A/N: Wow, guys... so much support~! Over 130 reviews, and with 136 alerts (lol more than reviews XD ) and 58 favs? DAYUM! :0 - THANK YOU. Like, major thanks. I cannot express my thanks enough. Keep it up, all righty? ;3
And as for the sequel... I have an idea for that. I'll write the smut-oneshot for the same universe, but then I'll write a oneshot about the independent film, and then maybe one random, cute one, about bowling or something. And maybe even some skinny dipping. I dunno. All i know is, if (or when?) i write any of these oneshots pertianing to the same universe, I'll be sure to label them as "LVB/U" for "La Vie Boheme Universe." Okay~? 8D
ALSO: this chapter outweighs all of the rest with its word-count. Previously I've gone up to as much as 6,801 in chapter six, which was a lot. But this one? YEAH. 11,998, betches! So you want length making this feel that it "never ends"? WELL, YOU GOT IT. XD
Monday morning, Dave and I pop by Starbucks, grab coffee and breakfast, and chat idly with Alicia. But then we notice suddenly that it's nearly eight, and we are chugging our cooled-from-scalding-but-still-very-hot drinks and wolf down our warm bagel sandwiches, rushing out the door.
"Let's take my car," Dave remarks as we hurry down the street. "I can drive faster than a cab can."
"…And I don't even have a car at the moment," I put in. "So let's go with that plan."
It winds up being messy.
We grab some gas and head out onto the highway, Dave putting the pedal to the metal in quite the literal sense.
"Dave, slow down! If you go any faster, I'm sure you'll break the sound barrier," I say, laying my hands on his thigh to try and will his foot to lay off the gas pedal.
"Nah, it's fine; trust me, Fancy. I've done this before. Like, zero cops patrol the highway, especially in the mornings." I giggle at the use of the old high school nickname, turned into a term of endearment.
My smile fades, however, when Dave's words one-eighty into situational irony.
Cue flashing lights and sirens, followed within seconds of a loud, highly offensive curse bursting from Dave's mouth angrily.
I groan, putting my face in my hands. "Are you serious? Is my life so horribly cliché that something as ironic as this happens?" I whine as Dave steadily comes to a halt on the side of the busy highway.
A cop walks out of his car and strolls casually toward us. Dave rolls down his window, letting in the warm May air. "And where might you be headed to so quickly in the morning?" the cop says. He has his hair hidden in his hat, but it looks buzzed short. Giant aviator sunglasses cover his eyes, the stereotype popping into my head momentarily. At least he doesn't have a handlebar mustache.
The cop peers past Dave and spots me. I quickly retract my hand from Dave's leg, having not realized I left it there. The officer's expression changes, his eyebrows lifting above his glasses. He grins broadly out of the blue.
"We were headed to the airport," Dave states firmly. "We have a flight to catch by eight."
"That so?" the officer replies, still grinning. He lets out a short chuckle, and his laugh sounds oddly familiar in that déjà vu sort of way. "Wouldn't happen to be headed for Lima, Ohio, would you?"
Dave glares out his window, glancing back at me questioningly before sputtering at the policeman, "And how in the Hell would you know that?"
The officer laughs again, louder this time, and removes his sunglasses. I nearly die. "Because I'm officer Noah Puckerman, and I do believe you two must be Kurt Hummel and… Dave Karofsky?" he says the last name with evident puzzlement, wondering how in the hell the two of us became friends enough to be in the same vehicle together.
I gape at him before giggling hysterically. "Puck! So this is what happened to you! Dear Godga, I don't believe it! – Just how did you become the authority you once despised?"
Dave looks completely bowled over and lost. He remains silent.
Puck, on the other hand, laughs again. "Dude, I tell you, it was the weirdest thing. I was sitting in jail for the night, waiting on a friend to come bail me out with a witness statement since I hadn't done anything wrong, and I got talking with the guy guarding me. He told me that it's fuckin' easy to become a cop, and that it helps put all sorts of rebellion, aggression, and self-confidence to good use. So I thought, wouldn't it be cool to arrest and lock up people who are like how I used to be? That's some ironic justice right there. So here I am, bustin' people all across Chicagoland. It's fuckin' awesome."
Dave finally says something. Or, rather, makes a noise. He laughs aloud, shaking his head wildly. "Man. Never saw that coming. And here I figured you must've fallen off the face of the Earth."
"Nope, I didn't. But speaking of the edge of the Earth… shouldn't you two be headed for Lima?" Puck smirks, lifting his hat enough to scratch at his still-present Mohawk. He's hardly changed, even in all these years.
"You won't write me up for speeding?" Dave questions, suspicious.
Puck waves a hand. "Pfft, no. I know you guys. Karofsky, you used to be pretty shitty in my eyes, but seeing as how you're not kidnapping Kurt – don't think I didn't see where you hand was, buddy –" and he winks at me, causing my face to flush a rich crimson "– I figure you two might as well get the airport, no questions ask. Hell, do you want me to escort you so that you can go super-fast? It's nearly eight, and if you're goin' to Lima, I wouldn't mind you tellin' everyone about me. Especially Artie. Fuck, I miss that kid. He and I oddly became the best of buds near the end of high school."
"He walks with crutches a lot," I remark with a cheerful grin, and Puck looks relieved.
Immediately after, Dave jumps in with, "Fuck yes, escort us! You're brilliant, man! Thanks."
"No problem. Start going and I'll follow you. My lights will be on, but not my sirens. 'Kay?" Puck explains, and moments later, we're suddenly flying down the freeway at top speeds – I don't even want to think about how fast, I'm just focusing on closing my eyes tightly and clinging to the bottom of my seat.
When we arrive at the airport, Puck salutes us and talks to a security officer. Thankfully, Puck is trying to help us go through the speedier security checks, as not to waste too much time, nor appear like terrorists. I don't know why the Fates decided to smile on Dave and I today, but I'm so glad that they did. Because getting pulled over and being late is a tad dire, but having that officer be an old friend and having him help you get to your flight is outstanding.
We make it on board just in time to file into our seats, the remaining two by a window. Dave takes the window seat (I get a little heady with heights) and as the plane starts to take off, I clutch Dave's hand with enough force to start cutting off his circulation and completely turn my knuckles white.
"Scare of flying?" Dave asks curiously.
I shudder. "Not really. I've done it often. But at the same time… I hate the feeling of lift-off every time. Landing is fine, but taking off? It makes me feel like I'm dropping down the highest point on a roller coaster. It makes me sick."
