a_rainy_monday (a_rainy_monday) wrote,

Jingle Blogs (1/1) Part One

Title: Jingle Blogs
Series: War of the Words
Author: a_rainy_monday
Rating: R
Pairings: Klaine
Spoilers: none
Warnings: language, sexual content
Word Count: 15,000
Story Summary: A year after Kurt and Blaine started dating in War of the Words, they still haven’t announced their relationship to their thousands of blog followers. Rachel finds this unacceptable and devises a plan to show everyone just how great Kurt and Blaine truly are together. Written for Klaine Advent.


Author's Note: This story is a sequel to War of the Words. I recommend reading that one first. I originally posted on my Tumblr (arainymonday) in smaller parts for Klaine Advent, but here's the whole story for you. Enjoy!
_________________

JINGLE BLOGS

Kurt stared at the computer screen in disbelief. He blinked, shook his head, and stared again, but the same red and green theme, animated falling snow, snowman cursor, and Santa hat-topped avatar still offended his eyes. How this could happen to his blog – the blog he had spent months learning HTML and CSS to design, the blog he had spent years cultivating as the epitome of literary class – he could not fathom. Until he read the most recent entry.

LITERATI
"If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble." —Jean-Paul Sartre

Happy Holidays, Blogosphere!

In the spirit of the holiday, I've decided to give something near and dear to my heart to a new friend I've made this past year. I've decided to offer a guest blogger account to the one and only Blaine Anderson. For the month of December, Blaine will be blogging his book reviews here on Literati. I've given him the 'keys to the kingdom', you might say. As you can see, he's already infused his personality into the blog theme.

I know a lot of you follow Literati and River. You might be wondering if River will suffer with Blaine guest blogging here all month. Let me assuage your fears. River will have its regular complement of two bloggers. While Blaine is guest blogging here, I'll be guest blogging there!

Tina and I are so excited to review together again, and I know Literati will be in good hands with Kurt and Blaine blogging together.

Posted by Rachel Berry

1 December 2017 | 2283 replies


riverati-klaine said: OMFG! IT'S CHRISTMAS MAGIC!

*

Kurt stared at his computer for a full thirty seconds, stood up sharply, and marched into the kitchen where Rachel was frosting store-bought sugar cookies. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared. Rachel froze, and the red frosting squeezed in her fist farted a giant dollop onto the middle of Santa Claus's face. She hastily laid down the frosting tube and put her palms up.

"Look, Kurt."

"No."

She sucked in a deep breath through her nose and started again. "You are always saying how it's not the right time to tell everyone that you and Blaine are dating, that you need to wait just a little longer, that neither of you are ready for the attention it will bring. But, Kurt, it's been over a year. At some point, you have to announce it to the world, and blogging together will be the perfect opportunity to show everyone how great you are together."

Kurt lifted an eyebrow. "No, we don't have to announce it, and if we decide to, it's on our own terms, not yours. Blogging together won't prove anything. God, Rachel, do you know how difficult it's going to be to keep our online personas separate from our personal ones if we're working together?" Kurt shook his head and threw his hands up. "I can't believe Blaine even agreed to this. I have to talk to him."

Rachel chewed her bottom lip. "Uh, Kurt?"

Kurt knew that look. He glowered while his best friend confessed her scheme.

*

"But Rachel said 'have Blaine guest blog' was on your Christmas list." Blaine looked utterly devastated by Kurt's opinion on the guest blogger plan. His eyes welled up with emotion and distress twisted his mouth. "I am so sorry, Kurt."

Kurt reached across the table and covered his boyfriend's hands. In the background, Christmas carols filled the gaps between chattering voices discussing Christmas shopping and the gurgling of coffee pots, espresso machines, and mixers.

"Blaine, you have nothing to be sorry for. This is 100% Rachel."

"I just … I thought you finally wanted to tell everyone about us."

The words stung Kurt. He'd never wanted to hide their relationship, but he didn't think a blog post about his boyfriend was appropriate on a book reviewing blog. Sure, some of their followers 'shipped' them – as Blaine explained the fandom term, that meant a lot of making gifs, flailing in the form of smashing ones hands against the keyboard, and reading subtext into everything – but the majority (or so Kurt hoped) followed for their opinions on books.

"Blaine, honey, we've already told everyone about us."

In Kurt's opinion, friends and family constituted everyone, although he knew Blaine was dying to post his gorgeous sonnets about Kurt online, complete with a dedication. His boyfriend was big into grand romantic gestures that way.

Blaine's lips twitched into a mopey frown. "I know." He poked at the remains of his biscotti. "But it doesn't feel that way. Especially not after June."

Kurt cringed. Recent history had not been so kind to him. He'd accidentally tweeted a message he'd meant to send directly to Blaine. The salacious content had caused a flurry of rumors among their followers, and Blaine's publicist still hadn't forgiven him for the press release she'd had to write about 'inappropriate jokes between friends' being common and yet regrettable.

