Hey guys! I hope you are all doing great and as excited as I am for tonight's episode! Maybe this will help to entertain you as you wait :)
So, this little story, intended as a short one-shot (which I failed at) was an idea I received via message on Tumblr, so I can't take credit for it. I'd like to dedicate this to Jeanne and thank her for helping me to start write again after Not Alone, because I was a little blocked and couldn't find a way to write a new story. Thanks for trusting me to write what you had in your mind. I hope I did well!
My amazing beta helped a lot, as usual, so a huge THANK YOU to Wutif too. You should check out her stories because they're great and I can't stop reading them!
I don't own Glee or any of the recognizable characters (all of them, actually). All of it belongs to Fox, Ryan Murphy and I'd like not to have to deal with paying any rights because I don't have a job right now, so be nice to me, okay? Title is from the song "I Got You" by Nick Carter. Don't judge me and listen to it, the lyrics have a lot to do with this story.
A pair of deep blue eyes looked up at the building and then down at the mountain of boxes that were starting to pile up on the sidewalk. Kurt Hummel sighed, he wished moving day could be finally over so he could relax with a nice hot shower and the latest issue of Vogue. But they still had too much to do so, with a rueful glance at Rachel, they nodded and started picking up their stuff.
The building where they were going to live wasn't exactly fabulous, but the two friends had decided to reduce their expectations of a fancy lifestyle in favor of actually being able to afford moving to New York.
"It'll only be for a couple of months anyway," Rachel had said back home at Lima, as Kurt helped her pack her clothes, covertly sliding some of her animal sweaters under the bed. He loved the girl to death, but her taste made Kurt nauseous. Literally nauseous. He wanted to puke every time he caught a glimpse of those sweaters. Or her dresses. Or her pantsuit. Actually, he could just puke on them. "As soon as I land my very first lead role on Broadway, we'll get a new, much bigger place."
He hadn't contradicted her. Kurt hadn't felt like crushing her hopes, though he knew it was probably not going to work out that way. The boy had a better vision of the real world, even though his dreams were as big as Rachel's. He just was more used than her to having them shot down.
There wasn't an elevator, so they had to climb three flights of stairs to their brand new apartment. Well, brand new was actually a figure of speech, because there wasn't anything new about it, they noticed as soon as they opened the door, though they were never more excited to unlock a door before. The walls needed some paint and the kitchen cupboards seemed pretty close to falling apart. But it was their home now, and they didn't care. After so many years of dreaming about the Big Apple, they were finally there.
Rachel put the box she was carrying down on the floor as Kurt did the same before jumping into his arms, hugging him with all the strength she had (and it was quite a lot, surprisingly, considering how small she was).
"We've made it, Kurt, we're in New York!" She said, her brown eyes bright, her smile wide, as she clapped her hands like a two years old. "Can you believe it?"
Kurt took a look around. The apartment was in dire need of his decorating skills, but it was already beautiful to him: this was a place where he could be himself. The ghosts of the past few years, the teasing, the pain, the odd looks… they were all in the past. Kurt Hummel was free.
"Not really," he admitted, taking her arm to tuck into his. "Come on, now. I want to finish with this as soon as possible so we can start actually living."
They went down again to the street. The moving truck was parked right in front of the building's entrance and their boxes (actually most of them were Kurt's) were scattered all around. The guys from the moving company were now trying to get the few pieces of furniture they had taken with them out of the truck.
It was a beautiful morning; the sun was shining high in the sky, with not a single cloud to darken it. It was a reflection of Kurt's mood: he hadn't felt so happy and unconcerned as this in years. When he lowered his blue eyes again, he discovered they weren't the only ones moving in: there was another truck parked behind theirs. They were lowering a table and a couple of chairs under the attentive gaze of a young man that had his back to them. Kurt could see his dark, gelled hair and the outline of his shoulders covered in a black polo shirt, before he turned around. Kurt found himself looking into two beautiful hazel eyes but before he could inspect him anymore, Rachel's voice broke through his thoughts.
"Oh! Our first encounter with a neighbor!" She walked straight to him. The guy looked at her with raised eyebrows. Very triangular eyebrows. "Hello! My name is Rachel Berry, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Uhm, hi," he said, a bit confused, taking the hand she was offering him. "I'm Blaine, Blaine Anderson. Nice to meet you, too."
"Isn't moving day exciting? And we couldn't have asked for a better weather! Can you imagine dealing with all of this if it was raining? I'm so happy that we are…" Rachel kept talking, as Blaine seemed more and more dazed, his hand still caught in hers.
"Rachel," Kurt interrupted, tapping her on the shoulder. "You're scaring him. If you don't stop, he'll move right out of here."
Blaine looked at him with a grateful smile, his gaze lingering on him a bit longer than usual as Rachel retrieved her hand. Blaine offered his to Kurt immediately.
"Hey, I'm Blaine," he repeated and Kurt had to hold back a laugh. The guy was certainly adorable.
"So I've heard," he replied, a mischievous grin on his pink lips. "I'm Kurt."
"Kurt," Blaine echoed, as if he was testing the sound of it on his tongue.
Kurt noticed the other boy was a little shorter than him and very, very attractive. He was about to say something else when Rachel suddenly screamed, after one of the moving guys dropped a box to the ground, making the distinctive loud crash you hear when something fragile breaks.
"Oh my God, be careful!" Rachel said, walking away from Kurt and Blaine and towards the uninterested employee, who was already turning back to the truck. "That had better not be my Broadway records collection! I swear I'll cut you if you…"
Kurt didn't pay any more attention to her ranting. He was quite used to it by now.
"She's intense," Blaine observed. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"To say the least," he sighed as he leaned down to grab another box. Rachel was now yelling something that sounded a lot like you're lucky those were only kitchen supplies! while she kneeled next to the neglected box.
Blaine picked up a chair and followed Kurt inside as Rachel stayed behind, making sure her precious Broadway record collection was treated gingerly as required. They started climbing up the stairs in that awkward silence strangers share when they have no idea how to talk to each other, until Kurt couldn't take it anymore, so he said the first thing that came to his mind.
"So… which floor are you on? We're in 3B," he said, as they arrived at the third floor and pointed at the door.
"Really? I'm in 3C!" Blaine answered, a huge smile spread on his face, as he took the keys out of his back pocket. They reached Kurt and Rachel's apartment first, so Kurt went inside as Blaine walked to next door. Rachel came running up the stairs and into the living room with another box held tightly against her chest.
"All my Barbra things are in here, I wasn't going to leave it down there with those monsters for another minute," she explained when she saw Kurt frowning at her.
Over the years, Kurt had learnt to almost love his friend's antics, so he just smiled at her as he made his way outside again.
After what it seemed forever, all the boxes and the furniture were in the apartment. They had shared several more moments with Blaine as they all worked together, but he had much less stuff than them, so he finished faster. Finally, Rachel and Kurt closed the door behind them and looked at their living room, overrun with things to be unpacked. Without saying a single word, they both ignored them all and dropped onto the couch. Rachel rested her head on his shoulder.
"We're in New York," Kurt whispered after some minutes of silence.
"We're in our own apartment," she added in the same reverential tone.
"We're starting college in two weeks."
"We're going to start looking for jobs and auditioning for plays tomorrow."
"We're not in Lima anymore."
Kurt could feel tears stinging his eyes, but he wasn't going to cry. No more crying, he said to himself. You cried enough back in Ohio, now's your time to laugh, to smile, to be happy. It felt weird being here, knowing this was where he lived now, knowing he wasn't a kid anymore and he had to face life on his own. He already missed his dad, and Carole and…
"I miss Finn," Rachel muttered as if she had read his mind.
"I know," Kurt answered, holding her with one arm around her shoulders. "I'm sorry he decided to stay."
"When we started dating again last year, I already knew we were going separate ways eventually. I just didn't know it would hurt so badly," Rachel spoke much quieter now. It was obvious she was still affected by the fact Finn had decided to attend OSU and work with Burt at the garage. For a while, the prospect of him living in New York with her and Kurt had sounded wonderful. It had sounded possible. It had sounded like a dream come true.
But Finn was pursuing other ends, he wasn't interested in the fame and glory of Broadway like Rachel and Kurt were. He wanted to play football and be near his family and take some time to decide what he really wanted to become before taking such a big step.
"Maybe he'll come, someday," Kurt said, thoughtfully. "He's not like us, Rach, his dreams aren't the same as ours. We've always known what we wanted, but Finn was never as confident as we are."
"I guess," Rachel sighed again and then looked around the room with a tired expression. "We should really go back to work. We won't have much time to get this place ready if we want to get a job before classes start."
Kurt nodded. That was the plan. That was the reason they had gone to New York two weeks before classes actually began. Their parents were helping them financially as much as they could, but living in the big city wasn't cheap and if they wanted to stay there permanently, they needed jobs and they needed them soon.
Rachel already had a long list of auditions she wanted to attend and she was sure she could get a part easily. Kurt, on the other hand, though he had dreams just as big as hers, knew his voice wasn't for the conventional male leads, so he would have to settle for minor parts until the right opportunity came along. But as much as he loved performing, his heart was in fashion, and that's what he was going to study at FIT, while Rachel was going straight to Julliard.
They got back to work. Rachel started unpacking all the boxes as he moved the furniture around (yeah, it would have been great to have Finn there). Each of them had their own room and Rachel took all of her boxes to her own and Kurt's to his to clear space in the tiny living room. They talked about the changes in the apartment they wanted to make, promising to spend their first salaries on the apartment as soon as they got jobs, before breaking into song (it was a pretty cool version of For Good, considering Kurt sang his lines of the duet while pushing the couch against the far wall).
