A/N: written for the glee angst meme. based on this photo: www*asofterworld*com/clean/surprise*jpg
The comic says it's his mother's birthday, but in the story it's the anniversary of his mother's death.
"We're on for Saturday night, right?"
Kurt starts, broken from his haze of thoughts as Blaine leans against the lockers and smiles at him.
For a second he stares at Blaine blankly, with no idea what he's talking about, but then it dawns on him. "Oh. Oh, God Blaine. I mixed up my dates. I'm not going to be able to do this weekend." He has no idea how he could have done that. The date is branded in his mind, seared into him. Then again, he's never really had anyone who wanted to spend time with him.
"What?" His chest tightens as Blaine's smile fades. God, he hates making Blaine look like that.
"I'm sorry, I really am." He has no idea what homework he has to finish, so he grabs a book at random and pushes it into his bag hastily. "But I'm busy all weekend. I'll make it up to you next week. I promise." He doesn't want Blaine to think anything's wrong so he takes his hand and pulls him close, kissing him gently on the temple. "I'll call you later, okay?"
Kurt doesn't give Blaine a chance to answer. He turns and half runs down the hall, hoping Blaine doesn't follow and not stopping until he's in his car.
That evening Kurt goes to the hairdresser and watches bits of his hair drift to the floor, numb. Usually he gets it cut at least two weeks before this, giving it a chance to grow in. But Blaine's kept him busy and thank god they had an opening when he was available.
When the woman's done he runs his hands through it, sighing. It's a little shorter than he'd like. Sometimes he wonders if he should keep it a little longer. If that would be better.
He gets home just as the streetlights are flickering on and flops on his bed, carding his fingers through his hair. Kurt picks up his phone and stares at the background for a minute, a picture of the two of them. He thinks about calling Blaine, just explaining what's going on.
Instead he sets the alarm and starts stripping for bed, leaving the phone face down on the end table.
On Saturday morning, Kurt buys a coffee and roams the mall, shopping, looking but not buying. He knows exactly what he's going to buy but he draws it out, letting himself get lost in the crowds, pretending he's here to browse. His phone buzzes in his pocket but he ignores it, sipping his drink and eying underdressed mannequins.
Kurt wanders into a couple stores and smooths his hands over material hanging on the racks, ghosting his fingertips across lapels and skipping them over buttons. On any other day he'd be pulling clothes down and trying them on, plotting outfits in his mind.
After eating lunch in an empty corner of the food court he makes his way to the store he visited last week and greets the man behind the counter with a familiar handshake. In no time he's back into a suit he's already tried on, newly tailored. He grips and tugs on the sleeves, buttons and unbuttons the jacket, turns around to see how it fits in the back. He wore shoes at his fitting but now it's just socks, and Kurt digs his toes into the carpeting.
Last year he went with a navy suit. This year it's charcoal.
Satisfied with the fit, he pays the gentleman. The old man smiles and shakes Kurt's hand again, thanking him in a dusty voice. He leaves the mall with a garment bag the rest of the crowd seems set on crinkling and bending.
It hangs in the backseat like a ghost. The entire drive home Kurt glances at it in the review mirror, making sure it's still there and wishing it wasn't.
Finn catches him in the hallway before he can make it upstairs to his bedroom. "Blaine texted me. He wanted to know where you were. You said you were going to call him last night and you never did."
Kurt shrugs. "What did you tell him?"
"That you were busy. I'd tell you he called."
Nodding, Kurt shifts the garment bag from hand to hand. "Thanks."
Taking a step forward, Finn lowers his voice even though they're alone. "You should tell him."
Kurt shrugs again.
"He'd get it, you know." He reaches out and grabs Kurt's shoulder, gently rubbing with his thumb. "I mean, even I get it."
For a second, Kurt's whole body sags. He leans heavily into Finn's grip a moment before straightening back up. "I'm not that hungry, but I'll fix something later if you want." He climbs the stairs slowly, looking down at Finn.
"Sound good," Finn answers, already moving back to the living room.
He spends the next hour or so picking out a shirt. And the next forty-five minutes picking out a tie. And an extra ten making sure they worked together.
At dinner he mostly picks at his chicken. Finn, on the other hand, inhales it with gusto. He's unusually vocal about how good it is and Kurt has to smile at the ways Finn tries to make him feel better. He even offers to help Kurt load the dishwasher, and for a little while it feels like a normal Saturday night.
Kurt's carefully ironing his shirt when his phone rings, the tone letting him know it's Blaine. He sets the iron down on its end and grabs his phone off the bed. For a long second he thinks about letting it go to voicemail again, but he feels bad enough as it is.
"Hey," Blaine says. "I didn't hear from you."
Kurt sucks air in through his teeth. "Shoot, I forgot all about it. I want to the salon yesterday and when I came home there was stuff to do and I went to bed without even thinking about it." He pins the phone between his shoulder and chin and picks up the iron. It hovers over the board before he sets it back down.