"I'll tell Rachel to retract the post," Blaine said glumly. He sighed sorrowfully. "And I'll take all the festive cheer off your blog before she deletes my guest account. I hope Tina at least lets me put up HTML Christmas lights this year."

Kurt's heart constricted. "Oh, honey. You really want to blog with me? Even knowing how anal retentive I am about consistent formatting and refilling the queue and the posting schedule and my algorithm for answering the perfect ratio of asks?"

A smile appeared in the corner of Blaine's mouth. "Of course I do, Kurt. I want to share my life with you. I think I can manage to share a blog for a month."

"Oh," Kurt breathed. "Well …."

Blaine took his breath away every day with his love and optimism. If Blaine thought they could do it, Kurt could at least try.

"All right. We've already moved you out of that cockroach playground in Brooklyn and to where you belong in the Upper West Side with the other notable artists of our generation. We can negotiate cohabitating a blog too."

"It was hardly a 'cockroach playground', Kurt."

Kurt finished the last of his coffee and slid Blaine's closed laptop back into the center of the table.

"I can quit early if you want me to come back with you," Blaine offered.

Kurt shook his head as he stood up. "Keep to your writing schedule. Your sequel is due in January, and I don't want you to miss a deadline on my account."

Kurt leaned down to kiss Blaine.

"Hey, Kurt? We can keep all my decorations on the blog, right?"

Kurt's smile quailed. Sometimes he swore Blaine took begging lessons from adorable puppies. His big eyes pleaded with Kurt, as if his very happiness depended on some JavaScripts that made snow fall and hijacked visitors' cursors. Although it pained Kurt to say, he really had no other option with those eyes on him.

"Of course."

*

When Kurt and Blaine decided to move in together at the end of the summer, Tina had invited herself to move in as well because what recent graduate/aspiring writer could afford rent in New York on her own, even in Brooklyn? The solution had been to search for an apartment on the Upper West Side big enough for four renters, and they'd struck gold when they found 14D. While the advertisement boasted 14D had three bedrooms, it actually had two bedrooms and a long, narrow closet too small for even a twin bed to fit. So the girls took the largest room and some privacy screens, Kurt and Blaine settled into the smallest, and the glorified closet became a library.

Combined, the occupants of 14D had nine mismatched bookcases crammed into the library. Blaine's half-bookcase sat below the window ledge now piled with snow and casting the room in twilight. Tina's tall, shallow bookcase lurked behind the door. The others – a collection of Blaine's cheap pressed wood and Rachel's solid oak and Kurt's well-constructed IKEAs – covered every inch of wall space. Books, three deep in some instances, overflowed the shelves.

Coming into the library to retrieve a book required some measure of flexibility and agility to squeeze into the narrow aisle without knocking books off shelves or unsettling the cheaper, wobbly furniture and causing an avalanche. But sometimes, when it was snowing or raining or they simply wanted quiet time together, Kurt and Blaine braved the hazards of the library together.

Today, they sat on the floor of the library with their backs against the more stable bookcases and their socked feet tangled together under the fleece blanket staving off the draft seeping in through the window that they probably needed to call their landlord about. The swirling snow had blotted out the sun long ago, but the screens of their Kindles gave them enough light to read by, and anyway, neither of them wanted to interrupt the occasional brush of toes against thighs and happy smiles it elicited or the way a sudden burst of laughter would cause the other to peer over the top of his book and grin because he'd just read the same line or because he would read it soon and because he just loved hearing his boyfriend laugh so freely.

Blaine finished reading first. He marked his place, set aside his Kindle, and drew Kurt's feet into his lap. A contented grin passed over Kurt's lips when he started a foot massage. Whether because of the foot rub after a day of wearing his impossible shoes or because he neared the end of the lighthearted romance, Blaine wasn't sure. Finally, Kurt looked up with that same beatific grin.

"I should deny you sex for making me read this book," he said nonchalantly.

Blaine laughed. "I heard you laughing, Kurt. You love this book, and you love my idea to only review Christmas-themed novels this month."

"I don't know about either of those things, but …." Kurt leaned across the narrow room and kissed Blaine sweetly. "I do love you. I just can't stand sappy romance."

Blaine pressed his lips together to hold back a raucous laugh that would wake Rachel who had an early day of classes in the morning.

"Irony. Incongruity between reality and the accompanying words or actions."

"Hmm. Your memorization of the dictionary is sexy, but it would really get me going if you could use it in a sentence."

Blaine pretended to think. "It's ironic that we're talking about being sexy in our library when we could be acting sexy in our bedroom."

Kurt laughed brightly. "Well, someone certainly learned their examples of irony from Alanis Morissette. Honey, that's not irony. That's unfortunate and correctable … as soon as Tina goes to sleep."

