Struck By Love

The Homecoming

This is possibly the first day in the history of myself, Kurt Carson Phillips, that I have woken up with a smile on my face. And I don't mean that evil one as if I was planning something, I mean the genuine, happy smile. And who wouldn't be smiling? I have a boyfriend now, boyfriend! And I thought that I would never want something like this, girlfriend or a boyfriend. I've been always so focused on fulfilling my dream of getting to Northwestern that I never thought about this – my love life. And I didn't even want to think about that, but now...

Now it's different. I'm still focused on my dream and all of that, but I have someone to be focused with. I have someone who wants to help me and who actually cares about me, because let's be honest – my whole family sucks. My mom mostly spends her life on the couch these days and it's a miracle if she actually makes it out of the house. She has become known as 'that lady who grocery shops in her bathrobe and sunglasses.' My dad is gone and I've only seen him twice since he left and then there's my grandma. I try to visit her every day in the Clover Assisted Living Home, but she doesn't remember who I am. She only remembers me as that young sweet boy she always loved.

I've always felt like no one ever cares about me, but now that I have Blaine by my side, everything's somehow better, brighter and happier. All of a sudden, life doesn't suck that much as it used to.

The whole day in school I can't wait for the Homecoming that's tonight. I keep talking about it with Blaine and even though he doesn't have any costume, he agreed to help me and Malerie with our float.

Everything today is so nice! Everything seems normal and I actually understand the lesson in Algebra 2. I even held Blaine's hand several times (but always carefully so people don't see us, Blaine doesn't want his dad to know that we're together). Today I'm actually in a good mood, and believe me, that's a rare thing.

Then the Homecoming finally starts I get a bit excited and nervous. I'm standing here, next to my float with Malerie and Blaine. I'm wearing my giant number two pencil costume and Malerie is dressed as a giant notepad.

"Yeah," I say. We made a giant notebook that actually opened and closed that said The Writers' Club, and on the inside said It's the Write Club for You! "We tried selling some ad space to local businesses," I tell Blaine, looking inside our notebook. "But I had no takers."

"I'm having second thoughts about this outfit." Malerie suddenly says, looking at herself. "These horizontal lines aren't very flattering."

"You look fine, Malerie." I say. I didn't spend two hours creating an authentic notepad for her to get cold feet now.

"At least you have a costume," Blaine says, looking at us and then at himself.

"I like your bow tie." Malerie points at his blue bow tie, matching to his dark blue trousers. I smirk. He looks much better than I and Malerie do together.

We take a step back to admire our float once the final touch has been added. "It isn't perfect, but it's nice. I like it." Blaine smiles and pats me on the shoulder. And I have to agree. Sure, we don't have a budget for a rolling Roman Colosseum like the cheerleaders have, or the means to rent a Corvette like the yearbook douches did, but we are proud of ourselves nonetheless.

Suddenly the Contraception Claire (yes I call her that, in my mind at least) strides up to our float, wearing stilettos and a pink gown.

"You look like shit," I say, looking at her. She doesn't seem too bothered by that insult.

"Why couldn't I have worn something like that?" Malerie asks behind me. I ignore her and look at Claire again. Unfortunately she was nominated for homecoming queen this year.

"I don't know what you're wearing, but I have some bad news." She says, looking straight at me. "The truck pulling the cheerleaders' float, its engine just broke down, so we're taking yours." She smiles and turns around as if nothing just happened.

"Excuse me?!" I say, feeling actual steam emitting from my ears.

She looks back at me and says, "I'm sorry, but homecoming is nothing without the cheerleading float."

"Well, then go take the athletes' truck away," Blaine says and comes closer.

Claire's looking at him suspiciously long, so I come closer to her and say right into her face, "Blaine's right, they pride themselves on running around like mules anyway!" Ahh and there goes my good mood. Now I'm furious! Is she kidding me?!

"I'm sorry, my decision is final," she says with a smile so fake my left eye starts to twitch and simply walks away.

My insides starts boiling. She can't do this to me – this is my last shot at making the literary magazine. I start pacing nervously, there just has to be something we can do now. We can't just give up, I won't give up, I can't let that happen.

I feel a hand on my shoulder and I don't even have to turn around to know that it's Blaine. He squeezes, probably to comfort me, but I don't need comforting now. I need to do something! "Don't worry Kurt, we'll think of something." Blaine says.

"At least we had fun making it." Malerie sighs, looking around.

"No," I say firmly and stop dead in my tracks. "They're gonna see this float if it kills me." I forcefully put my giant pink eraser on my head (a part of my costume) and storm off toward the other floats.

