"I mean all you gotta do is say, 'yes', 'no', or 'maybe'."
Kurt looked over his shoulder and then back at Burt. "Is there another option?"
Kurt turned to look towards the building. A trumpeting fanfare began to play. He turned back and looked at Burt once more before he began to walk towards the entrance.
Burt called out to him. "Hey, Kurt! Get back in for a minute." Burt went back to the driver's side and got in.
"Um, okay." Kurt looked confused, but got in the passenger side. When Burt started the SUV up, Kurt's expression got even more confused, but he fastened his seat belt.
Burt did a 3-point turn around and drove down to the stop sign and looked at Kurt, really looked at him for the first time in a good while. He wondered when he had missed the signs. HOW he had missed the signs. He wondered what in the hell had possessed him to say those things about Liz. If she could hear him, she would be so angry with him right now. How did Kurt get so low that he believed that Blaine is the only person that could ever love him?
He flicked the turn signal down, took a left, and then a right at the next stop sign. He headed away from the school and towards the airport in Columbus. He knew that that he had clothes in DC and that Kurt's bags were already in the back for his flight out later that afternoon.
"Where are we going, Dad?"
"I need to think about some things before we talk, okay?"
Within a couple of minutes, Kurt's phone started pinging with texts repeatedly.
"Turn that off, will you?"
Kurt nodded and powered his phone down. He stared out the window. Tears began streaming down his cheeks. He reached into the glove box where Burt kept extra napkins and took a couple out to wipe his eyes.
Burt drove along in silence, images and thoughts flashing through his mind. How Kurt looked absolutely broken in the diner in New York. Kurt cooking for him and Blaine at Christmas. How Kurt's smile never seemed to reach his eyes anymore. When was the last time he had seen Kurt actually smile? He couldn't remember. He tried to shut out the thoughts so he could focus on the road.
He pulled into the short-term parking at the airport.
"I don't need to be here for another two and a half hours."
"We're going to my place in DC. Grab your luggage."
Once inside, Burt asked for his ticket to New York. Kurt sat on a bench nearby and waited, still not understanding what was going on. Ten minutes later, Burt was back.
"We're flying out in an hour and a half. We need to get through security. Give me that suitcase. I'm claiming it's my carry-on. It's small enough to be."
They went through the security checkpoint without any trouble. Burt led him to a coffee shop and ordered them drinks. They sat down at a table.
"We'll talk once we're at my place in DC. I need to let Carole know that's where we're headed. I'll just wear what I have there until I fly back home." He took his phone out and texted her.
Kurt sipped his iced coffee. He did his best to keep from bouncing his leg. He started stacking and restacking the packets of sugar, Equal, and Splenda on the table.
Burt got up. "Let's go to the bookstore. You can find something that's interesting enough to keep your attention for the next three hours."
Kurt nodded. He grabbed his drink and his bag and followed Burt to the bookstore. Burt saw a book on the new release table, Getting Past Your Past. He picked it up and showed it to Kurt, who shrugged, but took it and read the back. He walked towards the counter with it. Burt picked up a word search magazine and a lined notebook. He added them to the book and paid.
"The notebook's in case you want to write down thoughts or questions while you read that book. It seemed like the kind of book that might make you want to write stuff down."
"Thanks. I might just write some stuff down first."
"That's fine too."
"What were you working on so intently on the flight?"
"A Klaine timeline."
"What's a Klaine?"
"It our couple name – Kurt and Blaine. I was trying to write everything out and look at it objectively to gain a sense of perspective.
"Can I read it?"
Kurt shrugged and handed it to Burt. "I'm going to go take a shower and change if you don't mind."
"Fine by me." He sat down on the sofa.
Burt started off by reading through the 3-page timeline that Kurt had created from the notes he had written on the plane. He read through the notes afterwards.
Kurt came back out and plopped down on the couch in an undershirt and pair of lounge pants. He closed his eyes and rolled his neck around, willing himself to relax.
"On the flight, I went back through the conversation we had on the way to Dalton. When I thought about you saying that you didn't think anyone else would love you like Blaine does, my heart sunk. How could you think that no one else would ever love you? But now I'm even more upset. I hope that you NEVER have anyone else 'love' you the way Blaine does because this isn't love, Kurt."
"What do you mean? Everyone thinks Blaine is the best boyfriend. Everyone tells me how lucky I am to have found such a great guy. It's me, Dad. I'm the one that's not good enough, but he loves me anyway."
"Kurt, this isn't love. I don't care what your friends have been telling you. He cheated on you in two weeks according to this. You broke up with him, but by Thanksgiving you were talking to him again. I mistook that for you two working towards getting back together. I thought you broke it off because of the distance. I had no idea he had cheated on you. I would have never, ever brought him to New York with me if I had known that. Hell, I would have never so much as spoken to him after that. Cheaters don't change their spots, Kurt. Cheaters cheat again and again and again. You deserve better. You matter, Kurt."
