Sorry for so long without an update. I suck. I know.
"What are you doing?" Jeremiah's eyes snapped opened to see bright blue pupils only inches from his own. He let out a yelp before quickly scooting backwards until there was a few feet in between him and the lounge's other occupant. When he was far enough away, the blond finally paused and looked at who it was that had surprised him.
Eli smiled sheepishly at him before quickly looking back to the ground. Jeremiah had been doing his best to actively stay far away from the younger male since he had been caught trying to steal from Puck's office. He knew that the chances of being recognized by the prostitute were near impossible but taking that chance wasn't something he was willing to do. He didn't go upstairs (where he knew Eli was residing for the time being) unless he was with a client, he stopped hanging out at the club on his days off to make sure that they didn't run into each other, and he always made sure to take the back way out when he got off because Eli had taken to standing near the front entrance.
This was the closest that the two of them had been since that night in the motel and Jeremiah took the time to give Eli a good once over. In Puck's office, tied to a chair, he had looked so small: covered in bruises and mud under clothing that was far too large for his frame. Now seated on the carpeted floor of the employee lounge he looked a lot better. His bruises, which had been black and blue, were shrinking turning yellow, clear signs of healing. He also looked as if he had been scrubbed clean from head to toe, giving off the appearance of shaving years off his face. Jeremiah noticed that he was fidgeting slightly as if something in him wouldn't allow him to be entirely still. He was also scratching incessantly at his arm which had turned a bright red, dating just how long he had been at it. Jeremiah internally sighed, recognizing the early signs of withdrawal. While he was no stranger to recreational drug use, he had made sure to never allow it to get to the point where he was dependent on it. He almost felt sorry for the kid. Almost.
Eli slowly raised his head and peered at the blonde, green pupils meeting bright blue.
"So what are you doing, uh were doing?" Eli finally asked again, breaking the silence between the two. Jeremiah sighed before rising to his feet.
"I was meditating." He stated as he stretched his arms over his head. "I like to do it to clear my mind. What were you doing watching me?" Eli winced at the slight harshness in his tone but shrugged in response.
"Puck told me to come in and see if the lounge needed to be cleaned. I didn't know you were in here and when I saw that you were, you were sitting so still that I actually thought you were asleep. I didn't think you would answer." Jeremiah arched an eyebrow and crossed his arms.
"Who do you know that sleeps in that position?" Eli smirked.
"My sister used to sleep standing up. Does that count?" Before he could stop himself, a chuckle slipped past Jeremiah's lips and he looked down to see that Eli's smirk had turned into a full-blown grin. "Aww, look. I made you laugh. I didn't realize it would be that easy." Jeremiah rolled his eyes before walking towards his locker and opening it.
"There are days I still laugh at the Chickenbutt joke. You didn't do much." The blond looked back to see that Eli had barely moved, only angling his body to see him better.
"Guess I'll just have to try harder next time." The brunet said cheekily causing Jeremiah to scoff.
"You can try all you want, it's not gonna mean anything. Besides you should probably be more focused on working whatever it is that you're on out of your system." There was silence from the other end of the room, so the blond kept talking as he pretended to organize his locker. "You could probably use meditation more than me. Might help you with that twitch."
"Really?" Jeremiah glanced around his locker to see the teenager staring at him intently; left hand paused above his opposite arm. "You really think it would help?"
"I-I mean, I guess." Jeremiah stuttered. He hadn't anticipated the question. He had hoped that his jab would make the other boy upset and cause him to leave and give him another reason to stay. "It's all about focus so it would require you to be still and not move around so it might. But, I'm not a doctor or anything so I can't guarantee that it will or anything."
"Will you do it with me?" Jeremiah's eyes widened and Eli blushed. "I mean, I always thought it was kinda fake and that people just used it as an excuse to be left alone for a while." He said. "I feel I would be better and do it right at it if you were to do it with me."
