Title: it's Friday; I'm in love
Warnings (if any): A lot of words. A LOT.
Word Count: ~21000
Summary: They fight in the back of coffee shops and let Finn win Scrabble games and really, really screw up the long distance thing (and then totally nail the long distance thing) and basically spend a lot of time being in love.
A/N: Title stolen from The Cure from the song with the same name, obviously. I've never been able to figure out what the hell that song means so it has absolutely nothing to do with this story; I just think Robert Smith is way cleverer than I am. As always, so much thanks to kattyerin, to whom I will never be able to express enough gratitude. I was all paranoid writing this and developing an ulcer and she was all positive and supportive because apparently, I'm needy as shit. She is very 'glass half full' when I am very 'angrily throw my cup on the ground'.
They break up on a Thursday and get back together on a Tuesday.
It's a Saturday when they decide on 'just friends' and a Monday when they decide that 'just friends' isn't enough.
On Wednesdays they don't do much talking. On Sunday they don't do much of anything.
And on Fridays, well, that's when pretty much everything else happens.
They have a sudden, short-lived breakup on a Thursday during their senior year but really, it starts the week before.
It stems from the fact that Blaine makes a few realizations about himself now that he has a boyfriend, things that he never would have known beforehand. He's surprised to find out, for example, that he's not into public declarations of I love you wherein he serenades Kurt with song in front of hundreds of people but he is into whispering I love you I love you into Kurt's neck after Blaine pulls him into the astronomy classroom to make out in between second and third period. He's surprised to find out how much he likes to pay for dinner or ice cream when they go out because it makes him feel like Kurt is his boyfriend but he secretly likes it when Kurt insists on paying for a movie or theater tickets because it makes him feel like he's Kurt's boyfriend. He finds out that he sort of loves staying in for a movie night on Fridays but he also sort of loves holding Kurt's hand when they go out on Saturdays.
And then he's surprised to learn that in extreme situations, Blaine has a major propensity for jealousy while Kurt has very little tolerance for it.
So on the Thursday before the abrupt breakup, Kurt comes rushing into the lunchroom where Blaine's sitting with Mike enjoying Taco Salad Day.
"You will not believe what just happened," he tells Blaine, sliding into the chair next to Mike.
Blaine puts his fork down because really, there are things more important than a taco salad and because he finds Kurt's enthusiasm undeniably contagious. "Okay, tell me," he says.
Kurt's still breathless and grinning like crazy. "The local PFLAG chapter called. They want to come to McKinley and interview me for a story about last year's prom."
"What?" Blaine asks, eyes wide. "That's awesome."
"I know, isn't it? This is my very first interview," he says. "It's good practice for when I'm in New York and reporters are throwing themselves at me."
"Well, yeah," Blaine replies. "But it's also good for gay teenagers everywhere. You'll make a difference just by getting your story out there."
"Of course, obviously," he says with a hand flourish. "But also, my name will be in print for the first time."
He smiles at Kurt. "That's pretty awesome."
"And they want to talk to my boyfriend," Kurt continues. "Your name will be in print, too."
He mulls that over because yeah, that's awesome.
"Blaine," Kurt says in a hushed whisper, sounding very serious. "We're practically a celebrity couple already. We're like, three steps away from needing an agent. Or a PR rep at least."
Blaine bites his lip to keep from laughing. "We can worry about that later. Right now, you should just focus on your PFLAG article."
"Right, of course," Kurt says, not looking at Blaine anymore. Blaine can tell he's already planning on what to wear to the interview. And then he's standing up and walking out of the lunchroom without even saying goodbye.
"That's pretty cool," Mike tells him. And then: "You should probably eat your salad before it gets cold."
The reporter shows up the next Tuesday during their lunch period. Blaine can instantly tell he's a reporter because he looks marginally smarmy with his steno pad and because he zeroes in on Kurt with a smile as soon as he walks in to the cafeteria. He's tall with floppy blond hair and bright green eyes and tanned skin and a bunch of things that Blaine isn't. He's wearing a preppy collared shirt, looking like every other college kid Blaine's ever met, and for some reason he's immediately self-conscious.
He walks up to their table and smiles at Kurt, the kind of smile that's practically bordering on a leer. Blaine ignores that thought, though, because clearly he's imagining things.
"Kurt Hummel, right?" he asks, still smiling. He and Kurt are sitting alone at the table having yet another semi-serious conversation about college but the reporter doesn't even acknowledge Blaine's presence. "I've heard so much about you."
Kurt looks up at him and doesn't say anything, just raises an eyebrow. Blaine contemplates the likelihood of college kid hearing so much about a high school senior and then abstractly wonders if this guy's been hanging out on Kurt's Facebook page because how the hell else would he know anything about Kurt? Or know what he looks like?
Blaine's immediately on edge and then subsequently feels weird about being on edge so quickly because yeah, that seems kind of impulsive, even for him.
"Billy," the reporter says. "From Outlook Media."
Kurt's eyes go wider than Blaine's ever seen them. "Oh my god, I didn't know you were coming today. I didn't dress for this."
Billy laughs like maybe he's flirting and gives Kurt a not-so-subtle once over. Blaine wonders if that's normal behavior.
"Are you kidding? You look fantastic." And okay, Blaine knows that's not normal behavior.
"Thank you," Kurt says. It comes out sounding pretty modest and Blaine can tell he's a little distracted, still thinking about his interview ensemble sitting at home.
"You're welcome," he says. "I saw a picture of your glee club in the paper earlier this year and you looked great but here in person, I see that picture doesn't do you justice."
"Oh," Kurt says, completely oblivious. "That was taken right after Sectionals. The reporter wouldn't even let me fix my hair. So unprofessional."
Billy smiles again and yeah, that one definitely looked more like a creepy leer. "Is there somewhere we can go to talk? An empty classroom maybe?"