"But she's writing," Blaine pouted. "She'll be awake until the sun comes up. I can be quiet."

"Irony," Kurt mocked. "Incongruity between reality and the accompanying words or actions."

Blaine nudged Kurt's thigh with his toe. His cheeks turned light pink. Kurt picked up his Kindle again and scrolled to the next story in the book.

"So are you ready to review the first short story?"

"Oh, yes," Kurt said. He tapped his temple. "The zingers are piling up."

"Okay, but you should actually finish reading the whole book first."

"Uh huh."

"Kurt, are you reading the next story?"

"Hmm."

Blaine rolled his eyes and said in a sing-song voice, "You're going to look like an idiot if you review it without finishing the book."

"Whatever you say honey."

"I don't want to have to say 'I told you so', but if your review is going to be like what I think it is …."

"Blaine, honey, you're nagging."

"I'm not nagging."

"You are a little bit."

Blaine put his palms up and went back to the book he and Kurt had agreed to read together, which they obviously weren't anymore because Kurt had put on his stubborn I-don't-read-YA-romance-even-though-my-boyfriend-wrote-a-YA-romance-that-I-loved hat.

"All right. I won't say anything more until you post your review."

Kurt's toes wiggling under Blaine's thigh for warmth brought a happy sigh from Blaine. He relaxed into the comfort of the familiar touch and left himself be sucked back into a literary winter wonderland.

LITERATI
"If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble." —Jean-Paul Sartre

"THE JUBILEE EXPRESS" from LET IT SNOW
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 352
Publication Date: 10/22/2008
Genre: Young Adult

An ironically named teenage girl is involved in a series of life-threatening mishaps that inexplicably results in a lighthearted Christmas romance.

Jubilee's parents, already established as quirky and zany by naming their daughter Jubilee, are arrested during a shopping riot while attempting to purchase a ceramic Elf Motel to complement their already staggering collection of elf village abodes that calls their mental health into question along with their parenting skills. Rather than calling Child Protective Services, Jubliee's grandparents are called and she is shuffled off to the train station in the middle of a snowstorm. The train never reaches Florida because, against all laws of physics and logic, it crashes into a snowbank leaving Jubilee stranded in Small Town, North Carolina along with fourteen cheerleaders, a Native American stranger, and a Waffle House full of unsupervised hormonal teenaged employees, all of whom seem important and yet turn out be loose threads in this pile of yarn. While at the Waffle House, Jubilee bonds with yet another random stranger, Stuart, and surprise of surprises, this thread actually forms a lumpy, misshapen sweater as they bond over potential frostbite, hypothermia, Stuart's pimp/mother, and the hyperbolic angst that is failed teenage romance. Jubilee crashes the Jewish family's Christmas celebration by inviting herself to stay at the home of complete strangers which must be either the start of a murder/kidnapping thriller or a romcom. Unfortunately for readers, this story is the significantly less interesting latter.

The whole romance takes, as Jubilee says, twenty-three minutes. Too bad the story takes substantially longer to read.

Posted by Kurt Hummel

6 December 2017 | 451 replies


literati-blaine replied: Hello again, Brick Wall. If you had FINISHED THE BOOK like I told you to, you would know that THE STORIES ARE INTERCONNECTED and all these "LOOSE THREADS" are wrapped up in the next two stories.

literati-kurt replied: OH REALLY!? Because I DIDN'T GET THAT from the 10,000 OTHER RESPONSES TO this review SO THANK YOU FOR enforcing THAT POINT, BUT why must you DO SO IN SUCH an annoying manner?

cooper-anderson replied: BECAUSE HE'S AN INTENSE BLOGGER!

literati-blaine replied: Coop, you promised not to comment on my blog. Ever.

cooper-anderson: THIS ISN'T YOUR BLOG IT'S KURT AND RACHEL'S.

atlassucked replied: wait wait wait wait. Cooper Anderson – THE Cooper Anderson – is related to Blaine?

nemoswhale replied: Who is Cooper Anderson?

atlassucked replied: Oh my God! Have you never read his Khajiuklar Sage Chronicles? They're choose-your-own-adventure fantasy novels!

nemoswhale replied: Jesus God. I'm sorry I asked.

*

Blaine walked into the bedroom with a pout on his lips. Kurt had already disappeared beneath the heavy comforter, electric blanket, and flannel sheets and turned off his bedside lamp. He ducked beneath the covers entirely when he saw Blaine's pout, but his laughter rustled the bedclothes.

Blaine closed their door, cutting off Tina and Rachel's drunken rendition of Sisters, Sisters from White Christmas, toed off his slippers, and darted into the toasty blanket cocoon with a shiver.

"Come here, honey. I'll keep you warm."

