Kurt wiped the sweat dotting his brow and handed over another brew and grinned at the woman who tipped him generously. If only she knew she tipped the owner to Spellbound she probably would have kept the ten bucks and made her way out to the dance floor sooner.
“Boss,” Santana swayed her hips with exaggeration getting a whistle from the gentlemen customers. She draped her self across his shoulders and pressed a noisy kiss to his cheek, “I love you but you’re stealing my customers.”
“Let him stay ‘Tana!” A tipsy brunette leaned over the counter, “He’s candy for the eyes.”
Santana shared a look with Kurt before she started laughing. Pressing a hand to Kurt’s shoulder and nudging him out from behind the bar she handed him the suit jacket he discard in favor of working with his crisp lavender shirt rolled up to his elbows, “I’ve got it from here. You go ahead and do your business stuff.”
Kurt rolled his eyes at her, “My business stuff makes sure you get a paycheck Santana”
As soon as he was out from behind the bar smoothed out his sleeves as much as he could manage before he pulled on his suit jacket and ran his hands over invisible wrinkles. He moved through the crowd and minutely bobbed his head in time with the music.
His bar was fully stocked and his customers were happy. It was looking to be a pleasant Wednesday night at Spellbound. At least for the employees and customer. For him, he would be up in his office finalizing the opening night of Illumination. He spoke to his security crew as he made his way through a hidden alcove and up towards his office. “I’m off the floor. Any problems you guys know how to take care of them. If I’m required you know how to find me.”
The deep voices of his security team echoed in his ear piece as he climbed the stairs and punched in the pass code to his office. As soon as he shut the door the heavy bass and music quieted. Sound proofing made it possible to actually get any work done during operating hours.
He had a few phone calls that would have to wait during daylight hours but otherwise the contractors had informed him their work was done. The electrical engineers had the lighting system up and running. He even had his employees hired, a regular DJ lined up who actually worked for him a few times at Spellbound in a pinch. Everything was going well until the press got interested in Illumination’s grand opening and decided he was the center of attention.
He didn’t have the time to deal with the press, even though it would be a good thing for the new venue. Somehow it was decided that he was a person of interest in LA within the past few years. It wasn’t something he was fond of either. He liked his private life private. No one else needed to know if he was single or not. They didn’t need to know what he looked like when he was out grocery shopping. They just needed to know the address to Spellbound and Illumination.
“Thinking pretty hard there boss man,” Santana said as she closed the door. Kurt blinked in confusion before he checked his watch. It was close to closing which meant Santana left the stranglers to Janie. She had to put in the booze order so it was better for her to have the last hour to get everything straightened out.
“It’s the new club opening,” Kurt waved her concern off as she settled at the desk Kurt had decided he might as well give in and give her for her own tasks.
“Oh, the club that you didn’t want me to be a bartender at. Instead you wanted me to stay at this old place,” Santana raised a brow and Kurt rolled his eyes at her.
“You know, maybe there is a reason for that. Did you ever stop to think about that?”
“It’s cool,” Santana shrugged, “I’ve got it made here. I don’t mind. I’m just going to miss your rosy cheeks around here.”
“Sure you will,” Kurt tapped out a reminder in his iPhone and set it to alarm later on in the morning after he had gotten some sleep.
“So are you bringing anyone to the opening?” Santana asked even though she was completely focused on the computer in front of her.
Kurt huffed out a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair, “No. I don’t think I’ll subject anyone to that circus of paparazzi.”
“I think it might be a good idea to have someone on your arm though,” Santana offered up. She stood up and cracked her back. “We’ve both read what all those trashy mags have been saying about you.”
“That I’m a soulless creature?” Kurt scoffed at that. “They don’t really need to be in my business San.”
“I’m just saying it’ll stop them from making up shitty rumors.” Santana moved to lean a hip against his desk. She fingered a business card in her hand and bit her lip as if she were completely unsure of what she was about to offer up. “I just know that you get stressed out when there’s a picture of you just chilling at the check out line with your face on it with stupid ass shit about you on it. Maybe having someone go with you would put a stop to it all.”
“Say I did bring someone and it put an end to having love slaves in my basement,” Kurt rolled his eyes, “Who would I ask to go with me last minute? I’ve got three days to find a date and there aren’t many guys who want anything to do with me.”
“It’s because you can stand on your own two feet honey,” Santana tapped the card against her lips before handing it over to Kurt. “They’re good. I’ve seen some of their people in the club with the high to dos who want to impress someone. They’re legit.”
Kurt looked down at the card in his hands and his jaw dropped, “Oh I am not calling up an escort service.”
“Are you sure about that?” Santana pulled open the latest trash and set it on Kurt’s desk. It had a picture of he and Santana from last weekend’s event. They were laughing at something and the headline ran, Cheating on lover with woman, How could he? Kurt just about swallowed his tongue. The entire populace of Los Angeles knew he was gay but to suggest he would cheat on his lover, if he even had one pissed him off.
“So if I do call and I just want someone to act as arm candy for the night that wouldn’t be a problem?” Kurt asked. “I don’t want sex or anything like that. I don’t need to be caught up in scandal.”
“If they believe there is any risk for scandal they’ll stay away from you.” Santana rolled her lips together. “Just give them a call and see if they can help you out.”
Kurt pinched the card in his fingers before he set it in his wallet gesturing for Santana to head out ahead of him, “If I end up regretting this you’ll lose your job.”
“Please, how could you regret hiring an escort for one night? Wham, bam, thank you ma’am, without any actual sex. It’ll all work out.”
Kurt’s phone chirped obnoxiously loud at nine in the morning. He blearily shut the alarm off and stared up at the ceiling. It was Thursday, his second club was opening on Saturday and he was going to hire an escort today. That was if he could take the step to actually dial the number. He didn’t need a date. He could go by himself and that would be that. Everyone would have to accept it and keep on debating if he really did have love slaves in his basement or if he was so intent on running his business that he didn’t have the time for or a soul for any kind of romance.
It was just one night to settle the shitty rumors and fuel the kinder ones. Who knows, maybe he would get the paparazzi off of his back and that would be that. He was another normal club owner who was off the market. So what was so interesting about that?
He needed a shower first. He most definitely needed a shower and to eat breakfast. Then he had to make a few other calls to be sure he had everything in order. The most pressing matter was the alcohol shipment that was coming in this afternoon. He had to make sure his bar was fully stocked and his new bartenders knew the lay of the land. He didn’t need any mess ups. Rubbing his eyes Kurt pulled him self from the plush comfort of his bed and into the bathroom to get ready for the day. Once he had all those tasks done, he’d hire an escort. Maybe.
Everything was in order. At least that was how it appeared at noon. His bartenders were coming in and they were going to get a signature drink for Illuminations pinned down. As soon as they were all behind the bar and chatting amicably about who would be stationed where Kurt ducked to the far end of the room and pulled out the business card.
Cupid’s Consort. What kind of name was that anyway? Did they just want to spell out the obvious nature of their business? Kurt was this close to ripping the card to shreds and going without a date like he always did. But the little voice at the back of his mind asked him what if having someone there would stop the stupid rumors. Having a date could make it worse but seriously? Love slaves in his basement? He didn’t even have a basement. That was what made Kurt dial the number and settle in a booth no one could really see him in.
“Thank you for calling Cupid’s Consort, where all your needs are met. What are you interested in?”
Kurt’s mouth dropped in shock at the suggestive opening. He figured there would be some sort of veiled answering service, not a raspy voice on the other end of the line.
“Are you still on the line?”
“Sorry,” Kurt answered immediately, “I’m not sure what I’m interested in.”
“How about you tell me what made you call us today?”
Kurt didn’t have an ounce of a clue as to who he was speaking with but if he hung up now he wasn’t going to be calling back. “I have an event I need a companion for. It is a club opening so paparazzi are going to be there along with a few famous faces. I’m not interested in anything other than a companion for a few hours.”
“All right, let me see what I can do for you.” Kurt could hear a keyboard clicking and clacking against manicured nails in the background before the woman spoke again, “We are going to need some basic information from you sir but I’m going to transfer you over to Amanda to get you all set up if you will agree to a background check. It is for the safety of our employees, you understand?”
Kurt understood that completely. Sending someone you employed to a killer would not be good for business. “That’s fine. What will I need?”
“Ah, Amanda will know the specifics if you’ll hold for me please?”
“Sure,” Kurt bit into his lip and wished he had a drink. This was nerve racking to say the least.
“Cupid’s Consort, where all your needs are met, this is Amanda. How may I assist you?”
“Hi Amanda,” Kurt said awkwardly and his ears twitched at the sound of manicured nails clacking against a keyboard in the background.
“You were looking for a companion to a public event I see,” Amanda started before Kurt started fumbling for something to say.
“Yes ma’am.” Kurt nodded even though she couldn’t see him.
“You’re polite, that’s good,” Amanda commented, “I just need a name, driver’s license number and address so
I can run a background check before we actually get to the good stuff. It’ll all take just a moment to actually do, so I’ll keep you on the line.”
“Not a problem. I’m Kurt Hummel,” Kurt started and he heard a choked off cough almost as if he took the girl by surprise.
“Sorry about that Mr. Hummel, I have a talent for choking on thin air. I just need your license number and for you to verify some information for me.”
Kurt rattled off the number and answered that yes, the address she pulled up was current. No he had never been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. No he didn’t mind the background check. Yes he would hold.
Kurt was tapping his fingers to the hold music for a few minutes before Amanda came back on the line, “It looks like everything is in order Mr. Hummel. Would you prefer a female or male companion?”
“Male,” Kurt answered automatically and he grimaced at how eager he sounded. He was so frazzled about the whole situation he couldn’t help it.
“Do you have any requirements of the escort?”
“He needs to be comfortable in a crowd and able to be in the spotlight. I don’t have any physical requirements if that is what you are asking.”
“Well we have one escort who is perfect for public events. He isn’t afraid of the limelight, he is a bit blunt and to the point.”
“That won’t be a problem,” Kurt rubbed a hand over his face, “If anything it will probably be a good thing.”
“All right then. I have you booked for Saturday night with Noah. What time would you like him to meet you and where?”
“If he could meet me around five in the evening, at my residence? That would be best for me? I have to be at the club early to make sure everything is right.”
“That won’t be a problem at all. I’ll let Noah know that you’ll be expecting him. Is there anything else I can assist you with?”
