What happens when you have everything to gain and even more to lose?
Being back in Ohio, in Westerville, was never something Blaine looked forward to. It didn't matter if he was there for Thanksgiving or Christmas or his parent's wedding anniversary party, he would start counting down the minutes until he could get back on a flight to New York the second his plane landed.
Being in Westerville for his father's funeral was no different.
If there was a silver lining to any of the three days that Blaine would be 'home' it was that Kurt was by his side. Though, Blaine had no idea why his boyfriend would want to be there when the last Anderson family function that they'd both attended had gone so well. Blaine owed Kurt more than he was sure he could ever repay him just for being there with him instead of celebrating. There hadn't been time to celebrate the fact that Kurt had been late getting out of his audition because they'd asked him to sing again and read through a scene. Kurt should be out celebrating with Santana instead of by Blaine's side at a funeral for a man who'd he'd met once, surrounded by people he didn't know, people he'd never meet again. And he did it all with a supportive hand in Blaine's and a comforting smile on his face. Like there was nowhere else in the entire world he'd rather be.
It wasn't that Blaine thought that the world revolved around him, but there was something about death, about his father's death, that made Blaine realize just how small his own life was compared to the rest of the world. The rest of the world that kept turning and continued to operate like nothing had happened. It was as if the world didn't care that his father had gotten cancer and died. His phone still went off; texts from Nick asking questions he should have known the answer to, emails were piling up in his inbox and he had missed called from clients who had his cell number. He tried his best to send Santana, still in New York doing as much as she could, the messages asking her to call the clients and let them know it would be a few days before he could respond because while the world was still spinning, Blaine's world had essentially stopped moving and everyone would just have to wait for him to catch up.
For two days, Blaine's world consisted of being holed up in a funeral home greeting, alongside his mother and Cooper, family and friends, most of which he hadn't seen in years. Blaine bit his tongue and was happy when Cooper seemed to do the same when their mother asked that Angela and Kurt sit off to the side, making it clear that that part was for family only and, despite Angela now having the Anderson last name, Mrs. Anderson didn't seem to include her in that. And, despite how Blaine felt, Kurt was just 'that boyfriend of yours' though it gave him a bit of comfort knowing that Kurt wasn't going to be shunned in solitude.
Blaine stood on one side of his mother, Cooper on the other as he met the unfamiliar faces who claimed they knew his father and remembered Blaine from when he was just a little boy. His mother's book club came to pay their respects as he his parent's friends from the house in Greenwich. For hours, people Blaine didn't know, whose name he wouldn't remember after they'd walked away came to share stories of his father's life. They would tell what would become his legacy. And Blaine couldn't help but wonder if the man being talked about in those stories would be a different man that Blaine's own stories would.
"What do you do for a living," Mr. Collins, another colleague of his father's asked when he came through the line of mourners, his hand clasping Blaine's.
"I'm the Associate Account Manager at Edward Jones in New York," Blaine answered for the sixth or seventh time that day.
"You're father must've been proud," Mr. Collins told Blaine.
Without thinking Blaine just nodded as Mr. Collins moved on to someone else he knew across the room. But the truth was Blaine didn't know if his father had really been proud of him. It had been years since his father had given him an "I'm proud of you, son." Mr. Collins was likely just being kind, but Blaine couldn't help but wonder if he was right. Or if he was terribly wrong. The most horrifying thing was that Blaine would never find out.
"I need some air," Blaine whispered to Cooper while his mother was talking with someone he didn't know and walked as quickly as he could without drawing attention to himself out of the room and out the front door of the funeral home, walking past a gathering of people who were walking into the building.
If he had been paying attention to anything but the overwhelming feeling of what he would never know that was growing inside him by the second, Blaine would have noticed that the door never closed completely behind him. He would have realized that while he was running to escape someone, Kurt, was running behind him, never calling out to stop him, just letting Blaine run, but following right behind him.
Still ignorant to Kurt's presence, Blaine sat down on the curb facing the parking lot, the sun beginning to set over the world around him. Trying to center himself, Blaine put his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands as he tried to gain some control of himself.
