November 24, 2010
Dave was skating the best of his life. Slamming guys into the barriers, tearing the ice to cocktail shreds. The crowd was roaring and the clock ticking down. He could feel the sweat under the heavy uniform clinging with passion. He was a machine, strong and built for one thing: hockey. The blur of faces with each victory lap was hurricane speed, but one face stood out. The face that he would know anywhere and looked for everywhere. Kurt stood with a man Dave presumed to be his father, clapping and whooping it up. Cheering him on.
Dave had never seen Kurt look better, and he always looked perfect. He'd even deigned to wear a jersey that matched Dave's over his skinny jeans and Alexander McQueen top. That was devotion. And for that split second, the world was right and Dave was happier than he dared dream. He blew an air kiss to the guy he loved and charged back up the ice, hearing the crowd count down, jumping, stamping. The puck was his, in the crook of his blade, he was plowing through players and just as the buzzer whirred and the crowd hushed, he shot. And scored.
Pandemonium, people jumping the plexi and slipping trying to get to him to congratulate him. But he only wanted one smile, one pair of eyes, one set of arms. And pushing through the crowd with his finesse and vigor was his boy. Dave threw off his helmet and bearhugged Kurt, lifting off the ground. Kurt's laughter rang out over the din. Dave watched his face light up and saw his breath come out in sharp warm clouds. They spun and people cheered and cheered. Dave set him down and, only briefly, turned to face the crowd.
They were gone. He wasn't on the ice. He was in the halls at school, and everyone was staring at him, and not cheering. Not even looking afraid. They were a mix of disgust and barely concealed laughs. From somewhere down the hall, he heard someone yell the word he hated more than any, and he charged through to see who it was. But found only empty space. Spinning again, he found himself surrounded by gay guys. He only knew they were gay because it was like every stereotype had come out of the woodwork. Shirtless guys, bearish guys, little club kids, buttoned up older guys in pastels with cravats.
He wanted to yell and run, but found he was now surrounded by the damn Glee club. The losers he used to make fun of had him surrounded and were actually laughing and pointing. He didn't notice at what, until he dared look behind him again. Kurt was there, beautiful and terrible as ever, with his lithe arms around that damn prep school kid in the jacket and they were kissing. Dave screamed, but nothing came out. But Kurt looked up from the embrace and stared at him with a smirk. "You didn't think I'd ever like you after what you did to me did you? You couldn't be that stupid, could you?" And the crowd erupted again.
Dave sat up in bed, drenched in sweat. Or tears. He whispered Kurt's name, aloud.
Blaine couldn't see for the spotlights blaring down on him. On stage in a place that could only be New York, he felt more alive than ever and he sounded better than ever too. He was singing above the support of the other Warblers and his voice reached into the rafters as he caught a brief glimpse of the front row beyond the edge of the orchestra. They were clapping along, dancing, cheering already. Was this really going so well? Could things be so perfect? He felt so warm but it was the joyful sweat of accomplishment.
And what could make it better but to turn back slightly and see Kurt singing proudly right behind him, matching him note for note, helping Blaine lead them to victory. Kurt's bright eyes twinkled at Blaine as they shared the notes and momentarily forgot the world. Tonight, Blaine thought as they danced, tonight I'll tell him how I feel about him, finally. Then we can be together and he can come visit me at school and then he can come there too and eventually we'll end up back here in New York. Just like they both wanted. How it was meant to be.
As the song crescendoed…what were they singing? Blaine whipped back around for the final run with Kurt flying up there with him in that heart-stopping soprano of his. As they raised their arms to complete the number, it was madness. A wall of sound washed over the small choir and Blaine almost toppled over from adrenaline rush. He bumped into Kurt who held onto him and whispered something very close to Blaine's ear. What had he said? He didn't say, did he? Blaine looked at him and Kurt, so young, looked so eager and content and his lips said it again. "I love you, Blaine."
He had beaten him to the punch, but Blaine knew a moment and took it. He swooped Kurt into his arms, twirling him around and shouted over the ever louder applause "I love you too Kurt!" The other guys just laughed and bowed as the two boys held each other. Blaine leaned in finally as the guys rushed past him to block the audience's view, to give Kurt his real first kiss. Not a violent forced one, a real kiss from someone who loved him. But Kurt stumbled back.
