Kurt didn't know what Blaine had been thinking.
In the end, he had forgiven his former boyfriend for his mistakes and told him that they couldn't go on like they were. Kurt felt nothing towards him anymore outside of friendship. The love and endearment he had once felt had been erased over the past few months. The string had been cut. And Kurt had felt calm about that. It was freeing, really. Blaine could pursue what he wanted, and so could he.
But since he had come home for spring break, the darker haired boy had been like a puppy that had been given the biggest bone. Dinners out, a picnic during lunch at McKinley. Blaine was complimenting him at every turn. It had been a whirlwind, and while Kurt had enjoyed the attention probably more than he should have (who was he kidding, he did enjoy the attention more than he should have) he had informed Blaine more than a few times that they weren't dating and that they were just out as friends. Blaine said he had understood, but he hadn't stopped either.
Kurt swirled the drink in his hand, trying to ignore the silver band on his finger. He had shown up at Dalton feeling uneasy, expecting that Blaine had some sort of romantic thing in mind, like serenading him on the staircase where they had meet for the first time, or a dinner at the table where they had first kissed. What he hadn't expected was to find was all their friends and family there for a surprise party of sorts complete with hundreds of falling rose petals. And what he really hadn't expected was for Blaine to get down on one knee and propose to him.
For the duration of the speech and when Blaine had proposed, he was glad his acting skills had come in handy. Kurt had wanted to run away in horror at the insanity that Blaine had done, but with all the people there and his friends, even Cooper and his own dad, what was he supposed to do? He had been trapped, and he was fairly certain by the wild look in Blaine's eyes that he had done it intentionally. He knew Kurt wouldn't embarrass him front of everyone by saying no.
After all the adults had congratulated the pair and left, Puck and Finn had busted out the alcohol from his truck, and the Warblers brought out their own stash. It was a mad scene, and Kurt was relieved when Santana thrust a drink in his hand, her face impassive.
"You look like you need this."
"Or 30," he muttered darkly. Her eyes narrowed, but nodded.
Kurt had taken and downed the fruity concoction, barely noticing the alcohol as it burned down his throat in one swallow. Sure, he and Santana had built up their own little stress cabinet full of strong liquor, wines, and specialty beers via their fake I.D.'s, but the three of them had never got full on drunk just yet. He had barely even touched the stuff since the Bambi incident, but he was about to go for full on plastered. Brittany came by and kissed his cheek (How the heck had she gotten away from M.I.T.? From what Sam had said, they had her on lock down.) and handed him another, this one fuller than the previous one.
"San said to give you this."
Santana was a godsend from heaven, he decided as he sipped on the beverage. Blaine was talking happily to Sebastian of all people as he looked around the room.
It was then he saw it.
Blaine was wearing a matching band to the engagement ring.
Kurt felt sick to his stomach. Was he going to act like they were married already? No. No. No. No. No. He couldn't believe this. This was a dream. It had to be. Blaine in his big impressive speech at the foot of the stairs had said it was a promise for the future. Just a promise. And that was all it was.
He was not ready. Not ready in any way at all. Kurt had just forgiven Blaine for his mistake. That was it. A relationship was not in his plans. An engagement had not been in his plans.
So why did he keep saying yes to Blaine?
It felt like there was a vice on his chest and tightening its hold every second. Kurt needed to breathe. He downed the drink quickly, ignoring everyone as he walked swiftly outside. Even out beneath the night sky, it still felt like Blaine. It was Dalton after all. There was their favorite tree to sit under; the tennis courts where he watched Blaine take lessons. The parking lot where they had touched each other for the first time…
It was too much. It was all just way too much. If there was such a thing as sensory overload, Kurt was definitely having it. He was not Blaine's property.
He blindly headed back into the party and found Rachel talking to Mercedes. He tried to ignore the fact that his best friend was trying to not stare at Sam's ass on the impromptu dance floor. He'd have to talk to her later about revisiting certain exes again. But maybe she'd have better luck than he was having at the moment. At least Sam probably wouldn't spring surprise proposals.
"Can we go home? Please?" he said desperately over the table.
Rachel seemed taken aback as she sat down a cup of punch. "Kurt, this is your party. Yourengagement party."
"No, no it isn't," he replied icily. "This is Blaine's manipulative little soiree, and I'm done. I can't do this anymore."
Rachel's eyes widened and her jaw dropped in shock. Mercedes wrinkled her nose. "Kurt, are you drunk? Your breath smells like the contents of Rachel dads' liquor cabinet after Puck broke into it."
"No, I'm not drunk—yet," he said. He gave Rachel his most pitiful voice. "Please, can we just go back to New York?"
"Oh honey," gushed Rachel. "Come on and let's talk about it somewhere quiet." She took Kurt's hand and led him away from the party. He didn't even notice as his roommate nodded to Santana before leaving the room. Kurt hardly paid attention to where they went as he let himself be led by the brunette. The next thing he knew was that he was being sat down on a cushy couch and there were arms encircling him on all sides. Kurt buried his head in someone's chest and shoulder.
The sound of bottles hitting the surface of a marble top side table made him look up. Santana was sitting down enough alcohol to make an elephant herd drunk.
"Kurt, babe…" began Mercedes. It was then he realized he was been practically lying on the black girl. Rachel had her arms wrapped around his waist and laying her head on his was hovering over them all, looking confused. Kurt realized it was her arms that had been around his neck.
"I thought Blaine was what you wanted."
He sighed, shaking his head.
"It's all—it's all been too fast," he said. "I've only been home for a few days, and he's just been…"
"Planning this shit since before Regionals," said Santana. "You fucked that up badly, didn't you?"
Kurt sighed. "I didn't expect by saying I forgave him that he'd take it as a sign that I wanted to go back to the way things were."
"Blaine has been a little obsessed with you," said Brittany absently. Santana was handing her a drink and wrapping her other arm around the blonde's waist. "He said that you and he were going to have a happy ending, according to Artie."
Santana quickly forced a drink in Kurt's hand before he could respond. He shuddered when he drowned the drink.
"Was that mostly whiskey?" he coughed. The girl grinned and nodded.
"Just think, if you give Blaine his happy ending, you'll be drinking a lot more of those." Kurt coughed into the crook of his arm and tried to ignore the ring that was weighing heavy on his finger.
"I'll give him a happy ending. My foot up his ass for all this when you didn't want it," said Mercedes.
"He might like that too much," said Rachel casually.
"Oh my god Rachel," said Brittany laughing. It had Kurt snort, which sent the group into a fit of giggles.
"Well it's about time you wised up," frowned Santana, pouring more alcohol into a glass.
Rachel patted Kurt's hand. "I'm sorry honey. I came home to support you but Kurt, Blaine has been doing all the wrong things to win you back."
He sighed. "I know. The flowers and the gifts… and then he convinced Dad to bring him up with him when he came for Christmas…"
"He did that?" asked Mercedes, surprised. Kurt nodded.
"That was partially my fault," sighed Kurt. "I never did tell Dad the truth about why we broke up. Whether Finn told him I don't know, but I didn't want get out of work one evening and find a text from Carole telling me that Dad had chased Blaine with a shotgun and was now sitting in jail."
"What's going on in here and why would Kurt's dad be chasing Blaine with a shotgun?" asked a voice. They all looked up to see Quinn, looking regal in a white and yellow sundress and strappy heels, her arms crossed.