Blaine's eyes widen. This guy is sizing up his boyfriend and asking to go to someplace secluded. There's no way that this can be normal. He wonders if he should Google this guy on his phone to see if he's actually a legit reporter or if he's just some skeevy cyber-stalker that's trying to seduce his boyfriend.
Blaine shakes his head to try to clear his thoughts because logically he has to be exaggerating this whole ordeal. He's simply trying to create drama where there is no drama and he tells himself over and over that he's just being irrational and frankly, a little ridiculous.
"Sure," Kurt tells him. "Follow me. Blaine, the Geometry room is empty during this period, right?"
"I think so, yeah," he answers and moves to follow him out of the lunchroom.
"Oh, are you coming?" Billy asks, looking thoroughly unamused.
Blaine eyes him. "Of course."
"They said over the phone that they'd want to talk to my boyfriend, too," Kurt says.
Blaine thinks of saying that that's not why he's following them; he's tagging along because he thinks maybe someone should supervise whatever it is that's about to go down in the empty Geometry room.
"Oh, right," Billy answers and there's no way Blaine's imagining how disappointed he sounds. "But I doubt we'll need him."
Billy watches him and Blaine's eyes widen again as Billy seemingly initiates a stare-down. He wonders if this guy is for real, if he's actually serious about some weaponless showdown in the middle of a high school cafeteria.
"Okay," Kurt says. "But he can still come, right?"
Billy hesitates and Blaine breaks the stare-down to look over at Kurt who is registering none of this. "Sure, I guess."
They get to the classroom and Blaine makes sure to take the seat right next to Kurt.
"Before we get started," Billy says, "I should get your number in case I have any other questions."
Blaine can't help but to gape at Kurt as he actually does it.
"And as a followup, we should set something up for later this week. Maybe something over dinner."
Blaine's still gaping at Kurt when he agrees.
He finally gets started with the interview and asks strange questions like what his prom suit looked like and what color his boutonniere was. Kurt answers everything tactfully and with such sincerity that Blaine can't help but to smile and force himself to forget about the giant tool sitting across from them.
Kurt's telling the story of how he asked Blaine to prom and Billy does the tackiest thing ever and interrupts him. "Wait, you guys were dating how long?"
Kurt thinks for a minute and looks over at Blaine. "It was two months, right?"
"Right," Blaine agrees with a smile. He thinks back on Prom and on Regionals and on the outdoor McKinley serenade and most definitely on their subdued admissions in the back of a coffee shop right after Kurt's return from Nationals.
"Two months," Billy says with a whistle. "That's not long at all."
"About nine months now," Blaine interjects. "So. You know. There's that."
"Nine months," Billy echoes. "Still, not really that long at all."
Blaine wonders how professional some of these comments are and glances over at Kurt who is still not getting this at all. "That's pretty long actually," Kurt says. "If you compare it to anyone else in the school."
Billy hums a response. "I guess it's all relative."
Blaine has no idea what he means by that but he's pretty sure it's another dig at their relationship.
"Well, I suppose that's all for now," he tells them as he shuts his notebook. And Blaine wants to ask him what the hell he's talking about because he asked like, five questions.
"Dinner tomorrow night perhaps? We can really hammer everything out if it's just the two of us."
"Oh, okay," Kurt answers, a little taken aback.
"I can call you to set up the details. And if it would be okay, I think it'd be a good idea to talk to your dad and your family to ask a few more questions. Next week, possibly?"
"Sure," Kurt says. "I'll check with my dad."
Billy stands up to walk out of the room and gives Blaine a small smile. "Good luck," he says softly, looking Blaine right in the eye, and wow, Blaine's never heard someone try to sound so confrontational in a whisper before. What is this guy's deal, anyway? He sees a few pictures in the newspaper and decides it's time for a face-off over some kid he's never even met? It makes like, no sense at all. (Although Blaine remembers how good Kurt looked in those pictures so maybe it makes a little sense.)
Then as he reaches the door, he turns to give Blaine a small wink and he can almost hear him saying, Game on, kid. Blaine turns quickly to see if Kurt actually caught it because there's no way he can still be that unaware.
Kurt looks confused for a second then shrugs it off and turns to look at Blaine. He's beaming. "That was incredible."
Blaine stares at him, stunned. "Are you being serious?
Kurt's smile falters. "You didn't think so?"
"I think it was terribly unprofessional, that's what I think."
Kurt stares at him for a minute and looks disappointed. "I have to get to sixth period," he says softly.
Blaine watches him go.
He tries to bring it up again several times during the rest of the day but it always comes out as sort of sullen and childish then ends up with Kurt giving him a confused look and changing the subject.
The next day, Blaine's irritated and completely catty. He realizes that as much as he dislikes the person he becomes when he's jealous, he dislikes the way he keeps picturing them alone at a restaurant even more.
Kurt is just as annoyed and cuts Blaine off every time he brings up Billy. It's a bitter circle; the more Blaine tries to talk about the interview, the more frustrated Kurt gets until they're both a little miserable. Then the cycle begins again.
They head to the Lima Bean after school and Blaine starts a fight pretty much immediately as they sit. Kurt tells him that Billy's already called him and Blaine's grateful that they're sitting towards the back because he almost chokes on his coffee.
"He's into you, Kurt," Blaine tells him.
"What? No he isn't."
"Yes, actually, yes he is. I don't know why you're refusing to see that!"
"I'm not refusing to see anything! You're just being melodramatic! He's in college, Blaine. What the hell would he want with a high school senior?"
Blaine lets out a frustrated sigh. "He doesn't care that you're in high school, Kurt. He cares that you're you."
"I -- what does that even mean?"
"It means that he was laughing at everything you said and was all, Oooh you look fantastic."
Kurt's eyes narrow. "So … what? You don't think other people should find me funny? You don't think other people could find me attractive?"
"Oh my god, that's not what I said."
"Okay, well what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that normal people wouldn't say things like that in front of someone's boyfriend."
Kurt sighs and shakes his head. "Are you jealous? Is that what this is?"
"What?" Blaine asks, wide eyes. "Are you serious?"