“Ah yes,” Kurt could almost see Amanda nod. Well what he expected her to look like, something like a Jersey Shore wanna be. “We accept all major credit cards. On your statement it will appear as Harold’s Hardware. Depending on how long Noah is with you it can cost up to one thousand dollars per a night of just friendly companionship. If you go any further it will cost more.”
“Not to worry,” Kurt felt his cheeks flush at the suggestion that he would pay for sex. “It won’t go that far.”
“All right, which type of card will it be?”
Kurt closed his eyes still not able to believe that he is about to pay for a so-called date to the opening of his own club, “Do you accept Discover?”
“We sure do Mr. Hummel.”
Kurt’s stomach was so twisted he hadn’t even managed to completely get dressed before his doorbell was ringing. He checked his watch and let out an audible groan. For once could someone be late in their lives? Quickly checking over his appearance in the mirror Kurt frowned. His face was flushed, he looked as if he were about to break out into a sweat and his eyes were wide with anxiety. He hadn’t even managed to button his shirt up correctly. Maybe this was a bad idea. Okay beyond bad.
“Calm down,” Kurt took a deep breath and curled his fists together before forcing himself to stretch his fingers out, “Just take a deep breath and calm down.”
The door bell rang a second time stealing Kurt from telling himself to calm down for a third time. He jogged through his house and pulled the door open with excuses tumbling from his lips before he actually saw who he was talking to. “I’m so sorry about this. I’m running late and I can’t seem to find my tie and my jacket needs to be steamed again because I’m such a spaz. Oh shit, I didn’t even fix my shirt before answering the door.”
“Hey,” A pair of warm hands wrapped around Kurt’s to cut off the wild gestures. Kurt finally looked up at the man who he was paying to be his companion for the night and his breath stopped in his chest. This man, oh boy, was he something, calmly unbuttoned and fixed Kurt’s shirt as he spoke, “Calm down. I’m Noah and I’m assuming that you’re Kurt Hummel.”
Kurt nodded, “Would you like to come inside. It’s a bit muggy out today.”
“Thanks, that would be great” Noah stepped into Kurt’s house with a blank face. As soon as they stepped into the living room Noah’s lips stretched into a smile. Obviously what he saw wasn’t what he was expecting to find. Not many people thought Kurt would have so many pictures of his family and some of his favorite employees at the club lingering on his walls. More often than not people expected to see stark white walls
and some modern art he couldn’t even fathom to understand the point of.
Kurt rolled his lips together, “Not what you were expecting of me was it?”
“The nerves or the pictures of the people you care about?” Noah shook his head, “I honestly didn’t expect you to be so…”
“Human,” Kurt chuckled. “It’s okay. The rumor mill about me is out of control. I don’t see why people want to know anything about me. There are more celebrities that are probably far more interesting than I am. Local rumor mills are not a fun place to be a part of.”
“It’s because you managed to show up from the middle of nowhere and you made a name for yourself.” Noah offered before checking his watch keeping them on time. “It’s almost five we should probably finish getting you ready.”
“Oh shit,” Kurt darted down the hall to finish getting ready. He was struggling with his tie before Noah stepped in to help. Kurt swallowed as he watched the man focus on his task, “Do you like being called Noah or should I call you something else?”
“You can call me Noah or you can call me Puck. That’s up to you.” Puck smoothed the tie out and smiled at Kurt.
“I think,” Kurt pursed his lips together, “You look like you’d appreciate me calling you Puck more than me calling you Noah.”
“You are a wise man, Kurt Hummel.” Puck nodded before he was holding Kurt’s jacket and aiding Kurt is putting it on. “You didn’t need to steam this again by the way.”
“Oh,” Kurt shook his head, “I just get so nervous before things like this I over do everything.”
“There’s no reason to be anxious,” Puck soothed, “You’re a successful business owner. You’re smart, if what Amanda prattled on about is true. Everything is going to go just fine.”
Kurt ducked his head down, “I don’t know why it takes someone else reminding me of what I’ve done for it to actually sink in.”
“Eh,” Puck shrugged, “It happens. So how are we getting to this shindig?”
Kurt grinned as he led Puck through the house and to the kitchen. He snatched up a set of keys, “I’m driving. Are you ready for tonight?”
“How bad can it be?” Puck shrugged as he followed Kurt through the garage and into a slick black sedan. It wasn’t over the top like he had been expecting. It actually felt like Kurt’s meager hold on normal.
“You haven’t been to a club opening have you?” Kurt asked with wide eyes as he cranked the engine over.
“Clubs aren’t really my thing,” Puck shrugged. “So what should I expect?”
Kurt blinked at Puck’s words. Clubs aren’t really my thing. And Cupid’s Escort thought he would be the perfect companion for the night? He was screwed.
“Earth to Kurt,” Puck waved a hand trying to get his attention, “Should I drive?”
“Definitely not,” Kurt rolled his eyes. “What you should expect at the opening of Illuminations, which is my second club here, is lots of paparazzi. The guest list has a variety of celebrities, and socialites. They’re demanding and pissy so I’ll probably be continuously moving around trying to please them. Then there are people like yourself and me, the normal people of LA. Lots of glitz and glam tonight Puck. Opening night is the most important night of a club’s running hours. It establishes the reputation and earns you future patrons.”
“Okay,” Puck nodded, “But concerning you, what are you comfortable with me doing? I know I’m supposed to be
your ‘companion’ but what does that mean to you?”
Kurt swallowed and tapped his fingers on the steering wheel at a stoplight. “Santana, the bartender at my first club, she says I need someone to ground me. I need someone who can pull me away when things get too intense and keep me on task.”
Kurt stared out the windshield and lightly pushed the gas when the light changed, “I know that sounds like a tall order but I really just need someone to be a friend to me for the night. And the fact I have to pay for
that just blows.”
Puck clicked his tongue and reached across the console, his fingers lightly resting on Kurt’s thigh, “It’s sad that people don’t recognize what they’re missing out on when it comes to you Kurt. You’re an okay guy from what I see. So I’ll tell you what. If you take a deep breath and just believe that I’ve got your back, then you’re going to make it through the evening without problems.”
Kurt looked down at where Puck’s hand was resting on his thigh and licked his lips. He didn’t look over at Puck until he was parked and had managed to calm the racing in his heart down to a jog. “That’s all I need.”
“Right,” Puck leaned over and unbuckled Kurt’s seatbelt. “Let’s show them how awesome you really are.”
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
Kurt's heart was racing the moment he stepped out from the car and towards Illuminations. He wasn't sure if it was excitement for the upcoming night or if it was fear thrumming through his chest. Pushing the feelings away Kurt led Puck in and through the maze of the back corridor. Once they reached the main floor where employees were scattered around making last minute adjustments, Kurt really felt like he had done it. He had managed to get Illuminations up and running.
"Uh," Kurt rubbed at his forehead, "I have a few things to check with the bartenders and make sure everyone showed up tonight. If you want to hang out at the bar it's cool. Or if you want to tag along that would be okay too. It's up to you whatever you want to do. Oh and I need to call and check in with Santana over at Spellbound to make sure everything is in order for the night."
Puck's eyes widened at the speed of Kurt's speech. He managed to get every word out in one breath before he gave in and took another deep breath to make up for it. Puck reached out and set his hands on Kurt's shoulders, staring the bundle of frazzled nerves right in the eye, "Can you do me a favor?"
Kurt didn't bat an eye when he answered, "Sure."
Puck grinned at that before he stepped closer and let his fingers linger at the side of Kurt's neck. He could feel the racing pulse against the pads of his fingers; in turn it made him a bit anxious on Kurt's behalf. "Would you just slow down and take a deep breath? For me?"
Kurt nodded and followed Puck's instructions, his hands curling into fists and then relaxing out upon exhalation.
"Now, everything is fine. We're here early just in case something isn't but with how thorough you sound like you've been everything is going to go off without a hitch. So right now, I'm going to hang with you. It'll make things look better and it'll help me learn a little more about you and this place."
"Okay," Kurt smiled up at Puck, "Let me introduce you to everyone and show you around."
Puck walked with a hand on the small of Kurt's back as they headed towards the bar. There were two men and a woman listening to who Puck assumed was the head bartender as she directed them on what they were supposed to be doing and what they should be prepared for. Kurt politely cleared his throat and got their attention.
"Kurt!" The blonde who had been barking out orders grinned, "Want a drink to prepare you for the night?"
Kurt choked at the suggestion, he coughed and Puck patted his back, "I don't think I can handle a drink right now Melissa. I just wanted to make sure everything was in order over here. That we have plenty of everything and there isn't going to be any trouble tonight."
There were twin replies from the guys that everything was cool and the other woman, propped her hands on her hips, "Kurt Hummel, just because I was an airhead in school doesn't mean I'm one now."
Puck could see the fondness in Kurt's eyes as he playfully snapped right back at her, "Look Brit, I never know with you. Santana said you could handle this but I never know with you two."
Brittany's mouth dropped open, "Kurt!"
Kurt leaned over the counter and gave her a hug, "You know I'd be lost without you two here. Just let me know if you need anything if there are rowdy customers you know how to get security over here."
"Scream like little girls," one of the guys offered.
"Hey now, Cody you should take care of these lovely ladies. They're the main tip makers," Kurt's grin was full of mirth. "I'm counting on you guys. That includes you too Andrew. I haven't forgotten about you over there in the corner."
"You got it boss," Andrew mock saluted Kurt, "We've got this taken care of and we all know if it gets too busy you'll be right back here with us. Go do whatever it is you thought you needed to do before we open."
"Your guy want anything to drink?" Brittany offered before Kurt ushered them off.
"Water?" Puck licked his lips already feeling the anxiety wafting off of Kurt.
"He's got that stocked up in his fridge in the office, he'll get you taken care of," Brittany looked pointedly at Kurt for introductions.
Kurt tucked his hands in his pockets and looked over to Puck and then back at the group that had gathered as close as they could with the bar counter separating them and Kurt, "Oh sorry guys. Puck this is everybody. Everybody this is Puck."
Brittany scoffed, "I'm Brittany, that's Melissa, and the two guys over there are Cody and Andrew. Someone seems to have forgotten our names when he isn't insulting us."
"Hey," Kurt protested while he tugged on the bottom of his jacket uncomfortably, "It's just, so much going on!"
Brittany laughed, "I was just messing with you."
Puck nudged Kurt before leaning over the counter and shaking hands with each of them, "Glad to have met you guys."
