A/N: I've got some ideas from other authors. If you see something that was in your story, it may very well be. Thanks in advance. This chapter has some more explicit stuff. Nothing beyond talk after the fact but still, the adults may blush but the kids won't get it and just laugh at the funny stuff. Like on Bullwinkle. Apologies in advance to anyone who's Mormon.
Secret Admirer / Ch. 18 - Adjustments
Characters: Kurt, Jeff
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee. I just want to play in that universe.
Jeff was pulling the herbed avocado and baked eggs from the oven as Kurt came into the kitchen for breakfast. Kurt's expression was unreadable as he sat down at the table.
"Penny for your thoughts." said Jeff as he served the eggs with their 'usual' breakfast of yogurt with fruit and a toasted bagel.
Kurt was just about to answer when Jeff interrupted.
"Five bucks if they're dirty."
Jeff had been having fantasies about him. Sex fantasies. If the simple things they'd done in the shower last night were any indication, they were really good sex fantasies. Kurt thought as he grinned. Well, two can play at his 'spoiling the moment' game.
Grinning is good, right? thought Jeff nervously as he sat down next to Kurt.
"I'll just say what's in my heart" said Kurt as he brought both hands to his chest. "babump…babump…babump…babump"
Jeff blinked, then burst out laughing.
"Did you just quote Mel Brooks? That was his Oscar acceptance speech for Blazing Saddles." They had watched the Mel Brooke interview on PBS the night before flying out to California, much to Kurt's reluctance. He wasn't a fan of that movie, mostly because of the gross campfire scene.
But he'd laughed just as hard, if not harder at scenes shown from other movies. Jeff found it interesting that some of what Kurt found funny didn't do much for him. Of course, they both laughed anytime anyone said Frau Blücher's name. They both even whinnied like horses. But for some reason Kurt found the Frau's pronouncement "He vas my boyfrüend" hysterical.
Kurt replied, fidgeting with his fingers nervously. "And last night was…lots of fun. But let's save the shower for afterwards, OK? With the possible exception of a bubble bath." Kurt has a few of his own sex fantasies he wanted to try.
Jeff exhaled. "I wasn't sure how you felt about…what we did last night." and he sat down beside Kurt to his own breakfast.
Kurt turned pink and put his hand over Jeff's. "Jeff…it was really hot. I didn't know I could get so worked up."
"Well, you have to admit, there's a lot here to worship." said Jeff nonchalantly. "Your legs just go on and on, like, forever. And your little tushie is just so adorablely NOM-able."
Kurt raised an eyebrow and tilted his head. He wasn't sure what part of his anatomy that was.
"Punim." Jeff said slyly as he kissed Kurt's cheek, then the corner of his mouth, and finally full on the mouth.
"Pupik." Kurt squeaked as Jeff's hand found it's way underneath Kurt's I Have A Black Belt in Bitch t-shirt and the thumb pressed into Kurt's navel then lightly grazed the fuzz below it.
"Tushie." said Jeff as his hand slipped out of Kurt's grasp and slid behind him to gently squeeze Kurt's butt.
"I hope I've built the pedestal high enough. Your tushie should just be at the right level to take a bite…"
Kurt slapped Jeff's shoulder lightly in mock horror.
Jeff sighed and leaned over to slowly kiss Kurt. Recalling what his mom had said about being a part of someone, Jeff realized that Kurt was now part of him and always would be. He withdrew from the kiss but didn't pull away, his hands finding Kurt's shoulders and enveloping Kurt into hug.
Kurt felt Jeff sigh. He pulled back.
"Hey. What?" he asked.
"Oh. I realized how much I love you." said Jeff quietly. "And how much you mean to me."
"I love you, too." Kurt sighed and lightly kissed Jeff's cheek. "I didn't even mind going to sleep all pruney last night." said Kurt. "Just so long as it's not to often."
"But babe, you looked so cute with shampoo horns." taunted Jeff grinning.
The first real 'acting' lesson was later that morning after Dance Camp. The cast members were all shoehorned into one of the Dance rooms after their break.
"While this musical has no spoken dialog per se, you still have to act and become your characters as you sing. Which, in some ways, is harder." said William to the assembled cast members.