"Quinn!" said Santana. "Come join us."
"Is this some sort of celebratory engagement orgy?" said the blonde as she took a seat across the couch where Rachel, Kurt, and Mercedes were bounded over and gave Quinn a hug. The Yale student seemed startled but leaned into her friend.
"If it was, you'd think I could find a better set of lovers," said Kurt, with a hint of sarcasm and a wry smile at Quinn. The comment earned him two smacks on the shoulder from the hands of his best friends. He gave them both glares.
"You know you love us," chuckled Mercedes. "But Boo—"
"I know," said Kurt. "I led him on. It's my fault."
"No," said Rachel. "Blaine planned this party on his own. He called all of us to surprise you. He practically begged for me to come home and helped pay for the flight. He even got your dad to bring you."
"Tina and Sam helped him pick out the rings right before Regionals," added in Santana.
Kurt nearly spit out the drink he had gotten up and poured for himself at the thought of those two of all people helping Blaine pick out the ring on his hand.
"He was going to propose to you after we performed," said Brittany. "But Mr. Schue and Mrs. Schue kind of upstaged him."
"Thank God for small miracles," said Mercedes, rolling her eyes.
"Wait, so this isn't a celebratory thing?" asked Quinn skeptically.
"Do you really think Hummel would be laying on Mercedes boobs and drinking an impressive amount of scotch and whiskey if things were hunky-dory?" said Santana. Kurt had just downed his third shot before sitting back down between Mercedes and Rachel. The latter took his hand with a frown.
"Blaine… well,Blaine has become—"
"An obsessive ass wipe," said Santana, downing her own shot at the table.
"Wow, so Blaine bashing ahoy," said Quinn. "How many of those have you had?"
"Not enough," smirked Santana with a smile.
"Well, where's Tina?" Quinn asked. "If this is a get drunk and comfort or berate Kurt on his bad decisions of stringing Blaine along, you'd think she'd be perfect for this alcohol laden love fest."
"She is Blaine's hag now," said Kurt, taking his time to choose his words. The alcohol was finally getting to him. He was surprised it had taken this long, and he really didn't feel drunk yet.
"Tina has developed a big crush on Blaine," said Rachel to Quinn.
"Yeah, it's gotten pretty bad," added Mercedes. "Blaine was sick, and she went over to his house to see him and he fell asleep after taking some cold medicine. So she rubbed Vaporub on his chest and fell asleep beside him."
Quinn made a noise in the back of her throat. "She does know Blaine is like gold star gay right?"
"It's like Rachel and Finn all over again," commented Mercedes. Rachel gave Mercedes a sharp glare. This sent Brittany and Santana into giggles.
"But for different reasons," said Kurt. He was laying on Rachel's shoulder now as Mercedes had stood and given Quinn a hug. "Can we talk about something else for a while?" said Kurt. "At least until the alcohol completely kicks in."
"We need more booze," said Santana. "Who wants a drink?"
"Me!" said Brittany. Quinn nodded. Rachel shook her head, as did Mercedes.
"I could use more," said Kurt, holding up an empty shot glass.
"You are a given Porcelain," said Santana, holding up a bottle. "We're not the ones who just got engaged to the next owner of the Bates Motel."
"So have you heard anything from your Funny Girl call back Rachel?" The brunette shook her head at Quinn's question.
"Not yet," she said. "But it's still early."
"Both Santana and I are hoping she gets out of our hair soon," said the countertenor. Rachel smacked his elbow.
"Ow! What is it with you and Mercedes hitting me tonight?" muttered Kurt darkly as he rubbed the affected joint.
"Because you deserve it," said Rachel, giving him a look. "And I am the one who will be moping around the apartment this summer since you both now have paying jobs."
"Wait, you got another job?" said Kurt, sitting up and looking at Santana. "Since when?"
"Thursday," said Santana. "I'm going to be working at a little diner off Broadway."
"Better than the bar," said Brittany with a nod.
"Well, I learned to mix all your drinks," said Santana as she passed them around. "So it can't be that bad."
"And I'm sure we'll all appreciate it tomorrow," said Kurt. "More alcohol!"
"Slow it down Kurt," chided Mercedes. "Remember the Chablis."
"Don't wanna," he said, looking at the empty glass.
"Kurt," began Quinn. "Don't you think you need to talk to Blaine?"
"He's having fun with his stupid mass show choir number and the large party and fucking Dalton and—"
"Celebrating that he's captured your heart once again."
"Something like that," muttered Kurt. Santana handed him another drink. "He's wearing a ring."
"Really," said Quinn, turning her head to the side curiously. She looked at Rachel for confirmation. The brunette sighed and nodded.
"Just to play devil's advocate for a second," continued Quinn. "But why… why is it such a bad thing? Isn't Blaine what you wanted? First love being romantic and all that?"
"I thought so," said Kurt, waving his hand and not allowing any of the others to pipe in. "But since the whole cheating thing and the apologizing and the thing with dad's cancer… I've just… he's too much. We've both made mistakes. I've learned more about myself in the past few months living with these two than I ever did in high school. I've grown. And Blaine… he… he hasn't. Or at least, he's grown differently from what he once was. My dapper Dalton prince."
"So you've grown apart, Kurt. It's not a bad thing. You move on. But he deserves to know the truth and not having you in here drinking away your discomfort."
Kurt hiccuped behind his hand. "No, it isn't. The bad thing is I let him lead me on." He sighed and looked down at his hand. "He knows the one thing I want is a ring. Something that shows someone cares for me. But I don't think he does. At least, not in the way he used to. I'm the prize at the end of the race for him. He made a big mistake and screwed us up. Then blamed me for it. That hurt. I know at times over those couple of weeks…months… whatever… I could have been more attentive, but I was working. I wanted to impress my boss. I wanted to impress Vogue. I am just… so ready to be done. He thinks he earned his penance and that I'd be waiting to kiss him at the finish line."
Kurt felt Brittany get down in front of him and wrap her arms around his waist.
"He does want you to be happy. And he thinks that being with him makes you happy Kurt," she said with a small frown. "Blaine's not a bad guy, just maybe a little confused? And he's going about it the wrong way?"
Kurt sighed and nodded. "To love and let go, right Brittany?"
Brittany looked back at Santana, who bowed her head.
"Yeah," said Brittany, turning back. "Quinn's right though, you need to talk to Blaine. He needs to know you're not happy."
"But first more alcohol," said Kurt. "Santana does know how to mix a fine drink." Rachel and Mercedes shared a concerned look.
After a few more beverages and loads of conversation between him and the girls, Kurt was pretty sure he was going to be very hung over in the morning. His dad would probably bring out the alcoholic speech like he did when he had to pick him up at the hospital after he had thrown up all over Ms. Pillsbury's shoes. He was practically laying in Mercedes' lap now. Rachel was sitting on the floor at the black girl's feet, laughing at Brittany trying to imitate Jake and Ryder's duet of Superman. Quinn was laughing as well and leaning into Santana with an intimacy they hadn't had before. They had all gone from talking about Blaine to Cassandra July, Mercedes' album trials and tribulations, Yale, Adam, NYADA, Quinn's college professor affair, Vogue, the whole fiasco with Brody (which had turned Rachel quiet, but had earned her a big hug from Quinn who hadn't known), Mr. Schue's wedding, Finn in college, and Brittany's story about getting into M.I.T., which was still bizarre. Kurt was calm for once that evening. Being in the comfort of his closest friends had helped he surmised. He gave a soft smile to Mercedes, who had caught his gaze. It had helped him a lot mentally knowing his best friends were by his side, even though Blaine was their friend too.
