Three days later Blaine got up the nerve to call New York. No answer. Two hours after that he tried again. Still no answer. Text message came back as blocked. Shit, he had really done it. Releasing the stale air coincided with a tear rolling down his cheeks. The pounding in his ears deafened and the thumping in his chest hurt like hell. Curling up on the bed he folded his knees up to his chest and cried.
The distraught teen literally jumped out of his skin when his phone rang. Fumbling with the pillow he had been hugging he reached and knows the device to the floor. Rolling close to the edge he reached down and froze—Cooper. The heart instantly splashed into the pit of his stomach. Soldiering on the proved difficult. Ups and downs filled his days. Thankfully his sometimes irritating brother took an interest in a tattered heart.
When the answering service clicked in Blaine’s head crashed against the edge of the bed with a loud groan. Grabbing the pillow he hauled up to his chest and squeezed tight.
The phone rang again and again. It went ignored. Crawling up toward the headboard Blaine pulled the pillow up over his head covering his ears. He did not want to do this. Everything will work. Who did he kid, nothing went right. The chest pulled tight with regret but not because of Cooper. He desperately wanted it to be someone else.
The fifth time proved lucky for his brother because Blaine just gave up trying to be stubborn. In his usual selfish manner Cooper tormented Blaine trying to make him mad. When it finally happened the younger Anderson boy blew his cool big-time. His father came up and told him to keep it down. Blaine told his dad to fuck off. That’s when Cooper laughed on the other end of the phone. Mortified, Blaine stared at his dad who slammed the door when he left. Only then did Blaine chuckle. Together the brothers joked with each other and in the end Blaine understood Cooper had his best interests at heart.
Unfortunately, rising spirits usually held for a short moment before reality struck. Alone with his thoughts and desires the upheaval continued. On top of everything it had become clear an open rift had erupted between man and wife. Daniel became more an ass and not only to his son. Pam supported her youngest who often heard yelling and the heavy closing of doors. It only drove a saddened heart further into the swamp. The world became dark and his moods more erratic.
School went by in a blur. His friends gave him platitudes, well, except Sam. The blond became a shadow, so to speak. It proved hard for the pouty blond to keep Blaine above water with stupid impressions and jokes but he earnestly tried. Now and then Blaine laughed and even kidded back. Then they would walk by something and it all washed away like old dishwater.
A call for Santana started well but soon degenerated into a mess. Thank god Sam sat nearby to save Blaine from going off the deep end. To be honest, she had phoned in all innocence to see how Blaine held up. Sam had to take the phone from Blaine because Kurt’s voice suddenly sounded off in the background. He obviously just got home. Blaine made demands which Santana tried to avoid. The night became wash of tears.
Sitting in a chair in the music room made Blaine melancholy. Songs easily brought tears to his eyes. Concerned Mr. Schuester arranged for Blaine to meet regular with Ms. Pillsbury. Blaine thought little of those sessions. Talking to Cooper became the best medicine. The older brother understood his siblings deep despair. One evening Cooper admitted he ran off to Las Angels to get away from the family dynamic. Again, he offered his younger brother a place on his couch. Blaine knew running would settle nothing.
Grease came and went. Though Blaine trooped through it like a professional, he almost lost it onstage. Rachel proved polite but Kurt, understandably, got angry. He would not even allow Blaine to express himself before storming off. It shattered and already cracked heart. Kurt’s dismissal of everything seemed overly harsh but also so real.
Seeing those sweet blue eyes and the hurt in them brought it all crashing down for Blaine. The fire had died and only a storm remained. Pam rocked her sobbing son to sleep while his dad nursed his fourth double in the living room. Blaine wailed about never wanting to go onstage again and his mother, as all mothers would, listened and waited. Curling up beside him as she had a decade before she brushed the mounds of hair from his forehead. Resting her hand over his heart she told her distraught son never to give up on his dreams. Blaine had talent and a kind soul. At that moment Blaine knew he had to be strong.
One rainy day Blaine walked through the mall doing an errand for his mother. The escape pleased him because even his bedroom constantly reminded him of lost love. Some of the lovely man’s cloths still hung in the closet and a picture sat beside the bed where it had been since they first made it official. Now and then he would go to the closet just to sniff one of Kurt’s sweaters. He considered getting rid of them but then he could not.
“Blaine?” a voice called from behind.
Lost in thought, Blaine slowly turned to find Carole standing there with a hint of concern etching lines into her face. Seeing Kurt’s stepmother dredged up all sorts of feelings many feelings Blaine hand not expected. Drawing in a shaky breath he knew Burt and Carole must be upset themselves. What had Kurt told them? Did they swear when he heard Blaine’s name? Burt would know. Father and son would forever be close.
The boy’s heart sank as his eyes went down to his shoes. Part of him wanted to run but he could not be rude to Carole. Regardless of the circumstance he liked Burt and Carole. They had taken him into the family in so many ways and even assisted his mother when she needed a shoulder to cry on.
“Oh,” Carole said in a soft and gentle tone laced with sadness. “I’ll leave you, dear.”
Shaking his head, Blaine pulled gathered his nerve and sighed. “No, it’s good.”
“Really?” A painful shadow caressed Carole’s eyes.