"Don't try to deny it."
"Why the hell would I deny that?" he asks. "Of course I'm jealous!"
He pauses because clearly that wasn't the answer he was expecting. "Wait, what?"
"There is another guy hitting on my boyfriend, Kurt. In front of me. I think that's like, the number one reason people get jealous."
Kurt eyes him. "Why in the world would you be jealous?"
Blaine gapes at him. "Oh my god, you're actually serious."
Blaine blinks. "Okay, fine, let's do this. For starters, he asked for you number."
"He's interviewing me, Blaine."
"Okay, it's not a phone interview, Kurt," he says, shaking his head like maybe he can't believe they're actually having this conversation. "Then he asked you to dinner."
"Where he's going to be interviewing me."
"Uh huh," Blaine replies with an eye roll. "So then he asked to meet your family. Like a big giant family date."
Kurt sighs. "It's for the story, Blaine."
"And then, and then, he wished me luck and winked at me on his way out!"
"Okay, I'm not sure that's entirely true but no, that part there might not be typical behavior for a reporter."
"Typical?" Blaine can't believe how high his voice sounds. "Nothing about this is typical, Kurt. When's the last time you saw Barbara Walters ask for someone's number? When's the last time Katie Couric leered at someone and said they looked 'fantastic' with a super creepy smile?"
"I don't get you," Kurt tells him, sounding sad. "I really thought you were going to be happy for me and I don't understand why you're not supportive about this."
"Of course I'm happy for you, Kurt," he says, gently grabbing one of Kurt's hands in his own over the table. "And I'm totally supportive. I'm just super uncomfortable with you going on a date. Alone. With a weird college kid that could quite possibly be a cyber stalker. And who's maybe sort of in love with you or something."
"A date?" he asks, and Blaine can tell that he's quickly turning angry. "You think that I think of it as a date?"
"Not you, no," Blaine answers. "But I'm sure as hell that Billy does."
"Ugh," Kurt says, pulling his hand free from Blaine. "Thanks for having so much faith in me and in us. Good to know that our relationship is built on so much trust."
"Come on, that's not what I'm saying and you know it."
Kurt stands up and Blaine can see he's so angry that he's shaking. "If you'll excuse me, I have to go get ready for my date," he says. "But don't worry, I don't put out until at least the third one."
Blaine sighs. "Please don't do this," he tells him. "We should talk first. Let's have a rational conversation."
"Rational?" Kurt laughs bitterly, eyes wide. "I've never seen you act more irrational than you've acted these past two days."
"Agreed," Blaine concedes. "I'll work on that. Just please sit down."
Kurt stares at him like maybe he's considering it. "I'll call you later."
Blaine decides not to ask if he'll call him after his date because he definitely recognizes that as a really poor choice at the moment.
"Fine," he says and he can hear how frustrated his own voice sounds. "Just … fine."
Kurt tilts his head. "Okay, now you're angry."
Blaine does that stupid thing that people do when they say that they're not angry when they clearly, clearly are and says, "No, I'm not. Whatever. I can't convince you to see reason so just go. Have fun. Tell Billy hello for me."
"Hello?" he asks as he raises an eyebrow.
"Sure," Blaine says as he stands. "Tell him congratulations." And oh god, Blaine knows how ridiculous that decision was the second it comes out of his mouth.
"Congratulations?" Kurt echoes and he doesn't sound angry which sort of worries Blaine. "As in, 'congratulations, you've won Kurt'? Like I'm some sort of tacky carnival prize?"
Blaine doesn't say anything because he's smart enough to know that anything he says will unquestionably make this worse.
Kurt shakes his head and turns to walk away. "And people say that I'm the melodramatic one."
Blaine resists the urge to call out after him.
He crosses his arms and notices the little old woman at the next table watching him. She seems confused but also a little intrigued and Blaine looks her right in the eye and says, "I hate that guy. What kind of name is Billy, anyway? Is he a goat?"
She widens her eyes and doesn't saying anything.
Suddenly, Blaine realizes that he's in the middle of a coffee shop airing his relationship troubles to the eighty-year-old lady eating her scone and yeah, he's maybe slightly unhinged.
And then it's Thursday, the Thursday, and Kurt's walking up to Blaine's locker after the last bell. He worries his bottom lip and says, "I think we should break up."
Blaine blinks. "Sorry, what? It almost sounded like you said --" He cuts himself off because there’s no way that’s what Kurt actually said.
"We should break up," he repeats and okay, apparently that is what he actually said.
"I don’t understand," Blaine says in a hushed tone. "It was one fight."
"I just think we should," he tells Blaine and his voice kind of cracks at the end. He gives Blaine one last glance then turns on his heel to head towards the double doors. Blaine just stands there and stares after him because he’s too stunned to do anything else.
His heart is beating fast and his palms are sweaty and he doesn’t understand what the hell just happened. He calls Kurt later that night but he doesn’t answer and the last thing Blaine wants to do is be a creepy stalker boyfriend so he lets it go for the night. He gets an hour of sleep and stares at his ceiling, feeling a little sick.
The next day is awful. He sees Kurt in the hallway a few times and he looks just as horrible, which Blaine doesn’t understand because Kurt’s the one that broke up with him so why does he look so awful?
He approaches Kurt at his locker after fourth period, not really sure what to say. "Can we talk about this?" he asks. "We've gotten past stupid fights before."
Kurt blinks at him and yeah, he looks miserable and it almost makes Blaine heart ache until he remembers that this is what Kurt wants, not the other way around. "You look terrible," Kurt says quietly.
"Yeah," Blaine agrees, a little confused. "My boyfriend just broke up with me after some lame fight. How am I supposed to look?"
"I don’t know," Kurt answers. "I figured you'd -- it's just not how I thought you'd react."
And that definitely upsets Blaine. "What does that even mean? Am I supposed to be celebrating or throwing some kind of party? You broke up with me," Blaine reminds him.
"I know," Kurt responds.