"Meditation isn't really something that can be done wrong." The blond responded nervously running a hand down the back of his neck. "You just kinda do it. There's not really anything that I-"
"Please?" The word had been spoken so quietly by the other male that Jeremiah almost missed it. He looked at Eli fully intent on telling him no but what he saw in the youth's face stopped him in his tracks. He looked so hopeful with his eyes shinning and the corners of his mouth upturned in a slight smile. As much as Jeremiah wanted to say no, he for some reason couldn't bring himself to.
"Okay. Fine. I'll do it with you." He said walking back over to sit beside the younger male who eagerly turned so that they were facing each other. "Alright. Close your eyes. Now take deep, even breaths. Try to focus on your breathing and your heart rate and keeping them both even and steady. Clear your mind of everything and try to simply focus on being in the moment and being right here, right now." Jeremiah instructed, smiling slightly as he watched Eli do as he said. The thought of quietly sneaking out of the room while the other's eyes were closed crossed his mind before he quickly extinguished it. Something about the thought had his stomach turning and guilt filling his entire body. He shook his head at the absurdity of the situation before rolling his shoulders back and closing his eyes, slowly following his own instructions to the boy of focusing on his breathing and clearing his mind. Before long, he was as deep in as he was before Eli had interrupted him. So far in that he missed the other boy opening his eyes and sending a soft smile his way.
"Hey Kurt! Long time no see." Kurt turned at the sound of his name to see Trevor enthusiastically waving at him from behind the bar. After his impromptu conversation with Thad, Kurt had walked out of the building and down the block to the coffee shop just like he had originally planned. Once he got there however, it was a different story. He immediately made a beeline for the single bathroom, locking himself inside before sliding down the wall and sitting in shock on the floor.
'Well, you always thought he was hiding something.' Kurt thought to himself as he wallowed on the floor. 'And an ex-fiancé who happens to be a co-worker is a pretty big 'something.' He spent the next twenty minutes sitting on the floor of the bathroom, contemplating what his next move should be. After thinking long and hard, (and more than a few angry fists pounding on the door behind him) he finally decided he had no choice: He was going to find Eric and confront him about Jeremiah face to face. After standing and brushing off the seat of his pants, he opened the door and walked out, avoiding eye contract with the man standing outside. After swallowing down his chai tea, he exited the coffee shop, hailed a cab, and rode it to Eric's house.
He was a bit miffed when he opened the door to find that his boyfriend wasn't home and that the car he usually drove wasn't in the garage, but he wasn't surprised. Even on his days off, Eric didn't really tend to stay in his house, preferring to be out in the town. Instead of calling the cab back, he simply got in Eric's spare car, drove it out of the garage and in the direction of the hospital. As he drove, he contemplated calling to check if he was there, but quickly dismissed the thought, knowing that if he really was working, there was no way that Eric was gonna answer his phone anyway. Before long he reached the hospital, parked and strode in the building, intent on finding the doctor.
Luckily for him, he ran into Keegan on the first floor who informed him that Eric had been there earlier but after getting a phone call, had left to deal with something at the café. Kurt thanked him before walking out and driving towards the little place not far from his apartment. He had hurriedly entered the building, eyes rapidly searching for the part owner only to have his brother see him instead. Kurt sent a smile his way and walked towards him.
"Hey Trevor. What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in school?" The Trevor glared at him, but his gaze had no real heat behind it.
"It's a teacher work day, so no but thank you for the concern, dad." The younger Strong answered with so much sass that Kurt couldn't help but let out a laugh. He stood there and watched as someone came up and ordered a strawberry daiquiri, and was impressed as the teenager made it with all the flips, tricks and skills of someone who had been doing it for years. When the customer left, Kurt arched an eyebrow.
"Something tells me that the police won't like the fact that a minor is selling alcohol." Trevor grinned in a way that made him look even more like his brother, instantly reminding Kurt of the real reason he was there.
"The usual guy's wife unexpectedly went into labor this morning and his replacement won't be able to get here for another hour. I'm just filling in for the time being and as long as no one feels the need to do anything else illegal in the next sixty minutes I should be fine." Trevor said with a roll of his eyes. "So what can I get you? We have a whole line of drinks based on The Avengers that I'm pretty good at making. Our Agent Coulson is guaranteed to have you tipsy or worse in 15 minutes or your money back." Kurt scoffed and crossed his arms.