"We're glad to have met you, Puck," Brittany's smile softened, "You're a lucky guy to have Kurt on your arm this evening. Now get out of here and get ready for a night full of sin."
Puck chuckled at the way Kurt was shooed out of the bar area and they headed behind it and up a stair case, "They seem to really enjoy working for you."
"I try to make it good for my employees," Kurt shrugged, "I like knowing about them and hearing about what's going on in their lives."
"And you're worried about how things are going to go tonight?" Puck shot a look of disbelief towards Kurt. Kurt ducked his head down to avoid Puck seeing his blush as he punched in the new pass code for his office.
"Any ways, if they hated you then you should be worried. They seem like a group of people who will have your back. There shouldn't be anything to worry about."
That got a smile out of Kurt as he gestured for Puck to take a seat as he moved to the mini-fridge and pulled out two bottles of water along with two sandwiches. He passed Puck's half over and settled in on the seat next to him, "I figured it would be good to eat something before things got too hectic. Some nights I don't eat until I wake up again."
"You will never see me turn food down," Puck leaned back and let out a sigh. "So when does all the partying start?"
Checking his watch, Kurt answered with his knee bouncing, "In about thirty minutes. Early for a club night but an opening there is always getting people into the clubs and the paparazzi lingering around outside the doors for the celebrities and such."
"And there's you," Puck pointed out and he took a large bite of the sandwich.
Kurt nodded solemnly, "And me."
"It's going to be fine though. Field a few questions, take a few pictures and everything is going to turn out all right. Then you can get to what you love about running one of these places." Puck reassured Kurt. His words were far more comforting than Kurt wanted to admit to. It was as if Puck knew all the right things to say, when to say them and what tone to say them with.
"So tell me about your self," Kurt offered, "If you can or want to that is."
Kurt fumbled with where to go from there. He wasn't too sure as what was appropriate to ask of Puck or if he should stay away from personal information completely. "Sorry, I just, I was trying to make conversation with you and I'm not really sure where to go. You know?"
"It's cool," Puck wiped his hands on a napkin, "If there is anything that I don't want to answer, I won't. It's as simple as that. As for telling you about my self, what do you want to know?"
"Are you just an escort or do you also do something else?" Kurt blushed as the question burst from his lips but he couldn't help asking it. He really wanted to know but he wasn't sure if he had crossed a line with asking Puck that. "Sorry."
"Nah, it's okay," Puck scratched at the back of his neck, "When I first started I was in college – needed a way to pay off student loans and a place to live. After I graduated it wasn't easy finding work so I stuck with it. I probably make more money doing this then what I could have been doing."
"Which was?" Kurt prompted.
"Music," Puck shrugged, "I probably would have been one of those guys you see standing on the corner hoping for a few bucks. I still play and sing here and there, but I needed something that would consistently provide. So what made you get into the business of owning clubs?"
Kurt snorted, "I don't really know."
"Oh come on," Puck gulped down a mouthful of water, "There has to be some reason that you decided to go this way. Owning one of the top ten clubs in LA doesn't just fall into your lap. You have to want it."
"Okay," Kurt rolled his eyes, "When I was younger the music, the energy, every bit of being in a club made me feel good. It still does being on the business side of things too. I wanted to share what I felt when walking into a place like this with other people. If I wouldn't have gone the club route I would have tried something like it. I just like being around people. Believe it or not."
"You love what you do," Puck murmured, "That's the kind of job you want to keep and never let go of it, the job you love."
"Yeah," Kurt agreed. He was about to ask Puck another question when his desk phone chirped. He leaned over and knocked the phone from the cradle and against the desktop before recovering with an embarrassed smile, "This is Kurt."
Kurt mumbled out a few uh huhs before he was standing and brushing the stray crumbs from the sandwich off his pants and straightening his tie. Puck stood quietly and stood the jerky movements. He loosened and fixed the mess Kurt was making of his tie. "I take it we're being summoned down to the festivities?"
"Yeah," Kurt swallowed the lump of anxiety down. He couldn't help it when he brushed a few crumbs from Puck's jacket, "You ready for this?"
"Are you?" Puck echoed back without answering Kurt's question.
"I've got to be," Kurt ushered Puck out of the room and barely registered the arm wrapping around his waist as they made their way out of Illuminations and into the crowd.
As they stepped out of Illuminations Kurt clenched his eyes shut at the bright flashes of light around him. He knew there would be some photos taken but not as many as there were. Puck's grip on his hip tightened and Kurt could feel the warmth of his breath against his ear, "Deep breaths and your eyes will get used to it in a second. If it helps, just look at me."
He couldn't help it. The playful tone Puck used sent him into a fit of laughter as he turned to look up at the mischievous look painted across his companions face. The bright flashes of light surrounded them grew more intense in that moment. "Thank you."
"Not a problem," Puck's smile was gentle and it warmed Kurt's chest. The moment was just enough for him to want more like it. "Now lets get what you need done out here done so you can stop your trembling."
Kurt grabbed Puck's hand and let him towards the side that had a microphone stationed and waiting for him. It seemed like once one person noticed him standing by the microphone, the entire crowd of waiting for admittance into Illuminations noticed him.
"Good evening everyone!" Kurt greeted them happily, "I just wanted to welcome you to the grand opening of Illuminations. I do hope you enjoy all that we have to offer you, something a little different then what you're normally used to. Stick around for a while to get to the special treat we have in store for you tonight."
It was quick and to the point. It was all Kurt was really up for but as soon as he stepped down the bright flashes of light from the paparazzi started back up as people began to enter the club. Kurt turned towards Puck and grinned. Excitement of what the night held trilling through his veins, "You ready?"
"I think I can handle it," Puck reached a hand out and Kurt grasped the waiting hand leading Puck towards the mayhem.
His name was shouted and he couldn't figure out where to look but he tried his best. "Kurt! I see you've brought a date for the opening of Illuminations. Do you care to comment about it?"
Puck pulled Kurt towards his chest and just smiled, "If you want to talk about Illuminations I'm sure Kurt has plenty to say but for now we're ready to let the party begin."
The way Puck said it didn't bother the paparazzi any. They just spouted off more questions than Kurt could imagine. "How long has Illuminations been in the picture for you Kurt?"
"What are your plans with Spellbound?" Shouted another voice.
"It's good to see you out and about with someone. Is he someone special?" Kurt plastered on a smile and endured the questions for a few more minutes before Puck was tugging him inside and to the protection Illuminations offered him.
"Thank you," Kurt grumbled out as they headed through the crowd and towards the bar. "I don't know how much more of that I could have handled."
"You were turning redder by the second," Puck shrugged, "I figured it might be a good idea to get you out of there. Otherwise the pops might have been talking about your sweet innocence in tomorrows papers."
Kurt burst out with laughter, "It makes you wonder what they could make up doesn't it?"
"I don't even want to try to think like one of those guys," Puck answered, "Their minds are scary places."
Kurt led Puck through a throng of people, asking over his shoulder, "Would you like something to drink?"
"I think that would be in order. Something a little stronger than water though?" Puck suggested and Kurt snorted in amusement as if water were an option now that the night was underway.
With drinks in hand Kurt headed towards a corner table and sat down. He watched as people crowded against each other, laughing, dancing and drinking. The music was loud and he could feel the bass sending vibrations up through the floor and through his body. This was exactly how things were supposed to be. It was perfect.
At least it was; until Puck leaned across the table and placed a soft kiss to the corner of Kurt's lips. He stayed there while he whispered, "Someone's taking photos of us. You might want to look like you're enjoying yourself rather than lost in thought."
Kurt's eyes were wide as he spoke in the security mic he had clipped to the collar of his shirt, "Paparazzi made it in." He looked up to Puck who whispered ten o'clock, red shirt. "He's to my ten, in a red shirt."
Kurt didn't really waste any time, he stood up and offered his hand to Puck, "I do enjoy your company by the way. And my thoughts were happy ones and I was not lost."
Puck took Kurt's hand and stood waiting for whatever was to come, "What are we doing?"
"Dancing," Kurt answered with a smile. "You deserve to enjoy yourself too and hopefully dancing with me won't bother you much."
"Not at all," Puck answered with a wicked grin as Kurt led him out onto the dance floor. Puck could feel the excitement running beneath Kurt's skin as Kurt led them out onto the dance floor. They stood facing each other for a moment before Kurt made a move and pulled Puck closer. His body rocking against Puck's and his hands laced together behind Puck's neck urging him even closer.
Puck dipped his head down so his lips were next to Kurt's ear, "What are you so excited about?"
Kurt looked up and grinned, "I know what's about to happen."
As soon as the words left Kurt's lips the room got darker and loud vibrating boom of bass rang out. Bright purples, greens and blues started to dance across the people and walls of the club. The show of lights received a loud enthusiastic shout in response. The music grew deeper, more sensual as the lights flickered and moved in time with the beat of the music.
Kurt watched as many heads tilted upwards to look at the show on the ceiling. He watched the way Puck looked around in awe. Those reactions were the reason why Kurt did this. He could see the pure bliss passing across peoples' faces. He could feel the energy in the room thicken and coil tightly around him.
He looked up at Puck who was staring at him before he whispered, "Wow."
Kurt let out a happy chuckle before he tugged Puck closer and got lost in the music. He hadn't had nights like this at his clubs. It all boiled down to having someone to share the night with. Now that he had a taste of that feeling, of not being so alone, that he never wanted to let go of it.
The night had gone off without any problems, just as Puck said it would. By the time the club had closed done for the night Kurt was exhausted. He and Puck were sitting up in his office as Kurt worked on placing a new alcohol order and took inventory of the money they made for the night.
"Looks like you had a good night," Puck commented absently.
"Definitely," Kurt nodded with a bright smile, "Usually I can get away with a few days between orders but tonight everyone was happy to keep drinking. Plus it was the opening so I had to figure that would happen."
Puck let out a yawn and nodded. He looked just about as tired as Kurt felt.
"Did you have a good time?" Kurt set his papers down. He was feeling slightly guilty for having Puck sit up in his office after a long night while he did paperwork, "Honest answer please? Not the one you think I'd like to hear."
"Believe it or not, I actually did have a good time tonight." Puck smiled, "I don't normally get to do things like this with a client. It was a nice change to just take a breath and be who I am with someone. Plus I got to let go and be a little crazy too."
Kurt rolled his eyes, "You weren't crazy."
