Story: Someone Like You – 7/8
Fandom: Glee – Written for the Kurtofsky Reverse Bang
Rating: R – for language and non-explicit sexual situations
Characters: Kurt, Dave, Blaine, "OC" Gwen
Disclaimer: I don't own these people, they own themselves and are just nice enough to let me spin them around the page now and then.
Summary: [Written for the kurtofskyrebang using jennybliss's art and story concept.] In the end, Kurt got everything he wanted out of life and Dave fulfilled his own dreams, so why aren't they happy? A chance encounter in NYC brings the boys together again after many years. Can they help each other deal with their pasts (and their futures) and finally figure out what they truly need to be happy?
Feedback: Yes, of course! I'm like Tinkerbell (and Rachel Berry) – I need your applause (and hopefully not your rotten tomatoes!) to live…
Literary License #2: Mention is made of Industrial Age photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher (who are really wonderful and worth looking up if you're into photography!), but while I state that Dave in fact met both Bernd and Hilla at a lecture in Berlin, this is not possible since Bernd passed away in 2007. I'm sure no one will care about this but me, but in the interests of accuracy, I had to mention it. :)
Literary License #3: I have combined the art installations of DIA:Beacon and the Storm King Art Center, whose collections enrich the lovely Hudson Valley in which I live – but are on opposite sides of the Hudson… FFN won't let me include links to their sites, but Google both, or any of the artists or pieces cited below – you won't be sorry! (ART ROCKS!)
A/N: I want to thank everyone so much for their kind reviews and for favoriting and alerting this story! I loved writing it so much and every step of the way, I was living for your responses – hoping it would move you, entertain you, make your Kurtofsky hearts sing! Thank you so much!
Someone Like You – 7/8
[From the previous part…]
Kurt pulled out an imaginary pad of paper and mimed writing. "'Pot calling kettle black.' Gotcha." Kurt stopped fake writing and smiled at him. "I've missed you, David. I've missed my friend."
Ducking his head awkwardly without breaking eye contact, Dave smiled in return. "Me, too, Fancy. Me, too."
Still smiling, Kurt looked away, rubbing at a spot just over his breast bone.
In the center of his chest, a hot little ember – no more than a speck, really – had started to burn. It'd been a very long time since he'd felt anything like it, but not so long that he didn't know what it meant.
Kurt was falling in love with Dave Karofsky.
They day was crisp and the sky a shade of flawless blue somehow only visible at this time of year. Dave was glad Kurt had reminded him to bring his camera; the foliage and the views had been spectacular and he'd taken almost two hundred shots before they'd even gotten there. The dogs had yipped happily at each other in the back seat for the first thirty minutes of the trip, then, having exhausted themselves, they'd slept back-to-back the rest of the way.
The tone of the ride, and indeed, of the entire day, was light and companionable. No mention was made of their counterparts or their trip to Los Angeles, no hint that anything untoward or inappropriate had taken place on a picnic in Central Park. They were just two good friends, enjoying the day together, nothing more.
It was a pretense that allowed them to freely enjoy themselves, but they were in fact the only two people that day that would see them that way, as merely friends. Others caught what they did not: that they looked at each other in a certain way when one did not think the other was watching; that they seemed to go out of their way to avoid touching each other yet when they did that touch seemed to linger…
They were two people in love who just hadn't accepted it yet.
Since the opening was a no-dogs-allowed affair, Kurt had arranged for a friend who lived in the area to take them for the afternoon. Beth only lived a few blocks from the museum and they stopped by her house, a lovely restored Victorian, to drop the dogs off first.
Kurt and Dave would be staying the night at the house of friend who was on sabbatical in Italy, and Beth would bring the dogs – and the key – and meet them later in the day after they'd had their fill of the museum. Kurt had wired her money earlier in the week and Beth had stocked up the kitchen so Kurt could cook dinner for him and Dave that night.
The retrospective opening was a huge success. The museum had done a fabulous job of bringing together a true representation of the Bechers' photographic catalog. Dave had been quite excited to see the show since many of the images had not been published or seen outside of Germany until now. At the charity gathering afterwards, Dave asked Frau Becher to autograph a book he'd bought earlier in the museum gift shop, and he was floored – and a little star struck – when she told him she remembered meeting him in Berlin so long ago. Kurt charmed the woman with his theories on the fashion sense of German opera heroines and afterwards, Frau Becher took Kurt aside and told him he had a very handsome husband. Kurt had blushed like a fool, but didn't have the heart to tell her that they were only good friends.