"While you all did wonderfully in the auditions, there were a couple that stood out as more than just singing a song." continued William. "Now I don't want to put anyone on the spot, but I know that actors can go into a different head space during an audition and don't remember what happened. Perhaps we can get some perspectives. Anyone care to share about their audition?"
Jeff and a few others raised their hands and William nodded.
"I did Mr. Mistoffelees mostly because I had a black cat like that growing up. Ninja was this curious little guy who was always getting into such impossible places and things. We couldn't put stuff on the coffee table because it would end up on the floor or under a bookcase. He'd turn everything into a cat toy. Even stuff on the top of the fridge ended up on the floor sometimes. On the DVD, his song is sung by Rum Tum Tugger but the dancing is another actor. I tried to do a bit of both, choreographing something that let me dance and still have enough breath to sing. When I was dancing, I thought of Ninja and how he moved." said Jeff.
William made a note before he spoke. "Anyone else?" William called on Alex.
"I'm so used to hiding who I am at school. So when I sing, I want to say 'Here I am'. That's what was going through my head as I sang Memory." he said. "I want to be remembered."
Kurt raised his hand and William pointed to him.
"At the audition, I heard Marley sing Blackbird. It was my mom's favorite song. She died when I was 8 and that song always makes me think of her. I miss her a lot. Mostly when she's not here to see me perform. So, when I sang Memory for my callback, that's what was going through my head."
"What Kurt and Jeff mentioned is what's called a 'sense memory'. It's a tool used to bring an actor into an emotional space for a performance. Sometimes the actor makes a choice that works for a scene and sometimes a director will give the actor a note to get them into the space they want for the scene." said William.
"How many of you studied the Cats video before auditioning?" asked William. Most of the hands went up.
"How many of you have a cat now or had one in the past?" he asked. Again, most hands went up.
"How many read the T.S. Elliot poems?" Far fewer hands were raised. Both Kurt and Jeff had taken turns reading the poems to each other with each imagined they were the cat being described.
"You all have the luxury of doing background on a show or even a specific character prior to the audition. Most times, you won't have that. But still, spend some time preparing what you can ahead of time. You never know what a director or producer is looking for in an audition."
"Now another point. How many of you want to act as a career?" More than two thirds of the kids raised their hands.
"OK. For homework, I want you all to watch Broadway or Bust. It's a PBS special about a competition between kids from all over the US who meet in New York for a special workshop and competition. They have five days to learn and perform their number. They're coached by Broadway professionals. It's intense. But it will show you what you're up against. Here's a flyer on the show and the URL to access it on the web. It's three hours long and I want you all to watch it by Friday. We'll talk about it then."
"That's all for today. We will post the featured roles for both casts on the web site later today. If we have your email address on file, we send out an email when it's up. Jeff, Blake, Kurt, and Alex? Would you stay for a moment?" said William as he dismissed the rest of the group.
Jeff's Group A had renamed themselves the "New York" cast. Kurt's was the "London" cast. Blake was the second best dancer next to Jeff, which was why William had moved him into Kurt's cast to balance out the groups.
The four boys stood in front of William as the rest of the kids collected their dance bags and went back to the cubbyholes to retrieve their shoes before leaving.
"Blake and Jeff, part of the mentoring for this program is that we give additional responsibilities to cast members to expand and stretch their skills. You are both excellent dancers and we've noticed you helping others in your groups." The boys nodded. "What do you say to being you group's dance captains?" They nodded enthusiastically.
"Alex and Kurt, we noticed you both have experience sewing and making costumes." said William. Again, both boys nodded.
"We'd like to help you work with each of your cast members to create a look for their characters. Then coordinate with Deborah, the wardrobe mistress, to come up with the costume and make-up for each of them. This is a big job. It involves listening to what each person wants or inspiring them to think about their character and helping them create it. Deborah will help each cast member make the costume you design and with the stage makeup. Are you up for that?" asked William.
Kurt nodded excitedly but Alex looked uncertain.
"OK, I'll see all you guys tomorrow and we'll talk some more. Jeff and Blake, Lisa, our choreographer, will be around tomorrow during Dance camp to talk to you."
