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Kurt is twenty one and a few days when he gets to experience his first sexual encounter.

Before his decision to stay in Lima, he’d always figured he’d simply seal away his dreams of romance and awakening curiosity for physicality tight into an iron box and patiently wait until college. Eighteen came and went and Kurt found himself with a lot of responsibilities that thankfully distracted him a little from the unfairness of having to keep his desires locked up and away from sight.

When he finally turns twenty-one he waits a few days, tries to convince himself that it’s not as big a deal as he’s making it out to be, that he hasn’t been waiting for this. He waits for the few days it takes for his patience to snap as he struggles to untangle the trembling knot of anxiety and anticipation stuck in his throat.

He wishes he didn’t feel like he’s been waiting all his life, but the fact of the matter is that he’s had a lot of time to think about this moment. First about the who, then he got older and wondered about the how and then he got older still and dreamed and longed for the when. He’s never thought about the consequences a dirty nightclub restroom floor could have on a nice pair of jeans if he were to kneel in front of another man. In fact, it doesn’t even cross his mind the moment his knees do touch the hard surface. His head is too full of Finally, finally, finally! and Oh, please, let me get it right. and there’s even a little voice at the back of his head chanting Thank you, thank you for letting me..
Afterwards, he has semen and saliva running down his chin. He’s panting noisily and every sharp inhale of air tickles uncomfortably the soreness at the back of his throat. His scalp aches dully from having his -undoubtedly messed up- hair pulled. His whole body is still tingling from his own embarrassing climax.
He can’t help himself, the words are out of his mouth before his overwhelmed brain can catch them and shove them in the dark untouched place where he hides all his unvoiced doubts.


“How was it?” His voice is hoarse, like he’s been shouting. Shouting all is life for someone to look at him and find him desirable and finally, finally he’s been heard.


He mentally berates himself for how needy and young he must look to this guy, this man, whose name he hasn’t quite caught, drowned by the beat of the loud, mindless music pulsating through the crowded club. The man is slowly tucking himself back into his designer jeans, his movement unhurried, his posture relaxed and content; shoulders slouched and thrown back, head lolling a little. At Kurt’s inquisitive words, fondness cuts through the post-orgasmic haze in his heavy-lidded dark eyes.

“Was it your first time?” His voice his low and soft, as if filtered through a heavy velvet curtain.

Kurt averts his gaze and bites his bruised lower lip. He shuffles self-consciously, on his knees still. He can feel the mess he made- from rubbing himself through his pants in the heat of the moment- going cold and sticky in his tight boxer briefs.
He hears the man above him exhale and feels fingertips on his face, brushing a few loose strands of hair away from his eyes.

“C’mere, get up.” The stranger offers both his hands and Kurt takes them gratefully. His knees hurt from kneeling on the cold hard floor and his legs are wobbly.

The other man, only slightly taller, gently cradles the back of Kurt’s head and brings them cheek to cheek, his stubbles deliciously prickling Kurt’s sensitive skin, making him shiver a little.


“You were hot, baby. You rocked my world.” The whisper, low and dirty, is followed by a quick, noisy, sucking kiss to his earlobe. “Thanks.” The man adds before he takes a step back. He smiles, wide and content and ruffles Kurt hair. “Oh, and don’t forget to...” he mimes wiping the corner of his mouth. “...before you get back out there. See you around.” He winks and unlocks the bathroom stall door to let himself out and push the door back closed behind him.


Kurt puts the lock back in place and presses his back to the door, still a little unsteady on his legs. He can feel the excited pounding of his heart in his chest, of his blood against his temples. He doesn’t need to look in a mirror to know he must be sporting an impressive blush. He wipes his chin and cheeks with the back of his hand, feeling the shape of his face, that uncontrollable smile. It’s almost like being in love, the elation singing through his body, except that this feeling is for him, all for him. He almost doesn’t recognize the warm slow burn in his chest. It’s nothing extraordinary, but when he finally places it, he feels at once comforted and puzzled. How has he almost forgotten what accomplishment feels like? He’s gotten a head start on life, has chosen the path he will follow and already has knocked down a few miles on the great racetrack he imagines life to be, but blowing a stranger in a public restroom feels like more of an achievement?