Ave chuckles lightly, reaching over with his spare hand to pat my tense one comfortingly. "Don't worry, babe. The flight isn't very long, and look, we're already in the air. It's over." I don't react to him calling me 'babe.' It's more common than 'fancy,' and a whole lot cuter, despite the fact that both make me feel girlier than I am. (Really! I'm not that effeminate… right? – Uh, never mind. Even I don't want to answer that question.)
I release a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. "I guess you're right." Sighing, I slink back in my chair and relax my grip on his hand, but don't remove it from his. I peer at him through the corner of his eye, wondering if he'll care about being seen. He doesn't seem to mind. Instead, Dave locks gazes with me.
He questions gently, "Would you like to rest your eyes until we get there? You look drained."
I yawn quietly behind my other hand. "Positively drained," I agree. "It's still too early to be up and about doing things. I normally wouldn't be going to work today, so I usually sleep in." I shake my head, remembering how my boss commented as I requested vacation time this week, 'You rarely work here anyway.' She had a point with that.
"Well, if you're so tired, then have a nap. I don't even mind if you sleep on me," he adds, a small smirk on his lips, as if asking me to touch him. I smile lightly, my intentions being to lean on him anyhow.
I curve my body to the right and inch the armrest until it dangles between us, out of my path and forgotten. I don't hesitate to lean my back and snuggle against Dave's side and part of his chest, my head lolling to the side as I lay it on his shoulder. I sigh contentedly, sensing a glance of disapproval or two from some of the other passengers, but not giving a damn in the least.
I reach a hand up blindly, my eyes resting, to find Dave's cheek. When I touch it, I notice the stubble there. I blink my eyes open and tilt my head back enough to get a quick gander at his face. Closing my eyes again, I say playfully, "You know, I've almost missed the stubbly look on you. It's how you were when we met again." I winkle my nose, frowning slightly in my near-sleep. I yawn, "But… I like kissing a smooth face better…"
Dave's shoulders tremble and his chest heaves lightly, a silent laugh. He idly strokes my hair with the hand behind my shoulder. His other I can hear drumming absentmindedly on the other armrest by the window. "Which is why I try to stay shaved," he remarks, and it's the last thing I remember hearing for a while.
"Kurt. Hey, Kurt! Babe, it's time to wake up. We're landing," Dave's low, gentle voice informs me via my ear.
I scrunch my head against my neck, huffing a small giggle, his breath tickling my earlobe. Making a soft groan, I stretch, leaning against him with more force before lifting myself off and away, sitting upright and forward in my seat. I rub my eye, surprised that I had fallen completely asleep.
When I turn to look at my lover, he's smiling lopsidedly at me.
"…What?" I ask, touching my face. "Did I drool?" I automatically check my chin and lips for any traces of it, glad that I don't find any.
Dave shakes his head. "It's nothing." And he stands up as soon as the flight attendant tells us that it's all right to do so.
As Dave and I flood into the airport, we seek out someplace to get a cab and find ourselves oddly quiet on the ride to my house. I nibble my cuticles anxiously, wondering how my family will react, and who will be there. Will I see more than my dad, Carole, Finn, Rachel, and little baby Christa? Will Artie and Brittany be there, or Mercedes? Not Tina and Mike or Puck and Santana, obviously, but what about Mr. Shuester? That would be weird…
I stop my thoughts in their tracks. I haven't thought about the man in a long, long time. He was such an inspiration and guiding figure to me when I was younger.
I wonder if he still works at the high school? Hmm, probably. And teaches Glee Club? Oh, definitely, even if he had to go somewhere else to do it or do it as a non-school-related activity. Still watches 'Singing In The Rain' when he feels down? Most likely. Because of him, I grew new appreciation for the musical film. But what else? How is he? Has he ever re-married? Curiouser and curiouser…
Pretty soon, the cab is pulling over and asking for payment. I pay him, since Dave bought the plane tickets. We turn around and face my home.
"Whoa… trippy," Dave remarks.
"I feel that way every time I come here, too."
He turns to me and holds out his hand between us. When I take it and lace our fingers together, he asks, "Ready?"
"I'm more concerned whether or not you're the one who's ready," I retort, but it's not meant in anything but jest. Dave swallows with uneasiness nonetheless.
"Not entirely, but I won't get readier than this, so let's go."
We march together up to my front door, and I knock loudly.
Carole answers the door. "Kurtie!" she coos, grabbing me, making me loose my grip on Dave's hand, and yanks me into a huge hug, nearly smothering me with her bosom. "Ooh, I missed you so much. I haven't seen you since Christmas! How have you been? And…" She looks past me, pulling out of our embrace to give Dave a once-over with her eyes. She grins approvingly. "Is this fine young man your partner?"
I make a face at the phrase 'partner,' and Dave does the same. But we soon wipe the expression away and smile at her at the same time. I step aside and gesture to Dave, saying, "You bet he is! And after we come inside, I'll tell you his name as an added bonus."
Laughing, she ushers us in warmly, saying how of course we can come in, and how silly it is of her not to have done so already. Once we're inside, she calls out toward the family room, "Burt! Don't you want to see your son?"
I hear my father sputter something intelligibly before racing out to meet us, a goofy smile on his lips. "Kurt," he says fondly, and comes to give me a quick man-hug, complete with a clap or two on the back. He looks to the muscled man beside me and squints his eyes for a second. "You know, come to think of it, he does look familiar, but I can't place him. So, are you going to spare your old man the memory trouble and introduce him already?"
I grin, but it's only out of response to his humor and to mask my mixed emotions inside. "Yes, of course," I say unconvincingly. Using one hand to push Dave to step closer, I remark, "This is David Karofsky. He was on the hockey – and later the football – team in high school."
My dad looks Dave over, smiles, and offers his hand to shake. "Nice to meet you, Dave. Is it all right that I call you Dave?"
My boyfriend shrugs, his nerves seeming to leave him. He shakes my father's hands while he says, "Yeah, sure. Anything is fine, Sir, as long as it's not 'Davey.'"
Dad barks a laugh, and then replies, "Well, great! As for me, anything is fine, too. 'Sir,' 'Mr. Hummel,' 'Burt,' or Hell, if it comes to it, you can ever call me 'Pops' or 'Dad.'" He grins. But his smile fades as he repeats Dave's name, and my stomach sinks. "Dave… Dave Karofsky, you said, Kurt? Hmm. Thought I remember something negative attached to that name…" he pauses, and then his eyes widen a little. "Wait. Fear. I remember you whispered the name while you were trying to teach Finn and I to dance before the wedding!"
The gears are turning in his head, now, and while Carole looks confusingly between us, and Dave stares at his feet, I feel panic rise in my chest. But my father doesn't get angry. He simply puzzles things out.
