Saturday May 26, 2012
Week 1 Day 1
Kurt Hummel stared quietly out the window of his dad's car as Finn slept and snored loudly in the seat beside him. They'd been driving for six hours and Kurt was tired of waiting to arrive at their destination. "I still don't know why we have to go," Kurt said with a stand-offish tone, crossing his arms.
"Kurt," Carole Hudson-Hummel said from the passenger seat of the car, "I know this is not the most ideal way to spend your last summer vacation before you go off to NYADA, but my aunt needs us to be there for her. She's the closest thing I've ever had to a mother. This may be the only way I can pay her back for all those years."
Kurt knew that Carole had to take care of her aunt. Aunt Annie was in the final stages of Alzheimer's, and there was not much hope left. The doctors were almost certain she wasn't going to live to the end of the summer.
All four of them were going to live with Aunt Annie in her small, ocean front cottage in Ocean City, New Jersey for the summer. It wasn't just that Kurt wouldn't get to spend his last summer before college with his friends; he didn't have many, slowly becoming more and more antisocial after junior year.
During junior year Kurt's bullying had escalated out of control. Karofsky threatened to kill him if he ever told anyone about what happened in the locker room. No one ever really helped him. In response, he learned to keep a low profile and not to be expressive about who he was. Senior year started to get better after Karofsky transferred, but the damage had already been done. Kurt wasn't the same anymore.
He over thought everything he said, started mistaking sincerity for pity, and didn't let many people in anymore. He only truly expressed himself to Mercedes, Rachel, and sometimes Finn. Even then he never felt like he had anyone who knew what he was going through.
But there was something even greater keeping him from the ocean than being able to hang out with his few friends over the summer.
Kurt sighed and focused on the trees quickly passing by his window. "I know Carole," Kurt said with a defeated tone. "It's just…the ocean…and my mom…that day…" Kurt drifted off, becoming emotional.
It was Burt's turn to reassure his son. "It's okay, Kurt. I know that was a horrible day for you, but your mother wouldn't want you to be afraid of the ocean forever."
Kurt tried to will the memories from returning.
He was only 8 years old when he, Burt, and his mother went on long drive to Cape Cod. His mother always loved the ocean, and she would travel to Massachusetts almost every summer with her family. She decided to take Kurt and his dad out, to show them what they were missing.
One evening, Kurt and his parents went out on a private boat just before sunset. Kurt couldn't believe how beautiful the sky looked while out on the water, how the pinks and oranges mixed together and faded into the blue of the ocean. But what the family couldn't see was the army of clouds coming from the other direction.
Suddenly, large drops of water began to fall on the boat, and quickly Kurt's dad took control and started to steer back towards shore. They were only ten minutes out to sea, and the heavy part of the storm seemed to be miles in the other direction.
The wind began to pick up and the boat was starting to be pulled in the other direction. "Lizzie, get the life jackets!" Burt yelled to his wife. Kurt could sense something was going horribly wrong. As his mother got the life jackets, the small eight year old boy just stared at the large, dark clouds racing toward them.
As the wind picked up, the boat started swaying side to side. Kurt was almost completely thrown off the boat when his mother took hold of his hand. "Mommy!" young Kurt yelled. Elizabeth Hummel took Kurt's shoulders and sat on her knees. She looked straight into his eyes with a pleading look. To this day, Kurt's mother still was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had long, golden hair with sea blue eyes that almost made you think you were looking into the ocean.
As the boat kept rocking, Kurt's mom hooked him into his life vest and took Kurt into the biggest hug she had ever given him. He didn't even realize she didn't yet have her life vest on. Kurt hadn't known this was going to be the last time he would ever hug his mother.
"Kurt," she whispered into his ear just loud enough for him to hear, "Your dad has called the coast guard and they are coming to save us." Kurt could feel his mother trembling as she held him. "Just know that I love you, no matter what happens. Never give up, Kurt. Don't let anyone ever tell you who you can and cannot love. Don't ever let someone convince you to not follow your dreams. And never lose faith in those who love you. You understand, Kurt?" She pulled back and Kurt nodded tearfully, even though he didn't understand to the full extent of her words.
All of a sudden, the boat rocked harder. The wind was making the worst howling noise Kurt ever heard in his life. Before Kurt could tell his mother he loved her back, the boat flipped onto its side and all the passengers were thrown from the boat.
