Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
"May! May, you have to get up if you want a ride to school from your Papa." May Anderson-Hummel awoke to the blinding smile and sweeping pompadour of her father's hair. Which one of them was it, was the question?
From the glare of the Sun that peeked in through her blinds, she couldn't quite make out his face, but she knew it was her Dad, Kurt. She arched a brow in pure annoyance, like any rising junior would be on their first day of school.
"How about..mmm, no?" May arched a dark brow, sat up, and pushed her soft, dark hair out of her hazel eyes and pulled back her covers. She looked down at her five toes, all painted navy blue with a sparkly topcoat.
"Honey, you did those so sloppily. You turned your toes into a Pollock!" Kurt raised a brow at his daughter and crossed his arms over his chest. May took one look at him and burst into laughter. You could never take a person seriously when they wore real, legitimate bunny slippers, tattered ears and all.
"May, please. They're vintage."
"So are my Converse." May gestured to the dirtied rubber toes of her shoes that just peeked out from under her bed. Kurt ran a hand through his perfectly moussed hair and feigned his disgust at his daughter's worn-in Chucks. "Honey, I got you a pair of Doc Martens just last week, but you choose to wear those ugly things."
"They've got character." May grinned as she swung her legs over the side of her bed, somehow with a faux, renewed sense of power. "You're just too stuffy to realize it."
"Stuffy?" Kurt pressed a hand to his chest, as if he was a old dame or duchess who was in danger of losing her pearls. "How dare you!" He ran a hand through his daughter's hair, and grimaced when his fingers got caught into a mass of curls that had managed to tangle themselves together. "Maybelle.." He sighed. "Just..go ahead and get ready."
"What'd I do?" May felt a smirk pull at one side of her lips. Kurt just turned on his heel and briskly strode out of his daughter's mess of a bedroom. If you managed to gather the strength to sift through the piles of clothes that sat idly about her floor, you would find a lot more than just clothing.
"Nothing, Maybelle. You've got fifteen minutes." He closed the door behind him, leaving May to sift through her, for lack of a better word, pigsty. After five minutes of the whole check-and-smell dilemma, she decided on a Bart Simpson t-shirt, the one that was three sizes too large, a pair of plain black jean shorts, and her oh-so famous Converse All-Stars. When she bent down to tie the ratty laces, the ones that were practically turning grey at the ends, she caught a glance at the signatures that covered the white canvas that was slowly turning brown at the edges. They were signatures from friends she had to leave behind in New York City to move to Lima, Ohio, of all places - the least gay and flamboyant of all the places she knew.
"Maybelle, Maybelle, come on!" Her Papa, Blaine stuck his curly, frizzy head in her door and offered her a smile, only to have it fade only a second later. "Honey..um, are you sure you want to..wear shorts, today?"
May brought her hand up her right leg, only to feel not skin, but the smooth metal of her prosthetic. "Yeah..Yeah, it's gonna be pretty warm today."
Blaine's smile returned, thought it was weak. "Of course, sweetheart. Come on, I have your guitar all loaded up in the car."
On her way out the front door, she was given a kiss on the head by Kurt, and got a banana stuffed in her hand. Blaine already had their SUV out front, it was absolutely pulsing with the sound of a base guitar pumping through the built in speakers. He had the passenger's side door open for her, and waited attentively beside it. "Ah, my lady, your chariot awaits."
May let out a small laugh, and tried in vain to hide the slithering snakes of pain that were heading up her stump. The phantom pains should have been gone by now, but still, they persisted. Without a word, she slid into the plump, leather seat and let herself sink into the cushions and let the base guitar rattle her around as Blaine drove. She knew he was secretly stealing glances at her leg. It was jarring, she knew that. It had only been less than a year since it had happened, so the wounds were still fresh, both emotional and physical. But they weren't bleeding anymore, in a way.
She closed her eyes for one second, and the next they had come to a lurching stop in front of a plain, brick building that stretched for what seemed like miles and splayed off into different sections, like tree branches that were just starting to sprout.
"Welcome to the McKinley School for the Performing Arts." Blaine rested a hand on his daughter's shoulder and pushed a stray lock of hair out of her eye. "You excited to blow this thing out of the water?"
