Distorted

Chapter 15

"All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up." ― James Baldwin


This is the way you left me

I'm not pretending

No hope, no love, no glory

No happy ending

Kurt looked nervously around the room with his eyes that were mildly timid because he could be making the single biggest mistake of his life in this moment. After all, who had a solo sprung on them in the middle of the NYADA Winter Showcase and then got up and sang Mika? However, he'd started now, and he couldn't back out: it was all or nothing.

This is the way that we love

Like it's forever

Then live the rest of our life

But not together

Still, if he focused very hard he could almost visualise Blaine at the back of the hall, staring at him with his wide hazel eyes that still looked remarkably innocent, but were also haunted, as he tried to comprehend, like Kurt, that they would never be together again because it was broken apart before them; it was forever, forever, I'll never say goodbye, I'll always love you, but now it was gone. No more forever for either of them.

Wake up in the morning

Stumble on my life

Can't get no love

Without sacrifice

He looked around at eyes that stared, judgingly, up at him as he sung about the fact that letting go of Blaine – someone he loved more than almost anyone else – was the only way that Blaine had seen of Kurt being happy again, and Kurt had to believe that otherwise everything that he was doing was pointless. He had to believe that letting go of Blaine would mean that he could regain the happiness that came with falling, deeply, in love.

If anything should happen

I guess I wish you well

Ooh a little bit of heaven

Or a little bit of hell

Part of that letting go meant that he had to become ambivalent to Blaine's life and choices, something he hadn't quite managed yet, but there really was nothing more or less he could do now because Blaine would not tell him anything more, and some part of him was glad because he didn't want any more pain or heartbreak, but it still cut through him; that deception and lack of trust.

This is the hardest story

That I've ever told

No hope or love or glory

Happy endings gone forevermore

Despite the fact that it would have been one of the last songs that he would have considered doing for his audition, he realised that it was quite a good song for showcasing the different aspects of his voice anyway. He chanced a look at Rachel, feeling vulnerable about baring himself open like this in front of so many people, but he saw her encouraging smile, and Brody's nod of approval, and knew he was doing this right.

I feel as if I'm wasting

And I wasted every day…

He graced his voice up to the high note and saw people sit up, looking impressed by his voice. He glanced over at Carmen. She was sitting back in her chair, looking ambivalent, but there was something about the way that she wasn't cutting him off – maybe she wouldn't be allowed to do this – and saying that he was simply selling himself to them when he wasn't; maybe she really understood that this was him sharing his heart with every other person in the room. Maybe she understood that he felt that he'd wasted so much time trying to understand Blaine when he didn't want to be understood. That he'd wasted time that could be used to move on and find happiness by trying to rekindle a candle that had been burnt to a stump.

If I pretend that nothing

Ever went wrong

I can get to my sleep

I can think that we just carried on…

Kurt couldn't pretend that his eyelids weren't mildly heavy, and that he wasn't exhausted to the bone with everything that had happened between them. He couldn't pretend that he didn't dream about Blaine dragging him down that hallway, singing Teenage Dream, kissing him, dancing with him, transferring, "Sebastian doesn't mean anything to me", leaping in front of the slushee, winning Nationals, graduating, the look on his face in the park, the scream in the hallway, the way he looked for Sebastian for help and how he'd turned around and been allowed to walk away…

And it was ridiculously hard to deal with. It was impossible to forget Blaine. It was impossible to forget everything that had happened between them or pretend that they had never been so madly in love that they would have spent the rest of their lives together. If Blaine hadn't have decided that whatever had happened was better kept a secret than he was left with this; this was what Blaine had left him in return, and all Kurt could do was build something better out of it.

He glanced at Carmen and saw that she had relaxed into her seat and was watching him passively, not actively scrutinising each note that passed from his mouth, and that made him feel more confident. He looked at Rachel, who was sitting at the end of her seat, face alight with excitement. He could see Brody nodding, telling him to keep going; more, more, more, and that he was doing perfectly.

Little bit of love, little bit of love

His eyes locked onto Rachel's and felt a tiny smile curve across his face as the backing became slightly more upbeat because everything he had to look forward to was in this room, and he couldn't help but smile and move along as he looked around and saw all the faces that had been startled or incredulous or dismissive were now impressed, interested or pleased.

