Sorry I haven't updated in months. Every time I tried to continue the story it sounded stale and forced. So I shook things up a bit. They'll be a lot of flashbacks now because there are lots of stories from High School that I want to tell. I've written most of the next chapter but if no one likes the change I'll scrap it, take this one down, and do a short epilogue for the old story line instead.
15 Years Later
Sam turned the key in the second deadbolt to the apartment and almost tripped on the stack of mail. It was almost 4 in the morning and the mail told Sam he'd be spending another night alone. He dropped his messenger bag on the kitchen counter and unbuttoned his messy chef's jacket to toss in the wash. After sorting the mail and watering the plants, Sam stood at the threshold to his bedroom. His eyes darted from one photo to the next, reliving the memories frozen in the frames as the tears started to escape from his eyes.
Sam was too exhausted from a long day at work to handle the empty bed so he snatched a blanket out of the closet and headed to the couch. Sam sat for a moment and sifted through the emotions flashing through his mind. Things shouldn't have been this hard. Sam still loved Kurt with all of the intensity from their teenage years, but time had proven that love wasn't a magic cure for life's problems. Sam scolded himself for being dramatic. It's not like they'd been unfaithful to each other or been diagnosed with terminal illness or developed intense amnesia. But still, it's hard to keep a marriage together when you don't see each other for days.
Too deep in thought to sleep, Sam headed to the kitchen to cook some breakfast for Kurt if he made it home. The truth was that he was happy that their dreams had come true. Kurt was finishing a 2 year run on Broadway, having composed and the musical himself, starred in a supporting role, and designed the majority of the sets and costumes. Kurt also had nice corner boutique where he sold the clothes Mercedes and him had designed in between their Broadway runs. Needless to say, Kurt had been busy lately.
But it's not like Sam had been waiting at home every night either. Sam remembered the day he'd opened up his restaurant in New York City. The loan for the building was insanely expensive and they hadn't turned a profit for the first 6 months. Sam smiled as he remembered how supportive Kurt had been when times were tough. They'd lived exclusively on leftovers from the restaurant and lived in the world's smallest and cheapest apartment. Sam realized that the opening of his restaurant had really been the start of his troubles with Kurt. Sam had picked up a second job during the day to keep them off the streets and Kurt had poured all of his time into the boutique to keep Sam's dream alive.
When the restaurant became incredibly popular, Kurt had focused on finishing his musical masterpiece. Now that business was booming and Kurt's play had become the latest Wicked! The couple was exhausted. Kurt often fell asleep on the couch in his dressing room slash office and Sam had dozed off more than once while trying to figure out the restaurant's finances after it had finally closed at two in the morning.
Just thinking about the past few years drained Sam of his remaining energy. It was hard for Sam to keep things in the past; to stop remembering things he'd left behind. He arranged the eggs, waffles, and strawberries on two plates and covered them with cling wrap before setting them in the fridge. As an afterthought, Sam grabbed something from the mail and wrote "Kurt- I love you." And set the mail on top of Kurt's plate before collapsing on the couch.
Sam woke to a strawberry flavored kiss. The second Kurt's lips left his, Sam burst out into a grin.
"You ate the strawberries off my plate, didn't you?" Sam peeled his eyes open to see his husband trying his best to pull a puppy dog face.
"Maybe. . . " Sam smiled even wider and wrapped his arms around Kurt and pulled him down on top of him on the couch.
"I'm just glad to see you. It's been two days."
"Well I came home after early morning meetings to try and get some snuggle time with my husband but apparently he prefers the couch."
"You know I can't sleep in that bed without you. It's just . . . too empty." Sam pouted and showed Kurt what a real wounded puppy face looks like.
"It's okay. Did you enjoy breakfast?"
"I always enjoy your cooking Samuel." Kurt said as he placed a strawberry flavored sticky kiss on Sam's forehead. "Speaking of which, I really think we should go. It's the perfect time."
"To breakfast? I thought you already ate?"
"No to the reunion."
"I'm sorry but I have no idea what you're talking about." Sam said. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"You set the invitation on top of my breakfast."
"What? I just grabbed some mail off the counter so I could write you a love note."
"Love note?" Kurt asked as he picked the envelope off the coffee table. On the back there was a scribbled mess that didn't come close to looking like a note written in any language other than baby scribbles.
Sam laughed as he saw the envelope. "Apparently I shouldn't write love notes at wee hours of the morning."
"Well it's the thought that counts" Kurt said sweetly as he handed Sam the invitation.
Evidently their 15 year High School Reunion was a couple of weeks away. Kurt was right; it was the perfect time to get away. The musical was ending soon and Sam had finally trained a sous chef that didn't have hair for brains. Sam grabbed the latest Apple product out of his pocket and made flight and hotel arrangements while Kurt nibbled at the rest of Sam's breakfast. Sam noticed the time and darted out the door to buy ingredients for the restaurant before the market sold out. Kurt tried not to feel hurt when Sam left without a goodbye kiss.
