Blaine spends an afternoon with Kurt looking up long-distance relationship survival tips on the web and jotting down the ideas they like: Text twice a day. Have a scheduled phone call or Skype session each evening. Send each other care packages. Sing karaoke online. Support each other’s friendships. Send love letters and Instagrams. Share their lives with each other.
“We should definitely have a long-distance date night at least once a week,” Kurt says, glancing up from the browser on his iPhone.
Blaine smiles, typing the suggestion into his laptop. “You mean phone sex?”
“Um, actually I meant watching a movie together.”
Blaine blushes. “Oh, yeah, of course.”
Kurt nudges Blaine’s foot. “I was hoping we’d have phone sex more often than that.”
* * *
It’s easier to listen to Kurt talk about NYADA and New York now that they’re actually dealing with the nuances of the separation. Still, Blaine’s not sure he’s the best test audience for Kurt’s potential audition songs. No matter what Kurt sings, Blaine feels like his heart is going to burst. Also, each time they get together at one of their houses to run through the options, the rehearsal usually gets derailed by Blaine’s overwhelming need to suck Kurt off.
Blaine can’t help it. Kurt is just really fucking hot when he sings.
“I think,” Kurt says, sinking onto the bed after a blowjob that Blaine is particularly proud of – Kurt came with his cock deep in Blaine’s throat, gripping his hair so hard that his hair gel crackled and Blaine came in his pants – and zipping his gorgeously tight jeans over his still half-hard cock, “that you’re not the most objective critic.”
Blaine shucks his pants and underwear off before joining Kurt on the bed. “Just because I’m not objective doesn’t mean that my judgment is off-base.”
Kurt rolls onto his side and kisses Blaine’s cheek. “True. But you like every song as much as the next. It’s not really helping me narrow down my choices.”
“Yeah. I wondered if that might be less than helpful.”
Kurt presses his chest against Blaine’s back and wraps his arms around his body. “Well, I wouldn’t say it’s not helpful. it’s quite confidence-building.”
Blaine smiles. “Maybe you could ask Tina? She has an opinion about everything. Artie, too.”
“And what about Chandler? He’s never heard you sing before, so that would be a fresh perspective.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. He certainly is opinionated. I wonder if he could stop flirting long enough to be useful.”
Blaine shrugs. “Well, even if he’s not, it would be a way to get to know him better and figure out if you like him enough to hang out with him next year.”
“Also true.” Kurt hums a kiss into the back of Blaine’s neck. “You are very wise. I need to listen to you more often.”
Blaine turns around to face Kurt. “You’re pretty sweet, you know that?”
The sex-flush on Kurt’s cheeks turns a deeper shade of red. “I’m just trying to learn from my past mistakes.”
Blaine gives Kurt a peck on the tip of his delightfully upturned nose. “Me, too. I like that we get to learn these things together.”
* * *
Kurt: I could use someone to bounce around audition song ideas with. Do you want to get together for that coffee you proposed? It wouldn’t be a date, but if we see any cute available boys, I could try reeling one in for you. Not that you aren’t capable of that yourself, of course.
Chandler: I would be delighted! Honestly not sure I want to reel any cuties in. The best part of fishing is sitting on the dock watching the water go by. Gutting and cooking the fish is something I’d rather leave to others.
Kurt: Did you just compare having a relationship to gutting a fish?
Chandler: Ha! I guess I did.
* * *
Kurt meets up with Chandler at a Starbucks near Between the Sheets. They’ve already listened to a few of each other’s possible audition pieces online via an online karaoke website. It turns out that Chandler has a good voice, a strong tenor that reminds Kurt of a roasted red pepper – sweet, piquant and robust. His version of “Rainbow High” is transposed to his register. It’s better than Kurt expected, although it’s still a little weird without the chorus.
Kurt spots Chandler at a little table by the window. He has to look twice before he recognizes him; for some reason he expected Chandler to be wearing the same outfit as the day they met at Between the Sheets.