Nonplussed as he was by getting made fun of online by his boyfriend – Blaine had to capslock because replies didn't allow italics for emphasis, and Kurt knew that – the chilly air hitting his face sent another shudder up his spine, and he rolled into Kurt's embrace. He gasped when the warm, firm body wrapped around him.

"Kurt! Are you naked?"

"Told you I'd keep you warm," Kurt said huskily.

"Baby, you have to put on some pajamas!"

Blaine panicked. He threw off the covers and braved the chilly air and cold floors to hop over to their dresser and pull out Kurt's thickest monogrammed flannel pajamas.

"This apartment is so drafty, and it's supposed to get really cold tonight. You have final papers due and witty, flippant retorts to sincere opinions to post online, and you know how you get when you have a cold. We're going back to Ohio soon too, and it takes you forever to get over a –"

Blaine's mouth formed a surprised O when he turned around. Blaine's special sex pillow – the one he was allowed to grind into and come on because it was liquid-repellant and the pillowcase easily washable – lay on his side of the bed. Kurt crooked a finger to beckon him back into bed. Blaine looked down at the pajamas in his arms.

"So … you don't want these?"

Kurt narrowed his eyes. "This is because of my 'witty, flippant retort'? Because you know it wasn't personal, baby."

"No, no, I – Can I get back in bed, please?"

Kurt moved the sex pillow, and Blaine shuffled under the covers. His toes felt like ice, and he dug them into the sheets under Kurt's warm leg. He never understood how Kurt could be so warm all the time. Kurt started at the cold against his flushed skin – he swore the comforter, electric blanket, and flannel sheets combo would roast him alive one day – but he didn't pull away, and he wouldn't until Blaine was warm enough that he could flip off the electric blanket and cool off enough to sleep.

"No, it's not about the post."

"Then why," Kurt asked, ducking his head to kiss Blaine's jaw, "am I holding," down his neck, "the sex pillow," his collarbone, "over my hard on?"

"Because the girls are awake."

Kurt released a frustrated groan. "All right. After they pass out."

Blaine kissed him lightly and waved the pajamas over him. "No way we'll stay up longer than them. It's too warm and comfortable in here."

"And whose fault is that?"

Kurt let Blaine wrestle him into the pajamas, pulled his boyfriend tight against his chest, and kissed his hair.

"I cannot believe you capslocked me with an I-told-you-so," Kurt murmured sleepily.

It really was so warm and comfortable cuddled up with Blaine.

"I can't believe you sassed me."

"Really, Blaine? You can't believe I sassed you?"

"Nope." Blaine snuggled into the warm body wrapped around him. "'Cause everyone knows I'm the sassy one."

Kurt chuckled softly. "You're right. I'll keep my comments bitchy from now on."

Blaine yawned. "That's all I'm asking."

*

Rachel and Tina held the last, long note of White Christmas with their arms wrapped around each other and empty mugs of eggnog tipped towards the carpet. They collapsed onto the couch when they ran out of air. After several minutes, they managed to untangle their limbs sufficiently to sit without crushing each other and giggling madly over the whole affair.

"Oh my God. You have a terrible voice," Tina giggled.

"Shut up! Never had lessons. So do you anyway."

"I don't think that made sense?"

The girls slipped into happy silence for a few minutes, content to watch the credits roll on the screen and bask in the warm, rum-glow of the eggnog Kurt had made for them.

"Tina," Rachel slurred. "Are we drunk enough to cuddle each other and not talk about it tomorrow or ever again?"

"What?" Tina laughed.

"It's been sooooo long since I've cuddled anything but my vibrator."

Tina cackled madly, but clapped a hand over her mouth when Rachel flashed her sad eyes. "Ssh. Don't laugh at Rachel."

"And it's Christmas –"

"But you're Jewish?"

"And Blaine is making us all read Let It Snow and there's so much Christmas magic in the air that, like, everyone in the book finds happiness. Even the kind of sleazy characters get a happily ever after, and I'm like, 'But what about Rachel?'"

"Is there a Rachel in the book?"

Rachel burst into tears. "No! Because no one loves Rachel."

"Aww." Tina opened her arms and gestured for Rachel to come closer. She stroked Rachel's hair and rested her cheek on top of Rachel's head. "Talk to me, girlie. You broke up with what's-his-face-horrific-writer how long ago? So what brought this on?"

Rachel sat up and dried her eyes with the ends of her sleeves. "We got our invitations to Dean Tibedeaux's annual Christmas Party, and I RSVP-ed with a plus one, but I don't have a plus one!" She started to cry again, more hysterically this time. "And Kurt and Blaine will go together again, and they'll be the star couple because Dean Tibedeaux is in literary love with Kurt and Blaine is a published author – of young adult fiction, but whatever – and no one will care about stupid me who is stupid alone at the stupid stupid stupid party."