It was late afternoon when the apartment started looking quite decent. It still needed a lot of work and Kurt's bedroom was still a mess (he needed to hang his clothes in the closet stat). Rachel said she was going to go try to find a grocery store to buy some food so they could have a delayed lunch. Kurt took the opportunity to sit on the floor in his room, where he started opening some of his boxes.
The very first item he grabbed was a portrait. There was a woman smiling at him from an old picture, a woman with the same blue eyes he had and beautiful long hair. She was holding a baby in her arms, as if she were holding the most precious thing in the world. Kurt smiled sadly at his mom, wishing she could see him now, and how far he'd come, before setting the frame on the nightstand. The next picture he found was one of Burt, Carole, Finn and him taken just a few weeks ago. They had gone on a family vacation for the first time. His father looked so happy and Kurt couldn't remember the last time he had heard him laughing so much. He was glad that now that he was hours away from his dad, Burt still had people who loved him around. He was glad he still had a family to count on.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, he continued with the contents of the box. Most were his scrapbooks, pictures of his friends, letters and a couple of books that he couldn't fit in the box where he had put all his other books. When he was done, he moved to the next one and opened it. As soon as he took a glance inside, he knew something was wrong.
There was also a picture there, but he didn't recognize any of the people in it. It was a rather large group of boys all sitting together in a room with wooden walls and leather couches. They were all wearing uniforms, blue blazers and ties. Kurt frowned in confusion, wondering if it belonged to Rachel and if it did, where had she met all those guys. The mystery was solved when he found a not-too-familiar face looking back at him with a polite smile on his lips. The hazel eyes were friendly and he seemed very comfortable being surrounded by those boys. Friends, maybe?
Kurt knew he had to take the box over to Blaine's and explain to him that it must've gotten mixed up while both moving companies unloaded their trucks, but he bit his lower lip, fighting the curiosity. There was something about his new neighbor that demanded his attention. Kurt was done with having crushes on straight guys and he didn't need to start his new life with another heartbreak, so he decided he wouldn't let his thoughts wander towards Blaine in that way. But the guy was nice and maybe they could… become friends? At least trade a hello and a goodbye when they saw each other on the stairs?
Before he could stop himself, he started digging through the contents of the box. There were a couple of issues of a sports magazine, some CDs (Katy Perry? Seriously?), a cell phone charger and a notebook. He grabbed the notebook feeling slightly guilty. Just one page. That wouldn't hurt anyone, right?
Songs. Music. That's what Kurt found when he opened it to a random page. He didn't dare to read them (he imagined how he would feel if someone read something he wrote) but he didn't need to in order to know what it was. He closed the notebook and put everything back in the box. Picking it up, he made his way to the front door, deciding to return his belongings to Blaine so he could finish in his bedroom before Rachel came back, even though that sounded impossible. Just organizing his wardrobe was going to require a lot of time.
He opened the front door and held back a scream of surprise. Blaine was already there, his hand half raised in the air as if he had been caught just as he was going to knock. He also had a box in his arms.
"Oh, hey," Kurt said breathlessly.
"I see we both had the same problem," Blaine pointed towards his own box in Kurt's arms. "I knew something was wrong when I opened this up. I don't own that many scarves."
Kurt sighed in relief. His precious scarves. He would've died if he had lost them. "Yeah, and I've never worn a uniform to school," he showed him the framed picture on top. "You went to a private school?"
"Yeah, Dalton Academy," Blaine answered with a little nod.
"Dalton?" Kurt frowned, thoughtful. "Sounds familiar. Where is it?"
"In Westerville, Ohio?" Blaine offered.
"Are you kidding me? We're from Ohio, too!" He exclaimed, his voice suddenly rising too high. Blaine laughed and Kurt cleared his throat a bit embarrassed. "What are the odds, right?"
"I don't know, it's kind of weird," Blaine's smile was really beautiful. Kurt couldn't stop noticing it. It didn't mean he was attracted to him, though. It just meant he wasn't blind. "What part of Ohio do you guys come from?"
"Lima, we went to McKinley High," he answered.
"Oh, so that's where you and Rachel met?" Blaine asked.
"Yes, we were together in our school's Glee club for the last three years."
"I was in Glee club, too!"
They looked at each other with wide eyes before bursting into laughter. Kurt discovered Blaine's laugh was also beautiful… and then he pushed the thought away.
"Well, this is getting pretty weird, huh?" He commented, leaning against the door.
"You're right," Blaine agreed. He parted his lips to say something else, but Kurt's cellphone started ringing in his pocket.
With a little apologetic smile, Kurt put the box down and reached for the phone. He saw it was his dad calling and felt his heart warming inside his chest.
"It's my dad, I really need to take this," he said as he bit his lip regretfully. He really liked talking to Blaine.
"No problem, we can keep finding similarities another time," Blaine left Kurt's box on the floor and picked up his. He waved goodbye as Kurt took the call and walked back to his apartment.
"Hey, Dad!" Kurt said enthusiastically and then he got lost in the conversation, standing by the window to look outside as he told his father how the first day in New York had been. He looked at the buildings, the busy streets, the people walking around… it was all so full of life, he could feel so much freedom floating around in the air…
After hearing the latest news from his family (not much had happened in the last twenty four hours, Burt assured him, though Finn had managed to break the fence in the backyard playing football with Puck, so he was now grounded and expected to repair it himself the very next day), he went back to his bedroom, carrying the box of scarves with him and wondering, though it sounded improbable and kind of dumb, if he and Blaine had ever seen each other before back in Ohio. Kurt sighed; he was sure it didn't matter. None of what he had left behind, except for his friends and his family, mattered anymore.
Blaine closed the door behind him and set the box down on the floor. He sighed as he looked around at the empty, messy apartment. It was too empty and too messy, but he couldn't help feeling like he was finally home, and he hadn't felt that way since his graduation. He remembered the hallways of Dalton and the shared dorm room with much more love than he remembered any other place he had ever been. Here, he was free. Here, he could do whatever he wanted. Here, he still felt like a stranger, but he was used to it by now.
The silence seemed to float in the air, as if it was a tangible object, heavy and overwhelming. Blaine had a long history with silence. In his life, he had found that the wordless, soundless moments could be a blessing. It was better than listening to his dad yelling or his mom asking him to please stop what he was doing, what he was becoming. As if he had made a choice, like he had chosen to be a disappointment to everyone.
But now the silence didn't seem like a blessing. It was oppressive and uncomfortable. Blaine was in a brand new place all by himself and though that was the way he had wanted things to be, he still couldn't get over how lonely he was.
And then a voice broke through the silence, all the way from the other side of those paper thin walls. Kurt's voice. It was muffled and low and he couldn't make out any words, but it was him. The voice was unique and Blaine was sure he could hear it in the middle of a crowd and still recognize it. He felt his heart warming up a bit and a small smile graced his lips.
Blaine sat down on the floor and ten minutes later he was still just lying there, hazel eyes locked on the ceiling, listening to the murmurs that were slowly fading away. Kurt's conversation was dying down and then another voice broke into the silence, Rachel's. Both started talking and laughing…
Blaine closed his eyes, smiled and imagined a day in which he would feel as happy as they sounded.
That morning, just like every other morning since they had arrived, when Kurt woke up, Rachel was already gone so he didn't have to fight her for the bathroom. It seemed like a good sign for their much new life as roommates. He got in the shower, did his moisturizing routine and had a cup of coffee and then put on the outfit he had chosen the night before: black tight pants and a white dress shirt with his favorite pair of black shoes. He would've liked to add a scarf or a vest, but it was going to be a pretty hot day and the idea of sweating was too gross. He grabbed his messenger bag, checked himself in the mirror one last time and then went out the door.
Kurt was very realistic, he didn't have much work experience, except for some summers or weekends when he had helped Burt at the garage, so he knew getting a job wouldn't be a piece of cake. He decided to go to a couple of auditions, just to try it out and see what it was like but also apply to other jobs, less glamorous and more boring, but probably easier to get.
But he wasn't expecting to be turned down at eight different interviews on the same day, without even counting the two auditions that had been a disaster. And that made a total twenty three rejections that first week. He had hoped to get at least some positive feedback, but he couldn't remember anything but negative words coming out of his interviewers mouths.
It was nearly four in the afternoon when he walked back to his apartment that Friday. He was stressed out, tired and hungry and just wanted to lie down on the couch and complain to Rachel, just because he knew she would be telling him he was an idiot for feeling like this. They both knew it was going to be hard, they both knew it was going to take some time, but this was what they wanted. What they had been waiting and planning together for over a year. He should be grateful.
And Kurt was definitely grateful. He had just felt like he had to grow up in a couple of days, with the moving and all the new worries that entailed. He was opening his eyes to a brand new world and he was going to have to learn how to live in it the best he could.
Kurt was lost in this train of thought when he turned around the corner of his apartment and suddenly collided with someone. He was very close to face planting but caught himself in time, looking up at the huge guy he had run into. He was probably as tall as Finn, but he couldn't find any of his brother's kindness in his face. He smiled in apology.
"I'm sorry," he muttered gently.
"Look where you're going next time, you little twerp," the guy snapped as he tried to walk past Kurt, who was trying to evade him, so they were pretty much dancing awkwardly around each other without succeeding.