Kurt sat in the corner of his boutique with Mercedes and began talking about his marital problems.
"It's hard to explain."
"I don't get it. You guys seem to be crazy in love. Has that changed?"
"No. Well, I don't know. I still love him."
"Then what's the problem?" Kurt sighed. The last two weeks had been remarkably free of stress for Kurt and Sam. All that time together made it painfully obvious that they'd lost something along the way. They'd both been so focused helping each other achieve their dreams and now without it, they'd fallen into a weird limbo.
Mercedes rolled her eyes at Kurt. They'd never been good at understanding the way the other worked in relationships. She wasn't co-dependent but she always felt uneasy if she spent too much time without her husband. It seemed Kurt was the opposite.
"Do you still want to be with him? Because sometimes the spark just burns out. Maybe you're spark's run out of fuel. That's what happened with Shane all those years ago."
Panic suddenly claimed Kurt's face. Had the spark died? Did Sam not want him anymore? Did Kurt no longer need Sam at his side? It certainly would seem that way given all of the time they spent apart.
"I don't know. . ." Kurt exhaled barely loud enough for Mercedes to hear. She gave Kurt a sympathetic look before tearing the colored pencil from his grip.
"Go figure it out." Kurt nodded as he grabbed his bag and headed for the door. He panicked when he saw the time.
"Shit. I missed the flight!"
"What flight? . . . . Oh the reunion!" Mercedes said to Kurt's deaf ears. He was too busy scrambling for his phone.
8 Missed Calls
2 New Text Messages
Kurt cursed his stupid decision to turn his phone to silent and opened the messages.
Sam – Hey, You're not answering your phone so I guess something came up at the shop. I switched you flight to the red eye tonight. I know you hate them but it's the only one they had left. If you want I can cancel it and I'll hit the reunion alone. Hope everything's okay. Let me know if I can help.
Kurt's deepened as he read the message. Sam didn't want him there. He slammed his eyes shut to push the frustration aside and opened them again to read the next message.
Sam – Have to turn off phone now. Let me know if I'm picking you up at the airport.
Kurt looks up to see Mercedes reading the messages over his shoulder.
"See! His husband blows him off completely and Sam just cares about the logistics of it all."
Mercedes gives Kurt a look that shouts "why the hell are you complaining that he's being so nice" but Kurt doesn't even notice.
"I could have run off with some hot French model and all Sam would ask about is frequent flyer miles!"
Little did Kurt know, Sam was thinking the same thing – well not the frequent flyer miles part.
Sam was sitting in the first class cabin trying to ignore the empty seat next to him. He pulled his tattered picture of Kurt out of his wallet and stared deep into his eyes as if the faded paper held all the answers for their relationship. He was so focused he didn't notice the stewardess sitting down in the empty seat next to him.
"Is that your husband?" She asked politely but Sam jumped in surprise.
"I hope so. . ." Sam muttered wistfully.
"Oh are you going to propose to him? How are you going to do it? Why are you already wearing a ring though?"
Even if the flight attendant hadn't made the novice mistake of sitting down next to a passenger, the chipper attitude was a dead give away. For a moment Sam considered telling her off but decided against it. At least Kurt's seat wasn't a mocking metaphor for the emptiness that had taken over their marriage.
"We've been married for years. He was supposed to be next to me right now. I'm not really sure where he is or who he's run off with." A mental picture of a lanky young actor with a voice that could turn the pope gay flashed in Sam's mind.
The flight attendant started to reply but was cut off by her supervisor coming over to yell at the inappropriate work behavior.
Sam groaned as more mental pictures of men running off with his Kurt flooded into his mind. This was going to be the worst plane ride ever.
Four hours later, Sam sat in the restaurant where he had gotten his first break and drummed his fingers on the table as he waited for his food. He tried not to think about think about the hours he had spent here with Kurt after work but it wasn't working very well. He glanced at the glanced at the table in the corner and saw the moment Kurt had bought their first dump of an apartment online (which was a gigantic let down when they'd actually seen the cramped dump of an apartment) and shared a tender kiss as they imagined where they'd put the few things they two of them owned. His eyes wandered to the bar and he recognized the very stool he'd sat in when he'd asked Burt for his blessing.
Even the three shots of vodka hadn't succeeded in calming his nerves. He'd been sure Burt would say no and promptly shoot him with his shotgun. Sam had been so ready to flee that he fell off the stool and onto the floor when Burt had replied "Well it's about damned time."
Sam winced as Burt's next words dragged up another memory. "I still want grandkids you hear? I don't care how or which one of you fathers it but Kurt will make a great Dad someday and so will you son."
Tears welled in Sam's eyes as they fell on a table in the center of the room.
