Title: when summer burns with heat, I always get the hots for you
Word Count: ~8000
Summary: AU. This is a story about how Blaine could have met Kurt if he didn't meet him the way he met him. But with some climate changes thrown into the mix.
A/N: This is what happened after I listened to Boyz II Men's Four Seasons of Loneliness (GREAT SONG, OKAY) like, twelve times in a row while trying to write a [belated] birthday story for kattyerin. It inspired this story even though the song is sad and the story is not.
: : :
They meet during the first week of autumn. Blaine is dressed like a farmer.
He's working at one of those fall festival things, the ones with the corn mazes and potato slings and apple dumpling vendors and hay rides that drive through pumpkin patches. And that right there -- that's Blaine. The guy that drives a hay ride through a pumpkin patch. Dressed as a farmer.
It's a pretty sweet gig for a high schooler, just weekends and nights driving a tractor and spouting pumpkin facts to all of the kids perched on hay bales in the back. Blaine loves kids (and definitely pumpkins) so yeah, it's awesome but it's also relatively uneventful save for a random temper tantrum here and there.
And then one day, there he is.
Blaine's chilling next to the tractor while he waits for a new group of riders when he glances over to the entrance gates to see like, the hottest guy ever. He is most decidedly not dressed like a farmer, though, and looks terribly out of place what with the pale green sweater and the tailored pants and the sage bowtie (oh my god he is wearing a bowtie) so Blaine figures that maybe he should walk over and check to see if he's in the right spot. In a purely helpful way, of course. Just to be a good employee. And to be considerate. And kind.
But instead of walking, he full on sprints over and his faulty personal-space sensor fails him yet again so he ends up inches from this guy's face.
"Blaine," he says, incredibly eloquent.
The guy with the bowtie looks completely startled which okay, is pretty warranted since a stranger just hurled himself across the entire field and landed practically on top of him before shouting right into his face.
"I'm sorry?" he says after a long silence when it becomes obvious that Blaine isn't going to move on out of his personal bubble.
"My name," Blaine answers, marginally out of breath. Sure, he's in shape but that wasn't exactly some short distance he just ran. "Blaine. It's my name."
He looks at Blaine warily and they're both quiet. Blaine gives him an expectant smile.
"Um … Kurt?" he responds tentatively. "Is that what you're waiting for?"
"Kurt," Blaine repeats. "I like it."
He gives Blaine a side-eye. "Thank you?"
"So," he says, changing tactics. "You seem new here. Is this your first time?"
Kurt's eyes widen. "Pardon me?"
"At the festival," Blaine clarifies. "I haven't seen you before. And I work here pretty much everyday."
"Oh," he says, still looking a little flustered.
"Plus," he adds, "your awesome bowtie suggests maybe you're not familiar with how this whole thing works." He gestures to the food vendors and the corn maze in front of them to point out that they're basically surrounded by mud. And some dirt.
Kurt looks defensive.
"You look great," Blaine hurries to follow up. "Better than great. But I'd be so bummed for you if you somehow landed on a bunch of pumpkin seed innards or whatever."
And Kurt's side-eye comes right back. "Are you planning on pushing me into a pile of pumpkin innards?"
Blaine laughs and shakes his head to himself because oh my god, he is acting like the biggest creeper right now and could he possibly be less smooth? (Answer: no.)
"Let's start again, okay? Hi, my name is Blaine. I work here."
Kurt gives him a small smile. "Hello, Blaine. My name is Kurt. I've never been here, nor have I ever had the urge. I'm just meeting someone."
Blaine struggles to keep his smile from falling. He says, "Oh, cool, totally," because of course this guy has a boyfriend. He then has an internal lengthy debate with himself. Flirting with a guy who has a boyfriend is probably pretty awful but then again, if this guy leaves Kurt waiting on him, it's his own damn fault if someone else tries to move right in. Really, Kurt deserves better than this guy, whoever he may be. Blaine might even tell Sugar to charge him extra when he comes up to the ticket gate. Because who does he think he is? If you're dating someone like Kurt then you appreciate him and --
"It's my friend," Kurt tells him, oblivious to Blaine's internal meltdown.
"She was cast in some murder mystery at the community theater and she thinks that this," he explains, waving to the potato sling in the corner, "will help her character analysis." He rolls his eyes but manages to look fond.
Blaine grins at him (because Kurt is maybe single) but Kurt misinterprets and says, "I know, right?" with a smile in return. Then he clears his throat and looks away, embarrassed for some reason. "So you said you work here? Is that the reason for the plaid flannel?" And then: "Please dear god tell me that's the reason."
"Yeah," he answers, still smiling. "I work right over there." He turns to point to the hay ride tractor and crap, now there's a line forming. His smile falls. Dammit.
Kurt raises an eyebrow. "You wear flannel and drive a tractor," he says. "I don't even know what to say."
"Just on the weekends. Normally I dress like a real person."
Kurt almost smiles and Blaine feels kind of awful because what if there are farmers around to hear that? "Not that farmers aren't real people!" he says quickly. "I just mean I dress like a normal teenager."
"I figured," Kurt says, amused.