How had it gotten like this? Why didn't he spend the time when he knew his father was dying trying to do something to mend their strained relationship? They'd barely spoken since Cooper's wedding; all of the updates on his father's health had been delivered through his mother. And the times when they had talked had been short and awkward. The way his father acted at Cooper's wedding had been unreasonable, but so was the way they both had acted since. Why had cancer not caused either of them to let go of whatever distance had built up between them and reconcile before it was too late? Why hadn't that been enough for one of them to make a move? Maybe Blaine had been counting on his father beating the cancer and they would have their chance at reconciliation then. But he'd been wrong and now he was left with a bunch of unanswered questions and more regret. He'd somehow managed to disappoint his father, even after his death.
Blaine didn't look over when Kurt sat down next to him, but his heart sped up a little as he did, happy to have Kurt by his side. But he kept his head in his hands and his eyes focused on the ground between his feet while he tried not to break down. If he looked at Kurt right now, his eyes so kind and full of love, he'd surely turn into a hysterical mess. He owed it to his mother and Cooper to be strong. He could break down later when he was alone. Blaine didn't argue when Kurt reached up on took Blaine's right hand from where it cradled his head, wove their fingers together and pulled their joined hands into his lap. Somehow the gesture had taken some of the weight off of Blaine's chest.
"You want to talk about it," Kurt asked after a few minutes of quiet.
"It's just a little overwhelming," Blaine said, his eyes still focused on the ground between his feet.
"Other people thinking they know things about you that you don't even know yourself," Blaine said. Another moment of silence passed between them, almost like Kurt wasn't sure what Blaine meant or how to respond, so Blaine continued, "It's like, you know your father loves you right? You know that he's proud of you for everything you've ever accomplished?"
"You can say that with conviction. I'm not sure I've ever had that with my father," Blaine said, "But there are a t least fifty people in there who want to tell me how proud my father was of me, about how I was living my life, and I can't agree with them without thinking it's a lie. Without thinking that there is no way that they could have known that because I don't know if it's true."
"Do you think he didn't love you?"
Blaine shrugged, "Maybe is some weird way. I used to think that he loved me—just not that I was gay. But I guess that's just as an important part of me as any. But maybe he loved all the parts of me that he could accept and understand and the rest he either didn't like, or he hated. And I think the thing that upsets me the most is that I've run out of time to make him understand. Not that he ever would, but I could have tried harder. I stopped trying when I moved to New York. And now everyone is in there remembering what a great man he was and all I can think about is every time he'd been disappointed in me."
"It's okay to be angry with him," Kurt said stroking his thumb against Blaine's.
"It's not just him I'm angry with. I'm angry with myself for allowing things to get as bad as they did."
"He hurt you, Blaine. It's okay for you to still feel wounded."
"I know. But I didn't—I don't—hate him. I just—you saw the way he acted at Cooper's wedding. The things he said-"
"Are in the past," Kurt finished, "unless you want to continue to be mad, which is totally okay, you have to let them go. You have to let go of your anger towards him. And then let go of your anger towards yourself."
"I know," Blaine said with a sigh.
"I know it's not the same," Kurt said resting his head against Blaine's shoulder, "But you know that I love you. And I'm proud of you."
Blaine finally turned his head to look at Kurt and, as suspected, he immediate took in Kurt's eyes, beautiful, blue, kind and full of love. But instead of breaking down he gave his boyfriend the slightest of smiles, "Thank you."
Cooper and Angela had offered to stay in Westerville a little longer so that his mother wouldn't be alone and so that Blaine and Kurt could return to New York. For the first time Blaine's heart didn't get any lighter as the plane ascended into the sky to carry him home, the tension in all his muscles didn't disappear. The weight of his father's death was determined to follow him around longer than Blaine thought it would.