Kurt spoke as they were putting on their shoes. "Well, I don't know about all of you, but I could use lunch and an iced coffee. How about grabbing something at the market and meeting outside Peet's?" They all nodded.
Jabbering little kids started filing into the dance studio along with their parents. Jeff glanced at the schedule to see a beginning dance class for 4-6 year olds was set to start right after their class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Jeff caught up with the others and was just beaming.
"Teaching a kids class like that would be so much fun. I wonder if I could help out next Thursday." he said to the other guys.
"I'm sure you can ask." said Blake, grinning.
In the grocery store, Alex and Blake stood in front of the deli counter with a number to be waited on. Jeff and Kurt looked at the salad and hot food bar.
"Why don't we buy stuff and make lunch at home? For all of us." asked Jeff.
"Suits me." said Kurt.
"Hey, guys?" called Jeff. "I was thinking, instead of buying a sandwich, how about Kurt and I make us some lunch?"
Alex looked at Blake, then back at Kurt. "You're on."
Blake and Alex agreed to go in and pay $6 each for a 'fabulous salad at Chez Shapiro, which as just around the corner.' They got sodas and a huge cookie from the bakery section and went through the checkout. Jeff and Kurt put their basket with an assortment of fruit, veggies & greens, fresh mozzarella, and canned cooked chicken on the conveyer belt. Alex mumble something about Rachel Ray and Julia Child but Kurt chose to ignore it.
"A straight man cannot be living here." said Alex as he stared at the 50's era Great Room that adjoined the kitchen.
Blake and Alex, after spending the requisite 5-minute on the 5¢ tour, sat at the breakfast bar watching Jeff and Kurt bustling around the kitchen. In 15 minutes, Jeff set down a platter of greens, cooked Yukon Gold potato, blanched green beans and a bowl of curried chicken salad. Kurt offered a bowl of a 'deconstructed' Caprese salad of halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cubes, and shredded basil and a plate of toasted baguettes slices, rubbed with garlic. A kettle whistled and Jeff poured hot water over coffee in a French Press and into a tea pot.
"So this is what it's like to live with the Beekman Boys, but without the goats." said Alex as he tasted the salads. "It's so simple. And this is damn good, you two. Let me know when you open a bed and breakfast."
Kurt and Jeff looked at each other puzzled then at Alex.
"Hello? You two should have your own Bravo Style show. Well, after you finish college in New York and become a huge success. In about 10 years." said Alex.
Jeff already had his phone out and was Googling "Beekman Boys". He clicked on the top hit and giggled when an article came up. He showed Kurt a picture of Brent, maybe, "donning his gay apparel" for last Christmas. It was an elaborate Victorian bonnet-thing with silk flowers and ostrich plumes. They all laughed as the phone got passed around.
"Well, I'm all for my own Bravo Style show if I get to wear hats." said Kurt in mock excitement as he gave Jeff back his phone. "So, have either of you seen Broadway or Bust!"
Both Alex and Blake shook their heads.
"We had a viewing party for the Warblers at our school." said Kurt.
Blake still looked mystified. "They're our school's show choir." offered Kurt. "We were part of the central midwest competition region. The group's been around for almost 100 years, I think."
"Paly and Gunn high schools only offer traditional choir. Madrigals, motets, and church music with robes. Not much 'show' to it." said Blake. "If you want to sing show tunes, theater is it."
Kurt and Jeff looked disappointed as they ate, but it fit with what Alex had told them.
"Paly did A Chorus Line when I was a freshman. I was Mike, the I Can Do That kid." Blake continued. "Only one other guy had a dance background and he played Paul. The rest worked their asses off. Some were better than others, but that's to be expected."
"I never got the chance see A Chorus Line. I've sung along to the cast album and watched the DVD. At The Ballet always made me cry." said Kurt.
Jeff said pensively "I started dancing to get away from my sister. She kept following me around. But she hated dance class and quit after a few lessons. I kept going. At first, to get away from her. Then, because I liked it more and more. I've never done any theater, really. Just the Warblers or dance recitals. Most of the advise about auditioning and performing I got from the Broadway or Bust video."
