There is a moment when you say to yourself, "how the hell did I get to this point?" In my case, that moment happened in the backseat of a taxi on my way from a vet clinic, which sounds kind of like a weird choice when it comes to places for soul-searching, but bear with me, because we're just getting started.
I'm not an animal person. I'm not the guy you'd find hanging out in pet shops; I don't coo at hamsters, click my tongue at parrots, or tap at fish in water tanks in some foolish hope they're follow my finger. Yet, there I was, in a cab, in a traffic jam, with a guinea pig named Spaghetti secured in a cardboard box in my lap, and suddenly I found myself revaluating my life, because that's what we Americans tend to do when we get stuck in traffic jam, apparently.
I realised that despite only nearing 25, I'm approximately as bitter as a 50 year old woman with insomnia, a mortgage and 2 pubescent children, and whose only happiness in life is Doritos and episodes of Everwood on tape. And I kept thinking about it and I kept trying to find the answer to the question why. Why am I like this? What happened to that sweet rose-cheeked boy I used to know? I considered asking the cabbie, but the stains on his collar looked suspiciously like blood, so I kept my mouth shut and closed my eyes, just about the grasp at the concept of the meaning of life and all that stuff, I swear, which, unfortunately, was also when Spaghetti decided it was the right time to pee through the cardboard box right on my designer jeans.
Needless to say, the day shall never come when soul-searching will come before Levi's.
April 12th 2017 | Kurt Hummel
Earlier that day:
The office had yellow walls and stunk of disinfect and dog breath. Not much of an improvement after spending 40 horrendous minutes in a waiting room full of elderly people with dachshunds. Kurt set the box on the exam table and took a peek at his phone only to roll his eyes, because yep, he was definitely going to be late for his business lunch. He groaned internally, hoping Sue would be in a benevolent mood today.
"Why, hello, there, buddy."
Kurt almost jumped in surprise when the door flied open and a young attractive doctor waltzed in, all smiles, clean-shaven cheeks and slicked-back curls, going straight for the box. He took the distressed Spaghetti out and snuggled him to his chest, offering Kurt his other hand to a shake. Kurt found himself squeezing the man's fingers, staring at his face, still a little overwhelmed.
"Hi, I'm Dr. Anderson and I'm going to take care of your guinea pig today."
Kurt nodded, unable to say anything that wouldn't come out of his mouth as an embarrassing squeaky sound and instead watched Spaghetti being put back on the table as the man examined him.
Dr. Anderson looked Kurt's age and also kind of cute in a casual sort of way. The white coat might have been shapeless and he was wearing a sweater underneath, but the buttons were unfastened so Kurt had a great view of his chest, clad in a pinstriped shirt that stretched across it in a delicious way. Not that it really mattered, anymore. The closest he'd ever been to a long-term relationship was with his daily cup of non-fat mocha. But that was before he switched to triple shot vanilla latte.
"So, what seems to be the problem?" asked Dr. Anderson, fingers softly combing through Spaghetti's ginger fur, eyes fixed on Kurt.
"Um..." Oh yeah, eloquent. "I don't know... he's ill?" Kurt tried, shrugging a little. "Look," he said finally, letting out a puff of air. "He's not even my guinea pig. My friend was busy today and she asked me to take him here, because apparently, that's what good friends do, but I have an important meeting in two hours and I think he chewed a hole in the bottom of that box on our way here and I just... I'm a mess right now, aren't I." Kurt took a deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut for a minute to calm himself down.
Dr. Anderson cocked his head to a side, visibly amused.
"Are you by any chance Kurt?"
Kurt blinked in awe, raising one eyebrow.
"I... yeah, I am? It's really creepy you know that, though."
Dr. Anderson grinned, letting go of Spaghetti so he could sniff around for a bit, and moved towards his table to scrawl something down, smirking to himself the whole time (and really, what the hell was going on in here).