Chandler’s dressed in a burgundy velvet blazer over a satin grey button-down shirt and black pants with vertical white pinstripes. He’s not wearing the awful fisherman’s hat this time; his hair is straight and swept forward to frame his face, with little streaks of platinum highlights here and there. He’s still got the terrible glasses, but they don’t look quite as terrible now that the hat is gone.
Kurt frowns; he’s not sure Chandler is in dire need of a makeover, after all.
“Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes!” Chandler says when Kurt sits down across from him.
“If your eyes are sore in the first place, you might need to think about getting new glasses,” Kurt says, hooking his bag on the back of the chair and pulling out his phone so he can take notes.
Chandler leans across the table conspiratorially. “Well, I have been thinking about new frames. These ones have a certain antiquated charm, but I’m afraid they’re a bit passé on the whole.”
“I suppose,” Kurt says, trying not to gloat.
The talk isn’t as overwhelming as during their first meeting at Between the Sheets. Unlike last time, Chandler pauses long enough for Kurt to respond in complete sentences, and the flirting is a little more toned down than it was before. Chandler does gush a little about the recording of “One Moment in Time” that Kurt sent him – “You sang it in the original key! And I swear, there were moments in there where I liked your interpretation even better than Whitney’s 1987 Grammy performance. Is that blasphemy?” – but he also offers some critiques of Kurt’s phrasing and tone that are much more specific than anything Rachel or Mr. Schuester have ever given him.
“Also,” Chandler adds, waving his biscotti in the air like a conductor’s baton, “there’s an underlying melancholy in the song that you’re not really expressing. You make the whole thing sound victorious, where really that’s only part of the story. The victory only comes after a long struggle. I kind of felt like I wasn’t hearing enough of that struggle.”
Kurt cocks his head to the side. “Huh.”
“Am I not making sense?”
“No, you’re making sense. It’s just that –” Kurt pauses. “People aren’t usually very interested in hearing about my struggles.”
Chandler frowns. “That’s because you live in Lima, dear. They don’t want to hear about it because it reminds them that your struggles are mostly their fault. But the New York arts scene is made up of rejects like us. They know what it’s like to struggle, and they want to know that you do, too.”
Chandler has a lot of other thoughts about the audition that Kurt has never even considered: What songs did you submit with your application, and how would the new audition pieces you’re considering reveal additional strengths that you have as a performer? Which dean will be listening to your audition and who are his or her favorite performers and styles? How many audition tapes of admitted NYADA students have you watched, and what did they have in common? What made each student stand out? How have their styles changed since studying at NYADA?
The overwhelmed feeling that Kurt got the first time he met Chandler starts to return, although for completely different reasons. He hasn’t thought about any of these things, and he finally says as much.
“Wait – your vocal coach hasn’t talked to you about this stuff? Or your guidance counselor?” Chandler’s mouth hangs open in disbelief.
Kurt shakes his head. “No.”
“Oh, honey,” Chandler says, reaching across the table and patting Kurt on the wrist. “And I thought my high school sucked.”
Blaine and Dave’s next tutoring session turns into a session of let’s-help-Kurt-find-out-every-possible-thing-for-his-NYADA-audition, which is fine with both of them because they both like being useful to him. Kurt abandons his usual place at the kitchen table to join them at the bar. Dave is kind of a wiz at finding virus-free internet porn in the most reclusive places, and it turns out that this is a transferable skill for finding other things on the internet, because it only takes him a couple minutes on Blaine’s laptop before he announces, “It looks like the person who’s listening to the vocal auditions is named Carmen –” His brow furrows. “Sorry, I don’t know how to pronounce her last name. Tibi-somethng.”
Kurt jumps up so fast that his stool falls backward and clanks to the floor. “Carmen Tibideaux?” he blurts out, high-pitched and breathless.
Dave looks back down at the name, then up at Kurt, and nods.