Later, Kurt took Dave on a museum tour, sharing with him his favorite pieces – Heizer's North, East, South, West, a room-sized study in negative space, and Andy Warhol's Shadows, a variation on a theme in a range of colors and across 100+ canvases. Dave was, naturally, most excited about the larger, architectural installations, like Richard Serra's football field length study of spiral-shaped interactive mazes somehow rendered in battleship-sized slabs of rusted, weathered iron and, outside in the sculpture park, Alexander Calder's The Arch, a massive iron structure created from brilliant red i-beams and no small amount of grace. But their shared favorite was Maya Lin's moving Storm King Wavefield, a field of sculpted mounds arranged like breaking waves on a beach.
As expected, Dave was excited about the aging industrial complex the museum was set in – an old Nabisco cookie factory – as well as the way the architect and curators had made use of the space and the surrounding landscape. The views of the Hudson and the brilliant foliage of the hills and mountains in the distance, had him spending more time with the camera in front of his face than not. Kurt stopped him at some point and suggested he save disc space for his friends' house, knowing Dave would find that fascinating, as well.
The afternoon had been wonderful – crisp air, gorgeous fall color, breathtaking modern art, and fabulous company.
More than the time they had spent together in the city, this day had been effortless; no fears, no constraints. Removed from their world and released into the larger whole, they were freed to be who they were. Together.
Neither said what both were thinking – that it had all felt incredibly…Right.
Neither was ready to accept the reality that it felt right for a reason…
When Kurt pulled into the driveway, he heard a quite gasp from the passenger seat and knew Dave had gotten a good glimpse of the house. Stunning and modern, it was all straight lines and angles, floor-to-ceiling windows opening the house up to the light and the views. Dave asked after the architect, but all Kurt knew was that he had been with a small local firm.
They found Beth inside, getting the dogs their dinner, and after a quick recap of their day, both for dogs and dog owners, they exchanged hugs (and Kurt got a long, questioning look), and Beth was on her way.
After getting Dave settled into his room (and giving each dog a brand new chewie to busy themselves with), Kurt gave him a tour of the house. It wasn't large, but was designed well, making smart use of space. Dave ran an appreciative hand along smooth white arches and support columns like a breeder would a good horse, storing away ideas for future projects; a nook near the entrance, carefully tucked into the supports of staircase, a loft skirting the living room/dining room/kitchen area that opened out onto the back of the house where a full balcony took in the hill sloping down to the river and the mountains on the far side beyond it. Dave marveled at its construction, how it was "green," but lost none of its charm to its efficiency.
With a faint blush, he confessed that this was the type of house he had always wanted to design; one that was modern and smart and accessible. Affordable. He enjoyed the renovation and restoration work he did now, to be sure, the stately old buildings of New York were like museums themselves to him and it was an honor to have a hand in making them perfect once more, but to create something for what he called "regular people" ("You know, like we used to be…"), that was a true gift to leave for the world.
Again, it was Dave's passion for his work that Kurt found so appealing and he'd been treated to an unfiltered, live feed of it all day long. Feeling the ember in his chest suddenly start to spin, Kurt flushed, awkwardly covered it by making a joke about his true gift to the world – dinner – and then started rummaging through cabinets for pots and pans.
When he saw Dave make a grab for his camera, about to wander off to photograph floor joists and sky lights, he hefted an oversized wooden spoon in one hand and ordered him back into the kitchen. ("You don't help, you don't eat.") Saluting crisply, Dave stood awaiting orders, but not before taking a picture of Kurt waving the spoon and looking dictatorial. Kurt made a half-hearted attempt at complaint, but was more thrilled than anything else, despite the state of his hair after a day in the winds of October.
Thirty minutes later and the salmon was poaching in white wine and garlic, sous chef Dave had done a credible job with the salad and the tomato dice for the corn and pesto dish, and Kurt was pouring them each a glass of chardonnay. As Kurt took his first sip, Dave grabbed a loaf of fresh Italian bread and starting chopping garlic. Before Kurt could ask, Dave said that his mother had always told him he should know how to make at least one dish well – that way you can always contribute to a meal. Dave's specialty? Garlic bread. Kurt watched in fascination as Dave simmered butter, garlic and white wine together with fresh oregano, thyme, and rosemary, then dipped bias cut bread in the mixture. Once they were all laid out on a cookie sheet, he grated generous amounts of fresh parmesan over the top and told Kurt to give him a five minute warning on when dinner would be ready.