"No but I got to pick my own drinks, dance with you, and have fun. I say that is what led to a great night." Puck shrugged and grimaced at the jaw popping yawn Kurt let out. "You should head home. You look like you're about to fall asleep on your feet."
Kurt nodded, "That is a great idea. Thomas, one of my security team is probably dying to get home himself."
Puck walked shoulder to shoulder with Kurt as they made their way out of Illuminations and to Kurt's car. Puck stopped Kurt before he could get into the car with a hand to the chest, "Let me drive."
"You're sure?" Kurt asked holding his keys in his hand. "I can make the drive home. I've done it several times before."
"I'm sure," Puck grabbed the keys out of Kurt's hands, "Now you relax in the passenger seat and let me do all the work."
Kurt didn't speak until they pulled into his driveway and Puck parked the car and sat waiting. Turning in his seat Kurt reached out and rested his hand on Puck's forearm. "Thank you."
"For tonight, if that makes any sense. Usually I'm so keyed up that I make a mess out of something or another. Well spill at least a drink on my suit but tonight you made all of the bad parts more tolerable. So thank you for doing that for me."
"It's not a problem," Puck shrugged. The tell-tale words Puck left off of that sentence were a kindness Kurt was glad Puck spared him. He didn't want to hear, that's what I'm paid for, or any variation of it. He had too much of a good time with Puck he'd rather not face that small little fact for the night.
"Well thank you anyways for being so good to me," Kurt opened the door with Puck following suit on his side. As soon as Kurt turned towards the door he turned right back around, "Have a good night."
"You too Kurt," Puck waved over his shoulder before getting into his own car. He waved at Kurt a final time before pulling out of the driveway.
Kurt didn't have much time for sleep after the Illuminations closed for the first night. He managed to snag a few hours of sleep before waking up and heading over to his first club, Spellbound, to make sure everything went according to plan while he was absent.
As soon as he sat in the car he let out a huff and grimaced at the feeling of something digging uncomfortable into his backside. He got back out of the car and rolled his lips together at the sight of a wallet tucked innocently in the folds of the seat. How he missed the beat up, black wallet the first time he got into his car, he didn't know. But he knew enough about it that it wasn't his. Biting into his lip Kurt tossed the wallet onto the passenger seat before getting in and heading towards work.
Santana was perched up on a barstool going over what they needed to do with the newest bartender Kurt had hired. She turned with a wide grin before she slid a tabloid over the counter top, "I see that someone had a busy night last night."
Kurt grabbed the magazine and let out a sigh once he saw what graced the front cover. There was a picture of him with Puck front and center with the headline of: Not Such a Cold Heart Anymore. The picture showed them both smiling and Puck's arm wrapped around his waist. "At least they chose a good picture this time."
"Oh," Santana grabbed the tabloid back and flipped through a few pages and stopped with grainy pictures taken inside the club, "I have to say it gets better."
Kurt groaned at the sight of them. They were grainy but you could tell there was more than friendly dancing going on. It looked like they were actually lovers. "Great."
"I think it is," Santana grinned. "Do you know how much publicity both Spellbound and Illuminations got out of this? Your lovely face graces the covers and pages of several news magazines. Plus people now see you as more than just a businessman. You're Kurt, a guy who is just like all the rest of us out there."
"Except I'm not," Kurt growled out, "You know who Puck really is and I know who he is. He's not what everyone is thinking he is to me. I'll never get a chance to see him again and then there is going to be more trouble because of his sudden appearance and disappearance. What if all this," Kurt gestured towards the magazines, "Messes with his work. I didn't even think that through. Neither of us did. I mean, the whole business is based on everything remaining confidential and last night wasn't so confidential concerning photographs and such."
Santana reach out and rested a hand on Kurt's shoulder, "Calm down crazy. You don't actually see get a good look at his face in any of these photos. In the front page, the words are over most of his face and from the angle that was taken you only see that he's looking down at you and that delicious smile of his. All the other pictures are too blurry for anyone to say what he actually looks like. And, if you ask me, it sounds like you enjoyed his company. Maybe a little too much?"
"I have no comment on that, at all, Santana." Kurt banged his head on the counter top before he remembered the wallet that Puck had left in his car. "But that's not all. He left his wallet in my car. What am I supposed to do with this? What is the correct procedure on returning your escort's wallet?"
The smile Santana gave him was nothing short of evil. Kurt could all ready see the cogs turning in the bartenders head and they were all turning towards the direction of not good.
"What ever you are thinking you need to stop, I mean it, stop it right now," Kurt warned Santana. He didn't want to hear whatever crazy sideways plan that she was coming up with. Kurt might not know how he should go about returning the wallet to Puck. Hell, he hadn't even opened it because he was afraid that would be considered a breech of privacy if Kurt found out where Puck lived. Maybe they'd think he was a creepy stalker or he was a freak. He didn't know.
"You don't even know what I'm thinking," Santana held her hands up in the air. "And it doesn't really matter what I'm thinking because the man in question is being led right this way by Dillon."
"Kurt, this gentleman says he knows you?" Kurt fell off the barstool and tried to recover gracefully but there was no point. He had tripped over his feet as he headed over towards the two men.
"Dillon, this is Puck. He was my date last night," Kurt informed security and stayed quiet while everyone who was present at Spellbound disappeared from the main room or busied themselves with meaningless tasks. Kurt reached into his pocket and handed over the wallet, "You left this in my car last night. I'm sure you already knew that seeing as you are here."
"Yeah," Puck scratched at the back of his neck uncomfortably.
"I was just trying to figure out what to do with it," Kurt filled the silence quickly, "I didn't know what to do. Should I call and let them know? Should I look at your license and mail it to you. I uh, well," Kurt trailed off.
"You were having a minor panic attack over nothing?" Puck filled in with a soft smile. "It would have been okay either way but once I figured out I left my wallet with you that I should probably head over to get it. The whole driving without a license thing is never a good idea around here."
"Definitely not," Kurt chuckled to himself. He caught Puck looking at the magazines that littered the countertop and let out a groan before hastily piling them together.
"Dude its okay. I'd want to know what they were saying about me if I were in your shoes." Puck smirked at the flushing Kurt.
"It's just," Kurt rubbed a hand over his forehead, "I really didn't think any of this through."
"Didn't think any of what through?" Puck asked as he took a seat at the bar and grabbed the trashy magazines and began to flip through them.
"What if this messes with you? I mean, you have to work and what if something gets out about what you do? How is all this going to affect you?" Kurt rushed out, "I mean, I'm always in this sorry excuse of news but you?"
"Hey," Puck chuckled, "I knew what I was getting into when I took the job. I knew there would be photos of me out there, granted I hoped they would be a little better quality than this but I understood what I was getting into. Personally I don't have a problem with any of it. Everything is fine."
Kurt nodded, "Sorry about all this? I'm usually more put together and not as frantic but sometimes I can't help it."
"It's cool," Puck shrugged Kurt's apology off as he pulled a card out of his jacket pocket. "I've got to head out, a few errands I need to run, but if you decide you need me again just call. I don't give this card out much but I figured since I had such a good time and you're a decent guy it would be okay for you to have this."
Kurt took the card and took in the extra set of numbers, and extension he could get through the lines quicker with. He rolled his lips together before extending his hand, "Thank you. You're not so bad yourself."
Puck let out a hearty laugh as he shook Kurt's hand before backing towards the exit, "I mean it if you need me call."
Kurt nodded, "Will do."
As soon as the door shut Santana attacked. She plucked the card out from between Kurt's fingers, "Now tell me something Kurt."
"Oh god, what now?" Kurt rested his forehead on his arms.
"Are you going to make use of this phone number or are you going to be the usual Kurt Hummel and do nothing about having such an attractive man offer himself up to you?"
"I don't know," Kurt huffed out a breath before he grabbed the card back from Santana and tucked it in his wallet, "I won't know for a little while probably so how about we drop this."
The next two weeks weren't easy for Kurt. Why he thought that he would catch a break for once in his life, well that would be too much life right for that to happen. Instead by the end of the first weekend Illuminations had opened up, the amount of magazines wondering what happened to Kurt's arm candy doubled from when they speculated about if he had a heart or not.
He should have figured he would have opened up a new can of worms as soon as he closed the other. That was just about the way his luck was going these days.
"You know," Brittany said as she wiped the bar top for the umpteenth time, "If you and your man just made one more public appearance then maybe things wouldn't be so bad. Or maybe use the philosophy you used in high school."
"And what was that Britt?" Kurt asked.
"Fuck em'," She grinned at the outraged look that crossed Kurt's face, "Seriously. You might not have been thinking that but the rest of us felt like that's what you were thinking. Does it really matter what they're saying about you? No, you just let it needle at you until you can't take it. So stick to your guns and hide your love slave in the basement. Or give in and take him out again."
Everything in Kurt was screaming at him to let Brittany in on the secret of who Puck really was. Then maybe she'd have some insane words of wisdom that magically pointed him in the right direction. He knew better to do that though. Brittany would let the cat out of the bag without intentionally meaning to do so and then the paparazzi would be even worse.
"What?" Kurt rolled his eyes, "I should just tell him, 'hey hon, would you like to come and hang out with me while I work again? Be a little bored, maybe have a few drinks while you're at it?' I just bet he'd find that so entertaining."
Brittany snapped the towel at the air in front of Kurt, "I'm not saying bring him here or anything like that. I mean like a real date. Bring him out for dinner and if someone just so happens to catch you two out and about then maybe things will work out for the best?"
Kurt tapped his fingers on the bar top and hummed underneath his breath. She might have a point.
"I don't know though," Brittany continued to chatter on, "I mean look at me. I don't have a girlfriend or a boyfriend so who am I to be giving out advice? Ask Santana, she'll have an answer for you."
"No," Kurt corrected her in horror, "She'll just tell me to get him in bed and that'll fix all my problems."
Brittany chuckled, "You have to admit, it does hold a certain appeal."
Despite the fact that Kurt shouldn't admit to the appeal it would have to get to know Puck on a more intimate level, he really wished he had met Noah Puckerman in a different set of circumstances. Maybe then things would be different and he wouldn't have ever had to pretend that he had someone willing to be with him in front of the flash of a camera.
Kurt let out an angry growl as Dillon led him through the photographers lingering outside of Illuminations and inside the building. He could feel the heat of the fury warming his cheeks as he straightened his jacket and his tie. He ended up jerking the knot of the tie too tight and yanked it over his head and tried his best not to throw the tie across the room.