"I said I'm sorry, I didn't see you. There's no need to be so rude," Kurt answered, frowning, displeased.
"Shut up and move out of my way," the Finn-esque man raised a hand to shove him.
"Geez, why don't you…"
"Excuse me," another voice interrupted, and Kurt felt a hand on his elbow. He was pulled to the side to clear the path of the giant, who scowled at him. Kurt turned to look at Blaine, surprised. "No need to get into an argument, the sidewalk is big enough for all of us."
Sighing in annoyance, the guy walked away. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"What a moron," he muttered.
"He was way bigger than you, I thought it wasn't a good idea to see how much more annoyed he could get," Blaine explained and they started heading together to their building.
"I should thank you, I guess," Kurt admitted. "I was directing my frustration at the wrong guy."
"What happened? Why were you trying to get into a fight with a giant?" He asked, as he opened the door for Kurt.
"Bad day," Kurt rubbed his eyes, longing for a shower and an iced tea. And food. Any food. "I can't believe my first week as a real New Yorker was such a disappointment."
"Sorry to hear that. I'm sure it'll get better, though," Blaine smiled at him comfortably while they started climbing up the stairs. "Would you like to tell me about it?"
Kurt was searching for his keys in his messenger bag, so he didn't look up at Blaine as they stood next to their doors. "I really don't want to bore you with my… damn, where are those keys?"
"Maybe you forgot them when you left?" Blaine suggested. "Isn't Rachel home to open the door for you?"
"I don't know," Kurt answered. He knelt on the ground and started taking things out of his bag. Blaine looked at him, surprised. He had never seen anyone carry so many things around before (seriously, who had two hair spray cans in just one bag? How messy can your hair get?). Before Blaine could say anything else, Kurt was picking up his cellphone and dialing Rachel's number. It went straight to voicemail. "Great, her cellphone is off. She must be busy."
Blaine moved his weight from one foot to the other, a little uncomfortable and unsure. "Uhm… would you like to come into my apartment and wait for her there? Or maybe we can go back to the street and see if you dropped your keys on your way here?"
Kurt was now sitting on the floor, his eyes closed and his head back, against the door. "My shoes are killing me," he whined in a tiny voice.
Blaine couldn't help but smile. "Okay then, come on, you can wait with me for Rachel and you can take your shoes off."
He offered his hand to Kurt, who looked at it for a few seconds before actually taking it. They both felt the electricity running through their fingers, going up their arms and sending shivers down their spines. Blaine stopped breathing and looked down, while Kurt's eyes went wide as he looked at the other boy. Neither said anything, thinking the other hadn't noticed.
Blaine let go sooner than he would have liked to and searched for his own keys. He opened the door and let Kurt go in first. He pointed towards the living room.
Kurt walked in and looked around. It was exactly like his own apartment, but it seemed much emptier. Clearly Blaine wasn't done unpacking yet, because there were still a couple of boxes lying on the floor. He only had an hideously ugly couch, a small table with two chairs and a desk with a laptop on top of it.
"Make yourself at home. Would you like to have something to drink?" Kurt's stomach decided it would be an opportune moment to growl. "Or eat?" Blaine added, grinning.
"Please. I've only had two cups of coffee the entire day," he replied, blushing a bit because, hey, he didn't really know this guy (a guy who was very attractive, actually) and he was sitting on his couch, taking his shoes off and asking for something to eat.
"I have some pizza from last night, would that be okay?" Blaine offered after peeking into his fridge.
Kurt wouldn't normally agree to have pizza just like that, but he nodded enthusiastically this time. "That'd be great."
Blaine put some slices on a plate and poured two glasses of water before joining Kurt on the couch. "Sorry, I need to go grocery shopping."
"It's fine, I'd eat pretty much anything right now." Kurt bit the cold pizza and had to hold back a moan of satisfaction. It was really good. "I'd be glad to cook something for you once I can get back into my apartment again."
"Oh, don't worry about it."
They ate in silence for a few minutes and Kurt didn't really mind because he was pretty busy shoving pizza in his mouth. When he finished, he sighed in contentment, grabbed his glass of water and sat back against the back of the couch, watching Blaine wipe his hands on a napkin.
"So, you came to New York to study or…" Kurt said, curiously.
"Yeah, I'm starting at NYU," Blaine answered with a little smile. "I want to major in Music."
Kurt remembered the notebook with the songs he had found the previous day and wasn't surprised at all. "That's really good."
"I know, I'm very excited to start. I was considering Education for a while, but decided to give this a try first," Blaine explained.
"You'd like to be a teacher? That's impressive. I don't think I'd have the patience for it," Kurt said with a crooked smile and Blaine laughed softly.
"I like kids," he shrugged. He watched Kurt for a moment, both without saying another word. It was obvious that under that nonchalant surface, Kurt was still upset about something. "Do you want to tell me what made your first week in the city so terrible?"
Kurt took a long sip of water before answering. "I've been trying to get a job, but I don't think I'm good at dealing with rejection." He put the glass down, without looking at Blaine. "And that's actually really stupid, because I've been rejected my whole life, so I should be used to it already. I guess I was hoping New York would be different from Lima."
"It's just your first week here, thing's will eventually pick up," Blaine said, his head slightly tilted to the side, looking at Kurt with interest.
"Probably. But… you know, it just got me down," Kurt shrugged and decided he didn't want to talk about it. "What about you? Do you work or…?"
"I do," Blaine said, standing up to take the dirty dishes and glasses over to the kitchen sink. "I know one of the teachers in NYU and she knew I was going to need a job when I got here, and she pulled some strings for me, so I work at the university's library. That's why I came here two weeks earlier."
Kurt also stood up to help, but Blaine stopped him with a meaningful look, so he just started walking around the living room, looking at the still packed boxes. The one he had returned to him was there, still open, the picture from Blaine's classmates catching his attention again.
Drying his hands on a kitchen cloth, Blaine stood beside him, both of them looking at the image. Kurt noticed the smile on his face wasn't very joyful anymore, so he put the portrait down and leaned against the desk to look at him. "Memories?"
"Lots of them," Blaine picked the frame up again and put in on the corner of the desk, displaying the picture almost proudly. "Dalton is a boarding school. I lived with most of those guys for years. They were my family and I'll miss them. We're scattered all around the country now."
"That sucks," Kurt pointed out. He crossed his arms over his chest. "So, you don't know anyone in New York?"
"Not really," Blaine replied. His voice had gone softer so Kurt wondered if had struck a nerve there. He decided to change the subject immediately.
"Well, since I'm here and you have to put up with me until Rachel comes back, do you want me to help you unpack?"
"Oh, it's really not necessary, you shouldn't…"
"I must say I'm very organized and I have amazing decorating skills, so you shouldn't decline that quickly," Kurt interrupted, cocking up an eyebrow. Blaine's smile was warmer again.
The smaller boy sighed in defeat. "Fine, since you insist…"
Both started working together, making small talk (I went to this amazing café when we came here for Nationals last year, you just have to go someday or this place would look so much better with a light green color on the walls) and just killing time without actually feeling awkward or bored. They soon found out how easy it was to talk to each other, how many things they had in common and how much each enjoyed the other's company. Two strangers bonding over the simplest things.
Kurt soon noticed the Dalton boys' picture was the only one Blaine had. There was an complete lack of photographs showing family members or girlfriends. It seemed as if all the objects coming out of the boxes were nothing personal, as if they had no value attached to them. Random stuff Blaine had thrown in there to carry around with him, but all of them things he could get rid of without a second glance. It made Kurt felt unexpectedly uneasy.
Looking for the right words, he opened up his mouth to ask about it, when his cellphone started ringing inside his messenger bag. He quickly walked back to the couch where he had left it to answer.
"Hi," he said as soon as he saw Rachel's name on the screen.
"Hi, Kurt! I'm almost home, are you there yet?" She asked.
"Not really. I'm at Blaine's. I lost my key and couldn't get in, so I'm here waiting for you," he explained.
"Oh well, I'm coming up the stairs, see you in a minute!" And with that she hung up.
Kurt shoved the phone into his bag again. "She's here already."
"Great, well, thanks for helping me with this," Blaine smiled and looked around the room. All the boxes were unpacked; he only had to put everything in its place.
"No, thank you for letting me hang out here while I waited. It's been nice," Kurt admitted, feeling the blush coming up his cheeks. Why was he even blushing, though? He was such an idiot. "We should have dinner. You know, together. As a thank you."
Blaine, surprisingly, also blushed. "Oh, there's no need, really, it was my…"
"Please? At my place? Tomorrow?" Kurt looked at him with deep blue eyes and Blaine felt his heart melting at the sight. He knew right there and then that he wouldn't ever be able to say no to that boy.
"Okay, that sounds fun," Blaine agreed as he walked Kurt to the door. They smiled to each other until noise from the hallway caught their attention. He opened up the door to find Rachel putting her own keys into the lock. "Hey, Rachel."
"Well, hello there, Blaine! It's so nice to see you again. Thanks for taking care of my boy while I was gone," she directed him a dazzling smile as Kurt went to join her.
"No problem," he answered with a nod. "See you tomorrow."
Kurt watched the door closing as Blaine disappeared behind it. He told his heart he shouldn't be this excited, but the crazy rhythm pounding against his chest seemed to think otherwise.
