Hoping Wounds Heal but They Never Do
Notes: I absolutely appreciate everyone's thoughts on this story so far and your opinions on certain characters. Please continue to read and review if you do so happen to enjoy what's happening so far. This chapter is mainly about Kristine's history. (:
"These battle scars don't look like they're fading.
Don't look like they're ever going away,
they ain't ever gonna change…"
Kristine had just arrived home late from work, exhausted and hungry yet didn't have any desire to immediately microwave the lunch she had brought with her. She had been distracted all evening and it was surprising how much it affected her work. The hormonal teen bit her lip as she suppressed the groan threatening to pass her lips, her forehead resting against the steering wheel of her car with images of a certain topless brunette bombarding her mind. She felt like such a typical sex deprived lesbian teen on the verge of an emotional breakdown just because somebody had unintentionally flashed a pair of awesome breasts. She didn't mean to stare but she just couldn't help it; they were right there looking perky and cute. The Cheerio vehemently shakes her head so she could permanently expunge the depiction of a half nude Rachel Berry from her thoughts. 'It doesn't mean anything!' Kristine assures herself repeatedly, thinking nothing more of the incident that had occurred the other day. Or at least she attempted to stop dwelling on the events of the pool party she had crashed with her friends. It was just so difficult to resist the image of the half naked wet brunette standing before her and it drove her insane. Had it really been that long since she had been intimate with anyone else other than herself?
Almost immediately, she felt guilt overwhelm her and it seemed to motivate her to step out of the car so she could greet her father and his caretaker. She needn't worry about such trivial things in high school as she had so much to aspire to in her future so she could take better care of her battered family. Being under the influence of hormones was an annoying obstacle she had to overcome because if she let herself become distracted, then she was certain something terrible would happen yet again and there would be nothing she could do to prevent it. She allowed herself freedom in the past but because of her negligence, her father ended up the way he was today since she wasn't there for him when it happened. Kristine will never stop blaming herself for the accident, despite her father's assurance that it hadn't been her fault. When she walked in through the door, she was met with the sight of Burt Hummel using his upper body strength to pull himself back onto the couch. The Cheerio sighed and walked towards her father and without saying a word she lifted him back on to the sofa and ignored his pleas to let him be. She couldn't stop worrying about him, she loved him too much and she didn't want to lose him the way she lost her mothers when they chose to walk out of their lives after the accident.
"Kristine, I've told you countless times that I'm a grown man capable of taking care of myself. So I fell, it's not like it was going to kill me." Burt Hummel mumbled as Kristine helped her father adjust comfortably on the couch. The brunette shook her head and kissed him on the forehead before she straightened up in front of him. "Dad, I love you. I respect your need for independence, I really do, but I can't control my incessant worrying. I just want to make sure that you're okay and as soon as I know that you are, I'll be okay." She replied as she dropped off her belongings in the closet. She returned to the living room only to be scrutinized even further by her father. The way he looked at her made her feel anxious; he was the only person in the world that could see right through her and Kristine loathed her vulnerability. She could try to mask her emotions but at the end of the day, her father knew better and she'd have to force herself to open up to him. "Kris, you look exhausted. Something's on your mind and you're not telling me; you'll feel so much better if you just let it all out." He told her, patting down the seat next to him. Kristine breathed harshly through her nose, feeling her stomach knot with great trepidation. She hesitated for a moment before she joined him on the sofa, crossing her legs and folding her arms across her chest as if she were reluctant to talk to her father. There were so many things she was dying to tell him but she was too ashamed to actually confess some of her wrong doings. The problem she struggled with the most was the fact that she didn't know where or how to begin unloading on her father.
