Chapter 1: Pilot
Shane stopped. Gold brown eyes peered curiously through the glass window, watching as the various people inside walked and stared at and talked about the paintings scattered on the walls. The dancer pursed his lips, his eye catching one particular painting that was so abstract, he could hardly comprehend what it was trying to convey. The colors were pretty, though. It contrasted so perfectly with each other, with each stroke meeting at the exact right angles that Shane felt like he was staring into something almost private. Okay, so maybe he did kind of understand the painting a bit.
But then another painting caught his attention.
It was a dog. A sheepdog. A very beautifully painted sheepdog.
Shane loved dogs.
Without full consent from his brain, the curly top's legs wandered into the gallery, through the condescending intellectuals and the art connoisseurs, and brought him towards the painting.
Shane stared at it thoughtfully. He noted each careful strand of hair, brushed with an accuracy that only a complete perfectionist could achieve. He noted the hint of a pinkish tongue standing out against the white and gray fur. The dog was running towards him, through a park Shane swore he's seen before. He reached out to touch a certain strand of gray hair, one that was seemed so delicately painted when suddenly-
Shane paused and turned to the voice. Instantly, a big fat 'ADORABLE' flashed in his head like flickering neon lights. The boy was small, fragile almost, and he was wearing a timid smile that managed to make him look even more adorable. Blonde, curly hair rested on his head, and those clothes- they looked.. scary, like the ones Kurt usually tricked him into wearing, but it fit his small frame very very well.
Shane prayed to the heavens this boy swung his way.
"Um, so you're a dog lover then?" Even his voice was damn adorable.
Shane tried his best not to look like a complete idiot. "Yeah, I guess.. They are man's best friend, so.." He flashed the boy a grin.
The boy chuckled, nodding in agreement. "I'm glad. This one hasn't received as much attention as the others, but it's one of my favorites." The boy turned to the painting, a far away look in his eyes.
Shane followed suit, head turning towards the painting but eyes fixated at the boy. For some reason, he just could not tear away. "So you like dogs too?"
They met eyes, and Shane engraved in his head the pretty brown glow of the boy's mesmerizing orbs. The boy smiled at him, a smile that reduced Shane's IQ dramatically. "Yeah.. The dog's mine, actually."
"Oh, you're friends with the artist?"
Suddenly, a flash of surprise crossed the boy's face and a small, barely noticeable blush feathered his cheeks. "Um, well.." He cast his eyes downward, smiling modestly. "..I'm kinda the artist.."
Shane reeled back, eyebrows shooting up. "Really?" So he was cute and talented? That meant one thing- he was way out of Shane's league, assuming he was even gay. He probably had flocks of women or men at his feet, having been the epitome of cuteness.
The boy nodded meekly in response, a light smile still on his lips. "I guess I don't look it, huh?"
Shane giggled, if only to break the tension. "Naw, that's definitely not it. I just didn't expect to actually meet the artist when I stepped in here."
"Oh. Well, would you like me to show you around?"
Instantly, Shane lit up, eyes and smile brighter than usual. "Yeah, alright." He answered, before falling into step with the boy as they headed towards the abstract painting he had been looking at earlier. "I'm Shane, by the way." Shane offered his hand. "Shane Anderson."
The boy cast a downward glance at his hand before looking back up and issuing Shane that smile that made his brain go blank. The boy took his hand- wow, his hand was soft- and shook it. "Reed Van Kamp."
"He was freaking adorable, Blaine! Man, you should've seen him. You could've been my wingman or something." Shane's lips stretched into a face-splitting grin, hugging an innocent pillow tighter and looking like a 13 year old school girl. Shane had come home at the apartment he, Blaine and Kurt shared after his little tour at the art gallery and immediately flung himself at the couch before spewing out all these cheesy words that nearly turned Blaine lactose intolerant.
Blaine, who sat on the armchair across from Shane, watched him with a mix of fascination and amusement, his chin resting on his propped up palm. "So he's gay?" He deadpanned.
Shane paused. "I'm not exactly sure.."
"You don't know if he's gay?" Blaine's voice was more disapproving than surprised.
Shane quickly sat up to look Blaine in the eyes. "I couldn't tell! I mean, he was really small, breakable almost, but he didn't do anything that made me think he was gay."