Blaine sighs and his shoulder slump. "You think I'm weird, don't you." It's not a question, just a statement of fact. But before he gives Kurt a chance to inevitably agree, Blaine gestures towards the tractor and says, "I should actually get back to work. Unfortunately, I don't get paid to flirt with really attractive guys."
Kurt blanches. "Is that -- is that what you were doing?"
He sighs again. "That was me trying. I wasn't very good at it, was I?"
Kurt blinks and doesn't say anything. He looks startled all over again.
"It's okay, you don't have to answer. I get it. In my defense, though, I haven't had much practice. Also, you're really really attractive."
"Oh," Kurt says, a little breathless. "Thank you."
They stare at each other for a minute before Blaine sadly glances over towards his ever-growing hayride line.
Except. Except it's not ever-growing because Sam is there and he's helping some kids on the trailer and wearing his hayride hat and taking tickets from the parents and basically just being awesome. Sam looks up for a minute and makes brief eye contact with Blaine before giving him a Go get some, brah nod. "I love Sam," he whispers to himself.
Kurt freezes. "I--" he falters.
"No. Oh definitely no," Blaine clarifies. "Not like that. Never like that."
"Right," Kurt says slowly.
"He's the guy over there," Blaine points. "The one totally doing my job right now so that I can hang out with you. Just until your friend gets here, I mean." And just until next weekend when you're totally going to go on a date with me before we live happily ever after, the end, he doesn't say.
He sees Kurt watching Sam who also looks like a farmer but like, way better because he's got his long sleeves rolled up and his top buttons undone and there are all sorts of muscles showing.
"I also have muscles," Blaine points out. "Just an FYI."
Kurt looks back to him. "Good to know. Thanks."
Blaine's grinning again. "Come on, let me show you around while you wait for her." And before he can give him any kind of warning, he grabs Kurt's hand and tugs him along because whatever, personal space is so overrated anyway.
"You want to sling a potato? We can see who slings it further. Or hey, there's a rope maze over there; we can race. Maybe you want to pick a pumpkin?"
"No," Kurt says. "To all of those things."
Blaine shrugs, undeterred. "Want to go milk that cow?"
Kurt looks horrified. "No."
"It's a fake cow," he tells him.
So Blaine steers them away from the mini farm animal petting pen.
"You sure you don't want to race?"
"I'm sure," Kurt answers then thinks for a moment. "You'd lose and we just met. I don't want you to have to endure that kind of humiliation."
"Ooh, fighting words," Blaine grins. Then they do that staring-without-looking-away thing again. "Well, how about a pumpkin flavored donut or an apple dumpling then?"
"Okay," Kurt agrees, oblivious to the internal congratulatory high-five Blaine gives himself.
So they sit on a bench sharing a pumpkin donut and watch as all of the kids that are jacked up on sugar run around while their parents run after them clutching their giant pumpkins. Out of the corner of his eye, Blaine watches Kurt's facial expressions shift from confused to incredulous to almost amused. He doesn't seem too thrown by the fact that Blaine sat pretty close to him on the bench, like really really close. For body warmth. And to save space for other people.
After awhile Blaine reluctantly stands and says, "I really should get back. Kids aren't going to learn about pumpkins all on their own."
"Okay," Kurt nods, face a little pink from the autumn wind.
"It's just -- how much is admission? Seven dollars?" Blaine asks, embarrassed at the tinge of desperation in his voice. "If I give you seven dollars, will you come back to see me sometime?"
Kurt raises his eyebrows and Blaine retraces his words.
"Okay, there's really no way to make that sound like I wasn't offering you money to spend time with me," he concedes. "It's sort of creepy but I can't un-say it so I'm just going to let it hang there."
Kurt frowns and Blaine braces himself. "Why don't we just go on a real date instead?" Kurt asks.
He can't help the huge grin that lights up his face. "Good idea," Blaine agrees.
: : :
(So their first date is a haunted house which Blaine cannot believe he talks him into. Kurt grips his hand the whole time.
Their next one is a haunted hay ride. It's sorely lacking in pumpkin facts and wow, Blaine never realized how uncomfortable hay bales are to sit on. But they hold hands and Kurt even tucks his head into Blaine's shoulder a few times when things jump out at them. So, you know, totally worth it.
They go out for Halloween. Afterward, Kurt starts his rigorous skin regimen while Blaine and Kurt's brother negotiate candy tradings.
They bake gingerbread cookies at Kurt's house after that. Or actually: Kurt cooks, Blaine watches, Finn eats.
They go shopping on Black Friday and holy shit, Kurt is so scary. Blaine thinks it's adorable. (But also scary.)
And during the last few days of autumn, they sit at the Lima Bean and smile at each other over their pumpkin lattes. "I'm falling in love with you," Blaine whispers accidentally. Kurt blinks rapidly then says with a teasing smile, "Well let me know when you're done falling.")
: : :
They meet during the first week of winter. Blaine smells like an egg roll.
It's a crazy blizzard out and probably borderline illegal to even be on the roads but Cooper really wants Chinese food and Cooper's got a broken ankle and Cooper's whining about it and Cooper blah blah blah so Blaine just gives up. He'd rather deal with hazardous back roads then miserable, horrible Cooper.
So he picks up the Chinese food and grabs a handful of packets -- soy sauce and hot sauce and sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard -- just in case Cooper wants everything, the whining whiner. (Please note that he does not grab any plastic eating utensils.)
