Title: What Are The Odds
Rating: PG (for now, might go up later)
Disclaimer: Don't own them. Just play with them.
Spoilers: It's AU, but I'll say all episodes aired because I'll be borrowing from canon
Word Count: ~7000 for this chapter
Summary: AU. Kurt had given up hope long ago, just waiting for the day he would finally move to New York, the day he could finally leave behind everything that was Ohio. Of course, Rachel had to pick that very day to introduce him to an 'old friend' of hers.
Author’s Note: Hello again. It's been a while, I'm sorry about that. This chapter has been a little more difficult to write than I originally thought. But it really needed the extra work. As always, I would like to thank the amazing queenofthemambo for all her help with this and being such a wonderful beta. I would also like to thank each and every one of you who has read this so far and commented on it - I love you guys. So, new chapter. I'm going to try and be faster with the next one, but December is a crazy month. Just saying. Anyways, here's chapter five.
Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four
Chapter Five - Missed The Saturday Dance
He was already late and he couldn't find his phone. Of course, neither Rachel nor Jesse were home or he could have asked them to just call him. Cursing under his breath, he crawled on all fours across the living room floor, looking under the coffee table, Jesse's piano and the couch. He had already searched every corner of his room at least three times, but the damn phone was nowhere to be found.
He was just about to consider leaving without it – it was only his second date with Ted and he didn't want to keep him waiting too long – when he heard something buzz under the couch cushions. He slipped a hand under them, and there it was, his phone – finally.
Blaine was calling. Bless him for always picking exactly the right time. Despite being so late that he was almost convinced Ted would just leave again before he even got there, he accepted the call.
“Blaine,” he breathed into the phone. “Thank you.”
“For what?” Blaine sounded a little confused.
“I have to go and I couldn't find my phone. Never mind. What did you want?”
Blaine hesitated. “Oh, right, I forgot. You're meeting Ted, right? Well, I can call again later—”
“Don't be ridiculous,” Kurt interrupted, slipping into his jacket without dropping the phone and grabbing his keys before he headed for the door. “We'll talk on my way to the subway. What is it?”
“It's really nothing,” Blaine explained. “Just... we're still on for open-mic night tomorrow, right?”
“Of course,” Kurt answered, frowning. Blaine sounded... a little more quiet than usual. Almost tentative. It wasn't like him at all. “Why?”
“Would it be okay if I brought someone?” Blaine asked.
Kurt shrugged. “Sure. I mean, Rachel's coming too, the more the merrier.”
“It's not like that...” Blaine paused. “I mean, it's... it's a guy.”
“Okay,” Kurt replied, not sure where this was going.
“I just... wouldn't it be awkward?”
“Oh.” Kurt sucked in a breath as he caught on, stopping in his tracks halfway down the stairs. Because... oh. Oh.
“No, forget it,” Blaine continued before Kurt could say anything else. “It would definitely be awkward. I'll just tell him—”
“No, no, no, no,” Kurt cut him off. “Not awkward. No. You should totally bring him along.”
“Are you sure?” Blaine still sounded hesitant.
Kurt nodded, continuing to descend the stairs. “Of course. Yes. It'll be...” What? He couldn't really think of anything. “Who is the guy?” he asked instead.
He could almost hear the smile in Blaine's voice, even over the phone. “He lives in my dorm. His name is Luke. He's... we went for coffee a few times last week and he's really nice. Like, really nice.”
“That's great, Blaine.” Kurt had reached the street and started walking at a brisk pace in the direction of the subway. So, Blaine had met someone. A nice guy. Good for him. “Just bring him along. I can't wait to meet him.”
“You could bring Ted, if you want,” Blaine suggested. “It'll be like a double date. With Rachel,” he added.
“Yeah, I'll think about it,” Kurt replied. “Listen, I have to go. I'm ridiculously late already.”
“Okay.” Blaine was silent for a minute. “Have fun tonight, Kurt. I'll see you tomorrow.”
“Bye,” Kurt said, quickly pressing the end call button. He knew he hadn't sounded very enthusiastic about Blaine's news and he felt bad for that. But seriously, wasn't this kind of short notice? He didn't even know why it bothered him at all, but it was supposed to be their evening. It was their thing to do together and he didn't love the idea of bringing other people into it.