Little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love…

He grinned even more as Rachel got nervously to feet, clearly not sure whether she was allowed to do this, and sang the backing part, clapping along. People looked at her in shock, but as they looked at each other they were both thinking exactly the same thing; they didn't have to conform to all the rules that were set – they were here to make something of themselves, and they had to take risks and do new things to achieve that.

Mmm, little bit of love

Little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love…

Now Brody was also on his feet, singing and clapping along too, no doubt in an attempt to back Rachel and support her as she took the plunge, but Kurt knew that he was also doing it because they were friends. One glance at his both nervous and excited face confirmed that this had not happened before.

Little bit of love

Little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love…

Other students were getting to their feet, clearly taking pleasure at doing something new and the chance to be part of the performance at the Winter Showcase where they otherwise might have to simply sit and applaud others. He could see Carmen looking around the hall, noting who was on their feet, but she didn't look angry or upset. In fact, she looked interested in what was happening. This was how things had happened in Ohio, and, as Kurt moved along to the song with a confident smile on his face because he had the support of the entire audience were all clapping, he felt proud that he'd managed to make that work in the big city. He'd taken one of the best parts of his high school career and managed to successfully transplant it into New York. Blaine hadn't worked, but this did; he could do this.

Little bit of love, little bit of love, little bit of love, love

I feel as if I'm wasting

And I wasted every day

And the high notes were nothing when he had a hall of talented singers backing him up. He pushed his arms out slightly, bent at the elbows with his fingers splayed and closed his eyes, allowing himself to enjoy this because performing was a part of who he was, and he hadn't done something like this since that day that seemed so long ago in the courtyard of McKinley.

Hey, hey, hey, hey

This is the way you left me

I'm not pretending

No hope, no love, no glory

No happy ending

He had the sudden realisation that he should have simply listened to what he'd said to Finn on that day. That performance, which had drawn back people that had lost their hope, was exactly what he should have put on that tape because he had been completely right;

This is the way that we loved

Like it's forever

Then live the rest of our lives

But not together

…"Why can't you? The glee club might be over, yeah, but that doesn't mean we lose our right to sing…The choir room was just somewhere that was safe, it didn't make the music…that was us…That's the best thing about your voice…no matter where you are or who you're with or what you're doing, you can always use it to express how you feel. It's not something that anyone can take away from you – your voice is yours…always."…

This is the way you left me

I'm not pretending

No hope, no love, no glory

No happy ending

At the end, despite the fact that all the backing had dropped back and it was the same piano accompaniment as the beginning, he didn't sound vulnerable. It was like in that song he'd managed to condense everything that he'd been through since Blaine had told him what had happened in the park. He'd managed to show everyone his journey through the heartbreak and the pain and the confusion to the tired, weary, state and finally to the place where he was now – moving on and looking forward.

As he took several bows, soaking up the applause with a smile because his standing ovation was just as loud as Rachel's, he knew that there was nothing more he could have done this time round. This time he had given everything. He felt one single tear slip, rather subtly, from his left eye, but he was mourning – he was mourning the loss of his old life, Blaine and all that they might have had, but this was his last homage to that life.


Kurt had never imagined that simply waiting for something could be so painful. After he'd gotten down off the giddying high that had been his performance, and Rachel's winning of the Winter Showcase, he'd realised that he spent every day in a state of perpetual anxiety. Whilst he could think of no reason for Carmen to reject him from NYADA now, he couldn't escape the chest tightening worry that he felt every time he checked the mail and saw that there was no letter from them. He knew that they would write to him even if he was rejected so the absence of a letter ought not to worry him, but at the same time, given the fact that Carmen had told him face to face that she hadn't liked his tape, maybe she didn't think there was a need.

It was impossible to focus because he'd put himself on the line for that shot of redemption, but what if someone better had turned up on tape? What if there was someone who didn't need to be redeemed? What if she gave the spot he'd undoubtedly bought himself at the Showcase to someone else? Nothing was certain, and Kurt knew that there were other people out there that were as talented as him.

Both Brody and Rachel had attempted to abate his fears, mainly by telling him that he was more the subject of conversation than Rachel – the winner – which never happened. They'd told him that people were impressed by the risk that he'd taken and were even more surprised at the way he'd pulled it off; especially making everyone getting up and joining in to appear completely natural instead of the ground-breaking thing that it was, but even that couldn't stop the niggling doubts that had wormed their way into his mind.