So he makes the ten minute trip back home in about thirty five minutes and he's almost totally safe when his car starts sliding around. He's only going like, three miles an hour so he's not freaked out but he's tired and hungry and basically pissed at cruel, horrible Mother Nature. She's sort of a bitch.
So Blaine's car stops sliding and he's landed directly in front of a driveway three streets over. He's landed and he's stuck. No amount of putting the car in reverse or driving in neutral or jamming down on the gas pedal does a single thing.
He gives up after ten minutes and pulls out his cellphone to call Cooper. Four times. Without answer. Cooper's also sort of a bitch.
Then he calls Mike who thankfully answers on the first ring. "Hey, Mike. I need your help."
"Sure," he says back. Then there's some rustling and Blaine really truly hopes he didn't interrupt a makeout session with Tina.
"Thank you," he exhales, grateful. "Will you come help me push my car? I'm parked on a sheet of ice and I'm tired and it's dark out and my car reeks of really, really good Chinese food."
"That place by you? I keep telling you that that's not good Chinese, man. It's like some American bastardization of real --"
"Mike. Fine. But let's focus. Can you come help me?"
There's a silence. "No."
"No?" Blaine asks, eyebrows shooting up.
"Yeah, no. Call that Hummel Tire and Lube place."
"No?" Blaine says again. "Is this because of the Chinese? Fine, I'll stop eating there." Probably not, though.
"It's not," Mike replies. "It's because you need to call that place. I keep telling you to go there for your oil changes but you never listen so here's your opportunity."
"Are you serious? My opportunity? For what?"
"Trust me," is all Mike says.
Blaine clenches his jaw. "You suck. Come pick me up."
"I'll text you the number. Call them. Seriously, trust me."
Mike's quiet for a moment. "I know you, Blaine. Would agree with that statement?"
"Typically, yes," he answers. "But if you knew me, you'd know that I want you to pick me up."
"So trust me when I say there's a reason I want you to call this place," Mike says, ignoring him.
Mike's also kind of a bitch, apparently.
They hang up and Blaine ignores Mike's text a few minutes later. He refuses to call stupid Hummel Tire and Lube just out of principle. Or spite. Whatever. So instead he calls Roadside Assistance, that thing he pays for on his cellphone bill but has never ever used. They put him on hold for what seems like eleven hours but his phone tells him it's actually been seven minutes. When the agent comes back on the line, she tells him that they've located a tow truck in the area and they'll be there in approximately thirty minutes. She tells him to keep an eye out for a truck from Hummel Tire and Lube.
So Blaine spends the next twenty minutes inhaling Chinese food that he cannot eat. He can smell it and see it and he's so unbelievably hungry but he doesn't have a damn fork or even a pair of chopsticks and holding the container up to let food pour into his mouth isn't a level he's ready to stoop to yet.
After ten minutes, though, he starts giving it some thought. It's not like anyone would know --
Thankfully, the tow truck shows up then. Blaine steels himself for the cold as he opens his car door to meet the tow truck guy.
And out he steps.
Blaine eyes widen because oh my god who is that guy.
He's still gaping when the guy starts heading over to his car. Blaine stumbles while trying to get out of his car because making the tow truck guy walk all the way over is sort of a tool move and he should totally meet him halfway. His stumble sort of turns into an awkward tuck-and-roll thing but he recovers nicely and jumps back up onto his feet in one fluid move.
The tow truck guy stops in his tracks as he watches Blaine try to be subtle about wiping the snow off of his pants. As he takes a few more hesitant steps closer and moves under the street lights, yeah he's actually even more attractive up close. His hair is perfectly styled and his face looks soft and moisturized and totally touchable, which he knows is a super creepy thought to have. Meanwhile, his own face is red and dry from the cold air and his hair is in an awkward stage between gelled and ungelled and smells like sesame chicken. He takes a glance towards the name patch sewn on the tow truck guy's garage uniform.
"Kurt?" he asks.
He tilts his head. "Do we know each other?"
"No," Blaine answers, shaking his head. "But it's on your shirt. And I read it. I read."
They stare at each other.
"Right," Kurt says slowly. "So you need a tow?"
"I'm stuck on the ice. I think I just need to you pull me out," he says before hearing what he's saying. "Or -- I mean pull me off? Pull me? Tow me? Oh my god, I'm going to stop talking."
Kurt ducks his head but Blaine can see him smiling.
"Okay. I need you to fill out a few things first. It won't take long --"
"Blaine," he interrupts. "I'm Blaine."
"Okay," he responds. "It won't take long, Blaine. Better?"
"Much," he grins.
And it doesn't take long; he's right. His car is hooked up, pulled off the ice, and unhooked in about four minutes. They only have four minutes together, that's it. Father Time is also a cruel bitch.
"Okay," Kurt says as he heads back to his front seat to grab some final paperwork. "I just need for you to sign one last thing."
Blaine hesitates and Kurt stops when he sees Blaine's not following him. "If I sign that then you'll leave," he tells him.
"Yes," Kurt says cautiously. "Typically the protocol."
Blaine still doesn't move.
"Your car should be fine," Kurt says, totally missing the point. "You said you only have a few streets to go."
