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.

“Yeah’llo”

“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.

“Hummel.”

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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Counting Stars (1) / A Long Read

The New York Coffee shop was bustling, people grumpy and groggy pushing past one another to get their order and leave. The poor coffee staff hurried behind the counter. Kurt Hummel, as relaxed as he could be, followed in line as he watched silently at everyone else. It’s been awhile since he could be in a coffee shop and not be swarmed by paparazzi or raging fans. Once he gets to the counter he waits patiently till the girl rings the order. She does and finally looks up. Her mouth dropped and the corners slowly rose. He handed her a bill and pressed a finger to his lips. She covered her wide smile with her hand and held in a squeal.

“You are like, my favorite designer.” She whispers over the counter.

He smiled at her and hands her a tip, a large one and starts to head out the door.

“Kurt?”

He frantically turned to the voice and started to make an excuse. Walking towards him was a small girl, with gorgeous brown ringlets and a black dress. He stood there staring at the girl as she smiled wider and wider at him as she approached. As soon as she got to him he realized that she was not a random fan or person, she was the Broadway star from Funny Girl; She was Miss Rachel Berry.

“Kurt!” She said gleefully as she embraced him for a hug. He slightly complied, still stun to see her. After a moment, she let go of him and stood there admiring. “How are you, it’s been awhile?” She exclaimed.

“Um,” For a second he was lost for words, but he then snapped out of it. “Great, great, and how are you miss Berry?”

She giggled. “When did we become so formal?”

“I’m sorry, I’m so use to you being called that on the pamphlets. Miss Berry, Miss Berry, is just got stuck in my head.”

“Do you have a second?” Rachel asked hopeful.

He stood there uncomfortable, wanting to say he couldn’t, but something sparked in him to say yes: An old response to Rachel, something that hadn’t come up since he left. “Sure, why not. I got the time.”

She clapped her hands together and they took a table outside under an umbrella. He ate his bagel and sipped his coffee as Rachel talked aimlessly.

“I’m sorry, I know I talk a bit too much.” She abruptly apologized.

“No, no. Don’t worry about it.” He said coolly. “I kind of miss someone babbling on about stuff, sometimes people can’t seem to speak their minds, especially when it could save lives.”

Rachel giggled at the table and then smiled at him. “You are an expert on that.”

“Not really, there are plenty of people that can do it much better than me. Try anyone who has been interviewed by the press, they can certainly speak.” He joked

“Nothing but junk.” Rachel added. “But you always seem to say something inspiring or intelligent. People get helped when you talk.”

“I just say the things that needed to be said, they do the work.” He shrugged.

There was a moment of silence as they both looked down at the table, thinking and remembering.

“So,” Rachel looked up to Kurt. “May I ask why you canceled a bunch of shows from now till, like, three months. I mean, that can’t be good for publications or profit.” He asked as he leaned back in his chair.

“Oh,” Rachel blushed. “I’m going back to Lima.”

His cold expression melted at the name. He hadn’t thought about that name, said it out loud or had even talked about the place in years. Suddenly, his mind turned with curiosity, oddly hoping to hear news from a place he didn’t want any affiliation with, and anyone from there.

“How come?” His face transformed to a new old expression.

“Glee club.” She sighed.

He looked at his coffee, feeling a stabbing sensation in his stomach. He didn’t like the feeling and wanted to leave, but unsure on how to leave.

“You know the contract, the one Sue made us sign in glee club as a scheme to try to shut us down? She wrote it so that at least one person wouldn’t want to sign and then we would be short and then she could shut us down. It was what?  One in sophomore year and then one is senior year? Yeah.”

He chuckled to the side and then nodded to her.

“Well, there’s an error in it and everyone one who can, has to come back.” Rachel crossed her legs and looked at her hands under the table. Kurt’s amusement vanished as quickly as it came. Well, there’s an error in it and everyone one who can, has to come back. There was moment of silence before Rachel looked up again. “Are you going?”