"Spaghetti is actually one of our most frequent patients. Your friend Rachel brings him to my office almost every other week for a check-up. She's... quite something," he giggled and spun around in his chair. "She talks about you a lot," he added, locking eyes with Kurt, who felt his stomach sway in response.
Dr. Anderson cleared his throat, suddenly looking bashful, cheeks colouring.
"There's a, uh, high probability she sent you here on purpose."
Kurt frowned even more at that, already planning on choking Rachel with one of her stripy knee-high socks.
"And why, pray tell, would she do anything like that?"
He had an inkling already, though, and judging by Dr. Anderson's sleek exterior and the way his eyes kept sweeping across Kurt's thighs clad in snug-fitting jeans, he was right.
"Oh my god," he half-laughed before he was able to stop himself, bringing a hand to his mouth. "She tried to set us up, the little..." He balled up his fists and gritted his teeth, determined to have a serious talk with his best friend once he got home. One that would involve words such as 'slowly', 'in your sleep' and 'with a tea spoon', for sure.
Dr. Anderson snorted at his expression, the skin near his eyes wrinkling into cute little laughter-lines.
"Don't be too hard on her. It's actually kind of flattering. She tried flirting with me first, you know. She'd, like, wear really deeply cut dresses, and uh..." he paused and scratched at his neck, blushing faintly.
Kurt rolled his eyes. He loved his best friend to death but she could be intense at times, which could turn into annoying which could very quickly turn into her listeners having to suppress the urge to gag her and lock her up in the nearest closet. Which wasn't easy. Kurt had a ten-year-long experience to build that premise on.
"But when I told her that boobs weren't really my thing, except maybe to lie down on, she didn't even bat an eyelash. Next thing I know, she's telling me your life story."
Kurt actually whined in disbelief.
"Okay," he exhaled, trying to relax inwardly, counting to ten. "Just how much have she told you?" He was almost afraid to ask. Rachel had been pressuring him to start dating for as long as he was able to remember, but she'd never gone this far. She must have been impressed with Dr. Anderson... not that he didn't understand that, since Dr. McDapperCardigan was quite pleasing to look at.
"Well, she told me about your..." Dr. Anderson waved his hand as if to find the right words, "...dating issues."
"Oh my god. I don't have any issues. She always exaggerates, especially when it comes to me, so I'm not sure I want to know..."
Dr. Anderson propped his chin on his hand, looking Kurt up and down with a little provocative smile.
"You know, that's the thing. I don't think she was exaggerating all that much. You're exactly the way she described you, which sort of shocked me when I first realised who you were."
"And why's that?" Kurt frowned, folding his arms on his chest, bracing himself.
"Well, to be honest, I would have never believed people like you actually existed."
Kurt's frown deepened, and he shuffled to his feet, drawing in a shallow breath.
"I'm certain there's an insult somewhere in there, but I'm not so sure I want to know."
Dr. Anderson chuckled darkly and stood up, walking closer to Kurt to look him straight in the eyes.
"Well, according to Rachel, you're practically married to your job and despite being insanely attractive, you're not interested in having a boyfriend. She also told me about your column, which, of course, tickled my curiosity, so I looked you up and read few of your articles. You're really good, by the way."
"Thank you, I guess," mumbled Kurt, but Dr. Anderson raised his hand to silence him.
"You're as sarcastic as you are witty. You go through five cups of coffee a day which keeps you up at night, driving you slowly but surely crazy. You live with your brother, with whom you have a love-hate relationship, to which I can relate, by the way, but you're too soft-hearted to actually kick him out of the apartment. You gave up on love, either because something bad happened to you, or because you simply don't believe in it. You're talented and successful and you have a great deal of friends around you, yet you're empty inside, being eaten up, bit by bit, by your own bitterness. Also, you don't like animals."
Kurt hadn't noticed Dr. Anderson closing the distance between them as he talked, but he was merely inches away now, his hazel eyes huge and searching.
Kurt swallowed, feeling as if he had gotten slapped in the face with the last remark.
"So, Rachel did talk a lot, indeed," he uttered.