"You do know I'm not legally allowed to drink, right?"
"I'm already illegally selling it. What's one more crime? Besides, I won't tell if you won't." He ended the sentence with a wink that had Kurt stumbling in shock and Trevor roaring with laughter. He opened his mouth to say something, when the kitchen door opened and out walked Eric, a smile from ear to ear.
"Kurt! I was hoping I'd see you today." Kurt gave a tight-lipped smile and nodded, not wanting to say what he wanted to in the middle of the restaurant in front of his boyfriend's brother. "Do you wanna go somewhere and talk?" Kurt opened his mouth to respond when Trevor spoke up instead.
"Obviously." Trevor said, leaning against the bar and looking up at his sibling. "He didn't order anything so he's clearly not hungry or thirsty and there's no other reason for him to be here." Kurt had to bite his lip to hold back his laugh as Eric pushed his brother hard enough for him to stumble and fall behind the bar.
"Just shut up and try not to look underage." Trevor answered by flipping him the bird as Eric led Kurt towards the back and through a door, closing it behind them. Kurt looked around the cozy office that was covered wall-to-wall in pictures, drawings, paintings and books. The room's only light source was from a small lamp on the neat desk, dimly lighting the space enough to see but leaving the area dark enough to seem intimate. There was a leather couch in the corner, one leather chair behind the desk and two in front of it; all of them looking very worn and lived on and before Kurt could stop himself he was tracing a finger along the back of the couch. Eric cleared his throat behind him and Kurt turned to see the other man leaning against the door. A blush had spread to his cheeks and he was nervously scratching the back of his neck. Kurt leaned against the desk and sighed, looking down at his shoes.
"Wait." The other male interrupted. "I know you're probably freaked out about what happened yesterday when I asked you to move in. I get that it's too soon and that it's too fast and I'm really sorry." Eric apologized. "I know that I tend to come on a bit too strong but I don't mean to. When I decide to do something I go all in, and that includes relationships. I read too much into things that I shouldn't, I take everything as a sign when I really shouldn't and I don't know how to back off when I should. It's a problem that I've always had and probably one I always will have. I go overboard, I obsess, I stalk, I creep and I never really learned how to reel it in." Eric paused and when Kurt looked up from his shoes, the owner smiled and took a step closer.
"I didn't mean to scare you by asking you to move in with me." He said, eyes boring into Kurt's. "If anything I wanted to make you feel better about what happened with Jake." He took another step closer. "I simply wanted you to know how much you meant to me by saying that I wanted you around me all the time." Another step closer. "I didn't mean to scare you with it. I didn't mean to make you feel like you were being trapped or anything." By now he was standing right next to Kurt and he slowly reached down to grab his hand, giving Kurt the chance to stop him at anytime. He didn't. "I just wanted you to know how committed I was to you and if you don't wanna move in with me, it's completely fine. Just…please don't end this great thing that we have between us because of this. Trust me, you stick around long enough, and I'll give you plenty of good reasons to actually leave." Kurt couldn't stop the laugh that escaped his lips and the smile that Eric sprouted quickly grew on Kurt's face as well.
"I'm not gonna break up with you." Kurt finally said. "Yes, I was a little freaked out yesterday when you tried to give me the key but I didn't come here with the intention of dumping you. Moving in is huge, Eric and to be honest, I don't think that we're there yet. I'm sorry but I think that the way we are right now works for us right now, and why fix what ain't broke right?" Eric nodded and squeezed Kurt's hand.
"Right. So, you forgive me?" Kurt rolled his eyes playfully.
"In order to be forgiven, I would have had to be mad at you and I never was." With the hand that Eric wasn't holding, he reached into his pocket and produced the silver key. "I think you might want this back." He offered only to have his boyfriend shake his head.
"Nope. I had it made for you. It's yours."