This wasn't a date. At all. But Blaine felt as nervous as if it was. Maybe it was because Kurt was the most beautiful boy he had ever seen and every time those stunning blue eyes locked on to him, Blaine felt his heart doing this funny syncopated thing and his whole world seemed to stop...
"This is ridiculous," he said to his reflection in the mirror as he washed the rest of the shaving cream off his chin. "Don't be ridiculous, Blaine. Having a crush on him is the last thing you need right now. You have enough on your plate..."
Sighing in frustration with himself, Blaine left the bathroom. He was used to being annoyed with himself. It was a common thing for him, especially growing up with his parents, who never had anything nice to say about their son. Or at least for the last few years of their relationship. A relationship that didn't exist anymore. He had no family now.
Blaine couldn't understand why that made him feel so bad. He was better off, right? He didn't need a mother who looked at him with disgust, a mother who had stopped talking to him when he was fourteen years old, except when it was strictly necessary. He didn't need a father who called him every name in the book, who had told him he was glad he had gotten beaten up, that everyone should beat him until he stopped being such an abomination. Those weren't real parents, right? Those people shouldn't be allowed to have kids at all.
He needed to stop thinking about them. He had a new life and, as hard as it was, this was better. There was no way he was gonna let thoughts and memories of them ruin what he could have now.
Blaine walked into his bedroom and searched through his still unpacked suitcase for some clean clothes to put on. He needed to buy lots of furniture for the apartment. He didn't have a bed, so he slept on a mattress on the floor. He didn't have a closet to hang his clothes in; Blaine had been given a certain amount of time to get the hell out of the Anderson household and he hadn't managed to gather many of his belongings before his dad was closing the front door in his face. He had spent a couple of nights at his friend David's house and, as humiliated as he felt, he had accepted some money from him so he could move to New York. David's mom even told him he could take anything from the basement he might find useful. Those were the few pieces of furniture he had scattered around the apartment. And here he was now, pretty much broke, completely unused to this kind of lifestyle, but feeling relieved. Because he wasn't caged anymore and even though life was hard, at least he was free to live it.
Blaine knew very well he didn't have a chance with Kurt, but they could be friends and that's all he needed for now. He just needed to feel less alone and he had to admit the other boy's company was more than pleasant.
He walked out of his apartment and knocked on the next door. The smell of cooking flooded the hallway and Blaine's stomach growled in anticipation. After a week surviving on pizza and fast food, this would be a nice change. Blaine smiled, waiting to see those amazing blue eyes as the door opened.
But he was met with Rachel's huge grin.
"Blaine! Welcome, please come in," she said as she grabbed his elbow and forced him inside.
"Uhm, thanks, Rachel," he mumbled, hesitant, while she closed the door. The girl was wearing a dress that seemed vintage, vintage as in, from her grandmother.
"We are so excited to have you here for dinner," Rachel continued, as she guided him to the couch. "You're our very first guest."
Blaine felt his heart sinking a bit in his chest, but he didn't allow himself to feel disappointed over the fact that Rachel would be there too. It didn't really matter, he remembered, because this wasn't a date.
"Can I offer you something to drink? Though no alcohol, of course. We've had a very bad experience during a party in our junior year and since then..."
"Rach, why don't you let Blaine breathe a little and stop scaring him?" The beautiful voice came from the kitchen door and Blaine turned to find Kurt leaning against the frame, wearing a red apron, his hair perfectly styled, dressed in red skinny pants and white top. He looked amazing and that apron looked adorable on him. "Excuse her, Blaine. She doesn't know how annoying she is. She should by now, considering the number of times I've told her so over the years."
"It's fine," Blaine laughed softly, his hazel eyes unable to look away from the other boy. "Something smells really good."
"Thanks. I hope you like vegan food, because that's all we eat thanks to Rachel," Kurt forced a smile towards the girl.
"I thought you were a health freak, Kurt. What's healthier than vegan food?" Rachel protested.
"She's got a point," Kurt sighed. "Anyway, we are having quinoa and kale rollups with salad."
"I have no idea what that is, but sounds good enough for me," Blaine said without losing his smile. Rachel mumbled something about going to get their guest something to drink. She passed Kurt in the doorway and he moved to let her go by. He approached Blaine with a conspirtional look on his face.
"I have some chicken in the freezer if you don't like the rollups," Kurt whispered. "I do like healthy food and vegan recipes are great, but she's kind of over the top."
Blaine laughed, loving the way the other boy was now so close he could smell his cologne.
"I'd eat whatever you put on my plate, I'm not very picky, especially since I've been eating nothing but McDonald's for the last few days," Blaine answered.
"Oh, God, don't let Rachel hear you or she will tell you the ten thousand reasons why you shouldn't support the evil clown," Kurt said and Blaine laughed again and just being there with him was so nice. "Though I have to admit I hate McDonald's too. It's unhealthy and it could kill you."
"Probably, but I'd die happy with a BigMac," Blaine muttered and shut up just in time because Rachel came back with two cans of soda.
Kurt went back to the kitchen to check on dinner while Rachel did her best to entertain Blaine, who was wishing she didn't try so hard. Why was it so difficult to just have a normal conversation? It seemed like the girl liked to make of all her actions an event. Kurt left the door opened and tried to join in the conversation as much as he could. Blaine enjoyed the little tickles he felt on his skin every time he heard the other boy's voice, but he knew it was wrong. So, so wrong.
Soon, he found himself envious of the lovely and natural relationship between Kurt and Rachel and wondered if he'd ever have something like that. It was obvious they were happy together; no matter how many times Kurt told Rachel she was annoying, how many times he criticized the dress she was wearing. At the end of the day, they made each other laugh and that's what it was really important.
They moved to the kitchen when the dinner was ready and sat at the small table. Blaine could swear his knees were touching Kurt's under it and he forced himself to maintain a blank expression on his face.
He didn't know if it was because he was just too infatuated with Kurt or what, but the food was actually delicious and Kurt seemed to smile even wider when Blaine made very approving noises.
Their conversation was centered on the classes they would all be taking soon, which ones sounded interesting and which ones were destined to be a pain in the ass. Rachel had something to add to every comment and though Blaine had the feeling he should find her more annoying, he actually thought she was sort of adorable, like a little child trying to get some attention after being neglected by her full time working parents all week. He knew how Ohio could be: maybe being Broadway musical fanatics as Kurt and Rachel were meant that no one really cared about what they had to say. But it only took a second after Blaine admitted that he loved Wicked to be deluged by a dozen different explanations on why she could be an outstanding Elphaba. Kurt just listened to her with an endearing look in his blue eyes. Blaine nodded and tried not to think about the knee bumping against his every time Kurt shifted in his spot.
"What about your family, Blaine? Do you have any siblings?" Rachel asked, the sudden change of subject hitting him like a bucket of ice cold water splashing on his face. "I'm an only child, you know, so I've always been curious about the functionality of..."
Blaine wasn't really listening anymore. He was working so hard to create an oasis for him, a place where his ghosts and regrets couldn't haunt him anymore... and just a few words from Rachel sent him right back into those dark memories he was trying to fight back.
"Rachel," Kurt's voice was firm and emotionless, but it was also sort of sharp and Blaine didn't dare look up at him. "You're talking too much, sweetie. I think Blaine is getting a little dizzy."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that," Rachel answered, clearly concerned.
"It's fine," Blaine assured her, smiling.
"Would you mind if you cleared up the dishes while Blaine and I go to buy some ice cream for dessert? I saw a place just a few blocks away and I want to try it," Kurt proposed and Blaine just had to look at him now. Kurt was calm and acting very gently, but the warning in his blue eyes was evident not only to Rachel, but also to Blaine.
"Sounds lovely. Maybe we can all watch a movie when you guys come back," she said as she stood up and started moving the dirty dishes to the sink. Kurt turned to Blaine.
"I'm always on board for some ice-cream," Blaine said before Kurt had the chance to ask any questions.
Kurt grabbed his keys and they went out of the apartment. Both boys climbed down the stairs without saying a word until they were in the street.
"I'm sorry about Rachel. She can be a little intense, but she doesn't mean to be rude," Kurt whispered, looking down at his shoes.
"Don't worry about it, she's great," Blaine answered, with a dismissive gesture of the hand.
"Oh, but I know you probably don't think that right now. Believe me, I hated her when I first met her. We only became friends in the last year and a half of high school." Kurt was walking close to him and the smooth summer breeze was playing with his hair, which he didn't seem to notice. His scent enveloped Blaine and he had to close his eyes to remain calm. Why was Kurt so amazing? Why was he so fascinated with the boy?
"I think she's nice, really," Blaine insisted. "I'm having a great night, so don't apologize. It's so nice to have someone to talk to," Blaine hated himself as soon as the words came out of his mouth. Oh shit, did I sound needy?
"You don't know anyone in the city at all?" Kurt asked, curiously. He had already asked him that the previous day, but he figured that the boy had to at least know someone from work. It was too sad to be there all by himself.
"No," Blaine replied. "Well, my friend Wes' sister is that teacher I told you about, the one working at NYU, but we're not exactly close. We get along really well and she's very sweet, but I've only seen her a couple of times."
A shiver ran all over Kurt. He crossed the arms over his chest. "It's very chilly here at nights. Sometimes I forget I'm not in Ohio anymore."
"Are you cold?" Blaine asked and, without waiting for a response (or without really thinking, actually), he unbuttoned the cardigan he was wearing. "Here, I'm okay."
"Oh." Kurt looked at him with wide blue eyes. "No, no, no, I'm alright, you don't have to..."