The cheerleader sighed and began nervously playing with her fingers out of habit, trying to avoid making eye contact with her father until she could no longer bear the silence. Maybe it would be good for her to let him in, despite what he would actually think of her. Her reluctance to open up to her father hurt him more than it hurt her and she did not want to be the cause of his suffering through ignorance any longer. "Dad, there's so much I need to tell you but I know for a fact you're not going to like what you have to hear. After two and a half years of keeping so much inside, I-I think it's time we have this talk. You said to let it all out then by God I'll let it all out." Her voice trembled, lips quivering and body shaking. Tears were already beginning to form in her eyes. She didn't realize how she quickly she could react to such a seemingly simple question. She didn't know what it was or what really caused her to break. It could have been her exhaustion, her mild irritation with how things had been going for her lately or the stress she's been feeling ever since she took on a job that prevented her from spending time with what's left of her family. Burt looked concerned and scooted closer to his only begotten daughter; he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and gazed into her sad eyes. "Kristine, I want you to know that whenever you feel bothered by something, you feel free to pull me aside and vent to me. I am here to listen to you and help you overcome any uncomfortable situation you find yourself in. Now, start from the beginning. What happened?"
Kristine sighed once more before she shut her eyes and began speaking about how she wished things turned out differently ever since the accident a couple of years ago. She remembered a time when they were actually happy and making ends meet without struggle. Her mothers had spent fifteen years raising her with Burt's support and they had all lived happily together once upon a time. They taught her how to use her creative energy wisely, enrolling her in several dance classes, sports and outdoor activities, arts and crafts clubs before she showed them that singing had been something that came absolutely natural to her. She loved singing, so much so that she and her mothers had sung to each other nightly before they had gone to bed and Burt would watch from afar and admire his daughter's talent silently as it continued to grow just as much as she had over the years. One day, she decides to jumpstart a glee club at school with several of friends from her choir classes back when she was in junior high. Kristine was so thrilled that people were excited at the prospect of Glee making a huge comeback that she ended up gathering a large number of supporters and sponsors to ensure that the glee club was well funded and taken care of. She sung her heart out and through the connection of music and her voice she reached out to several other people much like herself who worked just as hard to make the glee club work. They eventually became one of the top three contenders for Sectionals and they had certainly earned that right. It wasn't until the day of Sectionals that a certain event would change her life and the way she viewed the world forever.
Burt had been running late and informed Kristine just a few minutes before the club took the stage that he would make it just in time for solo. When she took the stage that fateful day, she searched for him in the crowd but didn't see him there and that had broken her heart. She tried toughing it out halfway through her Defying Gravity solo but she choked on that high "F" note and that's when she had realized that something had gone horribly wrong. Before the club had made its infamous appearance on stage for their first ever Sectionals performance in years, Finn Hudson was a fifteen year old boy learning how to drive. He had earned his driver's learning permit and his mother Carole was just so proud of him that she allowed him the opportunity to drive her car home. When they shared a mutually excited look, Finn made the unintentional mistake of looking away and his car quickly aimed itself at an oblivious Burt Hummel walking to the driver's side of his vehicle. When both Carole and Finn realized the error he had made, it was too little too late and they found themselves running into Burt whose body had flown across the street. Finn slammed the brakes. Burt rolled over underneath the tremendous weight of the vehicle but managed to survive. Carole had panicked, Finn burst into tears, and the ambulance arrived in a timely manner. By the time Kristine received the devastating phone call, she had been humiliated at Sectionals and everybody around her had blamed her for their loss.
She explains to her father that the news absolutely killed her and she had been so upset that she didn't realize how much it actually affected her. She was fifteen years of age and she was bitter. Her state of mind worsened when her mothers announced that they were leaving Burt as they were too "fucking selfish" to take care of a paralyzed man and his daughter. They still wanted to maintain a relationship with Kristine but their negligence had angered her so much that she disowned them. Every time they had called, she would ignore them, tore up their letters and packages and deleted their emails as soon as she would receive them. They still had the nerve to continue reaching out to her this day but she swore on her life that she would never forgive them as the wounds of that fateful day and what followed afterwards were still too fresh in her mind. Watching her father go through intense physical therapy brought an immeasurable amount of pain to Kristine that she eventually lost interest in everything she once cherished in her life, singing being one of those most important things. Her obsession with self worth and fitness consumed her mind and she eventually focused on becoming a Cheerio as she was constantly tormented with the reminder that she was the sole reason McKinley's glee club lost any real credibility. If she could become the head cheerleader under Sue Sylvester's watchful eye, then she could instill fear in everybody and they would leave her alone. It took awhile but she proved herself to the strictest teacher that resided in Lima, possibly all of Ohio, and the woman understood her pain more than anybody else had cared to show.