“She’s performed the most demanding roles in the greatest opera houses in the world.” His cheeks turn pink and he leans against the counter. “I think I’m gonna throw up.”
Blaine reaches for Kurt’s hand. “You’ll be okay. This is why we’re looking this stuff up, so you’ll be prepared. Imagine how much worse it would be if you didn’t find out until the day of the audition.”
“Oh god, I’d die.” Kurt’s face goes from pink to pale.
Dave gets up to pick Kurt’s chair off the floor and hold it behind him. “On the bright side, it can’t be any worse than last year’s prom, right?”
Kurt settles into the chair. “I don’t know. I don’t respect most of the kids at McKinley anyway, so who cares what they think about me? Carmen Tibideaux, on the other hand … If she doesn’t like me, I’ll feel worthless.”
“Anyone worth their salt would love you, Kurt.” The words leave Dave’s mouth before he realizes what he’s saying. He turns away toward the refrigerator before Kurt or Blaine can see the look on his face. “I’ll get you some water.”
They spend the rest of the afternoon finding out as much about Madam Tibideaux’s tastes as they possibly can. They divvy up the tasks of lurking in the NYADA chat rooms, looking up old audition videos on YouTube, finding past syllabuses and evaluations from her voice classes, and discovering her most-listened to songs on Spotify.
“Don’t you guys have homework you need to do?” Kurt says when five o’clock rolls around.
Blaine and Dave both shake their heads. “Not when your future hangs in the balance,” Blaine says.
“What he said,” Dave echoes.
Kurt reaches across the counter and squeezes both their hands. “Thanks, guys. If it weren’t for you, I totally would have thrown up by now.”
Dave tries not to smile, but he can’t help himself.
* * *
Kurt and Blaine go to Dave's house for the first time. They’ve made plans to drive into Columbus today and meet up with Chandler so Kurt can help him look for glasses frames at a posh little spectacles store near the gay district.
Kurt was surprised but pleased that Dave wanted to come at all. “I need to get used to being gay in places other than Scandals,” Dave gave as his reason.
“Dave, you’re pretty gay no matter where you go,” Kurt answered, resisting the urge to pinch Dave’s ass as he said it.
Paul Karofsky answers the door. "We're here to see Dave?" Blaine says. He's looking very proper in a snug short-sleeved button-down, his hair slicked back even flatter than usual and his checkered bow tie aligned just so, with suspenders that match its dark green squares.
"Yes," says Mr. Karofsky, waving them in. "He told me you were coming. You're a little early. He's working in the backyard. I'll tell him you're here … or you can go join him." He eyes their outfits hesitantly. "I've got extra work clothes if you three decide to make a party of it. They'd probably be a little big on you, though."
"Thank you," says Blaine, reaching out his hand. "Blaine Anderson, by the way."
Mr. Karofsky's eyebrows shoot up, but he takes the offered hand and shakes it. "None of Dave's other friends have manners like that." He smiles. "You can call me Paul, if you're comfortable with that."
"Thank you, sir," Blaine says. "Paul."
Paul turns to Kurt. "And how are you, Kurt?"
Kurt nods. "Good, thanks." He's torn between addressing the awkwardness and trying to ignore it. Paul makes the decision for him.
"Last time I saw you, it was under very different circumstances."
"Well, a lot has changed since then." Kurt reaches for Blaine's hand instinctively – the need for comfort overriding the compulsion for discretion – and laces their fingers together. "Dave has changed a lot since then. I mean – for the better. You should be proud of him."
"I am." Paul's eyes soften, his smile small but sure. It’s a look that’s familiar to Kurt from seeing it on Dave’s face. Coming from Paul, it doesn’t have quite the same effect on Kurt’s heartbeat.
They walk toward the back of the house to the mudroom. "That's the backyard," Paul says, handing them three bottles of water from a case by the back door. "Make yourselves at home. And maybe make David take a break. He's been at it all morning."