"Take it, Kurt," he insisted. The other boy hesitated for another second before shyly accepting the cardigan. He put it on, his porcelain cheeks blushing cherry red.
"Thank you," he mumbled and they walked in silence for a few minutes.
Oh, God, what did I do? Blaine thought and the temptation to face-palm was almost too hard to resist. What am I doing? This is not okay. Straight guys don't offer their clothes to other straight guys. He's going to discover I'm gay, he'll notice I'm crushing on him and it'll freak him out.
He dared to look at Kurt very quickly. The boy didn't seem upset at all. He seemed deep in thought, but mostly relaxed. Blaine wished he'd say something just so he could stop the rush of possible excuses going around and around in his head.
"You know," Kurt started and Blaine stopped breathing. Here it comes, he said to himself. "This cardigan is kind of ruining my outfit."
Blaine blinked a couple of times, confused, before glancing down at what Kurt was wearing. His cardigan was green.
"Uhm," he wasn't very sure what to say. "It looks a little Christmas-y."
Kurt laughed. Oh, God, his laugh. It sent warmth straight to his heart.
"Oh, well, I've always liked Christmas," he smiled before turning around a corner and pointing at their destination.
"The ice-cream is on me," Blaine said as they entered through glass doors. "You guys paid for dinner, so it's only fair. Don't dare arguing with me."
"Okay," Kurt agreed, as he eyed the list of flavors. "I normally wouldn't eat chocolate ever, because it goes to the hips, but I'll have you know chocolate chip ice-cream is one of my many guilty pleasures."
Blaine smiled without answering. Just thinking about any other possible guilty pleasures Kurt could have made him feel a little lightheaded.
Once Kurt decided on what he would get for Rachel, Blaine paid and they walked back to the apartment, the bags with the ice cream in their hands, as they talked about the city they already loved with all their hearts. Blaine resisted a million times the desire to reach out and grab Kurt's hand. It was a perfect night and a perfect new start and he wasn't going to ruin it.
Few things changed during the next couple of days. Kurt and Rachel were still struggling to get a job (she wasn't too desperate yet, so she was still quite picky about the places she decided to apply to and she mostly did only auditions) and getting ready to start their classes. They were both incredibly excited: they had been waiting for years to learn something they could find interesting and useful (not that Algebra, Spanish and History weren't useful - definitely not interesting -, but it had absolutely nothing to do with what they wanted to become, unless they had to step on a stage and recite the capitals of African countries or how to conjugate verbs in a foreign language). Rachel was majoring in Drama at Julliard and was constantly murmuring which amazing parts she would be able to play once she could refine her acting skills better (and she was also convinced she could have that down by next semester. Kurt perfected his eye-rolling a lot during those days). Kurt couldn't blame her for her enthusiasm: he was also excited about starting; he would stay up until late hours every night sketching outfits and dreaming of the day he could actually create them and see them modeled on the runways.
Blaine became a familiar feature at their apartment at least once a week for dinner and a movie. The boy always seemed shy and tired, but polite and charming anyway. Kurt found himself staring at him when Blaine wasn't looking and had to force his fascinated brain to stop being so stupid and think about something that wasn't those really stunning hazel eyes or the way Blaine moved his hands while he talked. Which he didn't do much. Blaine was a great listener (something Rachel simply loved about him) but not much of a talker. Even after a few more dinners with him, they didn't know much more about the boy.
When the first day of classes finally arrived, the three of them were a mix of excitement and nerves. Kurt walked into his first class with a huge smile on his face and his hand tightly gripping the strap of his messenger bag. Through the day, the smile began to fall and the fear began to take over. Everyone was so talented and the atmosphere was so competitive. Kurt couldn't remember one conversation he had with any of his classmates that didn't remind him of one of those shows on the Discovery Channel in which one lion is figuring out the best way to ambush another. The fashion industry was a really competitive, difficult one and getting in wasn't easy. Kurt had been confident about his talent and his ambition his entire life and this really wasn't the best time to start freaking out, but he couldn't help it.
By the time he made it home that first night, he wasn't so sure about anything anymore. Kurt knew he needed time to adjust, but it was the very first time he panicked and considered the possibility of not making it. What would he do if he wasn't good enough to design? What would he do if he could never get a part on Broadway? Well, he thought bitterly, as a shiver went down his spine, there's always dad's garage.
Rachel was already home and she didn't look any better than him. In fact, Kurt's alarm went off when he saw her in her pajamas, hugging a rather hideous teddy bear Finn had gotten her at a fair last year and with a bottle of wine on the coffee table in front of her. Where she had gotten the wine was a mystery to Kurt.
Sharing a glass of the purplish liquid, they told each other about their day as they waited for their Chinese food to arrive. Apparently, according to one of Rachel's new teacher's, she needed to work on her stage presence a lot because her emotions didn't seem believable.
That first week was really tough, between the classes, getting used to the idea that they would need to work even harder than what they had originally expected and the job hunting they still hadn't given up on. By the time Saturday night arrived, Blaine came over for dinner and, though he looked really exhausted, he was the only one who seemed still immensely enthusiastic about his classes. They shared a vegan pizza (Kurt even agreed to eat it on the couch instead of in the kitchen, sitting at the table like normal human beings) and they popped up Moulin Rouge on the DVD. When the movie ended, Kurt was the only one who hadn't drifted off to sleep (Rachel was snoring softly on his left shoulder, Blaine was warm and close enough on his right side that he could just scoot over a bit and have him pressed up against him) and, strangely, at that quiet time of the night, with his high school best friend and the guy he had met only a few weeks ago, Kurt knew that it didn't matter how hard things might get. They could all get through it and they could achieve whatever they wanted because they really wanted it. The city, the only thing that didn't sleep around him, the only thing that seemed to keep going non-stop, was a proof of it. He was there. He had left Lima and gotten to New York.
Kurt Hummel could do anything; he just needed to figure out how.
"I need you to get me a date with him."
Surprised, Kurt looked away from his reflection on the mirror, where he was attentively studying his own face to make sure he was applying the moisturizing lotion correctly. Rachel, already in her pink pajamas, was standing in the doorway.
"I'm sorry?" He asked, confused.
"Blaine. I need you to get me a date with Blaine," she explained as if she were talking to a three year old.
"Why?" Kurt didn't mean to sound so scandalized, so he cleared his throat and tried to pretend he wasn't.
"Because he's cute and smart? Do you really need a reason?" Rachel sat down on his bed.
"Oh, Rach, I don't think you're his type," he held back a smile and put the caps back on all his lotions.
"Why not? Is it because I'm not that pretty? You know, Kurt, I'd never thought you'd judge me like this after all we..."
"Rachel, I think he's gay," Kurt said as he turned around to face his friend and stop her angry rant. "It's not that you're not pretty, it's just that he doesn't play for your team."
"That's absurd, he's not gay!" The girl sounded almost offended by the idea.
"And how do you know that?" Kurt was starting to lose his patience very quickly.
"Because I don't get any funny gay vibes from him, my gaydar is completely quiet when he's with us."
Kurt had to laugh. He just had to. He really loved Rachel, but she was utterly ridiculous sometimes. "Rachel, sweetie, you don't have a gaydar. You're not gay."
"So? My dads are gay, I know about this stuff," she shrugged and Kurt made his way to the bed. "Please? I think he could help me get over Finn."
Kurt sighed and rolled his eyes. He hated seeing Rachel still depressed about her, once again, failed relationship with Finn. But why Blaine? He was sure there were thousands of other guys in New York she could date. Why the cute neighbor Kurt was currently crushing on? It didn't matter he had no chance with him. Blaine was probably straight, after all. But what if he and Rachel started dating? Then they'd be together all the time and Kurt would feel terrible and he'd have to see them kissing and hugging and...
Rachel pouted. "Look, just one date, okay? I just want to see if I have a shot there."
"And why can't you ask him out yourself? Why do I have to do it?" Kurt whined, burying his face in the pillow.
"Because you obviously get along with him, you know him better than I do."
"That's not even true. I barely know the guy," Kurt protested.
"Anyway, that's not important. Will you help me or not? You just have to talk to him and ask him if he would like to go out with me," Rachel forced him to turn around until she could look into his eyes. "I'll owe you one."
Kurt growled, annoyed. "Fine. You'll owe me a big one. As big as that new scarf from Marc Jacobs I liked so much."
"As soon as I find a job, I'll buy you one in each color," Rachel smiled brightly and hugged him tight before jumping off the bed to leave the room.
Kurt fell into his pillow again and sighed in frustration. Having friends had never been so hard.
With the beginning of classes, everything was chaos. Students constantly came to the library to research information for their essays and other assignments and the place was always buzzing with activity, despite the silence that floated around it, a type of silence Blaine was already too familiar with. Piles of returned textbooks were waiting on the counter for him to put them back in their places on the right shelves. Blaine knew he'd have to stay for a couple more hours if he wanted to have everything done. This job was already consuming more time than he initially planned, but Blaine was beginning to understand the income he'd get from it wasn't enough to survive. He'd have to get a second job.
He had no idea how he'd do it. He was scheduled for class four days a week, the job at the library took five hours from Monday to Friday and he knew he had lots of things to study. Blaine was starting to freak out. Maybe he had dreamed too big.
He had been arriving home quite late during the past week and a half and hadn't seen Kurt or Rachel since their dinner two Saturdays ago. He had been looking forward to the weekend, thinking he could ask them to join him for dinner or maybe go out for a coffee or something, but the idea was starting to vanish as he thought he should spend his free time looking for another job. Maybe one with a night shift? Or something for Saturdays and Sundays only?
