Disclaimer: I'm just playing in the Glee sandbox. If you recognize it from elsewhere, I don't own it.
Timeline: Between "Funeral" and "New York"
Spoilers: All of Season 1 and 2
Rating: T for sensual scenes and thematic material (emotional child abuse)
Author's Note: Hello, I'm Heather. I'll be your author for this story.
This is the sequel to One Fine Day, and you should read that story first to fully understand this one. This story is a little shorter than One Fine Day because it takes place in 24 hours, as opposed to several days. Also, there is much less fluff. This is mainly an angst story dealing with the topic of emotional child abuse. More specifically, of Blaine coming to terms with the abuse and what it has done to him. This was not an easy story to write, but it was cathartic and something I've needed to do for a long time.
The title "Catch the Wind" comes from the Donovan song. If you've never heard it, there are several versions on YouTube. Whether Donovan ripped Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom" with this song or not, it is beautiful and descriptive of Blaine's journey in this story.
I hope you enjoy the story. Thank you for reading and even more for reviewing.
CATCH THE WIND
The vintage Mustang coasted down the lonely stretch of Ohio highway between Lima and Westerville with the driver's side window rolled down and the passenger side window cracked just slightly. Cows in pasture and rows of freshly tilled farmland stretched in all directions as far as the eye could see. Only the infrequent billboard and dull roar of speeding traffic interrupted the prosaic vista.
In the car, Blaine and Kurt's linked hands rested on center console between the black leather seats. They hadn't spoken in several moments. A comfortable silence filled the space between them as the wind rushed through the car. Blaine noted that Kurt looked a little flushed from the early summer heat in his blue button up and red bowtie, but Kurt would endure anything to preserve the careful styling of his hair.
"We could have taken your car," Blaine said, for the fifth time since they'd left Lima an hour ago.
"It's better if we show up in the Mustang."
Blaine cast a long, affectionate glance that prompted Kurt to flick his free fingers at the windshield, indicating that Blaine should return his attention to the road. He already steered the car left-handed and struggled a little to hold it steady at their high speed. There was no need to add another driving hazard to the list.
"I think you're very sweet to have put so much thought into it, but no one is going to notice what car we drove there."
They'd had this whole conversation three times already, so Kurt didn't bother articulating his point again. Blaine gave up and accepted it because they couldn't very well switch cars now, not when they were over halfway to Westerville and expected at noon.
"We can call this whole thing off," Blaine said, in direct contradiction of his thoughts.
Kurt shifted his gaze from the wing mirror to his boyfriend and shook his head slightly with a knowing look in his expressive blue-green eyes.
"Blaine, I want to do this. This is maybe the only day your whole family will be in one place, and they've agreed to finally meet me. It's not much of an olive branch, but I'm not going to turn it away. I know it's going to be tense, and I know part of you wants to avoid this for as long as we can, but we're ready for it."
Blaine sighed heavily and tightened his fingers around Kurt's. The heat in the car had dampened both of their palms, but they ignored the tickle of sweat and clung to each other. If they were going to walk into the lion's den, at least they would face it together.
"You're right. I know you're right. Kurt, it's going to be so much more then tense. It's going to be awful. We're standing on the tracks watching a train rushing right at us. My parents hated each other long before they divorced, and my brother has this vague contempt for anything I care about."
"I know, Blaine." Kurt reached across his body to cup Blaine's hand in both of his. "We've talked about this, and I know what I'm walking into. Or is this about something else? Are you afraid them meeting me will make things worse for you? Because if you think it will, then we can turn around right now, and I'll never push to meet them again."
Blaine's eyes darted to the left briefly before settling back on the road again out of necessity. His fingers gripped the steering wheel so tightly this knuckles were white.
"I'm not going to jinx anything by asking how things could get worse, but that's kind of where we're at right now. The Andersons are so far from the Hummels we might as well come from different planets."
Kurt's hand caressed Blaine's softly. He lifted his boyfriend's hand and kissed at the soft skin on the back of his hand. A sorrowful smile tugged at the corner of Blaine's mouth at the featherlight kisses. When Kurt had kissed the flesh to his content, he rested Blaine's hand in his lap still clasped in both of his own.
