Counting Stars (2) / A Long Read

He kept his eyes down at his phone as people rushed past him. He felt an odd sensation of relief. No cameras, no attention, it was gave him a warm feeling inside. Though if he could have been in New York,it would be better. Ohio was OK, but there were reasons he left it after high school. It wasn’t like the big apple where if someone had a problem, they would say it to your face and try to beat you in the middle of a crowd. In Ohio though, no one is that overt, they wait in the dark ends of the hallways to jump you and then dump you in a side dumpster not going to be checked until the next day.

Kurt shivered as old memories crept up into his mind. He shook his head and pushed them back. He couldn’t go there. He just needs to get threw this trip, see it horribly fail, and then go back home. He looked around for his dad. His plane landed early and he didn’t expect his dad to be at the airport right then, but after twenty-five minutes of waiting with no text to tell him anything he was getting impatient.

Grabbing his suitcase and messenger bag, he walked towards the front. When he got out he saw a line of taxis. He gazed around for an open one but for whatever reason, the Ohio airport was inconveniently busy like a New York airport. He wiped out his cell phone and opened the taxi app he had, in case of an incident like this. But as it loaded up, the phone vibrated and his dad’s number came up. He answered it.


“Hello. How you doing on this fine Ohio day?” His father chuckled into the phone.

Kurt sighed and gritted his teeth.

“Don’t be like that Kurt. If you pretend to like it, soon you will be having a blast here again.”

Kurt rolled his eyes. “I’m having a barrel of fun.”

“Sure you are. So, do you like the little piece of NYC we got for you?” There was laughter on the other side of the phone.

Kurt tried to suppress the smile that was creeping on to his face. “You could’ve picked anything from New York, anything! And you pick the damn traffic.” He sighed and a giggled slipped

“It makes you really appreciate the lackluster of Ohio’s traffic.”

“No. It makes Ohio more annoying.” Kurt said trying to stop the giggles coming out

“Doesn’t sound like it.”

“Shush. You’re distracting me. I need to find a cab.” Kurt went on his toes as he looked around for a free yellow cab.

“You could pay me to take you home.” His father chuckled

“Gladly would if you were here.” Kurt countered

Suddenly there was a horn and Kurt jumped. Turning to it he saw his father sitting at the opposite curb. When his father saw him, he waved.

“Five bucks a mile.” His father joked.

Kurt shook his head and walked over to the car trunk. His father climbed out of the front seat and helped Kurt with his bag.

“So, welcome home.” He smiled at Kurt, who gave a small one back.

“I’m only back for a little while dad.” Kurt sweetly informed

His dad wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “Well we’ve missed ya.” Kurt was squeezed into a hug. Then they climbed into the front seats and drove.

Kurt stared out the window, looking at the suburbs. Very quickly they started driving through parts of Ohio that Kurt instantly started to recognize. First were connecting small townhouses. Small front yards with maybe a patio seat or chairs on them. Then came the medium sized houses with yard all around them and polished gardens.

“Remember the old house with the basement?”

Kurt shrugged.  

“You use to hang out in that basement making clothes and all . . .”

Kurt chuckled lowly. “Yeah, and look at me now.”

“Making more clothes.”

Kurt suddenly burst out laughing, nodding his head and leaning onto the dashboard. “Yes making more clothes.”

His father looked over at him and smiled. Kurt centered himself and sat back in his chair.

“You hungry? Carol made some nice chocolate cake for you.”

Kurt shook his head as he smiled out the windshield. “I’m good dad.”

“Well, you bedroom is all set up and all so it’s ready.” His father happily informed

Kurt bit his lip, the smile slowly disappearing. He looked over at his father who was scanning the road. “It’s only for a little while dad. Two weeks tops.”

His dad solemnly nodded. “We’ve missed you Kurt.”

Kurt sank in his seat. If everyone is going to be like this, then he might just go back to New York early.

“I still can’t believe we came back.” Quinn muttered into the cup of coffee she sipped.

Puck who sat beside her shrugged but then turned to Finn who was sitting at the drums.

“It memorable, I mean most of us wouldn’t have known each other if we didn’t have this club.” Finn reasoned. He hit a drum.