"Mom!" Kurt yelled as he hit the icy cold water. He started bobbing in and out of the water, the harsh waves pulling him under even though he was wearing a life vest.
The next thing he remembered was waking up in a helicopter being given CPR by one of the medics. He was told his father was okay but his mother could not be found.
She would never be found.
Kurt tried to clear his mind of the memories from that fateful day. He hadn't been in an ocean since his mother died. Right after the wreck, he had gone to a therapist that slowly got him over the hydrophobia he developed. He would only take showers and never went out in storms. For almost a year after, he would crawl into his bed and sob every time there was a large storm. By the time he was 15 he finally had the courage to go in a pool. Now it was just the ocean left that would freak him out. How could he possibly live with that smell for a whole summer? How could he live with the thing that killed his mother right outside his window?
"Everything will be fine, buddy," Burt said trying to find Kurt's eyes in the rearview mirror. "If it is too hard you and I can move back to Ohio. Carole and I have talked about it, she understands."
Carole gave Burt a look of understanding and tried to turn her body towards Kurt. "I know it was such a difficult time in your childhood. But we're here for you."
Kurt looked from his window for the first time and looked into Carole's eyes. "No," he said with a sigh."You are my family and this is my last summer with you guys, and I want us to spend it together. You never know what might change." He gave Carole a shy smile to reassure her. "And besides, Aunt Annie needs us. I can't imagine what going through my last days would be like without a family."
She smiled at him and turned back around in her seat. Kurt turned back to the window and thought silently to himself, This summer will be the death of me.
"Yep, definitely the death of me," Kurt said aloud to himself as he looked out the window of his ocean front room.
Right outside the window of his second story room, after about 100 feet of beach, was a lifeguard stand. Kurt wondered why there would be a lifeguard in front of a private residence, but his dad told him it was because they were so close to the vacation hotels, that some tourists would wander down the beach often. At first, Kurt was happy that there was something standing in the way of the ocean coming in and swallowing him whole. Then it became a constant reminder of how dangerous the ocean was that people needed constant protection.
However, what actually spiked Kurt's interest was the lifeguard who was putting on a layer of sunscreen next to the large, wooden lifeguard stand. He was much tanner than Kurt, with toned muscles that ran down his back and flexed with each movement. He was wearing red swim trunks that hugged all the right places, and he had dark-brown curly hair that just begged for Kurt to run his fingers through it. Although he was facing towards the water, Kurt couldn't seem to care, the back of his head was just fine for now.
If Kurt hadn't known he was gay for some time now, this boy about 100 feet outside his window would definitely have made it extremely clear to him. His arms…his back…his-
"Whatcha lookin' at out there Kurt?" Burt said interrupting his thoughts as he stood in the doorway to his new room for the summer. Burt was definitely not one of those dads who knocked.
Kurt suddenly turned around as a blush crept up his cheeks. "Umm… ust looking at the ocean." Or the hot lifeguard outside my window.
"Don't be embarrassed, Kurt. I know it must be hard for you. It's almost as hard for me coming here… You're handling it extremely well, and I was surprised it only took you 20 minutes to get out of the car."
Yes, it had taken Kurt 20 minutes to gather up the courage to get out of the car. When he opened the door, the salty sea air hit him like a speeding car. But, it wasn't as bad as he thought it was going to be. Maybe he was actually getting over his fear of the ocean. Maybe staying here over the summer wouldn't be as bad as he thought it would be. Maybe.
He walked slowly into the house, willing the memories of the day of his mom's death not to return. He was startled when Aunt Annie quickly turned the corner.
"And you must be Kurt," the small, white-haired woman said with open arms. "I've heard so many good things about you." She said as she pulled him into a tight hug. She pulled away smiling and led the family into the quaint parlor room off of the entrance hallway.
Aunt Annie was a short woman, not too skinny, like one of those grandmas that would bake milk and cookies every day to spoil their grandchildren rotten. She had to use a cane to walk, and it looked like it was getting harder for her to get around her own house. Her wardrobe was almost entirely pink, even down to her socks. Kurt hoped he could take her shopping one day; she looked like an older version of Rachel Berry.
Her house reflected that as well. The furniture was average and old, but Aunt Annie had painted everything with bright colors. She told them it was so the house didn't feel so old.