Dave is in the back corner of the yard by the shed, turning forkfuls of sweetly pungent compost from one bin to the next. It can't be more than 50 degrees today, but his neck is pink with exertion, and the sweat is dripping down his back in a dark V. Flecks of dirt are coloring his forearms and his hair – the hair on his head, the hair on his body – lies flat and damp against his skin.
Kurt feels the urge to walk right up to him and sniff him. Instead, he gives the two water bottles in his hands a hard squeeze.
Dave starts talking when he hears them. "Hey, Dad, looks like the compost has been cooking pretty well –" He stops when he looks up and sees that they're not Paul Karofksy, and his skin flushes redder than it already was. "Oh, hey." He glances down at the compost, back up at Kurt, back down at the compost pile. "I thought – what time is it?"
"We're a few minutes early," Blaine says.
Dave bashfully inspects his own shirt. "God, I need a shower."
Kurt bites his bottom lip. "No," he says way more breathily than he intended. He clears his throat. "You're fine." He feels Blaine's smirk and elbows him as subtly as he can.
Dave laughs. "You're very polite, but – I can take a navy shower. I won't be more than five minutes. You guys can hang out here or – in my room?"
"We'll give ourselves a self-guided tour of the grounds," Kurt says, stepping closer to Dave and offering him the bottle of water. Their hands don't brush when Dave takes it, and Kurt bites his lip again to keep himself from forcing contact. He turns to Blaine. "If that's alright with you?"
"Sounds like a splendid idea." Blaine is still smirking, but it's subtle enough that Dave might mistake it for a smile.
Dave excuses himself inside and Kurt and Blaine put their bottles of water down on a stepping stone before strolling the small yard, admiring the leaves of bloodroot that are beginning to unfurl, the small clusters of primrose blossoms low to the ground, the tulips that are almost done blooming.
"It's too early in the year for the tulips to be so close to done," Kurt sighs. "Such a strange spring."
"Strange but wonderful," Blaine says not-so-cryptically, linking his arm through Kurt's. He leans in close to whisper, "I don't think I ever realized what a thing you have for sweat. I thought you just liked it when it was a side effect of – you know."
Kurt hides his face against Blaine's shoulder. "Oh my god, was I that obvious?"
"Obvious to me. I don't think it was obvious to him. I think he's a little oblivious when you go gaga over him. Like I used to be when you'd give me those eyes. Because it's just too good to be true."
Kurt squeezes Blaine's arm with his free hand. "That's not why you were oblivious. Your history is revisionist."
"Just because I didn't understand that I was falling in love with you at the time doesn't mean I wasn't." Blaine stops walking, forcing them both to a standstill, and looks straight at Kurt. "I'm still falling in love with you, you know. A little deeper each minute."
Kurt's heart swoops. "You never stop amazing me."
They hear the storm door swing open and turn to face it. Dave steps out onto the deck, hair damp from the shower but the rest of him dry in jeans, a long-sleeved thermal shirt (sigh, no forearms) and a short-sleeved plaid overshirt buttoned all the way up except for the collar.
Blaine leans into Kurt's ear. "Sorry he's not sweaty anymore. But we could work on that."
"We'll do no such thing,” Kurt whispers back with a pinch to Blaine’s hip.
Dave calls out to them. "Do you guys want to come in? I could show you my room."
"See, he's practically begging us to," Blaine whispers, his lips barely moving.
Kurt folds his arms together and walks toward Dave. "That would be great."
They have to go through the living room to get to the staircase. Dave's mom is sitting on the couch flipping through a copy of Martha Stewart and Blaine, perfect precious gentleman cupcake that he is, makes a beeline toward her with his hand outstretched. "Mrs. Karofsky, I'm Blaine Anderson. It's lovely to finally meet you."
She looks up from her magazine a little stunned, but accepts the offered hand. She says nothing. There’s something about her demeanor that reminds him of Mr. Schuester’s ex-wife. She has this wide-eyed look like she’s trying to figure out what box to shove Blaine into, but can’t quite figure it out. Kurt starts to understand why Dave hardly ever talks about her.