"So… when you said that it was somebody you knew in high school… you were referring to your former bully, the same kid who's responsible for you transferring to Dalton." My dad shakes his head, running his hand over the top of his bald head. He blows hair out his mouth. "Whoa. What a kicker. I can honestly say I never saw something like this coming." He forces a smile after this, but it gradually evolves into a genuine one as he says, "Well, I'm happy for you, son. I don't know how it happened, but Dave changed because or for you, and that's wonderful."
I sigh with relief, and tears prick the back of my eyes. I blink them away. "Oh, Dad… you have no idea how glad I am that you're so accepting."
He simply shrugs. "How can I not be? You're my son and I trust whomever you trust, because I trust you."
I can't help it. The tears come anyhow. I fall forward, giving my dad another hug. "Thanks, Dad."
Carole's worried expression gives way to proud joy, and she, too, gives me another hug once I release my father. Dave stands awkwardly off to the side, but looks gladder than he came here looking.
For the remainder of the day before supper, the four of us – Dad, Carole, Dave, me – all sit around the living room, chatting it up over the occasional glass of wine in order to catch up. Dave and I tell them our more detailed experiences with Rent and its challenges. We even inform them about the independent film we were offered to be a part of, and how we accepted. Dad gets the floor for a while, telling Carole and Dad (whom he kindly refers to as 'Burt,' but occasionally as 'Sir' as well) about himself; his father whom passed away, his stubborn mother, his progress since being an asshole.
They take everything in stride, and I think things are going perfectly smoothly… until the doorbell rings.
"Be right back," my dad says with a smile, "That must be Finn and Rachel and my grandbaby."
"Oh! Wait for me, Dad!" I call out, rushing into the entrance. I'm met with dazzling smiles from both Finn and Rachel.
"Kuuuurt!" Rachel squeals, gently handing off her baby to my dad's awaiting arms before nearly plowing me over. "I miiiiissed you~!"
I laugh breathlessly. "Nice to see you too, Rache."
"Oh Kurt, Christa's been missing you, I could tell. She's just started talking, you know. She can say 'mama' and 'dada' and 'gramma' and 'granda.' And she can even say 'Mercy,' which I think means Mercedes, since she stops by every so often to watch Christa when Finn and I have to run errands. And ohh, she saw a picture of you and smiled, so I think she missed you. It's so darling," Rachel gushes, and retrieves her baby only to give her a kiss and say, "Look, Christa! This is Uncle Kurt. Can you say, 'Kurt'? 'Kuuurrrtt?'"
Christa looks at me and smiles broadly, and oddly enough, she has dimples like me. "Kurf! Kurf!" she mimics, reaching her chubby little hands out for me. "Kuuurf!"
Tears come to my eyes again, happy ones. I take her in my arms, feeling her hands fist in my groomed hair, but I don't mind if she ruffles it a bit. She's just a doll. "Hello, Christa," I coo, "How've you been? Is what you mommy says true? Did you miss me?"
"Kurf!" she repeats, and bounces in my arms to snuggle into my neck. She drools a little, but I don't think about how it will affect my clothes because she's just so sweet.
Meanwhile, Rachel is glancing around. Looking at me, she asks, "Where is he? I want to meet your significant other!"
I hate how she words it; it sounds worse than 'partner.' Why can't they just say 'boyfriend'? Or 'lover'? I'd take either one over this politically correct crap.
"He's in the living room. Here, take Christa and I'll let you and Finn meet him."
…Except I hadn't noticed that, while Rachel and I were talking, Burt had talked to his stepson and led him into the living room already.
So when I get there, I'm slapped in the face with the air, its intense feelings radiating off of Dave and Finn in waves. My dad is mysteriously out of the room, probably in the kitchen, getting dinner ready with Carole.
Dave tries his best to stay calm, I notice. He starts off with a weak smile and the shaky words, "…Hey, Hudson. Long time no see."
"Not long enough, in my book!" Finn snaps back, roaring into life. I rarely see him passionate about anything, but apparently Dave Karofsky is one of those things.
"Finn, honey? What's wrong?" Rachel murmurs.
"What's wrong?" Finn counters sharply, spinning around to stare at her. "Rachel, don't you recognize him? This is Karofsky! They guy who's slushied and insulted us all throughout high school, and who got Kurt to leave! The dumb-jock, meatheaded bully." He turns on me. "How could you get with him of all people, Kurt? What sort of masochist are you?"
I step in front of Rachel and place myself between my brother-from-another-mother and the love of my life. "Now hold your horses there, Finn," I interject sassily, "This isn't that Dave anymore. This is a different Dave. He's been nothing but sweet and kind and loving to me ever since we met again, and even though he regresses once or twice with an expression or word or two, he's never hurt me. So you have no right to assume he's still abusive or cruel, because he's not. At the time, he was just… part of the crowd, and confused, and misunderstood."
Finn looks disgusted and shocked. "Are you listening to yourself, bro? He's got you whipped! You sound like a Stockholm Syndrome case!"
I can feel heat burn my forehead, my temper rising. "As impressed as I am that you're aware what Stockholm Syndrome is, Finn, you've got it all wrong. Now drop it before I –"
Dave lays a heavy hand on my shoulder, making me cut my sentence in half and connect my gaze with his. "Kurt, it's okay. I've got this," Dave mutters lowly, edgily. It makes me back up.
"Don't so anything brash," I whisper. I don't know if he hears me.
Dave stands up and gets right in Finn's personal space, but Finn doesn't back down, Finn's taller, and appears a little beefier than I recall. He scowls, glaring at Dave, and in return, Dave stares back. He pokes one finger to Finn's chest, pressing hard and using his most intimidating gaze to even out the height difference. "Don't you dare act like you know everything, Hudson."
Carole enters the room suddenly, wondering what all the ruckus is about. She stops dead when she spots the intense looks on everybody's faces (except for Christa, who giggles to herself in her mother's arms, all innocent and pure and oh, how I wish I could be just as oblivious sometimes). "Boys, you shouldn't be fighting like this –" Carole attempts, but her son cuts her off.
"Stay out of this, Mom! This is between me and him," Finn growls. He smacks Dave's hand away, causing Carole and Rachel to gasp and squeak respectively. He shoves Dave backward, and I can tell by the look on my lover's face that he's reaching his boiling point. I raise my hand to my mouth in dread. "You don't deserve Kurt, you asshole! How dare you try to trick him with your little 'nice' act? I can see right through it! You're just as much of a rotten bastard as you were before. So you're gay now? Well big whoopdee friggin' doo! That doesn't change a thing! I bet you don't even love Kurt, do you? All you have probably ever wanted to do is get in his pants, quick and dirty, just to satisfy some sick fetish –"
"THAT'S ENOUGH, HUDSON!" Dave roars, rushing forward and tackling Finn to the ground. I let out a loud shout, moving forward, but not near enough to stop them. Honestly, I don't want to wind up getting hit in the crossfire. "You know fucking NOTHING. Where were you all these years, huh? Safe and sound here in Lima, that's where! I've busted my ass to change who I was, become who I am most of the time, and to make a living for myself. What you're implying, what you're saying – It's fucking BULLSHIT. I would never – and you can quote me on this, Hudson – harm Kurt intentionally. I do happen to love him, and you have no damn place to accuse otherwise!"