"Maybe because he's not?"
Shane grumbled, glaring at his brother. "Why do you have to be so realistic all the time? Can't we just pretend for a little longer that I actually have a chance with him?"
"That you have a chance with who?" Kurt appeared from the doorway, looking winded but still managing to send his boyfriend a relieved smile.
"Some guy Shane met." Blaine waved off, earning a glare from his brother. "How was rehearsal?"
Kurt groaned, dropping his satchel somewhere, trudging towards the couch and plopping down beside Shane on the relieving comfort of the couch. "Gruesome. Neil had a fight with his husband. Hell hath no fury like a gay man scorned."
The room filled with chuckles, the two brothers approving.
"Preach." Shane commented, raising his palm as an added gesture and generating more laughter.
Once the laughter subsided, the sheer fatigue made itself apparent to Kurt. He groaned in response. "I am exhausted." His head fell back on the couch's headrest. Continuous dancing and singing for four hours straight took its toll on the guy.
Shane and Blaine shared a look before Blaine quickly came to his boyfriend's aid, sitting beside him and draping a comforting arm across his shoulders. Kurt more than welcomed the warmth, curling up against Blaine.
Shane scurried over to the armchair, as far away from the icky mush as possible.
"So," Kurt exhaled, eyes already falling shut. He could not let any form of gossip slip by, tired or not. "Who's this guy you met?"
At the memory of Reed, Shane immediately went red. He hugged the pillow in his arms tighter to channel the giddiness he was feeling. "Well, he's freaking cute, he's talented, his name's Reed Van Kamp and unfortunately, he's out of my lea-"
At the mention of the name, Kurt instantly sprung up, the exhaustion forgotten. His wide blue eyes stared intently at Shane, as if he had grown a third head, and it seemed he wasn't breathing. "Excuse me?"
Shane looked like a wrongly accused suspect. He sent a helpless gaze at his brother, who seemed to be as confused as he was. "Did I say something wrong?"
"YousaidReedVanKamp- Did you say Reed Van Kamp?" Kurt looked ready to pounce on Shane.
At the emphasis of the name, the pieces in Blaine's head began to turn. The name did sound awfully familiar. He could swear he's heard Kurt mention it before. Blaine furrowed his thick brows, racking his brain for a certain memory. Suddenly, you could see the light bulb go off in his head. He turned to his boyfriend. "Van Kamp! Isn't that the um- the major fashion designer?"
"Yes!" Kurt cried happily, grabbing his boyfriend's face and giving him a sweet kiss. "See, this is why you're my boyfriend, because you know these things."
"Oh, I'm sure that's not the only reason."
"So he's cute, can paint and he's a designer? Great, just great. Now I definitely don't stand a chance."
"No. No, Shane. Don't you dare lose hope, do you understand?" Kurt pointed a scolding finger at the dancer, giving him a challenging look. "You will be good friends with this boy, or you can date him, either way you will introduce me to him and we will be good friends and we will shop together because God knows I need more fashion-crazed friends in my life. Are we clear?"
Shane, scared for his life, nodded vigorously. "Yes ma'am."
Kurt nodded solidly, now able to calm himself at the affirmation. "Good. And anyway, it's his mom that designs the clothes. As far as I know, he just paints." He shrugged offhandedly, all previous drama having disappeared.
"-beautifully, by the way." Shane interjected, smiling nostalgically. "His paintings? Amazing."
"Do you know if he's gay?" Blaine issued towards his boyfriend, who had finally leaned back against him, a warmth Blaine happily welcomed.
"Well, I know there's been some speculation, but I can't be sure. I don't usually follow their children's lives. Although considering seventy percent of men involved the fashion industry are gay, it's likely that he is too." A small, insignificant silence. Suddenly, Kurt's blue eyes lit up with an almost crazy idea. "You should ask him out!"
Shane resembled a deer in headlights. "What?"
"Totally!" Kurt cried, sitting up and detaching himself from Blaine once again. "It doesn't have to be a date, it can just be two friends hanging out!"
"I agree." Blaine commented halfheartedly, missing the contact with his boyfriend and earning a surprised look from his brother. "Hey, if going out with this boy will make you less angsty, I say go for it." And Kurt looked mighty set on hooking them up one way or another, so there wasn't much Blaine could really do.