Well. Maybe he should think about asking Ted to come along. The prospect of sitting in some crappy little club watching Blaine flirt with... with Luke, that was the name... while Kurt was there by himself? Rachel would be there too, though. But after a few drinks she always got all starry-eyed and started talking about Finn in that dreamy voice and everything. Well, at least she had started doing that again lately, after she had made up with Finn, who had temporarily broken up with her after hearing the news that she was living with Jesse. It had taken a letter written and signed by Mr. St. James himself – probably written with Rachel breathing down his neck and holding a knife to his throat while Jesse rhapsodized about how valuable this letter would be one day – assuring Finn that he was no longer interested in her in a romantic way, and a few long conversations with Kurt over the phone before Finn had finally agreed to forgive Rachel for that one. Kurt was still surprised he had been able to forgive her at all.
Dammit, he'd been looking forward to tomorrow night. Out of all the days in the year, Blaine had to pick that one for a first date with some guy from his dorm?
Kurt shoved his hands in his pockets and stared down at the pavement while he hurried along. He knew he was being selfish, wanting Blaine all for himself, but he just couldn't help it. It felt too much like being rejected all over again. And Blaine was just a friend. Oh god, this was pathetic. How was he going to react if he was ever rejected for real again? And he had thought he was finally over that, he had thought that the scars Lima had left had finally started to heal. After all, he was a different person now. He was a person who got asked out and went on dates. That had to count for something.
Too late he remembered that he hadn't asked Blaine if they were still on for brunch tomorrow, too. Blaine hadn't said anything about it and they hadn't really talked all week. Sure, it was a standing appointment, but they always checked in with each other first, making sure the other was available. Maybe Blaine would prefer to hang out with Luke all Saturday?
And seriously, why hadn't he told him about this before? Blaine had been going out for coffee with Luke all week and he called him now? How was Kurt supposed to not feel left out if his best friend stopped telling him things? Important things? Things Kurt felt he should have shared with him?
He knew he didn't have any kind of claim on Blaine's time – of course if Blaine wanted to spend time with other people, that was fine. Blaine had a lot of friends by now and of course he spent time with them. Kurt did the same thing himself, he had other friends too. It wasn't like they were completely dependent on each other in the “friends” department. It was just...
He sighed, walking even faster. He didn't know what the hell was wrong with him. It had just been a long day and he'd been looking forward to singing with Blaine tomorrow and –
Kurt took a deep breath, trying to snap out of this weird mood he found himself in. Blaine definitely deserved a better best friend than this. So that's what he would be for him. Starting right now. Of course, that meant it would be his job as a best friend to make sure this Luke was good enough for someone as wonderful as Blaine. So maybe it really was a good thing to get to meet him tomorrow. Blaine deserved only the best. And Kurt would make sure that that was exactly what he got, nothing less.
Once he was on the subway, he pulled out his phone to send Blaine a quick text.
Are we still on for brunch tomorrow? I forgot to ask...
Blaine's reply came just a few minutes later.
Of course we are. Forgot to ask too. Can't wait.
Kurt shoved the phone back into his jacket pocket, sighing. He'd reached his stop, or he would have texted back, he told himself. But right now, he had a date to get to.
He was listening to Ted telling him about... the dog he'd had as a kid or something, his pasta almost untouched before him, when he finally made up his mind.
“What are you doing tomorrow night?” he asked, realizing only then that he'd probably rudely interrupted Ted in what was no doubt a very interesting story.
Ted was silent for a second, his hands frozen in the air mid-gesture before slowly sinking back to the table. “Tomorrow?” he asked. “Um. I don't know yet. Why?”
Kurt hesitated a moment. He still wasn't really sure he wanted to go out with Ted again tomorrow night. On the other hand, tomorrow was already not going as planned and Ted was a really nice guy and quite good-looking with his soft blue eyes and broad shoulders and... he could try this, couldn't he? He liked him. Even if he wasn't sure yet whether he actually liked him like that. “Some of us are going to this little club tomorrow. It's an open-mic night, a friend of mine already signed us up – I'll be singing, too. Do you... I mean, would you like to join us?”