"I do," Blaine agrees.
"So … you think you need an escort? I don't exactly have time to follow you home, Blaine."
"Have dinner with me?" he nonsequiturs.
Kurt blinks. "What."
"Dinner," he repeats. "Let me repay you for all of this." Which whoa, totally makes Kurt sound like a prostitute but whatever, what's done is done.
"Your cellphone company is already paying me," Kurt says. "That's basically how it works."
"Right, totally, I know. But can I still have dinner with you?"
"I -- what?"
He gestures. "Like, right now, I mean. I have Chinese food in the car. Have dinner with me. Have Chinese with me."
Kurt still looks a little confused. "You were eating Chinese while driving? I'd strongly urge you to not do that in the future. It leads to this," he says gesturing to the tow truck. "It leads to you and your car stranded on a sheet of ice."
"It leads to me flirting with a mechanic in the snow," Blaine points out. "I wasn't eating Chinese, to be clear, but if it leads to you picking me up like some knight in shining armor, I'll rethink my decisions from here on out."
Kurt stares at him, dumbfounded. "I'm not a knight in shining armor."
"Agree to disagree," Blaine replies. "Can we continue this discussion in the car?"
Kurt hesitates. "You're asking me if I'll get into a stranger's car alone at night in a blizzard? Are you insane?"
"But we're not strangers," he argues. "You're Kurt and I'm Blaine, remember?"
Kurt sighs but against all logic and reason, decides to follow him into his car.
"So," he says awkwardly as he sits in the passenger seat.
"So," Blaine echoes. "Do you know Mike? He says he comes to you for oil changes all the time."
"Mike?" he asks with a raised eyebrow. Blaine might not have a whole hell of a lot of experience with flirting but he does know when someone's subtly fishing for info.
"Best friend," Blaine answers. "Who is straight. And in a relationship."
Kurt doesn't say anything, still looking a little awkward and instead of answering, he says, "This is a lot of Chinese food. You must have fantastic metabolism."
"It's not all for me," he explains as he turns in the driver seat to face Kurt. "It's mostly for Cooper."
"Cooper?" he asks with that same raised eyebrow.
"Brother," he says. "One that didn't answer my call when I got stuck here with four boxes of Chinese."
"Ah," Kurt says, playing with his sleeves.
"Who is also straight. And also in a relationship," Blaine tells him. And then suddenly adds, "You can't meet him."
Kurt side-eyes him. "Alright. I wasn't particularly planning on it, to be quite honest."
"It's just that he's sickeningly charming and everyone falls in love with him immediately because they think he's perfect and amazing and -- and he can't have you."
Kurt swallows and instead of running out of the car screaming towards the nearest form of civilization, he says, "I think you're the right amount of charming."
Blaine decides to just go for it because what does he have to lose? He's already sort of accidentally called Kurt a hooker and like, claimed him in some weird territorial display. "I'm neither of those things, by the way. Straight or in a relationship."
"Oh," Kurt says, a little taken aback by the directness.
"So, you know, gay. And single."
Kurt offers a smile. "I got that, thank you."
They're quiet for a minutes but it's not the awkward kind. It's kind of sweet, actually, sitting close together and watching the snow fall outside. It would be totally romantic if it wasn't for the take out aroma that has now managed to fully permeate his car.
"Egg roll?" Blaine says, breaking the silence.
Kurt eyes crinkle as he lets out a small, genuine, perfect laugh. "That's okay. I had dinner about four hours ago when it was a universally acceptable time to eat. And not --" he looks at the time on the phone, "-- eleven. Oh my god, it's eleven."
Blaine sighs. "I need to sign that paperwork now, don't I?"
"Yes," Kurt says, quickly trying to climb out of Blaine's car. Even on the thick slush, he's graceful about it. None of that tuck-and-roll crap.
Blaine sighs again and dejectedly follows him back to his truck then makes sure to take his sweet old time signing his name. He can feel Kurt watching him.
"So I think I need an oil change soon. And maybe brake pads? Maybe -- I could get new tires, I guess." When Kurt doesn't say anything, Blaine glances up to meet his eyes. "Or -- wait, do I have to get stranded in a snow storm to see you again? Do you only like, tow stuff?"
Kurt smiles at him and tilts his head, suddenly looking shy. "Or we could go out and get actual food? Not the egg-roll-in-a-station-wagon kind?"
"Oh totally," Blaine rushes to agree. "I like that better."
: : :
(Their first date is not actually dinner. Instead they go ice skating. Well, Blaine skates. Kurt just falls a lot. By the end of the night Kurt's got the hang of it, right hand clutching the rail around the rink and the left hand tightly clasped in Blaine's as he helps him along.
The next one is sled riding and Blaine's pretty surprised that he manages to talk Kurt into it. They fall into each other when they inevitably tumble off going down the hill and there's a decent amount of physical contact so okay, actually maybe he's not that surprised.
They go to a Christmas Eve party at Mike's house and more than once, Blaine nudges Kurt under the mistletoe. His friends pretend not to watch except for Sugar. She doesn't even pretend.
They spend New Year's Eve together and this time, no one's around when they kiss at midnight.