"I can't promise everything will work out, Blaine, but I'll try to make this go as smoothly as I can. We're showing up in the car you rebuilt together. There will be no outrageous conversations about Vogue covers or favorite fashion designers. Look, I even dressed down for lunch."
Kurt's lips stretched into a grin, but it didn't reach his eyes. Blaine's head fell against the headrest, and he blinked away the moisture pooling in his eyes and clouding his vision. He hated that his father's insidious homophobic tendencies had clawed their way into Kurt's consciousness.
"I'm so sorry, Kurt," he whispered with a sob in his throat.
"Stop it, Blaine. I can tone it down for an afternoon without irreparably harming my lady fabulous reputation."
"You shouldn't have to."
"No, I shouldn't. But I did it anyway because walking into lunch dressed in my more fashionable outfits would put your dad on the defensive right away. I can flaunt later; today is about impressing him. I have a feeling things beyond my control are going to be offensive enough to him."
"Your voice is beautiful, Kurt."
Kurt preened for a moment under the praise. "You never told me where we're having lunch, just that your parents were still fighting over the restaurant this morning."
Blaine realized that Kurt had changed the topic deftly from the epic tragedy they were walking into and replaced it with something more benign. He let it go because wallowing in angst wouldn't make Kurt's first meeting with the Anderson family any easier.
It wasn't fair to Kurt. Meeting his boyfriend's family for the first time was nerve-wracking enough without adding on all the Anderson baggage. Judging by how frequently Kurt's tongue peeked out to wet his lips, he was incredibly apprehensive about this lunch. But he held himself together gracefully under pressure. That too was unfair. He had too much practice compartmentalizing his feelings just to walk into school and face his bullies every day.
"They eventually agreed to the country club. I think my dad wants to show off his membership to my mom, and my mom wants to find some way to let slip to his country club friends that he's not that wealthy or important in the community."
"I've never been a country club before. It's so bourgeois."
Blaine gave a mirthless laugh. "That it certainly is. You've never seen a group of people as whitewashed as this crowd. I stand out like a sore thumb, and my mom is Italian."
Kurt smiled a little at that.
"Should I have told you sooner? Do you have the right clothes? I think you look fantastic, and you'll turn heads in the best way. But I'm the guy who thought the red Dalton vest looked good under the blazer."
Kurt made a sound in his throat like a coo. "Thank you. And you're very sweet to consider my dress sense. I'm a little overdressed for a country club, but not hideously so. Luckily, I have a change of clothes that will work better if we decide to stay after lunch."
He jerked his head backwards to indicate the duffle bag in the backseat containing Kurt's workout clothes for dance rehearsal with New Directions earlier in the day. Only Kurt would wear something other than sweats and a t-shirt to dance practice.
"How did it go?"
"Honestly, I don't see why we even need to have practice on a Saturday. Or at all."
"You have Nationals next week, Kurt."
"And no songs written. The plan is to write them in our hotel room the day before the competition." Blaine started. "I know, right? I have no idea what's wrong with my glee club."
They didn't talk about the Andersons or the country club or the impending lunch for the rest of the drive to Westerville. Kurt had had enough of the drama in New Directions and needed to vent for a few minutes. Blaine had accepted his role as sounding board ever since Kurt returned to McKinley. It made him happy that Kurt could confide in him so easily, and it reassured him that Blaine was as important to him as his friends.
As much as Blaine wished they could drive forever, holding hands and talking about everything and nothing, they eventually reached their exit, and too soon after, the private access road leading to the country club.
The narrow lane wended through a wooded area and around a golf course dotted with carts and clusters of golfers. A family sat for a picnic around the duck pond. Blaine flipped on the turn signal one-handed and steered the car into the parking lot in front of the clubhouse. He parked between an Audi and Lexus.
"Last chance to change your mind."
Kurt stood his head, cranked up the window, and opened the passenger door. Blaine was forced to release his hand, and the loss felt like a stab to his heart. Being in Kurt's presence, but unable to touch him, to assure himself this exquisite boy was real and his, hurt so badly he couldn't stand it sometimes.