Much to both of their surprise, rather than being little begging nuisances in the kitchen, both dogs had chewed happily for a while, tussled happily with each other for a while, and then, exhausted from their big adventure, had both fallen asleep under the dining room table.
Kurt and Dave drank wine in a relaxed silence as music from Kurt's iPod – Debussy, Mozart, and vintage Adele, circa 2011 – filled the house.
Dave watched Kurt half-dance as he set the table, crooning unselfconsciously in that clear, smooth voice that gave Dave chills and made his heart do funny things in his chest. It was more than just that Kurt Hummel was this beautiful, passionate, caring man or that that caring man had become his close friend; it was the realization that this feeling he was feeling, this growing, pleasant ache in his chest, was bringing Dave dangerously close to a thing he had given up thinking he could ever be – happy.
Was this what life was supposed to be like? He thought that it was. He didn't have that now, not outside of whatever it was that was happening here, and it was going to make going home, where life was not like this, a very hard thing…
As for Kurt, he'd run out of doubt a long time ago; he knew exactly how he felt.
Watching Dave fuss over the stove – tall, broad shouldered Dave hunkered over a tiny saucepot, stirring to keep the garlic from burning – had touched him in so many ways, not least of which was that Blaine had never so much as boiled water for Kurt's tea. Not only had he and Blaine never prepared a meal together, Blaine had never stayed in the kitchen to keep Kurt company while he did.
Perhaps that wasn't enough of a reason to feel how he was feeling, but it wasn't the only reason he felt that way. The others were, as it turns out, too numerous to name, not at a time when the sight of those broad shoulders, the man's unconscious surprisingly melodic humming, and the memory of the concern in his warm hazel eyes, was making Kurt's heart skip a beat.
This, this was what it was supposed to feel like. This was what it meant to be happy.
He thought he might know how to make Dave admit that he felt it, too.
When the time was right.
Which wasn't while they were eyeballing the broiler to keep from burning what turned out to be the best garlic bread ever made (and a toast to Joan Karofsky was forthcoming!) and it wasn't while they were eating salmon and grooving to the Rolling Stones that Kurt had forgotten he had on his playlist.
Kurt knew wouldn't be able to wait much longer…
They'd been sitting on the back porch, drinking wine and watching an amazingly bright new moon illuminate the clouds and the river far below, when a stiff breeze off the water got the better of Kurt's cotton sweater, sending a shiver through him that Dave could feel through the wooden slats of the glider they were sharing.
"That's it," he said, getting up and taking Kurt's wine glass from him.
"You're cutting me off," Kurt asked, confused.
"Nope, I'm making a fire. C'mon, let's get you inside before I'm programming the GPS for the nearest hospital." Sliding the glass door open, he gestured 'IN!' to Kurt, and Kurt, grumbling and grinning at the same time, obliged, stepping through the door to the house's somewhat chilly interior.
"Guess I should check the thermostat," he said a little unsteadily. They were well into their second bottle of wine by now. "I bet it's colder upstairs."
Grabbing a throw from the back of the couch, Kurt wrapped himself up and went in search of the box while Dave collected an armful of wood off the back porch.
"Found it," Kurt cried from the front hall.
A moment later, Dave heard him murmuring something to the dogs, the frantic clicking of two sets of nails on tile, then much enthusiastic snuffling; Kurt must have thrown them out a handful of treats.
"I'm heading up to get a pair of warmer socks," Kurt's voice rang from the stairs. "Do you want anything while I'm up there?"
"I'm good. Thanks," Dave called back.
He was glad to have these few minutes alone; his head was spinning and not just from the wine, of which he had consumed far too much.
The whole day had been undeniably wonderful, but was he letting this taste of a so-called normal life allow him to believe that he could have it to keep? Nothing had changed outside of this little bubble they found themselves in, but more and more his heart was telling him that it just didn't care. But that wasn't right and he knew it and the turmoil it was creating in him was making him feel as though he were losing control of himself; that bad things were going to happen. Again.
