Sam sat on the front steps of the Hummel household, pulling his sweater a little closer to combat the cold. He'd been out there for over an hour and the cold was finally getting the better of him. Sam heard the door open behind him, but didn't bother to see who it was. He knew Kurt would've noticed his absence by now.
"Sam, what are you doing? You'll catch your death out here." Sam just shrugged in response.
"Well whatever you're doing, can you do it inside? I want to go to bed but I can't sleep if I'm thinking about your muddy footprints leaving a trail to Finn's bedroom." Sam glanced down at his shoes, already knowing they were clear of mud. With the cold weather lately, Sam doubted there was any mud left in Ohio. A second later Sam got it. It wasn't about mud, but a different kind of filth. Sam's heart cracked as he stood up.
"Don't worry Kurt. I won't get my 'stripper filth' all over your house." Sam said as he stormed off to the beat up old truck he'd found for a couple hundred bucks. The past few weeks, Sam had fixed it up with Finn's help and now Sam could use it to deliver pizzas again. I knew I shouldn't have come back, especially not with everyone knowing his big secret again.
"What Kurt? Do you want to give your boyfriend a chance to stop by and throw in a few cheap shots too?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Kurt said. Sam spun around and reached out to place his hand on Kurt's shoulder. A few inches before Sam made contact, Kurt flinched away from the friendly touch.
"That! That's what I'm talking about Kurt. You know after everything I've heard about you and Finn, I never thought Finn would be the more accepting brother." Kurt just looked at Sam, not even trying to come up with a response.
"You know it sucks that you had no problem being my friend when my family lived in a dingy motel, but now you don't even look me in the eye." Kurt's stubbornness forced him to look Sam in the eye. The cold, unsympathetic eyes were like a dagger in Sam's heart.
"You didn't choose to be homeless Sam, but you chose to degrade yourself for a few bucks and a nice confidence boost as the women fainted at the sight of your abs."
"Screw you Kurt." Sam said, opening the door of the pickup. Kurt's arm shot out and held the door in place.
"Look me in the eye and tell me I'm wrong." Kurt expected a look of hatred to be on Sam's face as he turned around. The water in Sam's eyes hit Kurt's wall of anger like a wrecking ball.
"Kurt. You have no idea how wrong you are." Sam said as the first drop of salty water fell down his tanned face. Sam took advantage of Kurt's confusion and pulled the door out of his hands. Kurt watched as the taillights rounded the corner.
A few minutes later, Finn walked outside.
"Hey Kurt, where's Sam? I just made up his bed in my room." Finn followed Kurt's gaze out into the street, looking for Sam.
"Why was Sam stripping Finn?"
"Uhmm Money?" Finn said, not quite sure what Kurt was looking for. Finn knew there was more to the story than needing new sneakers for Stevie, but Sam's secrets had never really stayed secret. There was no point in forcing another one to be the topic of Monday's gossip. "Why? What did you say to Sam, Kurt?"
"Something about stripping for the attention." Kurt said, not really sure what was going on. He was confused and out of the loop. There was nothing Kurt hated more.
"God Kurt." Finn said as he walked back into the house to grab his keys to find Sam. Finn passed Kurt on the driveway and did his best to contain his frustrations. Finn had changed a lot in the past few years but patience was still on his to do list.
"Kurt you know more than anyone how close-minded I can be. I took me a while to realize how stupid I was being, and how much I was hurting people that I cared about; how much I was hurting you. But at least I can admit that I was wrong. No one ever calls you on your bullshit because they're afraid to hurt your feelings but damn it Kurt, open your eyes.
"No Kurt. Everyone knows how you yelled at Blaine for even thinking that bisexuality was a possibility." Kurt winced at the mention of Blaine.
"You sat in the Glee room and got mad at everyone for believing in God. It didn't matter that Artie or Quinn needed to believe in something. All you could see was a group of people who didn't quite share your exact beliefs so you tore down theirs. You called God a dwarf with lightening boobs, Kurt."
"My dad was dying Finn!"
"I know Kurt. But Burt's been doing really well for over a year and you still haven't apologized or let those people back into your life." Finn walked up to his brother and pulled him into a hug. "I love you Kurt and I'll always stand up for you no matter what. But I expected more from you."
"That's what Sam said." Finn didn't respond, just hugged Kurt a little tighter before going to his car and starting the engine. A knock on his window made Finn jump and shift the car back into park.
"Finn, I need to find him and apologize."
"I need to do it alone." Finn nodded and unbuckled his seat belt.
"You wreck the car, you fix the car." Finn joked as Kurt slid into the driver's seat. "You know where he is?"
"I've got a pretty good idea."
Kurt drove the dark roads in silence, his mind still reeling over Finn's words. I don't think I've ever heard Finn say so much. Kurt had as much pride as any performer ever does and always tried to escape an admission that he was to blame. And although Kurt knew he could turn around and refuse to apologize, he would know that he was wrong. As Kurt pulled into a parking lot and spotted Sam's car, he focused on Finn's last words before he'd let Kurt go.
"Some things are more important than being right. You've just got to decide if this is one of them."
With Sam, it wasn't even a question. Kurt opened his car door and walked up to the motel patio leaving his phone and his pride in the car.
