Title: My Arms Won’t Free You, and My Heart Won’t Try
Word Count: 7,000
Warnings: Hot, steamy, in-public lake sex
Betas: The divine dazzlebug and judearaya
Summary: AU. Ten years after leaving Ohio for New York City, Kurt meets Blaine through an online dating site and they strike up a long-distance romance. This is the story of their first Fourth of July together.
A/N: This is part of a larger AU I’m writing about Kurt and Blaine meeting through an online dating site. So if you like this fic, make sure to follow me on Tumblr for updates on when I plan to post more in this ‘verse! Lyrics at the end and the fic title are from the song “The More I See You” (this version by Michael Bublé).
The lake scene is inspired by this beautiful artwork by the incredibly talented dreamingpartone for the kbl_reversebang!
Seven days. They’d only ever spent seven days together in the flesh. Seven glorious days exploring every inch of each other: the sound of their laughter, the dimples their smiles whittled into their cheeks, the foods they liked to prepare, the secret spots behind their ears and knees where they moaned and sighed when the other kissed him.Of course, those seven days didn’t count the other ways they’d tried to spend time together since Blaine had sent that first fateful message last Thanksgiving.
Hi there! I’m not sure why you showed up in my matches since we live about 500 miles apart, but I liked your profile so I thought I’d send you a message anyway. There’s probably a 99% chance we’ll never meet, but I wanted to say hello anyway. Hope all is well in New York! Blaine
It didn’t count the legions of messages they’d traded after that, written out long and heartfelt in the hush of night and short and sweet during coffee breaks and commutes home. It didn’t count their first tentative phone call, when Kurt fell in love with the sound of Blaine’s voice, or their first attempt at Skypeing, when they’d gazed at each other stupidly, slack-jawed and in awe at the man they’d met by chance on an online dating site.
It had all taken place over months – more than half a year now. The seven days they’d spent in each other’s presence only added up to a single week of that time, divided over two weekends: the first in Cleveland, Blaine’s home, where they’d seen each other, touched each other, left each other for the first time; the second in New York, where Kurt had realized that the man of his dreams wasn’t the muscular Adonis he’d always fantasized about, but rather a short, cheerful, curly-headed man who owned too many Ralph Lauren polos and lived in the place Kurt thought he’d left behind forever.
Kurt was flying back there now, to Ohio, the place he’d spent his childhood; he watched through the tiny airplane window as cities sprawled toward suburbs, then dissolved into a patchwork of earthy-hued farmland. The colors made Kurt’s fingers ache for his sketchpad so he could capture the lush bounty of summer in an outfit of slim, severe lines – a blazer, maybe, and skinny slacks. He’d fill them in with tones of tan and brown and green and bronze – twine, camouflage, tarnished iron. City meets country; opposites attract.
Kurt had rarely deviated from black and gray in his designs before. But then, a lot of things had changed since he met Blaine. His life had richened, deepened – not just because of Blaine himself, but because of the way Blaine inspired Kurt to live. More open, more grateful, more willing to take what came to him and run with it.
It was plain and simple: he was in love with Blaine. Kurt would fly to Ohio – the place he’d escaped from to chase his dreams, only to circle back to actually catch them. He’d fly there a million times over.
I’d fly anywhere for him.
Except he didn’t want to. Did Blaine know that? Did Blaine know how much Kurt hoped for him to be the one flying instead – one final flight to New York, to Kurt, forever?
Blaine had hinted that New York was where he wanted to take the next step in his life. Not just for Kurt – Blaine sought out his own unfulfilled ambitions of a stage and a mic, front and center, with a dancing, smiling audience before him. But Kurt had no idea when that day might come.
For now – For how long? – they had to settle for this seemingly endless back and forth. For now, Kurt had to be satisfied with the fact they were adding four more days to their tally of seven – even though he already dreamed of the moment when the days would simply roll into the next, one after the other; when they could stop counting and just be.
“You know, this is only the eighth day we’ve ever spent together,” Kurt mused aloud the next afternoon as they sat on a tiny crescent of sandy beach by Lake Erie. Blaine was splayed out in a blue plastic chair, his skin bronzing deeper with each passing minute under the hot July sun. A few feet away, Kurt hid under a floppy hat and a light, long-sleeved tee that shielded his porcelain complexion from the bright rays.
“Hmmm.” Blaine set down the magazine he’d been idly flipping through. He paused a moment, as if he were counting up all their in-person encounters in his head. “I guess it is.”
“Is it weird that we’re doing this after only spending eight days together?” This – this Fourth of July weekend away in a lake cabin with Blaine’s friends – eight of them, all couples, mostly married. Just one day into their trip, and he and Blaine were already meshing nicely with the settled-down crowd – that morning, over coffee and breakfast on the front porch, Kurt had doled out style advice to the wives while Blaine had volunteered them for dinner duty the following evening.