He frowned, wondering if it wasn't just another facet of Blaine's plan to make sure that Kurt's closest friends were behind him as well. He put his arm across his eyes and breathed deep. He could do this. He had to go talk to Blaine and hand him back the ring and break it off. He needed to do this.
"I'm going to go talk to Blaine," said Kurt to Rachel. "Help?"
Rachel scrambled to her feet and helped Kurt up. He was a little wobbly, but he felt determined.
At least, he had been till he saw Sam stick his head in the door.
"Dude! So this is where you guys have been," he said with a bright smile at the group. "Blaine's been looking all over for you. He thought you had been kidnapped or something."
"I am perfectly fine," said Kurt firmly. He leaned into Rachel. "A little drunk, but I am capable of taking care of myself."
"O—kay," said Sam, confused. "I think he wanted to get a picture or something, but if you're drunk, I suppose it can wait."
"It can," said Kurt. "Thank you."
"Kiss!" yelled out Santana, who was all but buried in Brittany's arms. "Come on Sam, lay one on the newly engaged boy."
Sam looked perturbed by this.
"Oh come on, it's hot Sam," said Quinn, waving at her hand at him.
"And probably Blaine's wet dream," said Brittany, looking at Sam fondly. "Since he was crushing on my boyfriend and fake married husband."
"Uh…" began Sam, glancing quickly at Kurt, who turned around and looked strangely at Brittany.
"Did he really?"
"Oh that's priceless," giggled Kurt. He laughed himself silly, holding his stomach and trying to hold onto Rachel. "My ex-boyfriend gets to be friends with the one I wanted to be friends with and has no repercussions, gets to be class president, and leads the New Directions. I swear this grows sillier by the minute."
"Kurt?" questioned Rachel, looking at him with a frown.
"And no Sam, I wouldn't kiss you. I respect you too much for that," said Kurt continuing on. "Though break Mercedes' heart and you and I will have words."
"Kurt," warned Mercedes, giving him a sharp look. That made Rachel and Santana laugh hysterically as Kurt pretended to look innocent and ignore his best friend's dangerous tone.
"Sam, there you are," said Blaine, walking into the room. "Did you… oh."
"Hi Blaine!" said Brittany with a giggle, holding up the nearly empty beer bottle she had in her hand.
"Brittany," said Blaine hurriedly in greeting. "Kurt, I've been looking for you all over campus. What—?"
"Oh we're just having a little party of our own," said Quinn sweetly. "Since you know, Kurt was ours first."
Blaine looked confused. "Yours?"
"Yep," said Santana, making a long popping sound with her lips on the 'p.' "He was our first gay, and will always be my family." Kurt rolled his eyes, though he appreciated the sentiment he could hear in Santana's voice.
"Kurt," said Blaine. "I need to talk to you. Alone, preferably. Cooper's about to leave—"
"I think I need another drink first," said Kurt as he pulled loose from Rachel and goes over to the makeshift bar. He pours a drink and holds up a glass. "To Blaine, congratulations on getting everything you wanted. The best guy friend I wanted, along with the crush I was never allowed to have. And on winning senior class president. That one required a lot of chocolate. Oh, and becoming the leader of the New Directions. That… that one was hard to swallow. Sorry Rachel. But I always did want to squish your tiny little egotistical head."
"No offense taken," sniffed the brunette, glaring at Blaine.
"Kurt, are you okay?" asked Blaine. "I thought—"
"No, I'm not okay. I'm drunk. And miserable," he stated, leaning against the table.
"Let's get you home," said Blaine smoothly. "It's obvious our friends have been a bad influence this evening." He glared at Santana and Brittany.
"Your party," shrugged Santana. "I just made the drinks. The alcohol isn't why Kurt's upset. You might want to ask him why."
"No," said Kurt, pointing a finger at Blaine before his fiancé could take his arm. "I'm not going with you. I think I'm rather comfortable right where I am." He walked back over to Rachel. "They've been more company than you have this evening even though it's supposed to be our engagement party."
"You disappeared!" said Blaine, confused and sounding exasperated. "I tried calling, texting you. I looked for you all over the place. So did Puck and Finn. Sam and Mike helped too."
"You four didn't look that hard," said Quinn skeptically. "We've been here in this parlor the whole entire time. Did you even think about texting Rachel? Or Mercedes? They would have known exactly where Kurt was."
Blaine opened his mouth, but decided against saying what he was about to say. "Kurt—"
"No," said the brown haired countertenor, gathering up courage. "Not anymore Blaine. I can't do this. Iwon't do this. Ever since the whole… cheating thing, all you've tried to do is manipulate me, emotionally push me back into something I didn't want. Us. Valentine's Day was a mistake. A BIG mistake on my part. I don't want to repeat that. I felt guilty for leading you on then and now it's something I will always carry with me. I am sorry. You mean the world to me, and you always will. But Blaine… I can't. I just can't do this anymore. You lied to me, and you're still lying to me about some things. Whether you're trying to protect me or yourself, I don't know. But I don't need to be protected. Brittany and the others have confirmed some things for me this evening that I already knew, but couldn't bring myself to believe. I am sorry I'm doing this in front of the others, but I am done. We're done. I am not going through with this engagement."
Sam shifted uncomfortably and moved beside Blaine, who looked to be in shock as he spoke.
"Kurt you're drunk. You don't mean—"
Rachel seized upon the opportunity and kissed Kurt full on the lips. He didn't even act surprised at the gesture. It was probably the alcohol, but he returned the kiss. It made Mercedes squeal and Quinn's mouth formed a perfect "O" at the sight. Santana just hollered and cackled at the actions of her two New York roommates. Brittany and Sam both shared knowing grins. It was all show, but it was quite effective. Blaine's face was somewhere between hurt and shock and despair.
"He does mean it," said Rachel, pulling away from Kurt. She wiped her lips, pressing them back together to fix her lipstick. "So much more than you know. Right sweetheart?"
"Yes honey," said Kurt automatically. Rachel smirked and Kurt pulled Rachel closer. She had expected Kurt to wrap her in his arms, but when Kurt turned her around and kissed her passionately, it had taken her by surprise. It was a good thing her face was hidden against Kurt's or Blaine would have noticed something wrong. But instead, Rachel put her hands over Kurt's on her waist and ran her hands up and down his arms. Sam pulled on Blaine's coat and dragged him away before anything else could happen.
"Oh my god," breathed Mercedes. "That was like watching the best play ever."
"He's going to hate you now," stated Quinn from her spot on the couch with a frown. None of the group noticed the lingering touch between Kurt and Rachel as they broke apart.
"I don't care," said Kurt finally, looking up. "He can hate us all if he wants." He sighed, his shoulders going limp. "I'll go talk to him tomorrow when I can actually think and see straight. You all have gorgeous twins at the moment."
"More alcohol?" questioned Santana. Kurt shook his head.
"I think I'm just going to go home and sleep," he said, staggering a little. "And talk to Dad and Carole in the morning."
