Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
She dropped the bomb on him as casually as she would have mentioned the nice weather or her new haircut. He stared at her, mouth agape. The roaring in his ears drowned out anything she might be saying, and all her could think was how on earth did this happen?
But really, in retrospect, he should have seen it coming.
August of 1989
Burt lounged in his desk, propping his feet up on the empty seat in front of him. It was really too warm to wear his letterman's jacket, but he liked wearing it on the first day of school anyways. And besides, he was a senior. He could do what he wanted.
He ran his hand through his ash-blond hair, still short from his summer haircut, and tried to listen to the homeroom teacher droning through the roll call list. School had been in session for ten minutes, and his senioritis was already killing him.
The door creaked open, halting the teacher in mid-sentence and making every student turn their head. A petite girl stepped into the classroom, her long hair swishing against her shoulders as she readjusted her backpack.
"Can I help you?" the teacher inquired.
"I'm not sure I have the right room," she said. "Are you Mrs. Wilcox?"
The teacher frowned. "She's in the freshman hall," she said. "This is the senior hall."
The girl flushed rosy pink, but she smiled. "Thank you," she said brightly, turning on her heel and letting the classroom door swing shut behind her.
A couple of the bigger football players snickered and the teacher glowered. "Settle down," she said, returning to the dull chore of calling roll.
He stared after the closed door. She's cute, he thought. Really cute.
He sat up straighter. "Here," he said.
It wasn't going to do any good to think about her. He was a senior, and there were football games to win. He didn't need to busy himself with thoughts of a pretty little freshman.
December of 1989
Burt was certain of two things in life- that Duke sucked, and that the apple pie at Brass Kettle was better than any other pie he'd ever had. He got into a bad habit of stopping by after his weekend job working at the garage for a piece of pie. Sure, he probably would be better off saving his money for his tuition fees at school- a football scholarship could only get him so far- but for right now, it was worth it.
The bells above the door jangled musically as he let himself into the café and brushed the snow off his shoulders. "Take a seat, honey, we'll be right with you," the old hostess said.
He sat down in a corner booth and pulled the folded-up sports section of the newspaper out of his pocket. Carefully he unfolded it and smoothed out the wrinkles so he could read his football stats.
"What can I get for you?"
He looked up into a pair of large blue-green eyes framed in long dark lashes. "Oh," he said, startled.
She wrinkled her nose. "Did I surprise you?" she said.
"You go to McKinley, right?" he blurted out.
"Mm-hm," she said warily, readjusting the pink headband in her light brown hair. "I'm a freshman."
"Yeah, I…" He cleared his throat. "I'm-"
"You're Burt Hummel," she finished, her cheeks pinking slightly. "Football player…senior. Pretty much everybody knows you."
He ducked his head and grinned. "Yeah, well," he said. "I'll have to start all over again next year. College…you know."
"I know," she said. She tugged on the white frilled apron that covered her pink collared dress. "So, do you want anything?"
"Apple pie and a coke, please," he said.
She wrote it down in her little notepad. He leaned closer, trying to get a glimpse of her nametag. She looked up and snapped the notebook shut. "What are you looking at?" she asked.
He leaned back, fiddling with the back strap of his baseball cap. "I was just trying to see your name," he apologized.
She smiled, her big eyes lighting up. "It's Mollie," she said. "Mollie Melrose."
Mollie held out her hand. Burt reached out and shook it gently, his big broad fingers closing easily over her slender ones.
March of 1990
Burt sat at his corner booth like he did every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. Except it wasn't the weekend. It was Thursday.
Mollie walked across the nearly empty café towards him and halted beside his table. "Here's your receipt," she said, setting it down in front of him.
He stared at it. "Thanks," he said.
She folded her arms across her stomach. "What's wrong with you?" she asked.
"Nothing," he said. "Nothing's wrong. I'm fine."
Mollie frowned. "You ate twelve pieces of pie," she said. "And drank four cokes. That's not fine."
He tilted his head slightly as he looked at her. There was no telling if it was the sugar or the caffeine- or maybe both- but she had never looked prettier. "Can I have another piece of pie?" he asked.
Mollie rolled her eyes and slid into the seat across from him. "Burt," she said. "We're closing. And you ate all of our pie."
"Oh," he said. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Well…since you're closing…can I drive you home?"
She laughed and shook her head. "I don't think so," she said. "My dad'll be here in ten minutes to take me home. Thanks, though." Mollie got up and walked towards the kitchen, her long thick hair swishing around her shoulders. Burt frowned. This wasn't going at all like he had planned.
He tried to think of something smart and romantic to say, like the guys in the movies. But he had never been one for smooth talking.
The next thing he knew he was striding across the café floor towards Mollie. He took her by the wrist, and whirled her around.