Still, civilities can’t be avoided. He walks over with a brisk “Kurt Hummel”; her handshake is limp and utterly lacks conviction. For Dave’s sake, Kurt tries to make the best of it. He glances down at the open page of her magazine. "Isn't that flower-arranging article superb? I'll have to wait to recreate the dogwood arrangement until they bloom next week, but I did something similar with cherry branches and it made the whole living room come alive."
She stares at him like he's speaking Parseltongue , but she must understand him because eventually she says, "Unfortunately, we don't have any dogwoods," smiles, stands up, and excuses herself to the kitchen.
Dave is standing next to Kurt, rubbing his hands over his face. "Sorry about that, she's –"
"Just because you're related to her doesn't mean you have to make excuses for her," Kurt says quietly.
"Good," Dave sighs. "Thanks."
It's a long hike up to Dave's room, which is in the converted attic. The spirit of it reminds Kurt of his old basement room – a private hovel where he could hide away from the world – even though it looks nothing like it. It's dark and boyish and smells like Dave's soap-that-Kurt-loves-and-is-just-going-to-pretend-isn't-Axe and his aftershave and deodorant and lemon-lime breath. Kurt wouldn't mind spending the afternoon rolling around in it.
Instead, he sits down in the armchair next to Dave's bed, legs crossed and hands folded neatly across his knees.
Dave settles down on the step stool 10 feet away in the nearest corner of the room. Sit closer, Kurt wants to say, but he doesn't. Blaine flops unceremoniously onto the bed, his head directly under three model airplanes that hang from the ceiling, and watches them like an infant watches a mobile. Kurt wishes he was brave enough to lie there, too, smell Dave in the sheets and Blaine beside him.
Kurt studies the model airplanes for a few silent moments. One of them has a tiger shark paint job that Kurt recognizes from his history books. "Why World War II?" he says.
Dave looks at the planes. "My great-grandfather was in the Flying Tigers – the group that flew the shark airplanes. And my great-grandmother was a mechanic on that one –” He points to one with blue on the nose “– and my great-great uncle flew the other one. But I've done a lot of historical models. Those are just my favorites."
"Do they fly? The models, I mean." Kurt realizes it’s a stupid question as soon as it leaves his mouth, but to his credit, Dave doesn't laugh. His smile just grows bigger, and Kurt’s heart goes mushy, and if that’s what he gets for being stupid, he should be stupid more often.
"No," Dave says. "I used to have one that flew, but it’s been a while." Dave looks down at his hands. "My great aunt was an aeronautical engineer. I’d go to her house after school when we lived in Arizona and she’d let me go through her old blueprints. Sometimes I’d draw up ideas for radio-controlled airplanes and she’d fix them, but we never actually got around to building any before we moved away."
Blaine sits up suddenly. “So you and Kurt are both designers!” A satisfied smile spreads across his face, like the solution to some long mystery has finally clicked in his brain.
“Um, well, I never designed anything that became real,” Dave says.
Kurt rolls his eyes. “I'm pretty sure aeronautics is a bit more involved than haute couture."
"I wouldn't know about that. I never got past mending."
Kurt's jaw drops. "You can sew?"
"Well, mend. I learned it for one of my badges in Cub Scouts. They're not as, you know, heteronormative as you might think." Dave winks at him and Kurt feels the smile spreading wide across his face, pushing up at his eyes and back against his ears, and for some reason doesn't feel compelled to hide it.
"Kurt could teach you more, if you wanted to learn." Blaine falls back to the bed to gaze again at the model airplanes above him. "He's been teaching me to make bow ties. And he's good. I tried to get my mom to teach me to sew when I was little, but Kurt's more patient."
"Are things … bad with your mom?" Dave asks.
Blaine props himself up on his elbows to look at Dave. "I don’t think so. Just, there aren't many 'things' at all with either of my parents."
