Vinegar Chips, a Glee one-shot
I do not own Glee. Please review! Also, I am trying to get one story title for each letter of the alphabet, so if anyone has suggestions for Q, X, or Z, let me know.
His Nana kisses him on the cheek.
"Now you take care of yourself in New York. We're going to miss you." Her lipstick residue stains his cheek.
"I promise." He hugs his Pop-pop.
When they leave, he takes a wet wipe to his face. He loves his grandparents dearly, but he does not want scarlet lady lips to stain his cheek. Especially when he's going to be boarding the train in any minute, and he doesn't want to give whoever is sitting next to him the impression that he's had a big romantic goodbye scene with his girlfriend.
In fact, he's leaving Ohio to move in with his significant other.
And Kurt doesn't leave lipstick marks.
July: Classic Potato Chips
He meets Kurt at the station. He takes him back to the apartment, where the boxes he sent are propped against the wall.
Except instead of there being three like he remembers, there are four.
His stomach rumbles. It's nearly seven, and he hasn't eaten in hours. He leaves the box.
While searching for his pajamas that night, he sees the box again. He checks the return address. It's from his grandparents. "It came this morning. Rachel dropped it, so hopefully it isn't anything breakable."
Blaine takes a knife and slides it through the packing tape. A note rests on top.
"Sweetie," he reads. "We thought you might like a little piece of home. Love Nana and Pop-pop."
He removes some packing peanuts. There's a framed picture of the three of them smiling on their old porch swing. He was just a kid then. The picture is crooked, thanks to Cooper's insistence on being the one to take the picture. The sun was far too bright, and they were all squinting.
He props it up on the table.
"Aw, you blinked." Kurt picks it up. Blaine was wearing some retro tee-shirt (not that it was retro at the time) that had an orange Popsicle stain down the front of it.
"No way." He takes a bag of chips out of the box.
He shows him the picture. "Yes, way."
Blaine shakes his head. "Not that. Check it out."
Kurt sets the picture back on the table. Then he takes the bag from Blaine. To him, it's just an ordinary bag of chips.
"Classic Potato. They sell them at the grocery store."
"Regular chips, yes. But these are no ordinary chips. Pop-pop made them. We used to make them all the time when he babysat me." He takes the package back. Upon opening, the smell brings back the memories.
Kurt smiles. Blaine takes one out of the bag and offers it to him.
He takes one for himself. The grease clings to his fingers, so he grabs for a napkin.
"Your pop-pop makes really good chips."
They finish the bag over a movie night. There's cuddling, and singing, and crumbs.
Lots of delicious crumbs.
August: Barbeque Chips
One month later, to the date, another box shows up at the apartment.
They open it to find a pair of socks. Beneath the socks is a note.
"Sweetie. For the love of God, please put on some socks. Love Nana and Pop-pop." He looks down at his bare feet.
Kurt laughs. "They are aware that a lack of socks is not the problem here, right?"
He takes a bag out of the box. This time it's barbeque chips.
"Nana has been trying to win that war for years." He tears the bag open.
They take a bowl out and dump the chips in. "You think they'd get stale in the mail."
He shrugs. He hasn't really thought about it.
"At least they didn't get crushed this time."
"I didn't let Rachel drop the box this time."
Blaine rolls his eyes and takes another chip.
September: Parmesan and Garlic Chips
It's the seventh again, and there is a package on the kitchen table. He doesn't need to check the return address to know who it's from.
There is a pair of scissors sitting on top of it.
He opens the box to find a roll of toilet paper. Inside the roll, the note is wedged.
'Sweetie. Hope you are 'on a roll' with your classes this semester. Love Nana and Pop-pop.'
He takes the bag out of the box. This month it's Parmesan and Garlic. He notices that his Pop-pop misspelled it in his hurried scrawl. It doesn't matter. He knows they are delicious anyway.
There's dinner on the stove. Surely one chip wouldn't spoil his appetite?
"Blaine, could you check on the casserole for me?" Kurt calls from the bathroom.
The bag gets set on the table. He opens the oven door and peeks in. When he's not looking, Kurt sneaks up behind him.
He hears the crinkling of the chip bag. "Not before dinner. They'll spoil your appetite."
He closes the oven door. Turning around, he catches him with the bag in hand.