You're not here to make friends, he said to himself sadly, as the silence around him seemed to get even more oppressive. You're here to build the life you were told you couldn't have. You're here to heal, Blaine. You'll have plenty of time for everything else once things get better. Once you have enough money to buy food and not starve to death.
He had a terrible headache by the time he was good to go. He put on his jacket, grabbed his bag and took the subway back home. He walked the few blocks to the building breathing deeply, hoping the fresh air would help. It was already dark outside and he was trying to remember how much money he got left in his wallet and if it would be enough to order some Chinese food.
Blaine was just about to reach his apartment when the door besides him suddenly opened up and he almost collided with Kurt, who was going out.
"Oh, hey!" The boy said enthusiastically. "I haven't seen you in a few days, how are you?"
"Great," Blaine lied. "You?"
"I'm fine. I was just going to meet Rachel, she got a job as the assistant of a Broadway director and we're celebrating!" He answered, that beautiful smile of his gracing his lips. "Would you like to come? We'll probably grab some dinner or something. She mentioned some of the cast from the play will be there, so it could be fun!"
"That's awesome, I'm happy for her," Blaine smiled a bit, too, as he took his keys out of his bag. "But I think I'll pass. I had a long day and I just want to relax."
"Oh," did Kurt seem genuinely disappointed? Blaine shook that thought out of his head as soon as it happened. "Are you okay? Did something happen?"
"No, everything's great," he said without looking at Kurt. "Just tired."
"Alright," Kurt sounded hesitant but he instantly recovered the enthusiastic tone. "Maybe we could make plans for the weekend," he proposed.
"I'll have to let you know. There's a chance I will have to work," Blaine answered, leaning against the doorframe. He wanted to keep talking to Kurt, he wanted to hear that amazing voice all night. "But I'd love to."
"That actually reminds me..." Kurt sighed and rolled his eyes. "I wanted to talk to you, but I didn't have the chance, so... Anyway, I was wondering if you were interested in having a date."
Blaine frowned, confused. "A date?"
"Yeah, Rachel said she always has a great time with you and she wanted to know if maybe you could go grab something for dinner, but just the two of you this time." Kurt rolled his eyes again. Blaine, on the other hand, was speechless.
He stared at the other boy in silence for a few seconds.
"Ehm, let me see if I got this straight," he mumbled at last. "You're asking me if I want to go out on a date with your girlfriend?"
"Yes, I'm..." Kurt stopped talking and looked at Blaine with wide eyes. "Wait, what?"
"You and Rachel. You said you're together since high school and..."
"Oh my God!" Kurt started laughing hysterically. "Oh my God!"
Blaine crossed his arms over his chest. "What's so funny?
"You!" Kurt had to hold himself against the wall. He had tears in his eyes. "Did you really think Rachel was my girlfriend?"
"Well, yeah," Blaine shrugged. "You never said she wasn't."
"I'm gay, Blaine," Kurt said and Blaine felt all the air in his lungs evaporating. "I love her, but I wouldn't date her even if she was the last girl on Earth, because I like boys."
Tell him you're gay too, tell him and ask him out, Blaine's heart screamed, but his brain wouldn't let him. Where would he take Kurt? He could barely pay his rent and if he had been interested, he would have shown it somehow already. They had been alone a couple times and not once Kurt seemed to like him that way. No, Blaine liked him too much and he'd rather have him as a friend than not having him at all. The city was already lonely enough to risk this too.
Kurt was checking the time on his phone. "I'm running late," he muttered. He gave him another bright smile. "Listen, Blaine, just think about it and if you'd like to go out with her, let her know. I'll see you later!"
"Have... fun," Blaine whispered, but Kurt was already disappearing down the stairs. He stayed in the middle of the hallway, blinking stupidly and trying to understand what had just happened.
The boy he liked was gay, thought he was straight and was trying to set him up with his friend. Wasn't his life complicated enough?
Despite the fact that his week had been exhausting and he had stayed up quite late the night before celebrating with Rachel, Kurt woke up pretty early that Saturday morning and decided he couldn't stand to see the apartment in the condition it currently was. He needed color in his life, he needed to live in a place that was at least slightly stylish. So after he completed his morning routine and read the note Rachel left him in the kitchen before leaving for her first day (several golden star stickers all over the paper), he grabbed the keys of his Navigator and drove to the hardware store. He missed driving his car. He hadn't been using it because moving around New York was easier if he took the subway, but it felt nice to be behind the wheel for a change.
He invested in a few cans of paint (after hours of consulting the colors sample catalogue to find the perfect combination) for the living room and the kitchen. He wished he could go furniture and accessories shopping, but that would have to wait until they were more stable financially.
He had chosen really cheerful colors, intending to make the apartment look much more full of life. The living room walls would be a delicate purple shade and the kitchen a very intense red. Kurt could see the final results in his head and he knew he had made the right choices and that Rachel would approve. He was the one with impeccable taste, after all.
Once he moved the things that were in his way aside and he covered the furniture with old sheets to keep them from getting stained, and changed his clothes into an old t-shit with his dad's garage logo on it and a pair of baggy jeans he never really liked, Kurt started working, as some music played in the background. He sang along, dancing around while he worked, as if all of his actions were part of a very tight choreography. It was kind of refreshing to be busy like this, to get the chance to be creative somehow. After another week of pointless job interviews (he was sure he'd explode the next time he heard the words thank you for coming, we'll be in touch) and arduous classes, this was a nice change. He felt useful and his mind was too focused on what he was doing to worry about anything else. He just needed to remember, when he'd start to feel down again, that his time would come. Rachel had gotten a job after countless auditions and interviews and so would he, eventually.
He was finishing with the first wall and ready to move on to the second one when there was a knock on the door. Kurt frowned. Rachel had told him she'd be home late. He wasn't expecting to find a dazed looking Blaine at his doorway, dressed in a pair of sweatpants and a ratty t-shit.
"Blaine, hi!" He said joyfully, a smile tugging at his lips.
"You... You have a beautiful voice," was Blaine's breathy greeting and Kurt felt himself blushing furiously.
"Oh, God, did you hear me? I'm sorry, was I being too loud?" He asked, embarrassed.
"No, not at all," Blaine answered immediately. Then he seemed to realize what he was doing and he covered his face with his hand. "Your voice is really beautiful, I just... I'm sorry I interrupted, I don't even know why I did it."
"It's fine, I don't mind," Kurt's smile was back and he shrugged a bit. "Thanks. I know I don't have a very conventional voice, but..."
"It's amazing, you sound like an…" Blaine cut himself off before the word angel could slip though his lips. He cleared his throat and looked at the very unusual choice of outfit that Kurt was wearing. "What are you doing?"
"Painting the living room," Kurt moved aside to let Blaine in. "I was tired of seeing those boring, sad white walls."
"Do you need any help?" Blaine offered with a smile.
"Sure," Kurt picked up the brush he had been using before turning back to look at Blaine. "Hey, I thought you had to work today?"
"Not really. I was actually planning to go to…" Blaine looked around, evidently avoiding his eyes. "It doesn't matter. It's complicated."
Kurt frowned. What could be so complicated about that? Blaine was like a box full of mysteries sometimes and all he wanted to do was unravel him. But why was Blaine so quiet and reserved? On the few occasions they talked, he had never mentioned anything personal. He didn't mention his family, his job, his plans for college, except what he was intending to major in.
"You can tell me, if you need to talk to someone," Kurt said softly because, well, maybe Blaine was just shy, right?
"I'd rather not," Blaine answered, maybe too soon. He tried to change the subject. "Is Rachel working?"
Kurt wasn't very happy. He knew he couldn't force Blaine to tell him anything or to see him as a friend, but… wait, why was he even bothering? "Are you here to see her?"
"No, I was just wondering…" Blaine took another paintbrush and started painting alongside Kurt.
"Are you going to go out with her?" Kurt asked before he could stop himself. He cursed inside and he would have hit his head against the wall if it wasn't freshly painted.
"No, I'm not," Blaine said calmly. "She's really lovely, but… I'm not interested in her that way."
"Oh, God, it's because of the things I said about her, isn't it? I didn't mean it when I said she was pushy and intense and annoying. I mean, she is, but she's so much more than just that. She's so sweet and kind once you get to know her, and you know, Rachel would…"
"I'm sure you're right," Blaine interrupted him, moving his hands in front of him to stop his rant. "And she's very… uhm, pretty. But I just see her as a friend. I like her as a friend."
Kurt sighed. "Well, I guess I'll tell her when she comes home."
"I should talk to her, probably," Blaine said thoughtfully.
"To be honest, I don't even know how I got involved in this. It's all so elementary school," Kurt rolled his eyes as he painted a long, neat line of purple on the wall.
"She could've slipped a note under my door," Blaine added with a smile, which Kurt slowly and lazily returned.
"Yeah, probably. Don't judge her over this, though. She and my brother broke up before we came here and I suppose Rachel's not managing to get over it very well," Kurt explained, in that same voice he always used he was talking about Finn and Rachel's relationship. It was almost as ridiculous as a soap opera. He had lost count of all the dramas, break ups and make ups they had shared over the past few years. "She thought it might be good for her to start dating again."
"Well, I'm not the best choice, actually," Blaine rolled his eyes. Their elbows accidentally brushed. Kurt felt the shiver running down his spine, but he ignored it.