They build a snowman in Kurt's front yard with Kurt's brother trying to help. Kurt dresses him with a scarf and Blaine gives him a bowtie and they're both content with the knowledge that their snowman is the most well-dressed snowman to ever be built. Then they go inside to watch football (Blaine) and make sugar cookies (Kurt).
And during one of the last frigidly cold days of winter, they sit next to each other in a booth at the Lima Bean, both nursing peppermint mochas. They're quiet for a long time until Blaine accidentally breaks the silence and says quietly, "I'm falling so in love with you." Kurt grins into his cup and before taking a sip, he says, "Well let me know when you're done falling.")
: : :
They meet at the start of spring. Blaine's wearing a bright red helmet.
He's in the middle of explaining to two teenage girls that helmets are mandatory if they want to go tandem bike-riding but they're too busy batting their eyelashes and giggling to pay any attention.
And then he comes in. The door jingles to let him know there's a customer and when Blaine turns to greet them, there's this guy. Blaine's jaw drops.
But then he's followed by some other guy and of course because there's no way some guy like this isn't dating someone.
"Be right with you!" he calls over to them. They're too busy bickering about something, though, and Blaine files this information away. Then he rushes through the rest of the speech to the two girls because they're probably going to take out a few pedestrians anyway, so.
He subtly pats his hair down as he makes his way to the front counter. "Hi!" he says brightly. "You're here to rent a tandem bike?"
They both sigh dejectedly and say, "Yes," in unison.
"Whoa, rein in the enthusiasm there, guys," he teases. "It'll be fun!"
Although it probably won't because the tall one looks like he's got zero coordination and the hot one doesn't look like he's dressed in appropriate bike riding attire. God, for boyfriends they look like they'd rather be somewhere -- anywhere -- else.
So Blaine tries to run through the speech, tells them it's probably safer to walk the bike down to the track in the park before climbing on and attempting to ride. He explains that they should be patient because it might seem hard at first but to not worry because it'll catch on pretty quickly. He tells them to trust each other and the hot one scoffs while the tall one glares.
This ... will probably not go well, Blaine realizes.
He tells them the path is about six miles and he hands them a map. He explains that the right side is for the pedestrians and the left is for riders but to be cautious because sometimes pedestrians pop up out of nowhere and running into/over them basically hurts everyone involved. Physically, mostly, but sometimes emotionally, too.
He gives them their helmet and the hot one stares at it. "No," he says.
Blaine gives him an apologetic look. "Sorry. It's sort of mandatory."
The hot guy looks at him and then back to the helmet. "I hate my dad," he says, apropos of nothing.
Almost immediately after, the tall one says, "I hate my mom, this is so stupid, god."
"Okay," Blaine says slowly.
"I'm sitting in the front," the tall one says.
"What? You can't be serious. I've been in the car with you, Finn. You can't steer to save your life. No way I'm putting my life in your hands. I'm too young to die."
Blaine sort of wants to point out that it's doubtful that anyone will actually die, maybe just a bruise here or there. But he doesn't interrupt because he kind of wants them to break up right then and there and seriously, it doesn't look like it'll be long.
"Shut up, Kurt. I'm better at sports than you are," the tall one says. Finn, Blaine remembers. His name is Finn. What a stupid name.
They move to leave out of the front doors and Blaine follows them to unlock their bike. "Here," he says as he hands the hot one his card. "Kurt, right?"
Kurt eyes him and Blaine realizes that he basically just admitted that he was eavesdropping in on their fight. Totally tacky. But whatever.
"Yes," he answers as he takes the card.
"Well, I'm Blaine. And that's our card. Hold on to that. The number to the store is on the back. If anything happens or you have trouble, call that number and I'll ride out to find you and bring you back."
Blaine pointedly doesn't give Finn a card and he totally doesn't care if Finn like, calls the Better Business Bureau and reports him. He doesn't seem to notice the slight, though.
"Well," Blaine says, awkward. "Have fun!"
Which sounds terrible coming out of his mouth because a) all three of them know that they won't and because b) Blaine doesn't want them to have fun. He wants them to suck at it so that Blaine can ride out and save Kurt and woo him and act as his savior.
So they leave. And Blaine waits by the phone. Another couple comes in, an older couple that ask him if two boys just left. He tells them yes then speeds through his speech because if Kurt calls the store, Blaine wants to be ready.
And finally, finally Kurt calls. When he answers, there's yelling in the background and Blaine freaks out. He wanted them to suck at it, not get into an accident and maim each other. "Are you okay?" he asks frantically. "Where are you?"
"I'm fine," Kurt grits out. "Finn, on the other hand, is the worst bike rider in the history of transportation."
There's more yelling in the background and Blaine can only assume it's Finn fighting the accusations. Then there's muffled noises and suddenly Finn's yelling into the phone. "Dude, can you pick us up? I can't do this anymore. I'm not getting on a bike with him ever again. This is the worst day of my life."
Blaine barely answers before he calls to Artie in the back to tell him he's heading out to help out a customer. Two customers, technically, but Blaine's sort of cool with leaving Finn out there by himself.
He speeds down the hill to the park then makes his way down the trail but doesn't get very far when he sees the two of them half-yelling at each other while the older couple watch them, disinterested.
"It's family boding, kid," the older guy says to Kurt. "Suck it up."
"I don't want to family bond with him!" Kurt says. "Can't I bond with Carole?"
