Kurt had never been so sure of something in his entire life. Growing up, he had been sure he would be successful whether it be in fashion or performing, he had been sure that he would move to the city of his dreams, and he had been sure that he would fall madly in love with his soulmate.
Tonight, Kurt was so sure that when he went down on one knee, retrieving a velvet box from his jacket pocket, and presenting his boyfriend of three years with a delicate white gold band, his boyfriend would throw his hands over his mouth and accept with tear filled eyes.
Kurt met his boyfriend (Sebastian) the first week he arrived in New York. It was a very cliched story, like something from a rom-com. Kurt was waiting on the bus stop in the pouring rain so he could attend his fourth class at Columbia. A completely gorgeous boy, around his age, was standing against the lamp post, headphones in his ears. He was absolutely drenched from the rain, so Kurt being the gentleman that he was, stood closer and held his umbrella over the boy’s head. Kurt was shocked, horrified even, when the boy smacked the handle out of his face, sending the umbrella crashing to the sidewalk.
“What is your problem?” Kurt shrieked, picking up the umbrella from a puddle. He looked up at the guy, who was ignoring him and bobbing his head to his music. “I was just trying to be considerate.”
The boy glared, pulling one earbud away from his head. “If I wanted an umbrella, I would have brought one. I’m not a charity case,” he sneered.
Kurt could not believe this asshole. The stereotype was indeed correct -- New Yorkers are just plain rude. He stood as far away as possible from him until the bus arrived. Since it was torrentially down pouring, it seemed that all of New York was occupying the bus. There were two seats left right next to one another located towards the back. That guy took one seat so Kurt, opting to save himself the stress of being seated next to him, stood at the front next to the driver. Every so often he would look back and shoot the boy piercing glares, cursing his perpetual niceness to strangers. Kurt was surprised to find every time he turned around, the boy was already staring.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Kurt took the bus with that jackass. At 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9:30 a.m. on Thursdays, Kurt arrived at his stop and saw that guy, standing against the lamp post with his headphones in his ears. Kurt’s chest would constrict and his blood pressure would soar upon seeing that asshole, completely oblivious of everything and anyone.
Somehow over the course of the semester, the guy opened up a bit and engaged in conversation with Kurt. It all started when Kurt, hands full of sketches, notebooks, and a venti non-fat mocha, dropped a package of pencil crayons, which tumbled and landed at the feet of the jackass. Kurt had known this guy wouldn’t care, so he begun to set his items on the sidewalk to pick up the box. He was shocked when the guy bent down and handed the pencils back to Kurt, his fingers extended. Kurt stared incredulously -- since when was this asshole being nice? -- and stayed frozen in place until the guy waved the box in his face.
“Look, are you going to take them or not? I can throw them at you if you prefer?” he said, raising an eyebrow.
Kurt snatched them from his grasp and cradled them against his chest. “Thanks,” he mumbled, picking up his notepads and coffee and dusting off the knees of his pants. “I didn’t expect that you’d be nice to someone that wasn’t yourself.”
The asshole scoffed, rolling his eyes. “Yeah well don’t get used to it. I just felt bad for you, I figured you would need those crayons to help color in your eyebrows or something to that effect since you're pale as shit.”
Kurt glared, his mouth dropping open in surprise. “Just who do you think you are to insult me? I try to be nice by offering my umbrella and you turn it down like you’re too good for me. Now you actually do something a decent human being would do, only to insult me unprovoked? You’re the biggest jackass in the whole world, um,” he paused.
“Sebastian,” the boy filled in, smirking. “And, yes I am. I take pride in it. See you later, princess,” he said, stepping onto the bus that had pulled up to the stop. Kurt could not believe this guy. What was his angle, anyway?
The next couple weeks, Sebastian idly chatted with Kurt while waiting for the bus. Ninety percent of their conversations were snarky banter, with ten percent discussing their lives. Kurt found out Sebastian was his age, grew up in New York, was studying mathematics also at Columbia, and, like Kurt, dated boys. Well, not really “dated” in Sebastian’s case. Kurt raised his eyebrows, judging Sebastian after the other boy had described, in graphic detail, all of his conquests while the two rode the bus to campus. Kurt would just scoff, horrified that he would actually freely converse with someone of this nature.
There were some nice qualities about Sebastian. Sometimes the guy would let Kurt take the window seat on the bus, or offer up a piece of gum (always with some quip tacked on), or even hold the door open when the two would stop for coffee before class. Plus, Kurt could not ignore how incredibly attractive Sebastian was, with his swept back hair and mischievous green eyes. He didn’t mind Sebastian, despite all the insults and cruelty. He admired someone that would challenge him, someone that would engage in a battle of the wits over the most trivial or serious topic.
The two didn’t begin to date until January. Columbia held a freshman mixer around Christmas time, and Kurt went as a celebration for finishing his first semester. He stumbled into Sebastian and the two fell into their typical routine of incessant bickering. With every drink, their conversations would become more heated until Sebastian decided to shut Kurt up with certain finality by placing a hard kiss against his lips. Kurt hadn’t been shocked, really; their arguments were only manifested from pent-up sexual frustration. The two began to kiss and kiss until their lips were swollen and they couldn’t stand straight. Sebastian brought him to his house and spent all evening pressing Kurt against the mattress, sucking on his soft skin, and swallowing every moan that escaped from Kurt’s lips. Kurt laid there, his energy spent and his body slick with sweat and come, and wondered if this would ever happen again. He was not the one night stand kind of person, always favoring romance and love over sex, and he knew that he wanted a relationship with Sebastian. Kurt didn’t want to have one quick fuck with him, never to see him again.