Burt Hummel had kissed at least half a dozen girls since starting high school. They were all nice girls, pretty and smart. But kissing them was nothing like kissing Mollie Melrose. Her lips were soft and warm and she smelled like warm vanilla sugar and hot coffee and sweet hotcakes. Or maybe that was the usual diner smell. But in any case, he couldn't stop kissing her.
And then she pulled away and smacked him across the face. Her cheeks had gone from pink to red, and her blue-green eyes were flashing. "What was that for?" she gasped.
"Will you go to prom with me?" he blurted out.
She smiled, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him soundly.
October of 1990
Someone grabbed him by the ankle and tugged him out from under the Range Rover. He blinked, adjusting to the sudden light of the garage, and grinned. "Hey, Mollie," he said.
"Hi," she said brightly, leaning over him with her hands on the hood of the car. "I brought you lunch."
He got up and wiped his greasy hands on his coveralls. "I packed my own," he protested.
Mollie hopped up on his chest of tools and carefully arranged the red pleated skirt of her cheerleading uniform. "You mean three Twinkies, a bag of chips, and a root beer?" she said. "And of course this is following your breakfast of champions."
"Hey, I've had a coke and slim jims for breakfast every morning since I started high school," he said.
She put the brown paper bag in his hand. "You're not in high school anymore, Burt, you're a college guy," she grinned.
"Junior college," he corrected.
"Still college," she countered. "Eat your lunch."
He opened it up and scowled. "What is this?" he asked.
"Don't give me that face," she said. "It's turkey and cheddar on whole wheat, plus an apple and a bag of pretzels." He frowned. "And some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies." "I guess that's okay," he said. He sat down and took a bite out of his sandwich. "it's pretty good."
"Thanks," she said. She leaned over and put her ear close to his cassette player. "Really? Mellencamp again?"
"He's good," he defended.
"I'll give you that, but can't you listen to somebody else?" she said exasperated. "Honestly. Now I know what I'm getting you for Christmas this year. Mix tapes. I'm going to broaden your horizons."
He shook his head and changed the subject. "How's cheerleading going?"
"It's good," she said, beaming. "Really good. I mean, it's only junior varsity, but I'm that much closer to being a real Cheerio."
He squeezed her knee. "You'll be on the varsity squad next year," he promised. "You're good. You'll have to make it."
"I hope so," she said. Her watch beeped and she checked it. "I have to run. Mom will kill me if I miss another piano lesson."
He stood up and kissed her on the lips; her hands wound into his collar. Reluctantly he pulled away. "You'd better run," he said.
Burt lifted her down from the tool chest. "I'll see you later, okay?" she said.
She walked away, her short red skirt swinging around her curvy hips. "Okay," he mumbled.
Oh, God bless whoever invented that skirt, he thought.
July of 1991
He hadn't been to the creek since the summer he graduated from high school. But everyone from McKinley seemed to gather there in the summer. They came for the cold water and the ancient rope swing, and stayed for the bonfires. Some of the harder-edged kids brought wine coolers and stolen cigarettes. Inevitably, though, it was where the cool kids hung out. Getting asked to the creek was like a golden ticked to the upper ring of McKinley popularity.
Burt stretched out on the grass a few yards from the muddy creek banks. The football stars of McKinley whooped and hollered as they flung themselves into the brackish water, making fools of themselves for the sakes of the girls preening in the cool shadows of the tall old trees. He liked to think that they all looked young compared to him, now that he was nearly twenty and in college.
He watched the girls lazing in the shade. They were all slender and pretty, most of them with waving hair tied back with scrunchies. Mollie stood in the middle of the group, standing close to her best friend, recent graduate and former fellow Cheerio Mary Elizabeth Grayson.
Even if he hadn't been her boyfriend and biased, Burt was confident that was Mollie was the prettiest. Her long hair was tied into two braids that hung over her narrow shoulders, and she was dressed in a china blue bikini that showed off her soft, slender curves.
He frowned. I wonder why she's still stuck with me, he thought. She was a Cheerio now. She could date anybody if she wanted to. The star quarterback, maybe.
Mollie strolled across the banks of the creek and sat down beside him in the cool grass. "Are you bored?" she asked.
He shrugged. "It's weird," he said. "I used to come here every summer…now I feel like I don't belong here."
She extended her short, slender legs out in front of her and leaned forward in a stretch. "We don't have to stay," she said. "Mary Elizabeth didn't want to go without me. But really, she's only here to flirt with Charlie Sloane. She won't notice if I leave."
He admired the curve of her nearly bare back. "We can stay," he said. "At least for a while."
She smiled, her dimples popping in her cheeks, then leaned in to kiss him.
He wasn't that bad of a catch, when he thought about it. After all, he was a college guy. And a football player. Maybe, if you thought about it, he could be considered a football star.