"I don't, though, do I? No one took my side, Dad. Everyone knew he had cheated on me. But they've all just been waiting for me to get over myself – for me to forgive him and take him back. There were what? 75 people there? My source said the Haverbrook choir, Vocal Adrenaline, the Warblers, and the New Directions, old and new were going to be there. That's nothing but a setup for me to feel unable to say anything except a gleeful 'YES!' to his proposal. I didn't even want to go back to dating him, Dad. I have a guy in New York that I really like. We're still in the close friends, but not quite to boyfriends stage. We've been casually dating since the middle of February, so about a month."
"Why didn't I know about this guy?"
"You don't know anything about my life. After you told me that you had cancer, I just stopped telling you anything except the few positive things in my life. You didn't need negativity coming from me."
"I dropped the ball somewhere. Where did I go wrong?"
"You're a great dad."
"Stop. Just tell me at what point did you start blocking me out and lying by omission."
"You really want to know?"
Burt sighed. "Yeah."
"The week after Mom died."
"You were eight, Kurt."
"I overheard some of the kids at school talking about her dying. Their comments were hurtful. Anyway, at that moment, I decided to be the best son I could be so that you wouldn't die too. I began to let parts of myself show in high school, but then you got the call at the shop. I blew the high note on purpose so I would lose and no one would see me sing a woman's song at the competition. Junior year, I sassed you about going to the sing-along and you had the arrhythmia and ended up in a coma. I can tell myself that these things are not connected, but it doesn't work. Anyway, you asked. It's been 11 years."
"God, Kurt. That's not what I wanted. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Burt broke down crying. "I was so wrong. That whole 'I don't change you, you don't change me thing…' that was wrong of me. I needed to be more involved in what you liked, to take a real interest in it, like your mom would have. I pushed you away every time I wouldn't pay attention to something you liked. That was my job and I blew it."
"You were there for me. You took me to shows."
"It wasn't enough. Start back as far as you can and tell me what you've been keeping from me all these years."
"Fine, we'll get back to that. Tell me what this part means. What's the 'locker room incident', the 'GAP Attack', the 'Scandals incident', and the 'Valentine's Day fiasco'? Those are on here without explanation, but were obviously low points in the timeline you made."
Kurt reluctantly explained those events.
"Kurt, you've been sexually assaulted, and then had someone you loved attempt another sexual assault. I want you in therapy when you get back to New York."
"Back to the current issue with Blaine. Are you in love with him?"
"No. I still love him because I don't know how to stop, but I'm not in love with him."
"What answer were you going to give him?"
"I would have said 'yes' like everyone was expecting. What else was there for me to say? I could see Rachel, Santana, and Mercedes standing right inside the entry. I live with Rachel and Santana. How was I supposed to say 'no' after they flew out here for this? How was I going to go back to New York and live with them if I turned down my Disney prince?"
"Wow." Burt ran his hand across his head and put his cap back on. "Well, that's going to change. I want you out of that loft. If that's how everyone is treating you, you need out of there. I'm going to pay the difference on whatever we can find that's either near where you go to school or near where you work. Use your phone and start looking. I'm going to book flights to New York tomorrow and look up getting a U-Haul."
"Are you serious?"
"Absolutely. Enough is enough. I've not been there for you like I should have, but that stops now. Set up appointments to view the three best options you can find with immediate availability. Short-term is fine, maybe even better. That will give you the chance to move immediately, but if the first place isn't what you want it will give you a couple of months to find a place you actually really like and move there instead."
Kurt walked Burt down to the sidewalk to take a taxi back to the airport.
"I like him, Kurt. He treats you with respect. I know you're not ready to date anyone again yet, but if he's willing to stay your friend, keep him." Burt pulled him into a hug. "I love you, Kiddo. I'm going to do a better job."
"I love you too, Dad. Thanks for everything. I'm going to find someone and get some help."
"Stay strong. Leave all of their numbers blocked."
Kurt watched the taxi disappear before he went back into the building where his new shoebox flat awaited him. It was the same price he'd been paying for the loft, but during their talks, Burt demanded to cover half of his rent and asked him to quit the diner and only work at Vogue. The open room itself wasn't even the size of his bedroom in Lima, but miraculously, it had it's own bathroom and a lofted space for the bed above the closet and kitchenette. Amazingly, it was between NYADA and Vogue and close to a subway station. He walked up the two flights of stairs and let himself in.
"Home sweet shoebox?" Kurt teased, as he crossed the room.
Adam turned from where he was looking out the window. "It has potential, love. Once we get the love seat assembled, the new drop leaf table assembled, your amazing wood storage unit reassembled, and the bed up into the loft area, you can unpack the boxes and get rid of them. Then, you can get everything situated and work your magic. It will be fantastic," Adam said. "And best of all, free from busybodies." He offered Kurt a hug.
He allowed himself to be pulled into one of Adam's amazing hugs. Kurt took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Thank you."
"Anytime, love. Anytime."
There was a knock at the door.
"That's Xander and Liam with the tools. They're right on time," Adam said. He squeezed Kurt gently before letting go to answer the door.