Cut the Cord

Chapter 17

Kurt ignores Adam’s questions in favour of pressing the redial button over and over again. Blaine isn’t picking up and the foreboding in Kurt’s chest expands like Blaine’s famous microwave brownie-in-a-mug until it starts to turn into full-blown panic.

“Pick up, come on!” He shouts as he gets Blaine’s voicemail yet again. It’s not even his voice anymore, just an automated response and then a taunting beep.

“Kurt, just come inside. He probably had to go do homework or something.” Adam places his hand on Kurt’s shoulder in what is probably meant to be a reassuring gesture but, combined with his words, just irritates Kurt.

“He just hung up suddenly. He heard your voice and he just—hung up.”

“Oh.” Adam says and at least he doesn’t attempt to say anything else—doesn’t attempt to defend himself—just tugs Kurt back inside and closes the door. Rachel glances over from her spot on the sofa, sees the look on Kurt’s face, the way he’s clutching his phone to his chest, and throws herself towards him.

“What happened? What’s wrong?” She asks frantically and Kurt wonders where to even begin. So he just drops her gaze and returns to his previous occupation of dialling Blaine’s cell phone over and over again. Adam and Rachel are having what can only be described as a forceful-whisper conversation to his left, but he honestly wouldn’t care if the building collapsed right now because Blaine isn’t picking up and this can only mean something very, very bad.

He doesn’t know what to do. If Blaine has done something stupid because of him and his fucking inability to just voice his feelings he—God, he can’t even think about it. He wishes he could redo the last twenty minutes so, so badly; everything had burnt down around him before he even noticed the flames infiltrating the corner of his vision.

You never notice, do you? He thinks viciously, hurling his phone at the sofa hard enough that it bounces off onto the floor. Rachel flinches, hand covering her mouth, and two pairs of eyes turn towards him once more. He doesn’t even care. Let them stare at him as he stands there with his hair a mess and his scarf half-hanging off his shoulders, tears unashamedly massacring his face. He doesn’t fucking care because Blaine isn’t picking up and he’s probably—Blaine is—Oh God

Somehow he ends up on the floor, Rachel curled against his side, hugging him protectively and Adam crouched down in front of him, murmuring something about breathing in time with him. Apparently he’s hyperventilating, but he can’t for the life of him stop the jagged gasps tearing their way out of his throat. No matter how many times Adam breaths in and out slowly, counting each inhale, Kurt can’t make his own breathing fall in sync with it. He’ll never be able to.

“Kurt, please, you need to calm down.” Rachel says, her hand stroking his arm and Kurt fights the instinct to throw her off. “If you can calm down, I have an idea how you can contact him.”

Kurt looks up at that, breaths momentarily halting completely.

“You have his parents’ number right? I mean, like, his home phone number? So you can ring them and make sure he’s ok. But you need to actually be able to form coherent sentences first which involves breathing.”

And so he stops thinking about the what-ifs and focusses every ounce of energy in his body on taming his gasps. He feels light-headed and he has the strange sensation that his feet are no longer connected to his body. It takes far too long—just the thought of how many useless minutes have gone by threatens to start the hyperventilating all over again—but eventually he manages to force the air into his lungs at a normal rate, even if he feels like he’s just run a marathon. He’s sick to his stomach and really wants to lie down, preferably with his head under a pillow, but nothing in the world could stop him from reaching for the phone and address book in Adam’s hands. His hands are shaking so much that he can’t turn the pages so Rachel does it for him, and they’re both thankful that ‘Anderson’ comes at the front of the alphabetically-organised list. She types in the number for him as well and then passes the phone to him; Kurt doesn’t even notice Adam mouth something to Rachel and then slip out the front door, too engrossed in the endless ringing against his ear.

Each ring seems to be teasing him, asking why he’s such an idiot. You shouldn’t have reacted like that. Why’s it always you that does this to him? No, stop it, you said you weren’t going to make this about you, remember? Oh, God, please be okay, I can’t lose you again

“Hello?” The voice that answers after the longest eternity of Kurt’s life—including the plane ride back to Lima when his world first tore into pieces—sounds incredibly tired. It has none of its usual polish, or assurance, or commanding dignity. Blaine’s father sounds broken.

“It—it’s Kurt.” He says; it’s pathetic to his own ears.

“Oh.” Mr Anderson exhales. “Hello, Kurt.”

“Is—Is Blaine…?” He trails off, unable to finish the question. He doesn’t really know how to finish it.

“He’s asleep.”

“Asleep, as in…?”

“As in he’s—he’ll be fine. His mother’s with him now.”

And suddenly Kurt doesn’t know what else to say. He’s relieved—of course he is, he’s so relieved he could burst—but he also feels a sudden ache. It’s not quite loneliness, or hurt, or worry. He just feels profoundly anxious for no reason.

“I’m sorry if he caused any distress.” Mr Anderson tries, as if hedging how to get Kurt off the phone.

“N-No, he didn’t. Do anything, I mean. We were just…” He trails off and Mr Anderson hums as if he gets it when Kurt knows for a fact that he doesn’t understand the first thing about Kurt’s stunted words.

“Right, well, I’ll let you get back to your evening in peace, then.” Mr Anderson says as if it’s that simple. For him, it probably is. “I’ll see if Blaine’s up to a phone call tomorrow.”

“Oh, um, thank you—yes, tell him to ring me and-and tell him that I—make sure he knows—”

“—Will do. Bye, Kurt.” Mr Anderson ends the call just like that, not even letting Kurt try and get the words out.

He thinks of the Anderson household, how quiet it probably is now. He thinks of how Mr Anderson has probably gone back to the paperwork in his study, how Mrs Anderson has probably fallen asleep next to the bed upstairs, her book-club novel in her lap. He imagines Blaine curled up in his bed, half-asleep, half-awake, eyelashes fluttering against his cheek as his mind swirls with horrible, untrue thoughts. He imagines Blaine’s fingers clutching at the covers, desperate to hold onto something, his feet folded neatly over themselves to keep them warm, his mouth pulled into a tight, unrelenting line, his forehead creased with doubt over things that should be the most certain in the world.

The knot in Kurt’s stomach contracts further, and finally he recognises it. Homesickness. He feels homesick.

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