"Why would you say that? You're a great guy," he replied, seconds before he wanted to kick himself. What was he doing? What was he saying? Would Blaine think he was flirting with him? Would he think he was predatory? Oh, shit, I'm predatory.
"You don't really know me," Blaine whispered, probably more to himself than to Kurt, but he heard anyway and he didn't like the way he said it. What was Blaine hiding? What was it he was so afraid to say? "Besides, I'm gay."
It took both of them by surprise. Blaine wasn't expecting to say it, but his brain must have gotten short-circuited after that burning sensation he got when his skin touched Kurt's. Damn, I can't take that back now, can I?
Kurt dropped the paintbrush to the floor. Purple dots ended up staining the sheet covering the couch, the still unpainted wall and Blaine's shirt. He felt his jaw gape and his mouth open, trying to articulate words but, what was he supposed to say? The air had evaporated from his lungs and his blue eyes were so wide it was almost painful.
"Whoa, I don't even know why I said that," Blaine avoided the situation by studying the stains on his shirt. "This is never going to come out."
"I'm sorry," Kurt mumbled quickly because, hell, he didn't care about the stupid shirt. "Why didn't you tell me you were gay?"
"Uhm, I'm not sure. You didn't tell me either," he accused.
"I didn't think you were so oblivious!" Kurt threw his hands up in the air. "The first assumption anyone makes about me, is that I'm gay. I kind of give off that vibe."
"Well, that didn't really occur to me. I didn't think I could be so…" Blaine cut himself off again and finally looked at Kurt, confused.
"What?" Kurt tilted his head to the side. It was adorable.
"Nothing," I didn't think I could be so lucky to even have the slightest chance with you. I didn't think it was even possible you could like me instead of girls. "Should we get back to painting?"
Kurt smiled very slowly but moved very quickly. He didn't even know what he was doing, or why he was doing it, or how would Blaine react, especially after he had told him something that was obviously very difficult for him to say. But he felt like he needed to lighten the mood a bit, he needed to hear Blaine laughing, he wanted to erase that frown from his beautiful face.
So he planted the paintbrush right on Blaine's cheek, covering it in purple.
"Hey!" Blaine exclaimed, taking a step back to get away from him. "I meant the walls!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, you should be more specific," Kurt teased, biting his lower lip.
"So that's how this is going to be?" Blaine couldn't hold back the smirk as he painted Kurt's arm with way too much paint, which started to drip down to his fingers and the floor. "Now we are even."
"No, we are not!" Kurt lifted his arm and tried to grab Blaine, who started running away from him and tried to save his ass by hiding in the kitchen, but Kurt followed before he could close the door. The laughter from the two boys was already filling the apartment.
"Don't… Kurt, don't!" Blaine held his hands in front of him in a pathetic attempt to stop Kurt from advancing towards him. "We're not kids, we can discuss this as mature adults."
"Let go of that paintbrush, then," Kurt said, mischievously, pointing towards the brush Blaine was still holding as a weapon.
"No way, you'll attack me as soon as I let it fall," Blaine's smile was bigger than he had ever seen it before. Kurt was delighted.
"I swear I won't. I don't want to get the entire apartment all messy. Rachel is going to kill me," Kurt looked around, hoping the appliances wouldn't get any purple stains.
"Okay, fine. Let's call this even and I'll help you finish with the living room," Blaine put the paintbrush down but regretted it as soon as he did, catching Kurt's victorious grin. He moved right on time before the other boy's paintbrush could hit him in the face, but he tripped with Kurt's ridiculously (and beautifully) long legs, sending both of them straight to the floor.
Blaine caught Kurt by the waist before he could hit his head against the counter. He ended up holding him on top of him, their legs tangled, Kurt's hands against his chest, and he was gasping for air desperately, the smile still on his face, but now completely frozen as blue found hazel and the sparks started flying up all around the kitchen.
Kurt didn't notice Blaine was staring at his lips because he was too busy doing the same and feeling the warmth of his body pressed against his. He knew they should get up but he couldn't remember why. Why would they get up when everything was suddenly so wonderful?
They started closing the distance between them, both panting with desire, Kurt's hands fisting Blaine's shirt, Blaine burying his fingers deeper in Kurt's waist. Kurt could feel the other boy's breath against his skin, sending shivers all over him and he already knew the kiss was going to be perfect. He already knew their lips would match perfectly, that they would magically know each other's rhythm, that the sparks would turn to fire.
"Kurt," the name was almost a whine and Kurt could feel Blaine's lips moving when he pronounced it.
"Yes?" He asked in a whisper, noticing how Blaine's scent seemed to attract his senses even when he could also smell the paint in his skin.
"I… shit, I'm dying to do this, but I don't know if… I don't know if we should," Blaine said breathlessly, moving his hand up Kurt's back, feeling the way the boy's muscles were stretching to support his weight and not crush Blaine. "You're so beautiful."
Kurt didn't know if he wanted to sob or to smile. He had never been told he was beautiful before. "Then kiss me."
They locked eyes. Kurt could see again all of those things about Blaine he didn't understand trying to hold him back. He wanted to lean down and kiss him himself, but if Blaine wasn't ready, that would ruin everything. It was supposed to be amazing.
Blaine parted his lips to say something, but he seemed to have trouble deciding what exactly. His hands held tightly to Kurt, like he was afraid to let go.
"Ssh, it's fine," Kurt gave him a sweet smile and moved a hand up to gently stroke his unpainted cheek. "We don't have to… it's okay."
"But I want to," Blaine mumbled, nuzzling into Kurt's touch.
"I know. Me too," he rested their foreheads together. For a moment, neither knew what to do. Their lips almost hurt, desperate to kiss, to feel, to taste, and though Kurt didn't really understand why they couldn't just do it, he held back. "Will you still help me paint?" Kurt asked after a silence only broken by low sighs. "I promise I'll only paint the walls."
Blaine laughed softly and turned his head to the side, kissing Kurt's palm. "Sure."
That simple kiss, that simple touch, sent tickles all over his fingers, his arm, his shoulder, his chest, his heart. It went straight to it and it filled him completely. Though it required all his willpower to do so, Kurt slowly stood up and looked down at Blaine, offering his hand to help him up as well. He laughed: the other boy's shirt was pretty much entirely purple by now and the paint drying on his face resembled a huge bruise.
"Don't laugh at me," Blaine muttered as he jumped to his feet. He didn't let go of Kurt's hand right away. He held it in his like it was the first time he grabbed someone else's hand. When he looked at him, his hazel eyes were really bright. "Thank you."
"For what?" Kurt asked, a bit confused.
"For making me smile? It's been a while since I had a reason to," Blaine whispered, as his fingers finally let go, untangling from Kurt's.
Kurt felt his body trembling with the urgency of throwing himself at Blaine and just hug him, kiss him. But he also needed – desperately needed – to know more about him. To understand him, to really know who Blaine Anderson was.
He needed to know why he hadn't smiled in a while.
And he wanted to keep being the reason he did now.
Kurt rolled his eyes playfully, not knowing exactly what to answer to that and nudged him with the shoulder. "Come on, let's go. I'll buy you coffee when we finish."
Blaine smiled. Again.
And it was beautiful.
"That actually sounds really good."
"Put that wallet away, this is on me," Kurt said as soon as he saw Blaine reaching for it. "You spent your Saturday painting my living room. The least I can do is to pay for a medium drip."
Blaine rolled his eyes but didn't insist. It was already dark outside and both were tired but in a great mood. After finishing with the living room, they both had taken showers and changed their clothes before going out. They walked across the streets of New York together, hands occasionally brushing, but never grabbing, little smiles shared in silence. It was strange how comfortable they felt with each other, even after what had happened between them earlier.
They sat down at the only small table vacant in the crowded coffee place. Kurt took a sip from his non-fat mocha and Blaine tapped his fingers rhythmically against his own cup as he looked out the window at the city lights. Finally he sighed, as if he was tired, as if he had lost a battle with himself.
"I…" he started, hesitant. "I feel like we should talk. About what happened."
Kurt tried to stay calm and smiled at him soothingly. "It's fine. We don't have to do it now."
"You deserve to know why I act the way I do, I guess," Blaine continued anyway. He seemed a bit uncomfortable now. "We both knew what we wanted but I… I just couldn't."
Kurt glanced at the boy sitting in front of him. He looked a bit younger suddenly, and much more vulnerable and insecure. Maybe Blaine needed someone to talk to. Maybe this was his way to ask him to please listen to him. So he remained silent, but the expression on his face was inviting and warm. Kurt sat back on his seat, as if he was getting ready for a long conversation. Blaine smiled gratefully.
"My life is… just complicated now. Very complicated," he said at last. "I told you I had to work this weekend but I actually meant that I needed to go out and look for another job."
"Did you have any problems at the library?" Kurt asked, worried.
"No, the library is great, but… it's not enough," Blaine shrugged. "I need to make a bit more money if I want to live here and go to college."
"Blaine, it's fine. You shouldn't be embarrassed to tell me about this. We all have to struggle! I'm still trying to get a job, too!" Kurt thought about reaching across the table and grabbing the other boy's hand, but he wasn't sure he should actually do it.
"Yeah, I know, but this is looking pretty bad," the smile on Blaine's face was really sad and bitter now, and Kurt didn't like it. The spark in his eyes was gone.
"Don't you have anyone who can help you?" Kurt asked delicately. "Some family? A friend?"