Blaine lets out a frustrated sigh. "What's going on here, Kurt? There’s no way you're this upset about a dumb fight. This is completely coming from left field."
Kurt only blinks. He's totally silent.
"I'm sure you'll be fine, Blaine," he says.
Kurt walks away and once again, Blaine’s a little too shell-shocked to follow after him because what the hell is that supposed to mean?
Glee club is almost unbearable. Blaine sits in the back and sort of looks like the creepy stalker boyfriend that he’s desperately trying so hard not to be. Kurt doesn’t say anything the whole time and pretty much everyone notices because Rachel’s being extra commandeering and Kurt doesn’t say a single word in response. Well, it’s partially because of that but also partially because Kurt still looks pretty terrible and his hair actually looks uncombed.
Blaine stays in the choir room after everyone clears out. He just sits there because the idea of going home and spending the weekend alone to stew in his thoughts makes him feel like he’s going to be sick.
He doesn’t know how long he sits there but eventually, Finn peeks his head in and startles Blaine.
"Can I talk to you?" Finn asks.
Blaine shrugs. "Go for it."
"So I was going to give you a hard time and ask you what you did to make my brother so depressed but then I saw you and now I don't even know what's going on." Finn takes a seat next to him.
Blaine gives Finn a blank look. "If you find out what I did, will you let me know?"
"So he broke up with you?" Finn asks after a while.
He shrugs again. "We had a stupid fight and I guess it was drastic enough for a breakup. I swear, it feels like came out of nowhere."
"Does it have anything to do with that guy he's going to dinner with tonight?"
"Billy?" Blaine asks, a little stunned. "He's actually going to dinner with him tonight?"
Finn doesn’t say anything right away and Blaine is suddenly freaking out. "Wait, does Kurt legitimately like him? Has he said something to you? Is that what this is about?" Which makes absolutely no sense because he's pretty sure that he and Kurt are ridiculously in love but Blaine’s not all that rational at the moment and he can’t think of anything else.
"I … doubt it," Finn says. "I think he’s pretty much hung up on you."
Blaine lets out a sigh of relief.
"Is it about college, do you think?" Finn suggests.
Blaine considers it but it doesn't really make much sense, either. "I don't think so. It's just … we already had the big college discussion. I mean, yeah, it's like, eleven hours so it's not exactly going to be easy but we both agreed that we really want to try at least." He watches Finn for a reaction. "Wait, is that what this is about? Did he change his mind? He wants to be single when he starts school?"
Finn gives him a shrug and a doubtful look. "Like I said, I think he’s pretty hung up on you."
Blaine sighs and leans back in his chair. "I want to fix this but I don’t even know what’s broken."
Finn watches him. "I sort of feel bad for you right now so I'll try to find out."
Blaine nods. Finn leaves him with a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and Blaine steels himself for the longest weekend of his life.
Blaine calls him twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday. Kurt doesn't answer.
His mom doesn't ask what's going on but he's pretty sure she's figured it out by Saturday evening when she oh-so-casually comments that he's spent both Friday and Saturday night at home. That and the fact that nobody mentions Kurt's name the entire weekend makes it pretty obvious.
He doesn't even hear from Finn, which makes the whole thing seem a little more hopeless.
On Friday night, he sends Kurt a text saying, Will you please call me?
Saturday, he sends, Will you at least text me back?
And on Sunday: Are you just going to ignore me forever?
There's never a response but he checks his phone every ten minutes to be sure.
It's awkward on Monday because by that point, everyone in glee club knows what's going on. By the end of the day, Blaine's moved past depressed and frustrated to just plain frustrated. They sit at opposite ends of the room and everybody just sort of stares.
"Aren't you going to ... you know?" Artie asks him.
"Going to what?" Blaine answers, sounding incredibly irritated and distinctively unlike his usual self.
"You know," he says. "Like have a big dramatic showdown in front of everyone?"
"What?" Blaine asks. "Why would I do that?"
All eyes are on him, save for Kurt who's pretending to be fascinated by his own hands.
"Oh, I don't know maybe because that's what we do?"
Blaine shakes his head. "No. I'm not going to start a big fight in front of everyone."
Most of them look relatively disappointed. And because Blaine can't quit while he's ahead: "Plus, it would be a completely one-sided argument since someone refuses to acknowledge my presence."
He catches Mike's eye from across the room who's shaking his head slightly and mouthing "No."
Blaine sighs, dejected, and slumps back in his chair. He doesn't say anything else until the bell rings, to the dismay of most everyone in the classroom.
Mike waits for him after class and Blaine gives him an unhappy sigh. "So … what? I'm not supposed to try to fix this?"
"That's not what I was trying to say," Mike says. "I meant that you should probably try to fix it privately. You know, with no audience. You're better than that."
Blaine sighs again as he heads to his locker because yeah, he knows he's better than that but Kurt Hummel makes him so damn irrational and good god, it's incredibly frustrating.
He calls Kurt again that night and it goes straight to voice mail. He sends a text an hour later: I'm sorry about this afternoon. I miss you.
Blaine thinks about how he's been missing Kurt ever since he watched him walk away on that stupid Thursday afternoon.
It's Tuesday and even though it starts as miserably as the last five days, it's finally all turned around by second period.
Before first period, Kurt walks up to Blaine's locker and just stands there. Blaine stares at him because he's not sure what to say or what's even going on since Kurt's been pretending that Blaine doesn't exist.
"I didn't get your text until this morning," he tells Blaine. They haven't spoken in four days. "I miss you, too."
He waits for Blaine to say something but he's still glued to the spot with his hand hovering over his U.S. Government textbook.
"And if you still want to," Kurt says, hesitating, "I think we should get back together."
"What?" Blaine asks finally.
Kurt worries his bottom lip. "Do you not want to?"
Blaine lets out a surprised, bitter laugh. "Of course I want to!" he says. "But you've spent four days ignoring me and then randomly you want to get back together? I feel like I'm missing something here."