On that first drive back to Lima from Westerville in the quiet dawn, Kurt can still taste stubborn victory. He’s made it; he’s survived innumerable taunts and slurs and he’s going to make every last one of them count. All those years of being called a cock-sucker and so many other ugly words, they almost don’t matter anymore. Not if it means he gets to do this. Not if it means he gets to feel like this, to make someone else- another man- feel like this. Not for the first time, Kurt is glad he does not believe in heaven; he’d hate for his dad to be looking down at him, right now. For him to see that something as dirty and disgraceful as sex is what woke up the pride that had been asleep inside him even while he was keeping the family business alive. Kurt realizes that for a few minutes he’d forgotten. On his knees, submitting to the needs he’d let starve for years in hope that they would die, he’d forgotten that everything around him inevitably turns into shame. Even as the elation he’d been experiencing is starting to taste a little like ash, he knows he’ll be back to the Alterno.

He spends the next few years desperately chasing after that feeling. How can he not?


***



Kurt Hummel hasn’t been a teenager for what feels like a really, really long time. Heck, he practically wasn’t even a teenager when he was in his teens. He is a mechanic, a business manager, his father’s son. He went from being the only out gay teen at William McKinley High to being the only single gay man in Lima. (He’s visited Rachel Berry’s dads once in fit of lonely hopelessness a little bit before he turned twenty one and even though they were very nice and welcoming, Kurt came back home that day bitter and confused. Not only had they prattled on and on about how successful their daughter was in New York, but their casual happiness had made Kurt long for something he’d already long ago buried the possibility of.)

Kurt is a homeowner. In the summer, he slathers on SPF 60 sunscreen. He purposefully avoids looking at the neighbouring families as they climb into their cars to drive to church when he mows the lawn on every Sunday morning. He puts on work gloves to rake the leaves and cover the plants and bushes in the fall, shovels the snow out of his driveway in the winter and climbs up a ladder to clear the gutters, clean the façade and windows in the spring. He furiously scrubs at the unimaginative, hateful graffiti when they sometimes appear on his garage door in angry red and unforgiving black and even sometimes in mocking pink. He is a sensible home owner and although he felt he only participated to the suburban song and dance in a somehow sarcastic manner at first, he found he was soon indoctrinated.

He doesn’t have any complaints to formulate about the two years he spent living with his aunt and uncle. They are nice, proper people who sat and awkwardly waved at his graduation, but he’d always been fiercely independent and he found that the chore of caring for a house and a property satisfied a need for control that had felt like an unreachable itch while he’d been tucked into the bland bedroom his relatives had arranged for him after his father’s death.

Kurt is a slightly watered down fashionista who had to sell some of his favourite designer pieces when he first found himself on his own, inexpertly juggling a house and a small business during a recession. He is an orphan, has been since he was sixteen years old. He is not and never really was Finn Hudson’s step-brother, no matter what the gangly man says when he comes by the shop, his eyes swimming with pity and regrets. Burt and Carole had never really been able to mend things after Burt threw Finn out of his home for being rude to his son- which thankfully led Kurt to spend more and more time at the garage.
Kurt, at 24, is almost exactly what he was at 22, 20, 18; a stagnant observer to the passing of time. He’s an accomplished man, he guesses; not the abandoned work in progress he sometimes feels like.

What Kurt is not is stupid. He knows he sometimes still is the talk of the town and it makes his skin crawl when he thinks of his name being mentioned in his absence, but he’s learnt to accept that there are some things you can’t fight. The only person you can control is yourself.


***



“Good morning, Brett. I’ll have a grande non-fat mocha, please.” Kurt says, keeping his nose high because he’s pretty sure there are categories of Lima losers and business owners must be above community college drop-out baristas, at least he hopes.