Kristine didn't realize she was crying until tears fell at an alarmingly fast rate. She refused to look up at her father as she unloaded everything that had been killing her from the inside since the accident. She continued going on about how powerful she felt about being a cheerleader and that with great power she could use all of it to her advantage. She finally approached the very touchy subject of Finn Hudson and her obsession with making him pay for his careless mistake. When she learned of his heterosexuality, she used it as an excuse to pick on the boy despite his pleas for forgiveness. That was her problem; she didn't know how to let go, forgive and move on. He was the sole reason that her father was permanently paralyzed from the waist down, her mothers were officially out of the picture because of his actions, and she couldn't find joy in singing for the simple fun of it anymore because of him. "Dad, I-I had my friends hold him down while I wrote nasty things on his skin with a permanent marker before we dumped him in the dumpster just the other day. I don't know why I do it anymore; it's at that point where it's become habitual and if I quit cold turkey, I think it could break me. I loathe what he did to you! I just don't remember how to be happy anymore and ruining his day somehow makes it all better for me when I know it shouldn't. That's it, that's what's been bothering me for awhile now and I've been too ashamed to talk to you about it. It also doesn't help that I hate my lousy fucking minimum wage job and that I'm fucking lonely all the time." She sobbed, wiping the excessive amount of snot and tears with some Kleenex before she felt the courage to finally look up at father and observe his reaction.
What she saw sent chills down her spine as he held an odd look on his face that she hadn't seen before. It was something that reminded her of disappointment. Burt appeared to be on the verge of tears because of the rant his daughter had just let out and he didn't know where to start. He sensed something was off but he really had no idea how much had been going on through Kristine's mind since his accident. He didn't realize how angry she was or how hurt she had been because she hid those emotions well and it must have had something to do with the fact that she was very well distracted with her job and the Cheerios. She was so worried and angry that she allowed herself to take her frustrations on some boy who was barely learning how to drive at the time, she no longer sang to vent out anymore as she chose a physical activity over something that meant so much to her at one point in her life, and she was selfish enough to keep all this away from him so he wouldn't find out how much of a monster she had become because she refused to let go the way he had. "Kristine, I don't understand why you decided to tell me all of this now but why didn't you come to me sooner? All those times that I've asked you point blank what was wrong, you lied to me and did this behind my back. What the hell do you want me to say?" He asked as his voice quickly rose and the tone causing Kristine to flinch. He had never spoken to her that way before but it keeps her in place. Could it bring her peace of mind now that she opened up to him? Was this bad timing? Should she have kept her mouth shut so she could continue doing what she was doing only to make things worse for herself? She didn't know but all she desperately wanted was to tell him everything that had been going on like he asked.
"Dad, you asked me what was wrong and I told you everything that's been on my mind for the past couple of months. I-I don't know why I unloaded everything on to you like that, maybe it was a bad time." She replies as she prepares to walk out of the room. Burt wasn't having any of that and reached out for her hand and forced her to face him again. "Kristine Elizabeth Hummel, you're not walking away from me that easy when you've been doing that to me for years with this Cheerios and part time job garbage as your daily excuses. I deserve to comprehend why my beloved daughter gave up the one thing that made her happy to be a soulless bully." He said a little more softly this time, his hand wrapping around his daughter's as if it were a delicate flower. Kristine's shoulders slumped when she saw that a tear had fallen; she'd been the one who had hurt him when she promised she wouldn't be the one to cause him any more pain. "I'm losing sight of myself, daddy, and it scares me that I don't know what's going to happen to you after I graduate next year. All I feel anymore is the pressure to be perfect, the stress of school because I don't know what I want to do after high school, and anxiety that I'll never be good enough to make it out there on my own. I take it out on Finn, kids who don't conform to society, geeks, potheads and people who seem to be happy without having much of anything. I do it because I don't have any sense of fulfillment like they do and it sucks." Kristine confessed, feeling uncomfortable with her vulnerability.