"I'll drive you home," said Rachel. Kurt nodded.
"I suppose I should take off his ring now," said Kurt. He reached to pull it off his hand and looked confused when nothing was there. Rachel put it in his palm, closing his hand around it. He stared at the ring and back at her, trying to form a thought, but he couldn't bring himself to say it. She couldn't look at him in the face.
"Rachel must kiss nice. You are dazed," commented Brittany, taking a swig right out of one of the bottles.
"I think I am out of it," he said, shaking his head.
"Go home," said Mercedes, hugging him. Kurt returned the hug and gave her a small salute as he followed Rachel out of the room.
"Well, that as interesting," said Santana, putting away her phone. "So ladies, shall we go join the rest of the party? I think we have plenty of gossip to share."
The drive back to Kurt's house was quiet. Rachel, while she knew what she had done was manipulative, had quite enjoyed her kiss with Kurt. Making Blaine jealous and breaking their engagement like such had been petty. Really petty. She knew that. They all knew that, but did nothing to dissuade Blaine from what he saw.
And Kurt was drunk. So very, very drunk.
"Guess you'll be happy to get back to New York again," she commented as she turned right to go into Kurt's neighborhood.
"Is it bad of me that I hope Blaine doesn't get into NYADA?" said Kurt.
"No," said the brunette quietly. "It does help to ease the ache a little to be resentful."
"It is his dream too," sighed Kurt. "I hate to begrudge him that at least."
"Maybe by then, all these feelings will have changed."
"Maybe," said Kurt tiredly. Rachel pulled into the Hudson-Hummel drive way and parked the car.
"I'm okay Rachel." He closed his eyes and laid his head back on the head rest. "I did something stupid, well, lots of stupid things, and I'm just upset about it all. I know what we just did is even crazier and probably only going to make things worse. But part of me doesn't care." He reached for his teal colored jacket in the back seat.
"Thank you," Kurt said, looking at Rachel. "For the ride home. For…"
"I'm sorry," said Rachel quickly. "I shouldn't have taken the opportunity to show off my acting skills. And Santana—"
Rachel felt Kurt's hand on her cheek. It stopped her from finishing the sentence as she went still at the caress. He seemed to be studying her face. Her skin seemed to burn where he was touching her.
"Good night Rachel," he said softly. "We can talk about it later." He squeezed her hand and got out of the car, slowly making his way into the house. She saw Carole through the open doorway and gave her a small wave. She sighed softly, a tear trickling down her cheek. She wiped it on her sleeve.
The next morning, the "double mint kiss heard around the world" was a trending topic in Lima on Twitter. In particular, the halls of McKinley were abuzz with the news. The senior class president had just proposed to his long time boyfriend, only to be blown off by two drunken kisses with his best friend. His girl best friend. And Blaine was nowhere to be found. Tina looked like she was going to spit nails at any second. Marley, Jake, and Ryder looked confused. Sugar and Joe were used to craziness of the New Directions and were discussing something in private while Sugar played on her phone. Artie and Kitty were both cackling and reveling in the insanity of it all. Unique and Sam both looked uncomfortable. Sam was shuffling his feet back and forth, staring at the floor.
Mr. Schue walked into the early morning glee meeting, a small smile on his face. But it dropped the minute he saw the group, doing a quick head count. He sighed.
"So I'm assuming our student leader of the group is still out celebrating his engagement?"
"Um, Mr. Schue…" began Artie, his eyes wide. He was shaking his head violently.
"NO," said a voice from the back of the room. "BLAINE is not out celebrating his engagement with his fiancé. His fiancé murdered his heart thoughtlessly by kissing Rachel Berry at their engagement party." Tina's voice resounded throughout the choir room, making Sam flinch.
If there were any moments in Artie's memories of glee club where Mr. Schuester had been completely overtaken by shock, this would be the dictionary entry with a platinum star beside it.
"Wh—-why?" said Mr. Schue. "Not that it's my place to know anything about former and current students, but—"
"There um, may have been some drinking involved," said Sam quickly. "That opened up a floodgate of issues…"
"Basically Kurt freaked out that Blaine was emotionally manipulating him and let me get him plastered more than a wall. And Rachel here decided to put on a little show on how to be vindictive and be amazing at it," said Santana, walking into the room. In her wake were Brittany, Mercedes, Quinn, and Rachel, who looked apprehensive.
"There's the Jezebel hussy that helped stomp on Blaine's heart!" yelled Tina, running down the risers.
"Whoa whoa Tina!" exclaimed Sam. He and Jake jumped up and grabbed Tina by the shoulders. Artie grabbed her around the waist and sat her down on his lap. She squirmed, trying to get away from the boys trying to hold her down, growling in her rage.
"Geez, Asian. Valium before you die from sexual frustration. I'll pick you up some at the dealer across the street from my house," said Santana. "That's why we're here. Hi Mr. Schue."
"We forced Rachel out of the house this morning," said Quinn. "To come apologize to Blaine. But from the lack of hair gel in the room, I'm guessing he isn't at school either."
"No," grumped Tina in Artie's lap. "I can't get him on his cell phone. No clue where he is."
"Trying to mend his little gay broken heart," said Kitty. "Or he's somewhere breaking Kurt's ankles."
"Blaine is not Annie Wilkes," said Sam, his voice cracking a little.
"And besides, we just checked on Kurt. Carole said he's still asleep," said Rachel. Tina glared at the former New Directions leader.
"So you think," smirked Kitty.
"He is," said Finn, coming into the room. Following behind him was Puck & Mike. "I had to listen to him cry half the night. By the way, Rachel… really?"
"It was a mistake!" sighed the brunette. "It was a bad situation and I just made it worse."
"Artie, put Tina down," said Mr. Schue. "And Tina, sit. I know you're upset because Blaine is your best friend. But he was Kurt's best friend too. Remember that."
"And he's my friend too," said Sam, looking at Tina. The Asian girl sighed and threw her arms up in the air in defeat.
"We all like Blaine," said Brittany. "But something happened between him and Kurt that's not good."
"And last night backfired. Badly," said Mercedes, glancing at Rachel.
"Yes, I know," she said, exasperated. "You all haven't had to listen to Kurt for months desperately trying to get over the whole thing. So when he finally admitted to himself the truth and forgave Blaine, it was a small victory. But then since Spring Break, Blaine has done everything to try to win Kurt back, which made him flustered and confused. Even up to that extravagant proposal."
"I always said the whole thing was a bad idea," said Artie, shaking his head.
"So yes, I may have been slightly vicious," admitted Rachel with a sniff. "Sorry Tina. I probably would feel the same way if the situation was reversed."
Tina muttered something that earned her a sharp look from Mike and Sam. The Asian girl sighed.
"So why are you three here anyways?" asked Quinn to Puck.
"We came looking for Blaine too," said Puck. "We figured Sam knew where he was."
Everyone turned and looked at Sam, who swallowed hard.
"Blaine's… Blaine's okay," said the blonde male. "He's with his brother. I don't know where. I told Cooper what happened and he took Blaine away from everything."
"He's with family at least," sighed Quinn. "Glad we don't have to send out a search party."
"Sorry we took over your classroom Mr. Schuester," said Mercedes.
"Well, since you're all here," said Will, gesturing to the group. "As former Nationals winners, would you like to give your opinions on the songs we have picked out for Nationals in L.A.?"