"We don't have to eat the casserole tonight."
"Tempting," he says, easing the bag from his hand. "But then we'd have to share with Rachel."
That night they eat the casserole.
October: Dill Pickle Chips
He finds Kurt sitting at the table, spinning a pair of scissors around his finger. There sitting next to him is a box.
Kissing him hello, he takes the scissors. "How long have you been waiting?"
"Only a few minutes. I came home to find it sitting here." They open the box.
He takes out the canister of instant coffee. There is a message on the lid.
"Sweetie," Kurt reads. "Since you won't wear your socks, here's something to keep you warm. Love Nana and Pop-pop."
Blaine checks the label. It's decaf.
He pulls out a bag of chips. The flavor is unfamiliar to him.
"I don't remember ever making pickle flavored chips." He raises an eyebrow.
"Pickles and coffee. Quite the combination." Kurt makes a face.
They open the bag. The smell of dill hits them. Nervously, they each take one.
"On three?" he asks.
"On three," Kurt confirms. He holds up his fingers to count.
On three they both eat their chips. Blaine nods approvingly.
"We are saving the coffee for later though?"
He unscrews the lid and peels back the freshness seal. The scents intermingle. He is quick to replace the lid.
"Oh yeah. Definitely waiting on the coffee."
November: Cheddar Chips
This time it's Rachel who is sitting at the table.
"Blaine, why do you always receive packages on the seventh of the month?" She picks at the tape.
"If anything, my grandparents are always punctual." He takes the box and opens the drawer for the scissors.
She watches as he slides the blade across the tape. This package is smaller than usual.
'Sweetie. A deck of cards, so you can learn to play the hand you are dealt. Love Nana and Pop-pop.' He takes the deck out. It's the cards they taught him poker with. They're rubber banded together, having lost their box long ago.
"A deck of cards?" she asks. He hasn't taken out the cheddar chips. He tosses the deck back in the box.
"She likes to send me little things to let me know they're thinking of me." The scissors get put back in the drawer.
He takes the box to his room so she can't ask any more questions. She doesn't need to know why a box so big was used for a set of cards so little.
When Kurt comes home, he deals him into a game of Go Fish, bag of chips between them.
And just like all those times back home, he wins.
December: Salt and Vinegar Chips
This box is much bigger than the last. He sets it on the table. For being such a big box, it sure is light.
He slices it open. Rather than the usual note, he finds a Christmas card. He would leave it until the holiday, but the words 'open me' are written across the envelope.
The card claims the usual Yuletide greetings. There's a cat saying 'meowy Christmas,' bedecked in a Santa hat and mittens.
On the inside, he finds his note.
'Blaine. To keep your jingle balls warm. Love Nana and Pop-pop.'
This time the handwriting is his Pop-pop's. Nana is far too busy this time of year baking Christmas cookies and sending out cards. It ought to figure that he'd take advantage of the moment to write him something a bit more risqué. If she read this, she'd probably whack his knuckles with a wooden spoon.
He unfolds the flannel pajamas tucked inside. "It's the seventh already?"
Kurt catches the pants as they fall to the floor.
"Yup." The pajamas are covered in dancing elves. There are some places he hopes the elves won't be dancing.
"More chips?" he asks optimistically. He's usually one for more refined cuisine, but he is becoming addicted to these chips.
He lays the top out on the table. Digging in the box, he reads the bag. "Salt and vinegar."
Kurt licks his lips. The action momentarily distracts him.
That night, Blaine wakes to find him toying with the buttons of his new pajamas.
"We should break these in."
And unlike breaking in new shoes, wearing the pajamas is not part of the equation.
January: Sea Salt and Black Pepper Chips
Blaine checks the calendar. It's the seventh again. The snow is falling outside, and his feet are freezing.
He slides the drawer open and pulls out the socks his Nana sent him. On any normal day, he would not do this. But it's three degrees outside.
"You're actually wearing them," Kurt remarks as he sets the box on the table.
He takes the proffered scissors. "Well, that is what she sent them for."
Opening the box, he takes out a Resolve Stain Stick. He sets the bag of chips next to it.
"Sweetie. To help with even the toughest New Years resolutions. Love Nana and Pop-pop." Pop-pop may have a dirty sense of humor, but she loves her puns.