"Ssh. Don't cry. I'll be your plus one."

Rachel scrubbed her cheeks with the ends of her pajamas balled up in her fists. "You would go to a Columbia party with me? I think Kurt only gets Blaine to go by bribing him with sexual favors. No offense, but I don't want to give you sexual favors."

Tina stuck out her tongue. "I don't want your sexual favors. I have busted-my-knee-can't-dance-anymore-so-I'll-write-a-book-about-dancers boy in my writing group, remember?"

"Oh, yeah. Have you talked to him yet?"

"Not talking about me." Tina pointed to herself and clumsily rotated her wrist to point at Rachel. "Talking about you."

"Because I'm sad."

"Right. Is that why you're interfering with Kurt and Blaine?"

Rachel nodded and puffed herself up like she had something profound to announce. Instead, she said, "Yup. More eggnog?"

"Yes! But, hey, are you taking me as your plus one?"

"Oh." Rachel giggled. "Yes. But we have to take a prom picture so I can post it on Facebook and tag all my ex-boyfriends and be like 'Look who has a hot girlfriend, bitches!'"

Tina shook her head. "I don't think that made sense or that you should do it. But, yeah, prom pictures are awesome! I don't have a prom picture, though, because no one asked me to prom because I wore plastic spider necklaces and had a fake stutter in high school."

Rachel's lip trembled again. "Tina!"

"Ssh. No crying. Drunk. Too happy to cry. Let's shop for dresses online!"

"Oooh! Wait, wait, wait! I'll get my emergency credit card so we can actually buy something."

"That's probably not a good idea."

"Doing it anyway because it's Christmas!"

"It's Christmas!"

They hugged and danced around the living room until Kurt appeared in the living room, hair mussed from sleep (or Blaine's hands) with his arms crossed over his chest and a frown on his lips. The girls put fingers to their lips and shushed each other.

"You are not buying party dresses online," Kurt stated. "We'll go shopping in the morning."

*

Blaine stomped his feet on the welcome mat, shook off what snowflakes he could dislodge from his peacoat without a brush, and ducked inside the toasty apartment. Kurt looked up from the couch with a faint smile playing around the corners of his mouth. Blaine shrugged off his coat, toed off his boots, and curled up with Kurt.

"How was the Iditarod?"

Blaine chuckled. "I wasn't gone that long."

"The sun rose and set while you were gone."

"Blame daylight savings time. And writer's block."

"Ah, baby." Kurt ran his fingers through Blaine's wet curls. The falling snow now melting in his hair had ruined his careful styling. "You don't even believe in writer's block."

"It's a figure of speech for my inability to change a single word in my story even though I can see Artie has perfectly valid points about the flow and consistency. Kurt … I don't know if I can make this deadline."

"Ssh." Kurt kissed his boyfriend's temple. "You'll meet the deadline, and your rewrites will be brilliant and your editor will dance with joy."

"Artie's in a wheelchair."

"Oh." Kurt grimaced. "Uh … figuratively, then."

Blaine snuggled further into Kurt and pouted against his chest. Kurt knew the absolute dejection of having a story bottled up in his brain, like a dam of words that his eyes could see, but his fingers couldn't type. There was nothing he could do but tighten his hold on Blaine.

"What are you looking at?"

Blaine examined the handsome leather photo album perched on Kurt's lap. Gold script on the rich brown cover read "Our Family" with a fainter drawing of a Christmas tree behind the words.

"Oooh. Did Marley's ghost come to visit while I was gone?"

"Not exactly. More like the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come, but without the ominous wardrobe, whip, and general eeriness."

Blaine furrowed his brow, not quite understanding. Kurt flipped open the album and pointed at a handwritten note on the hard cover. It was short, but brought tears to Blaine's eyes.

"Wow, Kurt." He swiped at the moisture. "I can see where you got your writing talent from."

Kurt was misty-eyed too. "Who knew my dad could be such a romantic? He really loved my mom. He bought her this album when he knew –" his voice broke "– when he knew they'd be together for the rest of their lives."

As Kurt flipped through the pages, Blaine watched the Hummel family change. Each heavy cream page had a year written in the upper left corner in the same script as the cover and exactly one picture in the center – the Hummel's annual Christmas portrait. For several years, there was only Burt and Elizabeth, and then Burt and Elizabeth with a baby boy that grew with each turn of the page. And then there were only two people again, and Blaine did start to cry because he felt Kurt's irregular breathing and shaking shoulders. For so many years, there was just Burt and Kurt, and then suddenly the pictures were full again, and they went on that way until they came to the blank page for 2017. The album wasn't even halfway full; the pages reached far into the future because Burt had expected to live a long, happy life with the woman he'd called the love of his life.

"Carole called today to tell me when our portrait session is scheduled, and I've been thinking all afternoon about how to block the picture."

