It’s a terribly awkward moment for a mother when she realises that she no longer recognises her own son. Well, awkward might not be quite the right word for the majority of families, but it’s really the best fit for the Andersons because, well, that’s what it is. Awkward. Not upsetting or sudden or even unexpected. Just...awkward.
It could be said that it was that Sadie Hawkins dance that led to this moment -- that night that she got the call from the hospital and rushed in, heart in her throat, to find Blaine weakly smiling up at her through a mess of puffy bruises and a yellow cast heavy on his left arm. It could be said that that it was that moment that Blaine stood in front of them, squared his shoulders and said those dreaded words -- "I'm gay." It could be said that it was further back than that -- when Blaine was pushed over for the first time, say, and she spent hours wiping the tears from her son's cheeks and patching up his grazes hands and knees -- or possibly not so long ago. Maybe the first time he walked through the doors of Dalton, even. Or the first time he came home flushed and excited from a lead part in a Warblers performance that they'd been unable to attend due to work commitments.
But whatever it was, it's led her to where she is now, standing at the door of her son's bedroom and listening to him talk to a boy over Skype. She can hear the laughter in his voice, the way he playfully mocks the other boy's words and spontaneously bursts into (sometimes pitchy) song.
It's what led her to standing in a cold hallway in her slippers, fingers wrapped around the doorframe and peering through the slightly open door like a character from one of those espionage movies Gerald is so fond of.
Blaine looks up, his face full of light and mouth half-open in a wide, happy smile -- before he sees her and it's like a whole new person is staring back at her, eyes calm and shuttered and she knows from looking in the mirror that they'd the exact same shape and colour as hers but for all her searching she can't see anything other than his father in Blaine's eyes. Blaine gets to his feet, laptop placed carefully on his bed covers, straightening his shoulders and holding his head high as he eyes her with that disconnected, cool, Dalton-boy gaze. It doesn't have quite the intended effect when his hair is ungelled and curly, flopping into his face and sticking out at odd angles. "Mother," he greets, glancing over his shoulder to quickly mouth something at his laptop screen where she can just see a blurry face looking out. Blaine attracts her attention again when he takes a step forward, seemingly a second away from folding his arms defensively. "What can I do for you?"
"Who are you talking to?" she asks softly, deigning not to answer his question.
Blaine hesitates for a second, eyes calculating and uncertain. "A friend," he says.
She doesn't mean for the words to slip out, knowing that it's prying too far and that she long lost the right to ask those sorts of questions when she stood aside as Gerald and Blaine argued time and time again. She glances away almost instantly, her eyes falling to the laptop where she can still see the other boy waiting, watching, listening to every word that's being said.
Blaine seems aware of this too, seeming to draw comfort from the pseudo-presence of his friend (boyfriend?) as he takes a deep breath and looks her straight in the eyes. "Yes," he says simply, the word almost an exhalation. He hesitates for a second, clearly uncertain of how much information to offer. "His name is Kurt."
She nods, and manages to curve her lips into a smile. She knows that it looks fake to Blaine's eyes -- and probably Kurt's, too -- but all she can really think about is how Blaine didn't even tell them, wouldn't have even told them of his own accord had he not been asked straight-out. He'd even considered lying, right to her face, and that, more than anything else, is when she realises that he's no longer the little boy who clung to her hand as he sobbed and she wiped the blood from his shins. She's not sure who this new boy -- no, young man -- is. "Well, I'd love to properly meet him," she says finally, nodding her head slightly in a semi-greeting at the computer. She doesn't just mean Kurt, but Blaine is unaware of the double meaning to her words. "He can come over for dinner on Friday, if you like."
Blaine pauses for a second, a small frown creasing his forehead. He looks like he's not entirely sure what she means, or how to react. For a moment, she sees her confused little boy again, but just as quickly he's gone and Dalton-boy Blaine slides smoothly back into place. "Thanks," he says. "I'll ask him. I'm sure he'd love to."
It feels like she should say something else, the silence dragging as heavy as that bright yellow cast had done when he was fourteen. "Don't stay up too late," she settles on, knowing that it's not enough, it's never enough.
Blaine's expression remains carefully controlled and non-expressive even when he smiles at her. "I won't."
She nods and closes the door.