And the house didn't feel old. It almost felt that a young teenager was living in the house. The house was two stories, modest, not the largest house in the world, but it felt cozy. You could definitely tell it was by the beach from all the pictures of the ocean and shells lining the walls.
Since the moment they sat in the parlor all they did was talk about how school. Finn attempted to tell Aunt Annie about his on-again-off-again relationship with Rachel when she asked the boys if they had any girlfriends. Kurt told the fragile woman that he had yet to be in a relationship and that he was hoping to find someone special in college. He didn't bother telling her he was gay. He didn't know how she felt about the subject, and he didn't need her hating him for the rest of the summer like McKinley did, even though she probably wouldn't remember any of their talk the next day.
It was true; Kurt Hummel never had a boyfriend. After Karofsky had transferred senior year, he thought he may be able to find someone after the bullying subsided some. Yet, he remained the only openly gay male student at his school.
"Hey Kurt," Burt said, still standing in the door of his room. "Maybe tomorrow we could go out and sit on the beach? Just you and me? You don't have to if it will make you uncomfortable."
Kurt pondered the question for a few minutes. Maybe he should go out and try to get over his fear of the ocean. And his dad only asked to sit on the beach, that didn't mean they had to go in the water. It would be great to have some alone time with his dad after such a hectic senior year. And maybe that lifeguard will be on duty…
"Sure dad," Kurt smiled.
"Really? I mean, yeah, it will be great for the both of us. Getting out there after all these years." Burt seemed surprised at his son's answer.
"You didn't think I was going to do it, did you?" Kurt said, trying not to sound accusatory.
Burt took a few steps into Kurt's room and put his hand on his son's shoulder. "It's not that I didn't think you wouldn't have the courage to go out there. I just thought it would've taken a few more days, that's all."
"Like you said, it'll be good for both of us." Kurt gave his dad a small smile and continued, "This time tomorrow then?"
"This time tomorrow," Burt repeated as he started leaving the room. He turned around right as he walked through the door. "Oh, yeah, the reason I came in here was to tell you lunch is in five. Which I guess would be right now."
"Be right there," Kurt said as he took one last look at the stunning lifeguard before joining his father.
This time tomorrow.
Week 1 Day 2
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, Kurt thought to himself, as he and his father started making their trek down the beach.
It wasn't just because the salty air and the sound of the waves were making him uncomfortable, but that he and Burt had taken almost all of their things at once. Two chairs and a large tote bag full of his skincare products were in Kurt's hands as Burt was carrying two large umbrellas and another large tote bag with more skincare products and their towels.
"I don't know why you had to take all these bottles, Kurt," Burt said out of breath as they crossed the halfway mark to the lifeguard stand, where Kurt was planning to set up their stuff.
"Dad, you know that I burn easily and my skin will be so dry from all the salty air," Kurt said in an almost whiny tone. He needed a couple different SPFs of sun block, and his moisturizer was a necessity.
Then he noticed the lifeguard from yesterday sitting at his post. He blew his whistle when a few children started horse playing in the water. Kurt wondered what other things he could blow. Don't think that. Kurt thought to himself, you're in a swimsuit for crying out loud.
While his mind wondered, Kurt's foot got caught in the sand and had a not so graceful fall into the hot earth beneath him. Kurt sat up toward the house and saw how all the contents of the tote bag were scattered in different directions. The blue T-shirt and swim trunks Kurt was wearing became quickly covered with sand.
"Fuck," Kurt muttered under his breath.
"Are you okay?" Said a concerned voice coming from behind him. It only took a few seconds to realize it wasn't his father.
Kurt turned his head around and looked up into the most beautiful hazel eyes he had ever seen. "Here, let me help you," said the curly haired lifeguard as he put out his hand for Kurt to take.
Kurt quickly obliged and took the handsome lifeguard's hand. "Sorry, that must have looked really dumb," Kurt said as he stood up and started dusting himself off.
The lifeguard laughed. "Not at all. The sand is really hard to walk in anyway. You don't know how long it took me to perfect running in it," he chuckled and gave Kurt a broad smile as he started picking up their things and piled it into his arms.
Now that Kurt could see his face he really looked at him. He was completely and utterly gorgeous. His eyes were what caught Kurt the most. They were a sparkling honey color with specks of green that exploded across his irises.
