Prologue


Kurt Hummel, 28, grimaced temporarily under the glaring neon lights pulsing overhead in the club, the only indication that he was not totally at ease in the middle of the pounding dance floor. He closed his eyes against all of the skin, skin, skin on display around him and raised his hands to the ceiling, twisting and turning his lithe body in practiced perfection. A thin sheen of secondhand glitter grabbed the light and danced along his nicely sculpted abs—picked up somewhere between taking his shirt off near the bar and coming back to dance.

Suddenly, a pair of thick hands settle around his hips. Kurt's eyes snap open as he tries to hide his instinctual gasp. Not like it would be heard over the music anyway. If people were even still calling this fuzzy mix of synthesized stomping and choked off vocals music. You'd think with so many musically talented gays out there that the so-called "community" would have come together and demanded they listen to something better when they go out. No.

All of these thoughts crash through Kurt's head as he tries to turn and catch a glimpse of the interloper still grasping his waist. But the bodies around him are too close, moving too much, and he just can't. Whoever this guy is, he's bold. And Kurt feels a stubbled cheek descend to his ear and say, "You've got a nice ass on you. I want to be in it."

Oh hell no.

Feeling emboldened, Kurt twisted away from this guy's hold and turned to face him. Great, he thought, another geezer. Standing before him with a twisting leer on his face was some guy old enough to, well, be his father. Not that Kurt ever wanted to think about his father in a place like this. But this man must have been pushing at least 60 and it showed all over his scraggly haired chest which was on full display, proud paunch leading the way.

Kurt felt his lip curl and, with as much disgust as he could muster, said: "I already have a dad. I don't need another one."

With that, he made his way over to the bar in the back and tried to signal to the much sought after gorgeous (and so obviously straight) bartender.

A group of young green twinks, laughing enough for everyone at the bar, pushed their way in front of Kurt and immediately grabbed the bartender's attention. Literally. One of the early-20-something (who are we kidding, teenage) boys grabbed at the poor man's bicep and starting caressing it coquettishly. Then he pulled the guy toward him and whispered into his ear whatever fruity, minimally alcoholic concoction he could come up with while playing with a crisp 20 dollar bill as if it was almost a public sex act.

Kurt felt himself being pushed aside as if it was a rejection. Fact was, he wasn't as young as he used to be and he felt replaced by the ever younger, ever plentiful twinks that twirled around him with glittery smiles. He used to be like them. He used to shine everywhere. He had been young, brimming with self-confidence and grasping out for all of his dreams-New York, the stage, the fame.

But now, at 28, with a nine-month streak of fruitless auditions behind him, Kurt was starting to feel like he just couldn't do it anymore. Rent was steep, even in his tiny, Brooklyn based closet. If he didn't find real work soon, he'd be out of a home. As is, he was making a lot of concessions to stay where he was. He'd been forgoing lunch for the past year or two. (And really, it was better when you think about it-less calories to work off so no need to keep up that extortionist gym membership.) And re-sewing his old clothes by hand to match the current trends. (Which just made him that much more proud to wear them.) But New York, the city that had once shined on him like a beacon of endless possibility, now seemed to crush him with the despair of anonymity and replaceability.

Kurt wondered when he would be able to face the truth, that he was just another failed actor-mediocre in every way. Sure he was still beautiful and disgustingly talented, but then again, so are most waiters in L.A. Maybe he should just cut his losses and start somewhere new. Try something else. Be somebody else.

Finally, finally, the giggling clique of twinks decided they'd had enough of flirting with the bartender and made to stagger back to the dance floor. One model-gorgeous blonde with perfect teeth and a tequila flavored laugh tripped sloppily over Kurt's shoes, scuffing them beyond repair. He didn't even apologize. Just walked off as if Kurt hadn't even been standing there.

Kurt didn't have much time to dwell on the blatant diss. He had to push forward the foot to the bar before someone stole his place, again. He pulled out his "designer" (TJ Maxx) wallet and calculated what he could afford. His wallet had been getting thinner lately and as he surreptitiously opened it under the bar he noticed only a 5, a 10, and a scruffy looking one dollar bill staring back at him. Well, that ruled out all of his favorite cocktails. Not when most cost around 14 dollars and he needed to refill his MetroCard if there was any chance of him getting home that night. Nope, better stick to some watered down draft beer. Only 5 dollars and at least it'd give him something substantial to throw on that old creep if he tried to touch him again.

Kurt sighed inwardly. What was his life coming to when he became practically invisible to the beautiful men but firmly on the radar of every ugly troll in downtown Manhattan. And theyprobably only liked him because, even at 28, Kurt still couldn't shake that look of pure innocence when he closed his eyes, imagined himself elsewhere, and just danced as if no one was around. That look that sexy, muscled early-20-something guys used to eat up.

Suddenly, Kurt didn't feel much like dancing, or drinking for that matter. He pushed himself away from the bar, all thoughts of his beer forgotten, and struggled anonymously through the dancing bodies to get to the door. Once outside, he let the cool sting of a spring night's breeze play along his exposed skin and wake him up from the depressing, warm haze that was the club. He pulled his crumpled shirt out from his belt loops and put it on as a shield against the night, walking towards the nearest subway.

Kurt hadn't gotten far when his stomach started to growl loudly. Almost absently, he remembered that today he hadn't just skipped lunch, but dinner too. He doubled back and headed for Mamoun's Falafel. Not the healthiest option out there, and he really should be watching his waist line if he ever hopes to land a role this year, but a three-dollar dinner sounds wonderful for his budget.

Kurt breaks out into a quiet, self-deprecating laugh. He'd told that old guy he didn't need another dad. But maybe he does. A nice sugar daddy to help pay the cost of his imploding dreams and to make New York City exciting and glamorous again. Yea, he thinks, if only...