Dr. Anderson didn't move a fraction, his hot breath tickling Kurt's cheek. Kurt wasn't sure if the situation was more arousing or infuriating, but just for his sanity's sake, he went with the latter.
"Actually, I managed to figure half of that out on my own, just by reading your column," said Dr. Anderson, the teasing smile still plastered on his stupid handsome face.
"I wasn't aware that this was a psychiatric office. If I wanted a psycho-analysis, I'd visit my therapist, not my vet," Kurt growled in response.
"Well, technically, I'm Spaghetti's vet. But if you're interested, I'm sure we could squeeze you into my schedule after that lovely pet skunk I have signed up for at 5 o'clock and take your temperature."
"Gosh, you're impossible! I can't believe Rachel had even thought about setting us up. This is ridiculous. You're ridiculous." Kurt finally cracked, taking a step back and readjusting his satchel strap on his shoulder, mostly to busy his hands.
"Oh, that's a first. Men usually find me charming and adorable."
"They must be blind and deaf, then," snorted Kurt and pointed at Spaghetti who had meanwhile waddled dangerously close to the edge of the table, sniffling at the air. "Just put him back into the box, so I can leave this hell hole. God, he's probably not even ill at all, is he."
"I think I'll be the judge of that, as I'm the one with veterinary degree out of the two of us."
"Yeah, well, I'm the one with at least some shame left out of the two of us, so if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere important to be."
Kurt moved towards the exam table to scoop up the guinea pig, put it in the box and headed for the exit when the door opened, revealing a woman in a white robe with long blond hair carrying a huge angry-looking cat that struggled to get out of her grasp. They stared at each other for a moment before the woman's blue eyes widened in sudden recognition.
"Oh. Aren't you Kurt?" she cocked her head to a side.
Kurt sighed, running his free hand through his hair.
"Has Rachel told everybody here?" he groaned, drawing Spaghetti closer to his chest so the cat couldn't get at him.
The nurse (which Kurt gathered she was) frowned a little, as if she was thinking about something really hard.
"I don't know a Rachel," she shrugged. "Blaine told me about you. He always giggles when he reads your stuff in the magazine. I'm Brittany. I would offer you my hand, but Mrs. Schrodinger would escape and drink all the water from the flowerpots again. I just watered them this morning and Blaine is too short to reach the watering-can on the upper shelf, so he can't do it after his office hours."
Kurt raised his eyebrows and turn to look at Blaine, whose cheeks were a little red. Small victories.
"Oh," said Blaine, his hand flying back to his neck, rubbing at it. "I've been hoping you'd give me your number before you leave, but better focus on where're you going so you don't trip over those humongous circles under your eyes."
"You've just managed to insult me and ask me out in one sentence; congratulations." He turned back to Brittany.
"Well, Brittany, it was nice to meet you. I hope I was everything and more you and Blaine were hoping for," he smiled sweetly and quickly left the room without any further words.
The business lunch was a disaster since Kurt had no other option but turn up in guinea pig pee-stained denim, which of course, Sue had picked up on the minute he'd sat down, wrinkling her nose and throwing a bun from the pastry basket at him. Damn her and her sense of smell that could easily compete with a German Shepherd.
She had, at least, approved of the self-loathing tone of his newest article, before she nonetheless sent him home, ordering him to take a long bath and never ever touch any animals with a ten-foot pole, since they seemed to enjoy peeing on him so much.
Kurt had got home late, completely drained from both the lunch and the morning encounter with Dr. Smartass Anderson, crashing down on the sofa in living room and refusing to move a muscle in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, that was also when his brother got home from work with Rachel in tow chattering excitedly.
"'Sup, bro!" Finn greeted him from the doorway and effortlessly proceeded to the kitchen, undoubtedly looking for something to devour. Rachel, on the other hand, kicked off her flats and jumped on the sofa beside Kurt, tucking her knees under her chin and glancing at him, her huge brown eyes filled with silent expectations.