"..Sure." May said quietly. She looked into the rearview mirror and looked herself in the eyes. She looked so bored, so apathetic, so..lifeless. "Why isn't Dad here?"
Blaine's smile faded. "He's going..over the bills, like always." He pulled the shift stick into park rather roughly, so roughly that May felt her seat jolt just a little bit. She looked down at the mat below her feet and grimaced. "..Sorry."
"No, no, honey. Here, let me get your guitar." Blaine slipped out of the driver's seat as quickly as he possibly could, and presented May with her shiny, pear bodied guitar case before her feet even hit the pavement. She took the glossy hand in her hand, and it felt like she got a little bit of herself back, in that moment. They walked up the wide pathway, which May was glad was freshly paved over and in through the glass double-doors. Just beyond them was a tall, limber man, who instead of wearing something like a dress shirt and and khakis like any normal teacher probably would, he wore a three piece vest with a pair of fitted dress pants. He had curly, honey-coloured hair that was smattered in little pockets of grey. May felt her lips pull up at the corner, somehow she knew it was Mr. Schuester. Dad had told her he looked like an older, taller version of Justin Timberlake - it was sort of true, she guessed.
"Will!" Blaine outstretched his arms and gave his old teacher, his friend, a giant bear hug. Mr. Schuester stumbled back a few steps, but eventually found his footing. "Ah, one half of 'Klaine' has returned, with a miniature version of himself, wow, she looks a lot like you." His eyes widened.
May raised a brow, but said nothing in response. Her grip on the handle of her guitar case grew tighter. Blaine wrapped an arm about her slight shoulders and hugged her close. "Yup, that's my little sunshiney May!"
"..Hey." May said, with a little halfhearted wave. She crossed her leg over her prosthetic, as if that would help to make it less obvious than it already was. She held out her hand for a shake, and felt a jolt go up her arm when she realized how firm it was. "It's..really cool to be here, and stuff." She averted her gaze to the linoleum floors and bit her bottom lip.
She could feel her Papa's eyes boring holes through the back of her head. She didn't think she was being rude, not really, of course. She just didn't want to be there, that was all.
"She's just a little nervous." Blaine said tightly. Will nodded. "Well, I can take her down to Emma's and she can show her her schedule. Come on, Maybelle." He motioned for May to follow him, which she did. Blaine gave her a kiss on the cheek as a solemn goodbye. It seemed sweet, but May knew he was trying to mask his annoyance at her that was just about to boil over. She watched as he departed through the glass doors, got into the SUV that he'd left running.
She turned to Mr. Schue, who gestured again, for her to follow him. The walk down the halls, the few with sharp corners and turns was silent.
"So, Lima's a little different from New York, huh?" Mr. Schue asked. It took everything in May to keep from ranting about how different it was. She only halfheartedly rolled her eyes and sighed. "Uh, yeah. The one thing I will say about being here is that it isn't all that crowded. It's nice having a sidewalk to yourself sometimes."
Mr. Schue chuckled and stuck his hands in his pockets. "I'd bet that, for sure." His gaze flicked down to May's prosthetic, then back at her. He exhaled sharply and came to a stop in front of a glass-doored office, that was propped wide open with a box that was full of brightly colored pamphlets with titles that could make even the most serious person reel back in second-hand embarrassment. She bent down, picked up one, and read the title;
'So You Have a Wedgie: How to Combat Embarrassing Wardrobe Mishaps Without Anyone Knowing.'
"Oooh, I haven't gotten a chance to take a look at those yet!" A pair of latex gloved hands plucked the pamphlet out of her hand and wiped it down with an anti-bacterial wipe. May's gaze flicked up to meet the wide-eyed gaze of a red haired woman with side-bangs that were swept up behind her ear.
"Maybelle, this is Emma Pillsbury, and she will be your guidance counselor for the remainder of the year." Mr. Schue smiled at Emma, who smiled back.
"Nice to meet you." May nodded at Miss Pillsbury, who waved to Mr. Schue as he slipped down the hall.
"Likewise, Maybelle. Please, have a seat." Emma gestured to the hardbacked seats that were sat in front of her desk. Maybelle set her guitar case on the ground and slowly sat down, wincing as the socket of her prosthetic rubbed up against her skin.