"You really don't have to do that, I know it's a lot," Kurt said concerned.
"No, no I insist. And besides, it's my job. I'm here to save lives and if I let you carry everything you might fall again and hurt yourself. And we can't let that happen can we?" The lifeguard winked at Kurt. Winked.
A fierce blush crept up Kurt's cheeks as he smiled shyly. The sweet lifeguard then turned to Burt, who Kurt forgot was even in the same country as him let alone standing right next to him. "You just leave everything here and I will come back and get it for you. Where were you going to set up your things?"
"Well Kurt told me he wanted to set up our things right next to the lifeguard stand—"
"Dad," Muttered hastily, embarrassment clearly visible on his face.
"That's no problem." The lifeguard said smiling and then picked up their things. He had such a warm and inviting smile that Kurt couldn't help but smile back.
"Thank you so much, umm…"
"My name's Blaine."
While the lifegu- Blaine was setting up their camp Kurt couldn't help at stare at the lifeguard in front of him. He was wearing red swim trunks and a whistle around his neck. He was turned away from Kurt, and his sweaty back was glistening in the bright sunlight. He quickly turned away when his father raised an eyebrow at him. Crap. It must have been obvious that he was checking Blaine out.
"Well… all this walking has made me mighty hungry," Burt said in an overdramatically staged voice. Kurt gave him a pleading look not to leave. Burt just smiled at him. "I think I am going to go grab myself something to eat. Kurt here forgot to pack us snacks and I didn't get a chance to eat before we left."
"It's not my fault—" Kurt said, crossing his arms. "You were practically pushing me out of the house."
"Well if you two want to go and grab a bite to eat, I can watch your stuff for you. I am sure you don't want to bring it back and forth." Blaine told them thoughtfully. That ever present smile still on his face.
"Well Kurt ate before we left, so I'm assuming he isn't hungry," Burt said with a mischievous look. "Hey Blaine, maybe you could keep him company while I'm gone? Make sure he doesn't cause more harm to himself?" Kurt was pretty sure all the blood he had ran to his face and he looked downward at his feet.
Blaine laughed. The laugh was so infectious Kurt couldn't help but smile. "Sure, Mr.—"
"Hummel. Burt Hummel."
"Your son will be in great care with me I can assure you." Blaine turned to Kurt and gave him that smile that Kurt had to say was the cutest thing he had ever seen in his life. Kurt smiled back as their eyes met.
Kurt and Blaine sat under the lifeguard post as his dad walked away. Kurt was holding his knees up against his chest and Blaine had one foot out and the other one bent and laying on the sand. They were both facing out towards the ocean. "I always have to be within five feet of this thing unless I'm helping or rescuing people," Blaine told Kurt sighing. "You probably don't like sitting in the sand—"
"You know, you really don't have to hang out with me, my dad was just joking around. He thinks I'm going to lack friends this summer," Kurt said shyly not looking in Blaine's direction.
"Why wouldn't I want to hang out with you.. Kurt right?" Blaine said sweetly. Kurt turned his face to him and smiled.
They turned quickly when a group of children started screaming. They seemed to be just playing, but Blaine noticed Kurt's start and started to chuckle, "I see tons of tourists visit here during the summer. Always a different family every week. But the friends I do make here usually leave once their extended stay is over."
"Don't you have friends from school?" Kurt asked, although he didn't want to sound too forward.
"Well, I'm homeschooled, and my Grandmother doesn't usually let me out of the house unless my homework is done or I have work." He sighed and mumbled under his breath, "And I'm never without homework if she has anything to say about it."
"How long have you lived here?" Kurt asked.
"Only two years, since I turned 16 and my parents—" Blaine quickly shook his head and looked away. "Never mind," he said in a sad tone, which was surprising to Kurt, considering his previous cheery disposition.
Kurt realized Blaine didn't want to stay on this topic anymore and swiftly changed the subject. They talked about random tourist spots and restaurants that Blaine recommended. Blaine quickly got his cheery tone back and the conversation flowed nicely between them.
"So how long are you staying in beautiful Ocean City?" Blaine asked emphasizing the 'Ocean City' like Kurt had seen in the commercials.
"Just for the summer. Exactly 12 weeks. I'm leaving on the 18th of August. We're here taking care of my step-mother's aunt." Kurt turned and pointed to the house behind them.