Blaine sat up a little to peer over at Kurt, his brow furrowed above his dark sunglasses. “Maybe. Does it matter? I’m happy. And I think you’re happy, too?”
Kurt nodded emphatically. “Very.”
Blaine shrugged. “So maybe it’s not traditional, but…it’s working, right?”
“Yeah.” Kurt’s head bobbed up and down again. Yes, yes, yes. “It is.”
“Good.” Blaine settled back down in his chair and picked up his magazine. But before he returned to skimming its pages, he let his face droop in Kurt’s direction once more. “They’ve been the best eight days of my life, you know.”
Kurt’s smile felt as warm as the sun shining on them, sliding down to his belly and soaring up to encircle his heart. “I know.”
It was summer vacation, and time flowed slow as molasses, the heat heavy and slick and burning. Kurt and Blaine spent long hours stretched on the beach, then stretched together in bed, drinking in every moment like a cool, quenching gulp of water.
He was determined, on this trip, to share with Blaine a part of himself that he’d only ever indulged in private: the New York afternoons he spent in a wistful daydream, adding a new silhouette to his sketchpad library of imaginary models clad in Kurt Hummel originals. This one wasn’t quite as tall as the others – still lean and broad-shouldered, but with a lazy mop of brown curls instead of straight locks slicked back and down. The black and white figure of Blaine that Kurt sketched wore everything Kurt ever dreamed of designing: suits and smart button-downs, suspenders and cable-knit sweaters.
Today, Kurt was drawing Blaine on stage – the antithesis of where they sat now, at the end of a long, wooden dock, far removed from their cabin and left alone by any other vacationers around the lake. Kurt braced his back against a piling as he sketched, lost in his own world of jacket lapels – they needed a hint of a shimmer to catch the spotlight, he decided – and shiny square cufflinks. Because Blaine would most definitely always wear cufflinks.
Just next to him, Blaine sat looking out over the vast, sparkling lake, his legs hanging off the edge of the dock and his feet playing in the water below. Kurt’s legs were slung over his lap, bent slightly to give Blaine a place to rest his chin while he watched clouds drift above them and boats motor by in the distance.
The hot, lazy air hung between them for some time, quiet but for Blaine’s occasional soft humming. Silence was something new they were still learning to share, having spent so little time in each other’s physical presence. Kurt was content to savor it, to simply listen to the scratch of his pencil across paper and the swish, swish of the water as Blaine kicked his feet back and forth. To feel his bare leg against Blaine’s naked chest, their coarse hairs clinging together, silky and damp.
“Whatcha drawing?” Blaine interrupted the peace with his hushed, curious question after the silence had stretched a mile long. He turned toward Kurt, his chin still propped on Kurt’s knee. Kurt didn’t need to look up from his work to know that Blaine was sneaking a glance down at his sketchpad.
“You,” Kurt answered simply.
“Me?” Blaine sounded surprised, delighted. “Show me.”
Kurt didn’t still his hand when Blaine leaned in closer to examine the drawing. Blaine on paper was only half-formed – a torso and legs, but no feet, and just the hint of an effervescent grin on his face.
“What’s that for?” Blaine probed further as Kurt added expert creases down the front of slim-lined slacks.
“Something for you to wear while you’re performing.” He shaded in a long, skinny tie, one he could imagine Blaine wearing while he crooned a sexy big-band jazz number into a microphone. “I’ve been inspired to outfit you ever since your romantic public serenade last time I visited.”
“Kurt.” At the sound of his name – an astonished breath of air from Blaine’s lips – Kurt tore his eyes from his sketch and looked up. Blaine’s gaze bored into his, molten gold in the sunlight and glowing with wonder. “It’s fantastic. I love it.”
Kurt started to preen at him, but Blaine spoke again before he could finish forming his happy smirk. “Though it’d be a waste for me to wear something so nice behind a piano.”
Kurt felt his pleased expression dissolve into a frown. “Hey. Blaine. You’re not going to be behind a piano forever. You’re gonna be right here—” Kurt emphasized the word with a tap of his pencil on his sketchpad “—where you belong. Front and center. Trust me.”
It hit Kurt, at that moment, that he was doling out the same kind of advice he’d received countless times over from his father and his friends, back before he met Blaine.
“You’re a great guy. You’re going to find someone, I promise.”
“Someday, our dream men will wake up and find us.”
“You gotta be patient about these things, Kurt.”
It was advice he’d scoffed at, moaned over, grumbled and cried and begged for somebody to make happen rightnow. Now he was the one making vows he had no control over, guided simply by his belief in Blaine’s talent and passion. The people in Kurt’s life had done the same thing – and they’d been right all along.