Kurt inhaled deeply. He knew she meant well. Hell, she had probably really thought he and Blaine were a good match, Lord knew that girl wasn't able to match her skirts to her tops properly, let alone people. It had still pissed him off, though.
"So how was Dr. Blaine?" she suddenly squeaked, obviously unable to hold it in any longer.
"Rachel," he moaned, grabbing her hand to show her at least some affection before it was time for killing her with one of the baby blue pins from the excuse for a hairstyle on her head. "Please, never ever try to set me up again, I beg you."
Rachel frowned. "But Blaine is perfect for you, Kurt. You have to trust me on this. He's handsome and smart and he's an Aquarius and you're a Gemini, which would go so well together" she insisted.
"Leave my Gemini alone, all right?" hissed Kurt just as Finn slid into the seat to his left with an armful of food. "One stupid vet appointment and it cost me pair of perfectly good designer jeans and one set of nerves," mumbled Kurt, reaching to steal a fry from Finn's plate
"Hey, go get your own, bro," exclaimed Finn, spluttering tiny pieces of food on his shirt, since his mouth was full. Kurt's stomach turned inside out at the sigh.
"I'm suddenly not that hungry," he uttered dryly and stood up from the sofa, gathering his laptop from the coffee table. "I think I'll go to bed. Are you staying the night, Rachel?"
"But you can't just leave now, I want to hear what happened with Blaine!"
"Wait, who's Blaine?" Finn's perked up, suddenly interested.
"Kurt's hot vet," said Rachel, her smile way too wide and bright for 10 pm.
"But we don't have any pets," frowned Finn, looking around as if he was expecting a flock of geese to fly out from behind the corner.
"No, we don't, You'd have to kill me first. And no, he is not my vet, he's Rachel's," explained Kurt as calmly as he could. Finn still looked confused, though.
"So you're not denying he's hot, then!" Rachel's face was a picture of triumph. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"I'm not having this conversation. Good night," he announced, already out of the door.
Kurt opened his eyes, giving up on trying to force them closed so he could get some sleep. It was useless. He reached towards his nightstand and grabbed his phone, his whole body jumping as the too bright screen came to life and almost blinded him.
God, it was 3 am.
He wasn't gonna get any sleep tonight, was he? Kurt groaned, wanting to cry. It was so frustrating. Once he had started having these episodes of insomnia, he had learnt to consume several cups of coffee a day to stay on his feet, which had resulted in inability to fall asleep at night. He was trapped in a circle of misery and there was no way out. He had tried quitting coffee once, but he'd ended up twice as miserable, because he still couldn't fall asleep and in addition got caffeine withdrawal.
Life sucked for Kurt Hummel, these days, truth to be told.
He rolled onto his side and stared at the pale oblong of the window, squinting at the little shiny dots of the city. New York, the city of his dreams that had failed him in the end.
He sighed, slow and pitiful, resigning. Then he flicked on the lamp on his nightstand and popped his laptop open, tapping his fingers on the touch-pad impatiently while it was loading. He wasn't sure what he was going to do once it ran, but he figured he might as well check his emails while at it.
His eyes widened as he logged into his email and noticed a new message. His enthusiasm, however, fell, when he noticed the name of the sender.
From: Anderson, BVSc
To: Kurt Hummel
Subject: Giving back to society
I may not have scored your number, but my Google skills are excellent, so I at least managed to find your email address. I hope you're feeling appropriately creeped out. *spooky music*
Our lovely morning encounter reminded me of just how many people in this world are still unhappy despite living the American dream. Like, seriously, what's up with that! You're a healthy young gay man who should be dancing his heart out in a club, douchey guys hanging off your every limb. Yet, here you are, bitterer than my auntie Gladys, who refused to leave her chair for so long she grew into it (true story).
I don't think you want to end up like my aunt Gladys, Kurt. She still has bits of furnishing in her ass. I hope you value your ass more than that.
Which is where I come to the picture (no pun intended, although that would have been a good one). I think your problem could be divided into two separate ones. One, you can't sleep, and two, you don't like animals. It is my professional opinion (and I did study medicine for 5 yrs), that these two problems are related. You should see people about this. And by people, I mean myself.
