“You’ll come with me, won’t you? If you don’t have to work?” Brittany asks.
“What should I wear?”
“Smart-ass. Is it a formal thing, or…”
“Business dress, I guess.”
“Not my business.”
“Now who’s a smart-ass?” Brittany smiles, leaning over to give Santana a peck on the lips. “I don’t care what you wear, I just want you to go with me.”
“I just don’t want to embarrass you in front of your boss or something,” Santana says, trying not to fidget on the sofa. Brittany thinks a minute, then puts her book down.
“Why do you do that?”
“Think something terrible is going to happen… at a Library fundraiser. Has anything terrible ever happened when we’re together?”
“… No. It’s just, hard, for me.”
“What’s hard? I just want to understand; that’s all,” Brittany tries to reassure her now very fidgety girlfriend.
“It’s hard to challenge negative thoughts; come up with alternative assessments. When bad things have happened, you—I, anyway—assume they’re going to happen again. I’m actually a lot better than I used to be, if you can believe it,” Santana says to her lap.
“Can I help? With the assessments, maybe?”
“You can present alternative assessments; that doesn’t mean I’ll believe them.”
“You don’t believe you could come with me and nobody would much care about you being there? Or that the coworkers I’m friends with would probably like that you make me happy? Or even if people didn’t like you much it wouldn’t matter because I do?”
“I don’t know.”
“You know I love you, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Santana says immediately, reaching out to take Brittany’s hand. Brittany gives her hand a little squeeze, sliding over to cuddle into Santana’s side.
“Good. You can help me pick out what I’ll wear, and then I’ll help you pick out what you’ll wear, and we’ll look awesome together. I can stay with you the whole time or whatever you need me to do. It’s really cool of you to come with me even if it makes you uncomfortable, you know. You don’t have to if it’s too—”
“You know I love you, don’t you?” Santana repeats, kissing her hair.
“I do. Now more than ever.”
“I’m taking her with me to the Library fundraiser.”
“She said she would go with you?” Aunt Sofia asks the pot on the stove.
“Yeah. She’s worried about what she’ll wear, though. I told her I’d make her help me pick out what I’m wearing first and then we’d go through her clothes,” Brittany tells Aunt Sofia, who mostly hides her frown. “We talked about challenging negative thoughts and, um, assessments too.” Brittany adds quietly.
“Alternative assessments,” Aunt Sofia nods.
“I gave her a chance to back out, and I’ll stay with her the whole time, I promise. I thought it would be good for her to do me a favor that isn’t car-related, is all, and if she were to change her mind it would be OK—”
“I’m sorry, Brittany; I’m sorry. I’m sure she’s fine. I worry about her; more than I need to usually. You have been nothing but good for her in every way.”
“She’s good for me, too,” Brittany smiles.
“There’s my little Librarian!” Uncle Manny’s voice booms as he comes in the kitchen. “And my wife.”
“[And your wife? Oh, you are pushing it, old man.]”
“It’s rude to speak Spanish in front of the poor, hapless, gringo, dear,” Uncle Manny smiles, kissing his wife on the cheek. “Are you waiting for Santana? She was cleaning up when I left.”
“Yes, she has to help me pick out what clothes to wear,” Brittany tells him as he sits down.
“I’m fairly sure Santanita prefers you without clothes, little Librarian,” Uncle Manny says, waggling his eyebrows and making Brittany giggle.
“[Manuel Lopez! I will not have that kind of talk at my table!] Ignore him, Brittany.”
Manny doesn’t say anything else, but winks at Brittany whenever Aunt Sofia isn’t looking.
“If you’re in such a hurry to change out of them, why didn’t you go to your place? It’s closer to the Library,” Santana asks, watching Brittany steer Ophelia back to the shop.
“I didn’t say I wanted to change, I said I want to out of these clothes,” Brittany smiles at the road. “You were totally great at boring Library chitchat, which I now realize is a huge turn on for me.”
“I wasn’t, though. I was nervous and stilted…”
“Santana, I was there. You may have felt nervous and stilted, but you didn’t look or sound like it at all. All my friends are super impressed with you.”
“They’re just being nice.”
“They’re not, though. They’re never nice. Santana, we’re Librarians, we don’t bother being nice. A fact I studiously avoided prior to taking you to this shindig.”
“Well, I did try not to sound stupid. I must’ve gotten lucky.”
“Oh, you’re about to get lucky,” Brittany says as she pulls into Ophelia’s usual spot. “Take me upstairs, please. I have to show you my new and exciting intimate apparel,” Brittany teases before getting out of the car. It takes Santana a moment to remember how to unbuckle her seat belt, but she eventually follows.
“[Luis, they’re back!]”
“You’re not still open, are you?” Brittany asks, immediately feeling bad for teasing if they have to pass all of Santana’s relatives and coworkers to get upstairs.
“Shouldn’t be,” Santana says frowning, her hand falling to the small of Brittany’s back to escort her inside.
“[Santana! We got an Ambulance somebody ran into; gotta get it up and running as soon as we can. Go get changed and help us out, alright? Oh, wow, you two look nice,]” Luis says as they walk in. Santana looks down at her pencil skirt and white blouse as if she forgot she was wearing it. “Sorry, chicas.”
“Just give me a minute to get my work clothes,” Santana says.
“What hit it?” Brittany asks, seeing the mangled front end of the Ambulance as they pass.
“A Hearse, if you can believe it. Why a Hearse would ever be in a hurry is beyond me,” Luis says, shaking his head.
“Be right back,” Santana calls.
“I’m sorry I teased you in the car,” Brittany apologies softly, scouring her mind for any reasonable reason to stay until the Ambulance is fixed besides having incredible sex with her super hot girlfriend. Nothing comes to mind.
“I’m not. I am sorry I have to go fix an Ambulance, though… I didn’t mean you had to do the lingerie thing tonight, you know.”
“I know. I thought it’d be a good surprise. And it made me feel really sexy all evening, wearing it just for you,” Brittany says as they make their way into the apartment. Santana drops her keys and grabs Brittany, planting a firm, but altogether chaste kiss on Brittany’s lips.
“You can’t say stuff like that. I’ll never get back downstairs,” Santana sighs, kissing her once more before going to change clothes.
Brittany stays put, feeling the tingling in her lips she now associates with kissing Santana, and debates telling her girlfriend how she plans to touch herself when she gets home while thinking of her.
“Rain check?” Santana asks when she emerges in her work clothes, boots neatly tied.
“I’m going to go home and touch myself thinking of you,” comes out of Brittany’s mouth without her permission.
“Jesus Christ, Brittany,” Santana breathes. They stay still for a brief moment before Santana snaps out of it, and escorts Brittany back to her car. Brittany says warm goodbyes to the guys in the shop. She and Santana don’t speak to each other until Brittany is sitting in the driver’s seat waiting for Santana to close her car door. “Leave the lingerie on,” Santana tells her quietly.
“OK,” Brittany replies stupidly, and Santana closes the door and walks into the shop without looking back. Brittany starts Ophelia and drives to her apartment, painfully aware of every stitch of cloth against her body.