Cool hands rested on his arm and Kurt looked up into Brittany's worried eyes, "What?"
"Who what?" Kurt looked at Brittany like she really had lost her mind.
Brittany rolled her eyes, "Deep breaths Kurt. Just calm down."
"They're like vultures! That fence was supposed to keep them out and they just jump it like it's no problem, like it doesn't mean anything!" Kurt threw his hands up in the air before he forced himself to take a deep breath. He looked to Dillon who looked like he felt sympathetic to Kurt's situation. "I'm not even famous and they are staking out Illuminations like they're going to get something interesting out of me! Well I have news for those idiots! There isn't anything here. There's no story to be had! So they can just…screw off."
Brittany chuckled at the way Kurt censored himself before she guided him with her hands on his shoulders to the bar.
"So we open in fifteen minutes and you need a serious drink to calm your self down. Then what you need to do is call your boy and let him know how things are going on this end of the world. Maybe you should even take the night off. It's Thursday, nothing too wild should happen around here and you haven't taken a day for yourself in a few weeks."
Kurt took the shot of tequila she poured for him and set the glass back on the bar. He tapped his fingers on the bar top and rolled his lips together in thought. "I won't have anything to do if I take the night off. There's no point. I should be here."
"Nothing to do?" Brittany's mouth dropped open, "Oh honey if I had a man like you had a couple weeks ago on your arm I would have plenty to do all night. You two are still together aren't you? He didn't turn all chicken shit because of the pictures because if he did I'm pretty sure Santana still keeps razors in her hair. Just saying."
Kurt busted out laughing and he had to wipe tears from his eyes. He stood up and tucked his tie in his pocket before looking to Dillon, "Get me to my car?"
"You run them over this time, four people I say one hundred points each." Dillon teased as he walked side by side with Kurt. As soon as they were out of earshot of Brittany, Dillon started to talk. "If you and your guy broke up because of all this, you know you deserve better right? He wasn't worth putting you back in the spotlight."
"We didn't break up," Kurt heard himself saying, "We're just so busy it's hard to find time to spend with each other. I just, I just feel alone right now."
Dillon laid a hand on Kurt's shoulder, stopping him from opening the outer door, "Well I learned this lesson the hard way a few years back. You tell him how you're feeling before you lose everything you have. You find the time to spend with each other."
Kurt sent a sad smile up at Dillon. The advice the man was giving him was sound. If only he were in a different situation things would probably work out for the better. Hiring an escort turned out to be a lot more complicated then he ever imagined it could have been.
The house was empty and cold. Maybe that's what made Kurt dig for the card that Puck had given him a few weeks ago at the club. He wasn't sure what really made him dial the number and ask to see Puck again. But he did. He took Monday night for himself and his 'date' with Puck. Honestly he didn't feel the need to go out but it had been so long that he had gone out for himself and not on an errand for the clubs. It had been so long since he was able to throw on a pair of jeans and head out to pick up a quiet dinner somewhere instead of a sandwich on the run.
The chiming of the doorbell killed that thought immediately and anxiety coursed through his veins. He rushed to open the door. Puck was standing with his hands in the pockets of his slacks and the sleeves of his white shirt were rolled up to his elbows.
"I didn't think I'd be seeing you again," Puck started as Kurt stepped back to let him inside, "But I'm glad I am."
"Well I doubt I have anything exciting to do tonight," Kurt shrugged as he led Puck into the living area where he sat to put his shoes on. "I was thinking dinner?"
"Food is always a good idea," Puck shrugged. "Where will we be dining tonight?"
"No where as fancy as you're dressed," Kurt answered with a smile. "I just needed to get out and away from the bustle of the club. Take a few minutes for myself, you know?"
"I saw that you've been having a bit of a problem with the tabloids lately. I'm sorry if I caused any of that." Puck's voice was apologetic as he eyed the offending material on the counter tops. Some of the magazines had crumpled covers, as if Kurt curled a fist around the glassy paper in frustration. Kurt waved the apology off. There was nothing that Puck should have been sorry for. Kurt was the one who dragged him into everything. If there was anyone to blame it would have been Kurt.
"It was a bad idea," Kurt answered, "I just, look this is going to sound stupid, probably pathetic compared to what you probably normally deal with but tonight I just really needed someone I could take wear a pair of jeans and be as messy as I wanted with."
The room was silent for a few minutes. Kurt internally cursed himself at admitting to why he hired Puck for the night. It just would make things awkward. He should just put a stop to this before they actually left his house.
"I'm so down for a night I can spill ketchup on my shirt and not be looked at like I'm a freaking jackass for it," Puck rubbed his scalp and let out a sigh that sounded a little like relief.
Kurt shook his head as he led Puck through the garage and to his car. They rode in silence to the outskirts of LA. Kurt couldn't help the happy smile that crossed his face at the sight of the restaurant, Somewhere Else, as he parked. There was something about this place, the people who worked here that made even the worst days a little bit better.
"I can't believe you know about this place," Puck whispered, not expecting Kurt to hear him as he got out of the car.
"I love it here," Kurt answered, "The food reminds me of home; something my Dad would rather over health food that he's forced to eat since his heart attack."
"Where are you from?" Puck asked as he held the door open for Kurt.
"Ohio," Kurt smiled as he took a seat in the booth. "Most people wouldn't expect a small town kid like me to have made it out here."
"But you were never really a small town kid," Puck answered with a grin on his face and he elaborated at Kurt's confused look, "If you were you would have stayed. At least that's what my Ma tells me all the time."
Kurt smiled at the fondness that filled Puck's voice at the mention of his mother. He bet that was exactly how he himself sounded every time he talked about his father. They sat in a comfortable quiet. As soon as they ordered their food the silence dropped back down over them.
It stayed quiet in the booth until they were halfway through their meal and Puck decided that enough was enough. "If you didn't request me for my stellar conversational skills, why did you?"
Kurt licked his lips before he took a sip of his Diet Coke. He used the time to really decide what he wanted to admit to, to let someone else see inside of his head. In the long run, it didn't really what he told Puck. He could let out of his life story, tell him his darkest secrets and it wouldn't matter. He might not ever see Puck again. Sometimes you just had to tell a stranger how things really were going before you told someone close to you.
"I've never been alone as I am now than I've ever been in my entire life." Kurt started with closed eyes. "I'm, I, just, I'm tired of being the person everyone can read about in the tabloids. My life isn't anything special. If anything my life is awesome with the whole success of being a business man but socially? I've never wished for a friend more than I have in the past few weeks."
Kurt stared down at his hands ashamed that he let the thoughts he kept locked away out. He sounded so pathetic and he hated that Puck, a man he was paying for company, was the person who had to listen to him.
Warmth spread over the top of his hands and Kurt's breath caught in his chest when Puck's fingers curled over his own. This was what Kurt missed. He missed the simple reassurance that someone was there for him, that he wasn't alone in everything. Kurt looked up to meet Puck's gentle eyes and he looked away and back down at the table.
"Tell me," Puck urged Kurt to keep talking, to let everything that he had bottled up for so long out.
Kurt swallowed down his fears and met Puck's gaze, "I want the intimacy that so many people have and give so willingly. I work so hard and do so much at the clubs because I don't want to come home to such an empty and quiet place. The longer I'm there by myself all I can think of is the things I want."
"What do you want?" Puck asked.
"I want someone to laugh with," Kurt sighed, "As stupid as this is going to sound, I want a friend."
"That's not stupid at all Kurt," Puck rubbed his thumb back and forth over Kurt's hand, "I think everyone wants that. Even when a person is surrounded by people sometimes it's not the right person that's standing next to them. Sometimes you need something or someone else to keep going. You just have to find that."
Kurt pulled his hand back from Puck's hold and took a deep gulp of his soda, "Enough of that."
"Yeah?" Puck cocked a brow at Kurt's declaration.
"Yeah," Kurt nodded, "I'm thinking about taking a vacation. Nothing extravagant, just a week or so to get away from everything and maybe drop off the radar."
"That sounds like a plan. What do you want to do on this vacation of yours?" Puck munched on the leftover fries that had come with his burger.
"I don't know," Kurt chuckled to him self, "Maybe just stay home for a few days and not worry about putting on shoes. Maybe I'll grab a book and just sit and read it. I need to let life slow down a little bit."
"I'll be honest with you," Puck smiled almost to himself, "Just sitting around at home for a few days with nothing to do sounds amazing."
Kurt hummed in satisfaction that someone would agree with the way he was thinking. "What would you do?"
"Buy food," Puck let out a gut busting laughing when Kurt's eyes widened in surprise, "Well if I don't want to go out for the rest of the week I need to stock up. Right?"
"Oh, definitely," Kurt nodded, "Something other than take out. I'd cook all week. I'd actually have the time to for once."
"Get a few beers," Puck added before he took a sip of his drink, "Play some video games, a little guitar here and there to mellow out even more."
"You play guitar?" Kurt leaned back in the booth with his hands resting on his stomach and his head tilted a little bit before he smiled, "I can see that."
"I've played for as long as I can remember." Puck smiled fondly, "It's something that always makes me feel better."
"Do you write your own stuff?" Kurt leaned a little further over the table, curious as to what actually made Puck who he was.
Puck shrugged, "It's nothing great but it's not really for anyone but me to see. I think that's what is so calming about it. That I have this one thing that is just for me."
"I used to run," Kurt admitted, "Like trail run. I'd go out a couple times a week and hit the trails. Now I just hit the treadmill at home but it's not the same. I remember how much my thighs and calves would ache after a good run. I felt like I accomplished something, I saw another part of the world that most people in this world don't even know exists."
"Why don't you do it anymore? Is there a reason you just stopped?"
Kurt rolled his lips together, "The vultures found my favorite trail and turned it into their favorite place to look for me and other socialites."
"Have you ever tried to look for some place a little further out?" Puck offered. "There's this park, it's got hiking trails and all kind of shit for outdoorsy people that you'd probably love. It's about thirty minutes out of the city but it's worth it."
"I'll have to research it," Kurt's body hummed in anticipation of getting back to his old routines.
"It'll be worth it," Puck wiped his hands clean on a napkin, "Seriously. I'm not much of a hiking or bike trails kind of guy but I could walk around and do nothing all day being happy about it out there."