Her expression pulled on Blaine’s already fragile emotions. Biting his lips he replied, “Yes . . . well, no. My squabbles have nothing to do with you or Burt.”
“But they are Blaine. Kurt’s my step-son,” Carole bluntly stated.
The heart in a young man’s chest banged into his ribs. Colour drained from his face.
Shoulders sagging, she compassionately asked, “Would you like a coffee?”
Swallowing hard, Blaine grinned. “Are you sure?”
“Yes.” The answer came immediately and decisively.
Hesitating, Blaine managed to give Carole a charming grin. “Then, I would love one.”
Nodding, Carole led Blaine down the wide, covered mall to one of the chain coffee houses. Neither said a word until Carole insisted on paying. Standing in line proved awkward. Images of Kurt in the Limabean bounced within Blaine’s head. Choking back a would-be sob he fought to retain his composure in front of Carole.
Turning away from the counter, Carole handed Blaine a ceramic mug. Steering the teen toward a secluded table off in a corner she asked, “How are you holding up, dear?”
The words bumbled through Blaine’s and he almost stumbled. She kept calling him dear. Considering all that had happened, it boggled the mind.
“Blaine?” Carole slowed and looked back
“I’m alright, thank you, Mrs. Hummel.” Blaine sped up but inside he frantically wanted to get the hell out of there. Sweat rolled down his back and he found it easier to breathe in short bursts.
“Mrs.?” Carole’s face contorted.
Feeling ashamed, Blaine winced. “Sorry, Carole.”
“I can understand how hard this is on you Blaine.” Carole pulled out a chair for him. The table she selected had a view of the entrance but sat against the wall. “Sit and tell me how you’re really doing?”
“Honestly, I’m fine.” Blaine sat down a little bit suddenly. He sipped his coffee to hide his look. He found it hot.
Carole smiled as only a knowing mother could. “Blaine, it’s brave of you to try but I know better.”
A sigh escaped the boy’s lips and he looked down at the steam rising from his mug. Emotion bellowed up within his chest he could not stop himself from sniffling. Without looking at Carole he said in an almost silent voice, “Okay . . . I’m miserable.”
“Blaine?” Her hand fell on the boy’s forearm.
Glancing up a tear rolled down his cheek. Blaine choked on his breathe and admitted, “God’s Carole, I fucked it all up.”
Carole’s brows pressed together as she pushed the plate with the cookies on it across the table. Thick white icing covered the big round morsels.
Lips curling in and Blaine suddenly deflated. “Kurt loved these.”
“He still does.” Carole did not look apologetic.
“But not if I took him one.”
“Blaine, listen to me. I do not know what happened between you two but let’s just say you’re not the only one that’s hurting.”
“Carole, I . . .”
“No, Blaine. It’s not all you. My son is learning a hard lesson right now that I hope will cause him to swallow his pride.”
“He did nothing.”
“Are you claiming he is perfectly innocent in all this?”
Biting his tongue, Blaine stared at Carole. He had not truthfully considered that. The guilt had all been his but with topic broached a marinade of complaints bubbled up. All those missed or dropped calls and his indifference during their skype sessions echoed in Blaine’s head compounding distraught sentiment. Lost in his own sorrows he had forgotten what had driven him to fail the most important test in his short life.
“Blaine, it takes two to make a mess.” Carole added. “I’ve been around a lot longer than you. As you age will learn to settle your differences and compromise. You two are stubborn but it does not mean you can’t be in love.”
Low and painful emotions resonated through Blaine’s chest and into his limbs. The throat constricted and water pushed out from behind his eyes.
“Dear,” Carole leaned forward and placed a hand softly on Blaine’s. “Blaine, just do me a favour.”
Blaine gave her his full attention even though it proved hard. “I’ll try.”
“Learn from your mistakes.’
“But I hurt him.”
“He neglected you?”
“Kurt will be pissed at me it he found out I talked to you but I don’t care.” Carole sighed and leaned back. Her face hardened. “Blaine, I saw him three days ago. He’s being a jerk. He’s become caught up in the hype and gossip. He’s ignored his father and myself ever since he went to New York. He hung up on Burt with some flimsy excuse, so I can only assume he hung up on you. I went there to give his inflated head a shake out.”
Blaine gulped his coffee. He had not expected Carole to be so forthcoming. Her tone told Blaine the visit had not been a good one.
“That boy needs to grow up admit he mi . . .” Carole suddenly cut herself off and shook her head.
A dropped word. Two letters. Blaine blinked. “He . . . misses me?”
Carole’s face drooped. “Honestly, Blaine we did not talk about you . . . too much.”
Patting the teen’s hand she said, “He’s human and he hurts but he . . .”
“What?” Blaine leaned forward. Desperation laced his husky tone.
Biting her lip, Carole looked uncomfortable. “Blaine, please, do not read too much into this . . . I can see it in his eyes . . . he’s still in love with you.”
The teens jaw dropped. Brown eyes with sparkling amber highlights held Carole’s gaze. He still loved him? Unbelievable.
“Blaine?” Carole patted his hand. “The two of you hit a pothole. Just give him and yourself time.”
The boy sighed. Downing his coffee Blaine’s eyes misted over. “It hurts so much.”
“I know dear.” Carole looked distant. “I know.”