"I wouldn't mind watching the video again, but with commentary from you two, who've been through real auditions." said Kurt. "Is that OK with you, babe?" as he glanced at Jeff speculatively.
"Fine. If you two can stay." nodded Jeff.
"Let me call my mom." said Blake, taking out his phone and wandering over to the other side of the room. Alex just pulled out his phone, apparently not caring if he'd be overheard.
"Are you sure you're OK with this? We were gonna watch The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T." Jeff asked quietly.
"It will still be there tomorrow. Meanwhile, we have guests." hissed Kurt as Jeff grinned. This was their first time hosting anything together.
Blake nodded and put his phone back in his pocket as he sat back at the counter and finished his iced coffee. Alex was smiling.
"I can stay until 5, then I have to get home. It's Family Dinner night." said Blake. "This really works out. The Internet computer is booked most of the week. I was able to reserve Thursday, so if we can watch the first two parts, I can watch the last part then. I'll be all set."
"The Internet is booked?" said Jeff puzzled.
"Yeah, I have four brothers and sisters and they've booked the Internet desktop in the family room for most of the week for summer projects." said Blake.
"You can't just use your laptop in your room?" asked Jeff horrified.
"Nope. House rule-no unattended Internet access. It's how my parents manage 5 kids and keep us from downloading stuff or browsing sites we shouldn't. I supposed I could pull the 'it's for school' card, but I'd rather save that for later. Usually, I just use my laptop in the Public Library or Starbucks, but there's no WiFi at home." said Blake.
"Why not just connect via a CAT5 cable in the family room? Did you run out of ports?" asked Jeff.
"Don't know. My dad came up with this. He's pretty tech savy. Way more than me. I can ask." said Blake.
Alex was grinning and looking at Kurt, who was rolling his eyes. "Tech stuff not your thing?"
"No, not really. If they were talking about cars, I might have more interest. I worked on quite a few in my dad's garage." said Kurt.
Both Blake and Alex looked at Kurt.
"What?" asked Kurt indignantly. Jeff laughed silently.
"My little brother would love you. He's been a gear head since he and dad started restoring this little British sports car. It's a Triumph TR4A with IRS." said Blake, suddenly excited.
"That sounds like fun. Until you have to loosen the engine mounts just to change the fan belt. Or the Lucas electrical system dies." said Kurt with a grin. "What color is it?"
"British Racing Green."
"He'll need a tweed cap to go with it. I think I know just where to get one on-line." said Kurt.
"That's cool. His birthday's coming up."
"How do you all get along?" asked Jeff.
"Most of the time, we're OK. We squabble and bicker. Our parents had two simple rules-respect each other and don't go to bed mad. That's worked out so far."
Yeah, like that will work with Lucy. thought Jeff. Not.
"We do this thing every night. We say good night to each other. I think my parents got it from a TV show. The Waltons." said Blake. "I remember watching a episode. It's set in the 1930s at the height of the Great Depression. There's no money, and the eldest wanted to go to college to be a writer. Cheesy and saccharine to the point of needing a dentist."
"But saccharine doesn't cause tooth decay. Why would you need a dentist?" asked Alex grinning.
Blake gave him a look. "Now you know why I only got a B in creative writing."
"A little garlic olive oil, some salt and pepper. Yum, mixed metaphors, my favorite grilled vegetable." said Kurt.
"Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, it really helps us keep things patched up." said Blake.
Two and a half hours later, Alex bade the boys an overly dramatic farewell as he went off to brave the rush hour traffic up to the City. Kurt joked about "curbside service" as Blake dropped the boys at Rose's Acute Care facility before heading home.
Uncle Ted and Lucy sat in an uneasy silence across from each other in the booth. Outside the sign for a Best Western motel cast a pale glow across the parking lot.
Ugh. I'm in Des Moines, sitting in a Dennys. thought Uncle Ted. After driving for 10 hours, he was exhausted, especially after spending it with a sullen 15-year-old.
Lucy was bored from the start, either by what she was doing on her phone or by the seemingly endless expanse of cornfields that went by her passenger window. And after only an hour outside of Westerville, she started asking questions like "Are we there yet?" or "I'm bored" in a perfect Jewish-American Princess whine. At a rest stop, a very long two hours later in Somewhere, Indiana, Ted texted Jeff about Lucy's constant kvetching. Jeff texted back immediately "Can I watch?". The idea made Ted smile.