"We'd love to," said Rachel with a smile. It didn't take for a few minutes before the graduates had picked out seats among the new kids and sat down. Rachel sat far away from Tina, and found herself next to Finn of all things.
"Hey," he said softly. "You okay?"
"I don't know," she sighed, running a hand through her hair. "I think I may have messed up a lot of things Finn. I'll be surprised if Kurt still wants to be friends once he's recovered. And I know I've destroyed any friendship that I may have had with Blaine and I'm probably barely hanging onto a thread with Tina."
"Tina will get over it," shrugged Finn. "You really think she'll be the best of friends with Blaine after high school? Things change, with time."
"You maybe right," said Rachel, giving him a half smile. "But still, we're all supposed to be family aren't we?"
"Families that fight, kiss, make up, and barge into our old high school to help patch up things," said Puck, butting his head in between Rachel and Finn. "You're like my Jewish little sister, princess."
Rachel pushed Puck's face back out from in between them.
"We are a family who look out for each other," said Finn. He whispered into Rachel's ear. Her eyes widened.
He nodded, looking down.
Rachel hugged him tight.
"That's great Finn."
"So, my boy did tell you he's going to have a B- in all his classes despite missing half of them," said Puck with a big smile.
"Whoa whoa whoa," said Santana. "Finn's got a B-? In college?"
"I do," he said. "Puck's been a great help."
"Okay! Now I know the world's coming to an end," began Mercedes, putting a hand up in the air. "Kurt willingly kissed Rachel and Finn's got good grades with help from Puck. Next comes the plagues and the rivers of blood."
"It's a good thing I prepared for the rapture," said Kitty, leaning into Artie. They nuzzled noses. Rachel must have been staring when she felt Sugar nudge her shoulder.
"Weirder things have happened," said the girl. Rachel could only nod and agree.
"How are you Sugar?"
"Good!" she said happily. "Senior year's been busy. I don't get to hang out with the glee club as much. Unique's so nice too, I hate it."
Rachel smiled, remembering how Kurt and Mercedes had first described Unique to the group as their love child, which really was about the truth.
"I'm sure they miss you too."
"Yeah," said Sugar Motta with a nod, making the bangles clink together on her arm. "Joe and I found each other in the crowd and freaked out during the shooting. They wouldn't let us in. But then we found Tina too and we waited together till things were clear."
"It must have been scary," said Finn.
"It wasn't too bad, but then, we were outside."
Mr. Schue came back in the room with a stack of sheet music. They all turned to listen for a few minutes to their former and current sponsor list out the songs and the competition for Nationals.
When Kurt woke up the next morning, he almost wished he hadn't. The sun was shining brightly through his bedroom window in Lima, Ohio.
And he had just broken off an engagement to Blaine. Despite what he had heard and seen on television about blacking out when drinking large amounts of alcohol, he still remembered all the events from the night before.
Kurt was pretty sure the room was spinning, and he wasn't sure if it was due to the hangover, or how his world had been turned upside down.
He managed to spy a glass of water and some Tylenol through his barely open eyelids. He swallowed them quickly, drinking down the glass of water in just a few gulps. He was so thirsty. He was also shaky, tired, and his every muscle ached.
He was definitely was not drinking that much ever again.
"Hey, you're awake," said a soft voice from the doorway of his bedroom. Kurt was glad whoever it was spoke lightly.
"Carole?" he said. He took a quick peek to make sure it was her before shutting them again.
She chuckled. "Oh I remember those days." Kurt felt the bed shift as she sat down at the foot. "You look rough."
"I feel like piece of used gum on the hot sticky asphalt of the interstate," said Kurt with a groan. "When its 110 and cars keep running over me on their way to the amusement park."
"Well, it's nice to know you haven't lost your sense of humor and sarcasm," said his step mother. "Although your dad and I did hear you lose a majority of the alcohol in the toilet."
Kurt winced. "Sorry."
"After both Rachel and Finn told us some of what happened, your father decided to forgo any speeches and let you sleep in," sighed Carole. "Rachel told me a lot more this morning than Finn told us both last night."
"I really don't want to talk about it," said the countertenor. "It's over and done with."
"You need to honey," said Carole gently. "Your dad—Burt… he's feeling guilty about things."
Kurt sighed. "It's not his fault."
"No," said Carole. "It's really yours for not being honest with him. You didn't feel comfortable telling your father the truth about the whole situation with Blaine. Do you think that knowing you only agreed to the engagement because you felt emotionally trapped isn't hurting him? He helped with that spectacle, despite trying to talk Blaine out of proposing. Burt still agreed to bring you there, to force you into that mess. It's not just Blaine who trapped you."
"No," said Kurt, his voice growing quiet. "I just didn't want to hurt anyone." He rubbed his face, feeling incredibly guilty. "It was stupid Carole. I let myself be lead into that."
She smiled sadly. "We all liked to be loved, Kurt. There's nothing wrong with wanting another person in your life."
"Just not Blaine," sighed Kurt.
"Just not Blaine," echoed Carole. She smiled and rubbed his head. Kurt didn't protest. The touch actually felt good. Carole was always so warm and comforting.
"Think you feel up to eating some food?"
"I need to get up the energy," said Kurt. "I have to go to talk to him." He sighed and looked over to the side table.
"Especially with Rachel and her antics."
Carole's gaze turned to the bed side table and saw the silver engagement ring.
"Well, he had good taste."
"I think Sam and Tina helped pick them out."
"That's… a long story. I'm surprised Rachel didn't tell you."
Finn's mother nodded and stood up from the bed.
"How about a greasy hamburger and fries?"
"We don't have to tell your dad."
"… With an extra large chocolate milkshake."
"Always," said Carole. "And you might want to get dressed. I think the girls are coming back for you once they hunt down Blaine."
Kurt groaned and pulled the covers over his head.
By the time Santana, Brittany, Quinn, Mercedes, Rachel, Finn, Mike, and Puck made it over to the Hummel household, Kurt was up and dressed and sitting at the kitchen table, nursing a milkshake while Carole was nibbling on a box of fries.
"Boys," greeted Carole. "And girls." She got up from the table as Finn reached over her shoulder and stole a handful of fries. She kissed his cheek and gave him the rest.
"I'll leave you all to talk," said Carole. "Kurt, remember what I said."
He sighed and nodded. Carole gave him a quick hug.
"Before I'm dragged out anywhere, I'd like to finish the most delicious chocolate milkshake because I need the sugar and empty calories," said Kurt, looking down into the cup.
"Actually," said Quinn, coming up and rubbing Kurt's shoulder. "Tina, Artie, Sam are meeting us here."
Kurt choked on the milkshake, coughing into his elbow before grabbing a napkin off the table.
"So this is my execution then. Tina's going to kill me on sight with all of you in attendance. I always knew some of you would be my downfall."
"No, she's under orders," said Mercedes, side-eyeing Kurt. "To behave and not end your life any time soon."
The countertenor moved to say something, but closed his mouth instead.
"I'll make sure she behaves," added in Mike. "None of us want to see one or the other dead or in prison."
"That's probably for the best," said Kurt quickly. "So why are you all here?"
"We found Blaine," said Santana. "It wasn't that hard when we realized his brother posts his every movement on Twitter. They went back to Cooper's hotel room in Columbus and now he's driving him back to Lima to their parents' house. He should be home in about 30 minutes."
