Series: War of the Words
Warnings: language, sexual content
Word Count: 12,000
Story Summary: Kurt and Blaine are famous online book reviewers with thousands of followers each and a professional rivalry. When their snarky banter gets out of hand, their blogging partners Rachel and Tina conspire to get them to work out their sexual tension in less verbal, more physical ways. Adapted from this prompt on kurt_blaine.
Author's Note: This story was originally posted on my Tumblr (arainymonday) in smaller parts, but here's the whole story for you. If you're curious, this will eventually be part of a verse that I'll be writing in occasionally. You can also download the PDF for easier reading. Enjoy the story!
WAR OF THE WORDS
Blaine clicked the ‘Create Post’ button and breathed a deep sigh. Posting new reviews online always made him nervous. He worried about typos and erroneous literary interpretation, the number of reblogs and likes, the kinds of comments or anonymous hate his latest book review could generate. But this review he thought was insightful and his love of the book shone through without gushing.
“We’re on in half an hour,” Tina called from the living room. “You should put on some stage makeup so you don’t look shiny on camera.”
“Yeah, okay. I’ll be in there in a minute.”
Blaine still couldn’t believe they’d been invited to sit on a livestream panel about popular fiction. It all stemmed from the rant a fed-up and tipsy Tina had posted on their book reviewing Tumblr about the Notable Books Council ignoring the hidden gems of the literary world and “kissing the asses of pretentious, elitist authors who think a sentence isn’t complete without two semi-colons, a four syllable word, and a big ‘fuck you’ to the reader with an average IQ.” To date, it had over 10,000 notes and their followers frequently called it their ‘manifesto.’
In some ways, “Fuck you, Notable Books Council” was their manifesto. Blaine and Tina mostly blogged about trade paperbacks found in bargain bins at the bookstore down the street from their tiny Brooklyn apartment. At first, they’d chosen those books because they couldn’t afford anything else, but as they read the cast offs of the literary world, they discovered true wonders never on the bestsellers lists. Thus began the impassioned attempt of two students to share underrated novels with the world. They called it:
(n.): in printing, a vertical channel of white space on the page
BESIDE A BURNING SEA
Author: John Shors
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: 9/2/2008
Genre: Historical Fiction
Beside a Burning Sea is the story of nine people who survive the sinking of the United States hospital ship Benevolence during World War II. Each chapter follows one of the eighteen days the survivors are stranded on an uninhabited island in the Solomon Islands. While trying to stay alive by finding food and shelter, the survivors are also under threat of Japanese invasion of the island. And worst of all, there is a traitor in their midst.
The heart of this story is the character relationships. These are tales of love in its many different forms – falling, rediscovering, and obsessive – between lovers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and children. The characters are archetypes easy to love and hate. Not surprisingly, my favorite character was Akira, the Japanese patient/prisoner who is conflicted in his loyalties.
Ultimately, Beside a Burning Sea is a book about personal experiences with war. It could have been set during any war and the action would have played out the same. The characters in any war are identical, regardless of time period. The officers, nurses, children, traitors, and enemies remain the same, though the countries at war change.
The historical details in this book are scarce because the characters are isolated on an uninhabited island, but the parts that are chronicled through flashbacks and characterization are grounded in fact. There was some liberty taken with the “rumors” about German concentration camps and the atomic bomb, but otherwise I think this is a much more solid historical fiction than the author’s first novel Beneath a Marble Sky.
Each chapter in this book was preceded by a haiku. I don’t claim to be an expert on Japanese poetry, but I found these haikus to be stunning poems. Without a doubt, these little gems are my favorite parts of the book. I spent as much time pondering the haikus as I did the war message in the book.
posted by Blaine Anderson on April 26, 2016 | 732 replies
Mawkish and predictable
Read this book, do not
Kurt chortled at his own poetic joke and switched off his cell phone. He loved it when the amateurs at River handed him material on a silver platter. In some ways, he almost felt guilty single-handedly stemming the literary proletariat revolution Sewer tried and failed to stir up.
“Another drink, sir?”
With a fleeting smile, Kurt accepted another flute of champagne from the passing waiter. He turned in a semi-circle to take in the rooftop party where Literati and Glitterati rubbed elbows and promptly ducked behind a potted tree to avoid James Patterson. The mere thought of shaking hands with the creator of such drivel sent shudders up his spine.