"Then I'll definitely have to pull out the old tennis shoes and check it out," Kurt pulled out two twenties, enough to cover the bill and tip before he stood up with Puck mimicking the action.
The car ride home was quiet except for the sound of Puck singing along to the radio underneath his breath. Even though he wasn't really singing Kurt could understand how Puck wanted to go into music. He had talent. The rasp of his voice sent shivers down Kurt's spine and made him just want to lean back and listen all night.
The crunch of the gravel driveway tore those thoughts from Kurt's mind. After turning the car off Kurt shifted in his seat to face Puck. "Thank you."
"You're always thanking me but there isn't a reason to." Puck unbuckled his seatbelt and faced Kurt.
"I really needed this tonight, to get everything off my chest. I needed someone to snap me out of hiding and losing the things I enjoy just because I'm a little afraid of the paparazzi. I shouldn't have to give those things up. So I guess that's what I'm thanking you for."
"No problem," Puck leaned across the car and wrapped an arm awkwardly around Kurt's shoulder. When he pulled back Puck handed him a different card. "Look if you just need a friend call my cell."
"Are you sure you want to give me this?" Kurt held the card away from his body afraid to look at the numbers that were neatly printed out.
"Why would I have given you that if I weren't sure?" Puck cocked a brow at the absurdity of the question and pushed Kurt's hands back towards his body.
"But I could be one of those weird serial killers just trying to gain your trust and once I have it I kill you. Or I could be one of those crazy stalker people." Kurt waved his hands wildly around the cab of the car.
"Uh," Puck tried his best not to laugh at Kurt, "If you were I would doubt you'd tell me or giving me the what ifs."
"Okay," Kurt looked at the number scribbled out in front of him for a moment before he turned towards Puck with words begging to be spoken. Puck beat him to the punch though.
"You decide when you want to go on the trails I'll show em' to you. Just call me and if I'm free we'll go." Puck grinned at the flush of excitement on Kurt's cheeks. "Have a good night Kurt."
"Night Puck!" Kurt yelled over his shoulder before heading inside. It might sound stupid, almost like an overexcited teenage girl, but Kurt couldn't wait to get back to his old self.
Kurt toyed with the keys on his Blackberry trying to decide if he should call Puck or if he should just leave things be. He had a week from hell and he wanted more than anything to get back on the trails that Puck had told him about. He could just text to ask Puck for directions so he could get there. It's not like they actually had to hang out or anything.
Quickly tapping out the message Kurt sat at the empty bar of Spell Bound quietly watching Santana do her rounds determining what they needed more of. She had barely turned around before she pulled a cold bottle of water from the employee mini-fridge and cracked it open for Kurt.
"What are you so worried about?" Santana rested her elbows on the bar top and stared straight at Kurt waiting for some kind of explanation as to what was going on in his head.
Kurt took a long swallow of the bottled water before he answered Santana, "I texted Puck."
That was all the explanation Santana needed before she was moving around the bar and taking a seat next to Kurt, "I thought this was a one time thing? What changed between the last few weeks that I've seen you that you now have Puck's cell phone number and acting like you are about to jump out of your skin waiting for him to reply."
"I guess you'd say we have become friends." Kurt shrugged as he took another swallow of water. "But I don't know if he really intended for me to think we were friends or if he was just saying that to placate me because I was being so pathetic or if he actually meant it."
"Well what happened and what exactly did he say? I'll tell you if he was just letting you down gently or if he really meant what he was saying." Santana spun on her stool and rested her elbows and back on the bar. "I'm a bit experienced with letting guys down."
Kurt explained how he had initially called Puck and set the evening up just to hang out because as loathe as he was to admit it he was lonely and needed someone who didn't really expect anything out of him. He spoke about how comfortable he was just talking with Puck and how much fun he had. Then before they parted Puck handed over his phone number.
"Sounds to me like he really is interested in becoming your friend," Santana shrugged, "I don't see why though. You seem pretty clingy as of late."
"What?" Kurt's voice rose with disbelief. "I am not clingy! Am I?"
Santana snorted out a chuckle, "Please, I was just messing with you. You're fine Kurt. I just find it interesting that the man you hired to pose as your date is slowly becoming part of your life and I have a feeling that you like it."
Kurt rolled his eyes before he turned the top on the water bottle, "What if I do like it? Is that so bad?"
"No," Santana shook her head 'no'.
"Good," Kurt jumped when his phone buzzed across the countertop. He eyed the message and smiled. Free tomorrow morning? I'll show you.
"Uh oh," Santana clucked her tongue at Kurt, "I know that smile."
"What smile?" Kurt barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes at her as he tapped out his own message in turn. Meet at my place?
"That smile says the next few weeks are going to be nothing but trouble," Santana answered.
"Trouble?" Kurt questioned, "What kind of trouble can be indicated by my smile?"
Santana held her hands in the air in surrender, "I'm just saying, the last time you smiled like that you ended up blacklisting Lance from the entire strip of clubs on this block."
"Because the bastard showed up drunk and tried to pull my clothes off on the club floor." Kurt answered angrily before his phone buzzed again. Nine o'clock sound good?
Kurt's nimble taps on the keypad turned to furious jabs as he answered, perfect I'll see you then.
"But did you have to go that far?" Santana pursed her lips together.
"I didn't ban him from the other clubs, Santana. He managed that all on his own." Kurt answered before he shoved his phone in his pock and took a deep breath. He rested a palm on her shoulder, "I know you're looking out for me but sometimes a guy needs guy friends. And Puck, he's just a friend. That's all I'm really looking for at the moment."
"Okay, I just worry about you." Santana stood up and wrapped her arms around Kurt before pushing him towards the door. "Now get out of here and prepare for whatever plans you were making for tomorrow."
The laces on Kurt's shoes had barely been double knotted before the door bell rang. He tugged his compression shorts down a little further before fixing the shorts he was wearing over them. Puck smirked at Kurt, "I never thought I'd see the day when you were in something so ordinary."
"The last time you saw me I was in jeans and a tee-shirt." Kurt corrected Puck as they headed for Kurt's car.
"No, the last time we saw each other you were in nice jeans which most people would only wear to go out in," Puck chuckled to himself as he ducked into the car and buckled himself in. "But it's good to see you actually prepared for today."
Kurt looked to where Puck had nodded to, his shoes, and smirked. Of course he was prepared. He wasn't going to make the mistake of wearing the wrong type of shoes for outdoor trail running. "I told you I used to run all the time."
"I just didn't really believe it," Puck admitted almost embarrassed to have thought that Kurt had lied to him. "I can't picture you out there. You're so clean cut."
"The suits are very misleading," Kurt played as he followed Puck's intermittent directions.
"I've noticed," Puck grinned, "So how are things down at the club?"
Kurt looked at Puck out of the corner of his eye for a moment before answering, "Things are good. Santana is glad that I'm out of her way down at Spellbound. Judging by the heart to heart we had a couple of days I think she misses me more than she thought she would."
Puck let out a chuckle, "It sounds like you're surprised by the fact that she might miss you a little bit."
Kurt gave a one shouldered shrug as he guided the car through the entry gates of the park and found a parking spot. "I might have known her since high school but Santana doesn't miss anyone. She keeps razor blades in her hair."
"Sounds like one tough chick," Puck rested his elbows on the roof of the car. "Are your ready for this Kurt?"
Kurt rubbed his hands together and sent a wide smile to Puck, "Let's get this show on the road."
Kurt followed Puck up towards the beginning of the trail and stopped to stretch out his muscles and loosen up for the run. "So how are things with you? I don't know much about you other than a few general details like you play the guitar and you went to school for music."
"Eh," Puck scratched at the back of his scalp, "My sister, little sister, called me yesterday asking if she could crash at my place for the summer. Something about her and my Ma not getting along. The whole crazy Jew thing getting to her I'm guessing. Thing is I'm not sure if I should let her come stay with me."
"Why?" Kurt asked as they started up the trail at a slow jog. "Did you two not get along or something?"
Puck snorted, "Or something."
Kurt looked over his shoulder at Puck confused and waiting for him to explain what the or something meant. Then it dawned on him when Puck widened his eyes and nearly rolled them at how dense Kurt was being.
"Oh," Kurt moistened his lips as he treaded carefully around a mess of roots, "Because you don't want her to know about your job."
"Would you want your little sister to know that you were an escort?" Puck replied.
"Point taken," Kurt answered a little out of breath, "But maybe she really needs to get out of the house and away from your mom for a little while. This could be good for the both of you. And you can skirt around telling her exactly what you do. I mean what did you tell her you do for a living anyways?"
"I haven't really told her or my Ma anything. I don't know what they think I do but whatever it is that Sarah thinks I do has to be better than learning that her big brother is an escort." Puck grunted and heaved out a breath as they started to climb upwards.
"Well, think of it this way," Kurt offered, "When's the last time you saw her?"
Puck slowed to a stop. He had his hands on his hips and his chest was rising and falling with ever lungful of breath he sucked in. He looked at Kurt for a moment before he turned to face the early approaching afternoon sun. He toed at the dirt and grass and watched as it tore. "The last time I actually saw her was when I left for college. I didn't have the money to get home and see her on school breaks. I talk to her at least once a week and I love her to death."
"So," Kurt stepped up beside Puck, "You miss your sister. You can handle a few weeks living with her. Because you're the big brother you might be able to smooth things out between the two of them."
"I just, what if I screw up?" Puck huffed out and Kurt laughed at him, "Hey! That's not something to be laughing about."
"Puck, if you're asking yourself that then you are going to do just fine by her." Kurt clapped Puck on the shoulder.
They stood side by side, catching their breath as they baked in the afternoon sun. Kurt nudged Puck's foot with his own, "So, are you going to let your little sister stay with you for a few weeks or are you going to a wuss about it?"
Puck stepped back and looked at Kurt with wide eyes, "A wuss? I am not a wuss. No way."
"Well, Mr. I'm-not-a-wuss," Kurt quirked a brow, "Invite your sister down. If she's old enough I'll let her into the club, give her VIP stats."
"Don't tell her that," Puck groaned, "She just turned nineteen."
"Oh," Kurt rubbed his palms together evilly, "Just young enough to finish corrupting her."
Puck narrowed his eyes as he headed back towards the trail, "She will forever be my little sister and corruption is not a possibility. I won't allow it."
"So you think," Kurt teased as he broke out into a run in front of Puck dodging a playful swat to the back of the head.