He gives my struggling stepbrother a brutal shove into the floorboards, knocking the breath out of Finn with a strangled wheeze.
As he rears back, ready to punch Finn unconscious, that's when my dad shows up. I'm frozen to the spot, unable to stop it myself, just like Rachel and Carole. But not my dad. He saves the day, tearing Dave off of Finn and looking back and forth between them quickly, yelling, demanding, "What the FUCK is going ON here?"
Finn gasps for air, and when he finally gets it, Dave makes sure to cut him off. "He was saying a shitload of lies about Kurt and I. I set him straight," he utters solidly, taking a stiff step back to where I stand and grasping my limp hand. The other is still raised to my mouth, and my eyes are as wide as when Dave kissed me in the locker room all those years ago. I slowly shut my eyes, trying to regain my composure as my hand lowers itself and my fingers twitch in response in Dave's hand.
"Are you okay, Kurt?" Dave whispers to me, all malice evaporated from his tone. He touches my face and wills my eyes open with a brush of his thumb over my lashes.
My lids flutter open just as I shake my head. I'm quaking in my shoes. "That… was awful. I felt so torn, Dave. I wanted to – but I'm not as strong as either of you – and Finn's my brother –"
"Shh, I know. I know, babe." Dave hushes softly, bringing me into his arms. I curl up against him and inhale his scent, the sensation calming.
I can feel everyone's eyes on us.
I turn around again, blinking, my hand still in Dave's. Finn looks taken aback, if not a tad repentant, upon witnessing the affectionate moment between Dave and I.
Rachel is crying soundlessly, and the baby, I realize, is upset as well, only tiny Christa is bawling from the loud octaves and nothing else.
I breathe in and out shakily. "Don't you guys see? It's okay…" I say quietly. "Dave's okay, and the rest of you need to be okay, too."
Finn looks off to the side guiltily. "I… owe the two of you an apology," he mumbles. He sighs, rubbing a sore shoulder. "I'm sorry I verbally attacked you like that. I should have gotten my facts straight first."
Dave takes a step forward, smiling sardonically. "Yeah, you should've. But…" his smile fades. "I'm sorry too, man. We're adults, but we're still acting like teenagers, solving problems with violence. I initiated it, and I'm sorry."
Finn waves it away. "You're right. Let's… just pretend this didn't happen, and have dinner."
It's difficult to forget something as unsettling as all of this, but we somehow manage and wind up having a relatively comfortable and pleasant meal together, gathered around my parents' table.
Over the next three days, everyone gets used to Dave, and he doesn't lose his temper again. Instead, he smiles and laughs and holds conversations. I'm very proud of him, but I'm actually even prouder of my family for coming to terms with my relationship with my former bully.
On the second before last day of our visit, Dave and I set up a date to meet with Mercedes (her new boyfriend was invited as well, but he was too shy to join us), Brittany and Artie at Breadstix, both to introduce them to the person who makes me happy, as well as to catch up on things.
When they see Dave again, the first thing Brittany murmurs is, "You know, you remind me of a teddy bear."
And I knew that things were going to be okay.
Artie stands with his crutches rather smoothly and steps with minor trembling over to me while Brittany is in the bathroom and Dave is preoccupied with something. Mercedes simply smiles across the table at me, since she's known for a little while now, thanks to our phone and video chats.
I touch the lanky boy's arm, smiling. "It's good to see you mobile like this, Artie. How does it feel?"
He shrugs, coming to sit beside me. He lays his crutches on the side of the booth. "It's weird, and sometimes can make me sore for a day or two, depending on if I overdo it or not. The muscles have been gaining strength for a few years now, but it's not the same as being able to walk as long as normal people, yo. It's complicated, but… I think I'm getting the hang of it," he says with an eventual smile.
"I'm so happy for you, Artie," I say. "It feels like everyone's progressed. Well, except Santana…" and I sigh sadly. Across from me, Mercedes pulls an unpleasant facial expression, something between a cross od disgust and sorrow.
Artie merely winces. "Yeah, I know," he whispers. This tone takes on a much gentler note as he says, "Please don't mention her whenever Brittany is around. Because, um, Brittany… doesn't know." He pauses, taking in a wobbly breath. "I-I didn't have the heart to tell her what happened to her best friend. When Santana started to drift from their relationship, Brittany just thought it was because Santana was busy with some boyfriends. Right now, she thinks Santana is on vacation in another country somewhere. It's… the best thing I could tell her when she asked me why Santana never calls her back anymore." He shakes his head. "I never like seeing her depressed, Kurt. Brittany isn't Brittany when she's blue, you know?"
I nod in agreement, and watch as Dave gives a curious look at his spot being taken. He sits opposite us, beside Mercedes (who sends him an oddly accepting glance), and folds his hands together on the tabletop. "Something up, guys?"
I nod. "Artie and I are talking about Santana, and how Brittany doesn't know she… died," I murmur.
One of my boyfriend's eyebrows lift. "That's… not right, you two. She should know."
"She can't," Artie emphasizes, turning his gaze on Dave. "It would crush her! Devastate her, even. It's best to leave it alone. Sometimes you're not supposed to know what happens to people after high school. God knows I wish I didn't know half the stuff I do."
I try to change the subject. "Puck is a police officer now," I state as casually as possible, throwing a bit of new information at him on said topic.
Artie turns to look at me, doing a double take. "Say what now?" he says in his wigger-voice. An odd grin creeps across his face.
I nod. "Yup. Dave and I ran into him back in Illinois. It was shocking, but convenient."
Dave grins. "Yeah. He didn't even give me a ticket for speeding."
Mercedes laughs. "Boy, you didn't tell me that bit of juicy news! That's hilarious, and awesome! I can't wait to tell everybody that tough, rebel Puck is actually a little 'molice pan,'" she giggle, purposely switching out the first letters of the two words to sound childish. "It's kinda endearing, actually. I would love to see him now, all done up in a uniform. Ha."
I laugh, too. "It was pretty trippy," I admit, and I'm so glad that human natural allows for the dynamic of a conversation to shift so effortlessly from depressing and hush-hush to enlightening and amusing as quickly as this one had.