"Even if you don't wanna move in with me," Eric interrupted, "I never want you to feel like a stranger in my house. Mi casa es su casa and all that. And when the day comes that we are ready to take that next step, you won't even have to wait for me to start moving in." Kurt smiled and nodded before placing the key back in his pocket, watching Eric the entire time.
"Was this all you wanted to talk to me about?" The doctor asked when the two had been looking at each other for a while. Kurt bit his lip as he thought the question over. He knew he really wanted to bring up the whole deal with Jeremiah and he almost did but after looking up at Eric, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He was smiling fondly at Kurt as if he was the only person in the world, his eyes staring expectantly at the other boy as he lovingly stroked the back of his hand. Kurt swallowed. 'Everyone has parts of their pasts that they'd rather keep to themselves.' He thought. 'And if it was really that important, he would tell me.' Kurt internally nodded at his decision to keep his conversation with Thad to himself. He smiled up at Eric before leaning in and pressing a chaste kiss to his mouth before pulling back.
"There was, but it's unimportant now. It doesn't matter." Eric's eyes furrowed.
"Are you sure? Because I want us to be completely open with each other. I mean it. Anything you wanna know, I'll tell you." The truth almost came barreling out of his mouth at that, but he bit his tongue and shook his head.
"It's fine, Eric." He placed another quick kiss to the other man's lips and grinned. "We're fine." Eric smiled.
"Good. You wanna get something to eat?" Kurt arched an eyebrow.
"Here?" Eric scrunched his nose and shook his head.
"No. We're a little short today and if we were to order, I would probably have to make it and that's not something I feel like doing today." Kurt threw back his head and laughed before leading Eric towards and out the office door.
"Chinese takeout sound good?" He asked as they walked by Trevor at the bar waving goodbye as they exited the building.
"Only if it's at that place around the corner from Anderson's Loft. They have the best eggrolls in town." Kurt nodded in agreement and the two got into the car he had driven, agreeing to come back and get Eric's other car later. As they started driving, Kurt's phone rang.
"It's Wes." Eric said looking at the caller ID.
"Put it on speaker." Kurt replied, making a sharp left turn. Eric nodded and hit accept and speaker right after. Kurt opened his mouth to say hello but Wes' frantic voice beat him to it.
"Kurt! Oh my god! Artie just told me what happened. Yes, it's true that Eric and Jeremiah were engaged but whatever else Thad told you was a lie! He's been in love with Jer since he started working here and he's just jealous." Kurt's heart dropped into his stomach and he had to slam on his breaks to stop from slamming into the car in front of him that was stopped at a red light. He snuck a peak at the man beside him to see Eric staring at the phone in his hand in shock. Kurt internally groaned.
"…Kurt?" Wes asked unsure. "Kurt are you there?" Kurt's throat had suddenly closed up and he couldn't find his voice to answer. He didn't have to."
"He's here." Eric said quietly. "And so am I."
"…Eric?" Wes timidly asked.
"Fuck." The other pleasured muttered through the phone. Kurt scoffed and nodded. Fuck indeed.
"So what did you wanna talk about Matt?" Puck asked sinking into his chair. He had spent the entire later half of his day on the phone setting up plans for another loft; calling construction companies, realtors, investors, banks and everyone else Blaine had felt needed to be talked that he had listed in his two emails that morning. It didn't sound too bad but Blaine was precise in how he wanted things done and even though they were just in the preliminary stages, that still meant that everything had to be perfect or it would be a no go. All he wanted to do was sink into his mattress and sleep for the next year and had it been anyone else, he would have told them to wait until the morning. But Puck had a soft spot for Matt. They had grown up in the same neighborhood and even though Puck had been a few years ahead of the other boy and weren't really friends, they still had a mutual respect and understanding for each other.
When Puck went away for school, they lost contact until years later, while searching the streets for a drunk friend one night he had ran into Matt sitting on the curb near a bus stop while holding a tissue to his bloody nose. After making sure his friend got home safely, He took the no longer bleeding Matt to a diner around from his house and fed him before letting his crash in his spare room.