The corner of Blaine's mouth lifted even as he dashed away the last of his tears with his forefinger. "Hmm. Yeah, do you line up Burt, you, Finn, Carole? Or do you go Burt, Finn, you, Carole?" Kurt shoved his shoulder lightly. "Or do you do the classic pose with the kids sitting in front and parents standing behind? And do you all look to the left or the right or face front?"

"Stop it!" Kurt laughed. He poked Blaine's ticklish sides for emphasis. "Actually …" Kurt's finger traced the gold 2017. "Actually, blocking the picture might be a little difficult this year. I've never arranged a portrait with five people before."

Blaine's heart flipped over in his chest, but he tamped down the emotion until he knew for sure he understood Kurt right. "Five?"

"Uh huh. If … I mean, if you want to be in the picture."

"In your family picture."

"Right. In my family."

Blaine gazed up at Kurt who looked so nervous and sincere. Blaine felt so much love and happiness, like his heart would beat out of his chest, that he couldn't find any words. So he just sighed contentedly, blinked slowly, and nodded.

LITERATI
"If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble." —Jean-Paul Sartre

"A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle" from Let It Snow
Author:John Green
Publisher:Speak
Pages:352
Publication Date:10/22/2008
Genre:Young Adult

Tobin, JP, and the Duke (Angie) are enjoying their James Bond marathon when they get a call from their good friend Keun informing them that fourteen cheerleaders are in the Waffle House and there's only enough room for one more carful of guys. Spurred by their desire to play Twister with cheerleaders, they make the treacherous drive in near blizzard conditions to the Waffle House. Along the way, they crash into a snowbank, are twice chased by twins hellbent on getting to the Waffle House first, and dodge college guys using their beer keg as a weapon. During their feats of derring-do, Tobin realizes that he doesn't really care about their destination. It's the adventure that he loves. And maybe the Duke too.

As a former teenage guy, reading this story felt like stepping back in time and watching one of a thousand nights with my friends. Everything from the way they speak to each other to their ill-conceived attempt at getting to the Waffle House might have been me, the Warblers, and Westerville, Ohio circa 2011. It's the finest form of literary sketch comedy. And like Tobin and JP, I had quite the thing for cheerleaders too. Just not the ones who wore skirts. ;)

This story was written for teenagers, but I think adults will love it too. Christmas is a time of nostalgia. I feel very fortunate that when I think about Christmases past, the memories warm my heart. This story gave me the same happy, safe, content feeling that chestnuts roasting on an open fire and sleigh bells and boughs of holly give me.

The slang may have changed since your teenage years, the locations might be different, but love at Christmas is universal.

Posted by Blaine Anderson

15 December 2017 | 290 replies


literati-kurt said: Did you seriously use a winky face in a book review?

literati-blaine said: That's what you got from that review? My winky face?

literati-kurt said: Was there something else of import in this review? Because all I read was sentimentality and author loyalty.

literati-blaine said: What's wrong with author loyalty? John Green has written flawless novels, and now a flawless short story.

literati-kurt said: Do mine eyes deceive me? Has the high horse Blaine Anderson has been riding on for years bent its knee in submission to the publishing world? Has the champion of the bargain books lowered his standard? What's wrong with author loyalty, Blaine, is that it makes writers and editors sloppy. Authors are humans; they are susceptible to conceit, and given sales figures and media attention, can make ridiculous demands that curtail editors' pens leading to poor quality books that are nonetheless purchased and made bestsellers simply on the merit of their past genius. And even if the author keeps their head on their shoulders, publishers are susceptible to greed and pressure editors to quickly churn out the next big hit from an established author which also leads to a poorer quality books. Not to mention that this kind of blind loyalty makes it incredibly difficult for new authors to get published. You should know that better than most.

literati-blaine said: *whistle* That was QUITE the rant, Kurt. If I ever give up my high horse and standard for the bargain books of the world, you seem ready and eager to take up the mantle.

literati-kurt said: *silence*

literati-blaine said: IIII IIII III

*

"How are hash marks even an appropriate response to that?" Kurt asked, peering over the top of his computer.

Tina chuckled darkly. "Blaine should be home in an hour. You should pop some popcorn and make more eggnog. I'm sensing a marathon tonight."

"No," Kurt moaned. "Not another one of his sci-fi marathons. I still haven't recovered from the clusterfuck that was Farscape. Seriously, Tina, what the fuck even happened on that show? And do not – do not – get me started on Smallville."

Tina stood up from her computer and stretched her back. As she made her way into the kitchen, she patted Kurt's shoulder.

"Relax, Kurt. And besides, you'll learn something else tonight. I suggested River as the name of our blog because it's a publishing term. Blaine, being the lovable dork that he is, liked it for a completely different reason."