Blaine's eyes shot up out of his reverie and beheld to his horror, Kurt running away, Or just running. There was a big burly guy in a red jacket trying to catch up to him as he dashed backstage. How had that nutjob got into this show? What was he doing here in New York? Karofsky was his name, right? Blaine's danger signs went off and he tore backstage, intent on protecting Kurt from his ever-present tormentor. This lousy world, Blaine yelled to himself, darting through shadows and curtains, shouting Kurt's name.
He came out in a hallway and saw Kurt in Karofsky's arms. They were kissing passionately. Kurt giggled through the kiss and looked demurely and pointedly at Blaine. "Sorry fancy, you made me wait too long. I like a man who takes what he wants." And as they laughed at him and Blaine cried out in shock and shame, he heard the announcer on the PA say the Warblers had won.
The PA became the sound of his bedside iPod dock coming to life to wake him for another school day. Blaine's eyes snapped open. They were wet and wide.
Kurt might as well have been alone on the playground for all the attention the other children paid him. Maybe it was because he was so much taller than them. Or so much more lonely. They all laughed and carried on as children do, swinging, running, tossing balls, playing hopscotch. Why wouldn't they talk to him? Or look at him? He was wearing a very light grey tuxedo, almost white. Was this his Victor/Victoria number coming back to haunt him? And then he saw something, someone that made it ten times worse.
Karofsky had skulked out in the yard and was snapping at kids and holding up his fury fists and chuckling about it the whole time. The kids noticed him alright and seemed to tolerate him, though Kurt could tell how afraid they were by how they tried to keep to groups and avert their eyes and paths. Kurt froze as Karofsky and his damn letter jacket brushed past him. He gave Kurt that scary wink again. Well, at least that meathead could see him. Karofsky was suddenly jumped on by a bunch of small boys in identical red jackets and as they pulled him to the ground, he laughed and began horsing around with them, never taking his eyes off Kurt.
But Kurt noticed Karofsky looking past him and spun back towards the small school. Blaine came out, gleaming in his blue blazer, surrounded by little boys in the fiercest chicest kids clothes Kurt had ever seen. They were all talking at once, but it was such a pleasant sound. Singing, laughing, holding each other's hands. It was beautiful and Kurt wanted to join them. Blaine made eye contact with him and held out his hand to beckon him. Good, he can see me too and get me out of this mess.
Kurt made to grab his hand but was suddenly stopped by his other hand being grabbed behind him. Karofsky held it tightly. The look on his face had gone from fury and bemusement to pleading. Almost frightened. But something there was so…genuine. Kurt felt his heart swell. He knew that look. He'd seen it on himself in mirrors for years. Blaine took his other hand in front and tried to keep his attention. He began to speak in that smooth tone that Kurt dreamed of listening to forever. Was he singing? But again, Karofsky turned him around and said "Hummel!" Or was it "homo?"
Blaine's hand was warm and soft and sent a shiver down Kurt's spine as he gazed into the chocolate pools of his eyes. Karofsky's…Dave's…hand was strong and calloused, but gentle and trembling. His eyes were blue fire. Fear, or a challenge loomed in them. For lack of anything better to do, Kurt panicked and jerked his hands away from both and ran towards where the school had been. He smashed into his father's chest.
"Kurt, buddy, where ya been? Everyone's been looking for ya. Everybody's waiting. Come on!" His father took him by the arm and led him towards the elementary school, which was now suddenly a gorgeous gothic building, striped with banners in purple and silver. Kurt asked "Why are you in a tux, Dad? Are you getting married?" Burt laughed hard as they jogged through the doors. "Real funny, Son. You MUST be nervous to be telling jokes on your big day."
Big day? Burt led Kurt to two big wooden doors and swung them open. The room was beautiful and packed. Flowers everywhere, piano and guitar music in a corner. His Glee friends singing to him, for him, from a loft above. He saw their eager faces and stumbled. Burt held tight and led him past faces of people he'd known through his life. Teachers, friends, bullies, mailmen…Even his Mother was there. How was she here? But before Kurt could fathom even that, he was brought to the front, to a makeshift altar fashioned from a light birchy wood. On either side of it stood Blaine and Dave. Kurt flushed and cried out, staring wildly back and forth between them. Both looking so expectant, so handsome, so in love. They were both waiting for him to make the choice.
Kurt woke up crying and crying out, tangled in his sheets. His father was already gone to work. There was no one to comfort him. No one to help him make sense of his feelings, to help him choose.