When Rachel walked into her girlfriend’s house to find two Secret Service type guys sitting in the kitchen, black suits and practiced neutral expression on their faces, she figured it had something to do with Santana’s mother’s job of being a lawyer. Not seeing Santana anywhere around, she’d greeted Maribel with a smile, practically vibrating with news. She’d been accepted into N.Y.A.D.A., and she couldn’t wait to share that information with Santana.
But Maribel Lopez had just smiled sadly at her, ushered her out of the kitchen, the two men’s gazes sharp against her back, and told her that Santana was in her room.
Thanking her, but a little confused at the same time, Rachel was soon eagerly knocking at Santana’s door. When Santana opened the door, Rachel breezed in with a short kiss to Santana’s cheek, barely looking at her. “I did it,” she beamed, taking a seat on Santana’s bed, “I’m finally on my way to becoming the diva I’m meant to be.”
“That’s great,” Santana responded tiredly, slowly closing the door. Barely managing a smile, she went back to where she had been obviously originally packing things from her closet into her suitcase, “I’m glad for you.”
Taking note of how… Unexcited Santana sounded, Rachel studied her. “I’ll forgive your subdued response because you seem busy.” Santana snorted, and Rachel continued, “You’re going somewhere? A vacation?”
Pausing from where she was shaking out one of her signature lined dressed, Santana looked up. “You could say that,” she sighed, sighing again as she folded the dress and dropped it into her suitcase. “An indefinite vacation,” she muttered, loud enough for Rachel to understand.
“What?” Sitting up, Rachel stared at her in alarm, “San?”
Santana sighed again. Finishing up with the next dress she had pulled off of a hanger, she slowly walked over to her bed, taking a slow, halting seat next to Rachel. “Rache,” she said lowly, picking up one of Rachel’s hands from her lap, thumbs moving over the white knuckles Rachel had incurred as she’d distractedly clutched at her skirt, “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” Breath hitching, Rachel hesitantly curled her hand around Santana’s.
Air rushed out of Santana’s nose, and she shook her head, eyes violently moving up before meeting Rachel’s again; the lines next to her eyes crinkled, and she suddenly looked much older than Rachel had ever seen her before, “I’ve been lying to you.”
“What?” Rachel jerked her hand back, shifting back as well. “San?”
Santana pushed herself up onto her knees. Opening her arms, she bobbed her head, “Come here.”
Rachel tentatively shifted closer, hands coming up to curl into the back of Santana’s shirt as she snuggled into her, letting Santana pull her close and bury her nose into Rachel’s hair.
Sitting there, wrapped up in each other, it was with great reluctance that Santana started talking. With each word that left her mouth, Rachel’s mouth dropped open wider and wider, her eyes growing larger and larger.
“So…” Santana sighed, pressing as tightly against Rachel as she could, “I… No… I… Say something?”
“I…” Rachel’s throat squeezed shut. “You…”
“Babe?” Sounding desperate now, Santana fell sideways, pulling Rachel down with her, cradling her as close as she could. Closing her eyes, she pushed their cheeks together, “Rache?”
Staring at Santana’s shoulder and the rest of Santana’s room behind it, Rachel swallowed. “You’re… A princess?”
“…Surprise?” Santana uttered weakly, squeezing Rachel. “I… If you stay with me, you wanted publicity, didn’t you? How much more publicity,” she laughed humorlessly, “Could you get than being the girlfriend of the next in line of the royal family of Costa Luna?”
“You’re a princess?” Rachel repeated accusatorily, tears almost instantly gathering in her eyes as she started crying, “You’re… You…”
“Oh no no no,” Santana loosened her hold to sit up on her knees, “Babe, not okay. You can’t cry. Stop it. Please. You know I hate it when you cry.” Hands coming up to stroke and cup Rachel’s face, Santana urged her to look at her, trying to put a crooked smile on her face that ended up being more of a grimace, “Babe. Please.” Tears gathered in her own eyes, and the lines between her eyebrows tightened, panic edging into her voice, “I’m still me. Rachel. Please. I can’t have you hating me. I couldn’t stand it. Please say you don’t hate me. I love you. What do I need to do? Rache, you’re still my love. Please. What can I do? What can I do? I don’t want to lose you. Not you, please, not you.”
Rachel shook her head, voice strangling in her throat. “I’m sorry,” she gasped, barely able to get it past the closing around her vocal chords, “This, this is too much. I need time.”
“Rache – ”
“No!” Rachel snapped, pulling herself away, “I need time, Santana!” Shoving herself off of the bed, she walked backwards until her back hit the door, waving her hand at Santana to stop her from following her. “Everything about you,” she accused, “Is a lie? Everything I know about you?”
Santana tried to steady herself on one palm, her other hand reaching out towards Rachel. “Not everything,” she denied, shaking her head, “I still love you. Doesn’t that mean anything? Royalty? It means nothing! Nothing!”
“But how can I believe you, Santana?” Rachel yelled, hand grasping the doorknob, “I don’t know you!”
“You know me!” Santana yelled, rising, “You know me better than anyone!”
“But how can I believe that?” Rachel hissed, tears streaking down her face, “How can I believe you?” Sucking in a staggering breath, she sagged; head falling to rest her chin on her chest, bangs obscuring her clenched shut eyes, she raised her free hand. “Please,” she whispered, ragged and beaten, “Please. I just… I just need time.”
Santana swallowed. “Oh…Kay,” she breathed in, “Okay. I just…” Her voice was small, terrified, “Do you still love me?”
Rachel’s hand tightened around the doorknob, twisting it with a jerk of her wrist. “That’s really the only thing I do know,” she managed, meeting Santana’s eyes, almost trembling. But before Santana could rise and go to her, she pulled the door open, running out with a choked, “Don’t follow me,” the last thing Santana sure of being the dark of her eyes asking Santana to forgive her.