Kurt growled faintly. "Fine. I'm intrigued enough, I guess. But there better not be unfulfilled homoerotic subtext that gets my hopes up and dashes them on the spike forest of the writers' pens."

Tina laughed again. "Careful, Kurt. Championing underdog authors and bitching about TV shows' writing teams? You're starting to sound an awful lot like me and Blaine."

"Blaine and I," he argued glumly. "And, no, I don't. He's rubbed off on me plenty, but he has not corrupted my literary purity."

"Me and Blaine," Tina insisted. "I wouldn't have said, 'You're starting to sound an awful lot like I.' And, yes, he has, Kurt. You're not the same blogger you were a year-and-a-half ago. Neither is he. You've changed each other. It's kind of disgustingly sweet."

Kurt tipped back in his chair and pondered that. He had changed; he could see it when he read his previous reviews and in the fiction he wrote now. What he'd once genuinely meant was now only posturing for his audience. He just wasn't sure if he was comfortable with who he had become.

*

Chandler Kiehl @betweenthelines
As promised, the live blogging of Dean Tibedeaux's Christmas Party continues. @kurthummel and @blaineanderson are here together. #businessorpleasure

Dean Tibedeaux's Christmas party was scheduled for the Friday after finals. She opened her home to her handpicked favorites, of which Kurt was on the top of the list every year. He knew he had Blaine to thank for that. Blaine had taught him to take literary risks and not be ashamed of his tastes, and it had paid off in a big way with Dean Tibedeaux.

Kurt looped his arm through Blaine's as they made a circuit around the room, appreciating the holiday décor and searching for Kurt's Columbia friends. Blaine snagged them two champagne flutes from a passing waiter, and they took a few moments to admire the wall of accolades and awards. The frames and plaques reflected the white fairy lights, making it seem as if there was another Christmas party beyond their surfaces.

"Those have been spit-shined," Blaine remarked.

"I'll make sure to thank my maid."

"Oh! Dean Tibedeaux!" Kurt said. His faint laugh held only a hint of hysteria, he was pleased to note. "What a lovely party."

"Thank you, Mr. Hummel. I'm glad you could come. Mr. Anderson, it's wonderful to see you again this year. I trust you have some literary opinion up your sleeve that will cause scandal and outrage amongst my students."

"I do," Blaine promised.

"I look forward to reading their reactions online."

Carmen graciously moved on to another group of guests. Kurt opened and closed his mouth twice.

"Did she just insinuate that she follows our blogs?" Kurt asked.

"I'm afraid so," Blaine chuckled.

"Oh God."

Blaine tugged on his elbow. "Come on. Let's go find your friends. I have a whole speech about why E.L. James should be author of the year planned out, and I want to give someone a permanent eye-twitch with it."

Kurt side-eyed his boyfriend as they joined a group of his friends in a heated discussion in front of the windows overlooking the bright nighttime lights of New York. Cameron stepped aside reluctantly to make room for them.

"Kurt, it's wonderful to see you," Cameron said effusively. His smile dropped completely. "Blaine."

Blaine hid his self-satisfied smirk behind his champagne flute. Kurt did the same. He loved that his boyfriend hated all this pretension because, secretly, so did he. He managed to wait patiently until the conversation came around to this year's bestsellers, as it always did at these parties.

"Personally, I think Mitch Albom was robbed," Blaine said wanly.

Kurt almost choked on his drink. He cast a fond smile in his boyfriend's direction while the rest of the group blinked stupidly.

"Well, that's … a very Blaine opinion. So he's your vote for author of the year?"

Kurt didn't know the speaker. He looked like a sophomore or junior, dressed very nicely in a Marc by Marc Jacobs ensemble, and wore hipster glasses that must have endeared him to Blaine. The comment took Blaine aback for a moment, but he recovered himself.

"Actually, I have to cast my vote for E.L. James." Kurt's classmates shouted in fury. "You have to admit, she inspires reading like no author since J.K. Rowling."

The comparison enraged everyone who couldn't read the teasing light in Blaine's eye. Kurt couldn't hold in his laughter any longer. He cleared his throat, forced the grin off his lips, and took Blaine's champagne glass.

"I'll … go get us fresh drinks."

He started laughing the second he turned his back and tried to disappear in the crowd so no one would see his shaking shoulders. By the buffet table, he leaned against the wall and gave into his humor.

"Likewise." The well-dressed blond with the hipster glasses had followed. "I think they just don't get Blaine's sense of humor. I'm Chandler."

"Kurt."

"I know. I'm a huge fan. I'm betweenthelines. I don't review books, but I'm a book blogger."

Kurt never quite knew how to react when meeting a fellow blogger in real life or suspecting he'd met one. He'd never had the nerve to bring up shoelaces, but now he didn't need to.

"Yeah. You do the commentary on the classics. I follow you back."