Puck shrugged and looked around the choir room. The chairs were placed like they were, on the cement risers and the black piano was placed to the left of the front. Same as usual.

“I think if we can save this club for kids later on, it might make this school better for everyone.” Mercedes smiled as she walked in with Tina on her arm and sat in the front row.

“Yeah, guys. This was the only place we could all come and talk about things we would never admit bothered us.” Tina added

Quinn took another sip of the coffee.

Puck nodded and sat back in his chair. “Do you think people will actually show up or is this all there is?”

“I would be mighty surprised if that happened.”

They turned around and smiled as Mr. Shue walked into the room. He clapped his hands and laughed as he greeted them.

“This place wouldn’t have been the same without you Mr. Shue.” Mercedes smiled as she gave him a hug.

“And without you guys, it wouldn’t have been the same.” Mr. Shue added.

Everyone clapped and cheered. Then Santana and Brittany walked in hand in hand. They smiled at each other and then at the group before sitting down together.

“Santana, you look well.” Quinn noted

Santana glanced at her. “I can’t say the same to you but thank you, I am.” She turned to Brittany and giggled.

Quinn sighed behind them and looked away with a bored expression on her face. “Same Lopez.”

Brittany turned around to her. “Don’t worry about Santana, she just doesn’t like that I got her to miss the carnival that came to our town.” Quinn turned and watched as she hugged Santana. “You just being grumpy.”

Mr. Shue chuckled. “Welcome back Santana. Glad you made it.”

Santana smiled at him. “Well, if we can get everyone here and get whatever needs to be done, done, then I will be glad to be back. Only because I didn’t have to be back in this hillbilly hell of a town.”

Mr. Shue nodded, as well as everyone else. “Well, its about the contract Sue wrote a while back. Apparently it was an actual contract and there’s an error in it.”

“Why does that matter? Why do all of us have to come back?” Puck asked

Blaine walked in with Sam, Mike and Artie.

“Because if the contract is invalid, that means we owe the school a lot of money.” Blaine explained as he fixed his navy blue blazer and sat with Mercedes and Tina. “And let me tell you something, the bill is huge. For what I saw, the jungle backdrop cost at least a few hundred grand.” He said nonchalantly

Mouths of the alumni dropped.

“Dude that’s a lot.” Finn gasped

“That’s at least three hundred pools in CA.” Puck blinked. “There’s no way we can pay that.”

Mr. Shue took a breath and nodded. “That’s why I had to contact you guys. Not the glee club afterward you guys or even the one after that. You guys signed your names and without everyone here, well,” he bit his lip. “I just don’t know what Sue is capable of. As you can see, we just got the chairs back and the piano was borrowed from Dalton.” They looked at the piano and then back at Mr. Shue. “We need as much help as we can get.”

“And help has arrived!” Rachel waltzed into the room, her heels stomping and her hands flung out. She wore a tight short dress, a black strapless top with a connected green plaid skirt. She stopped right in the center of the room and bowed, and there was a short applause. She soaked it up for a minute, then clasped her hands together. “I am so happy you guys came, the glee club can not die.”

The group nodded.

“Yeah, it was a special place for us.” Tina chimed

“It gave me a home away from the hotel.” Sam added.

“And it produced me, and now look at it all.” Rachel swooned. “I can’t even think of Mc’ Kindley high school without glee club.”

Santana rolled her eyes and Rachel ignored her.

“I’m glad that you feel that way. I’m glad you all feel that way.” Mr. Shue smile deeply.

“And I could really care less that you people feel that way.” Sue added as she walked in. She walked over to Rachel in the center of the room and shoved her to the chairs. In her hands she held a thick folder. She scanned the room and then smiled. She rested her eyes on Mr. Shue. “Well, Will even when you bring all the misfits back from whatever rocks they were living under-”

“I don’t live under a rock!” Rachel jumped up.

“There are a lot of rocks around our house.” Brittany said to Santana. Santana motioned her to stay quiet.

Sue smiled at her and shook her head. “You’re on Broadway. That is the definition of living under a rock. Sit down Berry before I have you taken out in handcuffs.” Rachel sat down while the group looked at each other with concern looks. “But I am glad to say that you have failed at getting all the members of the contract here, together, in this room.”