Brittany returns, a lopsided, lip-glossed, airy smile on her face. I swear, she reminds me of Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter movies (and books) sometimes. She says in her gentle voice, "Why are all of you smiling like that kitty from Alice in Wonderland?"
Artie reaches up and grabs her by her waist, yanking her down into his lap. "We were just discussing how Noah Puckerman turned into a cop."
"No way," Brittany breathes, gasping behind a hand. She leans in lowly and poses, "Do you think he'll arrest me for sitting on you? I could, like, hurt you by mistake or something, and then go to jail for it since you're… um."
Artie laughs, giving her an affectionate squeeze that's so cute my heart nearly bursts. "No, Brittany, I don't think Puck would arrest you for that. And besides, you're not hurting me. I feel fine."
She smiles, giving him a peck on the cheek. Her ponytail (I find it adorable that's he still wears her hair the same way, although it's a lot shorter) tickles his ear, and Artie lets out a small noise akin to a giggle.
Mercedes decides to break up the lovefest with a suggestion. "Do you wanna all split a dessert?" she asks, pointing to the dessert menu. "This place has upped its game in that field since you two have been here lasts," she informs Dave and I.
Dave's gaze connects with mine, and then all of us look to Artie and Brittany. She has her arms around her boyfriend's shoulders. She tears her gaze from his to briefly glance at Mercedes. "Anything chocolate," she says. A lazy smile graces her lips. "I like white."
"And I'll eat it if Brittany feeds it to me," Artie jokes.
Laughing, Mercedes nods and we decide to order two desserts between the five of us. When they arrive, we all grab spoons and forks and dig right in; not caring about sharing germs because being fearful of getting sick is so juvenile. I pretend that swapping indirect cooties doesn't secretly bother me.
I smile to myself while we hum Queen songs together while we enjoy the treats, giggling when one of us goes off-key. It's so nice to know that no one here cares that Dave is here. I'm so happy to see that they're acting like how I pictured they might: as though all of the slushie facials and disdainful remarks never came from Dave, or even if they did (because they had, unfortunately), that it's all water under the bridge, now.
As soon as our goodbyes are made, Dave takes my hand outside of Breadstix. We watch our friends get into their cars, Mercedes sending a lasting wave before ducking into her black Jetta. Dave leans over to me, muttering next to my earlobe, "I'm shocked they were so okay with me there. I felt so out-of-place, but at the same time, it was like I should have been friends with them long ago." He shakes his head, leaning away. "I made so many mistakes in high school, Kurt, but I think the one I regret most is not joining the one club I made the most fun of."
I cock my head at him. "Would you really have done it, if we weren't labeled uncool?"
He shrugs. "I might have even done it anyway, like Puck and Finn. They were athletes too, but they didn't care about being 'liked' – and I use the term loosely – as much as I did. If I had just had more balls, I would've joined despite what Azimio and the others said." Dave ruffles his own hair. "I dunno. It's stupid, and I can't change it now, but I think about it sometimes. Being a gleek wouldn't have been so bad, and there would've been a lot less teasing and slushying if I had been part of it."
I grin, temporarily tightening my grip on his hand before I let go. "Don't fret about the past, Dave. You're a singer now, and you're on good terms with the previous Glee Club now, so there's nothing to regret."
He gives me an odd look I can't place, but don't particularly find negative. "I think I needed to hear that. Thanks," he mutters, and soon, we're pacing back to our car on the warm summer night, lightly bringing up conversation about how cute Artie and Brittany are and how sweeter Mercedes has become, laughing when we question where Sam and Quinn were during all of this, coming to the conclusion that they're probably off having loving sex somewhere.
"I have a hankering for Gummi Bears," I comment distractedly as we drive back home.
Dave quirks an eyebrow, briefly looking over at the passenger's seat at me. "Want me to stop at Target?" he asks, hovering a hand over the turning signal of my dad's car (he let us borrow it for the evening).
"Umm…" I hum indecisively, "…Yeah, you better. I really want them," I giggle. I look over at him. "Do you mind?"
He shrugs a shoulder, turning in the signal and getting in the lane in time to turn right on a red light. "Nope, not at all. To be honest, I could go for a Coke or a Pepsi right about now." He grins. "Who knows? Maybe I'll treat myself to some sour Gummi Worms to match."
I smile in return, and after we park and get our sugar cravings satisfied, we wander the store, munching idly, people-watching and making comments on some silly inventions (they have a flat, touch-screen, waterproof stereo that fits above your toilet or mounts on the wall to listen to music when in the shower) and taking out a pair of lightsabers from the boy's section of toys, play-fighting down an aisle until an employee comes and stops us, threatening to kick us out of the store.
"College kids, I swear!" the employee, a middle-aged woman, huffs as she walks away. Dave and I burst out laughing, because we haven't been to college in at least four or five years.
I skip over to the bikes in the back corner of the store. "I love Target," I state as I casually mount a non-motor dirtbike. "They have milk, candy, cereal, toiletries, cards, clothes, toys, music, movies, books, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and even bikes. Basically, everything you need in life in at this store except for a mattress and a house."
Laughing, Dave mounts a bike of his own, and we take turns pedaling in circles around one another. "I've actually never liked this store. My parents usually bought from Cost Co or Wal-Mart."
"Eww, I despise Wal-Mart with a deep, burning passion," I remark with a laugh, my nose wrinkling. "It has a yucky layout and squished aisles and every employee I've ever met who works there is mean, and there are too many obese octo-moms shuffling around there."
Dave laughs heartily, but counters, "It's not that horrible! You're just being snooty and judgmental."
"I'm exaggerating, yes, but you have to admit, some of it is true," I sniff, hopping off my bike.
Dave stands on his, rolling it out from between his legs. "I guess so. At least, I have seen a handful of really fat people there before." He shrugs, putting his bike away while I hang up my own. He helps me get it back up onto the display rack.
We idly roam around the store, circling it back to the front. Tossing out our trash, we make a pit-stop at the bathroom before heading back out to the car.
And while we drive back to my parents' home, I feel complete. I feel like this is where I should be, who I should be with. I feel as though, not to quote Wicked, nothing can bring me down. I can overcome any task, any challenge, that comes my way.
Tomorrow, I am all too aware, will be that task, that challenge. It's our last day here; tomorrow we'll fly back to Chicago in the evening, after dinner. But before we go… we need to go see Dave's mother. We need to talk to her, show her, and hopefully (although the chances are slim, I know) convince her to tolerate – if not accept – who her son is and who he chose to be with: me.
"Kurt," a voice whispers, a nudge landing on my shoulder. "Are you awake?"