"Yeah," Finn agrees. "Totally cool with that. I'm totally cool riding with you, Burt. We should switch."
"See?" the older woman (Carole?) says. "And you thought you two didn't agree on anything."
But they climb back onto their bike and barely spare the boys a second glance as they ride on.
Kurt lets out an exasperated sigh but then sees Blaine making his way over. "Oh thank god, help has arrived."
Blaine grins as he hops off his bike. This is totally how he visualized it in his head.
"Yes," Finn agrees. "Finally."
"So you two having a hard time?" he asks, trying to sound concerned.
"Yes," they say in unison.
"Okay, well how about this," Blaine suggests. "You can take my bike around the park, Finn, and I'll ride with Kurt on the tandem."
They both look relieved and grateful.
Seriously, it's exactly how he visualized it.
So that's how Blaine ends up riding around the park on a tandem bike with the hottest guy that's ever come into his store. Although, admittedly, riding translates into falling mostly until Blaine convinces Kurt to sit up front. And then they're perfect at it. And Blaine even says so, despite it probably being weird.
"We work together pretty well," he tells Kurt.
But Kurt's too focused on not dying to do much more than hum an agreement.
"Sorry about your boyfriend," Blaine says. (But he's not.)
Kurt chokes and falters and then over-corrects and they almost face plant into a tree.
"Finn?" he says, trying to catch his breath. "Brother! He's my brother!"
Blaine frowns. This would have been nice to know an hour ago.
Kurt mutters to himself. "Horrible. What a horrible thing to say."
"Sorry," Blaine apologizes. "I -- I didn't know."
"I mean, honestly," he's still muttering.
"Sorry," he says again. "When a hot guy walks into your store, you just sort of assume he has a boyfriend."
Kurt falters again and over-corrects twice and this time they don't prevent themselves from falling into a tree. It's a pretty magnificent crash.
They both struggle to stand up after they untangle themselves from the bike and before he realizes he's doing it, Blaine's helping Kurt dust the dirt off of his pants. Kurt freezes and stares at Blaine's hands.
He pulls them back quickly and flushes. "Wow, sorry. Major invasion of privacy." And then he totally and completely undermines his apology by starting to dust off Kurt's shirt, too. He stills when he catches himself again and takes a few steps back. "Sorry. Again," he says with a nervous laugh.
Kurt doesn't say anything but just keeps staring at him and takes a tiny step away.
"Oh god, you don't need to back away. I'm harmless, I swear. I won't touch you again."
Kurt eyes him.
"I mean -- unless you want to be touched? Because I would. In that situation." He shakes his head. "I swear, I'm done talking now --"
"Just to clarify," Kurt interrupts. "Which one of us is 'the hot guy'?
"What?" Blaine asks. "You have to ask that?"
"You," he says, face scrunched up in distaste. "Definitely you."
Kurt's shoulders relax a little and he takes a step forward. "Oh."
They stand there for a few moments before Kurt sighs and looks down. "These pants are ruined."
Blaine cringes. "I'm really sorry."
Kurt looks up to meet his eyes and after a long look, he says, "It's okay. They were last season anyway." It looks like it pains him to say it so Blaine appreciates the effort.
"Want to get back on?" he asks, gesturing to the bike.
He raises an eyebrow. "Not yet. I need a few more minutes to recover."
Blaine tilts his head. "From crashing into a tree or from me hitting on you?"
"Both, maybe," Kurt smiles.
Blaine grins to himself and picks the bike up. "Here, we can walk with it for awhile."
Kurt grabs the front handlebars and helps steer as he walks along side of it. They stare out at the lake in the center of the park as they walk in silence. It's nice.
When they reach the halfway point, Kurt decides he's ready to climb back on. And once again, Blaine points out that they're basically super awesome together. He can't really see Kurt's face but he can still tell that he's smiling. Kurt tells him about Finn and their parents and about how Finn's actually pretty awesome except for all of the times that he's not.
And then suddenly, they're at the end of the trail right back where they started. Blaine climbs off and stares at his hands. "Well. Thanks."
"For?" Kurt asks.
"Renting a bike, I guess?"
"Oh. You're welcome?"
Blaine looks up at him and smiles. "Sorry about ruining your clothes. I can give you money for them? Or maybe I can just give you your money back for the rental?"
Kurt shrugs. "I'll just have to go buy new ones," he replies. "I'll look at it as an opportunity to go shopping."
"Okay," he says. "Well, if you come back, I'll give you a free rental. Or -- come back a few times and I'll give you a few free rentals?" He's not the manager, though, so he's probably not supposed to be offering things like that. But who cares.
"Or," Kurt starts before gathering courage. "Or you could come with me shopping?"
Blaine grins. "Yeah, or that."
: : :
(They don't go shopping, not on their first date anyways. They go on a picnic which is totally, terribly, completely cliché. And Blaine doesn't even remotely care because Kurt acts like it's the most romantic thing ever.
They go to Kurt's prom even though Kurt's dad isn't totally sold on the idea. He has nothing to worry about, though, because not only does no one bat any eye but the night itself is pretty boring. Kurt apologizes for the food and the music and basically everything but they get to dress up and make out in the back of the limo, so.