To steady himself, Dave focused on the task at hand.
He knelt at the hearth, inhaling the good smells of past fires. He'd always loved how making a fire could be a lot like designing a building, never mind that you were designing that structure to be destroyed, instead of stand firm and strong. Carefully laying out and stacking the wood to facilitate airflow, he layered in newspaper and dried moss to help the wood catch.
He was so focused on his work it wasn't until he sat back before a healthy, blazing fire that he realized Kurt had been sitting on the couch behind him for a while, curled up with a blanket, wine glass in hand, watching him wistfully.
Kurt absently started picking at the nubby weave of the blanket, his expression shifting smoothly, but not before Dave was able to register its significance.
Two impulses were fighting each other inside him; one to bid Kurt a good night and head upstairs to bed, the other to face him, to face whatever this was head-on, and see what it meant.
Dave listened to the arguments for a moment longer as the fire popped and snapped behind him then, taking a long, slow breath, he rose from the floor and sat down on the couch next to Kurt.
"Kurt," Dave whispered, feeling himself done in already, just from the sound of his own name. "Just say it."
Kurt blinked innocently, but there was color in his cheeks. "Say what?"
Kurt had left him a glass of wine and he took a mouthful, swallowed it too quickly. "Say what you're thinking," he said, throat burning.
Kurt looked at him, the slightest hint of confusion wrinkling his brow and then, without hesitation…
"I'm falling in love with you, David."
His breath caught in his burning throat, setting him to coughing for a moment, but when he'd recovered he just shook his head, silent.
"You know you feel the same way," Kurt whispered.
Dave wanted to deny it, but who was he fooling? Not Kurt, certainly. Only himself.
"It doesn't matter how I feel," he said softly and when he looked up, Kurt was regarding him with such tenderness, it made his heart hurt more.
"Because you made a promise. I know." Kurt was nodding, as he leaned forward, pressed his hand to Dave's arm. "I have so much respect for you, for how seriously you take your commitments, but David," he said, pulling gently. "What about you? What about your happiness?"
Dave met those wide, blue-grey eyes. "What about me? What about you? Are you really prepared to leave Blaine?"
Kurt laughed once, crisp and high, as he looked at Dave across the bowl of his glass. "How can you leave someone who's never there? I rather think that decision was made for me a long time ago, Dave, and I've just been too stupid, too stubborn, or…" Bitterness seemed to collect on his brow like storm clouds. "…too fucking scared to see it.
Dave took another swallow of wine. This one went down easier.
"I know that, Kurt, and I feel for you, but that is not my situation at all."
"Oh, really," Kurt asked. "Why, because she put you back together after Greg broke you into pieces?"
Shocked, Dave was about to respond when Kurt jumped right back into it.
"And I've had enough of you taking all the blame here, David – you're not some all-powerful god, you know. He was there, too; he was as much responsible for what happened as you were." Angry now, Kurt was shaking his head. "If he'd been a real friend, a real man, he would have told you why he left – and apologized to you. He didn't do that and that makes him the loser, not you."
Dave was dumbstruck.
"Kurt," he began, but was cut off.
"No, no, I'm not done yet," Kurt said with a finger wave. "Let's talk about Gwen, shall we? Yes, she put broken Dave back together and she saved you're life, but is that really any reason to give her the rest of it? You two are living as brother and sister. Don't you see that? Don't you think there's something strange there? That she knows who and what you are – and she doesn't care? Doesn't that seem weird to you?"
"What am I, an idiot," Dave growled. "Of course it does, I think about that all the time, but that doesn't change the fact that I owe her."
Kurt rolled his eyes, teeth grit. "You owe her, you owe her! I'm tired of hearing that." He knocked back the rest of his wine, then set the glass unsteadily on the coffee table. "You helped her get what she needed from her father – I think you've paid her back already. With interest."
He knew that. He knew that.
He also knew, not that he had ever wanted to admit it to himself, that his reluctance, his unwillingness to let go of Gwen – and the relative stability a life with her offered – had more to do with his fear of not just going it alone, but of fully accepting "that" part of himself. Of being that person; a gay person.
Gwen was his ticket to normal, as fucked up as that sounded.
"Have you ever stopped to wonder what she might be hiding," Kurt asked voice a little calmer now.
Dave shook his head, too quickly, he knew.
Again, of course he had.