"Nice costume!" Some shithead who's sweeping the pavement calls after me.

"Nice life!" I shout back at him.

I find a rope that the cheerleaders tossed aside and get an idea. I bet you think I went on a strangling rampage after that. Well, that was my first idea, but the second one is better. I go back to our float – Blaine and Malerie are still standing there, looking worried when they see me.

Without a word I tie the rope to the front of our float and from this moment on, my body is running on pure adrenaline. I feel like the Hulk! (The Mark Ruffalo Hulk, not those other guys.) I don't care what happens now – if the school burns down or a meteor hits Clover (actually that meteor would probably do the rest of the world a huge favor). I don't care if all the teachers laugh at me, this just has to work. And it will.

As soon as Blaine sees what I'm doing, he goes to me and helps me tie the rope tighter. "Kurt, you're a genius, this might actually work!" He smiles at me. Malerie's just looking at us with a lost gaze – she has no idea what are we doing. Well, she'll find out, and soon.

"It has to work." I say and finally finish it.

The game starts, fireworks burst in the sky (which I'm assuming means we are winning or have entered some kind of war). The band starts playing cheesy melodies from the seventies and homecoming finally begins.

And it's horrible. I'm pulling the Writers' Club float with Blaine, dressed as a fucking pencil across the field. Malerie is dressed as a giant notepad, operating the giant notebook on top of our float and waving to the crowd. The crowd is roaring uncontrollably at the cheerleaders passing by and they're whistling and smiling, but the second they notice us, they all go dead silent.

It's so quiet that all that they can hear are my and Blaine's grunts and swearing while we're pulling the float. "Yeah, Writers' Club! Woo-hoo!" Malerie shouts enthusiastically and continues waving.

And then the horror begins. I feel like I could die – no kidding. At first it's just a quiet rumble of snickering, but then it grows into an eruption of giggling and then evolves into an explosion of laughter. And it's everyone – the parents, the students, the faculty, etc. They're all pointing at us and laughing hysterically.

"SCREW YOU!" I scream at them and continue to pull the float with Blaine by my side. Oh my God, is this really happening? Am I actually doing this? Is this how I'm going to be remembered for the rest of my life? I finally finish pulling the float off the field. I'm sweating profusely, my face is as red as Mars, my hands are bleeding from the rope, and my body has become so stiff I can barely walk.

As soon as the float is off the field and I'm finally free, I drop the rope and stumble. I can feel Blaine's hands supporting me, while everyone's still laughing. I feel like it's all a dream, all the voices are blurred because I'm still so furious. I feel like I can't even breath.

"Hey, Kurt?" I hear Blaine's voice, but it's like it's coming from a distance. I know he's right next to me though. "Kurt, are you alright?" I hear him asking. He's looking into my eyes, but I can't bring myself to answer. I just shake my head, break free from his careful hold and rip off my pencil costume and then I run to my car at the student parking lot. He runs after me, but by the time he gets there, I'm already starting the car. "Kurt! Kurt-" He calls after me, but I can't hear the rest. I don't want to hear the rest. I just want to be alone because everything's so fucked up right now that I can't even think straight.

When I finally get home, my mom sees me limping slightly and asks, "Are you drunk?"

"Wasted." I answer and go straight to my bedroom where I collapse into my bed. The snide remarks from my peers, the discouraging comments from everyone else, and my own thoughts of doubt are on constant replay in my mind.

I'm sorry, but homecoming is nothing without the cheerleading float!

No one reads the chronicle anyway.

The art classes use it to papier-mâché things.

You're young and naive. All those dreams still seem reachable.

The whole homecoming was my last chance for the literary magazine. I've tried everything, and achieved literally nothing. I got absolutely no one inspired and no one to write for me,... well, except for Nicholas and Scott, but I'm blackmailing them... wait.

There's still one thing that I haven't tried yet. Operation Clovergate! Because everyone has something to hide!

I immediately grab my cell phone and want to call Malerie, but it suddenly starts ringing. I look at the screen – it's Blaine. I sigh and reject the call. After I do that, a small message pops up: You have four missed calls from Blaine Anderson. Great. Anyway, I'll call him back later, he's probably just worried about me after the whole 'incident' at homecoming, and the Operation Clovergate is more important now.

I dial Malerie's number and wait for her response. As soon as I hear her pick it up, I say, "Malerie, it's Carson."

"Who?" She asks.

"Carson Phillips." I say.

"Oh, yeah, I knew."

"Operation Clovergate is in effect."

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