Kurt had insisted that they both go back to his apartment once they returned to New York with promises that Santana wouldn't be there. But there had been nothing sexual in his offer or in Blaine's acceptance. In the comfort of Kurt's apartment he could be whatever he needed to be and he would know that he was safe and loved. Kurt only asked him if he needed anything and never how he was feeling. Because Blaine didn't know and after their conversation at the funeral home, Kurt knew just how confused he was.
But the world had still been turning and it was time to catch up. Blaine had to go back to work and face the responsibilities that he'd been avoiding over the last few days. The office was quiet when he entered. He'd slept in his own apartment the night before and he'd come to work alone and Santana wasn't yet in her position behind the desk in front of his office. Blaine checked the time on his phone, he wasn't that early. He'd expected at least Nick (who was surprisingly prompt) to be getting coffee, but it seemed like everyone else was missing. Except Mr. Figgins who upon noticing Blaine's presence calling him immediately into his office.
The conversation that followed was hazy to Blaine. His mind stopped functioning properly when the words "CCPP has gone bankrupt" escaped Figgins' lips. The only thing Blaine could concentrate on was what this would mean, for his clients and for him. There wouldn't be enough left over to pay any of the shareholders. As Figgins continued to explain the details of what led to CCPP's demise, the details he would have to memorize later, he was running mentally through the list, the incredibly long list, of clients that he'd need to contact and let them know they'd lost so much money. Mr. Hanson, Mrs. Grayson, the Driers, Kurt.
If he hadn't felt sick before, he was pretty sure his breakfast was twisting and turning violently inside him now. Because this—this disaster, just got personal. He'd now to have to tell Kurt that all the money that Kurt had invested in CCPP was gone. It was gone and there was nothing Blaine could do. And he felt responsible.
He no longer cared about the clients he would have to call. He didn't care that Mrs. Robins just lost ten grand. What he cared about was Kurt. Kurt lost his money. Kurt lost money Blaine knew Kurt didn't have to lose. It was gone. But more importantly, Blaine was going to have to find a way to look Kurt in the eye when he knew that he had let Kurt down. Kurt trusted him with this. If I can't trust you who can? he'd said. And the truth was no one.
Two days before Kurt had told him how proud he was of Blaine. Now Blaine had let Kurt down just like he'd let down his father. But somehow this, telling Kurt, seeing the look of disappointment in his eyes, scared him more than seeing the same look in his father's eyes. Because the truth? The truth was that the thought of losing Kurt terrified Blaine. Blaine had been no resistant to letting anyone get close enough to hurt him. But he had and it was wonderful. But now Kurt was going to destroy him. And he deserved every second of it. For the first time in his miserable life, Blaine knew that he deserved to feel the pain of letting down someone who he loved.
Blaine sat at his desk for an hour before anyone else arrived at the office. Apparently being out of town meant that he was the last to know the bad news, and the only one who didn't get the memo to come in late. He watched, silently, as Santana put her purse down on her desk, hit the button to start up her computer, but then turn towards his office. When she reached his office door, she leaned against the frame, silent.
"Did you tell Kurt," Blaine asked.
"No," Santana responded, "But it was hard as hell because he knew something was up and he's the only person I have a terrible time lying to. But I figured you should be the one to do it."
"I'll go now," Blaine said standing quickly from his chair, "I have to—I have—"
"It can wait," Santana said moving until she was standing in front of Blaine, "He has to open the restaurant today anyway so by the time you get to the apartment he'll be gone. And you don't give news like this to people when they're working. It's rude."
Blaine took a deep breath, the panic still clawing at him, "He's going to hate me," he whispered to himself.
"He is not," Santana said, "You haven't known Kurt for as long as I have. He forgave me for being a bitch all the time and he's forgiven people who were a lot worse to him. On purpose. So here's what you're going to do. You're going to go there after work. You're going to bring him flowers. Now because you screwed up, but because Kurt deserves flowers. And then you can tell him and you two can do whatever you two do. I am going to call Brittany and spend the night with her just in case 'whatever you two do' ends up being doing it on my couch. I've walked in on that more than enough times to scar me for life."
"You really think it'll be that easy?"