When Lucy whined about being bored again, Ted pulled over and removed his phone from it's dock on the dashboard. "Jeff wants video. Come on. Show me your complete and utter boredom." he said. Lucy crossed her arms and glowered at the camera choosing to ignore Uncle Ted's directorial suggestions.
"Give me annoyed…well, you're already got that down…now try really pissed off…good…amp it up to furious. Excellent. Now, is there anything you want to say to your friends on Facebook right now?"
Lucy made a grab for the phone just as a highway patrol officer knocked on the driver's side window.
"Is everything OK here?" he asked when Ted rolled down the window.
"Yes, officer. What seems to be the problem?" asked Ted casually. Lucy was slouched in her seat with her arms folded, continuing to glower.
"May I see some ID and registration?" Officer "Mathews" asked, according to his name tag.
"Certainly." said Ted as he reached for the glove box and found the registration in the AAA map folder. He fished his California driver's license, Proof of Insurance, and the receipt for the registration update out of his wallet. The organ donor card fell out on the floor.
"When you run the registration, you'll find it's been amended to have my name as well as Rose Shapiro. We haven't gotten the final paperwork yet, just this receipt."
Officer Mathews nodded and touched his cap "Please wait here. I'll be right back."
When the officer left, Uncle Ted said to Lucy "Remember what we talked about?"
"Yes. No teasing peace officers about Magic Underwear or angles named Macaroni." said Lucy quietly. She smiled because she'd since looked up 'Mormon' on Wikipedia. So much to make fun of. she thought.
"I'm not kidding. This is serious business. Unless you want to end up in a foster home in Indiana or Utah, behave." Lucy nodded, this time not frowning.
The officer came back and returned the license and other papers to Ted. "Just what is going on here?"
"My niece has been torturing me for the last two hours with 'Are we there yet?' and 'I'm bored'. My nephew texted that he wants video back at the rest stop, so I pulled over when she started again. I was getting some interesting stuff when you pulled up. Apparently, my niece doesn't take direction very well." Uncle Ted showed the phone to the officer and played the video. Officer Mathews had the slightest smile at the end, especially at the mention of Facebook. Lucy was glowering at both of them now, but she kept silent.
"I'm kinda new at this parent thing. It's one thing to be the 'fun' uncle but now I have to deal two bickering teenagers. Any advice?" asked Uncle Ted.
"Uhm. Not really. We used to give Children's Benedryl to our son during allergy season. But it really knocked him out. Personally, I think my wife liked that. He could be a handful sometimes." said the officer.
"I guess it's tough since they took St. Joseph's Valium for Children off the market." said Uncle Ted. "I'll keep that in mind. Can we go now?"
"Yes, you're free to go. You have a good day. And I'd post that before she gets your phone and deletes it." said the officer. He touched his cap and turned back to his patrol car. He didn't seem to hear Lucy's protest of "Hey, that's child abuse."
Uncle Ted breathed a sigh of relief when the car sped off. He picked up his donor card off the floor and returned it to his wallet with his license and stashed the registration and receipt back into the glove box. The phone ended up back in it's dock.
Apparently, that worked. She lapsed into an almost-as-annoying silence until they stopped at the motel some 8 hours later.
But that was just fine with Ted. They were both immersed in their own little electronic worlds. Lucy had her earbuds and her phone, now attached to a cigarette-lighter charger. Ted had his docked phone playing through the car's audio system.
He went through his podcasts of Fresh Air, Planet Money, Cory Doctorow's Craphound and Prairie Home Companion. Partway through one of Garrison Keillor's monologues on the different kinds of farts, Ted heard Lucy snicker and realized she was listening.
He switched to the Tales of the City audiobooks. They'd gotten a fair way into the first book when they finally stopped at the motel.
"Dinner first, then check-in?" asked Uncle Ted. Lucy nodded. They found an empty booth in the almost deserted coffee shop across the parking lot.
A waitress came to their booth when Ted sat with his menu closed and hands folded on top.