“As your date?” Ted looked at him, a hopeful expression on his face, and Kurt had to smile against his will.
“Yes, as my date, you moron. What do you think?”
Ted smiled back at him and reached across the table to take Kurt's hand, gently intertwining their fingers.
“In that case, yes. I'd love to.” His smile was radiant and his thumb was caressing Kurt's palm and Kurt shivered. It was so nice to be able to do this – not just in public, but at all.
“It will be our third date,” Ted pointed out. “I was afraid I'd never see you again after that disastrous first date...”
Kurt laughed. “Well, yeah, that was... But I'm here, as you can see. And so are you.”
“Yeah,” Ted breathed, looking at Kurt like he was the greatest thing he'd ever seen.
It was the first Saturday since they had started the tradition that Kurt had to force himself to get out of bed for Saturday brunch. Feeling tired this morning, it took him twice as long as usual to shower, brush his teeth and get dressed, and even when he was done with all of that, he debated whether he could just call Blaine and cancel. Just this once.
He had just decided that it was too late to cancel and that maybe he really wanted to see Blaine this morning after all, when his phone started ringing. It was Mercedes. He hadn't spoken to her for some time, even though they still kept in touch, talking as often as they could.
“Hi there, so you're still alive, after all,” she greeted him when he answered.
“Apparently,” he said, laughing. “I'm sorry I haven't called in a while, there's just been so much going on...”
“Oh, don't worry about it,” Mercedes replied and he could hear her smile over the phone. “I've been pretty busy myself. But hey, how are you? How is everything?”
“Everything's great,” Kurt assured her. “Perfect, yes. How about you?”
“Oh, I'm good,” Mercedes told him. “But you sound tired. Rough night?”
Kurt sighed. “Something like that, yeah.”
“Okay, tell me everything,” Mercedes insisted. “What have you been doing and who have been doing it with? That guy you keep talking about? Blaine?”
“Why would you assume it was Blaine?” Kurt asked, switching to speaker phone so he could keep getting ready to go out while talking to Mercedes.
“I don't know. Who else do you know in New York?”
“I know plenty of people, thank you,” Kurt replied, rummaging through his closet to find the right jacket for his outfit.
“Oh, I didn't mean it like that,” Mercedes hastened to assure him. “You just talk about him an awful lot, that's all.”
“I talk about other people just as much.”
Finding his jacket, Kurt took it off the hanger to drape it over his desk chair carefully. “Of course I do. Besides, he's my best friend in this city, so what if I talk about him sometimes. I talk about you, too, when I'm with him.”
“So, were you with him last night?” Mercedes wanted to know.
“No, I was with other people.”
“Oh, I don't know. Like Ted, for example.”
Kurt could practically hear Mercedes find the most comfortable place to sit and get ready for the whole story on the other end of the line. “Okay. I see. And who is this Ted and why haven't I heard about him before? Spill.”
Kurt laughed. “He's a guy from one of my theater classes. We went out twice and I just asked him out on a third date last night and he said yes.”
“So you are dating!” Mercedes really sounded excited now. “I'm so happy for you. So, what's he like? Is he a good guy? You deserve only the best, you know.”
“Thank you,” Kurt said, putting the finishing touches on his hair. “And yes, he is nice. And he likes me.”
“Meaning he has good taste. That's a point in his favor.”
“What does Blaine have to say about it?”
“Oh god, Mercedes, seriously. Stop it.” Kurt rolled his eyes at her even though she couldn't see it, somewhere between amused and mildly annoyed. “Just a friend, remember?”
“Well, a moment ago he was your best friend in all of New York, if I remember correctly.”
“He is. He's a really great guy.” Kurt opened his closet door, reconsidering his choice of shoes.
“When you first told me about him a few months back, I seriously thought you guys were dating,” Mercedes confessed.
“Why?” Kurt asked, slightly offended. “Because we're both gay?”
“Don't hate me,” Mercedes begged. “It just sounds like you two get along so great and you seem to be really close and it just seemed – ”
“We do get along great,” Kurt confirmed. “It's just amazing, having someone to talk to about all this stuff I could never talk about to anyone. We've sort of been through a lot of the same stuff, coming out, being bullied and all that. And... I just love it, you know? Having a guy friend who's not at all afraid to sit close to me, and who I can talk to about guys and everything. He just understands, because he knows what it's like, but at the same time it's never awkward because we're just friends. I can tell him anything. We are completely open with each other. It's... wonderful.”