But still. Needing to have patience really sucked sometimes.
“Yeah,” Blaine sighed, sounding entirely unconvinced.
“I promise,” Kurt added, hoping to sweeten the pot and cheer Blaine up, “the moment you get a new job, I’ll make you something like this.”
Blaine’s gaze flitted back down to the sketch, then up to meet Kurt’s again. “A Kurt Hummel original, huh?”
“That’s right. Gives you some additional incentive to find something as soon as possible.”
Blaine grinned wickedly. “As much for the outfit as for all the fitting sessions I’m sure we’d have to have.”
Kurt gasped in mock offense. “Blaine. I am a professional.” Though the idea of Blaine standing in Kurt’s bedroom wearing nothing but pinned pieces of fabric, stone-still and completely under his command, elicited a reaction inside him that was decidedly unprofessional.
It brought him back to the few perfect nights they’d shared in that bedroom, so far away from here. How they had lain in each other’s arms, and how Kurt had taken the first tentative step onto a shaky ledge, urging Blaine to follow his dreams and move to New York – and be closer to Kurt. He still teetered there on unsteady footing, unsure of where to place his next step.
Kurt opened his mouth to speak, then hesitated. Curiosity finally pushed the words past his lips. “Um. You’re not just looking in Cleveland, though. For jobs. Right?”
“I—no. No, I’m not.” He ducked his head and let out a bashful chuckle. “You know that, silly.”
Kurt let out a long, deep breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding. “I know. I just...I’m just checking.”
It was all Kurt could manage to say on the matter for now. He could plead all he wanted – and he wanted – but Blaine had to come to his own decision about his future. Kurt could only scrape away at the issue, bit by bit, asking questions and encouraging Blaine at every step.
Patience...you’re a bitch.
They lapsed into another tranquil spell – Blaine idly running his hand up and down Kurt’s leg, daydreaming about something mystery, while Kurt filled in the final details of his paper Blaine, like the curl of his soft, dark hair against his forehead and along the shell of his ear.
Kurt could feel Blaine’s fingertips trail just under the hem of his tan twill shorts. “Were these expensive?” Blaine asked nonchalantly.
Kurt spared a glance down at his shorts, his navy linen button-down – he’d bought them especially for this trip – before flicking a wary gaze up to Blaine’s mischievous one. “No,” he replied sternly, both an answer and a warning.
Blaine’s face dipped down to brush a lingering kiss over Kurt’s kneecap. “Okay.”
“I really don’t want to get wet, remember?”
“We have to go to the store soon to pick up stuff for dinner.”
“I know, I know.”
Blaine’s hand traveled further south, stroking over Kurt’s bare feet – one, then the other, curving around the edges of his toes and tracing the smooth skin along the top.
“Mmmmm, that feels good,” Kurt murmured, now fully distracted from anything but the feel of Blaine’s warm palm sending tingles through his body.
“Good.” Another soft kiss landed on his shin. “I like making you feel good.”
“You always do.” Kurt scanned his sketch one last time before turning it toward Blaine. “There! What do you think? Would you wear this?” he asked, pushing the sketchpad into Blaine’s outstretched hand.
Blaine stared at it for a single second before laughing. “Uh, yeah,” he replied, like the answer was obvious. “I’d wear anything you designed for me, Kurt. You’re a star.”
“Not quite,” Kurt sighed.
“But you will be,” Blaine countered confidently.
“Oh, yes. I will.”
Blaine shot out a burst of warm laughter. “You’re too much,” he muttered, shaking his head and looking down at the sketch again. “Will you let me keep this?”
“Only if you bring it to me in New York when you find your dream job.” So maybe he wasn’t quite done dropping hints yet.
“Deal,” Blaine said through a grin that sent Kurt’s pulse racing.
“Let me see real quick.” Kurt crooked a finger, motioning for Blaine to angle the sketchpad so he could reach to sign his name, the year and a single heart in the corner. “This’ll be worth something someday,” he quipped.
“I’ll never part with it,” Blaine vowed, leaning back to stow the sketchpad far behind him and away from the edge of the dock. When he sat up again, he reached forward and enveloped Kurt in an embrace – instantly too sticky and tight for the oppressive air around them.
“Blaine—” Kurt tried to protest, but as soon as Blaine’s name slipped from his lips they were both suddenly tumbling backwards.
The icy water slapped violently against Kurt’s clothed back, slicing through the sweat and steam that clung to his body. He screamed, but the sound was muffled underwater, sending only bubbles to the air above him. It was just a second before they surfaced – Kurt spluttering and Blaine snickering.