There's a cookout at Blaine's house and his whole family pretty much falls in love with Kurt and the pineapple dessert thing that he brings. His dad corners Kurt and asks him things like what are your plans for the future and do you have a 401K and then so what are your intentions with my son?
They spend an entire weekend spring cleaning at Kurt's house. Sure, it sounds horrible on paper but it ends up being an excuse for Kurt and Blaine to hang out in his room alone. The door has to stay open per Mr. Hummel but still.
Then they spend an entire weekend cleaning up Blaine's closet. And the bedroom door doesn't have to stay open. Unsurprisingly, less cleaning gets done that weekend.
It's the last weekend of spring and they're playing footsie with each other under one of the tables at the Lima Bean. They're drinking one of the frozen coffee blended drinks and laughing about something and accidentally Blaine says, "Do you even know how quickly I'm falling in love with you?" Kurt blinks and laughs again and says, "No, but let me know when you're done falling.")
: : :
They meet during the summer. Blaine's stuck next to a tiny pool of vomit.
The ride has just finished and they're pulling back into the gate when he hears the most horrible gurgling noise from the lady to his right. They're on their backs, though, and he's latched in so securely that he can't tilt his head to the right to see if she's okay. She's laughing a few seconds later which for some reason, Blaine finds even grosser. He's still trying to crane his neck to check on her as their seats start to rotate up so that their feet are back on the ground. He still only manages to shift his head a few inches and when their seats lock into position, he winds up only being able to see as far as the control booth in the right corner.
And there's this guy.
The guy with the Mohawk controlling the ride stares at the puke girl and looks bored. And then there's the guy next to him, back of his hand covering his mouth in disgust, who looks anything but bored.
And that guy holy god.
The metal restraint that comes over his shoulders and presses up against his chest unlocks suddenly and Blaine gives himself a quick once-over just to make sure there's no rogue bile to be found. (Good news: There's not.) The metal bar over his lap is still locked, though, so he's sort of stuck there while some employee helps escort the girl next to him off the track to hopefully get her cleaned up somewhere. He determinedly does not let his gaze travel downwards because the sound of her getting sick is still echoing in his head and he doesn't really need the visual to compound the whole situation.
So instead he watches as the Mohawk guy and his hot friend get into what looks like a heated debate. They're standing way close to each other and Blaine momentarily wonders if they're like, together. The hot guy doesn't really seem the type to have a bad boy complex but Blaine's only been staring at him for three minutes so he doesn't have much empirical data to base that on. If he does have a thing for bad boys, then it sort of sucks for Blaine because he knows he really can't pull off that image at all. If he bought himself a leather jacket, he could maybe be a watered down version of one of those guys in Grease but only one of the lame ones, not that one guy that street races and knocks up some girl. Honestly, though, none of those guys are particularly all that badass --
"Dude, what the hell are you doing?"
Blaine snaps back to reality to see the Mohawk guy staring at him, standing only a few inches from his face. His eyes widen and he hopes that this guy can't read minds because he so doesn't want him to know that Blaine's been swooning over his maybe-boyfriend.
"Oh -- uh. What?"
He stares at Blaine for a minute then gets a little smirk on his face before turning back to look at his maybe-boyfriend for a quick moment.
"Follow me," Mohawk guy says. "I'm about to change your life and shit."
Blaine doesn't know how to respond to that but his lap bar unlocks right then and he's too busy scrambling to avoid the seat next to him to worry about coming up with a reply.
He follows Mohawk over toward the control panel where the hot guy is still standing, resigned.
"Hummel," he says. "This guys needs an escort."
He raises an eyebrow. Blaine notices that his plastic name tag says Kurt.
"Oh? And where would I be escorting him?"
"He needs a few free admission tickets. Some girl just puked all over him," Mohawk answers.
"No," Blaine interrupts. "She didn't. I'm fine."
Neither of them look over or even appear to be listening at all for that matter.
"We don't want him to call corporate and bitch about it so go hook him with some free passes."
"I won't," Blaine interrupts again. "I promise. I'm fine. I won't call corporate. Or bitch."
Still, no one acknowledges him.
"This is ridiculous even for you, Puck," Kurt says.
Puck acts overly indignant. "Dude, all I'm doing is looking out for the customer. Whatever else you're implying ..."
Kurt glares at him.
Puck smirks back.
Blaine feels awkwardly neglected.
"I'm really okay," he says finally. "I'm supposed to meet up with my friends in a few minutes so I'm just gonna --"
"You're getting free passes, man," Puck warns him. "Don't move."
Blaine doesn't move. This guy is a badass and it's been firmly established that Blaine? Is not one. So yeah, he doesn't move.
"What's your name?" Puck asks, still managing to look bored somehow.
"Blaine," he answers hesitantly.
"Well, Blaine, Hummel here is going to hook you up with some free park passes. If you know what I mean."
He really doesn't.
"I'm on my break," Kurt sighs.
"Suck it up," Puck responds. "And remind yourself about that 'customer is always right' bullshit."
Kurt finally looks over and meets Blaine's eyes. He offers Kurt a smile who hesitates then returns it with a small barely-there one of his own. They stare at each other until Puck breaks the moment by shoving Kurt towards the employee-only exit and winking at him. Kurt rolls his eyes.