“Why are we hiding behind a tree?” Rachel hissed.
She made a choking sound in the back of her throat. “You have to promise me, Kurt, that if I ever write a chapter less than a page in length, you’ll threaten to Find and Replace all of my synonyms with the word with ‘said.’”
Sometimes Kurt couldn’t believe they’d made it so far with their blog, and other moments reminded him how great he and Rachel were together. Their names were Tumblr famous, and as their sharp insights impressed their professors at Columbia, they were becoming staples at these high class university events. What had started as a tiny review column in The Blue and White had turned into a sensational blog with over three thousand followers. They called it:
“If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.” Jean-Paul Sartre
THE NANNY DIARIES
Authors: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Griffin Pages: 320
Publication Date: 02/06/2007
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
McLaughlin and Kraus ignore family and class experts to tell us just how horrible rich people really are to their children.
Nan is a college student in need of a part time job. Figuring that taking care of a child should be pretty easy, she goes in search of a family needing a nanny. Because they are rich, and therefore terrible people, family X is all too happy to hire her to raise their son Grayer. Nan witnesses a long string of selfish parents, neglect, abandonment, extramarital affairs, and borderline emotional abuse – a series of events that could only be made mundane by the erratic pacing of this novel. Through half-explained time jumps, several months pass in which Nan and Grayer bond. But Mrs. X ultimately decides that Nan is a worse mother-substitute than she, herself, is a mother, and so Nan is unceremoniously fired. Proving once again that poor people are superior to rich people in every way, Nan concludes the novel with dignity and some words of advice stolen from Dr. Phil.
A book with only one saving grace – Julia Robert’s performance on the audio.
Posted on May 2, 2016 by Kurt Hummel | 833 replies
Reading a book you know you’ll hate for the sole purpose of writing a scathing review. Does anyone else smell “ivy”?
As opposed to the reek of magic marker on the neon signs you make to protest legislature cutting funding to your state school?
Blaine hiked the leather strap of his satchel higher on his shoulder as he handed in his exam to Dr. Brewer, and with a forced smile, excused himself forever from the presence of the single most pretentious teacher at Brooklyn College. Scratch that, the entire CUNY system. Ever since Blaine had written his first paper on the religious imagery in American Gods, she’d had it out for him. Apparently, fantasy fiction did not qualify as literature. And anyone who slighted Neil Gaiman was a mortal enemy of Blaine’s.
With his final finished, he trotted across campus to the quad where he and Tina always ate lunch. She had a Microbiology final, so she would probably take every precious second to check over her answers. While he waited for her, Blaine decided to check their blog to see how the livestream had gone over with their followers.
He followed a few of the discussion threads, scrolled through their ‘river book reviews’ tag, grinned at the gifs they’d created, and laughed uproariously at the:
Are they together together? Because Blaintina is so freaking adorable.
But the little red box with ‘823’ inside it called to him. They couldn’t answer all the asks sent in to their blog, but they tried to answer some whenever they had a few minutes. Blaine clicked on the messages icon and began scanning.
brokenbookspine asked: Blaine and Tina, are you two dating? After watching your livestream, we’re all shipping you._
Tina and I have been friends since we met in our first literature class three years ago. She’s my best friend in the whole world, and I like to think that I’m hers. We’re not dating. Tina is a woman, and I’m gay. If the stars ever re-align and Tina decides she’s actually Tony, I’ll get back to you.
He read over the answer several times to make sure it didn’t come across as offensive or anything could be read into it that he didn’t intend (although that was difficult to judge) and hit the ‘Publish’ button. He scrolled through several more questions until he landed on one halfway down the page.
atlassucked asked: Your book reviews are written very differently from most which makes me think you don’t plan to become professional book critics. You seem to care more about the symbolism and feelings you had while reading than straight plot summary and technical critique. What are you studying at college? And what are your plans after you graduate?_
We started this blog to share our love of reading. We figured if you wanted a plot summary, you’d read the book jacket or go to Wikipedia. We write about how the book made us feel and what it made us think because that’s why we enjoy reading so much.
I’m majoring in History with a minor in English Literature, and Tina is majoring in History with a minor in Women’s Studies. We’re both aspiring writers working on short stories and novels.
Good luck on your Twilight/Harry Potter crossover fanfiction. Watch your content, though. I hear fanfiction.net is enforcing their TOS and your gratuitous self-insert three-way love scene with Cedric and Edward might get it deleted.