Kurt takes a jar of salsa out of the fridge. "For the chips."
Blaine nods. He had noticed it in their shopping cart a few days ago, but it never occurred to him that this is what it was for.
About three chips in, a chunk of tomato falls from the chip onto Blaine's pants.
"Pass me the Resolve, would you?"
February: Sweet Potato Chips
Blaine is shaving his face when he hears the familiar ka-thunk of the box on the kitchen table.
"Package is here!" Kurt calls to him.
"What's inside?" he asks, running the razor along his cheek.
He rends the tape in half. Putting the scissors back, he carries the box to the bathroom.
"Sweetie," he reads. "Be nimble and be quick, but no need jump over these candle sticks. Love Nana and Pop-pop."
He sets the note on the back of the toilet seat. He unwinds the bubble wrap from around the candles. There are two, tall and white. They come with heart shaped holders.
He rinses his razor in the sink. "When she says be nimble and quick..."
The words trail off as he runs the razor along his other cheek.
"Personally, I like when you take it slow." Kurt winks, and Blaine nicks his face. It's a small mark.
"Would you like to have a romantic candlelit dinner of potato chips tonight?"
"I would love to."
That night, they have a sweet potato chips dinner. They both sit on the same side of the table. That's all they'd need is to reach for the bag and knock the candle over, lighting the table on fire.
Besides, this way he can hold his hand.
March: Sour Cream and Onion Chips
He comes home to find the care package sitting on their bed. Kurt is next to it, scissors on his stomach. His nose is buried in the latest issue of Vogue.
"You didn't have to wait for me to open it."
"It has your name on it." He dogears the page in his magazine.
True to his word, the name Mr. Anderson is printed across the top. Some day he'd be able to fit that description.
Today, Blaine opens the box. "A 'grow your own flower' kit?"
"What does the note say?" Kurt checks for a note. He can't find one. Pulling out the chips, he finds it. "It's written on the bag."
"Sour Cream and Onion Sweetie. May you blossom as well as this flower will. Love Nana and Pop-pop." He frowns at the bag. "You know, she really should have put a line under the flavor. She made it sound like I'm the sour cream and onions."
Kurt kisses him. "You certainly don't taste like sour cream and onion."
They open the bag. He eats a couple, and then asks him a question.
"Do I taste like sour cream and onion now?"
He already knows the answer, but kisses him anyway.
There's more than one way to enjoy Pop-pops potato chips.
April: Chili Lime
Even though he's been given permission to open the box without him, Kurt waits until Blaine is home to see what is inside.
"I cut the tape already." He pours himself a cup of coffee and sits down.
"I didn't look yet."
They peel back the flaps of the box. Blaine reads the label on the chip bag. "Chili lime. That is interesting."
He nods, sipping his coffee.
"And the note?" He can't wait to see what Nana has given them this time.
"Sweetie," he says, opening the chip bag. "A picture says a thousand words. Send us some! Love Nana and Pop-pop."
He takes a chip and pushes aside some packing peanuts.
"A disposable camera. Do they still develop those?" Kurt sucks the chip residue off his thumb.
"We can send them the camera when we're done. There should be someone in Ohio that can print them." He reads the directions on the camera package.
Rachel comes home. "What did she send this time?"
Kurt tucks the chips away from her line of vision.
"A camera. She wants us to send her some pictures." She sticks her head in the fridge, and he hides the bag under the peanuts. There's only enough for two people. Two people being Blaine and whoever he chooses.
Kurt is really glad he chose him.
"How about we take one of the three of us in our apartment?" Blaine suggests. He sweeps him under his arm, extending the other to her.
She tucks herself in and smiles wide.
"The bad thing about instant cameras is you can never tell if the picture came out or not." She goes back to the fridge.
"You could come take pictures around the city with us," Blaine offers. That way they'll get at least one good picture of her, and she'll be happy. It's the least he can do for not sharing his chips.
She takes an apple and heads to her room. "I'll go find something nice to wear."
The boys hide the chips in their room while she changes.
Blaine kisses him.
"You taste like chilis and coffee."
"You can't taste the lime?"
"Can't say I did."
May: Salsa Chips
This time when the package comes, it's not just his name on the label. It's addressed to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Hummel.