"Is something wrong? I can barely hear you."
"Oh, no. My hands are full."
"What are you ironing?"
Blaine goes quiet for a while. Kurt holds his palm close to iron, feeling the heat radiating from it. He can tell Blaine wants to ask but knows he won't. And he wants to explain it to him, he really does. But he can't.
Instead, Blaine asks, "Are you sure everything is okay?"
"Of course." For a moment, Kurt's jaw moves and he wants to tell Blaine, he really does. "Listen, I don't want to burn this." God he's being ridiculous. "I'm busy during the day, but I'll talk to you tomorrow night, okay?"
Blaine's voice is tight when he responds. "Alright. Love you."
"I love you, too." Kurt's heart feels like it's choking him when he hangs up and he swallows hard, trying to move it back down to his chest.
When he pads downstairs the next morning Burt is already awake and waiting for him, a pot of coffee still warming. "How you doing, kiddo?"
Kurt pours himself a cup and sits next to his father. "I'm okay." He leans over his mug and stares into it, silent.
He hears the chair scrape against the floor and feels his father wrap an arm around his shoulder. With a sigh, Kurt closes his eyes and leans against him, and stays that way until he's sure he can drink his coffee without scalding his mouth.
The woman at the flower shop has his bouquet ready when he gets there later that day. She smiles at him the way she always does when he comes in.
She asks Kurt if he wants anything written on the card and he tells her to save it, tucking the bouquet carefully into his arm.
He's been sitting alone on the wall for over an hour before Blaine shows up. Kurt can hear him walking towards him. Shoes grinding into the damp gravel of the sidewalk. He can always feel it when the other boy is around, a steady aching in his bones.
He's a mess. He hadn't bothered to clean the stones off before he sat down, and he's been crying steadily since he did. There's dirt and leaves clinging to the cuffs of his pants. Kurt wipes at his face and pressed the heel of his hand under his eye but it doesn't help.
When Blaine sits down next to him he puts distance between them, and Kurt is torn between wanting more and wanting none at all. He wants what Blaine is here to offer but his face flushes with embarrassment. He rolls the bouquet of flowers in his hands.
Kurt licks his lips and starts talking when he feels like he'll be able to without sobbing.
"When I was little, my mom was sick a lot. She was in the hospital all the time. Mostly for tests and observation and stuff. And I'd wait for here on the days she came home. You can see the cars turn onto the street from town down here. And she'd stop and I'd get in, and it would almost be like I had been with her the whole time." Kurt's hand begins to tremble and he watches a few loose petals flutter to the sidewalk.
"When she was in the hospital the last time, my dad was always with her. He didn't go to work. He only came home to eat and change clothes and spent an hour or so with me. My aunt stayed with me. And then one night we got a phone call, from my dad, saying he was coming home.
"It was a few hours earlier than he normally came back, and he hardly ever called to say he was on his way home, so I thought that meant he was bringing Mom with him. So I got dressed up, like really dressed up, because I hadn't seen her in a while and I wanted to look nice for her. She always loved dressing me up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I came out here to wait for her."
Kurt's heart lurches up in his throat suddenly and he stops, jamming his fist against his mouth to keep the sob in. He closes his eyes and calms his breathing, and when he pulls away Blaine's hand is there, wrapping around his own, squeezing gently.
"I waited about an hour," he says. "My aunt told me to come in but I wanted to wait. I waited so long to see Mom. And when Dad's car turned onto the road it only took a minute for me to see that he was alone in the car. And when he stopped to tell me to hope in, his eyes were are all bloodshot and he was really pale. And I knew. I didn't even have to ask, he didn't have to say anything. But I knew.
"I stayed out here for a while. Eventually my dad came to get me and carry me home and put me to bed. I let him, but I didn't want to. I felt like if I had waited a little bit longer, maybe Mom would come around the corner, too."
The bouquet hits the ground with a whisper of a thump and Kurt's wrapping his arms around Blaine's neck, burying his face into him and gasping. Blaine moves so he can get his own arms around Kurt's waist, pressing his lips to Kurt's and murmuring to him quietly.
"I'm sorry," Kurt chokes out, pulling back. "I should have let you know."
"God, Kurt, no. Don't," Blaine says, rubbing the pad of his thumb across Kurt's cheekbone, wiping away tears. "Of all the things you don't need to apologize for." He leans in and presses a kiss to Kurt's forehead.
Kurt closes his eyes and tilts until he's resting his head against Blaine's shoulder. "It's just… it's been just me for a long time."
He moves away as Blaine hops down to pick up the flowers, and when he sits down again, their sides are pressed close. Blaine sets the bouquet on his lap. "Do you want to wait a little longer?" he asks.
Kurt nods and leans against Blaine again, sighing as he threads their fingers together.