"So what? You're planning an ambush?" said Kurt sarcastically. "Like that will go over well."
"No Porcelain," said Santana. "Just listen to Auntie Tana. We're just going to make sure you two talk."
"We're just your friends Boo," said Mercedes. "We all like you both."
"Except maybe the midget," commented Brittany. Rachel sighed.
"I like Blaine, thank you," said Rachel. "I did go on a date with him."
"Drunk," commented Quinn.
"I was buzzed, not drunk. I only had a couple of glasses beforehand," scoffed the brunette. Kurt caught her eye and they both looked down.
"Perhaps its best I don't speak till this whole affair is over with," sighed Rachel.
"I've gotta start praying again," said Puck. "I think Mercedes is right. The world is coming to an end."
"Rachel not speaking," said Mike. "I didn't know such a thing exists."
"She does it from time to time," said Kurt softly. "Mainly when she thinks she's overworked her vocal chords." He took one last sip of his drink.
"Come on, let's go outside and wait on the others. At least there will be less blood to clean up out there."
"Kurt," said Quinn, giving him an exasperated look.
"What, can't I make jokes now?" he said with a sigh.
"Finn told us that you spent half the night crying," frowned Brittany. Kurt gave Finn a glare. The taller boy looked sheepish and stuck the last of the fries in his mouth. The NYADA student shook his head.
"I might have Britt-Britt, but it's alright," said Kurt. "It's just a bad situation." He sighed and fanned his face.
"Please let us just go and let's deal with this. I need for everything to be done and over with. Even if I have waaaay too many people around for this conversation."
They heard Sam's truck pull up in the street. The slam of the door made Kurt wince. He pushed Finn in between him and Tina Cohen-Chang as she came charging into the room. She spied Kurt behind Finn and glared at him before pulling him into a hug, surprising everyone.
Kurt looked really really confused.
"What?" she said as she straightened up. "Kurt was my friend first, you know. I may be upset about what happened with Bling-Bling—"
Santana coughed loudly, trying to cover up the snort she had made.
"But relationships suck," finished Tina. "No one's perfect."
"Wait, who are you and what have you done with Tina?" said Finn. She looked up at him with a glare.
"I'm still here, Finn."
"Did Tina get taken over by aliens?" asked Brittany. "Maybe Lord or Lady Tubbington can tell us if she's been probed."
"I haven't been taken by aliens," said the Asian girl. "Can't I support my friend?"
"Well, you nearly mauled Rachel this morning," said Sam, coming in the door. "I'm pretty sure the upswing is a little surprising Tina."
"It's the downswing I'm worried about," said Kurt, rubbing his throat. Tina spun around and faced Rachel.
"You however I'm still upset at," said Tina. "Taking advantage of Kurt like that."
"Oh please," said Quinn. "It was moves like that that would have earned Rachel a spot on the Cheerios."
"Really?" said Rachel. Brittany nodded.
"Tina… in fact everyone else as well, just lay off Rachel," said Kurt tiredly. "We'll talk about it later. Can we get this circus act on the road?"
When Santana said they had a plan, he expected they'd all pile into whatever vehicles they had and head over to the Anderson household…
But they actually had a thorough plan that involved a nearby park, coffee, and a circle of his friends spread out over a large area pretending to look like they blended in. If you could 'blend in' in a park. Was Finn actually holding a Frisbee? He sighed, mulling over the mocha in his hand. He would have to thank Artie later for ordering the extra whipped cream and strawberry syrup. The cement table and benches were cool even though it was the spring, and it felt rather nice against the skin of his arms as he laid his head on the table. He pretended not to notice Rachel glancing worriedly at him.
That was another thing he was going to have to do.
He didn't have to think about it too long, because he heard the sound of confusion in Blaine's voice as he was being led by Tina and Sam.
"I don't know what you two are up to, but the park—"
He stopped dead when he saw Kurt sitting at the table.
"No," he said firmly. "Sam—"
"Just hear him out alright?" said the blonde haired male. "He's just wants to talk."
"Didn't he already say enough last night? He was sending a definitely clear message."
Kurt winced at that.
"Blaine," said Tina sweetly, smiling at him, which made him recoil at the sight. "This is for your own good." She forcefully took his shoulders and made him sit on the bench opposite Kurt with much protest from the dark haired male.
"And we out," said Sam with a salute to Kurt. He took Tina by the arm and ran off.
Blaine sighed and watched the retreating backs of his friends.
"I feel like I've been betrayed by everyone now. I swear I saw all the New Directions on the way in."
"You did," said Kurt. He pushed the extra coffee next to him towards Blaine. He looked at it like it was going to tear into him at any second.
"Compliments of Artie," said Kurt.
"That doesn't help," said Blaine.
"Neither he nor I have poisoned it. I made him promise," said Kurt.
Blaine sighed and took a sip from the cup. The gesture made Kurt relax a little.
Kurt's eyes went wide.
Blaine sighed and closed his eyes. "I've been doing a lot of… talking over the past 18 hours with Cooper. My brother… well, he maybe my brother, but he does listen. And the more I talked, the more I realized how ridiculous I sounded. I pushed and I pushed… and in the end, I'm the one who pushed you out of my life."
"Well, that proposal didn't help," commented Kurt. He drummed his fingers on the table top with a frown.
"I made you unhappy Kurt," sighed Blaine. "Enough that apparently you've turned to Rachel."
Kurt snorted at that. "No, that was Rachel unleashing a little hurt and vindictiveness at you for the past few months of having to listen to me."
Kurt grew quiet.
"Too much alcohol fueled with emotions," he said after a moment. "I'm sorry Blaine. I… I went overboard. I shouldn't have said all of that to you like that in front of our friends. Especially since Santana practically had me on an alcohol I.V. I was the one who lead you on. I enjoyed your attention because I wanted what I couldn't have again. I hoped and I hoped and just… I've moved… I've moved on from you."
Blaine swallowed hard.
"I still love you, and I always will," said Kurt. "But this, us— it's just not something that makes sense to me anymore." He sighed. "There are still things between us that aren't right. And they probably never will be."
"We do have our issues of trust, don't we?" said Blaine.
"Among a myriad of other things," said Kurt. "We don't work like we used to."
"Do you want to start over?" asked Blaine. Kurt could tell by the inflection in his voice that he was a tiny bit hopeful. He sighed and crossed his legs, rubbing the spot right above the bridge of his nose.
"I can't Blaine. Not anymore."
Kurt shook his head.
Blaine lowered his head onto the table. The sob was barely audible, but Kurt knew he was crying. He was on the verge of tears himself. Blaine had been his best friend. They had been each others first loves.
"I'm sorry," said Kurt, barely above a whisper. He hated himself. He hated this. He reached out to grab Blaine's hand.
"No. No Kurt," said Blaine, looking up with red rimmed eyes and shaking his head. "I—"
"We both did this," said Kurt. "Me and you both. And what is done is done." The tears finally slipped over his cheeks. He stood up from the table and went over to Blaine. He pulled the ring out of his pocket and slipped it in Blaine's hand, closing his fingers over it.
"I hope one day you find someone extraordinary who makes you happy," Kurt managed to choke out. "Because you deserve someone you don't have to tie down when they're not in front of you."