The only good thing about the doubts was that they kept his mind firmly off Blaine because he was too stressed about NYADA and the will-I-won't-I scenarios he'd come up with in his head to worry. or linger on what Blaine might be doing at Dalton, or worse, what he and Sebastian were doing.

He did, however, spare a couple of thoughts a day on Thad and hoping that he was getting better. A skim over the Facebook of the Dalton boys told him that there had been a very serious "incident" with Hunter – Kurt wasn't sure what had happened because it never said; there was always either an ellipsis or asterisk which meant they didn't have to say anything more – that had resulted in him being thrown out of the Warblers, put in a solitary room in the faculty building, given three months of detention and counselling sessions, but he could also tell that Thad had gotten over it okay.

He was glad that, from what he could gleam whilst avoiding all mention of Blaine and Sebastian, Thad really did seem to be getting better. Most people commented that he smiled and laughed a lot, and that it was honestly hard to believe that it had happened because he was very similar. That, alone, made Kurt worry because he found it hard to believe that all of Thad's fear and anxieties had just appeared out of nowhere – he had to have had them before which meant if he was the same… Kurt wasn't sure, but it worried him slightly. However, he got the feeling that, between them, the Dalton boys would be smart enough to work that out; they knew him far better than Kurt ever had or would.

Rachel made sure that Kurt didn't starve himself to death via anxiety. He wasn't trying to do it, or was even consciously aware that he wasn't eating, but when he got nervous he couldn't handle simply sitting still. He needed to be on his feet and actively doing something because he found it was very easy for his mind to wander. He lived off coffee, and he wondered whether there was a maximum limit to the amount of caffeine one was supposed to put into their bloodstream, but then discarded it because it was coffee.

Kurt was sure that, until the NYADA letter came and gave him a definite yes or no, he would slowly be driven insane with the uncertainty of his situation. He'd learnt that if there was thing that he absolutely could not handle than it was ambivalence. Blaine's silence and refusal to tell him everything had done his head in more than his actual betrayal; he needed the situations to be clear cut otherwise he would slowly go mad due to the back and forth arguments in his brain, but, unfortunately, life had too many shades of grey… far more than fifty.

He shuddered at the thought of that piece of trash that was masquerading as literature and fixed his gaze back onto his computer screen. He had no idea what he was meant to be doing and rubbed his forehead, taking off his headset to give himself some time to get his mind back on the right track because he'd been doing such a good job of keeping his mind away from Blaine and what had happened. He could not believe that he'd let himself down now, but, then again, what did he expect? Blaine had a nasty habit of creeping up on him when he least expected it.

"Kurt," Kurt looked up at Isabelle, who had obviously walked past his desk and caught him staring blankly into space. "you should go home early, catch a break." Kurt sighed, eyeing the computer screen tiredly before shaking his head.

"No, I should stay and get-"

"Okay then, Kurt, go home and catch a break." Kurt rolled his eyes as his boss gave him a serious look that told him that there was no way he would be allowed to stay and work when he was exhausted and unproductive. Smiling at the amazing nature of his job, something he'd still have even if he didn't get into NYADA, he nodded in agreement.

"Alright, only because it's an order," Isabelle rolled her eyes at him.

"I wouldn't dream of thinking anything else," she commented. Kurt snorted, smiling some more, and logged off his computer on auto-pilot as Isabelle moved off, getting caught up in another conversation with someone else. Kurt rubbed his eyes as he got to his feet, hooking his bag onto his shoulder and smiling politely at the other people there, who all wished him goodnight and said that they hoped that he heard from NYADA soon.

He got home a little later than normal, having walked slowly and meandered, in an attempt to delay the inevitable sinking his chest when he saw that the postman hadn't brought anything more than takeaway menus, bills or adverts. He hated the way he felt: sick, nervous, relieved and dismayed, because he had to carry that feeling around with him up until he collapsed into blissful sleep sometime in the middle of the night, after he'd lain awake turning over the "what ifs" in his mind.