Kurt was busy trying to smooth over a ruffled customer when he spotted Puck entering Illuminations. He did his best to ignore the warmth of Puck's presence and focus on the woman in front of him.
"That's all you can do?" She flicked her hair angrily behind her ear, "Kick him out and give me a few drinks?"
Kurt took a deep breath wondering who this woman actually thought he was. He wasn't superman and he definitely wasn't the cops. He did his part getting security to intervene in the situation and they kicked out the alleged attacker. He did it without question even when the rest of the crowd thought the woman was out of her mind. "I could call the police if that's what you would like?"
"Don't even bother. They're just as helpless as you are." She turned on her heels and wobbled her way towards the exit, "You won't be getting any business from me or my friends any longer."
Kurt watched as she exited the building before he took a deep breath, "Thank heavens I won't ever have to see you again."
Turning on his heel Kurt darted in between customers and towards the bar. He signaled to Brittany that he was heading up to his office. He radioed security with his position and asked them to only bother him if it was absolutely necessary. He took the stairs at a jog and jabbed the pass code in, frustrated with how the night was turning out. He had barely sat down before the door to his office beeped and opened. Kurt buried his face in his hands and let out a sigh. The only people who had access to his office were security and that meant he wasn't getting the break he was dying for.
"Please tell me that there isn't another crazy woman requesting my presence." Kurt grumbled, "I don't think I can deal with another person like the last one."
A warm hand rested on the back of his neck for a moment before talented fingers were massaging out the knotted up muscles in his neck. Kurt let out a happy groan before he took the time to see who was being so kind to him. Puck was standing with a soft smile on his lips.
"If you weren't so amazing with those hands I'd bother asking what you are doing here. But you are currently melting all the muscles in my body so I can't find the effort to do much else but bask in the attention."
Puck let out a soft chuckle, "I thought I might score a few free drinks and have a good time hanging but with you for the night but your bartender had another idea. She didn't let me get a foot on the barstool before she was having security rushing me up here."
This time Kurt's groan wasn't one of pleasure, it was one of embarrassment. He leaned further on to his desk and looked up at Puck out of one eye, "I should probably tell you why she did that."
"If there is more to this story I should probably be let in on it," Puck quirked a brow as he backed up and moved to sit across the desk from Kurt.
Kurt kept his head buried in his arms, "She thinks you're my boyfriend."
Puck rolled his lips together, "I could see why she would think that."
"Well yeah," Kurt rolled his eyes as he sat up, "Because she doesn't know how I met you and I didn't bother to correct her when she said you were my boyfriend and implied…well you get the picture."
Puck tilted his head in thought for a moment before his eyes widened and he nodded, "Oh. Yeah. Got cha."
Kurt laid his head on the desk and mimicked Puck, "Oh. That's about right."
"Well," Puck started, "You could just tell everyone that we decided things were too busy in our lives for the time being and we wanted to stay friends for now."
Kurt narrowed his eyes at the far too easily come to solution to his current predicament. The Puck shrugged, "It's just a suggestion."
"A brilliant suggestion," Kurt broke out into a smile and leaned back in his chair with a happy sigh before his face crumbled, "Oh but I feel like that's not being fair to you. Like I'm treating you like crap and I'm not. I wouldn't do that."
Puck reached across the desk and rested his hand over Kurt's, "I think it's next to impossible for you to treat anyone badly. You're too kind to do so without a grand gesture of apology if you did. Plus I don't really want people to know that I'm an escort. It tends to make people cringe whenever I'm around. So we're better as friends or decided to take a break and remain friends because we don't have the time for more. Either is an excuse that would work fine with me."
"Just," Kurt groaned, "I feel bad about it all."
Puck rolled his eyes, "There's no reason to feel bad about it. I'm declaring a change of subject for you to get over this unnecessary attack of the conscience. I talked to my ma and my sister."
"Yeah?" Kurt sat up a little straighter interested to learn more about Puck, "How did that go? Did you guys make a decision if she was going to visit or not?"
Puck grinned at Kurt's enthusiasm, "She's not going to come down for a few weeks but we're going to spend some time together. I guess we'll do touristy stuff and just hang out and catch up with each other. I have to figure it all out you know? I definitely need to get the spare room ready for her."
"That shouldn't be too difficult."
"It's going to kill me," Puck groaned, "I just have a box spring and mattress sitting on the floor and boxes of crap just sitting around. I'm going to have to go through them and clear out the closet."
"That's not going to take but a day to fix. Maybe two if you count going to get a bed frame for the mattresses to get them off the floor." Kurt pointed out. "It's just getting the motivation to do so."
"I'm glad she's coming but I'm afraid at the same time. She's such a snoop and a meddler I know she's going to do something crazy or find out something I don't want her to know." Puck leaned back in his chair.
"Well let her do something crazy. She's how old again? Of course she's going to meddle in her older brother's affairs. I'd do it to my big brother if I had one. Thank goodness that I'm the older brother."
"Never pictured you as the older brother," Puck mused, "I've always pictured you as an only child."
"Well I was," Kurt offered, "Until my father remarried and then I got Finn and all of his athletic glory."
"Not the greatest relationship between the two of you I take it?"
"We get along we just, well, it's better if we don't come into contact more than Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners." Kurt chuckled before he looked at his watch. "I need to head back out there and do my job."
"What? Schmoozing customers?" Puck bumped shoulders with Kurt as they headed towards the hallway.
"It's more difficult than it looks," Kurt playfully shot back, "I'll let Brittany know that whatever you wish to drink is on the house."
Puck slung an arm over Kurt's shoulders as they headed down the stairs, "Thanks but you know you don't have to do that, right?"
"I know," Kurt ducked his head so the blush that was coloring his cheeks wouldn't be seen, "It's my club which means I make the rules, so go out there and have a good time."
"I might have to steal you away for a dance," Puck raised his voice to be heard over the music.
Kurt smiled at Puck and answered, "I'll pencil you in!"
Kurt finally had a night off and the first person he thought about spending the evening with was Puck. Even if they just sat back, had a few drinks and watched crappy television he'd rather do that with someone like Puck than alone. With his phone in hand Kurt sent off a quick text to see if Puck had plans for the night. Moments after sending the text Kurt's cell phone rang. Kurt smiled to himself as he answered, "Hello Puck."
"I'm not going to be able to do anything tonight or the next few nights. I've got a job that I couldn't pass up." Puck almost sounded a bit afraid of what Kurt's reaction was going to be.
"Oh," Kurt rolled his lips together and tried to calm the thoughts that were racing through his mind. "Well, I figured I'd try."
"I'm really sorry man."
Kurt rolled his eyes, "Don't be sorry that you've got to work. You need to be able to feed yourself and pay the bills. I can't steal all your time."
There was a heavy sigh on the other end of the line, "Man you don't know how much I've been dreading telling you about picking up this job or if I could even say anything about it to you."
Kurt knew why Puck wouldn't be jumping at the bits to tell him that he picked up a job and wouldn't be in touch for a few days but he felt the need to ask anyway, "Why would you think that?"
"I just figured you'd be mad or hate me because of my job."
Kurt took a deep breath, "You've got to give me some credit here. I know what you do for a living and I know you're not just going to quit because me and you are friends now."
"Most people hate the career I choose. They don't deal well with it and after awhile they try to convince me that I can do something different and make a living just fine. Ultimately I end up loosing everyone I consider a friend. Right now, the only friend I can count on is you."
Kurt swallowed, "Well we're in the same boat because you're the only friend, besides employees, that I can count on."
"I've got to head out but thanks, for, you know, just being able to accept this. I'll give you a call whenever I can but I'm going to be out of town and not too sure with the cell reception and crap."
"All right, I'll talk to you later Puck."
Kurt cursed himself the next day. There were so many questions Kurt wished he would have asked. Like the one at the tip of his tongue now was, how long exactly Puck was going to be gone. Puck said a few days but a few days could be two or three it could even be close to a week.
It wasn't that Kurt was jealous of who Puck was spending his time with. Well okay he was a little jealous that Puck was spending time doing goodness knows what with another man or woman. It wasn't any of his business, no matter how much he wanted to sit down and ask Puck all about what the job he picked up and what the job comprised, it wasn't his business.
The more he thought about what Puck could be doing the more his curiosity grew. He wanted to know if Puck was doing another job like the one Kurt had hired him for. Common sense said that there was more than a friendly touch and play acting involved. There was probably a more sexual aspect to this job. Kurt ignored the niggling interest of what all Puck was willing to do. He pushed down the arousal that came from the thought of Puck in any kind of intimate situation. Then he felt sick that he actually thought something like that. He couldn't deal with the conflicting emotions so Kurt did the only thing he could think of. He sent a quick text checking in with Puck even though he didn't know if Puck would actually receive the message or not, and then went to shower and get ready for another night of work.
Saturday evening was always the busiest night of work and Kurt welcomed the challenge. With his sleeves rolled up and over his elbows, Kurt smiled and served drinks along side Brittany. He ignored the questioning looks Brittany would shoot his way in between burst of customers. Instead he focused on happy customers and how many drinks he could charm others into buying.
Kurt was caught off guard when Brittany wrapped a hand around his wrist and dragged him to the back under the guise of changing out soda lines. Once they were in the room Brittany stood with her hands on her hips, "I don't know you as well as Santana does but I do know when I should call my girl and ask if you behind the bar working your ass off is normal. So what the hell is going on that has got your feathers so ruffled that you would work the bar on a night you gave yourself off on?"
"First off I shouldn't have scheduled myself off from both clubs on a Saturday night." Kurt started before Brittany rolled her eyes at his explanation. "And second I don't have anything to do and I think more clearly when I'm doing something that comes to me like second-nature."
"What are you thinking about?" Brittany chewed on her lower lip, "Are there issues between you and your boy? Like problems that could end the relationship?"
"We decided we'd be better as friends for the time being," Kurt ignored the sharp gasp from Brittany's lips, "It was a mutual decision because we're both so busy lately. He's out of town for a few days and has shitty cell reception so I can't really talk to him like I would like to be able to talk to him."
Brittany's lips turned from a frown to a knowing smile, "You just miss him. Even if you're claiming to be just friends, you miss Puck."
Kurt ducked his head down, "I guess you could say that."
"Well now that we have that cleared up," Brittany grabbed Kurt's arm, "We need to get back out there otherwise the boys are going to kill us for leaving them to the dogs."