How would you know about fanfiction.net’s TOS or even that there is a fanfiction.net if you didn’t read fanfic? BAZINGA!
Sorry? I don’t speak Klingon.
Or watch quality television.
Rachel looked up over her laptop with a stern glare full of judgment. Without comment, her eyes flicked back down to the document she’d been furiously typing for days. He shrugged and clicked back in to his own story submission. If Rachel didn’t understand the reference either, he wouldn’t worry about it. In the back of his mind, he knew Real Housewives of Atlanta didn’t really count as “quality television,” but he pretended to watch PBS just like everyone else, so he figured he was covered.
“Are you almost ready to switch again?” Rachel asked.
Kurt had read and reread her short story submission for the AWP Writers’ Conference more times than he could count, and she had done the same for him. They’d come to an understanding years ago. They were competition, but without allies, neither stood a chance of making it through the Columbia writing program. Together, they were unstoppable. Their blog, column in The Blue and White, and invites to the literati events on campus proved that.
“Last time,” Kurt answered. “The submissions and applications are due tomorrow.”
Unlike some of their classmates at Columbia, Kurt and Rachel couldn’t afford the registration fees for every writing conference, educational trip, or the Ivy League lifestyle. The average annual income in Lima, Ohio barely covered one year’s tuition at Columbia. They relied on saintly parents who scrimped on everything they could, scholarships, loans, and part-time jobs more than any of their friends knew. And as their senior year neared its end, they had begun gearing themselves up for the MFA program in the fall.
They spent most of the night studiously revising and editing, and then decided against sleep and walked their packets over to the Dean’s office. She would decide which two students received the travel scholarship to present at the conference in Boston.
“It has to be us,” Kurt said confidently. “We’re the only two undergrads going directly into the MFA program, we’re famous Internet book reviewers, and the favorites of all our professors. We’re presenting at that conference and starting off our fabulous careers as graduate students the right way.”
Three weeks later, the Dean delivered the bad news as gently as she could:
“As you know, Columbia traditionally has two presentation slots for our MFA students. We had decided to award those slots to you, Mr. Hummel and Ms. Berry. However, this year, the conference committee has allotted us only one slot due to additional author participation. I am sincerely sorry about this mix up.”
Kurt and Rachel stared at her agog, accepted the letters she handed across her desk, and scurried out of the office in stunned silence. They stared at the sealed envelopes for several minutes before Rachel spoke.
“No matter what these say, we'll be supportive and happy for each other.”
Kurt nodded. “I’ll go first?”
Rachel pressed her lips into a thin line and breathed a fortifying breath as the huge smile broke over Kurt’s face. True to her word, she put on a brave face, gave him a huge hug, paid for a celebratory dinner, and saved her disappointed tears for later.
“Just … don’t tell me if Audrey Niffenegger is there,” she said. “And have an amazing time, Kurt. You deserve it.”
Kurt hugged her tightly again. “Will you help me with my presentation?”
“If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.”
AWP Annual Conference
If any of you are going to be at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference in Boston, be sure to come by Alden Hall at 11am on Thursday for my presentation on how social media has changed the reading culture. Literati and Columbia University are sponsoring a special luncheon session afterwards for any followers of the blog, so make sure to check that option on your registration forms.
Posted by Kurt Hummel on June 16, 2016 | 444 replies
As someone who has heard the presentation, I can promise it’s not something you want to miss.
Good luck on your first presentation, Kurt! I’m sorry I can’t be there. It’s a topic I’m definitely interested in discussing :)
Even living three blocks away from the Brooklyn College station, Blaine nearly missed the train to Penn station. He stowed his carryon as the train pulled away and crashed into his seat with chest heaving and perspiration clinging to his forehead. Without Tina in the apartment for the summer, he tended to get caught up in his writing. Yesterday, he’d mysteriously lost seven hours and the sunset. As it was, he’d left his protagonist in mid-sentence, and that didn’t sit right with him. He couldn’t exactly solve the problem at the moment, so he dug out the paperback he’d found shoved deep in the bargain bin.
So far, The Vespertine left a lot to be desired. Tina probably should have read and reviewed this book, but she’d already left for her summer abroad before he’d found it. He didn’t mind reading books about women and girls, but he didn’t understand the teenage variety at all.