“That sounds amazing, Kurt,” Mercedes assured him.
“I just don't get why people always assume that just because two gay guys are friends, they have to be attracted to each other. That's like saying you or Rachel can't be friends with guys because you'll end up falling in love with them eventually.”
“Kurt,” Mercedes interrupted him. “I get it. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply anything. I'm glad you have a friend like that.”
“I'm... yeah. Sorry,” Kurt sighed. “I know. I just... Sometimes I wish I could have met him in Ohio. I mean, you were always there for me, and I love you for that. But it would just have been great to have someone who...”
“Someone like you,” Mercedes finished the thought for him.
“Well, you have all that now, don't you? And you're dating. A guy from your class. Is he cute? I seriously hope he's cute.”
“He is,” Kurt answered. “Very good-looking, actually.”
“Dating is great, isn't it?” Mercedes sighed happily. “I'm so glad you finally get to do all that.”
“Oh, yes, it's wonderful,” Kurt agreed, tying a scarf around his neck. Because it was, wasn't it? He'd been looking forward to all of those experiences for so long. “Mercedes,” he added, not quite sure how to phrase what he wanted to ask. He abandoned his scarf for now to sit down on the bed, biting his lip before he found the courage to ask the question that had been haunting him all morning. “When you started dating Sam, was it... did it... make you feel different?”
“What do you mean?” Mercedes asked.
Kurt sighed. “I don't know. I just... I'm having fun, you know? Ted and I went out to dinner last night and then after that we found this nice little cafe and there were all these gay couples there and we just sat there and talked and... and...” he blushed.
“And what?” Mercedes wanted to know.
“You know... made out,” Kurt finally said, blushing even more. It had been amazing when he'd been in the moment, but talking about it still felt a little uncomfortable, like that part of him had been dormant for too long and was just slowly waking up. It was all just so new to him. “Anyway,” he continued, “it was really nice. And it made me feel... special. In that moment. Like it was exactly right. It's just... I thought... oh, I don't know, it's probably stupid.”
“You like this Ted?” Mercedes asked.
“I... yes, of course,” Kurt answered. “I just asked him out on a third date. He's... I like him, yes.”
“Well, then, have a little fun,” Mercedes encouraged him. “I know it's a little weird at first. It was like that for me, when I first went out with Sam. Felt like it couldn't really be me, you know, like all of that couldn't really be happening to me. But then I realized that it could and it was just amazing.”
“I just thought it would change me,” Kurt admitted, not really meaning to say it at all. “You know, for longer than just the moment when it was happening. I thought it would somehow... make me feel different.”
“Different how?” Mercedes asked.
Kurt shrugged, not really sure how to explain. “Just... different. More grown up. Less Lima boy, more New York City adult. You know, like I had achieved something. Like some sort of rite of passage. Is that stupid?” He'd been dreaming of all of this for so long, actually saying it all out loud now made him feel more like a naïve little small-town boy than he had ever felt before.
“Oh, Kurt,” Mercedes said. “It's not stupid. It will happen. Give it time. You only just started dating. You're still getting used to all of it. But believe me, it's amazing, once you start believing it's all real. And you deserve all of that, okay? Don't you ever doubt it.”
“Thanks,” Kurt said, smiling sadly. Mercedes had always been on his side, she had always seen more in him than most people had, even when he had still been invisible. And he got that she was trying, right now, to make him feel better, but somehow it just made him feel even more depressed. He didn't really think that time was the answer here. He didn't want to wait for it to feel amazing. He just wanted to go on dates and then wake up the next morning and remember everything to be just as wonderful as he had experienced it the night before.
“So how are things with you?” he asked, changing the topic. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate everything Mercedes had said, but he needed to talk about this with someone who had been waiting for all of this just as long as he had and had had just the same amount of time to build up completely unrealistic expectations about it all. Someone like Blaine. “You dating anyone at the moment?”