The worst thing, though, was the way that it reminded him of his and Blaine's situation because he'd spent so many times lying awake trying to discern Blaine's motives and understand what had genuinely happened. He had been left with no feeling of accomplishment after it, either, because he couldn't fathom the deepest deaths of Blaine's mind and heart. He couldn't navigate his thoughts and understand him without having to think. A spanner had dropped into the works, and Kurt couldn't dislodge it, and he was meant to not be trying to.

Frustrated at his lack of self-discipline for allowing Blaine thinking time, he snatched up the letters as he stomped over the kettle to make himself coffee. He dumped the letters down, stopping himself from frantically searching through it to see if the stamp from NYADA was there, and put the kettle onto boil before turning on the heating and finding himself a cosy fleece because the house was freezing after being unoccupied for the entire day.

He exercised the self-discipline that he felt that he was lacking by waiting for his coffee to be at that perfect drinking temperature before turning towards the letters that were sitting, innocently, on the counter-top like they may not have the power to decide Kurt's future. He glared at the inanimate objects for a little moment, re-warming his hands around the mug before sliding the letters over to him.

He piled the adverts and takeaway menus into one pile, taking note of anything that may be relatively healthy and decent to eat but finding that there wasn't much on offer except burgers, pizzas and, no doubt, sub-standard curries. He put the ones that simply said "homeowner" into another pile because that was for both him and Rachel to pour over in a manner that would make them wish that they were still living in Ohio with their parents looking after them.

Then, lying passively at the bottom of the pile, Kurt saw a white envelope, his name visible through the clear plastic window of the envelope. He put down his coffee cup, gently, before picking up the letter with fingers that trembled slightly. He could see NYADA's logo in red ink stamped in the corner, next to the stamp. He swallowed, trying to push away the sickening feeling of nerves that was rising up inside him, attempting to constrict his chest. This was it.

Turning the envelope over, Kurt stared at the neatly printed return address on the back in case it was delivered to the wrong person. He opened the draw for cutlery and picked up a knife, slitting the letter open because his fingers were trembling so badly that he was afraid he might rip the letter into pieces and destroy any evidence that he may have gotten into NYADA, or maybe it would be better to tear it up so that he didn't have to see another rejection after he'd gotten the one last year…not to mention Carmen's ruthless opinion on some of his performances.

Taking a deep, steadying, breath, Kurt put the knife down and carefully pulled out the letter that was folded up neatly. He put the envelope down and walked around for a little bit, holding onto the letter as tightly as he could to stop his hands from trembling, and tried to find the courage to open the letter and read what was said inside. He came to a stop, suddenly, taking a deep breath, closing his eyes, and unfurled the letter.

His eyes scanned the text on the page as quickly as they possibly could, heart thudding harder than he thought was possible considering he was only reading a letter. He swallowed, tears pooling into his eyes as he gasped in air through his mouth, not entirely sure whether he could believe what had been said. He turned it over and double checked that it was his name on the letter;

Kurt Hummel

It was definitely meant for him. He blinked rapidly, mouth slightly open as he kept breathing as deeply and steadily as he could, something pounding in his head as he tried to comprehend it. He took another deep breath and looked up, with watery eyes, as he heard the door slide open.

Rachel walked in, and Kurt watched as her face fell at the sight of his watery eyes. She looked at the letter in his hands, and Kurt attempted to find some words to say to her. Suddenly, his mind had gone completely numb and blank. He could barely think.

"What does it say?" she asked in a hoarse whisper, all her feelings of uncertainty, nerves and excitement seeping through into her voice. Kurt swallowed, suddenly trying to remember how to speak because he couldn't get the words that were spinning around in his head out of his mouth. He watched as Rachel took a couple of steps towards him. He blinked, rapidly, before opening his mouth, sure that he could articulate this time.

"I got in," he said in a choked voice, shrugging. Her face transitioned into one of delighted happiness as the news sunk in. Then she let out a squeal and ran to hug him. He hugged her tightly as she crushed his ribs, the good news finally settling in; he was in. He was going to NYADA!