“Sorry,” Blaine offered, though he didn’t seem the least bit apologetic. “I couldn’t help it. It’s hot and we were on the edge and—”
“Jerk!” Kurt exclaimed, blinking against dribbles of cold water running into his eyes. “It’s freezing!” He tried to push Blaine down into the hip-high water in retaliation, but Blaine caught his wrist before he could make contact, yanking hard to pull their bodies flush.
The searing kiss Blaine pressed to his lips instantly warmed some of the chill the lake water had coated onto Kurt’s skin. Kurt leaned further into the kiss, searching for more heat, for Blaine’s taste. The dueling hot and cold sensations sent a violent shudder running through Kurt’s body, up his spine and down his limbs. Blaine held Kurt tighter, whimpering a sympathetic noise while their mouths still melded.
“Now my clothes are all wet,” Kurt pouted when he finally pulled away.
“I’m sorry,” Blaine repeated in a whisper. His eyes gleamed as he swept his hands up the layer of soaked linen clinging to Kurt’s sides. “We better lay them out to dry, then.”
Kurt felt Blaine’s hands slide up his chest, grazing the sensitive, hardened peaks of his nipples along the way, to start unbuttoning his shirt. One button fell away, then another, then another, down, down, down; divine, writhing anticipation built in Kurt’s belly with each freed fastening.
When all the buttons were undone, Blaine peeled Kurt’s shirt off his shoulders and down his arms, throwing it haphazardly up onto the dock. Kurt whimpered when their damp, naked chests made contact again, Kurt’s gloriously bare this time. He threw both arms around Blaine’s neck, urging their bodies even closer.
“Have you ever...” Blaine murmured against his lips, trailing off to stare up into Kurt’s eyes. Tiny droplets of lake water clung to his eyelashes, making his big, golden eyes dewy and dreamier than ever.
“Blaine.” Kurt meant for Blaine’s name to come out as an admonishment, but instead his voice was hoarse as his resolve quickly degraded. “We can’t.”
“Because!” Kurt whispered it; he didn’t want anybody to hear them debate whether they should have sex in public. “Someone might see us!”
Blaine made an exaggerated show of craning his neck in every direction to check for an audience. “Who?”
“I don’t know! It-it’s a public lake, Blaine.”
Blaine responded by gripping Kurt’s hipbones and shuffling them closer to the cover of the dock. Underneath was something like a hidden grotto – a secret world just for them to share. The summer sun filtered through the dock’s wooden slats, creating silvery sparkles that danced over the surface of the crystal-clear water. It waved and lapped against the pilings, the sound echoing hollowly against the bottom of the dock.
“See? There’s nobody around.” The timbre of Blaine’s voice was low and tender, but plainly hinted at his desire. “Just us.” Blaine paused for a moment, his eyes roaming across Kurt’s face as he waited for consent to continue.
Kurt could have put an end to their foreplay, but he didn’t – oh, he couldn’t, not with all those miles of Blaine’s skin in front of him, glistening with icy droplets of water, his for the taking. He answered Blaine’s silent question by running a hand up Blaine’s chest, pressing his palm into Blaine’s skin as he stroked up to his shoulder and firmly gripped his muscles.
With a sly smile, Blaine’s hand moved from Kurt’s hips to the front of his shorts; he teased, running his knuckles along the crease of Kurt’s thigh where it met his groin – once, twice, his fist grazing the half-hard edge of Kurt’s cock along the way. Kurt’s hips bucked toward the pressure, and Blaine chuckled deeply in his throat.
“Follow me,” Blaine instructed as he bent his knees to crouch down in the shallow water. Kurt mirrored his movements, sucking in a quick breath as his waist sank under the chilly lake. His knees soon hit smooth sand, bumping into one of Blaine’s where it lay at the bottom. From this position, the water’s surface hit just below their shoulders, hiding them even further from any probing eyes.
They kept their gazes locked on each other across the tiny space of water between them. Underneath the surface, Kurt felt Blaine’s hands trace along his waistband, the submerged fabric stiff and thick. Blaine’s fingers toyed with the button at the top of his fly for just a moment before snapping it open and yanking down the zipper, freeing enough space to slide his palm inside and grasp Kurt’s erection.
Kurt moaned, long and languid, at the feel of Blaine’s warm fingers wrapping around his cock, chasing away the cold. Blaine’s grip slid up the length, once, but he quickly growled in frustration at the angle, his fist trapped inside unyielding fabric.
Blaine released his hold for a moment to tug Kurt’s shorts down the rest of the way until they settled around his knees. “That’s better,” Blaine murmured, leaning in to kiss Kurt’s lips as his hand found its way back home.