"Am now," I mumble sleepily, my voice too loud in my ears. I lower my pitch, lick my dry lips, and force myself to sit up. I don't open my yes just yet, but I recognize the voice. "Somethin' wrong, Dave?" I mutters with light humor in my voice. "Have a 'bad dweem'?" I add, quoting myself from childhood.
I feel him sit on my bed and shift uncomfortably. I pry open my eyes, rubbing them, to find him looking uncomfortable in the dim light. "Actually…" he states with what I can identify as diffidently, "I did. I had a nightmare that scared me half to death." He makes a choking sound, and I swear to the God I barely believe in, I've never heard David Karofsky sound this vulnerable.
I wake up more instantly. I scoot forward and lift myself out of my warm covers to hug him from behind, my arms draped over his shoulders and onto his collarbones. "Shh, it's all right. Tell me about it."
Dave sniffles, but I take notice that he isn't crying. He rubs his nose with a knuckle. "In the dream, we went to go see my mom. Somehow, we were in my old bedroom, exactly how it looked before I moved out. She was standing in front of my window, yelling and cursing up a storm about how wrong I am, how wrong we are, and how much she hates you for 'converting' me. She calls you a temptress and me a demon, and then, all too suddenly, everything looks dark and stretched out, and she's hurtling toward the two of us, a knife in her hands. And – and she – she murdered you right before my eyes, and I couldn't do anything to stop her." He exhales slowly, shifting in my arms to drag me into them, practically cradling me to his chest.
And then I realize it: Dave's greatest fear is not of his mother never loving him again like I thought at the beginning of his dream, but instead of something happening to me because of her homophobia like at the end of the dream. He fears losing me because of her, whether it be because I dump him over something she says or does or because she somehow forbids us from being together.
I wrap my arms around Dave tightly, tears slipping out from my eyes and leaking into the soft warmth of his shirt. "I'm sorry," I whisper, and I feel him shaking against me. "But it'll be okay. There's nothing to fear; think about how Finn reacted, but relented. And think about how all things work themselves out, even if it takes time," I remind him kindly. Lifting my head up to look at his face, I find two stray tears trailing down his cheeks. A grown man crying has always looked so wrong to me. I offer a soothing smile and lean up to kiss him tenderly on the lips. "Now go back to bed, David," I murmur, slowly rubbing his bicep. "And get some real sleep."
Dave gradually shakes his head. "I don't want to. Please, let me stay a while longer."
I raise a brow. "What will my parents think if they find you in bed with me?" I remind.
He frowns. "With our clothes still on? Come on. They know neither of us would have the audacity to have sex under their roof. I just… need to know that you're still here, and after that dream, still alive," he murmurs desperately, and honestly, how can I say no to something like that?
So, yielding, I guide him onto the bed fully and assist him under the covers. I lay on my side, and he curls up right behind me, his arm landing protectively around my waist. I can feel his nose on my neck, and his forehead at the base of my head. His moist breathing against my spine sends shivers down it, goosebumps rising. It's not sexual, surprisingly, but that doesn't stop me from finding this extremely intimate, worse than any other time we've slept beside each other.
Because this time, Dave bore his emotions to me, out in the open where he rarely places them.
People who bottle up their emotions are like volcanoes: they're bound to erupt. I feel honored that I'm the one who is privileged to see Dave's eruption.
I stroke his arm around me, my other clenches tightly to the pillow beneath my head. "I love you, David Karofsky," I murmur, trying to remind him why we're facing a dragon tomorrow.
At first, he doesn't reply. Then with a despairing note, he whispers back, "Please, never stop saying that," as his grip around me tightens. "Stay with me for as long as you can, and never stop telling me that, as long as it's true."
I stiffen lightly, finally understanding that the thoughts I had about Dave being a pathetic coward in high school was mostly correct; all along, all he needed was someone or something to set his record straight, because underneath his Neanderthal exterior beat the heart of a fearful, hurting boy.
My heart aches at the thought, and as I move to lace the tips of my fingers in between the cracks just above Dave's knuckles on his hand, my heart skips a beat. "What's with this co-dependency, all of a sudden?" I question, but it's meant sincerely, spoken out of humbling and worrying feelings rising in my chest.
Dave makes a stifled noise, something soft and pained. My stomach jumps at the sound, and I move to face him, but he stops me with a gentle push to my shoulder. Apparently, he can't face me even in the dark as he murmurs, "Not 'all of a sudden.' This… has been building up for a while. Aside from a few tiny things, you and I are so different, Kurt. Opposites, even. And because you are… everything that I'm not…" he struggles, and finally admits, "I need you. I need your strong will when I see my mom tomorrow. I need your touch when I get insecure at times. I need you to calm me down when I lash out. There is so much wrong with me, but… you make it right. Even without meaning to, you always have."
Because I made him question himself; I made him as himself why he felt guilty for harassing the Glee Club, why he seemed to be attracted to me, why he did the things he did, why he felt so out-of-place when everyone was putting him in the place he was, and why he felt the need to change and find himself a path that led him to… well, bring simply Dave.
I lean back against him, and I feel his lips press against the nape of my neck. "I know this moment is rare. I know you're probably not going to be this open again any time soon, so while you're like this, can I just say that I've already been planning on staying with you for a long, long time, if not forever? You're not the only one who feels like the differences between us keep us balanced. I feel it, too, Dave. I've felt it for a while. This might sound corny, but… you complete me." I pause, unsure of myself, but say one last thing: "I said, 'co-dependency,' mind you. Which means… I need you, too."
I think he might be crying again, but I can't tell. Even broken like this, terrified from his dream and anxious about tomorrow, Dave still feels so sturdy to me, as if being this way somehow makes him stronger. I don't know. All I know is, I really do love him. I don't know if I'm still considered too young to know, but I feel as though I can't live without him, now that I have him.
And that's why I'm going to go to war for him, especially if it means sparing him more pain from his condemning maternal figure.
I smack my lover's hand away from his mouth. "Stop ripping off your nails! They'll grow back weak and misshapen, since I know you don't plan on filing them."
He licks his lips. "Sorry. I'm just nervous."
I sigh, patting his arm. "I know you are, baby. But I'm with you, remember? No matter how bitchy your mom gets, I can be twice as bitchy back, and you know it."
He chuckles the tiniest bit, feebly and apprehensively. "Right. I know."
But I catch his fingers rising to his mouth again anyhow. I lower them without another word, and silently offer to drive for him by gesturing to myself and then the steering wheel.
He inhales and exhales carefully. "No… no, I can do this. My stomach is all jittery with nerves, but even blindfolded I could drive back to my own house."
I make a face. "Let's never test that theory, shall we? I believe you."