When he'd first seen the words on the page it had been like looking at it through a hazy mirror. It was all blurred and unreal because, despite all the things that he knew about his talent and what he'd done at the Showcase, he could not quite believe it. He didn't know why, but it had been impossible to believe because Carmen didn't give second chances! He had not only gotten a second chance, but she'd written, diverting from the standard printing for applicants, that he was a brave, soulful, young man that knew how to communicate all the emotions that he had inside of him: sadness, loss, longing, happiness, hope, and to open himself up to people he didn't know in a completely honest manner and take a dramatic risk and pull it off. She said that she admired his nerves and was impressed by the way he'd managed to connect to all the people in the hall – including her. She said that his courage and talent were incomparable to most of the students in NYADA.

Reading those words had been like reading something that was written in a foreign language. He had not been able to imagine her saying those words to him; not able to see her mouth moving or hear her speaking, and that had made him unable to believe it. Part of his mind was touched and amazed whilst the more mistrusting, sceptical, part had been sure that it was a practical joke.

"This is amazing!" exclaimed Rachel, stepping back and looking up at him in unrestrained happiness. "I knew that you would get in!" Kurt nodded, wiping his eyes, and overwhelmed because he was so relieved and overjoyed and proud of himself for having the confidence to go through with what he had.

"Yeah…" he said, not sure what else he could say. "I just-" he put a hand to his forehead, shaking it and feeling like there was water inside of it. He felt slow and soggy.

"You should call your dad," said Rachel. "He'll be delighted!" Kurt nodded, fumbling for his phone. "I'll cook us a celebratory dinner!" Kurt nodded as he headed for his room. He closed the door, leaning against it. He took some deep, calming, breaths as he dialled his dad's number.

"Kurt?" asked his dad. "Everything alright?" Kurt rolled his eyes because why did his dad always assume that something was wrong when he called him? However, he was not going to get into that now. His dad's paranoia of him getting hurt would have to wait for a less joyous day.

"Yes, of course. I just- I just wanted to tell you that…I- I got into NYADA!" he said it very quickly, spitting out the news because he wanted to hear what his dad had to say. He wanted to hear that he was proud of him. He wanted to hear everything that he had to say that was good, and wonderful, about Kurt. He needed to hear that.

"Kurt, that's- that's…I'm so proud of you," his dad managed to choke out, eventually. Kurt felt the smile spread across his face, not needing to think of anything else to say as his dad took in a deep breath. "I knew that you'd get it…My son at NYADA – you did it." Kurt smiled, understanding what his dad was saying; after everything that had happened to him he had managed to achieve his dream. "I can't tell you how proud I am."

"I know," he said because he could hear it in his voice. "thanks for…everything…I wouldn't be here without you."

"Neither would I, Kurt," said his dad, honestly, and Kurt swallowed, allowing the smile to spread across his face. There was a silence between them. "I guess, I'll let you get back to spreading the word to your friends." Kurt nodded.

"Okay, yeah,"

"You're not coming back for Christmas, are you?" Kurt allowed a pause to hang over them before letting out a long sigh.

"No, dad, I'm going to spend my holiday in my new home." There was another pause.

"I thought as much. Alright, Kurt, you take of yourself. I love you. Bye."

"Both of them the same to you, bye." he replied, and he heard his dad hang up. He sighed, leaning his head back against the door as he breathed out. He was going to NYADA. He was going to NYADA.

It took him about ten minutes to alert the rest of the New Directions apart from Blaine of his success. There were lots of squeals from the girls, not Santana naturally, and a hearty rounds of congratulations from the guys. He was feeling elated, but he knew that he had to tell Blaine. After their conversation about him not getting into NYADA, he knew that it would be at least polite to tell him what had happened. He also didn't want Finn to feel obliged to tell Blaine himself like last time. Sighing, and mentally preparing himself for whatever Blaine may say, he dialled Blaine's number and pressed the phone to his ear.

"Kurt," came a cool voice after the phone had rung for some time. "I don't think we've had the pleasure." Kurt frowned, not sure who he was talking to.

"Who is this?" he asked. There was a long pause in which the other person chuckled over the line.

"It's Hunter…Blaine's run off with Sebastian somewhere," Kurt felt his mood darken in a second. "would you like me to pass on a message?" Kurt swallowed, feeling hatred and anger bubbling through him for no reason other than his good mood had been spoilt.

"Tell Blaine that I got into NYADA because he broke up with me…I guess you could say that I want to thank him." He hung up before Hunter could reply; why had he said that? That wasn't moving on – that was jealousy.

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