They were still new to the physical; nine days hadn’t offered them nearly enough time to learn every favorite spot or remember exactly how the other liked to be touched. But Blaine watched him intensely, his gaze full of ardor, responding when Kurt thrust forward into his hold, silently begging for more, and keeping up his pace when tiny, mewling whines escaped from Kurt’s throat.
The icy pressure of the water against Kurt’s chest stole the air clear from his lungs. Blaine’s hand took any trace of breath that was left; the water helped his fist glide exquisitely up and down Kurt’s cock – no trace of harsh friction, just wet and firm and fast, fast, faster and ohhhh...
“God, Blaine. That’ssssooo good.” Kurt was already reduced to a quivering mess, shaking on his knees and clinging to one of Blaine’s strong, sinewy arms for support.
Blaine’s free hand slid from Kurt’s hip to clutch his ass cheek, shooting another bullet of pleasure through his body. Kurt cried out as he let his head droop down toward the water, the bliss-filled sounds reverberating off the surface back to his ears. Through the glassy pool, Kurt watched Blaine’s sure grip – distinctly smaller and darker than his own – drag relentlessly along his cock.
The red-hot rapture of sex ravaged all his senses – sight, sound, scent, taste, feel. His entire body tensed, then flared bright, and suddenly he was coming, gasping open-mouthed against Blaine’s lips. Blaine captured Kurt’s bottom lip between his teeth, sucking on the flesh as Kurt moaned into his mouth.
Kurt crashed against Blaine’s body when the waves of pleasure slowly subsided; the water buoyed up his limp arms until he could finally send movement to them once again.
“Okay,” Kurt panted after a long moment’s pause to recover. “I admit it. Good idea.”
“New things,” Blaine reminded him, then pressed a kiss to his temple.
Well, since I’m already down here...
“I might have an idea of my own,” Kurt insinuated.
“Oh, really?” Blaine’s voice was deep as a groan and just as pained, wound up tight with arousal.
“Mmmhmmm.” With some effort, Kurt peeled himself from Blaine’s body and flicked a deliberate gaze down to the water, where Blaine’s erection bulged beneath the surface. “Stand up,” he ordered, returning his stare to Blaine’s face. Blaine obeyed without hesitation, and with one last glance over his shoulder for potential onlookers, Kurt reached for the waistband of Blaine’s rusty red swim trunks and yanked them down.
Blaine’s cock sprung upright, red and rigid and ready. Kurt wasted no time in drawing himself tall on his knees and clasping the base in his hand, stroking once, long and reverent, up Blaine’s entire length before engulfing the head.
Blaine tasted cool and clean and crisp from the lake water, like earth and minerals. Kurt stroked his tongue up the underside, licking through the layer of cold to uncover the heat that lived underneath.
Above him, Kurt heard Blaine’s sharp inhale, quickly expelled in a long, gratified moan. Kurt cracked open an eyelid to watch as Blaine hung his head, squeezing his own eyes shut against the sensations Kurt’s mouth offered. Both of Blaine’s hands grasped the piling he leaned his back against; his fingers dug like tiny anchors into the weather-beaten wood.
Kurt pulled off slightly, wanting to draw out Blaine’s pleasure for as long as he could. He kept his focus trained on the tip of Blaine’s cock, stroking tiny kitten laps over the slit, back and forth, until Blaine squirmed against the piling.
“Kurt,” he whined. “Please.”
Answering Blaine’s plea, Kurt hollowed his cheeks, sucking Blaine’s cock deeper into his mouth. He set up a steady, bobbing pace along the length – up, down, shallow, deep. Each time Kurt’s mouth sunk low, his chin dipped into the water, sending up a rhythmic slap drip, slap drip, slap drip as his face hit the surface and pulled out again.
“Ah, god.” One of Blaine’s hands ripped from the piling and buried itself in Kurt’s wet, tangled hair, tugging and twisting and scratching. It was a little too rough, bordering on painful; Kurt loved it – the sudden dichotomy between his polite, considerate Blaine and this rarely uncovered version of his boyfriend who demanded pleasure of his own. Kurt could only oblige, working his mouth and tongue in time with Blaine’s direction.
Blaine yanked Kurt’s hair harder moments before he came, groaning, spurting hot and salty over Kurt’s tongue. As soon as his tremors subsided he was sinking back down to Kurt’s level, boneless as a jellyfish floating aimlessly through the water. They knelt together, silent, with their foreheads fused and their deep breaths mingling.
“Thanks for pushing me,” Kurt murmured. He hoped Blaine would understand what he really meant. Thanks for pushing me to try new things and take a risk.
“Sometimes all you need is a little push, and something fantastic can happen.” Blaine smiled at him contentedly, and yeah, he got it. Kurt hummed his agreement.
“And that...” Blaine added, lazily drawing out the word, “was fantastic.”