Dave stares at Blaine. "Sometimes I wish my parents would get a divorce so I could just live with my dad. But I guess I'm moving out soon, so –" He stops. "Sorry, that's awful. I shouldn't have said that."
"It's okay to have feelings," Blaine says. Then he pats the spot on the bed next to him. "Come here."
Dave raises his eyebrow suspiciously. "Why?"
"Do you trust me?" Blaine raises an eyebrow back.
"Then come here."
Dave obliges, sitting on the bed next to Blaine slowly, cautiously, like the bed is made of eggshells and one wrong move will make them all crack.
Blaine doesn't say anything, just lays his ear against Dave's shoulder and reaches both arms around him. Dave stays rigid at first, but relaxes into it after a minute or so, wrapping his hands around Blaine's back. After another minute, the tension leaves his face. He breathes slowly, and his eyes close of their own accord.
Kurt's heart is going to burst.
"C'mon, Kurt," Blaine says after a few minutes, not moving his head or hands. "Dave needs more love than I can give him."
So Kurt gets up from his armchair and sits on Dave's opposite side, snugs his cheek and chest to Dave's back, his arms around Dave's waist, and breathes him in, feels Dave breathe with them both.
Kurt probably shouldn’t let himself disappear into the feeling, but he does. Everything feels warm and safe and right. Blaine slides his arms so that he’s holding onto Dave and Kurt both, and Kurt can smell each of them together – that odd, delightful mix of Axe and raspberries and beautiful teenage boy – and hear their breaths, syncopated like birdsong. He leans his forehead against the back of Dave’s hair, and it’s so unbelievably soft, he never thought a silly football-playing boy’s hair could feel that way, luxurious and indulgent like rabbit’s fur, and closes his eyes and feels.
They sit like that for several minutes before Blaine starts complaining about a crick in his neck and they all three flop back on the bed. "So this is what the world looks like to Dave Karofsky before he falls asleep," Kurt says, at the airplanes above.
"Actually," Dave says, "I usually sleep on my side."
"Way to kill the romance." Kurt squeezes Dave's hand before he can stop himself.
He doesn't turn to Dave to see his reaction. He just lets go.
"He needs to have friends like his old ones, not these boys who are so – obvious." Mrs. Karofsky’s voice carries from the kitchen as the three boys make their way down the stairs toward the front door. She’s not even trying to whisper.
"His old friends were not his friends." Paul's voice is calm but stern.
"So these are the only two guys who've come around since – you know – and the only people from school he talks about are those girls from his math class that he's apparently eating with every day. He doesn't even look gay and for some reason he wants to make his life harder anyway by acting like a big stereotype and hanging out with girls and flamers."
Kurt should be used to it by now, but his ears burn, anyway.
"Since when do you use that kind of language?" Paul's voice is a study in restraint.
"Since they come to our house and throw it in our faces."
"I’m so sorry," Dave mutters, covering his face again.
"I’m sorry you have to live with her." He hooks the hand that’s not in Blaine’s around Dave’s elbow. “I’d offer to verbally eviscerate her, but you probably don’t need any more trouble on your hands.”
Dave uncovers his face. “You’d really do that for me?”
“Of course I would.”
Blaine kisses Kurt on the cheek, then glances over his head at Dave. “Kurt is a true knight in shining armor, isn’t he?”
“Oh my god Blaine,” Kurt mutters, but Dave and Blaine just giggle.
They get to Columbus early, so they walk around Short North a while to pass the time. The first noticeably gay thing they walk past this place called Deep Wood. Kurt’s face turns bright red – it must be the seediest of seedy gay bars – and looks down to study the cracks in the pavement because he can’t look at it and he can’t look at Blaine and he definitely can’t look at Dave.
But Blaine – oh, Blaine. He squeezes Kurt’s hand and says giddily, "Oh my god, Kurt, we should totally come to Deep Wood for our anniversary," because he obviously loves scandalizing Kurt in front of Dave.