I'm a happy person. Probably the happiest person you'll ever meet. I think it's because I work with animals and also thanks to my collection of old pocket watches. (And believe me, you gotta take up a hobby when you live with a brother in his thirties. I think he's having a middle-age crisis. I know, I know, but when it comes to Cooper, gender and age are irrelevant.) Getting back to the point. I think you should go out with me, so we could solve this problem of yours. And no, this is not some shady attempt at wooing you. If I wanted somebody with your attitude, I'd date Charlie Brown.
I just really want to give something back to society. Also, it would make your friend Rachel relax. And everybody in your close proximity, actually.
Let me know, soon, all right?
All the best,
Kurt stared at the screen in disbelief, temped to throw the whole laptop out of the window and proceed to bang his head against the wall. Dr. Blaine Anderson, BVSc was insane, it was official. There was no way he had actually meant what he'd wrote. Not even Rachel would come up with something so silly.
But, oh well. Kurt smiled mischievously and settled back into his pillows, cracking his knuckles. Two could play this game.
From: Kurt Hummel
To: Dr. Blaine Anderson, BVSc
Subject: My ass is none of your business
There's absolutely nothing dazzling about you finding my address (which I'm still considering changing, by the way), since after typing 'Kurt Hummel' into Google, the first thing to come up is my Wikipedia page. I'll be more impressed when you manage to google Pres. Obama's number or Lindsay Lohan's current bra size.
Your analyses of my person is sort of beautiful, in an insane kind of way, because as I already told you, you're a vet, Blaine. A vet. It doesn't matter how many years you spent at medical school. YOU'RE STILL TRAINED IN PULLING OUT WOLF TEETH AS OPPOSED TO HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY.
So, no. I won't go out with you. I'd rather go out with one of the small half-deaf slobbering dogs from your waiting office, thank you very much.
I'd feel bad about rejecting you, but I'm sure you'll find consolation in your collection of old pocket watches.
Kurt clicked the send button, satisfied enough with his writing to actually giggle, albeit a bit viciously. His eyebrows flew up when an answer popped up on his screen.
Ok, that was fast.
From: Dr. Blaine Anderson, BVSc
To: Kurt Hummel
Subject: I knew you weren't asleep
Which is why I sent you my email so late at night (or is it early morning already? I don't know the appropriate etiquette for insomniacs, you gotta help me out here).
You'd be surprised how much human psychology and behaviour has in common with wolves. It's truly fascinating.
The offer still stands, Kurt. Jokes aside, I think you could profit from our meeting(s). I bet I could borrow one of those dachshunds, if you wanted. There's a chance they might slobber you into a nice person, if we're lucky.
Don't be a coward, Kurt. Meet me in front of a café between 7th and 8th Avenue, Saturday at 4 o'clock?
P.S. Put down the Caps Lock before someone gets hurt.
Kurt growled and shut down the laptop burying his head under his pillow. There was no way he'd actually go. It was tempting, though. Blaine could certainly give Kurt a run for his money when it came to snark. But what was the right thing to do in this situation? And most importantly, what would really help him solve his sleeping problem? There was also a column that wouldn't write itself and Sue's deadlines had actual reason to be called deadlines. He needed sleep and ideas.
Cue Dr. Blaine Anderson and his ability to milk the last drops of sarcasm out of him.
And maybe this was some sort of crazy reverse wolf psychology move at Blaine's part. But Kurt could profit from it.
And right now, it was the only option, too.
From: Kurt Hummel
To: Dr. Blaine Anderson, BVSc
Subject: Re: I knew you weren't asleep
I'll be there. But no dachshunds.
-to be continued! I hope you liked it. I'll try to finish the next part asap, but Uni's gonna keep me ridiculously busy for the upcoming week, so you'll need to be patient
-Big thanks to Kat for betareading this
-my tumblr url is bentbackedtulip, come say hi