Mercedes laughed. “Not right now, no. Not interested in another relationship at the moment, after breaking up with Shane, so I'm kind of taking a break from guys. With the exception of you, of course,” she added. “You're always the exception.”
“I know.” Kurt smiled. “Listen, can I call you back later? I have to run right now.”
“Meeting Ted?” Mercedes asked.
“No, meeting Blaine, actually. Saturday brunch.”
“Say hello to him for me, okay? Although we haven't met. I seriously have to meet him one day, I think.”
“I'm sure that can be arranged,” Kurt said. “Talk to you later, then. Love you.”
“Love you, too,” Mercedes said, ending the call.
Blaine was there before him this morning, sitting at their usual table and smiling at Kurt as he spotted him entering the tiny café.
“Hey,” Kurt greeted him, really glad now that he hadn't canceled this morning. He hugged Blaine hello, like he always did, before sinking into his chair with a tired sigh.
“You look... Are you okay?” Blaine asked, a concerned look on his face.
Kurt nodded, giving Blaine a reassuring smile. “I'm fine,” he said. “Just didn't get as much sleep as I should have.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.” He shrugged. “Nothing that coffee can't fix.”
Blaine didn't look convinced, but knew better than to push Kurt to talk about something he didn't want to. “So, did you ask Ted about tonight?”
Kurt quickly took a sip of coffee to warm himself up. “Yes, I asked him,” he answered. “He's in.”
“Awesome.” Blaine said. “A double date.”
“With Rachel,” Kurt reminded him, laughing. He just hoped it didn't sound too forced. He had so much he wanted to talk about, with Blaine. But now just wasn't the time. This was the day Blaine, his best friend Blaine, was going on his first date, and he wasn't going to spoil it for him. Right now, he needed to be a good friend. “Tell me about Luke,” he said. “Do you like him?”
The smile on Blaine's face told him everything he needed to know. And maybe, he thought, being a good friend to Blaine would be enough to pull him out of his funk. It had been known to work before. If their short but intense friendship had shown them one thing, it was that they were pretty good at being there for each other.
At the club that night, it took Kurt just about twenty minutes to feel completely stressed out and more than a little irritated. Rachel had brought along some college friends, so she wasn't even sitting with them, telling them – with a wink, actually – that she didn't want to intrude.
Blaine had brought David along, but he and Rachel had immediately hit it off and so David had joined her and her friends at the other table.
So it was just him and Ted with Blaine and Luke now, a real double date, and he was feeling uncomfortable from the first minute.
Luke was... he wasn't at all what he'd have imagined Blaine's type to be. Not that he had thought about it a lot. It was just... Luke was tall and handsome, yes, but he was also extremely loud and laughing all the time, even if no one had said anything even remotely funny, and he was... flirting with Blaine so openly, it was almost disgusting. And Blaine actually seemed to like it, from the looks of it. At least he seemed responsive to all of it.
Luke was acting like Blaine was the single greatest thing in existence, looking at him, touching his hand, and Kurt wished he were anywhere but here. He felt like he was listening in on a private conversation, most of the time. And Ted didn't really help either. He just sat there, silently holding Kurt's hand, smiling at everyone. He was trying, but he was just quiet, kind, handsome Ted; a great guy but also one who just didn't talk all that much around people he didn't know. Which was even more obvious with all the talking Luke was doing.
In addition to all of that, Blaine and Ted didn't seem to get along at all. They hadn't said two words to each other since Kurt had introduced them and he couldn't help but notice the looks Blaine was throwing at Ted – like he disapproved of him. Which was... why would he even do that? It didn't really help to improve Kurt's mood at all.
He waited another ten minutes before excusing himself to go to the restroom. He just needed a minute away from all of this. It had been a long week and he was feeling exhausted and he kind of just wanted to go home, but he knew it would be rude after inviting Ted here tonight. Also, he really wanted the chance to sing. It was the only thing he was still looking forward to tonight.
Angry at himself for being in such a bad mood and unable to pull himself out of it, he leaned over the sink, taking a few deep breaths. He could do this. He could get through this night and then he'd get a few hours of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep, and then he'd be feeling better. It was all he needed. He looked up as the door to the restroom was opened quietly, to see Blaine slip in with a big smile on his face.
“Hi,” he said.