The only other person she had ever discussed these feelings with was her first girlfriend, Jesse St. James. Her heart twisted and ached at the memory of her first love who ended up walking out on her not long after her father's accident. The narcissistic lead female of Vocal Adrenaline had been supportive of her dreams at first, taking her time to assist her rival from McKinley to become better than she thought she was as she had been mentoring choir students as her part time job back then. Feelings grew, Kristine was smitten and Jesse showed her the ropes. It wasn't until her embarrassing loss at Sectionals that Jesse grew cold and distant; ignoring her when she needed someone to listen to her while her father was is the hospital and eventually brushing her off when all Kristine wanted was someone to be there for after her mothers left. Jesse humiliated her with an awful break-up text, telling her that she didn't have time for somebody who was a hot mess and couldn't figure themselves out. Kristine took it hard, finding it unbelievable that someone could be that cruel and harsh when all she had ever been was nice and caring. She just wanted a taste of what it felt like to be someone as strong and influential as Jesse, to be the one who encouraged recklessness and disregard for other people's feelings and for Kristine, it felt great. She wasn't being stepped on all the time, people stopped teasing her for what happened at sectionals and she was taking care of her father because despite what other people thought, she wasn't completely heartless.
Burt didn't reply right away but he did pull Kristine in for a hug and she ended up sobbing onto his shoulders right on contact. He ran his fingers through her hair and whispered soothing words into her ears. He didn't know exactly what to say but he tried his best to comfort his troubled daughter. As for Kristine, she could only hold onto her father tighter as she continued crying uncontrollably. "Maybe the only reason you've lost that sense of fulfillment is because you shut down that glee club of yours. Just because some other assholes bullied you into closing off the most important part of yourself to fight back doesn't mean you should listen to what they have to say. You look happy when you sing and I loved it when you sang, Kris. Your voice is beautiful and you're the most talented person I know." He continued, now fully embracing his daughter sitting across his lap. Kristine pulled away for a bit and offered her father a small, embarrassed smile, sniffling a little as she did so. "Our glee club had a name, you know; we were Intonation Proclivity or I-squared for short. What makes you think that glee kept me in line or what makes you assume that it's my lifeline? What makes you think that I wasn't meant for the Cheerios?" She asked, genuinely curious as to why her father would assume such a thing.
Burt only chuckled in response before he looked at her seriously for a moment. "Singing is your passion, Kristine. It's in your blood and you brought your natural talent to the table. You were able to lead your team to a competition because you believed in what it stood for and you had what it took to get there. You made a mistake that you're unable to forgive yourself for and let others persuade you that it was the most humiliating thing to ever happen to you. You're a human being and you're allowed to make mistakes; some people will be kind enough to educate you with patience while others will be condescending little punks. I taught you better than that, Kristine, I taught you to be better than this." He told her, allowing Kristine to pull away so she could lie on the couch beside him. She was taking what he had to say to heart, the words sinking in deeply and leaving a profound effect on her. Deep down, she knew he was right but there was still something holding her back. "I don't think I could go back to where I was, dad. If I stay on the squad, I'll get a full scholarship ride to any school of my choosing so why should I focus on rebuilding something I thoroughly destroyed in my past when I should be looking forward to paving a path to my future?"