The two discussed ad nauseum the benefits and downfalls of being romantically entangled, with Sebastian feeling that maintaining a monogamous relationship with someone is “giving in” to social conformity. Kurt finally managed to convince him to be in a relationship with promises of taking things at Sebastian’s pace, no pressure added. Sebastian agreed, firmly kissing Kurt’s lips, cheeks, and neck, leaving Kurt to melt into a puddle of hopefulness and pure joy. He knew this would work.
Sebastian and Kurt had their fare share of ups and downs throughout their three year relationship. Kurt found it hard to compromise with Sebastian’s unwillingness to commit, and Sebastian found it difficult to be monogamous. His eyes would always stray, even when he was with Kurt and his hands latched tightly around Kurt’s waist. Kurt knew that Sebastian struggled, but underneath all of his unwillingness was love and adoration. He could tell.
Exactly ten months into their relationship, Kurt told Sebastian he was in love with him. Kurt fell so hard so fast and keeping his feelings from him would be so cruel. Waves of relief washed over Kurt when Sebastian stared at him, expectantly, for what felt like ages before pulling him into a tight embrace, brushing kisses over his hair.
After two years into their relationship, Kurt felt content. Sebastian no longer insinuated that he desired to flee or stray, promising that he returned Kurt’s feelings with full force. With Sebastian’s emotions in check, Kurt decided that the two needed to dive deeper into their relationship. He was going to propose on the anniversary of their third year together. He planned out every excruciating little detail -- where to do it, how to do it, what to wear. He purchased a simple yet elegant band from a local jeweler, choosing not to have it engraved; they could do that after the ceremony. He made dinner reservations, but decided to propose in Central Park under the stars, away from the world -- just Kurt and Sebastian. He laid out his outfit ahead of time and beamed, running his fingers over his silk tie. This was going to be magical.
Kurt met Sebastian at the restaurant at promptly 8 p.m. They engaged in typical conversation -- their busy school and work schedules, their friends and family --, as their fingers lightly brushed on the linen tablecloth. Kurt gazed adoringly at the man he loved, so proud at how Sebastian had seamlessly slipped into the domestic lifestyle. All of Kurt’s fears had be quelled and he was so excited to propose.
After dinner, the two walked hand in hand through Central Park, looking up at the stars and just admiring how they twinkled against the dark, winter sky. Kurt’s breath circled as he exhaled into the January air. He stopped Sebastian, gingerly placing his hands on his shoulders. He leaned up and placed a chaste kiss against Sebastian's lips.
“I love you,” Kurt breathed, stroking Sebastian’s cheeks. “These have been the happiest three years of my life and I’m just so grateful that I met you. I've never been so thankful for the rain,” Kurt laughed, tears welling and stinging his eyes. With a shaky breath he continued, “Sebastian, I love you so much and I cannot fathom spending the rest of my life without you. You’re so different from anyone else I’ve ever met and sometimes it surprises me that you are the person with whom I’ve fallen in love, but Sebastian, if you’ll let me, I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy.”
Stepping back, Kurt fished out a velvet box from his jacket pocket, opening it slowly to reveal a white gold band. He grabbed Sebastian’s hand and smiled, choking back tears. “Sebastian, will you marry me?” Kurt looked at his boyfriend, eyes wide with tears spilling down his cheeks.
Like Kurt imagined, Sebastian’s hand flew to his mouth, his brow furrowed.
“Shut the box.” Sebastian glared down at Kurt, taking one slow step backwards. “Please shut the box.”
Confused, Kurt stepped forward, closing the space between them. “What do you mean shut the box? Sebastian, I love you and I want to marry you. Here, will you at least look at the ring?”
Sebastian shoved his hands out, pushing the jewelry box away from his face. “I don’t want to look at it. Kurt, I can’t marry you. There is no way I would ever want to get married. What the fuck made you think this?”
“Are you joking? We have been dating for three years -- exclusively dating, mind you. You practically live at my apartment. How was that not any indication that you were comfortable with our relationship?” Kurt pleaded, his voice cracking.
Sebastian ran his fingers through his hair, resting his palms on the back of his head. “Look, Kurt, I love being with you and dating you, but there is no way I can get married. Settling down is too much of a commitment -- a commitment I know I will never be able to make. Do you know how fucking hard it was to stay faithful to you? I don’t do relationships, Kurt, and I tried with you but it’s too much goddamn work. There were so many nights where I had to physically restrain myself from not running out of your room and fucking the first guy I saw on the street. You are so naive to think that I would want something like marriage. This is your problem: you get wrapped up in your schoolboy fantasies of love and romance and shit like that but don’t realize that maybe that isn’t what other people want.”
Kurt felt as if the world was crashing down around him, as if all possible life was sucked out of his body. Sebastian was standing in front of him, a scowl plastered on his face, and Kurt felt so lightheaded and dizzy. There was no way Sebastian was reacting like this -- they had been together for three years.
“Kurt, I can’t be with someone who doesn’t understand this. It wouldn’t be fair to either of us if we stayed together while you wanted something more and I didn’t. Both of us are trapped in this relationship and it would be toxic to continue,” he said, bracing his hands on Kurt’s shoulders. “Good luck.”
Sebastian pushed past, shoving his hands in his pockets. Kurt stood there, dumfounded and holding the box limply in his hands. He burst into tears, throwing the box as hard as he could. It crashed into a tree with a sickening thud, the ring flying free and plopping into a snow bank below. Kurt stumbled over to a park bench, burying his face in his hands as his sobs ripped from his throat with incredible force. He knew that passersby were staring but he didn’t care. Nothing mattered.
All Kurt managed to do was whisper out loud, “I was just so sure.”