"I know it will be."
And that was exactly what Blaine did.
After stopping at the florist just as they were closing, Blaine hurried to Kurt's apartment, red and yellow roses in hand. Even his knock felt nervous as he rapped against the door, waiting for Kurt as the anxiety grew inside his chest, making him fidgety. He could do this. It would be difficult but no one knew Kurt like Santana. And if she said everything would be alright, then it would. He trusted her.
The door opened to reveal Kurt, shocked, and fresh out of the shower in sweatpants and a t-shirt, clearly preparing to settle in for a night with Santana. Though they had texted after Kurt had gotten off work, Blaine never mentioned that he would be coming by and he asked Santana to do the same. Kurt let him in immediately, kissing him in greeting. Blaine wondered for a moment if it would be the last time he ever kissed Kurt. But Santana's words of reassurance pushed away the insecure voices in his head.
"These are for you," Blaine said handing the bouquet to Kurt who took in their lovely scent and disappeared into the kitchen to put them in a vase.
Blaine stood apprehensively in the middle of the living room.
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming," Kurt asked from the kitchen.
"I wanted to surprise you," Blaine said trying to act like he wasn't terrified that everything that was still good in his life wasn't about to implode on him.
"Well, consider me surprised," Kurt said returning from the kitchen with the flowers in a vase, placing them on the entertainment center, "What's the occasion?"
Blaine took a deep breath, "Can we talk?"
Blaine watched in his own horror as something like terror washed over Kurt's face, his smile disappearing, some of the light in his eyes fading, "Uh, yeah."
"Can we sit down," Blaine asked gesturing towards the couch.
Kurt nodded and Blaine took a seat on the middle cushion of the couch, Kurt sitting beside him, barely and arm's length away, "You're scaring me, Blaine."
Blaine closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "I know. I'm sorry. I don't mean to. But I promise, whatever you're thinking, what I'm about to say probably isn't it."
"Then please get it out before I go crazy."
"It's about CCPP," Blaine said hoping that would clear away whatever conclusions Kurt was jumping to in his head, "What I got to work this morning my boss told me that they went bankrupt while we were in Ohio."
"Okay," Kurt said cautiously, "What exactly does that mean?"
"It means—Kurt, it means that all the money that was invested with them," Blaine explained, "It's gone."
"Oh," Kurt said letting go of the breath he seemed to be holding, his eyes focused on something across the room.
"I'm so sorry, Kurt."
Kurt's eyes, the beautiful blue oceans that Blaine found himself longing to get lost in looked at him, "You didn't— you didn't know. You couldn't have known."
"That doesn't make me any less sorry," Blaine said as he watched Kurt realize that even though it wasn't much, he'd lost everything he'd invested in CCPP. He would never get it back, "Let me make it up to you."
"I can give you back the money you lost. All of it."
Kurt eyes which had drifted down to the rug between his feet darted up in Blaine's direction once again. They were sad, but strong, "No."
"Because I don't want your money, Blaine."
"Kurt, I can give it to you. It's not a problem for me."
"Except it is for me."
"Kurt, please let me do this for you."
"Because I don't want you to," Kurt said, "It's just that simple."
"I know you just lost money you couldn't afford to lose," Blaine
Kurt stood up and turned his back to Blaine. He was quiet for a minute but when he turned around his eyes were shining with fresh tears threatening to fall. He looked sad but when he spoke his words weren't weak, they were strong, loud, angry, "Is that how you see me? Poor little Kurt struggling to make ends meet most months while you're getting promoted in your already well-paying job."
"Kurt, of course not! That's insane."
"Is it? Because I can't help think that's the way you've seen me the entire time we've been together."
"Kurt, I don't—"
"You've been spending money like your bank account is endless. But then again, it is. You've insisted on paying for nearly everything since we've been together."
"Because I wanted to."
"Well, I wanted you not to."
"You could have said something to me," Blaine said rising to his feet but keeping a few feet between himself and Kurt, "You could have said something. But instead you're throwing what I thought was my generosity in my face."