“So, Kurt. I heard you and Blaine met online?” Blaine’s friend Brian asked casually as he grabbed a handful of chips from the bowl on the counter.
Kurt’s hand froze in the middle of stir-frying vegetables. “Uhmm. Y-yeah,” he finally stuttered, forcing his hand to resume its stirring. His face burned, though he was sure it wasn’t from the heat radiating off the sizzling snap peas below him.
He’d never admitted to anybody he used the dating website – nobody outside of his family and his closest friends, anyway. Everybody else simply assumed Blaine was a holdover from Kurt’s life in Ohio: an old flame rediscovered or a friendship that had somehow turned into more across the distance.
But Blaine obviously didn’t keep his method of meeting men a secret.
“Cool,” was all Brian said, simply, in reply. “Courtney and I met online, too.”
At that, Kurt turned his head sharply to shoot Brian a surprised glance. “Really?”
“Yeah,” he answered, chuckling. “I’m not sure what made me do it. The bar scene just...sucked, I guess. I was the one who told Blaine about it, actually.”
“Really?” Why hadn’t Kurt ever heard this story? Why hadn’t he ever asked? He was still so embarrassed about having to resort to online dating to meet somebody that he continued to revile the site’s existence – even though, despite his reservations, he’d found the man of his dreams because of it.
That stupid website. I never would have met Blaine without it.
And now here he was on an amazing summer vacation, surrounded by happy people who’d apparently used it – to their great benefit – and had the confidence to discuss it freely.
“Yeah. He was a little hesitant at first...”
“I was not,” Blaine interrupted, reaching around Kurt to snap off the oven. “It was just a little...intimidating.”
“Dude, you told me it was like signing up to be cattle for a meat market.”
“You said it wasn’t romantic,” Brian continued to tease, laughing when Blaine shot him a heatless glare. Kurt felt his heart flip a slow somersault in his chest as Blaine’s cheeks flushed bright red. If there was anybody else in the world who was even more hopelessly romantic than Kurt, it was Blaine.
“It’s okay,” Kurt told them, pushing past the last of his self-consciousness to come to his boyfriend’s rescue. “My roommate signed me up for that site without telling me after I basically bitched her out when she proposed the idea.” He smiled at the bittersweet memory, at the lessons he’d learned since that fateful day a year ago: don’t dismiss the opportunity for new experiences, appreciate when your loved ones take care of you – and never leave Rachel Berry unattended with a laptop and an Internet connection. “You could say I was dragged into it against my will.”
Brian shrugged. “I don’t know why people get all worked up about it. Doesn’t really matter how you meet as long as you do.” Kurt watched as he caught his wife’s eye across the room and offered her a secretive little wink.
Kurt used to dream of the how: the restaurant he’d be dining in, or the show he’d be leaving, when he saw the man who would end up being The One. The heart-stopping story he’d tell their friends, their neighbors, their co-workers when they asked how the two lovebirds met.
Those fantasies, spun in what now seemed like a former lifetime, were lovely ideas. But this reality he’d been prized with – the way he and Blaine made love, the way they soaked in each other’s presence without needing to say a word, the way they danced fluidly around one other in the kitchen as if they’d prepared dinner together every night for years – paled in comparison. The how was of no consequence, Kurt realized. It was the what, the who, the why. The years – or, in his and Blaine’s case, the days – after the how were what really mattered.
“Well, anyway...needless to say, I’m certainly glad I did it now.” Blaine hooked an arm around Kurt’s waist and flashed him a proud smile.
“Me too,” Kurt replied, mirroring Blaine’s sunny grin. He could never get tired of Blaine’s eyes – how they could catch any trace of light, how they gazed up at him like Blaine had found a treasure he refused to ever part with.
“Me three,” Brian piped up, dragging Kurt back to reality. “That is, if that food you made tastes as good as it looks. I’m starving.”
Their dinner was spectacular. Kurt and Blaine humbly accepted their friends’ compliments on the food, and spilled the entire tale of their meeting over a loud, mirthful dinner conversation that stretched on for hours: their bumbled first attempt at a meetup over Christmas and their Valentine’s Day reconciliation; Blaine’s failed effort to date other people while the two pined for each other from afar, and Kurt’s impromptu decision to hop on a plane to Cleveland to win him over for good.
“What a great story,” Lauren raved, her green eyes rapturous, and the entire table – Kurt included – had to agree.
Blaine’s friends promised Kurt that the lake community’s annual fireworks display was as impressive as the main event in Cleveland.
“Probably nowhere near as awesome as you’re used to, though,” Blaine remarked as they trekked through the grass together, hand wound tightly in hand, toward the beach. A few other couples had already set up their blankets; they were laughing and chattering as they passed beer and hard lemonade between themselves, the cold cans and bottles glinting in the bright moonlight.