"So, what are you having tonight?" asked Doris, an older woman reminiscent of Flo, the wise-assed waitress from the old TV show Alice.
"I'll have a chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat toast with a side-salad instead of the french fries. Ranch dressing on the side. And hot tea. With skim milk, if you have it." said Ted. He noticed Lucy rolling her eyes. She'd heard him even with the earbuds in.
Lucy pointed at the picture of the deluxe cheeseburger with fries.
"And to drink?" asked Doris.
She pointed to a Coke and closed the menu.
Doris nodded, jotting that down on her order pad. She picked up their menus and left.
"What was that with the eyes?" Uncle Ted asked.
"Oh. I just noticed you eat like Jeff at a restaurant. He's always so picky about stuff or what's on it." she said pulling out the earbuds.
"Who do you think taught him to be conscious about food?" he retorted.
"I never thought of that." she replied. "He did seem more particular after that first summer with you."
"The problem was he refused to change his name. He didn't like the way Jeff Evil sounded." said Uncle Ted, nibbling his pinky finger.
"He's taller than you. How can he be your mini-me?" Lucy asked. Two hours of my life wasted watching Austen Powers just to be around Nick. she thought.
"That was the other problem." said Uncle Ted.
Their food arrived and they dug in. Lucy delicately cut her burger into quarters and poured a small dab of ketchup next to her french fries. She had her own peculiarities about eating.
"Who, pray tell, are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?" asked Lucy as she dunked a french fry into the ketchup. Ted noticed her sulky attitude was gone. Finally. thought Uncle Ted as he proceeded to explain the sexual politics of San Francisco in the 1970s as it was described in The Tales of The City.
The fact that he'd actually met Sister Dana Van Equity while 'she' was roller blading near Mission Dolores Park added weight to his story.
A week later, all the moving-in dust had settled. Kurt and Jeff both got a text message as they packed up after rehearsal.
Tickets for Damn Yankees Saturday matinee? -ted
Kurt typed in his reply. Yes, please. :)
Jeff's grinned as he sent his. Hell yes. You gotta have heart…
"Uhm…I have to stay late. Blake and I are working on our parts. Sorry, babe." said Jeff apologetically.
"Hey, it's no problem. I'll see you back at the house." replied Kurt as he pecked Jeff on the cheek. As interesting as it was to watch a piece of choreography being created, Kurt had been cast as Grizabella along with Alex and he needed to work on his costume sketches.
An hour later, Jeff found Kurt sitting at the kitchen table with his sketches in front of him.
"Wait. Is this me?" Jeff asked tentatively peering over Kurt's shoulder. "I thought you'd be working on your costume. And isn't Alex doing the costumes for my cast?"
"I sort of asked if I could give him some ideas." replied Kurt. "The costume designer wanted to make things easier for everyone, so she came up with this weird 'hybrids' thing."
"Apparently, she reads certain types of fan fiction, around human-animal hybrids. She thought making costumes from actual wardrobes would be easier so long as you can dance in it. Lyra spandex is kinda hard to work with and a plain unitard is boring. Makeup finishes the effect. She's also going for each cast having their own 'look'. Your cast would be New York-urban-hipster-street. My cast will be a blend of 1960's London Mod and New Wave."
"Meanwhile," continued Kurt with a glint in his eye, "I thought of this for you." Kurt opened the sketch book to show fashion sketches of a tall, thin male model in a variety of rockstar poses with instruments. Jeff recognized some of the clothes from his wardrobe.
One sketch stood out. The model was standing with his feet planted wide slightly toed-in, wearing tight black pants, All-Star High Tops, and a red and white Rugby top with the buttons open at the chest. The model was holding a megaphone by the handle in one hand and the other stretched overhead in a "rock on" fist with thumb, index, and pinkie sticking up. Oversized sunglasses were under a shock of yellow hair and a wide-open mouth in mid-yell.
"I like it." said Jeff grinning. "Hot."
"Now imagine this with orange tabby face paint, whiskers, pussy cat ears, and a tail down to the knees." said Kurt blushing slightly at the picture in his head. "So much easier than a dancer's belt and painting stripes down your legs."