Kurt sets it on the table and cuts through the tape. "You'll never believe it."
"Why not? It's the seventh." Blaine looks up from his laptop.
"Check out the address label." He holds the box for him to see. There, right above the splice is their names.
He blushes. He had been talking to Nana on the phone last week. That's when he had told her that he was thinking about asking the question.
The one that starts with a 'will you marry me?' and ends with a 'yes.' Or so he hopes.
He hadn't told his parents or brother. Not even Rachel knew, and she had almost caught him giving himself a pep talk in the bathroom mirror.
"Fancy that." He takes the note out. "Sweeties. Pop-pop thought you two might need some protection. Love Nana and Pop-Pop."
"You're grandparents sent us-"
"Bandages. Hello Kitty bandages."
Kurt covers his mouth with his hand. The laughter escapes anyway. "I think Nana misunderstood what he meant."
"There's more." Blaine pulls out an envelope. It's the second set of pictures Nana said she'd send.
Over salsa chips, they flip through the pictures.
Nana's made comments on the backs of some. On the last one, a picture of them curled up with the chips, she's left his favorite comment.
'Looks like true love to me.'
Yes Nana. It sure does.
June: Honey Mustard Chips
He opens the bag of chips. It's another new flavor for him. He crunches down, looking for the note.
"There it is." He finds it folded into the corner of the small box.
"What does it say?" Kurt asks.
"Sweeties. Hope that you're on the right track. Love Nana and Pop-pop." Lifting the layer of packing peanuts, he finds an envelope. Enclosed are two train tickets to Ohio.
He grins. He hasn't had a chance to visit home. School has been expensive and time consuming. Now that he's out for the summer, there's nothing holding him back. He holds them out for Kurt to see.
"I must say, Nana has outdone herself this time." He takes another chip. "And so has Pop-pop."
Blaine tucks the tickets back into the envelope. "Yeah, they're great."
After finishing the bag of chips, they start to pack.
He makes sure to pack his socks.
The seventh comes, but Blaine isn't expecting a package. Nana had called him two days ago to let them know that Pop-pop had died.
He had thought it was impossible. They had just seen him a few weeks ago. He was in perfect health.
She said he had died in his sleep. Her voice was full of tears, his full of sorrow. There was no way they could afford to make it to the funeral.
Rachel clunks the box on the table. "This thing is heavy. What's in it, rocks?"
Kurt glances to Blaine. He motions for him to open the box.
"Not rocks. Potatoes." There inside the box is a five pound bag of them.
Blaine laughs. He laughs long and hard until the tears roll down his cheeks.
"What's so funny about potatoes?" She doesn't understand. They look to each other.
She doesn't need to understand.
"Don't worry about it," Kurt responds through his own tears.
She shakes her head. "I'm going out. Have fun with your potatoes."
When she's gone, Blaine pulls out the paper clipped bundle of papers. On top is the note.
"Sweeties. Sometimes things happen, and we don't know why, or how we'll move forward (because we never truly move on), but that's how life works. It's a mystery, like these packages I send you. You never know what's going to happen until you open yourself up to the possibilities. Love Nana."
He removes the clip. The next paper is the obituary from the newspaper. It's short and to the point per his wishes. There's not even a picture.
Beneath that is the card from the funeral home. That has his picture, smiling back at them. As if he's saying 'everything's going to be okay.' They stick him up on the fridge. His smile is so optimistic, his eyes shining as if he knows something that they don't.
Which couldn't be true, because the next twelve cards have the recipes for his potato chips in that hurried scrawl of his.
That night, at five p.m, the funeral begins. It is precisely then that they begin making the chips. It's their way of honoring him and his legacy. Even if his legacy was only to two gay kids some six hundred miles away from home.
July: Classic Potato Chips
Kurt pulls the tape tightly over the edge of the box. He wants it to be safe and secure. It has a long way to travel.
"Think she'll like them?" He copies her address onto the box.
"I guess we'll have to wait to find out." They made a fresh batch this morning, bagging them up for her. They also included their own life lessons trinket.
'Nana. Sometimes life just sucks. Love Blaine and Kurt.' There was a bouquet of Charms suckers, tied with a single ribbon.
He hugs Kurt. It's still tough, but they're going to get through it.