Chandler preened. "I know! It made my week when I got that notification. I'd love to talk about literature in person sometime. Can I get your number?"

Kurt was brought up short. His eyes darted over to where Blaine baited his classmates and back to Chandler.

Chandler Kiehl @betweenthelines
Business.

*

Blaine suspected his phone would blow up at any moment from the way it buzzed in his pocket. He politely excused himself from the literary snobbery and stepped into the hallway to see who needed him so urgently. He'd received about forty e-mails in the space of five minutes. Oddly, they were all ask notifications, and he'd turned those off ages ago. Unless he'd switched it back on when he was messing around in the settings earlier.

He should have turned off his phone and dealt with it later, but his curiosity got the better of him. He opened the latest notification e-mail and read.

atlassucked asked: Kurt – what did Chandler mean by that? Are you two an item? I think you'd be so cute together.

Blaine's brow furrowed. He didn't know any Chandler. He opened another e-mail and another and another.

bookwhoremore asked: Chandler Kiehl, Kurt? Seriously? And here I thought Blaine had made you a better man not too high and mighty to delve into the bargain book bin on occasion. I hope you won't break up the dynamic duo, though. I love watching you and Blaine on the book club livestreams. You have such chemistry.

riverati-klaine asked: :c

nemoswhale asked: I expect a lot of people are upset right now because there's a large portion of your followers who never believed the blowjob joke back in June was actually a joke. If it wasn't, and you and Blaine aren't together anymore, then I'm very sorry to hear that. I hope this won't change the professional relationship we've all come to love so much.

Anger spiked in his blood. He put his phone on silent and went back into the party to find Kurt. He located his boyfriend talking to one of Cameron's friends.

"Oh, Blaine. Have you met Chandler?"

It took everything Blaine had to muster up a pleasant smile and shake Chandler's hand. "Not officially. I'm sorry, but can I borrow Kurt for a minute?"

Out in the hallway, Blaine handed his phone to Kurt. His boyfriend scrolled through several of the e-mails, the blood draining from his face and his Adam's apple bobbing harshly.

"Blaine, I'm so sorry."

"These things are a dime a dozen with our followers, but we need to talk about how to handle other bloggers who make up rumors or insinuate whatever Chandler insinuated. He can't just make stuff up out of thin air and post it online and not have any consequences."

"I gave him my number," Kurt blurted. "He said he was a big fan, and he wanted to talk about the classics, and then he asked for my number, and I panicked. I didn't know what to say. He's one of our followers. If I told him we were dating, he'd tell everyone, and …. I wasn't going to talk to him or lead him on or whatever."

Blaine's eyes slipped closed, and he turned away. "I don't understand, Kurt. I love you so much I want to shout it from the rooftops. Why don't you want to tell the world about us? Are you – are you ashamed of me?"

Kurt sucked in a breath. "No, Blaine. Baby, no."

He reached out, but Blaine avoided his hands.

"Then why?"

Kurt chewed his bottom lip. He watched a group of women returning to the party from the bathroom and waited to say anything until they'd passed.

"You're always saying you're afraid you're going to screw this up. I'm not, Blaine. You and me, we're solid. We're so good together it's like a dream sometimes. I'm afraid of the world screwing us up. I don't want to let them in; I don't want to give them that power over us."

Blaine regarded Kurt for a long moment, as if he might sort through Kurt's thoughts and understand him if he stared intently enough.

"You think we can't survive it."

He sounded so sad it broke Kurt's heart to hear. The affirmation in the silence stretched between them like invisible hands pushing them apart. After a moment, Blaine squared his shoulders, fixed his bowtie, and held his arm out for Kurt.

"We've been gone from the party too long," Blaine said, forcing a thin smile.

"I never want to hurt you." Blaine's brave face slipped. "And I never want to be without you. I can't –" Kurt took a breath, blinked against the building tears, and gestured with the phone still in his palm. "I can't survive … this. An insinuation has been out there for five minutes and everyone is jumping down my throat about it. I've dealt with enough public scorn in my life. Books are where I go to escape it. I can't invite it back into my life. I know you're disappointed we can't be that cutesy couple in public –"

Blaine scrambled for Kurt's hands. "No, Kurt. I mean, I was disappointed, but I didn't get it before. I went to Dalton where no one was allowed to ridicule me, and then I came to New York where it's not such an issue. I've been so lucky to only hear about these things secondhand. I understand now. If you need more time, then you do. If you can't survive it, then we can't, and if we can't, I can't."

Blaine lifted Kurt's hand to his lips and kissed his fingers. Kurt melted into the light touch. He wrapped his free arm around Blaine's neck and bent his forehead to Blaine's. He sounded bone weary.

"Take me home, Blaine."

(continued in part two)

Tags: fandom: glee, genre: au, rating: r, series: war of the words, story: jingle blogs
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