Really hot. Kurt thought. A wicked grin spread across his face. The same grin Kurt had flashed after their 'first time' together last week. Jeff huffed and blushed, repeating what he had said that night.
"Stop looking at me like you've seen me naked." said Jeff all embarrassed.
Kurt giggled as the kitchen timer dinged.
"Ah, they're ready." said Kurt as he put on some oven mitts. "You should go get clean up and we'll have tea and my banana date scones."
"Yes, sir." grinned Jeff "Did I mention how hot it is when you're all bossy with oven mitts?"
"Jeff…" said Kurt as said boy retreated down the hallway laughing.
The kettle started to boil and Kurt turned it down. He wanted to wait until Jeff was out of the shower so the tea would be just right.
Uncle Ted's old Acura pulled into the carport. It had spent the months under a canvas cover in Owen and Larry's garage while Ted was in Ohio. Kurt opened the door as Ted was pulling two recycled grocery bags from behind the front seat. "You're home early." he said. "Need any help carrying bags?"
"No, it's just these two. I got the things on the shopping list, plus stuff for a roast chicken dinner." said Ted. "Rose is driving back from Sacramento after her Board exam. She may be late for dinner, so I took off work early to do the shopping for tonight."
As Kurt helped Ted put stuff away, Ted said "I also wanted to thank you for all your help with the unpacking and setting up Rose's and Lucy's bedroom. It's beautiful."
"Well, I'm not about to turn down a chance to furnish and decorate a room." said Kurt casually. He was rather proud of what he'd been able to accomplish by moving some pieces from other rooms, plus some hanging fabrics and modular shelving from IKEA. Lucy had her own living space in the master bedroom and so did Rose. So far, the living arrangements were working. It was Lucy's mouth that was causing the problems.
Kurt set out the tea things.
"So, Jeff may have mentioned something's been bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?" Ted asked tentatively.
Kurt considered this for a moment, then began "My step-brother and I fight sometimes. Well, squabble is more like it. We've only been brothers for six months."
"Uh huh." said Ted noncommittally. "Rose and I have been known to exchange words when we were growing up."
Kurt rolled his eyes and continued. "Anyway, I'm guessing that our fighting is normal. Then I have a classmate from my old school who's really quite the expert at a vicious insult. But deep down, I think she says those things from a place of caring. I don't get this from Lucy."
"How long have Jeff and Lucy been like this? Lucy bullying Jeff, I mean?" There, Kurt said it. Ted sighed.
"When they were little, I didn't really notice, beyond the usual sibling bickering during my Thanksgiving visits. It got nastier after Jeff was in middle school. He talked about his own friends for the first time. Lucy was still in grade school. I think she picked on Jeff maybe because she didn't like being left out." said Ted.
"The fighting I witnessed felt different…wrong. Jeff wasn't fighting back. He just got really quiet, then got up, and left. I talked to him afterwards and he was really withdrawn, closing in on himself. I asked him how often Lucy does this and he looked at me not understanding. 'How often does she pick on you like that?' 'All the time. I want to fight back but I can't. She's a girl.'" continued Ted. "When I asked Rose about it, she acted like it was no big thing. She told me that when they were little, she'd gone through more than one box of Spiderman BandAids to cover the bites Lucy left on Jeff's back. And Jeff, being the good boy, didn't fight back." Kurt's eyes widened.
"When I suggested that this was bullying, she got mad. No, actually she resented what I was saying. I was impugning her professional expertise. At least Allan actually considered it and agreed to get Jeff some help. Then I got this phone call asking me to take him for the summer."
"So it was you." said Jeff as he walked through the doorway from the hall, drying his wet hair with a towel. "All along I thought it was because they saw my calls to the Trevor Project on the cell phone bill."
Kurt frowned, concerned. "Jeff, you never told me about that."
"It was Nick's idea. He thought I should talk to someone, someone mom didn't know. I heard mom and dad arguing. After dinner, Dad said we were all going to talk to the Rabbi and see if she could help us 'communicate better as a family'."
Kurt smirked. "Oh, I'll bet that went over well."