Kurt sighs and leans his back on the locker next to Blaine's. "You spent two days picking fights with me; what was I supposed to think?"
"What?" he asks again, completely confused. "You were supposed to think exactly what you were thinking: that I was getting increasingly jealous over that idiot reporter."
Kurt looks away.
"Why?" Blaine asks him. "What did you think you were supposed to think?"
He shrugs and still doesn't meet Blaine's eyes. "I've seen enough teen romance movies, Blaine."
Blaine almost chokes from surprise. "Clearly you haven't seen enough if you can't recognize plain old-fashioned jealousy!" He knows how high and desperate his voice sounds but he keeps picturing Kurt walking away and ignoring him for another four days so he thinks the desperation is kind of warranted.
"Oh, what, so I was supposed to think it was a coincidence that you started picking fights just mere weeks after our college acceptance letters?" He sounds frustrated and eyes flicker up to Blaine's.
Blaine gapes and continues to be utterly confused. "Okay, what?"
Kurt sighs and doesn't elaborate. Blaine knows him well enough to know that Kurt assumes he'll figure it out on his own.
"Okay, I'm going to be perfectly honest right now, Kurt: I'm completely lost." He closes his locker and thinks for a minute before he continues. "Normally I don't push it when I can't quite figure you out because I know your brain works differently than mine and I know you'll explain it to me if it's important enough. I know I'll never always get what goes on in your head but it's just another one of those Kurt Hummel things that I'm crazy about. When your brain starts working in a way that ends with some inexplicable breakup and ignoring me for four days, though, then yeah, I'm going to push it. So what the hell are you talking about?"
Kurt blinks. "You were picking fights."
"And it was constant for two straight days!"
"I know," Blaine replies. "I was jealous, Kurt. We've already established that those weren't my finest moments."
"See, that's just it, Blaine. Since when do you get jealous? You've never showed a hint of it before."
"Well yeah, Kurt. There's never been someone draping himself all over you right in front of me before. I never exactly had a reason to get jealous."
"Okay, fine," Kurt says. "But all I could focus on is how we're going to be eleven hours away from each other next year and about how you were constantly picking these fights like you wanted me to be mad at you. I've seen that plot line, more or less, on various teen dramas and soap operas throughout the years. What was I supposed to think?"
Blaine tries to piece together what Kurt's not saying. "Are you saying that you thought I was manipulating a breakup out of you?"
Kurt doesn't answer.
He shakes his head, stunned. "Okay, don't you think that my terrible attitude and like, the pure desperation immediately following it was pretty much a dead giveaway that it wasn't what I was doing?"
He shrugs. "I didn't know what to think. I was confused in between trying to convince myself to break up with you and waiting for you to break up with me."
"God, I am not getting this logic at all," Blaine tells him.
"I thought you were still jealous about the interview, okay?"
"I wasn't jealous about the interview, Kurt! I was jealous of the tool interviewing you!"
Kurt gives him an annoyed look. "Yeah, I get that now, thanks."
Blaine doesn't know what to say; the whole discussion is almost surreal.
"You were right, by the way," Kurt adds quietly. "About Billy."
His forehead furrows in confusion. "Right about what?"
"About … you know." He looks embarrassed.
Blaine's eyes widen as he gets it. "What happened over dinner? Did he hit on you again?" And then his stomach gets a little queasy as he asks, "God, did he kiss you?"
Kurt still looks annoyed. "Give me some credit, Blaine. No."
He lets out a breath he doesn't know he was holding.
"But he told me that he saw me perform with the Warblers at last year's competitions and with New Directions at our invitational earlier this year," Kurt continues. "And that he's wanted to meet me ever since he got wind of the whole prom debacle. I'm sure I'm supposed to be flattered by it but mostly, I just felt like an idiot."
"An idiot," Blaine repeats flatly.
"I didn't care that some stranger was throwing all this praise my way," Kurt continues. "I just cared that you were so upset by it. You were right about the whole thing and all I could think about was how dumb I looked and how terribly humiliating it would be to tell you how right you were."
Blaine's eyes narrow. "So you stuck with the breakup out of pride?"
"No," Kurt says, exasperated. "I kept focusing on how mortifying it would be when you turned me down and told me all about your new boyfriend."
"New boyfriend," Blaine repeats, sounding dry. "I got a new boyfriend in two days? Sure, that makes total sense."
He lets out a frustrated sigh. "Look, I don't mock you when you're not entirely rational, do I?"
And yeah, actually he totally does but: "Sorry," Blaine apologizes. "You're right. Continue."
"I don't know, Blaine. I pretty much just felt like an idiot over the weekend and then you seemed so angry on Monday and I didn't know what to say. But then I got that text from you this morning and I thought ..." he trails off.
"Thought what?" Blaine prompts.
He shrugs. "I thought maybe you still wanted to date me."
Blaine laughs and Kurt flinches. "Of course I want to date you, Kurt. Do you know how miserable I was this weekend feeling that disconnected from you?"
"I'm sorry," he says. "I just -- with your irritability and the college thing, I didn't know what to think."
Blaine leans his back against his locker, staring at the empty hallway. "College thing," he echoes, sounding sad. "What do you have to be worried about, anyway?"
He feels Kurt lean his back on the locker next to him. "What does that mean?"
"Oh come on, Kurt," he says with an eye roll. "We'll be in college next year. I'm fully aware of what I can expect. These past few days have shown me how completely unprepared I am."
"I -- what?"
"Guys will be hitting on you left and right," Blaine groans. "It's going to be awful."
"Me?" Kurt says, voice high. "What about you?"
"What about me?" Blaine asks. He turns to face Kurt, shoulder still pressed up against his locker. "You've got that classic beauty, Kurt. Even the straight guys are going to fall in love with you."
Kurt lets out a disbelieving sigh and turns to face Blaine, his side still leaning against the locker. "Are you kidding me? You're so charismatic that I bet you the faculty is in love with you by the second week of classes." He pauses and then: "What do you mean by 'classic beauty'? Like a girl?"