Kurt continued rambling, too preoccupied in his own thoughts to acknowledge his boyfriend's comment. "Just tell him you're new in New York, which you are, and that you don't have that many friends yet, which you don't, and if he wouldn't mind grabbing lunch somewhere and showing you around."
Shane hesitated for a moment. Reed was undoubtedly out of his league. He had art exhibits under his belt, and was son to a major fashion icon, whereas Shane was.. well, Shane was Shane. On the other hand, Kurt could kill him. Shane weighed the options in his head. Probable rejection from the most adorable boy he's ever met, or death?
Death sounded pretty good right about now.
Who was he kidding? Being ripped apart by Kurt's perfectly manicured fingers would be excruciating! And if by some miracle Reed turned out to be gay, then the risks were worth it. Like that would happen anyway.
Shane mumbled resignedly, sighing. "This time, can I not wear clothes that inflict bodily harm?"
Shane peeked into the room he had been in just yesterday, green eyes searching frantically for that familiar head of curly blonde hair. He didn't recognize the paintings on the wall. That meant, most likely, they weren't Reed's. Well, that was a problem because Shane didn't know if Reed made it a point to attend other artists' exhibits. He immediately regretted not having asked for his number yesterday.
Shane sighed. He had even bothered squeezing into this less than comfortable outfit Kurt had once again forced on him. But he had to admit, he did look fetching. And apparently, the girls who had been giving him provocative stares thought the same. He smiled politely at them before looking away. He had wanted to catch Reed's attention, not a bunch of girls', but he wasn't even sure if he were in the room. Although a few people here probably knew Reed.. and who better to ask than the friendly looking doorman!
Shane scurried over towards the middle aged man in uniform. "Excuse me, sir."
The man turned, a bit surprised. "Yes?"
Shane smiled. "Um, Reed Van Kamp, the artist whose painting's were here yesterday- have you seen him at all today? 'Cause I'm kinda looking for him.."
The man's eyes lit up in recognition, a relief for Shane. "Young man, Mr. Van Kamp is the curator of this gallery. He's here everyday." The man recognized Shane from the day before. He was the one whose smile lit up at everything Reed Van Kamp said. The man knew Shane was an interesting fellow the minute he wandered into the gallery.
Shane turned around, meeting those big brown eyes he'd been thinking of since yesterday. "Reed." He sighed in utter relief.
"What are you doing here?"
Okay. This was it. Word it out carefully, Shane. Be cool. "Um, well as you already know, I'm new here in New York and.. it's- it's pretty scary, I have to admit, so I haven't had the chance to see it, and I was sorta wondering if you could maybe show me around? You know, since you seem pretty well-adjusted here. I don't know a lot of people yet, and you seem like a pretty nice guy.. And it doesn't have to be like, the entirety of New York.. Maybe just Times Square and whatever else there is, but you don't have to if you don't want to and- I'm sorry. I'm talking too much. I tend to ramble. Please, feel free to shut me up whenever." Smooth, Shane. Real smooth.
Reed grinned at Shane, who looked painfully nervous, although Reed had no idea why he would be nervous in the first place. But Reed decided that that was what made Shane seem like a good guy. Being a New Yorker, Reed didn't normally trust strangers, but Shane seemed.. different.. trustworthy. "I would love to show you around."
Shane's eyes looked like they were about to fall of its sockets. "Really?"
Reed giggled. "Why is that so surprising?"
Shane shrugged. "Just didn't expect it, I guess."
Reed gave him a pointed look. "That's what you said when you found out I was a painter."
Shane laughed. "I gotta learn to expect the unexpected, then."
Before Reed could respond, his phone rang intrusively. Quickly fishing it out of his pocket and hitting answer, he lifted a finger at Shane. One second.
Shane nodded, gesturing for him to go.
Reed turned his back to Shane, successfully ending any attempt at eavesdrop, unfortunately for Shane. But he returned relatively quickly, three minutes at most, and regarded Shane with a heart-stopping smile. "I'm sorry, but I have to go. Um, my boyfriend and I are going to meet up."
Although Reed's lips continued to move, Shane didn't hear anything past that.