He sat there his mouth open, wanting to say his real answer, hell to the no, but his boldness evaporated and he was left with his shell. He didn’t need to know any details to know for a fact that he wasn’t, and really didn’t want to go back. “Um,” The only word that came out of his mouth. “Um, when is it?” He instantly regretted it, because it gave false hope that he was even considering the possibility.

“You didn’t get an invite?” Rachel cocked her head in confusion.

Kurt shook his head slowly, silently knowing why he hadn’t gotten one.

Rachel whipped out her cell phone and searched on it. She then held it to him. “Isn’t this your number?”

He peered at the phone and laughed in his mind, keeping his face still. She still had his old cell phone number from when he still lived near her. As cute as it was, it was a stinging reminder on how long it had been since they had talked. “No.” He answered calmly

She retracted her phone back and sighed at it. “Figures.” She huffed. She suddenly broke into a smile and shined it at him. “For a while there, I thought you were just ignoring my text and calls.”

She giggled but he admitted inside his own mind that in fact, that was the main reason why he had bought a new phone and changed his number. Once he started his rise to fame, the others kept trying to socialize with him and cling like a newborn infant to it’s mother. They weren’t interested in him before it so he saw no reason to reciprocate it. He wasn’t their mother nor would he ever again pretend to be anyone’s mother. It might have been a bit too cold to just go up and change his number and not really talking or calling once in a while, but the hiatus was refreshing and now that he was sitting across from one of his old associate, he really wished the hiatus lasted longer.

“You should give me your new number so we can get together and hang out again.” Rachel suggested. Kurt took a deep breath, trying to not show that he was displeased with the suggestion. “Maybe later when we are both not so busy in the morning.” She giggled. She put her sunglasses on and turned around in her seat to the street, just as Kurt sighed in relief. “Oh my god.”

He turned in her directions and mimicked her reaction. Rushing towards the two was a small horde of paparazzi, cameras flashing and shouts heard from where they sitting. Kurt instinctively stood up, gripping his coffee, and planned to run until Rachel stood up and grabbed his arm. He turned his head to her and she again, smiled. She kept them standing there until the group of paparazzi caught up with them. When the paparazzi did, they instantly surrounded them and started to flash camera’s in their faces while shouting things at them.

“Rachel, what are you doing with Designer Hummel?”

“Kurt, how do you know miss Rachel Berry?”

“Can we get a shot with you guys?”

The shouts began to be more and more obscure, and while Rachel basked in the fame, Kurt stood there with a surprised look, almost as if he was scared but trying really hard not to show it.

“I was just having some breakfast with my old friend, Kurt Hummel.” Rachel announced to the cameras. They turned to him, and without missing a beat he agreed.

“How do you know her Kurt?” One reporter shouted at him

“From high school, we were in a club together.” He answered calmly, stuffing his free hand away from Rachel’s grabbing palm and into his pocket.

They continued to shout things at them and although it was refreshing to get some needed attention, Kurt had about enough of it within a few minutes. He slowly leaned down to her ear without any of the reporters pointing it out.

“Hey listen,” He whispered, Rachel nodding shortly in recognition. “It’s been nice seeing you and getting breakfast. Maybe it will happen again, but I have to go right now.”

She turned her head up to him. “Already?” She puppy- dogged her eyes but his only response was a shrug. What else could he do? “Fine but we should totally hangout later.”

He faked a smile and briefly hugged her. Then while avoiding anymore paparazzi, he got a cab and headed to work; VOGUE.

He kept his head down for the day, not looking up at anyone or speaking when asked. He felt the eyes on him. Rachel, why? Why, did you really mean your statement or was it just another scheme to get more publicity. The first time he did look up at his workplace, he met Paul’s stare at him. The corner of Paul’s mouth turned up but the rest stayed straight. Kurt sank back in his desk, keeping his eyes to his screen.

“Kurt! You knew her?”

He looked up from his screen and raised his eyebrows at Isabelle who walked up to his desk. In her hand has a print out column with a picture of him and Rachel from this morning. News in New York travels extremely fast.