The transfer to the train departing for Boston went smoothly, and Blaine found a comfortable couple of seats where he could relax and read for the four hour ride north. He returned to the mysterious mind of a seventeen-year-old girl in the pages of his book.
The train filled up steadily. Years of riding the New York City subway had trained Blaine to glance up from his book every few seconds and stay aware of his surroundings. His eyes flicked up and down for the tenth time, but the man stepping into the compartment drew a second, longer stare from Blaine. He was tall and broad-shouldered, dressed in fashionable clothes that showed off his toned arms and slender waist. Piercing blue eyes framed behind rectangular black-framed glasses traveled around the compartment and landed on Blaine.
Blaine straightened his posture, but quickly dropped his eyes before his leering turned disturbing. A minute later, however, a pair of denim-clad legs appeared in the top of his vision. He glanced up to find the man perched on the bench opposite him with a pleasant grin on his lips and a carryon suitcase resting next to him.
“Hello,” the man said. His high voice surprised Blaine, but he found it pleasant. “I hope you don’t mind if I sit here.”
“Not at all.”
Blaine watched surreptitiously over the top of his book as the other man stowed his luggage and settled into his seat. His heart flopped over in his chest when he pulled out a Kindle, crossed his legs neatly, and scrolled to his book. He caught Blaine staring and offered another enticing smile. He gestured with the Kindle.
“I always feel like a traitor reading on this thing, especially when there’s such a beautiful option right in front of me.”
Blaine realized he was gaping like an idiot a second too late, but he couldn’t help but read into the statement.
“I always feel like a Luddite without an e-reader. It makes me seem like some old fashioned traditionalist.”
“Well, you do look pretty wholesome,” the stranger observed. He took the statement as an opportunity to let his eyes wander down Blaine’s body. “I, myself, have been blessed with a more obviously controversial appearance.”
Blaine leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, “I’m really controversial.”
The other man rocked back in his seat, clearly pleased. With a playful look, he challenged, “You have just over four hours to convince me of that.”
“And if I can?” Blaine asked. “What do I get for my efforts?”
“Hmm.” The man tapped his chin and pretended to consider. “I’ll let you buy me dinner at a restaurant of my choosing tomorrow night.”
Blaine’s eyebrows arched high, and he laughed at the stranger’s candor and confidence. Said just this side of playful, the attitude fitted him perfectly, because of course everyone in the world should be falling all over themselves to give this man exactly what he wanted.
“Worth your efforts?” The stranger arched an eyebrow as if daring Blaine to say no.
Blaine barely kept himself from saying “Fuck, yes.” He let his book fall closed and held out his hand to the stranger. His skin looked so soft, but felt oddly familiar: the slightly flat finger pads from excessive typing, the deep callus on the middle finger of his right hand from gripping pencils tightly, a few paper cuts from compiling manuscripts.
The stranger was a writer. Blaine knew it in his gut. A genuine grin spread over his mouth.
The stranger’s smile faltered and fell. “Blaine … Anderson?”
Blaine gently extracted his hand from the stranger, now suspicious. “How do you know who I am?”
The stranger murmured something about Boston. He frowned deeply at Blaine, and his posture shifted. His body language – rigid spine, elbows drawn in, chin raised – screamed at Blaine to just leave him the hell alone already.
“Kurt Hummel,” the stranger said finally. “I’d say ‘pleasure to meet you’ except I don’t think it is for either of us.”
Blaine stared agog. Kurt Hummel, his pretentious and waspish nemesis, was sitting across from him. On a four hour train ride to Boston. After they’d flirted and agreed to a date. Because he fit the picture of Blaine’s fantasy man.
God, the universe was cruel.*
Kurt knew perfectly well that four hours was four hours, and yet the train ride to Boston felt so much longer. The cold tension in the air between himself and Blaine had them fidgeting and glaring the entire journey. He couldn’t believe he’d flirted with Blaine Anderson and asked him on a date. And, God, why did Blaine freaking Anderson have to be so adorable with his curls and his highwaters and his metal frame glasses that wouldn’t stay up on his nose?
“You know, your optometrist can tighten those,” Kurt said coldly.
Because every time Blaine made a jerky motion to push them back up, he scrunched his nose a little, and it was the most endearing gesture Kurt had ever seen, and he did not need Blaine Anderson, his populist nemesis, endearing himself to Kurt.
“I know. I don’t bother, though. I really only wear them at night and when I travel, and since it’s both ….”
