Most days Matt Rutherford didn't mind being seen as the quiet guy. It certainly had its advantages. For one thing he knew almost everyone in glee club's secrets. As strange as it sounds he had been the one to convince Mike to join the club after Mike confided in him about his dancing. He had known the longest of anyone about Puck being the father of Quinn's baby. Ok maybe that was more due to the fact Puck was about 99 percent convinced he was mute but still. And there wasn't a moment of drama between Tina and Artie that he didn't hear about at least twice before inevitably blew over into nothingness.
No Matt was normally perfectly fine with being the quiet guy. Except when Mr. Schue assigned someone other than Rachel the lead in a number. Then because he was the quiet guy, he was assigned her partner in the choreography. A decision based entirely on Mercedes's assertion he would be the least likely to shove reams of sheet music down her overly critical throat.
It was a line of reasoning that normally Matt would agree with. The main key to partnering Rachel was to let her think you were really listening to her every idea. True one might find themselves in the dangerous position of being singled out to back up one of her notions in front of the rest of the club. However since he wasn't Finn, Matt figured he was pretty safe on that one. After all Rachel didn't consider him "lead material". But that was before Mr. Schue figured out this particular number for their upcoming Invitational.
Because right now there was nothing Matt wanted to do more than listen to Kurt practice his solo for "Electricity". And Rachel's constant chattering was more than a little distracting to that goal.
That was the other great benefit of being considered the quiet guy. Not a single person here had even come close to guessing about his crush on Kurt. Which was fortunate given the almost overwhelming amount of romantic intrigue that seemed to permeate the choir room week to week. It wasn't that Matt was ashamed of being gay, he just didn't want his love life being the subject of Jacob Ben Israel's latest blog and Matt knew whoever Kurt dated was destined to be constantly in the limelight.
Because, of course Kurt would demand nothing less.
It was one of the most attractive things about Kurt. His utter inability to accept anything less than what he believed he deserved. Whether that was all but clawing Rachel's eyes out for solos or promising the goons on the hockey team would work for him before their first high school reunion, Kurt knew exactly who he was and where he was going. Pretty damn intimidating for a guy who was fully aware he was probably about the fifth best athlete on the football team, the second best dancer in glee and who changed his mind daily about what he wanted to do after graduation.
But Matt was also sure given enough time, Kurt could probably help him figure all that out.
"He's wearing a sailor hat and he complains about my fashion sense?" Rachel complained gesturing to Kurt's current choice of headwear. "Plus why are they trying for a high F? We all heard him miss it."
"He missed on purpose." Matt countered automatically corrected her. "He's hit it before then and since. And Kurt always goes a little crazy with the hats before competitions. I think it focuses him for some reason."
Too late Matt remembered another consequence of being considered the quiet guy as Rachel's mouth dropped open in shock; when you chose to speak, people paid attention to you.
"I wasn't aware you knew that many words." Rachel said slowly, her brown eyes brimming with curiosity. "Or that you paid that close attention to Kurt's habits and wheelhouse."
"Well you know it's hard to not notice Kurt." He protested falteringly. If there was one person you didn't want finding out a secret about you, well first it was Finn but Rachel was right up there. She'd either immediately tell Kurt (or Mercedes which was really just the same as telling Kurt) or she'd make getting them together her new project.
That was the way after all, Kurt had ended up dating Sam.
Yeah Sam…Kurt's boyfriend…him. Matt preferred not to think of him at all but he did exist. And Kurt did seem happy with him; if Matt's constant staring at their lunch dates in the cafeteria was any indication. Sam was confident, attractive (even Puck admitted that) and understood Kurt's every fashion reference. In other words, he was perfect and Matt realized he didn't stand a chance.
"True but prior to last semester I doubt you knew what a high F was, much less be able to identify when someone hit that note correctly." Rachel persisted, the wheels in her head clearly turning. "And while Kurt goes out of his way to make his fashion statements, to make a connection to them and our competition schedule is a level of observation that truly only comes when one is….."
Her eyes widened with that spark Rachel got when she hit upon a new idea for competition. It was a look everyone had learned to fear. It only meant one thing. Rachel had a new idea and she wasn't going to let it go. Matt felt panic well up as he also knew there was only one way Rachel ever announced these new ideas. At the top of her voice, drowning out all other voices.
He raised his hand to cover her mouth when Mr. Schue clapped his hands together. "Alright everybody! Let's take it from the top!"
For the rest of rehearsal Matt was able to duck Rachel's questioning eyes, seeing her dart her glance between where they were dancing in the back to Kurt standing up front. When it was time to go he was grateful to see Finn amble up to ask for Rachel's help with his dance steps. Number one Finn definitely needed the help and number two Rachel could never turn down a request from Finn. He quickly gathered his things, nodded a quick good-bye to Mike and made his way to the door.
"Matt! Wait up!" To his horror, Rachel's voice carried over to him. And judging by the looks of surprise on the rest of the room's faces, everyone had heard it. No way to pretend he had suddenly gone deaf. As Rachel rushed up to him and linked her arm with his, he had no choice but to follow her lead and walk out into the hall.
"Now. You and Kurt." She began with no attempt at a preamble.
Releasing an aggravated sigh, Matt rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "There is no me and Kurt."
"Not yet but clearly there will be."
"Will be? Rachel he's with Sam. You set him up with Sam."
"That was before I knew you liked him. If I had known that, I would have put you two together. "Rachel paused her step mid-stride causing Matt to run into her. "Why didn't I know that?"
"It's not a big deal ok?"
"Not a big deal? It is when you are in love with a fellow glee clubber."
"You would know about that." Matt muttered under his breath.
"Sam is wonderful. I mean clearly since he passed my rigorous standards but you're glee. So you'll clearly pass as well." Rachel tilted her head to the side.
"Look Rachel, I'm glad you're taking an interest in me but stop."
"OK so I like Kurt. But he's with Sam. And he's happy. Happier than I've ever seen him. And if being with Sam makes him happy? I'm not going to mess with that ok? So just forget we ever had this conversation." Matt broke away from her, leaving Rachel standing in the middle of the hallway.
Turning the corner, he saw Kurt standing with Sam. His head was thrown back, laughing at something Sam had just said. With his heart twisting, he watched unseen as Sam threw his arm over Kurt's shoulder and the two walked towards them.
"Matt. Lovely day isn't it?" Kurt smiled at they walk by. Matt managed a smile in return as Kurt simultaneously broke his heart and filled it with joy.
It was the greatest benefit of being the quiet guy. When the guy you were crazy about walked by, no one thought it strange that you couldn't manage a word to say.
"Do you really want me to just forget this?" Rachel asked softly. "I know that look. I know how that feels."
"Yeah but I don't think I could make him that happy. " Matt admitted softly as he adjusted his backpack further up his shoulder. "I'm not what he wants."
Watching him walk away, Rachel smiled sadly. "But maybe you're what he needs."