And he laughs in that same away again. We're quiet for the remainder of the ride, as short as it is.
When we reach his house, Dave whispers to me how eerily the same it is.
We approach the door, and I can feel the negative energy stockpiling like nuclear bombs. I wonder to myself with dry humor when said bombs will go off.
As it happens, they go off as soon as widowed Mrs. Karofsky answers the door.
She venomously spits out, "What the Hell are you doing here, David? I'm still furious with you!"
"Mom…" Dave pleads, "Can't your only son come to see you?" His tone drops lower, into some deeper, darker waters as he mutters, "I'm not asking for forgiveness, only a chance to tell you about my recent life. It's like you don't even want to be part of it any more."
She looks him up and down, and then her eyes shift to his right, where I'm standing just behind him. "Who's this?" she sneers callously. She looks me up and down, taking note of my hair, my clothing, my style in general. "He'd one of those ungodly homos, isn't he? And you brought him here! What, looking for my approval of your new butt-buddy, David? Well you can march right back to your car, because you aren't getting any from me!" And she nearly slams the door shut.
Dave tenses all over and stomps one foot forward, the door ramming into his shoe. The May weather blazes hotter from the fury stirred by this action.
I jerk backward as Dave's mother throws the door open again, shouting, "How dare you, David! How dare you ruin everything I raised you to be! How dare you storm in here, trying to worm your way back into my life and my house and dangle your revolting 'love-life' in my face! Leave, NOW! I don't have the time or energy to deal with you right now! You disgust me!"
"Worm my way in?" Dave returns, just a harshly, but oddly keeps his tone level and at a much lower octave than her shrieks. "I've called you at least once or twice a week for years, asking to see you, wanting to know how you've been. You're my mother. I still care about you, even when you seem to clearly no longer care about me ever since you found out that I soiled your g'damn 'perfect,' Biblical ideals of who a man should sleep or fall in love with.
"If anyone, you're the disgusting one, Mom; you've abandoned and shunned your own child, all because I came out to you. I'm sorry, Mother, but I ruined nothing. All I did was tell you the truth, because like it or not, I didn't choose this. I tried not to, okay? I resisted with all my might not to be one of the 'faggots' you hate so much, because I knew I'd get ridiculed from it by not only the people at school but by you, too. I didn't want this to happen. I tried to stop it. But look where we are! Yelling at each other years later, you blaming me for ruining your life and making things all the worse on you after Dad died, and before I can even introduce you to the man standing next to me, you attack us both!
"Well, I'm sick of it. If you want me out of your hair, then fine, I'll go. You'll never have to receive another call or visit from me again, because guess what? I'm not changing. I'm finally happy. I'm not suppressing anything, not hiding behind anything any longer. I don't mind who I am, and I have somebody who loves me through and through for me being me. I don't need your approval. I don't want it. All I wanted was to try and connect with you one final time, but I guess even that is futile."
I'm blown away. I don't know where he got the courage and strength, but Dave just told off his mom in the doorway of her home while she stood there, motionless, arms at her sides, her mouth closed and her eyes dull, silent and listening. Her eyebrows are the only things telling of emotion on her aging face: she's scared. And wounded. And remorseful. And thoughtful.
Which gives me a small ray of hope that she might change, or at least come to terms enough to talk to her son again.
As Dave turns and leaves, headed angrily for the borrowed car, I take one last look at the suddenly tired-looking woman before me. I take a step closer, ignoring the curt holler from my boyfriend to "come on."
"Mrs. Karofsky?" I murmur, trying my best to use my watery blue eyes to my advantage, even though my expression is completely genuine, "I don't blame you. It's hard, I know. I was lucky enough to have a father who guessed my sexuality when I was as young as three, and had time to grow used to it. My mom died when I was young, but she didn't seem to mind, either. I was blessed in that way, and just as blessed when my stop-mother came into my life, accepting me for who I am instead of the gender I prefer. I just hope that… over time… you can do the same for Dave." I pause, watching her lips part, as if about to say something. Hen no words sprout from her, I continue, "David has become a wonderful man. He used to bully me in high school, but he's come so far since then. I hope you can someday see that."
And without giving her time to respond, I turn and flee toward the car, plopping into the passenger's seat.
"I think she'll come around eventually," I say softly as Dave puts the car in gear and starts to drive off.
He exhales steadily, a tremor in the air current. "I fucking pray so."
And as a choked out escapes him, I crane my body over the space between us to give him a kiss on the cheek. Then I do up my seatbelt and ride out the silence in peace.
Carole greets us as soon as we enter the doorway, just in time for dinner before we call a cab to the airport again.
"Oh, how did it go?" she asks worryingly, her hands up to her chest. She reaches out to touch the sides of our faces at once. "You both look like you just watched a man drown."
Dave sighs, gently removing her hand from his face. "My mother… is not someone who absolves easily."
I mentally commend him for the vocabulary word. In some ways, it works better than simply saying 'forgives.'
Carole nods, understanding. She offers a smile. "Well, we made sure to make you two the best damn dinner of the week, just to comfort you before you head back to Chicago." She takes us both by the wrist and leads us into the kitchen. "And look! Rachel even baked you a cake."
The aforementioned brunette smiles shyly, standing beside a yellow cake she's applying store-bought chocolate frosting to. "Well, I attempted it, anyway. It probably won't be super moist or anything, since all I did was follow the box. But it'll be a nice pick-me-up, I think." From some corner of the house, a baby starts wailing. "Oh! Speaking of picking up, I need to go get Christa. It's time for her dinner." And with a smile, she rushes out of the kitchen, a bottle in her hand.
Following dinner, Dave pulls me aside just before cake. "Kurt, can I talk to you about something? We didn't get a chance to in the car since I was still tense, but now I'd like to ask you something."
"Sure, anything," I tell him.
Dave's face takes on a deadly serious expression. "I don't care what you said to my mom. I know you have my back. But I was thinking over how you did stick up for me and say something to her, and how caring you were last night, and how long we've been together by now, and, well… I thought, after we get back to Chicago, you might consider moving in with me." He offers a smile, probably amused by the stunned look on my face. "I know living together is a huge step, but I want to take it."
I stare at him for an everlasting moment. He starts to grow nervous, but I just… can't speak. I try to, my mouth opening and closing a few times like a gaping fish. I want to scream, 'Yes, YES! Of course I want to live with you! I would like nothing more than that.' But I'm so much in shock and awe that he suggested it first (I was actually debating with myself for the past few weeks nearly every night while lying awake in bed whether or not I should ask him to come live with me, but this works, too; I mean, he has a fireplace) that I simply can't say anything.
