"Hey, Kurt," Puck shuffles his feet uneasily as he approaches the other boy.
"Puck," Kurt responds with a nod, still pulling a book out of his locker.
"Listen, um. Can I ask a favor?"
Kurt looks surprised, but shrugs and nods. "Sure. What is it?"
"It's, uh." Puck runs his hand over his mohawk. "It's kind of complicated. Do you have a day you could meet me at the mall?"
"Tomorrow?" Kurt suggests. "Or Sunday afternoon?"
"Sunday afternoon, yeah, that'd be great. Food court?"
"All right. Two?"
"Sure. Hey, thanks," Puck smiles and heads down the hall, and Kurt isn't sure what he just agreed to do.
When Puck arrives at the mall on Sunday, it's only 1:50, because he figures he doesn't want to screw this chance up. Kurt's already there, though, looking at a magazine while he eats. Chinese, from the look of it. Puck walks over anyway, because it looks like he's almost done. "Hey."
"Hello, Puck," Kurt looks up and smiles briefly. "Why don't you explain what we're doing while I finish?" He's closed the magazine, folded it, and stuck it inside his jacket during the brief sentence.
Puck sits heavily and sighs. "Hudson said you were the best guy to ask if you can't figure out a gift." He watches Kurt's face, but the other boy merely nods. "And." Puck puts his head in his hands and swallows. "After… after Beth was born. Shelby said we could keep it touch. So I email her some. It's one of those open adoptions."
Puck doesn't talk about how he sped home from the hospital, and how he couldn't admit he wanted to keep his daughter, wanted it more than anything, even though everything logical said it was a bad idea. Puck doesn't mention the hours spent online the night Beth was born, how he started with Wikipedia, and how he had insisted on an open adoption, because he couldn't let the nursery be the last time he ever saw his baby girl.
"But she said no visits until after high school. So after Beth's two." Puck bites his lip, looking for judgment or scorn on the other boy's face, but only sees calm understanding. "Beth's birthday was last week. She turned one, and… I can't give her a present in person until next summer, so it can't be clothes or toys or shit. Something special. So she can look at it when she's older and know…" and Puck can't finish.
"Know her daddy loves her?" Kurt finishes softly. "Yeah. I think we can find something like that." He smiles slightly and stands.
"Ok. Ok," Puck repeats, and takes a deep breath before he stands. "Really?"
"Really," Kurt assures him. "I think I know just the thing."
Two hours later, they have Beth's gift, along with four CDs between them and a few new ideas for glee club. Puck's surprised at how much fun he's having, even if he did get dragged into one too many clothing stores–okay, just one, but one was one too many for Puck, who normally gets clothes at KMart. It's a big deal when his mom drives he and his sister down to Target once a year in the summer. And the gift Kurt helped him pick out–it is pretty awesome. He knows he has to wait more than a year to give it to Beth, and sure, he could have waited until next year to buy her gift, but he already feels like crap that he bought it a week after her birthday, and he's pretty much said that to Kurt, though not in so many words.
"Oh, dammit, I'd better go," Kurt says as he catches sight of the time. "Dad's got something special planned for dinner, and it totally throws off my week if we start out with me in trouble instead of Finn." Puck can't help but laugh at that, because he immediately understands.
"Yeah, no problem. Hey, thanks," and he can see Kurt about to wave it off, "No, really, thank you. And it was fun." He can feel Kurt's eyes on him for a second, calculating, but he's not sure what's going on.
"Hand me your phone."
Puck does it without thinking, and Kurt's entering something into both their phones, but Puck's all right with waiting to see what it is, so he just stands there holding bags and waiting.
"There." Kurt hands it back, and Puck checks the display immediately.
Saturday, April 21, 2012. One week before Beth's birthday, his mind interjects immediately. Shopping for second birthday present. Puck smiles. "Cool."
"Feel free to tell me to take a hike next year, but if you want me to be here, I will." He smiles. "I'd hate for you to impose your tragic fashion sense on your daughter."
"Hey! These are perfectly respectable Target purchases!"
"Target!" Kurt screeches, and he's off on another rant, laughing, as they leave the mall.
When Puck gets home, he places Beth's gift on the top shelf of the closet, where nothing will crush the gift bag. Then he sits down at his computer. It's been at least a month since he last emailed Shelby, after all.
I found a gift for Beth's first birthday today...