Kurt did change out a few of the low soda and draft lines before following Brittany back to the bar. He got a smack to the back of the head as soon as he scooted around Brittany and towards a thirsty customer, "Don't scare us like that again. You had everyone thinking we didn't know how to do our jobs and you were going to fire us."
"If I fired you then who would I boss around?" Kurt shot back and smirked when he got boisterous laughter from his bartenders.
Kurt was letting his spoon drag through his oatmeal when the doorbell rang. He was out of his seat and opening the door within seconds. When he opened the door Puck was leaning against the door frame with his head tucked down into his chest. Kurt could see the dark rings around his eyes and the exhaustion lining his shoulders.
Instead of asking the question that was on the tip of his tongue Kurt moved to allow Puck into the house and guided him towards the nearest couch. Kurt kept quiet while he moved into the kitchen and fixed a cup of coffee with a little bit of sugar just like Puck liked it to be made before he made his own. He sat in the chair next to the couch Puck was laying out on. He nudged Puck's hand with his fingers as he handed over the mug of coffee.
"I could sleep for a week," Puck's voice cracked as he sunk further into the couch and let out a happy hum as he took a sip of the coffee.
Kurt wasn't sure what he was supposed to say or if he should say anything at all. He did what he would have done for any other friend who walked into his house in similar condition to Puck, "I've got a spare room and plenty of food."
Puck's deep chested laughter wasn't what he was expecting but it was pleasing never the less to have gotten such a response from his weary companion.
"Thanks Kurt, I appreciate the offer," Puck rubbed his hands over his eyes and set his mug of coffee down on the table. "I don't care that I got a lot of money from that last job but I am never going to accept another from that guy again. Not even for a million dollars"
Kurt rolled his lips together, "That bad?"
"I don't think I slept at all," Puck muttered. "And he smelled like he poured an entire bottle of cologne over himself every time he got out of the shower and then again in the morning."
Kurt watched the way Puck maneuvered himself deeper into the couch and tried to lay back as far as he could without putting his feet up on the couch. Instead of interrogating Puck the way he wanted to Kurt stood up and moved in front of the couch. He reached out and started to tug Puck up to his feet. "I was serious about the spare room. There's an awesome shower in the bathroom, you can steam if that's your thing. But you need to get some sleep. You look like you're about to fall asleep on my couch and as nice as they are for sitting on they aren't that comfortable to sleep on."
"I can go home Kurt. I just wanted to see you before I passed out and disappeared from the world for a day or two." Puck protested even though he allowed Kurt to lead him down the hallway and into the spare room that Kurt had enticed him with.
"Well," Kurt propped open the door and gestured to a door on the opposite end of the room, "That's the bathroom. The bed is comfortable according to what Santana says. You can stay as long as you need to. The kitchen is at your disposal if you get hungry and I'm not here."
Puck reached out to lay a hand on Kurt's arm, "You really don't have to do this. I can go home."
Kurt rolled his eyes, "I offered you a place to stay because I want you to be here. So take your shower and get to bed. If you need anything let me know. I'll be around here somewhere until about four. Then I'm heading over to Spellbound and Illuminations."
Puck tugged Kurt close and wrapped his arms around Kurt's shoulders in a tight hug. They stood there for a moment before Puck pulled back with a jaw popping yawn. He chuckled a little at the action, "Sorry about that."
Kurt smiled softly at the sleepy headed Puck, "It's not a problem, that's what I'm here for."
Kurt hadn't stayed any longer than absolutely necessary at the clubs. His mind was lingering on the man who he had left sleeping in his spare room at home. There were so many things he wanted to talk to Puck about. The main thing he wanted to know was if Puck was okay, that he hadn't been hurt at all. Every instinct in him said that Kurt needed to be at home, taking care of Puck but his mind said he knew better than to do something like that. Puck was the type of guy who needed his space. He was an independent guy and didn't need someone like Kurt hovering over every move he made. If anything Kurt would probably be an annoyance and he definitely did not want to be seen as an annoyance by Puck.
Parking his car in the driveway next to Puck's, Kurt shook all those thoughts from the forefront of his mind. The minute he'd step into the house and Puck saw him, Puck would know he was just bursting with unasked questions.
With a deep breath Kurt pushed open the door and was greeted with savory sweet scents floating through the living room all the way from the kitchen. His stomach rumbled and Kurt chuckled at himself. Of course he forgot to feed himself and his body made it known at the first thought about eating anything resembling food.
The sight that greeted Kurt in the kitchen had his mouth watering. It wasn't just the food that was being plated that had his mouth watering and his stomach growling. No. It was the way Puck was dressed. He was barefoot and wearing a pair of gray sweatpants. Nothing else. Oh god, as bad as it was to be checking out his best friend, Kurt couldn't help but to take in every tantalizing inch that was left unclothed.
Kurt felt an itch to let his hands brush along the curve of Puck's spine meeting his hips and ass. He wanted to be able to feel every dip of muscle underneath his finger tips, to taste the golden skin, to worship the body presented before him. He felt his knees tremble when Puck turned around and graced him with that shy smile that Kurt only saw when Puck wasn't sure if he had done the right thing.
"Hey, I didn't know when you were going to be home," Puck stepped back and started to fix another plate, "But stir-fry tastes good even if you refrigerate it."
"Stir-fry sounds amazing right now," Kurt moved further into the kitchen and noted his spice rack had been raided but if this tasted as good as it smelled he didn't care. Puck could raid his spice rack any day of the week. As they sat down at the table in the adjoining dining room Kurt, Kurt turned towards Puck, "You know you didn't have to make anything for dinner. At you didn't have to make anything for me."
"Seriously?" Puck rolled his eyes, "What kind of douche would that make me if I didn't return the kindness you showed me earlier? Plus I knew you wouldn't have eaten anything while you were at work, maybe a sandwich. Knowing you, its doubtful that you even stopped to eat if you got home this early. I know how you worry about the littlest of things."
Kurt ducked his head at what Puck said and he took another bite of his dinner. The room mellowed out to the soft sounds of their breath and the clink of the silverware against the bowls they were eating from.
As they were scraping the bowls clean Puck spoke with a soft voice, "You can ask you know. I wouldn't keep anything from you."
Kurt rolled his lips together in thought. He had the feeling that if he asked the wrong question everything that he had with Puck would change. That he would lose the friend he had come to depend on and care so deeply about. He wet his lips and braced himself for the possibilities of what could come. "Did you get hurt? Like are you okay?"
Puck hesitated for a moment before he answered, "I'm sore. More tired than anything."
"Oh," Kurt wasn't so sure what he should say to that so he did the only thing that he considered safe. He kept quiet and waited for Puck to handle where the conversation went.
"He needed someone who would make him look good, which I should have expected you know. I saw his pictures. The dude was fit and good looking. If you go on a business trip with executives these days there's more than just boardroom meetings and fancy dinners. I played lacrosse. What the fuck?"
Kurt spit out his drink and mopped it up off the table only slightly embarrassed because of the confusion on Puck's face.
"Who does that? Take time out a busy schedule to have a game of lacrosse? I've never played that in my life so of course I get the piss taken out of me. Then a few hours later, I'm bruised up and sitting in the most god awful chair trying to choke down goat livers or whatever the hell is on the menu and having him grope my leg like it was the first time he had touched another guy and he was getting off on it. Then he decides in front of everyone to just lay one on my and I wasn't expecting it so of course I'm pushing him off of me. Before I even left the hotel he called in and complained about my services."
"I'm sorry," Kurt offered in a soft voice. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath trying to push away the one question that was plaguing his mind. It wasn't any of his business if Puck had been intimate with a client. No matter how much his heart clenched tight and his stomach churned at the thought of Puck being with anyone else. Kurt took another deep breath and looked up at Puck and tuned back into what he was saying.
"Just a customer that wouldn't have been satisfied with anything I did, no matter what. Anyways, it doesn't really matter. The company won't let us cross paths again, so that's fine by me. If I would have known ahead of time he wanted more than a companion then that would have been a different story. I would have known to be expecting that. But I just wasn't, or I was off. I don't know."
"It'll be okay," Kurt stood up and grabbed their dishes, "And if you need something for the bruises I have this cream that works really well to help speed up the healing process."
"That would be awesome but I think I'm just sore more than anything." Puck stood up and stretched causing Kurt to take a deep swallow of his drink to hide the obviously perusal of muscles. "On second thought, I got kneed in the thigh. The cream would be awesome."
Kurt almost jumped out of his seat to run and get it. He hollered over his shoulder as he disappeared from the kitchen, "Be right back!"
It was a convenient excuse to get away from Puck and let him self think about what he was just told. What he was just trusted with. The one thing his mind couldn't seem to rid itself of was whether or not Puck had sex with his client. He shouldn't even be thinking about Puck and sex in the same sentence. A mixture of guilt and excitement swirled in his gut. He was just glad that Puck didn't tell him if he did have sex with the creeper. All these questions only led Kurt to thinking of Puck in a different light. It made him feel guilty about the way his mind was turning and the thoughts of Puck's hands on him and his mouth nipping and tasting along that collar bone that just wouldn't leave his thoughts.
Running his hands through his hair, Kurt snatched the jar of cream from the bathroom cabinet and headed back towards the kitchen and stopped short to see Puck sprawled out on his couch with his eyes closed and his chest moving with deep breaths. Kurt moved quietly to set the jar down next to Puck and started to back away from the couch when Puck's hand shot out.
"Thanks, I really appreciate everything you're doing for me. For letting hang out here and all. I just, sometimes I don't want to be home alone after the past few days that I've had."
Kurt smiled down at Puck, "It's no trouble. You know that. And if you're really tired you should be asleep in the bed. The couch isn't going to be good for someone who is sore."
Puck sat up and patted the cushion next to him until Kurt moved to sit next to him, "I know that but I wanted to sit out here and catch a little bit of television and hang out with you before I passed out for the night. Is that cool?"
Kurt toed his shoes off and pulled his feet up underneath him as he settled into the cushions, "So what are we watching?"
"I don't know," Puck rolled his head along the back of the couch to look at Kurt, "What's good? I never watch television anymore."
Kurt chuckled and went to the Netflix menu, "How about we pick a movie and see how that does us."
"Bless Netflix," Puck chuckled at himself.
"Agreed," Kurt nodded as he flipped through the selection.
I wanted to apologize for such a late update. I had a surgery and then I was out of comission and stuck in bed for about a week. Then I had to play catch up in the world of university.