It was true; Kurt had been spoiled rotten by the spectacular Independence Day displays over New York’s skyline, perfectly viewed from his and Rachel’s tiny, rusted fire escape in Brooklyn. But right now, Kurt’s entire world was here, on a beach along Lake Erie, helping him lay out a warm knit blanket over cold, damp sand.
“Oh, I’ve seen those a million times already,” Kurt said, brushing off his comment. “I’d much rather be here watching these. With you.” He punctuated the word with a little nudge toward Blaine’s body as they both plunked themselves down onto the center of the blanket. Kurt caught his eye and offered him a grin, which Blaine returned easily.
“They’re okay,” Blaine said after a moment’s pause. “A little homespun, but...” he shrugged. “It’s Ohio.”
You belong in New York. Kurt wanted to blurt it out, to shout it until Blaine agreed to hop onto his return flight to the city tomorrow night. You belong in New York with me.
“Well, next year we’ll watch them together in New York,” was what Kurt settled for instead. It was what he purposefully didn’t say – “Next year you’ll come visit me in New York and we’ll watch them together.” – that indicated his thoughts and dreams.
Blaine smiled at him again. “I’d like that.”
They accepted the drinks Blaine’s friends handed them and then snuggled closer together to ward off the damp night chill. Kurt settled between Blaine’s legs, his spine resting against Blaine’s chest and his head tilted back onto Blaine’s shoulder.
“I don’t get to see stars too often anymore,” Kurt murmured as he gazed up at the sky, feeling the steady rhythm of Blaine’s belly press into his back with each breath.
“Well then, that’s my gift to you for being here. The stars.” Blaine hugged his arms around Kurt tighter. “Something you can only get when you visit me.”
Kurt bit the inside of his cheek to temper his grin. “You’re giving me the stars?”
Blaine shifted his head just a fraction, letting his lips linger lightly over Kurt’s temple. “I’d give you everything, Kurt. I—oh, here we go.”
The first flare zipped up into the sky before them – blazing red and rocket fast – popping into a shimmery sparkle when it reached its peak. The fireworks came one after another after another, all across the sky, each exploding with a loud clap and a dazzling rainbow of color. Kurt sighed and settled deeper into Blaine’s embrace, content to simply watch the show cocooned in his boyfriend’s arms.
The summer breeze blew in gentle gusts over the lake, gliding across Kurt’s face like cool silk. Blaine’s friends chattered lightly in the distance, their words barely distinguishable over the incessant pop and thump of fireworks.
In the back of his mind, Kurt was vaguely aware that Blaine didn’t seem to be watching the fireworks, but rather was watching him watch the fireworks. One of Blaine’s arms came up to rest against Kurt’s shoulder, and Kurt shivered when he felt the tickle of Blaine’s fingertip trail along his hairline, from behind his ear to the nape of his neck. Kurt leaned into the touch, humming a light, content sound of pleasure that was immediately lost under the continuous boom filling the air. He let his eyelids slip shut for one brief moment, too at peace to fight off his sudden drowsiness.
“I love you.” Blaine’s words were a grainy whisper in his ear, tucked between bright, loud explosions.
Kurt’s eyes shot open just as a beautiful golden burst lit up the sky, sending slow, spidery trails of glittering dust cascading down to the ink-black lake. A prickly wave of tears flooded his eyes, splitting the sparkles into a kaleidoscope of warped, watery colors.
He craned his neck to look backwards at Blaine, feeling the weight of his tears balancing on his eyelashes – threatening, threatening, then falling, hot and fast. He couldn’t possibly hold them back. Kurt couldn’t hold anything back now.
“Blaine.” It was the only word he could form.
“Hey. Why are you crying?” Blaine’s voice was filled with concern. The hand he’d used to caress Kurt’s hair came back up to Kurt’s face, delicately brushing away the trails of tears wetting his cheeks.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I just ca-can’t…” Kurt’s breath hitched involuntarily, dangerously close to a sob. He buried his face in Blaine’s neck and clutched Blaine tighter than he ever had before. “I really never thought this would happen.”
“Oh. I-I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
“No!” Kurt lifted his head and stared Blaine in the eye, frantically shaking his head. “No, no, not like that.” He sniffled. “I never thought I’d find someone like you. I just...I wanna be with you, Blaine.”
Kurt reached a hand up and pressed it to Blaine’s warm, velvety-soft cheek, holding on to Blaine and all he was offering. The fireworks exploded loud and vivid overhead, a mirror image of the emotions that swirled in Kurt’s heart and mind and soul. He could see the spectrum of colors – red, green, purple, gold – reflected in Blaine’s eyes, and in the glassy well of tears that brimmed there.