"I'm sorry Dad but it's not going to happen." Four different adoption agencies had deemed Sam and Kurt incapable of raising children because of their careers. A week ago their surrogate had delivered the baby a month early and it hadn't made it. Sam didn't even get a chance to hold his son before he died less than a minute after delivery. Their marriage had almost fallen apart that week from all of the pain. When Kurt told Sam that he didn't want to try anymore, Sam just nodded and left for work. He couldn't handle losing Kurt too.
"I understand Kurt. Are you guys doing okay?"
Sam had forced a smile that day and reassured his father in law that he was fine, but as Sam watched the family sitting in the same table, he wasn't fine. He caught the waitress's attention and told her that something had come up and he needed his meal to go. She smiled nicely and raced to the kitchen to put a rush on his order. As the door swung open, Sam caught side of the industrial stove and another memory crashed on him.
Sam shuffled out of the kitchen and flicked off the lights for the rest of the small diner. His boss had left him over an hour ago to finish the cleanup and prep tomorrow's meals. Normally the prep work would be done the following morning, but Sam would be in school when it needed to be done. The bright side of being the only employee left at night was a significant raise and a set of keys to the building so he could lock up. Above all that, Sam's boss had suggested that he invite a friend over when he had to close so he wouldn't be alone in the building. Sam smiled to himself as he walked up behind his "friend" and wrapped his tired arms around him.
"You know you're the greatest part of my day?" Sam whispered into Kurt's ear. School was starting tomorrow and Sam was thrilled that he'd have more time to spend with Kurt, despite the difficult schoolwork.
Kurt shrugged out of Sam's embrace and shut the screen of his laptop with a little too much force.
"You've got to stop being nice to me!"
"Okay . . . ?"
"Yeah that's not going to happen." Sam said, still confused about where all this was coming from.
"How do you expect me to write a Broadway musical if the only bad thing that's happened in my life is some bullying and heart attack scare with my dad? Musicals are about deep tragedy and overcoming that pain. How can I write about pain if I've never really experienced it?"
Ever since Kurt had gotten into NYADA, he'd thrown himself into writing the role that would make him a star on Broadway. The world didn't really have a role to fit Kurt's mannerisms and vocal range so Kurt vowed to make one. Apparently, it wasn't going so well.
"Follow me." Sam said as he pulled Kurt into the abandoned kitchen and flicked on the stove top. "Grab the stove."
"Because it'll hurt." Sam tilted his head and raised his eyebrows until Kurt rolled his eyes. "It's not the same thing Sam!"
"It is though. You don't have to run into your lost love to understand how it feels when you sing "Someone Like You." Do you think Andrew Lloyd Weber stalked a diva in an opera house with a mask so he could write Phantom? A white man wrote Effie's moving story in Dreamgirls and Cats surely wasn't written by a guy's cat."
"Sam. . . "
"Look Kurt. Great writers know how to feel something they've never experienced. They put themselves in their character's minds. I don't know anyone who can empathize like you do. You have this amazing ability to understand everything a person's feeling. You'll be a star because you heart that's just spilling over with emotion and you'll put all of that emotion down on paper and I'm just glad I get to watch those words change the world."
"Sam." Was all Kurt could say as he looked into Sam's eyes. The emotion welled over in Kurt's chest and he gave into the feeling. He pressed his mouth open against Sam's and strangled the surprised gasp on Sam's lips. Sam twisted Kurt around and pressed him against the large fridge and returned the kiss with a hungry fervor. A confident hand roamed to the small of Kurt's back to pull their bodies closer as their lips meshed together.
"Some day you'll leave me for the lead in one of your plays but tonight, you are mine."
That night Sam lost his virginity to Kurt on the floor of the kitchen. It was amazing but Sam can't help but remember that Kurt never denied his prediction.
Sam's heart froze as his mind started racing. Hating himself for having to do it, Sam texted his neighbor to see if Kurt had stopped by to pick up his suitcase. He got a reply saying Kurt had left over an hour ago with three bags carried by a guy in his twenties. Not even bothering to reply, Sam checked Kurt's plane ticket online and saw that he hadn't checked in yet despite the fact that the plane left in twenty minutes. In a full blown panic, Sam called Kurt but apparently the number had been disconnected. There was no denying it now. Kurt was gone.
Puck had been on the lookout for old friends the past few days. He'd already seen Tina and Mike and all his old football buddies that had made it out of Lima. He'd always been afraid of being stuck in Lima but if being able to support his children and Quinn made him a Lima Loser then he'd wear the name with pride.
He pulled into the only restaurant in town after the health department had shut down Breadstix a few years back and ran inside to pick up dinner for the family. Puck smiled softly at the waitress as he handed over the bags. The waitress kept glancing worriedly at the corner booth. He followed her eye line and saw a blonde mess of hair sitting in silence as tears flooded down his face.
Still not sure how everyone will like the new approach to the story. Let me know.