Yeah. There were plenty of reasons for Mollie to be interested in him.
January of 1992
"Hey, cradle robber!" He rolled his eyes and sat down in the stands. It had been a while since he had been in the school stadium. Heck, last time he was here, he was playing. But Mollie had been begging him to come see her cheer, and for once he wasn't at the garage, a night class, or one of his own games.
It took him a minute to pick Mollie out of the small sea of girls in red, but there she was, her curled ponytail bouncing. She was leaning over the railing into the stands, talking to a tall thin woman with short brown hair and a big, burly man in a jean jacket. Burt recognized Mollie's parents and shrank a little further into his seat. They weren't too happy that their sixteen-year-old daughter was dating a twenty-year-old college kid, even though they had been together for a year and a half.
"Hey, Hummel! You're a cradle robber!"
He turned around and glared at the speaker. His heckler blanched and scooted away. He recognized that kid. Nate Karofsky had been a shrimpy sophomore on the football team when he had been a senior. Apparently he now thought of himself as the big man on campus.
The Cheerios ran onto the field for the halftime routine. He kept his eyes trained on Mollie. She was one of the smallest girls on the squad, so she was usually the one tossed in the air. It made him nervous. He just knew that one of these days they wouldn't catch her.
But they finished the routine without incident and he leaned back, smiling, as she ran back to the sidelines and caught his eye. She jumped up and down, waving, calling his name.
He was lucky to have her.
November of 1992
One minute he was running down the field, the next he was lying his back, staring up at the night sky. He saw the coach leaning over him; he blinked blearily.
He saw Mollie lean into his line of vision, her big blue-green eyes coming slowly into focus. Her hair swung over her shoulder and brushed his cheek.
"Moll?" he mumbled.
She pulled off her gloves. "It's me," she said, pressing her small warm hands against his cheeks. "Do you remember what happened?"
He frowned. "Somebody tackled me," he mumbled.
She nodded. "You're going to be okay," she reassured him, gripping his hands tightly in hers. "You'll be okay." Burt winced as the team therapist tried to move his leg. Sure, he might turn out okay. But he was beginning to get the sneaking suspicion that football was going to be out of the question- at least for a while. Maybe forever.
As his heart began to sink, Mollie bent over him and pressed her lips over and over again to his cheek. "I won't go anywhere," she promised.
He gripped her hand, and he knew she wasn't lying.
May of 1993
The spring night was cool and damp from rain. He sprawled out in the back of the pickup truck, his elbows resting on the old quilts he'd spread out. Mollie sat beside him, her soft hair tumbling in artfully careless curls down her bare back. Her seafoam green tulle prom dress surrounded her like a cloud. She wrapped her arms around her knees and sighed.
"What was that for?" Burt asked.
"I don't know," she said, resting her chin on her folded forearms. "I'm just…happy, I guess."
Burt studied her profile in the moonlight, the stubborn set of her chin, the upturned tilt of her nose, her large eyes- ocean eyes, he thought privately, when he was in a rare romantic mood. He never told her that, though.
She plucked at one of the pink organdy roses on her dress. "I can't believe I'm going to be a senior next year," she said.
"I can't believe I'm going to graduate from college next year," he added. "Without playing football."
She reached over and squeezed his knee. "It doesn't matter," she said. "You'll have your degree soon. And you've got your job at the garage."
"Yeah, but I want to do more than that," he said. "Maybe I can coach football. I could do that with a bum knee, right?"
"Of course," she said.
He reached up and stroked his fingertips lightly on her bare arm. "What about you?" he said. "What are you going to do when you're out of school?"
Mollie gazed in the distance, her smile soft and far away. "I want to have adventures," she said. "I'm going to go to Europe."
"Painting and playing the piano?" he guessed, grinning.
"Maybe," she said, tossing her head sassily.
"And what about us?" he asked.
She looked at him over her shoulder. "What about us?"
"How do we work into each other's plans?" Burt said. "I mean, if I'm going to coach football, and you're going to travel through Europe, where does that leave us?"
Molle laid down beside him, propping her head up on her hand. "I'm not sure," she said. "We've made it three years so far. I bet we can wait a couple more."
He reached up and twined a curl of her hair around his finger. "Don't forget me when you're in Europe," he said quietly.
She leaned closer. "Don't forget me when you're busy with football," she whispered.
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her towards him, and kissed her gently. Her silky hair fell around him like a curtain, and her skin was soft and warm, and she smelled good, like strawberries and caramel popcorn, and before he knew it she was unbuttoning his shirt and he was unzipping her dress.
Sex was nothing like the movies. In movies, it was fast and hot and seamless, without words. But in reality, it was slow and clumsy and even slightly painful. He found himself wondering why he had spent years listening to dirty locker room talk, wishing he could join in with his own experiences, when it was nothing like what the other jocks boasted.