The next morning, Puck asked what had happened and Matt explained that after college he had moved to LA for a paid internship with a law firm. However, after accidently revealing his sexuality to a co-worker he was stripped of his internship because his 'lifestyle choices would tarnish their All-American image.', and before he could find a new job, he had been evicted. With no family or friends in town, he had been forced in the streets. After living on the streets and begging for food for a few weeks, an employee at a bakery had offered him fifty dollars and a fresh apple pie if he blew him in the back room of the store. Matt had hurriedly agreed and upon returning to the seedy motel room he had spent the night before in, he threw up, brushed his teeth, ate the pie and went outside to go wait on a corner. He had been turning tricks ever since. The bloody nose he had been sporting the night before was from a John who refused to pay and when Matt confronted him, he punched him before running from the room.
Puck had stayed silent throughout the story, not doing more than nodding when appropriate. When Matt finished, Puck simply stood before motioning for the younger male to follow him. They got into Puck's car and he promptly drove them to The Loft where he introduced Matt to Blaine as the new "Greed": the old one having been fired the week before. 'It's not law.' Puck had said when Matt was signing his contract, 'But it's safer than what you're doing now. You can work here for as long as you want until you decide what it is you wanna do.' Matt had been too grateful to say anything, simply nodding and repeatedly hugging Puck every few seconds.
That had been almost a year ago, a year which had been good to the pleasure. It was the first time that he had been able to be open about who he was, not realizing just how much his secret had been weighing him down. In the following months, his self-confidence grew and Puck watched from the sidelines, brimming with pride as the broken boy he found sitting on a curb turned into a resilient man who took shit from no one. Just like Puck had taught him to.
Matt smiled sheepishly and handed Puck a slip of paper before sinking into the chair in front of the other man's desk. Puck quickly skimmed the first sentence before lowering the paper.
"You're resigning?" Matt chuckled nervously before nodding.
"I got a offered a new job." He stated simply but Puck could hear the satisfaction in his voice. "A few months ago, I started applying to firms again and last week I had an interview. They offered me the job before I could leave the building." Puck grinned and quickly pulled the other male into a rib-crushing hug.
"Matt, that's awesome!" Puck exclaimed pulling away but keeping the pleasure at an arm's length. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't wanna make a big deal out of it in case things didn't work out.
"What about what happened last time?" Puck asked skeptically. "How do you know it's not gonna happen again when they find out you're gay?" Matt scoffed.
"I don't think that's gonna be a problem considering the fact that as I was walking out the door, one of the partners slipped me his number." Puck laughed before pulling Matt in tight for another hug.
"That's my boy!" The two hugged for a while longer before Matt pulled back and his grin shrank to a smile.
"Thanks, Puck. For everything. If you hadn't found me that day-" Puck shook his head.
"Don't finish that sentence." The older male said firmly. "The only thing that matters is that I did find you. Forget about what didn't because it doesn't matter." Matt nodded.
"Got it." He said, grin widening once more. "I just feel bad about the fact that I'm leaving you without a "Greed." Puck rolled his eyes and shrugged.
"Eh. We knew it would happen eventually. I'll look into finding someone else starting in the morning." Just as he reached down to grab his bag, there was a knock on his door and Matt chuckled nervously.
"I might have actually taken care of that for you." Puck arched an eyebrow before nodding at Matt to continue. "Well, last week when I was figuring out how to tell you, I took a walk and ended up on that street where you found me." He said moving backwards towards the door. "And sitting on the curb was this kid, and-"
"Is he 18?" Puck interrupted to ask. Matt nodded. "Then let him in." Matt beamed before reaching for the door handle and opening it wide to reveal a tall boy with swooping sandy brown hair, who nervously met Puck's eyes before returning them to the floor. "What's your name, kid?"
"Ryder Lynn." He answered as he entered the room to stand beside Matt. "Am I too late for the interview?" Puck and Matt shared a look before the former sat back down in his chair.
"Actually, you're right on time. Take a seat."