"Come on," he says quietly, gesturing Blaine to follow him.
They're both quiet for a few moments as Blaine trails behind him down the wooden stairs. "So is she okay?" he asks to break the silence.
Kurt shrugs. "She'll be fine."
He pauses. "It sounded pretty gross."
As they finally reach the bottom of the stairs, Kurt says, "The visual wasn't great either. She was wearing a white shirt."
"I'm guessing she had Lucky Charms for breakfast," he continues.
He pauses and gives Blaine a chance to catch up to him so that they can walk side by side.
"I'm sorry," Blaine says after a few long moments.
He shrugs. "I'm not the one that has to clean it up. Puck's the one that has to rinse away the -- the remnants of the DNA she left behind."
Blaine scrunches his face up, totally grossed out. "No, I mean I'm sorry that you have to bring me all the way up to the office and everything."
"You didn't do anything wrong," Kurt replies. "This is just one of Puck's misguided attempts. I should be the one apologizing to you."
Blaine looks over and gives him a quizzical look. "What?"
"He -- does this sometimes," he answers, walking a little slower and waving around vaguely.
"Oh," he responds, not really following.
"You're handsome and I'm gay," he clarifies. "So he thinks we'll somehow wind up on the teacup ride in a passionate embrace and --and necking."
Necking. Kurt said the word necking and it's maybe the most adorable thing he's ever heard. Blaine realizes that maybe a Grease T-Bird actually is enough of a badass for Kurt.
And then Kurt's words finally hit him.
"Oh, I--" Blaine splutters. "I mean -- okay, I -- we can, sure -- it's just --"
"Oh god," Kurt says, cheeks pink. He stops walking and turns to face him. "I didn't mean to say it like that. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
"I'm not uncomfortable," Blaine assures him.
Kurt doesn't respond, face still flushed.
"I'm just … unprepared," he finishes, sounding glum. "Wes has my breath mints."
Kurt blinks a few times and laughs a little. "Okay." He starts walking again and makes a left to walk between a couple of the roller coasters. Blaine's suddenly hyper aware of the fact that they're right below one of the rides. Given what just happened, he's more than a little wary of being vomited on.
"How do you know each other?" he asks finally, just to take his mind off of things until they're no longer under the ride.
"Puck?" he asks, shrugging. "We're friends -- sort of. In an incredibly liberal sense of the word. Meaning we eat lunch together since he's my brother's best friend."
"Oh," he says. They're still walking slowly and Blaine takes the opportunity to stare at Kurt a little. He looks away awkwardly when he sort of catches Kurt sneaking looks right back at him.
Before long, Kurt's led him to the front gates and leaves Blaine outside the door for a moment. He comes back holding two small complimentary passes. "Here you go," Kurt says as he hands them over.
"Thanks," he replies quietly.
They stare at each other for a few moments until Blaine clears his throat. "So I have a pass to get back in," he says, unnecessarily. "I mean, if you ever want to do the teacup ride thing. If you ever decide you're interested in -- that. Even without the necking. Unless you're interested in the necking? Or maybe I can just hold your hand?" he rambles. "Or, you know, nothing. But I'll make sure to have my breath mints next time."
Kurt's cheeks are a little flushed again.
"Or maybe I could use one of these to -- I don't know. I could maybe eat lunch with you two sometime?" he suggests, waving the pass around weakly.
He raises an eyebrow. "You want to eat lunch with us?" he asks, skeptical.
"Well, you," Blaine clarifies. "But if he's there, that's okay."
Kurt smiles softly.
"He's having a party," he says.
Blaine blinks. "Okay?"
"On Friday?" Kurt continues. "If you want to come?"
He blinks some more.
"With me, I mean. If you want to."
Blaine gives him a shy laugh. "I definitely want to."
: : :
(They go to the party and Blaine meets about a million of Kurt's friends but it's not really their first date. Really, their first date is the day after when they get ice cream, just the two of them. They sit outside and hurry to eat their cone before it melts but then loiter in the park for a few more hours, slowly slowly scooting closer and closer together on the bench.
There's a bonfire at Wes' house and after Blaine chars four marshmallows then sets the fifth on fire, Kurt takes over and makes them for the rest of the night while Blaine rides out an impressive sugar high.
Then there's a pool party at Mike's. They're lounging on some inflatable chairs when Kurt asks him to reapply a coat of the SPF-100 to his back, sounding shy, which Blaine totally does. Other stuff probably happened at that party but Blaine legit doesn't remember because oh my god he was touching his boyfriend's naked skin in public.
They see fireworks on Fourth of July, sharing a blanket and holding hands tightly. It's intense and romantic and perfect.
And at the end of the summer, they sit at their usual table in the air-conditioned Lima Bean and try the new flavored iced teas to cool down. Kurt's saying something about the movie they're seeing that night and Blaine can't do anything but blink at him until he accidentally says, "I'm falling so hard for you, Kurt." And Kurt pauses in his story to smile and say, "Okay. Tell me when you're done falling." )
: : :
But none of those are what actually happens, though.
Instead, Blaine meets him on a staircase in the middle of the fall.
He spends the winter falling in love
... but doesn't figure it out until the spring.
And it's summer in the back of a coffee shop when he finally finishes falling.