But even though sex wasn't like he expected, it wasn't bad. Far from it. There was something different about this, almost sacred, in Mollie's skin touching his and the soft noises she made only for him. And when it got good…it was really, really good.
When they finished, she nestled into his side, her head tucked against his broad shoulder and her hair streaming over his chest. He closed his arms protectively around her and listened to the sounds of her breathing and found himself fighting the overwhelming feeling that he could push everything else to the wayside if he could just keep everything just the way it was.
July of 1993
He tugged uncomfortably at his tie. It was the middle of the day, in the middle of the summer, and he was in a suit. Charlie Sloane had better be grateful that I showed up, he thought.
It was weird attending a wedding for one of his old football teammates. Charlie was the same age as him. There was no way they could be old enough to get married, right?
That's what everyone did in Lima, though. After high school, the guys would half-heartedly attend college, maybe get a business degree or something, then end up working with their dads in Lima. The girls only went to college long enough to find a husband, then got started on a baby as soon as possible. Charlie Sloane and Mary Elizabeth Grayson were only the latest in a long line of history repeating.
He tuned out the minister's speech and kept his eyes on Mollie. Sometimes he wondered why Mollie was even friends with Mary Elizabeth. The older girl was sharp-tongued and selfish, but for some reason she had always been friends with his sweet, open-hearted girlfriend.
And he had to admit that Mollie was the best-looking bridesmaid in the wedding. She wore a long buttercup yellow dress with daisies tucked into her braided hair, like the other girls; somehow, though, she just seemed prettier than the rest of them. She looked kind of like a milkmaid, but in a cute way.
Burt leaned back against the church pew and grinned. He had entertained the idea of marrying Mollie for a long time, but now that they'd taken their relationship to the next level, he was sure of it. Just not any time soon, though.
They'd wait a few more years. He would graduate from college and look for a job coaching football- maybe start out as an intern, and then work his way up to assistant and then full-time. She would travel the world, going on adventures in all those fancy old museums she talked about, playing the piano and painting pictures.
And then, when the time was right, they'd settle down. There was plenty of time for marriage and babies. Why not make something of themselves first?
Belatedly he realized the wedding ceremony was over and everyone else was standing up for Charlie and Mary Elizabeth to exit. He stood up, tugging the hem of his suit jacket. The bridesmaids followed, escorted by the groomsmen. Mollie walked by him, her eyes shining. He winked at her, and her smile grew even bigger.
Yeah. Someday, he was going to marry that girl.
Just not right now.
October of 1993
"Burt? Did you hear me?"
He sat down heavily on the back bumper of the pickup truck he was repairing, the sounds of the other mechanics working on cars buzzing in his ears. For a second he felt dizzy.
But no, it was just a normal day at the garage. His girlfriend had just stopped by after school to see him before she headed off to cheerleading practice. He'd pick her up after practice, of course, and take her out for something to eat before taking her home. And maybe they'd park behind the reservoir and make out for a while.
Yeah, that was it. Just a normal afternoon.
He looked up. Mollie stood in front of him, her eyes wide and shining, her usually rosy face pale. Her hands were pressed to her stomach; she looked tiny in her red cheerleading uniform.
"What?" he said.
She took a deep breath, the red ribbon in her long ponytail bouncing.
"Burt, I'm pregnant."
It's really kind of depressing to write this, knowing that Mollie's just going to die. Gaugh, I'm sad now...
I'm writing this for a couple of reasons. Number one, I love Burt and Kurt. It drives me a little bonkers that we know so little about Kurt's mother, except that she was feisty and stubborn and wore very nice perfume. So I thought I would flesh out her character a little more.
Reason number two: Somehow I always manage to create my own canon. I reference Mollie and little anecdotes about her in pretty much every Kurt-related story I write (which, um, is all of my Glee stories so far). It'll make things a lot easier to keep straight if I write them all into an actual story.
Reason number three: No one's written about young!Burt so far. It's tricky and slightly awkward, but fun.
Also, I totally went to high school in Ohio, so this is bringing up all sorts of memories. Well, technically it was in northern Kentucky, in the tri-state area. I lived in a teeny tiny town called Independence (near Covington/Florence/Cincinnati) and went to a school that reminds me, just the slightest bit, of WMHS. Except mine was a quirky Baptist-run private school, and WMHS is a lot prettier and cleaner than CCS was...
Fun fact: I ramble too much.
In any case, tell me what you think of this story! Should I bring in some other Glee parents? And how far should I continue this story...up until Kurt's birth, or all the way through to the end?
(Right now it's going to end when baby Kurt is a few months old. But if people really like this, I'd be happy to continue!)