Kurt pushed himself off the sink, trying his best to look like he was having a good time as well. “Hi,” he answered.
“That's going rather well, don't you think?” Blaine said, looking just a little nervous, but also a lot like he was actually enjoying this night. And there was no reason for him not to, with the way his date acted around him.
Kurt nodded, forcing a smile on his face. “Great, yes. Luke seems... nice. A little... hyperactive, maybe, but, yeah, nice.”
“I know, he's great,” Blaine answered. “I'm so glad that you like him. Ted is... he's nice, too. A little quiet, but he seems to like you, so he has that going for him.”
Kurt nodded, suddenly feeling a little protective of Ted. “He usually has a lot more to say, you know. It's just difficult to get a word in, with all the talking Luke is doing.”
Blaine's smile faded a little. “What's that supposed to mean?”
Kurt kicked himself mentally. What was wrong with him? He definitely hadn't meant for it to come out like that. “Nothing,” he quickly assured Blaine. “It's kind of cute, how he's trying to impress you. He must really like you. That's all I meant.”
“Oh, okay then.” Blaine didn't really seem to buy it, but let the subject drop anyway. “I was just coming in here to tell you we're up next,” he told Kurt. “And Rachel is on after us, so she's getting a little impatient. You know how she gets when she's about to perform and apparently David's asked her for a duet and she seems really excited about that, so...”
Kurt grinned. “Oh yes, Rachel. Better not keep her waiting,” he said, with a sigh, following Blaine out of the restroom.
They had agreed to accompany each other on the piano – an old Baldwin that was terribly out of tune, which didn't really matter, because it seemed so fitting for the atmosphere of the club. Rachel had been so dismayed she had almost fainted when she'd heard it, but David had talked to her for a few minutes and even though neither Kurt nor Blaine had any idea what he'd told her to convince her that it was okay, it seemed to have worked nonetheless. She was still giving it angry looks, but she was going to sing later anyway.
Kurt sang first. And it felt good to be back on stage. It felt good to sing again in a setting that wasn't an audition, feeling the eyes of the audience on him, all eyes, including Ted and Blaine's (and Luke's, but he didn't really care about that so much). Ted was smiling widely, looking absolutely smitten, and somehow it felt great to have that. To have a boyfriend – because why shouldn't he just call him that, this was their third date, after all – he could impress with all of this.
Blaine was smiling at him too, from his seat at the piano, always his most faithful cheerleader.
Kurt felt almost exhilarated when it was over, looking around the room and bowing a few times while Blaine practically bounced over to him, quickly pulling him into a tight hug. “You were amazing,” he whispered in his ear. “I really don't know how to follow that.”
Kurt pulled back, grinning at him. “Oh, please, I only warmed them up for you. You're going to blow them away, trust me.”
Blaine grinned back at him, and for a moment, Kurt felt something warm and comfortable settle in his stomach.
“Ready for the duet?” Blaine asked, and Kurt nodded.
David was going to play for them. He had jumped in last minute and Kurt thought he was a much better option than Jesse, who would have been the next guy he would have had to ask. Rachel didn't play.
They'd settled on 'Who Will Love Me As I Am,' standing side by side just like Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner (Blaine being Emily and Kurt being Alice, of course), and, Kurt thought, they sounded absolutely great together. He loved singing with Blaine. It just felt so comfortable, and it was such a great song. For the not-quite three minutes it took them to get through it, he almost forgot how uncomfortable he'd been feeling earlier, he almost forgot about wanting to go home or the fact that they were both here on dates. With other people. Because singing with Blaine like this – it kind of captured all of his attention. Like nothing else mattered. Not even the people listening to them, applauding once they'd finished, not even them.
He pulled Blaine into another hug, laughing, feeling completely at ease now. “Your turn,” he whispered in his ear, just like Blaine had done earlier. “You'll be great. I have complete faith in you.”
Blaine beamed at him and he held his gaze for what felt like minutes. Finally, Kurt walked over to the piano, receiving a friendly pat on the shoulder from David. He felt kind of flattered that Blaine had still chosen him for accompaniment. He wasn't as good as David, he knew that. Singing had always been his priority. But Blaine had insisted.