"What are you doing here Kurt?" Sam said, his blonde hair in disarray and his checks stained with tears.
"I came to apologize Sam. Whenever things got bad for me, you were always there with a shoulder to cry on or a fist to defend me. You were the only one that genuinely didn't care who or what I was. You never judged me. I'm sorry that I haven't done the same. So I'm here to listen, when you're ready."
"What do you want to hear Kurt? How much I loved all that female attention?" Sam spat out.
"I was wrong to say that Sam. I was mixing my issues with yours. I'm sorry."
"What issues Kurt? What's going on?" Sam's immediate concern and forgiveness should have shocked Kurt, but it didn't. That's just who Sam was.
"No. I want to hear what was going on with you this summer. Finn said you started out working at DQ?"
"At first, yeah. My dad's job paid for the house, but not much else. Mom tried getting work but it was talking a while. So I got a second job as a janitor. All summer long I was working 60 hours a week to feed my family and pay for gas. Luckily when school was about to start, Mom found a job. I quit the DQ and went to school. A couple weeks in, Stevie got really sick and my mom caught it. She tried to keep going to work, but when it turned into pneumonia, she had to stay home. I sat down with Dad to figure out a budget to get by, but our plan overlooked some things like medicine and gas and repairing his broken car and then the fridge when it broke. I tried to get my job back at the DQ but they'd already replaced me. Just working as a janitor wasn't enough.
"One night I was emptying the trash when I saw a flyer for the club. The next day I stopped by with a fake ID Puck gave me. They hired me to dance starting that night. I used the money to fill the gas tank when my family was sleeping. Whenever we needed something that the budget couldn't cover, I'd use the money to buy it all and leave it in a box on our door from 'A Kind Neighbor.' Dad couldn't believe the community was willing to help the new family on the block, but he was grateful so he didn't ask questions. Before I left, I told Stevie that I knew Santa's address and since he was such a good boy, Santa would deliver whatever he needed all year long. I gave him the address to the only friend I made in Kentucky. She promised me that she'd collect the things for me and send me the receipts to pay her back. I know it's awful to leave my family, but I had to get out of there."
Sam's story was interrupted by the tears streaming down his face. Kurt pulled Sam's perfect golden hair out of his eyes and let Sam lean on his shoulder. Sam let out a small sob and wrapped his arms tight around Kurt's waist.
A head peeked out of Sam's old motel room to see what the noise was. Kurt mouthed an apology and slid his arms under Sam's to help him stand up. Sam's arms refused to let go of Kurt until they reached the car. Kurt made Sam let go so they could talk inside the warmth of his car. Kurt didn't move to drive back home. He just sat, waiting for Sam to continue.
"I hated it Kurt. I refused to take my underwear off, but the women only had one place to put the money. I have scars from their long nails. Kurt. . ." Sam broke off again, succumbing to more tears. Kurt was filled with anguish at the sight of his strong friend so vulnerable and wounded. He leaned over and pulled Sam into another hug, not knowing what to say. I should have known Sam was sacrificing for his family. Sam's never been selfish.
Kurt was pulled from his thoughts by the wet lips pressed against his cheek. Sam pulled back from the hug and focused his red and puffy eyes on Kurt's.
"I just really missed you Kurt."
"I . . . I missed you too Sam." Kurt tried to contain the swell of emotions that Sam's sudden look of joy was causing in his chest.
"So things will be back to how they used to?" Sam asked, his voice hopeful his face pulling the most adorable puppy dogs eyes.
"No." Sam looked like dog after being hit with a rolled up newspaper.
"It'll be better. I'll be better this time Sam." Sam's face lit up again pulling on Kurt's hearstrings.
I love you Kurt. Sam thought, but chickened out and said "You're the best Kurt."
Kurt rolled his eyes, still ashamed at his actions. Sam was quick to forgive, but Kurt would take a while to forgive himself. It's just the way it is. "Come on, let's go home. We'll pick up your truck tomorrow."
Finn looked down at his phone while he was waiting for his character to respawn on HALO. He'd missed a text from Kurt over an hour ago. Finn paused the game and read the message.
I found Sam. He didn't want to wake you up so he's bunking with me tonight. Thank you Finn. I'm sorry about the way I've been. I'm lucky to have you as a brother to keep me in check. Love ya. ~Kurt
A year ago, that text would have freaked Finn out, especially the 'love ya.' Now he was just glad his brother was still the cool guy he usually was. Finn decided to make sure they didn't need more blankets or want to set the cot up in Kurt's room. With Mom and Burt. . . Dad gone, Finn decided he was his job to play host.
He walked down the stairs and peeked into his brother's room. He watched for a moment as Sam pulled Kurt closer on the bed. Sam had decided to sleep in his jeans, throwing his t-shirt on the floor. Finn knew Kurt felt sorry because there was no way anyone else would be allowed to leave their shirt lying around let alone get into Kurt's bed with dirty clothes. Just as Finn was about to leave he heard something that made him freeze.
"Kurt." Sam whispered. To Finn it sounded like a sacred word. Finn looked at the tanned blonde and how closely he was spooning Kurt before softly shutting the bedroom door. Maybe Sam's got another secret for everyone to gossip about. Finn thought as he made his way back to his games of death and destruction. I wonder how Blaine will react. . .