"What?" Blaine asks, startled. "No. As in flawless skin and impeccable hair and piercing eyes and intense voice and just … everything else." He sighs and stares at Kurt for a minute. "Wait, what do you mean 'charismatic'? Like, I'm some flirty egomaniac?"
"No," Kurt says. "But everybody likes you and you like everybody back and you're always smiling and happy and perfect and who wouldn't fall for that?"
They both stare at each other for a few minutes, silent.
"I love you," Blaine says softly.
"I love you, too," Kurt replies, just as quiet.
"So where does that leave us?"
Kurt shrugs and watches Blaine.
"I'm miserable," Blaine says finally. "And I have a feeling you are, too."
Kurt doesn't deny it.
"And we're both worried about next year," Blaine continues.
Kurt still doesn't say anything.
"So let's be worried together," Blaine suggests. "That way we can stop being miserable."
"I'm sorry," Kurt says finally and Blaine gives him a confused look. "You know, for breaking up with you and being kind of melodramatic."
"I'm sorry, too," Blaine tells him. "You know, for being ridiculously jealous and way melodramatic."
The bell rings and Blaine suddenly realizes they both missed all of first period.
Kurt reaches for his hand and doesn't take his eyes off Blaine despite the hallway filling up around them.
"If you really want to be melodramatic," Kurt starts.
He squeezes Kurt's hand and says, "I'm listening."
"Well, we could stage a big fight during glee today. This has to be the shortest breakup the club's ever seen so really, it's the least we can do."
He grins at Kurt. "I'll follow your lead."
And for a minute, Blaine's not even remotely concerned with the battles they'll face in college. He knows that whenever it gets hard, he'll focus on this feeling of invincibility and he'll look back and remember Tuesday.
But it doesn't quite work that way and they're officially over on a Saturday.
It's gradual, of course, and there's not exactly one moment that Blaine can pinpoint and say, There that's it; that's when everything turned around.
The first three weeks of college are hard, harder than Blaine thought they'd be. It's not like he didn't think he would miss Kurt; it's just more than he was really prepared for. The problem with dating his best friend is that he's dating his best friend and so everything seems to be twice as intense and that much harder. Missing Kurt is like a physical reaction and for those first few weeks, Blaine occasionally feels like he's been punched in the stomach.
Worse, it seems like he and Kurt have as different schedules as humanly possible. It's not like high school when everything was sort of the same. When Blaine was at Dalton, they both had school during the day, glee practice in the afternoon and maybe a coffee date in the evening and then when Blaine transferred, they practically had identical schedules and everything was so easy.
And that's not how college works, Blaine finds out. To find time to catch up with each other, Blaine sits in the stairwell late at night so as not to wake his roommate and talks to Kurt for hours until neither of them can keep their eyes open.
It seems like every time Blaine has a second to spare, Kurt's in class or eating dinner with some people from his dorm or studying in the library with his cell phone turned off. It's more and more difficult to keep in contact, not that they don't try at first, and their late night stairwell phone calls start affecting Blaine's sleep. It's only a matter of time until their phone calls become shorter and less frequent. And then they stop all together.
After those first few weeks, it becomes a little easier. It's not that Blaine stops missing Kurt because he doesn't stop, nor does he ever expect to; he just starts finding things to fill his time. He starts hanging out every Tuesday with a few guys from his floor in the lounge as they watch cheesy sci-fi movies and order pizza. He joins a study group and spends Thursdays at a coffee shop where they spend half the time studying and the other half socializing. He unwillingly becomes the cliché gay confidant to a few girls in his Psychology class. He goes to every football game and gets wrapped up in the moment and with the intense feeling of belonging and inclusion. After, he feels a twinge of guilt when he sees a missed call or a few texts from Kurt but when he calls back, Kurt's usually sleep. All these things, they help make it easier to stop focusing on how much he misses his boyfriend, his best friend.
And then there are times that it's harder. Blaine calls Kurt without an answer just as often as he misses Kurt's calls. It not just Kurt that sends texts that don't receive a response for hours. It's easy when Blaine's out with friends and missing a call from his boyfriend but when he's the one sitting alone in his dorm willing Kurt to answer his cell phone, it's a lot less easy. When he's bored and procrastinating, he checks out Kurt's Facebook just to see what New York is like, to maybe get a glimpse into his boyfriend's life. Kurt's doesn't spend much time on Facebook but it seems like he's being tagged in photos every ten minutes and Blaine can't help but to look at every one. He wonders about the people posing with Kurt because it's so hard to tell anything about anyone from a stupid online picture. Blaine can't tell which ones are from his dorm and which are only classmates. He can't tell which ones Kurt's told him about, he can't tell which ones are gay, and he definitely can't tell which ones are crushing hard on his boyfriend, though he's able to make some guesses. On the days that Blaine spends a little too much time analyzing the pictures, he tries to steel himself for the day that he gets the call from Kurt saying, Blaine, I'm in love with someone else. It makes him incredibly queasy until someone knocks on his door to drag him down for dinner or until he heads out catch a movie with his roommate and then it's a little easier to focus on something else and he can forget to dwell on it.
The weeks go on and the phone calls get fewer. They both get irritated with how many unanswered phone calls they each make until they pretty much just stop trying to call.
For the most part, that's what happens: they just stop trying.
It's the last Saturday of Christmas break before they head back to school. Blaine's been putting it off but he really really can't put it off anymore. They meet up at the Lima Bean and Kurt messes around with his coffee cup lid, not meeting Blaine's eyes. They both know what's going on here.
"Kurt," he says quietly.
"I know," he says back. "You don't have to say it; I already know."
And Blaine just stares at him. "You're not going to try to talk me out of it?"
"What? No, of course not. It's not working, Blaine. You know it and I know it and we both knew it was only a matter of time before we dealt with it."
"Yeah," Blaine agrees. He's not sure why but it stings that Kurt's agreeing with him so quickly and so wholeheartedly. It means that Kurt's already thought about it and it just stings.
