Stevie had thought that Kurt was weird the first time they met. He had never seen a boy (especially one as old as his brother Sam, who was pretty darned old!) wearing jeans that looked like girl-tights, a neat bow tie on a day that wasn't even a church or picture day, or shiny silver shoes and matching suspenders. The boy had looked an awful lot like Stacey's Ken doll, and that automatically made him suspect.
When Kurt had gladly accepted the invitation to Stacey's tea party, bringing her a couple of teeny little china cups and some fake cakes that looked so real that Stevie had sneaked a lick of one (plastic, darn it) he became just that much weirder.
Sam had said that Kurt was gay. Stevie knew what that meant, sort of. He liked to kiss boys instead of girls, which meant he liked to play girl games instead of boy games. Like the tea party, or the princess dress Kurt had made for Stacey all by himself. It was all pink and frothy looking, like when you put a cup of Pepto Bismol in the microwave. (He'd only done it one time!)
So Kurt probably liked Stacey better than him, just 'cause.
Stevie tried to pretend like he didn't mind. He was tough, he didn't need Sam's new friend to pay attention to him. Even though Sam was Stevie's idol and Sam laughed and joked and relaxed more when Kurt was around than he had done since Daddy had lost his job. Even though Stacey thought she might just grow up and marry Kurt, even if he did like boys more than girls, because she could get a job and then Kurt could stay home and make the tea cakes and party dresses. That would be okay with her.
Kurt had laughed when Stacey explained her plan, but he had not made fun of her for it. That was something else Stevie liked about him. He knew how to talk to kids without acting as if they were too stupid to understand real life.
Then he had started bringing fun things to do when he came to visit. It was like he had figured out what Stevie was thinking, because instead of just tea sets and dresses for Stacey, and bigger clothes for Sam, he also brought some cool board games and movies that they could watch on his laptop computer. Sometimes Sam played and watched with them, and sometimes he left them alone together while he went out and did something else.
It wasn't much like being babysat either. That Quinn girl babysat sometimes and she was nice, but she totally pretended to be their mom or something. She was the Grown-Up and they were the "sweet" little kids she was nice enough to look after to give their brother a break.
With Kurt it wasn't like that at all. He'd sit at the head of the bed and let them use him for a giant pillow while they all watched the movie together, just as much into the movies as they were, even when they watched cartoons. And he took his board games seriously, not a sore loser but also not pretending to mess up just so they could win.
Kurt was fun in other ways too. He taught Stevie how to do a hand-stand against the wall and he had promised to teach him how to walk on his hands and do a full backbend somersault as soon as he was strong enough. He was teaching Stacey how to twirl a baton, though hers was only a little lightweight plastic one. They couldn't afford to break anything since this wasn't really their house and Kurt understood that.
Sometimes, on nice days now that summer vacation had started, Kurt would show up early and kidnap the three of them (that's what he called it anyway) for a day at the park. Sam, Stacey, Stevie and sometimes Mercedes, who was Sam's new girlfriend, or Blaine, who was Kurt's boyfriend, would all pile into Kurt's big black SUV and go to the cool park across town, the one with the big picnic tables, ice cream vendor and really good playground.
Kurt would buy them all ice cream, then complain about his hips (which was one of those weird things that must have something to do with being gay, because as far as Stevie could tell Kurt didn't really have any hips), saying that they needed to help him burn off the extra calories. Stevie couldn't help cheering out loud whenever he heard those words, because they meant that Kurt would race them to the playground and spend the whole morning playing swings, slide, monkey-bars and everything else for as long as they wanted. Kurt's boyfriend liked those days too. He liked to climb on stuff even more than Kurt and Stevie did, and Mercedes always laughed and took tons of pictures.
Mercedes and Blaine were nice, and Stevie liked them, but they weren't as cool as Kurt. Sometimes, Stevie forgot all about Kurt being weird. Sometimes he would even join the tea parties with Kurt, Stacey, Stacey's stuffed bear and Barbie & Ken, because when he did, then Kurt would play Frisbee with him and Sam or kick footballs for them to catch. He could kick better than anyone Stevie had ever seen. He'd promised to teach him how to do it before school started again, because Stevie wanted to play football like his big brother, but he was kind of little compared to the rest of the guys in his class and nobody would ever let him be the quarterback.
Kurt said that being the kicker was just as important as any other position, but you had to be really good at it because it was a specialty. Sam had agreed, so it had to be true.
When Stevie grew a little and he stopped fitting into his old Sunday suit, Kurt had fixed him a new one. Stevie had kind of hoped that maybe he wouldn't have to wear good clothes to church anymore, but Mom had insisted. She had not wanted Kurt to go to any trouble, but he had a way with ladies that made them want to do what he asked. He had shown up that Saturday with a dark blue suit that anyone could see was too small for him, explaining that it had been his when he was twelve but that he had been small for his age so he was sure it could be taken in and re-hemmed to fit perfectly.
Some measuring, a few pins and needles and an hour later (boring but Kurt had sung funny songs the whole time to make him laugh, so the time went fast) and Stevie had a new church suit that was nicer than the one he had outgrown. The good part, or so Kurt had said, was that he could just let the seams out and redo the hems again when Stevie started growing again. Stevie didn't get why that was so great, but his mom had hugged Kurt for a long time so he knew that it really must be. Kurt's face had gotten really red when she did that but Stevie thought he kind of liked it anyway.
One day, Kurt brought over a bicycle and a helmet. He explained, with apologies, that he only had one bike so Stevie and Stacey would have to share. There wasn't anywhere to leave it at the motel, so he took it back home at the end of the day, but Kurt started bringing the bike over (it was a girl's bike with sissy bars and a banana seat, but Stevie didn't care 'cause it was a BIKE) every time he visited unless the weather was yucky. He and Sam would take them out and watch over them while they rode, but not in a fussy way.
The two teenagers mostly talked to each other, about boring stuff like high school or singing or the week they had gone to New York, while the younger kids rode. Afterward, they would go over to Pizza Heaven, where Sam worked, and Kurt would buy them each a slice before taking them home.
By the time summer ended, Stevie had totally forgotten that he'd ever thought Kurt was weird. He did not know that he had begun walking taller, speaking more politely to other people, or looking at the world around him with a new perspective that being different wasn't something to be ashamed of or to laugh at when other people made fun of it.
Stevie no longer knew why anyone would think of Kurt as weird. He was nice and funny, handsome like a guy but sweet like a girl, and Sam had told Stevie that he really respected Kurt. Stevie decided that he did too.
Daddy said that Kurt was a fine young man and a good role model. He had told Kurt that one day, and Kurt had looked like he had just been told something really shocking before breaking into the biggest smile Stevie had ever seen.
Stevie had always wanted to be just like his big brother. He still did, but now he also thought it might be pretty cool to be just like Kurt too. He wasn't sure if that was possible, to be like two really different people, but maybe it was. He could just take all the best parts and try to live up to them.
Sam said all he really needed to do was be true to himself and good to other people, and he would do just fine.
Stevie knew that must be true.
Kurt Hummel had told him so.