That was a shame, in Kurt’s opinion, because Blaine looked fantastic in glasses. He sniffed and turned back to his book. He needed to stop contemplating Blaine Anderson’s looks. What really mattered was his taste in literature – or, more precisely, – his lack thereof. Sure, the body sitting in front of him appealed to his baser instincts, but the mind within that body did nothing but draw out his sharp tongue.
“What are you reading?” Kurt flashed an irritated glare at Blaine. “What? You interrupted me to talk about glasses. I’m just curious whether you’re reading Faulkner or Austen, and if you’re arrogant enough to declaim them as overrated sentimentalists of their eras.”
Kurt’s eyes bulged. “Oh my God. You’re supposed to be getting a degree in English Literature, and you’re calling Faulkner a sentimentalist? If that doesn’t damn the public university system, I don’t know what does.”
“Precisely why you’d say it,” Blaine fired back. “Isn’t that the method those prestigious Ivys teach you to take – be a contrarian to stand out?”
“Contrarian means to deliberately take an opposing viewpoint. It’s not synonymous with ‘wrong’. If your university’s library needs a donation to buy a dictionary, I’ll gladly write a check.”
“What is it with you and always calling CUNY poor? It’s not.”
“Underfunded public institutions are incapable of academically or socially preparing their students for the next level of their education, which results in exceptional students wallowing in a cesspool of troglodytes and then drowning in an ocean of their better equipped peers when they’re finally given the chance to show their true potential.”
“Wow. You’re really sticking to the water metaphors there, but to switch to the avian …. Overfunded private schools inadequately prepare their students emotionally and socially for the real world that awaits them beyond their gilded cage so that when they do slip through the bars, their clipped wings keep them from experiencing the wonders of freedom.”
Both men breathed heavily as they stared each other down, as if they’d run a marathon instead of spat debate points at each other.
“Will you tell me what book you’re reading?” Blaine huffed.
Blaine snatched at the Kindle, which Kurt had not expected. He fumbled the e-reader, and it tipped over directly into Blaine’s palms. His eyes widened dramatically as he scanned the words on the screen. Kurt snatched it back, but too late.
“Oh my God!” Blaine cried. The few heads not turned in their direction swiveled now. “That’s Beside a Burning Sea! You said it was ‘mawkish and predictable’, but you’re over two hundred pages in and not tossing it aside as a ‘tragedy’.”
“For the record,” Kurt snapped. “Those descriptors were not directed at the book. They described your review.”
They sat in petulant silence for the remaining three and a half hours to Boston, much to the delight of everyone sharing their train car. They refused to so much as look at each other. Kurt kept his nose buried in his Kindle, though he seemed not to turn the page very often. Blaine texted furiously on his phone. Or so Kurt thought until he received a text from Rachel.
Why are you reading that terrible book they recommended on River!?
Kurt hastily logged onto Tumblr on his phone.
(n.): in printing, a vertical channel of white space on the page
A Moment of Reflection
I’m on my way to Boston for the AWP conference, and I’m sitting across from Kurt Hummel of Literati no less. We’ve been discussing how book reviews inform readers. I assume you’re following this blog because you’re in search of excellent reading material. I’m curious which books have Tina and I convinced you to read that you would have otherwise skipped?
Looking back on my reviews, I think I’m most proud of Beside a Burning Sea because it convinced even Kurt Hummel to put aside his Proust and Vonnegut for a few days to enjoy an engaging book with an actual plot. In fact, he’s so into the story that he got quite irritated when I interrupted his reading to ask a question. I’m sure some of you are confused, because Kurt responded with a pretty contemptuous review a few weeks ago, but in Kurt’s precise words: ‘Those descriptors were not directed at the book.’ Success!
Head over to Literati in a few days for what I’m sure will be a glowing review.
Posted on June 27, 2016 by Blaine Anderson | 1238 replies
The next two weeks went amazingly well for Blaine. After coming back from the conference, his supervisor at the library asked him to work several extra shifts because so many of the student assistants had gone home for the summer, which meant he had to rely less on his college fund. Tina returned home from Europe so he didn’t have to survive on frozen dinners and pudding cups anymore – she had take-out numbers memorized, so they went back to their usual restaurant rotation. All in all, the summer before senior year looked like the best yet.
And then the post happened.