"We're friends, though," he tells Blaine, sliding his hand over the table to place it on top of Blaine's. "Before everything else and after all's said and done, we're friends."
And that's what it comes down to, Blaine thinks. Their first semester at college and it feels like they're only friends most of the time; it's not anything like how it was those first few weeks. Hell, they barely even saw each other over Christmas break and Blaine just knows that it's not supposed to be like that.
"I know," he says. "We're friends. I know that." And he does. Because when this whole thing started nagging at him, he never ever doubted for even a moment that he'd be losing a friend out of the ordeal.
They sit in silence and enjoy what's probably their last time drinking coffee together as a couple. They smile at each other when they're ready to leave and Blaine says, "I love you," because it's the last time he'll be able to and because it's true. He already knows that 'not dating Kurt' is definitely not synonymous with 'not loving Kurt'.
So they head their separate ways and a few days later, Blaine stares out the window as he drives back to campus and thinks about how he'll have to change his Facebook status to single and how already he hates that he won't be able to say things like "my boyfriend Kurt" anymore.
When he gets back to his dorm room, he lies on his bed without even taking his shoes off and stares at his ceiling. He pulls out his phone to text Kurt but stops himself because they decided to give it a couple of weeks to hopefully make the transition a little smoother from 'together' to 'just friends'.
Truth be told, he has absolutely no idea how to do that and he's not even sure how to broach the subject with Kurt because it's not like there's a user guide out there titled How to be Best Friends With Your Ex. The last time they were just friends was years ago before Blaine ever consciously thought of the possibility of being in love with Kurt and most definitely before actually being in love with Kurt.
He's only back at school for two weeks before he realizes how weird their situation is. Objectively, he knows that they broke up because it wasn't practical; they barely had time to talk or text because they were so busy meeting new people and trying new things and seeing new places. After only two weeks, though, Blaine realizes that he has to force himself not to text Kurt at all hours of the day. Everyday he thinks of at least three things he wants to tell Kurt and he has his phone out before he remembers that he's not supposed to do that anymore. For the life of him, Blaine can't figure out what changed. They didn't have time for each other and now that they're not in a relationship, Blaine has all kinds of time and so much of it is spent thinking about Kurt. It doesn't make any sense.
So two weeks in, Blaine makes the first move. He pulls out his phone before his Friday morning Ab Psych class and sends a text: Have you seen the new Channing Tatum movie yet?
He waits less than three minutes for a response: If you watch it on mute, it's not half bad.
Blaine stares at his phone for two minutes and wills himself to stop smiling.
He tries to monitor how many texts he sends and how often he sends them because if there was a manual titled How to be Best Friends With Your Ex, Blaine's pretty sure 'Don't be a clingy nutcase' would be chapter one. Within the span of two months, he's gone from not having enough time to send even a single daily text to his long-distance boyfriend to suddenly trying to prevent himself from sending numerous daily texts to his long-distance ex-boyfriend.
Next Friday, he sends another text: It's seventy degrees in Lima today. In January. How is that even possible?
It's always either a blizzard or a heat wave, Kurt texts back. I think Ohio might be bipolar.
Blaine lets out a small laugh and it's the very first time he thinks, So wait ... why didn't this work out again?
It's a quick thought with not much substance but Blaine knows that he's planted the seed and it's only a matter of time until he's thinking about it more often and with a lot more intensity.
They start to text almost daily and Blaine steadfastly refuses to analyze it.
Mid February, Blaine has a date with Robbie, the only other guy in his Ab Psych study group. He's relatively unenthused but he figures it's normal to feel weird about the first date after dating someone else for almost two years. Robbie's blond and tall with a borderline-awkward buzz cut and Blaine can practically hear Kurt calling it unfortunate with his voice fully of judgey disdain. Blaine doesn't really think that Robbie's his type but he's only ever had one boyfriend so he's not sure what the basis is for that assessment.
They walk to a cheap Italian place a few blocks away and Blaine's surprised at how stilted their conversation is. He assumed it would go pretty smoothly (albeit uneventfully) since they seem to get along so well during the study group but when they reach the restaurant after three minutes of absolute silence, Blaine realizes that the six girls in their study group probably added a lot more to their conversations than he initially gave them credit for. Dinner is awkward and a little boring so unsurprisingly, Blaine finds his mind occasionally wandering. He thinks about Breadstix and how their baked ziti is pretty much a million times better than the one he ordered. He thinks about the first date that he and Kurt had and then thinks about the first time they went to the Lima Bean as more than just friends. He thinks about how overrated it is to be just friends with your high school sweetheart when it would be so much better to be so much more.
He snaps back to the conversation because yeah, daydreaming about your ex is totally not proper etiquette for a first date and more importantly, it's probably chapter two in the How To manual.
Halfway through the meal, Robbie's phone rings and he apologizes for not turning the volume off. He glances at the caller ID and his forehead crinkles in confusion. "Hey, it's my mom. Do you care if I take this? She never calls me."
"Oh sure, sure," Blaine tells him. "No problem."
Robbie heads outside to take the call and he turns to smile and wave to Blaine through the front windows; Blaine gives a small perfunctory smile in return. As soon as Robbie's back is turned, Blaine has his cell phone out before he even registers he's doing it and hits speed dial 2. It only rings twice before he picks up.
"Hello?" Kurt answers. He sounds surprised.
He hasn't heard Kurt's voice in almost a month and he knows he should say something normal like, Hey how are you? Or even, Haven't talked in a while so I thought I'd call to catch up. He doesn't say those things, though. What he does say is:
"This guy is so boring. How did I not know this before?"
Kurt doesn't say anything for a minute. "What? What guy?"
"Robbie," Blaine says. "From my study group."
Kurt's quiet again. "You have a study group at nine p.m. on a Friday? That's ... dedication."
"No," Blaine tells him. "We're at dinner together." And Blaine suddenly realizes that telling your ex about the date you're on is probably way tacky.