"Blaine," Kurt warns.
But Blaine just keeps going. "I’ve wanted to come here forever. It would be so romantic.”
Kurt’s ears go so hot they could melt iron, and still Blaine continues: “My parents love this place. It's like one of the top 10 restaurants in Columbus and they have white tablecloth service, and –"
“Wait, what?” Kurt turns abruptly. Past the windows, inside what Kurt had imagined to be a den of sexual infamy, are well-dressed wait staff snapping white cloths over polished wood tables. "Oh," he says. "I thought it was … The name. I thought –"
Dave almost squeals. "Ha! Me too! I totally thought it was a gay bar. Like, a really trashy one."
Blaine looks at the pair of them, slack-jawed. "You guys are perverts."
Dave raises his hand in the air for Kurt to slap. "Great minds think alike, huh?"
Kurt is absolutely certain that his ears are going to burn right off of his head, but he smiles anyway as he gives Dave a high five.
They keep walking, waiting to encounter something amazingly and life-alteringly gay. The first actually gay thing they find is a men's underwear store, and while the samples in the window are alluring, Kurt is totally not going to go sexy underwear shopping with Dave. Ever. No matter how long Blaine stares in the window and repeats, "Oh my god. We totally have to go in there. You’d look so nice in –"
Kurt digs his fingernails into Blaine’s palm. "I'm sure they have mail order, sweetheart." Dave snickers quietly behind them.
They do finally hit a few blocks where gay bars and rainbow flags dot the street, but by then it’s time for Kurt to meet up with Chandler.
It’s Blaine’s first time meeting Chandler, and it’s not as weird as Kurt expects. “Oooh la la!” Chandler says when the three of them walk into the shop, and immediately reaches out to squeeze the exposed part of Blaine’s bicep. “I’ve heard so much about you, Blaine Anderson, but Kurt neglected to mention that you work out.”
Blaine smiles and ducks his head. “I box a little.”
Chandler hooks his arm into Kurt’s elbow and leads him around the shop, pointing out the styles he’s already tried on. Kurt dismisses them all and selects several new pairs, and Chandler tries each of them on, blinking coquettishly – sometimes at Kurt, sometimes at Blaine, and sometimes at Dave in a way that makes Dave blush and look down at his feet.
“Oh, the bashful ones are the cutest,” Chandler whispers into Kurt’s ear, and heat flares in Kurt’s chest.
After they finally find the perfect pair of frames for Chandler’s face, personality and budget, they head out for a late lunch at a gay café. Chandler sits next to Dave and Kurt sits next to Blaine, and even though the food is delicious and he tries to keep focused on happy thoughts by taking copious notes in his phone’s recipe inspirations file, Kurt spends the bulk of his mental energy watching Chandler’s hands and wondering, every time the one nearest Dave disappears under the table, what exactly it is doing.
Which is dumb. Kurt knows he’s being ridiculous and dumb because Chandler has made it clear that he’s not interested in actually dating anyone. So what if he flirts with Dave and pats his leg and maybe even gets a few squeezes in? It’s not like Chandler and Dave are gonna go off into the sunset together. And even if they did, why would Kurt care? He doesn’t own Dave – even though he kind of acts like he wants to every time Dave ever gets any kind of chance with anyone.
“You okay, Kurt?” Dave says after Chandler gets up from the table to flirt with a pair of teenage boys at a table across the room. “You’re kind of quiet.”
Blaine turns to look at Kurt, too. “Yeah, have we been hogging the conversation?”
Kurt shakes his head, not looking at either of them. He stares at his plate, dragging a french fry through the pool of malt vinegar at its edge before popping it in his mouth. “Just enjoying the food. And maybe I’m a little … distracted. You know, because I haven’t had my afternoon coffee yet. Makes it hard to focus.”
Kurt can feel them both looking at him like they don’t quite believe him, but they don’t press the issue. He kind of hates them for being so nice to him, because it makes him want to kiss them both.
* * *