But they were in Ohio, at a hotbed of conservatism, about to have lunch with a man who hated the way his son had been born. There would be no more hand holding or kisses until they left the country club.
"How do I look?" Kurt asked, fussing over some imaginary wrinkles in his pants. "Ugh. I must be a complete mess. I've been sitting for two hour plastered to that seat. I need to find a bathroom before we meet your parents."
"Hey," Blaine said gently. He came around the car to stand next to Kurt. "Hey, you look handsome just like you always do."
"Handsome?" Kurt asked. His voice had taken a high, breathy quality. "No one has ever called me handsome before. Adorable, cute … even beautiful." He batted his lashes at Blaine, and a blush crept into his cheeks. "Handsome. It's such a masculine word, and I'm – "
"A man. You're a man, Kurt."
Blaine wanted to lean over and kiss him, but he didn't. He couldn't. Not in this place where so many eyes, including his father's, could be watching. He nodded towards the clubhouse, asking silently if Kurt was ready. He took a breath and nodded once.
The attendant at the desk had Blaine sign in, and they crossed the marble-and-limestone lobby into the member's only area shielded from prying eyes by a long corridor. As they walked, Blaine pointed out the direction of various amenities he rarely used himself: the pool, the gym, the spa, the exit to the tennis courts and golf course.
"The restaurant is right here."
"Blaine," Kurt hissed, tugging on his sleeve. "Bathroom first."
Blaine motioned to the men's restroom, and they went in together. While Blaine actually used the facilities after the two hour drive from Lima, Kurt only wanted to make minor corrections to his already immaculate appearance. He leaned in close to the mirror, teasing strands of hair and adjusting the way his shirt laid on his shoulders.
"Any concerns about my appearance?" Blaine asked, drying his hands and throwing the paper into the trashcan.
Kurt's eyes raked over Blaine's hair, face, and body before he aligned the buttons of his shirt with his belt buckle and the angle of his suspenders. Kurt kept his hands on the suspenders and very gently tugged Blaine against his body. He leaned down and pressed a light kiss to Blaine's lips.
Every sensible part of the shorter boy's brain told him to end the kiss because the door could swing open at any moment, and two boys kissing in a bathroom in a country club would point to all the wrong conclusions and give the bigots something more to cluck their tongues over. But the larger part of Blaine never wanted to stop kissing Kurt. The warmth of his full lips and teasing wetness of his tongue against Blaine's top lip felt absolutely right. He sighed into the kiss and relaxed against Kurt's body.
"Better not get carried away," Kurt said, pulling back too soon. He rested his forehead against Blaine's and played with the suspenders. "I would be mortified to meet your parents for the first time with kiss-bruised lips."
Blaine reluctantly agreed, although he hated to. How many times had Burt walked in on the kissing boyfriends? And all he'd ever had to say about it was "you matter." Blaine's parents would say no such thing. He knew they wouldn't because Burt was the first adult to ever say it to him. His imagination supplied the admonitions and insults they would receive from his parents.
"We'd better go in for lunch. It's almost noon."
Blaine threw caution to the wind and kissed Kurt soundly once before opening the door. The other boy looked a little dazed by the emotion Blaine poured into the kiss.
"Kurt. I don't want to be a pessimist, but I know my parents and my brother. I just can't see this being a pleasant meal. Maybe, if we're very lucky, it will be civil. I want you to know that whatever happens in there today, whatever they say or do, nothing will change the way I feel for you. I hope – I hope it won't change the way you feel about me either, bu – "
Kurt crashed his lips against Blaine's so fiercely the impact caused Blaine to stumble backwards. He ended up trapped between Kurt and cool tile wall while his boyfriend kissed him senseless.
"I'll never say good-bye to you means I'll never say good-bye to you."
Blaine blinked against the emotion welling in his eyes. He wanted to stay like this with Kurt, but a few moments later, they were standing in front of the hostess station in the restaurant and Blaine was giving his name. Then they were walking through the restaurant full of square tables covered in white linens and full of country clubbers. Far too soon, they were standing at a table with five place settings and peering down at the Andersons.
Blaine sucked in a breath.
"Mom, Dad, Alec … this is my boyfriend, Kurt."