Brett smiles widely as he hands over Kurt’s change and his candid kindness makes Kurt feel a little ashamed of his knee-jerk haughtiness. As he walks to the end of the counter to wait for his order, he watches his ex-classmate whistle to himself while he prepares Kurt’s beverage. Kurt tilts his head, observing his practiced movements; the way he spins the spoon around his fingers and reaches for things without having to look; the way he makes preparing coffee look like a choreographed dance. Kurt wonders if he looks like that when he’s under a hood, handling tools.


“Grande non-fat mocha for Kurt!” Brett’s voice is so peppy that it actually sounds like caffeine. “Here you go, have a nice one today!”

Kurt takes the warm carton cup.

“Hey, Brett,” he asks “Do you like working here?”


The other man blushes a little but his face remains open and bright, nothing like the closed-off, smelly, absent-minded guy who sat beside Kurt in English class, junior year.

“I know what I’m doing and I’m good at it.” The redhead says with a shrug. “What more could I ask for?”
Kurt gives a small, tight smile, nods slowly and thanks him for the coffee.

“My pleasure, see you soon!”

Brett goes to greet the next person in line and Kurt distractedly makes his way to the exit. His steps, however, falter to an abrupt halt when he hears the next customer recite his order.

“Hi! I’ll have a medium drip and a biscotti. Actually, can you make that two biscotti? Thanks.”

That voice has swirled in and around his head enough for Kurt to recognize it instantly and his first reaction is to clutch his jacket shut tight. He looks down at himself and grimaces at his steel-toed work boots and what looks like ill-fitting, navy slacks made from a horrible synthetic fabric- still it’s better than oil-stained coveralls. He should flee. He really should want to flee but instead he just stares at the back of Blaine’s head until his eyes feel painfully dry.

I was starting to think that I’d dreamt you up.

“Hi! I didn’t think I’d see you around here.” Kurt blurts out. He has this crazy idea that initiating the conversation will make him feel in control. He’s wrong.

“Kurt! Hi!”

“Huh. Hi.” Kurt hears himself say. He feels his cheeks bunch up and knows he’s wearing an answering smile. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Blaine nods and his brow scrunches and smoothens in a way that makes his eyes say ‘Well, yeah’. Kurt feels a little tense all over; his body ready to bolt but his feet stuck to the tiled floor of the coffee shop.

“Medium drip for Blaine!”

Blaine raises his index finger in the universal gesture for ‘one moment’ and turns to grab his cup and thank Brett. When he turns back to Kurt, his features light up again, the same as before; like he didn’t expect Kurt to still be there. If both his hands weren’t busy clutching at his jacket and coffee cup, Kurt’s pretty sure he would have smacked himself. Of course he’d be unsure; Kurt ran out on him.

“Well this is awkward.” Kurt mutters, mainly to himself.
“It doesn’t have to be.” The words tumble out of Blaine’s mouth as he takes a half step towards Kurt. “I mean… I’m really glad to see you again.” His smile is very much still there, but it looks like it’s holding in place with nothing more than a thread. “Do you maybe want to sit and have coffee? With me, that is.”

Kurt bites his lips. He shuffles his feet and his boots squeak embarrassingly.

“Actually, I have somewhere to be. But it was nice to see you again.” He feels like there is more air than actual sound in his voice; that’s how hard it is for him to utter those words, incomprehensibly.

“Oh.” Blaine’s face falls a little but he quickly picks his smile up. He looks like he wants to ask something else, but his shoulder sag slightly and he just keeps on smiling; Kurt’s rejection an awkward puddle of shame at their feet.

“I guess I should be going.” Kurt murmurs, staring at the floor. He makes to leave, his feet heavy and an enormous sigh gathering in his lungs.

“Wait!”

Blaine’s hand on his arm is not gripping or forceful at all; if Kurt wanted he could ignore it and walk on. It simply gently rests there on his forearm, silently begging for just a little bit more of his attention. Kurt falters.

“Can I give you my number?” Blaine asks and when Kurt gathers enough courage to raise his gaze to Blaine’s face the other man is looking at him intently, his eyes searching. Kurt opens his mouth and his big sigh tumbles out shakily. He moves his jaw, hopes words will come to him, but nothing but air comes out.