He knew he had asked the wrong question only a second after the words were out of his mouth. Blaine's face seemed to darken instantly.
"My friends did enough for me, I don't want to ask any more favors," he answered in a low voice. Kurt didn't say anything. He waited to see if Blaine would add anything else, and he did, after taking a deep breath, like what he was about to say required a great effort from him. "I don't have a family. Not anymore at least. My parents kicked me out of the house before I came here."
"You… oh, my god, Blaine, that's horrible," without giving it a second thought, he took the other boy's hand in his and gave it a squeeze.
"I came to New York with some money my best friend lent me," Blaine explained, his hazel eyes fixed on the intertwined fingers as if he found them fascinating. "My dad only gave me twenty minutes to take whatever I could take from my room before he shut the front door in my face and told me to never come back."
Kurt felt his eyes stinging with tears. Why? Why would someone do that to someone as sweet and good as Blaine? Why would his parents do that to him? He squeezed his hand tighter. "I'm so sorry."
"They…" Blaine choked a bit trying to hold back a sob. "I just wasn't their son anymore. I haven't been for a very long time. They dealt with me for the last years just because I was a minor, but as soon as I finished high school it was obvious it was a matter of time."
Kurt swallowed hard. "Can I ask you why they…?"
"Because I'm gay," Blaine answered naturally, as if it was the logical response. "Because in my family appearances are everything and having a queer as a son wasn't acceptable."
"Please, don't talk like that," Kurt begged softly.
"I'm sorry," Blaine looked down.
"No, don't be sorry. You just… you have nothing to be ashamed of, Blaine! You are who you are and you can't change that!" Kurt felt a few rebel tears making their way down his cheeks, but he didn't care right now.
"I wasn't enough," he mumbled sadly.
"No, they are not enough. They don't deserve you. You, so gentle, so sweet and generous…" Kurt crawled around the booth seat until he was next to Blaine.
"You still don't know me," Blaine assured him with a crooked, still not happy smile.
"Maybe not, but I see you, and that's enough for me," Kurt kissed his cheek cautiously, as if he was afraid Blaine would flinch away. He didn't.
Blaine's eyes were shining with un-cried tears now. He wasn't used to having someone showing him any form of affection like this. "I… had gone to the cinema with one of my friends from Dalton, David. He had picked me up and I guess someone saw us and took it the wrong way." Blaine stopped, as if he was gathering whatever strengths he had left to finish his story. "When I came back, someone had spray-painted the word 'fag' on my front door."
"Oh, God," Kurt felt sick. What was wrong with people? He had had it really bad in Lima, too, but he still couldn't understand. He would never understand.
"My dad was furious. It wasn't like no one actually knew, I'm sure all my neighbors knew what I was, but… he was so ashamed of me." Blaine frowned and his pain was so visible, so heavy on his still too young shoulders. "It was probably the last straw. It was like not only hearing the whispers behind our backs, but also seeing what everyone was thinking. It wasn't something he could just pretend it didn't happen. It was there, everyone could see it."
Blaine paused and took a sip of his coffee to clear his throat. Kurt didn't let go of his hand. He never wanted to let go.
"When the people who are supposed to think you're the best thing that ever happened to them actually tell you you're the worst… it kind of shatters your trust in yourself," Blaine said, rolling his eyes, like trying to make it sound less important than what it was.
"You can't let them win," Kurt brushed a cute dark curl off of Blaine's forehead, his blue eyes intensely fixed on him. "You can do this, Blaine. You can be independent, you can finally live your life the way you want it to be. It'll be hard, I'm not saying it won't. But you'll get a better job eventually and then…"
"No, I don't mean it that way. I mean… they shattered my trust in myself because I never think I'm good enough for anything," Blaine tilted his head down, his cheeks a bit red, embarrassed. "I'm not good for you."
The last words were spoken so quietly Kurt thought he'd heard wrong. But he realized he hadn't when Blaine tried to get away from him.
"Hey, no, no, listen," Kurt tugged his hand to bring him closer instead. "The truth is I'm the one who's probably not good enough for you."
"Shut up and listen," Kurt gave him his bitch glare until Blaine shut his mouth. "I'm spoiled. Way too spoiled, if you ask my dad. And sarcastic and a lot more selfish than I like to admit. I'm a materialist who would kill his brother for a pair of Doc Marten boots." That actually got him a little chuckle from Blaine, so Kurt felt his heart warming up again. "I'm self-centered, obsessive and stubborn…"
"You're amazing, Kurt, stop it," Blaine mumbled, squeezing his hand a bit.
"I'm not, but it's okay, it's who I am and the people around me love me because of it," Kurt shrugged. He still couldn't understand how his dad, Carole, Finn or any of his friends actually put up with him. "Maybe it's because I'm incredibly fashionable and so, so fabulous."
"You forgot to say humble," Blaine's smile was wider this time and Kurt felt encouraged.
"That, too," Kurt bit his bottom lip and grinned playfully before continuing. "I complain about life when I could have it so much worse. Just… not so long ago I complained to you about how awful my first week here had been and instead of telling me to shut up, you tried to comfort me. You have perspective, Blaine, which sometimes I don't have. You're realistic and grounded and life hasn't been treating you right, but you're still here. You could've given up, but you are here."
Blaine moved his free hand to Kurt's face and very gently caught the tears that were still on his cheeks with his thumb. "When I saw you that day we moved in…" he said in barely a whisper. They were so close. "I couldn't help but think that you were really beautiful."
Kurt blushed a bit, shyly. "Thanks."
"And now I see how right I was. You're incredibly beautiful, Kurt, especially on the inside," the hazel eyes looked a lot like liquid honey now and they lowered very slowly to glance at the other boy's lips.
Kurt felt the anticipation tying knots in his stomach. "You don't… you don't have to kiss me, Blaine, if you're not ready for it."
Blaine's answer was to move his hand to the back of Kurt's head and bring him closer until their lips finally met. Kurt gasped and squeezed even more the hand he was still holding, his lips warm and dry and so, so soft. After just being pressed together for a few seconds, both started slowly moving their lips, trying to sync with the other. Kurt raised his other arm and threw it around Blaine's neck, keeping him close as they timidly tasted each other for the very first time.
Blaine stroked Kurt's cheekbone tenderly. Both boys tasted like coffee, but underneath it, they could each discern the other. Kurt was a mix of sweet and minty and something indescribable that Blaine had never tasted before but he knew now he would never get enough of. Blaine was salty, and whatever it was that reminded him of candy and addictive. Kurt thought he could taste oxygen in his mouth, but that wasn't really possible, right? It was just his crazy heart telling him to breathe this boy in, because he wouldn't be able to live without him. It felt very dramatic to be thinking that way but when they looked at each other again when they pulled away, somehow they knew it. It had to be.
Blaine let his hand wander down Kurt's back until it reached his waist. He pressed the boy tightly in his arms, Kurt nuzzling in the crook of his neck, taking in the intoxicating scent.
"That was…" Blaine's voice was weak, as if the kiss had taken all his strength from him. "That was my first kiss."
"Really?" Kurt looked up, surprised.
"Yes," Blaine nodded slowly, as Kurt rested his head in his shoulder. "I've never met anyone like you."
"Gay?" Kurt teased, knowing how hard it was to find people like them in Ohio.
"Unique," was what Blaine whispered instead, the knots in Kurt's stomach untying and flying loose hysterically inside of him.
Kurt's arms closed around Blaine's middle. Why did he feel at home in another boy's arms? Kurt never knew it could feel like that. "It was kind of my first kiss, too."
"What do you mean, kind of?" Blaine asked confused.
"It's a long story. Maybe we could save it for a future coffee date?"
Blaine's smile was brighter than every damn light in New York City. "Sounds good to me."
Kurt's phone vibrated on the table, next to his forgotten coffee cup. He reached up without moving from the embrace to find a text from his friend. "Rachel wants to know if I'd like some Thai food tonight," he informed to the other boy. "Should I tell her you'll be joining us?"
Blaine spoke with his lips against silky chestnut hair. "I don't know… will she be okay with me being there?"
"Of course she will, don't be silly," Kurt said as he typed the reply and left his phone on the table again.
They stayed there for a few more minutes before deciding to walk back home. It was a pleasant night, the autumn barely showing its presence, the warmth of summer seeming to cling onto the air.
Their hands brushed stupidly at their sides until both boys laughed at how ridiculous that was before tangling their fingers together. They'd kissed. They could hold hands.
It was unusually quiet, the traffic not as heavy as they had grown used to, the people passing by them not so numerous, not so rude. Maybe everything was a little better when you had a perfect boy holding your hand.
Stopping at a corner to wait for the lights to change from green to red so they could cross the street, Kurt sighed and nuzzled against Blaine's slightly stubbly cheek.
"You're beautiful, too, Blaine Anderson," he whispered, his voice sweet like a caress. "I thought I'd let you know."
Blaine chuckled shyly, grasped his hand tighter and crossed the street with him.
What did you guys think? I know it's not much, but it was fun writing it. I was thinking about adding a second chapter with a bit of smut and some more details on how they deal with living in New York, but that's up to you! So if you want to read more about our boys (and Rachel!) just review and let me know :)
Also, if anyone wants to follow me on Tumblr, I'm heartsmadeofbooks. I take suggestions and ideas for new stories, like this one. I can't promise to write them all, but I'd love to know what ideas you have :)
Love you all, thanks for reading! x