So, without thinking about it anymore, he started playing. This night had turned out to be not quite so bad, after all.
“You were so great,” Ted told him once they were back at their table. He got up to hug Kurt and pull him in for a quick and gentle kiss. “You are incredibly talented. And kind of hot when you're singing.”
Kurt blushed. “Thank you,” he said. “Maybe next time you can sing with me?”
Ted nodded, his eyes flickering between Blaine and Kurt for the tiniest second. “Yes,” he said, just a little hesitantly. “Next time.”
Kurt smiled at him and settled back into his seat, fingers entwined with Ted's on the table.
His eyes fell on Luke and he was a little surprised to find him actually silent for the first time tonight. He was watching Blaine, who was seated next to him again, with such an open look of admiration on his face – Kurt couldn't help but warm up to him a little. Okay, the guy was annoying. But he obviously adored Blaine. That was good, wasn't it?
He said goodbye to Blaine outside the club two hours later – Ted and Luke standing a little way off, waiting for them. It was a quick goodbye, a simple hug and the promise to talk on the phone the next day, and then Blaine was walking away with Luke, the two of them holding hands, and Kurt took Ted's hand.
“So,” he started. “Did you have a good time?”
Ted seemed to think about it for a while. “Listen,” he answered. “I really need to get home, it's kind of late. And I have this thing tomorrow. Completely forgot about it. So... see you later?”
There was something in Ted's voice Kurt couldn't really identify and it made him worry a little. “Is everything okay?” he asked.
Ted nodded, a little too enthusiastically, maybe. “Yeah. Yes. Sure. Just... tired. And... I really do have to get up early for... for that...”
“For that thing you have tomorrow,” Kurt jumped in helpfully.
“Right.” Ted took a tentative step toward him. “I'll call you, okay?”
“Okay.” Kurt was sure that something was going on, but he was rather tired himself and had been a little worried that Ted would want to hang out some more tonight. He was really looking forward to just going home and getting some sleep. “Talk to you soon, then.”
Ted leaned in to kiss him, just once, lightly on the mouth. “Goodnight, Kurt.”
“Goodnight,” Kurt answered and Ted started to walk away.
Kurt waited a few seconds, trying to make sense of what had just happened, but he gave up eventually, deciding he could think about this tomorrow when he was fully awake. So he started making his way to the subway, impatient to get home and just go to sleep.
It was around noon the next day when his phone rang. It was Ted.
“Hey,” Kurt greeted him.
“Hey.” Ted paused for a while. “I was wondering... are you doing anything?”
Kurt shook his head. “Not really. Studying. But I could use a break, to be honest.”
“Could we maybe... do you have time for a cup of coffee?”
Ted still sounded a little weird and Kurt was instantly worried again. “Coffee sounds good,” he said.
“I'm actually not far from your place,” Ted said. “You know that little cafe just around the corner?”
“Why don't you just come over, if you're in the neighborhood anyway?” Kurt asked.
Ted was silent for a few seconds. “Let's try that cafe,” he finally said.
“Is everything okay?” Kurt asked, because something clearly wasn't right, he could tell at least that much from Ted's voice.
“Yes. Of course. Sure,” Ted replied. “I'm just... I just want to talk.”
“Oh. All right,” Kurt said, not really convinced. “I'll meet you there, then.”
“Half an hour?” Ted suggested.
“Sounds good.” Kurt quickly checked his appearance in the mirror above his dresser. Good thing he did his hair every day even when he wasn't planning to go out.
“See you then,” Ted said and hung up.
Kurt gave his phone a last confused look before tossing it on his bed and started to put together an outfit.
Ted was already there when he arrived thirty minutes later, sitting at a table a little out of the way of the rest and looking more tired than Kurt had ever seen him.
“Hello,” Kurt greeted him, giving him a quick peck on the lips before sitting down in the opposite side of the table.
“Hi,” Ted said back, his clear blue eyes fixed on some point just left of Kurt's shoulder like he couldn't quite bring himself to meet his eyes.
“What's going on?” Kurt asked. “I can see that something is bothering you.”
Ted sighed, pushing the second cup in front of him towards Kurt. “I bought you coffee.”
“Thank you,” Kurt replied, touched at the simple gesture. “You didn't have to.”