“Yeah, we were friends for a while.” He admitted coolly

Isabelle nodded her head, rested her hands on the top of his computer head, and thought for a moment. She then quickly looked at him.

“Do you think she would be a model for one of the designs?”

He shrugged and rolled his eyes. Isabelle brought the column up to her face and started to read it over again.

“Seems like she was enjoying the spotlight with you.” Isabelle absently commented.

Kurt snickered at it and she glanced away from her reading to look at him. He quickly covered his mouth and avoided her stare.

“What?” She asked

He waved her off but she didn’t stop.

‘What? What is so funny?”

He waved her off once more. “Nothing, nothing.” He centered himself and stopped chuckling, although it left a smile on his face. He couldn’t believe anyone who heard the name Rachel Berry would ever say that she likes to share the spotlight. With the years of knowing her with him, and even if he hadn’t seen her for a few years, not in a million years would she change from being a spotlight hog. The memories came back as clear as glass the times she had nearly endangered some else in order to keep her spotlight or bullied someone into submission in order to get another solo. He knew he had some moments where he had foolishly tried to take her on for a solo, only to get viciously torn apart till there was barely any of him left to live. Their friendship was odd and wasn’t always clear if they were even friends, and maybe that was the reason they had fallen out. He hadn’t thought about it since the first couple of months after he had moved out, and after thinking hard about them he realized that their friendship was one sided. He was there to encourage Rachel like a mother without any appreciations or expectations for anything back from her. And like he said before, he will not be anyone’s mother anymore.

“So what did she want?”

He glazed over his screen again. “Just wanted to chat.”

“Anything new, something that we can use for maybe an article?” She asked, leaning a bit into his workplace.

He shrugged. “She went on with Funny Girl and her roommate and her are going to Ohio for glee club-“

“She’s going to Ohio?” Isabella asked, interrupting rudely.

He looked up at her with an uncaring expression. “Yeah, that’s why Funny Girl has been canceled for like three months.”

Isabella nodded at the information and took a moment to formulate her next question, which came fairly easy. “Why?”

“Glee club,” Kurt answered without missing a beat. “Apparently she is going to Lima to see if she and a bunch of other alumni can get the Glee club back. But I wouldn’t hold my breathe.”

“Why not?”

He looked up at her. “Because I know the principal, Sylvester, and from years of experience she will not let Glee club have come back. She would rather wipe out the entire famous and rich celebrity race and burn down every recording studio in the universe and beyond than let Glee club come back.”

Isabelle raised an eyebrow. “And you would know about this. . .why?”

He sighed and looked down at the screen. He clicked open a folder and dropped his work into it. He could see where this was going and there was no way around it. After making sure the document was saved and backed up, he leaned his head in his hand and tilted his head up to her.

“Because I was apart of that club.”

Counting Stars – A Long time Fiction from a Fan

Everyone we  striving to be noticed. To have that golden beam hit one of them and stay on one. It was all the glee club knew. New York City seemed like the place to achieve that, and while a few got their fifteen minutes of fame, it was Rachel Berry who hit it big time first. She was the lead of ‘Funny Girl’, Broadway’s sweet heart. She was the breakaway star of the group, everyone thought. But then it all turned after one winter fashion show. Now she had to compete with her long time best friend Kurt Hummel who was growing exponentially in fame.They tried to be friends. But the lima Ohio misfits couldn’t seem to hit that note right.

Years later and  Kurt Hummel hasn’t gone back to Lima or talked to anyone he knew there for a while now.To be accurate, he hasn’t talked to anyone since he started his rise to fame mainly because before then no one was interested in hanging out with him. That is until Rachel Berry finds him and corners him into coming back to Lima, to save the glee club. The same glee club that allowed the two to be friends. But after all these years, can any of the members manage to cooperate. Kurt doesn’t think so. But like everyone else, he’ll have to try to do something more than showing up to help. For the first time in forever they’ll have to sacrifice their wants for what the club could need, before it’s too  Pairings: Kurt/Blaine, Britanna,Puck/Quinn, Finn/Rachel