“If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.” -Jean-Paul Sartre
(n). a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral, belief or principles that one does not really possess. Used in a sentence: “The co-owner of anti-private university blog River attended an all-boys preparatory high school AND Columbia University.”
And unlike the unsubstantiated claims and fabricated quotes casting aspersions on my reading material, there is evidence to prove these reports.
Posted by Kurt Hummel on July 12, 2016 | 2937 replies
Umm … this is totally why you friended me on Facebook, isn’t it? Not cool.
Oh, hey. Thanks for giving a random stranger on the Internet a picture of me with my ex-boyfriend. That’s going over great right now.
Then *he* must not realize where your username comes from.
GUYS! Focus, God. Do you think Blaine will hate me forever now?
Tina held her palms up as she approached Blaine. He clutched his phone so tightly his arm shook. Trent had texted him immediately to apologize and explain he’d been duped. Yes, Blaine was angry about his friend being used because of this rivalry between himself and Kurt. But the pictures …. The pictures hit him like a punch in the chest.
“Don’t do anything stupid that you’ll regret later,” she advised.
He had every intention of following her advice, and yet somehow still ended up searching out Kurt’s name in the phonebook, taking the subway to the Upper West Side, and pounding on the door until a high male voice called:
“Yes, okay! Jesus. You’ll get a tip whether you have my Pad Thai here in precisely thirty minutes or not.”
When the door swung open, Kurt’s irritation dropped into concern as he held up his palms and took a step backwards. It gave Blaine the perfect opportunity to invite himself in. Apparently, Kurt wanted to say something about this, but stopped himself. Yes, Kurt was overall bigger than Blaine, but he’d been told he could be frightening when his patience snapped.
“Okay. Obviously, I touched a nerve –”
“You violated my privacy,” Blaine thundered. “You lied to my friend and used him. Possibly, you also violated federal law by looking into my college transcripts. And for what? For revenge because of some stupid blog posts? That’s really low, Kurt.”
Kurt’s defenses rose the longer the lecture went on. By the time Blaine had finished, he had his arms wrapped around his torso and a permanent sneer on his upper lip.
“I don’t know why you’re getting so bent out of shape. All I did was ask around about you. That’s not a crime. And this ‘stupid blog post’ is revealing the truth that you’re not some hero of the people like you claim. You did the same thing to me.”
“Except I didn’t sneak around and steal personal photos from Facebook.”
“No, you just stole my Kindle out of my hands and snooped through my personal library,” Kurt yelled back.
Blaine didn’t know when it had happened, but they’d moved closer throughout the fight, and he found Kurt standing directly in front of him. They were nearly eye level with Kurt in his bare feet, and they still moved closer, crowding each other as they shouted.
“The fact is,” Blaine spat, “I went to private school to escape because I had no other options. I was a stupid teenager, and I pretended to be someone I wasn’t because I was scared. But when I grew up, I made the choice to find myself. This is who I found. But you, you still haven’t grown up. You’re hiding among the social circles you envy, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. You’re not one of them, and you never will be.”
Kurt looked startled and furious that Blaine saw through his façade. Blaine had hidden among the same social circles for long enough to spot another outsider.
“The fact is,” Kurt mocked, “you’re still pretending. You left Dalton and Columbia to ‘find yourself’ except you didn’t. Everything you say you are is nothing more than the antithesis of what you pretended to be. You can’t stand here and tell me that a literature student reads Khalid Hosseini or Ian McEwan or Barbara Kingsolver and finds no beautiful prose or moving passages or inspiring thoughts. I don’t believe that you pass up the books that challenge you to think and feel new things in favor of a bargain priced paperback with a paper thin plot that you finish and forget about in a day.”
Now Blaine’s expression matched Kurt’s. Agitated that his rival had gotten inside his head, he scrambled for any way to deflect.
“Just admit it,” Blaine pressed. “You think Faulkner is pretentious, Proust is boring, and Vonnegut is incoherent. Caviar and champagne parties are exhausting, copyright law is discussed to death, and your creative writing program is sucking the life out of you. You like reading out of the bargain bin because you can’t resist a book that’s been as neglected and underrated as you’ve felt your whole life. You know that books are just like people: it’s their flaws that give them character.”
With only a hairsbreadth of space between them, the two men stared each other down. Who broke the stalemate first, Blaine didn’t know. He only knew Kurt’s lips against his, hungry and seeking, and a strong muscled body under his roving hands.