Emma sat up straight and folded her hands in front of her. "I understand you just moved from the Big Apple with your parents..because of an accident you had not too long..ago."
There it was, May thought, that same pitiful gaze. "Um...yeah, it's been an adjustment." She forced her smile to spread even wider. The pain was settling in to stay. "But it's been nice, coming back to my dads' hometown. My grandpa and grandma live around here, so I get to see them. So's my mom, sometimes."
"I know your mom and your dads very well. They're alumni from here. They really made an impact when they were around here." Emma said softly, and it seemed like she was reminiscing on the past, whatever that might have held for her.
"Yeah, they're..pretty..cool." May winced. Emma's gaze immediately changed to one of concern. "Are you..okay, with your leg and all."
"It's a new model. I'm still getting used to it all. I'm okay, I promise." May said tightly. It took everything in her not to cry out.
Emma nodded slowly. "Well..alright. Let's go over your schedule." She pressed a button on the keyboard that pulled out from her desktop, and above them both, a projection of Maybelle's schedule showed up above them, with icons to display every class she had. The drama and comedy masks represented acting, the guitar meant music class, blah, blah, blah. She knew it all, much to her chagrin. She felt her blood run cold when she saw a pair of ballet slippers. Emma must have noticed, too.
"We can always switch out dance for another class, or maybe an elective. Like Glee club, of course."
"Yeah..um, yeah..I was..thinking of auditioning for the Troubletones, or..um, New Directions." May swallowed back the vomit that threatened to spew out from her mouth.
"Well, New Directions auditions are today." Emma said. "Hopefully, I'll see you there. I always pop in to see who's audItioning and whatnot."
"Um..of course." May stood, and felt a wave of nausea really hit her then. She reached down for her guitar case and forced her fingers to wrap around the handle. She turned for the door, lugging the case behind her. She pulled out her phone, which had just started chirping, and out from the projecting lens of her phone popped her schedule.
She made her way to her first class, and spent the whole rest of the day trying to steady herself, or at least calm the wave of nerves that seemed to take over her stomach and clench it tight in its grasp. Her classes were all a blur, all that mattered was the New Directions auditions, and she couldn't bomb them. That just wasn't an option.
So she did something worse. She bailed. When the last bell rung, she snuck out to the parking lot, hid behind an electric car in the parking lot, and smoked and cigarette and a half. Her parents didn't know, and what they didn't know couldn't hurt them. After forty-five minutes, she called her Papa to pick her up, and it pained her to see the excitement that radiated from his expression.
"How was it? Tell me everything!" Blaine was practically bouncing in his seat as he drove down the wide, winding streets.
"When we get home. I want Dad to be there, too." May said quietly.
She barely remembered getting out of the car. She felt as if she blinked once, and she was in the open concept kitchen, surrounded by her parents' very best friends; all of them were standing around the kitchen, drinking champagne at three-thirty in the afternoon. There was Mercedes, Sam, and Tina, and Artie, Mike and Puck, all talking animatedly. Once May arrived, they all turned to look at her, and cheered.
"Congratulations on getting into New Directions, my sunshiney May-Day!" Blaine sing-songed.
"Papa, I..I don't even know if I..I.."
"Well, of course you did!" Blaine said through gritted teeth whilst still holding a smile. "
"You're an Anderson-Hummel, and you literally came out of Berry's..never mind, you're a shoo-in for New Directions." Puck said, whilst filling his plate with smoked salmon.
That was when she felt it. She stumbled over to the sink and puked up what consisted of last night's dinner and half of the banana Kurt handed her only that morning.
The cheers fell silent, and the surrounding space was filled with Blaine's half-muttered string of curses as he hurried to pull back May's hair.
"Okay, who gave the kid a mimosa?" Came a voice laced with snark. There stood Santana Lopez, brow arched in question as she rested her hand on her pregnant belly.
"Santana, now really isn't the time for that." Rachel rolled her eyes at her frenemy, grabbed a bottle of Gatorade from her purse, and tossed it to Blaine. Brittany soon joined the party (or lack thereof of one) arms full of trays of cupcakes.