"Let me finish," the countertenor. "And they will have to take a 150 page questionnaire, along with 6 page essay section and have a 4 hour interview with me just to make sure they are good enough for you."
Blaine was wiping the tears off his cheeks as he laughed softly.
Kurt's mouth went into a straight line. "Yes," he said finally with a nod. "Although I think its best if we take some time to recover."
The darker haired boy stood and opened his arms to Kurt. The NYADA student reluctantly put himself in Blaine's arms. He pulled back quickly and glanced at Blaine. They both laughed softly. Looking around, they noticed all the others far off, trying not to pay attention to what was going on in their part of the park.
"So what are we going to tell them?"
"The truth," said Kurt with a sigh. "Although we're going to break poor Puck's heart."
Blaine laughed, but his smile dropped with a sigh. "I really need to apologize to Rachel. I bad mouthed her part of the night last night."
"Well, she needs to apologize to you too for what she did," said Kurt. He looked for her best friend in the group of people, but didn't see her. Not even near Finn.
"What will you do now?" asked Blaine.
"Go back to New York," said Kurt with a sigh. "I have to go back to work."
"You know what I mean."
"Yes, I do, and I'm avoiding the question," said Kurt. "I think I need time." Blaine gave a small nod.
"You deserve someone too Kurt. Someone one in a million."
Kurt sighed. "Come on, let's walk back to the others."
They walked slow, talking about school and whatnot. It was awkward, but relieving having a small bit of comfortableness with Blaine. Kurt was happy about that. When they got over to their friends, Kurt saw that some of them had gathered around one of the park grills and had a fire started.
"Come on, we're making s'mores!" said Finn, a cheesy grin on his face. "Mike's handling the fire. Apparently no one trusts me."
"I wonder why," commented Kurt. "Might have something to do with that backyard fire our junior year." Finn pushed a dark brown bottle in his hand. Kurt looked down at it with apprehension.
"Don't worry, we just have root beer and ginger ale," said Finn. "Rachel made sure to keep any and all alcohol away from you."
"How thoughtful," commented Kurt, opening the bottle.
"You sure Puck doesn't have any beers?" asked Blaine hopefully.
Finn shook his head. "Maybe we can go out later. Still got your fake I.D.?"
"Absolutely," said Blaine, a large grin gracing his features. Finn matched it with his own. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"You two have fun planning Blaine's breakup night out," said Kurt, waving his hand. "I'm going to go steal a s'more from Mercedes."
Kurt watched out of the corner of his eye as Tina pounced on Blaine once he had left. He wrapped his arms around Mercedes' shoulders, stealing half of her s'more from her hand.
"Over and done with huh?" she asked as she licked running chocolate off her fingers.
"Yes," said Kurt with a sigh. "I have given him back his ring, and we talked it out. We're going to be friends after a little bit of time." He reached to grab for the rest of her s'more. She laughed and held it out of his reach.
"Get your own boy."
"I'm wounded Mercedes. You won't share?"
"Mike roasted these marshmallows especially for me. Be glad I let you have half."
Kurt raised an eyebrow at that. "Mike huh?"
"Don't even," said Mercedes. "He was being perfectly sweet and gentlemanly."
"Hmm," said the countertenor. "Didn't he break up with Tina for not being Asian enough?"
Mercedes gave him a look. "And you believe everything everyone says? Six months from now, people are going to say your engagement to Blaine was broken up by drunken kisses between you and Rachel in the middle of your engagement party."
Kurt could feel a headache coming on. He sighed.
"Where is she anyways?"
"Walking with Santana." Mercedes paused. "Do we need to check on them to make sure they haven't killed each other?"
"If they haven't done it yet in New York, I think they'll be okay," said Kurt with a shrug. "Santana's growing."
"Yeah, I heard she declared you two her family."
"She did," said Kurt. "For a while, I thought Rachel and I had a child."
Mercedes chuckled at that before wiping her sticky hands on a napkin.
"She was that childish?"
"We all were, I think," said Kurt. "Rachel and I were happy that we had a working dynamic in the apartment and kind of wanted to keep it that way. But then Santana came along, started banging on the pots and pans, going through our stuff, and eating our food. Pretty much like a toddler come to think of it. A 19 year old toddler, but…"
"She was just a scared little girl all alone in the big city?" finished Mercedes.
"I'm happy she's there," said Kurt. "She's been a big help with things."
"San likes being there too, but she'll never admit it," said Brittany, butting into the conversation. "Can I hug you now?"
"Hug… me?" said Kurt, surprised. Brittany nodded and hugged Kurt hard.
"I've missed you and I'm sorry about how things worked out with Blaine."
"I miss you too Brittany," said Kurt. "You'll have to come visit us in New York."
Brittany smiled wide. "I have in mind something better."
"Something better?" asked Kurt, looking curious.
"Yep!" said Brittany. "I have plans. You'll see. Just as soon as I can run away to heaven." She nodded her head and skipped away. Kurt and Mercedes watched Brittany in confusion.
"Run away?" mouthed Mercedes. Kurt shrugged.
"Maybe from the aliens."
Mercedes rolled her eyes.
"Oh look, they both survived," said Tina, coming over to the pair. "Pity." She pointed over to Rachel and Santana.
"Tina," warned Kurt. She stuck her tongue out at him before walking off with a fresh ginger ale from the cooler beside them.
"I have got to figure out what her problem is," said Mercedes, shaking her head.
"I think I know," said Kurt with a sigh. "I need to talk to Rachel since she's done speaking to Santana… erm, never mind," he said quickly. Mercedes looked back to see Blaine pulling on Rachel's arm. She turned back and looked at Kurt questioningly.
"He wanted to talk to her," said Kurt, setting the empty bottle in his hands in the appropriate trash bucket. He picked up another from the cooler, wincing at the freezing ice.
When Blaine headed over to Rachel after she came back from talking to Santana, the dark haired male felt a soft touch on his arm.
"I warned you," said Quinn, sipping on her drink.
Blaine's shoulders automatically slumped. "I know," he said quietly. "If I had only listened to you and Artie…"
"You were happy and in love, Blaine," said Quinn. "It's easy to be blind."
"I thought Kurt was too, but just playing hard to get," said Blaine, frowning. "I didn't see the warning signs."
"Don't do that," chided Quinn. "You could have been right all along, you know."
"I need to go catch Rachel," said Blaine. "I need to go apologize."
Quinn looked skeptical at that as she pursed her lips. "Why? She needs to apologize to you instead."
"We'll work on that," said Blaine. "I'll be right back."
Quinn nodded and Blaine made a beeline for Rachel.
"Rachel, I need to talk to you for just a second."
The brunette looked down, but nodded. Blaine felt silly and rubbed her shoulder and took her by the hand as they walked through the trees behind the nearby tennis courts.
"I'm not upset at you Rachel."
Rachel looked up quickly, looking even more in shock than Kurt had been.
"Blaine, I used Kurt. I—"
"You were upset," sighed Blaine. "I get that. You had to listen to him try to muddle through it all on his own."
"At least he had a good reason. The whole thing with Finn… it seems stupid now."
"It took a lot out of all of us," shrugged Blaine. "Change is change. It isn't good or bad. Just different."
"When did you get so calm about this?" asked Rachel, slightly skeptical.
"After listening to myself rant for hours," sighed the dark haired male. "Talking things out with Cooper helped me understand things a bit."