Dave takes my hesitation/nonresponse as confirmation of his thoughts about me not being ready. "It's okay, Kurt. You don't have to say yes. I know it's a little intimate, and a bit silly of me to ask at a time like this, almost out of nowhere. I'm sorry. You can think about it, though."
And he's about to turn away, but I can't let him leave without knowing that I really, really want to accept.
I grab his sleeve. "W… wait," I stutter, blinking rapidly. My crystalline blue eyes flutter up to gaze into his chocolate ones. "I didn't say no," I say, finally breaking out into the ecstatic smile that reflects how I feel on the inside. "I was just stunned, that's all; I was going to say yes. Yes, very much yes, please yes! I was actually going to suggest it to you later, but I just didn't know what you'd say, and now –"
Dave doesn't even give me time to finish speaking. He crushes his lips onto mine, pulling me against his chest and, as he releases my lips, swings me around.
"Clearly, I must have just made you the happiest guy on Earth," I giggle, spinning dizzily out of his grasp.
He grins wickedly. "You have no idea."
"Ahh, Chicagoland~," I sigh contentedly as I step off of the plane. I turn to my boyfriend as we grab our luggage and head out of the airport, passing through inspections and the like. "It's good to be back. But I wonder, how much longer am I going to call my home 'home?'"
"For as long as you need. Just say the word, and I'll inform my landlord of another resident in my apartment to split the rent with, and it'll all be arranged. I'll help you move, too," he informs me.
I grin for all my lips are worth. "Good. Because I honestly don't want to be there much longer. My apartment is nice and all, but if I can pay at least a little bit less for rent each month, I'll be able to quit my awful job at that filthy local establishment that people try to play up to be some grand multi-purpose drugstore, but let's face it, it's nothing more than an upper class convenience store."
"…You mean Walgreens?" Dave says, finding his car in the parking lot spot he rented for the five days we left it here. He unlocks it, tosses our luggage in the backseat, and opens my door for me. As I slip in, I remind myself to wait for him to do the same before I answer.
After he's seated and buckled, I reply with conviction, "Yes, fucking Walgreens. I wish I had never taken that job there. You know, a month later, a spot opened up at Barnes and Noble, but I needed to wait for my three-month benefits to kick in first, so I couldn't quit yet? It sucked. And now I have the six-month benefits, waiting on the twelve-month one, but I don't want it anymore. Besides, we'll be doing that independent film soon, and that will make me at least a drop of extra cash that I no longer need Walgreens for."
"Point," Dave agrees, flying down the highway at regular speeds. "Well, if you say so. You can move in within the week, if you'd like."
"That seems a little fast, but it suits me. I like rapid changes. It gives me more time to adjust after I'm settled into the new situation," I relay with a vague smirk.
"So it's decided, then. We can actually try this out." He exhales exaggeratedly. "I just hope that it does work out."
"Trust me, it will. I'm a fabulous roommate. I keep things clean, I do my fair share with meals, and I pay my rent on time."
Dave shakes his head. "I figured as much. I'm more worried about myself. I have the habit of forgetting to take out the trash, and I randomly get insomnia."
I shrug. "No big deal. I can handle those things. I can remind you of the trash and stay up with you when you have insomnia. I used to do it with my dad all the time, on both accounts. So don't worry, we'll work. I'll make sure of it, because unlike you, I have the belief that any problem is fixable." It's how I lived throughout high school: I solved my problems in any way I could, at least by trying if not succeeding. Like by dating Brittany to hide my sexuality, or by transferring to Dalton. I made due with the options I had to overcome obstacles, and now is no different.
Dave nods, more confident now. He smiles hazily. "Yeah, okay."
I collapse onto the couch, utterly exhausted. "Is that the last of it?" I comment with a sigh, glancing around the re-arranged room. All of my stuff oddly has a place, filling in the gaps of Dave's décor, and giving him more seating room and less awkward empty space. I gave up a few things, but I traded them for what Dave had, like his (better) television and his (much better) stereo. Things of that nature.
Dave smiles with closed lips and comes to plop down beside me. "Yup, that's all of it. And this place has never looked so good, if I do say so myself. And it's never felt less lonely."
"Oh, I hear that," I agree, reclining my head backward on the sofa and shutting my eyes. "Sometimes I hated being at my apartment with no one there. No Dad, no Carole, no Finn, like how I grew up. And then… no you," I add, opening my eyes and sending him a soft look. A dimpled grin overtakes my mouth. "But now I have you, and everything is peachy-keen."
He chuckles at my wording and leans over to give me an extensive, leisure, tender kiss. I meet him partway and pucker my lips expectantly. He smiles a bit into the kiss before nearly reducing me to a melty puddle with it.
"Mm," I hum contentedly, "That will never get old."
"I sure hope not," Dave replies a hair drowsily, "Because kissing is probably the one thing I'm good at. It's probably what first convinced you to even remotely put me on your gaydar all those years ago."
I raise a lazy finger. "Point," I say, quoting him from earlier this week. I smile at him, but it turns into a yawn. "Okay. That's it. I can't take it anymore; I'm beat. I need to get to bed. All that moving and arranging for hours and hours… yeah, I don't have the stamina for that." At this moment, Figgles decides to hop onto my lap, and I pet him idly. He seems tired, too, even though he didn't have to do anything.
"Sadly, neither do I," Dave says, also yawning. He glances at his watch. "It's nearly eleven, anyhow. We should be hitting the hay soon. Unlike you, I actually do have work tomorrow," he reminds me with a mocking-glare that says, I-blame you-if-I'm-too-tired-at-work-tomorrow-you-lucky-jobless-bastard. I laugh at this, because we both know he doesn't mean it.
Dave stands up from the couch first, turning on his heel to offer me his hand. I take it, and he hauls me to my feet. Together, hand-in-hand, we stroll into the bedroom and get ready for bed, neither of us so much as batting an eyelash at the strange routine we develop almost instantly, one changing with the other brushes their teeth, and then switching.
Then we climb into the same bed (this was all me; I insisted that I liked his mattress best and that I would rather sleep with him every night than be in another room, since I get lonely, which is all true), curling up like spoons in a drawer and falling asleep together.
…And I honestly feel like this is how my life should be, and that I could really get used to this. La Vie Boheme; life Bohemia, living the life of a person with artistic or literary interests who disregard conventional standards of behavior.
And that's me, to a tee. I'm a singing and acting sort of artist. Through this, I re-met my high school bully, fell in like with him, then fell in love, then came to love-love him, then helped him through the process of acceptance on more parts than his own, and then, most recently, moved in with him; all within the course of, what? Half a year? Hmm. Speedy to some, but… just right for me.
And I plan on keeping things this way.