“I want to be with you too, Kurt.” Blaine’s lower lip trembled slightly as he spoke. “So much.”
Kurt was crying in earnest now. The moment was everything he’d ever wanted, but it rang so bittersweet, so terribly hollow. They were in love – Love. He loves me. – but they couldn’t have a happily ever after, not with the ping-pong arrangement they lived with now.
“It’s not gonna be like this forever, Kurt,” Blaine murmured, as if reading Kurt’s mind. He rested his hand over Kurt’s, still on his cheek, and slotted their fingers together.
“B-but it c-could be.”
Blaine laughed a watery chuckle. “No, it won’t. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be with you. I promise, I promise.” His whispered vow, chanted over and over between kisses to the fingers Blaine tugged off his cheek, filled Kurt’s eyes with another round of tears. “You make me happier than I’ve ever been, Kurt. You filled up all the little holes in my heart. I feel like they’re overflowing now. So full of you. Your laugh, your wit, your charm.”
“I do tend to take over,” Kurt rasped, his thick voice clogging in his throat.
Blaine laughed loudly, then leaned in to smack a kiss to his lips. “I love you, Kurt.” Another kiss. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Kurt finally let his face break out into a joyous grin; he finally let the words – those three little words he’d held on to like a secret – escape from his lips on a blissful sigh. “I love you, too, Blaine.”
The fireworks’ finale had begun; behind Kurt’s eyelids, lights flickered in time with the constant boom boom boom in the sky above them. The beautiful show went ignored by Kurt and Blaine as they savored their own personal fireworks display – the culmination of every sweet word they’d typed, every patter of Kurt’s heart when he’d received an email, or a text, or a phone call from the man who was now in his arms, pouring all his passion into a slow, sensual kiss that spilled over with love.
Their lips didn’t part until the explosions above them finally fell away to silence, leaving only wisps of smoke floating in the starry sky beyond Blaine’s face. All around them, a riot of applause and whooping hollers and boat horns broke out, drumming up all the noise they could manage to show their appreciation for the show.
Blaine motioned with his head toward the darkened cabin. “Let’s go warm up?” he asked with a wink.
An impish smile crept onto Kurt’s lips, and he nodded, letting Blaine pull him by his hands up to his feet. Kurt yanked the blanket off the sand, shaking it once before bundling it in his arms and following Blaine’s lead up off the beach.
The sound of whistles and catcalls quickly followed them. Kurt turned his head just in time to see Blaine shoot his friends a silly, suggestive eyebrow waggle. “Blaine!” he hissed, rebuking him with a weak slap on the shoulder. He couldn’t help but laugh when Blaine ignored him, instead tugging on his hand and breaking out into a jog. They didn’t stop running until they were safely inside the cabin – alone.
Kurt dumped the blanket by the front door and grasped Blaine’s arm as he led them down the pitch-black hall in slow, shuffling steps. “We could turn on the lights, you know,” Kurt remarked, at which Blaine promptly shushed him.
Blaine trailed his free hand along the wall until he brushed against the doorframe to their bedroom. Kurt let himself be led into the room, to the middle of the old, braided rug that covered battered wood floors, and be wrapped in Blaine’s snug embrace. They stood there, silent; the sound of their mingling breaths echoed gently in Kurt’s ears.
“Dance with me,” Blaine finally murmured.
Kurt’s brow creased, though the corners of his mouth twitched upward. “But there’s no music.”
“Well, I’m gonna sing to you, of course.”
“Oh,” Kurt chuckled as he curled an arm around the back of Blaine’s neck, pulling their faces even closer. “Of course. How silly of me to forget your serenading ways.”
Blaine started to hum softly, plucking from his memory a melody that Kurt had never heard. Kurt let himself get swept up in the lyrics that Blaine sang to him, like they were written for Kurt himself.
The more I see you
The more I want you
Somehow this feeling just grows and grows
With every sigh, I become more mad about you
More lost without you
And so it goes
The old floors creaked beneath their feet as they swayed together, cocooned in quiet, in calm and joy. Kurt nuzzled against Blaine’s cheek, wanting to erase any space between them, to get as close as possible in this pitch-perfect moment – and forever.
For Blaine, Kurt could learn to trust, to be patient, to believe in what seemed impossible. They’d work out the kinks; they’d figure out how to manage the distance until it disappeared. Until then, he’d simply savor the days they were given together.
“I love you,” Kurt whispered when Blaine briefly paused between verses. Blaine’s fingertips dug into the small of Kurt’s back, and then he answered in song, crooning his promise of forever into Kurt’s ear.
Can you imagine how much I’ll love you?
The more I see you
As years go by
I know the only one for me can only be you
My arms won’t free you
And my heart won’t try...