Blaine’s hand falls away.

“Nevermind.” He smiles crookedly. “I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable.” Blaine looks and sounds earnestly regretful.

“This is… I…” Kurt tries.

Blaine makes his smile even warmer in a visible effort to make him feel better and guilt twists in Kurt’s gut.

“Don’t. It’s alright, I understand. Have a nice day, Kurt.”


Blaine turns to makes his way through the maze of scattered tables and settles at one, taking a laptop out of the bag slung over his shoulder. It’s almost physically painful for Kurt to make his legs move and take him out of the café, to his car. He climbs into the Navigator, places his coffee in the cup holder and doesn’t turn the key in the ignition. Instead, he looks straight ahead and clutches at the steering wheel until his knuckles turn white. He can see Blaine through the coffee shop’s large windows, sitting and jiggling his leg under the table. After barely a minute the twitchy motion stops and Blaine’s shoulders drop. He sags forward and bangs his forehead against the table top.
Kurt sighs and feels his hands loosen and slip to his sides. He slumps down and rests his head against the steering wheel.

What’s wrong with me?, he thinks.
And, much quieter, laden with shame: At least he didn’t see the coveralls…


***



Work, that day, is miserable. Kurt can’t make sense of his behavior around Blaine and it infuriates him. Vic easily picks up on Kurt’s bad mood and does nothing to improve it. Fernando tries to play mediator and Rob and Alex mostly walk around the shop with their tails between their legs, curious to see the situation play out, but unwilling to get involved.

It’s late afternoon, when sweat drips into Kurt’s eyes from looking up at the elevated tiny Japanese car he’s replacing a tire on. His coveralls feel stuffy and stifling and he just can’t wait for this day to be over. He hears Fernando greeting someone at the front desk and, closer, Vic’s recognizable, heavy footsteps.


“Hey Boss, you sure that’s the right wrench for that kind of job?” He asks obnoxiously.

Kurt freezes and asks, without turning to look at Vic:

“Excuse me?”

“I said: are you sure that’s the right wrench, Boss? I’d use something heavier but I can see how that could put a strain on your dainty wrists.”

Kurt’s hand goes loose around the tool and it drops to the floor with an ominous clanging sound. He very slowly turns around to face Vic as his face contorts into a vicious sneer.

“Are you implying that I don’t know how to change a tire, Vic?” His voice starts out low and dangerous. He feels anger licking up at the walls of his throat, like he’s about to spit fire. “Are you suggesting that your boss, the manager of this place, the son of ‘Hummel’ in ‘Hummel Tires and Lube’ can’t change a fucking tire, Vic? Could you please clear up for me if that is what you are implying, here, you pitiful grease stain?” He’s shouting by the end of his tirade, his voice reverberating against the walls of the workshop.

“What did you just call me, you self-entitled little bastard?” Vic spits back, taking a few slow steps towards Kurt.

“Aw, come on, Vic. You call me a faggot all the time behind my back and you don’t have the courage to say it to my face? Won’t it make you feel better? ‘Cause God knows the only way you have to make yourself feel important is by putting other people down.”

“You little shit.” Vic hisses, raising his fist to hit. Kurt doesn’t move, he continues to stare at the burly man, raising his jaw in defiance. Vic simply glares back for a few seconds, then drops his fist to his side with a vehement, reverberating “Fuck!”

Fernando hollers and runs to step in between the two of them, his hands raised as if ready to stop a fistfight, but Vic is already stalking away.

“Jesus, Kurt! Are you alright, kiddo?” Fernando asks, panic etched across his tan features.

“I’m not a kid!” Kurt barks, hating how petulant he sounds. He feels himself deflating and looks around the shop. Rob and Alex are staring at him, still seemingly shell-shocked at his outburst. There was thankfully no customer to witness the fight, except… Kurt turns to the front desk and sees the man Fernando had been greeting before the confrontation occurred.

Blaine Anderson is staring at him, mouth agape. His key chain makes a melodic sound as it slips from his fingers and lands on the concrete floor.

Link to Part 2b
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generaljanuary

September 2011

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