"Not even. Lucy stomped off to her room. They threatened to take her computer and phone for a month if she didn't go. So she sat there during the group session, arms crossed, and pouted." said Jeff smiling grimly at the memory.
"I said I wanted to talk to someone. And the Rabbi just happened to have the name of a therapist that was new to the area. So I started seeing her and she helped me a lot. I ended up coming out to mom and dad. I started standing up for myself. First, that fight at school and an even bigger one with Lucy. I'd had it with being a doormat." admitted Jeff with a hint of pride.
"I think they called you after that blowout with Lucy. I actually said I'd chain her to her bed, light her on fire with charcoal starter, and toast marshmallows over her burning body. It was the first time I ever saw her afraid." said Jeff. "But it kinda freaked out mom and dad. They called the therapist's emergency answering service. The next thing I know, I'm being shipped off to you for the summer." said Jeff.
"Kurt, babe. I know that look. Can't you tell me what's been bothering you?" asked Jeff tentatively. "Did Lucy say something to you? Because I swear…"
"What's a schiksa?" asked Kurt abruptly.
"Did she call you that?" asked Jeff frowning. Ted's face was blank but his eyes flashed with anger.
"She'd just got home from her first day at her playwriting class at the Jewish Community Center" said Kurt, trying to mollify Jeff. He didn't want to create any more friction. But on the other hand, he so wanted to bitch slap Lucy into next Tuesday. "She said she heard some women talking. Google's yiddish sources weren't very helpful."
"It's not very nice." said Jeff angrily. "Some jewish mothers are perfectly fine to let their sons 'practice' with a schiksa or non-jewish girl, so he'll be ready to date a nice jewish girl later."
"And just let me say, you and I are not 'just practicing'. I fully intend to make an honest man of you some day." said Jeff matter-of-factly. "And even if I were straight, most 'nice jewish girls' I've met are spoiled rotten Princesses, first by their parents, then their boyfriends, and finally their henpecked husbands. I think you already know someone just like that."
"Rachel." said Kurt softly.
"Got it in one. And I've only met her for 30 minutes at that party. I don't know how Finn is going to cope because he's not used to high-maintenance Princess worship."
"Actually, I think Quinn trained him up pretty well." mused Kurt. "And Santana supposedly taught him not to expect anything in bed. So, I think he's ready for a life of marital disappointment."
"Kurt, I have to ask you. Do you think it's time…to talk to your dad?" asked Jeff tentatively. Ted wondered what that was about.
"Let me think about it." said Kurt somberly. After a moment, he said "Long term, she gets to sit next to Rachel at the rehearsal dinner and the reception. Short term, you'll just have to wait and see." he said with a sly smile. Ted boggled at the fact that Kurt was already planning their wedding.
In the meantime, Kurt and Jeff nibbled on a scone as they helped Uncle Ted make the roast chicken and vegetables. It turned out it was so simple that Kurt emailed the recipe to Carol to make for his dad.
Later that night, Lucy's scream brought everyone running to her bedroom. A long length of chain and a bag of marshmallows were buried at the bottom of Lucy's covers. Jeff held his hands up in mock surrender and just shrugged his shoulders. Kurt feigned total innocence of how they got there but was Jeff noticed the look of satisfaction in Kurt's and Uncle Ted's eyes. Well played, sirs. Well played. he thought.
But Kurt was wrestling to much with another concern to enjoy his little victory. I can take care of myself. The question is, can Jeff?
A/N: Originally, I wrote a full shower scene between Kurt and Jeff. Although it was PG-13, I wasn't sure I wanted to include it. The implications of the moment between them are more important to the story than what actually happened, IMO.
A psychotherapist from Ohio pointed out to me that my 'west-coast-centric' world view completely discounted the presence of excellent health care in Columbus. Ohio State Medical Center would certainly have a much more progressive stroke treatment than the monolithic multi-state healthcare provider I depicted. There would be no need to 'fly someone in' from out of state that wouldn't be able to practice or have any sort of involvement with Rose's case. Wobbly plot device admitted.
I struggled for almost a year on the last part because I had a massive fight with my family. I couldn't write anything between Rose and Kurt or Jeff. Once I realized this, I 'wrote around it' by using Ted instead.