"I'm not a charity case," Kurt shouted.
"I never said you were," Blaine yelled back, "You aren't."
"I've always known that you had it but I never wanted or needed you to bail me out of anything. I knew what I was doing investing that money. I'll be alright without it."
"I was just offering, Kurt."
"Yeah, well stop offering."
"Got it," Blaine said the hurt beginning to boil inside him, turning to anger and fear, "I'll never buy you a single thing again. I'm sorry for trying to do something nice for you. If I had known it was bothering you I would have stopped."
"Would you of? Because I asked you not to cover Santana's expenses while she was unemployed and you both went behind my back with that."
"She came to me for help. I wanted to help her. For you."
"But I asked you not to do it and you didn't seem to care."
"How long as you been angry about this, Kurt?"
Kurt opened his mouth several times to speak but closed it each time as he deliberated what the best answer to Blaine's question was before settling on, "A while."
"Since the beginning?" Blaine asked, terrified of the answer.
"No. Not that long."
"But you've been upset for at least a couple months then, right," Blaine asked, "Why didn't you say something?"
"Because I love you," Kurt shouted, "Because I love you and I was terrified that if I started a fight you'd run away."
"You were so reluctant to even start a relationship," Kurt said.
"What does that have to do with anything, Kurt," Blaine questioned, "Kurt, I agreed to be with you because I wanted nothing more. You didn't force me into anything I didn't want. I knew what I was getting into. I may have been reluctant but I knew that relationships aren't always easy. That's why I wasn't doing them."
"Exactly. And what if you thought I wasn't worth the effort?"
"Kurt, you were—you are—the exception to every rule I've ever created for myself. I wanted to spend time with you and kiss you and hold your hand. And if I wanted to buy dinner or concert tickets—"
"It was too much. Spending money isn't what being in a relationship is about."
"Neither is not telling me when something is bothering you. I thought you loved me. I thought you trusted me."
"No, Kurt. I don't know that you do. You don't trust me if you don't think that I've changed since we met and you don't trust us if you think I'd run at the first sign of trouble."
"I didn't know."
"When I walked in here tonight I knew two things: that I loved you and that you loved me. And I hoped that you would go on loving me even though loving me literally cost you."
"And what do you know now?"
"I feel like I don't know what the truth is and what is make believe. Some lie that we both told ourselves because we it was something that we wanted. And now even though I've trusted you with everything, I don't know that you've ever trusted me at all."
"I feel like I have no idea what the truth is. Because I thought that we loved each other and that it was pure. But now I think maybe that was a delusion, something I convinced myself was the truth because I wanted it; I wanted you, so badly. I know that I've spent these last few months trusting you with everything. And I know that I don't know if you've ever trusted me at all," Blaine said.
For a minute Kurt and Blaine stood in the middle of Kurt's living room, silent. The quiet around them pierced their ears until it became unbearable. They were both at a loss for words but they couldn't move forward until something was said. Blaine broke away from their stance first, heading towards the door, reaching for his shoes.
Blaine nodded, "I'm going to leave, but I'm not running. I'm leaving before I say something that I'll regret in the morning."
Blaine heard the hitch in Kurt's breath, and then his name escape as a sigh passed his lips.
"We just need to breathe for a minute," Blaine said, "I need to think."
Kurt only nodded.
"You close the next couple of nights and I'm going to be buried in trying to do damage control for the next week. I'm not saying we should wait that long, but maybe a couple of days to just figure out what we want will do us some good."
Kurt nodded, "Okay."
Blaine walked over and kissed Kurt on the forehead, relishing in the feel of Kurt's hand against his forearm as he held on tight. Blaine used Kurt's grip to give himself the strength to pull away and walk out the door of Kurt's apartment into the empty hallway. He only made it half way down the hallway until he stopped and slide to the floor along the wall. It was he gave into the pain that had been welling up in his chest. It was then that he let himself really feel everything that he'd been trying so desperately to keep under control while he front of Kurt. It was then the tears fell from his eyes.