They looked at each other and then back at her.

“Sue, everyone came who could come.” Mr. Shue  explained

Sue smiled her teeth at him. “And the wrong people came.”

“Who do we need to be here?” Rachel asked as she stood up and put her hands on her hips.


The room went silent. Everyone whispered to each other.

“I thought I just saw him at the coffee bean . . “ Mercedes spoke up with a tint of confusion in her voice.

“He is.” Rachel confidently reassured. She looked Sue over. “I told him back in New York and got it published so that he pretty much had to come.”

“Control freak.” Santana commented disgusted

“Shut it.” Rachel snapped back.

Sue chuckled and looked at the clock. “If he appears in the magical fluffy pink cloud that he seemed to always walk on before three o’clock, then I guess we can continue. But no jet is that fast.” Sue smirked superiorly at them before strutting out of the room.

The room held a deafening silence as they looked at each other.

“You did what now Berry?” Mercedes questioned, looking skeptical at Rachel.

Rachel shook it off and whipped her phone out as she walked towards the doorway. “I’m calling him. If anything, he’s at his dad’s damn auto shop and hadn’t got the several text I sent him.”

“Why? What are you his mother?” Santana mocked

Rachel spun around and gave her a look that made Santana’s grin straighten on her face. “I don’t have time for your BS Santana. We don’t have time. If the glee club doesn’t get re-imbursed-”

“You don’t get to brag about yourself to people who couldn’t care less. “ Santana finished with a shrug. She got up and walked up to her, waving her arms in the air. “Look at me, Rachel Berry. Miss I’m-on-Broadway but still single and no where close to any kind of relationship.” She gestured to Finn at the drum set. “You couldn’t even seal the deal with flappy pancake over there.”

Rachel’s face blew up with red hot anger. “It’s better than going no where like you. You pretend to be happy living out in the middle of no where with a girl who has no clue who she may love.” She got in Santana’s face. “I know people love me. There’s a full house every time I take the stage, magazines flock to interview me. They would have done that to you but you’re a scared little girl who is barely hanging on.”

Santana slowly shook her head as she looked Rachel over. “When I’m done with you, you’ll be barely hanging on to the sad pitiful existence you call life.” She grabbed the collar of Rachel shirt and pulled up. Rachel latched onto Santana’s wrists and tried to wiggle out of her grips as Santana raised her other hand and formed a fist.

The  others started to jump up. Kurt whipped out his phone and ran to the doorway of the office he was sitting in. He quickly set the camera up and started snapping pictures with the volume on loud.

The room stopped and looked at him.

He feigned a sad face at Santana. “What did I tell you Santana? You can’t just stop in the middle of an action shot.” He put his phone away and walked up to the two, separating them and putting himself between. “Rachel was truly afraid and had the perfect expression for the shot. I can’t help you if you don’t work with me.”

Everyone looked at them. Kurt mouthed something to her. Santana slowly nodded her head and backed away. She looked at Rachel over his shoulder. “Not finished with you smurf.” She went back to her seat beside Brittany.

Kurt turned to Rachel and smiled. “You are as stupendous as they said you were.”

Rachel’s face brightened and she returned the smile. “Oh really? Well it is all in the atmosphere we actors put ourselves in. I really had to do more on my part since Santana was rusty.” Rachel promptly explained.

Santana loudly huffed but Kurt merely nodded his head. “Of course.”

“Just remember to write that when published and what not. It could help me with my career you know?”

Kurt nodded again and took a seat beside the drum set.

“Hey Kurt.” Finn greeted

Kurt smiled at him. “Hey Finn.”

Finn covered his giggles and Kurt raised an eyebrow to it. Finn pointed a drumstick at Kurt, but then Kurt looked beside him to see Blaine Anderson sitting next to him. His face blushed rosy pink.

“Hi.” He said small

“Hey.” Blaine greeted lowly with a small smile.

They nodded at each other and then turned away. Kurt stared at the clock and prayed for the time to go faster, so he wouldn’t have to sit there any longer. Every minute he died inside from the horrible memories he had made and long buried a time ago. He needed to get this over as painless as possible and as quick as possible.

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