"Why are those upside down, Brit?" Mercedes studied the cupcakes, and indeed, they were in their trays upside down, wrapper and all.
"I got confused on how to fill the trays; it happens." Brittany shrugged.
Suddenly, Kurt walked in, and the color drained from his when he saw his daughter, bowed over the kitchen sink puking her guts out, it seemed. "Everyone, living room, please." He said sharply. Everyone did as told. It was best not to butt heads with Lady Hummel.
"What happened?" He hissed at Kurt as he grabbed a roll of paper towels from a cabinet above the stovetop.
"I dunno, she just..threw up the second she walked in." Blaine. May lifted her head and nursed the sudden pain that started up at the nape of her neck. Kurt's cornflower blue eyes narrowed to slits as he studied his daughter.
"You smell like smoke, little missy." He said evenly. "Come on, let's go upstairs. Blaine, you..entertain our guests you invited without consulting me first."
"They're practically entertaining themselves." Blaine's brows creased in concern. He looked on at May before squaring his shoulders, turning on his heel, and heading to the living room to do as told. May was dragged upstairs by Kurt, who said nothing. Somehow, his calm, placid expression radiated pure fury. He watched as she brushed her teeth and stood outside her door as she changed.
"Did you even go to your auditions?" He asked her sharply. May shook her head.
"So you smoked instead?"
"Maybelle Emily Anderson-Hummel, I'm so disappointed in you. You seemed so excited for those auditions. It was the one thing that got you out of bed in the morning since the accident. All that practicing..and you had to go and ruin it!" Kurt paced about, fists clenched until his knuckles turned white.
May slipped off her leg and let it clatter to the floor. She let out a little hiss of pain as her blisters oozed and burst. That little hiss turned to a cry, that turned to sobs.
"Oh, oh, sweetie. May, May, honey.." Kurt's voice softened almost immediately as he rushed to his daughter's side. He wrapped her arms about her pulled her close. "I'm sorry, honey. God, you must have been hurting all day long."
"Mmm-mm-hm." May whimpered. "Sorry..f-for ditching, a-and..s-smoking..helps me calm down..."
Soon, everything went quiet. It was only Kurt and May sitting on that unmade bed, holding each other tight. Kurt started to hum 'Memory' after awhile, and even his humming sounded angelic, in a way.
"You know..we..we really thought we were going to lose you that day." He whispered. "You were just laying there, surrounded by shards of glass, bleeding. You were so pale, and losing so much blood all at once. And it was all because of..one mistake." He ran his fingers through May's hair. "We were making..funeral plans that..first night."
May didn't answer. She had fallen asleep. Kurt quickly tucked her in, and dimmed the lights before joining the party downstairs. Blaine was chatting everyone up, which was easy considering the fact that he had a wine glass the size of his head in his hand. Everyone stopped talking when Kurt arrived. He poured himself a glass of rosé from the bottle on the coffee table and took a sip.
"What? You think I'm too good for day-drinking?" He joked.
A few hours passed before he gained the nerve to pull Blaine aside for a little chat.
Before Blaine could even open his mouth, Kurt pressed a finger to his lips and let loose. "She's depressed. Do you know what she did, Blaine? She ditched her audition and smoked in the parking lot for half an hour before you picked her up."
"What?" Blaine reared back. "May would never smoke, we've taught her that behavior like that will get her nowhere."
"Well, she was. And the moment I brought her up to her room, she started crying. Her prosthetic completely chafed her stump. That accident..it broke it her." Kurt's nostrils flared. "I never should have put you in charge of lighting that day."
"It was an accident!" Blaine protested. "We didn't know that a light was going to fall and shatter on her!"
"It could have been prevented, in fact, all of this could have been prevented if you had been the last bit attentive towards your job!" Kurt shouted. Blaine took a step backwards and folded his arms over his chest and bit on his bottom lip.
"I'm..I'm gonna go check on our guests, okay?" He said sharply. "And don't you dare tell May..anything. I can't have her hating me, too."
"Blaine.." Kurt said. But it wasn't worth anything. He tromped up the stairs to his bedroom. He had a stash of rosé hidden under his side of the bed. He could have his own fun, couldn't he?