He'd had plenty of time to wonder where she went at night, what she did when she wasn't with clients, or her father, or him. She would come back at night and walk past his bedroom, and even with the door closed, he could smell a scent that wasn't hers. Did he question her? No, he didn't. She had, after all, accepted a lot from him without question. But still, it remained; who was Gwen Reynolds really?
"No. No I haven't," he said, hoarse.
Kurt's eyes narrowed, picking up sparks from the fire. "Liar."
Dave sighed. "Fine, but it doesn't matter."
Kurt let out his own frustrated sigh. "Why?"
Dave knew he'd made this choice, to stay and talk and figure this all out instead of just going to bed like the accomplished coward that he was, but now he wasn't so sure he was ready. Desperate, he searched for straws to grasp…
"B-because I don't go back on my word. Because I said I would be there for her."
Suddenly the picture of composure, Kurt regarded him coolly.
"Let me pose a hypothetical; what would you do if she told you you were free?" He leaned forward, expression dead serious. "What would you do then?"
"Wh-what? What point is there in even thinking about it?"
Kurt continued, face suddenly flushed. "If she told you she didn't need you to make her look respectable anymore, that you were free to do and be whatever and whoever you wanted, what would you do then, Dave?"
Dave tried, but he couldn't stop himself, couldn't block it out…
The scenario took hold of him, took root like one of Jack's beans, unfurling itself all at once, sending tendrils throughout his brain, down into his chest, squeezing, speeding his heart. He could feel his face growing dangerously warm, his head starting to spin.
"Tell me you don't have feelings for me, David," Kurt said and this time his voice is gentle. "Tell me."
He couldn't breathe, couldn't think.
"I-it doesn't matter…I…I can't…"
He wondered how it was that he'd lost it so quickly – his control.
Maybe he never had it to begin with.
He felt Kurt move in closer.
"I am, David," he said softly, nodding. "I'm in love with you – and I know you feel the same way. I know it."
I'm in love with you…
Dave was shaking his head, unwilling to accept what he did not deserve, because really, he didn't. He didn't.
He heard Kurt take a breath, even over the crackling of the fire.
"I know I promised not to do this, but hear me out: kiss me. Just once. So we know."
Dave didn't want to look, but he couldn't help himself anymore; Kurt's expression, the heat in his eyes, the way even his posture revealed his emotions.
"Can't we have just one kiss where neither one of us is surprised?" A smile tweaked the corners of Kurt's mouth. "Kiss me once and if you can tell me you don't feel anything for me, that you don't want to be with me, I will disappear from your life and you'll never have to deal with me again." He traced a finger in an 'X' over his heart. "I swear."
Dave wanted to remind him this wasn't the first time he'd sworn to something he couldn't keep, but right then, he couldn't tear his eyes away from Kurt's mouth.
He'd had dreams about those lips – soft, sweet nightmares – and now there they were moving closer. Slowly…
Kurt was close enough now that he could smell the almond of his shampoo and the clean sweet scent of his skin and…
And Dave was lost.
Hands sliding over Kurt's face, one slipping deep into all that hair, Dave caught the elation as it registered on Kurt's face, and then he was aware of nothing but the sweetness of those lips against his, tongue searching, Kurt's hands on his face, on his back, pulling him in, pulling him close.
This time, Dave recognized the "switch" and he was ready for it when it flipped.
Fourteen years of longing and of love (because he was being honest now and this "loving Kurt" thing was not new to him), of hunger and adoration and denial, and here they were, mutually, at the same time.
Dave's hands were at Kurt's back, guiding him down flat against the couch, and Kurt's wonder of a mouth was worrying at a sensitive spot on Dave's neck, his tongue tracing along the hollow of Dave's throat, and at the juncture of shoulder and neck. Dave's heart was beating like a drum in his ear, frantic and jubilant, crazed and happy all at once, and as he settled against Kurt, against the long smooth planes of him, Dave let out a slow, awed breath; all he could feel was pure and utter relief.
"Kurt," he whispered.
"Dave…" came the smiling response.
References (art only)
Bernd and Hilla Becher, Water Towers
Michael Heizer, North, East, South, West, 1967/2002. Dia Art Foundation;
gift of Lannan Foundation. Photo: Tom Vinetz.
Maya Lin, Storm King Wavefield, 2007-08.