldn’t imagine.”
“Being outed wasn’t even the worst part. It was the fact that he said I was a coward. He called me a coward for not coming out. Do you know how hard that is Finn? Do you know how bad I hate hiding this big part of me, especially from you guys? You are my family and I had to lie to you about something so important to me. Do you know how many times I have laid in bed at night crying because I was at war with myself over this? I am anything but a coward Finn. I would have come out, but now you took away my chance.”
Everyone in the auditorium had tears in their eyes. All except Finn who just looked mad and confused. Santana couldn’t stand the pitying eyes so she turned and ran out of the auditorium.
“Santana wait!” Rachel yelled.
Santana turned around and looked at the diva.
Rachel held up her finger, signaling for her to wait a second, before turning to Finn.
“I can’t believe you. We’re done.”
Gasps were heard around the quiet auditorium.
“Rachel, you don’t mean that. It isn’t that big of a deal. Come on, it’s Santana, she is a bitch.”
Another slap echoed in the room, only this time it was Rachel’s small hand that made contact with Finn’s face.
“She is so much more than that. But even so, you never do to someone what you did to her. You took away her power. You disgust me.” With that she turned around and made her way to Santana, who was currently waiting by the door, her mouth opened in shock. Rachel grabbed Santana’s hands and led her out of the door.
“Um..thanks. For what you said.” Santana said awkwardly.
“Of course! I am very sorry for Finn’s behavior. I am very proud of you, I know you didn’t get to come out on your own terms, but I am still proud of you. You are very very brave Santana.”
Santana wasn’t sure what to say so she just nodded and smiled. She wasn’t sure she could talk without breaking down again.
She was so lost in thought that she hadn’t realized Rachel had led her out of the school and was now opening her car door for her.
“Um..Where are we going.” she asked quietly, still not trusting her voice.
“I was going to take you to the park. There is a little pond there that I go sit by when I need to clear my head. If you would rather go home I understand. I am sorry for assum-”
“It’s fine Rachel.” Santana interrupted, giving the girl a small smile.
Rachel beamed her megawatt smile,
“You called me Rachel.”
“Huh? Oh, well that is your name.” Santana looked out the window. Why was she blushing?
“I like it when you call me Rachel.”
Santana knew for sure that she was now blushing furiously. She kept her head turned to hide it.
The rest of the car ride was silent and soon they were pulling into the small parking lot near the pond. Rachel carefully parked the got out of the car, motioning for Santana to follow her. They sat down on a small bench near the far end of the pond.
“This is where I come when I need a break from everything, or when I just need to breathe.”
“Santana if you want to talk I am here. Or if you just want to sit in silence, I am here for that too.”
Santana felt a new surge of emotions rise, the stinging returning to her eyes warning her of the tears about to fall.
“Why?” she whispered, so quietly Rachel barely heard her.
“Why are you here? Why did you stand up for me?”
“Because, despite what you may think, I consider you a friend.”
Santana felt a few tears escape. Sure she was popular, but that was all superficial, besides Britt, she really didn’t have any friends.
“But I have been awful to you.”
“That is true. But I understand. You were at a war with yourself and sometimes that war spilled out into the real world.”
Santana just stared into the murky water, watching the tadpoles swim around. She wasn’t really sure what to say. Rachel reached over and placed her hand on the Latina’s arm.
“I understand because I have felt the pain of that same war. Granted, I channeled mine differently. While you lash out at people, I demand attention or go into overdrive with auditions and performances.”
This grabbed Santana’s attention, she slowly turned to face Rachel.
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“If what you think I am saying is that I am gay too, then yes.”
“He was armor I guess. Protecting myself in some sense from that war.”
Santana nodded in understanding. She had been with Puck for the same reason.
“Thanks for telling me. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.”
“ I believe you.”
Those three words hit Santana’s ears and she was transported back to their first sectionals. When Rachel was the only one to believe her when she said she had nothing to do with the leaked setlist. She suddenly realized that, despite everything, Rachel had always been on her side. She always saw her for more than just the bitchy Cheerio. She believed her.
Santana grabbed Rachel’s hand in hers, tracing random patterns with her thumb.
“Do you maybe want to sing a song with me on Monday? I kind of want to let the Gleeks know I am okay and to get to actually come out in my own words.”
Rachel smiled and gave Santana's hand a squeeze.
“I would love to. What do you have in mind?”
“I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry. It is very cliche but it gets the point across.”
“I think that sounds perfect.”
They sat in silence for a long time. Rachel’s head eventually laid on Santana’s shoulder. Santana took a moment to recognize how perfect they fit together.She knew the next few days would be scary but she also knew that she would be okay. She had the glee club, and she had Rachel.