"I'm sorry Blaine," said Rachel. "I saw the opportunity and went for it. I was mad at you at you for hurting my best friend with the whole Eli thing and continually hurting him by forcing yourself into his life before he was ready. He loved you, but your pushing all the time really ended things."
"I know," said Blaine quietly, scratching his head. "I realize that."
Rachel went quiet, kicking at the ground with the edge of her shoe.
"It was just acting, just so you know."
"I get it Rachel," said Blaine. He looked back at their friends, talking and laughing. Some of the newer kids had descended on the park as well and Artie was spinning Kitty around and around in his chair on the picnic & grilling area. Unique was talking to Kurt and Mercedes happily while Marley looked on with a smile. Mike was laughing as he handed Jake a fresh s'more. Puck was standing next to him, showing them something on his phone.
"But I'm not so sure it was acting on Kurt's part."
Rachel spun around where she had been looking at a nearby tree.
"I think he got caught up in the alcohol and the anger," said Blaine. "And he used you just as much as you did him. And I… probably deserved that."
The brunette frowned. "Nobody deserves that Blaine. We may have been upset with you, but that was stupid on both of us."
"It's over and done with," said Blaine, waving his hand. "Don't worry about it Rachel." He crossed his arms with a sigh.
"New York is going to be awkward, isn't it?"
"It's a big city with lots of people," said Rachel. "And NYADA has a lot of cute boys."
Blaine smiled at that.
"Thanks," he said. "For trying to be supportive at least."
Rachel moved closer to Blaine and gave him a hug.
"We all love you both."
Blaine closed his eyes and hugged her back.
"Take care of him," he said softly, barely loud enough for her to hear. He let go and started walking off.
Rachel tucked a piece of hair behind her ear with a frown. What did Blaine mean by that?
"So, I'm guessing your apartment is going to weepy and mopey for the next few months?" said Quinn with a smirk. Santana grinned and clinked her bottle again against the blonde's.
"We'll see what the future holds. I'm expecting it to be more confusion than anything," said Santana mysteriously. They watched as Rachel and Blaine walked back towards the group. Sam grabbed Blaine around the shoulders and led him off towards Mike. Rachel walked over to Quinn and Santana.
"I wouldn't go near Tina anytime soon," commented Quinn when she got close. "When she found out that Blaine wanted to talk to you and apologize, she's been… livid to say the least."
"I don't know what's up with that," said Rachel with a frown. "I know she's been upset about the whole engagement breakup, but—"
"Please. She's more jealous of you than anything," said Santana, rolling her eyes. "For having the balls to do something she wouldn't. She'd do anything to have a crack at Blaine."
"I think it's killing her that Kurt kissed you back," said Quinn, waving her root beer bottle. "Even if he was drunk, how many girls besides Brittany can say that they had a lip-lock with McKinley's dynamic gay duo?"
"My god, you have kissed them both," said Santana. "I forgot about the smooch at your train wreck extravaganza party."
"It didn't mean anything," scoffed Rachel. "Even with Blaine… In the end I only wanted to go out with him to make Kurt jealous. He was seething with it. His crush had kissed me and liked it. Blaine would have made a good catch… but for all the wrong reasons."
"You going to go talk to Kurt?" asked Santana. She gestured to where Kurt was talking to Kitty and Artie.
"I need to," said Rachel with a frown. "I was hoping to talk to Finn, but he keeps alluding me this evening."
"He's moving on," said Quinn gently.
"I know," said Rachel. Both Quinn and Santana looked surprised.
"I'm not blind," said the brunette. She went quiet. "But I'm glad he's happy."
"Oh come here," said Santana, gesturing for Rachel to give her a hug with her hands. "You've lost your golly green giant haven't you?"
Rachel took the hug from Santana with a sigh.
"I'll live," said the Jewish girl. "I have you and Kurt, my Fanny audition, and three more years of NYADA… I'll be okay."
"Aww, you have me? That's so sweet," said Santana with a smirk. "I don't know when I became yours though. I like ya Berry, but I don't think you're my type."
"Oh god," moaned Rachel. "And I'm not even remotely interested in experimenting, unlike Quinn here." Rachel smirked and walked off while Quinn let out a small squeak.
"It's the New Directions," said Santana, gesturing with her bottle. "Since when do we keep secrets?"
It was late in the afternoon before Rachel approached Kurt.
"Hey," she said softly to get his attention.
"I was beginning to think you were avoiding me," he said, getting up off the bench where he had been sitting beside Brittany. Santana reached forward and pushed lightly on his hips making him stumble into Rachel.
"We don't need no drama in the apartment," she said, crossing her arms.
"Oh grow up and finally ask Brittany out again," said Rachel in a huff.
"Rachel," chided Kurt. Brittany giggled.
"I think you're finally rubbing off on her," she said adoringly to Santana.
"Ugh, come on before they get any cuter," said Kurt. He tugged on Rachel's hand.
"Well, at least someone has a love life," said the Jewish girl with a sigh. She followed Kurt, wondering where he was going as they wandered through the park. There were at least four in Lima, but this one by far was the largest and most spread out. He sighed after finding what he was looking for. It was a wooden open air gazebo that looked over a pond in the middle of the park and far from where their friends were.
"I want to make sure we're not followed," said Kurt, waving his hand around. "The last thing I need is more New Directions intervention. Everyone has already given their opinion to me this afternoon on what to do about you."
"If—if you want me to move out, then I'll… understand," said Rachel in a quiet voice. Saying it out loud made her nearly on the verge of tears. "I can go back—"
"What? No. No honey no," said Kurt softly. He pulled her into a hug. "What gave you that idea?"
"I messed up," she said with a sniff. "I feel like I've lost you." She sighed and threw her hands up in the air. "This whole thing is terrible enough without me feeling bad about myself."
Kurt gave a small laugh. "Well, you are good at that."
Rachel would have given him a glare if she didn't know it was true. The whole Midnight Madness thing had been a good example of it. She wrapped her arms around Kurt's shoulders.
"I'm sorry about Blaine Kurt."
"It is what it is," he shrugged. "The boys are taking him drinking. I think he needs the night out."
"Just as long as Tina doesn't go with them." Kurt snorted into Rachel's hair.
"I think Finn and Sam will make sure that doesn't happen," he said after a moment. He sighed and pulled back.
"Friends?" said Rachel hopefully.
"We never stopped," said Kurt. "We both made stupid mistakes Rachel. It doesn't mean everything stops. We work through it and move on."
"Good," said Rachel. "I'm sorry… again."
Kurt rolled his eyes.
"Let's just go back to New York and forget the whole thing," he said softly.
"I do think that sounds like the best solution," Rachel said with a big smile. "Just us three single, independent teenagers in New York."
Santana was waiting for Kurt when he came back from talking with Rachel. He could smell grilled meat and gave her a questioning look.
"Finn and Mike decided since they had a fire going they'd go get some burgers and hot dogs," she shrugged. "Quinn and Mercedes are helping them set up the table with the other stuff. I think Carole and Burt may have splurged for a few extra things like chips and potato salad." She gave him a questioning glare. Kurt sighed and nodded.
"And how did it go?" she asked, putting a hand on her hip.
"I'll take that as a yes," she said softly. Santana at that moment thought she needed to add more alcohol to the apartment.
New York was definitely not going to be boring any time soon.