Kurt doesn't say anything for a long time and Blaine tries to come up with the words to apologize because really, how did he not know how offensive this would be to Kurt?
But then Kurt's laughing right in his ear. "Oh my god, Blaine. Are you calling me while you're on a date?"
Blaine blinks. "Uh."
"Oh my god, you are. This is priceless."
"He's outside," Blaine offers him as an explanation.
"He's outside," Kurt repeats with a sigh. "'He's outside.' Only you, Blaine."
"What?" he asks defensively. "He's on the phone, too."
"With his ex-boyfriend?" He sounds skeptical.
Blaine thinks it over. "Okay, no, with his mom, but still."
Kurt laughs quietly. "You're seriously justifying this to yourself. It's unreal."
He knows he should be annoyed that Kurt's laughing at him but he's not because Kurt's laughing and it's the best sound Blaine's heard all month.
"Whatever," is Blaine's very eloquent response.
"Are you pouting now?" Kurt laughs. "You're nineteen and pouting. I can't imagine how much fun your date must be having. What a lucky guy."
Blaine grins and thinks it might be the first time he's smiled the whole night.
"Shit, he's coming back in," Blaine whispers. And before he can think better of it, he adds, "I'll call you back later."
He ends the call and pockets his phone as discreetly as possible before Robbie makes his way back over.
"I'm so sorry," he says as he takes his seat. "It's so rude to take a call on a date, I know that."
Blaine waits for the guilt to sink in since he just called his ex-boyfriend while on a first date, which he now realizes is beyond ridiculous and so much worse than answering a call from a family member, but the guilt never comes. In actuality, he's still thinking about Kurt's laugh and how he's aching to hear it again.
"Everything okay?" he asks, partially because he knows he should.
"Oh fine," Robbie answers with a dismissive wave. "Sorry again."
Blaine smiles at him in response.
The rest of the date drags on. Robbie doesn't try to hold his hand on the walk back and doesn't lean in for a kiss when they reach Blaine's dorm. Instead he offers a small wave and tells him he'll see him in class on Wednesday. He doesn't seem disappointed or even surprised.
Blaine calls Kurt as soon as he steps out of the elevator onto his floor and when Kurt answers, he's laughing.
A week later, he's in his dorm writing an essay on Shakespearean villains when his phone buzzes with a text from Kurt. Who takes a date to foreign film?
Blaine smiles. Is that rhetorical or an actual question? he sends back.
He suggested a foreign film, Blaine. I'm drowning in a sea of pretentiousness.
Blaine cocks his head and wonders why he doesn't feel even remotely jealous. He always assumed that the last thing he'd ever want to do is hear about Kurt dating again but for some reason, he doesn't mind. It's a little weird, he supposes, but it's not miserable.
Oh my god, Kurt. Are you texting me while you're on a date? he sends. And when three minutes goes by without a response, he sends another: Oh my god you ARE. This is priceless.
Touche, Kurt sends. That was deserved.
Kurt calls him a little over an hour later. Blaine's laughing when he answers the phone.
The next time Blaine gets a text from Kurt on a Friday night, all it says is can you pls call me 5 min.
Blaine's stomach sort of ties up because Kurt's pretty hardcore about his texts being grammatically correct; un-capitalized and shorthand means something's up. He only waits three minutes.
"Hello?" he answers.
"Hey," Blaine says, trying not to sound freaked out. "Are you okay?"
"What's going on?" He sounds startled.
"What?" Blaine asks. "You told me to call you, remember?"
Kurt doesn't say anything for a while.
"Kurt?" Blaine prompts.
After a few seconds, Kurt makes a weird noise and says, "Oh no, is he okay?"
Blaine's eyebrows furrow in confusion. "What? Who's 'he'? Are you okay?"
"No, no, it's fine, don't worry about it. Should I leave right now?"
He swallows. "I have no idea what's going on, Kurt. You're kind of freaking me out."
"No, it's really okay. I'm on a date but I'm sure we can just reschedule."
He blinks and then laughs hard. "Kurt, no. Are you seriously faking a hospital call to get out of a date? Just, no."
"Sure, I'll meet you there in twenty minutes," he says.
"That is low, Kurt," he laughs. "I feel so cheap, so used."
"What room number?"
"I want no part in this," Blaine tells him, still grinning. "You're awful and probably leaving this guy devastated and heartbroken."
"Okay," Kurt says. "I'll call you when I'm on my way."
Blaine stares at his phone with a smile when the call ends. He waits for Kurt to call.
Seven minutes later it rings and he answers saying, "You can't be serious, Kurt. That has to be something straight out of a Hugh Grant movie. I can't believe you went there."
"What?" he asks defensively. "You don't even know how bad that was."
"What happened to that kid I knew in high school?" Blaine asks with a laugh. "The bravest boy I ever knew. You're telling me he can't even man up to end one lousy date?"
Kurt sighs and Blaine can picture him perfectly, eyebrow raised and looking so put upon. "Blaine, I'm telling you that there was no other way. This guy puts Brittany to shame. I don't even think he should legally be allowed to drive. I'm not convinced that he can read basic street signs."
Blaine bites his lip to keep from laughing again. They talk for another hour.
Later, his roommate asks him how it is that he never gets jealous. "I'd be freaked as hell if I was still in love with my ex-girlfriend and she was calling me while on dates with other guys," Joel says.
Blaine doesn't comment on Joel's astute observation that Blaine's still in love with his ex-boyfriend. He also doesn't say that no, he's not jealous but yes, he probably will be as soon as Kurt stops calling him while on dates with other guys.
There's a two week difference between their spring breaks so they don't see each other but the texts don't stop and neither do the calls. It's hard to justify the calls to himself since they're not just doing it while on dates anymore but Blaine tries to justify it nevertheless.
In mid-March, Blaine starts a countdown until Kurt's summer break begins but can't really find a way to justify that.
That's how it goes until the end of the semester.