“I know,” Ted said.
“What did you want to talk about?” Kurt asked, deciding it was best to just get it out of the way, whatever it was.
Ted managed to look even more nervous than he had when Kurt had walked in. “It's just...” he took a deep breath and finally lifted his head, looking right into Kurt's eyes. “I don't think we should be dating anymore.”
Kurt needed a minute to process that. He didn't really know what he was feeling – the rational part of his brain told him that maybe now might be the right time to be upset, but honestly, he found himself to be rather calm. “Why?” he asked eventually.
Ted shrugged. “I don't think this is going to work out.”
“Oh.” Kurt didn't know how to answer that. Traditionally, this should have been the part where he protested and tried to convince his boyfriend that they should keep trying. The only problem was that, as much as he liked Ted, he didn't really feel like doing any of that.
“I don't...” Ted stared down into his coffee cup. “It's not that I don't like you. Because I really do. You are amazing, Kurt. It's just...”
Kurt swallowed. “Is there someone else?”
Ted looked up at him again. “Yes. Yes, I think there's someone else.”
Kurt attempted a smile. This wasn't so bad, after all. He couldn't deny that it hurt a bit, being rejected like that. But he didn't really feel the uncontrollable urge to throw himself down at Ted's feet and beg him not to leave him, either. Maybe they just hadn't been dating long enough for that. “Who is it?”
“Oh. No,” Ted said. “That's not what I meant at all. I didn't mean someone else for me.”
Now Kurt was confused. “What do you mean, then?”
Ted hesitated a second. “How long have you known Blaine?”
Kurt felt his eyes go wide as he looked at Ted. “This is about Blaine?”
Ted nodded slowly, smiling apologetically. “It was pretty obvious last night how close you guys are.”
Kurt shook his head vigorously. “Oh, god, no. No, no, no.” He reached across the table to put his hand over Ted's. “Its nothing like that. We're friends. Just friends. I swear.”
Ted didn't look convinced. “You two don't come across as just friends, you know. There's more there between you.”
“There really isn't, though,” Kurt tried to explain. “Now, I won't deny that maybe when we first met there was the potential for something more... but seriously, Ted. Blaine is my best friend. That's why we're close. And that's all there is to it.”
“It doesn't matter, Kurt,” Ted answered. “I just... I really like you, you know? And I don't want to... I just don't think we're a really good match. I was just hoping that maybe... we could still be friends? Because I don't want to stop hanging out with you.”
Kurt slumped back in his chair, needing a moment to digest what he'd just heard. “I... yeah. Friends, sure. We can do that.” He couldn't really process all of this, not right now. Ted honestly thought he was in love with Blaine? His best friend Blaine? Because he wasn't. And seriously, how many more people were going to make this assumption? First Mercedes, now Ted. Of course, he wasn't blind and stupid. He knew that Blaine was good-looking and charming and wonderful. And he knew that they were really close and that Blaine was really important to him. And that he'd had a crush on him when they first met. But that was where it ended. He and Blaine were friends. Just friends. They had decided that that was all they were ever going to be very early on. And he liked it that way.
“Listen,” he said to Ted. “About Blaine – ”
“No.” Ted raised a hand to signal him to stop. “I heard what you said. You're just friends. I believe you. Just... I think the two of you have something really special. You should think about that.”
“I don't – ”
“Just invite me to your wedding so I can tell everyone I knew all along, okay?” Ted was grinning at him now.
Kurt grinned back. “Oh, you're so invited to my wedding. Just so that you can see that the other guy in a suit won't be Blaine.”
“It's on,” Ted declared, extending a hand towards Kurt who shook it enthusiastically.
They stayed in that cafe for another half hour, talking and laughing, and, Kurt decided, maybe break-ups weren't so bad. Ted was still wrong about Blaine, but he was a nice guy and somehow they did get along a lot better now that they were decidedly not dating. It was... well, it was nice.
A/N #2: The duet Kurt and Blaine are singing is a song from the musical "Side Show." Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner were the first to receive a joint nomination for a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical. Just in case you're interested in that sort of trivia. The song is really nice. If you want to listen to it, you can find it here: http://youtu.be/W9IqsC5hc_Q