"Ms. Annie?" Kurt nodded. "She's so nice. She used to bring me cookies or lemonade to my station every once in a while last summer. I heard she got sick." Blaine's face seemed to fade as he looked out to the water. Kurt looked out into the ocean as well, his hair definitely getting knotted from all the wind.
"Yeah, she got Alzheimer's a few years ago but it started getting really bad this year. So we are living with her during her last months, to make sure everything is okay." Kurt told Blaine solemnly.
"That's terrible," Blaine said, "Why do the best people always have to leave us?"
They stayed quiet for a few minutes just staring at the waves crash onto the shore.
Another three hours went by and the two boys hardly even noticed. Earlier, Blaine asked Kurt if he knew if his dad was alright. When Kurt checked his phone, he had a text from Burt saying that he and Carole were out getting things for Aunt Annie and that he was sorry for leaving him and hoped they could go to the beach together at another time. Kurt thought Blaine might tell him to leave him alone, but he just shrugged and they carried on their conversations. Talking about silly little interests and their favorite subjects in school as the different groups of tourists came and went.
At one point Kurt had told Blaine that he was going to college in New York:
"That's great!" Blaine had said.
"Are you going anywhere for college?" Kurt had asked because he previously learned that Blaine was also a senior.
Blaine's eyes seemed to lose some of their brightness. "No, college never seemed like something I could do. Not really…something I ever saw for my future."
And that had been the end of that conversation.
Blaine was definitely someone whose personality could feel so open, yet so closed. Kurt could tell when Blaine got uncomfortable, or when he felt embarrassed. He would start talking to himself or mumbling under his breath. Kurt found that truly adorable.
Blaine was also very understanding. He had asked Kurt if he wanted to go in the water after everyone on the beach had left, Kurt declined, saying the last time he was in the ocean wasn't the greatest memory. Blaine was sincere, and told Kurt it was no big deal, and that he didn't like going in the water much either. Blaine said he would rather watch the waves from the shore, that being one of the reasons he became a lifeguard, along with saving lives.
But now it was dark and Kurt had promised to have dinner with the whole family.
"I had a great time talking to you today Kurt," Blaine said while they were packing up the chairs and bags to take back to the house. He took a second to put his hand on Kurt's shoulder and smile.
"I did too," Kurt said smiling back. Once they finished packing everything up, Blaine helped Kurt carry everything back to the house. They set the chairs and bags on the porch of Aunt Annie's house and Kurt didn't really know what to do next.
"So umm…" Kurt rubbed the back of his neck with hand.
"I just want to say again that I had a great time today." Blaine interrupted. "It's always so boring just sitting there all day. Nothing ever happens. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love the beach, it's the only way I would have wanted to spend my la-…m-my summer. But it's always so lonely, you know?"
Kurt chuckled and looked straight at Blaine. He looked so handsome under the moonlight. At least he had put a shirt on while they were talking, because Kurt didn't think he would have been able to take it.
"Well…" Kurt said shyly. "I could always come by tomorrow…so you're not so bored…"
"Only if you want to. I know I'm not the most interesting person."
Kurt forced a laugh. "You're not interesting. I'm—"
"Don't say anything Kurt. You are probably the most interesting kid in all of Ohio."
Kurt's face turned about twelve different shades of pink. Gladly it was dark so maybe Blaine wouldn't notice. "I guess I'll text you when I'm going to come by? Or you could text me when your shift starts?"
Blaine's face turned disappointed. "Sorry, I don't have a cell phone. My grandma…well let's just say she is old fashioned."
"Don't worry; I'll just come down at two or three?" Kurt asked.
"Three would be great. My shift starts at 2:30 but I don't want to be late and for you to have to wait."
"Okay. Um…I guess this is where we say goodbye?"
"Bye, Kurt. I am really glad I met you today. I always love meeting new friends."
"Yeah…friends." Kurt gave him a fake smile. Hopefully it wasn't that obvious that Kurt really didn't want to be just friends. "Bye, Blaine."
And with that, Kurt had exactly 11 weeks, 5 days of summer left to spend with the hazel-eyed lifeguard.
Trigger Warning: There will be ONE character death. Only ONE. As of this chapter it should be obvious who it's going to be.