At this point, she is uncertain about most things but the one thing she could count on is not going back to where it all began. It hurt too much. She doesn't think she'll be willing to relinquish the power she held over the student body because if she showed any signs of weakness, they'll get on her for that one thing she can't forgive herself for. The wounds are still too fresh, deeply embedded into her memory and heart and if anyone plucked at the strings that kept her together, she would fall apart and she couldn't let that happen again. "Kristine, it's up to you what you want to do but do something that makes you happy, not something that gives you the power to bully other kids or because it makes you popular and well-liked. You'll be doing it for the good of yourself; you have the power to bring out the best in you because no one else can do that for you. I love you, kiddo, but please do me a favor and get your shit together." Burt half joked as Kristine playfully pinched his arm in retaliation. The Cheerio thought about what she wanted to say next, something that could bring some sort of relief to get rid of the remaining amount of tension in the room.
"Well, if you must know…there's this new girl at school, goes by the name of Rachel, and I overheard her and Sam Evans talking about reviving the glee club all over again. Do you remember Samantha? Anyway, I'm not sure if it's a thing that's going to happen for sure but if I promise to at least audition, will you get off my case about the Cheerios? If I want to stay on the squad, it's my choice but I also want to prove to myself that I still have it in me and show you that it's still there." Kristine told Burt, wondering if she really would go through with it since her feelings about Sectionals were still too strong. She just wanted to assure him that she hadn't completely lost herself, but maybe she really did want to show herself that she still held that piece of herself that meant so much at one point in her life. Burt pondered what his daughter was telling him and he smiled in response.
"I want to make it clear that I want you to do something because you want to and not because you're obligated to. As much as I would love to hear you singing and seeing you being happy, just go ahead and do what you have to do to figure yourself out. Besides, you didn't tell me that there was a new girl at McKinley. That's got to be interesting, who would want to live out here in Lima, Ohio? Is she cute, Kristine?" Burt teased, causing his daughter to blush at the unexpected question. Almost immediately, the image of a topless brunette came to mind and she had to clear her throat to focus on reality again. "Uh, I don't know why people keep asking me that. I haven't noticed, I swear, I'm much too busy with things and stuff, dad. Listen, I better head to bed, it's getting late. Thank you for listening, I really needed that. I love you, goodnight!" She told him quickly as she planted a kiss on his cheek. Burt raised his eyebrow and smirked as he watched his flustered daughter almost trip down the stairs that led to her room.
Kristine couldn't fall asleep right away. She couldn't relax as she continuously tossed and turned in her bed. Every time she closed her eyes to dream pleasantly, unwanted memories sprang up and consumed her thoughts. She would fall asleep for a few minutes and she would find herself looking back at Jesse St. James who sneered at her and walked away from her, leaving her brokenhearted as she called for help. She'd wake up in a cold sweat and panting really hard, not wanting to relive that particular time in her life when she was in love and broken all at that the same time. Kristine was restless as dreams of the accident flooded her mind as she attempted to sleep peacefully. Nightmares of Finn's frightened face as he confessed to her and her mothers about what he'd done at the hospital and the endless hospital hallways that stretched as she ran to try and find the room her father was in. Burt's motionless form on the hospital bed as he struggled to wake up from what happened to him and the doctors holding Kristine back with chains as they injected her with some kind of poison that had Kristine desperately waking with fresh tears in her eyes. She hated these nights where she was constantly reminded her of her fears and those recurring nightmares didn't do much to calm her down either. She knew that she wasn't going to get a good night's rest so she got out of bed and wandered back upstairs to grab a glass of water to down her father's sleeping aid pills she planned on taking.
Upon her return, Kristine laid herself in bed once again in a futile attempt to get some much needed rest but as soon as she closed her eyes, she found herself moaning not long after. When she fell asleep for that brief moment, she was at ease and everything felt peaceful. Suddenly, Kristine found that her mouth was watering at the sight of a very familiar short brunette stripping herself of her clothing and revealing a firm and tight body in that bikini. Wide blue eyes snapped open and the brunette thrashed about in bed for a good couple of minutes as if that tantrum would relieve her of her frustrations. "If it's not one thing, it's another. What complete horseshit." Kristine whispered to herself, turning over on her side and reaching over for her cell phone so she could vent to Norah who would most likely still be awake at this hour.